Between my husband and me, there’s not a whole lot we won’t try to do ourselves. We’re (slowly) building our own house, so he’s done electrical and framing (a friend who shall remain nameless once framed himself into our house while working on a flare-topped ladder) and everything in between, with limited tools and limited electricity. I don’t think I’ve broken anything with a hammer or sliced anything unintended with a saw, and I’ve done a fair amount of sheetrock fairly poorly (my corners aren’t too bad but all of our walls have a lump in the middle). I’ve also made a lot of iced coffee to keep us moving, which I do fairly well. (French Market dark roast coffee with chicory as a cold-drip toddy with TONS of milk and a little agave is … [Read more...] about That’s Why You Hire the Professionals, People! (Cover Design and Author Swag Edition)
July 24th is Private Investigator’s Day. The date was chosen to celebrate the birth of Eugene Francois Vidocq in 1775. Apparently a master of disguise, Vidocq was a criminal who escaped from custody and spent years on the run, only to eventually turn informant and secret police agent. Vidocq founded the French state security police force Sûreté Nationale, and in 1833 he started the first known detective agency. Many consider him to be the father of modern criminology. But there’s another reason today is the perfect day to celebrate private investigators. On July 24, 1916, a man was born who would revolutionize the private investigator fiction genre.Who doesn’t love private investigator stories? I was the kid who read all of the Nancy … [Read more...] about Happy Private Investigator’s Day! Who’s your favorite fictional PI?
As a completely new author with no fan base, no one on my newsletter but my mom, and a brand spanking new website but no real platform or brand or other fancy marketing words yet, I knew that I wouldn’t exactly be rocketing to the top of the charts. I'm in it for the long haul, which translates to, "I never really thought about the first week except as something I had to pass through on the way to the first year(s)." Here’s some of what I learned, living through the first week without having bothered to think about it ahead of time.A short-term plan would have been good. Nothing too complicated, just a little something to get me started. For example, I hadn’t done advanced reader copies, so I had no reviews lined up. Another example: … [Read more...] about 5 Lessons Learned in my First Week as a Newly Self-Published Author
When I first downloaded Goodreads on my (long lost and lamented) iPhone years ago, I thought it was the best app ever. The bar code scanner almost made my head explode. It is a great resource for a lot of people, but I’ve never used it consistently, and it turns out it wasn’t right for me at the time. As I said in my last post, I’m not a big reviewer, and I wasn’t looking for a community. I just wanted something to help me track what books I’d already read and which ones I wanted to read. But if I’d noted that I was reading a book, Goodreads would follow up—where are you on the book? Did you finish the book? What did you think of the book? This is (or was) my own dysfunction, but it felt like someone looking over my shoulder, a Guilt … [Read more...] about Book Reviews and Ratings Part II: A Code of Conduct?
As a reader, I rarely review books, unless they are very good (Ben Winters’ The Last Policeman, anyone?) or very bad (an unnamed author whose female characters are less realistic than blow-up dolls, but he’s mega-popular so my review doesn’t matter anyway). There are two reasons. First, the practical: I live in a place where internet isn’t easily accessible, and even getting a cell phone signal involves Cirque du Soleil-esque contortions perched on the highest object in your line of sight. I think of advanced communications on a triage basis: these are the 7 things that must be done in the 18 minutes that the wind is blowing in the right direction or the satellite gods are smiling on us. Then, and only then, can I move on to things that … [Read more...] about Book Reviews and Ratings: Grade Inflation or the Teacher you Just Can’t Please? Part I