Blogger

End of the Year Goal Check In

I wrote some goals for 2019 back in December and we’re full circle now! I did a 6 months check in since these goals were only for the first 6 months of the year anyways.

 

Goals for the first six months of 2019

Goals have to be measurable in order to know if you’ve reached them or not. Although I’m not happy to focus so heavily on numbers, it is an easy way to measure a goal. My goal is to increase my audience and have a successful poetry career. These numbers will help me keep track of those goals.

 

The Blog

Work on writing a media kit

Contact companies for sponsorship (and actually get one!)

Gain another 1,000 followers

Update: I’ve looked into some samples of media kits but I still don’t think my stats would stand out enough for it to make sense to create one just yet.

I’ve joined some other affiliation programs that I’ve been working on instead of doing any sponsored posts yet. There are some programs that have tougher qualifications so I still need to work on my stats. I am making a small bit of money from google Adsense so it’s great to see me recovering some of my self hosting spendings.

Debatably Dateable has gained over 1,770 followers since December and I couldn’t be happier! I love love love watching this blog grow! I hope to get another thousand in these next 6 months!

 

The Final Results: 3968 June, to 5719 dec = 1750, from my 5k monthly views article, my traffic is growing which helps my monetary goals.

 

Cracked Open

Between GoodReads and Amazon, have 20 reviews

Get 25 more books sold

The Update: I have 18 reviews so I can’t be too upset there but I did not even get close to selling 25 more books so that stings a little. I don’t see these numbers getting much higher as the year goes on. I’m not sure how to help boost sales as the book continues to age.

 

The Final Results: I thought Where I Ache sales would be the only ones coming in after the summer but surprisingly Cracked Open still sees some action on Amazon so that’s great news.

 

Social Media

Twitter – gain 2,000 followers

Instagram– gain 1,000 followers

The Update: For Twitter I only gained 1,270 so far but feel free to come check out what I talk about there! Oddly enough, for Instagram I’ve gained over 2,125 followers so it looks like I got my goals switched around! I hope to get to the 2k+ on Twitter in the Fall.

 

The Final Results: I finally started taking a deeper look into these numbers and found it was wasted efforts! So I’ve switched my focus to Pinterest, read more about why I made these changes here.

 

Next Poetry Collection – Where I Ache!

I want to add 50 exclusive poems to my next collection before I work on publishing it

Have 10 reviews before release date

Sell twice as many as Cracked Open (over the course of the year)

 

The Update: I have 55 exclusive poems! I am absolutely ecstatic about that! Cracked Open had 20 illustrations and Where I Ache has somewhere around 35 so I’m also pumped about that!

Where I Ache was only released 2 weeks ago and there’s already 14 reviews on Goodreads so I’m very happy about that! Definitely check them out!

I’m only 2 weeks in of course but I’m already even with Cracked Open’s first month of book sales so that’s a good start for me!

 

The Final Results: Where I Ache currently has 20 reviews on Goodreads and another 5 on Amazon so I think I did a bit more work during release time on my second collection and I’m happy to see it paid off. Not sure what I’ll want to do about my third collection in the new year.

All those reviews have unfortunately not resulted in more sales than Cracked Open had in it’s first 5 months. My third collection is returning to more Cracked Open style so we’ll see if that has anything to do with it.

 

Because I don’t want to solely focus on numbers, here are some

 

Non numerical goals:

Connect with new readers who resonate with my poetry.

Have my poetry help someone through a difficult time.

Have a company see value in my writing.

Keep a healthy number of articles in queue.

 

The Update: I’ve definitely found new readers and also fellow poets through my Poet Interview Series! I’ve been so lucky to connect with new readers who were interested in reviewing Where I Ache and many have said the sensitive topics covered in the collection have helped them remember they are not alone.

I haven’t really pursued this one aside from submitting Where I Ache to one of the major publishing companies. I’m not sure that I will do much for the rest of the year for this.

I have over 30 posts in queue for the past several months and it is amazinggggg! (knock on wood)

The Final Results: I still have not made the jump to working with companies and I don’t think I will in 2020, my only focus would probably be Google Adsense and working on more traffic to eventually switch to another ad company.

The past few months I hover around 50 articles in queue would has been so awesome and even with that I’ve added more posts into my schedule. At the beginning of the year I would post 10 times a month, then I went to every Monday, Wed, and Friday posting about 12-13 times a month and lately I’ve made the jump to about 15-17 times a month so I’m hoping that will all help with traffic and the like.

 

My goals for 2020 will mostly follow the same path of check the sales of my books and trying to increase site traffic so I’m unsure if I’ll set specific numbers for this coming year. Thanks for following me along through 2019!

Poet Interview Series Recap List

This Poet Interview Series was a huge, huge success! I am so thankful for all these talented poets for working with me and allowing all these readers into their creative minds!

Emily Jane Burton

Christopher Perry

Susi Bocks

Catarine Hancock

Shelby Eileen

Eeva Maria al-Khazaali

Robin Williams

Alice Fawn

Kate

10 Jupiter Grant

11 Paul Webb

12 Vontress Orteg

13 DeVonne White

14 Jason Yearick

15 Matthew

16 Jamey Boelhower

17 Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well

18 Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal

19 Cendrine Marrouat

20 David Ellis

 

and that’s a wrap for 2019!

The Year of 5K!

Over the summer I set the goal to hit 4K views for each month and amazingly, I hit it and then some! July and August I surprisingly reached 5K both times! This was my first time ever getting such a high reach. So far I’ve been able to keep this streak going for the rest of the year as well so I hope December can pull through too.

Screen Shot 2019-12-01 at 7.55.03 PM.png

 

I also reached 5k followers on here as well back in September! I was hoping to reach it for my 3 year anniversary but was a few weeks late. Around this time I also reached 5k on Twitter! So it’s been a year of 5,000s for me and I’m thrilled with all the new accomplishments my blog is reaching.

Screen Shot 2019-12-01 at 7.43.24 PM.png

 

With all of this going on, I decided to finally take a closer look at these numbers. I realized Twitter was not a traffic driver at all for the site so I’ve stopped all efforts of gaining new engagement there. The only social I focus on now is Pinterest and I’ll post some updates there in a month or two.

Screen Shot 2019-09-05 at 8.07.32 PM

 

Interestingly, I check the site’s traffic through google analytics and it’s still under 5K so my goal right now is to focus on reaching it there since any monetary venues focus on how google values the site. My 2019 goal check up will be in 2 weeks so make sure to check back in for that as well.

 

Interview with Poet David Ellis – Installment 20

You all first heard from David a few day’s ago in the Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal interview so check back there for a full bio!

 

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a writer? 

Looking back both fondly and wistfully on my writing career so far, it is not so much a mistake, more the usual situation that I think a lot of writers feel, where if I had started writing sooner with more confidence in myself and my abilities, I would have made a great deal more progress, compared to where I am now. 

Having said all that however, you have to soak up your life experiences to make yourself a better, more polished and professional writer. So, by taking my time and developing my writing styles over the years, I have matured in ways that I would never had imagined, had I been writing as regularly as I do now than say twenty years ago, when I was originally just dabbling in composing song lyrics, which of course would eventually naturally evolve into the poetry that I write today. 

You must never be afraid to write or let that fear be instrumental in holding you back, when it comes to submitting your work for critical evaluation. It took me a long time to start a blog but I am so happy that I did eventually get round to it (thanks to the constant encouragement from my local Writer’s Circle) because of the freedom of creative expression that it allowed me to explore. 

Start a blog, develop a regular writing habit and make sure that you are willing to keep evolving and improving your writing, with the ultimate goal to constantly put out quality content for yourself to enjoy and if other people like it then that really is an excellent bonus! 

Treat all of your writing ‘mistakes’ as experiments that are completely necessary and vital for you to attempt, if you are ever to grow and thrive in your writing journey. 

 

What did it mean to you to have your poetry collection win an International Award? 

I was completely stunned and flabbergasted (I do really like that word). For me, it was unexpected, in that I doubted the popularity of my poetry, compared to other big players in the categories that I submitted for my debut poetry book. 

As it turns out, inspirational poetry is a common theme in my work to this very day and one of my greatest strengths. It turns out that Readers Favorite thought so too. 

To have received the Readers Favorite International Book Award 2016 (Silver) in the Inspirational Poetry Category was life affirming validation for me, it was like “Yes, you are good enough and people are starting to take notice – well done!” 

For me, it was a career defining moment, one of the happiest days of my life and one I will take with me to the grave! 

 

How does the process work of writing Poetic Duets with other poets? 

I haven’t done Poetic Duets in a while, since people are pretty shy about doing collaborations but I do remember how much fun it was and is to create them! Basically, I think the best way to write them is as follows. 

You come up with a theme/concept (or take a concept from your writing buddy). You then run with that concept and see if you can write three or four lines about that concept (it doesn’t matter which one of you goes first, if one of you has the ideas then let them go first!) 

From that point onwards, you then write a few lines and pass it back and forth to each other via email, until you are both satisfied that the poem is complete. 

What is so fascinating about the process itself is that you end up writing lines or being involved with lines that you yourself would never have thought to have written before because you are integrating with another individual with their own poetic perspective. I have also been very lucky to work with people that have allowed me to edit their lines for poetic flow and rhythm, so that the poem is written so seamlessly that often people used to ask me which one of us started the piece! 

I would have to say that as a poet who thrives on positive interaction with people, it is one of the most truly rewarding experiences that you can have when you mesh with another individual and create a piece of art together, there is nothing quite like it! 

 

How was it being a part of the podcast ‘The Writer’s Edge’? 

It was simply an amazing experience! Christie Stratos is a very professional and engaging host at ‘The Writer’s Edge’. Both Cendrine & I found the podcast to be a very smooth and rewarding experience for us all, it was like we were old friends having a fireside chat. We covered a lot of ground, along with giving some background information as to why we started the journal and how you can submit as an individual. I hope all of my interviews end up going this well in the future! 🙂 

Christie is also a writer, editor and entrepreneur and you can find out more about her projects over at http://www.christiestratos.com

 

Like his Facebook Page:- Toofulltowrite – The Creative Palace For Artists & Author Resources 

Follow him on Twitter:- @TooFullToWrite 

For Creativity Resources, Writing Advice, Guides, Author Interviews and Poetry, visit his website/blog at:- www.toofulltowrite.com 

 

Interview with Poet Cendrine Marrouat – Installment 19

Cendrine Marrouat was introduced in yesterday’s interview as co founder of Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal so I’d like to hop right into her interview now!

 

How has your writing changed over the years? 

This year, I decided to release the second edition of Five Years and Counting: A Journey into the Mind of Soul Poetry, a collection I had originally published in 2010. I had to re-read the entire book, but I did it as if I was one of my readers. 

The experience was very interesting. I noticed a sharp change in style. Of course, it has a lot to do with the fact that I am older and know what I want in life. The spirituality that animated my life is now fully part of me. 

Furthermore I write haiku, my favorite form, 90% of the time now. This shift has forced me to focus on conciseness and simpler language. I say more with fewer words, which is a great thing! 

 

Does your poetry and photography ever overlap? 

They do, yes! I photograph things as a poet. I look at the stories I can document and compose my shots accordingly. 

One of my books, When the Mind Travels: A Poetic Journey into Photography, is actually a mixed-media project featuring poetry and photography. 

 

Do you have a favorite collection of your own? 

What? Are you asking me to choose between my babies? 😉 

I love my latest books. Walks: A Collection of Haiku is a series that pays homage to my love of haiku and invites readers to enjoy the fleeting moments that make life beautiful… 

I released volumes 1 and 2 this year and would like to release two more volumes in 2020. It will depend on the time I have. 

 

Aside from Haiku, what’s another form you enjoy writing in? 

The poetry form I invented, which is based on the haiku. The Sixku (you pronounce it as ‘sis-ku’) is a six-word, untitled poem inspired by an image. Like the haiku, a reference to nature is encouraged, complete sentences and punctuation are optional. However, the past tense is allowed. 

The sixku has three lines: Line 1 = idea 1 (one or two word(s)) Line 2 = idea 2 (two or three words) Line 3 = twist, surprise (remaining word(s)) 

Sixku are a fun challenge, especially if you know how to write traditional haiku. 

More information about the sixku can be found on my blog: https://creativeramblings.com/sixku/

 

Website: https://www.cendrinemedia.com

Books: https://www.cendrinemedia.com/Books

Blog: https://creativeramblings.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cendrinemedia

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cendrinephotography/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cendrinemedia/ 

 

Preliminary Interview with Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal – Installment 18

Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal may be new to the publication world but the co-founders, Cendrine Marrouat and Davis Ellis are not. Their bios are just a scroll down so make sure to take a look! I’ll be interviewing them each as well in the following days so I say we get right into this!

 

Where do you hope the future takes you, writing-wise? 

We anticipate collaborating on a variety of mediums and projects in the future. We have excellent synergy together and both have plenty of ideas that we would like to see out together to fruition. We are kindred spirits in our entrepreneurship and our inspirational mission to keep motivating others to succeed with their art and writing 🙂 

How did Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal come to be? 

About a year ago, we were discussing how frustrating the process of submitting to poetry journals can be. Many of those journals are elitist and very selective. They will not consider you if you aren’t already famous or don’t have publishing credits under your belt. And, very often, they do not accept already published material. 

As poets, our main focus has always been inspiration and upliftment. We believe that there is too much negativity in this world, that it is high time the status quo changed. And the best way to force that change is through art. 

Poetry is one of the most misunderstood artforms and yet, strangely enough, it is also the one that most people rely on when they need to feel better. So, we had the perfect combo. 

We believe that poetry can be used to make the world a better place. Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal was born shortly after that discussion. 

What makes our journal unique is that we accept poetry from everyone, even younger artists (ages 13-16). We do not care if you have never been published before or if you are new to poetry. If you have a positive message to share with the world, and you are between the ages of 13 and 100+, you are welcome to send us your pieces for consideration. 

Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal 

Website: https://abpoetryjournal.com

Latest issues: https://abpoetryjournal.com/issues/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/abpoetryjournal

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abpoetryjournal 

Cendrine Marrouat 

Originally from Toulouse, France, Cendrine Marrouat has called Winnipeg, Canada, her home for 16 years. She is a photographer, poet, author, and the Head of marketing and communications at ConnexionFranco.Coop. She has also co-founded two projects, FPoint Collective and Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal. 

Cendrine specializes in nature, black-and-white and closeup images. Her photography seeks the mundane to capture the fleeting, but true beauty of life in its many forms. 

Cendrine is passionate about haiku. She has studied the Japanese poetry form extensively and written many pieces since 2006. 

In 2015, Cendrine was recognized as a Top 100 Business Blogger by BuzzHUMM. Social Media Slant, her former blog, also made Fit Small Business’ Best Small Business Blogs of 2015 & 2016 lists. 

Walks: A Collection of Haiku (Volumes 1 & 2) are Cendrine’s 12th and 13th books. Other releases include five collections of poetry, three photography books, a play, two social media ebooks, and a spoken word CD. 

Website: https://www.cendrinemedia.com

Books: https://www.cendrinemedia.com/Books

Blog: https://creativeramblings.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cendrinemedia

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cendrinephotography/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cendrinemedia/ 

David Ellis 

David Ellis is a UK based author of poetry, fiction and music lyrics. He has been writing poetry and music lyrics for years. 

His debut poetry book Life, Sex & Death – A Poetry Collection Vol 1 is an International Award winning volume, having won an award in the Readers’ Favorite 2016 Book Award Contest for Inspirational Poetry Books. 

Think of him like the thriller genre in that he is fast paced, relentless and impossible to put down! His latest book See A Dream Within: Found “Poe”try Based On The Collected Poetry Works Of Edgar Allan Poe can now be purchased on Amazon Kindle, on Lulu and in print at major outlets. 

Connect with him on Facebook:- TooFullToWrite (FB) 

Like his Facebook Page:- Toofulltowrite – The Creative Palace For Artists & Author Resources 

Follow him on Twitter:- @TooFullToWrite 

For Creativity Resources, Writing Advice, Guides, Author Interviews and Poetry, visit his website/blog at:- www.toofulltowrite.com 

 

Quarterly Favorites Recap – December

The last quarterly favorites recap of 2019!

Check out :           March                 June                 September

to see how the rest of the year went!

 

  1. Favorite show: I just finished season two of Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime! I’m also watching The Rookie and Stumptown via Hulu (both are on ABC).

 

  1. Favorite tweet: I was looking through my tweets and saw I was talking about naps and sleeping a lot so why don’t we all just take a look at that haha

Screen Shot 2019-12-01 at 7.18.33 PMScreen Shot 2019-12-01 at 7.18.05 PMScreen Shot 2019-12-01 at 7.17.53 PMScreen Shot 2019-12-01 at 7.17.10 PMScreen Shot 2019-12-01 at 7.16.56 PMScreen Shot 2019-12-01 at 7.16.41 PM

 

  1. Favorite blog post: I’m starting to write articles like I did back in 2017 such as What changed in dating apps. I excited to be going back to my roots and how this blog started out. I hope you guys are enjoying it too!

 

  1. Favorite phase /word to say: If I had to pick something I guess it would be ‘Can’t Relate’ mostly when people are talking about all the crazy, drunk things they get up to with their friends going out to the bars every weekend.

 

  1. Favorite thing you did: Watched Sunday football at a local bar with my cousins and family. I also saw the broadway play Come From Away.

 

 

  1. Favorite artist: It’s that Holiday Season so I’ll list some of my favorite Christmas songs!

Blue Christmas -Elvis

Please Come Home For Christmas- Eagles

All I Want For Christmas is You – Mariah Carey

Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer – Elmo & Patsy

 

  1. Favorite Poem: I have two newer poems that are really catching my eye and hopefully they’ll catch yours too: Close Enough and Fallen Angel

 

Interview with Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well – Installment 17

Today we’re flying all the way to Australia to talk to poet, author, and illustrator Lauren Hancock. Also known on her blog and instagram as Alice Well! I can’t thank Lauren enough for the time and effort she put into collaborating with me. Check out my review of her recent publication here. Now let’s begin!

 

Where did you get your ideas from for “Our Whimsical World”?

My ideas generally came after drawing the image for the stories. When creating art, I become lost in the process, because it can be such an enjoyable state of mind to be in, being awash with a sense of creativity and joy when creating an image that is fun, lively and bright.

From then my imagination would take over the story point of view: having an image to work from allows me freedom to create. Having words written first is more limiting, because I need the consequently drawn image to adhere to the already-present words. My ideas mainly come spontaneously, either before the drawing was commenced, during, or after. This process speaks of how when I create something “All is well”: Alice Well, the creative name I am also known as.

 

How important was it for your stories in “Our Whimsical World” to have a moral or a message?

It was important for me to write stories that were not just stories. They needed to have depth; a message, a moral, something for the readers to learn from. It was not enough for me to simply write something cute that entertained. I wanted there to be a reason for reading these stories, and for a message to be quietly presently to sink into the minds of the children or older readers while they felt they were simply being entertained.

 

Did you consider that some vocabulary used may be too complex for younger readers? If so, why did you make this decision?

Using complex vocabulary that may be out of the scope of some of the readers provides them with the opportunity to learn new words and reach for a greater understanding of language than they had previously grasped. It is like when my former violin teacher would present myself and other students with pieces of music that were slightly out of our level of expertise: – it extended our skillset and encouraged improvement for our musicality and proficiency. The same idea is present here.

 

I notice on your website that your writing has taken a different direction from the style that your book is written in. Could you explain this a little further?

Yes, my writing has altered from short, generally amusing and light-hearted stories, to more serious and deeper themed poetry. It explores the self, love, acceptance, longing, encouragement for others, and being hurt by the actions of others. I felt it was time to move on from the short story style and begin to create poetry that spoke of my internal being, to show the vulnerability I am willing to display. Hopefully my poetry shows a depth of self and the revelations I speak of can resonate within some of my readers. Knowing or at least hoping that others can or are able to relate to one’s words and/or works is one of the greatest feelings we can hope for as poets, writers, or artists.

 

At what age did your passion for writing surface?

I was a fervent reader from a very young age. My grandparents and parents provided me with books upon books — Enid Blyton’s tales, Peter Rabbit, and so on, and I read these increasing collections with vigour and excitement. Being immersed with written language and beautiful imagery from such a young age allowed my own vocabulary to develop over time and my imagination grew and grew. I turned to writing to create worlds and stories that lived in my mind, and I still have the collection of writings and illustrations to view.

 

What did you find that the most difficult thing about self-publishing?

For me, the hardest thing in self-publishing my book was the marketing/promotional side of things. I went into the experience with little idea of what I would need to do or how to prepare myself to introduce my new book to potential readers. I knew, but didn’t completely realise that the responsibility initially fell entirely upon me to generate interest and attention. But, I have been blessed to have my editor who has greatly helped me along the way with advice and support when I most need it, and he has made the marketing side of things clearer for me.

Sometimes I feel like when I do mention my book online that I may be viewed as too pushy, when I am really just wanting to share what I created with others. Being relatively new to this blogging community, I wasn’t aware that people organised ‘blog book tours’, or what ARCs were, or anything like that, but I know that for next time around I can be more organised and prepared in an upcoming launch of a second book.

 

 

Get your copy from Amazon and check out Lauren’s Goodreads too!

Check out her Alice Well Blog and Instagram next!

Whats different about my third poetry collection

When I first started compiling my poems for my first collection, Cracked Open, I also realized what my following 2 collections would be able. We’ve finally reached number 3! My third collection will have the theme of Nature connecting the pages.

 

No chapters

I enjoy chapbooks and collections that have chapters because it gives the reader more direction and more of a journey. A concern that I think my past collections have run into is that having related poems groups together makes them seem more repetitive and less unique. I don’t think chapters will enhance the reader’s journey for this third collection since nature is the only consistent theme.

 

No illustrations

I think illustrations add so much to a collection and they were a must have for my first. It turns out illustrations are expensive and can be a real hassle. I ran a poll on Twitter for my second collection and thought having illustrations again might lead to good sales. I’ve realized at this early in my career, illustrations aren’t going to make or break a sale, but they will break the bank. This collection is the longest one so far which would mean even more illustrations to pay for so this time around we’ll have to do without.

 

No author note

Interestingly enough, whenever I read a book, I never read the author’s note or foreword or anything if I can help it. So I have no idea why for the first two collections, I decided to write an author’s note! I mean Cracked Open was my first and it made sense to me since people are getting to know me as a poet. Where I Ache also made sense for me because it carried some really tough topics and I needed the readers to know that before they dove in. I also needed my friends and family to know that not everything I write is about me and there’s no need to worry haha. But from now on I don’t think my collections will need notes because I doubt anyone reads them anyway.

 

80+ exclusive poems

With my first collection, Cracked Open, I struggled to produce 20 exclusive poems so it absolutely amazes me to have over 80 exclusive poems for this third collection! Where I Ache had a bit over 55 exclusives so this collection alone will have more exclusives than the first two combined! I expected for nearly half of the third collection to be exclusive, never before seen work.

I’ll have more info coming out soon as this third collection progresses and when you can expect it to hit the shelves!