My One Takeaway From NaNoWriMo #MondayBlog


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Another NaNoWriMo is behind me.

Did I learn anything? Were there any takeaways?

Oh, sure. Planning is good. Plotting can be a friend… even to a pantser like me.

Maybe only character-driven writers will understand this, but all the planning and prepping in the world still guarantees you nothing.

I was plodding right along, words flowing like a cool stream, when all of a sudden, my beloved protagonist looks around with the malevolent grin of a serial killer and dumps a plot twist in my lap. (We’re still not speaking.)

Okaaaay. Now what?

I went with it.

The scene I was writing looked nothing like the one I sketched out six weeks ago. But, hey. Words were flowing… from somewhere, so I kept writing—and making notes.

I gave a cursory glance to my journal every morning, wondering if the completed scene would resemble what I’d planned in any way.

It didn’t.

But, I stayed with it, because that is the point of NaNoWriMo. Get the words out of your head and on paper…fifty-thousand of them at least.

I reached the halfway mark and wondered if Hemingway ever struggled like this. Then I realized he drank… and a glass of wine doesn’t sound bad. But should I drink it or give it to my protagonist?

Nah. I’m still not happy with her… the wine is mine.

After one glass of Sweet Red, I understand why Hemingway drank!

It gets you out of your own way. The wall of doubt and fountain of inhibitions fall and you write like you’re on fire.

Or maybe that was just me.

No, I’m not advocating drinking while writing. Our liver is our friend and unlike plots, we can’t get a new one with every manuscript.

But, a writer writes because they have to. It is a deep-seeded need that can only be fulfilled by putting words on paper. Anything else is unacceptable.

If you get hit with a dose of writer’s block, get out of your way. The characters didn’t change and the words remain the same. The problem is you.

Remember why you write.

Remember the freedom you feel.

Remember the sense of accomplishment you feel regardless of if it’s five, five hundred, or five-thousand words you leave on the paper.

It took me a couple of years to “get it” but the NaNoWriMo rule of no editing makes perfect sense. It makes me get out of my own way to just write. Of course, by doing so, I’m also giving my characters free reign, but that’s a completely different blog post.

I’ve spent the first three days of December making notes and moving things around in my MS, however, I’m putting it away until after the holidays. But sometime in January, I’ll have to decipher all those red squiggly lines and double blue lines, and wonder if I was typing in alien code.

And there may or may not be wine involved, because… Hemingway.

 

5 Things Bloggers Should Remember When Hosting Book Tours #MondayBlog


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In my last two #MondayBlog posts, I posted five things book promotion services and authors should remember when planning/running book tours. The week – it’s bloggers’ turn.

Regardless of where you post—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or an Internet blog—you’re a blogger. When you join book tours… you’re a tour host. Authors can write books and services can plan tours, but without motivated tour hosts to help get the word out… nothing happens… it doesn’t work!

Bloggers host tour events for a variety of reasons, including the love of books and reading, supporting authors, and blog content.

Five things bloggers should remember are:

  1. Know what you’re signing up for. What type of tour is it? Is it DIY or will HTML be provided? Is it just a promo post? Is reviewing an option or mandatory? Is sharing the post expected?  If you are not sure- ASK QUESTIONS before signing up.
  2. If you sign up – be proactive! Add the event to your calendar. Set a reminder alert. Start a draft copy with the date of the tour. Do not just sign up and forget about the event. Problems arise with authors and services… and the blogger is the last to know. Be prepared.
  3. Publicize! Authors and services blog about upcoming tours and include the info in newsletters – bloggers should too! Promotional posts only work when they are seen. Some bloggers do post calendars, but publicizing could be as simple as a post at the beginning of the week on upcoming events for that week. You’re not just promoting the tour, author, or service, you’re promoting YOU!
  4. If reviewing, only review books you are interested in! Reviews are only beneficial when reviews are posted, but some of the worst reviews have been written by tour hosts who had no interest in the promoted book… and said so in their review! Reading diverse books and/or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone are two things everyone should try, but a review tour is not the time to start. Do not be badgered by services or lured by contests, giveaways, or simply a free book.
  5. Tag your posts and Moderate your comments. When hosting a tour, bloggers should strongly consider tagging the author or the service… or both! It’s the quickest, easiest way to guide them to your post, and hopefully, they will leave comments. Acknowledge commenters on your blog post! Even when they leave questions for the author, like their comment and thank them for stopping by. You are a tour host… so be open, amiable, and approachable. This will encourage visitors to return and enjoy your site content even when you’re not hosting a tour.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to book tours. There is experience… and some have more than others, but no two tours are the same—even if they’re for the same author.

However, even experience is worthless if there isn’t real communication among all team members, and yes, it is a team. All team members are equally important and should be treated as such. Forget the ‘form letter’ emails and plastic posts in Facebook groups.

Authors + promotion services + bloggers collaborating and working together will always lead to a successful book promotion. If communication fails… so will the event.