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CONFERENCE THIS WEEK!

April 18, 2018

Well, it’s finally almost here.

The 2018 Las Vegas Writer’s Conference is on the way. Just two days from when this article hits the ether, I’ll be rolling into the parking lot at the Tuscany Casino on Flamingo Road in Las Vegas.

I’m always an early riser, so I’ll probably be the first one there, or at least one of the first.

BEGINNINGS

Though I’m a paid attendee, I have always liked to hang out at the registration table. I help stuff bags, set up tables and generally greet people when they arrive. Though there will also be volunteers specially set up for this, I be there myself because I just like doing it.

I’ve been to so many of these conferences that I’ve seen and heard just about everything. For the most part, I attend very few classes. However, I do pop into the occasional session.

I just like being at these events to rub elbows with people in the industry, see what’s going on and talk with others, from both sides, publishing and writing. I’m always learning and conveying what I’ve learned.

ISSUES

This year, I will, unfortunately, be dealing with a cluster headache cycle, like I did back in 2011. Back then, it lasted three months and was just ending in April during that conference. This time, it started a bit later and I’m still dealing with them. Most of the time, they start in the evenings so I’m hoping I don’t have any attacks while I’m there. I do have the medicine for it, though it takes a little bit for it to take effect. At our last writer’s group meeting, a week ago, Monday, I didn’t want to take it until I got home, and I was miserable during first page read practice. I DO NOT want to deal with that during this very important time!

GOINGS ON

There’ll be lots going on. Classes, agent pitches, meals and plenty of rubbing elbows with everyone. I’m not pitching anything, so I have no particular focus here, except to talk and listen. There will be plenty of people there to chat with!

Outside of my major star parties with the Las Vegas Astronomical Society, the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference is my major event of the year. I always look forward to it and I highly recommend it to any new writer, at least once.

Happy writing!

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PITCHING TO AN AGENT PART 2

April 11, 2018

Since it’s conference time of year again, and to help support the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference, 2018, I’ve resurrected one of the articles from 2014. This one deals with pitching to the agent at the conference and some of the things involved, specifically, the query letter. It’s re-tweaked and updated accordingly.

THE PITCH LETTER (QUERY LETTER)

(What Not To Do!)

In this part, we’ll get down to some technical thingies. We’re going to go over what not to do. Then, I’ll show you one that’s worked.

NEGATIVITY

Never to use negativity, or put yourself down. Here are a few examples. Some are overt, while a few may be a bit more subtle.

I know you get lots of submissions, but before you throw mine in the slush pile, I’d appreciate if you’d give me a chance.

Ding ding ding! Red flag! You’re starting negative right out of the gate. Don’t even bring the subject up. In the first place, you should be starting with your slug line. Second, you’re giving the agent the perfect excuse to do just what you are hoping they won’t do.

I’ve been submitting to lots of agents, but was hoping you’d be the right one for my work.

Do I have to explain this one?

I’m a struggling writer and found your agency on line. I would like to present my character…

A little more subtle, but saying you are a struggling writer is not only a cliché, it’s a given and also a negative. No need to voice it. Scratch the first sentence.

Thank you for considering my work. I may not be the best writer in the world, but I know I’ve come up with a winner here.

You had him or her at the first sentence and blew it with the rest. Hack off that second sentence.

IRRELEVANT MATERIAL & FLUFF

Now for a little biography sample.

I’m an accomplished writer with high grades in English grammar in high school and college. I excelled at all of my term papers and almost had an article published in the alumni newsletter but due to budget constraints, the issue was never printed. I had a short story called The Flag printed in Mystery Journal for Fiberglas Press, 1989.

She’s a mystery writer. The only relevant credit is the last one. The rest of it is pure fluff and irrelevant. Trash it (unless you have nothing else at all). Inflating a bio with irrelevant material is no way to win friends with an agent. If you only have one credit, so be it. In the good old days, it was okay to throw in the kitchen sink. Nowadays, agents don’t have time to slog through all this crap looking for gems. You’re better off to keep it tight and right. Besides, almosts don’t count.

It has become the trend lately, to go ahead and add at least something to beef up your resume so you don’t have a one sentence bio. That’s understandable. If you do, at least try to make it somewhat relevant without overtly lying or raising any red flags, so to speak.

BRAGGING, SARCASM

I’m sure you get lots of really “great” stories at your agency, but now get ready for a real treat. XXX will blow you away.

Oh, please! Sarcasm, conceit, bragging, grammar problems, the list goes on.

 

(One That Worked)

 

Now I’m going to show you a pitch letter that worked. Below is the letter that I handed to the publisher that gave me the contract for my upcoming novel, Meleena’s Adventures – Treasure Of The Umbrunna. Keep in mind that I handed it to her at the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference and pitched to her in person. After I sold her on the idea, she had me send it along with the first 50 pages plus a synopsis, which was on the back of this letter.

NOTE: I ended up getting it published through a different publisher in the end, but that’s a different story and unrelated to this presentation. Besides, I submitted the same query letter to the new publisher.

I’ve included notes of explanation where appropriate, and left off the headers and dates and a photo, which is something I used to not recommend. It’s now the trend to include a good photo, if possible. Also, I modified parts of it so as not to give away the actual plot in case anyone wants to read the book.

Re: Meleena’s Adventures – Treasure Of The Umbrunna

Fantasy – 79,500 words

Pen name: Ray Brooks (I have since dumped this idea and went with my real name).

 

All she wanted was to get rich, but in the end, will she sacrifice all to help another? If she isn’t careful, people may start to think she’s a decent person. (This is the pitch line, the first thing I said to her after introducing myself.)

 

Meleena goes through life one picked pocket at a time. With a wild heart, she spends each night with a different man, and often wakes up in a strange place.  When she goes after a valuable pearl hidden in a lost city called Slab, she figures this is the way to the easy life.  An old magick user named Grel may hold the key to finding this pearl, and he insists she not go alone if she hopes to survive.  Despite second thoughts and an aversion to working with others, she gathers a team and heads for the lost city.  However, she’s not the only one after the pearl, and Meleena enters into a race to get there first. (This is the body of the text. It should be one paragraph, but I broke a rule and made it two short ones. It worked. They were condensed from the original. The whole point was that the entire letter had to fit on one page, letterhead, spacing, signature, credits, all of it. Keep it brief!)

 

As she fights her way to the lost city, Meleena discovers she’s out of her element in the wilds. Her companions help her survive, and she learns to trust others. After a hazardous journey, she reaches the pearl first, but is betrayed by one of her friends. After escaping, she learns that Grel has been manipulating her all along, and the pearl is not what it seems. Besides the monetary value, it’s the only way to provide a cure for the queen of her kingdom, Grel’s former lover. She’s now faced with making a huge profit or helping the queen. This wasn’t the easy life she envisioned.

 

I’m a member of the Henderson Writer’s Group in Henderson, Nevada. My short story, The House, appeared in the anthology Between the Pages, 2003. The Walk Home was published in the story collection Writer’s Bloc 2006, The Basement in Writer’s Bloc 2, 2008, and Fun In The Outland in First Voyage, 2008. (Remember, relevant writing credits, which should include a writer’s group, if you’re in one. Though none of these stories are actually fantasy, the chances of the publisher checking, or actually finding those books were pretty slim, so I took the chance. Turns out, many of those books were for sale at the conference! Also, the titles could mean anything, and at least they show I’m a prolific and published writer. Just make sure if you do this, you don’t put something down that is obviously not relevant. Also, note that the info is dated. I’ve since published a few more things that aren’t listed.)

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

 

Fred B. Rayworth

There you go. An example, a visual aid without giving away too much of the actual story, but hopefully, enticing you to read it. This example also gives you an idea of one way to successfully pitch to an agent.

Happy writing!

PITCHING TO AN AGENT OR PUBLISHER AT A CONFERENCE

April 4, 2018

Since it’s conference time of year again, and to help support the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference, 2018, I’ve resurrected one of the articles from 2014. This one deals with pitching to the agent at the conference and some of the things involved. It’s re-tweaked and updated accordingly.

THE SYNOPSIS

 

The synopsis is a breakdown of your story. It’s another form of an outline, but in complete sentences, no bullets. The purpose of the synopsis is to tell your complete story to the agent or publisher. Specifically, you need to outline the main character, the main conflict, and the resolution. Yes, you must tell the ending. The synopsis gives the complete story (I repeat), from beginning to end, in abbreviated form. The key is the length. For the pitch letter at a conference, and for some queries to agents, it should be a single page. For some agent queries, it might be two to three pages. From there, where a full manuscript is requested, it could be three to ten pages, depending on the individual requirements of the agency. The key is to follow their instructions explicitly. As a general rule, stick to one page, unless told otherwise. One good thing about sticking to these rigid requirements is that it keeps your writing tight.

THE SYNOPSIS WILL SHOW FLAWS IN YOUR PLOTTING

A synopsis can be extremely hard to write properly. However, it can also be a very good way to reveal how well your story has been put together. It’s a good way to spot any red flags in flow and plot. When you break down your story into a few paragraphs, just to get the key plot elements, you’re going to see right away if it all holds together. If, at the end of your synopsis, you notice that the story doesn’t hold water, you may need to go back and do some rewriting!

BULLETS

One way to develop your synopsis is to start by describing each scene or chapter (if you have a lot) in one bullet sentence. Compile all of these bullets and look them over for the key patterns. If something looks extraneous, maybe it shouldn’t be there. Once you have that down, turn these bullets into sentences and then organized paragraphs so they flow together.

For me, I have the whole story in my head. In my creative process, I only know where I want to start and where I want to end, the middle is a total surprise. Once I get going and write it all down, it becomes locked in my head. As I edit it over and over again, the plot and all the details become locked in, so when I sit down to write my synopsis, I already have the big picture going for me. I don’t have to bullet out each chapter. However, I don’t expect all of you out there to write or create the same way I do, so I’m throwing that bullet method out for you.

KEEP CHARACTER NAMES TO A MINIMUM

The key elements are that you introduce the main character and maybe the antagonist by name only. Everyone else remains unnamed. They’re just anonymous characters as far as the synopsis is concerned. The first time you name these one or two characters, you put them in italics (some would say all caps). From then on, they’re in regular font. Don’t get bogged down in unnecessary details such as naming a whole bunch of characters, names or places in the story. Don’t list time lines either, especially on a one-page synopsis! Describe the plot, describe what happens, describe what, where, when, why and how the character gets from point a to point b and what happens at the end. Nothing more, nothing less.

If you’re writing a two, three or more page synopsis, a few sentences per chapter might be appropriate unless you have eighty chapters. Again, if you do this, it should read almost like a short story. It should make sense on its own. If it doesn’t, you need to work on the plot some more before you try pitching it.

DON’T LET IT GO, SIGHT UNSEEN!

The final element to all of this, before you ever even think of turning it in to an agent or publisher: Get someone or several other someones to read it first! There’s nothing like second sets of eyes to see what you can’t!

 

THE FACE TO FACE

 

LIKE A JOB INTERVIEW

I’ve always considered the pitch session as a job interview. That’s exactly what it is. The difference is that it’s a two-way street. Not only will you be working for the agent and/or publisher, they’ll be working for you. When you get right down to it, you’re also interviewing them. The biggie right now though, is that the person you’re about to sit down with is holding all the cards. They have the power, the knowledge, and the abilities to take your hopes and dreams and turn them into a reality. Okay, maybe I’m laying it on a bit thick, but isn’t that why you’re there?

To make this less dramatic, you have a product and you’re looking for a manufacturer to produce, distribute and sell that product. That bland enough? You’re the inventor of said product. It’s your job to try to convince a manufacturer to take your product, refine it and produce it for mass consumption.

I think all of you have seen the movie somewhere where a guy in a business suit nervously tugs at his tie, briefcase in one hand, as he sits outside a boardroom to pitch his idea to a bunch of stuffed shirts. Is this all ringing a bell? Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed you, let’s lighten things up a bit and get to the reality of pitching to real people at a writer’s conference.

If you’re lucky enough to attend a good conference, you might have a scenario similar to what we have at the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference. I’m using this conference as an example not only to once again plug it (it takes place 19-21 April, 2018), but also because I have intimate knowledge of how this conference works.

MILLING ABOUT

You’ll sign in, and for the price of admission, get to pick at least one agent appointment slot, maybe more, depending on the schedule and the number of people adding in names. From personal experience, I’ve never had a problem seeing any agent I’ve wanted to see. These appointments might be the first, second, or third day, first thing in the morning through the end of each day. Because of that, there’s a good chance that during any classes (seminars) you choose, during breaks, and during meals you might find yourself talking face-to-face with the very agent to which you’re going to be pitching your book. These are good times to get to know them, feel them out, and find out their likes and dislikes. Get to know them as a person. You’re more than likely going to find them great people. Once in a while, you’ll find a total jerk. That’s happened to me a few times. I pitched to them anyway. Most of the jerks actually had me send them something and I got the expected results. One took two years to respond. I’d totally forgot about him, then out of the blue, I got a letter. “Not for me.”

As I alluded to above, the agent you’re pitching to might be teaching one of the classes (seminars) you signed up for. That’s another good way to get to know them and what they stand for, what they like and dislike, and how you might approach them. Meals are a good place to talk shop and hear the latest gossip in the publishing world. You can learn the trends and even find out what’s going on with your genre. That could help you slant your pitch when you sit down with them.

THE SIT DOWN

When it’s finally time for your pitch session, even though you may have met face-to-face before, sit down, shake their hand and introduce yourself. When they ask you to tell them about your book, start out with your slug line. Those are the one or two sentences that introduce your story. From there, if you wrote the slug line(s) well, the agent should ask you to tell them more. That’s when you give them a brief, and I mean brief, synopsis including how the story ends.

Do not, and I mean do not ramble and get off on tangents! Watch the agents’ body language. If their eyes start to wander or glaze over, you’ve lost them. You have to give them a one-two punch. You have to make them want more. When you sit down, your one page pitch letter, with the short synopsis on the back, should be slipped over to them, first thing. They may glance at it, they may not. They may actually read it as they listen to your pitch. However, the chances are, they won’t actually take it. They’ll have you mail it to them. If that’s the case, make sure you revise the letter at the first paragraph to include that it was really nice to meet and talk with them at the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference bla bla bla (or whichever conference you attend). That paragraph is key, so that it puts a time and place on your meeting. Also at the bottom of the letter, make sure to include “I’ve attached … sample chapters and a … page synopsis per your request.”

One more thing, never ever pitch your book in casual conversation. Don’t be pushy. That’s a great way to turn them off. However, if you’re talking at lunch, dinner or wherever, the subject of your writing comes up and the agent says, “Well, tell me about your book,” they’re inviting you in. On the other hand, if in casual conversation, the agent brings up the subject and asks what you write, well…they’re opening the door. Otherwise, leave the pitching for your appointment.

From here forward, all I can say is good luck, and happy writing!

DIFFICULTIES GETTING PUBLISHED – FULL CIRCLE AGAIN?

March 28, 2018

With the big boom in self-publishing and the advent of many small presses, as it stands right now, one would think that things should be looking up for the independent author. For years, that’s been the case. For so long, the big six had the industry locked up and if you didn’t get in with a traditional publisher, you’d never see your book in print unless you went to a vanity publisher.

Because of the independent entrepreneurial spirit, small presses, on-demand, and early Amazon, the whole nature of publishing changed. Traditional publishers were put on notice. However, it wasn’t no cakewalk to get published with traditional before, and that still hasn’t changed much despite the shift toward independent publishing.

With the market for self-publishing and small presses, a whole new avenue has opened up the past few decades. The world is now flooded with thousands upon thousands of new books, from great to unprintable (but still printed anyway) tomes of every description.

IT WAS GREAT FOR A WHILE

Things started slow, then worked up until most recently, it’s become pretty easy to get your book out. It’s still up to you to make it worthy, but that doesn’t stop some people. As a result, there’s plenty of buyer beware out there. On the other hand, the only avenue for finding this stuff, good or bad, is either word-of-mouth, out of the trunk of the author’s car, or on-line (basically Amazon, though there’s also Create Space and a few others if you know what you’re doing).

THINGS AREN’T LOOKING SO GOOD ON THE RETAIL FRONT

Just this past few weeks, we got the news that Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy (well, it was a while ago), and they were going to close even more stores. Then, all of a sudden, they up and decided to just screw it, close it all!

The day after we heard that, my wife and I went out to dinner and decided to hit Barnes & Nobel a day earlier than normal. Now, it’s no secret that B&N has been having their issues as well. We’ve all heard the usual “Sales were not as well as expected” mantra every store yells to the heavens every single year around Christmas time, even if they sell every single item in their store. Well, through overexpansion, corporate stockholder greed, whatever the case, B&N is in trouble and of course, they’re putting the blame directly on Amazon, whether justified or not. Maybe the real culprit is their stockholders are not seeing enough return on their investment and are dumping stock. Who knows? Maybe B&N should’ve remained private, if they ever were, and none of this would’ve happened. Whatever the case, the rumors persist that they may not be around by 2019.

So…my wife and I hit B&N after dinner and walk into the store and see inventory tags on all the shelves. Aaagh! What’s going on? After shopping, when I paid for my book, I asked the clerk what’s going on. He’s, of course, a brand new guy and as far as he knew, it was just inventory and not a closing issue, but he wasn’t sure. They wouldn’t tell a minimum wage new hire anyway, but hey, had to ask.

Maybe it was just inventory, but it was hard not to panic.

Since then, we’ve been back, the inventory tags are gone, and the store seems to be back to normal. At least we hope!

ON LINE ISN’T EVERYTHING

Personally, I don’t do a lot of shopping on line. Sure, I use Amazon, for instance, when I can’t get something in the local store. However, I like to touch and feel the item first, before I buy. You can’t do that on Amazon.

On the other hand, a retail store can’t possibly stock every obscure item you could possibly want.

There’s a tossup here, when you think about it.

Then again, if it’s in the store, I’ll pay a bit more to grab it off the shelf and take it with me rather than save a few bucks to order it on line. That’s just me. I don’t think I save that much getting it on line. Plus I take the risk of having it stolen off my porch.

AMAZON GETTING MORE DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH

I keep hearing that if you self-publish, or even traditionally publish and try to work any special deals with Amazon, they’re starting to impose more and more rules and twists and deals and regulations and whatever.

In other words, they’re putting up barriers to business for what used to be a free-for-all for the independent businessman and woman.

What does this mean?

CREATE SPACE BECOMING MORE DIFFICULT?

I’ve also been hearing rumblings that Create Space, the main source for many self-published books is closing down on-demand. Or, they’re restricting the use or something. I’m not sure the whole deal so please do the proper research before taking what I say as gospel. However, just having the rumor around is enough to make one wonder.

Another barrier?

FULL CIRCLE?

Will we soon see the day when and if retail stores go away because of Amazon, at least due to everyone blaming them as a generalization for “on line,” that soon it will be just as difficult to get self-published as it is to get traditionally published?

Could we one day see that time when authors will struggle just as much as they did thirty years ago to get their book to the public?

Will the nature of the struggle, though be a bit different, result in the same frustrating thing as traditional publishing?

To get traditionally published, it may be the same cycle of rejection for ten, twenty, thirty years as it ever was.

On the other hand, the former, much easier to get self-published route might turn into a cycle of monetary versus endless regulations and rules and peer reviews and who knows what to get that book printed.

We might end up right back at square one if Amazon and others like them keep going.

Just a thought.

Still and always, happy writing!

ALWAYS THINKING TOWARD THE NEXT STORY

March 21, 2018

When you’re a writer like me, and no, I’m not saying all of you are like me, I’m always thinking. I’ll admit my mind’s quite a bit in La La Land. I don’t mean “Ellay,” Los Angeles, Hollywood, or whatever you want to call that La La Land. I’m in my own La La Land, which is my dream world, where I come up with all this stuff that goes into my stories.

CURENT WORK IN PROGRESS (WIP)

Since I’m considered a “pantser,” in other words, a “seat-of-the-pants” writer instead of an outliner, I start with knowing A and B and everything in-between is an adventure. In other words, it’s a total surprise that develops as I write. My path to success is that I write so linear, I rarely get myself into a plot issue because I always have B in mind. I’m always working toward that point, so everything I dream (or La La Land) up, is working toward that goal.

I’ve mentioned this numerous times here at Fred Central. I get my inspirations from just about everywhere. It may be the most innocuous thing that strikes my fancy, or something profound. Whatever the case, I catalog that in the back of my brain, or maybe if it’s something I don’t need for a good while, it becomes an addition to one of my post-it notes above my computer monitor. It’s to the point now that a few of my post it notes have the sticky dried up and they’re now falling off, so I have them stacked on the computer tower.

THE NEXT STORY

Though I’m pretty set with Detach And His Search For Gold, with six manuscripts in the can, that doesn’t mean I don’t have room for more. In fact, I started number seven (West Virginia Gold), but got sidetracked with the first Meleena’s Adventures, so number seven of the Gold series languishes with just a few chapters.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have ideas lingering for further adventures. I’ve just saved my energy for more immediate priorities, at the moment. In fact, I came up with a great premise for book number eight tonight at dinner with friends. We’ll see if that one ever comes to fruition.

I’m currently done editing with the publisher on Gods Of The Blue Mountains, book number two of the Meleena’s Adventures series. Though that’s not the end of the process, I’m also writing book three and reading it to my writer’s group. Right now, my focus is on Meleena and my readers are screaming for more of her.

While I’ve had the basic concept for the fourth Meleena story in the back of my head for almost a year now, last night (as I write this), I finally came up with a conclusive A and B. It just happened. It’s not completely refined, but it’s there.

Keep in mind that A and B will never be written down beforehand. I never have and never will. The basic concept will be in my head and stay there until I sit down and start the book. It’ll never be an outline. What it will be is Chapter One and The End, when I get to them.

As for the Gold series? West Virginia Gold also has A and B in the can. I’ve had occasional ideas for further adventures (including the one I just came up with tonight), but they can wait, since I already have five other completed rough manuscripts.

SUMMARY

Now that I have the big picture for the fourth Meleena story, I can let it sit for a while, move on to other things.

You may ask, well…some of you…what about other novels? What about one-offs, or short stories, or whatever? Another series?

Don’t worry. That could very well happen as well. If the muse strikes, I’ll catalog that in the back of my head as well, and save it for a future date.

I just need the time to do it all.

That’s the problem with any writer!

Happy writing!

A RADIO FORUM (INTERVIEW)

March 14, 2018

I recently did a radio forum (interview) with author, entrepreneur and radio host James Kelly. He hosts the web site Aspects of Writing out of Henderson, Nevada. I had an absolutely wonderful experience as a last-minute guest.

I’ve talked about interviews in several articles here at Fred Central. Now, I have several videos under my belt as well as a phone interview. This forum was set up in such a way that I was a panelist and was able to give advice similar to what I do here, but at the same time was also interviewed as part of the setup to a forum on writing.

Two for one!

HOW IT STARTED

James Kelly was a guest speaker at one of our Henderson Writer’s Group meetings, which I attend every Monday evening. He gave an excellent presentation and afterward, I thought it would be a hoot to be a volunteer guest on his show. Later that evening, with one of his cards in hand, I e-mailed him and volunteered my services and gave him this web site and told him about all my articles and my platform on writing.

I soon got a call and he asked me if I could do a last-minute show. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it that weekend. However, we kept in touch.

That was almost a year ago. At that time, I was under the impression we’d choose one of the subjects I talked about in my articles and took it from there.

Anyway, I kept in touch with him all this time.

A RECENT DEVELOPMENT

I’d just sent him an e-mail to say hello and he asked me if I was available for another cancellation. This time I was. I asked him about subject matter and he already had a script and everything. I go “as script?” Yup. I didn’t know that he plans these shows out ahead of time so when he calls in for his guests, he already knows what he wants to talk about. We don’t choose out subjects. He does the research on us first and decides the subject matter.

That’s okay with me.

I happened to fill a gap with the subject Writing With The Character In Mind.

Cool. I can do that!

TRIP TO THE STUDIO

I followed his directions and went to his studio, which was set up in a conference room in an office building in Henderson, Nevada. It was upstairs and since the building was deserted on this Sunday afternoon, we had the place to ourselves.

I met our cohost, Janet Coursey, and we had a nice chat while James set up the audio and tried to get the video link going with the other author on the show, John Brage from Kansas City, Missouri. It took a bit to get the kinks worked out of the audio with John. This is something that pops up occasionally with any home-brew radio pre-recording setup. I must say that given this is on James’ own dime, it was very professionally done and the final results are quite good.

THE SHOW

We first started in with mini-interviews about our writing and books and James switched between me, John and Janet and a little about himself and then we went into the subject of character. It was a lively discussion and we had a great time.

In the end, we all got to have our say and it actually went a little over. James will surely cull the best moments to cut it down to the proper time limit for the final product, which was an hour according to the video final result.

We were also being taped on camera as well. I was pretty much ignoring the camera, however I was looking at the computer screen with John on it, when talking to him. This took my face away from my mike, which made my voice dim at times. James had to tell me to talk into the mike a few times so I’m sure he had work to do to clean up my audio so I could be heard properly. There were also a few glitches with the audio feed from John’s end over the line from Kansas City.

SUMMARY

Overall, it was a fun interview and panel discussion. I got to plug my books. Not just Lusitania Gold but also Treasure Of The Umbrunna and got to talk about writing in general. It was a fun afternoon. The results can be heard through this link at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/aspectsofwriting/2018/02/26/writing-with-the-character-in-mind

James’ web site is http://www.aspectsofwriting.com/

Happy writing!

 

FACEBOOK AD RESULTS

March 7, 2018

I recently had a very successful book signing. As part of the buildup and marketing campaign to that book signing, I once again turned to Facebook to try their advertising.

I recently posted the article, Reaching Readers On Facebook, telling you about the experience. Now that the book signing is over, I want to go over the actual results of the advertising campaign. Though I’m dread to use foretelling in novels, here, I can. The results weren’t pretty.

IN THE BEGINNING

As a quick reminder, for those that are new to this site, last year, when Lusitania Gold first came out, I spent a lot of money on Facebook publicity around the book launch. At the same time, I also plugged my previous published novel, Treasure Of The Umbrunna. The total outlay was over $100 and included my ad to first the West Coast, then the entire You Ess And A and finally the western half of Europe.

The result? Plenty of hits (several hundred), a few engagements, three or four comments, one of them nasty (stop sending me ****ing spam), and zero sales.

LUSITANIA GOLD

In my latest article, Reaching Readers On Facebook, I only blasted the local Las Vegas area and a fifty mile radius that included Henderson, Boulder City, Pahrump, Indian Springs, etc.

I spent a total of $21. According to their statistics, I reached 322 people.

  1. I got 39 likes, 3 from people I know, 1 from a friend in Holland.
  2. 0 feedback.
  3. 2 shares.
  4. When I personally commented on the promo, THAT generated a few separate comments and likes from friends that already subscribe to my site. However, that was on the separate pages that those comments created (go figure).When I did my book signing at Barnes & Noble, not a single person that bought a book or showed up and talked to me were ones that found me from the Facebook advert.Let me be clear. I had a very successful book signing. I personally sold nine books and that same day, someone bought three other copies but somehow missed having me sign them. To me, that’s a killer day! However, unless one of those three that slipped in a bought without contacting me were Facebook people, I still have to mark my campaign off as a big fat ZERO. FAIR WARNINGON THE OTHER HANDHowever, to draw in new readers, it leaves a lot to be desired.Once they know you and like you is one thing…A BIG issue.
  5. Happy writing!
  6. Drawing them in is still an issue.
  7. I’m just saying.
  8. I do most of my news and events through Facebook with my two sites for the books. In that regard, it works well. I also still use my (this) web site. Facebook is a great communicator for letting people know what’s going on. In that respect, it works well to get immediate info to fans.
  9. If you’re contemplating using Facebook advertising, all I can say is buyer beware. It may work for some people, but so far, I’ve batted a solid zero after using it twice.
  10. My book signing was a success, it just didn’t have anything to do with Facebook or my $21.
  11. My $21 resulted in a big fat ZERO.
  12. The final result?