Creativity and Promotion

Creativity and promotion can coexist, but often butt heads.

As in my example. My publisher is running a promotion for my book, STRANGER OR FRIEND, (link here and book image, right side) and I totally forgot. To my defense, we had a big fire in the area yesterday, there were ashes everywhere, horrible traffic in every direction, and we could see the smoke and hear the water helicopters late into the night.

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That aside, my wonderful publisher is running a promotion and the book is listed on several sites, Discounted Kindle Books and  Booklovers Heaven, so I thought I’d get myself organized and mention this wonderful event.

I was told the eBook is offered for $0.99 today, it goes to $1.99 tomorrow and $2.99 the day after.

And now that the bags are almost packed, we’re on our way to Coronado Island, finally.

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image: abcmedia

Do Parallel Universes Exist?

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I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of parallel universes, although I don’t read nearly enough science fiction; don’t write any. What brought it all back was my outlining the next Zoe Sinclair novel, the research involved in trying to get the story moving in a direction I feel more than know at this point.

After Stranger or Friend, the character reemerges with somewhat of a fractured psyche. We can’t walk though a dark forest, as Zoe did physically and emotionally toward the end of the book,  and resurface unscathed.  

But what does a broken psyche have to do with a parallel universe?

Well, according to physicists, we, the observers create our own reality. There is apparently overwhelming evidence, forcing physicists to admit that the universe is a “mental” construction. So, in real life, a person with a fractured psyche, someone like Zoe, would see the world differently, but maybe not for the reason we imagine.

First, let me take you to Susanna Kaysen’s memoir, Girl Interrupted, in which the author describes her “struggle to transcend across the boundary that separates her from two parallel universes: the worlds of sanity and insanity, security and vulnerability.”

Kaysen details “her existence as a patient diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in a mental institution where time seems circular alongside a parallel universe where time is linear.” She describes “the reality of her situation and experiences, leaving her readers in a disturbing position of being suspended between the world she paints and the factual reality.”

Which leads to the question:  Does the patient suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder, or is it possible that by having suffered severe trauma she’s able to see into a parallel universe closed to the rest of us, the so-called sane?

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The questions are too great to remain unexplored. And yet exploring them only leads to more questions.

I touched upon the idea of dream interpretation in Stranger or Friend, allowing my character to alleviate suffering by ‘dreaming’ of a long-lost relative, crossing into a different universe, if you will.

We often hear stories about people able to access different parts of their consciousness after severe trauma, or the ability to enter another self through transcendental meditation. But is that what it is, or are they accessing something else entirely?

Here is what scientists have to say about parallel universes:

“A fundamental conclusion of the new physics acknowledges that as observers we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality.”

Meaning that through perception we create our reality, and reality does not exist outside our thought process. And there are parallel realities all around, “universes were wars had different outcomes than the ones we know, species that are extinct in our universe have evolved and adapted.”

Physicist Sir James Jeans wrote: ‘The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, but the governor of the realm of matter.” – R.C. Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University.

I can easily get lost in such complexities, life is stressful enough already, but as writers, as thinkers, we can say this thought boggles the mind and yet, it is still comprehensible… well, almost.

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Images: http://www.flickr.com, galerie.designnation.de

June Gloom, June Cheer

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Days seem to blend into one another, forming one repetitive entity — one of too many engagements — and there is never enough time to do everything, not even a fraction of things, in fact, as we trudge along like a programmed multitude of wired brains.  

But that stops in June, doesn’t it? June is filled with the promise of summer fun, family togetherness, vacations, picnics, and leisure. It’s the one time of the year when I seem to catch up on work … to some extent.

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For many people June symbolize the beginning of summer, but here in Southern California, June brings us gloom, hence the term June gloom — another reason I like June, a break from the heat. And it follows May, which is known here as May rain. (Yes, everything must rhyme).

And, of course, curiosity kicked in as I was writing this post, and before long I learned that June was named in honor of Juno — protector and special counselor of the Roman state, queen of the gods, daughter of Saturn and sister of the chief god Jupiter.

However, the name is believed to also come from iuniores (young men; juniors) as opposed to maiores (grown men; majors) for May, the two months being dedicated to men of all ages. Here’s to you, gentlemen!

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The month of June, for me, is symbolic of peace, of new scenery — as we’re planning a vacation to Coronado Island here in California. New places, new attitudes, a perfect time to make new memories, get re-inspired, refreshed, perhaps take a moment to reevaluate the journey and start the second half of the year with a clear mind and heart.  

Would love to hear what you have to say on the matter, dear blogging friend. Give me your June thoughts, or any thoughts.

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Images: paintingsIlike.com, rgbstock, pinterest.com

Thoughts and Lessons Learned

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Third and final radio interview is done — big, deep breath. Whew!

Putting oneself out there is a bit frightening, but the lessons learned through experience are irreplaceable, one of the most important lessons: relax and have fun while talking about my book.

When a writer friend ask if I’d detail all this for her blog — how I secured the interviews, anything gleaned in the process — I  said of course.

So, here is the first of many (hopefully) posts on my ad hoc book-publicity training. The interview, in which I found myself talking about Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci among other things, is at the end of the post. A good way for me to save the link, as I realize listening to yet another interview is a big time investment.

But, first things first: the post originally written for Montanascribbler.

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Book Publicity via Radio Interviews

As a published author, you will inevitably look to publicize your book via guest-blog articles, social media, and radio interviews. Assuming we’re talking about a good book, nothing drives sales more than marketing.

I was thrown into the deep waters of marketing with my first novel, Stranger or Friend. In the course of two months, I did over 30 blog posts, more social media than I can remember, and three radio interviews — one in person and two over the phone. With some help from my publisher and other authors, I immersed myself in publicity training.

For the purpose of this post, and at Mona’s invitation, I will focus on one aspect of book publicity: radio interviews – how to secure them and lessons learned.

In this day and age of internet radio stations, it really isn’t that difficult to secure an interview. However, as a new author, I was fortunate enough to receive help from my publisher, who, through a fellow author, helped schedule my very first internet radio interview with Power of Perception. For this appearance, I was asked to provide a short bio, book cover and blurb, and to be punctual.

Once immersed in the school of marketing, I found that booking radio interviews, while time consuming, is something I can do on my own.

STEP ONE: I crafted a query email and sent it to the PR manager for my local radio station as well as to several independent stations. I received two invitations, one from said local station and one from a popular internet radio host. For the local station, I was asked to provide a Press Kit. For the second internet-radio interview, I was asked for a list of talking points and the usual promo materials (cover, bio, and book blurb).

STEP TWO: Once the interviews were scheduled, I spent hours going through the archives and listening to previous author interviews. Preparation, after all, is everything. 

A few take-aways from this experience

  • Each interview process is different. For internet radio, you will be asked to provide a bio, book cover and blurb, and depending on the host, talking points. These interviews are long (45 minutes to one hour) with no breaks, so long answers are standard. 
  • For the in-person 30-minute interview with commercial breaks, keep your answers brief and to the point. 
  • Prepare some possible responses, but don’t write them out verbatim; that would sound automatic. 
  • Listen carefully to the questions. It’s easy for authors to become anxious and interrupt the host. I did it a couple of times; had to catch myself and relax, wait for my turn. 
  • Be energetic. If the guest comes across as distant, the audience will not care. If you are doing a phone-in radio interview, smile. The audience will hear it in your voice.
  • Refer listeners back to your book. This is why you’re doing the interview in the first place. Subtly refer people back to your book every chance you get.

Creating name recognition through marketing is a process; one that might take several books and a focused marketing plan. Writing a great book is half the job. For the rest, we have to step out of our creative comfort zone. While we’re at it, and because marketing is different from writing, it’s important to relax and have some fun.

Authors Talk About It Interview

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Images: wallpapersinhq.com, wallpaperswa.com