Scribbles and thoughts ...

These are ramblings from J L Wilson, published author of romantic suspense, mystery, and paranormal -time travel fiction....

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What is a blog used for?

I got a couple of good books for Christmas about blogging and how to use them for marketing. That got me to thinking ...

Who reads this blog?

You see, I get requests from people to be 'interviewed' on my blog, and I've been reluctant to put any of that on this blog. I view this one as my connection to you, my family and friends (and readers, who I guess are also friends, right?) This is a marketing tool, but mainly I'm viewing this one as a communication tool, to let me communicate to you who are far-flung and around the globe (you foreigners know who you are, heh heh).

So I've been using some blogs in other spots (LiveSpace, MySpace, etc.) for those 'marketing' blogs and that's worked out fine. But I've been finding it interesting that I feel this 'privacy' way about this blog. So at least for now, this is a marketing free zone and the only promo done here will be for my books.

{whew} I can hear the relief all the way to Minnesota.

And just FYI, I won't be posting on Saturday. I'm off to a conference in Chicago (I know, Chicago in February: what a treat, right?) It'll be so cold we'll all stay inside and focus on the conference (and the bar, I suspect). I'll report back in next week on how it goes.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The first inkling of a Pig Promotion

yes, it's true. The Pig Book might finally see the light of day.

This reminds me of the story I just saw on the BBC web site, that "The Three Little Pigs" was changed to "Three Little Builders" in order not to offend any Muslim readers (don't get me started). But the "Three Little Builders" might offend those in the building trades, casting a slur on their profession, etc.

Yes. Don't get me started.

Back to MY Pig Book. This is the Orphan Book, which was contracted by the Now Bankrupt publisher and which languished for a year and a half, looking for a new home.

Well, on February 29, it will FINALLY be shown to the world. I think this is one of my best books (although I have to admit, my heroine in Murder at the State Fair is really my most unique one). But this book has a special place in my heart because it only took me about 3 weeks to write and my readers (critique partners, etc.) have all fallen in love with it. Heck, I've sold it twice, it must be good.

So stay tuned for Candy, Corpses and Classified Ads. It's coming .... I hear the sound of those pig hoofbeats in the distance ... (not that's a weird image, eh?)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's a balancing act ....

... and sometimes I feel like I'm on tightrobe, trying to stay upright.

There are just times when it feels as though a bunch of stuff is ganging up on me all at once. This is one of those times. I'm trying to help some writers organize a contest, I want to prep a book for submission, I'd like to review 4 other books I wrote and get those prepped, and of course there's about 3 books I'd like to write. This doesn't take into account things I HAVE to do: get my cover art request in, work on edits for a book coming out this fall, get ready for a conference coming up.

Then there's work ... real work, the one that pays the bills. And the newsletter for my local writing chapter. And my newsletter.

I usually have a very fine sense of priorities and juggle things that way, but it seems like everything is important right now. Deciding what to postpone is tough.

I'm sure it will sort itself out. But right now I feel like one of those jugglers on the old Ed Sullivan show on TV, where I race from plate to plate, trying to keep it all in the air.

If you hear a crashing noise, you'll know I dropped something.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The oddness that is MySpace

I've got a page on MySpace (nothing really fancy, but there), and I'm finding the whole "friends" thing very interesting. I'm getting requests for 'friending' from people who saw my profile on someone else's page, etc.

I think this HAS to be good for networking. I have a counter that tells me my profile has been viewed about 600 times in a month, which is sort of cool, and I've got about 300 friends (also sort of interesting). Of course, those who've been on here for a while have 1000s, but that defeats the purpose, doesn't it? I mean, how can you be friends with a 1000 people?

As I continue my publishing journey, I'm finding all of these venues that I knew existed, but had no idea how they work. Maybe that's why I enjoy this publishing stuff so much .... every time I turn around, there's a new thing to learn around the corner. I wonder if it will ever get old?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Viagra chronicles are done!

yea! Finished another book today.

This one was very interesting. I tried to pay attention to the process as I was writing the book. That is, I tried to get a sense for what obstacles I felt while I was writing, what ideas I considered and discarded, etc. In short, I did a sort of 'metadata' about the book as I wrote the book.

I started on Nov. 26 and ended on January 15. I write a very clean first draft, and I don't anticipate major rewrites. Figure I'll need maybe another few days, so let's say 2 months total.

What was fascinating to me was that I was not at all into these characters until well mid-way through the process. It was like pulling teeth to get me to work on it. I just didn't have them in my head. But once they got in my head, I couldn't stop writing.

I think every book I work on is like that: I approach it reluctantly, unwilling to allow it into my life. Writing is very time-consuming and mentally-consuming, too. It's work. Sometimes it's fun and occasionally I laugh (or cry) while writing. This one had both of those in it -- I mean, some of those Viagra ads! Man, they're weird. But I used them as clues (or, rather, they disguised clues) so I had to some 'research' and troll around and collect the subject lines.


But this one also had a problematic ending ... not quite Happily Ever After. I think I had to end it that way in order to stay true to the story. I'll be curious to see what my editor thinks.

SO now I can relax a bit before plotting the next book. I'd like to dig in and edit a few others first, then begin crafting the next one. After all, there's always a next one ...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

There's a story all around you

I've been writing on a new book and wanted to put in some cute, clever thread that runs throughout the book but is also a clue to the murder.

Hmm. What to use? I already have a cat (Houdini, modeled my current male despot at home). And I have horticultural references throughout (since the murder does take place in a greenhouse).

What to use ... what to use ... what ...

I was going through my SPAM email one day and was struck by all the Viagra emails -- some of the subject lines are really funny. Wouldn't it be great to incorporate them ...

Eureka! Yep. I'm now working on "The Viagra book", and that topic has generated a lot of interest on my MySpace page (a person can set their profile to whatever text they choose, and I often have 'I'm working on the Viagra book').

I think it just goes to show, whenever I think I can't come up with a new story, there's one waiting for me in my inbox!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Puzzling out the promo

Some writing friends and I are ganging up to work on promo together. This year I'm really going to look at what I'm doing and try to refine it.

What works? What doesn't?

I think it's all cumulative. I don't have big bookstore distribution, and my main medium is e-books. This involves a really steep learning curve for most of my target audience. I'm hoping I'll grab that little niche market of people like ME: older but technologically savvy who are willing to try new things.

I'm trying to push the "ebooks are green" angle, too. Publishing is a wasteful business -- books are printed that aren't used, they're trashed when they're returned, and $$$ and resources go down the drain. Ebooks are a very lean, very cost-effective method of publishing, so we're aiming for that angle, too.

Stay tuned. I will continue to blog about this in the upcoming months and will let you know what works ... if I can figure it out.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A perception of time

I started my current WIP ("The Viagra book") on December 1. It felt like I was dragging my heels on this book. I'd sit down to write, not feel inspired, go back and edit, write some more, yada yada yada...

I've got 12 chapters done and about 6 maybe 7 to go. I'll be done by Feb. 1 at the lastest. The last chapters are all in my head and I just have to put them on the page.

It's weird. It feels like I've been working on this book FOREVER, but it'll be ready for my critique partner in about 4 weeks. This is how the Pig Book went ("Candy, Corpses, and Classified Ads", releasing on Feb. 29). I wrote that book in a blur, words just flying off my fingers. "Autographs, Abductions, and A-List Authors" was the same way (that book releases later this year).

I think all my first-person books are 8 week books. My third-person books are 12-week books. And my paranormals are 16-week books (but those are time travel books and require a LOT of research).

I've written enough of them now to see this as a pattern. I need to start shifting things around, interspersing a 16-weeker with an 8-weeker, etc.

I may get this writing thing figured out eventually...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A phrase for the new year

A friend of mine mentioned that he has a key phrase that he keeps as his 'mantra' each year. That helps him keep focused on his goals and aspirations for the year.

I kind of like this idea, so I've adopted it as my own. My mantra for this year is "don't worry about the other guy."

This means: don't worry about somebody else's salary, don't worry about their hours or their workload. Don't worry if somebody else gets an agent or a better publishing contract.

I can only affect ME -- I can't affect all those 'other guys'. So why worry about them? Focus on what I need to do to make ME happy, make ME successful (however I define that). The other guy? Who cares? He's running his own race. I'm running MY race.

We'll see if I can stick to it. I'm printing it out and putting it on my monitor.

"Don't worry about the other guy"