Thursday, December 30, 2010

My editor (bless her heart,) I owe her so much

My last post linked to an article on Hubpages (my favorite place on the internet) where I shared my ascent up the very steep learning curve of writing press releases. As I'm publishing with an independent publisher, much of the promotional work is up to me -- not that they don't do their part, they do, but still... And as I'm fairly impoverished at this time (or any other) I've taken the DIY route to book promotions. All of this led to my sharing of this great learning experience in what I hope will be a series of articles I've dubbed the Penurious Promoter.

Now that you're up to date, (in case you didn't read the last one) let's get on with the new post.

Always willing to help me, my editor, Kathryn Lynn Davis used her magic red pen on the result I so proudly displayed to my readers, improving it greatly. Therefore, I am compelled by some ego-driven demon to share the new one with you, as well.

Kathryn Lynn Davis
But first, let me tell you a bit about Kathryn.

When I first sat down to write This Bird Flew Away, I hadn't written much beyond professional reports for my business in years. And I was an auditor, accountant and business consultant so you can imagine the dry stuff I churned out. I was more than rusty. I was seized-up. Yet, the story had to come out. It had lived in my brain and heart for so many years it threatened to choke me. But, sitting at my keyboard, struggling, I had to admit I'd lost the style and technique once so dear to me. Like all neglected children, it had run away from home, looking for the attention and love it required.

Use it or lose it is the applicable cliche.

Some scenes poured out well. In fact, some parts were bloody brilliant. (If I do say so myself.) But others...let's just say they were less so. My poor novel was ragged, inconsistent and seemed nothing more than a few bright spots linked together by dreck. I didn't know what to do to fix it.

Only by happenstance did I find Kathryn, and we started out as two strangers, she the paid professional and me the wannabe in labor, trying to give birth at an age where such endeavors should be long past. At first, she only looked at the first ten pages but managed to cram so much information, so much direction, such good advice, and somehow balanced criticism with enough praise, I didn't give up. She was kind and generous.

Those ten (free) pages gave me enough pointers to pull a reasonable rough draft together. Well, now I know better; one doesn't pay an editor to work on a rough draft, but at the time, I thought it the only way. I suppose she must have seen enough good in my efforts to make it worthwhile, because she went well beyond the requirements of any editor. I know this now. I didn't then.

She sent me back passages for rewrite, and suggested whole new scenes to write that pulled it all together. She found holes in my story, parts that didn't work, passages that needed a new direction, and praised those areas that did work to the skies. We were perhaps a month into working before she actually did any editing. She was my coach and my mentor first.

As if that wasn't enough, upon my receipt of the edited manuscript, and payment of her more than reasonable fee, we continued with rewrites, back and forth by email, long after the edit was done, and all from her great generosity.

Kathryn poured encouragement into me, made me believe that what I'd written had merit, insisted it should see the light of day. She even helped me write queries, and used her own contacts to help me.

Then, when a publisher was interested in This Bird Flew Away, and after all my revising and tweaking I knew it had to be edited again, she offered to do the work, even though I couldn't afford to pay for it at the time. "The important thing," she wrote to me, "is to get it ready for publication. Pay me later."

It is only now, when I hear from other authors and their trials with independent editors, that I realize what a gem of a woman Kathryn is, and how lucky I was to tumble into her care. For that's the only way to describe what she did for me. If This Bird Flew Away is a work of any worth, much, perhaps most of the credit belongs to Kathryn Lynn Davis.

She is an established author herself, with eight published novels and a New York Times bestseller, a talented and gifted individual. And here she is editing my press release. Still helping me. Still feeding me encouragement. Still praising my work. 

What a blessing. Thank you Kathryn.

Anyway, back to the original subject. Yes, I'm going to show you the edited press release, and if any of you have read the first,(thank you)  you'll notice the tremendous difference here in the second.

Amazing what a good editor can do for you.

Sincerely yours,


The Press Release

For immediate release

Two Thirds of Sexual Abuse Victims Receive No Assistance, Says Author

North Port, Fl (12/30/2010)  -- In the late ‘60s, the product a troubled youth and a dysfunctional family, Lynda Martin found herself on her own at the age of fifteen, two thousand miles from her home. She knows firsthand the dangers facing girls on the streets and the predators that prey on them. She was one of the lucky ones.

She survived.

So does the heroine of her upcoming book, This Bird Flew Away (scheduled for release January 27, 2011). 

Martin, author and veteran child protection worker, says official statistics for childhood sex abuse drastically understate the problem leaving an estimated two-thirds of all victims with no access to professional assistance or support. Healing from such trauma is difficult without counseling and guidance. “Too many past victims live in pain and anger, unable to put the past behind them.”

In the late nineties, Martin attended an international conference on child protection and learned professionals estimate less than thirty percent of child sex abuse is reported. World-wide, they suggested, seven out of ten girls and four out of ten boys are victims of childhood sexual assault. “That number has haunted me ever since. I wanted to find a way to reach out to the seventy percent of all women who are living with those memories.”

So she decided to write a fictional account of one girl’s twenty-year journey from neglect and abuse to success and happiness, a tale based on some of the many real-life stories she encountered in her thirty years of work with child abuse victims. Her goal was to craft a story that would appeal to women and mature girls, one in which the traditional process of healing is mapped out but embedded in an entertaining and exciting tale.

The result is her novel, This Bird Flew Away. 

This Bird Flew Away (ISBN 9781935605928) will be available January 27, 2011  from the publisher, Black Rose Writing, or at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and from the This Bird Flew Away website. Visit the website at for more information.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Penurious Promoter’s Guide to Book Publicity #1 -- How to write a press release

By lmmartin

Penurious -- pen-u-ri-ous -- (adjective) stinginess, unwilling to part with money, miserly. Root: penury (noun) lack of money, poverty, want.

Welcome to Penurious Promotions and the first in a series of articles for the do-it-yourself book promoter with a...  "restricted" budget. Today, we’re looking at everything you need to know but haven’t yet asked about press releases.

Why? Because I need to write one, and I don’t know how, so guess what: we’re in this together. As I research and learn, so will my readers. What fun!

But before we get started, a few thoughts:

I should perhaps share another bit of advice with you, dear readers, before we go any further. Like many another solvency-challenged promoter, I’ve happily accepted the well-intended (I’m sure) and sincere-at-the-time offers of help from friends and colleagues. In return, I’ve received what I’ve paid for – nothing. When someone has made an offer of assistance, you can hardly nag or demand action. I mean, they volunteered… 

As is the story with my press releases. An offer of assistance came in September. This is late December, my book is scheduled for release in thirty days and I have no press releases.

So here’s the very first rule for the Penurious Book Promoter: If you can’t afford to hire someone to do it, learn how to do it yourself. Do not depend on friends, family or other volunteers. You'll be glad you did. Think of all those great learning experiences.

Now that’s out of the way, here we are, hand-in-hand and on our way to learn everything there is to know about press releases, and we’ll write one as we go.


Why do we need to write press releases?

You’d think that formal press releases would be a thing of the past in this day and age, what with the internet reigning supreme for information seeking, gathering and dissemination.  But no, definitely not. In fact, the press release has grown up into the information age, and e-releases are written in the same way.  For all that we dream up hundreds of creative ways to get media attention, the truth is 99% of all such exposure begins with a well written press release.

Now, it is a well-accepted truth there is no such thing as bad publicity, but it is equally true there is much ineffective publicity. And we don’t want to be ineffective.

What makes a good press release?                       

In my many hours of research, one message came through loud and clear: a press release must be a news story, not an advertisement...

For the rest of the article, use the link in the title or
right here. Don't miss the fun. Come see what we end up with for a press release.

Sincerely yours,


Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Reviews -- How different it is when it's your book under review!

I love to read reviews, whether for films, books or restaurants. I'm one of those who may base a choice on such information, although I'm the first to admit I don't always agree with the critics. There's this contrary side to me more likely to see a film the critics pan, or love a book they hated. 

Even when there's no question of a purchase, when the subject matter is something of no interest, the review is still one of my favorite forms of entertainment. 

But with the release date for This Bird Flew Away drawing ever closer, I awaited the first review of the work with more than a little trepidation. Suddenly, my words which at one time seemed so heart-felt, so true after months and months of laborious and sometimes painful work, not to mention the input from my wonderful editor, Kathryn Lynn Davis -- well, suddenly I was sure they were trite, dull, feeble and unworthy. 

Do you know that feeling? Isn't judgment an absolutely soul-destroying feeling?

Mr. Brian Knight of Premium Promotional Services was the first to provide a review. When I saw his name and the subject: Book Review in the in-box of my email, my heart started tripping along at two/four time, and a cold stone settled in the pit of my stomach. I could barely stand to click the thing open.

Every snide and sarcastic remark by a reviewer that had once elicited a superior giggle, a facetious nod of agreement or that sense of Schadenfreude we all enjoy so much, though  never admit, leaped into my mind. This time it was my book under the magnifying glass.  My book! Two years of my life.

I opened it, quickly scanned his words and sucked in a deep breath, feeling and sounding much like Sally Fields at the Oscars: "He liked it! He liked it!"

To those of you used to this, I'm sure I come across like some needy child hearing her first ever words of praise. Okay -- I am some needy child and these are my first ever public words of praise. This is my debut novel. Bear with me, and let me dance for joy. I promise; I'll grow up one day soon.

 Title: This Bird Flew Away
Author: Lynda M. Martin
ISBN: 9781935605928
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 406
Reviewed By: Brian Knight
Official Premium Promotional Services Rating:    *****          

What do you do when innocence dies?

Bria is a typical little girl by all outward appearances but inside lurks dark secrets and problems  only adults should have to face. She is smart but confused with the world around her. To top it off, she has no one to talk to about these problems. That is, until, Jack finds her in the basement of the family home during a funeral. Jack is Bria’s best friend and the one person she will talk to. Unbeknownst to them both, that friendship will be tested and strengthened, and eventually will save a life. 

Bria doesn’t have a real home. After years of being shuffled between Aunts and across the border, the only family she can count on is her Aunt Mary and Jack. She takes it upon herself to protect her younger sister but, as fate would have it, she is forced into a difficult decision in her efforts to find them both a safe home. Her impossible situation turns into a nightmare as she is soon abducted and trafficked. The unspeakable acts she endures and witnesses leave her a shell of the girl she once was.

After a daring escape, Bria now faces the most difficult obstacle of all – finding her place in society again. Along her harrowing path, she confronts her inner enemies and discovers new life when it seemed her life was over. Can she truly recover? Will she learn what love really is? Will she allow herself to be more than the ‘nobody, nobody wants’?

From the first word, Lynda Martin’s passion for crafting a gripping story combined with her career of helping missing and exploited children takes center stage. Instantly, you are immersed in Bria’s journey as she struggles to navigate a cruel world. With each passing page, it is virtually impossible not to care for Bria and the others like her in “This Bird Flew Away.” You will find yourself wanting to hug, talk and listen to Bria as the connection is made on multiple levels. 

“This Bird Flew Away” is a story of betrayal, abuse, hope, love and strength.

The emotions experienced as the story unfolds carry it from page to page. Sadness, anger, grief, hopelessness, joy, love, hope and peace are all present and combine to deliver a surreal experience; one that will haunt and demand that you ponder  the reality that the story depicts. This book is a must have for those seeking an emotionally charged story of survival.

Author Lynda Martin’s debut novel, is sure to take the world by storm. I see a bright future for this up and coming author.  

(He liked it! He liked it!)       

Sincerely yours,


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Santa Claus Inc -- an outsource story

Here is my Christmas Card to all my readers, friends, family -- everyone.
I hope you enjoy it.

Santa Claus Inc -- an outsource story

And for those who don't wish to click and link, here's my wishes for the all the best this holiday season, Merry Christmas to those who celebrate this day and peace, joy and love to those who follow other beliefs.

Yours sincerely,