Friday, April 28, 2023

Websites, Platforms, Branding, and an Online Anniversary!

 Is it just me, or does it seem like every year there’s a new “best platform” to use for writers, creators, or ecommerce peeps? How does anyone decide? Is it okay to switch things up? Does anyone stay on the same platform for a decade or more?

These are the questions running through my head today as I started to consider Substack vs. Shopify vs. Squarespace vs. Wordpress vs. My Old Blog For Over a Decade here.

Honestly, I started this account because I had just had a paid publication and I wanted to create a “clickable” name to have for my author bio. I was a little slow in the process (usual pace for me), and I didn’t have a “clickable name” until I had at least three paid publications. But the idea that I could create a place where people from all over the world could come and find out more about the stuff I was creating sounded pretty cool. 

At one point, I think I had at least four different blogger accounts: one for writing, one for homeschooling, one for a hint fiction series that went on for 210 episodes, and one I started and quickly abandoned. I was also a part of a few group blogs, and those have been fun, too.

 I went from blogger into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, a brief moment on Youtube, a podcast, Wordpress, and Substack. I feel like I’ve been all over the place, and it’s a bit much to maintain. The question is, do I want to? Or do I want to buy into one platform and stay there forever. (hahaha. Who am I kidding? I don’t think any site or platform offers permanency)

If I don’t want to keep all of them, the question is, which platform or platform combination works best for me?

To know that I have to know my “Why” and my “How.” 

One would think I would have these basics of “branding” covered by now, after having stuff published since 1992 (a college newspaper before clickable content), blogging since, oh when was that… oh yeah, April 30, 2009. That means I’ve been online somewhere for 14 years! Whoa. 

I didn't realize that when I started this post. 

My first post here consisted of two sentences, which stated the purpose (the why) of my blog. I guess I did know something about branding before I had ever heard the term. 

But I am re-refining my old "why" and "how". I’ve done it before. I go through these growing pains/spurts every 2-4 years, and I feel a need to reinvent/reconsider/refine my why, my how, and my goals. 

I’m going to keep this blog

As it stated in that first blog post, I was looking for community. I found some, and I'm still adding to my community. 

I also want to have a commerce side to my online presence because I do want to have a space specific for my books beyond the ‘zon and the other online stores, so that’s something I’m still working out. I may end up with a Squarespace account and I may end up closing my Wordpress one. I’m not sure yet. 

I’m still learning and I’m okay with admitting that. 

What are you learning these days? And do you have all the platform options figured out? Is it every okay to close up one site and go onto another one? 

Monday, April 10, 2023

A Personal Poetry Challenge for National Poetry Month

 I decided, late in March, to take on a personal poetry challenge for National Poetry Month: to write one poem a day, and no matter how good or bad it was, I would share it on my IG poetry page. Ten days into the month, and I feel pretty good. 

True, not every poem has been good, but I am thankful for what I've written. I'm going to keep going for the month of April. Plus, I am making some plans for what is coming next here on my website and on Substack. 

For now, here are the poems I've written for April 2023:

Do you write poetry?

Would you like to join me in writing poetry?

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

IWSG April 2023 and a Bit of Poetry


Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for starting this hop and this community. And many thanks to those helping co-host this month: Jemima Pett, Nancy Gideon, and Natalie Aguirre!

If you would like to sign up for IWSG, go HERE.

April 5 Optional Question (s): Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you're at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

I remember my first childhood book, one that I destroyed before I let many people read it. My second start on a novel ended up similarly discarded. My third, written in my late twenties, came after a series of novels started without finishes, and it still resides as an extremely messy draft, a 1.5 version I had edited by someone from an editing class. 

Before I ever wrote a book, and while I wrote my first books, and still, today, I wrote and still write short stories and poetry. My first publication was a poem. My second, a short story. These short works kept me going as a writer, despite doubts, setbacks, and curveballs. 

My first finished, edited, and published novel was Champion in the Darkness. I had so many doubts through the process of writing it that the before-editing final was the fifth or sixth draft. I thought if I could sell 100 copies a month, I would be doing well. 

I didn’t understand the way indie authors have to market their work or how much confidence I would need to have to keep writing even when my books sold far fewer numbers. 

While I don’t regret many decisions along the way, I can say I spent a lot of time learning. My only regrets include not believing in myself enough, not getting my work out into the world sooner, and maybe that one conversation I had with a fellow traveler who was interested in my writing at an airport years ago - in which I said I would never write romance and then I found out he was an agent for romance authors. (Yeah, that was embarrassing. He gave me his card. I was too embarrassed to ever send him anything, and again, back to regret #1.)

 I have learned that no matter the level of editing, a book will have typos. I have found that the amount of success an individual book has does not have an equal comparison to the amount of sweat I put into that book.

I have learned that the ideas I have are numerous, and I need to prioritize them as I go, because I’m still just getting started, even though I’ve published fifteen books, not counting serializations. 

My latest book 25 Impossible Tales of Survivors, Flawed Heroes, and Annoyed Villains is a short story collection because while short story collections often don't market well, my short stories have kept me going as a writer, and I want to continue to honor them, so when I get a number I like, I collect them together and put them out there into the world. One of my ongoing projects this year is poetry collection, beginning with the poem that made me an "award-winning" poet. I plan to publish that collection next year. 

Where are you in your writing journey? 

Based on what I've learned, these are my tips for fellow authors: 

  • Have confidence in your voice and your stories.
  • If a fellow traveler asks about your writing at an airport, tell them briefly and then ask questions, and don’t say you will “never” write any particular genre.
  • Think about your legacy of books, even if you are on your first.

Writing News:

After my older daughter's wedding (this event is worthy of much writing, but I don't have time here), I had a week of exhaustion, but I am writing a poem a day for April and working on some science fiction projects. I have a few Kindle Vella serializations still moving along.

But, due to many events of the last few months, I am pushing back some of my timelines for publications. I had hoped to release Rayatana 3 and 4 this year, but... I will be happy to get 3 out in the fall. 

Likewise, I had hoped to take one of my Kindle Vella serializations and turn it into an ebook and paperback, then release it in June, but it's already April and it's not ready. :(

So, I am continuing to write and work, but I have to recreate my goal schedule, and I think that's okay. 

I'm sharing my poetry drafts for National Poetry Month at my poetry Instagram account and on Substack, but I'll also share a few here: