A little book-spiration…

I checked out “The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published” from my local library.

I didn’t have the intention of reading the whole thing. I’m hardly at a point where I am ready to get a book published. I’ve got at least three fiction novel ideas swimming around my head. I am actively working on three and allowing the cream to rise. I feel like one will want to be written more than the others, so I am giving my work the time and space to emerge.

Without my own book even close to ready to be shopped around, this book had to come home with me from my local library. I read through some of it and came away with two things:

  • According to the authors, I have one solid habit of a good writer. I read. I visit the library at least every other week (gotta get those 14-day loans). I also download books on my library’s e-reads system. I make good use of the library too, always getting put on the best-seller hold list. Hopefully, I’ll get to read “Nest” before Christmas… I scour what’s hot on iBooks as well as the New York Times‘ Best Seller list. I have a very good writer’s reading habit according to “The Book Doctors,” which is comforting, maybe since my coworkers love to tease me for my overzealous library habits.
  • I’m not worried about my social media game. A lot of writer’s books preach the importance of social media, creating a platform, strategy, promotion, SEO, how to tweet — the works. I’ve been on Twitter forever, though it’s not the same platform it used to be. I’ve been an early adapter of all social media. Perhaps it’s  my years of radio broadcasting and journalism.

But there is something I need to do. I need to blog about writing more. Like most writers, I like to write in the shadows. I write privately, all alone. I hate to share what I am up to with my writing, although I do let a friend read what I’ve got once in a while.

That may be a habit I should let go of in order to promote my work. So I’ll have to work on that.

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Such the book fiend I am, my friend brought me this flyer so I took a photo of it to put it in my phone as a reminder… I’m trying to cut back on buying books! I swear! I keep giving them to friends and trading them in. But we all know…there will always be more books!

If you love books and writing too, follow me on Twitter, @heatherlarson

 

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My first freelance writing gig is in!

I am once again writing SEO copy as well as social media updates. The last time I wrote SEO copy, we didn’t have social media to contend with, so that’s one change. I started working on this type of writing in 2006 when I took a job at SEO firm Submitawebsite.com. Back then, we could write any kind of horrific copy as long as it was keyword heavy. That’s changed. Now too many keywords are spammy (you think?) and the “articles” I am writing actually need to be compelling so as not to be penalized by the search engines. That’s so much better for clients’ websites, so that’s awesome. Plus, it allows me to be more creative in the content I create.

When I worked my last job at Entercom Communications, I was a morning radio personality. I’ve been on the air since 1998, which means two things:

1. I am a survivor.

2. I have witnessed and endured many changes in traditional broadcast media over this span of time.

When social media burst into the “old media” scene years ago, I jumped into it. I’d gotten into Twitter and Facebook the last time I was a freelance writer between 2006-2008. I incorporated my social media skills into my on-air shifts at 98.7 The Peak in Phoenix and then at KDGS-Wichita for the past four years. I am one of those “old school” jocks who chose to embrace social media.

I am looking forward to embracing more change in social media and SEO — two industries that live and die by algorithm changes. I’m happy to be a part of both!

This is not Heather Larson. This is, however, her cat. His name is Alcatraz and he is pretending to be useful. Or perhaps he's dreaming of being a writer when he grows up. Which will never happen (on both counts).

This is not Heather Larson. This is, however, her cat. His name is Alcatraz and he is pretending to be useful. Or perhaps he’s dreaming of being a writer when he grows up. Which will never happen (on both counts).

The power of blogging

I have this friend who has the ultimate slash career.  He’s a teacher/radio DJ/wrestling ring announcer/wedding DJ/comedian/actor/small business owner/entrepreneur.  He’s doing pretty well with his businesses but he has a new one he wants to spread the word about.  But he says he doesn’t know how.  I told him he needs to go online to market this new business, called Arizona Top Secret Chefs.  I explained to him that a good blog with a few SEO tricks thrown in could help drive traffic to his site.  I told him to get on Twitter and Facebook.

I also told him that blogging opens up a whole world of fun.  You blog and people find you.  You can blog about something obscure like CJD as I do.  My Cure CJD blog has helped quite a few people get in touch with me as they lost someone to the disease or afterwards.  Sometimes people comment on the blog, other times they email me privately.  It makes me feel good that I can help someone else find answers and that I can share my experience.  I shouldn’t have had to suffer through watching my mom die of that horrific disease for no reason; my words can help others.  Emailing with complete strangers about the disease still helps me heal to this day.

Promoting my blog posts on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn helps get some page views.  But I find on my blogs that people come across them because they’re looking for a certain topic I have written about.  It always amazes me what gets the most page views over a period of time.  The analytics WordPress provides on each of my blogs are fascinating.

So I encourage anyone to blog about their business, passion in life, or just the life they live.  One of my friends has a blog about expat life in Germany that I love to read because of her stories about adjusting to German life.  She posts tons of travel information and great photos.  You really get the feel for what her new life in the country is like.  The blog also helps her to keep in touch with family and friends back home.  Sure, you could post the same stuff on Facebook.  But at the end of the experience, will Facebook provide you with the same kind of “scrapbook” a blog will?  Probably not.  Your photos and experiences will be buried in everyone’s Farmville and Mafia Wards updates.

I use my blogs to show that I can blog, that I do blog, and though it should be obvious — I know how to blog. Journalism pays the rent, but it’s not all I know how to do.  I began blogging in my SEO content writing days with my first blog about CJD.  I’m not just a journalist or a radio on-air personality.  I’m a journalist and DJ who can blog too! But it doesn’t matter what line of work you’re in.  You’ll probably find yourself blogging at some point.  Maybe you’ll have to be the public, expert face your company puts on a blog.  Maybe you’re like my friend who wants a new way to promote his business.  But give it a try.  It can’t hurt and you don’t need any prior experience to do it.  Do you have ideas to share?  Can you write and use spellcheck?  Go for it!