How Do You Deal With Pushy People Online?

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It’s Monday! Woo-hoo! And guess who still hasn’t been getting any sleep???? Well, at least I managed to make some progress on outlining one of several WIPs this morning—after lying on the couch for an hour trying to will myself back to sleep (and looking at strange music videos with the volume muted). Ah. The perks of waking up at 3 a.m. You should try it, folks:)

So what’s on my mind today? Well, in celebration of No Sleep Mondays (#NSM), I’d like to talk about pushy people online (because when you’re sleep deprived like yours truly, you’re eleven out of ten times more likely to tell a “pushy” person where to stick it).

Here’s the scenario:

I get quite a few book review requests. As I have stated numerous times on this blog, I am not an official book reviewer, per se. I repeat: Quanie is not an official book reviewer.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the proof:

Book Reviewer (from Quanie’s dictionary): noun. Someone who loves to read books, oftentimes with a critical eye. Often solicits authors to submit books for consideration because they have time to read books critically, post a review, and repeat the process as many times as necessary.

Quanie: noun (although can sometimes double as an adjective). Hasn’t been able to read anything since the arrival of Le Munchkin a year and a half ago. Tries to read books, especially by authors she meets online, but has come to the conclusion that she may not get to read another book all the way through until Le Munchkin is in kindergarten. But she’s not a quitter and will continue to try!

So anyway, I get a lot of book review requests, but one request in particular really took the cake. The exchange went something like this:

*Names have been changed to protect the pushy person’s identity*

Cleophis Wonderbutt: Hey, Quanie! Really love your blog! I was wondering: I have a book I’d like you to review. It’s about 150,000 words, mystery, suspense, women’s fiction with a tad bit of paranormal. Oh; and it’s a comedy, too!  I have attached the novel as a word document, but I’d be happy to send you a PDF file if you prefer. I’ve also attached a non disclosure agreement, as I am very weary about this copyright thing.

My apologies in advance for the typos in the manuscript, lol!

All Best,

Cleophis.

Quanie: Cleophis, congratulations on finishing your novel! I know how excited you must be, but I actually don’t review books. Have you tried some of the groups on Goodreads or Googling reviewers in your genre(s) and querying them directly?

Best of luck to you!

Quanie

Cleophis: Quanie, thank you for your response, dear! I understand that you are not reviewing books, but you will not regret this! Can you please please please review my book and post your review on Amazon and Goodreads within the week? I’m on a deadline. Thx. Oh; and I really loved The New Mrs. Collins! Can you please send a copy to my mother?

*Bangs head against keyboard*

You guys, I embellished a bit here, but the exchange above is not too far off from the actual correspondence between me and this author. No wonder I can’t get any sleep! As someone who sends out quite a few book review requests myself, I understand wanting exposure just as much as the next author, but what happened to the days when we took no for an answer, said to ourselves, “When one door closes a window opens somewhere else,” and kept it moving? When does persistence evolve into something else? Like annoyance? Or a nice, ice cold 24 ounce can of whup ass????

Of course, this author isn’t the only pushy person I’ve come across online (I’m looking at you, spammer who keeps sending me an invoice for web services despite the fact that I never hired you), but they had a certain je ne sais quois that really fried my grits. The nerve!

Okay, guys, sorry about the rant! What about others? Even if you haven’t had to deal with overly persistent authors who can’t take no for an answer, what types of pushy people have you dealt with, online or in person? Used car salesmen? Mattress salesmen?

Let’s talk about it!


Why You Shouldn’t Stress About Your Book Sales

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Hello, Everybody! I hope that everyone had a wonderful, relaxing weekend (and that you remembered to set your clocks forward!). I got almost zero sleep last night, but hey; #teamnosleep.

Anyhoo, today I’d like to talk about something that has been on my mind for quite some time. Every now and then, when I’m strolling along these online streets, I’ll run across a heartbreaking post by an author who is upset/confused/derailed by the fact that they’ve had zero or “low” book sales. The case may be that the author has either hired a marketing company to promote their book  and nothing has happened or has tried promoting the book online themselves to no avail. Oftentimes, I’ll look at the author’s profile and see what the “problem” might be:

  1. They don’t have a good book cover.
  2. The blurb might be too vague and/or doesn’t match the feeling evoked by the cover.
  3. They haven’t been able to connect with their target audience (or worse, there’s a very limited market for what they’re writing. Yikes!).

But fourth, and this is often the case, they only have one book! One book!  Most of the time I want to reach out to them with an author-to-author pep talk, letting them know that everything will be fine, but folks are crazy these days and you never know how they’ll respond, so I typically will just do spirit fingers in front of my computer.

Some of you might think I’m crazy (and you’d be right to some extent), but I am a firm believer in the idea that an author shouldn’t stress about his/her book sales.

Chill out people

Why not? 

Well, I’m glad you asked!

Building your platform takes time, and as I’m sure you all know, it can take years for someone to become an overnight success. I’ve spoken ad nauseam here about the Bella Andre/Christina C. Jones approach to building your writing career (write many quality books, and the peoples shall come). Sometimes, all you need to sell a book is…more books! But I know how heartbreaking it can be to put your heart and soul into a project, publish it, and then sit there feeling like nobody cares. It hurts!

Here are a couple of scenarios I’ve seen:

You hire Company A to do your book promotion. You have a blog tour where you might have some cover reveals and do some guest posts and by the end of the week, you expect at least one sale, but when you check your sales report, you’re shocked to discover that:

  1. No one, not even your grandmother (who you gave a Smashwords coupon to), has purchased your book.
  2. Your sales ranking is in the negative twenties.
  3. When you go to Amazon, the “people who also searched for” function is totally wrong! Your book is about ninja cats taking over Manhattan but somehow, your book got grouped with werewolf erotica. The horror!

Or, you opt out of hiring Company A and instead decide to do your marketing yourself. You organize your own blog tour, Tweet until the Twitterverse feels like your own personal heaven, and promote your book like crazy on Facebook. Still, no book sales!

What if I told you that none  of these scenarios are the kiss of death? What if, instead of book sales, with each blog tour or guest post, you’re gaining increased visibility? All this means is brand recognition. For example, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen those doggone Mucinex commercials without really paying attention to what the product was or what they were selling. But after I caught a cold and went to CVS, guess what I found myself looking for? Mucinex! My point is this: putting yourself out there might not lead to sales right away, but as long as you keep writing quality books (and keep your name out there through blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc), that increased visibility can eventually lead to a reader saying, “Hey! I’ve heard this name before. And this book looks like something I might like. I think I shall give this author a try.” And booya; a match made in author/reader heaven. Doesn’t that just give you all the smileys???

Now, I know this might not be comforting to some of our author pals who want best seller status right away. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a living as an author! But it might take Author A a tad bit longer than Author B to build their audience, and comparing our journey to success to someone else’s  will just lead to heartache, heartburn, and possible hair loss, and I don’t know about ya’ll but I needs my edges (#saveouredges). So instead of always quantifying your book marketing efforts in terms of book sales, how about considering it a success when more people have been exposed to you and your work–something that can potentially help the sales of subsequent releases???

What about others? Am I being too romantic here? Is increased visibility just as valuable as book sales? How do you quantify your marketing efforts? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Overcoming That Murky Middle – Guest Post by Stephanie Faris

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Happy Monday, All! Today author and blogger Stephanie Faris is taking over here at Quanie Talks Writing and talking about something that we writers sometimes dread: that murky middle! Stephanie is sharing some awesome tips in case you find yourself in the murky middle without a paddle (or boat!). She’s also sharing the cover for the latest book in her Piper Morgan series, Piper Morgan To The Rescue. Isn’t that cover just too darn cute??? Feel free to add the book to your Goodreads shelf and connect with Stephanie online (links below).

Enjoy!

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“The Murky Middle.” Strange name for it, isn’t it? I remember first hearing the term back in the 90s, as part of a Romance Writers of America workshop. I was so excited to finally hear someone else say what I’d been thinking since the day I wrote my first novel: the middle is the hardest part.

Some of you may disagree. For you, the hardest part is the beginning, when you’re staring at a blank page with a blinking cursor that seems to be taunting you. Some find the ending the most difficult, when it’s time to tie up every loose end and bring everything to a satisfying conclusion. For me, though, I don’t truly begin to think about abandoning my novel until at least Chapter Six. If I can push through that and get to the big dark moment three-fourths of the way through, I’m usually home free.

If you’ve found yourself getting stuck midway through your novel, it could be because you fly by the seat of your pants like me. I’ve spoken to plotters who never quite experience the murky middle. Even if they do, they have a handy-dandy carefully-plotted outline to consult. For non-plotters like me, the midway point is tough because we have to make serious decisions while we’re writing.

Even though I’m not a planner, I’ve found it helps to stop and write a synopsis midway through. I give myself permission to change the direction of the story if necessary, but at least I get my overall plot on paper. This can often help me past that point of the book where I’m ready to abandon the entire project and start on something new. If a synopsis seems too formal, grab a piece of paper and draw the character arc. Where is your main character at the beginning of the book? What does she need to go through to be where she is at the end of the book?

Writing a book is a huge accomplishment. Sometimes we take that for granted. But if you’re like me, midway through you realize exactly how difficult it is. Hopefully these tips will help the next time you get stuck!

 

Piper Morgan to the Rescue JPEG

 

Blurb:
Piper helps some four-legged friends find the perfect home in the third book of the brand-new Piper Morgan series.

Piper is super excited to help out at Bark Street, a local animal shelter in town. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by adorable puppies and dogs all day? And when Piper sees Taffy, the cutest dog she has ever seen, Piper is determined to find a way to bring Taffy home. But it won’t be easy—especially when she finds out someone else wants to make Taffy a part of their family, too!

Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, as well as the upcoming Piper Morgan series. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive.

 

Links:
Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

 


How to Deal with What to Write Next-itis

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Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Hello, All! Today is the first Wednesday of the month so you know what that means: another installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Writers from all over unite to unfurl our fears and insecurities uponst the world. You should join us!

The IWSG cohosts for this month are Lauren Hennessy, Lisa Buie-Collard, Lidy Wilks, Christine Rains, and Mary Aalgaard!

And if you missed it yesterday,  IWSG cohost and poet Lidy Wilks kicked off her blog tour right here on Quanie Talks Writing. I hope you’ll check out her post on how she’s been building her platform as a poet and enter the giveaway for her poetry chapbook, Can You Catch My Flow?

So. Here I am on this lovely 2nd of March, pulling my hair out over what novel to write next. Last week I wrote about the horror novel in progress that probably needs a switch in POV (as awesome blogger Diedre Knight brilliantly suggested), but that novel isn’t necessarily next in the que, if you Netflixers get what I mean. Writing is a lot like dating; you go out for coffee a few times and realize that even though you kinda sorta like the manuscript, you’re not exactly ready to commit, and then you abandon it (or stop calling, whatever your process may be), only to wonder several months later, “I wonder what’s going on with that first person narrative paranormal story about the guy with the missing toe? I wonder how he’s doing? I should totally check in.”

Well, that’s how it’s been for me. Lots of hits and misses these days (and a dream the other night about a possible sequel to The New Mrs. Collins). And to make matters worse? All of these story ideas are…good! And that’s my problem. It’s like trying to choose your favorite child. They’re all my favorites!

I’ve been racking my brain about this and I’ve asked myself some questions to try to come to a solution:

  1. What makes sense in terms of a follow up to my upcoming release? Based on that particular book, what might readers want to see next?
  2. What book is the most “ready” of the bunch?
  3. Of all the ideas that I have, what’s the “best” one? (The hardest question to answer.)
  4. Of all the ideas that I have, what might be the easiest project to tackle (I ask myself this as my muse laughs like Darth Vader in the background).
  5. The worst question of them all: which book is the most “commercially viable”? This is something that no one knows the answer to. I could totally write the novel about the guy with the missing toe and if it skyrockets on the best seller’s list, publishers will be asking you all for stories about hunters with no big toe. Nobody can call it!

These questions are a good place to start (even though some of the answers conflict), but my biggest issue is something that I’ve touched on here before: the fact that I unintentionally write in multiple genres. This isn’t something I do because I get bored and like to switch it up; my muse has a wicked sense of humor and GNFs (gives no f*cks) about me building a loyal audience by writing and publishing books in the same genre. Nope. My muse is gangsta like that. In fact, after I’ve written a romantic comedy, southern paranormal, and mystery/suspense (upcoming), my muse is now trying to get me to write a dystopian novel, because as I’ve said,  GNFs.

So that’s where I am, you guys. Spinning my wheels and dealing with this huge bout of what to write next-itis. Any suggestions for me? How do you guys deal when you’re not certain which project to tackle next? What are some things that help you decide? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


How I’m Building My Poetry Platform – Guest Post by Lidy Wilks

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Happy Tuesday, Everybody! Today I am super excited because I have poet and blogger extraordinaire, Lidy Wilks, guest hosting today! She’s talking about how she’s building her platform as a poet. I find this fascinating because my poetry abilities are severely limited to “Roses are Red” type of rhymes (pray for me, ya’ll). So I definitely have to give Lidy her props because writing poetry ain’t easy! Lidy is also hosting a giveaway for her poetry chapbook, Can You Catch My Flow? Any poetry lovers in the house? Make sure you enter Lidy’s giveaway below and add the chapbook to your Goodreads shelf by clicking here.

Congrats, Lidy!

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So how have I been building my platform as a poet?

Simple. By writing and sharing my poetry. And engaging with other poets.

I’m on at least four poetry groups on Scribophile.com. There I’ve met a lot of talented and inspiring poets who are eager to help you write the best poem you possibly can.

I also share my poems on my blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This has worked well in gaining followers. Especially on Instagram, because I like to pair images with my poetry. As well as using hashtags like #poetry, #instapoet and #poetsofinstagram. A few of my poems are even featured on Verse Wrights, an online poetry community. And I’ve begun to recite my own poems and upload it on SoundCloud too.

Another way I’m building my poetry platform is by sharing the poetry I’ve read and liked on social media. All thanks to Poets.org and their Poem-A-Day series, which sends me new poems every day. I also like sharing poetry readings featured by Button Poetry. Which helped me to discover new poets to follow, like Sarah Kay. You must listen to the poetry reading of her poem “The Type” that has snagged me as her latest fan.

Poetry is not your money generating genre. Or a genre big publishers like to publish for the same reason. All the same, it is also why I try to pay it forward and feature as many poets on my blog as I much as I can. And by liking and retweeting poetry tweets on Twitter. Pinning and sharing poems on Pinterest and Facebook.

Last April, I featured thirty poet interviews for National Poetry Month(NaPoMo) on my blog. This year, I plan to share thirty of my favorite poems. Some will be classics and some written by today’s poets. I’ll be participating in the 30 poems in 30 days challenge as well.

By the end of the day, my true goal is to have my poetry read and enjoyed. For readers to feel a connection with every word and every line. To write more poems, chapbooks and poetry collections. Submit them to literary magazines and journals. To one day be short listed and win a poetry book prize. Be one of the featured poets in the Poem-A-Day series. And in the short haul, stand on a stage in front of a mic and recite my poems to an audience. Hopefully without fainting first.

 

 

Can you catch my flow - book cover

 

Title: Can You Catch My Flow?

Publisher: CreateSpace

Genre: Poetry

Release Date: February 25, 2016

About The Book:

Debut poetry chapbook Can You Catch My Flow? captures the everyday ordinary events of the human condition in poetic snapshots. No matter the walks of life, the reader is sure to find themselves within the lines.

Blurb:

Lidy’s poetry reveals an understanding that deep meaning can be felt in the details. Her poetry portrays a range of topics from the pressures to conform to societal expectations, friendship, monarch butterflies, partying, insomnia, and the quest for peace…just to name a few. Enjoy!- Shelah L. Maul

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | eCreate Store

Show some Tweet love!: We all grow up sometime… Can You Catch My Flow? #ebook now free on #smashwords w/ coupon code YP99N until March 7, 2016

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Lidy Wilks 

Ever since she was young, Lidy Wilks was often found completely submerged in the worlds of Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew. She later went on to earn a Bachelor degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing, from Franklin Pierce University. Where she spent the next four years knee deep in fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction workshops.

Lidy is the author of Can You Catch My Flow? a poetry chapbook and is a member of Write by the Rails. She currently resides in Virginia with her husband and two children. And an anime, book and manga library, she’s looking to expand, one day adding an Asian drama DVD collection. Lidy continues her pursuit in writing more poetry collections and fantasy novels. All the while eating milk chocolate and sipping a glass of Cabernet. Or Riesling wine.

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