Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"You're Reading THAT?"

Police Dramas. Medical Thrillers. M/M Romance. Froggy books (you remember 'Heeeey Frooooggggyyyyy!'). Wagons West. James Patterson. John Irving (A Prayer For Owen Meany). Robin Cook, Michael Palmer.

Do I write any of this stuff? No. I couldn't produce a mystery if my life depended on it; I'm too eager for the bad guys to be caught. But I do like to READ about how the bad guys are caught:) Can I figure it out? Sometimes. Other times, I discover I've been waaaay off base.

Reading outside the genre I choose to write...gives me a break from the boy-meets-girl/boy-loses-girl/they-make-up-and-live-happily-ever-after. Sometimes there's a subplot in my mainstream fiction which will give me an idea for my writing, but mainly I'll read nearly everything I can get my hands on which sounds like a good story, or if I like the author.

Some authors I've met by accident, such as the Wagon's West series. I'd privately made fun of the titles when they first appeared, but while on a family vacation, I ran out of reading material. And out of desperation, I picked up the latest title and bought it for the ride home.

I was instantly hooked into the storyline, and was determined to read the entire series.

Dad got me started on Irving and Michenor. He took me to see Hotel New Hampshire, and one day I found Prayer for Owen Meany at the library. I took it home, read it, and bought my dad a copy for Christmas. He let me 'borrow' Hawaii and Centennial after the mini-series ended during my high school years.

I decided to read Twilight after my sister told me it was something I could have written. I read Harry Potter after seeing the first movie. And having devoured The Percy Jackson (Lightening Thief) series, both teens and I are looking forward to the movies.

I've won books in contests and become instant fans of the authors, with few exceptions.

So yes, I read outside my genre. It makes me a well-rounded reader.

Just don't expect any vampires driving covered wagons to Oregan and finding themselves inside a mystery in any of my books. I'll leave that storyline to the 'experts'.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Cover:)

So what do you think? I LOVE it! Already I've had one person tell me they would buy it strictly because of the cover, as it hints to the plot just enough to make her curious:)

I'm also guest blogging over at the Writer's Evo blog. But in case you missed it, here's the repost:
So You’re Published; Now What?

“…and they lived happily ever after. The End”.

“Dear Kenzie, We’d like to offer you a contract… Here are your edits… Here’s your cover…. Your release date is…”
Wow. Now what? Your book, which you’ve worked so hard to write, submitted it to a publisher and had it accepted, bitten your nails to the quick over edits, and approved your cover, is finally available. But what comes next?

Throw yourself a release party, first and foremost. This is an accomplishment, after all. Go out to eat; enjoy some cake and ice cream with friends or family and celebrate a little. And hopefully if you blog or belong to chat loops, you’ve already posted the news, an excerpt, and the cover all over cyberspace and your website. Soak up the applause and bask in any guest blogging comments on your friends’ sites.

And get a good night’s sleep, because the real work begins the next day.

What? Oh…you didn’t know? Aren’t you glad I’m telling you this now?

Your publisher has done their job. Now everything else is up to YOU, the author, to get the word out. Watch for calls for guest bloggers or interviews. Promote your work on any promo days on the chat loops you belong to. Show up at chats with your online friends and rebuild relationships with those you’ve interacted with before, but maybe neglected while you were busy editing.

Sign up for a Google Alert on your title and name, and put quotes around them; otherwise you’ll get hit with any or all uses of the words. One of the groups I belong to is the marketing for romance writers, and the members are very generous in answering any questions pertaining to promotions.

Have some bookmarks made up, or postcards to send out. VistaPrint.com is a wonderful source to find inexpensive promotional items, as well as your local office supply store. I sent my local Office Max a copy of my cover and pay about eleven dollars for one hundred bookmarks.

If your book is coming out into print, look around in the community for places to network. My alter ego placed a few copies of her books in gift shops on consignment. I’m considering doing the same at a local adult gift shop with my own books. I’ll buy a copy of my own work, download it to CD and set the price accordingly. Don’t forget to leave a few of your business cards with the owners. I’ve also set up at local festivals, contacted book stores to set up signings, and set up booths at craft fairs at Fish Fries around my area. If you don’t know who to contact, call the fire station once you see the signs and ask to speak to the person in charge of the booth rentals. Call the local Chamber of Commerce to find out about when the festivals take place. And if it’s too late to set up, go and talk to the vendors. Ask about fees, who to contact, and the hours.

And above all else, don’t stop writing! Because at some point, someone will ask ‘What is your next book about?”

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Importance of Covers

Covers serve many purposes:
a) It gives the reader a hint of what the book is about;
b) It keeps the content safe from the weather elements ie: rain, snow,
c) Bed covers keep a body warm at night, or during daytime naps

There are good covers, which entice the reader to pick up said book and thumb through it, or flip over to read the back cover or the inside book jacket.

Then there are bad covers, which give absolutely NO hint of what the book is about. And you've all heard the saying, 'Don't judge a book by its cover'? Well if I showed you a plain green cover with 'All She Ever Wanted' or 'Teacher's Pet', would you be tempted to investigate further? (Not discounting author name recognition...but that's another topic altogether!) But if I were to show you two people of the opposite sex; both smiling; he's handing her something....with the title 'All She Ever Wanted', wouldn't you be interested in what it was she wanted? And if he gave it to her?

Likewise, Teacher's Pet. A plain blue cover won't tell you very much. But picture two people kissing and leaning up against a desk or a blackboard in an obvious classroom, and you'd be a little curious, no? At least that's what my cover request said, with some examples from photoshop, or whatever that site was. I hope she's able to 'get' what I was trying to convey.

E-books covers function more in a Promotional capacity. I'll admit, the catchy blurb and excerpt are my main means of putting a certain book on my TBB list. I really don't pay much attention to e-covers as I do the print ones. But to people who like covers and judge the book accordingly, they are a HUGE part of getting the word out, in a visual sense on blogs, websites, and social networking. When I'm on Facebook and post a picture of my cover, people will take notice of it if it is eye-catching. Likewise, a person may click on any links I may post about it.

I've heard it said it takes an average of ten mentions before a potential reader will consider buying an author's work. What makes me put any book on my TBB list? As I've said, the blurb and excerpt. But I've also been guilty of not putting it on the list until I've either read another excerpt more to my liking, or I've developed a friendship with the author and agreed to try out her book. Sometimes I come away kicking myself for not reading it sooner, and some times yeah, my 1st instinct was right. But not everyone has the same taste in books. And I've already admitted mine are eclectic.

That being said, I'll let you know when my latest cover is ready. And if it's less than awesome, please read the blurb and excerpt before making up your mind?


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hot Button Issues

I usually tend to keep my opinions to myself; I've always been a people-pleaser who prefers to not rock the boat. However, there are a few I do support, however quietly.

Pro-Choice: I once took a counselor's training course at a local Free Clinic. Their anti-abortion stance made me realize I favor the women's right to choose. And yes, to keep it legal. When I became pregnant with baby #3, I seriously considered all alternatives, because finances were shaky and it had been ten years since the last one. I'll confess; I prayed for a miscarriage. But since I'd seen the abortion tapes in college, as part of a health class, I personally had no desire to undergo the procedure. A neighbor of mine had no such qualms, and while I did play Devil's Advocate and questioned her decision, ultimately it was her body, not mine. I do NOT support terminating any pregnancy past the 12-week mark.

Battered Women's Shelters: As a former survivor of emotional abuse, I whole-heartedly encourage women who find themselves in any abuse situations to leave their husbands. Ladies, he did it once; he'll do it again. Get out while you're alive.

Marriage = One Man, One Woman: Going to take some heat for this one, but if you choose to follow an alternative lifestyle, so be it. But don't call it marriage. It is not sanctified by God, so no, it should not become legal. Want to adopt children and cohabitate with your partner? Go right ahead.

Socialized Medicine: Absolutely not. I've heard the horror stories from my sister in Canada.

E-book vs Print: I've become an avid fan of e-books. Now I just need an e-reader.

America's Constitution: I caved to pressure two years ago when my 1st ammendment rights were slammed. I was wrong. This is my blog; I can express any opinion I want. If a reader finds my opinion offensive, they can choose to ignore me. I've seen material I consider offensive; I check back the next day until I just can't stomach the views expressed anymore.

Besides, this post should tell me how many readers I have. I found out two years ago: If you want to see how many lurkers are out there, post something controversial and watch your inbox fill up with hate mail:)

Some of the opinions expressed above are not stated in polite conversation. I'm a non-confrontational person who prefers to simply walk away from a fight. Especially if my friends have stromg opinions, I prefer not to let issues come between friendships. Everyone is entitled to their opinion; just don't try to shove yours down my throat.