It’s done. D-O-N-E, done.
The house is staged, the windows washed, and I have a powerhouse of guest bloggers lined up for the balance of April (while I direct traffic to and from my house).
First up? My bestie, Sherry Isaac, who has begun the exciting process of Indie publishing her short stories.
Next week, we have Zack Kullis, under(space optional)cover F.B.I agent and word play guru of the double entendre variety.
Me? I thought I’d be overwhelmed by the number of people tromping through my house.
I was underwhelmed with the response, and hold Nascar and The Texas Motor Speedway personally responsible for insane traffic conditions.
Perhaps in was ill-advised to organize my underwear drawer. When we had no showings yet scheduled yesterday, I texted my ACES Realtor. [I’d give you her name, but I haven’t yet asked if she wants to be associated with the shenanigans on this glob.] My text?
“Just as expected. Undies organized and no one shows to poke around in my drawers. Yes. A wiser woman would reword that sentence.”
This left me with time to ponder writing related things.
Should I enter The Catherine this year? Should I craft a long versus summary level synopsis? Should I get fake big toenails for DFWcon? (Fred-on-the-right, and Ginger-on-the-left gave a toes-up on this one.)
With so much swirling around in my non-imaginary world, I am tickled cobalt blue that I have a guestie from my bestie. TAKE IT AWAY, SHERRY!
WRITE TO DANCE ANOTHER DAY
by Sherry Isaac
A book is a dance, a courtship between reader and writer. My first foray, I feel like a nervous debutante at her coming out ball.
The dance hall is crowded; big name authors who have circled the ballroom before over-shadow my brand and my book cover. As easily as tender toes ensconced in velvet slippers, my ego is easily crushed.
What’s this? The readership-at-large did not rush out to buy my book? They failed to organize a parade in my honor?
Hark! My pride has suffered an injury most severe. I may not survive long enough to see the first quarter report. If only I could react to perceived rejection with Lizzie’s aplomb.
Sales stagger. The champagne cork does not pop. The book sits on the shelf, a wallflower waiting for an invitation to dance. Not a single new ‘want to read’ tag, not one new declaration of love.
I’ve studied brand and promotion as much as I’ve studied craft. I know that someday my prince… er, readership will come. I know this is normal, yet I can’t help myself. In spite of best-selling Thrillers With Heart author CJ Lyons’ advice to Write The Next Book, I feel I must do something to boost sales.
Write the next book, she says. To twist a phrase from Seth Godin,
“I can’t [write my next book], I’m too busy integrating this new technology into my workflow!”
One eye on the sales report, I check my reflection, fuss with my hair, fiddle with my ear bobs, pinch a little pink into my cheeks. My inner Eliza Doolittle bursts to the surface. I want to spread my wings and do a thousand things. Blog! Tweet! Update! Post!
Truth is, there is no presto, there is no voila. It can take as much time to grow an audience as it takes to grow a novel. Social media is new and trendy, but time is the method that’s proven.
I don’t need Holden Caulfield to point me out as a phony. Social media is transparent. At my core, I’m a shy and private person. Sharing excerpts of my day feels artificial to me, so I know updates won’t ring genuine with my followers. My social media tag should read, Don’t follow me, I’m lost, too.
Our book is like a child. We must release our child into the world, let it go, trust we did our very best. This is hard, because letting go means relinquishing control. A book release is like a conversation started. We must trust that our audience will find us. When they find us, we must trust they will respond, that the conversation we started with our first release will continue.
A million updates do not a conversation make. Checking sales reports every ten minutes will not prepare us to answer when our audience does respond.
Writing the next book will.
Craft is key. Writing is hard, but it is the strength and quality of the writing that will build a long-standing audience. On the secret to success, CJ says, “Write a great book, give your readers time to find it and tell their friends, and repeat.” It would seem Seth agrees when he tells us to “Build an asset… A brand isn’t a logo. It’s a promise and an expectation.”
Yes, I’m an odd duck. To chose to sit out the dance seems backward, to give up control, absurd. Think about it: what kind of success would Dirty Dancing have been if Baby chose to sit in her corner, saying “No, thank you. I think I’ll sit this one out,” when Patrick Swayze extended his hand?
Still, I hold firm in my decision to sit out the social media dance and refer you back to CJ’s advice on advertising. What the readers want is not repeated promotion of a book they’ve already read. What they want is another book.
You’d think that I could muster up a little soft-shoe gently sway, but I don’t feel like dancing, no sir, no dancing today.
Raised by Nancy Drew and Miss Marple, Sherry Isaac’s rich storytelling is laced with a pinch of mystery, spiced with a dash of the unexpected, and served with a dollop of suspense. Her novels and short stories feature heroines who, like wildflowers, appear fragile, yet thrive in the harshest conditions. Sherry weaves love, life and forgiveness into tales that transcend all obstacles, including the grave.
The Forgetting earned the Alice Munro Short Story Award in 2009. In 2010, her novel, Homecoming, earned Honorable Mention in the Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie. That same year, the Heart of Denver’s Molly contest declared her heroine, Hannah Marsh, ‘Unsinkable’.
Sherry believes in romance, identity, and the depth of the human soul.
Find Sherry at her Psychological Sizzle blog.
Today is the official release date for Sweet Dreams. <<==== That’s SmashWords Linky Love.
SO! For those who have chosen the Indie ePub route, share your advice or experiences. Are you considering that route to publication? Please share your thoughts, ask your questions, or just say “hey!” I need some play time in comments today, and we want to give Sherry a grin of glee when she pops in to share her thoughts. Hope you all have a good one!