Friday, August 02, 2013

Friday Fun Facts: The Two Books I'm Reading Right Now

TGIF! Hope you're heading into a nice weekend :) We have a wedding to attend later today for good friends - should be a great way to spend the evening!

So...what am I reading right now? Two terrific books that are about as different as they come:

First, I'm about 1100 pages into the 1300+ of Stephen King's Under the Dome. Yes, the hit summer TV show is based on this book, but very loosely. (The book is better - aren't books always better?) I've always been a King fan, even when some of his horror was a little much for me to stomach. But take heart: Under the Dome isn't horror so much as a fast-paced psychological study of human nature, of what happens to a small town in Maine when an invisible and impenetrable dome falls over it and isolates it from the rest of the world. There is a ridiculously long list of characters, but King does his usual masterful job at developing every one of them. This is always what I've loved about his writing: he makes you care about his characters, because they're real and flawed, and he plants conflict on EVERY SINGLE PAGE so that you have to keep turning. For me as a writer, it's been a great reminder that conflict is so important to push plot forward. For me as a reader, it's been a total joy to get lost in. Don't let the length scare you - the pages fly by. I don't want it to be over!

Second, upon the recommendation of a very well-known, New York Times best-selling author, I downloaded The Naked Truth About Self Publishing, put together by 10 other very well-known New York Times best-selling authors. Very interesting. More and more, "indie publishing" as it's also known, is becoming popular not just for unpublished authors who want to see their work in the marketplace, but for already-published authors who either want more control, more $$, or are disenchanted with their sales/publishing house/release schedule/the list goes on. This book is a great resource for laying out the benefits and the challenges of doing it yourself. I'll tell you: since releasing The Promise of Paradise on my own back in February, I can see the draw. That book sold more copies in its first month on Amazon than in 4+ years with its original small press, and more than Beacon of Love did in its first 3 months with a small press. I also hold all the rights, which meant I could publish it in print and audio when I wanted to. Will I indie publish again? Almost certainly. I have a pretty clear idea of what's needed to put a book together, from editing to cover design to formatting (I hire people to do most of this), to marketing (which I do on my own). For anyone who's thinking about publishing their own work, this book is definitely worth the $4.99 download price.

OK, I'm off. Happy reading, writing, and weekend to all!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Mentionables: Oh, Those Kraft Zesty Ads!

First he was featured in a magazine layout:

Now Kraft is running TV ads with Mr. Sexy, and they're "zesty" to say the least. Some groups, like the Christian advocacy group One Million Moms, are complaining that the ads go too far. I think they're terrifically entertaining (and great eye candy).  What do you think??