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!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The rest of the story

In my last post I spoke at length about how we need to inhabit our writing and show who we are. But there's something I didn't include. We as writers have voices in our heads, stories going on behind the scenes and characters that appear full blown on the page. Where do they come from? And what is it they want to say? In my last post I intimated that those voices are parts of ourselves. I still believe that's true but here's what I left out.

When I began writing The Moonstone I was doing it for fun while working on a more 'serious' piece. What happened took me by surprise. I never had a moment of planning what I was going to write next, or who these characters were that came out of nowhere using Scottish idiom and behaving in ways that I had no control over. By the time I was finished I had enough material for three books and so I made it into a trilogy. But that isn't the main issue. What I wanted to get across is that I felt like the material was channeled. I know, most of you will say, 'are you kidding?' No, I'm not. By the time I had divided the three books and done a ton of editing it became more mine. But when I was writing, and by the way I started it during Nanorimo, it just flowed out, unstoppable.

So what is this phenomenon? I've experienced the same thing in subsequent books but never like the first three. I swear I thought the goddess was writing it! My first three books have a lot to do with the feminist principle, the yin, the hidden--the mystery and magic of life. These qualities have gone missing in our culture, replaced with a young male way of dealing with everything. As we engage in wars, ignore climate change, and destroy the environment in the name of energy production we need this sacred feminine principle more than ever to balance it out.  Without it there is no respect for the intricate web that holds this world together.

In my latest trilogy I have grown more didactic in discussing these views. The heroine is trying to change a world in the distant future by writing a book to address these very same issues. In them I address GMO foods, fracking, pollution of water and air and so on. These books feel close to my heart but they do not feel channeled the way my first trilogy did. Maybe Wolfmoon trilogy brought to consciousness what I'd hidden from myself.

If you've ever written poetry you'll understand what I'm trying to say. The words we write evoke an emotional response in us and we don't even know why. It's only later that the full meaning presents itself. Is it this way with our books too? Maybe we don't even know what we're writing about until some reader mentions it. What do you think?

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Does your writing show who you are?

Do you write fantasy? historical fiction? romance? What do you want to say in your books? Is what you write simply entertainment or is it packed with how you feel about the world? And what difference does it make, anyway?

There is always a central conflict no matter what the genre. The protagonist is faced with a dilemma, whether it be finding love, fighting off monsters, or finding the solution to a nagging problem. It can be as simple as growing up. Some of us tend to think of our writing as mere entertainment, others want to teach, and others want to solve a moral issue that plagues them. But to really engage your audience you have to put yourself into the narrative.

To tell a story well there has to be passion and fire. If these two ingredients are missing there is no reason to read. I've had people criticize my writing by saying, 'that sentence sounds like the author speaking,'...well, it is the author speaking since part of every character is part of me, even the black-hearted ones. I can't leave what I believe out of the story. And why should I? My fire is what imbues the narrative with energy. Without that energy the writing is flat and dull. Even if a story takes place in some alien planet or time in the future, the same issues come up over and over: thwarted love, distrust, deep moral issues that make the reader think. I'm not saying to beat your reader over the head with your political stance or try and solve the world's shortcomings in prose. It needs to be done subtly and woven carefully so it doesn't become jarring. But it has to be there.

When I wrote my first book I worried about showing who I was. We all talk about how this character or that character isn't us. Well, where the hell did they come from? We need to take ownership of what we write. Do our stories come from our hearts or do they come from our minds? Having a little of both strikes a good balance, in my opinion.

Looking at these things is a way to keep yourself on track. How many times have you suddenly realized that what you're writing doesn't feel right? You got off track and to get on again you must go back and discover where you left yourself. Because if you aren't in the narrative it isn't going where it's supposed to go.

Thanks for reading and I always love to hear your opinions!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Travel to the future on Gypsy and find out what things are like in 2457!

My Gypsy series takes place in present day Milltown, Mass., a sleepy New England town, and Far Isle, a Norse land that exists in 2457. Try to envision 2457--is it ultra modern or has it reverted to something resembling the middle ages due to the failure of technology?  I am not a sci-fi writer but my themes examining the world of today have helped decide which way to go.

Skip to book 3 and picture this: no more oil or gas so no motorized vehicles etc...there are no electronic devices since there is nothing to run them on. Chaos reigns due to a demonic energy that has arrived in the form of a child. And on top of this, time fluctuations keep changing one reality into another. (You'll have to read it to find out how all of this happened). The Norse gods and goddesses who reign over this land have been thwarted by Odin's law which has prevented them from harming humans. But the law has now been lifted.

Insert into this a love story, dragons, a druid, an evil sorceress who has lost her powers, and a boat that can travel through time. Sound intriguing? Add a Irish wolfhound named Merlin, a cat called Lucifer, and Kaa, the boa constrictor--and no this is NOT a children's story--add some steamy scenes and you have a powerful potion that will keep you reading late into the night!

Book 3 will be released before Christmas but in the meantime grab a copy of Gypsy's Quest and Gypsy's Return.

Addendum: I am selling the original cover paperback versions of The Moonstone and Saille, the Willow for half price, ($6.00 +media mail shipping) and for anyone who orders I will throw in a free electronic copy of the last book of the series, The Wolf Moon. Take advantage while supplies last! e-mail me at Billing will be through paypal.

Thanks for reading...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Postscript on Ingram and update

To follow up on Ingram. After several rounds of e-mails I was able to have my two Gypsy titles released as well as being granted a refund. Just Another Desert Sunset was allowed through without any fanfare and when I asked why I was told that it fit their criteria. I'm still confused about this but left it as is. It will be interesting to see if having the book on Ingram helps my sales.

Now on to bigger news. I am 300 words into the last Gypsy book and Viola has already done the cover for me, which I just had to share! It's fantastic!!! My favorite cover so far! Viola is so talented, isn't she? I'm very excited about Gypsy's Secret and hope to have it completed and up on Amazon before Christmas.

Which brings me back to Ingram. Should I try and get this one into Ingram or just keep it with Createspace? Viola can do the cover to Ingram's specs but my formatter has never formatted for Ingram. This will probably mean that I have to submit the files and have them do the interior which could prove to be quite expensive. But then again maybe I might luck out as I did with Just Another Desert Sunset. And so the dilemma continues. My formatter asked me why I cared? He said his wife has fourteen books out (I think that's the #) and does most of her sales in Kindle. But for some reason that hasn't been the case for me. Well, actually my sales have been dismal in both formats, but that's another matter.

I'll ponder this while I write. I'm sure the answer will come to me just as my characters have taken hold of my story and run away with it. I honestly have no idea what's going to happen next! Writing for me is almost like reading. And I have to say I like it that way.

Thanks for reading! And any and all comments are appreciated.