Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Guest Blogging 101: Basic Tips for #MFRWauthors

I won’t try to tell anyone I know all the nuances of blogging. I feel like a toddler teaching a baby to walk. I’ve never done a blog hop and only just started hosting guests on my blog, but I have been a guest numerous times and feel pretty safe to talk about etiquette when visiting someone’s blog.

1.) Always thank your host. The word thank you goes a long way. This chance to be in front of other readers might not happen any other way. Plus the work that goes into loading your blog, images and excerpts can be time-consuming.

2.) Visit the blog at least once the day it goes live. Always go by the blog and see if there are any comments. If there aren’t then make one of your own. I always thank my host on the blog and check it two or three times the day it goes live. I want the people who stop by to know they are important to me. Show them I’m there and grateful they hosted me.

3.) Make sure you have a clear idea for your blog. Most of us have a theme to our blogs and we’ll ask you to write something that fits that theme. Personally I find that when the host tells me what they want I can find that idea faster. It is one of the reasons I came up with a list of questions. There are times when I’m editing two or three things at a time and my brain refuses to work. If you get stuck I recommend visiting the blog to see what else has been posted. It could spark an idea.

4.) Get the material to them on time. If you are asked to get it to the host three days before it goes live make sure you’re do. Sometimes there are glitches that the host has to work out. I don’t give people dates until I get the questionnaire back from people who contact me because I know not everyone follows through but mine is new and I haven’t been booking it beyond two or three weeks so far.

5.) Help promote the blog you’re visiting. I always send out promos on my guests. I post it on my FB page as well as many of the loops I belong to. I also belong to triberr so it gets tweeted by my tribemates. The funny thing is I never do it on my own posts and should.

6.) Make sure you follow the rules of the blog. Most of us will let you promote your work along with your post so if you write erotica and the host says they take all genres make sure you find out if they have that blog behind an over 18 firewall. If they don’t keep that excerpt clean. Find out if the host has a word count limitation. I was a guest on one that wanted 500 words or more in my post.

7.) Finding the right host. In the beginning I would keep posts from people who said they wanted guest authors. But after a while that got a bit cumbersome so I started putting a list together of blogs I have visited – one for erotic authors and one who takes all types. It’s on my blog – barbaradonlonbradley dot blogspot dot com, just go to the page tabs and you’ll see them.

8.) If you have a blog a nice gesture is to offer it to the host as reciprocation. I have gotten a lot of offers from the people who have been a guest and I’m grateful. Blogging is one of the few free ways to promote ourselves.
Submitted by Barb 
Writing for Barbara Donlon Bradley  started innocently enough, like most she kept diaries, journals, and wrote an occasional letter but she also had a vivid imagination and wrote scenes and short stories adding characters to her favorite shows and comic books.

As time went on she found the passion for writing to be a strong drive for her. Humor is also very strong in her life. No matter how hard she tries to write something deep and dark, it will never happen. That humor bleeds into her writing. Since she can’t beat it she has learned to use it to her advantage. 
Now she lives in Tidewater Virginia with two cats, one mother in law – she’s 85 now, her husband and teenage son.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

#MFRWorg Monthly Quote - May 2014

     “Why should we all use our creative power and write or paint or play music, or whatever it tells us to do?                                     
     Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money. Because the best way to know the Truth or Beauty is to try to express it.”
-Brenda Ueland

Emerald is an erotic fiction author whose short stories have been featured in anthologies published by Cleis Press, Mischief, and Logical-Lust. She serves as an assistant newsletter editor and Facebook group moderator for Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW), and she selects and posts the monthly inspirational quote on the MFRW Marketing Blog. Find out more about her at her website, The Green Light District.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Why Blog? #MFRWorg Answers This Question.

Blogging has become very popular. Blogging has become an important part of an author's marketing plan. A blog can be a living, breathing space for creating an online presence and increasing brand awareness. It's a space that can become whatever an author wants it to be. The key is to know its purpose and stay focused.

My blog ROMANCE BECKONS evolved over the years - its evolution mirroring my career as an author. It's taken years to get it exactly how I want it, and even still, I tweak it every so often. Regardless of how I've used it, one thing remained the same: The Mission. My blog's mission is to connect on a more personal level with readers.

So, Why Have A Blog?
77% of internet users read blogs. Over 300 million people view a blog at least once a month. We know readers using e-readers are connoisseurs of the internet. Imagine getting your books in front of this audience. Blogging allows authors to team up with others, share audiences and attract new readers. Blogging is interactive -that's the main difference between a blog and a website- and develops relationships with readers.

So, Why Don't You Have A Blog?
The main roadblock that stops authors from starting a blog is fear of technology. But with two easy-to-use platforms, it isn't as difficult as it seems. Anyone can start a blog for free and, to just do the basics, set-up only takes about an hour. There are two most popular platforms: WordPress and Blogger.

WordPress has two different choices; you can choose to use or Both are web software you can use to create a beautiful blog. The difference between the two (.com and .org) is that one is free and the other is not free. The free site doesn't offer as much functionality as the paid version. Another key difference is your domain name. The free version will limit your domain name selection; your domain name will be The paid version gives you complete control over your domain name and your site. In the beginning, the free version might be the easiest to navigate.

Blogger is a free, powerful publishing platform that provides you with all the tools you need to start and grow your blog. It's fully-customizable and packed with advanced features like HTML editing, gadget support, mobile publishing, and much more. Blogger seamlessly integrates with other Google products including Google+, Google Analytics, and YouTube. I prefer this platform but I confess to being a big Google fan.

Choose Your Software. Set Up Your Blog.
Both platforms will walk you through the set up. If you don't already have a blog, go ahead and try it. Next time on my monthly column about blogging, I'll spend time talking about different features to be sure to incorporate.

Talk to me.
Do you have a blog? Share your url. Which blog platform would you recommend to others?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Moderating the MFRW Facebook Group: Getting the Most out of Group Membership #MFRWorg #MFRWauthor

So far in this series, I’ve talked a lot about things I do from the moderator side of the MFRW Facebook group. I’m shifting gears a little bit today to offer some recommendations for potential and current group members to get the most out of being a member of the group and using Facebook to help market your work.

Privacy Settings

First, I want to mention a couple things about privacy settings of which some people may not be aware. I want to clarify, however, that I completely understand setting one’s profile to private and am in no way discouraging that or recommending that people change their privacy settings if they’re set the way they want them. It’s completely fine if I go to a profile and don’t see any information about one’s involvement in the literary community due to that person's privacy settings—that’s why I send a message.

This, rather, is for those who mean to have certain things visible to the public and may unknowingly not. For example, a few times over the last month, I’ve received responses from potential members informing me that they do in fact list something like “Author,” etc., in the employment sections of their Facebook profiles. In my response thanking them for replying and indicating that I’ll approve their membership, etc., I’ve just mentioned that for whatever reason, that information wasn’t visible to me.

One author followed up with me to ask if I had any idea why I might not be able to see it, as she intended for the indication that she was an author to be publicly viewable, and her general profile was set to public viewing. I looked into it a little bit and discovered that each “Work and Education” entry in one’s “About” section can be set to its own privacy setting. In the instance in question, the author’s entry indicating she was an author had been set to be viewed by friends only.

To check on this or change these settings, go to your profile, hover over the upper right corner of the “About” section (on the left side of the page), click on the little pencil icon labeled “Manage” when it pops up, and choose “Update Info.” On the screen that then appears, there is a little icon with a downward-pointing arrow to the right of each entry under the “Work and Education” setting. You may click on that icon to choose the privacy setting (public, friends only, etc.) for that particular entry.


Posting to the Group

I read every entry that gets posted to the MFRW Facebook group (though if I did more than just skim over them, I’d spend little time doing anything else!). I do this to make sure they’re legitimate posts and ensure I haven’t inadvertently let any spam accounts join. I have thus seen how privacy settings can also affect how things show up when you post in a group.

For example, if you choose to share a book cover from one of your own photo albums on the MFRW group page, your privacy settings for that photo (or your photos general) will affect how it will show up on the group page. Occasionally I see a post on the group that says “Attachment Unavailable.” This can be for a few reasons, but one of them is if your photo privacy settings are set to allow only friends or friends of friends to view them. That will still be the case, then, if you post the photo to a group page, and the attachment will be indicated to be unavailable for everyone else. (It is easy for you yourself not to realize this, incidentally, since it will still show up for you on the group page, so nothing will seem to be amiss.)

One option for posting photos (such as book covers) to the group page, thus, is to simply post a link to the page where a photo appears, such as at the buy link, and let the link preview show the photo. If you do want to share a photo from one of your own Facebook albums or your timeline on the group page, just make sure the photo’s privacy settings are set to public viewing first. You can do this one of two ways:
  1. If you want to set the entire photo album containing the photo to be viewable by the public (say, for example, you have an album for book covers that you’d like anyone to be able to see), do the following: Click on “Photos” from your profile page. Once there, click “Albums,” locate the album you want to make public, and click on the little icon in the lower right corner of the album in question. Adjust the settings accordingly.
  2. You can also adjust the privacy settings of an individual photo. To do this, click on the photo in question. Right below your name and to the right of the date the photo was posted, you should see the small privacy settings icon with the downward-pointing arrow. Click on it and choose the desired privacy setting.


It also tends to be a good idea to add a link to posts you’re posting on the group page if you're asking people to buy or visit something. Every once in a while I see posts asking people to check something out that don’t contain a link at which to do so. While sometimes a reference to where to find the post or book in question is provided, I think it’s fair to say that viewers are much more likely to follow through if all they have to do is click a link. :)

That being said, I do not recommend posting only a link with no corresponding picture, text, introduction, etc. When I see this, I’ll click on it, but not knowing whether it’s spam or what its origin or purpose is, I won’t really want to—I’ll only do so because of my responsibility as a moderator. Given my feeling that way, I suspect the link won’t get many clicks from others who don’t have that responsibility! This hasn’t happened very often, but I have seen it, and I recommend you just make sure the image or link preview you want to have show up with your post is indeed visible before you post it.

I hope this has seemed helpful to some readers. The MFRW Facebook group is a busy place, and we want all members to receive the maximum possible benefit of being a part of it! Thanks for reading. :)

Emerald is an erotic fiction author whose short stories have been featured in anthologies published by Cleis Press, Mischief, and Logical-Lust. She serves as an assistant newsletter editor and Facebook group moderator for Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW), and she selects and posts the monthly inspirational quote on the MFRW Marketing Blog. Find out more about her at her website, The Green Light District.