Friday, May 31, 2013

Retiring a title: "Sincerely, sad dad"

It's a done deal. Sincerely, sad dad is no more. Well, not exactly. It will still be out there in the world of the forgotten. Which brings me to a very good question. Who cleans up all that old stuff that nobody goes looking for anymore? Is there like an Internet maid service that shoves everything into boxes and puts them into storage? Anyway, I'll be proudly displaying the new cover and title for my second book within the next week. I'm waiting to receive a proof copy of the paperback from Amazon to make sure it looks perfect. Once I okay the proof, the paperback and Kindle will go live, and then I'll work on getting it onto and other sites. Not to be misunderstood, the content, the actual story, is the same. My hope is that the new cover and title will entice more readers. I'll be the first to admit that I pick up a book based on the cover, unless it is by a favorite author. How can I expect anything different from other readers?

Justice for Julia will be available very soon!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

KDP is not for me

For the last 90 days, Sincerely, sad dad has been enrolled in the exclusive KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program from Amazon. This means that only readers with a Kindle or a Kindle app can download this book. Well, they can still order a paper copy I guess, which is also an Amazon program. The KDP program allows you to promote your book for five days whenever you want. I chose five random days to offer it for free. The first weekend, I had over 200 downloads. The last single day I used, I had under 50 downloads. Sales did not improve at all during these 90 days. I gave away a lot of free books, but I'm not sure I gained any loyal readers.

Here's my thinking. The people who want free books will download everything that they find remotely interesting, knowing that they can delete it from their device after reading the first five pages if it isn't a complete masterpiece. They have nothing invested in the book so they aren't going to push themselves too hard to get through it, even if page six is a real gem. I don't like this way of thinking. I need readers to give me more of a chance. I need readers to push themselves to page seven.

Tomorrow is the last day Sincerely, sad dad is enrolled in the KDP program, and it is probably the last day to purchase a copy of Sincerely, sad dad altogether. Instead, my new and improved title, Justice for Julia, will be available in about a week. Look for a bright, beautiful cover that tells the story of a father loving his daughter and then struggling to cope with her unexpected death. Julia didn't do anything wrong, but will her father?

Changing the title and cover might be a long shot, but here goes nothing!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A facelift for "Sincerely, sad dad"

I've been debating the issue for months. Do I let "Sincerely, sad dad" continue in its downward spiral to nonexistence, or do I make some drastic changes (physically) to reel in some new readers? I'm on the path to choosing the second option. With a new photo from one of my favorite photographers, a new title, and a new pitch on the back cover, the book is all but ready to order. This morning I plan to complete the process by ordering a proof copy of the paperback so that I can verify my changes are accurate. With book in hand, I'll be able to see if the font is correct and make the final decision that this is truly the way I want to go. I feel pretty confident with my choice, but there is something tugging at me questioning whether or not this will actually "fix" the problem. I only want to do this once. Since book #3 (I just thought of a title option for it this morning!) will be coming out some time this fall, I want to be sure the other books are aligned too, which means they'll be part of my subtitle, "A Kody Burkoff Mystery."

When I first started writing, I had no idea where it would go. I didn't plan to write a series. I didn't even plan to write a second book, much less a third. Now though, it just makes sense. Kody is a fun character who has the potential to meet some very interesting people. The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Young Authors, Young Artists Conference

I had the pleasure of spending my Tuesday with a few hundred aspiring authors and artists, one of which was my lovely ten-year-old daughter. I've been interested in going to the conference for a few years now so I jumped at the opportunity to chaperone. Who cares about the kids! I wanted to learn a few things.

The keynote speaker, Katie McKy, was eccentric and inspiring. She has led an incredibly adventurous life and I look forward to checking out her work. Her message to observe and listen to all that happens around you was well received. I mean, what better way to get great writing material? The environment and people nearest us are a story waiting to happen.

The first session I attended with my daughter was quite a disappointment though. The author spent most of the hour telling the students about his books and the family members that he used to create his characters. He distributed a handout that he didn't explain how to use and told the kids to start crafting a story. They were boggled, and so was I. To top it off, at the end of the class he asked the kids to help him finalize the plot of his latest book. Um, I don't think so.

Session two and three were MUCH better. The authors engaged the students and made being creative fun. Every idea was a good one and nothing was too crazy to be included in the discussion. That's the way to keep a child excited about writing!

I didn't leave empty handed either. If and when I teach another creative writing class, I have some new ideas to try. I'm already looking forward to going again next year.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Brainstorming. That's what I'm doing these days. With book #3 out for review and not much time to write because of all the end-of-the-year school activities I've signed myself up for, I spend whatever time I can thinking of different story ideas. One idea is a baseball-themed, coming-of-age story for boys between the ages of nine and twelve. I think it might be fun to switch things up a bit before I take Kody on another adventure. I'm also hoping to get an idea for a YA book since that genre is all the rage now. I'll be sitting at a middle school book fair for a few days this week and I can't think of a better place to get inspired. The library certainly isn't where all the action is so I'll have to eavesdrop as much as possible. Hee hee!

I'm also brainstorming ways to get Sincerely, sad dad more attention. My latest idea is to re-release the book under a different title and with a different cover. The story isn't as sad and dark as I currently make it out to be. I'm not sure what this change entails exactly, but I figure whatever I come up with is worth a shot. I only want to do this once though, so I can't  screw it up!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Newest book's pitch

Here's the back cover pitch I've been working on the past few days. It takes me a while because it works best if I write some and then set it aside. I just repeat that until I feel good about it. Right now, I feel good about this:

Kody Burkoff, a small-town ghostwriter specializing in the memoirs of everyday people, has a new client with a secret to hide, and it has something to do with a missing person from the early 1970’s. With her interviewing skills in top working order, Kody vows to help Evelyn Smith create a memoir of her life before marriage and children, while listening for clues to this mystery that her client says will never pass through her lips. Kody’s curiosity and Evelyn’s refusal to back down to her past and relinquish control of her future combine to reveal more than the person's ultimate destination. More secrets are exposed and Kody is once again left wondering if her amateur sleuthing is to blame, or if it is truly something to celebrate. In Evelyn’s case, it might be a little of both. The truth is what she has always known, yet never been able to grasp.

Now, on to choosing a title!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Another wonderful book club

I spent yesterday afternoon discussing my first book, "Missing Maggie," with some marvelous women at their monthly book club meeting. I have to admit, I was nervous. My palms were sweaty and it wasn't because it nearly hit one hundred degrees outside. Once I entered the building though, and met the host and a few of the other ladies, my nerves calmed. It was also helpful to see a familiar face. Thanks, Judy!

After I introduced myself and told them why and how I became a writer, the conversation took off. It was invigorating to hear that they liked my work and that "Missing Maggie" inspired them to think of their own memories that they had yet to share with anyone. I mean, why don't we share more funny stories about our childhood with our own children? Is it because they don't ask? Is it because we might get embarrassed? I firmly believe that our own "stories" are book-worthy material. Not everything has to be fiction. I include a lot of personal events in my writing.

I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to meet with these fellow readers and lovers of literature. It's  also just fun to sit and chat with a group of women. So thank you, ladies. I had a lovely afternoon!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mothers are encouraging

Happy Mother's Day! I've had a great day with my kids and husband. Their gift choices were spot on too. I will now be able to run in some sparkly new shoes and smell wonderful afterward because I received not one, but three bottles of bubble bath. That sounds like a lot, but I do enjoy time in the tub with a good book. What mother doesn't?

Speaking of mothers, I have one of the best. She has that "Well, why not?" attitude when it comes to trying new things and exploring new possibilities. This was especially helpful when I started writing...and then publishing. As scary as it all seemed to let others read my work, she was an encouraging factor. She never once doubted my ability. She never said, "It's possible you might fail." The idea didn't even cross her mind. Her positivity, along with everyone else's in my family, keeps me going. They keep me going in writing and in life. I can only hope they feel the same about me.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Book #3 is out for review

Finally! I've been trying for weeks to get a draft copy of my third book in the hands of my trusted reviewers. Life and my other obligations have gotten in the way, leaving me no time to write. A writer with no time to write - sounds like a problem. This draft is 4500 words longer than my past books and I'm very happy with that because my goal was to extend the word count and prolong the ending. If you've read my other books, you know the endings are fast and furious. Well, not this time. I guess I'll see what the others think.

Can I tell you how appreciative I am of my reviewers? They are the best. They point out the flaws, even the ones I know are there, but am trying to hide. They tell me what they don't like, what they don't understand, and ask what my reason is for including a character nobody sees the purpose in. They also freely underline sentences that make them smile or paragraphs that remind them of someone in their life. Above all else, they are encouraging and they believe in me. What more can a writer ask for?