Tips from a NaNoWriMo Evangelist

Al card from the tarot deck of Jean Dodal of Lyon, c.1701-1715. Source: Wikipedia
A card from the tarot deck of Jean Dodal of Lyon, c.1701-1715. Source: Wikipedia

Once again, I have embarked on the journey of invention and self-discovery that is NaNoWriMo.

This will be my third National Novel Writing Month attempt. It also marks my first year as a Municipal Liaison (for the Austin/Central Texas region), a position I volunteered for because I love NaNoWriMo so very much.

Here are a few of the lessons I learned from my first two “wins” (successful NaNoWriMo challenges):

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Author Platforms Turn Writing into a Business

Writing your novel or nonfiction book is only the beginning. If you want people to buy your book, you need to develop an author platform as part of your marketing efforts and to build a relationship with your readers.

Speaking to the Indie Publishing Austin meetup, Tom Corson-Knowles (the bestselling self-published author of 20+ books including The Kindle Publishing Bible series, founder of TCK Publishing, and host of The Publishing Profits Podcast), offered up excellent tips on how authors can build an online presence and an audience for their books.

As he defined it, the author platform is the combination of methods, tools, and resources that an author uses to connect to readers and build an audience.

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headstone for martin

Christmas Remembrances at the Masonic Cemetery

Christmas is a difficult holiday for me. It has long evoked strong emotions and has become a time to recall lost friends, refresh old memories, and celebrate the turn of a year. To commemorate the day and a friend we lost on Christmas Eve ten years ago, my friend Marie and I visited the Boggy Creek Masonic Cemetery in Austin, Texas. This is a cemetery in far South Austin that has late-19th-century graves of Masons and their families. It’s an interesting step back in time, and a quiet, out of the way place to wander and contemplate on’s own history. The cemetery’s own story is also as good as it gets. As the official historical marker details: According to local tradition, in the winter of 1859, 23-year-old John Davis joined a community wagon train headed for work in the pine forests of Bastrop County. Davis, sprayed by a skunk during the night, began running wildly through the camp. He was … Read more…

My UT Garden

A woman with an idea. That was me in November, 2009. At the University of Texas at Austin, they had launched a new platform to solicit feedback and ideas from the University community. On the day it launched, I happened to walk by two large raised beds, filled with autumn flowers, that were being dug up so that Landscape Services could replant them with winter-hardy annuals. It was a ritual the University had engaged in as long as I had worked here, and I was fed up. It seemed like such a waste of time not to mention a really bad gardening practice, to plant flowers that are not native and can barely make it through a season, only to replace them seasonally with other flowers that could only squeak through the next season. So I tossed a suggestion to the Ideas of Texas, and they liked it. President Powers even featured the idea on his blog Tower Talk! In … Read more…

WordCamp Austin logo

First reflections on WordCamp Austin

Whew! The first day of WordCamp Austin is over! It was a fantastic event. As one of the organizers, it will likely take me days to process everything that happened, but here are my first thoughts. The most striking part of WordCamp Austin is probably also the least surprising: We managed to gather together an inspiring group of WordPress lovers: attendees, speakers, sponsors and – OMG! – our volunteers! It was a joy to coordinate the eager posse of volunteers who jumped in to help out before WordCamp Austin and then busted their butts during the day to make the event run so smoothly and ensure everyone had a great time. Recycling locations appeared like magic. Trash disappeared just as quickly. And happiness flowed like beer on a hot day in Texas at our Happiness Bar. Our sessions were equally impressive. I heard over and over again how much people learned from our presenters. Even our JQuery pinch-hitter got high … Read more…