My Blog
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Libby's Blog

In my last two blogs, I wrote about writers’ ambivalence regarding participating in giveaways and book fairs. There is another area of uncertainty and some confusion for writers—Twitter.

For many, tweeting is a way of life. They enjoy it. Others successfully use it as a marketing tool. The rest of us, well, we sort of muddle through. The California Writers Club is hosting a workshop this fall and may offer a session on how to use Twitter. I can’t wait.

You connect with others on Twitter by “following” them. Hopefully, they will also follow you. That means when you tweet in no more than 140 characters, your “followers” will see it. They can reply, retweet or favorite it, if they so desire. Those options show up under your tweet, and all they have to do is click on the word. Followers on Twitter are similar to Friends on Facebook.

If you are marketing a book, you hope they will retweet the information, because they have followers that you don’t. If their followers retweet, well . . . you get the picture.

I’ve never understood what it meant to “favorite” a tweet. I receive that word fairly often on Twitter. Recently, a friend explained that it was like, “atta girl,” that it’s similar to “liking” something on Facebook.

One area that I haven’t mastered is #hash tags. If you want people other than your followers to read your tweet, you can use a hash tag and hopefully reach a group of people who may be interested in what you are tweeting. At the moment, I’m trying to think of words that will attract women fiction readers, as that is basically what The Haverford Trilogy is. The hash tag #womenfiction is too broad. I can use #Romance, but that is rather misleading, as I don’t write Romance as in Harlequin books. I do write about relationships, romantic or otherwise, and how people grow and evolve. Promises to Keep is a ghost story, but my kind of reader is more interested in the protagonist’s marriage and Sarah, the ghost, and her lost love, than the fact that a haunting is occurring.

Even though Desert Soliloquy is a mystery and action oriented, it falls into the women’s fiction category, to a degree. The protagonist is a woman, and there are romantic relationships and people learning and growing throughout the storyline.

If any of you can think of words that I can use as hash tags for women’s fiction, let me know. My handle is @LibbyGrandy. (I always feel so cool when I use the word  “handle.”)

This is what I understand about Twitter, at the moment. I’ll let you all know more as I learn more.

 

 Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:  http://ow.ly/sd9vJ

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to http://www.libbygrandy.com.

 

 

 


Posted by libbygrandy at 1:47 PM EDT
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
Libby's Blog

Over the past weekend, I attended a book fair at Perris, California, with my writer friend, S. Kay Murphy. Kay has three books available on Amazon: Tainted Legacy, Lessons I Learned from the Dogs Who Saved Me, and Ghost Grandma. http://ow.ly/zn7Ya  

In my blog last week I talked about the ambivalence of writers to give away their books. This week I want to talk about book fairs and some writers’ reluctance to participate in them. They are unsure of their marketing value. They may have a point, but aside from the business aspect of such events, there is the fun factor. Getting to know other authors and sharing writing stories is fun. It’s like a party without superficial chitchat. Writers are interesting.

In regard to marketing, here’s the reality of the publishing world. Most authors (those who are not yet famous) sell less than ten copies of their books at a book signing. Don’t ask me where I read this, just trust me that it was from a legitimate source (aka I don’t remember). More books are sold when there is a presentation, and/or after an author establishes a fan base.

At book fairs, sales can be even less. There is a logical reason for this statistic. We are talking about print copies that sell in the range of $10-$20. However, it doesn’t mean that sales are not going to be forthcoming from the event. It just means that they may be ebook sales. That is why authors should always give out business cards and paperwork describing their book. I usually have one sheet with a brief synopsis and reviews or blurbs on it. Someone who shows interest in either Desert Soliloquy or Promises to Keep can go home, look them up on Amazon and buy the book for only $5.75. Since my royalty for ebooks is 70%, (35% for print) it doesn’t affect the bottom line that much. I even encourage people to do that but some want a signed print copy. A week or so later, an author should check to see if any books were bought after the event. If selling books is the primary goal, and not many were sold, then the author may not want to participate in future book fairs. If having a good time is the first priority….

There’s one more reason for attending book fairs—branding your name. Those hosting such events are now inviting me to participate. Because of other fairs, they know my name. Trust me, this is a good thing. I’ll address the reason for that in future blogs.

In case I haven’t mentioned my name often enough, it’s—just kidding.

 

Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:  http://ow.ly/sd9vJ

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to http://www.libbygrandy.com.

 

 


Posted by libbygrandy at 12:39 PM EDT
Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Libby's Blog

Writers are often ambivalent about giving away their books. One giveaway that only involves one or two books but is a good marketing tool is on Goodreads. I recently set up a contest for one week to give away two copies of Promises to Keep. Hopefully they will write a review but, regardless, it is good marketing as 571 people entered the contest. That means they have checked out Promises to Keep and may want to read it.

There was another wonderful thing that happened. A woman wrote to me the day after the contest and said she knew she hadn’t won but asked if I would be willing to send her a copy. She would write a review on both Goodreads and Amazon. Authors do this all the time, so that was no problem What pleased me is that she said her husband was on veterans disability and that after they read it, they would donate it to the Memphis Veterans Hospital. I loved that idea and offered to also send her Desert Soliloquy.

We corresponded back and forth, and I told her that I, too, was from the South—Virginia. I didn’t name the town, but when she wrote back, she said that she loved Virginia, that her husband’s family still lived outside Winchester. That is about 30 miles north of my hometown of Woodstock, Virginia.

How cool is that? I love how small the world has become.

Writing and publishing is so much more than just selling books. There is the satisfying creative side, and, occasionally, this kind of serendipitous happening.

Writers should give Goodreads giveaways a try. For me, it was a win-win situation.

 

Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:  http://ow.ly/sd9vJ

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to http://www.libbygrandy.com.

 

 

  


Posted by libbygrandy at 1:08 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 16 July 2014 1:10 PM EDT
Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Every Fourth of July we see the same strangers. Although I guess if we see them every year, they can’t be strangers. It’s just that I always forget their names, and, since they remember our names, I can’t bring myself to ask . . . well, you know.

To explain all this, I have to tell you where we live in Claremont, California. It is right across the street from the Pomona College track—the perfect place to set off the town’s annual fireworks. Consequently, people sit in front of our house on the street curb. And on our lawn if there is room. Others pay to go into the track area. So we have quite a crowd in our neighborhood on the Fourth.

The fireworks are spectacular, although most years I’ve watched through the window, huddled with our animals. Our last dog died in the spring of 2013, so I did see them outside last year. However, we now have our new dog, Missy, and she and I hid in the back bedroom this year. I knew the noise would frighten her. It scares me sometimes, and I know what it is.

We need to protect our dogs and little kids on the Fourth. I remember when our Jesse was four years old, we explained that even though the fireworks seemed to be directly over our heads, they wouldn’t fall on us. Still concerned, Jesse said, “Mamie, will you throw water on me if they do?” I promised that I would. Since his career goal is to be a firefighter one day, I guess he was covering all his bases.

The Fourth of July is a celebration of our country but also of family. It always reminds me of happy times years ago when we lived in Virginia.

Except no strangers sat in our front yard.

 

 Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:  http://ow.ly/sd9vJ

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to http://www.libbygrandy.com.

 

 

 

 


Posted by libbygrandy at 11:59 AM EDT
Wednesday, 2 July 2014
Libby's Blog

The speaker at our California Writers Club on Saturday was Tim Chizmar. Tim was in our critique group years ago before he moved to Hollywood and successfully took on that scary world. 

Tim encouraged writers to step out of the box and stop depending on agents and publishing companies to do the job of marketing. He told us to socialize and network. Tell people about our books. That is how he recently got a three-book contract from a publishing company. The publisher heard him talk about his story ideas (he’s a horror writer) at a social gathering and gave him her business card. She wanted to see his work. They connected and the first book will be out in a few months.

You have to understand, of course, that Tim is a stand-up comedian, who produces his own shows in Hollywood. Consequently, he is no shrinking violet. He’s friendly and open, tells great stories and is cute as a button (definition of that last phrase: charming and attractive). That definitely works in his favor as he markets his work and his talents.

I don’t know about other writers, but I find marketing to be very uncomfortable. I just posted on Twitter about the second book in my trilogy becoming available soon and suggested reading the first book, Promises to Keep before reading the second. I started to type and suddenly wondered, “didn’t I just tweet something?” Questioning whether or not I should tweet again. Yet every marketing expert says you’re supposed to be tweeting every day about your books.

I don’t know if it’s my southern upbringing (you must never call attention to yourself and certainly never brag about anything), or if it’s just normal for writers to dislike marketing their work. Whatever it is, we are going to have to “get over it,” if we want to sell books.

So, here’s the first step in my attempt to do so. For my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Goodreads fans, I want you to know that I’ve written four books. My mystery, Desert Soliloquy was published in 2012, my ghost story, Promises to Keep, came out in January 2014, Lydia, the second book of the trilogy hopefully will be available in the fall of 2014, and the third book of the trilogy, True Abundance, in 2015. I’m now working on a new book. The working title is The End is the Beginning. I won’t publish that until after the trilogy, as two of the characters will visit my new character on the east coast a few years after the storyline in the third book.

Got all that? Even I’m having a little trouble keeping it clear in my mind.

Anyway, I talked about my books and lightning didn’t strike me dead. I didn’t scream, “Buy my books!” I just provided information for anyone who might be interested. (Of course, if you want to…just kidding.)

So, thank you, Tim. You got through to me.

 

Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:  http://ow.ly/sd9vJ

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to http://www.libbygrandy.com.

 

  


Posted by libbygrandy at 11:22 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 2 July 2014 5:44 PM EDT
Wednesday, 25 June 2014
Libby's Blog

The Prison Library Project sponsored by the California Writers Club on June 21st was a great success. Many books were donated, and everyone seemed to enjoy hearing members of CWC read from their novels or manuscripts. I enjoyed reading passages from Desert Soliloquy and Promises to Keep, as well as talking to readers about the books afterwards.

Readers (I can’t quite bring myself to call them my fans yet) are so much fun to talk to. I believe everyone has a story to tell, and sometimes it just takes being in a creative environment to take that leap of faith and put words on paper. That happened at the mystery panel the week before. A reader bought a copy of Desert Soliloquy and talked for a while about writing and how she had decided during the evening’s discussion that she was going to finally try writing a children’s book. She’s a teacher at a local elementary school, and her readers would be 6th and 7th graders. I sincerely hope she follows through on those feelings.

Have any of you readers had the same feeling? If so, rise above your doubts about being able to write a good book. No one knows how a book is going to turn out. Just don’t make a judgment after a first draft. Editing and rewriting are essential parts of the process. I have a few first drafts out there with friends from years ago. They are keeping them for sentimental reasons, but I pray they never see the light of day. I’ve learned so much over time about the craft of writing, mainly by just doing it and then taking it to my critique group.  

I do recommend that you don’t write for the market. In other words, if you don’t like to read books about vampires, don’t write one because you think you will become rich. Even if you are able to write a good story, by the time it’s published, the trend will probably be over. And I honestly don’t believe you can write a good story if you aren’t passionate about the subject. I know I can’t.

The world of literature is a wonderful place to visit. I’d live there full time, if I could.

However, (sigh) I’ve got to stop now and go cook dinner. 

 

Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:  http://ow.ly/sd9vJ

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to http://www.libbygrandy.com.

  


Posted by libbygrandy at 11:18 AM EDT
Wednesday, 18 June 2014
Libby's Blog

I’m really looking forward to a writer’s event coming up in Claremont, California.  The California Writers Club is sponsoring the Prison Library Project this Saturday, June 21st, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Attendees are encouraged to bring a used paperback book or dictionary. These donations will provide free reading materials for inmates nationwide. The location is also a used bookstore and proceeds from sold books go toward the prison project.

Members of the club will read from their published works or manuscripts. I’ll read a few paragraphs from each of my novels: Desert Soliloquy and Promises to Keep.

The location is inside the Old Packing House, at 586 West First Street. On Indian Hill Avenue in the Village, turn west on First Street and drive all the way to the end of the street (past the theater). The Packing House will be on your left. It’s a beautifully renovated historical building with wonderful shops.

As I mentioned, we’ll be there between ten and twelve on Saturday (and probably later, as writers love to hang out together).

Hope to see some of you.

By the way, my ghost story, Promises to Keep, is available for only $1.99 on Kindle for the next week. Those of you who haven’t read it yet may like to take advantage of this deal.

Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon  http://ow.ly/ycFsx

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to http://www.libbygrandy.com.


Posted by libbygrandy at 12:48 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 18 June 2014 9:16 PM EDT
Wednesday, 11 June 2014
Libby's Blog

The most important news at our house, at the moment, is: we have a dog! Her name is Missy. She is a German Shepard mix, medium size and has the softest fur I have ever felt on a dog. The “mix” must come from a parent with silky hair. Her color is beautiful, much like that of a Palomino horse—shades of light gold, white and cream color. She’s eight years old, well-behaved, easy going and affectionate. A sweetheart. Her family moved away and couldn’t take her with them, so they took her to the Upland Rescue Center. When we visited the center, it was love at first sight.  If I sound besotted, it’s because I am. Our whole family is in love with Missy—and she with us.

Our last dog died last year. We had Barney for fourteen years. Our other dog, Muffin, had died three years earlier. We had him for twelve years. Both had been rescue dogs. Barney even became famous when Chicken Soup for the Soul published a story that I wrote about him in I Can’t Believe My Dog Did That (see “Barney” under Animal Stories on my website http://www.libbygrandy.com.

Anyway, it felt strange this past year to be a family without an animal in the house.  Finally, we felt ready to visit shelters and look for another dog. Three weeks ago, our friend, Kay Murphy, let us know that Missy was at the Upland Center, and she felt it might be the right dog for us. She knew we wanted a medium size, mature dog, with a calm disposition. One who would get along with a six-year-old. Our whole family visited the Center, and Missy came home with us that same day. It has been a continuous love fest since then. As you might guess, volunteers at rescue centers are animal lovers, so everyone at the Upland Center was so happy that Missy was going to have a good home.

There are still some wonderful animals waiting to be adopted. If any of you are interested, they are located at Memorial Park in Upland. The address is 1275 San Bernardino Road. Turn South off Foothill Boulevard into the park and follow the road to the right. You’ll see their big red building. (Phone: 909 931-4185)

Your next pet may be patiently waiting for you.

 

Link to Promises to Keep on Amazon:  http://ow.ly/sd9vJ

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to http://www.libbygrandy.com.

 

 

 

 


Posted by libbygrandy at 2:33 PM EDT
Wednesday, 4 June 2014
Libby's Blog

On June 2nd, I was on a panel with other mystery writers at the Ontario Library in Ontario, California. It was a great evening. Hopefully, the writers in the room went away with valuable information about mystery writing, and the “readers only” enjoyed the discourse.

The Moderator had in-depth questions for us, and the audience had their own questions. The most difficult one for me to answer is always: where do you get your ideas for a plot? I usually start with a spark of an idea, which grows with each chapter after I start writing. Sometimes I have no clue what is going to happen at the end of a chapter and just have to set the manuscript aside for a while. Sometimes I’m surprised at what happens next.

The other writers on the panel gave better answers to the question. They have more complete ideas before they start writing and often outline first. However, like me, their ideas germinate for a while in their minds before becoming a clear-cut plot. Each writer has his or her own writing style.

Most of the aspects of writing that we discussed, such as research, character development, and point of view, apply to every genre. The truth is that I don’t just write mysteries. Desert Soliloquy, now available on Amazon, is a mystery, but the second novel I published, Promises to Keep, the first book of my trilogy, is a ghost story. The other two books have problems that must be resolved and involve danger and suspense but aren’t crime stories, per se (involving police procedures, etc.). Of course, in that context, I guess you could say that every novel has its own mystery. (If you didn’t follow all that, I totally understand.)

Anyway, it was a fun evening. There’s nothing writers enjoy talking about more than writing. And answering questions from an audience sometimes sparks new thoughts and ideas that can often be used in future novels. One person brought up a subject, and one of the panel members said, “Now that would make a good plot.”

If you would like to read the other mystery writers’ novels, go into Amazon and type in the following names: Ro Ruffalo, Dorothy McMillan, and Brenda Hill. Their novels will all come up, along with descriptions, reviews, etc.

Of course, you can type in Libby Grandy, also, if you like. That would be fine with me.

 

Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:  http://ow.ly/sd9vJ

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to http://www.libbygrandy.com.

  


Posted by libbygrandy at 2:00 PM EDT
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
Libby's Blog

There are many fun events for published writers. One for me is coming up next Monday, June 2nd  at the library in Ontario, California. I will be on a panel with other mystery writers. Brenda Hill, Ro Ruffalo, Dorothy McMillan and I will be talking about the craft of mystery writing. The other three authors used local settings for their stories. Readers living in the particular areas love that. They recognize the streets, buildings, etc. as the characters move around. I have fictional settings. I did, however, use the ghost town of Calico in the high desert of California as a template for my fictional town of Odessa. Consequently, if a reader visits Calico, they will recognize much of the locale. And Mesa Verde in Colorado is a real place.

My mystery, Desert Soliloquy http://ow.ly/sd9vJ falls more into commercial/main stream fiction while the other panelists’ novels are crime mysteries, involving police procedures. Consequently, they had to do much more research for their books. My story begins inside a mountain. The question of who kidnapped my character and put him in that mountain is the main plot. Although I refer to law enforcement, it is the other characters who finally solve the mystery. They just call on law enforcement for backup.

The panel will discuss character development, plotting/outlining, pacing, dialogue and the use of false clues and red herrings. Questions from the audience will undoubtedly bring up other aspects of mystery writing.

I look forward to sharing the panel with Brenda, Ro and Dorothy. I’m sure I will learn something new from them, as we are always honing our skills and evolving as writers.

If you are in the area, I look forward to seeing you. The address of the library can be found on http://ow.ly/xhlOu. I’ll let you all know how it went next week.

 

Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:  http://ow.ly/sd9vJ

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to http://www.libbygrandy.com.

 

 


Posted by libbygrandy at 12:20 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 28 May 2014 12:37 PM EDT

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