Monthly Archives: May 2016

Memorial Day

To some people, Memorial Day means the start of summer. It means a day at the beach, barbecues, a trip to the mall or any of a dozen other events families plan. It means a day off from work, maybe some fishing or just some quality hammock time.

Memorial Day is certainly about all of those things. It’s also about one other thing. It’s a day we put aside as a nation to honor and respect those that have sacrificed all to keep this country free and safe. It doesn’t matter that sometimes that threat to safety and freedom was just made up by money-hungry businessmen. Our sons and daughters still paid the ultimate price.

Yeah, I know I’ll catch hell for saying that but I really don’t care. If anybody thinks the Viet Nam war was about anything but making money for a select few, or that any conflict in the Middle East is about anything other than making more money is delusional. Listen, I love this country, but that doesn’t mean I have to walk around with a flagpole stuck up my ass and the banner draped over my eyes.

Patriotism, like religion is fine in itself, but in the minds and hands of the extremists, the fanatical, it becomes very dangerous. There are people that think war is necessary to keep other countries in line. Don’t laugh, there are. Except we don’t win wars anymore. Certainly not like we won WW2…when you saw the defeated leaders signing documents and being humble.

But they still shout out that war is good, that we kicked ass over there and that we stopped the threat to our freedom. They glorify war, making it sound like every mother’s child should bang at the door until they’re let out to play in it. I write about war in my books. Every story is about a great war building or happening. But my books are fantasy. And yet, even in them, I try to keep the fact that war is good relegated to the very real bullshit column of life.

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So just remember, while you lie on that beach and rock that tan, men died while running to the beach from troop transports in France. Men died while running from helicopters in some god-forsaken Asian jungle. Men died when bombs exploded under their vehicles near towns surrounded by sands.

Memorial Day is the day we remember these people. We honor them and say a silent prayer for them and their families. We pause for a moment to look at the flag and think not of what it stands for, but the men and women that died defending it.

It’s not just sun-tan oil and Sweet Baby Ray’s Sauce.

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Marketing…the devil’s time

OK, so you slave over pages, wrack your brains out over editing, wring your fingers while searching for the perfect cover and then finally let an exhausted breath out after it’s published. There it is. Your baby, your masterpiece. Your book.

You stand there and gaze at it lovingly, almost seeing the sales flittering by like an old movie gadget that shows the calendar shedding pages, showing the march of time. You’re done, finished, at the end…or so you think.

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Now comes the absolute worst part of being a writer. Now you have to sell your book. You have to create a market for it. WTF! You know your book is good. Of course it is. Why then, don’t the masses know???

Well cupcake, they don’t know. For whatever reason, they have not been able to pierce the veil of your mind, and so they have no idea how good your book is. You have to show them. And no, you cannot put up a banner saying “My book is good – Buy it!”

Now comes the time of the devil. You walk around the home/den/holding area and try to think of ways to sell your book. Yes, there are the obvious ways…blog tours, interviews, standing on the corner with a big sign…but you want more.

Every writer has their own little “secret” pearls of wisdom when it comes to the more in marketing. My first pearl was to use business cards. Of course nobody else does this. Then I saw a thread in a very popular writer’s site where everybody and their mother used business cards. MEH!

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Yes, my razzmatazz did need more shizzle. But where could I find said shizzle? It was somewhere in my mind, but the devil had a firm grip on it and kept it hidden behind memories of  Vicki Shumacher’s purple bikini and that episode of Star Trek where Kirk fights that alien lizard guy.

Then, one day in the movie theater, while Satan went to get popcorn, it fell out. There it was! The perfect idea! The one that would send my book straight to the number one spot on the NY Times Best Seller list!

I stared blankly at the movie marquees for coming attractions and it hit me. Why not make promo spots for my book? Pictures that conveyed a scene from the story with a small excerpt to go along. Frikkin’ genius!

Surely, nobody had ever done this before! I even gave them a name and included them in my book cover design business. I named them PromoSpots! I know, pretty damned clever on my part. At the risk of being too forward, here is one for my book.

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The idea is to pepper the social media scene with these and hope that it intrigues a person enough to say “hmmm…I better read this book before everybody else does and I don’t know what the hell the conversations about it are…”. So there is a whole series of them, nine as of now, just running about out in the world. They stimulate conversation, add intrigue and just make people need to buy the book.

Or so I hope. Any idea by any writer is an exercise in faith. Anything we do is nothing but chance at best. Indie writers have to topple giants to get people to look at them. They need reviews that say their work is refreshing and new and reminiscent of so-and-so when they were young writers. But to get those reviews, they need to market. They need to roll their sleeves up, hand off their scrunchies or beer cans…or both…and open a can of whoop-ass on the devil of marketing.

Grab him by his pointy ears and shove a foot up his ass. Get their work out and into the public’s eyes by any damned means possible! Make the masses realize that their book is the best book ever written!

Then, it’s time to kick back, open that special wine spritzer and wait for Disney to call with their movie offer…

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The Hard Truth About Being a Professional Writer

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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I happened to see this meme (above) on Facebook and I lost it laughing. This is such a great metaphor for what it is like to be a writer. In the beginning I was a rose, then I learned to become the dandelion. The dandelion might not be as pretty, but it is prolific and it is a survivor.

When I decided years ago to leave sales and become a writer, I had a far more glamorous idea of what it was like to be a professional writer (pieced together from movies). Additionally, it didn’t help that my first “novel” was so much fun to write.

Of course it was fun! I didn’t have to be constrained by these pesky things called “rules” and “craft.” I was like some kid banging away on a piano believing I was, in fact, making music.

Yet, when I joined a writing group and…

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Monday Musings: “Your Books Are So Good, I Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Them.”

This happened to an author of my acquaintance. She got an email from a “fan” and the gist of it was this: Dear Ms. Author. I really like your books. I think they are well-written and I …

Source: Monday Musings: “Your Books Are So Good, I Shouldn’t Have to Pay for Them.”

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