Good Lord! What a month. And it ends today with a post at Long and Short Reviews. Stop by for a final chance at an Amazon GC and for a little more about my journey to publication at the age of 55!
Category Archives: branding
So, here’s recap of my stops on week one on my Goddess Fish tour, just in case you missed any of the stops:
September 25 : Christine Young
September 26: Lisa Hazelton
September 27: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
September 28: The Reading Addict
You can still stop by all those blogs and try for a chance at a $25,00 Amazon GC when the tour ends. Good luck!
Day 5 brings me to ROMANCE NOVEL GIVEAWAYS where I’m discussing walking the walk and talking the talk when it comes to stuff in books. You can’t just make stuff up, you know! Heehee. Stop by for a chance at a $25 AMazon GC.
Today, Day 4, finds me over at my old friend THE READING ADDICT. I’m talking about why Romance is such a popular genre for readers of all ages, backgrounds, diversity, and walk of life. Join me and take a shot at a $ 25 Amazon gc!
Yesterday I extolled some of the wisdom Jane Friedman imparted last weekend at Fiction Fest 2017 in her master class. One of the biggest takeaways from the workshop for me was how powerful Facebook can be for an author.
When I first began my journey as a published author in 2015 I had the typical Facebook page where I trolled the news feed for posted info on family and friends. It was my then-editor who suggested I make myself a professional FB page for my author career. The thought of now having to manage and keep track of 2 things on FB, not to mention Twitter, Pinterest, my website, my Amazon page, yada yada yada was a little daunting and a whole lot of nauseating.
But I heeded her advice and did it. The one thing I was adamant about though, was that the professional author page was going to be for anybody who wanted to follow me as an author. I was going to keep my personal page just that – private. The reason was an easy one for me because I have small children in my family and friends circle and their parents post pictures of them frequently. I didn’t want some wackjob creepy person to see those pictures. There are a lot of undesirables on the Internet, hunting for innocent prey. And I know that sounds dramatic, but have you read the news lately??? Not dramatic at all.. simply proactive.
So. Two pages. Two separate entities. Double the work. More to keep track of. But you know what? it was a good thing. I have waaaaaaay more “friends” on my professional page than my personal one. I don’t post anything on the professional page I wouldn’t want everyone in the cyber world to see, but I’m able to keep private what needs to be kept private on the personal page. One of the good things about Facebook is that you can set up protection and privacy settings on posts.
Jane is a big proponent of reader and follower engagement on her FB page. She uses her page as a tool to interact with readers, answer questions, make announcements, show her blog postings. She feels authors should use the Professional page as their number one tool for marketing and acquiring new followers who then become readers. I always felt that Twitter gave me my biggest bang for engagement, and in reality, I have more twitter followers than I do FB followers (not many more, but a few). One of the drawbacks, Jane says about Twitter, is that it is very much a right here- right now thing. In other words, once you post something you have about 17 minutes or so for people to see it. After that, it gets lost in the quagmire of a hundred billion other tweets and the scroll shoves you waaaaaaay down low. Makes sense. On Facebook, your postings get added to the newsfeed, your followers get notified you’ve posted something, and if you come back to the post a few hours later and simply “like” it, it brings it back up in the current scroll. That’s genius in my mind. Plus, everytime someone likes or comments on your post you get a notification and respond in kind.
Facebook parties are a fabulous markteting tool for new readers and engagement as well. Facebook ads can be a tool to drive people to your page, but be careful. Don’t go crazy and spend more than you think you really need on an ad.
So. Facebook. I will now be using it a great deal more than Twitter. Still love to tweet though!
There really should be something done about lousy internet in hotels and conferences! I was at a fabulous conference this weekend and couldn’t blog about it because it took FOREVER to get connected to WiFi. Oh well…better late than never.
Friday night I took a master class with marketing guru Jane Friedman. It quite literally changed the way I view all the social media stuff I have to do as a writer who wants to get her book in front of strangers. For two hours she spoke about all the ways a writer can engage readers and get them to — not only visit their websites — but purchase their work.
First things first. Your website. You’re reading this so obviously you stopped here! But how did you find out about the website? Did you see a Twitter mention of it? Catch it in a newsfeed roll on my Facebook Author page? Or do you Follow me on WordPress? Since I don’t have a newsletter ( a major faux pas in Jane’s opinion), I don’t have a one-on-one way to let people know about new content on my site. I’ve debated for several years about having one because it’s just one more thing I have to do, but she says the benefits are worth it.
Next. The website content, itself. I don’t update my website frequently except for the blogs. My banner, headers, widgets, etc., are all pretty stagnant. And that’s the kind of traffic you never want: stagnant. You want your website to be fluid, moving, and new. So, Saturday morning between the hours of 1 am and 4 am ( since I never sleep. Damn this menopause insomnia!) I updated my website. I added a new category, changed the banner and some of the graphics, and posted new info on the pages.
Last. Your work. Or in my case, my books. It’s inconceivable to me that I never thought of this, but nowhere on my website was there a page for a reader to purchase my books. Not even a direct link except if I was blogging about the book. So, ta-da- new page. MY BOOKS lists all my work from newest to oldest, the covers, and all the buy links across the e-book network and traditional publishers. Whew! That was a ton of work but I think it’ll be so worth it in the end, especially when I start to see an uptick in sales.
Jane spoke of several other ways to drive traffic to your work that I’ll be discussing tomorrow. Today I wanted to focus on the website itself.
I’ve mentioned many times that I’m an only child. And that I hated being one. Still do. I think the reason I write about big families with multiple siblings is because that’s what I wanted when I was younger….still do! I love writing about sisters, especially. Older and younger sisters. I haven’t written twin sisters yet, but I intend to. I just need to do some research first.
Sisters. In my WILL COOK FOR LOVE series, there are 7 Laine sisters. Kandy is the oldest, Eleanor the youngest. Their parent’s volatile divorce left each of them scarred in different ways, and, like with anyone, some of the sisters are closer to one another than others. It’s that way for Kandy and Gemma, who is 3 years younger than Kandy. In the first book COOKING WITH KANDY, Gemma is her older sisters’ principal photographer. She does all of Kandy’s publicity shots and has photographed all her best-selling award-winning cookbooks. Gemma is a true visionary in her own right, and in book 2 A SHOT AT LOVE, we see her evolution since Kandy’s show ended.
“What’s going on with you and the hunk?” Gemma asked as she helped Kandy carry the leftover cake back into the kitchen.
“What are you talking about?”
“The two of you have been walking around each other on eggshells all day. I noticed it the second I got here. What happened?”
“Why do you think anything’s happened?”
“Stop answering me with questions, Kandace Sophia, and tell me what’s going on. I know you like I know the lighting stops on my camera. Have the two of you slept together?”
“No.” The explosion echoed in the kitchen. “For goodness’ sake, Gem, what do you take me for?”
She shot her sister a cool, smug smirk. “A fool if you haven’t. I’d fall into bed with him in a heartbeat if he asked me.” When her sister’s mouth fell open, Gemma added, “Don’t be mad at me for the truth.”
She took Kandy’s hand in hers and rubbed it. The sisterly show of affection made Kandy sigh. “I’m not mad at you.”
“Then tell me. What’s going on with you two?”
Kandy sat on a breakfast barstool and rested her hands on the counter. “I don’t know.” A second later she added, “No, that’s not true. I think I know, but I’m not sure.”
When she sighed again, Gemma took a seat next to her. “Tell me.”
Kandy looked into her sister’s eyes, identical in every way to her own and saw concern wash through them.
With a great deal of reluctance, she related the scene in the kitchen the night before. Supreme embarrassment prevented her from telling Gemma what had transpired in the garage earlier.
“I’ve never acted like that before,” she said, dropping her head into her hands. “So needy, so totally off the wall sexually. It was scary.”
“It sounds exciting as all get out.”
Kandy shook her head and gave her sister a small smile. “Beyond exciting. I can’t describe how good it felt to be kissed like that. I can’t believe it was me.” She threw her head down into her hands again.
“It’s about damn time,” Gemma said, yanking her sister up by her hair, her gaze slicing into her. “All you do is work. You never have any fun, Kan.”
“Cooking is fun for me.”
“Yeah, well, we all know you’re not normal.”
“No, it’s the truth. I can’t imagine a better diversion for you than having a hot, torrid, sexfest with this guy. It’s absolutely perfect. Go for it.”
“Gemma, I can’t have an affair with him.”
“Well, for one thing, he doesn’t want me.”
Gemma’s eyes widened, making her brow groove in disbelief. “I don’t believe it for a second. I saw the way he looked at you in your office the other day. There was enough longing in his eyes to comfort a small, underdeveloped nation.”
“Then why is he the one who keeps pulling the plug every time we get in a clutch?”
Gemma shrugged. “Some weird sense of duty, maybe?”
“Right.” She shot a finger at her. “He keeps telling me I’m a client. That’s all I am to him, Gem. A job.”
Kandy’s heart ached when she said the words out loud. Admitting them to herself was one thing. Telling them to her sister, giving a real voice to them, was quite another. And it hurt.
It hurt like hell.
“Did he kiss you back?” Gemma asked.
Oh, baby, did he ever! “Yes.”
“Peck-on-the-cheek kiss, or I’ll-die-if-I don’t-wrap-myself-around-your-tonsils kiss?”
Kandy snorted. “The latter.”
“There you go.” She sat back, a smug smile wiggling across her mouth. “What more proof do you need? The guy wants you, Kan. I say go for it with all you’ve got. Enjoy the heck out of him.”
“And then what?”
“What do you mean?”
“What happens next? When this whole thing is over and he leaves? What am I supposed to do then, Gemma? Just go on as if it never happened?”
Gemma shrugged and rose. She opened the refrigerator and took out a pitcher of ice tea. “I don’t know. Why think about it now?”
“Because I think I may be falling in love with him.”
Gemma stopped pouring midstream and leveled a frown at her sister. “You can’t be serious.”
“I am. I’ve never felt like this about a guy before. It’s more than just the physical attraction. I like being with him, having him around. When we went out to dinner last night, for the first time in a really long time I was relaxed and comfortable. I can talk about anything with him. He listens. He hears and understands. I get a safe and warm feeling in the pit of my stomach every time I think about him. I can see the two of us together, sitting in the kitchen, drinking coffee, discussing the kids. I’ve never let myself think about children and carpools and starring in my own happily-ever-after before. Never. It’s never been an option for me.”
Gemma cocked her head. “Because of Daddy and what he did?”
Kandy nodded. “I don’t want to love someone as much as Mom did and then have it all turn to crap. I’ve done everything I could to protect myself from ever being that vulnerable.”
Gemma’s sigh was forceful. “And you all say I’m the one who’s screwed up the most in this family.”
“Gem, no one says that. Truthfully.”
“But you all think it. I know you do.”
The sisters stared at each other for a moment.
“Look.” Kandy finally broke the silence. “I don’t know what do to about this, how to handle it. Whenever we’re in the same room, all I want to do is have him hold me. When he’s not around, I’m thinking about him.” She told Gemma how he’d left her for an hour after the rat incident. “All my mind could focus on was how long it was taking him to get back.”
Gemma sat next to her sister and took her hand. “You sound like you’re in love with him already, no maybes about it.”
“Can’t you ever do anything halfhearted?” Gemma said, a lopsided grin tripping over her face.
“Why’d you go and fall in love with the guy?”
“It’s not like I could help it. Don’t you remember what Grandpa used to tell us?”
Brow furrowing, she answered, “The thing about lightning?”
“Yeah. One day you’re walking along without a care in the world, and then bang, like lightning, you get struck through the heart for good.”
Gemma’s grin grew. “Grandma used to get all teary-eyed when he’d say that.”
“Because it’s what happened to him the day he met her.”
“And you feel this way about Josh?”
Her head moved up and down, slowly, a few times. “Believe me, if I could have prevented it, I would have. I don’t need this right now in my life, you know I don’t.”
On a sigh she said, “Yeah. I do.” Gemma took a sip of her tea. “So, what are you going to do? Pursue it and get your heart potentially stomped on, or let it go and wonder what could have been?”
“Oh, don’t be so melodramatic,” Kandy said. “This isn’t some Jane Austen novel. I have more choices than just those two.”
“Like what? Aside from using him for sex or marrying the guy, I don’t see a lot of options looming on the horizon.”
Kandy shook her head and hugged her sister. “You’re an idiot. I love you dearly, but you’re an idiot.”
I just lovelovelove sister interaction!! Tomorrow I’ll be giving you a little glimpse of book 2, A SHOT AT LOVE, and how Kandy helps Gemma out when our fearless and opinionated photographer’s life is turned upside down.
When I’m not writing, you can usually find me here:
Because I have a scientific background, I’m a planner. That’s why I classify myself as a plotter for writing. But I digress….
I plan. For everything, Disasters, worst case scenarios, major illnesses, disease, pestilence, and plague. I have enough non-perishable food to last through the next zombie apocalypse, and if we get hit with a nucelar warhead, we’ll have clean water to drink..and douse ourselves in (!) So it’s no secret I’ve got a plan for the next ten years of my career.
Originally, when I started writing full time in 2015, I had a 5 year plan. I exceeded all the goals on that plan by 2017, so I broadened and increased it to 10 more years at the beginning of 2017.
Here are a few things on that new career plan:
Get an agent
Have at least 1 NYTimes and USA Bestseller, if not more.
Have a movie made out of one of my books – a good movie, at that, None of this wrecking the story by putting it on film crap!
Have at least 2 books per year, if not 3, published every year
Make enough money to hire a personal assistant who will do all my web media. ( since you all know how much I hatehatehate self marketing!)
Win a RITA ( or 2)
There are more things, but I didn’t feel I needed to share everything.
So…check back in 2027. Until then, I’ll be working on my plan.
Something new at RWA this year was the adult coloring wall.
But…. it was really cool. I took some pictures of the images on day one and then tried to remember every day to take more to show you the progress. Had I been able to access good internet service in the hotel ( bah humbug!) I would have been able to update these pictures daily instead of shooting them all to you in one quick shot. Anyway…enough complaining.
So here’s day one, then day 4:
Now, please remember, these were up on a wall, mural sized. Getting to the top of the picture required a ladder!
This one never got finished.. .I don’t know why not. It’s a great Beverly Jenkins cover!
here are a few more:
I was surprised they didn’t all get finished. I will admit one thing, though, it was a great stress reducer! Every day I stopped by and filled in a few more colors on all of them and I actually went away feeling lighter. That whole adult coloring craze has boomed, I think, by now, but still, this was a cute idea. It’ll be fun to see what the RWA board comes up with for Denver.