Monday, September 20, 2010

The Honorable Ms. Fox

Finally, after all these years, I’ve volunteered to judge a writing contest or two. Waiting to receive the entries is a little like waiting for Christmas morning. Sometimes you’re not quite sure what you’re going to get, but will be interested none the less.

I’ve had some good experiences in contests and some bad ones. The bad ones left me not wanting to enter anything. Ever. After giving it much consideration, I thought one way to remove the blight of the not so good experience would be to pay it forward, and try to be a better judge myself. So I particularly looked for a contest in which the judge would be allowed to make comments on the entries.

In my bad experience some of the comments I received were, ‘this isn’t a romance’ and ‘no one uses language like that’. Uh, excuse me, it is, and they do. But the point is, to me, those were not constructive comments. Especially in light of the fact that one of the judges proceeded to comment about the thousands of romances she had read, and not found one like mine. Therefore, it wasn’t fit to be published. Thank goodness I received a contract for that story the same day. Otherwise I would have been crushed. And just for the record, it’s a bestseller.

Now I usually put on my big girl panties in the morning, so things like this shouldn’t get to me. If you want to think my writing is crap, you are totally allowed to think that. I promise, I won’t lose one minute of sleep over it. The big ‘but’ is, tell me why. If my characters are TSTL, tell me what I could improve, just don’t tell me they are. How does that help me make them better characters? As a contest judge, a response like that is not only condescending, it’s in poor taste, and totally unprofessional. And if you cannot tell me how I need to improve, even though you don’t like something, then you are not fit to be a contest judge.

*looks around* Crimeny, where did that soapbox come from? *climbs down*

So here’s hoping I can truly help someone, and inspire them to be a better writer. Or, congratulate them because they are totally awesome right out of the box.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Writerly News

I’m very excited to announce that my short story entitled Christmas Holly, placed first runner-up in a writing prompt contest offered by Gypsy Shadow Publishing. Which means at some point, it will be published. There’s nothing like the thrill of being offered a contract. That just doesn’t get old.

Here's a big shout out to a terrific author, Aubrie Dionne. Thanks, woman!! If she hadn’t posted the notice on her blog, I’d never have known about the contest. And doesn't she have the most beautiful website? It's lovely.

Don’t know if I’ve mentioned it once, or a million times, but I love to read paranormal novels. Christmas Holly is my first attempt at actually writing one. It feels great to know that it turned out okay. I’m very excited to be able to share it with you. Once the details get worked out, they’ll be passed along so you’ll know what’s happening.

This is very inspiring. I must go write. Now.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Nah, not my next book. Me. From the hospital. Guess I was bored yesterday and decided a trip to the emergency room would be just the thing to liven my life up a bit.

Just wanted to touch base and let you know things are fine. They must be since they sent me home, either that or they thought a better route would be to just let me keel over at my desk in front of the computer screen.

I’ve been made to rest though and give some charming pills, so I’m off to take a nap. My caretaker is struggling to reach the plug and disconnect me even as I write this.

So, I’ll be back around with the rest of the analytics information next week. Very sorry to put you off.

Instead, go have yourself a great weekend!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Writer Biz #15 – Analytics, Part One

What are analytics? In this instance analytics, or stats (statistics), are tools used to analyze web related traffic. Whether it’s to your website, blog, or other web arena, you should be aware of who is visiting your site, how they’re getting there, and what they’re looking for once they arrive.

Having this information will help you to direct your time and promotional efforts to the proper areas, thus helping to insure your marketing plan will be a success.

Another piece of good news is that although you can buy an expensive software package, in the beginning, you don’t have to. There are quite a few good programs available for free.

Before you even start looking at the data, have your desired objective in mind. What are the goals of your marketing plan? Once you see all the reports, in all the various formats, it is incredibly easy to get overwhelmed and just dump the whole process, feeling like you don’t have a clue.

Just hold up a minute before you make that rash decision. You are, or want to be a professional writer, correct? Part of that responsibility is to understand your business and know how to grow your business. This data will help you do that.

In the beginning, with your goals firmly in mind, you’ll want to mainly focus on the reports which will help you analyze the whosits and whasits that are centered around your desired outcome. In other words, what factors are producing the outcome you want? For now, just ignore the rest. It will only add to the confusion.

In the beginning, you may only look at a of couple reports. And that’s okay. Get familiar with them, that way you can look at a glance and see what’s going on, and if it’s going in the direction you want things to go.

There are a few reports which are more important than others, and tomorrow, we’ll talk a look at those.