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My Weekend and Random Thoughts

Hey folks,

I attended my first writer’s conference this weekend. Such an interesting experience! Sadly, I didn’t get any photos, but let’s face it, pictures of a bunch of writers aren’t gonna catapult my blog to the top of the charts, so here’s a funny meme instead.

I’ve set it as a goal to attend a conference, and my mind literally blew when I learned there was one just a couple of miles from my house. Not having to spend money on travel was a big plus, but in truth, getting my hermit butt to go anywhere is a challenge, so having one so close was a big selling point for me.

The North Coast Redwood Writers’ Conference is seventeen years old this year, and since it was my first one, I can’t compare it to previous years. I will tell you that it was worth the effort. We had several successful authors there, people who were very forthcoming with they built their careers, and the information they shared may well prove invaluable. I still got a long way to go, but it’s nice to know that it’s possible. I also got a line on a writers’ group that’s starting up here in town, and I’m looking forward to that.

 

Overall, I found it a very positive experience. For my part, one of the most difficult things to do is be social. But this place was so welcoming that I had an easy time striking up or joining conversations and meeting people. I’m going to have to make an effort to attend more of these things.

In other news, my son Cody has moved up to stay with us and hopefully make a positive change in his life. Right now, he’s crashing in our trailer, and once he gets some cash flow going, he might move into our rental. I wish him all the luck in the world. Welcome to the great wet north, Cody!

My experience with daily Twitter comedy continues, and seems to be getting positive results. Not a lot of traffic on the website, and not a lot of book sales this month, but that’s OK. Feedback is feedback, whether it’s positive or not, and it’s all a learning process. I have some ideas I’ll be implementing:

  • I need to build my mailing list. One common thread I’m picking up on is that you have to have a big list to promote your work to. These are people who are giving you permission to market to them, and right now, mine is pretty anemic. So, I’ll be working on that. One thing I’m itching to try is running a contest with a paperback copy of my book as a prize.
  • I think I’m going to start looking for a professional book cover designer. I did the covers myself, and as much as I love them, the don’t do much to help sales. They don’t look like the other books in the genre. Now, one of the problems is, most of the books in the genre don’t seem to have a lot of sales. This makes it a challenge to find a common thread to use for ideas. For instance, do an Amazon search for Romance, or YA Vampire stories. You’ll notice that the best sellers all kind of look the same. This is by design. These covers tell the readers that this book is one that’ll deliver what they want. I’m not sure my covers do that. So, if you know any artists who might be up for a project like this, please let me know.
  • My blurbs need work, too. Pretty much the same challenges and reasons from above apply here. One thing I noticed at the conference is, whenever anyone asked what I wrote, it takes too long to explain it. I need to work on my elevator pitch. When one of my books shows up on a search, I literally only have a few seconds to hook the buyer, and I don’t think my blurbs are doing that. So, I’ll be working on that.
  • I want to get the third Reuben Conway book, The Temporary Hero, to first draft status by the end of October. That way I can send it off to my editor and work on my first fantasy novel for NaNoWriMo in November. The working title for that is Terms of Enragement. It’s gonna be fun.

Alright, I want to talk about the NFL nonsense that’s floating around this weekend, but I think I’ll save that for another post, which I’ll write right now. See ya in a couple of minutes.

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