Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Blog on Hiatus 4 "the" Holidays (well SOMEONE's holidays)

It always gets me that Americans talk about "the" holidays like there's only one set of holidays in the whole wide world. I'm Jewish, not Christian, so my holidays were months ago, back in September/October. I gave away my Jewish Inspirational / Romantic Comedy free for "the" holidays--my holidays ;-)

I'm also pretty sure that Muslims in the US are not actually celebrating "the" holidays with the Christians (though Muslims have a busier holiday season than even us Jews!)

I do, however, realize I live and work in a Christian country, so I am living La Vida Loca in "the" holiday season even though it's not my holiday season. It's kind of a ripoff. I come to this conclusion every year and it always amazes me as though it's news. Then I have to laugh at myself for not remembering the stress is universal and not religion-specific. Everyone gets to "enjoy" the holidays here. It's the law! Okay, stop laughing. This is serious. Books are at stake! ^_^

My day job is working in a grocery store so the Christian holiday season is making my life crazy-busy and totally unpredictable right now. I really need these 2 weeks off instead of crazy-busy so it's a double-whammy ripoff! Why? I'm trying to get my first book finished, edited and released.

Conditioned Response was scheduled for a December 31, 2011 release but due to the craziness of the Christian holidays pre-empting my plans on a daily basis, I've had to push the release date back repeatedly and now it's "sometime in January, 2012." To say the least, I'm feeling a little frazzled these days. Since I cannot cancel "the" (Christian) holidays -- the US economy would collapse if I tried! -- I have to focus on eliminating stressors that I can control. Right now, that's this blog.

Sorry but I'm going to put the blog on hiatus for the next two weeks. That means no posting until after New Year's for those of you who don't know what "hiatus" means (smirk) I'll setup Hootsuite's Scheduler to tweet links to past Monday Marketing blogs or Tuesday Tips while the blog is quiet and I'll start blogging again after New Year's.

See you in 2012!

TUESDAY TIP #Nanoworimo Winners Claim UR Prizes @CreateSpace and @Scrivener

If you were a Nanowrimo 2011 winner, you completed 50,000 words in 30 days--and you got to download one of these kewel little icons. Actually, it's kind of a tacky graphic. They keep changing the icon every year and I guess they're running out of ideas on how to make it interesting. I also guess they never heard of branding (haha). Despite the identity crisis at the Office of Letters & Light, the nano prizes have been available a couple of weeks.

When I say "nano prizes" I mean real prizes -- available courtesy of Amazon's CreateSpace (POD production and distribution service) and Literature & Latte's Scrivener, the Writer's Environment for organizing your fiction, screenwriting, dissertation or any other writing project. Click through the jump-break to find out how to get your valuable gifts, you winner, you!

Monday, December 19, 2011

MONDAY MARKETING Law 17: Unpredictability #pubtip #amwriting #marketing

Welcome back to the Monday Marketing series. I've gone over branding (as the concept applies to Indie Authors) and looked at branding your tweets  as well as staying true to the Company you want to keep. I'm reminding you about my branding discussions this week because it's been a while since I mentioned it and this week, it becomes particularly relevant to understand your chosen brand.

Over the past few months, I've reviewed one chapter a week from The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, the best little book on marketing ever written. It's only about 1/4" thick in paperback, so if you haven't read it already, take 5 minutes to read it now. Done yet? I've given you 5 minutes a week, so you should've read this ten times by now (grin)

Every marketing choice you make should have your brand behind it, should be made so that it strengthens your brand. While it's important to know what the opposition is doing, you need to stay true to yourself above all else.

Today, I'm reviewing Law 17: Unpredictability. This is one of those laws where you need to really know yourself and your brand in order to apply it. The law states (paraphrased here) that unless you can write your competitor's plans, you cannot predict what they'll do next. That's why you need to focus on what you do know and can control: your next move. Click through the jump-break to begin.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

#SciFi #SampleSunday #ConditionedResponse @phoenicianbooks

The new material is nearly all done and I'm about to return to the beginning to start a cover-to-cover read-through and self-edit for internal consistency. Then, I'll pass it onto my First Readers to edit for internal inconsistencies (hopefully not finding any!) while I do yet another cover-to-cover read-through and self-edit for pacing. Then it's onto formatting and proofreading.

So yeah, this is nearly done but all these read-through's take time--periods when I can be focused for a long time, not merely an hour here or there. Getting those chunks of time is the delay so this book won't be released before New Year's. I can sadly admit that with utter certainty now. It irks me no end, but I know the book will be better for holding it off until it's "ready for prime time." Speaking of slow but steady progress, what do you think of the cover art? Yet another revision (changed the foreground again). I like it better with each subtle change I make!

In the meantime, click on through if you don't care about spoilers or have been reading all along anyway, but be warned if spoilers bother you:  MANY SPOILERS LIE AHEAD! For the brave and bold, 2600 new words lie ahead ^_^ Enjoy them all!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

TUESDAY TIP 2 New Promotional Tools You Need to Understand @MarkCoker @HuffingtonPost @AmazonKDP @AmazonKindle @socialmedia2day #NewTwitter

Today I have 2 new promotional tools that have just been released into the wild. One is KDP Select from the world's #1 retailer, the behemoth that is Amazon. The other is Brand Pages from the #1 social networking site in the world, Twitter.

Being #1 should automatically make these two tools great, right? Well, not so fast. Let's take a look at the fine print and workings behind the scenes before hopping up on that band wagon, shall we?

Before I say anything else about the new Amazon program, I should note that the entire discussion applies only to US-based Indie Authors and US-based Amazon customers. If you are based outside the US, these programs and services are not available to you, whether you are a customer or content provider. It is possible that some of the content providers participating in the new KDP Select program have made their products available outside the US; however, their business activities are based in the US. That is, they receive their revenues in US Dollars paid to a US bank account.

If you are located outside the US and would like to participate in a program similar to KDP Select, I suggest you contact Amazon's Vendor Customer Support and let them know you are interested in being notified if and when a similar program is launched for Indie Authors in your country. I know it sounds like sending a call into a black hole, but they do actually receive and review a lot of these emails--and it makes a difference. Slowly and not always the difference we want but a difference nonetheless. ^_^

Click through the jump-break to start sifting through the details of both new promotional tools now.

Monday, December 12, 2011

MARKETING MONDAY Law 16 Singularity: Taking the Path of Least Expectation #pubtip #writing #indie #marketing @MelissaConway1

Welcome to my Monday Marketing blog and the ongoing series using of one of the best little books on marketing ever written: 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

If you've never read Ries and Trout's book, click on the book image now and get a copy. It's not very expensive, will take you 5 minutes to read. When I say "these guys wrote the book," this is the book I mean. Even though they're talking widgets sold by multi-national megacorporations like General Electric and Kraft, I've been looking at each of the 22 Laws and how it applies to our Indie Publishing industry.

Today we're discussing Law 16, the Law of Singularity. Unlike the Law of Exclusivity (Law 6), which was the first law not really applicable to Indie Publishing, the Law of Exclusivity is definitely one for us!

It states In any given situation, there will always be one action you can take which will glean more results than any other path you could choose. Writers are all about making the right choices, aren't we? Everytime a plot twists and turns, we have to choose which way to go. Why should it be any different when determining what marketing efforts will glean the best ROI (Return on Investment)? Click through the jump-break to find out how to identify and choose that path of greatest ROI.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

#SciFi Saturday Snippets #Conditioned Response

My day job has been crazy-busy this past week so the progress on edits have slagged behind schedule. Even so, I can snippet another 2500 words to get you to the end of the same chapter snippeted earlier. Just bear in mind that all of this content is still in draft form and in fact, the previous snippets have already undergone additional edits, both adding and removing content. The general storylines won't change, but the impactfulness of the delivery might--I hope!

If you haven't been reading along, you can catch up by clicking on Conditioned Response in the tag cloud to bring up a list of earlier snippets from my upcoming SciFi Thriller.

The release date was scheduled for December 31, 2011, but it's looking more and more each week like I'll have to reschedule that for January, 2012. I'd rather deliver a polished work, late, than a mediocre work, early.

As always, 3 words of warning: SPOILERS LIE AHEAD!

If you're kewel with spoilers, go ahead and click through the jump-break to read the end of the chapter, in sequence, with what's been snippeted before. If you don't like spoilers, please don't blame me for accidental clicks.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TUESDAY TIP Outlining for the Organic Writer #pubtip #iamwriting r u #reading? @ScrivenerApp #Scrivener #IndexCard #Storyboard

There are two kinds of people in the world: those with loaded guns and everyone else. Do you feel lucky? Oh Clint, you'll always be my Hero! Then again, it's true. There are only two kinds of people in the world ^_^ and when it comes to writing style, there are pretty much just two kinds of approach.

One is to plan everything out ahead of time, point by point, detail by detail, before ever writing a single word of the story. Another is to just sit down at the keyboard and feel lucky. Surprising as some of you may find it to learn, I fall into the latter category. I like to just sit down, load up the MP3 playlist and fire, blasting the words onto the screen "at will." When I do that, yes, I do feel lucky and more often than not, I get lucky because what I write is mostly usable. I don't sit down to write until I've had "the voices in my head" repeating the scene enough times it's starting to get annoying. I have to write it to "excise" it from my brain. Like cutting out a tumor (LOL). Kidding, my writing habit is not a cancer but it's nearly as random and prolific.

However...on the other side of the jump-break you can see why and how I force myself to outline, despite hating every moment of it. I'll even note there are benefits to reap for the effort, so click through now to learn why Russian Roulette is only for the movies (and best-selling thriller novels *haha*)

Monday, December 5, 2011

MONDAY MARKETING Law 15 Candor #marketing #pubtip #myWANA #indie

I am not speaking about the Lost City of Kandor from the Superman stories :) Figured I should say that just in case anyone thought I was confused on how to spell the word. Today, I'm going to talk about speaking openly and honestly to your prospective customers -- and turning that into a marketing advantage.

For those just joining us, the Monday Marketing blogs have been serializing a review of one of the best little books on marketing ever written. One by one, I've reviewed how Ries and Trout's 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing apply to Indie Authors, with a specific eye toward the eBook marketing activity, since eBooks are such a bigger part of the marketing activity for Indies than are the DTBs.

If you've never read Ries and Trout's book, click on the book image now and get a copy. It's not very expensive, will take you 5 minutes to read once--and you'll read it a hundred times again, getting something new each time. I'm a good example since I got this book in the 90s and here I am, 20 years later, still finding new interpretations for the same lessons. This week's lesson, as I said, is on the Law of Candor. No super powers required. Just click through the jump break to find out how being up front about yourself and your product can be marketed as one of your finest strengths.

Friday, December 2, 2011

FREEBIE FRIDAY #SciFi Snippets #iamwriting r u #reading ? #ConditionedResponse

As I said earlier this week, I wasn't actually planning to serialize Conditioned Response prior to its release date but it sure seems to be turning into a good Freebie Friday snippeting event here, doesn't it? If you haven't read last week's snippet, catch up by clicking here; I even added another 1500 words on Tuesday so if you read it then, read it again ;-)

Three words of warning: SPOILERS LIE AHEAD.

Big time. I'm currently working on--and snippeting from--the section of the book after the big climax has occurred (cough cough...yeah, double entendre intended, sorry, but I couldn't resist). Click through the jump break to read the next sequential scene of the book. Again. it's draft, subject to change, probably contains missing words or typos (or both) not to mention Microsoftian formatting quirks but hey, it's free.  ^_^ Tell me what you think in the comments - your feedback is salve for my soul.