Simone Kelly on Marketing your Book like a Pro

Simone Kelly, CEO of Own Your Power® Communications*, Inc., embodies an inspirational and universal force that energizes you. As an author, holistic business and life coach, motivational speaker, media personality and certified Reiki –Master teacher, Simone helps her clients achieve the balance they desire. She’s the woman who leads by example as she “owns her power.” In turn, her clients see how “owning their power” will energize their own business ventures, quests for health and well-being. Simone got her marketing degree in 1996 and became certified as a business coach in 2003. Simone’s new novel, Like a Fly on the Wall was released in July.

Q: Simone, what made you want to write Like a Fly on the Wall?

My grandmother passed away mysteriously before I was born. I always wondered about the circumstances of her death. I was inspired to write about a family mystery. I’m very intuitive. When I spoke to my mother about things I saw or heard as a child, she didn’t understand. I wanted to have a character that was very intuitive. I made that character male, since more females follow their intuition. I wanted to have people relate to their own intuitiveness through a steaming hot hunk of a guy so that they realize that intuitiveness is a gift we all have.

Q: Can you share some of the tips you spoke about at the Mystery Writers of Florida meeting? 

  • Marketing lesson #1 is: get e-mail addresses. Get them at every event and make sure you can read it before they walk away. Get e-mail addresses on your website. Have a newsletter about what you’re doing to stay top of mind. Everyone uses their phones for e-mail now so make sure your content is mobile friendly.
  • It’s important to know your clients. What are their ages, hobbies, income, education and personality types. Ask book buyers how they heard about you. Friend them on Facebook and write them a note. Befriend people who want to promote you.
  • Make your fans a star. Put your fans in the spotlight. Have fans join your mailing list. Give out prizes. Create a Beta Readers Club for super-fans after your first book is out. Offer them an advanced copy of your next book. Get photos of good-looking people with your book. Post them on all your Social Media sites. If you know someone with clout, give them a book and ask for an endorsement.
  • You can also collaborate with other authors to cross promote. I got 1000 new friends by doing a contest with two other authors to win three books every Friday one month. Find a celebrity who can benefit from something in your book. Partner with them and promote each other. Ask influential people to read the first fifty pages of your book and comment on it.
  • Remember to follow up on events and requests. Always try to set up face to face meetings if possible and make sure you follow up with a phone call or a thank you note. Send the book store manager a thank you after your signing. Call the friend who got you an interview or speaking arrangement. When you are nice to people, they return the favor.

Q: Your main character, Jacques is very intuitive. You bring this to the forefront at your book signings and have clients do an intuitive exercise and then prompt them to pursue their intuitiveness. How does one do that?

Practice with little games. Something as simple as guessing what time it is before you look at a clock, or guess what the next song on the radio will be. When I first moved to Miami, I used to call my friend in New York every day and guess what she was wearing. I got to be so accurate, I thought she was lying to me. She actually had a co-worker verify what she was wearing. The practice really worked well for me. If you don’t have the practice, you don’t trust yourself. You don’t trust that inner voice. You have to build the confidence that you really can do it. I was blessed when Harper-Collins allowed me to include an essay on intuition at the back of the book to help people out.

Q: What’s your next book going to be?

The title is still a work in progress. I have the same characters, along with some new ones. Jacques, being intuitive, is going to be looking into past lives. The Vegans are going to love it because when Jacque becomes a Vegan, he sees and understands the unseen even more. Jacques will be able to touch someone and see things that can help them with problems in their current life.

Q: Since you are very adept at promotion, how do you plan to promote the new book?

I really want to get it to be a TV series. I did my own book trailer for Like a Fly on the Wall. I recruited the actors and I did the directing. I’d like to do a Netflix series or something on cable. I’m working on a web series now. I like to collaborate with people and trade talent. I have offered to help some people who are familiar with the film industry in their personal promotion so that I can learn more about it.

Q: Where would your web series be posted?

It can go multiple places, like YouTube or Vimeo, and definitely Facebook. I’m planning a series of five, for the first five chapters. I’ll put one out every month or so. I need the funds to do it and I’ll have to get actors and sponsors, which I did for my trailer. When people know you have a following and will promote them, they’ll work for a discounted rate or trade for my consulting services for their own businesses. I use all the leverage I can get, and so should you in your book promotion.

 

Own Your Power Communication’s* (OYPC) mission is to serve as an empowering guiding force assisting entrepreneurs as they connect with their fullest potential and grow exponentially. You can reach Simone by e-mailing simone@ownyourpower.biz, or at http://ownyourpower.biz/store/like-a-fly-on-the-wall/

Not a Rebel Among Us

In Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies, she explains that people fall into four categories which are defined by how they respond to expectations. Here is the quick and dirty on the four types.

Upholder – meets both inner and out expectations

Obliger – meets outer expectations but not inner expectations

Questioner – resists outer expectations while meeting inner expectations

Rebel – resists both outer and inner expectations.

 

Throughout her book, Gretchen mentions writers and how the tendencies play out in their lives.

Upholder writers can write well without deadlines. They don’t need an external system of accountablility for thier writing. An upholder is someone who can quit their day job and write a book because they have that internal accountablilty.

Obliger writers do well with deadlines – like say, a weekly critique group, where you should have pages to read each week. An obliger who quits a day job to write a novel, even a novel that is under contract, will have trouble unless there are set deadlines all along the way.

Questioner writers don’t need the external accountability, but they want to know why they are doing what they are doing. It’s unlikely that a questioner writer is going to write what you suggest.

Rebel writers….they might write if they feel like it that day…but they might not…ever…feel like writing.

Of course, I asked The Tuesdays to take the Four Tendencies quiz, and you can to! https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3706759/Gretchen-Rubin-s-Quiz-The-Four-Tendencies

Can you guess how we fared?

Here’s a hint – three upholders, two questioners, and one obliger.

Upholders – Faran, Melody, Cathy

Questioners – Jonathan and Stacie

Obliger – Joanne

 

It’s your turn! Take the quiz and tell us how you did!

Our Favorite Type of Pets

Joanne: We had two cats when our children were young. We trained them to stay off the kitchen counters and had them do tricks for their treats. Tiger, the gray one, would do pull-ups on the kitchen drawer, and Spencer, the orange one, would sit on his haunches with his paws bent. They’ve both been gone for a few years now. I really miss them.

Tiger & Spencer

Melody: I much prefer cats over dogs. We adopted our two cats, Dizzy and Freya, when they were eight weeks old. The guy at the shelter said they were two for the price of one and when that didn’t sell us, he told us that two of the ones we were looking at were actually litter mates. So of course we couldn’t break them up.

Freya & Dizzy

Stacie: My fave type of pet? You’ve got to be kidding me. Do you all know I have THREE rescue dogs. Big ones, too. Here’s a pic of Delilah who is spokesdog for the group, apparently. She’s typing up a nasty note that she says she’s willing to unleash(she went there) on CHEWTUBE if anyone suggests that ANY type of pet could be better than a big rescue dog from Big Dog Ranch Rescue. Don’t shoot the messenger. #Delilahsays.

Faran: I’ve had cats and dogs, and I love them both,  but my wife and I began our lives together with our Maltese and Poodle so I have to go with them. Both of them are so loyal like my cat used to be, and love to snuggle. What else can you ask for?

Jonathan: My favorite kind of pet is a dog. Seriously, is there anything else? A dog gives unconditional love and is always happy and affectionate, not like those aloof cats. Some people may try to give lame arguments why a cat is better, but they’d be terribly wrong. I’m including my affectionate 65 lb lap dog, Parker

Halloween Character Archetypes for your Novel

Halloween is a fun time where we can wear whatever we want and party. I’m sharpening my characters in this layer of revision of my work in progress. I want to make sure the character arcs pan out and that my character’s roles with each other are well defined. In the course of that process, I revisited Carl Jung’s archetypes. With them fresh in my mind, I went off to a Halloween party and had to laugh at how the costumes and personalities frequently matched the archetypes.

 

Hero: Wants to change the world. He fears internal weakness.

 

 

Jester: Seeks fun and yet fears  boredom.

 

 

 

Creator: Wants to realize her vision. She hates mediocrity.

 

 

 

Care Giver: Loves to help others and deplores selfishness (so she shares her jello-shot).

 

 

 

Sage: Seeks knowledge and is afraid of deception

 

 

 

Magician: Wishes to alter reality which can sometimes lead to inadvertent results.

 

 

 

Innocent: Wants happiness and doesn’t want retribution. It is said that if you want a great costume, go for the reverse of your personality.

 

 

Explorer: Wants freedom and fears entrapment

Revolutionary: Is the rebel who fears having no power.

 

 

Ruler: Generally wants prosperity and fears being overthrown (by the UPS man).

Lover: Wants connection and detests isolation. A friend, who really is a connector and therefore great at sales, dressed as the UPS man.

Every-man: Wants to belong and not be excluded from the group, yet not stand out. Wearing a hat with skeleton face on it took care of that.

 

The next day, in thinking about my characters, I wondered what they would have worn to the party. The fun visuals helped me to better identify them and the behaviors I want to portray. This Halloween season, ask yourself what costume would your characters wear?

Manic Monday

It really is manic for me these days

So manic that I barely have time to breathe, let alone post. So I apologize, Tuesday readers, that this post is a tad bit late. I know you understand.

You see, #authorlife is a huge, major, and let’s just say it, manic kind of a deal. I’ve spent the last few months with my head spinning. But I’m not complaining. I’m lucky to get to do these things.

Here’s just a brief look at what I’ve been up to recently:

I presented a workshop for SCBWI with Joyce Sweeney. It was the first time I taught peers. And the first time I team taught with Joyce. It was pretty cool.

Here’s me presenting theme using some of my fave books

Here’s Joyce presenting using some of her fave books… I spy THE HOMECOMING….aww, thanks, Joyce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then Joyce and I  presented a workshop the FAME conference in Orlando. Talk about awesome! Plus I got to meet Pete the Cat!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of this while finishing my revision on WEIGHTLESS and planning promotion for THE SECRETS WE BURY.

It’s been a whirlwind kind of a month, Tuesday readers. I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have!

Our Favorite Scary Movies

Joanne Butcher

Joanne: Silence of the Lambs is my favorite scary movie with Hannibal Lector being my favorite creepy antagonist. Since I was a kid I haven’t liked gory scary movies. Back then they scared me too much and I’d have nightmares. Now I find that many of them are overly dramatic to the point of being silly. I find a psychological thriller much more interesting than a chainsaw massacre.

Jonathan Rosen

Jonathan: It’s tough to pick just one because there are a few that are my favorites. I’m really not a big scary movie person, in general, but I do love the humorous ones. So, since we have to pick something, I’m going with Shaun of the Dead. It’s such a funny movie and yet still has the fun zombie elements. I’m not sure how many times I’ve seen it, but every year at Halloween, I make sure to revisit.

Melody Maysonet

Melody: Normally, I would say Jaws, but since Halloween is just around the corner, I’m going to say Fright Night, the first one, not the remake. Scary, funny, plus the ’80s. What’s not to like?

Faran Fagen

Faran: I gotta go with John Carpenter’s The Thing, based solely on the scene when they’re tied to the couch and Kurt Russell is testing their blood trying to figure out which one of them is “the thing” (which means they’ve been consumed by an alien who can mimic human beings). So creepy not knowing who’s part of “the thing” and who’s still normal in this sci-fi thriller.

Cathy Castelli

Cathy: In high school, the John Carpenter’s Halloween movie came out. OMG this ages me, but HBO was in its infancy so not that many people I knew had it. Halloween was playing on it, and someone I worked with had it. I went to her house and watched the movie. The walk from her front door to my car seemed verrrrrrrrry long that night!

Stacie: I lurves me some scary movies. So many scary movies. I strive to watch a scary movie every day during the month of October, but I admit I’m really far behind this year! Ugh. If I have to pick just one, I’d have to say that Rosemary’s Baby is one of my faves. Or The Shining. Or Halloween. Or The Thing. Sigh. 

 

Eclectic author, a former White House guest, injects fun into writing

By Faran Fagen

No class this Tuesday, so enjoy this profile on local author Shutta Crum:

In 2005, she was invited to read her one of her 15 published children’s books at The White House. She’s also a public speaker, a librarian for 26 years, and taught English and creative writing. Several of her articles about teaching and writing have appeared in professional journals.

For Shutta Crum (pronounced shut-ta, not shoot-a, which she gets a lot), life was “shaped by the written word”. And she couldn’t be more grateful.

“I like sharing my stories with the world,” said the 65-year-old Greenacres resident. “When kids love my books, it makes me feel immortal. Hopefully, the books will continue to exist after I am gone, in the hearts of readers, and in libraries.”

Crum’s schedule is full of school and library visits as well as book festivals, and writing workshops for all ages. She’s done free talks for the schools her grandchildren attend in Palm Beach County (Crum has two children and four grandchildren). Her schedule and history can be found at her website, www.shutta.com.

On Feb. 18, she spoke at the West Boynton Beach Library as part of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and illustrators) monthly author series.

Crum’s workshop, titled “Sound, Shape, Sense: The Work of our Words”, reviewed and discussed techniques that can be used in any genre or format (verse or prose).

Crum feels storytelling is in her blood. Born in the mountains of Kentucky, telling “whoppers” and listening to tall tales long into the night was part of her Appalachian heritage.

“In those dark and scrawny hollers I’d cling to my father’s tall legs and stare wide-eyed as I listened to the hair-raising tales my relatives told.”

Her journey reached its peak when she was invited to the White House’s Easter Egg Roll.

Crum met a number of George Bush’s cabinet. Unfortunately, there was a lightning storm on Easter that year. Although there were many families waiting in the rain, the festivities for that morning were cancelled, so she did not actually get a chance to read her book, Bravest of the Brave, to the crowds.

But in her vast career, Crum has reached a multitude of families through her writing. Her latest, William and the Witch’s Riddle, is about a boy who must solve a witch’s riddle in order to save his family and end a centuries-long curse.

“My books, and the books of others, give young readers a safe space within which to think and to dream,” Crum said. “What I want is for children to come into that space and to see themselves, others, and the wonders that lay before them.”

Q & A:

Who is your hero? My husband, Gerald Clark, always. How he puts up with me, I’ll never understand.

What is your favorite movie? I’m not sure I have an absolute favorite movie. But two of the top ones are: “Young Frankenstein” and “Raising Arizona”. Both are dark, but over-the-top fun. Similar to many of the books I like to read.

What’s your favorite author/book and why? As a librarian, an avid reader and a writer, I have a ton of favorite books—at many different reading levels. So I will only say that right now I am in love with two 2016 picture books; “Frank and Lucky Get Schooled” by Lynne Rae Perkins, and “I Am a Story” by Dan Yaccarino.

If you could meet any person in history, who would it be and why? As a writer, I’ve often thought about the whole puzzle of Shakespeare. Did he really write those plays, or did someone else? I’d like to solve that riddle. But I suspect he’d be a more boring conversationalist than Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare’s fellow playwright, who has been described as a spy, a brawler and a “rakehell.” Have you ever met a rakehell?

What are your hobbies? I quilt and do other “crafty” things like make tiles. I’m absolutely enamored by color. And I often wish I was, also, an illustrator.

What do you do to get away or take a break? I really don’t need to take a break from writing. I usually write for about three hours a day, three to four days a week. But we do enjoy traveling, hiking, and canoeing around Florida.

Self-edit Like You’re on a Vision Quest

 

When I think about writing, one really important question comes to mind: why don’t we have jerseys?  I’m not talking about replicas. I’m talking the real deal. Practice ones. Game ones. Full-on writing equipment with equipment managers.

To me, Writing is like a sport.  But the question is, is it a team sport or an individual competition. My favorite scene from one of my favorite movies, Vision Quest, is when Louden Swain states emphatically, “Wrestling is not a team sport!” Then proceeds to climb the pegboard while his teammates gather around and cheer him on. If you haven’t seen it, you should:

https://youtu.be/nJtNsehdT5o

You’re welcome! The whole movie is genius but that scene has always been my favorite. Even before I was writing. When I was just a reader. But now that scene gets to me on such a profound level because it completely depicts the writing life.

We start out training like the wrestlers do in Vision Quest. As a team. A critique group. An organization. A workshop or conference cohort. We hone our craft there, practice our literary moves. Then when we feel we are good enough, we try to climb the pegboard. And some of us make it. And that makes the rest of us clap and cheer and believe it can happen for us, too.

 

But what about all of the alone time? The butt-in-chair stuff that no one sees. The rough drafts and first tries no one hears because they are too dreadful to trot out in public? Those come just from us. We can use a writing coach (I definitely do). We can put our writing tribe on text on demand notice (I do that also) to help answer our plot questions and character moves. But it still comes down to us. What we do in that chair is what counts. After the critiquing. After the Beta reads, we are the CEO of our work. So how do we self-edit? Very carefully (cue the evil laugh)

These are my steps for self-editing. They’re not pretty, but they are essential. My version of writing bootcamp. Get ready to puke.

  1. Any part of your book that you think is sooo creative, so awesome that you continuously rubbed your hands together like the evil genius you were when you wrote it? Yeah…they probably need to go. Kill your darlings does not just refer to clever passages and favorite quotes. Huge artistic insight on the day of inception often comes off as contrived and unbelievable on the paper. Love at first sight doesn’t always end well. Look at those babies and be sure they serve your book. If not, Bbye. It isn’t you, it’s me. No, it’s really you.

  1. As you are carving and adjusting and looking for darlings to kill, is there a part of your manuscript that you figure you’ve read so many times that there’s no reason to read again. Or parts you feel are so solid there’s no reason to look at those? Yup. You’ve got issues there. If you find your eye scanning and skimming parts of your book, that could be the sign of a pacing problem. If you are bored in parts of your manuscript, how will readers feel? It’s time to get real or go home.

  1. You made it through the warm-ups, are you ready for the combines?  I hope so because it’s time to dig deep and get aggressive. Here’s where you look at every single word in your manuscript.  Every one should serve a purpose. Should inform character development. Should advance plot. Should act as subtext. Should create literary rhythm. Should work on more than one level. If your words aren’t working as hard as you are, they go. Sorry. You come to win or you  watch the game from your couch. True story.

  1. Now it’s time to check your manuscript for characters that are slacking, actions that don’t progress plot. Look at each one of your scenes as if it’s a still picture in a film. I’ve actually done that with DVD’s. O Brother Where Art Thou is one worthy of this exercise. Every single shot is perfect. Every one. If any of your characters or scenes are just phoning it in, it’s time to break up with them.

Writing is a bad boyfriend. It’s true.

 

But nobody said climbing the pegboard was easy. You are not here to make friends. You are here to do outrageously hard things. You are here to win the National Championship. To set new personal records. To lift Lord Stanley’s Cup and drink a huge monster energy drink out of it. And when you’ve done all of that, when you’ve brutally embraced your manuscript. When you’ve committed to each word, each scene, each plot decision. Then you can hit the showers and celebrate like a champion! Cue the cheerleaders and the band. Cue the equipment manager. Because you’re going to need a clean jersey for tomorrow’s session.

 

 

Spooky Halloween Reads!

Hi Tuesdays!

Happy last full week of October! And since it’s the last full week of October, you know what that means! We’re coming around to Halloween time! So, I decided to write about some spooky middle grade reads!

The first on the list, might be something that you’ve heard of. I don’t think you can do middle grade and Halloween time, without including Goosebumps by R.L. Stine!

This is THE first one on top of any list. I’m not going to pick any specific title, since you can read any of them and get the same sense of creepy fun. They’re spooky and often have streaks of dark humor. I love this series, and if you’re going to check out any middle grade spooky books, you have to make sure to include Goosebumps on your list!

 

Next on the spooky list, just came out this year. The Gravedigger’s Son, by Patrick Moody. This one has a family line of cemetery diggers. Forbidden woods, and a risen corpse. I’m going to be honest. ANYTHING taking place in a cemetery, and I’m hooked!

Next on our Halloween list, is Coraline, by Neil Gaiman. I looooved this book. So creepy and fun! A secret passage to a darker mirror world, where parents want to sew buttons over your eyes. So creepy. A book that would’ve terrified me as a child, but made me want to reread all the time.

 

This next one isn’t out yet, but I’m sure it’ll be on my Halloween list for next year. Oddity, by Sarah Cannon. I’m looking forward to this one. It has alien mobs and zombie rabbits! As you know, I have a fondness for evil bunnies, so I can’t wait to read this!

 

This one, just came out recently. The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street, by Lindsay Currie. This one involves a centuries-old mystery, a haunted house, and a doll crying real tears. All I know, is I am in!

I love Halloween and love spooky reads, so hope you enjoy these books!

Oh, by the way, there is one other spooky book for Halloween that I didn’t mention, but I’m sure I have once or twice before!

 

Happy Halloween everyone!

 

 

Jonathan Rosen is a transplanted New Yorker, who now lives with his family in sunny South Florida. He spends his “free” time chauffeuring his three kids around. Some of Jonathan’s fondest childhood memories are of discovering a really good book to dive into. His favorite of all time is Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. He currently writes middle-grade, because his sense of humor is stuck in that age. Jonathan is proud to be of Mexican-American descent, although neither country is really willing to accept responsibility. His MG debut, Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, is out now from SkyPony Press. He can be found at www.HouseofRosen.com.