Tag Archives: how to be successful

You Can Sell More Fiction Books!

The Pitch

Okay, let’s be honest. You’re reading this because my title hooked you which means you’re probably an author (fiction) who is trolling the web for the secret amulet that will make you a NY Times success.1

Sorry to disappoint or even mislead, but I’m not your messiah.

So why would I bait you into reading? Do I want to vent and pout and demonize those that are more successful? Is it to manipulate you into buying my books?

I simply want to take an honest look into the marketing dilemma we face as authors and thought that maybe, just maybe, you might want join the discussion.

Prophets

When I first began, I jumped on the latest trends to find a way to cut through the hoopla of the marketplace.  Remember buttons for FB or your web? How about the crap of “like my book and I’ll like yours” even if we hadn’t read it yet?

2Currently, the market is saturated with authors desperate to try anything to cut through the noise. Supply and demand has created sales gurus waving shiny tickets to the promise land. We join their mailing list, chant the mantra, maybe even shell out some cash. The only thing that changes is they’re a little richer and we’re discouraged, until a new prophet arises, and off we go like a lemmings, hoping that beyond their promise isn’t yet another cliff.

Are You Mad?

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Now that my third book is out, I’m re-evaluating my marketing plan…if nothing more than to find sanity. 3

I recently asked several author friends to reveal their trade secrets, their insights into how to navigate the maze of marketing.

Their answers were candid, vulnerable and insightful.

They also revealed sane minds.

Next Steps

In my next post, I’ll dive into what they shared as well as what I’m going to try next.

It probably won’t help you sell more books but you’ll at least realize you’re not alone…or going crazy.


Back In The Game

I’m not sure what happened. I was blogging on a regular basis, picking up steam and then BAM!

Actually, I’m fully aware of what happened: LIFE!

All good stuff mind you, but I overextended myself and blogging got pushed to the back burner. Now that I’ve mastered life and all that’s being thrown my way, I thought I’d get something posted.

By the way,  if you’re interested in how you can MASTER LIFE and smack those hard balls out of the park, send me $50 and I’ll mail you my book (soon to be written…no, not really) that gives YOU the keys to unlocking your full potential and live life….(insert bombastic, redundant sales BS)

Back to reality. Below is the free post from Chapter 2 of Tears of Min Brock.

“Guess I showed them who is the boss,” Galadin said, his eyes twinkling with confidence. Elabea, however, wondered if her parchment was what had protected them. Almost like an invisible shield.

Galadin, like his father, was barrel chested and made strenuous tasks like chopping wood look leisurely. His eyes he got from his mother and shone like black pearls when hunting. However, when he became angry, they became more like thunderclouds, even sinister.

Yet, despite his strong physique and towering size, within him was a weakness. Mithe was correct: His father was going mad. Galadin had been successful in concealing this shame from everyone in the village. All, that is, except one.

She was glad Min Brock had forged them together, even if they were outcasts in their own village. They were identical in age, and even in their younger summers, sensed they were different from the other children. Neighbor’s foreign looks made them feel on edge. Huddled friends chilling whispers made them become even more isolated.

So they formed a secret pact, an unspoken allegiance, in order to weather the storm. At the heart of their friendship was a deep understanding that no one else in Hetherlinn could offer, not even their parents. Galadin understood why she needed to escape to the meadow and climb the oak, despite the Oracles, and he listened to her stories, even when they were wilder than anything he had ever hunted.

Likewise, Elabea comprehended why he fled cottage seven and explored the woods, and why she was the one he shared his hunting tales with. Simply put, they knew what it felt like to live in homes full of shame and more importantly, had learned how to survive despite it.

Nearing cottage number seven, Elabea asked,   “Did you see or hear anything odd last night?”

“No, just my father snoring. Why?”

“Well, last night, I saw an amazing creature.” Elabea became increasingly excited as she explained. “Only it wasn’t an animal.” Her speech became faster. “It, I mean he, looked more like a man—only not like us—so I gave him a name…the Moon King, and—”

“Slow down! What are you talking about?”

“Late last night,” she said, focusing on a slower delivery, “I saw a mysterious rider on a flying horse; they both glowed like the moon. I wish you could have seen them! I’m positive the Moon King is the one responsible for shooting the invitations into our doors.”

Galadin tried not to snicker, but this was not the first time he had heard one of her amazing stories. All were fashioned into fantastic proportions.

“Look,” he said, “I’ve hunted through every thicket and meadow the Oracles will allow. Let me assure you that there is no one like the Moon King. The only odd thing I’ve witnessed is a bald hermit. I’ve only gotten a glimpse of him, and I’ve nicknamed him the Wizard of the Wood. But trust me, he’s anything but mystical. Gone are the days of strange beings, magical creatures and mighty warriors.”

Flustered, Elabea snapped, “I know what I saw!”


Who Needs A Friend?

People Who Need People

The older I get the more I appreciate my friends. They’ve stood beside me when others have walked away. They’ve listened when others preached. But they also risked our relationship to tell me the hard stuff about myself or the situation I was in. It’s one thing to hear the truth. It’s another to accept, embrace, and change. Sometimes I listened. And then there were the other times…

Together is Better

Sherlock had Watson. The Lone Ranger had Tonto. Batman had Robin. They were inseparable. Can you even imagine one without the other?  As a writer, I wanted to create a similar bond between the main characters in Tears of Min Brock.  I drew from my own experiences (the good, the bad, the ugly) to add color and depth  so they seemed lifelike. At least that was my intent. 🙂

So here’s hoping you have a few friends to share life with and who love you, warts and all! 🙂

The following is the “FREE” post of Tears of Min Brock, Chapter 2

“Can’t you see?” Elabea said, her voice full of emotion. “If we cannot read, how can we discern true stories from false? You’ve taught us that Claire was destroyed in the war. But doesn’t this parchment tell otherwise?”

Mithe stepped between Elbea and the mob.

“Then allow me to tell you a short story,” Mithe countered, her saggy cheeks wobbling back and forth. “Long ago, during the Dark War, we received parchments just like the one you’re holding. My husband and two sons journeyed to Claire to answer the invitation, as did your father. They were made warriors and began to fight along side the King of Claire.

“In a great battle at Min Brock, the men of Allsbruth were trapped and outnumbered. The Ebonites destroyed them with no mercy, butchering them upon the Gilden Plains! My husband! My sons!! Killed for what? For a parchment from the…” She stopped before her tongue spoke the forbidden name. “He, the one who sent the parchments, did nothing to help, and they died like dogs!”

Mithe enjoyed the pain and distress her words were causing Elabea. She continued her story.

“Your father has never told you his tale, has he?”

Elabea shook her head.

Mithe snickered.

“Quinn, the mighty leader of Hetherlinn, has never told you why he and Gundin were the only survivors of Min Brock?”

Elabea’s eyes became as big the moon. She bit her lip to quell the tears.

“Ah!” Mithe gloated. “Evidently not! Then here is the truth: Your father is a coward! He betrayed us all! Your father and Gundinshould be dead! Not our men! Not my men!

“Now get rid of that cursed parchment before we do it for you!”

The mob rushed forward.

“STOP!”

The voice came from the shadow of a tree behind cottage Number 7. Galadin emerged from the shade and stood beside Elabea.

“Look at this!” the widow snapped, her long finger wiggling at Galadin like a serpent. “Behold the son of Gundin. The greatest warrior to ever walk Hetherlinn! Where is your father now, boy?”

Galadin stiffened his back and glared at her. “Leave Elabea alone! Go back to your worries!”

Mithe continued undeterred. “I’ll tell you where your father is! Mad he is, lost in his old dreams! You’re the son of a madman, Galadin! One day, you’ll join his insanity!”

Galadin’s eyes became slits of rage but he held his tongue. He leaned close to Elabea and whispered, “Let’s get out of here before they charge us.”

She took his hand and he led her toward his cottage, all the while keeping an eye on the unruly crowd. They continued to hurl threats and curses, and even threw stones.


Calling The Curious

Good morning! Today is a shameless plug so I’ll make it short & sweet.

March 21 at 10 PM CST, yours truly will be interviewed for his FIRST blog talk radio show. (Cue raucous applause sfx.)

I’m flattered and humbled anyone would be interested in interviewing me or listen to what I have to say, so it should prove interesting on many fronts. And since I’m an old fart and I’m usually asleep at this time, the interview will be an exercise in willpower & caffeine consumption. 🙂

So…

If you’re wondering what I sound like (here’s a flashback post on the topic) or curious about my War of Whispers series or waging bets in Vegas on whether I can stay awake and attentive for that long, then I hope you’ll tune in.

If nothing else, wish me luck!


“Hey-I’m Back!”

I love the last scene in “The Color of Money.”

Vincent (Tom Cruise), the up-and-coming pool shark, asks Eddie (Paul Newman) why he thinks he can beat him. Eddie looks up from his pool cue, eyes Vincent, and says: “Hey-I’m back.” And then breaks.

I’m there. I can relate. I want back in the game. Not billiards, but in moving forward as an author.

I just handed Book III of my War of Whispers series to my publisher. Yeah, good feeling! LOVE the whole writing/editing stuff.

But now I’m faced with traversing the Himalayas of marketing, and I’ll be honest–“Hate it!”

Please don’t be offended; I’m just rethinking the “Ya’ Gotta Do THIS!” mumbo-jumbo that’s being sold like snake oil all over the place. If I really hate it, should I do it? After all, won’t you pick up on the fact that I’m not into it, that I’m pitching something that’s not genuine, that’s not me?

So instead, I’m looking for ways to meet people, whether online or at a cafe, that’s more in line with “me.” Organic is a buzz word, so maybe it’s that. I prefer authentic, real & meaningful to organic, which reminds me of a compost heap 🙂 But I digress…

So I’m rolling up my sleeves, grabbing my cue stick, and racking up the balls ala Eddie. And just like that last scene, if I get knocked down, beaten, and taken, I’m going to get back up, brush myself off and try again.

Only hopefully a wee bit smarter!


Just Get Over It!

Pulltight Hill

Pulltight Hill…on a CLEAR day!

Since I’ve been cycling a lot more than writing, I thought I’d take time to share my recent ride and how it’s comparable to writing.

But first, let me give you some back story. This coming Saturday, I’ll be riding with a bunch of other crazy folks who think that grinding gears for 100 miles is “fun.” Well, it is if you adhere to the adage “misery loves company.” And the main reason I’m doing this is so I’ll be in top shape for the 100 mile fundraiser I’m doing September 21st. If you’re curious about the event and would even like to contribute, then please go to JDRF.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s refocus on last Saturday’s ride. The goal was 75, which I’ve already done, so this was simply to maintain endurance. However, at our refueling stop at mile-marker 40, my riding partner, James, announces to some local farmers that we’re doing 80. I cringe. I know 5 extra miles doesn’t sound like a big deal, but that wee bit can usher in disaster and misfortune. Fortunately the weather was overcast and cool by Tennessee’s standards, but we still had 2 big hills to climb, one of which–Pulltight Hill–we’d never ridden before.

Not being one to back down from a challenge, even one from a zealous friend, I set off with James in the mist. We joke how we have to do 80 or else those farmers will hunt us down with their 4×4’s or Tweet snide comments.

At around the 55 mile mark, we reach Pulltight and start our ascent. James, who is a much stronger rider than I am, makes some upbeat comment about taking it easy while scooting up the incline with the ease of a mountain goat. I’m more like an old mule plodding, groaning and making funny noises as I breathe.

When I reach the top, James is snapping pics and blabbing stuff like, “THAT wasn’t so bad!” I was too busy coughing up lung and sucking my water bottle to reply.

We roll on and the mist turns to rain, which makes drafting a nightmare. When we hit the 65 mile mark, we’ve ridden out of the rain and discuss route options in order to reach our goal of 80.

At this point, I’m not feeling so good. At the time, I just thought I was having an off day. But as this is Tuesday and I still have a sour tummy, I think I had a stomach bug. All of which is important to what happens next.

As we head up the last big climb of the day, I get light-headed, lose focus and wreck. James races back and is horrified at the sight. I’m sprawled in a rocky ditch near a metal drainage pipe. He told me later that he expected to see blood spurting everywhere and having to dial 911. As for me, I was just relieved he didn’t have to do mouth-to-mouth!

Thankfully, no, actually miraculously, my helmet and left hip took the blunt of the fall, and aside from some cuts, strawberries and my woozy head, I was okay. Even my bike survived; only the front wheel needing to be trued.

I steel myself, climb back on, and we finish the ride. No, we didn’t reach 80 (I ended up with 76) but it would indeed be the ride, or wreck, to talk about for some time.

All of that to say that writing books is an endurance event. It takes a ton of hard work, a boat-load of dedication, some days suck, and you will wreck. But you don’t quit and you hunger to be better, and the only way to improve IS to write (bike) with those stronger and better than you.

So you climb back into the saddle, grind over the next hill, and hope the downhill leads to a better tomorrow. And despite the misery and frustration, the setbacks and rainy days, there’s one truth that keeps you spinning along.

You really do love it.


Three Rules To Writing

If life is a river, then I’m body surfing white rapids!

Work is SO busy that I hardly have time for anything else, but has that ever slowed me down? Of course not. I simply pick up the pace, sleep less and wonder why everyone is so irritable (after all, it ain’t me!)

Crammed into the work week is my training for a 100 mile bike ride to raise $$ for juvenile diabetes (JDRF) I log 150 miles a week which takes a ton-o-time and energy. And yeah, that was a plug to see if you’d consider donating or at least cheer me on.

That would be enough, right? BUT NO! I’m also working on Book III of my War of Whispers series. When? Well, that’s a silly question! Naturally this is done before sunrise. DUH!

So it’s little wonder that blog and Twitter posts have fallen by the wayside.

Nevertheless, I’m squeezing one out this morn and wanted to share a quest post I did for Jill Edmondson’s Blog.

I shared my experience with characterization and referenced Tears of Min Brock. Yeah, it’s a shameless plug for my book, but ‘ya gotta do whatcha gotta do! I hope you check it out and let me know what you think. Kinda bummed she posted the old cover for Tears and not the new one, but those things happen.

That’s it for now. After all, it’s 4AM and I’ve gotta pack my lunch before I bike @ 6 so I can run to work and get to Saturday in order to bike which leads to Monday when it starts all over again and…and…and…


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