Twitter Made Simple

If Facebook is about connecting with friends and family, Twitter is about connecting with like-minded people you don’t know.

I spend about 10 minutes a day on Twitter. If you do a few things there each day, you will build a following over time. My advice: (1) share what interests you with hashtags (for example, #writing), (2) support others with the same interests by retweeting and favoriting their tweets, and (3) don’t get too salesy.

If you are new to the platform, here are a few slides that can help you get started. If you have questions, please contact me. I am happy to help.

Three Reasons Why I’m Going Indie

I have been working on a novel for several years and, in the process, I’ve learned a lot about writing and myself. Strange, isn’t it? The more you pay attention to a story, the more it pays attention to you and shows up for you.

That kind of learning has a lot to do with hanging in and hanging on. For any big undertaking, you have to believe in yourself, believe in the outcome, and persevere.

I really like something the novelist James Lee Burke once said:

I’ve never seen anyone who has—once he’s determined to become a writer—not achieved his goal. I’ve never seen anyone fail who’s actually persevered and never given up.

What he’s telling me, I think, is that if I persevere, I won’t ultimately fail, and if I don’t give up, I’ll eventually succeed.

I’ll publish my novel independently next month, as I have several other books. I know I’m taking a risk, but it’s calculated. By going indie I’ll miss out on 1-2-3—

  1. A publisher’s marketing reach
  2. Their high production values
  3. Prestige and royalties

Ten of my books, nearly half, have been published by traditional publishers. John Wiley & Sons published my first two, and O’Reilly the rest. I’ve been with O’Reilly since 2002 and have had a very positive experience with them, largely due to my bright, patient, and kind editor, Simon St.Laurent.

But alas, O’Reilly doesn’t publish pre-apocalyptic, YA fantasies set in the contemporary West, nor fiction of any kind.

So how will I deal with 1-2-3?

  1. I’ll have to rely on the reach of folks in my social media circles—3,016 as of today—to share my story. Emphasis on share. I won’t get overtly salesy there. I’ll just share it and ask others to do so.
  2. I had the cover designed by a professional, as well as the book interior. I’ve also hired an editor to review the book one last time. These kinds of investments are the kinds of investments a traditional publisher makes in a book anyway so why shouldn’t I? You can’t judge a book by its cover but you can sell one by it. And if I discover an error or flaw along the way, I can correct the trouble quickly and upload my changes.
  3. I’ll have to depend on acceptance by readers for any prestige. I’m just not worried about that. If the book is any good, and I sincerely believe it is, readers will lend the book all the prestige it needs.

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Your Unique Voice

You have a unique voice, unlike any in the world. You are a true original.

Maybe you think you don’t have anything to say or that what you have to say or want to say is not important. If you believe that about yourself, consider Louis Armstrong.

His gravelly voice. His broad smile. His signature handkerchief.

Satchmo had a purity, an authenticity. He was unafraid to be himself. He became a jazz icon, an American celebrity, an international personality, because he was unafraid to share his voice with the world. He was fearlessly original.

His voice was unusual. It was raspy. To some ears, it was no doubt harsh and unrefined. But people loved his voice and they loved him.

He grew up in a tough neighborhood in New Orleans. His parents separated. His mother supported the family by prostitution. Louis had every reason to disappear quietly into the mass of humanity, into an obscure life of crime and poverty.

But he didn’t. He and his trumpet spoke up. He and his music stood out. He must have been discouraged and heart-broken at times, but he never gave up.

He was himself. He let his unique voice be heard. And because he did, he touched millions of lives.

You have something to say, too. Don’t hide it. It’s completely okay to be yourself. It’s more than okay. It’s your gift to the planet. And it’s your gift to yourself.

In a critical, dismissive world, it’s easy—no, common—to get discouraged because of the disapproval of loved ones or strangers. But they are only there to make you stronger. Accept their service and step forward.

We want to hear from you. Please speak up. You are unique in all the world. What you have to say is important. Let us hear you.

 

Author Interview: Kerry Fowers

Kerry Fowers was born in Ogden Utah and grew up in the small town of Hooper. He is an avid reader and loves the stories told by great authors through the ages. His first book, Divine Help, a mystery/suspense novel, appeared in 2012, and his second book, Divine Verdict: The Trial of The Butcher, just became available. He is at work on book three. He is married Elizabeth—the love of his life—and they soon will begin yet another adventure: foster parenting!

When did you first discover you wanted to become a writer?

I first discovered I wanted to be a writer when I was living in Oklahoma City with my ex-wife. She said she liked the way I wrote and said I should try writing a book. So I did. After that, my writing was on and off through that year and I really didn’t get back into until I got married to my current wife. I attended a writer’s conference and met a ton of other authors and that is was inspired to finish my first book and continue writing other books.

How did you come up with the idea for your first book?

The main plot to Divine Help came to me as soon as my ex told me I should write a book. I put some of my experiences I had into this book and the rest just came.

Tell us about your writing habits.

My writing habits are kind of abnormal. I do most of my writing at night while I am at work [as a security guard]. It’s quiet and I can think easier and have less distractions. I usually turn on my muse music and go to work. I usually take breaks here and there and if I get stuck, I usually start watching a movie or bounce ideas off my buddy I work with.

Have you got another book coming out? What is it about?

Yes, my second book in the Divine Verdict series is out now. This book is about the trial of the bad guy in book one, although there are a lot of other things that happen leading up to the trial. Right now I have 10 books planned for the series. Currently I am working on book three, Divine Witness. Stay tuned to my social media sites and my blog for more info on book three as it becomes available.

Where do you see yourself as a writer in the next five years?

I see myself in five years as a better author. I also hope to have at least five more books out by then.

What advice would you give to writers who are just starting out?

The advice I would give to writers who are just starting out is first, go to as many writer’s conferences as you can. I learned so much from the ones I went to and it put a fire under me so I could complete my first and second books. Also I recommend to friend as many authors as you can on Facebook so you can ask questions and get answers. I have learned a lot from the other authors I have as friends on social media.

Here is where you can contact Kerry on social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. You can also find him on his blog and website.