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Hey everyone! It’s gearing up to be a super busy weekend. 6 days until we see the new ‘Star Wars’ movie!

Yeah, that’s my fandom of choice. We can discuss that another time, though.

Everyone talks about being creative, finding inspiration from the things around them. You can read countless stories on social media about how a writer looked at a situation, did a mental, ‘what if’, and turned it into a story.

The thing is, inspiration isn’t enough to make it as an author.

You need the self discipline and determination to sit yourself down and finish the story.

You need the critical eye and willingness to realize that the first draft is just that – a draft – and changes need to be made. Some will be minor, others major. But no manuscript is print ready from the gate.

You need the fortitude to do your research and compile a list of agents and publishers.

You need courage to submit you m/s to said publishers and agents.

You need patience and the ability to put your ego on the shelf when edits come back.

You need the mental stamina and strength to promote your book.

This is work. Plain and simple. It’s not as easy as sitting down to a computer or notebook and vomiting words onto a page. If you can’t get find that strength within yourself, you’ll not like the job.

Don’t get me wrong. The highs of being a published author are AMAZING. Having someone get excited because they met ‘a real author’ or seeing them hug one of your books after you signed it gives you some of the best warm fuzzies you’ll ever feel. And this is one of the few industries where the nice guy finishes first. But you have to be strong, have to draw on a mental toughness every single day. Bad reviews are going to undercut your confidence. Months without sales will make your stomach fall to your feet. Authors pour our souls into our books. We breathe life into our characters and work hard to create worlds that readers will be lost in. When those bad reviews or no sales months come, they hurt.

You can’t simply wait for inspiration to strike. You have to roll up your sleeves and work if you want magic to happen. If you seriously think all you have to do is write, you haven’t been reading my blog long. LOL.

BB

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Stop the excuses!

Hey everyone! Really glad right now that there’s no video involved with this blog. LOL. Just got finished with some time on my bike, and I’m a hot, sweaty mess. LOL.

While I was pedaling, I reminded myself that I don’t like to live my life by excuses. Not with my weight any more. In the last six months since my surgery, I’ve learned to embrace the need for exercise each day. Even adjusted my sleep schedule to fit a 15 minute bike ride in every morning before I get working. Why? Because I have to do the work if I want to get to a healthy weight. It didn’t come on overnight, and it’s not going away that way, either.

The same ideal can be applied to promoting and writing books. I can list dozens of excuses why I didn’t promote today, or put off writing, without even thinking about it. But that’s what they are. Excuses. There’s hardly a good reason among them. It comes down to two hard and fast rules.

Books won’t write themselves. I have to sit down and do it.

Books won’t magically start to sell overnight. I have to promote them.

That’s it. If I want my books to sell, I have to promote them. Me. Not my publisher. Not my friends. Not any store or con I get a table at. I have to do the work.

Authors simply can not rely on anyone else to do the work for them. Even if we had the money to hire a publicist, I’d still be doing some promotion. Why? Because I should be.

Success, however you define it, isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, sweat, tears, trial and error. It needs me to push forward, work that extra five minutes every day. Ignore the doubt in my own head and get on Twitter.

It takes the same amount of effort I’m putting into my health.

Stop making excuses for why your book isn’t meeting your expectations and put in the work. Try something new, or polish up an old website. Take a deep breath and do a cold call to a local store about hosting you for an event.

Rearrange your life so you can start making being an author a priority, something that has to be done every single day. Because it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take years. And the longer you sit back and make excuses, the longer it’s going to take.

BB

Hey everyone! Hope you’re gearing up for the holidays. Things are starting to get busy around here, that’s for certain.

You hear a lot about how a cover can make or break a book. Or that you shouldn’t judge a book by its’ cover (or movie). Sometimes you read a review where the reader rips apart a book because of a single grammatical error. Other reviewers don’t care how many times the word ‘flushed’ is used.

As authors, we get obsessive about our books. And have a really hard time letting go of those stories once they’re published and out in the world. There’s got to be a reason, after all, that is why it’s not selling like we expected. So, let’s go over a few things that don’t matter.

Your book’s poor sales are NOT because:

  1. The cover is bad
  2. The blurb needs more umph
  3. You need to add a subtitle/award/series title
  4. There’s a single typo on page 87
  5. Your mom can’t pronounce a character’s name in her head
  6. There’s two words out of 75,000 that need to be changed

There’s two things that you can do that directly affect sales.

  1. PROMOTE YOUR BOOK
  2. BE PATIENT

It takes years of promoting, being upbeat, talking to people, and entering contests before you start to get any sort of name recognition. It’s hard work, that has to be done every single day, to get your book on a shelf in a store. Or a signing where you sell more books than direct people to the restroom.

Stop obsessing over small things that don’t matter, and do the work.

BB

Hey everyone!

So, the Whole Life Activation awards were this past Friday. While I was deeply honored to be on the short list, another author won. I have no doubt that she is talented and deserving of the honor.

And, despite all of you that voted for the cover for ‘Guarding Charon’, it didn’t even place in the final round in the AuthorsDB cover contest.

For a short time today, it hurt. I freely admit it. Authors are still human, after all. We want to be told we did good and win contests. Have that validation that all the months of crappy sales or writer’s block was worth it. So, when you come close to that brass ring, it hurts when you get told no. You weren’t good enough.

The thing is, I am good enough. I write good books that are entertaining. I’m not a total jerk to my publisher or readers (at least, I hope I’m not. If I’ve been a jerk to you, please let me know and we’ll hash it out). I’ve come too far to sink back into the mindset of I’m not going to be good enough.

I’ve survived rape.

I’ve survived a parent who was narcissistic.

I’ve survived being bullied.

I’ve survived crippling self-doubt.

I have gone through some really bad crap in my life. And come out on top. This isn’t the last award I’ll be up for. It’s not the end of my career. It’s the beginning. It marks another step forward because my work is being noticed now.

You can not let a single event dictate your future as an author. Ride the wave of hurt and disappointment, then find your resolve again. Because there’s no way to change the past. All we can do is look to the future.

BB

Hey everyone.

I can’t really think about books much today. I’m afraid I’m numb.

The ideas are there. Books will be written, promoted, etc. But I fear sometimes that we as a society simply don’t care enough any more. Not about books. But about each other.

It’s not about gun control, or a good person with a gun showing up at the right time. It’s not about mental health, or legislation. It’s about how much we’ve lost.

We’ve lost our compassion, our innate need to help one another. Tragedies happen, and we light candles, say prayers, donate blood. But does it really help? A month later, someone else goes on a rampage.

The root cause, for me, is intolerance. We’re afraid of our neighbors because they’re different than us. We scurry down the street, shielding our children, because someone is holding hands with the person they love and it goes against what they believe.

Does marriage equality really hurt anyone? No more than straight marriage.

Does the mosque down the street hurt anyone? No more than a Christian one.

Does listening to country music rot your brain? No more than heavy metal or pop.

Do we need to fear the person who doesn’t speak English? No, we need to be patient with them.

We need to stop fearing what is different than us and start remembering that we’re all human.

BB

 

 

Happy Halloween!

Yeah! It’s Halloween!

Woke up to some amazing news! ‘Guarding Charon’ made it to the semi-finals for the cover contest!

Guarding Charon KateMarie Collins

Voting closes on November 5th, and I can use all the votes I can muster! https://authorsdb.com/2017-cover-contest-results/23632-cover-contest-2017-guarding-charon

The WLA gala is 10 days away. Yes, I’m getting nervous. LOL. Do I wish I could make the trip? Yes. But I have responsibilities and our bank account isn’t so deep that I can spend $2k to go to a party in London. No matter how much I want to go.

Other than that, things are going well. I’m working on ‘Guarding Amber’, taking care of me and my family.

There’s a balancing act that authors have to do. It’s being able to devote time to our writing, promotion, and still be present for our families. It’s cooking dinner while you’re writing dialogue in your head. Thinking about a fight scene while you take out the trash. Debating a plot point while feeding the cats. Deciding the next step for the antagonist while at a meeting.

Being a writer doesn’t stop. If you’ve grabbed the brass ring and are now published, it only ramps things up. It doesn’t slow down. Because you’re always trying to find a promotion that works, tweaking the marketing, or working on the next book.

There’s no fast track to success in the literary world. No overnight success for someone who has no name recognition. If your book isn’t selling, you have to rethink what you’re doing. If you’re even doing anything at all.

And that’s the real downer. Because you won’t sell books if people don’t recognize your name. And they won’t recognize your name unless you promote.

BB

It’s Monday!

It’s been an interesting week since I last posted. In some ways, I’m still processing everything. And it was all good things!

First off, I found out I’m now on the short list for Author of the Year from Whole Life Activation, a group in London, England that celebrates women making a difference. I’m beyond humbled and honored. With a fair amount of excited in there as well. LOL. The ceremony takes place on November 10th. As much as I’d like to go, it’s not feasible right now. When you have college bills to pay for, spending $2k to go to a gala in London isn’t being fiscally responsible. No matter the outcome, I’m thrilled. While I don’t know the other three finalists, I’m certain that I’m in amazing company.

Today, I found out the cover for ‘Guarding Charon’ is a semi-finalist for the Authordb.com cover of the year award!

If I can be so bold, I need votes! You can go here (https://authorsdb.com/2017-cover-contest-results/23632-cover-contest-2017-guarding-charon) and vote/leave a review! Even if you think one of the other semi-finalists is a better cover, the votes are crucial. You don’t have to vote for me…just do it!

Being an author is a lot of highs and lows. You spend days/weeks/months/years even trying to get your name out there. All but begging for reviews. And then you get weeks like this last one. Where you find out that maybe you really are making an impact in the pond. Where you get hope that those small ripples will continue to spiral out and widen your readership.

And that maybe, just maybe, all the struggles to get there will be worth it.

BB