WHO’S ON THE SHELF w/Nonnie Jules? #Author, Karen Black @KarensStories #RRBC #RRBC_Community

Hello, and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules! Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a bookshelf. A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here on this “SHELF,” we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask. We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to, on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but, no one has dared to cover them. We get personal! Because, when you sit on this “SHELF,” YOU are an open book! Even if I have to pry you open!

Today, we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us – RRBC member and July’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author, Karen Black!  We have celebrated her the entire month of July and today, she gets to sit on the shelf with me – a little late, but, she’s here so that’s good!

Dream Racing

NJ:  Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  We updated it in 2017 and now, I’m thinking of giving it an overhaul again.  We’ll see.  Are you comfy?

Karen:  The redesign is great, and the shelf is quite comfy!

NJ:  That’s great to hear, Karen.  Just be careful and say only the right things as this shelf has a mind of its own.  It might start shaking, and you might take a tumble.  I don’t know, I’m just sayin’, so just watch yourself.

adult black pug
Photo by Charles on Pexels.com

Now, let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name.

Karen:  I don’t use a pen name.

NJ:  Well, I guess that took care of that question.  So, tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Karen:  I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Pirates! Although I don’t live in Pittsburgh anymore, I still call it home.  Halfway between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia is a tiny municipality called Highspire. You can find me in the center of that little borough.

NJ:  Awesome! Although, I tend to stay away from boroughs in tiny municipalities, so, no worries about me randomly dropping by because I was “in the neighborhood.”  Karen, are you married or single?

Karen:  Married to the most wonderful husband imaginable

NJ:  I doubt that because that husband lives here with me in Louisiana!  But, now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move on –  do you lovebirds have any kids?  What kind and do you like them?

Karen:  Two kids, one of each. I usually like them.

NJ:  You know, the older they get, the like for them is on a day-by-day basis.  My daughters often jokingly ask:  “Mommy, is today a day that you like me?”  I respond:  “I don’t know, what day is it?”  And no matter the day that comes out of their mouths, I always say, “Nope.  Not today.” 

Karen, if you’re not there already, when you’re old and cranky, which one will keep you at home to care for you themselves, and which one started seeking out the A PLACE FOR MOM franchise facility in your area when they were 9?

Karen:  They’d probably draw straws and the winner (loser?) would get to decide. That being said, I cannot imagine living with one of the kids, and would never even consider letting either of them decide the best place for mom.

NJ:  Well, you’re certainly a better mom than I am.  I have demanded that both of my daughters share custody of me and their father, by moving back home and caring for us and dealing with all of my old-crankiness.  I say to them quite often:  “I’m the mom and you don’t get to tell me what to do … yet.  Now, when you’re changing my diaper, then, you’re in charge.”  They roll with laughter each time I say it.  I tend to think the laughs are nervous laughs and they are secretly praying that I’m only teasing.  (I’m not, by the way).  Karen, do you and the hubby have any pets?  If so, what kind?  They act like kids, too, so I have to ask the same question … do you like them?

Karen:  Yes, I adore them, but you won’t. One is a Devon Rex cat who claims to be ET’s second cousin, although that hasn’t been confirmed. The other is a former, feral, feline ninja, now a spoiled house princess, who appreciates everything domestic and doesn’t miss hunting for food.

We also have a variety of wild critters, some that live here year around, and some that migrate. Rabbits, squirrels, ducks, opossums, more birds than you’d want me to list, and an occasional skunk or raccoon. We feed everybody who wonders by and there’s always fresh water for them.

NJ:  You’re right, Karen – I don’t want to hear about your cats, thank you very much!  Now, on to something that really interests me – what’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?

Karen:  Pizza. Even bad pizza is good.

NJ:  Go figure.  I’m pretty familiar with pizza – but, only good pizza.  What’s your favorite color?

Karen:  Vibrant orange that fades into a subtle pink.

NJ:  OK.  Your favorite sport…

Karen:  Horse racing and Football

NJ:  Ooops … careful.  I felt the shelf rumble a bit.  (Probably because I asked for a favorite sport not sports).  Karen, what’s your favorite TV Show?

Karen:  The Walking Dead

NJ:  Never got into it.  How about your favorite Actress/Actor?

Karen:  Barbra Streisand. She was brilliant in “Prince of Tides” and hysterical in “Meet the Fockers.” I also love her music.

NJ:  Now you’re talking!  I loveeeeeee everything Barbara!  She’s what I listen to most in my office when I’m working.  I think she’s brilliant at everything, even her tweets against the person sitting in the high chair of the White House right now.  And Meet The Fockers, with that all-star cast (DeNiro, Danner, Streisand, Stiller, Hoffman and Wilson) how could it not be great?!

Karen, do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind walking around with a beer belly?

Karen:  I am allergic to formal exercise, but I manage to do some yoga and I move around a lot. As for the beer belly – well, mine is a wine belly, and since it means I don’t have to exercise, I don’t mind it.

NJ:  Haha, that’s too funny 🙂 What’s your biggest pet peeve that makes you want to spit nails?  (For the record, NJ does not condone violence, but she does believe in being honest, so she admits that there are those times and there are those people, who do cause her to want to spit a few nails in the direction of their foreheads.  Hey, just being honest.  It’s the only way I roll).

Karen:  It’s irritating when people fill their gas tank, and then leave their cars in front of the pump to go inside the store and shop around, when there are only a few pumps available and other drivers are waiting.  Spitting nails into their tires would make me smile. Of course, then their car would sit there longer, so I guess that would be counter productive.

NJ:  Karen, if I ever come out of the gas station and there are nails in my tires …

So, are you neat or messy?

Karen:  If stacks of books everywhere aren’t considered messy, I’m neat.

NJ:  Oh, I don’t even think you’re a real author unless you have stacks of books lying about (which I do, by the way … everywhere). Are you nice or mean?  And, is that your perception of you, or is that what others think of you?

Karen:  I’m nice. But if a mean person confronts me he/she will meet his/her match. Those who know me can confirm.

white shih tzu puppy on fabric sofa chair
Photo by Dominic Buccilli on Pexels.com

NJ:  Sure. Yeah.  Uh-huh.  Karen, Facebook or Twitter?

Karen:  Facebook

NJ:  We’ve come to realize that the internet is giving way to tons of budding friendships.  Who would you say is the one person you’ve connected with the most … your internet BFF or buddy?

Karen:  I don’t have one. There are several people with whom I interact almost daily. Most of them are old like me and we don’t care to travel any more so we stay in touch online.

NJ:  OK, that’s fine, too.  Who’s the one person you’ve met online who makes you laugh the hardest?

Karen:  I didn’t meet him online, but the person who makes me laugh the hardest is my husband.  He’s a riot!

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NJ:  Uh, yeah … that’s what happens when you don’t answer questions as asked on this shelf.  I did ask for the person “online,” didn’t I?  Karen, maybe you better hold on a little tighter.  Now, who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman? Be honest.

Karen:  Nice try, but you can’t fool me. I realize Nonnie doesn’t change in a telephone booth, like Clark Kent did. Of course there aren’t any more telephone booths, or maybe she would. In any event, I know who’s on the shelf with me. She just exchanged her lasso for the spoken/written word.

NJ: 

photography of three dogs looking up
Photo by Nancy Guth on Pexels.com

NJ:  {A telephone booth?  Kent Clark?  Can she not understand the words that are coming from my mouth???  I said WonderWoman! I guess all super heroes look alike to her.}

{Deep breath} Karen, we all know that WonderWoman has her truth lasso and Nonnie has … well, just her truths, in the no-nonsense way she forces us to be honest and tell it like it is, whether it makes others uncomfortable or not.  In your opinion, which one does a better job of making the world a better place?  You can be honest here, too.  {Now watch she responds with Tweety Bird or something}

Karen:  Truth does make the world a better place. Who does a better job? See my previous answer.

 NJ:  After you read books, do you post reviews?

Karen:  Yes.

NJ:  What do you think readers should base their reviews on?

Karen:  I think a review should reflect the reader’s opinion of the characters, the plot and the overall storyline. Was the book entertaining, educational, funny, sad, thought provoking, etc.?

NJ:  Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?

Karen:  Honesty is the best policy. However, if I’m reading a book and don’t enjoy it, or can’t get into the story, I don’t read it. There are so many books to read that I won’t spend time plodding through something, if I have to force myself to turn the pages. If I don’t finish a book, I don’t review it.

NJ:  Fair enough.  Read any poorly written books lately?

Karen:  I’ve started a few, but haven’t read them to the end.

NJ:  How many poorly written books have you read that you gave high marks to in your reviews when you knew they were horrible reads?  Be honest, I won’t ask you to name the books here in public.

Karen:  None. I can’t get through a horrible read. On several occasions, however, I have given four stars when it probably should have been three. Since I read for pleasure, I can ignore some editing mistakes or typos, when I really enjoy the storyline.

NJ:  Are you an author?  Are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Karen:  Yes.  Am I a good one? Well, I finish reading all of my books.

NJ:  Okie Dokie.  So, how long have you been writing?

Karen:  I wrote my first story in grade school, but didn’t start writing with any intention to share my work until about ten years ago.

NJ:  Are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?

Karen:  Yes, even if it makes me sad.

NJ:  Good for you!  Name two books that you’ve written? 

“Mountain Justice” 

Mountain Justice by Karen Black

“Treacherous Love” 

Treacherous Love by Karen Black

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Karen:  Both deal with domestic violence. “Treacherous Love” is probably the better written overall, but I like the “Mountain Justice” storyline best of the two.

NJ:  Do you have a blog or website?  I love GREAT blogs, so would you say that yours is written well enough for harsh critics like me to enjoy?

Karen:  I do have a website. I seldom blog, so I don’t think my website/blog would qualify as GREAT, but your harsh criticism is always appreciated.

NJ:  Oh, that’s kind of you to say, Karen.  I’m humbled.  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Karen:  Without question, it was RWISA University!

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

Karen:  Through discussions and critiques, I figured out how to overcome occasional writer’s block. Editors often refer to it as “showing, not telling.” I was a technical writer for over twenty years and found it difficult to move on from “just the facts.” I would labor over details to bring a situation to life, but didn’t understand why I was having trouble getting to where I wanted to go. RWISA U turned the light on. Once I realized what I was doing, or not doing, the problem disappeared.

NJ:  Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?

Karen:  It is my favorite resource. The comradery and resources are second to none.

NJ:  Karen, I agree whole-heartedly.  Have you come across any other online entities like it?

Karen:  There are other groups and resources, but nothing like RRBC.

NJ:  Ha!  I so agree with you there!  RRBC is often imitated but never duplicated or equalled.  Would you recommend it to your friends and family?

Karen:  I’ve recommended the club to a number of people.

NJ:  Yes, you have! What’s your most favorite program or place here within RRBC?  (#PUSHTUESDAY, RAVE WAVES Shows, Block Parties, Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, BOOKS OF THE MONTH discussions, “ON THE SHELF” interviews, etc.)

Karen:  The “On the Shelf” interviews are great, and I love the Books of the Month I always enjoy reading the reviews posted on the RRBC site. #Push Tuesday is an extraordinary benefit and the book discussions are fun. Are those too many favorites?

NJ:  Karen, the interview is almost over – it doesn’t matter at this point (insert NJ’s famous eye roll).  Well, this shelf is getting hard on my hiney so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words for our reading audience today?

Karen:  Thank you RRBC members for taking the time to read this interview and for your ongoing encouragement and support. It is truly appreciated. (That thank you includes you, Nonnie. By the way, I think I know why your hiney isn’t as well-padded as mine; you probably exercise.)

NJ:  Karen, I am a fitness fanatic!  I received my Fitness Trainer certification in 2009.  I’m probably in a very small, but special class of people who wakes up every day, dresses in workout attire, raring to exercise.  I actually have a timer on my cell phone that goes off once an hour when I’m extremely busy, to remind me to go and have a run on my treadmill for 20 minutes, so, yeah.  I think I’m still pretty well padded, though, but I work hard to keep it properly padded. Haha!  At my age, it’s easy to go in the other direction.

Karen, it was a pleasure to have you join me today.  Do drop in again!

To my guests, please pick up a copy of either of Karen’s books above. Please be sure to leave her a comment below as she loves to chat!  

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And, since Karen was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you.

Until next time, take care.  We’ll see you next month, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!!

***

DISCLAIMER:  RRBC does not alter the writing of any guest who has participated in our interviews.  We post material exactly as it is submitted to us.

#AUTHORS, WHAT’S YOUR ONLINE REPUTATION AND DO YOU EVEN CARE? #RRBC #RWISA

Reputation is everything

…and if it isn’t to you, then Houston, we have a problem.  Your reputation – is it reputable or is it dishonorable?  Well, so that you have a clear understanding of what a reputation is, let me give you a little refresher on the word.

The estimation in which a person or thing is held, especially by the community or the general public;  the way in which people think of someone or something.

As an author, regardless of what others think or how I am perceived, my reputation is of extreme importance to me.  I have worked hard to build my name and standing in the literary community, therefore, I guard it, and the perception of it, with great care.

Because we interact with our peers and our “communities” without the comfort of solidarity, yet, in an anonymous world behind keyboards, there are those that feel these situations offer a green light to behave poorly and recklessly.

We’re all familiar with online “trolls,” aren’t we?  The ones who go around the web wreaking havoc on everyone’s lives and enjoying every moment of it?  These people tend to hide behind fictitious names so that no one knows who they are, and their steps can’t be easily traced.  After the demise of those fake identities, they simply create new ones to continue along their senseless paths of destruction.  (Wait – let’s not focus on these trolls too much, as I have not the time or the energy to spend on them, even in my writing.  So, moving right along …).  And then, there are those who cause similar chaos online under their real names or Pen names…they just don’t care what others think about their poor behavior, and truth be told, these are the ones I worry about most. The fact that they DON’T CARE ABOUT THEIR REPUTATION OR HOW THEY ARE PERCEIVED, is a very scary thing.  Trust me when I say that if they don’t care about their own, they will lose no sleep over trying to destroy or taint yours.

You see, when I hear someone say that they are an Author, I tend to hold them to a certain level of esteem, and I’ll admit, I also expect a certain amount of professionalism and decorum from Authors.  Why?  Because although change is good, there are some things (in my mind) that should never change.

I remember as a child, dreaming and wishing that I could one day meet my favorite Author (Louisa May Alcott), but deep down, knowing that would never be possible.  Not because she died in the 1800’s, but, when I was but a young lass, Authors just weren’t so “accessible,” and there was this mystery surrounding them.  (And in my opinion, a little mystery always makes life more interesting – wouldn’t you agree?)  We didn’t have the luxury of interacting with them on Facebook and Twitter the way it’s done now, and you know, that wasn’t such a bad thing.  The way they carried and conducted themselves, it was clear the Authors of old cared about their reputations and how they were perceived.  (Kind of reminds you of the Authors on the current RWISA roster, as well as those members of RRBC who also greatly value their professional reputations in this literary arena.)

Today, we have many who display attitudes of nonchalance of decent behavior all over social media.  This is evident when you see the kinds of conversations they carry on on Twitter, the types of images and videos they choose to share on Facebook, and lastly, the behavior they choose to exhibit publicly, period.  Sadly, I’m not only referencing the younger generation. I’ve seen the most unprofessional behavior recently from those who are in grandparent and great-grandparent seasons, that have shown me exactly the behavior TO NOT EXHIBIT when I’m in that same season of life.  I’ve witnessed with my own eyes, two adult women (Authors) in knock-down-drag-out cat fights (aka … war of words) on social media, and as an adult, a mom of daughters, and a professional Author … I was embarrassed for them.  Never in a million years, would I behave in such a manner!

In my embarrassment for these adults, I wondered, Do they not care that others are watching them?  Watching this?  Who would want to run out and purchase their books after witnessing such disgraceful behavior?  I surely wouldn’t.  I imagined seeing the both of them (in the real world) standing outside of a bar, brawling, pulling each other’s hair.  I experienced such embarrassment for them, just watching this play out online – because clearly, they weren’t embarrassed at all.

Engaging in this type of back and forth war-of-words publicly, seals the deal on your online reputation.  People who were friendly with you before, start to become quiet in your midst.  You’re now noticing the ones who once called you “friend,” are now moving away from your inner circle.   Still confused as to why?  People who hold themselves in high esteem, are smart enough to know that you can quickly be tagged as “the company you keep,” and I’ve never once heard that reference used in a good way. These people, professionals who care about their reputations, do not want to be aligned with amateurs who are clearly not in their league, nor are they on the same level.  I personally, tend to quickly move away from people who display such volatile and indecent behavior, as you just never know what they’ll do next.   When it’s displayed once, once is enough for me.  {Note to readers:  I’m the lady who believes what people show me … not so much what they tell me}.

As I wrap things up here, my advice to you is this: Think before you speak and think even harder before you act, lest you do or say something which you might regret later.  If, in the past, you have found yourself guilty of any form of public juvenile behavior, you can still turn things around, if you work hard enough.  Your online reputation is and should be, just as important as your reputation in the real world.  Let what yours say about you, be a true reflection of who you are and how you want to be perceived and received.  And, when others are behaving at a level that you would never stoop to, please, decline their invitation to that party.  There are some who have nothing better to do but spend their time “attempting” to bring others down and ruin lives, and that’s because their lives are so sad, they can’t stand the thought of others living in happy-land.  (FYI, Nonnie is the Mayor of Happy-land – just in case anyone wants to move closer to me … LOL)

What does your online reputation say about you? Is it reputable or is it deplorable?  What do you think others are saying about you, based on this kind of reputation?  We’d love to hear from you via the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by!

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.

~Anonymous

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RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB

Building Your #Author Platform #RRBC #RWISA

We are 18 days away from our 5th Annual Writers’ Conference & Book Expo and if you haven’t registered to take part in any of the planned book promotions, sessions, games, etc. for this event, you are really doing yourself a grand disservice.

We have 23 sessions being presented in this year’s conference and you still have time to register for them.

Today, I’m giving you a FREE sample of the quality of the sessions and information that will be presented at this year’s #WC&BE20.  This session is in blog form format and I hope that the information contained within proves to be super-beneficial to you and your writing career!

BUILDING YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM

Nonnie Jules, Presenter

NJ Logo1 (1)

As writers, we blog about many different things. We blog about our family and friends, how much we do (or don’t) exercise, politics, and even the food we eat. But, unless you’re a family therapist, a fitness guru, a politician or a foodie, none of these are your platforms UNLESS they are all you speak about, the majority of the time.

Many writers pop onto the scene and want the world to know them as being “good at everything,” and although there is a strong possibility they are, readers don’t care to know this. Readers want to believe that they are reading material from EXPERTS, and although we’d love to be, we can’t be EXPERTS at everything. So, that is when you need to establish your author platform.

I actually have two main platforms:  CHILDREN & SUPPORT (although I must admit, that I’m pretty good at writing about a multitude of things). If you were to mention my name to any number of people and ask: “What is her platform?” they would probably respond with “Parenting and children, but she’s always trying to teach the importance of support, as well.”  Now, although they might name one as my main platform, notice how the other is also tied into their response.   WHY? Because these two areas are what I write about, talk about and live the most.  (I should also add Living Decently to my platform, as that is an issue that I tend to lend a ton of focus to, as well).

I am known as THE GOOD MOMMIES’ Mommy.  Its typical for me to stand in line at the market and a parent or someone who recognizes me, walks over and asks:  “Aren’t you the good mommies’ mommy?” My first book, THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS, placed me in that position online.  What everyone may not know is, I am also that mommy in the real world. Raising great kids is typically ALL that I talk about;  it is what I am passionate about, it is what I live and breathe, and so, it is my main platform.  Of course, there are other things I tend to go on and on about, but not as much as this!

Now established, I am consulted by parents, print media outlets, parenting bloggers, and other organizations who recognize me as an “expert” in my field, and wish to use my advice for articles, interviews, and speaking engagements.  Parenting organizations in schools use my parenting guide as a fundraiser in their communities, and humbly, when I speak on the subject, many ears listen.

It’s an art to be able to write well under more than one genre, but first, become known for that one area that solidifies your place in our writing culture, so that readers are easily able to recognize and identify with you.  You’re not being put into a hole or a box, you are just carving out that special place, where your name recognition keeps your foot in the door for a wider range of opportunities.

Here are just a few tips to get you started on the road to building your author platform:

  1.  Pick a subject and become knowledgeable on the topic;
  2. Blog on your subject matter and build a following.  If your content is interesting, it will keep them coming back for more and they’ll also begin spreading the word of your blog to others;
  3. On social media, ensure that you use the appropriately dedicated hashtags for your main area of interest.  I tend to use #Parenting, #Kids, #Children in all of my tweets related to the subject of parenting.  For my blog posts on #support, that is the hashtag that I use. This draws those searching for information on these topics, to my info-filled tweets;
  4. Network with other entities, agencies, and bloggers, etc. in your field, so that you are able to offer guest contributions to their successful websites, blogs, and periodicals.  It’s OK to ask if you may contribute via guest articles and blog posts;
  5. Register and reach out to organizations in your area of interest so that they know who you are, and will keep you in mind when they need authors to speak at their engagements;
  6. Never turn down any media invitations, whether they are in print, radio or television;
  7. Join organizations in the area of your platform focus.  You will learn more from those who are traveling the same road as you are;
  8. Lastly, spend time sharing interesting material on your platform, via your social media forums.  This will increase your following, as well as pique the interest of those who find your social media content worth reading.  They’ll want more and will begin seeking out other areas of your writing, such as your books, blogs, etc.  They will also begin to associate you with that particular field.

If you’re not already, I’d like for you to follow me at WATCH NONNIE WRITE as I will continue to offer more tips to help you begin establishing and building a strong author platform.  What is it that you’re most passionate about? What is the one thing you’re actually KNOWN for? That could very easily serve as the medium you need, to establish your credibility with your new-found platform.

Thanks for spending this time with us.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly at nonniejules@gmail.com.

***

SESSION ACCOMPANIMENT
(Here is a list of 7 questions you should ask yourself, to ensure that you are serious about building your author platform).

  •  What am I good at or what am I most interested in?
  • Am I passionate about this field or subject matter?
  • Am I willing to work hard to increase my knowledge of this subject matter?
  • Am I willing to further my education on the subject at an institution of higher learning?
  • Do I feel comfortable speaking intelligently on this subject matter to individuals and organizations, if asked?
  • Am I willing to spend the time building a blog which is focused on my platform?  This would include posting scheduled content, as well as growing my followers;
  • Am I willing to go beyond social media contact to reach out to those in my field who might be able to help grow awareness of my platform?  This means, am I willing to actually pick up the phone and make direct contact?

This is the quality of information you’ll find at our upcoming WC&BE.  Information that will help you to grow in your writing and the marketing of your books and blogs, etc.

Have you registered for the 2020 5th Annual RRBC WRITERS’ CONFERENCE & BOOK EXPO yet?

Have you JOINED RRBC?

Let us know your thoughts on this content and thanks for dropping by!  Please share and LIKE the page before leaving!

Do You Even Know What ‘Converting’ Your Blog Means? #RRBC

It seems that many authors/bloggers (aka blog site owners) are a little in the dark about what they should post on their blogs or how to even begin to blog.  Once you’ve mastered that tiny feat, you then need to know how to attract and keep your visitors interested.

We happened upon this article by Nathan Thompson over at OptInMonster, that is filled with helpful information.  Check out “7 Proven Tips to Create Blog Posts that Convert Like Crazy.”

You may not know what ‘converting’ a blog post means right now, but you certainly will after reading this article!

Happy Converting!

Was this article helpful to you?  LIKE the post before leaving and be sure to share it to your social media feeds.

Pearls of #Literature on #Marketing, #Blogging, #Community & #Support, Pt. 6 #RRBC #RWISA

During our 4th Annual Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, I was scheduled to present a session on my “15 Pearls” of Literature on Marketing, Blogging, Community, and Support.  As it has worked out in the past (but won’t be the case anymore), I wasn’t able to get this session up in time but did get it done eventually – just not published.  Those who registered for that session will be getting 3 new sessions FREE during our upcoming 2020 WC&BE! 

This session on my “PEARLS…” will be shared here for all our members, in hopes that it will help in our quest to become more successful and better at marketing our work as we make connections that will benefit us professionally as well as personally.  These will be posted under our posting schedule of Mondays & Thursdays each week, in separate parts.

Welcome to Part 6!

ARE YOU PLAYING BY THE RULES OF PUBLISHING?

So, how did you fare in English 101? Did you get that evasive “A” that every overachiever chases or did you get that devilish “D” that scares most of us horribly? Well, fortunately, I am a self-proclaimed English major so we know what I was after.  I love English – I love words, and the dictionary is a book that I grew up reading as if it was my favorite novel. That being said, there is that part of English where (in my old age) I sometimes get stuck.

I admit to being a little too friendly with commas. I love commas! That’s obvious in my over-use of them sometimes. (Not very often, but, I willfully admit to having my moments).  Now, in defense of my use of commas, they keep us from running red lights, bumping head-first into each other, and, they tend to save lives – reading lives, that is, as they give us a chance to pause and breathe during those stories written by long-winded writers.  I won’t call your names, you know who you are.

When I ask are you playing by the rules of publishing, I’m referring to more than just your punctuation usage, though;  the rules of publishing go far beyond that. I mean, there are unwritten laws that, if broken, could send you spiraling straight into writers’ hell. (Yes, that’s a real place because I READ it somewhere.)

Do you write in 1st, 2nd or 3rd person consistently through-out one story, or, do you mix it up? Do you like to NOT use that comma in a salutation, such as “Hi, Harry?”  You know, there are people who are sticklers for things like that.  

But, there are those of us who go too far in breaking the rules of publishing and if you don’t know who you are, I’m pointing at you.  When you make huge mistakes and then say, “I did that intentionally,” or, “I like the way that looks,” you might be in trouble; not with the industry, but you’re making trouble for yourself. Let’s face it, some of those rules we can get away with breaking, but, others are a no-no and a definite book-kill.

Take the time to learn that which is most important in this industry, and sometimes what’s most important isn’t written in a manual – it’s listening to others and taking their good advice without defending your broken rules. Trust me, if those broken rules don’t bring you down, this industry surely will!

What rules do you tend to break in your writing?

~Nonnie Jules

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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, #RRBC #RWISA!

To all the RRBC Dads who are the fearless anchors, teachers, and heroes of their children’s lives.  This is for you…

F.A.T.H.E.R.

F is for you being Fearless = For all the times you showed up in defense of me and fearlessly stared down any and every obstacle that threatened to block my path to safety and greatness

A is for you being the Anchor = For always being the mainstay that kept our family firmly secured, in place, and together

T is for you being the Teacher = For all the things you’ve taught me that guided me to the awesome adult I am today

H is for you being the Hero = For all the times you came to my rescue; even in those times when you were protecting me from myself

E is for you being the Everything = For all the safety, security, and love that you have provided me with throughout my life and for always being the glue that kept our family together 

R is for you being Responsible = For modeling and thereby teaching me the meaning of responsibility, and the importance of owning up to my wrongs as well as standing firmly in my rights.

Father, you are the most Responsible and Fearless Teacher, Anchor, Hero I know … you are my Everything

Thank you for all that you’ve shown me. 

Thank you for all that you’ve taught me.

Thank you for all the love you’ve given me! 

Father, thank you for EVERYTHING!

~Nonnie Jules

What does your FATHER mean to you?

The #RRBC #Community Shows Up! That’s What We Do! #AloneTogether

For those of you who missed out on attending today’s RATERS NOT HATERS Show, you missed a treat on so many levels.

This month’s show was held in our Zoom studio and the sense of community felt throughout the entire segment was so powerful.  As one of our members in attendance put it, “It felt just like a real book club setting.”  19 of us sat in a virtual room and did what we all love to do – we talked books!  And, with the author present, that made it even better!

The Coronavirus pandemic has us all locked away from the world – some of us more so than others (because some of us are actually obeying the laws of human decency and staying home so that we don’t hurt ourselves or anyone else around us).  But, as goes the commercials we’ve all been seeing on television since this crisis began, we’re not alone, we’re #AloneTogether.

This segment of RATERS NOT HATERS made us all feel powerfully alone together – face to face, with some of us connected via only our voices, but yet, the collectiveness of community resounded loudly.

RRBC is unlike any other organization around.  We’re not here to just park our books in the catalog and take support without ever giving it.  No, that’s not why I created this amazing organization.  We’re here to help push and propel each other to the highest of heights, and we can’t do that if we’re not showing up.  We can’t do that by sitting on the sidelines – taking and taking and taking, without ever giving.  And how do we give here at RRBC?  We show up for each other!

This is a special THANK YOU, first, to our co-hosts who made the show amazing (JOY NWOSU LO-BAMIJOKO & SHIRLEY HARRIS-SLAUGHTER);  secondly,  for those members from around the globe who set their alarms to get up early and join us (Wendy Scott and Robbie Cheadle), we’re so appreciative of you for that, by the way; and last but certainly not least, to those who just couldn’t wait to get into the studio with us today (Karl Morgan, Bette Stevens, Yvette Calleiro, Maura Beth Brennan, Rox Burkey, Jan Sikes, Flossie Benton-Rogers, Wanda Fischer & Linda Mims), I offer a heartfelt hug of gratitude to each of you!

These members took the time to help make the RATERS NOT HATERS show an awesome event!  Since it was the first time these co-hosts broadcast live via our Zoom studio, these members made that experience extra, extra special and memorable for them.

Now, sometimes it just pays to show up.  Not just because you know there will be a giveaway, but, because a supportive spirit is truly part of your spirit. 

During the month of May, we have 9 hot seats to fill between the RRBC & RWISA houses (BOOKS OF THE MONTH, “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR, MEMBER OF THE MONTH, RWISA “RISING” WRITER, #PUSHTUESDAY, guest interview on EYES ON THE BOOK, and let’s not forget to mention the many areas that will be profiled in the May issue of THE PIPELINE MAGAZINE)  and every single one of these members who “showed up” will have a hot seat.

But wait, I’m not finished.  Two of these lucky members will also receive an Amazon gift card (courtesy of Joy).

There are major changes coming to RRBC & RWISA as early as May 1st but the one thing that will never change here is our theme:  Those members who are the most SUPPORTIVE here, are the members who are the most SUPPORTED here!

They say to win you gotta play, but, today, you didn’t have to play at all – all you had to do was simply SHOW UP!

Thank you and CONGRATS to those who did!

***

If you joined us today in our Zoom studio, what was your experience?  

Pearls of #Literature on #Marketing, #Blogging, #Community, #Support, Pt. 3 #RRBC

During our 4th Annual Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, I was scheduled to present a session on my “15 Pearls” of Literature on Marketing, Blogging, Community, and Support.  As it has worked out in the past (but won’t be the case anymore), I wasn’t able to get this session up in time but did get it done eventually – just not published.  Those who registered for that session will be getting 3 new sessions FREE during our upcoming 2020 WC&BE! 

This session on my “PEARLS…” will be shared here for all our members, in hopes that it will help in our quest to become more successful and better at marketing our work as we make connections that will benefit us professionally as well as personally.  These will be posted under our posting schedule of Mondays & Thursdays each week, in separate parts.  

Welcome to Part 3!

IN WRITING, WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA IS REALLY FOR

I came on the social media scene over 9 years ago, and although many tried to tag me as a “newbie,” I quickly shed that tag after two months of being online. Back then, many would ask how I managed to learn as much as I did about social media (namely Twitter) as quickly as I did. Well, I’m not one to sit around on my laurels waiting for anything, so I jumped right in and learned all that I could … as fast as I could.

I noticed a lot of people on Twitter (as I still do) offering what they brand as support by tweeting or RTing things that matter not to anyone. I notice RTs of food (you know, what someone had for lunch), I notice RTs of funnies (on some days these do come in handy,  but mind you, I said some days … we can do without your funny emojis filling up our timeline every minute on the minute), and, I see full-blown conversations about absolutely nothing taking place on Twitter. You know, aside from allotting only 140 characters per tweet, I’m told Mr. Tweet-Man is still today, sitting, watching and waiting for you to tweet more tweets than he has allotted you for the day. Once you’ve broken his rule, he calls the tweet-cops on you! And what do they do? You guessed it – they arrest you and put you in Twitter-Jail! Now, Mr. Tweet-Man’s policy on how long you have to stay in Twitter-Jail is something I know nothing about.

In writing, social media is for a certain purpose … and that is to get the word out about your writing, whether on your blog site or via the books you’ve written.  And, although bonds are formed and friendships are made while on social media, it still remains a marketing tool for us, and we must never allow the personal part of it to interfere with our real reasons for being there.  I am on social media for ONE reason and ONE reason only … and that is to Profile, Promote and Propel my books and my writing, while also doing the same for my fellow authors. Because I’m a serious writer, I cannot afford to log onto Twitter for daily socializing.  I get on there, I do what I need to do, and then I get back to writing, which bears repeating, is the reason I’m on social media in the first place.

Now, don’t get me wrong … I’m not saying that you should not socialize on social media;  what I am sharing is that there is a way to spend time on social media, getting to know those you support and the ones who support you, while ensuring that the time you’re spending on Twitter, Facebook, etc. is not wasted time. Remember, we can’t get that time back and we are working hard to become bestsellers here, right?

If by chance there is the occasional second where someone has engaged me in a not-so-work-related tweet-chat, I utilize that time to the max.  90% of the time I tend to always include some type of marketing bit, even in those personal tweets … either at the beginning or at the end of the chat.  Here’s an example of one such tweet: “@sharrislaughter Thx 4 the plug. How’s ur day going? #DaydreamsDaughter… amazon.com/dp/B00GLM2VVM.” Notice how even in the midst of a quick personal chat, I have injected the title and purchase link to my book.

Even though the person you are tweeting may not click the link, imagine how many times that tweet will travel around the world and somebody who you might not ever have the chance to make direct contact with, just might see it, and click it.  I call that “not wasting a tweet!” You should look at it the same way and follow my lead.  You never know who might happen to notice that tweet, click on the link and then purchase your book or become a follower of your blog.

Social media is about support. We get on there, we engage and we garner support for our work, as others are doing the same for theirs. If it is your goal to be a true supporter of others, take the time to RT something of substance for your tweet-colleagues. Don’t RT the first random thing you see on their timeline.  When I see a RT of, say for instance a BlogTalkRadio interview that is clearly marked with a date and time in the distant past, my blood begins to boil.  That says to me the person behind the RT is not someone who even knows what they are sending out into the world because they didn’t take the time to read the tweet.  If they had, surely they wouldn’t have retweeted it, right?  They could be retweeting child pornography for all they know;  they saw “a” tweet, and hit their RT button without even reading the tweet first. 

If you want to at least give the illusion that you are being supportive, take the time to find a tweet that will do the person you are RTing, the most good – one in which their work is being promoted. It’s not a hard thing to do at all, and I assure you, they will greatly appreciate you for going that extra mile for them.

If you don’t want to just give the illusion that you’re supportive, step up your game and do more than just RT someone.  When you happen upon their tweet of substance, actually take a moment and click the link to see what it’s all about.  If they are sharing their blog post, read it and then leave an engaging comment, LIKE the post, FOLLOW their blog, and then share the post onto your social media forums before leaving.  They’ll probably be so appreciative of you that they’ll take the time to seek you out and support you in the same manner. 

If someone is sharing their book link to Amazon, B&N or some other online retailer, click the link and support by picking up a copy of their book, whether by purchasing it or snagging it as a FREE copy.  Whatever you do, do it better than the person who is only giving the illusion of being a real supporter.  There are too many of those common folks on social media merely hitting a RT or share button – that’s all they’ll ever do and as my mom used to say, “that’s all they’re good for.”  Just as you want to be known as a social media substance supporter, those are also the kinds of supporters you want backing you.

Always utilize every marketing tool that you have at your disposal to promote your work – don’t allow one second of it to go to waste. We don’t know when Mr. Tweet-Man is going to change his mind and maybe decide to start charging us a hefty fee to use his service, or when he might decide to retire and just shut it down for good. Let’s make the best of social media while we can and wherever we can. 

**I’ve mainly used Twitter here as my example but know that there are many other social media forums for you to promote your work via, while also engaging in building those relationships online that will benefit you well into the future.  Best of luck!**

What kind of social media supporter are you?  Leave us a comment down below – we’d love to know!

By the way, I’m looking for some really good books to read while on my upcoming two-week reading vacation.  If you have a book that you’d like for me to dig into, leave the title and your author name down below, and I’ll be purchasing and reading it soon!  

If you’re also feeling that generous, drop by the RRBC catalog and check out some of our awesome member-reads there!  They’d love your support!

~Nonnie Jules

***

Looking for a supportive community to belong to?  RRBC is the best around!  Join Us and you’ll see!

Pearls of #Literature on #Marketing, #Blogging, #Community, #Support, Pt. 2 #RRBC #RWISA #RRBC_Community

During our 4th Annual Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, I was scheduled to present a session on my “15 Pearls” of Literature on Marketing, Blogging, Community, and Support.  As it has worked out in the past (but won’t be the case anymore), I wasn’t able to get this session up in time but did get it done eventually – just not published.  Those who registered for that session will be getting 3 new sessions FREE during our upcoming WC&BE in August! 

This session on my “PEARLS…” will be shared here for all our members, in hopes that it will help in our quest to become more successful and better at marketing our work as we make connections that will benefit us professionally as well as personally.  These will be posted under our posting schedule of Mondays & Thursdays each week, in separate parts.  

Welcome to Part 2!

SUPPORT FROM ACROSS THE WATER

I want to share with you the awesomeness of support from across the water.  In spite of all the ills of the internet and the World Wide Web, it has given us one extremely profound gift…the ability to connect with people from around the world who we would otherwise, never get to meet. I am in no way a fan of the World Wide Web, because even though it has given us that special gift, it has also created a medium for people with ugly hearts and desires to hurt, deceive, and even exude their ugliness even more broadly.

With this knowledge under your belt, I would suggest a limit on what you share via the World Wide Web and I would ask that you practice extreme caution in your interactions with those who sit behind their private, anonymous keyboards.  But, even in your cautiousness, don’t ever let the power of those connections made from across the water, escape you.  Oftentimes, we are lucky enough to encounter those “real” people who we get to know on deeper levels and who become our “real” friends.  Having support from down under and abroad will afford you the opportunity to have your work purchased and read in foreign countries, by those who may live quite differently from you, but, who enjoy good written works just the same, no matter where it comes from.

When you have friends who support you from across the water, they are speaking you up and sharing with their little corner of the world, who you are, and what you do. Be thankful for that while cherishing and nourishing these friendships from the other side of the pond.

Have you met new friends from across the water thanks to RRBC?  Have they proven themselves to be “real” friends or just the “internet” kind?  We’re listening.  We’d love to know!

~Nonnie 

Pearls of #Literature on #Marketing, #Blogging, #Community, #Support, Pt. 1 #RRBC #RWISA #RRBC_Community

During our 4th Annual Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, I was scheduled to present a session on my “15 Pearls” of Literature on Marketing, Blogging, Community, and Support.  As it has worked out in the past (but won’t be the case anymore), I wasn’t able to get this session up in time but did get it done eventually – just not published.  Those who registered for that session will be getting 3 new sessions FREE during our upcoming WC&BE in August! 

This session on my “PEARLS…” will be shared here for all our members, in hopes that it will help in our quest to become successful in these areas.  These will be posted under our posting schedule of Mondays & Thursdays each week, in separate parts.  

Often times we think that to become a successful author, all we need to do is publish a book, but, that is so far from the truth.  To be successful in this business, you must learn and master the tricks of the trade in the marketing arena, blogging arena, support arena, and you must be aligned with, and have a strong sense of community – self, and others.

All of the pearls that I will be sharing are integral to our success.  I believe so strongly in these pearls, that I’m happy to share them with you!

Welcome to Part 1!

ALIGN YOURSELF WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE
When you became an author, did you imagine that you would have everything in common with all the other folks who wore the same title? Did you think it would be easy simply because you were in the company (virtually, so to speak) of other writers?
When I became a published author, I was initially met with more resistance than offers to connect or offers of assistance.  These people were clearly only out for their own best interests and had absolutely no desire to help a newbie author who was just getting started in this business.

Then, I met a friend, and as we connected, we not only felt that we were walking the same road, experiencing the same challenges and successes equally, but it became apparent to us that we were also headed in the very same direction. She and I began referring to each other as “SUCCESS PARTNERS.” We emailed each other daily our top 5 things that we needed to get done that day, and we encouraged each other to stay the course of our goals.  It was clear early on that we were of like-mind. We were two moms, both published authors, who battled daily the challenges of our personal lives as well as the struggles of getting our books marketed and sold. I understood her highs and lows and she understood mine.

It’s so important to align yourself with people you have shared values with and those who share your ideals on success and support, you know…the ones who are going to lift you up and not try to tear you down. The ones that you’re able to call on, lean on and garner support from when you need it most, are the kinds of individuals you want to be aligned with and always in the company of.

There are tons of communities all around the world and thanks to the World Wide Web, we’re all just a keystroke away.  Just make sure that you are aligned with the ones that feel like the right fit for you and what you are trying to accomplish.  Just because they appear to be “sweet” via their tweets, doesn’t mean they are, so be careful, and just as is true in the real world, choose your friends carefully and wisely – we are always judged by the company we keep … even online.

Are you aligning yourself with like-minded individuals online and off?  Have you found a community that builds you up?  We’d love to hear about it!

~Nonnie