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#MarketingMonday w/@PamPerry: 10 Questions You Must Answer Before You Self-Publish #bookpromo #ammarketing

820d9-pamperry-731603I see so many authors who have this great idea to write a book. They get inspired and lock out the world for three to 12 months and write. Their word flow from their fingertips to the keyboard and after before you know – they have a manuscript.

According to a publishing industry survey, 80 percent of Americans think they should write a book. And only two percent actually finish a manuscript.

So you’ve finished writing the book. Now what?

For more writers, they think it’s about finding right agent or publisher. They then search the internet for agents or publishers and send out query letters. And then the rejections come in. They realize that no one wants to publish them without “proving” they that can publish and market own their book first.

That’s why the self-publishing industry (once called Vanity Press) has flourished! Everyone is a publisher. Traditional publishers want to know if you have real marketability and are willing to take the risk to publish yourself.

To most writers this sounds crazy. They think that it’s their great book traditional publishers want. Not so. They need authors who have a built-in audience. They need authors who know how to sell books.

Bottom line. It’s business – not personal.

But before you write a single word (or before you spend the money getting your book published), review these questions and honestly assess if you are ready to become a best-selling SELF-PUBLISHED author:

1. You have at least $2,500 to $5,000 to invest in the project.

2. Your topic is a topic that is very “marketable” in a book.

3. You regularly support other author events, i.e. book signings and lectures.

4. You frequently visit bookstores, know what the trends are and know (and read) some of the best sellers.

5. You have a website AND a blog to sell/market your book. (You blog regularly and have a following, right?)

6. You’ve published articles or regularly speak/lecture thereby you have an “audience” for your book.

7. You research and read books/magazines on publishing or go to writer’s conferences or are apart of a writer’s group – either online or offline.

8. You know a professional graphic designer, PR Coach, editor and webmaster – or at least know where to hire one.

9. You have a written marketing plan and know how you’re going to sell your book- before you’ve written it.

10. You have at least 10 to 20 hours a week to promote your book and have money for a PR Coach.

If you have answered “yes” to 7 or more of these questions, you are a good candidate to be a successful author. If not, you now have a guideline us to what to do before you start the publishing process.

Ministry marketing pioneer, Award-winning social media strategist and PR Coach Pam Perry helps African American Christian authors garner publicity and leverage online strategies. As a 20-year PR veteran, she is also the co-author of “Synergy Energy: How to Use the Power of Partnerships to Market Your Book, Grow Your Business and Brand Your Ministry.” She offers help through her private mentorship program at http://www.PamPerryMentoring.com

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#MarketingMonday w/@PamPerry: What to Do Daily, Weekly and Monthly to Brand Your Book #bookpromo #ammarketing

820d9-pamperry-731603“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey

Most authors will not become millionaires unless they have multiple works or multiple streams of income that can keep their income level consistent. Otherwise, they will not be able to give up their “day jobs.”

But there are ways to build momentum, expand your platform and solidify your brand so you are successful. Most authors tell me, “I don’t have time” or “I don’t know what to next” or “I hit a brick wall – and I can’t seem to get motivated to market anymore.”

You can market yourself everyday just by doing these things. When I coach clients, these are the things I tell them to do on an ongoing basis:

Monthly

  • Attend a writers meeting or critique group.
  • Ask for reviews or endorsements from those you’ve given “comp” copies too.
  • Attend a civic organization and tell the members what you do.
  • Read trade publications like Writer’s Digest or The Writer.
  • Take a teleclass or attend another type of live internet event.
  • Look for contests you can enter or awards you can nominate yourself for.
  • Create a YouTube video message or be a guest on a local cable show.
  • Hold or plan a teleseminar.
  • Update your media list & research for new ones to add.
  • Invite a media person you’ve admired to lunch.
  • Participate at an event by speaking, presenting or teaching.
  • Write articles and submit to article directories.
  • Post reviews of other books you’ve read on Amazon.
  • Write and post press releases.
  • Write and pitch feature stories to the media.
  • Create and distribute an online or direct mail newsletter.
  • Reach out to bloggers and see if you can do a “blog tour” with them.
  • Meet with your advisors, mentors or “master mind” partners.
  • Add additional information to your website or blogsite (i.e. a blog article, a link).
  • Keep in touch with key bookstores that are selling your books.
  • Email mini-courses to those who sign up via an Eblast that you send out.
  • Manage back end tasks such as customer support, accounting, sales, etc.
  • Look for easier ways to do business. Ask others what systems they use.

Weekly

  • Give someone you meet one of your books and follow up in 30 days.
  • Visit an online forum and participate or get some PR coaching.
  • Look for new articles to read on internet marketing and joint ventures (Google).
  • Listen to podcasts (look for the topic of interest online in a podcast directory).
  • Send an eblast to your email list – giving them a tip or link to blog post you found helpful.
  • Mail a handwritten note or postcard to someone you met in person or connect with online.
  • Post to your blog & add a new feature to “amp” it up (get cues from other blogs).
  • Drop postcards or bookmarks at places where you regularly go – bookstores, libraries, hair salons, cleaners, restaurants, coffee shops.
  • Update your website or blogsite by adding current “media hits” and interviews.
  • Send an email to someone online you would like to connect with.
  • Interact with a “group” on Facebook or LinkedIn.
  • Get to know the key authors / leaders in your field. Follow their blogs or Google them to see what they are up to.
  • Keep track of your stats on your website, blogs and Ezine opens.
  • Do at least one blog talk show or at the very least call-in to one.
  • Post a bulletin on your MySpace or Facebook and add some new blogs.

Daily

  • Write. Write. Write. That’s your main job. Content is king!
  • Read some trade pubs or read magazines in your niche.
  • Comment on someone else’s blog.
  • Make a phone call to a media outlet you’d like to be featured on.
  • Read the daily newspapers looking for topics you can comment on.
  • Scan columns by the regular columnists and give feedback their blogs.
  • Add friends to your Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn accounts.
  • Follow someone new on Twitter or Shelfari.
  • Add people to your database that you meet or have not been in touch with (with permission).
  • Add an automatic signature to all the emails your answer.
  • Twitter by sending a link to your blog, or a favorite blog, or a free report they can download.
  • Participate in message boards, chat group or yahoo groups that are industry related. This helps to increase exposure and give your information to stay on the cutting-edge.

For a creative writer and author, time is managed with calendars – not with clocks. What you are doing is leaving a virtual “footprint” everywhere you go – online and offline. These elements can be implemented with little or no outside help.

If implemented correctly and consistently, these mini-marketing tactics can help revolutionize your ministry or business in no time. By continually branding yourself with the key message of your platform, people will come to you for information and expertise.

Remember to have a marketing mindset and let people know why they should buy your book (mention the benefits of what the book will do for them.) Keep the main thing “the main thing” – focus on changing lives and making an impact for the Kingdom.

Building solid relationships is critical at every stage of branding. Don’t expect instant results though. Trust is the basis of all relationships. Trust is never freely given – trust is earned. Demonstrate your solid commitment and be willing to stay the course.

Pam Perry is known as the “PR Guru”, “Marketing Whiz” and “Social Media Expert” by the national media such as Detroit Free Press, Publisher’s Weekly and Gospel Today magazine. She was named one of the Top 50 Black Women Business Online by BBWO.

Perry has arguably been one of the more high-powered and visible figures in public relations. Her career serves as a notable example of the potency that personally handled promotion has acquired in the mass media. Perry’s rise in the wrangling world of publicity began when she worked in public relations and advertising. Learning the business from the inside out, Perry and eventually formed her own firm, Ministry Marketing Solutions, Inc. To see how she help clients achieve their goals, see http://www.PamPerryMentoring.com

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Publishing Tip: Why Authors Shouldn’t Worry About Piracy

Publishing Tip: Why Authors Shouldn’t Worry About Piracy

One of the common questions from new writers is, “How do I stop people pirating my work?” 

Many of them are even concerned about sending a manuscript to an editor, just in case it ends up on Amazon as a bestselling book under another name.

But authors should be more concerned about obscurity than about piracy, as Robert Kroese discusses today. 

About two years ago, I was on a panel at a writing conference with another author who had self-published a cookbook. I listened while this author declared that she refused to make a digital version of her book available until “they do something about piracy.”

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2017/02/23/piracy/

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New Post from @IndiesUnlimited: Oops. That Book Review’s Not Verified

Oops. That Book Review’s Not Verified

by Big Al

verified review on amazon hook-881444_960_720Way, way back in September of 2013 I wrote an article about verified reviews. In the world of Indie publishing, especially where anything directly related to Amazon is concerned, three-and-a-half years is a lifetime. Much of what I wrote then is either no longer true or suspect. In this article, I’m going to talk about some of the changes and why you, I, or a random reader might care. (Or maybe not.)

At the time I suggested that the only reason someone might care about whether a review was verified was if they thought the review seemed questionable. Then the “verified” flag would indicate the reviewer had actually bought the book or other item from Amazon. For someone looking at reviews and trying to decide on a purchase, the verified flag might still not be that useful. I suspect some people who are more attuned to happenings regarding Amazon might be concerned about fake or paid reviews, and pay a little more attention. But if they’re aware of these issues, they’re probably aware that reviewers who were willing to write a glowing review for a price have options to make sure those reviews showed as verified purchase reviews anyway. Read more of this post

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#MarketingMonday w/@PamPerry: How To Keep Customers Happy and Turn Prospects Into Customers With Branding #bookpromo #ammarketing

820d9-pamperry-731603It’s all about Communicating the Right Brand Message

1. Hire the best receptionist you can find. Make sure they dress professionally and have a pleasant phone voice. They are your front line PR. First impressions stick.

2. Buy a good phone system. Most people would rather talk to a live person than an automated directory of choices. Make sure you use the “on hold” time with marketing information if you do have automation.

3. “Wow” visitors when they go past your facility by purchasing cutting-edge signage. Make sure it “wows” them when people ride up and go past. Electronic signs are worth the investment.

4. Add the personal touch to your brand. You may not be able to greet everyone that comes through the door. You can train your staff to do just that. Having them all dressed in uniform shirts with the logo is a nice touch. At the very least, offer a smile that radiates “welcome and thank you.”

5. Provide a resource table of magazines or a bulletin board with current information. This helps people enjoy themselves if people have to wait. Provide resources to help them or add value to their life or are just entertaining while they wait! They’ll appreciate it. Make sure the information is orderly, current, and attractively displayed to encourage sales too. This is soft-sell approach.

6. Communicate with customers to build rapport and keep them excited about your business so they tell others. The best advertising is still “word-of-mouth.” Collect contact information from every customer. Send regular updates via email to them. If you remember their birthday – you “Wow” ’em.

7. Put your best foot forward. Take extra time and care in what people see first when they walk through your doors. This is critical because it is the place that will make the first impression. Be sure it encompasses the message you want to portray. Evaluate the smell, the backdrops, signage, podiums, flowers, colors, and any other elements..

8. Provide good customer service training. This is key to keep customers happy. Let your staff know how important customers are and how to treat them. Reward them when you catch them doing a great job!

9. Impress customers with stunning and extra clean rest rooms. This one detail is what some people remember most. Maintain your brand”signature” in every part of the building, even the bathrooms!

Ministry marketing pioneer, Award-winning social media strategist and PR Coach Pam Perry helps African American Christian authors garner publicity and leverage online strategies. As a 20-year PR veteran, she is also the co-author of “Synergy Energy: How to Use the Power of Partnerships to Market Your Book, Grow Your Business and Brand Your Ministry.” She offers help through her private mentorship program at http://www.PamPerryMentoring.com

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#MarketingMonday w/@PamPerry: 12 Steps to Building a Powerful Brand Image #bookpromo #ammarketing

820d9-pamperry-731603Building Blocks for A Solid Corporate ID Kit

1. Design a simple logo that attracts attention. Keeping it simple keeps it easy to produce and easy for branding. A good trick is to fax it to yourself and see how it shows up. If it’s confusing over a fax, it’s not a good logo.

2. Create a tag line that encapsulates your brand. Make it succinct and “catchy” so people can remember it. Make your tagline inviting without it sounding too “cutesy.”

3. Choose your brand colors as a reflection of the personality you want to project. Know that you will live with these colors forever. Put thought into why you’re choosing specific colors. Keep the same color-scheme in everything you do.

4. Hire a professional graphic designer to produce your corporate ID kit. That kit includes business cards, letterhead, envelopes, labels, and web site (even if it is just a contact page). Visit something like GoDaddy to buy the URL that will be your web site address. This investment is under $10 per year.

5. Get several professional headshot photos to use in ads, blogs, program books and other media. Image is everything. Investing in a professional photo shoot is the foundation of many graphic items that you will use over and over again.

6. Put your best foot forward on your business cards. This says plenty about you before you even open your mouth. Invest in good, heavy paperstock, Use both sides of the card. Consider putting your “tag line” on the back.

7. Print brochures in mass to send to those that ask for more information when considering you as a guest speaker or to hire you. People want information they can touch, feel, and walk away with to read later, even though you have a website containing all that information. Invest in a simple yet high-quality piece for multiple uses.

8. Design CD or DVD labels to match your corporate ID kit or book. Make sure your web site, social media tags and phone number are on everything that goes out. Yes, that means everything!

9. Order a standard podium cover to match your corporate ID for special meetings in venues like hotels where their name is displayed. Show your own “brand” not the hotel’s. Have people in your audience stare at your name not a hotel’s name.

10. Invest in the special touches that make you stand out in a crowd at places like tradeshows, conference exhibit halls, and conventions. Order items like table cloths, acrylic holders, portable exhibits, retractable floor banners, tabletop displays for your book and tape table.

11. Order premiums that promote your brand or book. These are small details that set you apart from the pack. Get bulks items such as ink pens, bookmarks, magnets, post-it notes, notepads, or mints, to distribute at special meetings or at your book/tape table when you travel.

12. Have postcards or note cards printed to send to media after interviews or to personally keep in touch with select people and prospects. Have the postcards or note cards match your business card in style, prompting brand recognition in the mind of the receiver.

Ministry marketing pioneer, Award-winning social media strategist and PR Coach Pam Perry helps African American Christian authors garner publicity and leverage online strategies. As a 20-year PR veteran, she is also the co-author of “Synergy Energy: How to Use the Power of Partnerships to Market Your Book, Grow Your Business and Brand Your Ministry.” For a free MP3 of “What Every Author Should Know,” go to http://www.PamPerryPR.com. She offers help through her private mentorship program at http://www.PamPerryMentoring.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Pam_Perry/267934

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#MarketingMonday w/@PamPerry: Are You Googlicious? Take This Quiz To See #bookpromo #ammarketing

way companies are thriving while other companies who aren’t “GOOGLICIOUS” are dying.

Test Your Googlicious Quotient:

  1. Do you have a Facebook account with at least 1,000 friends in your niche?
  2. Have you set up a “Like” Page for your brand, book or business and connected it to Twitter?
  3. Do you tweet at least 5 times a day by adding value?
  4. Do you use Twitter tools like Tweet Deck or Hoot Suite with your tweets?
  5. Do you have an updated and full and complete Google profile?
  6. Have you set up a YouTube video channel that brands you by name and look?
  7. Have you created at least one video and posted it on your channel with relevant key words to your brand?
  8. Do you have a LinkedIn account with recommendations from others proving you to be all you say you are and key words in your “about me” section?
  9. Are you part of any groups in LinkedIn and post comments with links (live urls) there often?
  10. Do you blog regularly (at least once a week)? Do you have blogroll on it and RSS feed?
  11. Do you podcast or are featured on Blogtalk Radio frequently?
  12. Do you have photos of yourself tagged on your blog or website with your name as the description?
  13. Have you secured a personal domain of your name at a “dot com?” Have you used NameCheck.com to secure your social media “real estate”?
  14. Do you have a list of the key words people search for in your industry? Do you use them in blogs and in other content-sharing activities?
  15. Have you installed Google Analytics to your blog or website? Do you know where your traffic is coming from and where they are going when they land on your site?
  16. Do you have a FriendFeed account?
  17. Do you Bookmark items in Digg, Stumbleupon or De.lic.ious?
  18. Do you have a professional Flickr account for your photos and videos?
  19. Do you have a Slideshare, Scribd or GoogleDocs account?
  20. Do you have an email marketing program that posts your emails to your social networks?
  21. Do you post articles in article directories and/or do your regularly distribute social media releases?
  22. If an author, do you have an updated bio, your blog and video in your Amazon profile? Do you have an online press kit?
  23. Are you connecting with your core customer in Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn by delivering “fremiums” to them and growing your email list an average of 10 per week?
  24. Do you have RSS “chicklets” or “widgets” on your blog or website that gives you backlinks (which is a key SEO rankings)?
  25. Do you have most of the Google products: Google Reader, Google Friend Connect, Gmail, GoogleTalk,YouTube, Google maps, photos, Feedburner and Google Buzz?

If you have 15 or more “yes” answers, you are on you way to being very Googlicious and having your possible customers, potential clients and media find you. Once they find you – that’s where the “Ka-Ching” happens!

People are searching in Google – can they find you? And once they find you, do you know how to convert that connection into a customer?

Award-winning social media strategist and PR Coach Pam Perry helps African American Christian authors garner publicity and leverage online strategies. As a 20-year PR veteran, she is also the co-author of “Synergy Energy: How to Use the Power of Partnerships to Market Your Book, Grow Your Business and Brand Your Ministry.” For a free MP3 of “What Every Author Should Know,” go to http://www.PamPerryPR.com. She offers help through her private mentorship program at http://www.PamPerryMentoring.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Pam_Perry/267934

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#MarketingMonday w/@PamPerry: 7 Steps to Get Your Courage Back #bookpromo #ammarketing

820d9-pamperry-731603What can you do now to be a BRAVE HEART:

1. Don’t be afraid of your shadow. Trust in God and build up your faith. Be strong and take courage. Do not be dismayed even though things seem hard and tough – know that you have God with you wherever you go. Just only believe.

2. Smarten up and sharpen up. You have to put in the time to learn. You have to train, prepare and get your groove back. Learn technology. Integrate, automate and delegate tasks where you can.

3. Figure it out. Information is power. Quit saying you “don’t know” and go get your Google search on. All the information you need is at a click of button on your computer. The more you know, the more you grow and this increases your confidence.

4. Be bold. Be fearless. Be willing to take risks. You have to risk to win. No one who is living large ever did so by going the safe route. Get out of your comfort zone. Quit being “shell shock” and get some CHUTZPAH, some gall, some nerve. Some audacity!

5. Believe in yourself. Know your worth and demand your value. Keep dreaming big dreams, doing your vision board and saying your affirmations. Who cares what others think or what they don’t do for you? Be true to yourself. Stay on your path and stay excited about your goals – no matter what.

6. Keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. If you have to stop to rest, rest in the Lord. He will give you strength. Don’t panic – know God has a plan. Keep doing your part – and know God always come through. He is our “Superman.”

7. Have a coach or mentor that pushes you. Have a network that celebrates you. Know what type of people to stay away from and know who you need to show more gratitude towards. Who you hang are around is who you will become. Don’t “friend” everybody and follow only those who “get it” and are going places, believing God for big things.

Award-winning social media strategist and PR Coach Pam Perry helps African American Christian authors garner publicity and leverage online strategies. As a 20-year PR veteran, she is also the co-author of “Synergy Energy: How to Use the Power of Partnerships to Market Your Book, Grow Your Business and Brand Your Ministry.” For a free MP3 of “What Every Author Should Know,” go to http://www.PamPerryPR.com. She offers help through her private mentorship program at http://www.PamPerryMentoring.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Pam_Perry/267934

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#MarketingMonday w/@PamPerry: Six Smart Book Marketing Tips to Reach Amazon Bestseller Status #bookpromo #ammarketing

820d9-pamperry-731603

Marketing is not hard but it is strategy. You must know how to do all the steps, in sequence, and have good timing. For a book to sell – it has to have a digital component – sold digitally and marketed digitally.

And if you have video, like our client Dr. Cindy Trimm had, you got a winner!

So, what does “smart” marketing look like?

Here are some book marketing tips:

1. Tying a book and book marketing to news event

If your book can tie in current news events – you have built-in buzz (especially if you don’t have a strong platform or brand). And it doesn’t have to be a tragic event. You can your book launch with a sports event or the Olympics, a hit movie and Black History Month. It doesn’t matter – long as there are people talking about it and feasting on more information about the subject. If you have a book on health and wellness, tie into the conversation about Obamacare or the “Let’s Move” campaign by Michelle Obama. Finding the right HOOK is key and timing is everything.

2. Creating intrigue and curiosity is critical

If you can create curiosity around your book, then you’ll create quite a bit of buzz before the book ever comes out. It’s no different with movies. A good movie trailer will have buying a $20 for a movie (for two) in no time. No different with a GOOD book trailer. We specialize in developing book trailers and creative ideas that fit the authors brand.

3. Making use of technology to sell your book

Yes, YouTube is a great tool for selling a book. But notice that it’s not about the book at all. It’s the back story – the platform you’ve developed OVER TIME that has folks watching you video and opening your emails and participating in your podcasts like crazy.

4. Creating joint ventures for more book sales

I don’t know how many people you have on your email list but if you could double your list and reach several thousand more – wouldn’t that be a coup? That’s what we did for Dr. Cindy Trimm. We did an email and social media campaign to her list and our partners and increased her exposure to several hundred thousand people! So a smart move would be to find just a few joint venture partners for your book and you’ll have people flocking to your website.

5. Selling a book without selling a book

We are big fans of a “landing page” that sells people on not just the book – but the movement. See, you don’t think you’re buying a book – you are part of an event. See an example of what we created for Dr. Laureen Wishom at http://www.fitfinefabbooklaunch.drlaureen.com. It worked!

6. Building a list

When you go to the landing page, you’re really adding your name and email address to the author’s list. They’ll then be able to send you additional teasers leading up to the book so that you’re ready to buy before it hits the streets. We offered Dr. Trimm’s list tons of bonuses for ordering early and an opportunity to interface with her directly on podcasts. Then, we staggered the distribution of the pre-sold books out over several days so that they don’t all hit at once.

A block of book orders shipped as one counts as “one” book on the Amazon best seller list. But, if you stagger the orders, you’ll be more likely to hit that enviable best seller list. You are teased into signing up for the email so that you’ll receive the “insider report.” This “WOOs” people and keeps them interested until the official launch. And she did! #1 Best Seller on several lists, including Amazon and twice on the BCN (Black Christian News) List.

Pam Perry is known as the “PR Guru”, “Marketing Whiz” and “Social Media Expert” by the national media such as Detroit Free Press, Publisher’s Weekly and Gospel Today magazine. She was named more than once as one of the Top 50 Black Women Business Online by BBWO.

Perry has arguably been one of the more high-powered and visible figures in public relations. Her career serves as a notable example of the potency that personally handled promotion has acquired in the mass media. Perry’s rise in the wrangling world of publicity began when she worked in public relations and advertising. Learning the business from the inside out, Perry and eventually formed her own firm, Ministry Marketing Solutions, Inc. in 2000 helping thousands of authors ever since.

Head over to http://www.pamperrymentoring.com and watch the video on how she helps people achieve their goals.

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.@Amazon Now Offers Paperbacks Through #KDP — Should You Use It? #motownwriters

Even better, Amazon allows you to import your existing CreateSpace books (remember, Amazon owns CreateSpace), so there’s no new ISBN to assign. You can bring in any paperbacks you already have set up on CreateSpace and get them onto the new system right away.

But do you want to? Let’s look at the pros and cons of Amazon’s new paperback offerings.

Why You Might Want to Use It

https://fixmystory.com/2016/12/08/amazon-now-offers-paperbacks-through-kdp-should-you-use-it/

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A Book Review: “N” (The Compass Series) by Stephen Santos

front-cover

I never ask for more than I deserve/You know it’s the truth/You seem to think you’re God’s gift to this earth/I’m tellin’ you, no way.

-Janet Jackson, What Have You Done For Me Lately

     There are two ways to think about Stephen Santos and his new novel, N: The Compass Series, and the differences of how we interpret a failed marriage between two people whose worldview is inharmoniously synched with spirituality, practicality and conventional wisdoms that always seem to betray even the most decent of amorous intentions.

     Joshua and Bridget are married, and Bridget wants (and is eventually granted) a divorce from her husband. She moves with her children into a new marriage which she feels will provide her with a better sense of emotional and financial security.  Joshua is understandly devastated, torn with anguish, and is forced to accept the way his wife feels, and he thus spends the remainder of the book laying the bulk of his problems at the winged feet of his wife (whose voice in the matter seems controlled, choked and regulated, but more on this later). At times, Joshua seems delusional and romantic about marriage and women. He seems ironic and contradictory, believes he knows what Bridget wants, yet he is unable to hear her for sake of his own veiled conceit:

We were young, and she had so much life in her. I loved her with all of my heart, but I didn’t have concrete plans as to where I was headed in life. She, on the other hand, had a plan, a purpose and a desire to be free from uncertainty about things. She kept dragging her feet when I would ask her about our future. She knew that I couldn’t change, and that she would have to be the one to. That sounds bad. It’s not that I didn’t want to change for her, it’s just that I had discovered what everyone really wants (63-64).

     But Bridget did seem to know what she wanted in life and marriage, if only Joshua had listened. The novel is full of these moments, Joshua is steady with his blame-game, and Bridget struggles to find happiness and a sense of marital fulfillment. All is difficult mostly because Joshua cannot bring himself to think in practical terms regarding the breakdown of his marriage, the problem of arrogance, and the limitations of spiritual/religious panaceas. He spends too much time ministering to us (in first-person), undervaluing his wife, and, fatalistically, seeing the world through romantic lenses.

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Sing your praises, hold your hand/Tell the world that I think you’re grand/I’ll do any, thing for you, (he-he) but slave.

-Ray Charles, I’ll do Anything But Work

Much masculinity, particularly when it is aggressive and overbearing and hostile and unrelenting, is really a mask for the innate puerile frailty most men suffer. This is why it is so important to repress oppress suppress and  control women. This is why it is difficult for men to listen to women, husbands their wives. It is difficult for a man to respect a woman’s independence and self-assurance, but particularly her right to control her body mind and soul.  And religion undergirds this male persistence simply by way of its own support and confirmation of female subjugation (Ayaan Hirsi Ali is still on the run last I heard). Throughout the novel, Joshua never accepts responsibility for his failed marriage, only insisting that Bridget has fallen from (his) grace like in a biblical scene, thus it is his righteous duty to rescue and rehabilitate her. Her dreams and ambitions (which he has taken for granted and/or is unable to bear) is never really the focus of Joshua’s concern, just that he must save her from herself. More of Joshua’s sermonic hubris:

I refused to worry about things, and I was ok with the ways that life changes direction. She figured she needed to control her life so that nothing was left in the air. I know why she did this, but I knew she would always be nagged by the fears of her childhood unless she followed me. She knew deep down her desire was to live with me, but she kept wondering how she would function in reality? She used to always tell me she thought I lived on a cloud somewhere, and she was trying to make things work down here in the real world (64)

     “Why did she have to do this? Why now? Why ever? For comfort. That’s her reason. So that she could feel more comfortable, that’s what it boils down to. She was tired of being a journey. Well, did she really think that life was supposed to be easy?” (23) Ironically, the answers to Joshua’s questions – which he cannot see because of his evangelical preoccupation with all that is wrong with Bridget – is revealed in the futile soliloquies where he finds himself suffocated by his own romanticism.

     In a scene that is quite revealing, Joshua asks Bridget pointedly if he is the reason to blame for her leaving the marriage. Bridget says yes. “If you  would’ve just provided a safe place for us, a place where I didn’t have to worry about the things I was worried about, then I wouldn’t have felt like I needed to go look for it elsewhere” (44). Bridget is redolent with reason, trying desperately to lift her voice above Joshua’s impassioned sentimentality, hoping he will see the importance of financial and emotional security a woman needs and desires from a husband. She tries to explain what is practical in a marriage and what security means for her: “Josh, you know just as well as I do that whether you worry or not, there are still bills that need to be paid, people who get sick and things that were outside of our financial reach” (44). Again, Joshua misses his chance to learn something about women and how they view marriage. Here he cloaks his personal inadequacy in ignorant romanticism: “Yeah, but life is more than just paying bills. It’s more than just paying bills. It’s more than a feeling of safety” (44).

     In his great novel, Baldwin wrote: “We all commit our crimes. The thing is to not lie

santos

Stephen Santos

about them – to try to understand what you have done, why you have done it. That way, you can begin to forgive yourself. That’s very important. If you don’t forgive yourself you’ll never be able to forgive anybody else and you’ll go on committing the same crimes forever” (79, Another Country).   Joshua’s burden is that he cannot forgive himself for his inadequacy as a provider. He cannot forgive Bridget (in the real sense) because forgiving her would place a deeper burden of confrontation: to excavate hidden pain; to look at the man in the mirror, to challenge all that he has come to know about life, love, and about people. Perhaps this is partly the inextricable burden Santos, too, confronts inasmuch as why he avoids the subcutaneous questions pervading the entire novel:  Why is Bridget’s character so condensed, paralytic, voiceless, and solely dependent on Joshua’s holy mercy and righteous wisdom?

 

     The biblical meaning of the name Joshua is “a savior; a deliverer.” The American meaning of the name Joshua is “a savior; a deliverer.” The Hebrew meaning of the name Joshua is “Jehovah is generous. Jehovah saves. In the Old Testament, Joshua was chosen to succeed Moses as leader of the Israelites for their journey to the Promised Land” (http://bit.ly/2h2Po4r). So perhaps that is Joshua’s real problem: He thinks his job is to save Bridget. He thinks he is on a righteous crusade of biblical importance, to rescue the fallen woman, the harlot, from imminent self-destruction and eternal doom – this, he believes, is his sacred calling. He ministers when he should seek counseling; he analyzes when he should accept; He proselytizes when he should be silent.

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[@IndiesUnlimited] Five Social Media Engagement Tips for Writers #repost

 

Five Social Media Engagement Tips for Writers

by Martin Crosbie

writers and social media marketing business-people-1166576_1920Are you gaining maximum bounce from your social networks? AreFacebook’s new algorithms helping or hindering you from adding readers to your mailing list? Are Instagramand LinkedIn helping you gain subscribers? What about Twitter orPinterest? What are they doing for you? Did you know there’s an actual condition called “Social Media Fatigue”? Yes, there is. Are you feeling overwhelmed yet? Read more of this post

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[QueryTracker] Where to Find Ideas for Your Novel @Janice_Hardy #repost

Where to Find Ideas for Your Novel

The following is part one of a series of guest posts by Janice Hardy, the founder of Fiction University, a website with “over 1,000 articles to help you take your writing to the next level!”

Where to Find Ideas for Your Novel

Janice HardyBy Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Although ideas may come to us at any time, creating a novel idea on demand is often difficult. No one can truly tell you where to begin—they can only offer only suggestions on where to look for inspiration. I know what works for me, but if you’re the type of writer who always starts with characters, giving you a plot point to brainstorm with will probably get you nowhere. If you build up from a premise, giving you ways to create cool characters might muddle your brain.

One thing is consistent though. No matter how you develop an idea, something triggers that first spark of inspiration.

Here are some common activities that can spark inspiration: CLICK HERE

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[@IndiesUnlimited] What’s Smashwords Good For? #reblogged @ #MotownWriters

What’s Smashwords Good For?

by Laurie Boris

Smashwords LogoRecently, for a number of reasons that will take too long to explain here, I decided to pull a few of my titles from theKDPS (Kindle Direct Publishing Select) program and make them available for other retailers as well as Amazon.

But this left me with another choice: I could publish with each of the big retailers individually, I could pay a company like BookBaby to do it for me, or I could publish through an eBook aggregator like Smashwords, Draft2Digital, or Pronoun (formerly Vook and now owned by MacMillan Publishers).

The idea of publishing vendor by vendor gave me a headache;Read more of this post

Laurie Boris | July 19, 2016 at 5:00 am | Tags: Smashwords | Categories: Staff Articles | URL:http://wp.me/p1WnN1-hW3
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[NEW VIDEO] What Stops you from #Writing? #TimeManagement #WritingDoubts #WritersBlockNoT #Inspiration

Talking how I overcome and get to #Writing despite daily life, benefit jobs, Mommying and so forth.

Subscribe on my youtube for more updates… youtube.com/sylviahubbard1 More videos to come

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