Getting Inside Your Character’s Head

This week I’ve been too caught up in promoting the online book launch party for the anthology to do any writing. However, the weekend is here and I refuse to let spare hours in the day not be put to good use.

Let’s talk about writing for a change.

The first draft of Mirror Image is in the last stages of writing. Currently, I’m on the second last day of the story, but a lot has to happen in the coming hours which will take the story to the climax. The events have been fully planned, so I know exactly what has to be written and, generally, I’m having no trouble getting the words down.

However…one character does some research in a library to find out what’s happening to her. I’m having trouble writing the scene because, even though I know the results she’ll find, I can’t find the right words to express those findings. I suppose this comes back to “know what you write”. The subject matter is something I have experienced first hand, but it is something I have never researched. I guess I believe I should include some technical information to make the research results sound more plausible.

I spent some time on the internet tonight doing a spot of research, but couldn’t find a single website that was “believable”. Now I’m wondering what would happen if I went to the library and did the research my character is doing…what would I find? It’s an excellent question, in my opinion, and I suppose I’ll have to go to the library and find out!

Anthology Marketing & Promotion

It doesn’t take a genius to know what I’ve been up to in recent weeks. Anyone who knows me even slightly well will grumble when they see this post – “No! Not more on the anthology!” 😀

Marketing a book is no easy task. That’s something I have discovered first hand. It takes a lot of time and effort and it’s no wonder that traditionally published books only have a short shelf life – the publishing houses just don’t have the time to devote to one book, let alone all the books on their list.

If I had the money to spend, I would look into getting those expensive displays for bookshops and have them distributed, but I don’t have the money so I have to make do with other avenues. Here is a list of what I’ve done so far:

I’ve sent out two worldwide press releases – one announcing the publication on the anthology and the other announcing the online book launch party.

I’ve organised (or should I say, I am still organising) an online book launch party on Monday 1 September 2008.

I have made a promotional video and uploaded it on YouTube.

I have flooded Facebook with purple and white promotional material – links to the Speculative Realms website, links to the party, links to the video, direct links to purchase the book and I’ve even set up an event for the party, uploaded the book to the marketplace and uploaded the book to the book library application.

I have uploaded the details and the video to MySpace.

I have done the same to MyFamily.com. I belong to a group where there are several thousand members and I’m related in some way to all of them (although I know only a handful).

Today, I sent out emails to my family and friends, and to acquaintances I hardly know (over 200 emails in total).

I have included the details of the book and a link to the website in my signature for all my emails for the email writing group I belong too (a little over 100 members).

I also included the details into my signature for the message board. Even though signatures have been turned off on my own board, I am a member of many other boards and have written many, many posts over the years and I made sure that the new signature changed every single one of those posts.

That’s all I can remember at the moment. But that’s what I’ve been doing and there are twelve other authors hopefully doing their bit too. At this stage I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to Alan Baxter for including the video on his website.

I haven’t reached the end of my list and friends are always providing additional resources for me to follow up – thank you Benjamin Solah for a brilliant idea this morning.

If you know of other promotional ideas that I haven’t mentioned yet, please tell me about them by emailing me or leaving a comment.

Anthology: Online Book Launch Party

As you know, my short story “Where Strength Lies” has been published in the anthology “Speculative Realms: Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.

My story is a romantic fantasy story and the other stories all fall into the speculative fiction genre, which include fantasy, science fiction and horror. There are 13 stories in total and the authors are from Australia, England, United States, Canada and Netherlands. You can visit the website – Speculative Realms – to find out more about the stories, the authors and, of course, to buy a copy of the book. 😀

To celebrate, we are having an online book launch party on Monday 1 September 2008 at the website’s forum and I would love it if you could come along and show your support. It will be a lot of fun. There will be “games” and you can “chat” with the authors. Free copies of the book will be given away on the day. If you want to be in the running for one of them, all you have to do is write a post and your name will be automatically put into the draw. Good luck! (You will need to join the forum to post, but I guarantee your details will remain private and you will only be contacted if you win a prize.)

If you know anyone else who might be interested in the book or the party, please feel free to invite them too. The more the merrier.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

Here’s the official press release:
Speculative Realms Plan an Online Book Launch Party That Will Last for More Than 24 Hours

Anthology: Press Release

I’m a writer, but now I’m trying my hand at marketing. I’ve borrowed a number of books from the library, which are giving me ideas to try. All of them talk about the importance of writing and distributing a press release upon publication.

There is a specific format to follow. Here are links to some examples:

Write a Press Release

Press Release Format

Tips, Guidelines and Templates for Writing an Effective Press Release

Writing a press release is not easy. It took me many, many days of fiddling with words, then rejecting what I had and starting again before I ended up with something I was satisfied with. Even though there are a number of free distribution packages, I chose to purchase a distribution package through PR.com. The package meant higher visibility, in more places online and world wide and regional distribution for newspapers and radio too. Of course, there is no guarantee the press release will be picked up by anyone. That is a risk I took and it’s too soon to know if the $60 I spent was well spent or not. Let’s just hope it was.

The first press release has been distributed and a copy of it can be read by following the link below:

Writers Worldwide Join Forces to Publish Speculative Fiction Anthology

Mirror Image: Update

This is the novel length manuscript I started in November 2007. The whole plot came to me in a flash and because of that I found it easy to write. I recently read through what I had written in November, expecting it to be disjointed, and was surprised to find that it read quite well (for a first draft). This encouraged me to pick up the story again.

Around 4 August 2008 I started writing again. 🙂

The story is 90% complete and I know how it is going to end, but I felt disconnected from the characters. It took two days for me to realise that I was having trouble, even though I had managed to write about 1,200 words, so I decided to plan the ending in finer detail, in point form.

The story is told from five view points – all of which are important to getting the theme (and message) across. I looked at each view point in turn, deciding what each character needed to contribute to get the story to the climax. I spent three or four days working on this, but at the end of that time I had a clear plan for my writing.

The manuscript is now progressing nicely.

Why This Blog Became a Personal Diary

I feel sure that I’ve mentioned this before, but I am unable to find reference to it so I’ll say it again. My focus on this blog has changed over recent months, and I intend to use this space to document my journey as a writer from this point in time. That is why I changed the name from Blog to Personal Diary. I will not be setting out to entertain visitors, I will only be jotting down what’s happening and how I feel in regards to my own writing. It was for this reason that I changed the sidebar so that it only includes links to personal stuff. (All other categories can now be found through the pages in the navigation bar above. It is unlikely that I’ll add to those categories in the future; but if I do, it will be rarely.)

This morning, I realised the categories to the right are not really appropriate any more either and need updating. Being one to make more work for myself than is necessary, I think I will take the easy way out this time and leave most of the categories as they are because I don’t want to make time to go through all the posts and move them around. However, the WIP (Novel) category is completely misleading, so everything filed in that category will be moved. There’s only 89 posts, it shouldn’t take me long to go through them all.

New categories will be added and other categories will be renamed (where possible). I am still working through the Personal posts and saving them into my computer diary too. Some of those posts will be permanently deleted once that has been done.

I see these changes as a positive move. They will allow me to focus more on my writing and less on writing posts for this website. I will write a post on my writing soon.

What Name Was That?

Today, I had a “first time” experience that felt quite different to what I had imagined it would. Someone asked me to sign their copy of the anthology!

If this had happened through email or a website, I would have been fine about it, but this was a real life experience and it threw me off balance. My first reaction was one of embarrassment. I still feel shocked by that. The embarrassment was quickly followed by anxiety.

Isn’t that the weirdest thing you’ve ever heard?

I always thought that I’d feel honoured by such a request. In all honesty, I was honoured, but on this occasion the other emotions were stronger. And I know why!

I’m a shy person. In real life I don’t share much about myself freely. I certainly don’t advertise the fact that I write. And having someone confront me in a very public place with something I tend to keep private was a bit of a shock.

That accounts for the embarrassment, but what about the anxiety. Laugh if you want to, but I was worried about the actual signing of the book. I had to practice first as my pen name is not my real name. I can sign my real name without thought, but it felt foreign to sign Karen Lee Field. It felt strange and it looked strange.

However, the signing is done and the book has been returned to its owner. Now I can let those rotten emotions go and bask in the good.

I signed my first book today! I honestly cannot believe it.