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Daily Archives: November 4, 2012

Guest post: My Book Promotion Philosophy by Robert Rosen

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of marketing, is brought to you by non-fiction author Robert Rosen.

My Book Promotion Philosophy

It happens to the best of them. Herman Melville, for example. Moby Dick, published to mixed reviews in 1851, didn’t find a lot of readers in Melville’s lifetime and wasn’t recognized as a great book till long after Melville was dead. I’ve heard writers say (though not recently) that they’re writing for future generations.

I was never much into the idea of “making it big” after I was dead. I mean really, what’s the point in spending years writing a book that nobody reads when you’re alive? Yes, I write for money, but the thing that keeps me going day after day, especially during those long stretches between fat (and not so fat) paychecks, is a primal need to communicate, which I’m not counting on being able to do from beyond the grave.

That’s why I’ve always done everything possible to bring my books to the attention of people who might enjoy reading them while I’m still here. My philosophy has always been: Talk to anybody who wants to talk to you about your book for as long as they want to talk about it, and go anywhere people are interested in your work. I’m the only American writer I know who’s traveled to Chile to do book promotion, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented itself.

Since 2000, when my John Lennon bio, Nowhere Man, was published, I’ve done more than 300 interviews, treating journalists from the most obscure websites as if they were Oprah. ’Cause you just never know. In fact, I’ve turned down only one interview request ever—from a Holocaust-denying conspiracy theorist who believes I’m the Zionist-funded CIA spymaster who gave the order to whack Lennon.

But there’s one thing I’ve never done and never will do to sell books: Pay for a positive review. A recent article in The New York Times pointed out that Amazon has been flooded with bogus five-star reviews written by critics who don’t read the books they’re reviewing and which authors are paying for: one review for $99, 50 for $999.

I wouldn’t do it because fake reviews sound fake; few people believe the reviews they read on Amazon; and even real five-star reviews (or rave reviews anywhere) don’t help much when it comes to selling books. (If they did, Beaver Street would be selling a lot better than it is.)

Which is to say, if I’m going to get more people to read Beaver Street while I’m alive, then I’m going to continue doing it the old fashion way—speak to anybody who wants to speak to me and go anywhere I’m invited.

Absolutely. Thank you, Robert!

Robert Rosen is the author of Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon, an international bestseller that’s been translated into six languages. His investigative memoir, Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography, was published by Headpress in the U.K. in 2011 and in the U.S. in 2012.

Robert’s work has appeared in publications all over the world, including Uncut (U.K.), Mother Jones, The Soho Weekly News, La Repubblica (Italy), VSD (France), Proceso (Mexico), Reforma (Mexico), and El Heraldo (Colombia). His website is http://www.robertrosennyc.com.

Thank you to Marcia Resnick for Robert’s photograph, and Robert will return on Friday 23rd May for our interview. 🙂

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If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with cosy murder mystery writer Sharon McGee – the five hundred and forty-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books and I also have a blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

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Posted by on November 4, 2012 in articles, ebooks, non-fiction, writing

 

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Guest post: Writing sex scenes by crime novelist Quentin Bates

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of writing sex scenes, is brought to you by crime novelist Quentin Bates. You can read my interview with, and spotlight on, Quentin and his previous guest post (on the topic of incorporating food into your writing) here.

Sex

There. I thought that would grab your jaded attention. What’s there to say about sex? To start with, I’m given to understand there’s a lot of it about. We humans (men, anyway) are supposedly hardwired to think about it every nine seconds, and something like seven-eighths of the internet seems to be devoted to various aspects of it. Sex, and its more respectable sidekicks, love and romance, are fairly central themes of fiction all round. There’s not much these days that doesn’t feature one or the other, or both, or all three.

It’s a good while since I came to the decision that too much sex is normally best left out of the work in progress. It’s not that I have a problem with a bit of horizontal jogging in my fiction, I’m no prude in that department. It’s more that it’s just so hellishly tough to strike the right balance and write about sex in a way that doesn’t raise a laugh or an embarrassed groan – or both. One reader’s sizzling seduction scene is another’s custard pie slapstick, and there’s a difficult line to tread between the two. There’s a lot to be said for those three dots indicating it’s time for the reader’s imagination to take up the slack.

My arrival at crime fiction was by a roundabout route that certainly wasn’t headed that way to start with and I’d looked carefully at other things on the way before deciding to head for the then relatively sparse uplands of Gloomy Nordic Crime Fiction. Fortunately, or unfortunately, whichever way you want to look at it, I was tapping out my first (published) novel just around the time that Stieg Larsson’s was making its arrival in Sweden, so my arrival on the bookshelves was somewhat behind his – and since then Nordic Crime Fiction is everywhere. That’s no bad thing, as far as I’m concerned, the more the better.

A couple of years ago I asked an editor what I should be writing, wondering what the next big thing would be. Scandi crime fiction was already here (hopefully, to stay) by then and vampires were starting to take over the world, not for the first time – so it was already too late to join that particular party.

‘Not sure, darling,’ this editor mused, describing the forays into gay erotic vampire fiction that she had been working with and unexpectedly predicting the return of the old-fashioned bodice-ripper as the coming thing.

Well, she was partly right. Bodice ripping appears to be back with a vengeance, but not in a way that anyone suggested. Three bodice-shredding volumes of Fifty Shades of Grey are all over every airport bookstall after a new twist on rumpy-pumpy (as British tabloids so coyly refer to sex) is here, spiced up with some spanking and made commuter friendly by your e-reader and branded as erotica rather than whatever you might want to call it.

Other publishers are tripping over themselves in indecent haste to join the party. It’s remarkable that the publishing business as a whole that really doesn’t like to be taken by surprise, and which likes lead-in times on a practically geological scale between a writer handing over a manuscript and the finished article appearing on a bookstore shelf can actually do things quickly when it’s time to keep up with the Joneses.

Fifty Shades of Grey appeared from nowhere, taking mainstream publishing by surprise by sneaking unnoticed along the wing and becoming one of those word-of-mouth successes that come along every few years. It’s already been dismissed as badly-written mummy-porn. I haven’t read it and I’m not going to judge it, but there have been plenty of unfriendly pastiches and sour criticisms. In fact, it’s always easy to sneer at something that becomes a money-spinning mainstream success; Dan Brown’s stuff, the overblown later Harry Potter books, Jeffrey Archer’s clunky stories.

But the fact remains that EL James’s much derided venture has made something hugely successful out of good ol’ fashioned sex. It’s at #1 in the Kindle chart and has spawned a publishing boom of its own, complete with detractors and imitations. ELJ has managed to snaffle the jackpot by doing the right thing at the right time, tapping into a demand for erotica of a kind that appears to be aimed squarely at the ladies.

It’s a bizarre business and getting lucky in the way that EL James and JK Rowling did is largely down to chance. While it’s possible to sell ice cream to Inuits with the right kind of smart marketing, runaway success on this scale isn’t something that can be engineered.

Or can it? Is there a market there for a series featuring an irresistible Nordic crime-fighting vampire who pings the buttons off well-filled bodices with a single smouldering glance? Do bodices have buttons?

I may be some time. There’s some bodice-related research that needs doing and then I may have a proposal and some sample chapters to write.

Why shouldn’t we have fun while we’re working. 🙂 Thank you, Quentin!

Brought up in the south of England, Quentin Bates took the offer of a gap year to work in Iceland in 1979 and found himself spending a gap decade there. During the 1980s he acquired a family, a new language and a new profession, before returning to the UK in 1990. He has been, among other things, a trawlerman, truck driver, teacher, factory worker and a journalist.

Frozen Out and its sequel, Cold Comfort, are born of the author’s own intimate knowledge of Iceland and its people, along with the fascination of the recent upheaval in Iceland’s turbulent society. He and his wife regularly return to their friends, relatives and alternate home in the north of Iceland.

Frozen Out and Cold Comfort are published in the UK, US, Germany and Holland. And Quentin’s next book, Chilled to the Bone, is scheduled to be published in the UK in April 2013 and is already listed for pre-order on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

    

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If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with cosy murder mystery writer Sharon McGee – the five hundred and forty-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books and I also have a blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2012 in articles, ebooks, interview, novels, writing

 

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Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast – short stories episode no.17

Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast ‘short stories’ episode number 17 went live today and contained three flash fiction pieces that have appeared on my blog as Flash Fiction Fridays. Do email me should you like to submit your own.

This episode contained: Three pieces by non-fiction author, autobiographer and interviewee Abbie LipschutzCafe Mort (716 words) by prose author, poet, lyricist and interviewee Nathan Weaver (you may need to forgive my French accent in that one) and Autumn preserves (122 words) by short story author and poet Susan Moffat.

See the green links above to read the stories… or hear my dulcet tones on the podcast, which is available via iTunesGoogle’s FeedburnerPodbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe).

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For nine decades, Abbie Lipschutz has been a fighter, lover, writer, dilettante musician and classical music commentator. He is a clinically happy soul who possesses Offensive Charm and Unjustified Arrogance, qualities that have served him well over the years. He was a kibbutznik in Palestine in the early 40s, a veteran of the Dutch Prinses Irene Brigade in World War II, and a volunteer in Israel’s War of Independence, 1948-1949. By then he had long lost his beliefs in the Zionist-Socialist dreams. Nonetheless, he joined, feeling that 2000 years of persecution had been enough.

Having made a living for 50 years as a wholesale diamond peddler throughout the American South, he discovered the vastness of our land, its Big Sky and its multi-colored characters. He ended his diamond career in 1999 after being held up at gunpoint. Seeing van Gogh’s painting, “The Potato Eaters,” at age 14 changed his life by turning him into a political radical, which he has still remained. Thoreau’s phrase, “Most men live lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them,” confirmed what van Gogh’s painting had conveyed to him years before. Husband, father, and grandfather, he has written a memoir filled with the sights, sounds, scents, songs and surprises of a soulful, vigorous life well-lived. His book connects the generations in one grand sweep of hope, love, and peace. Abbie’s website is http://www.abbielipschutz.com and you can watch his video at http://youtu.be/C-xpHaz2P3s.

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Nathan Weaver has been writing for roughly 15 years, though badly in the beginning, and focusing on short stories, novellas and screenplays. He has recently been honing his craft towards writing novels, completing a draft of his first novel in summer 2011, which is the beginning of a series of crime novels set in a high school setting and titled Hardboil High.

Aside from storytelling, he is an independent filmmaker and lyricist for Blue Solace. You can read a lot of his shorter works and excerpts from longer ones, for free, at his blog Tales from Babylon, and you can find this event on his http://talesfrombabylon.fanbridge.com/tourdates page.

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Born in 1969, Susan Moffat grew up in County Durham, in the North East of England, during the period of the Miner’s Strike, mass unemployment and the very beginning of the technological boom.

She studied Computer Studies in the late 80’s, and worked in IT for a book distribution company for almost 10 years, before taking time out to become a mother. She now works part time as a librarian in a Special Needs Secondary School.

In 2010 she started a degree course in creative writing and film and TV sceenwriting.

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Thank you for downloading / listening to this short story episode – I hope you enjoyed it. The next episode will be a hints & tips episode in a fortnight, then short stories return a fortnight thereafter.

All the details of these episodes are listed on this blog’s Podcast Short Stories page and my email address to submit a short story for critique (or review for the Short Story Saturdays) is morgen@morgenbailey.com.

The podcast is available via iTunes, Google’s Feedburner, Podbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe).

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books and I also have a blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

 

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