Tag: Social Media Page 1 of 2

Never Stop Exploring sign

So You Want to Be a Travel Writer?

Mother/daughter dress up at the Jane Austen Museum in Bath, UK

Mother/Daughter dress up at the Jane Austen Museum in Bath, England

Do you love to travel? Adore adventure? Can’t stand monotony? Love to write? Sound like someone you know? If so, travel writing might be for you.

When the coronavirus is no longer a global threat, the world will slowly open for exploration. And when it does, you can be ready!

So, travel writing is all about — well — travel & writing, right?

Is Travel Writing More Than a Well-crafted Article Submission?

Actually, it’s more. Sure, you can learn to write stellar articles about places you’ve visited, but half the challenge is finding a home for them. And with all the competition, that could be difficult. According to Kristi Dosh, a travel writer with a sports focus, travel writers must navigate the social media world to attract attention.

I had never considered that! But Kristi’s course, offered after taking Great Escape Publishing’s Travel Writing Course, made it easy to pull the pieces together and make it happen.

Never Stop Exploring sign

My Motto – found in Eagle River, Wisconsin

Connecting on Social Media is Paramount

Here are some tips Kristi gives:

1. Be connected on social media

  •  Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are the accounts that are noticed by hotels, tour companies, and CVBs (city visitor’s bureaus), with Instagram being top due to being “visual-heavy”. 
  • Use Pinterest if you are a travel blogger.
  • Use LinkedIn if you are interested in connecting with editors of travel magazines.

 

2. Learn to take great photos, whether on an SLR camera or your phone.

 

3. Discover travel-related hashtags and use them liberally on Instagram (up to 30), and only 2-3 on Twitter. Facebook does not generally use hashtags.

Here are a few to get you started:

  • #travelwriter #travelphoto #writetotravel #traveltheworld #tourism #wanderlust #travelblogger #ilovetravel #instatravel #travelgram #travelpics #travelblog #traveltheworld
  • Each day, there are hashtags centered around a theme: #mondayfunday #tuesdaythoughts #Wednesdaywisdom #tbt (throwbackthursday) #fridayfeeling #saturdaynight #sundaymood
  • Then, there are Twitter chats like #FunTravelChat on Mondays all day, hosted by @CharlesMcCool and @TravThroughLife

 

4. If you are savvy on social media, consider scheduling your posts using one of these third-party schedulers:

  • Hootsuite
  • Tailwind
  • Buffer
  • MeetEdgar

 

So, fine. I know what you are thinking. “You’ve given me all this detailed information. Now, what do I do with it?”

Glad you asked!

So How Do You Attract Attention to Travel-related Sites?

Before you go on a trip, find the social media accounts for all the places you will be visiting. Whether it’s a restaurant, a City Visitor’s Center, a museum, or tour agency, follow them all. You can find their social media connections on their website, or search for them within your SM app.

Then, create one post with a photo (royalty-free or given credit) using the appropriate hashtags above along with the particular place you will be visiting, and share how excited you are for your next adventure. You can even mention their names within the post (i.e. @JarmWanders2Wonder – not a real account, in case you are wander -uh – I meant wondering. ;-})

They might answer back, follow you, or at best, offer you a free meal, ticket, or tour. That hasn’t happened to me yet, but it could, now that I know how to attract their attention.

Shopping Mall Skylight in Moscow

Shopping Mall Skylight in Moscow, Russia

Well, hopefully, I’ve given you enough to ponder for now. Are you still thinking of travel writing? Let me know! Consider this course with Great Escape Publishing if you are serious about it and want more. And here are two of my past travel blog posts for you to enjoy in Charleston, SC and Bath, England

Social media videos

Create Free and Easy Lumen5 Videos For Social Media

Create Free and Easy Videos for Social Media Using Lumen5 videos

(Note: This is an update of a previous Write2Ignite post.)

Ever feel like Sisyphus? In Greek mythology, the gods punished Sisyphus for his greed and deceit by assigning an impossible task. They required him to roll a huge boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down when it reached near the top. And he had to do it for eternity.

Gaining traction for social media author pages often feels like a Sisyphean ordeal. Just when we think we’ve reached our goal—whether deciphering Facebook algorithms or reaching a new level of followers—the standards change. The proverbial boulder rolls back down the hill and we have to start again.

First we needed engaging posts. Then we were told the posts needed images. Now the experts tell us static images are not enough. Videos are the way to engage our followers.

Social videos can do more than entertain. They can educate, tell a story, promote an event, highlight a testimonial, or provide a summary of your publications.

Still, many of us lack the time, money, or technical know-how to create engaging videos week after week, myself included. But I recently discovered Lumen5 videos, a free app (there’s also a paid version with additional features) that enables me to create video stories with ease from my blog posts.

The first week I tried Lumen5, my Facebook engagement statistics achieved a significant increase. Weekly reach jumped 288%. People engaged increased 164%, then tripled from there. Even my Page “likes” increased. People I did not know shared the post and then became followers. All in the first 3 weeks! And that trend continued with subsequent video posts.

Creating Lumen5 videos are easier than you might think, even for a non-techy like me. Start by going to www.Lumen5.com

1. First, click on “New Video.”

Lumen5

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Choose type of video. (For the purposes of this post I chose Marketing video.)

Lumen5

 

 

 

 

 

3. Choose how you want to source your narrative content.
(You can type the link to your blog post or you can copy and paste your content from Word).

Lumen5

 

 

 

 

4. Select a format by clicking on one of the three options.

I chose Facebook 16:9. The program offers options for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Lumen5

 

 

 

5. …And click on a theme. For this post, I chose “Fresh.”

Lumen5

 

 

 

 

 

6. The program uploaded my narrative content and matched some of the sentences to photos in the Lumen5 library.

As you can see, they paired my title slide with a political photo, so I will swap that out. And you can also click on the slide and type in other content.

Lumen5

 

 

 

 

7. Click on Media in the left side menu, then choose a different suggested image or type key words in the search feature for more suggestions.

Or upload your own photo. I went back and swapped out some of the photos for ones that were a better match.

Lumen5

 

 

 

 

8. You can edit the text on individual slides. Click on Story in the left side menu, then click on the slide you want to edit.

Lumen5

 

 

 

9. You can reposition the text on the image by changing the layout. Click on Layout to the RIGHT OF THE SLIDE for the various layout options to appear in the left side of the page.

Lumen5

 

 

 

 

 

10. You can also change text size, position, or highlights by clicking on a word in the slide to bring up these icons above the slide.

Lumen5

 

 

 

 

 

11. Other ways to edit the slide are found in the icons on the LEFT SIDE OF THE SLIDE:

  • up & down arrows to change the slide order
  • copy icon to make a copy of the slide (to keep the background, but then edit th message)
  • wastebasket to delete the slide
  • gray + to create a sub-slide in case your narrative is too long for one slide

Lumen5

 

 

 

 

12. If you want to insert an additional slide, click on the green + between the slides you want to position.

Lumen5

 

 

 

 

13. The program chooses music to accompany your video. To hear the music selected, click on Preview to the right of a slide. You have the option of changing the music selection. To do that, click on MUSIC in the left side menu.

Lumen5

 

 

 

14. Finally, PREVIEW your video.

Lumen5

 

 

 

 

15. You can always go back to edit it further before you select Publish. You can increase or decrease the # of seconds each slide shows in the video by clicking on the + or – to the RIGHT OF THE SLIDE.

Lumen5

 

 

 

 

16. When you’re satisfied with the result, click Publish in the upper right corner.

 

Lumen5

 

 

 

 

Here’s a shortened result:

There are lots of other options, even in the free version, so give it a try and play with it!

social media habits

Closed Circuit: Managing Our Social Media Habits

closed circuit (noun, Electricity). “a circuit without interruption, providing a continuous path through which a current can flow.” (dictionary.com)

When it comes to modern technology, a closed circuit is an incredibly useful thing. Closed circuits allow electricity to flow through the appliances we use every day, giving us light, heat/air conditioning, the wonders of washing machines, etc. But we don’t always want power pulsing through these appliances, burning out our lightbulbs, and raising our bills. So, we have off switches and power buttons. We have ways to open the circuits and give the electricity a rest–to manage the precious resource of energy.

In a similar way, social media allows ideas to flow from one person to another.  It can become a closed circuit, connecting us as writers to our audiences without interruption. Social media provides a highway through which we can send encouragement and receive it in return; a pathway for us to share news and hear what others have to say; an ever-moving current of communication that can be incredibly useful. But if we neglect to turn it off, it can also burn us out and sap our resources. If we aren’t careful, our closed circuits can do us more harm than good.

Managing Our Social Media Habits:

As writers, we face a lot of pressure to build our social media presence consistently. We want to grow meaningful followings and make ourselves available to others. We also want to get our message out in an effective way. In order to achieve these goals, we might be tempted to spend hours and hours online. Slowly, we can fall into believing that a consistent online presence requires constant online activity.

The problem is that too much of anything is harmful, and this is especially true of social media. Allowing an uninterrupted flow of media turns a useful tool into a destructive mechanism that wears down the soul. Social media can become addicting, it can harm relationships, and it can damage our perception of ourselves and others. A continuous intake of other people’s opinions, controversy, and funny cat videos impacts the way we think even after we step away from the screen.

In order to use social media effectively, we have to find a balance between engaging and purposefully disconnecting. So how do we know where to draw the line and set our boundaries? How do we know when it’s time to turn off the switch and cut the current?

Here are three red flags I’ve found recently which warn me that I need to reevaluate my social media habits:

        1: When my presence in the digital world prevents my engagement with daily realities. 

After spending the summer trying to build my media platforms, I’ve noticed myself replacing day-to-day engagement with social media communication. I find myself instinctively reaching for my phone first thing in the morning or when I sit down to eat. Or wasting half an hour at a time scrolling through posts I don’t even fully process.

While I’m engaging in social media purely out of habit (or as a procrastination method), I lose hours of my day. I end up cutting out activities like reading or art, because I’ve simply run out of time. I miss moments with my family because I feel I have to comment on posts or reply to messages.

When these things start to occur regularly, rather than just once in a while, I know it’s time to cut back. One thing I’m trying to do is to limit myself to only checking social media in 5 minutes chunks, preferably at times when I can’t really do much else (such as standing in a long line at the grocery store). That, or I limit myself to only checking it once or twice a day.

The biggest reminder I give myself is that social media is just a footnote to life, not the other way around. While building relationships online can help us show love to people we’ll never meet in person, those relationships can’t take the place of the ones right here, right now. While we can use social media to help make a difference, that impact can’t replace the influence we have in person. Our day-to-day realities have to come first.

        2: When the current I’m taking in changes my output from positive to negative. 

When my social media habits become more time-consuming, I find myself getting stressed by everything I’m absorbing from media. Arguments, controversies, and the fears of others lay heavy on my shoulders and make me worried about things beyond my control. I find myself bothered by my inability to impact world events, and I feel like I’m not doing enough to help with all the various causes I see others advocating for daily.

And when I put away the phone, the worries persist. I begin to see negativity everywhere and forget to see beauty for all my pondering of the trials facing our society.

While it’s good to be aware of the problems around us, we shouldn’t let that become all we see. We can’t carry the weight of the world alone. If we’re trying to take in and take on every problem we see others facing on social media, we lose our ability to help in the ways we’re capable of.

Instead, we need to be actively engaged in our daily, present activities. Being tuned in to our daily lives first lets us bring a more authentic voice to our media platforms.  Living in the present, rather than the digital world, gives us the perspective we need to be discerning in our intake of the messages bombarding us online. It helps us to find encouragement and kindness to share on days when our social media only sends us negativity.

        3: When the closed circuit of media becomes a short circuit, cutting out of my path the things that recharge me. 

I’m blessed to have many sources of wholesome messages on my media feeds. I follow people who consistently share content filled with hope, joy, and reminders of God’s love and holiness. Even so, my Facebook and Instagram feeds are also filled with content that’s negative, or even good but distracting. (Adorable dog videos anyone?)

When my social media habits replace the activities that recharge me, not even the good content is enough to justify the time I’m spending online. Taking pictures of nature to share on Instagram shouldn’t keep me from enjoying the beauty of God’s creation myself. Reading a friend’s perspective on a Bible verse is wonderful; however, it shouldn’t replace my personal Bible study.

Every moment of quiet doesn’t need to be filled with the noise of other’s thoughts, and if we fill all our quiet time with social media, we rob ourselves of the chance for rest.

Opening the Social Media Circuit:

At the end of the day, the most important part of managing our social media habits is being willing to turn it off and walk away. To disconnect totally and leave the issues we’re dealing with on media on our media. Just as turning off lights in rooms we’re not in helps conserve energy, purposefully disconnecting from social media helps us manage our resources of time and energy well. While we do need to connect with our audiences and be aware of events in the world, we don’t need a continuous, uninterrupted flow of digital input.

So shut down the app. Turn off the notifications. Give yourself permission to make your audience wait a day for another reply.

And finally, rather than letting our minds be ruled by social media, may we always be intentional about where we let our thoughts dwell.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on these things.” –Philippians 4:8

 

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Karley Conklin is a part-time librarian, part-time writer, and full-time bookworm. On her blog http://litwyrm.com/, she discusses all sorts of literature, from poetry to picture books. Her goal is to use the power of stories to remind others of hope and joy in a world that all too often forgets both. (You can connect with her on Instagram @karleyconklin )

 

Site Changes Underway: Pardon our construction!

   Write2Ignite Conference is in the process of updating our website with the addition of e-store functions, in order to facilitate online payments for books, critique services, webinars, conferences, or other programs and products. In the process, we’ve discovered that our previous design templates appear to be incompatible with the e-commerce plugin. As we work through design adjustments, we know that our website appearance has changed temporarily in ways we didn’t design. Bear with us, please! And watch for future announcements about programming, resources, new bloggers, and our finished website and store design!

The Minimalist Writer

Along the city wall in York, England – a bow window used in the time of war. It’s all about focus!

As a writer, I can get caught up in FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. Each time a new blog post or newsletter alerts me of a webinar I must attend, a book I should be reading, or a social media task I need to engage in, I get panicky.

Which is the most important? What if I make the wrong choice?

 

There is too much to do in a limited timeframe. Authors have families, other jobs, people and pets to care for, let alone places we’d like to go – just like anyone else. How do we fit it all in??

Can I make a suggestion?

We don’t need to!

As far as I’m concerned, there are only seven things we authors MUST do . . .

READ. WRITE. CONNECT. CRITIQUE. SUBMIT. INSPIRE. MENTOR.

Sound easy? It is!

 

#1 READ

Books that

– intrigue
– inspire
– inform

In addition, you must read in the genre you are writing in. And occasionally, to shake things up, choose a genre you would not normally read, or try an e-book or an audiobook. You’d be amazed at how a story gains another dimension when you listen to the words.

Join Goodreads, and find fellow readers who will share their favs. And you, in turn, can recommend yours.

 

#2 WRITE

For obvious reasons, if you are going to be a writer, you need to, well, write!

Every day, in some way.

It could be a letter. A blog post. A one-page prompt. An entry in your diary. Some creativity needs to flow from your pen.

I find having a weekly blog post forces me to write. Sometimes, being part of a challenge like NaNoWriMo brings out the creative juices. Or perhaps you work better with prompts. You can find prompts online or in a book. Take your pick.

 

The Charles Dickens Museum

 

#3 CONNECT

Connecting with others is a must — readers, writers, and professionals (agents and editors).

How is that done?

Through Social Media — pick one!

Facebook: if you love to post links, ask questions, share your travel pics, post cute animal photos, and share FB posts with others.

Pinterest: if you love to categorize images in a visual file for future reference, collect images for your next book, or writing tips to use later.

Twitter: if you can be succinct, love to connect with professionals, use GIFs and images, and ask questions or participate in pitch parties, etc.

Instagram: if you are all about a single photo, love to go live, to inspire others, and can tell a story in one image, but don’t necessarily care to share.

Also, writers’ groups like 12×12 are a great way to connect. You will find your friend list and writing skills growing faster than you ever thought possible! Memberships to professional organizations like SCBWI and ACFW are a must.

 

#4 CRITIQUE

Every writer needs a critique group. You can’t write in a vacuum. You need others to point out flaws in your writing, so you can perfect it. If signing a contract with an agent or editor is on your wishlist, then you need critique buddies to help you get that manuscript in shape.

The groups I’ve mentioned above will have critique groups to join as well as Word Weavers International, specifically conceived to help writers perfect their manuscripts in a friendly environment. They gather online or in person to encourage one another in their writing pursuits.

 

#5 SUBMIT

Of course, if you are going to be published, you need to submit! Here is a comprehensive guide to help you. Find the Writer’s Market 2020 here. The guide gives you tips of all sorts, and the categories are divided according to genre, subject, and type of publication. For those who write faith-based works, The Christian Writer’s Market Guide is a must-read.

And don’t forget the importance of writers’ conferences such as our own Write2Ignite and others like The SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference.     Each year, you have the opportunity to schedule appointments with agents and editors who might be waiting to publish your story!

 

#6 INSPIRE!

I don’t know about you, but I need to get out every so often and be inspired. Since I am a historical fiction writer, nothing gets my little grey cells working more than a trip to a historical town or museum. When I visited Bath, England years ago, my daughter and I had tea at this famous bun shop.

When we finished our treats, I visited the tiny museum in the basement of the shop which you see below. There was a small sign indicating that the woman who started the shop was a Huguenot girl who escaped persecution and fled to England. That tidbit of info was all I needed to begin my story, which I titled “Because of a Bun: Soli’s Saving Grace”.

 

 

#7 MENTOR

Just as the Brontë sisters mentored each other, and modern-day writers, too, as their classics wind their way into our hearts, we as writers need to find someone a bit farther behind us to come beside us on our journey. Have coffee with them and ask about their projects. Give them links to helpful resources. Offer to critique a story for them. They will thank you, and someday, do the same for another.

Did I leave anything out? Let me know in the comments below!


 

The Heart Changer - MG Historical Fiction

Jarm Del Boccio’s debut MG Historical Fiction, “The Heart  Changer”

Jarm Del Boccio’s debut middle-grade historical fiction, The Heart Changer, released with Ambassador International April 26th. You can connect with her at https://www.jarmdelboccio.com/  Purchase The Heart Changer HEREJarm loves reviews, as does any author! 

Here’s a handy Teachers’ Guide to use with The Heart Changer as a unit study.


Jarm (‘J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) Del Boccio finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way. Focusing on the lives of characters from the past, Jarm is devoted to breathing new life into the pages of history. Jarm Del Boccio is content with the journey God has placed her on, and lives with her husband, adult daughter and son (when he lands at home), in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago.

 

 

 

 

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