Thursday, August 10, 2006


Well, I've posted about this on a link or two, and it's for an article I'm doing ("The Arms That Hold You Up") on how our spouses/significant others support us in our writing. I'm excited about it. I've done up a quick 3 page questionnaire (double-spaced and lots of room for your comments) that I can email to you if you'd like to participate in my research. You don't have to be quoted in the article by name if you don't want your spouse to know what you really think of them since your last editor's lunch. I want to find out the real nitty-gritty that goes on behind closed doors. Something behind the romance writers websites that gush about "my loving supportive husband, two children, and our golden retriever Ned." And I even have a golden retriever.

So, email me at and I'll send you a copy that you can email me back anonymously, or print out a hard copy and sign it so I can quote you and fax it back to me. The questionnaire explains all. :)

Speaking of websites, I don't have one yet and all the writing gurus I've been reading lately say that even unpubs like me (who keep sending partials out to agents) need one. NEED ONE!
So, I've been whipping around websites the last few days and trying to write things down that I'd like to have on mine, and things I DON'T want to have on mine. Most of my friends waited till they sold before they put one up, so they at least had a book cover and an excerpt for people to read.

I did see one unpub's site that was pages long, quite the take off on Suz Brockmann's Troubleshooters series (helloooo, she did it first!), with pages and pages of the MS up there as excerpts. Everything I've ever read in book or magazine tells you this is a big NO NO. It's already published if you do that - now if she gets a contract for that series she'll have lots of fun rewriting all those chapters.

My website will never have: pictures of my family, my dog, my cats, my quilts, my countries flag, my dh's classic car collection, or my son's patriotic history project. Enough said.

Another irritating point on websites....IF you're going to have a contest, make it for something worth having! Especially if you're expecting people to take time to read through an entire excerpt for it. And THEN, don't say "only shipping in the US" on the page where you enter. How cheap is that? Am I going to buy that writers' books???

And I know this is a promotional thing, and I haven't completely decided on it myself, but those writer's who combine a contest entry with "this entry automatically adds you to my email list/newsletter etc. etc." I think are also cheap, cheap, cheap. Isn't there a better way to put out an email/newsletter list? The only way I'd automatically add myself to someone's email list is if the contest was for a) a new book, b) piece of jewellery, c) some symbol from the book, d) perfume/gift basket etc.

That's going back to my first point re contests - why are writers so bloody cheap? I have a dear writer friend, and I love her to bits, but her accountant told her to *never* give away a book because it was coming out of her bottom line. To this day she's never given away a book. It's ridiculous. How can you build a fan base, without passing out the occasional freebie in a contest?

By b) above, I mean a replica of jewellery that plays a part in the plot of the book, by c) I mean something similar, say Nordic runes, or a rosary, or tarot cards. I had b) bought for my first book, which never sold, but I had a lot of fun wearing that necklace around. And if the book HAD sold, it would've looked stunning on fake velvet in a frame at a booksigning. With contest entries going into a box.....and yeah, I guess I'd be putting them on an email list.... :)

The other thing I noticed is that just about everything's been done already in the crime/suspense/mystery website field. I'll need to hire someone really crafty to make something original enough to satisfy my vision when the time comes. I have my colour scheme in mind, and thankfully, no one else seems to have it yet although I realize I can't have seen every website out there! But it's going to be hard with all the spooky, glittery, bombshell heroine-gun-toting, templates out there already.

Enough about that. All of you who've already taken the website plunge are lucky to have all that behind you! My adventure is just beginning and hopefully this year into 2007 will be my year to see something happen over my keyboard.

And if you disagree with me over writer contests, please say so. I don't think it's as big a crime/suspense thing as it is a romance writer thing. Is this a way crime writers should promote their books? Should we have contests for handcuff earrings, sterling silver charms of revolvers? (sorry, I know we can't get Glocks, but a gun is a gun) With more women writing crime/suspense/romantic suspense, and more women reading it, maybe it's not a bad idea.

Ladies? Any thoughts?

And don't forget to email me for that questionnaire if you're interested in participating in my article. :)

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