Prairie Lights!

has accepted to let me make an author appearance on September 26th.

I’m especially excited about this because it’s not a football Saturday – those are sacred events that I don’t think I could pull my friends away from, and the traffic would be awful anyway.

Maybe there will be football in the next book. That’s always a fun activity to watch or play. Until I get to writing that, though, I’ll be working toward advertising this event!

Bookstore

I made another attempt to get an appearance at Prairie Lights in Iowa City. I’m making progress, but the lady isn’t very enthusiastic about it.

Mom talked about one that was ‘very successful’ that had a party attached to it. An open house wouldn’t be too difficult, if only I knew where to have one and what to do.

I’m curious, so I’m posing the question to my readers: What do you look for in an author appearance? What would bring you in, make you stay, and – more important in the store’s eyes – buy the book?

As a Business

How often do writers look at what they do as a business? How much do writers look at their activities with regard to what makes sense for their goals?

I’m working toward my business plan. I know things can get in the way, possibly more for a fiction writer than a non-fiction one, but without focus no one will get anywhere.

It takes research to figure out what else is required for me to succeed. One conversation with a friend about business cards started this months ago – who is my customer? It might not be who you think.

My customer is the publisher or agent. My customer is the one who writes me checks. It works in my favor to get people to buy the book, but those are the publisher’s customers. It’s a shift in viewpoint, but because helping my publisher helps my bottom line, it’s definitely in my best interest to get people excited about my book.

However, remembering that publishers of any size don’t have the resources to promote all their books, it falls to the authors to do that on their own. It still makes me think.

Geek Appeal

For Father’s Day, I gave my husband a book to read to our daughter. I’m not sure how amused he was, but it fits today’s topic, so I thought I’d give the authors a plug.

Science Verse is a fun picture book with rhymes about various things science-related. Some of them are taken off known songs or poems (Glory, glory, evolution). I just like to see theĀ  take the authors did.

No, I swear I didn’t buy it just because it had the periodic table inside the front cover!

I’m putting the other book by the same authors, Math Curse, on my wishlist! They’re the perfect gifts for those geeky parents who wish to doom their kids, like I do. Wait, did I say that out loud?

Odds and Ends

Funny, yesterday I said Dawn and I had trouble gettting our schedules to mesh. Then we managed the interview last night – so check it out here.

If you checked out Crys’s blog yesterday, you saw a bunch of stuff about the struggles of self-published and small press authors. See Vivian’s response and more information at her blog here. I learned something from both of those yesterday!

In other news, I’ve been turning over my last manuscript to see what’s salvageable. There are good things and bad things about it, and it just keeps popping through my head. How much work should I put into something if I’m not sure I can publish it? It’s not keeping me up at night (I have a little one to blame for that), but I wish I had a good answer. Perhaps tomorrow will bring more insight and I’ll have fewer ideas popping in my head. (Not likely, but I don’t mind the new ideas!)

Appearances

What do you look for when you listen to an author?

I read an edition of Toastmasters magazine about writing, authorship and book promotion from this spring. The author talked about having great success on a night when he danced “The Time Warp” from Rocky Horror Picture Show. His take on it was to show the audience who he was, let them establish a connection, and then the books sell.

I don’t think I’ll be dancing to “The Time Warp”, since I never was a fan of RHPS, but it does make me think of what I can do to show myself and be unique. If I do read, it will be a short excerpt.

I’m curious what readers would like. Something more like Crystalee’s post from the blog tour? If you didn’t see it, it’s here. Or is there something more personal, more outlandish, that is required to catch your attention?

Formula

Do you ever notice that some authors seem to follow the same type of plot? Looks something like a formula, but if it sells, it works, right?

One of my favorite authors has something like a pattern in one of her series. I started a book in another series, but the similarity to the other books was presented in a more pronounced manner. I can see why it has turned some friends off the book. I’m still debating whether to continue.

It might be easier to turn out novels if one follows a formula. It also makes one expect certain endings upon beginning the book. Is that the way some authors get established, or is it only allowed after a name is made?

So much to think about…

Submissions

Just because my book is out, doesn’t mean I’ve quit with the short stories. Sent one out this week. Still waiting on one from December. I ought to see what else I could send out.

Admittedly I’ve been busy with book promotion, but mostly it’s the baby taking time. She’s sleeping while munching right now, so I am getting good at typing with one hand – either to blog, or do facebook and twitter, or to edit and polish projects.

I’m also reacquainting myself with the published works I am working so hard to join. “Literary Analysis” according to a friend, though most people call it reading.

850,000 at Amazon

What does this ranking mean?

Well, to me it means a couple things. I will not pretend I know exactly what Amazon thinks of it.

1. Amazon has a ton of books.
2. Doing better than a couple weeks ago when it was ranked over 1,000,000.
3. That promotional stuff I’m doing may have had an impact.
4. Perhaps I ought to write more like this one since it’s resonating with the audience…
5. I will be getting a royalty check!

Number 5 makes me feel like a ‘real’ author.

Note: Still figuring out how to get a description for the book on Amazon.

And the winner is…

Dawn Embers! Woo- big round of applause. Wait, you can’t hear it on this post? Imagine!

Speaking of imagination, do you ever wonder how far you can suspend a reader’s believability? It’s not a consistent question. I have friends who don’t read science fiction or fantasy at all because their believability can only stretch so far. Some read a few parts of it, but there are tales where the reader simply puts the story down because it’s too far out there.

But how far is too far? If it’s an individual line to draw, how do you know if you’ve hit it or crossed it? I wonder if other universes have pervaded people’s expectations, especially when one of my fellow writers told me he couldn’t get into my story because Star Trek said only 1 out of 30,000 planets was inhabitable.

Really… Star Trek? I don’t think they’re talking about life the way I was. They’re very focused on M class planets (read: places where humanoids can breathe). If you take out those requirements… well, Mars might look awesome for habitation! The other element not factored in there is time. If you’re looking for traces of life, who is to say that it’s still there or the planet is still habitable at this moment?

And how is it on Star Trek that all of the species breathe the same kind of air? Isn’t that just spooky? They all like the approximate same ambient temperatures. They all have languages translated with the Universal Translator, even ones they just met. Don’t even get me started on warp drive, either.

Who’s believable now?

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