Respect

I’m feeling respectful today . . . it’s FRIDAY — and yes, I have a honey-do list that’s pretty close to a mile long . . . which has to be addressed over the two days we like to call a weekend.  That may curtail any creative efforts I want to make, but that’s what adulting is all about.

That being said — I wanted to take a post and acknowledge the help I’ve received over this past year — some people have helped me directly, some through their websites & blogs, and other by just being good people.

I have the utmost respect for anyone who blogs for a living — or who does anything creative day after day.  It’s hard work.  My day-job is part creative and part technical, so there are days that I’m just totally brain-numb on my way home.  To then try and put two words together that make any sort of sense is self-defeating.  Red wine is the preferred remedy at that point.  Lots of red wine.  But I digress. . .

My first foray into learning about this self-publishing biz was reading Joanna Penn’s Author Blueprint 2.0.  I still have it on my kindle and I refer to it every once in awhile.  I absorbed a lot from that book.  The gist is pretty much “keep writing” — but the other side of things — what to do after you’re done writing is good to know.  I struggle with self-doubt much of the time, but I realize that’s normal for this business.  Joanna’s books come from a point of view that says “hey, I’ve been there too” and that is a huge comfort.

Through Joanna’s podcast and website, I learned about Derek Murphy at Creativindie.  His no-nonsense approach to cover design and marketing was, to me, a breath of fresh air.  I had been reading about marketing, advertising, etc, and getting very overwhelmed.  I’m now reading Derek’s latest book Guerilla Publishing, which I hope will help me get over this marketing confusion I find myself in.

There’s at least one other site that I have to give props to — K.M. Weiland’s helping writers become authors.  Her blog articles are always informative and her books are outstanding.  Her books on outlining and structure are permanently on my kindle.

I love the facebook groups I’m a part of — two of which have really helped me get my head on straight — BooksGoSocial authors group and One Stop Fiction Author’s Resource Group.  Networking with some of these good people has been a godsend for me.  They’ve all offered reviews (which I’ve been more than grateful for), advice and have shared information that has been more than helpful.  There are some amazing books being written by these authors, a scant few of which I’ve read, with quite a few queued up in my kindle yet to be read.  It’s inspiring to be in a group with these people.

So — props and mucho respect to all of these people — words are inadequate to fully express the gratitude I feel for all that you do.

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Monday Blahs

It’s another week of cold weather here in the Pacific NW. I know “cold” is subjective, but for us, 30 degree weather is DAMN cold! Added to this, in my embroidery shop, the big heater blows right over my little office, so it never reaches me. So here I am, with my little space heater, drinking whatever warm liquids I can make out of the Keurig. Quite the mental image, no? LOL

Right now, I’m trying to find ways to increase sign-ups to my mailing list, which always seems to be a gargantuan task. I’ve also been mentally outlining my next project, book 3 in The Adventures of Tremain and Christopher. I’ll start putting that in writing soon — the outline, at least. It seems I’ve been living the joke graphics that say all your best ideas come as you’re falling asleep. Every stinkin’ night, I have these great ideas — but no way am I getting up to write ’em down. Not yet, at least.

I’m also on the hunt for a good portable bluetooth keyboard — one that will link to an android tablet. The laptop I was using decided it no longer wished to charge — which, considering the battery only lasts about an hour anymore — sucks. So I copied everything I needed of that and un-registered Scrivener on it. I’ll re-load on a new laptop when I (eventually) buy one. Until then, my wife and I are down to sharing a laptop, hence the keyboard hunt.

My wife has been going down the road of enriching herself by taking classes at the local community college — it’s great, but she needs the laptop as the classes are online. Which means I need to either write by hand (have you SEEN my handwriting? Even doctors go “dude, what does that say?”), or find a way to get my word salads on the tablet. I’ll try almost any tool that helps in this process — but I’ll have to start with hand-writing. It’ll be a slower process — but maybe that will help me get my thoughts in order before I write — who knows, we’ll see.

On the reading front — my kindle is filled with great books — most of them for reviews. I just finished Beneath the Skin by Kyla Stone — it was a great, powerful book, but it deals with abuse, so it’s not for everyone. I went outside of my comfort zone with this one and was rewarded with a book that really stuck with me. I’ll be thinking about this one for a while — I recommend it.

Resolutions & New Year Goals

At this time of the new year as we all go back to work – whatever kind of work we do – we’re also thinking about our resolutions and how quickly we’re going to break them. You know what I mean:

“I am going to go to the gym more often” — I’m guilty of this one too — I make this resolution at least twice a (week) year.
“I am going to save more money” — Ya . . . the funny thing with this one is then you get the bills from your Christmas shopping (I spent HOW MUCH?!)

I AM, however, going to add to this little list. But instead of calling them ‘resolutions’, I’m going to call them ‘goals’. I have goals I want to achieve this year. Before I do that, though, I need to look back and see what I accomplished this past year.

I followed a dream and self-published two YA books. It was a huge thing for me to take this leap. I was scared, I won’t lie. The fear of failing was huge. I did it, though, and was rewarded with some great reviews, some constructive criticism and a few atta-boy’s from my family. Did I break even on my investment in publishing? Nope, not even close. What I DID do was learn a ton about the publishing world and self-publishing. I also learned more about the craft of writing, much of which came after my first book was released.

I applied much of what I learned to the release of my second book. I had no idea about the existence of launch teams and the benefit of beta readers — both of which helped me reach #7 in one category soon after the book released. That was a great feeling – to see my book at #7. It now sits somewhere around 500, but that’s ok too.

So how does all this apply to the new year? Well, there are more books to release! Well, there WILL be, once I figure out this writing schedule. I plan on writing book three in my YA series and have plans on a non-fiction book about embroidery (exciting, I know). I also have the beginnings of a more adult thriller — which may become two or three books, we’ll see.

This blog, which hasn’t seen regular posts since its inception will probably still see irregular posts (let’s be honest here), even if one of these goal things is to become more regular at posting. I’ll keep you . . . uh . . . posted . . . on this one.

I do plan on going more regularly to the gym — I have some weight reallocation to do – I’m well aware I’m not alone in that area. I’ll join the sweaty masses at the gym, trying to figure out how those friggin machines work and do something good for myself in the process.

I plan on being a more positive person in the coming year. Not that I’m an Eeyore or anything, but I feel that having a more positive outlook brings more positive things your way. Call it what you will . . . bullshit, maybe, but it can’t hurt, now can it?

2017 will be a good year — at least I’m going to do my very best to make it that way.

What goals to YOU have?