Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New Listings and Stress Dreams

Lately, I've been trying to expand my marketing for my two novels, so I've been looking for websites that list indie books for free. So far, I've found a couple and I have one new live listing as of today. I don't have much of a marketing budget, but I would spend for a website I knew got results. However, it's difficult to tell what will and what won't. Obviously, most of the paid versions are probably going to be better than the free versions, but the free ones don't have a risk so I've been focusing on those. Do any of you have any hot tips for website listings that get results? I feel like I'm just taking shots in the dark right now.

I haven't updated since the whole Harlequin/ Mills and Boon debacle, but a couple of things have happened. First, my email did eventually get a response telling me to resubmit to the London office. By that point, I had already mailed a package to them with my original submission, plus a letter explaining what had happened, and the entire manuscript. I sent the manuscript because mailing over-seas takes time and money and I figured that if they don't want it, they can always toss it. I had every intention of sending return postage, but alas there is not a single place in my county that sells inter-national money orders to England. I could have gotten one to South Africa, Switzerland, Brazil, Antartica, and a host of other places, but not Great Britain. So, I asked in my cover letter for them to please reply by email. It was a risk, but it was all I could do.

Last week, I received a letter from them letting me know that my submission had been received and providing me with a reference number. I have to say, I am very impressed with this company's response time and willingness to pay postage. I was scared I had put myself out of the running completely when I was unable to pay postage. My best hope was for an email, but no, they actually paid to send me a letter (it was mysteriously addressed to Miss Scott, as I mentioned on Twitter, but close enough).

Ever since I received the letter, I have been having stress dreams about their actual response. In reality, I know I will either get a standard form rejection or good news. In my dreams, I get really odd, insulting responses. For example, the other night I dreamt that they returned the whole manuscript, but wrote the address in blue ink. When I opened the package, I found a letter written in sloppy cursive with a not-sharp pencil on a yellow legal pad sheet of paper. Yeah... I dream in details. The letter stated that I was an adequate writer, but would never be great. It continued to say that the premise of the novel was the only reason they were willing to accept it, but the deal was on the contingency of re-writes. The list of re-writes was very specific, but basically they wanted everyone to have the manners of a regency romance which was bizarre since it's about Dark Age Vikings. My main concern in the dream? That whoever had written the letter couldn't be bothered to type it, or to sharpen their pencil, or even just to use a white sheet of paper.

Am I officially insane? During the day, I'm not that stressed out about it. I have my official (thick) file of rejection letters, as any writer should. I have never been crushed by a single one. Of course, I know that no professional company would write a letter like that. I have a back-up plan. I'm doing fine on my own. I know that I am a good writer. So, why do I keep have these dreams? Have you ever had dreams like this? A superstitious friend thinks it means something good will happen, but I think all it means is I am my own worst critic.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ye Olde Tweet Tweet

I told you a while back that I was going to talk a little more about how I run my Twitter account, so I’m going to do that today.

You will get exactly one automated direct message from me. I’m set up to welcome all new followers with a dm. In this way, I can thank all of my new followers without actually typing 20-50 dm’s per day. I’ll be honest: I’m just not patient enough to do that. I do appreciate each and every person who follows me though, and I do read all of their profiles.

As for auto-tweets, you’ll see shout-outs to new followers. Again, it’s my stream-lined approach to thanking people. You will also see a count of how many people follow and unfollow me each day. That is mostly for myself. I like to see how I’m doing.

That’s it! Nothing else is automated. All of the rest of my tweets and messages are my own. I try not to inundate the site, because I have followed some people who tweet up to a hundred times a day and I find that annoying. So, counting the auto-tweets, there will usually only be six to seven tweets from me per day.

I follow everyone individually. No auto-followe. I read each and every profile and a good half a page of tweets before I follow. Basically, I don’t want anyone who posts overtly sexual, inflammatory, bigoted, hateful, or otherwise offensive tweets. I also won’t follow people who are selling things other than books or hand-crafts. So, no weight loss gurus, crystal therapists, etc. That stuff is fine and good in its way, but I’m not interested.

I have been re-tweeting quite a bit recently. My purpose in that is to help indie authors sell their books. So, I do give some preference to those with fewer followers and to tweets that have not already been re-tweeting. I also re-tweet the occasional quote that catches my fancy.

That’s it. I try to keep it as personal and non-irritating as possible.