Sunday, March 29, 2015


I saw a talk once about the Myers-Brigg personality test and how the classic personalty type for a writer is the polar opposite of the promoter. And yet, with self-publishing, you have to be great at both.

Since the launch of A Long Thaw, I've been wearing my marketing cap. It's stiff and itchy and, well, I've never looked good in hats - but I'm working it! I've done a half dozen guest blogs and interviews and I have more coming in the next few weeks. For the complete list, check out the media page at my author site.

I sure hope I'm not wearing people out with my frequent updates. That's what's so weird about self-promotion: it feels braggy and arrogant, but it's essential if I'm going to get my work noticed.

So, here's a bit of promo for today, one of my Amazon reviews of the book you should all be clicking that link to buy for $2.99:
"Starts quickly and doesn't slow down. I kept turning pages to see what would transpire next. Realistic characters and family dynamics. Lovely read."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Book Review: The Good Girl

Mary Kubica's debut, The Good Girl, is better than any debut has a right to be.

This book had been on my list for awhile when I heard Kubica speak at the Tucson Festival of Books. She told the kind of "how my agent found me when I wasn't even looking" story that tends to make unagented writers feel stabby. She comes across as sweet and soft-spoken and uncomplicated.

I read her book anyway and I was so surprised to find such a gritty, complex story that is, in places quite dark. The characters are flawed and even damaged, yet she manages to express their humanity so that readers feel compassion for them within the first few pages.

The alternating first-person narrative is also something I wasn't expecting in a debut. The Good Girl tells the story of a kidnapping through the perspective of the girl's mother, the detective working the case, and the kidnapper. And it totally works. It also tells the story in two time periods: before and after the abduction. And it totally works. The plot is original and has unexpected twists. I haven't had this much fun reading since Gone Girl.

The Good Girl

Monday, March 16, 2015

Tucson Festival of Books

This is the third time I've attended the annual book festival, a completely free weekend of events designed for readers and writers. There are book signing and talks on publishing and presentations by the Desert Museum and yummy food vendors. It's held at the University of Arizona and it's huge.

This year was especially fun because my Authonomy pal Mary Vensel White came in from California and stayed in my guest room! Mary attended as a presenter, talking about her journey to publication with The Qualities of Wood. It was particularly fun to get to talk about writing and publishing with someone about as obsessed with those things as I am. (My boyfriend was probably relieved as well.)

What stood out most for me about the authors talking about how they got published was that they each had a different experience. The MFA community, standard query process or crowd sourcing - all of these were presented as valid paths to take.

We ended the weekend by attending the conversation with Noam Chomsky, another free event that makes me so appreciative of this resource for Tucsonans.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Relaunching A Long Thaw

Well the book is up and I'm already noticing a great new perk to self publishing: I can access the sales information immediately. With traditional publishing, it can take a year before they tell you how it went, which doesn't give you much of an opportunity to make marketing changes.

So far, I'm enjoying the process. I'll keep you posted!

A Long Thaw is $2.99!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My book cover

Here's a sneak peak of my new book cover. One difference in going the self-publishing route is that this time, I had 100% control in choosing my cover.

I found the image I wanted on The Cover Collection. Sixty bucks and 24 hours later, I had eight versions emailed to me with different fonts and text arrangement. The designer promises unlimited revisions until you're happy.

I was happy with #6.

The book goes live on Amazon tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Self-publishing A Long Thaw

A few years ago, I had two books traditionally published and the results were mixed. The sales for my debut were great, which is why I was confused when my publisher did nothing to promote my second book. Writers tend not to discuss their experience once they get published, which can make it even more mysterious to those who are trying to make it. It's hard to pass along what you've learned if you're worried about pissing off those in power.

I'll do my best to walk the line.

I did things backwards- finding a publisher before I had an agent. I paid an agent to look over my contract, but going forward I didn't have an advocate to make sure the contract was enforced. In the future, I will not work with a publisher unagented. It isn't that the publisher is evil, but it isn't their job to look out for your best interests.

Getting that agent to help negotiate the contract may have been the best $100 I ever spent. Instead of allowing my publisher to hold the rights for my book for ten years, I get them back in two. This means I can rerelease A Long Thaw, the book my publisher didn't promote, and see if I can do a better job.

The book has already been professionally edited and the interior Kindle files were already formatted, so putting it up on Amazon has been a cinch. Tomorrow, I'll share more about the process of getting a new cover. And I'll have a link to the book!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Book Review: The Forever Marriage

Ann Bauer's novel, The Forever Marriage, opens with the death of the main character's husband. But as we read on, Carmen manages to avoid our sympathy. It turns out that she experiences his death as a relief, and not just because it ends his suffering.

The mother of three, including a son with Down's Syndrome, Carmen managed to find time to cheat on the dying husband she never loved in spite of his being a pretty swell guy. In flashbacks to the 80s, she explains how she was manipulated into marrying him because he was wealthy and nice to her and she had no idea what to do after college.

I enjoy a flawed main character and thought Carmen was ripe for a pretty intense story of redemption. But I was disappointed to find her not much changed by the book's end. The story was well-written but I found most of the dilemmas difficult to relate to or car about.