Memes made by me: making images for fun and (if I’m lucky) profit

On my Facebook page, I have an album I called “Memes Made By Me” (because I love the alliteration). That’s where I save the various non-promotional memes I’ve made, from the ones I’ve done with various meme generators to ones I’ve actually made with stock art. Some of them are (hopefully) funny; others are (maybe) inspirational.

Why do I make them? Partly it’s a shameless self-promotional thing; the theory goes that if someone likes my meme, they might click through to learn more about me and my books. (I don’t think that ever actually happens, though — at least, not based on my own Facebook-viewing behaviour.) Another thing I’ve noticed is that, if I get lots of activity on one post, then the next post I share seems to be shown more widely by Facebook’s evil algorithms. That may be a coincidence, though.

The real reason I make them is because it’s fun. I love using Photoshop to come up with pretty pictures with words on them. :p

Here are some of the non-promotional memes I’ve made over the past few months:

Callous monster

I hate those posts so much…

Cinderella

Stock: Shutterstock

dr-horrible

Neil Patrick Harris belongs to Joss Whedon (and also to Neil’s husband, David). No copyright infringement intended.

Meme Marilyn quote

Stock: Shutterstock

Puppy review

Stock: Shutterstock

Meme Post-apocalyptic Fiction

My friend’s ten-year-old daughter came out with a comment very similar to this. I adapted it. 🙂

I’ve also made a ton of promotional teasers, most of which you’ll have seen on my blog if you’re a regular reader. If you’re not, here’s the most recent one. You’ll notice I’ve kept the text quite small on the overall page. That’s because I’ve been thinking about using this one in an advert, and Facebook requires that images for ads have no more than 20% text. (I may be pushing that limit with this one, because it’s not just the text on the top left that counts but the title on the book as well.)

SPR Review

And here’s one I made for my friend, Stacey, whose newest book came out last month.

Teaser for Pretend by Stacey Nash

Teaser for Pretend by Stacey Nash (Stock: Shutterstock)

I’d love to hear what you guys think of these kinds of memes and teasers. What do you like to see in a meme? What makes you click “like” or “share”? How about in a book teaser?

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The Book of Faces

If you want to reliably see what I’m up to on the Book of Faces, Jay Kristoff has the good oil on how to do it. My Facebook page is here!

Jay Kristoff - Literary Giant

facebook

So I’m not sure if you beautiful folks are aware of this, but I thought I’d share since Facebook isn’t all that great at spreading the word about its own functionality.

The facey lair of Lord Zuckerberg has been shrouded in dank shrouds of dank, shroudy mystery for a while now, and most authors I know don’t really bother with it as a social media platform anymore. Not only does the Tome of Face-ishness seem oh so very Naughties, but it’s just not all that great for getting the word out about your warez, as opposed to Twitter or Tumblr or Tinder (omg all these T words) or whatever it is the cool kids are using this week.

One of the reasons companies and content creators are fleeing like virginal 16 year old protagonists in the presence of hockey-mask-wearing mass-murderers is that the Grimoire of Facery actually doesn’t…

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The Anatomy of a Grammar Nerd

So when Grammarly emailed me about something called the Anatomy of a Grammar nerd, I thought they’d be talking about how we have dictionaries for brains or pain receptors triggered by dangling modifiers. But no, apparently that was me being literal.

Who’d have thought?

Anyway. I’m a little too old to be a grammar nerd, apparently — although the age range might have more to do with the fact these stats were derived from Facebook users’ profiles, and maybe those who aren’t in the 18-24 age range tend to hide their year of birth. 😉

As for the Oxford comma, I’m agnostic on the issue. I don’t think it’s necessary to use them all the time, but I will use one when to do otherwise would cause confusion. As for semicolons, they are my favourite and my best.

How do you compare to the infographic?

Anatomy of a Grammar Nerd Infographic

Posted with permission from Grammarly


Pinterest for Authors: A Newbie’s Guide

Building your author platform? I’m over at Aussie Owned and Read, giving some advice on setting up a Pinterest account.

Aussie Writers

Ribbon,_Pinterest Source: Wikipedia Commons

If you’re a new author who is looking to build your social media platform, either before you start querying agents or because you’ve got a deal and have been told it’s something you need to work on, then you might want to consider Pinterest, the image-sharing website. It’s less demanding than a blog, Facebook or Twitter…  although it can be just as much of a time vampire if you let it.

Still, with a bit of self-discipline, it can be a way to promote yourself and your books, while also being a great source of inspiration for your writing.

What should I pin?

Look at creating at least ten boards on different themes, and having at least the same number of pins in each. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Have a board directly relating to each of your books or to each series. I have a board for my 

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Website design: creating an attractive author image

Today’s guest post is by Amber A. Bardan, contemporary and paranormal romance writer and winner of North Texas Romance Writers of America‘s 2013 Great Expectations. 

I’m so excited to be guest blogging for Cassandra today! I thought I’d blog about something I know a little be about. My day job (as in the job that actually pays me money so I can spend the rest of the time writing) is as a Web and Graphic Designer. Let’s face it the reason you get an author website is so publishers and agents can look you up and see that you appear professional. Obviously you want your website or blog to look pretty, and thereby enhance your professional image.

It’s also the foundation of your one day ‘published author’ platform. I want to stop here a moment and say something; at the end of the day your writing is what is going to sell you – everything else is secondary so don’t stress too much if you have no domain, few blog followers, and only a couple of Twitter followers. These things are only a complement to good writing.

However, the advantage of setting yourself up professionally is that other writers, prospective readers or whomever our blog/website is targeting are far more likely to take you seriously if you look the part. So here are my tips on creating a good looking author website.

Creating Strong Visual Appeal

·         Keep it simple

Look at the majority of successful bloggers and aspiring writers; their blogs and websites are usually simple. If not, they usually have professionally designed themes.

Either way they are not generally loaded with photos, images, clip art, hundreds of colors or varying text sizes—it’s simple and consistent.

·         Quality graphics

If you are going to use graphics to enrich your website or blog make sure they are good quality, royalty-free images. Nothing looks worse than tacky clipart on a website. Sites like Shutterstock, iStock and Dreamstime have millions of beautiful, professional images available to purchase for a very small fee. You only need one great image to create a website background or blog banner.

·         Color Choice

This is the biggest problem with DIY websites and blogs! We all know ‘those’ websites with black background and yellow or magenta text… Apart from not being visually appealing, color choice effects visibility and your website’s or blog’s accessibility.

Chose two colors—with big contrast. You might introduce a third color for enhancement, but only use it with a light hand.

De-saturated colors work well. But always use web-safe colors (no neon yellow or magenta)

When using a color for a background or text I suggest always pairing it with white. For example, with a dusky blue background, use white text. With a white background, use dusky blue text. You can use more than one color against white, such as a white background with a dusky blue text and pale blue embellishments, but never put a colored text on a colored background. 

·         Templates and Professionals

Another option is to purchase professional services in the form of professional web design or web/blog templates. This option can give you a very professional and individual result—if you choose your source wisely. Of course, custom is the most expensive option but there are more affordable templates available from template stores for a small cost (some are even free). If you do choose this option ensure you do your research; look at portfolios and get a good understanding of what is included, what you need to do yourself, and total costs.

You can find Amber on Twitter or at her blog.

Amber A Bardan


Finding new Twitter follows more lazy ways: hashtags and advanced searches

Capture2

Two weeks ago I blogged about how a great way to find new people to follow was to look at the lists to which others have added you, because odds are there’ll be a common theme uniting you and them. Here are a couple of other ways I’ve used recently to find people to follow, both for my personal account and for the Aussie Owned and Read account. (By the way, Aussie Owned is running a giveaway at the moment; you should check it out!)

Contest hashtags

Yesterday, the queen of Twitter pitching contests, Brenda Drake, ran the latest in the series: #PitMad. In case you’re not familiar with the idea, writers come up with a 140-character hook for their manuscript (including the hashtag) and post it periodically throughout a ten-hour period. Agents and publishing houses can check the hashtag and request to see queries for those pitches that interest them. It was fabulously successful and quite a few folks I know got requests.

But the other upside of a very popular hashtag such as this is that, like a list, it unites people who have similar interests. In this case it’s writers, but there are loads of other hashtags out there you can use.

Advanced search function

Did you know that Twitter has an advanced search function? You can find it here. It lets you enter in various criteria to search for (must or mustn’t include certain words, from or to a certain account, etc). The location function seems a little flaky (whenever I tried “Australia” it didn’t work, so I had to do it by capital city) but otherwise it’s quite effective to find people who have the same interests as you.

As an aside, if you’re trying to market a book make sure you don’t just follow writers. Follow readers too; try searching for fans of popular novels in your genre. If they follow you back you’ve gained a possible new fan (so long as you play your cards right).

So those are two of the ways I use. Do you have any other methods to find people who share your interests?


I’m Pinteresting

Pinterest_logoThat’s like being interesting, only with art.

I’ve read a few blog posts on social media for writers, and everyone kept mentioning Pinterest. I’d always thought that was a site for scrapbooking DIY projects and recipes, so I was scratching my head as to what writers use it for. So I posted on Twitter, and a few of my tweeps filled me in.

One good summary of it, and what made me decide to get a Pinterest account, is Nicole Evelina’s blog post on the subject.

So anyway, I’ve set up my account here, if you wanted to check it out or follow me or whatever it is people do on Pinterest. If you leave your account names in the comments I’ll follow you back. Once I figure out how. :p