Finally after two years of Covid, another year of moving three times, and a hurricane, I have started to plan and attend book events. First a great weekend at Cedar Key. No hurricane debris! Working WiFi! New writer friends! Sold many books 🙂
I’ve got two more one day events coming up in November and January at local libraries. I want to make a Kindle Exclusive thing to show off my e-only books. Tried on Canva all morning. About to cut and paste something by hand. Maybe with help from an office supply store.
This past week a friend pointed out to me that since it’s December, I should be marketing my Blue Lake Christmas Mystery on Twitter.I’m of two minds about book marketing on Twitter. Mostly, I don’t do it. I depend on blog posts to indirectly indicate that hey guess what I write books too! So she said “pin a new post every day with a fresh picture, hash tags, and a buy link.” I accepted the challenge and posted a new pinned tweet every day last week. I’m not sure I sold any books. I am hoping none of the people who follow me got annoyed.
I find people who post a ton about their products annoying. If that is the only thing they post.
(Just as an aside I am trying to use the new “better” Word Press format. I started this post yesterday and couldn’t finish it because I got so confused. New tech is daunting for me. But I am determined to publish this post today. I see in previews that I do not like the box format at all!! Don’t know how to fix it. Hope it goes away when I hit publish! Sorry for all the !!!! but I am frustrated.)
So back to posting about your book (or your service, or your product that is not a book) on Twitter. It really doesn’t work as a sales tool for me. It does work for some people. I figured out why it doesn’t work for me this week. I usually post to Twitter once a week with a blog link. That’s it. I do look at other posts on the day I tweet. I have my favorites, but I also randomly read those I follow, too. If something someone says interests me, I will retweet it or make a comment or like it or all three.
Lately I’ve noticed people are not retweeting as much. I get many more “likes” than retweets. I thought it was just a new trend or perhaps a new rule. Really, are people sick of retweets? I thought RT was queen of Twitter, but at least for me, not so much anymore. Still, I persist in RTing. It’s what I do most on Twitter.
From what I’ve read, the rule for tweeting your book on Twitter is make it ten percent of your tweets. So that’s one post in ten. I like to mix up comments and RTs. I don’t do a lot of original tweeting because there are so many other people who speak tweet better. But I tweet a bit when I have a flash of brilliance…you see I set a high bar.
For blogging, I like posting on Monday to catch the #MondayBlogs hashtag. But those posts are not supposed to be about your book. They’re not for promotion or sharing buy links. So I kind of got out of the habit of talking about my books at all on Twitter or in my blog posts. I’m less shy about it on my Facebook author page. Not sure why.
So what this week has shown me is that if I pin a new post every day, I will look at my Twitter feed and spend some time on there commenting and RTing and even tweeting an original though every so often. I liked doing the new pinned book tweet every day, too. It was fun, even if it didn’t sell books. I think I will keep up this practice. And there’s always #TuesdayBookBlogs.
I just listened to a woman read the opening from A Paris Notebook, my first novel from The Wild Rose Press. She’s fabulous. She’s hired! When my publisher hooked up with Amazon to offer TWRP authors a shot at Audible, I was right on it. 30% of people now listen to their books as much as read them.
Not many people read novels. It’s a tiny percentage of the reading public, most prefer non-fiction. It used to be the only people who read poetry were poets (and me). Let’s hope that’s never true for novelists. I know there are a zillion of us out there. And then some of them, like prolific Nora Roberts, write hundreds of (really good) books spanning their careers. I just finished Year One by The Nora and loved it. She’s written 200 books which just plugging in a few numbers I figure must be something like 5 books a year. So a book in 2.5 months. How does she do it?
This is a bit of a shaggy post. Lots of people are talking about the book by Michael Wolff that claims our current president acts like a child, doesn’t read and doesn’t listen. I feel bad for Trump. It’s so clear that he needs approval so he puff himself up with praise (mostly inaccurate) at every opportunity. I wince when I read things like “I’m a genius, and, like, mentally healthy, too.” That was a paraphrase, not a quote. But he did use the word genius to describe himself on Twitter.
I bet Nora Roberts wouldn’t do that. Neither would Oprah, who I hear may be mulling a White House race in 2020. If Trump runs again, we could call it the Celebrity Election. I really hope it doesn’t come to that. I like Oprah but I also like my Presidents to know how government works. I want them to know foreign policy. I bet she would do some homework before taking office. Because at least Oprah reads. She’s a really good listener, too.
I love my publisher. I really do. They are lovely people and they’ve just partnered with Amazon to bring their authors out in audio. I’m not a fan of audio books, but apparently there’s a huge market. We don’t HAVE to get our books onto audio, but why wouldn’t you? It costs the writer nothing, it’s no work for the writer, the writer collects royalties. All we need to do is sign a contract for each book we want to go audio. It’s for 7 years, but I wasn’t planning on taking those books anywhere else. Seemed like a clear win to me.
Then I remembered the other contracts I signed. There was a clause I wish had not been there. I didn’t remember agreeing to it. My eyes must have gazed over the words about my being required to write a “consummation scene.” Or maybe I didn’t exactly know what it entailed–maybe I just thought, okay, sex scene. Check. So I wrote my first book and sent it in and my editor wrote back to say “you know, you need to write the consummation scene.”
Me: “How is that different from the scene I wrote the first time they had sex?”
Editor: “You don’t describe the moment of consummation.”
Me: “Like, graphically?”
Editor: “You can be euphemistic. But readers need to see it.”
Me: “That was in my contract?”
I checked. It was. Listen, I’m no prude. I have nothing against sex scenes, although I usually skip them. Because nobody knows how to write a good one. Or it’s rare. So why not just shut the bedroom door and leave it at that? But I’d signed the contract so I researched how to write a good sex scene. I learned that romance authors call these scenes “love scenes” ~ there’s got to be a romantic build up to the scene. The characters must be in love. Consummation is about emotional surrender. Sex is about allowing your character to be vulnerable, to trust, to hope, to need. And you don’t want it all to sound like stereo instructions, but neither do you want the metaphors to obscure the reality of the physical thing happening.
That sounds difficult. And it is. That’s why almost nobody does it well. So how will the consummation scenes I wrote (one for each book) play on audio? I don’t know. A contract extension is a simple document. However, it assumes all language of the original contract. So what I do know is that the bedroom door will be wide open.
I should have known from the minute she elbowed her way into Blue Heaven, acting like she owned the joint, that Lily would be trouble. She was 17 and secretive, a minor character who thought she should have a bigger part. I gave her a love interest, but it turned out she had issues with boys.
I thought I ended Lily’s story at the end of that first book in my Blue Lake series. She was safely away at college in book two, but came barreling back with vengeance on her mind in book three. I had a hard time deciding which of my two female characters would take the lead. I hadn’t meant it to be Lily, but damn that messed up woman was fun to write.
By the fourth book, even though she left town, her name and her story stole a few scenes. I’d promised her her own book–I even tried to write it–but it was so dark I had to take a mental health break and write a light fun Christmas story. I thought about dumping the Lily chapters I’d started before my most recent release, but my critique group, who have more influence on me than I’d like to admit, would not hear of it.
I’d set myself a challenge with Lily’s story and I needed to see it through. It’s about done now, well at least a workable draft is almost there. But I keep thinking about where and how I want Lily to end up. I want to do right by her. I want to give her the peace she’s been seeking for so long. So I’m taking my time with the denouement. Not that it will be a lot of pages, but it will be the right way to leave this woman, now in her mid-30s, who I’ve been following for most of her adult life.
It might seem strange to say I’m following a character I created. But that’s what I do. I know some writers would roll their eyes at that. Who’s writing the story, anyway? Well, here’s the truth: it’s me and then it’s not me. It’s a part of myself I only access when I’m writing. It’s where my imagination goes when I get quiet inside and try to keep up with characters like Lily.