Tag Archives: social media

From the Archives: How the Life of a Writer Resembles a Bee

To celebrate the one year anniversary of my blog (March 13th), I’m publishing select posts throughout the year under the title “From the Archives” for those who may have missed them the first time around. Next up…

 How the Life of a Writer Resembles a Bee

On this journey to becoming a published author, I’m discovering that the life of a writer resembles a bee, a very busy bee. I’m not referring to a queen bee or a drone, but a worker bee.

Honey Bee in Sunlight
Honey Bee in Sunlight (Photo credit: Scott Kinmartin)

The worker bee buzzes from flower to flower collecting nectar and pollen to make honey, but that’s not her (yes, a worker bee is female) only job. She builds the honeycomb and keeps it clean. She makes wax. She cares for the babies and protects the hive. When she finds a good source for nectar and pollen she buzzes back to the hive and communicates the good news. She is a social creature that shares her discoveries for the benefit of the hive. She collaborates with others to make something sweet. She is a very busy little bee.

So how is the life of a writer like a bee?

The days when a writer could simply collect thoughts and ideas and write a novel (as if writing a novel were simple) are long gone. No, writers, that is not your only job. You need to do your homework.

  • Read books on the art of writing.
  • Read books on formatting your manuscript, query letter and synopsis. I’ve read a dozen or so over the last few years and recently ordered several more.
  • Read the top rated novels. I started a project over a year ago to read the Modern Library’s Top 100 novels and recently merged it with Time Magazine’s Top 100.
  • Read current bestsellers.
  • Read books within your genre.
  • Read books outside your genre.
  • Research the submission process.
  • Research agents too. Read their blogs and get to know their likes and dislikes. After all, you hope one will represent you some day.
  • Read the blogs of authors they represent.
  • Read those authors’ books too.
  • Read…A LOT.

Of course most of you know that already, but did you also know that you are expected to market and promote your work? I’m sure visions of book tours and interview flash across your mind as you think, “Uh, duh. I knew that.” Let me rephrase that then. Did you know that you are expected to market and promote your work before your book has been published?

I didn’t know that. I neglected to read anything on social media. I skipped those chapters in the books I read. That comes later, after you’re published, right? Wrong. A writer needs to create a buzz, a following, prior to becoming published. In this technology driven world the best way to do that is through social media. Agents are more likely to take a chance on you if you can show that you have a presence on the internet.

Take a lesson from the honey bee. She visits several different sources (species of flowers) to make honey. Writers should do the same when writing and publishing a book. Don’t trust just one source for information. Read about the mistake I made doing this in my post, Word Count for Novels. Be social, like the bee. Flutter among the cyber flowers (blogs, online forums, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, author and agent websites, etc.) and make friends. Collect all that you have learned and create something that, like honey, lasts. Then go back to the hive (the internet), do the crazy bee “waggle dance,” and share what you’ve learned.

If you don’t have a blog yet, start one. I know. It’s a little intimidating at first. Creative people tend to be more introverted so this “social media thing” can push us out of our comfort zone. You may wonder if anyone will be interested in visiting the microscopic spec in cyberspace that is your blog. If you are like me, you may feel more like a bumble bee: poorly designed for flight. Sure, it may be a little difficult to get off the ground at first and you may wonder if your paper-thin wings can support your awkward body. You may fumble a bit, but remember:

“Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it so it goes on flying anyway.” Mary Kay Ash

Defy physics and reason and soon you will be soaring high. Plus, I’ve learned that writers, by nature, are generous people. The followers will come.

Oh, and by the way, my name means “honey bee.” So, you see, I have been a very busy bee, indeed.

Against Idleness and Mischief

How doth the little busy Bee
Improve each shining Hour,
And gather Honey all the day
From every opening Flower!

How skillfully she builds her Cell!
How neat she spreads the Wax!
And labors hard to store it well
With the sweet Food she makes.

In Works of Labor or of Skill
I would be busy too:
For Satan finds some Mischief still
For idle Hands to do.

In Books, or Work, or healthful Play
Let my first Years be past,
That I may give for every Day
Some good Account at last.

Isaac Watts

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Book Review: We Are Not Alone by Kristin Lamb

We Are Not Alone by Kristin Lamb

Goodreads Description:

Forward written by NY Times Best-Selling Author and Co-Creator of Who Dares Wins Publishing Bob Mayer “I wished there had been a step-by-step guide for writers on how to not only do it technically, but do it content-wise. This book is the answer to that wish.” Social Media is more popular than ever. As society becomes more and more technologically advanced, people are seeking new ways to interact. Humans are social creatures. Relationships and community are vital to our survival and our mental and emotional health. Writers, published and unpublished, fiction and non-fiction are hearing words like platform and brand with increasing frequency as the publishing paradigm shifts into the 21st century. The world around us is changing faster than ever, and publishing is certainly not immune. There are more opportunities for a new author today than there has been in the entirety of human history. Yet, the flip side of that reality is, with thousands and thousands of authors with books and blogs, how can a writer ever hope to stand apart let alone succeed? This book will show you how. There are countless social media experts, but Kristen’s system is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of a writer. Take charge of your future today. You have great books to write, and don’t have time for rookie mistakes that can cost you years of rebuilding your name, brand, and platform. Kristen’s method is simple, effective, and helps you harness that same creativity you apply to your writing and harness it to build you social media platform. Best part is you don’t even have to be a computer expert or know anything about sales. This system is designed to change the writer’s approach, not the writer’s personality. And the best part is you have help. Remember, We Are Not Alone.

My Review:

I read this book shortly after I started blogging in March of this year. The most valuable advice that I gleaned from it was the importance of branding your own name. If you’re a writer, don’t use a moniker for your social media platforms. Readers will have difficulty finding your book if the author name is rarely mentioned. She also advised that authors avoid using the title of their book as their name/identifier in social media platforms unless they plan to write just that one book. And what if you change the title of your book before publishing? She recommends that you use your name or the name you will be writing under for all social media platforms.

This was eye opening for me. When I started my blog, I wasn’t sure what name to use. I remember coming across all these creative social media monikers, but I couldn’t come up with one that I thought I’d want to stick with permanently, so I just used my name. By sheer dumb luck, I did exactly as the author recommends. Well, it’s more than a recommendation. To her, it’s a must.

“…it is absolutely crucial for you to brand your name over and over and over and it is always associated with your content, that is like a non-stop commercial pitching your work every single day. This is why a moniker can absolutely KILL your platform.

When you use anything other than the name that will be printed across your book, you give up your most valuable marketing real estate…the top of mind.”

The book is a bit dated, but considering it covers the ever-changing world of social media and was published in 2010, that’s not surprising. Still, it contains useful information for those who are new to social media and with the author’s sense of humor mixed in, it’s a very enjoyable read.

4 out of 5 stars

Kristin has recently released an updated book titled Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World. It’s been getting rave reviews and is on my TBR list.

Another Award? The “Other” Sunshine Award

other sunshine-awardSomebody slap me. Throw a glass of cold water on me or something. I must be dreaming.

Patty, an amazing writer, photographer and poet, nominated me for an award: The “Other” Sunshine Award by. If you haven’t seen her blog yet, you must check it out. I want to point you to a particular post titled “Hardest Post for Me Ever…” . It takes a tremendous amount of courage to open up like she did and I was in complete awe of the raw beauty of this post. Talk about baring your soul! What I want to tell her is, “You’ve got guts, kid! And you’ve got spunk! Not to mention moxie! You’ve got guts, spunk, and moxie!” Name that movie (most parents should get this one).

The “Other” Sunshine Award

The rules:

  • Include the award’s logo in a post or on your Blog.
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself
  • Nominate 10 Bloggers
  • Link your nominees to the post and comment on their Blogs, letting them know they were nominated.
  • Link the person who nominated you.

Ten Things About Me

  1. I took a nose dive off of a retaining wall while riding my tricycle when I was three. My parents thought they were looking at a dead child when my neighbor carried my seemingly lifeless body to the door.
  2. I was ambidextrous until I was forced to choose in elementary school. I chose the  left  since most of my classmates were right-handed, guess I’m a rebel at heart.
  3. I have held a hummingbird in my hand before. It was trapped in a newly constructed house. I thought it was a large moth fluttering against the window trying to break free. I cupped my hand against the pane and captured it. I went outside to free it and was astonished to see a hummingbird when I opened my hands. It stared at me for a moment and then flew away.
  4. I’ve had a screw loose. Literally. I have two screws in my head and one of them had to be tightened, but that’s a story for another day.
  5. I have RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome). The first time I heard the diagnosis I thought the doctor was pulling my leg (LOL). Sometimes it keeps me up late into the night/early morning. I try to make the best of it by being productive (i.e., writing).
  6. I can produce an ear-splitting, glass-breaking, blood-curdling movie scream. Really, I could be paid big money for it. I’m not sure when or how I discovered this talent. It’s ironic, though, I’m often told to speak up because I have a soft voice.
  7. I‘ve seen a living thing take its last breath. I rescued an orphaned baby bird and nursed it back to health. I set it free, only to discover other territorial birds attacked it while I was gone. I tried to save it but it was too late. It spread its little wings, took a breath, shuddered and died. I cried. My attempts to save it only prolonged its suffering.
  8. I have experienced love at first sight three times in my life. When I saw my husband for the first time and when both of my children were born. It’s real. It happens.
  9. God talks to me through bumper stickers.
  10. I got a second chance at life and I plan to make the most of it.

I chose the following blogs for the wealth of information and support they give authors and aspiring authors such as:

  • Hosting writing, publishing or social media experts
  • Interviewing guest authors
  • Conducting book reviews
  • Providing advice in their area of expertise (e.g., social media)
  • Helping bloggers get traffic to their site (e.g., blog blitzes)
  • Sharing the lessons they’ve learned on their writing journey

I know they’ve been nominated for countless awards so I suspect they won’t have time to accept another one nor do I want them to feel obligated to. Mostly I want to make other writers out there aware of them (if they don’t follow them already) so they can benefit from their posts as I have.

 My Nominations:

  1. Ionia Martin: Readful Things Blog
  2. Kristin Lamb: Kristin Lamb’s Blog  
  3. Catherine Howard: Catherine, Caffeinated
  4. Sarah Cradit: AndthetherewasSarah
  5. Laura Stanfill
  6. Victoria Grefer: Creative Writing with the Crimson League
  7. Laekan Zeakemp
  8. Joanne Wadsworth
  9. DL Hammons: Cruising Altitude 2.0
  10. Marjorie Brimer: The Write Niche

Thank you for the nomination, Patty. I am honored.

How the Life of a Writer Resembles a Bee

On this journey to becoming a published author, I’m discovering that the life of a writer resembles a bee, a very busy bee. I’m not referring to a queen bee or a drone, but a worker bee.

Honey Bee in Sunlight
Honey Bee in Sunlight (Photo credit: Scott Kinmartin)

The worker bee buzzes from flower to flower collecting nectar and pollen to make honey, but that’s not her (yes, a worker bee is female) only job. She builds the honeycomb and keeps it clean. She makes wax. She cares for the babies and protects the hive. When she finds a good source for nectar and pollen she buzzes back to the hive and communicates the good news. She is a social creature that shares her discoveries for the benefit of the hive. She collaborates with others to make something sweet. She is a very busy little bee.

So how is the life of a writer like a bee?

The days when a writer could simply collect thoughts and ideas and write a novel (as if writing a novel were simple) are long gone. No, writers, that is not your only job. You need to do your homework.

  • Read books on the art of writing.
  • Read books on formatting your manuscript, query letter and synopsis. I’ve read a dozen or so over the last few years and recently ordered several more.
  • Read the top rated novels. I started a project over a year ago to read the Modern Library’s Top 100 novels and recently merged it with Time Magazine’s Top 100.
  • Read current bestsellers.
  • Read books within your genre.
  • Read books outside your genre.
  • Research the submission process.
  • Research agents too. Read their blogs and get to know their likes and dislikes. After all, you hope one will represent you some day.
  • Read the blogs of authors they represent.
  • Read those authors’ books too.
  • Read…A LOT.

Of course most of you know that already, but did you also know that you are expected to market and promote your work? I’m sure visions of book tours and interview flash across your mind as you think, “Uh, duh. I knew that.” Let me rephrase that then. Did you know that you are expected to market and promote your work before your book has been published?

I didn’t know that. I neglected to read anything on social media. I skipped those chapters in the books I read. That comes later, after you’re published, right? Wrong. A writer needs to create a buzz, a following, prior to becoming published. In this technology driven world the best way to do that is through social media. Agents are more likely to take a chance on you if you can show that you have a presence on the internet.

Take a lesson from the honey bee. She visits several different sources (species of flowers) to make honey. Writers should do the same when writing and publishing a book. Don’t trust just one source for information. Read about the mistake I made doing this in my post, Word Count for Novels. Be social, like the bee. Flutter among the cyber flowers (blogs, online forums, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, author and agent websites, etc.) and make friends. Collect all that you have learned and create something that, like honey, lasts. Then go back to the hive (the internet), do the crazy bee “waggle dance,” and share what you’ve learned.

If you don’t have a blog yet, start one. I know. It’s a little intimidating at first. Creative people tend to be more introverted so this “social media thing” can push us out of our comfort zone. You may wonder if anyone will be interested in visiting the microscopic spec in cyberspace that is your blog. If you are like me, you may feel more like a bumble bee: poorly designed for flight. Sure, it may be a little difficult to get off the ground at first and you may wonder if your paper-thin wings can support your awkward body. You may fumble a bit, but remember:

“Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it so it goes on flying anyway.” Mary Kay Ash

Defy physics and reason and soon you will be soaring high. Plus, I’ve learned that writers, by nature, are generous people. The followers will come.

Oh, and by the way, my name means “honey bee.” So, you see, I have been a very busy bee, indeed.

Against Idleness and Mischief

How doth the little busy Bee
Improve each shining Hour,
And gather Honey all the day
From every opening Flower!

How skillfully she builds her Cell!
How neat she spreads the Wax!
And labors hard to store it well
With the sweet Food she makes.

In Works of Labor or of Skill
I would be busy too:
For Satan finds some Mischief still
For idle Hands to do.

In Books, or Work, or healthful Play
Let my first Years be past,
That I may give for every Day
Some good Account at last.

Isaac Watts