Category Archives: social media

Who is My Neighbor?

Sure, the title of is a line from a parable Jesus used in teaching his disciples a lesson in treating even strangers with dignity and respect. But this blog piece isn’t really a religious lesson. It’s just an observation.

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In today’s world, do we really know who our neighbors are? I’m not talking about the strange guy up the street, the one who talks to himself while sweeping the front walk. I’m talking about those people we cross paths with every day while going about our lives. You know the ones, like the little old lady in front of you in the grocery store check-out; or the young man walking along the side of the road, heading to who knows where. With the popularity of internet sites like Facebook and Twitter, we can connect with people all over the world. We can log on and learn that Reggie in West London ate crab cakes for dinner tonight, Tanya is Los Angeles broke up with her long-time boyfriend, and Danny in Sydney recently had his first novel published. We friend them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and make a connection on LinkedIn, but we never really meet these wonderful people.

And what of that little old lady in the checkout line in front of us? Chances are we won’t get beyond a polite smile or an insincere “Have a nice day.” The young man walking along the side of the road? We’ll ignore him—he might be dangerous.

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Don’t misunderstand me. I believe social media is vital to those of us looking to promote our work while building an audience. It’s a great way to meet interesting people in corners of the world we’re not likely to ever visit in person. But the cost of this technology seems to have had a negative effect on how we treat the people around us. We don’t have an instant profile to pull up telling us that the young man walking along the side of the road is a father on his way to work so he can support his wife/girlfriend and their newborn baby; or that his car no longer runs so he has to make that 5 mile trek both ways each day. We couldn’t possibly know the little old lady in front of us in the checkout line is struggling to make ends meet since her husband of 56 years passed away last fall. Without that profile, we won’t bother finding this out the way we as social human beings once did—before the internet.taxi

One of my favorite episodes of the classic American television show Taxi has character Elaine Nardo receiving an invitation to a high-class party. She needs an escort. The obvious choice would be her co-worker and friend Alex Rieger. He’s a level-headed guy, understands proper behavior and good manners in these situations. But, for reasons I’ve forgotten, Alex is unable to attend with Elaine. So, after failing to secure a proper substitute, Elaine finds herself saddled with Jim Ignatowski, played brilliantly by Christopher Lloyd. Jim had once been a bright and near-genius young man—until LSD trips during college left him slow and somewhat addled. The Reverend Jim (he was ordained through a mail-order school) was prone to goofy observations and embarrassing behavior at times.

The thought of attending this high-class shindig with the likes of Jim proved too much for Elaine, so she lied and told the man she wasn’t going to attend. Jim eventually caught on and, despite having his feelings hurt, suggested Elaine attend alone. In the end, Elaine brought Jim along, having discovered a true fondness for her fellow cab driver.

screen-shot-2015-05-28-at-4-48-13-pmWhen the entertainment fails to show up for the party, Jim volunteers to fill in on the piano. Imagine Elaine’s shock and horror over what is surely to be an embarrassing moment, most likely barring her from future invites.

Jim sits at the piano and immediately begins playing “London Bridge is Falling Down” quite poorly. The room full of snobs begins murmuring complaints. Jim stops playing, says “Oh, the hell with it!” and launches into some beautiful classical playing that soothes the room. He stops again and says, “I must have had mmm music lessons!” before continuing his solo concert.

Elaine worked with the man and had no idea he was so much more than the college dropout with a fried brain. We’re all guilty of this on some level. We know more about the guy on the other side of the world than we know about those in our own neighborhood. While social media might bring the world together, it can also contribute to pushing people apart.

So take the time to get to know those who are closest to you. You’re bound to learn something.

The Writers’ Conference & Book Expo is Ready to Fly!

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Have you heard the news? It’s all over town. If you ain’t heard it, well, you’d better sit down. Tell all the authors and the readers alike, Rave Reviews is really outta sight!

Here’s the scoop: Rave Reviews Book Club is launching their first ever Writers’ Conference & Book Expo. Now for the real cool part: It’s a virtual conference, which means no planes, trains, or automobiles need be involved. All you need to attend is a computer and internet connection.

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What’s the WC&BE all about? I’m glad you asked. This event will include sessions on:

  • Blogging for Success
  • Marketing 101
  • Formatting Made Easy
  • Social Media Dos & Don’ts
  • Writing the Perfect Book Review
  • Building Your Author Platform
  • Editors: Sniffing Out the Right One
  • Why Your Brand is Important
  • Indie Publishing versus Traditional
  • Writing in the Senior Season
  • And much more!

If you’re a writer, or if you just enjoy reading, this is the place you need to be.

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The Rave Reviews Book Club Writers’ Conference & Book Expo runs from December 1st thru December 3rd. If you want to attend, you’ll need to register by November 23rd.

To register, click HERE!

For prices, click HERE!

I do hope you’ll join us in what is sure to be an amazing event for indie authors from around the world.

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Author Larry Hyatt!

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Indie author Larry Hyatt has been awarded this week’s Rave Reviews Book Club’s #PUSHTUESDAY seat of honor. If you are a fellow member of RRBC — and even if you’re not — please join me in supporting this incredible writer.

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For those who may not be familiar with Larry Hyatt, he is the author of How to Reach for the American Dream…(And Not Get It)

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Book Blurb:

How to Reach for the American Dream… (And not get it), is the fictional, comedic account of the life of an entertainer who from childhood had what it took to “make it.” You’ll laugh, cry, and cheer him on as he struggles to achieve what only a select few can, through his television kid show debut, glee clubs, remedial college studies, gaining weight as a “starving” artist, dating women out of his league, nightclub entertainer, and romps through radio, television, and publishing. I didn’t want to write the worn out story of a celebrity induced rise and fall. This is a comedic “never risen,” written to inspire, teach, and explain that the paths of dreamers take many turns, go winding through many roads, but ultimately detour, to the highway of your heart.

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About the author (in his own words):

Since the age of five I’ve been a performer. I’ve written radio comedy, sketch comedy and plays, produced television and radio, worked as a creative director for an arts and entertainment magazine, and published numerous humorous articles and essays. Add appearing in operas, musicals, and a movie, and one would wonder how someone who has entertained so much, has so little. Well, I’ll tell you…but wait, that would be stupid, because I wrote the book on having what it takes, and now want you to buy my book on knowing what it doesn’t.
I didn’t want to write the worn out story of a celebrity induced rise and fall. This is a comedic “never risen,” written to inspire, teach, and explain that the paths of dreamers take many turns, go winding through many roads, but ultimately detour, to the highway of your heart.

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SOCIAL MEDIA BUZZ! rosesbee

BUY THE BOOK: How to Reach for the American Dream…(and not get it)

Visit Larry’s Blog: Hy Hatt

Follow Larry on Twitter: @hyhattlarry

 

 

It’s Gwen Plano’s Day!

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A loud and gigantic CONGRATULATIONS to Gwen Plano on being named Rave Reviews Book Club’s #PUSHTUESDAY honoree!

For those who may not know who Gwen Plano is, let me introduce you to her. Gwen Plano is the author of a book entitled Letting Go Into Perfect LoveIn this memoir, Gwen shares her struggles and her triumphs with readers, offering hope to those who are still in the grips of domestic abuse.

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But that’s not all there is to Gwendolyn Plano! Did you know she is also the host of the popular blog talk radio program Aspire to Inspire? This show airs each month on the Rave Waves network.

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So if you happen to find Gwen today on Twitter, don’t forget to send her your best wishes. And again, CONGRATULATIONS, Gwen! You deserve this honor!

Visit Gwen at her web site: http://www.gwenplano.com/

Find Gwen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gmplano

Listen to Aspire to Inspire live or in the archive: RAVE WAVES

Grab a copy of Letting Go Into Perfect Love

Don’t miss your opportunity to find great support for your book. Join Rave Reviews Book Club today: JOIN RRBC

 

 

We Have Winners!

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Greetings from beautiful Michigan! Just letting everybody know that we have winners (three of them) from my recent RRBC Book & Blog Block Party stop here at The Indie Spot! These lucky folks won prizes for simply posting a comment here on the day I had my party! That means you still have the opportunity to win prizes for yourself by visiting the remaining Book & Blog Block Party  stops and leaving your comments. But you’d better hurry. Once August is over, so is the party!

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Here are the lucky three winners:

1.) Gwen Plano

2.) Stephanie Collins

3.) Jo Ann Wentzel

Each of these winners scored a $10.00 iTunes gift card (though Gwen Plano opted instead for a copy of some book called Jazz Baby for her Kindle).

Good luck to everybody else in grabbing freebies from the other amazing blogs along this incredible party tour!

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Twitter As A Marketing Tool

Marketing in this modern world of indie publishing has afforded authors a wide array of options. Among these choices are blogs, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. I personally prefer Twitter. Twitter allows for quick messages and immediate feedback. With generous retweets, the audience potential is virtually unlimited.

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On Twitter, I’m known as @voiceofindie (though I’ve recently added @BeemWeeks). Those who follow me know this account isn’t just a self-promoting entity. I promote the work of others more so than my own. Writers, bloggers, musicians, artists, and photographers often benefit from shout-outs and retweets. But I don’t do this expecting retweets of my own stuff. I do this for one simple reason: A stronger indie movement is good for everyone treading this platform.

When we indie writers, musicians, and artists work together, we strengthen an up-and-coming industry. This tells the mainstream: Hey, we can do this without you. It lets the world know we exist, that our work is of the highest quality, and we’re only gaining in power.

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I’ve discovered many new and talented writers through this process. I’ve also been turned on to great music from some seriously amazing musicians. Bands like Argentinian rockers Amoenus and Nashville-based The Bloody Nerve are reaching the world with music that, in most cases, sounds far superior to the auto-tuned nonsense seeping from the major labels these days.

@voiceofindie is growing each day. The only drawback is that I may not be able to get to every retweet every day. There are just so many wonderful participants involved in my little experiment. And that’s exactly what it is: an experiment. I set out to see if creative sorts from across the world would come together in the twitterverse to share what they’re reading or writing or listening to or recording. And it’s working. So why not join in and support indie! Tweet for tweet is the cheapest way to spread the word.