March 14, 2013

The Lure of Social Media Marketing

I’m a big fan of twitter. Not gonna lie, it might be my favourite social media. That’s why I’ve been bitching and moaning about all the indie authors out there who’re using it mainly as a tool to spew out ads for their latest novel. Why on earth would they do it, I asked myself. Don’t they know that it’s dull? That people skim past the noise to look for actual tweets? That they might be sorted out or unfollowed?

And then I entered a contest. And I wanted people to vote for me.

pick me!

Suddenly, I wanted to yell the loudest. I wanted to tweet every hour. I wanted to hold up a virtual sign over my head saying “Make my dream come true!” and jump up and down until everyone realized my book was the best and voted. I got it.

But even though I get why people want to tweet five (or ten, or twenty) times a day about how great their book is, it doesn’t change the truth: it’s bad marketing. I follow people on twitter because they’re funny, interesting or quirky. Not because they blast me with tweet after tweet about their five-star reviews.

There’re two days left of voting in the contest. My book, number 56: Fire and Blood, is currently at ninth place and I’m hoping and praying for more votes. But I won’t tweet about it. At least not more than once a day.


March 8, 2013

Backspace Scholarship Competition: An Update

The voting for the Backspace Writers Conference’s scholarship contest is in full swing. Close to 2400 votes have been cast and they’re still ticking in. There are a lot of good quality manuscripts in there, but clear winners are emerging. This is the current top five list of manuscripts:

Top five

As I’m sure you notice, out of 110 entries, my book (number 56: Fire and Blood) is hanging in there in 5th place.

This is just a preliminary, however. The voting is open until March 15th. Much could happen yet. I hope, of course, that people will keep voting for my book so that I can go to this great conference, and get to see my first novel in print.

Fingers crossed!

March 5, 2013

Shameless Self-Promotion. Read: Help a Writer Out!

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I have entered to win a scholarship to the Backspace Writers Conference in May. I need to get the most votes out of about a hundred entries. Read the entries here.

This is my log line:

Entry 56: FIRE AND BLOOD | Urban Fantasy

When Montreal police start finding bodies of youths with magical potential, Trinity McCormac, the only powerless descendent of a legendary family of witches, knows the killer has learned the secret she once uncovered: that it’s possible to steal people’s powers by eating their souls, but she cannot go to the authorities without making herself a prime suspect. Can she catch the killer before he succeeds in making himself the most powerful witch of all time, and can she defeat him without becoming a killer herself?

All I need from you you, dear readers, bloggers, friends, is a small vote. One small vote each. It would make me a very happy blogger and grateful friend. Also, I bake. Did I mention that?

Anyways, if you think my entry is worth a trip to New York, or if you have other, darker reasons to vote for me, I won’t judge, just click this link and vote for number 56: Blood and Fire.

Remember, a vote for number 56: Fire and Blood is a vote for the future!

I’m not going to promise it would make the world a better place, but it just might. It just might.

February 15, 2012

Writer Wednesday with Kourtney Heintz

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Today I’m proud to present writer Kourtney Heintz. She has braved something I’m still trying to muster the courage for, which is to attend a writing conference. You might scoff and think this just means she’s perfectly comfortable in a room full of strangers, but no, Heintz struggles with the same issues as the rest of us. So the fact that she still dared to go to not one, but two writing conferences by herself in January is quite impressive. It must mean she’s something of a superhero.

In this guest post, Heintz shares her thoughts on James Scott Bell’s talk at the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York last month. Are you exited? I know I am.

Hook up with Kourtney Heintz on twitter, facebook, at her blog, and discover more about her writing at her website.

Conflict and Suspense—A Necessity in Any Book

Thanks so much to Martine at Nascent Novelist for hosting me on her blog today!

I just returned from New York and the Writer’s Digest Conference, where I heard a master of the writing craft, James Scott Bell speak on conflict and tension. I’d like to share some of the wisdom he imparted during his workshop.

– The foundation of the story is a lead character that readers care about. That is the soil for conflict and suspense.
There has to be conflict and suspense because a protagonist’s true character comes out in times of conflict and the reader wants to see the character at his core.

– Trouble is important on the very first page. Trouble being anything that disturbs the character’s world. Don’t opening with “happy people in happy land” because it’s boring. Readers are looking for the initial disequilibrium.
“The cat sat on a mat is not the beginning of a story, but the cat sat on the dog’s mat is.”

– The reader’s bonding experience with the main character comes from the stakes of the story involving death. Either physical (body at risk), professional (promotion/career on the line) or psychological (harming psyche or shrinking soul).
Even a category romance involves death. It’s the psychological death of not being with your soulmate. Your life is forever less than it would have been if you could have been with your soulmate.

– The opposition in the novel is not always the villain. It can be a force opposing the main character or having an opposing agenda.
Don’t make bad characters pure evil. All great villains believe they are justified in what they are doing. The best villains don’t just evoke fear, but also sympathy.

– Scene tension can be built by having the viewpoint character have an objective/purpose. He must face a series of obstacles to that objective in the scene to create conflict. If the viewpoint character accomplishes his objective, make sure it leads to more trouble.
Suspense is the “withholding the resolution to create an enjoyable experience for the reader.”

He concluded by reminding us that writers are “styling reality for emotional effect.”

If you’d like to learn more about conflict and suspense, check out James Scott Bell’s book, Elements of Fiction Writing—Conflict and Suspense.

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