Election 2012

Calling Authors

So I’ve had a fabulous email exchange this week with writer Elizabeth West, who has recently started running the author-advertiser program for The-Cheap.net. I asked her to send me a release about a holiday promotion they’re doing, because I thought it might be of interest to a number of you AWers out there looking for good ways to promote your book.

She’s quite generously done so, with permission for me to share it with all of you:

The Piggies are proud to announce Santa Sampler, an ebook sample reading competition for their readers that will provide raw market data back to every author who signs up. And the prizes for the readers are gift cards (so they can hopefully buy books, they already own ereaders).

“Our readers have enjoyed our recent ebook giveaways where they read the sample and answer a trivia question. We are suspending these after September to support the Santa Sampler. The question and answer keeps the giveaways focused on our loyal readers who are part of our community, not every stranger clicking a link to just enter as many giveaways as possible,” said Ms. West.

Each book in the Santa Sampler will have the ebook sample rated on a very simple premise: how likely on a scale of 1-10 would the reader read the rest of the book? Additionally, readers will identify how often they read the book’s genre. The voting part of the promotion runs from September 30, 2012 until November 10, 2012 with $2,000 in gift card prizes for the readers.

After the rating process, the books move into the holiday promotion part of the Santa Sampler. From November 18, 2012 until January 5, 2012, each book will be promoted for one week on The-Cheap.net and in their Facebook pages, and will also be part of special Reindeer Games – activities for the readers to interact with that week’s books.

“We’re really opening up holiday promotions beyond just the Christmas story. Each week has a theme, such as the Naughty List, Villains so Evil, They Aren’t Even Getting a Lump of Coal! That could be thriller books, horror books etc,” said Ms. West. “When I first pitched the idea to our readers, they loved the idea of a community vetted To Be Read list.”

And that’s the last piece of the Santa Sampler, the ebook specific holiday catalogs. Each book, with the best rating information it received, will be featured in a Kindle or Nook in an ebook file. This catalog, or technically an ebook, will be sideloaded by the readers so they can shop The-Cheap.net’s TBR pile right inside their ereader through links.

“Santa Sampler is long tail promotion to get your ebook title familiar to over 23,000 readers. If a reader is an elf, they will likely check out your sample. If they just hang out with us for deals, they’ll see your book during the Reindeer Games or in the catalog. And really the most important part is getting that raw data from the votes on real reader opinions on your book sample, plus find out if you’re appealing to readers across genres,” said Ms. West.

Registration for The-Cheap.net’s Santa Sampler is open now, with limited spots available for $95 and regular priced spots available for $125. This price is for 7 total weeks of promotion, six weeks of voting, one week of promotion during the holiday season. Registrations will close September 25, 2012 or when all 200 spots have sold out.

To view the promotional video that went out to readers, click here.

So you heard it here, AWers! For more information, check out the Santa Sampler Holiday Promotion on The-Cheap.net.

Clarion Write-A-Thon

Clarion Go For It!

There’s still time!

What is a write-a-thon, anyway? It’s just like a walk-a-thon. But instead of walking, we’re writing, and instead of making pledges per mile, we’re making pledges per word, chapter, or story.

Writers get support, encouragement and motivation, and the option of joining a team with a writing mentor! Those who care about the writers in their life get a way to show their support. And money is raised for a literally fantastic cause — the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. All donations are made through The Clarion Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, EIN #20-3114945.

Everybody wins!

Writing begins officially on June 24, and ends on August 4, same dates as the 2012 Clarion Workshop. Just by signing up, you’ll get the bonus of providing moral support for this summer’s Clarion Workshop students.

This year, there’s something new: Once you have $20 in donations, you’ll have the option of joining a small group of eight Write-a-Thon writers. Each group is mentored by a Clarion Workshop instructor or graduate, ready and waiting with advice and encouragement.

All the details are at http://clarionwriteathon.org/

Write Your Book!

Glenys O'Connell's Naked WritingMany of you will remember Glenys O’Connell from her Naked Writing class—now you can buy a copy of her book, whether or not you’ve taken the writing course.

Available in paperback and Kindle editions, Naked Writing: The No Frills Way to Write Your Book is a terrific resource for any level of writer, and a book I’m personally pleased to recommend we all add to our writer’s toolboxes.

Clarion West Write-a-thon

From a recently-received press release:

Sign up now for Clarion West’s ninth annual Write-a-thon!

The ninth annual Clarion West Write-a-thon is open for participant sign-up now through June 16. Every summer since 2004, famous authors and emerging ones have announced their six-week writing goals on individual web pages hosted by Clarion West. People publicly state what they’d like to do for their own writing over the six weeks that the workshop runs — either word count, pages written, chapters edited, anything writing related is perfect. And then Clarion West gets donations from their supporters when those goals are met.

Michael Swanwick and several others have offered Tuckerized story appearances to their supporting donors, and award-winners Vonda N. McIntyre, Rachel Swirsky, and Nisi Shawl are already signed up. The goal is to have at least 200 participating writers by June 16; four supporters have offered to give Clarion West $2000 if that happens.

If you were looking at a way to encourage yourself to write this summer — for a good cause, no less! — the Write-a-thon is it. More details on how the Write-a-thon works and how you can take part are available at www.clarionwest.org/writeathon.

Clarion West is a 501 c 3 nonprofit organization which presents writing workshops for those preparing for careers as professional writers in the fantastic genres.

Creative Frustration?

If you’re new to writing, you might not know this yet—and even if you’ve been writing for a while, it never hurts to stop and remember:

You know that feeling you get when the words you write just aren’t as compelling as the story in your mind? That’s normal.

Ira Glass says one of the smartest things I’ve ever heard anyone say about the creative process, and even though this link has been kicking around for a while, it seemed like a good reminder for an April Monday.

What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this.

There is a gap that we spend our entire creative lives working to close. And that’s as it should be.

For more detail, here’s the Ira Glass interview on storytelling.

Win Two Tickets to Seminar from Backspace Writers Conference!

SEMINAR is the provocative new comedy from Pulitzer Prize nominee THERESA REBECK (Mauritius), directed by Obie Award winner SAM GOLD (Circle Mirror Transformation).

See JEFF GOLDBLUM (Pillow Man, Jurassic Park, Independence Day) star in Broadway’s smash-hit comedy SEMINAR beginning April 3.

Joining him are JUSTIN LONG (He’s Just Not That Into You, Going the Distance) in his Broadway debut, ZOE LISTER-JONES (NBC’s “Whitney,” The Little Dog Laughed), JERRY O’CONNELL (Jerry Maguire, Stand By Me) and HETTIENNE PARK (Tony Kushner’s The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide).

In SEMINAR, four aspiring young novelists sign up for private writing classes with Leonard (Jeff Goldblum), an international literary figure. Under his recklessly brilliant and unorthodox instruction, some thrive and others flounder, alliances are made and broken, sex is used as a weapon and hearts are unmoored. The wordplay is not the only thing that turns vicious as innocence collides with experience in this biting new comedy.

For more information, visit the page for the Backspace Writer’s Conference Logline Contest.