FAQs

What’s a Blog Tour?

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What is a blog tour and how can it help? The purpose of a blog tour (a virtual book tour) is to generate a buzz for your book. Instead of having to tour several cities – and surrender to the roads and railways – you can do it all from the comfort of your own home. Rather than moving from store to store, you progress through a number of scheduled blog stops. Coverage may consist of a book review, a character interview, a question and answer session, a book giveaway or a guest post. A successful tour requires a canny coordinator who is strategic in selecting blogs with a relevant readership, and is able to build anticipation with a powerful social media presence, and an engaging schedule full of prizes and fun. Are bloggers paid to review? No, payment is made to the tour planner to schedule, coordinate and produce promotional material for the tour. Bloggers do not receive payment for writing reviews. Virtual Writers works as an intermediary between the author/publishing house and the blogger. The relationship is reciprocal; the author gets exposure and the blogger has outstanding material to add to their site, which in turn increases visitor numbers and Google rank. This is known as cross-promotion and works well within the indie world of publishing. Will the tour increase my sales? The object of a blog tour is to raise your visibility and get your book in front of fresh eyes, so you can garner new readers. You will likely see an increase in social media followers and reviews, but we cannot guarantee increased sales. Can I be guaranteed positive review coverage? No, unfortunately we cannot guarantee a positive review, in fact, there is no guarantee that your book will be accepted by bloggers for review. We try to match you with bloggers who have a preference for your genre, but it is solely down to the judgement of the blogger in question. Many prefer to do an interview, while others prefer a guest post. Regardless, you can be sure that you will be connected to popular bloggers who love your genre. What happens if a host unexpectedly pulls out or fails to post? Every effort is made to adhere to the schedule, however, we may have to find a replacement site for you, if the original is unable to post on time. Rest assured we will find a suitable replacement so your tour stop numbers will be unaffected. What is expected of the author? We ask that you have your finished guest posts and interviews ready 4 weeks before they are due to be published. We ask that you make every effort to promote your blog tour and create a buzz via your own social media channels, at news groups and any forums you frequent. You are advised to make an appearance on each of the blogs you are featured, by responding to comments and interacting with blog visitors. You may also want to think about setting up a Facebook and Goodreads event page. Please be aware we require 3 months...

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Dash in the Pan

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Love short fiction? Well then, you’re bound to enjoy our weekly dash, flash and drabble bulletin. To subscribe, just click on the Dash in the Pan title below and you’ll be taken to our newsletter. Hit the subscribe button on the top right-hand corner of the page (directly above the Editor’s note), and you’ll receive the weekly newsletter in your email inbox every Saturday. If you want your dash piece to be included in the weekly round-up, simply post it to your own blog then promote it on Twitter using the #writersdash hashtag. If you don’t have a Twitter account then email us with the link to your blog. Be sure to send us the page your dash piece is published on and not just the blog url. In the email subject field please put Dash in the Pan so it doesn’t get lost in the crush. Look out for poetry and microfiction from other great sites such as Crap Mariner’s wonderful 100 Word...

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What is a Word Scrimmage?

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A Word Scrimmage is an event in which participants write, or type, as fast as they can for an agreed time, with the aim of increasing the word count on their current novel, or work in progress. The participant who has written the most at the end of the scrimmage is declared the winner. The event is held regularly on Second Life® at the 3d home of Virtual Writers, and on Twitter under the #virtualwriters and #wordscrim hashtags. This word-boosting technique is also known as a word war and is often used during NaNoWriMo and Script Frenzy. Cartoon used with the permission of Debbie Ridpath Ohi at...

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How Do I Join Your Live Events in Second Life®?

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You will first need to sign up through the Second Life® website. Go to http://www.secondlife.com to start the process. It’s free to join. Click on the JOIN NOW button and this will take you to the Registration screen. Here, you simply fill in your personal details and choose a name and look for your avatar. Don’t worry too much about your avatar’s appearance as there will be plenty of opportunity to tweak it once you are inworld. Once you have completed your Registration, you’ll be asked to download and install the Second Life® viewer to your computer. You will then be taken to a screen that allows you to choose which community gateway to enter. This is important, as we want you to go through as smooth a transition as possible. Please choose the Caledon (Victorian Steampunk) Community Gateway. Once you have chosen the gateway you will find yourself appearing inworld at the University of Oxbridge in Caledon. Now begins your brief induction. Follow the signs and read the information boards as you come to them. There is also a short Second Life® tutorial provided on screen. Try and absorb as much information as possible, but be mindful that you can always return to Caledon at a later date if there is something you feel you missed. At the very least try and understand the most important concepts such as how to move, how to talk and your camera controls. Once you have completed the Orientation Tutorial you will need to find your way to Milk Wood. This is the sim that is home to Virtual Writers. At the bottom of your screen you will see a search tab. Click on this and look for Milk Wood. Now the teleporting fun begins. Click on ‘Teleport’ and you will be moved from your present location to our welcome area. Make sure you save the landmark so you can easily return there. We look forward to meeting you at one of our various daily writing events. Don’t forget to click on one of the group joiners, so you can stay abreast of happenings in the writing community. You can also join Virtual Writers through the search facility. Simply put Virtual Writers, Inc. under group search, click on the group name to bring up the profile screen, then click ‘View Full Profile’, followed by...

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What is Milk Wood?

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Milk Wood is the celtic-themed, 3d home of Virtual Writers. Here we learn to experiment with the Second Life® platform to cultivate our craft, develop literary poise, and establish a strong, unique voice. The Stone Circle – our stone circle monument is used as a stage and performance arena for book and poetry readings. Take a wander around the standing stones and forested areas for a unique, immersive experience. The Writers’ Camp – our twice-daily Writers’ Dashes are held at the writers’ camp; a delightful woodland spot that is fully equipped with typewriters and desks.  You’ll also find a selection of writer’s cabins adjacent to the camp and these are available for rent. Dead Wood Book Fayre portrays the fayres of yesteryear and is ideal if you have books or events that you want to publicize. We can create replica book covers and display them for you as a virtual book; anyone clicking on the book will be directed to either your website or your seller’s page. This is a unique and very effective way of promoting your work. The Celtic Writer’s Cottages at Milk Wood are also available for rent. These can be used as a base for your online writing sessions, or a place for you to display your writing and art. Many of our tenants have been with us for years but we welcome all newcomers. Writers’ Displays – the carpet-covered carts and wagons are used to display the work of our members and are available for rent. Special Events Held at Milk Wood March Poetry Festival An exhibition of work and readings from Second Life®’s most prominent poets. Held the last weekend of March. NaNoWriMo Support A veritable calendar of delights – offered annually during National Novel Writing Month – write-ins, inspirational workshops, pep talks and articles from successful authors. VW Workshops A month-long selection of creative workshops designed to toss participants head first into the process of writing. Held throughout...

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Writers’ Dash FAQs

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I found #writersdash on Twitter, what is it? The Writers’ Dash (#writersdash) is a prompt-driven, free writing exercise held on Second Life® every weekday. If you’re attending the live event in Second Life® there’ll be an opportunity for you to show your work to the other participants, at the end of the timed writing session. If you’re unable to attend the live event you can share your work on Twitter, Facebook or on our blog – just look out for the prompt post and leave your dash piece as a comment. If you want your dash piece to be included in the weekly Dash in the Pan newsletter, simply post it to your own blog, then promote it on Twitter using the #writersdash hashtag. How does it work? At 5:30am & 5:30pm Pacific Time we share the word prompt on our social media channels; the live event begins in Second Life® at 6am & 6pm PST. Write whatever comes to you. Don’t fixate too heavily on word choice and disengage your inner editor – the key is for you to get the words on the page first; you can worry about editing later. At the end of the timed writing session you can share your dash piece with the other participants for critique, if you wish. Do I have to do the Writers’ Dash in Second Life®? No, you can do it offline, if you prefer.  How do I join the live event in Second Life®? You will first need to sign up through the Second Life® website. Go to http://www.secondlife.com to start the process. It’s free to join. Click on the JOIN NOW button and this will take you to the Registration screen. Here, you simply fill in your personal details and choose a name and look for your avatar. Don’t worry too much about your avatar’s appearance as there will be plenty of opportunity to tweak it once you are inworld. Once you have completed your Registration, you’ll be asked to download and install the Second Life® viewer to your computer. You will then be taken to a screen that allows you to choose which community gateway to enter. This is important, as we want you to go through as smooth a transition as possible. Please choose the Caledon (Victorian Steampunk) Community Gateway. Once you have chosen the gateway you will find yourself appearing inworld at the University of Oxbridge in Caledon. Now begins your brief induction. Follow the signs and read the information boards as you come to them. There is also a short Second Life® tutorial provided on screen. Try and absorb as much information as possible, but be mindful that you can always return to Caledon at a later date if there is something you feel you missed. At the very least try and understand the most important concepts such as how to move, how to talk and your camera controls. Once you have completed the Orientation Tutorial you will need to find your way to Milk Wood. This is the sim that...

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