They Did What?!

I [truly] applaud new writers’ enthusiasm for their newfound craft—it’s wonderful.  What I’d love to see approached with the same passion?   Editing.  Not just in terms of checking spelling and facts, and getting true/historical places and events correct, but re logistics and layouts … and “ability/capability”.

If Reggie just climbed into his Benz, how come he’s suddenly talking to the passenger from the outside?  If Lina stepped into the hallway, how did she end up [back in] the auditorium?  If Flavio grabbed Margie’s hand, why is he reaching for in the next paragraph?

think:  crisp and clean

How is Karen able to curve her mouth in response to Ned’s merry greeting?  How does someone wrinkle his/her eyes in reply to a flippant comment?  I’d love to know how Barry spun his head to view his girlfriend’s approach (sounds painful to me).  And Val’s eyes bouncing across the room—ouch, poor Val! 

think:  reasonableness and plausibility

Does it really matter that Zoey reached for the doorknob, turned it slowly, opened the door, stepped in, turned on the light, and peered around the empty room?  Do we need to know that Edwin was still looking apprehensive, so Anna extended a hand and touched his face, and he leaned his face into her palm, laying his own hand over it? 

think:  brevity is often better/best

Does everyone wear cotton?  How about mocha-brown suits?  Blue ties?  Do they all drink red wine?  Characters, like real-life people, should have diverse interests and beliefs, and be different.  They don’t all smile or grab hands.  Not everyone likes to play kissy-face.  And some folks are simply not nice.

think:  repetition = tedium

As writers, we want to pull in our readers as soon as possible and we want to keep them interested, so that they read [eagerly] to the end.  Providing unnecessary or repetitive details wears thin very quickly.  Mentioning certain facts/factors and then, later, not referring to them again—as in loose ends not being tied up—is also a faux pas.  Don’t get readers excited about a [potential] storyline or plot twist, then leave them dangling!

think:  short and sweet

Yes, it’s extra work, but having an outline is a very good thing.  Point-form is fine.  List plot surprises, incidents and events, and outstanding occurrences that should be returned to (tied up).  Refer to the outline, and often.

Remember, the final product is a reflection of you, the author.  Make it the best it can be! 

Historical, Hysterical

When writing a historical novel—fiction, romance, biography—ensure your names, events, and facts are accurate when you referring to real-life people and occurrences.  Otherwise, for those in the know, you may evoke some [hysterical] laughter.

Determine the period and consider the POV you’re going to use.  What’s your starting point? Will the main characters be fictional ones or real people?  Perhaps a combination?  What about the plot?  Will it revolve around real events or be fictitious ones (with real ones, possibly, as the backdrop)?

Make certain towns and cities, and the like, are spelled correctly.  Dates, if used in conjunction with actual events, should be accurate.  Ensure you depict details precisely in and around the storyline and characters. 

Become familiar with the various components of the time:

** incidents (wars, inventions, discoveries, explorations) ** fashion/clothing (for the rich and poor) ** customs/etiquette (for the rich and poor) ** social norms ** technology/art/culture ** expressions and vocabulary (in the 17th century, people would not say things like “that’s so cool” or “butt out” or “text me”) ** beliefs and principles.

You may not necessarily use all the information, but be familiar with it; it will help you paint a more vivid picture. And the more vibrant, the more exciting . . . because that’s what you want . . . to excite your readers and have them return for more.

Happy penning!

The Grand Opening . . .

. . . of a book should reel the reader right in!   You/we don’t want the “it was a dark and stormy night” start, so it’s been often stated.  And correctly so.

That said, though, dark and stormy nights do have the ability to provide a few frissons, if depicted with the right details . . .

It was a darkly ominous night, filled with strident thunderclaps and blinding lightning, as Edoardo rode along the overflowing stream.  His quest was simple: kill the escaped convicts who’d burned down his farmstead and slew Olivia.

The example above gives the reader a pretty good indication of what the plot’s about and what will [likely] transpire.  The mood is menacing: a potentially dangerous storm, purposely (spitefully) destroyed farm, murdered woman (wife/lover), evil fugitives, and vengeful man.  Perhaps he’s the protagonist—hero—perhaps not.  The reader has to continue to discover who he is.

A powerful plot requires a powerful opening, and winning storyline.  Make sure that happens from the get-go.

Details and descriptions should be . . . detailed and descriptive.   Consider the examples below, A versus B.

A   The gang rode quickly across the corn field, toward the hills.

B   The dogged gang, anxious to lose the persistent posse, drove their weary horses across the withered corn field, toward the tree-lined hills.

Characters should be distinct; they have habits, traits, favorite expressions, accents perhaps.  They don’t all sport blond hair or blue eyes.  Characters are different sizes and shapes . . . have varying purposes/pursuits . . . come from diverse backgrounds.  Just like in real life.

John’s blue eyes looked into her gray ones.  “How’s it goin’?”

“It’s goin’ great,” she said, looking into his eyes.

Uh . . . yawn.  Not everyone speaks the same.  How about:

John’s sapphire-blue eyes peered searchingly into her ash-gray ones.  “How are you doing today, my pet?”

“I’m doin’ pretty good,” she replied, not quite meeting his gaze.

But I digress . . . a little.  These suggestions are something to bear in mind when penning that opening.  You don’t want it to be flat, but stirring.  Remember: reel . . . in . . . the . . . reader . . . right . . . away.

That first sentence/paragraph should not only introduce the plot and character(s), and establish a mood, but also present you—the writer, and your style.  Determine your voice and maintain it.  Readers will often read the first page to determine if they will purchase the book; ensure they do by offering the best [most dynamic] writing you can.

How often can I stress the importance of that opening sentence/paragraph?  Not enough.   And one last thing I’m also going to stress—make certain that dynamic opening carries throughout the book.

Pique the reader’s interest and keep it.

Times Change

And so do grammar rules.  As does the English language.  Just consider the new words/expressions we hear every year—thanks greatly to social media and technology.  In point of fact: dictionaries incorporate hundreds of new words every year.

Someone recently commented on that re a post I’d written—how grammar evolves/changes over time.  That got me to thinking, why not touch upon some things that have?

Things like . . .

♣  “Because” and “since”.

When I was growing up (way too long ago to want to admit when), you were not to use “since” to mean “because”.  It was a time reference only.

Shawn had been gone since lunch.

There had to be a comma before “because”.

John leaped to the left, because the golf cart was racing straight for him.

♣  “Each other” versus “one another”.

“Each other” was meant to be used for two people and “one another” for more than two.  I like this rule myself (and will adhere to it as an editor), but it truly doesn’t hold much water today.  It’s been said that good writers have used the phrases interchangeably since [at least] the 16th century.  Interesting.

♣  Sentence fragments.

These were a definite no-no.  But we often speak in fragments, as would our characters, so why shouldn’t we use them?  It’s all good; go for those fragments (save for dissertations, essays, and the like).

♣  Never ending a sentence with a preposition (and this “rule” dates back to the days of Latin, from which English stems).

Go for it.

♣  Never beginning a sentence with a conjunction, which, apparently, is based on 19-century teachers not caring to have students overuse conjunctions to start their sentences (how’s that for a run-on sentence?).

Feel free to begin a sentence with “because”, or “if”, or “when”, and so forth.  The same holds true for coordinating conjunctions like “but” and “or” (I recall those days when you would get a frown and a bad mark if you did, but I love that you [now] can).

♣  Never splitting infinitives (apparently, another “rule” from the days when Latin “ruled”, he-he).

Infinitives, by the by, are two-word elements that communicate one thought.  To split them might prove confusing; as a writer, you’re the best one to gauge whether to split or not to split (that is the question . . .  or something like that).

♣  Whom.

Who, er, whom, er . . . it’s a tough one.  A lot of folks don’t know how/when to use it.  The best thing to do?  Don’t use it; rewrite the sentence or check the rule and see if it applies to what you’ve written.

♣  They / their.

It’s quite popular to use “they” or “their” instead of writing out “he/she” or “he or she” (“she or he”).  It’s a plural noun, but a lot of people use it as singular.  I don’t like using “they” myself, unless I’m specifically referring to several people, but to each their own, er, his or her own.

♣  Two spaces after a period.

This dates back to the typewriter, when two spaces were preferred (something to do with typesetting).  I use two spaces (personal preference, and all that), but one space is now the norm.

Rules were made to be broken, as the saying goes, and a number re grammar certainly have been.  That said, they do have [some] merit, and it doesn’t hurt to be familiar with them.  Apply rules as you deem fit.

And, if nothing else, think consistency: ensure your writing is uniform and, above all, clear.

On that note, friends, fare thee well.

I Said . . . so Did He . . . and so Did She

I’ve posted on this one at least a couple of times over the last two years—the enthusiastic over-use of “said” in fiction writing.

It seems common in manuscripts by new(er) writers, so I felt compelled (once again) to review why using “said” with zealous abundance might not be in the writer’s, or reader’s, interest.  Literally.

“Yes, sir,” Malcom said with a nod.  “I’ll report my findings as soon as possible.”

“You’d better,” she said.  “And make sure you share them with Winters too.”

“I’ll do that,” he said.

She sighed and said, “Don’t forget to call after the meeting later; I need to know what’s transpired.”

“Yes, Mary-Anne,” he said and disconnected just as his executive assistant, Lee, entered.

“Looks like it’s gonna be a long day,” Lee said as he placed a folder on Malcolm’s desk.

“You said it,” Malcolm said with a sigh.

I’ve seen a lot of manuscripts that flow like this . . . as flat as flapjacks.  There’s no need to always state that a character said something.  Dialogue can stand on its own a lot of the time.  Readers are pretty smart and can gather who is speaking from the action and details.

This isn’t to say that “said” shouldn’t be used.  By all means, utilize it, but with a critical eye, and ear.  It serves a [valid] purpose, but it’s not always a terribly exciting word and, sometimes, dialogue needs more, particularly in a tense or action-fraught scene.

Do you think people will have “said” something when a bomb is about to detonate or a giant lizard is about to eat a bunch of tourists?  I suspect people would more likely have “declared”, “shouted”, “screamed”, “shrieked”, “commanded”, “cried”, or “bellowed”, to name but a few more thrilling and descriptive words.

Can’t you imagine Bob’s face as he shrieks a command to a fear-frozen coworker, as opposed to says?  Shriek, to me, suggests his face would be tense, his brow creased, his lips tight, his throat dry; maybe he’d be gesticulating or taking action as he shrills.  Say, to me, evokes an image of an unemotional face, someone who’s non-reactive.

How about we take the previous example and “activate” it a bit?

“Yes, sir,” Malcom promised with a quick nod and roll of the eyes.  “I’ll report my findings as soon as possible.”

“You’d better,” she advised with a hint of a threat in the tone.  “And make sure you share them with Winters too.”

He swallowed heavily and jabbed the pen into the edge of the desk.  “I’ll do that.”

She sighed loudly.  “Don’t forget to call after the meeting later; I need to know what’s transpired.”

“Yes, Mary-Anne.”  He disconnected just as his executive assistant, Lee, entered.

“Looks like it’s gonna be a long day,” Lee commented with a dry smile as he placed a folder on Malcolm’s desk.

“You said it,” Malcolm muttered, rubbing his temples.

It’s not an exciting scene to begin with, but we can make it a little more interesting or add a little more tension.  Always give thought as to how you can create more gripping or dynamic dialogue and scenes.  Pull those readers in; don’t make their eyelids droop from fatigue.

It’s difficult getting started on that first story, be it a short one or a novel.  There are many things to learn and apply.  It all comes with time and practice.  And that’s okay.  We all have a learning curve.

Churning something out, however, without reviewing, proofing, or editing, is something to avoid.  Per a previous post on this blog: there’s no need to be “perfect”, but do aspire to be the best that you can be.

I’m fairly sure, of the many manuscripts I’ve edited thus far, most haven’t read their final drafts aloud.  Do so.  This may sound daft but, trust me, it’s a worthwhile endeavor and it really doesn’t take that long.  You’ll be amazed what you will “hear” and pick up.

Hope what I “said” makes sense.

Which Word Works?

This week I felt compelled to review word usage in fiction writing (or any writing, for that matter).  The right word conveys the right emotion, message, action.

New writers sometimes feel a need to use words or phrases (and I’ve been there, I readily admit) to impress, or seem more “worldly” perhaps.  Occasionally, when editing, I come across ones that I’ve never seen before!  Wow, how impressive indeed—into the dictionary I delve!

Don’t aim for impressive; go for impression, the [desired] effect you produce in the mind of your readers.

At times, the selected word works, at times, not.  So, why was it chosen?  Because it sounded good?  Not a valid reason, my friends.  Because it’s popular?  Not a valid reason, my friends.  Because you really want to demonstrate how grand your vocabulary is?  Not a valid reason, my friends.

Upon hearing the news of her death, sadness flowed through him.

Upon hearing the news of her death, ruefulness flowed through him.

Upon hearing the news of her death, dispiritedness flowed through him.

Upon hearing the news of her death, forlornness flowed through him.

The bolded words share a similar meaning (to a degree) yet are not the same.

sadness:  causing, showing or expressing unhappiness or sorrow

ruefulness:  causing, showing or expressing unhappiness or regret

dispiritedness:  a feeling of low spirits

forlornness:  sad or lonely, chiefly from being abandoned or forsaken

Utilize the word the best works for the dialogue, action, scene—and not because a “bigger” word seems “better”.  Ensure the word or phrase is appropriate to the circumstance(s).  And if you want to use a new word, go for it, but check the definition.  Is it accurate for what is being written/conveyed?  Remember: the dictionary is our friend.

They say short and sweet is best, and that can hold true for words.  Sometimes, the clearest, most persuasive word is the shortest one.

And, if you’re writing a historical novel, think about how your characters speak—modern-day phrases and expressions really don’t have a place here, unless time travel is involved.

The same holds true of speech/dialogue.  Someone of royal blood or a person in a governmental position would not likely use “gonna” or “wanna”; he or she would speak with more precision and professionalism.  Moreover, characters—like everyday persons—would speak differently and employ unique phrases or expressions.  Contractions may or may not be used, given who the person is and where he or she hails from.

Example:

The minister looked as his assistant.  “Bro, like I was tellin’ ya, I was wondering if we’re gonna like the proposals Major Martyn will propose, ya know?  I heard he’s kinda odd when it comes to—”

“No worries, sir, I’m sure you’re gonna like them just fine,” his assistant said.

How about something like:

The minister regarded Lester, his assistant, closely.  “I wonder if Major Martyn’s proposals will be practical.  I’ve heard he’s rather odd when it comes to—”

“No worries, sir,” Lester interrupted with an amiable smile.  “I’m sure you’ll find them appropriate.”

Incorrect word choices (or arrangements) can result in clumsiness, vagueness, and/or ambiguity.

Example of incorrect word usage:

“George, from here on in we will live our life together, don’t you think that’s awesome?  We can rely on each other, my honey-bun,” Margaret derailed George’s train of thought, like she knew precisely what he was so totally enthralled with.

Example of better word usage:

With a patient smile, Margaret derailed George’s train of thought.  “Going forward we’ll live our lives together.  We’ll have each other to rely on.  That’s amazing, don’t you agree?”

Avoid misusing words; again, check the definition if you’re not quite sure.  Make certain the context is correct.

Keep an eye on jargon, too.  It may work for a character or two, but it may not for others, and it may not work in descriptive sections.  Clichés can be appealing, at times, in the right situations, but they can also prove trite if not silly, so use them wisely.

Say what needs saying, and don’t “over-stuff”; you only need so many feathers for a comfy cushion.  Wordiness, unlike a dictionary, is not our friend.

ClipartKeydotcomABCaIn summation:  ♦  be careful when utilizing a word that’s unfamiliar  ♦  use a dictionary if you use a thesaurus, to be certain the new word you want to use is the right one  ♦  do not write to impress or sound like you know it all  ♦  watch for repetition (have you used the same word/phrase too many times?).

Reading aloud helps . . . really.  Try it.  See if it doesn’t help you with your word selection.  If something doesn’t sound good to your ears, it probably needs reworking.

This could easily be a five-page post because there’s so much to advise re word usage, but no one wants to plow through a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnng post, so here you have the main food-for-thought points.  I hope they help.

On that note, I bid you a short and simple adieu.

The End of the Beginning

Yee-ha!  Finished “HA-HA-HA-HA” . . . well, the first draft anyway.  For me, this has been—wow—over a year in the making.  Time to celebrate?  Maybe.  A little.

WPwineIf you’ve finished your manuscript, congrats.  Not an easy feat (not unless you’re a prolific writer who can put something together in a wink and a blink).  So, what now?  Have a celebratory glass of wine or cup of tea?  Why not?  Go for it.  Give yourself a [well-deserved] pat on the back?  For sure—you deserve it, so give yourself two.  Take a breather?  Most definitely!

“The End” truly isn’t the end, not when it’s only the first draft.  After that, you have to begin on the revamping, the refining.  You want your manuscript to be submission perfect, so make certain your “product” is good enough to send out to publishers, agents (if you’re planning on pursuing the traditional publishing route), acquisition editors, and the like.

I’ve undoubtedly touched upon the following in past, but a review is always worthwhile—for you and me.

Take the aforementioned breather—a few days isn’t enough, truly, so aim for a few weeks, even a month or, better yet, two.  I know, this seems like a forever when you’re excited about your manuscript and want to get it out there.  But you must step away to view/review your work with objectivity.  You’ve been living with the story for some time and need fresh eyes to see what’s what (what works and what doesn’t): you can only do that when you’ve stepped away for a decent period of time.

Once that breather has breathed enough, pick up that manuscript and read it all the way through before proofing/editing.  Get a feel for how it flows, what makes sense, what stands out (as in amiss or incorrect, or makes you scratch your head).  Now that you’ve got an idea of what requires doing, fix the critical items first—scenes that don’t work, plot holes, character inconsistencies.  Once you’ve got those smoothed over, begin the edit.  Take your time.

Second edit done?  Edit more—or refine, as the case may be.  Once completed, get feedback/input.  Receiving it from family and friends is okay (but how objective are they really going to be?).  Aim for writing communities and groups and beta readers.  See what others have to say but take their advice with a grain of salt; it may make [a lot of] sense, it may not.  Give the feedback serious—and non-subjective thought—and apply as you deem fit.

If you don’t yet have a social-media/on-line presence, create one.  You want people to know about your book and you, the writer.  How about a blog?  Promote your book—and yourself—there.  Spark interest.

I digressed a bit, because social media and the like is a whole other kettle of fish (and I’ve posted about this before).  Really, the whole point about “The End” is that there’s a beginning . . . which leads to it being final, faultless/flawless, and fabulous.

With that, I’m off to take a few breaths . . . hmm, just how many are there in a month?

The Long and Short of It – The Short Story

The gals at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency were chatting the other day over chai lattes and Rey thought she’d like to try penning a short story.  That gave Linda—also a blogger—an idea.  Why not provide tips on how to get started, seeing as she gave some to Rey?  (JJ thought she’d sit this one out, but might jump in later.)

So, this is a two-parter post.  The first part provides advice and the second will feature Rey’s short.  She’s thinking hers might revolve around an actress turned private eye.  Hmm.  Sounds vaguely familiar.  <LOL>

Over to you, Linda . . .

Hello all.   I’ve written a number of short stories over the years—a few were published, too—so I feel I’m qualified to provide guidelines (in case you were wondering).

If you’ve always wanted to be a writer, but haven’t yet written anything, a short story is a great place to start. 

Like a full-length book, you should present a conflict or complication, a quest or mission, create tension and interest.  Your aim: inspire the reader to read

Where will you get your idea (storyline)?  From the media, an author, a real-life situation, a recollection of something or someone—the channels, options, are numerous.  You don’t want to copy (steal) the idea outright, but you can certainly make it your own by adding the right twists and turns . . . and your personal touch of creativity and imagination. 

The length is up to you, but traditional short stories are 1500 to 5000 words in length (that’s 250 words to a double-spaced page, by the way).

Whether you’re writing short fiction or long, make sure you know it well—learn all you can about the genre by reading it.  Many, many times.  One can only become an expert through concentrated effort and application.

Start by jotting down ideas, characters, thoughts, actions—whatever comes to mind.  Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation.  Just get it on the page or screen.  Let it out.  Purge.

Throw your protagonist (main character) under the bus right away.  Figuratively speaking.  A short story is just that: short.  You have little time (or space) to get too flowery or descriptive.  Yank that reader in right away!  This is contingent on what you’re writing, of course, but whatever the genre, you want to intrigue your readers from the get-go

If you’re writing a romance, perhaps the hero isn’t interested in the heroine, or vice versa.  Maybe the hero’s lover is unfaithful (or so it appears).  Is the protagonist torn between love or comfort (l’amour or moolah)?  In a mystery, has the protagonist stumbled upon a body . . . and is accused of the heinous crime?  Or has he/she witnessed the murder, but no one believes his/her?  In a western, a nefarious thieving gang is on its way to pillage the town—and most of the frightened townspeople, as well as the deputies, have fled.  Rustlers are rumored to be in the vicinity of the Dalton farmstead.  How will the family deal with them?  In a mainstream story, perhaps the heroine strives to go to see the world before she succumbs to her illness, but there’s no money—or hope—to be had.  The possibilities for any genre are endless.  Let that imagination, truly, run wild. 

Short stories that work are those that appeal to readers through emotions, feelings, principles, values (romance/love, vengeance, justice, escape, and so forth).  Enter enough emotion to sadden, delight, frighten, worry, [verb-of-choice] readers.  Entice readers to pursue your protagonist throughout the dilemma or adventure.  How will the perplexing issue be resolved?  Is the ending a happy one or heartbreaking?  Has the protagonist learned a lesson or acquired new insight? 

That ending, like the beginning, has to happen 1-2-3.  Make certain you bring adequate [quick] closure to provide the reader with a sense of satisfaction.  An “it was a dark and stormy night” opening should have a “the sun appeared on the horizon” ending.  That’s not to say that the end is a happy one, just that something promises to transpire (and it could be equally grim, but that’s your choice).

I believe I’ve given you enough food for thought.  Let’s see if my BFF, Rey, applies my suggestions to her short story.  Hmm.  Curiosity’s got the better of me. I think I’ll take a peek . . .

Fried at Five on Friday

. . . otherwise known as being overcome by overwhelming circumstances.  People (demanding parents and partners, hellish colleagues and bosses, “well-meaning” friends) and/or events (jobs, caregiving, chores, commitments, expectations) can take their toll.  There are off days, challenging ones, frustrating ones, go-away! ones.  <LOL>  Par for the course.  It’s call l-i-f-e.

Being overwhelmed [overcome] does not mean:

♠ jumping up and down and ripping your hair out at the roots (this does not make for a very pretty fashion statement)

♠ hitting your head against a concrete wall (it hurts!)

♠ sucking back Canadian maple donuts (though they do hit that sweet spot so nicely) or treat(s) of choice

♠ chugging chardonnay (relaxes/numbs for a while but, ooooooh, the aftermath)

♠ screaming, cursing, swearing (though that does feel <bleeping> great)

♠ giving up (quitting or refusing to do something is okay for a day or two, but not the long run).

How about something more constructive?

♥ refocusing (tell yourself you got what it takes—you’re your own favorite—resilient—warrior)

♥ maintaining the faith (re-finding/redefining it, whatever faith may mean to you)

♥ believing in hope, dreams, and possibilities

♥ dancing / singing / listening to music

♥ exercising / walking / biking . . . swimming / surfing

♥watching fun (amusing) shows or inspirational programs

♥ reading something light/funny (comics work)

♥ breathing deeply—a lot!

No one said every day would be easy—and some may find many aren’t—but, again, that’s l-i-f-e.  But those type of days don’t have to be [that] overwhelming.  Face them straight on.  Laugh at them.  Do not let them take control.  You . . . are . . . a . . . trooper . . .  a . . . fighter.

You . . . got . . . this!

Primo Promo

As you’ve noticed, there have been a few promotional posts about books being avail for 99 cents.  A great, appealing price indeed.

But is it so great to [constantly] promote?  It can’t hurt.  If you’re not with a publisher who sets the promo dates, that’s okay.  Do it on your own.

Why would you do it?  To . . .

♦  launch your new book (this will generate interest and spark sales)  ♦  increase sales (dropping the price of your book for a wee while can boost numbers and this looks good on you)  ♦  entice book “sales” shoppers (lots of folks love the bargain price tag of 99 cents).

There are free sites to promote your book, but you’ll pay fees for others (some are quite affordable).  I won’t list them here but suggest you Google when you’re ready.  This way you’ll find the most current sites.

It’s recommended that before you do any sort of promoting you have some good reviews on your side.  That makes sense.  Potential buyers might be more inclined to purchase your book if others have provided accolades.

Have a good synopsis (blurb) handy—you’ll need it for the promotion.  Make sure there are no typos, which goes without saying.

Let’s see.  Ah yes.  Make certain your book is live . . . available.  Ensure that retailers have the same price and promo dates (we don’t want to create any confusion now, do we?).

And it goes without saying . . . promote the <bleep> out of your, uh, promotion.  Tell friends, family, neighbors.  Communicate the great news—stupendous price—on social media and via writing/author communities (everywhere and anywhere you can think of).

Happy promoting (and selling)!