Saying thank you to a reviewer pays off

After three years since its launch, my book, Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother's Memoir of Living with Her Son's Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide, is still getting some wonderful reviews on Amazon. I can't help sharing this latest one: Incredible Book! This memoir is simultaneously heart-wrenching and incredibly hopeful. Madeline's story is a true triumph of the human spirit's ability to endure even the most nightmarish of scenarios. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone - whether you live with mental illness, have a loved one who does, have lost someone to suicide, or just looking for a beautiful story illuminating the human condition, you should read this book. Exquisite. This review touched me so much that I was moved to thank the reviewer. In doing so I found out more about her and her family: Oh wow, it's an honor to have you read my review and reply back to me! Your book has had such an impact on my life, being diagnosed with bipolar disorder m … [Read more...]

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Support an author month

This is a reblog from Cate Russell Cole's wonderful site: CommuniCate Resources for Writers. Books have been on my mind lately, and this is just the push I need to buy some more. Next on my list is something by John Updike. I've decided to catch up on his and Philip Roth's work in the next few months. There's a little used bookstore up on Main Street in Santa Monica, called Angel City Book Store and Gallery. I plan to be browsing there one day this week. Now here's Cate: Support an Author: Grab that Book You’ve Been Wanting ~ #saam14 Posted on May 23, 2014 by Cate Russell-Cole There is a pie shop near here that has the slogan, “Buy one so we both don’t go hungry.” It is one of the best advertising slogans I’ve seen. Books feed both the reader’s and the writer’s soul in so many ways. So, you know you’ve been meaning to… this week, your love task for Support an Author Month is to go buy that book you’ve planned to get, but didn’t get around to. Don’t forget, wherever you … [Read more...]

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Anybody else get a damaging and useless Amazon review?

I just have to write about this. I can’t help myself. Two days ago someone posted a 1-star review of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On up on Amazon. Here is what he or she said: “I stopped reading after 36 pages I really wanted to like this book. The premise was interesting, "A Mother's Memoir of Living with Her Son's Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide." But the author's discussion of bipolar disorder seemed more personal opinion than actual facts and not much was actually SAID in the first 36 pages despite countless little "stories" and two poems...Honestly it was a struggle to even get as far as I did.” Why would Amazon even allow this review to post? How could a review of 36 pages be valid and useful? I would think Amazon would want to interest people in buying their products rather than dissuading them. In allowing this review they do their company a huge disservice and of course make this author very angry. One of the people who commented on this review said: … [Read more...]

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Introducing Sonia Marsh

I met face to face with Sonia Marsh for the first time yesterday after a long virtual friendship and a lot of win-win networking. She is the author of the newly released memoir Freeways to Flip-Flops (available at Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle, as well as Barnes and Noble) and the Gutsy Livingblog. I posted my gutsy story there in June, and I’m pleased to say, I won for the gutsiest story of the month. Please go over to Gutsy Livingto receive a special gift. Just scroll down and look for the red starfish. So Sonia and I talked nonstop – mostly about how to go about the business of selling a book. We shared websites, conference information, how to get on panel discussions, what organizations we belong to. I urged her to join our Greater Los Angeles Writers Society. Although Sonia lives in Orange County, GLAWS has members who come to meetings and events all the way from Arizona. Yesterday’s highlight was meeting with one of the proprietors of my local indie book … [Read more...]

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Another book launch – oh my!

I now have a paperback edition of my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, in my hands. It just arrived. Getting it to this point has taken just short of three months, but well worth the time and effort. The edition looks great. I decided to keep the same cover design because it has been my brand for the last year. I felt changing it could be confusing to my followers and even to me. Plus I love the front cover photo, taken by my young girl friend, Madison Poulter, whom I’ve known since she was eighteen months old. Can’t believe she’s off to Lewis and Clark College in the fall. So both my publisher, Mike O’Mary at Dream of Things and I have been doing a lot of planning to get ready for the launch. Mike made an excel spreadsheet with activities to accomplish between now and January. Here are some of the things we’re doing right now: I’ve communicated with friends and family about the launch and asked them to write a review and post it on Amazon if they’ve already read the … [Read more...]

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Dream of Things

For the last 40 years or so, I have had a serigraph on my wall created by (sister) Corita Kent with the quote from G.B. Shaw: "Some people see things that are and say why? I dream of things that never were and say why not." Seems like synchronicity to me that my new publisher is Mike O’Mary of Dream of Things. I met Mike through my friend, mentor, and go-to person for all things related to publishing, Mark Shelmerdine, CEO of Jeffers Press. I contacted Mark as soon as I heard Lucky Press, the first publisher of Leaving the Hall Light On, had decided to go out of business. However, I also took Mark’s advice and waited to contact Mike until I had time to distress and unwind while on vacation. That said, I wrote to Mike the Monday after we returned home. And Mike responded favorably from the start. I am so fortunate for that. Since Mike decided to become my publisher – he’ll publish paperback and eBook editions by the end of July – we’ve been busy. We first created a new book des … [Read more...]

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Enter to win the new anthology – Poetry Pact 2011

I’m so pleased to be a part of a Facebook poetry group called Poetry Pact. Started 18 months ago by my author colleague Jessica Bell, her goal was for us to write and post a poem a day for a year. When I joined the group I did not commit to either a poem a day or even a poem a week, but I did post over 30 poems onto the site in 2011. And I’m proud to say, several of them were chosen for our first (I hope annual) anthology, Poetry Pact 2011, Volume 1, edited by two of our group poets: Angela Felsted and Richard Merrill. (Angela became our Poetry Pact leader in 2012.) I can’t tell you enough what a supportive group this is. The membership is small – we keep it a secret – so that we can all get a chance to Like, comment, and critique each other’s work. I have received so many good suggestions on how to improve my poems from this group. The critiques are always given with complete professionalism and care, never making me feel put down or discouraged as a result. It is wonderful to b … [Read more...]

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Go traditional or self-publish – good advice on LinkedIn

I started a discussion on LinkedIn in the Authors, Writers, Publishers, Editors, and Writing Professionals group asking: “If your publisher went out of business, did you look for another publisher or take the self-publishing route?” I got a lot of encouragement for trying to get another traditional publisher and a lot of good solid information about how to self-publish. I even had an offer from a self-publishing resource. Here are a few helpful comments that came back: Dottye: If you had one publisher interested in your book, your chances may be good another will - if you are considering self-publishing, Mark Levine wrote a great book on the top self-publishing companies to consider and those to avoid. Check out www.millcitypress.net for a 100% royalty free company. Lori: If you self-publish, whether you go electronic or not, you still need to be prepared to take care of the distribution and marketing yourself. Typically, folks with niche markets that dovetail with their bu … [Read more...]

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Please join me at the LA Times Festival of Books

I’m so excited. Next weekend I’ll be participating as an author for the first time at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. I’ll hopefully be signing lots of books for the hordes of you who come by. I’ll be at The Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society Booth Number 970 both Saturday April 21 and Sunday April 22 from 12 noon to 2:00 pm. Please let me sign my book for you. Just yesterday Leaving the Hall Light On got this fantastic 5-star review on Amazon: "An amazing exposition in prose and poetry of the anatomy and physiology of love, grief and fortitude. A must read!" And in case that doesn’t convince you please take a look at my book trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TMOVHAmSlc … [Read more...]

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Great news!

My memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother's Memoir of Living with Her Son's Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide is now Number One in the bipolar and suicide prevention categories on Amazon. Here's the proof:   … [Read more...]

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Blatant bragging

This book is getting lots of kudos As of today my memoir has twenty-two reviews up on Amazon. Twenty are five-star, and even though they wrote terrific reviews, two people gave the book only four-stars. Really what’s up with that? But rather than complaining I’m just going to shout out Hip, Hip Hooray. I am just so thrilled with the response and with people’s reaction to the story and the writing in my book. Never in my wildest dreams did I think people would react so well to my words. A friend told me last night that she was just going to read my book to support me, and she found once she opened it she couldn’t put it down. She kept raving about it. Now I couldn’t ask for more than that. Plus, when I asked her to post a review, she posted almost immediately. That’s a true friend. I thank her so much. So, if you’re reading this and you’ve read my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, please post a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or … [Read more...]

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Is my marketing program beginning to pay off?

So, it looks like there’s been a little movement in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, Amazon sales ranking this week. It went down from as high as in the one millions to the 700,000s earlier this week, and back up to the one millions again and down to the 300,000s today. Does that mean two books have sold? I have no clue what those numbers mean. But hopefully all that has been going on in the last few weeks has spurred some sales: my talk at the American Association of University Women in mid November, Marla Miller (Marketing the Muse) highlighting my platform earlier this week and posting my July 19, 2010 blog piece about my journey to getting published yesterday, my showcase on The Hamilton Gallery with links to Amazon for book purchases, and another five-star review up on Amazon yesterday. It’s really been a yeasty time. Plus I’ve had more and more Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter connections, and I look forward to a piece about my work and book in a future issue of the Did … [Read more...]

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Pirates and book sales – any connection?

October started out with a bang and a trip via the Catalina Express to Two Harbors for Lisa Smyth’s pirate birthday party. This was Buccaneer Days on the island and everyone came in costume. Lisa won the prize with seven costume changes. Bob and I bought pirate hats and he got a swashbuckler’s black velvet coat with brass buttons, while I mostly commandeered stuff hanging in my closet to bring for the festivities. Needless to say many people we met enjoyed themselves with their brains thoroughly adjusted by pirate’s rum. I stuck with my usual red wine. The Birthday Wench  As you can see the Two Harbors (formerly called Isthmus) village of Catalina is almost barren – one hotel, one restaurant and bar, lots of camp grounds, boating and other water activities, about 300 locals, and lots of buffalos left over from an old Tom Mix movie. It was absolutely beautiful this past weekend. Gorgeous Harbor   And now that that not-to-be-missed experience is over it’s back to work and … [Read more...]

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