So, I took Katie Davis’s Video Idiot Bootcamp course to try to learn how to market to a YA audience who loves videos. Big learning curve on so many levels. But, we have to start somewhere, and here at Routines for Writers, we are all about finding routines that make our writing and marketing lives easier.

After taking the class, I planned to make one new video a month. At the end of the year, I would have twelve videos that would continue to work for me 24/7. That sounded doable. And I am mostly on track to achieve that goal. Sometimes I go 6 weeks between videos. Some of my videos are time-specific, like my newsletter contest that is now over.

I meant to try a variety of videos–webcam; stock photo/video; cartoon, but because of time crunches, ended up with mostly videos of me talking, and one dynamic slide-show type video. Now that my debut month is over, I hope to have more time to try these other kinds of videos.

And always, at the back of my mind, I was trying to think about a routine for content. What could I do to routinely make videos?? So, I came up with this idea: Coffee with Authors, a Google Hangout on Air event.

A Google Hangout on Air is a video conference that is broadcast live, so anyone can watch, and is then recorded to your YouTube channel. You don’t have to have extra screen-capture software as Google takes care of it for you. You can have up to ten people on air with you, although when there are more than two, I think you need to use external microphones to keep out the echoes.

Here is my first Coffee with Authors. I’m hoping the more I do, the more relaxed and natural it will become. Debut YA author Ashlee Willis was a good sport about being my first guinea pig!  I get her talking about painting fairy/gnome doors on trees and she gets me talking about a not-official announcement.

Have you tried a Google On Air? Any do’s and don’ts I should know about?

 

Okay, this is it. It’s happening!! I tricked talked one of my editors into doing a Google Plus Hangout on Air with me this Friday, June 13, at 11:00 PST. I want to know why she pulled my book out of the slush. And about a million other things. Stacy is the executive editor of Entangled Teen. If you have any questions you’d like me to ask her, leave them in the comments and we’ll get her talking!

Here is the playback:

This is it, my blog tour is in full swing. Check out these stops and be sure to enter the contest. Thanks for hanging with me all these years at Routines for Writers!
Cinderella's-Dress-cover
Prize pack based on items in the book: Signed copy of the book, bookmarks, an amber pendant, a dress-form ornament, tatting shuttle and thread. To enter, just visit any stop along the way and enter the Rafflecopter.
Cinderellas Dress blog tour prizes
Week One:
6/2/2014- Zach’s YA ReviewsReview
6/2/2014- Dark NovellaExcerpt
6/3/2014- Angelic Book ReviewsReview
6/3/2014- Pages From My ThoughtsInterview
6/4/2014- YA Book MadnessReview
6/4/2014- The Cover ContessaGuest Post
6/5/2014- Crossroad ReviewsReview
6/5/2014- Such a Novel IdeaGuest Post
6/6/2014- The NerdHerd ReadsReview
6/6/2014- Fire and IceExcerpt
Week Two:
6/9/2014- Racing To Read- Review
6/9/2014- Paranormal Book ClubInterview
6/10/2014- The Phantom ParagrapherReview
6/10/2014- Addicted ReadersGuest Post
6/11/2014- Creating SerenityReview
6/11/2014- Every Free Chance Book ReviewsInterview
6/12/2014- A Backwards StoryGuest Post
6/13/2014- The YA’s NightstandReview
6/13/2014- Curling Up With A Good BookExcerpt
6/13/2014- After the Tour Tell All–Google Hangout on Air 11:00am pst.

Cinderellas dress after the tour header

what a debut author fears mostI thought I was afraid of public speaking. And I am. (That’s why I’m in Toastmasters.) But it turns out that’s not what I fear most about my Cinderella’s Dress book launch in two weeks. TWO WEEKS.

Saturday, I went to the Blink Tour at Changing Hands Bookstore to meet YA authors Lisa T. Bergren, Jill Williamson, Lorie Ann Grover, and Jonathan Friesen. Before the introductions were made, my launch event was listed in the announcements. Later, during Q&A, Lisa, author of 40 books was kind enough to ask me about my novel. This led to me asking the panel for their advice for an author heading into her debut month.

What Lisa said tipped over a domino that had me thinking all weekend.

She said that there are going to be people who really like my book. And people who really don’t. But the majority will be in the middle of the two extremes. She advised me to focus on the core readership and ignore the rest.

Walking with my husband that night, I told him about the event and what Lisa said. That’s when the mulling started. You know that thing authors do…when we go over every possible scenario, focusing heavily on the bad things that could happen. Note to self: You are supposed to do that for your CHARACTERS, not yourself.

Up until now, writing has been a very private activity. The only people who have read my work have been other writers, who get it. They get that it’s a work in progress. WIP. That anything and everything is up for revision. They get the striving to put the movie in my head into words that conveys that movie to another person. They get how hard that is.

Readers? Big scary readers? Do THEY get it? Do they get how hard it is to write a novel?

And then there has been the infamous Road to Publication. I look behind me and see a road littered with rejection slips. In front of me is the Cliff-of-the-Unknown.

Up until now, those rejections have been private. Shared, again, mostly with other writers who get it. Those who are also developing tough skin to suck up the rejection and keep trying. Keep writing.

Up until now, the advent of my first published novel, every book I’ve written has been rejected. Even though this book has been accepted and professionally edited, the dark cloud of rejection is not too far behind me. I still remember it.

What was once private will now be public.

I know there will be readers who reject my work publicly. They will forget that a real person is on the end of that rejection. I know this because I’ve read some reviews for other books and cringed in horror for the writer.

Book tastes are subjective. Once, I wrote a blog post about reading a book I didn’t particularly like (Too. Much. Voice). I was thrilled because it meant that even though my work was getting rejected by agents who liked their fairy tales “darker” all it would take is one editor whose tastes were like mine. It took awhile to find her, but I did. Now I’m in search of my tribe of readers.

A fear voiced loses some of its power.

That everyone won’t love my novel. This is what I fear most as a debut.

I am eager to meet my first bad review and get it over with. Like ripping off a Band-Aid!  *Please note, this is not a call for people to give me bad reviews. Truly, there is no need.*

And I am glad that—as always—I’ll have writer friends to talk it over with when it happens. The writing community is amazingly supportive. And one day, when a wide-eyed debuting author asks me for advice, I will give willingly and freely as I remember the fears leading into my own debut.

Now, if only I could nail public speaking.

A to Z Letter AWe here at Routines for Writers are big fans of writing challenges, specifically, NaNoWriMo. The November writing frenzy is firmly implanted in my writing routine arsenal. Even if I don’t write a novel that month, I at least increase my output for whatever I’ve got going at the time.

So imagine my excitement when I stumbled across a month-long blogging challenge in April! The A to Z Blogging Challenge has you blogging every day (except Sunday) using the letters of the alphabet as your prompt. Every. Day.

As I type this, I’m getting ready to blog the letter M on my personal website. It will be a wonderful Mushroom Soup recipe that my mom gave me last winter. Yummy. Check my blog on Tuesday: http://shonnaslayton.com/

Here is what I have experienced so far, and why I think writers should participate in a challenge such as this:

1. You learn to blog faster. You can’t spend forever thinking about what to blog, writing the blog, editing the blog, etc. If you are going to survive, you’ve got to pick up the pace. Don’t worry about being less than perfect.

2. You learn to write shorter blogs. People are busy and they are zipping through the blogs. Be short and sweet. Write the occasional masterpiece to stand as an evergreen article, but not every time you blog.

3. You learn to write about topics other than writing. You become very aware that the people visiting your site for the month will not all be writers. They aren’t going to want to read about plot structure. They are readers .You have to entertain/inform them a different way. Isn’t this the problem so many of us writers have? What else are we going to talk about if we aren’t writing about writing?!? Take the blogging challenge and find out.

4. You learn to visit other blogs–not just writing blogs. This has been one of my favorite lessons. As part of the challenge, you start at your name in the sign-up list and you visit the five blogs below yours. I’ve learned such interesting things this month, going outside my normal blog-type.

Also, this sequential method gives you a reason to visit a random stranger’s blog. You are all in this challenge together and it brings an instant sense of camaraderie. You’re not just trying to sell your book or build your platform.

5. You learn to comment. When you visit the five blogs a day, you are supposed to comment. And then if you have time, you can go back and visit the blogs of the people who left comments on your blog. I’ve “met” some really great people and found some new blogs and Pinterest boards to follow.

Bonuses: I’ve picked up a couple Twitter followers and newsletter subscribers. I feel more connected to the blogging community. My blog is not as lame as it used to be ;)

How about you? Are you in on the A to Z challenge? Are there other challenges like this out there?

Little Miss Lovesick_NEWSIZE_FINALI was thrilled to be invited to join a group of friends who wanted to do a fun cross-promotion for our books. For one day, today, all of our books - all in various sub-genres of romance - will be available on Amazon for only 99 cents! Yay!

If you like my books, you’ll find several in this list you would enjoy. :) And if you’re reading this after Friday, my book Little Miss Lovesick (and perhaps some of the others) will still be on sale through the weekend. Plus, I’ve made Lovesick 99 cents across all retailers, so you can get it for a buck on Barnes & Noble or iTunes or anywhere you like to buy ebooks!

If you’re on Twitter or Facebook or other places, would you mind passing this information along? I’d love to feel like I helped my friends find new fans. :-D Thanks a million!

Happy reading!

Kathy Bennett, A Deadly Justice

Kitty Bucholtz, Little Miss Lovesick

Linda Carroll-Bradd, Capturing the Marshal’s Heart

Kathleen Creighton, The Prince and the Patriot

Jacqueline Diamond, The Cowboy and the Heiress

Gillian Doyle, Mystic Memories

Susan R. Hughes, A Baby for Christmas

Michelle Knowlden, Indelible Beats

Heather MacAllister, Counterfeit Cowgirl

Mindy Neff, The Bad Boy Next Door

Louella Nelson, Cora Lee

Lyn O’Farrell, Worth the Risk

Dee Ann Palmer, Where Eagles Cry

Sandra Paul, Last Chance For Marriage

Michael H. Payne, A Curial Quartet

Edie Ramer, Christmas at Angel Lake

Angie Ray, Ghostly Enchantment

Susan Squires, Waiting For Magic

Kristy Tate, Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent

Patricia Thayer, Colton Creek Cowboy