Saturday, October 8, 2011
I was asked to speak at a local Science Fiction Conference. One of the speakers on the panel was Mike Stackpole, an award winning science fiction author. He was talking about self-publishing stories and books from his website. The seed had been planted and I started thinking, "What if?"
One of my RWA chapter mates had formed her own publishing company. She wrote a children's book for home schoolers and traditional publishers didn't think that it was marketable. So she started her own publishing company and has several authors under her now and is quite successful. She gave a talk at our chapter meeting and as I listened I couldn't help thinking, "Can I do that?"
There is a blog that I would recommend to anyone thinking about self-publishing. My friend, Frankie Robertson has posted about her journey to self-publication. Take a look at it.
After making the decision to publish some of my back list on my own I still had a lot to learn.I had my books edited by a professional editor. I learned about formatting for the different electronic formats as well as for Create Space. I had decided to also bring them out as Print on Demand.
Everyone knows how important a cover can be. I looked into getting a cover artist, we have a friend who is an artist and she agreed to do our covers. She's done two so far and I love them.
In the end I published two books. My own paranormal title THE MAN IN THE MIRROR and my husband's book - MORIARTY - THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A CRIMINAL GENIUS. I will be bringing out another of my back list hopefully before the end of the year,
Since I've now self-published does that mean I'm not interested in finding an agent or a publisher for my books. No it does not. Does it mean I will self-publish other books. Yes, I will.
Friday, October 7, 2011
A family tradition is to tell the 'the day you were born' story. Here is RTG's.
I began my blog, Intentions and Synchronicity in May 2010 when I took 1st Turning Point's Platform Building class and met Tam Linsey. Sarah Raplee McDermed and I were writing friends who met every couple of weeks to share ideas and support each other’s writing goals. Some of the time, SamMarie Ashe joined us. But on this one particular wintry January day, we were at the now closed Beaverton Borders coffee shop talking about our blogs and how hard it was to get something up every day or even once a week.
Delilah Marvelle’s name came up because Delilah posts once a month and both of us thought that was doable. So, how could they post once a month?
With a group of other writers!
Paper and pen in hand, ideas were noted and the foundation for Romancing The Genres was laid. Week days in the months were counted and that’s how we came up with 21 – all months have at least 21 week days in them. Next was - who to invite.
We put our heads together and expanded our original list to include various parts of the country and various genres because we wanted this blog to inform, educate and entertain both other writers and readers. Since both Sarah and Judith are ‘yet-to-be-published’ we included other writers like us as well as published authors.
And genres? Well, as you know if you’ve followed RTG, there are genres and then there are Genres. We decided that romance was the key and we wanted as many sub-genres of romance to be included as we could. However, there are not enough days in the month to cover all the sub-genres of Romance. Take Historicals for example – that would cover a whole week and still leave some out!
We focused on finding Genre-istas (Sarah coined that term) who live in various parts of the U.S. Currently Genre-istas live in Alaska, Arizona, California, Illinois, Iowa, New York, North/South Carolina, Oregon and Washington. We have Laurie SchneblyCampbell to thank for most of our Arizona Genre-istas.
In November we are adding Bronwen Evans from New Zealand.
It’s my party and I’ll blog if I want to! Since it's easy and effortless when done once a month – I do.
© Judith Ashley, 2011. All rights reserved.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
1. If you want people to arrive, you gotta do more than decorate. They have to get an invitation and something to look forward to first. (It's my party and I'll cry if I want to.)
How do you do this? Well, you post the link. Everywhere. On Facebook. On Yahoogroups. On Twitter, your blog, your LinkedIn smoke signals off your rooftop can't hurt either.
2. What to look forward to? You! Er...me. Only louder, funnier, sassier. (She's a super freak, super freak...Yow.)
Because it is a party.
Online, I get to unleash the inner Amber, the side that gets suppressed around the kids, the husband, the PG workplace. I can be a diva, a clown, a temptress or just geeky ole me. The key is knowing who that me is in relationship to my books and then delivering it.
3. Get real. (Get down, get down...)
Well, I focus on what I love. Books (duh), movies (sometimes), and music!
Since I heavily rely on music--okay, okay. I'm totally co-dependent on my iPod. And since I am, I figured why not have a music themed day? That's how Scene Song Saturday at AmberScottBooks.com was born. Every week, I post a video for a song that I wrote certain scenes while listening to. It's now a fan fave!
4. Show up! (I'm coming up so you'd better get this party started...)
There is no party if the host/ess isn't there front and center interacting with fans, making comments, running contests and more.
I know I have a ton more to learn and I thank you all for patiently coming along the way with me in my sometimes rough road getting here.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
You get nice friendly comments—supportive people saying encouraging things. No emails with the core message: “…Thank you for your submission…blah, blah, blah…but we don’t want your stinking stuff.” Okay, so I didn’t quote the message verbatim, but I’ve become adept at reading between the RTF boilerplate. Some agent or editor didn’t want my stuff—stinking or not.
Blogging provides wonderful, positive reinforcement—a world wide (or www anyway) community of people who understand, who get you. But there’s a downside to all these good vibes.
“Are you nuts?” you ask. “Do you prefer abuse?”
“Maybe if I explain my process for dealing with rejection, you’ll agree those negative responses aren’t so bad. Typically my methods of dealing with rejection include:
a) Eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s
b) Eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s—without a spoon
c) Molding a pint of Ben and Jerry’s into the shape of the rejecter’s head, scalding it with hot fudge, and then eating it
d) Molding a pint of Ben and Jerry’s into the shape of the rejecter’s mouse pad, deep frying it in a vat of oil, and eating it with Oreos
e) Printing the rejection, folding the paper to create an origami rifle and using the darn thing to hold up the Ben and Jerry’s truck.
Joking aside, blogging with the Genre-istas has been an amazing experience. Primarily because you—the reader—are listening to us, talking to us, riding the genre train with us. Really listening is one of the greatest gifts you can give, so I really appreciate the opportunity to be heard. Thank you for allowing us into your cyberspace.
This month, I’m giving you permission to do something different. Go ahead, blast my post. Tell me I’m full of…B&J. ‘Cause this post has made me hungry.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
When blogs first appeared on the big wide interweb, they were notoriously introspective. People would post their musings as if every word that fell from their mouth was critically important to scads of people. Out there. Somewhere. Then some savvy blogger got the idea of talking about something other than their cat, and a whole new realm opened up.
Now people began sharing information. Looking for niches. Searching for like-minded souls with whom they could share obscure hobbies, antique recipes, or the escapades of their favorite celebrity. And books.
Favorite books. Un-favorite books. Book reviews. Book recommendations. New books. Old books. Children's books. Self-help books. All kinds of books which attract all kinds of readers. Readers who started blogs.
As authors, we love these readers. The majority of them are sincere and knowledgeable. And if they are popular and well-respected, they can jump-start careers.
Of course, not all readers who blog will sing our praises. Some do live to snipe. Thankfully, they are the exception, not the rule. And thankfully, the other exceptions are the authors who go off the deep end at one of these bloggers. We have all seen it: someone makes a comment about a book they didn't like. The author catches wind of it (probably through Google Alerts or some such tool) and they trot over to the site to tell the blogger why they are wrong.
Things tumble downhill from there. The blogger defends her comments. The author goes on a diatribe. Others jump in, like the crowd that surrounds a fight and cheers the combatants on, sometimes just to see how deeply they can shove that author's button. And the battered author falls for it.
What just happened here?
1. The blogger got a ton of new hits, all reading the bad review.
2. The author looks like a fool, especially if there are any fury-driven mistakes in her responses.
3. Irreparable damage is done to the author's reputation.
What should have happened?
Let's be real, unless the blogger is mega-famous, her comments won't be read by very many people. And if she IS mega-famous, and the author feels compelled to respond (after giving herself 48 hours to cool off before doing ANYTHING) she should do so privately if possible and graciously under all circumstances. "I'm sorry you didn't like my book. I have taken your comments seriously with an eye toward improving future manuscripts. Thank you for your honesty."
Win. Who knows - she might be right. And as authors, we need to remember we are always "on" in any public arena. Even when someone walks up to us at a book festival, makes an outrageous statement ("I only read national award-winning books!"), brags about their level of education, rudely picks up our book and tosses it aside, smarmily dismissing it based on assumptions made about romance in general, and then turns the conversation back on the author by saying, "Please don't make me defend my choices!" Doing nothing is still the best course.
That, and soothing the outrage with chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.