Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
In celebration of Unforgettable Roads upcoming release on Nook and Kobo, I’m offering a Friendly Freebie. If you haven’t read the story of Alison finding her grandfather’s memories, Trey discovering his own two feet, or met Eddie (my favorite character), here’s an offer:
Sign up below to enter in a drawing for two free copies of Unforgettable Roads - one for you, one for a friend. You can re-gift it – I won’t tell! I will draw a winner on August 1st, 2013.
The Internet is an absolute boon for writers. It connects us to all manner of resources, communities, and learning opportunities. It throws wide the doors to a digital world where we can communicate, collaborate, and commiserate with other writers from all across the globe. It connects us to editors and other potential employers. For many of us, this wonderland of pixels and platforms is what affords us the chance to make a living (and a life) with words.
Writing a series is not as simple as just writing several books in a row. Nor is it as easy as taking one long story and breaking it into several parts. There are a lot of nuances to writing a series that many writers just do not think about until they're smack in the middle of it, and by that time its either too late OR you've just created a mountain of work for yourself that you might have avoided.
This week's guest blog is brought to us by the delightful, funny, and hard-working Ionia Martin of Readful Things. She also is the mastermind behind The Community Storyboard where writers and readers from all walks of life can gather for some fun. Did I mention she's hard-working? If you haven't had the joy of checking out both of Ionia's blogs then I suggest you take the time to do so.
When people learn that I’m a writer, an author, a crafter of events that have never really happened, they wonder how on earth I can think of story ideas. And honestly, I wonder how they can’t. But I have an edge…I’m a parent. I am surrounded by endless questions like…
What part of your life would you want to go back to and live it again?” my daughter asked. “To re-experience a good moment or to fix a bad moment?” I asked. “Either,” she answered, “but you could only pick one.
Talk about a story idea!
There are times when balancing parenting, homeschooling and writing is overwhelming. I am constantly working on something: meals, cleaning, teaching, plotting… I’m not alone, because here you are, reading this and possibly searching for the “how to” write while your toddler is shouting commands from across the table (mine is demanding to be released from his highchair…he has been sentenced to finish his breakfast). It takes a sense of humor, patience with clutter, writing in snippets between naps and those dangerous quiet moments when children are investigating the corners of the house and finding joy in using crayola markers to redecorate (real experience) or giving each other haircuts (again, real event).
I sometimes imagine my life as a TV show: a sit-com when the day goes well, or, when drama is high, it’s all in the name of research for those tense scenes of future novels…How will the wife manage yet another task? Will she enlist the help of her children to prepare the house for a showing (we are selling our home) or will she put on her super-mom cape and do it all herself, thus inflicting undue chaos as she single-handedly cleans, cooks and acts out how to find common demoninators for her fifth-grader.
I don’t have all the answers, but I don’t have to. Below you will find several resources for writing with children, how to use Goodreads to market your book, a comedic look at your life as a writer, and an interview with Mary Trunk, a film maker and mom who explored moms who make art. Enjoy!
“If you ask your child whether the new kid in school is the protagonist or the antagonist, you might be a writer.” … and dozens more clues that might implicate you in this writing conspiracy.
WRITING WITH CHILDREN
Parents who write are often put in one of two categories: 1) highly organized individuals who use their time wisely; or 2) highly focused individuals who can focus on a task despite the chaos surrounding them. Charles Yallowitz presents an optimistic point of view that inspired me to take a fresh look at how I interact with my children while I’m trying to crank out a new chapter. Charles, thank you for your compassionate parenting and encouraging words!
MARKETING WITH GOODREADS
Once you’ve passed that initial gatekeeper and have found a publisher, the world of marketing takes over your writing life. Kimberley Grabas introduces Goodreads as a marketing tool, not to advertise with “spammy comments and blatant self-promotion” but a true give-and-take approach. Filled with how-to set up an account and dozens of helpful tips, this is a must-read article for all published and self-published authors!
Imagine a magical place that gathers together 17 million of the most passionate readers who want to talk about, review and buy your book. A place that not only allows, but encourages, both new and established authors to promote their books. A place that provides FREE opportunities to – get your book in front of thousands of buyers, – conduct informal research (polls), – participate in a highly viral environment, – join or create groups with like-minded people on every literary topic imaginable, – create an author presence, connecting your book, your blog and your social media platforms. Now imagine if Amazon purchased this magical realm of high quality, book-buying, book-loving influencers in the spring of 2013, likely leading to big opportunities to align your Amazon marketing to this Utopia. If such a paradise existed, would you want to be a part of it?
CAN MOMS MAKE ART?
Ever wonder if being a parent and an artist was like trying to freeze water with your bare hands? Or, in your mind, do the two go together like birds and bees? Susan K. Perry interviews Mary Trunk in an eye-opening discussion about Mary’s documentary Lost In Living. I, for one, am eager to watch this film!
A filmmaker spent several years interviewing 4 mothers who write or make art. And I interviewed HER about what she found. Very honest and thought-provoking interview.
If you liked this post, please share it!
If you are looking for a summer read, check out Unforgettable Roads.
A great list to take with you on every shopping trip.
Perhaps it’s my preference to set goals simply so I have something to celebrate. I am the type to make a to-do list of things I’ve already finished just so I can have some check marks on the page before I really start. Having goals is the only way I can maintain something to look forward to, have a challenge to overcome, work to achieve a dream. If writing a book is a challenging hike through editor-infested hills, finding a publisher is like hunting the elusive white stag. Marketing? Well, that’s like climbing a mountain. Not impossible, but difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing.
My goals for marketing Gateways have been modest. I really wanted on-the-job learning experiences. That is exactly what I’ve had. I set goals for this blog, for book sales, for school visit – quantity being the determination of success. I can finally cross one off. Sales of Gateways have hit the 800 mark! I’m celebrating by toasting a chocolate-flavored beer (it’s better than it sounds) with my husband.
Why 800? I didn’t want my first goal to be the common 500 number, so I picked 800.
This goal was difficult to reach because it has little to do with me achieving something and everything to do with marketing and reader preferences. I’ve learned a great deal in the last year and I know as the market changes and grows, my education will continue.
Here’s what I’ve learned about Marketing a book:
1. The KDP program didn’t work for me. Yes, I did give away 500+ digital copies of Gateways, but not one of them came back with a review. The idea behind KDP that because of the free copies, these readers would tell their friends about the book and book sales would rise. Friends can loan out a copy of the book to a friend for a specified amount of time. Nothing like that happened for me. Perhaps is has something to do with my story. Maybe because there was no financial commitment, people haven’t read it yet. I did wonder if the book was just lousy, but in the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, I’m earning 4-5 stars. Maybe the benefits of this program are yet to come.
2. Teachers and school librarians are usually interested in having an author visit. If I had to travel, I asked for mileage, but mostly I didn’t charge. I did send book order forms to the school a few weeks ahead of my visit. I did always sell at least 5+ books at each school visit. Remember, too, that March is reading month. October and November are perfect months to contact schools about being listed on their author visit schedule for March. (I will write about how to prepare for a school visit in a future blog.)
3. Your friends and family will be your greatest support group. Part of my success (albiet slow success) has been word of mouth sales through friends and family. I’m so very grateful to my parents and siblings for all they have done to help me spread the word about my book.
4. Having more than one book to sell is a bonus. Unfortunately, this takes time. This summer I will have two books and by the fall I will have three. That will help, but a drawback for me is that they are all different genres (Gateways – Fantasy; Unforgettable Roads – Christian Fiction; Frog’s Winter Walk – Children’s Picture Book). If you’ve done your homework on how to build a writing platform, you’ll know that writing for more than one genre is not advised. Well…I always was the stubborn one. I don’t read one genre exclusively. I don’t write one genre exclusively. I have yet to see how this multiple genre bookshelf will work for me. I’ll keep you posted.
5. Follow the blogs of successful independent writers. Find them on Facebook and Twitter. Read their posts and read the blogs they read. This has been, by far, the best source of information and education for me. C.S. Laskin and Joanna Penn are two of my favorites. I’ve learned more about marketing through them than I ever will from a book on marketing.
To celebrate the one year anniversary of publishing Gateways, I held a giveaway contest. Gwen Bristol won and has surpassed all my expectations in what she has done to help me promote my writing.
First, she posted a blog about winning Gateways.
Second, she purchased a Kindle copy of Gateways.
Third, when Gateways arrived on her doorstep, she took a picture of the book and posted another blog.
And now, after reading my book, she has written a fabulous review in a format I have not seen before, but love!
Just another example how blogging and being generous can make a huge difference in a little writer’s life. On top of being generous, Gwen is a giften writer – her book The Night Ones Legacy is a must read! I’m more than 1/2 way through the story and you can be sure when I finish, I will write a review and post it on all my social networking sites.
The contest has closed and the free copy of Gateways goes to Gwen Bristol! She has gone above and beyond my expectations and has included this win in her blog. You can read it here:
Thank you for all the support and encouragement over the last year. This coming year looks to be filled with many more adventures: in publishing, writing, and blogging.
Have a beautiful day!