W is for Wufoo.com

I’m feeling my age today, after going up into the attic on Tuesday. Not a good idea for someone of my age with CFS/ME and fibromyalgia. That said, Wednesday wasn’t a good day for me to try to figure out something new on the computer. There’s really not a good day for me to do that. I should only attempt such tasks when I’m at the top of my game. With no such days on the horizon and needing to blog about something starting with the letter “W,” I forged ahead.

What starts with W?

On the 23rd day of the 2017 A to Z Blog Challenge, the featured letter is “W.” I’ve struggled over what to write about today. There are so many possibilities, including Why I Write, Writing, Webinars I’ve Attended, Wufoo.com, or the Where Writers Win website.

W is for Wufoo.com

Wednesday was the day I could finally sit down at the computer and try to figure out how Wufoo.com could integrate with MailChimp on WordPress.com so I could have a mailing list. In the event I ever want to announce something to my readers before or without making a public announcement, I need an e-mail mailing list.

Other bloggers have such lists, so how difficult can it be, right?

I spent a couple of hours on Wednesday afternoon working my way through the simple instructions on Wufoo.com trying to set up a way for me to add a sign-up form on my blog for a mailing list. As often happens, the list of “do this and you will see that” suckered me into thinking I could do. I improvised when I “did this and I didn’t see that.” I set up an account. I created a form. I filled in blanks. I wrote little notes to my readers telling them I would never share their information with anyone. I marked the parts of the form that are not optional. I went to WordPress.com and cut and pasted the Wufoo code so it would show up as the third widget down in my blog’s sidebar. I thought I had everything accomplished, but on Wednesday night as I schedule this blog post for 6:50 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, April 27, no such sign-up form has appeared on my blog.

It’s my fault

I in no way blame Wufoo.com for this. It is obviously an error on my part. It has been another frustrating day in the life of someone who is technologically-challenged and just wants to be a writer.

“I’d rather do it myself!”

One day I will have to give up on setting this mailing list up myself, but I will not give up on the mailing list. I’m trying not to bother my niece’s husband with this request. He set up my website, and I’m sure he can do this for me, too. I am reminded that as a very small child, one of my favorite things to say was, “I’d rather do it myself!” Apparently, that’s still true.

A to Z Blog Challenge

I’m delighted to note that there are only three days remaining in the A to Z Blog Challenge. Topics for “Y” and “Z” are still up for grabs, in case anyone has any suggestions for me. I’m looking for words starting with “Y” and “Z” that have something to do with writing for my blog on April 29 and 30, 2017.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.

Janet

S is for Social Media

This is the 19th day of the A to Z Blog Challenge, so I decided to write about Social Media. (19 letters down, seven to go!) Those of you who have been following my blog for several months know that being social on media is not my favorite pastime. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but writers are pushed from all sides to embrace social media. I can’t seem to escape it.

“The Personalities of Social Media,” by Jenny Hanson

I read an excellent blog post about writers and social media on April 19, 2017, “The Personalities of Social Media” at http://writersinthestormblog.com/2017/04/social-media-101-lets-talk-personalities/.

Jenny Hanson wrote “The Personalities of Social Media” blog post. I don’t want to steal her thunder, so I invite you to read her post if you wish.

Reading that Writers in the Storm blog post clarified for me why certain social media outlets appeal to me more than others, and it gave me permission to stop worrying about LinkedIn. Whew! It was worth the read just to learn that.

LinkedIn and Goodreads

Ms. Hanson wrote, “Yes, if you are looking for a job or a business contact, you need to be on LinkedIn, but readers tend to hang out at Goodreads and in the six programs mentioned below.”

What I learned from Ms. Hanson’s post is that social media fall into two camps:  (1) ones that require immediate response and (2) ones that you don’t have to respond to immediately.

2 categories of social media

Of the major social media platforms, Ms. Hanson says that Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat fall into the second category. They seem to suit my personality better than the ones that are included in the first category (Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.)

I’m not by nature a phone person. People whose cell phones are a permanent extension of their hands do not understand me any more than I understand them. Let’s just agree to accept each other and not be judgmental.

Category One

  • Facebook

I enjoy some aspects of Facebook, but it is something that I usually check once every day or two. Apparently, I’m not using it correctly. I’m sorry, but I really don’t care to see a picture of what you ate for lunch. (I’m trying not to judge.) I like it because it provides a way for me to know when my friends have a joy or concern they want to share. It provides a way for me and friends with whom I share political views to commiserate.

  • Twitter

I get on Twitter once- or twice-a-day, which means I’m not using it correctly either. I have made some interesting connections with other writers and several published authors via Twitter, but I might not be putting enough original information in my Tweets to keep those relationships going. Twitter gives me a way to publicize my blog, and I have gained many blog followers as a result.

  • Google+

I haven’t been active on Google+. I haven’t seen it as a good fit for me; however, after reading Ms. Hanson’s post, I have a better understanding of how it is a powerful way to increase my search ranking on Google. I guess I need to give Google+ a fair chance.

Category Two

  • Instagram

I have an Instagram account, but I really haven’t gotten excited about it. Ms. Hanson’s blog post includes links to two articles about Instagram that I definitely need to read. I’m sure my hesitancy to use Instagram stems from my strained relationship with my cell phone.

  • Snapchat

It probably goes without saying that I haven’t even investigated Snapchat. Apparently, I need to if I want to attract a younger demographic to my writing. It’s visual, and it’s only there for 24 hours.

  • Pinterest

I really enjoy Pinterest. It is a good way for me to find articles about the art and craft of writing. I have set up several boards on my Pinterest account where I Pin the articles I like and think other writers who follow me might benefit from reading. I have a variety of boards on Pinterest, ranging from writing to recipes to quilting to politics. It’s a way for me to show my personality and varied interests. Pinterest can take up as much of your time as you will give it. One thing leads to another until sometimes I don’t remember where I started. My searches on Pinterest never disappoint me.

In closing

Thank you, Jenny Hanson, for presenting information about the various social media platforms in a way that helped me to recognize why some platforms appeal to me more than others. And thank you for helping me to understand why Google+ is an important platform for writers.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. (I’m back to Bittersweet, by Colleen McCullough after putting it aside so I could read In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom, by Yeonmi Park.)

If you’re a writer, I hope you have rewarding writing time.

Janet

K is for Klout.com

No, that’s not misspelled.

Settling on a K-word

My mind works in mysterious ways. For about three weeks I’ve tried to think of a word that starts with a “K” that had something to do with writing for this the 11th day of the 2017 A to Z Blog Challenge. I was still pretty much at a loss until a few minutes ago. I wasn’t even thinking about the blog challenge or the letter “K” earlier tonight when I visited a website that I look at two or three times a month. The site begins with the letter “K,” but even as I bounced around on it I didn’t have that “aha moment.”

I left the site and went on my merry way to answer a few e-mails and Tweet my thanks to several people who started following me today on Twitter. In the midst of that, my subconscious mind kicked in and said, “Wake up, Janet! You can write about Klout.com!”

I learned about Klout last September, when I got serious about having a brand and a social media presence as a writer. The website has a way to measure one’s influence on social media. I understand they use an algorithm to do this. (Algorithms are above my pay grade, so I’ll just leave it at that.)

A little explanation of Klout.com

Klout looks at how many social networks a person is active in and then gives a score of 1 to 100. You can imagine how daunting it was on September 19, 2016 when I checked my score on Klout for the first time and discovered I had a 10.

Klout immediately became a great tool for me. It gave me added incentive to be more active on social media in order to improve my score. I read that an average Klout score is 40. A score of 50 or above is considered very good. A score above 63 is fantastic. Only five percent of users score 63 or above.

Starting off at 10 points, I had my work cut out for me. Those of you who have been following my blog since last September know that I have complained and struggled and complained some more about social media. It’s not my favorite endeavor and I feel like it consumes too much of my time. I’m trying to hang in there, though, and it is getting a little easier with time and practice.

My results

It has been gratifying to see my efforts pay off. My Klout score rose to 16 by the end of September and 32 by the end of October. It was surprising how much my Klout score encouraged me to keep working at it.

By early December I reached and then surpassed the average score of 40 by three points. My score has held steady between 42 and 45 since then. Klout has proclaimed me to be an expert in writing and in reading. That’s laughable, but I’ll take it.

In conclusion

It costs nothing to sign up for Klout.com. It has mixed reviews online. There are certainly other analytics services that get more into the nitty-gritty of measuring the impact or influence one is having on social media. For a service that is free, though, I can vouch for the fact that it has provided positive feedback to me since last September – feedback that pushed me to make a conscious effort every day to keep working on my social media skills.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I hope you have quality writing time.

Janet

Disclaimer:  I am getting nothing from Klout.com for writing about the website.

 

5 Things I Can’t Afford to Try on Social Media in March

Although I have made some good friends via social media and it does provide a way to stay in touch with old friends or relatives who live far away, social media stresses me out. If you’ve followed my blog for very long, you already know that.

I just want to sit at my computer and write, but the publishing world tells me that I have to have a brand and I must keep my brand in front of my potential readers. I’m being told this is important before I even try to get my first novel published. It’s exhausting!

In an effort to simplify social media for myself, I have looked into a number of websites that offer to do just that. There is an old adage that says, “You get what you pay for.” If I were independently wealthy, I could purchase all kinds of services that promise to put my social media life on Easy Street. That is not the case, though. If I had a multi-million dollar business, these services might make sense. They would be business expenses. I don’t make enough money from my writing yet to need big tax write-offs.

Below, I’ve listed what I found out about five social media services that I can’t afford to try. Just because I can’t afford them doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them. I’m not endorsing any of them, but I’m not trying to denigrate any of them either. Each Tweeter and blogger must decide for himself because each person’s situation is unique.

  1. Tweepi

The Ultimate Guide to Generating Leads on Twitter, a downloadable document by Steve Arnold, (steve.arnold@markethub.io) recommends Tweepi to, among other things, keep up with which of your followers are actually looking at your content. This allows you to drop followers that are just boosting your followers count. They aren’t interacting or helping you and you aren’t helping them. Unfortunately, the cheaper of the two plans Tweepi offers is $10.75 per month when paid annually or $12.99 per month when paid monthly. I can’t afford that, even though I recognize it would be somewhat beneficial to subscribe to a service like Tweepi.

My conclusion:  My world does not revolve around Twitter. I’m sure some of my “followers” are no longer “following” me. If they aren’t interested in books, writing, or an occasional political Tweet from me, that’s okay. I understand that literary agents and book publishers may want to have a clear idea of how many interested followers I have on Twitter, but it’s just not important enough to me right now to pay to get that information. It’s something to reconsider when I’m closer to getting a novel published.

  1. MarketHub

Mr. Arnold, of course, recommends that bloggers use MarketHub, since he is the company’s founder. His downloadable referenced above under Tweepi, states, “MarketHub pumps out extremely high value curated tweets on your behalf.” MarketHub offers a 14-day free trial. I hesitate to sign up for free trials because sometimes they’re difficult to cancel before a subscription fee kicks in. I have no idea if that’s the case with MarketHub, and I haven’t been able to find out how much MarketHub charges after the free trial period.

My conclusion:  I don’t really want a computer somewhere writing Tweets for me. I’d rather do my own writing. Period.

  1. Commun.it

With a free account, Commun.it will send out automatic weekly “Thanks for following me” Tweets; however, those Tweets include a flashy advertisement for Commun.it. I learned that the hard way. That was embarrassing! This has continued even though I went to the website and deactivated this feature which I admit I should have been aware of when I signed up. I’m still trying to determine how to best manage social media. I can’t afford a Business Account on Commun.it.

My conclusion:  I don’t know how to get rid of Commun.it. Maybe if I ignore their e-mails long enough, they will stop sending out “Thank you for following me and, by the way, don’t you also want Commun.it to send out Tweets on your behalf without your knowing it?” e-mails.

Chris Andrews, a writer in Australia who reads my blog and I read his, advised me a few days ago to look into using Clicky.com. It’s a free service that should help me with this. I signed up for it, but there’s a glitch somewhere in a code so it’s not up and running for me yet. Stay tuned. Thanks again, Chris.

  1. Moz.com’s Keyword Explorer

I keep reading online that if I’m going to have a successful blog, I must use the trending keywords in my posts and in the posts’ titles. Otherwise, my SEO (Search Engine Optimization) won’t be good. In other words, no one will find my blog.

Moz.com has a service called Keyword Explorer that helps a blogger find keywords that would be most advantageous for him or her to use in order to drive more traffic to their blog. I don’t mean to bad mouth moz.com, but their cheapest plan would cost me $948-a-year, if I chose to pay annually. If I chose to pay monthly, my annual cost would be $1,188. Ouch! That’s more money than I’ll make this year from my writing. A lot more.

My conclusion:  Keep looking.

  1. Google Keyword Planner

I looked into using Google Keyword Planner, another service that would find the best keywords for me to use in my blog post titles. Surely, it would be cheaper than Keyword Explorer. If I understood the adwords.google.com website correctly, they will “help” me for free as long as I spend at least $10-a-day on ads. No thanks! I don’t have a published novel to advertise yet.

My conclusion:  As of November 21, 2016 – just four months ago today – my blog had 220 followers and had been visited by people from 32 countries. As of 11:30 last night, I had. . . drumroll, please. . . 1,000 followers and my blog has been visited by individuals from 42 countries. I must be doing something right, and I’m not spending an arm and a leg to generate traffic.

Proof of my 1,000th blog follower on March 20, 2017!

My general conclusions today about social media

I keep a daily check on my blog and my accounts with Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. As long as my follower numbers steadily increase, I’m happy. And I must admit that I love seeing the flags appear on my blog’s sidebar as people in different countries visit the site. (See, I’m not completely against social media, and I’ve always loved geography!)

Social media should be fun. It should bring people together – even people who don’t agree with each other on the topic being discussed. I will continue to blog and use Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. I might continue to use Google+. Two weeks ago, I created an account with Instagram. I might even use it someday.

Until my next blog post

Rest assured that I do my own writing. That’s what writers do. They write.

It upsets me when someone takes my words and claims them as their own.

It upsets me when someone writes words and claim that they are mine.

For the time being, except for those pesky Tweets commun.it keeps sending out, I plan to write my own Tweets, figure out my own keywords for my blog post titles, and refuse to stress out over who is following me on Twitter. Life is too short!

I take Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, as my example. She didn’t play by any of the rules dictated by the publishing industry in her lifetime. I’ll play by the rules as necessary, but I’m not going to let social media control my life.

This blog post makes me sound angry. I’m not angry. Just venting some frustration. Not ready to draw a line in the sand.

I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I hope you have quality writing time.

Janet

P.S.  Relax. My next blog post will be a sample of my writing. With any luck, it won’t be controversial and won’t contain any rants or venting.

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Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2017 Theme Reveal

What is the Blogging from A to Z Challenge?

The Blogging from A to Z Challenge is an annual challenge open to all bloggers during the month of April. The first challenge was issued in 2010 and has steadily grown in participants each year. It is open to bloggers who write about any topic. I just learned about the challenge a couple of week ago.

Theme Reveal Day: March 20, 2017

My Blogging from A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal

Each participating blogger selects a theme for the challenge. My theme is Janet’s Writing Journey. That’s the theme of my blog already, but this challenge will force me to delve into some aspects of reading and writing that I maybe wouldn’t have written about otherwise.

How does the Challenge Work?

The challenge is to blog 26 days during April. This is based on the fact that there are 26 letters in the English alphabet. Each blog post must have a connection to a letter in the alphabet in chronological order. Posts are made on Saturday, April 1, then Monday through Saturday of each week through the end of the month plus a post on Sunday, April 30.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge Badge 2017

My Thoughts about the Challenge

This will be a challenge for me in more than one way. As you know, I usually only blog on Tuesdays and Fridays, so blogging 26 times in April will be a stretch for me. Add to that the requirement to connect with a specific letter each day, and it will definitely be a challenge!

In case you don’t want to receive a blog post from me every day, I ask you to please bear with me in April. I plan to go back to my usual blogging routine in May.

Until my next blog tomorrow

I hope you have a good book to read. (I’m reading Right Behind You, by Lisa Gardner.) If you’re a writer, I hope you have quality writing time. If you’re a blogger, I invite you to consider committing to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2017. Information about the challenge can be found at http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/what-is-blogging-from-to-z.html.

Janet

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5 things I learned about Social Media this weekend

If you follow my blog, bless you! If you follow my blog, you know that, among other things, I share my rocky journey into the world of social media. If you’re in the same boat, I hope you have found some information in my blog that was new and helpful to you.

Today’s post deviates from my plan to share a piece of my history writing. On Friday, I plan to post an article I wrote in 2007 about an 1897 head-on collision between two trains in Harrisburg, NC. Today I share my thoughts about five areas of social media that have come to my attention over the weekend.

Contact form on my blog

I was so proud on Friday that I’d figured out how to insert a comment form within the body of my blog. So far, that form has been a total flop. No one used it. If it was used, it didn’t work. I won’t try that again unless or until I learn how to benefit from it.

Quora

I mentioned Quora.com in my blog post on January 27, 2017, 3 Things to Try on Social Media in January , http://wp.me/pL80d-tt) and I’ve played around some with it some. Over the weekend, I found a 6-minute February 10, 2017 podcast offered for free on http://mschool.growtheverywhere.libsynpro.com/how-to-attract-9000-visitors-a-month-from-quora-ep-194 that/which gave several suggestions for those of us who are still trying to figure out how to best utilize Quora – or, more specifically, trying to determine if it is even a good tool for us or not. My problem is that I’m far removed from my college studies of political science to address most of the questions that come up in that area and I don’t feel qualified to answer questions about writing until I’ve gotten my first novel published. Bottom line:  I’m leaving my options open with Quora as I continue to find my niche.

Pinterest

On Saturday afternoon I finally got serious about trying to figure out where historical fiction fans hang out on social media. Finding https://www.statista.com/statistics/246183/share-of-us-internet-users-who-use-pinterest-by-age-group/ was helpful in a round-a-bout way since it presents the statistics for Pinterest users in 2016. Here’s the age breakdown:

36% 18-29 years old

34% 30-49 years old

28% 50-64 years old

16% 65 or older

I can’t afford full access to statista.com, but this bit of free information was helpful. These stats are not specific to fans of historical fiction, but I enjoy using Pinterest and it is beneficial to know what age people use it the most. It’s a piece of the puzzle.

I learned from Pinterest Analytics that I average having 13,440 views per month, but only 174 of them were engaged in my content. My most popular pin in the last 30 days was Chimney Tops Hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In fact, three of my most popular pins were from my Great Smoky Mountains board. I originally set up that board (and the Blue Ridge Mountains board) to help draw attention to my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. If this book sounds interesting to you, you can purchase in paperback or for Kindle on amazon.com.

I read another WordPress.com blogger’s post pertaining to historical fiction writers. https://kmguerin.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/social-media-for-historical-fiction-writers-part-4-facebook/https://kmguerin.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/social-media-for-historical-fiction-writers-part-4-facebook/ gave a good suggestion:  Find a trending topic or article related to the time period you are writing about and post it. I have a board on Pinterest, “Novel in Progress:  The Spanish Coin,” in which I pin photos and information pertinent to 1771 in the Waxhaws area in present-day Lancaster County, SC, as well as the Rocky River Presbyterian Church community in present-day Cabarrus County, NC (part of Mecklenburg County in 1771), and Salisbury, NC. These are the three geographic locations in my novel. I have 69 pins and 24 followers on that board as of February 20, 2017. I need to attract more people to that Pinterest board. I invite you to visit me on Pinterest by clicking on the Pinterest icon in my blog’s sidebar. Pin this blog post to one of your Pinterest boards by clicking on the Pinterest icon below.

Reading Medieval historical fiction author K.M. Guerin’s July 18, 2016 Time-Worn Pages blog post, https://kmguerin.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/social-media-for-historical-fiction-writers-part-4-facebook/http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-get-more-pinterest-followers/ tipped me off to the fact that I was giving my blog readers a way to pin my posts to their Pinterest boards or share a link to my blog posts to their Facebook pages, but I did not provide a way for them to connect with me on social media. The proverbial lightbulb finally came on, folks!  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I am not technologically savvy. What I’ve learned, I’ve had to dig up myself. I suppose that’s the best way to learn something new, but it surely is tedious. I read the above link to socialmediaexaminer.com on February 18, 2017 and worked until I figured out how to add “Follow me on Social Media” buttons in my blog’s sidebar. You wouldn’t believe what a sense of accomplishment that gave me!

LinkedIn and Instagram

I also picked up some ideas from reading a February 29, 2016 blog post by Jessica Lawlor on The Write Site. (https://thewritelife.com/quick-social-media-tips-for-writers-part-2) You can follow Jessica Lawlor on Twitter @jesslaw.) My takeaways:  (1) Republish some of my blog posts on LinkedIn; and (2) Instagram is a platform where I can build my brand and community, and I should refer to the link to my website or blog as found in my profile (i.e., using the words “Link in profile” somewhere in my post) because LinkedIn only allows accounts to display one link. I haven’t given up on LinkedIn, and I haven’t tried Instagram.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.

Janet

5 Things to Try on Social Media in February

I learned a lot recently about LinkedIn from reading an online article by Lucy Jones on www.Hubspot.com (https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/fatal-linkedin-prospecting-errors-and-how-to-avoid-them#sm.0001shiksp16m8e91xasmjpt77n4a) titled “4 Fatal LinkedIn Prospecting Errors and How to Avoid Them.” (To follow Lucy Jones on Twitter:  @LucyJones_SIC.)

LinkedIn Terminology

Did you know that LinkedIn is a B2B prospecting resource? I didn’t have a clue what a B2B was, so I was lost from the start. Google is my new best friend. By going to that search engine I learned that B2B means business-to-business. “Prospecting” on LinkedIn apparently means looking for like-minded people or others in your field of interest. Most of the online information I found about prospecting on LinkedIn was geared to commerce. I’m interested in connecting with other historical fiction writers and fans of southern historical fiction.

Last week I had to identify my “ideal readers.” Now I find out that I must also identify my “ideal prospect” on LinkedIn. I think I’ll need two ideal prospects – one would be my ideal reader and the other would be my writing mentor.

I read that I need to start thinking of myself as an adviser on LinkedIn. I’m not supposed to “connect” with just anyone or everybody. I apparently need to solve someone’s “pain” or “buyer-pain” on LinkedIn. (I don’t know about you, but some of this LinkedIn lingo is becoming a pain for me!) From what I’ve read, I’m supposed to connect with people and tell them what “value” I can offer them from my expertise. Since I’m not an expert on anything, this is going to be a challenge!

Quoting from Lucy Jones’ article, “You’ve got to have a link with a prospect to have a successful ‘in’! There are multiple ways to leverage LinkedIn for introductions to prospective customers. But if you connect out of context, you’re doing more harm than good.”

Then there’s the LinkedIn etiquette to learn. It’s pretty much common sense or common courtesy if someone gives you a referral it’s only right to acknowledge the referrer.

Just when I thought things were beginning to make sense, Ms. Jones cautioned LinkedIn users (are users called Linkies?) as follows:  “If a good fit prospect is all over your site, engaging with your non-gated content….” Whoa! The next thing I need to do is find out what non-gated content is, so I switch back to my Google window.

My Google search led me to a 2014 (It appears that I’m already three years behind!) article on www.LinkedIn.com (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140930153625-5817117-to-gate-or-not-to-gate-4-best-practices-for-using-content-for-lead-gen) titled, “To Gate or Not to Gate? 4 Best Practices for Using Content for Lead Gen,” by Shannon Rentner. As soon as I read the article title I was reminded that the more I learn, the more I have to learn. In other words, I don’t know enough to even know what I don’t know!

I was also reminded that trying to learn all the lingo of the various social media platforms at the age of 64 is probably not ideal, but here I am. Too bad I couldn’t learn all this 40 years ago! (Forty years ago I had mastered typing on an IBM Selectric typewriter and moved right along to struggle with how to write a rudimentary computer program and feed it into a keypunch machine in graduate school. When I walked out of the computer lab with my first stack of keypunch cards, I thought I’d attained the zenith of technology. Think chisel and stone tablet.)

I digress. Ms. Rentner gives the following definition of a gate:  “It’s the form an online user fills out in order to access a piece of content. This is also called a “Landing Page.”

Terms such as gate, un-gate, lead capture, and organic search are sprinkled throughout Ms. Rentner’s second best practice recommendation. The takeaway for me was that I need to have a giveaway on my website’s home page and other platforms. This can be an e-book or a document I’ve written. This actually sounds doable. All I need to do is figure out the logistics.

Ms. Rentner’s third best practice was that I should have a presence for my “product” on several social media “channels” like www.JanetsWritingBlog.com. Or @janetmorrisonbk on Twitter.

The fourth best practice Ms. Rentner recommends is about landing page optimization. This includes getting my prospect to fill out the form I should have for them to fill out in order to enter my giveaway contest.

Getting back to Lucy Jones’ article, the third fatal error is not following up with a prospect at the right time. The fourth fatal flaw is, “Having a poorly optimized LinkedIn profile.” This involves sharing content via Pulse – which I know nothing about. It also involves tagging contact. Perhaps this will become clearer when I stop reading about LinkedIn and start using it.

My brain says

In light of all I’ve presented in today’s blog post after reading Lucy Jones and Shannon Rentner, my brain tells me to do the following:  Revisit the LinkedIn account I created in 2013 and (1) improve my profile; (2) identify my ideal reader; (3) identify a writing mentor; and (4) write an article to post on LinkedIn. Also, (5) figure out how to give away a short story I’ve written.

My reasoning brain says

In a perfect world in which I would not have chronic fatigue syndrome and the energy and memory problems that are part and parcel to that illness, I might pursue the five tasks my brain is telling me I need to do in the immediate future. I don’t live in that perfect world, though. The reasoning part of my brain says, “Wait a minute. You know you aren’t able to commit the time and energy that would be necessary to accomplish those things.” I will add these five items to my to-do list but, at best, I will be able to tackle them slowly.

Hitting the reset button

Social media is not my forte. I’d rather be editing my novel manuscript, working on the sequel, and reading books I want to read. Social media demands have dominated my time and energy for the last several months. I’m doing social media because I want to get my name and brand out there as a writer. When the social media aspect of the writing process precludes me from writing fiction, though, I believe I’ve gotten my priorities out of whack.

I want feedback from writers!

As a writer, what is your experience with LinkedIn? Have you seen benefit from using LinkedIn? How much time do you devote to LinkedIn? Which social media platform have you found to be most beneficial to you and your readers?

I want feedback from historical fiction readers!

As a fan of historical fiction, do you connect with writers on LinkedIn? More importantly, what is your go-to social media platform for following your favorite writers?

I want feedback from librarians/media specialists, book editors, & book publishers!

What value have you found in LinkedIn for connecting with writers?

If you’re on LinkedIn

My account name is Janet Morrison – Freelance Writer, Aspiring Novelist.

Another way to contact me

I’m finally adding a contact form here. (I hope it works!)

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time. I will still be finding my way!

Janet