Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mid Week Update

Goodbye April. Please let the calendar page smother you as it turns.

Seriously, this April was hard. But it's over, and I'm all set to fall in love with May. Writing: Four writing intensive days of 1500 words a day OR may substitute a day of editing, as needed. Over the span of two days, I did a combination of writing and editing. I was wrestling with a chapter that just would not behave. It's a key transitional chapter, so it was really important to get it right. In the end I wound up going from almost 3,000 words to over 5,000. That took care of the word count requirement. At this point it was obvious that I had not one chapter but two. So my one badly behaved chapter settled down quite nicely into two more manageable ones. Editing went much more smoothly after that. Although it was something of a hybrid exercise, the bulk of the writing took place on the first day, with the editing on the second. That leaves two more days of writing or editing this week to make goal.

Blogging? One down. Reading and reviewing? I picked up Claudia Gray's Evernight series for the first time. This series has been around for a while. I don't know why I waited so long because I really love it. I reviewed the first one on Goodreads. I'm not killing myself to review these books because 1) They're an older series and have thousands of reviews already and 2) My reviews really aren't going to make much of a difference since she's a mega-huge super-selling author. I try a little harder with Indies and new writers to write reviews and get them out there because I think it has more impact. Not that I'm actually a book reviewer or anything; I just read a lot. I try to cross-post when I review what I read, but I get behind like everybody else. If you're a writer and you see that I've reviewed your book on Goodreads or this blog or anyplace else and I haven't gotten around to cross-posting it to Amazon yet, I seriously don't mind a little nudge to remind me.

Marketing: Umm... huh?
Ok, I'm seriously lacking in this department. I'm supposed to be doing some of this each day. I pretty much just assumed I knew what it mean; on a level, I'm sure I intuit the basics. But my vague understanding isn't working for me anymore. I want a solid plan grounded in concrete understanding. So I did what any good English major would do and broke out the dictionary:
Marketing: (noun) the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing and selling. (so says the Random House dictionary on my iPhone.)
Ok, to unpack that a little: the total of activities (that sounds pretty broad) involved in the transfer of goods (that would be my book?) from the producer (me, the writer) to the consumer (the reader), including (insert the rest.)
So whatever "total of activities" that gets my book to my readers = marketing. Got it.
To make things even more fun, I think that I, Vicki Keire the writer, am supposed to qualify as a good or commodity as well. So I must also engage in activities that will transfer myself, or at least the writerly version of me, to my readers? (I think this gets into branding. Which is more than I want to get into right now. Baby steps.)
So that's a bit more narrowly defined. It helps cleanse my brain of the mental picture of marketing meaning I have to spam everyone I know with emails and Tweets begging them to buy my book. Yuck. Next step: develop more concrete plan. That's the beauty of ROW80. "Work on marketing" is not a goal. "Identify three marketing strategies I can stomach by next week" is a goal. "Read Kristen Lamb's WANA by next week" is a goal. Etc. I think I'll start with that first one.

Various: I'll most likely be working with a charity called Toomer's for Tuscaloosa. It's a funny story, really, especially if you're a fan of SEC football, but for now I'll just throw up the link and save the story for another blog. It's worth its own post. I'm also becoming fascinated with productivity apps. Kait Nolan's doing her Efficiency Monday posts, which I find myself anticipating. I downloaded the organizer app Intuition that she mentioned. I can honestly say I've never used a prettier app. We'll see how it works out. I've also found two timer-related apps that work with my Mac. Both are great if you spend long periods in front of the computer. Focus Booster is a timer that goes off every 25 mins., giving you a 5 min. break. It's based on research showing that the human brain is most productive in 20 min. or so bursts. Every couple of hours the timer gives you a longer break- 15 or 20 min. I've been using this for non-creative work- email, research, etc. I find that I need longer for writing time. 25 min. is just not long enough. For that I have Time Out, an app that grays out my screen every hour for about 10 min. There's an icon of a little green man meditating- very peaceful looking. You have the option to postpone the break for 5 or 10 min., or skip it altogether until the next hour if you're really on fire. Time Out also grays out very briefly, for 15 seconds every 10 minutes, to remind you to stretch or rest your eyes or breathe. Again, you can skip this. So far these apps are helping make computer time less torturous physically, and may help with productivity. I'll see in a couple of weeks. Any writing/productivity/etc. app suggestions are quite welcome.

I hope everyone is on track with their goals and generally having a good week. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Excellent for embracing the GOAL! After I made my post I also found ToDo+ which I'm currently loving because it does the the one thing Intuition did not: When something is due it pops up a reminder that says WHAT is due rather than just "A task is due" or whatever generic message Intuition pops up. Functions pretty well the same as Intuition. Also incorporates grocery lists and the paid version allows you to sync with Google calendar if you're into that.

    I shall have to try out Time Out! I definitely need reminders to LOOK AWAY FROM THE SCREEN!

  2. Good work this week so far. Oh, those wiley chapters that will not cooperate!
    I'm with you on the yuck of marketing. I tried posting links to Glimpse on Twitter twice a day for a week and found that it annoyed me. I guess that's how it's done, but it feels weird to annoy people into buying your book. Ha! I'm not quite there either...

  3. Nice job showing that chapter who's boss!

    I need to work on the marketing end of things. I keep hoping someone will swoop in, fairy-godmother-style, and take over. Not happening. So, thank you for your "marketing goal" thoughts.

  4. I understand about chapter issues. I just discovered I had backed myself into a major timeline corner.(Highlighted in MY update.) Oops.
    As for marketing, I suck at it. Hardcore. Selling myself sucks and I just can't do it. But I admire those who can, for sure.
    Good luck with your goal, it's almost up to Nano difficulty!

  5. Glad to hear we all face the same struggles. I'm all about writing, but marketing?? There's a good reason I'm not in sales :) I'm still sticking with: The best promotion/marketing = write more books.

  6. There have to be slightly less painless ways to market. We shall see! But ultimately I agree, Claudia; write good books!

  7. Marketing is hard...I completely understand. I need to be better about marketing myself as a writer, because I am also a marketing manager by day! It is often the last thing I want to do when I want to come home and relax, but I am not going to fulfill those dreams of quitting a job marketing for others if I don't, you know? Often times that is what keeps me going.

    P.S. Neko Case, and a Mac girl? You might be my new Internet writer BFF. Keep up the good/hard work and enjoy the May flowers from your April showers!

  8. Thanks, Jess! If you're also a True Blood fan (the HBO series), Neko Case just recorded a duet with Nick Cave for the series- a cover of The Zombies' classic "She's Not There."
    As if I needed another reason to wish the series would hurry up and start! Maybe somebody will leak it.

  9. A win for Vicki, yay! Marketing is ugh for most of us creative types. Creating is so much more yay. Kristen Lamb's book is a great choice. Simple concepts and she's conversational. Like she's your bud.