Archive for the ‘promo’ Tag

Want to find out when the next book is out?

You can sign up for the new releases mailing list in the upper-right corner of my home page (http://www.valrobertsauthor.com if you’re reading on Twitter or FB).

I don’t spam or send giant newsletters full of “extra content” (good lord, who has the time?) or sell your personal information (squicky).

When I have a new book out, I send you an email with links to purchase, should you be so inclined, No muss, no fuss, and easy to delete if you’re not so inclined.

Okay, my crass commercial message is over, you can go back to your regularly scheduled activity (or, you know, sign up for the new release notices). Should you be so inclined. 🙂

Thanks,
Val

 

Second in a Series of Firsts–My First Second Book in a Series

The Nobinata Gambit is officially out among the virtual bookshelves, which marks another turning point for me; it’s the first story I’ve written about a character that had already appeared in a story, making it the second book in a series. What’s the name of the series? Beats me. It all started with a novella called “Finding the Briar Rose” which is a Sleeping Beauty retelling that I’m going to rewrite and publish as a freebie next year (early next year, I hope), because I like the characters and they should live somewhere besides my dead-manuscript file. The first published story in the series is The Valmont Contingency.

The Nobinata Gambit is the story of Shak and “Lilo” (her real name is Yuki) after the end of Valmont; they save the emperor of the Empire of Nippon and Allied Cultures from an assassination attempt by one of his distant cousins, with assorted tragedies, murders and goings on, a love story, and more sequel bait thrown in because life never lets you do one thing at a time.

The universe for this series is the area of space colonized by humans after Earth’s magnetic field fails–it doesn’t actually FAIL fail, but it flops poles (again, it’s done it before), so it effectively fails for a few thousand years. Geologically, that’s an eyeblink, but for humans it’s a real problem since the magnetic field keeps out lethal high-energy particles from the Solar wind. Privately, I’m calling these books the Diaspora series. Let me know if that works and I’ll put it on the books I control.

My next title will be Getting Lucky, also the second in a series (my second second book, so to speak); it’s the story of Sasha from Open Mike at Club Bebop and the personage he finds lurking in the sealed archive he’s searching for more information on that tantalizing piece of video Colonel Singh turned up in Bebop. Yes, Sasha is smitten by someone as sneaky as he is, and…Martians, although not live ones. I know, right? More on that when it gets beaten into shape.

However, The Nobinata Gambit has an excellent cover, created by the talented and beautiful Kim Killion of Hot Damn Designs (The Killion Group):

The Nobinata Gambit - Cover

  In case you were wondering, you can
buy it here:

Amazon (Kindle)

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Kobo

 Sorry, Apple readers, I can’t figure out how to get a direct link to the book in iTunes.

If you know, leave a comment with directions.

Books by Friends — Amazon Recommends Tyrmia

Look what I found in my inbox this morning:
Amazon e-mail for Tyrmia

Tyrmia is a stand-alone novel set in the Starstrikers universe created by Ken McConnell. I’ve known Ken for several years, and I’m delighted that the gigantic bookstore has taken notice of his independent efforts.

I’m not saying the book is perfect — no book is, and this one has its share of typos — but I think Ken is a gifted storyteller. Copy editors are easy to find; really good storytellers…not so much.

Go, Ken!

When Instalust Isn’t Really Instalust

I have seen a review of The Valmont Contingency accusing me of Instalust and lazy writing.

This is hilarious, because I have difficulty getting my characters to get to the lust portion of the program in the compressed time schedule I’m allowed by The Main Story Question. They’re always, “Yeah, but the zombies…!”

As a result, I made danged sure both Hero and Heroine had plenty (and I mean PLENTY) of motivation before they ever did anything about it.

Please note that the reviewer is absolutely entitled to her opinion, because it’s her opinion (could have been his opinion, but this particular reviewer was female). The book, as an artifact, has to sink or swim on its own merits. Period.

But this is my website/blog, so I’m going to explain things because I can. So there.

Garrick, Our Hero, has been primed by two years of Kardashian-level tabloid coverage of Tasha with wardrobe and makeup worthy of a Playboy shoot.

Combine that with his engineer-personality compulsion to “fix this” and her damsel-in-distress circumstances when they first meet in person, followed soon after by the realization that she has saved his life. “The poor bastard never had a chance” was how Spooky Man (my spousal unit) described it.

Tasha, Our Heroine, is in an extremely vulnerable state of mind when confronted by the first adult male in her life — ever — who actually seems to 1. see her as a human being, 2. care about her well-being (as opposed to her utility to him), 3. give credence to her intelligence, and, for the win, 4. need her help to stay alive.

Oh, and did I mention he’s three generations from a complete designer makeover to the family’s genes, so he’s pretty much physically perfect?

Like the panty-and-tank-top clad heroine who goes after the spooky noise in the slasher movie, my heroines have to have a lot of motivation to do something really dangerous, like fall in love.

Read the book with my list and see if I haven’t included all the necessary and proper motivation for “instalust.” (See, this is a subtle advertisement, because you have to buy the book to read it.)

And that’s all I’m going to say about that, LOL.

Marketing: When is it squicky?

Writers have heard for years they have to brand, they have to be “discoverable” and they have to market, Market, MARKET their own work because nobody else is going to do it for them.

I’m here to say there are times and places to turn it off. For example, I belong to the Romance Writers of America professional organization, which costs me US$95 per year. I belong to several chapters within that organization, including a couple of special interest chapters, which all charge US$20-US$30 per year in dues.

For any individual listserv, I’m pretty much paying US$50 a year for the privilege of getting e-mails. At least two of the chapters I belong to have a promo/marketing problem on their listservs/Yahoo groups. Frankly, it smacks of personal injury attorneys handing out business cards at a Bar Association meeting. Squicky.

I work closely with sales and marketing people in my day job (pretty much, I am the marketing communications department at my small company), so I deal with message, urgency, and spin — a lot. I know all the tricks, and I don’t like it when they’re used inappropriately.

So what do I mean by promo/marketing? This:

  • “I just posted to my blog about (insert subject), so click this link to read it.”
  • “I entered this esoteric contest you’ve never heard of and I’m blatantly soliciting votes.”
  • “Congratulations!” or “I commented on your blog!” (followed by a 20-line signature that includes multiple book covers and an author blurb) — this one looks particularly desperate, which is extra squicky.

Basically, marketing is anything that demands an action from me: give you blog traffic; give you support; give you more attention than your words merit; buy, buy, buy your book(s). Greasy-leer, sweaty-palm, used-car-salesman-with-matching-white-belt-and-shoes squicky. Note: Not all used-car salesmen are squicky. I’ll bet you know the ones I mean.

What’s not squicky?

Class is never squicky. Write thoughtfully about interesting topics and have a discreet link in your signature (that is four lines, maximum, with no graphics) and I’ll probably click it and read about your books.

For example, if your new blog post is so fascinating you want to promote it, post it to the list as well as your blog. Discuss it with your colleagues, using full sentences and words (textspeak on an email list is definitely more squicky than classy).

Be polite. Be interesting. Have ideas. I know, that takes time and we don’t have time because we’re on the social-media-marketing hamster wheel. So get off the wheel; it’s probably the leading cause of squick. I’m a lot more likely to tell my tribe about your new title if I know you as classy, thoughtful, polite, and interesting.

Even if it’s a humorous YA vampire mystery romance I’m most likely never going to read (sorry, YA vampire romances aren’t my thing, even if they have funny mysteries attached), I have friends who love that premise and would also love to find a new author. Just not a squicky one.

So I’m Teaching This Class…

I’m teaching Practical Chemistry for Writers as the first Murder in the Grove online class. This is a reprise of the class I taught through RWA KOD’s COFFIN program last year (with a couple of easter eggs they didn’t get). It’s also probably the last time I’ll teach this class for the foreseeable future.

Practical Chemistry will cover:
* Poison 101 – the basics
* Poison 102 – overview of alkaloids
* Meanwhile Back at the Lab – how we handled things in my lab
* Herbal Medicine that Really Works
* Suburban Terrorism – what HSA won’t tell you
* Love Potion #1 – neurochemistry of attraction, infatuation & attachment
* Soapmaking
* Distillation (making good brandy out of bad wine)

You can find more information (or sign up for the class, hint hint) at http://www.murderinthegrove.com

Feel free to forward this information wherever you think it might be useful or welcome.

Thanks,
Val Robertson

Blade’s Edge – on sale Sept 8, 2009 at Samhain

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