Pinterest: Your Neighborhood Billboard

I find Pinterest an ideal place to goof off when I have some extra time on my hands. I found through some research that it’s also a great place to promote as an author.

Now that I have a novella finished I need to start building a platform to showcase my work. I’m not comfortable with the idea that I might make a big, hairy deal out of myself. However, I want people to get to know me and my writing, so I will need to learn how to entice folks to read my story.

One way I used Pinterest was to create a storyboard of my novella, Patriot Hearts. In fact, I used the same title of my novella for that Pinterest  board. I selected pictures from the internet of my hero, Major John Tennant, and my heroine, Miss Elaine Henderson, to represent them as my characters.  I also have elements of the story pinned to that board as well, such as images of a primitive church that may have existed during the American Revolution, or  colonial homes, fashion, and kites.

Pinterest can also be used as a marketing tool. I plan to create a new board to promote my book using the cover,  and a link where it can be found. I would also like to compare it to other published books during the same time period, and subject. I can also link a Twitter account or a Facebook author page to that promotion.There is still a lot of work to do even with a finished book. That book has now become a product. I am now the main promoter of that product, and need to find consumers who want to be entertained by a good story. Hopefully, after they are engaged with my work, a consumer will tell others about how much they enjoyed it.  I don’t know if my Mother counts, but she likes my story. On my Pinterest page you can also find boards for Colonial Trivia, Logos Sisters; which are writer helps. Books worth reading (of course I do need to add mine there), and Words that inspire.

In my spare time I also like to make jewelry and I have found wonderful examples through Pinterest to pin to my Jewelry board. With the popularity of Pinterest for recipe searches, and consumer goods, I see an opportunity to use it to promote my book also. It’s my hope that it will be a great tool to showcase my story.

Writing Prompt: Have you used Pinterest to showcase your work? If so, share your experience using Pinterest as a social media tool.

Click to Tweet: #Pinterest: Your Neighborhood Billboard via #InspiredPrompt –#how-to of self-promo and book marketing.

The Mystery of the Inspiring Author

by Tammy Trail

I am sitting in my office deciding which author I should choose to focus on for this month’s blog post. Too many to list. Do I pick a current favorite, or chose one from childhood?

We moved around a lot while I was growing up in the 70’s. I think being the new kid is the worst thing, ever. After spending a week or two in a new classroom you realized most of the kids sitting around you lived in the same neighborhoods, attended the same church together and shared the same classrooms from preschool to middle school. I absolutely hated middle school. You could not pay me enough money to relive those years.

Instead of being Miss Popularity (never even got close), I was the bookworm. I had a book with me everywhere I went (I still do). While my classmates were visiting before class, I would pull out my book and read. Once in awhile a teacher had to physically remove a book from my hands  to get my attention. I heard a familiar phrase during those years,  that while they appreciated my love of reading, I had to learn other skills too. So, in honor of that geeky, scrawny, metal mouth pre-teen I am going to choose Carolyn Keene, author of the beloved Nancy Drew mystery series. My favorite Nancy Drew book was “The Secret of Shadow Ranch.”  I imagined myself right there with Nancy as she searched for clues and dared to go against tradition and prove girls can achieve wonderful things just as well as boys can, or maybe even better sometimes.

While doing a bit of research I found that the name Carolyn Keene was a pseudonym for several authors. No one person came up with all of those page-turning stories, but several writers authored the Nancy Drew books. One was Mildred Wirt Benson who wrote under the pen name from 1929 to 1947. She wrote the first twenty-three books of the original thirty book series. I also was amazed to find that her second marriage to George A. Benson, an editor for the Toledo Blade, landed her in my home town of Toledo, Ohio. Mildred was a bit of an adventurer herself, and a fearless like Nancy Drew. She made trips to Central America, traveling through the jungles in a jeep and canoed down rivers, to scout out cultural sites. In 2001 Mildred Benson received a special Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for her work on the Nancy Drew series.

Click to Tweet: I imagined myself right there with Nancy (Drew) as she searched for clues and dared to go against tradition, prove girls can achieve wonderful things just as well as boys can… from @trail_j via @InspiredPrompt #mystery #amreading


I still like a good suspense or mystery story to read. If you are so inclined, feel free to indulge in my story. I wrote a historical romance, with a bit of intrigue for a compilation with three other authors. I hope you will find enjoyment from all the stories.Tammy Trail, Mary Vee, Pamela Thibodeaux

Major John Tennant has recently returned from his post on the frontier to find his home razed to the ground and his children in the care of strangers. He struggles to bring the man responsible for the murder of his family to  justice while providing for his children.

After her fiance is impressed into the Royal Navy, Elaine Henderson is willing to do anything to help her brothers fight against British oppression. For years she has carried a bitterness in her heart until Providence replaces it with two motherless children.

Get Star Spangled Suspense at Amazon

Where is Your Tribe?

 

By Tammy Trail

For the purpose of this article, I chose to research Facebook as a marketing tool. One source called Facebook obsolete, an unreliable venue to reach readers. Unless you have a fan base that likes and shares your post to garner interest, the news feeds in Facebook algorithms will not promote your posts unless you pay for it. Therefore, you must continuously engage your community to be noticed.

I have seen many author friends use Facebook to have virtual parties to promote new releases of their just-published work. Some parties are hosted by one author; other parties are hosted by several authors coming together to promote their work and to reach a new community of followers.

I polled a few of my author friends and asked the following questions.

  1. Were your expectations met by the number of participants who attended your Facebook party?
  2. Did it help with the sale of your book?
  3. Were you able to gather names for an email list or obtain more followers interested in your work?

Most authors felt that it was well worth the time to host a Facebook party. The authors who choose to join a group effort had more people attend their parties. Therefore, they had more folks to participate in the fun. These authors were able to reach new prospects by introducing themselves to an audience that may not have sought out their work simply because the author was unknown to the individual.

I was surprised to learn from my author poll that the purpose of having the Facebook party was not to sell books. Say what? I thought your main focus once you are published is to sell books. I realized that most of these well-loved authors care about their readers and choose to create a community or a tribe if you will. They enjoy the connection with those who love to read their books. Facebook parties can include raffles, giveaways, or teasers for the next book in a series. Some authors ask for input from their readers. For example, naming a character in their new work in progress. Others like giving a spoiler and letting the reader provide the rest of the plot for a scene in a new story.

The authors I polled didn’t gather names during their Facebook parties, they told me they have an author website for that purpose. Most felt they did garner more followers either on Facebook or their websites from participating in Facebook parties. The primary mission for the Facebook parties is for an author to introduce themselves to a possible readership, and to have fun! One author told me that after a book is published, it’s all about the reader. As an author, your job is to build a relationship with your reader, not to focus on yourself.

I also learned that I have my work cut out for me. I don’t have an author website or an author page on Facebook. I love to have fun. I love meeting people who are as passionate about history as I am and reading the same kind of books that I do. I guess without those folks, we would be the only one to read our beloved works of art. So, the next time you get an invite to a Facebook party, join in, have fun, meet new people. You already have something in common: the love of reading.

Click to Tweet: You already have something in common: the love of reading. @InspiredPrompt #marketing #writetip

Writing Prompt: Which famous author would you love to have stop by your Facebook party to launch your new book?

What Is So Historical About Research?

By Tammy Trail

When I began to write my first novel, I knew it would be a historical. I love history. I love the idea of our nation being shaped by hardworking men and women who sacrificed to live in an untamed country. I chose Frontier/American Revolution because that’s what I like to read.

I began of course with WHO, WHAT, WHERE, and WHEN. I was given advice from a writer friend to research everything for accuracy and keep notes on where I found that information. I may need it later to educate or confirm my research.

If you just google Historical Research, you will find a plethora of options. Historical research involves examining past events to draw conclusions about the future. That is one definition I found. Instead of drawing conclusions about the future, we who write historical fiction pour our definition of past events and how they might have affected our characters onto the page.

Some material that may help in your research are newspapers, diaries, letters, speeches, or interview a person with firsthand knowledge. Museums, historical societies, and old pictures are helpful too. I would really love to take a “research” trip one of these days. Williamsburg Virginia has been calling my name for years.

Other information you may need to research.

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Trades
  • Politics
  • Travel
  • Weapons

In my American Revolutionary story, politics plays a huge role because it set the social and economic climate for that period. I read about some of the lesser known places and heroes that played a part in our winning independence from Great Britain.  I also asked myself what roles would a woman have played during the American Revolution? How does life go on when your men are away from home?

I have even read novels from other authors who write in my chosen time to get a feel for that era. I stay away from books that have a plot like my own. Some authors write blogs about their extensive research to share with others. Something as simple as shoes were totally different over 200 years ago. Beware of doing so much research that your story becomes bogged down with just facts, and not enough story. You can do too much research and never introduce your character to the world.

I have used Pinterest to keep pictures of my character’s lives. I can look at them and imagine what the interior of a home would look like, how my heroine may have dressed for chores, or how she may have dressed for a party.

I also dabbled in writing a western set in Wyoming territory in the early 1800s.  My heroine is a Chinese national who arrives in San Francisco on a ship. During my research for that story, I found a ship that sailed from China to that port in 1854. Now some of the other facts in my story had to be changed to fit that timeline. And that’s OK. It adds authenticity. I also needed to learn about the US Calvary, Indian tribes who were indigenous to that part of the country, and what obstacles my heroine might encounter because she was not born in the United States.

When you have all your questions answered and you begin to write, chances are you will find you have more questions. Keep researching or seek out an experienced author. I find that someone is always happy to help.

Writing Prompt: In what year did the following events take place?

  • Senator Daniel Webster endorses a bill as a measure to avert a possible civil war.
  • Millard Fillmore is sworn into office as President of the United States.
  • California is admitted as the 31st state.
  • P.T. Barnum introduces Swedish Nightingale, Jenny Lind to an American audience.

Click to Tweet: What Is So Historical About Research @InspiredPrompts #writetip #amwriting

 

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

By Tammy Trail

Valentine’s Day is just days away. Have you gotten your sweetheart a gift yet? I have done a bit of research on the history of Valentine’s Day. It is rooted in a pagan holiday that ensured fertility.

Roman Emperor, Claudius II ruled that young men in the Army were to remain unmarried. He felt that this would make single men more aggressive in the field of battle. The Emperor put a young cleric by the name of Valentine to death for secretly marrying young couples.  Valentine was later made a Saint by Pope Gelasius and given the date of February 14th to celebrate Saint Valentine.

In the 13th Century, it was synonymous with love and romance because it was believed that this was the beginning of mating season for birds.

In the 15th Century, written valentines were given to sweethearts.

In the 17th Century, valentines were exchanged between those who were smitten with one another.

In 1840, the first mass-produced valentines appeared in the United States. Valentine’s Day is the second most popular card giving occasion. It is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, Italy, and Japan.

As a child, I remember my mother scouring the house for shoe boxes to be made into valentine mail boxes to decorate for my desk at school. There would be a party, of course, with lots of good treats. After school, you would open your box and read the paper gifts of admiration your classmates gave to you.

I have tried in years past to make my own valentines to give to family members and friends. Last year I made these for my grandsons.

I filled the little sack with treats. They really enjoyed getting a valentine from their Mimi!

I am already diligently looking for options for this year. You may find it just as rewarding to make your own as well. I find a great source of inspiration with Pinterest. What a treasure trove of ideas!

Whether you make your own, or buy a card for that special someone, I believe it’s a good holiday to celebrate. Who doesn’t like candy? And you will make mate, child, or friend feel important with a valentine that you especially picked out for them. You can never go wrong by making people feel loved and important.

For the writer, especially the romance writer, Valentine’s Day is a reminder of why we put words to paper. That boy meets girl stuff is what makes the story, especially when they lived happily ever after.

So, in keeping with that thought! Here is my valentine for all of you.

  1. Writing Prompt: Jessica expected a great big box of heart-shaped candy.  What she found was……..?

Click to tweet: Romance is #alive https://ctt.ec/53mP6