Sunday, October 16, 2011

How to Build an Author's Platform by Bri Clark

"Beauty and brains...Can you ask for anything more?"

I've known Bri Clark for a while now, and she has become one of the most savvy marketing pros around. She's also a hell of a writer, her new novels climbing the charts each day...She's packed in quite a bit of experience in her short 26 or 27 years and she's earned her stripes both as a author marketing consultant and fiction author...

I'm always proud to have her guest post for me...and here she is:

Author Platform: Keyword being Author
By Bri Clark
Let’s talk author platform, first by defining what exactly it means.
Author Platform: The marketing base on which an author builds, contributes to, and draws from throughout their career.
In my opinion author platform is not defined by your genre or publisher, but by you the author. Can you use the fact you are a Christian Fiction Thriller Author to build you blog, social media accounts, speaking engagements around. Go right ahead. However, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Do you know how many Christian Fiction Thriller Writers there are? A lot….huh? Same thing goes for paranormal romance writers. (that’s one of my hats) A freaking lot.
The point is you want to stand out and be noticed. Then retain those that have found you.
Now I’ll give you two examples of authors who did not limit themselves by their genre or genres.
First, my gracious host. Vincent Zandri. Take the title of his blog for example.
The Vincent Zandri Vox.
Two Points
·        His name is included in the title and the url. This is a must for SEO optimization.
·        Vox in itself tells you he’s a guy who isn’t typical. In fact, it almost acts as a warning in saying. Hey you are definitely going to learn in a way that is outside the box.
Second, myself.
Bri Clark the Belle of Boise
Two Points
·        My name is included in the title and url. This is a must for SEO optimization.
·        The Belle of Boise. I am a southern belle to the core. And I recently moved to Bosie ID. People here love hearing how I speak, my sayings and my heritage.
I believe I can speak for myself as well as Vincent that by keeping our core personalities of who we are as people, as authors the principle of the platform it’s much easier to build upon. My posts on my blogs are as varied from balancing a career and my daughter’s birthday parties, to how to write a proper blog post. Vincent’s range from general debauchery to his recent contract with a traditional publishing house.
The point is fair writers and authors if it’s you that’s your foundation you won’t find yourself floundering in this maze of a publishing world.
What’s your platform? What’s your opinion? I’d love to hear it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Very Good Reason to Skip the PhD by Calee M. Lee, my second Guest Post

I'm in the midst of driving my 17 year old son Bear back and forth to his GED exam, so you can image how author/publisher Calee M. Lee's guest blog hits home. Bear wants to be a writer and a novelist and with today's education system actually inhibiting learning on an individual level, he has chosen self-education above traditional. Not that this is entirely what my guest post is about, but it certainly struck a nerve. Calee is proof that not only do you not need a PhD to survive in indie world, taking the time to get one can cost you valuable writing and publishing time. She's made a success at both.

Here's her take on it:

A Very Good Reason to Skip the PhD

By Calee M. Lee

Remember the week that Amanda Hocking signed her major book deal? It was sunny and warm in southern California, and my email inbox was filled with rejection. I’d been a successful copywriter for years, but I was been missing my first love—story. I’d just finished a MA program in English Lit (to get back to reading and writing and talking about stories) and a PhD seemed like the next logical step.
Or not.
Once I realized I would not be attending grad school in the fall, my brain suddenly had a lot more available space. For what, I wasn’t sure, but when a friend posted a link to a Wall Street Journal article and I wound my way through the Internet’s maze of self-publishing blogs, I thought that perhaps I would get back into writing creatively after all.
Initially, my plan was to round up a crew of my playwright buddies, put together a collection of our 10-minute plays, and let the Internet do the rest.  That idea is still on my to-do list, but after thoroughly researching the market, making a number of soon-to-be-repealed proclamations to my husband, and remembering why those 10-year-old writing projects were still locked in drawers—Xist Publishing was born.
When I looked at my Kindle, I saw a list of new books for me, a New Yorker subscription, and a handful of children’s books either without pictures, or with images so poorly formatted that, while my daughter was hungry to get her grubby little hands on my Kindle, they weren’t the sort of thing I was excited to give her.  One afternoon, instead of doing laundry, I began writing a children’s story I’d been telling for years.  I called a friend. He agreed to illustrate it. The Queen and the Cats has been the #1 Christian Children’s Biography since it launched September 14th.
I called more friends and they agreed to let me publish their children’s books. I wrote more books. I spent hours learning InDesign. Books like Secret Agent Josephines ABCs and Caterpillars Dont Check Email went live on Amazon. Rinse. Repeat.
It’s still the Wild West for children’s ebooks and I’m more than curious to see what Amazon’s $79 Kindle and the Color Kindle Fire will do for my business. It’s no surprise that kids are embracing the technology, but ebook sales for children are still lagging behind print and I’ve yet to see a picture book reach the top 100 on the Amazon bestseller list. Of course, that may all change this Christmas or next. The fun part is being along for the ride.
Since there are so few voices in the indie ebook arena that are talking about kids, I’d love to know what the readers here think. Are you writing children’s books? Buying them?
I currently sell about 50% print, 50% ebook on Amazon, but when you figure in our sales of print copies to indie bookstores, ebooks really only take up about 10% of the pie. Any predictions on when that might change?

Calee M. Lee is the author of The Queen and the Cats: A Story of Saint Helena and Caterpillars Dont Check Email and the editor of We Love BUGS: 31 Classic Insect Poems for Kids.  She is the founder of Xist Publishing, producing books for the touchscreen generation.

Xist Publishing:
The Queen and the Cats:
We love BUGS:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mel Hagopian on Memory, or Lack Thereof....

My first guest post comes from rising star Mel Hagopian who discuses the persistence of memory (please excuse Mr. Dali) or, rather, the lack of persistent memory, or persistent lack of accurate memory or well never mind me, she lays it all out far better than I ever could.

For now, I give you, Mel:

I Remember It Well

We are all pathological liars. Our brains are designed to make us always "feel" as if our recollections are true, regardless of whether or not they actually occurred. In fact, science has proven that a memory is only as real as the last time you remembered it, and that the more you remember something, the less accurate the memory becomes.

Pretty powerful stuff. It brings to mind a song from the 1958 movie, "Gigi", where Maurice Chevalier sings, "I Remember It Well".  If you have never seen this charming musical interaction, it is between two "older" individuals, who do not agree on the details of their first date. Of course, with his undeniable charm, Maurice manages to agree with his former love, even though he openly disagrees. I love it. (Men, take a lesson from Mr. Chevalier.)

The subject of memory has recently become a topic of conversation between me and my British blogging counterpart, Sj. She is in the throes of promoting a new movie that deals with this very topic. Interestingly enough, as I write a book that is based on my parent's love story and family history, I have personally been thrown into a trip down memory lane.

As I sift through old family photos, some of which portray folks that are unidentified, yet related, I look to my ancestral past, recollecting my own memories of those who are now gone, and whose histories are a part of my life. I recall good times and bad, but , in the end, have discovered that I have modified those memories to fit the moment that I live in now. This is why my book is reality-based fiction.

Face it, memories are random, and often strange. Marcel Proust once wrote, "The past is never past. As long as we are alive, our memories remain wonderfully volatile. In their mercurial mirror, we see ourselves." Jonah Lehrer, in his book, Proust Was A Neuroscientist, writes that Proust believed that, "we must misremember something in order to remember it." In other words, our mind is constantly reincarnating itself. It is ongoing and ever changing.

Lehrer writes that, "scientists have discovered that our brain is full of neurons that never touch, yet are responsible for brain activity. The spaces between these neurons are called synaptic clefts, and the area between these neurons is subject to change." Brain research has gained much knowledge of how those spaces effect memory, and how a memory is created, but only time will tell why our memories are "purely fiction."

My brother and oldest sister recall a set of parents that barely resemble the two that raised me. In fact, upon reading the love letters that my father wrote to my mother back in 1940, my sister remarked, "I had no idea that our father had such love in his heart." She remembered a different father than I did. For me, my father will remain tall, dark, and handsome, with a smile that made women swoon.

Sigmund Freud coined the term, "Nachtraglickeit", to describe the phenomenon of transference. He surmised that we take memories of childhood trauma, and retell them at a later time in life, renamed with different characters, and through the eyes and ears of an older person.  We create another version of a story, to meet the needs of our current situations and issues. Our past is actually quite different, but our memories disobey logic.

Hans W. Leowald, M.D., an early 20th Century psychiatrist,  tells us that, "the ghosts of the underground that awaken, taste the blood of recognition and haunt us in ways not fully understood, gradually become ancestors, buried, and much less important." It really makes me think about my life, and question, "Who am I?"

The entire concept frightens me a bit.  Could Proust be correct? Should we, "Treat the reality of our memories carefully, and with a degree of skepticism"? Proust contended that there was no need to keep track of the lies of our memories, as, "Every memory is full of errors." Am I really full of unintentional deceit?

Science has also discovered that most memories are triggered by taste and smell, and that exposure to certain combinations of these two senses can actually trigger "moments bienheureux", or fortunate moments. Author Jonah Lehrer, cites them as, "the  blinding epiphanies that one experiences, like a beautiful apparition, and inspires an intense creative flare."

I happen to experience these "fortunate moments" on occasion, and revel in the rapture as they burn through my brain, carving new tattoos on my inner soul. Are these memories real? Of course they are. At least in my mind. And, who are you?
A figment of your own revisionist history?

Think about it. I do.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I'm buried!
Plain and simple...Finishing up a new book and getting ready to start all over with Thomas & Mercer plus write a new book for my bros at StoneGate Ink....On top of all this, I wanna help out as many new and established writers as I can. That said, I'm looking for a few good guest blogs. Write on any topic you want just so long as it's about the writing experience and in line with what you normally see at this thing.

First come first served dudes, so bring it on...

Send your blogs in RTF (I don't do DocX) to I will get on the action asap.

Thanks all....Now get writing!!!


Saturday, October 1, 2011



Scream Catcher
by Vincent Zandri

This is how your life ends: Not with a whimper, but a scream!

Jude Parish is afraid. The former violent crimes cop turned bestselling true crime author has a fear-filled demon lodged inside of him. A demon so real he can only imagine a slimy reptilian beast with scaly skin, black eyes, and razor-sharp fangs having taken up residence inside the place where his once confident and fearless soul resided.

Now, in the wake of his literary success, the ever anxious Jude is hoping to lead a quiet, peaceful life in the idyllic Adirondack vacation town of Lake George, New York with his new pregnant wife, Rosie, and Jack, his young son from a previous marriage. But when Jude becomes the accidental witness to a bizarre “kill game” in which the killer, video game designer and master of disguise, Hector “the Black Dragon” Lennox, insists on recording the screams of his victims prior to shooting them dead, the ex-cop’s life is turned upside down.

When Lennox is arrested by the L.G.P.D. and Jude is asked to act as the state’s “star witness,” he has no choice but to fight his demon-fear and take on the role. But what he doesn’t realize at the time, is that the killer’s arrest is actually the first level in what is a carefully designed and scripted first-person video kill game that will involve his entire family as “players” and “victims.”

How will the kill game end?

Like all violent video games, it will end in death. But it won’t be “Game Over” until Hector Lennox catches the screams of his tortured victims.


“Scream Catcher has the classic Zandri flair, short chapters, cliff hanging chapters, twists and turns, non stop action and page turning suspense. However, this had more drama, less quirky, quip dialogue and more of a psychological thriller plot. Masterful!!!!” –CMash Loves to Read Book Blog

“Readers will be held captive by prose that pounds as steadily as an elevated pulse… Vincent Zandri nails readers’ attention.—Boston Herald


Vincent Zandri is an award-winning, bestselling novelist, essayist and freelance photojournalist. He holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College and is a 2010 International Thriller Writer’s Awards panel judge. His novel As Catch Can (Delacorte) was touted in two pre-publication articles by Publishers Weekly and was called “Brilliant” upon its publication by The New York Post. Zandri currently divides his time between New York and Europe. He is the drummer for the Albany-based punk band to Blisterz.

To learn more about Vincent, please visit his website: WWW.VINCENTZANDRI.COM