“PRO” TIP: TAG AND YOU ARE IT — GUARANTEED!

girl-running

I always hated playing Tag as a kid – I was just too slow. I could never catch any of the faster kids, who just happened to be all the other kids but me. Consequently, once someone tagged me and I was “it,” it meant that I was really it and the game was basically over.

Less the teasing and the taunts…

Gawd I hated being slow as a kid.

Almost as much as I hated being tall and skinny…

I probably could have benefited from a therapy session or two back then to help me get over the emotional adolescent wounds I received from all the Tag trauma I had to suffer through.

Once I got over all the skinny geeky awkward lumbering stage at around sixteen and started to fill out a bit, I didn’t mind being tall quite as much and eventually I accepted the fact that I was always going to be slow as a truck…going uphill…on an ice-covered street. But dang, having to endure all the grief and nicknames such as “Lurch” until that stage was finally over sure wasn’t very much fun.

But you know what they say about all that kind of stuff…

“Builds character.”

Sure it does…

Anyway… Enough about poor little ol’ me…

Well, that’s not true…

There can never be enough of that.

Besides, once I realized I was pretty lucky to be tall and that it really didn’t matter how fast I could run, life became A-Okay.

And then shortly after I learned to appreciate my height, I realized how cute you short people are when you get jealous…

Which is practically all the time whenever you’re around us tall people.

Anyway… Enough about you short people…

For the longest time just hearing the word tag was enough to turn my stomach into knots and my feet into lead and make me wish the “Addams Family” had never been created.

You raaaang…

Until one day, not long after I joined the wonderful wacky world of WordPress, I realized that my fear of the word tag had finally come to pass.

For to tag within the blogosphere, I learned, was a good thing.

A very good thing…

Instead of having to chase after people, people would come chasing after me; and by me I mean my blog and the things I post to it.

Once I learned to effectively tag my posts, I found that I became it not in a bad way that always brought ridicule down upon me, but it in a good way, as in, “Hey, Kurt (and by Kurt I mean Kurt’s, I mean, my blog (speaking in the third person becomes habit-forming fast)) is hip and cool and if you ain’t there you must be square.”

Yeah, once I started effectively tagging my posts I/my blog became it in a very good way.

And the good news is, if you effectively tag your posts you, too, can become it in a very good way…or at least in a better way than before when you were not effectively tagging your posts.

And the reason is because WordPress pulls the tags from every post by every WordPress blogger (and there are millions of us!) and feeds them all into its WordPress Reader. And assuming that a fair share of the millions of us WordPress bloggers are also WordPress Reader readers, the chance that your effectively tagged post will be seen by more feeder readers than had it not been tagged effectively is pretty good.

Huh?

Anyway, some of the more popular tags I have found are “Writing,” “Poetry,” “Photography,” and “Art.” Chances are pretty good that you’ll see at least one of these in my tag list regardless the post. And then, depending on the context of the post, you can get more specific with your tags with key words and phrases such as “short stories,” “flash fiction,” “landscapes,” “nature photography,” “graphic art,” “drawings,” and on and on with whatever key words and phrases may fit your needs.

But a word of caution…

As in most aspects of life, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing.

You can tag your post with as many key words as you like, but if you have more than fifteen, WordPress will penalize the post by not showing it in any of its Reader feeds.

Another thing to keep in mind when considering what fifteen (or less) key words/phrases you want to tag your post with…

Category words and phrases are also included in that limit of fifteen.

The way I like to manage my posts are to identify one broad category word for the post, which can be thought of as a chapter heading of sort, and then fourteen tags, which can be thought of as an index of sort.

But how you want to tag and categorize your posts is obviously up to you. I just recommend picking the best key words from the post and to study the WordPress reader to find what tags are getting the most traffic and try to include those into your posts, if applicable.

I would discourage, as would many within the blogosphere, spamming your post with tags. And by that I mean including tags in your post that do not truly represent what your post is about.

To me spam tagging a post is like false advertising. It might work to draw readers in once or twice but after it’s been realized that your post has nothing to do with the tags you’re using, your blogging street cred will vanish, as will any traffic to your site.

The all knowing Google will tell you all you need to know about how to effectively tag your posts so go explore and bone up on it if you feel so compelled.

Just remember… no more than a total of fifteen tags and categories in one post.

If you remember that, along with learning how to effectively tag your posts, you too can become an it blogger.

And by it I mean cool…

And popular…

Even if you are as slow as Lurch from Addams Family.

Or as short as Cousin It…

See what I just did there?

Cousin It…as in it

Get it?

Ah, you short people are so cute.

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“PRO” TIP: HOW TO CUT DOWN ON MANUSCRIPT ERRORS; AND/OR, HOW TO GET MORE JOY OUT OF POETRY — GUARANTEED! (QUICK TIP #4)

frustrated-writer

Even though I have had two or three “PRO” Tips lined up in draft form for quite a while now, I feel compelled to get this one out before them, even though (Hmm, how ’bout that – two “even thoughs” in one sentence. If this redundant redundancy offends you, please submit your redundant complaints about the excessive redundancy in the sentence with the redundancy to my Department of Redundancy Department.) the motivation to write it overcame me after reading the comments to Leave it to me, a poem I recently published.

Now, I’m not going to discuss what the poem means to me (Hint: Insight to what the poem, or anything I publish here, just may mean to me can be gleaned from how I how I tagged it. (Confession: “The Essence of Tagging” is one of the “Pro” Tips lined up on deck.)) because – and my apologies for getting all Eddie Vedder on you here but… Continue reading

“PRO” TIP: IF I CAN’T FIND YOU DO YOU EVEN REALLY EXIST?!

Short version – No.

Less short version – A big fat ontological and/or (your choice) existential, HAYULL NO!

Look, Poet (and by Poet I mean it to include all Writers and all Artists and all Photographers and all Tree House Interior Designers and all…heck, I guess to me a Poet is just about any daydreaming Creator of the Sublime one could possibly imagine, regardless the flavor) I don’t mean to wax philosophical on your poetically waxing arse, but in my world (which, in my world, is the only world that really matters), if you’re more than two clicks of the mouse away from me, then you, my insecure little dream drawer, are dead to me.

Wait, if you don’t exist to begin with, then is it still possible for you to be dead to me?

Oh boy*, this philosophical stuff can get philosophically fuzzy real fast…

So, what do you say we just take a quick sidestep around that descartianly dangerous detour we were about to head down…

Besides, it just wouldn’t be rational within the context of me trying to save and secure your irrationally insecure existence within the existence of my irrationally insecure world, which, I believe I already indicated most redundantly, is the only world that really matters.

Oh boy*…

So anyway, back to the safety of my shallow point of a “Pro” Tip, if I have to go even slightly out of my way to find you…

Poof!

Just like that you disappear.

Look, for me, and by me I mean us, at least those of us who are out there, and by there I mostly mean in the WordPress Reader, practically 24/7 pounding the pavement and beating the bushes (Coming soon, my next confessional: If I could marry a Cliche I would) looking to be swept off our creative-seeking feet by you and all those Poets who wanna be like you…

But in order for you to be able to sweep me off my creative-seeking feet, I first must be able to recognize your existence, which means you need to be right there next to me, present and accounted for, ready to welcome me to your domain at a moment’s notice, night or day, rain or shine…(ah, my sexy and ubiquitous little cliches, where would I be without thee? Well, for starters, I just might be properly agented and published, perhaps…sigh)

(J/k…agents and publishers are for sissies)

(Yeah…right)

(Sigh…)

Anyway…

As long as I’m in the WP Reader, it’s all good for the most part.

In there, I can find you and, if you compel me to do so, there are multiple links within the Reader that I can click that will bring me right like rain into your poetic domain.

Easy enough…

But finding you in the WP Reader is all a matter of luck. Posts are flowing fast through that stream, especially in the “Writing” tag where I mostly hang out.

I’d say chances of me finding you there within all that fanciful flotsam are pretty thin.

I guess I could find you if I were fortunate enough for you to find me first.

And now we’re starting to get closer to the quickly dulling point of this “Pro” Tip…

But we’re still not there yet.

Because even if you do visit my site the only way I’m going to know about it is if you “Like” or comment on one of my posts.

And what are the chances of that happening?

I’d say barely minimal if we were to take into account all the millions of WP Poets who are populating this proliferatingly populated planet.

But let’s say, for the argument’s sake — and for the merciful sake of me finally getting to the seemingly forever elusive point of this “Pro” Tip — that you did find me and “Like” and/or comment on one of my posts…

Then, yes, I would have proof of your existence in my Notification Archives, right?

Right. Of course, right. And that’s great and all…

At least for a short period of time.

Because as new notifications come in, the older ones get pushed farther and farther back into the forsaken and forgotten dustbin of digital history until finally…

You are “poof” no more…

And that makes me sad.

But, alas…

Alas, finally, alas…

Yay and hurrah, alas, we have finally arrived to the less than pointy tip of the Tip.

Um, excuse me, would you mind waking up now?

Great.

Alas, we have yet a tiny bit of evidence that may or may not prove that you do exist.

We have, alas, your gravatar picture located at the bottom of the post, where the “Likes” tend to gather.

And that, my patient Poet, is where I choose to go, prefer to go, to find you…

gravatar-box

It is from there, that point of positivism where the gravatar representation of you exists, where you and I can hopefully begin to build a long-term friendly and collaborative relationship…

Or not…

You know, I like being “Liked.”

And I like to “Like” things that I like.

So, I hear you asking, why not put those “Likes” that I like so much together to find new friends and collaborators?

Exactly…

For me, that is the number one way that I like go about finding new friends and collaborators…by visiting the domains of those who were kind enough to visit my domain and “Like” one of my posts.

If you “Like”or comment on one of my posts or pages, I can guarantee there will come a day that I will want to return the kindness.

There will come the day when I will click on your gravatar photo and hope and pray like hayull to the Writing Gods that you have properly set up your Gravatar Account so I can find you, visit your domain of a website, and allow you to cast your creative magic of a spell all about me.

Because I do…I really do…want to read your words or marvel at your photography and/or artwork in whatever form in which it may exist.

I really really do.

But, chances are pretty good that there is a pretty good chance I won’t be able to find you…

Because, based upon my slightly more than casual observances, chances are pretty good that you haven’t fully…or even minimally…set up your gravatar profile.

And that makes me sad.

It makes me sad whenever I click on your profile to learn more about you and to ultimately visit your domain to like and to “Like” you, and when I get there I find, to my sad dismay, that you do not have your website linked there.

What is a boy* to do?

I mean, I could try doing a google search or try typing in your handle followed by .wordpress.com…

And I have tried that on occasion…

And on occasion it has worked.

But let’s face it, mostly when I find myself at a gravatar profile that doesn’t, at a minimum, have a website linked to it…

All I can do it back arrow my way back home, back to my domain…alone.

And that’s pretty sad.

Yeah…

So, to help keep me unsad, please please please go to gravatar.com, sign in with your WordPress.com account if you have one (and why wouldn’t you? all the cool people do…), create a new account if you don’t, and then set up your gravatar profile all proper-like so I can find you, and worship your creativity, and become happily unsad.

And, I admit, there are quite a few steps involved in this process — so many that I am not even going to begin to list them all — so I can understand why so many of you Poets have accounts that lead me to No where…to No one…to your non-existence.

But, I really believe that if you are serious about poeting seriously and getting your magic mojo in front of as many creative-seeking eyeballs as possibles, you really should invest the time and effort to set up a smoking hot gravatar profile.

And even if you aren’t interested in doing all the work required to get your profile to the smokin’ hot level, then please please please, at minimum, at least, link your WordPress.com website to the profile. You can you at least, at a minimum, do that for me?

Can’t you?

Please…

Then, when I click on your gravatar image at the bottom of one of my posts I will find more than just your pretty gravatar face…

I will find a link to your website…

Thereby, I will find a link to you…

And a way to validate your existence.

Yeah…

Philosophical poetry…

Okay?

Perfect.

Here are a couple screenshots to give you an example of what’s involved in setting up your gravatar profile (click to enlarge)…

gravatar-1

Now, I don’t know if my gravatar profile is smoking’ hot or not but I do know I have done my darnedest to take advantage of all the Gravatar options possible to make it as tight and professional-looking as possible, and as easy as possible for you to find me…

And by doing so, you, with your kindness and your favor, will validate my existence…

And that truly makes me unsad.

gravatar-me

 

*non-gender specific

 
 

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“PRO” TIP: HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR WRITING RESOURCES — GUARANTEED! (QUICK TIP #3)

pen-and-magnifying-glass

If you include more than a combined fifteen (15) categories and tags in a post, the post will not show up in the WordPress Reader.

(Which is (or should be) every blogger’s worst nightmare since it essentially means the post is cast without regard unto the inescapable dark demented depths of the Place of the Unknown.)

 

BOOM!

QUICK TIP, PROPER!

And I bet you thought I couldn’t do it.

Am I right?

Yeah…

PEACE OUT

 

FOR MORE LIKE THIS >> CLICK CLICK

 

What are you looking for?

I said I was done.

Done like the setting sun…

“PRO” TIP: HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR WRITING RESOURCES — GUARANTEED! (QUICK TIP #2)

arrow-pro-tip

EXHIBIT #A - Click to Enlarge
EXHIBIT #A – Click to Enlarge

 

FOR MORE LIKE THIS >> CLICK CLICK

 

Um…excuse me, but, before you leave there’s just one more thing I need to say…

I know, I know…I said I was done, but I just remembered something that, well, it’s kinda important and relevant to the above QUICK TIP…

In fact, it just might make it obsolete soon…

Because it seems to me that we are right smack dab in the middle of some evil apocalyptic transition from the wonderful and stylish and user friendly “old” format, the one I described in the exceedingly quick QUICK TIP above.

No, no, we’re done with that tip so the rambling that’s going on now shouldn’t count against it.

Right?

Well, okay, you have a point. You’re right, regardless how we attribute this time we’re having together, it is, right now, right as your eyes warily flow over these rant-like words, eating hungrily away at the time you have remaining on this rock of a roll of a planet.

I got it.

Let me just say this final bit and I’ll let you go…

Great.

So like I was saying, it seems that the WP team, the team that I thought loved us so dearly, is in the slow painful process of migrating us to a new layout, a not-so-pretty geeky looking layout that is clunky, and un-user friendly, and, as far as I can tell, has no handy dandy universal Search Bar, which, of course, if you’re anything like me, leaves us frustrated and a little panicky from having to figure out where the heck the Search Bar is for each site we visit.

Evil.

Pure evil.

I present to you EXHIBIT #2:

EXHIBIT #2 - Click to Enlarge
EXHIBIT #2 – Click to Enlarge

That exhibit of an oncoming disaster should really be curdling your wheys right about now…if you’re anything like me.

And don’t even get me started on WP’s There’s now an easier way to create on WordPress.com! Switch to the improved posting experience garbage.

What the heck is that mess?

I tried using that and it made me so mad I broke three brand new, hadn’t even been sharpened yet, pencils over my knee! At once!!

I don’t know what’s going on over at WP’s Automattic team.

I really did believe that they loved us.

Or…maybe Google is behind this…

You know, ever since they abandoned their “Do No Evil” slogan after making their first grazillion, I wouldn’t put anything past them…

Never know…

Anyway…

Okay…

I’m done…

Thank you for letting me release that.

I feel much better now.

The only problem is…

I’m not sure how to end this…what?

QUICK TIP addendum?

I don’t know how to do what all the crafty writers do…

You know…bring everything full circle and leave us all with a witty, call to action, inspiration of a conclusion.

Hmm…

(thinking)

Nothing…

So, I guess I’ll just say…so long?

So long then…

Oh yeah!

One last thing before you go…

I just gotta say, I don’t know who it was who raided my account and sprayed the anarchic graffiti all over the place, but I’m more than a little miffed about it!

And, I tell ya, that is definitely not my facial hair!

And I tell you what, again…

I think I have a pretty good idea just who might have been behind this violation of both the sanctity and purity of my site, as well as my artistic sensibilities and integrity…

Yeah…

I’m pretty sure it’s the disgruntled smoker who unbelievably (and, I’ll be honest, quite awesomely) trolled my innocent little ol’ poem for the children. No, really…dude trolled my “Filthy, Nasty Butts” poem. I encourage you to witness for your own pleasure and bewilderment his magical troll-like advice for me by clicking right here. (and while there, give him some Love by clicking the “Like” star for his comment…I pretty sure he needs some)
[“PRO” TIP #2 IS GERMANE…]

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

“PRO” TIP: HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR WRITING RESOURCES — GUARANTEED! (Quick Tip #1)

typewriter-1

Looking for a way to stay socially engaged with your desperate fans (i.e., family and friends) without having to tab out of your WordPress edit box for fear of losing your poetic mojo?

Well…how about using your Site Title’s tagline as a status update?

I know, right…

For example, while I was writing this post I also had one eye on the television — it’s Tuesday, which of course means, The Voice.

But I really really wanted to get this “Pro” Tip out to my desperate fans (yes, yes, you’re right…i.e., my family and friends).

And I really really also wanted to remind my mother (who, no lie*, refreshes this site at least once every 5 minutes to see if I’ve released yet another Nobel Prize-worthy post (which to her, of course, is everything I write, which, of course, also means this post that you’re now reading is serious literary genius…to Mom) to watch The Voice because she missed it last week, which meant she had to facebook me like crazy to find out in excruciating detail exactly what silly antics silly Adam and silly Blake were up. Which meant, of course, I had to tab out to facebook to give her the lengthy lowdown in excruciating lengthy lowdown detail via facebook’s less-than-user-friendly messenger chat thingy.

Which, of course, meant…I wasn’t writing.

Well…I was writing to Mom, but you know what I mean…

I wasn’t writing writing.

But tonight…

No worries whatsoever.

Because tonight, I simply updated my Site Title’s tagline to read: Busy watching The Voice…Mom!

And life was good…

Mom saw my tagline status update right upon the completion of her 20:00 hour page refresh of my site and was able to watch for herself all the silly antics silly Adam and silly Blake were up to.

And I got to keep one eye on the television (okay, I admit it…I kinda have a bit of man crush on those guys just like everyone else) while my fingers were busy plucking the literary magic (at least by Mom’s measure) out of the keyboard.

Everyone’s happy…

I’m happy…

All my desperate fan’s are happy…

And, most importantly, Mom is happy (with visions of silly Adam and silly Blake dancing in her head (yeah, I better not take that illustration any further)).

So if you want to keep both the Writing Gods and your Desperate Fans happy at the same time…

Go to your Dashboard, click on Appearance, then click on Customize. You then will see a blue bar with a set of options take over the extreme right side of your screen. You’ll need to plow your cursor on over to the options in blue and click on Site Title. A black window will swing out where you can input both your Site Title and a Tagline. All you have to do now is fill that Tagline in with your current status (recommend keeping it both witty and pithy), click Save, and then click X and…

Just like that, you have your very own WordPress Status Update.

All without every having to tab away from your poetic mojo.

I know, right…

(Yes, I know there are other, potentially simpler, ways to update the tagline, but I wanted to leave us something to discuss in the Comments afterwards.)

And now all your desperate fans will always know what their most favorite Author in the world is doing.

And they will all love you forever*.

And they will all flock to Amazon to buy all of your books*.

Even that bizarre manifesto that started out as an email chain letter*.

And for each book they buy they all will write multitudes of raving five-star reviews*.

And all this magic will come about all because of the humble yet oh so versatile friendly little Tagline.

Thank you, Tagline.

Thank you, indeed.

 

*it’s a lie

 

What’s in your tagline?

TO FIND OUT WHAT’S IN KURT’S AND FOR MORE LIKE THIS >> CLICK CLICK

“PRO” TIP: FOLLOW THIS SIMPLE ADVICE AND YOU, TOO, WILL HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO WRITE AND PUBLISH LIKE AN INDIE AUTHOR SUPER PRO – GUARANTEED!

book-store-fine-books
My advice is for you is to read, study, and, for best results, memorize word for word everything that Hugh Howey and JA Konrath have ever written and spoken and (if you can find a hack into their brain) thought about regarding the art and business of Indie Writing and Publishing. There are other worthy experts out there, but you might as well focus on and learn from the road-tested best. And that would be these two Super Pro Indie Authors.

That’s it.

See, I told you the advice was simple.

Now the follow through…yeah, well, not so much.

But no one ever said all this stuff was easy.

And if it were…then what fun would that be?

Write On, Writer!

(Coming Up: “Pro” Tip: NEVER EVER USE LONG TITLES AS HOOKS FOR YOUR POSTS! WELL, UNLESS IT ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY GUARANTEES IT WILL MAKE SOMEONE MONEY…OR BACON!)