WisRWA Calendar

Apr 05
2019
WisRWA 2019 Write Touch Conference
Mark your calendars for the 2019 Write Touch Conference April 5-7, 2019 at the Milwaukee Hyatt in beautiful downtown Milwaukee. The conference will feature Maya Rodale as keynote speaker, and Lisa Cron as one of the headliners.

Registration is now open. Click the events tab for more information.

Meeting Times

Dec 08
2018
Wausau
11-1 at 2510 Restaurant, Wausau, WI

Wausau WisRWA Celebrates 2018 Accomplishments

See the calendar tab for more details.
Dec 17
2018
Milwaukee
6 PM at 2321 W Cumberland Court, Mequon, WI

Holiday Party

See the calendar tab for more details.

WisRWA Newsletter



The Internet is Not Forever, and Other Useful Social Media Advice

Picture of Social Media Icons

“The internet is forever.”

Wrong. We’ve all heard this warning. I say it to my teenage daughter all the time. But this so-called helpful advice is not only not helpful to you, if you’re like most people, it’s probably detrimental to your success on social media.

Unless you’re talking about nudie pictures, (public service announcement: don’t post nudie pictures on the Internet) letting your social media strategy be guided by the fear that any of your posts will ever be fascinating to the whole world for all time is kind of like planning your three-year-old’s career as an NBA superstar. Sure, it happens to some people, but the odds of it happening to you are just so (to be polite) ridiculously small. And, in fact, your biggest problem is much more likely the opposite: getting anyone, anyone at all, to read and care about what you’ve posted.

My day job is social media marketing, and I spend a lot of time doing it. So, from my experience, let me suggest some better, more helpful advice.

  1. Use fewer words. You know people do it. You probably do too. You see a wall of words, lengthy and dense, and you move along without reading it, even if you know it’s probably interesting. tldr is an abbreviation the kids use these days for “too long; didn’t read.” The attention span of the average social media user is approximately a nanosecond. Or less. Even if your high school taught the 12-sentence paragraph, as you’ve long suspected, your high school was wrong. Keep your sentences and your paragraphs short. Use lots of white space. And, lead with your important thoughts, so your readers see them before they stop reading.
  2. Go back and cut out a few more words.
  3. Don’t post without explanation. Tell people why you’re posting this picture, or sharing this person’s post. You’ll engage with them more if you let them know why you thought they’d like something or find it interesting. Social media is a chance for your readers to hear your voice, maybe understand a little of what you’re thinking, maybe respond, and to feel connected with you. So, connect.
  4. Avoid “saminess.” And, yes, before you say anything, that is a real word. Probably. Social media platforms all have top-secret formulas for deciding who, and how many people, will see which posts in their feeds. This is called your post’s reach. One of the things most heavily penalized is saminess. Same pictures. Same words. Sometimes you need to repeat yourself, promoting a new release, for example, but it’s important to find different ways to present it on subsequent posts.
  5. Vary the types of posts as well. Promotional posts typically get the lowest reach, but are the most important to you as an author. Build up the size of your audience with different types of posts, such as interesting informational or educational posts that your readers will find useful, and engaging posts that touch their emotions. No, it doesn’t all have to be your original content. It can be shares. And yes, sometimes this means kitten pictures and hamster videos. These kinds of posts help you connect better with your followers. And then, when you do promote, there will be more people to see it, and they’ll be more inclined to care.
  6. Avoid “selling words,” or be prepared to pay. Using words such as “on sale” or “sale price” or “to purchase” or “for more information” flags the top-secret formula that you’re advertising something. Posts with selling words have the lowest reach, because the platforms want you to sponsor or boost these posts (i.e. pay for them to be delivered to more people’s feeds.) Sometimes, that’s actually a good idea. You get to choose how much money to spend. The amount you’ll pay to get a decent reach is gradually rising, but this is still a relatively cheap way to advertise. Plus, boosted/sponsored posts let you reach people beyond those who have liked or followed you. For your first experience, start with a small amount of money, maybe five or ten bucks, and experiment with how it works. Pay attention to audience selection. You can choose your audience by age range, gender, geographical area and interests. The more you filter your audience, the smaller it will be. On the other hand, the more you filter your audience, the higher the likelihood that your post will be seen by someone who might actually be interested.
  7. Use pictures with every post you can. For many people, posts without pictures might as well be invisible.
  8. Pick the platforms that suit your style or appeal to your preferred market. There are too many to use them all. Google “social media statistics” to find out which platforms are currently popular with which gender and age group. Then get started. If you don’t yet know which ones suit your style, then just pick a popular one and try it. Feel free to change your mind after you’ve gained some experience with it. Follow other authors, and pay attention to what they’re doing, especially if you find a post engaging, or it gets a lot of likes, comments or shares, which means other people are engaged by it. If it’s working for them, give it a try.
  9. Don’t worry about making every post perfect. Take some chances, and find your voice. Just as in writing, where we have to turn off our editor on the first draft and just write, let yourself make mistakes starting out on social media. If you’re embarrassed later by something you’ve posted, you can go back and delete it. If you notice a typo later, you can go back and edit it. There will be awkward first efforts. Post anyway. That’s the best way to get the hang of it, and to develop your social media style. Remember that early on, not many people are paying attention to what you’re doing anyway, so try things. You’ll make mistakes. Take that as a given, and do it anyway.
  10. Likewise, don’t wait for the perfect topic. It’s great to post big exciting news of success, signing an agent, scoring a contract, finishing a manuscript, or releasing your next book, but you don’t wait for big news to post. Readers are interested in behind-the-scenes glimpses of the writing process and the life of a writer. It might be where you’re at in your current book, the amazing fabric you found at the quilting store, what you’re currently reading, something you learned at a workshop, an interesting post you saw on someone else’s feed, or even the color of the sky outside your window. The important thing is to provide content that someone would care about. Not sure yet what that is? Don’t worry about it. Give it your best shot. Let yourself make mistakes. You’ll figure it out. And remember, as long as you haven’t posted nudie pictures, the internet isn’t forever. It won’t be long before your awkward misfires (or even your perfect, golden flashes of genius) are buried under hundreds of subsequent posts, deep down the rabbit hole of your timeline.

by: Kristin Bayer

By night, Kristin is a playwright, and an aspiring romance author. By day she’s a digital marketing consultant and a mom. Find her at her website or on the bleachers at her kid’s game.


New Release Tuesday – November 2018

NewReleaseTuesday2

Congratulations to the following WisRWA members on their new releases this month.

Cover for A War Within by Katherine Hastings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A War Within by Katherine Hastings

 

On Par With A Fairy Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Par with a Fairy by Lyla Bardan

 

Book Cover of Laossin Prince of Rampulla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laossin: Prince of Rampulla by Jevenna Willow


13 Ideas to Inspire Creativity

Box of Crayons

Ever have a deadline and have no clue how you’re going to meet it? That painful moment that seems to last ten years where your brain refuses to engage in thought and you’re left idea-less. I was there just minutes ago when I realized it was my turn to post and I had no topic and no clue what I’d write, so…

I decided to look for help. I googled ways to inspire creativity. Here are 13 ideas to jump start creative thoughts.

  1. Be grateful. Think about all the blessing and beauty around you.
  2. Carry a notebook. Jot down thoughts, so that when you’re seeking inspiration you can thumb through and find it.
  3. That’s a good idea if you’ve started carrying a notebook and have written in it, but if you haven’t, you could doodle.
  4. Or you could color, if you have crayons.
  5. Keep the box of crayons out after you finish and see if you can come up with new names for the colors.
  6. Speaking of colors, go somewhere you can see blue—i.e. gaze into the sky, or skip a stone across a lake or find a blue room you can sit in for a while. Apparently beholding the color blue triggers creativity.
  7. Take a nap.
  8. Play a kid’s game like Checkers, Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, or Go Fish.
  9. Take a walk.
  10. Do something else you love. For me that might be admiring flowers. Here’s one of my favorite lilies.
  11. Help someone.
  12. Just start. Don’t judge the result until you’ve got plenty to judge.
  13. Seek out other creative people. Ask them to share ideas with you. This is my favorite tip and I know you guys are resourceful. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Sources
http://writetodone.com/201-ways-to-arouse-your-creativity/
https://www.themuse.com/advice/8-brilliant-ways-to-inspire-creativity-on-your-lunch-break
http://www.chopra.com/ccl/7-steps-to-inspire-creativity-within

Brenda Nelson-Davisby: Mia Jo Celeste

Mia Jo Celeste comes from a family of writers and English teachers, so it was no surprise when she chose to pursue both careers. You can find out more about her on her website or on Twitter.


2017 Chapter Service Award

Virginia McCullough and Gini Athey presenting Lisa Romdenne with the 2017 WisRWA Chapter Service AwardThe WisRWA Chapter Service Award is an award that WisRWA gives out to members who have shown exemplary service to our organization often going above and beyond the call of duty for WisRWA.  Members are nominated and sent to the Chapter Service Award chair or chairs who will read through the nominations and choose the winning recipient or recipients. The committee received many nominations and were quite pleased to see all the ways our members are serving the chapter.

To serve is to give above and beyond what is expected. This year, WisRWA chose Lisa Romdenne, Past President of WisRWA.

Here is what the nominating individuals had to say about her:

When she was a relative newcomer to WisRWA Lisa Romdenne stepped in to run for president of our chapter at a time we were once again facing the very real possibility of folding. She caught on fast, and in the last two years she’s done a fantastic job. Lisa has handled board meetings efficiently, followed through on chapter commitments, has listened to all sides of an issue, and has shown immense patience and a knack for detail. She has made it easier for the rest of us to do our jobs. While president of the chapter, Lisa continued to be an active, helpful member of the Greater Green Bay Area.

Like the leader she is, Lisa has been willing to help with any project and takes an interest in questions about the chapter raised by individual members. Lisa has done an exemplary job of representing WisRWA as a unique and long-standing chapter of RWA, and has done so with great good humor. She always shows us the best of her outgoing personality.

Congratulations, Lisa!

 


Promotion Thursday – November 2018

Promotion Thursday - October EditionIt’s Promotion Thursday for November. Check out where you can find our WisRWA authors this month.

Jennifer Trethewey will be hosting the The Romance of Reading Facebook Group on Monday, November 26.


New Release Tuesday – October 2018

NewReleaseTuesday2

Congratulations to the following WisRWA members on their new releases this month.

Book cover of Forgetting the Scot by Jennifer Trethewey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgetting the Scot by Jennifer Trethewey

 

Book Cover of Salt and Venom by Amy McNulty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salt & Venom by Amy McNulty

 

Book Cover for The Dance Hall Wife by CiCi Cordelia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dance Hall Wife by CiCi Cordelia

 

MEANT FOR ME by Lyn Cote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meant for Me by Lyn Cote

 

IT HAD TO BE YOU by Lyn Cote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Had to Be You by Lyn Cote

 

Cover for Forever Knight by Barbara Raffin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forever Knight by Barbara Raffin

 


How to Avoid Writing Burnout

We all know about writer’s block, yes? That nagging problem where all of a sudden the words and ideas stop flowing. Usually after a day or so, the ideas start flowing again.

No, I’m talking about a real burnout where everything seems to have run into a solid brick wall. You see, I’ve been writing constantly from the mid-nineties, and crafted some interesting stories, if I do say so myself. This time, even the characters were complaining. Nothing was working in the plot, and it didn’t make sense. I was trying to force it to get another book finished.

I took a deep breath, and decided to give writing a rest for a while. Taking the summer off seems to have rejuvenated me a bit. I was getting ideas on how I could rework the manuscript.

I hope this isn’t a permanent thing, but just a glitch of some sort. After all, I’m a few months away from seventy. Nothing on my body is working the way it’s supposed to.

If this happens to you, I would go with the flow. Maybe it’s your brain saying, “I need a vacation.” Ship your thoughts off to someplace else, like a good book, and kick back and relax.

by: Ilona Fridl

Ilona Fridl has eight books out with The Wild Rose Press. She is a member of RWA since 2002, and is active in the local chapter. Also a former student of All Writers in Waukesha, Wisconsin. She lives in Southeastern Wisconsin with her husband, Mark.


Write Touch Conference Registration is now OPEN!

Milwaukee River Walk at NightRegistration for WisRWA’s Write Touch Conference opened on the 1st of October. Our biennial event promises to offer something for every genre fiction writer. No matter if you’re starting your 1st book or finishing your 25th book, we’ve planned a conference to meet all your wordsmithing needs.

#WisRWA19 will be in downtown Milwaukee at the Hyatt Regency. We will be celebrating Daring and Decadent Storytelling with Lisa Cron, Maya Rodale, Angela Ackerman, Becca Puglisi and Mel Jolly.

From April 4th to Sunday April 7th 2019, we may have to brave the finicky spring weather in Milwaukee, but we’ll be able to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow writers from around the state and hobnob with literary agents and editors from around the country.

For me, enjoying Milwaukee comes naturally since I was born and raised in the city. I’m comfortable around lots of concrete buildings and bridges that wind over the Milwaukee River. I also happen to love the challenge of one-way streets when driving. Once upon a time, it was almost safe to walk barefoot down Brady Street.

In my humble opinion, Milwaukee is a beautiful city. It’s not too big. It’s not too small. It’s walkable. There’s a lot of good food, many fun happy hours and a rich history with its diverse community.

Author Tricia Quinnies holding Amy Reichert's book, The Coincidence of Coconut CakeSo for WisRWA conference-goers, I’m more than happy to be your personal tour guide of Milwaukee. The best way I know how to do this is with, of course, a book recommendation.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, by Amy E. Reichert is a terrific book that takes place in, you guessed it, Milwaukee. Ms. Reichert gives her characters the chance to explore the best of the best in Milwaukee, and readers can go along and enjoy the ride. It’s a sweet and delicious read that will introduce you to Milwaukee.

So let’s talk about Milwaukee…

I have a copy of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake that I’d love to give to someone. Just be the first one to comment about Milwaukee below to kick start the conversation and my copy will become yours to keep.

Bonus: The winner can get it autographed, since Amy will be at #WisRWA19!

Don’t forget to sign up for the conference. You can do so by clicking here. See you April!

by: Tricia Quinnies, Write Touch Conference Coordinator

Tricia Quinnies* writes contemporary romantic adventures. She sets her stories around Wisconsin to spin in her home state’s rich and quirky history. Her characters are known to walk the shores of Lake Michigan or the beaches of Lake Geneva. They dine in supper clubs, bowl in Door County and sip on a brandy old-fashioned, or two.  Of course, the characters in Ms. Quinnies’ stories are Bucks, Brewers and Packers fans.

Just Desserts, Ms. Quinnies’ first book was published in 2014. It’s the first in a series and set her on a new adventure in self-publishing. She is a freelance writer. Her features about local families are published monthly in the Bayside Scene, a news magazine published by Best Version Media. She is a member of WisRWA (Wisconsin Romance Writers of America) and Red Oak Writers.

*Pronounced, “Quinn-Is.”


Promotion Thursday – October 2018

Promotion Thursday - October EditionIt’s Promotion Thursday for October. Check out where you can find our WisRWA authors this month.

Melonie Johnson‘s exclusive cover reveals for Smitten by the Brit and Dared by the Bad Boy, books 2 and 3 in her Sometimes in Love series will take place on October 24th on the USA Today’s Happily Ever After page.

Helen Johannes‘s guest post on her favorite heroine is up at Coffee Time Romance’s Authors Dish for the month of October.

Barbara Raffin will be presenting a program at the Kress Family Library in DePere, WI on October 20, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The presentation will be a hands-on workshop on utilizing the lesser-used senses in your writing. Book signing to follow.

Barbara M. Britton will be at the “Meet the Authors” fundraiser for the Brookfield Public Library on Saturday, October 20 from 10 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. She will be selling and signing her books.


Hot Off the Nashville Press: Trends in Christian Fiction

ACFW Gala dinnerRecently, I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference (ACFW) in Nashville. If you are hoping to publish in Christian fiction, this conference gives an overview of the inspirational market. The Christian fiction market is growing due to its loyal readership and the hope these novels bring to a chaotic world.

Historical Romance and Romantic Suspense remain strong genres in the Christian market. Contemporary Realism is trending due to the news of the day (bombings, school shootings, suicide) seeping into novels. Legal thrillers are on the rise as well.

Unfortunately, my genre of Biblical fiction barely received a mention at the conference. Librarians and readers love Bible stories, but publishers are still shy in pursuing this genre. The cry for more Christian YA still goes unheeded by publishers. Where do your teens shop for books? In the small religious section?

Retailers are seeing more time slips and “sister” stories in the market. Diversity is increasing, but at a slow pace. A call was put out for more diversity not only in race, but also in religion. Retailers would like to see stories with older characters, characters that struggle with weight, and more Middle Grade stories for boys.

Shorter series are getting hotter. It is difficult for reviewers to comment on books in a series if they haven’t read previous installments. The term “duology” was new to me. Readers are preferring shorter, two-book series. And, more indie-published books are making it into the “Top 10” in categories on Amazon.

I attended a panel on whether an author should only write in the genre in which they are published. A couple of authors said you shouldn’t jump ship. Another author said she writes the stories God places on her heart regardless of genre. I like to think there is some wiggle room especially with the use of pen names. Some genres are similar in nature and have reader overlap. What do you think? Is your path wide or defined?

While authors are working on their novels, they should mind their social media followers. One agent liked pre-published authors to have an aggregate of 5,000 followers among their social media platforms. Instagram seems to be the hottest media at the moment. Non-fiction authors should shoot for a total of 10-20,000 followers or have a special tie-in to their story that might bring credibility and endorsements.

The job demands of being an author are increasing. We should never forget to enjoy the creative process and find joy in our writing journey. What’s hot or trending this year in Christian fiction may be on the back burner next year. Embrace your characters and your story. Only you can bring your novel to life.

Barbara M. Brittonby: Barbara M. Britton

Barbara M. Britton lives in Wisconsin and writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb brings little known Bible characters to light in her Tribes of Israel series. She is a former board member of WisRWA, and a member of RWA, SCBWI, and ACFW. You can find out about Barb’s books on her website, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.