Monthly Archives: April 2015

It’s Time for Me to Weigh In on a Most Controversial Topic

A few years ago, when I had just gotten started in the whole “marketing myself” thing, I was given a critical piece of advice by fellow author Armand Rosamillia.

At the time my primary means of marketing was facebook.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about some of the things people post on facebook every day — and how easily some of the conversations escalate from innocuous to ugly in the blink of a cursor.

Back in the day, I thought nothing of joining in these “spirited” debates – never, for a moment, considering the option of keeping my opinion to myself.

Especially when it came to politics.

So, talking with Armand one day, he explained the error of my ways…

To paraphrase, he said that whenever I engaged in a hot-button topic I ran the risk of alienating potential readers –something that no author, especially an unknown indie like myself (I hadn’t yet risen to the level of fame I’m at today) could afford to do.

I saw the wisdom of his words and, even though it took some serious self-control, I followed his advice and I can honestly say that I haven’t contributed to an on-line controversy in years.

Well…as the saying goes – all good things must come to an end.

I can no longer sit by and keep my mouth shut.

I’ve been watching an issue simmer for a long time and it seems as though it’s about to boil over. It’s been the topic of many heated debates, even causing serious rifts between good friends and brothers. It isn’t confined to cities like Baltimore. It’s been discussed in places like Cincinnati, Miami, Boston, Chicago and New York.

Whenever the topic is brought up it sparks an immediate confrontation between sides. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground, either…people expect you to take a side. None of this I can see both sides crap.

Naturally, I’ve always had an opinion on the matter, but, as I stated earlier, I’ve gotten out of the habit of adding fuel to the fire.

Until now.

If you get your news on the same channel I get mine you’ve seen that things have escalated recently, so I can’t not say anything anymore.

I have an opinion and, although it won’t make a bit of difference in the on-going debate, I am going to throw my two-cents in.

I apologize in advance if my opinion angers you, please understand that it is just my opinion. Many people are bound to be surprised by what I have to say, given my lifelong leanings. All I ask is that you respect my thoughts the same way I respect yours. If we can’t see eye-to-eye…I hope it won’t put a damper on our relationship.

If you don’t want to hear my opinion, now is the time to stop reading…

 

I think it is time to ban the designated hitter and return baseball to a game of strategy and managerial challenges – rather than proceeding down the road to “whoever hits the most three-run homers wins the World Series.”

 

Once again – I apologize for my radical views…but somebody had to say it.

 

As always – thank you for reading

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Authors, why use #hashtags in your blog post titles?

Looks like it’s time for me to start #ing my blog titles!

deborahjay

You may have noticed that I use hashtags in my blog post titles, and I wouldn’t blame you for wondering why – that used to be me, too, when I noticed an author I follow cluttering up her titles with those rather unattractive tags.

But we want people to share our posts, don’t we? After all, that’s why we have all those ‘share’ buttons after our posts – to make it simple and fast for people to share – but how effective are they?

squirrel

If you’re sharing to Facebook, then its likely to be to your closer group of friends; to Google, your like-minded associates.

But to Twitter?

Have you looked at the tweets generated by the share buttons, before you click on ‘tweet’?

They include the title of your piece – but unless the sharer takes the time to add hashtags, they go out with, often, a title that strangers…

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Tim Baker – Reading Recommendation Revisited

Thank you to Susan Toy for her continued support of Indie Authors!!

Reading Recommendations

Tim Baker was the second author featured on Reading Recommendations way back in November, 2013, and he’s been a terrific support of the site, and of me and my books – as well as being a great pal! – ever since. He also came back during the following year with updates on new books in August, 2014, and November, 2014. So when I decided to begin offering new promotions to authors I’d already featured, it was definite I had to begin with Tim! He even came up with the name for the series:
Reading Recommendation Revisited!
Welcome back, Tim Baker!

Tim 973

RRR: Since your first promotion on RR, what have you been doing?
TB: If memory serves the last thing I shared with your audience was the release of Path of a Bullet, A Collection of Short Stories Featuring Ike. Since then I have begun work…

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#INDIE #AUTHORS CLOSE DOWN ILLEGAL FREE BOOK SITE…

A site stealing the hard work of Independent Authors has been shut down by the awesome pressure brought about by those same authors on social media! #Teamwork

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

The Illegal Free Book Site highlighted in my post http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2015/04/21/illegal-free-book-site-alert-check-for-your-books/ has been DISABLED!

ANOTHER success for INDIE AUTHOR POWER…

WELL DONE EVERYONE 😀

copyright-DEFEATED

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Plotting a Thriller

Cynthia Harrison talks about the challenges of writing a story in a new genre.

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I’ve had the idea for a psychological thriller for almost a year now. The minute I finished my latest novel (on my editor’s desk as I type this) I started planning the new one. I quickly realized there would be a LOT more research than usual. I had a new genre, a new setting, a new profession, which has since turned into several new professions. I almost said “maybe not.”

But my critique group meets next week, and a month ago I’d promised them a first chapter of the new book. I’d already done quite a bit of research on the setting and I knew the character since I’d written about her in two previous novels. Also, I had read How to Write a Damn Good Mystery by James N. Frey when I wrote Sweet Melissa, so I knew some stuff. Enough for a first chapter.

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I had also…

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Guest Post from Tim Baker

A guest post (and a bit of a confession) by me about my research habits (or lack thereof!)

A Lover of Books

Book Cover

‘Eyewitness Blues’ is Tim Baker’s latest novel.  He has written a guest post for my blog about research and how important it is.

Research

There’s nothing worse than spotting inaccuracies in a novel.

Suspension of disbelief aside, even fiction should be as factually accurate as possible…I mean if your character is being chased by a pack of time-traveling zombies riding flying monkeys, and he/she shoots ten of them dead with a Colt single-action revolver, I’m afraid I’d have to call that bullshit.

A simple Google inquiry will tell you that particular weapon only holds six rounds.

Research.

Every novelist should do his/her research because, as Genghis Khan said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

Actually, that quote belongs to Abraham Lincoln, but I…

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In Memory of Walker Newton

Writing about death is practically an everyday occurrence for me, but I now find myself writing about it from a completely different, and very unexpected perspective.

Several months ago I was attending the Inspired Mic, a monthly “open mic” night for authors here in my town, and there was a newcomer in the lineup.

Walker Newton read an excerpt from one of his novels, and by the time his six minutes were up he had morphed from a writer I had never heard of, to the guy I wanted to be friends with.

 

Walker Newton 1

Maybe it was his style of writing, which was very similar to mine. After the event several people approached me and commented about the similarities in our styles.

It could have been the fact that he was also a musician, often combining his musical performances with his book signings. I thought that was too cool.

Most likely it was his cool, easy manner.

Walker Newton 2

Unassuming, modest, easy-going and humble.

I liked him immediately.

When I learned that he was from neighboring St. Augustine, and that his books were set there, I thought How do I not know this guy?

 

Walker and I had a couple of conversations and were featured together at a signing held at a local winery, where we exchanged books.

We were well on our way to becoming friends.

Sadly, that friendship has been put on hold.

 

Walker Newton 4

Rance “Walker” Newton passed away on Monday April 13, 2015 at the age of 70.

After serving as a submariner in the US Navy, Walker received a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree. He traveled extensively and had a very successful career in hotel development.

He was a talented musician and writer, but far more important, he was a friend to everyone he met.

His legacy will live forever in the hearts of all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Walker Newton 3

I’ve never written an obituary, and I didn’t know Walker well enough to do him justice, but I can say that he was taken far too soon.

Walker Newton works Walker Newton on Amazon

 

As always – Thank you for reading…and Godspeed Walker

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When reviews really matter…

An excellent post from Sue Vincent about the difference one book review can make…

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Image source reddit.com

 “Bilbo Baggins was a Hobbit who lived in his Hobbit hole and never went for adventures, at last Gandalf the wizard and his Dwarves persuaded him to go. He had a very exiting (sic) time fighting goblins and wargs. At last they get to the lonely mountain; Smaug, the dragon who guards it is killed and after a terrific battle with the goblins he returned home — rich! This book, with the help of maps, does not need any illustrations it is good and should appeal to all children between the ages of 5 and 9.” Rayner Unwin’s review of The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

In 1936 a ten year old boy was given a book by his father. This was not just any book, nor just any boy… Rayner Unwin was the son of Sir Stanley Unwin, founder of the publishing firm George Allen…

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Writing and Marketing – Which is More Important?

Living the Dream Back in the days when I only had two novels to my credit, and I wasn’t even sure if I would ever write a third, things were easy. If I felt like writing, I wrote. It wasn’t a problem because there was little else competing for my time. Water Hazard

How quickly things change.

Here we are only five years later and oh, what I wouldn’t give for those good old times.

Somewhere along the way I became a juggler.

juggling time

It was easy at first…like juggling two tennis balls. Keeping both of them in the air was a piece of cake, and if one of them happened to slip away it would usually bounce right back to me.

Somewhere along the way the two tennis balls turned into three or four or five…and they aren’t tennis balls anymore, they’ve become eggs, so now it’s a little more important to keep them off the floor.

I’m speaking metaphorically of course, to illustrate what it feels like to be me sometimes.

When I only had two books, I also had an abundance of spare time because I wasn’t really concerned with marketing.

After my third novel was released I began to realize that these wonderfully, magnificent works of literary magic were not going to sell themselves. So I began hitting the social media marketing scene – heavily. I began promoting myself on facebook, twitter, this blog, pinterest, LinkedIn, Google + and Goodreads (links provided for your convenience). There are probably others, but I can’t remember at the moment.

My social media presence grew slowly…at first it was just posting a few cool pictures, sharing a blog post and tweeting a couple of promos over the course of a week.

Easy-peasy, right?

Yeah…it was.

Nowadays keeping up with my social media marketing has become a monster that must be fed constantly. Things get really interesting when you start adding book signings and networking events – forget about the full-time job, the part-time gig at the radio station, and the social life.

What can a poor boy do? (I certainly can’t sing in a rock-and-roll band)

I’ve learned that being a writer is more than just mastering the craft…it’s also about mastering time-management.

Like the old fishing conundrum – fish or cut bait.

bait

You’re out there on your boat, trying to catch dinner and you drift into a big school of potentially delicious filets…but you’re running out of bait.

Your head swivels back and forth between the chunk of frozen bait on the deck and the boiling ocean as dinner swims by.

You need to get your hook in the water if you want to catch a fish, but a bare hook is useless.

Writing and marketing…either one, without the other, is a waste of time (unless you’re one of the delusional few who claim that you write for the love of it). You need to write a book in order to have something to market, but if you waste too much time marketing you don’t get the book written.

Isn’t that a Catch-22? (One of the classic novels I’ve never read)

I don’t know how I ended up with such a lopsided ratio, but in recent weeks I’ve been forced to readjust my priorities to something a bit more manageable if I expect to release a new book this year.

Usually by this time of year I’m getting ready to pass off a manuscript to my beta readers…right now my current MS, Full Circle, is hovering around 13,000 words. A far sight short of its anticipated 90,000. So you know what that means…it means it’s time to cut bait…or fish…whichever is the metaphorical equivalent of get busy writing.

 

As always – thank you for reading

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Guest Blogger Susan M. Toy

Every author loves (positive) reviews, but many people are uncomfortable writing them, so Susan Toy has a way they can help which is equally, if not more effective…and much easier!

Reade and Write

This week I would like to welcome guest blogger Susan M. Toy, whose blogs I enjoy very much and who has much to teach writers:

 KindReaders...ThankYou!!!

 joan didion quote

Kind Readers,

Since I am an Author, you mean the world to me, because without you the words I write have no meaning at all. So I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you, from the bottom of my heart, for taking the time to read what I write. You make me the Author that I am, and I owe you everything!

You, on the other hand, owe me nothing. You’ve done your bit by reading. You definitely do not owe me a written review on an online site – especially if you’re not used to writing reviews of whatever you read. I’m speaking for myself here when I say that…

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