New Year’s Resolutions: Keep Them Simple

What I’m Learning about the Art of Marketing a Self-Published Book: 

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Arriving back at our Oregon Coast cottage after a wonderful holiday in Portland with our family and friends leads me to reflect on what I’ve learned in the past year. Kept indoors by the lashing rain and cold outside  (you’d never know it from this photo as it was sunny on New Years day)lends itself to thinking about the New Year and what I resolve to accomplish,discover and learn in 2015. Uppermost in my mind, of course, is marketing my book successfully. I am learning new things everyday and want to share some with my aspiring author friends and those who are just now self-publishing. Here’s a couple of websites I’ve found helpful: 

 Abigail Carter is the clever and successful author of Writer.ly, a fantastic website set up to help aspiring writers and self-publishers. She, coincidentally, is the daughter of my wonderful cover designer, Margot Boland, who formerly worked for a major publishing company in Toronto, Canada.  I’m impressed with the many helpful suggestions Abigail has on her website and only regret I didn’t go to it sooner. Being caught up in completing my first novel, Under the Salvadoran Sun, and then self-publishing, I failed to follow some of the tips offered and ran blind sighted into the morass of “to do’s,” book readings, launching parties without first “learning the ropes” by taking advantage of the many helpful sites available on the web. Part of the problem was my perception: “There’s just not enough time!”  Well, as I often commented to friends and fellow-writers, this is my “practice novel.” It has been that in every way, from learning more about the craft of writing to setting up a book marketing plan and sticking to it!  Now I know what I have to do for the next book. It’s on the burner. 

Here’s another great websitestandoutbooks, with some helpful author’s tools such as a template for your first Media Press Release. As late as I am having launched my book almost a year ago, I’m using it to reach out to print and radio media.

In fact, I did a radio interview with Peter Newman with Coast Radio station KMUN just two weeks ago. You can listen to it here or friends on the coast will hear it  aired on Monday, January 26th at 9:30 am PST. Please post a comment on my website after you’ve listened to it. I’d love to hear what you think.  

To keep my New Year’s resolutions simple, I have decided to work more on understanding the marketing of self-published books, to continue to learn more about the craft of writing and to accept the help of others in the process. 

I wish all my blog followers a Happy New Year and hope you will read my book, write a review on Amazon, and most importantly, stay healthy and in love with life! Of course, we all hope for more PEACE in the world. 

 

Authors of Influence

This past week has been a literary whirlwind here in San Miguel de Allende, both on a personal level and a public one. 

On the personal level, I’m in the final stages of publishing my novel, Under the Salvadoran Sun. I know many of my readers have already heard that and are probably saying: “OK, already—when we are we really going to be able to see it and  order it and read it?”  Barring unforseen circumstances  or  international Christmas mail delays for my final proof, it looks like my book will be available to order from Amazon, as an ebook or a print paperback, some time the first or second week of January. Sorry, it won’t make your Christmas gift giving list, but an Amazon gift card tucked in with a note about my book would be a great gift. Hint!

The public whirlwind this past week has been created by three great Literary Sala readings: one by Eva Hunter, author of A Little Morman Girl, and another by Beldon Butterfield, author of Mexico Behind the Mask.  Last night there was a Literary Sala’s Special Event with Alfredo Corchado’s spellbinding reading and discussion about his book,  for which his agent has just sold the movie rights, Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey Through a Country’s Descent into Darkness.                                                                    

Why have I titled this blog “Authors of Influence?”  Precisely because all three of these authors have unique stories, one’s which can influence the public’s thinking on a number of issues. I found each fascinating and informative for different reasons.

Eva Hunter, author of A Little Mormon Girl, is an ex-pat in San Miguel, but formerly, like myself, from Portland, Oregon, where she taught in the Writing Department at Portland State University. She has had a distinguished career as a writer, teacher, and editor of SOL, The English Language on-line Literary Magazine here in San Miguel de Allende. She continues to give writing workshops. Eva’s reading from her personal memoir was moving and informative, “taking us through a secret world of highest-leval Mormonism, and the underbelly of her family,” with the voice of a child of six up to young adulthood. Her story touched me deeply and I’m now looking forward to reading my autographed copy. Eva Hunter  

Beldon Butterfield, author of La Linea, The Line and The Crystal Bull,  read from his latest non-fiction book: Mexico Behind the Mask, and it sounds like a winner, full of fascinating details about Mexico’s hidden historical, political and social past. He starts out by saying “To understand Mexico, you have to understand the conquest in 1519.” Buttlefield went on to set the record straight on a number of mistaken notions of Mexican history, such as relating the “story behind the story”  of The Alamo  and the everlasting impact it has had on relations between the United States and Mexico. The author’s sense of humor and his fun presentation style made us all want to read this book. Beldon Butterfield

 My third “author of influence” is Alfredo Corchado, award-winning Mexican-American  journalist, who has covered Mexico for many years, and is currently the Mexico City bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News. He specializes in covering the drug wars and the U.S-Mexican border and corruption among police and government officials. Born in Durango, Mexico and raised in the U.S., Corchado says he lives between two worlds. His wealth of knowledge about the “inside story” behind the horrific crimes of the drug cartels, makes him a perfect person to write Midnight in Mexico. I sat on the edge of my seat as he reported about how Mexico has descended into “hell” with the problems of drug cartels and an ineffective judicial system. In spite of that he has great optimism for the future of Mexico. I was moved as he explained his story was not only “dark” but a memorial to his mother, whose influence got him to where he is, and to the many women behind the scenes of the narco crimes fighting to save their children, their communities and their country, refusing to give up.  I downloaded his book on my kindle the minute I got home. Alfredo Corchado

I’m adding this quote  about Corchado’s book from Benjamin Saenz, a keynote speaker at the upcoming 2014 San Miguel Writers Conference:

“Anyone interested in what is happening and has happened in Mexico for the past six years must read this book. We can call what is happening in Mexico a “drug war,” but that phrase cheapens the politics and the economics that govern the relationship between the United States and Mexico. I believe Midnight in Mexico will become one of the most necessary books about the Mexican-American experience in this country. More than a journalist, Alfredo Corchado is the real thing, a voice that represents millions of people.”

Hope you enjoyed this “book review blog” and will keep watching for my novel, Under the Salvadoran Sun. Happy Holidays!

 

Memorializing Nelson Mandela, an Author of Change

Wishing to honor the memory of Nelson Mandela this past week caused me to think about how he transformed the world. That coincided with the  the privilege I had of participating in a teleseminar with Nina Amir, author of How to Blog a Book  and the Author Training Manual.  The theme of the seminar was about being an author of change. I thought about the essence of my new novel, Under the Salvadoran Sun, and one of the main reasons I wrote it. Like my main character, Angela, I have always wanted to “make a difference,” to feel I have done something that might help others, that might bring more justice and peace to the world. Like great people whose lives serve as examples of good, literature has the ability to inspire us to think in new ways, to inform, and to influence the thoughts and actions of others. This is not only true of non-fiction, but can be true of fiction as well. One of my favorite books, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee is a perfect example. Her thoughtful and profound writing about racial prejudice was not a polemic against racism, instead she created a literary microcosm in which the interactions of her characters brought the issue to the forefront in a poignant manner, causing readers then and to this day to think about the awful consequences of prejudice. Likewise, Mandela’s life and actions brought about the end of apartheid.

Motivated by growing concerns on how our country treats those who put food on our tables, namely the undocumented workers from Latin America, I wrote Under the Salvadoran Sun. My concerns are reflected in dialogue between my characters and the plot. I hope my readers will think about our nation’s current policies which leave little opportunity for those who cross the border, work hard and pay taxes, and often have familias in the US, to find a road to citizenship. Of course, I do not pretend to have all the answers on this complicated issue and want only to  encourage dialogue about possible solutions to a more and more untenable situation. 

What Nina calls an Author of Change is someone who writes with passion about an issue. who has a message, a cause or a soul purpose to fulfill via her or his writing.  As she states, “we live at a unique time in history when change happens more quickly than ever before. You can have impact, assist positive change, author change in a variety of ways including with a book.

First and most importantly, I hope my readers find pleasure in reading “a love story, wrapped around the issue of immigration” as I often call it. That they may enjoy it and relate to my characters is of key importance, but maybe they will also remember to think with compassion about the many immigrants that make up the fiber of our nation and have always contributed to its history.

I would love to hear readers’ opinions on this key issue, immigration reform, and invite you to comment by clicking Contact on my menu bar.