Category Archives: Featured

Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

51

Wednesdays Visual Writing Promptline orange

Visual writing prompts are an excellent method to spark your creativity. They are a means of exploration into your journey as a writer. Taking part in writing prompts can lead you into depths of writing discovery that may have otherwise eluded you.

Taking twenty minutes to participate in prompts like this on a regular basis can unlock your true potential as a writer.

Good Luck!

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The Challenge

Use this prompt to think outside the box, to go somewhere with your writing that you had never dared go before. See what kind of magic you can work with that brilliant mind of yours.

  • Use this prompt to add a scene to the current book you are writing.
  • Start a short story that you can give away for free to subscribers of your blog.
  • Or just practice your skills.

It’s true that a picture like this can spark ideas you may never have considered!

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Please post a link to your writing in the comments section 🙂

I look forward to reading your writing.

Have Fun!

Author Branding MYTHS

People often equate “branding” with “visual brand identity”, but it’s not the same thing. Branding is a much wider term.

Nowadays most authors are researching like crazy to discover the best methods to promote their books. But not every author can relate to why they need a brand, they have a blog and book cover, some social media accounts… done and branded right? Nope!

“My book is the product, and a good book sells itself through word of mouth marketing.”

Before I even get into the myths of author branding let me tell you what author branding is…

Author branding is the image you portray through your writing, your communication with your network and readers, the products you sell, and the visual identity that represents all of that.

Your brand should be seamless and spread across your entire online platform and throughout your business with letterhead, business cards, logo, etc.

There are many things to consider before developing your brand, but we can get into that on another post.

I know how confusing branding can be so my point for this post is to clarify what author branding “is not.”

Check It Out:

MYTH 1

I already have a great brand so I don’t need to do any work.

FACT

Your brand needs constant polishing to keep it shiny. The image you want to send to your readers is what you want to keep up all the time. If you’re the down-to-earth millionaire’s coach, then keep on doing things that will remind people that that is who you are. People are fickle-minded. All of a sudden, they might change their minds just because they can. If a new book enters your niche and catches their attention, you can lose your readers just because they want to try out something new. So keep updating your brand. Making little changes to your platforms look and advertising campaign to make sure that people can still see that you are around and you’re keeping true to their brand.

MYTH 2

I already know my brand. I don’t have to boast about it.

FACT

Brands exist in the mind of consumers. The definition of branding says that it is about your relationship with your readers. It’s not about what you think of yourself. Your brand is about what others think of you. You might think you’re a helpful, friendly author of parenting books, but if you don’t do anything to broadcast that image, people might think otherwise. If you want to establish a strong brand, you need to develop your confidence and go out there and act the way you want to be seen. Get the word out everywhere so you can consistently attract new people.

MYTH 3

I’ll focus on writing a great book instead, then the money will come flowing in.

FACT

There are one too many wonderful books out there that are not getting any downloads on Amazon because of one thing. The authors have failed to create and maintain a strong brand for themselves. At the same time, there are a number of bestselling books on the market that aren’t very good. The truth is that when you create an image of yourself in your readers’ heads, even if your book isn’t that remarkable to begin with, you have far better chances of making good sales.

MYTH 4

Branding is second place to everything else.

FACT

There are three steps in writing a bestseller. One, write first. Two, edit later. And three, market your book all the time, even when your book is not yet written and after your book has already been put out there and making sales. Branding goes right up there with marketing. Branding is the fuel that oils your sales machine. Without the constant interaction with potential customers that is branding, you won’t get any sales. It’s as simple as that.

MYTH 5

Branding is not important these days as it was years ago.

FACT

Branding may be even more important now that the role of the salesman has greatly diminished as people take it upon themselves to research the products they want to buy. So when people are looking for information, having a great brand gets you noticed. The better your branding, the easier it will be for people to follow you.

MYTH 6

Branding is deceptive.

FACT

Branding is about the experience people have with your book. When they feel happy, sad, scared, furious or deceived, that is what your brand is. You cannot deceive your customers because branding is not about what you say. You can say over and over again that you make your readers feel like they’re on top of the world, but if that is not what they feel, then that is not your brand. Your responsibility to your readers is simply to make sure that the message you want to put across resonates with their experience of your book.

MYTH 7

You don’t need branding if you have a unique selling point.

FACT

Your unique selling point wont be unique for long. when others see something that works, they copy it. The only way to stay at the top of the food chain is great branding.

MYTH 8

Branding is similar to sales and marketing.

FACT

Sales is different from marketing and marketing is different from branding.

Sales is a one-sided conversation. Marketing is about what you do to promote your brand.

Branding is about creating an experience for your readers. Without branding, you can’t put your marketing and sales into high gear because you have a half-baked story to tell.

It’s not as big, strong and impactful as the story you have when you have a great brand.

Uh, Hellooo?! by Dennis De Rose

Thank you, author and editor Dennis De Rose for sharing this flash-fiction inspired by this Visual Writing Prompt below. I’m happy to be sharing your story here! It’s awesome!

This will be Part 1 of a flash fiction series that Dennis will be sharing here!

Dennis is happy to hear any feedback so comments are welcome!

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Greetings, it’s so nice to see you again. Please take a seat. The staff will be right with you. I am here to assist you if you’ll allow me to help. I will gladly guard your things while you wait. No one will touch anything… I guarantee it. …Uh, hellooo. Thank you for keeping me busy. Your things will be here when you are done.

I remember the old olden days. People seemed more personable. They talked to those sitting next to them while they waited for the man to help them. The little ones played quietly with each other in the corner. It was so quiet and peaceful. There was no loud talking picture box hanging from the wall. The lighting was softer, no harsh bright tubes to disturb my contemplations. The young lady, she always wore a white pointy hat and she was so nice to me, dusting me every day. Her cloth made me joyful as she tended to me. Oh the old days…

Hello madam, do come in. Don’t forget to close the door. Take your time, there are plenty of seats. Mind your step, may I hold your coat and cane for you. I have a special hook reserved for canes and other walking devices. Uh, hellooo!

Her cane and jacket rested on my upper left hook. Before I forget, let me tell you a true story. I remember the day I was brought here and placed in this very spot. I have been standing here for many years but I cannot tell you how many. It seems like forever. I think I remember standing in another location, a run-down dusty second-hand store. But I wasn’t alone, surrounded on all sides by other wooden contraptions. There was so much dust, it was hard to breathe.

My mind wanders sometimes. I am getting off-track. Where was I? Oh yes, the day I was brought here. Oh that bumpy ride, traveling in the back with all the other stuff. A man dressed in dirty clothes carried me inside; he almost dropped me. His hands felt greasy and his breathe smelled like old paper. The delivery man leaned me against a wall as he walked over to collect his commission. I even remember the young man dressed in white handing him a one-dollar bill.

The next morning an older heavy-set lady, also dressed in white, placed me gently in one corner. I remember looking at her, wondering what was on her mind. Next thing you know she picked me up and placed me in the opposite corner…

Oh, hello little girl. Hello Mom. I was just reminiscing about days gone by. Welcome to our helpful office. How may I help you today? Feel free to use me as you see fit. I see you have a little dolly in your hand. You may place her on my shelf, the one near the floor. I will guard it with my life! Uh, hellooo little girl; hello Mom!! The little girl smiled and looked at me as she sat her doll on my bottom shelf. The mother hung her coat on one of my hooks.

… Back to my story, the lady stopped what she was doing when a funny-looking black thing made a ringing noise. She actually walked over to it, picked up a piece of it and started talking to it. I laughed so hard, I thought she had lost her marbles. She glanced over at me, I wonder if she heard me cackling. A minute later, the lady stopped talking to the black thing and walked back over to me; she was carrying a rag in one hand and a glass jar in the other.

I’ll never forget that day. The lady began to rub me lightly, removing every speck of dust from my body. I was dust-free for perhaps the first time in my life. She looked me over, smiling at what she saw. Next, she applied this smelly stuff and rubbed me real hard. I felt renewed as she rubbed me harder and harder, faster and faster. When she finished, I was jubilant. Ah, to be young again…new and shiny!

But time moves on, even for me. The first lady grew older and older. One day, a new lady rubbed me lightly with a new cloth. It was nice; she did that almost every day but with much less enthusiasm. The man who helped everyone grew old as well, but at least he used me from time-to-time. He never talked to me like the old lady did. I noticed him moving slower and slower, sitting in a wooden chair, trying to catch his breath. Waking up the next day, I noticed a young man dressed in similar white entering through the door. I tried to talk to him but he was looking at the tired old man. As the day progressed…

Good day, young man. Do come in and welcome to the office. May I assist you with your rain wear? Feel free to place it on one of my hooks. What is that made of, not cloth I see. It is dripping all over the floor. I suggest you hang it on me. Uh, hellooo there, hey!

Oh well, at least I have his wet cap on my hook. How loud can I shout without disturbing the others? So, where was I? Ah, now I remember, the younger man. I couldn’t help thinking how much he looked like the older man. He even sat and crossed his legs like the older one, swinging one leg back-and-forth when he talked. A few days later, I saw him but I never saw the old man again. I liked the old one because he hung his hat and coat on me and he often took a moment just to tug on my hook. It felt nice to be used, to feel useful by him and others in the room. The man made some changes to the room: new chairs not made of wood; mirrors were hung here and there; flowers that were no longer real (Yuk!). I just remembered the oddest thing, the day the black talking boxes were replaced with yellow and blue ones. I heard music coming through the walls. It was like magic and I almost felt like dancing the Lindy.

Sir, please come in. You look cold. Let me take your heavy coat. May I suggest sitting by the heat register in the far corner. I noticed the heavy snow when you opened the door, and the wind, wow! Are you sure you won’t let me hold your coat? No one will touch it. Please? Uh, hellooo sir, look at me!

Many years have gone by since the day I heard the invisible music maker. The people have changed drastically. I think they have forgotten how to talk to each other, sitting like zombies tapping on little boxes and talking to tiny machines that talk back. The kids do the same thing, only more frequently. People seem to be rushing here and there, as if the world is going to end tomorrow. The staff, now there are three girls and one guy, they rush around and spend time tapping on thin desk-top things that beep incessantly. The man in white has been replaced by a helpful young man dressed in a casual shirt and a nice pair of pants. The peace and quiet I recall fondly has been dashed by a talking picture box hanging from a hook on the far wall. I see it every minute of my long day, every day.

Everything in the room has changed, but not me. I have stood in this same spot day-in and day-out, ready to help when needed. Over the years my load has grown lighter and lighter. I have become a dusty ignored relic, the last vestige of days long gone. I am no longer dusted or rubbed; oh, how I wish for that again. Only the occasional breeze will release me from my dusty burden. My bones have grown weak and shaky. My voice is nearly mute; my hearty yell is but a whisper…

Wait, I think I see a little girl and her mom walking in. They are both wearing light spring jackets but what’s the use of talking, trying to get their attention, offering my help for the millionth time. The little girl has something cradled in her arm. It looks like an antique doll, in fact it looks like that same doll I saw those many years ago when I was young and strong. I am in luck; they are sitting very close to me. I wonder if I can, one last time. They are going into the man’s room next. I better gather my strength. …Little girl?

“Mommy, did you see that? See that wooden thing with the funny wire things hanging on it? I just saw one of them move all by itself.”

“Dear, it was probably just the wind.”

“Hello mam and hello little one, please follow me.”

The little girl looked at her mom, then back at me. Walking over to me, she tugged on my hook and placed her precious dolly lovingly on my bottom shelf.

Thank you, little girl!

The End

copyright© 2021 Dennis De Rose

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Dennis is a wonderful storyteller and a good friend. See below for links to his other writing and his editing business.

Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt

50

Wednesdays Visual Writing Promptline orange

Visual writing prompts are an excellent method to spark your creativity. They are a means of exploration into your journey as a writer. Taking part in writing prompts can lead you into depths of writing discovery that may have otherwise eluded you.

Taking twenty minutes to participate in prompts like this on a regular basis can unlock your true potential as a writer.

Good Luck!

line orange

The Challenge

Use this prompt to think outside the box, to go somewhere with your writing that you had never dared go before. See what kind of magic you can work with that brilliant mind of yours.

  • Use this prompt to add a scene to the current book you are writing.
  • Start a short story that you can give away for free to subscribers of your blog.
  • Or just practice your skills.

It’s true that a picture like this can spark ideas you may never have considered!

line orange

Please post a link to your writing in the comments section 🙂

I look forward to reading your writing.

Have Fun!

Writers – Harness Your Media Presence

STOP Before You START

Jumping into the social networking scene before you have a real sense of direction could foul you up in your future marketing efforts. The time to pause is NOW.

Get out your notebook and start brainstorming before you start-up any new networking identities.

  • List the social networks you will be doing business on.
  • List other sites that will help you to market your product.
  • What is your objective.
  • Who is your target market.
  • Who do you admire that shares your craft, who will be your role models.
  • What are the possible benefits of your undertaking, what are the drawbacks.
  • Why are you inspired to work your craft.
  • What are some resources that can benefit you.
  • How would you like people to perceive you.
  • How much of a commitment are you willing and able to realistically make to your new endeavor.

This Hobby Is Now Your Business

You’re in this to win. This is your business and if you’re sincere in pursuing your passion then now is the time to harness your inner muse and gather your resources.

You’ll Benefit From Gathering The Following Information:

What’s Your Business Identity: How do you want the world to know you?

Your business identity is important because it’s at the forefront of everything you’ll present to the public. It’s the image that portrays you and the supporting banner image. It’s your name. It’s your tagline. It’s your voice, your personality. It’s anything you post or like. All of these things tell the story of you.

What should your audience experience upon first glance? Key words and images will create a response (good, bad or indifferent) from your public. This is your initial chance to shine, to throw your best face forward and hook their attention. Ultimately what you are selling is the product of your talent, there’s no longer room for being an introvert. ANYONE can be your customer and you need to be the kind of professional you want to portray at ALL times when dealing with your networks. How you behave and the voice you project will determine whose interest you peek and who becomes a patron of your art.

What’s Your Talent

Your talent is your passion, your art, and you are about to engage in self-promotion. It’s best to know a lot of information regarding your subject matter.  How do you go about perfecting your craft, where are your weaknesses. What are your strengths. What more could you do with your writing to capture the attention of others. Know what you’re selling and what pertains to it, it will help you optimize your content and gain a wider audience.

MOST IMPORTANTLY – BE SURE TO MARKET YOUR BOOK

Whether or not you are shy, timid, or just feel uncomfortable about advertising your own book on your social networks, you’d better just get over it. You’re not going to sell dribble without networking, promoting, advertising, and socializing.

What Are Your Key Methods Of Self-Promotion

It can be a little unnerving to anyone to begin to sell what you’ve crafted simply because most of us don’t like rejection. You’ll be advertising your wares and there will be several methods of delivery depending on the network or site you join or blog/website you host. Research people on those sites that inspire you, people that have achieved what it is that you’re hoping to achieve. Learn from them, what’s working for them.

Be prepared to flavor your networking with your personality. People enjoy real people and the majority wish the best for you, they want to know you are approachable.

Who should you connect with, what types of social circles should you follow. It’s good to know that you have people out there waiting to encourage and promote you by connecting, liking, sharing, or following what you do.

How Much Time Can You Set Aside Each Day For Your Craft

You need to set aside time everyday to work your craft. What’s the point in networking something you are not consistently working at. You should make time for several things that relate to your writing and schedule time for them throughout the week. You should write every day, even if its complete garbage, your skills as a writer will improve remarkably by doing just that one thing.

You need to keep up with your social media sites, you should plan your activity on them. know what your keeping an eye out for, new ways to market, what is trending, who are your best allies. Take the time to devote yourself uninterrupted because networking is an energy burner but very rewarding.

Don’t put off what you should do today or you will fall behind and your fans may lose interest in you, not what you want when they begin to be your bread and butter. This is where your passion may get fed the most, this and when you are creating.

What Will Be Your Content

What will you share in order to draw a growing audience to your profile?

  • Share what you’re up to with your book, how the writing is going, any challenges you are dealing with.
  • Share book reviews in your genre. you should be reading in your genre anyway and you will attract the right audience for your own writing.
  • Interview other authors or writers – find out what does and doesn’t work for them.
  • Share what you’re learning as you write.
  • Share details about your book, maybe even excerpts.
  • Create a bad synopsis of a popular book and have your followers guess the book.
  • Invite people to guest post on your blog.

Just be yourself and more and new ideas for content will come to you as you work at it.