Archive for the ‘ Networking ’ Category

Philcon 2015 Schedule

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Here is my Philcon schedule. I will be attending, even though I am in the midst of mourning my Mom’s sudden death. I need a little normalcy, and an emotional break.

My heart will still be with my family, but I look forward to lots of interesting conversations.

Fri 9:00 PM in Plaza V (Five) (1 hour)
SOCIAL INSIGHTS FOR THE SOCIALLY PERPLEXED (2069)

[Panelists: Hugh Casey (mod), Alyce Wilson, James Prego, Robert C. Roman, Debra Baker]

Interacting with strangers doesn’t come effortlessly for everyone.  How do you know when it’s acceptable to jump into a conversation? Just as importantly, how can you know when it’s time to jump out? How do you leave a good impression on someone you want to…impress? And how do you tell whether someone is actually flirting with you or  just being nice?

Sat 10:00 AM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)
MUPPETS!  MUPPETS!  MUPPETS [FAMILY FRIENDLY] (2044)

[Panelists: Suzanne Rosin (mod), Michael McAfee, Christine Norris,  Barbara A. Barnett, Alyce Wilson, Matt Black]

Created in 1955, these characters have been in our lives on various TV shows and movies. Now they are back in a new “sitcom”. Chat with panelist about your favorite muppets,  and their shows. Was it Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Rigel in Farscape, Dinosaurs, The Muppet Show, the movies, the youtube videos?  Bring your coffee, wear your pjs, and have a good time

Sat 12:00 PM in Plaza VI (Six) (1 hour)
NOT FOR THE MONEY: HOBBIES AS…HOBBIES? (2061)

[Panelists: Deborah Stanish (mod), Andre Lieven, Diane Kovalcin, Alyce Wilson]

Why do people pour money into cosplay outfits, post art and comics online for free, and spend hours crafting stories that they have no intent to publish? Why is there such a push in American society to monetize everything we’re capable of, and devalue that which has no price tag on it.

Sat 6:00 PM in Plaza V (Five) (1 hour)
A SUPER YEAR FOR TV? (2054)

[Panelists: Kyle Williamson (mod), Russ Colchamiro, Alyce Wilson,  James Chambers, Steve Vertlieb, Andre Lieven]

2015 was host to seven live-action television adaptions of superhero comic book properties and the rebirth of the Heroes franchise. Which shows “got it right,” and which ones made you want to write angry letters to the producers?

Sat 8:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)
150 YEARS OF WONDERLAND (2108)

[Panelists: Siobhan Carroll (mod), Alyce Wilson, Debra Baker, Savan Gupta]

Why have Alice’s adventures through the looking glass remained a classic for so long? What does it have to say to the 21st Century?

Felix and the DreamWorld Sample

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

In honor of my children’s reading at Philcon, I am making a free sample of my upcoming short story collection, working title Felix and the DreamWorld Bandits and Other Stories, available via Smashwords. Please check it out and write a review!

Felix_Dreamworld-cover-225

Felix Discovers the DreamWorld and Other Stories

In this book for young readers, Felix learns about the DreamWorld from his mother: a place where you can do anything and go anywhere. With a child’s eye for the absurd, he explores this land with his best friends, a robot named Hobart and a dinosaur named Drusus. Felix and his friends fight a dragon, meet a unicorn, and learn that the DreamWorld offers surprises Felix could never have imagined while awake.

Free at Smashwords

My Philcon 2014 Schedule

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Here are my scheduled events at this year’s Philcon.

Fri 7:00 PM in Plaza III (Three) (1 hour)
SETTING UP A CROWDFUNDING PROJECT (1826)

[Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail (mod), Rob Balder, Neil Clarke, Gil Cnaan, Alex Shvartsman, Alyce Wilson]

Panelists discuss what worked, what didn’t and why. How can you promote one to make sure it is a success

Sun 10:00 AM in Plaza VI (Six) (1 hour)
YA AND CHILDREN’S STORY READINGS TWO (1996)

[Panelists: David Sklar (mod), Alyce Wilson]

David Sklar and Alyce Wilson read from their works that are appropriate for younger readers

Stupid Questions with LJ Idol’s Gary Dreslinski

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

LJ Idol sign-up banner

For several years now, I’ve been participating in an online writing contest called The Real LJ Idol that is the creative equivalent of the Olympics plus the Iditarod. While I’ve never placed higher than 5th in the competition (and that on my first year competing), I have made countless connections with wonderfully talented, creative and generous writers. I would also say that some of my best work from the past several years has come from responding to the LJ Idol prompts.

This is sign-up week for Season 9, which founder Gary Dreslinski has announced will be the final season. What are you waiting for? Hop on over to the main page, read the LJ Idol FAQ and cast your hat into the ring! The more cannon fodder participants the better!

A couple other people have published serious interviews with Gary in the run-up to Season 9, so I thought I’d just have a little fun. Following in the footsteps of Entertainment Weekly, here are some stupid questions with LJ founder Gary Dreslinski.

When it comes to LJ Idol strategy, which American Idol finalist would be best to imitate: Sanjay Malakar, Adam Lambert or Candice Glover? Please answer in the style of an American Idol judge (past or present) of your choosing.

(as Harry Connick Jr)

I think the critical error of this question is assuming that I’ve watched every season of American Idol. You really need to work on your basics here: the lead-off question is what gets people into an article and can help establish a really one-on-one emotional connection with your reader. There were a few that I missed. Including Adam Lambert and Candice Glover’s seasons. I did see Sanjay’s however, and was following “Vote for the Worst” in their campaign to get him there. So I’d definitely say that no one should attempt to imitate him.

Given that Candice’s album had the worst debut in American Idol history, I would have to go with telling people they should emulate Adam Lambert. He’s probably seen Keith Urban naked!

(as Paula Abdul)

Wha? Is this thing on? *falls down drunk*

Some have said that LJ Idol could be better compared to Survivor or even Project Runway than to American Idol.

I think Project Runway and Top Chef are probably the best comparisons, although the voting is very much modeled after American Idol.

To what non-reality show or shows would you compare LJ Idol? Why?

Game of Thrones. Many people are going to die trying to seize power.

Have you ever dreamt up a plot twist for LJ Idol that was too evil to use? Discuss.

Mass eliminations in Week 1. I’ve had that on my “to do” list since Season 3. I’ve never ended up pulling the trigger on it, because when it comes right down to it, I want people to have a fair shot.

How would life be better if everybody participated in LJ Idol?

They would lead richer, happier lives — full of laughter and mirth. Money would rain from the skies. Poverty and hatred would be completely eliminated as all of humanity put their collective beings into being the best Idolers.

What question should I have asked you but didn’t?

What has it got in its pocketses?

New Year’s Resolutions 2014

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Looking back at 2013, I had many successes. I built on my existing author’s platform, connecting with more users/potential readers on Twitter, Google Plus, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest.

Thanks to the 30 Queries in 30 Days Project and its extension, the 31 Queries in 31 Days Project, I received acceptances from Miracle magazine and Five poetry magazine and secured an editing gig for a series of children’s books.

I published my second non-fiction book, Dedicated Idiocy,  a Kindle-only book, and made progress on my current work-in-progress, Now with Kung Fu Action Grip, a collection of writings about my 3-year-old son.

This year I have two main goals:

1) Complete and publish Now with Kung Fu Action Grip.

2) Complete and publish my new poetry anthology, Owning the Ghosts.

In addition, I want to build on my successes by sticking to three good habits:

3) Post at least once a week on this blog; my blog for my book for older parents, Belated Mommy; my Goodreads author’s blog; and my personal blog at LiveJournal.

4) Write at least one poem a week.

5) Apply to at least one writing job or send at least one submission a week.

In general, I will also be striving to continue to build my author’s platform and to find creative and results-driven ways to promote my published works.


And an exciting update: I learned that I’ve been selected as one of the finalists to be included in the Project REUTSway anthology, from the November YA writing challenge. I will keep you posted on the book as the project progresses!

Philcon Schedule

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

I've received my official Philcon schedule and am on two panels this year and am officially the moderator of one of them (huzzah!). Check it out:

Sat 6:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Two (1 hour)
BECOMING A FULL TIME WRITER (1496)

[Panelists: Alyce Wilson (mod), Alex Shvartsman, David Sklar, D.L.Carter, Thomas Willeford]

How do you become a full time writer? Is that a good idea for you?

Sun 10:00 AM in Plaza III (Three) (1 hour)
USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO PROMOTE YOUR CAREER (1543)

[Panelists: KT Pinto (mod), Christine Norris, Alyce Wilson, D.H.Aire]

Whenever a writer is on Facebook, he or she is not working on theirwriting. What are the potential advantages and distractions ofsocial media?


So my questions to you: What information would you like to hear on these two panels if you were attending? And do you have any insights that might be useful (such as specific books or online resources) to share?

November Writing Challenges

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

For a couple of years, I’ve participated in the National Novel Writing Month’s challenge to write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November. This year, I’d like to take on two different challenges, instead.

The first is called Project Reutsway. Sponsored by Reuts Publications, it’s an intriguing writing challenge. Each weekly, participants will be given a literary challenge to mash-up two different styles, which they have to complete in three days. Judges will offer commentary, and the weekly winners will be announced on the Reuts blog. At the end of the month, 10-20 winning submissions will be published in a collection with part of the proceeds going to the green charity, Reading Tree/Discover Books, which promotes literacy in the US by keeping books out of landfills, funding library sustainability, providing books to low-income families and more.

Sounds like a great creative challenge that will keep me on my toes, so I’m looking forward to it.

”Project


In addition to the Project REUTSway challenge, I’m going to be participating in Nina Amir’s Nonfiction Writers Rise to the Challenge During NaNonFiWriMo (National Non-Fiction Writer’s Month). This is an idea spearheaded by writer Nina Amir, who is asking non-fiction writers to set their own goals to complete a non-fiction project of any length in November: ranging from an article to a book.

For my project, I will be pulling together the essays and poetry for my new book, “Now with Kung Fu Action Grip.” This, as you might already know, will focus on writings about my son, whose online nickname is Kung Fu Panda.

That book is one of the final perks I need to put together for the Indiegogo campaign I ran this past April, Get the Ringbearer to Illinois, which secured funding for me and KFP to attend a wedding where he had been asked to be the ringbearer.

I like the idea of doing both of these challenges, since one will spur me to write some new material, while the other will help me focus on finishing up a promised perk.

What about you? Are you participating in any writing challenges in November?

How to Build an Author Platform in 30 Minutes a Day

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

I tried Grammarly’s plagiarism checker free of charge because my cat thought I was ripping off his diction. Can has verb disagreement now?


Recently, an old friend, who’s a fiction author, asked for advice on how to build up his name as an author in advance of sending a fiction collection around to publishers. On a related note, I received a Facebook message from a Philadelphia-area author, asking a similar question. In the writing business, we call that building your author’s platform: in other words, building up a network of potential readers, as well as building up a sense of who you are as an author.

While I have a lot of potential growing yet to do, I’ve been actively working on building my author’s platform for a couple years now. As regular readers know, I am also a work-at-home mom, which means I have to work my writing and career-building efforts into a day already packed with child care and housework. If you follow the advice in this post, you can begin building an author’s platform in 30 minutes or less a day.

Planning App

Reminders can keep you on schedule. I know I find them invaluable. I use GTasks (Google Tasks), primarily through the app on my Droid phone. It has a simple, no-fuss interface and allows you to schedule recurring tasks, such as “Post blog entry” for every Wednesday.

Author’s Photo

Alyce Wilson with ravenTake or have someone take a decent photo of you to use for your author’s sites. Rather than just taking an Instagram selfie, opt for a camera with a timer that you can use to take a variety of shots. The best author’s photos both look professional and show something of your character. I participated in a photo shoot for a friend at Edgar Allan Poe’s Philadelphia residence. She needed to work on portraits for her photography class, and one of my favorite recent photos shows me with the statue of a raven in the background. I’m going to be seeking another photographer friend’s help soon, since I’ve lost 20 pounds since that photo was taken.


Author’s Site

If you don’t already have an author’s site, your first task should be to create one.

Alyce's Web site

Remember: a Facebook page is NOT a substitute for your own author’s site, in part because its functionality is limited and always subject to change. At minimum, an author’s site should include: a bio page that includes highlights about your writing career and relevant tidbits about you, including a contact email (you should designate one e-mail for writing correspondence, ideally one you can access readily when you’re on the move, such as with a smart phone). You can also include a page with links to your online writings and/or samples or your work (although it’s fallen out of favor to include a complete resume, for security concerns). If you have any published books for sale, include links to them.

Nowadays, it’s also important to include a blog or bulletin board, which you can update at least once a week with thoughts on your writing, personal observations, or links to interesting articles. Keep in mind that anything you post will help to form your public persona, so try to refrain from such impulsive posts as complaining about a specific reviewer, for example.

One of the best places to start an author’s site is on WordPress, which offers free hosting if you don’t already have a hosting company. You can also sign up to get your own domain (which should be either your professional name or something that connects to your writing style or genre). To do this costs only $13 a year.

I use WordPress for this blog as well as for my BelatedMommy blog and online literary magazine, Wild Violet. In addition to the large variety of templates, which allow for almost any format, I love the ability to schedule posts in advance and to incorporate plug-ins to allow readers to share posts easily or subscribe to the blog.

WordPress is the best choice for people who have some familiarity already with creating web pages and blogging. For those with fewer Web skills, check out Wix.com or Biz.nf to create a professional-looking free website. While I haven’t tried their website creator, I would also point you toward Bravesites by Bravenet.com, which offers free websites created through templates. I’ve used Bravenet’s free mailing list manager for Wild Violet for many years and have had nothing but good experiences.

Setting up your author’s site may take several days, if you stick to the 30 minutes a day goal. However, once it’s set up, you can schedule one weekly update (preferably on a weekday) that will take you 30 minutes or less to write.

Social Networking

So many social networking sites exist that it can be decide where you want to spend your time. Which ones should you utilize, and how can you avoid becoming overwhelmed?

Alyce's Facebook page

A Facebook page is a good idea, simply because so many people are currently on Facebook, so it can be a good way to reach people like college buddies, family members, and new fans all at once. The process of creating a page is fairly simple; just read Facebook’s guide to creating a business page. Once it’s created, remember to post something at least a week. I primarily include links to my online articles and writings, but it’s also a good idea to post polls or other interactive posts. Facebook gives your posts higher priority on people’s feeds if they have interacted with you recently.

Alyce's Twitter Page

Twitter, with its microblogging — or instant update — platform, can be a valuable tool for connecting with writers, publishers, magazines, and others. For this reason, it’s worth joining. Read through Twitter’s Getting Started Guide for some tips. My advice: download an app like Tweetdeck, which makes it easy to schedule tweets in advance. Spend a few minutes in the morning scheduling tweets, keeping in mind that, just like conversations should be 50/50 listening and talking, you should retweet other users’ tweets or share links to articles and other web content at least as much as you share or promote your own work (and probably more). You ever have that blind date with someone who talked nonstop about him or herself without letting you have a word to talk about yourself? Don’t be that person! Some authors even schedule a whole week’s worth of tweets in advance, scheduling at least four tweets per day, including both links to interesting articles and promotions for their own work. I’d highly recommend following @Mashable immediately and reading their many articles about social networking and Twitter.

LinkedIn can be a good way to connect with other writers on a professional basis. You can do this by searching for LinkedIn groups that connect to your writing specialty. Make sure you read through the recent posts to see if a given group really connects with your interests. The best advice for this site, or for similar networking communities, is to spend 99 percent of your time interacting with people on a personal basis. Offer feedback on writing when asked; participate in conversations; pose writing-related questions. These connections will then be far more interested in your writing endeavors than they would be if you simply jumped into a conversation and shouted out, “I have a new book out!” That would be annoying at a social function, and it’s just as inappropriate here. Here’s a guide to how to use LinkedIn effectively. Stop in at least once a week to read and comment on the groups where you’re a member. You can also post links to your writing via your LinkedIn feed using apps such as “AddThis”  plug-in, available for multiple browsers. I use it with the Google Chrome browser and love its easy functionality.

Other social networking sites that you might consider using include Tumblr, which is primarily a blogging/link sharing platform; Google Plus (Google+), which has become sort of the “anti-Facebook” and is therefore a way to connect with people who aren’t on Facebook; and Goodreads, which is a reader/writer site that  allows you to list and promote your own books, as well as share reviews of other books and participate in communities. If you are maintaining a blog, either a personal blog or an author’s blog, seek out writing communities. Remember, though, that you’ll only get out of it what you put into it: you need to both post and comment on other people’s posts if you want them to remember you. This is why it’s best to schedule some time once a week to actively read and post on your preferred networking sites.

Don’t feel that you need to join all of these sites. Spend your time on the sites where you feel the most comfortable and build connections. You can always add more sites later if you want to broaden your reach.

Submit Your Writing

Of course, one of the best ways to build your author’s platform is through having your work published. If you want, you can buy a membership to the excellent writing markets produced by Writer’s Digest (Writer’s Market, Poet’s Market, Novelist and Short Story Writer’s Market, for example). Keep in mind: you can write that off as a business expense on your taxes (as you can any expense related to your writing career, such as web domains or the cost of postage for submissions).

For some free markets, visit: Poets and Writers, Duotrope, Ralan.com (SF), and WritersWrite, which are among the best comprehensive free guides. You may also want to join a free mailing list or two, such as offered at FundsForWriters.com and WritingForDollars.

You might also find it useful to put a short story or a handful of poems up on Smashwords as a free ebook, which could attract new readers.

Summary

Building your author’s platform takes time. My best advice: remember that it’s a gradual process and that whatever small steps you take can help you build more connections and introduce your to more potential readers. In order to keep from getting overwhelmed, set just one major task for yourself each day. After you’ve gotten your site/blog set up and have joined the social networking sites you wish to join, set a timer to spend 30 minutes or less on the site(s) where you’re focusing your energy that day.

Over time, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how opportunities start to come your way, thanks to the foundation you’ve built.


This post was sponsored by Grammarly.com, the automated proofreader and personal grammar coach.

Looking for Philly Story Ideas

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

As a writer for Yahoo! Contributor Network, I have a regular beat to submit stories of interest to the Greater Philadelphia area (i.e. the five counties: Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, Bucks). I am looking for the following: feature ideas, upcoming event info and possible interview subjects. In particular, I’d welcome ideas related to family-friendly activities, since I’m thinking of writing a series.

You can look through my existing portfolio to see what sort of stories I’ve written in the past. Pay particular attention to the Philadelphia-area stories, since I’ve also done a lot of entertainment writing.

Please e-mail me with any of your suggestions.

Here’s more info from Yahoo! about what sort of stories they’d like me to write.

Submit unique, well-written, and compelling local content of metro-wide interest in your area. Submit only when you have a submission that meets all guidelines and expectations. Only professional-sounding bylines are acceptable.

Write local features or news stories that aren’t being reported by other news outlets or go beyond coverage by other media. Think about the stories that local readers need to know — answer questions for them, tell them something new about their area, reveal and explain local controversies, solve local mysteries, etc. Think outside the box!

Find unexpected and compelling local stories — don’t tell readers what they already know or what they aren’t likely to click on to find out more. This content must be objective — opinion pieces are generally not accepted.

Don’t rewrite other coverage — all submissions should be originalunique, and go beyond other coverage.Search Yahoo! News before writing to ensure that your topic hasn’t already been covered.

Write with authority. Be detailedspecific, and authenticCite authoritative sources for all factual claims and information (no Wikipedia or other user-generated sources). Include all essential information, such as websites, locations, contact information, hours, pricing, etc. as applicable. Proofread carefully.

Final Days of Indiegogo Campaign

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Please boost the signal:

These are the final 8 days of our Indiegogo campaign to raise traveling expenses for our son to be the ringbearer in the wedding of a couple we regard as family:

http://igg.me/at/ringbearer-illinois/x/1412553

We’ve got fantastic perks at all levels that should appeal to gamers, readers, writers, art lovers, and anyone who might require editing or Web services. In addition, there are some truly unique perks, such as a personalized poem and a personalized story from writer Kevin Saito. Check it out! Help us Get the Ringbearer to Illinois!

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