Monday, January 31, 2011

My Book is Selling Like Hotcakes?!

So, a few posts ago I mentioned how I was selling one book a day. And believe me, I was happy to do so. All of a sudden, however, my book is selling, 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 (yesterday) per day. 

I am flabbergasted by it. Is my book on a list somewhere that I don't know about? No one seems to be reviewing it anywhere. Yet all of a sudden, my books have taken a 4 or 5 fold leap in sales. 

Where did that come from? Word of mouth? Like I said before, a list somewhere? I don't advertise, much, I don't have a big website or a review in NYtimes, but here I am, little old me, getting so many books sold a day! It's crazy. 

So, I'm happy to report, that it looks like I'm halfway to my per day selling goal of 10 books per day in 6 mths. 


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ghosts... in my house???

I don't believe in ghosts. Never have. I believe that they are the wonderful stuff of stories and I welcome them in the books I read. 

Until we moved into our new house. It's not that old, the house. It was built in 1972, doesn't seem ancient enough for ghosts, does it? We bought it from the original owners, after the death of the father. 

To my knowledge, no one died in the house, either. So there should be no reason to feel haunted. And yet... 

There is this hall closet door that keeps being opened. At first it was irritating. "Why is that door open again?" That kind of thing. 

I've figured it was my child or my husband, and I'd close the door and carefully latch it, wiggling it to make sure it's actually shut. 

Then last night, when my son was in bed I went in to the bathroom and when I came out the closet door was opened. I KNOW it was closed before. My husband hadn't moved from the couch, he was working on his laptop. 

How did that door open itself up? How, how, how??? Now I admit to being extremely freaked out. All over a closet door. 


I think I've decided to wait and see if I get any feedback on the first draft of Compis before I run off and publish the ebook. This will give me a few weeks to do the following: 
1) Finish up and polish the collection of short stories I've been working on. My plan is to sell them for dirt cheap on Kindle and maybe post a couple for free here on goodreads. Before I was a novelist, I was a short story only girl, and a let's start this book, write about 6 chapters and go on to the next thing girl. Now I am a FINISH IT girl, but I may as well get some use out of the stories I wrote along the way. 
2) Get started on the next section of Compis. Even if I decide to release what I have as a book, the next part is dying to be written. Every night I lie in bed plotting where the story is going to go next. These characters are so easy to write about. It's like they're alive somewhere and their lives were recorded for me and all I have to do is put the description down on paper. What a pleasure. 
3) Work on marketing Six Keys better. I am getting pretty good at it, not great, but pretty good. I need to be better. To that end, I've been researching my butt off online, figuring out what others have done to mild success. I keep telling myself, it's only been two months and I'm averaging 1 sale a day right now. That is great, and I'm very happy about it. But it's not my goal. My goal is 10 books a day by 6 mths. We'll see if I reach it. I've got one month to bump up my average by a LOT. :) 

It's good to have goals.


So, thanks to a comment posted by a reader, and some research, I did decide to enter my new book in the Breakthrough Novel Award that Amazon is sponsoring. Why you ask? I so decisively stated earlier that I would never enter a contest again. 

I don't have a icicle's chance in hell of winning it, I know that. I've looked at the other contestants from previous years. But I don't care, because all I have to do is make it to the 2nd round. If I make it to the 2nd round, I will get 2 reviews by their panel of experst. Can you imagine? Actual feedback from someone who isn't a family member or friend. 

It's too tempting to pass up. But in order to do so, I had to have a product. I originally planned for this new novel to include 4 sections. The total product would be over 400 pages. I thought that would be a nice hefty size for a novel, and it would leave me with a trilogy. 

If I end the new novel (which is revised up to part 2) after the first two sections, tidying it up for the contest, I have two options. I can hold onto it until I've finished the next two sections or I can release it now, at about 200 pages -it has a cover. It would also mean my trilogy would have 5 books, and the wait for each part would be a little longer, as I would have to write a new section at a time, instead of sandwiching 4 together for one big read. 

I'm torn. It is my new dilemma. Which is more palatable for an ebook? 200 pages or 400 pages? I haven't read enough to have a decent opinion.

The New Book

I'm really excited right now, my sister -my amazingly talented, graphic artist sister- came up last week and we worked on the cover of my new book, Compis. It seems like a bit too soon to do it, since I'm only about halfway done with the book. Almost exactly halfway. But it was so fun to do that I couldn't resist. 
Keep your eyes peeled in the next few weeks, because I'll be posting a preview of the cover, and also releasing a few samples of the new book for early reading. 
I was pretty excited to finish Six Keys, but this is the book that feels like my baby. I've poured a lot of my heart into the characters and I really like where they are going.

I've thrown in the Towel.

Not in life, or writing, thank goodness, although I've been nice and busy with a sick baby the past week. Sick babies are the saddest creatures in the world, with their sad eyes, and upset tummies or runny noses. 

No, I've given up, instead, on Writing Contests. They are not worth the energy, it seems to me. I spend hours and hours and hours on my entry, refining and editing, only to find that the winner is some blind woman who taught herself how to spin ordinary orange wool into bread for homeless children. 

Which is fine. I can lose a contest with the best of them. The frustrating part to me is not knowing how I did overall. Did I suck? Was I okay with a weak plot? Was the dialogue great, but the prose terrible? Was it the subject matter -i.e. is Fantasy a dumb subject to take up? 

I've made a private resolution. No more contests without feedback. Contests are great, and motivating, but if you don't have the chance of hearing what is good and bad about your entry, I've got no interest. 

Good luck to all you writers with blind weavers of bread.

Selling Out...

In Six Keys my protagonist has a conversation with her mother about selling out. Basically, the point is, if you take money for your craft -your gift- you are a sell-out. You have given your soul for cold hard cash. My point isn't as harsh in the book, but sometimes I feel like that about my own writing.

Up until now, I've kept all my glorious words to myself, with the exception of a very few friends and family that I've been brave enough to show my stories to.

I've been writing quite a long time, actually. I think I started reading in kindergarten, but I started reading the REAL books in 2nd grade. Like anyone who discovers the glory and power of imagination combined with the written word, my world opened up and I felt like I could go anywhere I read about. I was one of those character: Nancy Drew, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Anne Shirley, Alanna of Trebond, Josephine March, or Elnora Comstock.

And thus began my desire to create my own worlds for readers to get lost in.

My first stories were sad little affairs of 2 or 3 pages. I've saved them all. And laugh continuously over them.  When I was in high school, I wrote the first third of an adult romance. I still don't know what I was thinking. It was full of drama and utterly ridiculous, but I loved the characters. I smile even now, when I think about them.

Right after that, I decided that Science Fiction was the way to go and I wrote about 23 chapters in that, before I gave up completely. Rhiannon was, I think, a misdirected Anne McCaffrey character who fell out of the pages of Crystal Singer or something. She was tall, gorgeous and sassy.

In the next phase of my writing career, I wrote nothing but poetry and short stories. The short stories were part of a creative writing course I took. That was probably one of the best decisions of my life. I learned so much about self-editing and finding my "voice".

Then all was silent. I was rushing through a double major in Computer Science and Applied Computer Graphics. I was busy, busy, busy -too busy to write or breathe. But there was an idea, a small inkling of something I wanted to try out.

And for five years, that small inkling was a sketch here, a brainstorm there... one chapter then another.

I got married. I had a baby. I got a job with an independent game studio, coding my brains out.  One day, the book was done, I had done my edits and my rewrites and there it was. A work of genius? Ha! But MY story, all MINE.  

Back to the question at hand...
Am I a sell-out?

No, I am a writer.

Surprise! I'm overloaded.

I think it shocked my family when I wrote a book. I mean, how many authors do you know? I didn't tell anyone until it was written, not even my parents. And when I got myself a beautiful proof complete with a professionally designed cover, they were even more surprised. I had written a book, and there it was, in physical form. The proof was incontrovertible.

Since then, the main question has been, "How did you write a book?" It's a fair question, since I had a son and an almost full time job during the period in question. Let me tell you how.

Writing this book took: 5 years, 4 rewrites, 7 different .mobi Kindle conversions, 3 uploads to online bookstores, 4 author profiles on various websites, 2 ad campaigns, 1 facebook page, and a partridge in a pear tree.

At this point in time, I know I'm supposed to care about my book and my readers, but I'm so tired. Self-publishing, and self-marketing is quite the task.

"You need a blog" 
"You need to join Author's Den" 
"You need to join Booksie" 
"You need to put your book in Listmania on Amazon" 
"You need to make sure you've got plenty of tags on your book" 
"You need to have an ebook" 
"You need to have a physical book" 

Need, need, need... the advice is endless. Really, all I need is for someone to read my book and like it.