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Going on Vacation


Dear Readers,

Please note that I will not be posting for the foreseeable future. Tomorrow I will be leaving for Arkansas to get married. It will be some time before things settle down for me blog again.

There is also the possibility that I will be closing this blog in favor of a new one. Should that happen, I will let you know the new link so that you won’t miss anything.

I appreciate your support and kind words.

Sincerely,

Jenny Miller

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2013 in Blogging

 

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Christian Writers Group of San Antonio Mini Conference


This past Saturday the 12th I attended a mini-conference held by the Christian Writers of the Greater San Antonio Area. (This isn’t to be confused with the Alamo City chapter of the ACFW. This is a different group, but many members know each other.) They had invited Jan Bear over to talk about finding your audience and marketing. As she is the author of  Target Marketing for Authors: How to Find and Captivate Your Target Audience, she knows a little bit about marketing.

The conference being this close to my wedding date, I was torn about attended it or not. I hadn’t attended a writer’s meeting in over a month, and I was looking forward to being around writers and learning more about the writing craft, especially since audience and marketing were two of my weak points as a writer.

However, Saturday’s are normally my day’s to be with Michael. I have enough trouble being away from him on normal ACFW meeting days, which last till noon. This conference promised to last until 3 or 4. I eventually decided to go, and I’m glad I did.

Finding Your Audience

Jan Bear

Meet Jan Bear, author of Target Marketing for Authors: How to Find and Captivate Your Target Audience

Jan Bear made figuring out your audience and marketing sound easy. She broke it up into three steps, the first of which was most important: marketing starts when the book starts. Why? Because that is when you get to know your audience.

I know that sounds like a ridiculously basic notion, but for me that was like a light bulb going off in my brain. Of course marketing starts when the book starts. How else can you market your book when you don’t even know who you’re marketing to?

But of course there was more than that. Knowing your audience is more than just, “the sci-fi genre.” For one thing, that’s a very large audience. Very large. Jan Bear made a point here: if you have a large audience, you have low passion. But if you have a narrow audience, you have high passion.

Take sci-fi for example. Lot’s of people like sci-fi. But some like space operas over alternate history. And steampunk, as a lesser known sub-genre, has a smaller audience still. The people in that genre will probably be very passionate for their chosen love. However, you can’t narrow your audience too much. If you want to write about pets but love madegascar hissing cockroaches, you aren’t going to find a very big audience. Not much money made there.

Why Use Social Media

Step 2 was use social media.

In some ways, social media will always be a mystery to me. Not the how-to-do it. I can eventually get the swing of that. Maybe. What’s baffles me is the appeal. Call me lazy and call me a hermit, but I don’t find Linked In, Facebook, or Twitter any fun at all to do. Pintrest, maybe, but my laziness generally keeps me from being too active in it. Heck, I barely find surfing the internet appealing on a normal day. 

However, as a writer (and as someone who grew up with the internet), I know the importance in using social media to connect with others. And even if I don’t want to talk to people over Facebook or see what they’re up to, it is important for you to be out there so that they can know you are there. It’s not about you knowing them. It’s about them knowing you.

Home on the Net

Which is why writers should also have a web page. It is your home on the internet, and their one-stop shop for everything your audience needs to know about you. Jan Bear did help us understand what every writer needed to have on their website, and her list went like this:

  • Home
  • Book
  • Press kit
  • Contact
  • Blog
  • About

Go to most author’s websites and you’ll see that a lot of them have web pages that follow this formula. Now, not all of them have blogs, but if you do then it would be a good idea to link your blog to your website and vice-versa. And if you don’t know what a press kit is, that’s ok. Most of the ladies at the conference didn’t either.

Basically, it boils down to info you would give to the press–you know, “My name is this and I wrote that and I’m going to be over here on such-and-such date.” This gives them all the info they need to advertise you. If you want to know more about press kits and platform media, Jan Bear suggests you check out Michael Hyatt’s website.

In Closing

Step 3 was publishing. I wish I could go into as much detail about that as she did, but truthfully, I left early, so I didn’t hear anything she had to say about publishing.

But even in spite of that, I felt I learned a lot. I also recharged my writer’s batteries so that they’ll last to next month. I also made connections and got plenty of ideas for my next blog. It’s going to take lots of work, but I think by the time I get it going its going to be a lot of fun.

Which, I think, should be one of the ultimate motives for any writer. Because if you don’t enjoy something, why are you doing it?

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2013 in Writing

 

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My weekend in pics


I don’t like using this blog for a glorified diary, but some days–some weeks–that’s all I can do. Normally I would take at least one day out of my weekend to brainstorm and write down something meaningful to put on my blog. This weekend I was too busy to even brainstorm.

So I decided to try something else instead. Here is my weekend in pictures. Naturally, we did more here than I list, but you get the picture. Pictures.

Friday

steak 1 My fiance was coming up from New Braunfels on Friday to help his mom do some heavy lifting. That’s not a trip he likes to make, so to show my appreciation for his sacrifice, I made steak. This is what I wanted to make.

steak 2This wasn’t exactly what it actually looked like, but it’s close enough. I wanted a nice juicy steak. But what was put on the plates was a little dried out because I forgot to turn off the heat. However, Michael seemed to like it anyway so I guess my steak was a success. I’ll just have to practice some more!

Saturday

moving furniture

This was us Saturday, as we helped my future grandmother-in-law move furniture around in her house. My fiance and the other men actually did most of the heavy lifting, but let me assure you there was plenty of other work to go around. By the time we got done in mid-afternoon, the only thing we wanted to do besides eat was this:

zzzzzz

 

Sunday

Sunday’s are the Lord’s day for us, so we go to church on Sunday’s. But that still leaves plenty of time in the afternoons to do things, so Sunday afternoon we sat down to take care of one important chore.

thank you cards

 

Last Tuesday the church threw a bridal shower for us. We got lots of nice loot, and so thank you cards had to go out. Before we could hand them out, the cards had to be written. Let me tell you, it seemed like that stack lasted for forever! And the bad part is, there’s bound to be more cards to be written in the future.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in humor, Personal

 

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The Government Shutdown


It’s Been Three Days

US-POLITICS-ECONOMY-BUDGET-WWII MEMORIALAssuming our Congress hasn’t come to a consensus about the budget while I was asleep, this will be day three of the government shutdown.

Like many Americans, I’m frustrated and angry about the whole situation myself. It would have been nice if our Congress could have come to some kind of agreement about our budget. If they had, then maybe our troops would get paid on time and our national parks wouldn’t have had to close. But then again, maybe they would have.

For just a few minutes, let’s set aside our preconceived notions that every Congressman and Senator is a fat, wealthy, selfish, overgrown toddler and for once assume that they all want what’s best for the U.S. For once, let’s look at their job.

Well, its a very difficult job. I don’t know about you, but its not a job that want. After all, they have to sit around all day and make life or death decisions about what is good for our country. And with all of the government run things floating around these days, that’s a lot of decisions. That’s a lot of pressure. Is it any wonder that this happened? I’ll bet at the end of the day they’re so tired of making decisions they let their wives decide on what they’re having for supper.

I’m not surprised our government hasn’t come to an agreement. After all, there’s more than 500 of them. Have you ever tried to get even three people to agree on something, like where to go out to eat? Even simple matters like that can dwindle into silly stubborn pouting matches, where one or more will not bend or compromise on what they want.

Maybe they have too many decisions to make. Maybe, in order for them to get some real work done, they need to only decide on important things. Maybe the government should do fewer things for us, instead of more. Of course, they’d have to decide what government run programs they can drop without the public throwing a temper tantrum.

No, you’re right. Making the national parks run themselves would be a bad idea. The public would never go for it.

One thing I do know. I’m tired of all the name calling floating around. Whatever happened to, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”? Whatever kind of job our government is doing, it doesn’t justify anyone saying such things as I’m reading. It’s unproductive and frankly people, makes you look just as bad as the ones you’re insulting.

*picture from http://photos.denverpost.com/2013/10/01/photos-u-s-government-shutdown/#8

 

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2013 in Daily Life

 

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What is the life expectancy of a blog?


How long should a blog last?

That question has been popping up more and more in my head lately, as I’ve been contemplating terminating my blog. From what little I’ve gathered, some blogs don’t last long. Their authors set them up, post an article or two, and then for whatever reason stop. I imagine there are thousands of blog sights out there just cluttering the internet now.

Some blogs, I imagine, aren’t meant to last for forever. Their authors set out with a purpose–to document a project, losing weight or something like that, something with a clearly defined end.

Others, naturally, will go on for as long as they make money for their owners.

My question is, for those of us without clearly defined ends, how long should we keep our blogs around?

I’ve just hit 100 followers.

Looking at my accomplishment, I’m not sure whether to laugh, celebrate, or cry at the irony. I know I probably will be terminating this blog some time in the future. The question is when.

I try to look on the death of my blog not as a failure. After all, I’ve more than fulfilled my original goals for my blog: to learn how to blog, to learn how to blog regularly, and to establish a presence on the internet. I’ve done that. My presence isn’t big, my following frankly sucks, but as a learning experience this blog has been a success.

But I’m not done yet.

I will have a new blog.

Maybe I should say why I’m closing this blog. It isn’t just because I’ve grown tired of blogging, that it’s more of a chore than anything else, and that I’ve not found writing fun in more than a month now.

It’s because, well, I’m getting married. And when women get married, their names change. And my blog, if any of you would bother to notice, is tied up in my name. So I figured if my name is changing, then my blog should bother to change as well. After all, I’m not a published author; my fame is not tied into my maiden name. So why not?

I do want to view this change as an opportunity to blog better. I’m not sure how I can, but I want to.

So what’s the new name?

Well, my new name is going to be Jennifer Lynn Gorman. How that affects my blog address and such, I’m not sure yet. But I’ll keep you posted, and when the time comes to say farewell to jennymiller62, I’ll make sure to point you to my new home.

Until then.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in Blogging

 

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Seems Like I’m Never Home


pile of paperIf you’re wondering why my posts lately have been a little lacking–it’s because I have had literally no time to prepare for them. Lately I’ve been so busy that I’ve been lucky to scratch out a few words in my journal. Scratching out a few paragraphs here personally seems almost impossible today. And finding something useful to say? Impossible.

This week it seems like I’ve barely been home. I get home, dump my junk, and run off to take care of another errand. And the rest of this week is going to be the same. Next week might slow down a bit, but somehow I doubt it. Having written all my life, I’m relatively used to juggling work, home, hobbies and writing. But none of my things I’ve learned about time management and motivation have seemed to be good enough.

Let’s face it. I respect the hell out of working writers. You ladies (and gents) work full time either as parents or in the office–or both. Then you have kids to manage. Somehow you manage to fit social media in with soccer practices and dance rehearsals. And then, at the end of all that, you still manage to scratch out a few hundred or thousand words on a manuscript and make it sound meaningful. How do you balance it all? How do you look at what you’re doing and believe you will ever get anywhere?

I look at my life lately and I’ve come to one conclusion: I’ve got a lot more to learn before the day is over.

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in Personal, Writing

 

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Cooler Weather and Wedding Plans


This weekend San Antonio enjoyed beautiful weather. The clouds went on vacation, and they took the hot temperatures with them. I didn’t look at a thermometer, but I’d be willing to say we didn’t get out of the 80s the entire weekend. I saw lots of people taking advantage of the weather, jogging and biking everywhere. It was just too nice a weekend to spend all our time inside, and not even we two couch potatoes could bear to spend all of it in front of a computer screen.

But unfortunately, after our three mile stroll was over, we had stuff to do. Stuff like wedding plans.

wedding bellsAlmost Here but So Far Away

The wedding is so close I can almost hear the bells ringing. However, the only bell I’ve heard is the one on my phone. Me and Michael spent much of our weekend hammering out more wedding details with my folks. They wanted to know what I thought of this decoration or that, what kind of food we wanted at our reception, and stuff like that.

For us, we had to find the all important hotel room, and decide on the all important flowers. Those were two goals we set for ourselves this weekend. Thankfully. they were two goals that I can safely say we met. But there are still a thousand other details yet to be decided. Just because we’ve decided on what flowers we want doesn’t mean we’ve ordered them yet. And there also seems to be an issue with the length of the ceremony. Apparently, it needs to be a tad longer. *Sigh*

The big things are taken care of. But now has come the little things that need to be settled and juggled. Until they are settled, it’s going to be stressful, but now’s the time for decisions to be made, not put off. And when the wedding does finally happen, it’ll be beautiful.

I just hope I don’t drop any balls.

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in Daily Life, Texas

 

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