STORM IN A TEACUP

IMG_8715

I am sorry to be the one to tell you this, if you are a writer, that is, but you need a social media (SM) presence.

Yes, yes, years ago people went to bookstores and bought books because they had nothing to read, and there was a clerk who knew the books and could recommend the books, and there were a (relatively) small number of books that came out each year, and so choices were limited.

It ain’t like that no more.

Have you any grasp on how many people self-publish each year?

And yet most readers still choose established writers. And I’ll be frank with you, I want to read Tom Robbins, Douglas Adams, Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie, Kinky Friedman, Walter Mosley, Rex Stout, and not much else. And, you’ll notice, most of them are dead. So, how am I going to find someone else to read?

Well, one good way is for writers to tell me about themselves, and help me find their books.

And that is what you should be doing.

You should be telling people about yourself. You should be posting little snippets of who you are, what you write, and why you write.

And it can be a PITA. (pain in the…)

For example… I recently posted to my SM accounts and various SM groups that Devil’s Part Press (DPP), my company, was looking for submissions. WELL, the judgement was swift and fierce! How dare DPP ask for submissions from older people?! How dare we make payments to authors in the forms of author copies and royalties! (which, by the way, is all I have ever heard of. Is someone out there paying in vacation houses, or bottles of Cristal? If so, I, too, want to be published by them!) And on it went… the vitriol, people making assumptions about everything from my morals to my hair, and none of them kind assumptions. WTH is wrong with people? Quite a lot probably. But….

Here is what you do when that happens to you.

  1. Ignore them. Any fire goes out without wood. Do not supply wood. Don’t feed the bears. Don’t try (even once) to explain, to reason, to be nice, or kind, or informative. ANY of those things feeds a hungry (and during this pandemic) very lonely and bored bear who is being super non-productive as a writer by trolling FB anyway.  FB, and other SM sites, are good places to get information out, but not good places to make friends or win people over to your cause. No. Those people don’t know you, and some of them hate you because they are looking for someone to hate, or because you are being successful and they are not, or because you showered this week, and they can’t bring themselves to do so. Maybe they’re nice folks when they’re not on SM. It doesn’t matter. It’s not your job. Do not respond.
  2. IF it gets truly awful, delete your post. BUT, this is news about you, and you don’t want to do that because a (often silent) majority will be interested in your post. You have to be strong. Sometimes you can turn off comments (how the sweaty, mucous coated little trollies hate that!), and that can really help, but if you can’t, just remember, any fire without fuel goes out. IGNORE if at all possible. Stay away for a few days, turn off notifications. In general, do not hang-about on SM. Get in, do what you need to do, and get out before you catch something, just like you do in a public toilet. While you are in there, be polite, non-political, and neat. USE social media; do not let it use you.
  3. Start a list. Make a list of anyone who is truly awful to you. If you hit it big, that person will want to be friends. You need to remember the assholes so you can ban them.
  4. Remember this phrase…. storm in a teacup. It ain’t you; it’s them, and it’s such a small world (any given SM platform) that it can’t stay keyed up for too long. Breathe deep and move on to an actual cup of tea.

So, YES, if you want to sell a book, you need a social media presence. You need a lot of buzz and posts, and YOU need to create them. Your publisher (which may be me) can help, but it is YOU who will ultimately make someone WANT to buy your book. And I think, from the vitriol hurled at me from time-to-time on FB where wanna-be-writers tell me how, as a publisher, I am stealing from them, and I have all this money, and I should just force people to buy their books (which they haven’t even written yet), that many many writers think that somehow publishers are magically able to force people to buy books. That ain’t how it works. That’s not how E.L. James did it. She was posting bits and pieces of her writing for ages; she made herself something that readers needed. Of course her book had sex in it, and they say sex sells, but had she not put herself out there, over and over, no one would have known about the sex! And, for me, mystery sells, and quirky sells, and an interesting human behind the writing sells. And if you’re just hiding in your attic, and your work is too, how is anyone going to get the taste for you? Ultimately, a publisher chooses you, based 100% on things like their personal likes and dislikes and if they think you’re marketable, and then you have to sell you, not them. They are putting your book into print, and they can help you, but they cannot create you, the author, the curated persona who makes me want to read about a sad love affair that ends badly (a type of book I would normally avoid!).

If you’re not sure how to start remember that we’re all amateurs at this, and do the best you can. Make 1-2 hours/week for your post time. Schedule posts in advance. Use this lovely little tool I am using (WordPress) which is anywhere from nicely inexpensive to free, to post a blog, and WordPress will repost in a heck of a lot of places for you, and you can schedule MONTHS in advance.

And if you need help getting more followers, here are some helpful links from vetted sources:

Impact

SproutSocial

FastCompany

Inc.

Go forth and schedule a post! And I shall do the same!

Hurrah!

 

 

 

SEEKING SUBMISSIONS

shelfHello All~

My company, Devil’s Party Press, is looking for submissions for the 2021-2022 publishing year, and beyond. Currently we are interested in three genres of full-length novels (which, by definition, are fiction), horror, crime, and sci fi. Head on over to our submission page for more information, and happy writing!

STANGL & THE MYSTERY BOWL

stangl1

I have, by choice, a lot of mis-matched dishes. I found recently that I kept picking up pottery by Stangl, the maker of the two bowls pictured here.

I adore dishes, and I wish I was a potter (high on the list of dream jobs).

One of my favorite pieces is this slightly cracked bowl.

Does anyone know who made this?

mystery2

There is no maker’s mark on the bottom:

mystery1

But I love the color and the pattern. Anyone know?

CHECK OUT THIS FREE BOOK!

WSOFIT-cover-kindleIf you know me… you know I have an affinity for colorful language.

That’s a nice way of saying I like to curse.

This week’s free book from Devil’s Party Press is my favorite. So fun, and such great stories, and perfect for a pandemic.

Stop by the blog @ DPP to find out how to get a free copy, and hear the stories read live!

 

CHOLESTEROL HACK

cholesterol

I offer you this photo in case you, like me, tend to make pod coffee.

A recent study showed that not using a filter can increase our risk of bad cholesterol.

But pod coffee is fast and delicious, so what’s a girl to do?

Easy-as-pie… use a drip brew top of any kind, just elevate your pod machine a bit (I used a plastic food container), et voila! My drip top even has a hole to drop in sugar cubes, and the filters are the unbleached recycled ones. Win-win! Throw the filters in the composter. Now if only the pods would become compostable!

G&T & YOUTUBE

GnT

Last night had my first very British drink, the G&T.

I should actually say that I had my first since…

that one time, in the 1980s, with Renee-and-parents at Cozy Morley’s. The time, as said, was the late 1980s. Renee’s parents were fond of going to CM’s place, and, though we weren’t technically old enough to drink, Ren’s parents declared that it was cheaper for us to drink G&Ts (you brought your own bottle and got a “set-up” from Cozy’s crew) than sodas, as sodas were like 2 bucks a pop, to discourage tea-totaling I am sure! I remember I asked for a twist of lime in mine, and I was mightily sick the next day. Sometime the following afternoon Ren and I went out and got wonton soup to try and keep something down, and I think it worked, but I never had gin ever again.

Until now.

I remember the 1980s gin being something like Gogol’s gin, but that can’t be right, can it? And I also remember it tasting like cologne with lime in it.

Todays G&T was made with the ingredients you see in the photo. I tried it first without the added shrub, then added the shrub in because I’ve always wanted to try a shrub.

Both versions were mild, clean, and tasty. It was a lovely drink, and though I don’t drink a lot, being on social distance lockdown has led me to imbibe a bit more than usual. If I had to guess, truly, I would say that usual is every other month. I’m not good with wine- major sinus issues, and I don’t enjoy the taste. I love beer, but fat and gas. So, when I drink, it tends to be a cocktail. Some of my favorites are something called a pickleback, the classic rum and coke, a whiskey sour, a margarita, and, perhaps my favorite, a Bloody Mary.  I’m sure there are other drinks I wouldn’t kick out of bed for getting crushed ice on the carpet, but hey, those are the ones that come to mind. And now I can add a G&T.

I’m trying, while stuck at home, not to do anything to excess, but on the nights I feel myself obsessing about things that are not in my control, it’s good to have a distraction.

Another thing that has given me much needed distraction from the stresses of shut-down life, YouTube. Sometimes I’ll just get a song in my head, and instead of asking Alexa, I’ll find it, performed, on YouTube, and my mind floats away.

Last night was one of those nights. And so I floated the ol’ bean away on the following great videos: Chest Fever (I couldn’t find a live one that sounded as good as the studio to me, I guess I’m just so used to all the twists and turns of the original score!) Strange Magic (so dreamy… good for just before bed!) While My Guitar (amazing!, and so many of the great ones are gone… Harrison, Petty, Prince… sob!), and Prince @ Cocahella!Are you kidding me? So great. Troubles, be gone!

I am grateful that I am, overall, a pretty happy person and fairly good at being home a lot, but sometimes those moments hit us all. For me, it was especially being told I have to wear a face mask now if I go out. I do not like them Sam-I-Am. Blech! Much respect to the people who wear them every day as part of their jobs. I know I never could have gone into medicine for sure!

How are you coping with your tougher moments?

Much love and peace to all….

PS. on a funny side note, sometimes the dog farts in my office, and it is a small room, so, phew! To help, I often light a candle. Well, look what happened when I tried to get some “peace”:

nopeace

No peace for you!

“But if you wanna be my spouse, you better get to that shore house….”

 

 

 

WHO IS STAN CHARNOFSKY? PROBABLY THE CATALYST FOR DEVIL’S PARTY PRESS…

stan2

Who is Stan Charnofsky anyway?

MOST IMPORTANTLY, TO ME, Stan is my friend (and it looks as though his desk is as messy as mine!).

Years ago, when I was in Los Angles, I decided to try to revive my writing, both as a career and a passion.

A friend said to me, “My college mentor, Stan, has a little writing group I bet you could join.” And I did join it.

When I had to move back east from Los Angeles, losing Stan and the writing group was one of the biggest losses for me. I was heartbroken.

A year after settling in Milton, I decided I could do without Stan’s group no longer! But, since I could not get Stan to Milton, I started my own workshop, 100% in the style of Stan’s. I coped exactly what Stan was doing with his group, and now my group has been going strong, even through lockdown, for five years. And that group, a bunch of folks who all happened to be over 40, was the catalyst for Devil’s Party Press (DPP).

In addition to Stan running an awesome writing workshop, he is also awesome in a lot of ways. To find out all the interesting things there are to know about Stan, including the story behind this photo of him (he’s the hunk in the middle),

STAN

head on over to the DPP blog. We’re giving away Stan’s book, Charlotte, on Kindle (aperfect read if you like Miss Marple, by the way) beginning today and lasting for 5 days.

If you need a discount code for a paperback copy instead, contact me. 🙂

Later in the month Stan will read from the book, LIVE IN YOUR LIVING ROOM, and take your questions about murder, Charlotte, psychology, baseball, anything!

Pick up the free Kindle version of Charlotte, or one of Stan’s other books, HERE.

Then pick up a ticket to talk to Stan HERE.

The live event is May 23rd @7:30 EST. Grab a beer and a snack and hang out with Stan.

Stan’s event is free, live, and on ZOOM, but tickets are limited, so get yours today!

Love you Stan….