Try and Try Again

img_7994-1If we were having coffee today I’d tell you something of my experience with the toughest challenge about being an author.  Writing a novel or any book is really hard and revision is even harder … but marketing kicks me in the proverbial rear end every time.

My philosophy … try anything.

For Father’s Day, I bought myself a promotion on a very popular twitter site hosted by someone named Lacey London.  She tweets awesome and funny things every day and has over a hundred thousand followers.  This is a one-time event.  I’m just curious.

I’m not much on scientific controls, so I’ve piggy-backed a separate price promotion as well.  I call it my Summer Reading eBook Sale.  It runs all week on Amazon, starting Sunday, June 17.  The thought is to entice responders to the tweet with a sale price, but I’ll also do a Twitter campaign of my own, pushing the special price on both my books for people who like to read on vacation.  I guess this post qualifies as part of that promotion as well.  But hey, it’s what I’m doing this week.

Yes, this is all on ebooks.  While doing promotions, people often tell me they don’t like ebooks, they like physical books.  I’ll tell you this, I have zillions of physical books but I also have zillions of ebooks. In one instance they are crushing the foundation of my house, in the other instance, I just have to manage electronic storage.

Another thing people tell me is they don’t want to have to buy a special device. Here’s the deal.  I have a tablet.  A lot of people have iPads.  Almost everybody has a phone and most have larger screens these days.  Just load the free Kindle app from Amazon or the free Nook app from Barnes & Noble (Kobo has one too and iBooks is built into iPads and iPhones) and you are ready to go.  The “I like the feel of a book in my hands” comments are solved on tablets with a good cover.  Amazon and B&N charge way too much for theirs, but I’ve found great aftermarket covers, you just have to look for them.  Ever get stuck somewhere where you have to kill some time and you wish you’d brought a book?  EBooks solve that problem.  Anyway, my novels are available in paperback too, they just aren’t on sale.  Available from the sale link.

On my sale page, I also mention my cookbook.  It’s only 99 cents so it is always on sale.  The best thing about pushing the cookbook is the fact that it has quite a number of dishes that would enhance anybody’s Fourth of July menu.  Especially the “potato salad secret.”  They are mostly my own recipes, centered around the theme of the Mossback Cafe; it is a central setting in both novels.  Remember what I said earlier, about wishing I had brought a book?  I love having it on the Kindle app on my phone when I am grocery shopping and get a hankering for one of those recipes; I just pull up the cookbook and I can review the recipes.

Oh, that secret thing?  It’s something I stumbled upon about forty years ago.  I don’t think people believe me.  At first glance it seems counter-intuitive yet, ironically, it is also logically appropriate because it involves a simple ingredient.  It was one of those happy accidents.  I made a huge potato salad for an informal wedding with a potluck. I was at best a fledgling cook and didn’t much know what I was doing and I did this simple thing on a whim.  At the wedding,  I was almost embarrassed because I had little old ladies following me around asking for the recipe. Really, I just threw it together. People were practically cratering the bowl scraping every last remnant.  It took me a while to realize that although the potato salad was pretty conventional, it was just that one ingredient that pushed it over the edge.

Nope, no hints here, but I will tell you that although the cookbook is 99 cents on Amazon, it is free at smashwords.com.  There is also a recipe for a coffee cake in the cookbook that is so addictive two different readers have mentioned that fact in reviews on Amazon and Smashwords.  Hey, coffee cake; I guess that brings us back to our coffee share here so I better wrap things up … have a wonderful Father’s Day!  Please don’t make him buy dinner.

I’d love it if you would share my links and, of course, check out all three books.  The sale price starts tomorrow (sale on UK Amazon too!)  I’m @thefensk on twitter.

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Thomas Fenske is an author living in NC.  His summer special can be found at http://thefensk.com/spec.html

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Missing the Obvious

img_5454Marketing your own books is a pain.

There, I said it.  I worked in publishing for over twenty-years, but not in marketing.  Now I sort of wish I hadn’t generally ignored the marketing folks in my organizations. I sure could use their help these days.

I was in IT and I was awful to people sometimes.  Oh, I did my job.  I just evolved a bad bedside manner.  I wasn’t alone in that.  SNL had a series of skits about the bad IT guy.  I was just like that character.  “You need to hit tab, now enter, now up arrow … argggghhh, just get out of the way!”   Before you think unkindly of me understand that it was an uphill climb most of the time.  I mean, for example, I had a user who wrote correspondence in a spreadsheet.  Letters, she wrote letters using a spreadsheet.

Anyway, I have been out of publishing for almost twenty years now, and now, I’m back in it.  I’ve got two published books, several more in various stages of revision, and I’m bogged down trying to market my published books.

If you’ve ever been intimidated by the thought of actually writing a book, understand this:  Writing an entire book is hard.  Editing and revising that rough draft is harder. Marketing it?  Well, forget about it.  It continues to kick me in the ass every single day.

The heading of this post says “Missing the Obvious” … so here is a case in point.  I noticed something while was working on a twitter post about my novel, THE FEVER.

A review quote I had added to my Amazon page suddenly hit my eye.  It was there so I know I liked it enough in the past to include it on the page but the impact this time hit me like a ton of bricks.  “You’ll feel like you’re LIVING IN THIS BOOK …”

I have a lot of enthusiastic reviews.  It gratifies me as an author.  And they’re not all friends and family either, I promise.  But this statement, from an independent reviewer, well, that is the sort of thing that emboldens an author to continue on.

Then the old modesty gene kicks in.  “Gee whiz, shucks, Y’all …”

Thomas Fenske is a