Sunday, August 16, 2015

Books and books and books...

Book 1 is out! The first Summer McCloud paranormal mystery, Murder in Plain Sight,  is now up on
Amazon to download as a .99 ebook or buy the paperback. But with this one I did not do kindle select, instead I went to draft2digital and had my Word doc. converted and put onto Apple, Kobo, Page Foundry, Scribd, Oyster, Barnes and Noble, and Tolino--and it did not cost me a cent even though I had them generate a title page! Maybe a lot of you authors know about this. I just recently learned of this service from a very good friend who has generously given of her time to walk me through several marketing strategies. My question is: why is it so hard to format for kindle? I'm desperate to do my own formatting but so far have not figured it out.

I had my first fantasy books up on Smashwords, which did nothing for me, but maybe this time with some targeted marketing I'll have some success!

From what I've heard from my friend and others trying to sell books, a series is the way to go. And once you have several books going you make the first one permafree.  This is said to boost sales of subsequent books in the series. So on that note I'm hard at work on Book 2, Saffron and Seaweed. I absolutely love this cover, also done by Valerie Howard. I'm having a lot of fun with this new more light-hearted genre despite the murder aspect.

On that note I have taken The Moonstone and Gypsy's Quest, the first books in each of my fantasy trilogies, off KDP select. By the middle of september I should be able to put them both permafree. And then I will see what happens. It is all new territory that I kind of wish I'd known about several years ago. I find it very hard to discover these marketing tips on my own despite being in  several Indie author groups. I am most appreciative of Helen Page's ongoing help. She is an author with books in several genres as well as  being an editor.

And so the struggle to find my peeps continues. But everything is a learning experience and I can't complain, especially since I'm having so much fun!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New genre and marketing bit...

Just joined a new site for marketing my book to readers! check it out here!

On to my more pressing news which is learning how to  write in a new genre. For those of you who know me you are aware that I write fantasy/romance. But now I have dipped my toe into the waters of the 'cozy mystery' genre and have just completed a 65,000 word novel that in truth is not that cozy. I asked a friend (another cozy writer) to read it through for me and give me some feedback. Now I am revising.

A cozy mystery is on  the order of Agatha Christie and usually  revolves around a small town and a murder that takes place there. The protagonist is most often an amateur sleuth of some kind. A cozy mystery is not explicit about the murder, instead focusing on setting and characters and setting up red herrings that might or might not lead the reader on a wild goose chase. It can have a serial killer but none of the horror of what this serial killer has done or is doing. In other words it is toned down and lighter than a regular mystery. Unfortunately mine went over the top into a bit of horror and instead of making it more horrific and slipping into the horror genre, I decided to take out the nasty bits and bring it back to a cozy.

I already have a fantastic cover to go with my story--done by Valerie Howard. However, this wonderful cover will not do for a cozy mystery. I will save it in the hopes of another story that fits with my cover! Which means I will need to change the name as well. And so my work is cut out for me. I like the story and the characters and I have added my own brand of paranormal to spice it up. (can't leave out the paranormal realm!) All I need to do is take out creepy and add in more description of place and characters. I even have a link to where to find the right cover art. So don't be surprised when my new book comes out--don't have a name yet but....

Monday, June 29, 2015

Circe, goddess of magic

This morning the word Circe appeared in my mind. Circe? I knew she was a goddess but I had forgotten of what. And so I googled her and found out that she's the Greek goddess of magic. She was well known for her knowledge of potions and herbs. I wondered if it was a call for me to get finished with my cozy mystery and move back to writing fantasy because in fantasy I can let my imagination run wild. Not that I can't in the cozy, it's just that I have to actually plot out what's going to happen and who dun-it. I'm used to writing myself out of blind corners but in a mystery this is not possible. So now, on my desk, is a piece of paper covered with scribbles that detail who did what and when and who didn't.

I love writing about mythology or at least twining it through my stories, especially gods and goddesses. I have two more stories in progress and I'm sure that Circe would fit into one of them. Another thing about Circe is she transformed her enemies into animals--remember Homer's Odyssey? That idea is sooo tempting as a story line!

But might her name have appeared for another reason? That the game is on and magic is afoot? I do feel magic in the air these days--maybe due to the monsoons, maybe a change in the stars or maybe simply that I am writing again!!! Every afternoon for the last few days the sky darkens and thunder rumbles--the wind comes up and maybe there's lightning--and then it rains. The air is freshened and the temperature drops to somewhere reasonable.

Last night I dreamed I was in school. I have these dreams from time to time and mostly I'm trying to figure out where I'm supposed to be or haven't attended a class for the entire semester and now have to take a test. Last night I was utterly confused as usual and to top it off my cell phone was completely useless relaying some automated message that meant it couldn't function. What usually happens in these dreams is that I realize that I don't need to be in school anymore and I wake up. Last night this didn't happen and so I figured that maybe I need to learn something--possibly something big. Does this tie in with Circe and her magic? A phrase appeared in my mind just before I woke up: 'We are the world we live in.' Does this mean we create the world we live in? I think so because that's been a recurring theme in my consciousness lately. And yet when I go into the dark places I can't see any of this. Maybe with Circe as a reminder I can pull myself out sooner.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 19, 2015

mercury moving forward again!

buy here!

Got back from our trip and found that when I tried to write it flowed instead of sticking! Maybe there is something to this mercury retrograde thing after all! I'm working on my cozy mystery, a departure for me and very fun although it is a challenge to make it long enough. Not sure why this is but adding backstory to fill in the blanks.

Also my depression has lifted after a few weeks of feeling heavy and lackluster. And all this despite record heat here in Tucson! Well, maybe it isn't a record, maybe it's normal for this time of year. But I have not been able to take my daily walk due to being unable to get up at 5 a.m. which would be pushing it anyway since the sun comes up at 5:20. (it was 80 at 6 a.m.) I'm looking forward to the 21st when the days being to shorten again. But on the positive side I've gone to two yoga classes this week and am planning to turn on some music and do some aerobic dancing later today. Thank everything holy for A.C. Not sure how people managed before air conditioning, but then again was it this hot back then? Global warming, people!

As far as marketing goes I'm still in a major quandary. I've sold 2 copies of my new book so far, at least on kindle--I'm not sure what to do about this. More advertising on Facebook doesn't seem to work and so far I haven't wanted to spend oodles of money to promote a book that is on special for .99. I could give it away but I really don't want to do that anymore. At this point after eight books in the marketplace I may start looking for a publicist. With self-pubbed books flooding the marketplace everyone has to have some sort of an edge--mine is finding the right people, my peeps, to market to! But how? That's the question, isn't it? The adage 'if you want to sell more books write another' hasn't really done it for me. Am I in a tiny niche or do my books appeal to a wider audience? How would I know?

And so I'm on the move again, at least in the writing. As far as moving my body we'll just have to see how the dancing goes. At least I have yoga until this heat breaks or I get up earlier!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

postpartum depression

Okay, book is done and up on Amazon as a kindle as well as paperback. I've advertised in several Facebook pages and sent out my newsletter announcing the new arrival. Then why am I so depressed?

Here are a couple of reasons why I think I have the blues:
1. psychic exhaustion
2. no sales so far even from my friends and family
3. I am not writing

To elaborate a bit on these. Psychic exhaustion and physical exhaustion seem to always hit me pretty hard after the stress of getting a book out. My excitement is high as I put the finishing touches on it and have it formatted. Then the uploading to Createspace and kindle is another invigorating process that I love. But then comes the letdown. It is no longer available to work on. My friends, who I've been close to for several months, maybe years, have gone their own way leaving me bereft.

No sales. I don't know what I expect exactly. I guess I want whoever sees it and knows me to rush out and buy it! And maybe a few who don't know me and like the cover--because the cover is fab! This is a ridiculous expectation. But this is what is going on for me and I have to look at it closely. It's hard to let go of expectations, especially after putting heart and soul into a book, even if I know it's unrealistic. And so I check daily and become even more morose. I've thought about putting the kindle up for .99 or having a kindle countdown but for pity's sake--can no one pay a mere $2.99 for the book I just slaved over? I HAVE TO LET THIS ONE GO.

I'm not writing. This is the biggest issue for me. My days are now spent feeding the birds, walking and lying around reading or staring at the wall. (or napping) When I try to work on something I feel utterly uninspired. I know it takes time to replenish the well--believe me I've gone through this before--seven times in fact. But here I am again knowing that this is a normal reaction and yet fighting against it tooth and nail. Without writing I'm an empty shell. Not only does it fill my time, it gives me a purpose and a feeling of worth. When I'm working on a project I'm immersed in something bigger than myself, something that requires getting out of the way. The muse is in charge. And I tend to make friends with my characters and find them amusing and interesting. This is why the same characters continue appearing book after book. In Bridge of Mist and Fog the two protagonists are the children of characters in my former books. It's as though they continue on with their lives after I've written about them and I can tap in and see what they're up to.

So what is the solution to this? I suppose it's patience. And faith. Because along with all this there's the fear that I won't be able to do it again.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My latest book-signing debacle

I had been sick since Wednesday, but by Saturday morning I felt well enough to drive an hour and spend an hour with two other sci-fi/fantasy authors. We were due at Mostly Books at 2:00 and although we didn't know each other I looked forward to meeting them.

I was optimistic this day since I'd just discovered Ho-oponopono, an ancient 'prayer' that had been touted as bringing miracles. I had been chanting since the day before and was sure it was the reason my cold seemed to be on its way out. When the air conditioner on my car stopped working on the way to the bookstore I thought nothing of it, merely a slight blip in my otherwise up-beat mood. I chanted all the way down in the car and when  I reached the bookstore went in to find out where to set up. When I went back out to retrieve my books I glanced at the signage. The three of us were listed at the bottom of the board in tiny nearly illegible scribbles. No problem, I thought, the owners will tout us highly as local authors when the hordes arrive.

Instead of being scattered around the store as I'd imagined, we were to be in the back room, a windowless place made out of cinderblock that held AA meetings and meet-up groups. I was the first one there, settling into the spot with my name between the names of my soon to be arriving companions. We were in a row at three skinny tables and chairs had been set up in front of us as though we were to give a lecture. This worried me for a bit since I hadn't prepared anything. After I artfully arranged my books I realized that the energy in the room was very bad. Of course I had no sage and even if I had and had lit it, I was sure I'd be arrested for smoking dope. I settled instead on saying OM over and over and then chanting the Ho-oponopono mantra.

Once my companions arrived we engaged in lively banter waiting for the hordes to descend on us. We seemed to get along well as the minutes ticked by. Finally, twenty minutes before the hour was up, two men arrived and looked us over without saying a word. The author on my right sold one of them a book while we watched. It didn't surprise me much considering that my books mostly appeal to women, or men in touch with their feminine side, although I did try to sell them on 'Just Another Desert Sunset'. (Carlos Castenadaesque). I told myself I was not upset by this, was not upset to have driven all this way and not even have anyone come back to take a look.

But on the way home when my cold re-appeared with a vengeance I gave into my bad mood. I doubt I will do this again, mostly because the owners don't give a rip. If they had had a big sign with LOCAL AUTHOR SIGNING TODAY! it might have gone differently. I have no idea whether they even bothered to point people in our direction. The expressions on the men's faces indicated that they were surprised to find us.

As far as Ho-oponopono, I'm not giving up on it. If you haven't read Zero Limits, give it a try. Dr. Hew Len is quite amazing as are the concepts laid out in the book.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

multi-tasking be damned!

Don't look like that--I didn't say I wouldn't change my mind! After getting advice from a fellow author I am concentrating on the story with the most pages written. It happens to be a sort of sequel to the Gypsy Trilogy. The main characters are Fehin (amazing 16-year-old son of Gertrude) and Airy-(daughter of Harold and Maeve from Wolfmoon Trilogy who is also 16.) I can't seem to let my characters drift off into nothingness!

This story takes place in our world but a few years in the future. The problems that exist today are amplified in 2021. My characters are linked by a shared destiny and have been tasked with building a bridge, but for what purpose or how, is still to be determined. I'm 190 pages in and nothing has been decided. I can't puzzle through it myself and am waiting to let them do the honors. If they can't come up with a solution I'm stuck with a cover I've already paid for and a title...get on it, you guys!

I find my mind drifting toward the other  three projects I have in the wings (yes, it was 2 but now there are 3), wanting to work on them because of the dilemma, but I think the advice was good--get this one done and then move on. If only I could.

On to other news that concerns marketing. I went to a book signing at Bookmans yesterday that was mainly a bust. Only one person, other than the other authors signing with me, bought one of my books. And my square refused to work! The bookstore didn't have a sign out and the set-up of tables shaped in a U was not great. I hate that configuration because once you're in there you can't get out! It's hard for claustrophobic or shy folks who would love take a look but don't want to get stuck or roped in. I said as much in my e-mail to the organizer. I suggested placing us near our genre within the store where people searching could come upon us, but maybe she's worried that this would take away from their sales. I suggested paying a small commission if this was the case.

I have another one of these events next weekend at Mostly Books, a local independent bookstore. There will be three of us, (all fantasy/sci-fi authors) and from what I know of the store layout I doubt we will be sitting together. I haven't had good luck selling there in the past but there's always a first time! (Forever the optimist)

And speaking of selling, when I was buying bird seed at our local Wild Birds Unlimited I sold a copy of Just Another Desert sunset to the owner! He had helped me carry the bags to the car and when I opened the back he saw my books and asked about them. I told him I was the author. He only had thirteen dollars in his pocket, which he handed over. Made my day!!! Good reason to have books with you at all times.

Keep on reading and I love any or all comments!