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March 2014

What’s In A Name?

To broaden my writing skills, I enrolled in a Screenplay class. You know writers, always dabbing their ink in a bit of everything.

One of the things the instructor said that I found especially interesting is that there are no accidents in movies. He said everything that happens on the screen is on purpose.

For example, one of the things he addressed was character names. He said most names are selected intentionally. The examples he gave were from When Harry Met Sally and Titanic.

 

Let’s start with Harry Burns. In the beginning of the movie, Harry has “burned” every relationship he’s ever had. Then there’s Sally Albright. I had to admit, Sally was pretty cheerful. Even when her fiancé dumps her she doesn’t cry about it. She remains “all bright” and sunny.

 

I still wasn’t totally convinced. Then he talked about the Titanic’s hero Rose. What describes Kate Winslet’s character better than a delicate flower known for its elegance and beauty? Then he brought up Leonardo’s character, Jack. He pointed out that Jack got on the ship by winning in a poker game.

Wow. Ok, maybe there is something to this.

So I started thinking about a few others.

Rambo: Sly was always trying to ram a bow through someone.

Twelve Years a Slave: Solomon Northup. This one’s easy. Solo man—a man on his own. North Up—Wanting to go back North where he belonged.

The Wolf of Wallstreet: Jordan Belfort…Bell Fort. He basically builds a fortress from money and power by using the bell of Wallstreet.

Jack Reacher: Hero reaches out to save her-oine.

You get the idea.

Of course, it doesn’t work on all movies. Pretty Woman, The Notebook, Pride and Prejudice. Maybe we could stretch the correlation that Mr. Darcy could dare-see into the heart of Ms. Bennett. Like I said, it doesn’t work with all movies. However, in my instructor’s defense, some of those were written as book characters first.

Regardless, my teacher was on to something. As I started plotting my new story, I tried something different. Usually I let my characters name themselves, but this time I put my instructor’s strategy to work.

My heroine is an FBI agent trying to prove to her father, and her three brothers that she’s as good at her job as they are. I came up with Roberta “Bobbi” Lawson. Bobbi because her father wanted all boys, and Law-son—well that speaks for itself.

So my question to you, writers of the world, is how do you decide on names for your characters? Do you do as screenplay writers and purposely put in a subliminal message? Or, do the names come to you in a different way?

I’d love to hear about it.

Remember to Dream Big!

Lori

 

8 Comments

An Idea Makeover

In the summer of 2012, I was discouraged…excited beyond belief, but still discouraged. I had just been told by my publisher that a different story than what I was writing should be book 2 in my series. I was excited because this meant they wanted to publish my book series, but discouraged because what I was writing wouldn’t be part of it. In a way, I have to admit, I was relieved as well. That manuscript revolved around solving a murder and was set in the North Yorkshire Moors. It was dark—too dark for my branding and too dark for me on a personal level. So, what does this have to do with anything? I’m writing it again.

In between blog tours and edits, I’d been working on Evangeline Green’s book. I thought it was the logical next book in the series. She’s in the background of book 2 and I’d been looking forward to writing her story for a while. But, then I got my advance reading copies of How to Lose a Lord in 10 Days or Less. The box sat on my kitchen counter for approximately 1 hour before my mother-in-law grabbed a copy to read. Then she passed it to my husband and by that weekend, the family had read it. We were inhaling takeout Chinese food when the conversation turned to the book: What’s up with Roselyn? Have you written her story? Seriously, I want to know what happened…

I didn’t know what to say. Yes, I’d started her story a long time ago, but that wasn’t the plan right now. The problem was, even though I changed book 2 like my publisher asked me to, I couldn’t change the backstory of the characters in book 3—it’s just who they are. So, the next day I spent the afternoon on Jenna P’s front porch whining about my problems over a glass of well, wine. What to do? What to do? And this was when I decided, with Jenna P’s encouragement, to pull Roselyn’s story back out and dust the cobwebs from its pages.

You may be tapping on your computer screen right now, saying, “Um, E. Michels, you just said it was too dark. How are you going to write something that doesn’t suit you?” Well, I now have a plan for that…

When dusting off an old idea, don’t stop at a cursory cleaning, give it a makeover!

makeover clueless

Change the setting. This is one way I’m changing this dark story to make it fit what I write. I’m moving it to cheery London! As soon as I made this change all the light bulbs went off. Simply by adjusting the setting, new opportunities arose and the plot went in a totally different direction.

Change the dynamics. In the original plot of this story, the hero was presumed guilty of murder and was trying to clear his name. Hello, darkness and depression. I changed this to everyone believing him to be innocent except for the heroine. To her, he is strutting around town when he should be in chains and she is determined to set things right, even if she is a diva in society and not a detective at all. With this one change of the dynamics of the situation, this dark story took on a much lighter tone.

By changing a few key elements, I now have a totally different story with the same inciting incident and the same characters. No matter what you’re dusting off from years ago, remember it doesn’t have to be the same story now. If your writing has changed and evolved, allow your story to do the same.

Have you ever dusted off an old idea and put a different spin on it? Let’s chat.

~ E. Michels

Below is the *REAL* book 2 of the Tricks of the Ton series, Desperately Seeking Suzanna. And, in honor of old ideas and new releases, I’m going to give away a copy to one lucky commenter. (US and Canada only.)

 

DSS Cover

 

Her Cinderella Moment

Sue Green just wanted one night to be the pretty one. But a few glasses of champagne and one wild disguise later, she’s in some serious trouble. Who knew the devastatingly handsome face of Lord Holden Ellis would get in the way of her foot? And how exactly did all that high-kick dancing start in the first place? At least she blamed it on her new persona—Suzanna—so Society’s most eligible bachelor will never find out the truth.

All Holden wants is the truth. Who was that vixen who seduced him so thoroughly, then disappeared? The only one who seems to have any answers about Suzanna is Miss Sue Green. She’s promised to help him find his mystery woman, but she’s not being all that helpful. And the more time Holden spends with Sue—witty, pretty, and disarmingly honest—the more he realizes he may have found exactly what he’s been looking for all along…

7 Comments

Bad Girl For A Day: Amanda Weaver

The Bad Girlz are delighted to have Amanda Weaver on the blog today. Amanda writes contemporary and historical romance and has a contemporary romance that will release in April 2014:

Always cover

Welcome, Amanda!

What do you write? For the past several years, I wrote almost entirely contemporary romance, and my first novel, Always, is contemporary romance. I read a TON of historical romance but never had any urge to try writing one until last year. I got a plot bunny for a historical romance that I decided to explore. That kind of exploded into a whole book, The Forgotten Duchess, and while I was writing it, three secondary characters stood up and demanded their own stories, and so my little “let’s see if I can write historical romance” experiment has grown into plans for a four book series! I’ve finished a draft of The Forgotten Duchess and I’m now editing, and I’ve made a small start on the second. Meanwhile two other contemporary romances are languishing in Scrivener, waiting for me to have time to write them…. *shameless plug* I’m a little Pinterest-obsessed and I have boards for all my stories, even those that are just ideas in my head right now. Plus I have boards for a bunch of other stuff I’m interested in. http://www.pinterest.com/AWeaverWriter/

Pantser or Plotter? This has been my method for everything I’ve written and so far it’s worked pretty well for me. I get an idea and let it roll around and percolate for a while. At some point (usually while I’m brushing my teeth- for some reason, that’s magic brain time for me) a scene will suddenly start forming in my mind and I’ll feel compelled to write. I’ll write, usually just enough to get a feel for the story, the character, whatever. Then I stop and properly outline the rest. I can’t outline until I have something actually written, but I can’t keep writing until I have an outline. 

What authors are on your auto-buy/borrow list? Oh, so many. Sherry Thomas (my queen), Courtney Milan, Meredith Duran. Tammara Webber, Gayle Foreman, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins. Jojo Moyes (who I’m a little bit obsessed with) and Lev Grossman, just because I’m desperate for the last installment of The Magicians like it’s air.

Fave book you had to read in high school English? I think it would have to be Jane Eyre. I read it the first time at 13. I’ve read it several more times in the years since and every time I do, I discover something new in it that went over my head in previous reads. It’s a book that changes as you do. At least, it changed for me as I grew older.

What’s your signature drink? Easily red wine. It’s a little shameful how much I love it.

What song do you have to dance/sing along to whenever it comes on? Dancing Queen by ABBA. Several ABBA songs, really. I’ve loved them since I was a little girl and it’s never gone away! People joke about me and my lifelong love of ABBA. Whatever. I challenge you not to sing along to Waterloo.

What’s your fave pair of shoes? (Include a picture, if you have one!) I had to buy a new dress and shoes for this fancy event a couple of years ago and I fell in love with this pair of Badgley Mischka pumps. Even on sale, they were so far out of my budget it wasn’t even funny. I agonized about them forever but eventually I caved. Now whenever I need to get dressed up for something, I work the whole outfit around those shoes. I’m determined to get my money’s worth out of them, plus I love wearing them, even though they hurt like hell. Aren’t they pretty?

amanda shoe

Visit and follow Amanda at her social media spots below:

Website: http://www.amandaweavernovels.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amanda-Weaver/642963329073960
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AWeaverWrites
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7855753.Amanda_Weaver
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/AWeaverWriter/

 

6 Comments

Celebrating “The End”

Last night, sometime in the wee small hours, I completed my manuscript. Not polished-to-a-subtle-sheen, send-it-in-now sheen–it’s a draft. But, it’s a draft of an entirely new manuscript, new idea, new story world…..all of that stuff. And, to be brutally honest, its been a long time since “writing” hasn’t been shorthand for re-writing, re-imagining, re-treading old stuff, worried I may never have another idea again. As a Florida girl, I’m allowed to say this: I am seriously stoked!

 

So, now that I’ve finished my draft and I’m required to leave it alone in order to see it with fresh eyes–and no doubt be horribly embarrassed when I see it again, a question loomed in my mind:

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO TO CELEBRATE?

tanqueraytonicPretty much self-explanatory.

baby beard

Spend more time with my child. They grow up so fast! Also, when did he start up with the pipe?

nail art

Naaaaiiiiillllsss!!!!!!

cluttered house

Or, make my house look a little less like this…..

clean house

And a little more like this. Add in a few tasteful toys  for beard-baby’, natch.

roller set

F%$king do something with my hair! BTW, I’m dead-serious about the roller set. Another research rabbit hole to thank.

Or, maybe, just this…….

asleep at desk

So tell me, how do you celebrate when you finally type “The end?”

 

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My WHAT Is Dangling?

The first time I got a round of really thorough, professional edits back on a manuscript, I just about had a heart attack. Had the track changes feature on Word gone rogue? Had my screen started bleeding red? Seriously, I’d had so many friends look over my work, and they’d said it was clean. Hell, the editor who had sent me this bloodbath of corrections said my manuscript was relatively clean.

How could there possibly be so many problems?

Perhaps I should back up a couple of steps. I am largely a self-taught writer. I got a good basic education in the literary arts in high school, and I even took a couple of gen-ed English classes in college. But I was never really, formally taught to write. I’m lucky to have a pretty good ear for the English language and a solid fundamental understanding of grammar and spelling, so I was able to muddle through. But I did not go into this first round of edits with the vocabulary to even begin to make sense of some of the things my editor was telling me.

Case in point: The Dangling Modifier. English majors and other people who survived even a rudimentary composition class may better know this as the Dangling Participle.

And wow. Did I ever have a lot of them in that first manuscript.

redskulldanglingparticipleTo save any of my fellow un-schooled writers some embarrassment, here’s the skinny on what they are and how to avoid them.

A participial phrase (look at me with the fancy words!) is one that is sort of an add-on to a sentence that helps describe what’s going on the main body of the sentence. I tend to think of them as ‘those –ing phrases’. You know, the ones you use to break up your pattern of having every damn sentence start with ‘noun verb blah blah blah’?

Examples:

Taking a sip of her wine, she tried to come up with a blog topic for the day.

Cringing in horror, she scrolled through the list of corrections her editor had left for her.

She pet her cat, imagining the comfort it would provide her when she inevitably ended up old and bitter and alone.

In each of these examples, the part in bold is the participial phrase.

The key to keeping said participial phrase firmly attached to your sentence (ie, not dangling) is to make sure that it describes the subject of the sentence. In each of the cases above, the participial phrase describes ‘she’. She takes the sip of wine, she cringes in horror, she imagines being a crazy old cat lady.

If the subject of the sentence and the acting person in the participial phrase don’t match, that’s when you end up with those unsightly dangly bits that will cause your editor to despair.

Here are some sentences that have gone horribly wrong:

Rippling with muscles, I drooled over his phenomenal physique.

Here, ‘I’ is the subject of the sentence; presumably, ‘he’ is rippling with muscles. I can fix it by changing it to ‘His body rippled with muscles, and I drooled over his phenomenal physique.’ Or ‘Rippling with muscles, his physique was positively drool-worthy.’ See? All you have to do is make sure both parts match, or that both parts have their own explicitly stated subject.

Staring at my unfinished manuscript, the cursor blinked at me with mocking disdain.

In this case, the cursor is the subject of the sentence, but I am the one staring in despair at my WIP. To correct the issue, switch up one or the other. ‘Staring at my unfinished manuscript, I imagined my cursor blinked at me with mocking disdain.’ Or insert a subject into the first part of the sentence. ‘As I stared at my unfinished manuscript, the cursor blinked at me with mocking disdain.’

Be warned, though, that once you spot this kind of error, it’s impossible to un-see it. You’ll notice yourself making the same mistake over and over, and you’ll pain-stakingly fix each one, hanging your head in shame every time you find one.

Until some far-off, distant day, you’ll try to write an article about the evils of the dangling modifier, and you’ll try to come up with some examples. And much to your bewilderment, you’ll be unable to remember how to write a modifier incorrectly.

And then you’ll know you’ve finally gotten the damn thing down.

18 Comments

Get ‘Em Where They Live

One of my favorite things about writing is creating people. It’s the chance to make someone up and live vicariously. As a child, I loved to “play pretend” and become someone else.

Oh who am I kidding? I still love to play pretend. I once donned a beret and spoke with a British accent for 48 hours just to see if people bought it. I was 22. 😀 Damn, that was a fun weekend.

For a lot of writers, the character comes first, but there are those characters – you know the ones – who give you way too much grief in their creation. They’re hard to grasp as fully formed, multi-dimensional people. In the past I’ve blogged about using zodiacs and other tools to help you flesh out your pretend people. Today I offer you:

Better Homes & Gardens for your Heroes and Heroines

Think about it. How and where does your character live? What do they call home? Are they contemporary or shabby chic? Minimalist or clutter collector? Full of frills or monitone man cave? This could define what you’re missing in your characters.

For example, my heroine Leah, lives in a small rental home not unlike this: 

Cottage-style-interior-design-1

Her furniture would be second hand at this point, but what does this room tell you about Leah? She has a decent amount of stuff. Plenty of knick knacks and collectibles, but they’re kept organized. Clean lines, lots of books, pictures, photo albums, and fresh cut flowers. She likes to keep things and she puts them all in a well thought out, proper place that’s asthetically pleasing. Might she be sentimental? Possibly a romantic? Who is she spying on with those binoculars? Or is she bird watching?

I have a hero in another book and his home looks a lot like this:

Modern-minimalist-gray-living-room-interior-design-rendering

Bright, neat and tidy. No clutter for this hero. Lots of thought and money spent on lighting, high end electronics, mainly uses neutrals, somewhat minimalist with some funky art pieces and deco area rug. Is that a bust of Beethoven? Bottle of red wine? Do you think this guy is haphazard? Often unprepared or detail oriented? Is he a little OCD or the kind of person who’d trample sand into the house and leave it there for weeks? Would you trust him to do all of your logistics and computer infiltration?

Tell me about the person who lives here:

midcentury modern den

I mean besides the fact that Syd and I would rob them of their lamps first chance we got. What else would you theorize about them?

What about the hero or heroine who finally gets the girl or guy and brings them back to this:Moroccan-designrulz-00997

What kind of lover would they be? Would they cook a meal for their significant other? Take their time and woo, appealing to all the senses? Would the sex be wham bam thank you ma’am or more likely to last an entire weekend with breaks in between for food and hydration?

You get where I’m going with this? What if your character doesn’t have a home? What does that mean for his or her conflicts and motivations?

Next time you’re stuck, be it with characterization or even plot – I swear this will help your plot too – consider the homes in your story. If home is where the heart is, you need to know where your characters live.

Write on,

McGovy

15 Comments

Thread the Hook: Plot Threads & Finding Nemo

On my last post, I discussed my process of character, setting, and plot sketching.  Since then, I’ve created character sheets for my POV characters, developed my setting (which was fairly quick, considering I’m using the same small town I created for my last manuscript), and I’ve started to develop my basic plot sketch.

Next item:  Plot Threads.

Every writer has their own method for developing and keeping track of plot threads.  The number of plot threads you have will depend on a number of things, like complexity, number of POV’s, and the length of your manuscript.  Having too many threads will increase your word count and could confuse your readers.  Not having enough can leave your manuscript feeling one-dimensional, which isn’t good either.  Unfortunately, the only way to figure out the number that works for you is through trial and error.  I’ve had to go back and delete quite a few plot threads in my time to cut down word count.

So for today, I thought it would be fun to take one of my favorite Disney movies, Finding Nemo, and demonstrate some common threads:

1.      The Main Plot

This is the entire idea of the story, the whole reason for writing it, what everything else is working to achieve.  In Finding Nemo, the main plot would be Marlin’s quest to find his lost son.  Fairly self-explanatory.

2.      Subplots

These are all the sideline stories.  In Finding Nemo, some of the subplots include Dory’s short term memory, Gill’s desire to get back to the ocean, and Bruce’s support group for his fellow sharks (I’m havin’ fish tonight!).

sharks

I find subplots are most effective when they are used as tools to push the main plot along.  My subplots always collide together at some point, whether to create a mess for the characters or to help them find their way out of one.  Gill knows to send Nemo down the drain because “all drains lead to the ocean.”  Dory can’t remember Nemo’s name, but when she hears P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sidney, she knows exactly who Nemo is.  And it is Marlin’s tangle with the sharks that sends news to Nemo in the fish tank.

3.      Romance Thread

Though I don’t write strictly romance, I love a good romance thread.  Sometimes I have a couple.  I consider my romance thread a little bonus for the reader, but if you write romance it’s a necessity.  Although there isn’t a romance thread in Nemo, you could possibly look at Marlin’s growing friendship with Dory in a similar light.

Dory_marlin

4.      Themes

I LOVE themes.  I love linking them together and finding ways to represent them in my stories.  I love laying the little gems to be found later.  I love discovering how other writers portray their themes.  I love…Okay, I could seriously go on for hours about theme.  I’ll save that topic for another day.

Because my writing tends toward the literary side of things, I spend a lot of time developing my themes.  They are as important to the main plot/idea of my stories as anything else is.  Perhaps your style lends itself more to a heavy external plot and you won’t focus on theme as much as I do.

Trust is a major theme in Finding Nemo.  Marlin learning to trust his son and his new friend Dory, and Nemo learning to trust himself and his new fish tank mates.  Acceptance is another theme, demonstrated through Nemo’s and Gill’s “lucky fins,” as well as Marlin growing to accept Dory’s short term memory.

Gill

So there you have it — the main plot threads.  Once I’ve established my threads, I’ll start looking at where they fit into the arc of my story and my character development.  How do they work together to achieve my overall goal, and when is the best time to merge them together?  This could take some time, depending on how complex my story is.  Hopefully I will get through this in time for my next post, and then I can start plotting scene by scene!

What about you?  Do you plan all your threads from the beginning or see what comes up? I’d love to hear about it!

Jenna P

 

11 Comments

Could It Be You?

Have you ever worked on a project only to have your creativity suddenly lock up like a motor without a drop of oil? That happened to me recently.

I had been getting the same feedback on a manuscript from agents and editors so I was in the process of incorporating the changes when it happened. I thought the modifications would be easy. Just take out this, cut and paste that. Smooth manuscript sailing, right? Wrong.

I found myself frustrated. I avoided writing because the story wasn’t working. It was a mess, and I didn’t have a clue why. I used the same characters. The story took place in the same town. The goals and motivation were the same. Nevertheless, it was clear, the story just wasn’t working.

One afternoon, at a coffee shop I discussed the issue with my critique partner.

Me: “This book is driving me crazy. I’m ready to give up.”

CP: “Why would you do that? So far, what you’ve given me is good.”

Me: “It’s just not working. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong.”

I literally had to refrain from kicking the table and wailing in a whiny four-year-old voice, “IT’S TOO HARD. I CAN’T DO IT.”

My critique partner may be the wisest woman I know. She looked at me and said, “It’s not the story that’s not working. It’s you. You’ve got to figure out what’s going on with you. Then, you’ll figure out what’s going on with your story.”

What the heck did my personal life have to do with the disastrous rewrite? I soon found out.

I heeded her advice and spent the next couple of days analyzing what was going on with ME.

I came up with this:

*Like 90% of the world, I’d been under a lot of stress.

*I’d started working out again, and my body felt sore and physically lousy.

*My family relationships were out of whack.

*My writing felt pressured. I was writing a Christmas story, which meant there were specific submission deadlines, and they were approaching fast.

Yet, I was going along day after day as if everything were fine. You could say I was trying to force normalcy in my life and in my writing, when things were far from normal.

So I got to work.

*I cleared some things off my schedule to relieve daily stress.

*I took two days off from exercise to allow my body to recuperate.

*I had a nice talk with my loved ones concerning the things that had been bothering me.

*And sadly, I faced the fact that I wasn’t going to make this year’s deadline for my Christmas story.

Dealing with these issues defogged my creative crisis and got my motor running again. The problem with my manuscript became crystal clear! I was trying to force two stories together, when it was obvious, they wanted to be separate. I’m happy to report my vision is back and the NEW story is flowing nicely.

My CP was right. I’d been the problem all along. If you’re like me and you’ve found yourself wondering why your writing isn’t working, there’s a possibility it isn’t your writing at all. Perhaps the problem is YOU.

I’m here to help if you’d like to chat about it.

Remember to dream big!

Lori

 

 

9 Comments

All About Street Teams

With the release of my first book, MUST LOVE DUKES, one month ago and the release of my second book, DESPERATELY SEEKING SUZANNA, today, my life has been consumed with marketing and promotions. Blog tours, giveaways, signings…it’s overwhelming, terrifying, exciting, wonderful…and it can, at times, also feel like you’re dancing the soft shoe to an empty auditorium.

Buy my book pic

The temptation at times like these is to scream louder about your book release. But, this, bad girlz of the world, is a slippery slope of continuous buy my book posts and retweets of every single mention or review you can find. And all of your friends and followers will simultaneously roll their eyes and scroll on past you. After all, would you want to chat with someone who could only talk about the book they just released?

I went to space

So, what’s a Bad Girl to do? …I have no idea. But, I was hoping we could discuss it and come up with some answers. *winks* I’ve heard 2 ideas recently that could work: newsletters and street teams. Today, let’s talk about street teams.
What the heck is a street team?
Street team is a term that originated in the music industry. It refers to a group of people, usually fans, who hit the metaphorical streets to help promote a product. I first heard about street teams at Moonlight and Magnolias Conference 18 months ago when an author there was talking about throwing a party for her street team. I didn’t give it much thought at the time other than a casual, well that’s an interesting concept. More recently, I heard another author talking about how she had to hire an assistant to help manage her street team. This seemed crazy to me. Our job as writers is to write, isn’t it? Why are we spending so much energy and in this case money to manage a group of people who—if truly fans—would want us to be focused on writing our next book anyway? I’ll be honest, I was anti-street team up to this point. But, more and more, street teams seem to be everywhere these days. And, now I’m wondering…
Do I need a street team?
We have all heard about developing our platform and role social media plays in getting published and promoting our brands. But, unless we want to be like Wolowitz just after his return from the space station, how do we promote ourselves? I think the idea behind a street team is to make your circle of influence larger. There’s a much larger impact on social media if there are 20 people posting buy links for your books, sharing reviews, and even writing reviews, versus you banging your followers over the head with your book. On the other hand, there is some administrative work that goes into managing activities and organizing mailings which takes time and energy. Let me explain.
How it works. (This is the information I’ve been able to gather online. I’m sure there is more. If you have more information, feel free to share it in the comments section.)

  • You need a title for your street team. If I had a street team I would name it something like E. Michels’ Glitter Squad. I’ve seen Author X’s Corset Crew, Author Y’s Darlings, and Author Z’s Jewels. You get the idea.
  • You need a place to gather your group. Either through a Facebook group or a page on your website, you need a place to post things to your street team.
  • You need a system. This works much like earning those little tickets at Chuck E. Cheese. The plastic ant your child doesn’t want is 10 tickets, but the shiny rubber bouncy ball you child is begging for is 50 tickets. Same concept here. Retweets, likes on Facebook, sharing of buy links and cover images, posting of honest reviews on Amazon and Goodreads—everything has a point value. People involved in this want the top prizes: ARCs, jewelry, mentions in the acknowledgements, party invitations, even naming of characters. Of course the plastic ant equivalent in this explanation is a postcard with a promotional button attached, with the midrange gift being something like a $5 gift card to Starbucks.
  • You need a spreadsheet or Google doc or ??? This is where I get a little fuzzy. How do you keep track of all of this? And, do you need an assistant to handle the logistics of it so it doesn’t consume your life? If you have details on this, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments of this post.

To sum up: Have we reached the point when personal social media just isn’t enough anymore and we must go down this road whether we want to or not? I’m a new author and I only have ¼ the number of reviews on Amazon that some authors have…and I have to wonder if that difference in numbers *isn’t* simply because I’m new to readers. I wonder if the difference is my lack of a street team.

Should you have a street team? Should I? Let’s discuss it.

~ E. Michels

Today is Release Day for DESPERATELY SEEKING SUZANNA!

Her Cinderella Moment

Sue Green just wanted one night to be the pretty one. But a few glasses of champagne and one wild disguise later, she’s in some serious trouble. Who knew the devastatingly handsome face of Lord Holden Ellis would get in the way of her foot? And how exactly did all that high-kick dancing start in the first place? At least she blamed it on her new persona—Suzanna—so Society’s most eligible bachelor will never find out the truth.

All Holden wants is the truth. Who was that vixen who seduced him so thoroughly, then disappeared? The only one who seems to have any answers about Suzanna is Miss Sue Green. She’s promised to help him find his mystery woman, but she’s not being all that helpful. And the more time Holden spends with Sue—witty, pretty, and disarmingly honest—the more he realizes he may have found exactly what he’s been looking for all along…

 

 

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