You have ten minutes, so you open Twitter. No notifications. Your inbox has an auto-message from an author you don’t know, thanking you for following (delete!). You scroll for a few minutes, note the level of political outrage, like a few tweets advertising books (that you’ll never buy but you want to be supportive), retweet a couple of “safe” posts (author quotes, an agent’s advice) and a “writer lift”, and exit, mildly disappointed.
How come nobody talks to me on Twitter? I have #writingcommunity in my bio, I like all my friends’ tweets…maybe I’ll just never be cool enough to get attention on social media.
First, let’s get one thing straight: You do not have to be popular on Twitter to write or sell your book. Twitter is most helpful (but isn’t mandatory!) for how-to/self-help/narrative nonfiction. For memoirists, Twitter can help reach readers, but email newsletters, public speaking, published…
It’s hard to argue that the whole “you only get one chance to make a first impression” logic doesn’t also apply to writing. The first line of a narrative is the first foray into the voice of the author, the creativeness, the style, the everything. If that isn’t on par with what you, the reader, are looking for, then what’s leading you to believe that the rest of the narrative will change? For that matter, why should you give it the chance to change when there are so many other options out there to consume?
So what makes an interesting first line? Let’s take a look.
Take, for instance, the first line of The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls.
“I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a dumpster.”
Forgot to take a picture of us at the boutique, so here’s one of my book covers
I rented a booth at a holiday boutique to sell my books. Knowing that I can promote other people’s products much better than I can my own, I invited two friends who write in basically the same genre to share my table. To my great delight, the scheme worked. We all sold books, and we all had a great time. To me, the moving target that is self-promotion is easier to vector in on with friends. It seemed that even the shoppers who didn’t buy our books spent more time listening to our pitch when there were three of us at the table. You might think bringing in competition would hurt my chances of making a sale, but it didn’t work out that way. Next time you’re planning a book event, consider helping another author and see how it helps you.
Luck and wisdom!
PS – Shameless self-promotion alert, you can buy The Chenille Ultimatumhere.
“You’re just like your father,” spoken in a sing-song disdain is a refrain from my childhood. Auntie Deloris and Uncle Art confirmed it. And once when I was in my late teens, Art added, “It’s nothing to be proud of.” I couldn’t see how we looked alike, but I couldn’t see myself in the mirror either. I only saw a reflection.
The literary magazines/journals listed below all offer some form of payment, do not charge submission/reading, take online submissions, and have submission deadlines from August 30 – September 30, 2019.
This list focuses on poetry submissions/contests, but most lit mags accept prose and art as well. The listings are in order of closest deadlines.
At my writer’s group recently, we were going around the circle and checking in—giving the others an update on our own writing, perhaps raising an issue we’d been facing. One woman, when it was her turn, expressed frustration over a question she is asked often by those who know she’s working on a memoir. “When are you going to get your book published?”
When indeed. For anyone who doesn’t make a habit of wrestling with words and calling it her livelihood, let me tell you a secret. This is the question every writer dreads. It’s a question that pokes us, taunts us, by way of saying there should be a measurable outcome to everything we do and perhaps we’ve chosen the wrong thing to spend our time on.
A journalist writes to meet a deadline. An academic writes to stay relevant. A copywriter writes to sell.
If you’re looking to get into the blogging scene, you’re going to need a hook. Blogs are a rather common these days, with most sites having some sort of blog function, and plenty of individuals starting their own sites to function as anything from public journals to miniature digital magazines.
In order to get yours to take off amidst this sea of blog content, you need a few things: that unique spark in your personal voice, an approachable style and appealing domain…. But you’ll also need to find an overarching topic that fits a given trend or serves a specific purpose. If you’re starting yet another fashion, travel, or food blog, you’d better have some incredible content (or some generous investors) if you’re hoping to get noticed. If you can catch a rising trend, though, you might be able to get in early and establish yourself as a go-to voice in a buzz-worthy area.
This list is going to cover some of the most exciting and potentially profitable up-and-coming blog topics that you could throw your weight behind in order to find success with your online writing.
VR & AR
These two technologies certainly fit the “up-and-coming” label, and are sure to become popular topics for blogging in the near future. VR may not have made quite as big of an impact as many had hoped when it first became widely available, but since then it’s been developing quite a lot of inroads when it comes to exciting games, titles, and applications. Games like VRChat and others have been proving the tech’s capabilities, and slowly but surely VR is beginning to resemble what we all hoped it might become. Naturally, this means more people are becoming interested as well.
AR, meanwhile, has yet to become a widespread, readily available technology – which actually makes it an even hotter topic. Being able to speculate about possible ideas and applications for AR technology makes it a rich well of a blogging subject. And for that matter, tracking the actual developments, following showcases at major tech conferences, and providing concrete information that an increasingly intrigued public is thirsty for can give your blog genuine utility
Online Sports Betting
Online sports betting is not at all like VR and AR in that it isn’t anything new. Rather, it’s an international industry that seems to get more popular every year, and within which billions and billions of dollars change hands. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t changing, however, and some of the changes indicate that there’s plenty of room for enjoyable and informative blogs in this area.
For one thing, the industry is more and more geared toward an online audience, and it’s not uncommon for sites with betting activity to present editorial content of their own – even when a sport is not active. Currently, in the middle of the summer, hubs for NBA bettingcontent are still carrying articles updating readers on player activity and team transactions. This indicates that the very activity of betting can be paired essentially with sports journalism. Now, combine this with the fact that online sports gambling is only just emerging (at least legally) in the U.S., and there could be significant opportunity. Right now sports fans in the U.S. are excited about betting, but in many cases unfamiliar with it. Thus, a blog that presents basic information, some of the articles like the ones referenced regarding the NBA, and analysis of betting odds, could have a large audience from day one.
This topic might seem odd to be promoting as an “up-and-coming” topic, seeing as how space travel has been happening for so long it almost seems old fashioned. But it’s the changes and developments in space travel that can make it an especially exciting blogging topic. While it’s true that professional astronauts and scientists have been visiting and studying space for years, we’re rapidly approaching various changes and advancements – not the least of which is that we’re nearing the point at which regular commercial space flights are possible.
Companies like SpaceX and others have been developing the technology required to make space travel widely available for years now, and thanks to recent breakthroughs, some are estimating that it could happen as soon as next year.Tracking developments like these, the technology that goes into them, and the people making it happen has all of the makings of a truly enticing blog. Throw in some coverage of the increasingly active chatter about putting a human on Mars, and there’s really a lot of material to cover!
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