The recent Ozarks Writers’ Conference culminated in a day with the Ozarks Writers League. It was a special treat to hear two guest speakers offer their perspective on important areas of interest to authors: “Thinking Outside the Box” and “How To Use Social Networking and Blogging to Sell a Book and Increase Sales”.
Deborah LeBlanc is the award-winning,best-selling author of titles including Morbid Curiosity, Water Witch, and A House Divided. She recently released the third in “The Keepers” series, The Wolven. LeBlanc is also a business owner, licensed death scene investigator, and paranormal investigator. She has served as president of the Horror Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America’s Southwest.
Saturday, Deborah assured all in attendance that we each have a unique voice, and we shouldn’t be afraid to use it! She’s found her own literary voice through her creole heritage and Louisiana roots. Her advice? “Get down in the belly of what makes your area one-of-a-kind…what has bled into the people and them the way they are.”
Once you’ve found that voice, LeBlanc advises setting yourself in a place (mentally) where you can walk with blinders on, and just keep going with your own vision and voice.
Deborah has a prescription for so-called writer’s block – she calls it her Writing Laxative. Choose an opening line (Blood pooled on the floor…), then add three character occupations (hairdresser, plumber, stripper). Next, add 3 adjectives (clumsy, one-armed, narcoleptic), and write for 15 minutes putting it all in one setting.
After administering this “prescription” during her session, I think we all realized that making ridiculous elements come together was both fun and liberating! Deborah suggests keeping scraps of paper in a box with various elements on them, then grab a few and go whenever the motivation meanies come along.
Pat B. Smith has been a writer for People Magazine, a columnist for Creative Screenwriting, and authored nine published books, including Alzheimer’s for Dummies. She is currently working on the launch of her digital publishing company, Welkin Press.
Patricia gave an information-packed afternoon session that stirred everyone to dust off their networking skills and upgrade them for the online community.
Her soundest advice, for me, was to present a positive, quality presence on the internet – keeping as many personal details as possible out of your public correspondence. She reminded us that what goes out into cyberspace is there forever!
Smith also recommends utilizing sites with high traffic to build a focused group that you can share writing tips and news with, checking current membership numbers and efficiency at site analysis sites (I tried Statsaholic).
Remember to keep your blog or online community focused on one or two areas. And don’t forget to check your security settings often, and only record absolutely necessary information to prevent identity theft and scamming.
Many thanks to both Deborah LeBlanc and Pat B. Smith for their willingness to speak to the Ozarks Writers League, and of course, to OWL – for continuing to bring quality industry professionals to the Ozarks!