Complete Ridiculousness

Maybe you’re a bibliophile.  Maybe you love the idea of rare, incredibly expensive novels lining the wooden shelves of your library.  Maybe you have money to burn.  Or, maybe you’re just ridiculous.

Yesterday I was cruising around on Amazon, checking out my book, my ranking, my reviews when I noticed a few online vendors had picked up The Milestone Tapes for their stores.  Amazing!  I was excited, so I clicked on the list.  99% were normal, prices were average for print.  Then … I came upon Invise.

Apparently Invise (with it’s 92% satisfaction rating) has decided my book is worth … make sure you’re sitting down when you read this … $888.00 + tax + shipping.  I had to laugh. If you buy a book for damn near $900.00 you can’t even get free shipping?  COME ON!

But in all seriousness … I think this is probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot of stupid in my day!).  NO ONE should ever pay that much for my book … and I’m almost embarrassed a seller has the balls to ask for that price.

I don’t know how Invise came up with this price … but however they did, they should really, really consider figuring out another method.

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A Little Something for Your Easter Basket

So, there is no such thing as the Easter Bunny.  I figured this out when my mom told me the same was true about Santa and the Tooth Fairy.  Bummer.  I mean … who doesn’t love the idea of a giant rabbit running around leaving candy?  But, it’s true … he doesn’t exist.

However, in the spirit of getting goodies I’ve decided to do something I haven’t done thus far … for one day only I am making The Milestone Tapes free for my readers and followers.  I’m the Easter Bunny this year!

From today (4/8) through tomorrow (4/9) The Milestone Tapes will cost you nada via Smashwords if you use the coupon code YR98A to make your purchase.

Enjoy your holiday and snag a copy currently ranking in at a full 5 stars on Amazon and a respectable 4.8 stars on Goodreads!

XX,

Ashley

World News, Quite A Happy Birthday!

I’ve been, maybe, the worst blogger in the history of the world.  I apologize (it feel’s like I’m always saying “sorry” here … sorry for that!) …

I just returned from a trip out west, the place where it all started for me.  365 days I stood on Rialto Beach and said “it’s time to figure my life out and live it authentically.”  I knew what that meant, where I needed to go and what I needed to do … now, I’m published.  It was a crazy year, but the accumulation of it couldn’t have been more justified … I needed to stand there again and feel the completion, the accomplishment.

Today, I turn 29.  The first year of writing has come and gone so quickly, I don’t really know whether to celebrate or cry because it was an amazing year, and I know I’ll never go back.  I’ll be that innocent again, or at things so simply.  It feels like I grew into this so quickly.

But here’s what’s crazy.

The day I turned 28, I decided to write a novel … the day I turn 29, I have an article about that novel feeding out of World News.  I don’t know if it gets better than that … it was a fluke of timing or the natural unfolding of things.  But either way, it’s amazing.

World News Article About The Milestone Tapes

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.

March 13, 2012

I remember the first time I sat down with my kindle and tried to read a self-published book.  I can’t remember the title or the name of the author because I never followed through and bought it, but I recall it being bad … as in, really bad.  It was a polarizing experience along with being a waste of time.  I started to believe, from one book, that all independent books were of equal quality.  And, I was wrong.  Very wrong.

The truth, some Indie choose to be Indie.  Some are forced into it by the closed-door policy of Legacy publishers.  Some are simply hobbyists by nature, writing in their free time and publishing on a whim when they can.

As my time with THE MILESTONE TAPES winds down, I’m in a place mentally where I can look back on the journey and see everything — all the good and bad for what it is and was and will always be.  I’m about to step off the cliff, I’m about to publish the book after 365 days of worry, stress, joy, sweat, tears.  This moment, right now, is everything I wanted and everything I worked for … to see it click together is, in a word, boggling.

I don’t know if I’ll always be an Independent.  I don’t know if I’ll sign up for this for my whole life or if someday I’ll decide to do things a different way.  But I do know, despite my original aspirations, I’m happy things worked out just as they did.  I can say with all honesty I have no regrets about how things turned out me and THE MILESTONE TAPES… there is a certain first-time charm that my mistakes, they were my own, and that the learning curve, though it has been steep and fraught with challenges, is the sum of my own accomplishments … and of all that, and it’s terrifying and beautiful.

I’ve said books aren’t babies … but I’m wrong.  They are every bit the child of the writer.  They are labors of love and patience, and you raise them … and then you send them out into the world.  I don’t know, knowing what I know now, if I could have done this any other way … with this book, I’m glad I held on to it, I think I needed to learn a lot before I could take myself seriously.  I don’t know if I could have given up control entirely … from the cover to the content and still felt tied in.  I don’t know if I was ready for that.

I find now that I can’t sleep.  I lay awake at night mentally preparing myself for pushing the “approve” button beside my title and letting it go on and do what it’s going to do.  I have fears … I scared I’m going to fail, scared that I wrong about this whole thing and that I made mistakes and my book sucks and I’m not ready for this at all.  What if no one likes it?  Horrified that this is the end of my time with THE MILESTONE TAPES … that’ll I never be able to go back and change this or add that or refine or rephrase.  I’m exhausted from the loop of self-doubt, and it’s holding me … which I absolutely hate.

But, at the same time, I’m oddly at peace.  Happy that I did it, that I told the story of the Chamberlands.  It was a dream … a total fluke inspired by a vacation.  I wasn’t destined to do this … but I did anyway.

So … I am going bravely into this new reality having fought my way through this publishing web.  THE MILESTONE TAPES will be published March 13th, 2012.

My Little World

This, I love ... my leaded glass book sign ... I feel very much like a bibliophile.

Everyone needs a little inspiration, right?
The computer … complete with Washington State

In my novel, THE MILESTONE TAPES, my protagonist Jenna is a writer.  And part of her world includes the most beautiful office, as she mused … it’s where she constructed worlds to perfect to really exist .

I think, when I writing the book that making Jenna’s world the way I did was almost purposeful since I had literally no dedicated work space myself.  I ultimately was living vicariously through my character.  And, of course, my desire for a space manifested itself into what I would consider the perfect home office for a writer.

I primarily wrote THE MILESTONE TAPES in two places … my bed and my kitchen table, but I also wrote on a plane, by the pool, on the couch and in a hotel room.  Obviously, not ideal.  But hey, whats a girl to do?  Build an office?  No … that’s what husbands are for 🙂

Last fall I left the house, off to another full 10 hour day at my “real-world” job.  It was a national holiday … so though I was working… my husband, Mark, had the day blissfully free.  Little did I know, I’d come home that night to the manifestation of my greatest wish … a real writers workshop in the comfort of a spare room.

So, I think since I’ve shared so much about writing … I should show you were I actually practice what I preach … This is where the magic happens

My little place in the world ... welcome to my writers enclave.

 

Writing, yes … it’s easier when you have a place to do it.  I’m more productive, less haphazard and happier in my office than anywhere else … though, I still find myself crunching out blogs and pages in bed or on the couch or anywhere I can.  But in my office, I can shut the world out for thirty minutes or six hours, I can be lost in the world I’m writing about … alone with my music and my story.

Since I live in Chicago and write about Washington, I’ve made a point of surrounding myself with things that smack of the Olympic Peninsula.  From the wall color down to the accents, it makes sense that even being far away I can feel connected and draw inspiration from what’s around me.

What's a writers office without a library?

This is where I get to tell stories!

 

 

Gold Star Stickers!

THE MILESTONE TAPES is now a “live” book on Goodreads and has been for a couple of weeks now.  I have a giveaway chugging along … and surprising, I already have two reviews.  How is that possible one might wonder, since neither of the reviewers have actually read the book. Girl, I don’t know!   But, I’m not really complaining … 5 stars are 5 stars … and 5 stars beside the title of your book is really a beautiful thing.  I’ll admit, when I noticed that my unpublished, never-been-read book had garnished such high accolades I was beside myself with happiness.  And then the amazing happened … a sudden upsurge of requests for those 5 lowly copies.

The almighty power of the review.  

Before I was a writer, I was a reader.  I channeled a lot of my energies with the written word into reviewing the works of others.  It got to the point where I would buy little known books just to take the chance … actually, that’s how I discovered THE HELP before it became the blockbuster success we know it to be now.  I am a lover of good stories … I’m not one to isolate myself by genre, or by author.  I am an equal opportunity reader … always have been.  Reading made me a writer … it wasn’t the other way around.

Tonight on The Kindleboards an author posed an interesting question about 1-star reviews tanking the sales of his books.  As writer, I cannot speak to that because I have no idea and zero experience … but as a reader, I’m well versed.

Like it or not … in our lifetimes as writers, we will have the ultimate fail … the 1-star review.  And, it’ll sting because that is so NOT what we wanted to see about our beautiful little book.  But, I want to explore WHY 1-star reviews are important to our careers.

As a reader, I’ll own it, I’ve given 1-star reviews.  And when I do, they come in two forms.

The first being the analytical 1-star.  The prose of book is wrong, there are grammatical errors that I cannot read through, the story fumbles all over itself and loses the momentum.  These complaints are technical at heart.

Then, of course, there is the personal 1-star.  This is the 1-star based on the life experience of the reader, totally and entirely personal through the eyes and baggage of an individual.  As my favorite quote on reading goes … we bring ourselves to the books we read.

Example Number 1: 

Early last year I read, okay — half-read — a book that was wildly popular at the time.  I could barely make it to the 30% of the book before I had to cry UNCLE.  I simply could not follow the story … and no, I’m not dense, dumb or stupid.  The writing was a mash-up of here, there and everywhere.  I couldn’t keep up with the writer’s mind and ergo, her prose was wasted on me.  The book, in my opinion, faltered on a very basic level … keep the reader reading.

This was my review:

I bought this book with the best of intentions and struggled through the first few chapters keeping my fingers crossed that I hadn’t just wasted money. I wanted to like this book, honestly, I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise…but sometimes you just have to admit defeat. TITLE DELETED, while covering a very interesting, very relevant subject matter, is severely lackluster. The writing doesn’t capture the reader, and the author jumps from one era to the next leaving the reader feeling very disjointed. 

I’m sure, at some point, the story picks up…but I never made it there, unfortunately. And so the book is abandoned in my Kindle…oh well. 

If you’re looking for a good mystery, try one of Gillian Flynn’s books instead. Either Sharp Objects or Dark Places is a much more easily digested read with solid character/reader connections.

Example Number 2: 

Again, last year I read a book that I devoured in one day.  The writing was concise, crisp and the story line was impressively short for the scale of events covered.  Then, I finished and gave the book the almighty 1-star review.  This, was personal.  I liked the story, I’ve read works by the author before and enjoyed them immensely … but the writer failed me when it came to the characters and her development of them.  The story was deep — like heavy and dark — the way a reader would inhale that is through the characters … but the characters weren’t fleshed out and so the story sort of fell to pieces.

This was my review:

This book is all steak, but no sizzle. I missed the sizzle. 

I read this book, start to finish, in one day. It was the type of story that a reader will undoubtably find hard to put down…you simply **need** to know what happens next. So, for the that reason alone, this book is a consumable read, and it won 1 stars. But, if it was worthy of an entire day’s focus, why not 5? Here is why.. 

Good books, really, really good books make you *feel* for the characters. You fall in love with them, and that is the sizzle a novel can stand upon. The ability for a character to shine, good writing or bad, happy ending or sad, is what I describe as a literary gravity–they pull you in and don’t let you go, even after the final page. 

AUTHOR NAME REMOVED wrote a book with potential. She created a web of characters whom are relevant and modern. AUTHOR NAME REMOVED created drama, passion, heartbreak and a pinch of redemption. It was a pretty solid recipe when it comes to Chick Fic. 

But… 

AUTHOR NAME REMOVED fails to make you *love* the characters and she rushed the book along at a pace, while enticing and page turning, leaves much, much, much to be desired. The relationships don’t build and blossom, they have more a cold/hot tendency…the characters are “here” then “there” and the reader is just expected to keep up. So, eventually when you do reach the major turning points for these characters, you’re not as emotionally involved and devastated and relieved as you could have been had more focus been given to the “sizzle”. It makes it borderline unbelievable. Huge chunks of this story are missing, and it is in those chunks that your connection, as the reader, to the book would have been built. 

At the end of the novel when I was thinking about this review, I felt like AUTHOR NAME REMOVED either burnt out or was under a deadline. She simply doesn’t provide enough “time” in her book to do the job 100%. It wasn’t BAD, and I’m not trying to convey that…I’m simply saying it was LACKING in a key way.

The really interesting thing is that the reviews I get the most “likes” on … the ones that actually DO influence browsers to either become a reader or pass on the book, are the PERSONAL ones.  You wouldn’t think so … but, that’s how mine break down (caveat: I am not trying to create a bell-curve here, folks :))

I don’t relish giving bad reviews.  I wish every book I read was a smash that made me feel like it was true literary greatness, but unfortunately, that just doesn’t happen to be the case.  But, as a writer, I see the value in honesty … as a reader, I appreciate the candor of those who came before.  It’s where we can learn to be better and work harder.  It’s pivotal to ongoing success.  A 1-star view is an opportunity cost.

The same author started another thread about how to react to the 1-star review … and … his response actually startled me some …

I call the author who refuses to find merit and value in 1-star reviews the “gold-star-seeker” … remember in elementary school how every paper and every homework assignment came home with a the gold star?  Well, that was then and this is now … but some people refuse to outgrow that stage and feel genuinely slighted when their best isn’t good enough.  They are, at heart, very literal beings … 1-star = bad … 5-star = amazing.

Since there seems to be a fair bunch of “new writers” who follow this blog, I thought I’d touch on etiquette for a moment.

In the “real world” if a company selling a product gets a bad review, it’s rather nice of them to reach out and make it right.  A free meal, a replacement, a sincere apology … making it right comes in all forms.  With writing, the response is supposed to be entirely different.  An author should never ever never engage a reviewer.  Don’t you dare offer a refund, suggest they return the book, comment on their shitty taste in good literature  … the best thing to do is to actually to do NOTHING.  Mum is really the word here … doing anything else is such a turn off.

Bad reviews, they will come … along with the good ones and the mid-list ones as well.  They will chew you up from the inside out … that’s for sure.  But if you can take away something brilliant from them–something that makes you a better author, a better story-teller, then they truly can become gold-stars and tend to be more valuable than all the kudos in the world.  Learn from the bad reviews, appreciate the reader who took the time to be frank and honest with you.  Figure out how you can change what you did wrong and spin it into what you’ll do right moving forward.

If you can … you deserve a gold star for that shit 🙂

What To Expect When You’re Expecting

 No … silly writers … this isn’t a pregnancy post!  This is a business post.  I want to discuss what you should expect when you’re expecting something book related … anything book related.

As a writer, an independent writer, you’re not just writing books for the sport of it … you’re running a business.  You’re producing a product in your bed or office or at the kitchen table.  It’s a product that will be bought and sold for years to come and it should, in a perfect world, rise up to meet your expectations of it.  And, chances are, you’ll end up outsourcing some of the tasks involved in the production of that product.  It’s the loss of control that’s extremely hard …

For me, this was equal parts of exhausting and rewarding. When you hand over your vision as well as your money, you are taking a chance — no one knows that better than a virgin-writer with no real connections and zero experience. There are no lily-pads in your pond to hop from. As I prepare to get the second book really moving, and align myself for the best success possible in terms of time management and output, I think taking a hard look at what to expect when you’re expecting is a pretty important thing.

I’m pretty much a pacifist.  I’m easy going, I try my hardest to be nice to everyone I meet and I’m fairly level headed in terms of my expectations.  I might go so far as to say I have a perfectionist streak in my ideals … but I’m not impossible please.  Many, many of my business dealings were amazing, having the resources at my finger tips to ask the important questions and establish a bell-curve of expectations was priceless … but it wasn’t flawless.  I was new, green and fumbling as I like to say, and I had to learn a lot of things … hard things … but with any education, there is growth and … believe it or not … I’m actually sort of thankful for the moments that had me pulling my hair out, because they taught me more for the next endeavor.

1. The people you hire actually do work for you!

I can remember one instance where I was working with someone … going back and forth, “yesing” and “noing” a certain thing over and over and over again … it started to feel like a tennis match of sorts, with this certain thing bouncing between us with no points being scored.  The fun of it was lost in the inability to match up our minds and communicate effectively.  In the end, the person I was working with just e-mailed a few options and pretty much threw her hands up in the air.  That was discouraging.

When you’re paying someone to do a job, what you get in return for your money should be what you were expecting and nothing less than that.  If you’re sensing a mental break-down, either from you or your contractor, take a break.  Shoot off an e-mail and be nice about it, explain that you’re going to take 12 or 24 or 48 hours to think it over.  In the grand scheme of things, the cooling off period won’t make a difference in the timeline … but it may make all the difference in the end result.

Don’t be afraid to say “that’s not quite right” … it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.  When you’re working over e-mail, things can get lost in the communication process, and that’s not really anyones fault.  If you can disguise a criticism as a kudos … even better.  Pick one thing you love and start with that.  Remember to say thank you … that’s important!

Let your contractor know, upfront, what your expectations are.   Don’t roll in during the 11th hour with X,Y&Z … be concise upfront and hopefully, in return, you’ll get the same.

2. Be kind … but firm …

This is sort of piggybacking off of point number one.  But remember, the people you’re working with have lives too.  Be aware that people get sick … that accidents and emergencies arise.  If something like this happens, because it does happen, be nice about it … but let them know that you’re still expecting the work done by such-and-such a date.

3. Work out a contract … and don’t be afraid to ask for a signature!

As a writer, you’ll be asked to sign contracts all the time.  Have one to offer back in return.  It’s an extra step, I know, but when you’re working online with someone you don’t know and you’re sending them your money and freely discussing a novel that isn’t copyrighted, it’s smart to safe guard yourself.  There are tons of online resources that will help you flesh one out … but use it, and keep them filed away by book (if you have more than one).

The primary thing to remember on this front is that until you have some safe guard, you’re wide open.  If you don’t mind that, don’t worry.  For me, however, I worry and so I mind.  I didn’t have contracts on the first go around, I signed some, but never had one in return.  I’ll be a better business woman the next time around.

Key components to remember if you’re going to draw up a contract are:

1. All business dealings should be kept quiet.  The world is a small place.  One disgruntled contractor could sour your good name.  People do this all the time in the name of privacy … you should too.

2. What does the purchasing said work entitle you too?  For a cover … that’s easy.  You want access to use the cover for any and all book related events and swag.  Don’t be blindsided by limitations.

3. Speaking of covers … companies like Createspace has minimum DPI’s you need have for printing … the magic number is 300.  Make sure your artist is aware of that can can create a cover using that as a launch pad.

4. Confirm the price up front.  Whatever the service, make sure that you have a base line fee that won’t be changed last minute … those sort of surprises are awful, even when it’s not that much money.

5. Have an opt out!  This is an uncomfortable thing to approach … but the truth is, people do misrepresent themselves.  If you have the feeling you’re getting run-around or the excuses are piling on, have a built-in escape hatch.  Spell that out.  A settlement fee a portion of the cost is fair … but don’t feel trapped by someone else … ever!

6. Anything else that creates worry or stress for you.

4. Establish a timeline 

My first time looked a lot like a hot mess.  I was a mess.  No directionality at all.  This time around, my timeline tentatively looks like the below:

-Write (MS finished and self-editted by April)

-In Appointment with Editor NOW — as in January.

-Converse With My Cover Artist Mid-Feb for image for cover

-Book Goes To Editor In April

-Book Returns In May/Make Corrections

-Apply For Copyright

-Book Goes To Formatter In June/Cover Artist Does Spine and Back

-Book Is Published in July

Will those dates change?  OF COURSE THEY WILL.  But, it holds me accountable to a time table.  I obviously don’t have a publisher breathing down my neck for my next book … and to keep it sort of organized, I set the goals and reward myself if I finish on time or better yet, ahead of time.  Expect set backs but learn to be your own boss, hold yourself accountable.

5. Be calm in the face of crisis

When I was writing THE MILESTONE TAPES I realized that I had totally and completely plagiarized an entire chunk of the book.   Sucks to be me.  That was what I consider a crisis.  But, I did the old … keep calm and carry on … thing.  It worked out fine … but just know, shit will happen … be okay with that, be prepared for that.

So … writers … be excited when you’re expecting … but be smart about expecting as well!

P.S: Don’t forget to enter THE MILESTONE TAPES GIVEAWAY!!

 

 

 

 

 

Publicity and All That Jazz

I’ve been a bad blogger lately … and I’m sorry.  This blog has been painfully slow as I try to balance writing my second novel with putting the finishing touches on The Milestone Tapes.  I apologize and I’ll try to be better.

Before we jump into this latest post, I have a little housekeeping to do.

1. Please, please, please remember to sign up for the The Milestone Tapes Giveaway!  We have just under a month left!  More information can be found here under the “books and events” page!  Thanks for your continued support as we round third towards home.

2. I’ve finally, thank you Jesus, broken the curse of writers block.  Abandoning my initial idea allowed me to tell a story I’ve been haunted by for years.  Like with THE MILESTONE TAPES, IN THE AFTER will hit close to home for me as I explore what it means to really be a friend in the darkest of hours.  IN THE AFTER, unlike with THE MILESTONE TAPES, is a morbid story that will ping directly into current events and hopefully put a looking-glass over the definition of spousal abuse and the ricochet effect it has on relationships.

Okay … now, onto the topic …

Yesterday I posed a question on the Kindleboards about whether a new author would be better served going Select or if they should branch out into the wider distribution of B&N, Smashwords and the like.  I also mentioned that I had hired a publicist to work with me on the launch.

While some people stayed on topic, hashing out the highs and lows of Select … others broke off into the idea of a new author using a publicist to spread the word of their release.

I was told that with one novel my success will be nil and that it’s only with the what I do next that I will see what kind of author I meant to become … of course, I’m paraphrasing, but more or less, that was the gist.  That, rather than investing time and money into my first book, I should be killing myself for the second — dedicating every waking minute available to seeing the second novel through to completion.  Of course, this was from authors will multiple books in their signatures.  I was told that I should just publish, publish, publish … and if, in a year or so, I decide my work reads as “amateurish” … I can always pull particular works down.

…Ummm….

As I’ve said … over and over again … I’m not a seasoned vet, rather, I’m a first timer with no back-list and yes, that puts me a real disadvantage.  Everything I publish will be from the moment, and I will give to it all I can manage.  I won’t ever have the luxury of being a fast and furious author.  If I can publish one a year, I’m doing good.  Each book will come from its own place, literary fiction doesn’t lend itself well to sequels by the nature of it being.  And, the audience of literary fiction is an interesting bunch itself.  There is a set expectation of a book that is written for the genre … and it’s different from YA or SciFi or Romance.

So … let me tell you why I’m still going ahead as planned …

THE MILESTONE TAPES, draft one, was finished in August — or rather — five months ago.  I’ve held on to it now for longer than it took to write.

The editing of THE MILESTONE TAPES was completed November — or rather — nearly three months ago and I’ve still kept it to myself.

The cover, number two that is, was finished in November as well, for three months I’ve stared at it.  But, cover number one was completed in October.

The formatting for THE MILESTONE TAPES was finished earlier this month — I have the proof in hand and it’s flawless, but still, I haven’t clicked “publish”.

Why?

Because it’s not ready. The book in and of itself is as good as it ever will be … and its publishable material.  As I write this entry, the truth is, I could be a published author.  I could have had THE MILESTONE TAPES up for sale for nearly a week now.  Heck, I could have slapped a cover on it and it could have been for sale months ago … but that isn’t my style.  That’s not what I wanted for this story and it won’t be what I want for any story that shall follow… and that’s not how I’m going to step into the publishing world now or ever.

When a Big Six publishes a book there is hoopla.  It gives an author — new or old — a presence.  This mantra of letting the pot boil is one that was honed by trial and error.  They obviously know what works when it comes to launching a book and meeting sales quotas.  I, do not.  But, to my credit, I’m a researcher.  I was a reader long before I was a writer and I that sort of branches out into my quest to get it right.

The irony is, is that when an indie author grumbles about poor sales … the first thing that is often suggested or commented on is promotion.  Why?  Because it’s a way to get the word out, inspire interest, cultivate excitement … as the Big Six regularly do.  In the case of sluggish sales, either the author didn’t do enough or didn’t manage to target the correct areas.  But, in my mind (and to quote Larry the Cable Guy) … that’s like checking on your burgers after they’re burnt.  It’s an after the damage is done kind of thing.  New books have a short shelf life before they become old books.  Strike while the iron is hot is my personal philosophy.  Make as much of that moment as you can, give yourself every opportunity possible and you’ll never wonder what if.

With all of that said, I also know that everyone is on their own journey.  That what works for one may not work for another.  So, rather than make blanket statements about what you must do … I think it’s more pertinent to encourage all options.  Success comes in many forms … and that path too it is often different and designed by an individual.

So … now it’s question time … as a new author, what did you do to spread the word?  🙂