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    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

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Street Team

Street Team

A Street Team is one of the most valuable things an author can have, according to Kevin Kruse. Other writers have stressed this to me over and over again, and yet, I’ve never been given a clear plan on how to actually create one. A few days ago I got my hands on a plan from Kevin Kruse that makes sense, and I’ve been eagerly waiting to share the most important points from his video with all of you.

But first, some of you might be wondering what is a Street Team. It is a group of people who are willing to read the work of an author, often before it is released to the public, and give feedback to the author. Sometimes they catch typos or errors, if that’s how the author wants to use them. But more often than not, they’re people who are ready and willing to leave reviews and “hit the street” for the author, promoting their work as readers and fans.

So how do you create one?

Some ideas:

  • First, authors are always talking about how important a newsletter is. Well, it is important! You can hit up this list, and email everyone on it, looking for people who want to be a part of your Street Team.
  • But how can you get people to sign up for your newsletter? Offering a free gift of some kind, like a book, or goodies, is a great way of encouraging people to sign up.
  • You can also use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to simply ask for people who might be willing to join your team.

I’ve started working on my own Street Team, although I’m just starting out. I’ve placed links all over my website, encouraging people to sign up, and offering them a free gift (one of my short stories) for joining. Once I get a good list of people on my newsletter, I’ll reach out to them about joining my team. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Would you like to join my Street Team?  Click here to sign up for my newsletter.

Want to see more of what Kevin Kruse suggests? Check out his video!

Like my post?  Check out my personal blog: Lisa Morrow

Book Reviews or Career Suicide?

The days where an author could just send in their manuscript and be done with it are gone. Now there is a certain expectation of the author marketing themselves. Any agent worth their salt will want to know what a writer’s plan is for marketing and if they have a social media platform. We have blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+…anything that we believe will help us sell.

My favorite of all of these is blogs. There is such a variety of directions an author can take with a blog, if done right it won’t get stale, and I enjoy reading them on the train. There is one thing however, that I sometimes see in author’s blogs, that I think is a bad idea. I don’t think that authors should be book reviewers/critics.

My reasoning is that I don’t think it’s wise to criticize your coworkers. As writers the closest thing we have to coworkers is other writers. You may hate a book but is your opinion really worth ostracizing an author and all of that author’s friends and followers? The way I see it there are only two ways a book review blog can go for an author: one they will always give at least moderately positive reviews as to not offend anyone and by the same hand make readers think that they like poor quality writing or two they will piss off other writers because they’re being honest.

Fact is writers read, a lot, and if my experience is anything to go by at least half the books I read are not ones I would give glowing reviews to. They may have not been my cup of tea, I may despise the writer’s style, whatever my reasons I still respect that other writers and readers will have different opinions and I don’t think the traffic from a book review blog would be worth the possible repercussions. So, that’s my take on it, I know my opinion might not be popular. So tell me guys, what do you think? Is a review blog a good or a bad idea?

Indie-Credible Authors and Giveaway

indie-crediblebanner

 

Come join me at Wild Wordy Women, celebrating Indie Credible authors. There’s lots of giveaways and great new authors to check out. I’ll be at WWW every Sunday this month, and I’m giving away 2 $5 amazon gift cards to random commenters on the posts. Comment on multiple posts this month for more chances to win : )

And come back to my blog throughout the next couple of months for some awesome blog hops – a TON of awesome prizes, including Kindles, gift cards and so much more : )

(Follow the blog to have posts go directly to your email so you don’t miss any 🙂

Rate My Coworker

Wouldn’t that be nice? Suzy (fake coworker) would get ten different reviews from ten different coworkers. Even if she was the best worker ever she likely would have rubbed someone the wrong way, and gotten a bad review from that person. Of course after that the working environment between those two would likely be icy. We see reviews in corporate America and even in the education system. Still most of the time we are not rating someone who has the same job as us, we are rating someone in a position of authority i.e. manager, professor, and those reviews are likely anonymous.

So to get to the point as writers we have a fairly solitary work life. We don’t have coworkers as we are likely independent contractors. Huzzah, I don’t have to wear pants to work! Back to the point, the closest thing we have to coworkers are other writers independently contracted as well. Yet unlike in other occupations you will often see other writers reviewing books in the same genre they write. So my question is: is this appropriate?

For me it’s not. I want to build a network of both writers and readers and I think that reviewing leads to ostracizing potential allies and readers. Fact is I don’t like every book I read and I don’t expect everyone to like what I write. I’m not saying I’m against reviews, reviews help authors but I’m not going to take a shit where I eat. I’m classy like that. I leave reviews to the readers. So what do you guys think?

Perfection is so hard to acheive…

The other day our highly intelligent and quite demanding Snarky Dwarf sent me a link to a blog post. 

http://kriswrites.com/2012/06/27/the-business-rusch-perfection/

Here’s the thing, this post was just what I needed to read at this particular moment. With two books out there, and working on a third, I’m starting to recognize that there are a couple of stages in the writing game every writer goes through.  The first one comes after you begin to fall from that high of being published and seeing your first work out there–all alone in the big bad world of readers, where it can be raised up and kicked down faster than lightning.  You try not to get obsessive about the reviews, feedback and those pesky things known as ratings, but those little voices manage to wiggle their way in and tear bits and pieces off of your creativity.  Together those small things gain strength, and so the debilitating question looms on your writing horizon—can I really manage to write another book?

Answer: Hell, yeah you can.  You’re a writer, stop worrying about what’s being said out there.  You’re out there. Readers are reading you. You have to be doing something right. So in a truly horribly NY/Bronx accent “Forget about it!” and write your story.  Take the things you’ve learned with your first book, do them better or fix them in your second.

Once I made it through and got the second book done, it was time to tackle the third.  This was hard because I was leaving behind the familiarity of Raine and Gavin to focus on another character, Xander.  Granted she has some of the same things that makes Raine, well Raine, but she uniquely herself.  It took me longer than expected to get Xander and Warrick’s story off the ground.  Now that I’m about 100 pages in, it’s starting to come together…bit by bit. 

Yet while I’m crafting this story, I’m still getting feedback on Shadow’s Edge and Shadow’s Soul.  I know you’ll never please all your readers all of the time, but it is so easy to fall into the downward spiral of  “OMG, I need to change this…” or “Maybe I should do this instead…” Second guessing ourselves is not productive, not even a little bit.

Reading Kris’s post as she discusses when is your book truly done…I so needed to hear her when she said,

“I’m here to tell you this: If you want a career as a writer, ignore your critics.

When the book is finished, when the book is published for heaven’s sake, then it’s done. Irrevocably done. Mistakes and all.”

So now, I make it a point not to obsess over rankings or critiques–readers will either love it or hate it, it’s out there, I’m not changing it.  For now, all I can do as a writer, is take what I’ve learned, and use it for Shadow’s Moon.  And the mistakes I make in that story, I’ll just use those to make the next one even better. 

I’m a writer, but I won’t be much of one if I don’t learn and grow from my screw-ups.  Besides, who knows, maybe one of those screw-ups will turn into a flash of genius!

Merging of Greatness…

In an effort to cut down on how much of a time suck cyberverse is, I wrangled my Knight in Slightly Muddy Armor and had his alternate persona, King of Tech, merge my www.jamigray.com address to this–my most awesomest blog site ever!  Now if you type in jamigray.com you’ll come here, and you can still peruse my holy list of links on my Links page, buy my world changing books on my Books page, stalk me through the electronic world on my Blog Tour page, all in one spot!  I kneel to the genius of my hubby in the weird ways of tech, because it’s all Greek to me (and I mean that seriously!).

On top of this nifty change, I also set up an Author Fan Page on Facebook.  You can see it here http://www.facebook.com/JamiGrayUFWriter .  Feel free to go over and share your love of moi and click the LIKE button.  It took time before I bowed to the requests for one of these as I was uncertain exactly how to use it.  Now that I know it’s where you post all your blog visits, book releases and general writing news, viola it is created!

So even though I finally got a tighter handle on book 3, I have yet to sit down and start again, but now that all the pressing cyber demands have been met, I’m ready to go! WOO HOO!

Now, I need your support because this upcoming week (May 14th-18th) will become a testing ground on just how thick I’ve managed to get my writing skin to as I embark on a five stop review tour of Shadow’s Edge.  Oh yes, I hear you.  Why would I subject myself to such a rack of torture? Because, I really would like people out there to give me their honest feeback–good or bad–because how else will I be able to stretch myself as a writer? And because I don’t want to inhibit any postings, I’ll be there to thank the reviewer, but I’ll lurk in the shadows to see what is said.  Fingers crossed that the reviewers find Shadow’s Edge exciting and thrilling!

If you’d like to swing over and see what’s up next week, feel free.  Here’s the schedule:

And lastly, I had to share a moment I had this weekend.  Life was getting stressful, you know how it is when everything around you seems to sit their big, heavy weight upon your shoulders and you just want to slither away into a small, hidden place?  Okay, so I had a few bad moments because, hey, we’re all human, right?  Just when the light of creativity was beginning to sputter, one of my favorite Twitter Peeps (@KindlesConsort) was chatting with another bud of mine and she gave strength to my flame through her excitement and anticipation of my writing and how much she enjoyed chatting with authors.  I couldn’t resist, I had to tell her how much her words meant and that it was because of readers like her that authors, especially me, continue to put pen to paper.  Then later that night through Facebook I received another message from another fan, Kim Hawk, who shared how much she enjoyed Shadow’s Edge and why.  Again, I was humbled by such words.  I may put my stories out there, but the reason I have the courage to continue onward is because of you, the readers, who so eagerly embrace these fantastical worlds and then share your excitement with the writers.

Long story short, authors write for you readers so take the time and drop a line to your favorite authors, big or small.  Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the one that strengths their flickering creative light on a dark day, giving them the strength to pick up the pen once more and forge forward!

–Wicked

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