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My Writer Package!

So, following on from my last post, I think it’s really important as an author writing in 2011 that you’re accessible.  For the most part, writing has moved beyond a mystery solitary figure semi- anonymously penning a novel.  Authors have become social figures, who are recognised in the street, and who have fan bases who are genuinely interested in them as people, not just as writers.

This was actually something which came up when I was first signed to Peters, Fraser & Dunlop.  My agent at the time underlined her interest in other areas of my life.  As a former Broadcast Journalism student, films I had made were readily available on the internet by simply Googling my name, and it seemed this greater package was something which had boosted the appeal of my writing and my novel.

In a similar vein, I decided to apply for the Apprentice UK a few weeks ago.  I’ve been asked to attend an audition on Monday, which I will no longer be able to go to, having FINALLY received a start date on the job I’ve been waiting to start ever since I returned home from Canada two months ago.  However, when I was submitting my application for the show, one of the questions caught my eye.  ‘What’s the most interesting thing about you?’

Not feeling like it was something I could answer myself, I turned to my boyfriend, and asked him to answer on my behalf.  ‘You’re ridiculous!’ he replied. (Cheers boyf!) ‘Your life is ridiculous!’ he clarified.  ‘I’ve never met anyone like you!  Just write down some of the stuff you’ve done in recent years …’.

It’s something I have to admit, I have heard before.  I’ve always lived my life to a slightly different song-sheet to those around me, and often friends’ parents comment that they don’t know people their own age who have done the things I’ve done in my 27 years.  But almost two years has passed since that initial conversation with my agent, and those two years have been taken up with three new novels, and several edits, so it was easy to put that side of my ‘career as an author’ on hold.

However, now, as I explore the value you can add to your role as an author, or a wannabe author, I think it’s important to perhaps share my own story with readers of my blog – my potential future fans! I have alluded to some parts of my life before, when discussing how I came to become an author, but there are lots of things I’ve left out, because I didn’t think they were specific to my writing career.  They are, however, specific to me.  And I think that’s an important point to remember, being an author in 2011.  Anything that’s specific to you, can also be specific to you as an author.  People WANT to see the face behind the writing mask, and to know more about you than which county in England you live in, and how many dogs you own!

I’ve talked before about Google stalking and the privacy barriers of the internet, and that’s something that comes in here too.  Hopefully, if you empower your audience with some information about yourself, they won’t feel the need to more aggressively hunt it down themselves!

Ok without further ado, I guess it’s time to get on and add to My Author Package —>

C-C xxx

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Filed under Blogging, C-C Lester, Unsigned Author Commentary, Writing

Having Some Fun with WordPress

For those of you still finding your way around WordPress, like me, check out something quite fun.

If you click on ‘My Blogs’, then select the blog you want to find out about (if you write more than one).  Scroll across to ‘Stats’.  Not only does this page show you lots of cool info, including your total Page Views ever (not including your own views of your blog), and your Best Day ever, in terms of page views, but there is also a rather cool section called ‘Search Engine Terms’.

Click on ‘This Week‘ which is in blue on the right hand side of the ‘Search Engine Terms’ header, midway down the Stats Page.

Then, when the page changes to a page devoted to Search Engine Terms, click on the ‘All Time’ option – also in underlined blue.

I realise that all sounds a bit complicated, but hopefully what it’s brought up for you, is a rather cool list of all the terms people have entered into Search Engines, to then get to your site.  You’ll probably be rather amused by some of the more random ones –

For example, on my list of searches which led to The Elementary Circle , there are some common ones I might expect to end up at the site – ‘navigator of dreams’, ‘cosmopolitan ultimate woman of the year 2007’, ‘cc lester’, ‘charly lester blog’, and ‘dream navigator’, ‘the elementary circle word press‘ are all things several people have tried to Google.

However, here are some entries I wouldn’t necessarily expect to lead people to my blog!

(NB – All searches are as typed originally and word for word)

  • superman name
  • woman to ski
  • loner writer (NICE!)
  • penis (that one hit my site twice …. pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever mentioned that particular word on the blog!)
  • bungee
  • ‘i crossing my fingers you get a chance to’ …. (hoping this one means I get some luck!)
  • mercury childs wagon (???? what is this? some kind of pushchair/stroller??? – for anyone reading who doesn’t know, the book I’m currently writing is called Mercury’s Child)
  • similarlymercury wagon child’s (what is this all about??)
  • unspoken words of need of closure (does this make sense to anyone?)
  • sex.girls.xxx.falling i if m singleton (seriously HOW did this bring up my blog???!!)
  • work for free otherwise known as (Haha! kind of sums up my life at the mo!)
  • how do i an 2 above a m (can anyone translate this??)
  • am sikis (DITTO)
  • fat back women maken usen ditto rate xxx (SIC …. what is with these searches.  Are they literally just entering random words?)
  • some time i an read an i cannot
  • weight loss diary (um??? wrong blog me thinks!)
  • +post something anonymously on facebook
  • would sending letters of recommendations help i an immigration case
  • dream interpretation; cant hear me warning her (this one scares me a bit – sounds rather nightmarish!)
  • http://www.thewriter’slife.com/earnaliving (haven’t personally worked that one out myself yet!)
  • literary grandmother names
  • my 18 tens
  • cool names for shields
  • female christian writers blogssorry, defo got the wrong blog here
  • woman 40+ glam shots (I REALLY hope this didnt bring up my front page pic! I was 24 in that picture for frack’s sake!!!!)
  • do not reply email address (why is someone even searching this in the first place?)
  • how to write someone elses thoughts (pretty sure that’s a major part of fiction, and not necessarily something you’ll find cliff notes on!)
  • what english writer used the pen name ella? (was someone at a pub quiz by any chance?!)
  • bored written loads of times in different writing (not too impressed this brings up my blog, if I’m honest!)
  • heels muddy or mud (um WTF?!)
  • swearing screaming sex (coz obviously my blog is full of it! Though possibly slightly more accurate than the Christian writer search!)
There are also a couple of cool, but unexpected ones
  • ЩИТ И МЕЧ ПЕРО И БУМАГА –  Which Babblefish handily tells me means ‘Sword and Shield, Pen and Paper’ in Russian!
  • Flicker Lester (I like!)
  • Felicity Firestone (um AWESOME!!!!! who Googled her?! Now I want to Google her and see what comes up!)
  • Ellody Rose (is someone Google-stalking my heroines?!)
  • my life in ten years (not sure what that person was looking for, probably not my novel ‘My Ten Future Lives’ but I guess you never  know, it might have helped him or her!)
  • glorified slavery (this blatantly came up because it’s the phrase I use to describe unpaid work experience!)
  • i’m the author of my life (um, BOSH!)
  • facebook.com/cclester (eek, someone’s trying to stalk me!)
  • lucy lester flicker (this one made me grin – like a combo of me and my agent all in one – i guess that sums up a year of my life!)
  • elliwrites boyfriendLiz of Elli Writes – SOMEONE FANCIES YOU!!!

Plus, it’s quite cool being able to tell my lovely agent Lucy Dundas, at PFD (and a couple of other friends who have commented on my blog!!) , just how many times her name has been googled in the past few months 😉

Ah the power of the Search Engine Terms!  Give it a go, and let me know if you come up with any particularly funny ones!!!
C-C xxx

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Blog Etiquette

In the words of fellow blogger Jennifer Aaventura I’m doing my ‘homework’.

It’s Saturday night, and technically, I’m at work.  As I’ve mentioned many a time, at night I may masquerade as an ‘author‘, but by day, I’m very much a nanny! And tonight I’m babysitting … So with my two wards safely tucked up in bed, I’m doing some blog homework.

I’m very new to the world of blogging, but it doesn’t take a genius to realise that true membership of this international club is two-way.  You can’t just receive comments, subscriptions and ‘likes’ … you have to give them too.

And so every couple of evenings I try to take a few hours to read the work of fellow bloggers.

Like I said, I’m very new to all this … but I’ve already begun to form some blog etiquette, which I think I would recommend to other bloggers.

1) If anyone posts a comment on my blog, I try my best to reply to it personally.

2) I try to check out the blogs of everyone who likes, subscribes or comments …

This second one is proving to be a bit of a slow process, as I’m sure anyone who has ever been Freshly Pressed will tell you … I have over 400 ‘virtual presents’ to write thank you notes for …. and whilst I *think* I’ve now replied to all the comments, I know I still have a lot of blogs to check out.

But the thing to understand, is that neither of these tasks is a chore.

For a start, the ‘blogosphere’ (a word I’m still not too sure I like!) is a sociable place FULL of potential, as I mentioned in my post ‘ The Writers’ Network‘.  What better place to commune with fellow authors, readers, publishers and agents?  What better way to gain tips, insight, inspiration and feedback, from a forum that isn’t just made up of your friends? (see the Writer and Her Sidekicks)

Back when I lived in Vancouver (I now live in a small mountain village) I used to attend a weekly Writers’ Group … and whilst it’s obviously great to have feedback on your own work, I also loved reading and critiquing other peoples’ work … especially when that work was something so departed from anything I would ever write.  It reminded me of uni … in a good way!

Reading other blogs broadens your mind.  I like to think of WordPress as a kind of huge free magazine.  Some of the blogs I have read in the past weeks have been far better than any magazine articles or newspaper reports I have picked up.  And just because none of us are being paid for the stuff we write on here, shouldn’t diminish the value of our words.  The thing with WordPress, is I’m inspired to look at blogs on topics I wouldn’t necessarily pay money to read about … and yet often these are the articles which interest me the most.

Secondly, by taking the time to get to know the readers of your blog, you can begin to understand your readership, and perhaps tailor what you are writing to those readers.  You can join in with discussions, present your take on something, or simply offer them a whole host of new readers by adding a link to their blog on your blog … just like this!  Here is the link to the original post by Jennifer which inspired me to write this – Blog Surfing, One Peace at a Time.

Finally, think of it in dating terms!

When you are getting to know someone, those in the know encourage you to ask questions.  It’s great to talk … but everyone enjoys talking, which means it’s also important to listen!  Which means, in the blogosphere, it’s not just a question of blogging, you also need to read too … otherwise the relationships you forge with your readership will only be a temporary one!

C-C xx

PS If you’d like me to check out, and comment on, your blog – please post the link below!  I’m still struggling to trawl through all the comments on ‘So Am I an Author Yet?!’ so it would be great to have links for reading all in one place!!! Thank you 🙂

 

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