Friday, June 29, 2012

Wanna Buy a House?

We finished the renovations on our home on Cluculz Lake and have finally listed it.

Doing so felt very similar to the first time I sent a manuscript to a publisher. Fingers crossed, sweaty brow, anxiety levels off the charts. As the days pass I'm learning to stay calm. The markets slow, but I have faith that someone somewhere will fall in love with our house. Then grandpa and I can move to New Brunswick and I can smother our little man with kisses every single day. Yes, I'm talking about our beautiful grandson, Blake, who is already an internet sensation. At least his other grandparents and we think so.

I know that seems a huge change to make just to kiss his little cheeks every day. Life is an adventure, and the old guy and me are ready. If you've been to the Maritime Provinces, you understand why. If you're a grandparent, then you totally get it. 

So... if you wanna live on a quiet lake, have I got the place for you. 

Early in our marriage, when we lived in the city, we used to drive around at night and look into people's front windows and imagine what it would be like to live there. I loved doing that. I still do. Maybe you do too? Hey--it's a great way to get decorating ideas.

The link below will take you to the MLS listing with all pertinent information. A glimpse into the lives of .... us.

All this talk about homes and space and atmosphere got me thinking about my new WIP and Pinterest. Alexander Sokoloff uses Pinterest to build emotional and thematic impact in her novels. I'm all for that. And pinning is exactly what I've been doing, finding the house, street, buildings, and faces that best build an image system for my current work in progress titled, (tenatively) ONE WRONG. 

I named my board Visual Aids for my Latest Manuscript.  Original, eh?

For example, here's what my protagonist Jason Sinclair looks like:

 I know! What a coincidence. Jason looks exactly like David Duchovny. Who knew. (Ignore the palm trees; there aren't any in Vancouver)

Here's the house he lives in: (minus the trees, plus there's a whole second floor) remember, the point is to help build an image system.

His office (English Department at University of British Columbia)

The street in Gastown (Vancouver) where his wife died:

The PI who helps Jason hunt her killer:

retired FBI agent Mike Canaday, AKA Davd Cubitt
What Pinterest has done is to reignite my enthusiasm for ONE WRONG. I'm not finished, in fact I'm about to enter the dreaded "middle" of the book, but... I'm excited about where the story is going. I haven't been excited or enthused for a while. Eight months to be exact.

Here's the front of Brigitte's store:

See what I mean? I could go on and on ... and get no writing done.

Which is my cue to get back to work.

Oh all right, just one more...

Jason's beloved wife, Brigitte Voisine Sinclair. She's already dead when the story opens. If they turn the book into a movie, I think Suleka Mathew would make a great Brigitte. That's her above.

Now it really is back to those chapters. Hope Pinterest helps you get over your dreaded "middle".

--happy editing.

Monday, June 18, 2012


"I'm learning to fly, but I ain't got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing."

--Tom Petty and Jess Lynne

I love the lyrics to Learning to Fly. He knows he has no wings and he's going to fall, yet he tries anyway. Each time I hear those words I'm moved emotionally and intellectually. Yesterday I stopped and asked myself why. I don't often do that because honestly I generally don't care to know; I don't want to dig that deep.

Maybe it's age or the strangeness of 2012, but yesterday I was pleasantly surprised by my answer. Life is difficult, no matter how many rules you follow. You're going to get hurt, but that doesn't mean you stop being

In between moments of ecstasy: falling in love, giving birth, observing a sunrise, a sunset -- I've sunk to the depth of despair. I've also loved so deeply that my heart felt as if it would burst. I've known joy, fear, bliss, grief, panic, euphoria, rage, and passion. I've used those emotions and experiences in my novels. I've stopped wondering about the why and accepted that I'm a writer and a storyteller. Sometimes things cannot be explained, nor can they be put into words.  

Every time someone writes a post telling you that you must work at your craft every day no matter what, that you must live with discipline, that you must use your gifts, that to be successful you must be diligent, especially when you don't want to, please know none of that's true. Somedays are just for learning to fly without wings. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

ASK PZM - June 2012 Landing Pages

Q: Should I be worried about Facebook's future and removing my work from their pages?

While I do not have a crystal ball, I do not think you have to worry anytime in the near future about Facebook going away. The fluctuations in the company’s stock market price have very little if anything to do with the popularity of the site FOR USERS.

But, and this is very important, your author promotion activities should NOT ONLY BE on any site that you do not own. This is why it is so very important for authors to have their own self-hosted websites.

For example, I blog on my own author website and then put the blog post links on my author Facebook Page. But if that Facebook Page were to disappear overnight, I would still have all the important material on my own self-hosted website. 

Q: How do I incorporate a book award into my marketing plan? 

I recommend you put it prominently on your author website and refer to it whenever appropriate.

For example, update your Author Central bio on Amazon to include the award to that book. Also add it to the description of the book wherever you can, including the various book sites on which the book is listed.

You won the award; you are entitled to be proud of it!  

Q: How do I integrate social media with my landing pages?

First, let’s look at the definition of landing pages from Wikipedia:
In online marketing a landing page, sometimes known as a "lead capture page" …, is a single web page that appears in response to clicking on an advertisement. The landing page will usually display directed sales copy that is a logical extension of the advertisement or link. Landing pages are often linked to from social media, email campaigns or search engine marketing campaigns in order to enhance the effectiveness of the advertisements. The general goal of a landing page is to convert site visitors into sales leads.
Second, let’s discuss why you would want landing pages: Suppose you have a website that sells your books. Now your new book X is just published. You could consider setting up a landing page (it would have its own URL) to send people to in order to only buy your new book X.

The landing page has no other options (no other navigation tabs) except either buying the book or not buying the book.  Or perhaps the only option is signing up to get a free chapter of the book or not signing up.

In other words, the landing page has no distractions and only one purpose.

Putting aside the technical issue of creating and hosting a landing page, if you had one you could easily share the link to that landing page on any social media sites on which you participate.

For example, you might post on your author Facebook Page “Get the first chapter of this book for free now” and give the link to the landing page.  If people click through on that link, they have only one option – to get the free first chapter by signing up via an optin list.

Whether you use landing pages is a marketing decision that should be considered as part of your overall online marketing strategy.

New opportunity tip:  If you want to know about the new opportunity for CreateSpace authors to sell their books on the European Amazon sites, you can read this blogpost now.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the co-founder of Miller Mosaic LLC and the author of fiction and nonfiction books and ebooks, including the HOW TO SUCCEED series for teens and young adults.  

She has currently enrolled the second book in the series, HOW TO SUCCEED IN COLLEGE AND PREP FOR BEYOND COLLEGE, in Amazon’s Kindle Select option.