Social Media as a Tool, not a Takeover

by Kristen Hogrefe

Although social media sometimes gets a bad rap for being a “black hole” that consumes our time, it can be a helpful tool for us writers. It allows us to engage with readers and reach people we won’t have the opportunity to meet in a given day or even a lifetime.

I’m no guru but a social media troubleshooter. Today, I’d like to share some basics I’ve learned along my journey in the hope they will help you in yours.

Create a strong website.

Whether you write about Bible prophecy or inspirational romance, you need an online destination for readers to find you. Your website should be your central hub where people can learn what you’re all about.

Make sure you’re doing these important things:

  • Connect all your other social media sites to your website.
  • Have a clear “about” page or bio, and include a recent headshot. People want to see you!
  • Check that all your links work and are relevant. If you’ve had your website for a while, go back and search for broken links.
  • Post consistently on your blog. Recently, I attended a writer’s conference where an agent told her class, “I don’t care if you post once a week or every other week, but I’m looking to see that you post consistently.”
  • Include a way for readers to subscribe to a newsletter using a subscriber pop-up.

Grow your readership with a newsletter.

Wait, you need a newsletter? Yes, you probably do. Editors and agents are less interested in vaguely defined “followers” and more interested with tangible email lists.

But don’t just have a newsletter to have one. It needs to offer readers value.

  • Offer a freebie or download when readers first sign up.
  • Include extra information people can’t just find on your weekly blog.
  • Advertise giveaways and book promotions or upcoming appearances.
  • Make it personal! Let readers get to know you.

Use attractive, consistent visuals.

We might have the greatest content in the world, but without graphics and images, no one may notice. Not only do attractive visuals present a professional impression, but they also “speak” louder than our words in many cases.

  • Learn how to create memes and other graphics using an online service like Canva or PicMonkey.
  • Choose clean and easy-to-read fonts.
  • Use consistent fonts and colors to help create brand recognition.
  • Always proofread!

Share and connect on your favorite platforms.

If you’re new to social media, you don’t have to tackle all the platforms at once. Pick one or two that interest you, and grow from there. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Facebook: You can use your personal account to double as your author account or set up a separate author page. With a separate author page, you can advertise and boost posts to have a greater reach.
  • Twitter: Follow hashtags like #amreading #amwriting, #1linewed, #Fridayreads and more. Engage with and meet other writers, readers, and influencers.
  • Amazon: If you’ve published a book, set up an account on Author Central. It allows you to track book sales and customize your Amazon author page.
  • Goodreads: If you’re not on Goodreads, I encourage you set up an account and get started. After all, this is one platform designed just for book lovers! You can follow other authors, leave reviews, and engage with an incredible community of readers.

Social media doesn’t have to take over your life. Let it be a tool that helps you do more with the words God’s given you to share.

[Click to Tweet] When you use social media as a tool, it doesn’t have to take over your life. Guest post by Kristen Hogrefe, author and teacher.


Kristen Hogrefe

Kristen Hogrefe is a Florida girl who says yes to most adventures involving sunshine and prefers to start her day with Jesus and coffee. She is a multi-published novelist of young adult fiction, including The Rogues trilogy (Write Integrity Press) and Wings of the Dawn trilogy. A life-long learner, she also has a heart for teaching and speaking in academic settings, professional conferences, and at Serious Writer Academy, a program designed to help writers develop their craft and platforms. You can find her blogging at KristenHogrefe.com where she challenges young adults and the young at heart to think truthfully and live daringly.


Freedom costs more than Portia wants to pay, but revolutions run on sacrifice … and blood.

THE REVOLUTIONARY

Three months a satellite prisoner, Portia wonders if the Brotherhood has left her to die—until she plunges into the domain of a smuggler contacted by her brother. But her rescue comes with a price tag, and now, she must forfeit her identity to act as a spy. She learns that her enemies want the Dome to approve mass satellite executions, though no one knows why. Worse, they’re using her friend Luther, now a Court Citizen intern, to sign the short-term orders. She wants to confide in Luther, but can she still trust him with the company he keeps?

Plagued by shadows and guilt for leaving her protector Gath behind on the satellite, Portia must find a way, not only to rescue him and the other prisoners, but also to destroy the slave camps once and for all.

3 Questions Wednesday with Kristen Hogrefe

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday, Kristen.

Tell us a little about yourself and your latest release:

Kristen Hogrefe

My goal as a fiction writer is to make readers feel something and let them experience make-believe worlds that mirror the truths of their own. I think each reader’s takeaway will be different, but I’ve woven several themes into the story that explore topics like identity, guilt, fear, and second chances. Ultimately, I want the reader to realize that no matter what they’re facing, they can have hope.

In The Revolutionary, Portia confronts the dilemma that freedom demands more than she wants to pay, because revolutions run on sacrifice. Will she have the courage to do right, regardless of the cost?

Thanks, Kristen. First question—

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Kristen:  Wow, this is hard, but here goes: 1. Caring 2. Intentional 3. Over-Analytical

And I’d add honesty to that list. Ha ha! I like those answers.

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Kristen: Right now, I would choose Orvieto, Italy, because I’m currently writing the final book in The Rogues trilogy. In it, I introduce the international scene in Portia’s dystopian world, and there’s an interesting historical connection between this Italian city and American history. Getting to experience this setting first hand as I write my futuristic version of it would be incredible—and much more enjoyable than poring over research and travel blogs.

Yes, so much more agreeable! I hope you get to make this trip someday.

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

Kristen: At the moment, I have the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman stuck in my head. If I were to pick a song from that movie, I’d say “A Million Dreams.” The key for me is that I want God to shape my dreams however He sees best.

I love that. Sometimes it’s so hard to balance our personal dreams with those we believe are inspired by God.

Click to Tweet: My goal as a fiction writer is to make readers feel something … @InspiredPrompt #interview #writelife


Kristen Hogrefe is a Florida girl who says yes to most adventures involving sunshine and prefers to start her day with Jesus and instant coffee. She is a multi-published novelist of young adult fiction, including The Rogues trilogy (Write Integrity Press) and Wings of the Dawn trilogy. A life-long learner, she also has a heart for teaching and speaking in academic settings and professional conferences.

You can find her blogging at KristenHogrefe.com where she challenges young adults and the young at heart to think truthfully and live daringly. She enjoys connecting with readers on social media:


Freedom costs more than Portia wants to pay, but revolutions run on sacrifice … and blood.

Three months a satellite prisoner, Portia wonders if the Brotherhood has left her to die—until she plunges into the domain of a smuggler contacted by her brother. But her rescue comes with a price tag, and now, she must forfeit her identity to act as a spy. She learns that her enemies want the Dome to approve mass satellite executions, though no one knows why. Worse, they’re using her friend Luther, now a Court Citizen intern, to sign the short-term orders. She wants to confide in Luther, but can she still trust him with the company he keeps?

Plagued by shadows and guilt for leaving her protector Gath behind on the satellite, Portia must find a way, not only to rescue him and the other prisoners, but also to destroy the slave camps once and for all.

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A Revolutionary Interview with Kristen Hogrefe

Kristen Hogrefe

I am so excited to share my interview with author, Kristen Hogrefe. She’s an exciting new author of young adult fiction in the dystopian genre. I read and enjoyed the first book in the Rogues trilogy. The second book, The Revolutionary, is now available for pre-order. It is on my to-be-read list and I’m looking forward to it.

Kristen, tell us a little about yourself—

Thanks for the invitation to share! About me … I’m a Florida girl who says yes to most adventures involving sunshine and believes the best way to start the day is with Jesus and coffee. Though I’ve been writing since middle school, I started my publishing journey after graduating from college and primarily write young adult fiction, as well as enjoy blogging. I’m also blessed to teach English for Alpha Omega Academy, an online, accredited Christian school.

Who has most influenced your writing? What books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?

There have been so many people who have shaped my writing career that choosing one is hard. I would have to say my parents, because through all my highs and lows, they have been encouraging and supporting of my endeavors. Books like William Danforth’s I Dare You challenge me to never quit, and Debra Dixon’s GMC: Goal, Motivation & Conflict revolutionized how I plan my novels.

Do you have any interesting writing rituals?

Ritual might not be the right word, because this habit might just be nerdy, but I track my weekly word count goal in Excel and get ridiculously excited to measure my progress.

What is The Revolutionary about?

This book picks up where The Revisionary left off, and Portia finds her world turned upside down. She’s not a hero but a prisoner in a satellite slave camp, and the Brotherhood seems to have forgotten about her and her protector Gath. An underground smuggler provides an unlikely escape, but her rescue comes with strings attached. Now, she must forfeit her identity and spy for this strange underlord.

She learns that her enemies want the ruling Dome to approve mass satellite executions, though no one knows why. Worse, they’re using her friend Luther, now a Court Citizen intern, to sign the short-term orders. She wants to confide in Luther, but can she still trust him with the company he keeps?

Plagued by shadows and guilt for leaving Gath behind on the satellite, Portia must find a way, not only to rescue him and the other prisoners, but also to destroy the slave camps once and for all.

What is your favorite part of the book?

My favorite part of the book is part of the subplot that involves Portia uncovering Gath’s true story despite all its ugliness. His redemptive character arc holds a surprise or two I think readers will enjoy!

Is there a message in your novel you hope readers will grasp?

The novel develops several themes, including the source of one’s true identity, dealing with the struggle of guilt, overcoming the crippling effects of fear, and discovering the power of second chances. I hope readers will be inspired through the story to find hope if they’re facing difficult circumstances.

Where can readers find you online?

I blog at KristenHogrefe.com where I challenge young adults and the young at heart to think truthfully and live daringly. You can also connect with me on these social media sites:

Tell us about your future projects—

I’m currently writing the final book in The Rogues trilogy. In it, I’ll introduce the long-concealed international scene in Portia’s dystopian world, which may determine the fate of her own. Stay tuned for more details coming later this year!

Click to Tweet: #Interview with Kristen Hogrefe @InspiredPrompt #authorlife


The Revolutionary

Freedom costs more than Portia wants to pay, but revolutions run on sacrifice … and blood.

Three months a satellite prisoner, Portia wonders if the Brotherhood has left her to die—until she plunges into the domain of a smuggler contacted by her brother. But her rescue comes with a price tag, and now, she must forfeit her identity to act as a spy. She learns that her enemies want the Dome to approve mass satellite executions, though no one knows why. Worse, they’re using her friend Luther, now a Court Citizen intern, to sign the short-term orders. She wants to confide in Luther, but can she still trust him with the company he keeps?

Plagued by shadows and guilt for leaving her protector Gath behind on the satellite, Portia must find a way, not only to rescue him and the other prisoners, but also to destroy the slave camps once and for all.


Kristen Hogrefe

Kristen Hogrefe is a Florida girl who says yes to most adventures involving sunshine and prefers to start her day with Jesus and instant coffee. She is a multi-published novelist of young adult fiction, including The Rogues trilogy (Write Integrity Press) and Wings of the Dawn trilogy. A life-long learner, she also has a heart for teaching and speaking in academic settings and professional conferences.

You can find her blogging at KristenHogrefe.com where she challenges young adults and the young at heart to think truthfully and live daringly.


Amazon Giveaway information: Enter to win The Revisionary, the first book in The Rogues trilogy, through Amazon Giveaways. No purchase is necessary. Giveaway ends March 7. Click here to enter.
(In case the hyperlink doesn’t come through, here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/ga/p/e277d8621ccf4b72#ts-afo)

 

3 Questions Wednesday with Kristen Hogrefe

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday, Kristen!

Kristen Hogrefe is an author, speaker, and English teacher. She also serves as a mentor for Word Weavers International and works with the teens in her church’s youth group. Her new release, The Revisionary (Write Integrity Press), is the first book in her YA trilogy The Rogues. The novel is a dystopia of a different kind—one where characters look back to their civilization’s heritage for hope and wisdom to move forward. You can find Kristen outdoors in the Florida sunshine or online at www.KristenHogrefe.com.

Question:  What inspires you?

Kristen:  Many things inspire me. For starters, nature inspires me. God’s creation provides an endless resource for my imagination! Also, my fellow writers (Word Weaver friends) inspire me as do some of my favorite authors and books. However, I think that writing is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration (to borrow that famous quote by Thomas Edison). Writing requires discipline and hard work. Finding inspiration is easy. Putting in the long hours is the tough part, but the end result is worth the effort.

Good answer!

Next question is a bit of fun–You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Kristen: I would be a spiral blue and yellow crayon (same concept as a twisty ice cream cone): yellow for sunshine and blue for ocean. I’m definitely a Florida girl! I’ve lived in the Sunshine State my whole life and keep a volleyball and beach chair in my car trunk—ready for any spontaneous trips.

Yellow is the color of happiness, wisdom, and understanding, according to my trusty “favorite colors” page. Blue is compassionate, and caring, among other things. What those two colors signify to me, is a sunny day with crystal blue skies! Good color choice.

Final Question–As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Kristen: As a child, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I loved animals and didn’t think there could possibly be a better job—that is, until I realized that needles and blood make me queasy. Now, I just have one kitty named Ness, and enjoy writing and teaching.

At one time, I thought a veterinarian would be a good career choice, if a love for animals was all it took. Like you, I reconsidered when faced with the facts. Sounds like you made a good decision!

Readers, I hope you enjoyed this week’s 3 Questions Wednesday. You’ll find Kristen at the following locations:

Kristen is @kjhogrefe on Twitter.

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/kristenhogrefe.author/

Website: https://kristenhogrefe.com/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/KristenHogrefe/e/B004FZXG7U/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1


I #amreading Kristen’s newly released YA dystopian novel, The Revisionary–it’s riveting!  Here are the details about the book–

A Revisionary rewrites the rules. A Rogue breaks them. Which one is she?

Nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy accepts her Revisionary draft to the Crystal Globe with one goal: earn a Dome seat so she can amend the satellite rules and rescue her brother. Her plan derails when Head Gage Eliab brands her as a suspect in a campus Rogue attack, and in her quest to clear her name, she questions if the vigilante Brotherhood responsible might not be the real villain.

Her shifting loyalties pit her against Luther Danforth, her Court Citizen ally who believes in reform, not revolution. Joining the Brotherhood makes a future with him impossible—and Portia must decide if it’s better to rewrite the rules or to break them.

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Orthorexia Nervosa: A National Medical Condition

montesa_alteredvibrance_squareSo I’m in a gas station the other day, returning from a weekend of camping and riding dirt bikes with my son. Honestly, I was exhausted and falling asleep at the wheel so I stopped to pick up a Coca-Cola. The woman in line in front of me was buying a Coca-Cola as well – and a Yoo-Hoo, a bag of Bit-O’Honey, a twin pack of Reese’s Cups (which were already opened and half consumed), and a Hershey bar. Not to be rude, but from the look of her this kind of gorging wasn’t uncommon.

The image has stayed in my mind. For most of our history we ate bland plants and scraps of meat when we could get it. Food with simple sugars was few and far-between. Honey, maybe, and various fruits and berries, was as sweet as it got and then only in certain seasons and in very limited supply. I reckon most of it went to the king with us peasants left eating potatoes. Now, in the blink of an evolutionary eye, we’re horking down over a 1,000 grams of carbs a day, and quite literally, it is killing us. The government is calling obesity one of the most dangerous ‘epidemics’ of our time.

biggulpIt’s no surprise then, that the government has gotten involved in things, especially since they’ve taken over the health care system. “Keeping us healthy” is about their only lever in controlling spiraling health care costs. But it doesn’t stop there. New York City has banned the sale of soft drinks larger than 16 ounces in the city’s five boroughs. Schools haver pulled vending machines out of their buildings. Even Michelle Obama has a new food plan that could affect us all, lest we succumb to the temptation of sugary or fatty food and drive up health care costs with our bad habits.

Now I’m all for living a health lifestyle, but if freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, then it’s also the freedom to eat what we want. It’s like the Federal government has been seized with a collective case of orthorexia nervousa, a pseudo-medical condition in which the afflicted develops an obsession with eating ‘healthy’ to the point that it becomes unhealthy. Is it really the kind of thing that can be legislated anyway? Think about the reality of health care that is only available when you don’t eat that Snickers bar. Chilling.

winston1984And that is the heart of today’s writing prompt. Fiction is replete with dystopian worlds that reach into the lives of characters in tyrannical and draconian ways.  Classics like 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, and the brilliant film satire Brazil, remind us of the dangers of government run amok. Real life nations like North Korea, Cuba, China, and the Soviet Union confirm that these fictions are not make believe. That is, in fact, the power of fiction – to examine what might be. I myself have an abiding interest in dystopian cultures. The first novel I wrote, and that has now been published as The Silla Project, is set in North Korea and examines their hatred of the West and their obsession with nuclear weapons. My current work in progress, that is almost ready to begin marketing, is set in a future society obsessed with minimizing their carbon footprint.

Today’s writing prompt is your chance to create your own dystopian society! Start with any special interest group or cause that is active today. It could be anything. Pro-gun or anti-gun. Pro-abortion or anti-abortion. Environmentalism. Conservatism. Medical marijuana. Then run with it. Think of how laws meant to save us from ourselves could turn it into something it was never intended to be. Then, add a character who’s being hurt by this cause that took on a life of its own. Presto! You have the makings of your own dystopian novel! And who knows… it could even become a best seller.

John C. Brewer is the author of Multiplayer, an adventure for young adults, and The Silla Project, a North Korean nuclear romance. Find out more about what he is doing at johncbrewer.com.

 

– John C. Brewer