D. Pat Thomas

Writer, Yoga Teacher, Lover of Things Outdoors


Seriously Good News For Writers

Posted by Pat on October 24, 2014 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Lehua Parker writes (among other things) young adult fiction taking place in Hawaii. She recently presented on the subject of social media at the Utah League of Writers Fall Conference, and shared with us the rather amazing and horrifying statistic that less than 1% of books are sold through social media. Yes, and she has verified this carefully. Those of us attempting to learn the business at various conferences and such have been repeated admonished that you must constantly update your website, and your Facebook page, and your accounts with Twitter, Instagram and Google - Plus, in addition to blogging on everyone else's site whenever given the opportunity. We writers pale at these demands, wondering how anyone could ever do all this and still have time to write.

Lehua does not pretend that writers can happily ignore all social media and focus exclusively on writing, but she does give some stunning and joyful advice: you can reduce time spent on social media to around 15 minutes a day and go back to writing. Ha!

You must have a website so your prospective agents and publishers can find out more about you. Your site can also connect you with other writers, and these connections can lead to valuable opportunities, such as speaking engagements. Lehua has me convinced that the best road to success is writing more books.

So if you're like me, an average of 15 minutes a day for social media is a darned interesting concept. Obviously such an approach means you have to be well nailed down in terms of organization and priorities. So here's what Lehua suggests:

Update your Facebook page, once a week is minimum, three times a week is better but two times a week is okay. Use your blog post when you have a new one.

Blog at least two times a month. Need subject matter? Do a book review or interview an author. Or maybe interview a character from your book or someone else's. Put cool facts and pictures on your blog, things people would not ordinarily know or see. Know what your blog is for. Is it to help other writers? Or is it an extension of yourself? Put some of your fiction in there. Talk about what interests you. The blog post should be about 300 words and should have lots of tags so folks can find you.

You can always do more. If you write for teens, you'll need to have accounts with Instagram and Google+, but since they view Facebook as outdated, you can adjust your time accordingly. You only need to go onto Pinterest if your work is heavy into style issues, like cooking or decorating.

Lehua is my new heroine. You can find her blog site at www.lehuaparker.com. Hers is the best news I've had in a long time about writer platforms. We love you, Lehua!

Whew! Now to go write something...................


Utah Talent Unites

Posted by Pat on Comments comments (0)

The League of Utah Writer’s Fall Conference is a gathering of uncommonly talented writers. The field is heavy with fantasy and science fiction authors, but a smattering of folks who write thrillers, memoir, horror and other genres make the group diverse and interesting.

A recurring theme was the importance of story structure. We should start in the middle of our stories, build an arc into every relationship, hide the problem from the protagonist, strain relationships and never let the final plan lead to the final solution. Betrayal is always good. We should view our audience as a particular person and write for him/her.

More pointers: conversation is always combat, in every single line. The stakes become more complicated as the story intensifies. For example: the press learns, the victory is not pure, a dog or child becomes involved or the protagonist must choose who will die. Moral dilemma is wonderful.

The conference has sessions of the business of writing as well. Did you know that Amazon has a Kindle Scout Program to surface and highlight new books? They will give you an awesome start if you are selected.

Blogs do not sell books. Facebook, Facebook parties and responding every time you are mentioned do help. You can buy ads in Book Bug or do a free promo in Bub. E-reader News Today also has ads.

Another tidbit: bankruptcy clauses in contracts are totally unenforceable. Publishers will insist on them, but it’s silly. Publishers commonly get a first right of refusal on your next book, though it can be restricted to a certain genre. If you decide to publish independently, it’s recommended you start an LCC.

In other news, I won my first writing award in the rather intense writing competition. I’m told that now makes me an Award Winning Writer. How cool is that?