Monday, October 29, 2012

#Manly...If You're Out There

Helpful Twitter promotional tidbits for my self-published and traditonally-published Vortex tweeps:

Some useful hashtags:

#FreeKindleBook #freekindle #freebook #free #kindlepromo #freeebooks #IndieKindle #IndiePub #ebooks
Cut and paste into your existing list. Don't have a Twitter reference sheet? What in the name of Dean Butler are you waiting for? I'm sure even Dean has a reference sheet. #LittleHouse, #Manny, and my personal favorite, #Manly
If the D.B. reference escapes you, try these:
I still haven't heard from Mr. Butler. A girl can go all dreamy, can't she?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Come, New Author. I Have Some Tablets For You.

I've been freelance editing and ghostwriting long enough to have reached some epiphanies. They may not be earth-shattering to some, but more than a handful of people out there have plopped out a book and are stumbling over themselves to upload it for sale. I'm more than a bit conservative, super-protective of my brand, and hyper-aware of the importance of quality writing before going "live" in a cyber-environment that often seems like an annoying in-law: quick to judge and never seems to go away. Being a book reviewer has only enhanced these commandments I believe everyone who has typed the end punctuation on the final page of that first book should memorize.

I. Thou Shalt Know Your Market

Vomiting out a long series of subsections found in a Barnes and Noble store is akin to tossing crumpled manuscript pages at the brick and mortar and praying it will stick. Pick one. If you're good by any other standard than your mother and the creepy guy at the 7-11 who loves everything about you, pick two. Don't write what you haven't read since fifth grade.

II. Thou Shalt Know The Industry

We're not talking the kind of insider knowledge that would get the Romance Writers of America yearly convention buzzing about when the hottest, long-haired male editor arrived (and we romancies know who THAT is, don't we?) Gems like that take years of immersion. Please know what an editor does. We will not rewrite your entire book for you unless you pay us, handsomely, for the title Book Doctor because you have a bleeder and your opening sentence has flat lined. For this much hemorrhaging, we could write our own books.

III. Thou Shalt Chill

Traditional New York publishing notwithstanding, writing and publishing a book is still glacial. Laborious. Exhausting. The process is a marathon, not a sprint. Take a short cut or rush the process and you'll end up in the dirt beside the trail with mud-caked knees because you forgot to tie your laces. Piss out a novel in one month and expect it to turn 50 Shades of successful? Yeah, that's gonna happen.

IV. Thou Shalt Get Your Book Professionally Edited

Both content and line edited. Then think about doing it again. Nothing steams me more than swiping to the next page in my Nook and finding errors that a fourth grader could have found. It's disrespectful to your reader's time and pocketbook and the faith they placed in you to deliver a flawless story. Shame on you if you overlook this commandment.

V. Thou Shalt Recognize E.L. James As The Exception

Debate the quality (and we have here) of Ms. James's newly-minted empire, but repeat after me: I. Will. Not. Get. Rich. Is it okay to dream? Sure. But writing is not the path to fame. Most famous writers would probably prefer not to be famous outside of their royalty checks. We are overwhelmingly introverts and write because we have to and we love to, not because it will land us on the cover of USA Today or on a Hollywood set overseeing the film version of our book.

What are some other commandments writers should know before self-publishing or submitting to publishing houses or agents?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Soft Kitty, Distracted Kitty

Remember this shirt?
I'm wearing it now. Except it's pink. Hot pink. And my arms are less hairy. Seriously, why would a guy pick this shirt out of all the Big Bang Theory shirts out there? Completely emasculating, unless you look like this...

Despite his Zack-like expression, I say, "hoo."

Before we commence more time-foolery, let's catch up on Vortex business. Since my top-secret romance novel hit virtual stores, my newsletter subscriptions have doubled. I was so excited about this development, I drew two names to give away free copies. Trouble is, neither responded to my notification email. I fear the email may have entered the black hole of their spam folders. If you are on the newsletter list, you were automatically entered in the contest. Please check for the winning announcement in your spam folders. Free books await! I'll send out another attempt by Friday if I haven't heard back.
My first book review went live on Monday. I'm knee-deep in a Rebecca-type throwback to the Gothic romance, my fourth book set to review. My suspicions about the depth and breadth of self-published novels have, thus far, proven to be correct. I've read some that made me want to flail myself with a frozen Eggo waffle to stay awake and some that have brought me to my knees, salivating for more, wondering why, for-the-love-of-Suzanne-Collins, wasn't this book picked up for mass distribution and film rights. I have more amazing prospects percolating on the freelance stove, and I'm beginning to worry about my momentum shift.
The money, absent for so long in my literary endeavors, is addicting. Never was this more clear than driving around yesterday, minding traffic (because I'm wicked-rule-follower like that) and Black Lab's This Night played on my Ipod from my novel play list. It hit me like a Stephen King tome to the gut. I was sucker-punched back to the long-ago (well, a few months ago) place where I had left my work-in-progress edits, I couldn't fight the intense sadness in letting my goals stray. I've never been great at keeping multiple pots boiling. I tend to immerse myself a thousand percent in the project at hand, to the detriment of eating and stretching important muscles and all but involuntary body functions. I would love to know how other freelancers do it. I'm highly-organized, but when accountable to others, I am sometimes no longer accountable to myself.
Luckily, I had been to a Body Combat fitness class that very morning. I did one of those Charlie's Angels kicks (not what they're really called) to my mental derriere and remembered my bank account until the sensation passed.
What do you do to keep your outside projects balanced with your personal goals?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

No Asshattery Here

I've worn many writing-related hats since starting out on this fiction road almost thirteen years ago. The romance writer hat? A softie-knitted pink jobber, of course. Then there's the militant hat of self (and hired) editor, the veiled pillbox of ghostwriter, the jester's hat of blogger, the Sherpa of nah-nah-nah-nah, I'm-not-listening-to-the-"market" time travel author and the twin crowns of Golden Heart princess and rejection queen. This photo was creepy and royalty-free, so I snagged it. Let's call it my psychological suspense hat.

Today, I add another hat to the collection: book reviewer.

What qualifies me as such? Well, I read. Quite a bit, in fact, and extremely quickly (nine hundred words per minute, a talent I catalogue right beside my ability to turn Reese's peanut butter cups into a meal--no questions asked.) I have a pulse, and I know how to use it. Oh, and I wear all those other hats in my closet. Makes for a pretty well-rounded reviewer. At least, I hope.

What drew me to this project was the carte blanche of honesty. I always hate reading reviews obviously written by the author's mother's quilting bee. Or someone who didn't bother to offer anything past what I could glean from a blurb. And then, there's the importance of it all when placed right up against this climate of self-publishing. In a world where an author's mother's quilting bee is the last stop before Amazon and B&N, God help us all to sift through the sodden dreg at the bottom of the literary cup. The cream does rise to the top. I'm just helping that cream along a bit in my own way.

And lest you think this venture is altruistic, I assure you, it most certainly is not. I will be getting paid. Not in the John Locke sense of paid reviewer--I assure you, there is no asshattery in this closet--but by the review site seeking honest feedback for their subscribers and visitors.

I will be keeping anon, by the way. Unless you subscribe to my newsletter. There are a bounty of delicious secrets in those missives, aren't there? Guess you'll just have to join. A huge thanks to so many Vortex followers for getting the word out about my ghost-novel. I might need to come up with a clever street-team name to match my love for you all.

With a tip of the hat, I'm out...