Tag Archives: promotion

To Offer it Free or Not – Marketing Your Work

Free BooksAs with everything to do with the art of writing, publishing and marketing books, there are different views on the worth of offering your books free.

Some will argue that you should not work for free.  And, in essence, that is what you are doing when you offer your books free.  You have spent countless hours writing, editing, perfecting, and polishing your writing.  You chose the perfect cover, formatted the book for eBook, and finally are rewarded with seeing your hard work available to the world.

Of course, you want some monetary gain from all that hard work.  Who wouldn’t?

But, unless you are already a well-known author, will the world even know you exist?  Will they (the readers) buy your book when you are an unknown quantity to them?  When there are so many badly written, badly edited, and just plain bad, stories out there, the reader needs to have a reason to want to invest their money in your book.

Possibly one of the more appealings ways to an author is the free sample chapters.  However you get that out there, through posting them on social media, allowing partial sample downloads on Smashwords, or ther means.  Free samples let the reader get sucked into the story, and just as they get hooked they are cut off with no option except to stop there or get your book.

I see offering books free as a marketing tool.  Companies do it with other types of products all the time, offering try me samples in the hope you will love it enought to buy it.  The buy one-get one free offer.  Buy that and we’ll toss this in with it.  Get one month free.  Even the grocery stores get in on the action with their free sample days.  These are all teasers to encourage you to buy or try their product.

If there is one thing everyone loves, it is getting something for free.

How many books have you passed over buying because you didn’t know if you would like the author?  The write up on the back cover looks good, the cover art is enticing, but you just don’t know.  So you decide instead to buy that new book by the author you love.

This does not mean you have to give it away free forever.  Offer it free for a limited time. With so many companies marketing other products by this method, it must work.  Otherwise, they would invest that marketing money in other ways to market their products.  You can always offer it free again if it suits your needs.

You can also offer limited time coupon codes so that those who get the code can read it free while others have to purchase it.  Coupon codes can be used in a targeted marketing campaign.  For example, let’s say you are publishing a humor book suitable for grade school kids about survival while camping with scout groups.  Offer the coupon code to your local scout groups, giving the kids the eBook free.  If they read it and love it, they’ll tell their friends about it.  Target book clubs for your genre.  If your book is about gardening, offer the coupon code for free limited time download of your book to a few garden clubs.

Knowing they got something free that others have to pay for makes people feel special.  They feel like they got a prize, they feel superior, they feel a small sense of empowerment.  They feel like they matter just a little bit more.  They feel like someone cares.  Each feels special in a different way, depending on their personality.  It doesn’t matter how they feel special, you made them feel that way and they like you more for it.

The hardest part of selling books is getting readers to know it exists. If free offers help, then it is worth it.  The first job of selling your book is getting someone to read it.  If you did your job right in writing the book, then they will do your second job for you – getting them to talk about it.

People talk about books and share information on them for three reasons:

(1) They loved it,

(2) They found it controversial and it got their blood boiling,

(3) They hated it.

Nobody talks about the book that isn’t noteworthy.  They also won’t talk about it if they haven’t read it or even heard of it.  If they loved it, they will talk about it, and they also will want to read more.

Another way to get free samples of your work into your potential readers’ hands is short stories.  Offer short stories for free eBook download.  Blog them, Facebook them, share them.

Consider this:  work together with another author who writes similar stories in the same genre.  You both offer a free short story written by the other with the purchase of your book.  Both authors have a vested interest in promoting the books, one to earn the royalties and the other to get their reader audience to grow through the free short story.

Always remember to plug your other work.  Whether a book or a short story, free or for a price, always remember to include a plug for other published work that is available.

Every piece has to be your best.  Whether free or not, a 100 word flash fiction or 150,000 novel; every bit of writing you put out there needs to be good.  Advertising yourself with mediocre short stories will not increase your readership.

However you choose to market your work, the goal is the same – getting potential readers and buyers to notice you in a sea of possible authors.

L. V. where the bodies areGaudet is the author of Where the Bodies Are

What kind of dark secret pushes a man to commit the unimaginable, even as he is sickened by his own actions?

Watch for book 2 of the McAllister series coming soon at Second Wind Publishing, LLC:  The McAllister Farm.  The secret behind the bodies is revealed.

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Other links to purchase L.V. Gaudet’s books

Link to reviews of Where the Bodies Are on Angie’s Diary

https://angiesdiary.com/bookoftheweek-web/081-botwoct262014.html

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Summer Writing Conferences – by Deborah J Ledford

Okay, six full months have passed in this new year…have you kept your promise to focus and finish that manuscript you’ve been working on for far too long? If you need a little nudge, here are a few conferences certain to motivate.

The Book Passage Mystery Conference is a highly respected, small and intense conference July 19-22, 2012 – Corte Madera, CA. Two of my favorite authors will be featured during this four-day event: Cara Black, author of the Paris-based Aimee Leduc mystery series, and my all time favorite female thriller author, Karin Slaughter.  Also stoked that my critique group colleague, Arthur Kerns, will be appearing on the Law Enforcement panel where he’ll discuss his time as an FBI Special Agent and a CIA agent.

The Taos Summer Writer’s Conference, July 15-22, 2012 looks to be an intriguing conference. Touted as one of the top 10 writer’s conferences in the US by USA Today, is held in stunning northern New   Mexico. Taos is one of my favorite areas in the nation, which is why I selected the Taos Pueblo Indian Reservation for one of the main locations of my latest thriller, SNARE, book two of the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. If anyone out there has attended this conference, please leave us a comment about your experience.

As current President of the Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter, I would be remiss not to mention our annual mystery writers conference, “Criminal Minds: Investigating Today’s Writing Scene” August 11, 2012 at the Millennium Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. We have a fantastic lineup this year, including licensed psychotherapist and author Dennis Palumbo, publicity guru Dana Kaye, multi-award-winning author Sean Chercover, and an FBI Special Agent. In addition, acquisitions editor for the East Coast-based Five Star Publishing (an imprint of the internationally renowned Gale Publishing), Denise Dietz, will be accepting 15-minute pitches.

I’m most excited about learning more about marketing and PR from Dana Kaye, owner of Kaye Publicity. She has created innovative media campaigns for award-winning, bestselling authors such as Jaime Freveletti, Jesse Kellerman and one of my all-time favorite thriller authors, Gregg Hurwitz—methods that have proven successful.

I’d love to see you if you’ll be in the Phoenix, AZ area in August. Please visit the Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter website for complete conference and registration details.

Wishing you a fantastic summer of writing!

Deborah J Ledford’s latest suspense novel SNARE, The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist, is book two of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. STACCATO, book one of the serial, is also available. Both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing. To find out more about Deborah, receive a Free Download of the first chapters of her novels, and to read a few previously published short stories, she invites you to visit her homepage at the Second Wind Publishing website and her personal website.

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SNARE – Award Update

Well, SNARE didn’t win The Hillerman Sky Award at Left Coast Crime (LCC) 2011 in Santa Fe. I’m not disappointed though—still thrilled to have been nominated along with multi-published authors Sandi Ault, Margaret Coel and Christine Barber.

Margaret Coel received the Best Mystery That Epitomizes the Southwest honor, well deserved due to her longtime friendship of Tony Hillerman and popular author to New Mexico attendees. Margaret is a great storyteller and her keynote interview with the absolutely incredible writer Craig Johnson was a highlight of the convention.

The entire journey has been a wild ride and one I’ll never forget. Not only was this honor the pinnacle of my writing career to date, I had the opportunity to spend time with nominees in other categories. My friends Kris Neri (finalist in the Humorous Mystery category The Lefty), Rebecca Cantrell and Kelli Stanley (both up for the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award) were there to help calm my nerves and convince me I wouldn’t disappear (or faint) due to all the attention.

Fellow Sisters in Crime members from chapters all around the nation were also there to support me. Without the gracious votes and support from the Sisters and Misters SNARE would never have received the nomination.

Book two of the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series takes place in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina where I spent my summers growing up, and the Taos Pueblo Indian reservation. Both locations are dear to me and I am fortunate and blessed to have the opportunity to present to readers the incredible places that have sculpted me into the person I currently am.

Second Wind Publishing has been very kind to this author and SNARE as well. When Santa Fe, New Mexico’s location for this year’s LCC was announced I pushed hard to get the book released in time to receive a late December 2010 copyright so it would qualify for the one-time opportunity for Hillerman Sky Award consideration. Somehow they pulled this off and I couldn’t be more grateful to publisher Mike Simpson and his staff.

And big thanks to Pat Bertram who always does a fabulous job promoting Second Wind authors and their books. Pat’s newest release Light Bringer is now available and I know you will all love her words.

Even bigger thanks to those of you who have read SNARE and/or STACCATO. For those of you who have an interest to do so, the first pages of both novels are available as free downloads on my website.

Deborah J Ledford’s latest novel SNARE, The Hillerman Sky Award Finalist, is book two of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. STACCATO, book one of the serial, is also available. Both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing.

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What’s Up?

  I’m getting ready to make a few personal appearances to promote the release of my latest thriller novel SNARE, released by Second Wind Publishing. To date, SNARE has received four extremely favorable reviews and I couldn’t be more proud of the reception readers are giving the work. I’ve nearly run out of the first box of books from the publisher and am awaiting more for me to have available at the Left Coast Crime 2011 Convention in Santa Fe later this month.

I’m having a bit of trouble making contact with bookstores that will be represented at the conference—only one vendor seems to want to commit to handling books before the conference so it looks like I’ll be lugging a lot of copies with me.

A bookstore owner in Taos wants to meet with me while I’m in New Mexico, so that’s exciting. I sent a preview copy of SNARE and hopefully they will want me to make a personal appearance there this summer as well.

I also need to get to Winston-Salem and make an appearance at Barnhill’s Bookstore and say hello to the folks there. Since they’re affiliated with Second Wind and my books’ locations are set in North Carolina I hope there will be a warm reception and that we can sell a lot of SNARE and STACCATO.

Several fan letters have even come my way. I love to receive these–and to know that readers are enjoying the continuation of Steven Hawk’s journey, even though SNARE does feature a completely different theme and female lead.

Unfortunately due to working hard on promotion, I haven’t had the opportunity to actually write much of anything the past few months. I did finish the first draft of a short story for the upcoming Desert Sleuths Chapter Sisters in Crime anthology, but haven’t had the opportunity to work on my traditional mystery . . . which looks to be turning out to be more of a YA novel.

Deborah J Ledford’s latest novel SNARE is a nominee for The Hillerman Sky Award at Left Coast Crime 2011. STACCATO is book one of her Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela thriller series. Both novels are published by Second Wind Publishing. To find out more about Deborah, receive a Free Download of the first chapters of her novels, and to read a few previously published short stories, she invites you to visit her website.

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Book Award Season

I hope everyone enjoyed a fabulous holiday season. 2011 is upon us, which means it’s time to get ready to submit books and short stories for award consideration.

My novels are released by Second Wind Publishing, therefore my latest title, SNARE, qualifies for the Independent Publishers Book Awards (IPPY), and the Glyph Awards, sponsored by the Arizona Book Publishing Association. I plan to submit SNARE to the Suspense/Thriller and Multi-Cultural categories.

As for short stories, I submitted “Loose End” which appeared in the Sisters in Crime Chapter Desert Sleuths mystery anthology How NOT to Survive a Vacation for consideration to the Derringer Award.

The award possibility I’m most excited about takes place during the upcoming Left Coast Crime Conference (LCC) which will be held March 24-27 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is one of the most prestigious fan/writer conventions. I networked and mingled with readers from around the globe and some of the finest crime novelists in the publishing world at last year’s conference.

One of the locations of my latest thriller is set in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. The female lead is Native American and the other location takes place on New Mexico’s Taos Pueblo Indian reservation, therefore SNARE qualifies for The Hillerman Sky Award.

Since this pop/rock music-based thriller was only officially released 12.21.10 I’ve been doing all I can to spread the word about book two of the Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela series. I unveiled the visual of the cover on the Second Wind Publishing blog titled: “Snare – Uncovered” and have received a fantastic response to the cover.

Writers and readers I’ve met since the release of book one of the series, STACCATO, have been very generous with their thumbs up based upon the first pages of SNARE. You can download this sneak peek from my website before the printed version of the book becomes available.

If you plan to attend LCC 2011, I hope you find SNARE to be worthy of a nomination to The Hillerman Sky Award.

Another Second Wind author, Eric Beetner, will be at LCC Santa Fe as well. He and J.B. Kohl co-wrote the fantastic 1940s noir novel Borrowed Trouble, worthy of the Bruce Alexander Award. I hope you will also consider this book for nomination.

Am I missing any other awards you’d like to share information about?

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon and Kindle. If you’re in the Arizona area, STACCATO can be found at Borders Scottsdale Waterfront, The Well Red Coyote, and Changing Hands Bookstore.

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With Gratitude – by Deborah J Ledford

I’ve been thinking for days what I should present for this book launch blog promoting my debut thriller Staccato, and my thoughts kept returning to how grateful I am, not only to have this novel in print, but to all of those tireless and committed souls who made this book release a possibility.

Staccato is being featured on the Second Wind Publishing blog along with three other equally intriguing novels. I am thrilled to be in the company of Mickey Hoffman and Amy DeTremp for their first novels from Second Wind, and the very talented writer Christine Husom for her second book. I know they share my excitement in being members of this unique and cutting edge publishing company.

Because the entire Second Wind team is first-rate I shouldn’t play favorites, however Pat Bertram is as instrumental in seeing Staccato to fruition as anyone else involved in the process. Pat is not only a gifted novelist, she is a tireless promoter of Second Wind authors, often putting herself in the backseat when it comes to touting her own exquisitely crafted novels. I wish her the best with the upcoming release of Daughter Am I.

Lazarus Barnhill, novelist extraordinaire, is also an influential force in my decision to see Staccato through to publication. Laz, Pat and I made it to the semi-final round of the TruTV (formerly CourtTV) Crime Writer Contest sponsored by Gather.com in 2007. I am grateful that none of us actually won this contest because now we all reside in the same Second Wind Publishing home.

Second Wind executive assistants Tracy Beltran and Stacy Findley really pulled out the stops as well. From providing and submitting formatted proofs, configuring a killer back cover, to making sure my author and book pages on the Website were exactly as I wished. I could not be more happy with what you ladies have accomplished in order to make Staccato as professional and aesthetically pleasing as I could ever have envisioned.

My gratitude would not be complete without the heartfelt thanks to Second Wind publisher, Mike Simpson. Mike expressed confidence in Staccato when all others had turned their backs. This kind and generous gentleman is a dream maker who put me at ease so many times with his assurances that we would make the September 15th release date. Somehow he pulled off this monumental and sometimes daunting effort. Kudos to you, Mike, Staccato is every bit yours as it is mine.

For those of you who visit this exceptional blog often, I thank you as well. We all look forward to your comments and appreciate your support of Second Wind Publishing.

 

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel Staccato, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, Kindle and independent book stores.

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Staccato: Novel Tie-In – by Deborah J Ledford

Continuing with how my upcoming suspense thriller Staccato came to be, I thought I would discuss how important the music element was to the overall aspect of the novel.

Countless hours were spent selecting the piano pieces featured in Staccato. It was my full intent to implement the ideal classical musical compositions that would convey the mood of each scene where music was indicated. The highly-charged scenes were ideal for crashing concertos, whereas the scenes of reflection feature soothing sonatas. Each and every piece was selected to emphasize the mood, setting and characters’ feelings as this psychological suspense thriller progresses.

In writing the novel, the music became a motivating factor as well as a subplot—as if composing a complicated piece of music…with words.

 Because of this, I’ve considered adding a CD tie-in to the novel which features the classical music I have showcased so that readers have the full impression of what I have presented to them.

Would this be an endeavor worth pursuing? I would be very interested to know what you think about this idea.

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel Staccato, scheduled for release by Second Wind Publishing, September 15, 2009.

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Pat Bertram Is Two Years Old Today!

cake2

Picture 010aaaOn May 17, 2007, I — or rather, Pat Bertram — signed gift4up for the Internet, and it was love at first byte. The entire world opened up to me, and I was reborn. I’d already written four books, but until I went online, I hadn’t started creating the author of those books. Who should I be? What name should I use? I considered using a male pseudonym, Cole Black, perhaps, since men with hard C’s and K’s do well in the public arena. Anyone heard of Steven King? Dean Koontz? Tom Clancy? Kevin Costner? Clint Eastwood?

In the end I decided to stick with a version of my own name, one that I didn’t use in my offline life. It’s a good name for an author with enough hard consonants to sound authoritative. And it has the whole androgynous “It’s Pat” thing going for it; I can be whoever I want. Besides, p’s and b’s and t’s and r’s didn’t hurt Brad Pitt any.

I signed up for my domain, set up a website at patbertram.com, then fished around for another way to create myself,gift1 and discovered blogging. I didn’t even know what a blog was, didn’t think it was something I would ever be able to do (my diaries as a kidgift3 never lasted more than a day or two), but I’d discovered that an author needed a blog. Since I was intent on creating myself as an author, I signed up for WordPress, and oh! What a joy! I could write whatever I wanted, say what I wanted, be what I wanted, and people would read what I wrote. Okay, only a couple of people read Bertram’s Blog at the beginning, but I am still friends with one of them. How cool is that? I’m too embarrassed to admit how many blogs I now have — some of which I keep up with on a regular basis, soballoons1me I don’t — but blogging remains one of my favorite online activities.

From blogging, I went to Gather.com to enter a crime writing contest, and through a series of incredibly serendipitous encounters, I found a publisher. And more friends. After that, of cogift2urse, I had to start promoting, so I started social networking. I’d heard from so many authors how much they hated promoting, but me? I think it’s great fun. It’s all about making friends, and what’s more fun than that?

So, friends, please join me in celebrating this very special birthday. You don’t even have to bring me a present. I have presents for you! Click on any package to open. Or click on any other image. I hope you have fun.

I know I will.

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INVOKING ATMOSPHERE AND EMOTIONS

Sia McKye

We all have things that make us feel good; things, which bring us, comfort, or lift our heart. Maybe it’s a snatch of song, the scent of cookies baking, watching kittens play, the sound of a baby’s delighted laugh. The first snowfall and the quiet hush of peace and beauty it brings to our heart. It’s all about atmosphere. Sometimes atmosphere is something that happens, other times it’s something we invoke.

When I’m not in the mood to do household tasks, but know it has to be done, I play music with a strong beat and rhythm. Want to set a party mood, music again. Music and scent has always been a big thing in my life. Music makes me feel good, adds energy and can reset my mood. Music is a tool I’ve used to give the atmosphere of peace and serenity after an argument or so my baby could sleep. After a stressful day out in the world I long for the comfort of home. I light my scented candles, turn on music, change into something comfortable—lounge pants, oversize shirt, a pair of soft socks or barefoot. If it’s cold and dreary, cooking special foods for dinner which call upon memories of growing up or happy times. Surround myself with cozy things to snuggle to on a cold winter’s night, a funny movie, the smell of popcorn, a down comforter, a cat in my lap, a dog at my feet, and my family around me. A plate of homemade cookies, the snap and crackle of a fire all are atmospheric things of comfort I deliberately set up in my environment.

How do you set the atmosphere in your writing? We want to show not tell, so how do you show the mood and tone surrounding your characters? Dialog will show but what do you do with your ‘scene’ that gives a clue to your atmosphere.

What makes you feel good, brings comfort, invokes happiness or laughter?
At the end of the day or the close of a long week, what does your mind leapt to that spells comfort? How do you give that to your readers? How do your characters or scene reflect that?

What sets the mood of fear or caution? What suggests anger or danger without a word being said?

What comes to mind:  Seeing a cowering dog, tail between its legs, dark clouds boiling on the horizon, circling of vultures over a copse of trees, or a house shrouded in fog on a dark night, maybe footsteps in the night behind you. The squeal of tires, crash of broken glass; what comes to mind as you approach a door and hear the screaming of obscenities and a thump against a wall.

Setting atmosphere and emotions are important in our stories. Our characters represent real life. We want to touch our readers with something they identify with. We want to touch their emotions and their memories with our writing. It’s your readers’ emotions and memories that help layer your stories and make your characters multi-dimensional.

When you need to set a particular tone or mood, what do you do to put yourself there first? Sound? Touch? Scent? How do you set your scene so your readers feel and see it, without drowning them in words?

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AS A WRITER, WHERE AND HOW ARE YOU DROPPING YOUR PEBBLES?

Sia McKye

I’m a reflective person by nature. I think about many things in life. Look for lessons and ways to make things better for me and mine. To me life is like a giant puzzle made of pebbles. Sometimes it’s comprised of hard labor. Other times, the fun is in seeing how to work all the pieces tossed at us, and make a picture of it. Don’t like those particular pieces, rearrange them. I’m also an optimist but with my feet firmly planted in reality. I know if I work at it hard enough, think it through, I’ll find a way. And so it is with my writing.

To be a writer is rather solitary. We pour our hearts and souls into our writing–our characters, our created world. They’re part of us, aren’t they? When someone rejects that, of course we feel it AND feel they’re rejecting us. On one level that’s true, but we have to learn to compartmentalize, or we’re dead in the water. We have to have tough Rhino skin or we’re not going to survive. And yeah, it sucks.

As with most of the entertainment/arts groups, publishing is a tough playing field to break into. A key element in being a success in any field, is focus, working at perfecting your skills, and believing in yourself and your abilities.

I think about authors like Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz, and Catherine Coulter. They all started out with Harlequin and or Silhouette. Many curled their lips at books from Harlequin. Whether it’s a lightweight romance publisher, or POD and E-book publishers—who cares where you start, so long as you start? I believe these authors honed their story telling skills and learned what readers like and didn’t like, and built a readership base in these forums. And who are we to curl our lips, or diminish the worth of an author that makes those choices? Now, these authors are now regularly on the Best Sellers lists.

Singers start out playing local, market themselves aggressively, and get their names out there. How? Singers play for anyone that lets them sing. Bars, lounges, you name it. Actors do the same with local theater, and work their way up. They network like crazy. Are you doing that as a writer?

Pebble in the pool effect. Think about American idol. These singers are looking for shortcuts and there isn’t anything wrong with that, but even the shortcuts come with fierce competition. As authors, we do contests too, so we can relate.

What’s important here is: if the pebble isn’t first dropped into a pool of water, no ripples happen. The pebble has to be dropped more than once. It’s the same with writing. Every time you write a story, you drop a pebble and every time you query, or enter a contest, you drop another one. Every blog, writer’s conference, and joining a writing group is another pebble.

Maybe only a few of us will make it big. The truth of the matter is; it’s not solely dependent upon talent. There are lots of talented people. Sometimes chance or fate or whatever you want to call it, steps in. But, if we’re not putting forth the effort, and getting our writing, and our name out there, it can’t be offered.

There’s a quote I like and I’ll share it with you. “Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.”

…or dropping the pebbles.

It’s something I think about frequently—what am I doing with my pebbles?

Am I stacking them in a pile with no work or thought given them?
Am I hoarding them in a drawer where no one can see them?
Am I allowing fear of success or failure, hold me back?

By putting our work out there, we’re on the dance floor or to continue the metaphor, dropping our pebbles.

As a writer, where and how are you dropping your pebbles?

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