Self-Publishing, Tips

Writing With Pitches

Writing With Pitches

Happy Monday! If, you know, there is such a thing.

I hope you all enjoyed my Writer Resources series. There may be a few more I add at some point, but my research on them is, as of right now, incomplete. If you haven’t checked those posts out, here’s a list of the resources I covered:

Trello
Wix
SkillShare
Marketing Edition
ProWritingAid
Legal Stuff

So, what’s this writing with pitches thing? I’m no baseball fan—much to my Braves fanatic husband’s chagrin—but I encountered a problem in my own writing this week and I found myself naming the solution with baseball terms.

I have no idea why. Seriously…I don’t do sports.

Except bowling, apparently.

As I relay this rather odd mashup of baseball and writing, the pitcher will be the writer and the hitter will be the reader. I will be the one gritting my teeth and hoping that any of this makes the least bit of sense.

The Change Up

In baseball, the change up pitch is thrown in such a way that the hitter thinks the pitcher has thrown a fastball, but really it reaches the plate rather slowly.

Change up_

The main goal of a writer is to engage readers, and predictability doesn’t exactly get the job done. Done the right way, though, you can lead your reader to think that one thing is going to happen, but then blow their mind and give them something else.

Not all that long ago on this blog we discussed tropes. Tropes lend some predictability to your stories, which isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world. Romance readers want to see certain tropes, but imagine shaking things up just a little bit and giving them a moment that makes them gasp.

The Fast Ball

The fastball is pretty self-explanatory. It’s fast.

Fastball_One thing you might want to check the speed of in your story is pacing. Pacing can be difficult to get right, because while you don’t want it too slow, you also don’t want it too fast. The slower paced moments allow your reader to totally indulge in the emotions you endeavor to evoke or to take a breather after intense, fast paced sections.

What I am referring to as the fast ball is getting from one point in the story to the next by skipping the unnecessary bits in the middle. This might require a scene break or it might require recapitulation of the behind-the-scenes events.

Example 1:

Lucas hung his head as the clock ticked closer to the time his wife would come home. He’d fixed her dinner, bought her flowers, and even changed his shirt after work—something she’d cited as one of the many things she wished he’d do…and she’d cited it many times. The garage opened, and Lucas went through the motions, disinterested in eating but he was a man of his word. He knew they’d argue—again—afterward.

♦♦♦

“Thanks for dinner,” Tracy said. “But it doesn’t change anything. We didn’t solve anything this morning. And today, she called my office! Your whore. How do you think that makes me feel? Just when I think I can deal with this…I just can’t.”

In this example, we took the fast lane approach to their dinner. It wasn’t important to the story. Ironically, the dinner wasn’t the meat and potatoes of it. So, why waste three-hundred words on something that will likely bore your readers?

Example 2:

If we had decided not to skip the dinner scene, maybe we could recap it instead. That might’ve looked something like this:

It was just as he suspected: Tracy came home and dropped her keys before walking past him with nary a word. Her perfume stood in the doorway longer than she did. They ate, looking at anything than the other. The clink of their forks against their plates replaced the loving words they used to share. The quiet would last only as long as the potatoes.

It was no mistake he’d made so many.

So, if while you’re revising, you find you have some slower passages that aren’t giving you the desired effect, try tossing in a fastball.

The Knuckle Ball

The knuckle ball is thrown for unpredictability. The hitter has very little idea whichKnuckleball direction the ball is going to go, thus making it difficult for the hitter to decide how to swing.

The trick as a writer when deciding to write in your own type of knuckle ball is that you need to know where the ball (plot) is going to go. You may want to work up to a climax that has the reader guessing—maybe there are three people you want your reader wondering about when they’re trying to determine who the killer is.

Of course, you’ll want to weave in some subtle clues.

This was one of the pitches I threw into Alabama Rain recently. I found myself hating the words I was tacking on for a couple of days.

I am one of those writers who goes back and rereads the last day’s work before I get started on a new day’s work…and I couldn’t pinpoint what the problem was at first, but when it got to the point where I just couldn’t keep writing in the direction I was going, I knew I needed to backtrack and toss in knuckle ball and a change up.

Afterwards, the words flowed freely, and I was happy with them again.

Unlike in baseball, in writing we want these pitches to result in a home run for our readers. Can you think of any other names of pitches and how they might be a metaphor for writing? If you have any ideas to contribute, I’d be tickled pink.

Before we go, I’d just like to remind you that while my writer’s resources series may be over (for now) my giveaway for a year’s subscription to ProWritingAid and a $15 Amazon gift card is still going!

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Have a wonderful week, my friends!


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Goals, Marketing, Organized, Positive Mindset, Self-Publishing, Success Mindset, Tips

Writer Resources: Legal Stuff

WR_ LEGAL

Today’s writer resource post is going to be a little different. It doesn’t have the flash or whimsical appeal of the fun stuff like design. It doesn’t usually incite excitement. It is probably something writers avoid even more than they do marketing.

Legal sh!t.

Does an indie author need to worry about the legal aspects of running a business?

It depends.

Are you writing stories and putting them onto Wattpad for free consumption? Do you primarily share your work only on your blog? If yes, you can probably skip all of this legal mumbo jumbo and instead enter my giveaway for a year’s subscription to ProWritingAid.

If your ambitions carry you further than that, then you may want to start thinking about how to keep yourself out of trouble with local, state, or federal authorities. I want to make one thing absolutely clear before we continue:


I am in no way offering any legal advice. I am simply sharing my experiences and opinions. Please do not misconstrue any of this as legal advice. As with everything, you need to conduct your own research and proceed how you feel is best for you. I cannot, and do not claim to, replace the advice of legal counsel, an accountant, or a tax professional. Laws vary from country to country and from state to state. I can only speak to laws I have encountered in the United States.


Now that we have that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get down to it.

If you’re an indie author who sells their work anywhere, including Amazon, guess what? You own your own business! It can be hard to wrap our heads around that, but it’s true.

When you’re starting up a business, one of the first things you need to decide is what kind of business are you going to be? The two types of businesses which will appeal to most indie authors are sole proprietorship or limited liability company.

Sole Proprietorship

This is the way most of us operate on default. There’s very little one must do to set themselves up as a sole proprietor—in fact there is no start up documentation required by the US Federal Government. Licenses and permits may be required and will vary from state to state, so check with yours if there are any requirements.

Sole Proprietorships often operate under a DBA, or a “doing business as” (think of it as the pseudonym of the business world) which will require some sort of filing most of the time.

In fact, if you use a pseudonym that could be your DBA. Or even the name of your imprint.

Acting as a sole proprietorship is usually just fine for most indie authors.

Limited Liability Company

It is my opinion that starting an LLC (which isn’t a cheap process) is overkill for most indie authors. I can see this becoming more important if you expand your business to offering services or goods that go beyond fiction.

If you offer editing services, design services, marketing services…any sort of service (like all of these for-profit coaching programs I’ve seen a few indies promoting)…there is always the chance someone may at some point sue you. The likelihood of this happening may not be high, but it is there. An LLC protects you from losing your livelihood in the event someone wanted to be litigious.

If you are interested in learning more about these two business types, I recommend using Legal Zoom.

small_logo
Regardless of the type of business you choose to go with, there are a few things you’ll want to consider:

Budget

quickbooks_online_preview

Every business needs one. Figure out what is a reasonable amount of money for you to spend on your writing business and then figure out how to allocate those funds. There are many options for budgeting software. The first one that comes to mind is Quickbooks from Intuit.

Quickbooks

WaveAccounting_logo1

Once you start listing your expenses, it may be difficult to stomach adding on an additional monthly expense just for the…sake of keeping up with expenses…I get that. So, I would be remiss if I didn’t show you a free option!

Wave

Of course you can always do this for yourself using Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. The more complex your business needs get, the less likely you’ll want to do this, though. Excel can be a bit intimidating to learn, but there are plenty of classes available on Skillshare to help you navigate Excel’s murkiness—as well as tons of business classes!

 *afflink*

If you’ve read this far, I’m going to guess at least a few of you have wondered why the hell all of this is important if you haven’t even sold your first book.

You’ll need to talk to your tax professional, but counting your losses on your taxes might be a very good thing for your bottom line come tax time. The list of things you may be eligible to deduct may surprise you.

You might be able to deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage as a business expense if you have a dedicated office space. From what I’ve seen you break your rent/mortgage down by the square foot and you can deduct the amount of the square footage. (So, if you have a 1000sqft apartment and your rent is $1000 per month, you could deduct from your taxes $50 per month if you have 50sqft of dedicated home office space.) Again, please check with your local laws.

You might be able to count mileage if you go to trade-related conventions or if you go somewhere for research purposes. Part of your utilities, internet, new tech, educational classes—there is a long, long list of things you may be eligible to deduct.

Here is a list of a few of the things am looking into deducting:

Images used for marketing
Stock footage used for marketing
Images used for book cover
ISBNs
Title setup fees for Ingram
Trade books
Website plan fees
Tickets to trade conventions
Gas/mileage to trade conventions
The cost of giveaway items
A portion of my internet bill
plus more…

Legal, shmeagle…amirite?

I know legal stuff isn’t sexy. But, congrats Indie! You are a small business professional, and all of this boring legal shit may be very important to you.

You know what is sexy? A FREE YEAR OF PROWRITINGAID, that’s what!

My giveaway is still going on strong, so don’t forget to enter!

Until next time! Have a fantastic week!


 

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Writer Resources: ProWritingAid

WR_ PWA (2)
I am so excited to bring you this resource!

You may have noticed that a ProWritingAid ad has been placed on my blog posts, and if you’ve wondered why it’s because I believe in their ability to help every writer at every skill level. I have been a faithful ProWritingAid user for over two years now, and I will remain so as long as I have stories in me I want to share.

Cost: The free version allows you to edit 1000 words at a time, only online. (great for blog posts or emails) The paid version allows you to edit unlimited words with their website or right inside your Word document, Scrivener document, in Mac, or in Google Docs. What about the paid plans? See below:

Capture

While this is the priciest resource you’ll find in this series, it is for good reason. This program is amazing. You’ll hear that a lot throughout this post, I’m sure.

Pros: This will not only show you things that need to be fixed, it will teach you why, and in turn it will make you a better writer. The support is amazing, and they endeavor to provide you with amazing content outside the editor.

Cons: If you’re using the plug-in for Word (which is how I use it) and the program feels you’re analyzing too many words at one time, it will let you know. If you get this prompt and you choose to analyze the large document any way, be warned it might take a while to analyze, and on occasion it has crashed Word on my computer, but this has only happened once or twice and I have never lost any work because of it. If you edit in smaller chunks, which I recommend anyway, this becomes a non-issue, negating the only con I can find.

Ease of Use: ProWritingAid is freaking powerful. There are a lot of things you can do with it, therefore there is a lot of things to learn. Once you have spent some time with it, it is super simple and the interface is user-friendly.

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How’d I Find It, Anyhow?

Sometimes I cannot remember how I came across a certain resource. Sometimes it’s a tweet. Sometimes it’s a YouTube ad. Sometimes I just get lucky. But I know exactly how I came across PWA, and it was no accident. See, there is another program out there which claims to help you with your grammar. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

I used to use this program. I hated this program. So I searched for something better, and boy, did I find it.

Online Editor

If you want to try it before you buy it—which I recommend in all things when possible—the online editor is a great place to start. First thing is:

Capture

Click “Editing Tool.” That will you bring you to this screen:

Capture

Copy and paste into the document area what you want to edit. If you’re using the free version, remember it will only edit 1000 words at a time. (Again, that’s usually good for a blog post or email.

You’ll choose what report you want to run (or you can run multiple at a time) and then sit back and watch as they make glorious suggestions! Of course, as the writer, you have final say. For instance, PWA will flag a lot of grammar issues in Alabama Rain because I use incorrect grammar for several of my characters’ dialogue. Obviously the program isn’t going to make the distinction and it is up to me to decide what to keep and fix.

About Those Reports…

This would be an incredibly long blog post if I give you information about all twenty-three of those reports, so I’m going to choose my five favorite.

Overused Report

Overused Words | We all have words we fall back on. When I wrote the first draft of Sex, Love, and Technicalities, I thought this report was going to make me cry. I plugged in the first chapter of Alabama Rain to show you what these reports look like. This is unedited, absolutely raw work—ought to be fun. 😉

This is actually much better than I expected, and much, much better than my first pass with Sex, Love, and Technicalities. Why? Because using ProWritingAid helped shine a light on what I needed to improve upon.

What I won’t show you (for reasons) is how it highlights all of these instances in the document so you can find them easily and decide what, if anything, you want to fix.


Grammar Report2
Grammar Report | 
Remember how I said the grammar report would go a bit crazy for Alabama Rain? Yeah, this didn’t surprise me, and as such, I’m not going to fret about a large portion of this report. That said, I’ll still go over it with a fine-toothed comb.

For the sake of this post, I did go through a few of the issues it presented me and I found something I hadn’t done on purpose, therefore will change it. I’ll show you what that looks like:

Grammar Report

It’s like having a grammar teacher at my disposal. I love it.


Consistency ReportConsistency Report | Traveling. Travelling. Canceling. Cancelling. There are a lot of words that are nearly identical, but not quite in American-English vs. British-English.

Those instances are extremely difficult to catch as you’re reading through because it is rare for your word processor to mark them for you. With this report, you’ll see each and every one. Miss a quotation mark? This’ll find it. It finds all those little inconsistencies.

What about my red flags?

Consistency Report2

It flagged them, but they’re used in different ways, therefore not an actual issue. Don’t be put off by this. It’s still worthwhile to check all inconsistencies.


Pacing ReportPacing | This report is important and I run it with every project. It is, though, highly subjective. It doesn’t even mark slow paragraphs as an issue because they aren’t technically an issue unless they’re back to back or filled with sticky sentences. (Another report that will absolutely force you to grow as a writer. Believe me.)

It highlights the paragraphs it finds slower so you can see how they’re spaced in your manuscript. In my case, I might try to “fix” two of them, but the others I am fine with.


Dialogue ReportDialogue Report | This report helps me keep track of the dialogue tags I use, and how much dialogue I’m including in a given chapter.

I prefer using say/said or ask/asked, so that’s all you see here. But in other chapters I know I’ll see a whispered peppered in. In the 40k+ words I’ve written so far, there’s one shout and I’ve decided to keep it.

If you’re a writer who is trying to break yourself of using telling dialogue tags, this is indispensable.


And that’s just FIVE reports.
FIVE.


Integrations

I am a Microsoft Word user. I tried to get into Scrivener, but it just didn’t work out the way I’d hoped it would for me.

Never fear, if you’re a Scrivener user, ProWritingAid has you covered.

But, I do use it directly in my Word document, so I’ll show you what that looks like:

PWA WORDThis little menu lives at the top right-hand corner of Word. Notice how it says “Creative” there? That’s because that’s the style it’s assigned to my writing. (Cue awww) This affects the way ProWritingAid analyzes my work. You can change this, depending on what you’re writing.

Other than that, the reports perform just the same as they do if you use the online editor (with the added benefit that I can edit more than 1000 words at a time and because I can work right inside my Word document instead of copying and pasting.)

Word Clouds

Do you love word clouds?

I do.

ProWritingAid gives you all kinds of options if word clouds are your thing. All kinds of ways to style it. Just for fun, I’ll post one for Alabama Rain…but not the first chapter. Let’s go with Chapter Nineteen. I don’t know why. Just because.

WordCloud


Beyond the editor, ProWritingAid has an amazing blog. They post writing prompts. Confused about a report? They explain them in detail. They’re excellent teachers. They’re active on social media and prop up indie authors like me all the time. There is so much to love, that I am sure I will have to publish more than one blog post about them this year.

If I still haven’t convinced you how much I love them, then listen up.

Giveaway Time!!

I’m giving away a FULL ONE-YEAR SUBSCRIPTION to ProWritingAid! Also, I’m giving away a $15 gift card to Amazon for you to use anyway you wish! Want to enter? Of course you do. Click the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway is open until May 12th—with an option to enter every single day to increase your odds.

May the luck be with you, scribes.

Don’t want to wait to try out ProWritingAid? I really don’t blame you. You can use the following link to sign up for a free two-week trial!

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That’s all I have for you today, friends. I wish you happy writing, happy reading, and the best of luck!


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Getting To Know Aila, Positive Mindset, Self-Care, Work In Progress, Writer's Life

Aila’s Day Out : Smoky Mountains

QG - Smokies.pngThe mountains are calling, and I must go.
-John Muir

I have this terrible knack for saying I’m going to do something for myself and not doing it. I wind up feeling guilty for a multitude of reasons and can come up with more excuses than George RR Martin can come up with characters to kill.

Tuesday I felt those familiar pangs rising up, threatening to thwart my plans for yesterday. Chief among those guilty feelings was the fact I was going alone. I’m not opposed to being alone. I’m one of those people who sometimes feels lonelier in the company of people than I do when I am, in fact, by myself.

I devoted some time to exploring these feelings, though—something I rarely do, but should do more often. I realized I felt crummy about it because I’d penciled in some locales that my husband and I hadn’t experienced together. I guess it’d equate to if one of us watched an episode of one of our shows without the other one. So, I scratched those ideas and decided I’d go to some of my tried-and-true favorites. Places I don’t mind seeing over and over again, which isn’t really the husband’s cup of tea. (Not that he doesn’t enjoy these places, but he’s not one for as much repeat business as I am.)

Now, this may sound odd, but while I’ve never lived in the Smoky Mountains, I feel more at home here than anywhere else. There’s a certain sort of peace of mind that washes over me when I lay eyes on these hills. Maybe it’s what an addict feels when they get their fix. I don’t know.

I left my house at 6:00 am.

Let that sink in.

I’d leave this early for all of my trips if my husband would too. Leaving this early meant I’d gifted myself the sunrise over Flat Rock, NC (just minutes away from Carl Sandburg’s House. It was a little foggier than I’d like, but that’s the mountains for you.

(Also, since I was by myself, I wasn’t able to capture pictures. Cue sad face.)

When I got into Asheville, North Carolina it had started raining. But I wasn’t afraid, this is also just par for the course in the mountains. Weather is extremely unpredictable.

But when I got on the Smoky Mountain Expressway?

Fog. Oh my goodness.

But then when I got into Maggie Valley?

F. O. G. FOG, FOG, FOG!

I’d planned on walking around Maggie Valley to take some pictures, but that didn’t happen. Here, to see what I saw of Maggie Valley, close your eyes for a second and picture a gray box.

That about covers it.

I hadn’t intended on getting on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but I thought maybe I would elevate above the blasted fog and actually see something. You tell me:

photo (34)

This was actually the best view I had on the Parkway for several miles.

I began to get a little discouraged. I mean, I’d come early for a reason, and that was to beat the crowds, not get swallowed by a thick pea-souper. So I meandered down the BRP, even slower than required, because the freakishly thick fog required it.

And I’m glad I didn’t give up, because eventually, somewhere past the Bunches Bald overlook and the Thomas Divide (Elevation change -1190 feet), Mother Nature must’ve had a cup of coffee, because the fog lifted and I couldn’t have been more elated!

IMG_3039

Now, if you are ever on the Southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway (which, I suggest adding to your bucket list) look for Balsam Mountain and take that road all the way to the end where you’ll really find Balsam Mountain road, which is a twisty, winding little one-way road (meaning do not begin this road if you don’t intend to finish, because you have no choice. Have snacks, drinks, and above all else make use of the facilities located conveniently before the road starts.)

If I had been in my SUV, and if it hadn’t been so foggy, I’d have taken you down this road with me. There are some excellent chances to see wildlife: I.E. BEARS.

Instead, I journeyed on to a very special place, one I’ve been visiting since I was, as they say, knee-high to a grasshopper.

Oconaluftee Visitor’s Center has changed much (new facilities built in 2011), but it’s better than ever. First thing on my agenda was the mini-museum.

Normally we fly through this, if we even visit it at all anymore. But I took my time reading the signage and watching the videos. It really is a neat stop.

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It might be hard to see in the slide, but the chair is the one used by Roosevelt at the dedication ceremony in 1940, the site of the ceremony is just about a 25-30 minute drive up the mountain toward Tennessee—unless it’s peak tourism time (especially leaf season), then you’re looking at closer to an hour or more.

After I’d had my fill of the museum and shopping (where I bought a jar of chow chow for husband and peach preserves for me) I decided to explore the old farm, braving the cold (and boy was it cold!) and really allowing myself time to study the buildings and the information stands.

I hadn’t realized how ingrained in my memory that cabin had become over the years, because it is nearly a carbon copy of what I envision for Corrie, Nelly, and Mabel in Alabama Rain (though, not with a second story).

I also walked along the Oconaluftee River as long as I felt safe doing so. I wasn’t as worried about bear here as I was Elk. They are notorious for being in this area of the park, and with it being springtime, I wouldn’t have been excited to happen upon a pregnant Elk, or worse, one with a baby.

After I’d finished with the farm, I felt a rumbly in my tumbly and thought it best to have lunch. I’d packed my own, so I decided to drive up to Newfound Gap and teeter along the NC/TN line just so I could say I’d been in four states in one day (Georgia would come later). My view for lunch:

IMG_3119

Not shabby, eh?

Now, when I left Greenville at 6am it was over 70F.

It was 34 at Newfound Gap. I didn’t care to be outside the warmth of the car very much. I did volunteer to take a picture of a nice elderly couple. She took his picture first, then he took hers. I stepped out and asked if they’d like to have one together. I think it was like Christmas for them! I chatted with them a while. They were fascinated that I’d travel there alone, what with the bears and snakes (not in 34F!) and general scariness of being alone. Truthfully, I was enjoying the solitude.

I contemplated driving the seven miles to Clingman’s Dome, but if it was 34 at Newfound Gap, it was likely to be mid-20s at Clingman’s, so I thought better of it. I did see some worn-out hikers coming up the Appalachian Trail, which is always neat. I envy them so much.

It was still only a little after noon, so I decided to stop in at Mingus Mill (which you saw pictures of already. Here are some that didn’t make the video.

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If you notice the trail that runs along side the water, aptly named Mingus Mill Trail, that’s a really neat one to follow. A little rough, a little steep, but really worth the effort if you’re ever in the area long enough.

When I departed, I decided to make a loop. Going back the way I came would’ve been just fine, but why not see more stuff?

Not to mention, the loop afforded me the opportunity to stop in and surprise my parents.

Once I made it into Georgia there were two stops I wanted to make. One of which, and I’m sure you’ll agree, is one of those places that could only happen in The South.

It’s freaking Goats on The Roof.

Goats. On the Roof.

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I’m a sucker for goats.

There are actually some neat gifty things inside, and if it had been warmer I’d have gone to the sweet shop and taken pictures of how they make ice cream (liquid nitrogen!)

But, be forewarned: Walking in some areas may result in goat poop raining from above.  They are living creatures. They’re on the roof. It’s got to go somewhere. Do not let children run amok here, I’ve seen them try to feed the goats hamburgers. Not cool.

My final stop (with pictures) was in Tallulah Falls, Georgia. Most people mistakenly call it Tallulah Gorge (though, that is why people come here.)

I didn’t go to Jane Hurt Yarn, but you should. I’ve been there many times, and would’ve stopped in on this trip had I not planned on stopping in to see my parents. I did, however, stop at the best overlook in town that happens to have one of the neatest shops!

(Also, I think it’s fun to note that even though it was roughly 20 degrees warmer here than at Newfound Gap, the wind coming off the gorge was insane, thus making this the most frigid stop on my trip!)

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Why the moon pies?

You’ll find out when you read Alabama Rain.

This concludes my day trip yesterday! I hope you enjoyed reading about it and all my pictures. If you haven’t been in this area, I totally suggest it. It’s gorgeous and full of character. I wish I could be your tour guide through my mountains!

Now, about the giveaway…

I know I was supposed to announce what all is included, but I am still waiting to hear from one of the companies, so while I do want to share it today, I also don’t want to potentially disappoint. So, please bear with me and come Saturday if I haven’t heard back from this company yet, I will select another one and go from there.

I will give you a hint, though, already locked in for the giveaway is a full-year’s subscription to one of the services you’ve seen popping up on my blog lately.   Including this one. Quite possibly below. 😉 Nod, nod, wink, wink.

See you soon, friends. xoxo


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Writer Resources: Marketing Edition

WR_ Marketing

I wasn’t supposed to blog about this today. I had intended on blogging about another resource, but as I was writing it, I realized I didn’t quite have enough information and it felt incomplete. So, here goes plan B.

It’s a three-fer.

The resources I’m introducing you to tonight will help as you dive into the wonderful world of marketing. [enter gagging sound]

Pexels

Cost: Free
Pros: Free High-Quality Stock Photos
Cons: Limited library
Ease of Use: If you can use Google, you can use Pexels
Website: http://www.Pexels.com

Pexels

This is pretty straight-forward. You enter a search term and you surf for images. Sometimes when you search for something, there will be pages upon pages of images to choose from…other times there will be only a few.

There is a sister site that advertises at the bottom, often times with nicer pictures you can purchase. My advice, though, is always search for free images before you decide to purchase. Especially on things such as a graphic for Twitter or Instagram. Save your picture budget for photo covers or paid advertising.

Let’s pretend I’m making some materials for Alabama Rain, and I’ll look up pictures of barns.

barns

Now, let’s say I want the bottom left-hand barn. I click it, and then what?

No attribution
There are a few things I want you to pay attention to after you’ve clicked on the photo and before you click the free download button.

Check to make sure the photo is okay to use for commercial use.

Check whether attribution is required.

Don’t be that person who uses an image you aren’t supposed to. You wouldn’t want someone to replicate or use part of your work without permission.

If the photo requires attribution, give it.

Now, do you see the down arrow to the right of the Free Download button? Hover over it and you’ll see a drop down menu.

Choose A Size
You can choose from several sizes or create a custom size if that works best for you.

Outside of this, there’s not a whole lot more to tell about Pexels.

Are you a photographer? You can also share your photos on Pexels to help other creatives.

So, now you’ve got your image, but what are you going to do with it?

Pixlr Editor

Cost: Free
Pros: Fairly powerful web-based image editor
Cons: Takes a little time to learn, sort of mimics Photoshop
Ease of Use: If you can use Photoshop, this is easy to learn, not for beginners
Website: http://Pixlr.com/editor

Pixlr

Create
The first thing you want to do is create a new image.

New Image
Name your image and give it some parameters.

A lot of people guess what their size should be or they aren’t concerned about it at all and think the platform they upload it to will automatically convert it…this isn’t always the case.

A simple Google search can tell you what size to make your image based on what you’re creating it for.

New Image AR

These parameters and file name can be changed if needed.

Anyway, let’s see what we can accomplish fairly simply with our barn image and some of Pixlr’s capabilities.

Here are just a few of the options and tools in the Pixlr arsenal:

 

As you can see, if you are familiar with Photoshop, there are a lot of similarities. Now, if there is any lingering interest in learning more about Pixlr, you’d do well to look up some tutorials on YouTube, though if you shoot me a message, I’ll do my best to help you.

So, what was I able to make really quickly in Pixlr with that image we got from Pexels?

The before:agriculture-barn-clouds-248832

The after:
New Barn

Not bad for about fifteen minutes.

PlaceIt

Cost: Varies
Pros: Simple, easy to use, takes little to no effort.
Cons: Could do this on your own if you learn Photoshop (Not necessarily Pixlr)
Website: http://www.PlaceIt.net

PlaceIt

Get ready to settle into your desk chair or couch, because if you’re anything like me you are going to find yourself obsessively searching through these mockups.

omg.PNG

SO. MANY. OPTIONS.

undone

While I was looking through the above page, this picture jumped out at me.

I hadn’t planned on actually creating a mockup for this post, but this one wanted me to. It practically whispered at me to announce my second summer project. So, this is a surprise even to me, but here goes nothing.

Within just a few clicks and uploading a few images I had a really nice little image for marketing. (Seriously, this took only about two minutes to upload all the images, crop them, and download it.)

Sure, I could probably make something similar in Photoshop with a little time and a lot more effort, but for $8.00? Think of all the time you could save making things like this and actually writing. Without further adieu, let’s see what two minutes and eight bucks got me:

placeit (1).png

That’s right, it’s time to release the prequel novelette I’ve had stashed on my hard drive for about two years. I’ll be doing this sometime this summer, after it’s all edited and polished. 🙂

That’s all I’ve got for you today, my friends. I hope these resources will help you along your marketing journey! Have something you’d like to share with the class? Please tell me all about it in the comments!

Sometime before this series is over, I’ll be revisiting marketing resources and giving you a glimpse of how I put together my book trailers.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

I know I’m not scheduled to write another blog post this week, but I’m doing something for myself on Wednesday, and I am going to be publishing an extra post on Thursday to tell you all about it.

Be sure to check it out because I’m also going to announce the super-awesome-mega-amazing giveaway that is accompanying this series. Trust me when I say, you are not going to want to miss out on this one.

Until Thursday, lovely people!


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Q1: How’d I Do?

Q1 - How did I do

I promised I’d be honest with you guys. No matter how much it hurts. It’s time to pony up and tell you the truth about how I did with my goals for quarter one.

If you’d like to see the full blog post where I laid out my plans, click here.

Here goes nothing, ya’ll.

1.| Print business cards. I did this, but I didn’t like them. Which, technically, wasn’t my fault. So, I’m going to count this as done, but it’s something I need to redo.

2.| Print bookmarks. DONE!

3.| Get signed copies of my books for sale. DONE!

4.| Write 65,000 words of Alabama Rain. Oh, so not even done. I’m about 20k shy…which is embarrassing.

5.| Update the website at least once per month. DONE!

6.| Send three newsletters. DONE!

7.| Keep up with the blogging schedule. DONE!

8.| Utilize Instagram 5x per week. Oh, yeah, no, I did not do this.

9.| Update both the cover and interior of Sex, Love, and Formalities. DONE!

10.| Attend the Writing/Book Festival in Dahlonega, GA. Sadly, I did not get to go. 😦

So, I accomplished 70% of the goals I gave myself for this quarter…but I’m really upset for not hitting my word count goal. That one stings a lot.

Going purely on testing standards, I passed for the quarter. By my standards, however, I should be flogged. I mean, sure, I could give some solid excuses—especially for not getting to the book festival—but I won’t. Besides, I said in that blog post that I’d only consider myself a success if I accomplished 8/10.

I am stupidly proud of keeping up with my blog schedule, and also for not giving up on my newsletter. Also, while I didn’t hit my count goal, I am proud of the feedback I’ve received on Alabama Rain thus far, so even if it is taking me a little longer to write, I am proud of how it is shaping up. I guess that matters more? I’m going to tell myself it does.

It was a busy quarter both as a writer and in my personal life, and I’m going to try not to give myself too much grief for not accomplishing one more of those goals.

So, what about Quarter Two?

Here’s what I hope to accomplish over the next three months:

1.| Tweak and reprint the business cards.
2.| Reach 80,000 words in Alabama Rain.
3.| Form a solid book launch sequence/plan.
4.| Send three newsletters.
5.| Keep up with the blogging schedule.
6.| Finalize Alabama Rain’s cover.
7.| Utilize Instagram 3x per week.
8.| Host a giveaway.
9.| Update the website at least once per month.
10.| Explore three ways of increasing sales of SLT & SLF.

Again, I will consider the quarter a success if I accomplish 8/10 of these goals.

I will update you on how I’ve done on Thursday, June 28, 2018! That’s all I have for you today! Have a fantastic weekend! xoxo

P.S. If you haven’t checked out the interview Vania Rheault did with me, click here to check it out! Her blog is fantastic…which isn’t a surprise, because she is fantastic!

 


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Writer Resources: SkillShare

WR_ SKILLSHARE

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you’re in for a fantastic, productive week! I had a really nice weekend, though not as productive as I’d hoped—but our oldest nephew spent the weekend with us, which was worth it. My husband took him to the SC ComicCon, and then we went downtown for some Pokemon Go, and stayed up late playing Boss Monsters…a card game based on 8-bit video games. (Side note: I’m the reigning champ!)

But the weekend is gone, and it’s time to get back to all things writerly. This week, in my Writer Resources series, I am super excited to introduce you to SkillShare!

*Afflink*

Costs: You can access SkillShare for free, or you can upgrade to a Premium Membership
Premium Membership Costs: Monthly: $15.00 or Annual: $8.25/mo billed once
Ease of Use: If you can navigate YouTube, you can navigate SkillShare.
Usefulness: Amazing

What’s The Big Deal?

Being an indie author means you must wear a lot of hats. You’re a writer, an editor, a designer, a marketer, a publisher, an accountant, a social media manager. You are taking on every single role filled at a publishing house and the ones they outsource.

It’s all on you, baby. 

Your forte may be crafting your story, but you don’t have a clue about design—but you need an advertisement, or a book cover, or a simple blog post visual. You might be tempted to jump onto Microsoft Paint and give it your best shot, thinking you’ll do better next time.

Don’t.

You owe it to yourself and your work to give every aspect of the writing process the best chance it can have. If you can’t afford to outsource everything (which, most of us can’t), then you need to make learning these things a priority.

Enter SkillShare.

What Kinds of Classes Are There?

SkillShare1

As you can see, there is a category to help the indie author in almost every stage of the writing process.

Here are just a few writing-centric things I’ve personally sought help with in SkillShare:

• Storycrafting
• Outlining
• Drafting
• Editing
• Character Development

There are literally thousands of classes for writers.

SkillShare2

Take a look at the enrollment stats of some of these classes! This is because these teachers have incredible passion and have gone to great lengths to provide you with a valuable learning experience.

Some of the classes are shorter, around a half-hour long, whereas you can see some are longer, like the one approaching two hours (top, middle). Never fear, though. These longer classes are broken into shorter, more appetizing bites, making it a lot easier to complete classes on your own time table.

What about those other hats we talked about moments ago? You know, the ones that are a little more difficult, the ones that might make us scream into our pillows or drink an extra scotch. Let’s look at just a few of the other topics close to the writer’s heart:

SkillShare3

A quick search for cover design gave me over six-thousand results.

Whether you’re aiming to learn how to design in Canva, PhotoShop, InDesign, or GIMP…there are classes for you. Learn to use the program, then learn steps to design something highly professional. There’s something for every skill level.

SkillShare4

Marketing: Aila hates it. It’s true, I find marketing to be the single most-daunting aspect of being an indie author…but with SkillShare, I’m trying to change that.

Classes Vs. Videos

I’ve talked about SkillShare with someone before and they asked me what the point of it was, since there’s this little thing called YouTube where you can learn stuff, too.

Well, here’s the thing: YouTube is great, and sometimes I also go to YouTube in order to learn something…but SkillShare is comprised of classes.

Enrolling in classes means you’re going to have teacher-led videos. Many, if not most, of the teachers I’ve found on SkillShare have homework assignments or projects attached to their classes, and you have the opportunity to complete solo-projects, interact with other students for support, guidance, or simply to do a little networking.

Often times when you complete a project, the teacher will review it and give you personal feedback…not something you’ll find on YouTube.

SkillShare5Why Premium Membership?

I wholeheartedly recommend signing up for the free membership first and looking around to see if SkillShare is for you before signing up for the Premium Membership. But, it does have its perks. (See the list on the left.)

Regardless of which membership level you choose, I truly believe you’ll find SkillShare’s platform beneficial for you and your creative business endeavors.

Do I Use It?

I do.

I’m currently taking marketing classes, but I’ve also used it to help strengthen my storytelling, learn new methods for outlining, and web development.

My experience with SkillShare has been nothing but positive.

 

Learn on Skillshare*Afflink*

Recommended Teachers

• Daniel José Older
• Jenna Moreci
• Laurie Wang
• Gary Vaynerchuk
• Mike Pickett

If you’re tired of feeling like everyone else is passing you by or that you’re the last to know something, but you aren’t being proactive in your own journey…what are you waiting for? Sign up. Take some classes.


**Disclaimer** Afflink means an affiliated link. Clicking and using one of my Afflinks in no way changes the price of any product or service you sign up for, but does provide me a small commission. I will never post affiliated links for products or services I do not believe in or use myself.


That’s all I have for you today, folks! I do hope you’ll give SkillShare a shot! If you do, give me a shout in the comments below and let me know which classes you’re taking and if you discover a favorite teacher.

See you Thursday when I get to tell you about all the quarterly goals I’ve failed…yeah, I’m not looking forward to writing Thursday’s post.

At all.

Wait! One more thing!

Just a little head’s up…Check out Vania Rheault’s blog tomorrow, March 27th! 🙂 Actually, check it out any time, but most definitely tomorrow. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Have a fantastic week, my friends! xoxo



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Writer Resources: Wix

WR_ WIX

Welcome back! In this week’s post, I am bringing you Wix. I’m sure you’ve seen their advertisements on YouTube—Rhett and Link from Good Mythical Morning are currently spokespeople. You might have seen some advertising on television too, though I’m not entirely sure about that, since I haven’t had television service in about five years now.

If you’ve seen it and you question whether it could really be as simple as they make it out to be, let me spoil the rest of this post for you: IT IS.

The Particulars

The Price: You can use Wix for free. You won’t have a custom URL, which I like, but it will look like this: username.wixsite.com/sitename/page-url. If you want to upgrade to a premium plan so you can use your own domain, here is the price breakdown as of today’s posting:
Wix Prices (1)

Ease of Use: ♦♦♦♦♦


What’s The Fuss?

Before I stumbled onto Wix, I spent several weeks fighting with another hosting site which, at the time, seemed to advertise more. This other website, let’s call them SquireSparce…claimed to provide a website building platform which was super simple and gave highly professional results. It…didn’t.

Wix really does.

Not only can you drag and drop, resize, and generally edit your website flawlessly, they also make it super easy to edit the way your mobile site looks and feels, too.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization is this crazy, headache-inducing hullabaloo that eludes almost everyone. It is important, though. Wix guides you through all the tough stuff, though, and within a few clicks you’re far better off.

Newsletters

If you tossed a virtual rock around the writing community, you’d hit on at least three-dozen separate blogs and vlogs advising that writers have a newsletter and email list. You can absolutely use a service like MailChimp for this, but if you have your website with Wix, you needn’t look any further than their integrated Shoutouts system. It is just as easy to create professional-looking newsletters as it is to edit your website.

In my humble opinion, we writers should focus the majority of our time to our books. The platform-building and marketing stuff is important, too, but if you can streamline your marketing time and keep yourself in as few places as possible, that just frees up more writing time. Boom!

Tons of Apps

Want an easy-to-customize contact form? They’ve got it.
Want to integrate your Instagram feed? It’s simple.
Want to add a status tracker your readers can see on where you are for your WIP? Not hard at all.

There are hundreds of things you can add to your Wix site,
so simply you won’t find yourself reaching for the aspirin.

Easy to Use

I know I’ve said this a few times in this rather short post, but it deserves to be repeated. Instead of attempting to show you its beautiful simplicity through a series of screencaps, though, I found a short video on YouTube I recommend watching if you’re interested in learning more about it.

I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is

$14 per month, to be exact.

If I didn’t make it clear in my last post, no matter my skill level in the resources I’m bringing to you in this series, I believe in them 100%. I use Wix for my website, and WordPress (obviously) for my blog. Why? Because there is no other blogging platform I’ve found that compares to WordPress.

If you’d like to see what my Wix-built website looks like, please give it a gander, by clicking here. (Bonus points if you sign up for my newsletter!)

That’s all I have for you today, friends. I hope you have an excellent, super-productive week! See you soon!

xoxo,

Aila


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Getting To Know Aila

HBD Daisy!

HBD Daisy

Ten years ago, on St. Patrick’s Day, my mother-in-law called my husband and I to tell us

Daisy
This is Daisy around two years old. Not a single gray on that sweet face.

 her dog had had a litter of puppies.

The mama dog’s name was Biscuit, and there were two important facts about Biscuit that are important to this story: She had long, curly hair that hid her pregnant belly really well, and when she was adopted the previous owners said Biscuit had been spayed…so this was a very unexpected litter of pups.

A few days later we visited the MIL’s house to look at the new babes and I instantly fell in love with one of them.

And it wasn’t Daisy.

Penny
This is Penny, the original pupper I had intended to bring home. She’s super little and sweet as can be. Her tininess, though, brings with it a few health complications.

Daisy was the runt of the litter, and while she was cute, she wasn’t the one I wanted to begin with. I wanted the biggest pup in the litter. She was like a miniature version of a chocolate lab, and I was still grieving the fact my parents had re-homed the chocolate lab we’d had since I was a kid. (After my brother and I moved out, my parents downsized.)

So, we waited the six weeks to go back and get the brown fur ball and the puppies were all crawling around and exploring and generally the cutest things you’ve ever seen, of course. We sat on the couch with our new little dog and fawned all over her, but while we did this little runt of a thing worked very hard to get my attention and she crawled all over me and gave me kisses on my chin and yawned and fell asleep on my chest, and completely won my heart.

So, we went home with two puppies that day.

It took us a while to name both of them. It wasn’t until we went to go buy them each collars that inspiration came for Daisy’s name. She was so tiny there wasn’t a single puppy collar that fit her. We had to buy her a collar meant for a kitten, and I chose one with a daisy pendant on it.

It was still sort of big for her.

In the interest of brevity, I’ll skip ahead to when my niece and nephew (very little at the

Daisy5
Daisy won’t actually gnaw on her “chewies” until my husband or I pretend we’re trying to steal it from her.

time) visited. If memory serves me correctly their dad had just gotten word he would be doing a stint in Afghanistan (might’ve been Iraq, I can’t remember which came first), and they were both trying to be very brave about it. They wanted one of our pups, and they fell in love with the dog I had first fallen in love with—who, funnily enough, had started as the largest puppy in the litter and turned out to be the tiniest after they grew up!

That puppy is still in the excellent care of my now grown niece and nephew, and her name is Penny. All of the puppies in that litter were given names beginning with P, except for Daisy. What can I say, we’re rebels.

Anywho, Daisy has seen me through some really troubling times: miscarriages, nearly losing my father on multiple occasions, a few relocations, and the death of one of my nephews. She sticks with me when I’m sick, dotes on me when I have a migraine, and somehow she always knows if my back hurts and that’s where she curls up next to me to act as a natural heating pad.

Daisy2
About four years old, Daisy started sporting a little gray around her nose. I adore this wittle face.

Ten Fun (I think, anyway) Facts About Daisy:

• She has a plethora of nicknames, and she answers to all of them. Some of my fave are:

Doodle
DooBop
Doobie
Daisy May
Doodlehead
Angel Face

Daisy4
Around five years old, a day after surgery.

• While her favorite treat has always been cheese, a close second is watermelon.

• She and my father have a very special bond, too. If I ask her if she wants to go see her Papa, I’d damn well better take her.

• She grew up with a cat, therefore she loves cats. She doesn’t understand when they don’t love her back.

• When she was very little she had two squeak toys, a rhinoceros and a hippopotamus, and she knew which was which and would bring whichever you asked her for.

• She gets up with me at 4:30 every morning and sits in my lap while I drink my coffee. Then she goes back to bed when I leave for work.

• She’s super protective of my husband’s feet.

• She gets jealous when my husband and I hug each other, so we sometimes put her between us for a “Doodle Sandwich.”

• Like most dogs, she loved to wrestle in her more spry years. But even when she was

Daisy3
I was cleaning out the pantry and she decided I needed help.

young and rowdy, if you said, “Okay, it’s time for love now,” she would instantly stop rough-housing and go back to being sweet.

• Daisy loves confined spaces. When she was a puppy we had her on such a sleep/crate schedule that if we were late going to bed, she would get in her crate by herself and stay there all night. Now she doesn’t have a crate, but she will sneak off and sleep in the linen closet almost daily. She loves it so much, we have to leave the door open for her.

Yes, she’s spoiled. Yes, she’ll get presents and a special dinner for her birthday…and yes, I am aware she is a dog.

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know my canine-kid. Have a great weekend and Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

PSA: Don’t drink and drive. Call a cab, call an Uber, or have a designated driver.

Until Monday, my lovelies! xoxoxo


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Writer Resources: Trello

Copy of WR_ PWA“Why do anything unless it’s going to be great?”
Peter Block

 

Welcome to my next blog series: Writer Resources!

I’ve been told on more than one occasion I come across some of the most interesting resources, and sometimes I mention one of them in my blog and I’ll get a DM on Twitter (or an email, actually) for more information about it.

So, I figured I’d bring you a series dedicated to some of my favorites, as well as navigate a few still new to me. The lineup I’m bringing you samples everything from organization, to editing, to design, and everything in between.

It was difficult to decide where to start, where to end, and how to get from A to Z! The natural choice, however, was Trello—my favorite organizational app.

The Particulars

Price: Free for Personal Use | 9.99/mo for Business Class | 20.83/mo for Enterprise
Ease of Use (Web): ♦♦♦♦♦
Ease of Use (App):  ♦♦♦♦♦

Introduction

I was first introduced to Trello shortly after its release and I used it to help me organize a 10k word paper I had to write for school. If you are familiar with the “pin board” concept of Pinterest, then you’ve already got an idea of how Trello works. Let me show you:

Trello - Web Boards

 

Great for Web | Great for Mobile

photo (1)

If you’re anything like me, you float from using a desktop or laptop to using your mobile device for all things regarding your writing career. It was important for me that however I organize my thoughts and ideas be just as useful on my desktop as it is my phone, and Trello does not disappoint.

In fact, it’s the most seamless web/mobile transition I’ve ever encountered. It is nearly instantaneous to add something on your Trello app and then find it on your desktop and vice versa.

This is EXCELLENT for people who design something on their desktop and then want to add it to Instagram.

I take full advantage of any opportunity I have at work or during travel to go over my Trello boards and examine how I’m doing on my goals (which each board contains goals) and I’ll work on my plot and character outlines.

Creating a Trello Board

Creating a board is super simple.

Trello - Web Boards (1)

I don’t want to show the contents of my active boards, so for the sake of this blog post, let’s start a sample board.

But sample board is kind of boring, so let’s make a fictitious story board. We’ll use one of my scrapped titles: Someone Else’s Dream.

Trello - SED Added to Boards

Add it to one, and it’s automatically on the other.

Now let’s enter the board and start fleshing out this novel.

Trello - SED Adding Cards
Ever had an app that didn’t function as well in landscape as portrait or vice versa? Trello works well in either. Actually, I can’t think of a thing I don’t like about it.

The first card I always add when I’m starting to organize my novel is the first little spark of the idea. I know the heading says synopsis, but that might not always be the first card I add, especially if it is a brand new idea and I haven’t actually made a synopsis. I never want to forget the first thing that sparked the idea, because, in my opinion, no matter how much the book changes from inception to publication, that little nugget of inspiration is the truth of the novel.

 

For instance, the idea that sparked Alabama Rain was a little line of dialogue from the voice of an elderly lady. “Besides, don’t God’ner the Devil want me.”

Therefore, that is the first card on my Alabama Rain board. I never want to forget the surge of energy those few words gave me, and it comes back to me whenever I read it.

(Bonus points if you guessed what I’m watching in the background by reading the character names…for the seventh time.)

Inspired Organization

Did you notice how my existing Trello boards all have different pictures for their thumbnails?

Once I have really narrowed down the feel of the book, I change the background image from the default color to an image in keeping with the tone I’m going for. It’s just one more little way I can get slip myself into the mood for writing.

See where it says menu on the right-hand side? Click that and then you can decorate!

Trello - SED New BG
Once I start getting ideas for scenes, I add a list for scenes and I start adding in cards with very loose ideas for them. The great thing about Trello is that you can drag and drop them to rearrange them.

Power-Ups

Let’s take a closer look at the menu bar.

Trello - SED Menu

If you’ve been saying to yourself that you can more-or-less do all of this in Scrivener so far, pay attention. Now, I’ll admit it’s been a while since I’ve toyed around with Scrivener, so I apologize if I have missed something, but these Power-Ups are something you cannot do in the popular writing app.

Trello - SED Power-Ups
There are an astonishing number of power-ups you can integrate right into your Trello Boards.

If you are using the free-version, as I suspect you are, you are limited to only one power-up per board. The paid-versions do allow you to use as many as you want.

There are power-ups for just about everything, from calendars to MailChimp and so much in-between.

For the sake of this demonstration, let’s set up a calendar that will help you track your word counts and writing goals.

Trello - SED Calendar

Once you enable the Calendar, you need to assign yourself some goals. Create a list of word count goals.

Trello - SED Word Count Goals

When you click on the goal, it will open up this menu:

Trello - SED Adding Due Dates

Once you’ve added in a due date, it will show up in your calendar. I will go ahead and set several due dates so you can see what it looks like.

Trello - SED Calendar with Due Dates

photo (9)

Reminders

It’s a good thing those are fictitious word count goals! 😉

The cool thing is that you can set your calendar to give you reminders. In fact, earlier, while I was writing on this very blog post I got a reminder from Trello that I had a blog post due tomorrow.

There have been a few Thursday blog posts that wouldn’t have been written if it weren’t for these Trello reminders.

Also, thanks for all the Instagram love. ♥♥♥

 

Information Hub

Beyond keeping up with word counts and scenes, Trello is great for keeping absolutely everything about your book in one place. As you’re writing and plotting and planning, it’s a great idea to start planning for how to market your book, so I always keep a marketing list in the story’s board.

I am a huge fan of having a book trailer, so let’s look at how I might go about planning for this book trailer. If your thing is getting into bookstores, or printing up bookmarks, coffee cups, pens, or anything at all, this will be helpful.

Trello - SED Marketing

Trello - SED Book Trailer

Notice how I added a due date, and added reminders such as which website to check out? These are things I would likely forget if I just scratched out “Book Trailer” in my planner.

One of my favorite things about these cards is the Checklist feature I’ve circled in the picture above.

What I use this for the most is when I want to do a giveaway. (Hint, one will be announced really soon.)

I will list everything I want to include in the giveaway and check them off as I acquire them.

Trello - SED Book Trailer Checklist

I hope this has convinced you to at least give Trello a try.

You can find the app in your App Store, or you can visit the Trello website to sign up.

If you already use Trello, I’d love to hear any hints, tips, or tricks you use to maximize your organizational experience, and if you haven’t tried it but this post has inspired you to do so, please let me know in the comments!

***I get absolutely nothing if you sign up for an account. This post is not sponsored, and all opinions are my own. I am a long-time user of this service, and am only sharing it with you because I believe in it.***

That’s all I have for you today! Don’t forget to tune in next week!

Happy organizing and happy writing!

Xoxo,
Aila


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