Category Archives: website

Terrorized by Twitter? Help is out there!

Moonday Madness

a blog on the craft of writing

This November I’ve been sharing with you some of my favorite places I go for advice. My first post introduced the indomitible Gloria Richard and Brinda Berry (click HERE), next I shared my secret source for social media, Kristen Lamb (click HERE). And last week I once again talked about the amazing Carolyn Cooper (click HERE). Last but not least I’m going to leave you with the inspiration for today’s blog, Mashable.

Mashable is a great blog for finding out all kinds of media information. It actually can be a little overwhelming. If you add Mashable to your list of favorites you’ll want to focus on the Social Media menu. There you can search for anything you don’t know you know about Twitter, Facebook and the new always challenging Google Plus.  My favorite post so far is  “10 Twitter Tools To Organize Your Tweeps“. This is the post that introduced me to Klout (another Kristen Lamb favorite) and Tweepler (something I have yet to explore, but is on that very long December list).

Klout is a very cool way to figure out if you are doing anything right on Twitter. It is another form of analytics, but is very easy to look at. It analyzes your social media so you will need to come up with a way to set goals and interpret the data for yourself. (Or you can take Kristen’s or Carolyn’s class and I’m sure those amazing women can help you.) I myself am checking Klout once a week, just to see what is going on with my Tweets. Am I going up or down? I seem to hover around 40+. I’d like to expand my influence. My goal is to be up ten points in six months and I’ll keep you updated in the future.

Mashable can help you do everything from creating a cool custom backdrop on your Twitter page to give you advice on how to use Twitter for a job hunt. If you are just exploring Google+ or Facebook, there are posts specifically targeted to those areas of SM. Whatever you have a question on, Mashable can help.

There you have it. My favorite places for technical advice on social media. From Pimping your Blog to detailed advice on Twitter these gurus cover the globe. I know you all have your favorites. Where do you get your advice?

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Introducing the Amazing Carolyn Cooper

Analytics were something I never gave a first, second or third thought to before I began taking classes with the amazing Carolyn Cooper. I started with her class on how to improve your website, moved on to her analytics class. I learned an amazing amount. If you are the kind of person who wants a bargain, likes to receive way more than she paid for, take one of Carolyn’s classes. There was so much amazing information, here I am months later and I still need to go back through my notes and figure out what I didn’t absorb.

I love, love, love classes like Carolyn’s that are packed full of the information I need, but I find that it takes months to digest the information. I take the class, get a little knowledge into my brain, then I have to put it aside for a little while. Take it out later and digest it over months so the information isn’t overwhelming.

If you need a basics course on tweaking your website or blog, my first post on Brinda Berry and Gloria Richard (find HERE) will get you started. If you are ready for the big time take one of Carolyn’s classes, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! I have it on my to-do list for December, to go through my class notes from Carolyn’s class, and go step by step tweaking and fixing the small things that will cascade my blog to stardom!

And then maybe I’ll be ready to absorb Kristen’s class in January. I posted about Kristen Lamb last week. (Click HERE) She and Caroline teach overlapping information, but they focus on different aspects of the same idea. Both are incredibly valuable and I definitely find it of value to take classes on the same subjects from a variety of people. Why? Because one will teach you in depth about subject A, and a little about subject B…and then the second teacher will do the opposite.

While both teach about social media and tweaking your website, Carolyn focuses more on using your analytics and your page layout, as well as Twitter, FB, etc. Carolyn also works with more than just authors, so her classes, while targeted to authors, bring in a different dimension. She’s been marketing since she was at her mother’s knee, and working with computers and communication almost as long, so she is a veritable encyclopedia (does anyone even know that word anymore?) of information.

Where are you on your path to blogdom stardom? Are you just taking baby steps? Finding out how to add pictures and bling to your site? Or are you ready to dig deep into the wide world of Google Analytics?

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Kristen Lamb

Moonday Mania

A blog on the craft of Writing

Once an author becomes serious about being a professional author it is difficult not to find yourself wondering what in the world is this marketing thing and where do I start?

Never fear, Kristen Lamb is here!

My go to expert for social media is Kristen Lamb, one of her recent posts (click HERE) touches on something I am just now starting to struggle with, analytics. Kristen’s blog always has something of interest to writers, but her social media expertise is what keeps me coming back. She is the author of my favorite social media book, We Are Not Alone. We Are Not Alone is the book that got me thinking about how to blog, not just spitting out words on the page.

In We Are Not Alone, Kristen focuses on the whys, wherefores and what the hell-do-I-do nows of social media. Kristen walks you through every step from developing a brand to what you should and should not be doing on your blog.

I am in direct violation of Kristen’s advice with this very column! Kristen says you should be blogging on what you are writing in order to reach readers. And of course, blogging on writing violates that very idea. That is exactly why I added my Thursday’s Bite blog, which focuses on Paranormal. It’s also why I developed Paranormal Freebies “A place where paranormal readers and authors converge.” Both of these endevours tie me to readers who may or may not be authors.

Kristen’s other book Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer is blog focused. That is on my TBR list, once I finish We Are Not Alone. I’m sure I’ll find out just what else it is that I’m not doing right. Actually I plan on doing most of what Kristen says, and on ParanormalFreebies.com, I actually have. On that site I have book reviews coming up on the first Monday’s of the month. I have a variety of interested authors blogging on interesting topics, and I get to blog there myself on all things magical and mystical.

Kristen not only has these two fantastic books to help you along, but she blogs regularly on topics ranging from marketing to editing to the social faux pas that can kill you on Twitter. And she’s funny. Did I mention that? Just go look at the tab on her website about the Pants of Shame. 

It’s because of Kristen that I started reading The Tipping Point and I’m now thinking about how to make not just my posts “sticky” but maybe somehow my book or my pen name. Hmm, who knew we’d all want to get sticky? The Tipping Point is a great audio read when you have a long drive, although I hear the rights are in turmoil so I don’t think you can purchase it in audio. The library is where I had to go to read Malcom Gladwell’s thought provoking book on what makes epidemics tip. Now I understand the Twilight epidemic.

Kristen also teaches classes at Bob Mayer’s site Who Dares Wins Publishing. I have on my to do list to take a class from either her or Bob or Jennifer Talty this year. It’s on my bucket list and at an affordable $20-$40 for an online class all I have to do is find the time. Okay, I’m making the time.

In the meantime you’ll find me in doctor’s office’s, waiting in the car to pick people up and at the breakfast table, highlighter in hand, pouring over We Are Not Alone. And of course I drink my coffee in the mornings looking over Kristen’s blogs. You should too. Just don’t have a mouthful of coffee when looking at the “Pants of Shame”. I refuse to be held responsible.

Have you checked out Kristen’s blog? What is your favorite piece of advice she gives? Have you read the post on WHAT WENT WRONG WITH THE STAR WARS PREQUELS? If you have, tell me, isn’t that the best Darth Vadar costume ever!?

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Expert Advice on Finding Experts

Moonday Mania

a blog centered on the craft of writing

My writing days are centered on two things.

One, writing! (Okay, you probably knew that)

Two, marketing.

When I decided to become an author I had no idea that I would need to become an expert at websites, blogs, peeps and tweeps. And if you had told me that I would need to become an expert in all this internet stuff, there is a distinct possibility I would not have even started down this path. You see, until three years ago, I didn’t even own a cell phone.

But I am now an expert! Okay, not an expert. But I am a person who my writing friends now go to for advice about where to find the experts. And that is a giant step for me! Last year at this time I didn’t have a blog, a Facebook account, or a Twitter account. And now I have all three (and Goodreads, don’t forget Goodreads!). But still I struggle with how to wander their myriad pathways. And here is where my expertise of finding experts come in handy.


Gloria Richard is another fellow writer struggling with creating a blog. Her solution has been to enlist the advice of the expert Brinda Berry to help her “Pimp my web”. Not only is Brinda the author of a new YA book, The Waiting Booth (Click HERE for her fabulous article, Interview with a Synesthete) but it turns out she is also a terrific source for how to improve your blog.

For some easy step by step ways to get going on the path to bloghood (globhood?) visit Gloria’s site (HERE) and go back to Brinda’s first post (HERE). That should get you started on pimping your own web.

Brinda, through Gloria, has helped me with the ever challenging widgets on WordPress. I did buy a book, WordPress for Dummies. But I’m with Gloria and I think I need a more basic book. The Guide to WP for the really Dummies would suit me just fine on those days when I am searching for a how to. Hey Gloria, which book did you buy??

Eventually I hope to get this blogging, tweeting, posting, work down to a science. In other words: the more I learn, the easier it should be. But for now, like Gloria, I’m stumbling through getting it all together. So for that I need the experts. Tune in next Moonday Mania for more advice on who to get your advice from. (Okay, not grammar advice, never end a sentence on a preposition.) In the meantime leave a comment for me. I’d love to know how all of you are doing with your forays into new worlds, blogging or otherwise!

Only a few months left till my debut novella Little Red Riding Wolf is released! Tune back to this station for details as we get closer to February 18, 2012!

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TA-DA! Site Unveiled and Winners Announced!

It’s here! Today is the day!

I’m excited to announce the winners of the Name My New Blogging Days contests! And the winner’s are:

Moonday’s Mania from Kat Archer  and Thursdays Bite from Carol Kilgor!

Congratulations and I will be contacting you about your prize!

Thanks to everyone who rescued me and contributed the wonderful (and crazy) names. I considered each and every one, but I can only use two. I’m thrilled to be keeping up with the Wonderful Wednesday’s and Fantastic Fridays out in the blogging world. Great job peeps!

You’ve probably already noticed the new look. This is the first part of my paranormal push. A new look for my new focus, paranormal all the way! Most of the changes I made a few weeks ago. I added a calendar page of events and moved some widgets around for greater ease, but I saved the new look for today and the contest announcement. I have to thank my wonderful photographer husband for the pictures. I’m looking forward to working with him again and getting some more paranormal pics.

Another exciting  new piece is the addition of my blogging on Thursdays. Now that I have a phenomenal new name for my Thursday blog I will be dedicating Thursdays to the paranormal reader. This Thursday will be on twisting Fairytales, and after that every Thursday will have a paranormal bent.

The last piece in my perfect triangle is the addition of guest bloggers, starting with my good friend Sherry Isaac. Sherry’s new anthology Storyteller is coming out July 30th and she will be blogging here August First and August Eighth. Check out the new calendar page for updates on what I’m doing and all my exciting guests.

I’m also thrilled to announce that the first Friday of every month, starting with  August 5th, I’ll have a permanent place on  ParanormalFreebies.com . My monthly blog there will be Magical Musings and will focus on spells and magic in the world of the paranormal.

I’d love to hear what you think of the new site and the new blog names, go ahead and leave a comment for me!

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Rescue Me!

At the beginning of this year I took a deep breath and dove in. I started a blog. I didn’t know what I was going to write about, who would read it or even really what my purpose was in writing it. I just knew that I needed to do it if I was to succeed at a writing career. And it’s been a ton of fun. I’ve met new people and realized that, yes, I can do this every week. I have a lot I want to say. And a few people who want to listen. Amazing.

For those of you who have been following along, you know I took a class from Carolyn Cooper on author web presence. And even before that I began reading Kristen Lamb‘s book We Are Not Alone, both of which told me the same thing. I’m building a following of writers. Which is nice and lovely and I love each and every one of you! But I’m missing out on a group of people known as readers who don’t write. Crazy, I know. Doesn’t everyone write? Apparently not. So,  I’m about to enact change onto the site. You have been warned!

My first change will be to start a writers day and a readers day. This way I’ll get to keep my writer followers happy and maybe add some readers. Maybe some of you writers read too? Nah! I must be crazy.

I’ve already started blogging for writers on Monday, so I’m going to keep that and add Thursdays for paranormal readers. The problem is, I don’t have a sweet name for my individual blogs. Ashely March has Writer Wednesdays and we’ve all heard about Man Candy Monday. I don’t think it has to have the day of the week in it, but something catchy would be terrific.

So I’m opening it up to you all. I need you to leave any ideas for Mondays writer blog or Thursday’s paranormal reader blog in the comment box.  If I use your name there is a $10 either Borders or B&N gift card in it for you. Come on peeps, put on your thinking caps on and rescue me!

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Straggling Over the Finish Line

My class on Online Author Awareness with the phenomenal Carolyn Cooper that began as my Brave Adventure  is over, finished, finito. And as much as I strove to do it differently it has ended just like many of my online classes do. The marathon is over and I barely crossed the finish line.

I start a class full of good intentions. I will keep up! I will do all the homework! I will end this class at the top! But then life interferes and I’m barely keeping up with reading the messages, let alone the pages and pages from the file section. As moderator for a CRW class I have the responsibility to make sure everyone is having a good time and behaving nicely, so when I moderate I do make sure I read every message, just in case. And that is about all I could do by the end of this class.

While I fell behind somewhere between lesson six (Landing pages and squeeze pages) and lesson seven (the Neuropsychology of choice) I will have plenty of opportunity to catch up. I have all of the files on my computer and I’ve printed out everything but the last case study. I will learn this stuff if it kills me.

Am I unhappy that the class was chock full of relevant information? No! Am I unhappy that I will have reading for the weeks to come? No! Am I unhappy that I couldn’t keep up? Well yes, but not with the class. Carolyn was a fantastic teacher brimming with information and she has given it to me in a form that I can easily review and learn on my own time. She was incredibly participatory and helpful to everyone in class and if you are at all interested in this topic I cannot recommend a better person to learn from. Just don’t schedule anything else!

No, the failings in this case are all mine. I simply didn’t have enough time or energy. But I will now. I will review the last three lessons and make sure I understand them. I will apply what I have learned. And I am still excited about this topic. So excited in fact that I am considering doing it again! Carolyn and CRW are offerering a class in Analytics For Authors and I am excited! Another class where there will be tons of information on something I know nothing about. I’m in heaven.

Of course, now I know what analytics are and what they can do for me as a blogger, website owner, and author. But do I have a clue how to use them? Not really. A full class will help tremendously. Time to don the marathon equipment again, face the starting line and hope that this time I cross with flying colors and win!

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Brave New Adventures in Awareness

When you sign up for a class in something with a title like Online author awareness, you might not be sure what you are getting. I wasn’t. I hoped I knew what it was. I planned on what it might be. And then the big day arrived and I finally was in class and could see what I was getting into. And I was thrillled.

Last week was my first week of Carolyn Cooper’s class. I was floored.

I’m an information junkie. I love learning. Carolyn loves teaching. It was a perfect fit. Yes, the first lesson was a bit of a shock. I’ve taken several online workshops before, its one of the great benefits to being a member of CRW. But they are all different. Some have one big lesson per week and some homework that the teacher doesn’t give feedback on. Those are the classes where you wish you were getting a little more. Then there are the classes where there is so much homework you can’t keep up. For a moment when lesson one was followed by lesson one part two, I was afraid.

Could I keep up? I, like many in the class, have other responsibilities besides my favorite activities of writing and learning. But as I read on, I realized that Carolyn was a communicator. Yes, it was a long lesson. Yes, I had to slow down and think a little. Yes, there was a lot of information packed in there. But once I followed it through it all began to gel and I began to get excited.

Yippee!

This was it!

I had been for a class to help me understand more about my efforts at marketing my work, and boy am I in the right place. I am learning so much more than I’d hoped for. I thought I’d learn how to manage Twitter better, what’s polite, what helps me and other authors. I think we’ll get to that eventually. This week we learned all about ourselves. What? Don’t you know that already?

Yes and no. I know who I am as a person, but who am I as a paranormal reader. What makes me tick  and what I have in common with fellow paranormal readers are two different subjects. As a person and an author, I have things that I am passionate about. Those are the things that a reader wants to know. And then who am I as a reader? As a reader, how do I look at websites? How do I use them? What am I looking for when I go to an author’s website.

Ashely March, a fellow CRW member and fantastic historical author, spoke to my group on this topic. As an author she wants to be accessible. She wants readers to meet her on the internet and to have a personal experience. When you go to her website you can see that. You can comment on her blog and email her through her contacts. She’ll follow you on twitter and she isn’t spamming when she tweets. Its the real Ashley out there.

Some authors are more removed from their readers. Whether its because they don’t have the time or they are not interested in interpersonal contact, or they just don’t realize it, their websites are cool, removed, impersonal. They sell books, but are they making connections with readers? What kind of author are you? Why? You probably know by now I am pretty friendly. I thought I would hate getting online and doing all this connecting stuff, but it turns out I love it.

I have to set timers so I don’t burn the food and then I shut the timer off and, whoops! I did it again, be right back!

(Whew! Had to stir the steel cut oats!)

Okay, so I love it. I get distracted and if I don’t set a timer I would spend all my time connecting with people. I can’t do that. I need to write and clean the house and exercise and, oh yeah, eat. But my website can help me. My website, by its design, can show who I am. I can be friendly and readers can look at it and see who I am and what my books are about. They can connect to me, Jessica Aspen the person, and I can be off doing what they really want me to do anyway. Write more books.

You’re going to be seeing changes on my website. I’m in the process, but slowly and surely I will be changing my website up to be more reader-centric and less author-centric. The great thing about that is authors are readers too! I’m not sure exactly what this will entail, this is my scary adventure, remember? (Those of you who didn’t read last weeks post can catch up here.) I have committed to this being my summer of change. Actually this whole year has been a year of change.

Since my year starts in the fall, I began this year with Margie Lawson’s Deep Imersion class (WOOHOO-U), where I realized I was serious about being an author. Now, instead of writing in my spare time, I spend my spare time writing. That was an ah-ha moment for me that started me on a different path that has led to here. In September I didn’t have a web site, didn’t have a blog, didn’t even have business cards. I have all that now. And the next step on the path is being facilitated by Carolyn, the shift to online author.

I’m excited to see where this goes, what my website will look like by the end of the summer and the end of my year. When I connect with my WOOHOO-U peeps in September and we talk about what we’ve done during the year I will be able to say that this year I grew into being an author. I now spend my time like one, I have the comittement of one, and my website reveals exactly what kind of an author I am. A paranormal author.

(Keep checking in and I’ll be making those changes!)

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