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Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

Nine years ago, something happened in my life. For most people, they’d wonder why a D&D character would make any sort of impact in real life. Perchance I was a bit TOO connected to her. The thing is, that group of friends had been meeting every single Saturday for about 2 1/2 years. We too these characters from game infancy (level 1) to fully fleshed out characters with personalities.
 
When the group wrapped up, in rather unexpected and bad ways (we were all killed or imprisoned), we mourned the loss. We were bitter, hurt, and felt cheated.
 
Out of that experience, my muse was unlocked. I finally started to write ‘Daughter of Hauk’. And I got encouragement from friends and family that gave me the confidence to keep at it.
 
Without that party wipe, I wouldn’t be writing now.
 
As such, I’ve got a certain fondness for The Raven Chronicles and Arwenna’s story. That was my character, after all. I invented her, borrowed (with permission) other people’s characters from the group. Threw in a few of my own imagination. Changed a few things so the makers of D&D wouldn’t sue me. And used writing Arwenna’s story as a way to deal with some of my own issues.
 
So, yeah, it hurts when it goes months without a sale. Because it’s more than a good story. It’s my baby. I’ve written other stories that may be better told, or more engaging, but that trilogy will forever be my favorite. For very personal reasons.
 
What makes things nice is that the wait and patience is paying off. I’ve seen pages read or sales for all 3 books for 3 months running now. Even the fan fic has gotten some love.
 
Will it ever be on the NYT best seller list? Probably not. But my baby’s getting a little bit of love right now from readers. And I’ll take that.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Hey!

Yep, it’s a Saturday. And, you know what, that’s just fine. The last week has been interesting on multiple levels.

You often hear people say that, after someone you love passes, you’ll know when it’s time to let go and move on. To stop grieving. This point is different for each person who suffered a loss, and who it was that died. I think I finally got there.

I spent time this week selling off some of my mom’s jewelry that no one wanted. I’m doing a more active search to find a legitimate buyer for a couple of books she’d had. And I spent a lot of time yesterday rearranging and cleaning my office.

My desk is now near a window, on the far side of the room, and not where I can actively watch the tv while I sit here. My focus has shifted. I’m no longer feeling like I’m treading water and waiting for the next shoe to drop. I’m regaining my sense of wanting to write, to promote.

One of the things that came to me during this transition is how well I interact with readers and authors here on this blog. I’ve tried gimmicky things – like the teaser Tuesday or Last Monday interviews. To be honest, that’s not what you guys like to get from me. Without question, the posts that are liked the most, shared, or commented on have to do with my thoughts on being an author. About book store signings, how to be a decent author that’s loved and not hated by readers, that sort of thing.

So, yeah. I’ve heard you. That’s not to say I won’t make an odd teaser post or anything like that. I may not even have a scheduled day to post. But what I do write here will be what matters to me, the message I think you want to hear.

Five years ago today, my journey began. I signed my first contract and ‘Daughter of Hauk’ began to go from words on a computer screen to a book you can read on your Kindle or put on your bookshelf. I have 18 titles out now. Goal for the year is to make that number 20. I have no illusions that the almost 300 followers here have bought all of my books. Most of you haven’t even bought one. I’m sure it’s on your ‘one day’ list. If it wasn’t, then why are you following this blog? LOL

If you want to know where to start, go with ‘Guarding Charon’. I’m immensely proud of that one and have hopes that it will be the book that gets me ‘found’ at last.

Five years that encompass 18 titles, the death of my parents, life changes for my oldest daughter, new pets in my life, a new career that I adore, and it’s all because of one event in my life that woke up my muse.

As I cleaned and moved things, I was cleaning up some emotional clutter in myself. Things that I put in front of promotion, in front of writing, in front of things I care about a great deal. My office is more open now. Muse is sitting on the windowsill to my right.img_0123

And I’m back to writing for me. For my readers. If I’m lucky, you’ll have my back and buy my books, write a review, tell your friends.

If nothing else, the last five years have taught me that this business isn’t all promoting and writing. There’s a lot of luck involved.

BB

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