Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Using Facebook Lists

Writers love to network.

Since that includes Facebook, writers tend to have a lot of "friends," some of which they've even met. When the friends list grows longer, many start a fan or author page (nothing unreasonable about that.)

But since I've elected not to do that at this point, I utilize lists so my friends and family do not get buried in the deluge of posts.

How to create a facebook list:

1. In your newsfeed page, look on the left hand side. Click on "Friends."

2. On the top of your Friends page, click on "Edit Friends."

3. On the next page that comes up (also called Friends), click on "Create a list."

4. This will bring you to a pop-up page that has pictures of all your friends. Type the name of the list you wish to create. Then click on the friends you want to add to your new list. When you're finished, click "Create a List" on the bottom.

5. This will take you to a new page for that list. From here you can delete the list or add to it.

When you want to look at posts from only that list, go to your newsfeed page. Click on the little triangle on the upper right. It will pull up a menu of options you can view on your newsfeed page, including your friend lists. Choose the list you want to include in your feed.

So far, I've made lists for my friends and family, church, writers, and gamers (for those who play the same games as I do--they're addicting!). And yes, you can put people on more than one list.

You can also use these lists when posting. In game playing, for instant, I chose to post those pesky game requests (on the rare occasion when I do that) to only my gamers list, so they do not bother the writers or other folks who don't play.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Author Pages on Facebook?

I came across an author's blog, with an invitation to connect with her on facebook. All about networking these days, I clicked it. And was given, not the option of friending her, but liking her. A fan page.

Don't ask me why, but I haven't signed up for too many author fan pages. I have a number of authors as facebook friends, but being asked to be a friend and being asked to be a fan seem like two very different things. At least in my mind. Or do I need to rethink this?

Why start a author fan page?

Nathan Bransford, former literary agent and popular blogger, had this to say:

When fan pages were first created, I think people were kind of nervous to get started on them due to the whole "fan" thing. It seemed a bit presumptuous to have a fan page when one wasn't a celebrity. But Facebook pages are increasingly how people distinguish between their private and public networks. So even if you aren't (yet) a published author, I would definitely consider creating a page for yourself.(Whole article)

But here's the question in my mind. Do I really want to distinguish between my private and public networks? Facebook is a social networking site. If I want to network professionally, perhaps I should look into LinkedIn. But if I want to interact with people--author and readers--on a more intimate basis, wouldn't that be easier to continue with my profile page as it is, and freely allow new additions? It's not like I have any deep, dark or personal things going on in my facebook page that I need to hide.

And since facebook lists allow me to place my friends into categories, my personal friends don't get lost in the volume. I have a list for family and friends, and when I click on that, I get only their updates.

An author page would also be yet another page to monitor and keep updated. Which is an important consideration.

I do think, however, when it comes closer to the release date, that I might create a fan page for my book. The obvious advantage to this is that people can still be my friends while being fans of my book.

Now, should there ever come a day when I reach the upper limits on the number of facebook friends (yeah, right--but a girl can dream), I might revisit this question. But thinking on the authors who are my facebook friends--I may have never met them, but I kind of like being listed as their friends. Of seeing their posts on their daily lives. Finding out what they put on the grill. Sharing their recipes. Learning what they watch on television.

Yes, for now I think I prefer friends to fans. (Bites lower lip) Unless I'm missing something.

What about you? Do you 'like' author fan pages? Do you have one? Are there advantages to them that I'm missing?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Barbara the news

While puttering around on the internet, trying to build a web presence prior to the publication of my first book, I set up a Google alert for my name.

If you're not familiar with the term, a Google alert will allow you to enter a search term, and Google will email you a new occurrence of that search term. Not that I'm paranoid people are talking about me. I actually hope someday maybe someone will mention me in passing. In my wildest dreams the comment is even favorable.

Well, I got my first Google alert:

"Giada de Laurentiis will be cooking for Britian's Prince William and his new wife, Kate, when the couple visits Santa Barbara early next month for a polo tournament."

While Giada is lovely, Will and Kate's visit took me entirely by surprise. Since I don't want to disappoint the royal newlyweds, I must buy a new outfit and a hat. And probably a horse.

My sainthood? Was there ever any doubt? ;)

Oh, and Giada--I'm sensitive to onions and garlic and everything in the allium family. Looking forward to it.

I have a feeling I'm going to be quite popular in Orange County.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Editor vs. the Two-Year-Old

Just the other day I got a nice introductory email from my newly assigned editor at White Rose. I read it, send a note back. Everything seemed peachy keen.

Then at three in the morning (no lie), I woke up in a panic. I have an editor?!?

And then the anxious thoughts started, as I worried through a series of idiotic requests my sleep-hazed mind decided an editor might want. Yes, my inner two-year-old, the one who wants her own way and cannot work with others, had come for a visit.

So we had a talk:

Me: What are you afraid of?

2YO: Are you dense? Isn't it obvious? An editor is going to READ what we wrote!! (Yes, my inner two-year-old does help write. She can be fun at times and I help her with punctuation. She's overly fond of capital letters and exclamation points.) And she might even suggest we CHANGE things!!!!!

Me: Why would that be so bad?

2YO: Because then it wouldn't be the SAME!!!

Me: Do you think what we wrote is perfect the way it is?

2YO: Well, no, but...

Me: Don't you think having a professional look at it, give it a thorough read, and recommend improvements might be a rewarding and enriching process? One that makes the manuscript so much better? We've been to critique groups. I don't understand the problem.

2YO: Yeah, but in those crit groups we can always go home and make fun of their suggestions later.

Me: (blushing) We don't always do that. Not even all that often.

2YO: Yeah, but there were a few lunkhead suggestions. Like the one who told us we used 'said' too often, and suggested we be more creative. But an editor is different. You have a contract now. What if the editor makes lunkhead suggestions?

Me: Then she probably wouldn't be in the position she's in. I'm actually looking forward to seeing an editor's input in some places I think are weak. This could help advance my writing. And I do want my first sale to be the strongest it can be.

2YO: Can I go out and play now?

Me: Sure, I've got work to do.

Below are two online resources I'm looking at to learn how best to work with an editor:

Now if I can only keep my inner two-year-old occupied during the process. Maybe a nice summer camp...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Saying Goodbye to KoKo and Yum Yum

This week the mystery writing community lost a legend. Lilian Jackson Braun died at the age of 97. But in her lifetime she authored 29 published novels and several short story collections.

It was shortly after my mother passed away that I read the first in the Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun. For those who might not have had the pleasure, it's worth the read. These are the books that spawned the introduction of a new sub-genre. Not just the cozy, but the cat sleuth. These book are not literary. They are often not page-turners. Sometimes they ramble like a comfortable old grandfather who can't seem to get to the point. But one thing they are: pure comfort.

Far from salacious, these family-friendly mysteries chronicle the abilities of two Siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum, and their caretaker, (does one own a cat?) Qwill. Qwill is an intuitive journalist with a pepper and salt mustache that seems to sense crime as easily as Koko's whiskers. Together they solve murders in the quaint town of Pickaxe, 400 miles north of everywhere. It's a refreshing destination, for a heart-warming cozy. And they and the whole town will be missed.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Google as Evidence?

I was watching a story on the Casey Anthony case. If you need a brief recap, she's on trial for killing her young daughter, a case featured by Nancy Grace.

But some new evidence introduced at trial was her Google records, where she searched for neck breaking, internal injuries, how to make chloroform, and a few other heinous topics--several months before the child went missing.

Which makes me think, as a mystery writer, I'd be in serious trouble should anyone I know be murdered. Poisoned? I have a least one book on the subject. Shot? I have bookmarked a few sites on weapons. Bomb? Yep, Googled explosives. And I've read more than my share of online autopsy reports.

What could police learn from your Google records?

Stay safe, everybody!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Design. New Focus

For those who have been following my blog, you know I've been promising a few changes. One of which is the title. Instead of "Cozy Craft" which focused on crafting a cozy mystery (but also led people to believe I was talking about knitting and cross-stitch), I've decided to broaden the focus, just a tad, to embrace more of who I am.

Faith. This doesn't mean future posts will all be preachy. But my faith is important to me and shapes who I am. Whether discussing my faith overtly, or whether it is in the background, inherent in my world view, faith is a part of everything I write.

Fiction. I'm still progressing in my pursuit of publication. (An announcement is coming soon.) And I expect more posts on the art and craft and business of writing fiction.

Felony. I love mystery. Mystery might be inspirational or mainstream, or it might include elements of romance or humor. Maybe I'll share things I'm learning from the mystery I'm reading and other resources where I find them.

Another change will be that my posts will be more frequent, more conversational, and shorter.

Hope you join me for the ride!