I write stuff for kids...and muse on writing, children's books, and the publishing industry in general

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Second Campaigner Challenge

Repost: Originally posted September 22nd

I hope you all had fun with my First Campaigner Challenge, because it's time for the Second! And this one's even more challenging, so I've given you a week and a half to write it :D

The Challenge is:
Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should:
  • include the word "imago" in the title
  • include the following 4 random words: "miasma," "lacuna," "oscitate," "synchronicity,"
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and included in the word count), make reference to a mirror in your post.
For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your post 200 words EXACTLY!
Once you’ve posted your Challenge post on your blog, pop back here and link directly to it in the Linky List below (please make sure you include the direct link to your post, not just the link to your blog!).

Entries in the Second Campaigner Challenge will close on Monday, October 3rd (at 11.59pm EDT). That's a week and a half (longer this time), so make sure you get your post in the Linky List before then if you want to be eligible for a prize! As usual, while everyone is very welcome to take part in this Challenge, only Campaigners will be eligible for prizes.

There will be heaps more awesome prizes awarded this Challenge, both for the entries that are judged the best and through Random.org. We're talking ARCs, books, critiques, and other items galore! My thanks go to everyone who has volunteered to donate prizes. You're all awesome!!!

I've again set up the Linky List to let you "Like" entries, so make sure you come back here and vote. Winners this Challenge will be determined solely on the basis of your votes. This is an honor system, so please don't take advantage of this process either on your own or another's behalf. "Like" voting will close on Friday, October 14th.

I'll (hopefully) be announcing the winners on Saturday, October 15th.

So, all that remains is to enjoy. Leave a comment to let me know you're doing the Challenge. Have fun writing your post, then pop round to the other entrants, check out their posts, follow and comment, and decide which entry or entries YOU like the best!

And don't forget to add your name and post link to the Linky Link below before 11.59 pm on Monday, October 3rd!


Don't forget to come back here and vote for your favorite entry/entries before Friday, October 14th!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Campaigner Notice-Board (Friday, September 23rd, 2011)

If you haven't yet participated in my Second Campaigner Challenge, check it out here. Entries close on Monday, October 3rd (at 11.59pm EDT). Judging is by "Like" voting, which closes on Friday, October 14th.

Check out these great blogfests, contests, and other announcements:
  1. Amber West at A Day Without Sushi: I'm holding a very special blog link-up for charity. This is a great opportunity to visit other blogs and have your blog visited, but more importantly, it is a chance to use our community to help others. Check it out on my blog
  2. Rosalind Adam at Rosalind Adam is Writing in the Rain: I'm hosting a virtual coffee morning as part of the Macmillan World's Greatest Coffee Morning. It'll last the whole weekend, 30th Sept to 2nd October, and there'll be competitions, food, fun, awards and a chance to donate to Macmillan Cancer Support in memory of my Mum. Check it out on my blog
  3. Marlene Dotterer at Marlene Dotterer: SF Group#2 and Paranormal Romance Group #2: Send a message to Marlene Dotterer with your name and links to your books or website, or a blurb about what you are working on. She'll post all the messages on her blog, Wednesday, Oct. 5th. Contact details here.
  4. Kimberly Zook at Zook Book Nook: Get your opening lines for your WIP ready this week! The Hooked on Hooks event will begin on Friday September 30th and run through Sunday October 2nd. Post the opening lines to your WIP on your blog and publish the link on my blog to get your hook critiqued by other writers! Details here.
  5. Rebecca Ryals Russell at Under the Hat: Through the end of September MG/YA Author Blog-A-Thon: 12 authors guest post with FREE books and PRIZES. Also, Sept 24-Oct 1 Banned Books Week Blog Hop: GREAT PRIZES including my NEW book Prophecy Bk 2 Seraphym Wars Series. Check out details on my blog
  6. Stevie McCoy at Glitterword: #tuesdaytales 100 word flash fiction prompt challenge is being judged September 27th by Susan Utley from Haunted Waters publishing. Here's your chance to potentially be published in their next issue by being a winner of #tuesdaytales. Join in the fun! #tuesdaytales will post September 27th midnight PST and end 6 pm PST. Don't miss out
  7. Melodie at Forever Rewrighting: This Friday I'm posting an interview with Elisa Ludwig, one of the co-hosts of the new YA/MG mystery blog, Sleuths, Spies & Alibis. Join us to find out about Elisa's upcoming YA mystery debut and the site, aimed at mystery writers/readers. Details here.
  8. Kathleen Doyle at Kathleen Doyle: I am hosting a giveaway on my blog in honor of having 100 followers. Succubus Blues will be given by random picks from the comments. Details here
  9. Alana Garrigues at writercize: I am opening my blog to guest posts every Friday starting in October. I'd love to have campaigners participate! Guidelines are simple - sign up, then e-mail me with an intro to your blog and your favorite writing exercise that gets the creativity flowing, along with a sample! Check out the details here
  10. Megan Grimit at Megan: In honor of my birthday, I'm giving away a copy of Ann Brashares My Name Is Memory. All you have to do is fill out the form on my blog by September 25th at noon. Details here.
  11. Rebecca Enzor at Rebecca Enzor - Sticky Note Stories: Win a custom My Little Pony based on a character from YOUR novel! Use a pony generator, template, or draw a pony based on your novel (published or not) and have a chance to win your pony as a real custom - plus a book from the customizer! Check it out here.
  12. Elizabeth Flora Ross at The Writer Revived: The first in my Friday series introducing my fellow campaigners is up! I'll be highlighting several writers from the nonfiction group (#53) every Friday throughout the duration of the Campaign. Details here
If you have a blogfest, a contest, or a something-or-other you want me to let people know about, fill out this form and I'll run your announcement in the following Friday's post. Make sure you include all the details please. If your announcement is for a continuing event that you want included in other Notice-Boards, you'll need to fill out the form again each week.

Please note: Unless someone would like to volunteer to help me compile the entries and draft the post, I won't be able to run a Campaigner Notice-Board for the next two Fridays (1st and 8th of October). The next Notice-Board will be on Friday, October 15th.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Winners - First Campaigner Challenge

Thanks so much to all who took part in my First Campaigner Challenge! With 384 awesome entries, and hundreds of people voting on those they liked the best, I've had a fantastic time. I hope you all have too.

The time has come to announce the winners, woot! Winners have been chosen in three categories:
  1. 4 People's Choice Awards - chosen by you in the voting (by clicking "Like" on the entries);
  2. 12 places awarded by the judges, who've done an absolutely fantastic job of winnowing 384 entries down to the top 12 under the supreme organizational genius of Michael Offutt; and
  3. 5 random prizes (chosen by Mr. Random.org).
Before I reveal the winners, I'd love you all to offer up a huge thanks to three awesome people who helped me out with this First Campaigner Challenge. Michael Offutt, who single-handedly organized the legion of judges through three rounds of judging, and brought order into the depths of chaos - I couldn't have done this without him! And Trisha Leaver and Sarah Ketley, who've done an amazing job administering the prizes and communicating with the prize donors. To say thank you, would you please pop over to Michael's, Trisha's, and Sarah's blogs and follow them if you haven't already :)

I also want to give all my thanks to those Campaigners who've generously donated over 130 prizes for my Campaigner Challenges (wow!) All I can say is, you guys rock, seriously!!! Wait until you see the awesome prizes below, and we've still got 2 Challenges to go :D

And now to the winners...*drumroll*:

People's Choice Awards

First Place: Jessica Therrien (46 votes)
Second Place: Erin L. Schneider (45 votes)
Third Place: 1000th.monkey (41 votes)
Fourth Place: Claire Hennessy (38 votes)

Congratulations guys!!! That was such a close call, particularly between First and Second Place!

Oh, what was that? You want to know what you've won? Well...*grins*...
  • In First Place, Jessica has won: 
  2. A free social media consultation to discuss blogging and social networking and assist in building your platform, donated by Mina Burrows (Mina works in this field, so I can imagine how useful this will be!). The prize also includes a $10 office gift card.
  3. A $10 Gift card to Barnes and Noble, donated by Kimberly Krey 
  4. A blog critique and a short guide to a better blog, donated by Marci Richards 
  • In Second Place, Erin has won: 
  1. A prize pack of three YA novels plus a signed bookmark of THE BODY FINDER by Kimberly Derting, donated by K.M. Walton. The YA novels are a signed copy of I WAS A NON-BLONDE CHEERLEADER by Kieran Scott, a signed copy of THE YEAR OF MY MIRACULOUS REAPPEARANCE by Catherine Ryan Hyde, and a copy of WTF by Peter Lerangis
  2. Full manuscript critique, donated by Kelly McClymer  
  • In Third Place, 1000th.monkey has won: 
  1. A 10-page manuscript critique, donated by Alana Saltz (freelance editor)
  2. An ARC of SLIDING ON THE EDGE, donated by C. Lee McKenzie 
  3. An ebook copy of his contemporary mystery, DEAL WITH THE DEVIL (in a format readable by the winner), donated by J. Gunnar Grey 
  • In Fourth Place, Claire has won: 
  1. A 5-page critique by Jessica Aspen (contest judge and coodinator for CRW's AOE 2012 published author awards)
  2. Either a copy of Laura Pepper Wu's book WOW! GLOWING BRIDE IN 30 DAYS or a $10 Kindle giftcard sponsored by LadiesWhoCritique.com
  3. An eBook version of her debut novel, Purple Knot, donated by Raquel Byrnes 
Judging Round

The prizes below have been awarded based on the standard of your entries, as judged by a panel of 68 judges! Once the judges had determined the 12 Finalists, I decided which place each Finalist would be awarded. And boy was it hard, the entries were all SOOOO good!

Here are the Finalists and their prizes:
  1. First Place: M.C. Rogerson
  2. Second Place: Juliana L. Brandt
  3. Third Place: Barbara V. Evers
  4. Fourth Place: Jessica Therrien
  5. Fifth Place: Jocelyn Rish
  6. Sixth Place: Christine Tyler
  7. Seventh Place: 1000th.monkey
  8. Eighth Place: Candy Fite
  9. Ninth Place: Leah Denman
  10. Tenth Place: Christine Rains
  11. Eleventh Place: Alynza Smith
  12. Twelfth Place: Chantele Sedgewick
Congratulations, you all really deserve it!!! Your prizes are:
  • In First Place, M.C. Rogerson has won: 
  1. A premium membership to QueryTracker.net, donated by Kimberley  
  2. A full manuscript critique, donated by Michael D Young, a published author with editing experience
  3. A $20 Amazon gift card (emailed), donated by Christine Tyler
  • In Second Place, Juliana L. Brandt has won:
  1. A signed hardcover of POSSESSION, donated by Elana Johnson 
  2. A book on writing, winner's choice (eg, The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell), donated by Linda Gray. International postage 
  3. $25 Amazon Gift Card, donated by Angela Kulig 
  • In Third Place, Barbara V. Evers has won:
  1. A first-25 page critique, donated by Gabriela Pereira 
  2. A signed copy of his book RING OF FIRE, a young adult fantasy novel, donated by The Dark Myth 
  3. Swag (THE AETHER CHRONICLES buttons), donated by Suzanne Lazear 
  • In Fourth Place, Jessica Therrien has won: 
  1. A 30-page manuscript critique, donated by debut author (2012) Sangu Mandanna 
  2. A signed copy of her MG novel NEW BEGINNINGS (international postage), donated by Rebecca Emin 
  • In Fifth Place, Jocelyn Rish has won: 
  1. Copy of her upcoming book, TEMPESTUOUS TALES (either PDF or paperback) OR a free 480x60 web banner for the winner, donated by Kandie Delley 
  2. A copy of Divergent (US/Canada only), donated by Catherine M. Johnson 
  • In Sixth Place, Christine Tyler has won: 
  1. A query or first page critique and a paperback copy of her novel THE SECRET OF SPRUCE KNOLL, donated by Heather McCorkle
  2. A Smashwords coupon for a free ebook, donated by Amanda Leigh Cowley 
  • In Seventh Place, 1000th.monkey has won: 
  1. $15 Amazon gift card (emailed), donated by Janet Johnson 
  • In Eighth Place, Candy Fite has won: 
  1. An eBook copy of his debut novel CASSASTAR, donated by Alex J. Cavanaugh 
  2. A copy of her debut novel THE ADVOCATE (US/Canada only), donated by Teresa Burrell 
  • In Ninth Place, Leah Denman has won: 
  1. First three books in his ISLAND OF FOG series, in either print form or electronic .epub format, donated by Keith Robinson. Keith says, "I can send signed paperbacks directly to winner for free if the winner is in USA, otherwise I can send to Canada or anywhere international if the winner pays for the postage (usually about $13.00). Obviously there's no cost if the books are electronic." 
  • In Tenth Place, Christine Rains has won: 
  1. A signed copy of A.S. King's Please Ignore Vera Dietz, donated by Sommer Leigh 
  2. A Halloween MG/YA anthology (US only), donated by Natasha Hanova 
  • In Eleventh Place, Alynza Smith has won: 
  1. A paperback copy of A LOVE REKINDLED (US only), donated by Myne Whitman 
  • In Twelfth Place, Chantele Sedgewick has won: 
  1. First chapter critique, donated by Allison Miller 
  2. A free copy of one of her ebooks, donated by Angelina Rain 
Congratulations again to all 12 Finalists!!!

Random Prizes

And just because I can, I'm awarding 5 random prizes, chosen by Mr. Random.org!

The winners (and prizes) are:
  1. Sarah Pearson - A full manuscript critique (max. 85,000 words), donated by 1000th.monkey
  2. Jamilia Jamison - An ecopy, winner's choice, from her stories, donated by Nicole Zoltack AND a copy of DESPERATE SURRENDER (international postage), donated by Hildie McQueen 
  3. Nellie - Book of the winner's choice from TheBookDepository.com (International shipping), $15 max value, donated by Erin L. Schneider
  4. Theresa Milstein - A copy of THE SALEM WITCH TRYOUTS (international postage), donated by Kelly McClymer 
  5. Kate L. Lineberger - A critique of the first 15 pages of a manuscript or a short story under 15 pages, donated by Jocelyn Rish
Congratulations to all the winners, you've done such a great job in this Challenge!!! Remember, you've been chosen from 384 entries - how awesome is that! We'll be asking the donors to contact you directly regarding your prizes, but if you have any questions/concerns, please email us at thirdcampaign[at]gmail[dot]com.

And don't forget, the Second Campaigner Challenge will begin on September 22nd, so pop back then if you want to take part - there'll be more awesome prizes and you'll be able to vote for your favorite entries too!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Beta Match - Are you looking for a critique partner or a beta reader?

It can be hard to find a critique partner or beta reader (and even harder to find a great one!). Some of you have found critique partners and beta readers through those you know in person, while others have found them in bloggers you met online, through online conferences such as WriteOnCon, through forums such as Verla Kay's Blueboards, Absolute Write, and in other ways. But time and again I’ve seen people commenting that they don’t know where to look. So I thought I’d help out (*grins*).

I'm running a Beta Match (and don't let the name fool you, it's for critique partners too!). Here's an awesome post from agent Mary Kole that describes the differences between CPs and beta readers.

If you’re interested in taking part in my Beta Match, there are two options:

OPTION ONE: Put your details and what you’re looking for in the comments below, using the following template:
Name: (your name, pen name, or blogging handle)
Email: (your email address)
My current WIP: (give a few details)
I'm looking for: (a critique partner or beta reader or both. Plus give info about the critiquing style/focus/etc that you want from a CP/beta reader, and whether you have work ready to be looked at now or are looking for a long-term partnership)
Some info about me: (anything you think a potential CP or beta reader will need to know)

OPTION TWO: Read through other comments in this post to see if someone who’ll suit your needs has commented. Then contact them directly.

Please note: Beta Match isn't only for those who have a piece of work ready to be critiqued right now. It's intended to be a way for people to find critique partners who can help them with their writing/revisions/etc over the long-term. Even if you're after a beta reader, you can still connect with someone now and swap work at a later date :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Campaigner Notice-Board (Friday, 16 September 2011)

Check out these great blogfests, contests, and other announcements:
  1. From Rach at Rach Writes...: I'm holding my Beta-Match on Monday, September 19th. Stop back here at Rach Writes... if you're looking for a critique partner or beta reader - you can leave a comment in the post or contact others directly. Campaigners and non-Campaigners all welcome :) Also, don't forget to stop back here on Monday for the winners of my First Campaigner Challenge!!!
  2. From T.B. McKenzie at Magickless: I finished my fantasy map! and to celebrate I'm giving away a signed copy to the person who can write the best 150 word descriptions of one of the places on the map. Check it out here.
  3. From Ozlem at yikici: Just for fun, I have devised a game to test a theory of mine (about character voices); if you fancy joining in please pop by; sadly there are no prizes - but you are guaranteed interactive fun. So what are you waiting for? :) 
  4. From Elizabeth at Flora Ross The Writer Revived: As part of the nonfiction group (#53), I will be featuring all of my fellow group participants on my blog. Each Friday, from 9/23 through 10/28, I will provide links and bios for several of my group's members. And promote on FB, Twitter and Google+
  5. From Kallysten at Tales of Love and Seduction: Kallysten is giving away Romance Trading Cards! Check out her site for the details.
  6. From alberta ross at alberta ross: I am taking the first two of the Sefuty Chronicles on a book tour Sept.18th - Oct 8th. I'll be giving away copies of these books each week. Details of stops and give away will be posted on my blog.
  7. From Laura Pepper Wu at Ladies Who Critique: Ladies Who Critique, a critique partner finding site has beta launched and is welcoming women writers of all levels to join! Once we reach 500 members we will have huge giveaways... come join our fabulous community and stay tuned
  8. From Damyanti at Amlokiblogs: The RULE OF THREE is a great opportunity for writers of all genres to show off their writing skills in a shared setting--the town of Renaissance. This Mega-challenge would last through the month of October: new episode of the story to go up each Wednesday/Thursday based on weekly prompts! Some #writecampaign friends are already on board, so come join in the fun and show off your writing
  9. From Catherine Johnson at Catherine Johnson, Writer: To enter Jody Hedlund's Trailblazer contest with fab prizes go here. This contest is in connection with Jody's latest release The Doctor's Lady (which is awesome!).
  10. From D.J. Kirkby at D.J. Kirkby: I am giving away a Kindle on the first of December and the giveaway is open to readers worldwide. My giveaway page is here. The post with the first 5 ways to enter is here and each Friday (from the 15th Sept) I will be posting a new way readers can gain entry into the giveaway.
  11. From Jamila Jamison/Lena Corazon at Flights of Fancy: I've launched a new self-hosted blog using my new penname, Lena Corazon. Wordpress will redirect all traffic from my original blog, jamilajamison.com, but everyone may want to update their bookmarks and RSS readers. Details here
  12. From TD Tessier at Tide Watch: Remembering Andre Norton. Few readers of fantasy and science fiction are unfamiliar with this prolific writer. Readers and writers alike are invited to share where and how they first met with her work. Andre Norton was my introduction to fantasy and science fiction. I recently found out the same is true for my daughter and that we share a similar high school experience, albeit 30 years apart. I thought this might be an interesting first blog event for me. There are no rules, no prizes, no deadlines; just a chance to share what I suspect to be a common experience. Check it out here.
  13. From Michael Di Gesu at In Time ...: What I did on my summer vacation Blogfest ... Remember those Compositions in grade school. Why not let summer last a bit longer and write a 300-500 mini essay on what fun things you did this summer. It could be ANYTHING and pictures are a must... Details here.
  14. From Sommer Leigh at Tell Great Stories: Sommer has started accepting sign-ups for MonsterFest 2011 - a blogfest from Oct 1-31st celebrating all things that go bump in the night. Participants pick a day in October to do a creature feature on their blog and enjoy contests and giveaways throughout the month. Details on the blogfest are at this page.
  15. From Lady Gwen at Run Gwen, Run!: Lady Gwen's Judge & Jury Blogfest has is now going until the end of September. Write a 300 word defense scene and come prepared to defend yourself. Lots of prizes! Come and join us
  16. From Ruth Schiffmann at Out on a Limb, Shy Writer Goes Social: There's still time to get in on the book giveaway in honor of my daughter's new book blog. Three great YA & MG books up for grabs. Details here
  17. From Michael McDuffee at Michael McDuffee's Blog: Interviews with #writecampaign folks - @SarahKetley posted, others coming very soon. Read them here.
  18. From Michelle Merrill at Perfecting the Craft: 300 followers and blogoversary giveaway! Come win one of three first chapter critique's. The giveaway ends Sunday night, September 18th. Check it out here.
  19. From Doreen McGettigan at Doreen: "My first book ""BRISTOL bOYZ STOMP"" is now available the link is on my site...insert happy dancing and tears here... Also, on my quest to reach 1000 followers I have an ongoing contest with some great prizes...look for the ""Big Contest""
  20. From Angelina C. Hansen at Angelina C. Hansen: Attention YA and MG writers! The BWB Blog Contest is up. Tell us about your best-writer buddy and you can win an agent query critique and other prizes! Open through midnight 9/30. Details here
  21. From Nicole Basaraba at Nicole Basaraba's Uni-Verse-City: Nicole Basaraba has started her own Writers' Uni-Verse-City, a place where writers can learn about the craft from each other: giving tips, suggesting books and other study materials, and looking at current topics in the publishing industry through Wednesday blog posts. Email Nicole about writing a guest post. More information is available here.
  22. From Sara at On Ink and Writing: I'm giving away a copy of Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey to support books with gay characters. The giveaway is open internationally! Details here.
  23. From Sher A Hart at Sher A Hart: Fantasy Writer's Fancies: Indulge your darkest fantasy--as long as it's chocolate--in my Chocolate Contest (with $10 gift card option) open now on my blog under the tab: Chocolate Contest: Follow me to win. This contest is ongoing with monthly drawings and each winner can choose their favorite chocolate or gift card. Okay, if you really want a book, I have tons of those too. Congratulations to Super Happy Jen, the first winner!
  24. From Susanna Hill at Susanna Leonard Hill: Writers - come join us for Would You Read It Wednesday, a weekly feature where writers help other writers with their pitches. The best pitch of the month wins a pitch critique from editor Erin Molta! (We welcome comments from everyone, but as mine is a children's blog the pitches are for children's books up through YA.). Check it out here
  25. From Alison Miller at Left Brained By Day; Write Brained - All the Time: In celebration of its launch this week, YA Confidential is hosting an epic giveaway! ARCs, agent critiques, and prize packs could be yours! Details here.
  26. From Danyelle Leafty at Danyelle Leafty: I'm having a contest to spread the word about my subscription-based serial novel. I'd love for people to stop by and check it out. Participants have a chance to win free e-books, SWAG, and a $50.00 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift certificate. Details here
  27. From Danyelle Leafty at Danyelle Leafty: I'm planning a Marketing Madness event on my blog for October. I'm looking for guest posts on marketing tips and techniques. Please contact me via my contact form if you'd like to participate. 
  28. From Daina Rustin at Mystic Treehouse: My first try at self-publishing is up on Smashwords. It's a short story, and you can download it for free from here. I'd appreciate it if you'd leave a review if you read it, even if it's a negative one! Details here
  29. From J.L. Campbell at The Character Depot: On Monday, September 19, J.L. Campbell will be launching a collection of award-winning Jamaican stories, Don't Get Mad...Get Even. Smashwords link is here. Meantime, you can get a taste of Campbell's work by downloading a free copy of Giving up the Dream. That link is here. Amazon link to come next week! Please help spread the word! Many thanks!
If you have a blogfest, a contest, or a something-or-other you want me to let people know about, fill out this form and I'll run your announcement in the following Friday's post. Make sure you include all the details please. If your announcement is for a continuing event that you want included in other Notice-Boards, you'll need to fill out the form again each week.

And don't forget to stop back at Rach Writes... on Monday for:
  1. Beta-Match (an opportunity for you to find critique partners and/or beta readers); and
  2. the announcement of the winners of my First Campaigner Challenge (plus prizes galore, woot!!!).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blogging Basics: How to increase your followers and build your platform (Part 1 of 3)

I've run these posts before, but they're so important I thought they might be worth a repeat.

My "How to increase your followers" series will involve:

Part 1 - Following blogs and making sure you can be followed
Part 2 - Ways to increase your followers and/or subscribers
Part 3 - Some essential blogging requirements.

And on October 1, I'm being interviewed at Laura Barnes' blog as part of her Saturday Savvy Sensation series, where I'm giving some tips about platform-building. I hope you can all join me there :)

In this post, I'll be focusing on making sure people can follow or subscribe to your blog (and giving you a few tips on ways to increase your followers in this respect). I'll also be giving you ways to follow other peoples' blogs, particularly where there's no “Followers Gadget". I’ll be focusing on Blogger, WordPress, and personal web pages.


To a lot of people, “following” and "subscribing" means pressing the “Follow” button on this gadget:

But it’s a little more than that, so bear with me.

Following or subscribing is basically a way for you to mark the location of a blog and read new blog content as it is posted. Unless there was some way for you to do this, you’d never remember which blogs you visited, or find the blogs you wish to return to again and again. You’d also spend hours physically checking blogs to find out if they’ve posted anything new since your last visit.

Followers Gadget

The Followers Gadget was introduced by Blogger as a means of social networking, and was later merged with Google Friend Connect (I’ll just call it the Followers Gadget here). It’s a pretty handy gadget, because:
  1. for followers - by clicking on the “Follow” button, you can be identified as a follower of a particular blog AND automatically subscribe to blog updates through the blog’s feed. See my post about Google Reader, which is a fantastic way to read the feed you’ve subscribed to as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  2. for blog owners - you can see which (and how many) other bloggers are interested in your blog and what you have to say. It’s also a means of adding subscribers to your blog feed, which means more people are reading your posts.
If you use a Blogger platform (eg, if your URL is http://yourblogname.blogspot.com), you have the option to add the Followers Gadget (go to “Design”, then “Add a gadget” then scroll down the list until you can select the Followers gadget). I have seen some Blogger users who choose not to add the Followers Gadget, but by far the majority of Blogger blogs do have this.

Many WordPress users (eg, if your URL is http://yourblogname.wordpress.com/) are not able to add a Followers Gadget to their blogs (Wordpress does not allow this). If that is the case, you'll need to include other links/gadgets/buttons on your blog that allow people to subscribe to your feed (I discuss this more below). You can also add Networked Blogs, which operates in a similar way to the Google Friend Connect gadget.

Bloggers who use personal web pages are able to add Google Friend Connect to their sites.

How do I follow a blog that does not have a Follower’s Gadget?

If a blog doesn't have a Follower’s Gadget, there are other ways you can follow/subscribe to that blog so you can read its posts:

(1) subscribe using RSS
click on an RSS button (which often looks like the following). It usually has this orange square symbol and may be very tiny, so you might have to look around for it. In some blogs, the button is not actually labelled “RSS”.
You’ll then be directed to a page similar to this one – click on the correct button depending on which reader you use (“Google” if you use Google Reader)
Some WordPress blogs have both a “RSS – posts” link and a “RSS – comments” link, so click on “RSS – posts”
Many WordPress blogs don’t have the orange square symbol, so look for this instead:
Then click on “entries RSS”

(2) if you have Google Reader, copy the URL of the blog you wish to subscribe to, open your Reader, click on “Add a Subscription” on the top left, and paste the URL. This subscribes you to the blog's feed in the same way as if you subscribed by RSS

(3) subscribe by email (you’ll receive an email every time a new post is posted on the blog you’ve subscribed to, which may not suit some people. However, if you wish to read every post a person publishes, this can be a useful tool)

(4) click on Posts (Atom) at the very bottom of all the posts on the blog’s home page (for Blogger). This will usually take you to the same Feedburner page as clicking on the RSS button
(5) click on the Networked Blogs widget (if you have a Facebook account). It’s fairly similar in operation to Google Friend Connect though with a Facebook interface. It allows you to read the posts from the blogs you've subscribed to, in a similar way to Google Reader.

(6) on some WordPress blogs, when you make a comment you can tick the “subscribe to this site by email” button, which has the same effect as the dot point above this.

And there you have it, a number of different ways you can follow a blog.

Making sure your blog can be followed

If you want to make sure your blog can be followed:
  1. add an RSS button or link (essential)
  2. add a Followers Gadget (if your blog host supports it. This is the most common way of following in the blogging community among non-Wordpress users)
  3. add a Networked Blogs widget (optional)
  4. add a "Subscribe by email" gadget (preferable).
And keep an eye out for Part 2 of my Blogging Basics series, which will give you further tips for increasing your followers/subscribers in this respect.

How about you: Do you have any following or subscribing tips, or additional ways to follow/subscribe other than those I’ve listed above?

Friday, September 9, 2011

First Campaigner Challenge Wrap-up (and the Campaigner Notice-Board)

So, um, 352 entries in my First Campaigner Challenge so far. Wow!!! That's such an awesome response - I'm loving seeing you all so keen to join in and challenge yourself, even if the little task I set is outside your comfort zone. And the quality of entries is so high, well done to all of you. I don't know how the judges are going to decide!!!

The Challenge is still open, though the Linky List will close at 11.59pm EDT Friday, so hurry and get your entry in if you haven't yet. You'll be able to "Like" entries for the next week, to give you time to get through some/all of them. If you haven't started going through them yet, think about starting at the bottom of the list, where fewer people have read/commented.

I'll be announcing the winners on Monday, September 19th, so make sure you pop back then :)

And don't forget to come back for the Second Campaigner Challenge on Thursday, 22nd September!!!

Campaigner Notice-Board

Check out these great blogfests, contests, and other announcements:
  1. From Sangu at Echoes of a Wayward Mind: I'm having a contest to get to 300 followers and would love it if people stopped by and entered! I will be giving away prizes like critiques and Amazon vouchers. Detail here
  2. From Nadja Notariani at Nadja Notariani: An Author's Adventures: My first novel, Claiming The Prize, is now available, and for this week, I'm offering a free coupon on my blog page! Stop by here to celebrate with me and grab up a free book!  
  3. From Leah at Leah Writes Pretty Fierce: Campaigners can choose to join up in a fun little tag to stretch their writing muscles a little and get to know each other at Leah Writes Pretty Fierce. Campaigners can participate by filling out the "Don't Be a Stranger" tag, participants are listed up at the blog every Friday. Check out the details here.
  4. From Clar at clarbojahn: Contest for free signed copy of book give away by commenting on book review post of "Another Bad Dog Book" by Joni Cole. Contest starts September 13th ends September 23rd, winner announced September 24th on my blog. Other contests coming up soon. Stay tuned.
  5. From Dafeenah at Finding the Hidden Treasure Within: Inviting all those in my groups (memoir, nonfiction, short story1) to do guest post on every Friday during the entire Campaign challenge. Email me if you're interested in doing a guest post on my blog. My email is dafeenah (at) gmail (dot) com or here’s my contact link
  6. From K. M. Walton at Some Things I Think: Starting this past Thursday I did a post called “Campaigner Spotlights.” I plan to do one each week of the Campaign. I will spotlight five of my fellow Campaigners from either of the groups I'm in. I put up a photo, a little bit about the blogger and link to their blog - all in an effort to shine the spotlight on some new bloggers.
  7. From Juliana at Aspire to be: Mid-October I will be hosting the Warm Fuzzies blogfest. For four weeks we'll celebrate being a writer! Check it out here
  8. From Ruth Schiffmann at Out on a Limb, Shy Writer Goes Social: In celebration of my daughter launching a brand new book blog, I'm giving away YA & MG books. Check out the details here.
  9. From Alex J. Cavanaugh at Alex J. Cavanaugh: The Insecure Writer's Support Group - posts the first Wednesday every month. Connect, encourage, and share with other writers! Check it out here.
  10. From Jess Byam at Jest Kept Secret: Jess Byam runs a feature on her blog called "Before They Were Published" (BTWP), where she interviews unpublished authors. If you are interested in being interviewed, please email her at jestkeptsecret at gmail dot com and let her know. Details here.  
  11. From Alana Garrigues at writercize: In celebration of my 100th writing exercise post, I'm inviting people to invent a fun pizza name and topping for a chance to win a family meal from a local Los Angeles pizza chain (L.A. area residents) or Starbucks giftcard (out of L.A. - U.S. residents). Contest open through Tuesday, Sept. 13. Check it out here
  12. From Theresa Milstein at Substitute Teacher's Saga: I'm hosting a contest, where you can win 1 of 4 books. 2 books are signed! Details here.  
  13. From Cristina Dos Santos at Once Upon a Time...: To celebrate my 100th post and all the amazing writers I'm meeting through the Campaign, I'm doing a giveaway, writerly style. Enter here to win a copy of "Plot and Structure" by James Scott Bell.  
  14. From Melodie at rewrighter: This Friday-Saturday, I'm hosting a Twitter pitch/two-line pitch event with debut YA author Jolene Perry. Leave your pitch in the comments for others to marvel at/critique and by doing so, enter the drawing for a critique by Jolene. Check it out here.  
If you have a blogfest, a contest, or a something-or-other you want me to let people know about, fill out this form and I'll run your announcement in the following Friday's post. Make sure you include all the details please.

Happy Campaigning!!! :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

First Campaigner Challenge

The time has come for my First Campaigner Challenge, woot!!! The Challenge is:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

Once you’ve posted your Challenge post on your blog, pop back here and link directly to it in the Linky List below (please make sure you include the direct link to your post, not just the link to your blog!).

Entries in the First Campaigner Challenge will close on Friday, September 9th (at 11.59pm EDT), so make sure you get your post in the Linky List before then if you want to be eligible for a prize! As usual, while everyone is very welcome to take part in this Challenge, only Campaigners will be eligible for prizes.

Thank you so much to all the Campaigners who have volunteered to judge one or more of the Challenges. I'm amazed by your generosity—you all rock!!! In terms of judging,Michael Offutt from SLC Kismet will be in touch about that very soon (and if you don't hear from us this Challenge, it's because we're hoping you'll judge the Second or Third Challenges instead). I'd love you all to take a moment to pop over and follow Michael, to say thanks for all his hard work in co-ordinating the judging.

There will be a stack of prizes awarded this Challenge (and future Challenges), both for the entries that are judged the best and through Random.org. We're talking ARCs, books, critiques, and other items galore! My thanks go to everyone who has volunteered to donate prizes. You're all awesome!!! Either I or someone in my team will be in touch over the course of the Campaign.

I've also set up the Linky List so you can "Like" entries, so make sure you come back here and vote for the People's Choice Awards!!!

I'll hopefully be announcing the winners on Monday, September 19th (the same day as my Campaign Beta Match post).

So, all that remains is to enjoy. Leave a comment to let me know you're doing the Challenge. Have fun writing your post, then pop round to the other entrants, check out their posts, follow and comment, and decide which entry or entries YOU like the best!

And don't forget to add your name and post link to the Linky Link below before 11.59 pm this Friday!


"Like" voting is now over, please don't vote any more, thanks!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Where to from here? (and the Campaigner Notice-Board)

Now that sign-up is over, the official part of the Campaign has begun, woot!!! First, I want to say a huge welcome to the Campaigners. I can't wait to get to know you over the next two months, and I know you're all looking forward to getting to know each other. I'm sorry I haven't been able to respond individually to/visit each and every one of you, but I've been buried under all the admin and thousands of emails I've received since the Campaign started :(

I'm sure you've been wondering how many Campaigners there are, after that huge list of comments (Is it a record, do you think?). Anyway, I'm pleased to announce that the final number of Campaigners is...wait for it...480!!! Wow. That's 480 people who want to network together and support each other as writers. And that, I think, is amazing!

I didn't make the cut-off/I'm not on the List of Campaigners :(

To all those who didn't quite make the cut-off, I'm so sorry you can't take part this time around. But I'll be holding my next Campaign in February next year, and I'd love to see you all on board then.

If you did fill out my Campaigner Form before 11.59 EDT, then you're still a Campaigner, even if you didn't manage to get your name on the Linky List on time. Send me an email with the name you want on the List, your blog url, your picture, and the Group(s) you want to join, and I'll add you to the List. Please do this quickly though, otherwise you'll miss out when your fellow Group members get to know each other.

First Campaigner Challenge

The First Campaigner Challenge is on Monday, so pop back here then if you want to take part in the fun!

Where to from here?

Where to from here, you ask? I gave you some suggestions in my previous post. Basically, take advantage of all the networking opportunities the Campaign is providing you. You can:
  • meet and chat with other Campaigners on Twitter at #writecampaign
  • join in the Campaigner Yahoo Group
  • visit the Campaigners' blogs
  • and above all, get to know the members of your Group(s) and see what fun activities you can come up with together
If you haven't already, now's the time to go around to your fellow Campaigners and meet those in the same Group(s) as you. Make sure you follow and leave a comment and tell them who you are. Some awesome blogging connections have been made this way in the past. Try to visit them as much as possible during the Campaign, and make sure you leave comments as this is one of the key ways Campaigners can show their support.

This post about organizing Google Reader may help.

As you may have seen, I've assigned numbers to each of the Groups in my List of Campaigners. Find your name and double-check which Group(s) you're in, because I have moved some people around to make the Group sizes more even. I have to make a few more tweaks to the Groups over the weekend and add those people who were late putting their name down on a list (so make sure you check back next week), but basically these are the Groups you'll be in for the rest of the Campaign.

Campaigner Notice-Board

Check out these great blogfests, contests, and other announcements:
  1. Cynthia at Random Thoughts: Synopsis/ Query critque posted on Mondays. I'll comment and everyone else can add help in the comments as well. The side link on my page shows how to submitt  Also I'm hosting a Labor Day blog fest. It's planned to run on September 6th.
  2. Gwen Gardner at Run Gwen, Run! Write Gwen, Write!: Lady Gwen is celebrating her first blogoversary with a Judge and Jury Blogfest beginning On September 5th through September 10th - the first 12 to sign up will be the PAID jury. Be prepared to defend yourself with a scene of less than 300 words, and if you're accused of having the best scene, you win! PLEASE JOIN FOR LOTS OF FUN AND PRIZES!  
  3. Kristy Tate at Kristys Stories: "August 29th- 30th I'll be hosting a contest and two novels, Angela Morrison's TAKEN BY STORM and my own debut novel, STEALING MERCY are up for grabs. Keep posted, because in September I'll be running Kristy's Incredibly Kindle Kontest and one lucky winner will take home a Kindle e-reader.
  4. J. Gunnar Grey at Sweet Saturday Samples: Sweet Saturday Samples is a sort of weekly mini blog hop, where writers post a brief excerpt from a published masterpiece or work in progress, including the genre and a movie-style rating for both the excerpt and the novel. On Saturdays, readers (and writers) hop from blog to blog in search of new-to-them books and writers. All genres are welcome, including erotica. The book doesn't have to be sweet, just the excerpt. Check it out here.
  5. L'Aussie at L'Aussie WritingRomantic Friday Writers: participate in a fun weekly blogfest where members write 400 words of flash fiction to a different theme each week. Stories must have an element of romance. @RFWer (twitter homepage) #RomanticFridayWriters (twitter hashtag). It's open to all writers of romance. You can showcase your WIPs and ask for whatever level of critique you want. Francine (from Romancing the Blog) and L'Aussie choose a Featured Writer each week. Check out our dedicated website for all the info you need.
  6. Sarah P. at The Restless Writer: Chance to win a $12 Amazon giftcard for tweeting to @NaiaUnderwood or commenting on her FB page the answer to this question: "What would you do if you came face to face with an alternate version of yourself?" Winner will be announced on Sept. 5, 2011. Check it out here
  7. Enid Wilson at Steamy Fantasy is hosting a drabble challenge in Sept for fellow campaigners. Send her a drabble of no more than 200 words with the word "love", "constant", "savage", "prejudice" or "impression" in it and your blog detail. She will post your entries and blogs in the corresponding Friday.  
  8. Michele Helene at A Wanderer in Paris: Each Monday I will be running a series of interviews with fellow MG/YA campaigners called: Getting to know you. So if you would like to find out a bit more about the other writer's, pop along each Monday until the 31st Oct. The first week's interview is already up.  
  9. Lisa L. Regan at Lisa L. Regan: I am running a Hook for Your Book Contest for the following genres on the following dates: Fantasy October 10th through October 17th, Romance December 12th through December 19th, Historical Fiction February 13-20, 2012. The contests will be judged by my agent, Jeanie Pantelakis of Sullivan Maxx Literary Agency. Entrants must follow my blog, tweet or blog about the contest, have a finished novel in the applicable genre, post their 50 word pitch with email address into the comments section of my blog after the contest commences. Three finalists will be chosen to send synopsis and full manuscript to Jeanie. She will choose one of those three to give a full read and possible contract with Sullivan Maxx. See my blog post on Contest dates.
  10. Elizabeth Briggs at Liz Writes: To celebrate 500 followers I'm having a huge giveaway, with 2 prize packs (1 YA paranormal, 1 adult urban fantasy)! Ends September 12. Check it out here
  11. Susan Kaye Quinn at Susan Kaye Quinn: Summer Breeze, an anthology to support breast cancer research, will be available until September 30th! It's a collection of sweet romance stories by a group of Omnific Authors (including myself).  Buy it here
  12. Michelle at Oh! For the LOVE of BOOKS is looking for people who want to be part of a book hop. Its from Sept 26 to Sept 30 and you donate or give whatever you want! Email her at mf060784 at gmail dot com
  13. Jessica Aspen at Jessica Aspen Writes: I’m running a round robin story on my blog on Thursday,
  14. September 1st. Check it out here if anyone wants to jump in! 
  15. GlitterLady at Glitterword: #tuesdaytales is a 100 word flash fiction contest held well, every Tuesday! New judge every week great way to prompt your writerly prowess and earn a blog badge while you're at it! Join the fun!
  16. Doreen McGettigan at They say Everyone Has a Story: On my quest to reach 1000 followers; I have a contest running from now until the release of "BRISTOL bOYZ STOMP" see website for easy details and great prizes...(secret clue...follow the book trailer link to 'you tube' and leave a comment)  
  17. Rebekah Loper at Black & Dark Night: A trivia contest is happening today for $10 (USD) in Amazon.com gift cards! Deadline is Sunday to submit answers (specifically, 48 hours from the time of post). Must subscribe to be able to win, and read the blog for all the details! 
  18. Damyanti at Amlokiblogs: J.C. Martin, Lisa Vooght, Stuart Nager and Damyanti are organizing a month-long blogfest for fiction writers. Sign up for some great prizes, and for the unique experience of writing a short story with a lot of writers in a shared world, following the fictional Rule of Three.  
  19. Ruth Hartman Berge at Ruth The Writer: I'm looking for entries in a "Just Who Was This Jones Guy Anyway?" contest. We're having fun with Jones Creek in Jupiter, Florida - no one knows who Jones really is. Runs through 9/07/11. Check it out here
  20. A.J. Mullarky at Magpie & Pen: I'm hosting a Hidden Gems Blogfest over on my blog. If you've read a book that you thought was fantastic but seems to be unknown/underrated by other readers, talk it up on your blog and see what other people are recommending! Check it out here.
  21. Elizabeth Varadan at Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina: My MG fantasy, The Fourth Wish, is out on Kindle. I'm holding a contest.for a free copy -- winner's choice, either paperback or Kindle version. Check out the rules on my blog. Contest ends Friday, September 9th.
  22. Jennifer Hoffine at YA Audiobook Addict: Friday will be my monthly, How Many Have You Read/Heard Contest where I list the YA audiobooks I listened to that month, and those who comment will get an entry for every one they've read. Prizes will be five Oct pub date ARCs, including FROST, by Wendy Delsol and THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefwater.
  23. Aimee at A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman: In 2001 The United Nations unanimously adopted 21 September as International Peace Day. I am hosting a blogfest the week of Peace Day to help spread the word and promote peace. 
  24. Meradeth Houston at Write Stuff: The YA & MG authors at the ebook house MuseItUp are holding a giant blogfest throughout the month of September. There will be lots of fun books showcased, including giveaways, contests, and all kinds of fun! The schedule of all the interviews can be found here.
  25. Sarah Ketley at The Precocious Scribe (new Wordpress address): Published authors in the #writecampaign can sign up to the linky with a link to where i can buy their book. During the camapign i will buy as many as i can. I will probably do a little promotion for them and leave reviews.
If you have a blogfest, a contest, or a something-or-other you want me to let people know about, fill out this form and I'll run your announcement in the following Friday's post. Make sure you include all the details please.

I think that's it for now. Happy Campaigning everyone!!! :)

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