Don’t Be So Dramatic! Or DO. Dramatic Irony For Fun And Profit

Your humble host.
Your humble host.

Dun Dun Dunnnnnnnnn! DRAMATIC IRONY!

Which is what, exactly?

Beats me.

But I have smart friends, and one of them, Allison Maruska, bestselling author of The Fourth Descendant, recently posted on her blog about ways to use Dramatic Irony to increase tension in your story.

See, it’s all ball bearings nowadays, guys tension, guys! And if we can throw in a few additional tension-enhancing elements, it helps the story a LOT.

fletchBy having a discussion about this with Allison, my critique partner (to learn more about the value of critique partners, click HERE), I realized that (A) I had a few places I could add dramatic irony in my current story and (B) it was probably set to happen in  few upcoming scenes, and (C) I had just written a scene where it basically had just happened! I just didn’t realize a scene could be enhanced that way, so I would have/nearly missed the chance! It was 90% there already, it just needed a tweak.

Bestselling author, friend and critique partner Allison Maruska
Bestselling author, friend and critique partner Allison Maruska

She helped me see the dramatic irony light, which will make those passages in my story a lot more fun for readers.

(If you’d like to do a guest post, hit the Contact Me button and let’s pick an educational topic for you to enlighten us on!)

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Here’s Allison explaining the whole dramatic irony thing as only she can.

Enjoy. I did.

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Have you read a story where the character knew everything that was going on and merely went through a checklist to solve the problem?

I certainly hope not, because that would be boring as hell.

No matter the genre, we read stories to see how the main character emerges victoriously (or not). Does the detective solve the crime? Does the waitress capture the heart of the famous patron? Will the elf/goblin find the mystical gem and save the kingdom from certain annihilation?

If the character knows in the beginning how to conquer the challenges, there would be no story. In a typical narrative, the characters don’t know what to do, and neither do we, the readers. Tension arises through conflict and complications and the unknown. Include those, and you’re more likely to write a page-turner.

outhouse-irony
Credit: Jokeroo.com

But if you want to turn your tension up even more, throw in some dramatic irony.

*insert collective groan as everyone remembers their high school literature classes*

Stay with me. Do this right, and your book will keep people up at night. Yay for creating drowsy drivers!

Dramatic irony happens when the audience knows something the characters don’t. Instead of exploring the dark cave with the MC and discovering the monster with him, we know the monster is there and brace ourselves for when the MC finds it. Dramatic irony causes readers/viewers to do this: Don’t do it!!

Or if we’re writing a romance, maybe this: Go for it! He likes you!!

Yes, everyone studied dramatic irony in high school. No one remembers, because high school literature classes have a magical gift of taking something interesting and turning it into a snore fest. Take, for example, the most famous example of dramatic irony: Romeo and Juliet.

We were all forced to translate Shakespearean and read this classic. It’s easy to tell who did their homework. Those who think it’s a basis for all love stories did not – unless they think all love stories should end in a suicide pact.

But it wasn’t really that, was it? Juliet took the “look I’m dead” potion, but Romeo thought she was really dead. We knew more than Romeo, and we watched in horror as he offed himself in despair…

To continue reading, please click HERE

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Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

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.

7 Ways To Improve Your Blog Presence & Grow Your Platform

We're all busy. Here's how to be more efficient with the same time expenditure.
We’re all busy. Here’s how to be more efficient with the same time expenditure.

The biggest thing you can do to build a loyal, quality base for your author platform is to reliably deliver quality content in your books, your blogs, and your social media.

That takes time, and we wanna be writing.

Here are seven ways to help without taking a ton of time.

  1. Write two new blog posts every week that are helpful and informative to whoever your particular blog’s market is. For mine it’s other writers, so I write blogs that are “how to” or useful somehow for building a base or whatever. That’s Sunday and Monday. Use the hashtag for those days and tweet about your blog topic a few times during the day.

#SundayBlogShare

#MondayBlogs

  1. Wednesday be sure to play the one line Wednesday #1lineWeds on Twitter. Use stuff from your writing and try to get their hashtag and your website into your tweet so you have something that draws interested parties back to your blog.
See my blog site in there?
See my blog site in there?

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  1. On Saturday (I think it’s Saturday) there’s a blog rerun and rehash. So you rerun your BEST blog posts – the ones that got the most likes or comments, or the ones you think are most helpful.

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  1. Make sure you cheerfully thank anyone who comments on your blog. You may publish a blog on Monday but that doesn’t mean everybody reads it on Monday. You will see comments trickle in through the week. Be sure to reply to each one and be friendly when you do.
Thanks for the support!
Thanks for the support!

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  1. If you can do a guest blog post, do it. Not every site allows them, but right now I am. You’ll get bigger exposure and draw readers to your site as well.

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  1. On the days you’re not posting a blog, or whenever it best fits into your schedule, read other people’s blogs and comment on them. Each comment you make on someone else’s blog is a small advertisement for the content on your website.

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  1. Use tags in your blog posts. I haven’t historically done a lot of that and I’m just starting to, but supposedly it’s a big deal for getting noticed by search engines. You need that.
Well, maybe that last one...
Easy-peasy.

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Basically, that gives you base-building activities seven days a week by only blogging twice a week. Not bad!

There are more (there always are) but this is a good start. Get to it.

What are some tips YOU recommend?

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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.

Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

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

Here’s How It Happens

02052015 Italy 2015 (113)I often get asked how I am able to write a blog, write books, do critiques, and still function on planet Earth.

I’m not always sure about that last part, but we’ll assume they are not implying I am a Martian or from Hell or something.

(We recently discussed what makes great writing, HERE)

I’ve talked about it, but some of the “get up at 4am” stuff didn’t fly well with some of you, so among the many other parts of my many efficient habits, is: I tell pieces of my story into my phone.

Now, I have nothing against jotting down an idea with pen and paper. But when I’m driving, that’s not easy to do. Or good to do. And pulling over every 3 minutes when another good idea hits is equally annoying.

I use talk to text on my phone and email it to my home computer, and translate it later.

That translate is important, because I talk fast and don’t enunciate in enough robotic cadences to have my often-irritating phone from hell understand every word. Sometimes when I go to read it, even I don’t know what the hell I meant.

I was only slightly more coherent than this guy.
I was only slightly more coherent than this guy.

(I once voice-texted with an author friend while I was drinking near a Jacuzzi in Orlando. She recalls it as being particularly hilarious because my phone was at its evil best and the alcohol made my proofreading even worse than usual. She claims it was one of our funniest conversations ever. We are thinking of doing our upcoming interview drunk, using only talk to text.)

So, at the risk of embarrassing myself to the point of needing to take up residence on our closest planetary neighbor, here is the talk-to-text version and subsequent translation from a thought I had today. It took less than five minutes to dictate, and would usually take about 15-30 minutes to decipher and form into a relevant post. (Typically, a vignette like this would go into one of my Savvy Stories anthologies, like the upcoming “FOURthcoming: funny things I learned from my preschool daughter.”)

It's the phone!
It’s the phone!

First, the talk to text gibberish (keep in mind, my phone hates me but I am sober):

So, I saw how it happens.

 

Some comedian made a joke that your parents picked you up one day and then sit you down and then never picked you up again. It’s a little sad and poignant but it’s also kind of funny and thought-provoking

 

And I saw how it happens when my daughter was in preschool, she went three days a week and had a pretty late start time

 

My wife and I work some odd hours so we didn’t care how late the kids stayed up because she got plenty of sleep should take naps in the afternoon after school if she needed more sleep she go to bed earlier but

 

For the most part she would fall asleep around 930 or 10 o’clock sometimes 1030 watching TV with us on the couch.

 

We had a routine. We would eat dinner, we would do some stuff, and then we would watch TV or play games or whatever, but then when it was about that time we would start turning off the lights and put on a TV show that was deafly not interesting to a child so no cartoons maybe a baseball game or sometimes survivor because that was a pretty good show for her to watch she likes the games competitions

 

Anyway that was our routine. For long time. And it sounds funny but I won’t lie part of the reason why workout is so that I can pick up my daughter. I was around too many people who are grown and grown they had to pick up their kids. Honestly, we had a birthday party I was grunting and groaning picking up their kids as I put him on a trampoline because he’ll some of those kids are happy. The bigger ones especially. Older ones but my kids not that old and not that heavy so I didn’t want to be grunting and groaning when I picked her up

 

And I wanted to be able to pick her up for a long time

 

Putting your child in your arms and caring them off the bed is a two minute long hug that one day will stop. I knew this.

 

And then one day it got taken away from me. With the new routine of going to kindergarten every day and getting up a lot earlier, routine was formed

 

It was dinner then a little bit of goofing off and then a bath or shower. Because we usually eat dinner so late, we basically a compressed all the times and dinner segued right into shower segued right into brushing your teeth and going to bed. Often, I wasn’t upstairs helping her get her shower anymore. So often, I missed saying good night to her. But what also happened was, there was no need to carry her off to bed because she was already upstairs near her bed. She walked on down after brushing her teeth climbed in the bed and went to sleep

 

And that’s when I realized that with rear occasions where exceptions, I probably put her down and didn’t pick her up again

 

I probably carried her to bed five nights a week last year. Actually, three months ago I was still doing that. Now I’m not doing it at all

 

Now I’m Harley doing it at all.

 

 I don’t like it

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That was borderline indecipherable!
That was borderline indecipherable!

Whew! Rough, huh? Good thing we’re all friends.

Now, the translation (and obviously, we edit a bit and arrange things as well, because speech isn’t writing, folks!):

So, I saw how it happens.

A comedian once made a joke that “your parents picked you up one day and then set you down – and then never picked you up again.”

It’s a little sad and poignant, but it’s also kind of funny – and thought-provoking.

And I finally saw how it happens.

When my daughter was in preschool, she went three days a week and had a pretty late start time. My wife and I work from home and log some odd hours, so we didn’t necessarily care how late the kid stayed up because she got plenty of sleep. She’d take naps in the afternoon if necessary, and if she needed more sleep, she’d go to bed earlier. But for the most part she would fall asleep around 9:30 or 10 o’clock watching TV with us on the couch.

What's not to love?
What’s not to love?

We had a routine. We would eat dinner, we would do some family stuff (watch TV or play games or whatever), but then when it was about that time we would start turning off the lights and put on a TV show that was definitely not interesting to a child – so, no more cartoons, maybe a put on a baseball game. Sometimes “Survivor” because that was a pretty good show for her to watch. She likes the games and competitions.

Anyway, that was our routine for a loooooong time.

And it sounds funny, but I won’t lie: part of the reason why I work out every day is so I can lift up my daughter.

I’ll wait for your amusement to die down. Hear me out on this one.

I was around too many people who moaned and groaned whenever they had to lift up their kids.

Didn’t want to be one.

It all goes by too quickly to waste time complaining about it.

In all honestly, we had a birthday party and I was grunting and groaning picking up their kids as I put them on our trampoline, because, hell, some of their kids are freaking heavy!  Especially the bigger ones that are just a few years older than my kid!

But that’s why I caught it. The “heavy” kid was eight. And I don’t mean fat or anything, I just mean she weighs more than the 45lbs my kid clocks in at. Enough to notice. Enough to groan when picking her up a fourth and fifth time. You get the idea. You’ve been there.

My kid was five.

That meant in just three short years, I’d very likely not be picking up my kid so much. Maybe sooner.

And of course, that means some time after that, I wouldn’t be picking her up any more.

Awww...
Awww…

And I want to be able to pick her up for a long time.

Putting your child in your arms and carrying her off the bed is a two minute-long hug that one day will stop. I knew this.

And then one day, without warning, it got taken away from me.

With the new routine of going to kindergarten every day, and getting up a lot earlier, a new routine was formed.

It was dinner, then a little bit of goofing off, and then a bath or shower. Because we usually eat dinner so late, we basically compressed all the times and dinner segued right into shower segued right into brushing your teeth and going to bed.

Often, I wasn’t upstairs helping her shower anymore.

So often, I missed saying good night to her.

But what also happened was, there was no need to carry her off to bed because she was already there. She brushed her teeth and walked down the hallway, climbed into her bed, and went to sleep.

It was perfect. She didn’t fuss and cry about her bedtime like a lot of kids do. Not yet, anyway.

And that’s when I realized that – with rare exceptions – I probably put her down and didn’t pick her up again.

I probably carried her to bed five nights a week last year. Actually, I was still doing it three months ago.

Now I’m hardly doing it at all.

I saw how it happens.

I don’t like it.

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So? Did I get ya tearing up a little? No? Maybe?

It’s okay, sometimes it’s too early or you’re not in the right mood. Usually if I play around with it I can tug at the heartstrings a little. Remember, no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.

Anyway, that 670 words sample is a taste of how I do some of the stuff I do. Hope it helps!

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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.

Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

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

FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE

Your humble host.
Your humble host and carnival barker.

If you wanna get right to the challenge skip down to “WELCOME TO OUR FIRST FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE!” and champagne Leo.

As most of you know, my character names tend to be just as boring as watching the grass grow or paint dry.

Steve. Melissa. Barry.

Yawn.

It’s just never been one of my things to name my character Zora or Borax or something like that. With me you might get a Nikki.

I think the most exotic name I came up with was Gina. No, actually it was probably Julietta.

Yawn.

I know, right?

Another problem I struggle with is titles. We’ve discussed this. It’s tricky to get just the right name for a story.  I bet every one of you has a WIP with a goofy name you don’t love.

Now, one day while I was thinking up character names, I thought – go to a list of baby names on the internet and see what’s there! THAT will solve your problem!

It didn’t.

Me! Me! Me!
Me! Me! Me!

So I used the name of the kids in my daughter’s preschool class.

But it occurred to me that if there are websites for random number generators, there are probably websites that are name generators!

In there was!

And it sucked.

It gave me names like Zora and Borax.

New Method: one word from each book cover
New Method: one word from each book cover

However, it also occurred to me that there was probably a random title generator.

And there was!

And it… was kinda interesting.

I chuckled as I looked at some of the titles it gave me – but it made me think how FUN it would be to write stories based on some of those titles.

So I of course immediately thought of you. Why not? You’re a fun type of person. Mostly.

CONGRATULATIONS!

WELCOME TO OUR FIRST FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE!

This idea is borderline brillaint, Dan!
This idea is borderline brillaint, Dan!

Did you see that coming? So here’s the deal. First of all you go to this website

http://www.kitt.net/php/title.php

Honestly, some of those aren't half bad!
Honestly, some of those aren’t half bad!

And get six titles. Pick ONE to write your flash fiction story about.

BTW, the definition of flash fiction is: whatever you want it to be. So sayeth Wiki:

“Flash fiction is a style of fictional literature or fiction of extreme brevity.[1] There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category.”

Basically I’m looking for something around 1000 words. It can be less, it could be more. If you’re closing in on 3000 words and you haven’t really nailed it yet, think about some editing.

THE RULES

  1. You write 1000 words more or less on the topic
  2. Post it on your blog
  3. Reference us on your blog and this challenge so your regular readers don’t think you’ve gone batty.
  4. Post your link to your story here in the comments section.
  5. You have until Friday 10/16/2015 at 12 noon EST, that’s Tampa Florida US of A time, for those of you who live elsewhere.

GET TO IT!

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Your humble host.
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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.

Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

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

Author Interview with TA Henry – get ready to smile, it’s a kick!

T A HenryFolks, it’s always fun to chat with friends, so it was a blast to interview T. A. Henry for this interview. I hope you enjoy it as much as did and will check out her new book that releases TODAY!!!

T.A. Henry is a Pacific Northwest transplant who loves it there. “I am a stay at home mom who home schools her only kiddo. I hike, crochet, and yoga with all my spare time. LOL. I like to think I am funny. I hear I am a good friend. I think the secret to that is I have very little judgement.”

Dan: What makes you so damn interesting anyway?

T.A.: I am obscenely boring and that’s what makes me so interesting.

I don’t think it’s possible to be “obscenely” boring. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

30 days.

That’s fast! Maybe obscenely fast…

In fact, I was still typing like a mad woman at 11:51 PM on the 30th of November last year. But I made it, uploaded with three minutes to spare. What can I say, I like to live dangerously.

So it was for NaNoWriMo?

It was. I do all my novel writing during Nano. It’s a huge push during November to get a manuscript to functional. I can’t imagine asking my friends and family to make that kind of sacrifice year round. And to be honest, I’m still really slow at the rest. I needed January through April to edit my Nano novel, then July and August to correlate, analyze, and make changes based on Beta feedback. Not a lot of time in there for new novels. Not yet anyway.

What is the best part about being an indie author for you?

T A Henry 2Total control. I choose everything. It’s published where I want. It has the cover I want. I took a departure from the norm in style and I didn’t have to defend myself to an agent, editor, or publisher.

I think I see a theme emerging: CONTROL!!! Home school, indie… is that present in your stories, too?

Whew. Dive right in there. Let’s pick apart my less than pleasant character traits right off. LOL. I never must have thought about it as control but more as responsibility. If I do it, it will get done right. With my son, I have a responsibility to provide an education that is best suited to him. With my book, I have a responsibility to give it the best chance at being read. I honestly did not believe in the case of Scripting the Truth, that was with a traditional publisher, if I could have even gotten one for it.

What’s the strangest place you’ve gotten a great story idea? Describe in detail. Inquiring minds want to know!

So Scripting the Truth started as a dream, in fact, as a naughty dream. In my dream, “the guy” is working for a porn studio and she goes to audition and they pan her because her boobs are too small so she offers to… well that’s not important. I realized of course that I couldn’t write that book. So it underwent a few modifications.

Don’t be so sure! I was ready to keep reading! (You can give your short synopsis or blurb, since readers will want to know more after reading that) Plus now I get to use the tag “boobs” so it’ll get a lot more SEO hits. I may have to add that as a question, actually: “Can you work the word ‘boobs’ into one of your answers, please?”

At loose end in post World War II London, Lady Margaret Leighton chances upon a movie poster showcasing the young soldier she gave her heart to while serving as a military nurse. Desperate to reconnect with him, she uses her wits and newly discovered writing muse to scheme her way into the movie studio where he is an actor. Molly is certain they will live happily ever after. And they just might… But first Molly has to figure out who she is and what she wants. Can she made this unexpected career work with the expectations of her elite family? She’ll try to do it all while trying to keep the seams on her stockings straight.

 

T A Henry 4
TA’s dog. “The pup is my mutt, I use the term with realistic endearment. LOL. His name is Jersey Cow.”

Speaking of stockings, let’s get to the important stuff: Can you wash light and dark clothes together? Have you even turned a bunch of stuff pink in the washer?

I used to be very anal about separating all my colors. As a kid I was supposed to do the laundry and I could never figure out where to put my dad’s pale yellow polo shirt. I turned many versions of that shirt a few colors. Then I lived in an apartment with the smallest washing machine ever and I started just throwing everything in together. It was fine. I felt so betrayed, all those years of separating, the extra work, and time, and money….all for nothing. Sigh.

It’s a damned conspiracy is what it is. I separated colors FOREVER and my wife let me just because she was happy I was doing laundry. Then I saw her doing it and I was like waaaaiiit!

Bwhahahahah.

What “person” do you like to write in? First Person, Third Person, etc. – and why?

Depends on the work. For Scripting the Truth, I wrote in first person. All from Molly’s point of view.

TA's blog
TA’s blog

What about your blog? How and why did you start that?

The writers from my group told me I needed to get online if I ever wanted to publish. So I started to blog about Nanowrimo, a blog a day, just describing the process of writing 50 thousand words in 30 days or less.

 

How long have you done Nanowrimo? And do you recommend it?

2015 will be my fourth Nanowrimo. As I mentioned I lost the first two years, partly due to bad time management and partly due to the complicated nature of my first novel attempt, which I am still working on. LOL

 

T A Henry 6What can you tell new authors are some of the benefits of accepting that challenge?

Oh, man. Nano is amazing. It’s like super charging your creative drive for a month. I highly recommend getting completely involved locally if you can. I am lucky enough to live in a Region where the MLs make a huge effort to host a write in a day the month of November. Write ins for the uninitiated involved a bunch of writers gathering at a coffee shop, library, restaraunt, and writing together. We have word sprints, how much can you get out in ten minutes, in five, in two. Faster, faster, faster. Yeah, now you won a silly little prize. People will help you work through plot issues, or character problems. You can shout out, I need a name for a twenty something male jerk and eight responses will come back instantly. Support. Nano equals support. And for me, I am about one and a half times as productive at a write than I am at home, and I take my kiddo to write in half the time. The pressure of hearing everyone else type, I come up with something to get my own keys clacking.

ANOTHER pantser!
ANOTHER pantser!

Plotter? Or Pantser? And prepare to defend your position!

Pantser all the way.

Oh, I hate you! WHY pantser?

This comes up a lot in Nano discussions and I think people who plot have practically written the whole thing before the month even begins. The joy of writing 50 thousand words in 30 days or less is actually writing it during the month. If you follow a detailed outline you might as well not even Nano, you’re a cheater. >raspberry<

What’s a good writing secret or time management secret?

So I failed my first two Nano endeavors…

That means you didn’t get 50,000 words written in 30 days?

Yes, and then one year my husband bought me No Plot, No Problem (Chris Baty). He recommends tracking your time usage for one week and seeing what you can give up, if only in the short term. So I did this and discovered I was spending way more time than I thought on email, Facebook, surfing the web and TV. Granted I had a small child and I was pretty worn (um, this is actually the word I meant – threadbare, in tatters) by the time I got him down at night, but still. I cut all that out the next November and bam, I won.

Have you ever been recognized by a fan in public for your writing, or when was the first time a fan came up to you in public (not an author event or signing)?

Ok so I don’t have any fan stories, probably because I don’t have any fans…

T A Henry 3Nobody does. We just have stalkers. They’re polite, though. Usually.

(Laughing) I still remember the first time someone quoted me to me. I was having a conversation with someone and they were like “I just read this interesting bit about….” Yep, from my blog. They were using it as a factoid for the argument. LOL. And then recently someone texted me to tell me they were reading a great book they thought I would love. I reminded them I reviewed it a few months earlier and their response was great: oh so that’s where I got this, thanks for the recommendation.

Still, to have somebody quote you to you – pretty cool? Did you let them win the argument for that?

I totally did. I also rubbed it in that they were quoting me to me and we had a good laugh about it.

If writing suddenly made you rich and famous, what would you do?

Buy a Morgan. Hire a nanny for a few hours every day. Oooh, and a weekly house cleaner. My wants are pretty simple.

I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?

Scripting the Truth launches today! Available on Amazon in print on demand and kindle versions.

Awesome! Give us a little taste!

Okay, here’s an excerpt:

T A HenryBy the following morning I had concocted a plan. I dressed in my favorite Schiaparelli suit for the aura of professionalism it lent my visage, which I desperately needed if I was going to pull off the plan I had in mind. I rang for a cab to drive me to the Lime Grove Studio, timing my arrival for mid-morning in hopes that most of the office staff would be having their elevenses and I could successfully parry with a lesser office being. Sadly, there was but an office boy in total at Lime Grove. I moved onto Islington as the next closest office of Rank Organization. Here I struck pay dirt. The office was busy despite it being almost upon the sacred lunch hour. I straightened my beret, checked my lipstick, and powdered my nose before tackling the gargoyle in charge.

“I have business with Patrick Dumount. Please let him know Lady Margaret Leighton is here to see him.” I hoped my no nonsense verbiage combined with my most brisk tone would get me past the first hurdle.

“You have business do you?” The woman’s tone was designed to mock. I got a little nervous.

“I do.” Simple and direct. Act as though there is no reason she shouldn’t do exactly what I wanted her to do. That was the trick.

“I’ll bet. You must be the ninth girl this week who tried the business sham to get to see Patrick, and the 200th since that film hit the box office. Now be off with you before I call security.”

“Oh but I know Patrick. I am sure if you told him Lady Margaret Leighton was here he would want to see me.”

“Listen sweetheart pretending to be nobility is actually an offense punishable by law. So take yourself off now.”

“My father really is the Duke of Richmond and I am Lady Leighton and I need to see Patrick Dumount on urgent business.” I found myself getting a bit short in the temper.

“Tell you what honey, bring the good Duke down here and then maybe I’ll believe your story.” With that she picked up her phone and began to slowly push buttons. “I’m calling the security officer right now. I’d be long gone before he arrives if I were you.”

Unless I was prepared to involve my father in this mess I had no choice but to retire bested. As I slowly made my way to the door a flyer on the cork board caught my eye.

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Good stuff. Good luck with the book launch and thank you so much for dropping by!

Fans, you can reach TA here on her blog

https://tahenryauthoress.wordpress.com/

and on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Check out Scripting the Truth on Amazon TODAY!

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Your humble host.
Your humble host.

REBLOG me! Or in this case, TA. 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.

Interested in guest posting? Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

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

NY Times Bestseller!!! – AND – USA Today Bestseller!!! Woo hoo!!!

This idea is borderline brillaint, Dan!
This idea is borderline brillaint, Dan!

I’ve seen quite a few authors make the New York Times bestseller list and/or the USA Today bestseller list so I wanted to know what all was involved in doing such a thing. Lots, of course. Lots of sales, lots of promotions.

Lots of everything.

But one author did it by putting together her stories with other authors in in anthology.

Ooh, that’s interesting…

Now, it’s not like they broadcasted the information that subsequently got them the title of USA Today Bestselling Author. I had to friend one of the authors on Facebook under a fake name (I pretended to be a mid-twenties female fan on FB) so she’d have a conversation with me – and eventually, after a few weeks, in bits and pieces, she gave up the goods.

Hello!
Hello!

And what she said opened my eyes.

(Yours, too. Right now you’re thinking: Dan’s a sneaky fucker.)

Yep.

When it comes to promotions, pull out all the stops. If somebody won’t tell Dan the author/blogger, let them tell somebody they think is a fan. (And I was a fan. Right after I friended her for being a USA Today bestselling author. I just used a fake personality. Is that wrong? It’s like being an undercover cop.)

What did I learn?

It's nice to have friends.
It’s nice to have friends.

In the USA Today bestselling author’s case, what happened was she contributed a story to an anthology along with 8 or 9 other authors, and they all promoted the book.

It did well and made the USA Today bestseller list! USA Today uses e-Books; at that time the NY Times didn’t (it still may not, I don’t know.)

Think about it. WHY DID THAT WORK?

 

9 authors promoting the book

9 authors tweeting about the book

9 authors running ads

9 authors utilizing their different ad resources

9 authors blogging

…and pimping…

…and pushing…

Solo marketing efforts when not guided by skilled smart people.
Solo marketing efforts when not guided by skilled smart people.

That’s GOTTA be better than you going it alone, right?

What did the anthologies have in common? The book had a theme. They all, more or less, were based around that theme. And by more or less, I mean less. It was a loose interpretation of anthology, but whatever. The goal was to bind together and make a splash with quality stories.

And they did.

They made a splash.

They wrote QUALITY stories.

It was a legit endeavor. They worked together and got themselves onto the USA Today bestseller list – meaning each of the authors involved gets to claim the title of USA Today Bestselling author. Like a Olympics gold medal winner, you don’t have to win it again each year to still be called an Olympic gold medal winner. Once is enough, you get the title for life.

Think about the power of that on all your marketing efforts going forward

They all get to claim it, because who can say which story is the one that did it? They all did.

So…

 

Hmmm...
Hmmm…

I wonder if WE could do that?

I wonder if we have enough clout here for each of us to contribute a short story that goes into an anthology that we all subsequently promote and have it make it to the New York Times bestseller list or the USA Today bestseller list?

Let’s say we did, and it worked. How much better does it make your pitch when you go to meet an agent/publisher/publicist/etc., to say you are a USA Today bestselling author?

Sounds nice, eh?

That goes on every book cover from then on

That goes in every bio from then on

That goes in every interview you do from then on.

You get the idea.

Me! Me! Me!
Me! Me! Me!

Just by show of hands, if you’re interested in trying something like this, comment below or send me a message. If you have my email, use it; if not, try the Contact Me button and let’s see what kind of group we can assemble. There’s a lot of talent that reads this blog there’s certainly a lot of smart people here. I think it really might be doable.

And that’s a phrase you’d get to use on every story you put forth from then on. Plus, I believe if you can do it once, you can do it again – but by doing it once you’ve leverage your ability do it again!

Maybe this goes somewhere, maybe it goes nowhere. One anthology I saw was a sample from each of their books, taking segments that could be stand-alones. That might just piss people off, though… Maybe an anthology of short stories we write just for this book, with a legit common theme designed to appeal to a large genre’s audience, is better.

What do YOU think?

Would we be better doing it as a bunch of short stories, with a theme? Probably. But I’m open. Give me your thoughts. Let’s see what we come up with! (If it’s a bad idea, ask yourself why you read the post. Maybe the title? Those publications are powerful, eye catching things!)

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Your humble host.
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.

Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

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

“My Blog SUCKS and I’m Kinda Clueless” – what you need to fix your broken blog

The blog has been kicking it this week
The blog has been kicking butt. Click image to be amazed.

THIS blog is THRIVING – but a lot of other blogs aren’t. Every day I get emails telling me how much I was able to help out another blogger or author. It warms my heart, and I thank you all, because YOU are a large part of why my blog is successful.

The ways to make your blog thrive are not difficult, but they aren’t exactly easy, either.

This has been one of my most well-received posts, so I wanted to rerun it today to help others who haven’t seen it.

 

If you already read it – read it again. There’s lots of good stuff you probably forgot.

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it was a dark, scary place
it was a dark, scary place

This is a LONG one. Wade through it.

Dear Dan,

My blog sucks and I’m kinda clueless about what to do with it…”

Okay, nobody said that… directly.

Indirectly, LOTS of you have. And lots of blogs scream it.

Not to worry. I’m here to help.

I’ve been reading a lot of other authors’ blogs lately. Not because they’re good, although LOTS are, and not to make myself feel better about this blog, although mine is definitely better than some of what I’ve been reading.

I read them to learn.

blog cancelledThe suffering writers of these blogs I’ve been reading will, on occasion, mention book sales. 50 sales in a month is the average for people who are working their butt off and that means half of them are selling less than that.

Trust me, I’d have been happy as hell to have had 50 sales in ANY of my first six months. I didn’t have 50 total over my first six months, combined. ZERO is an exaggeration but it’s close.

(BTW, here are some tips for getting reviews for your book, too.)

When I started putting books out I asked other authors what worked for them as far as marketing, etc. Many were happy to give me advice, and I am happy to share that advice with you. Yes, it’s all going to find its way into a How To Market EBooks trilogy and Write Better Books – because that’s what I do. I write and sell books. But you’re getting that information for free right now, aren’t you, smartie!

This is so sad. Seriously! And this is AVOIDABLE.

Here’s some mistakes I see in unsuccessful blogs…

For the rest, click HERE