The BIG EASY Blog Tour

Author Tierney James, thank you for having me introduced on your site last week. I appreciate your help and it is also my pleasure to help authors on their new releases.
Author Tierney James

For those out there reading this I am thanking Tierney James at :
http://www.ptierneyjames.blogspot.com

And, yes, she talked me into this. Here is her brief bio:
“I am a life-long learner so I read a variety of books. Today I might study Tibet and tomorrow I’ll plunge myself into the world of geo-politics or how to be a better writer. My passion for gardening, travel and books will keep me in the poor house. Nothing is more important to me than God, family and country. I’m a pro-military person and pretty conservative in my politics.”
Tierney James interviewed me for this BIG EASY BLOG TOUR by asking these questions:
1) What Are you working on?

TD -What got tabled while in second round of editing of The Doc novel was a new novel about a frustrated high school physics teacher. The premise is that he has a theory in his area, physics, and, you’ll laugh at this, he can’t get published. He has tons of troubles with juggling classroom demands, marital problems, faculty issues, administrative problems. The students are great but much of the school problems lead to a legal situation. All the time he is trying to solve and prove his theory in order to write a better paper and get published. Some of that revolves around a paranormal incident.
Tabled also was a sequel to the The Doc book just released. And, I am trying to do more painting.

2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?

TD – I don’t claim to be a genre expert, or suspense thriller expert as the publisher labeled the novel. I was calling it conspiracy thriller. As I have passed on the advice given to me such as “genres have rules,” one needs to be aware of that while trying to be different. And that is tough, trying to be original. The Doc has a lot of the subculture of Civil War re-enacting in it. There has been re-enactors in movies like Sweet Home Alabama and other books like Tishomingo Blues by the late Elmore Leonard, and South of Shiloh by Chuck Logan. In both books a killing is done at a re-enactment during a battle. I wanted to depict the Civil War re-enactment in different way and a major way how important it was, or is, for the characters. My main character is a medical doctor who is also a shooting sports enthusiast, pilot, and re-enactor. He is not a cop, not an agent, not a political guy.
There are many stereotypes out there. So, I believe that my main characters to be somewhat different from those in other thrillers.
3) Why do you write what you do?

TD – This goes back to my first interest in writing and that was in art school in the sixties. I look at writing as another form of art. But, I had a terrible time writing anything. Taking some courses helped, but I never got beyond short stories and poetry until 1979. Even then, a novel attempt was a good learning thing. I did it to a finished state, but was terrible after three years.
Later, I kept getting ideas for a larger work while writing short stories. I think I write because I still believe it is an art form, with rules. The rules are like a puzzle. The puzzle can be abstract, and move around. I try to be original without being “so out there” that “nobody gets it.”

4) How does your writing process work?

TD – I have files of story ideas that are jotted down on post-its, or other paper notes. Some are on 8.5 x 11 sheets and others on lose leaf binder paper. I usually do a draft of an idea that I turn into an outline. The draft might be in a single 3 ring spiral notebook. Too, I’ve borrowed interesting author’s methods. Hemingway typed standing at dresser, as depicted in the recent story about Martha Gelhorn. But he said that he “typed dialog” because it was more like “real conversations.” I must have read that forty years ago. Then I read an article about the collaboration of the screenwriter and author of “L.A. Confidential” James Elroy. Elroy wrote everything long hand, in spiral notebooks. So, I like to write longhand too. What I found was that when you put the long hand version, chapter, or section, into the computer files, it is a self edited draft stage of whatever you are working on.
In 1999 I began outlining more, then moving things around. I know there are many “pantsers” who write a first draft, “from the heart,” as said by others, no plot, and along the rationale of NaNoWriMo philosophy of knocking out that first 50,000 words like that. And, then the idea is to rewrite “from the head” plotting or editing.
The Doc was from an outline of mine. Actually it was from a 1999 screenplay that went nowhere. I had read, back then, an article in Writers magazine, “Write your screenplay in 90 days.” So, I followed the steps. The interesting thing was the clear rules that were outlined. I took an idea I had and began. But it took me more than the ninety days. It took me eighteen months.
The Physics Theory [working title] story is a “pantser” method. But, that is unfinished and has major plotting problems to solve, just like the sorry-bastard-protagonist’s problems. Maybe it’s because I don’t know what I am doing. I have to recheck the rules, or reshuffle the deck of note cards.

Thank you Tierney James for this blog-A-thon of sorts. I am looking for three other authors who have an interest in the BIG EASY BLOG TOUR. You may email me at: bobbitimdesmond@att.net for details.

3 Ways to Sharing

Family - Tim at Fair 2012

This may still be considered part of the “Short and Sweet” series I began a couple days ago.

1. Jumping back into the fray, and borrowing from the Lotto spiel, “You can’t win, if you don’t play,” it is true in this blogisphere, “You can’t be followed, if you don’t post.”

2. Include two links …… Author and blogger, Sunny Frazier, at” http://www.sunnyfrazier.com sent me Chris Brogan’s blog of 23 Essential Elements at:
http://www.chrisbrogan.com/23-essential-elements-of-sharable-blog-posts/
3. Ask a question ………… Recently, as I explained before, I had spent two months NOT posting. I got notified from Klout that my score dropped 25 points. That did not surprise me. But, it raises another question about all our efforts………. Do you think that KLOUT is a good measure?

Timothy J. Desmond
Amazon author page at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00694KQQO
Writing at: http://timothydesmond.wordpress.com
Art at: http://artbydesmond.wordpress.com

Writer’s Self Promotion

Writer’s Self Promotion

The topic of promoting oneself brings to mind several aspects and related personalities of the past. There must be a huge ego thing with politicians for their self promotions which is not denied and which is a way of life for them. It could also be true for rock stars and others in the entertainment business. In the writing and publishing business, just look at the giants from the large presses and literature world. Where are the centers? They are: New York City, London, Sidney, Rome, Berlin, Hong Kong, and Paris.

How does one from Wichita make it? Or from Cape Girardeau, Missouri? Is Rush Limbaugh the exception? Maybe not. Samuel Clemens did stand up one man shows. I need to break this down for myself. Most of us are not thinking of ourselves as writers as “entertainers.” But, we are entertainers of some sort, as are graphic artists. As a brief example, I was in an art school class once. We all had to pin our work on the wall at the end of each session in order to critique and get critiqued. This was huge. The instructor was a French trained artist and at the beginning he explained the concept. Each student’s work was about 20×30 inches format, of pencil, oil pastel and turpentine media. At a glance of the 25 to 30 hanging all over one wall, one could see at a glance which work or works stood out from the others. This the instructor explained that way, “That one’s work must be different than others, that it must be treated in a style that stands out from the others.” Yet, for most of us, we are in “day jobs” and we are neither in the traditional entertainment business nor connected with media outlets. I’ll come back to this point later.

Are there two kinds of promoting? There is one kind for getting known in the publishing business world, and the other kind in the promotion of sales of one’s product.

In the first kind, sending to agents and editors is a given. The query letter is an art in itself. What I have learned is that the more editors and agents contacted, the better one gets. One simply must keep that up. It’s akin to making cold calls in sales. A writer must do that. Back in the early 1980’s I had a start up business of screen printing. I wasn’t interested in T-shirts, although I did them, but I wanted commercial business for printing adhesive decals for business. I enjoyed going to the businesses and pitching my service. I got shot down a lot. But I also got jobs from some. And that was a small industrial market. A writer has to do that too.

At a writer’s conference, I first learned about “platform.” At that time, four or five years ago, I was under the impression it was a nonfiction agent/editor thing. Platform, as I understand it, is defined as the quantity or number of your readers in your local area or region. This could be those who have bought your writing before, or who have followed your writing enough to be potential buyers in a larger market. This is what concerns editors and agents because it is a measure of your business potential. It is a business reality. Your platform could be your local circle of friends and acquaintances, or could range to your county or statewide readership.

In the second kind of promoting, that of sales and marketing a produced product, is not something a writer initially thinks about. When one actually has something in print, or an e-format product to promote is automatically assumed that the publisher will market one’s work. I suppose it is a boring thing for many creative people. After all, we didn’t start writing as business and marketing majors at university. However, that is where we should have taking courses as a secondary major or minor. Over the past few years it has become a revelation to me that certain recording artists were marketing majors. So, yes, I fall into that class of former students who ignored the business department at university. The one good thing is that most universities offer evening classes in marketing. Mostly because there was such a demand by working people to complete undergad and graduate course requirements for those working on MBA degrees. Huge trends in the 1980s were businesses seeking MBA grads.

I must admit to some embarrassment now. It was only two years ago that I was asked to write a “marketing plan” and received at least some help in seeing another writer’s example. I don’t know if it was a new thing or complete ignorance, being beyond naive, that I had not heard of this before that moment. In my defense, I had known of and created a “media packet.” A media packet is a part of the marketing plan. Just as one has to be creative in the original work, one has to be creative in writing the promotion copy for that work. Yes, you must do it all. Contact and schedule your radio, TV, online and print interviews. Write and schedule your own press releases. Plan these releases.

Schedule your own signing events. Yes, go to bookstores and get book signing event dates scheduled. My first signing event was in a small town “Books and Bagels” shop.  The second signing event was at “used book store.” Hilarious?

Approaching newspaper reviewers, in order to get a local review of your work into print, is a must. If any of this sounds like “not reaching out to the masses” remember that editors and agents still want “platform.” Yes, this means making more “cold calls.” It also means making different kinds of pitches. I don’t think there is enough room or time here to cover the different types of sales pitches. For radio, TV, print media, the approaches are different as one can imagine. And that is it. You must imagine something, some best way to pitch your work, beyond the “query pitch” that hooked your editor. If you are self-publishing, the same thing applies.

Getting interviews is not easy. But, they can be had. I’ve had an interview on the radio about a World War II novel on a “hometown heroes” program. The program format was interviews of aged veterans and their stories. I had a TV interview on a small VHF station during a talk show-movie format similar to “officer and a movie” with Lou Diamond Phillips. The interesting thing about doing those were getting some stats back about their audience, and any audience response.

All this while, you must be working on new projects.

So, in the end, the best “self promotion” is being an artist with your work. That art, your work, whether, short story, poem, novel, play, or screenplay must stand out from the others being shown at the time. You must be different, original and entertaining. If you are lucky the response you get is your critique. Many can’t take the critique. You must be able to take the critique, and keep working to get better, get different, get noticed.