NPR: Black Authors and Self-Publishing

NPR did a program focusing on black authors and whether or not self-publishing is still a viable alternative.  I haven’t had a chance to listen to the broadcast myself, but you can check it out here.  It’s roughly 17 minutes.

Writer PR Workshop

From various sources.

SELF-PROMOTION: Does the very term make you cringe? Do you suffer from “Not-Doing-Enough-Self-Promotion” guilt? Do you think self-promotion is something you’ll have time to learn AFTER getting The Call?

In February, PR consultant Marcia James and over TWENTY promotion-savvy guest lecturers will present “PR Is NOT a Four-Letter Word”, a month-long, online workshop that will provide insider tips, hard-won knowledge, and tools to pick the PR options right for YOU.

The speaker fees for this workshop will be donated to Best Friends Animal Society (, which runs the largest no-kill animal shelter in the U.S.

Here’s the workshop’s topics and presenters:

  • Introduction & “What’s Your PR Personality” Quiz by Marcia James, Berkley/Cerridwen author
  • Promotion According To Deadlines, Paydays, And The Real World… by Kate Douglas, Kensington author
  • Promoting Yourself Before “The Call” by Beth Morrow, Wild Rose Press author & workshop presenter
  • Author Branding by Jenn Stark, Golden Heart winner & workshop presenter
  • Web Site Design by Karen McCullough, Cerridwen author & Karen’s Web Works designer
  • Chats, Reviews & Banners by Marcia James
  • Online & Print Press Kits by Patricia Sargeant, Kensington/Berkley author
  • Introduction To Co-Promotion by Dianne Castell, Kensington, Berkley & Harlequin/Silhouette author
  • Co-Promotion Through Group Blogs by Donna MacMeans, Berkley author
  • Cross-Promotion by J.C. Wilder/Dominique Adair, Samhain/Ellora’s Cave author
  • Author Promotion Sites by DeNita Tuttle of
  • Advertising In RT, RWR, Etc by Janice Maynard, NAL author
  • Print & Trinket PR Materials by Marcia James
  • Public Appearances/Public Speaking by Karen Harper, MIRA author
  • Promoting To Acquaintances by Laurie Kingery, Steeple Hill/Love Inspired author
  • Networking I: Power-Schmoozing by Susan Gee Heino, Berkley author
  • Networking II: Mentoring & The Farleyfile by Jennifer Stevenson, Ballantine author
  • Social Media Sites I: Navigating the Galaxy of Social Networks – Kathy Kulig, Ellora’s Cave/Cerridwen Press author
  • Social Media Sites II — Social Networking: A Curse or the Great Coming? – Donna Hill, Harlequin author
  • Author Newsletters by Kay Stockham, Harlequin Superromance/Berkley author
  • Readers’ Loops by Carol Ann Erhardt, Wild Rose Press author
  • Published Author Contests & You by Jenna Petersen/Jess Michaels, Avon author & workshop presenter
  • Books, Shelves, and Signings by Linda Keller, RWA Bookseller of the Year & Barnes & Noble CRM
  • Interviews by Marcia James
  • Book Videos by Barbara Satow, PPA author & owner of NovelTeaser
  • Podcasts by Melissa Alvarez w/a Ariana Dupre, Nonfiction/Cerridwen Press author
  • Thinking Outside The Heart-Shaped Box & Wrap-Up by Marcia James

The workshop is sponsored by the Yosemite Romance Writers (YRW) RWA chapter, and registration information can be found at their site:

The fee is $25 for non-YRW members, and the deadline for registration is 2/1/09.

“PR Is NOT a Four-Letter Word” is a fun, informal workshop, and attendees are encouraged to print out the lectures for a binder of PR tips. In addition, Marcia James offers a 200-page Microsoft WORD file, filled with detailed information on all types of promotional options, to all attendees.

Published and aspiring authors: Learn to love (okay, LIKE) self-promotion. 😉 And banish the guilt of not doing enough PR. Join us online in February! See you there!

Teaser Tuesday: Coming Together trailer

Instead of an excerpt, I thought I’d post the Coming Together: At Last book teaser put together by editor Alessia Brio:

Coming Together – At Last

Say it Sunday: Bette Davis

I found this quote on my Sparkpeople email, and thought it fitting for writers too:

To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, and to be given a chance to create, are the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy.

– Bette Davis, actress

Whatever you’re doing today, I hope it’s in support of fulfilling your dream

Working and Writing

I know many authors dream of giving up their day job.  I do too.  But given the poor results of Winter Wonder Write which didn’t even produce 1K a day output, I’m wondering if not having to go to work would be a good thing.

But I’m beginning to think that the problem is that I just can’t write at home.  I hate being domestic.  Hate it.  In fact, one of the first things I plan to do when I have extra cash is hire someone to come do my laundry, kitchen and floors.  Even if it’s just laundry, that would be huge!  When I find myself doing laundry instead of writing, I know I have an issue, and it’s not lack of clean underwear.

This weekend I’m going to try a new (for me) approach.  I’m going to go to my neighborhood library, and try to write there.  No History Channel marathons to distract me, no games on the travel netbook.  Just me, mini-me, and a note pad for 6 hours.  My local library also has study rooms–closed off rooms you can have tutoring or study time in.  Hopeffully I’ll be able to snag one first thing Saturday morning.  Hopefully it will go swimmingly.  I have two significant projects that have to be done very, very soon, and I need all the help I can get!

Teaser Tuesday: Independence Day

Here’s the first page from my short, Independence Day, which is in the first volume of the Coming Together: At Last anthology.  Two anthologies of stories and poetry will be released by Phaze in ebook and print, and proceeds benefit Amnesty International.

coming together cover

coming together cover


“I told you he wouldn’t come for you.”

Ananda Perez-Smythe refrained from wincing at the pain Jack Nelson’s words caused.  Barely.  “Kee’s been busy.  You know, that whole thing about forging a new republic for his homeworld.”

Nelson’s sandy good looks sneered at her through the holovid.  “We do them a solid, help them kick Imperial Earth’s ass, and what thanks do we get?  Booted off-planet, without even a word of acknowledgement from their fearless leader.”

It had taken two years for the Taurins to win their independence from the Imperial Earth Alliance, but win they did.  After signing the treaty that ordered most non-Taurins off the planet, they’d released the political prisoners, including Taurin Kee, the father of the rebellion.  Ananda knew the moment he’d been granted his freedom—it was the exact moment that he’d stopped “sending” to her mind.

“Is that what you did it for, Nels?” she wondered.  “So you could be lauded as a hero and have statues erected in your honor?  I did it because it was the right thing to do.”

“Tell that lie to everyone else all you want,” he retorted.  “We both know you did it because you wanted Kee.”

“I will always consider Taurin Kee a friend, a compatriot,” she said evenly, gripping the holovid display in an effort to keep from shouting.  “But make no mistake, Nels—even if Kee hadn’t been there, I would have still fought for the Taurins.”


“I lived on the plains with Kee’s tribe for three years.  I lived and learned and laughed with the Taurins.  It may be stretching it to say they became my family, but they did become my friends.  Imperial Earth made a mistake in assuming that because the Taurins preferred to live simply that they were primitive.  Don’t make the same mistake by assuming things about me.”

Nels blew out a breath.  “I’m sorry, Ananda.  I just want you to come back with me.  This place isn’t for you.”

Somehow she dragged up a laugh.  “If this place isn’t, then which one is?  You know I’d be arrested the moment I stepped onto an Imperial ship.  As far as Earth is concerned, I’m a traitor.  I certainly wouldn’t make it to the Inner Nine or a court martial—they’d immediately execute me by blowing me out the closest airlock.”

“Then forget Earth.  Come with me to the Outer Planets.  These Taurins obviously don’t care how much you’ve sacrificed for them, they haven’t once tried to repay you or give you a place here, so I say so long and good riddance!”

Ananda stared at the holovid, grateful that she’d never fallen for the pretty surface that hid such an ugly interior.  “I think I’ve heard all that I need to hear from you, Nels.  I wish you safe journeys.”

New Year, Old Neuroses

Today is the first day of publishing’s New Year.   Folks are back at work, ready to do what they do.  This means it’s once again time to buy the club size pack of antacids as the Great Clock Watching begins.

I have queries out.  Some came back with wonderful rejections that let me know the story needs to be worked on a little while longer (the contemporary).  One has been sitting at two houses for 7 months and 5 months respectively (the erotic romance one; I don’t think I can call it erotic romantic comedy, but it might be close).  And the third project is sitting with two agents and an editor. (the urban fantasy)

It’s nervewracking.  It’s like being Sally Fields at the Academy Awards that year: “You like me, you really like me!” in dazed amazement of being chosen. (poor Sally; don’t think she’ll ever live that down).  But we are human; we need validation.

So I have to repeat the mantra: I control what I can control.  I have to focus on doing my part to the best of my ability and then trust that the Universe will handle the rest.  Otherwise, I’d just be what I was last year: neurotic.  And who wants to be so last year?

Writing Op: Authonomy

Have you heard about Authonomy?

It’s a site created by the editors at Harper Collins (home of Avon, doncha know) .  And it’s purpose is to find new books and authors.

authonomy invites unpublished and self published authors to post their manuscripts for visitors to read online. Authors create their own personal page on the site to host their project – and must make at least 10,000 words available for the public to read.

Visitors to authonomy can comment on these submissions – and can personally recommend their favourites to the community. authonomy counts the number of recommendations each book receives, and uses it to rank the books on the site. It also spots which visitors consistently recommend the best books – and uses that info to rank the most influential trend spotters.

We hope the authonomy community will guide publishers straight to the freshest writing talent – and will give passionate and thoughtful readers a real chance to influence what’s on our shelves.

By the way, it doesn’t cost anything to do this–just your willingness to create an online profile and post 10K words of your novel.  Would be a great opportunity to circumvent the slush pile!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’m not going to bore you with resolutions that I’ll a) forget about or b)blow off.  To me, this is the perfect time to look back on what I’ve done and make plans for the coming year, kinda sorta how businesses do at the end of their fiscal year.

Authors are worried, feeling like they’re being laid seige to with lines and houses closing and consolidating, e-piracy, used book sales, and mean girl reviewers.  Oh, and the economy.  Now I could easily sink into the mire and wail and gnash my teeth, but I’m not going to.  Why?  ‘Cause I can’t control that crap.  It’s too easy to focus on the negative and get all Eeyore on life.  But Goddess, doesn’t that just make y’all tired?

Publishers are not going to stop buying books.  That’s how they make money, by buying manuscripts and putting them out there for the reading public to purchase.  Maybe they won’t buy as many as they normally would, but when you have folks ponying up 6- and 7-figure deals, you realize publishing as we know it will still continue for a while at least.

Case in point: I found this blog today which I heartily recommend you adding to your daily or weekly industry reading. (And if you as an author aren’t doing any industry reading, please navigate to another webage now.)  Mr. Rinzler’s December 31st post was all about two major deals he was outbid on, and why writers should keep writing:

Those of us in the book business are both the beneficiaries and victims of an authentic passion. Editors literally fall in love with books, authors, ideas. It’s our job. I’m always prowling, scouring the print media and internet, stalking writers and creative thinkers at parties and conferences.

I still wake up every morning with acquisition anxiety.  If I don’t sign, I don’t thrive.

Mr. Rinzler takes a long view on the publishing industry.  The publishing world is changing and it’s an overdue change.  As the old saying goes, “Adapt, or die.”

Which brings me to my goals for 2009.  I have three titles on tap for this year, all shorts.  The first is in the Coming Together anthology that will be out in a couple of weeks.  It’s a erotic scifi romance short that I think you’ll enjoy, and the proceeds go to a good cause, Amnesty International.  Then I’ll have Carnivale Diabolique, an urban fantasy romance about a travelling carnival that protects us regular folks from the big bads that go bump in the night.  That will be late spring.  And of course, I’ll be in the next White Boyz installment coming in April.

I’m sure some folks have noticed my swerve into paranormal romance and are either alarmed or encouraged or just curious about it.  So I’ll come clean.  I’ve been a fantasy/sci-fi/paranormal reader since I started reading.  Fairy tales fsacinated me, then comics, then fantasy.  Some of my favorite books are books I read as a kid: A Wrinkle in Time, The Left Hand of Darkness,Asimov’s Foundation series, everything by Anne McCaffrey.  The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman is one of my all-ime favorite series.  Honestly, the first novel that I tried to write happened when I was 12 and was about three sisters who were protectors of a mystical land–while trying to navigate school: The Seneschals of Kirin.  Where my 12 year-old self picked up the world seneschal, I have no idea.  Now I’m wondering if I still have those pages in my old notebooks.

But yes, I love fantasy and paranormal.  It’s what I read first.  If there’s romance in it, it’s a bonus, not a requirement for me.  So this year, I’m writing an urban fantasy.  It’s a story idea I’ve been kicking around for a while, and I’m finally knuckling down and doing it.  I’ve gotten some good feedback on it so far, and I’m hoping to make it my first New York sale.  The story allows me to indulge in some of my faves: Egyptology, African gods and goddesses, History International.  And I’m having a good time with it, which I think is the important thing.

Does that mean that I’m abandoning romance?  No.  It means I’m expanding my portfolio, my market.  My goal is to be a career novelist, which means at some point having the income from being a writer outpace the expenses of being a writer.  And as a writer, we have to push oursleves, and grow.  Some venture into romantic suspense.  Some try their hand at erotica.  But the bottom line is the bottom line.  So I’m going to adapt.  Because the alternative isn’t something I’m considering.