I’m always thinking. I think I was born full of ideas and thoughts. Friends chuckle when they see me fidget with something…a bottle cap, a wrapper off a piece of chocolate, a length of string. I fidget so I can pay attention to conversation because there are times when my brain just. won’t. shut. up.
I’ve often said if only I could connect my brain to my laptop I’d have a huge backlist of novels right now. lol
This is one of the reasons I take stock. I need to examine the mass of info and winnow the wheat from the chaff. Remarkably, there’s a lot of good info worth sharing. Here’s my author’s “brain cloud”. As you can see, it’s as full as a brain can be. I began taking stock on the 26th. I started by reflecting on how darn strange it is that I find myself a romance author, an award-winning romance author no less. Strange because my goal is to write literary fiction. I never envisioned being a romance novelist. Stranger still, because a friend’s taro deck said I’d be a contracted author at the very end of 2010, and I was. (scroll back for that story) Tomorrow marks three years.
Before I became published, I’d been given horrible advice from a horror author (no pun intended). I met him at a conference where he was the presenter for one of the sessions going on. I was hungry for information, so back then if any author spoke anywhere, I was there listening. He explained how he had a contract with a large and coveted New York Publishing House but took exception to their editing process. In his words, he “pitched a fit” and railed on people “who couldn’t write their way out of a paper bag, let alone edit his work”. And just because he “was trying to protect his work”, his “contract was ripped in two and he was blackballed”.
He talked about the momentum he’d lost, never to be regained. Now that he was “blackballed”, he’d never succeed in this business because “just like doctors, all editors, agents, and publisher execs play golf together and talk“. (That “talk” was said with air quotes for nuanced emphasis) He went on about how none of us sitting in that room would ever get our books published if we went through New York. If by chance we did, the end product would be a “preposterous shadow of our work”. To be honest, he completely rattled me. Was this publishing world really so hard and unforgiving of mistakes? I’d been writing for years and five of them solidly on one huge story. I didn’t want a “preposterous shadow” made of it. If I made a mistake, any mistake, would they kick my can to the curb? What then? At the time, there was little print-on-demand self-publishing going on. It wasn’t possible unless you paid a small fortune to do it.
In retrospect the horror author was bitter and I should have recognized it in his words instead of taking his experience as a one-size-fits-all. From the little I’ve seen in three years, it appears his view is not how this works. I recognize now the man was simply bitter and resentful topped off by a touch of indignant arrogance. He was also intentionally misleading in the two-hour rant he rooted in my head. Innocently or not, he had set it up in my mind that I was likely going to step in a bucket, clomp around pointlessly, and ultimately lose the single chance an author like me gets to put my magnum opus out in the world (details in previous posts). Anxiety and fear of failure stayed with me a very long time. Then three years ago, quite by chance, I fell in with a terrific bunch of authors. Several had been in the business longer than I. Through those friendships and occasional mentoring, I ceased to be afraid.
Because their helpful kindness was so grounding for me, I vowed to pass on the favor. I’d be helpful to any and all authors and would-be authors. I’ve even built the Exquisite Quills community for that purpose. Whenever I find something helpful or useful, from slang dictionaries to promo ops, I share that news. My habit these last three years has been keeping track of all I’ve learned so it can be shared. The following is what’s what this year. Again, please know these are my experiences only. I’m sure there are different opinions.
The weekly mini blog hops ~
These lesser tag-along events are not like the Blog Hop events that pop up throughout the year, they’re more just weekly things to join in on. The similarity to the larger hops concerns everyone promoting the fact they’re participating, and that shines a broader beam of light on everyone involved. I regularly do seven — two Wednesdays, two Saturdays, and three Sundays. They all have one thing in common — you make a hook out of just a few sentences. Typically this is done in 3, 6, 7, or 8 sentences, or in a small strictly adhered-to word limit. I enjoy participating in them. The comments are great and most often encouraging, and stats show they do generate sales and social media follows. I can safely say this is true because my sales for December are practically nil. The one difference — no weekly mini hops for me this month. I was too busy with life. After next week when I resume participating, I know I’ll see progress again.
We offer one on Sundays on the Exquisite Quills blog — Set the Scene in Six. And we offer First Kiss Wednesday too. The EQ stats show a lot of interest on those days so visitors do enjoy them.
Here is a list of the ones I do now, and two more I do on occasion. I’m always looking for interesting weekly mini hops. If you have one, please share!
What about the assorted daily and weekly memes?
Memes are different from the mini hops in that they often have nothing to do with romance. There are so many of these I won’t even begin to list them now. A search can turn up dozens for you. You’ll also find all manner of flash fiction prompts out there.
My opinion: It’s one thing to join a weekly meme where you can directly promote your novels, it’s another to just creatively post something each week that has nothing to do with your work. Unless the well is dry, I’ll save my creativity for my work in progress. In my experience, you really can’t serve two masters. I did some of these for a while in an attempt to break through a bout of writer’s block that came on the heels of personal loss. I’ve since left them.
What’s up for me?
I’m considering taking part in the Wordless Wednesday here on my main blog. The wordless Wednesday is a pictorial blog post that day. If you plan to try this, may I suggest always linking back to that picture’s original source/artist/photographer etc, even if they are in the public domain.
I will be starting another 100 Things Blogging Challenge. A daily blog post, no matter how small, really does keep a blog relevant on internet searches. It’s all about getting our name out there. Author name recognition in the huge haystack of the publishing world is a good thing. 😀
In conclusion, I recommend weekly mini hops and a few memes for exposure and online presence.
My new laptop arrived. There will be no more taking stock of 2013. I have files to move!
Love Waits in Unexpected Places – Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories
Sample my love stories for free!
If you’re here for the first time, my husband and I are assembling a vintage holiday postcard scrapbook one card at a time. I’ve been posting one or two post cards each day and plan to keep it up from now until January.
New Years cards from here on out.<– Yikes. She looks like she means business. lol
our guest, Lily Harlem
Meet the RB4U authors!
Several promotional opportunities for romance authors can be found on my Exquisite Quills group blog.
First Kiss Wednesday ~ share your best 300 word kiss.
Set the Scene in Six ~ share your backdrop or lead-up on Sundays.
The Genesis of the Story ~ share the spark that ignited your novel
Author Interviews ~ We’re booking 2014 now.