Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Why people need to be "in the moment"

How often does it happen that in our multi-tasking society, we are thinking or doing more than one thing at a time? I can tell you that I'm usually always thinking a few steps ahead of what I'm currently doing. It's the times we live in that cellphones, are forever a distraction to the moment.

Why should we care? We have busy lives and have to manage our affairs, you say.

I agree except for the fact that time after time we miss special moments due to multi-tasking. I'm as guilty as anyone, because instead of enjoy a shopping trip with a loved one, I'm thinking about what I have to do on the computer at home. The inanimate object has won and I've missed the precious human interaction with someone I care about, that I will never get back.

I've seen this behavior over and over again. Parents staring at their phones while their child plays nearby, virtually forgotten as they experience the joys of life by themselves. Have you ever really watched a child play in the yard and experience life? Children's minds are free of distractions as they simply exist in the moment.

What a wonderful way to live.

We may not be able to capture a child's care free mind, as responsibilities are a given as an adult, but we can be more in the moment. When someone is talking, we can listen without glancing at our phones ever few seconds. We can put the phone away in a drawer during intimate times with our lover.

Being a writer, I find it's important to my writing to be in the moment with my characters, or the chapter comes out like crap. Just as I write my characters to pay attention to one another, I have to give them my full attention.

Writing is difficult enough without the pressures I add myself by not concentrating on the moment. There will always be things in my life that will require multi-tasking, but I can choose to be in the moment with certain things: Family, friends, writing….

I don't want to miss those moments that turn into memories.

Where can you tune out the distractions?

I hope you give it a try and see how many more joys you can experience in life.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

How shy authors can fake being Extroverts

This may seem strange that I'm advocating being fake about anything, but sometimes it's what we as shy/introverted authors must do. Success comes to those able to show confidence in themselves. We all want to be confident and successful, and we shouldn't let being an introvert hobble us.

What are some similes of being an introvert? Shy, timid, quiet, reticent, withdrawn, reclusive, reserved, etc.

Personality wise introverts can come off as uncertain, indecisive, a homebody, or loner. This may not be who they are, in fact, introverts love to go out, enjoy concerts and meet up with friends. It's just a matter of getting to know how to engage an introvert. Hint: Introverts are better at responding to questions than carrying a conversation.

What are similes of being an extrovert? Outgoing, social, friendly, gregarious, etc.

Personality wise "extroverts" are seen as assertive, decision makers, confident, self-starters and successful. They are the people you want to be around, because they have a liveliness to them that is attractive.

How can an introvert author fake being an extrovert?

Tip 1: Own your personal space

In my mind, I always think that wherever I stand belongs to me, therefore it's easier for me to engage verbally with another person if I think they are on my territory. I'm their hostess, and they are my guest. It's better to feel in charge, than to feel as if you're equals. Being in charge breeds confidence.

Tip 2: Compliment and engage

When we compliment another person, that other person immediately feels a connection to us. Tell the potential person you like their earrings, purse or their choice of something. It starts a dialogue the other person will want to continue. If near books or in a bookstore, you can comment on how great you feel browsing the book isles. This will open up questions about you to the person you're speaking with, and that's your opportunity to present yourself as an author.

Tip 3: Questions are your friend

Smalltalk is a learned skill, but questions are easier. Ask the person what they like to read. If they say they don't really read, but prefer watching movies, there is your in. Who doesn't like movies? Ask what genre of movies they like. The trick isn't to refer everything back to your book, the trick is to engage in a conversation that makes the other person (i.e. potential reader) feel important.

We tend to like people who like us first.

Tip 4: Know your book, know your audience

It's not about selling your book to them, it's about selling yourself as a person. They've just met a published author. Let them know what you enjoy writing, and ask what they enjoy reading. It's not every day one meets a writer, so give them an opportunity to ask questions about your writing process and your book. Most people have considered writing a book at some time in their life, few ever do. Even if the person doesn't read your genre, give them a Q and A experience that will stay with them after you've separated. Remember to tell them how nice it was to speak with them, and hand them your business card with an invitation to contact you.

The trick to being an extrovert is all a matter of your mind. You're faking it, but only you know that little secret, so go ahead and engage in a conversation. The first few times may be awkward, but it does get easier.

Soon such interacts will trigger your mind's ability to engage another person in conversation in comfort, due to previous experience, even if being an extrovert is not your nature. Our mind's understand repetition, which is why the old saying "practice make perfect" is so adept to how introverts can fake being extroverts.

My day job requires me to be very social and outgoing, but in truth I'm as much wallpaper as any author in a social/party setting with strangers. That's why if I hope to engage others in conversation; I must own my personal space, compliment them, ask questions, and be sure to be proud of myself as a published author.

Until next time, go forth and chat it up!


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Another Romance Publisher is Closing its doors

Any romance writer these days knows that the industry is forever changing, but some of these changes are not for the better. Another well-established and respected romance publisher has closed its doors: Samhain Publishing.

Here is the Publisher's Weekly link if you'd like the read the article yourself. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/content-and-e-books/article/69517-samhain-publishing-to-shut-down-operations.html Samhain's closing is a big blow to the industry as they've been a quality publisher with a steady reputation.

Last year if you'll remember, my own awesome publisher (Breathless Press) had to close its doors as well. Writers are losing too many great publishers, and I fear it's only going to continue.

Here is what we know:

1)      Small press publishers appear to be dropping like flies as ebooks sales decline.

2)      Amazon is opening bookstores which by all appearances will flourish if they open then slowly.

3)      There are far too any authors flooding the market with "free" books in a desperate attempt to up their rankings and attract readers.

Let's take a look at each of these. Please remember this is my opinion and viewpoint. If yours differs, I invite you to comment as I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Small Presses disappearing:  The smaller publishers have long been a writer's gateway to publication when the writer couldn't get an agent to get on with the big NY publishers. The small presses now are seeing such a decline in sales, thanks to a glut of books in the market, with the invention of self-publishing, that they don't appear able to compete.

There are some really great small presses out there with positive reputations and dependably paid royalties, but they are being drowned despite the excellent quality of ebooks they produce. Authors need these small presses to survive. Small presses provide competition to the bigger publishers, which is healthy for the industry as a whole. It is also beneficial to readers as far as the cost of books goes. 

I'm aware of several small presses that are closed to submissions as of right now. I'm watching them carefully to see if it's temporary or not. Some appear to be winding down their operations. I'll let you know if we lose another one, but for now I won't name names.

Amazon bookstores: Amazon has done a smart thing. They are slowly opening bookstores because it appears that readers are returning to paperbacks and hardcover books. Why? My theory is that paperback and hardcovers receive such careful editing (due to cost of putting out a physical book) that they are therefore of better quality. We've all read those ebooks, mostly self-published though not all) that are put out so fast that spelling errors are so common that we stop reading after a few chapters. It's a waste of money.

Amazon publishes books, ranks books according to sales and generally is what authors go by to determine whether they are doing well, sales wise. I seriously doubt that when the bookstores open, they will carry anything but Amazon books. Will Barnes N' Noble bookstores be able to compete? Time will tell, but we all know that Borders Bookstores didn't fare so well in the end.

The effect of Free books: I believe authors are being crushed under a pile of free books. Why? Often times self-published authors offer their novel length book for free or $0.99 in an effort to up their ranking on and attract readers. Even though this is done for a limited time, it creates a Pavlov's dog effect that tells readers "a new book is coming out, it needs to be free before I will consider downloading it."

Free does not pay the bills; free does not help the industry grow; free does not advance society.

Authors! This is not what you want of your readers and it does not grow your readership because most people who download a free book never bother to read it. This is also a surefire way to receive bad reviews because a "free item" does not translate to something of good quality in our society.

Another effect of free books is the proliferation of pirate sites. I encourage readers to stay away from such sites that offer free books because those download often come with viruses, and malware that destroys devices. It's never worth it. Valuable writing time to lost to authors every day they spend time sending out notices to get their books off of these sites. These sites flourish when authors give readers an expectation that books should only be free.

Please understand that I believe that there are a lot of hard working self-published authors out there that produce quality ebooks. I just wish they valued their work enough to set a higher standard of price than free or $0.99 for a novel length book. $0.99 cent books are best with short stories, and maybe short novellas, not 250-400 page novels that if in print would be $18.

So, that's is my view and rant on what's going on in the publishing industry right now. I'm sure some will disagree and have other viewpoints. Leave a comment. I'm open to hearing others so long as there is no cursing. J

Authors, where do you think the industry is heading?

Readers, what do you want in the future?

Mary Corrales

Mary Corrales is a multi-published erotica/erotic romance author. She loves to combine genres and bring characters the love they deserve.