Behind "The Process": Writerly Wisdom from an Amazing Author–Jennifer Soucy!

Hey folks,

I did my first podcast interview of the quarantine era. We had to do it all remotely–producer in the studio, me at home, the guest at home, all connecting on a streaming app. Not the ideal way to connect, but, given our present situation, it’s what we’re doing for the foreseeable future.

All that aside, I was incredibly excited to talk to horror novelist Jennifer Soucy. I was a little more than halfway through her book, Demon in Me, when she came on the show. We talked about her book, writing, the expectations and pitfalls of being a female writer who doesn’t sugarcoat the female experience, and all kinds of fun, interesting stuff. I implore you, go buy Demon in Me on Amazon, like, right now. You can do so here. You should also go to her website: https://www.jenniferlsoucy.com.

"Demon in Me" book cover
How cool is that cover, folks?

Writerly Wisdom: Jennifer Soucy

  1. Read all the time.
  2. Writing is like a muscle that needs a regular workout, so do it every day.
    1. Jennifer commits to at least 500 words/day. More when the gettin’s good.
  3. Write your first draft to completion before you start editing.
  4. When it comes to getting published, don’t give up. She said she must’ve queried 100 agents before landing a small press deal. Rejection is just part of it.
  5. Network!
    1. Social media is a great way to meet writers, readers, and in JS’s case, she got her first deal from a Twitter pitch party. (If you don’t know what the eff that means, listen to the podcast.)

Oh, there’s more…

She’s got a ton of stuff in the works, so save her website, follow her on social media, and read her new book, Demon in Me. I swear, you guys–it’s one of the best books I’ve read in awhile. Very strong, powerful writing. You’ll love it.

Thanks for stopping by. Search Creative Ops, where ever you get podcasts. It’ll look like this:

Stay safe and healthy, folks. We’re in it together!

Thanks for reading!

-CT

Want more? Well, look no further.

OK–a little bit further:

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Creative Ops | Ep.1 | Creativity in Small Business & Conservation

I sat down with my good friend Paul Brogan, co-founder and owner of the award-winning small business, River Town Adventures, a staple of the outdoor recreation scene in Michigan’s capital city. Paul is also the driving force behind the Lansing Earth Project, which organizes volunteers to clean the local waterways. We talked about starting and growing a business, getting active about conservation, and more. Check out www.rivertownadventures.com for more info about Paul, River Town Adventures, and waterway conservation. Enjoy!

Click here to download and share the episode, or scroll down and listen to Paul’s interview, as well as some of the latest guests!

Rate the show and leave a review!

Creative Ops | Ep.3 | Ben Kraker and Jason Tieri Teach Me How to Make a Podcast Creative Ops

  1. Creative Ops | Ep.3 | Ben Kraker and Jason Tieri Teach Me How to Make a Podcast
  2. Creative Ops | Ep.4 | Heartsick vocalist Alfonso Civile rocks my podcast!
  3. Creative Ops | Ep.2 | Jennifer Soucy, author of "Demon in Me"
  4. Creative Ops | Ep.1 | Paul Brogan of River Town Adventures talks small business & conservation

Behind “The Process”: Intro to Social Media and Platform Building for Writers

Welcome to Behind “The Process”, a series of blog posts for any and all writers. By “The Process”, I mean the writing process. This blog is partly devoted to sharing tips and tools for writers. The rest is advice from a writer who insists on learning things the hard way, and wishes to share those experiences for educational purposes. I hope you find this useful–or at least entertaining.

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

Hey folks,

If you’re like me, you wrote a novel and you want it to get published. Maybe you wanna self-publish, or you are going to pitch it to a small publisher, or you’re trying to get an agent (which is what I’m trying to do). However you plan to get your book out there…

you need a platform

That means a having stuff like a website, a social media presence, a YouTube channel, podcast, other writing gigs and so on. I’m still working on my platform. I’ve used different books and articles as resources for getting my stuff published, and in doing so, I’ve come to a few conclusions.

Ya Gotta Start Early

I’ve read that a year is pretty standard. If you plan to self-publish or not, start getting yourself out there as an author who has something in the works at least a year before you plan to publish. At least. I’ve been working on my platform seriously since August of last year. I’ve had a fair share of people ask me, “You’re done with that book right? When is it going to be for sale?”

This is good. You want to have people ready to buy your book when it finally does release, so better to have people asking When can I get that book already? than to have no one aware that it’s available, come release day.

Branding Is Important

This one is kind of a two-parter.

First, (and I think I do pretty good at this part) be consistent with your branding. Have the same name across platforms, if possible. Same picture, too. If you have multiple projects (in my case fiction writing, blogging, and podcasting), make sure they all tie into the same brand. Have one website that is central to everything. Your blog, your podcast, your fiction, your book reviews, whatever else ya got–bring it all back to the same home. I heard a prominent yoga YouTuber say that driving people toward your website is the main objective of your entire online platform. I would think the same should be true of selling fiction.

Second, (and here’s where I think I struggle) is having a brand that screams [insert your genre here]. I like my social media accounts, but I don’t build up sci-fi/dark-fantasy enough as the main focus. So that’s where I’m trying to improve.

But the main goal of all of it is to…

Drive Traffic To Your Website

So try to have a decent site. WordPress has been good to me. Regardless which site you go with, make it look good. OK, I’m not gonna sit here and tell you I have the prettiest website in the world, but I’ve been working on it–regularly updating pages, changing themes, and all that funky stuff.

Don’t Forget to Interact with People

Once you get on social media, start blogging, and all that, you have to check in regularly. Not every day, but every few days. Once a week maybe. If someone comments, try to say something back. Get a mini conversation going. Engagement helps you all around.

Be Patient

I started my platform and chose not to immediately ask everyone I knew for support. I started with only a few close friends on Instagram and FaceBook. Then I went out and started looking for readers and writers whose pages genuinely interested me. Don’t, DON’T, just follow 2,000 people and hope most of them follow you back. And don’t, DO NOT, follow people, then unfollow them if they don’t follow you back. You’ll see other people do it, and it’s just annoying. Good habits build a good following, and bad habits leave you with a 1000:1 following/follower ratio. Which is fine, I guess. Doesn’t seem like genuine engagement, though.

Get out there and follow people you actually want to follow. Eventually you get a handful of followers. Then you bump into new pages and interesting accounts. Eventually people start finding you. It seemed like it was going nowhere for me early on. After a month, I had around 15-20 followers across all the different online mediums. Now I have roughly 200 or so. Still not big time numbers, but growing steadily. Like I said, I’m about 6 months in and I’m just starting to see regular daily traffic to my website, even on days I don’t post anything.

Lastly

Remember that one opportunity is often a prelude to yet another opportunity. I started this blog. Someone saw it. I got invited on a podcast. Then they asked me to write blogs for them. Now I’m doing a podcast out of the same studio. So building up your platform takes time, but if you build a platform you’re proud of, it might pay off in ways beyond just trying to get something published. So keep focused on your goal, but keep an eye out for unexpected opportunities as well.

Since we’re talking about platform building…

If the feeling strikes, friend and follow me on social media, get on my email list (I won’t bombard you with emails and promotions), look for my podcast Creative Ops (host Christopher Tallon) wherever you get podcasts, and/or leave a comment below.

No matter what you do: have fun doing it.

Thanks for reading!

-CT

Want more? Well, look no further.

OK–a little bit further:

FaceBook ~ Instagram ~ Website ~ Podcast

Behind “The Process”: Gonna Schedule Like a…(What Rhymes with Schedule?)

Welcome to Behind “The Process”, a series of blog posts for new and experienced writers. By “The Process”, I mean the writing process. This blog is partly devoted to sharing tips and tools for writers. It’s also advice from someone who insists on learning things the hard way, and wishes to share those experiences for educational purposes. I hope you find this useful–or at least entertaining.

Scheduling is a must to keep sane and successful. (Or, at least sane.)
Photo by Jessica Lewis on Unsplash

Hey folks,

Seriously. I can’t think of anything that rhymes with schedule. Edge wool? There are a few words that kinda work, but that’s a tough one. Schedule. Hmm…

Writing is hard. It’s not the actual writing, so much. I’m enjoying myself as I write this. Writing is great–it’s like talking non-stop, but without all the annoyed stares and people saying, “Dude, shut the ***k up.” But starting writing is hard.

I sat in front of the computer, not doing much of anything for…close to an hour before I started writing this. The only reason I was able to get this done, especially after recently taking on someone else’s blog, was because I–also recently–started scheduling my writing time. I already had a “scheduled” writing time, but it wasn’t working out.

Just Scheduling “Writing Time” Doesn’t Work

I made 10am my writing time every day. But that didn’t always work out, because sometimes I was working on my book (or sending it out to literary agents), sometimes I was working on new fiction, sometimes I was writing my blog. Now throw in someone else’s blog, and “writing time” became the Thunder Dome for all my ideas. Whatever was the strongest idea at that time emerged victorious and the rest were put away.

Doesn’t work anymore.

When I was only working on my fiction, and a few blogs posts a month, this was fine. But keeping up social media, a website, starting a podcast, writing fiction (and shopping it around), and writing two blogs…

Time for a New Strategy

Monday: (1) write a “professional” blog (2) work on fiction

Tuesday: (1) write a personal blog–Hello! (2) work on fiction

Wednesday: (1) edit/format/rewrite blogs, as needed, or work on the website (2) work on fiction

Thursday: (1) podcast stuff (2) work on fiction

Friday: (1) social media stuff (2) work on fiction

The weekends are a toss up. I have small kids and will devote whatever time my wife is willing and able to give me for writing/writing-related stuff, but my little guys aren’t so little anymore and I want to spend as much time with them as I can. Until they become teenagers. Then I’m gonna write two novels a year and blog my ass off.

Thanks for reading!

-CT

Want more? Well, look no further.

OK–a little bit further:

FaceBook ~ Instagram ~ Website ~ Podcast

Writing As a Side Gig: Blogging

Hey folks,

It’s been a hot second since I wrote a blog. Well…for my blog, anyway.

I started this blog for the same reason any unpublished-but-hopeful author who’s also trying to start a podcast does: to grow and connect with an audience. Ya know, that old chestnut.

But blogging can be a lot of things to different people. A lot of people write posts for fun. I wrote about the back-to-back NBA champs (’89 and ’90) because I love talking about them. I wasn’t too concerned with whether or not people would read it. Based on what people have and haven’t reacted to, I was pretty sure not many would, but it’s my blog, that’s what I wanted to write about, so what the hell, right?

Every now and then, I’ll put a short story or poem up. I recently put up some song lyrics I wrote, reshaped slightly as a poem. Often I write advice and tips for new/aspiring writers, called Behind “The Process”, with topics like: handwriting vs typing, rewriting, rejection, varying your sentences, and so on. Some of those posts are for sharing my experiences (of trying to get published) with other writers who are in a similar situation.

But all of it has been for fun, so far.

After writing my own blog for a few months, I was recently asked to write blog posts regularly for a podcast. If anyone is interested, you can check out the Threads Podcast: Life Unfiltered blog for more words chosen and arranged by me. There’s not much there yet, but follow it, bookmark, it–whatever ya gotta do. Then listen to a few episodes. I was a guest awhile back, but listen to one of the more interesting guests (of which there are lots) if you actually want to give the show a chance.

And if you blog, enjoy it, and think you’re halfway decent at it, look into blogging for others as a sweet little side hustle. You can network the old fashioned way, or look for freelance writing gigs online. (I’d love to hear from someone who has tried this!) Might as well put your free-time skills towards a professional use.

Or don’t. That’s OK, too. As long as we’re all having a good time…

Thanks for reading!

-CT

Want more? Well, look no further.

OK–a little bit further:

FaceBook ~ Instagram ~ Website ~ Podcast