Friday, May 23, 2014

Come see me at the new Tyler Writer's Conference & Workshop

The folks in Tyler Texas are launching their own writing conference this June 28-29. It may be small the first time, but Tyler is a great place to visit and they have excellent speakers like my good buddies Mitchel Whitington and LaRee Bryant.

For my lesson in Tech For Writers, I need to get the nice folks in Tyler to spell my name correctly. Don't let spell check or lack of double-checking mess up a name.

Photo: Here is the official poster for the Writer's Conference and Workshop!  Feel free to share it!  Print it out and bring it to the conference and have all the authors sign it for you!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Thanks to the Dallas Area Writers Group

Last week, as I mentioned in the first post, I was invited to speak at the Dallas Area Writers Group (DAWG) meeting on May 13. They meet at the Cedar Hill Library (Zula Bryant Wylie Library) on Cedar Street. Yep, lots of 'Cedar' names all over the place.

I visit the group two or three times each year as part of a critique panel, but it's been several years since I spoke solo to the group. Over the years, the regulars have become more friends than audience, and they are warm and welcoming to new members. If you're on the south side of Dallas or mid-cities, they're just off Highway 67. A couple of members drive all the way from Mexia. Go by the second Tuesday of the month at 7:00pm and make some new writer friends.

Since I was talking in part about social media, I had to walk the walk myself. Here's a photo from the back of the room.
Thanks to the Dallas Area Writers Group
Speakers: Always take photos from the back of the room and your 1000-head filter to make it look like you have, well, a 1000 people hanging on your every word.

Notice the microphone to my right, and the video camera to my left, or in this case, in front of my left shoulder. Here's a better look at the microphone:
Thanks to the Dallas Area Writers Group
This isn't my best microphone, but it's the prettiest. Most speakers don't use such an obtrusive mic, but I was making a point. Plus, I use the mic for recording music, not just speeches, and large diaphragm condenser mics are great for recording strings.

Stay tuned for video and audio clips from that speech and others.

If you want more details about the recording equipment, leave a note in the comments.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Welcome DAWG members

Welcome to this new blog set up to illustrate the speech I gave to DAWG (Dallas Area Writers Group) on Tuesday, May 13th. Hope you enjoy it, and come back regularly.

As promised, below is the handout. Feel free to cut and paste and use yourself. I just ask that if you share this, you give me credit at least once.

Tech for Writers:
Tips, Tricks, and Tools to Help You Produce and Promote Your Words

Passwords – base plus identifier
Privacy – rare today, but security is still possible
iDrive – recommended, 5GB free
Cyphertite – 8GB free
MiMedia – 7GB free
Carbonite and Mozy, 2GB free, aimed at consumers
Keep OS and malware protection current
    Never trust links in emails from strangers – safe place to download software (free and trials)

Blogs and Website
URLs – Finding the best domain name – global table of existing domain names
Domain names – GoDaddy, hundreds of others
Blog first, add website when needed
Cheap website hosting

Word Processors
    MS Office full office suite
Tip: make your word processor full screen to avoid distractions

Writing Programs (organizers, bulletin board views, etc)
    Scrivener - $40 –   
    yWriter -
    LitLift – online, co-authors supported – online screenwriting software
    FastPencil – online, good for collaborators and reviewers

Organizing and Checking Programs
Mind Mapping Software (best),,, many others
Grammar checking
    Microsoft Word
Readibility Checkers
    Hemingway –

Social Media Traps
Privacy – none
Twitter – Tequila and hand grenade
    New: bigger image in profile, pin your favorites, add images.
Time suck to the max unless you control yourself (automated tools)

Social Media Marketing
Mailing lists
    MailChimp, Constant Contact, Vertical Response etc.
Facebook author's page – no limit to Friends   
Instagram if you have something that relies on images
    Ditto for Pinterest
YouTube – your personal channel is FREE
Follow people who matter to your audience to get more followers
    Not authors, but leading book reviewers etc.
Give something to get something – free short story for email address
Every message goes everywhere – YouTube video gets blogged, tweeted etc
Affinity forums, sites, blogs around your book subject
Put social link icons on your blog and website
Free images from flickr:

Social Media Tools
Blog – WordPress or Blogger / Blogspot
    Subject, Frequency, ALWAYS include an image
    Title and first paragraph
    Power of Three – blog title, first paragraph, image title, Twitter post, Instagram
    Comment on other blogs, always comment back
    Include photos and links in your Profile (now expanded)
    2-4 tweets per day recommended.
    Automation tools – HootSuite, TweetAdder ($55+), TweetDeck, SocialOomph
    Author page, post regularly, use photos (linked to Instagram and Pinterest)
    Post questions to encourage comments
    "Like" complementary pages
Instagram, Pinterest
    Great for image-friendly topics
    Can post text in Pinterest, some pin book chapters

James Gaskin (boutique publishing company) (blog)