Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I am the editor of a newsletter for a writing group filled with published authors of several books. Although, I have not finished a book much less worried about getting anything published, I find myself giving tips on how to market books.

My latest tip is to create a press kit. When you first start writing, you pick up books that tell you how to sell that book. You find yourself in the sell mode with a little bit of crap to market. Then you begin to read about the craft and you work on that crap and most of it continues to be crappola however much you search for that jewel in the rough.

This is one of the reasons I can speak with authority. I read a lot of marketing your book before I figured out that maybe I should avoid that sort of book and look for one that only had exercises on how to write better. Thankfully I started a blog and have improved just by writing it. What started as platform building was actually a springboard to meeting people who do write. I don't regret that I spend more time reading than writing. For one thing, they pay about the same.

But back to creating a press kit, I recommended a flattering picture. I've noticed if people are young, they and their big teeth are grinning in their pictures. With some age, many opt for a picture of an intelligent walrus or other branding figure. I plan to put my high school graduation picture out. I've changed a wee bit, well a lotttttt. But who actually chooses a book by your picture. Come to think of it, my high school picture could date me.

A second item would be a biography. This is incredibly tough for me. I'm a person who has spent my life wanting to blend into the wallpaper. In school, I never volunteered to answer a question. As an adult, if I saw the boss in the hallway, I slipped in my classroom, another hallway, restroom, library. Out of sight, out of mind was my thinking. The Japanese have a saying that the nail sticking out is the one that gets hammered down.

I exaggerate, moderately. I'm just one of those people who wanted to be liked and accepted. As I have grown old, I see where so many people I felt I needed to impress were not people to worry about. Some of the greatest people I have ever met came in and out of my life quickly and I did not know it.

Below is my tentative biography in the first two paragraphs. Give me any tips on how to improve it.

"Ann Bennett received a Bachelors of Science in Biology and Masters in Education from Georgia Southern University and a Specialist in Education from State University of West Georgia. A native of Georgia her father's family is descended from the original white settlers of Georgia, Ann grew up in the International City of Warner Robins, GA which grew in the shadow of  Robins Air Force Base. 

Ann worked several jobs but her career was teaching school. She spent roughly 32 years teaching science primarily to sixth, eighth and high school students. Her last job was as a coordinator for a science non-profit which essentially entailed doing school programs that ranged from Pre-K to Twelfth grade in a five county area of Central Georgia. Ann started writing as a pastime to alleviate the struggles with her second and most important career as a care giver."

The following paragraphs are disclaimer to comments I have received.

None of the characters she writes about are her, happened to her or someone she knows. She would never use the name of the mean people she has dealt with in life. More than likely, a very nice person would share the same name. Plus, we all can be mean at times. Some more than others.

You live a life you meet a lot of people. When watching television, you recognize some stories from the news are woven into that week's crime of the week for a down and dirty crime fiction show or a sweet cozy mystery.

Well yes, someone can be the base of a character but little more. In a current story, there is a former Goth girl from the nineties who becomes a internet world building nerd. There is much more to the story. The woman is based on a random woman's obituary and so many kids who dressed like Goth's. It is just a probable life story based purely on imagination.

The third item is where can your work be found.

All of my work is on jump drives. The first items I may publish are science education booklets. They have been finished for years. I sat down to work on them and started writing fiction.  It is not a pretty place where the muse woke; but, I'm running with it. I have not been hellbent on being published. For one thing it is a time consuming process. The people I take care of basically determine whether I will be free or not.

But yes I have that fantasy. I make a lot of money. People quote me. I get called up and asked my opinion on the world news. There is always a surreal comic element when a fiction writer gets asked about a tough news story they only write about. Add to that that anyone would care what a 60 something woman had to say.

Last of all I spend the remainder of my life on a cruise ship with my dogs in tow. Everybody I have ever loved will be on the boat. Plus, I make enough money to build decent housing for mentally ill women. They don't have to live in a four beds to a room group home and share a small toilet and shower. They can have their own room with a walk in closet and get their nails done like everyone else.

The fourth item is an active link to where your work can be purchased. At this point, everything for public consumption is on my blogs. I thought of loading all my work on blogger to be published in the future. If I die, my work could still be eventually published. But right now, I'm still at the rhymmy dimemie stage of writing. The world will continue to turn without my stories. And yes, I don't do a great job cleaning up my grammar and syntax.

Cheers folks. If you need an expert opinion from someone who probably does not know the answer. Send me that question. I'll answer or write a nice piece of fluff that no one should do at home. Take care.


  1. I actually like your biography and I don't have any tips to improve it. I think in those first 2 paragraphs you covered what people would expect to read in such a biography. As far as pictures, I remember after my MIL passed, the family was looking for a picture to post in her obituary. Something not from her final years but something of course not from her youth. She had the advantage of being a teacher and had school pictures taken every year. They found a nice looking one from her perhaps late 50s to early 60s to use (she died at 85). I commented at the time to hubby (after it was all said and done) that I should take a picture then of myself to be used later, no matter how many years I might live afterwards. I never got around to it, though, LOL :)

    You never know if you'll hit it big or not. Keep pursuing it and the thoughts of what you will do if you do so!


    1. Haha about the photo taken to be used at your own funeral. I'm a photo avoider but everytime I look at old pictures, they are never as bad as I thought they were.

      I doubt I hit it big. It is just fun to talk trash.

  2. Sometimes it is hard to say what everyone wants to hear.

    1. My guess would be "You are always right." lol

      I've read the glib bios and I've read the serious. None of them share that much. I've always read the bio after I read the book and liked it.

  3. Each person wants to hear something different it seems. But your bio sure works indeed, all one needs really.

  4. Your bio works for me!
    I'd like to add that I'm on a cruise ship right now, but that really would be fiction.

    1. Well when that fantasy cruise of mine happens, I'm sure you will be onboard. Thanks for visiting Alex.

  5. Many authors update/revise their bios according to the book they're selling at the time. For instance, if it is your first fantasy/fiction after you've been primarily writing non-fiction textbooks, you want to show that creative side of you in your bio.
    I keep wanting to change my profile picture but a few sweet folks have actually begged me not to. Begged me. Nice, huh? I should do it one day, just to prove I haven't grown a third eye or something. I really liked Betty's idea.
    If you don't plan on publishing, I hope you'll share your work by providing links where readers can find it. You could do 'special' posts on a second page of your blog ;-)

    1. I never thought about that with the bio. I really just copied someone elses and substituted my details.

      You do have a good picture. I'm keeping my picture fuzzy right now. There is so much weirdness on the internet and I am not selling anything yet. I have thought of loading my work on my blog with a far distant date to be published. So if I expire so to speak, it does get published. It is such a morbid thought on my part, but it is hard to work so hard on something to never put it in the public eye. I have taken a lot of photos, I thought of loading them on wikimedia commons.

    2. In case you're ever interested, I have a website at streampebbles.com where folks share everything from children's stories, blogs, grown up stories to memoirs. It's always free and you're always welcome ;-)


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