How To Promote Yourself On WordPress (Well, in my opinion, anyway)

Promoting yourself on WP

I’ve been on WordPress for nearly two years now (doesn’t time fly…) and quite a lot of you awesome people follow me. Sure, not a groundbreaking amount, but I must have been doing something right, mustn’t I?

Admittedly, the title may be a bit misleading, aside from the part in parenthesis: you may have come here looking for some quick, confident way to gain likes, followers, commenters etc. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy, and I still struggle to completely gain the attention of my audience. But I’m going to share what I’ve done to try and get there!

  1. Use the tags and categories to your advantage. Do you know where these babies are? Have a look at the pictures below and find out which article writing site you have (I don’t really know what to call it) and then fill in the tags as much as you can. They’re used in search engines and on WordPress itself. If you’re not using them, then your blog views are likely to drop. The categories are mainly for your blog itself, but are equally as useful – if someone likes what they read, they’re likely to try and find more, and you want to make their life a bit easier to they stay!
  2. Engage with interesting stuff people want to see. WordPress generally plays host to writing, so if you’re looking to promote your music, unless it’s through writing, you might want to head to Twitter or Tumblr instead. You can write about anything – well, almost anything – though. Your posts can be as long or as short as you like, but unless they’re stories, I wouldn’t make them extensively long!
  3. Post regularly. Yeah, I should probably practice what I preach, I’m terrible at getting this Friday post done. But I do try! As long as your readers know that, and you post about once a week at the least, then they should be content.
  4. Pictures! They break up large chunks of text, and give you something to post on websites such as Pinterest and even Twitter.
  5. Do lists and bullet points and stuff. It breaks up the text which is easy on the eye, and it makes it easier for you to think up content (like me, can you tell?) because once you’ve done, say, 3 or 4, it’s quite easy to get up to 5 in the “Top Five…” etc.

Basically, be yourself. Well, as yourself as you can be online. People will (hopefully) like your voice and they’ll like your posts for the (equally hopefully) friendly tone.

Just have fun on WordPress, or any blog for that matter. Whilst people noticing you is nice, writing for yourself and writing what you love is basically what matters.

Oh and one last tip: read and follow other people! If you’re lucky, they’ll check out your blog too!

The Road Beneath My Feet by Frank Turner

The Road Beneath My Feet

In September 2005, the punk-rock band Million Dead played their final show. Whilst it was the end of the line for this band, it was the beginning of a new journey for Frank Turner. Over 1000 shows (nearing 2000) and 10 years later, he finally stopped for long enough to write this book. Which is a miracle in itself. Even if you don’t include the thousands of miles around the globe he’s travelled, all the tens of people he’s met and the hundreds of sweaty shows he’s performed.

I don’t read a lot of autobiographies, but this one was recommended to me by (and then leant to me by) my boyfriend. And it’s one of my favourite singers. So I kinda read it.

One thing I really liked about this book is that it was written as if it was being spoken. It’s one of those things where you lose yourself in the book, and when you look up you can’t smell the sweat of the stage or hear the roaring of the crowd anymore, and you’re actually just sat on a freezing bus on the way to another long day college. This was the first autobiography that I lost myself in.

I should probably say something about the chapters. They’re not chapters, per se, but told in shows. The shows tell you the stories of the people and adventures around them. He puts in the actual show too, of course, but it’s the stories that tell you what life is like when you’re travelling, which was another thing I wrote in my notes. I’m not a musician, and I have no particular aspirations to be, but this book really tells you what life on the road is like…without actually having to be there.

Another thing I really liked about Turner’s style of writing is the pure, well, Englishness of it all. He would hate me for saying it, but using words like “alas” is just awesome. Frank also swears a lot in his music, so it was bound to be in his novel, which is just a head up if you don’t like that type of stuff, but I found it actually worked really well with it.

Finally, Frank’s passion for music really comes through in his writing, and it’s actually rather pleasant to read; the life and vibrancy he creates in his words really translates into life for the reader.

I would recommend this book to music lovers, and people who like Frank Turner, obviously. This novel isn’t for everyone, so don’t read it if what’s up there doesn’t appease you. Personally, I really enjoyed it, though, and would read another if he wrote a few more.

[Thanks to the awesome Jake for lending me his (signed!) copy! :* Check out his review too!]

TITLE: The Road Beneath My Feet
AUTHOR: Frank Turner
PUBLISHER: Headline Publishing Group
PRICE: £20.00 (but you can find it reduced in most places because it’s so new)
ISBN: 9781472222015
PERSONAL SOURCE: My amazeballs boyfriend

Fractured (Slated #2) by Teri Terry


Kyla has been Slated. But now, she’s remembering: something she shouldn’t be able to do. When someone from her past life reappears, she begins to remember more and more. But soon it becomes apparent someone has betrayed her, and she doesn’t know who to trust.

Fractured is the second in the series of ‘Slated’. I bought Slated at a charity shop and read it rather quickly, but didn’t think about getting the sequel, so when I saw Fractured in the library I picked it up and read it in two days. In a turn of events, I actually think Fractured was better than it’s predecessor, something I have never encountered before in a series!

I was immediately hooked and remained that way throughout the whole book. Terry has a (rather annoying, but brilliant) habit of leaving chapters on cliff hangers, which meant I’d say, “now, I’m only going to read to Chapter 42…” and… I kind of ended up finishing the entire book.

The array of characters just grew further still, and I really love the differences between them. I’ve found a lot of great books recently, so I’m finding myself repeating a lot of the same things, but this is so true. I had love-hate relationships with some, some I just love, and some were pitied, sympathised with, laughed at. Kind of like real love. And I loved it, of course.

Despite the tension, there were also plenty of shocks. Not to give any spoilers but ohmygoodnesswhatishappeningtothischaracternostopthatbeforeihityouintheface. Which basically summed up my reaction to it.

I lapped up this book like a dehydrated cat to water (even when my cat isn’t dehydrated this is amusing to watch, so that’s my comparison), and it was brilliant. I had to give my library card away (to the boyf so I’ll  get it back, don’t panic! (as I would be if it weren’t him)) to get the last one because it wasn’t in my local library , but I’m so excited to read it! Expect a review of Shattered soon!

And of course I would recommend this, but start from the first: it’ll make way more sense. These books are great for thrills, a little bit of romance (always nice), and a nice story. Perhaps a bit predictable, admittedly, but if you can overlook that it’s not too bad at all.

Find Your Mojo

Find your mojoEveryone takes a knock to their confidence at some point. Perhaps you received a rejection letter or the epic scene in your head comes out a bit limp and lame on paper. You just feel like giving up and crawling into bed with a book and hot cocoa. I mean, that’s fine for a day or two, but after that you need to get up, get out and find your mojo!

Just because one person doesn’t like your work doesn’t mean other people won’t either. Did you know that Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code was rejected at least once, and the publisher said, “It is so badly written”? Did that stop him? Of course it didn’t, he simply sent it to another publisher and lo and behold, it has now sold in excess of 80 million copies.

If you’re struggling to find the willpower to write more, try finding a competition with either a great prize or a great premise. You want to do well, so you’ll do the best you can; it could be the best entry they get!

Ups and downs are a given in life: what goes up must come down, but likewise what falls down bounces. If you fall to what you imagine to be the bottom of everything, just bounce up again and keep moving forward. Losing your mojo for a day, even a week or a month, isn’t the end of the world, you can always come back to being your old, great self again.

It’s well known that if you enjoy something you’re so likely to do well. You like writing, right, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. So even if one little thing can’t be fixed for the moment, move on until you’ve got a clear enough head to go back and smash it. I mean, not literally, your laptop probably wouldn’t thank you for that.

At least one person out there believes in you, and even if that’s a stranger over the internet (hello!) then surely that’s enough to heave yourself, grab your mojo from wherever it’s lurking and carry on doing what you love?

May The 4th Be With You

Howdy everyone! I hope I find you all well.

Aside from my turning 17 (which was a great day), nothing much else has happened this weekend. What about with you all?

Sorry about no blog posts this weekend, there’ll definitely be some this week! Is there anything you guys want raised?

– Hannah :)

Hello world

Hi everyone! So I’m in a fair bit of pain, having just done a practice DofE (Duke of Edinburgh) expedition at the weekend. However, I have finally submitted an article to my work after taking April off for emotional stuffs, so that’s making me feel a lot better.

How are you at the moment, dear reader?

Have a nice week, everyone!

Using Music For Inspiration

Music! Hans Christian Anderson famously said, “Where words fail, music speaks.” I agree, in some respects, but disagree wildly in others.

Music has been a source of inspiration for me for, well, as long as I can remember. I have songs downloaded onto my iPod which were used to inspire some of my earliest works. I still use music now, to accompany my writing, set the tone, inspire me, give me a time scale to stick to when I’m getting my stories from brain to paper.

Have you ever tried using music as you write? Some find it distracting, but that’s probably to do with the lyrics. Why not find a sound you like – white noise, 3 hours of jazz music (actually very relaxing), dolphin sounds – and listen to that as you write? It can block out other sounds as well.

If you’re stuck for what to write about, why not listen to a song? Lyrics alone are usually enough to inspire something, but set against the melody of the song can make them mean something else entirely. Perhaps it stirs a memory you can harness and put into words.

Now this point deviates away from “music” and goes to “why Hannah shouldn’t have YouTube”. If you need a sound effect of something you have never heard before in your life, it can be quite hard to write about… so search it. Search “machine gun fire sound effect” or “knitting needles” or “sound of a tattoo” (yes this is actually a thing and it made my brain hurt). Then put what you hear… into your writing! Simples! – well, simpler than making it up and it turning out you think getting a tattoo sounds like a lawn mower instead. Which, I think we can all agree, would be much more terrifying as it came into contact with your skin.

Perhaps it has never occurred to you to use music, or perhaps you didn’t like it. If you’re either of the two, I urge you to just try it once more. If you get distracted by lyrics, try an instrumental. If you’re still distracted, try listening to it before writing and then writing after. Music will probably relax you, so you might even find writing easier!

Music is a great source of just about everything: love, sex, hate, death, war, life, soul, animals. There’s something out there for everyone, and according to this website, around 2,100,000 songs have been released since 1940. That’s a lot to choose from – and that’s released. You may find your new favourite song from a teen artist who just stuck it up on YouTube to see what would happen. And perhaps that’ll be the story of how you’re next best seller was born: a musical prodigy.

Using Images For Inspiration
Using Words For Inspiration

Talk To Me, People?

Hello everyone!

Well, I have done it: reached 200+ followers on this blog! What an achievement! Can you believe I only started it in October 2013?! Thanks to each and every one of you for following, liking and, occasionally – wink wink – commenting! (Shout out to wildbaugh (or Jake w/e) for being the latest commenter! And of course to Herminia for being around a lot. Phew, this whole thing has got me being quite sentimental!)

I’d love to be able to reach out to you more – hence the title. Is there anything I can do for you all to help to interact? Goodness knows it’d help me, but I want it to help you, too! Any topics you want covered, books reviewed etc? Would you like more posts, posts about books vs. writing, more about writing life and less about writing technique?

I basically really like writing articles and want to write more, but – as you can probably tell from the mountains I’ve written here – I love to chat as well, especially about things I love. So………………. what can I do for you all?

I think that basically concludes today’s Monday post… Fun times, eh?

I’m going on a Duke of Edinburgh hike this weekend so won’t be online for the Friday post (though it’ll be posted – I’m about to get onto writing it, actually)! :)

Have a nice week all!

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

Monstrous Regiment

Borogravia is at war – again – this time with the Zlobenians. Polly Perks has lost her brother, Paul, so she does the only logical thing: cut off all her hair, learn to belch and fart and join the army. How hard can it be?

But war is a deadly thing, and all they have on their side is a infamous sergeant and a terrifying vampire with a lust for coffee. The Monstrous Regiment have to use all their wits – and, of course, the secret they share – in order to survive.

This was the first Terry Pratchett novel I have ever read. I know, I know, shoot me, I haven’t lived, haven’t had a childhood etc. Well, at least I’m reading them now.

The first thing that struck me, which none of my friends who also read this for our club noticed, was that Pratchett doesn’t use chapters. Although this wouldn’t work for every novelist, it really does with his novels, and it made it read so, so well – in fact, I think chapters would have ruined it. I also found it interesting how no one noticed this: perhaps, if he had, we would have commented on how it broke up the writing. Just a small, writerly observation there.

I was about to move onto characters, but another thing I noted was the fact it was ‘aesthetically pleasing’. The actual lay out of the words on the page does, in some places, actually add to the reading of the novel and if it was just written plainly it would absolutely not have the same effect. Perhaps something to think about when writing my own…

Moving on to the characters. Each one of them had their own voice, from Polly to Wazzer to Jackrum to Maladict. Pratchett is incredible at bringing each one to life in their own way too: Lofty’s pyromania, Polly’s protectiveness, Maladict’s wittiness and all of their humour. I had different feelings for all of them, too: hate for Strappi, admiration for the Monstrous Regiment, even a slight wariness of Maladict!

Pratchett is famous for addressing issues in his writings, and I think Monstrous effectively addresses the issues of war, religion and feminism, through a satirical yet firm way. The topics provided a great source of debate for our group of readers, too. I really enjoyed his real life views in a fantasy world, and thought it worked incredibly effectively.

The subplots (I wrote ‘mini plots’ in my notes because I couldn’t remember the correct term of use…) were also effective in adding to the novel, but not taking away from the main plot. That’s how they should be done. I also loved, ironically, how there was no love interest for the protagonist, and instead for minor characters. Perfecto. A novel which doesn’t actually revolve around romance, but still has strong, independent, feisty, fantastic characters and a strong, main, brilliant plot! This is starting to sound like the ideal for #VeryRealisticYA. Except for the fact it’s a world on a turtle and four elephants. But there you go.

The next paragraph has spoilers so click if you dare/skip if you don’t.

One thing I wasn’t too keen on was the fact that so many of the ‘men’ turned out to be women. I would have liked some of the Monstrous Regiment to be, and one or two of the officers would have been nice, but it seemed almost too perfect that the entirety of the Regiment and many of the officers were. Even Jackrum (although that was a sweet twist). I understand what Pratchett was trying to show, but I don’t know how effective it was: certainly, all of my friends at the club didn’t like the vast amount of girls. As a specific example, I preferred Maladict as a boy!

[End of spoilers.]

Overall, I gave Monstrous Regiment 5 stars on Goodreads and I would definitely recommend it to any fantasy lovers! I’m definitely going to try and read some more Terry Pratchett novels, so expect to see some more recommendations in the future!

TITLE: Monstrous Regiment
AUTHOR: Terry Pratchett
PUBLISHER: Corgi Books
PRICE: £6.99
ISBN: 9780552149419
PERSONAL SOURCE: Borrowed from the library

Monstrous Regiment is the 31st in the Discworld series.

Monstrous Regiment is a book for my 2015 reading challenge: non-human characters. 

Using Words For Inspiration

So last week I did a post on Using Images For Inspiration. This week, however, I’m using words.

Obviously, words are the things that we use in novels (aside from Chopsticks, which, by the way, is very good (although I guess that raises the question of if it is a novel, but that’s for another time)). But some people do overlook them as a source for inspiration, especially in interesting ways…

Writing Magazine has a competition where they give you the first and last line and you write the end of the story.

You could always be given the plot and fill in the gaps?

Perhaps if you invent a lot of prompts, whenever you feel your writing pool becoming dry, you can just use one of those!

Listen. Listen around you, write down conversations. Something someone says, even in passing, may set of a spark in your brain. You never know, it could be the next best seller and you could be thanking the woman who stood behind you in the queue.

Google is, once again, your best friend. There are plenty of writing prompts on Tumblr, especially!

Ask people. Say, “hey, tell me something to write a story about.” Ask a few different people and mash them all together.

And I promised you guys last week a word generator, and here it is! (warning, contains flashing images) Have some fun with it!

Another thing you can try is the NaNoWriMo YWP front page and press ‘Dare Me!’ on the Dare Machine. Such fun!

Have fun with your words, guys!

(Next week… writing and music?)