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Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

Ten years ago, I wasn’t writing. I still listened to the voice in my head that said I would never do anything close to good enough for a publisher, so it wasn’t worth trying.

And so my muse stayed quiet, locked in her cage.

We’d been playing in a Dungeons and Dragons game for over 2 years. With no warning, the entire party was either killed or imprisoned. Saving rolls weren’t allowed, escape impossible. Characters that had been part of our lives once a week for over 130 weeks were suddenly no more.

It hurt. For all of us in the group, it was a shock. We mourned not just the game closing but not spending our Saturdays together any more. My husband, who did a smaller scale campaign, invited everyone over to our house. We used that second session as a way to take the bitterness of the night out of our mouths.

A few weeks later, he worked it so that my character was resurrected in his game. In the context of the day, we couldn’t really explain everything that went on. As we headed to bed, I said I’d write an email the next day to everyone so they were brought up to speed.

When I finished the email, I was terrified. What started as an explanation ended up being a short story. From that one short story, a career was born.

Last week, my 20th title went up for sale. “Guarding Amber” is out. My first book came out in March of 2012. My only regret over the last decade is listening to those who didn’t know what they were talking about.

We can’t go back and change the past. Even if that was possible, I wouldn’t. The past is what makes today possible. The things I experienced, good and bad, shape my writing today.

If you’re discouraged, keep trying. If sales suck, shrug it off. If your family or friends try to cut you down, find the strength you have inside. You have to find your faith in yourself, in your talent, to weather the storm of being an author. Having a way with words isn’t enough. You’re going to have years where you’re wondering why you started on this road. This is not a job for everyone. Because you’re not going to be paid enough to support yourself for close to a decade.

Over the last decade, I’ve come out of my shell. I’ve stopped listening to those who said no and found the way to say yes to myself. I’ve gone from someone who hid in the shadows to being able to talk to a room full of people who wanted to get where I was. I’ve been told I inspire people to keep trying.

I’ve learned so much since I found the key to unlock my muse from her cage. I think ‘Guarding Amber’ is an example of how much I’ve grown as an author. I hope you will as well.

myBook.to/guardingamber

Guarding amber v 10

BB

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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

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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

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Hey! It’s Monday! It’s getting colder out. I threw on a jacket this morning before driving our youngest to school. And am now swathed in one of my dad’s cardigans.

I want to talk about one of the worst behaviors as an adult. It’s not just a writer problem. But we need to stop whining on social media. Especially if you’re published or hope to be one day.

I’m not talking a simple ‘crap, the battery on my car died’ type whine. I’m talking the out and out pity party. Oh woe is me someone else did x and I planned to do that. Why are my sales so bad? Can’t you leave a review?

Shut up. Put on your big kid panties, grow a thick skin, and grow up.

Readers don’t care if you found out information ‘first’. They don’t care if your sales are bad. Because they’re dealing with real life as well. Throwing yourself a pity party on social media is just wrong. Especially if you’re doing it in relation to a book of yours.

Readers don’t care if my parents died 7 months apart. They don’t care if my van’s breaking down. They want to buy into the illusion that life as an author is AMAZING!!! Filled with celebrity guest dinner parties, calls and texts from Hollywood all day long (I’m here if they’re interested! LOL), and that my hardest decision outside of plot points revolve around what dress to wear to a premiere or if I’m buying a Lexus or BMW this year.

This industry’s unique in that the nice guy finishes first. Publishers and agents want to work with authors without feeling stymied at every turn. They want to have a good working relationship, not an adversarial one. Which also means authors need to have a thick skin and know how to behave in public. Social media IS public. It’s the nature of the beast, no matter what site you’re using. And, yes, agents and publishers worth signing with WILL check your twitter and FB news feed to gauge what sort of author you are.

Nowadays, there’s more to this than selling your m/s. You have to sell yourself as a public person as well. If you can’t contain your sorrow over something trivial and whine about being cheated, it’s a strike against you.

From the moment you decide you want to be a published author, start acting like one on social media. Be professional and pleasant. Be someone others want to follow, read, and emulate. Think about the authors you admire. Do they curse at readers for not leaving a review? Do they scream about the ‘injustice’ of their agent/publisher? Do they fabricate drama because they need people to pay attention to them?

At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. It’s not the loss, because there’s no real loss. Every story that can be written has been. How you tell it, the words you choose, is what makes your books stand out from the millions of others on Amazon. People hate drama, especially manufactured drama where someone gets ‘hurt’ or ‘insulted’ over the smallest things. Guess what? Pirates steal my books all the time. They’re making money off of my hard work. But I’m not on FB, crying and whining about it.

It’s called being a professional. If you crave that much attention, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening when you get published. Because publishers, agents, and readers don’t have time or energy to coddle you every time you get a bad review.

BB

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Hey! It’s Monday! I’m blogging again! Woot!

I thought a lot this weekend about how I prioritize things when it comes to writing and promoting. And I realized something.

I spend a whole lot of time checking the ranking of my books. Or for new reviews. And a lot less on actively promoting my books.

But, that’s a little backwards. I should be concentrating on future sales, after all. I can’t turn back time and force readers to buy my books. Or leave a review. So, why do I check two or three times a day?

One of the common complaints I’ve heard from authors is that we don’t have time to promote. It takes too long to do x, y, or z. But we’ll spend more time checking for reviews than it takes to post a single tweet. And I’m as guilty of this as the rest of you.

So, I’m challenging myself to NOT check ranking and reviews until October 1st, 2017. Instead, every time I’m tempted, I’m going to promote one or more of my books on FB or Twitter. I’ll learn how to create better graphics for teasers. I’ll post something to Authorsdb.

I’m going to spend that time promoting instead of wondering why the numbers aren’t improving.

Who’s with me?

BB

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Hey!

Not sure how many have missed me, but I’m still here and kicking!

For almost two years now, I’ve been in a rabbit hole of sorts. Losing my mom in 2015, followed by my dad in 2016. My youngest being assaulted at school, and the case still pending. Life in general put a lot of things on hold. Primarily, promotion and this blog. First, it was the funerals. Then it was helping my sister with the estate and simply sorting through over 70 years of accumulated stuff in their house. Some things came home with me, and other things got sold. This is what happens when your parents die. You have to make decisions that aren’t always easy to make. And, while I have great faith in our judicial system thanks to my dad, the pace at which things move has been a learning experience. I keep telling myself it’s research in a way. If I ever need an accurate timeline for an assault case like this for a book, I have first hand experience now.

Back in May, I started to climb out of the rabbit hole I found myself in. Surgery finally happened, and the estate was settled. I’m on a path that will see me at a healthy weight that I can maintain.

I’ve got a monthly gig at a Barnes & Noble in Federal Way, Washington now. I’m working hard on simply getting back on the promotional horse.

As authors, we can’t sit back and think that it’s up to our publisher to promote our book. We can’t blame them for bad sales, or that we didn’t get into a local book store. We can’t email them, demanding to find out what they plan to do for us without bringing something to the table.

Plain and simple, authors have to market their books. They have to promote them. They cannot sit by and expect magic to simply happen.

Being an author these days is all about what we will do to promote. It’s not up the the publisher. They’ve got hundreds if not thousands of titles to promote! How arrogant is it for me to assume that mine will be the top of the list?

Stop blaming your publisher for low sales and take a hard look in the mirror. My sales right now are a direct result of the work I let slide. To refuse to take responsibility and whine (yes, I said whine) that it’s all because of what someone else did or didn’t do is reprehensible.

My publisher didn’t write them. I wrote them.

My publisher doesn’t need to promote them. I need to promote them.

School is back in session. The house belongs to me and the cats during the day. There’s no more long phone calls between me and my sister about what to do with this or that family treasure. There’s no more doctor appointments to get ready for surgery. There may still be court hearings to attend, but not for a while because of what happened at the last one (nope, can’t go into details).

Yes, promoting is hard work. It takes time, and has little immediate results. It gets frustrating when you do things day in and day out and no one buys a book that month. But it’s part of being an author.

Suck it up, Buttercup. There’s only one person stopping you from the sales you think you should be getting. Go stand in front of the mirror, give yourself a reality check, and get to work.

BB

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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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