Do you ever feel invisible?

Tricia Drammeh:

Here’s one author’s take on the frustration of trying to market a book. I’ve read several articles lately by authors who are having the same trouble. Marketing can seem like a pointless task, so what’s the answer? Do we wait for readers to find us? Or do we participate in the mad scramble for visibility? I’ve decided to take a break from promotion while I focus on writing and editing. My approach might not sell any books, but I’m feeling more relaxed than I have in a long time.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Kate Jack’s work, I highly recommend both her blog and her books. Her blog is very informative. Her books are incredible works of urban fantasy which I believe most readers would enjoy. Please take a few moments to visit Kate’s blog. It’s time well spent.

Originally posted on KATE JACK'S BLOG:

invisible-man

Do you ever feel that no one can see or hear you? That no one can even sense your presence? That’s how I feel when I’m trying to market my books, and I’m not alone. There are millions, perhaps even billions of us, all clamouring for attention in a very crowded marketplace.

bazaar

Does that mean we should give up? No, of course not. We believe passionately in our work and should therefore try to give it the best chance we can to get it out there. That said, how? Of course there’s the usual social media outlets, such as Facebook, with its various groups, pages and timelines. But most of the groups consist of fellow writers, who on the whole are, naturally, only interested in promoting their own work. How many times have you seen a post about someones else’s book on their timeline, and just scrolled past it? Then…

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The Death of a Book Blog

Most of the readers who follow this blog are aware I have another blog – a promotional blog called Authors to Watch. For the past year, I have interviewed hundreds of authors, promoted hundreds of books, and posted dozens of reviews. What started out as a small blog that boasted the occasional post evolved into something quite substantial. Up until January, I posted on Authors to Watch several times a week. At one point, I posted every day.

In addition to the Authors to Watch blog, I also had a Facebook page and Facebook group. When the group grew to several thousand members, we took on extra admins for a total of six. Six admins might seem like a lot, but we couldn’t keep up with the spam, so we posted some rules essentially changing the group to a discussion-only forum (no promotion allowed). When the rules were repeatedly broken by spam-and-run authors, we changed the settings so that only admins could initiate a thread. Our core group of members loved the changes. We had some lively conversations (sometimes resulting in disputes that had to be settled by admins), but our discussion threads were often marred by authors who couldn’t seem to resist dropping a promotional post and then running. After a few months, I became tired of being bombarded by angry authors demanding that I kick so-and-so out of the group because they hurt their feelings on a discussion thread. I got tired of being messaged by authors who wanted to know why their “posting rights” were revoked just because they dropped a bit of semi-pornographic spam on a discussion thread that was meant to be about creating realistic dialogue. When I made the announcement that the group was being deleted, a few authors (who were complete strangers to me) got together demanding that I turn the group over to them. I ignored them, deleted the group, and have never lost a night’s sleep.

Now the time has come for the blog to take a bit of a break. Or for me to take a break from the blog. Like most book bloggers, I work outside the home, take care of a family, and try to scrape together a moment or two to write. Like most book bloggers and authors (and like most people in general), I’m busy. Book blogging is something I’ve done because I love it. I love helping authors. I love giving authors a platform to promote their books and talk about their writing process. Or, at least, I used to.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love helping authors. I just need to do it in a different way. I’m sure some of you will encourage me to stick it out. You’ll tell me to get back to Authors to Watch in a couple of months when I’ve recovered from my recent health crisis. And maybe I will. But right now, I really, really, really need a break.

I’ve thought about ending the blog for a long time, but then some starry-eyed, new author would come along asking me to promote their book, and their genuine kindness would sneak past my defenses, and I’d be back to interviewing once again. For every amazing, wonderful, genuine, kindhearted author I’ve encountered, there’s been at least one entitled, demanding, ungrateful author whose made me wonder why I spent my free time helping them.

I’ve stayed up late to format interviews when I’m so tired, all I want to do is pass out on the floor. I’ve promoted interviews in the morning before I’ve rushed off to work and promoted the moment I got home. I’ve read books I’ve agreed to review by a certain date even though it meant putting my own writing (or housecleaning or spending time with family) on the back burner.

I’m not special. Every book blogger is busy. They tirelessly promote because they love books and they want to help authors. Over the past three years, I’ve seen several book bloggers quit. Some are no longer accepting review requests outside of book tours. Some aren’t accepting self-published authors at all. The flood of requests (many from rude authors who don’t read their guidelines) have pushed these book bloggers to put strict limitations on who can approach them. Emails are deleted without reading them. Authors are ignored.

It’s tough for both authors and book bloggers. There’s such a huge need for reviewers, bloggers are being overwhelmed by requests, while authors are wondering how the hell to get the word out about their book.

As an author and a blogger, I’m on both sides of the fence. I know how hard it is to be inundated by a dozen review requests per day. I also know how exhausting it is to send out dozens of review requests and only hear back from two bloggers. As an author, I respond to each and every author who wants to be featured on Authors to Watch. I might not respond to publicists, but I would NEVER ignore an author who contacts me directly because I know how badly it sucks to be ignored.

Authors, before you contact a reviewer or book blogger, please be mindful of their time. Bloggers are doing everything they can to help you. The majority of authors are polite, but many are not. Some bloggers (like me because I’m a pushover) will try to accommodate every author, even the rude ones, but most bloggers aren’t going to give you a second chance.

Every book blogger has their own rules and pet peeves. Here’s what really pushed me over the edge:

  • Rude authors: These are authors who, for whatever reason, lack in social skills. Maybe their intentions are good, but from reading their terse emails, it’s hard to tell. “This needs to be changed.” Or, “You need to add this link.” One-line emails or comments that make demands are not a nice way to address the book blogger who was up half the night fighting with their internet service in order to get your post formatted. If you need the book blogger to make changes, that’s fine. But be nice.
  • Demanding authors: If you see something that needs to be changed or added in your promotional post, most book bloggers are more than happy to help. ASK nicely. Don’t demand. Don’t email the book blogger repeatedly throughout the day, wondering why the link (that you provided incorrectly the first time, by the way) hasn’t been fixed yet. Book bloggers don’t spend their lives glued to their computers waiting on correspondence from you. When someone is doing something for you for free, you have no rights to make demands. Ask.
  • Entitled authors: While demanding authors are often perfectionists who can’t relinquish control over a blog that isn’t theirs, entitled authors make demands because they feel like everyone owes them unlimited time. Entitled authors are the only authors out there. They wrote a book, so the rest of us should bow down to them. As for the other authors out there, we pale in comparison to the entitled author. Entitled authors interview the book blogger ahead of time to make sure they’re worthy. They ask the book blogger how many page views they get per day and what they’re going to do to promote the post. The entitled author checks in with the book blogger throughout the day to make damned sure the blogger has promoted. “I didn’t see anything on Twitter yet.” The entitled author leaves nothing to chance. “You might want to mention that I placed runner-up in the Obscure Book Cover Award,” or, “You might want to change your post so that it shows my promotional price in bold letters” or, “You might want to Tweet again in the afternoon so more people see the post.”
  • Too busy to read the guidelines Authors: These are the authors who skim through the Contact Me page and grab your email without reading any of the guidelines. Never mind that the book blogger isn’t accepting reviews at this time. They email the blogger a copy of their book anyway and expect them to review by a deadline they set. They follow up with constant demands, asking when they can expect the review to post. Hmmm. How about never?
  • Ungrateful Authors: These are the authors who don’t bother to thank the blogger for their time. I guess this goes back to a sense of entitlement. Or maybe the author just got so busy, they forgot to send the blogger a quick email to thank them. Book bloggers aren’t looking for much, but a simple “thank you” goes a long way. That’s all we want.

For those of you who have been interviewed or reviewed on Authors to Watch, don’t worry! I do plan to renew the domain, so links to your reviews and interviews will stay intact. For those who have already set up an interview or book feature for October or November, have no fear. I will definitely follow through on posting and promoting your feature. (Hey, I even fixed a link and Tweeted while in the hospital.)

Don’t be surprised if I’m back to Authors to Watch in the new year when things settle down, but don’t be surprised if I’m not. Who knows what the future might bring? Just know that I’m still fully supportive of the author community and will help indie authors when I can. Be kind to book bloggers and to each other. And, most importantly, be kind to yourself. Your time is important. Don’t give it away to anyone.

11 Fear-Based Writer Beliefs, and How to Quell Them

Tricia Drammeh:

Excellent advice from an excellent writer.

Originally posted on A Spark in the Dark:

fear

Let’s be honest. We all have fears. As humans, as writers . . . . I don’t care if you are Stephen Effing King . . . wait a minute, even he is scared of something. Supposedly, he sleeps with the light on because he is scared of the dark (wouldn’t you be if you were him??)

So, in this post, we’re going to get down and dirty on some of these fears as they pertain to writing, specifically. I know I’ve been through my share of turbulence, finding my own equilibrium in this giant spinning world of words, where it sometimes feels like it’s everyone for themselves…. It can be maddening. It can be discouraging and lonely. But just remember, you are not alone.

Following are eleven bogus beliefs that many writers share, and how you can look at them differently. Maybe this will help you to release their vice…

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Firebound (Spellbringers Book Two) by Tricia Drammeh— Book Review Thursday

Tricia Drammeh:

It’s impossible not to have a good day when you get a review like this! All I can say is, “Thank you, Maegan Provan.”

Originally posted on Maegan Provan, Author:

Click here for the buy link

Click here for the buy link

The Claim between Alisa and Bryce is as strong as ever. Their love and desire for each other is overwhelming. Of course, Bryce’s controlling and jealous behavior may put an end of all of that. Alisa tries to maintain her independence but with the bond of the Claiming Words, she’s finding it harder than she had anticipated.

Seemingly free from Re’Vel’s game, Rachel tries to return to normalcy. Her relationship with Jace seems better than ever. However, her pride and her fear for her brother’s safety leads Rachel down a dark path that will not only damage the bond she has with the Alexanders, but puts everyone-including Alisa- in real danger.

An evil blast from the past is trying to shake the Alexander family, and puts Rachel in his sights. When Alisa finds herself as the target of the demon’s game, Bryce will do…

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Spellbound, Spellbringers Book One

Tricia Drammeh:

Thank you, Maegan Provan, for this incredible review!

Originally posted on Maegan Provan, Author:

SpellboundRawdraft

Before Jace came to Oaktree, Alisa was friendless and unpopular. After she saves him from a Hunter, everything changes. Jace and his family introduce her to the world of Spellbringers, and change the way she looks at everything, including herself. Of course, Jace’s older brother, Bryce, is very vocal with his opinions about letting a human in on their secret. When Bryce finally opens himself up to her, things change between them in many ways.

Rachel is every bit your average high school student. Popular, athletic, and has an amazing boyfriend. When Jace shows up on her radar, everything begins to change. He helps her unlock a part of herself she didn’t even know existed. When her dreams of Re’Vel, a powerful demon, start taking a turn for the worse, Rachel has to accept her gifts and look towards Jace and his family.

A dark family secret, danger, and magic…

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Authors Anonymous

I first became aware of the movie, Authors Anonymous, after reading a blog post by author, E.B. Black. (You can read her post HERE.) After reading her review of the movie, I immediately watched the trailer:

And then I watched the whole movie on Netflix.

If you watched the movie trailer, you’ve probably figured out the plot goes something like this:

Unpublished writers get together to talk about writing and to critique each others’ work. When one author gets an agent, publishing contract, and movie deal, the others become jealous. The writers group begins to unravel.

This is the kind of movie that only authors will really “get.” The situations are unique to the writing world. I very much enjoyed it, but I did find aspects of it depressing: the buxom young writer who barely reads (she thinks Jane Austen is still alive), but lands the big publishing deal; the egotistical writer who gets suckered by a vanity press; the talented writer who is so traumatized by his past rejections, he can’t finish his latest manuscript.

Jealousy is a huge theme in this movie, and from what I’ve seen on blog posts and in Facebook groups, jealousy sometimes rears its ugly head in the “real” publishing world.

In the movie, Hannah, the attractive young writer with the six-figure movie deal, is hardworking, yet the viewer has the impression that she might not be “deserving” of her success. Indeed, the members of her writers group suspect she slept with her agent. As writers, our biggest fear is that the world of agents and publishers has become too “Hollywood.” We fear agents are looking for marketability over talent. Is this true? I don’t know. I’m not a publishing insider. I don’t have an agent or movie deal. I would certainly never look down upon someone who was fortunate or talented enough to land a super-fantastic publishing contract. No one has the right to say one author deserves success over another. Sometimes publishing seems unfair, but life is unfair. It’s just the way it is.

That’s not to say I’ve never struggled with feelings of envy. I think we all feel jealous from time to time, especially when we read about a nineteen-year-old author who signed a six-figure, three book publishing contract. As illustrated in the movie, jealousy is a problem in the writing community. When we’ve been rejected a billion times, it’s easy to feel resentment toward those who seem to have it easy.

Envy is a very dangerous thing. It can lead to bitterness. It can lead to giving up altogether. It can even make us view each other as competition, when in fact, we should be helping each other.

Let’s face it: Writers are a weird bunch. No one else cries over the demise of an imaginary friend. No one else talks to their characters while they’re driving down the highway. (Okay, I might be the only person who does this.) My writer friends have seen me through situations non-writers cannot possibly understand. I don’t know where I’d be without them.

Don’t give in to envy. Don’t worry that one author’s success will somehow diminish your own. We all deserve success. Work hard for it. Enjoy the process. I believe it will happen for all of us.

Happy writing!

Meet Tricia Drammeh, author of “Spellbound”

Tricia Drammeh:

Thank you, Janni, for featuring me on your beautiful blog! What a great way to start the week.

Originally posted on JanniStyles1:

Hello, everyone, please welcome Tricia Drammeh, successful author, mom and studious professional who shares some of her latest achievements here with us today.

Tricia Drammeh writer of Spellbound

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a wife, mother of four kids, and an indie author. I live in New Hampshire with my family.

When did you begin writing?

As a teenager, I wrote (and even won a couple of awards for) poetry. I started writing what was meant to be a novel several years ago, but never finished. Five years ago, I finished writing my first novel. It has now been rewritten, re-titled, and re-released as Spellbound, the first book in a young adult paranormal series.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

My most recent release is Firebound, Book Two in the Spellbringers series.

If you could recommend just one of your books to my readers, which book would you…

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Another Freebie

Just in case you missed it the last time, Spellbound is free on Kindle again. This time, it’s free all weekend long.

Here are the links if you’d like to download a copy:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MCZ23WY
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00MCZ23WY
Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00MCZ23WY
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00MCZ23WY
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B00MCZ23WY
Amazon FR: http://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B00MCZ23WY

Happy reading, everyone!

SMALLER COVER SPELLBOUND

When Things Don’t Pan Out

Tricia Drammeh:

This post is probably the most inspirational post I’ve read in ages. For me, there’s so much guilt and angst wrapped up in writing. When I first began writing, before I worried about publishers and submissions and readers, I felt pure joy every time I looked at my manuscript. I couldn’t wait to add words to the page. With submissions came disappointment, and with publication came guilt for not doing enough to promote and worry about how readers would review my work. Now that I’ve got a folder full of unfinished projects and half-baked ideas, I’m constantly berating myself for bouncing from one project to the next. Does leaving a manuscript unfinished make me less of a person? Does a bad review mean I’m a bad writer who should never open my laptop again? It’s time to set aside the negativity and rediscover my joy in writing. Thank you, Misty, for writing this post and for sharing your aha moment with the rest of us.

Originally posted on Creative Inspiration:

Hello, my glorious readers. I’m going to start this off by telling you a personal story.

Recently, my husband and I have been trying to get a car. Nothing is panning out in our favor. We’re hearing no, or being ignored by various factors. It’s been devastating. The Hubby Man is starting to slip into a bout of depression from it all. I have found happiness among the factor. Sound odd? Sadistic, maybe?

Not really, let me explain. 

Nothing has changed in my life. It’s not that I’m afraid of change…well mostly. I’ve just come to the realization that we’re not worse off for being told no or ignored. We have survived years without a car. It isn’t like we lost anything. Yes, a car would make life easier, but it isn’t a requirement. We are still in the same financial situations. We still have three beautiful children, and two…

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IWSG: Celebrate

iwsgIt’s the first Wednesday of the month, and if you’re a regular follower of this blog, you’ll know what that means. Time for another Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) monthly post! If you’d like to learn more about this sometimes neurotic (but always fun) group of writers, click HERE to be directed to the IWSG site.

Today, I’m going to talk about celebrating our accomplishments. Like many insecure writers, I’m not very good at promoting myself. As a child, I was raised to be modest. I was taught that bragging was a Bad Thing and that people wouldn’t like me if I talked about myself. I’ll bet many of you were taught the same lesson growing up.

As authors, we’re put in a tough spot. We’re business owners. We have a product to sell. We have to tell people about our book and we have to give them a reason to want to read it. When we see other authors obnoxiously spamming on Twitter, telling others their book is the best piece of literature of our time, we roll our eyes and snuggle deeper into our introverted shells. We don’t want to be THAT person, even if it means not selling many books.

I released my fifth book on Friday. As part of my “promotion,” I tweeted about it twice, blogged about it once, and posted something on my Facebook page. Then I sat back and felt neglected because my family and friends didn’t care about my new book. Gee, I wonder why. Maybe it’s because I didn’t tell them?

With each new release, my family has become less excited about my books. So have I. Promotion is difficult and uncomfortable, so instead of killing myself with blog tours and begging for reviews with my last two releases, I just hit the “publish” button on Kindle, tossed a couple of posts on social media, and got to work on the next book.

What the hell is wrong with me?

I should be CELEBRATING every book release! Celebrating is different from marketing and promotion. Celebrating isn’t bragging–it’s sharing. I’m excited about my newest book, and if my family and friends care about me, they’ll want to share in my excitement. Not everyone will necessarily read it or buy it, but a “like” on a Facebook post or a congratulatory phone call is all I need to put me in a celebratory mood.

Writing a novel is a huge accomplishment. It deserves more than a lackluster blog post and a vague Tweet. With my first book, I celebrated every step on my journey, from finishing the first draft to holding my paperback for the first time. There were pictures, Facebook events, and parties. I need to rediscover that feeling of accomplishment and feeling of pure joy, even if I’m the only person celebrating.

When my friend, Greg, published his first novel, I shared the following video on his Facebook page. So, insecure writers, this song is dedicated to all of you. Celebrate your accomplishments. Whether you’re halfway through your first novel, or you’ve published twenty books, let’s celebrate your awesomeness. You’re a writer, dammit. That’s something to celebrate!