Saturday, November 16, 2013

Authors! Answer Your Email!!

Dear Literary Loves,
I don't know if you've had this particular pet peeve of mine, but lately, I have been reading quite a lot of memoirs and commercial fiction and subsequently writing the authors of said books only to receive no response!  Is this not rude or what?!  I mean, honestly, if readers didn't buy your books for God's sake, then you wouldn't have a livelihood, Comprende?!!!  Here are my reasons why authors should answer their author email or fan email whatever the case may be:

1)  It's Not That Difficult!  Folks, I don't care if you have a 1,000 email backlog!  Just take ten emails a day and work your way through them.  It takes maybe thirty minutes out of your day.  If you can't carve out thirty minutes to answer email then honestly, I'm just appalled!

2)  Readers Enable You To Earn A Living For Crying Out Loud!  Show some respect and drop a line or two via the great world wide web and make someone's day.  And also ensure they think highly of you and are more likely to buy your next book!  Do I sound like a professor yet?!  Oh, that's right!  I am a teacher so I have a right to go on a rant!

3)  Wake Up!  It's Flattering!  Can you imagine that some person in this country or some other part of the world actually connected with your writing and your story?  I mean, really, that's quite a feat when you think about it.  At the minimum at least send a thank you email.

4)  Make Connections!  Honestly, if you don't answer your author email, how in the world do you expect to develop your fan base?  If you don't answer an email you might be seriously offending someone important so get with the program!  Wise up and jot a note, then hit send; it's quite simple.

5)  Add To Your LinkedIn Connections!   This is a fabulous way to build up that 1,248 connections on LinkedIn so people realize that you actually are well-connected to a wide variety of people and not just those in publishing. 

6)  Discover What Your Fan Base Would Like You To Write About!  Seriously, if you are an author and you have a Web site and a contact page people will write you and make suggestions for what they would like to see in your future writing.  It's a wealth of book material ideas just waiting to be discovered.  Better yet, you could base a character in your next book on someone you meet via your author contact page.  Who knows!  The possibilities are endless!

7)  It's Just Good PR People!  These folks are your target audience.  If you don't sincerely mean for your fan base to contact you, then do not supply your Web site information on the back of a book flap.  And don't put a contact page on your author Web site if you never intend to get back to folks that write you.  It's just bad form and taste.

8)  Create An Email Directory From Your Contact List!  Here's the beauty of having a contact page as a writer/author:  you can build a contact/email directory of folks who would like to be informed early on about your next work in progress.  These are your fans, don't disappoint them!

And For Those Authors Who I Have Written And You Never Bothered To Respond:

Guess what?  If I bought your book, read it, and took the time to write you I surely do expect a response!   I don't care if it does take you a month.  Those writers/authors who do not respond to my email should know that after a reasonable amount of time waiting for a response, I promptly place your book in a recycling bin or take it to a resale book store.  And guess what?  I don't buy any more books from you.  Comprende?!

Now Get Crackin' On That List Of Return Emails You Need To Make!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Is It Meniere's Disease Or A Mini Stroke??

Dear Literary Loves,
Well, usually I take this the time in this forum to review a memoir I have just finished reading or discuss what is happening in the search for a literary agent.  And sometimes I give my opinion on what I read in Publishers Weekly, like why Harlequin is losing money (see last post).  Last week I went to Emory Hospital for balance/dizziness tests to see how far my Endolymphatic Hydrops or Meniere's disease has progressed.  After two hours of testing in which I wore goggles with an embedded camera while being shaken and then seated in a chair that then tilts you to the right and left to see how well you can maintain balance.  The diagnostic doctor was looking for eye movements that go along with Meniere's disease.  Additionally, I had a moving spotlight test in which I followed a red beaming light with both eyes as it went back and forth at jet speed.  Finally, I put on the goggles
with an embedded camera and experienced hot and cold water being shot into both ears.  This tests how many balance cells remain active in both ears.  I failed on the left side completely.  There was absolutely no onset of dizziness during any of the water treatments to the left ear.  My inner ear cells that control balance in the left ear have been destroyed after living with Meniere's disease since age eighteen. 
Here's the interesting part:  the diagnostic doctor gave me several neurological tests also.  I failed one test with flying colors.  It's the test where they blindfold you and then take a hold of the right foot and move the big toe up or down; you have to tell them which direction without looking.  I failed on the right side and was perfect with the left foot.  The doctor kept repeating so I could tell he was concerned that I could not for the life of me pass this test.  And that's when he said "We have to make sure that you have not lost positional frame of reference due to a small stroke."  If I hadn't already had a stroke, I just about had one right then.  I kept thinking, surely I would know if I had suffered a stroke?  Not necessarily.  When I have dizzy spells now they just hit without warning.  I could be standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes and vertigo occurs that leaves me on my knees on the kitchen floor.  At this point I usually reach into my jean pocket and take my medicine or try to crawl and reach my medication.  It's scary to think that all this time I thought my dizziness was stemming from Meniere's disease when I might truly have been experiencing a mini stroke which runs in my family maternally and paternally. 
Did you see the Houston Texans' football coach drop to his knees during last Sunday night's NFL game?  Everyone  was running to the locker rooms at halftime and he fell to his knees on the field.  They took him out on a stretcher.  He had an MRI and they must have discovered a clot because he was then placed on intravenous clot busting medication.  I'll know for sure next Wednesday when I have a gad/MRI and then see the diagnostic doctor at Emory about an hour afterward.  I am trying not to stress about finding a literary agent.  Hell, if I have to I will just self-publish.  I don't need the stress of waiting forever for an agent to recognize I have meaningful manuscripts and could be the next Kathryn Stockett.  I would love to go the traditional route in publishing by having an agent, but I can only wait so long.  If I have to design my own path to publishing I will because it's not like I'm not a resourceful person.  Sometimes you just have to design/build your own form of the yellow brick road, you know?!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Why Harlequin's Profits Are Tumbling

Dear Literary Loves,
I read today that Harlequin's profits are down and obviously not meeting expectations.  I took a look at the Harlequin Web site and it was obvious to me that they are not producing enough books in the hottest genre today:  Memoir.   Well, it might help if the editors opened their "in" boxes to potentially taking on unsolicited manuscripts; however, I won't hold my breath for that to happen.  There were only seven memoirs listed on the site and I do not think they were published recently.  This obviously has to change.  The chick lit book listings had a good variety; however, the pet section only had three books listed and they were all about dogs.  Hello?!!  What about those of us who are cat lovers?!  And here's another good question:  Why are most of the Harlequin imprints open to unsolicited queries, but not Harlequin nonfiction?  I was not overly impressed with the selection of books in the family/relationships category either.  Harlequin  needs to broaden the nonfiction selection of books they are producing.  In fact, when I think of Harlequin I think of romance.  If you want me to think of Harlequin as a serious player in nonfiction publishing today, you have got to broaden the nonfiction base.  My work is available:  I have a memoir, a humor/gift book about cats, and a fictional account of a teacher's first year in an inner city school where the original teacher left and there are no substitute teachers willing to take on a particularly rowdy group of kids that are already a month and a half behind on the year's curriculum.  Harlequin:  you can contact me at or via this blog.  I'm looking forward to helping you get back in the black.