SEX-SEX-SEX! & Kindle-ization of Course

Now that I have your attention, let me paraphrase best-selling author William Bernhardt: “Writing a book is like having sex; both are messy but worth it in the end.”

I’m just back from William Bernhardt’s Annual Workshop, and it was AWESOME! I’m working on fiction for a change, and it’s quite a challenge. I need all the help I can get. So I took careful notes. Lisa Rector’s sessions were outstanding. I look forward to reading her forthcoming book on editing. A few tidbits that stay with me include:

“Be bold. Subtle is overrated,” she said. “Think about secondary characters—what they want, do they achieve it, and if so, is it worth what they wanted? Do they really want it at the end?”

Donald Maass pulled no punches. His inciteful comments and frank opinions punched holes in many hopeful dreams but also provided a more solid foundation for revisions. “It’s the LONGING FOR CHANGE, or the hint of something that wants to be better or human or good, that makes us want to root for the dark hero,” he said. That goes for both protagonists and their opposite. “Most antagonists do not do enough. Get your antagonist busy or busier.”

Yep, I have a LOT more work to do on my WIP!

Aprilynne Pike, #1 bestselling YA author, inspired us all with her humor, dead-on advice, and pragmatic approach to the work.

Besides the killer writing advice, there was great entertainment with a stand-up comic, a state-of-the-union (publishing) address, folk songs and more. Check out some of the pictures from the conference, as well as a short movie sample of Bill having a musical argument with a reluctant protagonist who refused to rescue a kitten.

Oh, I promised updates on the Kindle-ization! Well…Complete Kitten Care continues to sell steadily, now up to a book sold nearly every day. Will I get purr-fectly rich doing this? Not likely. But more and more folks now have access to the latest info at a fraction of the cost. I also just made it available in PDF version for those without an E-reader so y’all can paypal from my website and I’ll send it on off to you (same price).

I’ve more news, but that’s enough for now. I’ll keep y’all posted on the messy-isity progress of both the fiction WIP and the Kindle-ization.

later,

amy

Author Beware!

I’m playing catch-up, as last week was short a day. Lots happpened, I just didn’t have time to blog.  

I’m HISSED OFF about “The Balancing Act.” It’s a morning hour-long show on the Lifetime network that contacted me June 1st to be an expert/author on a pet segment they air on Tuesdays. Great news, right? I thought so, at least initially.

He “pre-interviewed” me (common) to be sure I passed muster and explained that not everyone was chosen and there was a selection process to go through. Okay. That’s not unusual. After half an hour or so of chatting, answering pet questions and telling him about my books, he thought I’d passed muster–but of course, the decision wasn’t up to him. But he wanted me to know what to expect if chosen to be on the show.

I’d be required to include an interview/blurb about the segment and my book in a newsletter distributed to 20-million viewers (oh, darn!), with a link to my website (double darn!) and my books (yee-haw!). Then mentioned companies pay $40,000 to “brand” the segments with their products, and name-dropped several that I’ve actually worked for as a spokesperson. He explained that their writers script the three-minute segment but the author has the chance to vet the script–

Now, I’m starting to wonder if they expected authors to endorse products, and if so, might I also be offered $$ to do so? But no, instead he had quite a finish. Although companies had to pay 5-figures, authors were given this great opportunity for only $4900.

And we were done.

Uh, right! I have NEVER, EVER paid to be an “expert” in any print, or TV/Radio venue. This is a bait-and-switch done badly. I posted a warning on my Facebook page, and sent similar alerts to the CWA, DWAA and ITW lists and discovered Tim Razor  or his associates contacted others of my colleagues.

If you’re an author of any subject, they may reach out to you, too. Is it worth $4900…? Well, for that amount you can purchase a lot of other marketing options, as well as have control over the content of your advertisement. So be careful!

Others have also experienced suspicious pitches, and recorded those at places like Complaint Wire and Scam.com that states Balancing Act aka BrandStar Entertainment are not on the up-and-up. However, JustAnswer.com opines that it’s simply an advertising venue, and additionally, one of the BrandStar entertainment shows claims to be a scam-investigator.

Hmnnnnn. I know what I believe.

amy-feeling bitchy

Kindle-izing & Switching Gears

It’s been several weeks since the great hoo-ha Kindle adventure began. And thanks to one and all for following the progress. While it took a lot of time, angst, and broken nails typing the sucker and formating the pictures, I am beyond pleased by the results.

To date, the book Complete Kitten Care (updated Kindle version) has sold another copy about every other day, garnered three terrific reviews, and moved up paw-step by paw-step in the rankings of similar books. I’ve become a participant in the KindleBoards.com group, as well as the cat and dog bulletine boards at amazon.com, reading and commenting on various threads. I’ve met some terrific people, and learned some neat tips that will likely be incorporated in future updates of Kindle-ization projects. So the answer to those who publish nonfiction–go for it! Other’s milage may vary, but for heaven’s sake, my “dead” books have a new life, are reaching a new audience, and helping kitten owners along the way. I may actually be able to put gas in the car in other week! LOL!

As for switching gears–the whole Kindle project pushed me to blog here more frequently. I’m already quite active on Twitter and Facebook. When I’ve posted notes about other activities (cats.About.com articles, PETiQuette newspaper columns and catchow.com “Emotional Health” or Pet Peeves radio), folks often ask where to find the “print” content. So here’s my gear-switch–

In future, as often as I can get off my ass-ets to do so, I’ll post appropriate columns and/or links to other content in this blog. Hopefully that won’t take much more time out of my shrinking calendar, but will provide more free info to folks–and I hope y’all will post comments and suggestions and add to the general pet care, cat behavior, dog-matic, and writer-ly dialogue.

That’s for next time. *s* So if you’re interest, I think there’s an RSS feed thing-a-ma-bob you can subscribe to, and I’ll also post notices to Facebook et al, and my writer lists. Cuz I’m jess that kinda gal *eg*

Woofs, wags, purrs & trills….oh, and Kindle-dreams,

amy

A Kindle-ization Update & Bonus “Furry” Reads

The news about my Kindle journey continues to be positive, with Complete Kitten Care continuing to sell well, now into the double digits in less than a month. I’m told (by them-thar experienced E-authors) that the key to sales is tags-tags-tags, and reviews-reviews-reviews. Well, that’s one part of the key, anyway, but the sales puzzle has a combination lock that challenges the most savvy biz people. I’m still learning. In the weeks ahead, I plan to set up a paypal for offering the PDF (full color!) version of the book via my website. 

Anyway, the Kindle Boards has been extraordinarily helpful. One of the ongoing threads supports authors with tags, each poster encouraged to tag all the other posted books in order to garner the same courtesy. One of these kind souls also posted a link to a similar Facebook-Amazon-Tag group which offers a similar service. For those who missed the explanation in a previous blog, the tags describe the content of a given book and are suggested by both the author/publisher and by readers. Then visitors to that amazon book page have the option to vote and agree the tag accurately describes the book. Those books with large numbers of tags in a given subject theoretically rise in the amazon rankings so that should a visitor to amazon search for a book with that content, YOUR book so tagged will be high on the list and get the attention it deserves.

Thus far, my Complete Kitten Care has garnered 30-58 “votes” on the various tags that include cat, kitten, breed and the like. I’m also grateful to Fran Pennock Shaw, Carol Shenold, Dena Harris and others for their glowing reviews. Note: I will happily give you and your books a shout-out should you happen to review my book. *s*  Hey, as with cat training, bribes are legal, right?  I’ll keep you posted on when the other books are kindle-lized. 

Breaking news–I just learned that Barnes and Nobel will offer pubit! coming this summer. This is their version of the Ebook, with a free self publishing platform similar to the Kindle model, to publish on the Nook.  Smashwords is another option which can be downloaded on the Sony reader (and yes, I’m looking into all of these option).

Meanwhile, on the article-writing front, I’ve been typing my fingers down to the claws.  So as promised, here are some free “furry reads” as a thank you to all the folks following this blog. Please share with your other pet-loving friends.

For cat lovers–do you understand what she’s saying? Cat language stymies even the most loving cat owners. Did you know, for instance, that wetting on your bed (ew!!!) actually might be a cat compliment? Understanding felinese…cat talk…can help owners solve behavior problems and enrich the relationship you have with Kitty. Here’s how to understand cat communication.

For dog lovers:      SOOTHING BUG BITES AND STINGS

            On-the-go dogs delight in outdoor adventures, but too often they sniff out pesky bugs that prove aggravating or even dangerous. Recently my happy-go-lucky German shepherd pup Magic morphed into a miserable crybaby, courtesy of “something” that bit or stung. His eyes swelled shut, muzzle inflated, and hives made fur stand off his body in an itchy checkerboard pattern that prompted nonstop scratching.

            Fur offers some protection but paws and sparsely furred tummies are at risk especially in areas that host fire ants. Dogs who play with bees, wasps, spiders or scorpions suffer stings on the face, head or even inside the mouth. Bites and stings beneath the fur may be hard to see or treat, but first-aid usually is all that’s needed to relieve any minor swelling, itching or redness.

·         Bees leave behind the stinger, which may continue to pump venom into the skin. Use a credit card or similar rigid tool to scrape it free.

·         A cold pack or compress applied to the bite helps reduce the swelling. A bag of frozen peas or corn works well, and molds against the pet’s body.

·         A baking soda and water paste works great to soothe the sting, but it can be messy when applied to fur so use only on exposed tummies.

·         Ammonia works great to cool the pain of fire ant bites. Moisten a cotton ball and dab on the stings. Calamine lotion also soothes ant bites.

·         For stings inside the mouth, offer ice cubes or ice water for the pet to lick and drink.

·         You can also mix a teaspoonful of baking soda into a pint of water, and squirt the solution into his mouth with a turkey baster or squirt gun, if he’ll allow you to do this.

·         As long as your dog continues to breathe with no problem, a veterinary visit may not be necessary even if the face swells quite a bit. Benadryl, an antihistamine, counters swelling and itching. A safe dose is one milligram for every pound your pet weighs or a Benadryl ointment can be used directly on the sting.

            Hives usually go away on their own after a day or so, and sooner if treated with an antihistamine. Magic felt better within only twenty minutes of the first dose of Benadryl but it needed to be repeated when it wore off. Benedryl also causes drowsiness as a side effect so the pup slept through the night and recovered by the next morning. Today he gives fire ant mounds a wide berth.

Kindle-izing Kittens & Conference Success

Last weekend I attended the Oklahoma Writers Federation annual conference. Any gathering of like-minded writerly types inspires me with rocket-fuel determination to GET-STUFF-DONE! This conference was no exception.

Right on the heels (paws?) of Kindle-izing my first book, Complete Kitten Care I met a savvy writer named Maria Hooley at the OWFI book signing. She’s had great success with the process and gave me some wonderful tips (thank you Maria!). You see, while there’s a savvy group in the DTP area at Amazon Kindle, they frown on self promotion there–techie questions only need be posted. Otherwise you risk getting nether regions singed. Maria pointed me to KindleBoards which still has strict rules–but also opportunities to get the word out. There, you can create a signature that includes a picture/link to your Kindle book, for example, and post a thread about the title.

I’m still very new to this process and learning as I go. The key to getting a book noticed on amazon and raising sales ranking has to do with “tagging” the book, as well. Huh? Who knew? Go to the book page, scroll down, and you’ll see a list of words that the author and/or readers have generated that describes the content. Click on those that you agree with, and as the #’s increase, potentially your ranking also rises. The community at KindleBoards helps each other out with this process.

Finally, from what I’ve gathered, book sales rarely happen unless/until the book receives several positive reviews. Now, when Complete Kitten Care first edition hit the shelves, cat-savvy folks from the writer community came out with meows and yowls of praise! But those stay with the paper book–they don’t carry over to the Kindle version. *sigh* Therefore I’m asking–actually I’m sitting-up-and-begging for anyone who generously reviewed the book previously to do so again. Oh, and go “tag” the sucker, too. Tag Maria’s books as well. She’s good people!

Switching gears–some of y’all know that I’ve long aspired to write fiction, thrillers actually. While at the OWFI conference, I was very pleased to receive absolutely stunning positive reviews of my WIP, which incorporates dog viewpoint as one of the major characters! No, this isn’t an anthropomorphic warm-and-fuzzy pooch, but a thriller with a dog that thinks/smells/acts/communicates like a dog–partnering with his trainer/behaviorist protagonist. So I’m PUMPED to finish revisions and get that puppy (literally!) into the hands of agents. SNOOPY-DANCE-‘O-JOY!

woofs and purrs until next time,

amy