Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

I almost, almost forgot … but how could I?  Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!  I hope you all had a little luck of the Irish and found some of that gold!!

XX,

Ash

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This Has Been A Wild Year

Nearly one year ago my life was completely and entirely different.  I was a wife, a puppy-parent, I worked 50 hours a week … and those things haven’t changed.  I’m still a wife, I still have my wild pack of Chihuahuas running my house and I still work 50 hours a week.  But now, in addition to all of those really fortunate things, I’m a published author — and that is a huge, really mind-bending accomplishment.

I spent yesterday reflecting on the changes the past 360-some-odd days have seen.  Everything from shedding self-doubt, to starting this blog, to really learning the flesh and bone nature of publishing.  In sum, I guess the only conclusion I can draw is that this has been a wild year.  One I’m thankful for beyond words … because this was a dream.

I’ll admit, this whole process looks very little like how I thought it would.  If you had told at the start of this I would be self published, I would have laughed.  Not because I think there is anything remotely wrong about with going it alone — but rather because it felt, in beginning, insurmountable.  Genuinely, I thought I’d have an agent, a contract, that The Milestone Tapes would hit store shelves far, far in the future.  But I can’t say I regret things working out like they did … actually, just the opposite.  I know so much more about this industry than I would have learned had things worked out differently.  And with that comes a sense of pride and faith — that I never need the agent or the publisher, that I can make own way with things and do it all in my own terms.

One of my favorite moments: This book that no one believed in — that every agent and every publisher turned away because it was a hard sale made the top 40 most requested books on Goodreads.

I want to thank you all, so much, for taking this journey with me … this, right now, is where it was always going.  The moment when The Milestone Tapes would be available on Amazon and Nook and a few bookstores … where I could say “okay, I did it … and now I’m ready for what comes next.”

Seriously … the followers of my blog, the comment contributors, have really made a difference.  I know I don’t say it enough … but your time and consistency have mattered to me more than you’ll ever really understand.

This has been a wild ride, but I can promise you it’s only beginning … I have more stories in me and I can’t wait to tell them.

Sincerely & With Love & Gratitude,

Ashley

Number 68 People, Number 68!

Tonight was one of those over-the-top, absolutely amazing, jump up and down and then scream wildly at the top of my lungs moments.  Only, I didn’t jump or scream, I’m still too sick for that nonsense — instead, I called my husband (who was out celebrating his win with is “old man” hockey team) … I told him to buy everyone a round on me, I was number 68 and I felt like celebrating.

I’m still on antibiotics and can’t drink, so I celebrated with some grape gatorade … whose jealous now?!  Watch out, I’m a real wild one.

Here’s how it happened …

My Goodreads giveaway is ending shortly, only three more days and then it’s done.  It’s been fun to watch the numbers climb, watching the trends and lags … tonight when I checked, I had finally broken the barrier into over a 1000 requests, that was my goal — my “wouldn’t be amazing if” when it came to the whole giveaway thing.

I get that everyone likes free stuff, but that was pretty cool nonetheless considering first time giveaways generally net around (according to the e-mail Goodreads sent me) 500 requests.  They, in all their wisdom, encourage a second giveaway where the average peaks to about 800 requests.  I have clearly smashed both of those numbers with my little book.

Then, I started getting curious … with my “1000+” requests … where did I rank in the “most requested” … so I found my novel, did some simple math and it came out to … the 68th most requested novel.

That’s when I got really excited.

The thing is, being an Indie Author is a lot of small accomplishments.  Quiet accomplishments.  More often than not it’s defined by the things you wanted and never got.  I wanted an agent … nope.  I wanted a publisher … nope.  I wanted to be taken seriously … that was lukewarm.  Until tonight, with my own steam and own work this is what I accomplished.

Right now, there are just shy of 1500 active giveaways … and to be honest, I’ve never ranked anywhere near that high in anything.  Not my high school class ranking, not alphabetically … you get where I’m going with this right?

What this had done is bigger than giving me a moment of sheer joy … it’s been the encouragement I needed to continue writing.  I’m knee deep into In The After … sometimes it’s harder to write than others. I’ve been sick, planning for our upcoming trip, distracted by the promotion for The Milestone Tapes … but I’ve been trying.  Now, I can’t wait to sit down to write and I cannot wait to see what this next book will do.

I cannot begin to put into words the gratitude I feel towards these people willing to take a chance on a first time writer.  Now, I know that the copies are free and there is nothing at stake for the people who signed up … but it matters to me that these independent readers even bothered to click on the cover and read the description.  I guess it’s really because of all those agents who considered this novel unsalable, they’re beginning to be proven wrong … I believed that this book would mean something to someone and I wasn’t wrong pushing forward with the project.  It’s validation … in short … of everything I believed in and everything I worked.

So, I’m climbing off my soapbox now … I just wanted to celebrate for a minute.

Kony 2012

Today I was all set to write a post on the importance of publicity … of how to get your name out there, organized …

Then, I saw a video.  And my plans, like plans sometimes do, changed.

Sometimes there are forces you cannot ignore … and this, for me, was one of them.  Grateful am I to have this little platform to raise awareness about the book publishing and writing … but even more than that, I am blessed to have the way into your lives to put a spotlight on bigger issues.  Today, I’m taking full advantage.

Joseph Kony.  You may have heard of him … or, maybe not.  I certainly hadn’t until a link to a very long YouTube video slipped into my in-box.

Who is he?  The one word answer?  A terrorist.  The long answer?  A soulless warlord who is fighting for nothing but power. His crimes?  Are against humanity.  His army?  A band of kidnapped children.  Girls become sex slaves.  Boys become murders.  And he becomes more powerful for the lives he snatches up and takes away.

This link below will answer all the questions you may have:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-vcqLnxcPA 

If you’re reading this … chances are you have a blog, a Facebook page, followers … what I’m asking is simple.  Stand on your soapbox and SCREAM.  We’re all in an interesting position, one we’ve created for ourselves … we have voices, we are not invisible.

What’s happen in Uganda is wrong … and now, it’s spreading.  I encourage you all to post the above link on your pages, tweet it, drive others to look, to watch, to see and ultimately to care.  At the end of the day, these are just children and they need help.

 

The In The After Cover Will Be ….

Number 4! 

It wasn’t a landside, Number 1 was a close contender followed by the others … but Number 4 was the one, at the end of the day that will bring this story home.

Your votes and opinions were incredibly helpful, I cannot thank you all enough!

It’s incredibly exciting to know what the face of the novel will be and it has helped me to refine the story, and allowed me to hone in on the most interesting undercurrent of them all.

Thank you again to all of you who voted!

xx,

Ash MP

So You’ve Written A Novel … Now What?

A while ago I announced that I would be working hand in hand with a dedicated publicist on the launch of my novel … unfortunately, plans have changed.  I will not go into the gory, bash-your-head-against-a-wall details, but I will say … it was not without sadness I had to reject the opportunity.

That’s the thing with being an independent writer or an independent business person in general … there is simply no forged path that you just blindly follow, sometimes plans have to change or rework themselves.  And you have to learn to roll with those punches, take the lumps as they come.  This, what happened to “Plan A”, was unavoidable … and I’m thankful to the kind soul who took their time to share an experience that changed my mind.

I ended up (somewhat frantically) trying to find a replacement promoter.  I knew that it was key to the success of my novel to invest myself and my time widely in promoting the book.

I ended up meeting Dorothy Thompson of Pump Up Your Book Tours … from the moment we spoke, I knew I could relax.

What Dorothy offers writers through her services is the chance to take a virtual tour.  Since most of us writers won’t go on a month long book tour, this is a happy medium.  Dorothy, like many other promoters, works to place you on blogs through guest posts, interviews, book reviews and features.  Where Dorothy differs is that she offers a guarantee.  That is a beautiful word when you’re thinking of using your marketing dollars.  Of course, naturally she doesn’t promise sales … but she promises that she will open the door for you.

Some of Dorothy’s connections feed into syndication … publications like USA Today, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Times and other coast to coast news outlets.  Another, was ranked both Google and Yahoo’s top blog.

If you’re looking for someone who will really work for you … and work hard, check Dorothy out!