10 No-Brainer Email Rules

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Time to brush up on some email standards.

10 No-Brainer Email Rules

1. Always check the TO: box on an email before you click SEND.

I can't tell you how many people have suffered embarrassment and worse from sending an email to the wrong person. What's worse? An author bitching about her editor or agent or another author and inadvertently sending that email to the subject of the bitching. Oh, yeah. It's happened. A lot.

2. Especially in a FORWARD, check the TO box of the email.

It's easy to make a mistake and hard for the recipient to forget.

3. Never put anything in an email that you wouldn't want published on the front page of the newspaper your parents' read.

Yeah, we all get upset and vent, but never leave a paper trail for that vent. Get on the phone and call your BFF if you need to vent.

4. Never defame a peer, a boss, or anyone who can negatively affect your career in an email.

You'd be surprised how many times something like that gets shared in forums and eventually followed to the person you defamed.

4. Never spread rumors or lies in an email.

That's cyber bullying, and it's reprehensible.

5. Create an accurate SUBJECT for your email so it will not end up in the spam folder.

Specific email subjects get read, not ignored or deleted.

6. Do not make the SUBJECT a post.

Have you ever got an email with sentences in the SUBJECT. It's really annoying, right?

7. Do not use a Signature that's too big.

I've seen emails where the Signature file is 50 words or more.

Come on! About 4 or 6 short lines is sufficient–a courteous closing if you wish, your name, and a couple of URL's or book title and URL.

8. Make your emails interesting so they get read.

Boring emails get skimmed, often with the recipient not grasping the content very well.

9. If the email is important, request a READ Receipt.

Please don't set up every single email requiring a READ Receipt. That's just annoying.

10. If you're emailing a response to a Yahoo Groups, always remember that many people who subscribe to these lists are on Digest.

Never hit REPLY and copy the entire Digest with your reply. Snip out the part you're replying to and paste it into your response.

Takeaway Truth

Staying on top of email is a skill. It's like processing snail mail. Try to "handle" it only once by answering it or sticking it in a folder if you need more info to answer. Then get it done within 48 hours if possible.

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7 Ways to Build Your Blog Audience

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I was sprucing up my blog design recently because, well, it was time. You have to keep things fresh.

That's just a simple thing you can do to keep your audience growing. Here are some other easy ways to build your audience.

7 Ways to Build Your Blog Audience

1. Guest blog often. You'll be read by a different audience for the most part.

2. Join a group blog and reference your own blog.

3. Blog often on a consistent schedule.

4. Always interact with your blog visitors.

5. Install a translator plugin to make your blog more accessible to those who speak a language other than English. Most blog platforms offer a widget for this. If not, you can buy a plugin for very little.

6. Change your blog design if you've had the same design up for a few years. There are tons of free templates or themes available. Just do a Google search to find free ones. You can even buy a distinctive template for a low fee. If you use a pre-made, customize it so it doesn't look like everyone else's blog.

7. Try to engage your audience by asking questions, offering prizes for specific actions, and use a clear call to action.

By the way, how do you like the new design? Leave a comment with your email, and I'll send you a coupon for a free book.

Takeaway Truth

Blogging should be fun. If your audience isn't growing, maybe it's time to shake things up a bit.

Authors, subscribe to WritingHacks, my free email newsletter with tips to help you, and receive a special gift.

Readers, subscribe to WordPlay, my free email list, and receive a special gift.

Thursday3Some: Ruined by Alicia Dean

Hopefully, the weather has warmed up in your neck of the woods. If not, then grab a good book -- maybe the one my guest Alicia Dean will talk about -- and read until spring arrives!

About Alicia Dean

Alicia lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, and has 3 grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historical novels.

Alicia is a freelance editor and also is an editor for The Wild Rose Press.

Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, Major League Baseball, the National Football League (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories), and watching her favorite TV shows like Vampire Diaries, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, New Girl, The Mindy Project, and Dexter (even though it has sadly ended, she will forever be a fan). Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

Find Alicia Dean Online

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest * Goodreads

About Ruined: Martini Club 4 – The 1920’s

After the Earl of Goodwin attempts to force himself on her, housemaid Eliza Gilbert flees England for New York, hoping to build a better life. But the land of opportunity proves as harsh as the London docks, and she finds herself in a situation more dreadful than the one she escaped. When Vince Taggart’s childhood friend disappears, he heads to New York in search of her and meets Eliza, a woman with a less than honorable reputation. Inexplicably captivated, Vince can’t force himself to stay away, especially when he learns Eliza may be the key to finding his missing friend.

When did you write Ruined?

I’ve worked on it off and on for about a year, but completed it in late, 2014.

What was the spark that gave you the story idea?

The idea came from a weekly outing between myself and three of my author friends. We meet every Friday at The Martini Lounge in Edmond, Oklahoma. We came up with an idea to write a series of books centered around the lounge, and we decided to set the first ones in a 1920’s speakeasy.

Why do readers buy Ruined?

I think partly because the 1920’s era is popular right now, thanks in part to The Great Gatsby remake, but also because they are intrigued at the idea of my heroine being a ‘lady of the evening.’

Buy Martini Club 4 – The 1920’s by Alicia Dean

Amazon Kindle

Takeaway Truth

If you're always complaining about romance novels being "the same" then Ruined may be what you're looking for with its 1920's speakeasy setting and a heroine who is a "lady of the evening." If you like the novel, be sure and leave the author a short review.

Take 5 with Pam Thibodeaux

Award-winning author Pamela S. Thibodeaux dropped by SlingWords today to answer a few questions to help us get to know her better.

About Pamela S. Thibodeaux

Pam is one busy author. She's the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Find Pamela S. Thibodeaux Online

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest

About Circles of Fate

Set at the tail-end of the Vietnam War era, Circles of Fate takes the reader from Fort Benning, Georgia, to Thibodaux, Louisiana. A romantic saga, this gripping novel covers nearly twenty years in the lives of Shaunna Chatman and Todd Jameson.

Constantly thrown together and torn apart by fate, the two are repeatedly forced to choose between love and duty, right and wrong, standing on faith or succumbing to the world’s viewpoint on life, love, marriage and fidelity. With intriguing twists and turns, fate brings together a cast of characters whose lives will forever be entwined.

Through it all is the hand of God as He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Take 5 with Pamela S. Thibodeaux

1. What's your guilty pleasure when it comes to food and drink?

Bread is by far my favorite food…any and every type of bread…Cakes, cookies, pastries, dinner rolls, crackers…you get my drift. As for drink, I’m a water person with perhaps one glass of milk per day. Occasionally I’ll drink tea and have begun drinking Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey. Moscato or White Zifandel wine with a shot of Peach Schnapps, Smirnoff Triple Black wine coolers, Strawberry Daiquiri, Margarita no salt and throw in a mixed drink of Wild Turkey and Coke and you have my adult beverage list from which I choose when out dancing.

2. What's your guilty pleasure when it comes to books?

Nora Roberts romances & women’s fiction novels and spiritual non-fiction by authors such as Cheryl Richardson, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson top my list of books to buy and always have on hand.

3. What's the best review you ever received?

The best review I’ve ever received is not really a review, but a compliment. There are readers who like my books and those who love them. Then there are those who don’t, but for me, the best compliment comes from two sectors…those who never read and those who read all the time and read authors across genres. Having someone from either category tell me they couldn’t put my book down, is the greatest blessing and encouragement I can receive.

4. Do you listen to music during any of the phases of writing a book? If you do, what kind of music.

No, I don’t because I either get so caught up in the music that I can’t write a single word or so engrossed in the story that the music distracts me to the point of frustration. That said, I don’t mind a little background noise on occasion (TV or radio on in a different room). But for the most part, I write in a silent environment so I can hear what my characters and my muse have to say.

5. What would you change about your career path if you could wave a magic wand?

My first book (Tempered Hearts) was E-published in 2000, and the second (Tempered Dreams) in 2001. During that time I worked with the Books A Million stores within driving distance from my home to set up signings and distribution. In 2002, I pulled these two books and signed a contract with an “up and coming” publishing company that never got off the ground. That decision cost me four years out of my career and put books 3 and 4 of my Tempered series (as well as everything else I’d written to date) on hold. If I could wave a magic wand, I’d change that decision and hopefully use the time I lost to hone my craft and write more books.

Add Circles of Fate by Pamela S. Thibodeaux to Your Book Collection

Amazon Kindle * Print Edition from Amazon * Nook * Print Edition from B&N * Smashwords Ebook

Takeaway Truth

Thanks, Pam! Readers, Pam Thibodeaux brings emotion and faith to her novels, but in a way that makes them different from the usual inspirational romances. If you haven't read her before, try her latest today.

6 Places to Donate Your Print Book & Gain New Fans

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Gain new fans by giving away print copies of your book.

A lot of authors give away ebooks, but not very many give print books. If you have print books, consider giving away copies to grow your fan base. Plus, it's just a nice thing to do.

Prep Your Books

In each book, place a label on the inside somewhere--like the title page or some place equally obvious. Also, place a bookmark within each book.

The label and the bookmark should contain your author name, your tagline, your website, email, and snail mail information. Don't crowd the information. Make sure there's enough white space.

Also, use some kind of tracking code so if someone contacts you by email or mail, you'll know it was a result of your donated book. This could be something as simple as asking them to include a phrase like "Paige Turner Donates Books" in their mail or email.

6 Places To Donate

1. Senior Centers. Retired people are usually readers and they read a lot.

2. Retirement or assisted living homes. Same reason. Make a fan here, and they'll tell all their friends.

3. Bed and Breakfast Inns in your area. Most B&B's keep books for their guests. Why not make yours available?

4. Got any motels near you? Know anyone who works for motel/hotel industry? Donate books. Put together a basket of books they can keep in the lobby.

5. Doctor’s offices have people waiting all the time. Donate a few copies to spread around the waiting room.

6. Rehab/physical training facilities also have a lot of people waiting throughout the day. Give them something new to read.

Takeaway Truth

Most authors are so wired in to the ebook world that they forget the majority of people still read print books. Take advantage of that fact by donating print books. It's a lovely thing to do especially at the places listed above. Let me know if you gain new readers.

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6 Steps to Get Back on Track

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How to get back on track?

That's a question I'm asking myself this morning. I've been away from the office so much since 2015 began (family medical emergencies, sickness, exhaustion from dealing with the aforementioned) that I'm out of touch with what I wanted to achieve this year--out of touch with my work ethic.

Completed manuscripts lie unpublished. Planned projects remain on the drawing board. Now tax returns loom on the horizon. My energy lags, and I'm overwhelmed.

Sitting here with my cup of coffee, staring at the piles of research materials on my desk, and thinking, I've come up with these steps to get back on track.

6 Steps to Get Back on Track
  1. Make a list of everything you wanted to accomplish this year.
  2. Looking at your list, take each item and see what has been done and itemize what remains to be done.
  3. Now look at each items again and think about each--about why you were interested in it in the first place. As you think about it, does your enthusiasm rekindle? Are you getting excited about it again? If you are, put the item on a new list: Revised Goals 2015.
  4. Take your new list--Revised Goals 2015--and look at it again. Re-order the list by priority. You can prioritize by deadline, ease of completion, readiness to proceed, or whatever gets you moving in the right direction.
  5. Rewrite your list again in order of priority. This step is really just to cement it in your consciousness.
  6. Take the first step with your first goal so you get moving in the direction of accomplishment.
Takeaway Truth

Give these steps a try. Let me know if they help.

Authors, subscribe to WritingHacks, my free email newsletter with tips to help you, and receive a special gift.

Readers, subscribe to WordPlay, my free email list, and receive a special gift.

Old Man Winter

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"In the winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold." ~Ben Aaronovitch, Broken Homes

Yes, it's true that snowbound weather is great for reading. I know I've certainly been reading a lot this winter. However, I think people would also like to get outdoors again and maybe walk around. Unfortunately, for much of the country, getting outdoors has meant shoveling snow, clearing sidewalks, and digging cars out of snowbanks.

Judging by what I see on TV weather reports, I think most residents of the United States have had their lifetime quota of snow, ice, and cold weather.

Takeaway Truth

Hey, Old Man Winter, you came, you saw, you conquered. Now, please, just go away.