Search This Blog

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Writing - Blogging - Marketing

Post by Doris McCraw

writing as Angela Raines

As I work to finish my book, the thought hit me, we're coming out of our homes, going to events, and of course bookstores. The reason it hit me, I never had the option, nor did I want it, to stay inside. I continued to work, hike, and take photos. The one thing I didn't do a lot of, and I've heard others say, was writing. It just seemed harder to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

At the same time, I continued to write for the blogs I'd committed to. The exercise of following through on my promise was a good thing. It allowed me to keep the research and creative juices flowing. It was during this time that I started doing interviews for one of the blogs in addition to my regular post. 

It was also a time of education on the art of writing and how to market. So, even though I may not have gotten all the writing done on my WIPs, it was not wasted time. In fact, our writer's group still meets, just online. It has kept us all writing and connected. When we get together again, it will almost be like we never left. 

Therefore I thought I would share a bit of what I learned, or at least the resources I used.

1. My online improv writer's group

2. Attended two online conferences. (That was fun)

3. YouTube Videos. Here are a couple of favorites: How to get your life back on track

How to Show Not Tell

4. Book I found useful: 



Something I heard or read has stayed with me when it comes to marketing - People First/Books Second.

Now, what does that mean to me? It means it's more important that I connect with my readers, develop a relationship. I confess I'm still working on that one.

Some additional tidbits that fascinated me:

Raymond Chandler would type his manuscript on 4x6 note cards and something had to happen on each card. (That's approximately every 250 words)

Create a Story Box which is listing stories or ideas that resonate with you. If one stays with you for a long time, maybe it's the next story.

Write while you walk (I do that all the time, I just don't write them down. oops!)

The list could go on and on. The thing is, as people are getting back out again, are they taking the time to read, to study, to learn from others, like these blogs. Are we still going to continue to hone our craft or do we move on to something else? 

Regardless, I have set aside one morning a week, where for 2-4 hours I focus on learning something new on this author journey. What do you do?

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet



  1. A very timely post for me. I've just started a new series and am at the hard editing stage. I'm sure I'll be finding POV problems, and the 101 bloopers book looks like something I need!

    1. I'm glad you found some of this useful. I can't wait to see/read the new series. This past year had been a journey, but one I'm glad I could take. Doris

  2. Thanks so much, Doris, for these very useful tips and book recs.
    Good luck with the new series, Christine!

    1. You're welcome, Lindsay. History is what I usually write about, but sometimes I feel sharing the things I've found useful is a better fit. . Doris

  3. I agree wholeheartedly with people first/books second. I have visited FB pages of authors who only posted about their books nothing about themselves. Boring and cold. I want to know who the author really is, what they care about and hold dear, and what they don't like, because whoever they really are will show up in their stories...and that is important to me as a reader. Connecting to readers and engaging them in conversation is paramount to me.

    I believe most of us who write fiction stories have a storyline evolving in our minds long before we write anything down. When I have a sudden epiphany, I write the idea down in my notebook. I've used many of these "lightbulb" moments in my stories.

    I am not enthusiastic about getting out and socializing or having book signings. I'm afraid I am too much of an introvert to enjoy that part of marketing. I DO miss going to the library, but even though it is open now, I am not brave enough to go there just yet. My library has an online presence where some of their books are digital and can be checked out, but honestly, I am techno impaired.

    You given some good pointers, Doris. I wish you all the very best.

    1. Thank you, Sarah. If we don't have readers then why publish. Like you, I want to connect with others. Although I'm not fond of going out to sell and sign books, I am grateful for the years as an actor. That skill allows me to be with others even when I'm not that comfortable. Doris

  4. This was such a helpful blog in so many ways, Doris. Those two books are worth reading and gleaning writing tips. I've realized I've wasted a good year by doing nothing except when it came time to research my next blog. I've spent way too much time "chatting" with FB friends, new and long-time, so at least that was great with "getting to know you" as the song goes. I really should give myself permission to steal a couple of hours and devote them to what I love most--writing. Thanks for the inspiration, Doris. And now the hard part: follow through.

    1. Elizabeth, thank you for the kind words. Don't feel bad about the last year, most of us have done the same thing. I like to think I used the time getting to know the readers and other writers. Now, like you, it's time to put fingers to the keyboard and finish the stories I've started. I wish you the best and look forward to your next story. Doris

  5. Thanks for this interesting and timely blog. When we first went into lockdown I thought I would accomplish a lot of writing, but I, too, had trouble putting fingers to keyboard. Just kept slowing plodding along. I did miss in-person meeting with readers, but have learned to give presentations and participate in meetings over Zoom. This has allowed me to connect with book clubs around the country, which has been fun.

    1. I'm glad you liked it, Ann.
      My thoughts were, other folk were dealing with the same 'molasses' I was. If I could help them offering some of what I'd learned, then I should. I'm glad you found it helpful. I need to learn the book club protocol and follow up on that. Doris