So what did I do last week? Hmm. Well, the Name That Book Contest ended on the 26th and then went into sudden death overtime because the titles with the most votes were my original suggestions which really weren't very good. As of this posting I have not tallied the final round of voting, but I'll have it done by tomorrow and I'll announce the winning title and the winning titler by evening.
I'm scheduled to participate in a Chat on Two Lips Reviews from 8p-10p tomorrow evening. I'll announce the winners there and on Twitter and Facebook and everywhere else I can possibly shout the title. Come by and chat with me, if you have a few minutes. I've only ever done one other chat and it was a great experience. Also, during my chat I'll talk about the club Eva Prim is launching over on her site. That club will launch on May 1st, too.
This last week has been so busy. From the contest to preparing for the exciting launch of Eva's new page to working with my web mistress, the very talented and amazingly patient Carrie Coren on changes for both websites and setting up newsletter links. Find Carrie here. I can't recommend her enough. She's created all the graphics I've used for contests, both websites, my Twitter and Facebook pages. She's wonderful.
Okay, enough about my fantastic graphic designing web mistress.
Last week I went to the NECRWA conference, which I recommend to anyone. It's a nice conference with lots of great workshops and a book signing. Friday evening I reconnected with so many of my writer pals from NEC and CTRWA. Jaime Schmidt, Stephanie McQueen, Ashlyn Chase, Laura Moore to name a few. I witnessed Terri Brisbin set off the hotel fire alarms with her speech during Friday night's dinner. Well, she may not have been the culprit, but the firemen did show up! 🙂 Then I was able to make it through 1/2 of Marie Force's presentation on Navigating the Wild West of Self-Publishing: An Update. I'd been up since 5:30 and it had been an incredibly busy week so I had to go get some sleep or risk sliding from my chair onto the floor in front of everyone.
On Saturday during breakfast the First Kiss Contest winners and Bean Pot Award winners were announced. Then it was off to workshops. I attended Barbara Wallace's workshop on 3D Characters, 3D Conflict: Deepening the Character-Driven Novel. I learned to speak English with Miranda Neville and had the pleasure of moderating Devon Ellington's workshop on Setting as Character. All this before lunch.
At lunch Caroline Linden gave a wonderful speech about luck and her experiences with both good and not so good luck and how a health scare puts everything into perspective. In the afternoon I attended Liz Maverick's workshop on Discoverability Tools: How to Get More Sales from Your Author Newsletter and Website where I learned a number of tremendously valuable tips and now of course, I have several more questions for Carrie. After Liz's presentation I attended Ella Drake's workshop on Digital Formatting and Other Tech for Authors and I quickly realized that my idea of having someone else format my work for me was more than likely my best idea in a while.
At the Literacy Book Signing I had the pleasure of sitting beside Francis Stockton and learning about her experiences in publishing. It was great to hear how happy she is with Ellora's Cave and how her writing is going.
Toward the end of the signing I experienced the best part of the entire weekend. Dawn and Megan arrived (with a man in tow to carry all their books, and he was loaded up!). Dawn and Megan met on the internet. Megan and I have met on the internet, too, though I didn't know it right away. Megan is one of the reviewers from Riverina Romantics. I have done a number of blog hops with her. Dawn had heard about the book signing and told Megan, who thankfully said she'd drive up and they'd come together. Dawn wasn't going to come alone because she was a little bit nervous. Little did she know how utterly delighted every author in the signing was to have an opportunity to chat with her and hear about the books she likes to read.
I ended up giving Megan a bunch of goodies to add to her Sunday Swag Giveaways. We chatted about reviews and my next book coming out.
The internet is an amazing thing. You can develop relationships with people from all over the world. Just a few weeks back I was carrying on a conversation with a lovely lady in Ireland via Twitter DMs. My cover artist is in Spain. I've met readers in several other countries. It's wonderful.
But nothing in the world beats meeting someone face to face and sharing a laugh and the common bond of romance novels.
So my tip this week is to use your social networks, which ever ones you like best to “meet” new people and foster relationships. You just never know when the giant world of the internet will suddenly shrink to fit in one ballroom.
And always remember, now that you're “out there” as an author people will recognize you. So keep your happy face on for the public and your I'm-going-to-scream-bloody-murder-if-blah-blah-blah for private with your family and your writer friends. Best foot forward.
So, what did you do last week?Continue reading
So last week I didn't post. I took the day off to relax and get some other stuff done- like booking my trip to Nationals and another short weekend trip for a wedding. And then there were the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
I was busy all day on Tuesday, but in the back of my mind the constant buzz of sadness for what happened at the marathon stayed. My heart breaks for everyone who was there, the three young people killed, all the people who were injured and everyone else who was impacted by the day's events. It's terrifying to think these things can happen here in America, a country founded on religious freedom.
Today's post is short. In the past week I've continued to work toward my goal of self publication, staying on task with my marketing plan, designing pages to go live on both my site and Eva Prim's, getting interview questions out for my September and October blog guests and beginning work on Eva's blog.
But for the past week I've watched like every other American as the events in Boston unfolded. And today I wonder how much the government will learn from these studying the lives of these two men. I'm hopeful they'll learn enough to thwart other efforts to hurt and kill more people.
Above all else I'm grateful for what I have. My husband and family, my home, and job. My life. My country. The many freedoms I have, especially the freedom of religion. In my life I run at 100 miles an hour. This week I was reminded to appreciate life and all that I have. I hope you do the same.
God bless you all.Continue reading
You've got The Magic Touch.
The first thing that came to mind when I heard about this blog hop was The Platters song, (You've got) The Magic Touch. Hear it here on YouTube.
It's funny that I didn't think magic as in abracadabra. Instead, I thought, what does it mean to have that magic touch? I suppose that's not a surprise for a romance writer. To me The Magic Touch is about lovers knowing what to do to make each other feel better and more importantly when to do that certain something.
It's being so in tuned to your spouse or significant other's needs that you can predict what he or she will need based on a specific situation. It's little things like coming out to help carry in the groceries or washing the dishes after dinner. It's putting in that load of laundry or buying a jar of imported honey because you know your honey loves honey.
It's the way he laughs at your jokes even when they aren't that funny. And he laughs so hard his eyes tear up. It's having a husband who cares so much for you he's constantly trying to ensure your Mugger Readiness Skills by sneaking up on you in parking lots to be sure you're always aware of your surroundings. (On the flip side of that it's seeing him coming and deciding not to pretend you don't know him and act like an hysterical crazy woman so that he'll get arrested and spend a night in jail.) Yes, it's those little things that bring a magic touch to a relationship. At least that's my perspective.
What about you? What do you and your lover, spouse or partner do to demonstrate The Magic Touch? Please remember, this is not an erotic blog so let's keep it clean here! 🙂
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Last week i had the wonderful Ms. Melissa Foster on my blog to discuss marketing tips and mistakes. See her post here. Melissa explained the number one mistake writers make is they market to other writers. I couldn't agree more with Melissa. It's one of the things I noticed right away when I began my writing career. It's also a trap I fell into almost immediately.
We're all on loops together- many RWA and then other yahoo loops. We learn fabulous things from each other and share our highs and lows. We build each other up and answer questions, trouble shoot plot ideas, blog challenges and how to answer the occasional really weird fan letter. We're comfortable in our loops and groups.
But, I don't think any of us could possibly afford to buy every book that came out and we all know we each already have TBR piles that could make the average reader faint. Mine is now housed in the biggest Rubbermaid container I could find because it outgrew the bookshelf and was taking up floor space.
So what do we do? We all know inherently most of us don't want to get out there in front of a crowd and market ourselves. We're nervous and awkward, sort of like we were in eighth grade giving a book report to the class while you were absolutely certain all the smart kids stared at you because you didn't really understand the deep meaning of the story, all the cool kids stared at you because they would never be caught dead in the outfit you were wearing, and the teacher stared at you just waiting for the moment she could ask you a question you already knew you didn't have the foggiest idea how to answer. Yes, that's what it feels like to promote yourself. I understand. There are days I'd rather crawl under the desk with the dog.
But I don't. Not usually. Instead, I take to the web and find the things that are comfortable. I have lists and lists and more lists. At some point I'm certain something will get checked off. I just know it will!
However, I committed last year to not marketing solely to my writer friends and colleagues. That was my first step– which of course meant I didn't really talk to anyone about my book because I felt like an idiot and who really wants to hear from me anyway?
I'm quiet on the loops unless I have something to ask or add. Most recently I asked two loops how everyone had developed their email lists. (The email list is sort of like a unicorn to me. I don't have one. I want one. But I didn't really know how to get one or if really they existed.) I asked if people used the emails from the commenters on their blogs or from rafflecopter giveaways because doing so seemed like spamming to me and really not very nice.
I have to say I've been floating on cloud 9 for a few days because my question launched a conversation that lasted several days. Apparently, there's a lot to be said about the email list and how you get one. In a nutshell don't use your commenters emails or rafflecopter participant emails. It is spam.
Don't just add every email you have to your list and expect people not to be aggravated by your foolishness. Don't expect them to stay on your email list. Don't expect them not to tweet, FB, or blog about you in a not very pleasant way. People do not want to be sent “stuff” they didn't ask for.
Let's face it. We all hate that. Why would a reader like it? Why would you start out aggravating the people you hope will want to have a connection with you? Don't do it.
The best way to develop your email/address list is to invite people onto it. It takes time and effort. There are a number of sites where readers can participate in contests but to do so they have to join the email list of the guest author. This idea seems hit or miss. People join for the contest and then unsubscribe.
It seems like the truly best way to develop this list is to get the invitation out there, front and center. Clearly, tweeting about it, FB, GR, etc. But get the link to subscribe onto your website– right on the website so it's one of the first things readers see. And make joining worthwhile. Make it fun. What are readers going to get?
Give them advance info on your upcoming books. Snippets. Contest info. (All of this sounds wonderful. God help me I hope when I do it, it actually works!) Give readers a connection to you, not just a “Hey. Go buy my book.” Because we all know that ain't working! There's nothing more annoying than buy my book pitch.
I just opened my Mailchimp account. Free. (Perfect.) My web designer is helping to get that onto my landing page. She's also working on my super-secret-brilliant idea for my Eva Prim Series. I'll tell you all about that soon as I can.
However as you may or may not know I'm running a Name That Book Contest. Why, you ask? Because I'm publishing a book later this year and I have no idea what to call it! So help me! And who will know bette than people who are not encumbered by all the nitty-gritty- details and plush it helps me connect with readers! See, a great idea. (Stupendous- if I get a title out of it!)
Pop over to the Name That Book Contest page by using the badge below! But wait- what are you doing to develop your email list? I need to know if you have any ideas to share. I'm sharing. You should share too!
Holy Moly! It's so busy!
I'm just about 6 months out from launching my book. I'm finishing up edits, preparing for cover art, nailing down my marketing plan and struggling to continue writing book 2 while I get all the other stuff done, oh and working and running a household and trying to spend time with my family. Yes, that pretty much sums up the current state of affairs.
My God, am I tired.
But, the marketing plan has me feeling pretty good, in spite all the outstanding To Do items. I'm still using the Claude Bouchard method of gaining Twitter followers and it's working quite nicely. I'm up to 2868. And the best part is I've met so many cool people. I love this Twitter thing.
I have events scheduled for every month, though some events are permanent occurrences– like launch updated website or launch Eva's blog. In the meantime, I'll continue to use social media sites to connect with new and interesting people. I haven't forgotten my Goodreads topic. I just haven't had 2 seconds to really sort through using it. I'm continuing to build connections on the site. I just can't be active everywhere and get everything done that needs to be done so have to limit myself. We'll get back to that in the coming months. I've been fairly quiet on this blog these past couple weeks because I've been experimenting with my contest badge and page and I didn't want to attract a lot of attention while I screwed up the blog page. (No need to make anyone think monkeys are running your blog.)
My first big marketing event kicks off on April 1st and will run until the 26th with a winner announced on May 1. I'm running a Name That Book Contest with quite a bit of help from my friends. I reached out to writers on several loops- CTRWA, NEC, NJ, MFRW, FFnP and I've gotten a tremendous response from yes, they'll place the contest badge on their blog page to yes, they'll tweet about my contest.
Self-publishing is a challenge. Having the freedom to make all the decisions is liberating and terrifying, not to mention how every failure or “oops, that's not what I meant” belongs to me. It's like running a full time business. Every headache and every triumph gets handled in my chair at my desk and usually with a healthy dose of chocolate and occasionally some wine.
Having friends who'll help you is amazing. I've always been afraid to ask people to tweet for me or help me because everyone is so busy and what can I possibly offer them? Reciprocation, that's what I can offer. This week I asked and offered and (to quote Emeril) BAM! several people stepped up.
I've heard it said many times that writers, in particular romance writers (and that may be due to be genetically programmed for a happily ever after) are kind and want to see each other succeed. That we celebrate each other's successes. And I've seen and experienced it first hand. It's makes me honored to be a romance writer and to be part of such a wonderful group of professionals.
I'd love to hear about your experiences in the romance writing community. What has happened that's made you thankful to be part
Yes, yes, I do know this is supposed to be Post #9. I missed a week.
It was a crazy, crazy week. Lots of planning and meetings and more planning and scheming. Then I had contest entries to judge and editing to do.
I haven't written anything new in more than a week, which is very disturbing because I'm raring and ready. But I am not capable of being productive with so many To-Do Items hanging over my head. And, these edits need to be done and sent back by Friday or I might pull my hair out.
So, this week's post is short and I'm learning to pace myself, not to over-extend myself, and to avoid setting goals that are loftier than any normal writer can accomplish. Of course, you should know it's a steep learning curve!
Today is St. Joseph's Day. I hope you wore red and ate a zeppolle. I'm having mine for dessert!Continue reading
In the past week I have become somewhat obsessed with understanding which social media sites work best or will work best for me once I figure out how to properly use them. My goal, like every other writer, is to connect with readers in a fun way, not a weird, lurking writer, please by my book sort of freaky-deaky way.
You have to know I can't keep up with all of them and I can't understand how all of them work or how any writer can manage to use them all at the same time. There's just not enough time in any week to actively use them all, continue to write and edit and work and have a life that involves actual human contact and not a cyber relationship. I've determined it's impossible! They say knowing is half the battle. I'm accepting I cannot master all of them. It's a therapeutic thing. 🙂
I use Hootsuite to try to manage FB, Twitter and LinkedIn. And this attempt is barely working, though I'm doing a much better job. I love being able to schedule posts and tweets in advance. It's made promoting my posts and my guests' posts much easier, though I still have to go on to FB to post in the groups.
I've had the hardest time breaking the 2,000 follower milestone on Twitter. Somehow I did it last week. I had participated in a couple blog hops and that drove my number upward. And I'm pretty sure regularly posting here and tweeting helped. Then over the weekend on one of the many writer's loops I came across a link to a guest post by Claude Bouchard on Live Write Thrive, C.S Lakin‘s blog.
Coming Clean About My Twitter Success is a great post that explains how Claude ended up with 250,000 followers. (As I type this he has 347, 970.) Follow the link to learn @ceebee308‘s strategy. I'm using it and have gone from 2002 on Saturday to 2073 tonight.
I'm not a huge fan of managing friends or followers or connections from Hootsuite, but that may just mean I need to “get used” to the layouts. I don't find it to be visually pleasing, though the column set up works fine. When I'm on Hootsuite rather than the actual social media site, I feel like there's a mediator between me and whoever I'm tweeting with or some stranger standing in the middle of my FB conversation. So that's a little odd.
I am a chatterbox. I love to talk to people so reigning in the desire to jump into every conversation I see or to continue talking and talking with tweet after tweet is important. I could easily let Twitter consume all my time.
I almost never use my Google Plus account. I'm not sure what the circles are for and how they work and it's low on my list of things to figure out. I don't know how it will better connect me with readers. If you're a Google Plus user, please share your experiences in the comments. I'd love to know what works for you and how/why.
Pinterest is something I only joined a few weeks ago and I think I get it, but more concerning is I know I get sucked into it easier than any of the other sites. So damn many cool things to see. It's a really fun way to connect. Okay, I've done less connecting and more pinning and liking, but I have followed a couple boards and commented on a few pics. I'm certain I'll master Pinterest in short order.
That brings us to Goodreads, which is the second easiest place to waste time. I get lost in the threads and reading reviews and in the groups. The only reason it's not first on the Time Suck List is because I catch myself and then convince myself I'm actually researching people to friend and follow, thus it's an acceptable use of my time.
Next week we'll discuss Goodreads. I've read some fantastic articles on how to use Goodreads.
The bottom line for social media is to be social. Interact. Spend time with the people who connect with you. That's a tough thing to do. There is no way I'm going to be able to tweet to 2073 people everyday or to comment on the posts of 812 Goodreads connections. But the point is to be active and let people know you want to connect. You want to share a little bit about yourself outside of “Read my book” and you want to learn a little bit about them.
What social media are you using and why? How or why does it work well for you?Continue reading
When I first started writing I knew my characters were out of high school, but they were still young and dealing with issues that come up in the late teens and early twenties: partying, drugs, alcohol, separation from their parents, figuring out where their life is headed, or maybe having that first deep connection with a new love. Not high school flirty or sneaking out of the house, a real relationship with real emotions and real problems — only less life experience. It’s a time of making mistakes, but still being young enough to recover gracefully. I didn’t realize that my novel was going to fall into a genre that is unfamiliar to many people.
New Adult bridges a gap between Young Adult and Adult. Readers are looking for a great narrative but also want the emotional intensity of teens, and maybe a bit steamier than YA as well. So, the main characters in New Adult are usually between 18 and 25 years old. It’s a step up from YA and let’s face it, for many of us, early adulthood was the best — or the worst — and the most thrilling times of our lives. A lot of younger adults are still riddled with teen angst, impulse control, and are experimenting with what the world has to offer. There’s less fear and no holding back when life presents a new challenge. Or, for some, the opposite is true: extreme uncertainty about taking that giant leap forward and beginning their independence. Whether they are fresh out of high school or maybe in college, they are beginning their adult lives. It’s a huge transitional time for many people and offers a lot of fuel for crafting a great story.
The New Adult genre is becoming more and more popular. Publishers, including Harper Collins and Crescent Moon Press are signing New Adult authors and the genre is growing, especially in online markets. I hope the trend continues and we will see some talented authors come into the limelight.
Saving the life of someone you love should not be the worst thing you have ever done, unless you are an Angel of Death.
Disgruntled with his position in the afterlife and conflicted by his feelings toward his new client, Nathaniel Evans forgoes the rules and saves nineteen year old Juliana Crowson from being hopelessly stuck in Forge Creek. This alters Juliana’s destiny and she finds herself in a series of near death accidents.
In the mountains of Colorado, Nathaniel comforts Juliana as she struggles to understand her paranormal abilities while coping with her brother’s drug addiction. When an ill-tempered Native American Shaman teaches her the difference between ghosts and place memories, she decides she wants nothing to do with the supernatural world. Too bad she doesn’t know that Nathaniel is part of it.
Will fate bring these two together, or has Nathaniel made the biggest mistake of his afterlife?
Buy a copy of Death Lies Between Us on Amazon
All About Jody A. Kessler
Jody A. Kessler enjoys writing paranormal novels and is a member of Pikes Peak Writers. She is a yoga instructor, Reiki Master, and a graduate from the Colorado Institute of Massage Therapy. When she took an extended leave from her massage practice to stay at home with her newborn she returned to her first true passion —writing. She spends most of her time being a mother, writing, and teaching yoga, but also likes going to concerts, hiking, practicing herbal medicine, and reading anything that catches her interest. Jody lives in the mountains of Colorado with her family.
She welcomes visitors to her website www.jodyakessler.com