Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Two Hardest Miles

I am not a runner. To me, the only reason to run is if you're being chased. But there are runners who read this blog, even some of you who run the 26+ miles of a marathon. Power to you, but as for me, no thanks.

I'm rereading (for the umpteenth time) the books written by the late Robert B. Parker, and I came across this bit of dialogue that hit home. Spenser, the protagonist, is going for a run with his girl-friend, Susan, who only wants to do a couple of miles.

"You realize you're running the two hardest miles," he says, referring to the first and last mile of a run.

"Maybe," she replies. "But if I didn't run those, I probably wouldn't run any."

If you think about that, the same applies to a task we don't look forward to. The first mile corresponds to getting started, something we put off as long as possible. Then, when we get started, we always encounter other stuff we need to do along the way. I know both Kay and I have that feeling sometime. And that brings us to the last mile--completing the task we set for ourselves.

So, are we running the two hardest miles? I know I feel that way sometimes, and I suspect you do as well. Want to tell me about it? I'd like to hear.

Tweet with a single click. "Are you running the two hardest miles of your journey?" Click here to tweet.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Writing: Return On Investment

Before I got my first publishing contract, I figured that when that contract came it meant all I had to do was furnish a manuscript (12 point Times New Roman type, 1 inch margins, contractually specified word-length) and the publisher would do the rest. But I soon learned differently.

There were edits to respond to: a macro edit, a line edit, then proofread the galleys. I needed to give input to the artist who'd be putting together the cover. And finally I had to do what seemed like tons of blog interviews, guest posts, and other social media obligations. The good news about the latter, of course, was that my publisher would provide the books that have become an integral part of such a blog tour.

When I got serious about self-publishing, one of the facts that sort of hit me between the eyes (and this wasn't until I had two or three self-pubbed offerings under my belt) was that I had to purchase all those books. I had always done a lot of my own marketing (because, as I've said before, no one is more interested in the sale of your book than you are), but when I self-published I needed to do all of it. That included sending out copies of the book to selected reviewers. And it was then that I got serious about the initials I'd been hearing for a couple of years--ROI, or return on investment.

When you're a member of a "street team," or an "influencer" for a book, realize that the book you received was one paid for by the author. In return, there are a number of things you can do to help get the word out. (The list I send is one I adapted from the one from author Jody Hedlund). Not every influencer can do everything on the list, but the author will ultimately look at the ROI of those efforts. The same goes for blog interviews and guest blogs, with the book giveaway that goes with them. If only six people comment, that's a poor ROI--if three dozen do, it's a worthwhile ROI. See the picture?

Here's my question for you: Have you ever been an influencer or member of a street team? Have you ever been influenced to buy a book by word-of-mouth recommendation from another person? Do you think blog tours, endorsements, and other marketing tools make a difference? I'd like to know.

Tweet with a single click: "It's not mentioned a lot, but ROI figures into an author's activities." Click here to tweet.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Another Guest Post

I'll be posting today at the Suspense Sisters blog, where I talk about the question, Aren't All Published Writers Rich and Famous? All comments (that include their email address) will have a chance at an Amazon gift card.

Incidentally, this will be my last post there. It's been a great time with those authors, and I hope you'll continue checking out their blog (as well as this one).

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring Has Sprung

I could have sworn I already posted this, but then again, maybe I just dreamed it. That's what happens when you're in the midst of launching a new book (well, a novella), going through the regular "stuff" of which life consists, and trying to make time for the important things in your life (like golf and such). Anyway, it's officially spring and I wanted to ask your opinion.

To me, spring means that flowers will soon appear. Baseball season is almost with us. Kay is bustling here and there with spring cleaning. And both kids and parents look ahead to the end of school (with differing emotions). So, to you, what does spring mean? Leave me a comment. I'd like to know.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Writing: Guest Posting

I was supposed to post at Fresh Fiction today, but (even though I sent the material) the post hasn't appeared and I haven't received the URL. I'll let you know if it shows up.

However, there's another place you can read about me and have a chance to win a copy of my latest novella.  I was interviewed yesterday on the blog of Lena Dooley, where a commenter has a chance to win a copy of Doctor's Dilemma. Click on over there and post your comment.

I'll see you back here next Tuesday.