Pinterest 101 for Writers & Readers

I have a background in art and I’m a very visual person. I’ve always collected photos for my characters and settings, so when I discovered Pinterest . . . it was love at first sight or should I say first pin! For me, it’s a great way to take a break, relax, and see some beautiful images . . . as well as build connections with readers.

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media networks in the world. It’s now number three behind Facebook and Twitter. So it makes sense for writers and readers to learn the basics and use Pinterest to connect with reading and writing friends.

So what is Pinterest? It’s a visual discovery tool that people use to collect, organize, and share ideas for projects and interests. People create and share collections (called boards) of images (called pins). Any time you find an image on the web that you like, you can pin, or lately they say save, that image to one of your boards to view again later or share with others. You can also download images from your computer to Pinterest, but the first method is better because it links back to the place you found the image.

Maggie’s Millinery Shop

Shine Like the Dawn Releases 2/21

 

How can authors use Pinterest? Kimberley Grabas, author of Your Writer Platform Blog says, “Your goal should be to teach, entertain and inspire your audience on Pinterest. In return, Pinterest will grant you the ability to increase awareness of your author brand, drive more relevant traffic to your website, and increase your book sales.”

People head to Pinterest to find solutions, get ideas, and be inspired. Plus pinners are buyers . . . so authors can use Pinterest as a marketing tool. But like all social media, it’s important to avoid too much self-promotion. Pinterest is a quieter platform where you are mainly sharing images and connecting with readers who share similar interests.

Here are some specific ideas for authors. Create boards for each of your books and feature the cover, characters, setting, clothing, and events that happen in the story. Link those images back to your website and blog to help readers connect with you and purchase your books. These boards can be a great help to the artists who designs your covers. Visit my board for Shine Like the Dawn, my next English historical romance that releases February 21.

Morningside Manor

Northumberland, England

 

Since I write historical novels I have boards for different time periods with clothing, cars, people, and events from those eras. Those boards are a good place to keep images that link back to research articles. Authors who do this exceptionally well are Lori Benton and Laura Frantz. Check out their book boards! 

My last three novels and Shine Like the Dawn are set in the same era as Downton Abbey, and one of my marketing goals is to reach out to fans of that show. So I have a board for Downton Abbey and another for Highclere Castle, where Downton was filmed. Those are my two most popular boards with the highest number of images saved. They have helped me connect with many Downton Fans and introduce them to my books.

You can pin/save images from your blog posts or author email newsletters and link people back to your website. Pin images that lead readers to 5-star reviews and blog interviews. When it’s time for a cover reveal, launch week, or a special promotion, pin those images and share them with those who follow you on Pinterest.

You can also create boards that allow you to share your interests with others on Pinterest. I have boards for Tea Time, English Country Gardens, People I admire, Favorite Authors, Romance, Books Worth Reading, Favorite Recipes, To Your Good Health, Childhood Memories, Kids, Favorite Movies, Doors, Christmas, Favorite Verses and Quotes, Places I’d Like to Go, Scotland, England. These kind of boards give readers a taste of who you are and offer added value. Take a look at my boards.

Morningside Manor ~ Cragside

Ancient Hadrian’s Wall

 

For a great step by step tutorial on how to set up a Pinterest account, get started, and use Pinterest visit Your Writer Platform.  And for more great ideas about how you can use Pinterest to connect with readers visit: http://www.copyblogger.com/pinterest-marketing/

Are you active on Pinterest? Leave a comment below with a link to your boards and we can connect there!

Until next time, Happy Reading . . . and pinning!

Carrie

Writer’s World Blog Tour

Jocelyn GreenHi Friends,

I’ve been invited to participate in the Writer’s World Blog Tour by fellow author and friend, Jocelyn Green. Jocelyn is an award-winning author of multiple fiction and nonfiction works, including Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives, and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she co-wrote with Dr. Gary Chapman. Her first novel in the Heroines Behind the Lines series, Wedded to War, was a Christy Award finalist, and the gold medal winner in historical fiction from the Military Writers Society of America. A native Northerner, she and her Southern-born-and-bred husband live in Cedar Falls, Iowa, with their two children. Her goal with every book is to inspire faith and courage in her readers. Visit her at www.jocelyngreen.com and www.facebook.com/jocelyngreenauthor.

Jocelyn’s Writer’s World Tour blog post went up on August 4th. Please check it out here: http://www.jocelyngreen.com/blog-2/

Carrie TuranskyNow it’s my turn to answer the blog tour questions.

  1. What are you working on now?

I’m writing A Refuge at Highland Hall, Book Three in the Edwardian Brides Series. It’s an English historical romance set during World War One on a large country estate in Berkshire. This is the same time period as Downton Abbey Season 1 and 2, and I hope to capture a similar emotional tone in this series. The books feature a wealthy aristocratic family and their loyal staff members as they go through the ups and downs of life and love, and face the changes The Great War brings to everyone at Highland Hall. Penny Ramsey, the young heroine of this story, faces many challenges, including helping the man she loves find hope and a renewed faith after he is critically injured in the fighting. I’ve plotted out the story, but I’m just writing chapter three, so I have a long way to go. But Book One, The Governess of Highland Hall, is available now. Book Two, The Daughter of Highland Hall, releases, October 7th. For more info about the series I hope you’ll visit: www.carrieturansky.com

  1. How does your work differ from others in its genre?

Daughter Highland HallThere are a growing number of CBA authors setting novels in England, but there aren’t too many who write novels that take place during the Edwardian era, so that makes my books unique. I love doing in-depth research, and then I enjoy using what I’ve learned to bring the time period to life for my readers. Some have told me my descriptions help them see what’s happening in the story, and they enjoy that aspect of my writing. Others have said they like the way my characters work through difficulties and live out their faith. I’ve taken two recent trips to England to help me develop this series, and I think that has helped me create a realistic setting that my readers enjoy.

  1. Why do you write what you do?

I am a romantic at heart and an optimist who believes that love, especially God’s love, can overcome great obstacles and bring healing and hope to broken lives. My characters face great struggles, but I always write a happy ending for them. Good overcomes evil. God’s grace and truth offer hope in the most difficult situations. I like to weave spiritual themes into my novels through the conflicts my characters face. The way the characters work through the challenges often shows my beliefs about the importance of love, faith, and family relationships.

  1. How does your writing process work?

The governess of Highland HallI like to start by researching a time period, an area, or an incident in history. Also love to read diaries and biographies of people who lived during that time period. Following those research trails helps me find my stories. I need time to absorb it all and mull it over for a few weeks. Then I use writing tools like Susan May Warren’s My Book Therapy resources and Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Pro to work on the characters and synopsis. I sometimes write note cards for each scene. Then I start writing chapter one and move ahead in the story. I wish I could write faster, and that’s something I am working on with this book. I’m trying to free myself up to get the first draft done more quickly and then have more time for revisions after that. Some days the words flow, and other days it’s a painful struggle. But it’s always a joy to type “The End” and know readers will be carried away to England to share the journey and experiences with my characters.

The Tour Continues!

I’ve tagged three of my author friends to join the tour. So I hope you’ll jump aboard with us. Cathy Gholke, Terri Gillespie, and Sherri Wilson Johnson will be posting on August 18th. Here’s a bit about these interesting ladies and links to their blogs:

Cathy GohlkeCathy Gohlke is the two-time Christy Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed novels Saving Amelie, Band of Sisters, Promise Me This (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2012), William Henry is a Fine Name, and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2008), which also won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Award. When not traipsing the hills and dales of historic sites, Cathy and her husband divide their time between Northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore. Visit her online at her website: http://authorcathygohlke.com

Terri GillespieTerri Gillespie has been writing stories since her grandmother set up an ancient Royal typewriter on a metal table and stool. As her brothers and cousins played outside on their grandparents’ small farm, Terri typed and illustrated adventure stories about horses, dolphins and elephants. Today her stories are adventures of a different kind—contemporary fiction and nonfiction about women who have been wounded by life and long for identity and purpose. Her novel is titled She Does Good Hair and she’s written a women’s devotional, Making Eye Contact with God. When she’s not writing—or reading—she and hubby Bob work together on various corporate and institutional video productions. They celebrate a major collaboration this year, their 40th wedding anniversary. Terri loves to connect with her readers via her website: www.terrigillespie.com, Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorTerriGillespie, Twitter: @TerriGMavens, and Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/terrilgillespie.

Sherri Wilson JohnsonSherri Wilson Johnson is an Inspirational Romance novelist, a speaker, and a former homeschooling mom who’d rather have laugh lines under her eyes than worry lines across her forehead. She lives in Georgia with her husband, her two children and her Chihuahua, Posey. Her favorite thing to do when she’s not with her family is to curl up with a good book or to work on her current work-in-progress. She loves to dream of visiting romantic places and is passionate about the Lord, motherhood, homeschooling, and writing. Sherri is the author of To Dance Once More and Song of the Meadowlark. Her third novel, To Laugh Once More, releases in September. She is a columnist with Habits for a Happy Home and Choose NOW Ministries. Visit Sherri’s blog: http://sherriwilsonjohnson.com/blog/ 

Should You Attend a Writers’ Conference?

SuzyQ and Carrie at the 2012 ACFW National Conference

SuzyQ and Carrie at the 2012 ACFW National Conference

Hi Friends,

Are you an aspiring author? Would you like to learn what it takes to see your manuscript become a published novel? If the answer is yes, then I want to encourage you to attend a  writers’ conference. If you want to write novels for the Christian market, I recommend The American Christian Fiction Writer’s National Conference, which will be held this year in Indianapolis, September 13 – 15. http://www.acfw.com/conference

I have been blessed to attend the ACFW National Conference every year since it first began in 2002. Attending classes and workshops taught by published authors, editors, and agents will give you valuable information and help steer you and your manuscript in the right direction. Because the conference schedule is packed and there are so many workshops and classes to choose from, I usually buy the Conference CD  so I can listen and learn throughout the year. That alleviates the pressure to take it all in during the conference, and it frees up some time for networking and appointments.

Connecting with other like-minded authors, editors, agents, and publishing professionals is another great benefit of attending a writers’ conference. I’ve made many wonderful friends, found critique partners, met my agent, my editors and my publishers at a writers’ conference, and most of these relationships began before I was published. After the conference you can nurture those relationships as you follow up and connect via email and social media.

There are several other good conferences around the country, and many of them feature teaching on both fiction and non-fiction. The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, The Blue Ridge Christian Writer’s Conference, Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference. The Oregon Christian Writers Conference, and the Florida Christian Writers Conference are just a few with great reputations. It may seem like a big investment to fly across the country and attend a conference . . . but there are some great benefits and rewards. And if you are serious about writing and hope to move toward publication, then it’s a worthwhile investment to consider.

I love to encourage aspiring authors, and here are two ways we can connect this summer. I will be teaching two workshops and doing critiques at the Philadelphia Christian Writers’ Conference July 31 – Aug. 4. I’d love to meet with you and give you helpful suggestions for polishing your pros. I’ll also be doing critiques at the ACFW Conference Sept. 13 – 15. Each of these require attending the conference, signing up online, and submitting your chapter ahead of time.

So . . . how about you? Have you ever attended a writer’s conference? If so, how was it helpful for you? If not, what would you hope to gain from attending?

Ten Tips to Help You Write More Words

top-10Whether you’re an aspiring author or multi-published, it’s often a challenge to meet your writing goals. Here are ten tips that will help increase your writing productivity.

1. Write with instrumental music playing in the background. I recently saw an informal survey that found those who listened to music while writing were able to write more words per day than those who didn’t. I like to write with instrumental praise music or movie soundtracks playing in the background. Some of my favorite soundtracks are Prince of Tides, The Cider House Rules, and Little Women.

2. Set a timer. Try this trick. Set your timer for fifteen minutes, and tell yourself you will focus and write for that long. Keep writing and moving ahead in your story without going back to review or revise. Then take a short break and set the timer again. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish in short periods of time like this.

3. Outline the scene first. Before you start writing think through your scene, choose your POV character, the mood and setting and goals for each character. Create a list of descriptive and sensory words you could use in that scene. I find taking a walk and thinking it through first helps me a lot. Lately I’ve been writing by hand some dialogue and outline what will happen in the scene. This gets my creative juices flowing and the scene seems to come together much more quickly when I start typing from those notes.

4. Set a word count goal. Word count goals can be motivating and a helpful guide. I know if I meet my goal each week, then I’ll finish my book on time. That relieves some of the pressure and helps my creativity flow.

5. Write at your most productive time of the day. When are you the most productive and creative? Set aside that time to write, and don’t allow email, Facebook or Pinterest to eat up your best writing time. Turn off your email program and use your less productive times of the day to check email and social media.

6. Wear earphones. Earphones are a great way to block out noise as well as pipe in your favorite music. I have some very comfortable rubber tipped earphones that I wear, and even when I am not listening to music I put them in. I’ve found it helps my family realize I am working and won’t hear them, so they are less likely to interrupt me unless it’s something important.

7. Give yourself permission to write fast and messy. Turn off the internal editor who questions every word, and let your creativity flow. I tell myself I don’t have to write it perfectly, I just have to get it down. You can only revise what you’ve written. So tell yourself it’s okay if it’s awful. You can fix it when you revise.

8. Find an accountability partner. Team up with another writer and commit to checking up on each other. Share your goals and exchange emails at the end of the day to report your word count. Don’t ask them to commit for life, just try it for a set period of time. Knowing someone is waiting to hear how you’ve done that day can be very motivating.

9. Reward yourself for reaching your goals. Why wait until you’ve finished your book to enjoy a reward? Set several short-term goals and celebrate when you reach them. Do something you enjoy when you meet your weekly word count or half way point.

10. Get a comfortable, chair, clothing, and drink. Feeling comfortable while you write is important. Invest in a good chair, wear comfortable clothes and stock up on your favorite drinks. Some authors find changing locations around the house gives them a mental break and it also helps prevent back issues.

I hope you’ll try some of these tips and they’ll help you reach your writing goals!