Danielle’s Top 5 List of Carrie’s 2015 Posts

2015-04-01 Laptop2 (640x427)Last year, Carrie and I began a new December tradition, wherein we each choose our five favorite posts of the year, written by the other person. I’m going first! I have to admit, it was a little hard to narrow these down to five. But, to the best of my ability, these are my five favorites that Carrie wrote in 2015. I hope you enjoy them just as much as I did!

Single-Sentence Summary Course – Introduction

Everybody loves Carrie’s brilliant strategies for summing up an entire novel in just one sentence. She opened a new course this year (the posts are all available on the blog!) and this was the first in the series. What is a single-sentence summary? And how do you even begin to know how to write one? Carrie gets you started!

4 Special Features For Your Novel’s Blog or Website

This was one of my favorite ideas Carrie ever introduced me to. We blogger-authors all face that perennial question, “What should I blog about?” Carrie passes along the concept of treating your blog like the “special features” section of a DVD. Here she shares some specific ideas!

Fear of Risk and How it Inhibits Your Writing

Okay, let’s be honest. Authors are a fearful bunch. There’s something massively scary about putting your heart and soul on paper, then – ee-gads! – making it public! And that’s just one of many scary things we have to do. Carrie masterfully turns a simple vignette from the grocery store into an inspiring post on why we stick to situations that are holding us back, instead of doing the brave thing that will push us forward.

Once Upon a Time… A Modern Fairy Tale

Have you been here – stuck at the bottom of the Mountain of Your Dreams and wondering if you’ll ever get to the top? Guess what. So have we all. Sometimes it feels like we’ve tried everything, and there’s no point in going on. If that’s where you are, you should read this post.

7 Steps to Getting Prepared to be Published

It’s not as simple as slapping some words on the page and uploading to Amazon. It’s a competitive world out there, and if you want to make it at all, you need to have your game together! Carrie presents seven must-do steps to give your book a fighting chance.

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That’s it! My favorite five that Carrie wrote this year! Do you have a favorite from our archives? Let us know in the comments!

2015-12-16 Best Posts by Carrie

Carrie Recommends 5 Editing Blogs Every Writer Should Read

5 Editing Blogs Every Writer Should ReadEvery writer needs an editor.

Every manuscript needs editing.

My top five blog list for this December features editors. But only one of them is only  an editor. The other four are also authors and some of them are speakers.

While I have no compunction about recommending them for their expertise on matters of editing, I would do you a disservice if I didn’t also mention the overall nature of their blogs.

5 Editing Blogs Every Writer Should Read

Live Write Thrive
C. S. Lakin is both an author and an editor. She provides help for all stages of the writing process, including helping writers develop craft from an editor’s point of view. In addition to tips on writing, she provides editing services, crit services, and other resources.

Lakin is a novelist, a copyeditor, a writing coach, a mom, a backpacker, and a whole bunch of other things. She teaches workshops on the writing craft at writers’ conferences and retreats.

Nadine Brandes

Nadine is first and foremost an author. She writes dystopian, post-apocalyptic novels. But she also provides editing services that “are geared toward instructing authors.” She doesn’t just help authors refine their manuscripts; she helps them develop their craft.

The overall tone is adventure. Yep. You read right. Nadine writes novels with an adventurous tone and she lives life the same way. And she shares some of those adventures on her blog.

Rachel Starr Thompson

Another author and editor, Rachel has published novels, short stories, and fiction. She is able to edit from those points of reference and at all levels from basic proofreading to substantive editing, which is her specialty.

She is a published author (indie), as well as an editor. She also is a singer, speaker, Bible study teacher and world traveler. Her blog reflects all of these interests and so does her editing.

The Editor’s Blog

As you might guess, this is the blog is that is dedicated to editing. Beth Hill began the blog with the goal of getting writing and editing information into the hands of writers. She posts on a variety of topics from punctuation to formatting a manuscript. She’s also written books on the subject.

If you’re looking for a good, all-around blog about writing and editing, take a look at this one.

The Write Practice

I’ve read this blog for some time as a means of improving my writing craft. But they also feature regular articles on editing. It’s one of the best all around blogs for writers that I’ve found, with regular contributions by a variety of authors.

Reading this blog is a lot like attending school—only more fun. Each post concludes with a writing exercise. It’s all about writing with enough seasoning of personal illustrations to make readers feel comfortable submitting their assignments. If they want to.

My Blog Sucks and I’m Kinda Clueless

Indie Plot Twisters, please welcome Dan Alatorre to the blog today. Do you have a blog? Is it not going as well as you’d hoped? I’m sure we’ve all been there! Dan’s got some great advice to get more traffic and interaction, and for an all-around more successful blogging experience. So sit back, enjoy, and please help Carrie and me make our guest feel welcome.

2015-12-07 My Blog Sucks and Im Kinda Clueless

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Dear Dan,

My blog sucks and I’m kinda clueless about what to do with it…”

Okay, nobody said that… directly.

Indirectly, LOTS of you have.

Here’s some mistakes I see in unsuccessful blogs. They have no followers and they have no/few comments. That indicates that they don’t write interesting content OR they don’t know how to attract people to their blog.

Been there.

My blog had very few followers for about two years. Now, we add new followers to the blog every day.

I can guarantee these bloggers don’t track their stats. They don’t know what works and what doesn’t. (FYI, I achieved President’s Circle with two different Fortune 500 companies, so I tend to analyze stuff.)

I’m not saying I’ve mastered these things, I’m saying I may be a step or two higher on the ladder than you are, and it looks like a mountain from there but from here it looks easy-peasy.

Okay, okay! Enough preamble! What do we do? Sorry. I’m a writer. I get wordy.

Social Media, Kinda

2015-05-13 laptopWhen you looked at Twitter and asked how to get more followers, Twitterites said to find people with the same interests as you and follow them. That same theory applies to blogs. In fact, just about every rule of social media applies to blogs.

If somebody follows your blog, follow their blog – within reason. Puppies? Cool. Photography? Sure. Whips and chains? Um, I’ll probably have a peek but I’m not going to be a regular visitor or comment much because…

Comments = GOOD

Comment on their sites and click “like” when they post stuff you like! Duh, right? It’s the Golden Rule. What do you wish people did on your blog? Read it, like the post, make a comment. Then do that for them!

It takes about three minutes to read and like a typical blog post. That means you could read and like about 10 blogs in about 30 minutes. Now, whether you have that kind of time once a month or every day, that’s up to you. My advice? Do it every evening after dinner for two weeks and see the results. You’ll be happy.

How to comment

When you comment, make it a worthwhile  comment. Each lengthy comment I made on YOUR blog is in fact – ready? – an audition for MY blog to YOUR readers! If your readers saw my comment, maybe they liked it enough to click over to my site and read some more of my stuff there, and as a result, follow my blog.

No spamming!

Here are the rules for that. The comment should be an added value to the readers of that blog, not a spam for your own blog. Don’t say “I’m awesome and here’s my link.” Instead, if they are talking about something funny, ADD to the humor with a funny, relevant anecdote of your own that their readers will enjoy. That way, the blog owner gets a benefit from your comment. Golden Rule, right? You don’t want spammers; don’t be one. It’s not necessary because…


2015-10-14 Two Women Friends in Coffee Shop CafeAnd network through your network. For example, I mostly follow and comment on WordPress blogs. Anyone there can follow me with a single click when I make an interesting comment. It doesn’t get any easier than that, and while I have nothing against other blog platforms, if I have to jump through a bunch of hoops to subscribe to you, odds are I’m not gonna do it.

Occasionally check your stats and see how you’re doing. That means see what works and do more of it. Post on big days for blog traffic, largely Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, depending on what you’re posting about, and…

Talk about your blog – the right way

Write an amazing blog post, then tweet about it. Wait, I have NO blog readers AND I have NO Twitter followers. Like I said, follow people with similar interests and make interesting contributions to the conversation and soon enough you’ll have both. Amplify that by posting your blog onto Facebook and by sending out a popular Instagram link with a cute picture of your dog or something.

Since I scan my Twitter stats, I take the day’s popular tweet and send it to Instagram, using the same hashtags. That takes less than a minute. You have a minute, trust me.

Occasionally I’ll post a pic of my kid or an amazing sunset, cos I do interesting stuff – and so do you! Readers and followers want to get to know you. Have fun. Act like friends. Yes, on your blog. Why? Because…

Comments Matter! More = Better

A “Great post, thanks for sharing” comment on somebody’s blog is nice. It helps – a little. But some witty banter goes a long way. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Let the OTHER people have the spotlight on your stage. That’s positive encouragement, and people love it. You’ll want to…

Say Thank You!

Each commenter gets rewarded by you for playing “Reply”! Most readers don’t comment. They’re intimidated. When they do, reward them for it. Thank them. Add on to their line of thought. Once they do it a first time, they are much more likely to do it again, and that means…

MORE COMMENTS = more popular, more attention, more everything.

People want to do what other people do. If you have ten comments, they’re less intimidated. Walk before you run or you will get overwhelmed quickly. Take on one new thing every two weeks until you’re comfortable with it.

Be generous

2015-04-01 Laptop (640x427)So you FOR SURE want to post on your other author friend’s blog posts when they come out – Golden Rule. Don’t be afraid to ask them/remind them/beg them to post on yours.

Yeah, it’s a lot, but ya gotta start somewhere. One last tip: ASK a question that encourages readers to make a comment.

What do YOU do to increase your blog traffic and avoid the abyss?

About the Author

Dan AlatorreBest-Selling author and humorist Dan Alatorre turned his sights on fatherhood in Savvy Stories, and the results were hilarious. Since then, Dan has racked up a string of #1 Bestsellers in family humor, novels, illustrated children’s books and cookbooks, and has been published in 12 languages throughout 14 different countries. His romantic comedy Poggibonsi: an Italian misadventure, set in Tuscany, will be released in a few weeks.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

About His Book

Dan Alatorre, PoggibonsiMike hopes an assignment in Italy will get him promoted and bring passion back to his marriage. His wife is the only woman in Atlanta not flirting with him, and what better place to pursue romance than the land of naked art, Valentino, and yoga pants? His working vacation shatters when a heart attack hospitalizes his Italian partner and Mike’s family does nothing but fight. After seeing his wife and daughter off, a stunning Tuscan beauty captures the attention of everyone in the train terminal. Mike returns to work thinking the flirtatious goddess will remain a fantasy – until she introduces herself as his new assistant!

Sign up for an alert on this title’s release!


5 Tips for Blogging Your Way Through the Holidays

5 Tips for Blogging Through the HolidaysThe year-end holidays are rapidly approaching. Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday. (Doesn’t it seem like we just celebrated Thanksgiving?)

If you’re a blogger, the holidays can be a difficult time to get any writing done. Actually, they can be a difficult even if you don’t blog.

I’ve been blogging somewhere for about ten years. I make no claims to knowing everything there is to know on the subject—who does? But I know more than I did ten years ago.

Here at Indie Plot Twist, I’m responsible for five weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year so I’m going to share five ideas for getting through the season. Some of them I know I’ll use; some I may not. You’ll have to check in each of the next five weeks to see!

Holiday Memories

I’m planning to publish memories of Thanksgiving in the old farmhouse on my personal/author blog around Thanksgiving. It’s been written for several weeks because I got a chance to trip down memory lane and do some creative writing just for fun. It’s a pretty decent post, too, if I say so myself.

Pick a favorite Thanksgiving or Christmas and describe it. Or you might choose a funny one or an unusual one.

For Christmas, you could also describe the best (or worst) gift you received (or gave). There’s four posts right there!

Link Posts

Last December, I listed five blogs every writer should read. I provided links to each blog, a few lines about what the blog was about, and why I thought it was important. It was easy to write and proved quite popular.

You can do the same thing. The best part about this type of post is that you can write it now, schedule it, and be done with it!

List Posts

This is like a link post, but with a theme. The theme can be whatever you want it to be. Favorite movies. Favorite recipes. Favorite books.

Last December, I shared my favorite posts from all those Danielle wrote in 2014. Danielle turned right around and published a list of her favorite posts from all those I’d written.

Find a blogger you really like and share your favorite links with your readers. Just make sure the posts you share will also interest your readers.

Photo Essay

If you like photography, put together a photo essay. It could be a themed essay such as Christmas decorations or snowfall or it could be an unthemed collection of favorite photos. You might even show your favorites from the entire year. Sort of a look back over the year in images.

The one thing I’d stress with a post of this type is that you use pictures you’ve taken. That gives the photo essay a more personal feel.

Seasons Greetings

Christmas 2014Then there are always seasons greeting posts. This is what Danielle posted here last year.

Not only are they quick and easy to read for your readers; they give you an opportunity to connect with your readers in a manner that’s less formal and more personal.

Besides, if you make your own electronic greetings, it can be a lot of fun!

And if you do a Thanksgiving greeting and a Christmas greeting, you’ve taken care of two weeks.

The reason I like these types of posts is that they can be written and scheduled ahead of time. I made holiday greetings and inserted them into posts for my personal blog in the middle of September (or was it August).

When it comes to the holidays, the more posts you can schedule in advance, the less blogging work you’ll have during the holidays.

And the more you can enjoy the holiday-specific work with family!

Do you have other tips for blogging through the holidays? Share one or two in the comment box below.