What I Learned About Pitching to an Agent at a Conference

Great tips for making a #pitch to anyone about anything, especially #authors.
Love the bouncing ball idea for pacing oneself.
Thanks for posting!

WORD SAVANT

I recently pitched to a literary agent at a writing conference for the first time. I’m going to talk a little about what I learned from that experience, but first I want to share something about my experience with pitches in general.

I work for myself, which means I have the joy of going to networking events, where I meet a lot of other small business owners. And one of the excruciating things you have to do at these things is give a pitch in front of others, anywhere from 30-90 seconds (depending on the format) of your business.

And you can’t just say anything. You have to sex it up. You can’t just say, “I’m a divorce attorney”. Instead, you say something like, “I give my clients ease and comfort in their uncoupling process, protect what’s most valuable to them, and guide them in the next transition of their…

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Political Writings: Boycott Indiana!

I don’t believe in “hell,” but karma will out. Meanwhile, yes:
“Boycott Indiana businesses and groups that support these small-minded wretches.
“Find out if they are trying this in your own neck of the woods.
“Spread the word and fight back.”
Thanks for posting! FIGHT ON!
Sally

J. B. Garner - Musings of a Starving Author

I’ll keep this shorter and sweeter than most of my (sparse) political ramblings.

Governor Mike Pence of Indiana and all of the close-minded, right-wing members of the Indiana legislative houses who made the Religious Freedom Restoration Act become law, you guys can go straight to Hell.  Oh, wait, I don’t need to say that, because your bigoted actions have already written you a one way ticket there.  Isn’t it great when my job gets done for me?

In an actual constructive aspect of this, let me say that, while not very impactful as I am one man, I will have nothing to do with any business that supports or enforces this law.  I would encourage everyone else, especially if they actually live in Indiana, to do the same.

The one positive take-away from the immediate aftermath of this horrible, despicable Act is that it is heartening to see such a…

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Cannabis Really Does Battle Cancer

The sad thing about this is that the research isn’t even new; the USA in particular has hidden and denied these positive outcomes for medical uses of #cannabis (and the dearth of negative outcomes for recreational use) for decades. Shameful.
Thanks for posting!

J. Giambrone

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I was skeptical of all the claims, but more and more evidence is emerging:.

Study: Here’s How Cannabis Helps Your Body Fight Off Cancer

Researchers tested the effects of CBD, THC, and an endocannabinoid analogue called methanandamide on two lung cancer cell lines, A549 and H460, along with cells from a lung cancer patient. It found these compounds increased expression of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) on the cancer cells, which made them more susceptible to white blood cells called lymphokine-activated killer cells (LAK). However, normal cells were not affected this way, showing yet again that cannabinoids can selectively target abnormal cells while leaving healthy tissue alone.

Original study:

Cannabinoids increase lung cancer cell lysis by lymphokine-activated killer cells via upregulation of ICAM-1.


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Book Re-release: Heart Song by Sam LaFantasie

Mazel Tov to Samantha LaFantasie, who has guest blogged on my site, and thanks to Nicholas Rossis (guest blogger and *CHANGES* guest, too!) for announcing her newest #bookrelease!

Nicholas C. Rossis

I have a soft spot for Samantha LaFantasie, as she was the very first person to host an interview by your truly, back when this blog wasn’t even a twinkle in the Internet’s eye. She’s now re-releasing her fantasy novel, Heart Song.

Heart Song, you say?
heartsongebookusatoday

Relena wants freedom, depending on herself and not having to answer to anyone, but a betrayal takes that away. The last thing she expected was the incredibly handsome Marren to free her.

The catch?

She has to fall in love with him, fulfill a prophecy involving their heart song, and rejoin the two realms. But Jiren, the last Ancient of his kind, isn’t convinced and will stop at nothing to maintain his throne, even if it means breaking their most sacred law.

Excerpt

I woke from a fitful sleep with a loud clap of thunder that shook the room. I sat up…

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Won’t Retweet, Won’t do Review Swaps, Won’t “Vote Up” Reviews: Why I Don’t Automatically Play Along with Many Writers’ Groups Anymore

Won’t Retweet, Won’t do Review Swaps, Won’t “Vote Up” Reviews:
Why I Don’t Automatically Play Along with Many Writers’ Groups Anymore

As Holly Near sings in her iconic relationship-gone-sour song, “Started Out Fine,” it “started out fine; we were moving ahead.” [Great song: go watch her sing it!]

Holly’s “Started Out Fine” on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Qhxkd6Gn0E

When I first decided to become an independent author and self-publish after having gone the trad route with nonfiction and made a few attempts to go the trad route for fiction, I knew next-to-nothing about the social media circus I was about to join. I was starry-eyed, optimistic, eager and trusting.

I would get reviewers. I would network. I would make online author friends. I’d become part of communities I would find online. Yippee!

Oy.

Sure, I had a Facebook page, I had opened (and never used) a Twitter account, and I was listed on LinkedIn, for professional purposes (but hardly ever used it).

social-sites

I had found Authonomy http://www.Authonomy.com and Wattpad http://www.Wattpad.com and decided to post excerpts on these sites, hoping to begin to get readers, reviewers, friends, colleagues.

My niece set up my first website, Sally Ember, Ed.D., and I began to “blog my book,” posting excerpts there and on Facebook for weeks prior to publication (catching up with both excerpts sites, above, before release day).

I researched and decided to go with Smashwords, first, with a pre-order period (several posts about Pre-orders are on my blog, http://www.sallyember.com), then publish to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) when my first ebook went live.

That was the entirety of my social media presence in the summer of 2013, a few months before I hit the “publish” button on my first of the ten volumes in The Spanners Series. Some of these endeavors resulted in my finding exactly what I was looking for: a community of indie and/or self-pub writers, many of whom were also somewhat new, volunteering to review, comment, enjoy my excerpts and then my book! I was so delighted and grateful!

Some of these new connections invited me into groups I’d previously been unaware of, but I happily became quite active in them, for a while. These groups had members who were (and ARE) so supportive, showing me a variety of ways to be involved in cross-promoting one another’s writing.

At first, it was all sunny skies and rainbows. My ebook was gaining visibility, I was making online friends, gaining more reviews and having a good time. Mutual respect, support, encouragement, laughs, tips, ideas and more were flowing around groups and quite helpful to me. I even had some to share back to them. Awesome…for a while.

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image from: http://www.dreamstime.com

The clouds rolled in all too soon. Has any of this happened to you?
“Sure! I’ll ReTweet [RT] glowing praise for your book(s) [even though I’ve never read anything you’ve written]!”

“Of course, if you read and review my book, I’d be delighted to read and review yours [until I read a few that were AWFUL!]!”

“Please be assured that, if you vote up my book’s good reviews on Amazon or my book on Goodreads’ Lists or put my book on your “shelves” on Goodreads, I’ll do the same for yours [even though… {PICK ONE: I’ve never read these other writers’ books OR I don’t like the genre and would never read them OR I have started to read them but couldn’t continue because they were AWFUL}]!”

“Oh, great! I’d love to be part of this ‘review each other’s blog’ swap. Oh, what? You’re assigning me to an erotica site when my brand is PG-13?!?!? No can do. Oh, it’s required? Oh, you’re now calling me names, like ‘prude,’ and telling me I’m being ‘judgmental’? ‘Bye, then.”

thunderheads_canisbay
image from: http://www.artcountrycanada.com

Struck by scolding/lightning one too many times, I dropped out each of those writers’ groups that had absurd or untenable “member responsibilities.” I eventually dropped out of all but a few groups.

Whew! Relieved!

<strong>My integrity has been restored by establishing for myself some great ground rules:
1) I am not on “Tweet teams” which require members to RT every and all Tweets.
2) I do not do “obligatory” reviews or “swaps.”
3) I do cross-promoting only after I’ve gotten to know/read and respect the other person and his/her writing enough to put my name on a public recommendation.
4) I don’t “vote up” any reviews or books unless I’ve read and agree with the votes.
5) I don’t vote for book covers or books for voting-related rewards unless I actually believe they deserve to win.

The best part of being “older but wiser, now” about how writers use social media? If you see my name on a book or blog review, a promotional Tweet, a shared or reblogged post, you can rest assured I believe in what I’m sharing/promoting.

When I haven’t read the work of the authors and don’t know their blog or them at all except as members’ names, I only share or RT general promotions for the GROUP. That’s the way I handle all that social media group cross-promotion pressure, now.

Also, when an individual requests any of the actions I now refuse to take, I gently let them know I don’t do those actions and some I send to the ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors) Ethical Code, which I signed and promote on my blog, GLADLY: http://www.theindependentpublishingmagazine.com/2014/11/alli-launch-ethical-author-code.html Go read it. Sign it. Share it. We all should!

ALLiEthicalAuthor_Final-Outlines-300x173

So, however you respect my taste and/or me, you can follow my recommendations or leads as you wish.

All the best to you!

Writing in the Present Tense: A Guest Post By Author Charles E. Yallowitz

To recognize simultaneous time (“timultaneity”) in “The Spanners Series,” ALL of it is written in the present tense, which confounds many readers and reviewers, until they get used to it. My biggest problem, after immersing myself in that for so many years, is reverting to using other tenses while blogging or talking! LOL
Best to you, Charles!

Part I: Letter to my Earlier Self, What I Wish I had Known for #Indiepub #Ebooks 1 and 2

Part I: Letter to my Earlier Self, What I Wish I had Known for #Indiepub #Ebooks 1 and 2

This was originally posted on 11/24/14 as a Guest Blogger on http://www.thebookcove.com/2014/11/author-sally-ember-edd-what-i-wish-i.html, when I was still writing Vol III and before I had written enough of these posts to make a series of “Open Letters.”

Now, there is a series, and I am re-posting them in order, one per week.
(The Book Cove posted one per week, November through December.)
This is Letter One of four, total.

As I get ready to release Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, in my sci-fi/ romance/ paranormal/ multiverse/ utopian The Spanners Series, I consider what I wish I had known for ebooks 1 and 2 of this series, my first launch and second foray into being an indiepub author after having been traditionally published.

I decided to write a series of letters to my pre-publication self, since I believe in simultaneous time. I know that this letter and all the subsequent ones are already written and I am already reading them before I publish Volume I, This Changes Everything, and Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever. I’m sharing this information with the public here (again).

Follow that? It helps to be a sci-fi or quantum physics fan, for sure.

Here is Part I of my tips for my earlier self and therefore, all new indie authors who are about to publish their first ebook (or even afterward). There will be a series of such letters advising myself. I need a lot of help!

I appreciate the The Book Cove Reviews for allowing their blog to be the place these letters first appear. My tips had a chance to reach a much wider audience on that site. I hope many budding and newer indie authors besides my earlier self found them helpful when these letters were first published last fall, 2014!

What I Wish I had Known for #Indiepub #Ebooks 1 and 2:
An Open Letter to my Earlier Self

Part I

Dear Earlier Sally,

So, here you are, in December, 2011, writing your first sci-fi novel. You don’t know, yet, that you’re going to become an “indie” author, or even what that is.

Let’s recap what a sorry state you’re in, as an author, and see what, if anything, we can do to rectify this ignorance that could short-circuit your incipient writing career.

  • You still think you’re going to write query letters, try to find an agent, seek a publication “house” and become a published author the way you’ve seen it happen with your previous nonfiction books and countless others’ fiction books. You haven’t even considered not having a print book and haven’t even read or seen an ebook at this point. You have no idea how much this industry is about to BOOM!

    ebook sales to 2013

  • In fact, even though you’ve heard of Kindles and other ereaders, you’ve never seen one and don’t know anyone who owns or uses one, yet. You’ve never heard of or seen anything about Google+, “author platforms,” or blogging by authors. You think those who blog are self-centered, boring, unemployed journalists or stay-at-home workers who have time to surf the net and write drivel about their lives that you can’t imagine anyone wanting to read.
  • You aren’t on or aware of most of social media. For example, Twitter: you have no Followers except by accident (you now have 7). You never tweet, retweet, or favorite anyone’s tweets. In fact, you never read and respond on Twitter at all. Furthermore, your Facebook activity is conducted strictly to stay in touch with friends and family, people you actually know. You belong to no Facebook groups except those that include people you know and have a specific purpose (your high school reunion group, a meditation group).

    Social media icons

  • Additionally, even though someone told you to sign up for and join Goodreads, you almost never visit it and have no idea what it’s for. You also believe that people who use it are just sharing book lists and books they like. You never read or write reviews there or on Amazon and rarely buy books from online stores; you prefer bricks-and-mortar bookstores when you buy books and mostly use lending libraries.
  • You don’t consider yourself a book marketer and have not the faintest idea what book marketing entails, nor do you want to know. In fact, you plan to have all that done by your publisher and perhaps your agent (you’re a little fuzzy on who does what and when). You believe that their experienced and intensive marketing efforts will succeed in getting you/your book on TV, radio, and in print reviews and ads which will make your book rocket to best-seller status very quickly, since you’re sure it’s that good.
  • You’ve ever heard of or used any Google+ Communities, Hangouts, or Circles.
  • You have never heard of Metadata and wouldn’t know how to apply that to your ebooks, either.

    Metadata topics

  • You do not know about most of nor do you belong to any in-person much less virtual writers’ groups, authors’ groups, marketing groups, review sharing groups, or any professional writers’ groups of any kind.
  • You’ve never heard of ALEXA, Google Page Ranks, Google Authorship or KLOUT scores and you don’t know much about having an online presence. The extent of your knowledge is that you check Google every now and then to make sure nobody else is using your name or is saying bad things about you online.

Oy, vey.

Can your writing career be salvaged? Can you become a published author and have ANYONE know it? How will your book get reviews? How will you acquire any followers, much less readers? Will you sell even one book to anyone outside your friends and family?

How and when will you ever figure out that you need to create and maintain a website, build and improve your author’s platform, join and become active in online and virtual communities/groups, become KNOWN as YOU, your brand, online, as a sci-fi author and blogger, a creator and curator of useful content?

Writing Community

Tip #1: Forget the query letters, hunts for agents/publishers and all that trad pub jazz. Indie is the way to go. Ebooks are rocking the readers. Believe me. I know.

Tip #2: You may have noticed that I’ve actually decided to write these letters to you to offer a kind of road map to your salvation as an author. If you read and research each of the words or phrases I’ve put into BOLD in this letter, for example, those are the dots you have to connect, the work you have to do, to create the best future for your books and for you as an author.

Do a lot of it NOW, before you publish, and then keep doing more. That is key!

Stay tuned for Part II and subsequent Parts to this intraself communication which will contain advice for many indie authors as we continue on this journey of educating this indie author, earlier Sally: YOU!

Get to work!

Present Sally
http://www.sallyember.com
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HEV2UEW