To All New Bloggers Out There…

So I’ve been noticing that, now more than ever, there is an influx of new bloggers.  What’s more, many of my most recent followers seem to be bloggers that are just starting their journey here on WordPress.

To all of you, welcome!!!

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WELCOME!!!

A lot of you seem to be very attracted to my more educational posts, like “The Reason Why People ‘Like’ But They Don’t Comment”.  So I thought I’d write another “educational post”, particularly geared towards you new bloggers.

The First Thing You Want to Do…

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Identity yourself to yourself.  What does that mean?  It means that, as you start writing, as you start reaching out, networking, meeting other bloggers, targeting specific audiences, you need to know first and foremost WHO YOU ARE as a blogger.  You can only reach the audience you want once you decide what kind of blog you are going to run.

So identify yourself to yourself.  What do you think you’ll write about?  Do you review books or movies?  Write about sports?  Cooking?  Are you trying to promote a book or a business?

You need to figure this out.

The truth is, it’s obnoxious as a reader to visit a blog about book reviews, only to find they decided to go off on a cooking tangent.  Centralizing what you write about is important to maintaining and developing a community around yourself.

However, if you’re the kind of person who likes to blog about anything and everything, disregard this completely! 😀 😀 😀

Next: Identify Your Audience

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I cannot stress this enough: once you discover and surround yourself with like-minded bloggers, blogging becomes so much more FUN!

The number one word that captures the essence of blogging is COMMUNITY.  And to build and enter the community that you want, you have to find the right people.

So identify your target audience.

A while back, I wanted to target an audience of anime-watchers.  Why?  I’m writing a book that is very anime-esque (among other things).  So I tried to write about anime, to reach out to other people that liked anime…but it just wasn’t working.  Why?  Because I don’t watch enough anime to connect with other people.

Although I thought anime fans were my target audience, it took me a while to understand that I was wrong.

So I took a different approach: I started targeting fellow writers.  And let me tell you, that made a big difference!!  I discovered my community in them, aspiring and self-published authors like me.  And suddenly, my blogging world truly became alive.

Identifying your audience is important, especially if you’re trying to promote something.  But, in the end, it’s even more important for the sake of creating a community…which, once again, is what blogging is all about!

Stick With It

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We all struggle with this from time to time.  We lack motivation because life gets busy, our blogging efforts seem fruitless, or other bloggers seem to be doing so much better.  Believe me, I get it.  I’ve been blogging for three years and I only have 420 followers.  To some of you, that might seem like a lot, but it’s not.

The goal is to keep at it.  Fight through the dull moments.  Keep on writing.

Believe me, if you stop writing, you’ll accomplish nothing.  I know that seems like an obvious statement, but it couldn’t be more true.  If you stop writing, you’ll accomplish nothing.

So you must continue to write.


I hope these tips were helpful!  As always, Let me know what you think!


Like the way I write?  Check out my new book Elithius on Amazon here!  The Kindle version is only $0.99 for a limited time only!!  Get it now!

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Cover art by Elizabeth M

 

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Promoting Yourself–How To Get People’s Attention

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Note: this is a throwback post!  I believe that this topic, however, is always relevant!  Enjoy!


There are plenty of people in the blogosphere trying to get attention.  Every now and then, I might run into a person who says “I don’t care how much attention I get; I’ll still blog and write.”  And that’s a great mentality to have.  You shouldn’t let everyone else’s opinions stop you.

But still, at times, it feels like everyone is trying to promote SOMETHING.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Some bloggers are trying to “promote” their emotions, the outcome of their relationship, how their weekend went, etc.  Similarly, other people are “promoting” advice, or a message like religion or political philosophy.

Others are simply sharing their love of something by promoting that something.  For instance, some people review books, TV shows, movies, etc., just for fun.

But all of this involves promoting yourself too.  You won’t be able to promote anything unless you promote yourself.

And promoting yourself can be a big deal when you’re like the majority of bloggers out there…when you’re trying to promote what you write.

Take It From Me

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Sometimes…this is me

Take it from me: there’s a lot of competition.  I’m sure most of you have realized this.  Everyone wants people to be interested in what they’re selling.  If you’re an author and a blogger, then you’re a marketer.  It’s that simple.

Unfortunately, I can’t lay down a “road map to success” for any of you.  In order to do that, I would need to find that road map first!  But I can pass on some advice I got.

Allow me to tell you a story:

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I’m a senior in high school.  I’m sure most of you remember this time in your life where you had to start making adult decisions, particularly concerning your future.  For me, this involved what I was going to do in college.  I already have a free ride to an amazing college (thanks to my awesome, hard-working dad), so the question was, “What will I study in college?”

I’m not going to go into too much detail, but, basically, my parents were strongly pushing me to make a decision based on my financial future.  As I’m sure most of you know, I would like to pursue a degree that has to do with writing and literature.  But my parents were advising me to do something that could get me a nice job; a job that I could use to support a family.

I also happen to be pretty smart when it comes to things like math, physics, etc.

So I thought, “Well, I could be a math major.  Or a physics major.”

In the end, I ended up texting my older brother who had graduated from the same college with multiple degrees.  He’s a physicist, a mathematician, and an engineer (I know, smart guy!).

I asked for his advice, if he could see me as a mathematician or a physicist, and he replied with a simple question: “Why not an engineer?”

I didn’t really get the point: “Why?” Why would it matter?  All three majors were basically the same, right?

Math majors and physicists have all the skills to do what an engineer does, as far as I could tell.  In a lot of cases, they took similar classes, but for different reasons.  All that was really different was the degree you got.

That was what I thought.

But then my brother told me something that I believe applies to waaaay more than just college and choosing a degree.

He told me that no industry/employer/company needs mathematicians or physicists anymore.  They need engineers.  Why?

Because engineers have something to OFFER.

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You see, engineers are able to USE their knowledge of math and physics to create PRODUCTS.  They don’t just have the knowledge, they can USE it.  And this is what people want.  My brother wasn’t saying that mathematicians and physicists are good for nothing.

But people want someone that can be useful to them.  That’s the way the world works.

How does this apply to writing and promoting yourself?

You have to become something that people want.  Or better yet, something that people NEED.  Be useful to other people.

This is the best way to promote yourself; by offering something that people want.  Sometimes this means not talking about yourself.  Maybe this means sharing advice, writing a review for someone, or something else entirely.

Whether we like it or not though, this is the way the world works.  People will want you if they need you.  So develop the skillset and gather to yourself what people need.  The best way to promote yourself is by promoting what people actually want.

That’s just the way it goes.

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps!


What do you think?


Wanna support me as an author?  Check out my fantasy novel here!  For a limited time only, the eBook costs only $0.99! Don’t miss out!

 

 

 

 

For Your Writing Playlist

This is a great world-building song.  It fills you with peace, awe…and a sense of magic!  Take a deep breath and let the creative imagination FLOWWW!

Krale is a great artist, definitely check out more of his stuff if you get the chance!


To anyone who’s interested, my fantasy novel, Elithius, is only $0.99…but for a limited time only!  Check it out here.

Character Tip #3

Our first tip was have bold characters that are unique.  The second tip was, once creating bold characters, make sure they have integrity and remain true to who they are.  Character development is fine, but don’t have a silly character randomly get all serious, and don’t have a quiet character randomly give a speech.

And now, for tip #3.

Love your characters.

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We all want readers to love our characters…and thus, the first thing we must do is become invested in our characters ourselves.  I know it seems obvious, but it’s true.

How can we make readers care and feel for a character if we don’t take the time to do so ourselves?  How can we portray characters with integrity to their character if we don’t THINK about how they would act in a certain situation?

If we want others to fall in love with our characters, we must do so ourselves.

There’s a serious temptation to for us to be unfaithful to our characters and wish that they would change; we don’t want to love them for who they are.  Fight this temptation!  You must love your characters for who they are.  Characters can change…but not without reason.  If you feel like changing a character just because you’re bored…then you don’t love your characters enough!

Love your characters.  That’s how you make others love them.

 

The Final Battle

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I hold them tighter, allowing the moment to last.  Finally, finally, they’re safe once again.

Then Cassie grunts.  “John!” she exclaims, the maturity and earnestness of her tone surprising me.

I whirl around.  Perhaps I thought too soon.  He’s standing there, beside the body of the dead giant Evil, watching us.

The Red Captain…Nirak.

Crouching, I don’t remove my gaze from him.  I sink until I feel my fingers close around the hilt of my sword, and then I stand upright.  I slowly, cautiously raise my hand, and in a gentle, drawn out motion, remove my cloak from my shoulders.  It jerks and waves as it flows away from my body, alighting delicately on the ground to my right, the way the wind beckoned it.

“I’ve been watching you, ever since you entered Howaito Maki,” his voice comes to me from across the distance of twenty feet between us.  “At first, I didn’t know why I found you so interesting.  But now, I think I understand.”  He gestures with his sword, pointing at me, “Who are you?”

“Do you remember me?” I question.  “Your Evil left me for dead in the middle of my own home, and you kidnapped my little brother and sister.”

Nirak pauses, thinking for a moment, and then smiles, “Yes, I remember you.  You were the first family we found.  I had given my Evil orders not to kill any of you three, so that I might have a higher number for the sacrifice, but my Evil didn’t listen very well.  They were too…excited.  They felt too…challenged.”  I grunt, unnerved and uncertain as to the meaning of his words, and then he speaks once again, “I ask you once more: what is your name, human?”

I grit my teeth and state boldly, “My name is John Hedekira, son of Anthony!”

John Hedekira,” the Red Captain repeats.  “Indeed, you are interesting.  Do you even know what ‘hedekira’ means?”

I grunt; I don’t know.  I didn’t even know my last name had any significant meaning.  “I’d stop acting so confident,” I say, trying to change the course of our conversation.  “You’re outnumbered and the prisoners have been saved!  You can stop asking questions, because I don’t feel like answering anymore!”

Nirak lowers his head, baring his white teeth, his yellow eyes both glaring and smiling at me, and he questions, “Are you sure?”

The sound of feet pounding against the ground fills the air.  Across the courtyard, exiting the gate in the next wall, a squad of thirty Evil emerge, each one bearing a long pike and a short sword.  I look about warily, watching as the thirty Evil fall upon the dazed army of Castrum Fortress, and then I swiftly return my gaze to Nirak.  The Red Captain raises his sword.  “This fight is not over.”  And he charges me.

I hop backwards, accepting his blow against my blade, making sure I’m covering both Cassie and Luke.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see Faith and Bernard approaching.  Good, maybe they can get Cassie and Luke out of here.  But Nirak…I’m focused on him.  I feel as if…this is destiny that we should fight, and I kill him—


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Cover art by Elizabeth M

Available as an eBook for only 99 cents.  Limited time only.

Click here.

Why Do We Enjoy The Action/Violence in Stories? (Part Two)

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I feel as if I must write this.

Two days ago, I posted an article about how disturbing it is that we humans, as a society, have a twisted appreciation for violence.  I was condemning the fact that we enjoy watching violence and stated that violence desensitizes us, thus making violence more acceptable in society.  I wanted to know why we felt this way.  Why do we enjoy violence?  We do we even, at time, crave seeing it?  Why does it feel good (say, from a contact-sport perspective)?

One blogger, Karandi over at 100WordAnime, challenged me in the comment section, stating that she disagreed with me.  Most people are not desensitized by the violence in movies or video games, and their feelings of real violence vs. story-violence are quite separate.

Now I don’t know if I agree with Karandi entirely, but I had an experience this morning that caused me to consider her words in greater detail.

If the following makes you feel uncomfortable, please forgive me.

I’m in college and I live in an apartment with my sister and one of her friends.  We noticed, to our dismay, that we have a bit of a mouse problem.  So we bought a mouse trap–the sticky/glue kind, that traps the mice but doesn’t kill them.  My sister forgot to buy mouse poison to place on the glue traps, so, while the mice would be stuck, we would still have to do the dirty work of getting rid of them.

Being the man of the house, I stated quite calmly that I would be happy to “finish the job”, in the event that we caught a mouse.

Well, I walked downstairs this morning to find not one but TWO mice caught in a trap.  One of the critters was smack-dab in the middle of the trap, the other one was caught only by the tail.  Grimly satisfied that we had caught them, I proceeded to get the broom…but then I decided that the broom was too soft, and I probably wouldn’t be able to kill the mice.

So I went back upstairs to get my shoe.  After pulling the mouse trap out, I looked down at the two little things.  And hesitated.

I wasn’t sure what made me pause.  Maybe it was the fact that, with a shoe, I would have to get close to them in order to smack them.  Maybe it was because, when they saw me, they started panicking, and writhing, trying to get away.

Did I feel bad that I was going to kill them…?  Was I just afraid of them?

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“WE KILL IT!!!”

I didn’t really get it.  I watch plenty of violent shows; some of my favorite anime are very violent.  I imagine myself as the characters, taking down Homonculi, Titans, you name it.  I’m positive that, if I were in those same circumstances, I would be powerful, strong, determined, and fearless.

And now I’m looking down at two mice, trying to be a man, but afraid to finish the job.

I didn’t have my contacts in, so these things were just two brown fuzz balls.  There was no sense of empathy as a result.  Honestly, I believe my hesitation simply arose from the fact that killing them was going to take deliberate action.  I didn’t feel “guilty” for what I was about to do.  I think that, at heart, I was afraid to kill, simply because…

…well, just because.

There’s something about killing that I find scary.  Even if I’m killing two pesky mice that keep on eating our food.  Once you kill something, it’s gone, and you are responsible.  It doesn’t matter that it was for a perfectly good reason.  There is still something scary about hitting something until it’s dead.

Well, once I reasoned that they could possibly escape, I did it.  I was, after all, the man of the house.  It would’ve been wrong for me to leave the dirty work to my sister or her friend.  We also had another woman and her 5 year old sister sleeping over.  I had to finish the job before any of them could wake up and witness the dirty work.

After I hit the mice once, any hesitation thereafter was nonexistent; it seemed nicer to end it as quickly as possible.

Once the deed was done, I felt satisfied with myself, but I was also shaken.  It wasn’t death that bothered me, but killing specifically.  I find it interesting that, although I thought I would’ve had no problem killing them, I ended up feeling disturbed.  Even though I thought violence was cool and empowering, I really didn’t have it in me to behave in such a manner.

And…well, that’s my story.

Violence, I suppose, oftentimes IS separated from what we see in movies or anime.  We are not what we watch.

Thoughts?

Why Do We Enjoy The Action/Violence in Stories?

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All right, let’s face it.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all enjoy watching a well-choreographed fight scene.  It’s impressive to us.  It’s artsy.  It might even be “beautifully” done.

Let’s not forget that it’s exciting…it’s attractive…and we can even find ourselves “getting into it”, throwing punches at bad guys and delivering the final blow with the hero or heroine.

Does it ever bother you that we are like this?

Think about it.

I’ll never forget the time I was watching the Hunger Games in theaters, back in 2011.  It was the scene where Clove gets killed by Thresh.  Thresh takes Clove and slams her against the wall of the Cornucopia until she’s dead…and everyone in the audience cheers.

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I was honestly bothered by this.  Who cares that Clove was about to kill Katniss?  Who cares that Clove was definitely messed up?  We’re still talking about one human killing another (Thresh killing clove).  Why does this merit a cheer?

I don’t think cheering is the response that Collins (author of the Hunger Games) wanted.

Why are we obsessed with violence?  Why do we enjoy it, laugh at it, or think that it’s cool?

Is there some deeper meaning behind our desires?

Not to get too philosophical, but I personally believe that humanity has a fallen nature.  It’s not hard to see evidence of this.  That being said, I believe that we formerly had a pure, good nature before the Fall of Humanity (yes, I’m talking about Adam and Eve).

Thus, I’m wondering, does our desire for battle, our love of violence and action, come from our fallen nature?  Or the original human nature God gave us before the Fall?

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John Hedekira, the main character of Elithius…

These are questions that the characters in my book struggle with.  Is there a right or wrong reason to fight?  What should your intention be while fighting?  What should your disposition be?  Angry?  Calm?  Indifferent?  Passionate?

What do you think?  Are you bothered by how “into” action and violence our culture is?  Do you see this in yourself?  Is it a good thing or bad thing?


Interested in buying Elithius, my fantasy novel?  For a limited time only, Elithius is 99 cents as an eBook here.  Don’t miss out.