Ideas Are Easy; Marketing is Hard

I know it’s a big jump from the idea for your novel to marketing your finished book, but marketing your book once you’re finished writing is something you need to keep in mind – I wish I had. You see, I’ve got three enovels – Insure to Murder, Death of a Guru, and Not Just A Girl – languishing in cyberspace because I didn’t start marketing those novels until after I had written them and published them at Amazon and Smashwords.

My mistake. Experienced enovelists suggest that you think about marketing your books before you finish writing them – as if you didn’t have enough do and to think about. In other words, think about how you’ll market your enovel along with creating your book’s characters, story and plot.

Like I said, I waited until I had published, not one, but three enovels before I’ve really gotten started with my marketing efforts. I wanted to write the novels, and I had the energy, the ideas, characters and time, so I forged ahead.

Yes, I built this Word Press blog site as the home base for my fiction writing and “collected works” and to provide a platform from which to communicate about my books and what I was doing as an enovelist. But I had never blogged before and didn’t have any idea what to write about. So this is a work-in-progress.

Let me clarify my title: finding ideas to use as a basis for a story of whatever length has been easier for me (and maybe for you?) then learning how to be a consistent online marketer of my work.

But now I have embarked on an educational program that I hope will to teach me how to market my books online with your help. My intention is to share what I’m learning about marketing online through this blog. I would hope you will share what you’ve learned too and/or ask questions.

Right now I assume the popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter will play the biggest part in my online marketing education. It would be swell if you would like to share what’s worked for you on those sites.

New eNovel – Insure to Murder is Published!

I’ve finally published my new Robert Champion eNovel – Insure to Murder.
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Here’s a short summary: During private detective Robert Champion’s investigation into the death of his client’s mother, he uncovers a life insurance scam run by bankers, investors and the Russian Mafia, along with a caregiver who also delivers death!

I’ve enjoyed writing about Robert Champion and his world in the wine country of Central California and Santa Barbara. I hope you will enjoy stepping into his world too. You can read Chapter 1 of Insure to Murder right here on my website. You can read more and download Insure to Murder for $2.99 on Amazon at:
http://www.amazon.com/Insure_to_Murder/dp/B00A9IEOR8

Or at Smashwords at:
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/256365

Please give Insure to Murder a try and come back here an let me know what you think.

Insure to Murder – Tweeking the Novel

I’ve spent the last few days tweeking my new Robert Champion crime eNovel – Insure to Murder. What exactly is “tweeking”? It’s what I call fact checking, weather coordination, name checking, place checking and other cross-checking, as well as polishing the prose to make it read better and easier.

One of the handy tools in MSWord is the ability to bookmark specific items, be they words, paragraphs or chapters in a manuscript. When I started writing on typewriters (anyone other than writers remember them?) I used to have to write down page numbers, scrible notes on the pages or use Post Its and keep a list of notes in order to remember what to fix when I returned, sometimes months later, to fix problems. I still keep a note log of little and big details that pop up as I write, and in that way I can continue writing knowing that I’ve captured a detail that I need.

An example from Insure to Murder: “the tattoo on a man’s hand” – I bookmarked the first instance of this word in a conversation between Robert Champion and Wolf (Champion’s Native American associate). Wolf mentions a tattoo of a cat and a skull seen on the back of another man’s hand. I wanted to make sure I that I described the tattoo correctly as it figures into the story several times further on. I had also reasearched this specific tattoo before writing the passage, and I wanted to double check my sources later, so I added a book mark to the manuscript so I could return to it once I had finished the first draft of the novel.

Bookmarking – what a great writer’s tool. Now back to tweeking and spell-checking.

Insure to Murder – First Edit Completed

I’ve just completed the first full edit of Insure to Murder, my new Robert Champion crime novel. I’ll be going back to a few chapters I’ve bookmarked to make sure the writing makes fictional sense. And then I have to launch spell check and make the thrilling journey through all 258 pages again.

I’ll print out a copy for one of my first readers, after which I’ll enter the spelling and grammer corrections they find and look at any structural problems they might find.

So I’m just a little ahead of schedule for releasing Insure to Murder on Amazon and Smashwords, as well as put up the novel’s first chapter on this website. Keep your eye out for it. I’ll let you know on this blog when it’s ready to read, which will be before the complete book is ready to download.

First Edit – Getting Close to Finished

I’m closing in on the finish line on my first edit of my next Robert Champion crime novel – Insure to Murder. I’m still on track to finish the first edit by October 16th. The process is going well. As I mentioned in an earlier post, editing requires that I re-imagine the scenes and the characters. I must see how the characters look, hear how they talk and re-imagine what takes place in each scene in the book.

It’s not quite like the first draft and putting words on a blank screen or blank page. The words on the screen take me right back into the the characters’ imaginary world. When the original text works the entire process flows along in the fictional dream.

But when changes need to be made, or a “fact” needs to be check, I’m jerked back into real time and another part of the writer-brain takes over. Those stops in the flow might require a trip out on the internet, or picking up a reference book, or looking in a folder full of notes before the editing can resume.

I used to hate this kind of editing because it can be long, hard and tiring. But for me, there’s no way around it. No matter how hard I try to get things right the first time around, it’s impossible to catch all the misspelled words, bad grammer and punctuation choices, and bad sentence and story logic. So onward I press reliving the story with Robert Champion and the other characters.

If you’re a writer, please share your editing experiences.

Editing Process – Insure to Murder

After about 100 pages of editing, my new Robert Champion crime novel Insure to Murder, I’m discovering that after about ten pages I start to get tired and have a hard time concentrating and making decisions about changes. I read every word and sentence looking for misspellings, errors in grammer and other language problems.

I also try to strenghten the prose and tighten up the meaning of a sentence if it sounds vague or fuzzy. I try to edit my work from the 30,000 foot point-of-view of the overall story beginning to end. Since I know the ending I can take out anything that might give away the ending.

There’s a lot of balls to keep in the air from the reuse of specific names for places like coffee shops and restaurants, to time lines of past events, to the sound of each character’s voice in the dialogue. It amounts to reimagining the story again.

If you write tell me about your experiences with editing, and/or send me any questions you have about the editing process.

Spellcheck Yea-Nay

I’ve just finished the first draft of a new Robert Champion crime novel called Insure to Murder. I’ve begun to run Word’s spell check on the 80,000 word novel. If you’ve ever spell-checked a long manuscript you soon discover that if left to its own devices MS Word would change enough of your language to make you look like even more of an idiot in print. It has real problems with the contraction “it’s” versus “its” along with the spelling and uses of “their” versus “there”.

Yet spellcheck does catch a lot grammar hiccups in my prose like noun-verb agreement that happen when I’ve gone back and made my next-day revisions of the previous day’s prose that I do before facing off with a new day’s blank screen (comparable to the often dreaded pre-computer-stone age blank 8 1/2 x 11 page).

I wonder if there’s a way to correct or teach spellcheck-grammarcheck besides the “add to the dictionary” command. I admit that option has been one of the most helpful over the years. Any thoughts on the matter?