Marketing Bits and Pieces

A while ago I blogged about the next steps in the publication process, now that my edits have been completed. At that time, I was asking for blurbs from fellow writers. I am pleased to say that they came through with some wonderful blurbs for my book! So what now?

We have finalized the title, THE WITCH OF ZAL. It’s a much better title than my working title of OZCILLATION in that it is much clearer as far as genre, market, and content. It’s easy to pronounce and easy to remember. And I get all shivery when I say, “The title of my book is…” It’s still hard to believe!

The cover is still in development (believe me, I will share it with you as soon as I can!), but I have moved along some of my own marketing efforts. Like what, you ask?

I just received a completed Academic Guide from Deb Gonzalez, who did a great job breaking down the book, thinking up class activities, and aligning all of it with the Common Core Standards many schools are using now. The Guide touches on everything I would want kids and teachers to discuss. I am so glad a writer friend recommended Deb to me—I’m very pleased with the results.

I also have put together Book Club Questions for library use. Several writer friends with book club experience helped me polish them up and deepen the focus. Where would I be without my writer friends?

I chose twelve quotes from my book and created visual memes that I can use on Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media to hopefully intrigue people enough to check out the book. I really enjoyed doing these, as it uses my graphic arts skills, which I rarely get to use these days.

I am toying with book trailer ideas. I have two alternate scripts, one which requires a voice over, one which does not. I have some visuals I like to get me started, but I am searching for music to excite me. I have some leads, and will be following up. Since I used to make my living as a video editor (earning two awards for my work), I should be able to put one together once I have the pieces assembled.

Most of the things I have been working on are things I can do on my own and at my own speed. I have the feeling that once things start happening, they will happen at full tilt and leave me breathless, so the more material I already have in my pocket, the better.

These are also marketing avenues I am comfortable with and enjoy. I am hoping that readers will sense the excitement I felt in creating these media and get excited, too.

So that’s how I’m using the current down time. I am keeping busy while waiting for my book cover and my final release date! I’m also, of course, working on other stories, since writers never stop writing.

Stay tuned for future developments!

The Next Step

Those following this blog know that I got my final edits back from my publisher right before Thanksgiving. Those in my Facebook network know I returned those final edits on Sunday—yay! After rejoicing in getting that finished, I wondered: what next?

The immediate “what next” is getting “blurbs”—asking fellow authors in your genre if they would consent to read your book and, if they are inclined, to give a quote for the book. As a massive introvert and a person who hates to ask for help, this is actually quite hard for me. So I sent some emails asking if people would consider reading my book and am now waiting for the responses while quietly sweating and shaking.

Other things that will be happening are finalizing the title and cover art (I am looking forward to that!), final edits (on their end), formatting, setting up a marketing plan, and producing promo materials. Much of this, thankfully, will be handled by the wonderful team at Evil Jester Press, although obviously I will have a finger in the title and marketing.

So what am I to do for the next few months while all this is going on behind the scenes? Aside from freaking out, I need to think about things such as the dedication and acknowledgements for the book, creating support materials for the book such as book club questions and a teacher’s guide, finalizing my new website, continuing to network within my genre, and honing my social media strategy.

And I need to keep writing on my other projects.

And take care of my preschool daughter.

And sleep. Maybe. We’ll see.

So much to do, so little time!

Oh, and Christmas. I forgot Christmas.

Welcome to the life of a published writer. (I still get giddy when I say that!)

I’ll keep you posted as things progress!

GoosesQuill FB

Good News: My Career Grows

Last year saw my first short story, TO LIGHT AND GUARD, published in Bewildering Stories magazine. That was a big milestone for me: my first official publication.

This year is shaping up even better! I had a poem, THE TOWERS STOOD, published in the World Healing, World Peace 2014 Poetry Anthology, and my short story DYING BREATH sold to Youth Imagination magazine!

In even more exciting news, my middle grade sci-fi retelling of the Wizard of Oz, OZCILLATION, was picked up by Evil Jester Press, and will be released in 2015! I am so excited to work with this group of enthusiastic and creative people, and to be one of their first middle grade novels as they expand.

Right now, my novel is with the editor, so I am waiting on pins and needles to get the feedback from her. I know there will be some hard work ahead to make OZCILLATION all shiny, but I am ready to tackle it. I will be approaching the novel with fresh eyes, as I have not read the book since I started querying agents waaaay back in December of 2012. I have come a long way as a writer since then and will probably see things in the book I want to change as well.

So what am I doing while waiting for my editing notes? I am editing two short stories that I hope will find homes this year. I am doing final preparation on my genealogy book for upload to the self-publishing Print-On-Demand (POD) site, likely by the end of this week. Then I will figure out how to format the genealogy book for ebook, and upload that. I’m sending querying to agents for my YA contemporary fantasy THE ORACLE OF DELPHI, KANSAS. I am also beginning to work on my marketing strategy, as well as optimizing my website and blog and other social media. Oh, and I’m working on another novel.

So, I’m busy.

The list, of course, does not include weekly repetitive tasks like blog posts, watching the 2 TV shows I allow myself to watch, reading, taking care of the business of life, and running around after my most important Work-In-Progress, my preschooler!

As much work as the coming year will be, I am looking forward to the challenge! How about all of you? What new bragging rights do you have? Share!

GoosesQuill FB

Can writers avoid burnout in the 21st century?

Ever since my child was born, I have been struggling to find time to write. I know I am not the only one – many writers I have spoken to ask the same question, “How can I fit writing into my life?”

We are all trying desperately to shoehorn writing into a day jam-packed with other responsibilities – spouse, children, day job, school, and the millions of other things that crop up unexpectedly. Add to the writing the fact that we are also supposed to be “building our social media platform” as well, and that’s even more time we need to squeeze out of the day.

Can we really do it all?

I know I’m exhausted all the time, and recently another writer said she was stepping back because she could no longer juggle everything—the pressure was too much and every aspect of her life was suffering. And I can totally relate. I often feel like I’m neglecting many, many things (although hopefully not the truly important ones like spouse and child) in order to find time to write something longer than a grocery list.

And then comes the news that in the 21st century, authors are going to need to write more than one book a year to stay competitive. Color me depressed! Here I am cutting every possible corner to try and get out ONE book, and now I’m supposed to write more! No wonder so many writers are starting to feel burnt out. Write multiple books a year AND do all your own marketing AND take care of your family, day job, etc.

This is not a sustainable model for most writers.

I really examined my schedule the other day, and realized I NEVER STOP. I’m like a shark, I have to keep moving or I die. (Actually, I have to keep moving or I fall asleep.) There is no down time for me. I am never not doing something. Every second of every day is taken up. My “free” time is my writing time. The only time I’m doing “nothing” is when I’m sleeping—6 hours on a good night. Other writers I know are similarly scheduled to the eyeballs. How can we all maintain this pace?

As the pressures keep piling on, will we see more writers walking away? Will there be more one-hit wonders who then cannot sustain the pace? Will there simply be fewer writers in the mix, dropping out before they ever reach publication? Will we see a rise in poorly-written, poorly-edited works released before they should have been simply to keep up with the ravenous content monster?

Time will tell.

For myself, I will keep plugging away. My writing is my salvation at this point, the one thing that keeps me from being totally consumed by this creature called Mommy and losing my identity as an individual beyond my (wonderful) daughter.

I have never felt close to burning out on writing—perhaps because I get so little time to actually indulge in it. I still have story ideas and characters tumbling over themselves in my head, clamoring for my attention. I wish I had the time to give them all the attention they deserve!

Have you ever gotten burned out as a writer? How did you get back into writing?

Working Titles

I often struggle with titles for my works. Perhaps this is because I have an obsessive need to title them before I can properly work on them. I am not a writer who can simply call her work Opus #1,456,345 and then have at it. If I waited until I finished writing the work, I most likely would be much less angst-ridden about the title, because the completed work would give me a much finer palette to work with for title ideas. But that would be doing things the easy way, which is not my forte.


My need to title before I write does not mean I can’t write without a title, or with a title I am not satisfied with. I can, and I have, and I do. But the process never feels right unless I have a title I am comfortable with. I have also changed the title after I finished, even if I was happy with the working title. So I got to wondering why I feel such a need to pre-title, to have a working title that speaks to me.


My answer is that a working title that clicks with me means I have a good grasp of what this work is essentially about. It means I understand the focus of the work, and where I want to take it. In the cases where I re-title after I am finished, the work has taken me somewhere unexpected, and therefore the working title no longer captures its essence. That is fine—I am not married to the working titles I choose. But a working title, to me, brings clarity to the work as I am writing, and I find that a necessity.


Titles are also, of course, vital to selling the book or story to an agent. A title that is not intriguing, or that does not encapsulate some central tenet of the story, will not grab the agent or editor’s imagination. This does not mean that the publishers will not rename your book for you before they’re through. Hopefully, though, they can come up with a title that still retains the soul of the book while appealing to the target audience. But that first title, the one you come up with, is the one that will sell the book to an agent.


So that is why I have such angst over my working titles. For me, they are both a writing tool and a selling tool. I have heard other authors say that they do not worry over-much about their titles, or that the titles come easy for them. I am happy for them—for me, it will always be an ordeal, but one which I find ultimately rewarding, when I have that title that resonates with me.   

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