Tag Archives: blog

A Writer’s Missing Link

Man is in constant search of the missing link! Okay, not necessarily the “missing link,” but that one thing that bridges the gap between point A and point B. In my last post, I wrote that if you wanted to sell a million books, then write a million books and sell each one once. It was sarcastic, yes, BUT the point was that you have to think outside the box.

In my last post [An Empire of Books], I also said that you have to be prepared to become a marketer and publicist. This is true no matter what avenue your business is: writer, home-based business, even a non-profit organization. You may have the best to offer, be the nicest person, or wrote the book that will change the world, but if nobody knows then . . . nobody knows.

Case and point: In 2012 my book, Be Still was published and I became a marketing and advertising fool! I hit every media and outlet and sold lots and lots of books. My efforts continued into the first part of 2013 and I, of course, continued to see sales. Then I stopped. It was exhausting and I needed a break, and wanted to write. The results: one book sold in the third quarter.

Dilemma: I am flat broke! The economy is a bust. I no longer have droves of cash to toss into publicity, book shows, or buying ads. All my numbers were stagnant during my period of absence. My name was no longer out there and I was just another writer under the tag of One Hit Wonder. You see, when you fall off the planet as a new writer, so does your name.

Fix: Since I haven’t been at work, I decided to market and chat up my books again. I can’t always tell sales numbers until the quarter ends, but I can see numbers of hits to my YouTube trailer and book When I Thought I Was Tough. I used those numbers to gauge the results of using free social media. Keep in mind, my numbers had been the same for all of November and December 2013.

                         Before Social Media                   After 2 Days of Social Media

Book Trailer:        1,376                                            1,405
“Tough”Reads:    10,965                                         10,997
“Tough” Likes:     339                                              345
Blog Follows:        224                                              231

You be the judge. I worked day and night to post to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, and this blog. I wanted to see how much of social media caused a real effect on the numbers. Granted, number of views & likes do not equate to sales. However, it does equate to how many times somebody saw your name, your product, or service. I put in fulltime hours to boost those views, but I think it proves to show that you have to actually put in the work.

Is social media the missing link? Not at all. Hard work is. Go get your audience.

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author Who Found the Missing Link

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When I’m Wrong, I’m Wrong: I Was Right

A few posts ago I declared that I would take a hiatus from writing due to life and the way it interferes with my love of writing.  To put it in perspective, when I love to do something I want to do it all the time and I want to do it well.  Between working, raising children, running the WritingApocalypse.com website, book shows (it’s that season again) and all the other surprise things that life doles out, it became difficult to find time to write.  And because I was staying up until all hours of the night trying to sneak in a few chapters only to wake up three hours later for a full twelve hour shift of nursing at the hospital, it felt like I was starting to despise my true passion.  And because of that, I knew it was time to take a break.

Let me say this: So many of you wonderful bloggers and authors immediately sent me well wishes and gave me the thumbs up to take a break.  I thank you all for that. It felt like a huge relief to know I am not the only author who needs to get off the boat and take a side excursion for awhile.  You all eased my guilt trip a bit, though I still feel like I’m missing something when I’m not writing . . . so I know i’ll be back.

Since my short break I have so far: worked in my yard and planted numerous flowers and fruit plants. Made the call to fix the pool. Updated the WritingApocalypse.com website. Wrote out my reviews.  Caught up on emails. Started to get the desk organized. Finished reading a book. And just sat down to hold random, useless conversations with my friends.

Alas, taking a hiatus has been good for my soul and sanity.  Still, those grungy teens full of hope and life have sat patiently and silently by.  I know they are there awaiting their story to be told.  I hope they hang around a bit. The more rest I get, the more I feel a welling of courage to write that next book. I was right in taking some time off. Then again, I’m usually right  🙂

Tania L Ramos, Author Taking A Siesta

BeStillNovel.com (free gift with purchase of book direct from author)

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When the Siren Calls: book review

Writing Apocalypse    *    WritingApocalypse.com    *    info@blackbirdlsd.com

Book: When the Siren Calls
Author: Tom Barry
www.tombarrywrites.com
@TomBarry100
https://www.facebook.com/WhentheSirenCalls

When the Siren Calls Author: Tom Barry

When the Siren Calls
Author: Tom Barry

Review written from the staff at WritingApocalypse.com.  We give honest reviews whether positive or negative.

A posh Tuscany setting at a swanky timeshare resort playground for the rich and famous is where Isobel has her sights set to take up a leisurely residence.  But spending time at the establishment isn’t all about the scenery; there is the matter of Jay Brookes, investment tycoon extraordinaire who saved Isobel from a scary situation in town.  There is a definite attraction in the air, but with both people married, this attraction becomes a sticky situation.  Couple that with Jay setting up an elaborate rouse to get Peter, Isobel’s husband, to become a major player in investing in the timeshare, and you’ve got one elaborate plot to not only take Peter’s money and run, but also to take his wife.

The story runs through an elaborate investment scheme, marital infidelity, and a brilliant double cross.  Will Isobel find love? Will Jay get his woman? Run through this brilliant story as it sets up deceit and affairs drenched in money and opportunity.

The set-up of the story is sometimes quite detailed, and runs through the thoughts and emotions of each character so quick it is sometimes difficult to keep up.  There are many characters, many names, and I was eventually forced to write down the names to keep track.  However, each character was distinct and the author was able to give each one a personal voice.  The language flowed well and setting was enough to whisk me off to a faraway place and get lost in the adventure and lies.  The world of high profile tycoons has become so much more fascinating after reading this book and we absolutely love the professional quality of this cover, which was what led us to pick up this book.

4/5 Stars

Review was generated through Net Galley and we are proud to feature this as a top quality book on WritingApocalypse.com.

The Staff at WritingApocalypse.com
Facebook.com/writingapocalypse
@WritingApocalyp

{this was not a paid review}

When the Sun Betrays the Character

The morning started off as cool with a light dusting of iced air creeping over the mountain.  It was the first day of spring and the day Elsa loved most.  Despite the bitter bite on the air, she ran outside wearing only sweatpants and a light t-shirt with Hello Kitty house boots.  She slushed through the crunching ice, now thin and moist, sounding like Frosted Flakes cracking under her foot.

It was spring! It was supposed to be a joyous, but lack of her father arriving home after another drawn out saga of arguments between her parents meant he would miss this tradition of watching the first spring sun peek out from behind the peaks atop Bear Mountain.  Elsa drowned out the endless cackle of her mother as she shouted her daughter was acting crazy and would catch a cold and die.  But Elsa cared less.  The misgivings of her parents had long since wore through any teenage patience she had, and missing the rising spring sun was something she was okay to catch cold over.

Still, the eastern sky was barely lit with a spry flare of hazy orange feeling its way into the night’s dusky blue.  Elsa stood among the pines, taking in the scent of fresh dew on pine needles and relished in the tantalizing scent that filled her nose.  Spring had its own fragrance, and on rare occasion when it arose any other time of the year, she would instantly float back to the first day of spring and standing out on the slurry with her father as they awaited the first warmth on the mountain.

She stood in an opening between two tall pines as the burnt orange ball rose in a slow teasing pace.  Eyes closed, she lifted her head to the sky, longing and anticipating the touch of flares upon her frozen face.  It was time to wake up from winter’s hibernation and she could hardly wait, now standing on tip toes to stretch up and allow her skin to swallow up the heat.

Then . . .

The first beam of light danced on her fingers and there was an instant sensation of nerves waking into pins and needles poking at her flesh.  She was cold and the reviving flesh ached at the new warmth, yet stretched out further to bathe in more.  Every inch of her small frame was engulfed in small increments at a time until the light of the world held her.  Her head lifted higher and she felt the moment a smile crossed her face.

The pins and needles became like small lighters held at her flesh.  This was all wrong! She opened her eyes wide to be instantly met with a burning ball of fire and quickly let out a pained gasp.  Every inch of skin crawled beneath the searing sun and she felt as if being burned at the stake.  Laden knees gave out and her burned palms were first to lay in the slurry of stinging ice and water.  She screamed in deafening agony, knowing the sun had betrayed her, helpless to move from its light of death as she lay cooking under the sun, sprawled against a bed of cold, white powder.

As years went by, the scars, tiny little cropped circle reminders, remained to serve as notes of the day the sun became an enemy.  The words she heard whispered around the small town at night were vampire  and witch.  They couldn’t be more wrong.  It was a disease, not a curse.  One that changed her life, her mentality and made her hide behind the darkness of the night and curtains  . . . alone.

If there was one thing she could she wish for . . . but it wouldn’t be the wish you would think.

*****This has been an introduction into my next book–still untitled. Just a tease, and I hope that it was*****

Tania L Ramos, Still Heeding to the Voices

Follow me and my progression at http://facebook.com/tanialramosbooks

A Literary Affair

Over the past few years, I have read more books than I can count. I mean, I ran out of fingers and toes to count on awhile back. Many are great, some were plain awful, others were so horrible, I didn’t get past three chapters. But there have been some whose words were so flawless, whose stories were so great, I couldn’t put down the book: Imminent Danger (Michelle Proulx), Embers at Galdrilene (A.D. Trosper), Crazy About You (Randy Attwood). These authors write so well, all I could do is imagine that they sit behind some mahogany desk (well, not Michelle, I’ve seen a pic of her desk), with a small, dim, Tiffany lamp, a cup of Joe, and a wild passion in their eyes as they pluck away at the keyboard.

These new authors are talented.  They are inspirational to say the least. And it is rare that I feel that way.  One thing I can say about these authors is that they have succeeded. I mean, honestly, the second you type “The End,” on a manuscript and mean it, then you have succeeded and pushed passed the boundaries so many aspiring authors haven’t. Everything beyond that is icing and cream filling.

But a few months ago, I stumbled across a talented young woman whose words took my breath away. She wrote a few blogs; a few short stories about her life, and I was like, “WOW!” Then she was gone and took her blog with her. The last entry read something along the lines of, “I was told to quit dreaming. People with their heads in the cloud get nowhere.” And she was gone, and I was aghast. I hate dream stompers! Haters.

More recently, I’ve happened across another very talented writer. To say I’ve stalked this person would be an understatement. Big understatement. I think the restraining order may already be in the works, but who cares? Not me. Nope. This person writes like Dickens and Joyce (if they joined the Navy and spoke like sailors, still amazing though) without holding anything back. I’m in love with his words. With the way he makes me feel like I am right there: part of the action, part of the problem, part of the bigger picture. Yep, it is a literary affair, but again, who cares? Not me. Heck, I just want to be part of it.

And then yesterday, I received an email from the first woman I really started to follow. She vented in an email so sad, I was blubbering as if I had just read a Dear John letter from a long time love. Her dreams were being held back by a family who wanted her to be a doctor, lawyer, something–anything–other than an underprivileged author. She’s seventeen. WHAT? Of course, it was all she ever wanted, so I did my best to encourage her dreams, telling her I would be there for every question, every time of doubt, every bit of help I could give no matter what path she chose. Because quite frankly, if I can be a full-time mom, a full-time nurse, and still write then so can she (minus the kids part for her). It takes dedication, and sometimes it takes a stranger on the other end of an email, Facebook chat, or Twitter message and so help me, I plan to be there if she needs it.

So, two writers in two months, who have stolen me away with words. Two writers who have seemingly stopped writing. Really? Now, I don’t know if all you readers have ever come across an author/writer who has made you melt, but I have, and wow! I only hope that someday, I get to read a book they write, more so, I hope they write. I tend to monitor chat rooms, and in one online room several authors bullied a newbie, and that newbie left with tail tucked, and the bullies wrote in their nasty little remarks after. I was appalled.

Authors! Please be mentors, not haters or bullies. We all started somewhere, some of us are still a bit wet behind the ear. Help out the new guy. And if there is a great author out there who makes your heart bleed at his/her very words, then please encourage them to continue. I shall continue to stalk from a distance … or 50 yards at the order states, waiting in a perpetual state of anticipation.

Tania L Ramos, Author Impressed

BeStillNovel.com

Facebook.com/TaniaLRamosBooks

Some songs that keep me encouraged. Hope they help you as well:

 

This is Me. No Really. This is Me.

Ever run out of things to say? Yeah, I’m there. I’m hoping it comes to me as I partake in this semi-strange web blog.  So what shall I say? Complain about work? Talk about my book club speaking event? Explain why I shouldn’t play football against high school kids (still hurts)? Sing you some Justin Bieber karaoke? Hehe, I’ll spare you that part … but if you’d like to do some Rock Band competitions then its on.

Guess I’ll just tell you more about me.  Some may be repetitive, but some of you are new, and its me, which means it’s worth repeating. Right? Okay, so who is Tania L Ramos? I’m going on forty this year and pretty happy about it. My thirties weren’t as awesome as I thought they would be, and more over, when I hit forty I get to attend the “Cougar Convention” in Las Vegas. Such a thing would make any woman long to be forty, I think.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA where I was the only child for twelve years. Then came my brother … he’s grown on me since then.  I made a series of moves and eventually made it to the High Desert.  I’ve run the gambit of jobs from the Domino’s Pizza phone girl, a taxi cab company secretary, the See’s Candy girl, a temp, EMT, and now a nurse … oh yeah, and I worked at the Gap a spell, “Hello, welcome to the Gap, can I show you our sales items today.” Yep, that was me; only one word away from being the WalMart greeter, don’t you think?

I was a swimmer in high school; breast stroke and backstroke. Played powder puff football and failed miserably at trying out for the high school mascot: GO BULLDOGS! I was in drama, was 9th grade class treasurer, participated in the Leadership program, started a lunch time DJ program, and was the youngest student to attend the USC Young Writers Program for a summer. I played softball and managed a softball team in my twenties, and was known as DJ Babs for a while (played alternative music like The Cure, Depeche Mode, and Morrisey).

I was in journalism, creative writing, and some other writing program that I can’t remember. Yet, I failed every English class. I used to write sad, depressing, morbid poetry, then moved into horror stories that made my mom worried. Now, I write INDIE!! I love words. I love people who can hold intelligent conversations.

I don’t speak Spanish. I can use American Sign Language when I really put my mind to it. I hear words in color, which so many people still don’t understand, but it’s called Synesthesia and it really does exist.  So when someone talks and the words hit my ears, I see colors.  Kinda neat, sometimes a nuisance, makes me wonderful.

I speak with a slight lisp. Was teased about it most my life, don’t realize I have it until someone points it out, but tend to reaffirm it with this, “If I didn’t have a lisp then I’d be perfect and the world would hate me.” It’s my own way of coping. 🙂

I have three cats, two dogs, a turtle, and a partridge in a pear tree (A.K.A. a parakeet). Three kids: one in college, one trying to drop out of high school, and the 5 yr old prodigy. I love them all! Still, would like one quiet day out of the year.  Married twice, divorced twice, and it pretty much ends there. No more rings on this finger.  No. No. No. Well, unless a new guy comes bearing cookies, ice cream, and writes like Sparks.  Then we’ll start the negotiations. I’m a wallflower, usually get lost in the crowd, but back me against a wall and man-oh-man watch out– I may just get strongly worded and throw a cat at you.

I lived for X-Files, attended more than one Star Trek convention, and once watched an episode of Jersey Shore. I hate mashed potatoes, eggs, milk, vegetables, pork chops, pork products (except bacon), and orange cheese. I love pizza, spaghetti, pizza, spaghetti, pizza with spaghetti, and bread.  I talk to my animals as a form of therapy, because they listen, rarely judge, and seem to get it.

I hate taking pictures! I love taking pictures! Yeah, try and figure that one out. I tend to be more active in spring, then bury my head in the ground from Summer through Winter. I live in my denim jeans. Love my baggy college sweater. Wear crazy socks and wish my job would let me put pink streaks in my hair (I tried, I was caught). Miss my Doc Martens. Own ONE skirt, and said skirt is black plaid with several buckles on the side and has hanging suspenders (I lost). I love anything with skulls on it!! Cute skulls, girlie skulls.

I don’t talk much, but if I get to talking then you may never shut me up. And apparently, once I start rambling you can’t shut me up. Obvious? Should be! Any questions?

Not me

Not me

Tania L Ramos, Author with Nothing to Say

Amazon to Resell Used Ebooks

This rumor has been running across the internet chat room and websites like wild-fire.  Have you heard about it yet? If you’re a self-published author strictly using Amazon (KDP) for publishing, this may affect you in a huge way.  And if you aren’t strictly using Amazon, it still affects you, but you may have options, such as not using their service.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling the literary world to take up their Kindle and storm the gates, but only that authors take time to consider the alternatives.

According to this article at The Dish (and other sites):

 

[A] U.S. patent that Amazon Technologies in Reno, Nev., received last week indicates that the mega-retailer has its sights on digital resale, including used e-books and audio downloads. According to the abstract, Amazon will be able to create a secondary market for used digital objects purchased from an original vendor by a user and stored in a user’s personalized data store.

What does that mean for e-book authors? Simple. It means that once John Q Reader finishes reading your e-book purchased through Amazon for Kindle or the Kindle app, he can resell the book back to Amazon at a lesser rate.  From there, Amazon can resell the e-book at a slightly cheaper price than “new” and the author will receive no royalties on the resell transaction.  And, considering a used e-book will always be in new condition, most readers would go for the “resell” book at the cheaper price.  Thus, Amazon makes a major profit on your book while you make nothing at all.

While a physical book would eventually have wear-and-tear, and the buyer would have the choice in purchasing a new or used physical book, the choice is pretty one-sided when buying a “used” e-book.  Buy a new e-book for $4.99 or used e-book for $3.99, which would you buy?

Consider this: how many e-books would have to be returned before the market for new e-books is dead? My best novice mathematical figure is just one. Here is my reasoning: Today I buy Be Still for my Kindle app and return it by next Friday. On average I sell one copy a week, so next week my returned e-book will resell at the used price.  And suppose for argument’s sake that the reader returned the book the following Friday and Amazon resold it that night.  And let’s say this continued for the year, which comes to 52 weeks, how much books did I sell? Answer: Just one, the original one.  And that one book will be all the profit I will ever see. Do you see how this plays out now?

This does not increase your rank either, as resold books do not count into the ranking system.  All it takes is one resold e-book to stop everything.

amazon clipWhat’s all the fuss? Physical books and CDs are resold all the time, right? Yes, but at the discretion of the consumer receiving used and worn goods.  Given the choice between a new and used book I will read for leisure, I buy the new one. Now if you’re talking about a textbook, then I buy used, and these days even textbooks are revised almost yearly so they can maintain their sales.

Is there a fix? None that I can really see, except asking people not to purchase your book on Kindle and to use another avenue like Barnes & Noble, iBook, or some other eReader.  But how long before the other distributors follow suit?

I have been told, and have blogged prior, on the topic of writing for fun or profit, in which I stated that I write for fun, but I’d love to be making a living from it.  It’s not easy holding a more-than fulltime job, and then coming home and writing after midnight.  Writing is my passion, my career is a job. Given the choice, I would write, but the dream of being able to support my family from this may be drastically suffocated to the e-book resell program, because 90% of my books are sold through eReaders.  What do you think?

Please give your thoughts and honest opinions on this discussion here.

Tania L Ramos

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