Mother's Day. My favorite commercially generated holiday. One of two holidays when I get breakfast in bed. Bagels and fresh blackberries. Yum. They really do taste sweeter when someone else serves them. And coffee, of course.
Writing update, for the week? Three days of editing and one day of writing. That's on goal and perfectly in line with my bigger picture: my current (late) release. (Arrgh. Ok, that's it. One daily arrgh. Moving on now.) One thing I'm noticing about the editing is that I'm a recursive editor. I tend to re-write as I edit. Since my writing process is fairly expressivist, this doesn't surprise me. As long as I stay within the chapter I'm editing and don't change things significantly, I don't really have a problem with it. What would be bad is if I stopped editing, say, Chapter Twenty because I had an idea about Chapter Five while I was doing it and picked up Chapter Five again. Nope. That, in my opinion, is not editing. I can make a note of this Chapter Five idea and proceed to dominate... er, edit, Chapter Twenty. I can decide what to do with the note when I go back through on the next pass. The other danger of being a recursive editor is spending too much time on a chapter. I have to limit the time I spend on any one chapter; one day for significant edits. After that, I'm only allowed to review it as a way to orient myself as I move forward into the next chapter. If I missed something, have a brilliant idea, or whatever, then it gets relegated to note status.
Blogging? Yes, I wrote a couple of those.
Reading/reviewing: Two Indie authors: Theresa Ragan's A Knight in Central Park, (.99) which was cute and fairly well done. If you're into steamy time travel romance, you will love this one. I enjoyed it but I will admit this is not my favorite genre, the single exception being Monique Martin's Out of Time, (.99) which I kind of consider the gold standard of Indie time travel romance. I hope to read more in this genre because there seem to be some exciting things happening with it. I also don't want to get too comfortable with YA paranormal, so I'm making an effort to branch out. Slowly. I'm planning on checking out some thrillers next.
Another Indie author I discovered and loved was Edie Ramer, specifically Dead People (Haunted Hearts) (.99). Again, this was an adult romance, but it was still in the paranormal genre, so perhaps that's part of why I liked it so much? At any rate, I really did like this one. It's worth checking out: funny, original plot and characters, sexy without being heavy-handed. I loved the fact that the heroine was so strong-willed and stubborn and yet managed to get herself into all kinds of embarrassing scrapes. I can't remember if I posted reviews, but I will cross-post these soon.
I also read Aprillyne Pike's entire Faerie series: Wings, Spells, and Illusions ($8.99-9.99). It was good and all. I think younger teens especially would like it. I was not too enchanted with all the plant stuff, or the fact that a lot of the plot seemed to hang on a love triangle. I think I'm just attracted to darker versions of Faerie, like Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series. My undying love for all things Marr is well documented. Just look up my Darkest Mercy review on Goodreads. I'm disgustingly proud of it; in a way, it got me writing again. My own Faerie series is pretty dark, too. Actually, the very end of Pike's Illusions was great. Things were getting darker, a really wicked villain had shown up, and I totally wondered how our heroes were going to faerie their way out of this one when it just ended. Aargh! And now we wait.
Marketing: Last post I began the slow and painful deconstruction of marketing as a concept that I could then translate into a workable goal. I assigned myself the goal of coming up with three things I could do to market my book that wouldn't make my tummy feel all squirmy. Here's the short form:
1. Media kit. Before you contact a bunch of book bloggers, it would help your cause a lot to have this handy little file ready to go. Also, you never know when someone's going to contact you out of the blue and ask if you want to do an interview, guest spotlight, or something like that. Usually this will happen when you have a deadline, sick child and/or pet, have just survived a natural disaster, and have an army of relatives coming to visit out of the blue in less than 48 hours. Your magic media kit will allow you to say "No problem, and thanks for thinking of me. I'll get that right to you," and mean it. You actually can get it to her/him/them in a matter of minutes because you are that damn cool. Go you! This helped me a ton when Michelle of Indie Paranormal Book Reviews contacted me about doing an author spotlight.
2. Role models (and not). Find out who's doing what and if something strikes you as squirm-worthy, don't do it, no matter how many people tell you it's gold or how many books it seems to be selling. For example, there are some websites and message boards I don't visit much because I just feel drained when I leave them. They fill me with this vague sense of panic, like being a writer is so tough we're all going to starve if we don't toughen up and eat each other first. Maybe that works for some people, but it literally gives me writer's block and hives simultaneously. Conversely, I like to point out writers like JL Bryan. He did this fabulous blog tour for his book The Haunted Ebook. He lined up guest posts for weeks with cleverly hilarious subjects like how to host a seance party and adopting a shelter ghost. It was a blast, and I met some great people who later joined ROW80 and have books coming out soon, including Claudia LaFeve, one of our current sponsors. If and when I do a blog tour, I hope it's half as great as JL Bryan's. There are lots of writers who are interacting with their readers in innovative ways. I can learn a lot just from keeping my eyes open.
3. Cross-promotion: Obviously, authors can do a lot to cross-promote each other. But we want to be looking for ways to expand our market base, otherwise we wind up promoting to the same people in different ways. This can be tricky, but it's not impossible. Opportunities are happening all around us. For instance: a blog tour I read about for Memorial Day. It's designed to get free ebooks into the hands of our soldiers. There's another market: the military. Comfortable with technology and eager for entertainment, sometimes with long stretches of time to fill away from home, and ebooks don't take up precious space either. Friends who've served have described it this way: "When you're not actually on duty, you're away from family, friends, all the things you do for fun. Movies, music, books- they become really welcome distractions." Am I saying some members of our military haven't been reading ebooks all along? No, absolutely not. I'm not Prometheus bringing fire here. I'm simply wondering out loud if the military has ever been marketed to as a distinct group. If not, then there's that market base expansion. That's just one idea.
As far as ROW80 goes, my goal was nothing more than to identify three strategies that didn't make me feel like a sharky salesperson. I didn't specify that I had to do anything beyond that. I LOVE how this goal setting works! But next week will roll along, and with it, another check-in, so here's another marketing goal: choose one of the above goals and develop it into a detailed, actionable plan. Notice I don't have to implement the plan yet. I just have to come up with it. (Baby steps.) Tune in next week for further adventures in marketing. Will it be the military? Crazy musicians? An "I've been wowed by marketing" expose? A media kit gleaming with glitter and unicorns?
Hah. Yeah, right. I'll be happy to hit word count. That's really the ultimate marketing tool: good books. Until then, everyone have a great week.