Monday, December 23, 2019

Merry Christmas

Every year, adults try to beat the kid-friendly-free-toy system and send their wish lists to Santa. This year has been no different. These letters were caught in Santa’s spam filter and he forwarded them to me for investigation.
Anyone recognize this group of goons? They call themselves writers. I call them at large.


Irvin Elf
North Pole Bureau of Investigations

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the IWSG team! 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Be Kind To Yourself

As writers, the work can be mentally and emotionally draining as you grind away on those manuscripts. Creative slumps, dry spells, and writer’s block hit all writers from time to time.

Writers can be very neglectful when it comes to self-care, especially those who work from home and know that there are bills that need to be paid, looming deadlines, household chores and children who need your constant attention.

It can be quite daunting.


Take a deep breathe.

A reminder that yo
u need to give yourself permission to sit back and let the well refill.

As you reflect on the year that has been, here are some reminders:
1. Write for 20 minutes, then stretch your arms, back, and shoulders.
2. Take frequent breaks. Go for a walk. You can people watch and observe and listen.
3. Don't check your sales figures every single day.
4. Buy some new accessories (maybe a bullet journal or colorful post-its)
5. Remember that everyone feels like an impostor sometimes.      

6. Have a little bit of writing-related fun where you give your inner writer a little TLC such as,
doodling or writing some bad poetry. Alleviate the pressure from yourself by not expecting the writing to become “a thing.”
7. Read for the sake of reading.
When was the last time that you picked up a book just to enjoy the experience? Too often writers seem to focus on craft books instead of reading for the sheer love of reading.
8. Accept that you'll always have room to grow so you
need to stop beating yourself up
for not being 100% productive all the time - remember that perfect is the 'enemy' of good.

Are there any other tips you can add to this list?

Monday, December 9, 2019

Avoid These Facebook Ads Oversights

Facebook is easily the most popular social media platform, with more than 2.4 billion monthly active users and almost 1.6 billion visiting the site every day. This makes it the perfect opportunity for businesses to connect with an audience and find people interested in their products.

Unfortunately, Facebook marketing isn’t always that simple, and the majority of small business owners say their Facebook ads don’t reach their goals. However, if you’re not currently partnered with an agency but are looking for some quick tips to avoid simple errors that hold your campaigns back and hurt results, this article can help. Here we will cover a few of the most common Facebook marketing mistakes and help you develop more effective strategies.
Failing to Create a Clear Plan
Small business owners are typically responsible for a wide range of tasks, and this makes it difficult to give Facebook marketing the attention it deserves. If you advertise on Facebook without a clear vision for each campaign, you probably won’t achieve your marketing goals.
It’s important to match each goal to a relevant statistic that can measure the success of each ad. If you’re looking to increase brand awareness, for example, you shouldn’t focus on conversions when evaluating your results. Instead, look at metrics like impressions and cost per impression to determine how successful you were in reaching out to new users.
Failing to Target the Right Users
Facebook allows you to pay for each ad based on either impressions or clicks, but these numbers don’t always reflect the value of your content. If you target users who aren’t interested in your brand’s product or core message, impressions and clicks probably won’t lead to many sales.
Since Facebook’s audience is so large, it’s critical to use every tool at your disposal to target the right users. Targeting small audiences with granular similarities allows you to create personalized content that responds to that group’s needs and desires. Personalization is one of the most important factors in digital marketing on any platform.
Failing to Consider the Customer Journey
Sales are the goal of every campaign, but you can’t expect each ad to lead to an immediate sale. Customers often need to interact with a brand a number of times before they feel comfortable enough to make a purchase, and trying to sell products to cold leads almost always leads to a poor conversion rate.
Rather than pushing sales with every ad, start the sales cycle with engaging, interesting content that keeps your audience’s attention. From there, you can start moving each lead toward a conversion.
Failing to Retarget Existing Audiences
You should also take advantage of Facebook’s powerful retargeting features to market to users who have already interacted with your brand. Retargeting ads convert much more often than ads targeting cold audiences, and you can personalize retargeting campaigns to respond to customer behavior. It’s important to build your Facebook ads for long-term engagement in addition to short-term sales. 
You can create retargeting audience based on website interactions by setting up the Facebook pixel on your site. Facebook also allows you to develop audience using other factors like app activity, customer profiles, and previous Facebook engagement. Start building retargeting audiences by accessing the “Audiences” section in Ads Manager.
Facebook marketing is a complicated process, and it’s easy to make these simple mistakes that decrease sales, engagement, and audience retention. Addressing these issues will help you improve your Facebook results and achieve a higher ROI on your next campaign.

Thanks to Rae Steinbach for contributing this post today. Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing (of course). You can follow her on Twitter - @araesininthesun

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Insecure Writer's Support Group and Anthology Contest Winners!

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome co-hosts today are Tonja Drecker, Beverly Stowe McClure, Nicki Elson, Fundy Blue, and Tyrean Martinson!

December 4 question - Let's play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

Please note – since the next first Wednesday falls on New Year’s Day, we will be posting for the IWSG on the following Wednesday, January 8!

Announcing the winners of the IWSG Anthology Contest!

Coming May 5, 2020 -
Voyagers: The Third Ghost
Middle grade historical/adventure

Featuring these stories and authors:
The Third Ghost – Yvonne Ventresca
Winter Days - Katharina Kolata
Feathered Fire – Roland Clarke
The Ghosts of Pompeii – Sherry Ellis
Dare Double Dare – Louise MacBeath Barbour
The Blind Ship – Bish Denham
A World of Trouble – Rebecca M. Douglass
The Orchard - Beth Anderson Schuck
Return to Cahokia – L.T. Ward
Simon Grey and the Yamamba - Charles Kowalski

We’d like to thank our amazing judges:

Elizabeth S. Craig, author and honorary judge
Elizabeth is the bestselling cozy mystery author of the Southern Quilting mysteries, the Myrtle Clover Cozy Mysteries, the Village Library Mysteries, and Memphis Barbeque mysteries for Penguin Random House, Midnight Ink, and independently. Follow her on Twitter where she shares writing links @elizabethscraig or at her blog where she offers tips for writers. She lives in Matthews, North Carolina with her husband and is the mother of two.

Dianne K. Salerni, author
Dianne K. Salerni is the author of the The Eighth Day fantasy series and historical novels, The Caged Graves and We Hear the Dead. The Roosevelt Ghosts, featuring young cousins Eleanor and Alice Roosevelt and a vengeful ghost, will be released in 2020 by Holiday House.

Lynda Dietz, editor
Lynda has been fascinated with the written word since her earliest years of reading the back of the cereal box at the breakfast table. She’s now a copyeditor who works with authors in a variety of genres, both in fiction and nonfiction. She’s had a blog for over six years, and shares writing tips from an editor’s point of view with a healthy dose of snark and silliness. She’s also an unapologetic—but always encouraging—grammar thug.

S.A. Larsen, author
S.A. Larsen is the international award-winning author of the middle grade fantasy-adventure MOTLEY EDUCATION and the young adult contemporary-fantasy romance MARKED BEAUTY. When she’s not chasing her characters around a graveyard or antagonizing them with young love, she can be found in Maine with her husband and four children. Visit her cyber home at S.A. Larsen Books.

Rachna Chhabria, author
Rachna Chhabria's imagination has taken her all over the world and introduced her to all kinds of creatures. She is the author of Festival Stories Through The Year, Lazy Worm Goes on a Journey, The Lion Who Wanted to Sing and Bunny in Search of a Name. A columnist with Deccan Chronicle and The Asian Age, her stories have appeared in Young World, Open Sesame, Tele Kids and Deccan Herald Student Edition newspaper, as well as in several school textbooks. She also taught creative writing in a college for many years. As a child she loved listening to stories, now she loves writing them.

Lindsay Davis Auld, agent - Writers House
Lindsay first started at Writers House in the West Coast office, where she apprenticed with Steven Malk and has had the opportunity to work with some of the very best authors and artists in the industry. She is actively building her list, and is seeking picture book, middle grade, and young adult manuscripts. She has always been passionate about children's and young adult literature, and, as an agent, she is eager to help bring fresh voices, characters and stories to a new generation of readers.

Tonja Drecker, author
Tonja Drecker is a writer, blogger, children’s book reviewer and freelance translator. After spending years in Germany exploring forgotten castles, she currently resides in the Ozarks with her family of six. When she’s not tending her chickens and cows, she’s discovering new adventures, nibbling chocolate and sipping a cup of tea.

David Powers King, author
David's works include WOVEN, THE UNDEAD ROAD, and FULL DARK: AN ANTHOLOGY. He currently resides in the Mountain West with his wife and 4 children.

And a big thanks to everyone who entered! There were some great stories.

Our previous IWSG anthologies -
Masquerade: Oddly Suited
Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime
Hero Lost: The Mysteries of Death and Life
Parallels: Felix Was Here

Nominations for best writing website are now open at The Write Life!
Please go nominate the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

The WEP Challenge for December – Footprints.

And the theme came from our very own IWSG Admin, Tyrean Martinson!

Footprints in the sand...Footprints in the snow...and they don't have to be human - alien, monster, unknown creatures...all up for grabs.

The IWSG Instagram prompts and announcements for December:

The next #IWSGPit will be in January 15, 2020, 8:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.
Don’t miss it!

Did you know the IWSG has a Goodreads Book Club? Why the heck not?
If you’re on Goodreads, join this group to learn and grow as a writer.

How would you answer the question today? Participating in #IWSGPit in January? And are you ready for Voyagers: The Third Ghost?