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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Earth Shattering News

My Earth Shattering News is to all first time authors ...

Have a hook.

I've been scouring websites looking for that magic combination and truthfully I have only found tidbits of information that I can use and put into practice. Lately, looking for a publicist all I hear is "What's her hook?" Even if they say the love the book, it's not enough. And here is the rub ... I have no hook. Do you?
Our first place to start is a trip through memory lane to seriously consider all the real best 'hooks' of the 20th century.

Angela Ashes - he wrote for 30 years before he was published. I'm sorry but ... I don't want that.
Harry Potter - she wrote in a pub, broke with her daughter asleep in the stroller. Well, I wrote at a McDonald's while the girls slept in their beds. Count?
What about the people who were homeless, addicts or near death ... I haven't got any of that and I'm grateful.
Twilight - three months after she finished her first book there was a bidding war and we all know the rest of the story. Maybe there's something there we don't know.
Any others?
A quick recap ... because I've been responsible I'm uninteresting. That sucks.
I could be bad ... but tattoos look like they hurt. Motorcycles with the high handlebars seem completely uncomfortable. Alcohol gives me a headache. Speeding tickets are a waste of money.
Wait! I have lived in my car. But it was just over night when the hotel in San Diego gave away my room because we got there after 9pm.
Near death? I saw Eat, Pray Love.
An affair. Why? No one is better than Brent.
An eating disorder. Only if I could choose where I'd loose the weight.
Religion and politics are too heated and I could never even dream to out do them in being bad.

I think I may be stuck at boring. If you knew me ... you'd know I'm not boring but I've got nothing but my word to back that up. My goal for the rest of the week is to figure out my 'hook' - even if I haven't done it yet - next week I start. I sure hope it's not dangerous or expensive or painful. And I draw the line at being mean – not even for the best hook in the world.

How about you? Are you going to search for your hook?
Well, I wish you luck and success with all of your dreams.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Getting Ready

As part of my getting out there while having a great time campaign I've signed up for a evening hosted by a local radio station. Crazy? Perhaps.

It's a girls only, over 21 Slumber Party at a Westin here in town. 1,000+ women all ready to have a good time with vendors ranging from nail salon to plastic surgery. There is only one author and though I will be standing in front of my table I fully intend on having fun, selling books and meeting people. Not to mention I get to hang out with three enormously important people - Amy, Angie and Sharon!

We can now accept credit cards which is huge! I've got bottles of wine as giveaways for stopping by the table. A giant dish of candy (hey, I'm a girl and I know what matters). Melanie Ward Banners for both books, book marks, Kindle labels - for those e-readers and plenty of books.

So, I'm excited and crossing my fingers - though to define success solely on the almighty dollar is ... justifiable!

Wishing all of you great success in all of your crazy ideas,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Next Level

It's true I've been plugging along. Mostly writing with less effort put into marketing the books. And the truth is that I am happy with how well the story is being received. But the other side of that same truth is that we've sort of pushed the boundaries of what we can do, how far we can take the book.
The question then is what's the next step?


1. Part of me has been thinking that maybe the YA due out in December will help get me in the visibility of a big publisher. We'll lose control but my books will be opened up to another world of people we can't get it to.
2. We could hire a publicist. How/where do we go about finding one that can really do what we want them to do? Involved with this decision is ... trust and a lot of money.
3. And I haven't really exhausted the online market potential.

That leaves me scratching my head. What do we do next? I am not alone in this question - I've done my research - and maybe I'm even more confused because of it.

I think I will try all three of the above. I guess I forgot that was an option.

As a side note = book 3 is plotted out. It's fun and exciting and I can't wait - new people, old people and really great things are in store for Melanie.

See you later,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book Signings

So, it was a big week last week. Live TV was pretty awesome! I think I could get used to that gig. <>

We had the first book signing for Second Chance at Mostly Books on Saturday. <>

Some family were there, which that support is alway appreciated. A really cool thing was that two women who purchased Living Lies at its very first book signing in 2009 showed up! So Great - I only wish there'd been more time to actually talk with them.
I think for future events I want to have time set aside for afterwards to go out for drinks or just to chat and get to know people. What do you think? Anyone out there?
Anyway, a suggestion was made that "I pop these out faster" a suggestion which I am prepared to follow.
What's fun was asking what they think was going to happen in Book 2. I haven't heard back so here's hoping that they like Second Chance. What's hard is not spilling any book 2 secrets – mentally I've already moved on to Book 3 - still no title. I should've done the Janet Evanovich's number thing or Sue Grafton's alphabet titles - oh, well, too late.

The promotion machine is still churning out signings - Clues Unlimited on Sept 17th <> Bookman's pending and I've got a signing at Warwick's in La Jolla on November 13th! <>

As far as tips for writing - it's getting easier. With each book (just finishing YA fantasy) I'm getting smoother with the first drafts. There still is a huge process with editing and rewriting but I feel more confident with each step.

Thanks again to everyone who came to the book signing - it really is a pleasure to speak to you all again.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Live TV

Good morning - I'm off to do a spot on the local show Morning Blend!
Feeling pretty good about the whole thing ... waiting for the nerves to kick in.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Are You Observant?

I am a people watcher. I could spend hours sitting on a bench in front of a well populated, character filled environment. Today, on a beach a man with his diaper-only clad three year-old daughter sat feet behind me. I'd been enjoying the fun filled, crowded beach for two hours when he showed up with a hacking cough and a cell phone. His kid was running around and he was on his cell shouting about paying a woman $2,300 for "nothing". He'd sold his house and was cleaning out the garage ... yes, I know too much.
The point?
You can find personalities for your characters anywhere! When I want an annoying habit for a sub-character I will pull on my experience from today and there you have it ... an inconsiderate loud talker, a germ-infesting spitter or a disconnected dad.

Sometimes I would never be able to use some of the people I watch ... they are too over the top and unbelievable. I love those people!

I don't keep a notebook to write this stuff down - used to, but never cracked it open again. My advice, try keeping notes and see how it goes.

Happy writing,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Debunking the Myths

As I was writing my first book I heard a lot of rules about writing.
1. Write about what you know
2. If you want to write, write.
3. Don't quit your day job.
All of which I took as complete gospel. Until upon reflection I realized I had worked in a bank for nine years and what I knew ... was boring. After nine years palettes of money no longer held their appeal. What I found was interesting was a world beyond what I knew. After I had kids and daycare for two was going to deplete my bimonthly paycheck – I walked away from my day job with imagination intact and wanted to write.

So here's the thing about myths ... some are right and what you have to figure out is which ones are right for you? Pick and choose and throw the rest out the window.

My only advice would be to write what you like. It's a lot of work and you'll have way more fun if you're in love with your characters. Believe me ... these imaginary people become family.

Best wishes,