Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Automating Your Social Media Output, Part 1

A frequent misunderstanding in some of my blog posts is that because I'm writing about a topic, I'm promoting or endorsing it, which is not the case. This topic in particular, I discuss online tools that I use, but am somewhat on the fence over their actual value or effectiveness. I'm not a fan of spam-style marketing and although this post describes automated online social media posting, I'm a proponent of everything in moderation. Part of me fears these tools are the first step in turning people into spam-bots. However, these services only broadcast to your 'followers,' so ultimately, misuse can come back to haunt the user if they alienate their fan base with mindless spam.

Because indie authors need to market their books, having an online social media presence is a popular way to do this. And as you know, the sheer volume of social media outlets can be daunting. Deciding which ones to use and how often to use them can be time-consuming, to say the least. After all, time is money, so looking for methods to efficiently communicate with your followers is not a bad thing.

IFTTT (If This, Then That) is a free online tool that allows you to post to multiple social media outlets at the same time. To be fair, IFTTT has more features than this, but in my opinion, its primary purpose and value is consolidation of online communication.

IFTTT, which is characterizes itself as "a service that lets you create powerful connections with one simple statement: if this, then that." IFTTT lets you create a 'recipe' that triggers an event on your social media outlet's personal webpage. For example, I created a recipe that sends a message (including a link my blog) to Twitter every time I post a new Blogger entry, i.e., If Blogger postthen send notification to Twitter.

Unfortunately, I've found IFTTT is not a complete one-stop-shopping for every social media network you may use. Although IFTTT currently features 71 'channels' ('If this' options of social media sites) such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, Instagram, Linkedin, YouTube, Delicious, and GMail, it currently does not include the heavy-hitters Google Plus, Pinterest, or Reddit.

The benefits of IFTTT are that it is simple to use, does what is says, and allows you to use (copy) recipes that others have made, which is even faster than creating your own. It also allows you to auto-archive your posts, etc., by sending copies to Dropbox or Google Drive. On the minus side, I have noticed IFTTT has failed to trigger on occasion, and that to guarantee my recipes 'trigger' I have to log on to the site and manually activate the trigger. I've also encountered a problem trying to activate Hootsuite on IFTTT, and currently am unable to use that 'channel' on IFTTT.

The IFTTT About page has more details, if you're interested. Next post I'll examine the similar but different online tool called Hootsuite.

Author Update: My editor has finished reviewing Crimson & Cream, and having read through her suggestions, I've decided to do another re-read and edit of Mirrors & Mist before sending it to her. Through the editing process, I've learned a lot about the dangers of head-hopping and excessive exposition, and think I can improve Mirrors & Mist significantly with this new-found knowledge, saving both me and my editor time by eliminating some of my chronic mistakes.




September 2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title September 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : Automating Your Social Media Output, Part 1
link : Automating Your Social Media Output, Part 1

Read Also


September 2013

A frequent misunderstanding in some of my blog posts is that because I'm writing about a topic, I'm promoting or endorsing it, which is not the case. This topic in particular, I discuss online tools that I use, but am somewhat on the fence over their actual value or effectiveness. I'm not a fan of spam-style marketing and although this post describes automated online social media posting, I'm a proponent of everything in moderation. Part of me fears these tools are the first step in turning people into spam-bots. However, these services only broadcast to your 'followers,' so ultimately, misuse can come back to haunt the user if they alienate their fan base with mindless spam.

Because indie authors need to market their books, having an online social media presence is a popular way to do this. And as you know, the sheer volume of social media outlets can be daunting. Deciding which ones to use and how often to use them can be time-consuming, to say the least. After all, time is money, so looking for methods to efficiently communicate with your followers is not a bad thing.

IFTTT (If This, Then That) is a free online tool that allows you to post to multiple social media outlets at the same time. To be fair, IFTTT has more features than this, but in my opinion, its primary purpose and value is consolidation of online communication.

IFTTT, which is characterizes itself as "a service that lets you create powerful connections with one simple statement: if this, then that." IFTTT lets you create a 'recipe' that triggers an event on your social media outlet's personal webpage. For example, I created a recipe that sends a message (including a link my blog) to Twitter every time I post a new Blogger entry, i.e., If Blogger postthen send notification to Twitter.

Unfortunately, I've found IFTTT is not a complete one-stop-shopping for every social media network you may use. Although IFTTT currently features 71 'channels' ('If this' options of social media sites) such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, Instagram, Linkedin, YouTube, Delicious, and GMail, it currently does not include the heavy-hitters Google Plus, Pinterest, or Reddit.

The benefits of IFTTT are that it is simple to use, does what is says, and allows you to use (copy) recipes that others have made, which is even faster than creating your own. It also allows you to auto-archive your posts, etc., by sending copies to Dropbox or Google Drive. On the minus side, I have noticed IFTTT has failed to trigger on occasion, and that to guarantee my recipes 'trigger' I have to log on to the site and manually activate the trigger. I've also encountered a problem trying to activate Hootsuite on IFTTT, and currently am unable to use that 'channel' on IFTTT.

The IFTTT About page has more details, if you're interested. Next post I'll examine the similar but different online tool called Hootsuite.

Author Update: My editor has finished reviewing Crimson & Cream, and having read through her suggestions, I've decided to do another re-read and edit of Mirrors & Mist before sending it to her. Through the editing process, I've learned a lot about the dangers of head-hopping and excessive exposition, and think I can improve Mirrors & Mist significantly with this new-found knowledge, saving both me and my editor time by eliminating some of my chronic mistakes.




Thursday, September 12, 2013

World-Building from the Pros

This July at Comic-Con San Diego, I attended a wonderful presentation titled "Epic Fantasy." Colleen Lindsay moderated a panel featuring some of the genre's biggest authors: Robin Hobb (Blood of Dragons), Raymond Feist (Magician's End), Django Wexler (The Thousand Names), Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn and the Wheel of Time series), Melissa de la Cruz (Frozen), Christopher Paolini (the Inheritance cycle), and Daniel Abraham (The Tyrant's Law).

I admit I was a bit star-struck and would have enjoyed listening to these authors talk about any topic under the sun, although hearing them wax poetic on epic fantasy proved pure bliss. The moderator led with a question to the authors about the importance of world building and how she felt it was the singular identifier of epic fantasy; however, the authors' responses echoed a different perspective.

Robin Hobb was quick to point out that while world building is an important part of epic fantasy, no world, no matter how fantastic or unique, will captivate a reader for an entire novel if the characters aren't deep and compelling. Messrs. Sanderson, Feist, et al, agreed that although epic fantasy features environs full of magic and dragons and more, a character-driven story is still the heart of a successful tale. And while this may seem obvious to some, I understand the lure that word-building has when crafting a novel. It can be tempting to spend months and years constructing the religions, politics, magic systems, geography, weather patterns, economic systems, and other facets of a fantasy world, yet the message was clear that even the best world-building cannot carry an epic fantasy novel alone.

The second theme that Brandon Sanderson championed was the idea that the epic fantasy genre presents a limitless range of stories and plots for an author to tackle. For example, while a mystery novel has its characteristic plot lines and arcs, there is no reason an epic fantasy novel can't be a mystery novel as well. Or a crime novel, or a horror novel, or a romance. Nearly all other genres and plot types can be the foundation for an epic fantasy novel. The fact that epic fantasy can be based in a speculative universe allows immense freedom in not only imagining worlds, but in crafting virtually any type of character and tale an author wants to tell.

So in summary, the two big messages I took away from this panel were; 1) that the most well-built fantasy world still needs a good story and strong characters to complete the package, and, 2) an epic fantasy novel can tell any type of story an author wants to tell, from a 'whodunit' to a love story, and everything in between.

Author Update: I am currently editing Chapter 16 of the second edition of Crimson & Cream. My plan is to finish the Crimson & Cream edits while my editor is working on Mirrors & Mist, volume two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy. Once the second edition of Crimson & Cream is edited and proofread, I plan to add maps and a glossary and re-publish the second edition on Smashwords and Amazon, and possibly CreateSpace. The year is slipping away quickly, but I'm still hoping for a late 2013 release of Mirrors & Mist.


September 2013 - Hello Reader of 4concpoesiaecsps, In the article you read this time with the title September 2013, We have prepared this article for you to read and retrieve information therein. Hopefully the contents of postings We write this you can understand. well, happy reading.

Title : World-Building from the Pros
link : World-Building from the Pros

Read Also


September 2013

This July at Comic-Con San Diego, I attended a wonderful presentation titled "Epic Fantasy." Colleen Lindsay moderated a panel featuring some of the genre's biggest authors: Robin Hobb (Blood of Dragons), Raymond Feist (Magician's End), Django Wexler (The Thousand Names), Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn and the Wheel of Time series), Melissa de la Cruz (Frozen), Christopher Paolini (the Inheritance cycle), and Daniel Abraham (The Tyrant's Law).

I admit I was a bit star-struck and would have enjoyed listening to these authors talk about any topic under the sun, although hearing them wax poetic on epic fantasy proved pure bliss. The moderator led with a question to the authors about the importance of world building and how she felt it was the singular identifier of epic fantasy; however, the authors' responses echoed a different perspective.

Robin Hobb was quick to point out that while world building is an important part of epic fantasy, no world, no matter how fantastic or unique, will captivate a reader for an entire novel if the characters aren't deep and compelling. Messrs. Sanderson, Feist, et al, agreed that although epic fantasy features environs full of magic and dragons and more, a character-driven story is still the heart of a successful tale. And while this may seem obvious to some, I understand the lure that word-building has when crafting a novel. It can be tempting to spend months and years constructing the religions, politics, magic systems, geography, weather patterns, economic systems, and other facets of a fantasy world, yet the message was clear that even the best world-building cannot carry an epic fantasy novel alone.

The second theme that Brandon Sanderson championed was the idea that the epic fantasy genre presents a limitless range of stories and plots for an author to tackle. For example, while a mystery novel has its characteristic plot lines and arcs, there is no reason an epic fantasy novel can't be a mystery novel as well. Or a crime novel, or a horror novel, or a romance. Nearly all other genres and plot types can be the foundation for an epic fantasy novel. The fact that epic fantasy can be based in a speculative universe allows immense freedom in not only imagining worlds, but in crafting virtually any type of character and tale an author wants to tell.

So in summary, the two big messages I took away from this panel were; 1) that the most well-built fantasy world still needs a good story and strong characters to complete the package, and, 2) an epic fantasy novel can tell any type of story an author wants to tell, from a 'whodunit' to a love story, and everything in between.

Author Update: I am currently editing Chapter 16 of the second edition of Crimson & Cream. My plan is to finish the Crimson & Cream edits while my editor is working on Mirrors & Mist, volume two of the Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy. Once the second edition of Crimson & Cream is edited and proofread, I plan to add maps and a glossary and re-publish the second edition on Smashwords and Amazon, and possibly CreateSpace. The year is slipping away quickly, but I'm still hoping for a late 2013 release of Mirrors & Mist.