Something(s) New!

I’m so excited about my writing life right now. Bubbling over, actually. Vacation helped me wipe the slate clean as I transition from teaching college to doing other things. Mostly writing things. I’ve got plans in the works and have made a new page listing my writing-related public and social media appearances, all which have come about through serendipity and no work at all on my part. The new page is called, what else, “news” — check it out here. Of course it’s always in the header, too, now.

When it flows, go. When it blocks, stop.

Not sure where I read that…I’ve been reading a ton of psychology and neuroscience lately as I prep for a new book and a new genre. In addition to Unrequited, Letting Go, mindset, The Power of Habit and Mindwise, I am also reading 400 Things Cops Know and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating. Also Detroit: An American Autopsy. And those are just the non-fiction titles I’ve finished, am in the middle of, or have stacked in my TBR pile. I also read several novels on vacation, and I’m savoring Charles Baxter’s new book of short stories There’s Something I Want You To Do. Baxter is one of my favorite authors and I’ve read everything he’s published because he is brilliant, funny and a role model.

Charles Baxter

While I do read a fair amount of non-fiction, novels remain my favorite reading form with short stories a close second. I’ve read thousands of novels and story collections in my life and yes, I know that’s a little bit strange. Sometimes I feel like I don’t inhabit the real world as much as I should because I’m so wrapped up in the world of books. Other times I feel so very comforted by the way novels and stories help me make sense of a sometimes senseless world.

I owe a huge debt to authors. I’m only a writer because I read hundreds and hundreds of books growing up. And then as an adult (and having been a professional book reviewer for a number of years) I’ve read thousands of novels. Eventually, if you read as much as I do, you tend to want to see if you can do it, too. So I owe my own writing career to my love of the written word and the people who made me fall in love with their stories.

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This is a perhaps long-winded way of saying that I am about to embark on a new adventure with a favorite friend. As mentioned, I’ve been a professional book reviewer in the past, staff writer for a couple of trade magazines, and I still post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads once in awhile. I used to review informally here on the blog, too, but I’ve never officially been a book blogger before…until Ali asked me if I wanted to write a weekly review for her. Because I love books and her fabulous book blogging on her awesome website, A Woman’s Wisdom, I said YES.

Team Promo

The biggest problem I have with promoting my work is a dire lack of reviews. I know so many people on Twitter and FB and they get hundreds of reviews. One of the first things I heard about finding reviews was to ask people who read the book and liked it to post a short review on Amazon. Ha! I love my friends, but most of them, even if they read the book, are never going to do this.

Just to insert, I do have a few friends who post reviews. You know who you are and you have my eternal gratitude.

So step two is finding reviewers. There are tons of them out there. For my last book, my publisher sent galleys to maybe 20 review sites. I got 2 reviews. I think I might have 8 reviews on one  book, and I don’t know all the reviewers, or I’d send them a big thank you. They could be friends, they could be someone who stumbled upon me by accident.

There’s work to be done to court reviewers. You need to 1. find them 2. ask them 3. send them a galley. And I can’t send to any of the reviewers my publisher sends copies to. That’s called overkill. So there’s a bit of checking and so forth. Does this sound difficult or like a lot of work?

It’s not, it just takes organization and time. I can pay someone hundreds of dollars to find reviewers or I can take a couple hours and dedicate myself to the list I’ve made of reviewers who like the kind of books I write. Contemporary. Small town. Fairly steamy. So finding the right reviewers is like finding the right publisher. Gotta do your homework.

Oh how I wish I had more time to devote to this, but right now I’m wearing two hats. (And my kitchen is a mess. We didn’t even eat at home yesterday so how’d that happen?) BUT happy happy, a new group of people have formed. A small, exclusive group. And I am one of them. We all have a major thing in common, so I know they can be trusted.

I love my new supergroup because these women are team promo. We all have the same goals. Some of us (all of them)  know a lot more than others (me) about the promo game. That’s something I’d tell a new writer: find a group with similar goals to your own and bond. Become a promo team, cheering each other on in various ways.