You are being manipulated. Here’s how.

It is psychological law that whatever we desire to accomplish we must impress upon the subjective or subconscious mind.--Orison Swett Marden

Let’s get something straight right up front. I love technology. Not only for how easy it makes my life, but mainly for how it can be used to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Since the birth of Christ, nothing has given us a bigger platform to share the love of Jesus than the Internet. Nothing.

However, saying something is one thing. Getting heard is another. And the ones with the power are the ones who manipulate what is seen and heard. Search engine algorithms can be designed to filter out anything pertaining to Christ. Money and the prince of the air think they’re in control. (But seriously, we know Who really is, right?)

It is psychological law that whatever we desire to accomplish we must impress upon the subjective or subconscious mind.--Orison Swett Marden (1)

You think you have a plethora of choices? You do. But not really. Those who own the algorithms are the ones who decide what your choices really are. Truth has never been more relative than it is today. If people believe what comes up first when they’re doing a search, (on Google, Siri, Bing, etc.) are they living in reality? Or the reality that the search engine created?

eyes are useless when the mind is blind.--unknown

Not only do search engines and Amazon filter what’s seen at the top of a search, so do advertisers. Add to that the government accessing your search stats and freedom flies out the window only to be captured and shackled.

Oh, oh, oh, and what about when you’re browsing for say,  a pair of shoes, and you’re reading the news on another site and the ad for the shoes shows up. How intellectually free are you? I mean, really?

Is this freedom or manipulation?

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This ad popped up on my Facebook and tumblr dashboard after I’d checked out a clearance sale on HSN.com.

Amazon manipulates its customers. You might not think so, but take a gander at this post on the Hoosier Ink blog by Joe Allison:

Amazon Restricts Promotion of Books with “Religious or Spiritual Content”

Amazon-logoI mean, c’mon, we all know it happens, but do we remember when we’re searching for things, that our choices are limited to what those in charge want us to see and find? Or are we lulled into intellectual laziness and put discernment on the back burner?

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Please tweet: Are we intellectually lazy and easily manipulated?

What’s on your writing desk, Mary Sayler?

Karla:  Today we’re visiting Mary Sayler at her writing desk! Mary also shares details about her routine. Take it away, Mary!

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Mary: I’m at my desk every morning, writing and posting Praise Poems or blogging on various aspects of words and The Word for The Word Center blog. Since I’ve been a full-time freelance and assignment writer for Christian and educational publishers for most of my adult life, I usually have a project in progress. Otherwise, I’m researching for my Bible study class, or I’m reading a new edition of the Bible I’ve been sent to review on the Bible Reviewer blog, or I’m revising my poems, or I’m critiquing someone else’s poems for a small fee, or I’m redoing my website, or I’m social networking, or I’m doing laundry or tending grandchildren or cooking dinner or emailing whoever is waiting for my response or waiting tables at our church’s weekly pancake breakfast.

Karla: Whew. What a whirlwind! But it sounds so fulfilling!

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Mary’s writing lair. Isn’t it cozy?

Mary: As a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church, I’m a persistent pray-er, but praising God doesn’t come naturally for me. Then, last Fall, I felt the Lord coaxing me to begin the Praise Poems blog to praise God for Who God Is, rather than what He does. Those poems have kept coming as contemporary psalms until I have more than enough for a book!

Karla: That is so awesome! I love it when that happens!

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Click to buy!

Mary: Although many of my books (27 in all genres) are no longer in print, the newest ones can be found on my Amazon Author Page. I posted some of my online writing credits on my website and set up Profile pages in the Poets & Writers online directory of poets, About Me, and the just-discovered QuotesRain.

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Click to buy!

Back in the Golden Days, my traditional publishers did all of the marketing for me, leaving me free to write. Now, social networking seems to be a must for any writer with books or blogs, so I’m on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and who knows what else! I’m grateful for my computer and Internet, but oh, I miss pencil and paper!

Where in the world do you write-

Karla: Me, too, Mary! I miss the days I’d sit in the trees over the creek behind my grandmother’s house and pen prose. Those were delicious moments. But from the looks of your twitter following (10k+!), you’re great at this social media thing! Wow!

Thanks for sharing your writing space with us today! It’s fun to peek in on professional writers’ lairs and see how they do it. Your space looks incredibly inviting for getting in the writing zone.

How about you, Dear Reader? Where in the world do you write? I’d love to know!

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Please tweet: What’s on your writing desk? Mary Sayler shares hers!

Building your online platform

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Click to enter!

I’m hosting a Back to School Giveaway! 

No, I’m not launching a new book. I like to treat my readers to unexpected surprises now and then. I also hope to acquire new readership. This is one reason authors hold contests.

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Click for a chance to win!

Contests are a fun way to help build your on-line platform. I’ve held several and they are tons of fun. My favorite contests were when I was launching my first novel, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots. I held a Facebook Party and gave away gifts all throughout the evening to those attending. It’s fun to go back to the transcript of the party and read it! If you want to know how to do it for yourself, feel free to explore the page for yourself.

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Click to view Facebook Book Launch Party

Online platforms are becoming an important part of the author package writers must present to prospective publishers. The first thing a publishing committee will do when introduced to a new author, or even a published one, is Google the author’s name. Does your name bring up any social media results? Do you have a website? Some publishers won’t publish authors who don’t have a healthy online-presence.

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My website header

I’m like a lot of authors in that social media isn’t my favorite thing to spend time on. I’d rather not have the distraction. But, I look at it this way–it’s beats digging ditches. And it’s basically painless. Like scrubbing toilets, it must be done, and it won’t kill me.

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If you don’t know where to start, here are the basics:

  • Build a website. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I used Wix.com when I first started and later I used Weebly.com. There are other free platforms out there. Use the one that is the most user-friendly for you. I didn’t spend money to have someone design one for me until after I had my first novel published.
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This blog interacts with the history ebooks I write

  • Blog. You don’t have to blog every day but it’s common sense that the more you blog the more people will visit. What to blog about? Do a Google search for blog topics and you’ll have more than you’ll ever have time to write. Part of building your platform is projecting what you’re passionate about so write about what you love! I started my first blogs on Blogger, but now I use WordPress because that’s what my web designer used to design my site. There’s a learning curve to WordPress, but I love it. However, if you’re new to finding your way around the Internet, I recommend Blogger. Many successful authors use it and it’s what I use for my interactive eBooks.
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Click to add me as a friend!

  • Facebook: I have a “friends” page with about 3300+ followers, an author page with a little over 500, another page for my book and several groups. But really, you don’t have to do all that. You can simply use your friends page if you wish. However, once you reach 5000 followers, you have to stop accepting them and direct them to your author page. So it’s a good idea to go ahead and build your author page. The nice thing about an author page is that you can host your giveaways on it.
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Facebook Author Page Giveaway Tab

  • Twitter: for me, this is the hardest platform to build relationships on. But I am learning!
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Click to follow me and I’ll follow back!

  • Pinterest: I have almost 3,000 followers on Pinterest and it was super easy to build that following. Pick a popular subject and start pinning! (To keep numbers in perspective, most best-selling authors have followers in the five digits. I’m still working toward that!)
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Click to follow!

  • Google+: I’m fairly new to Google+ but as more people learn to use it, I’m gaining more experience and developing relationships.
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Click to add me to your Google+ circles!

  • LinkedIn: I post here every time I have a blog post.
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Click to follow me on LinkedIn

  • tumblr: I have about 800 followers on tumblr. I admit that tumblr is one of my guilty pleasures. I enjoy the people I follow there and I actually get the news before it’s published in most other forums. It’s a lot like twitter that way.
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Click to view

  • Goodreads:  I have about 1300 followers on Goodreads. I’m not very good at checking in there, but while I was promoting my book, I did give books away and I believe it was well worth the expense and time.
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Click to follow me on Goodreads

Those are the basic platforms/applications that most writers use to build their online presence. Many do not use all of them. Others use more. There are always new apps coming out that people use to connect such as Instagram and Snapchat. Some authors use YouTube and have a channel where they talk about things that are relevant to their platform (I’m toying with this idea myself).

ending-relationship22You can also create podcasts to create traffic to your blog and website. You have to choose the best and easiest for you to use in building an audience online. In my opinion, a website, blog and Facebook are the basics to start with. You can branch out from there.

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Click to view source

The downside to all this is that it takes a lot of time away from the “real” writing we want to do. I have my twitter and tumblr hooked together so that when I post on tumblr it posts on twitter. It helps me build relationships on tumblr, but it doesn’t help much on twitter because to build relationships on twitter you need to interact and respond to other people’s posts.

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When the local college has students wanting internships, I use college students to add interesting tweets to my buffer app account. This app will schedule pre-created tweets throughout the day. Again, the downside, is having the time to respond to anyone who replies to your tweets. It keeps your feed active, but does it build relationships? Not likely.

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As you can see, I’m not yet in the mega-following status and I’m still learning. A platform isn’t built in a day, or week or month. It takes time to build relationships, and that’s what successful authors do. No one likes to be bombarded with “buy my book” all the time. People want to connect with people, not products. If you build relationships, you’ll gain a faithful tribe. And making friends, loving one another and caring about others is what life’s all about in the first place.

twitter26sepiamsallerClick to tweet: How are you building your online platform?

Don’t forget to go to my website and enter the giveaway! Today’s the last day! Have fun!

Leave me a message below and let me know how you’re building your online platform!