That’s My Job

book-2The other day, over coffee in a café with a writer friend who lives around the corner from me, the topic turned from our writing to the great mystery of promotion and the elusive magical unicorn that leads readers to your books. We discussed when your new book comes out strong, gets well-reviewed, and then…slips into something like a zombie-like state where sales shuffle along, taking an occasional bite here and there. My friend and I wondered how much promo can you do for yourself, how can you market your work and get it noticed, get it ‘discovered’ without being annoying or spending a fuckton of money by hiring a marketing & PR firm.

Fun fact: Did you know fuckton is a now a standard unit of measurement?

The two of us talked and talked — and didn’t come up with any answers, had no suggestions to make, and we went back to sitting side by side drinking coffee, wearing headphones and writing. Because that’s what we do. We meet,we write, and drink coffee.

book1Like my friend, I’ve followed the advice I’ve been given, done blog tours, sent my books out for reviews, peddled my publications on Facebook, Twitter, Wattpad, Pinterest, in newspapers and local magazines, and radio, on my website, on other’s websites. I’ve gone to conferences, presented workshops and papers, and my books continue shuffling along. What I can say is that, while we spent quite some time discussing what to do, I don’t worry about my books doing a zombie shuffle. I set my focus on writing books. I write because THAT’S MY JOB.

I will be totally honest. I don’t write to make money. You may call bullshit on this, but  I have a great life and I do not define myself as a human being by the amount of dough my books do or do not bring in. As a pragmatist, I know this business is a crapshoot, that there are a shit-ton (slightly smaller than a fuckton) of writers and books out there, and very, very, very few make any real sort of money from the work. Making lotsa money would be nice and I’ll admit that royalties are kinda awesome, mostly because they keep me able to sit in a café, drink coffee and write, but as pleased as hell as I am when someone reads my work and buys me another cup of coffee, I do not write my books FOR anyone other than myself. I’m my own audience. And I know what I like

I started writing because I couldn’t find what I wanted to read, which, by now, all of you probably know that’s stories with women over 40 as the lead. Some of you out there happen to like what I like, and like what I write, and that’s totally bitchin’! Thank you for buying me coffee!

While my next two books continue my placing a 40+ woman as the heroine, they are a sligantonellicoverssmallht departure from my usual romance snark, and I still wrote them for myself first. I also wrote them for my friend Elle because she shares my love of coffee and the Bond movie Quantum of Solace. Cult status, coffee money, and Elle aside, what I’m pondering again today is this:

  1. How soon is too soon to market and promote a new book? If I begin this Friday, as I had planned to last week, will it be overkill of the fuckton of promotion?
  2. Is it too early for promo, considering that one of the books has garnered a little interest, but no publishing deal—yet.
  3. Is it too early for promo if I indie publish it and become a hybrid author, and if so see question 1?
  4. Is it possible to overfeed the elusive unicorn and kill it before it has a chance to become a zombie book?

The point of all this is that I am a writer. I am not schooled in marketing or promotion—I don’t even know if there’s a difference between marketing and promo. I am a writer and a coffee drinker.

Maybe one of you could mull this over and get back to me while I’ll carry on writing to please myself, drinking coffee, because contemplating the path to ultimate promomojo sure does get in the way of my job.

Next to You and An Introvert on Book Release Day

NextToYou_V1_FINAL Round3-Harlequin1920_1920x3022It’s BOOK RELEASE DAY for Next to You

This is the point where there are a choice of ways for me to react. Let’s examine them and break them down.

I could have a Book Launch Brunch, except… As much as I LOVE the breakfast-lunch amalgam that allows others to imbibe and relax with alcohol whilst I get hyped-up on caffeine, I’m an introvert who hates parties where there are more than six people, and no one, except me, would get up and boogie to the Partridge Family’s I Woke Up In Love This Morning from William Murphy’s Bubblegum pop classics playlist if there’s hollandaise, coffee, and booze.

I could be obsessive and check my sales rank on Amazon, today and tomorrow because it’s July 25th here in Australia, but not yet in the UK or North America. However, Amazon boggles my mind and means nothing much at all to me, except for the fact that I’ll eventually get a royalty statement showing that I made enough money from selling a few copies of Next to You to allow me to buy three to ten cups of coffee.Antonellicoffe

Those three-to ten cups of coffee—OH WHAT JOY!!

It’s a proud moment and I’d like to burst into my favourite local café and shout COFFEE FOR EVERYONE, which, for me is the equivalent of popping a cork on something, tossing confetti and SQUEEEING and stuff…except that introvert, more-than-six people thing again, and I SQUEE better on paper. So I’m gonna go to my favourite local café and continue writing my new book at my favourite table in the corner, and have 2 cups of coffee that, thanks to my readers, my royalties have allowed me to buy. And coffee OH WHAT JOY!

I’m really, really incredibly happy to have William Murphy and Caroline finally meet and have you meet them. Thank you for sharing this moment with me and, well, if you happen to stop by and see me at my favourite café, know that I am truly enjoying the coffee you bought me when you bought my book. 

Thirty-One Days of Halloweenie Day 2: Om Nom nom

multipbudHi.

I’m an author who loves Halloween, peanut butter, coffee, cookies, and writing about fear because one of the scariest things on earth is falling in love. I write about that fear in my novels, A Basic SandrabooksRenovation, For Your Eyes Only, and Driving in Neutral, all of which feature one or more of those delicious things. For instance, there’s a peanut butter in A Basic Renovation

a-basic-renovation_finalLesley reached back into the car. Plastic crinkled in her hand. ‘Can I have one?’
‘Can you have one what?’
‘One of the Fifth Avenue candy bars you’ve hidden under the socks and condoms on the bottom.’
‘Never you mind what’s in there. Just take it inside.’
Those clunking cowboy boots of hers stopped clunking just a few feet from the front door. Martino looked over his shoulder to see Lesley smirking. ‘I think I need something to guarantee my silence,’ she said.
‘Extortion is a crime, just ask Eilish’s nephew.’
‘I will. I’m going out with him tonight.’
‘Well, I’m not giving you any of my rubbers.’
‘I want chocolate and peanut butter, not sex and condoms.’
‘Ha! You want both, but you’re not getting any.’
‘You really think you will?’
He narrowed his eyes. ‘One. You can have one, merdinucchia.’

Numerous coffee and peanut butter scenes appear in For Your Eyes Only0913-eyes-only_final1

Her stomach growled on cue.
Peanut butter. It’s what’s for dinner.
She unscrewed the top from a jar of Jif. The instant she smeared a slice of whole-wheat bread with creamy, peanutty goodness, the phone rang again and the doorbell chimed a backwards, off-key dong-ding. Ignoring Isabel’s persistence, licking her fingers, she went to unlock the deadbolt, peanut butter-coated knife still in hand. She sneezed as she opened the door.
“Gesundheit.”
One more sneeze and Willa found herself gazing at a pizza box and John’s lopsided smirk. His nose was red from the cold.
“Hi,” he said, his eyes traveling from bare feet to peanut butter-covered knife. “I’m here about the shirt and the note you left at my door. Thank you. You know, you didn’t need to replace anything. It’s sweet, but I told you, clothes can be washed and…” his eyebrows rose, “…should I cue the Psycho music?”

driving smallDriving in Neutral is all about fear, yet the story contains coffee and peanut butter on Ritz crackers.

It took Emerson a second before he grasped what she meant. He hadn’t intended the baseball game comment to be a come-on, but subconsciously, in that very Freud kind of way, maybe it was. He was turning into a sleaze who winked and soon he’d be into wearing gold chains and exposing his chest hair like Barry Gibb on the album cover of Saturday Night Fever. Would he be able to stuff himself into a pair of Bee Gees-tight pants?
Quickly, before he imagined how his genitals would look forming a moose knuckle in white satin pants, he changed the subject. “Are you enjoying the work here?”
“It’s interesting.” She took a small plastic bag from the fridge.
“Is that a euphemism for it sucks?”
“No. If that were the case I would have said, it’s different. Want one?” She held out the bag.
“What is it?”
“Peanut butter and jelly on Ritz crackers.”
“Peanut butter and jelly? Peanut butter’s for kids. I’m an adult. I eat adult snacks.”
“So that box of Coco Puffs over there with your name and DO NOT EAT all over it in purple marker isn’t yours?”

Oh, all right. I often write about peanut butter. Does that scare you? Yesterday, I was given a scarily large jar of homemade peanut butter cookies. That scares me because I know I WILL EAT THEM ALL!

The scariest thing about today’s post is that it is about really about cookies — Halloween cookies and by Halloween cookies you know I mean PUMPKIN cookies.

Preheat oven to 350F/180C

1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar    1/2 cup butter softened

2 eggs                                              1/2 cup mashed pumpkin

2 ¾ cups flour                                   1/2 tsp saltpumpkincookie

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp  cinnamon                       1/4 tsp  ginger

1/4 tsp  nutmeg                       1/8 tsp  allspice

1/8 tsp ground cloves

 

In large bowl, beat sugar, butter, eggs, pumpkin with electric mixer on medium speed.

Stir in flour, salt, baking powder and spices. Drop dough by tablespoon onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Cool on racks, about 30 minutes. EAT.

BEWARE! The Thirty-One Days of Halloweenie is COMING!

punkinbud

PunkinBudman

Remember how last month and the month before I was all in your face with phobias and other irrational fears?

I play with fear a lot in Driving In Neutral and For Your Eyes Only. October continues with that theme of terror because, you know, it ends with Halloween and it’s only 31 days long, and has Reese’s Peanut Butter items and candy corn involved.

supercreepweenie

How creepy is this kid?

You may recall that I like to write about fear, especially when it comes to falling in love, but perhaps you’ll also recall how the previous 75 Days of Phobias series theme’ highlighted that the two things that freak y’all out the most are spiders and CLOWNS! Starting This Wednesday, it’s gonna be a (mostly) Clown-free Freaky Festival o’ Facts, Fun, Frankenstein, FrankenBud, Frankenbrides (like Ella in Driving in Neutral) and Fear, finishing on Friday 31 October.

Join me for a little friggin’ fun. There will be coffee, cookies, giveaways, treats, and maybe even a couple of tricks. Oh, YEAH MAMA!

Sandrabooks

A Day in the Writing Life of Sandra Antonelli– That’s Me

I bet you’re ALL so desperate to know about a day in my writing life. Hands up. Who thinks cookies and coffee play a part? Hop on over to the RWAus blog and see more and find out if you’re right.

Let’s give a good coffee fuelled morning to Sandra Antonelli, whose book Driving in Neutral is out now!

Antonelli pink sweaterIn one or two sentences, please tell us what genre you write in and what made you decide that particular one is your calling.
I write contemporary, smart-assed romantic comedy for grown ups who aren’t really very grown up at all, which is due to my smartassed nature. Although, I do have a dark side…

Romance Writers of Australia

Let’s give a good coffee fuelled morning to Sandra Antonelli, whose book Driving in Neutral is out now!

Antonelli pink sweaterIn one or two sentences, please tell us what genre you write in and what made you decide that particular one is your calling.
I write contemporary, smart-assed romantic comedy for grown ups who aren’t really very grown up at all, which is due to my smartassed nature. Although, I do have a dark side…

What time of the day do you write? Are you a morning, night-owl or anytime writer?
I get most of my writing done from 8am to 1 pm, at the office I manage. I got in this habit when I was working on my PhD in romance fiction. Basically, I have three jobs, I manage the psychology practice we own, I write romance fiction, and make my husband lunch. I have a lovely view of swaying palms…

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Visiting Cafe Cala with Maggie Christensen CHAMPION OF WOMEN!

Maggie-Peregian-260x300I dropped by Maggie Christensen’s Cafe Cala to report on what condition my condition was in.  Maggie is:

An author of contemporary fiction. I love to write about mature women and examine how they face and overcome the family and the career issues they meet. I’ve chosen to write in this genre because this is what I love to read. I believe that older women and the events which impact their lives are often ignored.

Amen to that, Maggie. Amen to that.

 

 

Stop by for a chat!

 

Cookies + Coffee = 44 Days of Holiday Cookies Day 41: Brown Sugar Rolling Stone Cookies

stonescupIf you’ve been following along these last 41 days, you’ve probably worked out that I have a fondness for simple cookies. I like ’em on the plain side, with a little spice and maybe a little nuts or raisins. If cookie is too sweet, say like a Chocolate chip m&m cookie, it spoils the cookie-coffee combination for me because I have to gulp the coffee to rid my teeth of the sugar overload.

What are you feelings on this cookie thing? Do you like ’em sweet, full o’ chunky things or do you go for simple like me?

Also, because life is so random and I have random thoughts, I am pretty sure Mick Jagger would so totally dig today’s cookies because of the name alone. I mean, come ON, Brown Sugar? How could he and Keith and Charlie and Ronnie not love them?

Also, beacuse life is so random and I have random thoughts, I’ve been wondering if David Bowie would be fond of lemon scented tea cookies –or maybe he is he more of an Oreo fan. Also, have you seen this? It’s “supposed” to be directed by George Clooney. Scorsese eats a cookie.

I’ll put up the gif in a separate post because Mr Goodfella EATING A COOKIE!

Brown Sugar cookies A a fav of Mick Jagger! Well, they could be.

Oven to 350F/175C

  •  1 cup butter, softened             2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs                                      2 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 3 cups flour                             1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground ginger                 ¼ cup extra brown sugar for sprinkle

Cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and lemon peel; beat well.

Combine the flour, baking soda and ginger; add gradually to creamed mixture and mix well.

Refrigerate for 2 hours

On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick, then cut with 2-in. cookie cutters. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle tops with brown sugar.

Bake 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Move like Jagger when you eat these, but don’t spill your coffee. I’d suggest a sweet, cocoa-y  Blend like  Starbuck’s Cafe Verona.

NominonmessCoffee cup&mug clipart

Remove from sheet and cool on wire racks