Thursday, October 25, 2012

Conferences...Should I go or stay home?

That is the question I used to ask myself and I used to say, I'm not going. What would I have to gain by going anyway? Besides, I could keep that money in my pocket.

Well, let me tell you. Going to conferences should be on your list of things to do. Why? Well I'm glad you asked. What, you didn't ask? Well, I'm going to tell you anyway.

Conferences not only prepare you for what you will deal with when trying to promote yourself and they also make for great networking opportunities. Yes, you need to be able to tell someone about your book in less than 15 minutes and at a conference you are asked that question hundreds of times. Great practice.

Austin Camacho plans his schedule a year in advance. He then checks the schedule of the conference he wants to attend and the panels he wants to see. It also gives him a way to get his personal copy of the novel signed by the author. "I used to go to learn about the business and to improve my writing. Now I go for the networking and the charge I get from being around great writers."

See that is what I'm talking about! He has a plan and he sticks to it. Now quiz time. How many of you have a plan to attend conferences? (hearing the birds and crickets) Well, do you see my hand waving around in the air like a flag? I plan on going to as many conferences as my purse can handle. Like, the C3 conference in Baltimore in September 2013 and Love is Murder in February and Thrillerfest in July.

So I already have three on my schedule and now I need one or two more. Hmm, should I go to Romfest in June or maybe it will be Bouchercon in October. These are just a few that I can choose from.

Which one will I see you at? Drop me a line and let me know so that I can meet up with you. I'd love to see you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Are you doing enough?

What do I mean by that?

I mean; are you doing enough? I think it is self explanatory. Are you doing enough to market yourself; to be an author; to be published.

First let me say this, as I step up to the mic, that I had become a slacker. So to answer my own question. I used to do enough and then life got in the way and I started finding excuses.

However after seeing a friend past me in the marketing game; oh you didn't know. I'm super competitive. Anyway, after seeing him past me in his efforts to get his book seen by hundreds or thousands, I said to myself, "game on!"

Ever since then, I've been all over the place. I've been to markets, schools and conferences. I've paid my way to do these things and yes it gets to be costly but I want to been seen by hundreds and thousands too. (OK, sorry I was whining just a little bit) Anyway, I set a budget in my mind and then I make it happen. Plain and simple.

So, I ordered my business cards, banners, postcards and magnets. I ordered books, starting blogging and bought some new clothes; (a perfect reason to shop) and set about doing what I could to get my name and face and books in front of people.

So; I'll ask again, are YOU doing enough? If not; what's the excuse?

I'm sorry, I can't hear you. Do you need your own mic? If so; I'm passing to you now...

Monday, October 22, 2012

What do you write in?

Rosemary, or Rosey to her closest friends, found me on LinkedIn when I sent an invitation to blog.
Today she tells us what she likes to wear when she is writing.When I blog I rest my feet in furry pink slippers on a built-in obsolescence model printer. Practically it is to save my knees and level my bottom. Metaphysically, what is it? Lowest upward – let us consider.
Obsolete printer? I have finished with cheapos bought from department stores. The days of pandering to the teaching profession with lush handouts produced spontaneously in the wee hours for belligerent students are gone. When the school door was firmly closed, I emptied the ink for a friend who shook over a forthcoming inspection then declared this object redundant. It stubbornly retained the label some months later when I repurchased ink for another purpose so now it is under my feet. Any future model will have to be laser, imperishable and funded. The old model signifies the fight for better facilities.
Pink fluffy slippers? These signify comfort, warmth and refusal to totally negate a young girl’s dream world with the harsh realities of advancing age. Slippers hug my feet with love, for my daughters supply them. They remind me to see a pretty image in the mirror even if I have to dim the light. They defy the cold and whisper to me of days in the Jamaican sun where feet never feel a chill. Slippers predict better days to come
Bottom always pressed into a hardwood chair, computer bound, several mornings a week? This signifies persistence. It is the only quality lauded by pundits as likely to succeed. Using this, I keep electronically communicable, approachable as an author, aspiring as a marketer and battling as a writer. My relief is a walking job for limited wages but my belief is in the profit that will one day flow from the balanced cheeks here firmly pressed.
Who ever said writing does not pay needed to add “yet”. We live in an age when centenarians are becoming average. In the old span of life we were ancient at seventy, now we are late middle-aged. Let us all build dreams for our extended phase.  With electronic literature, e-sales, pyramid promotions we must redress the march of time, the conformity to stereotype, the deterioration of the fiery spirit that fuelled us and find obsolescence to climb over, comfort to cling on to and visions to invest in. My seat at my computer does all these things. I’m sure yours is doing it for you too.
Thanks for sharing the positive promise of a writing life.

Thanks Rosey, I'm making myself her closest friend and for me; I like to wear...wait this isn't about me, is it?
What do you like to write in?
Let us know and while you are at it, why not stop by and check her out

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What's your excuse?

I recently guest blogged on a friends blog. Mr. Camacho asked me to present a blog for him and of course I jumped at the chance.

After posting to it, I realized that I had every excuse, well not all of the excuses, but most of them; not to write. I thought about it and then said, well why aren't you writing. And the simple answer is; because I'm so very busy.

Ok, well not real busy but busy enough that I can't dedicate a lot of time to writing. Now if you read his blog you saw that I'm the marketing director of Intrigue Publishing; and that is a serious job. I need to make sure that I am helping all the other authors out there.

Then there are the grandbabies. Five of them and one of them is a girl. So of course I need to spend time with them and teach the boys how to protect their girl cousin and teach my granddaughter how to be a diva. (side note: she just turned one and she is a diva; all by herself)
Then there is the football season; need I say more? I mean, really? Seriously? How can I concentrate on writing when there is so much to do.

Oh look, there is another distraction. I need to wash clothes, clean the house, go shopping, do homework (did I mention that I am a FULL TIME college student).
Whew, after all of that now its time for me to check 'my status' on Facebook, and then there is the mindless 'tweeting' that needs to be done. But wait, I need to 'connect' on LinkedIn.
Ah, now here is some time that I can just chill. To sit on the porch and look aimlessly at the clouds forming.
Oooohh, look it looks like a big pillow. Will you look at the time; I need to run to Lowes to get some fall flowers before the store closes, in 4 hours!

Wait...did you hear that? It's me, pumping my brakes. Everything I just said (typed) is an excuse. I had at least two good hours to work on my novel and I decided to sit on the porch and look at the sky.
Ok, well sometimes we call it "inspiration" today I call it, an excuse.

So I am going to just do it! I'm going to sit down in this chair and start working on my novel...that is right after I re-arrange my sitting room.

Ooops, I'm doing it again; aren't I? I promise, right after writing this blog, I'm going to start working on my novel....
check back here in two days and find out what I really did with my free time.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What's your writing process

Today we welcome back "author in the making" Jade. She gives us a little glimpse of her writing process.
Grab your cup of tea, coffee or 'other' refreshment', sit back and take a read.

            When B first asked me to blog about my writing process I was shy about sharing.  Writing is such an intimate and private affair. No one had inquired about my process before. You only hear about a writer’s method once they’ve received a check and thus earned the title author.  I may not have a contract yet but I do have a set of writing rituals that include, setting time, a designated space, and outlining. All of these things allow me to get lost in the world I create.
             The idea for the novel had been in my head for years but not a word made it to print. To make it happen, I knew I had to set a deadline. I signed up for an Extreme Novel writing course at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda. I signed a contract agreeing to write a novel in 8 weeks. For at least 90 minutes per day, 5 days a week I was committed to working on my book. Each Monday night we’d come together and share the good and bad about our journey. The writing advice was great but the best thing for me was the accountability factor. Knowing I had to check in with others about my progress was motivating. Not everyone is willing to plop down $270 to have others shame them into writing but having someone check you from time to time aides in production. I needed a strong support group and the leader of that team started with me.
            I set my deadline and writing hours. People could not reach me between the hours or 9:00am and 1:00pm I was unavailable. That’s my designated writing time. There are few exceptions but I do not answer my phone or do lunch between those hours Monday through Friday.
            I secure my writing space. There are certain rules that my beautiful husband and 7 year-old son understand. If I am in my writing room, you are not. If I am not in my writing room, you are not. That is sacred space designated for one purpose and that’s to write. I don’t go in there if I am not writing. I won’t even edit in that space. It’s that serious. I compose detailed outlines there and talk out loud to my characters. I talk to them using their inflections, accents and attitudes. This helps me create dialogue. I speak the way they do out loud so the words on the page will do the same for the reader. 
            Most importantly I allow the words to flow. Picking them apart is a far more painful process and comes later. I don’t worry about grammar I just let the words spew and keep in mind that I’ll clean up later. All inhibitions leave and I just express raw thoughts. Having an outline sounds rigid and stifling to some but knowing where I’m going gives me the freedom to have fun creating along the way.