Tag: Google

Have You Had Enough of Me Yet?

A deluge of sales promotions, newsletters and reminders to check out the latest and greatest overflow your email inbox. I get it. The same thing happens to me. You’re probably sick of reading another post from me so soon after the last one.

Now you’re in luck.

Starting this month, I’ll be reducing the number of blogs I post each week to…one.

That’s right.

Even though I’ve been told to update my website with new content several days per week, I’ve decided that my days of blogging are slogging.

One thing that convinced me to make this move? This article by Writer’s Digest writers.
I’ve been slacking a little more each month. It’s been a chore to come up with content I think might interest you while still working at the school and writing new fiction.

According to the writing professionals at WD, new readers aren’t going to find me through my blog. And those of you who enjoy reading my fiction aren’t all that interested in following my blog.
So why am I blogging again?

To give my URL traction with the Google search engines.

I’m not even sure that’s been happening.
As much as I’ve been struggling with the stories, it’s been even more of a chore to find interesting tidbits to post here every week.

And writing shouldn’t be a chore. Not in any form.

But I want to connect with people who are actually reading my writing. In all the years I’ve blogged regularly (and there are YEARS worth of content on this site), I’ve never had a conversation in the comments of my blogs. People comment on the shared links on Facebook. Or maybe send a private message.
The comments here are scarce. Which leads me to believe that this isn’t the best forum for connecting with my audience.
I’ve started a group on Facebook. If you want to talk about my books, give me advice on what to write next and learn about upcoming releases and sales, click over there. Join up, my friend, and let the conversation begin.

Starting today, you’ll only see posts from me every Monday. Unless you’d like to see them on Thursday?
Okay, next week I’ll post on Thursday (but that’s the day after a U.S. holiday this week). Maybe I’ll check my site stats after that and determine if more people visit when I post on Monday or Thursday.
Or is there another day of the week you’d like me to post?

What Would Wonder Woman Do is actually a book

You can learn all sorts of things typing something as simple as a phrase into the Google searchbar. That’s what a did last week while struggling to come up with another post for my Wonder Woman Does Thursday feature.

I simply typed “What would Wonder Woman do” into the search bar. (I was happy to see my original blog introducing this series on the first page of suggestions.) And I found out not only is there a book with this title, but also a Facebook personal blog.


Perhaps I should have done the search BEFORE I claimed the catch phrase for a series on my blog.

What if it was trademarked?

Anyhow, you can check out the Facebook blog here.


Doesn't it look like a fun read?
Doesn’t it look like a fun read?

Here’s the description from Amazon: Beyond saving the planet, let’s not forget that Wonder Woman also holds down a full-time job. In this hilarious and empowering handbook, the most popular female comic book character unveils her secrets for being a super hero in the office and finding your inner Wonder Woman. Ace a job interview, combat a tyrannical supervisor, move up the corporate ladder, handle office romance, and more. Pairing original comic book art with wry text, this colorful hardcover is perfect for the working girl looking to unleash her inner superpowers onto the daily grind.

Reviews suggest this is a perfect gift for someone who loves Wonder Woman. Or even as a gag gift for someone at your office.

Feel free to add it to my wish list. I’d be happy to have a few chuckles along with Wonder Woman.

And who knows, it might even give me more blog ideas.

What is the strangest thing you discovered while doing a Google search?

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Road to Self- Published – Promoting your Release Date

release date

This whole “promoting” thing just isn’t my thing. It feels like tooting my own horn. Or going door-to-door with a case of encyclopedias.

Sure, I mentioned every stage of writing this book on my Facebook page. I posted about my release date on social media forums, but it felt superficial.

How do you promote your release date? What do the pros have to say about it?

The most important thing to do, they say, is build up an email address list. When they time is right, blast these people with information about your new work in well-timed increments. Sounds so easy, doesn’t it?

Or not.

As of this writing, I have seventeen addresses on my email list. Yes, as in NOT EVEN TWENTY.

And I’ve done everything the experts recommend except create a pop-up for every visit to my site. (I hate pop-ups. Don’t you? I don’t want to be that person.)

Creating an Email List

Every page of your website should have a prominent display for signing up for a newsletter.

I can check that off. Except…I fear I may have confused people because I have a space to follow my blog posts (and 200 people do follow it) right above the newsletter sign-up.


The newsletter sign-up is a relatively new addition to the site. I’m getting ready to mail out only my second newsletter this Friday. It announces – you guessed it – the upcoming release. And offers links to my site and the purchase pages.

The logic behind collecting email addresses is that people are asking YOU for something. They WANT to hear about your upcoming books and events. You aren’t spamming them with information they never asked for in the first place.

Social Media

I hear mixed things about using social media to promote your book’s release date.

First of all, you should have a presence on your media sites of choice BEFORE you start slamming everyone with requests to purchase your book. Show up and talk to people about things that interest you.

Share their Tweets. Like their posts and pages. Be authentic.

When you’re ready to release your book, don’t hammer your feed with the same link over and over again. I’m aiming for once per day for ten days leading up to the release. Then once per day for the first week.

After that, I hope people will be Tweeting or posting reviews about my book. Then I can share their comments, keeping the subject alive without looking like all I ever do is shove my book in people’s faces.

There might be a science to this, but I don’t know it.

Street Team

Okay, I failed at this.

I tried to find some people – even friends and family – who would willingly read an advanced copy of my book and post a review of it.

My sister and three of my writing friends signed up. I don’t know if any of them will actually finish the book (well, my sister did), or write a review once the book is up on Amazon and Goodreads (which it should be tomorrow or Monday, April 27).

I sent them an email offering a link to a private page on my website that listed simple things they could post each day on the social media venue of their choice. I tried to keep these blurb-ish statements short enough for Twitter. Most of them include links to the order page or my website.

Image by Tim Grahl timgrahl.com

The truth is – I don’t want to promote Reflections from a Pondering Heart. It doesn’t feel like the story belongs to me.

It is an important story, though. I want people to read it. I pray it helps them gain a better perspective of people from the Bible we often ideal-ize.

They can’t read it if they don’t know it exists. They won’t know it exists unless the word gets out. Somehow.

Aren’t there some Book Promo Brownies who take care of this sort of thing?

What would you add to this discussion? What do you feel is the best way to promote your book’s release date?

Additional Resource: Book Publishing Guide

Research: method not madness

Knowing how to do research is a real-life skill. It’s something kids should be taught early and continue to practice throughout their 12 to 16 years of education to keep their skills honed. The best news about this is that research is uber-simple in our internet-driven society.

Most kids these days don’t even know what an encyclopedia is or how to use one. “Unless you mean Wikipedia?” No, I mean a large, hard-bound volume with subject matter alphabetized that used to be sold door-to-door and required updating every fifth year (if not sooner).

You can be certain every person under the age of 16 is looking at me like I’m speaking a  foreign tongue. They can’t imagine a world in which information wasn’t a mouse-click away. And I’m glad they can access this database with such ease.

Of course, to me, this makes them even more responsible for knowledge. After all, with information at their fingertips, they have no reasonable justification for ignorance. And yet…

Every person on the planet will research something at some point. Perhaps it will be how to buy a home or make the perfect roasted turkey. Maybe it will be to check out how to treat colic or what sort of things to do on a vacation in Mexico.

I’m a fan of research when I have a question and I’m seeking an answer. To complete a paper on the topic of symbolism and literary theory? Not so much.

In either case, research methods in the 21st Century are nothing like they were as little as 20 years ago (in the 20th Century). With all the information available on the World Wide Web, ignorance should be a fading phenomenon. Or not.

questions1This is what I do when I’m performing personal research (meaning I have a specific question I want answered):

  1. I open my web browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, etc.)
  2. I type my question into the Google search box
  3. My first stop is generally Wikipedia (more on this later)
  4. Using the sources at the bottom of the Wikipedia article, I narrow my search to a more defined and reliable set of sources.
  5. I will likely return to Google and type my much more specific search terms into the search box
  6. I start clicking on the articles based on which sound the most authoritative (given their source) and applicable
  7. I have never had to go past the third page of a Google search to find as much information as I need

I know every scholar shuns Wikipedia. It’s an open source database and anyone can modify the articles within it. Citing it as a source on any paper you write for school or work will destroy your credibility.

I avoided it when I first began my college degree coursework in 2010. Imagine my surprise when more than a year later, I had a professor (of psychology I believe) advise her students to begin their research with Wikipedia.

You can shut your mouth now. Yes, it’s hanging open just like mine was upon hearing this advice. From a woman with a doctorate no less! Insanity.

Her logic involved finding the specific information needed for your project in a condensed version. Once you found the general facts, she advised scrolling to the end of the Wikipedia article and using the sources listed for the information you want.  Real research and note-taking could begin with those resources.

Let me tell you this was so much quicker than searching through the library database of scholarly journals. Many times, a journal article would be cited in Wikipedia, and I could just search for the specific journal and have the source at my fingertips in minutes.


I’m still not a fan of doing research unless I have a specific question to answer. For this reason, I generally won’t research things for my novels or stories until I’m in the middle of the project and need the information or after the first draft is done.

Does this make tons of extra work? Not really. There are plenty of things that will need clarification and additional description during the rewrite. Why not put a big highlighted note in the manuscript and let the story flow rather than being side-tracked by the jumble of information you’ll find once you start researching?

Another reason I prefer this method is to avoid the dreaded “information dump.” Have you ever read a book and felt like the author was trying to make you an expert on a subject? They included so many facts and figures your head mimicked a carousel.

If you’re like me, skimming the text commences at this point. If I wanted a lecture, I would have opened something other than a fiction novel. Further, it smacks of “talking down” to the reader when you give them more information that what is necessary for the story.

But once I get a plethora of cool facts in my head, I want to share them. If this is you, I have some advice. Tell your spouse (they’re used to tuning you out when you talk) and save yourself the agony of having your editor red-line a paragraph or more of hard-won words.

No one likes to see that, do they?

Do you think the ability to effectively research is an important life skill? If you’re a writer, do you research before, during or after the first draft of you fiction novel? (Nonfiction is a different sport altogether.) What’s your research method?