Authors using Pinterest – top tips to get the best from your account

Do you know that Pinterest is the third biggest search engine? Yep, after Google and YouTube shoppers go to Pinterest to make their buying decisions. Which means that if you’re an author with books to sell online, you should have an account on Pinterest. Unlike Instagram or Twitter,  your pins don’t disappear after a few minutes. People save them to their boards, either to use immediately or to come back to when they’re ready. They last for as long as you want them to – one of my most popular pins is a couple of years old. Every now and then I’ll refresh it and pin again. 

The Tips

Pinterest is one of the easiest, least taxing, social media platforms to use but there are still a few things you need to know. 

1. We usually start out with a personal account, using it to save pins of clothes, shoes, recipes and if you want to use your account to make sales you can still keep all of these on boards you can set to ‘secret’. It’s best to have a business account when you want to make sales. 

2. As an author, you will want to optimise your profile to reflect your author brand and this means having an identifiable photo, a well-constructed bio, and links to your publications. 

3. You’ll hear lots of talk about Boards and Pins. The easiest way to describe what these are is to visualise a corkboard where you keep household or office reminders. Maybe you use one as a Vision Board? Pinterest is exactly this – you create a board, name it, and then pin images to it. 

4. You can have up to 5 “Featured Boards” and the first one should be entirely devoted to your writing. 

5. It’s not difficult to use Pinterest but like all programmes new to us, there are best practices: 

  • Ensure your pins are vertical – 600 x 900 pixels 
  • Put thought into your board covers – your account will look much more professional if all the covers are branded
  • Design is better when there’s less of it so lots of white space is good – don’t go mad with all sorts of different boards. You can create Sections within a board if you want to have lots of different topics. 

Whatever you do, make sure you have fun – oh, and use video, Pinners love video! The video opposite is a typical of a pinned video – Pinterest suggests no less than 6 seconds and no more than 15, so this one is 10 seconds. 

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Divorce: How to Do It Yourself

Summary

We’re by nature inclined to want to do things ourselves. There’s an advert in New Zealand about DIY being in our DNA, and so it is for most of us. This isn’t always the case when you take the DIY into the legal arena. Buying a house, administering an estate, getting a divorce – all can be done by citizens, but dealing with regulations and the emotional effects can be too difficult for some. However, if you do decide to go down the DIY route for your divorce and have all your ducks in a row, you can get that divorce decree more quickly and much more cheaply than by going through a solicitor.

Personal Experience

 Divorce was made legal in Ireland on 17 June 1996. I’d been separated since 1981. I had no contact with my ex-husband, he never had any contact with his son, and I wanted nothing from him. Sounds straightforward. You’d think. I went to a solicitor to see about getting a divorce. She quoted me £3,000. For an uncontested divorce.

Eight years later, I began looking into DIY Divorce. In Ireland, people tend to remain separated but married until they want to remarry, so it was in my case.

The Process

 I bought a book written by the journalist Micheline McCormack that set out all the steps needed and provided copies of the forms required. All I had to do was type these out and file with the Family Court.

The main reason couples opt for the DIY process is cost, but like any legal undertaking, divorce can be complicated and if there are any issues where agreement cannot be reached, then a solicitor is usually the only option.

Here are the requirements for getting a divorce in Ireland.

  •  A legal separation is required before looking for a divorce, so the first thing to do is to set up an appointment with a mediation service. The Family Mediation Service is a free service to help Irish couples negotiate their own separation.
  • You must have lived apart for 2 out of the previous 3 years. The Family Law Act 2019 clarifies that couples  sharing a home but not in an intimate and committed relationship can apply for divorce.
  • At least one of you must be living in Ireland, and have lived here for at least one year, when the divorce application is made.
  • There must be no chance of reconciliation
  •  Appropriate arrangements must be in place for the spouse and any dependents.

The Filing Process

A Divorce that is by consent must still fulfill the criteria above and one party is still the applicant and one the respondent.

  • The Applicant submits an application form – Family Law Civil Bill – to the local Circuit Court. This form includes the agreements made during mediation as applies to the family home, custody, maintenance, pension and so on.
  • The Respondent confirms the application form.
  • Both parties provide a sworn Affidavit of Means
  • You submit a Notice of Motion and a sworn Affidavit attesting that you have followed the rules for getting divorced and including the final agreed terms.

Conclusion

 If you’re going for a DIY Divorce, you must fulfil the above requirements and file for divorce with the correct court in your county. My local Family Court was immensely helpful in ensuring I had the correct documents and answered any questions I had throughout the process.

By the time I got my divorce, Ireland had adopted the Euro currency. My divorce cost me the princely sum of €38! It’s around €300-400 now.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve gone the DIY route or if you’d like more information on the process. 

 

Two people handshake over mountains precipice. Business, deal, connection concepts

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Quarantine – Why Henry VIII is Responsible for it

According to Einstein, the definition of insanity was continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. The same could be said for the use of quarantine and lockdown to combat COVID.

The Black Death

The earliest mention of the Plague in England was The Black Death in June 1348. Originating in Asia, it was spread along shipping routes by flea-infested rats. The first known case was a sailor who arrived in Weymouth from France, where the Plague had also taken hold. It quickly spread to London, and by the following summer, it enveloped the whole country. It then began to die down, and by December, it was gone.

The good news resulting from this particular Pandemic was the end of the 100 hundred years war. They just couldn’t get the staff.

Another pandemic hit the shores in 1361/62, and after that, it returned periodically during the 14th and 15th centuries. Sometimes in particular areas, and at other times it spread throughout the country, killing between 10 to 20 per cent of the population each time.

Henry VIII was a hypochondriac 

It seems that the population put up with the situation as it was until Henry VIII was in power. Other infections such as Sweating Sickness were added to the mix by the beginning of the 16th Century, and Henry became more and more obsessed with keeping the infection at bay.

Henry was not only terrified of Sweating Sickness but of all types of illness. His doctor had to examine him regularly and reassure him that he was in good health. When the Sweating Sickness showed up in his locality, he’d pack up whichever castle he was living in and hotfoot it to somewhere it hadn’t reached.

Moving from place to place was the only option for the wealthy, and they would often only move within a county

Sweating Sickness

In August 1517, Henry’s court became ravaged by this Sweating Sickness (its origins are still unclear). When 2 of the pages who slept in his bedroom died, Henry dismissed all the staff, bar a few essential workers. He also had a mortal fear of London, where the infection rate was soaring. Despite repeated calls from Parliament, he said he was quite happy where he was (in Abingdon) and would stay put.

When his mistress Anne Boleyn caught the dreaded disease, even his love for her couldn’t tempt him from self-isolation. He sent his doctor to look after her, and of course, she survived. I wonder if she regretted that later on?

Quarantine

St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle was a favourite destination for pilgrims and Henry believed they were bringing the Plague with them. In an effort to make the castle infection-free, he wrote to St George’s College, instructing them to come up with a solution. And so, the first instance of quarantine as a means of containing a virus was implemented.

Once a house was quarantined, only one person was allowed out to shop for essentials. That person had to carry an upright white rod. This had to reach four feet above head height so that people could see the person and socially distance themselves. Another pole which was at least 8 feet long, had to be fastened to the side of their house. This pole had to have wisps of hay or straw attached to warn the community that the house was infected and keep their distance. These measures were to remain in place until 40 days after the patients were given the all-clear.

In the absence of any other solution, London followed suit but went a step further with the poles – the one to be carried was to be 10 feet at least. A bundle of hay or straw rather than a wisp was required for the household pole.

Easing of Restrictions

The businesspeople of London didn’t take kindly to quarantine, and the King’s Council allowed the annual Friar’s Fair to go ahead. We have no data on infection rates from that.

The Pandemic seemed to strike mostly at young men and the wealthy – might it have come from food shipped to the country and may have been infected by the same rats that caused the Plague?

Non-essential Travel

It made its way to Ireland (but not Scotland), where the Lord Chancellor of Ireland at the time, Hugh Inge, was one of its victims. However, the sickness didn’t make its presence felt as it had in England.

We come full circle

The wealthy continued to use mobility as their primary defence against the disease until it eventually died out in 1551, but quarantine remained and continues to remain, a tool used by the government in their response to pandemics.

‘take special regard and make diligent search amongst you from time to time that there be no resort, sojourning, nor lodging of any strange persons within any of your houses in our said college which shall come from London or any other place where any infection is.’

 The first ‘state’ quarantine measures in England (1517): St George’s College Archives, Windsor, IV.B.2

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No Graphic Design Experience? No problem. Canva to the rescue!

No Graphic Design Experience? No problem. Canva to the rescue!

 CANVA not only helps you create gorgeous graphics but you learn as you go by using the templates and learning the components of good design. 

I was never very good at putting graphics together. I ‘sort of’ knew what I wanted but every time I tried to put something together for a Facebook post or a book cover, I ended up with a graphic that looked homemade. You know what I mean, right? 

And then I found CANVA and all my excursions into Graphic Design World became fun and easy and best of all, my graphics looked professional. It’s free to use unless you need extra functionality but for most people, the free version will do.  I used these checklists for my learning curve and now I fly through creating designs for blog posts, social media and book covers. 

If you want to see how it’s done simply sign up below to receive the checklists by return

 

32 Checklists for you to follow to create amazing graphics

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How To Blog a Book

How To Blog a Book

How to Blog a Book

What holds most would-be authors back from publishing? It’s not a lack of writing talent. It’s not a lack of knowledge. And it’s definitely not a lack of desire.

If you ask most people why they haven’t finished their book, they’ll tell you they don’t have time.

We’re all busy people. You have clients to serve, a business to run, a family to care for. Not only that, but you’re spending time writing, marketing on social media, managing your team…the list is nearly endless.

When would you have time to write an entire book?

You’ve Probably Already Written It

It’s true. If you have a blog, and you’ve been maintaining it for more than a few months, then you very likely have already written all the content your book needs. All that remains is to organise and give it a light edit.

If you don’t have a blog (why not?), or your blog is young, blogging your book is even easier, since you can plan your content around your book topic.

Here’s how it works.

Think of your blog categories as sections, and each blog post as a chapter. You can loosely organise your book by sorting all your blog posts by category, then listing them in logical order. Your book may only contain a single category, or it might contain several. The choice is yours.

Remove self-serving, time sensitive, curated, or other content that doesn’t fit into a book. Remove the calls to action. It won’t make sense to promote your services or products—or worse, affiliate offers—within a book.

 Why you must Edit

What you’re left with is a rough draft of a book. All that remains is a few passes with your editor who you will have engaged for:

  1. Flow: Books should follow a logical path from one chapter to the next, so you’ll likely have to add or edit the beginnings and endings of your posts.
  2. Spelling, grammar and punctuation: Don’t skip this part. In fact, get someone else to do it. It’s too difficult to spot our own mistakes, and book readers are less forgiving than blog readers.
  3. Content: Enlist the help of a few friends or colleagues who you trust to share their honest opinion with you. Ask them to read through and note any content that is confusing, or that could be explained in greater detail.

That’s it! Revise, and you’re ready to publish.

 

 Think no one will read a book that’s repurposed from your blog?

Think again. Bloggers have used this method to write books for years, and some of them are spectacularly successful. Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.net fame wrote and published his wildly popular blogging guide based entirely on content he’d already published on his blog. He found that even though the content was freely available, people bought the book because they wanted the convenience of having it organized for them in one document.

Even fiction writers have discovered the power of blogging a book. Andy Weir, the author of “The Martian,” first published his book one chapter at a time on a blog.

Don’t continue to let excuses hold you back from publishing your book. Use the content you’ve already written, or strategically plan your blog to turn it into a book, but either way, get publishing!

 

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Self-Doubt Thrives When You Compare Yourself to Other Writers

Self-Doubt Thrives When You Compare Yourself to Other Writers

 Have you ever finished a wonderful book that, when you put it down, only left you feeling full of self-doubt? Because you think you’ll never write that well? Repeat after me 😊 I will never do this again! Comparing yourself to other writers can only damage your future successes. You may not be at the same experience level of those you’re comparing yourself to, and another person’s success may not be the magical transformation you feel it will be. 

 It’s not magic

Self-doubt can arise from the comparisons you make between you and fellow writers. Some may seem to have the Midas touch no matter what genre they write in–but you don’t know how many rewrites and edits they put that work through before it hit the bookshelves. 

 Those writers who are successful have likely spent an enormous amount of time and effort on their writing. It may look easy, but chances are they went through the same self-doubting process about their own potential for success. 

 Fear of exposure

Comparison to others and the self-doubt that follows goes on in every business – but it’s more prevalent in writing because you’re always putting yourself out there, presenting yourself and your ideas to others, particularly your friends and family (why do we feel more nervous about this audience?). They’ve been hearing for a long time about your writing, now they will see for themselves how good (or not) you are. 

The massive and constant success of others can make you feel like such a failure–because someone is always making more money than you or seems to be successful with everything they publish. 

Defeat the comparisons 

Comparisons like that are treacherous to your own self-confidence and can defeat what you’re trying to accomplish. You may not be aware of their many unfinished novels in the past or of how much time and money they’ve spent getting to this point. 

One way to view comparisons is to see them as challenges. “If she can do it, so can I!” may be exactly the boost you need to act, and make your own dreams come true. Note also that success for writers in the 21st Century is as much about marketing as it is about writing. Educate yourself on the strategies used by successful writers to get book sales.

 Strategise

Competition is fierce among writers. Looking into the strategies of other writers can be a good thing if you use them as models rather than comparing yourself to them negatively.  

Self-doubt can grow to be the nemesis of your future. Guard against comparing yourself to others negatively and focus on getting your writing to be the best it can be.

 

If you struggle with self-doubt why not join me for a 21-day Stop Thinking, Start Writing challenge 

Starts 22 February 2021

Gather Pinterest Followers in 5 Easy Steps

It’s relatively easy to gather followers on Pinterest, much easier than other social media platforms. 

1. Post Original Pins

The first step in gathering followers on Pinterest is to post original Pins. Now, this can get people in a tizzy. I didn’t understand what it meant when I started taking Pinterest seriously–I thought it meant that every Pin I created had to be designed by me. Not so. Original merely means you are not saving from another Pinner’s account.

Sharing from another website, a funny quote or meme, your own original images (high quality) and best of all, Infographics. In 2020, everyone devours bite-sized information and you can’t get better than an infographic.  See opposite!

2. Save Pins from Other Pinners

Don’t forget to follow the Pinner if you’re saving their stuff. You don’t have to, but 9 times out of 10, they will follow you back.

Change the description of the Pin, creating something unique to you. 

3. Use Keywords

Use the Search Bar to find out what other people are searching for and then use that information to inform your keyword selection. This will find people who are looking for what you’re putting out.

4. Connect to Your Other Social Media Accounts

Connect your Pinterest account to as many of your other social media accounts as you can. In that way, you can share your Pins and get more followers that way.

5. Make Your Website Pinterest-friendly

Make sure your website visitors can pin directly from your website by adding Follow and Share Pinterest buttons (and any other Social Media accounts you may have). I use BestWebSoft’s Pinterest plugin which is extremely simple to navigate.

Also, don’t forget to activate your Pinterest Conversion Tag if you have a Business Account (and if you haven’t, why not?). For this, you can use a plugin called Pctags – Pinterest Conversion Tags 

One last thing – Pinterest is unique in social media platforms in that you can almost instantly see results IF you put in the work. Like Jim Carey said when he wrote himself a $10m cheque – there was no point in writing it and then going off to eat ice cream 🙂

 

 

Pinterest for authors, Pinterest for Artists

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How to Schedule your Pins on Pinterest with Tailwind

If you’re regularly posting to social media sites the idea of having to post to yet another could be what stops you making the most of Pinterest. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. Serious Pinners use Tailwind, a pin scheduler for both Pinterest and Instagram (separate subscriptions).

Firstly, with Pinterest, the slicker your photos look, the better they will perform. Instagram is where you can post your own images that may not have turned out quite right but on Pinterest, you need hiRes and interesting images relating to your product/s.  Check out best practices for both platforms before posting.

SmartLoop your Pins

Apart from scheduling pins for a day/week/month ahead, Tailwind also has a nifty little feature whereby you can loop your images. For example, say one of your pins from last month or year performed extremely well, you can go add it to SmartLoop and it will be published again. You can add Pins straight from your boards so you never need to run out of material.  The image opposite is my SmartLoop Schedule

Just make sure each image is linked back to a landing page or your shop or wherever you want people to go.

Each Board a Pin is set to Loop to counts as 1 Active SmartLoop Post regardless of how often it actually Pins each month*

Tailwind Create

The latest innovation from Tailwind (they innovate a lot) is called Tailwind Create. You set up your account with your brand colours, logo and fonts and every time you create a new Pin, your settings are automatically applied.

Join a Tribe

Another cool thing about this App is the Tribes function. You can find tribes in over 4,000 niches and of course, because Pinterest is full of curated content, you’ll be able to find lots of content to repin.

You can use Tailwind Tribes for free, even if you don’t have a paid account, and your free trial has ended. When you sign up for a Tailwind Free Trial, you get 100 free scheduling timeslots with NO time limit! 

All of these are free to join, the monthly charges are low but not necessary to get you started.

This is the pricing page

Don’t forget – if you have a business you should have a business account. Check out my last post to see how you can convert your personal account to a business account.

*source Tailwind

“This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you choose to click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. I was also compensated to create this post, though all opinions are my own.”

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Convert a Personal Pinterest Page to a Business Pinterest Page

If you’re an author who sells (or wants to sell) books you are a business and therefore you need a Business account on Pinterest.

It’s not that difficult to do but you may not know where to start, so that’s why I’ve created a PDF that shows you step-by-step how to go about changing a Personal account to a Business account on Pinterest. Simply enter your email address opposite to download. 

If you have a go at creating your Business account I’ll share information with you next time about how you can keep a steady stream of pins to your boards.

NOTE: When you’re creating boards for your page, whether it’s Business or Personal, use your brand colours when designing the covers – see below (or visit my Pinterest page at https://www.pinterest.ie/norahdeay/_saved/) – more on this here

A Pinterest business page
Writers need a Pinterest Business account

Pinterest personal to business account

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10 Ways to Develop Creativity

 

 Creativity is ѕоmеthіng wе аll uѕе іn some form, even though many people believe thеу аrеn’t сrеаtіvе. Thе bеѕt way tо develop creativity іѕ thrоugh рrасtісе. The mоrе уоu dо thе things, rеgulаrlу, thаt flеx your сrеаtіvе muscle, the mоrе уоu will develop a natural аbіlіtу tо be сrеаtіvе.

Dеvеlоріng your creative muscles hеlрѕ rеduсе ѕtrеѕѕ and іmрrоvе уоur рrоblеm-ѕоlvіng аbіlіtу. Begin wіth these 10 steps tо dеvеlор and enhance уоur сrеаtіvіtу.

1. Bе mіndful аnd оbѕеrvе whаt others аrе dоіng аrоund уоu. Thе wау wе ѕее our surroundings and our еnvіrоnmеnt helps buіld оur creativity. Nоtісе аnd appreciate everything аnd еvеrуоnе around уоu. Thіѕ opens уоur mind to new роѕѕіbіlіtіеѕ whіlе helping уоu build a collection оf еxреrіеnсеѕ to drаw frоm fоr іnѕріrаtіоn.

2. Bе wіllіng to tаkе risks іn оrdеr to dеvеlор уоur creative skills. Whіlе you wіll fail, you wіll be bооѕtіng your сrеаtіvіtу and buіldіng ѕkіllѕ уоu саn uѕе later.

3. Evеrу tіmе уоu mаkе progress wіth uѕіng your сrеаtіvіtу, you аrе buіldіng your соnfіdеnсе. Rеwаrd уоurѕеlf for уоur сrеаtіvіtу.

4. Whеn уоu approach a problem rеmеmbеr thеrе аrе multірlе ѕоlutіоnѕ. Look fоr a variety оf ѕоlutіоnѕ instead of gоіng wіth your fіrѕt one. This helps buіld рrоblеm ѕоlvіng skills аnd your creative thіnkіng ѕkіllѕ.

5. Keep a creativity jоurnаl. Uѕе it tо kеер track оf уоur creative рrосеѕѕ and аnу іdеаѕ you come uр with. Go back аnd reflect оn whаt уоu have ассоmрlіѕhеd. Uѕе it tо try to find оthеr ѕоlutіоnѕ to аnу рrоblеmѕ уоu mау hаvе solved аlrеаdу.

6. Uѕе a mіnd mар or flоw сhаrt tо connect іdеаѕ аnd look for creative аnѕwеrѕ to аnу questions you аrе facing. For thе mіnd mар, write dоwn thе сеntrаl tоріс оr wоrd thеn lіnk thе related іdеаѕ аrоund thе center word. Thіѕ gives уоu a vіѕuаl fоr ѕееіng іdеаѕ аnd how thеу аrе lіnkеd. Thе flow chart саn bе uѕеd tо track whаt needs tо hарреn whеn in a рrоjесt or event. Thеу саn also be uѕеd tо vіѕuаlіzе the fіnаl product аnd whаt nееdѕ to happen tо get tо thаt finished product.

7. Dеvеlор your сrеаtіvіtу by сhаngіng your еnvіrоnmеnt. Thіѕ саn аѕ ѕіmрlе аѕ сlеаrіng your dеѕk, раіntіng уоur wаllѕ оr mоvіng your furniture. Or уоu саn try tаkіng your laptop to wоrk in a different ѕеttіng ѕuсh as a rеѕtаurаnt оr раrk.

8. Fіght уоur fеаr of fаіlіng. If уоu fear уоu wіll make a huge mіѕtаkе оr fail whеn you try doing ѕоmеthіng new, it саn kеер уоu paralyzed from bеіng creative. Mіѕtаkеѕ аrе аlwауѕ going tо happen. Thе trісk іѕ tо nоt gіvе uр and tо lеаrn frоm thеm.

9. Get out оf уоur соmfоrt zоnе аnd try new thіngѕ. Do this оn a rеgulаr bаѕіѕ to dеvеlор уоur creativity. Changing things and dоіng thіngѕ оutѕіdе уоur соmfоrt zоnе boosts сrеаtіvіtу. Stаrt wіth ѕоmеthіng ѕmаll if уоu аrеn’t ready tо rосk сlіmb a mountain сlіff.

10. Tаkе tіmе tо dауdrеаm and lеt your mind wander. Dауdrеаmіng lеаdѕ tо creative рrоblеm-ѕоlvіng whіlе bооѕtіng your creative thinking. Aѕ іt wаndеrѕ, your mind ассеѕѕеѕ mеmоrіеѕ аnd еmоtіоnѕ as wеll аѕ those rаndоm bіtѕ of knоwlеdgе уоu’vе fоrgоttеn. Focus оn thе аrеа уоu аrе wаntіng іnѕріrаtіоn іn.

Prасtісе іѕ kеу when іt соmеѕ tо developing уоur сrеаtіvіtу. If уоu dоn’t dо уоur асtіvіtіеѕ, regularly, whеthеr they аrе mental оr physical, your creativity fаdеѕ. There are mаnу wауѕ tо develop уоur сrеаtіvіtу. Juѕt find thе оnеѕ thаt wоrk fоr уоu.