In this blast-from-the-past interview with Lucy Pireel in her Author Spotlight blog, I discuss several facets of authoring and how I handle them. Click. Read. Enjoy.
As many already know, From Turkey Creek – A Memoir is a long-term work in progress. It is my childhood memoir of growing up at the most remote, fun, and wacky place in the world: Turkey Creek, in Humphreys County, Tennessee. This is a short, transitional chapter I wrote, which describes the “general stores” that dotted the countryside near Turkey Creek back in the day.
ON COUNTRY STORES
Nearly every dirt road out in the country had a general store. Within an eight-mile radius of Turkey Creek, there was Nolan Sulley Grocery, Thomas Freeland Grocery, George Harris Grocery, Leonard Barnes Grocery, Clyde Rose Grocery, Harold Smith Grocery, Dudley Jones Grocery, and William Covington Grocery. Usually named for their retiree owners, these rural mom-and-pop institutions were the places where good country folk met, talked politics, and engaged in long, serious talks about the lack or overabundance of rain. Women bought what they needed and left; the men stayed and gossiped.
It’s amazing how I can be shoveling January snow one day and observing Memorial Day the next. Time moves too quickly. I wish it would slow down or, better yet, recycle itself. For that matter, I wish I could, too. The past few months, while exciting beyond words, have kept me super busy.
I still have several books in progress, but I’ve decided to keep them on the back burner while I pursue some exciting new opportunities. But of course, “back burner,” in my realm, only means putting the book together (typesetting, layout, pagination, TOC and index, cover design, and so on). I write the books in my head, then commit them to memory; I save the dirty work until later.
Exciting things are happening behind the scenes, and will continue to happen on into next year and beyond. Hint: Keep an eye on the Appearances page and watch [some of it] unfold. That’s all for now.
The Facebook pages for two of my three upcoming books are now online. They’re new, and I’m still moving in, but please feel free to “like” those pages. By doing so, you will receive periodic updates on the progress of each book, as well as release dates, signings, and other events! Just click on the title.
Elly Hays of Tennessee
by Lori Crane
At 2:15 a.m. on December 16, 1811, residents of New Madrid, Missouri were shaken from their beds by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake. The ground rolled, snapping trees, destroying homes and barns, and creating large fissures in the earth. In some places, the mighty Mississippi flowed backwards, and some people simply disappeared without a trace. The earthquake was felt in an area as large as 50,000 square miles. (In comparison, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake was felt in a 6,200 square mile area.) Church bells rang as far away as Charleston and Boston, sidewalks cracked in Washington, D.C., and chimneys toppled in Cincinnati. The initial earthquake was followed by two more large quakes: one on January 23 at 9:15 a.m. that registered 7.5, and one on February 7 at 3:45 a.m. that registered 7.7. The year 1812 saw more than eighteen hundred aftershocks shake the region, registering between 3.0 and 7.0.
In late 1811, Shawnee Chief Tecumseh was traveling the south, encouraging the various Indian Nations to unite against the white settlers. Somehow, he used a prophecy of coming earthquakes to convince the nations to follow him. He promised arms and ammunition from the British, who were gearing up for the War of 1812 and who needed help from the Indians to defeat the Americans. For the Creek Indian Nation of Alabama, the difference in opinion as to whether or not to join Tecumseh resulted in a civil war called the Red Stick War. Alabama saw the Creeks fighting among themselves, against the U.S. governments, and against the white settlers who were continually encroaching upon their tribal land.
It was during this time, a white pioneer family left their shaken land and destroyed home in Greene County, Tennessee and moved to Alabama for a fresh start. Unknowingly, they were moving into the middle of Creek territory—into the middle of a hornet’s nest. The Indians taunted them, stealing their livestock, destroying their crops, and the final straw, burning down their house and everything in it.
The wife and mother of this pioneer family was Elly Hays Rodgers, and she is the heroine of my new book, Elly Hays. She is in fact my 5th great grandmother, and her story is one of courage, fortitude, and determination. She was a brave and protective mother who faced the frightening Creek warriors head on. “Elly Hays” is the third book in the Okatibbee Creek series, following Okatibbee Creek and An Orphan’s Heart. They are stand-alone stories and do not need to be experienced in order.
Elly Hays is the epic saga of a fearless warrior with nothing to lose and a young mother on the verge of losing everything.
1. EBOOK! Every comment on this post during the Elly Hays book tour (Nov 4-16) will be entered to win an ebook of the 1st or 2nd book in the Okatibbee Creek series, OKATIBBEE CREEK or AN ORPHAN’S HEART. Your choice of Kindle or Nook. One winner will be chosen. Prize will be delivered by email. Winner will be posted here in the comments on November 17, 2013. Visit each stop of the tour to increase your chances. An ebook will be given away at each stop. Tour schedule is posted at www.LoriCraneAuthor.com.
2. $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD! If you sign up for Lori’s newsletter by November 16th, you will be entered into the drawing for a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card. One winner will be chosen. Prize will be delivered by email. Winner will be announced in the newsletter on November 18, 2013. Sign up at www.LoriCraneAuthor.com.
GOOD NEWS! “The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge” is now released for the Amazon Kindle! The paperback and Nook editions will be available later this month. What is Stuckey’s Bridge?
In 1901, the Virginia Bridge & Iron Company began re-building a fifty-year-old Mississippi bridge. In the middle of the project, they began discovering bodies buried on the banks of the river.
Legend has it, he was so evil, he was even thrown out of the notorious Dalton Gang. Years later, he opened an inn near the river, and on foggy nights, boatmen witnessed him pacing back and forth across the bridge, waving his lantern, offering travelers a hot meal and a soft bed.
Those unfortunate enough to take him up on the hospitality were often never seen again.
To this day, eerie experiences are still reported around the bridge that now bears his name. If you travel down to Stuckey’s Bridge, be careful, for not much else is known about the man locals refer to as Old Man Stuckey…until now.
The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge
by Lori Crane
Foreword by Pat Fitzhugh
If you have a Kindle, you can download this thrilling eBook RIGHT NOW, for less than the price you’d pay for a cup of Starbucks! To order, just click
the link, below:
I’ve received several private messages with questions about the rewrite/13th Anniversary edition of “The Bell Witch: The Full Account.” That’s great! I intend to publish a FAQ about the rewrite in the coming days.
The “Rewrite FAQ,” as well as progress reports and excerpts, will be posted to the book’s existing Facebook page. The new edition will not have a dedicated page; it will use the existing Bell Witch page.
For those with questions about the new book, or who would like progress reports and excerpts, please make sure to add the following page to your Facebook “Likes.” Thanks!
Many writers ask about marketing their books on Twitter. I’m not a Twitter expert, but I’ve enjoyed mild success by marketing by books on Twitter. How? It’s simple. It’s about good manners and hashtags.
I try to tweet once every day or so; I don’t overdo it. That’s my biggest challenge, as I don’t like moderation. “If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right, and worth doing BIG–to the max, to the limit, over the limit!” is one of my many “patisms.” If you can’t, or won’t, give something 250%, 500% of the time, then don’t do it! Okay, enough. But I digress….
One day, I’ll tweet about the weather; the next day, a fellow author’s book; and the next, my writing progress. Then, about once every week or so, I will tweet to people that one of my books is currently on sale (which it is). I’ve tweet-promoted my books more frequently, but with no results. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that while people love to hear about good books, they don’t like having books shoved down their throats. “Buy my book!” “Buy my book!” tweeted 30 times daily, by the same author, not only makes an ass of the author, but also irritates his or her soon-to-be unfollowers. Be humble. Be nice. Remember that Twitter is a social interaction tool, and should be used to SOCIALIZE with people. There’s nothing wrong with advertising your books, but a little moderation and more socialization–personal socialization–go a long way. And, so do hashtags.
I’ll spare you from my long, ad-nauseous definition of a hashtag, and say, simply, go check out http://www.hashtags.org . You’ll learn what a hashtag is, why it’s important, which hashtags are “trending,” which hashtags have the most activity, and a thousand other points to consider when hashtagging your tweets. Once you’ve learned what hashtags are (assuming you don’t already know), see my list, below, which can be helpful to authors.
PLEASE consult hashtags.org and RESEARCH any hashtag you plan to use. Understand what it is, what it isn’t, and when, and when not, to use it. If you misuse a hashtag, you’re subject to embarrassment and ridicule from the Twitter gods.
Basic Book Stuff –
#novel #new #paperbacks #short #story #greatread #whattoread #books #nonfiction #storytelling #book #mustread #writers #pubwrite #writetip #fridayreads
Indie and eBook Stuff –
#ebooks #epublishing #epublishers #epub #digitalpublishing #selfpub #readanindiefriday #indieauthor & #indieauthors #indiepublishing #indiepub
Quote from your book-
Genre Stuff –
#RWA (Romance Writers of America)
#ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers)
#SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators)
The Book Industry –
Reach out to Readers (IMPORTANT!!!!!!)-
Ok, I’ve let the cat out of the bag and given you my secret. Again, PLEASE consult hashtags.org and RESEARCH any hashtag you plan to use. Understand what it is, what it isn’t, and when, and when not, to use it.
The sequel to Ghostly Cries From Dixie is well underway. The first three drafts are edited, and the fourth is almost complete. Only two more drafts to go! The sequel, with a working title of MORE Ghostly Cries From Dixie, will feature more weird and ghostly tales–and haunted locations–from the land of moonshine and magnolias. The release date has not been set, but both the paperback and Kindle editions will be on shelves in time for Halloween 2013!
Speaking of Ghostly Cries From Dixie… if you haven’t read the first book yet, now would be a great time to snag a copy. The Kindle edition is now on sale for only $2.99!
Click here to purchase and download your copy instantly! Pleasant dreams.
This is Part One of my pseudo-sarcastic series about destroying one’s credibility as an author. I’m not being mean, and I’m definitely not pointing my finger at anyone; I’m just tired of seeing the same old unsavory practices all day, every day. Writing a book is hard, I know. But who said writing is an author’s only job? Granted, writing is the most important part of an author’s job, but non-writing responsibilities, such as promotion, time management, financial management, and public relations, also play a role in achieving success as an author, especially if you’re an independent, or “indie” author.
The manner in which independent authors perform the non-writing aspects of their jobs speaks not only for the individual authors, but for all independent authors. When many authors make the same mistakes again and again, the book-buying public lumps all independent authors together. And that’s when you read such comments as, “Oh yeah, invincible self-published authors and their massive, vapor-filled ego bubbles,” or, “Our publication no longer reviews self-published books because the authors lash out at us if we give their books less-than-stellar reviews.” Sound familiar? And speaking of reviews… Part One of my series deals with handling bad reviews.
~ How to Mishandle Bad Reviews and Destroy Your Credibility and Reputation ~
1) When you receive a bad review, immediately “lash out” at the reviewer. Call them a jerk, and insist that they don’t understand the book or, alternatively, that they had read the book through their eyes instead of your eyes. If the review noted spelling or gramattical errors, simply tell the reviewer, “Nobody’s perfect! A few errors aren’t a big deal.”
The reality: Reviews are for readers, not authors. The author’s job is to create a reading experience for the reader, and then back away. Commenting back on reviews is authorial intrusion at its worst, and in addition to eroding your credibility and reputation as an author, it will likely earn you more bad reviews and/or a spot on one of the many “misbehaving authors to avoid” lists. To put it bluntly, when you receive a bad review, suck it up and move on. Unless the review contains profanity, racism, or a very explicit personal attack, nobody is going to remove it for you.
But, what if a competing author, their publisher, or someone who hates you submits a trash review? Sadly, it happens all the time. It has happened to me twice, plus a third review came from someone who exploded when I didn’t support their relative a local election. There’s nothing you can do about it, although karma usually wins out over the long run. I’ll tell you that story some other time. Now for the good news… Readers are smart! Most readers can spot a “rigged” review faster than you can spot one, and they often vote down bogus reviews as being “not helpful.”
Now, let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Let’s suppose a valid customer submits a bad review and goes into detail. Send them a check! Really. They’ve done what most people won’t do without a fee. They’ve pointed out things you need to work on. Such bad reviews are invaluable in developing and furthering your writing career.
2) When you receive a bad review, vote it down and ask your friends, relatives, and forum buddies to vote it down or leave nasty comments. You can easily bury the bad review, and potential customers will see only good reviews unless they spend oodles of time digging–and most won’t.
The reality: Again, reviews are for readers, not authors. Also, a review’s helpfulness rating influences book-buying decisions. Voting down (or up) a review is manipulating, or “gaming” the system to make one’s book appear better or more popular than it really is. It is a deliberate and willful misrepresentation of a material fact, for the purpose of achieving financial gain. And yes, the F-word applies here: Fraud. Gaming the system not only damages your credibility and reputation as an author, it also calls into question your integrity as a human being–by making you appear as someone who will “do anything for a dollar, even if you have to mislead people.”
3) If a competing book is more successful than your book, or if you’re afraid it will become more successful, visit every review site on the internet and give it trash reviews.
The reality: Much has been said about this practice, but nothing good. I can’t think of anything more unprofessional or unethical than an author’s trashing of a competing author’s book. Sure, authors have the right to an opinion, but sometimes opinions are best left unsaid, especially when an obvious conflict of interest exists. As I said earlier, readers are smart. If you trash the work of your competitors, readers will catch on and your plan will backfire.
Now, a few parting words. You shouldn’t over-analyze reviews; weigh them and move on. If a reviewer gives useful tips, take them to heart. If you receive tons of great reviews, pat yourself on the back, but don’t think you’re J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. If you get lots of bad reviews, take a close look at your writing; you might need to develop and hone your skills. And remember that reviews aren’t about you; reviews are about your books, by readers and for readers. Step back. Don’t intrude. Allow readers to give their opinions and to judge for themselves the merits of other reviews.
The bottom line: If you get a bad review, don’t make an ass of yourself.
Up Next Week: Part Two – Getting Sucked Into the Virtual Whirlwind of the Internet, aka, the ClickFest