Category Archives: One life

Another Step on The Shaky Road

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First, a thank you is in order. Thank you for following my road-to-publication stories. For commenting. For being here.

As I await release of Stranger or Friend, I discover there’s always a new marketing tool, another article I should read. You know … to keep abreast of the latest grand strategy guaranteed to make the novel an overnight success.

I am tempted to take out an ad in the paper: hiring publicist who works for food.

Anyway, the latest is my amazon author page. Imagine that — a whole page on amazon with my name and shenanigans on it. Pity my husband for the inflated ego he’ll have to deal with around the house.

But, seriously I have a page. Here it is (and linked to the photo above), if you’d like to click on it.

And here is the cool part.

Amazon, as you probably know, has a way of arranging books in a certain order, making them more or less visible for the reader, and to do this they use a certain formula kept in a high security vault room.

While no one knows this formula, some secrets have leaked out. One is: how does an author get visibility on amazon? Sales contribute to this, sure, and reviews, but … oh, there is a but, dear blogging friend.

It takes more than sales to see a big unknown move up the ranks. It takes page views, and follows on amazon.  The more page views an author gets — and of course, the more follows — the more visibility. And the more visibility, the higher the ranking. And higher ranking keeps an author from sinking to the bottom of the amazon pool.

I did my best to put together a half-decent page, and  … tam taram tam tam, I now present it to you. Would love to know what you think.

Thank you.

What in the World?

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What does sending a new book out into the world entail? A lot of hits and misses.  Comedy of errors. Insert favorite cliché.

It also involves marketing, which I am learning about at headache-inducing speed. But that’s apparently what we’re supposed to do while having a book on pre-order, and ahead of release date. Luckily, I find this new, enthralling dance fun. So far, anyway.

While going through the ‘to-do’ list ahead of release, I started with goodreads and updated my profile, as instructed.

Voila. So easy, I thought, let’s explore the site.

As I clicked away, there was a part about inviting folks to my page/book, so I clicked and it opened my gmail contacts. I clicked okay, and before I knew it an email was sent to everyone on my gmail contact list, with this message: “check out my book.”

Spam.

I hate spam.  So, if any of you were affected by this oversight, ignore and forgive me. I’m still learning the ropes.

Next on the ‘to-do’ list was a twitter chat.  If someone had articulated this term to me last year, I would’ve shaken my head at the weird word combinations.

Luckily, I have heard of twitter chats when we chatted our hearts away ahead of the blogging challenge. Thank God for blogging.

Fine, I replied. I will chat on twitter, if you want me to.

An hour later, another message:  Okay, you’re on for our twitter chat, Friday March 13th (why Fri. the 13th, of all days?) at 8:30 Central, 9:30 Eastern. Meaning 6:30 AM my time in CA.

Is there no end in sight to this strangeness, you ask?

No idea.  What I do know is that I have a hashtag for tomorrow’s twitter chat, which is #StrangerorFriend. If you happen to be at your computer, and feel like stopping by, come chat with me and my publisher on twitter. It’s something like a short, informal Q&A.

I’m afraid to look at the next item on my ‘to-do’ list.

There Comes a Day: Stranger or Friend

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In the middle of preparations for the blogging challenge — scanning photos, thinking up words that start with letter Q — my publisher sent this message:

“Your book link is live,” and the link followed. There was more to that email, but I don’t remember another word. I clicked on the link, and there it was.

The mystery novel I’d spent somewhere in the neighborhood of five years writing, re-writing, editing, and shopping around. Available for pre-order on amazon.

The novel will be released on March 24th, but pre-orders help an author (especially a newly published one like yours truly), move up the amazon ranks.

Here is a short excerpt from Stranger or Friend, published by Solstice Publishing:

“Across the gravel road Zoe’s childhood home looked smaller, as if shrunken under the weight of life. Smoke from the chimney caught the moonlight in a slow dance, blurring into the night sky. A place of happiness, but Zoe knew better. She pushed the car door open and stepped out, ready for her final visit home.”

There comes a day, an old friend once said, when you will understand that writing the book was the easy part. :)

The Future

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When all else is lost, the future still remains. ~ Christian Bovee

Science-fiction writers have long been looking ahead — getting readers to envision the future. To dream it. Feel it. Live it.

Fiction, in general, focuses on vision — dreaming up stories with little known characters and worlds. Such a narrative requires tensions and problems, which forces one to consider a spectrum of potential, of roles we might play in making the world better or worse. 

The future remains a concept we explore in a myriad of ways.

In case you haven’t heard, FutureMe is a new website that allows you to write an email that will be delivered sometime later. Years from now, you could get a letter from your younger self saying, I hope you broke it off with that egomaniac and finally got around to the career you were talking about.

Of course, it would be better if it happened in reverse: Walk away from the guy with huge ego and go with the career, but we already talked about the younger-self in the previous post.

One question about the future I ask myself on occasions is how I might feel about certain issues down the line — politics, religion, writing, worldviews. Looking back at the younger self, the idealistic known-it-all college student, I can say that many things have changed since then, opinions have shifted over time.

Time will change and reverse many present opinion. ~ Plato

We change, no debate there. The world changes. Businesses change. Today, companies look into the future more than ever, searching for the next trend, next big concept.  One of the most desired qualities in management-level positions, according to Forbes, is the ability to conceptualize — to study the market and predict needs and wants. Be at the forefront of the ‘idea’ business.

I used to say trends are for the very young, and I don’t need to know about the latest this or that. But to keep in step with the writing world, for example (not ahead but barely in step), one must know what’s developing in the publishing business, contests, marketing.

But is there no end to this conceptualizing process? Are we sacrificing the present at the hands of the future, or is this the new normal? Should I just shut up and go write a letter to my future self?

Photo courtesy: imgarcade.com