The Legion Grows: Another Editor Reports for Duty

Red Pen of Doom.jpgMy back was against the wall. The grammar errors were all around me.

“I’m a developmental editor,” I said. “This grammar stuff is kicking me in the tender bits.”

“Fear not, Corey-the-human,” a voice sounded through the darkness. “The Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom is here.”

In a sick-ass flash of power and insight, Thomas, the mercenary copy editor, hacked the manuscript to shreds.

All was right in the world again.

In short, Thomas joined the Legion. Find out more about the mercenary proofreader and read his intro by clicking right here (the link will teleport you to the Human Legion website).

You can look forward to seeing our collaborative editing prowess on display in J.R. Handley’s next book in the Sleeping Legion series: Operation Breakout.

More of an update than an informative post today, but I have some how-to posts coming. I’ll be starting a new series tackling point of view, as this is the most common issue I seem to deal with in my editing work (also the item most people ask me about). Until we cross quills again, keep reading, keep writing, and as always—stay sharp!

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Feature Friday #6 (Bloggers & Books)

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Where the heck did the week go?  I feel like I was writing a Feature Friday post yesterday.  Regardless, it’s always a good day when I’m writing about other bloggers and writers. For all of you NaNoWriMo heroes and heroines—I hope you are beating your keyboards into submission.

Speaking of NaNoWriMo, this is quickly shaping up into my favorite month to read blog posts.  There is a tantalizing mix of hope, despair, fear, and excitement bouncing about the blogosphere. As I treat this website as a time capsule of sorts, let’s snag some of my favorite posts from the day and wish these writers well on their journey.

spotlight-facing-rightThe first blogger and blog post I wanted to talk about encapsulates the many emotions these intrepid writers experience.  Linda Smith wrote the post, The Month of Living Dangerously.  It’s an honest look at the topsy-turvy world many of these writers are living in right now.

Linda does a few things that really caught my eye in this post.  She writes honestly, talks about setting realistic goals, and is including her family in the process. The last part of the post where she talks about her granddaughter being hit by a lightning bolt of inspiration still has me smiling.  Great stuff!

spotlight-facing-rightThe next blogger I wanted to spotlight is Patricia M. Robertson.  Patricia’s post, Ready, Set, Stop! NaNoWriMo is What You Make It, is a great breakdown of what the month is all about.  It’s about more than just pushing out words, it’s about growing as a writer.  For those of you who are unsure about all this NaNoWriMo hullabaloo, give her post a read.

What I really enjoy about Patricia’s post is her ability to address the “big picture” in her writing career.  Much like her, I enjoy the excitement radiating off of other writers.  It’s a contagious thing.  Though she may not be able to partake in the insanity of NaNoWriMo, she is still using it to charge her writing.  In my opinion, that’s a win!

spotlight-facing-rightThe last spotlight is for Austin Ezell.  If you needed a no-nonsense description of the what NaNoWriMo is about, he’s got you covered with his aptly titled post, National Novel Writing Month.  There are a couple reasons I linked Austin’s page.  First, I wanted a solid post detailing what the month is about.  Secondly, checking out his “About” page I realized we are conjoined spirit writing animals.

If his schedule is any indication of what we can come to expect from his blog page, we are in for series of fun posts.  Fatherhood, check.  Dungeons and Dragons, check.  Gaming, check.  Sharing tips from his own experience as a writer, check.  Sneak peaks into his future books, check.  It’s many of the elements I look for when I search out a blogger.  If you’re a regular reader here at QE (thanks), I imagine you are going to want to follow Austin as well.

thanksI wanted to take a moment to thank all three of these folks for (1) being a source of inspiration, (2) taking life by the horns, and (3) making me smile.  It’s people like you who make me happy to spend a chunk of my time here in the blogoverse.  Best of luck to you all!

hourglassThat’s it for today!  I’ll be happy if I never type “NaNoWriMo” again (all that shift+letter nonsense is making crazy!). If you would like to be featured next Friday, contact me.  It always helps if you let me know what specific post you would like to be featured.  My goal with Feature Friday is to connect like-minded individuals with one another.  The blogoverse is a giant place, and it’s nice to be able to provide some navigation. Until we cross quills again, keep reading, keep writing, and as always—stay sharp!

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Feature Friday #5 (Bloggers & Books)

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What a great week of blogging.  I discovered new bloggers, read awesome posts, and learned new aspects about the craft.  This week, I’m going to be highlighting a couple of science fiction/fact writers and a blogger who was one of my very first followers.

spotlight-facing-rightThe first spotlight shines for P.A. Kramer: Writer and Scientist.  Philip has a wealth of interesting content on his page.  The page itself is glorious, and honestly, I’m a little jealous of the layout and design.  The minimalist design is elegant, fun, and very easy to navigate.  Design aside, there are a lot of gems to be found on his page.

Philip has a doctorate in the biomedical sciences and uses this knowledge and training to analyze science fiction. He also breaks down scientific jargon and makes it more accessible to us mere mortals.  Two awesome posts are The Science of Gravity, and The Science of Killing Your Characters. In regards to the latter, plenty of bloggers talk about killing characters, but Philip explains the science behind it. Need to poison a character and leave no evidence for the authorities? Philips got you covered.

Also, Philip’s Billy and Ruben comics are brilliant.  Those two are always getting into trouble and the results are often hilarious.  Seriously, you should check them out.

spotlight-facing-rightNext, I wanted to highlight Tim C. Taylor, over at The Human Legion. Tim is a military science fiction author who can often be found at ale houses in England plugging away on his manuscripts.  Tim has been generating momentum with his upcoming books and also writing some really interesting blog posts.

The two I wanted to focus on are Starship Troopers and Military SF, and (prepare yourselves, this is a long title) Why writers pull apart owl pellets to inspect the bones within. The first article is an interesting discussion about reader expectations for realism in regards to military tactics and science.  The second post talks about how writers can generate ideas from almost any source.

I really enjoyed this article because it highlights the importance of being curious as a writer.  I think to hone our craft we must take the time to observe the world and gather new information and experiences (even if it means we have to tear apart owl crap).

Tim is a client of mine, and as such, I always feel the need to plug for their books (because I wouldn’t edit them if I didn’t believe in them).  If military science fiction is your bread and butter, you should give his books a glance.  The Human Legion is always looking for a new Legionary to populate the ranks.

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The last blogger I wanted to mention today is Angelina Kerner over at Where Dragons Reside. Angelina is one of the very first bloggers who ever followed my page, and four months later, she still takes the time to stop by and leave her thoughts.  Angelina is a prolific reader and is constantly posting book reviews on her page (which are not rated by stars, but by dragon prints!). She also posts writing tips, and that’s where I will focus the spotlight today.

The two posts I wanted to spotlight are A ‘How To’ Guide to Writing a Novel, and How To Prepare To Write Chapter Summaries.  The first article is very intuitive.  It’s no small task to try to chronicle all the steps in producing a novel, but Angelina does a great job of breaking it down and offering some useful bits of advice.  The second article posted at a time when I was researching the subject.  For those of you who like to outline, you should absolutely give it a read.

thanksI wanted to take a moment to thank all three of these folks for (1) reaching out to me, (2) being a source of inspiration, and (3) consistently encouraging enjoyable discussion about both fiction and non-fiction.  It’s people like you who make me happy to spend a chunk of my time here in the blogoverse.

hourglassThat’s it for today!  If you would like to be featured next Friday, contact me.  It always helps if you let me know what specific post you would like to be featured.  My goal with Feature Friday is to connect like-minded individuals with one another.  The blogoverse is a giant place, and it’s nice to be able to provide some navigation. Until tomorrow, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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Feature Friday #4 (Bloggers & Books)

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Another week, another Feature Friday highlighting some great bloggers.  I missed out on last week due to Hurricane Matthew, but I’m excited to get back into the rhythm.  This week I wanted to highlight a few bloggers who are writing amazing content, coming up with creative solutions, and sharing their experiences.  All said, these three are offering up great posts every week.

spotlight-facing-rightThe first spotlight shines for Sharon Hart over at curioushart. Sharon is a regular contributor here on QE and also writes some spectacular posts.  Those posts include flash fiction, writing advice, and enjoyable insights into life in general.  Her personality and experience as a teacher really shine through in her posts and make them very enjoyable to read.

Sharon was kind enough to share an experience with me, and it was so insightful I wanted to be sure to share it with all of you.  I’ve talked about the struggle of writing a book blurb in the past, and Sharon’s method of tackling it is pretty ingenious.

Since April 2016, I have been participating in a weekly flash fiction writing exercise. Each week I download a picture prompt and I write a story of 150 words or less related to the picture. This practice has really sharpened my vocabulary, grammar, and content. It has turned out to be useful as well.

I had been struggling for weeks to write an engaging and informative back cover description of my book. I finally decided to treat it as a flash fiction story. It worked. Using the same process I use for the flash fiction, I was able to craft a decent description.

I highly recommend the exercise.

What I love about this bit of advice is it highlights the importance and usefulness of consistent writing practices.  Even this blog, for me, has impacted my writing in a positive way.  I feel the more often we sit down and flex our writing muscles the more multifaceted they become.

spotlight-facing-rightThe next blogger I wanted to spotlight is Sinister Dark Soul (or as I like to write, SDS).  Another regular contributor here on QE, SDS writes complex, compelling, and sometimes frightening poetry.  Can we expect anything less from someone who has a site tag that says, “Do you feel safe?”  After reading a few of his pieces…the answer is usually “no.”

SDS is one of my daily stops for dark and intriguing posts.  I will say, many of these posts are not for the faint of heart.  Regardless of your tolerance for macabre writing, there is an undeniable quality in his words and strong themes which carry over from one piece to the next.

The layered and overlapping world SDS has created is vast and growing.  If there was a central location in his world, it would be Black Winter.  It is populated by some of the most interesting characters I have found in poetry.  It’s not a place you want to vacation (unless you are a very dark soul yourself).  I don’t have a specific post to recommend because I enjoy them all.  With that being said, if the darker side of life (or death) appeals to you, SDS will surely make your most sinister dreams come true.

spotlight-facing-rightThe last blogger I wanted to highlight is M.L.S. Weech.  It’s no secret, Matt and I are old friends from our time in the Navy as renegade combat cameramen.  I also edit his books.  However, I’m not featuring him for those reasons (though, you should check out his upcoming book Caught).  I’m featuring him because he has been writing some truly outstanding posts since transitioning his blog to WordPress.

Matt not only writes books, he also teaches other people how to write (both personally and professionally).  These traits and background make him a wealth of knowledge and this is reflected in his posts.  I would encourage you to check out his Writing Tips category.  It is populated with posts ranging from writing mechanics, to staying motivated.  His book reviews are also brilliantly written.  They tend to avoid bias, spoilers, and focus on the mechanics the author used in the book.  Each one is an essential case study into the writing style of the author.

thanksI wanted to take a moment to thank all three of these folks for (1) contributing regularly on my page, (2) being a source of inspiration, and (3) consistently encouraging enjoyable discussion about both fiction and non-fiction.  You all keep me inspired to continue learning everyday.

hourglassThat’s it for today!  If you would like to be featured next Friday, contact me.  It always helps if you let me know what specific post you would like to be featured.  My goal with Feature Friday is to connect like-minded individuals with one another.  The blogoverse is a giant place, and it’s nice to be able to provide some navigation. Until tomorrow, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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Back to the Routine (800+ Followers!)

matthew8-1Hurricane Matthew—what a pain in the butt.  Not only did we (wife, baby, cat) evacuate to a different state, but to add to the stress, my sister-in-law was honeymooning on a cruise ship off the coast of Florida during this craziness (she made it home unscathed).

Fortunately, there was no major damage here at my house.  We arrived at 4 a.m. to find lots of downed trees, a few missing shingles, but nothing of considerable note.  The area directly around me wasn’t as lucky so I’m feeling very fortunate right now.  The Berkeley Observer compiled some photos of the damage here in my region.  The photo I placed of the toppled sign, taken by Cameron Scott, is where Heather and I get our sushi.  I checked and the sushi place survived (thank the sushi gods!).

crying boy_universe.jpgNow that I am back home in the comfort of my writing cave/study, I wanted to take a day to get my feet planted with all of you before diving back into the daily routine.  I’m very happy to be home, have a home still, and get back to the grind.

*Corey takes a cleansing breath*

First off, thanks for all of the kind words and emails.  I have a backlog of emails, comments, and posts to reply to.  I will be doing this over the next couple days.  Obviously, this weather event chucked a wrench into the gears of my daily posting goals.  I will note (for my own sanity), that it took an act of God to push me off the rails.

thanksSecondly, I logged in today to find I had passed the 800 follower mark.  Holy smokes!  Talk about a welcome home present from the blogoverse.  Needless to say, I’m humbled by the support I have found here and very thankful.  It’s nice to know so many others are interested in learning about the dark arts of writing and editing.    It’s thrilling to have found this amazing community, and I’m excited to have reached this point.

Thirdly, I know I mentioned last post I would be recycling older posts during this blackout period.  Truth be told, I simply didn’t have the means, ability, or time to get this done.  I do apologize for the brief lapse in posting.

donate.jpgLastly, for those of you who are suffering from the aftermath of the storm, my thoughts are with you.  I’ll be heading out to donate diapers and food to our local relief organizations.  If you are local, I absolutely encourage you to do the same.

Also, if you are in the Charleston SC area and need a helping hand, shoot me an email via my contact page, and I’ll see what I can do.

For the purpose of the blog, I’m putting the storm in the rear-view and moving forward.  As of tomorrow, I’ll be back on track with the daily posting schedule (unless the gods intervene again).  Until then, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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QE vs Hurricane Matthew & Maintenance

Almost a month ago exactly, I wrote a post about my family preparing to evacuate due to Hurricane Hermine rolling through.  Fortunately for us, Hermine only succeeded at throwing around trashcans and stripping a few trees of their limbs.

Hurricane Coming.jpgWell guess what, another hurricane—Hurricane Matthew—is making its way toward us.  According to the Weather Channel, the whirling monster is supposed to impact the Charleston, S.C. area directly (where I live).

I guess this is what happens when you name your son Thor…

Conflict 101: Man vs Nature

On a more serious note, we are under a Level 3 advisory from the base where my wife works.  As she is active duty Navy, we can be ordered to evacuate and must comply.  I am currently gathering food and supplies.  There’s a chance I’ll be getting to play Yukon Trail: Hurricane Edition™ with my wife, baby, and cat.  (Hopefully, we don’t die of dysentery.)

I also was planning on having my monthly maintenance period this upcoming weekend.  When I wrote my 100th post, I talked about scheduling maintenance once a month to ensure categories and site analytics were being tidied up.  With all that being said, I’ll likely roll my maintenance into this unscheduled outage.

The QE page may go dark for a few days, but I’ll still have recycled posts scheduled and rolling through.  I may also toss in an update if I can, but until the storm passes I’m going to have my hands full.  So if any of you leave an amazing comment and it sits for a few days, know that I am likely convoying away from the storm.

To my blogging friends in the impact areas, stay safe.  To the rest of you, stay classy.  I’ll be back just as soon as the storm subsides.  Until then, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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Feature Friday #1 (Bloggers & Books)

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Welcome to Feature Friday!  Today we will talk about some bloggers who are writing amazing posts on the craft.  More specifically, bloggers who are providing tips and tools for people to improve their own skill and understanding.

In my opinion, it’s important to step outside of what we think we know and examine how others perceive writing.  Personally, and for the purposes of this blog, this allows for ideas and concepts to evolve via positive outside influence.  This week, these were the bloggers who I felt enhanced the way I view subjects.

spotlight (facing right).jpgThe first spotlight shines on Nichole McGhie over at, The Excited Writer.  Nichole writes a lot of great posts, and she does an outstanding job of bringing her passion for the craft (and for life) into her voice and style.  If you’ve never been to her page, I recommend stopping by her, About Nichole, page first.  Not only will this give you a most excellent snapshot of her background, life, and adorable kids, but she also smartly linked some of her most popular and impactful posts into the content.

The individual post I wanted to highlight is one about passive voice.  The title is, What is Passive Voice and Is It Bad?  

Besides being well-written, it is loaded with resources for you to sink your teeth into.  For me, when a blogger links outside resources this tells me (1) they took the time to research the content, (2) this isn’t just their solitary opinion, and (3) they want to offer other sources of knowledge.  Another great thing about her post is you can learn a thing or two from the conversations within her comments.

spotlight-facing-rightThe next spotlight casts a glow on Adam over at, Write Thoughts.  Adam applies a critical eye, and thorough depth of knowledge, to break down character archetypes.  However, he covers a number of other topics in addition to providing insightful book reviews.  I encourage you to first stop by his, About page, where he does a great job of both introducing himself and breaking down his site content.

Adam’s posts on how to write characters, relationships, and virtues are loaded with solid takeaways.  The post I wanted to focus on specifically is, Working with and Past Stereotypes

I like this post because it examines gender roles, stereotypes, and the role of children in fiction, as well as cultural expectations and norms.  For me, it goes beyond just being a list and offers additional insights I wouldn’t have thought of.  Ultimately, I was able to glean some positive takeaways.

thanksI wanted to take a moment to thank Nichole, and Adam, for allowing me to link over to their pages. Personally, I have you both bookmarked on my “Bloggers to Watch List,” and will make every effort to swing by more often.

resources

These are the resources I used this week (Friday to Friday) to create my posts.  I wanted to take a day to feature reference materials as a, “one-stop-shop,” for folks.  I’m a voracious eater of greens and believe in the power of self-study to improve writing skill and understanding.

For a more comprehensive list of books I have utilized to build content here on QE, you can refer to this post.

(This week will be a very short list given I had a glorious two day vacation.)

Stein on Writing – Sol Stein [Amazon] [goodreads]

Conflict & Suspense – James Scott Bell [Amazon] [goodreads]

Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales – Stephen King [Amazon] [goodreads]

hourglassThat’s it for today, another week down.  If you would like to be featured next Friday, contact me and point me in your direction.  It always helps if you let me know what specific post you would like to be featured.  My goal with Feature Friday is to connect like-minded individuals with one another.  The blogoverse is a giant place, it’s nice to be able to provide some navigation. Until tomorrow, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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Weekend Maintenance #1

maintenanceJust a quick update to my daily viewers, and anyone else who stumbles across this.  I’m going to be doing maintenance and overhaul this weekend so posting will resume on Monday.  This page started on June 5th and it’s already sporting 75+ posts.  I’m noticing on my tracking that many of you are going pretty deep into some of the content, which is great.  It’s time to take a weekend and organize everything better.

I‘ll still be stalking your pages, I just won’t be adding any content until I resolve the issues I’m listing below.  As a side note, I’m listing these items for transparency.  After the reception I received on my post about how I blog, I thought some of you may be interested in what I’m doing to maintain the page.

Things that will change:

  1. Improved categories for easier navigation from home page.
  2. Linking pages together.  Throughout time I’ve presented different concepts.  As with most things in writing, there are overlaps.  I want to be sure to link pages together for easier navigation (i.e. if someone is interested in archetypes, I wan’t to ensure all posts regarding archetypes have links embedded to point readers toward applicable information if they want it).
  3. Revamp of all applicable images to ensure all information is shareable (i.e. removal/replacement of any potential images that could cause copyright infringement issues in the future).
  4. Additional page of information regarding services I provide as I transition from online freelancing to small business ownership.  This should save people the trouble of emailing me and will cover the questions I’m most commonly asked.
  5. cyborg.jpgUpdate to page listing my book Wastelander and corresponding novella The Wasteland Survival Guide.
  6. My cyborg clone should be coming to life Monday and will assist in day-to-day operations.  It took 278 boxes of Cracker Jacks, one chipped tooth, and three cavities, but I finally got the prize I was looking for: a Palladium mini-arc reactor.  With this in place, my cyborg clone should now have sufficient power to assist me.  (I wish…)

That’s it!  For all of you who stop by regularly, I can’t tell you how great it is talking about something I am passionate about with you.  For those of you who are just wandering in, brace yourselves, Monday is coming.  Until Monday, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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Blogging: What Works for Me

blog clueless.jpgI was a little hesitant to write this post today.  I’m comfortable (somewhat) when I blog about writing and editing because I’ve been doing it for 13 years.  However, I’m not an experienced blogger by any means.  I’ve only been blogging for 51 days now.  With that being said, a recent blog post I made here has prompted enough views and inquiring comments that I thought I would share my limited experience.

When I wrote the blog linked above (11 days prior to this posting) I had almost reached 300 followers.  As of today, I have 409.  I think it was these numbers that prompted the curiosity.  So here are the things I have been doing.  Like I said, I don’t know if what I’m doing is good or bad – it’s just my process.

Stay true to your voice.  I write my blog as if it is correspondence with a treasured friend who is also on the writing path.  I also write it as a means to compile my own thoughts for future reference (a personal journal or writing wiki of sorts).  In this way, I hope to come off as someone with ideas to share, but not someone who is talking down to you.

Which bring me to…

Ethos, pathos, logos

Sometimes a stern word falls on deaf ears.

Discussion versus instruction.  If a thought or opinion is not mine, I do my best to reference it and link a source for people to find it.  I treat those bits and bobs as instruction.  When I am spit-balling my own thoughts, I try to preface it with words like, “in my opinion,” “I think,” “I believe,” and so on.  I treat those as discussion.  I feel it’s important to not be inflexible in your thoughts – especially when it comes to something artistic like writing.

Now if you are an accomplished author, editor, artist, or whatever – you can pull off a more serious tone that is heavy on instruction.  You’ve earned your stripes, wear them proudly.  As for me, I don’t take things too seriously.  Writing is enjoyable, I want my blog to be as well.

Consistency is key. I mentioned earlier I have been blogging for 51 days.  I have generated at least 51 posts.  The idea is you can fish with a hook, or with a net.

key.pngThis does two things for me.  One, it gets me out there everyday.  I meet new people and collaborate about ideas. Secondly, with the growing library of posts, I can reference old posts into new ones to generate additional clicks and sources of information for readers.  In this way, I can be more concise with writing tips by referencing past material.

I try to limit posting to one a day.  I don’t want to spam peoples screens with tons of decent posts when I can write one good one.  Personally, when I use the reader to browse content I don’t like it when one person has 10 blog posts in a row.  It intrudes and consumes the collaborative space.  That’s just me – sorry if you are one of those people.  If you are going to do multiple posts throughout the day, I recommend using the scheduler to space them out.  This will increase the number of views.

World Builder's Disease Meme

If you like sand, write about sand!

Write about what you are passionate about.  Every day I dedicate time to my craft (writing).  I am writing my own books, editing others, and reading books (fiction and non-fiction).  Now that I blog about writing, I keep a constant eye out for things that could be good blog fodder.  In this sense, I have an endless supply of content to work from.

Additionally, since I only write a single blog post a day, I can take extra ideas and jot them down for reference later (those days when the well is dry).  In the books I read, I toss post it notes into their pages to alert me to possible ideas.  When I edit, if something jumps out at me worth sharing, it gets tossed into the idea journal.

sharing.jpgSharing is caring.  When people comment or like my posts, I make my very best effort to reply back or go to their page and browse their content.  I try to get to know them.  If they took the time and effort to read, why shouldn’t I return the favor?

Also, I dedicate a portion of my day to seeking out posts from new bloggers and leave comments on them.  Why should I expect people only come to me?  Don’t fish with worms, use dynamite!  Search out people who share your interests and interact.  More often then not, they will return the favor.  I start with my followed sights and browse their content, then I use tags to search out subjects that intrigue me.

I really try to target posts that have been sitting for a long time and have no likes or comments.  Especially when they are well-written.  We’ve all been there.  You write this great post and no ones looks at it.  It’s crushing.  Take the time to spread the love.

thick book.jpgTry to limit blog posts to under 1000 words (this one is an exception).  People are busy.  If I can’t relay my writing tip in 1000 words or less, I try to break it down more.  I find when the word count grows, it’s because I don’t fully understand the idea I am trying to relay.  Or it could be that I am trying to cover more than one point (like today).

Break up big blocks of text with pictures.  When I am done writing, I try to find photos to compliment the words.  People are more apt to continue scrolling when there are photos to pull them along.  I like funny photos so those are what I tend to provide.  It’s important to note I do my best to only use Public Domain images and I create all of my own memes.  The last thing you want is to get a blog running on high octane only to have some chucklehead sue you.

Your home page is important.   When you Google Quintessential Editor, I pop up first. Most search engines provide only a snapshot of the page.  For me, you see the first two sentences of my home page.  In those two sentences you know what you will see if you click into my website.

headliens.jpg“Welcome to the Quintessential Editor. Here I provide writing tips every day, for everyday writers. You will find information regarding writing, editing, proofreading…” then it cuts off.  The blog has been around long enough that it also lists my most commonly clicked on categories within the top search.  There’s always a chance someone will randomly search a term in a search engine and your page will show up.  You need enough information there for them to decide whether to enter or not.

Tags, categories, and blog headlines are also important.  Categories are what allow people to browse content on your page and you can use widgets to support this endeavor.  Once I had enough posts created I made sure they were in clear categories (and sub-categories) with relevant tags.

Blog headlines are essential.  In reader, it prompts people to check out your post (for me, whatever photo I insert first accompanies this headline in reader).  It’s also important for search engines.  Think of your headline as a search engine term if possible.

Widgets are a powerful free tool.  Once you have someone on your page, you want to encourage them to stay.  Showing off other posts and information is a great way to do it.  You will see in my sidebar some widgets.  One is a drop down list that allows people to, at a glance, see what they can read (again, this only works if you have categorized your posts).  I also use the widgets showing off my top 10 posts, and 10 most recent ones.  This is how I try to chum the water and keep the sharks circling.

social media cloud.pngOther social media outlets should look different than your blog.  I link my page to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  However, I try to make sure all of my social media outlets offer different things.  While all of these roads link together (those other mediums all link back to my blog) each place offers something different.  Instagram is more about fatherhood and life – but links to the blog.  Twitter is about promoting indie authors, geek stuff, writing quotes, and other tomfoolery, but you can get to my blog there too.  If everything looks the same, no one has any reason to look at your other outlets.

missing manual wordpress.jpgTechnical mumbo jumbo.  I am not an expert on this by any means.  I did browse and find a template I liked and I did pay for my own domain and WordPress premium.  The books I used to get set up are the following:  WordPress: The Missing Manual, Smashing WordPress Themes, and Web Designer’s Guide to WordPress 

That’s pretty much it.  There are a lot of things I still need to figure out.  Like I said, I’m pretty new at this.  Hopefully you found something useful.  Some of the more technical things like widgets, categories, and tags you can search online to find more information about.  As for themes, I spent a couple days tweaking and adjusting how mine looked (Youtube helped me here) to get it to function how I wanted it to.

Do you have any tools or tips that work especially well for you?  This would be something I would be very interested to hear about. I think we are all trying to figure out the best way of doing business.  Until tomorrow, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

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