There’s a Fine Line Between (Online) Love and Hate

liz&lisaToday’s guests are Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, authors of Your Perfect Life and, released this month, The Status of All Things. They have been best friends for more than twenty-five years. Liz lives in San Diego with her two children. Lisa, a former talk show producer, lives in Chicago with her husband, daughter and two bonus children.

We’re passionate about the topic of not overexposing yourself online because as authors we run the risk of doing it every day! Plus, our forthcoming novel The Status of All Things delves into the issue of being obsessed with social media.

Connect with Liz and Lisa on their blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

There’s a Fine Line Between (Online) Love and Hate

We’re not going to lie. Our road to publishing was hard fought and well-documented, and because of that, we have a lot of people rooting for us. And those same people love that we painstakingly chronicle our journey in posts, pics and emojis. They like, they comment, they share until their fingers fall off.

Until they don’t.

There’s a very fine line between announcing and bragging. Between keeping people in the loop and annoying them. Between trying to get your book off the ground and begging your Facebook friends to buy it. Believe us when we say, we get it. We understand how hard it is to launch a novel. But we’d like to believe it can be done without pissing off our third cousin once removed that we met one time at a family reunion.

Not oversaturating your Facebook feeds has been on our minds as we launch our second book, [Read more…]


Is It Really Your Duck?

DuckThanks to the internet, it is now easier than ever to get information about the publishing industry.

Even if you live in a ghost town, you can connect with writers all over the world, via blogs, social media, forums.

The downside to all this connectivity?

Someone, somewhere, is going to say something to piss you off. It will seem blatantly ignorant, wildly unfair, or simply, utterly wrong.

You are going to see other writers who seem vastly unqualified achieving levels of success and stardom while you continue to plod along, unrecognized and unrewarded.

You’re going to see fellow writers get into squabbles, celebrating schadenfreude and snickering about the “behind the scenes” dirt.

And at some point, you’re going to dive in.  A comment here. A flame war there. Suddenly, what was just a diversion is now a soul-consuming drive.

The secret to serenity.

And now, a joke. Sort of.

A harried Type A businessman went to a yogi, high on the top of a hill.

“They say you have the secret to serenity,” the businessman puffed, mopping at his brow.  “I have high blood pressure, I am stressed beyond belief, and I am at the end of my rope.  Teach me the secret.”   [Read more…]


Ask Annie: Meeting People on Twitter, Hanging Out, and Getting Found

Ask Annie Neugebauer Writer Unboxed logo


@AnnieNeugebauer WU Twitter question. Writers “meet” each other on Twitter. How? How do people “hang out” with Tweets? I’m a noob. :)

Abigail Welborn@AbigailFair

This is a great question! The answer is simpler than it might seem: they tweet to each other. If you don’t include a handle (a person’s username following the @ symbol) in the beginning of a tweet, that tweet goes “public,” meaning it will appear in all of your followers’ timelines. (Do keep in mind that all tweets are technically public, and that if someone wants to find them they can.) If you open a tweet with someone’s handle as the very first thing, that tweet goes to that person specifically, and only people following both of you will see it in their timelines. (There’s a brush-up of @ mentions here.)

So how do people meet and hang out? They have conversations by tweeting back and forth! That’s really it. To “meet” someone on Twitter, you usually follow someone who looks interesting and tweet to them to say hi, introduce yourself, or comment on something they’ve tweeted. If they’re interested in socializing, they’ll usually follow you back and answer your tweet(s) with their own. A conversation can be slow and ongoing, where each person responds every few hours or days as they happen to get on Twitter, or it can be concentrated and brief if both people happen to be online at the same time.

It might sound overly simple, but that’s really all there is to Twitter. You find people, connect with them, and maintain that connection by occasionally having conversations. Thanks for the question, Abigail, and welcome to Twitter!



What is a good way to get discovered on Twitter?

Barbara McDowell Whitt, @BarbaraMcDWhitt

The most reliable way to get discovered on Twitter is to do the discovering.

Hi Barbara! Thanks for this question. I’m going to assume you mean “get discovered by people who want to follow you” and not “get discovered as a writer (by agents and/or editors, etc.).” If you mean the latter, my answer is: I have no idea. (If I did I’d be famous already, jeeze!) But if you mean the former, here are my thoughts. [Read more…]


The Evolution of an Author Website

When I started out as a serious writer, back in the mid-1990s, I didn’t even own a home computer. I wrote in longhand and word-processed after hours at work. Once I had my first publishing contract I acquired a home PC and got internet access, and a family member who worked in IT set up an author website for me. It was pretty simple, a basic template with a Celtic border framing each page of text. The pages were Author Bio, Books, Contact and News. There were links to several online forums run by readers. As the fan base grew, readers were invited to submit book reviews, art work and (sometimes) their own writing for display on the site.

My readership outgrew that first website within five years or so. Not only did it get too time-consuming for me to handle the updates myself, but the program that supported the site became outmoded. The technology was developing fast and readers wanted more features. So I employed a professional web designer to create a new site, working in consultation with me. I pay her a monthly fee to maintain and update the site for me – a decision I have never regretted.

So what did we want, back in 2006? A quicker response. A way of displaying fan art more effectively. Features such as a rotating display of book covers. Video clips and audio samples. But what about the overall design? (Remember, at this point, tablets and smartphones were not widely in use – most people were still accessing the internet via laptop.)

I thought I knew what I wanted. Whether it was a good idea at the time, I’m still not sure.

[Read more…]


Ask Annie: Retweeting @Mentions, Building a Target Audience, and Following Back

Ask Annie Neugebauer Writer Unboxed logoWelcome to my first Ask Annie column, where I’ll be answering all of your Twitter questions right here on Writer Unboxed every other month. I’ll pick 1-5 questions each time, depending on the length of the answers. I save all of the questions I receive, so if I didn’t get to yours this time, that doesn’t mean it’s out of the running! (More on how to submit your own question at the end of this post.) Let’s jump right in with our first question.


If I’m mentioned in a tweet, should I retweet it every time?

Nicki Gilbert (@nixgilbertca)

No! Forgive my jump to the punchline here, but no, no, no. Absolutely not. That’s a great way to clutter up your timeline and drive your followers crazy! If you retweet every compliment and/or every mention, people will start skimming over your tweets. You should only be retweeting the things you truly want all of your followers to see.

Now let me break this down a little better. Nicki, I think the root of your question is probably based in a concern for manners, which is a lovely concern. If someone takes the time to mention you, it seems only polite to give them something in return – or to at least acknowledge them – right? In general, this is true if you’re etiquette-geared, but retweeting every mention is not the answer! For one thing, it can make you seem egotistical; if you constantly retweet compliments it can come across braggy. But also, it simply isn’t practical. The more followers you get the more @mentions you’ll have, and retweeting them all is madness.

So what are some options to maintain good etiquette without retweeting every mention? [Read more…]