Character Quotes, Dellani Oakes, Karen Vaughan, Rachel Rueben, Ruth Davis Hays, Sassy Sarcasm

Sassy Sarcasm with Dellani, Karen, Rachel and Ruth

We’re doing something a bit different today. Instead of just one author, you’ve got FOUR! There’s a reason for this, so please bear with us but a moment and read on.

Sassy Sarcastic
Sassy Sarcasm

Sarcasmˈ/särˌkazəm/ Noun: The use of irony to mock or convey contempt. Synonyms: derision, mockery, ridicule, scorn, sneering, scoffing….

And the list goes on. It’s important to define this word, because not everyone knows what sarcasm is, but we all use it to one degree or another. I’m convinced my family would be unable to communicate without it. In fact, my youngest son was, without doubt, the most sarcastic five year old in his kindergarten class.

Sarcasm is a tool that, when used properly, can add interesting dimension to an author’s dialogue. Imagine your favorite characters on a TV show or in a movie, chances are, they’ve got a snarky side. These characters, and their lines, are memorable because they really spice up the chitchat. This witty repartee is fun to listen to, read and to write. I’ll be honest, I don’t think my characters could communicate without sarcasm, either.

I’ve been told I’m sarcastic. I shall neither confirm nor deny this allegation. Instead, I’d love to share some of my work with you and you can judge for yourself. Over the next few weeks, a few of my (supposedly) sarcastic friends are going to talk about using sarcasm in our work and in life. Rather than giving them a big introduction, I’ll let their work speak for them. If you’d like to find out more about these ladies, click the Guilty Parties link above.

Sit back, sip your favorite beverage, (I find that sarcasm is best with lemonade, but you be the judge) and be prepared for some dry humor, wise cracks and a tad bit of sarcasm. Just a little…not too much….

© 2017 Dellani Oakesdellani photo dark red

Undiscovered – Dellani Oakes

Someone wants movie producer Kent Griswald dead. Unfortunately, the first attempt is foiled by the fact that it’s not Kent on the beach, but his younger brother. In broad daylight, in front of dozens of witnesses, someone takes a pot shot at Connor. Detectives Weinstein and Scott are dispatched to investigate.

Detective Vanessa Weinstein came on the scene ten minutes after the shooting. Aggressive and competitive, she was an up and comer. She knew how to play the game and used her femininity to her advantage. Dressed in a black power suit and a very white shirt, she stood out clearly on the beach. Somehow, in some mysterious way that Walter Scott couldn’t explain, the woman didn’t sweat. Her black hair was sleek, unmoving in the wind off the ocean. Her skin was perfectly dry, not even a bead of sweat on her full lips.

Undiscovered by Dellani Oakes - 200

“The rest of Daytona’s in hell in this late season heat wave and you stand there looking like the Sugar Plum Fairy,” Scott complained, wiping his face with a handkerchief.

“Don’t sweat in my crime scene,” she said in a bored tone. “What’s going on upstairs?”

“Got two perps, one actual shooter, one decoy. Second guy left his weapon. Your guy left a shell casing. Looks like both had the same kind of gun. No serial numbers on mine.”

“Why would they make it easy? You didn’t find my gun, huh?”

“Nope. But the shell’s a 5.56mm, so we’re figuring they both had identical weapons. MSSR.”

She nodded, taking a sip of hot coffee from an insulated mug. Scott slurped water from a rapidly warming bottle and wiped his brow on his fist.

“Jeez, can we at least get outta the sun? I’m gonna fry.”

“You should try getting a tan, Walt.”

“I’m Scottish and Scandinavian, Ness, I don’t tan. You could put me out here all day, I’d burn red as a beet.”

“They’re purple.” She moved into the shade of a cabana bar where they’d set up their command center.

“Whatever.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

KAREN TIMMYS 2013

Dead Men Don’t Swing – Karen Vaughan

My characters wield sarcasm like well-sharpened sword. Laura Hamilton Fitz uses sarcasm to deal with sticky situations when faced with bad-asses trying to kill her and annoying people she has no patience for. Many people will tell you she has an attitude but as a busy mom, CSI and corpse magnet extraordinaire. (see I used sarcasm there) Laura doesn’t have time for BS.

Stella is Laura’s nemesis (next to her mother of course) and knows how to push the girl’s buttons. I am surprised that Stella herself hasn’t made it to Laura’s hit list…. Anyway, in one scene from Dead Men Don’t Swing Laura puts Stella in her place after the pest gives her a hard time about doing a eulogy for a dead, and might I add, not well liked tenant.

Dead Men Don't SwingI went down the hall to the laundry room. I couldn’t even fathom doing a load before checking the traps and washing out all the machines before using one. I was just putting my loads in when Stella flounced in. I gave her a look that said, “Don’t start lady.” She’s either dense or doesn’t care and got on my case about the eulogy.

Ya know Stella, you’re usually an astute woman but right now you are down to two brain cells and they are limping. I am only going to say this once, so listen closely! You can shove your eulogy! I don’t know the guy. The other tenants aren’t being forthcoming with details except for stuff I refuse to put in a tribute to the dead man. I also don’t have the time for this crap and it’s not my job.”

© 2017 Karen Vaughan

Ruth Davis Hays

Ruth Davis Hays – Translations from Jorthus Series

Tools of the trade Sarcasm can be a fun and useful tool. It can be brought up in different ways. It can be presented in the narrative to express a character’s particular view of the world:

High school locker rooms. Every kid’s favorite place. The arena to expose our physical flaws to our worst critics like exposing our jugular to a vampire. (Watchdogs, a young adult novella in progress)

Or it can be a personality trait displayed in speech:

The Illusion by Ruth Davis HaysA snow storm in the desert? Nothing out of the ordinary here!” Keinigan tried to pry a laugh from his dour companions.

Yet, his question was taken in earnest by the good dravan scholar, who proceeded to educate him on climate aberrations and how a reoccurring anomaly marked over a span of documented time can be construed as an ordinary pattern.

Keinigan groaned and pulled his cloak down over his head to block the freezing winter winds. The amount of snowfall was indeed strange for this area, but he made a mental note not to attempt humor around Master Calbraum anymore. (The Illusion, a Jorthus novel in progress)

My favorite, from time to time, is to use it to quickly convey a relationship between characters:

Before Dharromar could open his mouth, Keinigan’s fist smashed into his jaw. When the stars cleared from his brain, he was blinking up at his attacker. “I get the feeling you’re not happy to see me,” the changeling groaned from the dirt.

Actually, I’ve been waiting to do that for a long time.”

Feel better?”

Little bit. You?”

Wonderful. Your concern for me is truly touching. Now if you really want to be a help, you could come down here and suck my bolls.”

Maybe later. I’m too busy celebrating.” Keinigan shuffled around the tent randomly as he listened to the voices of Lylith and the magda councilors filtering through the fabric. “Didn’t you hear? The changeling has returned to save us! Hoorah! The darquone are already retreating just hearing you’re back. I feel folching fantastic!” (The Illusion)

When the bite of sarcasm is set in contrast to more sincere narrative or dialogue, it stands out to the reader and punctuates either the writer’s opinion of the character or the situation. I find it incredibly irresistible at times, but must remind myself to read it not as intended but as written, in order to find out if the words are successful. If the sarcasm does not come across, either I am not doing my job or I need to rethink my use of the tool.

© 2017 Ruth Davis Hays

Rachel Rueben

Fedelta – Rachel Rueben

Disheartened, Cassie began to make a quiet retreat when she turned around and saw a homeless man who put his hand over her mouth and dragged her towards an abandoned building behind the brownstones. Biting his hand, and elbowing him in the face, she managed to free herself from his grasp. Turning around, she kicked him right in the yam bag when the homeless guy yelled in agony, “Damn’ it Cass!”

Doing a double take, she looked closer at him only to realize it was Amato. “Jesus, John, what the hell you doing walkin’ up on me like that?”

Tryin’ to get you out of trouble!” he said through gritted teeth. Doubled over, Amato took deep breaths trying not to vomit in the alley.

Blushing, Cassie tried not to laugh. She was tempted to apologize but that wasn’t happening. Besides, it was nice to know she could still handle herself even in her messed up condition. A few minutes passed before she asked, “Ya gonna be alright?”

Fedelta 2He looked up at her bewildered, “No wonder we broke up.”

Shrugging her shoulders, she answered right back, “Not every man can handle a strong woman.”

Not every man wants a ball buster.”

Straightening up, Amato signaled for her to follow him as he limped away. Not feeling all that great herself, was starting to feel a sharp pain in her head. She had forgotten to take her meds and was now paying the price for it. As the two of them hobbled away from danger, the sounds of the city permeated the air playing a soundtrack to this ridiculous love story. Sirens, barking dogs and Amato’s bitching rang loudly in Cassie ears as she wondered how the hell they were ever gonna make it through this?

© 2017 Rachel Rueben

Join us the 15th of every month when one (or more) of us will share snippets of our stories — focusing on sarcasm, of course! We will comb through our work and find the best bits for you. You have our promise on that! Would we lie to you? ~Dellani

Article, publishing, Rachel Rueben

Important Resources For Authors Part 2: Going To School

 

tumblr_5fa1980533

Last week, I discussed the closing of Predators & Editors and the possible alternatives authors can use when investigating a potential publisher or service provider.  Today, I’m going to list sources that can help indie authors educate themselves on the publishing business.  After all it’s much harder to take advantage of an educated author and that’s what most scammers fear.

Authors are notorious for drawing back the curtain on the publishing industry by talking about their experiences with editors, posting their contracts, and even revealing their monthly income.  This rips the veil of secrecy that kept the publishing industry mysterious while keeping authors broke.  Oh sorry, I meant starving for their art.

Anyway, let’s get started…

News About The Industry

Did you know that All Romance Books and Ellora’s Cave went under in 2016?  You would’ve if you had been keeping tabs on the industry.  Listed below are just some of the blogs/newsletters dedicated to the publishing industry.

Podcasts

These podcasts are recorded by actual indie authors and they often give writing, promoting as well as marketing tips.

 

Authors & Industry Professionals You Can Learn A Lot From

You know they say that experience is the best teacher and if you want to learn from someone who is in the business then look no further then these websites.

  • Kristine Kathryn Rusch If you want to learn the business aspects of publishing
  • Jane Friedman If you want to learn publishing hacks as well as marketing tips
  • The Book Designer Discusses marketing, creativity, as well as interviews publishing professionals.
  • Penny Sansevieri, A Marketing Expert Great place to learn book promotion and general marketing.
  • Kathryn Goldman Offers tips on legal issues that plague authors.
  • Your Writer Platform Discusses various aspects of self-publishing.
  • BookBub Partners Mainly they discuss their platform but they also share tips on book launches, marketing and self-publishing hacks.

 

This is just a small list of all the wonderful blogs and podcasts that indie authors can glean from.  As self-publishing becomes more and more the norm, authors are going to have to make decisions about the direction of their careers.  Some of these blogs and podcasts can help at least point you in the right direction.  The author community is a very supportive place as you can see, we do watch each other’s back.  Though losing Predators & Editors was a big blow to indie authors, it didn’t break anyone’s determination to keep on keeping on.  This is the greatest thing about the author community, and I’m proud to be part of it and you should too.

If you have any suggestions for newbie authors whether it be a podcast, blog or book, let us know in the comment section.

Article, publishing, Rachel Rueben

Important Resources For Authors

instagram_a2228940a7

 

Not long ago, the author community lost a precious resource when the Preditors & Editors website went dormant last year.  For those of you not familiar with P&E, it was a site that listed and graded publishers as well as publishing services.  They helped countless authors such as myself make important decisions and avoid scams.

They are currently looking for a new caretaker who will have the monumental responsibility of updating the website as well as all the information on it.  For those of you actually thinking about taking on the challenge, be warned P&E comes with the burden of constant threat of lawsuits as well as harassment from the mentally disturbed.  It’s no surprise that no one is rushing to pick up the torch but I know eventually someone will because it’s too important to let die.

Instead of going on about how lousey this is, I’m going to give you alternative resources that will help you avoid scammers as well as help educate you about this business.

Finding Out About Scams & Unethical Practices

Predators & Editors did not exist in a vacuum, there are two sites that I am aware of that are dedicate solely to educating authors about the sharks in the publishing waters.

However don’t stop here, there are several other ways to discover if your publisher is on the up and up.

Investigating The Quality Of Your Publisher

The golden rule for any author looking to secure the services of a publisher is to go to Google and type in the company name with the words; “scam”, “complaints”, or “reviews” and if nothing pops up, that’s a good sign however, you still have more investigating to do.

You would think the one place to look is the Better Business Bureau because it’s considered a trustworthy organization that rates businesses.  However, the vanity publisher Author Solutions, has an A+ rating even though there have been numerous complaints over the years as well as a class action lawsuit in 2013.  So a good rating with the BBB doesn’t carry much weight these days especially, after various media outlets reported that businesses were paying for good ratings.  Just a warning, if you’re going to use the BBB as a source of information, make sure it’s not your only source.

Other Sites That Grade Businesses:

As with most review sites things can be manipulated but if you’re seeing the same complaints over and over again by different people then you may want to take heed.

  • Yelp
  • Google Reviews (First make sure that you’re logged into your Google+ account and just go to Google Maps and enter the name of the company you’re investigating. You should see an address as well as a rating.

Find The Office Water Cooler

You shouldn’t just stop at what customers are saying, if things are really bad at a company like they were at Tate Publishing and Author Solutions, then their employees are talking.  Fortunately for us, there are sites that allow employees to rate the companies they work at.  This can be a Godsend for those who are on the lookout for things like upselling, shoddy production or terrible customer service.

Sites That Let Employees Rate Their Employers

  • GlassDoor
  • CareerBliss (Be sure to use the drop down and choose “reviews” before searching the company’s name.)

Professional Associations

If you’re not into doing all the leg work then you might want to join a professional organization that will do it for you.  Many places like ALLi (The Alliance for Independent Authors) and IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) offer recommendations for services such as editors, formatters, as well as designers.

The Author Water Cooler

Want to know about someone’s personal experiences with a service or publisher from an actual author?  Then look no further than the following sites:

These are just some of the places that indie authors should check out if they want to investigate a publisher or service.  Next time, I’ll be discussing resources for authors who want to educate themselves about indie publishing as well as publishing matters in general so stay tuned.

 

Life, Rachel Rueben, writer's life, Writing Process

When You’re The Killer!: A Revelation About Writer’s Block

pinterest_7ad39d2556
Image via Pixabay

 

In the last year I’ve been suffering from writers block and I couldn’t understand why?  I mean I could see the story clearly but I had trouble coming up with the right words.  Every scene was a struggle, which led to me abandoning the story (Miss Mary Mack) several times.  Then one day I was having a discussion with a friend who was having trouble dealing with her teenage daughter when she came to the realization that their problems were rooted in the fact that they were both so similar.  Now if that isn’t the ultimate form of irony then I don’t know what is?  However as my writer’s block continued, I read several articles on why authors write themselves into their work and reached a shocking conclusion: I was Miss Mary!!!

No, I don’t go around murdering people, (although those thoughts do pop up in my head from time to time) I took pieces of my life and sprinkled them throughout the story.  Miss Mary was in fact physically modeled after my first grade principal Miss Murray, who wore dark clothing that covered her body from head to toe.  She also was a disciplinarian which made her a terrifying figure in the first grade.  However she wasn’t evil, just tough.

I also had a fourth grade bus driver by the name of Miss Johnson who was sometimes called, Miss MaryShe didn’t really like driving a bus and insisted we all ride in silence.  Weird, huh?

Then there’s me, I’m not too fond of children, I mean don’t hate them, I just prefer not to be around them.  P.S. I come from a long line of women who were reluctant mothers.  So I was able to draw on that when it came time to summon the callousness required for a villain.  It was also then I realized that I was trying to make sense of my past.  And guess what?  Miss Mary is the perfect vehicle for that, I can run loose and do as much damage without really affecting anyone in the real world.  The big plus is that I can kill and not wind up in prison.  I guess this is what George R.R. Martin feels like every time he sits down at his computer.  LOL!

Okay, I’m Getting To The Point!

When your work hits too close to home, it can be difficult to navigate through the story.  If you have a real unresolved conflict in your own life, it may be near impossible to resolve the one in your story because you can’t imagine your characters finding peace.  You know, the apology that never came, the relationship that failed, or the never ending dysfunction of a family, can really damage your perception and almost make you blind to the obvious.  I know, I had this problem and the only way to get through it was to think my way logically through it.  I had to know what readers or in this case society expected from this book.  I had to dole out punishment and correct injustices.  That doesn’t always happen in real life.  I also had to step back and let my characters go their own way.  Once I did that, their world unfolded and things began making sense again.

A Final Thought

As with most things in life, writing isn’t about you.  Sure you can create worlds and characters but once you do so, they start to develop their own reality.  Try as you may, you are not of their world and vice versa.  Only a piece of you will live on in your work, but the rest of you gets to move on and make peace with the reality that is meant to be.

Bio: Rachel Rueben is author of YA, supernatural as well as romance books.  Her work can be found her on the Cereal Authors blog as well as Wattpad.  She is also a blogger at Writing By The Seat Of My Pants where she discusses self-publishing and rarely refers to herself in the third person.  😉

Cereal Authors, paranormal, Rachel Rueben, Uncategorized, Writing Process

Where On Earth Did Miss Mary Come From?

pinterest_ec2bf98cb7
Image via Pixabay

Last month I shared an excerpt of my recent novel Miss Mary Mack and I’m sure some of you are really confused.  I understand after Fedelta, Miss Mary seems very different and maybe even strange but I followed the muse and she took me in a different direction. A very different direction.

Miss Mary was based on an experience I had one hot, summer’s night.  In fact it was so hot that I decided to sleep with the window open and as I was falling asleep, I heard giggling and a little girl singing, “Miss Mary Mac, Mac, Mac all dressed in black…”  At first I thought I was dreaming but it was just some silly neighborhood kids who had snuck out and were playing around at 1 a.m.  Yeah, I live in that kind of neighborhood.  When I realized what was going on, I was angry but also, inspired.  I wondered, how would these kids have survived back in the days before child abuse was considered a bad thing?  What can I say, I was having a Stephen King moment!  As my mind swirled, it was then that I saw her.  A woman, standing at the end of my bed and she was dressed in a matronly 1930’s style dress with granny boots.  As she looked down on me, I could see the scowl on her face and I knew immediately what was going on.  The muse was speaking.  So I got up and scribbled on a piece of paper the words: Miss Mary Mack and went to bed.

The next day, I did write a brief paragraph outlining the idea but did nothing with it.  At that time, I just started writing for this blog and Fedelta was born, I was also finishing up Eternal Bond, so I didn’t have the time to start yet another project.  But fate has a funny way of making you do things because over the next few months, I started hearing stories about Orphan Trains on Youtube as well as ghost stories from the Civil War.  The spark that lit the flame was a story I read about a woman by the name of Rosa Carmichael who ran an orphanage and was alleged to have abused the children in her care.  So I sat down and grudgingly wrote a few paragraphs which I finally shared last month.

I don’t have any idea as to where this story is going, but I know it’s going to lead me down paths I’ve never explored before.  Most books do.  What a lot of readers don’t know is that sometimes our stories surprise us (the writers) as much as it does them.  Actually this is the fun part of writing where characters become real, and situations uncertain.  In any case, I hope you stay tuned for the next couple of excerpts from the book because something tells me that Miss Mary is going to be one of my most challenging characters yet.

Bio: Rachel Rueben is author of YA, supernatural as well as romance books.  Her work can be found her on the Cereal Authors blog as well as Wattpad.  She is also a blogger at Writing By The Seat Of My Pants where she discusses self-publishing and rarely refers to herself in the third person.  😉

Excerpts, Fiction, Rachel Rueben

Miss Mary Mack

Miss Mary Mack Cereal Authors.jpg
Image via Pixabay

The sound of little girls giggling and playing a hand clapping game could be heard all the way up to Old Man Oscar’s porch: “Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack…All dressed in black, black, black….She wore her buttons all down her back, back, back…”

“Whacha know ‘bout Miss Mary?” said the old man rocking while the children clapped along. Looking at him one of the little girls answered, “It’s just a song, there’s no Miss Mary!”

“Girl hush! I tell y’all it’s true, there was a Miss Mary and she used to run that ol’ orphanage near LaGrange road.”

Thinking these were just the ramblings of an old man, the girls continued to play on. Meanwhile a skeptical little boy asked, “Oh yeah, how come I ain’t never heard of no Miss Mary?” Seeing a little bit of himself in the boy, the old man answered, “Befo’ yo time boy.” As he slowly rocked back and forth in his chair, the memories began flooding back. Having caught their attention the children came closer to the porch. Noticing he had an audience, the old man took a knife to an scar on his arm and pointed, “You see that there, those is boins (burns) I got fo eating befo’ sayin’ Grace. She grabbed a lit candle stick and just pressed it into my arm like it whattin nuthin’.” The children gasped in horror and now that the old man had their undivided attention, he felt obligated to finish what he had started.

Chocking up as he remembered the dust from old dirt road that led up to the ancient manor. Old man Oscar pulled on his collar feeling the blazing Alabama sun as he recalled the hard labor he was forced to do for the demanding matron, Miss Mary. Finding it hard to breathe, he began to take deep breaths as his hands shook, from the trauma at the hands of that unforgiving serpent. Hearing the sound of her leather strap as it whipped in the air before making contact with his skin, he had no choice but to take another sip of gin from his flask so he wouldn’t lose his composure in front of the children who were now demanding to know who this Miss Mary was.

Unlike most people Old Man Oscar considered the memory loss that old age had bestowed upon him a blessing for a hard and sorrowful life. He had lost so many friends, and family over his 70 years, but it seemed God himself would not allow Oscar to completely forget Miss Mary, so reluctantly, he began the tale…

He was around 4 years old when his mother brought him to the orphanage ran by the First Apostle Church of Morecliff Hills. As she led him up the stairs Oscar’s mother promised, “Now, don’t fret I’ll be back for ya. This is only for a little while.” When they reached the top of the final step of the porch, she hugged him. Holding on tightly Oscar pulled on her blue cotton shawl, tears streamed down his mother’s eyes as she instructed him, “Now you be good for Miss Mary, she’s gonna take care of ya.” As on cue, a woman appeared from the porch door, as though summoned by all the sadness.  Clad in a black dress covering all her flesh, the woman looked like a ghost emerging from the shadows. Peering down at Oscar she asked, “The people ‘roun here call me Miss Mary, what’s your name?” as though she didn’t already know. What little Oscar didn’t understand was that this arrangement had been in the works for almost a year. Though Oscar’s mother promised to be back, Miss Mary knew she wouldn’t, most parents never returned. A few guilty ones might write a few letters but eventually, all contact would cease. This was why Miss Mary felt it was important to build a rapport with the children in the beginning to make the transition easier so she smiled and spoke sweetly to the young boy to keep him calm as his mother walked out of his life.

Bio: Rachel Rueben is author of YA, supernatural as well as romance books.  Her work can be found her on the Cereal Authors blog as well as Wattpad.  She is also a blogger at Writing By The Seat Of My Pants where she discusses self-publishing and rarely refers to herself in the third person.  😉

author, books, publishing, Rachel Rueben, Social media

Why Authors Must Learn Social Media: The New Reality

Why Authors Must Learn Social Media

Lately it is becoming more and more common place for agents and publishers to assess an author’s platform.  That means they are looking for authors who can reach the readers they are targeting.  In fact at the Digital Book World Conference & Expo in 2017, representatives from Hachette and Perseus admitted they are checking out author platforms and social media engagement then reporting those findings at their acquisitions meetings.  This shouldn’t be a surprise, literary agents have admitted to doing this for years.  Like it or not, publishers are using social media as a measuring stick so wouldn’t be nice if we could impress or at least pass the inspection?

While doing research for my upcoming book Social Media Hacks for Authors, I came across several resources that can help authors who struggle with social media.   Many of these resources are available for free directly from the social media sites themselves.  I understand that many authors can’t afford the more expensive social media courses so I went on a mission to find the help we all need for free or at the very least, real cheap.

Below I list several resources and no, I’m not affiliated with any of the services or products mentioned.

Direct From The Horse’s Mouth

Did you know that Facebook has its own set of video tutorials that cover everything from advertising to analytics?  Twitter also has a Skillshare video featuring their marketing manager Sandra Vega and it’s all 100% free.  Below are listed the top 7 social media sites in the English speaking world.

General Social Media Courses

If you want to go further in your education there are several websites that will help you with your social media marketing.  The course topics range anywhere from content creation to targeted marketing.  Some of these are free while others have both free and paid options.

Tip:  Take advantage of the free material and later, if you feel like taking a more targeted course like Mark Dawson’s Advertising for Authors then go for it.

In Closing

Don’t be discouraged if you’re not an overnight sensation because building a following takes time nonetheless, you do have to start.  Gone are the days where social media was optional, today’s authors are expected to have an online presence no matter if they choose to go the traditional route or not.  Yes, this is more work but it is also a good thing because whether we choose to go traditional or not, our audience will follow us, not our publisher.  It’s this connection to your audience that is the key to a long-term career and isn’t that what we all want?

 

Bio: Rachel Rueben is author of YA, supernatural as well as romance books.  Her work can be found her on the Cereal Authors blog as well as Wattpad.  She is also a blogger at Writing By The Seat Of My Pants where she discusses self-publishing and rarely refers to herself in the third person.  😉

 

Nonfiction, Rachel Rueben, Uncategorized

How To Market Your YA Book Part 2

pinterest_62eb032147
Image via Pixabay

A few years ago I wrote about marketing a YA novel and since then several things have changed for one, there are more marketing avenues as well as more pitfalls.  When I wrote that post in 2013, mobile phone usage was on the rise worldwide and tablets were new.  Fast forward 4 years and mobile phones are a necessity while tablets are now being used by cats and infants.  I kid you not.

In this post I answer the questions where are the young people and what do they want?  Also, I address some important trends that are revolutionizing the publishing industry.  So let’s get started…

More Media, More Problems

In the past few years Facebook has reigned as the king of social media with over 1.79 billion users but it does have competition particularly, when it comes to reaching young people.   Sites like Instagram, Snapchat, Kik and Periscope have a growing and active user base of 13-34 year olds which has the attention of marketers looking to reach Gen Y and Z.

Most of these sites have richer forms of content like video and gifs which is ideal for quick scrolling.  You know they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and this is especially true for short videos which dominate the feeds of most teens.  This means if you want to reach this demographic, you’ll have to use visuals like video and eye-catching images.

Short Is The New Long

The trends in publishing on both the adult and teen market is shorter, serialized books.   In fact, many online retailers have launched programs like Kindle Singles, Kobo Exclusive Shorts and Nook Snaps which all feature short books.  Even bestselling author James Patterson has begun focusing on shorter and cheaper works.  It seems those within the publishing industry have been watching indie authors closely.

Your Advertising Has To Be Different

As indie authors we’ve been told to build a strong brand which is good advice but most teens say they don’t feel connected to any particular brand.  In fact, they say they feel most brands don’t understand them at all and sadly, they’re right.  Gone are the days where you could just yell BOGO (Buy One Get One) and get someone’s attention.  Today, the question is can you contribute to the conversation teens are having or are you just trying to take it over?  The advice that most marketers give today is to make your ads look like native content which basically means that your ads shouldn’t look like ads at all.  Your advertising has to add to the conversation —their conversation.  So if your book can’t mesh with what teens are talking about, then it may not be as marketable as you think.

Young People Don’t Wish For Diversity, They Demand It

We live in a global society and this generation of children has grown accustomed to being exposed to different cultures and customs.  Gone are the days of living in a homogenized bubble, young people want to explore and learn, if you can provide these things, you stand to make a splash.  In 2014, the hashtag: #WeNeedMoreDiverseBooks became a movement when a Twitter discussion about the lack of diversity in the children’s genre went viral.  Several major publishers finally heard the cry and began publishing books with diverse worlds and characters.  Since then books like Listen, Slowly, by Thanhha Lai, and The Jumbies, by Tracey Baptiste, have rose to the top of the bestsellers list.

Social Media Influencers Are The New Celebs

Gone are the days where the radio or television executives chose the next big thing, today algorithms and SEO determine who gets an audience and who won’t.  The party is online for teens and young adults, because the internet offers them a plethora of choices that old media just cannot provide.  Many of these choices are DIY Youtube channels and Snaps where regular people entertain, post tutorials and review products.  I talked about this in a previous article called: Booktube for Indie Authors which opened the eyes of a lot of authors who knew nothing about this subculture of book reviewers.  To the shock of many marketers, teens consider Youtubers legitimate celebrities right along the lines of Taylor Swift and Kylie Jenner.  This means that to teens, Booktubers are seen in the same league as the New York Times reviewers.

Young People Aren’t Difficult, They’re Different!

This paragraph may anger a few people but I have to tell it like it is.  Many older people fall into the same trap of previous generations who criticized or dismissed their youth and did so at their own peril.  When the World War II Generation ignored the Baby Boomers (think Vietnam), they in turn were ignored and marginalized later on in politics, and pop culture.  If you don’t try to understand this generation then everything they say and do will be foreign or scary.  You miss out on modern culture and even risk losing an opportunity to make relationships which is the backbone of any marketing strategy.  So don’t run from them, do your best to understand them, who knows they may take the time to listen to you as well?

 

Rachel Rueben, Romance, Thriller

Fedelta Parte 27: Snitches

Fedelta 27
Image via Pixabay

All of the old hat detectives delighted in reviving their alter egos from yesteryear, “Hey you mutha fuckas ready to roll?” Jimmy yelled from the end of the hall.  “Aihhh, keep your toupee on!” Amato yelled at Jimmy.  As the others at the bar laughed at the exchange, Cassie kept checking her phone.  She got a call from her ex Stephano, over an hour ago, but couldn’t answer it without looking suspicious.  She already knew that Amato would figure things out eventually but how long that took would all depend on her ability to play it cool.  She had to make good on this one deal with Stephano because it could change her life.  As Cassie watched the boys chum it up, she was desperately waiting for them to just leave.  Finally her prayers were answered when the guys started filing out of the room, and as the door slammed behind them, she fumbled around in her purse until she found her phone.  Looking at the screen, Cassie saw that Stephano left a text that read, “Location, location, location.” With that text was a pic of an empty parking lot and an unguarded gas station.  Her heart leapt for joy, it was starting to look like she had a business partner. Getting up from her chair, she texted her location and invited him to the VFW.

There was no way Amato and Jimmy’s crew of grumpy old men were going to be able to pull this off without a little help.  Okay, a lot of help.  She hoped it wouldn’t come to this but it looked like her worst fears were about to come to fruition.  She would have to watch Amato get killed, or be killed herself.  Looking at their stupid corkboard, Cassie ran her hands over the pictures and chuckled.  She knew it would never be enough, because once you learned how the play the game was played, the rules would change.  And she could sense change in the air, it was a sudden decision but she had to seize the moment.  Cassie would return, back into the fold and take what had always eluded her father and brother—kingship.  She knew Stephano could get her that, and she had to try for everybody’s sake.

From behind the bar, she took out two Champaign flutes and borrowed a very expensive bottle of Dom Périgon Rosé.  She would pay Jimmy back later, today, she had a lot to celebrate, her rebirth and the Cosimo’s funeral.  She convinced herself this was the best for everyone, Amato would get what he wanted, and she would get off the hook, so it was win-win.  Putting the Champaign on ice, she smiled as she grabbed the glasses and put them on the counter of the bar.  This felt right, no longer would she be at the behest of Amato or the FBI and now she would have a new family, the Alunnis.  Once the money started pouring in, Stephano would make his move and she would help him rule over the entire family.  This was her chance to reclaim her family’s honor and to lead the next generation into a new era.  First however, Amato and Jimmy had to play their parts.

As Cassie planned her next move, Amato and his crew were parked down the street from Clark’s gas station waiting on Caruso to come back with the intel.  Info had trickled in via social media in the form of pictures and videos which he was sure to encode with hashtags and phrases like, #CarusosDayOut #OpReCon to be sure that the threads were vague and understood only by those it was meant for.

Things were going great and when Caruso returned to the surveillance van, Amato was relieved that the first part of their operation was done.  “I can’t believe how little security there was!” exclaimed Jimmy as he went through photo after photo of empty rooms accessed by Caruso.  “They’re getting very sloppy.” Amato answered back, “This would’ve never happened on Frank Fenetti’s watch.”  Surprised, Jimmy responded, “It sounds like you admire the rat bastard.”

“No, but I do admire a tightly run ship.” Amato replied.

“Well, we got what we came for maybe we should go back to base an…”

Amato cut him off and said, “No, we need to move now before they have time to redeploy.”

Thrilled by the response, Jimmy said, “Okay, we can throw down today but we need backup.”

“Let’s roll.” Amato said as he exited the shabby, white van.

Walking up the street to his car, an elderly woman approached him on the sidewalk and said, “Hey I know you, you’re the guy from T.V..” she said.

Confused and taken aback, Amato said, “I think you have me mistaken for someone else.”

“No, you were the cop.  The double-crosser!”

Laughing nervously, he replied, “Ma’am you got the wrong guy.”

That’s when another older woman who was sitting on a porch next door threw a glass jar at him and yelled, “Rat!”

Dodging out of the way, the glass jar shattered all over the sidewalk but Amato kept his cool and remained silent even though his cover had been blown.  Getting on his cell he called Jimmy and said, “Get the hell outta here, we’ve been made.”  As he heard the van start, he made it safely to his car, when a black SUV pulled up blocking the road ahead, trapping them all.  Bewildered, Amato stared in disbelief as four heavily armed men popped out of the SUV and proceeded to enter the gas station.  “Son of a bitch!” he muttered to himself.

“What the hell is goin’ on?” yelled Jimmy still on the speakerphone.

“I don’t know.” Amato answered.  However deep down he had a feeling Cassie had something to do with it but how, he didn’t know.  Scrambling to get inside the car, he started the ignition, and put the car in reverse, then Amato ordered, “Back to base boys.”

Author Bio:
Rachel Rueben is author of the bestselling YA novel Hag and The Eternal Bond Series both available on Wattpad. To keep up with Rachel, you can sign up for her frighteningly entertaining newsletter here.

Dellani Oakes, Karen Vaughan, Rachel Rueben

Red River Radio Presents What’s Write for Me with Anna, Karen and Rachel!

September 28 from 4:00 – 6:00 PM EDT

1bbcd-red2briver2bradio2blogo

After a brief hiatus, Dellani and Christina are back! Today, Dellani will chat not only with Karen Vaughan and Anna Celeste Burke, but Christina’s alter ego – Rachel Rueben!

Join us for this fun filled chat!

Anna Celeste Burke

New to the show, Anna Celeste Burke, author of All Hallow’s Eve Heist, Love Notes in the Key of Sea, Gnarly New Year and many more.

KAREN TIMMYS 2013

Also chatting with us, good friend and another Red River Radio host, Karen Vaughan, author of Jamaica Dead, Daytona Dead, Left for Dead, Holmes in America and many more.

Karen and Anna are also featured in a cooperative book set called Mysteries Gone Mad.

Rachel Rueben

Rachel Rueben is an old hand at the talk show, though she’s usually the silent minority. Today, we’re making her talk about her books Hag, Eternal Bond and her newest venture, Fedelta.

Join us Live or Listen to the Podcast!