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Win a Free Pass to the STRENGTH Social Media Conference

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We writers may like to believe that wise and witty words are enough to bring readers to our books and blogs, but sadly, that’s just not true. We must market our work as well, and these days one of the best ways to do so is through social media.


“Social media, partnered with blogging, is a tool to strengthen your personal brand, connect with current and future readers, network with other writers, and share stories,” said Mitzi Eaker of the social media consulting group Mitzi Jane Media. “For writers, blogging highlights their talents and gives them a platform to share their writing.”




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Mitzi Eaker of Mitzi Jane Media


Next month you’ll have a chance to learn how to improve your social media skills at STRENGTH, a Mitzi Jane Media social media conference for small businesses. If you think this conference isn’t for you because you’re a writer, not a business owner, think again.

“I think all the sessions are beneficial to writers, especially if they want to create a business as a writer, monetize a blog, or market a book,” Eaker said.

Eaker believes so strongly that this conference is beneficial for writers and bloggers that she is offering a discount to See Jane Write members and giving away an all-access pass to one lucky Jane.

Workshops will be held every Monday evening during the month of April from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The conference takes place at Danberry at Inverness, 235 Inverness Center Drive.

During the first session Eaker will give a broad introduction to social media and later author and blogger Teri Lynne Underwood will share how she used social media to promote her blog and sell her books.

For the second week Eaker will share the steps to building a social media strategy and veteran blogger and designer Karla Archer will share how to create strong social media content and a blogging calendar.

The third week will cover Google Analytics and SEO. Week four will delve into branding. In the final session Emily Lowrey of Magic City Post will help attendees learn how to be more productive with their time online.

Other things you can expect to learn include: how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest strategically; steps to ebook publishing and how to connect with small businesses for marketing promotions.

Early bird registration for the full conference is $129.99 and available through March 8. After March 8 the full conference rate is $169. The cost per night is $39.99.

Click here (affiliate link) to register.
To receive $20 off registration for the full conference use the code – jane. This code will expire Saturday at 10 p.m.

To enter the giveaway for the free full conference pass leave a comment telling us what your greatest social media training needs are. Also, to be eligible to win you must follow See Jane Write and Mitzi Jane Media on Twitter or Facebook. The contest will end Friday at 5 p.m. and the winner announced shortly after.

Mitzi Jane Media on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/MitziJaneMedia

Mitzi Jane Media on Twitter @mitzijanemedia

See Jane Write on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/seejanewritebham

See Jane Write on Twitter @seejanewritebhm

Blog Like a Girl, BFW 2013 Edition: Abby Hathorn of Vintage Inspired Passionista

Abby Hathorn of Vintage Inspired Passionista

Look out Tavi Gevinson! Birmingham may have its own teen prodigy in the world of fashion blogging. Abby Hathorn started her website Vintage Inspired Passionista about a year ago when she was only 16. 


“I wanted to show that teenage girls did not have to be sixteen and pregnant, but sixteen and successful,” Hathorn said.

Hathorn not only blogs but also works part-time as a stylist for Mississippi-based Town and Gown Magazine and writes for Real Story Publishing. 

“Juggling my blog, writing for Real Story Publishing, styling for Town and Gown Magazine, and finding time in the day to homeschool is quite a challenging task, but thanks to my iPhone and Claire Massy at Town and Gown Magazine and Joseph St. John at Real Story Publishing, I am able to find time in the day to do what I love-fashion and writing,” Abby says. “It is great to be able to collaborate with them via text and email.  I am originally from Mississippi and have family and friends close to Starkville and Columbus which allows me to travel there as often as I am needed.”


This past week Abby was busy covering Birmingham Fashion Week, but she still made time to chat with See Jane Write about blogging and the Birmingham fashion scene. 

Abby at the BFW 2013 Kick Off Party

How did you put together the outfit you wore to the Birmingham Fashion Week 2013 Kick Off Party? 


I love mixing patterns! When I spotted the printed dress and chevron cardigan at Banana Republic, I knew they were meant to be in my closet! I felt the basic navy needed a pop of color, so I sported my favorite pair of Michael Kors heels with it. I adore handmade jewelry and Etsy so I topped off my BFW 2013 Kick Off Party ensemble with handmade earrings by Rachel Leathers (of Hearts of Stone Jewelry) and a luscious stone ring by Lisa Hamilton (of Beadsoul).

Why do you think it’s good for Birmingham to have an event like Birmingham Fashion Week?

Events such as Birmingham Fashion Week help to boost tourism and draw attention to the area’s awesome attractions, shops, and dining. It brings attention to and supports nonprofit foundations like Alabama Forever and Camp Smile-A-Mile. It also shows off the South’s fashionable talents! And what shopaholic doesn’t love a preview of spring fashions?

Why do you think it is important for local bloggers to cover Birmingham Fashion Week and how can they do it in a way that will fully engage their readers?

It is a fantastic and fashionable way to support the community! Easy ways to fully engage readers during events like BFW is with photos and interviews. Readers love to be involved, so ask them which design/event was their favorite.

How did you get interested in fashion?

My fascination with fashion began at a young age. I was always playing dress up in my mom’s closet! Well, I suppose, I still play dress up.

What was the inspiration behind the name of your blog?

I am inspired by all things vintage! Vintage clothes, music, movies, and cars! There is nothing better than putting on a vintage Frank Sinatra record while brainstorming about blog ideas.

How did you get your gig with Town and Gown Magazine? How do you manage to work for them while living in Birmingham?

Claire Massey, the editor of Town and Gown Magazine, discovered and contacted me to do a fashion article for the November 2012 issue. Since that article, I have been working as a stylist for Town and Gown Magazine.

Town and Gown is a wonderful publication with which to work! Claire Massey, the editor, and Divian Conner, the photographer, make planning and conducting photo shoots easy.

What tips would you give to bloggers (not only fashion bloggers) looking to build their brand and a community?

Social media promotion is key! Create a Facebook Like Page, Twitter, and Instagram page for your blog to draw in your readers, and be sure to post often, but not overwhelmingly. Early on in my blog, I decided that I needed a logo that not only represented the VIP, but also was catchy!  Thanks to Amy Shaw for creating a fabulous logo for me. Another super easy way to grow a blogging brand is with business cards. I always have lots of business cards with me, and I hand them out everywhere I shop, eat, and hangout.

What If Carrie Bradshaw Wrote a Murder Mystery?

I’m not usually a fan of murder mystery novels. And I hope that doesn’t make me sound like a book snob. I’m certainly not one. You can find The Carrie Diaries series on my bookshelf right now.

But I like reading fluffy fiction about Carrie Bradshaw for the same reason I enjoy heavy classics like Toni Morison’s The Bluest Eye and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar: I am a sucker for well-developed and relatable characters.  And these are hard to find in most mystery novels.

Nevertheless, over the Christmas holidays I read Billie Thomas’ Murder on the First Day of Christmas and I’m sure glad I did.

Set in Birmingham, Alabama, the novel follows Chloe Carstairs and her mother Amanda, two decorators who find themselves in the middle of a homicide investigation after two of their clients are killed. Chloe and her mom soon become amateur sleuths determined to crack the case and complete hilarity ensues.

You may remember that I interviewed Thomas in December shortly after the book was made available on Kindle. I’m happy to announce that Murder on the First Day of Christmas is now available in paperback.

Whether you like murder mysteries or not, you should give this novel a try largely because of the charismatic main characters.  

You will immediately love Chloe Carstairs because she’ll remind you of your best friend, or yourself, or both. Like many of us, she’s a 30-something gal struggling to navigate her personal and professional lives and having many hilarious and humbling encounters along the way.

But it’s Chloe’s relationship with her mom that really got me hooked. Their mother-daughter banter will have you laughing out loud, while the obvious love they have for each other will have you picking up the phone to call your parents just to say “hi.”

Thomas does a great job of unraveling the mystery as well and soon you will have put on your detective hat too, trying to figure out who done it along with Chloe and Amanda.

Of course, I enjoyed all the references to Birmingham and I hope non-natives will read it and realize there’s more to Birmingham than they once believed.

Overall, I just love how cleverly this story is put together. Even the funny little anecdotes told throughout narrative come to serve a purpose in the end, showing you just how talented Thomas really is.
Cross-posted at The Writeous Babe Project

The Blogger’s Guide to Birmingham Fashion Week 2013



Birmingham Fashion Week 2013 kicks off Saturday, Feb. 23, and if you’re a fashion blogger you know this is an event you shouldn’t miss.

Unfortunately, however, you did miss the Feb. 15 deadline to apply for a media pass and you simply can’t afford to buy tickets for every BFW event.
But all hope is not lost. You can still feature Birmingham Fashion Week on your blog without breaking the bank.
The Birmingham Fashion Week kick-off party is free so make plans to be at Gus Mayer on Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. BFW models will be live modeling in display windows while the community rocks out with DJ Coco.
If you only attend one other event it should be the Finale Runway show set for Saturday, March 2.
This event will feature a showing of the 2013 spring collection by Tibi, an internationally renowned brand designed by Amy Smilovic.
“This designer typically only shows on stages like the Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week so it is an honor for Alabama to be able to host such a label,” says Kimberlee Brooks, spokesperson for BFW.
Also, the winners from the Rising Design Star, Emerging Designers and Fresh Face of Fashion competitions will be announced on Saturday too. Thus this event could give you good material for a feature on the future of fashion.
For the Rising Design Star competition middle and high school students were challenged to create a garment using only non-traditional materials such as bubble wrap, trash bags, computer keyboard parts, coffee filters, bottle tops, etc. The top 30 are chosen to compete at BFW. For the Emerging Designers Competition college and post-grad students had to design and create four garments the top 16 will be chosen to showcase their items on stage. The Fresh Face of Fashion competition is a competition for the official BFW models, who are judged throughout the week by industry professionals. The winner receives a grand prize of $3500 worth of cash and prizes and the title of the Fresh Face of Fashion.
“If bloggers can go to more than one night, both Thursday and Friday’s runway shows will also be thrilling to watch,” Brooks says.
Jeff Garner’s sustainable, organic label Prophetik will headline Thursday’s show. This current collection “The Princess Grace Tribute Collection” was debuted in Monaco and was even on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, proving that fashion truly is an art form.
On Friday, Anthony Ryan Auld, who recently won Project Runway All-Star Season 2, will showcase his fashion-forward yet wearable women’s clothing line.
Rising Design Stars and Emerging Designers will also showcase their talents both Thursday and Friday night. 
For next year’s Birmingham Fashion Week be sure to apply for your media pass in January. And don’t feel like you can’t apply for one just because you don’t work for a magazine or newspaper.
“We grant many bloggers media passes, even if they are not associated with a mainstream media outlet,” Brooks says. “The most important thing is the kind of base and following the blogger has built. We enjoy working with writers from all backgrounds and reader demographics!”
The organizers of BFW do want to know how many Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and readers you have, so get those media kits ready.
Doing a good job covering this year’s event will also increase your chances of scoring a pass next year.
“Live social media coverage and follow-up posts are key for us,” Brooks says.
For a complete schedule of events and to order tickets visit the Birmingham Fashion Week website.

Life Is But a Dream

There’s often chatter on some of my favorite blogs about whether superstar Beyonce is or isn’t a feminist. Her girl power anthems, all-female band and determination to be independent lead some to say that Bey is absolutely a feminist. But some look to her sexy persona and performances and say she’s a pawn to the male gaze. Some folks even complain about her decision to name her upcoming tour “The Mrs. Carter Show.”

Despite the fact that I’ve been waving the flag of feminism for years, I actually don’t care whether or not Beyonce has the label of “feminist.” She continues to inspire me regardless. 
I had no intentions of writing about her HBO documentary, Life Is But a Dream, that debuted tonight. But when I found myself scribbling down notes throughout the program, I knew a blog post was about to be born. 
Believe it or not, sometimes I do have reservations about calling myself a feminist, but not because of the negative connotations and terrible misconceptions people have about what being a feminist means. Sometimes I feel as if feminism doesn’t fully describe my politics, my life mission or my love for and devotion to women. Feminism is simply a belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. But my desire to improve the lives of women and help them express themselves is about so much more than equality. It’s about sisterhood.
In the documentary Beyonce describes how much her love for women influences her work. She says, “I’m always thinking about women and what we need to hear.” And with those words she describes exactly why I blog and why I started See Jane Write. 
Beyonce goes on to talk about how important it is for women to have conversations with other women and how much she grows from those heartfelt discussions. I feel the same way, which is why I want to build community here on this blog and offline through See Jane Write networking events. 
Life Is But a Dream is a compelling documentary because it reminds viewers that Beyonce is human. Yes, her life is acutely different from ours, but she still has insecurities and heartache, hopes and dreams. She’s a woman of faith. And when she’s talking about her husband you see she’s still a girl in love with a boy, and suddenly the fact that she’s calling her new tour the Mrs. Carter Show makes you smile.
But obviously it’s when Beyonce talks about her concern for women that she makes my feminist heart flutter. In the documentary during a segment on her Billboard Music Awards performance of “Run the World (Girls)”  she says: 

It really pisses me off that women don’t get the same opportunities as men do or money for that matter because let’s face it: money gives men the power to run the show. It gives men the power to define our values and to define what’s sexy and what’s feminine. And that’s bullshit. At the end of the day it’s not about equal rights it’s about how we think. We have to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead and reach as high as humanly possible. That’s what I’m going to do, that’s my philosophy and that’s what “Girls” is all about. 

Yes. This. 
I love that she puts the ball in our court. If you see an injustice or disparity around you, do something about it! It’s time out for whining about men or “the Man” holding us down. It’s time that we take control of our careers and our creativity. 
It’s time to take control of your life so it can finally look just like the one you live in your dreams. 

Love Letter to WBHM, Birmingham’s NPR Station

Ghetto Blaster
Image by Stephen Barnett via Flickr/Creative Commons

“I think I’m in love with my radio
Cause it never lets me down
And I fall in love with my stereo
Whenever I hear that sound”
– “Radio” by Beyonce

Dear WBHM,

When I was a teenager I believed no one could love me like my radio.

It was always there for me. I listened to the radio while getting ready for and riding to school each morning. My radio made evening homework sessions go by faster and every night my radio sang me to sleep.

I still have fond memories of calling my favorite DJ to request my favorite song and then waiting by the radio with a blank cassette in the tape deck so I could record the highly anticipated track.

R&B ballads by the likes of Mariah Carey gave me fuel for all the sad, angst-filled love poems I wrote  back then. And the anthems sang by girl groups like TLC stirred within me a sense of self-pride that would eventually blossom into my feminism.

Then one day everything changed. Radio and I grew apart.

I could try to blame it all on mainstream music.  I could say rap music became too sexist and senseless and that pop and R&B became too trite. But, truthfully, I’m the one who changed. My favorite artists became folks like Ani DiFranco, musicians who don’t get mainstream radio airplay.  And most club bangers started to give me a headache.

So I turned off my radio.

Then you came along.

I admit that in the past I was never a huge NPR fan because I felt the radio was supposed to be a source of escape and entertainment. As I grew older I started tuning in to NPR for updates on major news events, but was still far from a loyal listener.

But when I moved back to my hometown of Birmingham I decided to give you a chance. You impressed with your programming and with events like I quickly got hooked on station’s programming and was impressed by events like Issues & Ales.

Radio and I began to rekindle the flame, and I owe it all to you.

I am a fan of good music for the same reason that I am a writer — I love stories. And you are always there telling me an intriguing tale whether it’s about life for children in Palestine or the story of a gay man being reunited with his siblings after being cast out the family by his ultra conservative father. Just last week I learned about the evolution of hand dryers. You’re so awesome that you can make hand dryers interesting! And two weeks ago, thanks to you, I began my day with an inspiring interview with Sonia Sotomayor.

Because of you I am more informed, more empathetic, and more motivated.

What I’m trying to say is you make me a better person.

And I can’t get enough of you.

I’ve become one of those people who are almost late for work because they’re sitting in the parking lot in their cars enraptured by an NPR feature report. Every weekend I look forward to listening to the word game Says You.

And you don’t forgot that I love music too. If it weren’t for you I would have never learned about the artist Kendra Morris, whose album Banshee was one of my favorite releases of 2012.

I am so happy we’re taking our relationship to a new level and making things official now that  I’ve signed on to be the Race & Diversity blogger for your website.

And today is Valentine’s Day, so let’s celebrate and dance to our song.

A version of this post originally appeared on The Writeous Babe Project.

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