Victoria’s Promise Pre-Order

I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that Victoria’s Promise is now available. The bad news is that it’s only available for pre-order at this time.

I really wanted to have the book ready to go by the end of March, but I don’t want to cheat anyone by pushing it out before it’s completely ready.  I learned that I had made a slight mistake about some of the history mentioned in my book, and I just wanted a couple of extra weeks to clean it up before I release it on April 30.

As a way of apologizing for keeping you all waiting, I’ve listed it at .99 cents during the pre-order and will keep it at that price for a limited time before bumping it up to its regular price of $2.99.

Thank you all for your patience. I’m doing everything in my power to make sure this book is worth the wait!

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The Sound of Silence

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I recently had the pleasure of spending time with a group of aspiring writers who had gathered to discuss the ins and outs of self-publishing, and the conversation really made me take a deep look inside myself. We chatted about finding story ideas, “Pantsers” vs. “Plotters,” self-publishing vs. traditional, and so much more.  But the number one topic that everyone kept coming back to was Reviews.

They talked about some of the terms that I see tossed about in different writers’ forums: spite reviews, review trolls, and one-star “bullies,” to name just a few. Listening to them, I got this crazy mental picture of new books being covered in bacon grease and tossed into a wading pool full of piranhas. These writers have allowed their fear of bad reviews to paralyze them; some of them are afraid to take the next step because they have convinced themselves that doing so will place them in the crosshairs of some maniacal Bad Review Ninja Squad out to destroy them.

Later, I sat down and really examined my own feelings and fears about feedback on my work.  I only have three books out there. So far, I’ve been very lucky that all gotten a few decent reviews, other than a one-star from a fellow who felt that the dialogue in one book was like was reading a Q&A article rather than a novel.  Ouch.  But . . . I am more careful with my dialogue now, so it was a productive experience.  Dude made a valid point.

There’s a lot of negativity out there for writers to deal with.  Rejection letters, bad reviews, sales rankings that can plummet by thousands of points after just a few days without sales.  I am slowly building up a thick skin and learning to accept that these things are part of the package deal that comes with putting my words out there for the world to see. Every day, I get a little bit better at smothering my insecurities.

But there’s one thing that still gets under my ever-thickening skin.

Silence.

Like any new author, I tend to check my statistics obsessively.  I know exactly when I sell a book, and in which market.  I know which blog posts get the most hits, which categories get the most traffic. And when I get a “like” or a comment on my blog from someone I look up to, I do an impromptu happy-dance that sometimes makes my six year-old ask if I need to use the potty.

But I start pacing the floor over . . . nothing.

Logically, I understand that most readers do not leave reviews.  I can be logical about it and accept the fact that most authors never hear a word from the majority of the people who read their books. To paraphrase one side of a common argument among self-published writers on Amazon: Reviews are for other readers, not for the writers.

Unfortunately for me, my insecurities don’t listen to logic.  My self-doubts thrive on the absence of feedback, good or bad.  It’s not that I need heaps of praise; my self-worth is not dependent on hearing strangers sing my praises.  It’s just that selling a handful of books and hearing nothing feels like a verdict of, “meh, I read it. So, what’s for lunch?”

So I’d like to hear from some of the other, more experienced writers out there. I know the first bit of advice is to start working on the next book.  I’m already half-way there, with a secret baby, an ex-soldier, and a brutal Michigan winter. But beyond that, how do you interpret the silence? How do you deal with the nagging self-doubts that come with it?

How do you deal with the worry that your book is like the proverbial tree falling in the forest with no one there to hear it?

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

Milestones

I’ve passed an awful lot of milestones in the past few weeks.  My two-hundredth post.  My second anniversary on WordPress.  The anniversary of the day my marriage ended.

Oh, and I published my second book.

Sort of.

First things first.  I started blogging because I wanted to get into the habit of writing on a regular basis.  I wanted to stretch my writing muscles, so to speak.  Treat myself as a professional so that others would do the same.  I promised myself it wouldn’t become a Writing Blog, because only other writers read Writing Blogs, and other writers aren’t my target audience.

That went out the window pretty quickly.  Although this still isn’t truly a writing blog, and I write about a variety of subjects other than writing, I have to say that I like other writers.  They encourage me.  They build me up.  They push me when I need a push and offer words of sympathy when I’ve been pushed too hard.   In short, they know what I’m going through.  Either that, or they know they will someday go through what I’m going through, and that scares the hell out of them.

I’ve gotten a little cocky about my blog.  I’ll admit it; sometimes I can get pretty full of myself.  Sorry about that.  There’s something intoxicating about gaining followers and getting “likes” or even comments from people I don’t know.  The first time I saw one of my blog posts shared on the Facebook page of someone I’d never met, I very nearly peed myself out of sheer excitement.

Well, that’s not saying much, actually.  I’m a middle-aged woman who gave birth to three 10-pound children. I pee myself over just about anything at this point.

At any rate, I can’t believe I have stuck with this for two whole years or that I’ve managed to write two hundred posts.  And even more than that, I can’t believe people have actually read those two hundred posts!

If I’m going to be perfectly honest with myself, I know that about 20% of my blog’s followers are spammers.  Either that or my blog is really popular in Indonesia.

My friends, neighbors, and family make comments about my blog, wondering if they are going to show up in it.  When I recently mentioned my daughter’s boyfriend, I overheard her telling him that he would soon have a nickname on the blog as well (I’m thinking about Prince Charming, but still working on it).  When the local librarian asks me to speak at an author’s night, or the grocery store clerk calls out across the store that she loved my book, I start to think of myself as a celebrity.  I start strutting.

Believe me, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a short, fat woman with a crooked neck strut.  It is truly a sight to behold.

Then it becomes a sight one tries desperately to forget.

Then there’s the whole divorce thing.  He’s a good man, I don’t hate him, and we are both different people than we were one year ago.  It’s been an awful year and a great year, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Of course, now I have to think about dating.  Then I have to think about the whole short, fat, crooked neck strutting business again, and I get so nervous and excited that I have to pee, so I don’t think I’m ready to worry about dating just yet.  Honestly, I’m not sure my bladder is up to the challenge.

And I wrote another book.

That’s huge.  I’m so damned excited I think I could just – oh, never mind.

Two years ago, I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to finish my first book.  I didn’t know then that I was going to take a shot at self-publishing or turn my little book into a series.    I had no idea I was going to learn as much as I have learned.

Now for the “sort of” part.

I put His Heart Aflame up as a pre-order through Amazon and Draft2Digital.  What that means is that I am very happy with it just as it is BUT . . . .I want to give myself a little wiggle room for proofreading and editing before I actually publish it.  I have until midnight on December 9 to upload any last-minute changes.  After that, it is out of my hands until December 20, when it will be released for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and more.

As I go back over it, I keep finding little things to fix.  Like the fact that I kept writing “four-poster be” instead of “four-poster bed.”  Every single time.  I don’t know why, but at least I’m consistent.

Or the fact that I decided that Ethan, from Her House Divided, needs to be more involved with this book.  And I can’t believe I never mentioned the nosy, busybody Hyde sisters!  Oh, no, no – characters that are that much fun simply must make an appearance, no matter how brief.

And when I’m done, really really done with it, it will be time to start Book #3 in my Beach Haven series.

Right after I take a pee break.

Or two.

Kindling

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I may have just done something really stupid and impulsive.  Or something courageous and bold.  I’m not certain just yet.

Blame it on my ADHD and the poor impulse control that goes along with it.  Or blame it on my impatience or over-inflated writer’s ego.  Perhaps I just thought I needed one more thing to stress about in my already stressed-to-the-max life.

I just self-published my book through Amazon.

Let me explain.  You see, I always believed that self-publishing was a last resort for writers who weren’t good enough to publish through traditional channels.  And let’s be honest:  there are a lot of really bad self-published e-books out there that support this theory.  Books with poor plotting, clichéd characters, bad grammar and zero proofreading.  Books that make me want to weep for the literary future of our world.

But after a few glasses of wine and way too much time alone with the internet on a Saturday night, I started rationalizing.  After all, John Grisham started out by self-publishing.  So did Beatrix Potter.  No one can deny their talent, right?

Some of today’s most successful writers are self-published, I reasoned.  And while I’m no fan of E.L. James or Cassandra Clare, I have to agree that it obviously worked out very well for them.

So I poured another glass of Piesporter and read a bit more about how to publish through Kindle Direct Publishing.

I thought about one of the first bloggers I followed when I started here on WordPress.  He is undeniably talented; his books have really taken off through Amazon.   But he posted multiple updates on his blog every day, telling us about reviews and sales ranking and free promotional deals and so on until I finally stopped following him.  I was getting totally stressed out about his books.

As I moved on from Piesporter to my $4.00 bottle of Arbor Mist last Saturday night, I wondered if it would be possible to publish through Amazon and talk about it here in my blog without chasing away of any of my followers.  After all, I started blogging because I wanted to reach the point where I can make a steady living as a writer.  Isn’t my blog supposed to be part of my “platform”?

So, long story short, I played around with my computer and managed to overcome my considerable computer-ese shortcomings, and uploaded Her House Divided as a self-published Romance novel available on Kindle.  I’ve done no marketing yet, so I don’t expect huge sales.  I don’t know anything about reviews or Goodreads or any of those avenues for publicity, but I will soon.  At this point, I am still doing this as a learning experience.

Over the next few weeks, I will be working out a marketing strategy to boost sales of my book.  For right now, however, I am still trying to figure out a few formatting issues while I learn the ropes of self-publishing.

Whether I succeed or not, I have to say that it’s been a lot of fun so far.  Pretty cool seeing my name on the cover of a book.

Pretty cool, indeed.