Saturday, March 21, 2015

GoodReads and giveaways -- a Good Thing?

As I've mentioned before, this is the The Year of Promo (or Marketing R Us), and I'm focusing on GoodReads quite a bit.

To that end, I set up a giveaway of the first book in the Deadly Landscaping trilogy, Lilacs. Here's the scoop on the giveaway, right here.

I'm absurdly pleased with myself about this. I've done very little in the way of promotion for my books, and this was such a no-brainer and so easy. I am intensely curious to see if (1) I get reviews out of this and (2) if any of my other books see a jump in sales and (3) if I get any reader interaction out of this.

So stay tuned, faithful readership. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Beware the Ides of March ... not

Today is Friday the 13th. I'm not superstitious so it almost passed me by without notice. I have a black cat, I'm sure I've walked under more than my share of ladders in my day, and Lord knows I've broken a few mirrors in one of my 27 or so moves in my life.

I am superstitious about some things, though. When I start a new book, I have to get The Book ready. This is a small notebook that I use for miscellaneous Stuff for the work-in-progress. I paste in photographs of people who might be my main characters, I have floor plans for houses, maps of towns, snippets of conversations I overhear that might be useful. I carry The Book with me wherever I go, and by the time I finish writing the novel, the Book is jammed with odds and ends.

I don't feel I can really start a new WIP until I have the right Book chosen, the right stickers on it to indicate the theme for the book, and have picked out a few floor plans and maps of towns. Once I have that in place, I can really start writing.

I have a bin full of old Books and they've come in handy when I had to revisit a novel I wrote years ago. They remind me of who that character is, what their house looked like, and so on. I have vague plans to write one novel that contains all of my characters from my mystery stories, and it'll come in handy then. If I get to it.

So much writing, so little time!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

What is the weekend to you?

To most of us, it's a chance to catch up. Get the laundry done, get the groceries, do all the chores we don't have time to do during the week.

My situation is a bit different than the normal Worker Bee. I work from home, so I can slip out during the weekday to get groceries, pick up the laundry, mail a letter. I can get the laundry done while I'm on a conference call and I can have the repair people over to fix something without much interruption in my life.

But the weekend is still catch-up for me and it's catch-up on the Writing Stuff. I'm on the day job from 5 a.m. to about 5 p.m. most days. I'm not chained to my desk the entire time but I am on duty, as it were, and try to answer all email and phone calls during that time. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm on call at night, too. I check my email until about 9 p.m. most days.

I try to have a firm cut-off time because once I'm off the Day Job, I can do the Writing Job. I don't like to post on Facebook, Twitter, etc. during my Day Job because, well, I'm on the job, you know?  "Hmm. She's posting during office hours. I wonder why?" We don't have set hours, we don't have lunch hour, we don't have breaks. I'm always on the clock when the Day Job computer is turned on. Yes, I can walk away from the computer to run those errands, but I carry my phone with me and I'm available, if needed.

Let me hasten to say my boss does not insist on this. No one is looking over my shoulder. But it's still the principle of the thing, I guess. I like my Day Job (99% of the time. The other 1% is not so fun), and I plan to continue as long as my writing doesn't pay the bills. The minute my writing kicks in and earns me what my Day Job does, well, that's the day I can reconsider my priorities. But for now, I have to use Day Time for Day Job.

Weekends, though, are for the Writing Life. I only get 2 or 3 hours a night to work on writing, so the weekend is when I try to do some promoting, some research, some catching up on correspondence. Promotion is essential for an author like me, someone with small publishers who have little distribution (i.e., you don't see my books in a bookstore so there's no impulse purchasing). I have to target my audience, and I hope my audience will spread the word, so that, little by little, I build my own distribution.

That's where you folks come in. You're my network of people who will, I hope, spread the word about my books. ALL of them are still in print, and all of them are still available. There are new people all the time looking for books. If you've read one of my books, please share a review on Good Reads or Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The more reviews, the easier for my books to be found.

Anyway: here we are. It's the Weekend. A time of infinite possibilities, as far as I'm concerned. I have my list of Things To Get Done (post an excerpt here; upload some content there; set up a giveaway on Good Reads for then -- all repeating tasks). If I can get throught that To Do list, then maybe -- JUST MAYBE -- I can finish that book I've been working on since January 1. I have one more book I want to write before June 1, so... fingers, don't fail me now!

Friday, February 13, 2015

I'm hearing the voices in my head

When I first start a new book, it takes awhile before I hear the voices in my head. Until I visualize the characters, their locations, their voices -- it's a chore to write. I sit and stare at the screen and think, "where is the plot going here? What should they be doing?"

But once the voices start, I don't think about plot. I don't think about where they are. I write and write, then I go back and fill in the details (the clothing colors and the furniture and the weather).

When I have the voices, they're always with me. I hear them in the car (especially in the car). I talk out loud, working out details. He'll have to go to the kitchen and she can't see him. So she has to sit with her back to him. That means the couch needs to face the windows. What's she seeing when she's sitting there? I keep a digital recorder in the car and I'll dictate a note about that, so when I get home, I know what to write.

The voices are loudest right before I fall asleep. I think it's because I'm finally putting everything else to one side. I'll lay down and think, "She has to mention that thing about the jigsaw puzzle. If she doesn't mention it here, then he can't use it later on." So I'll get up, jot a note, then lie down again. And sometimes repeat, again and again.

So yes: the voices are talking to me again.

Life is back on track.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Promo Progress ... kind of

I've checked off a couple of items from this year's To Do List.

* Submitted my cozy series to a new publisher. I had to write a synopsis (yikes. It's been years since I had to do that), so that slowed me down. But I submitted one book and the details about the other 3 finished books and the 2 I'm writing.

* I got an author page going on Facebook. Well, it's not public yet, but it will be soon. I've been diddling with it here and there.

* I'm digging back into Twitter. Lord, I dislike Twitter because it's addictive. But I'm limiting myself to just a few minutes a day. So far, so good.

Not bad for 13 days into the year. I've got 2 chapters written in Whole (the Alice in Wonderland book), and I plan to hole up (no pun) this weekend and get some Serious Writing Done.

Next up: writing, dig into Goodreads, and get that Author Page published. Then consult my list and see What's Next.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What's up in 2015?

Everybody makes goals for the year, and here are mine:

1. Find a publisher for my cozy mystery series. I love my romance publisher (Wild Rose Press), but this is a mystery series and it needs a different publisher, I think.

2. Write two books before May 1. These are two more books to join the 4 books already done for the Remembered Classics Mystery series (see #1). Two books, 4 months? Crazy? Just maybe.

3. Spend May to December (hmm. Is there a song there?) working on the Endless American Dream series.

4. PROMOTE Promote PROMOTE. I have 20+ books in my freakin' back list. Get out there and sell those puppies!

5. Everything else: world peace, lose 20 pounds, exercise more, drink less. The usual.

Okay, the goals are on paper, so to speak. Let's see if I can do it!