Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thursday tips: how to build a bad guy!

Hello everyone!
Welcome back to another Thursday tip day! Today is a fun one. How to build a bad guy. Nothing makes your hero more heroic than a worthy opponent, right? So don’t shortchange your villain. Spend every bit as much time crafting him as you do your lead character, if you want your story to work.

(Though male pronouns will be used throughout this tip, this applies equally if your main character is a heroine or your villain is female.)

Too many novelists give plenty of care to every other element of their story, then create what they consider a deliciously evil villain and wonder why the package seems to fall flat.

Often it’s because the bad guy is only that: bad. He’s from Central Casting and might as well be starring in a melodrama, complete with black top hat, cape, and handlebar moustache so we readers can boo and hiss his every entrance.

Every other character is real and nuanced and believable, but the second-most important lead is only a caricature—spoiling the reader’s whole experience. 

Motivation: The Secret Sauce for Creating a Compelling Villain

Don’t let the word scare you. Motivation doesn’t have to be some nebulous theatrical concept tossed about by method actors trying to get into character. It simply means your bad guy needs a reason for being the person he has become.

If he isn’t working, it’s because you’ve made him the villain only because he’s a bad person. He does evil things because he’s evil.

That’s too easy. Change your thinking. Try something revolutionary. If you just can’t understand truly villainous people, try this: Put yourself in their place.

“Wait!” you say. “I’d rather see myself as the hero, doing the right thing because it’s the right thing, rising to the challenge, saving the day.”

Wouldn’t we all?

Well, don’t knock this till you’ve tried it. You’re writing along, and you’ve come to the place where your villain needs to act in some evil way. Your virtual online writing coach has urged you to be sure he has proper motivation.

What does this mean? He can’t be bad, do bad, cause trouble just because he’s the bad guy, so what’s made him this way? What’s behind it? You have to know before you have him do whatever it is he’s about to do.

Take His Place

“But I’m not a villain!” you say. “I’m no Dr. Moriarty or Dracula or Simon Legree.”

Yes, you are. You have your days. You’ve learned to control yourself, or maybe you’re a person of faith and have found control outside yourself. But you know your true nature, your old nature.

We novelists need to become our characters, from young to old, male to female, blue-collar worker to executive, and illiterate to educated. That’s part of the fun of it.

Now take that further. When a friend takes credit for something you accomplished, what’s your first private thought? You get over it, I know. You probably say nothing and let it pass for the sake of the relationship, and that’s great. But dwell on that initial visceral reaction a moment.

Someone you know well and love and trust lies to you, and there’s no question about it. You’re offended, hurt—crushed really. In fact, you’re infuriated. You bite your tongue because you’re a mature adult.

Maybe when you cool down you’ll rationally confront the lie and get to the bottom of it. But for now, entertain that immediate first reaction. Where was your heart and mind then?

I’m not telling you to become mean, rotten, and nasty when we’re all supposed to have grown out of that kind of thing by now. But I am telling you to tap into your dark side long enough to know what makes a good villain tick.

Villains are real people to whom terrible things have happened.

Maybe in childhood, maybe in adolescence, maybe later. At some point, rather than learning and growing, their maturation process stunted and stalled.

Roots of bitterness and anger sprang up in them. On the surface they may have many, if not most, of the same attractive qualities of your hero. But just beneath the surface fester the qualities you can access in yourself if you allow yourself to.

While this may explain the reasons for your villain’s actions, it doesn’t excuse or forgive them. He’s still evil, and he must still be brought to justice. But giving him motivation will make him more than a cardboard cutout.

So conjure a backstory for your villain. Make him real and believable and credible—even attractive in many ways.

And while you’re writing your story, see how many boxes you can check off on this list of characteristics that pertain to your villain.

The more that apply, the more successful your novel is likely to be. Because the more worthy his opponent, the more heroic your hero will appear.

Your Bad Guy Checklist

  • He’s convinced he’s the good guy
  • He has many likeable qualities
  • He’s a worthy enough opponent to make your hero             look good
  • You (and your reader) like when he’s on stage
  • He’s clever and accomplished enough that people               must lend him begrudging respect
  • He can’t be a fool or a bumbler
  • He has many of the same characteristics of the hero,           but they’re misdirected
  • He should occasionally be kind, and not just for show
  • He can be merciless, even to the innocent
  • He’s persuasive
  • He’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants
  • He’s proud
  • He’s deceitful
  • He’s jealous, especially of the hero
  • He’s vengeful



Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tasty Tuesday: Pasta Pancetta

Hello everyone!

Welcome back to another Tasty Tuesday! Today we've got a tasty meatless dinner on deck. How about something added to pasta night? Easy to add or subtract for smaller or larger families, super tasty and if you really want to make the carnivore in you happy, any meat can be added.

Pasta Pancetta




















Prep: 10 min           Cook: 5 min

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. In a large skillet, cook pancetta in oil until just beginning to brown. Stir in shallots, garlic, and mushrooms: cook for one minute. 

Season with pepper and oregano, and pour in chicken broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat , and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Cover, and continue to simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Strain liquid from pan into cooked linguine, and add olive oil. Toss to coat. Divide pasta onto individual serving plates, and top with equal portions of pancetta and mushrooms. 

Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Me Mondays: Avenging the O'Donnell's

Hello everyone!
Hope your weekend was great and your work week starts of  great as well. As the title implies, today is dedicated to my updates: where I'll be virtually and in real time, what's new with me, my new releases, what I'm working on and so forth.

My monthly newsletter is live and doing well. Everyone who gets the newsletter is automatically entered in the drawing to win an original item from my craft shop. (This craft shop tab on the website) The newsletter is also your vehicle to ask me questions. When you send in your questions you are entered again into the monthly drawing. The answer to those questions will be posted here as well. What is exclusive to the newsletter is the free reads. Sign up for the newsletter on my website

The Right Choice will be released September 23, 2016. It is book II of the Happily Ever After: By Any Means Necessary series. This series is about the lives of established couples and how they deal with worse case scenario issues in their relationship.

This week my WIP sneak peek will be of Avenging the O'Donnells, a interracial wolf shifter. 

Blurb
Ian O’Donnell was the only one to survive the massacre of his family. During the long wait to avenge them he met Nadine and fell in love. With love in his life again, Ian is distracted from his duty after waiting over a hundred years for the chance. Will Nadine be the loophole that will allow him to have love and revenge?

Excerpt:
Ian took a deep breath and returned to main house. Halfway up the stairs muffled screams and doors slamming reached his ears. Images formed in his mind of the monster going room to room dispatching all he found hiding. His distress magnified when he realized they came from his father’s bedroom. Standing in the doorway he could see his father broken body across the room. He moved inside at the sound of a door being torn off its hinges. The monster pulled Emma from the closet and lifted her from the floor by the throat. He knew his horror matched hers when their eyes locked, but for a brief moment he saw relief in her gaze before the light of life faded from them. 
“No!”
Howling his rage, Ian charged the beast with his sword extended. With all his might Ian shoved the blade deep into its back. The monster screamed in apparent pain. Swirling about trying to dislodge the weapon, the beast slung Emma’s body one way then slapped Ian haphazardly across the room the other way. His body crashed to the floor landing on discarded and broken furniture. Pain radiated through his body from head to toe. It was unlike anything he ever felt. He could barely draw a breath.
The monster had managed to remove the weapon. It turned toward him with the blade in his hand. Ian closed his eyes bracing himself as the beast walked to him. The blade pierced his gut swiftly stabbing into the floor beneath him. Surprisingly it did not add much to his discomfort. The monster stood over him just a second the shuffled from the room.
A visual of his father and brothers came to mind. Ian could not avenge them, but he was at peace to die with them. Closing his eyes he prepared for death. His head lifted and rested on something softer than the floor.  Conscious thought slipped away and the pain began to ease.
“In here! He’s in here! Oh my God! Fairy! Quickly!”
Ian gasped and let out a moan when the blade was removed from his body. His eyes flickered open, but closed again.  
“His heartbeat is very faint, but he lives. The O’Donnell’s are good and kind people. Don’t let their line die this horrible way. Heal him, please,” Sean begged.
Fingers touched Ians forehead. They were so light he barely registered the sensation, but a rush of heat rolled over his body like a wave at the slight connection. Immediately he drew in a deep breath and his eyes popped open. The pain ceased and his heart beat with new vigor. He felt stronger than he ever had. Sean smiled down at him.  
“My God Ian. The bleeding has stopped. The fairy has healed you.”
Ian scrambled to his hands and knees rushing over to his father’s body. Cradling his father’s head in his lap he looked toward the fairy.
“Can’t you save him too, fairy? He is my father, leader of our clan. 
She shook her head. “No, Ian O’Donnell, I cannot. It is fate to end here.”
Ian cried rocking his father’s head close to him. Sorrow and frustration filled his screams. After a while he stopped and he laid his father back on the floor, retrieved his weapon, and moved toward the door. 
“Ian, where are you going?” Sean asked.
“Im going to avenge my family’s deaths,” he replied calmly.
“Ian, no! The fairy has given you a second chance to live. You cannot squander it!”
Ian turned and opened to his mouth to argue his point with his friend, but the fairy’s calm voice stopped his retort.
“Ian O’Donnell, your family line will not die here, but if you chase the beast now you will erase what I have done. I can give you the means to avenge your family, but it will not happen today. The beast thinks he has destroyed your blood line, he must continue to believe it is so. All must believe until the time is right.”
Ian looked at his father’s body again and then to the only mother he ever knew. His heart filled with his loss making hum exhausted with grief. Turning tear filled eyes to the fairy, Ian finally dropped his weapon and fell to his knees beside it.
“What must I do, Fairy?” 



Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thursday tips: what is a story?

Hello everyone!
Welcome back to another Thursday tips day! Today we ask, what is a story? A story is simply a tale of events that are linked by cause and effect. It can be true or it can be a work of fiction. We expect stories to have a beginning, middle and end. They involve at least two characters, and some type of event take place.
Though there are three major contemporary types of written story:
  • The short story
  • The novel
  • The life story (biography or autobiography)
For the purposes of this blog (because it's for fiction writers) I will only give tips for the short story and novel. (I will be glad to come back and do a separate blog for the life story if there is a call out for it) 

Short Story

A short story is a piece of fiction under 20,000 words. More typically, a short story will be 1,000 – 10,000 words. (Pieces under 1,000 words are “flash fiction”, over 20,000 and they’re novellas.)

How to Write a Great Short Story

Like any story, your short story needs to have a beginning, middle and end:
  • The beginning is where we’re introduced to the characters, especially the main character and his/her problem
  • The middle is where the action and plot develops. The main character will face difficulties such as opposition from other people or a challenging environment.
  • The end is where the main character triumphs over his/her biggest challenge (or fails, in the case of a tragedy). The resolution should be satisfying and conclusive for the reader.
Even in literary and experimental short stories, it’s important that something should happen. Much of the action might take place inside the characters’ heads, but there should be a real change as a result.
By the end of your short story, your main character should have experienced an internal change. This means that they’ve grown and developed as a person – perhaps overcoming a fear, or recognizing an unacknowledged truth about himself or herself.

Novels

A novel is a piece of fiction that’s 50,000 words or longer (shorter books are novellas). The typical novel is around 80,000 – 150,000 words, depending on genre.
Novels and short stories share similar structural features, but novels give the author a much wider scope. A novel might have:
  • More than one main character (though attempt this with caution!)
  • A large cast of characters
  • A long time frame – potentially covering several centuries and several generations
  • Multiple subplots
Novels tend to be much more popular than short stories with the reading public, and almost all full-time authors are novelists rather than short story writers. A novel is a much bigger undertaking than a short story. Even if you are able to write short stories without much planning, you’ll need to plan out your novel in advance. There are a number of ways to do this, but whichever you choose, ensure:
  • You have enough plot to meet your word count target
  • Your main character (protagonist) is sympathetic – readers of short stories will put up with a dull or unlikeable character, but novel readers are stuck with the character’s viewpoint for much longer. As the writer, you’ll need to be able to become your characters.
  • You have an escalation of events throughout the plot. Things need to get worse and worse for your characters, until they finally overcome their problems or enemies.

Share Your Story Writing Efforts
It’s hard to write in isolation, and sharing your work with other writers is a great way to get feedback and suggestions. Look for a local writers’ circle, or join an online forum. You want to find somewhere that’s supportive but where people aren’t afraid to offer advice about things that aren’t working in your story.
Keep Learning
Writing is a craft that you can learn, like any other. There are hundreds of books on all aspects of writing, from the nuts and bolts of grammar and punctuation to writing in specific genres. You can also find free advice on the Internet (on blogs like this one). You can even take a degree or post-graduate course in creative writing.
Keep Practicing
As well as learning about writing, you need to practice. That means writing regularly – ideally daily. As you write more, your stories will get better – your characters are more “real”, your plots are convincing, and your endings are deeply satisfying to readers. You’ll also find that writing itself becomes easier: you’ll spend less time struggling to find the right words, and more time enjoying seeing the story spill from your fingers.
Always Revise
All authors need to revise their work. Your first draft might have a lot of problems – inconsistent characterization, scenes which don’t really fit, holes in the plot, incorrect pacing or tension. Don’t worry if this is the case: most published authors have to extensively rewrite their first drafts too. Always allow time to revise your story, and if possible, do several rewrites. Most authors recommend letting your story sit unread for a few days or weeks when you complete a draft, so that you can come to it with fresh eyes.
Hope this helps! See you next week!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tasty Tuesday: Spinach and Mushroom quiche

Hello everyone!
Welcome back to another Tasty Tuesday! Today I was thinking we haven't done a breakfast recipe yet. This is one I do often because I'm always running in the morning. This quick, protein packed breakfast can be pre-made and warmed up in the microwave to take out the door with you. I added the cheese at the end because when I take it to work I add the cheese when I warm it up.


Perfect for a quick, yummy and healthy breakfast on the go - SPINACH QUICHE CUPS - Low-carb and gluten-free! Also great for Christmas, New Year or any holiday brunch!:


Ingredients:

6 eggs
1 bag frozen chopped spinach
salt and pepper to taste
1 tray fresh mushrooms
2 TBSP shredded cheese: optional 

Cook for 15 minutes at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Me Mondays: The Fun House

Hello everyone!
Hope your weekend was great and your work week starts of  great as well. As the title implies, today is dedicated to my updates: where I'll be virtually and in real time, what's new with me, my new releases, what I'm working on and so forth.

My monthly newsletter is live and doing well. Everyone who gets the newsletter is automatically entered in the drawing to win an original item from my craft shop. (This craft shop tab on the website) The newsletter is also your vehicle to ask me questions. When you send in your questions you are entered again into the monthly drawing. The answer to those questions will be posted here as well. What is exclusive to the newsletter is the free reads. Sign up for the newsletter on my website

Currently I am editing The Right Choice. It is book II of the Happily Ever After: By Any Means Necessary series. This series is basically about the lives of established couples and how they deal with issues in their relationship.

Today I will give you a sneak peek at The Fun House, a contemporary romance about two friends find them selves slow walked into an alternative lifestyle after not dating for a while. 

Blurb:

Diamond Jones hasn’t had the greatest luck when it came to the opposite sex, so she hasn’t dated for two years. Her best friend, Tia, comes to visit and decides that fun is going to be their top priority for the weekend. To achieve her objective, Tia enlists Kain Williams and his friend Trey. Will the men help or hinder the women in obtaining their ultimate goal? Or will Diamond’s biggest fears in life prevail?

Excerpt:
“So Trey, from these pictures it looks like you guys have been friends a long time,” Diamond said turning toward them.
“Yep. Kain was a freshman and I was a sophomore when we met.” He chuckled. “After all we’ve been through together. Kain is more of a brother than a friend. Is white wine okay or would you like something with a little more kick to it?”
“That‘s fine for me,” Diamond told him.
“I’d like some kick. Do you have any brandy back there?” Tia asked.
Trey’s eyes widened at her request, then he chuckled preparing the drinks.
“Who is the little girl in all the pictures, Trey? She’s beautiful.”
Tia accepted the brandy snifter he offered before he walked to Diamond with a half-filled wine glass.
“Thanks. That’s Starr. She’s my daughter.” He took a drink from his own glass, then smiled. “Ah, here’s Kain. Drink?” he asked extending his in Kain’s direction.
Tia laughed behind her glass as Diamond almost choked on her drink. Her poor friend was staring at Kain like a deer in headlights. She looked between them all and bit back a grin. At five foot eleven she stood almost eyes to eye with Kain, Trey towered over his friend. Diamond’s five-foot-two stature looked childlike against Trey’s wide shoulders, solid torso and tree-like legs. She shook her head watching her friend’s dumbstruck gaze follow Kain as he sat on the couch.
“Yeah, man, whatever you’re drinking is fine,” Kain said, answering his friend.
“So, guys, now that we’re all here, what are we going to do?” Tia asked, joining them at the sofa.
Everyone glanced around at each other.
“Umm, can we just stay here and hang out?” Diamond asked hesitantly. She sent a look across to Tia, then to Kain.
Tia shrugged, then turned to Trey.
“It’s your house, man. I’m cool with it if you are,” he said to Kain.
“That’s fine with me,” Kain said. “We can turn on some music and sit right here getting to know each other better.”
“Cool. Let me get you that drink.” Trey walked to the bar.
“Thanks, man. So what kinds of music do you like, Diamond? I’ve got almost a hundred CDs in this thing.” Kain reached for the stereo remote on the coffee table.
Tia waited for Trey at the bar while he took Kain his drink. “Is that Miles Davis?” she asked, turning her ear upward.
“Yes, Kain is stuck on him at the moment. He has lots of blues and jazz in his player.”
Tia nodded. As she sipped her drink her gaze went to the wall past the fireplace.
“You’ve been staring at those pictures for a while now, Tia. Is there something you want to ask me about Starr?”
Tia looked at him over her glass. “Well, maybe just one question and I’ll never bring it up again, but feel free to offer whatever you like,” she added quickly.
“I’ll keep that in mind. What’s your question?”
“Is Starr’s mother still on the scene?”
Trey finished his drink. “Starr’s mother and I never had a scene. Yeah, we kicked it for a while, but it never really took a turn into serious. We had already gone our separate ways when she told me she was pregnant.” He chuckled, refilling his glass. “I told her I would take care of my baby and she took me literally. After Starr was born, she left the hospital and left Starr there for me to pick up. I haven’t seen her since.”
“Wow. I thought that was a guy thing.”
“So did I until then.”
After a few minutes, she cleared her throat and tapped the counter softly. “Since I said I wouldn’t ask you anything else, this is where you’re supposed to offer information.”
Trey laughed. “I was a freshman in college when Starr was born. When I didn’t hear from Starr’s mother Kain and I brought Starr home from the hospital. With help from him and my mother I raised her myself.” He topped off her drink and continued, “It was rough at times, but we had more good times than bad. I wouldn’t trade the experience, or her, for anything in the world.”
“Where is Starr now?”
Trey’s whole face lit with pride. “Oh, she’s nineteen now. Beautiful, brilliant and a freshman at UCLA. You two may have that in common, I think,” he added and sipped his drink.
“What?”
“Being brilliant and beautiful.”
“How do you know if I’m brilliant? We just met. I could be dumb as a box of rocks for all you know,” Tia said with a chuckle.
His head tilted thoughtfully. “No, I don’t think so. There’s an analytical mind behind that beautiful face of yours. Prove me right. What do you do for a living?”
“Well, you’re right. I’m a lawyer.”
“A lawyer. Really? I would have never guessed that.”
Her brow rose. “Why? You just said I was brilliant. Aren’t lawyers considered brilliant?”
He nodded. “Yes, yes, they are, but I was thinking more on the lines of a nurse or something.”
Tia frowned. “A nurse?”
“Well, yeah, because although lawyers are smart and have to be logical, all the lawyers I know are also…” His face twisted as he searched for the right words.
“What?” Tia urged.
“Well, they’re stiff, stuffed shirts, tight tie-wearing, dull-assed people.” He ogled her openly, then smirked. “And, quite frankly, that ain’t you. The nurse thing came to mind because I saw you as being more helpful to others in some way.”
Tia looked at him over her glass. “Hmm, I think I’m going to take that as a compliment. You’re right, of course. All the lawyers I know are like that, that’s why I’m not. For me it’s a job, not a lifestyle. It’s a full-time job keeping them separate, too.”
“Why a lawyer, then?”
“Well, Diamond and I always said that whatever we ended up doing for a living we wanted it to make a difference. Our job had to have meaning.” She shrugged. “Diamond became a teacher and I became a lawyer.” Tia put her glass down and leaned on the bar. “So that’s my story, Trey, what’s yours? What do you do for a living?”
Trey leaned over his side of the bar until their noses touched. “I own Secret Desires.” His voice was low, husky and sexy.
Her brow furrowed as she sat back on the stool. “What, you mean the lingerie store?”
He nodded before taking a drink.
“Get out of here. You’re not serious, are you?”
Trey nodded again.
“So what are you saying? You’re the secret in Secret Desires?” she asked, her voice unable to hide her surprise.
Trey leaned his head back and roared with laughter. A deep, hearty sound that interrupted Diamond and Kain’s conversation. They turned to look at him.
“It’s nothing, pay us no attention. We’re okay,” Tia explained, waving them away.
Diamond and Kain looked at each other, shrugged, then turned away.
“Okay, it wasn’t that funny.” Tia rolled her eyes and swirled her drink. “Obviously I was wrong in that assumption. Would you care to explain?”
Trey wiped away a tear and took a calming drink. “No, I’m not the secret in Secret Desires. It’s no big secret our store helps others reach their hidden desires, but their secret desire is the only secret,” he explained. “My mother passed the store to me when she retired.  It’s kind of the family business.”
“Oh.”
She caught his eye and they chuckled.
The two couples sat getting to know one another, drinking and dancing the night away. Trey walked Tia to her car while Diamond said goodbye to Kain at the door.
Diamond reached the car just as Tia gave Trey a goodbye kiss.
“Good night, Diamond, it was a pleasure meeting you, too.”
“Thanks, Trey, you, too.”
“You’re going to call me on Monday, right?” he asked, bringing his attention back to Tia.
Tia nodded as two of his large fingers stroked her face and pinched her chin lightly. She shook her head, watching him walk away.
“Girl, whoo! I might have to make more frequent trips back home. I can’t wait until I can rub on that head. I bet it will feel real good between the legs, too,” she added, her voice growing husky as she started the car. “So, how did you like Kain? Did you give him the paper with your numbers on it?”
“Yes, I did and I think he’s great. Nice personality, sense of humor, great body, and he smelled good, too.” She sighed and looked out the window.
“What? What is it?”
“Well, it’s just… I just don’t want him to turn into a freak, like Kendrick did.” She frowned.
“It’s time to shake that off, girl. Tonight we made a good Macon memory.” Tia nudged her. “Right?”
Diamond smiled. “Yes, you’re right. Tonight really was nice.” She leaned her head back and closed her eyes. “Home, Jeeves!”
Tia gave a jaunty salute. “Yes, ma’am!”
*************
The Fun House is available now in ebook on Dana's website and coming soon in print!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thursday Tips: Marketing!

 It’s not one of the Big Six brick and mortar publishing houses but you're excited and you like it. Your publisher will not be taking out ads in the Times, but they will do their part and spread the word about your book- send your book out to some reviewers, announce it on their website, they even may send out some press releases- but these days, most of the work of publicizing your book is down to you. Yes, you. So what are you going to do? Glad you asked! Here are some ideas to help:
  1. Get an audience before the release.  When you announce your newly-published book to the world, it would be nice if someone was there to hear you. So how many people read your blog? How many friends do you have on Twitter or Facebook? Are you using LinkedIn groups, Goodreads, LibraryThing? Unless you are being followed (friended, or whatever) by hundreds, if not thousands of people, you probably need to put some time into building up your profile on these sites. This way when you make that announcement, you won't will feel as if you are standing on the stage in an empty theater.
2. Create a brand. 
In writing, the author is the brand. And that means you. You need to present yourself in your communications with potential readers in a way you are comfortable with and which is related to the books you expect to be promoting. An important part of this is to know which genre you are working in. When you are putting yourself out there and finding ways to talk about your book, don’t forget what your brand is – who you want people to see you as. Stay focused.
3. Know what you are going to say. 
Marketing is about message. Your brand is part of it but the rest is all content. What is your book about? Who will it appeal to? What groups should be interested in it, discussing it, recommending it, and what will catch their attention? Work it all out, find the wording you need to convey the message clearly, then, in everything you say, stay on that message. You probably write the kind of books you also love to read. Mostly, your target audience is people rather like yourself. Take a while to understand what it is that attracts you to new, unknown writers in your genre and you are half-way there.
4. Understand where your interests lie
You will be selling your book through a variety of channels (book shops, online, as ebooks and as print – possibly POD) and in a number of ‘geographies’ – defined in your publishing contract – to a number of audiences (‘market segments’ in the jargon.) Some channels and geographies will earn you more money than others. If your royalties on net, vs on retail price, it is of critical importance to you personally how big a cut various middlemen are taking. (Remember it can be quite hard to know which channel is best since while apparently high-paying channels like direct sales from your publisher’s own website may earn you a bigger royalty than online stores like Amazon, the latter is likely to out-sell the publisher’s own shop by many times and deliver a much bigger return for your effort. The same goes for audiences. 
5. Keep it rolling. 
With online sales and ebook editions, publicizing a book is not the one-shot event it used to be. Market dynamics have changed since the days when bricks and mortar book shops were all that there was and you had three to six weeks during which your book would be on the shelf before it was returned to make way for the new batch of hopefuls. Now your book will stay in online catalogs for as long as your publishing agreement lasts – and longer if you act to keep it there. You probably have a few months now, after the launch, while your book is fairly new, when you can actively promote it and try to keep people’s attention on it. Even beyond that point, you can run occasional refresher campaigns to lift its profile again. This is all good news for the writer. The bad news is that the marketing need never end!
6. Engage. 
Talk to your readers and your potential readers. Talk about your book if they’re interested. Talk about the genre. Talk about writing and publishing. Talk about yourself. People are interested. It’s hard to grasp at first. You do interviews, you write blog pieces, you twitter about your life, your opinions, and your book, and you. “What the hell is so fascinating about me? Aren’t people going to think I’m a complete ego-maniac?” I hear you and my answer to that is maybe some will, but an awful lot won’t. 
7. Keep your pipeline filled
Like it or not, you are selling a product. It’s a business. Your readers are consumers of that product. If they like it, they will want more. The only way they will get more is if you write it. So don’t stop work on that next book, no matter how much extra work the last one has created. A book takes a long time to write, revise, edit and polish. Then you have to sell it to a publisher (oh yes, there are no free rides, each new book can be just as hard to sell as the last one.) Then edit it and then market it. It’s a long pipeline. You keep putting words in at one end and there will be more books to sell at the other. If you stop, there will be a gap.
8. Prepare to work your socks off. 
You may think you were busy when you wrote the book – what with the day job and family commitments – but once you have signed that contract, you will shift into overdrive. Now, as well as the day job, the family, and writing the next book, you also have to work with your publisher on edits, and you have to work on your marketing campaign. Your social networking will escalate, your blogging and website content writing will increase, you’ll be trawling the blogsphere working with your communities of interest, and you’ll be pestering reviewers the world over to just please take a look at your book. That’s why I say it’s writing an iceberg – seven tenths of the work comes after the book is finished.
9. Don’t forget to have some fun, or you’ll go nuts. 
Hope this helps! See you next week!