If I Could Express It in Poetry

Even though I’ve been writing poems for over twenty years, I’ve never truly understood why poetry is the genre I love. The form isn’t popular and usually not a best-seller. However, writing poetry comes as natural to me as breathing; I love expressing my thoughts in this way and I know I’ll be writing poems until I die.

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I left this mystery of why poetry alone until, one night, I was listening to my favorite radio show, “On Being,” and the poet being interviewed said people who are highly sensitive to their own emotions and the emotions of others often love poetry and musicals as such things act as containers for the strong emotions such people experience.  By writing or singing out what we feel, our emotions are processed and we create a place to leave them – like being able to store our grief or joy in a jar.

Perhaps this is what writing is for nearly all creative writers – a way to process our inner worlds and to express what we otherwise cannot say. Maybe by writing out our hearts in this way, we can also open up space for others to express those emotions when they read our words. I hope this is what I’m able to do. I hope I’m able to write the words others can read and say “That’s what I feel too!” enabling them to process those emotions along with me.

This poem is one I wrote when I had to get an emotion down on paper before getting down to my “real” work. I liked how it turned out, though, and my editors agreed so it’s being included in the next book.

 

If I Could

If I could reach out
and touch you,
I’d stretch out my fingers
knowing now what a gift you are.

If I could speak words
and know you hear me,
I’d beg your forgiveness
for thinking for one second
love was not there.

If I could be in your company
and see the look in your eyes
telling me you know the depth of soul,
I would wrap my arms around you
and hold you tightly to myself
as if to never let you go.

 

Covers I Love: July 2015

Every month I list book covers that caught my eye. These aren’t necessarily those that just came out (look for the new book releases posts on Mondays for that) but rather, the ones that for whatever reason, caught my eye. I share these because as more and more writers are going indie, we’re doing our own covers. [Read more…]

Movers and Shakers: July 28, 2015

If you’re wondering which books are “hot,” you might want to start with this list. It contains many of the books Amazon feels are the “movers and shakers” of their bestseller lists. The interesting thing about this list is many of them are brand new or not even released yet, and others have been around years. [Read more…]

Social Media—Twitter

Last month I touched on Facebook scheduler. This month, I would like to tell you about Twitter and how this can be good for us to interact with readers and other authors.

  
Yes, it can be a challenge to start using Twitter because you only get 140 characters. You have to make sure that your messages are short and to the point. In the long run this will help you with writing as well because you will learn how to tighten up your sentences and get the point across clearer and faster.

Now, for authors this can be a great tool to interact with our readers. They can send us messages and in return we can reply having a back-and-forth conversation with them. Readers want to interact with authors. They want to know about our lives outside of our stories.

How much you share is up to you as an author. I would suggest being discreet about what you share on social media because it does stay there forever.

Basically, they want to see the real you and who you are outside of being an author. Now, for other authors it is a good way to interact with each other. Writing is such a solo thing that we don’t have a chance to interact outside of our daily lives, so this is a good way to get with other writers to share ideas and encourage one another.

Let’s face it, there aren’t many other writers near us usually unless we live in a big city so this way we can get to know other people and build working relationships with them.

  
One thing to always remember is to be professional. It doesn’t need to take a lot of time to write a message or send out a tweet each day. They even have on Twitter now where you can schedule messages to be sent at different times of the day, so that you’re not sitting at the computer all day long. 

There is also a hashtag for writers; I believe it is #writing, and you can connect with other writers that way. Or you can use the #1K1hr to do some writing sprints. That is a fun way to interact with other authors and to also get your word count in for the day.

Book Trailers-Effective Marketing Tool or A Fun Way to Procrastinate

This column is a personal case study. Everyone’s experience is different, so this article should be read as sharing of personal experience only.

Book Trailers are fun. They are fun to make, fun to watch and a fun tool to add to your marketing toolkit. But whether or not they are effective in generating sales is still up for debate. [Read more…]

Marketing 101 for Authors: What Exactly Is Marketing?

Before I became a creative entrepreneur, I was a marketing person. I hated it. Mostly because it was all extroverted people being fabulous and I was a quiet thinker trying really hard to pretend I was like them. I wasn’t. But that’s a different story.

While marketing as a job wasn’t right for me, I’m grateful for the things I learned. I apply these concepts to my business and have from the beginning and I think it’s helped me stay on track and make decisions that are right for my business and brand.

I also see a lot of writers struggle with this, and not just in the “I just want to write and not market” kind of way. I mean they struggle with making the right decisions for them because they’re getting a lot of input from agents and editors and other writers and aren’t sure what they should really be doing. But when you understand what marketing really is (and what it isn’t) you’ll have an easier time deciding which marketing activities are worth your time.

MARKETING 101

What Marketing Is

For now, let me talk about what marketing is. The AMA says that: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Let me simplify it: Marketing is everything that touches your ideal readers.

In other words, marketing isn’t just sales. And if you thought it was, you’re not alone. A lot of people who work in business make this mistake. Some people say “sales and marketing” and even that’s not an accurate description. Sales is not equal to marketing. They aren’t partners. Sales is an element of marketing.

You’ve probably heard of the “marketing umbrella” which is an oldie but still holds true. The whole umbrella of activities is what you do to “market” and each item underneath that umbrella adds to your marketing effort. Here’s a graphic, but keep in mind there are MANY other things that can go under this author marketing umbrella.

author marketing umbrella

Some authors rely heavily on one type of marketing activity (say, social media or even producing more books) and others spread things here and there throughout all the options. What’s right for you and your business will depend on your ROI or return on investment. But be careful with this! It’s not as straightforward a calculation as you would imagine. (I’ll get more into this in another post.)

Books Are Marketing?

Yes. Your books are a part of your marketing effort. Books can prompt sales of other books, they can be used as giveaways to get the word out about your brand, and they can act as a calling card to represent you. Sure, the goal is to sell books but don’t forget the product of the book in that equation. (Which is another reason why having an outstanding book cover and title is as important as the writing itself.)

How Often Do You Have to Market?

The method and frequency of your marketing efforts should be directly related to your goals. If you “just want to put a book out” you don’t need to do any marketing. How’s that? Just sit back and write. No one will probably find your writing, but that’s okay because that’s not your goal.

Or is it? If you actually do want to sell books, you’ll need to market, and before you can determine what you should do, you need to make a goal that measurable and clear. When you do that, how you spend your marketing time and money will be an easy decision.

Marketing isn’t just one thing, one article, one tweet, or even one advertising campaign. It’s a series of actions and items that are meant to grab a reader’s attention.