Advertising Secrets from RMFW authors

“Last chance! Secrets from Media Guru!”

“Sell Hundreds of Books Now!”

“Optimize social ads!”

Like cheap paper fliers of yore, these headlines fill your email inbox.

We all want publishing success, hoards of fans and yes! More than moderate fame. Some of us have been published traditionally and not found that hoped-for, instant success. Others have either refused the traditional route, or have kinked our necks on the gatekeeper ceiling and answered the Indie Call. All of us want to sell more books.

Somehow, in the big bubble gum baby maker in the sky (thank you, Garrison Keillor), most of us got rolled out lacking good marketing instincts. Some people just figure it out, but not me. I took marketing 101. I did! Still, I can’t wrap my brain around all the choices to figure out the best combination that works. It’s not for lack of passion or purpose that I remain confused and uncertain. I’ve talked about this with many fellow writers, compared notes on what kind of investments they’ve made and what produced the most sales.  I know writers—everyday folks like you and me—who have spent upwards of sixteen thousand dollars trying to boost their sales over some magical threshold that will start the income flowing dependably.

This is no secret to the industry’s service providers. Some are legit, some not.

The Good Guys. These are talented people who offer their graphic services for fabulous book covers, Facebook ads, banners and promotional material.  Also copy editors and proofreaders, who help to ensure that we emerge from the publishing process with no pie on our face, only clean copy that makes our ideas shine.  Also publicists, virtual assistants and the like who may offer a more clear, calm path through the marketing jungle.

The Bad Guys. This group includes anyone who waves a magic flag to attract authors and get rich off our dreams, even while knowing full well that their product won’t deliver as promised without considerable luck or additional investments.

Our jobs, ladies and gents, is to tell one from the other.

Good Investments.  Before rolling the dice to determine the next move on the game board, we must first be sure we have an excellent product. Good doesn’t cut it. It needs to be excellent. The investment here is time and yes, toil over the words until they shine and provide a reward to the reader for spending their precious time reading our words.  Concept. Is it intriguing, or like hundreds of others? Plot. Is it dynamic, surprising, refreshing, or safe, just following the genre formula? Characters. Do they develop naturally through the novel, or does the author merely force actions that suggest growth?

Oh, heck, I’ve seen worse. We all know of less than stellar authors who have achieved success. They slide into home base on a magic carpet of luck. As Clint Eastwood said, “Do you feel lucky?” If you do, this route is available. Beware of Bad Guys, and proceed.

Crazy Luck, Magic Formulas, or Good Ol’ Sweat Equity? Who’s to say which will bring success? No one, but you’re in this game and if you want to play you have to pay.  Find the right combination for you.

To start you on your information quest, I consulted several of RMFW’s published authors to learn their thoughts on effective advertising and promotion. I offered anonymity, which some preferred, but most were willing to share.

Here, then, are some thoughts on sharks and winners.

The Question. What advertising/promotion has brought you the most book sales?

The Answers:

No Idea.  This was Jax Bubis (Jax Hunter), multi-indie-pubbed military and paranormal romance author’s first response. I sensed her smile through the email and read on. She suggests that you build your email list.

Been There, Spent That.  An author who wished to remain anonymous shared the s/he had spent a substantial budget on ads this past year, including Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads, giveaways and more, but still received a poor return on investment.  Another author, also remaining anonymous, spent over $16,000.00 on Facebook ads. S/he could accomplish no more than to break even. (At least s/he broke even.)

Skip the Swag. Several authors commented on swag—candy, bookmarks, tea bags, pens, scratch pads and the like. Most felt it’s best to skip all of it except for business cards, and write more books.

It’s All About Genre.  Mary Gilgannon has been busy testing the ad waters. She’s tried blog posts, small romance book sites, a promo service, tweets, newsletter lists and reviews, all with mixed and less-than-stellar results. “My sense is that what worked even six months or a year ago, might not work as well now. The market is ever changing and it seems to become more difficult every year to get your books noticed.” Her final answer: write in a best-selling genre, and get your books out quickly.

Reviews, Baby! Terry Wright, former contest chair for RMFW, is an indie pioneer and prolific writer. He entered the field early with his sci fi and action thrillers. He also writes screenplays, founded TBW Press, and conquered production of book trailers. He described advertising as a crapshoot, but believes strongly in Kindle reviews. He has little regard for Twitter due to the excessive tweet traffic, which buries any tweets within minutes.

Face Time. Terry also believes it pays to get personal. He has sold more print books face to face at conferences, panels, fairs, etc., than with other methods, and encourages his writers to do the same.

Good, and Free. Twice named RMFW's Writer of the Year, Robin Owens has enjoyed much success with her fantasy and paranormal ghost series. Also RMFW's former president, Robin stresses two ways to succeed: write a very good book, and develop a following. She has found good results with a multi-author ad featuring a Kindle giveway.

Carry a Big Gun. 2014 RMFW Writer of the Year and current Treasurer, Shannon Baker, is the author of the Nora Abbott and Kate Fox mystery series. She's also a tireless promoter. With her recent release of Stripped Bare, she participated in an intensive blog and book signing tour. What she’s especially pleased with is her decision to hire a publicist. She has found it well worth the investment.

Goodreads Ads.  Our 2015 Writer of the Year, PubLaw friend and Twitter guru, Susan Spann, writes Shinobi mysteries set in sixteenth century Japan. She shares that she has had great success with blog tours and Goodreads ads.

Let’s Go Surfing Now! 2016 Indie Writer of the Year nominee Corinne O’Flynn is RMFW’s Conference Chair and a multi-published author of murder mysteries. She shared this link: http://www.paidauthor.com/best-ebook-promotion-sites , a helpful overview of some of the many options available.

King Amazon. Anne Randolph’s memoir, Stories Gathered at the Kitchen Table, recently made the Amazon Best-selling list in Memoirs. “I have found the Amazon Hot New Release and 30 Day Book Launch with Amazon Select to be quite effective.  We sold over 1200 books in a two day period and more by the end of the campaign.”  Anne has a webinar and podcast about her campaign at www.AuthorU.org

Podcasts. Nathan Lowell, nominated for RMFW’s first Indie Writer of the Year, is an inspiration to many. In his January RMFW blog, Nathan mentions the large part his early podcasts played in his publishing success. Nathan sustains high output with his writing progress charts.

Audio Books. Along that line, Richard Rieman guest blogged on the January 18th RMFW blog about how audio books can resurrect a “mostly dead” book and increase your fan base.

Expensive Webinars. While I focused on RMFW authors, I’ll add that several other friends and acquaintances have taken webinar courses on book marketing. UK indie author Mark Dawson, and one of Dawson’s webinar graduates, Nick Stephenson, are the main  players in this field. It’s pricey -- $700 to $800, and focuses on advertising with Facebook. I have not been willing to put all my dollars in one place like that, so I can only recommend that you research all such webinars. Things to consider are:

* In their sales efforts, do the student testimonials include success stories for authors who write in your genre?

* Is there any kind of guarantee, and if so, does it cover a long enough period for you to determine if it’s a sound investment?

* Does it require yet more investment on your part to discover if it can work for you? If so, how much?  As I mentioned earlier, I know of authors who have invested in the course and then spent additional thousands to test the course strategy. I’ve heard from some authors that it helped their sales, and I’ve heard from others that the best they’ve achieved is a break-even. I’ve heard from yet others that it’s such a complicated ad strategy that they haven’t had time to try it out, and it’s now only gathering dust in their hard drives.

* Rumor has it that Nick Stephenson has stopped writing his thriller novels to concentrate on his teaching business because it pays better. Hmm.

* Can you “test” the webinar concept yourself for less money than the course costs?

* Is the information updated often? The market changes practically daily, so old information is quickly rendered useless.

Details Are Tools. RMFW’s first Indie Writer of the Year, Lisa Scott Manifold, recommends that you write more books. Readers are impatient and don’t like to wait a year or two for book 2, 3, etc. in the series. She believes readers want series even more these days and if you can’t manage multiple books a year, you can consider writing shorts to keep visible to your fans. “You need to figure out, among all the noise out there right now, what kind of promotion works for you.” That includes limited free days, advertising on promo websites, working on a newsletter or blog. Above all, track your efforts. “How much you spent, what sales you got (check them daily!) and did you see buy-through into your other works? That kind of data lets you know whether or not this new method is worth keeping in your marketing tool box.”

My thanks to all authors who were generous enough to share with us. Have you found this information helpful? You can pay it forward by responding to this blog, and sharing which promotion/s have worked best/worst for you.

Together, we’re stronger.

I hope to hear from you.

 

Are YOU Ready to Make a Difference in 2017? … by Angela La Voie

As writers, the very first encouragement of our work likely came from a parent or teacher. As we mature in our writing careers, peer support and encouragement buoys us through rejection, missed goals, and abandoned projects. And that support helps us reach important milestones, take on new challenges, and celebrate success. That support and encouragement is at the heart of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers mission.

Dedicated to supporting, encouraging, and educating writers seeking publication in commercial fiction, RMFW brings you programming, information, education, critique groups, and special events through the efforts of hundreds of volunteers each year.

As Volunteer Coordinator, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank each of you who gave of your time and talents in 2016. I’d also like to extend a special thanks to those of you who volunteered in more than one role! To all of our volunteers, please step forward again this year—in the same role or in a new capacity that appeals to your 2017 focus.

Volunteering gives you the opportunity to interact with members, make new friends, and expand your horizons. Volunteering enables you to share skills you already have and to acquire new ones.

Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert and whether you like to give a little here and there, help with a specific project, or contribute on an ongoing basis, there’s a volunteer role for you.

There are dozens of ways you can contribute your skills through RMFW, allowing you to give back to those mentors and colleagues who’ve uplifted you and to pay it forward. The time and skills you share with other members can give another writer the insight that fuels the crucial manuscript revisions that land him that first agent. Maybe it’s a newsletter article or blog post you write that helps someone make it through the first edit letter (or through the third edit letter on his fifth book). Your encouragement as a presenter may help an author break through with her next release.

There’s no pressure to be a miracle worker to volunteer. Everyone has something valuable to offer.

Here are some of the volunteer roles that keep RMFW thriving:

  •  newsletter contributor
  •  blog contributor
  •  monthly program presenter
  •  RMFW Gold Conference:
    •  presenter
    •  table host
    •  registration-desk assistant
    •  workshop monitor
    •  mentor-room coordinator
    •  workshop-proposal reviewer
    •  pitch coach and mentor
    •  bookstore-setup assistant
    •  author-signing assistant
    •  author-reading emcee
  •  RMFW Gold Contest intake coordinator
  •  RMFW Gold Contest judge
  •  WOTY and IWOTY selection-committee member
  •  critique-group leader
  •  social media assistant
  •  Moodle administrator
  •  website developer
  •  forum administrator
  •  podcast assistant
  •  podcast guest

Each of these roles presents the opportunity to make a difference in the course of our organization. Whatever your schedule, skillset, and interest permit, I hope you’ll consider volunteering with RMFW today!

Leadership Opportunities

Many volunteers assist in more than one role over time. Many also choose to serve in a leadership capacity at some point. Here are some of the key RMFW volunteer roles currently available:

Programs Chair (Denver-Area)

Recruits presenters for monthly free programs for members. Coordinates program logistics. Coordinates promotion of monthly programs through the website, newsletter, emails, and social media. Participates in board planning, discussion, and reporting.

Hospitality Chair

Coordinates with Programs Chair and provides refreshments at Denver-area monthly programs. Provides refreshments at all board meetings and announcement events, such as Writer of the Year/Independent Writer of the Year Event. Plans and coordinates the annual holiday party. Participates in board planning, discussion, and reporting.

Blog Editor

Works with co-editor to plan regular and guest contributor posts. Works with contributors to ensure timely submission of content. Schedules content through WordPress and troubleshoots posts. Requires keen eye for detail, impeccable grammar, and knowledge of WordPress.

How To Get Started

Send me an email at volunteer@rmfw.org. I’ll send you a volunteer application with all the questions and information needed to help you find the right volunteer role for you. The more information about your skills and background you include in your application, the easier it is to match you with the perfect volunteer opportunity. Once I review your application, I’ll pass it along to our board members and other committee chairs. Most committee chairs prefer to interview prospective volunteers themselves. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn more about the key duties and the time commitment involved. Together, we’ll work to ensure you’re volunteering in a capacity that’s fulfilling for you. To volunteer for the RMFW Colorado Gold Conference, complete a volunteer preference form.

Remember, for the hundreds of hours we stay glued to our seats honing our craft, volunteering gives us the chance to connect with others, share our knowledge, develop new skills, and expand our horizons. And while writing may be a solo occupation, a writing career is forged through the endeavors of all the teachers, mentors, editors, publishing contacts, and other writers who’ve helped to shape our work. Volunteer with RMFW and help shape another writer’s future. Here’s to a terrific 2017 and to the volunteers who make RMFW so vibrant!

-----

Angela La Voie is RMFW volunteer coordinator and newsletter editor. Her articles have appeared in The Chicago Sun-Times, Daily News of Los Angeles, The Dallas Morning News, Detroit Free Press, on MS-NBC.com, and through The New York Times News Service. She’s also published poems and essays in a variety of literary journals and magazines. She holds a BA (Phi Beta Kappa) in English and communication from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. She is currently working on her second novel, her fourth book overall.

What’s Happening, RMFW?

JAN
21
1st Quarter Board Meeting: Join the board members for the first quarter board meeting and meet the new Vice President, Sheri Merz-Duff. Contact president@rmfw.org with questions.
JAN
21
Denver
Your Most Productive Writing Year: In this workshop we will cover setting big picture career goals, breaking them into actionable steps, and how to make progress on them on a day-to-day basis. Contact denverprograms@rmfw.org with questions.
MAR
1
Anthology Submissions Begins: The stories in the next anthology will feature masks of every kind. Explore what happens when we—or our friends, enemies, or lovers—conceal ourselves behind carefully constructed identities. Contact anthology@rmfw.org with questions.

Photography & Writing Research: Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

Whether you're writing historical novels, contemporary fiction, or even fantasy, research photography is a skill worth developing (see what I did there...). Not only does it help with research, but photos also help writers connect with readers, supplement and inspire blogging content, and provide a library of images writers can use with articles and online.

I've already written a post about the importance of shooting "B Roll" images, but today I thought I'd offer a few tips on getting the most from your research photography.

1. Shoot EVERYTHING.

Those of us who grew up in a time when cameras used "film" and photos cost money to develop and print often forget that pixels are effectively free - and it costs no more to shoot a thousand photos than it does to shoot a dozen.

During my recent research trip to Japan, I shot over 10,000 images (in 3 weeks' time). While you may not need that many images, it's easy to delete unwanted photos after you return - and hard to go back in time to capture things you missed. Err on the side of capturing more, and sort/file/delete when you get home.

2. When possible, use maps & signs for context.

Historical and other sites often give out free maps detailing the location and sights of interest. Shooting a photo of the relevant portion of the map before you photograph the location - or even just photographing the sign at the entrance to the historical or other site -  can help you keep track of the photos when you return.

When visiting Fushimi Inari Taisha (Shrine), south of Kyoto, I climbed to the top of Mt. Inari and took almost a thousand photos. To make it easier to remember where I took them, I also photographed the "station signs" that hang at each of the sub-shrines and stopping points at intervals along the route:

So even months later, I know these torii sit just outside Station 13:

Whether I'm working on a novel, writing a blog or article about my experiences in Japan, or simply offering context for a photo I want to post on social media, using the map or local signs to anchor the photos helps me remember where and why I took them.

3. Shoot your subjects from multiple angles.

During my research trip, I stayed in a Buddhist temple and slept on traditional Japanese bedding - a futon with a buckwheat-hull pillow. I deliberately shot multiple photographs of the futon, alone:

In the context of the room:

And from multiple angles:

...to ensure I had the photos needed, for writing research and for blogs about futons and Japanese temple lodgings. Shooting multiple shots from different angles let figure out which photos to use, and in which contexts, after I came home.

(The Takeaway: Don't waste valuable time sorting photos on your trip. Shoot many, and sort them later.)

4.  Crop duplicate photos to highlight details.

Taking extra photos of the futon in the temple also gave me at least one I could crop for a blog about traditional Japanese pillows stuffed with buckwheat hulls:

Creative cropping helps you turn one image into several (either by using extras or by duplicating the original and cropping it in different ways).

 

5. Remember to wait for a "clear" shot without strangers, or to crop (or blur) their images out.

In some countries, it's illegal to photograph strangers or to share their images without permission. Even in the U.S., permission is required in order to use photographs of identifiable people in many contexts (there are exceptions, but "on my author website where I also promote my books" is generally not among them). The solution: crop or blur photos to remove the images of strangers before you post them.

I shot this original image (note that I blurred the faces before posting it) to show the way a temple nestled up against a mountainside:

Here's the same photo, cropped to remove the people:

With a little practice, and a creative eye, it's easy to build a library of research photos that meet a variety of writing and social media needs.

Have photo tips to share? I hope you'll add your thoughts in the comments too!

Bringing a “Mostly Dead” Book Back to Life in Audio … by Richard Rieman

As Billy Crystal’s character said in Princess Bride, “mostly dead is slightly alive.” You can breathe new life into your older books by giving them a voice.

There is revolutionary growth in audiobooks. The Audio Publishers Association (APA) reports audiobook sales are up over 38% in 2016, and Audible listening is up 35%, The cost to produce an audiobook has fallen to less than $3,000 – sometimes much less. If you use Amazon’s ACX.com, you have an option to share royalties with a narrator/producer without any other upfront costs.

In some cases, such as “The Martian,” audiobook versions are registering three or four times the sales number of the original work. They are, in effect, replacing the text version as the primary version of the book.

Why a book released years ago should be relaunched as an audiobook:

  • Treat your audiobook launch as a completely new way to reach your audience
    This is your new baby being born. Announce it with the same enthusiasm as any proud book launch parent.
  • Audiobook listeners are a new audience for your book
    The explosive growth in listening on smartphones and in “connected cars” is steadily increasing the number of audiobook buyers, especially over subscription services from Audible and iTunes.
  • More money from existing content
    Your manuscript will only need a few minor changes (refer to “listening” instead of “reading”) to create a new royalty payment income stream.
  • There are fewer books in audio in each genre
    In each genre – especially Young Adult, Romance/Erotica, and Mystery/Suspense, there are far fewer audiobook titles, making it easier for fans to find your book.
  • New reviews call attention to all versions of your book
    You can get reviews of your audiobook through services such as AudiobookBoom.com and reviews by genre, such as AudiobookReviewer.com.
  • New promotional opportunities
    You can create YouTube video trailers using audio excerpts from your book
  • Amazon’s Whispersync feature can help you sell Kindle ebook versions
    Kindle and audiobook buyers often buy both versions at a discount so they can pick up where they left off in each version.
  • Hearing the words you wrote brought back to life can re-energize you to write again
    Whether you voice your own book or find a great narrator, you can find yourself motivated to bring life to your next book.

Audiobooks are a wonderful form of storytelling. You have an opportunity to take the words off the pages and give them a new voice, and a new life.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Richard Rieman of AudiobookRevolution.com brings both living and mostly dead books to life. Richard is an audiobook self-publishing consultant, a top Audible narrator, and in-studio producer of authors narrating their own titles. Richard is author of The Author’s Guide to Audiobook Creation, Gold Medal Winner of the 2016 Global eBook Award in Writing/Publishing.

You can learn more about Richard and his projects at his website Audiobook Revolution Productions. He can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and You Tube.

2017 – THE YEAR OF BALANCE

2017 – THE YEAR OF BALANCE

I am not a big believer in your standard New Year's resolutions. They tend to be broad and sweeping statements like: I will lose weight. I will exercise more. I will finish my book. But I am a believer in setting goals, so when I received J.T. Ellison's 2016 Annual Review, I took it to heart.

For the past eight years, J.T. Ellison has been doing annual reviews of her life and work, based on the format first posted on Chris Guillebeau's blog. Here's a link to the actual post entitled "How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review." J.T. notes that his method is incredibly detailed, and she's right. I downloaded the spreadsheet link on Chris' website, and it's daunting. Still, I looked at several of J.T.'s past year's annual reviews, read Guillebeau's how-to, and tackled the job. Here's what came of it—and I expect you to hold me accountable. I am going to detail my goals (just like J.T. did), but I'm going to keep the focus primarily on my work goals (as I doubt most of you are interested in my personal life).

2017 is the year I find balance in life.

For me, sometimes the lines between my work life and my personal life blur, making it hard to juggle all the demands of either. Using the spreadsheet I downloaded off of Chris Guillebeau's website, I have come up with a game plan I hope will allow me to be more productive, increase my visibility as a writer and develop more time for me to regenerate my creativity.

Work Life:

I am most productive when I write consistently for a set amount of time, and I can be easily distracted by social media. I tend to check email and binge on Facebook, Twitter and blogging, which eats up a considerable amount of time. And it isn't an effective use of my social media, marketing and writing time. Scheduling time in each day for writing and then the business side of writing will create a better balance in my professional life. By setting word count goals, defining the purpose for my social media/email time, and defining tasks that will help improve my productivity and profile, I will achieve more success and be more fulfilled as a writer.

Personal Life:

On the personal side, by devoting/designating time to family and friends and creative endeavors outside of my writing, and through continued downsizing, de-cluttering and implementing practices that improve my health, I will replenish myself, enabling me to better both at work and at play.

The Specifics

It's easy to give broad strokes (like above), and harder to outline specific goals with specific deadlines. Here's what I came up with. NOTE: this isn't everything, but it's a start for sharing on a blog.

Category #1 – Writing Production

 Dedicated writing time. I am most productive in the morning, and I'm only really productive for about 4 hours at a time. Beginning immediately, I plan to devote 4 hours every day, every morning before 1:00 PM, Monday through Friday, five days a week.

 Dedicated writing business time. By afternoon I am not as creative. Beginning immediately, I plan to devote a minimum of 2 hours every day, Monday through Friday, five days a week, to answering emails, updating websites, writing and commenting on blogs, perusing and posting to social media sites, in conversation with my agent, publisher, publicist, etc.

 Set specific writing goals. I decided, writing 4 hours a day, I could produce at a minimum 600 words a day, 18,000 words a month and 216,000 words a year. I didn't set any goals for non-fiction, though I think I'll try and track it. It might be interesting to see how much time and how many words I spend writing for blogs, etc. I will not be as detailed as J.T. – figuring out time for writing emails and Tweets, but I figure by tracking word count for blog posts and other things I can quantify, and by tracking my hours spent on non-fiction, I can see if I am giving more weight to the business of writing or writing.

Category #2 – Increase my Writing Profile (In other words, work on my "branding," and building readers.)

With a book coming out in June, I have a lot to do in this realm. I write in two genres (mystery and thriller) and the books and audiences are very different. Figuring out how to best present myself on social media, my website and in marketing materials has been a real challenge. This year my main focus is on marketing my new thriller, RED SKY, scheduled to hit the stands on June 13th. All of the following goals need to be completed by June 13th.

 Learn how to better use social media. I will hit up friends, my children, and attend a few writers' workshops and online courses to try and figure this out. My main focus will be on my blogs (I write for RMFW and Rogue Women Writers), my Facebook page, my Twitter page and my website.

 Update my social media platforms. I have a nice head shot that has served me well for two years (thank you, Mark Stevens), but I just had some new photos taken for my new book cover (watch for the reveal). To tweak my brand, I need to upload new pictures, new book covers and new links across my social media platforms.

 Set up appearances. This gets expensive (figure $1,000 per out-of-town conference and sometimes a bookstore charge for a signing, though usually that's paid for by my publisher). Because it's easy to over-saturate a market, I plan to limit the number of local signings, and do some regional and national outreach.

 Set up a blog tour.

Categories #3 to #8 address my personal goals—specifically improving my health through diet and exercise; spending time with family and friends; reducing debt; focusing on creative projects; continuing my downsizing efforts; and planning some personal travel. (I want to go somewhere with my husband to celebrate our 35th anniversary, coming up in April.)

As I said, this is just a sliver of the commitments I have made to myself. I'm optimistic that with specific goals coupled with specific deadlines, I may have a chance of reaching my objectives. Of course, reading J.T.'s 2016 review, it's clear that many things may fall by the wayside. Still, intent and effort count for something. I may not achieve everything, but I know I'll achieve something—and there's hope I will find balance in 2017.

#Procrastinate is the strangest verb … by Rainey Hall

procrastinate

1. transitive verb
to put off intentionally and habitually

2. intransitive verb
to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done

Origin and Etymology of procrastinate

Latin procrastinatus, past participle of procrastinare, from pro- forward + crastinus of tomorrow, from cras tomorrow

In addition to the above Merriam Webster on-line definition, I suggest to be FEARful of, or UNcertain of how to do something may produce procrastination.

If you need excuses for procrastinating the day of your writing, please use the appropriately numbered item(s) below:

#1 How can I get anything done with such soft, cuddly, cute...well, just watch a few of those puppies and kittens on Facebook and YouTube! Note: That link takes you to 16 minutes of funny cat videos. You'll love it.

#2 Hello? Playoffs? Are you ready for some football?

#3 Tomorrow will be here soon enough.

#4 Good ideas escape me.

#5 I WILL write today. Seriously. I think. Maybe. Then again…

#6 Each time I attempt to write, my ears get cold. Conspiracy? Maybe.

#7 You think you can’t find the time to write?

Amateur author: Dinner took over thirteen hours to make last night!
Amateur therapist: Tell me what you did.
Amateur author: Looked for recipes on Pinterest-3 hours
Confirmed ingredients and directions on other websites-2.5 hours
Made a quick run to Sprouts to pick up missing ingredients-2.25 hours
Rush hour traffic-30 minutes
Quick conversation with neighbor-1 hour
Mixed ingredients while talking on phone-32 minutes
Baked-165 minutes
Burnt dinner somewhere between 65 and 165 minutes
Got takeout-1.5 hours

#8 Weather! (Leaves are changing colors/Snowflakes are falling/Flowers are blooming and insects are buzzing…)

Calving Season

Seriously, I met a fellow author at a poetry gathering who told the group, “During lambing, my husband had to rush to town for emergency supplies. (The trip would take him over an hour.) He asked me, ‘Will that give you enough time to write?’”

#9 My finger hurts.

Take any combination of the above and don’t call me in the morning.

#10 Was carried away with research.

Please see Jefferson County Sheriff’s report #CR17-2333957

#11 Not. My. Fault.

Warning: The following photo, taken April 30, 2016 may be too graphic for children’s authors

Friends don’t let friends procrastinate

#12 What if I spend time and effort on plotting, writing, and then editing but somebody else produces a better book than me?

Oh bother! See what I mean?

Of course, there will always be a plethora of authors—but not necessarily in your genre and with your style and never with the same extraordinary voice.

#13 Insert your own reason(s) here!

 

May your procrastination be fenced in, and your imagination have room to roam.

For serious procrastinators—or maybe your new favorite character—check out the below links:

The Organization Against Chronic Procrastination

Crazy for Procrastinating? Maybe | Psychology Today

Remember: Nobody is just like you—thank goodness—or nothing would get done.

*A special “Thank you!” to Randy at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 14347 West Colfax Avenue Golden, CO 80401

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A Colorado native, Rainey, (writing as L. Treloar), has been a RMFW member since 2012 (or so), and is happy to belong to one of the best critique groups ever: The 93rd Street Irregulars. She has self-published The Frozen Moose, is currently re-editing the first manuscript in a political thriller series, and has entered two contests with her 2016 NaNoWriMo Historical Fiction novella. In her spare time, she enjoys organizing anything from closets, to military family retreats, to rodeos and parades. Along with teaching her cat to retrieve, she volunteers at church and The Horse Protection League. With an Associate degree in Applied Science/Land Surveying, she learned she far prefers words over math.

*The Frozen Moose, a short story is available on Barnes and Noble in e-book.

Kindle Scout to Kindle Press—A Final Wrap-Up

When last I posted here, my book had been accepted for publication through Kindle Scout, but wasn’t yet available to be purchased. Since then, it’s gone up for pre-order, and then for general purchase. Rankings have been lingering in the five figures, between about 65,000 as the low and 12,000 as the high. I had expected a faster drop-off, but I haven’t seen it yet—the numbers have stayed pretty steadily in that range (of course, I go to check right now and find it at 77K BECAUSE OF COURSE IT IS!). I don’t know what kind of sales that means, exactly, and I won’t know until I get my first sales report, which will be either the end of this month or the end of next.

The process of publication was dead simple. I got some edits back, which were less than painless, then got an email telling me when the book would be available. I was asked if I’d be willing to change the cover, which I did. (You can see the new version right here!) This had to do with the inclusion of a weapon on the original cover. I just found a shot of the same model without the gun (actually, she does have a gun in this picture, but it’s by her side, so it was easy to remove it from the visible portion), plopped it into the original cover, cleaned up a few things, and went on my way. I like the new layout at least as much as the original.

After the book had been out for a bit, I received an email with screencaps of some of the promotions Kindle is doing for the book, which right now consists of inclusion in their “New Releases” newsletter and in advertising sent to Kindle users. Three months after initial release, which was 12-24, I’ll be eligible for a regular promotion. These include pricing promotions, and according to the email, the book has also been nominated for various placement promotions. I’m not sure what this entails, but hopefully it’ll sell me some books. I’m also doing some ad placements myself, as well as hitting social media, etc. I’ve decided to do this on a “drip” strategy rather than a big “splash” strategy, so I’m not flooding all my social media channels all the time. In addition, I wrote two short prequel stories and am offering them for free to new newsletter subscribers.

I’ve found the process so far to be satisfactory. If you’re the kind of person who likes to ask a lot of questions and get answers right away, you might find the Kindle Press approach frustrating. I get the impression they’re a bit overworked and understaffed, but that’s probably true of any publisher these days. They’ve provided all the information I really needed in a timely fashion, and I’m happy to plug along with other things while I’m waiting for people to get back to me, so it hasn’t bothered me particularly. In the mean time, I’m working on those promo plans and, yes, busily scribbling away on a sequel.

Also, the book’s gotten some absolutely fabulous reviews! Reviews came up during the pre-release phase, so that was helpful. People who voted for the book were able to submit reviews and have that star rating all ready for the general release. So that was a good thing, and I like to think it’s helped get sales jumpstarted. Hopefully reality won’t hurt me too hard when my actual sales numbers come in.

I hope sharing my experience with Kindle Scout has been helpful. I’m excited about all the different ways we can get our stories out in front of readers, and this one seemed like it would be fun and potentially snag a larger audience than I’ve been able to find all on my own. If you have any questions about anything I’ve discussed in this series of posts, please ask! And best of luck to all of you working to get their stories out into the world.

 

Romance Sub-genres Part 2

Happy New Year, Campers. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Ours involved 80-100mph winds and no electricity. We had a daring chicken rescue as well but that’s a story for another time.

Last month we covered some of the sub-genres of Romance - Romantic Comedy, Chick-Lit, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense, Historical, Inspirational. Wow, that’s a lot. We also “touched” - haha, get it? - on the different heat levels in some of the genres.

This month, we’re going to finish up with sub-genres. We’ll look at the vast world of Paranormal and also talk about Regency Romance.

Let’s do Regency first, shall we? Regency romance has a very strict set of rules.

• It must be set in England in 1812 (okay you can fudge just a smidge on this - but not much)
• It must be historically accurate for the time and place. It was a time of violence and danger lurked around every corner. The streets weren’t safe. King George III was on the edge of insane and England was embroiled in the Napoleonic Wars.
• It must include kings, and dukes, and lords and ladies and titled nobility of all sorts. And you have to keep them straight and right. Your readers will.
• It must include accurate character names that fit the times. Keep your classes straight and your names fitting.
• It must use the language of the times. Peculiar terms and phrases abound in Regency.

With Regency - the authors writing this sub-genre are well versed readers first.

If you come across the term “Regency-set historicals” think Regencies set in locations other than England. America was fighting a war too at the time.

Want to write Regencies? Read Regencies.

Now on to Paranormal.

Included in Paranormal Romance are Fantasy Romance, SciFi Romance and Futuristic Romance, Time Travel Romance, Reality based vampires and werewolves and such, Ghosts and Angels and Goddesses, and also more sinister creatures of the night.

Fantasy Romance will include the world building common in all fantasy fiction - from complete other worlds to earth realities that have their own rules.

SciFi and Futuristic Romance can include elements of SciFi, Space Opera, etc. The difference between the two is SciFi is outer space based and Futuristic is Earth based.

Time Travel Romance - pretty self explanatory. Might Outlander fit this category?

Reality based creatures - these would be stories much like Contemporary Romances with vampires or werewolves in staring roles.

The term Light Paranormal refers to your ghost stories and angel stories - suggesting that these paranormal creatures are friendlies. Dark Paranormal would be your blood suckers and baddies of every variety. Fairies and leprechauns and selkies and such can be creatures of light or creatures of darkness. You get to decide.

But remember, in all these sub-genres, the key is the Romance. It must be front and center. Any and all of these sub-genres can and do have further categories such as Young Adult and New Adult.

After I finished this list, I realized I’d left out the paranormal I’ve written. It’s a reincarnation story. So there’s another category.

Confused? Don’t be. Just be aware that the variety inside Romance is LIMITLESS. There’s something for anyone who loves happily ever after.

Going Deeper for 2017

Welcome, 2017! So glad to see you. This year promises to be the best writing yet.

In that vein, I’d like to discuss a problem I’ve been having and hopefully you’ll have advice. Because, that’s what writer’s groups like RMFW are all about. Asking questions of your tribe. And mocking them when they give you bad advice…

So tribe, here’s my dilemma. I’ve been working on a cozy mystery. I sent it to my agent to read, and she suggested we make it more of a general mystery instead of a cozy. Her suggestion for doing so is, to go deeper.

Now that sounds easy enough.

Blinking at the blank page…

What the heck does go deeper even mean? I understand it in the general sense. But how do I make it happen? Does anyone have ideas or tools they use to create more depth and emotion?

So far, I’ve added some additional backstory and description of surroundings. Gotten more graphic in terms of the murder itself.

Most of that advice came from the internet, so you know it’s true.

What say you? How do you make your stories more complex? I promise not to laugh and point.