Much like the Not Ready for Primetime Players, there is a group of amazingly talented authors on the cusp of stardom. They gather here at the Not so Famous Author's Blog to tell you all about writing and smashing your head on a desk. No just the writing part. .


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book Signing?  What’s the Point

Amanda Albright Still, author of ECHOES OF THE STORM and BRIDES OF THE STORM, The Galveston Hurricane Mystery Series. 

Tomorrow, I have a book signing.  When I was a kid, I dreamed of the day people would line up to buy my books and have a chance to meet me. 

Well, they don’t exactly line up.  In fact, I’ve had a couple signings when no one came, every author will when they do enough signings. 

Still, I’ve done well at them and encourage anyone who has a book to do as many as you can.  Some things to remember: 

·         Stand up for yourself—many authors sit behind a table, seldom making eye contact with potential readers.  Stand beside your table.  Be bold, hold your book, smile and say, “Hi.” I give out chocolates and postcards that are mainly a Galveston tourist postcard, but also give the information on my books.  I explain why chocolate is relevant to my books set in 1901 (the year Hershey’s first mass produced chocolate, so everyone could have it, even the folks in storm-ravaged Galveston) and the postcards I hand out, especially to kids and say, “Send your friends a postcard, they’ll get a kick out of it.” 

·         Hone your pitch—when someone asks you, “So, what’s your book about?” Have a quick pitch, that elevator talk or what screenwriters call “the log line”, to let potential readers know if they will be interested.  For ECHOES OF THE STORM, I say, “Just after the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900, another body washes onshore, but this one was murdered.”  For BRIDES OF THE STORM my pitch is, “A man, believing his wife died in the 1900 hurricane, is going to remarry, but a day before the wedding, his dead wife shows up.” If they’re still listening, I add, “And then things get really bad.” And if they’re still listening, I speak to them about the 1900 hurricane and some interesting things I’ve learned in my research. 

·         Create a relationship—this is someone browsing in a book store or at your local market, you’re not going to have a lasting friendship based on this encounter, but find a way to relate to the person, and they will want to buy your book. Before you try to close the deal, share your enthusiasm and let them see why they would want to buy your book.

·         Remember why you are there—to promote and sell your book.  You promote it by being a good ambassador for your book.  Sometimes, that means talking to elderly cranks who have no intention of ever buying anything, but need to talk to someone.  Sometimes, it means being kind when someone is rude to you; you never know what they are going through and not everyone will enjoy what you have to show them.  Selling books means eventually closing the deal even if you don’t at that moment.  Sometimes, no one will come, but there are still the bookstore employees.  They are a sales force you need to train so that when a customer comes in looking for a good read, they remember you. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Getting the Word Out

Like most indies, I am struggling to find the right outlets and my audience. Today, I received a very informative email from Robert Stanek, he is an indie author who has had some success in the publishing world. For my post, I am sharing his knowledge with you on getting the word out there and increasing your reading and viewing audience.

I’m pleased today to welcome Robert Stanek as a guest on my blog. Robert Stanek is not only the talented author of more than 150 books for adults and children but someone who has been helping other writers ever since his first book was published in 1995.

Back in the early days of the Web, Robert created Writer’s Gallery, Internet Job Center and Internet Daily News to help other writers (archives at These days Robert helps other writers by hosting some terrific writers groups, by blogging about writing-related topics, and through his Read Indie tweets on twitter.

On Facebook, Robert Stanek hosts one of the more popular groups for getting the word out about your promotions and free offerings. It’s called “Free Today” and you’ll find the group at On Twitter, you can tweet using the hashtag #freetoday as another way to spread the word about your promotions and freebies.

Go Indie ( is another terrific group for writers that Robert hosts on Facebook. Go Indie is a group dedicated to promoting indie authors, indie books, and indie booksellers. On Twitter, you can also use hashtag #goindie to spread the word about your books.

On, Robert hosts the Read Indies group. Read Indies helps to provide a platform for writers to discuss their books and writing-related topics. Read Indies is at

Robert also writes the Read Indies Blog ( The blog discusses many important writing-related issues and details many of the challenges indie authors face in gaining mainstream acceptance. Some of the more interesting posts:

Taking Your Work from Print to Film -

Selling Rights to Your Books -

Viewpoints on Rejection Letters -

Understanding Bestseller Lists -

Finding Success as a Writer -

You can learn more about Robert and his books at

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Books Worth Buying: Stuart: A Life Backwards

This is book you've probably never heard of. This is a film you've probably never seen. I'm here to tell you to fix that as soon as humanly possible. I will admit, I saw the film first. Benedict Cumberbatch. ‘Nuff said. But I was so captivated by the story of Stuart Shorter and his subsequent portrayal by Tom Hardy (he was ace!), that I had to read the book.

This is a wonderful book. Alexander Masters captures the essence of Stuart in a way that is compelling and heartbreaking all at the same time. It is the story of a young man so embroiled in pain and tragedy, yet has such a profound outlook on life. I ached for Stuart, Alexander, and Stuart’s family.

You will find yourself laughing on one page and then crying at the next. Also a treatise on the plight of the homeless and mentally ill, Mr. Masters lays these social issues out in the spotlight through Stuart’s troubled life. Stuart is not a man easily forgotten, and his story will stay with you long after you finish the book. I also recommend seeing the film as well, as it stays true to the heart of the novel.

One of the best books I have read in ages. Read this. Read it now.

Description: In this extraordinary book, Alexander Masters has created a moving portrait of a troubled man, an unlikely friendship, and a desperate world few ever see. A gripping who-done-it journey back in time, it begins with Masters meeting a drunken Stuart lying on a sidewalk in Cambridge, England, and leads through layers of hell…back through crimes and misdemeanors, prison and homelessness, suicide attempts, violence, drugs, juvenile halls and special schools–to expose the smiling, gregarious thirteen-year-old boy who was Stuart before his long, sprawling, dangerous fall. 

Shocking, inspiring, and hilarious by turns, Stuart: A Life Backwards is a writer’s quest to give voice to a man who, beneath his forbidding exterior, has a message for us all: that every life–even the most chaotic and disreputable–is a story worthy of being told. – Courtesy of

Tara S. Wood can be found lurking on the internet. Or in these fine establishments.
Moon Rose Publishing

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fan Fiction: Fifty Shades of Conflicting Opinions

I want to take a minute to talk about something that gets writers in an uproar. Fanfiction. If you don’t know what fanfic is, let me just say, “Welcome to the internet. How are you enjoying your first day?”

This is pretty much what goes on here 24/7.

Now, fanfic is sort of the dirty little secret that everyone seems to know about. I have found that most people have either heard of it, read it, or write it. But it seems that no one (outside the fic communities, at least) talks about it openly. Yes, yes, we ALL know about Fifty Shades. Yes, yes, you either love it or hate it.

Everyone has an opinion.

Personally, I’ve only been involved in fanfic for little over a year now, and it’s something I don’t advertise. I’ve written a dozen or so stories for a particular fandom (no, I won’t divulge which one), but I read in several. But, Tara, you’re a writer! Why don’t you promote your own writing? The answer is this: backlash. For me (I can’t vouch for other writers), fanfic is a way to get out all the things that might not be well-received in the mainstream genres in which I currently write. Plus there’s that whole “fanfic authors aren’t really authors” crap. Which upsets me.
Renner's pout is much more attractive than my own.

Just like any other genre, there is good fic and there is bad fic. And sometimes, there is truly terrible fic. There is this wide misconception that all fic is basically gay porn. Granted, there’s a lot of that, but there are also works that don’t feature sex of any kind. And guess what? They’re good and bad as well. Like other written works, they’re just stories, people. That’s it.

I was sort of pushed into writing fic by a dear friend who loves my regular work. She wanted to see my talent channeled in a different way. Really, I think she just wants her own personal fic author, but I have been surprised to find myself happily obliging. Why? In my case, I find fic writing to be easier than what we’ll call my “day job” - writing paranormal and urban fantasy romance. It’s easier for me because the parameters have already been set. There’s an existing canon which I can choose to adhere to, or twist to make something a little different. I’m already involved with these characters, I know their history, their mannerisms, their adventures. I don’t have to come up with a new world because it’s already been created. I can take all of that and do something fun without the agonizing slog through set up.

It’s a challenge. These characters already have personalities, quirks, and other set dimensions that I have to stick to. It’s not the same when you’re making up new people. With my day job folks, I’m still getting to know them, feeling them out as I write their story. With fanfic, I can immerse myself in an already established culture. It’s a little freeing. It’s great for when I’m stuck in my regular work. I can write out a short piece (or longer, if necessary), just to get the creative juices flowing. Invariably, I return to my own work with renewed vigor and even a little more passion.

And reading is always good for a writer. Things pop out at you. You take inspiration from the work of others. Maybe you like the way their plot twists, or maybe you see something that is so heinous you vow never to include it in your work. The same can be said of traditional works of fiction. But what’s so comforting is the familiarity of a world already created. 

I don’t judge people for their fandoms and their ships. I can’t, because I don’t have ships; I have a Spanish armada. 

Sherlockians: If you’re hot and heavy into Johnlock, good on you. If you think they’re just bros, thumbs up, dude. 
I think we're all fighting the impulse to steal an ashtray.

Potterheads: If you ship Dramione, more power to you. 
Look how happy they are. It could totally be real.

Avengers fans: If your OT3 is The Stark-Spangled Banner, soak that up. 
Like I said, I don't judge. I don't think Stark does, either.

And if you subscribe to the awesomeness that is SuperWhoLock, well, let’s just say tumblr was created for you.

 My point is: don’t take it too seriously. It’s fun. It’s a way to find out the “what happens next” after the book ends or the credits roll. And it keeps these characters in our lives, which I think is what all readers want. A connection with characters and worlds we love. So go….find your ships. Be kind to the fic community. Happy sailing.

Tara S. Wood can be found lurking on the internet. Or in these fine establishments.
Moon Rose Publishing

Monday, September 9, 2013

Writing Contests

This time, I decided to post a link to a writer's digest competition. We as writers are often looking for outlets for our work. Thanks to social media, technology and opportunity, the work of indie and traditional published authors can now sit side by side. So for this post let's celebrate and get to writing, there is a whole audience out there and they need to hear from us.