Friday, July 08, 2016

Writing through the Block

Every writer suffers occasionally from the dreaded writers block. This blog, itself, came from sitting at the keyboard and wondering "What will this weeks blog be about? I have literally no idea." Presto! Instant blog topic.

Staring at an empty screen is frustrating for every writer, from the first-timer just trying to get a story onto paper, to the seasoned veteran working on an impending deadline. Writers block whispers that you are not, will never be, a good enough writer. Clearly, if you were more talented, this wouldn't happen. This is obviously not true, as evidenced by the great Lin-Manuel Miranda:

This man has won a Tony, guys. For his writing. The man is a genius, and if he stares at a blank page trying to figure out what in the heck he is going to write down, there is hope for us all.

Before anything, close the window, or the notebook, or whatever you are using to get your thoughts out. Just close it. I know it seems counterproductive. After all, you're supposed to be writing. But stay with me, here. Window closed? Good. Now, let's beat the block.

1. Read...This is good advice for any writer, but especially one in the grip of mental meltdown. Aspiring writers have the worst tendency to forget that reading is one of the best ways to hone the craft. Reading forces the mind to work, shoves it firmly out of the box and into another life. It gets your brain whirring, and helps burn out all the extra that clogs up the creative process. Besides that, it forces you to relax. How many of us became writers because we were inspired by an amazing book? There is something inherently calming about taking a book from a shelf and just reading for the sake of it, for the pure pleasure of watching a story unfold. Let yourself be lost in it, and you may come back refreshed, with brand new ideas about where your story should go next.

2. Write...about something else. Sometimes the well, as it were, needs priming. We itch to write and occasionally, though the spirit is willing, the brain is spongy and empty of creative thought. So put away your WIP and write something else. Journal, freewrite, or find a writing prompt and just allow your thoughts to flow without the stress of worrying how it will fit into your plot. Need some help with what to write? We've got you covered.

3. Do...literally anything else. Take a shower. Go for a walk. Exercise. Heck, watch an episode or two of that Netflix show you've heard so much about. Just let your mind take a break from the fictional (or non-fictional) world you've been immersing it in. Let yourself come up for air, and breathe in the inspiration of the world around you. One of the best methods is to find a place with natural beauty. A beach, a national park, a regular park. Just find a place where the calm of nature can wash over you, and see if the thoughts don't begin to flow again.

4. Confession: I made the above graphic, completely forgetting that I only had three points in this list. BUT, I did include a few extra places to look for inspiration in squashing writer's block. So, if you need more help, here, here, and also here are a few extra tips from some genius bloggers to get your juices flowing and your brain back to that brilliant WIP.

Writer's block happens to the best of us. The good news is, it doesn't have to get the best of us.

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Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Promoting Your Work Without Being Obnoxious

We all have that friend. Maybe they sell essential oils, or bags, or beauty products. Maybe they are a local craftsman, or, like many of our readers, maybe they are an author.

And do you know how you know they are that thing? Because it is literally ALL they talk about online. Every single post is a reference to the product they are hawking, and lets be honest, we've all unfollowed that person at one point or another.

Does that mean that promoting on social media is a lost cause? Doomed to failure?

Of course not. Social media is probably your best tool in your promotional toolbox. But, as with most things, moderation and balance are key. So here are three tips to help you promote your work without being obnoxious.

Don't be spammy

Have you ever been added to a group or online sales party without your permission? And then you see the updates over and over again? Who added you? This guy? You haven't seen this guy in twenty years, why is he adding you to things? Invite people to like your page, but don't seek out old relationships for the purpose of selling to them. People can sniff out when you're being hollow.

Half of networking is forming relationships. Care about your audience, not just about whether or not they are going to buy your book.

Involve them in the process

Your social media presence should begin long before you publish. Posting that you have written a book and it is AVAILABLE NOW may get you a few purchases, but if you have been posting for months that you are writing a book, and updating your platform on your progress, you will already have a built-in audience dying to see what you've been doing all this time.

As you write, take your platform on the journey with you. They will feel invested and less like you are simply trying to get their money.

Remember the rule of 80/20

This is so important, and something many people forget. Before you are a writer (or Direct Salesperson, or candlemaker or whatever), you are a person, with a life. Post about that life. 80% of your posts should be unrelated (or only sort of related) to your book. People relate to other people, and the whole reason behind social media is that we love getting peeks into other peoples lives. Give your audience something to peak at (Sorry, phrasing). By following the 80/20 rule, you will be able to promote without your audience feeling like they are inundated with sales pitches.
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Wednesday, June 01, 2016

ETP Summer Book Challenge: Find those books!

The challenge starts today! I'm so excited to have a legitimate excuse to read! (As a side note, isn't it funny how, as adults, we feel like we need an excuse to do anything leisurely or relaxing?) There are only fifteen books on our challenge list this summer, and with so many awesome books out there (I know my TBR list far exceeds fifteen), how to choose? To help you out, here are a few resources to help you with your book selections.

Books about America - Goodreads has this list of 49 books about America, and the Library of Congress has this one. Some are classics like The Great Gatsby, while others are more contemporary. Either way, the books on this list might help you get into the Fourth of July spirit. 

A Book from the 1001 list - If you've never seen this list, you are missing out on a gem. Spanning multiple genres, age groups, and styles, the books on these lists are the universal "must-reads" of the literary world. Find it here.         

Books not originally published in English - There are so many of these, and finding a list that had both classics and lesser-known titles was tough, but this list from Nighthawk News has twenty-five awesome titles for you to choose from.    

A bestseller the year you were born - If you were born before 1942, you're out of luck on this one (although, if you were born before 1942 and you are doing this challenge, drop me a line. I would love to chat!), but Wikipedia has the lists from 1942 through the modern day.

A book set in the outdoors - You could always reread Hatchet, but Outside Online has this great list of outdoorsy adventure books for you to explore in honor of National Camping Month.

Books about Fathers - Fathers Day is June 19th, so honor your own dad and read a book off this list from Amazon or this one, from ShortList.

An anthology - Here are all of eTreasures anthologies! There are lots to choose from!

ETP Book Club picks - Stay tuned!

I hope this gives you some good ideas for summer reading, and we can't wait to see your reviews!

Remember to grab the graphic below, and to use the hashtag #etpsummerreads


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Monday, May 23, 2016

ETP Summer Book Challenge

I am so excited to finally be launching the first of our summertime challenges! These have been in the works for awhile, and it's finally time to let you in!

This summer, eTreasures will be hosting its very first book challenge! The challenge is to read fifteen books this summer, within the categories below. Some are summer-specific, some are not. Some are specifically ETP books, some are not. All have the potential to provide you with a summer full of good books!

Here is how the challenge will work: Each week as you read books for the challenge, we want to know! Tweet, Instagram, blog, however you want to get the word out, using the hashtag #etpsummerreads. Once you finish a book for the challenge, blog about it (and be sure to add a review to Amazon and Goodreads, especially if it's an ETP book or written by a self-published author)! We will do a post each week rounding up challenge posts from around the blogsphere.

We will be providing ideas and links leading up to the challenge launch so that you can be ready with your challenge titles. Make sure you are subscribed to the blog and following us on Twitter to stay updated. We will provide more info as the summer draws closer.

The ETP Summer Book Challenge runs from June 1st to August 31st. Happy Reading!

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Meet the Staff: Rhyannon Yates

We have some great staffers over here at ETP, and for the next few months, we'll be introducing them to you.

Rhyannon Yates is our Promotions and Marketing Coordinator, which is a fancy phrase for "Social Media, Blogging, and getting books out to reviewers". And before you ask, yes, that means she is the one writing this, and she is writing about herself in the third person. Creative types are odd people, and you just have to accept it. 

Rhyannon also does a very small amount on the editing and acquisitions side, mainly with our picture and children's books.

When she isn't being a social media guru or sloshing through the pile of submissions sitting in her inbox, Rhyannon is a work at home mom. She has two little girls, with another due to be born literally any second. It is not uncommon for her to be scheduling posts on Twitter, emailing review sites, and telling at least one person in her house to please go put on some pants, because the repairman should be here any minute. It's definitely a busy life, but she is enjoying her new foray into the publishing world, and has no plans to slow down any time soon (I mean, fine, she'll probably take a week or two when the baby gets here, but Twitter posts don't schedule themselves)

Rhyannon is a writer in her own right, having been published on City Moms Blogs Network and in the anthology The Milk of Female Kindness

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