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Anita M Shaw

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The Writing Fool's Promo Efforts
11/21/2004 12:47:25 PM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

Nothing earth shattering. Just me . . . yakking about whatever comes to mind. And my Mind talking back . . . mostly on how to promote my little eNovels . . .

Here I am---just one more writing fool who wants to pay off her mortgage with the fortune she made off the worlds she created. Shower her friends and family with fabulous gifts. Be honored at speaking engagements. Big dreams . . .

Not probably going to happen. My stuff will probably become highly prized long after my kids have mourned my demise, and too late for me to know, why look, I did have something worthwhile to impart! Gee, I hope they keep all my originals. They can sell it on eBay and pay off their mortgages.

So what makes me keep dreaming? Can't help it. I keep saying this is all vanity and a striving after wind . . . yes, I'm stealing that quote from Solomon . . . housework is a vanity and striving after wind, too--a much bigger one at that! But I digress. . . and so I say I'm going to sell all these books, the computer, disks, the whole works, we need the room anyway, and just get out of this madness. Get a REAL job and get paid regularlike every week.

Only, I'm too used to staying home. And those worlds buried in my brain surface too often to beg for a REAL creation for me to quit. Even though I'm a shy writer and speaking engagements and the mere thought of having to do book signings scare the crap out of me. I have spoken about writing. Somewhere, somehow, I got up the nerve to go speak at the elementary schools and the high school. Volunteered to discuss freelance writing at Career Day. A six hour event. Not sure how I did it. I was still reeling from the deaths of my parents two months earlier, and prone to anxiety attacks. My shyness actually increased at that time.

But I love writing. And I wanted to share that love with the kids. By the end of the day, though, facing a horde of young, sometimes bored, disinterested faces got the best of me. At the last session of the day, I briefly spoke about what it takes to be a writer, and then read them something I'd written. Those indifferent faces transformed, and they got caught up in the action. Were sorry the session ended before the story did. They all filed past me to tell me how much they wished the class could be extended so I could finish. So, how does it end, anyway?

Then, a couple years later, while attending the Bridging the Years Writer's Workshop in Lake George, one of the author instructors enlisted my aid in helping her do a class. At that time, I was the only one self publishing her stuff as eBooks. I'd brought one of my books on CD with me, just in case. Just to show. You know . . . from the safety of my seat at the table. Where I could slouch and crouch out of sight if I had to.

Wasn't expecting to need to come up with a whole spur of the moment presentation to give before a group. My nervousness showed in my voice and my trembling hands. This was a workshop that brought talented adult and equally talented young writers together for two days. Again, I stood up before more than a dozen kids who wore those blank stares or expressions of "what's so great about this?" Then I knew why I'd been asked to speak.

Talking about all the different ways one can publish a book, and how and where to market them is dry stuff. Necessary but uninspiring. I stuttered and stumbled through it, and was sure my instructor would be sorry she ever suggested I do this. But then, one of the adults in our class--there were about four of us total, including the instructor--began asking questions, and suddenly I was okay. My stuttering stopped, and I drew some confidence from finding one interested soul among the class. After that, some of the kids realized that some important stuff was being discussed here, and I got several emails from them weeks after the workshop had ended.

All right, all right, I'll admit it---I found the guts to get up in front of the entire assembly at the end of the last session and read the improved version of my short story which I'd had to submit in order to be invited to attend the workshop in the first place. Nearly two hundred people listened to my faltering tones as I read them my (at that time) newest version of "Ride 'Em Tough". As I beat a hasty retreat to my seat afterwards, the MC remarked, "Well, I guess we all recognize a real author when we hear one."

So, then, what's the point to this rambling? What's your problem, for crying out loud? I mean, what else do you want?

Okay, it's that the business of writing is a love hate thing. I love to write, would love to see it published and selling boatloads of books throughout the universe, but the thoughts of leaving the house to stand up for those very things, fills me with dread. The kind that queazes your guts and makes you think that leaving the vicinity of the john would be an unspeakably bad idea.

Fool! You are such a CHICKEN!

Yep. Yep, I am. Big Time, Baby!

So, here's the thing. Kind of a public declaration. A challenge to myself. Crawl out of the chicken coop, take a deep breath, and get out there, meeting and greeting, and peddling those fictional worlds to the REAL World.

Somehow, there's got to be some way to get past those stupid stumbling blocks of fear and procrastination. Yeah, it's time to get busy and find them. No excuses, you ain't getting any younger, y'know!

Yeah, yeah, so what if I meet some more indifferent faces. There WILL be some that'll be thrilled to hear all about it. Want to be transported away to whatever realm of mine they've chosen to discover. Okay, okay, maybe not so much thrilled necessarily . . . maybe--maybe pretty interested.

No, no, stop it! Thrilled! They will be thrilled, and what's more, they'll hound me to finish the next in the series, which will never end. And movies will be made, and tons of promo items will come from it. Sneakers, lunch boxes, posters, dolls, T shirts; new parests will be naming their kids after the characters . . .

Okay, back to Earth again . . . what's my plan? Dashed if I know. All this stuff overwhelms my brain. I have a clear head about it as long as I don't go any where near my computer. Sit in that black fake leather chair and any plan of worth is evaporates through the finger that pushes the on button of my machine.

Surf the net, you say. I have. Mindlessly surfed, hour upon hour, checking emails for group posts, looking for someone to link up with that could offer mutual encouragement and hope. An exchange of ideas. I've got twenty email addresses.

So much spam, so little time. I could've been finishing a novel. Could've finished twenty short stories, could've cleaned the john. Shouuld've gotten up to eat, taken a walk. Take the dog, too. She's just sitting around getting fat, too. But no, I just keep flipping through sites. If I call it research, it's okay. No one says it's a waste of time if it's Research.

So . . . why aren't you posting to all these groups you joined? How can you network if all you do is lurk?(In case you want to know who's asking me all these questions and kicking my butt, it's my Mind. The Better Sense part of it. The part it seems I can easily ignore. Just slap a piece of duct tape across its silly mouth . . .)

Sigh . . . My name is Anita and I'm a Chicken. Trying to network online, faceless though everyone is, I might as well be in a real room packed with real people. Can't breathe. Can't think. Brains are mush.

You don't have to give your own name. You can be anyone. Just jump in. Help someone. Talk. Whatever.

Okay. . . Okay, here goes.

My name is Neenah and I'm a ChickenHeart . . . I don't know what the hey I'm doing there. Who am I to think my stuff compares to---well---to anyone's? After all, I'm new and naked in this world of literary endeavors.

Where do I begin? What's best for my babies? So many places! Do my babies belong here? Will they be scorned, or worse, ignored? Should I just shove them out the door, slam it and refuse to open it no matter how hard they beat on it to come back in?

Gosh, are they REALLY ready to be out there? I mean, I know I've clipped and groomed them all fifty thousand times. But look, once more can't hurt, can it? I'll just look them over one more time. A little touch up here. A nip there. Nothing too much. Just a quick once over--you know---to be SURE.

And maybe do up a better cover. Yeah, This one sucks. That's the plan. One more edit, fix up some parts, and a new cover. THEN, I'll get them set up someplace.

Oh, first, I gotta give my website a new look. And, gee, are my prices too low? Too high? Probably too high. Gotta fix that.

THEN I'll start looking to get them noticed.

Ah for the love of Chocolate! Snap out of it, Fool! Enough with the edits and revisions. Stop sniveling and procrastinating. You get those eBooks into three places this week or your eldest son will be sacrificed to the highest literary god in the known or unknown universe. I'm sure there must be one.

Sure! We could do some research on it!

I'm warning you, Fool! Spray that procrastination bug with a megaton of Raid, and blast through that wall of fearfulness; ignore the plague of ADD. Make another list. Gotta make a list. Nothing's going to get down without a list!

Okay, yeah . . . gotta make a list. Gotta look at it once I've made it. Can't let the kids take off with it and use the back of it for their girl friends' phone numbers. Oh, no wait. That's Pizza Hut's number. . . Anyway--gotta get organized. Gotta get professional. Gotta believe. Can't get professional if you don't believe.

I believe; I believe; I believe.

I believe I hate this new cover. Nobody's going to buy a book with a stupid cover like that one! What was I thinking?

I'm warning you, Fool. Each time you pull a stunt like that, your precious firstborn is in deeper jeopardy! Now get to it! You better be here tomorrow with something to report. A plan, a place to get ads, SOMETHING!

All right, you win. If I put my mind to it, I can do--- Hey! Isn't that supposed to be You?

Don't change the subject! Three workable ideas, this week, or the boy suffers! Barney videos 48 hours a day! Get busy, or he gets thrown to the big purple beast! It's all up to you!

Well, isn't it always? All right, all right, I'm going. Don't hurt him! It'll destroy him. And if that happens, I swear I'll---

Yeah, yeah. You're procrastinating again. Video one---

Going! But I'll be back!

Im back . . .

Okay, I joined Market-It. I know, I know, but I really think it'll be worth it. I really had to look over my title and meta tags. The website analyzer was an eye opener. I'm working hard to get the publishing site optimized first, then the old author site, and then the lefty site---which really really needs work. Spent all day Monday on MI's member site. So many tools, so little time . . .

Now I need some graphics for book covers. Can't afford to pay a bunch of money for them. We're about to lose the house, but gee, if only a few thousand people would buy one book, we'd be above water again. And I could get someone to illustrate covers and kids' books. . . Another dream.

You got plenty of those, Fool. What's the plan today?

I need some sort of graphic of our wonderful planet earth for my YOUNG ADULT novel, Marooned On Planet Earth. You know what a pain in the buttocks it is to find anything? Maybe I'll ask Hock to do a cover for that instead of Joleigh. I like mine anyway. It'll do for now.

Okay, I'm going to put some links on the links page, and some news on the news page, and then head over to eBookAd. Then check my BookMarks and Favorites to find two more such places. Not sure if I want to do Amazon. So iffy with them. Yet . . . it'd be exposure.

All right . . . You got 24 hours, or this kid goes blind on the purple dino!

You're LATE! Hear the screams and pleas? What're your excuses, Fool?

I was busy working on things, honest! And then my keyboard jammed--all those chips and chocolate . . . popcorn. So I had to get Andy to fix it.

Uh-huh. Here we go . . .

Wait! Don't touch that button! I also had to bust my butt rewriting summaries that could be used as book blurbs. That's not easy, you know! But I DID IT! Got the suckers down to around 155 words, only five words over what's requested.

And then I had to come up with author bios for me and my alter egos. Also not easy. And I still don't know whether or not to reveal I write under a bunch of different names. So, sometimes I did and sometimes I didn't. Compromise.

So? (Mind taps toes, waiting . . .)

So, then, I went to Yahoo, and formatted all this info into four emails that I sent to Lorraine so she could post it to the web site she's built for our site. AND all this gets put into a newsletter another member of our publishingandpromoting group is going to be putting out. Okay? So that's actually two things, two positive things I've done. Step away from the VCR!

I'm shocked, Fool! And proud, too, but it's not over. You vowed three things!

Yes, and then, I took most of this same info, except I had to modify the bio stuff again, and I posted it all at eBookAd, and uploaded all the links except the sample chapters which for some extremely odd reason, they want formated in Hiebook or .kml . . . I can do it. I've got the tools, but the formatting isn't perfect. But, I did check out other authors offerings in Hiebook, and theirs isn't any better than the ones I've already done, so that fills me with a measure of confidence. I'll compile all my stuff into HieBook today, and upload those too. No one's going to know how pretty my HTML is. Or the Pretty PDF. I uploaded the plain PDF versions.

So that make THREE positive things . . . oh, wait! Two of my books were already listed with Michelle for her newsletter. Four things! HA! And I'm not finished yet!

I posted them all to MyBooksOut which I haven't been doing in ages. But now that I have shorter blurbs, I'm gonna do it every couple of weeks or so. Satisfied? Now STEP AWAY FROM THAT VCR!! Let my poor boy Go!

Not so fast, Fool! Not so fast! What about next week, and the week after? What about PPCs and Redirected Traffic Campaigns? What about solo ads and classified--

I can't afford that stuff yet. You just give me a chance to find some freebies to work, and then we'll see. You got a rich Uncle I don't know about, one who likes a risk, send him over. Otherwise, shut up. I'm doing the best I can here.

Okay, keep your horses together there, Jimmy--er--Jenni. You're doing better than I expected. Don't slack off. I know you. I don't think I ought to let that kid go yet. I know I shouldn't . . . HE'S got a book he's slacking off on. But, that's for another time. When you start actually getting emails and sales about those masterpieces of yours, I'll consider it. NO promises! Hear me?

You're cruel! But, I'm gonna prove you wrong! I'll get my kid back whatever it takes!

And so we'll tune in again, tomorrow, folks. Or the day after . . . we all know how she is!

Okay, I've put out some more eBay listings for my recipe eBook, and some feelers about starting a store there. Safety in numbers maybe?

I have more to say, but just now I have the unenviable task of telling that darling stepson of mine that his board is going up and/or he has to get out. Kid is almost thirty, time to straighten out and fly right. Hate this job. But--I can use it for a story or article or something somewhere down the road.

Geesh . . . so nervous about this, I can't type straight.

It's Dec. 3. Our anniversary. 21 years.... doesn't seem possible. And I got a lot of my stuff for Thomi and for Marooned from marriage and motherhood. And stepmotherhood. That's a whole 'nother world....

I let the boy live. We'll see what happens. Probably everything will go on just as before, and I'll have to finally zip his bags for him and show him the door. You'd think we were asking for the moon for him to help out, pull his own weight. Yep, he's Logan in Marooned.

Traffic is picking up at the old sites. I'll be doing a couple ads pretty soon. Maybe I'll even do a SOLO ad.... Thinking about filling out the form to see if Amazon would condescend to letting me upload my stuff there. I know the discount is steep, but hey, a sale's a sale. And if people see my name there, maybe that'll help, too.

Or not... But, as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I haven't ventured yet. Don't get excited, I will. I'm still hoping in new and better covers. Sent for Kid's new ebook cover tutorial. I hope it helps me perfect my artwork. And I finally got a copy of InDesign. Used, but hey. As long as it runs on my computer, I'm happy. I'm all set for programs I want and/or need to design my books. Now I need to find a way to amass the funds for print runs.

Nice. Promo. Remember? Just because you write doesn't mean anyone will buy. Market!

Yep, yep, yep. I know . . . I know . . . I know. . . Sigh.

Amazing what a few listings in strategic places will do for you. I've taken out some paid ads along with the free. And I've gotten some new leads on still other free places. Be nice if I could make a few sales this year . . . Of course I want the moon for next year!

So brain, let the kid go. I've made a good start on conquering my fear of success. We're going to be professional about this now. Do what's gotta be down. Meanshile, I have a bunch of books to write!

Found some more places to promote. A couple cost money, but I think it would be worth it. I'd blurt them out here, but wouldn't you know it, the links I saved don't have the site names. Main Menu doesn't tell me a thing. Too lazy to want to check it out. In any case, I have a bunch of places that are free to list my stuff, and I think I'll take a couple hours tomorrow to do that. Maybe join one of the paid sites. Join another next week.

I keep putting off making new business cards and other such promotion stuff. I've got my labels designed for my DVD covers which I'm going to package my CDs in. I'm using MediaFACE 4, but really, I think version 2 was easier to use, and did the job just as well. I may hunt that up and install it again.

So many other authors say to let the experts do your flyers, bookmarks, business cards, editing, etc., but you know, some of us just can't do that. Maybe when I'm making a big profit some day, but now--not a chance. The only thing I'd pay for is book cover art--the actual book cover for a print book. Or an eBook. Doing some myself since it's hard to find art or an illustrater for some of the books. Like Joleigh. I need Tammie's talent for these, but no way to get hold of her right now. Figures. I need some awesome art for my covers. Can't get it free anywhere else . . .

I need to get at my copy of The Shy Writer, so I can get myself into a winning attitude despite my shyness, or my anxiety attacks, and all that other baggage weighing on me. The no confidence thing that blackens my soul. We won't get too deep into that again. It's a sickness that defies a cure, even though I know it doesn't need to be terminal.

This year needs to be different. Resolutions? Haven't written a one. Goals are better to list. Resolutions seem to just be a New Year's fad that fades off in February. My goals are to finish the three novels I have started, and get the next three outlined and in first draft. Have them all up and out there by the end of this year. Maybe have a couple submitted to contests and such. Some of these goals can be accomplished by joining the paid writer's groups, clubs, what have you.

The biggest goal isn't writer related. But it does have an impact on what I'll be able to do financially in finally getting opportunities to get print runs done of the first three books. I don't know how we let ourselves sink to this level, but we need to dig our way out soon. Got a lot of praying to do . . .

Hopefully, I'll be able to have real live books in my hands this year, and my dream of showing up everyone who tried to discourage me or who made fun of my writing dreams will come true.

Feb. 6, 2005

If you've read this far, you know already that I've been accepted into's Edoc program. (Skipping around and hitting lots of high fives with the boys and hubby . . . and a low four with the doggie.) I don't know if that'll make a big difference, but at least they'll be where they can be seen . . . once in a while. And I'll be able to say my stuff is there.

I've also joined AllStarScribes -- a group promo site where we all pool a modest amount of money together to buy ads for us all in various publications on and offline. Again, I'm mostly ebooks, but we'll see. Took out ads on SellWritingOnline. That's drawing some traffic, and I bought a traffic campaign from EasyHits. No sales yet, but it's not over yet, either. And everyone knows, no one -- except me -- buys the first time they visit.

So, we're rolling along here. Next I want to set up a new store on Cafepress just for book promo. Got three sales so far for the Lefty stuff. It's a start!

March 15, 2005


Finally, something's paying off! Pretty sure it's through my ad with SellWritingOnline. Going to be taking another one of those out soon.

Almost ready to send my wonderful worlds in to Amazon. Just need to master the metadata file.

In the meantime . . . it's off to edit Meg's second book. Been told I'm to be hired for the third one. too. Whoa! So Cool!

Well, if you read my other blog to the end, you know my progress with Meg is coming along well. Slow, but well. Life seems to like to cut in and make things go on hold for longer than we want it too.

As for the promo stuff, my ads with SellWritingOnline are pulling in people and hopefully sales. Sole a second book this Monday! The first was an HTML copy of For The Love Of Thomi, and this one was an HTML version of The Resurrection of Joleigh-Anna Kelmann.

I find it odd that, while the sample chapters in both Plain and Pretty versions of PDF are most downloaded, it was HTML versions of the books that sold. I'd need to check my logs from way back, but I don't recall many .exe versions of the free samples have been downloaded. Not for the romances at any rate. For Dalton's Last Stand only because I didn't have a PDF version to offer. I do now.

I wish I knew what that meant. But I don't.

Nov. 25, 2006

Just going to jump in here quick. Been a while. I know. I should be shot.

I've discontinued the pretty pdf versions. They're just too big. HTML will still have graphics, but the pdfs will just have color in the headers and footers. If I decide to do more, it'll be with something lean, so to speak. Try to keep the stories to under five megabytes. Pretty pdf as I had it could get up to 18MB and more.

SWO is history. :( Gotta find more places to toot the ebooks.

Thinking of opening my publishing company to other authors. But--I need to work out the guidelines and all that. Be electronic for now. Can't afford print runs for my own books!

May 25, 2007

Going to finally write a bunch of articles to send out and try to get some attention for my stuff this way. I've sent out a few before, but wasn't consistent with it. One was picked up for publication elsewhere. My article on wakes. Some place is Australia, I believe. Thing is, I would much rather be writing my novels . . . Gotta make myself take the time to do things that would draw some attention to the novels.

Of cours, print versions would probably help.

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More Blogs by Anita M Shaw
• New Cover for Dalton's Last Stand Coming - Wednesday, May 21, 2014
• Spring here at last? - Thursday, April 17, 2014
• Added Cover for Marooned - Friday, February 28, 2014
• Marooned on Planet Earth Update #2 - Tuesday, February 25, 2014
• Coming Up With A Good One . . . - Friday, February 24, 2012
• Editing Marooned . . . and Editing in General - Monday, February 20, 2012
• Cover Art in the Works - Monday, February 20, 2012
• Actual Advertizing - Monday, February 13, 2012
• After the writing is done . . . - Sunday, February 12, 2012
• Finished my Young Adult novel a half hour ago!!! - Saturday, February 11, 2012
• Health issues and Writing - Friday, February 10, 2012
• The Muse of the Writing Fool - Thursday, January 26, 2012
• The Writing Fool's Creative Progress . . . and Process - Friday, November 26, 2004
•  The Writing Fool's Promo Efforts - Sunday, November 21, 2004  

True Blue Forever by Joyce Scarbrough

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