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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

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!

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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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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

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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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So, yeah, it’s crunch time for the P&E polling. Voting shuts down tomorrow night, and ‘Guarding Charon’ has plummeted to 5th place.

Much as I want to win (and, trust me, I DO), it’s not the end of the world. It won’t make or break me as an author. It doesn’t translate into great sales or having Hollywood calling me for a movie deal.

It would simply make it so I could add ‘award winning’ to international best selling author. That’s it.

Everyone can write. All that takes is to pick up a pen or pencil, or sit down at a computer. Writing an essay in 5th grade? You’re a writer. Drafting a department-wide email? You’re a writer. Spending countless hours at a computer, revising, rewriting, editing, polishing, submitting, and publishing? You’re a writer.

Then, there’s that moment where you go from being a writer to being an author. It creeps up on you, slowly. It’s when you stop letting your ego get in the way and promote your book because you know you’ve got years ahead of you before you’ll be able to quit the day job. It’s when you realize that titles like ‘international best selling’ or ‘award winning’ don’t matter if people don’t know your book exists. It’s not caring if you only get enough in royalties over 3 months to buy a single latte at your favorite espresso stand and you find the time to write another book.

It’s that moment when the sales and titles and image in your head of what being a published author means fades away and you embrace the reality of it. The need to find time to write between loads of laundry or parent/teacher conferences. It’s being present during a softball game when you’re mentally adding dialogue and hoping you can remember it when you get writing time. It’s no longer being afraid to tell people you’re an author. It’s hanging up cards for your books on community bulletin boards and leaving them for staff at a hotel room on vacation.

It’s giving away copies to an exchange student you’re hosting that loves to read your genre. It’s learning how to email organizations and let them know you’re available for panels and guest slots at their conventions.

It’s sitting down and doing the work involved to grow a reader base.

Every single writer that’s ever finished a book thinks they’re going to be on the NYT best seller list. Or get a movie deal. Be wined and dined and wooed by conventions. Make money hand over fist.

An author knows how many years it takes to get even close to that list.They know that they can’t simply scream ‘buy my book’ or ‘leave a review’ all day long. They work hard to get every single sale, review, reader, or comment on their blog. They spend hours on Twitter or FB when they’d rather do other things, hoping to connect with even one person who might buy their book.

Because if they do, they may like it.

If they like it, they may leave a review. Or tell a friend. Or both.

Until then, an author keeps trying new things. Keeps posting on a blog, staying positive. A writer’s going to get mad, unsure who ‘stole’ their dream.

It wasn’t stolen. They decided to give up instead of work for it.

They weren’t tough enough to become an author. Are you?

BB

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