Don't follow your dreams. Market them.

Advertising and Marketing have been around forever. Some of it works really well, some of it goes unnoticed. And what works well for one product, may not do anything for another.

I get asked a lot about what I do to market my books. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer, but I thought I could write down some of the things I believe have worked for me. Then I can simply direct people to this page and get back to watching Game of Thrones.

Take a minute to look at this checklist. If you can’t answer YES to all of the items, then you probably aren't ready to market your book, and should go back and complete these things before you read on:
1.     I have a completed manuscript
2.     I have read and revised my manuscript more than 25 times (seriously, by the time you’re ready to publish it, you should hate it)
3.     I have hired a professional editor and/or copy editor (someone other than your child who’s a high-school sophomore. I believe that English is their favorite subject, but trust me on this one. You get what you pay for)
4.     I have professionally designed cover art for my book (see #3 above regarding your children. Yes, even the one who knows Photoshop)
5.     I have a professionally formatted file for all those crazy eBook readers
6.     I know my genre
7.     I am somewhat familiar with Amazon and how they sell books (tags, reviews, rankings, pricing, etc)
8.     I have purchased a book by Dina Silver

Alrighty, there are probably more things that you need to do, but I’m sure you’ve done your research and are just looking for some free advice (see #8 above).

First of all, I care about making money. Some people say they’re really only concerned with finding an audience or getting their work out there, and while those are also two goals of mine - I still care about the money. Why? Because if I don’t care about the money, then my husband will expect me to get a real job and cook dinner for him. Those who know me well know that I get hives walking down grocery store isles, so in order for me to live hive free and out of the kitchen…I need to make money as a writer.

Be a Brand:
Marketing 101. You should view yourself and your books as a brand. Are you like Apple? Are you like Nike? Are you like Abercrombie &Fitch? Whatever you decide you want to ‘look’ like should be consistent throughout your platform. You might not be as big and well known as Apple, but you can certainly emulate what they do and apply it to any level of branding. For example, use consistent fonts, have your webpage reflect your Facebook page, choose imagery that is unique to you and represents what you’re trying to convey to readers. Ideally have all of your books covers visually relatable. When you line your books up on a shelf, people should be able to immediately know that the same person wrote all of them. That they all fall under the same brand.

Know your Genre:
I mentioned this above, because it’s critical in marketing your book and will define your target audience. I don’t go after mystery readers, because they aren’t going be interested my contemporary romance offerings. There's a reason Pampers doesn’t advertise during televised UFC cage fighting tournaments.

Social Media:
I’ve said this before…YES, it’s a must. Get on Facebook and Twitter and Goodreads and surround yourself with likeminded people. Follow and friend other authors you admire and other people who are adept at social media and appear to be doing it well. People want to get to know you and what you’re about. They don’t want to see you posting ‘buy my book’ messages all day long. Those are fine (and crucial) when appropriate, but the more people get to know you and like you, the more apt they’ll be to buy your book without you ever having to ask them.

Start with a good price:
I’ve talked a lot about price, and have found that the sweet spot for debut indie authors is $2.99 or $3.99. Buyers are swayed by low prices as much as they are by high prices. If a book is priced to low, they may assume it’s crappy and not worth their time. Perceived value, people. Perceived value. Don't sell yourself short on money or pride.

Book Bloggers and Blog Tours:
I have a 22 page spread sheet that I compiled two weeks before my first book was published. It contains every book blogger that I could find within my genre (or similar genres). I spent months reaching out to them with a personalized email asking if they would be interested in reading and reviewing my book. My email was short and succinct, and included a brief summary and a cover image. Some said no, most said yes. Some said they couldn’t get to it for 8 months, but that was still fine with me. There are some bloggers who have more influence than others, simply b/c they’ve been at it longer, and have built a ton of followers. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the start-ups though. As far as I’m concerned, ANYONE who’s interested in reading and reviewing my books on their blog is welcome. I've had that attitude from day one. I don’t make bloggers prove anything to me other than that they have a blog.

Blog tours are a great thing, because you get someone doing the legwork for you. A tour host will promote your book and your tour, and organize everything for you. All you have to do is send copies out to the bloggers. Make sure you use a reputable person...and one within your genre.

Book Clubs:
I love talking at book clubs, and did a ton of them when I published my first book. I asked everyone I knew if they had a book club, and if they didn't, they knew someone who did. What's better than a room full of people (and complimentary wine) telling you what they thought of your book!?

I’ve talked a lot on my blog about reviews, so I’ll be brief. They matter. And anytime someone reaches out to you and said they read and enjoyed your book, you should kindly ask them to leave a review for it on Amazon. They may not do it (and you shouldn’t ask twice), but 3 out of 5 people will and you’ll be glad you asked.

Paid Promotions:
These are a tough thing. The good news is that many of the ones I’ve come across are not very expensive, but you still want them to be effective. I have placed an ad on Goodreads, which was affordable, but not effective. I have placed an ad on Facebook, which I believe could have been more effective if I’d spent more money. There are bigger sites, such as Ereader News Today and Pixel of Ink that offer paid marketing opportunities and they both have a huge number of followers. These promos sell out fast, and sometimes are only available a year in advance. I sold close to 700 books in ONE DAY through a promo with Ereader News Today that I did last January. Those are by no means guaranteed results, but you have a better chance of an increase in sales if the site you’re paying has a large audience of avid readers.

Stay Active:
You need to be actively promoting your book for as long as you want people to buy it. Stay current on social media and what is going on in the industry.

Stay Cyber Focused:
As an indie author, your best shot at reaching the most people will be from online eBook sales. Don't waste time trying to get your local book store to carry two copies of your paperback on consignment. That's not where you'll find your success. 

Cross Promote:
One of the best things you can do is to forge relationships with other authors who are willing to cross promote. I have always been ridiculously supportive of other indie authors because if they’re doing well, then I could be doing well. We’re all on the same team so help your teammates! You shouldn’t view other books as you competition per se. Readers don’t just buy one book.

By partnering with other authors, you can get your book in front of their fans and vice versa. It’s a great way to reach a new audience. The indie community is an awesome one. Very welcoming, very supportive and very effective in moving mountains in this industry.

So if you’re a new author, and many of my blog readers are, let me say this:
Follow your dreams!

Now let me translate that for you:

Don’t stop working your ass off to get what you want.
Be relentless when it comes to believing in yourself.
Be encouraged when you see your peers doing well. If they can do it, so can you.
Work hard to write a decent book, and then work ten times harder to promote it.

Follow your dreams, but don’t be a dreamer. Be a worker!

I'm an Indie Author no more.

An Indie Author No More?

Well, that’s not entirely true, as I will ALWAYS (and proudly!) consider myself an indie author. But I do have some really AWESOME NEWS to share!

About two months ago, I was contacted via email by a senior editor at Amazon Publishing in New York (names have been omitted to protect the innocent). It read:

Subject line: Hi from Amazon

Dear Dina,
Apologies for tracking you down out of the blue like this. I’m in the middle of ONE PINK LINE, and I wanted to get in touch to let you know how much I’m enjoying it. Your characters are so human and Anne Tyleresque, and your sisterly dynamic is so relatable, as is the dynamic between Sydney and her mom. I also love your ear for dialogue—overall, just a terrific piece of writing and I think more people should know about it.

Anyway, enough gushing (although I have yet to meet a writer who didn’t enjoy a good gush). I’m writing because I’d love to talk to you about including your title on our publishing schedule here at Amazon. We’re a small division of the company—a boutique publisher at this point—but we do have all the data, marketing and merchandising power of at our disposal, and I’d love to put those forces to work to give ONE PINK LINE a chance at an even wider audience.

If you’re interested, maybe we can set up a time to talk. And if you’re not, no pressure whatsoever. Congratulations on writing a fabulous book!

See if you can guess whether I was interested or not…I’ll wait.

After I lifted my jaw off the desktop, screamed, and hugged my cats; I emailed her back and began the process of being officially welcomed into the Amazon Publishing family. About three or four years ago, Amazon created their own ‘traditional’ publishing house, equipped with fancy, decisive, talented editors who are seeking out new (and seasoned) authors, and publishing and distributing their books under the Amazon Publishing label.

So here’s the scoop. Amazon Encore will be re-releasing One Pink Line, with a copy edit, a bikini wax, and maybe a new cover; and Amazon Publishing will publish my third book sometime next year. The third book is a spinoff of OPL, focusing on Grace’s adult life and introducing another female character.

This is a huge, bittersweet deal for me. As many of you know, I’m a foam-finger-waving-fan of self-publishing. In fact, if it weren’t for the gift that self-publishing is, I would likely never have caught the attention of any editors…let alone readers. Lord knows my old agent didn’t have any luck.

So why give away my rights if I already have access to readers? Because at some point, there’s only so many I can reach on my own. There are only so many friends and strangers that I can impress with my shameless self-promotion. And I honestly believe that there’s a huge untapped audience for my books that I can’t possibly obtain without further assistance. Thankfully, the editors at Amazon Publishing agree, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have such an industry powerhouse in my corner.

I liken it to sending my kid off to college one day. By the time he’s 18, I’ll have done everything in my power to make him the best person possible. I’ll never stop praising him, encouraging him, and molding him into the man he’s capable of being. But at some point, I have to let him go and hope that he studies hard, meets lots of fabulous new people and limits his number of keg stands. I know he’s going to accomplish great things, and I feel the same way about my books.

The number of people to thank are countless, really. This indie community of authors, bloggers, reviewers and especially readers has astounded me with their support, camaraderie and enthusiasm. I truly feel as though I’ve been part of a movement that has re-shaped the publishing industry in only a few years time, and I’m so humbled by everyone who has supported my books and me along the way.

Lest you’re concerned…I’ll still be out there everyday hawking my titles like a shoe salesman working on commission.

Now, please have a glass of wine with me tonight from wherever you are!

Read for a Cure - with S.C. Stephens & Me!

DONATION UPDATE - Over $2,000 raised so far! 


We have a little over a week left, and are truly humbled by everyone's support. 


Don't forget...You Read. We Donate!   

Help us spread the word through the end of October.

S.C. Stephens has generously offered to help my fundraising efforts this month by donating $1 of every copy of Collision Course sold in October to the Noreen Fraser Foundation. And if that wasn't fabulous enough, her book is on sale this month for only $1.99 on Kindle!

Two books. Two ways to do some good.

Many of you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Many of you also know that BCAM is celebrated with all things PINK!

A very close, fabulous friend of my mine is President of the Noreen Fraser Foundation. An absolute powerhouse in the cancer fundraising arena. So considering my admiration for my friend, coupled with my super pinkalicious book, I'm also donating $1 of every sale of One Pink Line to the amazing efforts of the NFF.

 ...are those convenient sharing buttons below???
 Love those... ;)

Guest Post by Author Jen Tucker

Please join me in welcoming the wonderfully sweet, ridiculously positive, and ever enthusiastic Jen Tucker. The thing I love most about Jen is that we're so different, and I tell her that all the time. I'm 'glass is half empty,' and she's 'glass is half full.' I'm a snarky smartass, and she is one of the most genuinely kind and generous gals I know. If you're ever feeling down, drop her a line. I'm so thrilled that she's here today on my blog! Mostly because it gets me out of having to write anything. Enjoy!
Thank you so much, Dina, for letting me hang out here while on blog tour for my new memoir, The Day I Lost My Shaker of Salt.  For those of you who do not know, not only are Dina and I friends, but we are also Purdue University alumni.  Dina is absolutely wonderful, extremely talented, and I adore her.  Believe it or not, I had something totally different in mind to write about for you today, when something interesting happened while spending time with my daughter.  Something that floored me.  Something that made me feel…old!  

Mommy, Did They Have Dinosaurs When You Were Little?
My daughter, Gracie, is obsessed with reading every single Junie B. Jones book that exists on the planet.  Although she is a wonderful reader at the ripe old age of six, spending time reading this series of chapter books, written by Barbara Park, is something we do together.  From time-to-time, I encourage Gracie to read them on her own.  I’m always met with resistance when I present this idea to her.  Gracie’s reasons are usually the following: 

     “Mommy, you do all the voices, of all the people in the story, and they do not sound the same in my head when I read it.”
     “But if I read it alone, then who will tell me when Junie B. does mischief that I should never do in real life?”
     The one that gets me every single time, is when Gracie pleads, “I love it when you read to me Mommy, so we can spend time together.  Just the two of us.  Please?!”
     How could I possibly say no to that?
We are fortunate enough to have the best library available within walking distance of our home.  It is not open to the public however, and their lending policies are quite generous.  I call it The Morgan Library, named after the little girl who lives next door.  Morgan has a wonderful acquisition of books, which could rival Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection.  Could we get any luckier?  Usually, we check out paperback books at The Morgan Library, but recently we went big time and received a hardcover.  Parks’ latest installment in her beloved series, called, Junie B., First Grader: Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten (and Other Thankful Stuff).  
     After reading the entire book, Gracie noticed a photo of Barbara Park, posed in her family room on the book’s dust jacket.  “Mommy, is that Barbara Park?” she asked, while running her pointer finger up and down the photo.
     “Yes Baby, that’s her!  She looks like she’s just chilling out in her comfy chair at her house, doesn’t she?”
     Gracie intently stared at the picture, and then asked, “What does she do with that?”  My youngest child was pointing to a typewriter that was resting on a table near the author.
     “You know Gracie, I’m not sure that Mrs. Park uses that typewriter to work on.  It looks like she has it on the table just for decoration.  Maybe she collects them.
     Gracie turned, scrunched up her face at me, and said, “No, Mommy!  What does she use that thing for?  What is it?!”
    Oh.  My.  Goodness. 
My daughter had no idea what a typewriter was!  Mortified does not even begin to describe how I felt about my parental faux pas.  I quickly went into recovery mode.  “Well, a typewriter is what people used to write with before computers were invented.”
     “Huh,” she said.  Gracie flooded me with curiosity. “So, where do you load the paper and the ink?  Where is the screen to see the words when you type them out and how can you play Lalaloopsy on the internet on that thing?”
     I briefly ran through the mechanics.  The most fascinating point for Gracie being that there was no “delete” key. 
     “Mommy; you’ve got to be kidding me right now.  No delete?  Well how did you erase your mistakes when you were little?”
     “You couldn’t erase, or delete mistakes, so you used something called White-Out.  It was this gloppy, white stuff you brushed on the paper with a teeny, tiny brush to cover letters or words you didn’t mean to type.  Then you’d let it dry and type again.”
     Gracie turned the corner of her top lip up at me and said, “Well Mommy, that sounds like a lot of work, and really messy too.  Who would want to use that old thing anyways?”  She closed the book, placed it on her dresser, and skipped out of her bedroom.  I was left alone, sitting amidst her pillows and Care Bears, trying to process what had just happened.
     Just as my children never knew what it was like to manually change a television channel, unfold a map to find your way on unfamiliar highways, or stretch the telephone cord under your bedroom door for a smidgeon of privacy, we can obviously add using a typewriter to this list too.  As technology moves ahead, many people put specific items in their lives out to pasture.  I’m curious as to what you remember as a child, even a young adult, that was part of everyday life and is now replaced by a 2.0 model.  What conversations have been sparked in your home over the old line, “Back when I was your age…?” 
     Since the tables have turned on me, I’ll start by confessing to you.  I was fascinated by the fact when I was Gracie’s age, that my mom never had a pet dinosaur when she was little.  She said dinosaurs lived a long time ago, and that she was a little girl a long time ago; I just put two-and-two together.  My mother cleared it up by saying, “Our cave in Kalamazoo, Michigan wasn’t big enough for a Triceratops, Jenny.  That’s why.”

Have a great day and BOILER UP!

Jen Tucker has never met a gluten free cupcake that she didn’t like.  A former teacher and educator, she worked with children in school, hospital, and enrichment settings for many years. In her years at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, it was Jen’s job to bring the “hands on fun” into the visiting exhibitions in the galleries.  Jen broke away from writing children’s books and thematic units in 2011 with her memoir, “The Day I Wore my Panties Inside Out” which was a semifinalist in the humor category in the 2011 Goodreads Book Awards. She is a monthly guest blogger at the website, Survival for Blondes. Jen lives in West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband, Mike, and their three children. 
You can purchase Jen’s latest book, The Day I Lost My Shaker of Salt, here.  You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, her blog or on her website at Princess with a Pen. 


Price Matters: Indie or Trad Pubbed, Everyone Loves a Deal

I wrote an article for IndieReader that I'd thought I share on my blog in case you missed it.

Anyone who has been paying attention to the news lately knows that—as the result of recent Department of Justice lawsuit—traditional publishers can no longer set final prices for their ebooks, which many readers feel should be priced considerably less than their paper counterparts. The question remains, does pricing effect how well a book sells?  Jeremy Greenfield, a contributor at Forbes recently wrote,  “… we’re going to watch the E-Book Best-Sellers List very carefully to see if HarperCollins’s new pricing impacts best-seller ranking. I expect it will.”

How much to price a book, especially for an indie author, is often a guessing  game. Too high for an unknown author looks presumptuous.  On the other hand, free can sometimes feel too desperate. I did a ridiculous amount of research on indie pricing before landing at $2.99. On an average month, I sell roughly 2,000 Kindle copies of my book, One Pink Line, whose ranking tends to hang out in the 1,000’s. Kinda like a high-school kid hanging out in the smoking area, watching the cheerleaders—in this case, titles that have cracked Amazon’s top 100—giggle and paw at each other as they celebrate their fabulousness.

Not to diminish my sales and typical ranking by any means, because I WORK MY TAIL OFF daily to keep it there, but hanging out with the cheerleaders in the Top 100 is where I ultimately want to be.

I wish it didn’t matter to me. I wish I didn’t care about the rankings. I wish I didn’t feel jealous when I see others books doing so much better than mine, but I’d be lying to you if I said otherwise. Much like Snooki, writing novels has been a dream of mine, and if I can possibly do this for a living and maybe support my family by doing so, then my book needs to wear that Amazon Top 100 crown. It matters. Huge.

A couple weeks ago, I was asked to be a part of a group of seventeen indie authors who were going to price their books at $.99 for the Labor Day weekend. Sort of a group sale in which we would all join together to cross promote each others titles and gain maximum exposure for over the long weekend.
Prior to this event, my book, One Pink Line, has been consistently priced at $2.99 – which in my mind (and quite literally) is not a far cry from $.99. That being said, I realize there is a greater perceived savings at the lower price point. The implication that the reader is getting much more of a bargain by paying less than a dollar for my book.

When I had my book enrolled in KDP Select, I vacillated for the entire three months on whether or not to take advantage of the FREE days they offer. In the end, I did not. I know those promotional days have worked wonders for other authors, but I simply could not bring myself to give my book away for FREE. But when this ‘Labor Day of Love’ opportunity came my way, I thought it would be a great way to test the waters of the ‘almost FREE’ and possibly reach my ultimate goal of getting One Pink Line into the Amazon Top 100.

So I priced my eBook at $.99 on Amazon and began doing what I do best: shamelessly self-promoting myself until my eyes bled from the illumination on my computer monitor. Everyone loves a deal, so my amazing network of authors and bloggers were more than happy to share the news. Saturday morning, September 1st at 6:00am I’d sold 13 Kindle copies at $.99 and my book was ranked at #1,645 in the Amazon Best Sellers Paid in Kindle Store. By 7:00pm it was ranked at #536, and when I woke up Sunday morning, it was #60. I nearly fell off my Target barstool. I screamed for my nine-year old son to come look, and he gave me huge grin and a high-five before asking what was taking me so long with his bagel.

I did it.

Thanks to the many people who helped spread the news, I cracked the Amazon 100. And while I spent the next day watching it slide down like a cream pie on a glass window, I have never been so happy to click that refresh button as I was that Sunday morning.

In a matter of three days, I managed to sell 2,178 copies of my book at $.99. Did I sell out by doing this? And why are readers more inclined to purchase at this price point rather than $2.99? My book has 100 5-star reviews; do those two dollars really make that big of a discernible difference to someone?  I think the reason the strategy worked was that I waited until my book was well-reviewed and somewhat widely read before resorting to fire-sale prices. This way, it looked as though the reader really was getting a decent deal. A book with over 125 reviews, and a 4.7 out of 5 rating was being offered up at $.99 – now that’s a steal! By tempting people and lowering my price a mere $2, I incentivized thousands of people that were on the fence into buying it (you know you’ve bought a Groupon under the same pretense!).

My obvious hope was that One Pink Line would hang out in the Top 100 until the price went back to $2.99, much like a party guest that won’t leave until he scrapes the bottom of the spinach artichoke dip with his finger…but that wasn’t the case. However, when I take a step back from my bat-shit-crazy obsession with rankings, I realize that not only are people buying my book, they seem to be enjoying it as well.

They also appreciate a good deal.

Epic Book Giveaway

I am so honored to be a part of the TFEiC Author Event on September 29th in Chicago at the Palmer House Hilton. Seventeen ridiculously talented and successful indie authors (I'm one of them, so forgive me for sounding creepy and boastful) will be on-hand to meet fans, sign books and chat with bloggers about their work.

But sadly, not everyone can make it! So, the fabulous Mollie Kay at the equally amazing Tough Critic Book Reviews is having a KILLER giveaway for those unable to attend the event.

Up for grabs are 30 SIGNED BESTSELLERS! And one winner takes all :) Amazing, right?

Enter here today!

We're having a sale!

This is something I've never done. Priced my book at $.99.

Even while One Pink Line was enrolled in KDP Select, I could never quite bring myself to take advantage of the FREE days. I wanted to, and I scheduled them...then wimped out and changed my mind at the last minute. I wish I had a clear reason for why, but I think what it boils down to is the value of the book. While I have no issue with giving away tons books to friends, family and bloggers, I just couldn't bring myself to offer it up to the general public for nothing.

But an opportunity came my way last week that I absolutely fell in love with. A Labor Day of Love promotion, where a group of indie authors banned together to promote each other, support each other, and reach new fans with a lower 'sale' price. I'm so thrilled to be a part of this wonderful event, and can't wait to see the outcome of our efforts. Please feel free to share!


Enjoy, and have a wonderful Labor Day of Love!

Bad Reviews: To Leave or Not to Leave

 I just read a post this morning by the wonderfully generous author, Tahlia Newland. She runs a site called Awesome Indies, and has done a lot to help boost awareness of indie writers. She talks in this post about grappling with whether or not she should write negative reviews for books she does not like, or whether she should keep her thoughts to herself where that is concerned. I have talked briefly about the importance of reviews in an earlier post, but I will give you some additional thoughts on the subject.

Let’s start by being honest, the ONLY people who sit and debate the nuances of reviews and whether or not fake 5-star reviews skew the entire credibility of the book review system are authors and people in the publishing industry. The typical reader does not sit there biting their fingernails and wondering if the review is genuine or not…nor to they likely care. **you gasp** What? How could they not care? They are being deceived by someone’s grandmother in Terre Haute!

Unless an author has 200 first cousins, each with their own Amazon account, how many fake 5-star reviews can they realistically generate to uproot the system and convince people to buy their books? Consumers are not as stupid as people want to think, and good quality books will rise to the top regardless. Reviews matter, and it’s my opinion that if you are a writer, and someone reaches out to you and tells you they truly enjoyed your book…you should (kindly) ask them to leave a review.

But back to the topic of Tahlia’s article. Should we as authors write bad reviews about other peoples work, or should we stay mum and be supportive? I think you should do whatever the hell you want, but I’ll tell you what works for me. Here is what’s posted on my Goodreads author page regarding reviews:

About books I review...
I am an author, so I appreciate the value of a 5-star review. I know that those stars mean more to an author than they do to me as the reviewer who's doling them out. That being said, if I like a book at all, chances are I'm going to give it 5-stars. However, in the detailed description of my review is where I will attempt to explain what I actually thought of the book, so people can get a better idea of exactly how much I liked or loved it.

If I did not enjoy a book, or was unable to finish it, I simply will not review it. I have no interest in bashing anyone else's hard work.

I’m not saying everyone should adopt this same practice, what I’m saying is that it doesn’t really matter that much what we as individual authors want to do. The bottom line is (going back to the point I made earlier), the typical reader would NEVER even think of applying this thought process to their reviews. They are going to leave whatever the hell is on their mind when they finish the book…and I’ve seen some real doozies. Authors, who are fortunate enough to have books that are read by many people, could never control the reviews no matter how hard they try. Reviews by honest readers will always prevail. Poorly written novels and books that are littered with bad grammar and hideous formatting will be called out - you better believe it. It just doesn’t feel right to me to be the one to do it.

I’m comfortable with the ‘if you haven’t anything nice to say, say nothing at all’ mantra.

Please feel free to comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject!

If Bridget Jones had Sex with Christian Grey

Many of you have already seen this post on my website, but I've had a few people ask me about it lately, so I thought I would add it to my blog as well. Enjoy ;)

I’m old enough (we’ll leave it at that) to remember when Bridget Jones’ Diary was first published, and quickly turned into a genre-busting phenomenon. It was, and still is one of my favorite books of all time. So I decided to take Bridget Jones’ Diary and marry it with today’s biggest book-buster, Fifty Shades of Grey – another book I also read and thoroughly enjoyed. So my friends, I give you:

If Bridget Jones had Sex with Christian Grey
by Dina Silver
~ Sunday 1 January
129 lbs. (but post-Christmas), alcohol units 14 (but effectively covers 2 days as 4 hours of party was on New Year’s Day), cigarettes 22, calories 5424, times I bit my bottom lip 4 (2 were on purpose), times I rolled my eyes at Christian 1, helicopter rides 0 (thank God!)

Food consumed today (wasn’t hungry but he made me eat):
2 pkts of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
1 bowl of oatmeal
Scrambled eggs with bacon
2 Bloody Mary’s - count as food as contains Worcester sauce, tomatoes & celery stick (note to self, biting celery stick works as aphrodisiac on Christian)
Filet with béarnaise and new cold potatoes
1/3 Ciabatta loaf with Brie

Noon. London: Christian’s flat.  Ugh. The last thing on earth I feel physically, emotionally or mentally equipped to handle is one more flogging this morning. My inner goddess (who’s bloated from sodium rimmed margaritas) is about ready to join a convent. I do my best to pretend I’m asleep, but I can feel Christian’s excitement on my arse. Double Ugh.

“I know you’re awake, Miss Jones,” he whispers.

I open one eye the tiniest bit and catch him looking at me with a ghost of a smile. His scorching, intense gaze makes me flush scarlet. “Pass me that glass, darling,” I say, coughing through my dry throat.

Christian hands me the glass containing a mixture of warm Diet Coke and melted ice cubes from last night at 2 a.m.
He sits up, and stares at me, eyes ablaze. “I want you to wear the silver balls to Una and Geoffrey Alconbury’s New Year’s Day Turkey Curry buffet,” he says.

Oh my!

“Holy hell, have you gone mad?” I ask.

“I have, Miss Jones, mad for you.”

Exhausted, I let out an inflated yawn then look into those dark grey, irresistible eyes of his. I’m about to speak, but a small belch escapes my lips instead. “Fine,” I muster. Anything that will get me back to sleep so I can patch up this hangover. My inner goddess officially has a DO NOT DISTURB sign on the outside of her room.

“Thank you, Miss Jones,” he says.

7:00 p.m.  Christian dresses for the party in his grey flannel pants that hang gloriously from his hips, and a white dress shirt, unbuttoned. He’s insisting I wear my plum dress (thank you brilliant Spanx!), silver balls, and heels. I manage the necessary jumping jacks required to heave the Spanx over my pale thighs, and am giddy that the balls were inserted prior to doing so (v.v.g).

8:30 p.m.  “Bridge!” Mum squeals as we enter the Alconbury’s home. “I have a surprise for you, do you want a surprise?”

“No!” I bellow.

“Guess who’s here, Darling?” she asks me with a wink.

“I don’t care,” I say, eager to drag Christian to the buffet and then head home.

“Mark Darcy, you remember Mark Darcy, darling,” she assures me then addresses Christian. “Bridget used to run round his lawn with no clothes on.”

Mortified I look up at Christian, his lips are parted, his eyes ablaze from my mum’s comments - his desire for me is liquid and smoldering. I roll my eyes.

Oh no!

Christian grabs me and pulls me close before addressing my mum. “Thank you so much Mrs. Jones, but Bridget and I must be going.”

“What?” she squeals, “No, darling, you’ve only just arrived,” she says and raises a tray from the sideboard. “Have a gherkin, please darling.”

Excited, I grab one from the tray. Christian watches me chew it and whispers that he has his own gherkin waiting for me as well.

“Laters baby,” he says to my mother and pulls me back out through the front door.

The end :)

Why Sue Grafton can suck it

This morning, a fellow, fabulous author friend Jen Tucker posted an article in which bestselling author Sue Grafton was interviewed. She was asked her opinion on self-publishing. Here is an excerpt:

Do you have any words of wisdom for young writers?
Quit worrying about publication and master your craft. If you have a good story to tell and if you write it well, the Universe will come to your aid. Don’t self-publish. That’s as good as admitting you’re too lazy to do the hard work.

In light of our Louisville neighbor John Locke’s blockbuster indie sales, and the growing percentage of each best-seller list being filled out by “indie” writers, do you still feel that advice is solid? I know it was the standard advice a few years ago, but is it still good advice?
If so, what hard work are indie success stories too lazy to complete? Is it possible that indie publishing is more effective than querying agents & publishers, for the new writer? More and more agents and publishers seem to be treating indie books as the new slush pile.

Good questions.  Obviously, I’m not talking about the rare few writers who manage to break out. The indie success stories aren’t the rule. They’re the exception. The self-published books I’ve read are often amateurish. I’ve got one sitting on my desk right now and I’ve received hundreds of them over the years. Sorry about that, but it’s the truth. The hard work is taking the rejection, learning the lessons, and mastering the craft over a period of time. I see way too many writers who complete one novel and start looking for the fame and fortune they’re sure they’re entitled to. To me, it seems disrespectful…that a ‘wannabe’ assumes it’s all so easy s/he can put out a ‘published novel’ without bothering to read, study, or do the research. Learning to construct a narrative and create character, learning to balance pace, description, exposition, and dialogue takes a long time. This is not an quick do-it-yourself home project. Self-publishing is a short cut and I don’t believe in short cuts when it comes to the arts. I compare self-publishing to a student managing to conquer Five Easy Pieces on the piano and then wondering if s/he’s ready to be booked into Carnegie Hall. Don’t get me started. already did.

So, why is this important? Because she's not only irresponsible, she's ill-informed, and her statements are outrageously ignorant. Forget that she's egotistical. I can live with that. But the fact that she could be swaying someone's choice on whether or not they should take a chance on their dream - after they've more than likely spent years writing and trying to find an agent is reprehensible. Self-publishing is a gift to authors who are overlooked by the industry or don't have the required connections to get there manuscript in the door. And MANY more than she estimates have become wildly successful.

But I think her biggest crime is her lack of support for aspiring authors. Her comments show complete disregard for those writers who have 'done the hard work' but can't seem to catch a break. Self-publishing is their break.

And last time I checked, the NYT Bestseller list, it was littered with indie authors. 

For Authors: Tips on using Goodreads

What more could an aspiring author in this day and age hope for than a website dedicated to millions (yes, millions!) of readers. Think Facebook for readers. If you do not have a Goodreads account, get one. Now. I’ll wait…

Excellent work. I can see that you take orders nicely, which means we’ll get along swimmingly! This is not going to be a Goodreads tutorial, I’m sorry. You will have to mill around there and make it part of your comfort zone on your own. What I will help you with is pointing out some wonderful opportunities offered by Goodreads that will allow you to get your work in front of a few millions books lovers. And if you are an author, you need to label yourself a Goodreads Author so that you will get an author dashboard, and be qualified as such.

 - Giveaways
If you go to your Author Dashboard, there is a section titled Giveaways where you can schedule a giveaway for your book. Currently they only allow paperback copies. I have done three of them, and had thousands of people enter to win my book, add the book to their 'TO READ' list, and many who have gone on to purchase. So this is a great way to get some exposure for your title.

- Friends
I went on and friended readers who I found were interested in chick-lit or contemporary romance, and saw many of these people add my book to their lists. Make friends! Add other authors, and follow people who read your genre. Interacting with people on the site in a genuine way can garner you some really amazing connections.

- Reach out to readers
When I find readers on GR who show a real love for my genre, I send them a private message asking them if they'd be interested in a free copy of my book in exchange for an honest review on GR. No one has said no, and in fact most people are genuinely touched to have been asked.

- Joining GR Groups
There is a 'GROUPS' link at the top, where readers can join groups that represent their favorite genre. I have joined a few of them, and also reached out to a few of the group moderators to ask if they would consider suggesting One Pink Line as a group read. The groups are not a venue for promotion, but it’s another great forum to connect with readers.

- Advertise
Lastly, I did run an ad campaign through GR that started in December of 2011. I spent $150 (you can spend as much as you want), and my campaign is actually still running. It's hard for me to track exactly which views have turned into sales, but GR has a pretty decent report they provide...and sales have been doing well, so who knows. But I am a girl who believes in the power of advertising, so I tend to suggest it to people. However, that being said, I don not think this has worked for me. I’m guessing you would need to spend a great deal more than $150 to make an impact, so I most likely won’t be doing another ad campaign.

Thanks for hanging with me today, please join the site!!