Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hopping and Hoping

Happy Easter everyone!

Tomorrow's the big day and today we're taking the grandchildren out for some fun! What, did you hear it? All of those bunnies? Hopping? All of those eggs, wiggling?

What? You saw some chocolate?

If you're doing what we're doing today, or maybe doing some hunting tomorrow, remember that memories can bring in great ideas, and I'm always in for some great ideas!

So Happy Easter! And don't forget to remember the most important reason we celebrate the big day!


Photo by WillowGardeners, courtesy of Flickr

Friday, March 29, 2013

Free Marketing Class!

Today, take a gander at my new video detailing a marketing class that I will be giving with another Utah author: Jill Vanderwood.

Class is TONIGHT, and it's FREE!

Market Your Book
April 3 (that's a Wednesday)
Holladay Library
2150 E. 4800 S.
7 pm

Get your marketing plan set up and learn some tricks of the trade to get your work out there!

Pre-order this book at the class 
and I'll get an autographed copy out to you!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How I Write My Books

Often the question is asked, "So how do you write a book? There are so many chapters and so much writing to do, how do you ever get it finished?"

Other questions are usually, "How do you get your ideas," or "How do you keep the story going until the very end?"

Questions like these are valid, but often, they get in the way of sitting down and writing your own book.

When I write a book I do a little research. I don't spend days and days on it, because I've learned that I quickly burn out. After a bit of research I get going on my book. Sure, research will then occur during the process of writing, and I make time for it when the occasion comes up, but I don't make my book about the research, I make the focus about the story.

I usually make a goal of a chapter a week. That way, I have a direction to travel. And I try not to think too far ahead, I just take each chapter as it comes.

Ideas come to me in the least likely of places, and sometimes, even from those in my family who have a great idea for my next book. A River of Stones came after I'd been writing the fictional story of a girl named Samantha whose parents were divorcing. Like my personal story, Samantha was confused. She wanted to know if she'd caused the divorce; she wanted to know why her parents didn't love each other any more.

One day, I was watching the Oprah Winfrey show, and someone was talking about a book called, Stones in the River, or something like that. And the idea came for the title.

For Conquering Your Goliaths: A Parable of the Five Stones, my husband read an email and told me about it. "You know, a story about the five stones that David gathered to defeat Goliath would make a great book."

The rest is history.

One way to keep your story going to the very end is to plan out the chapters ahead of time, but since I'm not one to follow what I've written down, I prefer the seat of your pants method. I have an idea of the beginning, an idea of the ending, and some idea of what's going to happen in the middle, but I try to be open to the characters and listen to what they want. And I need to tell you I've never been disappointed.

In the long run, a book must have a good plot and plenty of tension; that's the page turner stuff. And then the character's have to be great, not flat-cardboard varieties, but full blooded real individuals.

How I write books may be different from the way you write books, but the important thing is that we write them, and keep writing them until the end of time.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Knowing How to Link is Important

I am tackling this subject today because yesterday I realized I had done the links incorrectly for my post. I didn't realize it until later when I tried to get into the links and realized my mistake.

I am continually learning to check links before placing them on my blog or sending them through email--I had this problem just recently--and it caused my guest blog to be pulled from another site.

Photo by Yandle, courtesy of Flickr

Granted, writers are rarely technical gurus when it comes to techy stuff, but the more we know the better we look; not only to ourselves, but to the general public. If you find yourself dreading the technical stuff like I do, learn the basics; i.e., how to set up a blog, how to insert links and pictures and video, how to write and send an email, how to connect with social networking fans, and leave the rest of it to someone else.

This would be my husband. He takes care of all of my books (both my literal books and my paychecks) both inside and out. And sure, he is on a learning curve, too, but frankly, my husband likes this end of the book publishing game, and I'm glad he does.

I don't know what I would do without him. Probably hire someone who charges me an arm, a leg and a foot; I don't know. I'm glad he's in my life for many reasons.

Knowing how to link is important, yes, even in your personal life outside of writing.

In case you missed yesterday's post or got discouraged because not of the links would work, here it is again. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Top Writing Posts of 2012 and 2013

Today I wanted to hunker down and take a look at the posts that I have been doing the last couple of years. I wanted to know what you've been reading, and try to get some ideas of what you'd like to hear more of.

Blog writing is an interesting thing. I write a post, and I think, "They're going to love this," and then I get fewer hits than I expected. And then a day comes when I'm merely frustrated with life (Check out my post on Headaches and White Stuff) and you'll get my drift.

And so I'd like to share your favorite posts with you. Especially if you missed one or more of them you may just want to take a gander.
I visited my family. Couldn't get there fast enough.
Photo by: agrrlinterrupted, courtesy of Flickr
 Do you write while on vacation? Take photos that you might be able to use later in your work? Do you consider what may be prepared ahead of time by God or by man, through God, before you even need it? These questions were discussed as I shared my trip to Texas last year.

The post happened recently when I promoted my book, Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2013. I talked about how to get the eBook free as well as gave you a tip on a free book promotion.

3. League of Utah Writer's Conference:

This post focused on the upcoming League of Utah Writer's Conference and the booth I had there. Links were given to the conference. The League of Utah Writer's Conference is held every September.

4. Headaches and White Stuff:

Headaches and White Stuff talked about the constant snow we were receiving here in Utah in January of this year. Yes, I was complaining. Funny that this should make #4. I can't decide if it was the title, or if everyone was as sick of winter as I was.
Yes, taking classes and improving our writing is important, and I'm glad this one made the list. We learn when we take a class because we not only learn from the instructor, but from the students.
So, in a nutshell: You like to vacation, get free stuff, go to writer's conferences, complain a little, and learn some. And if it's in that order, I think things are going just fine!


Monday, March 25, 2013

Marketing Your Book on a Budget a Big Success!

Thank you everyone for your support!

At the highest point, Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2013 reached #3 in the Writing Skills arena, and #4 in the Marketing arena of free books at Amazon!


When one 'window' closes, another opens.
Photo by: pfly, courtesy of Flickr
Did you miss the window?

Don't despair! The eBook is now only $1.99 and the paperback $5.98

I will also be co-teaching a class on Marketing on April 3, 2013 at the Holladay Library; 2150 E. 4800 S. at 7 p.m. All Utah writers that live in or near Salt Lake City, will want to attend this FREE class!

In the class I will be discussing various elements of Marketing Your Book on a Budget. If you want to know how to get book reviews, interviews, connect in social media, advertise for free, and more, you'll not want to miss this class.

I will also be offering a special deal on my book following the presentation for those who are interested.

I look forward to seeing you!


P.S. Some of you may know that my husband went in for emergency gallbladder surgery last week during my book's release. Wow, that was exciting! So you know, he is doing well and returned to work today. Thanks for all the well-wishes!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

FREE Marketing Your Book on a Budget almost OVER!

"If you are ready to market your first book and don't have a lot of time to pour over manuals or money to spend on agencies and ads, then this is your quick guide. A short book that gets right to business. Kathryn gives many easy and cost effective tips, options and ideas toward your next steps. There are also some website links and additional resources when you are ready for more help. Even though I am on my third independently marketed book, I still found useful information and great ideas to incorporate in my marketing plan. Whether you need to be frugal or not, you will quickly gain at least one or two ideas for marketing your book that will work for you."
Saira Priest, author of "Zen of Hoarding"

Books are meant to be read, so why not read them when they come to you FREE?

Today is the last and final day to get my eBook, Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2013, for FREE. If you haven't picked up an e-copy of it yet, you'll want to do it right now.

Here's the link: Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2013.

"If you need a basic outline of how it is done or a refresher on how book marketing has changed, this is a great book. It's full of ideas and how to's. Even though I haven't implemented everything suggested yet, I greedily wish it was longer, because every page is gold"
Michelle Renea Anderson, author of Shelby's Plan 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Marketing Your Book on a Budget--Day 2

Things are really swinging today, both in book sales and personal stuff--my husband is going in for an emergency gallbladder surgery today.

Previous to today, I'd put together a fun video--thank heavens for doing things ahead of time--here it is, and I hope you enjoy!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Marketing Your Book on a Budget Free Today!

“This is an extremely useful little book...jam packed with tips that will help you market your book. Many of us have sweat blood and tears to write and self-publish a novel, and then wondered how we could get it to sell. This book will really help.”
Charlie Bray, author of Open House

Okay, writers, I'm doing a 3-day FREE eBook promotion at Amazon. Today is DAY 1!

Here's what you do: Click here and be transported to Amazon where you can get my eBook, Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2013, for FREE!

Here's a blurb about the book:

How does an author best get book reviews? What of interviews, blogs and social media? How can a new author expect to be seen while crowding the lane with other authors of his/her genre?
Marketing Your Book on a Budget is tiny for a reason; any author can afford it. But be prepared for the endless information enclosed. You'll never wonder again about the best ways to speak up about your book, get free advertising, or learn why postcards can help you get the word out faster and easier than any other way.

It’s easy to say you’re going to market your book, far more difficult to actually do it, but this handy guide will help you every step of the way, even while your heart is pumping wildly the first time you have to speak about your book to someone else.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Authentic Writer

When it comes to marketing your book, you are also marketing yourself. It's not just about the book titles, it about your good name.

When you do events, pass out postcards, speak at a writer's group, you will be leaving behind a message. Not just a message of what you do, what you write, but a message of who you are.

I attended a writer's conference not so long ago and learned a lot about various writers. But I also learned a bit about perception and those thoughts one has when someone says something that just doesn't click with the heart.

The writer may make an excellent point, but somehow you feel that it is interlaced with ego or merely the desire to make lots of money.

Are you an authentic writer?
Photo by laynasaur, courtesy of Flickr
In these situations I try to be open minded, but I'm also cautious. The greatest desire I have as a writer is to be authentic, and to inspire other writers to be authentic.

It does little good (in my opinion) to consider publishing a trunk load of books if these books aren't well thought out, well planned and well executed. That means I know it's the next book I should be working on, that I have the wisdom to plan it out and the courage to write it authentically.

Marketing yourself is like going for that job interview and behaving in such a way that will impress your possible new boss. Sure, you want to wear the right thing, speak in a way that shows you know your stuff, ask questions, and be the sort of interviewee that the boss wants to hire. But in the midst of everything, if you forget to be you in favor of some mock job searcher just hoping to make a bit of extra money, you are missing the point, and possibly even the job.

The same is true for you as a writer. When you speak to a group, do a book signing, reach out with postcards or join in an event, realize that others are watching you. If you write inspiration, do you emanate inspiration? If you write children's books, can you connect with children as well as adults?

Whatever you write, are you more interested in others than in yourself and the sale of your books?

Writers should be positive and upbeat. Sure, there are struggles that must be shared that every writer faces, but in the end it should be about what a writer has to offer the world. In the end, the good news that you are who you say you are, is what every writer will remember most.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Marketing Your Book With Less Stress

I don't know about you, but the idea of talking about my books to a crowd gets my heart pumping without even going there.

Still, I don't think a writer has to live in stress when marketing his/her book.

Take it from me, you really learn as you go, and expecting less than perfection is a good rule to follow.

When I began marketing my first book over 10 years ago I had no idea what to do. I went with a local publishing company but was expected to market my stuff at the drop of a hat. I did some research, and spent some time doing school presentations and book signings, but I really didn't understand, nor did I know what was possible when it came to marketing.

Official Release date: March 21
But for the last few years I've been learning. And let me just say that there is so much more to do now than there was then; and so many more opportunities for writers!

I mention many of these opportunities in my book that will be re-released on March 21. I talk about:

Blog reviews
Blogs, writing your own and guest blogging for others
Social Media
The importance of word of mouth
Speaking engagements
Free advertising
Book Signings (that are fun and worthwhile)
Postcard promotion

All of these I have implemented myself. I have tried these things. There is nothing in my book that I haven't tried and found to be successful, so I only include those things. And let me just tell you, I even have an easier time getting organized (less stress) because I actually have a book with everything together! Before that, I had papers all over the place, and I couldn't find anything!

Imagine that.

I am using the book right now as I put together this blog post, and you can use it, too, when you get out there marketing your book.

Two days to go!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Prepare Yourself...

Things are getting close with my newest book, Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2013, and I wanted my readers to get in on the most information.

On March 21 get the eBook for FREE
On March 22 get the eBook for FREE
On March 23 get the eBook for FREE

Click on the following link: Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2013. It will be FREE on Amazon for Kindle users for exactly 3 days!

If you like the book, and it is a help to you in your own marketing, please write a review. I would really appreciate it. And then pass along the word. Even after the 3 free days, the book will be budget priced:

Get the eBook for only $1.99
Get the paperback for only $5.99

Happy Marketing!


Friday, March 15, 2013

Facebook Friday Video, Dialogue

Facebook Friday Video number 2 is not my of own creation. It comes from Nadia Kalman. The title is: Three anti-social skills to improve your writing.

Find it here:

Listen to a conversation on the bus.
Photo by: momentcaptured1, courtesy of Flickr


Have some fun with this and let me know what you think!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Free Book Marketing

The reviews keep coming! Thank you everyone!

Great Marketing Resource! June 27, 2013
"Anyone looking to market their book will benefit from this book. There are great practical ideas on how to market without breaking the bank. Kathryn E. Jones has done a wonderful job of collecting useful actions an author can do to market his/her book and presenting these ideas in a logical, easy to read, organized book! A must for the determined author! Thanks, Kathryn!"

"Marketing Your Book on a Budget is a useful guide for the first-time author wandering about lost in the wilderness of promotions. Even the pros will find the information beneficial.
Kathryn has arranged the topics in a clear sequence that is easily followed and provided links to the relevant sites.
One can quickly refer to her condensed booklet without having to search through tons of material.
Highly recommended."
Nancy Janes, author

"This handy little market guide is a good investment for every writer who is new at marketing. The pages abound in doable plans presented in a format that is quick to read. Last year my 35th book was published so obviously I have some savvy when it comes to marketing. Still, Kathryn suggests a couple ideas that I hadn't thought of, but I intend to try soon.

When the author does her promised updates, I hope she will include posting reviews of the books one reads as a marketing tool. Those who read the reviews I've posted on Amazon know I am the author of SACKETS HARBOR POWDER MONKEY - THE WAR OF 1812 - a push for me and my most recent title. How's that for name recognition for me and my latest book?"

Short but Pithy--Must Have, May 7, 2013
Valerie W. Stasik
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Marketing Your Book On A Budget (Kindle Edition)

"These days, promotion is pretty much left up to the author, whether self-published or traditionally published, unless you're one of the big names. Jones provides us with some resources we can use right out of the gate, and most of them are free or low-cost opportunities. I first borrowed the book on Kindle, and then ordered it. I also gifted two copies to fellow authors. For the newbie who wonders 'Now what?' when it comes to promotion, this book is a life raft. Using the resources will save a lot of authors many sleepless nights. Help yourself to some peace of mind and order this book."
Author of Incidental Daughter

Lots of great marketing tips in this small book, May 4, 2013
Carol Ann (Claremore, Oklahoma) 
This review is from: Marketing Your Book On A Budget (Paperback)

"Marketing Your Book on a Budget," by Kathryn Elizabeth Jones, is small but full of wonderful inexpensive and free ideas to market your book. Although I have taken many webinars and workshops and read many books, this one gave me some new ideas that will be easy to implement in my book marketing plan. I don't think we can ever learn enough about marketing because it is constantly changing with the advent of social media. Jones does, however, address traditional marketing as well as social media marketing.

Although I have already been using some of these marketing techniques, I gained valuable knowledge that will definitely help me in the future. Every author will find this small book worth reading.

Carol Round, author of 'Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God,' and the companion workbook, 'The 40-Day Challenge.'"
A great marketing guide, May 3, 2013
 Mike Nach
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Marketing Your Book On A Budget (Kindle Edition)

"Kathryn's book is a treasure trove of information for writers who are ignorant about how to market their books after they are published. After reading this book, I realized that you don't have to spend a lot of money to publicize your work.
So, if you want to know how and where to contact reviewers for your book; participate in interviews to publicize your book; have your blog site or write on other's blogs; market your work on the social media; free advertising..... then you gotta have this book!
I enjoyed reading this book."
Marketing Your Book On A Budget, April 28, 2013 Donna J. Thompson (Ohio USA) Amazon Verified PurchaseThis review is from: Marketing Your Book On A Budget (Paperback)

"Tiny book--big information for a beginner like me. Step by step, Kathryn Elizabeth Jones lays out plans to help an author get started. She gives the writer place after place where they can advertise their book for free. Free is good. She makes one realize how important it is to create a website and start to blog. This little gem is filled with ideas everyone who has written a book, or just thinking of writing a book can use. The greatest thing is, Jones makes the task ahead of the Author not seem so frightening or difficult as we first think."

I bought Marketing Your Book on a Budget written by Kathy Jones. It's packed with awesome ideas. Check out her business and what she can do for you at:
Cindy A. Christensen, author

"This little gem is a marketing must for authors. You'll find a golden nugget or two in every chapter. Plus links to sites that are sure to become favorites. A wealth of marketing ideas and resources in a nutshell!"
Bette A. Stevens, author

"GREAT book!
Everyone, I really believe we should all read Kathryn's book 'Marketing Your Book on a Budget'. Worth passing the information forward."
Gail E Dudley, author
"This book is a gem: It's concise, accessible and filled with specific links and concrete suggestions for you to market your book affordably and immediately."
Carolyn Campbell, author of three nationally-published books and 800 magazine articles.

Get the eBook for only $1.99 and the paperback for only $5.38 Plus, follow the instructions at the end of the book and receive all future eBooks FREE! 

Consider the benefits of an inexpensive book "jam packed with tips that will help you market your book"
Charlie Bray, author of Open House

Here's the link:

Consider using the book as a "marketing outline"
Michelle Renae Anderson, author of Shelby's Plan

Consider what YOU can do to market your book with little or no money!

In the process of updating this book, I neglected to add one resource I have personally used. If I'd remembered to place it, the information would have been included in the chapter, "Get Some Free Advertising." is a great site that promotes your book(s) for free, and puts you at the top of the list (you won't have to wait for your book's placement on the site behind other authors who beat you to the task) for only $10. I just sent in the information for my new book, above, and was able to include many links, including links to YouTube videos and a synopsis about my book. Your book cover is included on the site. In addition, promotes your work to various social networking outlets, and you don't pay a dime!

When the 2014 update of Marketing Your Book on a Budget comes out next year, be prepared for additions like this one!

Happy marketing!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Writing by Sunlight

Amazing things happen when it's almost spring. I walk outside to find that the sun has actually come through the clouds and that the air is on the fair side of warm.

Photo by: Kitty Terwolbeck, courtesy of Flickr

What an amazing thing.

Today, after cleaning up the leaf filled porch, I kept the door to my office opened so that the breezes could make their way inside. I sat down and did some work but the work hardly seemed difficult today because of the bright sun.

Ever feel like that?

That somehow, with the extra light, the work becomes light too?

I saw new buds today, peeking out of the earth.
Photo by: geopungo, courtesy of Flickr

I could say that it's about time it started to warm up, but I'd rather focus on the beautiful day than smouldering on what was.

How about you?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

First Drafts

Okay, you guys, I'm almost finished with my first draft of The Feast: A Parable of the Ring. I've just got to add the spiritual guide at the end of the book to make it reflect what I did on the first book, Conquering Your Goliaths: A Parable of the Five Stones.

First drafts are kind of like all the warmth and inner stuff mixed in with some awkwardly constructed sentences and paragraphs. There is joy, and there is yet work.

When I finish my first draft of anything, I usually feel a sense of relief, and then reality kicks in and I realize that it's going to need some editing.

I usually do this in one of two ways:

1. I have some of my writer friends read and critique it
2. I put it out to readers who usually read my genre

Either or both options have helped me thus far, though I will admit hiring a paid editor would also work.

I've spoken a lot about editing, but not much about perspective. It seems like when I write something and I see it, that the seeing doesn't always translate into the same reading material for others. Sometimes this frustrates me, especially when I've worked hard on a scene or phrase and someone editing my book doesn't like it, or 'get it.' There are times I wonder if what I've written has really come from my heart.

When I get feedback that doesn't go along with my game plan, I usually do one of two things:

1. I read the book again out loud (with their suggestions inserted and compare it to my original)
Photo by:, courtesy of Flickr
2. I ask someone else reading the same passage what they thought of it. This usually gives me a good clue if the scene or sentence is really working, or if the problem is just a differing opinion.

Photo by: Charles Haynes, courtesy of Flickr
Just because I like chocolate cake, for example, doesn't mean that everyone does. They might like strawberry or lemon chiffon.

The good news is that, in this case particularly, I can see where they're going, even if it's down another lane.

We all travel down different lanes, and we learn what we need to learn from the words we read. Who says we all need to learn exactly the same thing at exactly the same time?

Have you ever written something that a reader took a different way than you originally meant it? I'd like to hear about it.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Time is Now

I don't know about you, but time for writing often comes following cleaning the house. I hate my house being dirty, but sometimes I spend so much time cleaning that I don't get to my writing until about noon.

Photo by: Moyan Brenn, courtesy of Flickr
Take today for example. After I straightened the house, did the dishes, got my granddaughter situated with Sesame Street and snacks on a blanket, and then more snacks on a blanket, returned some emails, and worked on my Sunday School lesson (yes, I also teach adults every other Sunday) I looked at the clock.

11:38 it read.

So here I am. My granddaughter is calling for me.

"What do you need?" I ask.

"I need you to get some pretzels," she replies. She likes the pretzels in a special way; in the Ariel cup. Here I go...

I'm back. It's 11:40.

Photo by: Alan Cleaver, courtesy of Flickr
The time is now to write.

Do you ever feel as if writing can't come first, and if it does you're continually getting up and doing something else?

It's okay. I understand, and so do many other writers who are juggling children, chores, phone calls and door shopping, errands, sick children...

I just want you to know something. You can do it. The time is now even if you can't write straight through a sitting. The time is now. So get writing.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Better Done Than Perfect

We are writers but we are also editors. Still, what happens when we continue to edit until our dying day? What if we've edited the heart and soul out of our work trying to make it perfect?

Photo by littlegemtrees, courtesy of Flickr

One of my favorite sayings lately is, "Better done than perfect." I like it because after all the writing, after all of the editing, there comes a time when a writer needs to say:

I love this photo. Ever feel divided in your writing?
Write first, travel the road awhile, then edit.
Photo by: The Tire Zoo, courtesy of Flickr

One of the reasons why we need to stop is mentioned in the first paragraph. We lose the heart and soul of our work. Another reason we need to stop is because our writing will never be perfect anyway, so the best news is that we can see that and move on.

Does that mean we don't need to do our best? To edit? To create our best work?

Of course not. But if we are going over and over that first chapter, we will never make it to chapter two. And neither will we have a complete novel.

I read a book a couple of years ago that was riddled with errors. I'm not talking say,1-5 throughout the book, but on every page. Every page. But I need to let you know something. The book was good. It wasn't excellent, but it was good.

A good story always needs to trump slick editing. And if the editing is done to a good story, you've got a pretty excellent book.

So if you're stopping yourself on every sentence, or every page, or every chapter to "fix stuff"

STOP! Don't look back (until much later) and keep moving forward.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2013 Needs Reviewers

Do you want to get your hands on an electronic copy of Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2013?
Release date: March 21, 2013
Well, I'm in need of some book reviewers!

Here's what you need to do if you're interested:
  • Write me back here, telling me of your interest. I will get a pdf out to you within the day. (The book is a short read: under 50 pages).
  • I'm not looking for experienced reviewers, but I am looking for writers who need help with marketing their book(s). You can be a new or established writer, but you have to also be in the market for learning more about getting the word out about your book.
  • I need reviewers who are willing and able to post their reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Goodreads is nice as well. If you have a blog, and can post it there, that's even better.
If this is you, please let me know.

Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2013 will be released on March 21. Without getting ahead of myself, there will be some fine deals during that time too, but keep in mind that if you decide to review my book, you'll get a nice head start!

One more thing!

You're not comfortable doing a review? Here's what I'll do. If you take a picture of yourself reading one of my books--and that means any of my books--and send me a photo of yourself reading one of my books,  I'll send you a free advanced copy! But March 20th is the deadline. Send your photo to: and I'll send out your pdf copy! That's all. Just be prepared for your photo to show up somewhere soon on my website!

I'm getting excited to share even more inexpensive marketing tools! If you read my book last year, Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2012, you found some great ideas. Be prepared for an update, including more links!

I'm excited to hear from you!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Is Your Setting Hiding Behind a Bush?

What about setting?

Does your dialogue take over; so much so that you have no idea where your characters are standing, what colors surround them, how it smells in the summer where they are standing?

Yes, for some of us, using setting is sort of like plucking our eyebrows, either we do too much or we do too little.

What do you think this woman is saying to herself? What does the setting reveal?
Photo by: titoy', courtesy of Flickr
Here's how to balance it.

Start with what you do best. If it's dialogue, go at it. Get those characters speaking. If it's setting, get it all out; the smell of the grapes, the taste of the watermelon, how the light flickers off of  her hair, but get it out.

Now, after you've finished with your chapter, go back and fill in the gaps. You'll know where they are. Either you'll have dialogue with characters sort of floating somewhere, or you'll have tons of setting that is beautifully written but that really doesn't move your story along. Read what you've written out loud and make adjustments.

If you find that your dialogue and setting is fairly balanced, good for you! Go on to chapter 2. Continue the process until your book is finished.

If you need some help with dialogue: Record some dialogue at a restaurant you're at, in the bus or at a park. Play it back at home. Notice how people really speak and incorporate that into your story.

If you struggle with setting: Cut out some pictures from a magazine. Use them in a binder and when you feel the block coming on, open up the binder and choose a photo to write about.
Your setting might be beautiful, but is it too much?
Photo by: thekeithhall, courtesy of Flickr

You don't want your setting to get lost behind a bush, but neither do you want it to stand out like a sore thumb. You want readers to finish your book, not get bogged down because of all of the setting details.

I'm done. Now have some fun.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Do Your Characters Take Over Your Book?


Let them.

I mean it. Say you have a great outline, and the story is moving along steadily as you outlined it, when all of a sudden your character says to you:

"Wait, I don't want to do that! I wouldn't do that!"


Photo by: Jagz Mario, courtesy of Flickr
They simply stop speaking and turn down another lane.

I don't know about you but I like it when my characters take over. They know themselves better than I do anyway, and if something in their story isn't feeling right to them, I like it that they have the confidence to do something else.

I'm glad I no longer hang onto them with a short rope.

There's something amazing and good that happens when your characters take over. It's kind of like inspiration and dictation all at the same time. And I'd like to think that my story will be better for it.

  • So, you have a great ending, but your characters don't like it. Change it.
  • You're midway through your book and your main character says, "I shouldn't be doing that yet, I've got these other mountains to climb first," or something under those lines. Slow down.
  • Your stumped, you're stuck. Listen.
I promise you, it will be worth it.