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Monday, July 25, 2016

Instagram for Authors

How many of you are on Instagram? Did you know that it can be a very successful way to reach readers?

I recently joined Instagram and after posting a few measly pictures, I decided I needed to learn more about how this form of social media really works and whether or not it would be beneficial to me. I heard about an Instagram for Authors Facebook page and decided to join. That's where I learned that just like bloggers have blog hops to help them connect with other bloggers, Instagramers (is that even a word?) have something similar. They call it challenges.

For example, for the months of June and July, I semi-participated in two different month-long challenges through the VERY popular Instagram account: sammyreadsbooks. Every day I posted (or tried to post) a picture that corresponds with the assignment. The first day was my June TBR books, the second day was book and a beverage, and the third day was yellow/orange books.

My June TBR that I posted on Instagram using the hashtag #sammyreadsJune16
I enjoy doing book related posts because I know that my audience is readers, and what better way to find readers for my own books than to find those who love to read.

By using popular hashtags like #bookstagram or #books or #yabooks (if you write YA), you are putting your post in front of those who LOVE to read and LOVE books.


The biggest difference between Twitter and Instagram (other than the fact that Instagram is all about pictures) is that to have a successful account, and therefore lots of followers, you need to have a theme. Perhaps you love to take pictures of your cat, or reading with your cat—that would be your theme. Perhaps you love to take pictures with books in a variety of settings—that would make a great theme. Or perhaps you like to take pictures of books with props on a white background. Believe it or not, that is a theme.

It's okay to intermix your pictures, or group them in threes (one lifestyle photo, one book with props photo, and then one quote, including quotes from your own books.) Check out some of my favorite Instagram accounts to get a feel for what I mean.

1) https://www.instagram.com/sammyreadsbooks/

2) https://www.instagram.com/taylorreads/

3) https://www.instagram.com/booksugar/

And if you want to have a little fun on Instagram, you can participate in things like #sockSunday where everyone posts pics of their socks and a book they're reading. It's pretty cute!

And if you want to follow me on Instagram, you can find me at kristinsmithwrites. Stop by and say hi!

Does anyone else have tips for building your platform on Instagram?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Trouble

Today I'm sharing my post at mainewords -

According to Les Edgerton, author of Hooked, "All stories are about one thing: trouble. What does trouble create? The hope that we can do something to get out of it."

I saw this quote at Writer Unboxed, and I've been thinking about it ever since. Mostly because I was having some trouble with character motivation. Just that one little quote actually lent some new perspective to my dilemma, after which, I found more helpful quotes:

"What can I do about it anyway? Every squeak counts, if only in self-respect."

"The hour of consciousness doesn't mean cognition only, but understanding..."

"The search for justice is timeless, and courage isn't lack of fear but persisting despite our fear."

"There is just this, and it is everything."

Saturday night I had to do an errand after work, which was about the last thing I wanted to do. But as I drove past Sherman Marsh I smiled because the errand wasn't going to take too long, and it was a lovely, warm summer evening. The last of the sun was all golden, the wind was blowing through the car from the open windows, and my dog was happy to be doing something different. And I thought, yes, there is just this, and it is everything.




What's inspiring you this week? 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Writing Prompts





I want to share writing prompts this week.  And judging from Liz’s recent posts, I think this might be helpful for some of you.  In all honesty, when I first started planning to share writing prompts for my posts this week, I wasn’t thinking about writer’s block.  I should have.  Why?  Because taking the pressure off by finding some writing prompt—be it dark and grisly or fun and silly—has often saved a story of my own.

Usually when we talk about writer’s block, it’s actually limited to the story at hand, the current WIP.  True writer’s block, the kind where the creative juices are no longer flowing and the well has practically dried up, is pretty rare.  Yes, it does happen and the poor author in question can’t write anything at all.  But that’s usually not the case…thank heavens!  Usually writer’s block happens in relation our current work.  It’s an awful feeling, when that fertile valley our imaginations used to live in has turned into a barren wasteland.  If you haven’t experienced it yet, just give it time because you likely will at some point.  If you never experience it, count yourself among the very blessed few.

What causes writer’s block?  Well, that varies from writer to writer, and there’s no one definitive cause.  If we knew what caused it, they could likely find a cure or treatment for it to make it go away easily.  Unfortunately, we don’t know.  For some authors, it could simply be the normal stresses that come from life.  Marital or family difficulties, new marriages (whether the author’s or someone else’s who is close to them, especially their children’s), births, deaths, stress over bills…the list could go on and on.  Sometimes it’s doubt in their capabilities of telling the story they want to tell.  Or worrying that there won’t be anyone who will want to read said story when it’s completed.  No matter what the cause, there are various ways to try to break through that wall that’s suddenly sprung up between the author and their work.  Some authors have found relaxation techniques work for them.  For others it might be making hard decisions in their personal lives.  Sometimes the solution is as simple as examining their life, pinpointing a stressor and removing or finding a way to cope with that stressor.  And for some, writing about something else can knock things loose.

Originally, I had just intended these prompts to be fun exercises.  I thought it would be interesting to see what each of you would come up with if you chose to work with the same prompt.  If the response is large enough, I thought about sharing some of those stories in my next week of posting.  I hope you’ll choose to participate, whether you’re facing the dreaded writer’s block or not, and even if you don’t decide to share your story.  Have fun, and get to writing!

If you decide to participate and would like to share your stories with me, please send it in an email to unicornbellsubmissions (at) gmail.com.  Put Unicorn Bell Story Prompt in the subject line and tell me which prompt you used.

Disclaimer:  I found most of these prompts on Pinterest, where I pinned them to my writing board and have them on my computer for my own use.  I have included the information pertaining to where these prompts were found at the end of each prompt.  By sharing these prompts and posting them here, I am in no way claiming a prompt is of my own creation.  Any prompts that are of my own creation will have my name listed after them.


1.  The diner was nearly empty, but it was warm inside.  I took a bite of my sandwich and glanced out the window, and there she was.  Just standing out there in the cold, watching me.  -  Angela Kelly

2.  I am either going out for ice cream, or to commit a heinous crime.
      
     I’ll decide in the car.  -  dumpaday.com via Pinterest

3.  Seeing her entire squad die wasn’t what broke her.
      
     No.
      
     What broke her was seeing them alive and well, six years later.  -  promptuarium.wordpress.com via Pinterest

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Writing Prompts





I want to share writing prompts this week.  And judging from Liz’s recent posts, I think this might be helpful for some of you.  In all honesty, when I first started planning to share writing prompts for my posts this week, I wasn’t thinking about writer’s block.  I should have.  Why?  Because taking the pressure off by finding some writing prompt—be it dark and grisly or fun and silly—has often saved a story of my own.

Usually when we talk about writer’s block, it’s actually limited to the story at hand, the current WIP.  True writer’s block, the kind where the creative juices are no longer flowing and the well has practically dried up, is pretty rare.  Yes, it does happen and the poor author in question can’t write anything at all.  But that’s usually not the case…thank heavens!  Usually writer’s block happens in relation our current work.  It’s an awful feeling, when that fertile valley our imaginations used to live in has turned into a barren wasteland.  If you haven’t experienced it yet, just give it time because you likely will at some point.  If you never experience it, count yourself among the very blessed few.

What causes writer’s block?  Well, that varies from writer to writer, and there’s no one definitive cause.  If we knew what caused it, they could likely find a cure or treatment for it to make it go away easily.  Unfortunately, we don’t know.  For some authors, it could simply be the normal stresses that come from life.  Marital or family difficulties, new marriages (whether the author’s or someone else’s who is close to them, especially their children’s), births, deaths, stress over bills…the list could go on and on.  Sometimes it’s doubt in their capabilities of telling the story they want to tell.  Or worrying that there won’t be anyone who will want to read said story when it’s completed.  No matter what the cause, there are various ways to try to break through that wall that’s suddenly sprung up between the author and their work.  Some authors have found relaxation techniques work for them.  For others it might be making hard decisions in their personal lives.  Sometimes the solution is as simple as examining their life, pinpointing a stressor and removing or finding a way to cope with that stressor.  And for some, writing about something else can knock things loose.

Originally, I had just intended these prompts to be fun exercises.  I thought it would be interesting to see what each of you would come up with if you chose to work with the same prompt.  If the response is large enough, I thought about sharing some of those stories in my next week of posting.  I hope you’ll choose to participate, whether you’re facing the dreaded writer’s block or not, and even if you don’t decide to share your story.  Have fun, and get to writing!

If you decide to participate and would like to share your stories with me, please send it in an email to unicornbellsubmissions (at) gmail.com.  Put Unicorn Bell Story Prompt in the subject line and tell me which prompt you used.

Disclaimer:  I found most of these prompts on Pinterest, where I pinned them to my writing board and have them on my computer for my own use.  I have included the information pertaining to where these prompts were found at the end of each prompt.  By sharing these prompts and posting them here, I am in no way claiming a prompt is of my own creation.  Any prompts that are of my own creation will have my name listed after them.


1.  Crystal is visiting historical buildings in an old town or city.  In one of the buildings, she finds something that’s as old as the building itself (if not older).  Because of what it is and how she finds it, she decides to keep it, and it changes her life forever.  What does she find?  How does she find it?  Does it change her life for the better?  Or does it make her life worse?  -  Angela Kelly

2.  A van stops in front of you, and everyone inside looks exactly like you.  One of them tosses you a gun and says, “No time to explain, get in the van!”  -  bloglovin.com via Pinterest

3.  Last night, I died for the ninth time.  -  Angela Kelly

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Writing Prompts





I want to share writing prompts this week.  And judging from Liz’s recent posts, I think this might be helpful for some of you.  In all honesty, when I first started planning to share writing prompts for my posts this week, I wasn’t thinking about writer’s block.  I should have.  Why?  Because taking the pressure off by finding some writing prompt—be it dark and grisly or fun and silly—has often saved a story of my own.

Usually when we talk about writer’s block, it’s actually limited to the story at hand, the current WIP.  True writer’s block, the kind where the creative juices are no longer flowing and the well has practically dried up, is pretty rare.  Yes, it does happen and the poor author in question can’t write anything at all.  But that’s usually not the case…thank heavens!  Usually writer’s block happens in relation our current work.  It’s an awful feeling, when that fertile valley our imaginations used to live in has turned into a barren wasteland.  If you haven’t experienced it yet, just give it time because you likely will at some point.  If you never experience it, count yourself among the very blessed few.

What causes writer’s block?  Well, that varies from writer to writer, and there’s no one definitive cause.  If we knew what caused it, they could likely find a cure or treatment for it to make it go away easily.  Unfortunately, we don’t know.  For some authors, it could simply be the normal stresses that come from life.  Marital or family difficulties, new marriages (whether the author’s or someone else’s who is close to them, especially their children’s), births, deaths, stress over bills…the list could go on and on.  Sometimes it’s doubt in their capabilities of telling the story they want to tell.  Or worrying that there won’t be anyone who will want to read said story when it’s completed.  No matter what the cause, there are various ways to try to break through that wall that’s suddenly sprung up between the author and their work.  Some authors have found relaxation techniques work for them.  For others it might be making hard decisions in their personal lives.  Sometimes the solution is as simple as examining their life, pinpointing a stressor and removing or finding a way to cope with that stressor.   
And for some, writing about something else can knock things loose.

Originally, I had just intended these prompts to be fun exercises.  I thought it would be interesting to see what each of you would come up with if you chose to work with the same prompt.  If the response is large enough, I thought about sharing some of those stories in my next week of posting.  I hope you’ll choose to participate, whether you’re facing the dreaded writer’s block or not, and even if you don’t decide to share your story.  Have fun, and get to writing!

If you decide to participate and would like to share your stories with me, please send it in an email to unicornbellsubmissions (at) gmail.com.  Put Unicorn Bell Story Prompt in the subject line and tell me which prompt you used.

Disclaimer:  I found most of these prompts on Pinterest, where I pinned them to my writing board and have them on my computer for my own use.  I have included the information pertaining to where these prompts were found at the end of each prompt.  By sharing these prompts and posting them here, I am in no way claiming a prompt is of my own creation.  Any prompts that are of my own creation will have my name listed after them.


1.  “I was just kind of hoping that you’d, y’know…fall in love with me.”  -  promptuarium.wordpress.com via Pinterest

2.  “Amnesia?  My wife has amnesia?”
      
     The doctor gave me a sympathetic look.  “I’m sorry.  It’s possible she’ll recover her memory but it’s very unlikely.”
      
     Good.  -  writeroftheprompts.tumblr.com via Pinterest

3.  Pick up the book nearest to you.  Use the last sentence on page 89 as today’s writing prompt.  -  writers-write-creative-blog.posthaven.com via Pinterest

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Writing Prompts



I want to share writing prompts this week.  And judging from Liz’s recent posts, I think this might be helpful for some of you.  In all honesty, when I first started planning to share writing prompts, I wasn’t thinking about writer’s block.  I should have.  Why?  Because taking the pressure off by finding some writing prompt—be it dark and grisly or fun and silly—has often saved a story of my own.

Usually when we talk about writer’s block, it’s actually limited to the story at hand, the current WIP.  True writer’s block, the kind where the creative juices are no longer flowing and the well has practically dried up, is pretty rare.  Yes, it does happen and the poor author in question can’t write anything at all.  But that’s usually not the case…thank heavens!  Usually writer’s block happens in relation to our current work.  It’s an awful feeling, when that fertile valley our imagination used to live in has turned into a barren wasteland.  If you haven’t experienced it yet, just give it time because you likely will at some point.  If you never experience it, count yourself among the very blessed few.

What causes writer’s block?  Well, that varies from writer to writer, and there’s no one definitive cause.  If we knew what caused it, they could likely find a cure or treatment for it to make it go away easily.  Unfortunately, we don’t know.  For some authors, it could simply be the normal stresses that come from life.  Marital or family difficulties, new marriages (whether the author’s or someone else’s who is close to them, especially their children’s), births, deaths, stress over bills…the list could go on and on.  Sometimes it’s doubt in their capabilities of telling the story they want to tell.  Or worrying that there won’t be anyone who will want to read said story when it’s completed.  No matter what the cause, there are various ways to try to break through that wall that’s suddenly sprung up between the author and their work.  Some authors have found relaxation techniques work for them.  For others it might be making hard decisions in their personal lives.  Sometimes the solution is as simple as examining their life, pinpointing a stressor and removing or finding a way to cope with that stressor.  And for some, writing about something else can knock things loose.

Originally, I had just intended these prompts to be fun exercises.  I thought it would be interesting to see what each of you would come up with if you chose to work with the same prompt.  If the response is large enough, I thought about sharing some of those stories in my next week of posting.  I hope you’ll choose to participate, whether you’re facing the dreaded writer’s block or not, and even if you don’t decide to share your story.  Have fun, and get to writing!

If you decide to participate and would like to share your stories with me, please send it in an email to unicornbellsubmissions (at) gmail.com.  Put Unicorn Bell Story Prompt in the subject line and tell me which prompt you used.

Disclaimer:  I found most of these prompts on Pinterest, where I pinned them to my writing board and have them on my computer for my own use.  I have included the information pertaining to where these prompts were found at the end of each prompt.  By sharing these prompts and posting them here, I am in no way claiming a prompt is of my own creation.  Any prompts that are of my own creation will have my name listed after them.


1.  Your younger sister is getting married and you’re her maid/matron of honor.  The day of the wedding, you’re seeing to last minute preparations when you stumble across a dead body.  Who is it?  How did they die?  What happens next?  -  Angela Kelly

2.  “Don’t go out there!”
    
      “Why not?”
      
     “They all bite.”  -  Angela Kelly

3.  You’re walking in the woods when you come to a clearing with a circle of stones and a stone altar in the middle of it.  A rainbow splashes the altar with color, and you realize it’s the end of the rainbow.  What happens next?  -  Angela Kelly