Spring Contests = Summer Spending

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIs there anything more fun than winning that first place blue ribbon?

Yes, I know that’s not exactly a blue ribbon. But it’s a very pretty, winning blue bow to help us keep our eye on the prize. Which is winning a contest and getting money.

And yes, I know, affirmation is swell, too. But don’t you feel a lot better with cold hard cash in hand? So on to the contests:

1. The Saturday Evening Post Limerick Contest has a new pic up–and no entry fee. All you need to do is write that funny limerick and send it in by June 3rd. It’s a great exercise in meter and rhyme and telling a story. So if you need a break from a big writing project, try this itty-bitty writing project and have a little fun.

2.  The Dream Quest One Poetry and Writing Contest is accepting entries through July 31st. The fees are reasonable, and previous winners are available to read if you’d like an idea of what they’re looking for in a winning entry. And you can send poetry OR a story. And win a nice pay out. I work harder when there’s an entry fee and a nice pay out. And with summertime laziness fast approaching, this could be a great incentive to…well, work.

3.  The Mark Twain Humor Writing Contest has a deadline of June 30th, so you have plenty of time to polish up a submission. I really like this contest because it has a lower entry fee for young writers–and really swell cash prizes. The entry fee is a bit steeper, so expect competition to be tough. But don’t let that fee scare you. I know plenty of funny writers who could win this prize, and keep in mind that they’re looking for your voice, not a work that sounds like Mark Twain. Be your witty self and win.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to Kathy Temean’s Writing and Illustrating blog that’s packed with writing info and contests and tips and I don’t know what all. I know the banner reads “for children,” but it’s so much more than kidlit. (Like the Dream Quest One and Mark Twain contests I found there!) I’m all about finding those buried writing gems out there in the vast waters of the Internet, and her blog is a sparkly treasure, so give it a look-see.

Then choose a contest now. Maybe by summer, you’ll be waving big bucks in my face.

(And P.S. I’ll send you a blue bow if you win.)

Avoid Social Media Time Suck (Yes, Please!)

As you may recall, I have a wee bit of a problem with social media. Remember my seven-minute rule on Facebook? Um…yeah. It’s worked pretty well, but honestly, there are so many times I have to be on Facebook, have to work that side of the writing business. And before I know it, my writing time side is quite sucked dry. And Twitter? I simply can’t do seven minutes on Twitter–so I end up not doing Twitter at all. There has to be a better way, right?

Enter Frances Caballo, author of Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time To Write. It’s a mouthful, I know, but that’s exactly what we as writers need. A way to maximize our social media marketing so that we can write. Serendipitously, Frances has a few Twitter tips to get us started:

Social-Media-Time-Suck-Final-for-WritersCut Through the Slush and Maximize Your Tweets

The biggest hindrances to being social are the streams of incoming messages in your news feeds. If you are following 2,000 Twitter users, it can be difficult to cut through the slush to find the gems that you’ll find worth retweeting.

 One way you can cut through the plethora of messages is to find and join Twitter chats that focus on specific areas of interest. Nothing can replace the feeling of immediacy that interacting with a wide number of people on Twitter will provide. They are interesting, fun, and depending on the topic, very entertaining. Use these applications to find a Twitter chat you might enjoy:

 Twchat 

With this application, you can create real-time chat rooms based on your selected Twitter hashtag. A Twitter hashtag might be #memoirchat, #poetchat, #suspensechat, or #marketingchat.

 TweetGrid 

With this application, you can keep track of multiple keywords, including multiple Twitter chats. You can even join more than one chat, and the website will create grids with live updates within each stream. In essence, it creates real-time chat rooms based on the Twitter hashtags in use.

 

Applications to Help You Find Newsy Nuggets

 People post about everything on social media. They show pictures of gluten-free lasagna, a son’s graduation, and trending videos on YouTube. If you would like to view and comment on these posts, then do so. But if you want to find the real news and join conversations with more substance, there are a variety of applications that can help you with that, too.

 Nutshell Mail (www.nutshellmail.com)

You will determine whether you want to receive an update once or twice daily and at what time. On Twitter, it will keep track of new follows and un-follows, mentions, and tweets from your favorite lists in your Twitter summary. You can even tweet, reply, retweet, and send a direct message without even leaving your inbox.

Newsle 

 Newsle will send you e-mail alerts when people you follow are mentioned in articles online. It’s always a friendly gesture to send the person an e-mail or tweet congratulating them on the mention or a great post they wrote. According to the application’s creators, “Newsle tracks real news. Every story in your Newsle news feed is a real news article from a newspaper, news website, or blog that mentions or quotes your friend.” To set it up, simply connect to Twitter, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn. Review the settings to select how often you want to receive e-mail notification.

Do you have any tips for maximizing your tweets?

Well, Frances, I do now!

Frances Candid Shot 12-5-13Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers. Besides her book above, she’s also the author of Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers.

And here are a few more of the gems you’ll find in Avoid Social Media Time Suck:

  • How to create and perfect your author platform.
  • The importance of being social and applications that make this task easy and fun.
  • Tools that enable you to track and measure your success so you can better understand the return on investment of your valuable time.
  • Exercises for introverted writers to help you feel comfortable on the social web.

Now, I know you’re chomping at the bit to get this book in your hot little hands. So leave a comment and maybe I’ll draw your name! (Name will be drawn on Tuesday, April 29.) Or check out the giveaway on Goodreads (Through April). Or just zip right here and order it.

And really, considering all that time sucking away, hand’t you better hurry?

Catching Up With Rhyming Picture Book Month, Sort of

I started April with the best of intentions.

I had a couple of rhyming children’s picture books and thought it would be a good idea to get some in-depth rhyming know-how from all the experts blogging over at Angie Karcher’s RhyPiBoMo. And it has been seriously in-depth! You can’t sign up for the challenge at this point, but you can most certainly benefit from a read-through, no matter what kind of rhyme you write.

I haven’t had much time for the challenge–or even a chance at a read-through. Mom took a terrible tumble a week or so ago and I’ve been in Savannah, where I stayed at my parents’ house at the beach. But Dad had disconnected the Internet.

You do not realize how dependent you are on technology until you don’t have it.

Anyway, after a whirlwind of catching up–and honestly, there’s just so much information that one can catch up on after a week offline–I sent a post over to the Muffin where I was scheduled for April 20th. I’ll be catching up with the Beneficent Mr. Hall (and really, Mister Man is a good egg, and I should be happy that the house is still standing, but how does a body not notice a zillion sugar ants parading around the kitchen???). Next, I’ll be preparing for Holy Week, so I won’t be working for a few days. But I hope you’ll have a minute to check out my Easter post, “Finding a Writing Eggs-travaganza,” in between the deviled eggs and ham.

And if I could ask one more favor, if you have time to add one little thing to your list of intentions?

Please send prayers for Mom. Thank you.

 

Cathy-on-a-Stick Gets Her Day in the Sun

2009-06-01 15.44.22You might have noticed that I added a header up there for Cathy-on-a-Stick.

She still has her own blog, but honestly, I can barely remember to bring my glasses when I leave for adventures. Remembering Cathy-on-a-Stick is a whole ‘nother matter. And even when I do remember, it seems I’m always busy keeping up with work deadlines. I never have enough time for writing fun over at that pic-on-a-stick’s blog.

But I always find the time to bring Cathy-on-a-Stick to writer’s conferences. And today at the Muffin, I blogged about why.

Yep, she’s one bit of stick-y fun, out there in the writing world. Which is why I share those stories here, and also why she has her own page at Cathy C. Hall’s place. And now…wait for it…

She thinks she’s something on a stick.

Friday’s Fun Find: A Winner for How to Promote Your Children’s Book!

51tDlMZRteL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Despite the fact that I couldn’t display Rafflecopter for my giveaway of Katie Davis’ How to Promote Your Children’s BookI still (sort of) managed to get Rafflecopter on the giveaway post.

I always like (sort of) learning something new. And the next time I have a giveaway (and it’s a good one!), I’ll use Rafflecopter and it will actually display in all its whirring glory. I hope.

Anyway, I learned a ton of promotional stuff–some old, some new–from Katie’s How to Promote Your Children’s Book. So if you didn’t win, you can still get this wonderful resource for a very moderate price. Not the same low price as before, but still a bargain.

And if you did win–that is to say, if you’re Barb Kupetz–then you can expect a lovely email from me and Katie Davis any day now.

I think that’s how a Kindle giveaway works. Sort of.