Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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How hooked are you?

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Good morning! I do hope all of you are safe and well after those nasty storms that came through the southern US. As for me, did you notice no post from me yesterday. Well, I had no power for most of the day. If you know me well, or even if you just know me from social media interaction, then you know I try to post most days. 

While my power was off and I was unconnected to all of my electrical devices, I had lots of time to think. Think? Wow that’s a large word when you think about it. How often do we just sit and think? No really, how often? Yes we use our brains, but most of the time it’s connected to some sort of electrical device, especially internet driven devices. Whether it’s your computer, smart phone, or whatever it is that you use to do everything, you’re probably hooked. 

I sat here thinking about how much power means to us today. It’s like life shuts down when the power does. But if you think about it, we’re so hooked on the gadgets that make life easier that we can’t function when it goes south. I sat down on my couch and tried to figure out what I would do until the power came back on. The sad thing was, I had payroll for a client to complete, but my computer addicted brain had a hard time dealing with the process of manually completing the task. That’s when I sat down and took a hard look at me life. When it’s quiet and nothing is happening you can do that without interruption. 

I realized that I’m addicted to power. Whatever happened to actually doing something for ourselves without relying on a gadget to do it for us. I stood up and walked to my office with determination. Of course I had to drag my teenage son with me so he could hold the flashlight. I pulled out the employee paperwork on each employee, I dusted off the payroll tax sheets and I grabbed some checks and a pen. Oh yeah, and the solar powered calculator. I sat down with a old oil lamp and proceeded to figure payroll the old way. My son sat watching and shaking his head. He kept saying, ‘Can’t you wait until the power comes back on?’ I just kept going and soon I had a completed payroll ready for delivery.

The hard part was the social media disconnect. I sat for a moment wondering if I made any sales during the night, wondering how all my social media friends had faired the night of storms and wanting desperately to check my Twitter feed. Sad, but true. I realized again I’m addicted to everything power connected. 

Unfortunately, most of my work is connected to power. My clients files are loaded on my laptop, which has a battery of course, but my accounting program drains that battery really quickly. I did a couple of things that didn’t require my laptop, but I was limited. I did work on some of my manuscript outlines. I still do those old school long hand. It’s just the way I am. I tried putting those on the computer, but it’s easier to have them beside me as I write, not in a file that I have to pull up.

So, my question is this, How hooked are you on electricity or even the internet and social media? If you were without power for a week, would you pull your hair out or make the best of it? 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 

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Social Media is Time Consuming

If you’re an author you know the importance of social media. It’s the backbone of your publishing and selling strategy. The only problem is we try to get on every site we can and then when we sit down to our computer we spend an hour searching all the sites for any inkling of a notice from fans or readers or anybody other than spam mongers. I sit every morning going through my sites and then I spend what time is left before going to the office writing.

We have to make sure we use our time wisely. I am trying to limit my site checking to twice a day. I try to post a blog everyday, but some days I may forgo my usual post for a shorter post or save it up for the next day. That way I have more time for my writing which is important. Since I have a full time job and a family I need to keep my time steady and straight. Following the right course is very important. 

As for my accounting office I’ve changed the times I work and added in tidbits of writing time during the day. It helps break the monotony of everyday accounting work with a little writing time. I make sure that every detail is taken care of in it’s own time. 

Time with my family is very important too. It’s become common place in my house for my laptop to be in my lap during tv time at night. My hubby and son are used to that’s writing time, but I’m still with them and not closed up in another room. It’s funny the small things that make a difference. I guess raising a child in an accounting office taught me alot about focus. I can depreciate an asset while doling out snacks. So in turn I can now write while watching tv with my family, helping with homework, and cooking dinner. 

So, how do you spend your time? Do you waste time on trivial things? Have you got a plan and do you stick to it?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Here’s a link to a great blog about Time from a blogger all writers need to follow:

http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/killing-time-is-a-crime-embracing-speed-by-redefining-life-play-work/


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Weekend on my mind…

At 4pm today I start my vacation. I’ve been so excited. Had planned a trip to Florida, but anyone that’s been watching the weather reports know why this has been cancelled. It’s going to be a writing vacation and a social media vacation. 

I’ve entered my newest work in the So You Think You Can Write contest on Harlequin’s site. I’m really excited about this contest. The fun thing is the manuscript is not completely finished. Yikes, this means I’ve got to spend a lot of time finishing it up. I have it completed in my head, but unfortunately I can’t print directly from my brain. So, I’m taking a social media vacation to keep down distractions. I’m not going to check my sites or post on them for a couple of days, but I’ll be back up and running at full speed next week.

Do you have weekend plans? For me I’m planning a restful, writing excursion. Not sure where it might take me, but my laptop will be attached to my fingers. If you get a chance go over to this link: http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts-sytycw-2013/finding-the-right-time/ and read my first chapter submission. If you feel inspired write a comment and forward it on Facebook and Twitter. 

Hope everyone has a great weekend and I’ll be back on here when I come out on the other side of this writing frenzy. I just hope I can stay away from my social media sites and book sites. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Social Media and writing…

I was a little leary about starting a lot of social media accounts. Then when I started publishing my books it was a must. My editor/assistant got me started with a blog, then came Twitter and after much anxiousness Facebook. I’ve never been one to push myself in anywhere. 

Of course now I get up, drink a cup of coffee and look at all my many sites. It’s funny how many I have now. What’s really funny is when I tweet or send out my book links on any of my sites, the sales go up. What would happen if you didn’t do social media in today’s world? Would you sell a book? If you’re in book stores and various chain stores you would do alright, but people rely on social media and the internet to find books. It’s just part of life.

Make sure you keep your sites updated. Keep the posts going and don’t do anything that you don’t want the whole world to see. So go by and check out my sites. I have links on this page…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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How does social media help writers?

Good morning. Getting back to normal since son went back to school this morning. As I sit here going through all my social media sites I have to reflect on the last year. It’s been a crazy ride for sure.

To start with, before I published my first book in May 2012, I only used email and texting when communicating. I learned quickly that as a published author you must use social media almost daily to keep up with changing climates. With this I mean that if you don’t keep your name fresh in front of people it loses it’s luster.

I did a short experiment the last couple of weeks. I went in a different times and tweeted my books to see if I gathered a result. Then I put them out on Facebook and Tumbler. What did I learn? Well I learned a lot. 

When I tweeted the links to my books listed on Smashwords.com, I actually saw a spike in page views. I love this about Smashwords.com. I can keep up with views and really do a great analysis of what works and what doesn’t. I then did the same through my Amazon links. The bad thing with Amazon, you can’t see how many go over to look at the book, you just have to see how sales spike. I only received a few sales through that one.

I then posted several Smashword.com links on my Facebook page. All of a sudden sales spiked, but on Amazon, not Smashwords it’s self. Now on Smashwords it could show up later under one of the subsidiary sites, but not the main site. I even tried this with Allromanceebooks.com and sold one book. 

So, with this I did notice a spike in views through tweeting and Facebook. Some analysts say don’t tweet about your books very often as you’ll lose followers. Well, I didn’t tweet about my books for several days and guess what I lost several followers. Then when I did tweet about my books I gained several new followers. Not sure, but I think it went in the other direction.

As I’m getting ready to announce the release date for “Victoria” the first book in my new Historical Romance Saga “The Women Of Magnolia Hill”, I’m hoping to see a great social media presence. This is my first book that I’m going to go through all the pre release hoopla. I can’t wait to get started. Maybe even as soon as this weekend. I plan to also participate in the new preorder option on Smashwords. Would love to do it on Amazon, but not sure how that works. If anyone knows, please let me know.

Try a social media study on your book sales and let me know how it goes. It might change your views on social media advertising. As for me, I’m headed over to do some tweeting 🙂

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Growing as a Writer…

As a writer you have to learn from your mistakes. I’ve changed my writing quite a bit since the first published book. I’ve started to slow down the process a little. Now I actually go back every so many pages and edit. Not every time, but some of the time.

I’ve learned to write from my heart and not to try to please everyone. It’s hard to please all the wants of your readers. Sometimes I add a couple of elements that readers request. I even made some changes to one of my older publications to please a couple of readers requests. They just wanted a little extra information on the characters out of curiosity.

It’s been a wild ride this writing gig. I’ve started several blogs and Twitter pages. So, I guess I’ve grown in social media. As I’ve said many times, I’ve never been a social media butterfly. My blog posts have evolved also. I’ve listened to readers and gained a lot of friends and followers through it. 

I’ve realized that not everyone is going to like your writing and not everyone is going to like cowboys. Why I don’t know, but that’s ok.

Have you grown as a writer? Do you learn from your mistakes? 

As always good writing and May God Bless You…


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Top 5 Things I’ve learned about self-publishing

Well, I’ve been self publishing for over a year now and I can tell you this, it’s not as easy as it looks. Here are the top 5 things I learned:

1: It takes dedication. As a self publisher it’s you that does the social media, the advertising, basically everything. You’re the one that’s got to make sure to post your tweet, update your Facebook, make a great blog post and first and foremost get your book everywhere.

2: Self Publishing takes patience. You don’t have that big publisher backing you or putting your work everywhere that as a self publisher you have to struggle to be. You have to remember that you’re starting out from scratch. It’s a waiting game to see if you’ve written the big one.

3: Self Publishing can be self satisfying. To know you did it yourself is an accomplishment to be proud of. When you sell the first book you can sit back and say “at least I sold one, that’s one more than if I’d left it in a drawer collecting dust.” 

4: I’ve learned a lot about social media. Wow, I was definitely not a social media butterfly before all of this. In one year I’ve started a couple of blogs, a couple of Twitter pages, I’m on Facebook (Said I’d never do that), and everywhere else that will let this country girl post.

5: To me self publishing is a great way to start out as a writer. You can build a platform and get noticed. Maybe if you’re lucky a big publisher or agent will notice you tenacity and give you a shout. It’s always possible. Look at all the self publishers that have turned into best selling authors. If it’s your dream, then go for it. Try it out and make a name for yourself. Who knows you better than yourself?

As writers we’re always looking at this or that to improve ourselves. Well, let’s work together. I’ve started a monthly Newsletter that will feature a Author Interview and three different book showcase spaces. Also I’ll be adding writing comments and pointers from my friends in the writing world.If you want to subscribe to it, please email me at hurtsbusiness@att.net. Also, to be a featured author just message me that you’re interested. It’s free so what have you got to lose.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…