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A Huge Grisamore Announcement

BenI met Captain Benjamin Alderson when I was still in high school. My initial attempts at writing his story involved a young woman who inherits her grandmother’s southern home, and finds out that the strange man who used to talk to her when she played there as a child was actually a Civil War ghost.

At 15, I wasn’t ready to write Ben’s story, so I let him slip into the place in my heart where I keep all of my characters without a tale, and I moved on.

I pulled him out every few years, trying to learn more about his past and what he wanted for his future. Each time, I’d learn something new. I learned that he was waiting, and it had nothing to do with me and my slacker-styled writing habits. I learned that he was a man in love, and that, just as painfully, he was a man lost and alone. I learned about the betrayal that cost him his life.

A few years ago, with NaNoWriMo approaching, I pulled him out again, and this time, he was ready to share. And finally, more than ten years after our initial meeting, I had a story to write.

I finished the first draft of Grisamore just over two years ago. I’ve edited in fits and starts since then, but it’s taken me until now to commit to turning that rough first draft into something that is polished and ready for publication.

I have my work cut out for me, but I’m moving in the right direction. More than that, I have a deadline.

Over the next six months, I need to finish the first edit and send Grisamore out to a handful of beta readers. After that, I’ll do more edits, and send it to a second run of betas, and then finish up any remaining changes.

During that time, I’ll also be shopping around for the perfect cover and learning how to format a book for digital and print formats.

I have a couple interviews lined up to help get the word out.

And this summer, Ben’s story will finally hit the shelves.

Grisamore will be available in print and on Kindles on August 2nd.

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So… Still here. Still writing. Still slacking on my blog. And on my Facebook page. For someone who makes a living in marketing, I’m surprisingly bad at it when it comes to trying to market my own stuff.

I just wanted to send out a quick update on everything. I’m slowly moving forward with editing Grisamore. It’s a process and a half. I also need to post the pictures from my trip to Stones River Battlefield, so watch my Facebook page for that. I have a blog post mostly ready that will go out at the same time. Being able to visit the setting of Grisamore was an incredible experience. Murfreesboro is a beautiful town, and I can’t wait to share it with you all.

I am about 50% done with Flowers for a Ghost. The main scenes are mostly in place. Now, I’m just putting in the details. I feel like I’m finally getting to know my characters. Also, despite my attempts, the husband is not willing to go to France this summer for a research trip. I tried. So, in the meantime, I am spending my time researching life in Bordeaux, both during WWII and in current times.  I’m also going to start looking around for a decent bottle of Bordeaux-region wine. Because, you know, research.

I’m keeping this brief so I can get to bed at a decent hour. I promised my mother-in-law that she could read Grisamore as I finish editing each chapter, and I’d love to be able to hand over a chapter or two by the end of the month. With her prodding, I should have Grisamore ready to publish by this summer.

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Finding Time for Marketing

Clock I’m a member of a few different writing groups on Facebook, and last month, the admins of one group invited me to put together a social media workshop for the other members. We’re heading into the final part this Saturday with a discussion about general tools, tips, and guidelines for developing an overall presence as an author.

One thing that I’m going to address, briefly, is the importance of balancing time spent marketing with time spent writing. If you spend a half hour each day using social media to connect with readers and build your marketing platform, that’s a half an hour each day that you aren’t using to write. So, when I hear authors say that they don’t have time to market themselves, I get it.

On the other hand, you need to market. You need to build up an audience. You need to get your name out there. Marketing isn’t optional.

I tell people to start with 15 minutes twice a day. That’s it. Post a short update to your Facebook page, spend a few minutes on Twitter, check out any other writing or social media sites you’re active on (Google+, Wattpad, and so on), and interact with a couple blogs. It doesn’t take a huge investment of your time. The key isn’t to spend hours on social media; if you want it to work, spend less time, but do something every single day. Consistency is important. Set an alarm on your phone if it helps, or work it into your regular schedule (15 minutes after breakfast, 15 minutes after dinner, for example).

One of the easiest ways to minimize the time you spend on marketing is to use a social media management tool. I’m partial to Hootsuite. It’s free, and I can cross-post to various sites, schedule my posts in advance, and get analytics on how well my tweets and statuses are performing. It also has a built-in link shortener and a browser extension, which makes it super easy to share any interesting articles I happen across.

I’m as bad about remembering to log in every day with the social networks I’ve joined as any other writer. Probably worse. And it’s okay to slip up as long as you get back out there as soon as possible and go back to interacting with your community. The trick is to just keep moving forward with it.

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