Sunday, April 17, 2011

Why I suck at self-promotion

In an attempt to get my name out there, I started a Twitter account (@VaJewel) and this blog.  But what I've come to realize is that I absolutely suck at promoting myself.  I am so uninteresting that I have less than 20 Followers on Twitter and only one Follower here on the blog.  I've racked my brain trying to figure out what to do about this problem.  Like I said before, I don't write because I want to make money or be rich and famous, I write because the characters want me to tell their stories.  So, how do I make people notice me and want to read my books?

After thinking about this problem, I've decided that I don't want to promote myself.  I'm sure it sounds naive, and in the end isn't going to help me at all, but I don't want people to read my books because they find me interesting.  I want people to read my books because they find the characters and the plot interesting.  Who gives a hoot about me! 

So, no, I don't have anything witty or funny to say on Twitter. 

No, my blog posts aren't going to start a revolution and inspire others to rise up against the establishment, or whatever. 

But damn it, my books are good!  The characters who have trusted me to tell their stories are interesting and they find themselves in interesting situations.  They are funny, and witty, and experience exciting things that have never happened to me!  If even half the stuff that happens to characters in my book really happened to me then I wouldn't need to write.  I wouldn't have time to write because I'd be too busy being ridiculously happily-ever-after happy! 

Isn't that why we ladies read chick lit? 

We are boring!  Our lives are not filled with eccentric characters and gorgeous men who are just dying to sweep us off our feet!  We have mortgages and cell phone bills!  We live in crappy apartments or lonely old houses!  We don't have sinfully good-looking men chasing after us!  We have moderately attractive male accountants who sometimes take us to dinner! 

I suck at self-promotion because I don't want to promote me!  Of course, being a self-published author the lack of skills in the area of self-promotion sort of limits my reach.  However, I can not make myself more interesting.  I can not force myself to be witty or funny. 

To quote a great philosopher:
 "I am what I am!"

Friday, April 8, 2011

Review- The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

I love it when the characters in a book draw me into their world completely.  That's exactly what happened to me with the characters in McLain's novel about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley Richardson.  From the first page, she had me in the palm of her hand.  She also had me in the heart of the story; the incredible connection between Hemingway and Richardson.  Despite their age difference, and distance between them, the two main characters fell deeply in love, and McLain put me right in there with them.  I found myself cheering them on, even though I knew the relationship was doomed. 
McLain's style made is simple for me to get to know the characters and to care about them. The further into the story I read, the more attached to the characters I got.  By the end of the book I was so wrapped up in their relationship that I wanted to throw my Kindle across the room in frustration at Hadley and her completely passive role in the destruction of their marriage.  Frustration turned to sadness as I read the last words.  In the end, I cried for several minutes at the loss of Hadley and Ernest's love and ultimately Ernest's life.
The Paris Wife is not the kind of book I usually read, but what a fantastic read this one was.  I read it for my first ever book club, and it is killing me that I have to wait a whole other month before I can sit down and talk to them about it.  I have to give this book a whopping 5 out of 5 stars! 

What I accomplished in my week off

Well, my week off is coming to a close.  It's been great, but like all breaks, I didn't get as much accomplished as I had hoped.  Now that it's coming to an end I want to sit back and reflect on what I accomplished.

  1. I moved the eliptical machine and got it put together.   For over a year now the expensive eliptical machine (that I had to have!) has been sitting useless in my extra room.  We had taken it apart when I had my floors replaced and when I had the back porch redone, but it had not made it into the extra bedroom where it belonged.  Now it is sitting in the extra bedroom and I haven't used it once.  Oh well, a win is a win!
  2. I cleaned my bathroom.  Nothing makes me happier than a clean bathroom.  It is one of the greatest simple pleasures in the world to me.  However, for some reason, I just can't seem to motivate myself to clean the bathroom as often as it needs it.  Not this week!  I even mopped the floor.  Go me!  It was so wonderful I wanted to just sit in there and enjoy it.
  3. I've written six chapters in my fifth book.  Even though I still haven't finished my fourth book (truth be told I could probably finish it in a day or two, but the characters have stopped talking to me so I'm stuck), I feel like I've made some good progress with my fifth book.  I got the idea for this book about a year ago, but I haven't had the time to write anything on it.  But this week I sat down and the words have flowed out of me.  I also managed to map the whole thing out so I know where I'm going.  Go me!
  4. I spent time with family and friends.  I know that doesn't sound like much of an accomplishment but I am such a hermit that anytime I leave the house to be social it is a win for me.  I spent a few hours with my nephew and then had lunch with a friend.  That counts as two wins for me! Woohoo!

I could probably fill up several pages of things that I did not accomplish during this week off, but I'm choosing to focus on the positive. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I am currently working on my fifth book and I'm considering using flashbacks to help explain some of the back story of the characters.  I'm not 100% sure about this method.  I've read books that use flashbacks and it can be done well, but I'm not sure that I have the talent to pull it off. 
My problem then becomes, how do I cover the character's past without making them talk about it.  I get nervous when I see a lot of dialogue on my page.  I'm not sure why that is, because I also get nervous when I don't see enough!  I'm just a nervous writer.  I don't write to please others, but I still worry about having it all make sense. 
Should I just go with my gut and continue on with what I've started?  The characters' voices are pretty loud right now, so I don't want to lose them.  I've had this story and these two characters for about a year, but I've just recently got them down on "paper".  I don't want to lose the momentum.  Just wondering if I should consider other options.