January 25, 2011

Elevator Pitch - help us, Readers

According to our "marketing guy" (thanks Dean for all your wonderful advice!!), we need a good "elevator pitch" for our book. This is what you would say if you had the opportunity to "sell" your book to a publisher during a 30 second elevator ride. Truly it should be 1-2 sentences of "what makes our book special and marketable."

Okay... we need the help of the wonderful people who've read our novel. Give us your version of an "elevator pitch" for our novel. Anything helps.

January 21, 2011

Colorado Book Club Answers

Thanks to all that attended the Colorado book club for Depression Cookies. What a night! So many great questions and wonderful discussion. I truly felt honored.

There were several questions the attendees wanted the co-author's point of view on, so here goes. I've also answered for other blog readers who couldn't attend.

Keep questions coming. We love answering them!

1) What part would you change?

Angela: I don't think there is anything I would change about the book.

Tia: I would fix the errors that slipped by us (which we will do!). I'd say I'd give a better perspective on Bob, but I don't think a 13 year old would have been capable of it.

2) What was the most difficult part to write?

Angela: The ending, after Al's death, with Abby and Nadine.

Tia: The scene with the inappropriate babysitter. Even reading it now, it sends chills up my spine, and yet I wish I could have put more feeling behind it to get across to readers the NEED to trust your instincts and inner voice and RUN in similar situations.

3) How did you come up with the story and preserve its continuity between mother and daughter's points of view?

Angela: Tia came to me initially with the topic of a young girl being victimized by peers and her wanting it to be told, along with other life stories, from the perspective of a mother and daughter.

Tia: What Mom said! Plus, I wanted moms out there to see both points of view so we could remember what it was like. I liken it to trying to have empathy for a fellow mother with one child when you have two, three, four... it's hard to remember. I didn't want to forget the emotions I had at 13 as I'm raising my three daughters (and I have one that turns 11 in May, so I'm fast approaching these years!).

4) How much is fiction versus fact? Why didn't you call it a biography/memoir?

Angela: I can only answer for my part of the book, but Abby is a fictional character. I never saw myself as Abby, but I shared some common interests, insecurities and inadequacies with her. I would have to say Bob's humor was inspired by my husband, Dallas. The rest of the lineup of characters were mainly figments of my imagination. Therefore, I couldn't call it a biography/memoir. I don't know half the people in the book.

Tia: Krista is truly MY teenage voice. I felt to be authentic, it had to be. Yet, I certainly embellished and exaggerated for sake of story. Most of the people in the book are based in reality and further formed in imagination. There's a protective barrier in telling a lot of one's story through the facade of fiction as well. It protects the guilty, shall we say, as well as the innocent. Plus it allowed us the legal tagline about all characters being fictional.

This question has been asked several times, so we've added it to our FAQs. See further thought there.

5) How did you pick the time period you focus on?

Angela: We went back to a time period when Tia was a teenager and just took that move as a foundation for the book. Plus there were some historical events that happened during that timeframe that, I hope, added some interest for the readers.

Tia: How could I provide an authentic teenage voice without the essential pieces of my teenage life? It just made life easier to be an 80's teenager with all that entails than try to be one from any other time.

6) Why did you choose to self-publish?

Angela: We counseled with our initial Editor over this dilemna. And bottom line... it was purely economics and time. With the economy of our country being so unstable, book publishers were only going after "proven" authors. If we had pursued getting picked up by a publisher, it might have taken years. Well, quite frankly, we had already spent ten years on the project, and I think we were done with it. Saying that, I don't mean we rushed into it... no, not at all. We went in with our eyes wide open, knowing we would have to do a lot of marketing and campaigning for the book ourselves.

Tia: We were intially accepted by Blue Moon Press, a small press. The owner there gave us a lot of encouragement we needed. Sadly, he died of a massive heart attack just before publication. We put a special thank you to him in our book. He was a great editor and friend and loved our novel. After he died, we were so ready to roll. We haven't given up on a wider-spread publication via a bigger publishing house, but we also wanted to get it into the hands of readers. After all, I had been talking about this book for 10 years!!

7) Your stories (Abby and Krista's) often don't exactly match, was this intentional for voice, narration and/or perspective purposes?

Angela: It's life. A mother and a daughter sitting in the same room, hearing the same conversation and observing the same scenario will concur less than 80%. I learned that in a "How to Live with a Teenager" class I took back in 1985.

Tia: I agree with Mom, again! Trust me, agreeing with her didn't start happening until my late 20's when I had my first daughter. But, seriously, what I hope readers get from this story (outside of entertainment and a chuckle or two) is the importance of understanding the difference in the mother and teenage daughter points of view. It's so easy to shrug off what a 13 year old is feeling, but it won't help parent that 13 year old if you can't empathize and remember.

8) What is the history of the depression cookies recipe?

Angela & Tia: See the FAQs tab.

January 15, 2011

Local Publications

Checked out articles from the Martin County Chamber of Commerce and Washington Daily News under our "News" tab. They have both recently highlighted "Depression Cookies" in their publications.

January 14, 2011

Book Club

I was invited to hold a book club with a wonderfully supportive group of friends in Superior, Colorado to discuss our novel, Depression Cookies. Thanks to insightful questions and a wonderful host, the evening was a blast. With over 30 people in attendance, the book club discussion went on for hours.

A huge thanks to my dear friend, Amy Lythgoe, for hosting and all the wonderful women in that community who are supporting and loving your novel.

To review a video of our book club check out this You Tube link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psyr7FQgVjI

January 10, 2011

The Beauty of Letters

One wonderful thing about getting older is a lot of my friends and associates still mail cards and letters hand scripted. Now I know that's not faddish, but when I was younger, we would examine handwriting for character analysis, somewhat akin to how people study body language. The way the writing angled to the right or left or slanted upward or downward on the page meant something. Every curlie-Q, every letter drawn tight to another or the shading or pressure had us all in deep conversations about the person writing. Who was the person behind the pen? Artist or serial killer. You won't begin to imagine all the hype surrounding those conjectures. But, then again, I guess that's going by the wayside. Who can see all those little nuances on Facebook, Twitter or email?

Over the past several weeks, I've received many notes and letters from people all over the country who have written about Depression Cookies. I'd like to share a few of those comments, and before I forget it, thank every reader who has taken the time to encourage us and be honest about it. In fact, as book club junkies, Tia and I often find it exhilarating to bite our teeth into a healthy discussion of reasons not to like the book.


"I have just finished the book and then read the article in the paper. I feel as if I have a celebrity for a friend. I could not put the book down - reading it in just a few days. It was so true to life and I loved the characters, such as Quillie. I do hope and pray that you are doing well. You have certainly been a blessing to me. Thank you for writing such a wonderful book."

"Just started the book and am enjoying it already. I'm sure our daughter will be able to compare with her life growing up. We only moved seven times, but each time had its ups and downs."

"The book was interesting, but Abby had a problem. Did you ever think about writing in a psychiatric visit for her?"

"I am reading your book and must say it brings back so many memories that I had stored in my head. Never realized how much we had in common - family, life, death and friendships. Oh, so much of it overwhelms me. It makes me wonder how I ever did it."

"Is this you, Angela? I mean it kinda sounds like your life, but were you that anxious? I always saw you as laid-back. Also, the ending bothered me. Every time I look at my minister, I'm wondering if he's as genuine as he acts. Now I'm questioning everything. Yikes! Now, I'm sounding like Abby. Come to think of it, at 35 I was questioning. Oh heck, I'm Abby, too!"

"I haven't laughed or cried so much in my life! Did you attend Quillie and Dickie's wedding? Was that not the most wonderful wedding ever? But I do wonder... what was in those Dixie cups?"

"Did you realize you misspelled a word? Should you have a gotten an editor? How long did it take to write the book? What did Dallas think about Bob? And Drake? Is there something, after a 25 year friendship, that you failed to tell me? Oh, I loved the book, but it doesn't add up. It doesn't follow your life at all. So I'm clueless. Are you Abby or not? I should at least know that. Tell Dallas and the children Hi and you'd better call me and talk plain about the book."

"Honey, bless your heart, most of us keep our 'Drakes' in the closet. Mine is stuffed with them, but I don't think it's proper to flesh it out in black and white. What would your grandmother say? By the way, who is Drake? Is it that cute little blonde who used to work at Leggett's Drug store? I dated him. He wasn't all that."

"Dear Angie, we both loved reading the book! Today we are getting a couple more as gifts. It is so descriptive of a loving family. You and Tia's writings left us with a clear understanding of the characters and their relationships with each other. It has so many great descriptions of everyday American life. The humorous parts were just hilarious. I wanted so much to read these parts to my wife, but she refused to let me. She wanted to read things for herself. Our sister-in-law flipped out when I showed her the part about Doodle Hill. She is from there. Congratulations to both you and Tia for the great job you've done putting this book together."

Please keep the letters and cards coming as well as the Facebook posts, blog comments and emails so that we hear from all generations.

January 7, 2011

Book Signing

Tia will doing a book signing in the lobby of the Lakeshore Athletic Club in Broomfield, CO on Friday, January 14th at 10 am. Get a chance to meet Tia, one of the authors of Depression Cookies, and get introduced to this amazing debut novel. Novels will be sold for $15.

January 6, 2011

What makes you buy a book?

With thousands of read-worthy books in any bookstore and library,
what most influences you to buy a book?

Truly, I am intrigued by this question, but I won't lie... this information could really help us in our marketing efforts.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry (and no offense to the wonderful men named Tom, Dick and Harry out there!) wants to charge us exorbitant fees for marketing. Problem is I keep thinking back to what makes me pick up a novel to purchase. I can honestly say 85% of all the books I buy are recommended to me by friends or are on my book club list. This is why we've focused on getting the book out there to as many friends and family as possible (to start) and hope they recommend it to their friends, book clubs, family, etc.

The other 15% are roughly broken down as follows:

5% - Authors I've read before and feel I can trust to write a good novel when other pickings are slim (often I'm disappointed in subsequent authors' books, so I don't often trust this)

5% - Magazine articles I've read (most notably top 10 annual books or featured books in the occasional People or Entertainment Weekly magazine - I might be a bit high-brow with my novel criteria, but not at ALL with my magazines!)

5% - everything else: movies I've seen but hadn't read the book, browsing the bookstore because I'm waiting on my kids to pick or book (or more often, browsing Amazon to find a purchase to qualify for free shipping), morning news programs highlighting a book, etc.

We really NEED your input. Personally, I don't think it's very productive to pay a marketing firm to pursue magazines or place Advertisements, but maybe that's how other people choose their reads.

Let us know!! Don't be afraid to comment. Your input helps us!

January 3, 2011

No Work is without Mistakes - Learning from them is the goal

Our first post of 2011! So many exciting things happening, so keep checking back. We've got our book submitted to several award competitions and review sites as well as continuing publicity in newspapers and book stores.
We wanted to each address the idea of mistakes. Many people have told us how much they loved the book. Then, with a slight pause, they gingerly ask if we knew there were a few mistakes in it. Below you'll find both of our answers:


Unfortunately, we know and are heartsick about it. Both of us have such a quirk about mistakes. We thought we were doing everything possible to avoid them---professional editing and five readers who critiqued and offered commentary---and still there were mistakes.

Yes. I have "red-penned" enough popular and critically acclaimed novels as a long time reader and book club enthusiast to know that ALL books are published with mistakes. After all, humans write them and humans edit them. Still, I would have preferred a perfect book out there with my name on it.

I often hear actors and actresses state they would never watch their own movies. I brushed it off as pure vanity, the classic "I couldn't possibly watch myself on screen" as they threw you their best Scarlett O'Hara look. Now, I so get it. I don't want to ever read this book again, because I know there are sections I would still rewrite, that never said exactly what I wanted said no matter how many times I reworded it. Yet, in the same breath, I'm so proud of the book and hope you enjoy its imperfection.