Blog Stuff, Books, Excerpt, Fiction, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Promotion, Read, Writing

A taste of Brevity

The Margaret Merrill rose appears both literally and figuratively in my novel, The Brevity of Roses.

When we had a Costco membership, my husband loved to shop there on the days they gave out free samples in the grocery aisles. Sometimes he took samples of things he doubted he would like because “Hey, it’s free.” Well, today I don’t have any food, but I do have a free sample of The Brevity of Roses for you.

But first, some other business:

If you read my last post, you might have expected a new look to my blog today. It’s coming, but real life intervened and I wasn’t able to finish my new blog header, so stay tuned for the redecorating.

I’m going to tell you why you might want to sign-up for my newsletter. I won’t flood your inbox with chain spam, or get-rich-quick schemes, or sell your email address to marketers. In fact, I won’t flood you with anything, but I will tell you first about upcoming contests or other promotions, and keep you in the loop about my scheduled interviews or guest blog appearances. You’ll also learn how you might get a free copy of Brevity. So read the sample first, and then, if you think you’d like to be a Brevity insider, please sign-up on the Contact page.

Now, for that taste of Brevity. I hope you’ll enjoy Chapter One. (Warning: a sprinkling of strong language.)

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Author, Books, Fiction, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Promotion, Publish, Writing

There’s absurd, and then there’s ABSURD!

Credit: http://www.pennywellfarm.co.uk/

I saw this photo on Facebook today and the absurdity of a pig in tiny red boots gave me a much needed laugh. I feel a bit like this right now. Absurd. (I’m ignoring the plump pig part.)

The boots won’t help me now though. I’m at least waist deep in self-publishing. Some days, I’m positive I’m in over my head. I know now that writing and polishing the novel was the easy part. I’ve had to be talked in off the ledge a few times already, and I haven’t even started the e-book conversion.

If you’ve been thinking of self-publishing, don’t let my moaning discourage you. My biggest problem is trying to do this as cheaply as possible. I’m sure I’ve used up all my favors from friends. I used my artistic talent and fledgling graphics skills to create my own book cover. I hunkered down with dozens of examples from my shelves and taught myself how to format the interior for the print version.

So, The Brevity of Roses will be published soon. And then, the real absurdity begins. I will have to market the book. I’ve read tons on the subject. I’ve picked the brain of suburban noir author Cathryn Grant so much, I’m surprised she’s not reduced to vacant-eyed drooling.

I still have no idea what I’m going to do.

It’s likely my book will launch with a whimper. I’ll try not to become a harpy crying, “Buy my book!” in every blog post, status update, or tweet. I have a feeling that in a few weeks I’ll blog about how marketing with no budget was as absurd as a pig in red boots.


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Author, Family, Feedback, Fiction, Marketing, Novel, Promotion, Publish, Reader, Real Life, Writing

Live together, die alone!

If you were a LOST fan, you recognize the title of today’s post as the motto for survival on that mysterious island. As a writer, it often seems I exist on an island too. Looking back on this past year of blogging, I saw that I had written three posts about the need for writers to support each other.

Although members of my family offer support for my writing in other ways, they don’t beta read for me. My number of non-writer friends is small and only one of those has read or expressed any other interest my work. Fellow writers are my readers. One brave writer has even volunteered to read my novel for the third time.

I suppose it’s understandable that writers best understand the support other writers need to keep working in face of incredible odds. In a recent blog post, Michelle Davidson Argyle expressed hurt that some family and friends did not support her by reading her indie-published novella Cinders. That’s sad, but more disturbing is a fact lamented in the comments on that post. Fellow authors don’t always support each other either!

In my two years of blogging, I’ve “met” a few published authors. I’ve also become aware how important promotion is for a book’s success. Most of the authors I know online work hard to publicize their own books. This applies to traditional, small press, and indie published books alike, but especially to debut authors. Since I, too, plan to be one, I’m concerned.

Unfortunately, those authors who need the least publicity get the most from their traditional publishers, e.g.: King, Grisham, Franzen. Midlist, debut, and small-pressed authors get only a little help from their publishers. Indie authors have to do it all themselves.

Fair is fair. I can’t expect my fellow writers to support me, if I don’t support them. In 2011, I plan to make a bigger effort to seek out, read, and spread the word on debut novels—particularly those novels written by authors who’ve chosen the indie path.

No author wants to “die alone.” Can we all vow to live together?


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Advice, Agent, Author, Fiction, Marketing, Novel, Publish, Social Media, Writing

The name question—should I pseudo or not?

I’ve touched on this topic before, but it’s been weighing on my mind lately. Then, on Tuesday morning I read this post on literary agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog—certainly not the only blogger to bring it up recently—and I decided to tell you what I’ve been thinking. The topic is using a pseudonym, penname, nom de plume.

It’s too late for me to take Rachelle’s suggestion that you choose a pseudonym before you create a public presence or query. But since my previous queries have not yet proved fruitful, it’s not too late to switch before my next round. However, I do have this blog in my full legal name, and even though I don’t have a huge following, Google shows links to all my 299 posts.

Of course, if I started a new blog/website under a pseudonym now, by the time my first novel is published Google will have been long updated. Cathryn Grant has recently made such a move, though still under her same name. If only WordPress would allow you to change your ID. Anyway …

I mentioned before that because my full name was too long, my Twitter name is cassidylewis. This has resulted in a few followers assuming my first name is Cassidy. At first that seemed weird to me, but now I like the sound of it.

Some names are classic, timeless, but my given name is not. It pretty much marks me as being in the Baby Boomer generation, and in the highly competitive world of marketing, that may be a disadvantage. As much as we rail against stereotypes, they exist. And though we don’t like to think of our precious novels as a product for sale, that’s exactly what they are to a publisher.

And yes, I realize my photo would reveal I am indeed a Boomer, but we’re talking perception here, not reality. Agents don’t ask you to give your age or include a photo in a query letter. After I tantalize them into reading my fabulous novel, they’ll see dollar signs, and my age will mean nothing. (Humor me, here.)

Another reason for going pseudo is my full name is long: 17 letters, 7 syllables, which would necessitate using a smaller than usual font on a book cover. Plus, Cassidy is a bit more unusual given name, hence a more memorable one. I confess, I’ve always hated my first name, so maybe my urge for a pseudonym is colored by that.

Your opinion, please: Is my thinking completely off base on this one?

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Advice, Author, Marketing, Promotion, Publish, Reader, Social Media, Tips, Writing

What’s your name?

I’ve been reading about author “branding” lately. No, it doesn’t involve a hot iron and burning flesh. The idea is to promote your name as a writer, to make your name a brand name. Quick! Name a horror writer. Thriller? Mystery? Literary? YA fantasy? Wouldn’t you like to be the author whose name comes to mind first? Yeah, not realistic, but you do want your name to come to mind at some point, right?

Right now, some of you are probably remembering author Maureen Johnson’s Manifesto: I Am Not A Brand. I do get her point; I’m just as human as she is. But when I’m published, I will have a product to sell, and it will bear my name as author. Therefore, it only makes sense that I want as many people as possible to recognize my name when they see my book.

I’m not an extrovert, maybe you aren’t either, but as published authors we’ll be expected to sell our books. We’re told, “Get your name out there, and do it now!”  Great … how do we do that? What’s your Twitter name and Facebook identity?  If you’re GreenLady on Twitter, and you’re known as Liz Wilder on Facebook, you’re missing out on two opportunities to brand Elizabeth Cox-Wilder— the name you write under— on the minds of potential readers.

Take a look at your blog. How easy is it for your followers to learn your real name? Or do you plan to publish anonymously? I blog through WordPress so my url was lindacassidylewis.wordpress.com, then I registered my domain name, so now if you go to just lindacassidylewis.com you also end up here. I set my blog profile to display my full name here and on every other blog where I comment. And my name links back to this blog in the hope readers on those other blogs will click through to visit here. (Good reason you should all start commenting on my blog. 😉 )

You’ll find me as Linda Cassidy Lewis on Facebook (no fan page, yet), but that was too long for a Twitter username , so I tweet as @cassidylewis, which admittedly is not perfect because a couple followers have assumed Cassidy is my first name, but hey, if they ever take the time to look at my Twitter page, they’ll see my full name. The more opportunities you take to connect your name with your writing, the easier it will be for book buyers to remember you. Of course, you’ll want to mind your manners as make yourself known, or you’ll be remembered in the wrong way.

So, yeah, I guess you all know my name by now. 😀 Too bad I’m not already published. But I hope when I am, you’ll see my book and say, “Oh, I know her. She’s nice. I think I’ll buy her book.”

Now, it’s your turn. Tell me, how do you get your name out there?

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