Tag Archives: blogs

The Hurrier I Go the Behinder I Get – by Coco Ihle

I’ve always thought I was organized and efficient, even anal, as some people say. Since my book was published last April, my skills in being organized, efficient and anal have obviously fallen by the wayside. With all the blogging, reading other blogs and leaving comments, reading articles recommended, going to conferences and conventions, and generally promoting said book, the days and months have whizzed by and now my house is a wreck, I’ve lost weight because I haven’t stopped long enough to eat proper meals, my guest room is piled with “book stuff” and I’m frustrated about not having enough time for myself. Is it just me?

Get this. The other day, a neighbor, Ron, from across the street came over and knocked on my door. He’s a former cop and sometimes asks to use my fax machine, so when I saw him standing there I expected him to make his usual request. Instead, he lowered his head a bit and looked up at me through bushy eyebrows in what I could only describe as a serious or even grave expression. I was instantly alarmed. My overactive imagination conjured up my forty-something year old son in a terrible gory accident or my grandson with a surf or skateboard wrapped around his head. Maybe my sister was hurt or my brother-in-law had another heart issue. Could Nellie, my ninety-six year old next-door neighbor have fallen again? Was she still alive?

The whole second that sped by before Ron opened his mouth was filled with agonizing thoughts of doom and gloom. I had already broken out in a cold sweat, my knees were rubbery, my hands visibly trembled and my heart rate was competing with Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee.

Ron stepped closer and said, “I’m the Christmas Police. It’s time to take down your Christmas tree.”

I was so surprised and relieved, I almost melted right there on the vestibule concrete, but then I saw the smirk on Ron’s face. I was torn between explaining why I haven’t yet had time enough to take the tree down and fighting the impulse to smack him in the nose.

The only thing I could think of was, “What can I say. I love Christmas.”

“Just saying.”  With that, he turned and went back across the street.

I closed the front door and muttered to myself, “As soon as I finish my taxes I’ll take down the tree and clean and straighten the house and prepare a good healthy meal and sit down and relax and…”

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How Can You Be a Writer if You’re Not a Reader?

I  read a number of blogs. One blog I regularly read is written by an agent. On this particular occasion there was an informal discussion going on between several agents and editors, chatting about a dichotomy between readers and writers. The gist of it was that there were a whole lot of writers out there that weren’t readers. People convinced that they had a “book or two in them.” Or people who feel you can’t read other’s work in your genre because it will interfere with your “voice”

To me, the question has always been how can you effectively write a book if you don’t read them? Base it on TV? Your fascinating life? Because you’re a professional writer on the job?

I write many things professionally, articles, seminars, notes, and lots of reports. I’m writing something every day and while I don’t have the time to read six or more books a week anymore, I do read something everyday. I read for pleasure. I also read to keep an eye out for what is selling, what’s not, styles of writing, and premises used.

I write creatively and have completed two 90k contemporary romance manuscripts of a trilogy and I’m working on a paranormal trilogy. So, I’d say I had “a book or two in me”. I’ve told stories all my life. I come from a very creative family of oral storytellers and published authors.

My love of books came from reading voraciously throughout my life. As a child my parents and grandparents felt to be well read one must read classic literature first. I was also encouraged to branch out and explore various genres, not just one. Consequently, I regularly read various sub-genres of romance, paranormals, suspense and thrillers, and I love Sci-fi. You could say I’m a mood driven reader. I’m the same with music for much of the same reasons-my parents and grandparents.

There is a perception out there that you can’t read another’s words when formulating your stories-something nonsensical about copying the voice or premise, yada yada. To me, that’s BS. My voice is mine and doesn’t change just because I read someone’s work.

I often think about how coaches train their athletes. It isn’t by ignoring the competition. To the contrary, they watch recorded games of the competition so they can be better. Actors know the style of other actors-they watch them. You don’t think musicians aren’t aware of those who produce the same style of music? Or artists aren’t aware of whose style is similar?

As an author, to know what’s marketable you have to read it. Analyze it. That’s keeping your finger on the pulse of market.

I’m a marketing/promotion rep by profession, to sell my products and people; I have to be familiar with what’s out there. Is their product comparable? Better? Worse? How is it packaged? Any book I write is my product and to market it effectively I have to know what’s selling, what my target demographics are and why.

So, you want to be a author? Read. Particularly in your genre. Know what’s selling out there and why.

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A Marketing Neophyte Meets the World (Wide Web, That Is)

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I have a confession to make: I am a marketing neophyte. I have no idea what I’m doing; I’m just making it up as I go along. Sales pitch? What is that? Self-promotion? Somebody hold my hand or better yet, do it for me. I don’t know how to self-promote. I certainly don’t know how to market a book. In fact, my knowledge of marketing could get lost on a pinhead. I am a complete and utter novice here. Okay, end of confession.

You might be wondering why I would make such a confession. Simple. Because this is the position that many authors find themselves in with the publication of their first book, especially if a small press publishes them. While small presses are a wonderful way for an aspiring author to break into the field, they often require the new author to contribute more of their time to their marketing campaign than a larger house might. But if you are a neophyte like me, this can present quite a challenge. How do you market yourself? Where do you start?

I started with the world wide web. The Internet takes the concept of Word of Mouth and amplifies it to ridiculous proportions. It broadens your scope from the tiny patch of earth you call home to the vast landscape of the world. Whenever you post something on the web, be it a blog, Myspace, or even Twitter, your words are traveling into the four corners of the world at the touch of a button. Literally. You are reaching a far greater number of people, in a shorter amount of time, than you possibly could if you took the trip yourself.

The concept is staggering, but the process doesn’t have to be. If you find yourself overwhelmed like I did in the beginning, start out small and expand upon it. Think of it like a stone cast into a pond. The initial contact with water is you and your book; you make this by casting yourself out there via your own blog. The next ripple is you finding a place to contribute a guest post. The next is you finding another place to promote your work and so on, until you have reached out across that pond to touch every possible shore within reach. It is a never-ending process, but it can be a very fulfilling one.

To get you started, I will share with you some of the places I have visited so far, which have proved welcoming of new authors. They are:

The Romance Junkies – http://www.romancejunkies.com/rjblog/
Novel Thoughts and Book Talk – http://novelthoughts.wordpress.com/
Novel Sisterhood – http://novelsisterhood.blogspot.com/
The Bookworm – http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/
Until we meet again, keep writing!

Margay Leah Justice, author of Nora’s Soul, now available on Amazon.com http://margayleahjustice.com

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