The Importance of Brevity (In Exactly 500 Words)

As a writer, it will probably be my life-long struggle to pare down my words and get to the points that really matter. Even in fiction, there’s a line you shouldn’t cross when it comes to the overuse of details. It’s more obvious in non-fiction, especially in journalism-type writings. No matter what the communication avenue, brevity plays a key role in successfully conveying a message.

“Good things, when short, are twice as good.”
—Gracián

As an editor, a key component of my services to my clients includes helping them to develop their projects while getting rid of the chaff. We’re not in high school anymore, so we shouldn’t write bullsh**. If we do, our credibility is apt to go down the toilet. With so much quality content just a Google search away, it is crucial to be clear and concise with our words.

Even editors need editors. My first novel, with notes from my editor. Which is also what I do for my clients.

Even editors need editors. My first novel, with notes from my editor. Which is also what I do for my clients.

Here are 5 simple rules to follow when constructing a communication piece:

  • Write it ALL (Similar to “free writing,” write without abandon, and get all your thoughts out of your brain.)
  • Re-read it while doing a simultaneous edit, at least 3xs (This is where you begin to make sense of everything and weed out the garbage.)
  • Read it aloud (Reading to yourself is one thing; hearing it spoken is a whole different bear.)
  • Ask someone to look over it (If it’s an important piece, another eye is always good. If that’s not an option for you, however, just go over it one more time by yourself; you’ll be surprised to find that it still needs tweaking.)
  • Send it, publish it, deliver it (Release your baby into the world!)

Sometimes, it’s necessary to write something not so brief. However, most of us are guilty of adding in too much fluff. Maybe it’s a culture thing, maybe it’s how we’ve been taught. Either way, in my personal and professional experience, the more clear our communication is, the more beneficial it is.

And, a well-expressed piece of communication is just damn good.

Try the above “rules” when you construct your next e-mail or blog post. You don’t have to be a professional writer; you simply need to take a few extra minutes to do some rewriting and self-editing. The more you practice, the more effective you’ll be with writing and communicating. You can become a better communicator if you put some effort into it.

“Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”
—William Strunk, Jr.

Do YOU have tips to share about the importance of brevity? Leave a comment!

Click HERE to read an article from WebAIM about writing clearly and simply.

Looking for an editor? Contact me TODAY and get a free quote! Let’s work together.

Monday Motivation: Read This Cool Stuff V

(As previously seen on the HelaWrite blog.)

Happy Monday, readers! To start off a new week, here are three great articles to get you motivated. Enjoy!

1. Clicks on Pinterest Generate 4X More Revenue Than Twitter [Infographic] by Pamela Vaughn at HubSpot

There’s not a whole lot to read here, which is a good thing. Most of the post includes an infographic that shows just how Pinterest is able to live up to the claim in the title of the blog post. I’ve personally been investigating the power of Pinterest this year and use my account for more than building my never-to-be-bought-dream-wardrobe. (Though, I might need an intervention…)

2. What Works For Me On Twitter by Rochelle Moulton

This was a great find. I can’t remember the exact events that led me to this post, but the destination was gold. Moulton doesn’t divulge every Twitter secret, but she certainly gives some great tips that can help any Twitter novice build their following in no time.

3. 4 Ways to Boost Your Social Media Marketing for Less than $1 Per Day by Jason Parks on JeffBullas.com

Before I read this, I was extremely skeptical of spending ANY money to boost tweets on Twitter and posts on Facebook. But the way the article breaks it up into small amounts of change–well, now I’m thinking I may try it out this year to see what happens. The other platforms mentioned–YouTube and Instagram–are not my main methods of marketing myself as an author and/or business person. But, if that’s “your thing,” the article provides some great tips.

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Wishing you all a very happy and productive week. And remember: if you’re in need of an editor/writer, send me a message!

A New Decade: Welcome to 30

Today is my 30th birthday, and I’m actually pretty stoked.

Me on my 23rd birthday, 7 years ago!

Me on my 23rd birthday, 7 years ago!

During the past few months, I’ve read EVERY “30 Things By 30″ kinds of articles on Buzzfeed, HuffingtonPost, blogs…you name it, I’ve read it. And funnily enough, I have been able to relate to almost every article.

23rd birthday. Feels like eons ago!

23rd birthday. Feels like eons ago!

Just what is it about not only adding another year to your existence, but transitioning to a new decade?

26th birthday...always classy!

26th birthday…always classy!

Well, for one, I think that it’s easier to quantify your life experiences, ups and downs, and major milestones in larger chunks as opposed to individual years. For example, if you asked me: Tamar, what was going on in your life around age 22? My response would be: Like I know…

Vacation in Hawaii. I *think* this was around age 22... Who. Knows. Ha!

Vacation in Hawaii. I *think* this was around age 22… Who. Knows. Ha!

But when I think back on the past decade of my life, I see a cumulative existence. I see a girl who became a woman (who still feels like a kid at times). I see a young woman who overcame many years of weird and bizarre illnesses, who now has a better appreciation for good health and a greater understanding for those who suffer from chronic sickness/pain. I see a young woman who fought hard to successfully earn her college degree while working full time. I see a young woman who learned how to speak up for herself while still being diplomatic and graceful (even when I wanted to punch someone’s throat).

I see a young woman who learned (and is still learning) how to forgive those who wronged her, and learned how to ask for forgiveness when she was wrong. And I see a young woman who began to accept herself–her WHOLE self–for who she was and who she is. I still have a ways to go with that one (among many other things), but don’t we all?

My first tattoo, age 20. (I've added 4 more since then.)

My first tattoo, age 20…or maybe 21… (I’ve added 4 more since then.)

I am not perfect, nor do I think I will ever reach perfection in this lifetime. However, I am wiser, stronger, and more capable because of the past decade. And, thankfully, though I had many rough patches in my 20’s, I am all the more resilient–I still believe in miracles and magic, which is an absolute requirement if you’re a writer. I am always learning something new, continually fascinated by the discoveries I make.

My very first book signing, age 27.

My very first book signing, age 27.

I am blessed.

Wandering around El Dorado Forest, age 29. (Photo cred: Robin M.)

Wandering around El Dorado Forest, age 29. (Photo cred: Robin M.)

How many people can say that they wrote 2 books before hitting 30? How many can say that they were able to travel halfway around the world and live there for a while? I’m constantly awed when I reflect on the out-of-this-world opportunities that I have been given.

Age 27, right after a book signing at Barnes & Noble. Wow, what a moment!

Age 27, right after a book signing at Barnes & Noble. Wow, what a moment!

I don’t think I’m some super special snowflake or anything, but the past decade has definitely taught me about the power of yes and no–saying yes to the things that light up your world, and turning down other things (even great ones) that don’t. And because of that, especially the past few years, I have been living a very rich life.

My mom and me in NY, 2012 (age 28).

My mom and me in Times Square, NY, 2012 (age 28).

As I jump forward into a new year–a new decade–of life, I will keep saying yes to the things that stir excitement and ignite my passions within. Because the past 10…20…29 years of my life have taught me that when I do what I was made to do, I can actually help the world become a better place.

I don’t know all that is in store for me, but I am excited for what is to come–all the good, and even the not-so-good. Every new experience will teach me something, and in turn, I can teach others. I hope that my life will serve as an inspiration to others. Even if I can positively affect just one person’s life, I will be content. Also, I’m glad that I care less about the little things that I don’t need to waste my time worrying about–especially the opinions of others. There is so much freedom in just being me and being okay with that. 

Me with one of the most important people in my life: my nephew. (Age 28 here.)

Me with one of the most important people in my life: my nephew. (Age 28 here.)

Now…for the moment you’re really here and reading this: MY SPECIAL GIVEAWAY! I have 2 presents to give away today. The first is for everyone: My first book, Feast Island, is FREE today, in celebration of my birthday (Kindle version only). Yay! Click HERE to get it.

AND…if you are among the first 5 people to comment on this blog post, you get a FREE Kindle version of my latest release, The Wrong Fairy Tale! Woohoo!

Here’s your prompt: What is an important thing you’ve learned as you’ve grown older?

Share in the comments below!

WFT final cover onlyjpegThanks for being here and for reading this post. Without you, this would be a diary instead of a blog! xoxo

-Tamar

10 Quick Social Media Tips

(As previously seen on the HelaWrite blog.)

Social media can be quite a beast to navigate, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some quick tips to get you started:

1. Be consistent across your platforms

It’s easy to fall into the trap of signing up for every social media platform, setting up a profile, and then forgetting what you have written, only to abandon it and never return. Either choose just a few social media sites to be active on, or keep track of the numerous ones you’ve joined, and make sure your profiles are consistent across the board. It helps with search results and makes you look professional.

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2. Add to your following by hosting a giveaway

An easy way to grow your following is to host a giveaway. This is especially true in “author land,” where I’ve seen my peers do so. I’ve participated in giveaways, too, and they’re very valuable. For all my writer clients, I encourage them to do a giveaway as soon as their book launches. Rafflecopter is an easy and free tool you can use to implement a giveaway. It will cost you something, since you’re giving away a prize, but it’s worth the investment, especially if you want to increase your audience.

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3. Engage with your audience by encouraging a response

Don’t just expect your readers to respond and comment on your posts or blogs. Encourage them to respond. It can be as simple as typing: “Please feel free to comment” or giving them an incentive (like a mini-giveaway or highlighting them as a super fan, etc.). The first thing I learned in high school economics is that “incentives matter,” and this always rings true.

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4. Share interesting information, but try to keep it in your genre

Twitter and Facebook are great platforms in which to share a multitude of information. Being random on a personal page isn’t such a big deal, but being random on a fan page or Twitter feed for your brand? NO. Don’t confuse your followers with your messages. Instead, share interesting and relevant information that continues to build your brand. A little bit of random here and there is fine; just don’t overdo it.

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5. Educate yourself by reading what the experts post

Just like any good writer honing their craft through reading extensively, a brand-builder (that’s you!) needs to read up on his or her field of expertise. For example, I am a writer, copywriter, copyeditor, and consultant. Therefore, I am constantly reading articles that will help my business and my brand: articles about writing, copywriting, copyediting, and topics about which I consult for my clients (marketing, branding, strategy, etc.). I also read numerous articles on social media and marketing, because I’m a sole-proprietor. I don’t have a team to run my business; it’s just me. I need to be an expert in a few fields, but everything else I outsource. 

6. Use a site like justunfollow.com to get rid of Twitter “deadweight”

Justunfollow.com and similar sites are very helpful when it comes to “cleaning house” on Twitter. Rachel Thompson, a very well-known indie author and HuffingtonPost blogger on Twitter, shares her tips in this article and addresses the importance of dropping that social media deadweight. When you grow a large following, of course you can’t interact with everyone, but you can get rid of spammers and bots who will never help your brand.

7. Don’t underestimate Pinterest

Most people are visual, and Pinterest is a visual site. Don’t just use it for fun, pinning recipes you’ll never make and clothes you’ll never be able to afford; use it for your brand! Create boards that correlate with your brand. As a writer, I create boards about writing, grammar, books, and blogs to share with my followers. Think about Pinterest boards you could make for your business, and look at big brands that are doing it right on Pinterest. (Check out my boards on Pinterest by clicking HERE.)

8. Blogging is a powerful tool to build your platform

Contrary to popular belief, blogging is not dead! It’s the new form of journalism for today, and you should definitely be participating in it. Even if you’re not the most prolific writer, you should be sharing things about your company, your brand, your team, and your products/services. You not only improve your SEO, but you break down the wall between you and your customers and can become more relate-able as you share information. 

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9. If you’re selling a book, you NEED to be on Goodreads

Goodreads is the #1 site for authors. Click HERE to read more about it on Writers Digest. You can promote your books for free, host giveaways, and connect with other readers and writers. (Friend me on Goodreads by clicking HERE.)

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10. Use a URL shortener when sharing a link

If you’re sharing links on Facebook or Twitter (or on other platforms), shorten the URL link. I personally use bitly, but there are others you can use. It especially helps on Twitter, when you’re limited to characters. Hootsuite has a shortener for links as well.

Well, those are some quick tips for you!

Do you have any other tips to share? Leave a comment!

The Wrong Fairy Tale Is HERE!

You. Guys.

I can’t believe it. It’s here! It’s finally here!

The Wrong Fairy Tale is now out in the world, and you get to read it!

The Wrong Fairy Tale

The Wrong Fairy Tale

Every tear, drop of blood, and sleepless night has been worth it because my 2nd “baby” is here. Not only am I super excited and stoked, but I’m also overwhelmingly nervous.

What if they don’t like it? What if it’s a bunch of crap? What if…what if…what if…

You know what, though? NEVER MIND the what ifs! I took 2 1/2 years of my life to bring this book to life. I’m proud of it, I still enjoy the story even after reading it 20 times, and, most importantly, I believe in it.

So, I hope you’ll give it a chance. This is your opportunity to find out what happens next in the Spirit Lake Series. The Wrong Fairy Tale is the installation following Feast Island

Check it out on Amazon:

Click HERE to purchase a PAPERBACK

Click HERE to purchase an EBOOK

(request my signature for your ebook by clicking on the Authorgraph box to the left of my website)

Check it out on Goodreads:

Click HERE to add to your Goodreads “to-read” or “currently reading” list

ALLLLSSOOOOOOOOO…

If you didn’t already know, I am hosting a giveaway of my book on Goodreads (click in the box below to enter).

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Wrong Fairy Tale by Tamar Hela

The Wrong Fairy Tale

by Tamar Hela

Giveaway ends September 12, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Try your luck and enter! You never know: YOU could be a winner of 1 of 2 signed paperbacks, with a special note from yours truly :)

I *might* also be running another giveaway this week, in honor of the book release AND my 30th birthday, which is this Saturday! Lots and lots of fun going on this week.

Thanks to everyone for being ever-so-supportive readers and fans. What would I do without you guys?

Until next time,

Tamar xx

The Wrong Fairy Tale Is Almost Here!

Hey, readers!

Well, I’m super excited to announce the OFFICIAL release date for my second book, The Wrong Fairy Tale:

Tuesday, September 9th

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Author: Tamar Hela

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Publisher: Epic Books Publishing

Release Date: Tuesday, September 9th

Pages: 300

Woot!

I am totally stoked to share my “baby” with you all. This book has been nearly two and a half years in the making–which is A LOT of damn time–and is the followup to my first book, Feast Island. This time, you get to hear not only from Alex, everyone’s favorite girl from book one, but from the hunky bad boy, Geoffrey. It was quite a stretch to write in first person from two perspectives, but a good stretch. I also wrote in third person for another character, so there’s some interesting stuff for readers. It’s the perfect back-to-school read; I promise you won’t be bored! ;)

If you have yet to read the synopsis, here it is, in all its glory:

Being a hero is not such an easy job after all.

It’s sophomore year, and Alex and her friends are just trying to survive high school: boring homework, detention, crushes…and a fateful journey through a portal to another planet—you know, the usual. Despite being average California teenagers, this group of seven find themselves on a return trip to the strange land of Cantelia, where their Spirit Guide, Goden, has sent them. This time, they appear near the Alfaran Forest: a place, where, once again, many inhabitants claim these kids are the Chosen Ones and that they will help to find a solution for ridding the forest of a new kind of horror.

Will the teens have the courage to fight the real enemy? Or will they be forever trapped on Cantelia?

Intriguing, right??!!

–>Also, if you didn’t already know, I am currently running a paperback GIVEAWAY for The Wrong Fairy Tale on Goodreads! Click HERE to enter AND don’t forget to add it to your “to-read” shelf!

And, for those very visual readers, check out my inspiration boards on PINTEREST for the Spirit Lake Series and The Wrong Fairy Tale.

Stay tuned for more upcoming news about the release of The Wrong Fairy Tale. Until then, Happy Tuesday!

xx

Monday Motivation: Read this Cool Stuff IV

(As previously seen on the HelaWrite blog.)

Happy Monday to all you readers!

I’m continuing the Monday Motivation series and have some great articles for you to read. They’re all brilliant! Take a break, grab a snack, and put everything on hold while you take a few minutes to read each one.

1. How to Sell Loads of Books by Russell Blake, Suspense Writer

This post is exactly what every aspiring and active writer needs to read. Even if you’re traditionally published, there’s so much to learn from it. Russell Blake shares his personal experience in regards to independently publishing his books. He doesn’t beat around the bush and is very honest. Though it’s a longer reader than most blog posts, it’s worth your time. I think I need to read it again myself. I’ve already sent it to all my clients and writer friends.

2. Top 10 WordPress Plugins That You Need To Be Using In 2014 by Jeff Bullas

I love Jeff Bullas’s blog! This is yet another great post on his site, written by Mr. Bullas himself. Since I do all my own IT and design my websites and blogs by myself, I am always on the lookout for advice about everything techy–specifically advice that will make my life easier and my lack of tech skills almost unnoticeable. Read this post to learn more about WordPress plugins that will help your WordPress site or blog get to the next level.

3. 25 Ways to Marketing Your Business for Free by Marlee Ward

Though I’d prefer the title to read: 25 Ways to [Market] Your Business for [Nearly] Free, I’m not going to be overly picky. The author admits up front that some of the methods she writes about are not necessarily “free,” especially in regards to spending time on said methods. And we all know that time=money. However, the tips and examples she gives in the post are very creative, cost-effective, and just plain do-able. Read the article to get some ideas as you tweak your marketing/PR plan for this quarter.

I hope you find these articles as useful as I. Keep pressing on towards those goals and you’ll see them accomplished! And go ahead–treat yourself to that 3rd cup of coffee this afternoon. It’s Monday, so why not?