The internet is a time suck

September 10th 2014

Lately, social networking and all things internet have been destroying my productivity. Let me rephrase — I am letting social networking and all things internet destroy my productivity. Ever since I had my baby in May, I have been constantly scrolling through Facebook reading news. And seeing what’s trending on Twitter. And checking my author email a thousands times a day hoping for blogger review requests to come through. What I haven’t been doing is writing much. I’ve made a bad habit of not writing. During the day when I can’t focus, I think, I’ll write tonight. But then 8pm rolls around and I’m tired as all hell. My brain feels like one of my boys stuck his hand inside and smooshed it between his fingers.

Having young kids has been my excuse for not writing consistently for the last five years. I managed to write one book but it took a long time to do so. I’m halfway through drafting another and I don’t want it to take another bazillion years to finish. There are a ton of author moms who write, work full time and raise their kids. I can do it too.

So, if this isn’t irony, I’ve been searching writing forums on clever ways for distraction-free writing and I think I’m going to bid on an AlphaSmart Neo on ebay. It’s a friggin word processor with no internet connection. I just write and that’s it. It turns on with a button and I just write. And it’s portable. I can take it to the park. Theoretically.

Anyone have one of these things? The kids at NaNoWriMo swear by them.

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Wattpad

August 31st 2014

Last night I signed up for Wattpad, a large social network for writers to share their work and read. At first, I was hesitant. Did I really want to sign up for another social networking site? I have 3 kids that I feel like I ignore regularly in favor of Facebook and Twitter. (I jest…kinda) But a friend suggested I sign up in order to network directly with teen readers. I could upload an excerpt of GG&G and I could share a short story I wrote years ago that has yet to find a home. Better on Wattpad to be read than sitting on my computer languishing. So far, I’m like Wattpad…a lot. In addition to the prologue to GG&G and my YA short, I uploaded two pieces of flash fiction that I loved but had no place, other than here, to share.

So I now have a Wattpad account. Please follow me so I’m not all by my lonesome.

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It’s a Mad, Mad World

August 26th 2014

I’m super excited because GG&G is in Mad Magazine! My book is part of the long-standing Mad Letters giveaway. I’ve loved Mad Magazine since I was a kid. Whenever I got sick, my mom would stop by the local convenience store and pick me up Pine Bros. lozenges and Mad Magazine. They always made me feel better. And this, this right here, makes me feel awesome!

Looky here!!

Mad

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Win 8 YA books!

August 15th 2014

It’s been so cold in Northeastern PA, it feels like September is here already. How about easing into the new school year with EIGHT awesome YA novels? One winner gets them all. Click HERE to enter.

Win all 8

Win all 8

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So…marketing

August 8th 2014

Grunge Gods has been out for two months and the sales and attention, along with momentum, has dropped off considerably. I’m pretty sure every family member and friend and friend of a friend has bought the book by now, so I find myself suddenly running out of people I know to keep that Amazon sales rank afloat. And while I am crazy grateful that so many of my friends and family have bought the book, it’s time for strangers to read it. And for that to happen, I need to market.

Ugh. Marketing. I mean, I wrote a book. It’s a good book. Why can’t people just read it without me having to do anything? Especially since I don’t like to be pushy. Funny thing is when I was a librarian, I was a book pusher. If you were a teenager in my neck of the stacks, I stalked you until you left with a handful of new reads. Libraries live and die by their circ stats. Just sayin’. But it’s different when it’s my book. I don’t know if it’s my Jewish guilt or what, but it sounds braggy to tell people that I wrote a book. It’s a big accomplishment, but for some reason, I hear my grandma’s voice saying, “No one likes a show off.”

Truth is all authors must market themselves whether they like it or not. Once upon a time, publishers did the marketing for their authors. Now, publishers will only go so far to help them. My publisher does a lot, maybe even more so than some Big 5 pubs. I get a blog tour. Down the line, I might even get a Book Bub ad. But making sure my book gets into the hands of readers comes down on my shoulders.

I try to do everything right. I send out personalized review requests to bloggers. I don’t spam. I aim to be interesting on Twitter. But I’m 35 with three young kids. My days are about potty-training and tantrums and spit-up. No one, not even me, finds that interesting. Unless you enjoy irate tweets to my local politicians, you may not find me all that interesting on Twitter.

I’m grateful for the advice of my dear publishing sister, Katie. The girl has been pushing her book for two years and getting her cover and her brand in front of as many people as possible. And it has paid off for her. She is a New York Times Bestseller! Her nugget of wisdom (that I think she stole from our other publishing sis, Mary): it’s about brand awareness. Not sales. You need to get your book cover in front of a person 8-10 times before they buy it. That’s a lot of hustling for that one sale. But that’s what you do. You hustle. So far my marketing plan has consisted of a Goodreads giveaway, which got my book added to 600 shelves; a meager $50 Facebook ad; and getting some local press. I can only hustle so much with three kids.

My latest marketing strategy is a collective giveaway with other YA authors. In fact, this networking has been my favorite part of marketing my book. I really love connecting with other YA authors. It’s like being in an exclusive club, but with nice people. Nothing like high school. We’re all in this together. Since leaving my librarian position to raise my kids, I haven’t worked outside of my house and it gets lonely. There’s no professional camaraderie during a playdate. But collaborating with other authors on this giveaway has been so much fun. It validates me as an author and makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger than my book. Let me tell you, I can’t wait until I can attend writers conferences and conventions. I just have to wait for my baby girl to be a little bit older. But then I am so there. Wherever there is. While I don’t love marketing, I do love that I have written something in which to market. I’m trying to sell something I made (kinda like Etsy) — something I am passionate about — something that is truly good. Hopefully readers will agree and buy my book. Until then…here’s a virtual bookmark. Now, tell your friends!

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