Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Is Social Media Worth It? Ask this newly published author.....

Tapping Your Resources

First, I want to give Karen a HUGE thank you for hosting me as part of my blog tour! Karen has always been such a great supporter and friend for writers trying to get their names and their work out there, so I thought maybe it was a good time to reflect a little... as those friends I can count on have been an AMAZING resource for this book release thing.

I heard once, maybe a year and a half ago, that a person really needed to do that social networking dance for about three years before it was primed to tap when it was needed.

Ironically, and through no grand design of my own, I've been blogging and maintaining my author profile on Facebook about three years in this month I ALSO had my first book release.

And MAN, am I a believer!!!! I know it seems like a long time, and I've seen superstars do it well faster than that. But I think networking is really sort of an organic process, falling into line with people we have things in common with. And more than once over the last three years, I've seen somebody jump in and almost immediately they fall to trying to specifically promote, withOUT having put in their time promoting others and making friends.

I ALSO meet a bunch of people each year on the ABNA boards—really nice people, fellow writers, but who've put out a book without a GLANCE at the how-to on promotion. I mean there IS a nice tight group who all promotes each other, but a lot of people stay fairly isolated and I feel sad. Their great books may never see the big success possible.

So if I were throwing out advice to someone NEW at this? This is what I would suggest:

1.  Start NOW (but only because you can't start yesterday)

2.  Be YOURSELF. This is a marathon and I think people who try to be something other than what they are burn out. It is just too much work.

3.  Find a roll model and follow them around mimicking them to the degree you can (mine was Elizabeth Spann Craig)

4.  Reciprocate BEFORE! Meaning if you want people to come find you, go find them. If you want to hear from readers, read blogs and let people know you are there. ALL the things you want to be on the receiving end of, DO THOSE for others.

5.  HAVE FUN! This is contagious, you know. If you are having a ball, others will join you hoping it will rub off on them.

That's my story and I'm sticking with it!

The Azalea Assault

Cam Harris loves her job as public relations manager for the Roanoke Garden Society. It allows her to combine her three loves, spinning the press, showing off her favorite town, and promoting her favorite activity. She's just achieved a huge coup by enlisting Garden Delights, the country's premiere gardening magazine, to feature the exquisite garden of RGS founder, Neil Patrick. She's even managed to enlist world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges. Unfortunately, Jean-Jacques is a first-rate cad—insulting the RGS members and gardening, goosing every woman in the room, and drinking like a lush. It is hardly a surprise when he turns up dead. But when Cam's brother-in-law is accused and her sister begs her to solve the crime, that is when things really get prickly.

Alyse Carlson is the pen name for the author some of you may know as Hart Johnson. She writes books from her bathtub and when she isn't writing, does research for a large, midwest University or leads the Naked World Domination Movement (your choice).


The Azalea Assault is available at:

Barnes & Noble Paperback or Nook

Amazon Paperback or Kindle

(pretty much any book store and some big boxes)

And Alyse/Hart/The Tart can be found at:

Confessions of a Watery Tart

Monday, June 25, 2012

Where DID that Comment Go?

I normally ignore my spam file since I really don't care to read spammer comments, except to push the delete button. But I happened to look at it this morning and was shocked to find quite a few real people comments tucked away among the weirdo ads for real estate and make up and other things I'm too embarrassed to mention.

I went through and clicked the real ones as "not spam," but some of them are months old and anyone checking back to see why their post never showed up has probably long given up! What a very strange thing.

Have you checked your spam file lately? Found any harmless friendly comments from fellow bloggers hiding there unpublished? 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reviews, Rankings and Returns on Kindle

It's pretty easy to get obsessive about the 3 R's on the Amazon Kindle page of your book. Reviews, Rankings and Returns-- oh my! What do they all mean?


Every book needs at least 6 reviews to look serious. Once your book goes live, make it your personal mission to get them. Give out ARCs  or free downloads to friends, family, blog followers, Facebook cronies. Do not rest until you have 6 - 10 reviews posted on your Amazon page!

I've heard of sites where you can pay for reviews. Totally unnecessary. Give away some books, call in favors, let a few hints slide--whatever it takes to get those precious initial reviews (which will most likely be positive since they're from people who know you.)

They don't need to be gushing, 5 star lengthy book reports. In fact, brief can be better. When someone mentions they enjoyed your book, a subtle hint is in order, like "Would you mind posting that up on Amazon on my book page? I would really appreciate it." Do that a dozen times and soon you'll have a decent showing.

What about bad reviews? Don't worry, they'll show up eventually. They're like armpits. Everyone has them and they all stink. Especially if your book goes free,  readers who aren't in your demographic and would never have bought it otherwise will download and not like it but of course will post a one-star review-- "I couldn't finish this book. Its boring and do not hole my intrest." (misspelling and grammatical errors included, because the worst reviews are loaded with them)

A couple of bad ones can set back sales for a time. If you see too serious an impact, call up a friend who hasn't posted yet and ask for positive feedback to counteract the evil. Resist the urge to respond to the troll or to leave a comment. Because, after all, you are way too cool and productive and popular to bother with such drivel.


Watching rankings is like looking for animal shapes in the clouds. You may see a thrilling one but don't count on it to stay. Many things can affect the numbers, like how many times your book is borrowed, or sales in the UK, or sales per hour compared to sales per day.

Rankings are comparative, which means the more books on Kindle, the more competitive it becomes. Selling 100 books a month a couple years ago would get you a 3 or 4 digit ranking. Now it will be more like a 5 digit ranking, simply because hundreds of thousands more Kindle books are published--daily.

Another fantasy is that rankings will continue to rise. High numbers this week, higher next, and on and on until it hits the top 100. No, sorry, that's not how it happens. Please don't let your mood be determined by your ranking, or you will need some serious medication.


Amazon allows returns of ebooks. Nothing to get disturbed about, unless your returns are ridiculously high. And the more books you sell the more likely you'll have higher returns. Sometimes it's because someone meant to borrow the book but accidentally clicked Buy, and they have to fix it. There's a refund. No biggie.

Kindle returns are nothing compared to bookstore returns, when the bookstore can send back unsold books to the distributor for full credit, months after the publisher thought they were sold goods, bought and paid for. Bookstore returns are a travesty of this business that has helped to fuel the rise of ebooks. *excuse my mini-rant*

That's my brief overview of the Three R's on Kindle. I'd love to get your feedback, and hear of any experience or suggestions. 

And oh wait, I forgot the most important R of all-- the READER. Write the best book to enrich the reader's experience, and all the rest will fall into place!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Three Years and Counting

Some days I wonder why I do it. Other days I swear to give it up. 

The time suck. 

The same old topics day after day, week after week, month after month . . .

The guilt: I really should be__________ (fill in the blank with anything but blogging.) 

The self-probing questions: Am I a blogger or a novelist?  

The reality check: Remind me again how this is helping my career as a writer?

In June, 2009 I published my first post on Coming Down the Mountain. Three years, 385 posts, a bunch of awards, over 71,000 page views, more blogfests than I care to count, and 1048 followers later I'm still here.


 Because I can't help it, I just love blogging!

Happy Birthday to me and my blog-- Cupcakes on the house!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Excuse me while I drift away....

I won't be around next week and at the risk of making you all insanely jealous I'll give you a little peek at where I'll be....

See you when I return!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Best Blogging Day of the Month

The first Wednesday of the month is the day I just have to find time to blog hop and visit all the Insecure Writer posts. As a result of visiting and commiserating with many of the Insecure Writer posts I've now run out of time to write my own.

But in a nutshell, my insecurities right now have to do with my weight, my age, my poor eating habits, my lack of exercise . . . .well, never mind.

I do have a new laptop though. A red one! Yay!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Lucky 7 Meme

I was the recipient of The Lucky 7 Meme, tagged by Suzanne Drazic at Putting Words Down on Paper.  I don't usually do tags or memes or awards anymore but this one intrigued me. It's a meme for writers to showcase your latest manuscript.  Mine is from "Lighting Candles in the Snow," to be released later this year by WiDo Publishing.

Lucky 7 Meme Rules:
1. Go to page 77 of your current manuscript.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy the next 7 lines (sentences or paragraphs) and post them as they're written.  No cheating!
4. Tag 7 other writers to pass this meme on to.

My manuscript Excerpt: 

“Who’s talking about a precious career? That’s all you care about these days. The novel. The agent. The advance. The launch. The royalties. God, Jeremy! I am sick to death of hearing about your stupid novel! You say all I care about is my career? I can’t believe I’m hearing this.”
It was a Saturday afternoon, the day I liked to catch up on household tasks like laundry, shopping, cleaning, the usual errand-running merry-go-round; and Jeremy liked to take off and go write, leaving all the menial tasks to me. The rising star of Jeremy London, novelist, couldn’t be bothered with picking up dry cleaning. Not when he had “revisions to do.” I gave up my Saturday for this?
 (For a sneak peek at the opening chapter of this novel, see my website.)

Writers I'm Tagging:

Milo James Fowler 
Theresa Milstein

Have fun with it!