About Cheri Baker
Posts by Cheri Baker:
A struggling father takes his two young daughters on a road trip in the shadow of an apocalyptic threat.
Genre: Speculative; Apocalyptic
Length: 9400 Words
Where This Story Came From
Tip: Skip this next bit (or return to it later) if you prefer read the story without context.
Have you noticed that apocalyptic fiction tends to be dehumanizing? Apparently, if the end of the world arrives, we’ll instantly turn on one another and become monsters. Yuck! That’s such a cynical view of humanity.
At risk of sounding like Pollyanna, I suspect most of us would be cooperative in the end. Like: Perhaps instead of trying to murder each other, or rioting in the streets, we’d go to Disneyland? I had this mental picture of parents taking their kids to a theme park on humanity’s last day, making the most of the time they had left.
If the world was ending, would you tell your kids?
Might we be kinder to one another if we knew the end was coming?
Is it possible that the end of the world might bring out the best in (most) people?
What difference would kindness make to a person who was suffering?
With those questions in mind, I wrote this story about Jack, his daughters, their road trip, and the people they met along the way.
Once you’ve completed all the pages in your zine, you can print them out on a single page of paper. The software keeps everything in the correct order and orientation.
After some folds and a quick snip of the scissors, you’ll have a cute little zine. (Never heard of zines? They have a cool history. You can read more about them here.)
Not bad for a 30 minute art project! The Electric Zine Maker is pay-what-you-can software. Check it out if you’re looking for some creative distraction.
Most cozy mystery covers feature cute cartoon-style characters, and I may still go that way, but it’s fun to experiment with different looks.
A cozy mystery is a crime novel without “on screen” violence, sex, or unpleasantness. They’re cozy! Think Murder She Wrote or Miss Marple. Or a nosy aunt who solves crime in between her volunteer work and baking cookies.
I enjoy cozies, and cruises, and I figure a cruise ship makes a nice self-contained environment for a murder mystery. Think of all the ways to murder someone on a boat! You could throw them overboard, poison the buffet, drown them in the pool, and that’s just for starters! The possibilities are amazing.
Why, no. I don’t have emotional problems! Why do you ask? 🤣
Anyway, I’m enthused enough about this project that I’m working on it in the evening after my other writing is done. That’s a good sign!
This series is an experiment for me, genre-wise, production-wise, and distribution-wise. Maybe I’ll write more about that later. For now, I just wanna say WHEEE! MURDER ON THE HIGH SEAS!
The latest trend in online marketing is building a “personal relationship” with customers and readers. Sending newsy emails about your fab summer vacation isn’t enough anymore. Now you have to ask them about their fab summer vacations.
As an author, it all makes me want to cry. How can a working author find time to be pen pals with thousands of readers—even with robotic help?
As a customer, I feel bullied. I don’t even get a say in whether I want a personal relationship. I’m especially irked with authors and vendors who try to get up close and personal even before I decide to buy a book or service.
I can so relate to Anne’s struggle. The way I see it, there’s nothing wrong with offering updates by email to those who opt-in, but the whole “you should develop a personal relationship with everyone so they’ll feel obligated to buy your stuff” trend grosses me out.
As someone still learning how to market her books, I’m hesitant to do a lot of email marketing. I’m fine sending email when I have actual news, especially when I’ve got a new release. But I have long gaps between emails, and sometimes I feel like a bad marketer because I’m ignoring the advice of the experts. Am I a terrible business woman because I only sent out four emails to my list last year?
Of course not. But it’s easy to feel self-conscious when you’re ignoring the loudest voices in your industry. Judging by the comments on Anne’s post, I’m not the only one who has been feeling this way!
My Author Marketing Manifesto
I probably waste too much time worrying about what the so-called experts are saying. So to put my worries to bed, I wrote out how I want to handle the social media/email marketing thing:
My goal is to write books that you’ll enjoy. If you want to stay in touch, you can follow me via my blog, mailing list, or social media. In fact, I’ll post book news in all those places, so you can choose whatever method you like best. And if you don’t want to stay in touch, I won’t be offended. We’re all busy, right?
When talking about my books, I promise to be myself, not a chirpy marketing shill. I won’t suck up to you, pretend to be your bestie, or ask you inane questions to “drive engagement metrics.” And while I welcome your replies and comments (because they’re fun!) you don’t owe me anything. It’s my job to entertain you, not the other way around.
Lastly, because it helps me out to have a mailing list of readers, I’ll occasionally offer perks (like coupons and deleted scenes) to my subscribers. It’s my way of saying thanks for letting me poke my nose in your inbox every so often. But I won’t be filling up your inbox for no reason. Because I respect your time. Mine too.
Does that sound reasonable? I hope so, because it’s what I intend to do. 😉