Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Monday, November 29, 2010

As I See It: The Benefits of NaNoWriMo

I didn't participate this year but I'm cheering all of you who did. And I'm just a teensy bit jealous. Well, okay, I'm a lot jealous. For personal reasons, it wasn't a good time for me. I've seen different viewpoints on how beneficial it is to furiously spew out 50K words in 30 days. I used to wonder myself until I did it. Okay, to be truthful, I've never done it. I only came close a couple times.

But just the same, here's why I think NaNoWriMo is a good idea for writers:

* It's like running up a hill with weighted shoes every day for a month. When you take the weights off, the route seems a lot easier.

* In order to meet the goal, it's essential to ignore the self-editor that makes you keep stopping to fix your work. Or the self-editor that makes you stop working altogether.

* The feeling of accomplishment is incredible. Who cares if it's crap? Who even cares if you are 10K words short? That's what revisions are for.

* The realization that if one can complete a novel in 30 days, then why not one a year?

* You wrote a novel. You are now a writer. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

* All your writing friends are doing it, so might as well join the party instead of sitting on the sidelines feeling left out and jealous of their accomplishments. *laughs nervously* *who me?*

So I applaud all of you who entered and completed NaNoWriMo. Cheers!!! You are much better writers for having done it. At least that's how I see it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

If you're a Writer or a Reader then I Want to Follow Your Blog!

It's official people, I just realized it. I don't follow enough blogs. It's the holiday season, stress is rampant and guess what I do when stressed?  I read and comment on blogs! I just went through my Dashboard today and yesterday and have run out of blogs to read and comment on. That just won't do. Yes, it would be nice if I cleaned out closets or mopped the floors or went to the gym when stressed out, but that's just not me.  My stress relief is reading and commenting on blog posts.

So help me out writers! If you are somewhere along the writing journey, and I don't follow you, or show up on your blog, then please leave a comment so I can find your blog, visit and follow. Because I've set a goal to find 50 new blogs to follow before Christmas. I'm getting desperate. The stress is building, and while many of you are cutting back on your posting, I'm needing more and more. And not getting it!

So if you want a new follower, leave a comment and I'll be there. Although here's the thing-- I'm not doing blogfests so if your title says blogfest and I haven't showed up, that's why. I can't take the added pressure of a blogfest right now, maybe later. Freewheelin' no pressure blog following, that's what I'm after. And if you already follow my blog & I don't follow back, please leave a comment to that effect, and I'll be sure to do so.

Monday, November 22, 2010

As I See It: The Future of Publishing and Selling Books

An indie bookseller in our area, Dragons & Fairy Tales, is celebrating its first anniversary with a hoopla of events and booksignings. Two WiDo authors are scheduled for signings. Then, this amazingly awesome local bookstore is having a going-out-of-business sale after Thanksgiving, after they celebrate their one year anniversary. The owners, a young couple with a dream and a love of good books, will be okay, but the community will be losing an asset.  

It's hardly surprising that local, independent bookstores are struggling when big chain stores are closing everywhere, too. When I went on my Farm Girl tour three years ago, one of the booksellers told me that Amazon had hurt his business so badly that he wasn't sure he would ever recover. This was before the Kindle. The combination of Amazon and other online vendors, plus now the fast-growing popularity of ebooks, makes it hard to believe that the brick and mortar bookstores will ever thrive again.

All this makes an interesting predicament for writers and publishers-- if bookstores are closing their doors, how do we sell our books? 

I believe there's still a need for publishers. Writers need editors and a support group to assist in getting their work polished and out to the market. (Yes, you can go it alone, but it's tough and you have to pay for everything yourself along the way, including editing.) That market used to be bookstores. What is it now? There's your million dollar question. I think those publishers still hanging onto the fantasy of making it with bookstore sales will be hurting very soon, if not already.

WiDo Publishing has been encouraging their authors to have a stronger social media presence. Some of them are doing very well with that, others are resisting it. Sales reflect it, too.

Authors must be online promoting their books through social media. Those who don't, or who come across as unpleasant, distant, arrogant (no one in this audience of course) will have poor sales. Those who do it right can become bestselling authors-- without the bookstores, without the NY Bestseller List, or Publishers Weekly, or Oprah. (That's my opinion, not that I've done it. Yet. LOL. I'm still holding out for Oprah to call and make Farm Girl a household word.) 

As I see it, the future of publishing is excellent, as long as publishers and writers are realistic about what's happening and how and where their titles will sell. ONLINE. With the authors doing the bulk of the promotion. And the future of selling books is EBOOKS and ONLINE SALES of print books, fueled by the SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE and LIKABILITY of the authors. (sorry to yell but I feel really strongly about this) You've got to be online, people, and you have to be engaged with the community, and likable. Nice. Genuine.

So that's how I see it. I could be wrong. But ask my husband, he will tell you that I am rarely ever *if ever in fact one could say never* wrong about anything.

And while we're on the subject of social media, networking and selling books, I want to let you all know that the website for authors is still in progress. I had hoped the site would be up and running by now, but since I'm the social media person not the developer and programmer LOL my overzealous impatience isn't counting for much.  However, it's making excellent progress and the week after Thanksgiving I'll post a complete update. So stay tuned and thank you for your patience! Happy Thanksgiving everyone :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Learn to Market from the Indies

One of the self-published authors I follow and watch is Stephen Tremp. (And don't you like the word "indie" so much better than "self-published"?) Still, when I first started following his blog, before the "indie" phrase started taking hold, Steve proudly proclaimed himself a self-published author. His book, Breakthrough, was printed by iUniverse, but the marketing and  promotion lay squarely with him.

And now with changes in the market, even traditional publishers are putting more and more of the marketing and promotion on the author's shoulders. If you're with a small press, you can count on it--you're the one. If you want to see some real marketing expertise, watch writers like Stephen Tremp.

Here's some things I've learned about Stephen from following his blog the past six months.

He's a truly nice guy. Never mind that sci fi is not my genre, either to write or to read. I will buy his book because he's a nice guy, and I want to give him a chance. I have a daughter and several sons who love sci fi, so that makes it an ideal choice for Christmas. And the cover is awesome.

His blog, while designed to promote Breakthrough, is not just about him and his book. He posts about a variety of subjects, visits and follows other blogs, comments regularly. He's part of the community, not just posting about himself and his writing.

He does all kinds of things to market and works tirelessly on promotion. I have learned from him. I borrowed his sidebar buttons for ordering my novel as an ebook after noticing them on his sidebar. This is the second release of Breakthrough, newly edited, and now available as an ebook. Buy it here on Kindle.

He goes where the readers and book buyers are. He's done signings in bookstores, talks and presentations, and now he is doing more online while getting Breakthrough out there as an ebook. He has links on his sidebar for all the e publishing formats, and also shopping carts for purchasing print versions. Really, go visit his blog and just see everything he does, then copy it. You can't go wrong.


Summary of Breakthrough:

A scientific breakthrough in Einstein-Rosen Bridges, or wormholes, is stolen by a group of misguided M.I.T. graduate students. They scheme to usher in a global science-based oligarchy. Greed, betrayal, murder, mayhem, spiritual contemplation, and unconditional love define the power-play struggle in this fast-paced suspense thriller. As the death toll mounts, will Chase Manhattan and a multi-faceted cast of characters escape their hit list and destroy the discovery which threatens life as we know it? On sale in bookstores late August, 2010.