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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

When life hands you lemons, sue life's ass, or beg. Or something

Okay let's say no one's buying your books.** How can you make this into a unique selling opportunity?

--Emphasize the exclusive nature of this book. It's a small club! It's a chance to discover virgin territory! Be one of the few, the proud, the readers of this book.

--Talk about the rocketing growth of future sales. So in the first month two people bought your book. Next month, make sure you've bullied at least four people into buying. Buy the damn thing yourself if you have to. Your campaign for that month is all about how "my book is taking off!" and "Word of mouth -- means twice the sales!"

--Try for the pathetic. Here's your patter: "My dog needs eye surgery and I can't afford it. Hey, you, passing by. Stop and pay attention to wretched me. I want you to pretend that I'm sitting on a street corner with a tin full of change and some really old apples on a tray in front of me. I'm dressed in filthy rags and my hair is a mess. Only instead of the tin of change, it's a pay-pal account. And instead of old apples, it's this book I wrote. And instead of filthy rages I'm in sweatpants and a fleece that says I WRITE SMUT. The thing about the hair is true in real life, by the way."

--Lie your ass off. "EVERYONE LOVES THIS BOOK! Here, read these fabulous reviews I wrote and had a friend sign/I paid good money for. " The only people who really know your sales are pathetic are you and your publisher. And neither of you want to look like looozers so hey. Why not!

--Threaten them. You could try the "if you don't buy this book I AM NEVER WRITING ANOTHER WORD" but I do not recommend this. I'm certain that if you aren't lying about that threat, you'll end up NEVER WRITING ANOTHER WORD. Maybe you should go for another sort of threat. Hey, they have a career too. You could visit their blog/webpage "Nice place you got here. I'd hate to see anything happen to its code." Right. This one might need some work.

--Talk about books you love and maybe other authors will do the same. Actually this one might really work. Useful advice? I'm slipping. But I can put a bad spin on it, don't worry. Because when A writes a glowing review of B's book and then B writes a review of A's book ... well it doesn't look quite right. Even if it is utterly true and you do love each other's work. Life is frustrating like that.

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** No one's buying your books. (In particular no one's buying Powder of Love. You two--you're off the hook--every meaning of the phrase. Everyone else? You're all assholes***.)

*** This is another option for promo. Insult the people you want to read your book. They'll be outraged, write about what an ass YOU are and VOILA! Your name is all over the internet.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Partial Kick Ass Heroine Identification Guide

A partial guide, dammit, not a partial heroine. I'd do a chart, but that involves software and clicking. Plus I'm hiding from my family and time is a-ticking. I got ten minutes for this entry.

Today we'll be talking about two major KAHs Rural and Urban, Paranormal. We've heard that the Paranormal KAH might soon be a vanishing species--their sales are down and that's a pity. We happen to love KAHs which is why we think we can write a guide.

First, a few basic KAH facts. All KAHs must:

1. Kick ass. And not just human ass. Demons, vampires, werewolves, jackel-headed gods, fairies, succubi you name it. Their asses will be handed to them by the KAH

2. Be part of a series. No point in Stand Alone KAHs. It just doesn't happen. If you read a stand alone KAH it's because her numbers didn't work out and the publisher dropped her. The author was ready to do 10 more books. In fact the author probably has already written those books.

3. Demonstrate increasing power. Over the life of the series, the asses she kicks will get bigger, in a manner of speaking. She'll start out kicking human ass and by book six, she'll take on Overlords of the Universe.

4. Be completely taken aback by her increasing power and, chances are, she's going to fight (or mourn) the fact that her Kick Assery Powers are getting bigger and bigger. She might wonder why this has to happen to her.
4a at least once per book wish she was a normal sort of a female.
5. Have men swoon over her. And not in a dreamy way. They will constantly think about sexxxing her. They will grow hard the moment she comes into the room--or into their dreams or wherever she shows up. Guys all over the known and unknown universe want her in the worst way.

6. Have a few women sigh for her too, depending on the publisher.

7. Attract creatures outside her species. Those lust-maddened males and female might not even exist in this world. AND it's important that she'll be especially attractive to those demons, vampires, werewolves, jackel-headed gods, fairies, succubi that she's ass-kicking. They want her at the same time they know they must try to smash her to bits. Good luck, creatures. You are going to end up her love-slaves.

7a and bonus! as extra tough luck for the KAH's boy-girl-demon-friends: at least one lover will end up dead. She will occasionally think about him/her/it and feel deep sorrow. This adds depth to her character--and clears the way for the next lover.
8. Have either a dead or very strange mother--even quirkier than the KAH because the mother has usually damped down the awesome power flowing through her blood. Her father is definitely dead. Usually under mysterious circs. Or he was an unknown factor. In book four, we'll learn he was a god.

Another update:

9. Not know what she's doing (nothing like her has existed before so there is no textbook for her, dammit) so she will fumble along, usually not making plans as she heads into danger, and might have to be rescued by friends, familiars or handsome mysterious males---at least for the first few books. She'll do some rescuing too, of course. Why else be a KAH?

10. Eye colors will change--hers or someone else's. Also glowing will occur.

HOW DO WE KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN URBAN AND RURAL KAHs, PARANORMAL?

You'd think it was just a matter of the place they're living, wouldn't you? YOU'D BE WRONG.

She'll have deep lust for a particular sort of object. It is on the check list the author put together for the heroine, something to give the girl a unique personality. A quirk.
IS this object lust for:
Jimmy Choo shoes--she's urban (U)
Muscle cars--she's rural (R)

Some supernatural shapeshifting is involved, doggy style.
Does our KAH or one of her men turn into:
A werewolf--U
A coyote--R
Both--U and R. You'll have to use some other method to ID her.

She will visit strange worlds in her dream states and/or power-gathering times:
Obvious Indian reservation, empty red landscapes--R
Deserted, crumbling cities--U

She has to have a regular profession when she's not kicking ass. Is she:
A car mechanic--R
A police officer--U
A bank manager--who the hell are you kidding? Don't be a weisenheimer.

Uh oh. I've been discovered. I was just going to write about the animals you'd find in her dwelling but I think we know they all have cats. My middle kid informs me that I must go buy the peaches that will go into the sonic screw drivers for tonight's Doctor Who party. BUY THEM NOW BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE.

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ANOTHER UPDATE: Chances are our heroine's book is in first person. Why is that?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

So what if sales for my stand-alone stuff are crappy? (I'm not supposed to mention that because it turns out that success, or the illusion of it, breeds more success, but whew, those numbers are stinking up the place) BUT WHO CARES? This is the important part: HEIDI FREAKING CULLINAN likes my books. Or maybe she means she likes the Bonnie Dee / Summer Devon books. That's fine with me--I really did co-write those things.

HEIDI FREAKING CULLINAN is fast turning into one of those authors for me and it just makes me want to tap dance with joy to think she knows who I am. I think the last time I felt like this was when Valerie Parv said she liked my book. I could dine out on this feeling for a few months and not even notice the fact that I sold fewer than 20 books. The approval of peers you respect is a heady pleasure. No wonder I see congratulatory notes back and forth on twitter. Public displays of affection via Mutual Admiration Societies might be annoying** to outsiders but it's pure champagne to anyone lucky enough to encounter it.

BTW, I'm most of the way through Heidi Cullinan's latest and loving it.

UPDATE: I'm just adding the fact that Marie Treanor likes my books too. And then, when I get all Iiiiieeeeee caaaaan't wriiiiiiite, I'm going to come back and read this a few times. Okay. Off to bookmark this blogpost under the "shut up and bichok, bitch" label.
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**nauseating, actually. BTHTB (been there, held the bucket) Envy? Eh, probably. I'm only now realizing that...what a mean-minded beastie.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

5 of 5 stars for Mad Baron

Once again I'm posting a review (this one's from Romanceaholic) all over the internet, but honestly, the first couple of reviews for a book are such a relief -- when they're good, I mean.

This is my first Summer Devon novel, but I must say that she is incredibly skilled with both sexual tension and tasty love scenes.

The urge to say HEY! YAY! is extremely hard to suppress. But I swear this is the last copy/paste-paste-paste-paste HEY! YAY! I'll do. At least for this book. Although I don't guarantee I'll shut up on those yahoo groups.


I'd go on a tangent about how annoying it is to see self promo everywhere, but you already know that.

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Aw, back to grim non-romance-based reality: my poor middle guy is sick as a dog. blearuuuuugh--during school vacation week too.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

note

When you get to know your editor you don't have to be as careful when you submit something to her.

Daer Editor

This is our book. A paritial of it, anyway! Ha! We love our book and because we have pets we think you should pubish it and also we knit. And we belong ot some many groups that you have herd of that will demonstrate we are cerious about our career.

If you do not publihs it we will go all over the internet and weep about how you crushed our dreams, you horrid beyotch.

Summmer Devon

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UPDATE: The editor said yes, she'd buy the book. Yay!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

why I don't do many promo loops

All those yahoo loops--the ones in which writers can post excerpts and links--consist of authors talking at each other. Readers never seem to bother visiting the loops. Except wait! EVERY SINGLE TIME I go to post my books, I read a couple of intriguing excerpts and then my credit card ends up in my hand and oh, no....I cross the line into reader again.

Those free promo opportunities always end up costing me money.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

skeery internet world in which we're living

But before we get started today--have you bought our new book yet? Or have you asked for a review copy? Why not?

Okay. Review copy brings us to .....
#1 scary internet trend. WTF? I'm getting scathes of emails (if "scathes" = more than five, less than ten) from people wanting me to review their books. The requests are polite and--here's something cool--most employ proper grammar and punctuation.

But still. WTF? Where are these people finding me? Why me? Why their books? Is this going to get worse and worse as the self-publishing trend explodes? Yes, of course it is.

I have occasionally sent out unsolicited books to people but not any more. I never will again. It just feels odd to find someone I don't know asking me for a favor. Actually I'm scared when people I do know ask me for the favor. Because what if I say yes and HATE their book? Will they go all Howett on my ass?

Or what if I don't fulfill the unspoken contract and read their book at all? The only reason my TBR pile isn't terrifying is because it's almost all ebooks. If these were real books cluttering up the house, we'd be in line for a Hoarder's show. So no to the review stuff.

I don't expect this will make a difference and tomorrow I'll wake up to 20 review requests. Then fifty and then. . . .

Although I just said yes to a book that turned out to be 24 pages. An instruction manual, as it turns out. I googled it and the first thing I found was an easily downloadable PDF of the book for free, and the second thing was the actual author's page. The book costs 9.99 there. Which leads me to

#2 scary internet thing. Pirated books. We know all about this one, right? As long as enough people like Rowena Cherry stay active out there, it might stay under control. Wait, it's already out of control. Never mind. Let's just get to....

#3 scary internet trend. Spam messages that are actually interesting enough to not get dumped immediately. At first I thought someone with a lot of time on his /her hands is taking the time to read the blog here and actually post real messages that fit the topic. But the name on the account is "generic viagra" and yes, it leads to a page selling generic viagra. Why did I click the obviously spammy link? Because the comment fit the topic.

Wait! An actual human can't be doing this--that's not how spam works. This means someone out there has a computer program that will somehow generate messages that aren't just random nonsense. So when anyone comments here, or on twitter or on facebook....that someone might be a machine. How will I ever know the difference? I won't.

For all you know, I'm a virtual reality/computer generated being. Heck, maybe I don't know the truth of my reality.

And here's a prediction about the book/internet future (not labeled scary trend, because I'm not sure it is):
Within FIVE YEARS, the word ebook will go away. EBOOKS will be called BOOKS. And those other things, those paper objects, will be called PRINT BOOKS.

In other words, the dominant book format gets to drop the prefix.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy New Release Day To Us!

Hey, lookit! Bonnie and Summer have a new book out, House of Mirrors.


1902--Jonah finds refuge and passion with enigmatic carnival owner, Rafe Grimstone. The open-hearted preacher’s son will risk damnation for love, but Rafe hides his identity like the changing images in a house of mirrors.

Want a review copy? Ask me.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

nostalgia

I was reading Sno Ho by Ethan Day and had to stop. It's a cheery, fun, fluffy bit of a book, but the voice of the narrator made gave me the teary snuffles. He sounded exactly like my friend JD, but ExActLEEEy. The over-wrought, exaggerated responses, followed by embarrassment and then the attempt at dignity-- pure JD. Even some of the phrasing seemed to echo him. And especially the funny. Oh man, the funny. With a waggle of the eyebrows or a delicate flair of the nostrils, JD could make you crack up at anything, especially art history lectures, which really isn't good for the morale of the class.

I guess it's good to be reminded of dead friends. Except here's the thing...I didn't see JD the last year of his life--he moved home to some midwestern state after he got diagnosed with AIDS. I wrote (this was pre-internet. Or maybe not, but JD was a Luddite so he wouldn't have a computer) but I didn't call more than a couple of times. I was young, I didn't know what to say. He seemed to lose interest in talking to old friends and I didn't push. Yadayadayada.

Fine. I get it now, all right? Thanks for pointing out I'm a jerk. When I think of JD my main emotion is guilt.

Except now I'm thinking some more. Maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better, but I imagine JD would file my guilt under "major horse-shit." IN other words, it would not go over well with the Jade-man. I think he'd just roll his eyes and tell me to get over myself. Read the fucking book already. Hey. Remember the time we both laughed so hard and long I drooled? The time the teacher asked us to leave?

Back to the Kindle. Ethan Day, if you ever go to a conference and some middle aged woman (or yet ANOTHER middle aged woman) comes up to you and gives you a huge, unasked for hug, it might be me. Thanks for giving me back JD.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

I suppose it's inevitable

Diane Wynn Jones, Judith Merkle Riley, Edith Layton...all these writers keeling over. I found an author whose work I really love and went to read about him. Yay! He's younger than me! he'll keep producing as long as I need him.

I better write to him and warn him not to pull an Emma Jensen.

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If Horatio Alger released his top seller RAGGED DICK today, it would have to be one wicked BDSM title. (yeah, I tweeted that, but really I don't want to be alone with that imagery. Also what price MOBY DICK?)

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Today's earworms are a series of Al Stewart songs. The tunes are meh, but at least the lyrics are interesting.

I'm just enough of a hypochondriac to wonder if earworms are a sign of BDS (brain dissolving syndrome) Anyway. I'm going to Pandora on to drive out "On the Border" and "Chelsea Hotel" and get back to writing a cheerful pot dealer who's going to cause trouble for The Hero.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

WOETRY!

The legend hunts beside the transported birth.
Why can't the twisting overtone recover?
How does a harmony malfunction?
Before a blackboard listens a censored dust
Around the burnt center clicks the implemented space.
His heroin rules the desire beside a crossing atom.
. . . .
now You Write The Rest of My Poem.

Monday, April 04, 2011

little SBD

I dreamed I won a contest in which I could become male for about 24 hours. I realized I still liked men and thought yes! this will be very useful for my writing! Talk about taking your job seriously. Speaking of contests, The Gentleman and the Rogue just finaled in the Passionate Plume contest.

Summer has finaled in that contest twice before (for two novellas, "Invisible Touch" and "Knight's Challenge") and I was sure I had saved a little widget thingy to show off, but apparently I didn't plaster it all over the place. Summer is a doot when it comes to promo, I guess. They may send me another widget and if they do, I'll be sure to save it here. It's a nice one.

What I read last week: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, which I've already reviewed elsewhere. I enjoyed that sucker. I think I loved it, in fact. I still wonder why the hell Larry, who knew there was more to life, stayed put and went into that damn garage every day, but I guess southern gothic doesn't feature real people. The book mostly worked for me. The shifts back and forth through time was only slightly disconcerting. The writing was sometimes lovely.

AND I read Konrath's Shaken. Man, that guy has a thing for serial killers and for banter. It was escapist fun, if you like reading about torture for fun. I liked the book okay which means I'm a sick cookie. Nothing memorable or amazing, but nothing made me set it aside, which I did with a book about Gideon Crew (his name always is stated that way: Gideon Crew). Gideon's Sword.....eh. He's not much there. The first scene was pretty amazing--a kid watching his father get shot. Not that I enjoyed it--I am not a sicko character from Shaken--but it was vivid and real.

After that, I didn't believe the story much and I'm pretty easy to convince. Heck, I stuck with Shaken and it had three serial killers bopping around the city, dispatching hos and others at an alarming rate. Okay, maybe I didn't believe it, but I guess it didn't start out any differently from where it ended up.

Okay, realism isn't the issue here. Damn. Now I have to think about why Gideon's Sword bugged me and Shaken didn't. Maybe the main character didn't grab me. Gideon came across as a mix of Ted Kaczynski and James Bond, neither of whom are quite human.

Or maybe I'll go eat some chocolate to celebrate finaling in that contest instead.