Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Solstice and a new attitude



Tonight we celebrate the return of the sun with a fire in our firepit and a libation to honor the gods and goddesses and the earth from which we come and to which we will return. The days will be growing longer for now on--it seems almost too quick! 

Yesterday my book signing went well--I met and spoke with interesting people and sold some books! I'm going to try and do more of these in 2015 along with having a more positive attitude. I will visualize my books with wings and I won't check constantly to see how many I've sold. What I realized yesterday was that selling is not why I write. I've said this before but it's coming around again. I want people to READ my books--the money is not important when it really comes down to it. And to give a bit of advice here, I think it's important for all of us as writers to know why we are doing what we're doing. Once we figure that out we can let go of what doesn't fit for us. In other words don't let yourself get caught up in a marketing frenzy when what you really want to be doing is writing! I know, I know, marketing is important and part of our job as indies, but we need to decide when to write and when to market. And we can attempt to think outside the box. If everyone is doing one thing, think of something else to do--something off the wall like plastering your car with an image of one of your book covers. ( I saw this done and it was pretty cool). 

I've spent a lot of money this year on all sorts of PR, telling myself that you have to spend money to make money. Well, I'm not so sure anymore. I've had ads in the local newspaper for several months and have not noticed a pick-up in sales. And no one came to my signing who had either read my newsletter or noticed the ad.  I'll continue for a few more months and see how it goes. 

But here I go talking about selling again...

I'lll be joining a writing group in mid-January--instead of being a critique group it is more of a support group for writers, which sounds good to me. I'm not generally a joiner but this one sounds different. We'll see. (always leave a way out is my motto)

I guess this is as close to New Year's resolutions as I'll get--I've never been one to do those since to me it's just a set-up for failure...Instead I like to form vague notions about how I want things to change--nebulous and ethereal--the way I write and the way I live. You won't find me with a list of do's and don'ts on my wall! 

How do you deal with these sorts of issues? Do you write out lists or do you leave it to chance? Do you make New Year's resolutions?

Thank you for reading and have a very Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

of shoes and ships and sealing wax...

Did you know that there is a Norse mythological ship named Skidbladnir? She could be folded up and put into a pocket and belonged to the god Freyr. Why do I mention this? Well, for one thing she figures prominently in my new book Gypsy's Secret, but also because this sort of stuff fascinates me.

I've heard authors say that the reason they write is because they like to make stuff up--I feel the same way and also LOVE it when I can find some tidbit like this to use in one of my books! This 'historical data' infuses the narrative with something bigger than my own imagination.

 I've allowed myself to become very negative recently about the 'real' world and because of this I can't sleep and feel like I'm coming down with something. I can't completely ignore it l but I can certainly bring the positive and playful into my life. And then just maybe the curtain will lift and show me the world that has been hidden for a few weeks.

Something is lurking at the back of my mind but to get at it a medieval rock wall needs to be scaled. And it's tall with very few footholds. On the other side is a grassy field that leads into a valley and at the very bottom is a river which I may have to cross. And it's rushing at this time of year. There may or may not be a dragon to carry me over the river but he lives on the other side of the wall and might possibly be unfriendly. But I have the muse the call on in times like this and call I will!

Will it be the unicorn who comes to my aid? symbolizing magic and breaking free. Or will it be Arianrhod, the moon goddess who I'm well acquainted with from the very first book I wrote? Or possibly a new one, Nematona, Celtic goddess of sacred spaces will appear to guide me over the wall.

Getting imprisoned in the physical world  is so easy if one doesn't take care and getting free again may take some time, but at least I can see the bars now. Soon they will be gone.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

marketing and book trailers

First of all, here's our Arizona tree! (still need to add red bulbs.) I'll light the candles on the winter solstice!

Back to book topics: I'm still struggling with marketing--I guess it's an endless uphill battle. Facebook has suddenly decided...what? I'm not sure, but all I know is that they've changed things again. I read that it was bad for entrepeneurs. and I guess I fit into that category. I am now spending entirely too much money 'boosting' posts. I don't send these posts to friends and family anymore--now I'm targeting women from late 20's to 60 years of age. Men have enjoyed my books but they seem more geared to women. Does boosting work? I have no idea! I get a lot more 'likes', but that isn't a click and a buy, now is it? (or maybe it is!) I don't know.

 I'm also spending money in other area's regarding my books--I've combined the three books of my trilogies and am selling them CHEAP. But when I went to check on other's prices for their kindle 'boxed sets' I was horrified to find they were practically giving them away! For me these cheaper prices make me turn away. And so I'm asking less than the three and more than one. I'm doing a lot of promoting right now before Christmas. I have an ad in the local paper here in Tucson, but so far people only seem to buy my paperbacks from the metaphysical store, not the bookstores.

Something fun I discovered yesterday on FB was a site where you can make your own video trailer! It's called Animoto and you can do this for free! Unfortunately mine got a bit involved and ended up having their logo spread across the images. And if I wanted it removed I had to upgrade to Pro--same old same old. I did so but before I did I found a coupon on line to lower the cost. I'm posting the link to You Tube here for anyone who hasn't seen it on FB or Twitter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUTpbycdSzk--it's barely 30 seconds long. I plan to make more of these but they will all be pretty short. And if you upgrade to Pro they have lots of music and images to choose from! It's a fun way to market and since I like to watch short videos (emphasis on short) I figure others will too.

With all this fooling around and doing fiverr, (do you know about fiverr?) I've barely had time to do any writing! I found a woman on fiverr to tweet my new trailer with a very short blurb about Gypsy's Secret. I don't know how to link to her but if you're searching, her name is Melrock and she'll tweet your book to god knows how many people for five bucks. There's tons of stuff to choose from on the site.

I seriously need reviews for Gypsy's Secret so if you've read the first two, or even it you haven't, I would really appreciate it! The kindle is .99 for the next couple of days. And if you're part of kindle unlimited it's FREE!

So enjoy the darker days, make soup and tea and READ!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Yin and Yang

This post is why it is so important to reconnect with the feminine principle. If you don't want to read about it, then stop now!

The earth is on its way to an untimely death due to the lack of yin, or feminine energy. Feminine energy is nurturing, in tune with nature, and connected to the earth in ways that date back to the dawn of time. Back then men and women had an agreement about what their duties were and both sexes respected the earth and its bounty. With overpopulation (another result of being out of tune with our home), people are unable to see beyond their tiny existence. It's as if the next moment is all they care about. The poor are struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their heads while the rich use up all resources in order to line their pockets! Neither one of these groups has the time or inclination to look around at what is really going on.

But resources are running out and as we scrabble to get at the last drop of oil (and precious metals, etc...etc...)we undermine the nest that holds us. Companies like Monsanto are ruining the dirt in which we grow our food. The EPA no longer protects us from harmful chemicals used in agriculture that end up in the air and our water supply as well as our food. It becomes harder and harder for people to sort out what they're eating since the GMO lobbyists keep us from labeling our vegetables and fruits. Pigs and cows get sick from the use of the GMO corn and other crops but no one talks about it.

This country, where the Native Americans lived in deep connection to the earth, is now being run by an energy that I can only describe as young and male. Get it quick while you can with no regard for tomorrow. It's what most corporations are about--feeding the bottom line and making sure their investors are happy. And as cities grow and nature gets pushed back more and more we lose important parts of ourselves. I watch the roads being expanded to accommodate more traffic, apartment buildings going up with alarming speed. I live in a desert where water is scarce and nature lives on the edge but our Senator, McCain, says that we will turn no one away. What happens when we run out of water?

Do we even know what we're giving up?

I read posts and blogs about the divine feminine but I see little discussion on what this means for the earth. The idea of progress has lost some appeal in a place where we should all be reading Schumacher's book, "Small is Beautiful". The idea of constant progress is patently absurd at this point in time! But that's what seems to indicate success to most people, especially those in the building trades or invested in the stock market.

We need to take a look at where we're headed because progress is not progress when we leave behind a place devoid of life for our grandchildren to inherit. We still have the power to change things if we can just wake up!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

frustrating day

As I mentioned in the past post, Gypsy's Secret is nearly here. The Kindle version is up but has one spelling error that needs to be corrected. And there may be other small things as well. The paperback is still in process with problems with the cover. Not sure what the e-mail Createspace sent me meant but I forwarded it on to my cover designer and despite it being a weekend she sent me a new improved copy.  (Thank you Viola!) Now I'll have to wait again for the approval.

Now to the reason for the title of this post. I set out this morning with great hopes and a bag of books, heading first to find ribbon to tie around my Wolfmoon Trilogy and then speeding down the road to my local bookstores. My plan was to tie a nice red bow around the three books and offer a big holiday discount for buying all three together. Sadly this was not to be. The first one, Antigone Books, said 'they don't do that sort of thing'. I whined about how difficult it is to be a self-published author, asking if I could showcase my books somehow...the answer was NO.

The second store, Mostly Books, said I could replace the ones already on the shelves with the bow idea, but if I did so then no one would have the option to buy them singly! We talked for a while (I like the people there) but didn't come up with any sort of marketing strategy for me, although she did say she would try to get someone to read Just Another Desert Sunset--if he or she liked it, it could potentially be facing out on the 'staff picks' shelf. (I'm not holding my breath)

After that I found a new clothing store a couple of doors down and proceeded to buy myself two new items of clothing. It was my reward for at least making an attempt to market myself! Don't worry, I didn't spend much.

My conclusions from this are as follows:
1.  My books do not do well in bookstores due to too much competition and no showcasing.
2.  I will market my books in gift stores and metaphysical stores and maybe Celtic stores.
3.  I will concentrate my energy on my kindles and deal with KDP select and trying to get them seen.
4.  I will drink wine and try not to whine.
5.  I will be proud of the fact that I have 7 books out now--a major accomplishment! And maybe since 7 is my lucky number this year will start a new upward trend in sales!

Thank you for reading and I would love to hear your stories!


Friday, November 21, 2014

Last book of Gypsy is done!

I uploaded Gypsy's Secret to Kindle and Createspace this morning thanks to my intrepid formatter, Rik Hall, and equally wonderful cover designer, Viola Estrella! I'm very excited to have this final book of the Gypsy series on its way...and before Christmas!

I plan to offer a couple of .99 days for this book and maybe even one free day. If you like fantasy, time-travel, dragons, a fight between good and evil or a good love story you'll love this one!

Another update on IngramSpark. 'Just Another Desert Sunset' is supposedly published with them but I still order copies from createspace. Why this is, mystifies me. I spent $60 for promotion but have no idea what they did. I get invoices from time to time that make no sense. I also get lots of promotion material to sell in Poland and stuff like that, but when I try to follow up I can't get onto their site. I may just be an idiot but I still think their interface is really poor.

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, until something changes we as Indies are stuck with lousy distribution. What bothers me even more than that are the bookstores that do consignment but never even bother to turn the covers to face out so that a person can find them! My goal before Christmas is to drive around and speak with the places that carry my books and try to do some kind of Christmas promotion. What I have planned and have implemented in one store already is to tie a ribbon around the series and offer them at a discount. At least a bright ribbon might draw some attention--the spines along with a million other books just doesn't do the trick!

I have a few more places here in Tucson that I hope will carry my books but I just need to get in the car and go there! I've been so consumed with editing, formatting and uploading that I've neglected this part of the business--and yes, it is definitely a business.

For those of you on my newsletter list you'll be getting an update in the next few days--and if anyone would like to be included in this list, sign up on my blog or send me an e-mail. There will be opportunities for discounts and deals there!

Thank you for reading!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bits and pieces

Newest Gypsy ms is in the capable hands of formatter, Rik Hall, and I've sent my final blurb off for the back cover to my cover designer, Viola Estrella! Hope to send it off to Createspace later this week! I'm hoping to get this one in the marketplace before Christmas.
Here's the blurb:

It is June of 2011 and Gertrude has been working tirelessly to finish The Tower as part of the bargain she made with Loki. The god has made no attempt to fulfill his end of the agreement, and Gertrude is out of patience as she waits to be reunited with her son.

When Ella uses Gypsy to travel back to Gertrude’s timeline and make trouble, Gertrude is able to steal the ship to return to 2457 Fell. What she finds is a world in chaos with reoccurring shifts in time that thwart every attempt she makes to find her son and Kafir.

As Gertrude struggles through a world gone mad what she doesn’t realize is that Ella is now pregnant, carrying a child who will bring about the end of Far Isle and every living thing in it. Gertrude’s powers are tested in new ways and her son’s abilities astonish all who encounter him. Will their combined power, aided by Gunnar, MacCuill, and the gods and goddesses be enough to combat this new evil? Or is it too late to save the world from ultimate darkness?

Does it lure you? I hope so!

Since I couldn't function for more than a day without a project I've started two new books. The first one is a sort of sequel to the Gypsy series starring Fehin, Gertrude's son as the main protagonist. He's fifteen now and faced with his evil half brother, Wolf, who is out to take over the Otherworld, the Celtic mystical realm that exists in the past. The second book, Desert Sunrise, stars the daughter of Istaga of coyote fame, and his mate, Sara, a human woman. If you haven't read 'Just Another Desert Sunset' do it now! :)

I've done a lot of marketing this year but it's hard to know how it's affecting sales. After guest blogging on Rochelle Melander's site and having a giveaway I noticed that a lot of people had availed themselves of the freebie--also I had a few sales as well. I've tried boosting on FB but have not noticed a 'boost' in sales as a result. I'm now working on 'bundling' my series and offering the three at a discounted price. The kindle is relatively easy to do with a new 3D cover but I still haven't figured out a way to do the paperbacks--so far I've come up with combining them into one big book but the page count cannot go over 823. 

If you haven't read the blog on publishing I posted with Rochelle, click on Rochelle's name in previous paragraph. And thank you for reading!!!