Posts Tagged writing advice

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 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?



Night photos (84)

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Pitch-ilicious blog contest

I’m taking part in a pitch-ilicious blog hop contest by posting a 3-line pitch for my novel. Comments are welcome!

Eighteen-year old Keira Wilde is determined to make her own plans for her future, thank you very much. She wants to be a photographer; not go to Oxford, like her parents want, or be a hero, like her aunt wants. But Keira’s plans go flying out of the window when she is attacked on the streets of London and her fury sends ripples through the Akasha, setting a war in motion.

Update:  Thanks everyone for your comments! Here is my next attempt. (PS, this is a YA urban fantasy novel.)

Eighteen-year old Keira Wilde is determined to make her own plans for her future, thank you very much, despite her parents’ demands. But Keira’s plans go flying out of the window when she is attacked on the streets of London and her fury sends ripples through the Akasha, setting a war in motion. After her mentor is killed in battle, guilt and a raging need for revenge drive Keira to join the enigmatic Marco Santana and his crew of survivors to find the source of all knowledge and prevent the fabric of time from unraveling.

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Trust your broccoli.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Some people believe in Muses; beautiful-floaty-sparkly-external beings that have the power to gift you with inspiration and brilliance, or withdraw it if you piss them off and don’t give them enough attention.

Others believe that it comes from a place deep within yourself, your subconscious mind, which is like a treasure chest waiting to be explored.

Anne Lamott has written a brilliant book titled “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life”, and in it she explains that her inspiration comes from listening to her intuition – or listening to the broccoli.

“There’s an old Mel Brooks routine….where the psychiatrist tells his patient, ‘Listen to your broccoli, and your broccoli will tell you how to eat it.’ …when you don’t know what to do, when you don’t know whether your character would do this or that, you get quiet and try to hear that still small voice inside. It will tell you what to do. The problem is that so many of us lost access to our broccoli when we were children. When we listened to our intuition when we were small and then told the grown-ups what we believed to be true, we were often either corrected, ridiculed, or punished. God forbid you should have your own opinions or perceptions – better to have head lice.”

Anne’s advice can be applied to every part of life, whether you are a writer or not. People need inspiration, whether you are packing your child’s lunchbox, having a brain-storming session, preparing a marketing proposal or planning a holiday.

When last have you gotten quiet and tried to hear that small voice inside?  When was the last time that you listened to your intuition and not to the clamoring, blathering and utterly ignorant blabbering in your own head?

I know that I haven’t been listening to that small voice for a while now and that it is time to get back to my broccoli.

My favourite quote from Anne’s book is this:

“Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.”


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