Guest Post by Robert Stanek


I’m pleased today to welcome Robert Stanek as a guest on my blog. Robert Stanek is not only the talented author of more than 150 books for adults and children but someone who has been helping other writers ever since his first book was published in 1995.

Back in the early days of the Web, Robert created Writer’s Gallery, Internet Job Center and Internet Daily News to help other writers (archives at http://www.tvpress.com). These days Robert helps other writers by hosting some terrific writers groups, by blogging about writing-related topics, and through his Read Indie tweets on twitter.

On Facebook, Robert Stanek hosts one of the more popular groups for getting the word out about your promotions and free offerings. It’s called “Free Today” and you’ll find the group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/freet…. On Twitter, you can tweet using the hashtag #freetoday as another way to spread the word about your promotions and freebies.

Go Indie (https://www.facebook.com/groups/goindie/) is another terrific group for writers that Robert hosts on Facebook. Go Indie is a group dedicated to promoting indie authors, indie books, and indie booksellers. On Twitter, you can also use hashtag #goindie to spread the word about your books.

On Goodreads.com, Robert hosts the Read Indies group. Read Indies helps to provide a platform for writers to discuss their books and writing-related topics. Read Indies is at http://goodreads.com/group/show/88011.

Robert also writes the Read Indies Blog (http://readindies.blogspot.com/). The blog discusses many important writing-related issues and details many of the challenges indie authors face in gaining mainstream acceptance. Some of the more interesting posts:

Taking Your Work from Print to Film – http://readindies.blogspot.com/2012/1…

Selling Rights to Your Books – http://readindies.blogspot.com/2012/1…

Viewpoints on Rejection Letters – http://readindies.blogspot.com/2013/0…

Understanding Bestseller Lists – http://readindies.blogspot.com/2013/0…

Finding Success as a Writer – http://readindies.blogspot.com/2013/0…

You can learn more about Robert and his books at http://www.robert-stanek.com.

I’m An Author, Not A Salesperson


There was a time when writers just had to write. But now, in our new economy, in the ‘space age’, our roles have changed. Even if we get that coveted Big House contract, they don’t spend money on new authors, so we’re left with either no sales, or becoming salespeople.

I never wanted to go into sales. I’m not good at it. I don’t like it. In fact, if I had known twelve years ago what I know now, I might never have dreamed of being published. I might have decided to just write for my own enjoyment. Too late now. With book one of a series published, and an editor waiting on book two, I have to learn this new way of being a writer.

I bought the books about social media and advertising. I even read them. I’m told they’re in English, but I’m not so sure. The one thing they all stress, and I understand, is that we have to now be ‘social.’ The polar opposite of being a writer. It’s not that I don’t like people. I was raised in a large family. Not communicating meant being trampled! But having the pressure of ‘entertaining’ other people, of saying things they want to hear, of trying to come up with new material…Well…it’s a lot.

I enjoy blogging. I really enjoy reviewing books I’ve read. Facebook is an okay medium, though a tad confusing. Twitter blows my mind. I’ve been told not to toot my horn, but every tweet I get is a sales pitch. I mean EVERY ONE! I have yet to get on LinkedIn without having to take my computer to the shop.

So, what are us old dinosaurs to do? How can we compete with kids who grew up with the internet and can’t spend more than twenty minutes away from their electronic friends? Even if I look at socializing on the net as ‘writing’, I still can’t think of what to talk about everyday. Especially when I’m not supposed to talk about my book.  I mean, I really don’t do anything interesting. I never go out to eat. No theater here in town. No cable TV. No parties. I don’t drink much, and when I do it’s just a drink at home. I don’t know a lot of people around here. I read. I write. I occasionally can some veggies. Who’s interested in that kind of thing?  Let’s face it–I’m boring. That’s why I read and write!

I’d love to hear from you all. How do you cope? Can you recommend resources that might teach me? Is there something out there that will interpret The Internet For Dummies for me? If you’re successful, what are your secrets? Are you struggling with being a salesperson? Do you find it difficult to carve out time for twitter? Facebook? Do you understand how it’s all supposed to work? And if you do, would you pass some of that along?

HOW NOT TO WRITE A NOVEL


I just read a post on Kristen Lamb’s blog ( http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/the-bookpocalypse-what-to-do-when-you-realize-your-story-might-be-dead/) entitled Bookpocalypse–What to Do When You Realize Your Story Might Be DEAD.

Kristen is so funny, and I love reading her articles. I always learn something from them. Can’t wait to get my  hands on her newest book Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World. I recommend her books to all authors, especially newbies.

Social Media: Ideas for connecting writers and readers


This is the last article of the Monday roll for the Rolling Mystery Blog Tours Ink group. Thank you Nancy Lauzon at http://chickdickmysteries.com for directing traffic my way.  After the article is a list of all the participants of today’s roll. Please take the time today, or this week, to visit them. And to see other articles that were part of a group’s rolls, check out my previous articles on Favorite Websites for Writers, Do You Critique for Free?, Mystery Writers who Inspire us, and other articles on this blog where you will find lists of other bloggers who wrote on the same topic, with a link to their articles.

And now on to my article on Social Media. 

This is a sore subject with me. I’m sort of a computer-phobe, and I’m even worse with the net. Too much stuff. Too much trouble to get into. Too many viruses. And talk about a time-sink! I think if I felt more confident, if I had a clue of what to do and how to do it, I’d feel better about the myriad forms of social media. I’m especially concerned for my computer. It gets sick a lot. I’m not sure it has a very strong immune system.

There are sites that I enjoy. And it’s great to be able to talk with friends, and get feedback from readers. I’m feeling better about blogging, but Facebook is just scary. I never have a clue if I’m in the right place, or if what I say might be taken the wrong way by someone who reads my messages. I know my friends will understand my wit. But what if someone else takes offense?

I don’t have a cell phone, so I don’t tweet much. And the google stuff–well, every time I go there, I get scary messages from the site. I have yet to say yes to them. So, let’s see…what does that leave for me?

Well, the truth is, there is only so much time in the day, and I can’t spend it online. So this is what I do: I try to blog at least four times a week, and have started a new journal which is usually a really short blog of how the day went. I want to do that daily, but now and then I miss a day.

I also am a member of a couple of very big sites for writers: Savvy Authors, and She Writes. Both have thousands of members, and hundreds or thousands of hits a day. I participate as much as I can at these two sites. I feel comfortable there, instead of overwhelmed or scared. I know I’m probably missing out on great opportunities, but there’s just no way for me to do it all, at least, not at the same time.

Now I’m gonna go visit the other blogs and see if they have better ideas. Who knows? Someone may change my mind and get me to do something different. After all, I’m not a computer whiz, or an advertizing exec. I’m a writer.

Check out articles on the same subject by the following authors:

Kathleen Kaska–http://www.kathleenkaskawrites.blog.spot.com                                                                                               KT Wagner–http://www.northernlightsgot hic.com/blog                                                                                                                 Nancy Lauzon–http://chickdickmysteries.com 

And please return here Wednesday for the next roll when we will be discussing Writing Rituals. 

Mystery Sub-Genres


This is the first article is part of the blog roll for the Rolling Mystery Blog Tour Ink group. Looks like I’m going it alone today, but hopefully my partners will return for Monday’s roll, which starts at KT Wagner’s blog, http://www.northernlightsgothic.com/ on the subject of Social Media: Ideas for connecting writers and readers.

And now, on to my article on Mystery Sub-Genres

Mysteries is a big topic. There are lots of sub-genres of mysteries, including cozies, sleuths, police procedurals, historicals, suspense mysteries, romantic mysteries, and a bevy of others. I enjoy most of them. To me, the mystery is the fun part.

I like the closed format of the mystery, so the reader is not privy to info that the main mystery solving characters don’t have. That way, I have to work on the mystery myself. I find that I write more toward the suspense/police procedurals, while I tend to read the older mysteries that were more pure mystery, with not so many sub-plots and not so much character development. The point in those mysteries is just for the reader to solve the puzzle.

I like to write about psychological mysteries. I like to explore the mind and have the reader try to figure out the why of the puzzle. So I do major character development, and several sub-plots. Some of the sub-plots may be romantic, or sleuth, or police procedural. I know, I’m a little crazy. But I really enjoy my job!

I have a great idea for a cozy, but I can’t seem to write it the way I want it. I envision it as somewhat funny, but I haven’t been able to write funny. Yet. It’s a great story, with several characters, including a Sheriff named Marshall, a man whom everyone thinks is Elvis, and two sisters-in-law who are different as night and day. Plus a young man who’s a wannabee gangster, but doesn’t have a clue.

I’m really interested in reading the other blogs on this subject. I love to know what other mystery writers are writing. You can check them out at the addresses below.

Genre Bending and Blending


This post is part of the Rolling Mystery Blog Tour. My blog was third on this list for this roll, which started with John Hines, who was followed by Kathleen Kaska. All of the participants of today’s roll are listed at the bottom of this article, and all have written articles on the subject of Genre Bending and Blending. Please take time today, or this week, to visit all the blogs on the list. And now, on to my article on Genre Bending and Blending:

This topic wreaks havoc with writers, especially unpublished writers. We plot and plan, write and revise, polish and submit, and our manuscripts are often returned for the simple  reason that they don’t really fit into the category the agent or editor represents. I have a friend who is in the midst of writing a wonderful story. It has a literary feel, but with mystery, and unending sexual tension. So, what genre is it, really? I don’t think it will pass for a romance, though it has hot spots. It might be a mystery, but not the typical who-done-it. It’s not a cozy, or a thriller. If we can’t name it, put it in a nice, neat slot, does that mean it deserves to sit in the slush pile for ever? If the storytelling is wonderful, the writing is crisp, and the plot is intriguing, if the characters are well-rounded and interesting, and the script has been polished to within an inch of its life, but it doesn’t fit anywhere, does the writer deserve to go on being unpublished just because her writing is unique?

Fortunately, there are small presses out there that are willing to take a chance on those of us who have trouble fitting our writing into preconceived notions of what is and isn’t publishable. And with the advent of ebooks, and the ease and availability of self-publishing, almost anyone can get a book published. The kicker is, readers need to be able to find your books, no matter what you write. So if your writing doesn’t readily fit into a genre, how will readers know what to expect?

As the publishing industry continues to go through growing pains, and readers become more open to the bending and blending of genres, it will get easier for those of us whose writing doesn’t quite fit the molds out there. But until that time, writers may have to hold on to those manuscripts they have worked so hard on, or else, compromise their writing to fit into the stereotypical genre of the week.

There has to be an answer to this problem. There must be a way for writers who bend and blend genres to let readers know what to expect from their writing. One way is to blog about it, and to set up their platform so that it praises the newness, the uniqueness of the writing. We need to find words that fit our writing and use them to put our names and our work out there for readers to find. Celebrate your uniqueness, and then make sure readers are able to find that uniqueness and celebrate it with you.

The next stop on the Rolling Mystery Blog Tour for this roll is Mollie Cox Bryan. Mollie has a great blog and her articles are full and fun. Below is a  list of blogs participating in this roll of the rolling blog tour. Please enjoy the articles on Genre Bending and Blending at each of the blogs.

HAVE YOU MET KRISTEN LAMB?


Kristen Lamb is a writer. She’s also a lover of the world, and sends love out through her blog found at her webstie: Kristenlamb.org.

Kristen knows how much writers want to just write. But she also knows that we live in a whole new world that revolves around the internet. So she wrote a great book titled We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide To Social Media. In this book, Kristen teaches us about the author’s platform, creating a brand, how to build a blog, and how to get potential readers through social media.

I took a class from her this week and learned tons about how to make my blog work for me. She explains how to get your name at the top of the que on search engines, how to name your blog and what kind of content should be there to encourage readers to visit time and time again.

She also teaches a class called Warrior Writer’s Boot Camp. Sounds tough, huh? According to Kristen, it is. But sometimes we need a strong drill instructor to help us get to the next level–which could mean getting published, or could mean creating a best seller.

Kristen Lamb is a kind, intelligent, experienced writer who is willing to help other writers fulfill their dreams. She believes in making herself accessible, and her blog reader friendly. I have been blessed by her knowledge, her generosity, and her talent, and I hope that all writers will visit her blog and see for themselves how much they need what she has to offer.