Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Tracking Blog Readers

January 5, 2023
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As writers and bloggers, we are interested in knowing where are followers hail from. You will see on my blog there is a flag counter on the side bar. This enables me to see where my blog is read. There are also several other options on the site, that allow me to know the number of visits per country, and how many visitors from each.

For example, in 2022 – 206 different countries have visited my site

Why should we track our blog readers?

1. Understand Your Visitors Better

Tracking blog traffic sources can help you figure out where your visitors are coming from and which platforms, they use so you can learn more about them and send them targeted messages.

2. You Can Measure Your Market Campaigns

If the goal of a campaign is to generate traffic, you can track the different traffic sources to see how effective it is.

3. For Best Results, Concentrate on Channels

You can improve your results by concentrating more on the channel that brought the most traffic to your blog.

4. Topics for New Content

People from various channels may be interested in different topics, so reviewing your traffic sources for each blog will help you come up with new content ideas.

5. Identify Traffic Gap

You can look for channels that aren’t performing well and can optimize them.

How do you track your readers?

Author Interview – Kathie Sutherland

December 22, 2022
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As a poet and a writer, which format do you enjoy writing the most?

Poetry has always been my favourite format. Playing with words in a creative way helps me choose words to express abstract ideas. Because words have nuances and “halos” its important to make clear connections between the words and the feelings behind them. For me, the process of writing, whether poetry or prose involves feelings. For this reason, my Roget’s Thesaurus is a very useful reference book.

If others can relate to what I’m saying or are inspired by my words, I know the meaning has come through. Its comforting to know that someone else feels as I do. Poetry reveals parts of me that might otherwise remain hidden and that gives me courage to reveal my inner self and I can then be true to my values and integrity. When I feel connected to others and to nature, poetry reveals beauty. For me, its essential to be amazed.

Why is metaphor important to you?

Some people are literal minded and think in black and white whereas others colour their worlds with metaphor. This tool of the imagination affects how I see and respond to the world and how I interact with others. Metaphor can bring clarity in communication between people with opposite viewpoints because it expresses a relationship between things and ideas. For example, when my husband and I have difficulty finding common ground, we are able to access mutual understanding in a way that we cannot otherwise. Metaphor offers a big picture perspective. Colourful language creates mental imagery that boosts insight into feelings. Because perspective is so important to me, looking through the lens of metaphor provides a powerful source of soul wisdom for sharing my world.

Was the transition from poetry to fiction writing difficult?

The transition was not difficult but was freeing. A few years ago, when I attended a life writing class to find material for poetry, I wasn’t very confident in my ability to write prose. When I began telling stories about my family history and my childhood, the switch to prose opened a new world to me. I realized I had a unique story and I could share it with others.

How do you choose which format to write in, once an idea forms?

Prose lends itself to the concrete and poetry to the nebulous. I use poetic language in my prose as it creates imagery and is often a way to express difficult situations or emotions, whether my own or someone else’s experience. For me, the two formats are intertwined. I love the threads connecting all aspects of my being: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. One of the big differences between writing poetry on demand using a prompt and writing prose from a prompt is that poetry come from inspiration. Prose doesn’t necessarily do that and when it comes from my imagination, is becomes fiction.

What inspired you to write a memoir fiction novel?

One of the effects of the constant moving experienced by children who do not have long lasting connection to people and community influenced my access to memory. I took the events that I did remember and built stories around them to make sense of them and find meaning in my life. I had written lot of short pieces and the best format seemed to be a novel-in-short-stories in which I created individual stories based on real experience. Each of the stories could stand alone, but the reading of them in sequence enhanced the whole story as a novel would.

Where did the ideas come from for your children’s books?

My 96-year-old mother is a great storyteller and she relishes family tales about her children. “Not My Daddy” was created from one of her stories about watching for my father as soldiers in identical uniforms got off a bus. “Naughty Alice” is also a story from my childhood. The delightful child in this story is my own Inner Child who wanted to help her Grammie tailor a new coat. The third book “Grandma’s Big, Big Backyard” was created to record the experience of my own grandchildren playing in the backyard.

How important is connection with other writers for you?

Being part of a community of writers allows me to share my writing experience and ideas with others. I enjoy encouraging other writers with positive feedback and constructive criticism. Because writing is a solitary activity, having a community of others who understand the challenges of the writing life is essential. Everyone who writes has something to share with the world and we all need connection to be our best.

Do you have a writing space – describe it.

We recently purchased a ground floor condo with two bedrooms and a study and I was excited to make the study my own. My first priority was to purchase a new desk, repurposed a credenza for storage and utilized an antique china cabinet to display my books and special keepsakes. I love the light that pours in through the frosted glass French doors. I’ve put up all my favourite pictures and made the space my own.

What message do you wish to convey to your readers?

The stories we tell ourselves shape our lives and what we believe about the world. As poet Edith Sodergran once said, “…poetry is a way to me.” All of my writing has been the way to me. I’ve spent my whole writing life searching for this person who is me and I want my readers to know that writing is a wonderful way to discover who you really are.  

Where can readers find you and your work?

Please look for books by Kathie Sutherland on Amazon.ca or visit my Facebook page Kathie Sutherland Author. All of my books are available from me directly. Contact me at kathiesutherland@shaw.ca or sutherlandkatherinem@gmail.com. My publisher Dream Write Publishing from Sherwood Park, Alberta also sells my books. https://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/ Many of my books are part of the local author library collections at Strathcona County and Fort Saskatchewan Public Libraries.

Bio:

Kathie Sutherland is a mature, observant student of life who is retired and lives in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta with her husband of 42 years. She has two fiercely independent adult daughters, and two adult grandchildren. A Canadian by birth, she celebrates differences in culture, outlook and lifestyle, and appreciates the benefits of living in other parts of Canada and beyond. Her love affair with language is lifelong, and her unique narrative voice infuses all her writing with authenticity.

Over the past 30 years Kathie Sutherland has written poetry, personal essay, fairy tale, a true events autobiographical novel and three children’s books. Her love of words and their “halos” fanned the flame of her desire to understand the profound and lasting effects of her childhood in a constantly moving Canadian military family through personal journaling, continued learning and reflection. She believes that loss and loneliness can be transformed into love and connection by writing short life stories rich in life wisdom. Recently, she has given voice to her playful side in her based-on-real-events children’s books.

Kathie Sutherland is involved in two local writing groups and fully enjoys encouraging others in their writing projects. She also leads a reminiscence group at a local seniors lodge, helps others write legacy letters at the end of life, as well as being active in a local church community. She enjoys aquafit, pastel painting and travel to interesting places.

Bibliophile’s & Wordsmith’s What Do You Want On This Blog in 2023?

December 20, 2022
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As we come to the close of the year – 2022 – I would like to know what you would like to see on this blog in 2023. I can keep the same regularly themed twice weekly posts, or do something completely different. I am always looking to engage readers and writers alike in my blog community.

Shall I continue with Bibliophile Collective Tuesday’s and Wordsmith Collective Thursday’s or change it up?

What do you want to see, read, interact about?

Is there something I have not covered or included you wish I did?

I am open to suggestions.

It’s up to you!

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – NaNoWriMo Withdrawal

December 8, 2022
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After the frantic word count goal of November, for those of us who participated in National Novel Writing Month, December is a strangely quiet month. No longer are we racing home after work to write those elusive 1667 words for the day’s total, and hoping to exceed them. We miss the rush, the excitement, even the panic. Initially, we feel relief, then goalless and at odds with ourselves. Now, we are floating in an undisciplined mode, unable to feel comfortable – that impetuous has gone.

We all know a goal is a good thing to have. It aids our making a deadline for publisher demands, editing and revising or any self imposed goal, whether for our writing or something else. So, what is the answer? Well, we have options:

1. Continue with our NaNo project and complete the novel.

2. Leave the project to ‘rest’ or percolate until the ending, plot arc, story line etc. solidifies in your mind (if it hasn’t already.)

3. Edit and revise what you have written. We all know it will need this at some point.

4. Begin another project, or return to another unfinished one.

5. Take a break from writing. Delve into the season’s festivities.

No matter which course you take, do what is best for you. Struggling to complete a writing project, when the holidays are approaching and you have other commitments, is not the way to go. Your project will be there waiting for you.

Wordsmith Collective Thursday – Xmas Book Events

December 1, 2022
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At this time of year there is a multitude of events which could fill our calendars. The chance to meet readers in person and to sell books for Christmas gifts is a pleasure. Explaining how our stories developed, what we know about the characters and their journey and how we hope the story transports our readers is a special opportunity.

Even if sales are slow, you have reached readers you would not otherwise have met and that is worth your time. On the flip side you may have the opposite ‘problem’ and run out of books to sell. This is where a business card with your links on it are a bonus. Hand them out and let people know your books are available at other places, such as bookstores, libraries and online. You might not get that immediate sale, but there is potential for sales another time.

With so many events on the same weekends, it is difficult to know which one(s) to attend. It is a lottery of sorts. Even if an event doesn’t have super traffic, it is still an opportunity to connect with other authors and artisans. The bonus being you pick up some individually crafted items, rather than from a box store or retail.

I was so happy to find a ladder planter for my deck and a beautiful Xmas decoration at the last event I attended.

How do you pick which event to attend?

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