We are here.

And the ‘here’ is Changchun, China.  They say it is not the end of the world, but you can see it from here. Siberia and North Korea are a hop, skip and a jump away, summers are short and winters brutal (yet to be experienced).

All of these factors should surely be enough to prevent any reasonably sane person from coming to live here, so yes, you guessed it … we probably are not reasonably sane.

So far, this little city has revealed itself to be friendly, helpful and filled with people who will try their best to understand your meagre Mandarin and obscure hand gestures.

The boxes are unpacked, the cats and kids have settled, the husband has started work … so lets see where this journey will take us. Hold thumbs, I might just be able to start writing and blogging again.

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How to Bloghop

Hi there,

I took part in a bloghop the other day. “What is a bloghop?” you might ask, because I sure didn’t know how it worked or what to do. So it was with some trepidation that I jumped in at the deep end and joined the wonderful Indie Writers Unite! New Year’s Bloghop.

Here is what I learned:

1.  A bloghop happens when a group of people get together to host an online party. Yay!  Someone sets up a main/central site which lists all the participants’ blogs, the grand prizes and what visitors have to do to win those prizes. (Here is the link to the NY Hop so you can see an example:  IWU’s NY Bloghop.)

2.  You get more visitors to everyone’s blogs if you have prizes. A bit more on that:

–   All participants can club together to raise money for more expensive prizes like a Kindle or Amazon vouchers (to be advertised on the main site/blog). The person in charge of buying prizes can collect the money via PayPal;

–   Participants can also offer prizes on their own blogs, such as goodie bags or free books.

3.  Be sure to advertise a few days before that you are hosting a giveaway on your blog which will start on a certain date. Tell people what they can win.

4.  Check your budget. Can you afford to send prizes internationally? If not, state clearly that it is only open to residents of the country you live in. Or give people e-copies of your book.

5.  Make sure your post is written and looking good before the hop starts.  Check that all the links are working. Schedule its publishing for the exact time the hop starts – you don’t want people visiting your blog and not finding the promised give-away.

6.  Make sure your post goes on your blog’s front page. Don’t make people search for it because they probably won’t and move on.

7.  Don’t make visitors jump through too many hoops to qualify for the prizes. People are doing you a favor by visiting your blog, so don’t make them write a ten page essay or something.

8.  Things you could ask visitors to do to qualify:

–              ‘Like’ your book on Amazon;

–              ‘Like’ your Facebook page;

–              Subscribe to your blog updates;

–              Leave a comment on your blog post;

–              Name a character from the book you are promoting, etc.

9.  Rafflecopter is a nice tool to help manage your giveaway. Remember, if you’re using WordPress.com you can’t include the widget in your post, only a link that will take visitors to a separate page where they will answer the questions you included, which is still cool.

10.  The more people you have participating in the bloghop, the more time consuming it will be. After all, you have to visit everyone’s blogs and comment/vote/answer questions. For me this was totally worth it as I met so many new authors and even won a prize or two!  Besides, the payback is all the new visitors to your own blog.

11.  Interact with people who have left comments and thank them for visiting. Do NOT spam people once they’ve subscribed to your blog. This is the quickest way to make them unfollow you.

12.  Let the winners know as soon as the hop is over and send them their prizes. Don’t drag it out.

I’d love to hear from you. Have you taken part in bloghops before and learned something new?

Bye,

Celia.

Night photos (84)

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And the winner is …

And the winner is … everyone!

Since I didn’t put an independent-vote-decider-magizmo in place before this started, and since I couldn’t possibly choose between all you wonderful commenters, I’ll be sending each of you an e-copy of my novel. Watch your inboxes!

Thanks so much for visiting my blog as part of Indie Writers Unite’s New Year’s Bloghop 🙂

Bye,

Celia.

CNY 2011         CNY 2011 (24)         CNY 2011 (56)

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