Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: BestsellerBound

“Writing Is Like . . .” << This Is A Meme-Challenge

Writing is like...

Writing is like dating a metaphysical goddess !!

It was only four days ago I wrote, When The Muse Speaks . . ., then, yesterday, Darcia challenged me to complete the prompt, Writing is like…”. I take the near appearance of those two events as an instance of synchronicity; and, the metaphysical goddess that my muse is certainly knows how to operate through synchronicity…

The process of writing a book, for me, begins with my muse asking me out on a date. The “asking me out” is her way of slipping me an idea she wants me to develop into a book length piece of writing.

When it comes to this blog, I usually do the asking out.

This post, however, had Darcia unwittingly invoking my muse’s ability to use events I’m not directly involved with to bring me a chance to interact with the wider writers’ community.

In that post I linked to up there, When The Muse Speaks…, I give some information about how I formed a deep and entitized relationship with my muse–she is extremely real to me and has been since my twenties.

We are, in fact, married and, yes, we still go out on dates :-)

Of course she’s metaphysical because she’s an intimate part of my mind; yet, she has her autonomy–oh, my, yes she has her own independent way of living!

There are times I call her and she’s nowhere to be seen. There are times I’d rather use my own little ego-mind and she cuddles up and insists we work together.

She’s a goddess because she has creative power and she knows more about morality and proper behavior than I could master on my own.

One thing though: she guides my conscious mind when I write–I don’t feel like I’m sitting here taking dictation–I feel like I’m just me intending to purposefully convey what I think.

One thing more: All my writing may resemble what I thought I’d decided to put down but resemblance is not the same as identity–all my writing surprises me

My muse may not seem to be there telling me what to write but she’s always “there”, even when I don’t see her and she won’t talk to me and I can’t catch a whiff of her fragrance.

She’s my wife and she’s trained me well :-)
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Readers’ Reprise

This blog’s subtitle is “Reading, Writing, and Publishing”.

And, even though the most recent results of our Survey show Reading with only 6.25% of the vote for topics on this blog, I thought it was time for, at least, a short recap of some of the things said here about Reading and Readers.

The post, Book Bloggers ~ Just for The Love of It :-), has this quote:

““Book bloggers love to read books and to recommend them to their own followers. There are scores of avid bloggers in every genre, out there reviewing thousands of books and interviewing hundreds of authors every year. They do this for pleasure, and are a very diverse crowd…”

It also has links to places to find Book Bloggers.


The post, What Kind of Feedback Do Writers Need? What Helps Them Most?, begins with a bit of out-of-date info on how to get your name and bio in my book. Well, the book is already published :-) But there’s also a discussion on what writers need from readers and what readers can learn about what they have to offer writers. There’s also a great list of quotes about “criticism”.

In the post, Do You Write For The Reader or Should You Write For Yourself?, I do a bit of exploration of what I call the Meta-Reader–the reader inside the author

I will write more posts about Reading and Readers but I thought I’d let new folks discover these four posts and, hopefully, have a few regulars re-discover them :-)
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Alien’s Book Receives Second Review…

Darcia Helle from BestsellerBound has reviewed Notes from An Alien on GoodReads :-)
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Do Pre-Publication Promotion And Sanity Go Together ?

So someone writes a book and wants other people to buy it.

The day that book comes out, there will be at least 2,000 other books seeing the light of day.

Hence, all the talk about pre-publication promotion, author platforms, and a writer’s audience.

If you try to do everything that everyone says to promote a book you’ll evaporate in a cloud of angst.

My book will be published in late May and I began pre-publication promotion about a year and a half ago–long before I began writing the book. I took the idea and themes of the book and shared them as widely as I could. It gave me some valuable information on the small percentage of people who would be interested in the book I would write :-)

There are not as many people interested in a book that tells the story of going from seemingly interminable war to an enduring and noble peace as there are folks who would rather escape reality with a good vampire story.

I’ve got nothing against anyone’s reading appetite but I do need to be clear about my book being potentially hard to sell.

So, for months now (since the book was being written and through the editing processes), I’ve been trying various recommended ways to promote it.

I learned early-on to steer clear of people and sites that were trying to sell me some amazing method they claimed would guarantee  sales of my book when it’s released. I guess I’m just an Eskimo and those folks are trying to sell me snow

The key approach I’ve learned is called, by some, Relationship Marketing:

Let people get to know you, share your goals and philosophy, give them support in what they’re doing; then, maybe they’ll be interested in your book…

And, even if they don’t want your book, they may know someone who does.

Before I learned some of the finer points of relationship marketing, I was introduced to Seth Godin’s book, Unleashing The Idea Virus (buy it here or download it free here).

Very basically, he talks about finding “hives” (or tribes) of people and unleashing your idea, thereby “infecting” people with it. The best thing that can happen is for the tribe to have a lot of “sneezers”–people who naturally share anything they like as widely as they can.

Relationship marketing contains elements of Godin’s ideas plus social networking.

I tried, as hard as I could, to utilize Facebook and Twitter but I’ve pulled my involvement in both way back; the signal to noise ratio is just too heavily weighted toward “noise” for a book like mine to make much impact.

During the months I was trying to use those tools, I slowly became quite temporarily insane :-)

Luckily, I also started this blog and worked to build friendships with other writers with blogs…

I’ve also been using the virtual world, Second Life, to build a network of friends who might like my book. You can read more about that here and here.

Now, here I am, a little over two months from book launch, brain-frazzled, but willing to forge ahead and work my way back to sane coherency in my promotion efforts.

My methods and mistakes are certainly not a guide for any other writer. Each of us has to evaluate the potential pools of readers and how best to approach them; each must select their own set of tools.

One bit of advice I think could apply across the board is to incorporate relationship-building into your promotion efforts. I think you’ll find the results will last a lot longer :-)
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Author Interview ~ Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick

It gives me much pleasure welcoming Joel here today for the interview. He gave me (and a lot of other people) a wonderful gift that he’ll be explaining :-)

Welcome, Joel ! Where are you from and how old are you?

I’ll be 52 on my next birthday. I’ve just forgotten when that is. Oklahoma is my birthplace, I’m a farm kid, but I’ve called many places home.

When did you begin writing and can you remember how it felt inside, back then?

The writing disease nearly struck over twenty years ago. A story materialized, and I wrote about thirty pages of it. It’s utterly gone, nothing of it remains. My younger brother wanted to co-write a science fiction back in the early ‘90s, so I started all the research for the project. That fell apart too, but the tiniest spark remained with me for all those years. When I began in earnest, to write an actual book, it was the science fiction which drew me back. I have to admit, I gave myself to it completely, loving every second I could spend writing or doing research.

Was there any certain date or time you remember when you began to either think of yourself as or call yourself a “writer”?

After that first chapter of Harmony’s Passing. The project had a life of its own, and that told me it could be something very real.

What are your hopes, or dreams, or goals for your writing?

I just want to hear that people like what I’ve created. I don’t have any illusions this will bring fame, or pay the rent.

Have you had any “formal” training in the art of writing?

Only the high school brand. There was that year and a half that I studied Journalism, but that was mostly newsprint page design, and exercises in writing snappy headlines. This was years before the computer revolution, and it couldn’t hold my interest. I never bought into the self-aggrandizement that comes with being a Journalist to “make a difference”.

What do you feel has taught you the most about “how to write”?

Completing my first book, and plunging directly into the second. I’d completed my second novel before realizing the books could be sold, and that it would involve actual work to do it. The activity comes so naturally, fluidly to me, that I could easily make up for that empty twenty years I should have been writing. Handing out those self-printed manuscripts, and hearing back from the first dozen readers–that told me there was a reason to continue.

I would think so :-)

Who are your favorite writers and why are they favorites?

I love classics. I love silly and serious. Anywhere from Edward Lear to Bulwer Lytton. But Gary Jennings impressed me as one of the most talented storytellers I’d read, and there have been a few others like him. Mind-numbing detail thrills me, and stories that take weeks and weeks to read; those are my favorites.

Where and/or how do you get your ideas for your writing?

All my ideas are the product of daydreaming, or being half-awake very late at night in a quiet house. We have a half-hour drive to get into town, and I’m alone about half the time driving it. I create a lot of fiction while driving.

What is your normal revision or editing routine?

I just write. I never edit. Oh, I’ll try a little to catch typos, or untwist my prose. The only experience I’ve had with editing was to follow some horrid advice from a very lazy agent. I reduced my third novel for her, to the point that I hated being in the file. That agent will never come near my books again. Neither will any others, for that matter; the words in my books are mine alone. No one can say which ones should be removed or changed.

Yay, Joel :-)

Are you published?

I’m self-published. I’ve produced four novels. My fifth novel is tickling my brain, but it will have to wait. The idea is sound, it can wait for me this time. Life has other plans, and that fifth novel is not a priority.

Tell us about your blog: its purpose, how you go about deciding what to post, and what you want to do with it in the future?

My experiments into marketing morphed into a discovery of talented Indie authors. While planning and playing with my own books to make them visible, I began to read some other works. Before long those stories begged me to help expose them. The blog, The Tale’s The Thing, just popped into being because those new authors became friends and I wanted to talk about what they had written. My intent is to only showcase what I’ve read, because those conversations can be more personal. The blog is a bit more work than I’d planned, and like I’d said – life is interfering at the moment. I’m just about out of good reads to showcase, and may put the blog on hiatus soon. One thing is certain—I can be delayed or sidetracked—but, only for a while. I’m having too much fun.

O.K., Joel, it’s time to tell us about your connection with BestsellerBound and the gift you gave to a bunch of the writers over there :-)

I found BestsellerBound while trying to rid myself of memberships in forums that really did nothing for authors. Somehow I found BsB and it only took me a few minutes to decide and join. I read the welcomes from the three founders; Darcia, Maria, Stacy, and recognized them as genuine people. Lots of connections can be made in book forums, but few real friendships. Those three ladies seemed to be seeking just that from their members. And the fun exploded. I’ve tried to be uberGoofy over there, and they’ve not locked me out–yet.

The real attraction of the forum is the openness; their encouragement of Indie authors to come aboard and share. They encourage involvement. So authors trade ideas there, swap books, review one another, and they commiserate about this industry. That alone is a very fine thing. However, that forum has some of the most talented authors I’ve read in years. I’ve not needed to visit a bookstore for a long while, and my TBR shelf is packed with Indie books just screaming at me to hurry and open them. It’s as close to perfect as you could imagine.

To give back to that wonderful group of people, I offered to organize and assemble some first chapter samples for them. When word got out about the project–just before Christmas–sixty authors jumped at the chance. It turned into a three volume set of great beginnings, nearly every genre you could imagine. The BestsellerBound Sample Anthology project has been seen by more than four thousand readers now, on a bevy of websites. Given out as free files, people have been gathering them up, or reading online. To be honest, I’ve not seen anything like them, anywhere, and it won’t be the last time BsB puts out a project of that sort. Darcia is already organizing a short story collection, and BsB has become a brand. Indie authors deserve such attention, and few places can match what BestsellerBound offers. It has been one of my greatest joys as an author, to be involved there.

Joel, it’s been a rare pleasure having you here today :-) 

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