Friday, August 31, 2012

Paris In The Fall (even though this was taken in the summer)

Current Project: Catching Meara
Status: Almost finish with rough draft. 


Paris -- ah -- I must be in need of a vacation!

School is starting for the second year without me. Woo hoo !!!!!!

The forest is closing for weekdays starting the day after Labor Day. (Enchanted Forest) 

My focus will be changing in the next couple of days. I told Genene "Things were going to be slowing down." She kind of laughed at me. I think the terminology was a bit off. The focus will be different but nothing will be slowing down. 

I want to write about characters or plotting or something, but I'm once again in dire need of a topic. So many blogs and not enough topics. I love the marketing blogs. 

Pinterest still befuddles me. (This is a picture I took several years ago) It is beyond me why people would post pictures they want to sell on a site that allows easy copying. There is no place to buy a picture and there are no watermarks. Sigh... I did love using the pinterest pictures. But alas, I have abandoned them.

However,  pinterest is another source to market your books. One can put excerpts, blurbs, loglines and covers on pinterest to promote your book. I'm not sure if Barb (or was it Deb?) covered this in her last blog. She did mention pinterest. I have put most of my covers up and I'm in the process of finding pictures of heroines and heroes that I can put on my boards. It's fun but time consuming. 

(I would be happy to post other authors covers on my boards) 

I've fallen down this last three weeks on a lot of my advertising and I have seen a decrease in sales. Don't know if that is because school is starting and people are returning from vacations or because I haven't been advertising. Food for thought...

I have however, come to the conclusion that constant advertising once place or another is essential.

More ideas, what works and what doesn't are all greatly appreciated. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

PROMO & PRIZES!

Current Project: Legacy Series
Status: Book #4 releases September 1!
Posted by: Genie Gabriel

Wow! One of those days when I have lots to talk about. At first, I thought this was all about me, me, me--and my books. However, there's a chance at goodies for everyone!

THE PROMO: A new release on September 1, book #4 of my Legacy Series, CHASING THE LEGACY. 
THE PRIZES: You can still get in on the drawing for a $15 gift certificate to Amazon.com through August 31. Just leave a comment on my blog. Then I'll be starting a new contest for September/October.

THE PROMO: The first book of my Legacy Series, PICTURE PERFECT LEGACY, will be featured exclusively on the Kindle Select program for the next 90 days…
THE PRIZES: ...with FREE downloads August 31, Sept. 1 & 2.

THE PROMO: I have a guest blogger, Lynda Aicher, on my Legacy Blog today (Thursday) talking about her Energen Series with dragons and shape-shifters. 
THE PRIZES: She'll also be giving away copies of her ebooks.

THE PROMO: I'm part of an online scavenger hunt starting September 1 that runs through October 31
THE PRIZES: Visit blogs of a bunch of different authors to find the answers to questions for a chance to win lots of gift cards, Kindles, and scads of ebooks.

THE PROMO: Coffee Time will be hosting a contest for me during September. 
THE PRIZES: I'll have more info on my Web site on September 1 listing the prizes.

Whew! Hopefully, a good deal for everyone!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome!  This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA chapter's weekly progress check-in.

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

(The best prize is achieving your writing goals, but as an extra incentive, we will award gift cards from Powell's bookstore to the chapter member and the non-member who check in for the most weeks in 2012.)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Writing Daze

Ever feel overwhelmed? I'm teetering on the verge. I'm sure it's a different feeling for everyone. For me, it's rather like being a salmon trying to swim upstream in a rapid river. I know I'll eventually reach my goal, but right now, at the half-way mark, the sensation is disconcertingly like I'm slipping backward.

I missed my blog post on Tuesday (bad blogger, no biscuit!), which is why you're seeing this post on Thursday. I...have no real excuse (the cats certainly didn't care enough to eat my post). I was where I've been all month — head down in revisions.

I've been so distracted, I didn't even notice my new email client hiccupped and shoved a lot of email it shouldn't have into my spam folder. Now, on top of all the other things I've put off while in my revision daze, I have to wade through emails and send out apologetic replies. I freely admit I'm a poor correspondent at the best of times—I'm not sure why, exactly, but I am. However, I'm not this bad. If you sent me an email in the last couple of weeks and thought I should have replied—this is probably what happened to it. Expect an email from me in the next day or two, after I revert to my old email client...

So, what about these revisions I mentioned? I'm doing a final revision of The Lazarus Gambit before sending it out. This is actually the second—and most extensive—revision I've done so far. I'm rewriting whole scenes, deleting others, and creating new scenes that should have existed in the first place. I can't stress how much I'm learning and how much better the book will be when I'm done.

The biggest lesson I've learned is that I need to give myself a reasonable amount of time to write, no matter which draft I'm working on. Rushing through a book just means having to do more extensive rewrites later. While I can write a fast first draft, I find now that I'd rather not. I'd much prefer doubling, or even tripling the time it would take for that fast draft to write a more solid first draft.

Paradoxically, taking more time up front will mean spending less time later. In retrospect, I should have known this about myself. It's the same principle I've used in software and website development and applying it to yet another creative venture—writing—should have been obvious.

Well, that's the state of me. Walking around with my head in a revision fog. Wondering how it suddenly became the last part of August and what happened to the rest of the month. How about you? Do you ever get so lost in your writing (or your revisions) that the rest of the world seems a little less real?

Deborah Wright
Twitter: @DeborahBWright
Facebook: Deborah.Wright.Author

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Marketing Workshops

Here are a few highlights from the next batch of RWA National workshops I attended.

(I've included the billspro.com workshop numbers where available--I definitely recommend listening to these when they're released on audio.)

17-039 Hook a Reader in 140 Characters: How to Promote Using Social Media - Andrea Laurence, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Rhonda Nelson, & Kira Sinclair

*Great workshop--the info came so quickly I had trouble writing it all down

*Social media allows you to make a personal connection with readers, to build your author brand, and build reader loyalty

*Freebies for loyal readers are always a good thing (sneak previews, extra deleted scenes, any tidbits that further involvement in the world you've created)

*Relate all your posts/your blog design/your comments to your author brand. This doesn't mean constantly selling your work, which is quickly annoying to readers. It means giving readers more of whatever your brand is about:

--quotes from your books
--extra character info
--a look into your writing process
--weather/locations/background
--books, movies, tv shows that inspire you or that relate to your stories in some way
--pictures get the most feedback (always remember the rights issue and post only legally obtained pics)

*Recycle/repurpose/link your posts/tweets/blogs. Make multiple use of your social media efforts.

*Maintain an up-to-date website (if you do nothing else, do this)

*Respond daily to comments; don't let your account stagnate

*Have a main platform--you can't do it all so pick one or two places to concentrate and link to those places from other sites (if you blog, tweet links to your blogs, instead of spending all day tweeting, too, for example)

*"Facebook is probably the biggest time suck ever created"--don't let social media take over your writing time. Plan your time and use it efficiently

*I have about two pages of notes just on Pinterest. You can use hashtags on Pinterest. If Pinterest is something you want to pursue, be clear on copyright issues (give credit to sources!) and don't just re-pin, add your own content. Making sure you have permission to pin is important--pinning products is usually safe because the companies want you to spread the word--so pinning images from Pottery Barn to show how much you love their sofa is not going to make them mad at you!

*Newsletters. Main Chimp, Constant Contact, and MyEmma are good newsletter management tools. Don't just use newletters to sell your book, again, use them like above--connect, build your brand/identity, give readers that extra something to keep them engaged.

There was a ton more info. Definitely get the workshop and listen if you're trying to maximize your social media efficiency.

17-050 Integrated Marketing Plans for Writers - Jennifer Fusco

*speaker was Jennifer Fusco, the author of "Market or Die" guides (http://www.marketordie.net/). Every word out of her mouth was a gem on marketing. She has worked in the field for years and really knows her stuff.

*Spend less time on executing and more time on strategy.

*Define your position in the marketplace (she spend quite a bit of time on this). What is your brand about? Create a positioning statement that defines you as an author. (Example: Convince ROMANCE READERS that LAURA MOORE in the CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE MARKET can deliver ROMANTIC SAGAS that INCORPORATE BUILDING FAMILY BONDS THAT LAST.) This part was the least interesting to me, I guess because I have a clear idea of my Pajaro Bay brand--what it means, what it stands for. But the idea is that you examine everything in light of this position: does this post, does this picture, does this web design convey the position, or is it diluting my message or even worse, sending a conflicting message? Be clear, be consistent, and know who you are in the marketplace.

*Competitive comparison: look at an author you admire. See what they are doing and how they're doing it. What technology do they use? How do they connect with readers? How are they defining themselves?

*Execution: build a list of goals; analyze not only what works, but what doesn't and why it didn't work. Continue to learn and improve.

This is already a long blog so I'll continue the reviews next time, when I'll cover Building Reader Loyalty and Deconstructing Book Videos. I hope people are getting some use out of these blogs--it's helping me to go back over my notes--I'm remembering so much info I want to start using!

In the meantime, I'll do my own little bit of marketing: if you'd like to subscribe to my author newsletter (which hasn't come out yet, 'cause I have no idea how to do it yet, but I plan to put out about once every couple of months starting this fall), email me at barb at BarbaraCoolLee.com.

Happy writing, everyone. :-)

Barb

Monday, August 20, 2012

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome!  This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA chapter's weekly progress check-in.

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

(The best prize is achieving your writing goals, but as an extra incentive, we will award gift cards from Powell's bookstore to the chapter member and the non-member who check in for the most weeks in 2012.)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Drama, Drama, drama

Current Project: Catching Meara
Status: Just starting the last chapter


dramatic-mouse-holding-up-a-sword-36537.html.jpg

hope this one turns up on the blog.


So, I'm really in need of a blog topic. I have no idea what to write here today. Barbra has her advertising blog, Genene took the heat blog, and I already used my Bauble Head Bag Ladies of Shaw Square blog. 

So what do I do now?

Well, I am confused at all of the drama women can create. I know there was drama when I worked in the school system. And yes, it was primarily started by women. It's as if we are afraid of our own shadows. Sigh...but I always err on the side of caution. Hence my photos on the blog will be free clip art or photos of my own.

I am looking for a new camera. I would love to have a professional one. 

Aside note. (at least I didn't forget my blog).

Advertising is all about getting your name out there. Recognition, recognitions, recognitions. 

I'm retired. Ha, ha, so how do I find enough hours in the day to chat at all of the chat sites, to twitter with everyone and to share on facebook every thing I do. 

How does someone who is not retired find time to do all this?

Then my next question, how do we find time to write?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

FEEL THE HEAT…

Current Project: Legacy Series
Status: Working on book #6
Posted by: Genie Gabriel





This may be a terrible confession for a romance writer…but I don't do well with heat. 

Please don't throw overripe tomatoes! I wanted an opening for this post that was a double entendre and it was hot today, so this one came to my overheated brain. :)

With weather temperatures that climbed over 100 degrees today and more of the same forecast for the next couple of days, my favorite task is not sitting at my computer, but watering my flowers. If the sprinklers happen to get me a bit wet, so much the better!  

However, I can use the time watering to brainstorm upcoming scenes for my latest project!

So, standing in the spray of the sprinkler, my story should be set in the fall or spring of the year, with the careers of the hero and heroine involving water, right?

Hmm…my current work in progress has a firefighter hero. Yeah, that involves water, but can you imagine being encased in a garment several layers thick and packing 40-50 pounds of gear in 100+ degree temperatures? Then you walk into fires where the temperatures are several hundred degrees.

OK, doesn't exactly fit with doing things to stay cool. Guess it's a good thing writers are creative and can write about things they don't personally experience. 

So I'm going to depart from a writing related question for all of you and ask what you do to stay cool. 

In addition to being good buddies with my sprinklers, during the hottest part of the day, I napped. This evening, I set a pan of ice in front of the fan so the air would be cooler. Other ideas?

Stay cool!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome!  This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA chapter's weekly progress check-in.

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

(The best prize is achieving your writing goals, but as an extra incentive, we will award gift cards from Powell's bookstore to the chapter member and the non-member who check in for the most weeks in 2012.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Quick Tips


I attended a lot of workshops at RWA National in Anaheim. It was a pretty overwhelming schedule, but I came back really fired up about my work and my plans for the rest of this year.  I'll try to pass on some quick tips I picked up in the various workshops during my next few blogs.

My first workshop was Jackie Allen, Terry Blain, Teresa Carpenter and Jill Limber's 3-D Story Development (not recorded):

*The conflict between hero and heroine is always about trust. No matter what the "conflict" is, the fear of commitment is about trusting each other--why specifically for these characters, in this story?

*They use 16 Master Archetypes to start the brainstorming process for their characters. (I think this is the book they're talking about.) It helps them clarify why these two people are at odds, based on their underlying motives and personalities.

(I left this workshop early because I was writing so many notes for my current WIP that I stopped listening to the workshop. It was very helpful for me. Unfortunately, it wasn't recorded, but I'll try to think of some of their other ideas that set me to brainstorming and share them next time.)

Next, I attended Sylvie Kurtz's Writing at Peak Productivity:

(I highly recommend this workshop, which was recorded, and should be available for download soon at the billspro.com website.)

*Productivity isn't time management, but energy management. This is a big one. We all have the same amount of time, but we need to have the energy to make the most of that time. That involves physical, mental and emotional health, as well as focus on our purpose and goals.

*Growth works from the bottom up, but change from the top down (you have to visualize where you want to go in order to get there).

*Reconnect with your passion and purpose. Why do you write?

*Script your personal purpose.  One sentence, saying why you do this. Mine is "I write to give people faith, hope and charity: faith in humanity, hope for the future, and charity toward others."  Everyone's will be different, but having your purpose written down makes clear where to focus your energy.

Next workshops was agent Ethan Ellenberg's New Paradigms in Publishing (not recorded):

Mr. Ellenberg's workshop was more of a question and answer with the (packed) audience. He answered a lot of questions authors had about rights management, reversion of rights, foreign rights and translations, etc. He's obviously an advocate of having an agent represent you (which differs from my opinion at the moment <g>), but he gave some advice that I think was applicable to everyone, no matter which choices we make.

*As everywhere at the conference, his focus was on change in the publishing industry.

*The question is, do you want to take on all roles? To be author, agent, publisher, publicist? If you don't want to do it all, which roles will you take on yourself, and which will you pay someone else to do?

*As always, it all comes down to the book itself, the author herself. We are the heart of the industry, and a great story remains the key to everything.

*Print distribution is still 80% of the market--how do you maximize both print and ebook markets? It's hard to tell if mass market paperback market is actually shrinking--some contraction, probably, but data is not clear yet.

*You can't just throw something out there into the sea of a million books; have a thought-out, planned, deliberate campaign.

*When thinking about reversion of rights, it's best to have a minimum sales level in the contract. What this means is if the book doesn't sell X number of books in a year/quarter, it is no longer "in print," and the rights revert to the author. Otherwise, a book can be listed in a print-on-demand catalog and technically be in print forever. This is generally how this issue is being handled now, but make sure understand this part of your contracts.


That was my last workshop for Thursday. I did some more writing on my WIP after my last workshop (that first workshop really got me going on my plot--yay!). The rest of the conference I concentrated on marketing and career tracks, and got a lot of good information from the 10 workshops I attended on Friday and Saturday. I'll cover all (or maybe half--it's a lot of info!) of Friday's workshops next time, on August 22.

Happy writing, everyone!

Barb

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Impressions from RWA2012

Before I begin, I want to congratulate all of the Winners of this year's Golden Heart®. Your speeches were funny and touching. All of the finalists are winners (we truly feel that way), but I know that those of us whose names weren't called were just as thrilled for those who were—as if we were at the podium accepting the award with you.

So, the conference. My experience at this National was skewed by the whole Golden Heart Finalist thing — not that I'm complaining! It was an incredible experience all around; however, I didn't get to very many of the workshops. Between GH events (official and not), not feeling well for most of one day, and preparing to pitch/pitching, the time seemed to fly past. But, hey, that's what the conference recordings are for, right?

First impression, then. National is always abuzz with energy and this year was no exception. I didn't think anything could top the conference in Manhattan, but I have to say there was as much, if not possibly a bit more, excitement in Anaheim. That's due in part, I think, to the opportunities many people are starting to see in the self/indie publishing arena.

Which brings me to my biggest observation. For the first time at RWA National, there were a plethora of workshops relating to self publishing. Just a couple of years ago the mere suggestion of the same would have been anathema. That's how rapid the change from self publishing being relegated to "vanity publishing" to it becoming a valid, and potentially lucrative, form of publishing for authors.

In addition to the excitement of possibilities that self publishing brings to the table, there was a general sense of relief among the unpublished writers I spoke to on the subject (and some of the published writers, too). Relief that there is now a viable publication path that bypasses traditional publishing. Relief that perhaps for the first time, one's writing career is firmly in one's own hands.

I know personally, this relief meant that my view of the pitching process took a 180 degree turn from last year. I was still a bit nervous — after all, I want to do my writing justice when I talk about it — but I was also much more appraising of the person sitting across from me than previously. Was this person someone I felt comfortable with? Comfortable enough to pursue further discussion, if it came to that? It's said that first impressions are key, and I found myself thinking seriously about that, not just from what sort of impression I made, but also my impression of them. It was...interesting, to say the least.

There were some amazing speeches. If you haven't read Stephanie Laurens' keynote address, do yourself a favor and read it now. Robyn Carr's speech at the Awards Luncheon was truly inspiring. Cherry Adair was, as always, fabulous! at the Golden Network Retreat. So many encouraging and inspiring voices, all, ultimately, with the same message: write what you love and never give up.

Have any questions about the conference? Post them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them! In the meantime, I'm going to take that excellent advice and get back to work on my current projects.

Deborah Wright
Website: www.Deborah-Wright.com
Twitter: @DeborahBWright
Facebook: Deborah.Wright.Author

Monday, August 06, 2012

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome!  This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA chapter's weekly progress check-in.

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

(The best prize is achieving your writing goals, but as an extra incentive, we will award gift cards from Powell's bookstore to the chapter member and the non-member who check in for the most weeks in 2012.)

Friday, August 03, 2012

Oooops Am I Bad?

Current Project: Catching Meara
Status: Working on Chapter 8 


Oh, my gosh, my apologies everyone. I totally spaced this even with the reminder. My excuses, I have none. I was watching the Olympics and Michele Phelps and the gymnasts and....


Well, don't have any idea what to talk about. I'm going to leave this one right here.




Thinking of England, the Olympics and the White Cliffs of Dover. I know, it has nothing to do with the blog or my WIP.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

CAN YOU TURN OFF YOUR WRITER'S MIND?

Current Project: The Legacy Series
Status: editing book #6
Posted by: Genie Gabriel



My weekends seem to be busy lately. Going to the Evergreen Aviation Museum a couple weeks ago. Participating in the NW Book Festival in Portland's Pioneer Square this past Saturday. And--fingers crossed--going to the Great Oregon Steam-Up in Brooks this weekend, hoping to find some idea gems to use in a steam-punkish novella I'll be writing later this year. 

Though I've promised myself a break from writing after my Legacy Series books are finished, my creative mind wants to use these places I've visited in stories. The Spruce Goose could be a marvelous, mysterious gateway to an alternate universe, don't you think? The weather clock in Pioneer Square could mist something besides water to affect the behaviors of the people passing by. And I'm definitely planning on events at the Steam-Up this weekend becoming part of a novella. 

It always surprises me when someone asks where I get my ideas for books, because sometimes I have to rein in my creativity so I don't offend strangers or the neighbors. 

For instance, one day I saw people in a parking lot moving something from the trunk of one car to another vehicle. Probably something as mundane as luggage filled with clothes. However, the first thought that popped into my mind was "what are they doing with that body?" Of course, they might have been smuggling weapons or diamonds. What better plan than to do this in the daylight when no one--except a writer--would suspect a thing?

No, I didn't call the police. I didn't take pictures or stop and ask them suspicious questions. I didn't want anyone to think I was crazy, and some people don't understand, "I'm a writer and this would make a great scene in my story."

What about you? Have you seen something suspicious, and found out later it was totally mundane? Or did you hold onto your "what if" story and include it in a book?