Archive | January, 2013

Risk – What Is it?

28 Jan

I’ve been seeing a lot of discussions online (in several different places) about the “risks” writers are taking and most of the time I wander away shaking my head.

I finally broke down and tweeted it: There is no risk in not selling.

I got a few Exactly!s and a few What does that even mean??s.

This is what I mean: The writing is the risk. Everything else is just what you do to get the word out. And, that’s the point of everything else.

When you say, OH. I’m going to take a risk on this cover that is exactly my image of my book even though it doesn’t tell the reader anything until they’ve finished the last page… That’s not risk. That’s a marketing decision that may or may not lead to sales.

We like to pretend a book is this whole artsy package. Take it or leave it. I’m not going to bow down to the gods of marketing to sell my book.

Well, then. There is zero risk in that. You won’t sell your book.

It’s hard enough to get people to take a peek at your writing and see if it’s something they’ll enjoy. When you throw up potential road blocks for your “art” – you aren’t helping the reader. If you’re not helping the reader, you’re not helping yourself.

It’s getting harder and harder to find books you’ll enjoy. Amazon just got rid of tags (which, trust me, I feel another blog post coming on because of this soon.)

My point: Don’t make things difficult for your reader.

Covers should be easy to read and fit in with your genre. I see the word “blend” used negatively when discussing covers and genre. No. Just no. It’s not blending, it’s marketing. Ensuring the reader roughly knows what she’s going to get.

From statements around the web, it seems some writers think people will magically click on their cover because they don’t know what it is and then read the blurb to see if they might like it and then… if the reader is still not sure, she’ll read the reviews. And then, when she still might not even know what the book is about because of all those “risks” she’ll read the excerpt.

So, what you’re saying, is you expect a reader who doesn’t have any clue based on your cover if your book is something she MIGHT want to read to waste 8-15 minutes figuring it out.

Not risk. Bad marketing. There’s a difference.

Pretend everything I just said about covers I basically say about blurbs also. Your blurb should match the format and feel of your genre while getting its spice and voice from you.

If you want to take risks, do it in your story. In your writing. Push the envelope, try something new, stretch your voice, play with POV, time hop, twist genres, mix things up. Whatever it is that you want to try. THAT is risk.

Everything else, it’s just marketing.



Location! Location! Location!

17 Jan

WELCOME to the Girly Books Blog Hop! Not only am I giving away an ebook, and several other sites giving away their books… but the Girly Books Blog is giving away a TON of prizes. Make sure to check it out! 

And now… let’s talk about location!

Do you believe there are magical places where anything can happen? I totally do.

It’s amazing what the right setting will do for your story. It can become almost a character itself.

When I write, I have some clear pictures in my head of where things are taking place. For me, personally, the fictional world is a magical place. It allows you to bring the best of the past, present, and future, swirl them all around in your imagination and paste together the best possible places.

The magic seems to be catching, because I’ve just put out The Last Single Girl and several people have already asked where the Brew Ha Ha is.

I have two things to say to that:

  1. If such a magical place existed, I’m not sure I’d be willing to share
  2. Somewhere…. somewhere in the Boston area.

Which is the answer to just about every setting in the Single Girl story and the Theories in Love books.

Glancing through these settings, I realize one thing about my heroines — No matter how classy the place, she can always manage to ignite wackiness!

Unlike me… Yup, I’m totally cool. Like ice, ice baby. All the time. Those stories you’ve heard about …. well, those pictures weren’t me. I swear.

Anyway. Moving on…

Let’s check out a few magical Boston-Area places and I think you’ll see what I mean.


Imagine a lovely neighborhood, just on the other side of your budget line.  Ok, probably wayyyy on the other side of the budget line.

Some place where you can you imagine people sitting in bay windows drinking very expensive wine and patting their toy poodle, ShiShi.

Now, stop and turn. Just down that side street off to your right, there’s a little hill leading down past the sides of the brownstone until you see a small, wrought iron gate framing the front of a cottage tucked between two towering brick buildings.

The maroon sign with gold letters letting you know you’ve arrived at your destination swings just off to the side.

Seriously. How could something magical not happen here?

And so, when you have to tackle the daunting chore of finding Mr. Right in four weeks with the internet as your only guide, wouldn’t you need all the magic you can get? Desperate times call for the perfect coffee shop. Sarah can’t help herself when she sees. it. I wouldn’t have been able to either


But not all magic is quite so quaint. Because Sarah’s high-end friend Claire is in charge of picking the restaurant for Girl’s Night, of course they’d go to a place where Sarah could only afford a salad, right? But hey, every girl likes to go out on the town once in a while.

And if you can’t bring your Classy Act here, where can you bring it?

And that’s not even the most glamorous place Sarah ends up at! The last place, talk about magical… talk about glamorous… talk about romance!

But that’s the entire point. Where you go… those places, they’re part of your story. They fill in the sights and sounds and smells of love or anger or betrayal or friendship in a way that a green-screen set could never do.

I’m lucky to live in a city rich with old-school charm and contemporary sensibilities. And the city in my head — the one Sarah and all her dates take place in — mines those charms to help paint the picture in vivid, emotional colors.

I bet we all have magical places – some, like Sarah’s, are in the city. Other people escape to the mountains or the beach. Feel free to share your magical place story. Part of being a writer is loving hearing other people’s tales. 🙂

Want a chance to win a kindle copy of The Last Single Girl and head off to all these places with Sarah? Check out the excerpt HERE and tell me which of these spots she went to first.

On Monday, I’ll draw a winner so make sure whatever email you use, I can send you an Amazon gift ebook on!

Don’t worry – I don’t harvest emails! I HATE that so I’d never do it to anyone else.

After you enter, make sure to click the blog hop button below to continue hoping and enter for the grand prize!


Blog Hop!

16 Jan