Monday, May 18, 2020

AUTHORS DURING THE PANDEMIC

For the last three Fridays, I have been going to a bar.

I have listened to some amazing authors read from their works or read from short stories that they have written.

All of this would not be possible if not for the ingenuous or maybe it's just crazy, mind of  +EdAymer. 

He is the mastermind behind Noir At The Bar. Something he has done for a while and what used to be hosted at a bar in DC.

Well since the pandemic and ''stay at  home'' orders were issued, he has still hosted his events at the bar.

Well, virtual bar that is.

He has had an INCREDIBLE line up of authors.

He even has a pianist and mixologist.

Every Friday, ranging from 8pm to 9pm, there have been at least six authors reading.

Everything from thriller to mysteries.

At it's peak there have been over 200 people at this virtual Noir At The Bar.

Where else can you interact with other people, listen to great readings and enjoy leaning how to make new drinks and hear some amazing music.

Who says you have to go out to enjoy every luxury that your local bar can give you?

If you aren't doing anything on Friday, why not join us for Episode 4 of  +NoirAtTheBar at 8pm. There will be more authors, more fun and you never know what can happen. Join us and see just how much fun we are having while still staying home.

Social Distance? Sure, we can handle that hand's down. Check out some of the authors that have attended and read for us.

+AustinCamacho +MattIden +ZackPowers +RoseSolari +TaraCampbell +JohnCopenhaver all joined us; just to name a few.









Wednesday, May 13, 2020

READING EVERYTHING

I have taken to reading everything that I can.

I am now reading a murder thriller that has me sleepless at night. Why do I continue reading it?  Because the author has done a great job of keeping me interested in the story with the action and the suspense.

What are you doing during your time at home and in between working from home and being a full time teacher to your kids. (if you have some)

If you haven't checked out my latest books; here is a great time to do it.

I am on Amazon and my e-books are everywhere.

What books are you reading? Let me know on my author page on Facebook. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

STAY AT HOME AND DO WHAT

For an author this is the best time to get some major writing done.

We normally have so many things going on that we have to "schedule" time to do what we love.

Now because of the pandemic, we are getting as much time as we need to, to write.

Are you using this time to write? or do you still need some motivation?

I have found that this is the perfect time for me. What else could be better for a setting than staying in your house, trying not to kill your husband and children.

This is the perfect time to come up with a murder mystery. How could you kill them and get away with it during this time? How could you use this time to wisely?

Well first you have to go back into that writing room that you set up a year ago with the intention of writing every day.

Then you have to sit there and dream up of so many scenarios that you have to have a white board to keep up with the ideas.

Next, call up Staples and have them send over ink and paper because the words will be flowing out of you at a fast pace.

Ok, so that may not actually work but now is the perfect time to stir up those creative juices and get to writing that next installment or new novel. 

How are you spending this time during the pandemic? 

Are you writing or still find an excuse not to write?

Let me know on my FB author page, Author B Swangin Webster.

As for me, I am still editing but I have a new novel in my head and as soon as these edits are finished, that new novel is already written. All I have to do is put it on paper.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

DIVERSITY VS SEGREGATION

I had an interesting conversation with a fellow author about segregation and diversity.

An an African American author; I would hope that I am being diverse in my writing. I have "black" characters but I also have characters that I have not 'colorized' and hope that people read into it what they want. 

One of my favorite authors, writes an action thriller novel and I always thought his character was black. When I asked him about it, he says. "His character is whomever you want him to be. People have told me that they thought he was white. Others have said they thought he was black. But I purposefully didn't give him a distinct ethnic background. I want my readers to be diverse and telling them the color would not make me diverse."

I found that very interesting.

Talking to other African American authors, they don't seem to know the difference. They want to "write for the black readers." 

That's the difference with me. 

I want to write for ALL readers. I want my audience to be diverse and not segregated. Take for instance a group on FB that is called Mystery Writers of Color. They welcome all people of color. Black, Hispanic, Italian, Indian, etc. 

Imagine what kind of backlash this group would get if it was called the Mystery Writers of White People. They would only welcome white authors. 

Would we (people of color) be offended? Would we demand that they "include" us? Would we ban together and demand that FB delete that account? Would we begin posting that people shouldn't buy their novels because they are segregating other authors from their group?

Is this segregation or diversity? Is it diversity when we create groups for ONLY people of color. What about being called Mystery Writers of FB. How about that? 

Another interesting comment was made to me. Some think that people of color should be given discounted rates for attending conferences because we are "people of color" and might not be able to afford to attend. This same person said that Thrillerfest is mostly white and I pointed out that although it is mostly attended by white authors. They pay their money just like me to attend. Well what about the white authors that attend the same conference and have to pay full price for attending. Should they get a discount as well? 

I asked E. Jerome Dickey why he never attended Thrillerfest. A conference for thriller writers. His words, "they need to reach out to me to attend." 

In what world! I wanted to scream. No one there is big enough to have Thrillerfest reach out to them. Mostly everyone pays for attending that conference. Only NY Times best sellers have publicists that tell them to attend this conference. They push their author out there. Even NY Times best sellers have to pay for a hotel; just like me. Unless their have a mega contract and their publisher decides to pay for their hotel. 

You would be surprised in the amount of times that actually happens. Most of the time, they have to pay for their food. Just like me. Why is he different? Because he's black? Get out of here! If he paid for that conference and the people that run it, do their homework like they always do, then they would reach out to him. 

He is a big name in the African American community but no where else. Why is that? I am not sure why. 

I'm confused. We (people of color) want to be noticed for our writing yet some of us only write to a black audience. 

The very first speaking engagement I had was to a room full of white women for the Chamber of Commerce where I was residing at the time. They were welcoming and very entertained by my novel. Although my novel had main characters that were black, the problems that they encountered were problems that everyone has. Money issues, cheating in a marriage, business issues and wayward teenagers. They didn't see the characters as just black, they saw them as people and that is what I wanted.

My next novel doesn't describe the characters as either black or white. They are simply twins, living their lives and trying to find love. 

What do you think? Are authors of color trying to be diverse or are they segregating themselves by only writing and attending "people of color" events?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

NEW YEAR NEW YOU

As an author you constantly have to stay relevant to your authors.

Are you?

What do I mean by that.

Now is the time for you to begin thinking about re-branding yourself. 

Think about your cover photo. The one you took five years ago and have never updated it since.

Think about your bio. The one you wrote five years ago and still use today.

Are you saying that you haven't changed at all? Are you saying that your bio is still accurate and that the photo on your website or book jacket is still you? 

I know that I have changed a lot in five years. I have more grand children. I have gained a little more weight and my appearance has changed. 

I am constantly trying to re-brand or update myself.

Every author should do that. 

EVERY YEAR.

I met an author who said we had met before. Ok, I took her word for it but I didn't recognize her. I go home, pull our her book and holy smokes. She was correct. We had met; even took a lot of selfies together but she looked nothing like I remembered her. I checked her website and the woman that I met was still there. The woman I met in person was not her.

Would her fans recognize her now? She hadn't gained weight. Instead she had lost it and all of her features were different. Why didn't she update her website? Why didn't she let her fans know of her new look.

I think many of us put up our website, FB page or Twitter feed and forget about it. Sure we change the content but we don't update the most important part. We need to update ourselves. We need to change that picture as often as we change the content.

What do you think? Do you still look exactly like you did at that first book signing you did. Do you still have the picture of yourself five years ago on your website. 

Why not take the time this month to update all of your pictures and bios. 

I know I am.

Keep writing because I am. 

Monday, December 9, 2019

NOT ENOUGH NETWORKING

Authors have a very difficult job to do.

First we must right a novel, then we have to edit the novel. After that we have to approve a cover, write a synopsis (which is harder than you think) and then we have to begin marketing the novel. Then we have to come up with an elevator pitch. (more about this later)We must do all of this BEFORE the book is even out.

Then we must network but that is the hardest part.

You would think networking would be a great thing to do but it is not when you are only networking with other authors.

This is not something you want to do a lot of. Sure you want to network but who is your audience. Other authors? Sometimes. But most of the time, your audience is your readers.

Are you networking with them? Are you going where they are? Are you showing up at an event thrown by a friend, not as the guest but as the "celebrity" making a "guest appearance"?

Sounds corny, right?

But think about it. 

You get invited to a Christmas party. You go because you are supporting your friend. Once you get there, find out if there are readers there. How do you do that? Ask? duh! If there are a lot of readers, say about half of the crowd, pull the hostess to the side. Ask them if they wouldn't mind introducing you as an author and allowing you ONE MINUTE of their time to introduce yourself and your novel (elevator pitch) . 

Keep it to a minute because the party isn't for you. Even if you don't have a lot of readers in attendance, you may still be able to make a sell because they know someone who loves reading. 

Networking with fans is way more important than networking with authors. Why?

Some authors feel you are their competition and although they will be 'happy' for you, they aren't going to buy your novel and spread the word about you if they feel you are taking their potential sales. 

Instead, you need to network with people you are trying to reach. After all you wrote a novel for READERS, right?

So get out there and begin networking with READERS. They are you audience and remember use every opportunity to tell at least one person that you are a published author. 

What do you feel about networking? Do you do it a lot or is that "not your cup of tea''?

Let me know on my FB page or tweet me @bswanginwebster

Thursday, October 17, 2019

LIFE KEEPS INTERRUPTING ME

I have been MIA since May. My goodness where did the time go.

It's already the middle of October and I am not anywhere close to my goal of blogging every single month.

Well, life keeps interrupting me.

Social engagements, sickness and writing has pulled me away. I guess that is a good thing; especially the writing part.

That's not an excuse; its just my reality.

Well at least I haven't been daydreaming or binge watching my favorite "Chicago" themed shows.

So, my novel is finished. It is with the editor.

My business is going very well.

My tiny house is moving forward, at a snails pace, but still moving forward.

What has been happening in your world? 

Please keep up with me on my social media pages and if you don't see a blog from me next week; leave me a message on my FB author page.

Sometimes I just need a little nudge. 

Who am I kidding? 

I need a push and a shove!

Keeping reading and I'll keep on writing.