Social Media & Being an Author

Sorry for the lack of posts lately! I was on a (much needed) vacation to California! The need for vacations to take a step back from your work is a topic for an entirely different post, but I can sum it up to this: sometimes it’s necessary to not think about your novel, to escape and have new experiences which will influence your writing, and to be in a more sublime environment so when an agent rejection pops up in your email, you take it in stride and order another wine sample! 😉

Today, I wanted to focus on a subject that has been giving me major headaches–the dichotomy between being an artist and thus trying to be a free spirit while at the same time being cognizant of the pressing need to create an online presence. This need for a writer’s platform necessitates the use of social media. Writers, as a rule, hate social media. We would rather be writing! However, our ultimate goal is to be read, and to be read and gain notice in today’s world means hashtagging and blogging our way to fame. Hopefully that prospect turns everyone’s stomachs as much as it does mine. It is a very imposing goal; in the millions of individuals out there on the internet, how do you make a difference?

It’s a question I, unfortunately, cannot answer in this post. But I do welcome good suggestions! The first step for me is simply, getting out there. One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was literally: “Tweet less.” Obviously, that is not going to fly. I have been trying to force myself to tweet more lately, and have gone to excessive use of hashtags. Today, I activated a Facebook account (under much mental stress), and a LinkedIn page. I am looking into #QueryKombat, which appears to be a great way to get some exposure as well as potentially awesome contacts with agents and editors! The Internet is a crazy, intimidating place, but I hope to do my research and find some success in it.

I want to get the word out soon because I am going to be doing something very exciting here on the blog. I am going to be posting sample chapters of Capacitance! I want the novel to get exposure and hopefully build momentum. Stay tuned on chapter one coming soon!

With that being said, follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@elisemarie52), and Facebook (Elise Hardenburger)! And comment below with any tips how you got your online following started. 🙂

Writers Conference Packing List

This is a post that most likely will become a before and after comparison in two parts as I will probably need to post once I get back regarding what I forgot/should have brought. However, I noticed a couple followers mentioning they have not attended conferences, but might in the future, so I will give you a little cheat sheet summarizing my list things I plan to bring after extensively scouring the web for tips.

Of course I am bringing the obvious things: pen and paper, business cards, etc. I am also bringing three copies of my synopsis and one copy of my first ten pages. I don’t know if anyone will actually ask to see them, but I want to have them on hand–it’s better to be prepared. One other item that I stumbled upon yesterday was a One Page. A one page is just like it sounds–one page in which you state your name, bio, contact info, book title, word count, tag line, one paragraph synopsis, target audience, and series description (if applicable). I thought this was such a great idea that I immediately threw one together! I included a picture on mine, and used textboxes for blocking it out and including pops of color–best of all, I matched the fonts, color scheme and picture to my business cards for a professional, coordinated look. I plan on bringing ten copies of my one page with me to the conference as I think it will be the most distributed piece of information.

Finally, I am going to bring a copy of my manuscript. I read a lot of conflicting views on this choice, but what stood out to me was the advice to bring it along just in case. Being the type of person I am, I would simply rather lug around a 275 page manuscript all day than miss out on the opportunity to give it to an agent who might request it! My soon to be aching shoulder will probably argue me on the advisability of this decision, but I am sticking to it. On another note, I read a lot of disturbing advice saying not to stalk agents, sneak your manuscript into their bags, or corner and pitch to them in the bathroom. To me, I find this advice laughable as it is purely following the laws of common sense and courtesy…but I saw this similar admonishment on SEVERAL websites! I truly hope I don’t see any examples of that embarrassing behavior this weekend, and I can assure you all I don’t intend to be so aggressive with my manuscript. In fact, I fully expect it to stay in my purse and travel back home with me.

That’s what I will be carrying along with me in my (obviously gigantic!) purse this Saturday. As far as the outfit to coordinate with said purse…well, I haven’t gotten that far yet! Unfortunately this lack of wardrobe selection is troubling me more than my lack of pitch preparation. However, I am of the firm belief that my pitch will turn out a lot better if I am impeccably attired. With that being said, I am off to my closet to plan! I will be posting one more time tomorrow (if I am not too rushed), and then I am leaving for Las Vegas through the weekend! If anyone else is attending the Henderson Writers’ Group Las Vegas Writer’s Conference, please let me know–I would love to meet some of you!

The Business Side of Things

It’s writers conference week!! I am not nearly as prepared as I should be, but (as I like to remind myself) it is only Tuesday, so I have plenty of time to prepare! I didn’t post here yesterday because I was out of the office for the day running errands; one of the stops I had to make was picking up my new author’s business cards. I had not even thought of the concept of having a card if you are an author, but I stumbled across the tip while reading up on preparing for a writer’s conference and was shocked I hadn’t thought of it earlier myself. I fully expect to meet lots of new people this Saturday and now they will have an easy way to remember me!

My good friend and graphic designer, Michaela, created the cards’ design for me and they are perfect! The only thing I stressed about was whether or not to include the titles of the next two novels in the trilogy since Capacitance is the only one finished as of now. Ultimately, I decided to include all the titles so I won’t have to go through reprints every time I finish another book. Besides my personal information, I included a photo of myself on one side of the card–I think this is a great way to make myself memorable because there will be a face matched to a name. I am terrible at names, and this is a fairly common problem, especially at a conference so the picture should assist those people who, like me, are not the best at committing names to memory!

I love them! What do you guys think?

I love them! What do you guys think?

Now it’s back to prepping–I really need to perfect my “hook sentence” and pitch! If anyone has any tips for attending a writers conference, I welcome your suggestions!