Writers: 3 Ways LinkedIn Helps You Work Smarter

keyboard_linkedinHello writers, this is Adair Heitmann sharing information on how using LinkedIn can expand your writing platform. We’ve all heard of LinkedIn right? LinkedIn is a social networking website for people in professional occupations. I call it the virtual water cooler of traditional corporate days. When I worked at Xerox Learning Systems, I’d meet and network with colleagues around the water cooler. The conversations were always professional, upbeat, and a good way to be visible while moving up the corporate ladder.

Nowadays, with telecommuting, or everyone bringing their own plastic bottles of designer spring water to the office, the water cooler set of connections has dried up. Meeting people and exchanging  ideas is now done online. Follow these three steps and see how your writing world expands. Let us know here how you make out.

  1. Join LinkedIn, fill in your professional profile, add a good PR head shot.
  2. Share your blog on LinkedIn: Most blogging sites have a “Share” feature. Go to >Settings on your blog site, then >Share and check the box next to LinkedIn. Fill in the prompts. Your next blog post will automatically publish to your LinkedIn profile.
  3. Join LinkedIn Groups. You don’t have to spend much of time on this. I’m a member of 18 writing groups on LinkedIn. Currently my groups range from A to almost Z. From “Authors & Writers” to “Writers International.” Do I discuss topics with members everyday? Absolutely not, I don’t have time. However, occasionally I’ll comment on a topic. Do I post my blogs to my LinkedIn profile? Absolutely yes. Be open to new opportunities on LinkedIn. I was recently asked to be a guest blogger for an eMagazine on eMarketing. Did it come through a writing group? No, it came through a LinkedIn Group I’m in on social media marketing. They noticed my online presence.

Just as you would dress for success at your day job, remember to dress for success in every communication on LinkedIn. It really is the current water cooler of connections.

Until next time, keep on writing!

I Was a Wrimo Again

Participant-100x100-2Hello writers, from Adair Heitmann. With the recent, tragic and unimaginable losses in the Sandy Hook community in Newtown, CT, I can barely focus on this post. Yet, writing helps me through grief, it has universal curative powers.

Kahlil Gibran wrote, “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” Much of our collective grief has to do with the senseless killing of innocent children. Children who were in a safe place, school. Children who were with teachers and administrators, loyal to the children’s welfare and capable of taking care of them, until, the unthinkable happens. Gibran’s quote helps me see that I cry because I love children, because I’m a mom, because I’m a teacher, and because I love teachers. All those things, when taken in the balanced order of life, bring delight. I mourn, with the rest of our country and the world. As a writer, I write, to help me get through this grief. So, I am going to continue with the essay I planned, an article about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

Dipping my toe in the NaNoWriMo seas again this year was truly delightful. This past November, I managed to participate in NaNoWriMo and still keep my job. Plus keep all my diverse professional and personal plates spinning. The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to inspire writers of all ages to write 50,000 words in one month. I entered with my eyes wide open, knowing that reality prohibited me from having the spare time to write a 50,000 fictional novel. However, if I added up all the words that I wrote for work, I’m sure I’ve written several full-fledged novels during the month of November. I used NaNoWriMo as a way to fertilize my own writer’s platform, by playing in a national arena. I knew I couldn’t complete a new novel, but my day job gave me the opportunity to participate as part of a community outreach. (It’s nice to write for a living.)

To complete the participation in NaNoWriMo, I needed to look into my own resources of what I’d previously written. I brushed off a parable, for children of all ages, that I wrote 21 years ago. I re-worked some sections, and wrote some with fresh eyes. NaNoWriMo inspired me this year. I had to submit something to get the dandy “Participant 2012” icon you see above. I submitted my children’s parable in a word document to the official NaNoWriMo word count counter on their website. The word count added up to a spanking 2,369! Like any good teacher who acknowledges an advancement that his or her student makes, I’m giving myself an A for effort.

Being involved in NaNoWriMo writing circles also gave me a chance to learn more about their Young Writers Program for kids and teens. It looks like an energizing and creative way to engage young writers. I’d encourage any teacher out there, reading this post, to incorporate this into next year’s Language Arts syllabus.

I end today’s piece in a dedication, with love, with compassion, and with inspiration to all the children and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

On a holiday note: All of us at the Fairfield Writer’s Blog wish you a peaceful season and a New Year filled with hope.

Until next time, keep on writing.

A Writer’s Website: Part Five

Hello to all you writers out there! This is Adair Heitmann reminding you that one of the most important ways to build your author’s platform is to have a website. Your website can be as simple as a one-pager, or more elaborate with videos, social media plug-ins and e-books. I’m glad to be able to continue to help you take manageable steps in creating your website. Please go to June 2011 for Part One, then proceed to July, August and September 2011 for earlier information on building an author’s website. Like a proud new mama, I’m happy to announce that I finished my own website makeover, and it’s serving me well. The time I spent researching what I wanted in the revised site, learning new technology, and making it happen, paid off. Did I have moments when I pulled my hair out in frustration? Yes, but the end product has been worth the grief, like labor in childbirth.

Today I’ll share information for those of you who want to keep the hairs on your head and prefer to hire out. You can do so by hiring a web developer, a web designer or both. Or as a member of my writing critique group did, get by with a little help from her friends. Find tech-savvy friends to do the technical pieces for you.

First let’s clarify terms:
1. Web developer – knows the tools of the techno trade, usually has several already prepared themes for you to choose from, and can technically provide you with what you ask for. A web developer can provide some customization. In the Northeast an average hourly rate is $40/hour.
2. Web designer – is more of a, just what the name implies, designer, someone who knows the graphic and artistic end of website communication. A web designer can create a unique website. Again it depends on the part of the country that you live in, but here in the Northeast an average hourly rate is $75/hour.

What stays the same is that you, the writer, need to research what you want. You’ll want to give the developer or designer your website wish list. This way, you are in the driver’s seat. You’ll also want to think about if you want to update the site yourself. If so, you’ll need a CMS (Content Management System) type of site. Remember that once your website is up and running, if you don’t have a CMS site, you will be paying your developer or designer a fee for every update.

This brings us to cost:
1. Know your budget and respond accordingly.
2. Research other writers that you know, if you like their website, ask them how much their website cost.
3. Find out the name of the developer/designer and get an estimate from them. Ask them to include future revisions, and update charges.
4. Since more and more people are using mobile devices, be sure to ask your developer/designer if the layout will look good and work efficiently on smart phones.

A cost estimate for a simple 5-page website can run approximately $500.00 and up.

Last but not least, be sure you love your site. An author’s website is a writer’s online face to the world. You want to make the best first impression you can.

Until next time, keep on writing!

A Writer’s Website: Part Four

Hello to all you writers out there! This is Adair Heitmann continuing to help you take manageable steps in creating your own website. Please scroll down to June, July, and August to read about earlier information.

Today I’ll be talking about putting samples of your writing on the website. The answer to the question should you or shouldn’t you is a resounding yes. You’re a writer, right? Every artist works in a medium and words are your medium. If you have published a book, you might offer a sample chapter on your website. If you are unpublished you may want to add a few of your poems, always copyrighting them of course.

This past summer I led a program on how to build a writer’s platform, at the end of the event a writer asked if she should include articles previously published in newspapers. I answered, “Yes.” This brought me to a technology teaching moment that I’ll share with you now. If the article has been published recently it will be online. Simply include a hyperlink from your website to that published article. However if the article is from 1967, before the digital age, what can you do?

If you have hard copy of the printed article you can scan it into your computer and make a PDF file of it. Then insert the PDF file into your website. If you don’t own a scanner, never fear, bring the hard copy of the article to your local copy shop, along with a flash drive. Have them scan it and copy it to your flash drive. Upload that at home to your computer and add that link to your website.

Until next time, cheers, don’t let the technology get you down, and keep on writing!

Published in: on September 28, 2011 at 1:13 pm  Comments (1)  
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Hello from Adair Heitmann. Are you finding ways to stay cool and focused this summer?

I’ll continue my ongoing blog about creating a writer’s website later in August, when I’ll post A Writer’s Website: Part Three. For now if you are new to this blog you can find parts one and two on June 3 and July 1, 2011.

For today’s post I’ll share a quote and let you know of some upcoming writing events.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. ” -Helen Keller

I hope to see you on Tuesday night August 9 at 7pm at Darien Library where I’ll be presenting Create a Writer’s Platform: Why You Need One and How to Build It. The program is part of their Adult Reading You’re Connected series. We will have fun and I’ll share hints and tips on building your writing platform. You will walk away with clarity and useable information.

Then on November 1 and 8, (mark your calendars now!) I’ll be back at the Fairfield Public Library giving a two-part program, Write On! Hands-on Help in Building Your Writer’s Platform at 7pm both nights. Bring paper, pen (or your laptop) and an open mind, the programs will be part lecture, part inspiring writing exercises.

Until next time, stay cool, find new ways to connect with your readers, and keep on writing!

Published in: on July 27, 2011 at 4:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Creating Your Writer’s Platform

Hello to all you writers out there, it’s Adair Heitmann here writing to you on this snowy winter day about: Writer’s Platforms. If you are anything like I was a few years ago I was overwhelmed by the programs at writing conferences and articles in the press about “Literary Platforms.” At the time I didn’t think I had one, wasn’t sure exactly what one was, or even how to go about getting one. I took dubious notes, listened to keynote speakers and was still like a deer in the headlights.

Then it dawned on me, a writing platform is simply a tool you use to promote yourself and your writing. It can be in person, online or a combination of both. A writer’s platform is a marketing term to get known before you get published. This way agents, editors, publicists have more confidence that you have a following before they commit to your project.

After spending dedicated time and focus building my platform, now I think of my writing platform in metaphorical terms. It’s like a swimming platform. My writing platform is solid, I can go to it for safety, it’s out there working for me even as I rest. I can hang onto it or sunbathe, even dive and jump from it in joy and abandon. It’s a springboard for all my writing endeavors.

Basic First Steps in Creating Your Writer’s Platform:

1. Network, go to conferences and programs.

2. Have business cards printed up and use them. A cost-effective online solution is Vistaprint.

3. Create an effective and accurate email signature, this way your platform is always working for you every time you send an email.

4. Increase your online presence with a website, and with blogs and tweets.

5. Figure out your specialty or niche and build around that.

If you want more in-depth information about how to build a writer’s platform and have fun doing it, be sure to sign up for the Writer’s Platform program at the Fairfield Public Library on Tuesday February 15, 2011, 7pm. I will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about writing platforms and you will leave inspired.

Until then, keep on writing!

Published in: on January 26, 2011 at 2:50 pm  Comments (1)  
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