Sunday, January 23, 2011

Writerly woes

What's a writer to do in this fast-changing world of e-publishing? I read a lot of listservs and blogs and the like. Yes, they take time but I'm afraid I'll miss some valuable piece of information. Trouble is, I get so much information I can't process and sort it all.
Take blogs: surveys have found that blogs do not sell books. But, hey, is that why I blog? I blog because I likie to and because I like to keep in touch. Individual writers protest that blogs get your name known and indirectly sell books. The thing you must avoid is BSP (blatant self-promotion).  Best suggestions I've heard are that hosting other writers on your blog is a good idea, as is being a guest blogger on other sites. Sort of crossing audiences or whatever. Let me ask you, dear reader, would you like to hear from other authors on this site?
Then there's the question of who's reading blogs? Are we blogging for other writers? If so, that's preaching to the choir. Are we blogging for the general reader (which I hope I am)? Then I have to move beyond marketing and such subjects and back to grandmothering and cooking--two topics where I'm comfortable.
And then there are all the lists and groups you can join: Linked In, BacklisteBestsellers, Good Reads, Kindle Nation, KindleBoards, and a host of others. To do all that would take every minute of every day--when would a person write, let alone have a life? I've deided you have to focus on one or two that seem most valuable to what you want and disregard the others.
And of course there's Facebook and Twitter. I do pretty well with Facebook, not that I'm among the most active--but I do respond to other posts, occasionally post something new, and always put this blog up. But Twitter in my mind is a whole different critter. I'm not sure what to post, and I never think I have anything significant unless it's BSP like "Why haven't you bought my book?" Not appropriate at all. I try occasionally. I read once if you post on Twitter once a day you're doing better than 90% of people. Well, probably 70% are doing better than I am! Sometimes I sit and think, "Hmmm. What can I post on Twitter?"
Then there's the matter of publicizing your e-books. If you don't plunge in and take a proactive approach, no one will ever find your books. All of this is a constant learning process, but I've just learned today how to offer free review copies to e-book bloggers. I have a long list of online bloggers but I'll have to research each one to see if they do backlist e-books. A part of me is waiting to make a big push when I have a brand new title--if ever. But I'll get to work on that. I read postings from people who are making a thousand dollars a month from their backlist, and I know I'm doing something wrong--or not doing something right. I might have a credit account with Amazon and Smashwords, combined, of $10-$12
Okay, BSP: My 1988 Spur Award winning novel Mattie and my short story collection are up on Smashwords ( and on Kindle (
And this is retirement? I tell myself it's keeping my brain young and active.
Meantime, back to cooking and grandmothering. Christian, Jacob and I went to church this morning. Jacob was fine in nursery school--after he pitched a wall-eyed fit when I tried to take him last summer. Maybe he's just that much older or maybe his daddy being there made him more comfortable. We both enjoyed the service immensely--the sermon was outstanding. Houston Bowers said when he hears someone say, "I gave my heart to Jesus," or "I gave my life to Jesus," he wants to shout: "That's not the way it works. Jesus takes it!" But best of all for me was that the anthem was "How Great Thou Art," my all time favorite. I told Christian he was to be sure it's played at my memorial service, but he just laughed. I liked being back in church. I just don't like going alone, but now maybe I've broken the ice and also maybe the Burtons will go with me more.
Another dull, chilly day in North Texas--not cold, but it felt that way. The birds swarm to the feeder outside my kitchen window, and I love watching them, though they can be a feisty bunch. I have a pair of cardinals that frequently come. Did you know they mate for life? Then I have pesky squirrels--I bang on the grate of my greenhouse window, and that usually scares them away. I have been known to run outside yelling like a banshee for Scooby to chase them off.

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