Sharing Too Much

Tonight I feel I need to step up on my soapbox and say something about a trend I’ve been noticing on Facebook.  This trend is knee-jerk sharing.  It comes from seeing a post on a friend’s page, having an immediate emotional reaction, and sharing said post without doing any independent checking.  (Usually, the post ends up being wrong.)  This typically happens one of two ways.

First, there are the fake stories about toilet spiders, cash back scams, and other things that cause fear.  Most of these posts are written in the same manner as urban legends and email hoaxes, with the “it happened to someone I know” format.  They are scary, with supposed real details, and come with a warning to avoid certain things or do certain behaviors.  For some reason, people have become suspicious of these when they show up as emails (probably because we’ve all seen the ridiculous ones before) but when it’s a post on Facebook, of course it must be true!

The second that is starting to be more prevalent is the satirical article posted as if it was a real news story.  Either someone will post it honestly thinking that its real, or the poster will be joking but their friends comment as if the story was true.  Most people recognize that certain sites are satire, but these days there are many and it is often hard to tell that they are meant to be humor.

The first one is easy to avoid – there’s even a website out there that specializes in researching these kinds of items and classifies if they are factual or fictional.  The second is just a little harder; you have to actually check out the source website for the article.  Really, though, either one takes very little time.  Just do a couple minutes of research before you automatically click “share” and we’ll all be better off for it!

That concludes this message from our author.  We now return you to regularly scheduled blogging. 🙂

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Facebook

I have a fan page on Facebook.  This is something that is recommended for the self-published author as a good tool for getting your name known.

I’m not quite sure how successful it is.  I have way more followers on my blog than I do on Facebook, but I don’t know that those numbers mean much.

Perhaps I’m not quite using my Facebook fan page as well as I could.  Do you have one?  Do you think that it is helpful?  What kinds of things do you post to yours?

If you’re a fan of mine on Facebook, how would you like to see me use it?

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Word Games

I love playing word games.  I’m currently in the midst of 5 different games of Words With Friends on Facebook.  I do the Sunday crossword in the newspaper every week.  (Getting the Sunday paper delivered is my current decadent-yet-cheap splurge.)  I love Quiddler and Take One, although playing with my family (especially Grandma O) is not good for the ego.  I also learned a fun word logic game from a friend in high school that I will still play when someone is willing to accept the challenge.

My big hang-up with some of the games is getting fixated on a word.  This is especially bad in Quiddler, where the point is to make words with all of the letters in your hand as quickly as possible.  If you’re waiting on that one letter to make that one word you’re obsessed with, someone else might make a bunch of tiny words, go out, and you’ll end up eating your high-point letters.  There is strategy in waiting to see if you get the higher-value letters, but it only works if you already have something you can do with the cards in your hand.

I’m working on getting through the single-word obsession, though.  Last night I wanted to play “kopje” but decided against it, using “joke” instead so I could make another word with the p.  “Joke” wasn’t as interesting, but at least I got all the points and kept a good card in play.

It’s probably best to save my interesting vocab words for my writing, and use the shorter, more common words for my word games.

Searching for Myself

Getting your information to appear on the first page of a Google search is an important marketing technique.  Sometimes it requires tweaking the sites that you want people to access – just having your pen name on your blog might not be enough.  Today I checked how my search results are doing, to see if I need to make any tweaks.  I haven’t really checked since I e-published Butterflies, and it’s always a good idea to put your own name or book title in a search engine from time to time.

When I searched “Leigh Townsend” the results hadn’t changed much; the fourth and fifth links are my Smashwords profile and my blog.  “Leigh Townsend author” gets me the first seven hits, and 8 of the first ten, including my Facebook fan page, my blog, my Smashwords profile and two links to sites where you can buy Butterflies.  If you search “Butterflies and Dragons” this blog is the second link, and “The Queen’s Butterflies” gets you a link to buy it on Smashwords as the third choice.

It looks like I don’t need to make any major tweaks; people can find me with a basic search and without too much trouble.  🙂

A Picture’s Worth…

Photos have become my newest concern when it comes to Butterflies.

First, a friend of mine did me a fantastic favor and took some photos of me.  One of them will be my official “Leigh Townsend” image, at least for now.  I have a poll going on my Facebook page to get some help choosing between the four I liked best.  Once I have picked one, I’ll post it here so you can see it, too!  (Or you could vote, if you’d like!)

I also need to take a photo (and probably crop it) of the map that goes along with Butterflies.  The general consensus from those who have read the manuscript is that I need to include the map in the e-book.  As the only scanner I have easy access to does not create a usable format (it only makes PDFs), taking a photo seems like my best option.

On top of that, I will also need to photograph the cover art.  Once it’s been turned into a digital file (it’s a painting right now) I’ll have to edit it to add the title and my name.  It needs to look like a book cover, after all!  Again, when the cover is complete I will post it here for your enjoyment.

Who knew that converting a typed document into another kind of typed document would take so much in the way of pictures?

Leigh’s Top Ten Writing Distractions

Tonight I had planned to work on Dragon.  It didn’t happen, for a variety of reasons.  So, for a little bit of fun, here is my Top Ten List of things that distract me from writing.

10: WordPress (writing posts, checking stats, etc.)

9: Cleaning

8: Sporcle

7: Turning Butterflies into an e-book

6: Eating

5: Facebook

4: The Pets (or are they “the pests?”)

3: Netflix

2: Reading

And the number one thing that distracts me: my friend Jack!

A little distraction now and again isn’t a big deal.  The trick is to find the time(s) of day that makes writing the easiest.  On my weekends, it’s first thing in the morning; after work it’s often right before I go to bed.

What distracts you?

Becoming my own fan…

Recently, I was logged on to Facebook as my real-life self (as opposed to Leigh Townsend, my author self).  I was perusing the “recommended pages” it gives based on your existing “likes” and the “likes” of your friends.  One of my top recommendations was Leigh Townsend.

In case you didn’t know, I do have a Facebook fan page.  You too can be my fan!

At this point you’re probably wondering why I am not already my own fan.  There is a very good reason for this.  While most of my fans are friends and family, that is a public page.  Anyone can find it and view it.  My personal page, however, is set to private.  I am hoping one day to have more than 18 fans, and I would like to keep my author persona and my real-world persona separate if possible.

I don’t have any stalkers yet, but there is always the possibility.  Not to mention that my identity may not be worth much, but it’s the only one I’ve got.  I’d prefer not to have it stolen.

For these reasons I am not my own Facebook fan.  This should not prevent you from “liking” me on Facebook, though!  I don’t update it as often as the blog, but I do occasionally post interesting updates there.  Plus, if you’re reading my blog, it’s possible you’re a fan already!

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