Thursday, November 29, 2012

Social Media Rules: What not to wear!

Social Media Rules

I know, there really are not any rules, not written at least but there is a lot of unwritten ones that you should know. I mean SM is not a new thing, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging have all been out long enough that grandma is doing it so the "I didn't know!" line just doesn't work anymore. 

The first thing you should think about is WHY you are on SM. If you are a business or author you will want to do things different than a mom who just wants to chat with family and friends. If you just want to keep in touch with friends and have fun, might be a good idea to only "Friend" people you know. If you are an author like me or are looking at SM as a way to market yourself you should "Friend" anyone related to your business. 

Once you know WHY you are on SM you can begin. 

Be smart, and be a good neighbor. Bring back the tool you borrowed, don't play loud music at 2 a.m. 

First rule and the most important IMO is: DON'T COMMENT ON EVERY POST! This is a good way to stay out of trouble. Posts involving government, God, family, and justice can get heated and just because you don't agree does not mean you have to butt in. Stay out of it, your advice is not needed and it will only get you angry or worse. 

This is the problem with SM, you ready for it? 

"We were not designed to know our friends and families every thought on every subject." --Aaron Patterson

We see our friends once a week, maybe a best friend four times a week and our family every day for part of the day. In a lifetime we may never know what they think about Tuna fighting, Breast feeding or hear a crude joke come out of their mouth. SM shows us everything, the bad days, the night you got drunk and had your phone, nothing can be hidden anymore. You have to remember, if you find out something about a person you love and it is a bad thing, cut them some slack, you have things they don't like and before SM we would never know. 

Another good rule is: DON'T POST YOUR EVERY THOUGHT/DRUNK POST OR OPINION ON EVERYTHING! In a word, Shut-up. No one cares, really. We look through posts and pass over yours most days. So be fun and light, enjoy your SM time and don't use it to push your agenda. 

"Your opinion is just as important as mine." -- Me again

We live in the American Idol generation. We all think that what we think matters. We vote on shows, call in and gripe on the radio and everyone on FB jumps when we whine about something. But the truth is, you may be smart to you and your mini friend list but there are more people out there who think you are stupid and ignorant. So it is al fair... in love and SM, lol

Authors and other pushers: STOP POSTING CRAP ABOUT YOUR BOOK OR PRODUCT: Again, no one cares. It is annoying and shows your lack of skill in marketing. Post or tweet now and again but don't beat people up. If you post it all the time I will put you on the Not to read list!

DON'T POST ON MY WALL! Does my wall look like your personal banner? Do you really think I will see the link to your book and be HAPPY about it? Oh and a follow-up on this is people with an auto respond when I friend them or follow them on Twitter with a link to their product. #Lame

One more rule that seems to be hard for people: DON'T AUTO TWEET! Really, we all know you do it, we see through it and we don't respond to it, so maybe not do it?

SM is a conversation, join it or go away. Don't post and run, it is pointless. I don't care how many people follow your blog, if it does not get people to interact you are just more spam. 

These are just a few, the rest you can figure out. If you keep it light and stay out of fights you will go a long way. Hope this helps and that you got a laugh out of my spunky nature this morning. 



Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Off Topic (Cussing and other fun things to do)

***Off Topic***

To $*&@ or not to $*&@

Don't swear! Don't cuss! Don't offend me! Don't burst my bubble! I mean I have never heard a swear word in my life and own a Clean TV box that changes the word "Sex" to "Hugs" so I don't have to hear the word. This is all fine and well, I grew up in church and write clean books.

But why don't I label myself as a christian fiction writer? Because once you slap that label on yourself you become tied to a list of rules that even God himself would break as he does not have as strong a conviction as most Christian fiction publishers.

I don't write sex scenes, use profanity because in my personal decision, I am a writer, I can think of other words to use and want to show how my character is feeling. So what is my personal rule?


I think this is a solid rule. If you wish to write clean and sell into the CBA market as well as the general market--which I do, it is about as close to the line as you can get. I have yet to get a reader complaint because I didn't have profanity in my books.

Now the reason for this post is because some of you out there have a thin soft skin and think you are better than God. Better than God you say? Wow Aaron, tall claim, harsh words... all true. If the shoe fits and all that...

Who gripes about book content? Not the Christian bookstores, not the general market. I'll give you two guesses and one don't count.

So let me help you out my dear thin skinned reader.

The bible uses a few words in a derogatory way, here are a few:


Even Jesus told a woman she was a dog, others that they were vipers and so on. Now I don't want this to get into a religious post but the point is, don't have higher standards than God. He used harsh words to make a point and if he did, I think I can use them as well.

Do I use them much? Nope, maybe once in a whole book, I try to make it the right word for whatever the scene calls for. So next time you want to get all hot under the collar because you saw a word you didn't like, remember:

1. This is NOT Christian fiction, never said it was.
2. Chill out, there are so many fights about this subject and the only people fighting are the Christians, the rest are busy reading a good book.
3. You and your opinion are just as important as the rest of the universe and their opinion, which is a nice way of saying, no one cares what you think. =)
4. Be an adult. I know, this is asking a lot, but it was worth a shot.
5. If you want a down the line Christian fiction book, one that never says the word sex and everyone is nice to each other and never makes anyone feel bad, go get one, there are many to choose from.
6. Be real, if you even watch a movie, TV show, let people cuss on the subway in earshot of you than don't be all up in my grill if I decide to use the word bastard. Oh crap, you just read a cuss word!

Got you!


Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

2012 -- The Year of Change.

2012 -- The Year of Change.
-off topic-

A mentor of mine told me at the beginning of the year that 2012 was a year of change. I didn't know what he meant at the time but as we get closer to the end of the year and we are all still here, I look back at my own life and agree with him. This has been the year of change for me personally.

There were times that I wished the Mayan's had it right. My world seemed to be on the brink of ending and some days I wished it would have.

The last two years felt like slugging through mud with a messy divorce, trying to keep it calm and as safe for the kids turned out to be one of the hardest things I would ever do. But at the same time things on every other level were rockin! Business took off, I was growing in my own writing and deep down to my core I was happy.

I got this, we are going strong and just when I thought I could handle this stress and pressure I got a call. My little brother was dead. Shock, anger, fear, sadness, relief, confusion, anger again. All the feelings hit me in the face. He was a year and a half younger than me and even has three kids like I do. He left behind a wife and a large hole in many hearts.

No worries, I was good at managing stress, dealing with pain and big deal! Sometimes we lie to ourselves and don't even know it.

A month later I had to have a talk with my father and cut off all communication. This in the wake of my brothers death. My publishing house was still going strong but the demands grew. The way it felt was like being strung to a few horses and having them run in different directions.

No biggie, but that was only what my mind said, my body said something different. 6 years ago I hurt my low back and it decided to take this opportunity to go out. Three months of pain to a point that I could not sit longer than an hour and hundreds if not thousands of dollars for Massage, Yoga, PT, Personal Training and lots of drugs I am almost back to 100%.

Why am I telling you all this? Why be do blue? Because I am a person, a human with trials just like anyone. We all go through crap so why don't we cut each other some slack? Why are we so mean to each other? Why do we assume that we are alone?

In all this how do I feel, what do I take away?

*That my kids are strong and amazing. That I love them more each day and love to be with them.
*I know that true friends will stick with you no matter what, that I am a jerk sometimes and sometimes I am a good guy.
*I learned that I cannot trust myself and that my gut is right most the time.
*People are ruled by fear and change and that I need to listen to my body, when it says stop I need to stop.
*I found out that I have some loyal friends and that I need to be a better one.
*That people who are crazy will always be crazy, don't try to understand them, just learn and be wise.
*Humor is a healer, laughing is a medicine and sometimes you just need to do something stupid.

This year has been a year of change, but for the better. I have made so many mistakes but have also done some good things. Life is like a tree, it grows and along the way picks up a few scars and knots. But when it is old it shades and protects younger trees.

Please don't comment if you feel sorry for me, I don't! I love my life, and I have a great one. We all have things we want different but is what it is.

Now go out there and connect with someone, and if you want to attack someone remember that they may just need a hug instead.



Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Art of Branding and Rebranding: Guest post by Cory Clubb

The Art of Branding and Rebranding.

Finding Your Brand.

Books last a very long time, now maybe forever with the introduction of ebooks. Although their covers do not.

Let me just say one word:

I know, that’s not a word, but in a sense it is. Nike has one of the most recognizable brands in the world today. They don’t need words, just their logo. That’s great, you say, but what does this have to do with books?

Nike has formulated a brand out of their logo. You think shoes, sports attire, heck even NBA great Michael Jordan! It’s all basically implanted in your mind to think those things. Now imagine if that were to work for your books? Danger, romance, your lead character’s name and what they look like. See where I’m going with this?

Big named authors are already doing this, James Patterson with his Alex Cross thrillers or Lee Child with his Jack Reacher character. Just by seeing their name in that certain font on the cover you know exactly what you’re going to get. Honestly if all they wanted to put on the cover was their name that would work, we wouldn’t even need a title. It’s a package deal.

So how do you find your own brand? Sit back and think a bit about who you are as a writer. What genre do you write in? What does your story have to say to your audience?
These should all be simple answers because you’ve got a finished manuscript in front of you. What you don’t? Then why are you reading this? Go write, finish it and then come back.

Ok, so you’re in the “ready to publish” end of the pool. With the above answers in mind browse online or your library in that genre and when I say browse I mean to use just your eyes as if looking at the books for the very first time. Pretend you’re visiting an art museum. What jumps out at you? What cover design makes you smile or makes you want pick that book up? Is it unique? Is it the colors, the imagery? Is it something you could defiantly see as the cover of your book? All good things. Now you know what works in your genre, forget who the author is, it appeals to you and who knows your story best? You. The next step is to widen your search. Start over and browse the entire library or all of Amazon again. “Wait, but I found my genre,” you say and it works for your title. Maybe, but your name isn’t on that cover, it’s not yours. You need to find you.

There are mountains of cover designs out there. Probing through your genre shows you the style you are going for in a sense, it’s only half of the equation. The other half is finding your unique look. Now, I say this, but you might want a similar look to another author and that’s fine too. Think of it is as putting toppings on a pizza. A shade of blue here, a pinch of font here, a slice of texture there, and maybe a little bit of dog. Not sure why you’d want dog on your pizza...whoa, sorry got myself confused.

Seriously, what this all comes down to is visual marketing. It’s the clothes your books are going to be wearing, you want it to look good right? It also takes some research and work. Don’t ho-hum over this step in publishing, because your book may suffer for it.

A little bit on writing a series book design...

So now you’ve got your design in mind, ready to go, here is another technique to think of. Visualize a box of Crayola markers. Now imagine each individual marker as on of your book covers. You’ve got the Crayola logo (Author’s name) and then each color name (the book’s title). Yes they all look the same, but they are all different colors, each with their own story to tell. Apply this to your design or keep this thought in mind for future books you plan to write.

Not only does this work for a series based storyline (just add a number after each color) or these could be all individual novels. The idea is to see them as a set. Packaged together to look neat and sharp.

A little bit on rebranding yourself...

Let’s say your sci-fi epic has sold very modestly and now the publishing rights have returned to you over the course of ten years. Sweet! Now is your chance to introduce it to a brand new age of eReaders. Wait, you’re going to use that cover from 2002? The publisher never redesigned the cover because it worked then and they instead funneled moneys into that upcoming school for magical vampires saga. Bummer.

You’re in luck. Your story is set to go, all you need to do is modernize your cover design.
Freshen the look up. The fonts used look old and a company is new using it for the return of retro gaming app. You probably don’t want your book to be thought of as retro.

Rebranding is sort of a trick on the eyes. While your title has been around for a while and readers might recognize it. What you can do is revitalize it coming up with a new brand using the above methods. See what works in the market, browse for a new design that captures your story and apply it across the board. You might even catch the eye of a past reader looking for a new read, but come across yours and like the visual appeal sending them back in time and reliving what they loved about the first go around.

Another plus is that you can apply your new brand to you new dystopian manuscript about a group of kids on a Survivor like show stranded in the jungle. What? Oh, well maybe the could all be zombies.

Feel free to visit my webpage or email me with comments, questions or if you disagree with me.

Be Bold,

-Cory Clubb

Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.