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So close!

Good morning!

I’m up! I’m awake! I’m rested and caffeinated! That is a recipe for a very productive day.

The giveaway for ‘Fin’s Magic’ officially ended last night. Overall, I call it a success. The book was downloaded quite a bit, and hit best seller lists on Amazon in both the U.S. and overseas. It actually climbed as high as #5 in Spain, and #4 in Germany!

In other words, I came very close to being able to say my book was #1 somewhere in the world.

Yes, it was free. And I know that overseas rankings work a little differently than U.S. ones. A book can be in the top 100 from a single sale.

Still, I was close. So close that I realized how much I wanted that top slot.

There’s 5 more weeks of sales and freebies coming. This coming weekend (10/24-10/26), “Permafrost” will be free. Who knows? Maybe that one will give me that magic number.

Putting a book on sale or free is not for everyone. Some will think it’s giving money away. I see it differently. Being that I’m still waiting to be found by readers, it gives me the chance to put my titles into the hands of someone who wouldn’t have taken a risk on me if they’d had to spend money. It’s someone reading my book who would’ve passed before.

Let’s face it, we all can be cheapskates on occasion. Readers are no different. They want a bargain. They want to feel their money is well spent. If they can get one book of mine for free, who’s to say they won’t like my voice. And go search my name on Amazon. Now, they’re thinking of buying a book instead of getting it for free.

Just like postcards and bookmarks, free and sales are promotions. They put your book into the hands of the readers. At the end of the day, that’s what’s most important.

BB

Yes! A random post from me on a Thursday! LOL

Starting today, I’m going to either have a free book or a book on sale for the next six weeks in a row!

Today through the 19th, you can pick up a copy of ‘Fin’s Magic’ for free!

I’ll be doing additional blog posts as the event progresses, so keep an eye out!

BB

fin'smagic with quote

Spent the weekend trying not to let a head cold get beyond a minor annoyance, with marginal success. This tends to make me a little short tempered, no matter how much coffee I have. You’ve been warned.

One of the only guarantees about being published is that you can’t force people to buy your books. And, to be perfectly honest, people are going to lie to you and say they did when they didn’t. This is particularly true with friends or family. They may have every intention to do so…some day. But they’ll tell you they have if you don’t live close by to shut you up.

Like most everything else in life, there’s two ways to sell books. There’s the hard sale, where you’re in the face of everyone you meet. Facebook and Twitter is a constant barrage from you about your book. It’s spending half an hour each week and scheduling your tweets for a week, all consisting of buy links and quotes from reviews. There’s buying ads on FB, and including a buy link on each and every post you make.

Then there’s the soft sell. That’s when you try to establish some connection with someone first, build a relationship of some kind. It’s saying hello to new followers, let me know if you want to learn about my books. Talking about coffee and bookstores and kitten stories with people over reminding them hourly that you have books out in the world.

There’s not bringing it up to your friends and family each time you talk with them.

In my opinion, that’s just rude. Presumably, they’re intelligent people. While we can’t control our family members, few of us have friends we don’t think are able to retain simple facts. They know you got a book or ten published. You need sales and reviews. To bombard them constantly with questions about who they loved to hate is going to have them secretly whisper, ‘you, you numbskull! shut up!’ in their brain.

Family and friends can be the biggest supporters an author has. A supportive immediate family (spouse/kids/significant other) is really necessary to give you time to write, console you to try again when you get a rejection from a publisher, celebrate that contract. The rest of them? That gets sticky.

Because they can also be our harshest critics.

Some will rip your cover apart. Others will whine that they don’t like one character’s name. Another will constantly harp on one single typo in the book. Ignore them. They aren’t being supportive, no matter what they tell you. They’re being jealous and trying to tear you down.

I myself prefer the soft sell. The whole process of being ‘found’ by readers takes time. By doing a soft sell, it helps establish a relationship with readers, gives you a solid base that will propel your other book sales. The in your face hard sell? You might sell a few books, yes. But your foundation is going to be full of cracks left behind by readers who read one book and chose not to stay around. Why? Because all you want to talk about is you and your books.

And they’ll start lying to you, ignoring you, just like your great aunt Gertie who is tired of hearing about your book every time you visit her. Or your cousin Dave who thought the autographed copy was the cheesiest (and cheapest) wedding present ever.

BB

But not the way you’re thinking. LOL.

We adopted a kitten over the weekend, and her name is Muse. Now, one of my author friends has declared it to be the perfect name, as now I can blame the Muse for not just lack of writing, but spilled drinks, potted plants, broken dishes, etc.

The thing is, even though I’d like to, I can’t blame the lack of a muse in my life as the reason I have so many wip’s and none sitting with my beta readers/crit partners. It’s not the reason why The Raven Chronicles aren’t finished, or why the next installment for the Amari books hasn’t made it past the first few pages. Or why Sanctuary languishes, untouched for months, in my dropbox.

That’s all on me.

Writing takes discipline. It takes sitting down and ignoring social media and putting words to paper. It takes the drive and determination to write even if the Muse isn’t visiting, you aren’t feeling inspired.

It takes a routine.

When I started this blog, I wasn’t sure what I was going to write. How could I come up with some sort of topic each month? Is anyone going to ever think it’s worth time to follow? It was so sporadic at the start that I had to put post it note reminders all around my monitor. Topic ideas, post on Monday, use the time you have before kids head out the door, all sorts of notes to myself.

And that’s what I think I will be doing with my writing. Some sort of visual reminder, every day, to put at least 500 words or more down on a story. Will it take time? Heck, yes. It took me three to four months to get into the routine of posting each Monday here. But if I don’t make it a priority, carve out time each and every day, I’m not going to get the books done.

Everyone has notions of what it means to be an author. They can imagine all sorts of things, and tend to not see others. We don’t all have a fancy desk in a dedicated office, surrounded by books and manuscripts. We don’t all sit down with a mug of coffee and cheerfully create prose. Authors, especially those who are still seeking their readership, have to walk a delicate tight rope, balancing between writing time and family time. Getting the words down and the laundry put away. Debating between descriptions of characters and parent/teacher conferences. Deadlines and alarm clocks.

We can’t sit back and expect the readers of the world to flock to us once our first book is out. We have to keep writing, find that discipline, and connect with people.

All while listening to the Muse. Because she’s not always screaming to be heard. Sometimes, it’s a whisper.

Oh, but here’s our new Muse. Have to share a picture of her because, well, she’s just that cute.

SAM_1602

BB

Yes, I know it’s Friday. Hush. I got spoiled, so I’m passing it on. LOL.

Every author has, at one point, had the same daydream. The one where you’re doing a signing at a major bookstore. There you sit, at a small table, looking sharp and having a line of people chatting with you. Some have waited hours to meet you, out in the cold.

It’s a myth. It’s not going to happen for several years, possibly decades. Don’t ever kid yourself that it’s going to happen two weeks after you release your first book if you don’t already have a few important things.

1. Name recognition: are you a celebrity? Does your photo grace the cover of a tabloid? Are you a candidate for political office? Did you just win an Oscar, Emmy, or Grammy? Get out of prison after serving time for a crime you didn’t commit? Escape from a life of captivity? Is your book the basis for a major motion picture? Do you already have an established reader base of several thousand loyal fans who buy your book three seconds after it becomes available?

2. Connections: do you know the manager at the store? Are you with an agent? Did you hire a publicist? Is your publishing house really big and have a dedicated marketing department?

First time authors, new authors, people whose books are still being found by readers are NOT going to get that signing event. Why? Because bookstores want to host authors who are going to bring in customers. Ones that will browse, and buy, while they wait for you. The ones who will spend $100 between coffee and books so they have something to read or sip while they listen to you/wait their turn.

They want authors who will bring in readers. Period.

It’s not that they don’t encourage new authors. Heck, we’re the backbone of their business. Without new authors and new stories, there wouldn’t be new bookstores, just used ones. But, at the end of the day, they want to make money. And they’re not going to do that by hosting an author no one’s heard about.

Don’t think of it as a lost dream. See it as a goal. One that you’re going to have to work towards, spend hours cultivating a readership who will start laying the groundwork FOR you. Because they’re going to go into a store and ask about your titles. They’re going to create a buzz, get managers to start noticing they’re getting multiple requests for a single title/author.

It takes time. Perseverance. It will not happen two weeks, two months, possibly even two years after your first title released.

So stop acting like it will and do the work instead of expecting it to be handed to you. Because you haven’t earned that line yet.

BB

It’s that time, everyone! Please welcome author Casey Knight!

1. What’s the title of your latest release? Link?

Fang Shway L.A.  can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Fang-Shway-Casey-Knight-ebook/dp/B00L2IZ99Q/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1411997789&sr=8-1&keywords=fang+shway

My other novel, Dragon Down, can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Down-Casey-Knight-ebook/dp/B00M29WBO0/ref=la_B00MZM246E_1_2_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411997839&sr=1-2

2. Why do you like writing in this genre?

I love writing in this genre because it is an escape from my everyday life. In my books I can create people, places and situations that are exciting, challenging, tragic, and entertaining. My characters can grow, suffer and evolve and no one gets

hurt.

3. What do you like to read? 

I read a wide variety of books from non-fiction to poetry. I’ve read widely in my own genre to give me a better idea of what types of books readers are enjoying.

4. Favorite movie?

A Rumor of Angels.

5. What are your writing habits? Music or silence? Daily regimen or spurts of creativity?

I have four months off every summer so that is when I write. I usually write in the afternoons for two or three hours. I can listen to music with no lyrics and the music helps me block out the world. I’ve learned that I cannot “push my creativity”. If I’m stuck I put it out in the Universe and wait for direction. I usually get an enlightened moment or at least a direction within twenty-four hours or so.

6. What was the most surreal moment you’ve had as an author?

I think when I got my first rejection letter that was addressed to Dear Author. I realized that someone would publish my

books and I would become a published author.

7. How can readers find you?

On my author page at http://www.Casey-Knight.com

WordPress blog: [http://www.caseyknight.wordpress.com]

Email: [CaseyKnightwriter@gmail.com]

Facebook: [http://www.facebook.com/casey.knight.731]

Solstice publishing: [http://www.solsticepublishing.com]

8. What do you know now about being published that you wish you’d known before submitting?

That it is easier to write a book then it is to market one. Fortunately, the Solstice community shares knowledge with and mentors first time authors very well.

9. Favorite snack/drink while writing?

I don’t really eat or drink when I write. It would distract me.

10. Look at your writing area…what’s the item you keep to inspire you (piece of artwork, figurine)?

My computer screen has a big picture of my beach. It is my happy place. Also, I will purchase and place hard copy of each book on my desk.

Thanks for stopping by, Casey! Best of luck with the books!

BB

A Series of Moments

What drives an author? Is it the belief that publishing a book will lead to instant riches? Fame? Going from obscurity to being the person chatted about at parties? Hearing stories of your friends living vicariously through you?

Is it simply that there are stories inside us that must be told? The driving need to take something from our imagination and immortalize the creation in print?

Or could it be all of the above?

Most authors will tell you that they simply can’t not write. That it’s as necessary as a cup of coffee in the morning, breathing, or eating. That they dread the day a medical condition robs them of the ability to take a story from concept to print.

I’ve said it many times before. Becoming a published author is not an instant road to fame and fortune. It takes years of hard work, promotion, and focus. It’s working on the basics of your professional image, connecting to readers, and learning how to balance promotion with writing time. It’s being aware, on an hourly basis, of promotional opportunities. When you can talk about your books, and when you have to be a parent/spouse.

The rewards you get from being published come in a series of moments. This calling is not one where you’ll get instant gratification. It’s spread out over months, years. It’s being able to take the words of a teenager who’s giddy over meeting an author with grace and humility. Talking with people who read your books, answering their questions. Signing your name on the title page and handing it to someone who hugs the book with happiness on their face. Putting your name on a Wall of Fame at a bookstore known around the world.

Most people never see what happens behind the scenes. They don’t see the years of struggling to get a single sale in a month, or even finding a publisher willing to take a chance on you. They don’t see the balance of family time and writing time. Darting up at 3 am to get a scene out of your head because there’s a school event you have to attend that’ll make writing in the evening not happen.

If you’re of the belief that your book is going to make you millions within a few days/weeks/months of release…stop now. If you think you’re going to have a book signing event with people lining around the block within 2 weeks of release…stop now. There is a greater chance that you’ll be struck by lightning, win the lottery, and be nominated for a Pulitzer all in the same week.

This job takes hard work, dedication, and time. Lots and lots of time. You’re going to have months, even years, at the start where your royalties aren’t going to be enough to buy a latte. You’re going to have people ask what you really do for a living, because you’re going to have to keep that day job for several years. Most authors won’t ever be able to quit that job. Fame? You’ll have more people who think you owe them a free copy of your book than buy it. They’ll say they support you, but won’t open their wallet. And, should you actually start getting sales, they’ll be right there wanting to ride your coattails.

Why start, then? Why spend all the time polishing the story, submitting it, getting rejection after rejection? Because there is more to life, and being happy both within and without, than fame and fortune.

The series of moments you’ll experience over the years is worth more than you can imagine.

BB

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