Tonya Kappes

Tonya Kappes

Monday, April 30, 2012

LIGHTS, CAMERA. . . BLOG EXPOSURE



We blog because we want people to invest in us. We want the loyal reader to come back time and time again. We all have different reasons to blog. Do you want readers, other authors, or both? Either way, without exposure you won't have either.

Last week we talked about how to gain more subscribers, but how are you going to get those subscribers if you don't have the exposure?

Are you ready to generate blog interest?

1) FACEBOOK and TWITTER
Are you rolling your eyes at me?? DON'T! These two social medias are wonderful ways to drive traffic to your blog. Do you belong to groups on Facebook that allow you to promote your blog? I'm on at least ten of these, and every time a new blog is posted, I get on those Facebook groups and add a brief description of the blog along with the URL. Not only is it easy to click on, but it gives a little detail to what the blog is about. You have to be sure to give back as well. Make sure you check out other authors in those groups and visit their blogs too.

Twitter is great to reach that niche using hashtags. These hashtags link you to the target market you want to reach. You can also continue to drive traffic to your blog by using a reoccurring service like SOCIALOMPH.COM to schedule updates of your tweets. Every time I write a new blog, I make a tweet that will reoccur daily for two weeks.


2) NETWORK
There are several Facebook or on-line groups that have tweet teams, or blog teams that will help spread the word about your blog. Remember that you should always give back even when some of those members don't always do it. It's all about networking!

OR you can exchange blog tweets with a group of authors that you might be close to. Kindle Boards have a great thread called HAVE YOU POSTED TO YOUR BLOG LATELY. That is a wonderful place to put your post and find other great blogs to follow.

I'm on two tweet teams and I also exchange tweets about blogs/books with other authors. I also pick out a couple tweets I love from others or blogs that I came across and schedule those through my SOCIALOOMPH account to reoccur. Most of the time I never let the author know I'm tweeting or Facebook or putting a link in my blog.  Always give back and don't expect anything in return. It's good KARMA!

3) HEADLINES THAT POP
Try to come up with something catchy for the title of your blog. It's almost as important as the title of your novel. I have to admit that I'm not the best at coming up with names, but I never give up.

4) LABELS/ SEO
Be sure to add labels to tag your posts. You simply list main words that your blog is about in the label area. This helps get those labels out in the blog sphere and when someone Googles a certain topic, your blog will pop up somewhere in that list. Why are SEO so important? Great blog to check out because I'm really NOT good a explaining it.

The labels I generally use: social media, marketing and promoting, tonya kappes, writer tip, writer blog, inspiration, networking etc....


5) LINK TO OTHER POSTS
If you talk about another author or blog or give information written by someone else, you should always link back. Or if you talk about a blog you previous wrote, make sure you link back to that post.
Have you noticed all the red words in my posts? Those are link backs to different things. It could be a previous post, another blog by someone else, links to book, etc....
This makes it easy for the reader to click and be exactly where they need to be instead of going through the hassle of trying to figure out what you were trying to say. One click and they are done. This makes your blog reader friendly.

How do you get blog exposure? There are so many ways to discover new readers!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Let Your Subscriber Count Soar

I have over 200 subscribers to my site and I know I can do more. This blog has been up for six month and 200 isn't bad. Now the hits the blog gets a day average between 500-700 a day. The higher of the number is on days a new post goes live, which is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The 500-600 range is on Tuesday and Thursday.

I wish all of those people did subscribe to the blog, but at least it's reaching a lot of writers/readers which makes me grateful beyond belief. But don't we just love seeing that number of subscribers go up? It's something about numbers that writers love. And blog statistics are no different.

Unfortunately, getting people to your blog is the easy part. The hard part is where they commit to receiving all of your updates by subscribing. You have to make sure that once you have the people visit your blog, that you have the stuff that keeps them there.

Here are the steps that got me there:

1) Design

You've heard that the first impression is the most important, it is no different with blogging. Yes, I have light colors, whirly twirlies, a bird or two, but it's not overpowering with bright colors and jumbled up.

Your blog should be easy to navigate, clear and concise.

2) Unique

There were over 164 million blogs, according to invesp.com.

As you can see, readers are eating the blog world up. They are using more mobile devices and tablets more than ever.

This is great if your blog is UNIQUE enough to stand out. You have something different to offer! It's up to you to figure that out and stick with it. Your blog numbers will grow if you stick to what makes you unique in the blog world.

3) User Friendly


Your blog has to have the right buttons. Is your Facebook, Twitter, SUBSCRIBE button easy to see and easy to use?

There are so many cute buttons out there, but does it get the job done? Is it clear that you take subscribers?

4) Content


This is MOST important....


All the points above make it easy for the reader to join and to enjoy your blog, but the ultimate aspect that will cause them to join is what you are blogging about.

Your content has to be geared toward your reader, NOT YOU! It's great that you want to showcase your novels. I do that, but not in a BUY MY BOOK way (you can here if you want....just joking...um...not really!)

If you tell a story that you feel is necessary, your story should inspire or help your reader in some way.  That is what this blog was built on. This blog content is about helping other authors to stay positive on their career path of writing no matter what stage of the game you are in, as well as how to effectively market your novels.

If you have too many stories that don't give back or you post your scenes from your novel (which I don't think you should EVER do), you are going to loose your audience. They come to a blog to get something from it. Know your audience, give them what they want.

Strategies:


* Create author swag, like business cards, that have your blog URL that you can hand out at conferences. Conferences are always asking for authors to send swag in for their conference bags. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS!!

* Offer to guest post on other sites. In order to ask the site owner if you can do this, you should visit the site regularly and leave comments. Let the blog owner see that you do come there and participate in their blog.

* Visit blogs that are similar to yours. Comment, comment, comment and use your blog URL when you fill out the form while leaving a comment. The other commenters will see your value in your comment and click on your name that will take them directly to your blog.

* Host bloggers that have similar blogs to yours. You will be attracting their readers. More time than not, once you have a new reader on your site, the reader will click around and read some of your post. Hopefully you have done your job and hooked them.

Ultimately it's up to you to try strategies to get that subscriber count up. Some will work, some will not. Try, try again, don't give up, and watch your count grow.



I'm going to give away a copy of THE TRICKED OUT TOOLBOX~PROMOTION AND MARKETING TOOLS EVERY WRITER NEEDS to one lucky commenter. I want everyone to succeed in their efforts to market their career.

What tips and tricks do you use to help drive traffic to your blog?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Creative Flow, Scene by Scene!

I love when I hear a writer say, "I write when inspiration hits me."

BLAH! That is what I hear from those writers. . . . . .

As a writer, among other duties, I don't have that luxury to write when it HITS ME! And most professional writers don't have that kind of time either.

I'm not saying my muse doesn't strike at crazy times, it does, but my muse also doesn't show up when I need it to. And those are the times that I'm talking about. That is about 90% of my writing time.

Wouldn't it be great if every time you sat down to write, your creativity just flowed over?

Over the past couple years I have come up with a few tips and tricks on how to maintain the creative flow when you sit down to write every single book.

1) Ideas. I'm always trying to come up with ideas for new books. I've said that I carry my journal every where I go. It's a journal of ideas and they are all gathered in one place. Easy to find. Some writers use journals to jot down ideas, sayings, notes etc. . .and never use the journal for the intended purpose. So don't go out and buy a journal to to write things down because you will have a whole collection of journals without having written a novel.

Generally one or two ideas will catch your fancy. And if you are like me, you begin to process those ideas. "If this happened, then what would happen if that happened?" These questions begin to form your idea into a scene in your story.

2) Collect information. Ideas turn into concrete research which leads to more creativity and more ideas. All the information that you collect will start to fit together. The information will help you see relationships between your characters, places they need to go, and help you understand where your idea is taking you.

3) Sift! This is the fun part where you get to go through all the ideas and information you have collected and begin to see the concrete evidence you need for the bare bones of your scene in your novel. The more and more you go through your information, the more you are going to have that scene formed in your head.


4) Coffee stage. This is the stage where all the information from point 1-3 hang out in our head for a while and begin to percolate. If you don't like coffee, it can be likened to a crock pot. The ideas that you have need to bubble over. This happens to me at the oddest times, like shower, taking my dogs for a walk, sitting in church. You will have those eureka moments...just let it come to you. Let it percolate!

5) Flow baby flow. Your scene should be flowing at this point. Embrace it! Your ideas should be appearing out of no where and it will hit you at all hours in the day, and this includes 2 AM! This is the fun part!

6) Share! You have something to share with your critique partner/group. Get feedback. Get their opinion and ideas from what you have done so far. A lot of times they can help your creative juices flow more with their input.

Just last week I was meeting with my critique group, when one of my partners asked me a question about the mystery. I hadn't thought of that little tweak, but what she suggested was GREAT and was easy to incorporate into my scene. It gave me a little excitement, stirring the creative pot, causing me to write another 2k words!

7) Start over. Yes, you have to start these steps all over again. Scene after scene.

Ultimately it's up to you to write the novel. It's up to you to take your ideas and shape them into your vision, your voice, and get it to your readers.


Monday, April 23, 2012

I signed up to be an author, not a chef!


It's almost been ONE YEAR since I self-published my first book! The time flew by and I have sold a lot, BUT that isn't what has amazed me most. I knew that I was going to be fine in the marketing and promoting part of the book process. I knew that editing was one of the hardest things about self-publishing. AND I knew that finding the right cover artist was almost as important as the story plot itself.

BUT the one thing that surprised me the most about being a published writer is the art of writing the DAMN book itself! Within the last twelve months I have published over eight books. With each book I have learned something different, and I feel like each book has gotten better. I have NEVER claimed to be an in-depth, emotional writer. I'm the beach read for my women's fiction and a cozy mystery author. Neither of those require a lot of thought on the part of the reader.

Still. . .every single book out there has to be edited. I've made it known that the editing process is my least favorite part. I'm a panster and I can finish a novel in a couple months. The editing and layering takes another couple months because I lolly-gag.

Now that I'm editing my eleventh novel, I can honestly say that I have learned to embrace, not love, but embrace the process. It's all the slicing and dicing that gets me in a bind. I have begun to break my novel down into three layering stages.

1) FIRST LAYER: Writing the book. Yes! This would be getting the bare bones of your novel into print. I have changed my thinking from just sitting down and writing (which I do because I'm a panster) to trying to write the best first draft I possibly can. I still pants, but I'm more aware of the grammar, punctuation, scenes, etc...
You are writing the book, this layer includes the beginning, middle, and end. This includes the conflict, goals, and motivation of your characters.

2) SECOND LAYER: Scene layering. After I have written the first draft. I take a good look at all the scenes in my novels. This is where I have learned to beef up the description and make sure the scenes in the novel propel the novel forward.
It depends on how you write or your voice in how you layer your scenes. I write humorous, and in my first draft I write humorous dialogue and some little humorous tid-bits. The scene layering gives me the opportunity to add in those humorous tags throughout the novel to create an impact. Don't put in so much scene detail to lose the reader or overpower your plot line.
Give enough scene detail to grab the reader and lead them down the rabbit hole.

3) THIRD LAYER: Painting layering. This is where you make your novel colorful, full of life. This is where you would lay the description on THICK! And this includes all those minor details like describing the killer's hands, or the lover's hands. Describe the furniture, the animals, the sounds around your characters, etc. . .You want to paint your readers a picture, like it's a movie playing in their head. You are adding more and more meat to the bones of the story.

Building your novel is like building a house or even an empire, or a chef building a great meal or baker layering that cake.


Remember, ROME wasn't built in a day!

Story Fix blog has a great blog on layering. Check it out!

How do you layer your novel? What is your process?

Gerri Brousseau, you are the winner of The Tricked Out Toolbox~Marketing and Promotional Tools Every Writer Needs from the give-away last Friday! Email me through my contact page! You have one week to claim your book, April 30, 2012.


Thank you for joining my STREET TEAM!! If you haven't and want to (which I'd love it), here's the link ♥ Fun and Prizes!!
http://tonyakappes.blogspot.com/p/join-tonyas-street-team.html


Friday, April 20, 2012

When writing and life collide

Writing is one of the loneliest jobs that any can choose to have. I don't care if your PR PERSONALITY TEST says you are an introvert or extrovert. We spend countless hours. . .ALONE!

We do this because it takes hours upon hours honing our craft. No one can help you hone your craft but you, and in order to make it as a writer, you have to get better. The only way to get better is to write, write, write. Are we really ever seen without a pen/pencil, notebook, or laptop in our hands? RARELY....not even in our sleep! I keep my journal on my bedside table when sleeping because sometimes my characters start talking to me in the middle of the night. My dear husband has learned to accept all the people that share my head.



Writing can be a bitter/sweet job. We have our happiest moment when we write. We get to create the world of our dreams. Go places that we never knew we could go. Create characters that can do anything we want them to do. BUT writing can be so bitter. We get stuck. We sit in front of our computers for hours with nothing coming out. We try to make things fit into our story when they just aren't going to fit.

A lot of times we have to stop our REAL life for our writing. We have to pull ourselves away from our children, our wife, our husband, or our four legged creatures in order to get those words written on the page. We open our writing door to come out to go to the grocery only to get an idea in the cereal aisle and root for a pen in our purse to jot down notes on the Cheerio box you just pulled off the shelf. And you don't even eat Cheerios, but it was the closest tablet to write on when you got that amazing idea that couldn't wait or that you'd forget by the time you got to the end of the aisle.

When we've had enough of the negative, or the daily grind of regular life, we seek solstice at our writing desk. Or when we've fought with our muse, our characters, we will do housework, laundry, pick up dog poop, anything to get our hiney out of the chair.

Sometimes we just want to stop writing for a little while, but writing refuses to let us put it down.

Tell me, how do you balance life and writing? To show you how much I want to help you, I'm giving away a copy of my non-fiction novel, The Tricked Out Toolbox to one lucky comment!!

Be sure to take a look at becoming a member of Tonya Kappes STREET TEAM! It's free and you get prizes!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Street Teams Aren't New. . .just new to you!

Over the past couple months I have been hearing more and more about building up your street team. This has created a lot of buzz on my emails. Authors are asking me to help them understand this concept. This is a very old marketing concept (and The Tricked Out Toolbox has a section on street teams) that originated in the 70's with the urban music market.

The record label or artist would give a popular teenager flyers or music memorabilia to hand out to their friends. Spread the word with bumper stickers, posters, encourage their friends to listen to the music. . .you get the picture.

It created a buzz for the artist, making them popular. Street teams began to be the talk of the publishing industry with agents/publishers wanting their authors to create a buzz about their upcoming books about eight years ago. It died down a bit and now has come back.

Over the past three years, I have used my author friends as my street team, calling them my PR Buddies. This is nothing new. In return, I have become their PR Buddy.

But now we can take it one step further and add readers to the mix.

Reader street teams are a group of readers that have really enjoyed your books. Those are your die-hard readers that will talk up your book the week it comes out and encourages every one they know to buy it. Basically, they create buzz about your work.


I am just beginning on putting my street together and here is how I'm going to do it.





Hi, all!

I wanted to cordially invite you to join a special group to my heart, the Tonya Kappes Street Team. This is a team that I have assembled because you have been so supportive and an instrumental part of my success. I'm creating this group to help spread the word about my books. The best sell for an author is personal recommendation. The best way for me to do that is for you, my friends, to spread the word through email or word of mouth would be a great big help.

There isn't much to it. As a member, you will join my online yahoo group which is a yes to the street team invite. And in return you get a chance to:
* have a character named after you in my books
* win monthly drawing for Street Team Members only-you are automatically entered. (this includes gift cards, books, and other fun stuff)
* In the month of my releases, you have a chance to win a $25 Visa Giftcard
* Fun tips about my characters
* Extra more things!

What do you have to do to be a TONYA KAPPES STREET MEMBER? You only have to do none or all of these:)

* join the Tonya Kappes Street Team yahoo loop
* spread the word to family and friends about the books of mine that you really liked
* take promo materials to local writers groups, conventions, etc...
* be my friend
* pick one of my books for your book club
* skype me into your book club or google plus is fine too
* if you have a blog, feature my new book trailer, review my book, interview me
* post reviews for my books on all the reader-centric sites like Goodreads, Shelfari, Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc...

I can't take credit for the street team concept. It was coined in the 70's with music executives working on spreading the word about new artists, and making them bigger names. I'd love for you to spread the word about my books! Will you please join my team? Email me at tonyak11(AT)yahoo(Dot)com and put JOIN in the subject line.

You will never know how much I appreciate every single one of you! Thanks so much!
Tonya

I think this is a great concept to not only create buzz, but to really get to know your readers. I have a lot of great readers I connect with on Facebook, but I'd like to connect more and on a personal level!

What do you think of this concept? Will you try it?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Smoke and Mirrors. . .Fall In Love With Your Blog

I get a lot of emails from other writers that tell me they really enjoy my blog. This truly makes my heart sing. The purpose of my blog started out as a mish-mosh of stuff before I realized that I get so many comments/emails about my marketing and promoting skills, along with my positive attitude.


Don't let all the smoke and mirrors full you! I do love my blog, I am a positive person, and I love writing, but I have my days that I let out a big ole sigh and have to make myself sit down to come up with something, anything to put here.

Recently I received an email from a reader who has a lot of issues with coming up with ideas and he flat out said that he HATED his blog.

My response. . .OF COURSE YOU HATE YOUR BLOG BECAUSE IT'S HARD! IT'S A COMMITMENT!

It's not like the first time you got the butterflies in your stomach when you decided you wanted to start a blog. You carefully chose the design, the colors, the font, the pictures, the tabs. . .all fun and games until you make it live and realize that you have set a precedent to be there, make a commitment to you readers--yourself.

Here are some great tips to help fall back in love with your blog and connecting to your readers.

1) Redesign your blog. Maybe you are a little blah and need a little more creation. I have redone my design twice in the past six months. I do this with my colors of my house to get my creative juice flowing and being in my little world of the blogsphere is no different.

2) Add some fun with new plugins. Blogger plugins here, Wordpress plugins here You can check them out and see what will work for your blog. You can add some cool plugin bling!!


3) Check out your older posts. Frequently I will go back and look at topics that I blogged about that has already changed. Like my blog on Facebook. It was pre timeline! Guess what? I need to resurrect that blog and add to it. Make it better.


4) Guest blogs. Add some guest bloggers. I don't host a lot of guest bloggers here, but when I do it's because I think they have something really great to offer or to help you learn something new. Get some guest bloggers that are industry leaders. Most of the time these leaders will recycle blogs from other appearances, but that's okay. It will be your readers first time seeing it.

I might have some days that make me squirm or procrastinate to write the blog, but I'm committed to making my career exactly how I want it. AND quitting is not an option....

What do you do to fall in love with your blog on a weekly basis?

Friday, April 13, 2012

The "F" Word And How to Use It While Writing

Did that title catch your attention?

Did I mislead you? Maybe. Because I'm talking the big 'F' word , FAILURE!
And I want to talk to you about how we can use failure in our FAVOR! Then we can talk about a new 'F' word, FAVOR!
I have to admit that I get a lot of mail from writers about the ups and downs of writing, mainly their failures. They want to know how I did it. Trust me, there were a lot of FAILURES and I still have them. But I turn them around and use them in my FAVOR!

If you follow me on Facebook (and I hope you do), you know that I post a lot of inspiration quotes and motivation quotes. There are two reasons I do this.

1) There is so much negative energy in the world that if I can touch one person or change one person's attitude for that day, it was worth it.
2) I post quotes everywhere. They make me feel good. I even sharpie marker them on my laptop.

Yes! I'm one of those happy people. I never return an email that doesn't have something positive to say. Yes! I've said the typical answers that you have heard from others when you have told someone that you have failed:

"Look how far you have come."
"Pay it forward to others authors."
"Give gratitude."
"There is always a reason this is happening to you."

But what about those BIGGIE FAILURES?

The last thing you want to hear is that it happens for a reason, or you need to look at the glass half full. Even I get a little discouraged with the biggies. And by biggies, I mean rejection letters from agents/editors, when you self publish your novel and only five people buy it....those are BIGGIES that aren't taken lightly.

These BIGGIES are the ones that fester inside us, looks like there is no end in sight, not a bruise but the one that becomes infected and stifles our creative limb that you think you need to amputate.
NO DON'T AMPUTATE WRITING FROM YOUR LIFE!!

This is the time that those sweet quotes don't work. The kind words don't make us feel better, and even moral support isn't enough to pull us out of the muck!


Sometimes we just have to get out the white flag and surrender. Yes! Surrender.
Surrending is NOT failing. It is realizing that something didn't go the way we wanted it to, even though we did do our best. It's time we realize that some things are just out of our control. AND this was one of those times.

Of course it didn't turn out the way we wanted it to. So we worry about it. We think about all the possibilities like timing, or what happened. These things are out of our control. Wave the white flag.

BUT we can control how we react to FAILURE! And how we handle ourselves.

1) Go ahead, punch a pillow, scream out loud in an empty house, cry, and remember to laugh.
2) Decide who you want to share your failure with. They have had failure too. Don't fall into people saying "people are going through something worse than you." NO! This is your worst and you need someone who is going to listen.
3) Heal. Don't pull up your boot straps and put on your big girl panties/big boy underwear. You have had a major setback that is important to you. You need time to heal. Don't swallow your pride. Pride can be evil and you don't fall into it. It's time to be vulnerable and honest with yourself. Doing so will give you the steps you need to grow in your career. Facing it gives you the opportunity to face your fears.
4) During the healing process, remember to take care of yourself and do the things you love to do. If it's going to DQ and getting an ice cream. . . do it! If it means buying a new tool, do it. Going to the spa. . .DO IT!
5) Stop trying to impress the authors that you think is doing better than you. They have their issues too, but they approach them differently. You are unique. There are NO two writers alike AND that includes you!

At the end of the day, we can not control the publishing industry. We can only control us and how we react to the situation that is handed to us. We can not determine the outcome of anything in this industry. If we could, we'd all be on the New York Times Best Sellers list! All I ask is to do your best and when your world falls apart, and someone tells you to "work harder". . .ignore them! You decide how you treat yourself at the end of the day. I hope you chose respect, love, and compassion. No one is going to take care of you better than you!

Have you let the "F" word define who you are?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Writing Through Emotional Baggage

You just had a fight with your kids. . .
You don't spend enough time with your family. . .
You had a fight with your spouse. . .
You  got a disconnect notice in your mail box. . .
You're going through a divorce. . .
Someone close to you is ill. . .
Your ex-wife is a fruit loop. . .
Your husband cheated on you. . .

There is so much emotional baggage in your life that when you sit down to write, your energy is zapped.
Not only does that suck the life out of you, but you also have to worry about social networking, building a brand, finding our voice, find time for writing, blog, marketing, promoting, etc. . .

Sound familiar?

This was a hard thing for me to do when I first began my journey to publication. I was having a hard time getting the emotional baggage out of my head to even start my computer, never mind all the new stuff (like how to create a character, scene, setting, and everything else that is new to a newbie)  I had to worry about learning.

Emotional baggage is in our head, just like our novels. Writing is probably the hardest emotional job out there. We need to figure out how to work through it.

We all do things differently and that is what makes being a writer amazing, but we can all give each other tips that has helped get us over the emotional baggage speed bump to get our career on track.

1) Writing is a career. Just like any other career, writing is a CAREER. It's not you. You have to treat your writing as you would a job that is outside your house. Many of us have a day job. I am one of them. But I still have to get up, get dressed, go to work, come home, make dinner, get my teenage boys to their sporting events, take the dogs for a walk, do laundry. I can do all of these activities without even thinking about it and still deal with all the emotional baggage in my life.

You have to treat your writing career in this same manner. You have to filter your thought process in order to dig down deep to get your story out of your head and on the page.

2) Discipline. Again, just like you would go to a day job, you have to treat your writing career the same. Once you establish a routine with discipline of sitting down and training your brain to write, you will find your emotional baggage will disappear for the time that you will be focused on your writing for that day. The more disciplined you are, the more writing you will get finished.

3) Keep a writer's to-do list. I make a to-do list at the beginning of each week. I keep it handy next to my computer and check it off as I go along. I stay focused on what I need/have to accomplish and it motivates me to put aside the emotional baggage to get it completed. This will not only help you see what you get done, but you will be able to see some progress to what you are getting complete. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to work through that list. It also makes you feel better, which helps your emotional state.

4) Set some boundaries. This is very difficult for writers with families. My office didn't have doors on either side of the room and my boys would come in and hang out or ask me a million questions when their dad is right in the next room. It's very difficult for me to say, "go ask dad" or "I'm writing. Give me a couple of minutes." I'm a mom! I want to be there for every waking minute of my boys lives. Especially during the summer months are a big emotional baggage for me.

Setting boundaries are so hard for me when it comes to my boys, but I knew I had to do it to do my JOB! Recently I had my husband redo my office and put doors in! Not only has it drowned out the noise in my house that three teenage boys plus their friends can make, but they have given me the peace that I need to get my JOB done. Instead of working all day and night to get my words on the page, I'm getting all my writing done before I have to cook dinner and the rest of the night is dedicated to my family.

5) Location/Tools. I've talked about this before and I really do believe it helps. Like I stated earlier, I have three teenage boys who do a lot of sports, which means a lot of practices. Luckily we are in several car pools, but on my days I'm able to relax in my family van, lay back the seats, and with NO internet I can crank out 2k words in two hours. (I didn't say they were great words, but they are on the page to edit!)
Just Monday, I was at my son's lacrosse practice. . .

Changing your location can bring you out of the emotional baggage situation by changing your view. You would be surprised how great this works.

What about the tools you use to write? I switch back and forth from my lap top to long-hand in a journal. I buy a journal for each book. It's not just any old journal. It's a journal that speaks to me (and you know what I mean) when I'm at the store. I also use a certain type of mechanical pencil. All of these help my state of mind. It helps me focus on what I need to get done with my job. . .leaving the emotional baggage in the back ground for me to worry about later.

And. . .

if none of this helps or you don't have a solution to help, you really might need some deeper psychological help from a true professional.
Remember. . .you are a writer. . .let the words flow!

How do you check your emotional baggage at your writer door?
If you follow my blog and like my post, PLEASE follow my on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/authortonyakappes

Monday, April 9, 2012

Use Your Facebook To Find Readers

When I blogged about whether you should have a personal Facebook page or a like Facebook page, I never imagined what came with a like page.

Facebook gives you INSIGHT. This is something that having a personal page does not give you. The personal page is just that. . .personal. The like page is a business page and will track all sorts of information, information that can be used to track your sales and what your readers are liking the most about your page.

You need to understand these INSIGHTS!

Here are some key things that you will learn about your like page:

1) How engaged are your followers?
2) What topic is making your followers engage?
3) How many followers are passive or active?
4) How many like, comments, and shares are you getting?

Every one of these come in a handy grid that you can even export for your records.

Knowing these statistics will help you decide what is and isn't working for you. If you post a picture of your dog and you get fifty likes or you post a picture of a pair of shoes and get ten likes...obviously you are going to post more pics of your dog. Now your "dog might be sitting next to you as you edit" OR sitting next to your newly published book. You are not only reaching that target that loves your dog pics, but it's getting your book out there too. Plus you are keeping your readers happy by posting those pictures which mean your "likability" factor is good and they are more likely to buy your book.

You always have to remember that this is your career. You spend a lot of time on social media and you need to know what is working and not working for you.

How do you use your Facebook in your favor?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Personal or Public. . .Which Facebook Page Should You Have?

If I had to do it all over. . .
would I have made my Facebook page a Fan Page?


I joined Facebook in 2008. At that time you could have a personal page or a fan page. I was starting out on the publication journey, for real this time, and decided to check out this new Facebook gig. 

Little did I know what I was in store for. 

Fast forward to today and the fan page is loooooong gone. 
Here is Facebook’s response to why they changed the verbiage: 

To improve your experience and promote consistency across the site, we've changed the language for Pages from "Fan" to "Like." We believe this change offers you a more light-weight and standard way to connect with people, things and topics in which you are interested.

I'm not a big FAN of calling my readers FANS....that is a whole different issue that we will discuss later, but before now my choices were personal Facebook page or Fan Facebook page. Now my choices are personal page or a like page or both. 
I posted a question on my only Facebook page about switching over. Author H.P. Mallory was gracious enough to give me a little advice, and I took it. She suggested NOT to get rid of the personal page because you risk losing a lot of followers. I decided to have two pages, one personal and one like. . .little secret. . .they are both for my readers and friends. 

Why? Why would I want to rock the boat and add another page for people to follow? 

Simple! Maybe not that simple. I sat down and made a list of why I wanted to have a like page. And I thought you'd benefit from these questions too:

1) How many friends do you have on Facebook?
2) Would those friends move over to a like page?
3) A friend page is limited to 5,000.
4) A like page is unlimited.
5) What type of privacy do you want?
6) Is you personal page really personal and not something you'd share with the world of Facebook or readers?
7) Are you building an author brand and what type of personality do you want to give?
8) Are you trying to make friends or sell books?

These were questions that I asked myself. I decided to have a Facebook account to get my name out there. The person that I am on Facebook is the exact person I am. I quote inspirational quotes to my friends and family so I share them on Facebook. I take care of the people I love and don't bother with the people who are negative, just like I do with jealous writers or negative writers. There is nothing on my personal Facebook page that I wouldn't share with author Facebook page. 

The biggest reason I decided to go with a like page is the limited number of friends I can have on my personal page. Either way. . .both pages will have the same updates, pictures, and quotes! 

So come on! LIKE me!! Tonya Kappes, Author

Do you have a Facebook? Let's swap likes!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

EDITS. . .sigh. . .edits. . .

People ask me all the time, "Isn't writing a book hard?"
I laugh. Writing the book is the easy part. Editing the book is the hardest part!

I don't know about you, but editing my manuscript is the number one thing I dread in the process of finishing a manuscript.

We all know that when we type THE END, that the end is NOT the end! It really is the beginning.
Some writers love it because they use the editing process to put more meat into their story, flesh it out more, and create deeper characters. Some writers are like me. . .they type THE END and it really is the end (or what we want the end to be).

Not that I don't want my story to be the best it can be, but I've written it once through blood sweat and tears. And quiet frankly, I don't want to relive that part again.

If I dive deeper into why I really don't like the editing process. . .it's hard work! I don't like hard work!

In the editing process, we have to find the plot holes, make sure the lose ends are tied up, make sure that your protag has the same color hair and eyes throughout the book, blah, blah, blah.

Guess what?

I don't want to read my novel 200 times. I don't want to check and re-check to make sure I tied up all the red herrings. BUT I want a bunch of readers to pick up my book and love it.

Then why don't I love the editing process so they do pick up my novel and love it?

Well . . .I'm learning to love the process.

How?

I'm taking my time. I've realized that the publishing industry isn't nearly as fast as I'd like it to be. It's all about getting the best product out to the readers that you can. That means that you must take your time. Read every single word, and reread every single word. Make sure you develop your characters, create that scene, tie up all the plots and sub-plots. AND remember that if you take the time NOW to create that fabulous book, that you can take the time later to reap the rewards.

In the end, there is such a great satisfaction once I can type THE END after the third...er...fifth round of edits.

Author Sarah Duncan has a great series on her blog about the editing process! Check it out!

TODAY is NEVER TELL YOUR DREAMS book birthday! Release day!!!


Superstition:  Noun
1.      An irrational belief arising from ignorance or fear.
2.      Circumstances under which Maggie Greenlee lives her life.

Maggie’s life revolves around superstition.  Never walk under a ladder, don’t let a black cat cross your path, Maggie’s favorite, toss a pinch of salt over your shoulder for good luck, are staples Granny taught her. But the biggie, never tell your dreams before breakfast, is the one Maggie is sure is an old wive’s tell. But after Maggie hears that someone had a dream that Maggie was left at the altar, before breakfast-no less! –Maggie pulls out all the superstitious stops to make that dream not come true.

Until her fiance breaks off their engagement and she loses her job. . .all in one week.

Maggie goes back to Grandberry Falls where Granny's sweat tea and the annual Jubilee is just the cure she needs. Only everyone seems to be keeping a secret from her.

Mayor Mitch Dozier is busy working on the eminent domain case against Maggie's granny's farm. Maggie's granny insists that Maggie doesn't find out about the case, and Maggie is a distraction he doesn't need.His heart was broken once by Maggie Greenlee. He won't let it happen again.

Will Maggie and Mitch discover that the future of Grandberry Falls depends on them?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Guest Blogger Tips and Tricks



One of the best ways to reach readers is to guest blog, especially when you have a book release or upcoming event that you want to market and promote.

We spend countless hours (away from our current work in progress) and email numerous blog sites that may or may not take our invitation to do a guest blog. And then, some of those sites have been booked up three-six months past your release date...sigh....

BUT when you do get the yes email on the exact day you want, you definitely want to give the best blog post you can. There are certain items that you need to research and include in your guest post.

1) Communication. Obviously you've done your research and feels that being a guest on a certain blog is for you. Communication with the blogger is a key role in keeping your end of the bargain. If you give them good communication, you will be seen as professional and they are more likely to have you back again. This is the type of relationship you want!

2) Audience. What is the audience of the site where you are guest blogging? You have to tailor your blog post to the site. You don't want to talk about promotion and marketing on a reader site. You don't want to try to push your novel to a site that is all about teaching writers. Do you write erotic? Don't guest blog on an inspirational blog site...duh?

3) Organized. It's important that you get your guest post to the blogger a couple weeks ahead of time. This means you have to have thought about your guest post and write it EARLY! You want to be sure that they read your post and they are okay with what you have decided to blog about. Sometimes you might have to add or delete or change your guest blog completely, but that's okay. You are learning.

4) Promote! Be an advocate for the blog you are lucky enough to get a day to shine. Bloggers get a lot of emails a day where authors are begging them to host them. They picked YOU! What an honor! Be sure you that are Tweeting, Google +, Facebook the day of your guest blog. Show them that you care that they allowed you to come to their site.

Another idea for sites to look for other than blogs that are in your genre, is the niche of your novel. My novel, Carpe Bead 'em, has a beading element through out the novel, so I targeted blogs that have to do with beading jewelry. I goggled all different key words and a ton popped up. I also went on Twitter and put in beading hashtags to see what came up. These blogger were so eager to have an author on their blog. It was so much fun and I gave away a copy of my novel. If I picked up one reader along the way, it was worth it for me.

Think outside the box when it comes to guest blogging. Let your FREAK FLAG show!!