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

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     (more…)

Writing Under Glass

  Shadows of Ghosts L A McGinnis 1 So I had this brilliant idea to volunteer for something that sounds kind of like a cool science experiment- writing in a store-front window at a bookstore up in Cleveland- AppleTree Books.   The basic concept: sit in the window, write, maybe talk to some people about writing, get work done, have fun.  Win-win. As a bonus?  The whole month of November was NaNoWriMo, so I absolutely needed to get at least 50,000 words written last month. (I was actually shooting for 65,000-70,000.)  But let's keep it real.  I'd have settled for 50,000- that's solid first draft territory.    I'm currently working on a new series that I'm super-excited about, so every day of last month was spent stealing writing time from real life. You know, my house was pretty much a disaster  (I finally cleaned it up today), we ate tons of take out food, (still ate take out today) and I have a huge pile of laundry that I still need to get to, but wonder of wonders, I managed to end up with 71,644 words!  That's right- not only a solid first draft, but one that's actually divided into (gasp!) chapters, and even has cool stuff like plot twists and some complicated character layering that worked out pretty well in the end.  I still need an ending, but that will come with the first round of editing. But back to the subject....writing in that window. I'd been advised to dress in layers, so that I did, ready to strip down, hopefully not to Amsterdam red-light standards, and there's not a lot of room, so I only brought a laptop and myself, and a big to go cup of coffee.  See?  I was totally prepared.  Like a boss. Shadows of Ghosts L A McGinnis Problem was, the day I volunteered to write in the window it was about 68 degrees out, even though they were decorating for Christmas, which meant it was about 101 degrees up there under glass.  I decided I was tough.  Hell, I'd had kids.  I LOVED the sun!  I could do it.  I stripped down to a t-shirt.  Let's do this people! I lasted all of twenty minutes and ended up writing for two hours at a table in the shade in the back of the bookstore in relative comfort. Such a wuss. If you're ever in cleveland Heights, check out Appletree Books, it's the most charming, eclectic bookstore I've ever been to, and Jane is so helpful and knowledgable! Here's the link: Appletree Books Happy writing!  -L Appletree Books L A McGinnis