Posts Tagged ‘book promotion’

Writing life vs. “real life”

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Yesterday my friend Megan Bostic wrote a post on her blog about whether writers market too much on social media. She mentioned a formula, which I’ve encountered before, that says you should share 25 percent about your books and writing on social media and 75 percent about “real life.”

I understand the principle, but I also started wondering if it’s really possible for most writers to separate their writing and their personal lives. I find that writing permeates every aspect of my existence. I adore my family, my pets, and my friends; I’m dedicated to my work as a dance and Pilates instructor; and there are plenty of activities besides writing that I enjoy doing in my spare time. But if I’m being really honest with myself, I’d have to say that when I wake up in the morning, my first thought isn’t about my family or my work or my hobbies – it’s about my plot or my characters.

I feel guilty saying that. Does the fact that I think more about the people I’ve created in my head than the actual human beings around me make me some kind of sociopath? Does it mean that I don’t care about the people in my life? I don’t think so. I think that, like many writers, I’m just hard-wired to make my creative work my top priority.

I try to share about my personal life on social media, I really do. Take this blog for instance. I’ve posted about cancer survival (and how it affects my writing), about my husband (and what he’s taught me about book promotion), and about trips we’ve taken together (and how I managed to write during said travels.) You see, writing is so interwoven with the rest of my life that I can’t simply set it aside or separate it out.

So I apologize if I’m talking to much about my writing process and too little about what I did on my weekend. That’s probably because I spent most of it writing.

What do you think? Do you wish writers would share more about their personal lives and less about their writing processes?


Write global, promote local: Ballard Writer’s Collective

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Anyone who reads this blog at all regularly knows that I’m a member of The Elevensies, a national online group of YA authors who debuted in 2011. (Yes, our books have all released now, but we’re still staying in touch to support each other in the next phases of our writing careers.) I love being part of this group, but I’ve also yearned to be involved in a local writing community. So several weeks ago, I became a member of the Ballard Writer’s Collective.

The BWC is an eclectic group of writers who have one thing in common: we all live in or near the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. The collective includes authors of books ranging from mysteries to memoirs, cookbooks to children’s books, zines to poetry collections. The goal of the group is not only to provide mutual support, but to help each other promote our books on a local level.

Writers need bookstores, and BWC is lucky enough to be in partnership with the wonderful Secret Garden Books.

This supportive indie bookstore has agreed to always have signed copies of our books in stock, to display them on a special “local authors” table, and to promote our titles in their booth in the Ballard Sunday Market, a popular outdoor farmers market.

In addition to our visibility at Secret Garden Books, the BWC is committed to increasing our exposure through neighborhood events such as the “It’s About Time” reading series at the Ballard library and the brand new “Ballard Out Loud” live storytelling series at Egan’s Ballard Jam House. Since I’m a brand new member, I haven’t participated in any of these events yet, but I plan to in the future.

Through The Elevensies, I’ve made wonderful writing friends all over the country. The Ballard Writer’s Collective, I hope, will help me make friends with the writers in my own neighborhood.

What do you do to promote your books locally?


Attitude adjustment

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

I’ll admit it: I’ve been feeling kind of sorry for myself lately. Poor me, I have so much to juggle in the coming months: tons of author appearances and school visits on top of writing a novel on top of keeping up with my day jobs. And ¬†of course being the quintessential introvert makes things worse; the very idea of speaking in public makes me want to crawl under the covers and hide.

Last night was the inaugural event of my getting-out-there-and-promoting-my book blitz. I had been scheduled for several weeks to speak to a class in the University of Washington Extension’s Writing for Children certificate program. As usual, I made myself a nervous wreck preparing, so by the time I was ready to leave the house, I was practically breaking out in hives. And then, on the way to the university, it started to snow. As I navigated the dark streets, watching the wet flakes fall, I really and truly wondered what I’d gotten myself into.

And then I walked into the classroom in Denny Hall and saw the eager faces of 24 aspiring children’s writers beaming up at me. I launched into the talk I had prepared about the voice and point of view of Stevie, the main character in FLYAWAY, and I could tell they were with me every step of the way. Before I knew it, I was having an absolute blast, improvising on my prepared talk and riding the wave of enthusiasm in the room. I was surprised when the hour ended – I didn’t want to stop!

As I drove home, I realized I’ve been in need of a major attitude adjustment. What if I could look forward to my public appearances instead of dreading them? What if I could trust myself to improvise more, so I could spend less energy and angst on preparation? What if, instead of being a time to “get through,” this upcoming period of author events could be an opportunity to have fun?

Wouldn’t that be cool?

Had any attitude adjustments lately? I’d love to hear about them!

Exciting news: CBI Clubhouse

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

I have two pieces of exciting news for writers…and for me! The first news item is that Children’s Book Insider, the outstanding magazine for writers of children’s literature, has just launched its revamped website, the CBI Clubhouse!


According to CBI publisher Laura Backes and Managing Editor Jon Bard, CBI Clubhouse is ” a groundbreaking new community for children’s writers” which “brings together writers from across the globe to learn, share and support one another’s journey toward a publishing contract.”

Sound fabulous? Believe me, it is. On the Clubhouse website, not only can you download the latest edition of Children’s Book Insider, but you can take classes, post on message boards and forums, and get advice on the craft of writing and the arts of publication and promotion from a team of “Expert Guides,” one for each genre from picture books to YA, all of whom are published authors.

Which brings me to the second piece of good news: The Expert Guide for YA is…me! I’m honored to be a member of the illustrious team of authors who will be posting monthly on the website, answering questions on the message boards and forums, and offering webinars and critiques. And I’m in fantastic company. I’ll be surrounded by such luminaries as mulit-published Natasha Wing, Picture Book Expert Guide; the intrepid Anastasia Suen, Easy Reader Expert Guide; and my friend and Newberry-Award-winning author Kirby Larson, who holds the title of Middle Grade Expert Guide.

Together, we’ll be leading all levels of writers through CBI’s 1-2-3 System. Step 1: Create a bulletproof manuscript; Step 2: Choose your path to publication; Step 3: Get out there and market like a pro. You can expect informative posts, fascinating interviews, and special features such as audio, video, and free e-books. And of course you can count on friendly, helpful answers to your questions on the message boards and forums.

I’m so thrilled to be part of this new venture. Go, Fightin’ Bookworms!

Crash Course

Friday, January 13th, 2012

The other day on the phone, my mom asked me what it’s like to be a published writer. My reply was, “It feels like I’m taking a crash course in everything!”

I wasn’t referring to the actual writing of the book, the submitting to agents, or the revision and editing process. Instead, my proverbial crash course covers everything surrounding the promotion process – and most of its lessons have to do with technology. First there was the setting up of my author website, which I happily farmed out to the talented Barrett Dowell. Then there was the creation of a book trailer, which was handled with grace and flair by Megan Bostic of Angsty Girl Video.

But some stuff, I’ve simply had to do myself. In the past year, I’ve mastered (well, to some degree, at least) blogging and using Goodreads, Amazon Author Central, and Twitter. I’ve set up a Facebook Author Page, organized online events and giveaways, and learned the difference between low- and high-resolution photos.

For a child of the sixties like me, none of this was easy. I look around me and see younger people who seem to have technological know-how imprinted in their DNA. These are the people who laugh when I say I’m struggling to import a YouTube video into my blog. If they only knew!

What’s my next challenge? Creating a Powerpoint presentation for an upcoming high school visit. I know, I know. Powerpoint is a snap; even elementary school kids can put together a slide show in a matter of half an hour. But for us old folks who weren’t raised on technology, this is complicated stuff.

There’s something to be said for having to learn a boatload of new skills in a very short time. I’ve had to set my fears aside and simply plunge ahead. And there’s a kind of satisfaction in knowing that I can post to my blog, update my Facebook status, and check my Amazon sales figures now without batting an eyelash. But I’m looking forward to the day when my crash course is complete, and I can go back to doing what I do best: writing books.

Have you had to take a crash course in anything lately?