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My Books With Links update 12/11/12

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The 4 a.m. Poet

Every day we live, we learn. If you think you know everything about yourself then you are most certainly wrong. Opinions change from day to day, and one simple bad experience, or one wonderful great experience can sway you in an entirely different direction.

There are paths in life; some you chose, some you follow, some are pre-designed. For example; my daughter was adamant that she would hate surf school, that she would drown, be left out in the big waves alone, and most likely die. After much convincing, and the promise that she only had to try once then could walk away, she gave it a go. Wouldn’t you know (because I knew) that she loved it!

We just don’t know what we can do until we do.

I for one appreciate poetry, but a poet I am not. My brain thinks in long strands with elaborate situations, much to wordy for poetry. Then I had a two day run with messing up my internal sleeping clock. Day two was quite unique in that I promptly fell asleep at 9 p.m. then promptly woke up at 1 a.m. Wide awake! About 3 a.m. I was able to fall back asleep, but by 4 a.m. my brain was back on. Well, I assume it was back on, though the part of the brain that tells the body its awake was off. I remember 4 a.m. like I remember 10th grade geometry.

aa4But there on my phone was proof that some kind of electrical function was fusing at 4 a.m. Three poems on my phone, all written within 45 minutes of each other. Three very very different poems from heartache to funny to surreal all stared at me at 7 a.m. with the option to “save.” I was amazed; dumbfounded! They weren’t half-bad and one made me laugh. Maybe I’ll be sleep deprived a few more days, because apparently I’m only a poet at 4 a.m.

Tania L Ramos

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My Dream Never Gave Up On Me

Why I became a writer is the equivalent to asking an artist why they became an artist, or why a baby was born a baby, or why a cat became a cat. It just is. In this day and age of people pointing out we are born with certain choices and born without others the answers become clear that we just are.

I have ventured in many different paths since the age of twelve when I realized there was something different about me. While others kids were out playing for recess, I was inside the classroom playing with geometrical puzzles and holding the best conversations with the voices in my head. It just was; there was never a choice. I turned every and any situation into something dramatic, larger than life, and exciting, and the constant march of voices encouraged me all the way. I may have been an introvert, but I was never alone. For the most part, I assumed I was crazy and kept this to myself.

I failed every English class in high school and had to make them up in my senior year. However, I passed (with flying colors) Journalism, Creative Writing, Summer Youth Writing at USC, Poetry, and any other writing program thrown my way. My counselor scratched his head and asked me to explain. “I hate the boundaries of English class,” I told him. “But writing a story comes so easy.”

I blew away the instructors at the USC Writing program–I was only fourteen when I was asked to go. At any prompt they gave, I would have three full pages of a story in an hour, where others had half a page. I was disqualified from so many writing contests because my stories were too long. The other kids wrote short stories, I was writing sagas. In nineth grade I wrote a full length novel … there were no junior high writing contests for novels. Other kids were winning awards and off to competitions, I was nursing the callouses on my fingers after typing my 300th page. I didn’t need competitions or awards, I only needed to write.

One fateful day my favorite senior class teacher told me that becoming a writer would be the same as trying to be a rock star, famous model or actress. “Nobody ever really makes it,” he said. And so I stopped dreaming…but we are what we are. Over the course of 23 years I continued to “closet” write because I may have given up on my dreams, but my dream never gave up on me.

I became a writer because I had no choice. I was given a gift. And it may have taken me nearly two decades to accept that gift as mine, but it was always there waiting for me. There were always voices, characters, stories playing in my head. There was always a jotting down of ideas on napkins, the back of my hand, my blue jeans, my child’s diaper, and even the fog on the shower door.

I am a writer because I am.
I am a writer because my dream never gave up on me.

Photo art courtesy of: Daniel Mariano

Photo art courtesy of: Daniel Mariano

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author
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My books are HERE

New Amazon Feature Can Help Authors

Here’s a new take on two things already in our author superhero utility belt: the #AmazonCart. This is a new tool, courtesy of the powers at Amazon, that allows Twitter users to add your book (or any other product)from Twitter directly to their Amazon shopping cart. Fancy that! Readers no longer have to leave their Twitter feed and get redirected. Can this new feature help published authors?

Here’s how it works:
Simply post a tweet that has your Amazon link and ask the reader to reply with #AmazonCart. This will not only alert you that someone has put your book in their cart, but it will also directly add your product into their shopping cart. The next time they log onto Amazon your book will already be there.
This appears to be a pretty novel concept. How many times have I scrolled across books that looked interesting, but didn’t want to be redirected, and later forgot what book that was? Oh so many. With this new option the book will automatically be in their cart. I always said Amazon was the devil, now they entice us with these wonderful new resources. Devil indeed.

The down side: The Twitter user must have their Twitter account linked into their Amazon account for this to work. It’s a new idea so I’m unsure how many people have their accounts linked.
What are your thoughts? Is this a method you will try? Do you think it has merit?

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author
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Is it Time to Walk Away From Advertising?

After the high of writing and completing a manuscript comes the tedious task of deciding how to publish. Once that task is complete, and if you went indie or small press, next comes the crucial stage of marketing and advertising. I think many indie’s hit this strong and with so much excitement, but most would agree that they are writers not marketers. Short of  having the money to dish out into marketing/advertisement many of us are left to figure it out on our own.

At what point does an author step back from the day consuming chore of marketing/advertising to become a writer again? And is there a point at which an author gets marketing fatigue and goes on marketing disability?

A book will not advertise its self. When I’m not actively marketing my book it is not actively selling. I’m not of a name yet where people search me out. After life got in the way I took a moment to go back and look at my royalties for one book. I sold three in the first two quarters of this year sans marketing. In two weeks I revamped my energy and went back on the social media road. In two weeks I sold more than I did in the first two quarters.

When is it time to walk away from advertising and marketing? When is it time to say you gave it your best and now its on to the next project? How much do you promote older books when you release a new book? The answer: You are always selling. Your new life title is Author and Director of Marketing & Sales. If you want to sell it, you need to promote it!

trinity-college-old-library

With over 3,000,000 books available online, you need to make sure people see your name and titles.

Tania L Ramos, RN & Author

Be Still on Amazon & BN

Book Sales Increase=ALS Contribution Increase

A quick thank you for all who have supported the sales of Be Still. Second quarter sales have gone up, which means contributions to ALS research have gone up.

Remember, 75% of all 2014 sales from Be Still will be donated back to ALS research. Why? Because the main character in the book is dying from this horrible disease. Follow his journey of life, death, and a world caught in between while trying to make amends with his son and himself.
ALS

Category: Fiction; Family; Romance; Subjective/Speculative
Available:
Amazon & Kindle
Barnes & Noble & Nook
iBook, Sony Ereader, Kobo

FREE SAMPLE ON GOOGLE PLAY <–No download needed!

Review:

Anonymous
Posted August 4, 2012
I know the history of this author and all that was wearing on her life when she wrote this book. Let me tell you, to be able to write a book like this during that time of her life can only be explained by saying, “Wow.” I knew she had talent, but this book is a testament to how she was able to “Be Still,” and move passed the trials in her life and turn a time of darkness into something positive.
I know this book fiction but it book stirred my emotions and I saw the author in every scene that dripped with sarcasm, but I felt her pain when Travis learned the truth. I lost a family member I wasn’t too fond of, but this book made me evaluate that. Thank you to Tania who made me think, who made me close my eyes as Travis learned to do, to drown out the noise and Be Still. This book came at a difficult time in my life, but I’m better for it and have recommended it to family and friends.

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author
Continue the research into ALS. Thank you for your support.
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Negative Reviews: Do You LOL or Cringe?

If you’ve published, whether self-pub, indie, small press, or big press, odds are you’ve received the dreaded negative review. Some are cruel and seem amazingly poised to do nothing other than be hurtful, while others may be negative but give constructive criticism in a way that can be used. Then there is the author review of a book, and those ones drive me to the point of madness.

Example of reviews:

Cruel: This book reeked of 5th grade writing. No wait, my 5th grader could compose something better than this mess. Do not read this book. Just don’t.

Negative: I loved the concept of the book but it didn’t seem to deliver on the hype. There were too many questions left unanswered: how did the killer know the families since the story line said the killer knew the families he stalked. Never got about to why, so I felt a huge chunk was left out.

Negative/Constructive: Though the story was great and beautifully written, I was upset that the connection between the killer and the families was never made. The plot was intriguing, and this certainly was a page turner that kept me up at night, but it would have been near perfect had the connection between killer and the families been made. Certainly an author to keep my eye on.

The author review: The tag was catchy, but once I got into the book the onslaught of writing errors ensued. We are dropped into a detective’s office that had zero, zilch, nada in the way of scene set-up or characterization. Scene transitions dragged and there were so many places just creating a new chapter would have been more effective. The use of scene breaks was trite, and should never be used in a manner to change point of view. The paragraphs were long, and the author did much more telling than showing which is just ineffective writing at its finest. The story arch left much to be anticipated, but the climax didn’t deliver to a point where I was riveted. Author’s voice was jumbled in the characters, and he might as well had just made himself a character instead of sitting front row of third person omniscient. There was nothing about this that stood out, except that it would be great for kindling a fire on a cold night.

a4So I pose this question: How did you react to your first negative review? I find some to be laugh worthy and others make me shake my head at the verbal cruelty. Did you learn from negative reviews? And what advice would you give to new authors who have yet to see the dreaded 1 star? And if so inclined, go ahead, post the worst review you’ve seen…its actually helped businesses who got bad reviews on Yelp get more business.

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author
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a4

Author Envy

Do you ever get jealous of other writers? Maybe just a bit upset at how fast they have completed a WIP? A little miffed that they are newer at the game than you and have signing dates all lined up? Curious at how they get hundreds of pre-sales?

I consider myself relatively new to the game. My first book was published in 2011, another in 2012, and the last in 2013. Meanwhile, some writers have put out three books in a year. I sit aghast, somewhat perturbed, and play with thoughts of the author sleeping with editors to get ahead of the game. Isn’t that how it works? My name is Tania L Ramos and I suffer from author envy!

In reality, I pray and hope that I’m not the only one who gets these primal emotions when I see Author So-And-So boast over their third published book this year; or over their umpteenth award. I am human, right? I always manage to swallow what’s left of my pride, hit their share button, and give them praise. Deep down I am happy for them, but again, I have to shovel passed my own wounded ego to get there.

What gets me through it all at the end of the day is stark reality: I published three books in three years! There are some people who have been trying to perfect a WIP for ten years. Others are trying to muster the courage to submit a completed manuscript. Some never realize the dream of putting words to paper, and live with that regret forever.

a6As for me:
I published three books in three years!

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author
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Be Still on Amazon (ebook, paper & hard cover)