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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Some day things are going to be easier...someday things will be brighter...


That is my mantra these days of attempting to frickin' give away my book and not having any takers!!! Where are my readers? Not on FB apparently--but--I have a plan and that plan's name is Kathaleen Coyle.

Kathaleen lives in Tucson close to where I live, and her enthusiasm is infectious, her ways of marketing different enough to be intriguing--like--maybe they will work?  She suggested re-doing my website which was a hokey one on Go-Daddy site. I chose it because I could navigate it somewhat, but it tended to lock up and the text and pictures moved around and didn't lock into place..In any case I now have a site on WIX that is much more professional and also easy to navigate. Lots of options with that one. Kathaleen is working on it as we speak! (My vision tends to be more for artists, hers is to lure in readers)

We have discussed numerous things in the few weeks I've known her, on the phone and in person. Her prices are very reasonable. I have put all my fiddle faddle aside (amazon ads and other marketing schemes that haven't been working) while she's investigating my books and coming up with a real plan instead of my knee jerk reactions and flailing attempts to get my books selling. First and foremost I have to know where my readers hang out, second of all I need an e-mail list. When these two things are in place perhaps my readers will be able to find me? What will I do if I really begin to sell? No more crying into my beer and feeling sorry for myself. But all levity aside, I am so very glad to have found Kathaleen Coyle and hope any of you having marketing woes will contact her. She isn't just about book marketing.

And so while she's hard at work at a real and cohesive PLAN, I am working on my second witch book, The Moon in Her Eyes, as well as the new Summer McCloud, Akumal Alibi. I still tend to check on my KDP site too often, appalled by how few books I've sold, but mostly I'm trying very hard to be patient. Rome was not built in a day.

I will keep you posted as we progress and hope I have good news to share. Click on her name for more info!

And thanks for reading! 🙏

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

exorcising demons and other obstacles to writing

Publishing a book always leaves me fretting and feeling as though I'm going through postpartum depression. Sometimes it lasts only a few days, other times it takes weeks to get back to normal. On this latest one I've gone through psychic ups and downs like never before. Maybe because it's been so long in coming, or maybe it's because it isn't like my other books. For whatever reason it's been keeping me up nights.

Trusting myself and my process is hard. I suffer great angst despite my bravado in sending out enthusiastic e-mails promoting myself and touting my books. I tend to call myself names and beat myself up over whatever comes to mind, things I would never say to another person. These bouts of self hate are not helpful. Some people swear by critique groups. I've tried them in the past and found myself agonizing over tiny details and losing my ability to stay true to my own voice. I know they work for others, but not for me. I write in isolation because that's what works best. I share my work with a few trusted friends to let me know if I'm veering off course. I love writing and don't want to quit, but early this morning I considered it. Only because of DOUBT. Doubt is a killer and can come from the most innocuous comments or even from silence. Doubt has to be driven out. We as writers all have our own process, our own way of doing things. Writers are NOT created equal and just as certain foods agree with some and not others, how we go about writing is individual.

My suggestion is to hang out with people who make you feel good about yourself--who are supportive of you and what you do. When it comes to writing they are hard to find, so if and when you do find one, hang on tight! The entire process reminds me of dealing with my ex-husband. Yes, I should be over feeling nervous around him, but...in reality I'm still nervous, so why should I place myself in that kind of situation?  Reality bites.

I know--major ego problems, right? Do you have any idea how hard it is to expose yourself to the world? My book is like a piece of me that I am laying bare for the world to see. What if they don't like it? And of course, many don't. So feeling angst ridden and insecure is par for the course as far as I can tell--anyone who doesn't feel this way is either lying or they are writing stuff that means nothing to them.

Perfectionism kills creativity, is my motto. The more you strive to be perfect the more balled up in knots you become. Better to let it rip and fix it later. And what is this about putting a manuscript away for a year before publishing? Steven King, are you listening? I'm too old for this--I don't have the time to mess about! Isn't that what beta readers are for? And so in closing I say to all you aspiring and accomplished writers--keep on writing!!!

Next time: why money isn't important.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Writing and truth

Almost ended up with another very negative diatribe here about my frustrations, but luckily did not finish or publish...thanks to everything holy! A goddess or two must have been looking out for me!

Not sure what to write now that I've dialed it back. Shall I mention that said diatribe came from reading posts about other author's income? There--now you know. Jealousy, with all it's green and slimy yuckiness. Note to self: stay off those FB pages! You know the ones.

My newest book, Rosemary for Remembrance, is at formatters! This one was a long time in coming. I had over 400 pages written when I started over! Back in 2002 it began as a 'memoir' of sorts, about my parents' marriage after my father spent 3 and a half years as a POW held by the Japanese--I have his journals kept during that time and was bound and determined to write their story around them. ...But...my story had real life places and people who bore a striking resemblance to relatives of mine. I changed them, but it wasn't enough. And every day of writing was like a grind from hell. I put it away twice, three times, four and five times. This last time I didn't look at it again for over a year, and what I saw convinced me to scrap the entire thing. The writing was stilted, stiff and trying to be something it wasn't--I had concentrated too hard on exactness in describing places I knew--and the two main characters were seriously unlikeable (this from a friend who read it for me).

My new one, written quickly because it was RIGHT, has a paranormal element which is a theme that goes through all my books. It has my father's journals as a part of the story, but the main theme is nothing and I mean nothing like the real story of my parents. (not one relative can ask me, 'is, so and so me?' or, 'why did you depict the house that way when really it was...' or, I don't think that happened.'...You know what I'm talking about.) It will be listed in historical world war 2 fiction as well as some sort of paranormal, supernatural designation--(a past life nags and prods the characters as they try to sort out their marriage.) And just to be clear in an occult sort of way--I did ask my father if this was okay with him and I got the answer that it was. My father, a Leo, loved to hold forth about this and that, and although the diaries are very personal, I think he would like his writings to be out in the public. I did have some angst around this point, worrying that I hadn't done his writings justice, but I've gone ahead with it anyway. And as a bargain with my long dead father, I will make sure the WW2 museum in New Orleans gets a copy of his journals.

Friday, March 17, 2017

How to be HAPPY again

I think a lot of people have been going through what I've been going through. What I'm talking about  has nothing to do with whether you're a writer or not, this is a syndrome that has infected many, the symptoms manifesting as exhaustion, depression, hopelessness and anger. Here are my tips on how to be happy again, even though I haven't yet achieved that goal.

1. Turn off the news! whatever you do, don't watch it right before bed or first thing in the morning--it wreaks havoc on your mood.
2. Try yoga, Tai Chi--meditation--something that is calming and centering.
3. Focus on the little things that make you smile--the sound of birdsong, clouds, playing with or walking your dog.
4. Every time your mind strays to things you know you can't change, say an inner no and let the thought drift away.
5. Realize that this too shall pass.
6. Life is short--enjoy what you've got!
7. If you aren't a writer already, try writing--it helps to get emotions off your chest.
8. Identify those thoughts that make you happy and unhappy--give up the unhappy ones.
9. Cook good food, drink wine, look at the clouds passing by.
10. Give thanks for all you have.
11. Stand on your head.
12. If you are a writer, write! I've recently begun a book that takes place in a future time where the government has turned authoritarian. Instead of being considered the opiate of the masses, religion is mandatory, and people have to attend church or be jailed. Take your frustrations out in your writing--I guarantee it helps!
13. Take herbal remedies to help mood and sleep--Ashwaganda, gotu kola, rhodiola, siberian ginseng--look them up.
14. Don't deprive yourself!
15. Take a day long vacation, or a longer one if you can.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Genre? I don't need no stinkin' genre!

As a writer you've no doubt heard the word genre. And I'm sure you know about BISAC codes to identify where to place your book. But...do you understand what it all means? I'm just beginning to, as related to marketing--and it isn't pretty.

The list of problems for self-published authors boggles the mind, or at least my mind, since I struggle every day to figure it out. This is just another in a long line of unsurmountable objects put in our way--or I should say, my way, because there are a great many authors who have figured the problem out. I applaud them. I'm just not one of them. And here's why:

If you write to market you choose a genre or a sub genre, or a sub sub genre, and you stick to it. That way your readers can and will find you. No matter that every single book you write has the same themes. Apparently readers do not want to be surprised. If they pick up a cozy mystery god forbid that it has the F-word or a sex scene that isn't behind closed doors. I get it--I understand. You want to know you can trust the genre and whatever author you've grown to love. I am not trying to step on any toes here.

 The problem is, I cannot write this way. And I was surprised to find out how many genres each of my books cover. I use 'cross over' genres, which makes it difficult for me to find my audience. At least this explains it. Phew. I'm not a horrible failure after all. (that is debatable, a voice pipes up)

I found out the true meaning of the problem when doing Amazon ads. Take my coyote book, 'Just Another Desert Sunset'. It is a romance, has a murder or two, has shape shifters, Native American spirituality, and a couple of shamans. The main theme is the coyote who falls in love with a human woman, but this leads to all sorts of other themes and plot lines. To do my Amazon ads I had to search for books similar to list as keywords. The shifter books were mostly about vampires, and the themes were nothing like mine. The paranormal romance didn't cover it at all. HELP! How can I change this? The answer is, I can't. The book would be boring and flat. Is how I write a bad thing? Apparently it is, if I want to make money. Amazon ads need other books that are similar to use as keywords...I finally gave up on the similar part, and put in all the shifter books, all the paranormal romance, and so  on--you get the picture. We'll see what happens.

I do have a paranormal murder mystery series that may be easier to place. Although there's a lot of romance packed in between the murders and the ghosts...but still. And maybe I can market 'A Witch in Time saves Nine' as an historical fantasy romance--oops, there's time travel in there too! See what I mean? Anyone else having this issue?

Thanks for reading and PLEASE leave a comment! I love to know someone is reading this..and ...suggestions and/or insights are always appreciated.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

What happened to her boots?

What did happen to her boots?

Recently I was talking to my niece, who was reading my book, Faery. And the title of this blog is what she asked me. Yes, Maeve's boots got lost in the ether. I couldn't even remember the boots, to be honest. But she did go barefoot into the snowy forest. The mistake I made was having her moan about her boots later, and accuse the evil faery of having taken them, along with her clothing. The faery never saw them because Maeve left them back in Duncan's tree house.  In Maeve's case I can chalk it up to her confused state of mind--I had her moan about them on purpose to show this. Unfortunately this is not true. I'm only glad it wasn't a bigger issue.

At first I was upset that she asked the question, was it such a glaring problem? And then I realized it's very easy to let these things slip by. It's like someone's eyes being green and then turning brown about halfway through the story. So far I haven't made that mistake! And it becomes harder if we're writing a series. I'm constantly having to refer back to earlier events.  Readers pick up on these things and it takes them out of the narrative.

After feeling put upon and upset that I'd made the mistake in the first place, I finally told her, yes, this was a mistake, and thank you for catching it. And by the time I said this, I meant it sincerely. Thank you to the savvy reader who sees these little inconstancies. Not that I can do anything about it now...but....if it was a bigger issue I would have pulled the book from kindle and fixed it. The paperback would have been more difficult, but it can be done.

Beta readers are the way to go. And editors, if you can afford it, or have a friend who is good at it. I had all my earlier books edited, but now I have my husband read and re-read and a beta reader or two. It seems to work pretty well. Being a writer is not an easy task these days, with having to wear so many different hats.

If you have an interest in Book 4 of my Wolfmoon series, here is the teaser for Faery: Her boots are not mentioned :)

AND check out my website for a freebie! www.nikkibroadwell.com


Saturday, January 14, 2017


Finally completed the latest book, Finlay's Folly. For some reason the edits have gone on and on, until I realized that there was still a deeper message to impart...read it to see what it is...

Endings are difficult, as are beginnings--the middle takes care of itself. I am glad to be finished, because I have two other stories that I want to begin, and yet, leaving all those characters, those places, the dilemmas they face and faced, is hard. But it is good to move on...

It's raining tonight, a rarity in the desert. I love it and long to hear the rain pounding on the roof. I thought I would have to water tomorrow, but instead mother nature came to my rescue. Full moon changes will lead to what? Thunder is rumbling--a thunderstorm tonight--not something I would have expected in mid January, and yet here it is. A change, something different. Can we roll with it and figure that whatever happens is for the best? Not
an easy thing.

Life is not all all what I thought it would be back when I was twenty. I've had to shift and change with it all--and still I cling to the past, just as the characters in my book hang on to theirs. Ghosts are a reminder of what we were, but they are not here and now. In order to move forward we have to let them go, let them be. Until we do that we will be unhappy and angry, afraid for our future and wondering--always wondering and worried. Why are things the way they are? Could we have done something to help? We are but one drop in an ocean. We do what we can, and then have to let go. The future is up to the ones who come after, always. And it will be what it is according to them and their wishes. What we knew, what we are, will die with us, just as the sun goes down every night and rises in the morning. Everything dies away and is reborn. How can we know what is right or wrong?

And so we move along our path, doing what we need to do until we can't do it anymore. Let that be all right. Don't get caught up in, I should have, I could have...do what you can in the moment. Allow space and BREATHE. It will all be as it is.

Thanks for reading!