Friday Roundup – 13 January

Stevie’s weekly roundups are great. Be sure to check in each week and see what goodies are there ☺.

Stevie Turner

1. Chuck Sambuchino gives 38 query letter tips:

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/pubtips-query

2.  Writer’s Digest tells us of 2 literary agents seeking submissions:

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/new-literary-agent-alert-rock-pascocello-glass-literary?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=wds-csa-nl-161228&utm_content=908716_GLA161228&utm_medium=email

3.  Are you writing a thriller?  Publisher Bloodhound Books are looking for submissions:

Bloodhound Books open for submissions!

4.  Colin Dunbar asks ‘Is it possible to publish a book for free?’

https://thecompleteselfpublisher.com/publish-book-for-free/

5. Gordon Long at Indies Unlimited says ‘Design your book to sell’:

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2017/01/09/design-your-book-to-sell/#more-70153

6. Written Word Media gives us the top 10 trends in publishing that every author needs to know:

https://www.writtenwordmedia.com/2017/01/04/top-ten-trends-in-publishing-every-author-needs-to-know-in-2017/

7.  Blonde Write More gives us 10 things her creative friends have taught her about blogging (I especially like the one that begins ‘If you aren’t in the arena…’):

10 Things My Creative Friends Have Taught Me #Monday Blogs #BloggingGals #AmWriting

8.  Andrew Joyce introduces Sunrise Editing Services via Chris, the Story Reading Ape’s blog:

Introducing: Sunrise Editing Services…

9.  Thanks to Rachel Poli for these Jan/Feb writing…

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Welcome!

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It’s been a minute since I’ve welcomed all of the newbies in. Of late, I’ve been blessed to receive quite a few follows and I’d like to say, welcome to The PBS Blog! (*throws invisible confetti*) I also want to thank our regulars for liking, commenting and reblogging our posts. I recognize your support as a vital instrument to the growth of this blog.

In the meantime, please be sure to visit the About Page to learn more about me and this blog.

One thing I do often on this blog is re-post older post with or without mention that it is a repost  I do this to rotate the blog post that may not have gotten much attention when it was originally published or (and most especially) to give those new to this blog an opportunity to see them.  Learn more about how you can self-evaluate your blog by re-spinning posts Here.

For your convenience, I’ve noted a few links below to get you started in your exploration of this blog! They are some of the most popular posts. Check them out and be sure to let me know what you’d like to see more of. I have a number of features that will be returning real soon.

If Your Blog Was a Resume

Blogger Support: Fact or Fiction?

The First 300: How I Reached 300 Blog Followers in 3 Months

Why I Use Images In (Almost) All of My Blog Posts

Writing 101 Assignments

To Write a Heart

Dear Poetry

Why I Write Black

The Right Poem

8 Things to Do Before Publishing Your Next Blog Post

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Below are some great links from This Mama Learns Blog to help us become better bloggers! I discovered her on Pinterest yesterday and her blog is super cute! I love the way she has branded her colors and incorporated her images all professional and fun looking. Below are articles I found helpful. Enjoy:

8 Things to Do Before Publishing Your Next Blog Post

You’re running behind on your newly acquired content schedule.

You dash out the last few lines of your next post in a flurry of activity, half an hour after you should have been in bed.

Then you hit Publish.

*yawn* Time for bed.

Okay, you know there are a few things you probably should’ve done first, but you can do it later right?

Umm…

What just happened here? This hypothetical blogger (ok, ok… it was me), just put an arbitrary schedule before producing quality content.

Not cool.

Keep Reading http://thismamalearns.com/8-things-to-do-before-publishing-your-next-blog-post?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialWarfare

5 Secrets to Help You Look Like A Pro Blogger (even if you only started, like, yesterday)

No one likes looking like they were born yesterday, right? First impressions count, so when people visit your blog, you want to have your best foot forward.

I made my first blog in 2011. It was about tween fashion (it seemed like a good idea at the time), it was eyes-bleedingly cyan and I think I used Comic Sans. Sounds like a candidate for ugliest website of the year!

Luckily, times have changed and the overall standard of new blogs has greatly improved.

But there are still a few mistakes that new bloggers make that give themselves away. Here are 5 things you can implement on your blog right now to make you look like a pro.

Keep Reading http://thismamalearns.com/how-to-look-pro-blogger

How to Launch Your Blog with a Bang

Ever launched a blog expecting to make a big splash but… nothing happened?

You were sending post after post out into the ether. No readers (not even your mom), no comments, no shares.  Why?

It wasn’t that your content wasn’t good.

And it wasn’t that you weren’t blogging frequently enough.  You were working your fingers to bone every day getting out another post.

Maybe you were even employing a bit of SEO and churning out awkward blog headlines like How to choosing a domain name (did I do that? oops!)

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can launch a successful blog and have readers from day 1.

Keep Reading http://thismamalearns.com/launch-your-blog-with-a-bang

Beginner Bloggers Guide to Networking

Are you holding back from networking with other bloggers because you feel like your blog just isn’t ‘good enough’?

Have you joined a few Facebook groups (like I told you about in this post), but been too shy to speak up because you’re afraid you’ll get laughed at for not knowing the secret blogger handshake?

Do you read blogging tips about how to get more traffic and think YEAH I need to do that, but secretly you’re terrified to have people actually read your blog?

Let me let you in on a little secret:

I’ve SO been there.

Keep Reading http://thismamalearns.com/beginner-bloggers-guide-to-networking

Why Black Girls Need Diverse Books

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“Storylines with Black female main characters’ supplement in-school experiences where the stories of Black people are often misrepresented or excluded from the classroom curriculum. Stories with Black main characters fill in where classroom curricula leave gaps. In addition, narratives with people of color at the forefront introduce readers to new vocabulary words, customs, people, and places that they otherwise might not have learned about.”

http://educationpost.org/why-black-girls-need-diverse-books/

‘Queen Sugar’ Author Wants More Diverse Stories About Black People

“As I started to write Queen Sugar, especially in the late ‘90s … all of these great diverse stories that I had grown up on and was inspired by, started to disappear. All of a sudden you saw a very, very narrow portrayal of the African-American experience on the bookshelf. All of a sudden the only thing you saw were titles like The Bitch Is Back or Stackin’ Paper, and there’d be a picture of a woman, scantily clad, on the hood of a car.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/queen-sugar-natalie-baszile-interview_us_57d337dfe4b06a74c9f4e712

Popular Indie Book Publisher Launches Campaign to Prove That Diversity in Publishing Matters

Rosarium Publishing was founded in 2013 by scifi/fiction writer Bill Campbell with one goal: to bring true diversity to publishing so that the high-quality books and comics the company produces actually reflect the fascinating, multicultural world we truly live in today.

https://www.newswire.com/news/popular-indie-book-publisher-launches-campaign-to-prove-that-diversity-9870669

50 Books That Every African American Should Read

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/50-books-that-every-african-american-should-read_n_1647614.html

“Huffington Post BlackVoices has compiled an extensive book list, featuring a range of genres including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, science-fiction and the autobiography.

From Ralph Ellison to Jesmyn Ward, many of the authors have been heralded with national awards in the United States. Others, such as Zadie Smith and Tsitsi Dangarembga, have broken literary ground abroad in countries such as Zimbabwe, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Uganda. Stemming back to 1789 with Olaudah Equiano’s “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano,” these 50 titles have heavily contributed to contemporary narratives about the black experience across the globe.”

13 Books That Every African-American Should Have in His/Her Home

“Oftentimes, rich literary treasures are not associated with writers of African descent, but objective evidence has shown and continues to denote that some of the world’s finest books have evolved from the minds of black authors. Whether fiction or non-fiction, these writings have been important not only as poignant reflections of reality, but also as interesting opportunities for cross-cultural understanding.”

http://madamenoire.com/108532/13-important-african-american-books-that-you-should-have-in-your-home/

What’s So Special About You?

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Lately, I’ve been asking myself, “What is the benefit of subscribing to your blog/email list?” The answer to this question loomed over me and really got me thinking. “Is there a benefit?” What is it that I’m offering that makes subscribing to my email list or blog such a big deal? What is it about it that will make readers feel, well, special?

I was happy to discover this article: 7 Emails You Should Send Your Subscribers (But Probably Don’t). While advice is always “take it or leave it”, Will makes some great points. For instance, in this post he explains the kind of content you should include in your email newsletter. One set of questions I zoomed in on that really convicted me and got me to thinking was this one:

What sets apart all those bloggers who can rapidly build an insanely engaged audience from those who have to beg and plead just to get a handful of shares?”

This question convicted me because I’ve been thinking a lot about the content of this blog. I noticed that often bloggers receive the same support over and over again. The same five or ten people who like and comment on every post. While this is most excellent, I became concerned about the direction of this blog and whether or not I was reaching you. While I don’t intend on reaching everyone, it became a deep concern that the people who were once interested in my blog no longer were. So I thought, could it be content? But my content has not changed. Will went further with his questioning:

What sets apart all those bloggers who can rapidly build an insanely engaged audience from those who have to beg and plead just to get a handful of shares? Is the answer really just “great content?” Content is important, but plenty of bloggers put just as much time, energy and care into their content as those in the top tier, only to experience 10% of the results.

Exactly! Someone finally said it. For the record, I’m not in the business of begging, but Will’s questions did trigger something and I’m excited it did. I have long wondered if content alone was the key to a successful blog (I use successful loosely sense it is so dependent on your own definition of success).  Now, as a blogger content is something we hear a lot. But, is blogging just about content? Or is there something else that is needed to keep an audience? Well, I kept reading:

So what do the big guys have that the little ones don’t? They have a relationship with their audience.

Ahhh. There it is. The relationship. Blogging is not just about content, it is also about the relationship! This is why I have also created an email Newsletter because its more personal. Like Will, even though I know the author is speaking to a large group, getting a personal email still makes me feel special as a subscriber. Even though my blog posts are sent directly to the emails of those who follow me (via email) an email list is still more personal and, contrary to popular belief, not old fashioned. A study by McKinsey revealed that, “E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media — nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.” But now I had more questions. This time about Newsletters:“Is there a huge benefit to subscribing to my email newsletter?” One thing that got my confidence up is a point Will made in this article. He said to be more personal in your email list. Instead of sending links of your recently blogged post, talk to us as if we are sitting at the computer/tablet/phone reading you. This got my confidence up because it is something I’ve always done. I never just list my accomplishments and upcoming events in my email newsletter. This can be boring. Readers can follow my updates just by being on my Social Media so again,“What makes subscribing to my newsletter so special?” If someone follows my blog and social networks, why should they also follow my email list? Some people include links to their recent blog posts in their email newsletters. I do not. It doesn’t make much sense to me. I don’t really get how that can be productive when I already have followers of my blog who get the latest post in their email. You mean I should also send them additional emails with links to my recent blog posts? Is that an email newsletter or just another blog? I didn’t know, but I kept reading because I’m not blog perfect and there is still so much I need to learn. As I read on, I discovered that Will makes another great point. An alternative to providing the link in your newsletter to your recent blog post:

…. too few bloggers consider the pros and cons of each approach before making a decision. They just send a link to their posts because that’s what everyone else seems to do.

This stood out to me. It stood out to me because according to my own personal experience as well as research on clicks in a post, people do not use them much. They may click on a link once but that’s pretty much it with only a few (and I do mean a few, like probably just three of your best friends) exceptions. This means that the chances of someone clicking on multiple  links in your newsletter or blog post to go to additional sites are slim. This is one of the reasons I don’t like posting links in my blog post of other sites without some explanation of what the link is about. I don’t want you to miss out on the info just because you didn’t feel like clicking the link. Like now, at least you have some insight into Will’s article even if you didn’t click on it! (It is however, important to know that while people may not be interested in clicking links, that doesn’t have anything to do with the success or failure of the post. That’s right, we don’t care. What readers care most about is ease of navigation. Though we may not want to click on, it won’t affect us coming around unless your blog is extremely difficult to navigate. In fact, readers are probably not even thinking about clicks until you said something. The 3-Click rule is outdated. Kind of. Yes people don’t want to click on lots of links, but the number doesn’t have anything to do with it. Today its about ease of convenience. You can have one or five links and most people won’t bother to click them period, which I discovered by measuring how many opens my emails get verses clicks on any links in the actual email. There are always more opens of the email than clicks on links in the email. Common sense thus told me its better to say everything in the body of the email instead of having people follow a link). Another point to remember about just including project updates and advertisements / announcements in your email newsletter is this:

Just think about how rare and uncommon it is to receive an email that asks nothing of you. Its sole purpose is to educate, inspire, and help you.

Isn’t that the type of mailing list you’ll tell others about? Isn’t it the kind of list that survives the occasional inbox purging when you get tired of all the emails you’re receiving? Isn’t it the kind of list whose owner you’ll tend to trust?

This is why I try to keep my advertisement to a minimum. As I’ve stated before, I do think too much promotion is something that exist because it lacks the balance of the other components that can make it work. I thought also about the email lists of others I am subscribed to and how much I really enjoy the ones that offer me guidance, such as author tips and article links, without always asking me to purchase or donate something. These are the kinds of email list and blogs I want to follow, the ones that inspire and inform in addition to whatever else is being offered. But still, there is so much Will spoke about that I would like to improve on in relation to my blog and email list and it all begins with the question: “What’s so special about you?”