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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

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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

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Hey! Are you there? I know I haven’t posted for a while and thank you for not unfollowing my blog because of it.

Life happened.

On May 25th, I had surgery. The weeks leading up to it were full of taking care of things I wouldn’t be able to for a while afterward. Then, it was about recovery. Happy to say things are going really well! Still have a weight limit for lifting, and haven’t been cleared to start coffee again, but I can work with those.

In the weeks leading up to surgery, I had ideas for ‘Guarding Amber’ (the follow up to ‘Guarding Charon’). I just didn’t have the focus I needed. My mind went to a million little things that I’d not done for months (years?) that demanded my attention at last. Even if it only took 5 minutes or less to do. I was organizing our cd cabinet. Preparing the house for the oldest to come home for the summer from college. Heck, I even went out and edged/trimmed our yard.

This weekend, I came to the realization that everything was going to be fine. I’m healing well, not had any big issues, and that’s when it all clicked. I was finally ready to put the surgery, etc, in the past and move forward with life again.

Writing’s not something you can simply do, put aside, and get rich off of. It takes a lot of time to write a story, even more to get it edited and in shape for your publisher. Add to that the hours needed every single week to promote your books and it’s easy to see why a lot of people give up after just one book. Because you’re putting in the work with almost zero monetary payback for up to a decade.

But, if you DO put in the time and the work, then you might actually get that brass ring.

Speaking of brass rings….I grabbed one! I’m going to be doing a book signing at the Federal Way, WA Barnes & Noble on June 25th! If you live nearby, come by and say hello!

Internationally renowned

BB

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Hey! It’s Saturday! Last week was hectic as anything, but I managed to survive. No one likes almost $700 in car repairs, but they were necessary. Now to try and sell some books and recoup at least part of that.

I had a couple of really good things happen last week. One just came to pass last night. My blog’s now a syndicated one on Authorsdb!

Authorsdb blog badge

The other one…well, it started coming about earlier in the week. But I’m still grinning about it.

I was checking my email late one night. There was a message from a gentleman who was part of a comicon at a community college. They were going to do a charity silent auction at the con, with the proceeds going to a local food bank. And he was hoping I could donate a book or two.

Oh, and the school was located in Scotland.

After I got past my momentary glee and sense of wonder for being asked, I did my due diligence. Made sure that the school was legitimate, that the con was listed on their website on the day he mentioned, and found social media information about the contact person and con itself.

Here’s where things got a little sticky. The con’s on April 25th. In order to get any books there, on time, it was going to cost a lot. I couldn’t find shipping options lower than $35 for a single book. I asked if they could help cover part of all the cost, as the abovementioned van repairs were still pending. Nope. Wasn’t going to be able to help.

So, I thought about it. And asked him what he thought of me doing a digital prize. He loved the idea!

I’ve sent him my covers, bio, headshot, and the Solstice Publishing logo. He’s going to come up with a display using those. The winning bid will be able to email a code to me and I’ll send them .df versions of all 18 titles I currently have out.

To sweeten the pot, I suggested he set a minimum amount (high enough to really benefit the food bank, but not so high that no one would ever bid on it) and, should the winning bid be at that point or higher, I’ll either name a character or dedicate my next book to them.

I don’t consider being an author as a money making scheme. I don’t necessarily want to hire bodyguards or an assistant who screens my emails. Because it’s not all about me. It’s about the stories, the readers, and the good that you can do by being a public person. I’m still relatively unknown. But if I can do something like this and help a food bank out, yeah. It’s worth it.

BB

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Hey everyone!

I’m snowed in today. LOL. Seattle got a rare blanket of white last night. Hubby made it to work, but getting from our neighborhood to a main road was interesting. If there’s no pressing need for me to go anywhere, I’m waiting for it to melt. Power is still on, meaning we have heat and internet. Yeah!

There’s a cold hard fact to being an author that most people don’t realize. Even most writers don’t have a clue until they put a book up for sale or sign with a publisher. And that there’s absolutely NO direct path to success and sales.

You’re going to be bombarded with ads claiming to know the ‘secret’ to getting good sales. Treat it like you would any other spam and get rid of it. Plain and simple, they want to make you spend big bucks to see little or no lasting success. Unless you count them growing richer as they suck you into the process.

Being an author is tough. It’s work. 99% of us are NOT ‘special snowflakes’ that get their every whim catered to because they make money left and right. You have to be willing to face that fact. Want a lasting career? Don’t be a jerk, stop pretending you know everything, and do the work. Roll up your sleeves, dig a trench, and keep trying.

At one point, I was looking at a career in performing arts. My degree’s actually in technical theater, specifically props and stage management. We’ve all grown up with the stories about how hard it is to become a star in Hollywood. Thing is, it’s JUST as hard to get to the level of Stephen King as an author. I know that. And I’m willing to do the work to get myself there. I believe in my writing. I stay positive. I work with people instead of demanding I be given special treatment.

Get over yourself. Stop imagining that you should be shielded from the reality of the job you claim you want, and get to work. Put in the time to make a solid foundation to your work. Try new things to promote that are free before investing thousands of dollars in a promotion that has no guarantees of getting you enough sales to recoup the investment.

Don’t just sit back and expect money to come pouring in because you wrote a book. Because that’s simply just not how it works.

BB

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Okay, I need your help. Each and every person who follows this blog!

‘Guarding Charon’ is up for Preditors & Editors Best of 2016 as a scifi/fantasy novel. Right now, it’s sitting in 3rd. It’s hit the top spot off and on during voting, so I know it’s close. Which means every single vote counts.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Go to this site: http://critters.org/predpoll/novelsf.shtml
  2. Vote for ‘Guarding Charon’. It got listed twice, so be sure to hit the first one so we don’t split the votes.
  3. Enter your name, email address (you can vote once per email address), and do the captcha to prove you’re human.
  4. Go to the email you used and click on the link to make your vote count!

Solstice Publishing is in the running, too, for best publisher! Please help!

I’m done groveling and begging now, so here’s the teaser for the week!

Guarding Charon-001

“Mr. Dixon, is this a safe place to talk? After what happened with the limo…” her voice trailed off.

“Very secure and safe, I assure you. No one would’ve been allowed to come close enough to the plane to put any sort of devices on the exterior, let alone gain access to the inside. Bruce will not be listening in.” He smiled. “If you like, you can call me Larry. Mr. Dixon is extremely formal. ‘Stuffy’ is what your great aunt called it. We will be working closely for the next several months, getting the estate transferred to you. There is no reason to be formal when we’re alone.”

He leaned back, his face taking on a more serious appearance. “Grace, this is a hard thing to ask right now, but it must be discussed. You have the chance now to reinvent yourself, disappear in some ways. Amanda knows what Bruce tried to do, and how he was forcing you into a corner so you’d have to marry him. She was making plans to bring you to her home herself, when she passed away. If you want, everything is in place for me to create a new identity for you. A new name, new social security number, new driver’s license. We can get the paperwork started now, have it all in place by the time we arrive in Cavendish. I only need your permission, and a name you’d like to be known by.”

She stared at the bottle in her hand. To truly disappear, become someone else, would guarantee Bruce would never find her again. Even if she didn’t stay in Maine after her six months were up, he would never find her.

“What about my parents?” Her voice was hushed.

“They accepted a check. Enough to guarantee your father can retire; their debts are paid in full if they choose to do that. But the money is conditional that they tell no one where you went. They know it is likely they’ll never see you again, and traded the money for contact with you.”

Grace slouched in her chair. Her entire body shook. They abandoned her, cut her out of their lives forever, for money. She knew she should be shocked, upset. But she felt numb. “I think I need a drink,” she whispered.

She kept staring at the bottle of water in her hands, fascinated by the motion of the water as the tremors continued. Distantly, she heard ice hitting the bottom of a glass, followed by liquid being poured. It appeared on the edge of the table.

Shaking, she put the water on the table and grabbed at the glass. Amber liquid swirled around a giant ball of ice. Before she could stop herself, she downed the scotch. It burned as it traveled down her throat, numbing her stomach to match her emotions.

If they were ready to be done with her, then she would be done with them. “Let’s do it.”

“Very well. What would you like your new name to be?”

She stared at the glass in her hands. “Did she have any family with her last name?”

“No. She was the last Cross. Her sisters took the names of their husbands, and she had no brothers.”

“That’s it, then. I’ll be Amber Cross.” She raised her glass. “Here’s to new beginnings.”

He raised his as well, “To new beginnings, Amber Cross.”

Swallowing some more of the alcohol, she began to try and adjust to the new name. “So, this house. What’s it like? And why’d she choose me?”

myBook.to/guardingcharon

BB

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I didn’t forget! I just got swamped with…stuff! LOL!

Here’s the teaser for the week, from ‘Emile’s Blade: A Book of the Amari’.

Grear darted past the streams of people fleeing the caves. The amassed forces of five separate kingdoms bore down on their home, intent on rounding up the last free home the Amari had.

“Grear! To me!” A voice screamed at him over the crowd. Looking toward the sound, he saw an arm beckoning him. As quickly as he could, he wove through the throng and found the uniformed man who called to him.

“What is it?” he asked, his breath coming in gasps. “My family…are they alright?”

The blonde man nodded his head, the gold eyes darting past Grear’s head to survey the crowd. “I’m sure they’re fine. Artemis needs you.”

He shook his head emphatically. “No. I have to get to Bella and Serafina. Tell him he can find me at the rendezvous spot and impart his kingly wisdom there!”

A hand reached out, grabbing his arm. “Grear, it’s set in motion. Bella took her to the river already.”

The blood rushed out of his face as fear settled on his heart. “Lead the way,” he said, his voice wooden and heavy.

The other man wove a path through a series of caverns and tunnels, avoiding as many people as possible. “The raid started earlier than we thought it would,” he spoke over his shoulder. “Artemis got Lyssa into hiding, and summoned Bella as soon as he ordered us to evacuate.”

Grear didn’t answer. It was too late for talk, too late to say goodbyes.

They stopped in front of a plain looking set of double doors. “He’s in there. Refuses to leave. Says it’s not part of the plan.” He reached out his hand to Grear. “Take care of yourself. Stay free. Or try to.”

Grear took it in the friendship it was offered. “You as well, Titus.”

As Titus disappeared down the corridor, he pushed open the doors in front of him.

Artemis stood at the far end, his back to Grear. The sheer curtains that kept the sitting room separate from the balcony had been pushed aside. Ignoring the shelves of books, he strode past the leather chairs and finely carved tables.

“Might as well grab yourself a drink, Grear,” Artemis’ deep voice called out. “You’ll need one soon enough.”

He hesitated, the amber liquid in the crystal decanter tempting. “No, Artemis. I don’t need a drink. I need to know why you gave the order before I could say goodbye to them.” He walked out to the balcony and leaned against the rail. And waited for an answer.

Artemis stepped back from the edge, his hands resting on the barrier. He kept his focus on the people below fleeing Uamh nan Amari. “It was time. If we waited for you, we would’ve lost the opportunity. The humans will be on us soon. Most of our people will be rounded up as they leave the caves. If the ruse is to work, it had to happen when it did.” He turned, “I’m sorry, cousin. I really am. I know this will be hard on you. Raising her without any knowledge of who she is, what she is, who you are. And now she’ll think her father is dead.”

“What about Bella?” he whispered.

“She’ll remain at the river, as planned. When they find her, she’ll give them the story of how the last royal for my household is far from their grasp. Everyone will think it’s my own daughter.” He took a deep breath. “Given the magic she’s going to harness to send Fin downriver safely, she won’t live long enough to be chained. You’ll never encounter her as someone’s pet. Fin won’t have to see it, either.”

Grear’s heart constricted. His wife had agreed to this. He did, as well. It was the only way to ensure both Fin’s safety and the continuation of the royal line. But, now that the events were in motion, it cut deeper than any wound he’d ever gotten.

Artemis placed a hand on his shoulder. “They’re going to take me, Grear. They’ll make me tell them everything. I can only say I saw your wife leave with your daughter and you went after them. Make me believe, now, that Grear is dead.”

Grear looked at him, slowly making his gold eyes fade into brown. The dark brown hair darkened to a midnight black. “Grear’s dead.” Without another word, he turned and left the room.

emile%27s-blade-001

myBook.to/emilesblade

BB

 

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