Monday, April 15, 2013

Oh, My Word!

The Stiletto Gang wecomes guest Gretchen Archer!

By: Gretchen Archer 

Words play a huge role in my life. Word count. Word documents. Eating my words. So, as I gratefully thank my first blog hostesses, the fabulous Stiletto Gang, for having me, I’d like to share a few words I’ve learned as I’ve traveled the exhausting road from first words I typed that would become a full-length manuscript till today, anticipating the release of my first mystery, DOUBLE WHAMMY, by Henery Press, on May 14, 2013. 

Here are a few words I’ve learned along the way. 

Query. I’d never heard the old clunky word used in conversation. Ever. I learned it by practical application. I blanketed NYC, NY, 10001, with queries, and learned a new meaning for query’s best-friend word—rejection. Happily, I dropped both words from my vocab when I finally jumped over them. I have one souvenir query left, the one I wrote to Stephany Evans at FinePrint Literary Management. (Dear Ms. Evans…) 

Blurb. (What?) Here’s one I’d at least heard, not that I’d used it in any way, shape, or form. I soon found out it had two meanings, and I was totally responsible for both. “Gretchen, we need blurbs,” meant go out and get successful, accomplished writers to gush all over my book, but the next day, it meant compress my 80,000-word story into two sentences. Wouldn’t there be someone more qualified for this blurb business than me? Both were gargantuan scary assignments, responsibilities I didn’t have the social circle, résumé, or skill set for. I learned. I blurbed. I got blurbed. I wrote blurbs. One day maybe, I’ll get to blurb the next guy. 

Blog. Who’s responsible for this one? Wouldn’t Digital Diary be better? Before Henery Press picked up DOUBLE WHAMMY, I confess to having never entered a blog site on purpose. Ever. After learning the power of blogs, I went the other way, reading and following—writer blogs, publishing blogs, fan blogs, blogs focused on the craft of writing—as if it were my job. For months, I bloggeled around, lapping up everything everyone had to say about all things pub, and now look at me! I’ve come full circle. I’m blogging! 

Social Media. Good grief and good luck. I knew these words separately, but the explosive combination of the two, so necessary in today’s market (3,000 other books have the same birthday, hopes, and dreams as DOUBLE WHAMMY), with proper Social Media being one of the strongest weapons in today’s book-selling arsenal. I used to lead a very private life. Very private. (Don’t most writers?) (As it turns out, no.) I thought Facebook was for chatting with my cousins and posting cute baby pig pictures. Twitter made me a nervous wreck, because it felt like a room full of people screaming at the same time. Goodreads. Really? A site devoted to millions of readers, with writers elbowing each other for front of the line? Pinterest. Pinning images into a collection. (To what end?) LinkedIn. (Why?) Yet, I’ve learned all these words. Yep. I’m all over them, pasting my fabulous cover, pointing people to my other social media sites, annoying my friends and family night and day, day and night, and I learned, by crisscrossing all these social media lines, that everyone likes pictures of cute baby pigs. 

I have more new words. Beta readers are people you hope will tell you you’ve written something with no plot before you hear it from your editor. Moderating a forum is something I’ll be doing at the Romance Writers of America Convention in July. Tospy is the fastest way to obsessively watch your Social Media (see above) impact, gauge how your book is being received at any given moment, but do it again in an hour, at red lights, and between salad and entrée, because the tables turn quickly. Rank is a word that pops into a writer’s brain before their feet hit the floor, isn’t the least bit quantifiable, and is oh, so protean. (Look it up.) 

So, in other words, happy writing and happy reading.


Gretchen Archer is a Tennessee housewife who began writing when her daughters, seeking higher educations, left her. She lives on Lookout Mountain with her husband, son, and a Yorkie named Bently. Double Whammy is her first Davis Way mystery. Stay tuned for Davis’ next crime caper, Double Dip. (Henery Press, November, 2013) Double Whammy (9781938383366): Gretchen Archer: Books



  1. Funny, Gretchen, and so true. Welcome to the ranks of published novelists! Congratulations and good luck on your debut novel, DOUBLE WHAMMY. If you haven't joined International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime, I'd strongly suggest you do. Both organizations do a lot for debut novelists.