Category Archives: Branding & Platform

Ditching the website, still The Word Shark

Ditching the website

I’ve decided to ditch The Word Shark DOT com (and the cost).

Why?

Because most of my clients come from referrals or my blog, not the website. Most of the traffic on my website comes from “marketing professionals” and “sales professionals” who know the “sure fire way” to turn my site around and make a bigger profit.

Profit margin vs. website cost

Over the last few years, about 95% of the traffic on my website is from scummy, spammy spammers.

100% of my business comes from satisfied customer referrals.

Word of mouth

I don’t need a website. I’ve got a tribe of happy, satisfied clients to plump my pillows at night.

Still Shark

While I won’t be – officially via a website – The Word Shark, I’ll always be YOUR Word Shark.

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Filed under Branding & Platform, Editing & Proofreading, Social Networking

21 Steps to Twitter Love, by J. J. Brown

FullSizeRender 3

Elizabeth and JJ at Word Sharks Conference

From Karen…

Back in June, I met with long-time online friends in Newark, DE, for the first-ever Word Sharks Conference. In attendance – J.J. Brown, Elizabeth Cottrell, Pamela Wight, Jessica Pettengill Messinger, and Barbara Forte Abate.

Since then, we have stayed in touch sharing blogs we like, having book discussions, and sharing other resources and insights.

Out of one of those conversations came some fantastic insight into Twitter by J.J. Brown. She shared her philosophy and advice on how she uses Twitter. I thought it was so good, I called “dibs” on sharing it in a blog.

Welcome, J.J.!

* * *

Article by J. J. Brown

I love twitter because it is a free and open conversation that’s so fast-moving. Twitter is quite famous for NOT being a place to sell books or much of anything else. So, I don’t have advice about how to use twitter to sell books.

Being active on twitter is a wonderful way to meet writers and readers, and exchange thoughts on the writing process and story ideas, as well as inspiration. And once in a while I get a tweet asking to review a book of mine, or to be interviewed on a blog, or submit a post for a website, or a story to an anthology, which is fun.

I can’t count the many interesting people I’ve met and shared views with on twitter, and sometimes later in-person as friends (none of whom were creepy).

21 rules I apply loosely, depending on how much time I have are:

How to tweet:

  • Be interesting and super brief; don’t repeat identical tweets.
  • Talk about yourself and the books you’ve written, but not ALL of the time, just sometimes.
  • Post provocative things about writing, about your books, and the news – things people react to.
  • Share other writers, artists, and thinkers works, at a good ratio. Tweeting 5 of others’ things then 1 of yours works well.
  • Use a photo in your original tweet so more people will see it. This magnifies your reach because more people look at pictures than words, even on twitter.
  • Tweet quotes from famous authors or artists who inspire you, just to share the joy.
  • After you tweet something original or important, stay on a few minutes to respond to any replies.
  • Retweet things others post that you think need a broader audience because they’re great, funny, or important.
  • Say something insightful about any link you share on twitter, don’t just hit the Tweet button though it’s tempting.

How to interact:

  • When someone tweets your work or retweets you, thank them via direct message (which is private) or tweet (which is public).
  • When people react to you, tweet back like a conversation. It hurts to be ignored there like in any conversation.
  • Never argue on twitter. Yes, sometimes a person will be mean to you. Ignore them. Praise, or add a new thought, or brood away silently.
  • Use #amwriting (for insights, personal progress) #amreading (for reviews) and other hashtags to enter writer’s conversations, then respond when people join your thought stream.
  • Follow people who follow, retweet, or comment to you, IF you’re interested in their twitter feed.
  • Don’t follow people who offer to buy twitter followers or increase your reach. That is kind of spammy messy stuff I don’t get into at all.
  • Seduce people you’re most interested in on twitter, tastefully, by retweeting and commenting on their tweets.
  • Think of the new contacts as friends and connections, not followers or fans.

How not to drown in the twitter stream:

  • Don’t look at your live stream, it’s a jungle in a thunderstorm.
  • Make lists of groups like writers, editors, publishers, artists to organize your new friends.
  • Do look at your lists’ tweets, your favorite people’s tweets, and any hashtags trending on that day that stimulate you.
  • Keep an eye on the clock. I limit my twitter socializing to about 30 minutes on a free day, 10 minutes on a busy one.

I hope this is helpful. I started on twitter about three years ago, when I started publishing books. At first, I was baffled. Now I love it. But I keep it to short doses. And only log on when I’m in a pretty good mood.

***

JJ BROWNJennifer J. Brown, PhD, is an editor at EverydayHealth.com by day, and writer of books and short stories by night. She completed a PhD in genetics and worked as a research scientist for 20 years before turning to writing. In her fiction writing, she is obsessed with exploring death and the meaning of dreams. Published author of seven books as J.J. Brown, she was born in the Catskill Mountains of New York and lives in New York City.

Find out more about J.J. Brown’s book news at her author website.

Death and the Dream. Short storiesDeathandDreamCover

Vector A Modern Love Story. Novel9780983821137

The Doctor’s Dreams. Novella

Stream and Shale. Coloring bookStreamandShaleFrontCoverFinal

J.J.’s Facebook author page

Twitter 

 

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Filed under Blogging, Branding & Platform, Guest Writers & Bloggers, Social Networking

Uptown Funky Sharks

Are you familiar with the Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars video, Uptown Funk?

Here is the video if you are not familiar.

 

 

If the “embed” doesn’t work (sometimes on preview it does, and sometimes not), here is the link.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPf0YbXqDm0

Before the Word Sharks Writers’ Conference, I took the lyrics and made them my own. Listen to the video and try these words instead.

I bring you, Uptown Funky Sharks.

*   *   *

Doh

Doh doh doh, doh doh doh, doh doh

Doh doh doh, doh doh doh, doh doh

Doh doh doh, doh doh doh, doh doh

Doh doh doh, doh doh doh, (Aaaaaow!)

This bites

That cold fin

Hey Roy Scheider

That cold swim

This one, for them hood sharksIMG_1784

Them good sharks

Need a bigger boat

Stylin’, while in

Livin’ it up in the city

Got tail on with the dorsal fins

Gotta kiss my gills, so pretty

I’m too hot (hot sharks)

Called a police and a fireman

I’m too hot (hot sharks)

Make a great white wanna retire, man

I’m too hot (hot sharks)

Fish say my name you know who I am

I’m too hot (hot sharks)

Am I bad ‘bout that swimming

Break it down

Girls say we gonna bite ya (whoo)FullSizeRender 2

Girls say we gonna bite ya (whoo)

Girls say we gonna bite ya (whoo)

‘Cause Uptown Sharks gon’ give it to ya

‘Cause Uptown Sharks gon’ give it to ya

‘Cause Uptown Sharks gon’ give it to you

Saturday night and we in the spot

Don’t believe me, just write (come on)

Doh

Doh doh doh, doh doh doh, doh doh (Hah!)

Don’t believe me, just write

Doh

Doh doh doh, doh doh doh, doh doh (Hah!)

Don’t believe me, just write

Don’t believe me, just write

Don’t believe me, just write

Don’t believe me, just write

Hey, hey, hey, oh!

Stop!IMG_1794

Wait a minute

Fill my cup, put some fishies in it

Take a sip, sign a check

“Liz-beth, get the Stang!

Ride to New York, Mauertown, Boston, Harpursville,

If we show up, we gon’ show out

Smoother than a bunch ole hippies

I’m too hot (hot sharks)

Called a police and a fireman

I’m too hot (hot sharks)

Make a great white, retire, man

I’m too hot (hot sharks, hot sharks)

Fish say my name you know who I am

I’m too hot (hot sharks)

Am I bad ‘bout that munchin’

Break it downFullSizeRender 3

Girls say we gonna bite ya (whoo)

Girls say we gonna bite ya (whoo)

Girls say we gonna bite ya (whoo)

‘Cause Uptown Sharks gon’ give it to ya

‘Cause Uptown Sharks gon’ give it to ya

‘Cause Uptown Sharks gon’ give it to ya

Saturday night and we in the spot

Don’t believe me, just write

Doh

Doh doh doh, doh doh doh, doh doh (Hah!)

Don’t believe me, just write

Doh

Doh doh doh, doh doh doh, doh doh (Hah!)

Don’t believe me, just write

Don’t believe me, just write

Don’t believe me, just write

Don’t believe me, just write

Hey, hey, hey, oh!

Before we leaveIMG_1788

Let me tell y’all a lil something

Uptown shark you up, uptown shark you up

Uptown shark you up, uptown shark you up

I said uptown shark you up, uptown shark you up

Uptown shark you up, uptown shark you up

Come on swim

Swim on it

If you sharky, then flaunt it

If you sharky, then own it

Don’t brag about it, come show me

Come on, swim

Swim on it

If you sharky then flaunt it

Well it’s Saturday night and we in the spot

Don’t believe me, just write (come on)

Doh

Doh doh doh, doh doh doh, doh doh (Hah!)

Don’t believe me, just write

Doh

Doh doh doh, doh doh doh, doh doh (Hah!)

Don’t believe me, just write

Don’t believe me, just write

Don’t believe me, just write

Don’t believe me, just write

Hey, hey, hey, oh!

Uptown shark you up, uptown shark you up (say whaa?)

Uptown shark you up, uptown shark you up

Uptown shark you up, uptown shark you up (say whaa?)

Uptown shark you up, uptown shark you up

Uptown shark you up, uptown shark you up (say whaa?)

Uptown shark you up, uptown shark you up

Uptown shark you up, uptown shark you up (say whaa?)

Uptown shark you up

Biiiiiiiiite!

karen sanderson fat

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Filed under Branding & Platform, Special Events

Will you be remembered after the writers’ conference?

fargoI am attending a writer/blogger conference in Fargo, North Dakota, this month.

I looked back on my writers’ conference tips, written last year. I also wrote about “branding” back in 2013 – you can see that link here.

For this conference, I thought…

How do I want to present myself? (The Word Shark, editor extraordinaire)

How do I want to dress? (professionally, in colors to match my website and blog)

What do I need to have? (biz cards, a name tag, give-away pens)

People are going to remember me because

I dressed like a professional editor – sensible shoes, a blazer, neat hairdo, spare make-up. And everything about me is going to scream, “Shark!”

Personalize

I’m not going to use any entry-table name tag, no way. I made my own. You guessed it – it has a shark on it.

Hand outsDSC02485

I will have The Word Shark biz cards and give-a-way pens with a shark charm (people will take me home with them).

North Dakota bloggers on FB

I discovered and joined the FB group, North Dakota Bloggers. There has been some chit-chat about the conference, and I have connected with a handful of attendees as well as presenters.

Research the presenters

Before any conference, you get a who’s-presenting email. Do look up these people, connect with them on social networking, follow their blogs ahead of conference time.

Magazine articles

One of the presenters at this conference is the editor of a local, regional magazine. Will I have a couple of articles to hand her? You bet your dorsal fin!

DSC02496Engage

Don’t just show up at the conference – engage. Talk to people, ask questions about their projects, and participate in discussions. Exchange cards so you can send a follow up email, “Nice to meet and you at the conference…”

When all the conference-goers go home

They will pick up my shark pen and say, “Hey, maybe I do need an editor.”

 

Conference ready!

Got the shark name tag

Got shark-pen give-away swag

Got a flashy shark shirt for downtown Fargo walk-about

Got a quiet shark tee and blazer for the conference crowd

Got the biz cards, ready to hand out

It’s all conference I’m about!

 

How do you prepare for a writers’ conference?

What’s your favorite thing about attending a writers’ conference?

 

Cool shark-charm pens custom made by The English Rose.

 

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About sharks, by Ogden Nash

shark2 - Copy

Ogden Nash, on sharks –

***

The Shark

How many scientists have written

The shark is gentle as a kitten!

Yet this I know about the shark;

His bite is worser than his bark.

 

 

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Writers’ conference tips

Lara and Stacy at a great conference (not in Vegas).

Lara and Stacy at a great conference (not in Vegas).

I attended a conference in Vegas a few years ago, and I was appalled at how people were dressed. T-shirts, shorts, flip flops. The chick at the greeting table wore a blouse cut down to her navel. I didn’t need my imagination.

Fifty percent of the people I met didn’t have a card.

Most of the people I met were dressed like beach bums.

Unfortunately, about 50% of the people I met and mingled with were drunk most of the time (okay, it was Vegas, but still!).

A bad impression? You bet!

Where to start?

If a huge conference in Vegas or NYC scares the heck out of you, look for a smaller, local conference. Better to flex your conference muscles when you’re not too overwhelmed.

What do you wear?

I wear a blazer and nice blouses over new jeans. Wear comfortable shoes – my comfortable shoes are dress Oxfords.

What do you have?

Have cards or bookmarks to hand out. If you don’t have a publication, you can still print your name, blog address, Twitter handle, etc., on a card. Collect cards from everybody and follow up with these people when you get home with a simple note.

After you collect a card or bookmark, remember a few specifics about that person (editorial chat, historic book chat, where you met, we laughed over the buffet). Jot these notes on the back of their card.

One-sheet

Also helpful, a one-sheet. Suzanne Hartmann has a great article (with her own example) on her blog. Click here for Suzanne’s example of a one-sheet.

Who do you talk to?

Try to talk to as many people as possible. Even if the first few people you meet are crazy-fun, hop around. Participate in as many activities as you can.

imagesCA1H24ZQWhat do you carry?

I suggest a carry-all for what you collect along the way – books, bookmarks, brochures. Consider a satchel with a shoulder strap in case you need two hands (one for coffee, one for shaking hands).

Since electronic devices are not 100% dependable, carry a small pad and a few pens.

Hydrate!

Carry water and a few small snack bars. It may be hours before you get a decent meal.

How should you behave?

Show up on time for sessions. Turn off your cell phone. Pay attention and participate in discussions.

What do you talk about?

Don’t talk only about yourself, your blog, your book, your this and that, but do have a sentence memorized about your book or project, in case you are asked. Don’t be pitching all the time – ask others what they are working on.

Know the presenters

Before the conference, Google the scheduled presenters and write a few small facts about them on note cards. I did this for the Vegas conference and consulted these cards before each session – it was helpful in a few cases when I got to talk one-on-one with a presenter.

At the bar Beer-Bottles-

With most conferences, alcohol gets introduced into the equation. My advice – don’t drink too much. One glass of something then switch to bottled water. You don’t want to leave a bad impression because you made a fool of yourself.

Find the right genre

It would be silly if you wrote only horror and went to a women’s lit writing conference or if you wrote only poetry and attended a mystery writers’ conference. Check out these conference lists and you are bound to find the right conference, in a good area (close to home), and for the right price.

Poets & Writers, conferences and residencies

NewPages.com, writing conferences

Association of Writers and Writing Programs, programs and conferences

Opening photo from Stacy Stenberg Jensen. Stacy is a writer and blogger in Colorado. Her new website goes live in September.

Lara Schiffbauer is a writer and blogger. Her first book, Finding Meara, is available on Amazon.

***

Have you attended any writers’ conferences? What advice would you add?

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The name my mother gave me

Hi. I'm Karen. This beautiful woman with me in my Mommy.

Hi. I’m Karen. This beautiful woman with me in my Mommy.

Karen who?

I am going back to my maiden name – Sanderson.

Publishing

I will publish a collection of poetry (hopefully this year) with the name that Lois Jane Holmes Sanderson gave me – Karen R. Sanderson.

Karen Sanderson being silly...circa 1960-something.

Karen Sanderson being silly…circa 1960-something.

After the poetry, I plan on pubbing a book of historical/familial short stories, after that a collection of horror.

Realization

I realized I didn’t want my ex’s name on any of my work. Especially since he was no cheerleader or even tolerant of my dreams to write or publish or edit.

Six freaking months old...I'm on the typewriter already! And I have an audience!

Six freaking months old…I’m on the typewriter already! And I have an audience!

Same stuff, different name

The Word Shark blog will be the same, and the website will be the same. And FB, and LI, and Google+ plus, and Twitter, and email…

Except where you used to see Elliott, you will start to see Sanderson.

Moving forward

Over the next few weeks I’ll morph from Karen S. Elliott, The Word Shark, to Karen R. Sanderson, The Word Shark!

img003

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Filed under Blogging, Branding & Platform, E-books & E-publishing, Editing & Proofreading, Personal Articles, Social Networking, Special Events