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Hey! It’s Monday! It’s getting colder out. I threw on a jacket this morning before driving our youngest to school. And am now swathed in one of my dad’s cardigans.

I want to talk about one of the worst behaviors as an adult. It’s not just a writer problem. But we need to stop whining on social media. Especially if you’re published or hope to be one day.

I’m not talking a simple ‘crap, the battery on my car died’ type whine. I’m talking the out and out pity party. Oh woe is me someone else did x and I planned to do that. Why are my sales so bad? Can’t you leave a review?

Shut up. Put on your big kid panties, grow a thick skin, and grow up.

Readers don’t care if you found out information ‘first’. They don’t care if your sales are bad. Because they’re dealing with real life as well. Throwing yourself a pity party on social media is just wrong. Especially if you’re doing it in relation to a book of yours.

Readers don’t care if my parents died 7 months apart. They don’t care if my van’s breaking down. They want to buy into the illusion that life as an author is AMAZING!!! Filled with celebrity guest dinner parties, calls and texts from Hollywood all day long (I’m here if they’re interested! LOL), and that my hardest decision outside of plot points revolve around what dress to wear to a premiere or if I’m buying a Lexus or BMW this year.

This industry’s unique in that the nice guy finishes first. Publishers and agents want to work with authors without feeling stymied at every turn. They want to have a good working relationship, not an adversarial one. Which also means authors need to have a thick skin and know how to behave in public. Social media IS public. It’s the nature of the beast, no matter what site you’re using. And, yes, agents and publishers worth signing with WILL check your twitter and FB news feed to gauge what sort of author you are.

Nowadays, there’s more to this than selling your m/s. You have to sell yourself as a public person as well. If you can’t contain your sorrow over something trivial and whine about being cheated, it’s a strike against you.

From the moment you decide you want to be a published author, start acting like one on social media. Be professional and pleasant. Be someone others want to follow, read, and emulate. Think about the authors you admire. Do they curse at readers for not leaving a review? Do they scream about the ‘injustice’ of their agent/publisher? Do they fabricate drama because they need people to pay attention to them?

At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. It’s not the loss, because there’s no real loss. Every story that can be written has been. How you tell it, the words you choose, is what makes your books stand out from the millions of others on Amazon. People hate drama, especially manufactured drama where someone gets ‘hurt’ or ‘insulted’ over the smallest things. Guess what? Pirates steal my books all the time. They’re making money off of my hard work. But I’m not on FB, crying and whining about it.

It’s called being a professional. If you crave that much attention, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening when you get published. Because publishers, agents, and readers don’t have time or energy to coddle you every time you get a bad review.

BB

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I can’t say good morning.

I can’t say happy Monday.

Not when so many families are waking up to the news of the shooting in Las Vegas.

Not when so many families still don’t know what happened to their loved ones in Puerto Rico.

As an author, I’m supposed to imagine horror. Cause bad things to happen to good people. When the earth herself does the damage…or someone who is supposed to be a functional, productive member of society….it hurts all of us.

Hurricanes are real. And, in my belief, the frequency and severity are a result of climate change. This post isn’t to debate that. Storms like that are meant as a reminder to us that we’re not as immortal as we like to think we are. That, yes, the weather around us can be deadly.

Mass shootings….there’s not a reason for them. It’s not gun control. It’s not mental health issues. It’s not ideology or religious differences.

It’s a cowardly way to gain fame and notoriety. It’s taking the extremist road to ‘solving’ problems over doing something more productive.

Because there is nothing productive about slaughtering people. Doesn’t matter if you know them, or don’t. Doesn’t matter the age, gender, religion, or hair color. There’s no reason for it. No way to legislate it away. No law that can’t be circumvented or ignored by someone who wants to do just that.

We as a global society cannot continue to murder each other as a solution to some problem that we think exists.

One reason I write is for therapy. There’s a lot of things from my childhood that I’m still sorting through. But I’ve never once thought violence was a way to deal with them.

We need to care about each other again. Be willing to roll up our sleeves and help unload groceries for the neighbor who uses a cane. Go out of our way to make people feel like they matter, that they’re not forgotten.

We need to stop saying it’s not our business and start to make it our business. Because the next shooting is one rejection away. And you could be the one at the concert.

My heart hurts.

BB

Hey! It’s Monday! I hope your weekend was a good one.

Almost three years ago, I wrote a post about the myth of the book store signing (here’s a link if you want to read it: https://katemariecollins.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/the-myth-of-the-book-store-signing/). Now that I’m doing these on a monthly basis, I wanted to talk about the reality of these events.

First off, don’t go into one expecting to have a crowd of people waiting for you. Most often than not, people will think you work for the store initially. At my first Barnes & Noble event, I barely sold more books than I got asked where the restroom was. LOL. I turned it into a game at one point.

Second, expect to have long blocks of time (could be an hour straight) where no one comes over and wants to know who you are. You shouldn’t be on your phone much, or reading a book. Basically, don’t do something that makes people think they would be interrupting you. You’re going to have to sit there, smile, try to engage people who keep walking past you, and be bored.

Third, be nice to the staff! Don’t be that jerk author who is demanding that they announce you’re there every 15 minutes because there’s people in the store but no one’s paying attention to you. Don’t sigh, look bored, and snap at staff who are really there to do their job. Which doesn’t include catering to you and your whims. They gave you a table, chair, and ordered your books (or let you bring your own). They don’t get paid to fetch you water, or manhandle customers into talking to you.

Think of it this way. If you walked into a book store and saw an author, how would you approach them? How would you expect them to respond to you? Would you go up to someone who’s got their face in a Kindle or a phone? Who wore a look of utter boredom and exasperation?

In order to draw in readers, you have to be the type of author you’d want to approach. Yes, it’s a major accomplishment to get ‘big enough’ to get a book store signing. That doesn’t mean you get to unleash your ego and let it run amok. Put your ego aside and be humble.

Oh, and make sure you’re not bathed in perfume or cologne. You want to be clean, but a lot of people have allergies to scents. They won’t come closer if the aroma’s so strong that they can taste it from ten feet away.

BB

Hey! It’s Monday! I’m blogging again! Woot!

I thought a lot this weekend about how I prioritize things when it comes to writing and promoting. And I realized something.

I spend a whole lot of time checking the ranking of my books. Or for new reviews. And a lot less on actively promoting my books.

But, that’s a little backwards. I should be concentrating on future sales, after all. I can’t turn back time and force readers to buy my books. Or leave a review. So, why do I check two or three times a day?

One of the common complaints I’ve heard from authors is that we don’t have time to promote. It takes too long to do x, y, or z. But we’ll spend more time checking for reviews than it takes to post a single tweet. And I’m as guilty of this as the rest of you.

So, I’m challenging myself to NOT check ranking and reviews until October 1st, 2017. Instead, every time I’m tempted, I’m going to promote one or more of my books on FB or Twitter. I’ll learn how to create better graphics for teasers. I’ll post something to Authorsdb.

I’m going to spend that time promoting instead of wondering why the numbers aren’t improving.

Who’s with me?

BB

Hey!

Not sure how many have missed me, but I’m still here and kicking!

For almost two years now, I’ve been in a rabbit hole of sorts. Losing my mom in 2015, followed by my dad in 2016. My youngest being assaulted at school, and the case still pending. Life in general put a lot of things on hold. Primarily, promotion and this blog. First, it was the funerals. Then it was helping my sister with the estate and simply sorting through over 70 years of accumulated stuff in their house. Some things came home with me, and other things got sold. This is what happens when your parents die. You have to make decisions that aren’t always easy to make. And, while I have great faith in our judicial system thanks to my dad, the pace at which things move has been a learning experience. I keep telling myself it’s research in a way. If I ever need an accurate timeline for an assault case like this for a book, I have first hand experience now.

Back in May, I started to climb out of the rabbit hole I found myself in. Surgery finally happened, and the estate was settled. I’m on a path that will see me at a healthy weight that I can maintain.

I’ve got a monthly gig at a Barnes & Noble in Federal Way, Washington now. I’m working hard on simply getting back on the promotional horse.

As authors, we can’t sit back and think that it’s up to our publisher to promote our book. We can’t blame them for bad sales, or that we didn’t get into a local book store. We can’t email them, demanding to find out what they plan to do for us without bringing something to the table.

Plain and simple, authors have to market their books. They have to promote them. They cannot sit by and expect magic to simply happen.

Being an author these days is all about what we will do to promote. It’s not up the the publisher. They’ve got hundreds if not thousands of titles to promote! How arrogant is it for me to assume that mine will be the top of the list?

Stop blaming your publisher for low sales and take a hard look in the mirror. My sales right now are a direct result of the work I let slide. To refuse to take responsibility and whine (yes, I said whine) that it’s all because of what someone else did or didn’t do is reprehensible.

My publisher didn’t write them. I wrote them.

My publisher doesn’t need to promote them. I need to promote them.

School is back in session. The house belongs to me and the cats during the day. There’s no more long phone calls between me and my sister about what to do with this or that family treasure. There’s no more doctor appointments to get ready for surgery. There may still be court hearings to attend, but not for a while because of what happened at the last one (nope, can’t go into details).

Yes, promoting is hard work. It takes time, and has little immediate results. It gets frustrating when you do things day in and day out and no one buys a book that month. But it’s part of being an author.

Suck it up, Buttercup. There’s only one person stopping you from the sales you think you should be getting. Go stand in front of the mirror, give yourself a reality check, and get to work.

BB

It’s a Saturday. Things are calm. I’m recovering well from surgery 3 weeks ago, and life has gotten back to our version of normal.

Going to let you all in on a secret today.

The best way to get people to buy your book is to get them interested in it enough to spend the money.

Yes, the story has to be well written. Yes, the cover and blurb have to spark interest. But they won’t even look at those unless they know about it.

And the BEST way to spread the word is to do it yourself.

I’m a big advocate for doing my own promoting. Why? Because I know me. I know what I want the readers to know about me. I control the information.

So, I’m personable online. I don’t get into politics or religion (both can alienate readers). I don’t bitch and moan about sales.

I project an image of success. I feed the illusion that readers want to have about authors.

I play nice with other authors.

This is a big thing for me. Too many authors see another one as competition. This could be through jealousy (writing skills or perceived success), or simply one wrong email blowing up to a major fight.

Sometimes, these fights get really out of hand. It makes those around you (or your readers) wonder if they’re back in middle school. Or who is telling the truth.

Now, what if you just took a step back. Took some deep breaths. And realized that all the sniping and undercutting and drama isn’t helping anyone.

And it could be hurting you and your books as much if not more so than you’re hurting the other author.

Readers don’t care. Your friends and family might, sure. If you’re lucky, a few will even speak up and tell you that you’re being a jerk and to calm back down. But all your readers will see is two people who can’t get along. Who can’t be adults and just walk away.

I don’t involve people in the drama around my personal life. Certainly not my readers.

Trust me, the last year and a half has been full of it. But readers won’t care if my parents died. They won’t care about how much money we put into our daughter’s first car. They aren’t interested in medical issues.

They want the next story. They want the next event or contest.

There have been times, yes, when I’ve looked at my sales and wondered what I’m doing. That I should just give it up and walk away.

But I won’t.

Being an author is so much more than writing a book. This is one of the few industries where morals, work ethic, the manners matter. The person who can be an adult, let things go, and be pleasant to everyone is the one readers want to interact with.

Books are an interesting world. The plots can all be boiled down to basic structures, and we find new and different ways to tell them. Sure, there’s lots of books out there that have dragons or magic. It’s how I use them that makes mine unique, the words I use to create the world. That’s what differentiates my stories from other authors.

No one’s going to read those stories, though, if I’m bitching about politics. No one’s going to buy my book because (yes, I’ve seen this) I scream at readers online for not leaving a review. Or curse at them for not buying more copies. Seen that, too.

We are NOT in competition with other authors. We really aren’t. Someone can read my books and then read one by J. K. Rowling and that’s okay. I have no monopoly on readers.

I concentrate on what I can control. My behavior. My image. And that’s going to make the difference.

BB

Nine years ago, something happened in my life. For most people, they’d wonder why a D&D character would make any sort of impact in real life. Perchance I was a bit TOO connected to her. The thing is, that group of friends had been meeting every single Saturday for about 2 1/2 years. We too these characters from game infancy (level 1) to fully fleshed out characters with personalities.
 
When the group wrapped up, in rather unexpected and bad ways (we were all killed or imprisoned), we mourned the loss. We were bitter, hurt, and felt cheated.
 
Out of that experience, my muse was unlocked. I finally started to write ‘Daughter of Hauk’. And I got encouragement from friends and family that gave me the confidence to keep at it.
 
Without that party wipe, I wouldn’t be writing now.
 
As such, I’ve got a certain fondness for The Raven Chronicles and Arwenna’s story. That was my character, after all. I invented her, borrowed (with permission) other people’s characters from the group. Threw in a few of my own imagination. Changed a few things so the makers of D&D wouldn’t sue me. And used writing Arwenna’s story as a way to deal with some of my own issues.
 
So, yeah, it hurts when it goes months without a sale. Because it’s more than a good story. It’s my baby. I’ve written other stories that may be better told, or more engaging, but that trilogy will forever be my favorite. For very personal reasons.
 
What makes things nice is that the wait and patience is paying off. I’ve seen pages read or sales for all 3 books for 3 months running now. Even the fan fic has gotten some love.
 
Will it ever be on the NYT best seller list? Probably not. But my baby’s getting a little bit of love right now from readers. And I’ll take that.