Monday, September 14, 2009

Guest Blogger Candi Wall on Promotion!

I'd like to introduce one of the first writer's I ever "met" back in my RWC critiquing days, Candi Wall. She's a very talented writer who writes super hunky heroes. Not only that, but she's a genuinely kind person whom I'm honored to have on here.



Hi, Jessica!

Thanks for having me.

In true ‘Booking It’ form, I’m going to try to keep this thought provoking…

Hello, my name is Candi Wall, and I’m an aspiring author.
I’ve been aspiring 365 days a year for 16 years and every day is a battle.
Being an aspiring author has made me do things I never thought I’d do but I find I can’t give it up. >grin<

My novel STAY is entered in the Next Best Celler Contest at TextNovel.com
(Which means I write my novel in increments of approx. 500 words at a time, post them in mini chapters and hope to get enough votes to keep myself in the top twenty. The top twenty are then whittled down to ten, and out of the ten, Dorchester Editors will pick a winner who will receive a publishing contract. Yikes!)

Not something I’d typically do, but I’m enjoying the ride and hope that this little snippet will encourage all your readers to try something new.

In the ever-expanding,
dirt-under-your-nails-digging,
do-anything-to-get-pubbed,
here’s-my-first-born,
can-I-give-an-ovary-for-an-agent-contract,
game of getting your name out there promo bonanza, I’ve found that there are some really great, old-fashioned ways, of getting the word spread.

This contest has made me be more social, more outgoing, more extroverted than I ever thought possible. Trust me when I tell you I sat outside of my local bookstore for close to an hour trying to calm my rolling stomach enough to walk in and ask if they’d feature me as a local talent trying to win a publishing contract.

I sucked it up, took my business cards, one sheet explanations, and plowed ahead like I was the most educated, well prepared, beautifully written, aspiring author that lived on the coast of Maine. HA!

Thank goodness the owners were a kind couple who’d run the gamut of the publishing world for years before I even thought about putting pencil to paper. They poured a cup of tea, sat me down and we talked promo ‘old style’ for close to an hour.

Goodness knows, there are still some amazing people in this world. You just have to have the courage to go find them. So now I get a phone call when my cards or one sheets are gone, and one of my cards goes into each and every bag that leaves their store.

You better believe that lovely couple will be one of the first to receive a signed copy if I’m ever published. Heck, I’ll sit for Q&A and tea if they want. Gotta love the people who still realize there are some dreams worth working for.

People can be so fantastic!

So - ever done anything out of your own character? What were the results? Share!


Candi Wall
www.textnovel.com / ‘STAY’
www.musetracks.wordpress.com

You can vote for Candi by registering at TextNovel.

60 comments:

Tabitha Bird said...

Candi, how amazing to met you! I love that you sat outside that bookstore packing death then went it and took that first giant leap of faith. That's one small step for Candi and one giant leap for...well you know how that one goes. The most outrageous thing I have done to date to get my name out there is to blog...yeah, I know. Not so outrageous...but I had to seriously have words with myself and tell myself everyone would NOT hate me and I could write and go suck it up and do it! So I relate to this post.

Thanks for the introductions Jess. :)

Jessica said...

Hey Tabitha,
Blogging is a pretty good leap too. And you've been so successful at it! :-)

Jessica said...

Hi Candi
Thanks so much for the awesome post! And for sharing your journey.

I'm not sure I've really done much out of character. Snort! When the day does come for me to promote my book though, I hope I'm as savvy as you. :-)

Jody Hedlund said...

Wow! What a contest!!! Wishing you the very best, Candi! And thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience on promoting yourself!

Candi said...

Hi Tabitha!

Yeah, I felt pretty foolish worrying so, but I knew I had to do it.

I think everyone question stheir ability to do the unknown as you did. Everyone I've spoken to has those moments of doubt. We all suffer from a lack of faith in ourselves, but in the end, we're so much better when we push through and trust our ability.

I'm glad you did, and thank you for your kind comments.

Candi said...

Savvy or just brave...LOL.

Thanks for having me Jessica. It's funny to think that it's been well over a year since we met - newbies that we were.

You are too kind, but my hunky hero creation portion of my brain is super pumped to have you make a comment like that >grin<.

Candi said...

Hi Jody,

Thanks for the well wishes. Fun, scary, time-consuming, enlightening... there is a lot that I am learning from the TextNovel contest.

Guess what they say is true - you never stop learning.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I havent done much out of character. But then again I'm sort of a newbie. Nice to virtually meet you Candi!

Candi said...

Hi Karen,

It took me awhile to decide to do something outside my comfort zone. One of the biggest persuasive influences for me, was finding a community of other writers and learning from them.

The support and encouragment is amazing for writers, especially when you think about what a solitary act writing is.

And I've been actively trying to get published for a year and a half and STILL feel like a newbie.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I got nervous just reading what you went through. That is exactly why I want to be a closet writer!!!

I give you major credit for pushing forward and taking control!

Jennifer Shirk said...

I'm not normally a person who likes to talk about herself, but when asked to speak at different organizations on writing or being an author, I'm like, "Sure!"
(Very out of character) LOL!

Candi said...

Eileen,

If I had my druthers...

I'm a bit of an introvert. Okay, I'm a lot of an introvert. My husband swears I'd become a hermit in the mountains if it weren't for our children and the fact that they are involved in EVERYTHING possible.

But, in this instance, I knew I needed the experience this contest would bring, so here I am, on yet another thrilling learning curve. I've yet to be thrown off the ride, so I'll keep plugging along.

Thanks for stopping by.

Candi said...

Jennifer,

Now THAT is brave! I truly don't think I coud do any speaking yet. It's one thing to promo my story and tell people what I'm doing via e-mails, blgs and the like, but as much as public speaking never affected me, when it comes to my writing, I still don't feel secure enough in my skills to take that leap.

This is something so many struggle with, so Kudos to you for having the gumption to do it!

John Roundtree said...

Hi, Jessica and Candi!

BookingIt – excellent the blog spot, Jessica!

And super blog, Candi. I know we’ve all had or will have our book store experience. You’ve said it perfectly -- the emotions, fears and little insecurities. But you’re right, the community is remarkably supportive, especially with someone so talented as Candi Wall. Yours is an easy vote, a pleasurable read to follow “Stay” on textnovel.
--John

Jessica said...

Hey Candi, thanks so much for being so involved in the comments! I def. think you're brave to sit down with the owner and talk about your story. LOL

Thanks everyone else for stopping by! John, thanks for the compliment and for commenting. You guys are wonderfully supportive.
:-)

I'm curious as to how many people have actually read a text novel before?

Candi said...

Thanks John!

Emotions, fear, insecurities... They certainly become a part of the writing life.

But I'm quickly learning, no matter the outcome, it's putting yourself out there that gets the results.

You have to be seen and heard and known to make a dent. You have to try and fail and succeed before you learn anything.

Thanks for your continued encouragment!

Candi said...

Ah, and here is the big question, Jessica.

I joined this contest under the misconception that just breaking down my novel into smaller pieces, or serializing it would be considered a text novel.

Not so!

Japan is the forerunner in text novels. An actual textnovel comes in tiny increments - on your cell phone. It is a craze in Japan. I've read a couple so far. Some good, some not so much, again like anything, it's subjective.

But the good ones are amazing. Imagine using 50 - 60 words each time to create emotion, depth, sincerity... Talk about daunting. The actual text novels leave a lot of space for personal interpretation.

What we are used to: description, setting, mood, theme... All these things are left to the reader on a visceral reaction. It's really an amazing process.

Stephanie Faris said...

Just wanted to say hi to Candi. She's kicking butt in the Dorchester contest over on textnovel and for good reason. She's very talented! I'm one of her competitors but not really...I don't think anyone holds a candle to her number of votes!

anita said...

Nice to meet you Candi, and great post! I love your ideas for self-promo.

I hopped over and read some of your novel and voted for you. Well written! I don't read many contemporaries, but that first chapter sure hooks the read in. And I like that your heroine is so strong with such an interesting job. :-)

I wish you all kinds of success. Let us know when you get that big book deal and we'll run out and buy it!

anita said...

Oops. Forgot to give a shout out to our lovely hostess Jessica a.k.a. BQE (Blog Queen Extraordinaire)!

Kuddos Jessie! Great guest blogger!

Have a good day, girlie. :-)

Cindy said...

Candi, great post! I loved that you talked about courage--and that you had enough of it to go into that bookstore and talk to the owners.

I haven't done something out of character like that when it comes to promoting me or my book. But it gives me more courage and determination when I read stories like this. Thanks again!

Candi said...

Hi Stephanie.

I'm so glad you stopped in.

thank you for the kind comments. They mean a lot coming from you. Rode Hard (i'm going to redact the rest because of our audiance today) is an awesome novel. I follow it regularly and it has me laughing and sighing at once. Really a great read and one I've suggested to friends whom I thought would enjoy it.

And votes... Well the promo seems to be helping, though I like to get comments to know people are really enjoying the writing, and I actually love the crits too. Makes me rewrite and improve my strengths.

We're up against some pretty heavy comp. Some published writers and a few best sellers, so we're holding our own pretty well.

Good luck to you, and again, thnaks for coming by!

Candi said...

Hi Anita,

Thank you for taking the time to read STAY. I know it can be daunting when you realize you have to register. It's one of the drawbacks for TextNovel. But they are such a new concept that things are still in the beta process.

Your comments are so appreciated. I'm glad you found the beginning interesting, and reading out of your preferred genre can be difficult, so thanks a million. For the vote as well!

And as for publishing... if it happens, it happens. Someday, I hope to accomplish my dream, but in the meantime - I'm enjoying the ride.

Candi said...

Hi Cindy.

You know I spent a lot of time not certain if I was readyto take the plunge into getting my name out there. I had to read a lot of other peoples success/defeat stories before I could gum up the courage to try this new venture.

I just keep a firm mantra in my head: In the words of my six year old who thinks he's fifty, "Mommy, you're the bestest. You can do anything."

Course he wasn't talking about my writing, actually this staement came after we managed to get a snake into a bottle for him to keep for a oet for a day! Buuut his sweet little voice repeats that in myhead when I start to doubt, and it's all the encouragment I need.

Jessica said...

Candi, I saw an article on Japan's text novels a while back. Really fascinating! Congrats to you for sticking yourself out there.

Hey Stephanie,
I didn't realize you were entered too! Very cool. :-)

Jessica said...

Hi Anita,
That was so sweet of you to do that! LOL on your nickname for me. Heh. Not sure I'm the queen of it, but I sure am its slave. Snort!

T. Anne said...

Everything I do is out of character ;) That contest sounds amazing! I never would have thought to go to a bookstore and do what you did! Sounds like your on the right track.

Candi said...

Hi T. Anne,

The contest is a neat experience. At the end of novermber, finalists are chosen, then they're whittled down to ten. Of the ten, one is chosen for an advance and publishing contract.

As for the bookstore - one of the benefits of living in a small town is the smaller shops. I don't think I could have plucked up the courage to go into one of the big box stores. LOL.

Thanks for stopping by and the encouragement.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Candi:
Wow. I am outgoing, and I never thought to do this at a bookstore! You are amazing.
I hope you win the contest.
Jen
Audience of ONE

Candi said...

Hi Jeanette,

Thanks! Again, I think I found the bravado due to the stores reletively small size, but it really has been a great way to meet people and let them know what I'm doing.

And of course, since my novel is set on the coast of maine, many of the people coming into the bookstore are interested to see a romance set in their own backyard. LOL. Hopefully I do our coast justice - if not...yikes...they'll know where to find me.

Genny said...

Wishing you the best in the contest, Candi! So nice to "meet" you and learn about your journey!

Jessica said...

Jeanette and T. Anne, are you both extroverts? LOL! Thanks for commenting.

Candi, I'm sure you've done it justice! :-)

Candi said...

Hi Genny,

Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Everyone's well wishes and encouragement is so appreciated. Especially when we're getting down to the wire and confidence begins to lag.

Jill Kemerer said...

Such tenacity! Wow! I'm really impressed. And yep, I'm going to check out your excerpt--good luck!

Candi said...

Hi Jill,

Now I've never been known as extroverted, but the word tenacity has been lobbed in my direction a few times in my life. LOL.

Thank you so much for yor support!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Candee & Jess -

Great post! I hope you win the contest. Let us know so we can celebrate with you. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Candi said...

Hi Susan!

I imagine if I o win, I'll be screamin it from the rooftops. LOL.

Thank you for your well wishes.

Katie Ganshert said...

Wow! This is SO cool! Can't wait to check out the link. Great post!

Candi said...

Thanks Katie.

I'm pretty excited, and hey, we can use more authors over there anyday.

Hope you'll join.

Robyn Campbell said...

I love this and I love that Candi was so honest and real. Especially about walking into the book store. Thanks for sharing a part of your journey with us. :)

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks, Jessica, for hosting Candi.

Candi, kudos to you for your perseverance and courage. And just so you know, I consider you a writer cuz you write and have written for--count 'em--sixteen l-o-n-g years. You may be a not-yet-published writer, but in my book you are a writer, not an aspiring writer. You can wear the title proudly. You've earned it!!

Danyelle said...

Awesome interview! Wow. I think I'd be scared stiff to approach booksellers, but I like the point Candi brought up about them being people too. O:) People can be fantastic. :D

A few of my characters are me if I ever stepped out of my character. ;-)

Linda Kage said...

Go, Candi! In the words of, well... a bunch of famous people, NEVER GIVE UP! Good luck on your contest and better luck on getting published.

I know what you mean about learning to be more extroverted. It feels like I step out of my comfort zone every time I join MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot... but I'm slowly getting used to it all.

Candi said...

Hi Robyn,

Thanks for your comments. It's a bit surreal at times to be honest. It's great having so many supportive people who know where I've been, where I hope to go and share so many of the same dreams.

Candi said...

Hey Keli,

Nice to see you here!

I love writing and always have, but since I've taken the steps toward publication there is a new spark to my passion for the written word. I've learned to appreciate so much more abou tthe process, and the amazing men and women before us who traveled this same road.

I can wear my title as writer, whether I ever publish or not. It's something I love and always will.

I'll 'see' you soon!

Candi said...

Danyelle,

You hit a point that is so true for so many people. Our haracters can encompass portions of ourselves we wish we could be.

Maybe not all the time, but a strength or a sassy wit that we can write down on paper, but never actually use in our everyday life.

I think that's what is so great about stories. They let us live a portion of another persons life while we remain safe in our own world.

Thanks for stopping by!

Candi said...

Hi Linda,

As long as my muse loves me, I'll keep writing. LOL.

Yeah, stepping out of teh comfort zone is definitly a big change. But I've realized that forcing myself to do it here has helped me to do it in other areas of my life as well.

For a while, it was hard to tell people I was an aspiring author of romance. The old stigma is still attached 'bodice rippers'. But now, I announce it to any and all frineds, family, and anyone who wants to listen.

I'm proud of my goals, and that in itself is priceless.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Stephanie Faris said...

Candi, just wanted to say thank you for the kind words. I didn't know there were published authors in there.

You and I have a lot in common. I started writing in 1995 so I've been at it about the same amount of time. Although after my miscarriage and subsequent marital problems and divorce and years as a single woman (pause for breath!) I guess 2000-2008 don't really count toward those years since I got a bit sidetracked from writing. Anyway, I know you'll end up with the most votes so if I don't even make it into the top 20, I'm rooting for you to win!

Candi said...

Hi Stephanie,

Life certainly doles out the hills and dales doesn't it? I guess all those rocky roads re what let's us know we have faith in what we truly love.

I think all of us has had times when our writing has taken the backseat. Mine was for four children a career, soccer mom duties and a marriage - btw who ever said THOSE were easy. LOL.

Thank you so much for your vote of confidence. This is just another of our learning experiences on our way, but I'm happy to have claimed a lot of new frineds along the way.

And btw, I'm pretty sure you'll stay in the top twenty...just keep the promo going. You have an awesome book.

Marie-Claude Bourque said...

Hi Candi and Jessica,
Jessica I love the look of your blog. So sweet and beautiful.

Candi,
Out of character? well you know what I did and where it led me LOL. That's why I am so thrill for you to get a contract with Dorchester as well.
What I have learned it yes it's super hard, but when you do get there it's amazing. Best to look back and know you gave it all.

But let me tell you this, brave as I was in the American Title, I was never even as brave as you are now. You totally rock! My inspiration. With you all the way :)

Jessica said...

Hi Marie-Claude,
Thank you for your kind comments. :-)
I agree, Candi rocks. I think it's amazing what she did and I hope I can be brave too.

Terri Tiffany said...

Oh this was fantastic! And what guts you had to walk into that store like that and do that! I used to own a bookstore and never had anyone ever ask us that--not sure what I would have done if they had:)

Candi said...

Marie-Claude,

My dear friend! I'd love to be a Dorchester author beside you.

Your ride at AT is what gave me the courage to even attempt this and your unflagging support keep sme going.

Thanks a bunch!

Candi said...

Hey Jessica,

I'm just lucky to have the support I have behind me. Without everyone's encouragment, I'm not sure I wold have had the 'bravery'to do this.

But I am having a good time!

Candi said...

Terri,

I wasn't sure what they would say, so I kind of jumped on the 'Local Author' pitch.

If it had been a larger store, I wonder if I would have gained the same response if it were.

Thank you for your comment!

Candi said...

Since I know Jessica will be posting again tomorrow, I want to thank everyone again for their great comments and wonderful support.

I'll make sure I let Jess know if anything at all comes from this, but it means a lot that so many are rooting for me.

The TextNovel ontest has taught me a lot about promo, but it's taught me more about the support and encouragment of an ultra competative industry. We're all in the same boat. And it's amazing to know we can all be there with life rings at the ready to help each other out.

Thanks again for having me Jessica. I was lucky to meet you in the crit group, and even luckier to call you a friend.

Marjorie said...

Hi All,
Thanks to Jessica for having Candi here today. Candi, I am not a writer but an avid reader of romance novels! I love hearing about your process & your bravery to talk to the bookstore owners! You go girl! lol I live in CA but have been to ME up to Freeport. (Hey, we all need to go to LL Bean, right? lol) I have read Stay & What She Was Missing. I am loving both of them! I think you are VERY talented. Having support seems to be key for many writers. Please know you have a fan here! I can't wait to see the rest of the chapters!

Candi said...

Majorie,

Thank you so much!

Glad to know tat you've visited our state, and yes, Beans is like a state staple. We've joked that we'll soon change the state animal to the Bean Boot! LOL

Coming from a reader, this comment makes my day! It's so hard on TextNovel to know wh are writers and who are readers, and even when comments are left, we often don't know in what capacity they are given, ie. from what veiwpoint.

Thank you so much for the encouragment! And I'll get a few more chapters up before the polls close in Nov. Dorchester probably doesn't want us to post the stories in their complete form...

Thanks again!

Shalanna said...

The contest requires twenty chapters to be up . . . I did ask Dorch whether posting more than twenty would be a problem, and was told that it wouldn't be. However, I share your concern; we might not want to give away the entire truck if all they want is the cab. On the other tentacle, this is not the final draft that we're posting, anyway (there are always editorial suggestions and edits to be made.) I decided to keep posting chapters, as this may be my only chance to get the book to readers.

I'm glad to see more TextNovel authors branching out into blogging. Some of them have accumulated an awe-inspiring number of votes, indeed! I think you'll find that keeping a weblog interesting and fresh is a good way to build a lasting readership. I've been on LiveJournal for several years, and it's fascinating to look back and survey the topics I've covered with my commenters.

Sadly (for me), I was turned down for membership in the various group blogs that TN members are doing (and so was a very nice and popular author, Takatsu), but if anyone out there would like to see my ramblings anyway, I blog at http://shalanna.livejournal.com and I have an entry in the contest at http://textnovel.com/stories_list_detail.php?story_id=1368 (SONG FROM THE HEART, an urban fantasy/romance with a suspense-style plot--a rogue AI goes after a singer--written as Caitlyn Young for branding purposes because Shalanna writes mysteries and YA fantasy.) I believe Takatsu is working on a blogging project, as well. As always, we the "little guys" are out here and plugging away, as ever. You never know when we might surprise everyone with a bit of success! Keep up the good work!

Candi said...

Hi Shalanna,

Thanks for stopping by.

I'm sorry to hear that you were turned down by one of the group blogs. As with any contest, sometimes things can get a little - odd between contestants.

But everything has its bumps, and your right about keeping going. Everyone started out as a newbie, everyone had to work their way up the ladder. I truly believe you get what you give to your writing career. Any and all, bad or good, it all comes back in the end.

Best of luck at TN, and I've read your work. I read most over there to support everyone. You have a lot of talent and will do well.