Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Another Contest

So I've been bombarding everybody with my Almost Super book, but this post is a welcome reprieve. I'm holding a contest, but for something completely different. It's about a writers conference at which I'm presenting this June.

The Teen Writers Conference is in it's second year, and last year was a hoot. The conference is for anybody age 13-19. You can read more about it here.

If you are a teen, or know a teen, who loves to write this is a great place to learn, network, and drink from drinking fountains.

If you would like to be entered, or enter somebody else, simply e-mail me at marionjensen at gmail dot com. I'll announce the winner in a few weeks.

That is all.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm so far out of my comfort zone it's not even funny...

Hi there. My name is Marion. And I can't self-promote.

I just can't do it. At my book signings people would come over to my table and I'd find myself saying, "Actually, this book is in the library, you can just check it out. That way you know if you like it before you buy it."

I have a hard time telling people that they should read my book. I feel like an Amway salesman. I get all awkward every time my book is discussed. People get tired of me, I'm sure, because when I ever bring up my book I add all these qualifiers to it. "Yeah, it's a book based loosely on my childhood. You might like it, but you might not, too. And that's ok. I mean, I don't want you to feel any pressure just because we know each other doesn't mean you are obligated to read it. At all. I promise. In fact, it's probably better that you don't read it just because then things will be awkward. But if you do want to read it, I can borrow you a copy, so you don't have to buy it, because you might not like it. But then you might feel more obligated to read it, or worried that I'm going to test you on it, which I won't. Really, I promise. I mean if you really want to read it, you can, but I will never ask you in the future if you've read it, or give you a test. If it makes you more comfortable, you can just take it for a while, bend a few pages, get it a little dirty like you have read it, and then...I'll just stop talking now. How about this weather we're having, crazy, right?"

I usually can say that in about 8 seconds without taking a breath, and all the while I'm making calming motions with my hands, just to show you that I'm not crazy.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. I'm asking for your help.

You see, I've had 44 people pledge money on to buy my book. Over 150 copies have been bought. That is a lot of pressure. But if I don't reach the goal ($5,500--the cost of a print run), then the money isn't funded, and nobody gets books. And now I really want those 44 people to get their books, in spite of how awkward it will be for me when I see them in the future.

So, I've heard that book contests are all the rage. I'm all about rage, just ask my kids. So here is the deal. If you post the gadget shown below anywhere on your blog (it can be in a post, or in the sidebar) and send me a link to it, I will enter your name in a drawing to receive a free signed copy. I'll give away 10 of these babies, so your chances of getting it are good (I've only got 17 followers (although you don't have to be a follower to share the link), and there is a good chance some of them won't be able to figure out how to get the Widget to work on their site (I'm certainly not talking about you)). I'll also personalize the book if you want. In fact, I can even pre-bend the pages so that if we meet at your house in the future, and I pull the book off the shelf, you can just pretend you read it (I won't quiz you).

Sound like a plan? You can get the widget on this page. It's the link that says "grab the widget". Also, if you tweet or post the link to facebook, let me know and I'll enter your name a second time.

Thanks, all. I couldn't do it without your help. We're more than 25% of the way there, so I think we can do this thing.

The Widget

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Growing up I was incredibly shy. As an adult I've become much more social. Sometimes I suspect that it's because I spent so long hiding in a shell that now I enjoy being with other people. Heck, I drive up to Logan twice a month, just so I can hang out with the coolest board game group ever. I like socializing.

So why am I trying so hard to become a full time writer? Writing is a very solitary experience. You lock yourself in an attic for 6 months and bang out a manuscript. Sure, if you become successful then you get to meet a lot of people--fans, agents, publishers, critics--but even then, you have to return to that attic and spend 6-8 months every year in solitary confinement, banging out yet another script before your publisher lets you out into the fresh air so you can interact with people again.

For me, the best part of writing is that I get to meet and hang out with other writers; all of whom are interesting. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not very interesting, and 10 being very interesting, writers usually land at about 85. Honestly, they are all crazy, but the incredibly interesting crazy, not the grow a beard and mutter crazy (well, Rob Wells is both kinds of crazy).

For me, I write because I love to hear from people who have read what I wrote. I love the feedback. And I love talking about writing, not just doing it. For me, I would almost pay money to sit in other people's outline sessions as they hammer out characters, plot, and setting. It's why I was so into role-playing games when I was young. Well, that, and the simple fact that I was a nerd.

Because of this, I've often thought that writing a book with somebody else would be the epitome of awesomeness. You would have the strengths of two authors behind a single book. One might be great at world building, another good at dialogue. Both would be able to give feedback and keep the manuscript out of the potholes that many writers fall into. With two authors working on a single manuscript, you may end up where the sum is greater than the two parts.

So why don't we see more books by teams of authors? Do most authors like being locked in the attic alone?

It's because finding a writing partner is more difficult than finding a spouse. Think about it. First, your writing skills have to be on the same level; otherwise one of you becomes dead weight. Second, you have to have an interest in not only the same genre, but the same idea. Believe me, if you're going to write for 6 months, it better be something you're passionate about. I think about my books when I eat, when I shower, when I'm going to sleep, when I sleep, and yes, I even think about my books when I'm talking to you. I keep nodding and smiling at you, but that is only because I just came up with an incredible idea, and I can't wait to get home and start writing. Third, you have to get along better than you do with your spouse, because writing is chock full of difficult decisions. I know couples who get into fights over what kind of faucets to put in their new house. What happens when you're making life-changing decisions about your protagonist?

So even though the payout would be so grand (really, wouldn't you like to see what kind of crazy would come out of a joint effort from the Brothers Wells?), I think the obstacles of forging a really good writing partnership are unfortunately almost insurmountable. How can you ask somebody to write with you unless you've first gone on writing dates? Gotten to meet their writing parents? Had that first awkward yet blissful experience of collaborative composition with that special someone?

And so we writers go, back into our attics. We bang on the keyboard until we're lonely and crying. We peek out the tiny window, hoping to interact with somebody, anybody, other than our bunny slippers who have now both developed full-fledged personalities with psychotic tendencies.

And we look forward to the day we finish the manuscript, and can once again return to the land of the living.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Almost Super

I put together a short little trailer for my upcoming book, Almost Super. I've also started a kickstarter campaign.

What is a kickstarter campaign? I'm glad you asked; it's kind of a cool concept. If you have an idea or a product but you don't quite have the funding, you can post it on If people like your idea, they make a donation. Often there are rewards for certain levels of donation. If enough money is donated, then the idea is funded.

In my case, I'm raising money to publish a small print-run of Almost Super, and offering signed and numbered copies of the book as a reward.

Why not go the traditional route to publishing? Well, I am. But that route is a long one. My first book came out 16 months after I signed my contract. Almost Super is done, and I'm far to impatient. I want people to read it already! I'm hoping to find an agent and publisher for this book, but in the meantime you can get a copy much earlier by going to the kickstarter site. And if this book ever makes the big time, you'll have a true first edition copy.

Interested in what the book is about? Or would you like to read the first chapter? If so, head on over to

If you're not interested, then you should at least check this out. Because it's awesome.