Author On The Ledge!

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Be sure to enter to win a signed copy of Savvy Stories HERE

LAST DAY! Don’t miss out!

 


 

 

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Your humble host

 

You’ll know it when you see it.

An author friend has started the downward spiral of doubt.

Here’s an example from a blog post of an obviously dismayed author friend, followed by my reply:

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…it seems as if I’ve just wasted the last (fill in your number here of the weeks, months or years) of my life writing a story no one will ever be interested in EVER. It should be printed off only to be burned in a barrel and then bombed with a nuclear warhead. I have THREE chapters left to write. THREE. At the end of the summer, in September, I had FIVE.

 This week I sat down to write and . . . nothing happened. I stared at a blinking cursor for six hours. Well, that’s not entirely true. I checked my email. I went to town on Twitter. I cleaned the house and did two loads of laundry. I watched a few cat videos on Facebook.

 AND I deleted two thousand words from my latest draft

This is what we call the ledge.

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Is this you?

Occasionally I’ll see a writer out there and talk them back in through a window. Just as often they let me know they’re out on the ledge and I talk them down. But on rare occasions they get out there and start deleting thousands of words and then it’s more a matter of getting them to hit the net when they jump.

Or if they slip.

You don’t strike me as a jumper so we’ll say slip. Yeah, that’s it. The ledge needed cleaning and next thing you know you were out there on it. It happens.

In fact, it can happen to any of us. You’re chugging along thinking positive thoughts about yourself and your writing, and then you reread the latest chapter of your GAM (Great American Novel) it and you’re like whaaat? Or a trusted CP (Critique Partner) starts asking if you wrote you latest submission while under the influence of prescription cough medicine.

Okay, so what do we know, and what do we do about it? Cos if you think I’m gonna hold your hand, you might have shot me a Facebook message (I have messenger now, too; it rocks) BEFORE you deleted thousands of words – and managed to write a thousand on your blog lamenting… your inability to write? Do I have that correct?

Well, I love irony as much as the next guy. Heck, maybe more. I even have sympathy for anybody buried under a foot of snow while I contemplate whether I’ll wear a sweatshirt with my shorts as I go buy chlorine for the pool. (I decided yes on the sweatshirt, but only because it was a little windy.)

Okay, sister, time for the tough love.

If you think this is the hard part, you are wrong. This writing stuff? This is the easy part. Even when it’s hard, it’s easy. The hard part – the part we refer to as the abyss – that’s when you press the “publish” button and a few weeks go by and nothing really happens. Or you get three or four bad reviews in a row. Or your sales drop for some unknown reason. Or you have no sales and you suddenly realize it’s been quite a while since you did have some.

We talked about the emotional roller coaster that is authordom, HERE.

You’ll want to crawl under a rock and question your right to exist because nobody anywhere wants to read your story. Or review it. Or recommend it to friends. Or any one of a thousand other ways your shiny new manuscript will bring harm to your delicate little writer psyche.

But there’s good news! I can help you avoid the abyss!

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This does not have to be you!

And I could have helped you avoid the freaking ledge! Do you not know how to get ahold of me? Facebook, Twitter, the Contact Me button on the blog, Instagram, Pinterest… You can call. I’m in the book, for pete’s sake. There’s like two guys with my name in the whole United States and I’m not the radical priest in Texas.

Okay, okay, here’s the deal:

  1. You have probably written a pretty good book. You may still f*ck it up, but more than likely it’s completely readable and interesting. (Amazeballs in Jennyspeak.) How can I say this? You’re here on my site, which means you have a clue and you give a damn, and you know the difference. I don’t say that to everybody – check the array of carcasses in my critique group that got a “better luck next time” card from me. My readers have, almost without exception, been good writers. (I say almost because nobody bats .1000)
  1. If it was easy, everybody would write a book. 80% of US Americans want to and the vast majority don’t.
  1. Of those who attempt to write a book, MOST SUCK. Your book probably does not suck. (See #1)
  1. You have a LOT of people who want to help you in whatever way is needed. Don’t be afraid to ask for that help when you’re blocked. (And I don’t mean constipated, but I’m sure you know somebody to call about that, too. It’s not me. I wanna get on the record about that right now.)
  1. You are beautiful, funny, interesting, and a nice person. And your family loves you. Probably friends, too; I only know you online. But let’s give you that one, too.
  1. You have a LOT of people who want to help you in whatever way is needed. Sometimes that means goofing off with them for an hour on Facebook chat (now messenger; I upgraded and it’s totally addictive) until they prod you to get creative and clear the logjam. After all, you managed to put down tens of thousands of words in a mostly cohesive string so far. Odds are a few more thousand are in you. Here’s proof, click HERE.
  1. This was not going to be a list but what the hell, it is now.
  1. As a list, it needed to stop at three or five, but once we sailed past those, ten seemed to be the magic number.
  1. Have a drink. (Like I need to tell you that.) Try writing drunk, like Hemingway said – write drunk, edit sober. It’s worth a shot (get it? Shot?) You may come up with something really interesting. You may not. But at least you’ll be drunk. And cut back on the cat videos. They obviously aren’t helping.
  1. You have a LOT of people who want to help you in whatever way is needed.

Whatever way is needed.

WHAT EVER way is needed.

You have a LOT of people who want to help you in whatever way is needed.

Get it?

Let them.

SUBSCRIBE TO MY FREE NEWSLETTER! Get a FREE copy of “25 Great eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew,” FIRST SHOT at new stories, and exclusive behind the scenes access!

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Your humble host

REBLOG me! Or SHARE this post on Facebook and Twitter! See those little buttons down below? Put on your glasses. There they are. Click them. The FOLLOW button is now in the lower right hand corner.

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great upcoming sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

Okay, What’s The Big Surprise?

Ta daaaaahhh! Here it is:

YOU can win one of 5 signed paperback copies of “Savvy Stories, funny things I learned from my daughter” by entering a Goodreads promo right now!

Click HERE to enter the promo.

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Not much to look at, is it?

Okay, you’re giving away a book. Why is that a big deal?

In a word,

BOOK PROMOTIONS = MARKETING

Marketing? Eek! Eek! Eek!

Learn along with me! You need to see how these marketing things work!

savvystories1 perry kirkpatrickJoin the giveaway, and share the links with your friends. When the time comes, I can help promote your book (as I have so many others here) with interviews and guest blog posts, or I’ll tweet it to my 17,000 Twitter followers etc.

We’ll help each other become more successful.

You want that.  

Most author types aren’t great at the marketing stuff. Heck, I’m not sure anybody is. But by entering promos – the kinds you’d hope to do for YOUR book – you’ll see how they work (just like we said to join Goodreads, the world’s largest book club. Have you done that? Send me a friend request when you do. We’ll be buds).

As author types you want to do promotions.

As readers, you want to benefit from promotions.

You’ll have questions when you do. Learn along with me!

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Enter to win my hilarious book: CLICK THIS LINK
  • Post my promo on your Facebook page and Tweet about it. Tell your friends. This is a funny book that’s not likely to offend anybody, so it’s cool. Some of my other stuff, you may wanna not tell your mom about.
  • Newsletter subscribers can get more details but everybody will be updated on what I did and how it’s working. You’ll want that when you go to do your promotion for your book.
  • Maybe YOU did a Goodreads promo. Share that information in the comments section so we have a good collection of ideas like we did for the interview post. What about it worked? What didn’t work? Would you recommend running it on Super Bowl weekend? No? Me, either, but I messed it up and that’s what it is now.
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See? I’m not the only one who thinks it’s funny.

Some authors run a GR promo for 30 days. That seems long to me. Some run it for ten (that’s what I’m doing). Some buy ads, too, even though the promo itself costs nothing (I spent $50; we’ll see what that gets me).

In the end, we all wanna sell more books. Did having over 2000 Goodreads friends help this promotion? We’ll see. If it does, can YOU have over 2000 Goodreads friends? Sure. I do, so you can.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, we are BUILDING a promo platform.

What?

What’s a promo platform?

TheNavigatorsDanAlatorre
This book will benefit from these tests. So will yours!

Well, I like to test things. I wanna see how Savvy Stories does in this promo before I roll out my new book, The Navigators, and start promoting it.

Savvy Stories is kind of the test run for Navigators – and maybe for your book.

How you become an expert is by doing something a lot. We all need help and ideas for promos because it’s not second nature to us and because the interwebs are changing all the time. What works best? What would you do again? Find out as we do it.

First, as I do this promo, I build interest in me and my OTHER books as well.

Second, after checking it out, maybe some potential readers aren’t interested in Savvy Stories. I have other books for them to look at.

Maybe they follow me on Amazon, or here. When they stroll through my bookstore – my Amazon page – there’s a lot to look at. Sales of other books go up when interest in any book goes up.

Later, if I run a sale or whatever, a LOT of GR readers will already have me on their radar and sales will benefit from that.

 

But first things first. Join the giveaway and share it with your friends!

I’ll keep you posted on the rest!

Have YOU done a Goodreads promo for you book? Tell me about it, below!

Have you entered a Goodreads promotion? Tell us about it!

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Your humble host.

SUBSCRIBE TO MY FREE NEWSLETTER! Get a FREE copy of “25 Great eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew,” FIRST SHOT at new stories, and exclusive behind the scenes access!

REBLOG me! Or SHARE this post on Facebook and Twitter! See those little buttons down below? Put on your glasses. There they are. Click them. The FOLLOW button is now in the lower right hand corner.

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

 

Announcing the TOUGHEST Flash Fiction Challenge Ever: 4-Way Dialog (AND a special surprise!)

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Your humble host saying Bwahahahahaha!!

We’ve discussed how difficult it is to write good dialogs. We’ve talked about avoiding dialog tags. We’ve talked about using “beats.”

But have we really put that talk into action?

Now we will.

WARNING: THIS IS THE TOUGHEST FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE EVER

Write a conversation between four characters.

What, that’s it?

Hey, it’s harder than you think. Heck, it’s difficult to write a conversation between two characters that follows the rules of interesting dialog (which is to make it interesting. Tough rules.)

Four characters in the same room/same setting (not over the phone) will have a conversation. Each must speak at least twice, and none can speak for a 500-word soliloquy. It’s a conversation.

SEXES: You will take four characters, both male and female, doesn’t matter how many of each; they all must speak (so the guy can’t be dead and the women mourning him, unless he’s a ghost.) You can have three men and one woman, you can have two and two, or one man and three women, whatever you want. You get to name them, you get to create their back stories.

EACH character must speak at least twice. No 500-word monologues. I’d prefer they each speak more than twice, but that’s your call.

SETTING: You get to choose the setting but all four characters are present to each other, so they are gathered in a limited setting like a bar or a lifeboat or a college dorm room or a workplace, hostages locked in a bank vault, friends visiting a graveyard, a family reunion at a park and they are gathered under the shelter while the kids play softball, driving in a car, whatever. They cannot be on the phone talking to each other. They need to be relatively contained, as in, they don’t all get up and run away. They can be sitting in a stadium watching the Super Bowl but they can’t be coming and going, they’d have to be sitting in a row or maybe they could be players in a huddle, but not players spread out all over the field, okay?

DIALOG TAGSVerboten – to an extent. As your characters converse, you can’t use dialogue tags like “she said” or “he cried” or “Bill said” or “Mary exclaimed” or “Jane said slyly.” You CAN use a few tags – a few – because you may have to, but try use beats (small pieces of action) instead, with potential he/she/name attached:

Clark took a sip of his beer. “That’s how we do it, honey. We’re the Griswolds.”

or:

Ellen patted Audrey on the back. “Kids, when this is over, your father may be going away for a while.”

That kind of thing.

ADVERBS: One per 1000 words, especially if it ends in “ly.” So, you can have one. Because

WORD LIMIT: 1000 words. (And you probably don’t need an adjective in just a thousand words.)

That’s it!

Thrill us with your skills!

Having four people converse, making them all interact in the conversation in a meaningful way, NOT letting them get up and run away or otherwise move much… that happens all the time in life! But we rarely see it done in stories, and even more rare, see it done well. Here’s your chance.

Do a good job.

(Hey, what was the special surprise? Oh, that’s not today. That’s tomorrow. But you’ll like it, I think. At least I hope you do. I’m excited about it. 

Check the fine print. It says announcing a special surprise. I announced it. There’ll be one. Tomorrow.)

You know the drill:

  1. Describe your setting – or don’t. Your call, but it should be obvious from reading your piece.
  2. Write a story up to 1000 words that is obviously utilizing four characters in a limited setting. You pick the genre.
  3. EXTRA POINTS if you make it funny.
  4. Post your story below in the comments with a link to your blog.
  5. You also post it on you blog (No blog? Just copy paste the whole thing here.)
  6. Mention me and what the heck this is so people don’t think you’ve gone bonkers.
  7. Read and comment on OTHER people’s entries. That makes it fun. Allegedly.
  8. You have one week. Noon Friday a week from this posting date (beautiful, sunny and warm Tampa, Florida, USA time.)

SUBSCRIBE TO MY FREE NEWSLETTER! Get a FREE copy of “25 Great eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew,” FIRST SHOT at new stories, and exclusive behind the scenes access! We have some really great stuff coming for you in the mid-February letter.

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Your humble host

REBLOG me! Or SHARE this post on Facebook and Twitter! See those little buttons down below? Put on your glasses. There they are. Click them. The FOLLOW button is now in the lower right hand corner.

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

YOU GUYYYYYS!!!!!!

Look at this! How did this happen???

You are no doubt reading along enjoying today’s post, “20 Questions With Author Barbara Tarn” – as well you should be –

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It looks like this.

and LOOK what’s also happening today

(more or less).

LOOK!

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Do you see it?

What, you don’t see?

Step closer to the glass, Clarice.

Closer, please.

Closer

1000 blog followers 994 as of 02022016 c

What?????

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat???

We are almost at 1,000 followers? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

You remember a few weeks ago I was talking about this and saying we might have a party at 1000 and we’d probably get there in March (I hoped; maybe by the end of March)? It’s freaking February second! And I honestly questioned whether we’d ever reach 1000 followers.

And, to be honest, I’m still pretty sure WordPress has made some huge error in calculating all this. The real number is probably around a hundred, but

scorecard, baby!

We will probably reach 1000 today! Or this week! 

Can you believe it?

I can’t. I mean, I can, but I can’t. It’s crazy.

I don’t know why this has me so excited. Except it does.

My little blog that just over a year ago had NO followers except a spambot and a confused but sympathetic friend, now has almost 1000.

I’m probably jinxing myself for posting this now, but after I saw 994 I was pretty sure I’d miss 1000 when it happened and as a result you’d all miss the party!

Well, party on, people!

I think if a lot of you guys re-blog this to your followers, we’ll hit 1000 today. That’s kind of how this stuff works. Otherwise it’ll happen in a few days and we’ll all miss it. That’s kinda like missing the ball drop on New Year’s and watching it on the news the next day, or not seeing you car’s odometer roll over to some big round number. Not nearly as exciting. Hell, I’d gone dark, remember? I wasn’t even paying attention.

Anyway, we have a little bit of time to plan a party. If you want to come over to the house, I’ll be home most of the day compiling The Navigators into one file. (I should probably let you guys see a few sample chapters of The Navigators, too. Hmm… and the cover. It has a cool cover. And a really fun story. Remind me about that later and I’ll do it.)

I can run out and get some champagne but otherwise we have plenty of wine. Do you wanna bring stuff? We only have either two or four beers, but we have LOTS of chips for some reason. And a little leftover hummus. It’s red pepper style. Do you like hummus? The red pepper is good. We just opened it Sunday, so I’m pretty sure it’s still okay to eat. Oh, and cheese. We have a lot of cheese. because we have a lot of wine. And because we like cheese. But bring whatever you like if we don’t have it. I think there are frozen meatballs in the fridge, too.

Anyway, what I’m saying is it’s a party!

And it’s be cause YOU amazing people have read and commented and reblogged and followed and subscribed. (And because of me a little, too.) But now I get to stand here looking smart as a result of all YOUR hard work getting word out there about this blog. (And mine, a little, too.)

Let’s face it, you guys make me look good. So you deserve the cheese and hummus. And a lot more

THANK YOU

(in advance, I guess, but still.)

You’re the best bunch of folks I’ve gotten to know on the internet. I love you guys.

Probably.

No, really, you’re the best.

You really are. I promised myself I wasn’t gonna cry.

Let’s Celebrate!

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Your humble host with almost 1000 followers.

 

 

Thank you for being there. Remember, your blog can do this, too. And a lot more.

You guys rock. 

 

I’ve gone dark!

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Your humble host, gone dark.

I got a new phone that has yet to be reinstalled with my backup data, so I’m using the opportunity to lay low and get some editing done. Hey, you try launching a newsletter and editing and posting and blogging and critiquing and BSing on Facebook and see how much you get done. It can be overwhelming, even for me.

So I went dark. Radio silence. Incommunicado. So did you, based on yesterday’s writing challenge. What the heck happened there? Like NO replies, hardly. Trying to tell me something? (I’m going dark, I guess; it’s probably not technically “went dark” if I post like this.)

Anyway, I have LOTS of cool stuff to update you on from here in the dark.

  • The newsletter rollout is going really well. We’re adding people every day. (Did you start one? You should. More on that another time, but you really should think about it.)
  • The new phone is bigger but not as big as a small iPad, so that’s cool. It’ll still fit in my pocket.
  • I FINALLY got a Goodreads promo set up (hey, I’m just 100 friends shy of 2,000 GR friends now – just sayin’. Might wanna get on that train.)
  • My FB author page has added almost a hundred Likes this week – how cool is that?
  • We’re closing in on 20,000 followers on Twitter. That’s just crazy.

The Goodreads Promo thing is for my first book Savvy Stories, and it’s about a middle aged guy who becomes a first time dad at age 47. It’s really funny, whether you have kids or not, and it’s a great way to see how my writing has progressed. You can register to win a signed copy in a few days over at Goodreads, but not yet. I’ll let you know when. But then tell your friends. I think it starts the 5th if they approve it. They may not. They know about me. I was also thinking about giving away a signed copy to the person who brings the most friends to the newsletter before February 15th. Have them send me a message after they subscribe saying you sent them and we’ll draw a winner at random. See? That’s your reward for reading this far. Some people missed that.

The SECOND marketing book is almost finished being edited, which is a fancy way of saying it was finished and then I took stuff out and put other stuff in.

Tonight, it’s gonna be chilly in Tampa so I think we’re gonna roast marshmallow and hot dogs in our outside fireplace. Not at the same time, as a single item. Hot dogs will be roasted, then the marshmallows. I think you understood that. I hope so.

I have a great post coming up tomorrow and a super one for Monday, so I’ll see you then – well, not really, cos I’ll still be in radio silence as part of going dark – but oh well.

Have a great weekend! And seriously – what was up with that writing challenge? Maybe click over and say Hi just so I know it posted.

Yes, IT is coming…

Are you excited about tomorrow?

I am.

The kid has dance class, so I get to write, uninterrupted, for about three hours! No, dance class isn’t three hours. She’s five. Dance class is about 45 minutes. But between that and getting ready and driving there and shopping afterward and driving home, my wife and daughter can sometimes be gone all day. Which allows for a lot of writing time.

But that’s NOT what I was talking about!

I was talking about the

BIG SURPRISE!

TOMORROW, IT WILL BE ANNOUNCED, RIGHT HERE

BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES

I’m very excited. Are you?

I hope so.

I would be.

I’d be dying of curiosity.

In fact, it’s been hard as heck to not go ahead and tell you guys.

Enjoy your Friday. See ya tomorrow.