I Think I’ll Take the Day Off

pause and reflectMonday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we drove 600 miles.

Each day.

Yesterday, I didn’t even know what day it was.

Today, I’m sitting in Phoenix while it rains.

In Phoenix. In late April.

Back home, we left 70 degree weather. Which turned to a day-long blizzard the next day.

Schedules are good. Habits are good. Plugging along, doing the work — also good.

Sometimes, though, it makes more sense to pause and reflect. Or just pause.

I’ll be back with my usual brilliance next Friday. In the meantime, if there’s something you’d love to see me write about, tell me about it down in the comments.

It’ll give me something to reflect on when I’m done pausing.

Wine into Water?

wine into waterAs writers, I hope you’re getting some of your marketing savvy from The Story of Telling. Not only is Bernadette brilliant, it’s the most writerly marketing description I know.

In her latest post she writes that “the customers you keep are not just choosing you—you are also choosing them. The fact that you make this choice means you get to do your best work and not the watered down version for people who might care some day.”

I co-authored a book with Rick Wilson called Hits or Niches. The diagram below outlines our shared perspective on why marketing should always aim at a niche and never aim at becoming a hit.

Continue reading Wine into Water?

Newsletter Q&A With Mrs. A

Mrs AEvery person who signs up for any of my newsletters gets a personal welcome note. Sometimes they turn into great conversations, like this one with Carrie Aulenbacher about making the most of a newsletter.

Hulloo, Carrie!

As I anxiously await the printed proof of what will likely be my only children’s book (back to the mysteries!) I think about how easy it is to get distracted from the One True Path (I know; ain’t no such thing; work with me here.)

What could I do to help you stay focused or to keep moving? I’d like to write about that.

Welcome aboard.

Interesting you mention the One True Path because the feedback I’ve been getting lately points to my being pulled in a bunch of different directions and not sticking to ONE path.

So, you’ve just met a romance author who is trying to improve her own newsletter, is passionate about marketing, loves being creative, is excited about writing business articles for Fridge Magazine, was just in the Wall Street Journal last month on a non-author related article -and- who is up to her elbows in a day job with a newsletter and marketing of its own!

With a lot of irons in the fire, I want to glean expert knowledge on how to follow so many passions while not making my author newsletter unattractive.

Do I eliminate one of the passions so as to not dilute myself?

Or add another fork in the road? Another lane to my highway?

Continue reading Newsletter Q&A With Mrs. A

Gathering Structural Support

I’m gathering resources to create some kind of structure checklist for my writing and wanted to share 3 useful lists and concepts I’ve encountered the past week.

structural support

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Once Bitten . . . You Stop Sticking Your Hand in the Cage

pet the catIn her blog today author Lia London tells a harrowing tale of lies, betrayal, fraud — that wasn’t her latest book, it was her previous publishing efforts.

In a Facebook group I’m part of, someone asked for recommendations for a web designer. I dropped my name on the list, already 100 posts long.

The “where should I host my site?” question is asked often, garnering the same list of responses each time: “GoDaddy!” “Anywhere but GoDaddy!” “HostThingy” “ThingHost” “HostHost” “Hostess Cupcakes” “Charlottezweb” (because I’ll never skip an opportunity to promote Jason’s marvelous hosting, even if it gets lost in the crowd.)

We’re re-watching Longmire from the beginning, hoping the long-awaited 4th season will start the night after we finish the cliffhanger of season 3. In last night’s episode Walt tells Henry the reason he’s pulling fingerprints from a car’s steering wheel instead of having one of his deputies do it: “If you want something done right, you do it yourself.”

Rather than debate the debatable truth of the statement, let’s talk about why we believe that.

Continue reading Once Bitten . . . You Stop Sticking Your Hand in the Cage

The Magic Formula for Marketing Your Books

The most popular posts here at Someday Box are my deep dive into story structure called Your Story in 12 Sentences.

We love lists. We love step-by-step instructions. We love knowing exactly the right moment to do precisely the right thing so it all comes out right.

formulas2 + 2 = 4, every single time.

Mix the right amounts of flour, sugar, egg, milk, and whatnot and put it in the oven at this temperature for that long, and it’s a cake, every single time. (Okay, maybe not every single time, but almost.)

Authors are people, and as people, we want checklists and step-by-step instructions, too.

Especially for marketing.

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In Praise of Robert McKee’s “Story”

In the past few years I have started, but not finished:

  1. A coming of age story with a strong musical element
  2. The first mystery in a new series with a rather artistic protagonist
  3. The first mystery in a new series with a female protagonist
  4. A Jeeves & Wooster/P. G. Wodehouse-inspired light comedy with a mysterious twist.

They are unfinished, not because they aren’t good, but because I didn’t know how to make the last 1/3 (or 1/2 or 2/3) as good as what was already written.

Not because I don’t know how to use words. Never been a problem. I was reading at college level when I started Kindergarten back in the Jurassic Era.

What I didn’t know was, once you start building a bridge of story from over here and it spans half the chasm, how do you keep it from collapsing into the ravine until you can make it land over there?

In other words, what is the structure of a story?

Continue reading In Praise of Robert McKee’s “Story”

Respect Your Reader’s Intelligence

now where are those rutabaga chips?When someone tells a joke and then explains the punchline, does it make the joke funnier?

When you’ve made a dumb mistake and someone points it out, is that helpful?

I am reminded of of a scene from John Cleese’s brilliant Fawlty Towers where Basil Fawlty reacts to his wife Sybils’ comments: “Perhaps we can get you on Mastermind; next contestant, Sybil Fawlty from Torquay, special category, The Bleedin’ Obvious!

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