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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Managing a Facebook Book Page

I created a page for Amapola Press well over a year ago. It sits there, unpublished. I am still vacillating about it. I do not want to be responsible for yet another social media account.

So, why then, would I start a FB page for The Mistress?

Insanity, perhaps…

Actually, the truth is that this too is an experiment. After I wrote The Mistress, I found I wanted to write other stories (The Bloody Trail of Disenchantment). Until written, this page is the equivalent of a slight push.

It is a daily reminder to myself, and an implicit promise to my readers that I fully intent to deliver.

It serves other purposes. I don’t want to compromise my personal profile – which is to say that I want to keep it at below 200 friends. This may sound silly, but it’s my distinct preference. The only people on that account are family, extended family, and real-life friends (some from elementary school!). I make new friends all the time, but I do not wish for worlds to collide.

My family and friends are supportive of my writing efforts, and those who care follow those efforts, but it is not required.

Writing may be a huge part of my life, but it is the business part. It deserves its own space and place.

But there are more pressing reasons to do it this way: it opens up exposure to your work and the blog. For marketing reasons alone it is worth the effort. Of course, you’ll have to do more than just try to sell books – and if you follow any of the best-selling authors, you’ll realize that they rarely sell their work.

I am not a best-seller yet, so I’ll have to put it out there more often than the greats, but without engagement, it will come to naught. Amuse and engage and they will come.

And though #hashtags are relatively annoying, inasmuch as some people overuse them and render them idiotic, they are helpful here. For those getting their feet wet on SEO, this is a good way to test their acumen as they learn their marketing trade. 

Easier said than done, but like writing: just do it! Practice.

Make no mistake, self-publishers must learn how to promote their work and it changes fast. Facebook Pages offer you diagnostics that tell you immediately what is working and is not. This makes it a learning experience if you pay attention to what you are doing.

If you have an idea that can be broken into a series of status updates, you can draft them and schedule them to run later – so you have some management tools to help you run the page without it running you. You need no additional apps to do this (helpful for those of you starting out and wanting to keep it simple).

It’s probably a better choice to do an author’s page or a page for the publisher, but for me at this very moment, it’s a concentrated effort to see if (and how) it affects sales for the one title. This may change, but this experiment is new and it is too soon to declare it a success and change its parameters.

In the meanwhile, I’m using the MistressBook page to tease my readers with possibilities as I research the topic and find ways to make it fun and sexy.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Mistress Has Come!

The Mistress has come!

A little over a month ago, I was writing almost every day, little pieces not connected to any specific story. The idea was to try to get something on paper or on screen, as it were. Also, these little bits were character studies for archetypes that I am likely to use later.

Practice! Practice!

Then, I started writing a story that somehow became a Valentine for my readers… I am not sure when I decided that I’d publish it for Valentine’s Day. It was a challenge and I love a challenge.

Perhaps, as writers, we ought to issue challenges to ourselves every once in a while -- it'll scare the wits out of us and makes us rise to the occasion by meeting the challenge head on!

In The Mistress, a woman recounts an incident she witnessed as a 12-year-old and adds bits and pieces she has collected over 30 years to complete the canvas in her mind. Then, the night before she writes her story, her Momma tells her a key piece that completes the puzzle.

It’s a short, only 10,001 words, but those ten thousand words include love and sex, betrayal, lies, anger and tears, regret and resilience. Questions remain, I suppose, but the story of that specific day is there, bare and naked in ten thousand and one words.

You may buy your copy here: – Amazon Kindle Store - Smashwords - CreateSpace for paperback 
(which will also be available at Amazon later this week)

The e-book will be available at all major online retailers, 
from Apple to Google Play, will be coming soon.

UPDATE: For those of you who'd like to follow the action with this title, you may like our Facebook page here:

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Mistress is Coming!

For a few days, I tried writing bad dialogue long hand. Why bad dialogue? Because bad dialogue happens! I hate writing advice that demands that your dialogue be tight and breezy and all sorts of authentic but which does not also mention that bad conversations happen all the time.

Awkward conversations, non sequiturs, bad jokes, flattery that falls flat. That’s right! You know it, I know. What about bad pickup lines? There is not a woman—nuns wearing their habits in public included—that has not been subjected to a bad pickup line at least once in life.

In honor of St. Valentine’s Day, I’ve begun working on a piece. The working title is The Mistress and it explores some modern ideas of romance, with a relatively jaundiced eye (I admit it).

It is meant to be a short story, but I’ll let it run higher in the word count if it seems necessary to tell the story. Mostly it takes place, or at least comes to a head, at a bar. It draws from several years of stories that have been fermenting in my head, though I was not necessarily looking to do anything with the knowledge.

Would you like to read about the story of the man and the story that influenced the project? Visit the Temple of Doom (opens in separate tab) for details. It’s probably not at all what you expect…

I am not sure what triggered it last, the ideas that flow through this story; it may have been the news of a broken marriage that caught everyone by surprise. It may have been poetry long forgotten. It unleashed questions, mental images of things I have seen and heard, and curiosity.

Mostly it has fueled curiosity about love, sexuality, commitment, and the courting of these ideals in a digital age across a couple generations.
The goal is to have a completed story by Valentine’s Day – which is special to me but only because it was my original due date but I showed up 2 months early because apparently I yearned for legitimate holidays.

Besides, if you are going to bill a story as a powerful tale of betrayal, what better time to release it to the collective unconscious than on a fake holiday dedicated to phony up romance.

For the record, I truly believe that Valentine’s Day is just like Mother’s Day – those who have the subject of the “holiday” in their lives and honestly love do not need a Hallmark reminder, they cherish and honor that love every single day.

The Mistress is my Valentine to the world.