I’ve been doing a lot of reading about publicity, marketing, outreach, and such recently so I thought I’d do a publicity roundup. These are a few of the more interesting links, resources, and even an ad I ran across.
Infographic from Book Baby. Because infographics are pretty.
I am doing most of the things on the list…ok like halfish…I am working on developing a couple contests, likely for audiobooks, coming up soon. Stay tuned!
Spending an hour a day in social media seems like a lot to me. Though if it was one of the less productive hours of the day it wouldn’t be so bad. And if writing was my full time job it would be different. For me it seems like the best thing I could do with an hour would be write. I don’t always get to do it. Sometimes it is a blog post, sometimes a flash piece, sometimes novel work. But I feel like if I’m going to commit another hour a day to something it should be writing. Though every hour can’t be productive. I can’t expect to spend 4 hours a night after 9 hours of work being productive at writing, that’s not how you brain, or at least not how I brain.
A great ad
Tree Lobsters has a fantastic ad for a new short story collection. (I didn’t know the Tree Lobster guy did short stories, but a read and love the comic so I’m going to guess the stories will be as fun.
I don’t know that I’ve learned how to make a great ad, but I think this is one. Funny, visual, but some thing else I can’t place.
I’ve been reading a lot about blog tours lately. I actually feel like I know less now than I did when I started reading. I’m not sure how that is possible, but that’s what I’m feeling.
You can pay someone to help you set up a blog tour, and there are a lot of these companies out there. I found lists of companies and inevitably about half of the sites no longer existed so I think it is a high turn over business. Mostly they collect bloggers and connect authors with bloggers.
There also seems to be a site that does it free, though no guarantee of success, you as the author have to do the outreach on your own.
There also seems to be the idea of just find the sites you like and ask. That seems terrifying. On some sites the authors do regular things that are guest posts you can request to participate in. For most sites though…scary.
So why audio? Why do I make it? Why produce things as audiobooks? I like to write, so why do audio?
I recognize not a lot of authors create audio, and even fewer authors create their own audio. (Which is 100% ok!) I was asked why I did it, especially when I talked a little about how much work it is.
I’ve actually got a good bit of experience in doing audio. Not entirely like audiobooks or podcasts but similar.
I worked in radio for a while. I produced news segments. (I actually have the skill of splicing tape, and I’m not that old, but I’ve chopped audio up into tiny bits and put it together.) I also hosted several shows and spent a good chunk of time on air.
I also have experience with doing shorter, more highly produced audio for elearnings. I do quite a bit of professional audio work that way now.
Audio is something that I like to consume. I listen to a lot of audiobooks. (I was a member of audible a forever ago, back before it was an amazon company.) I’ve been listening to podcasts for a really long time. I’m sure I listen to more books than I read. I don’t know that the majority of my information consumption comes from podcasts and audiobooks, but it is a significant portion.
I also know that audio is valuable to a lot of people for a range of reasons.
Some people have commutes that are hours and hours long, being able to escape into a novel is a great way to pass a commute. I’ve known people who have jobs that are primarily driving, same thing. So just having a lot of time commuting and being able to spend that with consumable information is wonderful.
For people who have trouble reading, audio is incredibly valuable. Being able to listen to a story and enjoy reading and other worlds, as well as consume information in a quick way is a great boon of living in the future now. (And yes, there are tools like text to speech, but they don’t have the same kinds of human qualities that a person would **yet**.)
I like bringing worlds to life. I know that some people really enjoy and focus on cover art and other art for books, but for me the moment it is brought to life is when I hear it. It creates a richer world. Both for me creating it, and when I consume it.
Audiobooks are better. I said it. Ok maybe not all audiobooks are better than all written only books. But in general I think that doing a read aloud of a book makes it better. Even if you aren’t going to publish the audio version reading it will help you catch things you wouldn’t otherwise. I know when I’ve read something of mine or someone else’s when I read it out loud I always catch something new. I think that it really does help to improve the book to have a pass of reading it.
So why audio?
Because I like it. Because I want to share my work with people who need the accessibility or the flexibility of being able to listen to audio. Because it helps me improve the quality of my work.
(As a bonus, I will often do multiple audio reads because one of the people I turn to for beta reading sometimes prefers audio. These pieces I feel like really improve greatly.)
My thoughts are a bit mess this week so it is leading to a bit of a messy roundup.
Have you read blahblahblah
I told you messy. I both love and despise all of the lists about what you should read and what you have to read and what you are a horrible person if you don’t read and what you aren’t a real writer if you don’t read and whatever. They always say more about the people compiling them than anything else.
I love that they can introduce you to new books. I love that they give you a chance to see if you are being broad in your scope. I hate the often prescriptive nature of the lists. It feels like it is always the same books over and over and over. And the over and over nature of it feels a little like if you don’t like this thing you’re not a real fan. There is also a bit of the whole idea of a true fan that I will explore at some other point in time, but for now. Bullshit. The bullshittiest of bullshit.
Illusion of Free Will I feel a little surprised that this is a new idea apparently? Is this really a new idea? I assume there is something fundamentally different about this than other stuff I’ve read.
There is an idea in some communities (I am really sure there is a Mysterious Universe episode that talks about this but I’m having a hard time finding it so I may be wrong?) that the gap in time is basically where …consciousness lives. Or where the soul lives.
My goal was to rewrite a novel. I knew it was going to need a lot of changes. But I was hoping I could focus and get the editing of it done. So that I could move forward with that series. I thought this might be a big goal, but I thought it was doable.
But poorly considered…
I just started a podcast. It has only been going for a few months, and I’m determined to keep it going and it is a lot of work to make it happen. Promoting it, getting the word out, bringing in listeners and authors, supporting the authors with critique feedback, not to mention actually writing, editing, recording and producing.
Somehow I didn’t really managed to take that into account. I’m trying to balance a lot of things and I think that I’m trying to figure out what a good balance is. I’m learning.
Post Camp Nano debrief
I failed. Super duper failed. Super duper fantastical extraordinary failed. I at one point had a little done and I’ve actually gone backward. I have less done now than when I started the month. I had a couple of chapters edited. Now I have to throw the whole book out basically.
All is not lost
But on the upside (yes there is an upside here) I learned stuff. I learned a lot of stuff. Like I was creating a plan that might be overly ambitious, or aggressive, or three minutes of laughter…”you’re kidding right? oh ….shit.”
I learned that the structure I need to create for myself. I learned what I think for now a better plan would look like. I learned that I need to make sure I don’t go, I’m only going to edit. Editing is hard and in a lot of ways feels less creative and less like I’m doing a thing. So I need to weave in doing some writing and not only editing.
So I went backward. Mostly. But I think I actually came up with a really good plan on how to make it actually work. I have good ideas on resolving the problems.
They are big changes, removing an entire character and spreading her actions between two other characters. Adding several more scenes. Changing one scene completely radically, it was actually one of my very big stumbling blocks, I couldn’t see a way past it. Now I have a great solution.
I made a lot of really good notes so I can come back and pick this up later. It might have to sit for a while longer before I come back around to editing it. And that’s ok. I should be able to pick it back up with the good notes.
I had great cabin mates this year! Some have already written and published, some are just starting out. But they all had great things to share. Many thoughtful conversations. Most of the cabin was working on paranormal romanceish works. Some historical (which was great to hear perspective on), some modern, some editing, some writing fresh. It was very cool to have a great cabin. So thank you to all my cabin mates!
Bonus recording learning…
I may be better off scheduling recording longer things in the winter. Doing full books and doing narration for other books, might be better left as a winter project in general.
Chuck Wendig had a challenge and while his challenge wasn’t, stop editing and write something new, mine was. The challenge was pick from a list of titles (The Girl Who Surfed Tsunamis) and then go forth and write 1,000 words.
I’ve been editing and working on writing related stuff so much I haven’t done anything just straight up out of whole cloth lately. So I took this challenge with gusto!
I’m posting here before I get all out of gusto and start feeling crummy about my work. Listen to the audio. (And for more audio tune into the podcast!)
The Girl Who Surfed Tsunamis
I don’t remember when I started, mom said I always loved to go out when we were absolutely not supposed to be outside. I’d sneak past everyone and head down to the water.
My older sisters were supposed to watch me and they’d get in trouble because I’d still sneak out. I didn’t care. I still don’t. I want to be in the water. I know when the water is angry, I can feel it coming.
I never get hurt, and I bring home cool stuff I find in the water. Once, I found a really shiny ring, it was hanging from a tree branch. Mom and dad sold it, they don’t complain about me going out anymore.
The best thing I found, was a surfboard. I didn’t take that home. Mom and dad would sell it. I’d seen people surfing, but they always got out of the water when it was getting angry. They were scared.
I wasn’t scared.
The surfboard was twice as tall as me and it was hard to get it out my hiding spot.
I giggled as I walked down toward the shore with the surfboard on my head, it was too big to carry under my arms. Mom said I shouldn’t laugh when the water got angry. But it was funny just like when grandfather got mad and his face got puffy and red.
I knew the water was bad for some people and for the fields. But mom got to be mad, and dad, and even my brothers and sisters could be angry sometimes. Because I was the littlest everyone just laughed when I got mad.
Most of the people were gone by the time I got all the way to the water. I tried to remember what I’d seen people do on the surfing movies. I laid down on the board in the water and slapped at the water. My arms barely stretched across the board and I couldn’t get them to go very well.
So I got off and pushed it in front of me and swam out as far as I could, kicking my legs behind me.
When I was out far enough that I couldn’t see my house up the hill anymore I pulled myself onto the board. I tried to stand up and fell. I had to try four more times before I managed to stand up and stay up. I looked around. There was no one else on the water. There was no one I could see on the shore.
The water was very angry. I giggled.
I wasn’t sure how to get further out into the water without laying down again, I managed to stand on the middle of the surfboard and kick one foot in the water but I didn’t go anywhere. I decided I’d just stand and wait for the big wave to come to me.
It would be here soon. I did a tiny little shuffle on the board and fell in again. By the time I managed to climb back up on the board and turned to face out, I could see the wave coming toward me.
I could hear the water, it was screaming mad. I screamed with it. It was good to scream sometimes when you were mad. Mom said I had to behave and be a good little girl, but it felt so good to scream. And no one was here to yell at me. I knew the water wouldn’t mind. So I screamed with the water.
It was so much louder than I was, I couldn’t even hear myself. The water under me started to bob up and down.
My feet slipped again and I dropped to my knees. The water was much higher. I thought it would be better maybe to lay down on the board. I slipped as the water moved faster around me and knocked my chin on the board, but I managed to wrap my hands around the sides and my toes hooked under the end just as the first wave pushed me way up into the air.
I screamed and squealed. I felt like the wave was as tall as my house.
The wave kept going but I stayed where I was, I couldn’t see my house or the shore at all. Then another bigger wave lifted me up. I squealed with excitement, I was definitely as tall as my house now.
I stayed on top of this wave. I held onto the board but pushed myself up a little bit more so I was kneeling on top of the giant wave. Shore was racing toward us. The water felt so angry I screamed for it.
The wave got smaller, maybe the water was angry that it got so tiny when it was on land.
I watched the wave eat some of the trees and the little hut that sold candy for kids and drinks for grown ups along the shore. I wondered how far it would climb. I looked behind me and there were no bigger waves.
The water wasn’t so angry any more. It was almost all screamed out. I was too. I wasn’t sure how to get off the wave. I tried to think about the surfing movies.
The water smashed me into a tree. And then it went away. I clung to the top of the tree, and tried to hold onto my board. I had to let the board fall, the water took it away.
I watched the next waves come in, less and less water, less and less angry. All yelled out. Then the water started to leave, go back home.
I climbed down the tree and looked around for the surfboard before everyone else came back out of their houses. It was gone. But I did find a new pair of shoes and a surfboard that was barely taller than me.
Entirely off topic
Searching for a picture to go with this that would be usable with the right license I managed to come up with lots of dudes surfing (even though I specifically searched for girl) and strangest of all…a how to avoid teen pregnancy ad. Not even like water, surfing, or anything related. Just some dude standing there with how to avoid teen pregnancy.
M L Moos writes YA fantasy and is currently working on a magical trilogy featuring three young heroines and an undersea treasure hunt adventure. To learn more, visit her Facebook page.
She lives in Washington with her husband, two boys and one country cat with a cougar alter ego. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s either baking, volunteering at her church or watching Jane Austen movies to make up for the overabundance of testosterone. On the rare occasion she makes it out into public, though, she’s always sure to be glamorous in her mom hair and yoga pants.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the post from Jocelyn over at 52 Letters the last few days. (I know I mentioned it in the roundup post but it has been eating at my brain.)
What makes strong characters?
the current trend of badass, take-no-shit, cool as a cucumber under pressure, stoic protagonists who face fifty million kinds of stress without any outward sign of freaking out
She’s specifically talking about YA but I think that trend is absolutely wider. Calm, cool, an answer and a quip for every situation. When they do have a Moment it is a Thing and not a part of who they are.
Think Buffy right. (I know, a little old but still entirely fits this character.) The times where she breaks down are really meaningful because she’s always got a quip and does the slaying in an entirely casual way.
A part of this is that after you have been dealing with horrible shit for a long ass time you likely get better at it. So I get that by season 4 or 5 or even the third book a character can be like, yeah…been there, done that.
But even the coolest, most badass, take-no-shittiest among us would likely freak the heck out if thrown into these worlds.
There is also an element of why can’t anyone be a hero?
Like Jocelyn I’m introverted. Personally I’m all the way to the introvert side of the scale. I’m over here on my side of the scale trying to break down the edge to get away from the other people.
I do like characters who spend time inside their own head. I like characters who think things through before they do them. And I like watching characters overcome things to go out and fight and win.
Strong characters don’t all have to flex their muscles.
My strong characters
Both Eva and Jenna are somewhat introverted. Much closer to the middle of the scale, but for both their happy places are when they are working on their projects alone. Neither of them are charging out to get into the middle of trouble.
One will go out to fight for the people she loves. One kind of gets dragged kicking and grumbling into fighting.
Diane is very extroverted, but she’s actually a character who is quick to cry, highly emotional, and deeply empathetic.
I do think that just thinking about this will absolutely change the way that I design my characters. Creating more depth and a wider range of characters is always valuable. I know I have secondary characters who are like this. But it is worth considering if there are elements of this that should be brought into other characters.
Any strong characters who are not cool under pressure?
Cress. She’s the first one who jumps to my mind. She grows, but she starts out tiny, taking up as little space as she can. She doesn’t like to speak up. But she is strong. She is powerful.
I’m not sure I’ve got any other good examples coming to my head.