Saturday, January 17, 2015

Reading Plan: January 2015


So, as you may remember, I have a goal of reading 26 books this year. I've got about two weeks left in January to finish two of the books I'm currently reading. I've finished one, but I know that I have it in me to finish two more.

I actually started a lot of books last year, but got sidetracked when I was trying to be part of Blog Tours. Sadly, I'm not that great at reading two things at once, especially if I'm not overly fond of what I'm reading (I like to finish books that I read). Another plan I have this year is to finish many of the books I started LAST year.

Without further ado, here is my current reading plan:

January

I've Never Been to Vegas...But My Luggage Has! By Mandy Hale 

Source
I finished this book a couple weeks ago, and read it really quickly. Mandy Hale is funny, fashionable, and has a lot of great advice for single chicks, with a strong, Biblical foundation. I've been reading her blog, The Single Woman for a few months now, and absolutely love it. 

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

I started the Jane Austen Book Club a few months ago, but then things got super nuts. I love this story, and can't wait to share my thoughts in Book Club format, and I hope you'll join me in the discussion when I share my thoughts in February. 

Once Upon a Winter's Night by Dennis L. McKiernan


The Polar Bear King is one of my favorite fairy tales, and here it's reimagined in an epic tale of curses and true love. I borrowed this book from my sister because I'm working on a fairy tale myself. I don't read many fantasy novels, which I don't know why. I love the genre. I'm 99.9% sure I'm a Disney Princess. Jane (my Cat) doesn't directly talk TO me, but I totally get it. We chat. I can totally read animals' minds. 

This is my January Plan for reading.
  • What's on your reading list this month?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Wattpad: A Platform for Everyone

A few years ago, when I was trying to find an audience for my first book, Sugar & Spies, I was turned on to the web-based platform, Wattpad.

What is Wattpad?

From what I'd heard, it was a place for teenagers to write for other teenagers, but it had grown that people truly wanting to find their audience put their stories up in serial form to find an audience. The audience votes on your chapters, and the more votes it gets, the more exposure it gets from the site. Wattpad's whole aim is to make the solitary art of writing into a social art.

Don't you want to publish to make money?

Wattpad doesn't hold the rights to your work, so you can publish it anywhere you want. Wattpad's aim is to find you an audience. I'm sorely lacking an audience, and to be completely honest, I'd really love to find my love of writing, and make it less of a chore. If I'm writing and getting immediate feedback, then it might reignite my passion.

Do people really do well on Wattpad?

Some really do. They have great success stories, and it'd be so cool to be one of them. 

How do you promote your work on Wattpad?

Since they're a social platform, it's encouraged that you get really involved, read stories, comment, and take part in the social group they've got on the site, as well. 

What are you going to do on Wattpad?

I've had these short stories swimming around in my head that take place in the same universe as a bigger mystery series, and I'd like to advertise for my series by writing these smaller stories about people you'll meet in the main stories. I'm hoping it fleshes out my universe into something great. 

Have you written anything on Wattpad yet?

Yes, I have! It was something I'd written awhile back, but I uploaded it this afternoon, and even used Canva, as well as a some royalty-free photos to create a book cover.

Click Here to Read!

How can I publish on Wattpad?

Easy Peasy. Here are instructions taken from The Writer's Circle.

  1. Setup a Wattpad account. You can either sign up with an email address and create a password, or have it go through your Facebook account. If you use Facebook, you can also see which Facebook friends are using Wattpad and follow them if you like.
  2. Check out the copyright agreement/rules. Though Wattpad is pretty lax about publishing, there are still some guidelines about copyright infringement and posting content that is obscene or hateful. Read those guidelines carefully before creating content.
  3. Click “Create.” In the toolbar at the top of the page, you’ll see a few options – you can search for stories based on genre, recommended reads, featured stories, or what has recently won awards; view your own library of saved stories to read; or create a story of your own. Click “Create.”
  4. Start writing. The template here is simple: There’s a spot for your story’s title, a word count tracker in the top-right corner, and simple HTML tools for bolding and italicizing words. There’s also a helpful spell checker that can spell-check in eight different languages, which is another cool feature.

    You can either write directly in the text box, or upload a .txt file from your computer by clicking “Upload a File” in the bottom-left corner of the text box (it’s easy enough to convert files to .txt, since it won’t accept .doc or other file types).  You can save drafts along the way by just hitting “Save,” and you can hit “Save & Publish” when it’s finished and ready for the world to see.
  5. Pick categories, tags, rating, and language. Along the right side of the text box, you’ll see a series of dropdown menus. These selections make your content more searchable, describe your story, and also will help bring in readers looking for your kind of story. You can pick up to two categories (e.g. “Short Story” and “Science Fiction”) and also can free-form tags. 

    Tags are more specific descriptors to help readers find your story – maybe your Science Fiction story would be tagged with “vampires” and “werewolves.” Think of things you might type when searching for that kind of story, and use those as tags. You’ll also want to give your story a rating – G through R, much like the movies – so it’s clear what kind of content is in there.
  6. Copyright. If you publish using "advanced options," you can also add copyright language to the story like "All rights reserved" or a "Creative Commons" license.
  7. Add a description. If you're using a computer, you can click "My Works" and then "Manage" to add a short description of the story and to mark whether it is an ongoing series or completed story. (It's a little different on the apps, but you still go through the "My Works" page.) 
  8. Publish! Once you’re ready, you can hit “Save & Publish” to share with the masses. Readers can send messages and comment on the story, and you can see that all in your inbox. That direct interaction and feedback can be really helpful in growing your readership and perfecting your writing skills.
  9. Add dedications or photos. After you publish, you can also add a dedication or photograph to the story. You'll see those options along the right side of the screen, next to the text.
  10. Check out the stats. Wattpad keeps track of how many reads, votes, and comments that each story gets, so you can see in real time how many people are reading it.
  11. Add chapters. If you want to add chapters, then go to “My Works” and simply click “Add Part” for the story you want to add something to.

See? It's really pretty simple. Plus, there's a free app you can download to your device to read stories, or write stories anywhere! 

If you're wanting to give writing a try, and want to check out some free stories, Wattpad is a great resource! If you want to follow me, my username is martinbeks

Have a great weekend!