Three Links 11/22/19 Loleta Abi

Image by ElinaElena from Pixabay

Three Links 11/22/19

Loleta Abi


1. “As a new author, there is so much conflicting information about whether you should or shouldn’t have an author platform before you’re published. I decided to err on the side of caution, and forge ahead with building one, starting with resurrecting my dormant Twitter account. I pretty much started from scratch with only 36 followers and very little knowledge about how Twitter worked.

Through a crazy baptism of fire, I soon learned the ins and outs of Twitter. I jotted down my discoveries in a blog series called Twitter Tips for Newbies, which, to my utter surprise, has proven popular in Twitter’s #WritingCommunity.

So far, I’ve amassed 20,000 followers on Twitter in my first year. Before I dig into how that happened, a couple quick ground rules if you’re new to the Twitter community:

  • Don’t follow without screening who you are following first—or you’ll end up with some eye-popping content on your feed).
  • Keep your follower-following numbers even while you’re below the 5,000 mark. Don’t race ahead and follow a bazillion accounts. Essentially, this is what bots do and Twitter will put you in Twitter jail and prevent you from following accounts.

Here are my top three call-to-action strategies that work.”

2. “For the Indie author, marketing has always been a challenge. As we discover new advertising outlets, so do those at the Big 5 and even other large publishing houses. They have money that goes deeper than ours and can outbid us on a number of platforms.

What does that mean? Well, advertisers who were putting their ad spend into television, newspapers, and other physical “shotgun”-style ads have finally determined that targeted digital marketing is where it’s at. That means the influx of a lot of big money to places like Amazon and Facebook—places where authors used to stand a fighting chance to compete for ad space.

But there are countless indie authors who are now experiencing something new: ads that used to work, that used to get them a great return or at least a reasonable one, are no longer working.”

3. “Long ago, someone gave me a birthday card that said “Fearless.” For many years, I tacked it on my bulletin board above my desk. Even now, it’s one of the few cards I’ve ever saved. I kept it because while a part of me resonated with the idea that I might be fearless, the rest of me just yearned to be—because I knew I wasn’t. I knew I had to learn to overcome fear as a writer or a person.

I look back on my life and realize that my fears, although often suppressed, were always present. Someone once asked me in an interview what I thought made me productive and focused, and I knew the answer was that I was”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. “A large part of my research for Pretty Evil New England involves traveling to crime scenes, historical societies, libraries, and cemeteries. And every so often I hit the motherload, which is exactly what happened this past Friday when Bob and I drove into the Great North Woods of New Hampshire in search of answers to a historic crime. We’d planned to visit the library that housed the original newspapers that supposedly covered the Grand Jury hearing. But the library didn’t open till 1 p.m.

Let me back up a bit.

In the summer of 1880 and winter of 1881, a 22-year-old girl was accused of murdering the two most prominent families in town (Sorry for being cryptic, but I’m trying not to ruin the book). When six people die and there’s only one left standing, it’s a safe assumption that she’s probably the murderer. But what if she isn’t? What if she’s innocent?

This particular case intrigued me because it’s never legally been solved. Sure, people in town all thought the girl did it, but the state didn’t have enough reliable evidence to prove that. So, technically, I’m researching a 140-year-old cold case, much like the infamous Lizzie Borden case. And that’s exactly the mindset I need to keep in order to uncover facts the state might have missed.

Before I dragged my poor husband we drove two hours north, I’d formed a new theory about the case—not the story told to generation after generation (teachers used to tell this “murder mystery” to every class). I uncovered the specific type of arsenic used to kill the victims. I also found the murder weapon: a tainted demijohn of whiskey bought by one of the victims while visiting family out of town.

See why my crime writer antenna dinged?

historic crime

These details I found in random newspaper articles in the Library of Congress that”

2. Writing Forward: I often receive requests from people who are seeking writing help. Some are seeking professional services; they want someone to edit a book they’ve written or coach them through the process of writing a novel. Other times, I get questions about writing that range from simple to complicated. One person might send […]”

3. “Mom told me weeks ago that someone kept sending a bill for me to my old house. She bundled one of them up and forwarded it. It’s from a company called KingSize – a FULLBEAUTY brand.

I’ve never even heard of this company, and am not likely to order beauty products of any kind. Some of us are beautiful enough.

I called them today and had to play whack-a-mole with the answering service. You know the game where you have to press a button based upon several suggestions. I had to go six layers deep before I got placed on hold. I was on hold for over thirty minutes. Something like this makes a guy feel kind of stabby before even talking to someone.”

Some Things More Serious:

1. “A couple weeks ago we talked about the hook, the sound bite, or the ability to “say it in a sentence.” Someone asked for examples so I thought I’d give you a few.

Below are a few short pitches found in proposals that caught my eye over the years from first-time authors. Please realize that the sound bite is only one of many factors that goes into a great proposal. Ultimately it is the execution of the concept that makes for a great book.

Your challenge will be to see if you can identify which books these are. Do you recognize them? Each one has been published by a major publisher. Three are nonfiction, the other two are novels. I might reveal the answers if no one is able to figure them out.

Also note that each has a clear idea, one of the keys to a successful pitch.

A hint for the two novels? They both won the Christy Award for best debut novel!”

2. “You may have read portions of this blog on WITS in 2012. It’s still a winner.

Writers are all powerful. Well, in their fictional worlds they are all powerful.

Two of the 74,386 story dynamics that writers control are expanding time and compressing time. Today we’ll focus on the most fun of the two, and the one writers sometimes neglect: expanding time.

When would you want to expand story time?

When scene events justify zooming in on the POV character’s experience, minute by minute, or second by second. Maybe even picosecond by picosecond.

You’ve got to love that word. Picosecond, one trillionth of a second.

In real life, people can send and receive up to 10,000 nonverbal cues in less than one minute.

Yes. That’s a true statement.”

3. “All editors and agents have a few pet peeves. Some of us have more than a few. In my case, it’s a virtual menagerie. So, while you may want to keep my OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), and OCC (overly cantankerous condition) in mind as you read, please consider the following list of “things you should stop doing immediately and forever” if you’re writing for publication.

Stop writing “the reason why.”

The reason you should stop writing “the reason why” is that the word why is always unnecessary in the phrase. See what I mean?”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:




Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “During the summer I had the distinct honor of blurbing a book. Not just any book, either. Larry Brooks’ new craft book, Great Stories Don’t Write Themselves. I love Larry’s (and Jim’s!) craft books, so I took my job seriously and did what any self-respecting writer would do… I Googled “How to Blurb a Book.” 

The term “blurb” has amassed a number of meanings in the decades since it worked its way into our vocabulary, including a book description. But the true meaning of the word means a bylined endorsement from a fellow writer or celebrity that sings the praises of the book’s author.

There’s only two crucial steps to book blurbing.”

2. “I’m so happy to invite C. S. Boyack to my blog today. I’ve visited his blog many times: and consider him a friend, even though we’ve never met. He’s recently released a new novel, SERANG, and I’m halfway through it right now. I loved SERANG in the novel, VOYAGE OF THE LANGERNFISH, a fantasy/pirate/adventure novel, and I’ve been waiting for this prequel that tells her beginning story.

He hasn’t disappointed. The daughter of a fisherman, when her father dies on his ship, her mother can’t support her and takes her to a temple to be raised by warrior monks. If you haven’t read VOYAGE OF THE LANTERNFISH, no problem. This story can easily stand alone.”


Katy is not the shy schoolgirl she once was, and she’s looking forward to showing her classmates who she’s become. Annabel was the queen bee, but her fall from grace changed her life forever. Zach was cruel, but he thinks he’s changed. Robbie was a target. And he never stood a chance.

Their reunion will bring together friends and enemies, many for the first time in decades. But someone is still holding a grudge, and will stop at nothing to reveal their darkest secrets…”

4 responses to “Three Links 11/22/19 Loleta Abi”

  1. Thank you for including my two posts, Traci. Wishing you a fab Thanksgiving filled with tasty food, fun conversation, and loving family. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Sue! And thank you! I wish the same for you and your family!

  2. Thanks so much for your sharing, Traci. Much appreciated. ❤

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