Friday, December 19, 2014

Deja Vu Blogfest, Celebrations, and Do You Have Goals Wrap Up!

Brought to us by the awesome Blitzer DL Hammons and the fantastic Nicole Zoltak, this fest invites us to re-post a post from this year!

Due to triple threat post I have going on here, I chose a super short one that was overlooked . . . mainly because I was late to the party that day. 

This was my "Endings Blogfest" post from January 9th, 2014 that celebrated the blogaversary of LG Keltner's blog.

When I saw this fest, I couldn't resist. 
However, due to a cold, waking up late, and getting the kids going on their lessons for the day (we homeschool and breakfast is planning time), I'm a little late to the party. Sorry.
And I have thought over what to say . . . but no idea seemed like the right one, until now.
The endings I like best are the endings with a sense of homecoming and a sense of open horizon - a look to the possible future.
Every ending like that feels like the one described at the end of The Last Battle:
"And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has ever read: which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before."
What kind of ending do you like?

Celebrate the Small Things, originated by Viklit, has been an awesome part of blogging for me these last few years.

This year, I'm celebrating two things:
1. You, dear blogger buddies, who visit and comment. Thank you!
2. The continuation of blogging. It's been a struggle this year, but I have kept going. 

Do You Have Goals? is a blog hop that has helped me tremendously this last year. Misha and Beth have been wonderful encouragers, and I appreciate everyone involved in this hop.

To Wrap Up the year, but not get too long-winded:

We were encouraged to create huge, amazing goals, and then chase them down. :)

My goals were: Write and Publish two novels/novellas and some short works.

What I actually accomplished:
The finish and publication of Champion in Flight: the second novel in The Champion Trilogy.

The finish and publication of Light Reflections: a collection of poetry.

And, the publication of:
two articles on writing in How I Found the Write Path and IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond.

seven new short stories and poems: "Red Carpet, Take 1," "Red Carpet, Take 2," "Cloud Download," "Seedling," "Big Money," "Green Planet," and "Robot Sonnet." 

and three re-publications of stories in e-title format: "Seedling," "The Bridge Snap," and "The Horse in the Well."

When I list all that out, I realize that although I didn't hit my original goal exactly, I did accomplish a great deal, with more on my horizon ahead. 

What kinds of endings do you like? What goals have you accomplished? What are you celebrating? And, do you have a deja vu post?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!! 
I'll be back for IWSG on January 7th.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Business of Self-Publishing, Part 2

Tip 2: Learn to love the red pencil. 

The Business of Self-Publishing Series is a series that I'll be posting once a month in the middle of the month. You can find the first post by following this link: The Business of Self-Publishing, Part 1.

The tip from the first post was simply: Set aside at least one full year to research self-publishing. Comments on that post are no longer live, so if you would like to discuss that post, please send me an e-mail.

The second lesson I learned from my self-publishing journey is that it is almost impossible to edit all the errors out of a book, but that does not mean I shouldn't try to edit all the errors out. 

With my first novel, Champion in the Darkness, I had a tech issue. My laptop died with my latest copy-edited draft two weeks before my self-appointed deadline. I had a blog tour set up and ready to go. I had blasted my tiny portion of the web-waves with "upcoming release day" posts. And, I didn't have my latest copy-edited draft.

So, actually, this post has an extra tip for all writers. BACK UP WRITING EVERY DAY or EVERY WEEK. It's necessary. Sorry for shouting in bold, but the reality is, I had the biggest stress of my writing journey over an automatic backup error combined with a pc meltdown. 

And, after that meltdown, I made a hugely foolish decision. I thought I could quickly re-copy-edit my book in two weeks and have it completely ready. I worked at it for hours. I had notes for all my mistakes. I thought I caught them all. I didn't. In fact, in my haste, I think I added a few.

So, the second time around, my novel was beta read and proofread three months before the publish date. I went over it again and again. I had my sister-in-law read it aloud to her husband. I checked and re-checked it. 

The red pencil, or at least the "red review comments" via word, became my friend.

So, my simple and obvious tips today are: back up your work always (and check the backup system), don't let a self-imposed deadline put you in a bad corner, and finally, learn to love that red pencil! 

Readers deserve your best, and your long-term writing career deserves your best.

So, do you love the red pencil?

Of course, like I said before, it's nearly impossible to get all the mistakes out of a book. Last month, I found a missing quotation mark typo the day before a book signing. AGH! 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Links and Celebrate the Small Things

Yesterday, I re-subbed five stories to four different, new-to-me magazines. I posted links for those on my facebook page and asked where other writers were submitting their work. M Pax kindly added a few links to the list, and so . . . I thought I would share a few of those links here. (I didn't share the one closing on the 15th because that seemed to be cutting it a bit close)

If you are looking to submit your short story, flash or micro fiction, here are a few links:

Fantasy Scroll Magazine - a paying market for fantasy short story, flash and micro fiction.

Oblong - a non-paying, literary, off-the-wall market for micro and flash fiction.

Daily Science Fiction - a non-paying market for Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Slipstream micro and flash fiction.

Lamp Light Quarterly - a paying quarterly market for Dark short story and flash fiction.

And, from M Pax - a link for a novella sized work:

The Lost Worlds - a paying anthology in the Steampunk Horror genre dedicated to the post-apocalyptic theme at Eldritch Press. They are looking for novellas up to 20,000 words in length and the deadline has been extended until filled.

Celebrate the Small Things:

Our Christmas tree is up, with lights and ornaments! Yay!

And, I have a new #FridayFreebie for today:

"The Horse in the Well" - a tiny biographic. For more info on it, just scroll down to my last post. :)

What are you celebrating today? And do you have any submission links to share?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"The Horse in the Well" and The Storytellers Series

As we approach Christmas, lighting advent candles and preparing to gather with family near and far, it is a time when we often remember loved ones from our past. Although they have entered the greatest adventure of all, in the life beyond this one, we remember their lives with us.

My grandma Pearl, one of the storytellers of my family, enchanted me with tales from her childhood and teen years. Although she started the great adventure of heaven a little over 26 years ago, I still remember her voice - the cadence and tones rich with meaning and thoughtfulness.

My favorite story of all of her stories was "The Horse in the Well," a story of heroism and gentleness. When I went to rewrite it a few years ago, I found that although I had a sparsely written version by my Grandma Pearl, it wasn't as full as I remembered it and I realized that without meaning to, I had filled it in with my imagination based on what I knew of her as a child. So, I rewrote it, as if I were her voice, as if I could walk in the same paths she walked.

For Christmas this year, and for my family, I've revised that story and added a few notes about that process to a short e-title that's releasing today for kindle readers. (I'll work on releasing it for nook, smashwords, and kobo next year.) It's not a Christmas story, but it is a family story, and so, for me, it is part of the family gathering for Christmas.

It's just a super short story, and it will be one of my rotating #fridayfreebies for the next few months, so although it is 99 cents today, it will be free this coming Friday, if you would like to download it.

It's the start of The Storyteller Series - a series of stories from my family that I plan to publish over the next few years which will eventually make their way into a larger book. It might be a slow process, among all my other projects, but I have a plan to follow.

When a young girl with no voice of her own witnesses a tragic accident, who will save the day? 

"The Horse in the Well" for Kindle

Do you have storytellers in your family?

Thursday, December 4, 2014


This week, I'm celebrating:

1. Good books from the library that are inspiring me to write. :)

2. Family cuddle time.

3. Wonderful IWSG!

4. IWSG's new, free book!!!

At: Nook   Smashwords   Amazon    Kobo

5, #fridayfreebie = "Seedling" 

Dunnie has a secret: a power inside him that's gone wrong in the past. When it's time to introduce himself to a new teacher, what will he say? And, will his classmates ever accept the truth? 

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IWSG: Merry Christmas (IWSG Book Present!), and Giveaway Ideas for Marketing

MERRY CHRISTMAS, IWSG!!! Yes, I know it's early, but I also know that as the month progresses, more and more bloggers will disappear into the rounds of merrymaking, Christmas wrapping, and Nativity celebrations. Since I am an incredibly slow comment-returner - sometimes taking between two hours and a month - I might comment on your post and you might not find out until next year! So . . . Merry Christmas, early!
And, because IWSG is so awesome, we get to unwrap our first gift: The Insecure Writer's Support 

The awesome Insecure Writer's Support Group, brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh, has blessed my writing and blogging life, and I am thankful for all of the IWSG list and especially, the IWSG teams (blog, facebook, and website!)
Thank you!

Giveaway Ideas for Marketing

Ok, I'm the first one to admit that marketing is an area I struggle with as a writer, but I have discovered a small increase in sales when I do a limited time giveaway.
Once upon a time, I gave away my first novel for free in three to five day swaths of time via the kindle select program. I gave away lots of copies, but did not increase my sales. Of course, this was partly because I was foolishly running these giveaways when I had only one title. So, first lesson learned: Only do giveaways when you have more than one title.

Next, I discovered that when I gave a title away for free for one day, then I had almost as many downloads as I had when I gave a title away for two to three days. Since kindle select only allows five free days in three months, then I was "wasting" my giveaway days in clumps instead of sprinkling them around. So, second lesson learned: Limit the time of the giveaway to one or two days.

Finally, I noticed other authors who had re-published short stories and poetry in their kindle select stores. Hmm. What did this mean? I toyed with the idea and printed a collection of stories and poetry. It did ok. I hadn't learned lesson #2 yet, and some of my giveaways backfired.
Later, I noticed that some authors had stand-alone short stories in their e-stores that they sold for 99 cents or gave away at random times. Hmm - again. (I'm a slow learner.)

In the last three months, I've re-pubbed three stories with a fourth planned to come out on December 10th. Each of these titles is a kindle select title - which means I'm limited to kindle at the moment and I can give each away five days within a three month period. I've experimented with #fridayfreebies - a one day giveaway on Fridays with different titles on different weeks. I've had between 8-57 downloads on those days.

But what did those giveaways really get me? These giveaways gave me a few new readers who liked my work enough to purchase a copy of one of my other, longer titles. Maybe this isn't much, but it is my newest marketing strategy and has gained a few sales.

If you have a few short stories (previously published are best for the "previously seen in MAGAZINE AWESOME effect"), then I highly recommend re-pubbing them as individual e-titles. Just make sure to adhere to the publishing rights signed in any previous published contracts (some free markets never buy the rights, and some markets purchase rights that give them sole publishing rights for 18 months or so).

Next step for me: I'll be turning one or two of my kindle select titles into titles at other ebook stores and then putting them on permafree . . . next year. These titles will be short story titles, so if you see a short story you think you might like in my amazon store, do not purchase them! Wait for a #fridayfreebie or for permafree possibilities. :)

Have you tried any new writing or marketing strategies lately? And, how did they work?

(Note: I also tried a few "paid" marketing places and basically threw my money into the pit of despair that way - not a recommended marketing strategy unless you have the oodles of money needed to use an expensive marketing group.)