Posts Tagged ‘author’

Author tip: top three ways to annoy people…

 

pexels-photo-958164.jpegYep, I worked real hard to land that first publishing contract and boy howdy, it wasn’t a piece of cake to land the other thirty plus either. Writing professionally is difficult and we authors have an obligation to trot our names, awards and five star reviews out into the world to encourage people to BUY OUR BOOKS, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Writing books goes hand in hand with selling them, and if one is to continue in this biz, tooting our author horns is vital. But here’s the thing…it’s really important to keep the priorities clear when one is in this nutty business. In order that my head does not begin to put too much stock in my press releases, I remind myself that, at the end of the day, people will not remember my cover, my book, and my reviews no matter how many stars are attached. It’s not false modesty, it’s fact. Each year more than a million books are published,  so my meticulously crafted words are buried in an avalanche of plenty of other fancy syllables from a bazillion other wordsmiths a lot more talented than I. (#noraroberts, #irenehannon, #geronimostilton)

So now that I’ve eaten that slice of humble pie, let me just wrap my mind around three sure fire practices that might just annoy the beejeebers out of my friends. (Pay attention, Dana. You don’t have that many friends to spare.)

1. Make sure you bring up your fancy author career in every conversation. Yep, it’s sure as shooting that everyone you encounter wants to hear all about your wacky fiction writing accomplishments. Maybe you could have a tee shirt made…. “I’m An Author, Legend in My Own Mind.”

2. Be sure to promote yourself NONSTOP on all social media platforms. Don’t talk about anything else, or people might get distracted. (I’ve been told I should have at least 30,000 Twitter followers. Only 28,000 to go! Must remember to beef up tweeting schedule to fifty three times a day.)

3. Never stray outside your “writing brand persona.” You’re a suspense writer so ALL of your social media channels should reflect this. (Brace yourself, people of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. I am prepared to deluge you with every kind of intense, edge of your seat promotion. Repeatedly. Over and over. Until your brain memorizes the name Dana- Buy-My-Books-Mentink. (No humor or warm fuzzy sentiments allowed, people. It’s all deadly serious business.)

All kidding aside, people, I know that the reality is I need to self promote in person and on social media, but that’s my business, my real work is encouraging people. I will never forget during my student teacher days, assisting a sobbing kiddo who dropped her special belt into the toilet. Did I stick my hand in there and fish it out? Yuppers. Was that important work? Absolutely. At the end of the day, nothing I ever write will probably mean as much as fishing a belt out of the toilet for a distraught child.

I hope I never forget that lesson.

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Info about Dana’s newest suspense novel

Seriously…I have the BEST idea to change the face of books forever!

 

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Okay editors of Earth. I know you, like me, absolutely adore words. Oh sure you have to insist on pesky word counts and such in order not to produce a volume too heavy for the average sized human to heft. I gotcha. And I know I probably aggravated the beejeebers out of you by submitting that last manuscript with a couple thousand words too many, but listen! I have the BEST idea! I mean this is gonna shake up the writing world more than the invention of the ebook. Ready? Take a peek at the video. You can thank me at your leisure. I’ll wait right here by the phone.

Click. You’ll love it. Promise.

 

Dear Angry Social Media People

 

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Dear Angry Social Media Venters;

We certainly live in a great age, don’t we? From any device, anywhere, we have the freedom to speak our minds and beam our seat-of-the-pants thoughts out into the cyber world. So quick, so easy, and the cost to ourselves? Nada! It’s intoxicating the unbridled power, is it not? It’s like being able to eat the entire chocolate cake and fancy frosting rosettes without gaining an ounce! Shivers!

However, when I am in the middle of dashing off that hostile comment (Giants, you’re SERIOUSLY killing me this season), or a review (I mean is that REALLY how Gone Girl was supposed to end????) this little voice in my head says, “Just because you CAN say it, doesn’t mean you should.” Well why not? Chocolate cake, as we discussed before, and no weight gain! I mean…

But…my little voice reminds me as I finger the ‘submit’ button for my scathing sports remark (Giants, seriously, torture baseball again?), that there is always a cost to angry words. Could it be that the other sports fans have feelings, even DODGERS fans? Could these players that are disappointing me actually have families, fathers, children? Might it be that an author READS their reviews of the books they sweated blood and tears over, even NY Times bestselling authors? (Surely they lost any kind of feelings once they hit that level, right?)

Bottom line, my words can fan anger into more anger, can make me feel powerful in the venting of it, but at the same time, cost me something at the soul level,  in the diminishing of another to encourage myself. I think, for this moment, I will hit the delete button instead.

Blog readers…what do you think we can do to harness the incredible power of social media to encourage instead of discourage? 

Freebie…novella for dog lovers!

Hey, all. I honestly can’t remember if I posted this on the blog already but here’s a free novella for your reading enjoyment.

Trouble at Mentink Manor…and a giveaway!

Pull up a chair and a fork. I’m having dessert and a chat with my cyber friends about treats and troubles. I’m also raffling a lovely prize. Details in the video. You don’t want to miss this one!

 

What’s your idea of a vacation?

 

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Summer vacation! That phrase sparks wild enthusiasm in the education community. As a third grade teacher I can tell you it does in my world. Extra time to read? Write? Hang out with my highschoolers who are temporarily freed from piles of homework? Sweet! Vacation isn’t really vacation, of course, for those who are familiar with the teaching biz. There are conferences, planning times, classrooms to be overhauled, etc, but still, it’s a nice break from the frantic pace of schooling.

People often ask if I get vacations from writing. Well…I’m not totally sure that is possible. Yes, I enjoy trips (Yosemite and Tahoe this summer) but do I really ever stop writing? Physically yes. I leave my laptop home, but since my brain comes along, there’s never reimageally a down time. I’m a passionate imaginer, and I don’t really want to take a vacation from that. I’m not sure I could. At times, I’ve felt guilty about it. Why can’t you put your imagination on vacation, Dana? I don’t know why, but I just can’t do it.

So what is a vacation to you? A special trip? A day off from work to focus on home matters? I would love to hear your thoughts. This week is the last chance to comment on the blog to win the signed book and ‘boat in a bottle’ necklace. Winner announced this weekend!

 

 

 

Series or standalones, pros and cons

I started my writing career as a greenhorn with a three book mystery series set in the tiny fictional town of Finny. I guess you could say, therefore, that I cut my teeth on series writing. However, when that series wrapped I signed on with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense and I spent a good bit of time writing single books before I once again switched to series. So which is better? In this writer’s humble opinion, there are advantages and challenges to both.

With stand alone books, you can get in there and write a book with all manner of murder and mayhem, because the characters and setting will not have to carry on through another book. Ah the freedom! Characters can be discarded at will. Frankly, it’s easier to write a stand-alone because you have fewer details to keep track of over time. The disadvantage? Your reader may not be as invested in buying your next book. Stand-alones do not provide that built in sense of urgency about what happens next.

The series, by contrast, is a whole lot more complicated. Characters must be placed carefully in the narrative who may not have the spotlight focused on them until a few more books have come and gone. Still, they need to be set into place (and they can’t be cardboard placeholders either) until it’s their turn to shine. All of their pertinent details from eye color to family history must be recorded to ensure the facts remain consistent over the course of the series. Same with the setting, if the entire series takes place in one location. That coffee shop on the corner of Cream and Sugar had better be in the same location in book two, unless you’ve explained the change. Publishers appreciate series book because if readers enjoy the first one, they’re primed to come back for the rest which makes everyone’s marketing job a bit easier.

So what about you? Do you enjoy stand-alone novels or series? Got any favorites you’d care to share?  Giving away a Starbuck’s card and two books this month.

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