Category Archives: website

When Correspondence Doesn’t Pay: The Costs Versus The Benefits of Blogging

Moonday Madness

a blog for writers (et al)

Today I’m getting ready for the Colorado Romance Writers Annual Retreat, where I will be conducting a workshop on Kickstarting your Writing Process with Improv. So, instead of our regularly scheduled blog, today I bring you a very interesting tidbit on the pros and cons of blogging. ie: Does blogging pay? Check it out here:

When Correspondence Doesn’t Pay: The Costs Versus The Benefits of Blogging.

via When Correspondence Doesn’t Pay: The Costs Versus The Benefits of Blogging.

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Join the Revolution! Wana Commons is open!

Moonday Mania

a blog for writers

If you haven’t dropped by Kristen Lamb’s blog lately, you need to do so. Now. Yep, I’m telling you to leave my blog and hop over to MyWana central.

Why? Well, not only does Kristen have a witty sense of humor, but she is an author advocate. If you need any sort of information on social media dos and don’ts- Kristen is your gal. But not only is she the “dos and don’ts” gal, she is also the “I can do anything!” gal. You see, last month, when we all found out about the lawsuit that poor Roni Loren had to deal with, (If you’ve been living in a cave and don’t know about poor Roni’s lawsuit, click HERE.) and we were all frantically taking down any suspect picture on our sites, Kristen came up with a solution.

Wana CommonsKirsten Bot-Bane

Woot!

What is Wana Commons? It’s a section of Flikr that you can join and all, and I mean all, the photos are for free use by blogging authors. You can pin them on your Pinterest page, your FB page and your website blog without fear of reprisal. From the beautiful to the silly there are tons of photos, and more uploaded every day.

I uploaded some pictures too. Why not share?

 Colorado_Rainbow_2[1]

To find out more about Wana Commons, here is the link to the article on Kristen’s site:

https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/tag/wana-commons/

And here is the next article, all about how you can make Pinterest work for you. I haven’t tried Pinterest yet, but I’m thinking that will be one of my projects soon for my promotions for Snow and the Seventh Wolf. I can see lots of pictures getting my imagination going. Who knows? I might even post one of YOU!

https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/writers-why-its-time-to-renew-your-love-affair-with-pinterest

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Discover Jessica Aspen’s Hot New Website

Moonday Mania

a blog on the craft of writing

TA-DA!

I’m thrilled to present my new, updated website. First of all I want to credit my graphic artist, Viola Estrella of EstrellaCoverArt.com. Viola has done some fabulous covers for several friends of mine and when I looked around for someone to help me re-vamp my site, she was the one I knew I wanted to work with. Viola was very patient and paid attention to my list of needs and wants and understood exactly what I wanted, even when I wasn’t sure I did. Thanks Vi!

Why re-vamp my website at all? I had a perfectly usable website. I blog three days a week and I have a decent amount of followers. Why would anyone want to mess with that? Well, that’s really the subject of today’s blog.

Branding.

No, I’m not talking about hot irons, although it truly can feel that way. I’m talking about having a website consistent with your writing style and the image you want to present. I didn’t have it. My website was nice, and the black and white pictures that Jeff and I took had a subtle creepy feel. I managed to get the site to edge a little onto the paranormal side. But I missed out totally on the hot, steamy, lick my lips sexy side. And I wanted it.

At Rom Con 2012 I had an epiphany. Not my first, and likely not my last. I seem to need to get hit in the head with a brick now and then to understand which path I need to take. Rom Con was a big party, and I hung out with not just the paranormal people, but the erotic authors. And it was there, in the middle of the Chocolate Mangasm, playing pass the dildo, that I had my epiphany. I am an erotic author.

But you wouldn’t know that by my website. Something had to change.

I either had to say goodbye to my publishing career, as I have come to know it, or I needed to say goodbye to my Jessica Aspen Writes website. TA-TA cute website. Hello sexy, dark,and  paranormal.

This is my brand now. Hot spicy romance that walks on the dark side of the knife. I always had it in me. It’s what I write. But I haven’t always put it out there. It took playing games in a room full of women who read erotic romance and love them to understand that I need to have a complete vision of my writing, my career, and my stories.

So welcome to the dark side. Dare to enter my world. Explore my website. See if you can find my secret page (hint; I made it easy if you look). And discover your imagination.

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Bring a Little Sunshine to Your Life

Moonday Mania

a blog for writers (and today, maybe a few readers)

Thank you Sherry Isaac!

winner of the sunshine blog awardSizzling Sherry has passed on to me the Sunshine Award, and while I’m not too sure exactly what the Sunsine Award means for a paranormal blog, I do know what it means for my Moonday Mania Writers blog. It means I answer ten questions and then I pass it on to a few more quality bloggers.

So, since I can’t pass this award back to Sherry (though I ‘d really love to) I need to pass it on to someone else. And since this is Moonday Mania, I’m going to not only choose writers, but writers who write about writing.

First of is Kristen Lamb. Kristen is the social media guru and the mastermind behind #MYWANA. She turned me on to changing up my web presence, and if I am lagging behind, it is not her fault. I’m just slow. Kristen has a fabulous blog for writers, she teaches fabulous classes and she writes books. She does it all. Find Kristen HERE and tune into her amazing knowledge, and while you’re at it, cruise through some of her old posts, she has a ton of good ones.

Second Writers in the Storm. Want some good writing articles mixed with some fun? Try Writer’s in the Storm. One of my favorite people is on their the last Friday of the month, Tiffany Lawson Inman, Tiffany brings her acting background to the editing table and serves up a killer piece of writing advice once a month. Add in their weekly Crit Group feature, Amazon advice,  and all the different interests of the group and you have a stimulating writing blog.

I invite Kristen, and Writers in the Storm to select and pass on this award to more blogs, two, four, six. Whomever and whyever they choose.

Here’s my Q&A:

  • My favourite color: Do I have to pick one? I used to say green, but the truth is I love ’em all.
  • My favorite animal: Right now, my black Lab Molly. She is so sweet and loves me now matter what.
  • My favourite number: 7. I don’t know why, but that’s the one that comes to mind. Lucky number 7.Snazzy author friends at Linger
  • My favourite drink: I now have a new favorite drink. I went out to dinner at a fab restaurant in Denver, Linger, and they served a terrific Ginger Collins. Picture a sweltering hot evening, the companionship of amazing author friends, and the cool slide of Canton Ginger Liqueur, vodka with a hint of lemon over ice. Mmmm, I think I need one now.
  • Facebook or Twitter: Twitter first,  https://twitter.com/#!/JessicaAspen, Facebook second, https://www.facebook.com/jessica.aspen
  • My passion: Writing, writing, writing
  • Prefer giving or getting presents: I’m not all that into presents, I’d rather have the present of your presence.
  • My favorite pattern: I love textures. Bumpy patterns woven into sweaters, the soft swish of silk. I love to touch.
  • My favorite day of the week: Saturday. No work and you still have Sunday left of the weekend. Or it could be Monday, if I’m not working everyone leaves the house and I get to write. Do I have to chose?
  • My favorite flower: Purple iris.

Have fun visiting Sherry, Kristen, and the authors at Writers in the Storm and spread a little sunshine when you go. What writing blogs to you love? Any that have won the sunshine award? What should a sunshine award do anyway?

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Added #Triberr Finally!

Moonday Madness

a blog on the craft of writing

Promotion. Marketing. Social Media.

We hear all about it, but we want don’t know how to do it. At least not effectively. And when someone tells us about this great new thing, all we can do is moan, “NO MORE.”

But Triberr is different.Triberr image

It’s the real deal, a time saver, not a time sucker. And I have a few friends to thank for helping me out with it.

The first person is the Triberr guru of my small circle of internet buddies, Jenny Hansen. I gave her a blog award a few weeks ago HERE. She is hysterically funny! But she is also very smart and tech savvy. My friends at my Colorado Romance Writing Group think I know it all, but it turns out I borrow heavily from people like Jenny. She wrote a wonderful series on Triberr. The first one starts HERE.

And Jenny said that Triberr would save me time. I did check it out. But is seemed overwhelming and I didn’t know how to make it work, and I was very busy and put it off. My bad.

I even had a group of friends who emailed each other about it. What is this? How does it work? None of us took the five minutes to figure it out. Even though I read Jenny’s post and signed up, that was as far as I got. I put it off till life got a little less crazy. Well you know what happened next. Life never did get less crazy.

Then I went to a CRW meeting and Amy Denim (The Free Book Queen!) said, it’s easy and we’re starting a tribe. Pay a dollar for bones and we’ll get going. I paid my dollar, she sent me an invite. But nothing worked and I gave up.

So another month rolls by. Meanwhile I’m giving up ground on Twitter as my life falls even farther apart, I start blogging less and less. I need help!

Saturday I got it. Amy got out her laptop at our meeting and walked us through Triberr, and my lightbulb went off.

I need this. This will save me. It is not a time sucker.

I went home and figured out that I had two accounts and that’s why nothing worked. Deleted one, fixed the other and got rolling. That took about twenty minutes. Mostly because I had to figure out that I had two accounts. I think getting started really takes about five. See Jenny’s post.

Now what I need is to add friends and some good tribes. To make my life easy, I need my friends to decide that they want to make their lives easy, and spend the five minutes to get started. I know it seems like another waste of time, but this will help you all. Please let me know if you are interested, and I’ll send you an invite.

What have you tried lately that’s new? Did it save you time? Or suck it away? What about Triberr? And check out the rest of that series on Jenny’s site. I will be walking through it myself. (I’m still on week one.)

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Announcing CRW Bloghop with Prizes Galore!

Sensational Saturday’s

a blog for now

Colorado Romance Writers Mystic Month of May bloghop
Colorado Romance Writers is having it’s first ever blog hop, And I get to be the first guest!

We have prizes at each stop, and some grand prizes, so be sure to stop by and leave your comment to enter. And if you haven’t gotten a chance to read Little Red Riding Wolf  I’ll be giving a copy away at the first stop, so come visit!

Our Schedule:

May 14: Helen Hardt with myself as guest

May 15: Jessica Aspen guest Hillary Seidl

May 16: Hillary Seidl guest JL Bowen

May 17: J.L. Bowen guest Lori Corsentino

May 18: Lori Corsentino guest ML Guida

May 21: M.L. Guida guest Lizzie T. Leaf

May 22: Lizzie T. Leaf guest Marie Sexton

May 23: Marie Sexton guest BJ Hayes

May 24: B.J. Hayes guest Lia Slater

May 25: Lia Slater guest Jenn Le Blanc

May 28: Jenn LeBlanc guest Clare Austin

May 29: Clare Austin guest Holley Trent

May 30: Holley Trent guest Elizabeth Haysmont

May 31: Elizabeth Haysmont guest Helen Hardt

Come meet the published authors of the Colorado Romance Writers. We have a diverse group who write across many genres. And they all are fun and interesting women. (No guys yet, but we have one male in our group and I expect him to be published anytime!)

rodeo queen by helen hardtstripped defenseless by lia slatercinder by marie sextonexecutive decision by holley trent

Little Red Riding Wolf by Jessica Aspen

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Get WET!

Moonday Mania

a blog about the craft of writing

This month’s Moonday Mania’s have been about Social Media. We started the month with Don’t Should on Yourself, by Keri Silk and moved on to my neophyte blog hints, Easy tips to Make Your Blog Outstanding and Slow Down and Smell the Coffee. So, for the last Monday in March I’m going to discuss a few things I’ve learned from the best.

As many of you know, I’m a big Kristen Lamb follower. Kristen blogs, not just on Social Media, but specifically Social Media and authors. Kristen’s advice is where I am trying to get to, not where I am. If she has any big pieces of advice that you can see I’m not doing, well, it’s because I’M STILL WORKING ON IT!

We Are Not Alone, by Kristen LambWhat have I learned from Kristen Lamb? I’ve learned that the author social media world is always changing. Kristen wrote this fabulous book, We Are Not Alone, the Writer’s Guide to Social Media, and I consider this my baseline bible to social media. But I can’t just read the book. Why? Because the internet is not a static environment. Actually, the world is not a static environment. Since Kristen wrote the book we’ve seen the demise of My Space and the rise of Google Plus. How can a book like Kristen’s, that has info on My Space and none on Google Plus a valid resource for this year’s writer?

Because the advice that Kristen gives in the book applies, whether or not I’m on My Space, Googe Plus or the Next Big SM Hotspot. Good advice is still good advice. (For some hilarious dated advice check out Miss Gloria Richard’s foray into the past via the Loo at Buca De Bepo HERE!)

Kristen’s ideas on creating a platform that centers around your personality and genre are still sound ideas, no matter where you are implementing them. I’m still struggling with this. At first I didn’t really know what I wanted on my site. Okay, Kristen, I need to represent me and my writing, but I’m writing so many things and I’m not sure which one is going to get published. But I plunged in anyway, trying to represent some paranormal theme with the spooky woods header and my Thursdays Bite.

It works, but is it where I want to be? No, and I know it. Thanks to Kristen I’ve been searching for my identity as an author and a blogger, and I think I’m starting to hit it. So my last piece of advice is: be yourself, whoever that is. Figure it out. It may take time, and it’s okay to take the time. It’s okay to start with just the basic template and then add a header and then maybe get a header done and jazz up the site.

The point is, don’t wait till you know exactly who you are to get started. If I had waited till now to get my site and my blog up and running, I might not have as good an idea of who I am as an author. I might still be struggling with the very basics. But I’m not, I’ve moved ahead, still struggling. Still discovering who I am. And guess what?

That’s life.Stock Images - Cold feet

You change. You change as a teen to a twenty-something. The Facebook page you put up at thirty is different from the one you would do at forty. And the blog you do as a newbie pre-pubbed author will be different than the one you do as a newbie, just-pubbed author, and different again from the one you do when you are a famous know-it-all author. but if you don’t put your toe in the water, you never get wet.

So get wet! Jump in! Make your mistakes and just keep paddling till you get somewhere! ‘Cause I know you will be getting somewhere, even if it’s just back to the shore for some icy marg’s on the sand!

Have you jumped in yet? Have you changed what you started with? For someone who’s done this check out Sherry Isaac’s new site (HERE). She’s totally revamped it and it’s got SIZZLE!

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Easy Tips to Make Your Blog Outstanding

Moonday Mania

a blog on the craft of writing

Today I’m swinging in Gloria Richard’s Hammock as she interviews me, and reveals my secrets! Another opportunity to win a free copy of Little Red Riding Wolf. Check it out HERE!

As a recent blogger I’m always hungry for more, more, more information on how to make my blog outstanding. I read books like Kristen Lamb‘s We Are Not Alone, the Writer’s Guide to Social Media. And I follow experts on blogs like Brinda Berry on Gloria Richard’s Blog (HERE), and try to implement new techniques.

But even I, the brand spanking newbie, have stumbled upon a few things that other newbies, like myself, can use to fix their blogs in an instant.

Today’s tip is one that I have real trouble with, but I’m making it my goal to fix.

 Post early in the day

Free Stock Images - Businessman Clock Hands TimeI admit, I could do better at this.  I post somewhere around 6am my time. But that’s too late.  Why? Because 6am my time is 8am EST, and those people have already checked their computers and headed off to work. They missed my blog.

I only noticed this after I started using RSS to keep track of my blogs. I’m not sure everyone is aware of RSS, but once I discovered RSS I found that it was the easiest way for me to keep track of all my friends blogs. It works for me because my email box is so stuffed with Tweets and Yahoo Loop digests that I was losing everyone’s post announcements.

I have found that the RSS organizer I like best is Google Reader. It’s on a separate tab on my browser. Nothing comes in an email. I click on Google Reader and all my blogs that I follow are listed, if a blog’s name is highlighted then they have a new post. That’s it. No email.

Am I perfect at posting early?

No! I’m sure you’ve all noticed. I sometimes mess up my scheduling. I think I’m posting at a 06:00 and it turns out to be 18:00. And really I should be scheduling at 1:00am, not 6:00am. Right? Right. But this is a process and like all processes it takes time

You can still get emails even if you subscribe by RSS. Just subscribe through one of the other services, like normal, and you’ll still receive their emails. But if you subscribe only through Google Reader or another RSS service, no emails. That works for me. What works for you?

Back to our topic, now that I don’t get an announcement in my email. I have to go check. Which I do, at around 7am. My time. Not yours.

This means that my friends (and you know who you are!) who post on say Monday’s, but post late, don’t get seen until Tuesday. Why?

Because I’ve already looked at my RSS feed page at 7am and you hadn’t posted yet, so it didn’t say you were posting. And I don’t get the email. So on Tuesday morning, I see that you’ve posted.

Now this is not a big deal, most of my peeps don’t care if I’m there on Tuesday or Wednesday, and they know I love them even if I’m not particularly faithful about dropping by every post. Too many buddies and too many good posts! But it does mean sometimes that I miss out on giveaways, because I’m a day late and the contest is closed.

Once again, my friends aren’t worried about me. But they should be worried about readers like me. If you are using a contest to draw people to your blog, then you want them to feel good about coming to your blog. Not late, because they didn’t get the invite on time. Many times I’ve shown up to the blog to find out that the contest is closed. Luckily it’s not a big deal for me, but what about your other readers?

This can be frustrating for your visitors. Frustrated visitors means less visits.

How can you fix this?

You can run your contests for more than a day. I like that because it means you can get those last minute people, or people who don’t always have the time to check out their favorite blogs and so show up the next day. Everyone feels good.

But even better: by using the scheduling feature on your blog you can post at say, 1am. And that way, early birds, you catch more worms.Stock Photography - Blue Bird w/worm

Easy. More viewers, more people entering your giveaways, more satisfied customers.

Another benefit to scheduling your blog is that you don’t have to be there to post. You can be in say, Costa Rica on the beach, and your blog still posts. Love that!

How do you follow blogs? Do you have a stuffed email box, would RSS feed work better for you? Would you remember to check it every day? How about scheduling your posts? I know this is very easy on WordPress, what about your blog? As a blog reader, how do you feel when you show up late to the party?

And expect another hot blogging tip next Moonday Mania!

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by | March 12, 2012 · 1:05 am

Don’t Should on Yourself

Moonday Mania

A blog on writing

Today, I’m excited to have Keri K. Silk as my guest. Keri’s new book on social media, Virtual Freedom: Stop Wasting Time on the Web – Get and Retain Customers Effortlessly will be available for purchase soon. For now there are advanced chapters available and a special bonus for Jessica Aspen Writes readers, check out the bottom of this post to participate!

Authors who have engaged in or been trained in Life Coaching will recognize the title phrase.  It means that every time you say the words “I should…” you are doing yourself a disfavor.  In creating a social networking/internet strategy that is unique to you and your writing –beware! Watch out for those times you are saying should.

I should social network is a huge one! Like the original .com boom and bust, everyone is leaping to social media as the latest and greatest.  It can be. But it can also be an enormous stress and time sucker.  It was originally meant to be fun. A way to find and keep up with old friends. A way to share photos, short updates, etc.

For a brief moment it was – just fun. Then the should stepped in.  It became a frenzy of activity for marketers. Authors were told they should have a social media platform.  But no one clearly explained what that meant.  Do you know why you have a platform? Do you know if it’s working? Do you know how to take the should out and make it fun again?

The first thing I do with clients (and the beginning of the book) is go back to the beginning.  There are several points to consider but the main two are: What are you trying to accomplish and Where is your best venue?

First the What — Are you trying to make a name for yourself before submitting works? Are you self published and trying to get the word out? Are you traditionally published and want to build on their media campaign?  Each what starts a different thread.

Instead of “the scattergun approach” coined by UY Creative Communications Managing Partner Maureen UY.  Take a moment to focus on thewhat you are trying to do.  Choose one that makes the most sense to your bottom line.

Now the Who — (Journalists is this sounding familiar?) who are you trying to reach? Now that you know the reason you are blogging, posting, tweeting…. Who are you doing it for?

The list for writers can be long: publishers, media, buyers, readers, other authors, yourself?  Just like the time you take to craft your writing, you want to take the time to craft your internet writings so that they directly affect the ones you want effected.

For example:  A Facebook page – opens with books that you have written. And you send out a LIKE MY PAGE post to subscribers.  Chances are they already have if they were going to.  And do you know what the purpose is of multiple LIKES? Is this bringing them closer to buying? Are they already buyers?

Perhaps this is followed with: Great News my Book is on Amazon at a new price.  If they have already bought the book – is this wasted effort?  Enough sales to those who have already purchased could turn them off and stop them from paying attention.  When the next book comes out – they would have been ready buyers but now they are off to other things.

Too much to think about? Not really.

Not when you create a simple strategy for identifying and cultivating the right social networks.  A simple strategy is quick to put into place and targets your posting, schedules some using pre-schedulers, allows easy access responding and creates the stream of interested followers that you need to achieve your goals.  Start with these to focal points – the What and the Who.

These will drive which social networks you choose.  Knowing these two things will allow you to free up time with targeted posting. It will also save you money if you are paying a web designer, printer or social media developer.  These two simple starting points are the beginning to creating you successful web based author’s platform or campaign. It can also help you decide if you even need one (yet).

_________________________________________________________________________

Keri K. Silk is the author of multiple articles and e-books. She is currently finishing Virtual Freedom: Stop Wasting Time on the Web – Get and Retain Customers Effortlessly.  Mention reading about it in this blog when you purchase the advanced e-copy chapters and you will receive a free 15 minute Strategy Session.  Go to www.virtualfreedomthebook.com and click the Buy Now button.

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Amazing 2011 in review

Sensational Saturday, oops! It’s Sunday!

a blog where I write what I feel like. 🙂

Crazy week! I totally meant to post this yesterday and then I was taken over by my duties for the AOE, we’ve extended the date if you haven’t entered yet!. Luckily I know you are all forgiving (and don’t read this till Sunday anyway, everyone except Gloria!). One of the fun things about WordPress.com is that they do little things, like this (and the snow, didn’t we love the snow!) for their subscribers. That and it’s easy to use WordPress, and I never have any trouble logging into WP blogs. That is not true of all blogging sites. Anyway, click on the link if you want to see Jessica Aspen Writes 2011 stats in a lovely format complete with fireworks!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,700 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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