Monthly Archives: June 2013

Branding by Book Cover

Daniel (Blackbird LSD) and I have decided to change-up the typical cover for my book.  No stock photos, no beautiful scenery, and definitely no models.  By the way, one Facebook survey asked the question how can you tell an indie book just by looking at the cover? The whopping response was that they have models on the cover.

So, to veer from the path we decided to go with a different concept: watercolor! One person has been commissioned to work on this concept, but it has been weeks since I heard from this artist . . . so, I’ve commissioned a new artist.  And you may be surprised as to who it is? Daniel Mariano, the brains behind Blackbird LSD and my great friend.  I always knew he was talented, but I’m super impressed by this work.

lbc1

For the book Life by Chance (official title), this is artist rendition #2 for the cover art.  It is not complete, but I love where it is headed.  All my future fiction novels will have this kind of cover which will be my brand.  My hope is that if you were to come across a cover like this it wold be synonymous with a Tania L Ramos book.

Tell us what you think.

lbc1book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tania L Ramos, Author Sharing the Arts

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The Magic Schedule

Today I am setting a schedule, not that I think it will help because I truly hate schedules.  Life has a way of manipulating even the best laid plains, but I’ll give it a try for the sake of being correct in my evaluation of schedules. Then again maybe it is just what the doctor ordered (pun, because i’m a nurse . . . haha. No? okay, I’ll continue).

Why a schedule? Because I see the accomplishments so many others are making in their literary career and here I am trying to catch, what I feel is, a much deserved afternoon nap. My life revolves around two major factors: nursing and my daughter.  The nursing portion consumes thirty six hours a week, but, and I stress BUT, it can, and has, easily gone into 48-72 hours due to my on-call requirements.  I also work 12 hr shifts, so if by chance I get the awesome 7am shift, it means I leave at 615am and do not arrive back home until 815pm. I’m so exhausted both mentally and physically that I can’t do much beyond making the drive home.

Then there is my beautiful and amazing, and now 6 year-old, daughter.  If you know the sordid story then you know I only have her half the week because of shared custody. 50-50, yikes. Dad lives 80 miles away, so I drive over 1.5 -2 hours into L.A. to pick her up. That’s one way. So half a day is lost to driving.  The days I do have her it’s usually all about her, as she is a handful of energy, but lovely to talk to and pick her brain.  She’s very hands on, artsy like grandma and her brothers, but tells awesome stories like her mom.  The firey ball of energy and need to move move move comes from dad. Thusly, she is a handful and occupies the better of three and a half days.

So if I’ve lost three days to work and three days trying to keep up with Little Miss Take-on-the-World in fifteen minute spurts, I’m left with half a day. What could I possibly do with half a day? Laundry, market, Costco, yard, marketing, advertising, blogging, a shower would be nice, toting around one of the other kids (17 & 18 yrs old), helping them with homework, procrastinating any of the above (especially laundry), trying to give Glenn some time or he gets antsy, and now trying to market my latest career as an independent distributor for a well known body contouring company.  Oh, and now I gotta create a schedule to find time to write? Is there a magic app for that? I’ll get right on that right on that magic schedule right after my first nap.

Tania L Ramos, RN, Author . . . Shhhh, I’m napping

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Huskyish

Looks like the couch is taken

Self-published Rut

Here it is , the rut. I heard so much about this rut, this madness of feeling stagnant and otherwise without direction.  Is it a rough patch? Perhaps writer’s remorse? That drudged old nemesis that is my brain saying, “You only had one good story didn’t you? Told ya!”

I wallow in the thought as I have little to no motivation to start something new.  Yes there is the project WIP that I’ve already got several chapters into, and yes the characters speak to me everyday.  But where is my motivation? Perhaps I need a muse. Perhaps I need a swift quick in the posterior.  Am I a has-been after only two books and one manual? Could it be?

I need another outlet.  I stare at the walls, into the infinite span of gray that clouds my mind and I strive to find more channels to push my story into, but it seems all avenues have been charted on my map of marketing.  Is there more? How much more time can I afford to give up into marketing for forty hours to maybe make one sale, maybe? I could’ve been writing, I say to myself, but when I’m writing I think I should be marketing and so instead I find myself working on small projects at home instead.

It occurred to me that maybe I was upset at the lack of funds to publish another book.  I’m dead set against using KDP Select as my only means to publish.  Besides, there are other costs to incur: editing, formatting, purchase of an ISBN, and the actual cost to publish.  With all that on my plate I opted to take on another job which, ironically, puts me back as a self-marketer or independent distributor for a popular body toning program (can’t mention just yet as I have not been formally approved to blog it).

Then I made another decision in my vast list of procrastination techniques: I’ll start a blog about nursing. After all, I am a nurse and it is a major part of my life. I have many stories to tell about this career aspect of my life . . . and the procrastination continues.  Did I mention my backyard is thriving with fruits and veggies? Not an easy thing to do in California’s high desert region . . . procrastination also yields fruit.

I’m at a loss. So what do you do when you feel you’ve exhausted all your resources and find yourself dead center in the middle of a rut? All suggestions and comments welcomed.

Tania L Ramos, Author, RN . . . rut!

If you’re in the middle of a rut or procrastination, enjoy this fun video of my daughter singing in the car, here.

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Walking Away From A WIP

I’ve had a few beta readers working on my latest finished WIP. I have to say the finished one otherwise I think of the current project–which I am still opposed to writing! But I digress.  The last WIP has been sent out for beta reading and I’ve received wonderful feedback with some suggestions.  Nothing so book altering that I’ve had to adjust my temper, which is a good thing.

When new authors ask me what to do now that they are done with a WIP (work in progress), I tell them to stick it on the shelf for a month.  They look at me with the “dear in the headlights” eyes.  What ever do you mean by, “stick it on the shelf for a month?”

Many new authors are far too anxious and eager to take the first draft and just run with it, unedited, unread, unscrutinized for content.  This is usually all bad.  Never be so eager as to skimp on the important stuff, but also know this: if you publish a bad manuscript it will haunt you.  So, put your WIP on the shelf for a month and I’m willing to bet you will start to think of things to improve upon.  Things will start to materialize that make you say, “Oh! I forgot to tie up this loose end.” Or, “Maybe I should add this in and take that out.”

In the heat of writing wonderful literature, we tend to get excited at a finished product.  BUT, is it a polished product? Get at least one unbiased perspective, then walk away from your WIP for a month.  Heck, it may only take a week before you start realizing there is more to be said, changed, or taken away.  If you have this inkling that something isn’t quite right, don’t hurry it along for publishing.  Sit back and let the characters solve this problem in due time.

Go back to your WIP after a month and start reading it from the beginning.  And really read it like you are reading someone else’s work.  Then you may start to find unanswered questions and loose ends to be tied up.  When you feel everything is right, and you have no doubts whatsoever, then and only then should you start the publishing process.

Next blog: Is it okay to update your ebook once its been published?

Tania L Ramos, Author Re-examing her WIP

Hey, even Alan Jackson sings about being a WIP

Author of, Be Still, Surviving the Writing Apocalypse, and When I Thought I Was Tough

Never Trust a Smiling Cat

Yet another random and wild thought brought about by strange conversations my son and I have in passing. Literally, in passing.

My cat, Chino, is a golden tortie cat and the sweetest most adorable and laid back cat on earth.  You can pet her, scratch her belly, rock her like a baby and she’ll just let you do it, all the while she’s purring and trying to get more attention. Or is she?

Chino is our “return” kitty, meaning she was given away from a litter of kittens our scary black tortie cat, October, had years ago.  All our kittens were given away with the strict instruction that if the new owner no longer wanted, or could not care for their kitten, it would be returned to us promptly.  We love our pets.  And so my son’s girlfriend took Chino, the cutest of the litter, and days later returned the cat.  Yay!

Our return kitty has been the best cat ever.  Or is she? Chino is not only a cute and cuddly feline who can make your heart melt, she is also a cold blooded killer who relishes in showing off her killing abilities in my bedroom.  Many a sparrow, lizard, and field mouse has felt a slow demise at the paws of my Chino.  See, she doesn’t always kill her prey, sometimes she just roughs them up and these creatures likely choose death and go to the light all on their own.

My son says, “She loves you and brings you gifts.”

I say, “She’s warning me of her killing abilities.”

My son says,, “But she’s so soft and cuddly-wuddly and just so adorable.” This he says while cuddling said “Adorable” gift bringing kitty-cat.  All the while said “gifting” cat is purring and smiling (she does smile, a lesson angry cat should learn), but she’s also looking at me with one eye and i know said kitty is thinking, “I can kill him right here, right now.”

And i’m thinking in return, “Do it!” Just because I think she can read my mind.

She doesn’t and my son goes on with how amazing this cat is and how she just wants to show her love and affection.  So I regale him a little story about a friend who had a cat who brought the same “gifts,” except one day the gift was seething and slithering and doing its “tssssss” thing because the adorable loving cat brought a live snake into the house.  My friend says she was scared as scared can get and quickly disposed of the snake.  She went on to say the cat looked upset that she threw the snake out.

“Now, I understand bringing me gifts because she loves me, but that was downright scary,” she told me.

I snickered, maybe cackled, or was it a muahahaha? In any regards, I set her straight with this free tidbit, “these are not gifts! They are demonstrations of the awesome killing capabilities these furry little creatures possess.  Do not be fooled, my friend.  Bringing dead animals is nothing more than bringing in proof of their kill count.  Don’t you see! They are killing machines.  Killing machines!!!” Can you sense my rising tension? I get dramatic at times.

“Bringing in a live snake while you were sleeping was a hit.  You just happened to wake up and catch the frawline in the act.  This is why pooky-wooky was so upset.  You foiled the assassination! There will be other attempts . . . oh there will be more!”

For one reason or another, my friend laughed at me. I warned her.

So remember folks, when Pooky brings the head of a field mouse, it is not breakfast, it is proof! Give your pets a hug today . . . maybe some catnip and kitty treats too. And when they sleep across your keypad, they are trying to kill your dreams . . . because you’ve probably foiled an assassination plan.

Tania L Ramos, Author With a Smiling Cat

Killer cat--

Quarter 1, Iuniverse

So I received my first quarter sales/royalty report from Iuniverse yesterday–only one week late, but who’s counting. It was among one of the lowest payouts I have had, thusly, I proceeded to pout and continue to put on my nursing uniform, with heavy disappointment.

doves cry

I now know what it sounds like when doves cry. *cough*

However, when I was able to download the actual reports today, I gotta say that as far as payouts goes, I’m not buying me a new car just yet, nor have I hit the pinnacle $100 sales (short .50cents) via royalty generated through Iuniverse (although I’ve made ten times that amount in out-of-the-trunk-of-my-car sales), but the actual sales  were the second largest I’ve had.  All sales, minus one, were e-books, which reflects on why the royalties were so low, because the payout is only about $1.00 per book.  There was one physical book purchased, and with the payout rate, I’m going to assume it was through Barnes and Noble because Amazon payout on physical books is half that.

All-in-all the 1st Quarter was okay.  I’m not sure how the 2nd Quarter will look because I haven’t been promoting too much.  Not that I gave up, but I did get tired of all the social media time hoarding and too be honest, I just needed a bit of a break to enjoy my free time.  I am a writer not a marketer! I may just make t-shirt that says that.  Over all sales have been fabulous, but again, the majority of books sold have been physical copies I carry with me. And starting in July, I will hit the active marketing scene again.

I was told if you sell (for profit) ten books to people you don’t know, you did nice.

Sell fifty books (for profit) to people you don’t know, you did good.

Sell one hundred books (for profit) to people you don’t know, you did great.

Sell more than one hundred books (for profit) to people you don’t know, you have surpassed the average sales of the indie author.

I’m happy to report that I am well over the one hundred mark in paid sales and have been since last October and pushing 200 this summer.  But feel free to put more icing on my cake! Amazon, the best $3.79 you’ll ever spend also available on Kindle, Sony readers, Kobo, and iBook.

****Want to know more about Iuniverse royalties, check out my other link here to show the exact breakdown https://newauthorpublishing.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/my-iuniverse-stats-2012/*****

Tania L Ramos, Author Still Putting Up The Numbers

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Linear Thinking

I’ve posted about some of the fun and whacky conversations I’ve had with my oldest son, Dasan (pronounced Day-sun), but this one was way more fun than the difference between assassination and murder.  Why? Because this is more geek science based, and we love our geek theories. Oh, we have so many.

So, we all know or believe (or at least have thoughts) on how space is infinite, right? There is no beginning or end to space, just a wide spans of continuation into reaches we still do not know, and I still have a hard time comprehending.  Not that I don’t believe it goes on forever, it’s just that if you really stop to think about it, can you truly grasp forever and infinite?  In your mind does space and the galaxy end at some point?

Well, this was the discussion we had.  We tried to encompass infinity and all that it entailed.  We talked stars and solar systems, galaxies and planets.  You know, table talk! So when our truly nerdy hats with the propellers on top came in, we sat and really questioned the theory of space and infinity.  Turns out we came up with the exact same picture of space, and you know what? Space is completely linear!

Think about it.  You look at a picture of space and it is usually horizontal, right? Text books, television, the internet . . .  they are all horizontal pictures.  So when you close yours eyes and think about what space looks like does it fill the entire picture of your mind or is it a horizontal wide screen shot? The more we asked the more answers came back as linear? Is that because even maps of space are shown on roll out linear platforms. Heck, even a flat map of Earth is horizontal.  So do we as people think on the linear? Truth is, we have no idea if space is linear or has a definite end, but many people think of it that way.

So, in our mind blowing realization of a linear universe we decided that it was wise if we never started to use drugs.  Turns out, we are way to scary all on our own  🙂  Which needs to somehow tie into writing since that is what this blog is supposed to be about.  So the brilliant segue here is this: when you write a story do you have boundaries? Do you think outside of the linear world? This isn’t all reserved for the fun of sci-fi and fantasy, you can always find fun vertical solutions to very linear dilemmas too.  Happy writing.

A linear Universe

A linear Universe

Tania L Ramos, Author Thinking Beyond the Universe

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