Sunday, July 3, 2011

Blogmania - and a Moe’s Overachiever Taco!

(By Catherine Mann)

The world is blogging! Or it seems that way anyhow, and I have to confess to being mystified about the whole process. But I’m trying – in spurts! I’ve blogged sporadically for special occasions, carefully planned pieces that I worked on far in advance. Determined to get it just right.

Then I was approached with an amazing blogging opportunity. One of the many great things about being a Sourcebooks author is that our stellar publicist, Danielle Jackson, sets up a blog tour the month an author has a book out (Yes! It’s July! Time for COVER ME!)

However, once I saw the actual blog schedule, panic set in.



How will I ever find enough to say? Much less make it interesting? I’m a novelist, not a columnist. And how will I make so many blogs all interesting – or at least vaguely intriguing?

I began to suspect I might be totally screwed.

All the same, I was determined to tackle this, to strategize.




While traveling to NYC for the National Romance Writers of America Conference this week, I began a quest to better understand the blogging process to polish the ideas I'd begun to pen. (Gotta love Wikipedia!)

According to wiki, blog is “a blend of the term web log…Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog…. The term ‘weblog’ was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997. The short form, ‘blog,’ was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase ‘we blog” in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in April or May 1999.”

Other insights from Wiki:

“Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video… Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries.”

Ooooooookay. I still wasn’t feeling inspired. I haven’t kept a diary since I was seven and there sure wasn’t much in there besides angst over getting caught passing notes to a boy in school, ramblings about what I did at the school fair, and lamenting how much I hated having my appendix out.

Time was running out. It was time to fly out of NYC, go home and get back to writing. I looked around the airport, searching for inspiration and a more comfy place to set up my computer. Panic deepened.

Suddenly, my eyes landed on a familiar face in LaGuardia airport. No kidding. I saw: A PROFESSIONAL blogger. Barbara Vey from Publishers Weekly.

What are the odds?


(Photo L to R: Barbara Vey from Publishers Weekly, NYT author Dianna Love and Me - photo taken when I first met Barbara at the GCRWA Conference in Penscola, FL.)

So first, I indulged myself with a major fan girl moment, too nervous to talk, just waving wildly like a nervous seal. Barbara smiled and gestured me over to sit with her and Rhonda Pollero. (Cue another fan girl moment on my part!) I had met Barbara a few times at conferences but I didn’t expect her to remember me on site, much less want to hang out together.

Yet she did. Wow!

Then when we got to Atlanta, Barbara waited until I de-planed too so we could walk together since we were both traveling to a different concourse. And what do you know? We ended up grabbing a quick bite to eat together at Moe’s. (Of course I have to include a photo of Moe's - my fav fast food place!)



We chatted about the NYC conference and she shared some invaluable tips on Twittering - strongly encouraging me to start Tweeting ASAP.

As Barbara and I said goodbye at the gate, I realized all my carefully prepared blogs were every bit as blah as I’d feared. For me, blogging needs to be a bit like Tweeting. About living in the “now.” About those snapshot moments of life that catch us unaware. The moments that matter.

Some are funny. Some are poignant. Some are intense. And some may be whimsical. But most of all, the best ones make us nod and feel like we’re in the moment sitting down with new friend to share a snapshot second of life - and a Moe’s Overachiever Taco! (Thank you again, Barbara!)

For those of you who would like to jump on for the ride this month as I share more snapshot moments from my life…and perhaps even a taco or two, here’s a list of the blogs I have planned for July:

WEEK 1:
Tuesday, July 5: SOS Aloha
Wednesday, July 6: Riding With the Top Down
Thursday, July 7: Fresh Fiction
Friday, July 8: Much Cheaper Than Therapy

WEEK 2:
Monday, July 11: Night Owl Reviews
Tuesday, July 12: Sizzling Hot Books
Thursday, July 14: The Long and Short of It

WEEK 3:
Monday, July 18: Laugh Love Write
Tuesday, July 19: As the Pages Turn
Wednesday, July 20: Sia McKye’s Thoughts Over Coffee

WEEK 4:
Tuesday, July 26: Debbie’s Book Bag
Wednesday, July 27: Author Anna DeStafano’s Blog
Thursday, July 28: My Book Addiction and More

Looking forward to visiting with you this month! And since I've ditched the clinically prepared blogs I had in lieu of a more spontaneous approach, I’m curious. What are some of your favorite blog topics? Do you like lots of photos and art work to go with the blog? One commenter on today’s blog will be chosen at random to win a copy of my July book COVER ME!



BTW, $2.99 preorder special for COVER ME on Kindle, Nook and IBookstore good until July 5!

***
Click here to "like" my facebook page. And click here to check out my website. See you online!

43 comments:

  1. I know how you feel.Some mornings I sit outside, listening to the birds while most people are still asleep. There is a magical stillness at 5a.m.The freshness of a new day, still so cool,dew on the grass. bees humming on the Crepe Myrtles
    I am happy.

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  2. I dreaded blogging, regarding it as another thing to cut into my writing time until I figured out that... blogging IS writing. Right behind that stunning insight came the light bulb that it's writing about my books. I love writing, I love my books. I can't say I've relished every post of my blog tours, but I've been less anxious about blogging now that I've done some of it.

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  3. Hey Cathy, thanks for the write up about blogs and blogging. I've been playing with the idea myself. I have a piece of advice as a person who blog hops...remember to check your blog on the day you visit a site...please. I read about anything one of my fave visiting authors or bloggers writes about, so I'm game with any topic. Second piece of advice....make sure you post links on your fb site and a reminder on twitter for your fans/followers. Enjoy the ride, and I wish you much success.

    Glad you found a friendly face in the airport. Barbara Vey is a wonderful and kind lady.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

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  4. Forgot to say this...you don't have to count me in for the contest. I already have signed copy. Just dropped by to show some love.

    I like pictures and artwork, but they aren't necessary for me. And, the beauty about blogs is that they can be about anything....books, daily life, fostering puppies, cookies and chocolate....ice cream...lol, characters or even just random thoughts.

    It was great seeing you at Nationals last week.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

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  5. As far as I am concerned a blog by an author who tells me about things they enjoy and about their upcoming books and if they have been on an adventure is one I enjoy reading ~ they make an author more real. Pictures ~ at least one ~ always make things more interesting but are not necessary.

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  6. Loved your post and the minute we had together in NYC between one meeting and another. I was a newspaper columnist for fourteen years...humorous stuff that my family provided fodder for...think Erma Bombeck in Redneck! LOL! So from the beginning I just treated it like writing a column but I got to admit that first time was intimidating!

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  7. Wonderful post! Congrats on the release of COVER ME! Definitely on my TBR pile. I totally agree about the blogging thing.

    Barbara Vey is fabulous and so eager to help authors get motivated to tweet. It was daunting at first, but now I try to post at least once a day or every other day.

    I like pictures, so I try to include them in my blogs. My home and family recharge my creativity, so I like to include pics of our gardens.

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  8. Loe, love, love the panic button on the keyboard!!! Where can I get one?

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  9. I respect all you authors trying to publicly present yourselves to reach the most readers. What I liked the best was being able to talk with you in person at RWA, but I know many will never get that great experience.

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  10. Crepe Myrtles!! Ah, Judi, what an awesome view to start out a day with. :)

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  11. Grace, love your spin on blogging!

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  12. Paula, super advice! I'm actually going to slip into the system now and add in a link to my FB pg and website on this blog!!

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  13. You are going to be busy blogging. Hope you will enjoy the process. Was going to ask if you planned to twitter but investigated and discovered you are so I'm now following you.

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  14. Ellen, I really like what you said about a blog being an opportunity to make the author more real for readers. I really enjoy the opportunity to get to know readers better too through the interaction that comes with blogging!

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  15. I love hearing about the story behind the story. It is pretty broad in topic and can be anything from inspiration for the series, book, character to a fun experience in research. Pictures are fun especially if it is how an author might imagine the characters to look like or even a series of different pictures to reflect different aspects of the hero/heroine.

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  16. Carolyn, a delight visiting with you and your handsome husband, in NYC!!!!

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  17. C.H., I am so envious of people who can cultivate gorgeous gardens!!! I completely suck at gardening!!! Sunk countless dollars into the efforts until I finally gave up and settled for a lush lawn and well trimmed hedges. :)

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  18. Annon - LOL about the panic button!! I think I need a real one for my keyboard sometimes!!!

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  19. Marcia, I agree the face to face meet is great - I really treasure the chance to look readers in the eyes. It means a lot to me!

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  20. Hi Ann! I do have a twitter account, I'm just not very proficient at using it yet. I need to work on that! It's one of my goals for this month. :)

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  21. Lil, interesting point about "story behind the story." I'm definitely going to mull that over... you're sparking some ideas for video clips.... hmmmm. ;-) (Thank you for posting!)

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  22. Cathy, using twitter is like riding a bike...it comes back quickly after a long hiatus!!!

    I already follow you @catherinemann1 on twitter. Very excited to see you. Let me know if you need help. I'll be glad to provide assistance. You won't need it though...lol!!!

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

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  23. Hi Paula! Thanks! I may well need that advice. I cruised around the Twitter site some today and think I'm getting the hang of replying and re-tweeting. I just don't want to step on toes w/wrong protocol!

    For now, I'm off to mow the yard.... :)

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  24. I need to check twitter. Follow me so we can DM (Direct Message, just in case you didn't remember) each other. Twitter has its own lingo...lol!! Have fun mowing. The weather here is rainy and cloudy. I miss the sun of NYC!!!

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

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  25. I just like you telling us about your book but just the little funny things like you wrote in the blog that I read. I get to know you better and your a dog lover and love the pictures of thwm and your family. I like you being youself-as a person and writer!
    love to win your book! I love your stories of selas and high Tech guys.

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  26. Hi Carole! Thanks for stopping by to post such a sweet note!! :)

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  27. I'll admit that coming up with material can be hard at times. I think it's a matter of keeping it simple and short. They're meant to let readers get to know a bit about you or your book--depending upon the blog.

    Use the snippets of life and expand them a bit. Random thoughts are fresh and fun to read. Add a question: have you felt this way. thought this way, or had something like this happen...blah blah. Helps your readers find common ground with you.

    Just remember you're the *character* and it's in first person POV. Writing is writing.

    I can't wait to read this book.

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

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  28. Thank you for the insights, Sia!!! I appreciate it! Thanks for checking out COVER ME - hope you enjoy it. :)

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  29. My cousin lived in the Grand Tetons, she is very athletic and often hikes, skis, etc. She takes scads of pictures of the scenery and wildlife and I love to read her blogs. However, she only posts about 1-2 times per month. As for others, no I don't read any blogs on a regular basis.

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  30. Hi Cathy W! Your cousin sounds like she must be an amazing photographer - I really enjoy photo blogs too. :)

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  31. I like to read how real life events inspire you and how you translate them into your books. And i always like to hear what you and your family are doing.

    Laura Luke

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  32. Hey there, Laura!! so great to hear from you! thanks for stopping by to comment.... miss you!

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  33. Good night, Cathy! I think you did a pretty good job with the blogging today. See you throught the cyberverse.

    Good luck to the commenters.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

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  34. Congrats on your new release! Good luck with your adventures in blogging. Sounds to me like you have plenty to interesting stories to share!

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  35. I like to read about things from the author's inspiration of writing their books to what movies/books are the author's favorite! :-)

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  36. Hi Amanda!! And thanks, Chelsea B., for the great suggestion about discussing favorites!

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  37. Sorry but I can't sign on at some of my blogs (Kathryne's is one :(

    I like a variety and lots of different topics. I did have problems when the whole month was the same theme but not in reading them which I liked, but just that I couldn't think of that much to say in reply. I especially likes pics of the book covers and anything else you want to add!

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  38. That "likes" was a typo and not bad grammer roflmao (I need my coffee lol) - sorry again.

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  39. Congrats to Carole F on winning the contest! As soon as I have a snail mail addy from you, I'll send out your prize - a copy of COVER ME! (You can e-mail me at catherine@catherinemann.com )

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  40. Congrats, Carole F. I hope you enjoy Cover Me.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

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