Semester Limbo

IMG_20180716_083930_847

I finished my final class for the semester, and I’m pretty excited about it.  I loathe online classes, and although these were of the better variety I still didn’t like them much.  I just find it’s HARD to keep myself motivated to do the work without face-to-face interaction. Still, I’m now two semesters in to getting a Master’s degree.  Just three semesters left and I’m a credentialed kid.  Teaching English snobbery to the next generation of kids, here I come!

Part of the problem with the semester was that we were asked to do HARD things without a lot of prep.  One of my assignments was to come up with fifteen research articles on a single topic in prep for my senior thesis.  As long as it was related to Education, it was allowed.  I had to plan my senior thesis right now.  No guidance offered.

Too many options, man!

I did a lot of digging before deciding on a topic.  I’m allowed to write nine weeks worth of lesson plans in lieu of a giant paper, and so I plan to do a 9 week class on novel writing for high school students.  The research articles I found were fun and I think they’ll help.

I have a quick week off before I have to go back to school again.   I’m looking forward to it LOTS.  I miss my classmates, and am excited to being in class with some excellent instructors again.  My adviser and I have already been in contact about my student teaching (yay!).

It’s nice to be looking forward to the thing I’ve chosen to be my next career.  It makes me feel like I’ve finally found the right place.  Hopefully that feeling continues…

In the meantime, all my former homework time is going to writing.  Novel #2, here I come.

Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ceiling Fan Magic

This family just went on Vacation for the first time.  My Mother-In-Law had reserved a time share for a weekend up in Big Bear, but then ended up not being able to use it.  She offered it to us instead. And it was mostly a good time although VERY stressful.  The packing list alone, man… Also, Asher didn’t know what to think of it and refused to adhere to any kind of regular schedule while up there.  I worried.  Incessantly (he’s fine, of course.  He’s even sleeping soundly).

But we had good times amidst all my superfluous woe.  It was beautiful up there. And the weather was not a million degrees too hot to go outside.  We hiked, we swam, we enjoyed awesome Nepalese food at the Himalaya Restaurant, we strolled by the lake.

Asher didn’t care about any of that.  His favorite was the new and fancy suite to run around in.  New rooms with funky flooring!  Vertical blinds!  Oh, the remotes! And then there was his one true love, the ceiling fan.

I noticed it one morning when I had pulled him into bed with us.  He stood on the white comforter, one hand bracing himself steady on my hip, and gestured to the fan.  He stared at it, and his hands twirled.  His fingers extended out and then in again as he gestured, pulling his arm back, pushing his arm forward.

It looked for anything like he was performing magic on the fan.

So here is the question: what WOULD an eight-month-old want to summon from inside of a fan?  Or is he just trying to keep it running with his magic fingers?  He did this several times throughout the trip, too.  It wasn’t a fluke.

I don’t know, man.  I may be waiting for an owl to fly in my window in a few years with an epistle from Hogwarts.

Categories: Kids, Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Self Publishing: First Book, First Week

First some housekeeping stuff.  I want to continue posting about how I’m doing with the book and what marketing I’m working on and all of that in service to someone else learning from my experiences, but I also realize that’s not why a lot of people follow this thing.  I’m going to be prefacing the headlines of these types of posts with Self Publishing: so you can ignore them if you’re not all about it.

That being said… here we go!  Week 1 of Blue Gentian was incredibly successful.  130 people downloaded the book for free.  It’s AMAZING that 130 people were interested enough in this thing to check it out. Thank you!

2 things I’ve learned over the last few weeks.

Thing 1: Several friends were asking me if they could actually PAY for the novel.  I wasn’t sure what to do about that, since I wanted to start running the book right out of the gate for free.  Does Amazon give pre-orderers the free price?  I didn’t know. So… it turns out that people who have pre-ordered the book pay for it, even if you run a free promotion on the day of the book’s release.  If you have people who actually want to pay, ask them to pre-order.  You can have your cake and eat it too!

Thing 2: I had originally planned to run a Kindle Free promotion, and then go for a Countdown Deal right after.  It turns out that Amazon won’t let you run those within the same KDP sign up time.  Every 90 days I can run either a Free promotion or a Countdown Deal promotion, but not both.  Boo.  But good to know for planning purposes.

Next we’re on to marketing:

Now that the book costs money, I’m wading into the area of Amazon Ads.  So far I only have Sponsored Product ads out there, and no Product Placement ads.  Product Placement got expensive, guys!  $100 is the minimum spend (yikes!). So, I’ll refine my copy on the cheap stuff and then worry about those costly ads when I have something I know probably works.

I know absolutely nothing about copywriting, and I think it shows… since the free promotion ended I have sold NO books.  I’m not terribly worried yet.  I’m playing the long game with this, not the short one.  I had also heard about this phenomenon.  Since Amazon separates out free from paid, you essentially start out at square one again when the free deal ends.  The internet warned me. But I am downloading copywriting books and faffing around with the copy on my ads now because things can always be improved.  I have five ads running right now, and they all have different descriptions enticing people to buy. We’ll see which ones actually do something.

Once I know I have copy that works, I’ll start faffing with Keywords.  That’s at least a month away, though.  I want to give the ads a chance to work if they’re going to.

Last is the bigger picture:

I’ve been thinking critically about how the book is presented and I realized today that I actually wouldn’t buy it if it came up in my feed as-is.  Everything looks great, but I always want a slew of reviews on my self-published titles to prove that they’re readable.  Right now, that’s the biggest thing I lack.  I’m discussing a possible blog tour because of it, though that’s also probably at least a month away.  I don’t want to be too annoying to my friends and family either, but I’ll also probably do a big social media request for reviews in about a month.  I’ll give everyone some time to read it first, though. And then after that, I’ll knock it off with the “please do this for me?” stuff so my friends don’t start to hate me.

What do I do while waiting for all the ads to aggregate and everything?  Work on my next book, of course!

Categories: Self Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kindle Free Deal Ending

Untitled design

Just a quick PSA to let you know that the Blue Gentian free deal is ending today.  Last chance to download this thing for nothing!  Tomorrow it goes up to $4.99.  Thank you! You may now return to your regularly scheduled Sunday.

 

Categories: Fiction, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blue Gentian Update

Untitled design

In case you’re curious…

First of all 77 people have downloaded or bought my book in the last two days, and I’m SO THRILLED.  That was better than I’d hoped for in my wildest dreams.  Thank you all for checking out my work.  This book has been a long time coming, and I’m so excited that you have my back.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

In other news (!!!), last night I hit #41 on the top 100 Free Bestseller list for Epic Fantasy, which I NEVER thought to do.  I expected that I wouldn’t break into the top 100 at all.  Although that’s my best number, I’ve broken 50 in all Blue Gentian’s other categories, too. Something else to throw a party about.

Lastly, if you haven’t downloaded your free copy yet, we’re halfway through the promotion.  Just two more days until the price goes back to $4.99.   This is your friendly reminder to get the book sooner rather than later.

And thank you again.  It’s a little scary to launch a book – will people even care?  Will they read it? Will they like it?  You’ve answered at least one of those questions for me with enthusiastic gusto.  I can’t tell you how much that means to me.  I know I’ve said it a bunch, but seriously – THANK YOU.

Categories: Fiction, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PUBLICATION DAY!!

Blue Gentian is officially out for publication, and I’m running it free for the next 5 days to thank you all for following me through this journey.  If you could please consider telling someone what you thought of it (especially consider reviewing it!) I would be the most grateful girl on the web.  Thanks in advance.

So what are you waiting for?  Go get your free copy!

Blue Gentian Cover - Final -

 

Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Nano Wrap Up

Camp-2018-Winner-Twitter-Header

Well, tomorrow is the end of Camp Nanowrimo, and I did VERY good this year.  In fact, shock of shocks, I won. I have an excellent track record at the regular Nanowrimo in November (I’ve won every year but last on account of, you know, going into labor and stuff), but I’m typically pretty terrible at Camp.  It lacks the urgency of November, and the cabins don’t really do anything for me.  Pep talks are also typically not as inspiring.  Still, it’s a good opportunity to have a little accountability.  I don’t usually win, but I usually get more done than I would have without participating.

I’ve been holding off on my writing this year (and honestly most of my hobbies, too).  The Small Boy takes precedence over everything right now.  But he’s becoming more self-sufficient with his entertainment and sleeping pretty consistently most nights.  Which means I found it pretty easy to scare up a bit of time for the writing this month.

I didn’t write things every night, though I did do things that furthered my writing career.  But I did write most nights, am about 1/3 of the way through the “final” draft of my next novel (before Autocrit, maybe Critique Circle, then 2nd/3rd party edits).  And I think, going forward, that I’m going to instate my old goal for the year.

  • I will write 20 days of the month for all the months left of 2018.

I think it’s totally doable, and I’m posting it here so that you can all keep me accountable to it.  I’ll include it when I do my rundown in December on whether I reached my goals for the year or not.  It may be a pipe dream, since the Alpha and Beta read process can take a long time, but I’m kinda hoping to get book #2 out to the world by this time next year.

Also, I GOTTA find a way to speed up that process…

That’s it for now.  T-minus 1 day until Blue Gentian releases!

Categories: Life, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Publication: 5 Days

Untitled design

If we don’t count today, I’m T-Minus 5 days to publication of my first novel.

I’m trying to play it cool, but I’m shrieking with glee inside a little bit.  It’s been a long time coming, first of all.  But second of all, it’s going to be so nice to be able to call myself a novelist and have it be a true thing.

I’m going to credit the baby for finally getting my act together.  It was so easy previously to dither about whether or not it was good enough, to think about how badly I’d feel if I didn’t sell any copies, to wonder if self-publishing would kill my career before it even started, to agonize over whether to find an agent.

From everything I’ve learned about the publishing industry lately, though, self-publishing seems to be the way to go for a quietly sweet novel that probably won’t ever be Harry Potter scale.  I queried my dream agent (because you never know), and then moved on.  I don’t need to have a huge readership.  I just need the right readership.

Becoming a mother and being on call 24/7 for baby duties as well as taking on a full time load at school has given me no time to think about anything.  I just have to do or do not these days.  In the three seconds I had between classes, I mocked up some covers.  In the single afternoon I was able to scrape together, I formatted the manuscript.  I didn’t have time to wonder whether or not this was right, or if I was brave enough, or if I was legit enough.  I did.  End of story.

Except that for you, it’s the beginning of the story.  Blue Gentian will be free next Wednesday, and I’d love it if you’d take a read.

As is written on the bottom of my query letter, Blue Gentian is my first novel.  I’m hard at work on my second.

 

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Some Self-Publishing Tools

Before I launch into the meat of this post, I have an update on Blue Gentian.  Or, I guess I should say that I’m hoping it won’t be an update but it might be.  Amazon has lost the 2nd Galley of Blue Gentian in the mail, sent it to the BFE, and now they don’t know when it will be here.  “If you haven’t heard by Friday let us know,” they say.  Which is 12 days AFTER my original delivery date.  For which I already waited several days for them to print the thing.

That’s frustrating, but what’s worse is that I may need to postpone publication of the hard copy.  I’m optimistic that my cover will be a good resolution and the insides will look great.  But if they don’t, I’ll need to do another Galley round and God knows when Amazon will get its act together with this one.

Alright, vent finished.  Now to the actual purpose of this post:

I wanted to just mention some tools I’ve been using that make writing, editing, and selling a better process, in case you’re interested.  I’ve been getting a lot of questions now that my book is coming out, and I’m not sure if everyone knows about these.  They basically make my writing life possible.

Firstly, Amazon has a plug-in for Word that’s free to download that makes it AMAZINGLY easy to format your novel for Kindle publication.  I had heard horror stories about getting this to work and was prepared to spend months formatting, but instead it all went like buttah.  I highly recommend, especially because it’s free.

For the writing of the actual novel, I also recommend Scrivener.  It’s a great program that allows you to draft and drag your novel in pieces so you can manage the flow better as you’re writing.  Even better?  It exports into Manuscript Format, so you don’t have to worry about that jazz yourself.  Totally worth the $45 to to have the program forever.  And if you’re a Nanowrimo winner, it’s just half that.  How can you not buy Scrivener at that price?

Editing?  You can’t go wrong with Auto Crit.  Their software is a little pricey – I shell out for the one that’s just under $30 for the month.  But it’s been INVALUABLE in editing the novel.  It recognizes chapters, analyzes your writing based on its genre, and is altogether wonderful for tightening prose, finding repetition and cliche, and making your work a million times better while keeping it your work still.

Lastly, if you are looking for art I recommend Canva to almost everyone I meet.  They have thousands of free templates for you to use,  let you upload your own images, and even offer the paid stuff at only $1 each.  I end up looking beautifully designed for nothing.  They even have Kindle covers ready to go.

I’m sure there are a million other programs that help a lot with this whole Self-Published Author thing but these are the ones I find I’m using constantly.  Good luck on your own journey.

Categories: Self Publishing, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is a Galley Worth It?

Untitled design

Another publishing update.

I decided on a whim to order a galley copy of Blue Gentian.  Kindle was telling me that my cover photo was too small for the book, and I wanted to see (and maybe better control) what readers would have when they purchased my title.  At the bargain price of whatever it costs Amazon to print the book ($4 in this case), how could you go wrong?

You can’t, basically.

I’m THRILLED I decided to go that route and shell out the bucks for the galley.  It wasn’t the photo on the front that was the problem so much as the lettering that looked a little pixely.  I fixed that and we’ve moved on.

But honestly, that’s not the real reason I’m so relieved that I decided to order a copy.  The real reason was twofold.

One: there were a TON of typos that I just didn’t catch in the e-copy proof of the book.  There’s something about holding the item in your hand and reading through it that makes you catch those stupid periods that are duplicated, or the five times you’ve used “the world” in a single paragraph.  There were so many issues that I think it would have been pretty obvious to someone that the book was self-done.  By getting the hard copy, I was able to remedy that.  There may be typos I still didn’t get, but they’re not GLARING now.

Second: the book didn’t FEEL like a real book.  I was using the same document for the Kindle version and the print version, and so I had done all the stuff you’re supposed to do for the Kindle version – no extra pages up front, many links to my sites, etc.  By putting everything in the back of the book, I made the print version seem like a fake book, I think.  I now have formatted the print version to feel correct.

So, in case you were publishing a book and wondering if it was worth shelling out the bucks for the hard galley copy, I would 100% recommend it.   We’re looking at approximately 3 weeks until this thing is officially released.  I can’t wait.

And in case you’re wondering, I AM ordering a new galley of the updated book.  You know, just in case.

Categories: Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.