Getting Down to Business

The summer’s half over, and I’m still sitting here with an unfinished draft of Moon Beach Magic. I thought I’d have the first draft finished as a birthday present to myself in May, but once I put the whole thing together I realized that the missing chunks were too big and the draft too drafty.

I’ve been playing with a new sub-plot to add some extra tension and interest to the story and I’m having fun with it. I’ve been traveling a lot and not keeping a regular writing regimen, though, so here’s hoping that some kind of fermentation process is occurring while I’m playing tourist instead of writing.

On one of my airline voyages this summer, I read Anne Tyler’s A Patchwork Planet and nearly wept with envy/lust/awe over how beautifully she pulled everything together for her wonderful characters. I’d like to think that my writing combines elements of both Tyler and Carl Hiaasen. (I am well aware that I could never be mistaken for either of these greats, but I can dream…)

CG Blake in this blog post points out some of the differences between these two authors that might present problems to me as a writer:  “A reader would not confuse the covers of a Carl Hiaasen novel and an Anne Tyler novel. One screams out ‘over-the-top’ funny, while the other is quiet and introspective.”

Still, Tyler and Hiaasen both draw fabulously quirky characters and I’d like to think Vince, Lizzie, Ernestine and the rest of Moon Beach’s denizens have enough of their own foibles to endear them to my readers.


This post is about getting down to business, so let me finally do that, starting with this disclosure: I’m not so hot at marketing myself and my writing. I know this is a weak spot for many authors, not just me, so maybe this post will give you a useful idea. You’re welcome.

Since I haven’t miraculously gone viral with Fifty Shades of Just Desserts, I need to get out and do some self-promotion.  Here’s a step I’ve taken recently: I’ve made business cards for Just Desserts: Greed. Lust. Death. Tiramisu. I’m really pleased with how they came out. Now I have to figure out how, when and where to give them to people who might be interested.

What do you think?




19 comments to Getting Down To Business

  • Ohhhh I love the cards! You’ll have to mail me some so I can help with the promotions.
    I think you should also get on Twitter. It’s a great promotional tool, and don’t worry, most writer’s don’t just use it to tell you what they ordered at Starbucks. :)Marketing is hard, especially if you have a life outside of writing. It takes a lot of time and a lot of thought.

    So excited to read the sequel to Just Desserts! Moon Beach Magic is a great title! Sounds like you’re having another event filled summer. You’ll have to start blogging your road trip adventures. I miss hearing your stories. Glad your knees recovered enough to get you up and going with the nice weather.

  • Thanks, Dana! I will definitely take you up on your offer. Your marketing efforts have certainly taken off and I can learn a lot from you.

    • Ah, well, I’m not so sure about that. I do much better on Facebook and Twitter than on my blog that’s for sure. I have learned a few things though. I’m still not a fan of blogging and it shows. I will absolutely do what I can to help you with whatever you need. I already tweeted this blog post. Hope that’s okay 🙂

  • Glad you’re home from your travels and starting back in on Moon Beach Magic. I have a much smaller influence of readers in my village, but I’m happy to pass out cards also. I can sit by the door at Starbucks and hand them to people leaving! 🙂
    I’m attending the Willamette Writers Conference on Aug 3-5 and there might be an opportunity there. I’ve signed up for my first one-on-one with an agent to see if they would be interested in my finally finished novel, Anna in the Portrait. No delusions of grandeur, but its a first step. Larry Brooks is presenting all three days – yeah!

    • This is exciting! Both the conference AND the finished novel! Can’t wait to hear more… I know you are a big Larry Brooks fan, so that’s great that he’ll be presenting and you’ll get to hear him!

  • Nice cards, well done! Marketing is definitely a challenge for writers. I have business cards that I give to people who ask, what do you write? To be honest, the cards are kind of ho hum, so I’m thinking of re-doing them. (It is possible to be too understated.)

    You’re too funny — the draft is “too drafty”!! In my experience, vacations accelerate the fermentation process.

    • Thanks! I got the cards from I think it was ten bucks for 250 cards. They have a ton of different templates and one of them worked really well with my book cover. If you can work with one of their templates, the cards are quick and cheap. I think you can have more info on the reverse side as well But I couldn’t think of anything to put there – if I knew in 100 words or less what the book was about, I suppose I could put my ‘elevator speech’ on the other side.

  • You need a ‘Natasha Alexander’ slogan for the back of your business cards. A one liner that sums up what you write about.
    Here’s an example. Jennifer Probst is #13 on Amazon right now. Her slogan is ‘A little bit naughty, a little bit nice’.
    Something like that for your blog and business cards.

  • Well! There she is as bright and cheerful as always! I sure have missed your whimsy banter.

    Don’t ask me about the marketing stuff – I’m leaving that to the professionals. I have a bear of a time simply staying on track with the few commitments that I’ve been shackled to in the past two months.

    I know that tweeting wasn’t my forte, but I don’t think I missed the boat. I took all social media down when I changed my fiction pseudonym. Currently I have only a webpage for that persona and don’t blog either. Regarding tweets: Those I’ve talked with who have self-published or collectively started their own small presses, said tweeting didn’t help their book sales except on free download days and giveaway contests – neither of which resulted in sales dollars. Maybe exposure was increased, but it did not translate to sales. The few I’ve communicated with that were published by big houses said that twitter followers came after the book rose in popularity – not before. So take what you want from that information. FB I know nothing about and hope I’m not forced to open an account, which remains to be seen. The best marketing you can do is local and regional. If it’s meant to be it will spread from there. But I am in a totally different fiction genre and market than any of you – so don’t listen to a thing I say.

    I love the idea of cards designed for your target audience. If you could get that elevator speech on the back side, all the better. And hey – pop in more often!

    • I spent the day trying to come up with slogans, elevator speeches, short snappy copy and have come up with exactly zero. So I don’t know about bright and cheerful right now. Maybe tomorrow. Thanks for the marketing comments.

      • You actually already have one for the book. As your last commenter said, Greed. Lust. Death. Tiramisu.
        As for Natasha Alexander, I think something that relates to the beach and the south. One standard way is to come up with twenty words that relate to your writing and whittle it down from there. I’ve actually read a method for coming up with a slogan once, it’s at home. I’ll try to find it and send it to you.

        • I’d love to see the slogan ideas! Thanks. I’ve been trying out different taglines on my blog – sometimes I change them a couple of times a day, just to see if anything feels right. So far, nothing does. ‘ebb. flow. everything in between.’ sums up my life pretty well (everyone’s, I suppose) and that’s been up for almost 24 hours, the longest of any of them. But it’s too bland.

          ‘Life’s a beach read, y’all’ is another one I’ve tried.

          I think I can use ‘Greed. Lust. Death. Tiramisu.” as a Moon Beach Magic slogan. It fits and I do like it.

          Now I am trying to write whatever you call the back jacket copy. So then I can get down to my elevator speech.

          And then, eventually, finish the damn book. I need to make Marcos a little crazier, perhaps. Every book needs a 6’6″ psychopathic artist with a broken heart and a welding torch.

        • The thriller that I abandoned had a minor character named Chaz who was an artist that used a blowtorch. You see where that got me – all tangled up in burnt metal, twisted steel, and crappy writing – LOL. But there was a highly popular gratuitous sex scene that got a lot of attention, that is before I cut out the explicit details and left it to the readers imagination – then not so much. Just sayin’. Anyway. I hope you’re working out the little details.

  • It’s nice to see you here again. 🙂

  • Greed, Lust, Death, Tiramisu– tasty packaging!

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