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What a week!

Good morning!

So, vacation’s this week. We’re off later this morning to get the a/c fixed in my van. Not a terribly fun thing on vacation, but it also means I don’t sit at the dealership for 6 hours. LOL

The house is still quiet. Right now, it’s just me and the cats awake. And some of the felines may have gone back to napping. That, or they’re into mischief. General rule with toddlers and kittens: if it’s quiet, go check. LOL

A lot of good has happened lately, even with some bad. It’s 13 days until Ayrshire College Comicon in Scotland. Hopeful that my donation to the silent auction does their local food bank some good. I have a surgery date. My 40+ year battle with obesity will be coming to an end, before I develop more serious complications. My desktop died (the fan and/or power supply quit on me), so we went and bought a new tower. Gotta say, the Geek Squad where I got it rocked the data transfer. Original estimate was 3-5 days. I had the new machine home, all files intact, in under 30 hours.

Then, there’s the big news. I’m going to do a signing at a Barnes & Noble in Federal Way, WA! Not only that, they’ll be stocking 4 of my titles!

Internationally renowned

So, yeah. Lots of good mixed up with a little bit of bad. Which is how life should be. Not everything is going to go our way. And,yeah, sometimes things pile on you all at once. If you can take a few deep breaths and remember where you came from, however, you’ll see growth. 5 years ago, B&N was a no go for me. No one in Scotland would’ve asked me to donate to an auction. I’d be trying yet another diet or exercise program. Okay, so my van’s a/c was working then. LOL.

What I’m trying to say is that any success takes time. It doesn’t happen a day after your book goes up for sale, or even a year. It’s growing into yourself as a public person and trying new things along the way. It’s learning who you are, as both a person and an author, and what you’re capable of doing.

It’s not how fast you push the boulder up the mountain, but the way you gather readers to help you move it.

BB

Hello! It’s a Sunday afternoon. House is quiet, though not writing quite yet. Need to transport the youngest to hang out with a friend soon.

As a writer, an author, I give a lot to my readers. I give a small piece of myself in every book I write. Each and every word, character mannerism, name, is a gift of my soul to my readers. And I hope they appreciate it.

Readers give back to us by buying our books, leaving reviews (good or bad), standing in lines to meet us at events. They tell their friends and co-workers about our books, bid on them at auctions, and help authors grow.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

There are some readers who say one thing and do another. They promise reviews and never come through. Or they clamor for a sequel then don’t buy it.

Not to be outdone, authors don’t always keep their end of the bargain. They let their ego take over, ignoring criticism, and demand things for signings. Specific brands of water, luxury suites, first class airfare to cons. And then they do interviews and talk about all the work they did to get to that point, ignoring all the readers who DID leave a review. Buy their book, and the sequel.

Like any partnership, that between author and reader needs to have some give and take. Appreciation on both sides for what the other does, work to bolster the other up and make them feel like the time they invested (hours writing and editing, or standing in line) was worth it.

When you’re starting out as an author, you need to shrink your ego to the size of a flea. Why? Because you’re about to spend the next 5-10 years wanting to pull out your hair. You’ll have days where you doubt what you’re doing is worth it. Times where reviews simply won’t happen, no matter how many are promised. Months where you won’t get a single sale. You’ll spend money you really can’t spare on promotions that may or may not work. On contests that give you little beyond bragging rights.

There’s no magic formula for us to find our readers. No more than there is one that readers use to find that ‘new’ author that they have to get every single book ever written by them.

All we can do, as author or reader, is hold up our end of the bargain. And hope the other side does, as well.

BB

Author.to/katemariecollins

 

Hey! It’s Saturday! Last week was hectic as anything, but I managed to survive. No one likes almost $700 in car repairs, but they were necessary. Now to try and sell some books and recoup at least part of that.

I had a couple of really good things happen last week. One just came to pass last night. My blog’s now a syndicated one on Authorsdb!

Authorsdb blog badge

The other one…well, it started coming about earlier in the week. But I’m still grinning about it.

I was checking my email late one night. There was a message from a gentleman who was part of a comicon at a community college. They were going to do a charity silent auction at the con, with the proceeds going to a local food bank. And he was hoping I could donate a book or two.

Oh, and the school was located in Scotland.

After I got past my momentary glee and sense of wonder for being asked, I did my due diligence. Made sure that the school was legitimate, that the con was listed on their website on the day he mentioned, and found social media information about the contact person and con itself.

Here’s where things got a little sticky. The con’s on April 25th. In order to get any books there, on time, it was going to cost a lot. I couldn’t find shipping options lower than $35 for a single book. I asked if they could help cover part of all the cost, as the abovementioned van repairs were still pending. Nope. Wasn’t going to be able to help.

So, I thought about it. And asked him what he thought of me doing a digital prize. He loved the idea!

I’ve sent him my covers, bio, headshot, and the Solstice Publishing logo. He’s going to come up with a display using those. The winning bid will be able to email a code to me and I’ll send them .df versions of all 18 titles I currently have out.

To sweeten the pot, I suggested he set a minimum amount (high enough to really benefit the food bank, but not so high that no one would ever bid on it) and, should the winning bid be at that point or higher, I’ll either name a character or dedicate my next book to them.

I don’t consider being an author as a money making scheme. I don’t necessarily want to hire bodyguards or an assistant who screens my emails. Because it’s not all about me. It’s about the stories, the readers, and the good that you can do by being a public person. I’m still relatively unknown. But if I can do something like this and help a food bank out, yeah. It’s worth it.

BB

Hey! It’s almost March!

Spring’s coming…the lawn is thawing out. Got the pruning done, and the house is getting cleaner. I should be able to open windows and doors soon, which means less time spent getting interrupted by the cats wanting to go in or out. LOL

Let me start by saying there’s a lot of really good authors out there. Both traditionally and self published. I never claimed to be the best author you’d ever read. But I can say my stories are well written, thought provoking, and entertaining.

And then there’s the crap that gets published and sells.

Don’t tell me not to be frustrated when my sales slump and the literary equivalent of toilet paper gets movie deals. Don’t tell me to stay happy and clap for the success of an author who’s so full of themselves that they make outrageous demands just to do a signing and meet readers.

Don’t tell me it’s not appropriate for me to want to punch a wall in frustration.

The battle for readers and reviews never stops. It’s a constant grind to put your books out in front of readers, to make them noticed above the crappy stuff. When you don’t have a huge (or any) marketing budget, it’s even harder. How can a new author survive the years it takes to build that reader base when it’s going against crap that has money?

They survive because they believe. In their stories, in their writing, in themselves. And they scream, vent, and gnash their teeth at the movie trailers.

Then they go home, open up a file, and get to work.

BB

Happy Thursday! Snow is gone, sun is actually shining right now. And my husband’s 5 month old kitten is full on toddler mode. LOL

So, something happens to me on Twitter. Talking with other authors, publishers, and friends, it happens to them a lot. And it’s those annoying automated direct messages we get whenever we follow someone new.

I’m about to be blunt. To me, those things are the literary equivalent of an unsolicited dick pic!

Look, we know you’ve got a book out. Or do covers. Or have a blog. We took the five seconds to scan your brief description. But to then send me something that’s little more than ‘BUY MY BOOK!!!’ is annoying. Really? You’re so lazy that you can’t say hello like a real person? You’re too busy to bother connecting with your readers?

You’re so full of yourself that you honestly think I’m going to buy a book when you’ve done nothing more than shove the link at me? Before I’ve had time to say hello to you?

In this age of social media, the key to selling books isn’t to scream about it all day long. It’s not a used car lot where you’ve got to wheel and deal and try to constantly put the product in front of readers. We get it. You wrote a book. You’re proud of your accomplishment. It’s up for sale.

But I want that buy link shoved in my face about as much as I want to see your anatomy. Which I don’t.

Give me the chance to learn who you are. Say hello, ask how my day’s going. Have an actual conversation with me. You’re a writer! Words are your thing! Use them!

Develop a real connection with potential readers instead of spamming them.

BB

Hey everyone!

I’m snowed in today. LOL. Seattle got a rare blanket of white last night. Hubby made it to work, but getting from our neighborhood to a main road was interesting. If there’s no pressing need for me to go anywhere, I’m waiting for it to melt. Power is still on, meaning we have heat and internet. Yeah!

There’s a cold hard fact to being an author that most people don’t realize. Even most writers don’t have a clue until they put a book up for sale or sign with a publisher. And that there’s absolutely NO direct path to success and sales.

You’re going to be bombarded with ads claiming to know the ‘secret’ to getting good sales. Treat it like you would any other spam and get rid of it. Plain and simple, they want to make you spend big bucks to see little or no lasting success. Unless you count them growing richer as they suck you into the process.

Being an author is tough. It’s work. 99% of us are NOT ‘special snowflakes’ that get their every whim catered to because they make money left and right. You have to be willing to face that fact. Want a lasting career? Don’t be a jerk, stop pretending you know everything, and do the work. Roll up your sleeves, dig a trench, and keep trying.

At one point, I was looking at a career in performing arts. My degree’s actually in technical theater, specifically props and stage management. We’ve all grown up with the stories about how hard it is to become a star in Hollywood. Thing is, it’s JUST as hard to get to the level of Stephen King as an author. I know that. And I’m willing to do the work to get myself there. I believe in my writing. I stay positive. I work with people instead of demanding I be given special treatment.

Get over yourself. Stop imagining that you should be shielded from the reality of the job you claim you want, and get to work. Put in the time to make a solid foundation to your work. Try new things to promote that are free before investing thousands of dollars in a promotion that has no guarantees of getting you enough sales to recoup the investment.

Don’t just sit back and expect money to come pouring in because you wrote a book. Because that’s simply just not how it works.

BB

Good evening everyone!

I thought about posting earlier today. To be honest, this has been formulating in my head for a couple of days now. Work happened (still love my job, even on days where it’s insane), and I’ve been feeling like crap since I woke up. The one downside to working from home. There’s no one else to make sick, and no one cares if you’re swaddled in blankets. So, you tend to suck it up and get stuff done even when your body’s telling you to stay in bed. LOL

I’m not going to discuss politics tonight. Not really. The election is over and done, we have a new President. Even if it’s not the person I voted for, I will respect the office he holds. What bothers me the most right now is the fear and ignorance that’s tearing the country of my birth apart.

America was never meant to be a nation that followed a single faith, or turned away those in need. The brave individuals that left everything behind to create a new life in this land did so because they felt they had no other choice. They were being persecuted for their faith, told they couldn’t live the life they did because they were ‘different’.

Others feared them, out of ignorance.

Now, as I write this, I’m starting to understand that fear. I’m not Christian. Never claimed here to be of that faith. Does that mean that I’ll be getting comments telling me to ‘go home’ or that I’m a murderer? I hope not. I was born and raised in this country. I’m not here illegally. Nor were my parents, grandparents, or great grandparents. Heck, on my dad’s side, the family’s been traced back to the second ship after The Mayflower.

But that doesn’t mean I should sit back and watch as my neighbors are attacked, denied an education, due process, or hauled away at night.

As an author, I’m in a strange spot. I’m certainly not famous enough for anyone to hire me to come to a rally and make a speech. My approach to the current crisis is one as a private citizen. I’m not about to tell potential readers that they’re wrong if they see something differently than I do.

We can write, though. We can take the need to do something and turn it into our stories. Send our characters through situations that make the reader think. Educate them on the realities of the world while we entertain them. Make them think that maybe Wiccans aren’t devil worshippers (I don’t know HOW many times I’ve been called that, LOL) because they read a book that presented it differently. Create a sympathetic and relatable main character that gets detained at an airport for no reason other than the color of their hair, or where they went on vacation.

We let our words bridge the gap between fear and reason. Between ignorance and enlightenment. Between love and hate.

BB