How important is it to be historically correct? My husband ponders this aloud as I comb through various books and Internet sources attempting to figure out how they lit fires in 1865. I naturally assumed they used matches. While I can locate the patent for sulphurette matches as early as 1827 by an English pharmacist, I also find these yard long matches never made the cross to the United States. I have a hero who I want to start a fire with a match, and I have yet to find one. Can you imagine a marshal packing yard-long matches? It would make him more comical than romantic. My search continued.
I attended conference last year where Jane Porter spoke. She is a popular Harlequin author. She flirted with other publishers, but stayed with Harlequin because all she had to do was write. She didn’t self-edit, design covers, hunt down a beta reader or write endless blogs. Her new potential editor wanted her to write a blog a week. She explained to her attentive audience, “Do you know how much time that would take? Then, you have to answer all those comments.”
Who hasn’t downloaded a free eBook? Who hasn’t thought that offering their books free would make them into a bestselling author? Can you actually get a good book free? These are all good questions about the free eBook phenomenon.
I am a big anything for free fan. Currently, I have 193 free books on my Kindle. My free books include:
*Short stories-some as short as five pages including the title page.
*Excerpts- a tantalizing glimpse of a book I might want to buy.
*Introductory stories, which introduce a line or a trilogy.
*Cookbooks with only 10-18 recipes included.
*Rants feature provocative titles with links to blogs, examples, and YouTube videos.
I am a little late getting my blog out since I have been concentrating on Twitter. Using the tips I mention below I doubled my Twitter followers, which amazes me. Every day I have new followers. I am delighted, but baffled might best describe my reaction.
Originally my daughter opened an account for me. I would tweet when I released a book or was on tour. Otherwise, I did nothing. I didn’t even visit Twitter to read other people’s tweets. Needless to say, my followers didn’t grow, and I couldn’t see how this was beneficial to promoting book sales.
My writing group sits down to read the first chapter of a multi-published author’s foray into the world of romance. Before this tale, she was mainly known for western mysteries featuring hard-bitten characters who are neither pretty or polite. She shrugs, and explains that the characters have to be perfectly gorgeous and well mannered. A romance demands it.
To book tour or not to book tour, that is the question.
Unless you sign with one of the big seven publishers, then you are promoting your own work. The conundrum is how much of your money should be spent to publicize your book. Before you pull out the checkbook, consider your tour company’s references. Trust me, on my first book tour I didn’t. I threw away two hundred dollars to a woman with an impressive website, but a horrible grasp on honesty and work ethic. My blogs I painstakingly wrote never showed because she had personal issues, and couldn’t handle the stress. I did learn a few things from this experience.
• Interested in a tour, follow someone who is on a tour with a possible company.
Who hasn’t watched The Bachelor at least once? I wondered as a romantic fiction writer what could I learn from the show.
1.Every woman who signed up to participate believed she could fall in love and marry whatever man they chose for the show.
*I read the contestant application. The company requests info about relationship details, tattoo locations, current restraining orders, criminal incidents, and bankruptcies. They also want several pictures featuring your assets. They do ask if you’re okay with finding your husband on a television show. Sadly, they are looking for attractive people who are bad at relationships, and really do believe in fairy tales.
If you’re either a reader or a writer, you’ve been exposed to literary hype, which is only a few slippery steps away from political ads. Allow me to explain. Literary hype is getting you to buy the book by any means possible. If you can remember video tapes, and the video rental store, then you’ve rented a video based on the cover or cover blurb. Only to discover the movie didn’t have anything to do with the cover picture. The most depressing movie I ever rented had comedy stamped on it. How does false advertising occur in the publishing world?
Recently, I attended a Bob Mayer conference. I highly urge all of you to hear him whenever he is in your area. The man does it all. He writes, runs a production company, conducts corporate and writing workshops. He manages to get this all done by using a non-Internet connected computer. When he is working, he can’t surf the web or read all those posts with endearing photos.
Maybe I should be committed to an institution because I just quit my job. I’ve been a special ed teacher for the last twenty years. At the urging of my new husband, I quit my teaching job to focus on writing. Now, I don’t think I am so wonderful that publishers will beg for my work. I do have a handful of contracts to fulfill, plus a wonderful editor in Larianne. I do know something has to change if I am going to get any better.
A celebrity author is someone who gained their fame not from writing. Good examples include Newt Gingrich, Snooki and Tyra Banks, none are known for their writing ability. What they have is the media, and an agent who calculates that their name recognition will sell books. Their books are not about actual content, but are only a vehicle to give them more recognition and face time. Most celebrities, even though they believe they have a story to tell, do not have the talent for telling it. What they usually have is a ghost writer.
We‘ve all seen the copyright words across a page or trademark symbols. When I choose to use brand names in a story because they captured the tone I want to send, I must list them all on the copyright page. Okay, but how do we protect ourselves against copyright infringement as authors? We’ve all heard about literary piracy; people who buy an eBook, then offer it for free, or use major portions of it to construct their own novel.
A couple of years ago, Hank Phillippi Ryan spoke at our local writers’ meeting. We were thrilled that a published writer would make time for our humble group. I carefully wrote down every word of her talk, until she started talked about everything she gave up for writing. What? I stopped writing as she detailed that her husband and she drove to work together because it gave them quality time. Her job as an investigative reporter gobbled up her entire day, and the rest of it was scarfed up by writing.
Recently I was at a romance writer’s retreat where we read our love scenes aloud to each other. One writer chuckled to herself as she confessed she tells her husband that he’s her inspiration for all her love scenes. The other women tittered as if this were a great joke. The idea that we might use real life situations for the steamy scenes seemed amusing, but why should it?