The Artist

Sometimes, it's difficult to see everything within the industry. Watching trends, figuring out what's popular, trying to write the next big seller... but I've been thinking about this for a while.

And it's so easy to become ensconced in one corner of the writing world. Seeing what that one crowd wants and working hard to make the theme in  your book just right. It's work. Maybe not hard, but still--work. Perhaps the perspective on life and what's happening in the publishing industry gets narrowed.

All of a sudden, an author might question what in the world she's doing. Her stories hardly ring true anymore, she feels more like a drone than an imaginative, creative individual! Not me, an author. ;)

But I think that's why it's really important to READ everything. [yes, that's a bias statement--I'll explain] I've been reading romance since I was twenty-two, and it's usually contemporary, occasionally historical, always mainstream. When I say everything, I do admit that I won't read certain genres. For me, inspirational romance is a no. I'll read Christian fiction or Mainstream written by a Christian that is sweeter or maybe falls into the women's lit category. But Romance for me is a hard sell with no desire shown or implied. [but if you've followed me at all since I started this blog years ago, you probably already know how I feel--or you can read about it here and here!!] So, I don't read Inspirational Romance... fine. But there is so much to read!

Historical, Paranormal, Action/Adventure, YA, NA, Sci-fi...but wait! There's more! :D There's always one more genre out there to get our hands on in order to keep apprised of the industry and what it's doing. It's never as simple as "everyone is reading about vampires." Maybe writing that Vampire novel will help us grow as writers... maybe stepping out and doing something new is good for honing those skills. Yet, perhaps when we find ourselves writing against the grain, it's time to remember that there is a market for every genre. Every one!! [, not the one that tells the history of your family. Sorry!] There is a saying, if you don't like who you've become, change your friends. That can be true in this industry, too. If you don't like what you're writing, change your publisher! [again, I don't mean me. I'm just saying hypothetically] :D

Are we difficult artists if we write what we want to write? Or do we bring the best out in ourselves by allowing those creative juices to flow? How do you find a balance between this-is-business and this-is-art??

Another month at the Grindstone

If it seems quiet, that's because I am...very quiet lately.
I've been working hard on editing a manuscript called Unwanted Vows. Nearly at the beta-read phase [where I ask regular old readers to read the story and tell me if they like it], the story has been a pleasure to work with [with which to work]. My critique partners are still making some suggestions and I'm implementing them--word usage, clarity, etc., but otherwise... I'm ready to move on.

Which is what brings me back to "the Grindstone." Or, April Bootcamp, where a bunch of writers race to get as many words written as possible in one month. The book I'm writing is a Romantic Suspense. I'd nearly given up on it and the series it comes from because I'd received no positive feedback... :P It's a series with book one written. But book one has an older couple in it. I they're almost 40!! OMG. How old. Yuck. You mean old people fall in love?! Ew, gross.

I guess marketing can't sell that very well. Apparently the obsession with youth and beauty is still going strong in our society... but don't worry. I'll get that story out eventually. I merely need to LURE the readers in with a younger version of Romantic Suspense first. Hook them to the series and the characters then throw the old people at them. :D :D

No problem.

Have a great week,
Happy Easter!
With Love,

The Last 30 Days -- SELF PUBLISHING

So, here it comes...
I have to smile when I use the word 'so' in my blogging and/or stories because when I use that word in real life, it immediately puts my husband's guard up. EX. Sooo, are you going to leave that open like that?  :D  Can you hear it?!  I do, and it sounds exactly like what it is, criticism. LOL  It's me, NOT wanting to be critical, but looking for WHY anyway. So softens the blow. Or, at least, it should. But if you hit a dog and say I love you at the same time, they will most likely shy away from the phrase I love you, eh?

Sooo, here it comes. The last thirty days.

As a self-published author, how do you spend those days before your release in order to make the MOST of that release day?

Exposure. I'd say that is the key element. Blogging, guest blogging, interviews, advertisement space, networking..twitter, facebook. I look ahead of me into the month of May, and I see an experiment. The truth is, you could start two or three months ahead of time putting together a marketing strategy. Guest blogging? Not easy to grab a spot on an author friendly blog without waiting. With the market so full of new authors and new books, exposure will require planning. LOTS OF PLANNING.

That's been a lesson for me.

Lucky for me, books will sell, even after the release day.

Budget comes in to play as well, and though I've got money set aside, I'm trying to spend as little as possible on this first book. That forces me to dig a little deeper to find a place to create hype. Who will do reviews? Who will let me guest blog? How many blogs can I visit in hopes of directing traffic BACK to my own blog?

I'm seeing the benefits of a PR department, not to mention marketing!!
Give it to me straight, people.
What efforts have you gone to in order to spread the word about your release day [self-published or not]?

BTW, i'm release day is NOT June 1st. It's June 8th!!!
OMG, I have a release day! :D

I can't wait to show you my cover.

Sunday Summations--Thank You Economy

It's LOOOONG. 61 minutes, but I watched it while making lunch one day. It's fast and absorbing. You won't be board or checking your watch...unless you're uninterested in ecommerce. [includes SWEARING]

I watched this You Tube video, marketing strategy with Gary Vaynerchuk, which--besides make me chuckle and laugh out loud--gave me a lot to think about in regards to this NEW publishing world. We've been talking about the changes for a few or more years. E-publishing has taken over where traditional publishing, and even self publishing, left off. It opened markets for people with unusual story lines and hard to place themes. It changed the business structure for authors--in good ways, mostly.

One point Vaynerchuk talked about was the Thank You Economy. It struck me that even as a traditionally published author, we ARE responsible for the Thank You. Bantam might look at all the advice this guy has and use it. Social media is becoming a huge part of marketing and promotion. But the Thank you economy he speaks of...

That is the author's.
Thanks for buying my book.
Thanks for sending me that note.
Thanks for reviewing my book. [yes, even if the review left you with a one star rating]
Thanks for friending me on Facebook.

I love how he ended his speech. It blew my mind a little and made me want to make my husband watch it... my husband insists that technology and the internet has depersonalized business. He would rather go to the hardware store or to the he can chat the with clerk or the teller. I agree, there's value in his approach that the internet has eliminated. BUT, social media has put us THIS close to our customers, our readers. In fact, the internet has brought us full circle, back to a time when personal interaction will be the winner, the money maker, the ultimate return on our investment.
Nothing new on my writing this week. Just a few words down with hopes of getting a lot more done in the coming week. I'm getting antsy about my submissions... did I mention that last week? If I did, well it's even worse this week. hahaha.

Have a great week.
With Love,