Friday, September 29, 2017

The White Car Epidemic by @mayatylerauthor

As a writer, I consider myself a keen observer of human nature. We are more than the fa├žade we portray to the public. What makes people tick? What motivations lie behind their actions? Are they conscious of these motivations?

Twelve years ago, I worked at a private IT company. Needless to say, it was a short-lived position. I learned quickly that ethical recourse doesn’t exist in the private sector. (I later learned it doesn’t exist in the public sector either.) Anyway, both the president and vice-president of this particular company drove white SUVs. From my observations of their blatant sense of self-importance and knowledge of their six-figure salaries, I hypothesized people buy white cars for status, and they are usually the nouveau riche. Over the years, I noted further evidence to support this premise. When I shared my theory with my husband, he was amazed. Every person we know with a white car fit the bill. Status hungry. Quasi or nouveau riche. And the recent boom in white cars in our neighbourhoods collaborates my theory. There is a ‘type’ of people who buy white cars. Is this a conscious decision?

Which other types crave this level of external validation? The person who documents their life—every mundane detail—on social media? The person who buys brand name clothing and accessories? The person who constantly flaunts their ‘perfect’ life before it all falls apart?

Life is a fragile commodity; built on an unstable house of cards. We buy over-priced homes, and fund our lifestyles with home equity loans. We use our retirement savings for vacations. Our credit cards are maxed. We live paycheque to paycheque. And we are delusional enough to keep accumulating stuff—in a desperate attempt to find fulfillment—to assuage our deep-seated unhappiness.

Observe the parking lot of an affluent shopping complex. Look at the cars lining the city’s main roads and highways. We are surrounded by flashy white cars. And their owners who thought buying a white car would show the world they had made it.

As a writer, I see beyond the owner of a white car. I see an insecure person seeking external validation to solidify their position in society. I see an arrogant person flaunting their wealth—or illusion of wealth—and their ‘good life.’ I hear a desperate cry for acceptance.

But who am I to judge? With my Nike sneakers and Coach handbag… choices I made for comfort and style…


Friday, September 22, 2017

Happy Book Birthday, A Vampire's Tale!

Six months ago, Tirgearr Publishing released my second paranormal romance novel. To celebrate, Writer Marketing Services has organized a month-long Birthday Bash Blitz! Check out all the stops listed at www.MayaTylerAuthor.com.

A Vampire's Tale is a story about a story. This particular tale belongs to Corgan Halton, a vampire set to disprove Hollywood’s misconceptions about vampires, before he ends his existence. He selects Marisa Clements—an aspiring, paranormal author—to write about his life. With Corgan’s ability to see the future, he knows Marisa will be involved in his death and his presence in her life will place her in grave danger. 

Why a Book about Vampires?

It all starts with an idea. Before writing A Vampire’s Tale, I had never considered writing a vampire book. Why now? Like my character, vampire Corgan Halton, I find the Hollywood vampire, re-invented over and over is, at times, unbelievable and inconsistent. Still, we are fascinated with each interpretation. Hollywood has definitely romanticized vampires. I think the allure, the attraction, is the flirtation with danger. If you think about what a vampire is—undead, blood drinking, human killing machine—romance really doesn’t come to mind.

Like any tragic hero, a vampire’s back story is what fascinated me. And I wondered. If vampires were real, what would they really be like?

Available now!
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Friday, September 15, 2017

What you need to know about SEO by @mayatylerauthor

Writing books is only part of an author’s job description. The writing—most authors would agree—is the fun part, and the book promotion is decidedly not. After experiencing the mental exhaustion of pouring heart and soul into my book, how am I going to find readers to buy it? The answer? I’m always on the lookout for the latest trends in book marketing and promotion. And, it turns out, book promotion is another area I can stretch my creative wings.

What is SEO and why do you need it? SEO, search engine optimization, is the way to get content in front of your target audience. If you have a web presence, you need to read this article.

SEO is an art and a science. There are two main steps: 1. Produce good content; 2. Promote that content. You can have the best blog post / book / website out there, but if you don’t promote it strategically, no one will know. Likewise, you can heavily promote inferior content and risk losing readers / followers. Think quality over quantity.

Content is King

An effective website, or webpage, contains quality content focused on the user’s intent. When creating content, remember word count, keyword distribution, internal links, and headers affect search rank. Choose your topic selectively. Focus on a subject you are an authority on. It establishes your credibility. Aim for a target length between 300 and 1900 words, using concise sentences. Contrary to past trends, readers seek long-form content as long as it’s applicable to them. Engage with your audience. In addition to the “why” and “how-to” posts, using lists, quizzes, infographics, and videos are popular ways to create engaging content. Create content with a keyword in mind.

The Key to Keyword Selection

Use tools like Google Adwords to determine the analytics on potential keywords and related synonyms. Also, consider exploiting knowledge of important (and similar) topics and themes to increase your readership. Use your keyword in the title and the first sentence of your first paragraph. Use your keyword in the metadata title—the highlighted text in a search engine result—and in the metadata description—the text which describes your website. Target keyword density, the percentage of times the keyword appears in your content compared to the total number of words, between one and three percent.

Don’t Forget Formatting

Content structure—which affects search rank—is (almost) as important as the content. Eye tracking studies measure user experience signals where, and for how long, people look on a webpage. In the eight-seconds you have to grab your reader’s attention, it’s crucial to know where they will look first. Use the real estate above the fold—the space you can see before scrolling down—for your most valuable content, and use headers to break your information into easy-to-read chunks. Use white space strategically, and don’t use banners as previous overuse has led to the phenomena called ‘banner blindness.’

You’ve invested in producing quality, well-structured content. Is that enough? What other factors affect search rank? Site speed. A faster site tends to rank higher than slower sites. You can use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to rate optimization and receive recommendations. Social signals. These include the number of shares and tweets.

Now to put my new-found knowledge into practice!

References:
Agius, Aaron. (2015, December 24). “It’s Time to Rethink Your SEO Approach for 2016.” Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/253288 on 2017, June 27.

Cain, Kevin. (2012, August 29). “How to Optimize Content When You Don’t Know Jack about SEO.” Retrieved from http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2012/08/optimize-content-when-you-dont-know-seo/ on 2017, June 27.

Dragilev, Dmitry. (2016, May 11). “Six Top SEO Factors in 2016.” Retrieved from http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2016/29906/six-top-seo-factors-in-2016 on 2017, June 27.

Patel, Neil. (2014, April 16). “8 Powerful Takeaways from Eye Tracking Studies.” Retrieved from https://www.quicksprout.com/2014/04/16/8-powerful-takeaways-from-eye-tracking-studies/ on 2017, June 27.

Si, Sean. “What are Meta Tags and why are they important?” Retrieved from https://seo-hacker.com/what-are-meta-tags-and-why-are-they-important/ on 2017, September 2.


Weiss, Aaron. (2015, December 29). “Trip Through the Google Zoo.” Retrieved from https://www.searchengineacademy.com/blog/trip-through-the-google-zoo/ on 2017, June 27.

Friday, September 8, 2017

My Vampire World by @mayatylerauthor


Originally posted on Megan Morgan as part of my Goddess Fish Promotions virtual book tour.


My Vampire World

I have been fascinated by vampires for a long time. At times, cast in the role of the hero and others, the villain. Vampires are an enigma, a demonstration in contrasts.

My vampire world is consistently full of contrasts. It is filled with darkness, symbolizing death – cheating death through their undead existence, evading death by keeping to the shadows, evoking death of their human victims. We see the darkness. Then, through their eyes, the world is a brilliant and vibrant place. Everything appears sharper, clearer. Their senses, and instincts, are efficiently honed. They have evolved into superior creatures, intent on fulfilling their basic needs, ruthlessly, with a single-minded goal of survival.

My hero Corgan’s pre-vampire life was also focused on survival. His maker Dee rescued him from desolate conditions and bestowed upon him immortality. He saw how strong and vital Dee was, nothing could touch her, not pain, not fear, not death. He wished to gain what she had, but an undead “life” is what she gave him, a life he couldn’t have possibly imagined or desired. He can live undead forever, but he still longs for his human form.

There is a place, within his world, where he can escape, like a dream, where his consciousness goes when he’s resting. His bite is the key to this world and my heroine Marisa joins him there, experiencing what he experiences, an enactment of his human fantasy.

Vampires live alone or with families, nests. Aside from the seemingly chaotic activities of violence and murder, they also have order. Laws. Rituals. Culture. A history which has developed parallel to human existence for thousands of years. A people cannot survive, advance, without some sort of structure. Vampires can offer their protection to humans by claiming them in a ceremony similar to human marriage. Vampire law dictates adherence to this claim, a vampire cannot harm other’s human. But, as in any society, there are those who defiantly choose to live outside the law. And those who choose to rise above their circumstances.

Other supernaturals also exist in this world. Humans with magical abilities like wizards or shifters. Creatures beyond earthly barriers like angels and demons. These different sects are aware of each other, can identify each other, and, for the most part, avoid each other. Some actively seek and destroy supernaturals, like vampire hunters. Most wish to conceal their presence from humans. Some form alliances, like the one between Corgan and his wizard friend Waldor.


A compilation of contrasts. Darkness and brilliance. Life without a soul. A hidden fantasy world. Order and chaos. Collaboration and conflict. My vampire world.