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Defining Default: it’s your choice

March 15, 2022 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster, Writing tagged as , , ,

I love the word default. It is so definitive. It is authoritative when you’re on the right side of it; terrifying if you’re on the wrong side. Default on your loan. Default the game. You have failed to live up to your promise. Over! Done! Fini— unless you do something to change the situation PDQ and get back on track.

Then came computers and the word default got a makeover. It’s softer. Helpful. Kind. The word became synonymous with a do-over. Default is now your safety net. Screwed up your settings? Default.  Go back to the beginning. Get a do-over. It’s okay. We got your back.

Ah…

Well, don’t get too comfy with that default button, especially when you’re writing. I have a new book that I let lie fallow for two Covid-years because I took a creative hike, turning to manual hobbies like sewing and quilting, crafting and cooking. Now I’m back and making a sprint to complete the last 25%. I’m jazzed because it’s almost done. I proudly sent the first three quarters of the manuscript to my editor fully expecting the green light to cross the literary finish-line.

Sadly — and thankfully —her input was the exact opposite. I had dialed in my characters. I had been lazy with my red herrings. I had defaulted in the bad way, and not lived up to my promise to deliver my best work to my readers. On the other hand, she was offering me the chance to default in the kind way: reset, rethink, and rework. It was up to me to decide if I wanted to skate, shrug my shoulders, and publish a book that was ‘just okay’, or go back and make this the best book it can be.

I decided to go with option two. Reset. Rethink. Rework. That’s what author’s do. Thankfully, I have a great editor who is clear that how I define the word default — and how I respond to that definition— is up to me.

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Goals Check-In

February 5, 2022 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed, Writing tagged as , , ,

Happy February. Happy Love Month. Happy Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day.

Let’s get to it. Last month I made a bold post and shared some of my goals with you. I did this because I felt the accountability would help me achieve them.

Here are my goals:
Get my letters
Triple my income
Triple my mailing list
Master Facebook ads
Update covers
Learn how to write a sellable blurb
Use Ingram Spark
Direct distribution
Increase my prices

As of this post, I’ve completed one goal…Increase my prices. I was a little nervous about raising my prices because I didn’t think readers would be receptive to the increase on the smaller books. So far, there hasn’t been any negative feedback. Raising my prices also helps with tripling my income.

My strategy for tripling my income, is Facebook ads. Last year, I took Skye Warren’s Facebook Ads Intensive and did well. I still haven’t reached the sales goal I desire, but that will come in time. 2020 wasn’t a good sales year for me. I can’t blame the poor sales on the pandemic because I didn’t release anything new. Nor did I push my back list.

Last year, I released one book prior to doing the Ads Intensive. I really wish I’d known about the Intensive sooner, because I think the first half of the year would have turned out differently. I ended last year by multiplying my income by 4.8 times.

Fast forward to 2022 and a price increase across the board…I made all of my ebooks $4.99. This bold move helped to boost my income by 39% as of this post. Meaning I already made February 2021s income. Grant it, I had a release on February 2nd with the majority of the preorders paid out on that day.

In addition to Facebook Ads, I’m also doing BookBub ads. I turned off my AMS ad because they weren’t working. I heard Amazon doesn’t like racy covers, which could explain why the ads performed so poorly. However, the FB ads, have been consistently making the daily spend back…plus or minus two dollars. So far, I’m ahead and considering increasing my ad spend. I have a BookBub New Release For Less ad scheduled for February 8th. The tails will determine when I increase my FB ad spend.

To summarize, increasing my prices and running facebook ads are pushing me towards my goal of tripling my income.

Update my covers. I don’t have as many to update as I thought. I have seven covers I need to update and two are almost complete. I also have four I’m on the fence about. This project is time consuming because it’s not just the cover, but the chapter headers as well. Thank God for Vellum because it makes creating print copies easy.

I need to add one additional goal. Offer all books in large print. I have one live already, The Good Girl Part One. If you haven’t done large print, I recommend doing so.

The other goal I forgot to list was my new release goals. I went super bold and set up preorders for three books this year. Setting up Amazon preorders was a way to make sure I fulfilled this goal. I don’t want to end up in preorder jail, so I have to keep this goal. I am so grateful Amazon offers an extension without penalty which I am taking advantage of.

One goal down, ten to go. How are you doing with your goals?

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My Book Friends

June 15, 2021 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster, Writing tagged as , , , , ,

This week I had lunch with two of my oldest writing buddies – the ever fabulous Mindy Neff and equally fabulous Sandy Chvostal. I met them soon after publishing my first book. Over the years I have truly come to treasure my book friends.  In fact,  I think the world should be run by book friends and here is why:

1) Book friends are inclusive. I have never been asked how old I am, what my heritage is, what my political party is, what my religion is. What I have been asked is,’what have you read/written lately?’ Instant friends!

2) Book friends are creative. We share not only a love of reading, but a love of creating. I’ve met sewers, quilter, carpenters, crafters, and chefs. I wonder if we love creating things because we need to move around after spending so much time reading, or do we read because we’re exhausted from our hobbies?

3) Book friends are endlessly curious. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t read, or review, ask questions about what they’ve read, or waxed poetic about it. I love being asked, “have you read (fill in the blank)” because I know the conversation is going to be interesting.

4) Book friends are generous. Time with a book is time we treasure, but reader friends will put down their book to come to another friend’s aid. Period. No questions asked.

5) Book friends are open. All of us have preferred genres, but we like to  try something new. I’m a thriller lover yet there are historical fiction books I’ll never forget, nonfiction works I love, even action/adventure novels that have kept me up late into the night.

So it was no surprise that when I received an invitation from a group of authors to join their Facebook reader’s group, My Book Friends, I did.  The authors are fun, smart, and generous. They primarily write women’s fiction and romance, but welcome my gritty thrillers. The members of My Book Friends are creative, curious, and inclusive.

The bottom line is this: no one can have too many books or too many book friends. That’s something we can all count on.

You’re Invited June 16, 4-5PM Pacific: Cocktails, Cops & Conversation . Help me celebrate my birthday and Detective Finn O’Brien’s fourth birthday as we talk about my latest release INTIMATE RELATIONS.

Join My Book Friends.

Read INTIMATE RELATIONS  FREE at KindleUnlimited; 99¢ to buy

 

The Finn O’Brien Thriller Series

(Click on the cover for more information. Hover over the cover for buy links.)

SEVERED RELATIONS

Buy now!
SEVERED RELATIONS

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Buy now!
FOREIGN RELATIONS

SECRET RELATIONS

Buy now!
SECRET RELATIONS
INTIMATE RELATIONS

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PORTMANTEAUS*

July 19, 2020 by in category On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen, Writing tagged as , ,
Portmanteau | Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

We’re so lucky. The English language is like play dough.

Oh yes, we have strict rules of grammar, tense, POV, all the way to the minutia of intransitive verbs.  We can choose from a number of eminent grammar and style guides to ensure conformity. We have stalwart English teachers to drill those rules into our heads so that we are all on the same page. (And bless them all – there is nothing better than order over chaos).  But despite those rules a writer has so much freedom to shape our mother tongue into forms wry, brittle, silly, heartbreaking, snarky or just plain mad.

I don’t have much command of any other language; a smatter of German, a soupçon of French, about a third cup of Latin and a healthy plateful of Spanish. But I do know that the rules of those languages are not as forgiving as English — not as much room to roam before you run afoul of the language police.  English allows us to mangle all the rules of spelling, meaning, and sentence structure to reflect dialect, or character traits, add color, shift perceptions or mood and anyone with a good command of English can understand — and only pedants ever complain. Of course, you have to use the rules of punctuation.  Gotta have those traffic signs.

Anthony Burgess used bits and pieces of Russian mixed with Shakespearian English and other tongues to give us Nadsat, the terrifyingly unique argot of his dark characters in A Clockwork Orange. The reader may have had to work at it a bit, but it was intelligible and colored the story with an unforgettable feel. Fantasy and Sci Fi from J.K. Rowling to Ursula K. Le Guin play with all sorts of mixed up language that become magical words and when you’re reading in those worlds you understand.

Dialect and special vocabulary enrich a tale on many levels and I’m in awe of those writers who do them well, but my favorite form of play dough English is the portmanteau. Anybody can create one of these inventive combinations, and everybody does — usually with something faintly deprecating or ironically funny in mind.  And with just one word a portmanteau can ooze with meaning. Frenemy speaks volumes — we’ve all had one and it’s exhilarating to give ‘em a proper name. Craptacular very neatly wraps up the verdict on so much of our over-hyped media. And then there’s pompidity, my own invention from University days when I struggled to describe the quality of politicians.

All writers love words. Words are paint, chisel, fabric, and clay for our creativity. If you can’t find that one word that perfectly reflects your intent, try cobbling a new one together — no one will take points away.  Blog is a portmanteau (web log) so if you’re lucky enough to have your portmanteau go viral, you might wind up in the OED.

 

 

With a BA in Anthropology and English Jenny pursued a career in advertising and writing and segued into developmental editing. She has worked on nearly 400 books during her career. Her clients include both traditionally published and indie authors. She has worked in every genre from romance to horror and thrillers as well as edited  Air Force manuals, commercial communications and memoirs. She offers every service from copyediting to developmental coaching. 

 

 

*This blog is an oldie but goodie, originally published in March, 2018

 

 

 

 

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Share if you remember when…..

July 20, 2017 by in category Writing tagged as , , , ,

I recently posted a picture on my Facebook site of a Simplicity sewing pattern from around the 1970’s.  The banner on the top read, “ SHARE IF YOU REMEMBER WHEN MOM WOULD MAKE YOUR CLOTHES.”

 

Boy, did it stir some special memories of a different time and place. In one short afternoon, hundreds  liked it and over the days that followed many more liked, shared and commented. The comments keep coming. It’s probably one of the most active posts I’ve ever had and I’m guessing that many of the comments came from men and women in their 50’s and 60’s.

Some remembered their mothers (or grandmothers) sewing them everything from pajamas to school uniforms to prom dresses. A few bragged that their moms made clothing for their Barbie, Ken and even GI Joe dolls. Some struggled through Home EC classes themselves and shared tales filled with evil task masters and measuring tape miracle workers.  It was not uncommon to hear about failed sewing projects that made their way home only to be resuscitated by mom. A few said that they themselves now successfully sewed for their kids or that they had friends who had become master seamstresses.

There were some lovely, often humorous, memories shared and it really got me to thinking.

I have four real passions in my life: Family, Writing, Reading and of course, Sewing. And as I was thinking about it, I realized that each of these passions grew from time spent with my mother.  To mom, family was everything and she raised us to always remember that. She was an avid reader, a poet and a phenomenal seamstress. And through her example, she ingrained a love for each of these things in me. Those are such wonderful memories to have.

My own kids have grown up watching me living a life centered around my family, always working on a sewing project, with a book close in hand. Recently they watched me as I’ve thrown my hat into the writers’ ring.

So now I have to I wonder what tales they’ll tell when asked…”Do you remember when your mom would…”

Do you remember when your mom…or dad…would…? What would you say?

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