So I admit I don’t blog a lot. Is that what it takes to get comments on your blog posts? Every time I post I get several followers but no one bothers to comment. Maybe they have nothing to say in response to my post or maybe I need to ask a question to get responses or maybe I just need to blog MORE. I find it helpful and encouraging to get feedback to my posts. Commenting back and forth is a great way to interact with others here. You can develop friendships that way. I’m guessing I just need to post more often and eventually the comments will come… if you blog, they will come, lol. Or maybe I need to follow more people’s blogs. I’ve blogged on another site where you would only get comments if you commented on others’ blogs. If you scratch my itch, I’ll scratch yours… which I get but I have commented on other people’s blogs here. Maybe I just need to do it more.
And then I start to question my followers’ motives. If they are genuinely interested in what I have to say, great, I’m thrilled that they are following me, but if they are just following me to sell something, then I’m not down with that. Sure I promote my book and ebay store here but I’m not following people just so they’ll follow me and buy my book or check out my store. I only follow those who blog about things that intrigue me. It amazes me that every time I post on Twitter, I get a few followers. Why is that? Are they genuinely interested in what I have to say or are they following me so I’ll follow them back? I’m guessing the latter is the case in some, not all, of the instances. Okay, so I follow then back, then what? Buy their product? Listen to their music? Okay… sure, fine, but after a while it’s get a little annoying that it seems people are only interested in me for one thing–what I can do for them when I’m looking for a give and take relationship. In the end I shouldn’t really care, right? Someone’s following me, whoo hoo. After all is said and done it is what it is and I’ll deal. Just thought I’d vent just a little about it since it’s kind of irked me for a while.
I guess I’m a little sensitive because I’m always hoping to make true friends on the internet and it’s a hard thing to do in the world of cyberspace. You don’t “see” that person and “talk” to them face to face. Sure you’re trading emails, pictures, chatting, maybe even having video chats, but it’s not the same as sitting down in a coffee shop and laughing over coffee in person, at least not to me. Or even going to a movie or taking a walk. It has happened though… real friendships can and have taken root and sprung from the keyboard. I have made some friends from Yahoo groups over the years whom I had wonderful IM chats with. Me and a Canadian girl named Trish I met online used to stay up for hours at night laughing our asses off. We used to make up captions for celebrity photos and talk about life in general. It was so much fun. It doesn’t happen anymore and I miss it. She’s still awesome, we just don’t interact except for the occasional Facebook comment. She’s the one who got me on Facebook–so, thank you, Trish! And it was fun chatting with Kat on my days off about bands and her piercings, lol. We still talk on FB sometimes. I will say that I’m the one that got off IM messenger so I’d probably still be chatting with people if I hadn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot to be thankful for. My last boss and I struck up a friendship and I consider her a life-long friend. I was also fortunate enough to make at least one close friend online. I met Amie on a Yahoo group six years ago… dare I mention which one? It’s a little embarrassing… it was a Backstreet Boys fan group. We were both into then; we are not now. She was the moderator of the group and we just clicked immediately. It started with trading fun and witty repartee online then escalated to emails, online chats, telephone calls, then actual meetings. I went to Florida to visit her and she came to Oregon to visit me and once we met at Disneyland in Anaheim. Every time we talk or get together we have a great time. She has become one of my best friends and I’ll love her forever. It’s a shame we live on opposite ends of the country, but I’ll always be thankful to have met her and have had her in my life.
I’ve been searching for a best friend who lives near me for years; ever since we moved to the Portland, Oregon in 1995. I have lots of good friends I see on occasion and have lots of close friends where I grew up in So Cal, but not a best friend who lives near me that I can hang with, laugh with and share things with. I have my hubby and kids which is great but there’s nothing like a girlfriend… or boyfriend… I wouldn’t mind even having a guy as a bestie. That being said, I’m very thankful for the internet and cyber communication. It keeps me sane and in touch with the world and I can communicate with my friends who don’t live nearby. Thanks for listening whoever you are…
Let’s talk about book covers… the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply to actual book covers because most of us do judge books by their covers when browsing for a book to buy. I know I do. I won’t buy a book unless I like the cover. I’m sure I’ve read books where I didn’t love the covers but those were probably classics or were recommended by friends. I’ve loved the covers of all the novels I’ve read recently including “The Edge of Never” and “The Edge of Always”. So why are we so shallow when it comes to book covers? Because that’s all we see before we open a book and read it. And if authors are smart, they try to design a cover that will stand out among millions of others, that readers will be drawn to so they will buy their book. I spent many, many, many hours (okay, weeks) combing through stock photos to find the right photo for my book cover and even then I didn’t get it right the first time.
Since I was self publishing, it was up to me to design my cover and find the right photo. At first I did what I’m sure others have done or thought about doing but you should NEVER do is use a photo you find on the internet. First of all, it’s illegal because it’s not your photo and you were not given permission to use it and secondly, it’s usually a low quality image that would look like crap if you enlarged it. I know because I tried. It came out pixelated and not polished. It spelled amateur. Not wanting a low quality cover or the anxiety of a lawsuit, I chose to go the professional and legal route. I began scouring stock photo sites for a photo to use for my cover. But my search for that perfect photo became more and more elusive as I found sites that either charged too much or were free and I couldn’t find a single photo that was appropriate.
And then there was my ambivalence… I vacillated for weeks about “what” I should put on my cover. At first I thought about using a symbol like many of these new romance novels do these days… the covers have photos of masks, feathers, watches, jewelry, etc. But those symbols were entwined in their storyline and I’m not sure I had one. In Photoshop, I played around with using the couch Xander and Aubrey used in his office or the watch Xander wore as a symbol of his insistence that she arrive at work on time, but neither captured the feel, the essence of the cover I wanted. So then I decided I would feature him on the first book cover and her on the second cover and both on them on third but I wanted to be ironic. Instead of showing their eyes for “The Eyes of Alexander” and “The Eyes of Aubriana” I wouldn’t show their eyes, or at least not well. I’d either cut off their faces from eye level up or have them looking down. I purchased multiple photos from a great website called Can Stock Photo–the photos were only $5 each and were high quality but once I Photoshopped them onto my cover, they just didn’t hit the mark. The task of searching for the right photo that had once been fun became tedious.
I also faced the dilemma of finding a photo that someone else hadn’t used before because many other authors are searching for photos for their book covers, too. I didn’t want to have a photo of a person on my cover that was already on someone else’s. I wanted to be unique. I eventually found the photo. I had not seen it used before and it was of a businessman looking down. Yay. I didn’t have to cut off his face and one of his eyes were partially showing giving just a hint of mystery… perfect. The model doesn’t look exactly like Xander but the contemplative pose and professional clothes capture his essence well. It’s the best I could come up with my limited resources and I have to say that I’m pretty darn proud of it.
I made this cover with the help of my son, Noah in Photoshop. I’ve shared it before, but here it is again:
Okay, so let’s take a break from my book promotion and talk about books in general. I’ve been reading “The Edge of Always” by JA Redmerski for weeks now. I’m in the middle of it and can’t seem to move on. I will eventually but I’ll take my time. I think my problem is that I think it’s a “good” book, not a “great” one. Her hundreds of fans may disagree with me, but that’s how I feel so far; it may change once I actually finish the book. Her first book, “The Edge of Never” I read relatively quickly but then again it was new and refreshing and was the beginning of Camryn and Andrew’s love affair. Now that they are a couple I’m finding it hard to navigate through this book without the excitement of conflict. There’s conflict but it’s the way the characters deal with it that I find lackluster. It’s the reaction to the conflict that I’m not responding to. It’s not exciting enough for me I guess.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” was filled with conflict and excitement. Yes, there was BDSM and sex, lots of sex which was exciting but it was the relationship between Ana and Christian that drew me in. I loved that she wouldn’t take his crap and pushed him to be a better man. She was expressive and emotional and he was a man broken who was used to being in control. They both had to learn to change for the other but it wasn’t easy, they had lots of roads to take to get there. That book for me was a can’t-put-it-down page-turner for me. There’s only been a few other books I’ve read like that. The “Twilight” books, Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series “Entwined With You,” etc., “The Firm”, “Jurassic Park”, etc. These are books that grab you and hold your attention. I enjoyed “Fifty Shades Darker” but got a little bored with “Fifty Shades Freed”. There was conflict, sure, but they were married now and I think it failed to capture the excitement of the first book.
An as author I challenge myself to not fall into the same trap. I wrote two books and am writing the third in a series called The Eyes Trilogy, which is similar to “Fifty Shades of Grey” without the bondage. In the third book where the two main characters would typically get married, I’m trying to spice it up with some twists to not make it not so, lah de dah they got married so now it’s boring. As an author, we always need to know our audience and challenge ourselves to write a book that not only excites us but will excite readers, too.
Here’s the banner I had designed for my ebay store. I thought the girl did a great job. She used the photo I found of Louisiana for the background and incorporated the font and colors I wanted. I changed Louisiana’s motto which is “Authentic Louisiana Around Every Turn” into “Authentic Treasures Around Every Turn”. I’ve had people ask me if I’m from Louisiana and I say, “No, but Batten is my last name.” The link to my ebay store is: www.battenrougebargains.com
Motivation to write and edit my books ebb and wane. Lately I’ve been procrastinating editing my second book, “The Eyes of Aubriana” just because I haven’t been in the mood. It takes me forever to finish editing a page. I’m only less than 50 pages away from finishing my first edit and then it will start all over again. Then once that’s finished, I’ll send it to print and re-read and edit the printed draft. It’s hard when I’m almost the only one editing it. I have one person who is helping me but my first book had at least three pairs of eyes on it. Even a professional proofreader needs a proofreader. We all miss things, especially the author who is so used to seeing mistakes that they can, and most certainly will, be overlooked. But my previous “proofers” have fallen by the wayside and I’ve yet to find more. Is anyone here is interested, message me.
I’m still promoting my first book and have sold several copies but it’s hard to know what people are thinking when you don’t get much feedback. One thing I learned is that I have write for me or I’ll never finish the series. I’ve partially written the third book in the series tentatively named “The Eyes Contentment” but I refuse to continue writing until I’ve finished proofing the second book. It’s hard to stay motivated when you have so many other things going on in life, but if it’s what you love to do and strive to accomplish, it can and must, be done.
Hi guys… I haven’t forgotten you… I’ve been busy promoting my book, working as an office manager, selling on ebay and proofreading/editing my second book, “The Eyes of Aubriana.” I was bummed when I got the email the other day from Amazon telling me I had to quit selling on Smashwords because it’s a conflict of interest. I guess their contract states that you can’t sell online with anyone but them. Well, that’s too bad, but at least I know the majority of my book sales have come from them so I guess I’m okay with it. I still only have three reviews on Amazon and one on Goodreads. I wish I had more so I can find out what people really think of my book. If anyone wants to comment here, I’d be more thrilled to hear them.
You can purchase “The Eyes of Alexander” for only 99 cents here, as well as posting a review: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA3J0NW