Sunday, February 03, 2013

ROW80 Check-in and shades of gray . . .

It's not always easy getting reader feed-back. We know that. Today's 'bon mot' came clear from the east coast with a suggestion I should read that 50 Shades of Gray book (classified as erotic porn) to add 'more emotion' to my characters.

Haven't read it. Don't intend to. Not my storyline. The person had read an old version of a story I'm working on. Intellectually, I know not every reader will like my stuff and that my story's a good one.  Best seller? Most likely not. But I was all excited to report in today for ROW80. Now, less so. I'm feeling gray.

In half an hour, we'll walk over to the wetlands near our house (where I caught this picture of a crane last spring), and life will be good.

Meanwhile, here's my ROW80 update.

WRITING: Just finished another round of editing on Section 2, Years of Stone. I'm excited because not only is the sequence tighter but so is the tension. I laughed and cried while rereading Section 2. I'm also excited because Donald Maass' acclaimed Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook just arrived, and those exercises look pretty good. The strategy behind his book is to take a 'nearly finished' book and put it through just one more round of thinking and editing. The first exercise is to analyze your personal hero (someone who influenced you) and identify those attributes that make that person heroic. First two people who came to mind were Frida Kahlo and Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, both formidable women who created art/writing in spite of serious obstacles.

My other writing goal -- to begin researching Rivers of Stone sometime in 2013 -- is heating up. Looks like we'll be driving across Canada this summer to follow the trail of the Hudson's Bay Company's fur brigade, culminating at the York Factory in Manitoba (think polar bears). Notes, camera, action!

MARKETING: Even if I was not able to complete daily blogging for the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I learned so much about marketing from participating. My current favorite blogger to read is Rachel Abbott's down-to-earth description about what self-publishing strategies she, at first, bumbled into -- and then improved. And I found her via the Ultimate Blog Challenge AND Twitter.

One example: After reading Abbott, I doublechecked the categories listed for The Mermaid Quilt to find that the paperback version only listed Books > Literature & Fiction while the Kindle edition had four subsets of categories. After searching fruitlessly to find out how to change the categories for the paperback, I wrote to the HELP folks at Amazon's AuthorCentral. They quickly replied. My paperback version is now quite properly listed under Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy and I can add another category through them.

The point that Rachel Abbott makes is if your book is listed under categories that are far too general, people simply won't be able to find your book. Lesson learned with more to come. Because of Rachel's clear discussion of the importance of a marketing plan, my "morass" of information is better organized and far more specific with pre- and post-launch action steps.  Click on the link to read just one of Rachel's blog posts about the marketing plan.

So that's my ROW80 update. I'm already feeling less gray, and it's time for that walk. May your day (with SuperBowl?) and your writing go well! And if you feel so inclined, what marketing tips would you share?

Update: ROW80 Blogs I visited Sunday February 3:
Shan Jeniah writes this week about Truststorms
Annie Gray, A Force of Love
Tia Bach at Depression Cookies
Prudence MacLeod at Valkyrie Rising
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell, writer of historical fiction
R. Scott Steele, A writer in progress

And in case you are interested in joining the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, go here to sign up!