Today I am pleased to join Gwen Plano on her blog, From Sorrow to Joy–Perfect Love. Last week Gwen visited me, and now I have the privilege of visiting Gwen. I hope you’ll come over and read my post and take a look around Gwen’s blog.
Silenced Voices of Abused Children
A little spoken of tragedy in our world is the silenced voices of abused children. Voices silenced for a variety of reasons are a hindrance to well-adjusted lives and justice for these children. Their scars are invisible, etched in tiny hearts and minds forever.
I was born in 1946, the first year of Baby Boomers. Our parents adhered to firm rules of 1940s and 1950s etiquette and discipline. Mama and Daddy were firm believers in proper behavior from their offspring.
Some likely familiar phrases heard on a regular basis in our home included:
Children should be seen and not heard.
Children should not speak unless spoken to.
Children should stand when an adult enters or leaves a room.
Children will not talk back or sass their parents or other adults.
Children will not begin a conversation with an adult; always wait for the adult to start the conversation.
These are only a few of the rules laid down for children in our family and culture to follow. Some of these often heard rules instruct children to be silent in certain situations involving adults. These instructions lay a perfect foundation for silencing children who are victims of abuse.
Today it is my pleasure to introduce my guest, Gwen Plano. Gwen is a writer who spent most of her professional life in higher education. About a year ago, Gwen’s first book, Letting Go in Perfect Love, was published by She Writes Press. More about Gwen a bit later.
Join me in welcoming Gwen Plano to the blog.
I am honored and grateful to be a guest on Sherrey’s blog today. She asked that I consider reflecting on generational messages, and I am pleased to do so.
Earlier this month my dad celebrated his 96th birthday. His strong physique has weakened with age along with his awareness of time. When we talk, he shares stories of his youth, and like the paddles on a riverboat, these stories repeat in rapid succession. For my dad, time is not a linear experience; the distant past is his present. He struggles to recall the name of the caregiver who has helped him for the last three years, but he excitedly recounts his fist fights with Albert, Samuel and Tom when he was just a boy of 8.
When I was a child, my father was a formidable presence in our home. Having grown up “dirt poor” as he would say, he was especially sensitive to anyone who had less than we. His expectations for his seven children became the moral standard that reverberates in each of us today. “Who do you think you are?” he would say if he imagined one of us was acting uppity. With a tone that sent shudders through me, he’d add: “Remember, you could be that person some day!” And so it was that we learned to share what little we had—and to fear the possibilities that might become our fate.
While dad taught us determination and fairness, mom provided nourishment both literally and figuratively. Her days were spent caring for her unruly tribe. With a baby in her arms and a toddler at her knees, she’d go about the tasks of the day. It seemed she was always standing at the stove preparing yet another meal or at the sink washing the pots and pans. And, when she did these chores or hung the wash on the clothesline or gathered eggs for the day, she prayed—for a sick friend, a struggling newborn, and the deceased. Her diverted eyes taught me about a world I could not see.
As the eldest, much was expected of me. I learned to cook before I could read, to be a mom to my siblings when there was need. Somehow through it all, I felt alone and wondered if anyone noticed me. I’d watch mom with the babies, and when she cuddled them close, my heart ached for the same. When I look back through the years, though, I wonder if perhaps my mother had the same longings as me. Like her, I turned inward and began to dream—of non-earthly realities and of kingdoms across the seas.
I’ve come to realize that who I am stretches deep into my ancestral heritage. My father’s experience of the Dust Bowl, of starvation, of dire need has made me compassionate and generous to those with less than me. When I see a beggar on the street, I always think, he or she could be me. And, I see my dad as a boy, hungry and lean.
Similarly, my mother’s life of prayer and sacrifice became an integral part of who I understood myself to be. Selfless to a fault, mom never thought of herself or her needs; nor did I—until I realized I had lost me. One tragedy after another finally awakened the yearnings within my heart and led me on a journey of recovery. Letting Go into Perfect Love is my memoir about the steps and side-steps I took to find the one Love that would bring me peace.
Here’s more about Gwen Plano ~
Gwendolyn Plano spent most of her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in New York, Connecticut, and California. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in nutrition from San Diego State University, was awarded a Master’s Degree in Theology from the University of the State of New York, and the completed a Master’s Degree in counseling from Iona College. Finally she earned a Doctorate in Education from Columbia University. Plano is also a Rieki master and a Certified LifeLine Practitioner.
About Gwen’s First Book:
In Letting Go into Perfect Love: Discovering the Extraordinary After Abuse, Gwen bravely recounts a violent marriage that lasted twenty-five-years–and the faith that opened her heart to hope, to trust, and to awe again. As a survivor who came out of the relationship determined to start new, Gwen artfully depicts the challenges and triumphs of balancing the obligations of motherhood and career with her family’s healing process.
Alternately heart-wrenching and joyful, Letting Go into Perfect Love is a powerful story of triumph over adversity–one woman’s inspiring account of learning how to forgive the unforgiveable, recover her sense of self, open her heart, and honor the journey home.
Today it is my pleasure to introduce my guest, Patricia Fry, to you. Patricia is a writer, editorial consultant, and speaker. With over four decades of writing behind, Patricia has written many articles as well as 45 books. Her experience in publishing and editing makes her an ideal consultant for projects of many kinds. More about Patricia in her bio below. Join me in welcoming Patricia Fry to the blog.
Before putting pen to paper, I always recommend that hopeful authors study the publishing industry before getting involved in this highly competitive business. Most new authors consider publishing an extension of their writing—something they can ease into once the writing is done. But while writing is a craft, publishing is a serious, complex business. Before ever entering into it, an author needs to know something about his or her publishing options, the possible ramifications of their choices and their responsibility as a published author. Nearly 78% of all authors fail—that is, they sell fewer than 100 books total. And the two main reasons are, they do not fully understand their publishing options and, either by choice or ignorance, they do not put enough effort into promoting their books.
By getting your stories published, you are creating a following – by landing an article writing assignment in appropriate magazines and newsletters you will get attention from your target audience. This is building the authors’ Continue reading “Who Is Your Audience? by Patricia Fry”→
My guest today is Kay Ellington, co-author with Barbara Brannon of The Paragraph Ranch. Kay is sharing lessons the two writers learned while navigating the process of platform building, writing their book, publishing it, and now using social media to market their début novel. Please join me in welcoming Kay to the blog!
WIP seems to be the acronym du jour for authors. Work in Progress. That’s a pretty apt way of describing the massive undertaking my co-author, Barbara Brannon, and I are attempting— to capitalize on social media to market our debut novel, The Paragraph Ranch (Seattle: Booktrope Editions, 2014). If we’re successful, watch for the sequel next year.
For authors, our primary job—besides writing the book—is to build the platform, the audience, the fan base, if you will. But how do we do it? Here’s our WIP and the thinking behind it.
1. Rule number one, there’s only so much you can say about The Book. We knew that going in, so we picked topics and themes in our novel—creative writing, care-giving, and family—that would lend themselves to social media marketing.
We’re building our social media presence based on loyalty. At the top is email marketing. Your newsletter is social media, even if it doesn’t have a cute icon that you can hotlink. Why do you need it? To connect with your proven followers when you have something new they want to hear—and your email provider won’t let you mass-mail to a large list. Followers who sign up for your email newsletter have a genuine interest in you and your work. We’ve both worked in publishing for decades—me in newspapers and Barbara in book publishing—and through the years we’ve collected emails as though they were rare, precious truffles and nourished those contacts, so that when the time came to launch our author newsletter we wouldn’t be dinged with spam reports.
We mailed our first issue earlier this month to 1,264 people. Our 29% open rate was pretty high by industry standards, and we had only a few opt-outs. We hope that following this intro letter, we’ll fine-tune topics to be of interest to our followers. There are many well-known solutions for email newsletters. We’ve done Constant Contact and MailChimp; we like MadMimi. It’s fun and not so technically challenging.
2. After the newsletter Facebook is next on the loyalty scale. We’re assuming that if you’re reading this post, you’re savvy enough to have your own personal Facebook page and a separate Facebook author page. The latter should avoid photos of your poodles and grandchildren, unless, of course, your book is about poodles and grandchildren. And to minimize Unlikes, make sure only 1 in 4 of your posts relates to The Book. To grow your community of loyal followers, post about the general interests contained in the book and the people you wrote the book for.
We wrote The Paragraph Ranch for writers, people who love Texas, caregivers, farmers and ranchers, and women who love romance, and we’ll post on those topics. We started at square one in May, kind of late in the game for a September pub date, but right now we’re closing in on 500 Likes. When we start having book events later this month, we think we can rachet those up.
3. Twitter. We’ve followed everyone and their dog, it seems, on Twitter. How did we choose? We started with author, bookseller, and local friends we already knew. And then we spied on their profiles and followed the influential authors, publishers, bloggers, and reviewers they knew. If we had read and genuinely enjoyed a book, we tweeted praise. If someone we didn’t yet know followed us, we tweeted thanks. And we retweet interesting bits on writing and authors we know, and interests we share.. We’ve hitched our tweets to the hashtag wagons of similar topics as well. Within the first week we expect to crack the three-digit mark. The 1-to-4 posting ratio for The Book–to–everything else includes Twitter.
4. Pinterest. Best practices say that authors should create five bulletin boards on Pinterest. We’ve been at it for about ten days, and we have six bulletin boards that range from social media for writers to Dr. Dee’s Rules for Writers, drawn from our own book. We expect followers to number in the hundreds by the two-week mark.
5. Instagram. We’ve taken Instagram pics of the book and we’ll use it to post photos at our signings and events. We were tickled pink when one of the 51 people following us asked us to provide a link to buy the book, which we promptly did!
6. Google+ We’ve used Google+ to promote our full schedule of book-signing events this fall, and we’ve tagged content in the book, and linked to how to buy information. We’ve exceeded 200 people in our circles.
7. We started this posting by talking about a long-form tool, and we’ll wrap up with another. Our blog is called The Working Writer (a nod to the fictional writing guide in our novel). We recognize that writers follow many paths to publishing. We’re working to build a community of writers helping one another with best practices to achieve the greatest success possible from their words—whether through sales or self-fulfillment.
Kay Ellington, co-author of The Paragraph Ranch, has spent three decades working from coast to coast in newspapers for companies such as Gannett and the New York Times Regional Group. She consults with clients on traditional and new media at MediaGarden.