Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Writer Resources by Angela Arndt

Write what scares you.
Recently I’ve been thinking about the Christian fiction industry has changed from the viewpoint of the writer.
  • Ten years ago you could pitch an idea at a conference and get a request for a full, even if you were unpublished. Now, it’s best to have a finished, polished manuscript before you approach an editor or agent.
  • Ten years ago, websites were optional. Five years ago if you had a blog and a few followers, you were doing great. Now it helps to have a presence on all the social platforms, a professional website, and an active blog.
If you want to be look professional, you need to have a great product (completed, edited manuscript), but you also need to act professional. This post is long for Seriously Write and there’s lots of links, but don’t be overwhelmed. Just skip down to the sections that apply to you.
  1. Do You Really Want to Be a Writer?
    Let's start with the biggie: should you be a writer? If you’ve been toying with the idea, but just don’t know if you’ve been called to write, take a look at these websites. Although they’re mainly for non-fiction writers and speakers, they can still help you find your genre niche or brand.

    Before You Decide What You Want to Do With Your Life, Do This First by Jeff Goins. This is all about looking at the way God has guided you through life to help you decide what kind of writer you are. In fact, Jeff Goins’ website is a great resource for anyone who needs a peptalk about career choices.

    Michael Hyatt’s website focuses on how to become intentional. It’s not just for writers, in fact, if you’re unsure about what to do with your life, Michael Hyatt has some pointers for that, too.

    Blogging Your Passion University by Jonathan Milligan, again, is for those who are motivational speakers or non-fiction writers, but it’s also great for anyone who wants to build a platform and a tribe. Jonathan’s videos, posts and graphics focuses on integrity and building a successful platform.

    One more and I’ll stop: Kevin Kaiser and his 1KTrueFans site are all about building a fan base. It’s good for those who are multi-pubbed or pre-pubbed because publishing houses want to know about your influence. Kaiser teaches you how to build that by building community.

  2. Community
    And speaking of community: writers’ online communities are filled with those who have made the same decision. One of my writer friends told me recently that people who aren’t writers are called, “normals.” Writers need others who speak the same language.

    American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) – If you write Christian or inspirational fiction and you aren’t a member of ACFW, you need to climb down from your ivory tower and join the land of the living. You’ll find moral support, lots of resources, workshops, classes, and reference information from others who write your genre. In addition to their considerable online presence, ACFW-er’s also have access to local groups and an out-of-this-world conference.

    My Book Therapy - If you have an idea, but you don’t know how to complete your book, MyBookTherapy is the place to start. Susan May Warren founded this site that has tons of videos and posts to help you write your novel. There’s subscription-based advanced levels, too. They have intensive workshops, mentorships and a terrific community. You can check them all out at the link above.

  3. Professional Writers Need a Professional Website
    If you want to create a professional website, but just don’t have the funds to hire someone to do it for you, these are the links for you.

    How to Launch a Self-Hosted Wordpress Blog in 20 Minutes or Less by Michael Hyatt – This post has everything you need to build a website on Wordpress.org (also called a self-hosted website). If you’re starting from scratch, you can do it all from the links in this post.

    (This is different from a Wordpress.com (free) site. If you want to know the difference, here’s a post (along with a great infographic) to help you decide which is for you.)

    Hyatt's post recommends using Bluehost to set up your website. In fact, they’re running a special until the end of March: $2.95/month for the domain name and the site. That’s about the cheapest paid site I’ve seen. You do have to pay for the whole year when you sign up. Please note: This links to Hyatt’s affiliate site. I don’t receive anything if you sign-up.

    Moving to Wordpress.org from Blogger
    I just changed my personal website to one self-hosted on Wordpress.org. I like the clean templates and the tools that are available to get my website “out there.” After I created my site on Wordpress.org using Hyatt’s video, I moved my posts – comments and all – from Blogger, using the instructions from this post on WPBeginner.com. You can use their Search bar to find more tutorials, plugins and anything else you need to customize your website.

    More Website Resources
    Looking for an inexpensive, start-to-finish course on Wordpress? Here’s one. This link (One Million Lines) is to a free course on how to code. (Scroll down to Start Learning.) If you really want to customize your website on Blogger or either sides of Wordpress, these will help you understand HTML and CSS. W3Schools.com has more free tutorials with lots of code examples to help you add to or customize your website. And if you want a custom font, get it here (free!): Google Fonts.

    Just because your funds are skimpy does not mean your website should be!

  4. Social Platforms
    Social networking can be the bane of your existence or the key to your success. There’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Reddit, Instagram, Tumblr and loads more are being created every day.

    So how do you decide how much to share, what to post, which to join? There happens to be someone who can help you with all your questions. Edie Melson offers Social Media Coaching Services and if you subscribe to her blog, The Write Conversation, you'll get social media hints delivered daily in your inbox.
Whew, that was so much information, wasn’t it? I hope it wasn’t overwhelming. I just want you to know that you’re not alone. If you’re a writer, we at Seriously Write have come along on that journey with you. Feel free to subscribe or check out the search box in the sidebar to find all kinds of great posts to help you.
    Were these links helpful? What resources can you recommend? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

    22 comments:

    1. Pure awesomeness, Angie! What a fantastic compilation of resources. And you have my utmost respect and admiration for moving from Blogger to Wordpress on your own. I considered doing that but gave up, thinking it was beyond my capabilities. May have to reconsider after I check out your link. Thank you, dear friend!

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      1. So glad these help! I know what you mean: I put it off for years. If you need help migrating (sounds like geese), just let me know.

        Thanks so much for commenting!

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    2. Angie--Yes, it was overwhelming, but so is writing nowadays. I started into this crazy business when it was simpler, but that's changed (quickly). Thanks for providing a lot of resources in one place.

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      1. Yes, they are! I know what you mean: I missed a conference one year and was so surprised how different everything was. (And I forgot to mention how important it was to try to go to a writers conference every year. Makes all the difference in the world!)

        Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm so glad they could help. (Can't wait for your post in May!)

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    3. Angie, these are great resources and I'm so humbled to be mentioned among them! Thank you for compiling this for us. I'm especially interested in how you migrated your blogger site to a self-hosted site. Thanks & Blessings, E

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      1. Edie, thank YOU for all the resources you've provided through all the years. Your blog, your guest posts, devos and speaking engagements have been such a blessing to so many!

        There are a couple of steps to migrate from Blogger to WordPress.org and that WPbeginner.com site has a post that spells it all out. http://bit.ly/1cTHRbq I'll be glad to help any way I can, if you have any questions just let me know.

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    4. Angie, this is quite a collection of writing resources--THANK YOU! It's true, so much has changed over the past decade or two. I can still (almost!) remember when a writing day was actually a WRITING day and wasn't nibbled away by social media, email, and marketing/promotional efforts. Writers have to wear so many other "hats" these days, but I still wouldn't trade this life for anything!

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      1. Oh, I'm so glad they helped! I know what you mean: those days when platform was at a train station and brand was on a cowboy show! But yes, it is a wonderful life. I love it, too. :)

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    5. Great resources, Angie! I took the time to watch Michael Hyatt's video, but am still confused as to whether or not I should convert to self-hosted from my WP.com. I'd love to know what you've found to be the advantages of the hosting. Did you go with BlueHost? Just an FYI, I was advised by someone who builds websites not to have my domain name registered with the same one who does hosting.

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      1. Wasn't that a great video? Re: the difference between self-hosted and WP.com -- I think it depends on control. If you're happy with your WP.com site, then it may be better to stay with it, especially since it's free.

        I went to self-hosted because I wanted to modify the theme and use plug-ins. I also wanted to get rid of the blogspot.com and wordpress.com suffixes and track my own analytics.

        I did use Bluehost for my personal site and our beekeeping site. I'm very happy so far, but I'd be interested in hearing the reasoning in not having the domain name registered with the host. If you happen to ask, please let me know. (Yikes!)

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      2. That was five years ago, Angie. Wish I could remember :) I wouldn't worry about it, though. I do like that you can do more with the .org site than the .com and there are no ads on the individual posts.

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      3. Oh well, I hope things have changed. (Yikes, again!)

        Yes it is fun. Just loaded the Click to Tweet plugin that I've seen everywhere. Yay!

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    6. Thanks, Angie, for reminding me of all the things I'm doing wrong. LOL!

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      1. Heather, what?? You haven't done anything wrong. We're all called to do different things with our writing. These are just resources to help out if you need them, not directives.

        You've got your own way and it's working. :)

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    7. Awesome list of resources, Angie. Once in a while, it's important to review and refine and re-charge, and this post is just the place to do that. xoxox

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      1. Thanks, Tanya! I hope this will be current for at least a week. LOL! You know how technology changes so fast. I'm glad it can be a help to you. Thanks for the comment, sweet friend! xoxox

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    8. Wonderful resources! Having (and being able to afford) a professional web site has been a stumbling block for me. I need to check this out! Thank you!

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      1. 'Glad to be of service, ma'am! :) Seriously, I know what you mean. It was a stumbling block to me, too.

        Just to let you know: the deal that's going on now ($2.95/mo) is paid up front and they'll try to add services to it. Michael Hyatt said they aren't needed.

        Just don't panic. Find websites that you like and search for plug-ins that do the things you want. Breathe. And install. Easy-peasy.

        You can do it!

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    9. As I read your post, Angie, I kept saying, "Check, did that." Conferences and blogs helped me to know what to do. So thank you for being on of those helpful people, Angie.

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      1. Yay, Zoe! Good for you! I love conferences, too: they have so many great resources in one place. It's well worth the money.

        You're welcome; I'm glad I could help.

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