Monthly Archives: April 2012

Link

I won Rising Star

www.bestillnovel.com

This just in…I won the recognition for Rising Star on Iuniverse.  The Editor’s choice I had previously won was based on the sole decision of the editors, while this one is based on the judgment of marketers and designers.  This was the one I went berserk over having to fill a survey out for.  The one that asked my marketing strategies, and I ranted to my WordPress family how I was a writer not a marketer and how my measly, piddly  marketing budget was laughable.  Well, I guess they still saw it fit to see my book as marketable and liked my ideas on a budget.

I also received a timely phone call from the “somebody” of marketing who told me Iuniverse would pay for half a marketing package of my choice.  I went with the Trifecta, which sends my book out to three different review companies including Kurkis for professional reviews.  The turn around time is approximately a  month, but it is my understanding that I will be able to have these reviews printed on the back cover of my book at no additional cost for the reprint.  I am stoked.

My book should go live any day now, and that is my new pins and needles situation, because at that point this will all be real.  The scary part is that I will have to flip over into marketing mode.  Not my forte (I grimace).  But I’m ready for the challenge and look forward to a whole new set of stats to follow.  In the meantime I will continue to shamelessly plug, “Be Still,” to anybody who continues to read, and learn more about Twitter, which I have discovered is quite different from FaceBook, whereas Facebook is for friends and Twitter is more geared toward making connections…although I follow Ellen DeGeneres for fun…not that I would mind connecting with her people.

Mom promised to make me a cake in celebration of my new award, but I don’t smell the tasty scent of pastries so I may have to run out and do a banana split revival.  In conclusion, and commentary toward the Iuniverse service, I still give it two thumbs up and would recommend them.  I have been told my one rep that I am being given special service due to my “status,” (and the sounding snobbish begins), but before all this, going way back to the beginning, they have been honest, upfront, and very timely in responding to questions.  They only advised services I needed and never pushed the services I didn’t.  To this day, I would recommend them for self-publishing with a boost.  It’s like a ordering Jamba Juice with a boost, but a little more costly.  Oh yeah, and every month they offer new deals…can’t wait to see what May offers are out.

Provoking the Crazies

My craziness continues.  Not the usual playing therapist to the pets crazy, or warping my kid’s minds crazy, not even spending $200 at Lowe’s to attempt to beautify my yard (yet again) despite eight years of effort kind of crazy.  No.  This crazy is in countless, sleepless, migraine filled hours of learning how to market on a budget.  Seriously, I have had a migraine and/or headache for two weeks now.  Crazy involves spending an hour looking for the reading glasses I only use when I incur a headache after staring at a bright computer screen for hours on end then remember, “Oh yeah.  I’m supposed to wear my lenses to avoid this.” Then incur another battle of headaches adjusting to the glasses so the previous headache will go away.  It’s a vicious cycle and, in the end, I wind up several specific types of headaches (eye strain, stress, and fatigue) which turn into the Perfect Headache Storm of a category 5 and switch directions into a migraine….and don’t get me started on the Imitrex “crazies.”  That kind of crazy is down right spooky.

Oh, I forgot to mention the “watching the stats,” crazies.  That is where I check my phone apps to see how my “When I Thought I Was Tough,” book is doing on Bookemon, how my “Be Still,” book trailer is doing, how my personal website is doing, and what I can do to improve views on all three.  Now, let’s toss the Twitter psychotics into the mix and the, “oh let me check if anyone responded to my blog,” lunacy and stir it all together into the migraine and stats vortex…oops I forgot to import the insanity around creating a website dedicated to my book (like all the marketing sites advise) and the research that goes into deciding what to put on said site, (deep breath) and now following those stats and here I have a loony casserole of numbers, migraines, and…darn it all to H-E-double hockey sticks, I forgot to stir in some certifiable 5150 madness surrounding the nervous tick of checking my email to see if the live date of my book has come through….oooooh and the neurotic ramblings in my head that say, “Are you crazy girl (with attitude)? Nobody is going to buy a book, host an event, or remember your name after yesterday.”

The belly aching ensues.  The room spins.  I have that acidic burn in my throat.  I’m surrounded by numbers, “198 views on youTube, 2302 reads on Bookemon, 798 unique visits to tanialramos.com, 35 followers on Twitter, 5 months ’til Shamless Plug Month in September, $4,000 in debt in publishing efforts, &$#*%! in advertising materials,” and the migraines make my ears ring and eyes try to suck themselves into my head, and…

   HOLD UP!


Wait a minute… I’ve been surrounded by crazy my entire life.  My crazy family whom I love.  My crazy cat who kills baby birds and bring them home to show.  the crazy dog that needs a pet therapy session daily.  My crazy kids, because they think mom is made of money and according to my oldest, “sits on a throne of lies.”  My crazy mom who thinks that after all these years I will sweep under the cabinet and not around it (LOL).  My crazy daughter who laughs when I get pukey faced on the swinging ferris wheel car at Disneyland.  My boyfriend who thinks someday he’ll win that grappling match with me.  My crazy brother who finds hiking five miles with a camel pack on is, “a nice day out.” I’ve been through two divorces, one restraining order dispute, four attorneys in one year, a child custody battle, a CPS interaction gone terribly awry, single motherhood, nursing school (which was an insane 2 years), rain inside my home, an inch of dirt in my pool, dogs tearing out new plants, an ex-husband moving back to California, cats with bipolar and borderline personality disorders, and a bird that, after five years, doesn’t realize he has outlived his one year lifespan.  i’ve survived crazy most my life! Geesh…this is nothing.  besides, so many people are crazy these days, we’ve become the majority!

!!!!!CELEBRATE YOUR CRAZY!!!!!

Video Book Reviews Offered

I have been racking my brain, trying to think of something fun that I can do relating to reading, writing, and my new found appreciation of video blogging (Vlogging).  And so I have decided to try my hand at video book reviews that I can post to YouTube.  My first review will be of a book I was given at the LA Book Fest (Check out my video blog of that here).  I think this will be exciting, in fact, I know it will be.  It combines my love of reading with my love of playing with videos.

So, if anybody has a book for me to review or knows a friend who needs a little publicity, please send me an email at author@tanialramos.com.

What I will do:

  • I will read the book along with one other person who is interested in that genre.
  • We will review the book on video and post it to YouTube
  • You get your choice of add-on options: High Def, link to website(s), link to book trailer, book club style review or basic book review
  • Link to video on my blog
  • Rights to quote any review mentioned on the video
  • Copy of video may be purchased, may be used on personal website only
  • Author interview can be added
  • Link posted to my Twitter account and tweeted daily for one month
  • Book added to my Facebook page dedicated to this venue

What this offers is an inexpensive platform for new authors who seek exposure.  I am gearing this toward self-published and indie authors at first, but am open to every book.  The cost will be reasonable, far less than going through huge review companies who don’t offer video reviews and exposure. The cost is mainly to cover my time in editing and pay off the kid who will be forced to work at minimum wage doing so.

Lastly, at the end of the year I will compile a list of the books and list them on my blog and YouTube video.  I will also host a Vlog Book of the Year award and feature a special video on why that book was chosen as well as a link on my blog and Twitter.  There will be multiple exposure.  The first person to respond will get this service free.  All I ask is that you spread the word.

www.TaniaLRamos.com

I Have Ants In My Pants: 4 yr olds & metaphors

Try telling that to a four going on five-year-0ld.  She immediately proceeded to jump up and about and swat at me like my life depended on it, because in her wonderful, glimmering, still hopeful hazel eyes I was being consumed by fire ants and was nearing the end of my life.  Her words not mine.  Well I alliterated, her words were, “Get them off! Get them off! If they eat you they will drag you into their fire ant hole and you will die!”  She said that while jumping higher than our cats and beating at my legs (and she hits pretty hard).  At one point she decided to dig a little deep and get into a perfectly cute zone of inner-being and let out a confounded, “hiyah!” Karate never looked so hilarious, and had there been actual ants in my pants, I’m sure they would have surrendered at her sheer determination alone.

I later (not too much later, I did say she hit hard), had to explain what ants in my pants meant; not to be confused with a bee in my bonnet (not that anyone under the age of 30 would even know what a bonnet was).  So I explained that it was a term used when someone was feeling anxious about something.  Anxious=waiting on pins and needles –> “You’re standing on pins and needles.  Does it hurt?” Okay, let me clarify, AND stop using metaphors to a four-year-old (who, I suspect at this point, is simply yanking my chain <— metaphor, and was intently bashing my leg for pure enjoyment).

Anxious=mommy waiting for her book to come out any day now, but not knowing when that is.

Jorja: when I get anxious I have to stop and count to ten.  Just count to ten mom, and stop saying you have ants in your pants.

Me: that is easier said than done

Jorja; No! If you just do it then it is easier done than said.

Me: (thinking I’m going to pay out serious money for this child’s law degree).  You don’t understand how nervous I am and I’m not getting into another metaphor match so you can misconstrue that too.

Jorja; I don;t know what misconscrew means and why you have a screw, but you’re being silly.

Me: I’m silly because I’m nervous about my book? I’m just afraid nobody will like it.

Jorja: (huge sigh, tugging on her eyes at lack of being able to instill any wisdom into mommy) OMG! You drive me nuts.  Now I have ants in my pants.

AND THAT IS HOW YOU TEACH CHILDREN ABOUT METAPHORS.

Can You Handle the Truth?

I was reading a link to an article posted on Twitter (I’m @tanialramos if you wanna follow), and the link was directed to a blog which spoke about the preconceptions of authors and who they really were.  Hemingway was listed as well as Jodi Picoult and others I hadn’t heard of.  I found it to be a fascinating article because I know personally that I hear about authors I know of like Patterson, Sparks, Palahniuk, and Wilde to name a few, and an image of their life immediately enters my head.

For instance, Nicholas Sparks: a family man with a loving wife, two kids, a white picket fence a lab and a cat.  I’m not saying that is who is, just that that is the image that plays in my head.  As for Palahniuk, well I imagine a man sitting in a dark room, drinking his tenth cup of Irish coffee, carving names like “Damian” into his large, antique  mahogany desk that has those old claw feet embellished on it, eyes drooping and  he is laughing maniacally while punching away at an old thirty pound typewriter.  I have a pretty vivid imagination sometimes.

So I decided that someday when I am a household name (insert rolly eyes) that people will likely have these misconceptions about me.  So allow me to tell my 37 followers exactly who am: I wake up in the morning and if I’m going to work I think of ten thousand reasons to call off … though I rarely do, and if Ido it is because I am legitimately ill.  If I go to work my day ends there.  Now, days I have off are much more interesting: I wake up and try and try and try to fall back asleep because just once I would like to say I sleep in.  Usually, I am awake by 630 am.  If I am home alone then I pull the laptop from under my bed and proceed to follow this dreary routine: Check stats on home page, check stats on book trailer (close to two hundred views, yay!), check WordPress (no link necessary, right?), check email and wonder why I am being sent info about Viagra and who my new friend in Zaheer is and how much money he will send me today, proceed to delete all email except the ones with the coupons to Payless Shoe Source and Baja Fresh.

Interesting life right?

Next, I look out my window and think I really should get to cleaning the moat … er, umm, pool today.  Shake my head and tell myself that someday I will be able to hire a full-time pool boy, with the glistening body of Andonis, hair flowing like John Bon Jovi, with some exotic name like Sven or Mauricio…oops, did I go off topic? Okay, next I look at the huge mess that continues to pile up on my dresser and think that after writing one chapter I will tackle the mountain of papers and create some kind of logical filing system.  Yep, right after I write that chapter.  Next, I take a shower and go downstairs, and if not caught up in some conversation with my mom (yes…I do live with my mommy still! Well, she lives with me, and YES there is a difference).   I might or might not find something to munch on, but a cup of ice water is a definite.  I love to crunch ice.  I then proceed up stairs and start writing that chapter, and if I do it right that could take all day.  Boyfriend comes home from work, I read him my new chapter of awesomeness and amazement…watch to see if his eyes tear up…remind him this is purely FICTION and does not have any resemblance to our lives or events we have been through other than the fact that my characters breathe air and we breathe air, but the similarities end there!!!  Then I go to sleep.

Now when I am famous, you can tell all your friends how Tania L Ramos told you personally about her life.  And when they ask what I am like you can answer with, “Well, she likes ice … and … lives with her mommy…still.”

L.A. Times Book Fest

In my quest to be more of an extrovert (which hurts when it truly cuts across the grain of my being), I took the family out to LA Book Fest this past Saturday.  Okay, I know we are talking four days ago, but life has a way of choke holding me sometimes and forces me to do other things like: swap kids in L.A., sit in traffic, and drive to Anaheim to realize my debt will increase by exponential numbers when my kid goes to college.  By the way, this kid is also my marketer, so I told him he better do a great job if he wants me to sign my life away on a college loan!

So back to the topic I can so easily get off of (occupational hazard of being a writer…I go into tangents).  The L.A. Book Fest put on by the Los Angeles Times at the beautiful USC campus was held Saturday and Sunday.  There were well over 500 booths set up and thousands of people.  I can only compare it to being at a large county fair, subtract the carnival rides and add book readings, author interviews, and music.  Also, subtract carnival games and add $5 book stores, a man dressed as a zombie to promote his book (Tony J Ortiz, “All My Friends are Dead” whom I will review later), comic books, poetry books, kids books, YA books, memoirs, flashbacks, flash forwards, self-publishers, foreign publishers, indie publishers, small publishing houses, large publishing houses, marketing firms, and people against the oppression of comic books.

Needless-to-say, it was a BLAST! It took three hours to walk through it all, though I would have liked to browse more, but with a 4-year-old in tote it was difficult (they get antsy…fast).  I did video most of it, as I said I would, but it was kind of a trial and error day with my new GoPro camera too.  And again, with the kid tugging at my tank top, I didn’t get to accomplish as much as I would have liked to.  But, I’m glad she tagged along because she said, “I didn’t know there were so many books in the world.” It was definitely an eye opener.

I’m disappointed that I couldn’t attend any of the seminars, there were several throughout the day with speakers such as Judy Blume, John Cusack, and Betty White … to name drop.  What I enjoyed most was being in the company of fellow authors, self-published writers, indie writers, and prolific readers.  People were walking out with rolly backpacks loaded with new buys.  I also liked that there were different sections for different interests.  The poetry section with a poetry stage, the children’s section with children’s book, the adult area with more fiction, non-fiction mature readers (not triple x stuff…where is your mind?).  And at one point a stage with an orchestra playing.  It was fun listening to people pitch their books, but most of all it was a fun day spent with my boyfriend and daughter doing something that I really enjoyed.

Thumbs up to the LA Book Fest 2012 and keep an eye out for my video blog link (Vlog, as I am told it is called), and the new wonderful Vlog & Review intro my son created for me.  Happy reading and remember to keep an eye for my new book, “Be Still,” coming very soon.  <– Oh man, I can’t wait for September’s Shameless Promotion Month. By the way, I’m super close to hitting that 200 video mark on my YouTube site for the book trailer, so if you haven’t seen it just click through here, and make sure you Tweet it or like it or pin it or whatever you crazy kids are doing these days.

Kirkus Review Dilema

Today I received a phone call from Iuniverse Supervisor of marketing, but I believe he said he was above that.  I could be wrong.  Anyhow, he went on to tell me how impressed the publishers have been with my book and how there is a lot of “buzz” going on surrounding, “Be Still.”  So I’m listening and in the back of my head wondering what this guy is trying to sell.  He goes on to say they tink my book will go far and Iuniverse wants me to do further promoting in the way of getting professional review from Kirkus.  Of course this is an additional fee by way of $3000 in which I quickly said that was a lot of money and I have already spent nearly $4500 to see how far my dream will get me (would have been more but iuniverse paid 10% of my up front editing package).

So he tells me Iuniverse staff are excited to see how far I will go and believe it has great potential to go far.  As such, they are willing to pay 50% of the professional review fee.  And I’m thinking, this is still a bunch of money for somehow who is flat broke, and how often am I going to be solicited to pay some new fee.  Now trust me, my red flag waves any time someone asks for money, but I do get that since I am self-publishing all my fees are out of my pocket.  And I am flattered at all the wonderful things that were said about my book, but in the back (actually forefront) of my cerebellum, I am thinking these people are just marketers no different from a telemarketer.  On the converse, I have to say that my review and trust in them has been top-notch based on their performance to date, so I don’t have much reason to think they are scamming me-other than my own insecurities about doling out cash for a mere shot at a dream.  A dream.  A shot at a dream.  A one in a million hail Mary shot at a dream.

I think again…what if I only sell 5 books.  I have a kid going to college this year.  I have holes in my ceiling from where it rained inside the house.  The boys have to share my bathroom (yuck yuck yuck) because they have no tile from where the bathroom flooded.  Can I really afford to take such a huge financial leap of monetary faith? What if it is all a scam? BUT.  What if I have a shot? What if I am that one-in-a-million? What if my dream is destined to be a reality? What is my dream? I’ve said it before: I want to pay off the debt created to pursue this dream.  I want to send my kid to college without taking out a loan.  And I’d like to pay my bills off.  Really, i’d settle for breaking even on this publishing venture.

So I asked my boyfriend and my mom and they both had the same response, “You came this far … go all the way.” That means another credit card! Is it worth it? I won;t know unless I try, but if I fall flat on my face I’ll be devastated that I put my family in deeper debt.  If I had a nice cushion to follow this venture I’d go forward without question.  I’m stuck.  How much would you pay to follow a dream? To follow a “what if?”

I have til Monday!