How Deviant Is Too Deviant???

I am most insightful while running. I don’t know why, but my mind goes into overdrive. I’m pounding the pavement, singing along with Metallica and BOOM! Enlightenment.

Maybe it’s because I can be alone with my thoughts. They don’t have to yell and scream to be heard because the competition is still at home, snug in their beds. Of course, said competition is usually the reason why my ideas never make it to paper. But today I refused to get sidetracked.

Do you know what it’s like, saying you want to be a romance author today? It’s kind of like saying you want to create a really awesome website, where people can connect with friends, make new ones, exchange messages, form common interest groups and share information, pictures and videos for feedback.

Um, dude, sounds great except…IT’S ALREADY BEEN DONE!!!!

You can’t approach this endeavor with the mindset that, hey, it worked for all those other big authors, why not for me? It’s a different world and if you’re not bringing something new and exciting to the table, nobody will join you for the meal.

As an author, I spend a lot of time on social media, which is how I find out about new releases. I read blurbs and I know within the first two sentences if something is going to piqué my interest. I occasionally buy a book solely because of it’s cover, but it’s rare. The last book I bought by cover alone (and LOVED) was Taint by S.L. Jennings. But it was Mike Thurston, could you blame me??

Before I was an author, I would go to Amazon and just click around until I saw something interesting. It always came down to the blurb. If it grabbed me, I one-clicked. Period. As an aside, somehow I’d always finish a book while running on the treadmill so my goal was always to find something good quickly so I could keep reading. Running at 7 miles an hour and clicking around a Kindle isn’t ideal, just saying. I didn’t care about price, I wanted to be entertained with anything that would keep me focused on something other than the running. Brand-loyalty had no impact for my buying preferences.

Woman doing make-up, beautiful young woman doing make-up and smiling while looking at the mirrorNow, on the other hand, I’m a total lipstick whore. It’s my very favorite makeup item and I sample pretty much every type of product – matte, sheer, lip stain, gloss, lacquer. Two things matter – how the color looks and how long it will last. I buy it all, with no regard for price. I don’t necessarily have brand-loyalty in this case either since my preferred brands can’t always help me accomplish my goal. It’s all about how the product makes me feel. If there is a chance it will take me look like a million bucks, I’ll give it a shot. What do I have to lose? I can always return it if it doesn’t have the desired effect.

I’ve spent way more on products that I’ve used once and stuck in a drawer, but that doesn’t require hours of my time. I can try it and if I love it, great. It lands in my makeup bag. If not, it goes back to the store. But books? They can be free and I’ll still hedge, because they require a greater time commitment. I rarely read beyond the treadmill because I don’t frequently find books that hook me. If I’m going to one-click, it had better be something special.

Murderous woman with very scary eyes licking the blood of her knifeSome authors have embraced the concept of innovation in their writing because they know being different,
gritty and edgy is a good way to set their names apart in the market. Menage and BDSM were all the rage not so long ago but now those books get lost in the shuffle of deviant sex tales. Fifty Shades opened up a whole new genre for readers but now there’s a glut and one has to wonder, what’s next? Let’s venture into the land of sex with prehistoric creatures and toasters and you’ve got a brand-new taboo subgenere for readers to sink their teeth into. Teeth…oh jeez, is cannibalism next??? Hot sex followed by dinner a la Hannibal Lecter, coupled with a nice Chanti and some fava beans? That would give a whole new meaning to characters tasting one another…wink, wink.

So what does all this mean if you’re an author trying to hit it big with your books, the ones you’ve poured your heart and soul into for months and months? What if you aren’t passionate about writing appliance erotica??? Are you destined for failure?

Here’s the truth. I don’t know. There are marketing tactics that have worked wonders for my sales and there are ones that have completely tanked. Unfortunately, no one tactic will launch a new author to NYT bestseller status unless you’re a Kardashian. There IS a magic formula but nobody knows exactly what elements are included and what worked even a year ago probably won’t have the same impact now because of the thousands of competing books published every week. So it’s mainly trial and error, and you have to be okay with that.

If you really are passionate about your writing, keep it up. You have to be able to look back and say, “I did it for me.” You may never win an award or hit a bestseller list but that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. When you give up on something you love because you’re frustrated with the outcome… that’s when you’ve failed.

So just keep calm and write. =)

Printouts For My Face May Be 3-D But The End Result Is Just The Opposite

I’m a beautyphile.  Is that the right word?  Or is it beautyophile?  I’m not sure.  Either way, it means that I have about seven million beauty products lining cabinets, drawers, makeup bags and closets…and I keep buying more and more.  You name it, I’ve either got it or tried it and returned it.  =)

The other day I caught a clip on the Today show about a Harvard B-school grad who came up with the idea to print makeup using a 3-D printer for the bargain price of $300 (cost of the device).  The entrepreneur behind this idea believes the selling point behind this product is to replicate any possible color/shade/hue from the device.

But there’s an issue, which I’ll illustrate with a little anecdote of my own.

I have a girlfriend who lives in Fort Lauderdale.  Another beauty(o)phile.  She found a company that can match lipstick colors for about $30 per tube.  Now, I never had a need for this kind of service in the past because I always had a stash of thousands waiting to be used.  I never committed to one single color…EVER.  Until one day I stopped into Saks Fifth Avenue.  The Armani Beauty counter called to me and what the hell?  It was my birthday so why not go and get a lunchtime makeover?

The makeup artist who worked on me pulled out all the stops, sensing I was about to drop some serious coin.  And she was right. I looked freaking fabulous!  So when she held up THE lipstick and told me to trust her, that it’s not as pink as it looks especially if you fill in your lips with THIS complimentary lipliner, I believed her.

I bought the tube and proceeded to wear it EVERY DAY.  When it finally ran out, I went back to replenish my supply.  Nooooo!  It was a seasonal color and no longer available…ANYWHERE.  I searched online, but no dice.  My signature color was gone, just like that.  It was heartbreaking.  And even though I had so many replacements begging to take on the role of my next favorite shade, I never found one that quite measured up (still looking, sad to say).

Until my friend took my empty tube and had a new tube created.

The color was right on target, but the SHIMMER, the essential part of the original formula, was missing. It was completely matte and when applied, the result was much different from that of its beloved predecessor.

Bottom line?  It’s not always about the color.  Ironically, you can use a 3-D printed to print makeup that basically has zero dimensionality.  It will just be about color.  No shimmer, no frost, no sheen…no depth.

Not for me.  =)