Monday, April 27, 2015

Author's Platform - Keeping It Real

In honor of Stacy's book coming out, I thought I'd revisit ways to promote.  For awhile now, the publishing world has been buzzing about platforms.  But why?!  Well, connecting with readers is important.  But how?  There are many ways, but I am all about Keeping It Real and Keeping It Simple. 

So let's begin:

* Networking or building contacts is important.  Word of mouth is HUGE in promoting yourself and your book.

* Put your story telling talents to work and tell your readers not only about your book, but about you.  This will build connections and generate interest.

* Think Visual.  Get great pictures of yourself and of items relating to your book.  Today's world is all about short, sweet, and pictures! 

* Pick two or three social media forms and post regularly as a way to limit your time on social media, but still engage your readers.

* Adopt a cause.  This was a new one to me.  The principle behind this idea is similar to joining organizations or starting a hobby as a way to build contacts.  For more ideas on how to adopt a cause, check out Mary Keeler's post at

Writing and promoting are both loads of fun, but can be time consuming, thus finding a balance is essential for authors. It is all too easy to get wrapped up in our projects, but don't shut out the world.  Life is inspiration after all.  Get out there and find your spark.  Keep it real and your readers will love you for it.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to a crawfish boil. 


                Ugly little guys aren't they, but apparently many people think they taste good. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Helping Your Author Friends: Where the Staircase Ends Edition

As you're probably aware, our very own Stacy Stokes's debut YA novel published last week! Let me tell you, guys—I love this book. The writing is beautiful, and the characters are so complex and interesting that I couldn't put the book down.

My shiny new copy of Where the Staircase Ends now has a place of honor on my bookshelf. I was admiring it today, and I started thinking about how many teens I know who would love this book. I talk to a few voracious readers on a fairly regular basis, so I made a mental note to mention it to them.

And that got me thinking about ways the members of the YA writing community can get the word out about their friends' books. Sure, buying the book yourself is nice, but what then? What's the most effective way to get the word out?

Luckily, for those feeling overwhelmed by all the options out there (social media? bookstores? libraries? reviews?), there are some great resources out there to help you narrow down the most effective strategy.

First, author Erin Bowman has this excellent breakdown of what you can do in addition to buying the book here on Pub Crawl: Support an Author Beyond Buying Their Book. A couple of suggestions I love: gifting the novel to friends and family for special occasions and reading the book in public (because I know I always check out what people are reading when I see them on public transportation or in the coffeeshop).

This similarly titled post from author Jen Malone on Writer's Rumpus focuses specifically on social media: Help an Author (Beyond Buying the Book): Part Three. Jen points out that tweeting, posting pics to Instagram, or posting on Facebook are some of the easiest and most effective ways to get the word out. People trust personal recommendations above all else, so this can vastly increase the likelihood that someone will pick up your friend's book.

And last but certainly not least, Stacy herself wrote a post a few months ago: 12 Easy Ways to Support Your Soon-to-Be-Published Author Friend. She points out that leaving reviews, requesting the book at the library, and asking about the book at your local bookstore (on my to-do list the next time I'm in the neighborhood!) are all good ways to support your friend.

Congratulations again, Stacy!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Writing Characters With Appropriate Body Language and Micro-expressions

When something big (or small) happens in a scene, a writer may use interiority to allow a protagonist to process the event. Other characters' reactions are often limited to dialogue (very unreliable) and action. While some actions may be overt and necessary, if a writer wants to create a more nuanced reaction, it might be fun to try using research into body language and micro-expressions. I've compiled a list of some fun sites to learn about how we use subtle actions to convey our heart's true desires. I believe that this intel has potential to be good for both writing and first dates :). Enjoy reading and happy Monday!

  • Article on How to Read Eye Movement:
  • Basic Article on Body Language:
  •  Intel on Microexpressions:
Other fun links:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Jump Starting Your Writing After A Break

Cartoon Girl Throwing Paper Away After Writing

The other day I was chatting with a friend whom I hadn't seen in awhile.  We had the usual catch up. Work, kids, vacation.  Then the dreaded question "so, how's your writing coming along?" I stumbled through it as usual.  Have a few ideas on the go, the kid (just turned 9 months Saturday) takes up a lot of time.  We meandered onto other topics and had a grand old time. 

Truth be told though, aside from a few premises and a page here and there, I've pretty much been on hiatus since I was three months pregnant.  Life, just got in the way. 

So now, the kid's a bit older, life's more stable and I'm itching to get back into writing.  Only problem is I'm rusty. The noggin just hasn't been exercised in that way in awhile and I'm in desperate need of a recharge.

So where to start? I've got a few ideas I'm noodling on and the manuscript I left part way through in early 2014.  I'm like a deer in headlights.  

Just write. Right? That seems the logical starting point.  Getting those words on the page is half the battle. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who just needs a bit more.  I need a little inspiration. 

The first thing I did was check to see if there were writing groups in the hood.  I'm new to San Diego, so this was a great way to find some kindred spirits.  I signed up for one called "Shut Up And Write". With a lack of material, I'm not ready for critiques so this is the perfect way to be in the same room with other writers, no distractions and just write. 

The second thing I did was check on some refresher courses.  Something to remind me of what baby brain forgot.  I was lucky to find San Diego Writers, Ink. A great resource for our community with great workshops that have just enough to push me along. 

Finally, I reached out to my writing buddies and they are awesome.  Hopefully, we'll be reviewing each other's writing again soon!

So have you taken a break from your writing?  How did you jump start your writing? 

Monday, April 13, 2015

It's My Book Birthday Tomorrow! All The Feels + Celebration Giveaway!

About five years ago, I had a dream about a girl stranded on a staircase that climbed into the sky.When I woke up, I had the sudden compulsion to write her story down. Three months later, I had a first draft, and tomorrow, the final version of that story will make its debut on the world.

Yup. Tomorrow is the book birthday for WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS. It's also the realization of a lifelong dream.

I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all the Thinking to Inking followers and to my amazing blogmates - thank you a million times over for sharing this journey with me. You guys are seriously incredible. For blog followers, if you'd like a signed bookmark and/or book plate, shoot me a note via my website, reference this blog post, and send me your address. I'd love to send you one as a thank you.

We're giving away loads of books to celebrate the launch, so make sure to enter the rafflecopter at the end of this post, and also check out the Goodreads giveaway and the YABC giveaway for more opportunities to win.

So without further ado world, let me introduce you to my debut novel, WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS:

How High would you climb to learn the truth?

After her best friend orchestrates the lie that destroys her reputation, Taylor wants more than anything to disappear from her life. But when an accident turns this unspoken wish into reality, instead of an angel-filled afterlife, Taylor must climb a seemingly endless staircase into the sky.

Instead of going up, the journey plunges her into the past. As she unravels the mystery behind her friend’s betrayal, she must face the truth about her life and find the strength to forgive the unforgivable — 
unless the staircase breaks her first.