Archive for February, 2011

The Quiet Mind

There’s no avoiding the truth: some days it’s darned hard to sit down and get started writing, even though I love what I do and (usually) love the story I’m working on. It’s hard to jump into a fantasy world with all the real-life worries vying for attention in my mind. Did I pay the electric bill? What time is that dentist appointment? Will my editor call today with news about that new contract I’ve been waiting on? The dogs are fighting. The kids are fighting. Hubby is pouting because I spend more time with my manuscript than with him.

Sometimes I think what we writers call procrastination, or even <gasp> WRITER’S BLOCK is really just an inability to hear our stories above all the other clattering and chattering going on in our minds.

Over the years I’ve tried multiple techniques to achieve the quiet mind and hear my story, all with varying degrees of success. As my tip today, I offer a few of these to you.

1) Trained Yoga or Meditation. Take some classes at the gym. Learn to do it. It helps.

2) Poor Writer’s Meditation. Buy a guided meditation recording and practice it. Usually this involves sitting still, focusing on breathing, then visualizing a scene or series of scenes as the guide talks you through it. Focusing on that one scene washes all the other junk out of your brain.

3) Even Poorer Writer’s Meditation. Record your own guided meditation. Talk yourself through sitting still, breathing evenly and deeply. Then take yourself on a trip through some calming places and into your story world. I actually did this during a rough patch a couple of years ago. My first scene afer the breathing part was on a beach. I felt the hot sand between my toes, the sun in my eyes and then on my shoulders. I turned off the beach into a tropical jungle where it was cooler and darker. I walked down a path to an ancient stone ruin with high walls. Inside those walls was my story world. As I walked on the beach and into the jungle, I consciously left outside concerns behind. Inside the ruins, I watched my story play out for a few moments (the part I’d already written). By the time I finished the meditation, I was firmly grounded in my story world, other cares were banished behind the wall, and I was ready to write.

4) Breathing exercises. At a minimum, learn to do this, and practice before every writing session. Just Google it. You’ll find pleny of instructions online.

5) Stretching exercises. Feel oh-so-good and help clear the brain. If you take a break during your writing day and feel your mind wandering before you sit down to start again, do some stretches. It gets the blood flowing. Again, many instructions online.

6) Scents. Scientists say our sense of smell has great ability to impact our brain. Light a scented candle before each writing session. Pretty soon you’ll have trained your brain that when you smell that odor, it’s time to write.

Hope that helps!

100-day challengers, how are you doing??????????????????????????????

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Are Publicists the new Agents?

In my last post, I talked about the ebook/ereader  revolution and how the publishing industry seems to be turning itself inside out. I questioned how the model would evolve and what it would eventually look like. As a reflected on that question, a revelation came to me: Publicists are the new Agents.

In the traditional model, authors need to sell a book to a publishing house to see their book in print (or online as an ebook)–vanity publishing aside, which is another story. Agents facilitate that process by sifting through the plethora of hopefuls for the talented few, and using their knowledge of the acquiring editors and publishing house needs to sell the book–for a portion of the proceeds, of course.

There is nothing wrong with this model. It has worked well for decades.

But in the new model, authors don’t need to sell to a publishing house to see their book for sale. They can write, format and upload to Amazon.com. Wah-la! Published author. No agent required.

However they still don’t get paid until they actually sell books.

This time, however, they’re selling the books to consumers instead of editors. How not to get lost in the burgeoning catalog at Amazon.com or other sites?

Author A has written a darned good book. She decides for any one of many possible reasons she doesn’t want to go the traditional route. She formats her book and uploads it. The only problem is, she needs to spend her time writing her next book, not selling the previous one. And she’s a bit of an introvert, as most authors are, so marketing is tough for her. And she doesn’t have a big budget for promotion, as this is her first book.

Enter…the publicist. She keeps her eye on that catalogue. Maybe she even advertises for submissions to her firm. She can help that new author who has uploaded that great book but doesn’t know how to sell it. She is a whiz at social media, has an “in” with all the important blogs, review sites and magazines. She has her own lists with tens of thousands of followers.

Author, she says. You wrote a great book. Now get to work on the next one and let me sell it for you…for a portion of the proceeds, of course.

Whew! says the author. All that messy marketing stuff off my plate, and my sales skyrocket.

The only difference is that the agent, in today’s model, is selling to a publishing house. The publicist is selling to consumers. Both are going to take a commission (or possibly flat fee) for this service. Both create an income stream for the author.

So…I’ll go out on the limb and predict that is where the new model is going. I expect to see publicists marketing themselves hard to that author base choosing to go their own way instead of through a publishing house, and more and more authors choosing that route, with help from a publicist to acheive the sales number they desire.

If you’re that outgoing, tuned in kind of person with an entrepenurial spirit, now is the time to set up a publicity company. There will be some money to be made in this market very soon. Current agencies…this is a service you might want to look into in your nexty strategic planning meeting.

As for my ability to see the future, no, I don’t have ESP. But did I tell you my grandmother was a gypsy (or “traveller” as she preferred to be called). My family history is full of palm reading and crystal balls…

Publishing Industry Turning Itself Inside-out

Borders announced this week it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A statement from management said they did not have enough capital to continue as a viable competitor in the industry.

This doesn’t mean all the Borders stores will be closing their doors, as far as I know. But it certainly doesn’t bode well for brick-and-mortar bookstores, and that is such a shame. What if they were to fail in the restructuring attempt? Barnes and Noble would remain as the last man standing, a virtual monopoly, and how long would they last against the online sales markets?

I guess the good news is that books aren’t going the way of the dinosaurs (yet) just bookstores.

I love bookstores. I could easily lose a whole Saturday or Sunday afternoon perusing the shelves, skimming through opening chapters and backcover copy to decide which were worth purchasing and which went back on the shelf for someone else. Online outlets like Amazon.com just aren’t the same. Sure, they provide easy home access and huge selection, but I can’t run my fingers over the spine. I can’t turn to a random page and read to see if the exciting opening holds up for the rest of the story.

I can’t smell the paper and ink.

Then there’s the e-book revolution. We knew years ago it would come, and it sure has. More titles are available. Sales are skyrocketing. Last week the New York Times even started publishing an e-book bestseller list.

Authors can publish without spending tens of thousands of their dollars on a vanity press or going through the traditional publishing house system, which has been killing whole forests to make enough paper to print the tons of rejection letters they send each year. Literary agents are unnecessary middlemen when a writer can upload her book and sell it herself a major outlet like Amazon.com, right?

Maybe, maybe not. There are still plenty of kinks to work out in the business model.

But it does seem as if the whole publishing industry is turning inside-out.

What remains to be seen is, when it’s done, will the new being be a beauty, or a beast?


Available Now!

western romance novel boxed set

7 men as tough as the West. 7 women ready to Cowboy Up

Available Now!

Psychological Suspense short story with a bonus inspirational short story included

Coming Soon from Vickie Taylor

Fantasy Romance Novella

What am I reading today?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker - Just started, but I'm intrigued so far!

Last five books read:

TEXAS GOTHIC - Rosemary Clement-Moore - Awesome! Great fun and spooktastic at the same time!

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN - Ransom Riggs - Really creative idea. Enjoyed it very much!

BOOTSCOOTIN' BLAHNIKS - D.D. Scott - Very enjoyable, fun book!

THE GOOD DAUGHTER - Diana Layne - Awesome! Get it now!

GOT YOUR NUMBER - Stephanie Bond - Fun little mystery!

What’s on my TBR List?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker

Reader’s Guide to E-publishing

Find your next e-book here!

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