Two Tier Support?

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-12-58-35-pmI am toying with an idea here, and I need to know what you think. It is somewhere in the space of having two distinct groups in my launch teams.

People who have their own launch teams tend to be way better supporters of others, and I have seen groups where they unwittingly land up with a group that is deeply connected and supportive, much like I spoke about in this post a few weeks ago. The problem with this is that it can backfire and if it does it will happen without notice, and it is irreversible, and you can land up losing your very best reviews.

This is just a thought that I am having, so bear with me, please.

What about having a two-tier support group or even two launch teams? is that too hard. But the benefits are twofold. The first is that you split your roles but secondly, you can grow your team way bigger (I think).

Team A: These people are full-on supporters. They read ARC copies, they download your book on its free day, they leave reviews on every country of Amazon and Goodreads and they blog about your book, share it on Facebook and so on. These people are a dream come true. They are FABULOUS. They are also people that you trust to follow through. These are the people that I would have on my launch team whether I had one or two.

But Amazon will not let them review our work if we are personal friends OR EVEN IF SUSPECT that we are friends. We need these people desperately but then all should agree to not connect on a personal level through social media!

Team B: These people are just as important. But they don’t have enough cred on Amazon to leave reviews, and/or they are family and friends that can’t review us anyway. They are the people who don’t want to be bombarded with all the info on the launch team site and they don’t have the time to read ARCs, and nor do they want to. They are simply happy to give us some love when our book comes out, share on Facebook and so on. I find that a lot of people lose these people from their launch teams because they are simply not that into the whole process. They just want to lose the bottom line.

They aren’t second best, they just play a different role. They can be friends on Facebook, they can love and support. But if we keep them out of the nitty gritty then more of them might stay?

Any thoughts?

Where Jennifer hangs out: 

@JPeaSmith
 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman
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Have You Ever Used a Writing Coach?

img_2176For all kinds of reasons, I am not an expert in writing. I consider myself an expert in my topics because I have lived, breathed, conquered, failed, picked myself up from, and failed again, in these areas. Emotional Abuse, Control Abuse, neglect, loss, grief, loneliness, and debilitating chronic illness. I write about all these things and I know I do ok at it because I am so passionate about these things. They flow out if me.

But I don’t have a literary degree, I am dyslexic and autocorrect hates me. I have a lot to say, and for the most part, people appear to listen (maybe they are just being nice), but I want to do it well. My Memoirs mean the world to me and I cannot wait to share them with the world, but I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot and hit a wall due to the fact that I am not an expert but more importantly than that, I know my whole story so intimately well, that I don’t know what others see on the outside.

I have decided to have some coaching and the first half hour slot was great. I still have my own voice, but it was great to get feedback on what a reader needs to hear in the opening chapters. When we write our own story, whether as a memoir or any other piece of fiction, it is really easy to over share, and just as easy to under share. I was worried that I was the former and it turned out that I am the latter; I wasn’t sharing enough detail about some of the relationships in the opening chapters. You can’t please everyone and this isn’t about people pleasing. It is about learning to share the right things and when so that hooks aside, I don’t leave people asking too many questions instead of just reading on. I am really enjoying this process!

Where Jennifer hangs out: 
@JPeaSmith 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

All the Things to Write (and read)!!!

img_9246-1I am thoroughly spoilt that I get to write pretty much full time, and yet most days I feel terribly behind. In the night I think of wonderful things to say, and believe it or not, I usually remember most of them in the morning. Some are blog topics, others are great ideas for my next book (or the one after that, or the one after that). But I already have a writing to do list longer than my arm, and so some days it is easier to just ignore it all and read instead! Especially when my “to read” list is longer than my “to write” list.

And I am not just talking about reading for pleasure. I read because I like to keep up with my peers, and support fellow authors and I try to beta read at least 2 books a month. And I hate letting them down. Then there are all the books about how to write, publish and so on. It never ends.

I think that I need to streamline my writing a little bit and somehow slow down. But once the bug bites that is it! No turning back… How do you balance your time? Writing, Reading and everything in between? I would love some tips on how to keep a balance!

Where Jennifer hangs out: 
@JPeaSmith 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Yes to Grammarly!

screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-1-04-18-pmAs most of you know, I don’t push products in general and you cannot pay me for an endorsement. I either believe in something whole-heartedly, and then I am happy to share that with you for free, or else I don’t say anything at all (unless I pay for it and hate it, then you will know about that too haha).

But the last week I have been using Grammarly. First the free and then the paid version. I so wish that I had found this earlier, it really has made a massive difference! Don’t get me wrong, I still have to do all the work, but unlike a human eye which misses things, this doesn’t. I get to put my quirky words into the personal dictionary, so I don’t have to argue with it about the same thing over and over, but the little things are picked up so easily, and I am actually learning as I go and my writing is improving dramatically!

I am dyslexic and autocorrect hates me, so the first big difference for me is that Grammarly picks up my mistakes but doesn’t go ahead without me and change them to something stupid! I can look at my mistake and see what I did wrong. I can’t change my dyslexia, but because of it I often leave out a word or repeat a single word twice. I don’t see that and when I reread my eyes read it on proofreading, it reads what it THINKS it says.

You don’t have to be dyslexic to read things badly. You have all seen the facebook meme that regularly does the round, where the letters in each word are mixed up but the first and last letter are correct. The brain adjusts and you can easily read it, but each word is actually a jumbled mess.

So even if you have a fabulous editor, do her a favour and run everything through Grammarly first. It is better for everyone. I would rather spend my editing bucks on getting the bigger picture right and saving the nitty gritty for a computer program who won’t miss anything.

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Where Jennifer hangs out: 
@JPeaSmith 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Author Groovy Lee!

Today I had the privilege of speaking with author Groovy Lee. Here are some of the things that she shared with me. If you would like to know more about her, check out her links at the bottom of the page 🙂
1.       Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live in the Southern part of the United States. I have a daughter who’s my best friend, my Queen, and my biggest supporter. I’m addicted to bottled tea and tennis. 
2.       How long have you been writing?
Ever since I could hold a pencil in my hand. When I didn’t have my head stuck in a book, I was creating adventures. I even wrote a neighborhood newspaper and comic books. 
3.       What do you write about?
I write Suspense, Romance, Romantic/Suspense, and my newest endeavor is a Suspense/Sci-Fi/Romance. I’ve always been a stickler for true love and Happy-Ever-After’s, so you’ll find that in just about all of my books. My protagonists are always strong females that can stand on their own. 
4.       What is your greatest achievement in writing so far?
I think it’s having people read my books and enjoying them. If I can move one person with something I wrote, then I’ve done my job. One mother, whose daughter was dying of cancer, told me that my book, “Cause She’s A Good Girl”, enabled her to escape the pain and stress temporarily. I was so touched by that. This same book was shown on a popular morning TV show where I live and given a “Highly Recommended” from Bookman and BookWoman—I’m still smiling. 
5.       What is your greatest dream?
When it comes to my books, it would be to see my fan base grow and grow until I’m listed on the New York Times Bestseller’s list. It means just about everyone is being entertained by something I wrote. My greatest dream in life is to finally see world peace, the end of starvation, disease, and wars. 
6.       What advice would you give someone who is new to writing?
Write what’s in your heart, not what you think your readers expect. Not everyone will like what you write, but that’s okay. Besides having loyal fans, you will also have your critics; wear their reviews as a badge of honor. Join forums and interact with eager readers and fellow authors. You can learn so much from them. Be ready to do the hard part of promoting.
7.       Do you do any Social Media?
I’m not very good at Social Media, but I’m learning. I’m an introvert, and it’s not easy for me to engage. But when my readers and Goodreads friends reach out to me, it makes it much easier. I do have a Goodreads blog and a FB page. 
8.       Who are your writing heroes?
My writing heroes are the late Janet Dailey & Violet Winspear, both of the old Harlequin’s era; Dr. Seuss, I think he was a most brilliant writer. I read his books out loud when I get the chance. And Frank L. Baum—The Wizard of Oz is my most favorite book and film.
9.       Have you just released a new book? What is it about? 
Yes. It’s titled, A BODY RESURRECTED, and I’m so excited. It’s my first attempt at adding a Sci-Fi element to my story. It’s a Suspense/Sci-Fi/Romance about a handsome bounty hunter from the planet Aut; true love; and trying to stop an evil mummy intent on destroying the plague known as woman. 
10.   What are you working on now?
I’m working on a Romantic/Suspense about a family heirloom that will give the ultimate power to anyone who can find its secret hiding place; family members are killing one another to obtain it, and the heroin has no idea it’s in her possession.
 
 

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Where Jennifer hangs out: Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A Worthwhile Hour

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Hey guys, as most of you know, I had a bash at NaNoWriMo last November and loved it. They still send me emails on a regular basis and some of them are boring (to me) but now and then there are some REALLY interesting articles to read (or listen to).

THIS in one of them!

It is long, it is an hour. But you know what? I listened to it as I did my morning ablutions, made and ate breakfast, and by the time I sat down to work I was most of the way through it. If you are anything like me, then you are overwhelmed by the amount of information out there on publishing. And not just the amount of information, but also how contradictory it is.

Right here, for me, was one space where I could hear from people who truly know what they are talking about, an unbiased look at the options available but more importantly what they all mean and why. I still need to work out what it all means for me. But I took SO many nuggets out of this, I am blown away.

It EXPLAINED so much! So if you aren’t on the NaNo mailing list (so you didn’t already get this link) and you are unsure of where you REALLY want to be in the world of publishing, then listen to this as you run on the treadmill, bath, eat, or whatever else you do today that you can listen at the same time! There are no slides to read or visuals to keep an eye on so you can do your own thing (although Brooke’s blue earrings are stunning, but that is beside the point!)

Where Jennifer hangs out: 

@JPeaSmith
 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Memoir Fest!

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It is ages since I have written about my memoirs. My first love, my “great work.” They were kind of pushed to the backburner when I stopped to publish the chapter-which-turned-into-a-book on Anxiety. Not that I regret that, it was the best decision that I have made in a long time. But now I am back into the swing of things and writing two memoirs at the same time.

This time last year I started writing the first memoir in the series, and over the rest of the year, I kept going. I got so much out of it in all kinds of ways, but now I need to go back to the first drafts and work on publishing and putting them out there. Which means a ton of editing. It is hard work, way harder than simply “sitting at the computer and bleeding it onto the screen”. But my mind doesn’t stop and the stories are still not yet all told.

But there are pieces of stories that are too painful for other people, too detailed or complicated to fit into the ebb and flow of one of the other books, or too small to become a book on their own. And so I am left with a jar of deeply painful, vitally important, singular events which have no home. Stories that need to be told, stories that later books need the reader to already know. And it has been bothering me.

But also bothering me has been a new desire to write fiction. I am a little shocked and very surprised. But there you have it. The seed has been planted and I didn’t know what to do with my jar or this seed. And then last week I realized that I could blend the two. Tell a fictional story and place everything from the jar within it. Accurate and truthful pieces, which now will get to see the light of day with a new name, a new place, and a little bit of new packaging.

And so when my mind is clogged with editing and I cannot go on, but my fingers are itchy and busting to bleed … I bring out the new book and out it flows! 2017 is going to be an interesting year for me and for my writing! These two threads that are happening side by side; editing the memoirs and weaving parts of them into Fiction. Roll on 2017 I say!

Where Jennifer hangs out: 
@JPeaSmith
 
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Valentine’s Day Anyone?

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Wow, I can’t believe that it is Valentine’s Day again already! Where is the year going? This time last year I had a lot to say about this “holiday”, and I have to say, that I am still not entirely sure what I think. I still go “awwww” at some of the posts on Facebook today by people who were showered with roses and chocolates and so on. But I also still nod my head just as vigorously at the posts about how “stupid” it is. Those who say that it is a Hallmark Holiday are actually correct.

For me, the big thing is that I know that for all these events and “holidays” there is also so much pain for so many. The old saying “smile and world smiles with you” is kinda nice when you are smiling and it is all beautiful, but when you are grieving then it is the worst thing imaginable; to have everyone laughing and celebrating around you when your own world has fallen apart.

I know too many people for whom today is a tragedy, the recent loss in their own lives mean that today they are feeling as though everyone around them is laughing at them, mocking their sadness. No one actually is, and you can’t please everyone and quite frankly, if none of us were ever allowed to smile in order to respect those in our midst who are hurting, then none of us would ever be allowed to smile.

But I guess for me, there is space for love, all the time, but there is also space for compassion and understanding for all who are hurting today. So if that is you today, then I am sending you lots of love 🙂 xxx

 

Who is Carole P Roman?

cprI met Carole over on Goodreads, and asked her if she would share some of her author story with us, so here she is in her own words:
I started writing on a dare from my sons. One of them had written a self-help book that was flying up the Amazon rankings much to our surprise. We didn’t encourage him to write it, but he did, published it and it became linked with another best-seller. I have a life-long passion for reading, so they both attacked me as soon as I came in. “Look what Michael did- you could do that too!”- kind of thing. They didn’t stop all day, or at night, the calls kept coming in. I wrote Captain No Beard An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life, late at night, thinking it would appease them. When I arrived to work the next morning, they both got on Createspace, picked an artist, the wonderful and creative Bonnie Lemaire, and got the ball rolling. I still wasn’t all that excited. It wasn’t Gone with the Wind, it was a kid’s book. Big deal, I thought. Anybody could do that. About a month after it was published, my publishing consultant from Createspace contacted me. He was over the moon. Captain No Beard was given the Kirkus Star of Excellence and was named as one of Kirkus Best for 2012.  I accepted his congratulations not quite understanding how special this was, that I actually hit it out of the park on the first one. Nine more books in the series followed, each one decorated with awards from all different sources. This began my journey into the world of publishing and I am now fully planted and having the time of my life.

My husband was thrilled and told me to do more. I was a social studies teacher over forty years ago. I decided to do another series, an introduction to culture for small children to understand the world around them. I will admit my husband had more faith in the project than I did. Captain No Beard was full of fun and adventure. Only I got excited about history and culture, while most everyone else’s eyes glazed over. I thought about what a child would find interesting about how people live, what makes us different, what unites us. This series took off, outselling the fiction series by a landslide. I just completed the 21 book in the series and people are asking for more.  The newest book in the series has headed for the stars and explores life on Mars.

I expanded the series to include History for older children. With the same concept of seeing the facts through the eyes of someone their age, we explore pivotal times in the world. The books demystify history, making it easy for kids to understand the how and why things happen.

Lastly, I did a nursery series that I adore. It is a love letter to my kids and grandkids and very personal. Those who know me will understand. Those that don’t will still get a lot from these books as they were written from my heart.

I took on the publicity for both my son’s 17 books as well as my own. I explored various ways to keep them selling. This lead to me asking my media consultant and friend, Julie Gerber, from Away We Go Media to co-author a book about our experiences writing, marketing, and promoting indie books.  It’s an easy guide to spare the next guy from wasting his time on things that don’t work and concentrate on the resources that do.
I learned that I can pretty much do anything I want to do. Being female or older or anything else that iI can think of won’t stop someone who has the determination to accomplish something. I am in a place where most people are contemplating slowing down. All I can say is my foot is firmly on the gas pedal and pressing down!
You can find her on Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, or her Blog.
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Where Jennifer hangs out: Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Infiltrate or Collaborate?

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-12-42-17-pmTwo completely different words, with completely different meanings, and yet some people get them totally mixed up! As you know, I am all about collaboration, “paying it forward”, and being a genuine part of a community. If an author wants to sell their books they need to build a launch team and if they want people to join them then they need to be a part of a community (a few of actually). And if you want to be a part of a community then you need to contribute. It is as simple as that.

But I need to make it abundantly clear so that you know where I stand. Joining a community that you aren’t prepared to genuinely participate in, congruently contribute to, and stay in for the long haul, is not collaboration! If your sole purpose is to use members for your gain, then you are simply infiltrating, and that is worse than doing nothing at all.

Many years ago I had the privilege of mentoring a young woman who’s husband struggled with addiction. I won’t go into any more detail than that, but as we sat in a coffee shop in the middle of a New York City winter, a couple of weeks before Christmas, she poured her heart to me. You see, the movie “Thanks for Sharing” had recently hit the big screen, and the main actor had done a brilliant job in one sense, of showing what sexual addiction was actually about (it is nothing like it is commonly portrayed I can assure you!). Her problem wasn’t just that this poor woman was dealing with a husband just like the character in the movie, she was now dealing with worse.

It turns out that the accuracy of the movie wasn’t a coincidence. The actor had joined her husband’s addiction group and as there are loads of other actors and famous people in many addiction groups, especially in places like LA and New York, no one thought anything of it, and the confidences were respected at every level. But it reality, the actor wasn’t a sex addict at all, he just wanted to experience being in an addiction group so that he could do his movie realistically! All the secrets he told were lies, all the hours over weeks and months, that he poured into those relationships were all fake. He betrayed the other members of the group at such a deep level that many of them, like this woman’s husband, stopped going.

Some of these men had only been going in the first place because it was part of their treatment and because they were assured of secrecy. No one broke the secrecy, no one did anything “wrong”, but this small group of broken, struggling men, were betrayed at one of the deepest levels. Over a period of months, the actor learned, got what he wanted, and then he left. He heard the others bare their souls, but he only pretended to bare his.

I know that that is an extreme example, but the point that I want to make is that joining a community needs to be real if you ever want them to support your stage, your writing, your blog. So don’t be an asshole like Mark Ruffalo and screw people over just so that you can make your million!

Where Jennifer hangs out:

Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith

“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman