Wednesday, April 11

A Very Dirty Word

but first, a word from your sponsor (that would be me  ;-)
new Game Plan: I will be doing my darnedest to post EVERY Wednesday--plus at the start of blog hops and other special events.

But starting today, Hump Day is now Hunk Day! I'll be scouring the Internet for hunky men to serve up...  normally, I'll post a sexy hunk up here at the Top of the page, but today's hunk belongs on the bottom....

now, back to that Dirty Word:


Or more accurately, SELF-Promotion.

This is a topic that gets bandied about a lot in writers' groups, whether we're meeting in person or on Internet forums. It's a topic I covered a little bit when I spoke of keeping my pussies happy. (I'm never going to actually get tired of that phrase!)

See, even if you have an awesome publisher, things are not what the used to be. Even the Big Boys in New York, the major publishing companies, don't drop thousands of dollars on book tours for their authors any more. And with good reason; readers aren't buying like we used to. We're not reading like we used to. Many of us won't travel an hour to meet our favorite author in person...okay, I would, but, well, I'm of a different generation. (Gods, now I sound really old.)

But the thing is that things are changing, instead of authors and readers trekking out to bookstores, we blog, we do Facebook and Good Reads chats. We tweet. We instant message. In a way, I love it, it means I can meet people in New Zealand, Finland, Germany, the UK... heck, I wouldn't know my very friend Kitsa, who lives in New York, if it weren't for the Internet. And considering she's the one who dragged me to Dragon*Con, which is where I saw that painting that inspired a certain werewolf novel... you get the idea.

So all of this means that we need to change the way that we market ourselves.

The writers that I've run into seem to be divided, almost evenly, into one of two extremes. There are those who honest to goodness think writers should write, not blog, and market, and tweet. Good books are advertizment enough, they say.

And they have a point. You do have to write a good story, and write it well, and you can't let blogging, tweeting, and facebooking take up more of your time than the exposure is worth.

There is also a school of thought that says "promote 'til you bleed", because if you don't get out there and do something to make people pay attention to you (in a GOOD way!), you're never going to get noticed. Let's face it, with POD and electronic format technology evolving the way it is, everybody and their little dog too can publish a book. It doesn't have to be good. It doesn't have to be edited. But it still takes up virtual shelf space and makes it harder for people to find my book.

So, when I outlined my personal plan for making a go of being a writer, I budgeted about 10 hours a week to this stuff. Lately, I've been spending more time on it, but partially that's because I'm procrastinating on a particular project, and part of it is because overhauling my website really did take time. I'm not a professional techie.

But realistically speaking, I can see myself spending closer to 15 hours a week blogging and facebooking (I have my FB set up to automatically tweet for me because I seriously can't suss out Twitter. You see how I blog. Giving me 30 characters to speak my peace is not going to cut it!)

However, Facebook and Good Reads (which, along with my Amazon author page gets automatically updates of my blog--which I usually post to my Facebook) updates really aren't enough. I have over 1500 Facebook friends--no I'm not really that popular, I just accept (almost) anybody who friends me. I've started drawing the lines at the ones whose native writing doesn't involve Latin characters. I like to actually be able to read what my FB friends post. The point I was getting at, however, is that with that many friends, I know my posts get lost in a sea of other peoples' posts--and not all of my FB friends are into m/m romance.

So I do blog hops (which, okay, are a lot of fun!) And I attend conventions. I try to get included on panels, even if it's not to talk about m/m romance (check it out, I'm at PenguiCon, talking about fanfiction, world building, and fantasy novel covers!)  Just getting up there and talking about writing gets me in front of people. I get involved in conversations on romance lists for the sake of contributing something to the conversation, not just to come in and bombard other list members with blurbs and excerpts, then leave until the next promo day.

The more times people see your name, the more they remember it--but you don't want to be remembered as that jerk who only ever comes on the boards to shove a book down your throat, (kinda like those folks who go door to door with a different sort of book...)

Oh yeah, and when I'm done doing all of that, I go back to writing the very best books I can write.

So far, those are the best ways I've found to market myself. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject of marketing... or really anything at all!

Dark Side Brownies…

  •                  1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • ·         3/4  cup dark (unsweetened) cocoa powder
  • ·         1  cup flour
  • ·         1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ·         4 egg yolks (or 2 whole eggs)
  • ·         2 tablespoons milk
  • ·         1 cup softened butter. Not margarine. Not oil. Butter. From a cow.
  • ·          2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  •            1/4 teaspoon powdered cayenne pepper 
  •            1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ·         2  tablespoon cinnamon powder
  • ·         Medium sized mixing bowl
  • ·         9x13 inch baking pan—or a nice deep 9x9 inch pan.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter, blending until smooth. Add vanilla and egg yolks and beat until combined. Sift in about half of the remaining dry ingredients (it really doesn’t matter in what order). Stir in the peppery water. Blend in rest of dry ingredients. If batter seems dry, add more milk—but brownies should have a nice thick, gooey batter.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes up clean.

And if you can find it, may humbly recommend Chocolate Amore wine to go with your Dark Side Brownies...

Of course you might want some help in the kitchen from your sexy Wednesday Hunk... IF he can keep his fingers out of the mixing bowl...boys. What ever are we to do with them...?

...and how about some mood music...

...from Abney Park.

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