Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Writer's Wednesday: Kristen Lamb's scary stats

Last week I told you about the fabulous Kristen Lamb and her inspiration with social media.  She knows what she's talking about.  She shared some scary stats with us during her session at DFW.

 Brace yourself.
  • 93% of novels sell less than 1000 copies.
  • Only 1 of 10 novelists will ever see a second book in print.
  • Most first time novelists fail to sell out their print run.
Bummer, right?

Which is why it was kind of cool today when I went to Barnes and Noble with a couple of long-time friends and saw my book--face out--on the bookshelf.

Don't be distracted by my baby bump.  Glamour is right there by my hand.  Isn't it pretty?

It was fun to see Glamour still out there being eagerly gobbled up by loyal readers (hint, hint), but Kristen's stats are in my brain.

I'm about to send out my next book to agents.  (Vow: I will never go the un-agented route again.)

And I'm nervous.  Why?

Kristen Lamb says two things sell books:
1) a good book
2) word of mouth

I've worked hard to take care of the first part. I need your help with the "word of mouth."  People in-the-know say agents check out your blog and see how many followers you have and how many comments people make.

I'm proud of Glamour. However, quite frankly, my second book is too much fun not to see print. It has a wider appeal. It's more commercial. It's edgier. The characters are definitely worth meeting.

I want to beat those statistics!

So...thank you so much for reading my blog. Could you please, prettypleasewithacherryontop, find the word "follow" at the top of your screen and click it? I'd be ever-so-grateful. And drop me a comment while you're at it. 

All the cool kids are doing it.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TV Tuesday: Here comes the royal bride!

A commoner (so what if her parents are millionaires?) will marry a prince--because they're in love.

Why are so many of us excited? I think it's because deep in our cynical hearts we really want love to conquer all and for fairy tales to come true.

Wedding fever is everywhere.  Did you know you can buy special apps created in honor of the event? Why not buy a keepsake or throw a party and give away great swag? You may still have time to purchase them from here or here. If not, go here to buy an imitation of the engagement ring (shown above) that both Prince William and Prince Charles gave to their brides.

Like so many people, I'm wondering what Catherine Middleton will wear. Check out this article to get a slide show of famous brides and grooms--including Queen Elizabeth II and her mother.

Go to the official royal wedding site to obtain the seating arrangements as well as history and photos of royal wedding cakes and carriages.Warning: if you are even the teeny-tiny bit interested, you will spend a long time here.

When I was a little girl, my mother, grandmother and aunt traveled to London. While there, they saw a parade where Lady Di was presented to the public and someone shot at the queen. (I believe it was the last time the queen rode horseback in a parade.)

Not long after, I nestled close to my mom on the couch, and we watched a real royal wedding before the sun came up.  Lady Diana was beautiful.  Prince Charles dressed like the princes in the Disney movies. I just knew they were to have a perfect happily ever after.

But since they couldn't, I really hope their son and his chosen bride do.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Favorite: 52 Smiles Campaign

Like many of you, I'm a blog voyeur. I rarely comment on or follow a blog even though I read it regularly.  I'll write more about this soon, but first I'd like to share a new blog I found this week that makes me happy.

 Katherine Marie Photography's feel-good approach stands out in the blogosphere.

The fact that it makes me smile isn't surprising since my favorite feature is its 52 Smiles campaign.  The goal? " create one out-of-the-ordinary kindness act each week for one year."

And it's easy if you want to join in the fun because she gives you suggestions on how to do it.  Here is April's challenge.  Here is March's. Here is February's.

Simple ideas for committing acts of kindness all by your little 'ol self fill many of the posts.  Simple happy moments from life fill others.  What's not to like?

Check it out. And maybe, like me, you can commit on this Earth Day to making the world a better place one small kindness at a time.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Writer's Wednesday: Kristen Lamb Kills the Bright Idea Fairy

Standing in the cafeteria line at the DFW Writers Conference, a woman behind me gushed. "Kristen Lamb changed my life!  I have a book deal. Last year I didn't even have a blog."


Cafeteria girl wasn't the only person I heard singing the praises of Kristen Lamb. These people were like those gnomes you see that pop up in people's gardens. They'd appear out of nowhere...and not go away.  Have you been to Kristen Lamb's session? Have you talked to Kristin? OMG, she's amazing.

Um. Okay. I get it.

So, I went.

And guess what? This perky, energetic woman encouraged the killing of the Bright Idea Fairy.


Who is the Bright Idea Fairy? She's the one who comes to you with fabulous ideas.

During Kristen's blog-building session, she shared three things the Bright Idea Fairy will say to you and what to do about it:

"Blog about yourself."
Kill the BIF! "Don't use blog as an online journal." (oopsie!) Apparently, most people don't lead fascinating enough lives to gather a readership. She indicated it's okay if a story becomes a lesson, asks questions or otherwise engages the reader.

"Blog from character's point of view."
Kill the BIF! This tactic is a gimmick. Readers seek authenticity. "The only thing that makes people love your book as much as you do is your book."

"Post sections of the novel."
Kill the BIF! "It doesn't serve the reader. It doesn't boost Google stats."  Only do this if the book is something reader is able to buy. With a link.  Right now.  Then it's a teaser.

She knows what she's talking about.  Sometimes even well-meaning fantastical creatures must go away.

To learn more about what she has to offer regarding social media and writing, check out her informative and hilarious blog.  Plus, you can purchase her new book called We Are Not Alone-The Writer's Guide to Social Media.

Check back here next Writer's Wednesday for more on Kristen Lamb.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TV Tuesday: Westerns

Hubby asked our son what he was going to do at his grandparent's house that day.

Max said, "Eat applesauce and Ragu and watch cowboys fall off horses."

If my father isn't watching a cooking show, he's watching some rodeo or an old western. His favorites? Gunsmoke, Maverick, and Have Gun--Will Travel.

So, it makes sense that food and cowboys are a big part of the kid's day.  We don't know why he calls ravioli "Ragu" but he does.

He probably learned it from a commercial.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Favorite: laugh or cry

Our son: My had time out.
Me: Why? What did you do?
Our son: My hit someone.
Dad: Did you learn anything?
Our son: (nodding) Next time I'll spit on him.

Uh oh. Should we be worried?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Writer's Wednesday: Sandra Brown quotes

Sandra Brown  knows what she's talking about. Sixty New York Times best sellers proves her prowess.


Note: Her author/actor son Ryan Brown was in my freshman dorm at the University of Oklahoma.


He was nice...and so cute! Is it just me or is he a doppelganger for Val Kilmer's Iceman from Top Gun?

So, yeah, I've paid attention to Sandra Brown ever since. 

Here are a few memorable quotes about writing from her keynote at DFW this year:

  • You get to lie for a living and you don't have to run for public office.
  • Not every idea wants to be a story. Sometimes you have to put it away.
  • Ask yourself what do you want? What are you willing to give up to get it?

Well, she asked you a couple of questions.  Go answer them!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Magic Monday: I'm growing a human

Our lives have a little magic in them.

Sometimes it just takes us looking with the right attitude or from the correct angle.

G and I saw magic today.

Our new baby will arrive around September 9.

And it will be a girl. And she's perfectly healthy.

One of each.  Now, that's a little bit of magic, don't you think?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Writer's Wednesday: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

I recently attended an SCBWI spring conference in Tulsa with my critique buddies Sonia Gensler and Lisa Marotta.

Plus, I had the pleasure of being assigned to agent Rebecca Sherman's table at lunch. She was delightful and passionate about being an agent. It's seldom one meets people who enjoy their jobs, but she does. How refreshing!

Even though our Oklahoma SCBWI hosts small conferences, I'm always impressed with the quality.

At the end of the day, a question was posed to all of the speakers.  
"What is your dream submission?" 

"A project that could only have come from that mind."  She referred to David Ezra Stein's book Interrupting Chicken
--Rebecca Sherman, literary agent from Writer's House

"I'd love, love, love for someone to figure out what the next Ramona Quimby is."
--Martha Mihalick, Associate Editor of Greenwillow Books (an imprint of HarperCollins)

Steam punk, alternative history, diverse mythologies explored other than Greco-Roman and Egyptian
--Nicholas Eliopulos, Editor of Scholastic

"A good domestic Little Women" or "A smart, new Cricket in Times Square."
--Katherine Jacobs, Associate Editor of Roaring Brook Press (an imprint of Macmillan)

Is your book the stuff of their dreams?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

TV Tuesday: Country Music Awards

Apparently, where I live is hell to asthmatics. I didn't even know I was this asthmatic.

Nice to know now that I live here.

With pollen flying around and all sorts of other yucky allergens floating in the air, it probably wasn't the best time to have our new floors installed.  They're beautiful, but the saw dust added to the existing allergens forced us out of our home and into my parents'.

It was a vacation! My parents cooked.  They entertained our toddler. Their dog entertained our toddler. We probably need to do this more often. I feel rested for the first time in ages.

I didn't watch any of my regular shows. Nor did my mother and I get to watch a recorded version of Jane Eyre...because my dad accidentally deleted everything on the DVR. I didn't know that was possible.  The most distraught person in the house was my son when he couldn't watch Tom and Jerry.

However, we did watch the Country Music Awards.  I like most music--except techno which just manages to irritate me. But my husband loathes country music. He played on his computer in another room.

He missed out. My mom walked in to see me dancing in the middle of their living room as Steven Tyler and Carrie Underwood jammed out to their rendition of Walk This Way. Oh, yeah.

So not country, but so fun.

The Rihanna/Jennifer Nettles combo was less thrilling for me, but Rihanna totally worked her flirty, fringy dress. It was a cute choice for the country show.

Plus, I admit, I adore Taylor Swift. How clever was her performance of Mean? I love the whole Depression Era front-porch hootenanny. She showed that she wasn't just pop music.

She's multi-talented, and I'm glad she received the Entertainer of the Year Award. Sure, her fans are more of the age to text votes and get her to win, but I don't care about that obvious advantage.