Friday, April 29, 2011

Feeling a bit like Genene

Current Project: April Fools Anthology
Status:Hoping for the summer
Who the heck am I?

This is a very good exercise in thought. Whether or not it results in increased sales remains to be seen. But everything and anything positive towards marketing yourself as an author, has got to be a good thing. I love the thought of my being a "highland lass".

So what would I look like?

I definitely have the right colors. Anyone who has been to the highlands would know that deep blues and greens are the colors there. But the highlands are not my only calling. I think the five westerns fit me to a tee. I feel a kinship with this time period as well as the Scottish past. Why is that? I don't know.

I started a regency series. The connection to this period is not as strong. I have always loved reading books in this time period. I love the gaming hells and the parties. But I know that the men treated the women poorly. It always takes a great alpha hero to make a book in this time period work.

So much food for thought. I love the way this blog is going.

My youngest daughter is home from New York City for ten days, so I am cutting this short.

How do you represent yourself?

What is your color?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

BUT WHO WILL I BE?

Current Project: Nine-book LEGACY series
Status: edits on Book #1


I was so inspired by Paty's post yesterday that I drafted a slide show for the first book of my upcoming series. Way ahead of the curve on this, as the first book won't be released until March 2012 and I don't plan to launch promotion until the holidays are out of the way at the end of this year.

However, I'm excited about this series and the potential for promotion. And there are enough books to build momentum and gather new readers with each release.

This will be another aspect that's new for me: promotion for each book will build on the one before. And characters introduced in the first books will continue to grow and change in later books, though the focus won't necessarily be on them.

The idea of an "author persona" is another area Paty mentioned that I feel I need to address. Sarah and Barb also talked a bit about this topic last week when they discussed finding a niche for your books.

This is a tough area for me. I don't generally like photos of myself, so how am I supposed to become a tough cookie like J.D. Robb or a softer version Nora Roberts?

The blog site I share with three other authors uses an avatar for me which is younger and more slender, so that's great fun. However, I want to use that graphic image exclusively for novellas done with others in our group of Rogue's Angels.

So I'm back to the task of finding an author persona that's natural/ comfortable enough for me to maintain in public, but interesting enough--or unusual enough--to support sales of my books. (No, I don't plan to become a Sunday School teacher who writes erotica. :)

Have any of you come up with an author persona you're comfortable with? Does it match the niche your books fill? Paty has the Western theme for her books and lives that life, so what a natural fit!

And does it matter? As a reader, does an author's persona affect whether you buy their books or not? If I meet an author and they are a nice person with books that sound interesting, I will buy their books. Not sure their "persona" comes into play or not. Perhaps subconsciously. Although I know the reverse is definitely true. If I meet an author who is rude or obnoxious, I will NOT buy their books. (Fortunately, I haven't run into many of those.)

Until I find my elusive author persona, I'll continue to write the best books I can dressed in paint-spattered shirts or pants with dog hair on them. And occasionally I'll dress up and venture out in public to try out a new persona. Sooner or later, I'll find one that fits perfectly!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Social Networking

Current Project:Spirit of the Sky
Status: Researching more this weekend

I attended a workshop titled Author Marketing 101 by C.Morgan Kennedy & Therese Patrick. These ladies both have jobs in marketing and they had some great information.

I liked how they straightened things out for me. One being that marketing isn't expensive because it's a plan and not a product. It's planning how you're getting the word out about your product(books) then using free and low cost means to do it.

They also explained you don't need a "platform" you need a marketing plan. There is a difference.

Using social media is only effective if your potential readers are in your networks.

The differences between media and marketing are: Media is the tool you use to get the word out about your product and marketing is the content. The words, colors, graphics on your banner, website, blog that makes the customer interested in your product.

And you know that old verbiage "Branding"? They call it The Author Persona- which is you only enhanced to reflect the type of book you write. They held up two of Nora Roberts books one was a romance and the other from her J.D. Robb series. Look at the picture of her on the backs of the books. A softer, friendlier looking Nora is on the romance and a tough, scowling Nora on the back of the J.D. Robb book. These are her two "author personas". We were told to have a photo taken that reflects the tone/image of your books and use that as your author photo on all your social media.

They had exercises to help us find and create our author persona. (Here are two of them)

For your persona write a brief description of the type of stories that you write:
Tone of your stories
The look of your world
The feelings you want to convey

What images an colors come to mind?
List 3-5 images and colors that you would use on a banner, website, or blog to project your persons.

Then they said to have separate facebook accounts. One that is the author persona for your readers and a different one for your family and friends. I had a little bit of trouble with this. Only because my family and friends are readers and I like to keep them updated without having to post twice. I think I'll keep my fb the way it is and just make sure my posts aren't personal. I guess??

And they reiterated what I heard at the Emerald City conference make a book signing an event. Use a banner to show who you are and have it follow all the colors and logos that you use on your blog and website.

I learned a whole lot more. C. Morgan and Therese are putting together a book and they will have a website up and running soon with all this information and more.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In




This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.


Today is Monday, April 25, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 250 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 62500 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 125000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 187500 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 250000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 312500 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Identifying Niche Audiences for Your Stories

Current Project: Group blog Romancing the Genres
Status: Launches May 1st
I apologize for being late in posting today. I like to do this early in the day, but life got in the way this time. *SIGH*

Barbara’s post yesterday got me thinking about finding niche audiences. In her how-to book, Get Known Before the Book Deal, author Christina Katz advises writers to get involved with some niche audiences before you sell in order to build a platform of contacts who will be interested in your books when you do sell. Since I haven’t sold yet, I’ve taken this advice to heart.

But what’s an aspiring author to do? I’ve wrestled with this for months. I blend genres and genre hop. Maybe I’ll eventually settle into one genre, or maybe I never will. Who knows? So who are my potential niche audiences?

Keeping in mind that genre is only one aspect of a writer’s brand, I’ve tried to pinpoint the features of my stories and my voice that run through all my books. This process didn't happen over night.

Some were obvious: Dogs are characters in all my books, not walk-on characters or ‘furniture’, but true secondary characters who fulfill vital functions in the story and whose actions affect the plot. Chances are dog lovers will like my books.

My books are funny and scary. One writing instructor told me I write dark comedies. Humor is part of my brand. People who like funny books will probably like mine. People who enjoy action-adventure stories or comedy/horror stories will probably like mine.

Some are not as obvious: Many themes that run through my stories have a special appeal to young adults: belonging, secrets, self-acceptance, and empowerment. Young adults will probably like my stories.

Now I have identified several niche markets. Time to get to work!

Can you identify a niche audience for your stories?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quote of the Day



Today's quotation is by publicist Rebecca Crowley quoted in the March 2011 Romance Writers Report article, "DIY Marketing" by Maria Connor:

"You can sell a lot of books with a small market if you have reader loyalty."

I find this quote intriguing because I think all fiction writers are essentially writing for niche markets.  Not all books appeal to all readers; that's the nature of the beast.  So finding the readers who like the particular kind of stories you write is half the battle in the promotion war.  I think that not only means marketing my fantasy novel to fantasy novel readers, and my suspense to suspense readers, but something more than that.

I'm reminded of our guest speaker from last month, Kristina McMorris, who has been very creative about finding readers who will enjoy the particular book she's written.  Her novel Letters From Home uses letters to tell a story set during WWII, so she looked for groups that are interested in that time period, and also groups interested in the art of letter writing, and approached both with tie-in ideas and promotional materials.


Debbie Macomber with her romances in a knitting shop setting being tied in with knitting pattern books is another type of niche marketing that comes to mind.

Our chapter's own Paty Jager has also done this, being profiled in a country lifestyle magazine where she talked about her Western novels.

This is an interesting way of looking at marketing.  So much of what I see romance writers doing is marketing focused on other romance writers--advertising in publications read by writers, appearing on blogs that are read by writers.  It's not that this is a bad idea--it's probably the best place to start, since romance writers are also romance readers.  It's just that it can become a closed circle of all of us just talking to each other.  I think it's useful to think of ways of reaching outside that circle to approach potential readers who might enjoy either the subject or the style of our stories.

If you're published, have you made an effort to reach out to groups in non-traditional areas?  A historical society for your historical novel, or a group of sports fans for your romance with an athlete hero, or a knitting group for your cozy little hearth and home story?  It's a different way to approach promotion, and I'm curious to know if it's something others have tried.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In




This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.


Today is Monday, April 18, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 257 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 64250 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 128500 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 192750 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 257000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 321250 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Promotion: How much is too much?

Current Project:April Fools Anthology
Status: Treading Water or Deadman's Float?

Promo, promo, promo—how do we accomplish this without overstepping friendships and our followers? I know first hand publishers cannot spend as much time promoting your book as you can. There are many review sights that will interview you with little to no cost and many blogs who will do the same. Some will tell you the virtual blog tour is a good way to get the author's name to more people.

I don't believe you have to twitter constantly and run contests. I have found some of this to be counterproductive to selling books. Many who enter contests want a paperback and not a download. Paperbacks are costly and the postage can be outrageous. Until more people have kindles and other e-readers, contests will be sparsely entered.

Rogue's Angles have had great success with raffles to put the winner's name in an anthology. I think this could be used more often. I find this intriguing. We sold many books and the promise of more to the winner of A St. Patrick's Day Tale raffle. Relatives came to the signing and bought books. I don't know if this will spark more sales of other books but one can always hope.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on where you are in your writing career, you will have a different take on the constant desire/need to promote books. I love to support the local authors. I buy their books and am now trying to promote them on Goodreads. I encourage everyone to support their local authors as well as their favorite authors.

Who are your favorite authors and how do you support them?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

PROMOTION x 9

Current Project: Nine-book LEGACY series
Status: Almost halfway there!


Paty's promotion efforts always amaze me--and make me tired just thinking about them. Guess that means I need to take a different approach to planning promotion. :)


I'm at that planning stage now.


My nine-book series is scheduled to start releasing in March 2012 from Rogue Phoenix Press, with a new book in the series every two months after that.


My main objective will be to reach new audiences. How? you ask. That's the question I'm exploring--and not coming up with any solid answers!


A couple things I do have planned is a revamp of my Web site and graphics to go with my novels: still shots, fade-in and fade-out teasers, maps, facts on the characters, perhaps some videos--all tied with the story.


Will I go so far as to make these graphic novels? I'm not sure yet. However, I think graphic novels (books with pictures, video, sound and more) will become more and more common.


However, that still leaves the question of how to reach a broader audience. I like forming alliances with other authors to promote each others' books. (Kind of like the new Romancing the Genre blog that Sarah and Paty will be part of starting in May.)


I also plan to beef up my author's page on Amazon and take advantage of other promotional opportunities offered by online book sellers. And I'll post videos on YouTube.


I will also search for groups that might be interested in the topics of my books: an overarching theme of blending birth and adoptive families plus the hobbies and careers of each of the characters in the books.


This will be different than anything I've done before, because it will be an unfolding promotion through July 2013, when the ninth book of the series is scheduled for release. I may check myself into an asylum after that. :)


Like Paty, I'm interested in what intrigues you enough to buy a book. Because you know the author? Or have read and enjoyed her books in the past? What interests you enough to try a new author? The cover, the back cover blurb, an excerpt, a review, the recommendation of a friend?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gearing up for a Release

Current Project: Spirit of the Sky
Status: Downhill slide to the end

Next month my second book of the Spirit trilogy, Spirit of the Lake, will be released. I've started this month getting ready for the release and pushing the first book again since it is a trilogy.

I'm scheduling a blog tour for the week of and after the release. I'm contacting blogs I've been on before and had a good turnout and new blogs that might have people who would be interested in this type of book.

Once I get a blog a day for those two weeks, I'll mark the ones that will send me interview questions and determine how many other posts I need to write. I like to make each post different but only use two or three different excerpts. If I used a different excerpt for each blog I'd be giving away the whole book. But at the same time, because I make it a contest and give away a book to the person who follows and comments on the most blogs, I don't want them to become bored by reading the same thing over and over again.

I'll also send out pdf's of my book to the review sites my publisher doesn't. I like to use portions of reviews for my promotion. I think it says more to a reader when another reader gives a good comment about a book.

That's how I gear up for a release: By writing two weeks worth of blogs and sending it out to review sites.

What type of promotion gets you interested in a book?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Importance of Critique Groups

Last Read: Devon Monk's Magic on the Hunt Current Read: JD Robb's Indulgence in Death Planned Next Read: JD Robb's Treachery in Death At the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA meeting last Thursday evening, we had a critique group/brainstorming session. What a well of inspiration and energy! Some members brought pages of their latest work in progress to share, while others sought input on plot development. I asked for help from the group with defining a character's goal/motivation/conflict issues. In my mind, I have this really cool bad-guy character. But even though I know him in the present, I have had a difficult time parting the moth eaten curtains on his past so I can more clearly see where his future lies. It was so beneficial to 'air' this character, force myself to talk him out, out loud. As we spoke (they asked character-searching questions while I struggled to verbalize what I saw), I could see my character taking form. Suddenly, he wasn't quite so two-dimensional to me. And going through this process reminded me of a few simple things I could have already done (such as interviewing the character - well, duh!) that would have more clearly answered many of the questions surrounding this mysterious guy. I would like to thank the lovely ladies at last Thursday's meeting. Talking about this character really helped bring him into perspective for me. I feel reenergized and motivated to write - my fingers are begging to hit the keys. It was a privilege to be able to help you out with your own creative processes. Do you have a critique group or partner that you regularly seek out? If so, what type of relationship is it? Do you only share drafts, or do you help each other with brainstorming plot and character development? How often do you get together?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In




This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.


Today is Monday, April 11, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 264 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 66000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 132000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 198000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 264000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 330000 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Our Next Online Workshop: DEEP STORY: WHAT DOES NORA ROBERTS KNOW THAT YOU DON'T?



The Mid-Willamette Valley chapter of the Romance Writers of America will be offering several fabulous online workshops this year. 



We have an intriguing new workshop scheduled for May:

Deep Story: What Does Nora Roberts Know That You Don't?
May 2-27, 2011 (4 weeks - $25 non-MWV-RWA Members)
Instructor: Carol Hughes

What do Nora Roberts, Stephen King, George Lucas (STAR WARS), Stephen Spielberg (E.T.), Terry Russo (SHREK/PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN), and James Cameron (TITANIC/AVATAR) know about writing that makes them the mega stars that they are? How are they able to turn out the constant string of stories that they do while you are barely able to struggle to the final page of your current WIP? Why did TITANIC and AVATAR each gross over $1 BILLION in ticket sales in only a matter of weeks? Are you interested in learning the secret techniques that each of these mega stars has in common? It's not as hard as you think - not if you know the simple-to-master writing secrets that they know and haven't shared with you.

Seasoned pro or beginning writer, pansters or plotter - it doesn't make any difference. You already know that writing takes a lot of hard work, perseverance, talent and a hearty dose of luck. Without the necessary writing tools to craft your wonderful story ideas into a finished work that people want to buy, all the hard work, talent, luck and perseverance in the world is useless without a solid, well-crafted story full of multi-dimensional characters to make your story come alive for every reader - or movie-goer. Do you know what the 18 scenes are that every story contains, no matter its length or genre? Do you know what impact your character's mental gender has upon readers? Do you even know what your character's mental gender is? Do you know how your character's arc drives your story? Or how your story drives your character's arc? Do you know the quick and easy way to create heart stopping dilemmas for your characters that drive your readers wild? Do you know what the 4 throughlines of every story are? Do you know how to weave them together?

Every successful story contains characters that come alive for the reader. Every successful story is build on a solid, easy-to master, story structure that works every single time. Every successful story lives on in the hearts and minds of readers because their authors have mastered the simple secrets needed to turn them into writing super stars. And you can, too. Join us and give Nora Roberts something to worry about.

Instructor Bio: 
From Oscar's Annual Bash to Cannes' glitzy Red Carpet. From fabled palaces to rat-infested tunnels. From the floor of the Coral Sea to the vacuum of space. From the rain slicked streets of midnight Paris to the bombed out streets of Beirut at high noon. Writer Carol Hughes has lived and written about sights, adventures and characters that have dazzled audiences, and raised more than a few eyebrows, around the world. Dashing Alpha males, deadly killers, fictional red-haired mermaids, and celluloid heroes - she's known them all. She's navigated the killer-infested back alleys of Europe's grandest cities and the shark-infested corridors of Hollywood's studios - and picked up enough secrets and tips to make living - and writing - an adventure in itself.



Our own members get to take these workshops for FREE (if you've been waffling about joining the chapter, this is a great incentive!).

Space is filling quickly.  Don't miss out on this great workshop.  Nonmembers can sign up at our web site: http://www.midwillamettevalleyrwa.com/online.classes.htm

Thursday, April 07, 2011

On Blogs, Facebook, and Zombies

Current Project: Romancing the Genres
Status: 23 Days to Blog Launch

Like many other pre-published writers, I didn’t want to believe the published author who first told me that I needed a Website, a blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter account before I sold my first book. But she’s a really savvy author with years in publishing under her belt and a strong career. I respect her opinions.

So, despite the fact that I wanted nothing more than to finish my damned book, I forced myself to accept the unwanted truth. Whether I liked it or not, agents and editors would google me when I queried or pitched. They’d expect to find an established blog demonstrating my ability to write to a schedule, as well as my ability to entertain with my writing and create buzz. They’d look for a Facebook page and/or Twitter account to evaluate my social interactions (i.e., manners, professionalism, friendliness, charm, appropriateness) to evaluate our possible compatibility level.

Another light bulb went off: I needed to check them out through blogs and social media as well!

I bought (and read) Facebook for Dummies and The Twitter Book. I even understood some of it, but I was still very intimidated. Social networking sites seemed so complicated that I felt overwhelmed. So I decided to check out blogging. I read lots of blogs and articles about blogging. This, too, seemed overwhelming.

Then a writer friend, Sammarie Ashe, graciously offered to help another social-media-phobic writer friend, Judith Ashley, and me set up Blogger and Facebook pages. She went on to do so with infinite patience and good humor, I might add. She gave us confidence.

Judith and I began to blog and friend people on Facebook regularly. For a few weeks, I did pretty well with Facebook. Then life got in the way. I faded out. Resurrected myself. Faded out again. I call myself a Facebook Zombie. J

I kept up my blog for a few months, posting three times a week, but the time demands overwhelmed me. I had no idea how to promote my blog aside from sending posts to Facebook (and you already know how that was going.) So I closed the blog down. When an opportunity to blog twice monthly here at MWVRWA this year came my way, I decided to try again.

That was a smart move. I have wonderful co-bloggers for support and examples. I’m writing to deadlines. I’ve gained the confidence that only time and overcoming obstacles can instill. And blogging here inspired me to plan a new group blog with Judith that launches May 1st – Romancing the Genres.

Guest bloggers, including reviewers and quirky/informative writing-related bloggers, will post on weekends and ‘extra’ days of the month.

We recruited over twenty amazing romance writers from ten states who write in many different subgenres and categories, across genres and in between genres to join RTG. Half are published, many are award-winning authors, some have long careers and some are debut authors.

One is our own Paty Jager!

Among our wonderful unpubbed bloggers are contest finalists, including Golden Heart and Daphne Finalists. Some are long-time bloggers, some are beginners. They all have one thing in common: a love of romance writing and a commitment to blogging monthly about romance writing from their unique perspectives.

And best of all, each of our bloggers has the help and support and networking capabilities of all of us!

Not bad for a Facebook Zombie, eh?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Quote of the Day












The quote of the day is by Sir Winston Churchill, via my darling little Persian who was so weak when she came home from the shelter in October she needed to be be fed from a medicine dropper just to keep her alive:



No matter how bad things look, there's always hope.  As long as you are breathing, you can make something positive happen in your life.  No matter how many rejections, how many mistakes, how many bad turns of luck you have in your life, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP:


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Social Media Bewilderment

I don't know about you, but I find social media tricky. I've got accounts on facebook, twitter, myspace--heck, even on linkedin (for the "day job" connections)--and I've got a personal blog. But I haven't come to grips with what (or how much) I'm comfortable saying and that means I tend to post very little.


 It isn't like I'm flummoxed by the tools. I worked in high tech for major players for nearly 25 years in the technical side of the house (as opposed to the marketing/sales/management side). If it was only dealing with the technical bits, I'd be just fine. If only...

What I can't seem to get past is the idea in my head that unless I have something really witty or clever or important to say, I shouldn't post anything. I mean, why would anyone want to read what I've posted? I know, I know, that's not how it works. You start posting small observations and gradually build a network of people who follow you and who you follow. I've tried at various times to get into facebook. I'll start posting and commenting and then something happens in real life that distracts me. Then I'll go a long time without posting (or reading) and when I come back I have to fight that block all over again.

You know what's really weird? I don't apply the same standard to what other people post. I mean, I read posts about people's cats and dogs and what they had for breakfast (yeah, I'm exaggerating just a little) and I don't think, hey, why'd they post that? So why is it so hard for me?

I think in part it may be because as writers we're told to regard social media as a marketing tool. But it's really counterintuitive--in order to use social media effectively as a marketing tool, you have to not use it as a marketing tool. Confused? I hear you. Really though, all that means is that you don't continually just post marketing-type blurbs about your books, instead you use social media as it was intended to be used--to make connections as a human being with other human beings.

I mean, let's face it, how many of you have done this: you start following a favorite author on twitter only to realize that every single tweet from this person is yet another rif on "buy my book, it's out next thursday!" Eventually you wonder if they ever say anything else and stop following them (and maybe you don't even buy their next book). Come on, show of hands. Yeah, me too.

It's striking that balance between being a very private person and knowing I need to reveal something of myself in my posts that I find difficult. In a sense, it's similar to what I struggle with in my writing. Hmmm...I hadn't really made that connection before this. I'll have to think about that some more--right after I tweet about it, of course!

How about you? Do you struggle with social media, too, or do you find it easy to use?

Monday, April 04, 2011

Weekly Progress Check-In




This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA's weekly check-in.  Every Monday we encourage members and visitors to let us know how their writing is going.


Today is Monday, April 4, 2011.

Are you on track to reach your goals?

There are 271 days left in 2011.

Weekly Calculations:
If you write 1 page per day, you can write 67750 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 2 pages per day, you can write 135500 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 3 pages per day, you can write 203250 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 4 pages per day, you can write 271000 more words by the end of the year.
If you write 5 pages per day, you can write 338750 more words by the end of the year.

So how are you doing?  If you have gotten off track, this is the week you can regain your momentum.  Tell us how you're doing, and set a fresh goal for the upcoming week.  A page a day is a book in a year.  You can do it!

PRIZES:  The best prize is reaching your personal goal and finishing your book.  But if you need an extra little incentive, remember:  any chapter member who reaches her personal goal by the end of the year receives a prize at the year-end party.  Non-members can win, too.  Non-members who show up for at least 20 weekly check-ins will have their names entered in a drawing for a gift card from Powells, the world's largest independent bookstore.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Settings

Current Project: April Fool's Anthology
Status: Still in my head and waiting for the big R (retirement)

There is so much to learn. I loved Genene's blog and how someone actually has her beat as far as planning and plotting. Well, everyone has me beat. However, I hold a lot in my head. Even if an author does not write it down, or sketch it out, or plot doesn't mean the plot isn't there.

As for settings, I find when I write about an area I am familiar with, my descriptions are so much better. My first time travel book was set in southern Oregon. I grew up in that area and I know the flora, fauna as well as the geography. I know the mountains and the hills and where the kids went to hang out and do other non-mentionable things.

This time travel was also my first book that really caught an editors attentions. I sent it to Kate Duffy at Zebra and she loved it. Unfortunately, they weren't buying time travel. She told me to send her my next book. I did and she gave me a contract for two books.

Knowing your setting is so important to the development of your books. I heartily applaud those who can write it all down before they begin a project. I probably get about a quarter of the material written down then proceed.

So the question goes out there. How much or what do you plan where setting is concerned before you start a project?