16 March 2019

Art in Bridlington - Nick Coley

Now here's something not seen very often on this website: Art - blue in tooth and claw.

Nick Coley is a friend of long-standing who at one time wrote anarchic humorous Fantasy, which is how our paths first crossed. Like most creative people, he has never been creative in just one field, and he has always innovated. Painting on canvas and board soon gave way to glass and, more impressive, to etching on sheets of steel and aluminium. Seeing him give an outdoor demo was something to behold. Who would have thought a standard angle grinder could be used to such light-altering effects? The paints he uses merely enhances the marks, the colours magically changing in hue depending on the angle of view and the cast light. Alas, the internet does not do the artworks justice, but click the image for a larger size.

Although many of his subjects are East Yorkshire landscapes, from the hidden valleys of the Wolds to the North Sea shore, he also creates mystical images - one of which was based on our discussion about my research on British water dieties, used in the Torc of Moonlight trilogy. 

The Exhibition We Live In Hope is hosted by Gallery 49 in Bridlington. There's a preview and a 'Meet The Artist' on Saturday 30 March, noon-3pm, when Nick will be talking about his work. The gallery is open Thursday-Saturday 11am-4pm and his exhibition is on until 20 April.

If you are in the area, go do something different. You can enjoy Bridlington's famed fish & chips afterwards.

2 March 2019

Pinterest for Authors?

Infographic pin on Writing Tips
I’ve recently initiated a Pinterest account:

I know, the site has been around long enough, but when a writer is supposed to be creating the next novel, just how many social media sites can she handle?

This was my first mistake. Pinterest is, or is akin to, a search engine. Like a lot of people, my go-to search engine is Google, and when Pinterest URLs kept appearing in its first-page results I decided to take notice.

The big difference between Google and Pinterest is that Pinterest is a visual medium. It truly believes a picture paints a thousand words. It is the image that catches the eye, but it is the embedded link that leads to… wherever you want it to lead: your novel’s Amazon or Kobo page, your blog post, your newsletter sign-up, your book launch competition…

As with Twitter, keywords and hashtags are most useful in the short blurb sitting behind each pinned image, enabling it to be found in a search on the site, or any search – see mention of Google above. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, the image and blurb stays put on a chosen Board and is not suffocated beneath an ever-increasing deluge of newer pins.

Boards act as directories for ease of organisation and can be named however you want. I currently have five public boards:
  • My Books - showing my book covers and linking to their relevant Amazon pages.
  • Book Thoughts - for memes and associated images that catch my eye (I drool over book nooks).
  • Writing Tips: I’ve written a lot of posts over the years and I now make info-graphic pins to link back to them - see one above.
  • Research:Viking – information from other sources I want to find easily for a future project.
  • Research: UK Historical Sites – a new board to consist mostly of pins leading to posts on this blog.
I also have a couple of private boards for my eyes only, including a fledgling World War 1 board for a future project. You can be very private on Pinterest and have all your boards for your eyes only, but the idea is to share via repins so that interesting information gets a wider audience. Among my boards, Writing Tips and Book Thoughts currently contain other people’s pins along with my own. My own pins show, to me only, how many people have looked at each pin, re-pinned it, clicked through to read the blurb, and clicked through the URL. All fascinating stuff.

Pins have to be visual, even if the content is totally text - an infographic such as above. Unlike other social media sites which tend to concentrate on horizontal images, vertical images work best on Pinterest, ideal for book covers.

Consideration has to be given to the aim of the pin. Whereas my book cover pins aim to send readers to a buying site, most of my own non-book pins aim to bring readers to this blog for further information. To that end I add my blog URL to every pin for visual recognition, and the Writing Tips infographics will carry my name, logo and background colouring to complement this blog as part of my brand awareness. Obvious when you think about it, and study the Pinterest site.

Might you be interested but haven’t a clue where to start? Every research project begins with Google. There’s a wealth of how-to articles waiting. It’s where I found the website belonging to Visual Marketer Louise Myers. Her site carries many useful articles and her free course Pinterest Basics For Business was very helpful in getting me going.

Finally… once you have a Pinterest account, search your own name. Oooh, that can be interesting.