Saturday, August 27, 2011

Organizing the Disorganized (including a few Tips for Bloggers)

First off, an apology to those of you receiving this blog through subscription as you probably got a post from me this morning that looked suspiciously like spam.  I was breaking up one of my pages into three, and accidentally posted my new page for A Writer's Guide to Harry Potter as a post rather than a page.  Sorry!

Now, on to today's news! Changes, they are a'brewing.

This has been A Very Pottermore Summer for me!  Due to the excitement generated at the beginning of the summer from JKR's wonderful announcement of her upcoming Pottermore website, and the subsequent traffic tsunami that resulted from it, I've made numerous changes to the blog, which you may have noticed.

Though this post does not fit within my general craft analysis, I thought some of you, especially fellow/sister bloggers, might enjoy knowing about a few changes I made and why.  Some changes were made to increase the ease and functionality of my blog, others to unite my various sites in some resemblance of order, some to increase my outreach to other blogs and services, and still some to attempt to make all this time I spend obsessively blogging to actually contribute to the family financial coffers (ha!).  Thus, today, I'm blogging about blogging:

Organizing My Disorganization:

1) Linking to my "Other" Sites: You'll see across the top half of my navigation bar above that I've added links to my other sites online.  Eventually, I hope to have them all together under one roof, but for now, at least it's easy to get from one to another with a simple click.

2) Pottermore Wiki & Forum (for Writers & Fans): With the explosion this summer of interest in JK Rowling's newest project, I felt that Pottermore fans needed a site completely dedicated to Pottermore where they can share, discuss, and analyze all the new information which is currently being revealed.  At my unofficial Pottermore Wiki and Forums, you can talks with other fans in the Forums, add and read articles posted in the Wiki, and analyze what's newly revealed in Editorials (still in development).

Writers! I'd love to have your input.  If you'd like to add an editorial or write a post for the Wiki, please contact me at SPSipal AT gmail DOT com.  You'll get to place an ad on your bio page on the Wiki and links within your posts.

3) My Kindle Store: Here is where you'll find all that I have offered on Kindle, including A Writer's Guide to Harry Potter and my shorter Boy Who Lived Guides (for Writers & Fans).  As always, if you've read any of my books and liked them, I'd love it if you could post a review online.  Likewise, I'm always trying to improve my work, and if you have suggestions, I'd love to hear from you!

4) Editorial Services: Yes, I offer editorial services in critiquing query letters, synopses, first chapters, and even beyond.  As the page was a bit buried under my Kindle books, it's now got its own home.

5) CommentLuv: I'm SOO glad I installed the CommentLuv system before Pottermore hit.  Some of my posts received hundreds of comments.  Under Blogger's built-in comment system, that level of response would have been so hard to follow.

One neat feature I love best about CommentLuv is that as a visitor, you can insert your blog's URL and it will automatically link to your last blog post beneath your comment.  So, by commenting here, you can also provide a link to your latest post! Nifty, huh?  Check it out at IntenseDebate.


1) Upcoming Workshop:  Starting Sept. 3, I will be giving a new workshop called "Conflicts of Myth: Using Mythic Conflicts to Deepen Your Contemporary Novel." This workshop, hosted through SavvyAuthors, will examine reasons for using mythic conflicts and will study various myths throughout centuries, cultures, and continents. Then we'll see how many have been used in movies and stories as we discuss how to best incorporate them within our own.  Sign-up hereSoon!

2) Guest Blogging -- I LOVE hosting guest bloggers here, and I love to visit other blogs of similar minds and share my posts.  If you'd like to be a guest blogger at Harry Potter for Writers, or host me at yours, drop me a note at SPSipal AT gmail DOT com.  Likewise, remind me if we've already set one up and need to work out the details.

3) #PotterChat - After the wonderful week of PotterChat blogfest earlier in the summer, I started hosting a frequent #PotterChat on Twitter for all those interested in discussing the latest news in Harry Potter or Pottermore.  Recently, I also added a #PotterChat Daily to my Twitter feed.  It's a simple tool, that once set-up, automatically takes Tweets from your stream and puts them together in a newspaper-like post that others can subscribe to.  I find it interesting myself for checking out news and links I might have missed that day.  Your readers can likewise explore more posts on topics in their field of interest and find new people to follow.

Making Blogging Pay (or at least leave a tidy tip):
Blogging takes a lot of time.  Blogging the way I have done it this summer takes a humongous amount of time.  For the last three months, I was blessed that I had it.  But now, with school and work starting back, the only way I can justify continuing this level of time commitment is if my work online can help pay the bills.  Thus, I've added a couple of features:

1) Google AdSense: Most of you are probably familiar with this most popular method for adding ads and earning revenue from your blog traffic.  On Blogger, it's as easy as clicking on your "Monetize" tab and following the instruction.  You choose where to place your ads, but you really won't make any money unless your daily traffic is in the thousands.

To be honest, I'm not sure I'm going to keep it on this blog. I'm taking it out for a test drive. Would love to know from anyone else using it on their writing blog if you feel like it has been of any benefit.

2) VigLink: VigLink is an affiliate program which allows website owner and bloggers to, with the incredible ease of adding one simple code to their site, automatically monetize their links.  Any links you already have on your site, or those added in the future that link to any merchants within the VigLink system, will automatically count as a sales-link without having to insert a special affiliate code.

One such merchant is Amazon.  And if you, like me, live in a state where you cannot be an Amazon affiliate directly (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island, or Connecticut), then you may want to consider trying out VigLink yourself.

Feedback Requested:
Have you found any of these changes to be a distraction rather than enhancement?  Do you visit more than one of my "sites" online?

How about you?  I'd love to hear from other bloggers, and am planning an upcoming post to share your best advice:
  • What are your best tips for improving the effectiveness of your blog?
  • What are your best tips for increasing quality traffic to your blog, your Twitter, or wherever else you hang out online?
  • And if you've monetized your blog in any manner, what programs did you find the least offensive and most effective?
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