Sunday, July 29, 2012

Going Forward

For a long time and for various reasons, namely the phenomenal success of an author with whom I'm acquainted online, I have been considering dipping my toes into independent epublishing. To that end, I've written a series of six cozy mysteries set in a small mythical Arkansas town:
  • Penelope Pembroke and the Bogus Biker
  • Penelope Pembroke and the Stubborn Schoolhouse Spirit
  • Penelope Pembroke and the Feedstore Floozy
  • Penelope Pembroke and the Possum Hollow Hullabaloo
  • Penelope Pembroke and the Larcenous Legacy
  • Penelope Pembroke and Sam's Song
Right now, I've rewritten five of the six and am working on a new twist for the final book which winds up the series. I'm also working to learn about the New World of independent epublishing--mainly how to do it! I have a fat folder of information in My Documents as well as several ebooks downloaded to my Kindle.

Books on Kindle
  • Format Your eBook for Kindle in One Hour by Derek J. Canyon
  • eBook Cover Success: A Step-by-Step Process to Create Your eBook Cover  by Shelley Hitz
  • How to Sell More Books on Amazon: Top Strategies for Selling Books and Kindle Books on Amazon and Maximizing Your Profits by Dana Lynn Smith (The Savvy Bookmarketer)
  • The Beginners Guide to eBooks by Gary McLaren
  • The Newbie's Guide to Publishing by J.A. Konrath
  • Smashwords Book Marketing by Mark Coker
  • How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months by John Locke
  • The Complete Guide to SELF-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote, and Sell Your Own Book by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier
I have read some--not all--of these books and have found something useful in each one. So far, I wouldn't say I've wasted my money.

I am NOT a fan of self-publishing--i.e. the vanity publishers who will publish anything if you fork over the big bucks. They do, I know, on occasion publish some excellent books, but whenever I see a display of books published locally, I check the imprint. If it is a pay-to-publish book, I don't buy it. It may be a great book, but there's no guarantee.

I AM a fan of small independent publishers who do POD for print and have an eBook catalogue. I've had a happy association with The Wild Rose Press for four books and hope someday to have more. (If you write romance, check out this author-friendly publisher with wonderful editors and savvy business practices--they are flourishing!)

So why am I experimenting with independent epublishing? Consider:
  1. Penelope Pembroke doesn't fit the romance guidelines for TWRP, which is where I'd send them if they did.
  2. Six books equates to AT LEAST six years of queries, submissions, edits, galleys, and all those things which give birth to the finished book. By the time #6 came out (assuming I found a publisher for them), those who had read the first ones would have forgotten them. By independently publishing them, I can have all six up at the same time...offer the first one free...and hopefully hook the readers of #1 to want the other five!
  3.  In addition, I have a whole series of stories geared for children, teens, and young adults, which I can offer in small increments--half a dozen per volume, for example;and I have one full-length adult novel which doesn't seem to fit any subgenre.
 It all makes sense to me, and it won't cost me anything except time and hard work. Time I have; hard work I don't mind. And, with some venues, I can get print books if I wish to have some on hand for conferences and other events.

Again, I don't expect to become rich and famous--just enjoy myself--and perhaps make some good sales along the way...

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Summer That Wasn't

I had high hopes for this summer. My calendar was full, and the months stretched out before me like a scenic vista, beckoning me down its pleasant paths. But things came crashing down with a family medical emergency. I cancelled appointments and drove more miles than I'd driven in years, spent money I was hoarding for other things, finally got home and was beginning to recover my physical stamina and emotional equilibrium when there was a second emergency. This time other family members jumped in, and I kept my 5-year-old granddaughter--and also picked up a nasty bug that hasn't wanted to leave. Now it is the end of July, and I'm just now taking care of cancelled appointments and necessary chores.

The summer is over. It went on without me.

Although...the silver lining is...I had a  (writing) epiphany.

When I retired five years ago, I decided to see if I could get published, and I did. Now, five full-length novels and assorted "shorts" later, I find myself burned out--oh, not on writing but on the accompanying necessity for promotion promotion promotion. And I'm just spinning my wheels. I've had decent sales, but I don't write what gets the five-star reviews and tops the charts at Amazon, etc. No matter how well-plotted, how tight, how well-written my stories are, they lack the one necessary ingredient--namely, heat. That's a fact of life, and it's okay. (And it's not going to change!)

I've been spending too much time on promotion/marketing and not enough time writing just because I love to do it. I never started out to be a best-seller, to be rich and famous, only to achieve a sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction, and I've done that. Now it's time to embrace my first love again--to write because I love writing and to let the rest go.

So what have I accomplished?
  • Five of six Penelope Pembroke cozies rewritten and destined eventually for independent epublishing
  • Writing scrapbook begun
  • Writing notebook taking shape 
  • Nanowrimo novel plotted for November
What am I looking forward to in the fall?
  • Beginning to submit file of short stories to various magazines and anthologies
  • Getting the Penelope books 'out there'
  • Organizing a syllabus for various writing workshops and offering them to libraries in the vicinty
  • Reading more
  • Delving back into long-neglected genealogy which, like writing/promotion, takes one's full attention
And how do I feel about my decision? FREE! I'll stay in touch on a few (a very few) writing sites, read the blogs of authors I feel I 'know' despite having never met, tweet updates, blog. Facebook, by the way, is history.

Five years ago when I began my writing journey, I read a quote from Margo Dill who said, "If you write, you are a writer." I wanted to be a writer--and I am.

One never gets too old to learn.

Monday, July 2, 2012

How it all began...or something...

Copied exactly as written on January 19, 1955 

I will NOT torture you with "Butterfly Net", "Hair Net", or the unfinished "Waternet". Thankfully, at least my punctuation and spelling have improved since then.


     My names Joe fishy, my partners Frank Sardine. My badge number is sardine, perch, and catfish. We checked in a(t) headquarters at 3 fish P.M. We were told the boss wanted to see us. The boss is Captain Cat Fish. The boss told us a fish was murdered, by the vicious killer, "The Hook!
     We found out Mr. Fish had one enemy. The Hook. We always knew who murdered the Fish family. But, we never could catch the hook. Mayor Fish called a meeting of the councel of fish. Mayor Fish's wife and four children, one uncle, 2 cousins, and 3 friends had been killed by the Hook.
     Mayor Fish and the Fish Councel stayed in the conference room 36 hours. Finally, Mayor Fish announced to the people of Fishdale a plan had been made. Some of the fish would go to the part of the bank where the hook always struck. A net would be taken along. When the Hook came into the water the net would grab The Hook, and guards would bring the most powerful weapon of Fishdale, the wire cutter and kill the Hook.
     Two days later a company of Fish Marines came marching into town. They reported all had gone well. The Hook roams no more!
     Dum de dumm, Dum de dum dum, Don!

The End

Now--is anyone else out there brave enough to share some of their earliest attempts at writing??????