Posted in books, marketing, mother & daughters, writers

Marketing – that chess game

 

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Regardless of your profession, marketing is like a chess game. You need to know the right strategies to become a winner.

In today’s market, the King and Queen are most assuredly Social Media, but the mere mention of it sends chills down most entrepreneurs’ backs. As an author, I can safely say that many of us (writers) entered the literary world thinking, “if we write it, they will come.”

Ah, nope. Doesn’t happen that way. In today’s literary world, even if you are linked with one of the big five publishing houses, you are expected to do a lot of your own marketing – and that includes social media.

First, we need to understand how to find the RIGHT social media for our products, whether that is a book, a new dress line, a landscaping business… EVERYONE needs to market.  With dozens (and I’m sure I will miss some) social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, where do you begin?

Start with demographics:  What age group or social economic group would be most interested in your product?  As an example, as a writer of women’s fiction, primarily with mother-daughter themes, my target audience is women of child bearing age or older (like Grandma’s). Although there is most definitely some within my bracket that would frequent other social media sites, the vast majority would fit into the Facebook, Pinterest, and a growing number on Instagram groups. The odds of large numbers of my target market using Snapchat, Twitter or Tumbler is much smaller. So I’ll stick with where I can reach the most of my audience.

Second,  as discussed in my past blog post, Branding. Wouldn’t it be great to have a recognizable brand like the McDonald arches? We may never compete with the McDonald arches or the Nike check mark, but we can, become recognized in our own circle – for me – the literary circle. My goal is when someone thinks “mother-daughter stories”, they will think of Joanne Simon Tailele. How does that happen? Truthfully, very slowly.  Use every opportunity you can to promote your brand – no- I did not say your product.  No one is going to invest in your product until they’ve bought into your brand – that you are the go-to person for that subject.

Last,  consistency. Whichever social marketing tool you decide works best for you, stick with it. Post often. Keep it short and entertaining. The place for longer posts are on blogs, such as this one. Social media is the fast lane.  Don’t give up. Your followers will come, and your product will  have its chance to shine.

Now it’s your turn. What business are you in and how do you use social media to  promote it? What  avenue works best for you and why? Leave a comment here and you’ll be automatically entered to win an e-book of your choice of mine. You can find them on my website; joannetailele.com   Now, go out there and jump into the social media pool.

 

 

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Posted in authors, books, editing, fire, writers

Why the Name

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People have asked me why I chose the name, Writing Under Fire, for my blog. Many times, finding the time to write is near impossible with my busy life.  Therefore, even though writing is my passion, I must put my “feet to the fire” and force myself not to let  distractions like, eating, sleeping, working my day job, cleaning house, cooking (trust me, nobody want me to do that.)  Who needs that stuff anyhow?

Are you burning the candle at both ends?

Writers, do you struggle to find the time to write? What is your secret to keep you writing? Do  have a dedicated time every day to write? Do you scratch out words sitting in your car to pick up kids from school, or sitting on a bench during your child’s soccer practice?

Or if you are an avid reader, do you skip other essentials in order to read? I’d love to hear from you.

#writing #reading #passion

Posted in authors, books, characters, writing

It’s NANO time

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It’s November 1st – that means another year of NANOWRIMO. No idea what that means? NAtional  NOvel WRIting MOnth.

Join hundreds of thousands of other authors in the writing challenge to write a complete novel in thirty days. That’s right. Thirty days. Criteria must be a minimum of 50,000 words. That’s it. Any genre, any style of writing.

For those of you already familiar with NANOWRIMO, you have probably been planning and outlining like crazy getting ready for this event. But even if you haven’t, you can still jump into the fun. Can you write 1667 words per day? You’ll never know unless you try.

My first novel, Accident, was a NANO book, squeaking through at 50,000 and a few words. By the time, it was ready to roll off the presses (two and half years later), it had grown into a grown-up novel of 80K.

A few things to keep in mind when you write your NANO book.

  1. You don’t have time to edit. (that comes later)
  2. Write with fearless abandon, whatever crazy thing comes into your head. (you can always cut the crap, and most definitely will)
  3.  Put your characters in perilous predicaments. Up the stakes but putting them through things you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
  4. Although you will stay up all night thinking of stuff to write, and rush to the PC (or Mac) or reach for a quick pen and paper, pace yourself. You still have a life, and a family that wonders what the heck you are doing. Want time to gobble down that turkey with family? Write double your word count the days before. Need three days? Then crunch the time in ahead of time.
  5. There is no one to judge what you wrote, so just have fun with it.
  6. What will you win? The satisfaction of knowing you have just WRITTEN A NOVEL. How many people can say that?
  7. Log on to the NANO website and get all the scoop. And don’t forget to log your progress. There are others out there helping to cheer you on. nanowrimo.org/

Good Luck and Happy Writing

Posted in agents, authors, publication, writers

Mysterious World of Publication Post 6

G for Goals picture

Pretty simple: Goal = to be traditionally published.

Thanks for all of you sticking with me through my journey. So now comes the good news and the bad. The good . . . no, let me take that back, the GREAT news is that an agent requested a partial on my manuscript.

The not bad, but not great news. That is still a long way away from signing a deal. She didn’t ask for an exclusive, so I am moving forward submitting queries. And yes, I am still on target at seven a week, but in the back of my mind, I keep thinking:

What if it isn’t good enough?

What if it is?

How much will an agent or publisher want me to change?

Will my title go down the drain?

How do I feel about giving up the control I enjoy as a self-published author?

As you can see, I have more questions than I do answers.

But hang in there with me. I am only a few months into my goal of finding an agent within a year.

Have you recently found an agent? How long did it take you? Has your agent found you a publisher? I would love to hear about your journey as well.

Please comment. If you do, I will put your name in the hate for a copy of one of my currently published books; your choice, Accident, Town Without Mercy, What is Family or Within Her Grasp.

Posted in agents, authors, contract, publication, query, synopsis

Mysterious World of Publication Post #5 No More Excuses

I made it through the funeral of a beloved soldier. RIP SSG. Danny Wenger. I tried to stay up to to date on the Query/Synopsis class from WFWA during that ordeal. Laura Drake (bless her heart) helped me tighten my query. Then I made it through a move away from my beloved island. (even if it is only five miles down the road) Everything is put away, pictures are hung, everything is in the exact right place. So…. no more excuses. Time to get back to sending out queries for my manuscript.

So far, I have sent out sixteen queries, eight have responded with form letter “no thank-you’s” and eight have been silent, which is most likely eight more rejections. But stubborn as I am, I’m not going to close those out in Query Tracker until sixty days. How many of you use Query Tracker? It is super to keep things organized and at a quick glance.

Armed with a fresh new query and a synopsis I am still not totally sure of (is anybody?), I am jumping back into the arena. I have had friends tell me that “nobody has a chance at the Big Five unless you are already James Patterson or the like.” I don’t believe it. Within the last couple of weeks, several of my WFWA friends have signed contracts with publishers. If they can do it, so can I.

#Dorothy Van Soest is excited to announce the release of her new novel, #At The Center by Amazon.

#Barbara Claypole White‘s next novel, #Missing in Madness was sold to Lake Union Publishing in a two book deal by Nalini Akolekar at Spencerhill Associates!

Congratulations to both of you!!

My goal, send seven queries in the next seven days, and seven more the next week, etc. Hold me to my task.

Are you out there querying? Getting discouraged? Let’s band together and support each other. Smack me upside my virtual head  when I whine, when I want to quit. And I’ll do the same from you. I would love to hear from other struggling authors, waiting to be discovered. Perhaps we can share queries and synopsis to help tweak us into fame and fortune – or at least publication.    #nomoreexcuses   #strugglingauthors  #roadtopublication.

Posted in adoption, agents, books, publication, target audience, writer

#The Mysterious World of Publication

This week I entered a new phase in my writing career. I would like to take you along on this journey with me. Are you  already one of my fans? Thank You. Your belief in me spurs me on. A fellow writer? Come along on this ride with me. Perhaps we can learn together. Maybe . . . you ran across my blog site by accident or from a previous post. I hope you’ll stick around and follow my progress.

Up until this week, I have been a self-published author. I’ve experienced modest success. I know my writing improves with each book, and finally, I feel like stepping into the mysterious  world of traditional publication.

If your are a reader outside of the industry you may not know the process, but I assure you, this is going to be a fun ride.

First things first. What are my goals?  To find an agent that will sell my book to a reputable publisher. So . . . do I have a marketable book? I believe I do. My target audience is clear and defined – #women book-club readers that like stories that provoke debate, with current issues that they, as a reader could put themselves into and ask, “What would I do in that situation?”

My new book is about international adoption and the process called re-homing. Never heard of it? Well, as much as it is not illegal (except to advertise children for money), unbelievable to me, it is rather covert. Want an eye opener? Google re-homing children.  Enough said.

So what’s my next step? Is it edited (and edited and edited) until it’s the best that it can be.  Check and double check.

Now we are moving into the starting gate.

So with a helpful list from WFWA (Women’s Fiction Writers Association) and the online database, “Query Tracker” I started my search for an agent. Using the parameters of: a)agents accepting Women’s Fiction, b)were currently open to new submissions and c)were in the United States (not that I have anything against agents from other countries, but I thought I’d start local) I narrowed it down to only 122 agents. That’s all, you ask? That’s plenty, trust me.

My#goal is this – research agents every week and choose one a day to submit my query letter to. Seven queries a week until I get representation.  Are you  with me?  This week I met my goal of seven queries. I should make it through the list by Christmas (If I haven’t received representation) I also know it takes 6-8 weeks before I should expect a response. So bear with me.

As my fans, my friends or even my stranger, I will share my struggles and my joys as I go down this new path. You will get an inside seat into the life of a struggling writer. And in the end, I know you will celebrate my victory with me.  So grab your hat and hang on. It’s going to be a fun ride.

Posted in authors, books, coming of age, novels, teenager, writer's block, writing

The Writer’s Block Tip#7 by Jason Rekulak

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Tip# 7  Most Likely to Succeed

Many writers seem to have a rough time in high school – how else can you explain the frustrated teenager protagonists of novels like A Separate Peace or The Catcher in the Rye? The good news is, the most exhilarating – and embarrassing – moments of adolescence can be channeled into great fiction, and you can summon the memories just by opening your Senior Class yearbook.

Imagine what happened to “Most Likely to Succeed” and “Most Popular.” Write about the class clown who defied everyone’s expectations and became a celebrity. Tell us which of your former teachers initiated an affair with one of his or her students. Show us the secret life of the Cafeteria Lunch Lady. Relive the glacial passage of time in a high school detention session, or the petty jealousies involved I the planning of the school musical.

Use as many of your high school memories as you wish, but feel free to embellish or alter “the truth” as you go along. Personal revenge fantasies that involve “Most Popular” are permitted.

By Jason Rekulak

Can you recall a high school incident that you can twist into a storyline in your current WIP? Tell us about it – fully embellished – and please no real names of characters.

Posted in books, characters, fiction, novels, writing

The Writer’s Block Tip #6 by Jason Rekulak

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Real People   by Jason Rekulak

Pat Conroy hit bestseller lists with his novel The Prince of Tides – but Conroy’s sister recognized so much of herself in the story that she never spoke to her brother again. This kind of family reaction is a serious concern for many of us, and often the fear will develop into full blown writers block. After all, how can you write honestly about the failings of your father if you’re certain he’ll recognize himself in your manuscript? Thankfully, there are simple techniques for disguising any real-life individuals who inspire your fiction. You can modify or exaggerate a person’s physical appearance –  give Dad an extra thirty pounds. perhaps, or change the color of Mom’s hair. Changing their occupations is another good idea – many people define themselves almost exclusively by their careers. Also, feel free to blur or change the relationships among your characters. If you’re writing very auto-biographical fiction, the character of your sister could easily be a roommate, cousin, best friend or co-worker. Your father could appear in the guise of a boss, neighbor, teacher of shopkeeper. By consciously altering the truth, you’ll actually develop your characters into more “real” fictional creations.

Thank you Jason.  Now readers – it’s your turn. Have you used a family member as a profile for a character in your book? Did you alter as Jason suggests, or is your character a mirror image of…. the sister that could do no wrong?… the father that never stood up to your domineering mother?…. the grandmother that kept it all together?…

I’ll go first. In my first novel, Accident, the grandmother, Esther is a blended version of my own mother and my grandmother, who, incidentally, really was named Esther and did speak broken Swedish.

Posted in authors, books, faction, history, military, non-fiction, novels

FACT BASED FICTION “FACTION”

Per Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia:

Faction is a literary genre, which utilizes fictional characters, and plot lines that must remain within the constraints of current reality. The authors tend to take current and recent-past events, and postulate what is likely or very possible to happen due to these events, utilizing current technology.

In this way faction differs from fiction, which does not have constraints to stay within reality, non-fiction novels, which take actual past persons and events and fictionalize their story….

                              *                        *                        *       

 By Vince D’Angelo

My time with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific provided many interesting experiences.  Since none involved combat or other heroics, I found little reason to share them. A houseguest’s curiosity about my military service compelled me to discuss those experiences. My guest found my anecdotes intriguing and suggested I write about them. After a few hastily constructed chapters, my guest commented, while still engaging, it read too much like a documentary. To me, the events were the facts and I couldn’t change them. Or, could I?

I recalled a book discussion on television where an author said his novel was based on actual events but fictionalized.  Asked if the novel was considered fiction or non-fiction, the author answered, “Faction”.  I heard the term used again in other literary discussions.

Thus, I embarked on writing a novel based on my experiences in the navy. I completed the manuscript; the process was easy since all I needed to do was to recall events. It met with praise…from family and friends and the former houseguest.  I titled it, Tales from the Pacific.

I was inspired to continue writing. So I cannibalized one of the chapters and expanded it into a novella titled, No-Name Island.

I decided to write another novel, this one based on my shore leave in Hong Kong, China; a British Crown Colony at the time. I was very much taken with the exotic Far East city.  It was the most memorable experience of my naval career and the inspiration for the new novel, Out of Hong Kong.

*                          *                          *      

BOOK COVER Vince De'Angleo

No-Name Island: Post World War II, a six-man navy detachment is sent on a highly classified mission to map a remote, uninhabited tropical island. Instead, they find a leper colony manned by a mysterious medical staff. Also, a hidden encampment of men and women survivors of an accidentally sunk Japanese hospital ship, who are not aware the war is over. Unlikely scenarios for romance? Not quite.

Out of Hong Kong Vince D'Angelo

Out of Hong Kong: A young navy officer on shore leave in Hong Kong unintentionally finds himself in a brothel. The girl assigned to him is a ‘first time’ teenaged virgin desperately attempting to earn quick money to free her parents enslaved by mainland communists. His attempt to save her from becoming a prostitute puts both their lives in danger. They fall in love but are forcibly separated. He goes back to his ship not knowing what has happened to her. He returns to Hong Kong numerous times over the years, attempting to find her.

Thanks to Vince D’Angleo for his input on writing “Faction.”

Authors: Do you write faction? How do you market it?  What have been your experiences.

Readers: Do you like reading faction – fact based novels? Why or why not?

We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment.