Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sell That eBook - What Sends ebooks Flying Off Shelves?

Selling the e-book with a Look! What Sends ebooks Sailing off Virtual Shelves?

Some simple changes I made turned my book sales on Kindle from a drip, drip, drip to big sales. I just clocked in at 935 books sold in my slowest month since sales have been going well for me—December 2010. Now in month one of 2011, I have sold 1,140 books – all at 2.99. I make almost $2 (70%) from each book or unit as they say.       
AftershockWhen first I placed my work onto Kindle, I was lucky to make 60 bucks a  month.                                                      

How'd I do it? What changes did I make? First I went back to my book descriptions and made absolutely certain of no typos or errors of any kind as well as rewriting to make each the best damn short-short I could. This made a huge difference in sales, I kid you not. Secondly, I went on a TAG binge, tagging all my books below where they are found on Amazon to utilize genre-specific tags like Occult Horror, Generational Horror, suspense, mystery, police procedural, supernatural, paranormal female detective, etc. and I linked using my name along side other more successful authors in my field. This did two things – by placing my name on tags whenever anyone opens my book list, they also get my author’s page coming up. By ‘associating’ my work with the work of say William Miekle—as he did me—I am seen by his fans, and he by mine.

I had an amazing spike in numbers since taking these steps. Of course promoting online is of great import but so to is professional cover art and editing. When I am working on a novel, I put it out there what I am working on, and I invite early readers, and it is amazing how much readers will catch. One does not have to pay huge prices for good editing as I have found my best editors – amazing editors – who love to read a book BEFORE anyone else help me create the best book I possibly can. Most people believe they had to pay out big bucks for excellent editing but truth be told many people pay out big bucks and get punk editing for their money. I’d rather have a passionate edit with no exchange of money than a so-so one that cost me a couple thousand bucks, wouldn’t you? I edit myself heavily and do many rewrites, but I know I need more sets of eyes on the project, so as I am doing a work in progress, I ship it off to people I have come to trust absolutely. This has worked out fantastically well for Children of Salem -

Romance Amid the Witch Trials, and for Titanic 2012 – Curse of RMS Titanic. My payment to these wonderful contributors has had to be in acknowledgement only, and guess what – they have been tremendous about this, and they so love being involved in a project and seeing their name in the book, that I have never been sued or held up or yelled at.

Notice how on my recent ebooks I have chosen to use subtitles? I believe subtitles help sell the book with a look, so to speak…a bit more detail right there in the title. Which brings us to titles. One’s title needs be unique and grab-ilicious. Early on, I put it out there that I am looking for the perfect title. For my last two I conducted searches. For Titanic 2012, I set it up as a contest – and I got two titles I loved – and so I used them BOTH as you see. Titles can either be seductive and alluring or boring and repellent! Think it through before you lock down on a title and as with so much put it out there for a search or contest as I did on my blog Dirty Deeds.

Cover art is imperatively important. I can’t stress this enough. Generic cover art or templates are seen as about as exciting as seeing one of those blanks where the photo or cover should be but isn’t. This is one area where I get professional help. The package has to look elegant and reflect the story within. I have been fortunate to have had excellent artwork for my ebooks. My artist happens to be my son, Stephen, a graphic artist by profession. Again, I have been fortunate in not having to pay out big bucks for artwork/graphics. But there are more and more people doing this for a one-time only fee and not for the lifetime of the book.

If you turn over your rights to an ebook publisher, guess what? They will take care of all such concerns and problems and things you may view as obstacles you do not want to deal with, and so long as you know what you are getting into, this can be a fine way to go, but you will be splitting that royalty then three ways instead of two. If you do sign with an ebook “agent” or “publisher” be clear on what their services for you provide. Will they be editing the work? If so, is that to be an extra charge? Same with artwork/graphics? If you sign with an ebook group that takes care of all the hassles and they are charging you a one-time fee to place the work up for you, do they turn over the controls to you or do they control your dashboard – thus the royalty payments, etc. Or is this group speaking of simply a one-time only fee. It should be one or the other. A real insult in my opinion is that a company charges you for these services and also wants a percentage for lifetime of the book.

You may want to find a kid – any kid – and pay them a modest amount to get your book(s) onto Kindle shelf and show you how to find your payment reports/sales reports (not actually royalty or advances as in the traditional model of publishing).

Now getting back to what actually SELLS the ebook – a key, key, key element is pricing. Ebook readers expect low, lower, lowest prices. All my novels, despite the disparity in complexity and length, were originally put up at 1.99 but I notched them up to 2.99 as soon as Kindle offered the 70/30 split as part of the partnership ‘deal’. My latest, a very complex title that is truly two books in one, I placed up at 3.99. I believe low prices to be a key element in larger numbers of books sold. I learned early on that I can make more money on a 2.99 ebook than I can a 25 dollar hardcover due to the difference in the author percentage per sale. 10 to 12 percent on 25 is far less due to the far fewer number of books sold at this high a price.

Finally, what sells ebooks for me has been a long-running presence on such places as Facebook, twitter, blogs, online magazines, chat groups, and more recently kindle forums and ebook forums. Almost all my ebook reviews have come about via meeting people online who love to do book reviews and routinely look for ebooks to review. More and more review outlets for ebooks are coming into being every day, but I have made contacts on Facebook for instance that have reviewed Children of Salem and Titanic 2012, placing reviews on their blogs and on, but such results came after long hours on Facebook, not just seeking such outlets but engaging people in all manner of conversation and discussing issues of interest placed up by others. In the end, if you are liked thanks to your online presence, sense of humor, concern for the universe, etc., then others online will begin to eagerly seek out your writing. If they like you, they'll want to like your ebook(s).

Some reading this will say it can’t be that simple or easy, but guess what – it has not been simple nor easy at all, and it has taken great and abiding patience. My IQ is not as important in this “business” of ebooking it as is my PQ – Persistence Quotient. Recall what I was making a month when I started with nearly the same amount of books up. It does help indeed to have an impressive list of books – numbers of covers in a line do encourage sales as well, so the last job and first really is for you to post more works – collected short stories, themed stories, how-to book crafted from your years of blogging perhaps, and more fiction, more novellas, novels. Keep putting new titles up. I had a huge backlist but it took me years to build that backlist, I can tell you.

Keep on truckin’ and ebookin’ – and take a look at my website to see what can be done if you work with a truly good graphic artist. Look at my graphic artist and webmaster’s own website – and find other information on this subject at The Newbies Guide to Publishing and archived blogs on the subject right here at ACME Authors.

Robert W. Walker

Priority Crunch! by DL Larson

Not much will deter me from writing every day. But my writing life and life as a Grammie have collided as of today - BIG time! My son and his family moved in with us this morning. This means my three month old grandson, Colton, has nudged my writing schedule right off the list of things to do! I've spent the morning coddling my grandson, feeding my grandson, cleaning out a cupboard in the kitchen for his bottles and such, rocked him, diapered him, smoochied him lots and it looks as if the afternoon will be more of the same.

What is a grammie to do? I'm reminded of that old saying,
"Quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep;I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."

My son's family will only be here for a month or two and already I'm fretting over an empty house once they leave. So again, what's a grammie to do? I plan on spending as many precious moments as possible with my grandson, son and lovely daughter-in-law!

Oh, and to all who know me well ... I have also promised to share Colton with others!! Really, I will!

Sorry this blog has nothing to do with writing, but everything to do with life! And that's okay. The days ahead will be fodder for stories yet to be told.

I'm heading back to the rocking chair! Gramps and Colton are watching the WGN noontime weather. And so it begins ...

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Are You a Plugger or a Zipper? by Morgan Mandel

Since being unemployed, I've spent more time writing. Still, it's slow going. On a usual day, I can get a little over 1,000 words done before mental exhaustion takes over and I just can't think any more.

On an exceptional day, 2,000 words happen.

Imagine my surprise when one of our blog members, Debra St. John, mentioned when she had an entire day to write, she zipped out 30,000 words! Good for Deb! That would take me at least 2 weeks of exceptional days for me to accomplish.

What about you? Are you a plugger or a zipper?

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career 99 cents on Kindle
and Smashwords

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Writer Etiquette

As many seasoned writers know, most writer's conferences or CON's are the result of a large number of hard-working volunteers. Such is the case with our Love Is Murder CON ( to include the board members. We adore our volunteers

I had a recent exchange with a writer who was very rude via email to not only me but to our web master as well. I had never heard of this writer before and couldn't find much on the web about her but it's safe to say at this point that I now have a very negative impression of her from how she behaved.

This isn't to say that she didn't have a right to be frustrated or even provide her constructive feedback but when any of us do this we must keep in mind that anything that we say or do is a measure of who we are as writers, especially these days.

Not everything that goes viral is a good thing.

There are many, many skills that need to be developed to have a successful writing career and good manners and professional behavior are definitely on the list.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What was that? by June

One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to just walk around and soak everything in. The problem with that is sometimes I don’t know what I’m looking at until it’s too late.

My WIP is a Regency set historical romance. So I’ve been going back through my pictures of my London trip and came across this photo.

Now, this house is on St. James’s Place, and at the time I was more concerned with photographing White’s and Brooks’s and Boodle’s on St. James St., and when we were done with that we just kept walking and ended up on St. James’s Place. The street ended here at this house and I thought this was a great house and I wondered what these people were standing around for. So naturally I took a picture. Later that night while I was surfing the internet at our hotel I realized where we were. I could have kicked myself because the house is only open for tours one day a week – and that was the day we were there!

I didn’t think anything about it again until we were home and I was looking at the pictures and wondered why I took this picture of this really great house and my husband said, "hey, remember, that was Spencer House." I hated myself all over again.

This is a perfect home for the Duke in my WIP so now I have been kicking myself more. Oh well, I guess it’s just another reason to head back across the pond for another look. And if I go again, I’m taking one of those bus tours that show you the main sights and then go back later on foot!

Have a great week!



Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Good Week

It's been a very productive week writing-wise. I didn't work on Monday because of the holiday, so I told myself I was going to devote most of the day to writing. The hubby was working, so I had the house to myself (no distractions), and my only obligation was a meeting in the evening.

So I pulled out my trusty laptop, settled myself on the couch, and wrote, and wrote and wrote. I checked the word count before I began and set a goal for myself to reach 30,000 words by the end of the day.

I am proud to say...I reached that goal!

Tuesday evening the hubby was out shopping for a new work van, so I once again settled in with my laptop. By the time all was said and done, I'd progressed to being halfway done with my WIP.

Then I found out later in the week that THIS CAN'T BE LOVE was a nominee in Love Romance Cafe's best of 2010 in the contemporary category! If you haven't yet and you'd like to's the link. The winner will be decided through a combination of votes and reviews.

Now if the Bears can beat Green Bay this afternoon, I'd say it will turn out to be a pretty darn near perfect week!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mont St-Michel by Margot Justes

Along with Susan Miura, I'm working on A Taste of France, and one of the places we'll discuss is Mont St-Michel on the Normandy Coast, one of the wonders of the world. To say it is magnificent would be an understatement, the tiny rocky tidal island has been designated a World Heritage Site in 1979, and rightfully so.

I visited Mont St-Michel many years ago but the memory is still vivid, the effort to haul the huge rocks using pulleys and heavy rope to built the houses, church, and the imposing abbey must have been astounding. My imagination soared at the thought of the unbelievable accomplishments in such a harsh and isolated environment, the only way out during high tide was by boat.

A culture already existed by the time the Romans left in 460 AD, the history is rich, varied, and surprising, during the French Revolution the island was used as a prison.
If memory serves, the Scarlet Pimpernel was imprisoned there. If you're looking for a romantic historical adventurous read, The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy is perfect. My copy is yellowed with age, and I won't part with it.

From afar St-Michel looks like a hunk of rock, but as you get closer, you begin to see the exquisitely carved mystical work of art, man-made sheer stunning beauty, from the cloister, to the church and abbey along with the homes where people lived and everything in between. The crowning glory sits at the top, the Medieval Benedictine Abbey, whose spires are visible for miles.

The high tide that comes in fast and furious, and has been described by Victor Hugo as "a la vitesse d'un cheval au galop" roughly translated, "faster than a galloping horse". A must see treasure.

Working on The Taste of France, made me realize, it's time to re-visit.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Affording A Simple Luxury! by DL Larson

January 19th was National Popcorn Day. The local paper in my area had a large article about the wonders of popcorn and I must admit the smell and taste of movie popcorn is one of my favorite things. The article itself was nothing surprising, but it caught my attention simply because a few days before my husband and I had attended a matinee and discovered a large pop and popcorn cost $18.00, more than the tickets to the movie. We looked at each other in surprise and simultaneously decided we could go without popcorn. It was a small stand against outrageousness, but we denied our simple pleasure in order to stand against greed, even in its smallest way.

The following day I noticed a "Blondie" cartoon, by Stan Drake/Dean. I laughed outloud, knowing Stan must have had a similar encounter. The first frame had the couple standing at the theater's candy counter and Dagwood said, "We'd like to make a down payment on a tub of popcorn and two large drinks." The employee replied, "Would you like to pay in small weekly installments or two hefty semi-annual ones?"

As a farmer's wife, I must tell you popcorn is not an expensive commodity to grow. In our area several folks grow their own popcorn and I have bought from them and throughly enjoyed their product. It cost pennies to plant a sizeable garden and if you know anything about gardening, you quickly realize the return on planting to produce is more than a hundred fold! So why the hefty price on theater popcorn? Yes, yes, it's a special blend and tastes yummy! So does a steak at a nice restaurant and if I'm inclined to spend $18.00 to fill my belly, I'd chose the steak and feel as if I've spent my money wisely and fed my body with something nutritious. Yes, I hear the critics already, stating I'm missing the point, it's merely a snack. That's when I say, "YES, that's my point! A snack should not cost as much as a steak."

It's this type of ridiculousness that has our country in financial straits. We need to take a stand, quietly despite our growling tummies, and not fall victim for such blatant attempts to rob us right into the poor house.

I don't know if I'll be able to resist the enticing aroma of theater popcorn the next time we go to the movies. It will probably depend on whether we plan to go out to dinner. Will I want to spend my hard earned money on savory popcorn that will make me feel guilty for indulging or hold out for a nice meal?

I'm determined not to let my belly decide for me. Of course, that's easy to say sitting at a computer and the only aroma is my simmering tea.

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What's Your WIP? by Morgan Mandel

I've got three or four WIPs right now. I blame that predicament on not staying focused, giving in to inspiration, and not following through.

I'm determined to finish the oldest, Forever Young, my Boomer thriller about the good and bad consequences of an age reducing pill.

What about you? Tell us about your current WIP. One only, please, and make it short, because eventually that's how you'll have to pitch it, no matter which venue you choose.

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career 99 cents on Kindle

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bits and Pieces

One of the goals I set for the new year was to write everyday. I can't say I've been perfect, I must admit to missing a few days here and there, but for the most part I've been fairly faithful. I'm making some progress on my current mss, which is making me happy.

However, I find that I'm writing in bits and pieces. As things come to me for the story line, I'm writing them. As a result, I've been writing all over the place. I have snippets of scenes scattered throughout my manuscript, with no discernable threads to tie them together as of yet.

It's an interesting way to write. I've written out of order before...sometimes writing the ending before I've finished the middle. But it's never been this choppy before. I'm going to need to do some very creative connecting the dots and some really thorough editing on this one. To say the least, it will be intersting to see how this one turns out!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Just went to the bank by Margot Justes

This will be short, I started my day early, June Sproat came over and helped me with the RWA computer set up-she's a whiz when it comes to computers, and I'm a Luddite.

I'm very grateful for her continuous support, besides I know where to find her.

At any rate, Dina came home, and we went to the bank at about eleven this morning, and then went shopping. The day disappeared.

My huge to do list will have to wait until tomorrow.

Went for the usual Friday evening coffee at Barnes & Noble and worked on my elevator pitch for Blood Art, it is finished. Now on to the synopsis, which I need for a contest I want to enter.

Till next time,
Margot Justes

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"To Do List" or "Goals" by DL Larson

Last night I attended the WindyCity RWA meeting. It has been several months since I was able to make a meeting, and just as usual, I was greeted with friendly faces and a warm welcome. The topic was "setting obtainable goals," something all of us need to focus on. I confess I'm a list maker, so setting goals feels more like completing my "to do" list. And that's okay.

I let my fingers write as my mind wanders and before long I have a list of tasks before me. My current list is a mixture of writing goals, personal obligations as well as my library tasks. My mind zips from one aspect of my life to another with lightning speed. It is my quirky way of getting organized.

My list this week:

- check the lyrics/artists in my wolf book to comply with music standards
- work on POV in chap. 4 of my historical, bk 3
- return 2 shirts I ordered
- mail baby cards to our friends
- get cotton balls and glue for storytime at the library
- add edit changes in synopsis of historical, bk 3
- finish cleaning the basement
- give 2 hours to WIP by the end of this week, wolf bk 3 - deadline May 20, 2011
- call kids about this weekend
- check e-mail - allow 10 minutes only
- check ___, ____, ____ publishers website
- decide if I want to enter the historical writing contest - deadline Feb. 1st.
- blog

My goals are mixed in with my work list. It's gratifying to be able to scratch out a few items as the week progresses. The remaining items on the list remind me to make the time to work on my priorities rather than wander about my office contemplating, also known as wasting time on which hurdle I should tackle today. The list is right there, I've already set my goals. It's now time to act on them. It's time to put my butt in the chair and get to work!

I suggest you do the same ~ get to work that is!!

Til next time ~

DL Larson

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Get Involved by Morgan Mandel

Left to Right - June Sproat, Margot Justes

Many of our Acme members belong to Chicago-North RWA. We've also been board members for our chapter. For the past two years, June Sproat led our merry group. At the Holiday Party this past Monday night, she passed the baton to Margot Justes, another of our Acme members.

Past presidents for C-N RWA also include myself (Morgan Mandel) and Debra St. John.  All of us have  held other board positions for our chapter.

I'm not mentioning this to brag, but to make a point. We've volunteered because we realize how important our chapter is to us. We'd be devastated without it.

If you belong to an oganization you care for, think about getting involved to make sure that organization continues on. You may not have the time to be a board member, but think about other ways you can help your chapter. No matter how small your contribution is, something is better than nothing. Do your share to keep a good thing going.

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career now 99 cents on Kindle

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ripped from the Headlines!

How many times have we heard this phrase? Or, the phrase, "truth is stranger than fiction?"

Well, recent events in Arizona have surely captured the interest of many people and I'm sure a number of writers out there are studying this event closely to understand how anybody could do what the individual in Arizona did. (I don't even want to mention his name as I abhor putting someone like this in the limelight, therefore, in some bizarre way for him, rewarding him for his bad behavior.)

Writers of mysteries and thrillers who have to develop their characters - especially the ones who are the bad, and really bad guys - go through a process of trying to understand what makes them tick and do the things they do. They try to "get into their heads" and often it's a very scary place to go. And, sometimes we think that people won't believe that anyone can do something as horrendous as what the individual in Arizona did, and therefore are characters are often descriped as unbelievable.

Of course, there's also all of the posturing from both sides of the gun control issue on what caused this individual to do what he did and how much we should change not only how someone acquires weapons but also the words that we use as weapons.

Ah, words as weapons! Can words really be that powerful?

For writers the answer is yes. Words are what we live by, it's the way we communicate our stories to our readers. Finding that exact word or turn of a phrase that lets others know what we're trying to communicate is exhilarating for writers. For most of us, however, we want our audience to walk away at the end of our story feeling motivated and entertained by the words we put to paper, not enraged.

Some of the pundits on the airwaves and in politics I fear are motivated more by power and greed and not what is best for their audiences or people in general. In fact, pundits on the air tend to make a hell of a lot more money than the vast majority of writers. This begs the question of how much audiences are supporting and encouraging words being used as weapons and hate mongering. It's definitely food for thought.

For me, a significant "take-away" from the Arizona tragedy is that we all have to be responsible for whichever weapon we use and how we relate to others. It's the responsibility of all of us to make the world a better and safer place. How each of us wants to do it seems to be at odds and the end result is sometimes tragic. I hope we can all begin to talk to each other more responsibily and actually have a dilogue, not a shouting match, on how to resolve our differences and move forward.

This is a great New Year's resolution for all of us to have.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Like Riding A Bike

Many people say that once you learn to ride a bike, you never forget. Even if you haven't ridden for a while, it will all come back to you once you hop on a bike again. I think the same holds true for many things.

Yesterday, for the first time in about thirty years I got back on ice skates. When I was a kid we used to go to my Uncle and Aunt's house all the time and go skating on their lake in the winter. We haven't done it in forever...seriously, it's probably been about thirty years.

We had a blast! My hubby is a hockey player, so he's a fabulous skater, and although I wasn't able to get as fancy as him, I definitely held my own out there on the lake. I was a little wobbly at first, but once I got the hang of it, I found I fell into a rhythm and was able to glide smoothly over the ice. Oh, I'm not saying there weren't some stumbles and bumpy patches, but I'm proud to say, I never did wipe out completely!

Over Christmas break I got back into my writing. I have to be honest and say I've been sadly neglecting it over the past few months. Too many other things going on. But over break I made a goal to write something every day. And I stuck to that goal. Like the bike or the skates, I was a little wobbly at first. It was hard to get going again. To pick up the thread of an idea I'd started months ago. But now that I'm back in the flow, things are moving fairly smoothly. I'm still writing each day, even though I'm back to school, and I'm making a lot of progress on my current WIP. Along the way there are bumpy patches, and I'm sure I'll stumble from time to time, but all in all, I think I've kept my balance pretty well as I work through plot points, conflicts, and love scenes!

It's great to be back at it!

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year Resolutions by Margot Justes

With the new year come the resolutions, I've made mine and so far stuck to the no sugar resolve, but let's face it, it's only been a week. So far so good.

One other resolution I've made is to finish a non fiction novel about my stay in South Africa. I started writing it about two years ago, came up with a terrific title, Memories of a Country Long Ago, and somehow I put it aside and got involved in other projects, and this one just slipped away.

I recently came across the measly few pages and decided it is a worthwhile project , and now I have another challenge, describing the stunning country of South Africa, with the gorgeous topography, the red burning sun, the burnished clay under your feet, the animals that roam relatively free in their natural habitats, the vast cultural differences and the curse of apartheid.

There is so much to tell. Below is the beginning of my tale. I haven't really looked at, so not even first edits were done, but I thought I'd share with you the start of an adventure for me, something brand new and yes-terrifying-nonfiction.

"They say that once you've been to Africa, it gets in your blood and stays. I can say with certainty that it does.
I can vouch for the veracity of that statement. I visited South Africa many years ago.

To this day, I still feel the arid, red clay underneath my feet, the dust, the magnificence and incredible natural beauty of the country. It takes possession of your very soul. I cannot speak for the African continent as a whole, only to a small Southernmost tip of it, namely South Africa,

It is indeed with profound angst that I put words on paper. I write romantic mysteries, yet the idea has been floating around in my head, much like dialog and ideas for the fiction stories I write.

This will be a romance, unlike most others, a romance with a country I lived in all too briefly, yet have never forgotten. A country that has touched me, moved me and taught me to appreciate what I have. These are memories that are still with me, never to be forgotten. Like the country itself."

Till next time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cleaning Up! by DL Larson

Before I packed away my holiday decorations, I decided to purge each container and storage shelf of unused and unwanted items. I thought it would take only an afternoon. Oh my good golly, I under-estimated what a pack-rat I have become. I could say the same thing of my writing area.

I grew into the habit of saving bits of paper with ideas, images, and great phrases I heard someone use somewhere, hoping I might use it someday in one of my stories. Having saved said bits of paper and files for several years, I can easily count how many times I've referred to it. Zero! Zip. Nada. Not once. That's not to say I haven't looked the scraps over, and agree they are a great list of descriptive wording, but I still have no place for them in my storylife. Yet I continue to hang on to them.

I've done the same with conference materials I've accumulated over the years. I think I will use them and sometimes I do, but then the news becomes dated and of no immediate use, yet I rarely throw items from a conference away.

Magazines are another problem for me. As a librarian I know nothing lasts forever. Outdated material needs to be discarded. So I vow to purge my writers magazines. I will recyle! Yet I rarely do. Nor do I ever refer back to them. I simply think someday I will. What a silly circle I've created, justifying why I don't throw things away.

Discarding copies of correspondence I have improved upon, a bit. Only because I can save any correspondence in my pc. And cleaning those files is something I may never be ready to do, yet I know I need to purge out-dated material from there as well.

Oh, how does one get out from under all the debris? I need an organizer, a bulldozer at least! Someone who is ruthless and cares not for what I've accumulated over the decades. I need a strong-willed person, someone who will stand up to my whining, not buckle under my evil eye. I will have order at last!

I've written and cut unnecessary wording in my manuscripts, I've been harsh with pretense and have an evil eye for sloppiness on the pages. I'm ruthless with words, I'm not afraid to throw away useless tidbits in my manuscripts. I'm a cleaner upper to the first degree! Who I really need to hire is - ME!

But can I be trusted to do a good job? Will I be ruthless and unbending when it comes to pitching things out? Will I actually become organized?

I think I've been down this road before!

Til next time ~

DL Larson

PS: I hope you have better luck getting oranized for 2011.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Would you Rather Win the Lottery or Have a Bestseller?

With the Mega Millions Lottery up last night to record high, the thought crossed my mind - If I had a choice, which would I prefer? Would I rather Win the Lottery or Have a Bestseller?

Getting all that money would sure cure the financial woes dumped on me by my recent job loss. Aside from easing my financial situation, what would I gain?

If I weren't an author, winning the lottery would definitely be my choice.

But I am an author, so I hesitate. If I had so much money, I might be tempted to cheat and buy a huge publishing house, publish my own books, and do intensive, expensive marketing, even on TV and radio. The results would definitely be lots of sales, and maybe I might even make a movie from my book, but being rich anyway, it wouldn't make much difference to me.

Or, I could pretend not to have money and struggle along like other authors and see what results I could get.

Maybe it would be easier not to win the lottery and just strive for a Bestseller. I'd get lots more satisfaction from that, since it would be something I achieved on my own.

I guess I'll pick the Bestseller.

I might say that, but that that didn't stop me from buying a lottery ticket.  I guess I'm lucky I didn't win.

What's your choice?

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career on Kindle 99 cents at Amazon

Monday, January 3, 2011

Artistic License By June

(Warning, this blog contains a slight Wicked spoiler alert)

Last week I took my middle daughter to see Wicked. It was totally fabulous and my daughter was so excited that she couldn’t stop talking about it. When we got home she told my eldest daughter all about it and she hated the idea.

You see, my oldest daughter doesn’t like change AT ALL. The whole idea of the Wicked Witch not really being wicked and that maybe things in Oz weren’t exactly how we thought they were, did not go over really big with her. She said it changed the whole way she would view The Wizard of Oz.

“It’s just not right!” she cried.
“It’s artistic license,” I said.
“Um, what?” she asked.
“Artistic License... the freedom to create an artwork, musical work, or piece of writing based on the artist's interpretation and mainly for effect (Ok, that was from, which I do not recite verbatim, but hey, it works.)
“Um, what?” she said.
“It means the artist can change things to make it better. In this case, they didn’t change the Wizard of Oz, just gave you a different way of looking at things.”
“Oh. Well I still don’t like it.”
Hey, I tried.

Regardless, artistic (or also poetic) license is something we as authors of fiction use all the time. Just because we see things a little differently or create things a bit unrealistic for the average person, doesn’t mean they are not good.

And just as a side note, I went on YouTube and showed my eldest daughter some scenes from Wicked, and low and behold, she now wants to go see it!

Ah, teenagers, you just can’t win.

Have a great week and Happy New Year!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

A New Beginning

Happy New Year!

My mom has a theory that whatever you spent a lot of time doing on New Year's Day each year, you'll spend a lot of time doing throughout the course of the coming year. So yesterday, I made sure I did a little bit of all my favorite things!

I did a little scrapbooking. I am way behind, so this is something I really want to get caught up on in 2011.

I read. Always a priority. At the moment I literally have a stack of to-be-reads...which isn't a bad thing! A little thrill of anticipation runs through me whenever I look at the pile. Choosing what to read next is always a challenge!

I watched tv with my hubby. One of my favorite things to do is cuddling up on the couch with my hubby and watching a movie. Yesterday we had a mini-marathon of "True Blood" Season 3. We got through the first three episodes on-demand. We'll finish up this week. (I am Team Eric all the way!)

I took a little nap. Nothing like curling up on the couch in the middle of the day for a little refresher.

I wrote. I've been off work for the past two weeks, and I made a goal for myself to write every day. With the exception of Christmas Eve and Day, I've stuck to that goal. I'm about 1/3 of the way through a manuscript I'd like to finish this summer.

(We also took down and put away all of the Christmas decorations. Now, as that's not something I'm planning on doing a whole lot of in the next year, we'll just put that under the broad category of home improvements and keeping the house neat, clean, and organized.)

So those are some of the things I plan on doing a lot of in 2011. How about you? What's on your agenda as we start the new year?

Until next time,

Happy Reading!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year by Margot Justes

I'm taking the weekend off to relax.
Happy New Year to all.

Till next time,
Margot Justes
A Hotel in Paris