Lily Iona MacKenzie's Blog for Writers & Readers

MY BLOG POSTS COMMENT ON SOME ASPECT OF WRITING & READING.

The Ripening
The Ripening:
A Canadian Girl Grows Up

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Tillie’s grit and ability to face life’s challenges are inspiring, the seeds for later discovering her artist self. Tillie takes readers on a wild ride. Join her if you dare! "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Curva Peligrosa
Curva Peligrosa

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

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FLING!
Fling!

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

"Fling! is both hilarious and touching. Every page is a surprise, and the characters! I especially loved Bubbles, one of the most endearing mothers in recent fiction. A scintillating read."

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Freefall
Freefall :
A Divine Comedy

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" These fascinating characters will fill your imagination, defying expectations about aging, art, and what truly matters in life. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
All This
All This

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Indicative of the title, the poems in All This range from the conventional lyric/narrative that captures an intense moment of emotion, an epiphany glimpsed briefly out of the corner of the eye, to the more experimental. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
No More Kings
No More Kings

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

Each finely crafted poem in this powerful collection comes alive on the page while she traces the days’ journeys with a painter’s eye, a musician’s ear, and the deft pen of a poet.

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
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Tag: blogging

To blog or not to blog. Is that really the question?

Blogging has become a major part of my writing process. Each Monday, I publish a new blog post that is related in some way to reading and writing. Today’s is no exception, but it’s about the process of creating a new blog. In 2009, I took advantage of WordPress.com’s free blog templates and platform. I felt satisfied with the theme I’d been using. I also appreciated not paying a monthly/yearly fee for using it. A newbie to creating a blog, I needed something simple so I could teach myself how to set it up, and WordPress offers online guidelines for doing so. Over the years, I became somewhat adept at publishing my posts and keeping my pages updated.

Blogging into Visibility

interaction-1233873_1920Fling!was published in 2015, my publisher told me to create a fan base. I don’t think he was referring to the kind of fan I’m used to, a mechanical object with rotating blades that whirl around and stir the air. In a way, though, I suppose the kind of fan my publisher was referring to can stir things up and call attention to our work.

Does Blogging Denude the Blogger?

blog-1027861_1920Full disclosure:  I started this blog so I would have a “writer’s platform” I could show agents and potential publishers.  But it doesn’t come without a cost, and that is one’s privacy.

The idea of public and private has shifted.  While some people still keep private diaries/journals (myself included), others are blogging their hearts out for all the world to see.  Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, chat rooms, etc., have conditioned a new generation to spill it all on the web, to not hold back.  Some even set up webcams in their houses so strangers can follow their daily routine.

Thinking of changing your WordPress theme? Think again!

Well, I certainly didn’t expect that setting up a new WordPress blog theme would take over my life, but it has. It started so innocently. I began browsing through my then free WordPress themes, searching for one that would give me a more professional online look as a published author. There were many to choose from, but none grabbed me. None said, “Hey, Lily, this look will enhance your author’s ‘brand.’”

Book Marketing 101 (Part Two)

lily book passageIn my last blog, I promised to articulate what seemed to be the most helpful marketing tools in my next post. Here I am!

I researched extensively, and continue to do so, potential readers and reviewers for my novel Fling!. Reviews generate a buzz, especially if they are posted on major sites like Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble. It’s essential, then, to gather as many as we can. They encourage potential readers to take a chance on our books based on other readers’ experience. And it’s more readers that we want, right?

I also found it useful to generate interviews on other writers’ blogs. I did this in multiple ways. First, my press, Pen-L Publishing, has authors who were willing to work with me, doing blog exchanges. In addition, I found blogs that seemed to have good followings and suggested we exchange interviews or guest blog posts. This also generated some good connections.

I also paid Women on Writing (WOW) to manage a blog tour that included four reviews. It was worth it to me to spend this money on marketing, though the “tour” wasn’t as well managed as I’d hoped. I’m not sure that I connected with potential readers of my novel during the 12-day event. I was supposed to be available each day to respond to questions that could come from followers of these blogs. But, in reality, in most cases, I was the only one there, waiting for someone to ask me a question! Even the blogger was absent. The four reviews that bloggers posted on their websites were the best part of this deal. After some prodding, most were posted on Amazon, etc. Would I do it again? Not likely. I could probably do as well on my own by contacting potential bloggers and reviewers, but for those who don’t want to spend their time in that way, WOW might be the answer.

I have found Goodreads to be the best source in two ways. First, I have done two giveaways of a total of 20 books. While it’s costly to mail the novels, especially if you don’t designate US only (as I didn’t on my first giveaway, opening it to Canada and the UK, thinking it would give me a lily 2 book passagebigger readership range), it’s worth the expense, a tax write off. A number of people listed the novel as one they wanted to read. And some of them will write a review.

Goodreads ad campaign also has been productive. The book title and description reaches many people over a long period. I’ve been running mine since early July. So far I’ve only paid about $39.00 for my original $50 ad campaign, but I’ve reached innumerable potential readers. So in terms of pay off, the Goodreads ads seem to be a good investment.

Bookstores are only worthwhile if you have a large following in an area and can generate traffic. Otherwise, the percentage they want per book doesn’t make them a viable option. Also, several now charge authors for the honor of doing a reading in their facility. I just paid $100 for such an honor.

The message here? Take the time to do your homework and find the many resources there actually are out there before you give away too much of your hard-earned money. It pays off in the end.

Blogging into Visibility

One of the first things my publisher told me to do before my novel Fling is published in 2015 is create a fan base. I don’t think he was referring to the kind of fan I’m used to, a mechanical object with rotating blades that whirl around and stir the air. In a way, though, I suppose the kind of fan my publisher was referring to can stir things up and call attention to our work.

Yet for someone of my disposition (I don’t love big parties or crowds; I prefer quiet intimate dinners with close friends and enjoy spending time alone), making the kind of outreach that marketing a book requires is hard. Not only is it all consuming, taking time away from the precious little I do have for writing itself, but I also must enter a world totally different from the one I’m accustomed to.

I’ve had to learn the language of twitter (I still haven’t a clue how to make that networking approach work); tumblr (not sure exactly what this does); and Facebook (I’m a neophyte, but I’m learning how to add “friends,” many of whom I don’t know, and I’m very good at liking things that stand out); triberr (can’t figure this one out); and Pinterest (not sure how to employ this tool). I’ve signed up for blog rolls and blog hops. I’m investigating virtual book tours since real ones don’t do much for unknown authors. At the moment, I have a 15-page marketing plan, and I’ve only scratched the surface! It will be a book itself by the time I’m finished.

This sounds like sour grapes when I should be grateful that my novel will be published (and I am!), but how will all of these activities make people like my writing or become a “fan”? This marketing madness is an aspect of writing I hadn’t anticipated. While I was familiar with the demands of researching publishers and publications for long and short work, both poetry and prose, the business side of what we writers do, this other aspect of publishing has totally changed my life.

It’s also one of the reasons I am writing this blog (as so many other writers are doing), trying to make my presence as a writer known beyond my immediate friends (who must hate receiving all these posts!). At times I wonder if I’m just preaching to the choir since most writers have the same goals: We’re enrolled in Goodreads and Librarything. If we’re women, we try to keep connected with Shewrites. We’re all trying to sell books, but are we actually reaching those readers who aren’t writers themselves, the ones we want to attract?

I would like to hear from other writers who are also going through this process and have advice on how to survive it. Meanwhile, here I am, stirring up a little air on the Internet in my search for fans.

 

 

 

On Blogging

Full disclosure:  I started this blog so I would have a “writer’s platform” I could show agents and potential publishers.  But it doesn’t come without a cost, and that is one’s privacy.

The idea of public and private has shifted in this new century.  While some people still keep private diaries/journals, others are blogging their hearts out for all the world to see.  Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, chat rooms, etc., have conditioned a new generation to spill it all on the web, to not hold back.  Some even set up webcams in their houses so strangers can follow their daily routine.

Has the isolation we experience in our neighborhoods caused this overreaction on the world-wide web?  When I was a child, I knew everyone on our block.  I walked to school, which allowed me to see my neighbors, both coming and going.  People sat on porches in the summer time and shared produce from abundant gardens.  We formed neighborhoods, not these individual units that make up most communities today where few people know their neighbors or interact with them.  Even the words neighbor and neighborhood sound quaint now.

What is the effect on our consciousness of such willingness to turn ourselves inside out for anyone to see?  We won’t know the answer to this questions immediately, but we can speculate.  Of course, writers learn early that they can’t hold back.  They must be willing to expose their private selves, whether in fiction or non-fiction.  Even the most objective academic or journalistic writing can’t conceal entirely the person behind the prose.

What is the effect of blogging on our consciousness, on our relationships with ourselves and others?  What does it mean not to have a private self any longer?  What are the drawbacks to this kind of exposure?

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