Monday, January 14, 2019

True Apocalypse

When I started this post, I intended to write about how to create a better apocalypse story. With all the tragedies in the world lately--uncontrollable fires, devastating earthquakes and tsunamis, and so many other world tragedies--I was going to relate the true apocalypse of losing everything and starting over in real life to sci-fi world destruction apocalyptic writing. I feel terrible for all those whose lives have been turned upside-down, with surviving as their first priority.

I had lots more to say, but now I have some depressing news myself... not apocalyptic, but still sad.

Lately, I've mentioned here and in my newsletter that my publisher Curiosity Quills has been going through a rough patch. It feels like the entire industry is at an all-time low. People just don't seem to read like they used to with all the other forms of high-speed, attention-grabbing, immediate-response entertainment at their fingertips. Anyway, CQ isn't going under or folding just yet, but they are definitely reorganizing, leaning toward primarily e-book publishing. And many of its authors are taking their rights and running. Funny thing, Susan Gourley/Kelley recently posted about both these turmoils--lack of readers and failing publishers!

With the release of Windy Hollow so close, I'm trying to stick it out, but it has been put on hold temporarily. It's just about ready, but there are a few items that need to be resolved. I have informed my faithful friends and Street Team helping me with my release blog tour. And as soon as I have any news, I will be blasting it. Hopefully it will be very soon!

I still want to give a shout out--this week it's to my fellow CQ commiserate...

Rena Rocford is what happens when a Mad Scientist writes books, has a kid, and herds cats with helicopters--results may vary. She writes Science Fiction and Fantasy for all ages.

Her first book Acne, Asthma, and Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon is available now from all major book retailers with sequels and more books on the burner.

I love Rena's sense of humor and writing style--her stories are awesome! We've been writing and bloggy buds for quite a while. I feel partially responsible for her joining CQ by talking it up, and it was great for a time... You can read about the twists in her publishing adventure on her blog.

I'll keep pressing onward.
Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

How to set writing goals in 2019

1/1/2019 -- Just another day? I like to see it as the promise of a new beginning. For some, it's a continuation of your story, maybe just a new chapter. My last chapter was quite tumultuous with moving, kids returning to the roost, and the holidays all bombarding us at once. Some days, I didn't know if I would make it. But here I am, back for a new beginning of a new chapter.

I even squeezed in some writing--subbing day-to-day, I find spots of down time, and it's a blessing to leave the house stress for a bit!

So as we press on and look ahead to a new year, it's time to set some writing goals--the topic of my IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) post for this month.

How to Set (& Achieve) Writing Goals - version 2019
  1. What do you want to get done? Jot some things down, make a list. Then prioritize what you want to accomplish first. Use pencil or a computer doc... change is inevitable.
  2. How much time do you have to work with? Life always comes first, and usually second and third. Writing usually has to take a back seat, but don't let it be forgotten. You need to make time for you, just be reasonable about it.
  3. Don't procrastinate. If you don't feel like writing some days, that's okay. And the list is more of a guideline, you can jump around on it and add to or take away from it throughout the year. Just don't stick the list into a drawer only to find it next December wishing you'd done more on it! Plan to do a little each day.
  4. Limit the Social Media temptation. Checking SM too often brings me down--no new likes or mentions this hour :( And posting all the time to receive more responses takes away time from real writing. My snippet SM advice: it's a great tool, but use it sparingly; remember, you get from it what you give, so lower your expectations; and I've found if I set aside a time to schedule posts for the week, I get more out of them later.
  5. Be realistic. Writing is a long distance marathon, you need to have stamina and deal with all the bumps in the road (or find a way around the chasms!) You can reach the goal, but only if you keep going!
Here are my major writing goals for this year... the list helps me focus on writing toward the goals every day and every way I can!
  • WINDY HOLLOW Release is 1/29/19 and I'm planning the Blog Tour - I made a Book Trailer for it! -- If you'd like to help out, here's the FORM (Fingers crossed my publisher holds it together to get this one out there--after that, the future looks dim. Read my NEWSLETTER for the full update...)
  • Submit FARTHER ALONG to betas/CPs this Spring, then polish to gleaming and Query by Summer/Fall.
  • Finish UnPrincess Story #4 GERTRUDE and self-publish this Summer. Seeking artists for this and future projects.
  • Type first draft of Pop Travel #4 - POWER OF SUGGESTION or CONDUCTION - still debating on the title - by Spring/Summer, then on to betas and CPs.
And I haven't forgotten my Shout Out of the Week!

She's a boss! With a super cute book about a baby bossie (haha) I've known Julie for several years and love it when we can get together for events or just do lunch. I'm lucky she lives pretty close!

A librarian from Cincinnati, Ohio, Julie loves to read, run, go for walks with her dog, and visit new places. She's a sports fan and an Ohio State Buckeyes fanatic. She's also a history buff and loves to weave history into her stories.

Her adult novels are "mysteries untethered by time." Two paranormal thrillers, Polar Night and Polar Day and a historical mystery The Ghosts of Aquinnah. She also recently released a horror novella The Turnagain Arm, a prequel to Polar Night. Her debut children's book, Baby Moo's Great Escape, features the animals of Sunrise Sanctuary in Marysville, Ohio. A sequel, Baby Moo Goes to Hollywood, is forthcoming.

Check out Julie, she's fantastic!

How do you set writing goals? How'd you do last year? Always room for improvement, right?

Lastly, a Shout Out to my Street Team. They are 100% wonderful, and I'm always looking for more perky promoters. Work is minimal, results and rewards mega. Here's the FORM if you're interested in doing something awesome! (name that movie)

Happy New Beginnings and Positive Vibes in 2019!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

What's Advertising??

Sorry for the late IWSG post--I'm in the process of moving and still don't have internet hooked up, ugh! But I think you'll find this post was worth it...

Advertising: It's torture! It's annoying to watch and painful to produce. But some special ads are fun to watch and/or memorable--the unicorns: Mayhem, "Where's the Beef?" "Tastes Great. Less Filling" "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" and jingles that get stuck in your head. Advertising is the best way to sell things, and it's the basis of how entertainment is paid for--including books!

For an author, advertising can be a daunting task. Many of us don't know where to begin. So I've compiled a list of Advertising Tips from a few experienced professionals (see links below). We can use these techniques to reach the right audience and sell books.

Tips for Effective Advertising:
  1. Know Your Audience - This is on every list--must be important! You may think you know your audience, but here are some ways to REALLY know you know them.
    • Research - what other books does your audience read? which book could you say "If you like ____, you'll love my book!"
    • Make your book appealing - Can you say your book is a mashup of which two popular books/movies?
    • Optimize for searches - choose great key words that will make your book appear before your readers on Google!
    • Get personal - share, relate, be accessible, answer questions
  2. Be Creative - Authors know all about being creative. Yes, you do. You have created worlds, in-depth personalities, and complex plots. Don't sell yourself short. Now use your creativity in a different way--Author hisses as she steps out into sun to peddle books...
    • Have a Hook! Condense your book into one tantalizing sentence, no details, just a twisty, tasty tease!
    • Stand out - What makes your book different than the rest of the books on the same shelf??
    • Inspire action - Once you read the first chapter, you won't be able to put it down!
    • Your ads need to be Memorable, Short, Relevant
  3. More Intense Targeting - repeat customers and fans are the goal... 
    • These key points are from World Stream
      • Behavior and interest targeting: These are the people interested in your stuff.
      • Remarketing: These are the people who have recently checked our your stuff.
      • Demographic targeting: These are the people who can afford to buy your stuff.
    • Geo-fencing targets more specifically by location (Blue Fountain Media
  4. Visual Stimulation - still or video, an ad has to be eye-catching
    • Image association/Branding - your images must convey the mood of your book and possibly go deeper to show your "brand"
    • Great graphics - you get what you pay for - don't be just another pic that gets passed by
    • Videos need to portray message with or without sound - many people watch videos without turning on the volume (I am one) Talk about "Show Don't Tell!"
  5. Variety of Media - social is the way to go, but be smart and spend wisely. Here's some advice on who, how, and why or why not...
    • Facebook - good for small business, but some say not. Personally, I've tried these and they give feedback. Not sure if it helps, but I think exposure is helpful.
    • Twitter - better to tweet with key words tailored to your audience than tweet "engagements"
    • More--Medium, Hacker News, Reddit, Digg, Linked In--some I know, some I don't, but I'm going to look into these further
    • Test your ads - ask friends, relatives, blog/newsletter readers, etc for their first impressions of your ad
  6. Have a Consistent Message - Know what you want to say. What's your theme?
    • Why should people read your book?
    • Testimonials of reviewers and readers work
So, when you're ready to publish, keep these tips in mind for ways to advertise your book. And keep writing--once you hook readers, they will want more!

Source articles: Blue Fountain Media, Target Public, All Business, World Stream, Entrepreneur

With my moving still in progress, I may or may not get another post out this month... Hope all is well with you and yours this holiday season--peace and love to you!