Building Your IG Following

 

About six months ago, I had about 250 or so Instagram followers.  Let me say, first, I LOVE ig. Love it so hard. No politics. Few ads. Little conflict. My kind of place.  It’s also really, really hard to reach out to anyone else. To create meaningful interaction, even though the endless scrolling through lovely pictures soothes my soul.

To be fair, the 250 was a huge improvement over a year ago, when I still hadn’t heard of tagging, but I digress.

Somehow, I don’t even remember how, (it probably popped up in my feed) I saw a post  for an Instagram book challenge. And I thought….I like to take pictures of books.

I have tons of books.

This sounds like fun!

For about 2 weeks, I participated in that first challenge. I’m not going to lie. It was super fun. It was kind of hard. I took a lot of pictures.  Most of them were pretty bad, actually. Poorly lit, badly staged. And so, to solve my photography shortcomings, I went out and bought new books.

(As an aside, I should mention, I’m a fulltime artist and I take about 200 pictures a week, edit them and post them to sell my glass pieces, so this is really nothing new. Just a different sort of photography, and one I really sucked at. At first.)

Now, I’m not saying this is how it’s going to go for you, but I will warn you, it might. There’s something about pictures and lighting and books that must make you want more. Just sayin’, because now I’m buying books every week and my husband thinks I’ve gone insane.

But I digress, yet again.

Each  month’s challenges are usually different, have a theme of some kind, depending on who’s running them (Harry Potter, vampires, romance across the centuries, antique books, to name a few) so you do have a starting point. Then, every day has a theme of some kind- Favorite villain, best female character, best series, blue books, YA, Fantasy, and so forth.  Then there are the “challenge specific days”, which go like this: #SockSunday, #MapMonday, #Bookshelfie, #StackSaturday, #MugshotMonday, #BookHaul, #TBR, and so forth.

For instance, this is an example for #FlatLayFriday

Here’s an example for #FantasyFriday:

 

So I take the pictures, I edit the pictures (either on my phone, or in the app), and either write something about the photo, or include a quote, to complement the daily theme.  In six months, my followers have gone from 250 to 1380. I’ve gotten better at taking pictures of books, and depending on who you ask in my house, my book collection is awesome!

If you’re looking for a way to build your following, this is a fun way to try and meet some new bookish friends, and find some new readers.  Search for the tags: #bookstagramchallenge, #bookishchallenge, #bookphotochallenge

Here are a few of my favorites:

#bookstagramreadsseptember

#bookqueenssept18

#brightbookpagesseptemberchallenge

#inflameslit

#readgushsept18

They usually post the challenges during the last week of the month, for the upcoming month, so you have a week or so to prepare. There’s no need to do it every day, I usually skip a few days, just because I can’t come up with 30 ideas every month.

Check out my Instagram if you need any ideas: my instagram

2018 NEORWA Writers Conference

Where to even start with this past weekend?  Every year the NEORWA conference seems to come at the best and worst of times. I’m overly busy, I can’t squeeze in enough time to write, yet alone hold down my day job (the one paying the bills right now).  But I also know when I walk out of there, I’m going to have accomplished a couple of things.

First, my love of writing is going to be reignited. Somehow, someway, listening to everyone TALK about writing, TALK about craft, AND deadlines AND plotting AND character, AND even all of their problems and hangups, is going to make me so damn ready to get back to my manuscript.  Secondly, I’m going to leave there with at least one or two new writing connections (this year, I left with three). Yay me! Introvert masquerading as an extrovert.

We were incredibly fortunate to have Sonali Dev as our featured speaker this year, and the speech she gave…oh the speech she gave, I didn’t have any mascara left by the end of it, and I say that in a good way.  Perfect start to a wonderful conference, where I learned a bit about pitching, query letters, what an agent is (and is definitely not)looking for right now, a little about contracts, and discovered a wonderful new author, who I sat up until three in the morning reading, because I couldn’t put her book down! Throw in a stellar presentation on outlining (my greatest weakness) by Julie Anne Lindsey, and I came home with a folder full of notes and a head full of ideas.

This is a business we get into because we love to write, plain and simple.

It is also a lonely business, one that cuts us off from our colleagues, our friends, and sometimes our families. Deadlines keep us from doing the fun stuff, ideas keep us up at night. But when you get a chance to attend a conference, do it. You’ll find your tribe. You’ll talk to people just like you, doing the same thing, facing the same struggles, fighting the same battles.

And when you get back home, you’ll find yourself ready do dive in and do it all over again.

As always, happy writing!  LA

2018 RONE Voting!

I am so excited!!!  My book, Shadows of Ghosts, is up for a 2018 RONE Award in the fantasy category!!!!  Tomorrow is the last day to vote- May 27th.

This is the final round of voting, so if you have a moment, I’d really appreciate it if you could cast a vote for Shadows!

Here is the link to the site:  www.indtale.com

On the homepage, the link to the contest is at the top right- IND’SCRIBE/RONES, 2018 RONE Awards, go to week 6.

Direct link (hoping this works): http://indtale.com/2018-rone-awards-week-six

Also, you have to subscribe on the website at www.indtale.com in order to vote. Once you subscribe, if you haven’t already, you’ll be required to click the verification link sent to you via email. If you do not verify your registration with this link, you will be unable to vote. This is very important to help insure that the voting is fair and maintains the high quality standards required for this top-tier award.

Thank you and goodluck to all the other nominees!!  -LA

 

Fan Girling!!!!!

kmm signing pic la mcginnis

I’ve spent way more time than I’d like to admit obsessing over what to do this year.  Trying to fit in solid, productive writing time, plus working full time (gotta pay those bills) leaves little time for the fun stuff associated with writing- aka, the reading part of it.  My plan this year was to attend some author events, just to see how the big girls do it, and had several on my schedule.  My two favorite authors- Karen Marie Moning and J. R. Ward both had big books coming out this spring, and both (somehow) managed to have signings close enough to me that I could work in a day trip for each.

So I decided to trade a big event – the 2018 RAGT (Reader Author Get Together) – for two smaller, more intimate signings.  I’d been to the last 4 or 5 J. R. Ward signings, but had never met Karen, and was really looking forward to it.  So last weekend we headed to Cincinnati.

Wow, was I impressed.  Both with the event itself and with Karen.  What a class act.  She’d had her big Dublin signing the weekend before and even though she’d picked up a bug, she was incredibly gracious and sweet.  Interacting with people for six or seven hours is not easy, especially when you’re not feeling your best, and it ended up turning into a long day.  So here are my takeaways:

Hands down the best book cover of the past 12 months

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m about halfway through (trying to finish 3 other books for book club meetings this week and it’s actually killing me to know its there and I don’t have time to read it) and so far I am, as always, blown away.  Both by her writing style and her story structure.  Incredibly complex and character driven.  She talked a lot about emotional currency, and this book has it in spades.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

She held the event at Newport on the Levee (KY), which is across the river from Cinci, I snapped a sweet shot of the city:IMG_7368

As some kind of bonus, it was 56 degrees that afternoon and we sat in the sun for about a half an hour while we waited, first sun I’ve seen in almost three months.  Ohio is a cruel state in the winter, I kid you not.

All that being said, this was more what I expected when I think of a traditional book signing.  Interaction with your readers, a long, detailed Q&A, focusing on the current book, past books and future WIP’s.  It was refreshing to hear that she struggles with so many of the same writer problems, time management issues and general issues with plotting and character development we all do.  I wanted to scream “YES” several times during her talk.  I resisted the temptation.   Plus, I think I must buy a hat.  -LA

 

If you have never read Karen’s work, she had two distinct lines,  one is the Highlander series (paranormal romance), the other is the Fever Series (urban fantasy).  I’d recommend both!!

Final SoG Book Signing!!!

the learned owl shadows of ghosts book signing 2018

I’ll be having my final book signing for Shadows of Ghosts this coming Saturday, January 27th from 1:00-3:00 at the Learned Owl Bookstore in Hudson, Ohio.  These last couple months have flown by so fast- I know when I scheduled this it seemed so far away!  A big thanks to all of my readers and supporters who have made this journey the wonderful trip that it’s been!  I couldn’t have done any of this without you!!!

I just sent in the MS for Reflections of Your Heart, book 2, to my editor at the beginning of this month, and finished the first draft of book 3 last week, tentatively titled Echoes of Time (although that will most likely change).  But maybe not, I kind of like it.  That will sit for a month while I work on another project, and then I’ll pick it up again in March and edit with fresh eyes.

If you are in the area this Saturday afternoon, and have a minute, stop by and check out this sweet bookstore, one of the few independent book stores left in our area. Here are a few pics and a link:

the learned owl shadows of ghosts signing 2018  learned owl bookstore shadows of ghosts book signing 2018

The Learned Owl Bookstore

 

 

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