Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Love is the Answer

This is the thing:  There is darkness in the world.  At times it is oppressive and frightening, but we can't give into it.

Love is the only antidote to hate.  We can change laws (and I for one believe we should), but I'm convinced that in the end the thing that will make a difference is love.  When we realize that we are all in this together, that each of us is responsible to care for our neighbors and lighten their burdens, things will get better.

I'm so grateful for all the support and love you've shown me, and I'm especially grateful for everything you've done for Jayden and his family. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

And the winner is...


Sara's critique giveaway was a huge success! More than 300 people entered and we sold a lot of books.  Thank you all so much.

We got word a few days ago that The Secret Underground is now available to order from your local bookstores. This is awesome because now you can support a local business, help a baby in need, AND get a fun book for a child in your life in one easy place!


And now, what you came here for...

This morning I plugged the numbers into Random.org and it gave me a number for the winner. The lucky person who will get a 50 page manuscript critique from my very lovely agent, Sara Megibow, is ANDREA PRING!  

Congratulations Andrea! If you would email me at nataliebahm (at) yahoo (dot) com, I'll get you Sara's contact information.


Thank you so much to all who entered and especially to all who purchased a book for Baby Jayden.  Every sale makes a big difference to him and his family.  I got the very first royalty check yesterday and I'll be sending it to them just in time for Christmas. :)

If you read The Secret Underground, whether you love it or hate it or just feel "meh" about it, I'd be so grateful if you'd leave a review somewhere (Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Reviews (good and bad) are crucial to future sales and I'm grateful for every single one.

Thanks again for all the support.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Win a 50 Page Critique from Agent Sara Megibow

Okay guys, get ready for this...

You know how every few months there's an auction for a good cause and agents donate critiques that go for $1000 each?  How would you like to win an agent critique without the crazy price tag?



My agent, Sara Megibow, has decided to offer a 50 page critique on a finished OR unfinished manuscript, to help promote THE SECRET UNDERGROUND.  While we encourage all entrants to buy a copy of the book, (with all the profits going to help a sick baby boy named Jayden), purchase is not required.

All you have to do to win is leave a comment on this post.  

Easy peasy, right?




Here's Sara with the details:



  •  submission can be from finished or unfinished work
  •  sample pages (up to 50 pages) must be to me by Feb 28, 2013
  • Submissions must be in a genre I represent: middle grade, young adult, romance, science fiction or fantasy (no mystery, horror, picture books, memoirs, or nonfiction)
  •  You do NOT have to buy a copy of THE SECRET UNDERGROUND to win, however I've auctioned off critiques this year for $1200, so please consider that $8 (or $4 for the eBook), which goes to charity, is a REALLY GOOD DEAL. I've bought copies as holidays gifts, birthday gifts, party favors, house warming gifts, for my own bookshelf. Come on, help baby Jayden! Regardless of format (ebook, print book, audio book) - all sales help! If you'd like to buy a copy, there are links to booksellers on the sidebar.
  •  submissions can be your book OR someone else's (which means - yes, you can give this critique as a gift to someone for the holidays as long as that person's book fits my above mentioned criteria)
  • to enter, simply post a comment on Natalie's blog. Any comment. 
  • This giveaway will close Wednesday, December 12 at midnight PST, when Natalie will chose ONE winner using Random.org. Natalie will announce that winner on Thursday, December 13.


This is an amazing opportunity.  I speak from experience when I say Sara's critiques are always spot on and extremely helpful.

Good luck to everyone!








Sara Megibow is an agent at Nelson Literary Agency.

Sara is on Twitter @SaraMegibow


Sara is on Publishers Marketplace (with client info and general opinions and tastes): http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/SaraMegibow/

Sunday, October 21, 2012

5 Steps to an Awesome Book Signing

Last Friday I had my first author event ever. 

A few weeks ago my daughter took a copy of The Secret Underground to school and told her teacher that I wrote it.  Her teacher bought it on Kindle, read it, loved it, and asked if I would like to sign and sell books at the school Read Night. I almost told her no. I'm not the sort of person who loves meeting people, and I get terrified at the thought of having to sell my own books. I worried the night would be miserable.

It wasn't.  In fact it was really fun. We sold a lot of books and I got to meet so many great kids and their parents.  I thought I'd share a few of things that made it a success and might work for others doing book signings.


1. Spread the word.

My idea of spreading the word was putting a little post on Facebook the day before letting people know I'd be doing a signing.  My husband's idea of spreading the word was sending emails to everyone he knew, telling them about the book and how sales benefit Jayden, and encouraging them to come(without telling me).  WAY more people came because of my husband's emails.  He's the sweetest man ever.



2. Have a cheerleader.

My daughter's teacher is my favorite person now. She set up her room for the signing and stayed with me the whole time, chatting when it was slow (which wasn't very often) and talking up the book whenever someone came in. The majority of visitors were people I'd never met before and it REALLY helped to have a respected teacher telling everyone how much she loved my book.



3. Give something away.

I had some bookmarks made with information about how to buy the book, and a little blurb about Jayden.  Since this was a huge school event with at least a dozen activities in different rooms, most of the people weren't coming to see me. There were a lot of kids walking around without their parents, and since I didn't have a cool game or a fun art project for them it was nice to be able to give them something fun.  You'd be surprised how cool a free (promotional!) bookmark can be.


4. Keep it short.

I only signed for an hour.  It was busy almost the entire time.  I've heard of signings lasting two or even three hours.  Those long signings might work for a bestselling author, but for a tiny debut author like me an hour seemed just about right.



5. Give some profits to a good cause.

I'm fortunate that all the profits from this book go to a fantastic cause.  I know many people buy it just to support Jayden. I've heard some authors donate a portion of profits from signings to favorite charities.  I think that's an awesome idea.




I'm pretty sure I was spoiled and I'll never do another signing that's so well attended or fun.

Have you been to book signings?  Have you done your own?  What are some things that made it fun?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Not Just Another Pretty Face...



My very dear friend and CP, Karen is showing off her latest cover today. It's SOOOO pretty, I just had to share. I love that it's not the average YA cover--i.e. girl in a pretty dress with (sad) pretty face.

Karen and her cover designer, Alexandra Shostak, worked side by side to create the Taking Back Forever cover. After lots of hard work (and a lot of love) here it is…


Want to know more? Here’s a summary of Taking Back Forever.

Forever is worth the fight.

Maryah erased all memory of her past lives, but she couldn’t erase her soul mate Nathan, or his undying love. Now, Maryah and Nathan have a second chance at a future together, but first Maryah must remember the person she used to be and embrace her supernatural gifts—more than one kindrily member’s life depends on it.

Maryah’s power is Harmony’s best hope of finding her kidnapped soul mate, Gregory. But Harmony isn’t big on asking anyone for help, and she’s tired of waiting, so she’s taking matters into her own hands. Heaven help anyone who stands in her way.


To celebrate, Karen and Alexandra are giving away signed paperbacks of Grasping at Eternity. (Signed by Karen AND Alexandra!)
Contest is open internationally!



 Alexandra Shostak is a writer of dark and fantastical things, mostly meant for teenagers. She is a freelance cover designer, and is available to do covers and interior artwork directly for authors. She is also a former Irish dancer, a guitar player, and the person who can get you through the zombie apocalypse without getting bitten.
If you’re especially worried about the zombie apocalypse, you can find her in one of these places:
or on Twitter as @a_shostak
 

Karen was born and bred in Baltimore, frolicked and froze in Colorado for a couple of years, and is currently sunning and splashing around Florida with her two beloved dogs. She's addicted to coffee, chocolate, and complicated happily-ever-afters. Due to her strong Disney upbringing, she still believes in fairytales and will forever sprinkle magic throughout all of her novels.
Twitter: @karen_hooper

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Do You Stick to Your Genre?


Over the past few weeks I've been reading two very different books.  Both are by really big, extremely talented authors (and though I'm not going to name them, you can probably guess who...).  

One of these books is a brilliant conclusion to a brilliant series.  The author did what she does best and wrote a book every one of her fans will love.  I devoured every page.

The other book is a complete departure from what the author normally writes.  I pretty much hated it, and even though I'm the sort of reader who ALWAYS finishes what I start, I couldn't plow through this one.  I knew it would be different from what she'd written before, but it was TOO different for me.

A few years ago I went to a workshop about building a successful writing career.  The author talked about how she' never been able to stick with a genre.  She'd bounced all over from children's books to adult literary fiction.  She sold them all to different publishers and thought she was doing pretty well.  She loved each book and was excited to see all of them find places on bookstore shelves.  

She said it was a terrible career move.  The fans of one book didn't like (or didn't read) the others. So even though she had multiple books out, none did very well.  

I've toyed with writing different genres.  I normally write contemporary MG, but I've tried fantasy too. I have a dystopian YA that I think is kind of good.  I once dreamed of writing adults literary fiction.  

There are a few authors who are successful in more than one genre--like Shannon Hale and Neil Gaiman. But I think it's hard to do well.

Do you write in one genre or many?  Will you stick to a genre after you have a book or two published?



Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Story I'm Afraid to Write

A few weeks ago, my brother asked me why I'd never written a serious story--particularly something about a sick baby.  I have real-life experience (with my little boy, Jayden, and my twin sisters who were born very premature), and maybe I could write something really meaningful.

I told him, I don't write stories like that because I don't want to relive any of the time when my baby was sick.  I've spent two years piling happy memories on top of the ones from the hospital, hoping they'd fade.  I write light, fun stories because that's where my mind wants to spend its time.

My brother nodded and let it go, but I couldn't stop thinking about what he'd said.

Then I had an idea for a book unlike any I've written so far. A serious book.  A book that would challenge me emotionally.

I've barely started and already I've ended every writing session in tears. The research is really, really difficult and the story is the most personal thing I've ever written.  It's likely I won't make it to the end and, even if I do, it would be a miracle if it was the sort of book anyone actually wanted to read.  But it is the book of my heart, and I really believe it's what I need right now.

Is there a special book you want to write someday?  One you're afraid to start?




Monday, October 1, 2012

How Book Sales will Help Jayden

Hi everyone!

It's been quite the weekend.  Thank you to everyone who has bought a copy of The Secret Underground or tweeted/blogged/facebooked about it. I wish I could give all of you a big hug! Every single sale makes a difference to Jayden's family.


I thought I'd tell you about just one big expense that Jayden's parents have on a regular basis.

Most parents know that formula can be super expensive, it's not unusual for a family to spend $20-$40 a week just on formula. Jayden's health issues, combined with food allergies, make it difficult to find a formula his tummy can handle.  The only one he tolerates costs between $70 and $100 per week.  That's over $3500 a year just for formula.  This is one of many expenses that make it difficult for Jayden's parents to make ends meet.

My goal for the book is to raise enough money to buy Jayden's formula for a year. I don't have a lot of sales data yet, but I know that during the pre-order period we raised enough to cover ten days, so we've only got 355 to go. :)

I'm going to keep a running total on the sidebar, so you can check up to see how we're doing.

Thanks again for all the support.  I really do believe it will make a difference.



P.S. The paperback is FINALLY up on Amazon!  And the Kobo and Google eBooks are now available too.  All purchase links are on the sidebar.


Friday, September 28, 2012

THE SECRET UNDERGROUND releases today!

Well, we're here.

Today The Secret Underground is available for purchase, and every single penny of profit will go to Baby Jayden and his family.  If you haven't heard about the project yet, watch this short video.


We're still working out glitches at a couple retailers. These are the places where it will be. The highlighted stores are live now.  I'll update as more sites go live.

The eBook is available on:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Google
Kobo
Sony
Overdrive

The paperback is available on:

Amazon
CreateSpace eStore

Coming soon to most other online booksellers.

The audiobook is available on:
iTunes
Amazon
Audible

Thank you so much for all of your support.  It has meant so much to me and so much to Jayden's family too.


P.S.  We've had some trouble with the print book.  It looks like it won't be on Amazon until next week sometime.  It will be at most other retailers in a month or two.  I'm so sorry about this!  It's a bit frustrating, but I promise I'll let you know when it becomes available,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Last Minute Jitters

The Secret Underground comes out FRIDAY!!!

People keep asking me if I'm excited.  I attempt to smile and nod, but to be honest I'm way more terrified than excited.  I feel like I have a billion emotions about the book release and many of them are conflicting.

I want the book to do well for Jayden.  I want people to buy it and read it and leave reviews and tell their friends.

But I'm also really scared to have it out in the world where people can buy it and read and hate it and leave really mean one star reviews and tell their friends it sucks.

Yep.  It's a fun place to be. I'm wondering if this is how all authors feel.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Details

I've had the worst time staying on top of everything these past few weeks.  I've been trying to finish recording the audiobook and also trying to write blog posts for the kind-of-sort-of blog tour that's happening right now. Because of this, there's a few details I've probably forgotten to share.



  • Jayden is in the hospital right now.  He's doing okay, but he could definitely use some good thoughts and prayers.



  • A lovely blogger, Heather Kelly is hosting a Write-a-thon on September 28th to celebrate the release and maybe raise a little money for Jayden.  Join in!  It should be fun.



  • The eBook version of The Secret Underground is available for preorder on Amazon and iTunes. You'll be able to purchase it at all online book sellers (Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Google, Sony, Kobo, Overdrive, etc.) on September 28th.



  • The print version will be available on September 28th on Amazon (and maybe a few others).  We're working on getting it to every major online book seller (you should even be able to order from your favorite brick and mortar bookstore).  That should happen in the next month or two, hopefully in time for holiday shopping. 



  • The audiobook will be available through Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.  If all goes well, it should be up and ready by the 28th too.

That's about all!  I'm going to try to get some links on the sidebar for the blog tour posts.  Thank you so much for all the support!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Why

I've had some people ask me why I "picked" Jayden's family to get the profits from the book.  Why didn't I support some charity that helps a lot of people, instead just one little boy?


This is my answer:

Two years ago I had my fourth baby. He spent two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit.


I am convinced that there is nothing more difficult for a parent than watching a child suffer.  Those two weeks were the hardest of my life.  I've never cried so much or prayed so hard.

Today, my son turns 2. He is healthy and happy. I don't have to worry that he'll stop breathing or that he'll get a cold or flu that could end his life.




Jayden's parents still have to worry about those things.  They've lived two years never knowing if they'd have their precious baby one more day.  

I can't fix Jayden's problems.  I can't make him better. But I can do something to ease his parents worries.

I know it's not some grand cause, but it is a cause (and a family) I believe in.  I think maybe Emily Dickinson said it best:


If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.


What do you believe in?  What cause (or person) are you passionate about?  






Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Getting the Word Out

My super sweet friend and critique partner posted about The Secret Underground today.  It's also the first place you can see the book trailer (that isn't really a book trailer).  Please check it out here!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Social Networks: Which Ones Do You Need?


Thank you all so much for the kind words, congratulations, pre-orders, and especially for spreading the word about The Secret Underground! I'm so excited about this book.  It's a story I really love, and I hope others will enjoy it too.  Plus, I'm hopeful its sales will help out Jayden's family.

It's will be available on NetGalley for the next month.  If you'd like to review a copy please check it out!


For the past 3 years I've tried to keep my social networking simple.  I blogged (occasionally), I tweeted, and that's all I did. Even those two things felt like too much sometimes. It wasn't hard to resist the urge to join Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn or any of the other cool new networks.

I thought I was doing just fine with what I had.

Then I had a book coming out.

When I told some of my published author friends about The Secret Underground, their very first advice was, "You need to get on Facebook and Goodreads."

They explained that, while I've been able to make writer friends through blogging and Twitter, READERS don't hang out (much) in either of those places.  When I tried to explain that I doubt my target audience (9- to 13-year-olds) hangs out on any social network, my friends countered that while most kids don't have Facebook or Goodreads accounts, their parents, teachers, and librarians do.

I have smart friends.

So, convinced it was something I had to do, I opened Facebook and Goodreads accounts last week.  Now I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner.  It's probably not a great idea to start something new right before a book comes out.  It's tough to learn how the networks function while also trying to make friends. I have a feeling neither will be very respectable for months (or even years) yet.

The moral of this story:  START NOW.  Most networks don't take that much time and you'll be grateful to have friendships established when you have a book to sell someday.

How many social networks do you use?  Which ones do you get the most out of? Which ones are a waste of time?  (Please tell me!  I need to know.)


P.S.  If you friend me on Facebook or Goodreads, or add The Secret Underground to your Goodreads bookshelf,  I'll love you forever!






Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BIG News

Things have been a bit crazy around here, and I'm about to tell you why...


I am thrilled to announce my first book, The Secret Underground, will be released September 28!


The Secret Underground is a middle grade adventure about a girl named Ally who discovers all the boys in her neighborhood are digging a tunnel to an abandoned steel mill.

My family and I have decided to donate 100% of the profits from this book to baby Jayden and his family. Most of you probably know a bit about Jayden, since we did an auction for him earlier this year, but for those of you who don't, here is his story:


Jayden was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, just before the horrible earthquake in February 2011 that killed 182 people. He suffers from a combination of congenital problems including Hirschsprung's disease.  Because of this he's been through many serious surgeries during his short life.  He's almost died multiple times, but he's a strong little guy and whenever things look bleakest, he rallies and shows his doctors and family that he will fight to hang on. His family recently moved to Australia in order to be closer to a hospital that could handle his care.  They've been through SO MUCH.  Along with the stress and anxiety of dealing with Jayden's condition, they are also struggling financially because of the massive burden of caring for a chronically ill child. For more details check out his blog.


To support Jayden, my agent has helped me put together the perfect book package. We've worked together to create a print book and ebook (and probably even an audio book) that can be marketed 100% as a fundraiser. It's been quite an exciting (and busy) experiment! 

You can pre-order the eBook on Amazon and Apple.  It will be available at all other online book outlets (Nook, Kobo, Sony, etc.) soon. The print version should be available for pre-order on Amazon in the next few weeks and later this fall you'll be able to walk into to any bookstore and order a copy.

I'm so excited about this project and so happy to be able to do this small thing for Jayden's family. 

Stay tuned!  I'll be posting many more details in the coming weeks. 

Or, if you NEED to know more now, feel free to visit my website

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Five Years

Five years ago, when I was eight months pregnant with my third child, I decided to write a novel.

My first book took me more than a year to write.  When I finished, I thought it was AWESOME.

It wasn't.

Now, five years later, I've written five finished novels. Two of them are pretty darn good.  Two are passable--meaning I could probably let friends and family read them without dying of embarrassment.  And one, the one I wrote first, is really, really awful.

I don't regret writing any of them.  Each one taught me something about my voice and how I build worlds and create characters.  The hours I put into writing crap made me a better writer.

Have you finished a book? Five? Ten? What have you learned as you've transitioned from a clueless new writer to a less clueless older writer?


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Conference That Got Away

Two years ago I planned to go to a writing conference in Orlando.  I registered for the conference, bought airline tickets, had a place to stay.  I was SOOO excited because I'd get to meet my agent, Sara Megibow, for the first time AND I'd get to hang out with one of my best friends, Karen Hooper.

I was 6 months pregnant and healthy and doing great.  And then I wasn't.  I had some major complications and had to cancel my registration a week before the conference, get my plane tickets refunded, and tell my roommates I wouldn't be coming.

It sucked.

Now, two years later, I'm finally headed to the conference that got away, RWA (in Los Angeles this time). Karen and Sara will be there along with many other writer friends.

I'm SOOOO excited!

You probably know that RWA is short for Romance Writers of America, and if you've read this blog for a while you know that I'm not a romance writer.  I write books for kids.  So why would a children's writer go to RWA?

Short answer: because I've heard it's the best.

I've been to a couple other conferences.  They were super fun and I learned a lot at each of them, but everyone I've talked to says RWA events are on a different level.  I can't wait to see if they're right!

Is there a conference you'd love to attend?  Is there one you've been to that you highly recommend?



Monday, July 16, 2012

On Traveling with Children

I always think summer will be some magical time when I finally catch up on everything, get back into blogging, and write outside while my kids play sweetly in the grass.  Surprise, surprise, that's never the way it goes. :)

I'm still horribly behind and my blogging has been awful. I promise that someday I will be better--unfortunately, at this rate, "someday" might mean 10 years from now.

Anyway, here's my attempt at not letting the blog die.



We try to take our kids on some sort of summer vacation every year. This spring as my husband and I were talking about where to go we skipped over all the usual places and decided instead to take a road trip through the western U.S. and Canada.  Why did we decide this?

Because clearly, we are insane.

Have you ever taken a long road trip with one child?  Not fun.  Now multiply that by FOUR.  I cannot even tell you how many times we stopped to pee or how many times we didn't stop and wished we had...

Most of the trip at least one child was unhappy. Every twenty minutes someone was hungry or thirsty or had to pee or needed a diaper change.

But guess what?  I'd do it all again.  Because when my kids think back on the experience all they'll remember is this:



 And this:

 And most of all THIS:



Worth it.


What are your favorite family memories?



Monday, June 25, 2012

What to do when you finish a book

In the past few weeks I have:

-Attended oodles of end-of-school-year activities and programs
-Refinished a dining room table and chairs
-Cleaned out my kitchen
-Traveled to a family reunion and slept in a yurt
-Painted a desk

That really doesn't look like a lot of things, but it was, trust me!

Anyhow, I'm sorry I've been away and haven't been focused on writerly things.  Right now, I'm desperate to start a new book--two weeks away is about all I can handle.  All the other things I planned to repaint and clean out will just have to wait.

How is summer treating you?  Are you writing?  Doing house projects?  Vacationing in Maui?

Friday, June 8, 2012

How to Write a Book in one CRAZY Month

In May I wrote a book.


(I'd started it in March, so I guess I didn't write a WHOLE book in May, just 150 of it's 180 pages).


And I revised it.


And I edited it.


All while planning Jayden's auction, working on another huge writing project, and doing all the regular stuff a mom of four does the last month of school.


IT WAS INSANE.  I slipped writing into every spare minute, early in the morning, during nap times, and late at night.  At the beginning of the month I didn't think I could even finish the first draft, much less get the whole thing done, but luckily this was a book that wanted to be written. It's a book I'm really proud of, and it's been a long time since I could say that about anything I've written.


Now I need a few weeks to catch up.  My kids have their last week of school next week and there are about a million other things I let slip through the cracks during this crazy time.  I promise to be back in a few weeks with a lot of exciting stuff to share.


Jayden's Auction finishes SUNDAY!  All the stuff is posted now, so bid away!  We've been so thrilled with how it's gone.  This really is an amazing community and I know everyone's donations are going to make such a huge difference to Jayden's family.  Thank you SO MUCH.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Auction Starts TODAY

Come and check it out!  We've got some awesome stuff up today and tons more to come.

Bid on agent and author critiques, art, crafts, jewelry, signed books and much more!


And Stephanie, Jessica and Keisha win a books!  Email me to let me know what book you want and where I should send it. :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jayden's Auction Starts Soon

Just wanted to remind everyone about the auction starting Saturday, June 2.

You'll find the usual must-haves like agent and author critiques, signed books, and jewelry, and also some fun new things like original art, customized portraits, and even a special little something from the new HOBBIT movie.  Yeah, it's going to be super cool.

Make sure to follow the Help Baby Jayden blog (where the auction will take place), Facebook, or Twitter so you can get all the updates.

And if you'd like to help us out by tweeting or posting about the auction (you can let me know in the comments), I'll add you to the drawing to win a 2012 debut of your choice! I'll pick 3 winners Friday.



Monday, May 21, 2012

Is Blogging Dead?


Most of you know I'd been away from the blogosphere for a while before I started up again a few weeks ago.  It's been at least a year since I've done a decent job of it.

Over the past three weeks as I've read blogs and tried to do a bit of blogging myself I've noticed some interesting things.


1. 75% of my old blogging friends are no longer blogging.

2. When I visit the blog pages that I used to frequent, I notice that blogs that got 10-20 comments per post a year ago now get only a handful, and blogs that used to see 50-100 comments per post now receive only 10-20.

3. Even BIG POSTS, like agent and book deal announcements, seem to be getting way less attention than they did a year ago.

4. Last Thursday, I posted a little book giveaway.  I promised to send three commenters ANY DEBUT NOVEL THEY WANT if they spread the word about a charity auction that will start in 2 weeks.  I got almost no response--even when my rock star agent, Sara Megibow, retweeted the post.  A year ago I'm pretty sure a post like that would have had at least a little interest.  I've noticed that giveaway posts on other blogs seem to be light on readers and commenters too.


I'm not going to lie.  I kind of get it.  Blogging takes an incredible amount of time if you're going to do it right (thus the year long blogging vacation).  There are many easier ways to keep in touch with other writers. But at the same time it's sad to see blogs I used to love close up shop.  I felt like I actually got to know people through their blogs in a way that really isn't possible through other social networks.  If blogging writers really are becoming a thing of the past, I'm going to be sad.


Am I missing something here, or did blogging become a dying art during my year away?  What has replaced it?  Twitter?  Tumblr?  Facebook?  Pinterest?  I do a decent job on Twitter, but I don't have clue about how to use any of the others.  I guess I'd better figure them out.




And feel free to comment on my book giveaway post if you'd like a free book!  Right now you have a 100% chance of getting one, as there are only 2 comments and I've promised to send books to 3 winners! :)



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Win a 2012 Debut OF YOUR CHOICE!


Hey everyone!

Since Jayden's auction is just 2 weeks away and we're still hoping for a few more donations, I thought I'd try something fun.



We need to make sure everyone hears about all the awesome things that will be offered at the auction.  You can stay informed by:

-Liking Jayden's Facebook Page
-Following him on Twitter
-Following his Blog (this is where the auction will take place)


We also need to spread the word.  You can do this by:

-Tweeting or retweeting about the auction
-Blogging about Jayden
-Posting something about Jayden and the auction on Facebook


And we could use a few more donations.  You can help by:

-Donating a book, critique or art item (you can email me donations at nataliebahm (at) yahoo (dot) com)
-Passing this along to a friend, agent, or colleague who might be willing to donate



Anyone who does two of these things (you can pick ANY two) and tells me about what they did in a comment below is eligible to win a 2012 debut of his/her choice.  I'll even pre-order one for you if the book of your choice doesn't come out until later this year.  There are so many awesome debuts this year. I know there's something for everyone.  I will pick THREE winners on Thursday, June 1, the day before the auction begins.  And yes, I am happy to ship internationally.

Thank you SO MUCH for helping.  I'm hoping the auction will be a great success and take a little bit of the financial pressure off Jayden's family, so they can focus on helping him get well.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A HUGE Thank You!

I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who have donated items, critiques, money, artwork, jewelry, etc for Jayden's auction.  It's been a very sweet experience to get emails from people I've never met before who are willing and anxious to help.

We'll be accepting donations right up until the auction on June 2, so feel free to email me--nataliebahm (at) yahoo (dot) com-- if you have something you'd like to give.

Also, a huge thanks to all those who've been spreading the word! We couldn't do this without you.




Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Something Big (or part of it, anyway)

I promised you all some big news this week, so here it is! 

First I'll need to give you a little background.

Many of you will remeber that when my youngest child was born he had some health problems and spent several weeks in the NICU and then several months overcoming the issues he had at birth. That experience was SO DIFFICULT for me, even though it was just for a short time. I believe there is nothing in this world harder than watching your child suffer. It changed me, refocused my priorities, and gave me a deeper empathy for parents of sick kids.
 
Two months after my little guy was born, my good friend had a baby grandson. This is his story:
 


 
Jayden Huynh is a seventeen-month-old little boy who has already survived four surgeries--two bowel, one heart, one gastric-- due to a combination of congenital problems, including Hirschsprung's disease and other issues that are still in the process of being diagnosed. Despite the best efforts of his doctors and family, Jayden has failed to gain enough weight to make it to even the 1st percentile. He only weighs 6.6 kilograms (14.5 pounds) and his low weight is affecting his organ's ability to function. His doctors are considering put him on TPN treatment (IV feeding) which carries its own dangers. The greatest risk to survival is sepsis at the site of his IV port, so Jayden's family need to convert a room in their home into a treatment room that can be kept separate and as sterile as possible in order to give him the best possible chance. This will include buying a small refrigerator/freezer to store the TPN, cabinets for storing medical supplies, a changing table for Jayden, a steam cleaning unit to keep the surfaces as clean as possible, and other supplies.

Jayden's family have started a fund to try and raise money to set up this room, and are hoping to hold an auction to make it possible. Because Jayden's grandmother is a writer and an artist, they are hoping to gain donations from people in these industries to auction. Anything useful would be gratefully accepted, whether it be critiques, books, swag, etc. Because of the international nature of the auction, donors would need to be willing to ship items directly to their auction's winner, if it involves goods. We will provide information and links to the donor's websites, etc. along with each auction.
 
The auction is set to begin on June 2 and will probably run for about a week.  We've already had some awesome stuff donated, including agent critiques and phone calls, author critiques, signed books, jewelry and art.  It's going to be amazing. Mark your calendars.
 
If you feel you can donate anything for the auction or pass this along to friends who might want to help, it would be so appreciated. You can email me if you have an item or critique that you'd like to donate at nataliebahm (at) yahoo.com.
 
 If you'd like to help and you have nothing to donate you can always say a prayer, send good wishes to the family, or spread the word!  We have a facebook account, a twitter account, and a blog you can follow, like, retweet, or repost.
 
Jayden is such a brave little boy and his family has been through so much already. I know they're already overwhelmed by thie kindness the writing community has shown. We hope this auction will take a tiny bit of the financial pressure off of them, so they can focus on caring for Jayden.
 
Thank you so much, for taking the time to read this.
 
 
 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Big Things are Coming

I feel kind of bad that I've abandoned this poor blog for months, but I think I'm back for good this time.  I've kept in touch with a lot of you through Twitter, but I know there are blog friends I haven't seen in months. I'm excited to get back in touch.

There is a reason for the title of this post, but it's probably not what you're thinking.  I promise to share all in a week or two.  Until then I'm going to do some blog visiting and see if I can figure out what you've all been up to so far in 2012.

I'm excited to be back and so excited to share what's coming! :)


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How Do You Choose What To Read? (and MAY B Winner!)


The winner of MAY B, as chosen by Random.org, is Melissa Sarno. Congratulations Melissa! Email me your address and I'll get it to you ASAP.

Last week I went to book club. I LOVE book club, mostly because it's the only time all month when I get to be with my friends and without my (very lovely) children. We read SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson and, unsurprisingly, everyone liked it and we had a great discussion.

Most of the women in the group a major readers. While we chatting I thought I'd ask them how they choose which books to buy. I was especially interested to hear about how the kindle users picked one book over another.

This is what I got from the discussion.

-They choose books with a lot of positive reviews.

-They buy books that friends have recommended.

-They choose books priced over $8.00 or free classics. One of the women said that she steers away from anything with a low price ($0.99 to $2.99) because "it's usually a sign that the book will be awful." She said her time is too valuable to waste on a $0.99 eBook.

-They don't look at who publishes the book and don't care if it's self published, small press published, or big press published.

Now granted, this group probably doesn't represent the average Kindle reader, but I thought their answers were interesting, especially in light of the self publishing/$0.99 eBook boom.

How do you choose what to read? What matters most to you (price, publisher, reviews, cover, etc.)?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm Back (for today) and MAY B Giveaway

Hello friends!

Today, I have some good news, some less good news, and some VERY good news.

The good news: I finished my book.

The less good news: It still needs some editing and I'm not coming back to blogging land until it's done.

The VERY good news: I'm back today to give something away!

This:

May B.

I had the very great privilege to read this novel several years ago, before Caroline began submitting to agents. Yup, I'm that lucky.

There are some novels I love because the author tells a great story. There are other novels I love because the writing is brilliant. MAY B has both brilliant writing and an engrossing story. I love it so much.

Here's the description from Goodreads:

I've known it since last night:
It's been too long to expect them to return.
Something's happened.


May is helping out on a neighbor's Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it's hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May's memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she's determined to find her way home again. Caroline Starr Rose's fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love.

I know you'll love it as much as I do. To celebrate May B's release I'm going to send one blog reader a copy. All you have to do is follow this blog and leave a comment on this post. I'll choose a winner Monday, January 16th.

Congratulations on your debut, Caroline! I hope it's a wonderful day.