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

Just when I thought it would never happen!

If you have a WordPress blog, you’re probably aware that they choose several blog posts a day to appear on the WordPress front page as Freshly Pressed. Months ago, I lamented that I had given up hope  my blog would ever be so honored. Then Wednesday morning arrived.

As I usually do, when I awake, I made a cup of tea and sat down to check my email. I had scheduled a new blog post to publish at a few minutes before I usually wake, so I hoped to see one or two comments arrive in my inbox. As I watched dozens—DOZENS—of comments flood in, my first thought was that my blog had somehow been hacked. I had visions of all those cheap prescription drugs and porn messages bypassing the spam catcher and sullying my beautiful blog.

But when I pulled up my blog, I was puzzled because there were only three comments on my new post. I rechecked my inbox and saw those other comments were on a post I’d published over a week earlier. That’s when it hit me. I flew to the WordPress front page and there it was—my post, Freshly Pressed. Oh, the excitement!

For thirty-six hours, I was almost famous. My blog received 8,929 hits! Over 200 new comments were posted—and, because it’s what I do, I replied to every one of them. I also gained 143 new blog subscribers and some new Twitter and Facebook Page followers. I was agog—AGOG, I tell ya.

So, thank you WordPress. And welcome new friends. You’re just in time for the announcement that my novel The Brevity of Roses is available now on Amazon (also on Amazon UK.) This is the Kindle version. The Nook version could be up on Barnes & Noble by the end of the day. Smashwords will have other versions in a day or two. And the beautiful print version will be available, I hope, within a week at Amazon and B&N.

My goodness! What a week this turned out to be. I’m a little bit happy.


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Blog Stuff, Dream, Poetry, Real Life, Writing

Out with the old, in with …

As you can see, this old pig blog is wearing a new dress. The font is smaller than on my old theme, but it’s hard to find a newer WordPress theme that isn’t hard on my eyes. Never fear. I use the Firefox add-on called NoSquint, which lets me enlarge the font on any webpage. I think I got all the kinks out, but let me know if you see any problems.

Don’t forget! November is a special month for us writers—no not that—it’s National House Cleaning Month! That zany 30 days designated for us obsessed writers to step away from the keyboard and rediscover the vacuum cleaner, the bottom of the laundry basket, and exactly what lies beneath that pile on the dining room table. If you’re joining me, let me know and get your counter set up, so I can keep an eye on the competition. I’ll also add your name and a link to your blog on the NaHoCleMo page I’ll add on Monday. Watch my counter in my sidebar —>

Things I afflict you with. I haven’t talked about any dreams, nor have I inflicted one of my dreadful poems on you lately. Guess what? Your luck has run out.

MIRAGE

I wrote something fabulous
in a dream.

I read,
heart racing.

Exhilaration.
Elation.
Anticipation.

I woke,
deep sighing.

I wrote something fabulous,
in a dream.

So there you have my Weekend Whoop-de-doo. I wish you a Happy Halloween, Samhain, or whatever your weekend holds.

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Blog Stuff, Fiction, Novel, Writing

Brain dead, pressed, interviewed, and cleaning up … it’s all here, folks!

I have suddenly gone brain dead. I’m blaming it on allergies. I should have put a new post up yesterday, but I couldn’t think of anything to say, so I played about a thousand games of Peggle instead. And, obviously, my brain is not functioning any better today because I’ve just written over fifty words of nothing. That’s no way to get a blog post selected for Freshly Pressed, now is it?

For those of you unfortunate enough to have a Blogspot blog, you may not know that when a blog post is Freshly Pressed it means WordPress highlights your blog on their front page for a day. You get hundreds of visitors. I have not yet been honored, but some of my friends have. Christi Craig hit the jackpot twice this month. Twice! Do you think if I talked her into doing a guest post here, I would get Pressed too?

A.M. Kuska has created a writers blog directory at The Written Connection. She’s included my blog and also interviewed me—scary thought, huh? You can read it here, if you’re interested. Check the directory for your favorite writing blog. If it’s not there, nominate it.

It’s almost that time of year again! No. I don’t mean National Novel Writing Month. November is NaHoCleMo—National House Cleaning Month for those of us whose housekeeping suffers because we’re writing junkies. You can read all the whys and wherefores here. And, if you’d like to clean along, you can get a counter, like the one to the right of this post here, for your blog or website. In 2009, I set my goal far too high. Seriously, you can’t go from 0 to 5,000 in one month without hurting someone, so this year I’m setting my goal at 2,700 minutes. I think I can reach that and still make progress on my new novel.

One last thing: I’ve giving you fair warning. There’s a theme change coming as soon as I can find the time to make sure things don’t go wonky. So don’t freak if you come here one day soon and nothing looks familiar. It will be the same pig, just in a new dress.

Have a lovely weekend.

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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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Blog Stuff, Writing

A few words about WordPress

This is my third post in four days, wow! Unfortunately, the first two said nothing about writing, so here’s a token on-topic comment. The day before I left on my trip, the dam burst and I added 2,900 words to a chapter in progress, then managed to write a couple hundred more and start editing while I was gone. I hope I can restart that flow of words this next week.

Moving on to WordPress stuff.

When I came home from vacation, I noticed WordPress now adds a “Like” button at the end of our posts (on the actual post page, not the home page) … perfect for when you like a post, but have nothing to add in comment. So, if you read and like my posts, you have three choices: Like, Comment, and ReTweet. Why not go hog-wild and do all three?

WordPress blogs have a built-in spam catcher, which I check regularly. Most days I have no spam, others one or two, but occasionally I have thirty or more instances in a single day … and that usually goes on for days. Some of these leave a generic comment with a link to a website selling something. But most are spammers leaving a comment that is just a string of random English or foreign language words, or most irritating of all—sexually related words. All those spam comments link to either commercial sites (real or scam) or porno sites. I presume not every blog has a spam catcher activated and these comments actually appear on those blogs for readers to see. Do enough readers click through on these type comments to make it worth these scammers’ efforts?

When I signed up for this blog, I read that WordPress occasionally runs advertising on their members’ blogs, but I have never seen one. A few weeks ago, someone who doesn’t come to my blog very often, ask me about an ad she saw on my post. Have any of you seen an ad on my blog? On any other WordPress blog?

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