Continuing Education

Getting educated

I started the process of publishing with no writing education. I have published two books, one traditionally, one by self-publishing. I have a presence on my own website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Doximity, Pinterest, and Google Plus. Nevertheless, my book sales have been fairly sluggish. My understanding of how to utilize social media and promotion is very limited.

Our local community college offers courses on hundreds of different subjects for people like me. This is part of their continuing education program. I decided to start with one on e-publishing. Even though I have done this, I felt it was a great place to start, because I really didn’t have any coach or helper to do this. When you publish with a publisher, you are working with professionals. When you self-publish you have to seek out information and “read the manual.”

What did I discover?

I found that I had a pretty good handle on the technical aspects of publishing. However, my knowledge of blogging, and social media is pretty weak. I have appreciated all the nuggets of help through the process that I have received from the teacher, Pamela. She has helped me to fill in gaps in my understanding and, hopefully, will get me moving in this world of blogging and tweeting. I know that there are even newer ways to connect and will stay tuned to the web for updates. She showed me, last night, how to get listed in Google. Last class I learned what that “Reader” button at the top of the WordPress page is for. It sounds stupid to many who use blogs all the time (I’ve been on WordPress for three years), but I didn’t realize how powerful that little button is. This week, too I learned about feedly and buffer from a friend. I was able to share this with my teacher, so it isn’t just a one-way street.

Check out your own local community colleges. There are many offerings and the price is right. I certainly intend to do this again.

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About smcpherson58

Aside from loving chocolate and coffee (not necessarily in that order) Scott McPherson has learned that he loves to write. He writes fiction and, so far, has published two novels. Scott has many varied interests, though he tries to focus on one at a time. He has worked for nearly thirty-five years as a family physician, a pass-time that gives him great pleasure and pays the bills. He has five daughters and dotes upon three grandchildren. Recently married, he really loves life. Scott writes from his life experiences and from travel. His career in the active Air Force was brief, but he has been a member of the Nebraska Air National Guard since just before 9/11 in 2001. The aftermath of that great disaster changed the face of the Guard and led to missions in far-away lands. He has spent time in Turkey, Iraq, Spain, Crete and Guam in missions related to support for Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He has been to Iceland and Antarctica as well. Scott has no personal experience with violent death or murder, but has gained knowledge from experts. In his first novel, “A Step Ahead of Death,” his character, Jack Sharp MD, becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. First as suspect, then as amateur sleuth, Jack tries to make a difference. He finds himself right in the middle of an investigation well beyond the scope of a local murder. A man of faith, Scott traveled to Africa with his small family in the 1980s and served as a medical missionary in Zaire (known as Congo today) with a church organization. The vast difference in what it takes to exist in such an environment served as a basis for much of his second novel, a thriller, “Congo Mission.” His character, Jack, is twenty years younger than in the first novel. In “Congo Mission” Jack serves as a physician in a missionary hospital in the jungles of northwestern Zaire. There he is not only captivated by a young woman visiting the region, but falls victim to his nemesis Jacques Levant. His motivations and faith are tested and his resolve to do God’s work gets pushed to the limit. When he is not writing Scott enjoys walking, a practice that actually led to his first attempt at writing a novel. He began making notes and writing prose about the mundane things around him. He tried to make the details sound interesting, even though it was just for his own pleasure. Eventually he found that he could expand his prose to “what if?” “What if I just kept walking?” “What if I, or my character, found a dead body in the ditch along the side of the path?” That was the premise for the first novel, “A Step Ahead of Death.” Scott McPherson is an avid trombone player and has played since he was nine years old. He marched in the Cornhusker Marching Band at the University of Nebraska and now takes advantage of one free football game a year by playing in the half-time show with the UNL Alumni Marching Band. He plays in the Lincoln Civic Orchestra and a community band from the nearby town of Waverly, Nebraska. Scott loves to sing as well, though his range seems to have diminished in recent years. He has sung in college and church choirs and remembers performing parts of Handel’s Messiah as a highlight of his singing experience. One little-known fact about Scott is that he once sang soprano in a boys choir. Scott plans to keep writing as long as the ideas flow and others show interest in his stories. He loves to interact with other writers or readers about what has become a passion in his life. Reviews are always welcome as are questions and comments.
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