Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Revamping my Blog, Random Facts About Me, and the Liebster Hipster

Aspiring writers are told over and over, "Build a platform." Create a web presence as soon as possible, because that will increase your value as an author. The more networked you are, the more books you can sell. That's what they say.

In that spirit, my personal writing update has a lot to do with my recently reworked websites. I am currently working on 4 different blogs, and a huge goal I had for June was to streamline the look and functionality. I figured my experience might make for a fun useful blogpost, reciting three tips I picked up along the way.

Use a blog post instead of a page for your welcome site.

The reason for this is statistical. Blogger tracks the number of pageviews you get on blog posts. My "welcome" site is actually just a normal post. (see it here) I've linked my URL to it, http://www.harrisonaye.com, and it directs to that page. This allows me to keep statistics such as how many people have ventured to my site, and also how. In the statistic page, you can see what the sources for the clickthrough are. If you do other things on the web to promote yourself (like me), you'll be able to see the size of the benefit you're getting for the work you put into it. For instance, my Tumblr page brought me 20 clicks yesterday. Making Tumblr posts is easy, since I'm using it to host sketches I make. 20 clicks is worth making a new post on Tumblr. Whatever you do besides blogging online, it's always good to know what kind of redirection you're scoring while aiming at your homepage.

Streamline the look of everything at once

This was a TON of work for me. Check this out:



All of these sites are mine, and I've done a great deal of work to make them look uniform. The backgrounds for the non-writing sites are colored differently, yet you can see my picture and sidebar setup is all the same. The Unraveler Blog, this blog, is my most important space, so I have more links at the side. However, the rest of my sites have links that transfer over to The Unraveler Blog.

Create a name-brand that is uniquely you and differs from your name (unless you gave a weird name)

Unraveler is a weird word that is my book.

Oxyborb is a word that I created. It's pretty unforgettable because it sounds so strange, as if it means weirdness.

Oxyborb especially has been a useful brand name for me because I can get oxyborb as a login on any site I want. I made the word up (while trying to say "shock absorber" backwards on a trampoline)! Therefore I own it in ways nobody else has ever. If you're creative, try making up a word that is uniquely you.

I'm not trying to make this a huge post, but if you want to know more of my thoughts on setting up a social media presence, check out this other post I wrote.

In other news, a blogger nominated me for a Liebster award, which is a just-for-fun gold star for bloggers without too many followers yet. It's sort of to get you talking about yourself, and to encourage others to talk about themselves. A little recognition for the little guy. It seemed fun, so I thought I'd participate.

The blogger who nominated me is Nhi Le @ The Literary Bystander. Her voice for reviewing books is hilarious, honest, and right-on-the-money, so you should definitely check out her blog! Mad props (and my thanks!) to her for even noticing my tiny (tiny) blog!

1. List 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions asked by whoever nominated you.
3. Nominate 9 bloggers with less than 300 followers and leave them a comment saying they've been nominated.
4. Ask 11 new questions for your chosen nominees.
5. You cannot re-nominate the blog that nominated you.

11 Facts About Me

1. I didn't think The Hunger Games needed a sequel.

I loved the Hunger Games, as much as anyone, but I was hesitant to begin reading the second and third books because I didn't feel like I needed more than the first. After a few years, I did end up reading them, and they were good, but I still think The Hunger Games would have been perfectly fine as a one-off. The first movie was my favorite movie of the year when it came out.

Bonus fact: I once made a Hunger Games cake

2. I hate nuts and spicy stuff

3. I can recite the original PokeRap

4. I reread the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings series every other year. I made it all the way through the Silmarillion, a very tough read, and I'm proud of that.

5. I own a goldfish that is 9 years old. His name is Ludwig, not after the composer but after Ludwig von Koopa, a Super Mario character. I got him my freshmen year of college. Holy cow that was 9 years ago.

6. I play as the Ice Climbers in Super Smash Brothers.

7. I have a clay sculpture of my own head in my room that someone made for me.

8. I consider myself a Ravenclaw (and proud of it!).

9. I have been to a convention for people who love the James Cameron movie, Avatar. Yes, there were people in full blue-Navi costume. I met the one of the producers, Jon Landau. He was really a cool, hilarious guy. OK, I'm not like one of those crazy Avatar people, but I like the movie and this event was near my home. It was entertaining and random.

10. I make music. I've made 3 CDs worth of music, and a ton of random other stuff. Here's my latest:

11. I played Snowbell the Cat in a staged play of Stewart Little. In the play I got shot by an arrow, and the children who came to see the show sent me drawings of myself in a full bodied cat costume getting shot. It was so funny.

Questions made up by Nhi Le!

1.  Who is an author you love so much, that you will buy any and every one of their books, regardless if you have any interest in the plot or not?
I'm super cautious with money, so I probably wouldn't buy every book from anyone (although I did buy the Casual Vacancy, which I never finished). But I will say that I purchase Stephen King books on mad whims every once and a while. Honestly, even the worst SK book is usually better than 99% of what's out there. SK isn't really a financial risk! It may be stereotypical to say I love his work, but he's so highly esteemed for a reason!

2. Do you think that printed books will ever become obsolete and we will live in an e-book only society one day?
One day, yes. Soon? No. Tablets are good, Kindles work better, but I feel like they don't quite make books obsolete yet. I believe that there will be a technology that ends print forever, but I don't think we've seen it yet. 

3. Are there books that you think are overrated or you just avoid just to it being over-hyped?
Not really. I don't particularly enjoy the same things as everyone else, but I feel like that's just my taste. I think it's great when a book is hyped up, even if I don't particularly like that book, simply for the fact that it means more people are reading. I think the world would be better if more people read. Movies get hyped. Sports events get hyped. Video games. Phones. It's weird how rare it is for a book to get hyped up, and they usually only do once there's a movie anyway. I say the more hype for books, the better (even if it's not my cup of tea). 

4. Does your opinion of an author affect whether or nor you will read and like their book (e.g. you hear an author is attacking people who leave negative reviews on their books)?
Yes. For a positive example, I had never read anything by Maggie Stiefvater before I came to love her personality on social media and on YouTube. Just seeing the way that she handles herself online made me want to buy her books. I actually recently finished The Scorpio Races. On the other end of the spectrum, there was one author who recently said a bunch of anti-gay stuff, and it tarnished my memory of one of the books I had read from him. I might have seen his new movie/read the sequels but not now.

5. Name 5 books you will pay with your soul to see adapted either as a movie or television series.
It by Stephen King. I know there was a movie, but it doesn't hold up anymore. I mean, Tim Curry was amazing in it, but the rest of the movie fell to pieces simply for the fact that there were too many parts cut out to fit it in the time slot. I feel like a modernized version could rock. I would say TV show, since there's so much to it. A good three-season show on HBO or something.

The Unwanteds Series by Lisa McMann. Such a great Middle Grade book series. Very fun and whimsical. I would love to see this.

SK's The Dark Tower. Just make it happen already!

A proper movie version of I, Robot
. The Will Smith movie had NOTHING to do with the books, and it made the lead female protagonist seem like a helpless dimwit. I want a proper telling that actually stays true to the book. Perhaps it could be a TV show.

Finally, I have to say The Unraveler. My book. Is that cheating? My book was born for the movies because it's a collection of insane visuals. My creatures are weird enough to be done by Jim Henson Studio. I would give anything to see it, but I suppose any author would feel the same. My book has clown pirates, armies of clockwork men, and monsters with hooks for hands and twin-beaks.

6. Do you prefer standalone or books in a series?
Series, usually. I like longer stuff. I like a good standalone in between series binges.

7. Have you ever read the reviews for a book before you've read it, spoilers and all?
 Not really. Most people don't really feel the same way I do about books, so I can really only trust my own reading. Also, spoilers are the bane of my existence, even small spoilers.

8. Name a character you hate that everyone else seems to love?
 Haymitch Abernathy. I grew up with an alcoholic, and it was unpleasant. Reading Haymitch was also unpleasant for this reason.

9. Name a character you love that everyone else seems to hate? (Aren't I so original with my questions?)
 Joffrey Baratheon. Oh I love hating him so much. His scenes are the best.

10. What compels you more into a story - the plot or the characters?
 Plot. I know this is probably the unpopular answer. I would rather have a book that goes where I want than have a book with the characters I want, I guess. If I want a fantasy, then I will read a fantasy book. Horror for horror. I never usually feel like I'm in the mood for a certain type of character, lol.

11. Do you prefer happy or tragic endings? Or even cliffhangers?
A mix. Some things should be sad, but there should always be a glimmer of happiness. 

Now, onto my nominees. 

Generally, for this you're supposed to look for other blogs that are smaller than you to nominate. Smaller blogs that need the ego viewership boost they deserve for all of their hard work. The problem with this I have is that my (tiny) blog is the smallest blog ever, and I'd feel weird/too shy/embarrassed nominating a bunch of blogs that are bigger than me (I'll do this Liebster thing again after I've gained more followers, so that this actually helps others).

So, instead I'll just say that I nominate whoever is reading this. If you have a blog and you'd like to participate, leave a comment and I'll totally pimp out your blog in a followup post to this. All you've got to do is post 11 facts about yourself and answer my 11 questions, which are listed as follows:

oxyborb's questions:
1. You can only choose one: The power of flight or the ability to turn invisible. Why did you choose what you did?
2. You're a Dark Wizard! What object would you use to make yourself a horcrux (Harry Potter)?
3. Nintendo Entertainment System or Sega Genesis? Why did you choose the NES system you did?
4. Of the original Power Rangers, which Dinosaur Zord would you drive?
5. What is your favorite type of tea/coffee?
6. What is your favorite Pixar film?
7. What scares you as an adult? As a kid?
8. If you could make a big-budget movie, what would it be?
9. What classical fantasy race/creature would you be?
10. What classic horror monster would you choose to fight on your side (barring any of the giant-sized ones like Godzilla)?
11. How many times a year do you check to see if the Force works for you yet?

Thanks for reading! Hit me up on twitter! @Oxyborb

LB: http://theliterarybystander.blogspot.com/2014/06/liebster-award.html

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