I’ve become very fond of a podcast about Young Adult lit called Kidlit Drink Night. They always make me laugh and I end up making lots of notes about books, movies and TV series to look into. They call themselves “Superfriends,” which is sweet. There is a lot of laughing. They share a love of YA Lit, and an often bizarre drink for the night, which is not always met with approval. :-) They end their once-a-month sessions with the question, “What are you crushing on?” I love that.
So: What am I crushing on right now? (Other than the Kidlit Drink Night podcast.)
So: what are you crushing on?
I’ve been bed-bound for over a week since a minor knee operation to repair a meniscus issue. I’m not going to whine about it! In fact, I’ve discovered that I’m the perfect candidate for this type of life.
On the bed beside me are:
- my Mac Air;
- my Levenger notebook (calendar etc.);
- a Circa notebook fat with my To Do lists;
- another notebook (a Semikolon Mucho Spiral Notebook for the stationery curious), where I’m thinking through The Next Novel;
- a three-ring binder for scene sheets (@ Story Genius), which I’m really using as a support for my mouse pad and mouse);
- my Kindle;
- an iPad;
- and a stack of magazines (The New Yorker, Real Simple, and Bookmarks).
Beside the bed is my walker (required for just a little longer!), a water bottle, clock, and iPhone. Moisturizer, lipstick, post-its, pencil, pen, pills. Snacks, tissue. Basic clutter.
Everything I need, in short, right where I can reach it. The only problem with this rat’s-nest life is that I can’t climb stairs (yet), can’t get up to my office.
But for now, I’m making great use of this time.
With every publication, a writer needs to update his/her website with information about the new book, a new media kit, author events, and a new author portrait throughout.
I didn’t have time to get an author portrait taken this year (I tried a selfie, with poor results), so I’ve used one James Brylowski took of me five years ago.
“Problem is, books are written slowly, and aging happens all of a sudden.” — from a wonderful article: The Agony and the Ecstasy of taking Author Photos.)
Having neglected my website for years, I discovered a number of problems. Fortunately, I was able to find a great website person through Fiverr.com who is helping me. We have quite a bit to do yet.
(Frankly, I don’t know how authors who publish a book a year manage.)
An important part of getting my website more reader-worthy was setting up my Media page. Following the directions of Tim Grahl (see below), I learned to code my Media page so that high-definition images would be automatically downloaded with just a click. I’m fairly stoked that I was able to do this.
Also, on Fiverr.com, I found someone to turn the book cover of The Game of Hope into a 3D image (see above). For $5!
Easy Outreach with Tim Grahl
When it comes to marketing, I’m a fan of Tim Grahl, He’s experienced, down-to-earth and realistic. I’ve taken a few of his online courses, and they’ve always been worthwhile. Right now I’m following a new one he’s testing out, “Easy Outreach.” Basically, it’s about how to get interviewed on podcasts, but the detailed system he outlines would apply to any outreach: to blogs, vlogs, or podcasts, etc.
An important part of the process is to identify suitable podcasts and to study them before making a pitch. (I’ve discovered a number of wonderful podcasts in the process.) I’m kind of excited about putting this into practice. I ordered a USB Yeti mike, and already have one podcast interview scheduled for the fall.
I’m ready! Who knows where this might lead?
Finally learning Scrivener
I’ve promised myself that I would write The Next Novel on Scrivener. I’ve taken stabs at learning it before, but I’ve always ended up confused and frustrated. It’s a complex programme! I was on the verge of giving up when I came upon a Udemy Scrivener 3 course for Mac. It had excellent reviews so I went for it. It’s been fantastic. I have questions almost every day, and the teacher responds to every one. I take it bit by bit, and immediately apply what I’ve learned, so hopefully it will stick. I’m finally understanding why so many writers love it.
Additionally, I’ve been developing my next novel following the guidelines in Story Genius by Lisa Cron. Puzzling over how to get Cron’s scene card templates into my Scrivener project, I Googled “Story Genius Scrivener” and found a wonderful article by Gwen Hernandez on WriterUnboxed: Using Scrivener with Story Genius. Bingo! She even included a downloadable Scrivener template with scene card templates (and much more).
Watching movies, reading and listening to books and reading magazines …
And then, of course, there have been wonderful movies to watch: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Call Me by Your Name; and, last night, Lady Bird. All were simply great. Of the three, I found Call Me by Your Name the most enchanting, swooningly European.
And then, of course, books, books, books! In addition to books on writing, I’m reading The Burning Girl by Claire Messud and listening, on Audible, to an amazing performance of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
A hard life, eh?
I love to listen to a podcast while exercising, doing chores or driving. I’ve become an enthusiast of a number. (See the ones I recommend below.) A friend who is new to the technology asked me how to go about subscribing to one. For those of you who are also new to it, here goes:
Podcasts are like radio broadcasts that you can listen to any time you wish.
Most podcasts are free. Think of them as the new radio. You can listen to them on any device that has apps (i.e. a smart phone or tablet) or on your computer.
To listen on your computer:
- Download the iTunes application and go to the iTunes store.
- Google “podcasts”—a number of sites will come up.
To listen on your cell phone or tablet:
First, get the Podcasts app:
- Go to the App Store app.
- Click “Explore” at the bottom.
- Type “Podcasts” in the search box (upper right).
Open the Podcasts app and search (upper right) for the podcast you are looking for.
- Click on it.
- Click “Subscribe.”
And that’s it. Once subscribed, when you go to the Podcasts app, click on “My Podcasts” bottom left, and there you go.
I highly recommend:
WTF Edgy, X-rated. Marc Maron is a no-holds-bar comedian, often interviewing comedians in his garage. Fun! Be sure to check out episode #613, his interview of Barack Obama (which is not X-rated). Another great one is the #604 interview of NPR interviewer Terry Gross.
BOOK REVIEW (THE NEW YORK TIMES) Fantastic interviews with authors and reviewers. It’s a wonderful way to keep up-to-date on new publications.
WRITERS & COMPANY (CBC RADIO) Eleanor Wachtel is an amazing interviewer of literary authors from around the world.
THIS AMERICAN LIFE Great journalism, both thought-provoking and entertaining.
SERIAL Investigative journalism which took the world by storm. So compelling! Be sure to start at the beginning.
Are you already a podcast subscriber? Which ones do you enjoy?