RECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES AVAILABLE NOW

RECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES IS AVAILABLE AT LAST

Reconcilable Differences book cover

Published!

I can’t believe it but it’s finally true. You can finally buy my first novel, Reconcilable Differences as an ebook on Amazon HERE. The beautiful trade paperback edition will be released within the next couple of weeks as the interior layout details are finalized.

Despite all my frantic worry about how it would happen, it just happened in its own sweet chaotic way and of course all out of order and in defiance of any plans I might have made.

The Business of Selling Books

So. Phew. You’d think the pressure would be off. But you’d be wrong. Now I’ve got most of the technical publishing stuff out of the way, I’ve got my author-preneur hat shoved tightly onto my head, and that’s a whole other arena of activity and worries. I’m finally in the position to make sense of, choose and implement a raft of book marketing strategies that I’ve been studying for quite some time.

There are too many to mention, not all of them appropriate for me. And no one could do them all. Giveaway and contests, special promotions, discounts and bonus incentives, book reviews and bloggers. All to build an email list, create brand recognition, improve rankings and of course, I hope, sell books.

Sometimes I wonder if the big business opportunity of the day is educating, coaching and selling products and services TO the gazillion new independent authors in the world. And of course any fiction author will tell you that this business stuff isn’t the reason we all buried our heads in the figurative sands of our imagination. Well it is, but in an inverse sort of way. How ironic that the publishing industry asks this of us more than ever before.

 By the way you can find Reconcilable Differences online HERE.

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The Philosophy of Vulnerability

Aside from the stresses of publishing and marketing, I’ve been losing sleep and contending with rats in my brain this last few days for an entirely different reason. The moment I hit “publish” I’ve been riddled with anxiety, torn between the urge to run for the hills, delete the book, unplug from all social media, and spend the rest of my days contentedly growing organic heirloom tomatoes. And alternatively, giddily tell everyone I know about my first very kind five star review on Amazon and ask them to tell their friends to buy my book and give me more hugs. Or stars. Or Olympic medals, whatever. I’m easy to please.

My fear, of course, is that someone will find fault. That someone will loath my book and point out it’s flaws for all the world to see. Or tell me that it’s well-enough written but it’s a stupid or boring book in the first place. Isn’t this what I’ve been avoiding all these years? But this is a foolish fear. Of course this is guaranteed to happen. Someone will hate it. Suddenly I’m deeply sympathetic with everyone who throughout history has published their words, shared their art or music, or for that matter, represented their country in a big race for an Olympic gold medal. But hopefully someone will love it too. Many someones.

It Takes A Thick Skin to Share Your Gifts 

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That’s part of the territory. It’s time to thicken up my skin and step forward. Feel the fear and do it anyway. If you’re a creative person, the day will come where you have to share what you’ve done with the world. This is where I have to remind myself of the benefits of following my dream, pushing outside of my comfort zone, taking risks and living in the moment. All of which I’ve been trying to do these days. I don’t want, on my deathbed, to regret that I’d been given gifts and failed to use or share them.

Next Steps

Now, I think, is a good time to revert to my best practices. Taking care of myself, spending time with mindfulness, which for me means hiking in the rainforest, and getting centered. Tapping into the part of me that connects with the source of story ideas and the urge to write and share them in the first place. A reminder of why I do this, and hopefully the motivation and drive to carry on. Maybe one of my characters will speak to me, and help me decide whether to work on Book Two of the Having It All series or continue with revisions on Book One of the Growing Into My Skin series.

Please Comment!

If you can relate to this, either to doing, the risking or the fearing, now is the time to share. I know I’ll feel a lot better knowing I’m not alone in these feelings. And I’ll bet you will too. So leave a comment below, telling me what you’ve done, or still dream of doing, that makes you feel vulnerable. Or share what you do to cope with this. Everyone who comments will be entered into a draw for a free copy of my ebook, Reconcilable Differences.

COVER REVEAL: RECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES

Reconcilable Differences cover

The final new book cover

 

RECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES: BEARING SCARS

Finally Reconcilable Differences is ready for publication. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, this is a book that was originally written over ten years ago. For all the revisions, it will always carry the scars of having been my first, and because of that, the vehicle for my learning curve as a writer.

 

In some ways, this seems appropriate for a book that’s about exactly that.  A woman, Kate O’Day, who carries the emotional and psychic scars of a long-ago sexual assault, and the emotional trauma of dealing with and healing from that over many years. Kate, like her story, has been in a long iterative process of revision, learning and rebirth.

 

I’m so happy to be able to share Kate’s story with you at last. It’s an important story, and as one reviewer said, “we get to ride along on this harrowing journey without getting too beat up along the way.” Reconcilable Differences explores how sexual assault can lead to repressed memories, PTSD, and compromised self-esteem that has deep and lasting impact on a woman and her ability to form lasting and intimate relationships.

 

I felt it was important to explore these subtler psychological dimensions, since they are rarely discussed, in the context of growing awareness of rape culture, and how it supports, prolongs and institutionalizes the oppression of women for the duration of their lives.

 

 

A HOPEFUL STORY OF HEALING & SELF LOVE

 

But this is not meant to be a dark or a radical book. My goal had always been to tell a love story. A sensitive and intimate exploration of one woman’s journey toward self-knowledge, self-acceptance and love. Although Reconcilable Differences isn’t a classic romance, it is a love story, as Kate navigates the reawakening of a love she lost long ago, along with her own sense of self.

 

It’s ultimately an optimistic story that hopefully resonates with readers, allowing insight into the inner life of a woman searching for identity, fulfillment, balance and love. In that regard, it speaks to us all.

 

HAVING IT ALL

 

Regardless of your personal experience, everywoman’s life shares certain common threads. Despite changes over generations, and from place to place, women have always had to struggle to find their place in society. No matter what choices you are given, or what decisions you make, there are always options, always consequences, always disappointments. I don’t think this feeling is particular to my generation, but I do feel that my own life is a reflection of this truth, and so I write with insight and authority on subjects that have touched me personally.

 

The Having It All series of novels is my way of exploring modern women’s lives as they try to integrate the particular circumstances of their families of origin and personal experiences with perpetually conflicting goals. How do we balance freedom with security, self-expression, identity and autonomy with love, family and belonging? As we variously lean in and try to participate fully in the world, we also need to keep a finger on the pulse of our inner lives to ensure that we don’t sell ourselves short. True empowerment means living fully in our own essence, and having the freedom to make and live with our choices without regret.

 

WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK?

 

This is a good moment to reflect on why I wrote this story, and why I believe you should read it. Women’s Fiction encompasses the woman’s journey no matter where or when or how she lives, and by donning the mantle, and walking in the shoes, of characters that are like, but different from ourselves, we learn. We become sensitized to the particular challenges women face, and we can apply those lessons to our own lives, hopefully for the better. We learn about the world, we learn about ourselves, and we learn about each other.
We are all on a journey, and honest compelling storytelling has always been an important way for us to broaden, deepen and strengthen ourselves for the road. I hope you join me on this journey and both read and enjoy Reconcilable Differences. There are more stories where this one came from!

 

FOLLOW ME, SUBSCRIBE, SIGN UP, SHARE, BUY THE BOOK & WRITE A REVIEW

These are all the ways you can help me with the business side of being an author. The more help I get with this stuff, the more time I can spend writing new stories to share with you.

RECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES BOOK LAUNCH

2978305256_6041f65aa6IT’S PARTY TIME!

Reconcilable Differences Book Launch

The timing couldn’t be better for Tuesday’s Women’s Fiction online FaceBook Book Launch Party hosted by the Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association.

 

I’m thrilled to be one of eight authors with new releases scheduled to participate on the WFWA Facebook page on Tuesday, August 16th **Noon – 4pm EDT** (That’s 9am – 1pm PDT for us West Coasters!)

Here’s the line up:

12:00 Kerry Lonsdale – Everything We Keep

12:30 Ella Joy Olsen – Root, Petal, Thorn

1:00 Tracy Stopler – The Ropes That Bind

1:30 Crystal Klimavicz – This Side of Perfect

2:00 Susan Schild – Sweet Carolina Morning

2:30 Kathy Nickerson – Rose Hill Cottage

3:00 Louise Miller – The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living

And at 3:30 Yours truly, answering questions and talking about my debut release – Reconcilable Differences. I hope you’ll come and join in the conversation.

 

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ANOTHER HALF A YEAR OF PREPARATION

 

After a roller coaster ride of preparation, setbacks and leaps forward during the first half of 2016, I’m excited to have this book ready for release this week.

 

My last post focused on my experimental Kindle Scout campaign. To sum up that experience, I learned a lot, worked like mad to get the word out, using a few platforms I hadn’t before, such as Headtalker and networking through Kindleboards, but sadly it wasn’t nearly enough to garner a publishing deal with Amazon.

 

A lot of speculation goes on behind the scenes trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Only Amazon knows. But clearly having a pre-existing following, or a book with a hook, will help to generate popularity, which in the end does matter. Nevertheless it was a valuable experience that will help with the marketing of Reconcilable Differences now and in the future.

 

PUBLISHING IS MORE THAN WRITING

 

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So much more has happened this year. I received critique and beta reader feedback, which let to a penultimate round of revisions. More than I was planning to do, but I think it’s a better book for having taken the extra time and effort.

 

I also embarked on the process of having a professionally designed cover. After a couple of false starts, and a few wasted month faffing around, I connected with the talented Gabrielle Prendergast, author of Audacious and other YA novels, and also brilliant book cover designer. I’m so happy with my new cover for Reconcilable Differences and the style and theme of the entire Having It All series of WF novels. It makes me want to get cracking and finish the second in the series, Coming About.

 

I’m also so lucky to have in my circle of supportive writers the multi-talented Crystal Stranaghan and her team at Crystal Clear Solutions designing the book interior. The print book will be ready to go in just a couple more weeks and it’s going to be gorgeous!

 

AUTHORPRENEURSHIP 101

 

This business of being a published author is complicated. These days, no matter how you publish, you have to embrace the role of entrepreneur as well. Even big house published authors are expected to create and maintain an online author profile, and stay active on various social media sites to connect with their audience. Then there is the multitude of book marketing strategies that experts recommend. And without these efforts, your book languishes out there in the ether with millions of other undiscovered titles, making all those years of learning your craft and sweating over the creation of your babies pointless as you’ll never sell any books or have any readers.

 

So in addition to getting my book ready, I’ve been trying to get organized with all these other things. I had an online author profile evaluation, and read some books and a lot of articles. To keep all this straight I created a Mindmap, that I thought would help me visualize and keep track of all the elements. All it did was help me see that I can’t possibly learn and do all these things: website clean up and redesign, email list sign up, Facebook author page, Amazon author page, Goodreads author page, incentives and bonuses, contests and giveaways, reader discussion questions, bios and blurbs, book trailers and author interviews, etcetera, and linking all these things and my social media addresses together so they all work in tandem.

 

Are we having fun yet?EPIPHANY

 

Finally I realized that I don’t have to! I mean if you can do it yourself, go ahead. But for me, it was getting so onerous and stressful that my brain was seizing up. There are so many smart and talented people out there who already know how to do these things that I struggle with. So my big epiphany this last while is that I need help! And in just a couple of weeks I’ve managed to move so much farther and faster with assistance from the right people, including the savvy Amanda Hagarty at Mandy’s Media who’s already been a huge help. And I’m getting there. I really feel that I’m getting there.

 

BECOME A PART OF MY TEAM

 

So let’s not let all this author platform work go to waste! Join my street team by doing one or more of these things right now:

  • Follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram, or all of them? Why not? (Click on the buttons in the sidebar)
  • Sign up for my email list to stay informed about my activities and never miss hearing about giveaways, contests, appearances, promotions and new releases. (Hint: the form is in the sidebar to the right)
  • Follow my blog so you receive notice on Friday to pick up the Amazon link and buy a copy of my book. Then leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads.
  • Share this link with three of your bookish friends!
Yann Martel’s Beatrice & Virgil: Book Review

Yann Martel’s Beatrice & Virgil: Book Review

Yann Martel’s Beatrice & Virgil

Yann Martel's Beatrice & Virgil cover artI recently finished reading Yann Martel’s Beatrice & Virgil, and afterwards I was kind of speechlesslessly moved… and disturbed.  But after the prickles in my skin smoothed and my fur unruffled, a couple of sleeps later… these thoughts came to me.

 

One could say that it is ‘like’ Life of Pi in that it’s deep and philosophical… and… it has animals in it… but there the resemblance ends. Beatrice and Virgil is a darker book, and upon reflection, the key difference is that instead of being about me, it’s about you. And by that I mean that it’s ultimately about empathy. It’s a subtle and a quiet book.

 

One could say that it is ‘like’ Life of Pi in that it’s deep and philosophical… and… it has animals in it… but there the resemblance ends

 

Martel begins by introducing us to his narrator Henry, a writer not unlike Martel, we are led to believe, and through this sleight of hand, helps us to believe and empathize and get inside of Henry’s head and heart. Then takes us on a journey with Henry, getting to know first the characters in a play, Beatrice and Virgil, absorbing their remembrances and thoughts and feelings, until they too are like our own, eventually and literally ‘getting under our skin.’ Martel succeeds in a fresh, innovative and sneaky way, through a fiction inside a fiction, in helping every reader to empathize with Holocaust survivors in a way they likely haven’t done before, in a lasting way, and then he even manages to ‘help’ us empathize with the perpetrator of the Horrors, the old taxidermist, a Nazi war criminal, through his obsession, his consuming guilt and self-loathing, even through his cold detachment… and thank you, that’s not creepy.

 

Martel succeeds in a fresh, innovative and sneaky way, in helping every reader to empathize with Holocaust survivors in a way they likely haven’t done before, in a lasting way

 

You’ll say I’ve missed the point, that Martel meant this book and its subject matter to represent an allegory for the blind ignorant, cruel destruction and extermination by humankind of animalkind, and yes it manages to do that too, like an oroboros eating its own tail, it goes round and round, one meaning the other. It’s about the heartless destruction by man of all life, his own kind, other kinds… the planet… individual lives… relationships… families… pasts and futures… dreams and hopes… entire habitats and cultures… ultimately himself. Martel helps us feel these things, from the armature that underpins us to the markings on the surface of our fur, in such a way that we can never forget.

 

Martel helps us feel these things, from the armature that underpins us to the markings on the surface of our fur, in such a way that we can never forget

 

If that is not enough for a slim volume to accomplish, Martel’s book does one more thing. The author slyly and wittily announces his intentions at the outset through his puppet Henry by laying out his thesis- that while history can tell us what is real, only fiction can teach us what is true. And just like his panel of judges, we are not completely convinced. He then proceeds to prove it.

My Kindle Scout Campaign So Far: Worth It?

My Kindle Scout Campaign So Far: Worth It?

Midway Through My Kindle Scout Campaign: Some Thoughts About Its Worth

I’ve just passed the  midway point through my 30 day Kindle Scout campaign for my book Reconcilable Differences and am checking in with my results and experience thus far. If you didn’t catch my last post about my path to publishing, at the end I introduced my latest venture.

 

To recap: Amazon runs the Kindle Scout program to which authors submit unpublished works (title, cover, longline, 50 pp sample and an author bio/blurb) and, if selected, provides a 30 day opportunity to expose your book to the public and solicit nominations through your network/social media. After this time, they either offer to publish your book… or they don’t. The implication is that the number of nominations you receive affects the deal, but I’m not entirely convinced. More on this later.

What my Kindle Scout landing page looks like:

Landing page of Kindle Scout campaign for Reconcilable Differences

No Harm Trying

As I was preparing Reconcilable Differences for independent publishing anyway, I figured there’d be no harm experimenting with this relatively new Amazon publishing program. Some early-adopter authors, such as self-publishing guru Martin Crosbie,  and Lexi Revellian, have found success. If I were published by Amazon, it sounded to me like a very good option for a debut author with a smallish social network and a limited capacity for social media marketing. If I didn’t make the cut, well, back to Plan A.

Social Media Reach

Since I’ve been at it for quite a number of years (9-10?) I actually thought my social media reach would be reasonable. Despite being a lazy, infrequent blogger, I’m somewhat active on several platforms, including Twitter, FB, Pinterest, LinkedIn and now Instagram. What I’m discovering (not that I haven’t been told this before) is that you need a huge (as in thousands and thousands) of connections, OR a very loyal, devoted and passionate following of around a thousand. I have neither.

Reconcilable Differences Kindle Scout campaign Hours in Hot & Trending bar graph

Definitely NOT Hot & Trending

Possibly for this reason, despite shamelessly flogging my campaign this past 18 days, my “page view” results have been very, very modest. Quiet, one might say. As of Day 18 I’ve had only 363 page views. This has qualified me for the mysterious but vaguely desirable Hot & Trending list exactly ZERO hours so far. I can’t tell you what it’s like to drop-kick your baby out into the wide world and receive such a resounding… whisper.

What Does It All Mean?

Nevertheless, there are several terrific things that have come of the experience already.

The first is that I forced myself to go out there and actually promote my own work, something many an introverted writer will tell you is akin to sticking pins in your eyes. I posted on comfy and familiar channels, such as Facebook, where presumably my “friends” are fairly indulgent and supportive, although I suspect their patience is wearing thin. I personally solicited family and friends by email. I’ve tweeted to a broader mixed audience, and I’ve even mentioned it quietly on LinkedIn, a professional networking environment seemingly more conducive to the exchange of ideas than the flogging of wares. I’ve also pinned it on Pinterest but I don’t think I’ve had any page views linked from that source, and created ‘events’ on Goodreads and had some results. Some of this data is made available to Kindle Scout authors through statistics that update every 24 hours. For me this occurs somewhere between 3 and 3:30 am. And no, I don’t get up to check. It’s just not that exciting.

 

Reconcilable Differences Kindle Scout campaign page traffic mix pie chart

It’s interesting to see where the external traffic comes from though. The range of externally linked traffic gives some idea of how effective my marketing efforts have been. Although the effect is small, this is still very useful information going forward. If I make noise, who is listening? And who is more likely to take action? During the 18 days of my campaign so far, the split between internal Kindle Scout traffic and external links has remained constant at approximately 40-60.

So what does it all mean, and what is likely to happen next?

My and Others’ Thoughts On The Program

I’ve also participated on a number of writer forums, such as KindleBoards, writer’s group’s such as RWA, WFWA, Writer Unboxed and author blogs, and got involved in a few discussions. There are a variety of opinions out there among authors about the risks and rewards of the Kindle Scout program.

It seems to me those that take a cynical approach are likely in the habit of hedging their bets, and not allowing their hope too much reign. It’s easy to get hurt in this business. Too easy to be deeply disappointed yet again. So never letting yourself expect much might seem the safest bet of all. Those of you who are writers will understand that’s it’s never easy, no matter which route you choose to publishing, or how you go about managing your business afterwards. The facts of Kindle Scout are more optimistic.

Do The Nominations Even Matter?

Popular topics of discussion among participant authors include whether being on the Hot & Trending list is important for selection, and what the most important factors for selection might actually be. Reports from the battlefield indicate that no, the Hot & Trending list doesn’t matter. There are reported cases of books that spend a full 30 days on the Hot & Trending list getting a pass, and books that never hit the Hot & Trending list getting publishing deals.

While this is especially encouraging in my case, it’s interesting to speculate why. This seems obvious to me. Everyone knows you can buy supporters and reviews, and even buyers of books. Amazon knows this too. This is one of the reasons there are so many rules around who can leave book reviews on their site, and why those rules keep changing. They’re interested in staying one step ahead of the players, hackers and scammers who think they’re clever enough to “work the system.” Even earnest, hard working authors who try simply to understand how things work in order to do better have the rug pulled out from under them on a regular basis.

What Is Amazon Looking For?

Which leads me to believe that a) you can’t really fool an organization a large and powerful as Amazon, and b) they are ultimately interested in your book succeeding on it’s own merits. Not that they won’t help you along if they want to. It’s the power of Amazon marketing that makes publishing through them so desirable.

And if that’s true, then what really makes your book competitive?

I have theorized that Amazon may be interested in evaluating potential authors’ social reach and social media marketing savvy, and use the campaign results to do so, but others disagree with me. They may also be interested in the general public appeal of the candidates as a measure of their future success. But as was pointed out to me, why would Amazon care about this? If they want to sell something, they know how. Unlike most other publishers, they don’t need our help. Point taken.

 

Are All Nominations Equal?

Also, so many of the book covers are amateurish or just plain awful, that I wonder if what attracts page views has more to do with which genres are popular with the demographics that are more likely to hang out at Kindle Scout or respond to social media appeals than they are with the books themselves. Do the people nominating books actually take the time to read the sample pages? It also makes me wonder if nominations are weighted by Amazon according to the online behavior, nomination history, and perhaps most important, past book-buying practices, including the relevance of genre to the candidate’s.

One other marketing experiment I tried was to create a HeadTalker campaign. HeadTalker is a crowd-sourced promotion tool, like crowd-funding, that leverages the social networks of your supporters to send out a huge blast of announcements. I managed to get 25 supporters for my campaign within the deadline, so I’ll see within the next day or two whether the 969,780 reach makes an impression on my Kindle Scout campaign. And ultimately, whether this kind of social support makes a difference to Amazon.

Bottom line, the story and the writing, as always, are most important. Every book will find its readers eventually, even a quiet one. And the measure of a reader’s satisfaction rests with the story itself. You may need a little editing, and help designing a more appealing cover, but Amazon, like other publishers, will help you with that. It’s in their interest to do so. You may get only 50% royalties, but they get the other half, so your success is theirs as well. But the books, and the authors, that will sell are the ones that people want to read, and enjoy. So after all is said and done, I think I’ll put my faith and hard work into more and better writing, and leave the mysteries of marketing to others.

 

Losses, Gains and Opportunities

My impressions are that writers who’ve been selected for publication have been treated well by a professional and supportive team of editors, designers and marketers at Amazon, and have no regrets about participation in the program. Whether you see it as a loss leader, a great way to launch, or a reliable and relatively pain-free way to pursue publishing for all of your projects, you won’t do worse with Amazon than on your own, with the big five or a boutique digital press, and you might actually do better.

 

My Kindle Scout Campaign

Reconcilable Differences cover

Reconcilable Differences cover

You can help my campaign, and perhaps help Reconcilable Differences get published. Please click the link and have a look, and if you think the book is worthy, give it your vote. Also please pass this along to friends, family and other readers who might be interested in helping out. As a bonus, those who vote for a successful candidate receive a free e-book as thanks. So we all win! If you don’t mind checking out the book, here’s the link: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/JXXN1LUS2SHW

It’s Time to Publish

My Long Path to Publishing

Aptitude and Ambition

10-things-you-have-to-do-before-you-leave-varsity-female_graduate90I can still remember like it was yesterday the evening almost eleven years ago that I sat beside my husband in bed, doing aptitude tests and reading books like What Colour Is My Parachute? It wasn’t the first time I was trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’d already been to university for years and earned several degrees. I’d tried to put all that worthy education to good use by building not one but two professional careers, first as an architect, then as an academic researcher in gerontology, and then, rather feebly, as an architect again.

 

Enter the Sandwich Age

toddler excited about diggerThen a baby, aging parents and a huge home renovation got in the way. Et voila, five  years vanished. Strangely, I put good use to my architectural training being my own house designer and project manager, and I put all that valuable gerontology knowledge to good use caring for my mother-in-law and mother. But once junior was in full time kindergarten, I began to get restless and look for new outlets for my energy and creativity. Thus the soul-searching moment I mentioned above. At that point in my life I really needed to close those doors and move into a new arena.

The Sleeping Writer

cat on laptopOr not completely new, as I’d always been an avid reader and book lover, and had attempted to craft my first novel at the age of nine. I made it (longhand on yellow foolscap) ten chapters in before something else stole my attention away. But I never lost the desire, and the books, or their genesis, accumulated inside my head over the years, like secret friends whose voices called to me.

So that night, revisiting my strengths and interests via these tests and quizzes, I decided I would give it a shot – I would try my hand at writing a novel. I said to my husband, “I’ll give it five years. If I haven’t published a book by then I’ll quit and get a real job.” How naive.

A Fire in the Belly

As it turned out, five years is nothing in the life of a writer. Barely enough time to figure out which way is up. I had taken on so much more than I’d realized at the time. Firstly, that being educated and literate does not mean you can sit down and write a decent novel – oh, no! Without any formal training in creative writing, it was a long learning curve. An iterative one,  as I dreamed, wrote, studied, workshopped, networked, critiqued, competed, read, and wrote some more. And I got better. But most importantly, I discovered two things: I LOVED writing, and I’d finally found my tribe. I didn’t want to stop at five years. I didn’t want to stop ever. This is where I belonged.

Ten… Make That Eleven Years On

robert-de-niro-oscars-2104-quote-about-writersFive years came and went in the blink of a cursor, and no book publishing happened. I suppose for some writers it happens faster, but I believe for most there are many quiet years of devotion and diligence, and perhaps dabbling, that precede those fabulous debuts. But the path to publishing is paved by many a stumbling block. Mine included perfectionism, an addiction to research and learning, crushing self-doubt (a cliché in our business), a desire to learn how to navigate the online world of social media in order to build my author “platform”, a desperate attempt to learn about and keep abreast of the quickly shifting sands of the publishing industry. All necessary parts of the author’s career. Oh, and did I mention crushing self-doubt? None of these new challenges came easily, especially the digital-technical stuff, which seems to get harder the older I get.

Never Look Back

Nevertheless, the pressure to get my lovely children out there into the world built and built. Several half-hearted forays into querying traditional agents and publishers over the years simply sent me scurrying back for another round of honing my craft. But when the ten year mark approached, I decided I really needed to get at least one book “out there.” Even with that determined goal, another year+ has slipped by. Now, however, I see the cumulative effect of that determined effort and focussed goal. In fairly short order, I’ve won a prize, got another manuscript request by a traditional publisher, and prepared yet another manuscript for independent publishing. Sometimes I think it’s just about setting clear goals.

e73514af7309c4006bfce2a7e38a4451Having several completed works is one of the side benefits of working diligently for eleven years– I have an “oevre.” And I’m certain at least one of those books will be published very soon. One way or another. I now have a solid sense of the industry and my place in it, and a lot more confidence about how I want to manage my writing career.

Time to Publish – One Way or Another

Sometimes what you need is sitting right in front of you all along but you look right past it, because you were looking for something– different. Recently, as I’ve been editing, revising and designing my very first novel, Reconcilable Differences, in preparation for independent publishing, it occurred to me that submitting it to Amazon’s relatively new Kindle Scout program was worth the effort. Since I’d already decided it was a “special” book, a quiet one that would find its readers, even if a legacy publisher wasn’t willing to take a risk on it, I had nothing to lose. Even if it wasn’t selected for publication, the exposure would only help my indie launch later on.

So last week I got the bits all together and submitted it, and it was accepted. [What is Kindle Scout?]

My Kindle Scout Campaign

Reconcilable Differences cover

Reconcilable Differences cover

I was shocked that it was finally happening. Now, I wondered, did my long, slow build as a writer in the world of social media amount to anything? Would I be able to hold up my end of the publishing bargain by calling on my vast (possibly a slight exaggeration) social network and generate enough nominations to get noticed? Well… we’ll see.

My Kindle Scout campaign launched on April 6, 2016 12:00 AM EDT (9:00 PM PDT) and ends on May 6, 2016 12:00 AM EDT! Now it’s up to me (and you) to generate enough nominations for the book in the next 29 days to get Kindle to publish it.

Are You Willing to Help?

Please click the link and have a look, and if you think the book is worthy, give it your vote. Also please pass this along to friends, family and other readers who might be interested in helping out. As a bonus, those who vote for a successful candidate receive a free e-book as thanks. So we all win! If you don’t mind checking out the book, here’s the link: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/JXXN1LUS2SHW

And stay tuned. I’ll be monitoring my progress through the campaign and reporting back here a couple of times, as well as at the end to let you know what’s happening next.