Join A Slice of Orange

Enter your email address and never miss another post on A Slice of Orange.

Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter

Archives

Calender

August 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Category: The Writing Journey

Denise Colby's column
Home > Columns > The Writing Journey

My 3 Favorite Apps to Use for Marketing by Denise M. Colby

August 12, 2017 by in category The Writing Journey, Writing: It's a Business tagged as , , , ,

3 Favorite Apps | Denise Colby | A Slice of Orange

Your brand is your author name. Everything we post on our website, social media or blogs help add content to that author brand.  For someone like me, still unpublished, I want to create posts that are worthwhile even if I’m not selling books yet.  Figuring out what to do can be overwhelming and time-intensive.  Here I share with you three website/apps I use that have helped save me time and mental energy.

 

WordSwag

 

I love the WordSwag App.  For $4.99 in the app store, you can create memes for your social media fast and easy.  You can use any photo from your phone and customize the text using either the given quotes or writing your own.  I love to quote scripture this way using a nature pic I’ve taken.  There’s even a way to enter a watermark so you can have your website listed at the bottom, branding your memes.

 

Design-Seeds.com

 

One of the websites I like to use is design-seeds.com. There, you will find blends of colors that make a variety of color palettes. You can select the colors you like and write down the color codes.  Color codes are universal.  In different design software programs you can type in a color code and it will match.  So anyone you hire for cover designs or creating materials can use these codes and you can have a consistent look.

Having a recognizable color scheme with your author brand is a great way to build awareness and identity across your books, website and social media. Take a look at the books you read and notice the fonts and colors used on the covers.  Then go to their website and social media and see if you see a connection.

So what are the colors you want to associate with your author name? You can select 5-6 colors from light to dark and use them in everything you create. Your website, memes for your social media, and yes, even to incorporate into your book cover designs. (You can then select additional colors for that specific series or book).

I would recommend creating a Pinterest board where you save the photos of the color schemes you like and reference back to them.

Once you’ve selected a palette of colors for your brand, write down the color numbers to use in your graphics.

 

CANVA.com

 

Another website I love using is Canva. This website lets you create all sorts of media, including banners and social media sized for any app, to flyers, postcards and more. I created the image for this blog by uploading an image I purchased through a photo website.  You can upload your own pictures that you take or buy and you can use the color codes selected from design-seeds.com (the brown in the image is one of my colors).  You have the choice to use existing designs or create your own.  I use this program to create memes.  I even used it to design my son’s high school graduation announcement.

 

Creative Challenge:  Create a free account on canva.com and create an image using a photo you upload.

 

If you would like to learn more about these and other programs, I would highly recommend signing up for the teachable class Author Elena Dillon has created titled Visual Content Marketing for Authors.  Take a look at http://confused-and-terrified-writer.teachable.com/  Her videos offer step by step instructions and she provides written out lessons explaining things in detail. (More information here.)


Denise Colby |The Writing Journey | A Slice of OrangeAlthough new to the writing fiction world, Denise Colby has over 20+ years experience in marketing, creating different forms of content and copy for promotional materials.  Taking the lessons learned from creating her own author brand Denise M. Colby, Denise enjoys sharing her combined knowledge with other authors.

If you are interested in a marketing evaluation and would like help in developing a strategy for your author brand you can find out more here  http://denisemcolby.com/marketing-for-authors/

 

0 0 Read more

What Do You Do At a Writing Conference?

July 12, 2017 by in category The Writing Journey tagged as , , ,

I have an updated game plan, thanks to my attendance at the recent SoCal Christian Writers Conference, held at Biola University. It was the inaugural year for this conference, but so many of the faculty and conference staff were old pros and brought with them wonderful insights and inspiration to share with us writers – both published and non-published.

So what goes on at a writers conference?

Not a lot of writing, that’s for sure. But there’s more to being a writer and that’s where attending a conference with other writers is so valuable.

As I reflect back on the three days I attended, I am so glad I went. If you’ve never gone to one before, here are a few opportunities to embrace when you do attend.

Form new friendships

 

Friendships formed with other writers is the bomb. They speak the same language and they understand what it takes to work as a writer. Depending on the conference you may find writers who write the exact same genre or you may find writers who write something unrelated (such as fiction vs non-fiction) but can share with you ideas such as how to do tasks differently. Almost every attendee is a writer and feels the same way you do about books and words. Take advantage of meeting writers while waiting in line to check-in, or in between classes, or during one of the many meals shared as a group.

Learn something new

 

Anyone can learn something new about the craft of writing or the business aspect of it. I took an amazing class about writing humor and learned there are specific things writers who write humor do to pull it off. It was fascinating and since I want to add laughter to my books, insightful.

Make Appointments

 

Most conferences offer appointments with the faculty. This is an opportunity to meet one-on-one with a professional to either show them your work, called a pitch, or ask specific questions about their career or experience. I signed up for several and even though I felt intimidated in the beginning of every single one, I walked away with fresh direction and insight of where I want to go with my writing career.

One of my meetings was with a writer with major blogging experience and I learned a few things about the right way to write a blog after she kindly read my sample and provided feedback. I walked away excited to go home and try my hand at writing my blogs better than before. Every single one of them was well worth my time and I’m extremely grateful for their time and encouragement.

Service

 

Conferences are run with the help of volunteers. I volunteered during this conference. What I got out of it was so much more than what I put in. I worked the registration desk and met every single person when they checked in. I found myself saying hi to everyone as I walked around the campus and it made it easier to connect and exchange business cards. It gave me confidence to ask questions and learn more about them and what they do. Conferences are jammed with things to do the entire time, but offering to serve a little can go a long way too.

These are just a few of the things you can benefit from by attending a conference. If you haven’t considered going, I would highly recommend it. Take a good look at what sessions are being offered and if there are any faculty you would be interested in asking a question or two, even if they aren’t directly related to your genre. Who knows you might just meet your new critique partner there, like I just did.

Denise


Denise Colby |The Writing JourneyDenise M. Colby loves learning about history and reading fun, uplifting, encouraging stories that cherish and warm the heart. Combining two of her loves, she is working on her first inspirational historical romance, featuring Olivia Carmichael, a young lady who loses everything, including her faith, travels to California to teach and finds love in many different forms along the way. Passionate about all types of stories – whether they are from songs, theatre, movies or novels, Denise loves sharing these passions with her husband and their three boys. You can follow along with Denise on her writing journey at www.denisemcolby.com

WEB CONTACTS

Website: www.denisemcolby.com

Blog: www.denisemcolby.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/denisemcolbywrites/

Pinterest: pinterest.com/denisemcolby

Twitter: twitter.com/denisemcolby 

0 0 Read more

Let me TELL you something…

June 12, 2017 by in category The Writing Journey, Writing tagged as , , ,

Let Me Tell You Something | Denise Colby | A Slice of OrangeI took a long walk this morning.  Wrote an awesome blog post in my head.  The entire time I wished I had my laptop to write down my thoughts.  Let me tell you, it was awesome.  Of course, as soon as I got home and started to actually write it, well…..the words came out differently.  Not as witty.  Not as eloquent. My punctuation was off.  But trust me. The original in my head?  It was awesome.  I’m telling you.

See, my blog post was all about my feelings on the subject of telling vs showing.  One of those things every fiction writer needs to learn to write a well-written novel.  I apparently haven’t been able to figure it out yet.  At least that’s what the latest round of contest remarks tell me.

Of course, I can’t show you their comments, so you’ll have to trust me when I tell you this.

So I took my walk to clear my head because somehow these comments have rattled me. I feel (again I’m telling you here) like giving up, stopping, throwing the entire book away.  And I’m not sure what to do about it.

I’ve received lots of feedback over the past four years on my writing journey.  I’m usually really good about taking it in stride and learning from it.  But this time around it has punched me in the gut and taken all the motivation out of me.

And I’m not sure why.

Ironically, most of the feedback I’ve received, has been over the same set of pages.  So really, the feedback isn’t just on my writing, it’s on the however many other contest evaluators and writer friends who have taken their time to give me their honest feedback.  Each time I’ve made adjustments and changes, I’ve felt like I’ve gotten closer and closer to a solid beginning.  So I find it interesting that what’s been pointed out makes my pages sound worse than where I was before.

I’m telling you, it’s enough to make me really confused.

So as I wallow in my own negative emotions, I reflect back to how I got here.  Even in high school my English wasn’t great.  I scored higher on my math portion of my SAT then my English.  I can spell like the best of them, but making sure I’m staying in either present or past tense throughout the entire sentence is a challenge for me. As well as telling vs showing.  That’s what I’m being told.

You’ve probably noticed it all in this post.

I do have a BA in Communication.  I landed a great job out of college and my first two bosses were previous English teachers.  Go figure.  Every assignment I turned in came back with red marks everywhere.  But I learned.  By the time I went to graduate school to get my MBA, I scored higher on the English then the math.  But since I embarked on this fiction writing journey I’ve learned something.  Let me tell you – copywriting and fiction writing are two completely different things.

The writing I did in the business world mostly came in bullet points.  I told people why they needed to buy a certain product.  What that product could do for them and how it would benefit them.  In catalogs, flyers, packaging, presentations and brochures.  We had to be succinct and to the point.  A customer needed to be able to know within a few seconds what this product was and what it could do for them.  No room for interpretation, no room for feelings or fluff words as we called it.  Just the point.

I was in charge of writing, proofing, and editing our products within our customer catalogs – for thousands of products.  To create consistency with my team, I created a catalog copy strategy.  Here’s what I instructed them:

For the actual copy block:

  • Concise, no fluff words
  • Benefit statements
  • minimum 2 sentences, maximum 5 sentences
  • Doesn’t have to be complete sentences

Example in bullet form of copy block:

  • Benefit statement that helps to explain the product concept overall.
  • Describe how the product is used.
  • Suggest applications for the product.
  • Other descriptions of the product including other features, color, size, quantity.

Now here I am writing a novel and my mind is trained in a completely different way.  I’m having a difficult time writing the showing parts.  I’m pulling my hair out trying to get it.  I’m crying over the fact that I have 350 plus pages to go back and redo and think I have it correct, but then find out I don’t.  (Did I do it?  Showing? Wrong tense, though.  Sigh.)  I’ll keep trying but the task feels daunting.

So, I need someone to tell me what happens next?  I’m stuck.  Frozen.  Not sure if I can keep going.  I know, I know.  I just need to keep plugging along.  I guess that’s why I wrote this blog post.  I needed an outlet to process things.  And to write something that’s in my own words, my way and I don’t care what anyone else thinks about it.  And when I circle back around to accept things and move on, I still have a manuscript where apparently I’ve been told I’m telling too much.  I guess only time will tell if I can show them they were right or wrong.

Denise


Denise Colby |The Writing Journey
Denise M. Colby loves learning about history and reading fun, uplifting, encouraging stories that cherish and warm the heart. Combining two of her loves, she is working on her first inspirational historical romance, featuring Olivia Carmichael, a young lady who loses everything, including her faith, travels to California to teach and finds love in many different forms along the way. Passionate about all types of stories – whether they are from songs, theatre, movies or novels, Denise loves sharing these passions with her husband and their three boys. You can follow along with Denise on her writing journey at www.denisemcolby.com

WEB CONTACTS

Website: www.denisemcolby.com

Blog: www.denisemcolby.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/denisemcolbywrites/

Pinterest: pinterest.com/denisemcolby

Twitter: twitter.com/denisemcolby

6 0 Read more

Celebrating Where I Am

April 12, 2017 by in category The Writing Journey, Writing tagged as ,

The Writing JourneySometimes I look at my manuscript and feel I have so much to learn still, so much to do before my work is print worthy, and this awful feeling of hopelessness overcomes me.  What am I really doing?  Will I ever get it right?  And then I start telling myself other authors don’t run into this same problem, do they?  Maybe I’m not cut out for this.

And then I go to one of my writing group meetings and realize I’m not the only one to feel this way.  Writing is such a solitary experience, yet when you get together with other writers you share all the same questions, concerns, and thoughts.

I love the writing groups I’m a part of. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and my local chapter (OCCRWA) and an online chapter called Faith, Hope & Love (FHLRWA).  I’m also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and my local chapter (OCACFW).  It’s a lot to keep track of but it’s so important to stay connected with other writers in your genre.  In person and online, I’ve met so many wonderful people and learned so much. When I think about the meetings, online classes, and notes I’ve taken over the last three years, I’ve come a long way.

It also makes me realize how important it is to take time to reflect back from where I started and see just how far I’ve come.

I knew nothing of the writing world terminology, yet I now can have a conversation and understand most of the lingo, spouting off terms such as ms, dialogue tags and GMC. I know now, authors don’t get it perfect the first time, sometimes writing through three, four or even more edits after the rough draft.

I’ve learned about understanding your characters more, figuring out what the hero/heroine goals, conflicts and motivations are. I can throw stuff at my characters to see how they will respond. I’ve seen a character take a life of their own and get themselves into a whole heap of trouble. And how fun it is to watch it evolve on the page.

I’ve learned how to set up my website, social media accounts and write my author profile.  I’ve figured out my author brand, audience and the genre I prefer to write.  I’ve read several new authors, expanding my knowledge both as a reader and a writer.

I’ve entered contests and learned what “on the nose” dialogue is, that passive voice does not mean the same thing as past tense, and to be really careful not to tell but show action and how hard it is to do. I’ve learned my initial writing is full of data dumps and I now can delete words without panicking. I’ve survived receiving constructive feedback and now know, it’s not the end of the world.

As I reflect back, I realize, even though I have so much still to learn, I have come so far and that is something to be really proud of.  It’s nice to know I have made many new friends who are rooting for me each step of the way.

I am so thankful for these writing groups and all the wonderful writers who have opened their hearts and minds to share what they’ve learned to us newbies.  I look forward to someday being able to do the same in return.

And if you are not a part of a writing group, I encourage you to come visit one of our meetings.

Denise M. Colby

Denise Colby |The Writing Journey

 

Denise M. Colby loves learning about history and reading fun, uplifting, encouraging stories that cherish and warm the heart.  Combining two of her loves, she is working on her first inspirational historical romance, featuring Olivia Carmichael, a young lady who loses everything, including her faith, travels to California to teach and finds love in many different forms along the way.  Passionate about all types of stories – whether they are from songs, theatre, movies or novels, Denise loves sharing these passions with her husband and their three boys.  You can follow along with Denise on her writing journey at www.denisemcolby.com

WEB CONTACTS

Website:  www.denisemcolby.com

Blog:  www.denisemcolby.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/denisemcolbywrites/

Pinterest: pinterest.com/denisemcolby

Twitter:  twitter.com/denisemcolby

12 0 Read more
12

Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM

%d bloggers like this: