Tag Archives: promoting

It’s about the Journey

This blog has always been about my journey as a writer. So, that’s specifically what this entry is going to be about. I’ve grown as a writer tremendously over the last few years and I’m starting to see the products of that growth. I’m about to start my thesis course for my Creative Writing degree and my first novel, Summer Blood, is out and is selling, albeit slowly. Now, I’m journeying into the next realm of being an independent author – promotions.

I’m learning a few things, and the first is that books will not sell without promotions. OK – honestly, I knew that going into it, but now I’m neck-deep and trying to figure it all out. I have some of it figured out, but not all of it. I’m particularly struggling with, how to get reviews. Without reviews, people may not want to buy the book even as a .99 kindle. There are millions of bloggers, and they are ALL inundated with books to read and blog about. I’m sure this is true because my own reading list is a mile long. However, I still need those reviews. Many readers will read the book, but it is a lot of trouble to go back and write a review, especially when they’re really only interested in the next book they’re going to read. So, I’m still smashing this one around, but seriously, if you read a book you really like, leave a review on Amazon, Smashwords or Goodreads or B&N or wherever, because it is really important. If you are a writer it is especially important for you to do this… that way maybe someone else will leave you a review… You know the old Karma thing?!?

So, the book is out there and I’m getting my promotions on track, and I’m working on the sequel and next week starts my thesis (which I think is another novel). It’s a struggle, but the progress is going in the right direction, and the journey has been fun! In fact, the journey is the best part: writing, learning, growing, enjoying the story and the characters… all of it!

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4839007.Sherri_Jordan_Asble

http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Blood-Desolate-Incubus-ebook/dp/B00EH1WLHS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1379357414&sr=1-1&keywords=summer+blood

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paranormal vs supernatural

I’ve been thinking about genre classifications.  I used to think paranormal meant ghosts and poltergeists, and supernatural meant creatures that were super… vampires, werewolves, zombies and such.  I’m not so sure about that anymore.  It seems like the market is using these terms interchangeably.  Sometimes they are accompanied by other adjectives like dark and urban.  So, what does it all mean? And do I need to care?

As an author, I think I do need to care. I need to understand how my readers are going to find my work. It is important to label the work in a manner that truthfully describes the work.  If it is a vampire love story, it’s paranormal romance right? Wrong? Maybe it’s dark urban supernatural? What?

A search on Amazon for paranormal romance (kindle store only) gives us a Dark Wolf, Dark Angel, vampire, and Immortals in the first 4 books. Book #5 has shifters and witches, and then there  is a demon slayer who is a biker witch (this one is in my queue!)  No ghosts or poltergeists here.  So, paranormal has all kinds of “monsters” and beings that are supernatural in nature. So, what’s supernatural?

That same search done with “supernatural” gave me a couple of books based on the TV series of the same name, and one empathy book. Still no ghosts.

Dark Urban Fantasy gives similar results, but there is a slightly different flavor to these. Check out S.M. Reine’s Descent Series for an example:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Descent-Series-Books-ebook/dp/B009YADS38/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377740808&sr=1-2&keywords=descent+series

The Descent Series has paranormal creatures: angels, demons, and more. The primary setting is urban. There is some romance, but it is secondary. Reine’s series is one of the best written examples of Dark Urban Fiction out there.

Kim Harrison’s Hallows series with Rachel Morgan is another example.

The main thing that seems to differentiate these genres is romance as a primary element or not. If it is primary, it is paranormal romance; otherwise, it is dark urban fantasy, supernatural, or just paranormal. You could just search for whichever flavor your want in your moster: angel, demon, vampire, werewolf, or whatever…

So, where does my book fit in? It is definitely closer to Dark Urban Fantasy. Romance is a secondary element and it has vampires in it (and more…) So, check it out with these others:

http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Blood-Desolate-Incubus-ebook/dp/B00EH1WLHS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377740268&sr=1-1&keywords=summer+blood

Whether you dig vampires, werewolves, or bears… romance or not… urban or whatever…. you can find tons of great books out there that will satisfy your paranormal/supernatural urges!

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sequel secrets…

I learned a new secret today… sequels pack a punch. I’m hearing that when an author releases a sequel to a book, the two books feed off each other and you get more readers. It also seems that if you release these sequels back to back, the effects are exponential.  I’m seeing his more and more.  So, I’m learning how important it is to tell the story in multiple editions.

I’m planning on releasing the sequel to my first novel as soon as possible; however, I have thought of something else I can do. I think this is because I have a really hard time doing things the “normal” way. I beat to my own drum (yes, I said that) and it runs in my family and in my friends. So, after the first sequel, I’m going to release prequels. Actually, it will be a book of several prequel novellas. I think it packs a different sort of punch. So, if my readers like my characters and want to know more about their history and how they got to where they are in my novel, they should love the prequels. It will be a fun way to keep the story going, and keeping the story going is the name of the game!

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Writing, writing, writing…

I was surprised to see how long it has been since I posted a blog! I knew it had been a while, but 6 months? Wow! Why so long? I’ve been wrapped up doing other things like writing, writing, and more writing. My classes have been more and more challenging, which is great, because I’m honing my skills! The drawback is that I have little time for other things. I have managed to finally publish Summer Blood to Kindle:

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http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Blood-Desolate-Incubus-ebook/dp/B00EH1WLHS/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_3_ZF79

So, check it out – only .99!!
I’m working on the cover for the paperback to put that out also. I’d like to finish it before my next classes start at the end of September. I start the first part of my thesis then… Woo-hoo… as they say, “What a long strange trip it’s been!”

So, look for more posts soon friends!

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What I’m Learning… Part 1

If you’ve followed my blog, you probably know that I’ve been working on my MA in Creative Writing. So, I’m taking an awesome writing course right now… I’m learning a lot, and one of the things we are doing is writing about how we can apply what we are learning to our own writing. That made me think that I should be blogging this stuff…. so…. here is the first installment of what I’m learning:

In his essay, “Talking Forks,” Charles Baxter writes, “How a person sees the things that surround him usually tells us more than an explicit description of his mood. The things carry the feeling. They do not when our emotions are placid, but when our emotions are violent, they must.”

This sentence is the epitome of the essay and could be the driving force of “The Things They Carried,” the short story by Tim O’Brien. People attach emotions to objects and they can relate to objects carrying emotions in fiction.

The soldiers in “The Things They Carried,” carried a lot more than just objects: “Grief, terror, love, longing – these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight (O’Brien). Their emotions were heavy and they were attached to things. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross had a stone sent to him from a girl back home. It weighed next to nothing, but carried the heaviest emotional weight that got heavier as the story progressed. When a soldier dies because he wasn’t paying enough attention to the surroundings because he was thinking of the girl back home, the stone suddenly had more weight than anything else in the story.

O’Brien tells about all the things that the men carried and why throughout the story in order highlight the events of the story. For example, he gives a list of things including, “Kool-aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits…” and then tells about the reasons for some things like Kiowa that carried his grandfather’s hatchet to show his heritage and distrust of the white man. Then, O’Brien switches to something that is more significant to the main plot of the story, such as the poncho that the soldiers used to carry the one that was killed.

He also uses things and emotions to help continue the mood of the story. He writes, “They carried the sky. The whole atmosphere, they carried it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungus and decay, all of it, they carried gravity” (O’Brien).

In my own writing, I should be conscious of the things around and my characters’ emotional connections to them. Things can be symbolic of other things like the stone the Lieutenant carried symbolized hope and longing and then after the solider died – guilt (O’Brien). Keeping this in mind can help create depth to my stories. Objects do carry emotional weight and these things can make the characters feel more complicated and real. When the emotions are too hard, putting them into the things around us can help, and that can be used to add meaning and context within a work of fiction as well.

____sources:
Baxter, Charles. “Talking Forks: Fiction and the Inner Life of Objects.” Burning Down the House. St. Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2008. Print. http://www.amazon.com/Burning-Down-House-Essays-Fiction/dp/1555975089/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360887487&sr=8-2&keywords=burning+down+the+house

O’Brien, Tim. “The Things They Carried.” The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction. New York: Simon & Schuster. ebook. http://www.amazon.com/Scribner-Anthology-Contemporary-Short-Fiction/dp/1416532277/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360887535&sr=1-1&keywords=Scribner+Anthology

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50 Shades of what?

I just read a blog on how well the “50 Shades of Gray” books are faring… very well I might add.  http://thatfantasyblog.com/2012/06/18/erotic-book-beats-potter-to-be-fastest-selling-paperback/

After reading this blog and spending the last two weeks hearing about the Gray book from all of my friends and co-workers who just HAD to read it, I’m wondering what it says for all of us struggling writers. Is it hope? Is it frustration? Jealousy? Inspiration?  Do we have to write smut books (or mummy porn as the other blog says) in order to get our books to sell? [not that there is anything wrong with that – a lot of my all time favorite books are smutty and favorite authors write them]  Aside of the sex and the curiosity factor, why has this book done so well?

Ok – I have not read the book. I don’t know if it is well written, if it is intriguing, if it is complete crap, or what. I have to think if it sold 100,000 last week alone that it can’t be all crap. There has to be something more than sex here.  Is it timing/luck/well written and a bit of elbow grease all rolled into one mega-success-pack?

Don’t you just love blogs that ask all the questions, but don’t provide any answers?

I don’t have any.  If I did, I would have written and published a 50 Shades of Book Sells already myself!

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Coming soon…

Selena is excited to have an entire summer in the Wolf Game. Shifting into the red wolf is only the beginning. She is positioned for greatness and she is ready to do whatever she has to in order to take control of the pack. But when everyone forgets it’s just a game, the stakes grow higher and higher. Who’s strong enough to save the pack? Who will be willing to walk away? Who’s going to survive? Wolf Games – coming soon!

I’m planning on publishing this next month, so I hope you’ll be looking for it!!   Wolf Games!

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Facebook Lives!

I had all but given up on Facebook. I don’t like the changes they made and I was beginning to think it was useless. Perhaps I felt like it just wasn’t moving fast enough. Twitter is like Facebook on steroids – right!!~?!@?  So, I was hardly ever on Facebook and when I was on, I just checked on family and close friends, which is great, but I like to use my on-line time to network with other writers and to try to promote my own writing. So, Facebook was feeling pretty dead for me. But, the salvation was right before my eyes! Woot!

Do I sound excited? Well, I got very excited when I realized that one of my Twitter friends, Patti Roberts, was hosting a Facebook page for writers. So, I checked it out.  So glad I did! Patti and another writer, Lenore Wolfe, do a fabulous job on this awesome site:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/ParaYourAbnormalAuthors/

This is an Authors Critique Group where authors can help each other. The object is stated as: “We’re trying to catch typos, plot holes, all the things that readers pick up on.” 

What a great way to share your work and get help from others doing the same thing. I really needed this and hope I can get some great advice. 

The other great thing about this is that spending time reviewing the work of others helps writers review their own work. I know from past experience that my work improves when I’m regularly critiquing others. I used to belong to another online group www.critters.org.  This is still an active site, and I’m sure it is fabulous. I just never had enough time to do enough reviews to keep my ratings up high enough long enough to get my work reviewed (yeah – that is a mouthful).  They have too many writers now so it takes forever to get your work up in the queue and meanwhile, you have to keep your review rate up. It became too much work for too little pay back for me. But, the advice I received was fabulous, and the reviews I did helped me as well. So, if you have the time, this is a great group.

Patti and Lenore’s group is a lot more loosely based and relies on reciprocity of the writers. So, I’m in… I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

http://www.facebook.com/#!/lenore.wolfe1

http://www.facebook.com/#!/PattiParadox

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cover art

What do you think? I have a new ebook coming out soon, and I’m trying to get the cover done. So, I’m going to give you a sneak-peak. I can’t decide which way to go. Tell me what you think.

Here is cover #1

This was fun to make using clip art and color.

I like the girl’s hair with the streaks of red because it matches my main character.

The draw back on this one is that I don’t think it is professional enough and I couldn’t get my name right.

This is cover #2:

I like the play with colors on this one and cutting down to just her eyes. I’ve seen a lot of covers with just wolf eyes over looking a girl or guy, so this is that idea revised. I like to do things different.

This still keeps the coloring of the girl’s hair, but using just the eyes makes it a bit more interesting.

This is cover #3:

This is almost the same as cover #2 only I move the eyes to black and white, but still a darker shade than the wolf. I tried one the same shade as the wolf, but then the entire cover kind of disappears. So, I like this one.

I put a bit of shadow around the picture of the eyes too.

I’m not sure, but I think this is my favorite. I keep going back and forth.

Here’s the last one #4:

This one is almost the same as #3, but I didn’t skew the picture of the eyes. I left them straight on. 

So, which one do you like best and why?  I’m not good enough with Photoshop to do much else, but I want to come up with something that looks decent. I don’t want to feel like I’m just ending up with what I can get away with, but I don’t have the funds to purchase anything either.

The ebook is a novella, and I plan to put it out for $2.99, so keep an eye out for it.  Here’s the description:

Selena competes for much more than the alpha spot during her summer spent in her favorite game. Science Fiction and fantasy combine together in this shape shifting tale of intrigue and dominance.

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I did it… OMG!

After so many hours of searching online for the perfect writing program… hours and hours! I finally settled on the program I wanted to do AND applied for it. I officially applied for the MA degree in creative writing online at the Southern New Hampshire University!

I’m really excited. I have everything completed that I need, and now I have to wait. I’ve done my FAFSA, submitted my writing samples, and requested my transcripts. Now, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for the best!

I haven’t been in school for a while, but I love writing and I’m hoping that this program will help me improve my writing and maybe help me move my career in a more creative direction.

I’ve been unsure of what I wanted to do for a while now. I’ve been sitting in a crossroads, if you will. I could move forward with pursuing my doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (sound interesting, huh?)… OR… writing. I’ve been leaning towards the writing. I think it was just a matter of finding the right program. I think this is a good one!

http://www.snhu.edu/English-and-Creative-Writing-Fiction-MA.asp

Once I finish this, I’ll have three Masters degrees ~wild, huh?!?! Well, maybe I’ll consider a doctorate afterwards, but right now my life is all about writing, and this program will be a good boost in the right direction. Woot!

Ya’ll cross your fingers for me too!!

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