Promoting my newly published book

 

Good Morning! It is Monday. Did you have a good weekend? Ready for this week’s blog?

Things have been crazy with me lately. My day job has been going through a lot of change and transition.  It has been taking a lot of my time and energy away from getting other things done at home. I know the hard work I’m putting in there now, will lead to things being better in the future and will eventually lead to more time for writing and book promotion.

I normally don’t mention much about my day job on my blog because try to keep it separate from my writing side of life. But, there are times when the full time job does impact how much time I have to work on my craft. I am only one person trying to make both of these important things and others happen in my life. Why do I bring this up? Trying to balance the demands of the job and working on my passion, writing and promoting my newly published book, is challenging. My job has made pursuing my writing possible, so I will do what is needed to do things well there. With all of the energy it is taking right now, though, it is kind of bumming me out. I’m so excited to work on my writing and promoting, but I’m not having as much time and energy to put towards it.

I’m not the only one who struggles with this issue. Many writers work full time jobs to follow their passion to write. Writing and book promotion take time. You don’t become a best selling author overnight. I have faith it will all happen, I just need to do what I can to keep things moving forward so I can feel that I’m making progress on the writing side of my life too.

So, if you are trying to do this writing thing with a full time job, my advice is to be patient and keep working at it. Having your plate full of other activities will make the writing journey a little more challenging, but worth it when you are actually holding a copy of the published book in your hands. And it does feel good to see copies of your book being sold on Amazon. Even if the numbers are small, right now.

Be sure to pick up your copy of The Hard Way! It is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and e-book. Hey, it is an opportunity for me to plug my book! I had to take it!

The Hard Way Thumbnail

Here is the link! The Hard Way

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National Novel Writing Month 2016

Guess what I’ll be doing in November! Nanowrimo!

Those of you in the novel writing world have probably heard of National Novel Writing Month. According to Wikipedia, it is an annual, Internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words (their minimum number of words for a novel) from November 1 until the deadline at 11:59PM on November 30. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing and keep them motivated throughout the process.

It winds up being an average of 1667 words per day. You can do more or less depending on your schedule, but to win, you need to have 50,000 by the end of the day on November 30th. Last year I think I had my 50,000 on November 24th, a couple of days before Thanksgiving. But continued to write to finish the draft of the story.

I participated last year and won with approximately 63,000 words and a rough draft of the sequel to The Hard Way called The Bully’s Way. This year’s novel is called The Street’s Way, which will be the third book in this series. Same characters continuing their story lines. Be sure to look for these books coming soon.

If you are also participating in Nano and want another buddy, I am in as SelmaPVerde. It is a great motivator to get the draft done and a fun activity to participate in with other authors on their writing journies.

The Secret Pond – Chapter 3 – Sally

Even with the editing and reworking of the story line that I’m doing, writing the story as I go is challenging for me. I don’t know if you have heard of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.) If not and you are a fiction writer, you should check it out. They have events throughout the year, but their annual event occurs in November. I won in November 2015  by writing at least 50,000 words during the month. It lead to me having a rough draft of my second middle grade novel, The Bully’s Way, done and ready for first round edits.

While participating in NaNoWriMo, they have two categories that writers tend to fall into and it is based on how they create their works. Some writers are known as pansters (ones that write by the seat of their pants) and others as planners (ones that outline and plan what they are going to write). I tend to be more of a planner, but do some of my initial work as a panster. A true panster may have better luck at writing this story the way that I am. Thanks for hanging in there with me guys. It has been challenging, but a good exercise for me to battle through.

I need to remember that I am writing for me first. I want people to enjoy what I write, but that can’t always be my motivation to type the words and create the stories. Even though the writing journey may be challenging, it also needs to bring out my passion to write for me and my readers.

Chapter 3 – Sally

When Sally got back to the house, she ran up to her room. She could hardly wait to write about her adventures with Lila today. From seeing the turtle to finding a nest of baby warblers. The mama bird had the nest hidden underneath the low hanging branches of one of the jack pines in the woods. Sally decided to look up some information about warblers and found out they are endangered birds. She decided she would keep an eye on and take extra care of them. 

She took out her yellow notebook and started to write. She took what actually happened and added some of the story she created with Lila’s fairy character. 

Lila wanted to go and see the unicorn so bad today, but it was a little far for us to go with the chance of rain popping up all afternoon. I told her we would try to get there sometime this week. Then we started talking about the turtle.

We went to the pond last week and learned that we had a new neighbor move in. There was a snapping turtle swimming in the pond. We named her Gloria. When we walked by her today, she was in the process of burying the eggs she just laid. We waited on the path far enough away from her to not startle her. She stopped for a moment to make sure we were just watching and continued to build the protection around her eggs. We are so excited to see the babies after the eggs hatch.

Sally closed her notebook and placed it on her bed. She thought about Lila and was feeling sad about having to leave her when she went off to school. Coming to school with her wouldn’t be what Lila would want, but Sally didn’t want to leave her here alone either. She didn’t want her to feel the loneliness that she felt for such a long time.

She loved to share her stories with Abigail. Maybe Abigail could take care of Lila while she was at school. Sally thought maybe she could bring Abigail to the pond and show her around? Sally had always seen it as her secret place though, and didn’t know if she wanted anyone else to know about it. But something told her that she could trust Abigail.

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The next morning, after getting dressed and grabbing her backpack, she went downstairs to the family library where she and Abigail met for her lessons. The room was located at the end of the hallway and was two stories tall. It  was one of the tallest rooms in the house with the walls lined with shelves and filled with books from floor to ceiling. It was decorated in rich dark browns and reds. When Sally walked in, Abigail was reading a book at the long wood table in the middle of the room.

“Hi Abigail. What are you reading?”

Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickins.”

“Do you like it?”

“It’s pretty good. It was one of the books here in the library. I’ve been picking one out of the collection each week to read.”

She stood up from the table and closed the book.

“Should we get started?” She asked.

“Sure,” Sally replied.

“I thought we’d would start with math and get your least favorite one out of the way. Did you fill in those tables I gave to you yesterday?”

“Sure did. Stayed up pretty late to get them done.”

“Let’s see how you did.”

Sally nodded her head as she pulled the paper out of her folder and handed it to Abigail. She took out her red pen and began to touch each of the squares with it as she checked the numbers. Sally held her breath until Abigail was done.

“Looks like someone is finally getting the hang of this. Nice job Sally. Now I’d like to give you some problems to solve using the information in these tables.”

“O.k.,” Sally replied.

They both sat down next to each other at the table and Sally started working on the problems that Abigail had given her to do. After about an hour, Abigail sat back in her chair.

“You have really started to retain this information. That will be enough math for now. How about you read one of your stories to me?”

“O.k,” Sally replied and pulled her  yellow notebook out of her bag, “I’ll read you the one I wrote yesterday by the pond.”

“What pond?” Abigail asked.

Sally stopped. It was her secret pond. She wasn’t sure she was ready to tell anyone about it yet. She did think about telling Abigail yesterday though. Then she sighed. She had to tell her now.

“There’s a pond back by the stone wall in the woods. It is a secret place that Lila and I have been going to on our adventures,” she replied, sounding a little defeated.

 “I kind of wondered where you wandered off to after our sessions. Is it someplace that you can take me to? I would love to see where you and Lila explore.”

“I guess I can do that,” she replied starting to perk up.

“How about after our lessons today?”

“Sure,” Sally replied, kind of excited to share her secret place with Abigail.

“So, are you going to share your story with me?”

“Yes,” she said.

Sally opened up her notebook and started to read her story about Gloria. She hoped that Abigail would see her when they went to the pond today.

A Girl is building her writing house

We finally wound up with a weekend the boys didn’t have any weekend baseball tournaments and I wasn’t on call for my day job. So, I took some vacation time, made it a long weekend, and we were able to get away from the day-to-day life in the city. As we got closer to the day we were going to leave, I was hoping the trip would help me rejuvenate and refocus my energies towards my writing.

Status of my writing this past week starts with baseball, baseball, baseball. Love the sport and to watch the boys play, but between that and some personnel changes at work, finding time to work on my WIP edits has been nearly impossible. I’m so excited to get working on them and not being able to is creating some additional stress.

I’m not the type of person who procrastinates on getting things done. I make a plan and  figure out a way to get it done. I thrive on making progress towards goals. For me to get started on this project, I seem to be looking for a good time with a lot of quality writing time. I have a feeling this approach is going to get me into trouble. I probably won’t find what I’m looking for. Normally I’m able to put that kind of time into my schedule here and there. I currently do this when I work on my blog or writing platform during my lunch breaks. At this point of my life it seems almost impossible to find enough of those times.

When I think about what is going on with me right now, I do have more responsibilities at work. My home life has some big changes coming soon. Most of which we weren’t planning on doing right now. Don’t worry, none of it is bad, just stressful because it is all coming to us at once. So again, my writing goes on the back burner as my energies are spent in other places.

It isn’t as if I didn’t write at all this weekend. I wrote a preliminary blog post for Monday Morning (this one that you are reading right now). And, I was working on an online writing workshop through one of my Facebook groups to improve the views and content of my WordPress site. I know the work put into it will help my writer’s platform for future marketing initiatives.

With all of that being said, the editing on my manuscript still is not getting done.

Most writers are not fortunate enough to be able to write as a full time career. Many are in the same boat that I am, having to write while working another job. Add family life on top of that and it makes me one busy person. There are many books and seminars on setting priorities and creating manageable plans to get tasks done. Sometimes creating and following those plans has worked for me. Then there are times like this when those plans just can’t fight off the challenges brought on by every day life. So, I wind up dropping that plan and start taking care of the immediate issues at hand.

Finding the time has been one of my biggest obstacles to get myself into my writing. As I have found out, it is a lot of work to write, market and publish a book. Putting  all of the pieces together to get the actual book published is only a part of it. Setting up and utilizing all of the tools and sites that social media has to offer for marketing is a job all by itself, for an author just trying to publish a book. Through the WordPress workshop I’m currently involved in, I’m getting some great information and some ideas on subjects I may want to try out on my blog. How about Middle Grade book reviews? Or, YA book reviews? Or, some thoughts and research on the issues facing young teens today? Another thing I’m adding to my list of writing projects is to start searching out those groups who work with middle grade and YA readers and start networking. It will not only help me get more ideas for my writing and blogging, but it will help me create a network with other authors who are writing in the genre I am.

All of the work is positive progress towards creating my book and writer’s platform. I need to remember there are a lot of pieces to this project and they all need my attention. It is like building what I will call a writing house. It may mean that I can’t get to the parts I want to get to right now, like painting the rooms or hanging the curtains. I may need to work on some of the other tasks that are not necessarily seen, but definitely add things to the foundation or structure of the house itself.

My original idea for today’s blog was going to be writing about the progress I made on editing my middle grade manuscript, The Hard Way. I was going to talk about the process and how I was working my way through it. That is not what happened here at all. This wound up being more of a journaling about why I can’t get to my editing project. It’s not meant to be a whining session, but a real life soul search for an answer to the question of why I can’t get a start on it. The answer I stumbled onto here is I have quite a few things going on in my life right now. Things that need to get done before my writing can be worked on and completed successfully. It’s an important conclusion for me to come to here. I can accept that’s just where I am right now. It tells me not getting to my edits is o.k. I know I’ll get there. It’s just where I am in the process of building my writing house.

Sunday Morning

Happy First Day of Spring everyone! Follow me on my journey through Sunday Morning, the one that I experienced yesterday. I took the time to be in the moment. And it felt amazing.

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After coming back inside from a nice morning walk with our dog Maggie, I mixed up my favorite chai tea latte and heated it up. After the microwave beeped and took the cup from the microwave, I considered how quiet the house was with Sam and the boys still asleep. I looked over and saw Maggie standing in the kitchen staring at me, wondering what I was doing. I was leaning against the counter typing the start of this blog entry, while my chai sat there waiting for me. Happy Sunday morning!

After putting the finishing touches on baseball shopping yesterday, we were trying to designate today as a day off to catch up on rest and relaxation before starting another busy week with school and work. But this week brings the first day of baseball practice for both kids tomorrow. It will also be the start of our crazy schedule with both boys in high school ball and summer travelling! We’ll be following four teams again this year. We know that’s just part of being a baseball parent. And we love it!

When I think about my writing, I love the storytelling part. I’ve had a creative mind since I was a kid and would come up with many stories on the fly. I wish I would have either recorded or written some of those down, there’s probably some good material for a book in there somewhere. I also remember the two roles that I liked to have when we all played together; teacher and storyteller. I enjoy helping people succeed and can come up with some creative ways to do it. I know that I have a passion to teach and tried to pursue it, but life directed me a different way. My life path got me a Bachelor’s in Sociology, an Associate’s in Accounting and now has me working as a Flight Scheduler for my “day” job. You just never know where life will take you on your journey.

Still standing in my kitchen, I hear what sounds like coffee brewing. It’s a typical sound that would be heard in many kitchens in the morning. However, not in mine this morning. I have my chai and everyone else is asleep. Must be the sound of one of them in deep sleep then.

I look down into the doorway and there is Maggie, checking up on me again. Dogs are one of the most loyal pets that are out there. She has been in my life now for almost twelve and a half years. I met Sam a year and a half before I got her. I smile at her and get a low growl in return. O.k. she needs a little attention. So I pick up my chai and find a place in the house to sit with her.

Our house is in a bit of chaos due to a cable rewire project. We’re still sorting and purging things to make the new cable outlet position work out and to get our house in order. As all projects seem to take longer than expected, we’re hoping to have some order before baseball gets into full swing.

As Maggie and I are sitting on the floor, she keeps trying to get my attention away from my phone, which I’m typing this blog entry on right now. I decided to set my phone down and just hold her. It’s a good thing for her and for me. As I pet her she just snuggles into my body and I can feel a calm settling into me. When I stop petting her, she starts to lick my chin, to comfort me. Dogs have a great sense of when those kinds of things are needed by the ones that they love. Many writers have written about similar experiences with their pets when they are trying to get work done on their projects.

Once she falls asleep, I’m able to pick up my phone and write again. Is this kind of like multi tasking for a writer? We snuggle like this for about fifteen minutes. I don’t know if she was ready to get up or if I shifted my body, but she woke up and laid down next to me on the floor.

With life’s demands, it’s hard to get good writing time some days. I find myself with quiet moments like this where I can just write and get into a groove with it. Once everyone wakes up though, it becomes harder to get this kind of time. Thank goodness for mobile devices! I’m able to write on lunch breaks at work or even sitting at baseball fields during the kids’ warm ups. I know that people have and still do get it all done with good ole pen and paper. I’ll do that sometimes when I’m having a hard time getting started or in a pinch when the mobile or electronics aren’t available. But I do appreciate my mobile device even more for the time savings it provides and the freedom to write when I’m away from my laptop.

Sometimes my best creative times come when I’m doing something other than actually writing. Some solutions for plot issues have come to me when out walking the dog, taking a shower or washing the dishes. All times when I’m away from the computer or phone and have no paper to write on. I try to grab my writing notebook when I get back or have dried off and get those things written down as soon as I can. If I don’t, they will disappear into the sky outside of my head.

I love these quiet mornings for several reasons. They become a great time for me to write, to stop and smell the flowers and to hear the birds sing outside the window. I really liked to be in the moment with Maggie this morning, to take that deep breath and appreciate what I have to be grateful for. My family, my house, and my life.

The Hard Way – the editing step

The name of my first manuscript is currently titled The Hard Way. I’ve been struggling to take the step of having a professional editor look at it. I’ve been checking on different editing sites and Facebook pages to understand how much it will cost. I got a little overwhelmed with the fact that it might be a little out of my price range right now. Wanting to get to the publishing step of my journey, not being able to afford it made me consider whether I really needed to do it or not. I thought, the beta readers that I asked to read it for me should have given me adequate feedback, right? Coming back to the fact that it should be done, I started spinning my wheels to come up with a way to get the money put together for it. With all of the family expenses we have, I wasn’t seeing it to even be possible until our youngest son graduates from high school in three years. This potential road block on my journey to publish a novel has been really upsetting me a lot lately.

By checking out different writing sites, Facebook groups and author pages, I’ve been trying to figure out how I would go about finding the right editor. I want to find one that I can build a relationship with, and not someone who is going to do a onetime read for me and then leave the scene. I know that I’m looking for an editor that works in my genre of YA/Middle Grade. They will be knowledgeable about how the story should read and what is required for the audience that I’m ultimately trying to get my book out to.

After thinking about how important my publishing goal is to me, I took a big step yesterday and started searching for an editor to see if I could make this work. Being a writer with aspirations of publishing a book someday, I wanted to take the right steps to get this done. Many published authors talk about how important it is to have an editor involved in your work. If it is the right person, they are able to collaborate with you to produce a successful book for the readers. The trained second set of eyes can see a lot of things the writer can’t see, like ideas or information that may be missing from the flow of the story. I realize how important it is to have those trained set of eyes on the manuscript before it becomes a book and goes out into the world to the reader.

Yesterday when I started my search, I noticed that some editors offered a free read through and critique of a few pages to provide the writer with a sample of how they edit. I think that this could be a good way to interview an editor. I looked through one of my Facebook Writing Groups and found a YA/Middle Grade editor that I decided to contact. Sending the initial e-mail set the process in motion. I e-mailed back and forth with her and it seemed to be going as expected. I sent her what she required from my manuscript for her to take a look and see what kind and how much editing it may need, in her professional opinion. I’m excited to hear what she has to say. Maybe a little scared too. But it feels good to make that step, a step I needed to take to move my project forward.

I’m sure there are things that will need to be changed and or cut out to make the story cleaner for the reader. A little anxiety wells up when I think about how much of the story the editor thinks doesn’t need to be there, but I feel that it is important to be included. I saw all of the work it took to get the story on the page, but I have to remember that the editor is going to have a good idea about how it should go. These conflicting feelings are a normal part of the process that all writers go through when they send their stories out to be edited.

To make myself vulnerable and put my work out for the masses to see has definitely taken some courage to do. I started with a few friends and had them read my story, which wasn’t too hard for me. We got together for coffee and they gave me their thoughts. Then I decided to present it to my book club for our monthly club selection. I felt a little more anxious about doing that one. They commented and critiqued it during our book club meeting and that was a bit intimidating. But I’m so glad that I did it. Now I’m working on finding a professional editor critique it for me, which is a bigger step than the other editing and feedback opportunities, but those opportunities gave me some experience going into this one.

I got to the point with my own self editing that if I read it again, I either wouldn’t be able to see anything more to change, or I would make too many revisions to things that didn’t need to be changed. In my case, the editor is going to bring objectivity and knowledge about getting a book ready for publication, which is what I need at this stage in the process. I’ve heard that writers must develop a thick skin to accept the critiques and rejections that are received from the editors and critics. But those are usually offset by the readers who love and enjoy the story. Not everyone is going to like what we create, but it must put out there if we want the story to be heard.

I was originally planning to post a segment of my WIP for the blog today. Now I think I’ll wait until I’ve had an editor take a good look at it!