When Two ‘Rights’ Collide! (Is there an app for that? Also, an update on my ‘write a novella in 30 days’ challenge & where the heck I’ve been!)

Two face - MO2

I needed help. Since my last post on March 15th, I’ve been doing something instead of writing that was the absolute right thing for me to be doing. I’ve been fully engaged and committed in being an advocate and caretaker to my dad. He went into the hospital at the end of December and it’s been five months of terror watching the care system that supposed to help, in his case, do so much to hurt him.  A long story, too long to go into here, and I don’t want to fill up my writing blog with the sad tale. Although, one day I might want to create another blog to express my disgust, anger and disappointment over what we’ve been going through as a family. Nuff said on that topic for now.

The absolute truth is that I don’t regret the time away from here, which was used to focus on doing the right thing of being fully present as a daughter to a man who has been a fantastic dad. I regret that other folks weren’t as equipped or were too negligent to acknowledge how careful they should have been with someone we treasured so.  I’m still a faith-filled, blessed and hopeful person who over the past months have read or seen on the TV news other families going through some really awful situations.  Terrible things, and I pray they will somehow, someday find peace, joy and healing.

The thing is, while dealing with all of the unexpected challenges in my own life right now, I have never stopped wanting to write. That—is another absolute truth I’ve had to stop ignoring, stop putting aside, because I was too mentally or physically exhausted from long days of work and night shifts of being by my dad’s bedside.

Hence, I realized I was bound to two very right things, which were colliding. One of those right things; being a good daughter was getting all of my energy and attention. While the other right thing—living out my heart’s desire to write, to be a writer, to publish stories I think some folks might really like— was getting no time or attention.

There was little while in there when I had real trouble reconciling celebrating my writing successes (yes, I did finish my novella) when I was having so little success in making things better for my dad. Not that I wasn’t putting in the effort to ‘fix’ things for him, but I reached a point where I realized that not writing was not the proper response to the situation I was in. If anything, not writing, was adding to my state of being– helpless. So here I am. Back on my journey, and feeling good to have come out of my writing slump.

This step wasn’t easy, and I recognized right off, to get back on track, I needed help. Here’s the lesson fellow newbies— if you, on your own journey find yourself in the middle of a ‘two rights colliding storm’—get help! I went searching for a writing coach and soon found out they were out of my price range, and many seem to be offering assistance to writers to improve their writing (not that I don’t need that kind of help.J)  Someday down the road, I might seek out a coach to point out for me what I should immediately STOP doing, and what I should immediately START doing! But right now—I need help to just get the words outta me. I needed assistance with time management, direction to find the places in my day to write when my life seemed to be too busy to accommodate my writing. And, of course- I craved that daily encouragement to keep me going at the task. I found it. It’s going to cost some cash, but having joined a supportive writing community with a focus on teaching you how to increase your production, in just a few days, it’s already paying off. I’m writing!

Waiting for a flood of creativity to suddenly appear, wash over me, and make me a writer didn’t. Taking even five, ten, fifteen minutes a day and being accountable for whatever time you do commit to, until I incorporate and adapt the habit of working on my WIPs, is a manageable way of tackling my procrastination problems.

Now—updates!

I did finish that novella in 30 days! Hand wrote it into an 8 x 11 Staples wirebound notebook that is falling apart from being carried with me everywhere I went. I’m happy with the story, and thrilled that I finally have “Tending Deacon’s Garden” on the pages! Yes, it’s going to be a task typing it up, but—I’ll do it!

I’ve sold close to another 45 ebooks —so, yeah for that! I’ll get my new sales totals on here soon. Also, I had mentioned that I would be checking on why I hadn’t received any royalty payments from Amazon—I did that. You have to have royalties of at least $100 before they cut you a check or deposit funds into your paypal account.  I was at $96 and change, so, I should be seeing that money sometime soon. All Romance Ebooks did deposit $18.36 into my paypal last week. Nice.

Well, my friends, I’ve told you my tale. I know I’m not the first writer, and won’t be the last one who has trouble sneak up and overtake them. Maybe someday some struggling writer will happen upon this post, just at the point where they have ‘two right things colliding’. Maybe someone reading right this entry today is wondering if they too can find their way back to writing. Consider this– if you’re going it alone– go out and search for a writing community, my friends!  I did, and ya know what I discovered?  Many authors, new or established—have hardships. They have troubles, they have fear, they have time management issues, they have anxiety. Fears, troubles and anxieties very much like my own. They struggle along, and– they write.

And—they even find time to encourage me to do the same. Just what I needed to get up, dust myself off and get back to work.

FYI, I also revised a chapter in my WIP “I See You” and will do another one this week. I’m back on target to self-publish this year—wonderful!

So – keep writing, people!!

~venice

P.S.—Look out for another one of my freebie shorts this weekend. Just a show of my appreciation for how patient you’ve been with me.

Advertisements

236 and counting! Did I Tell Ya I Hate Math? (Indie Writer Ramblings)

C

Here we go, as promised– my sales numbers! Finally. I don’t really hate math. I’m just not a huge fan of doing anything that constantly raises a pointer to the limits of my intellectual capacity…sigh. Anyway, what I’m saying is — ya see any blatant errors, just kindly whip me out a private email and let a girl know if she’s got something obviously screwed up that most any elementary kid might have caught. Okay? Thanks!

I indie published BLACKOUT IN THE GARDEN OF LOVE on October 8th in 2012.  I honestly didn’t do much marketing. But I did hook up with a few Interracial Romance forums, and I think that helped me out a lot.  As a reader, I’ve discovered the IR genre is a small enough world that the news of new releases travels in a pretty natural flow, through word of mouth. It’s a great advantage when you’re writing to a niche audience if you know where to go to just get your face or words out there, fellowship– and make friends. I wish I had more time to do more of that kind of stuff, as I thoroughly enjoy chatting with other lovers of IRs! I especially love running into other readers and writers who are diggin’ and searchin’ for sweet IR reads.

Anyhoo—here’s what I sold:

On Amazon/KDP

October  — 68

November – 66

December — 28

January — 30

February — 15

207 sold @ .45 cents royalty per ebook = $93.15.

***

Barnes & Noble/Nook Sales:

5 sold @ .52 cents royalty per ebook  = $2.60.

All Romance Ebooks: (60% royalty)

(just started selling Blackout on that site on 1/8/13)

24 sold @.77 cents royalty per unit = $18.58

Total sales/profit for Blackout = $113.81

236 ebooks sold.

Now, have I gotten any of this money yet? Nope. I suspect a check from Amazon should be showing up someday soon here (I believe there’s some mention of 90 days turnaround). I’ll follow up on the payment part of this indie pubbing experience in another post one day soon. If anyone has any info about Amazon’s payment turnaround, I’d love to hear from you!

The money I’ve made covers the cost of cover art, proofreading and formatting for Blackout– and the lil bit leftover might put a few bucks in my pocket.  The experience is worth gold and so is all that I’ve learned. I’ve had the joy of finishing a story and sending  it out into the world, and mostly getting  very nice reviews (except for the single star one I got, which I want to talk about ‘processing’ that  bad rating  I received in a post here, too.  Probably it will be sporting a title like– “I Indie- Published and the Worst Possible Thing Happened and– How I Survived It” or “Oh Lawd– Whyyyyy???” Something like that.

So other newbies– like me, it’s possible your first publication may not stuff your bank accounts with the 50k or 100k you’ve heard others proclaim as their return on the hours spent writing a story. Yes, I know Blackout was a short story, I’m happy to have sold as many as I did, but my heart and writing spirit isn’t put off.  I’m ready for the next adventure and challenge of putting what I’ve learned about writing and publishing to work on my next project. Make it the best read possible, and okay, I might let myself fantasize – just a little bit– about making tens of thousands of dollars and moving up the ranks on Amazon– I’ve got that kind of imagination, ya see.

But–I’m not discouraged, and I hope that anyone that has a mind and soul to give their words to the world won’t be turned away from their dreams because their first book(s) didn’t sell in huge numbers. The thing is, I am finding quite a bit of comfort & satisfaction in the journey so far.  I made a move, put some  real action behind it, and made something happen! Very satisfying feeling, and now since I’ve honed my skills—hey, anything is possible for me. And—anything is possible for you, too! Let’s just keep it going, right?

Somewhere over the rainbow and all that good stuff!

🙂

wb051402

(Next time around- What Is My Next Project, Again?)

Write Something, damn it! (Newbie Indie Writer Ramblings)

Writing Pencil

Write something, damn it!

O…K…

Her breath hitched, then fluttered like butterfly wings against his neck where her lips grazed his skin.

Maybe that sentence is wonderful, maybe not.

The point is—the writing must NOT stop!

All that I truly know and want is rooted in the words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters and stories I put on a page.

So, why haven’t I been writing?

Stepping into 2013 has been an extended arm-flailing slide on the longest, unexpected banana peel ride ever!

The weekend after Christmas my dad had to go to the ER. Since then, he’s been in the hospital, had a brief, but horrible for his health, stay in a nursing home for short term rehab, then back to ER,  then ICU, and still is in the hospital.  That’s where I’ve been. While my dad’s 83, this turn in his health was totally unexpected. It’s been a whirlwind of crazy—specialists, test after test, sepsis, fevers, colds, catheters, dementia, allergic reactions, a weird bout of him not swallowing anything by mouth…sigh. But my dad is much loved, and me and my sibs are his advocates, which means lots of hours each day spent holding his hand, encouraging him, and wrangling docs and nurses for him to get the best care possible.  It’s been very hard to type or write while doing this.

But, I can’t be the first writer to have some unexpected real life stuff happen to them to mess with their writing.

I wish I could offer up in this post a list of 10 Ways to Keep Writing When the Unexpected Happens.

The thing is–I don’t know five ways, or three or two.

I guess I can only recognize a personal truth. All of my days of living, my personal truth and make up—my dreams, my journey– is connected to writing.

I can’t opt out of writing, no matter how challenging my days get. Writing should be like eating, and sleeping, because it’s as much food to the part of me I’m just now discovering, as a meal is to the part of me I’m used to paying attention to, and caring for.

There is a shift going on, and a call to me that I need to answer. Am I a writer? is the question it’s forcing upon me.

 How can I hope to grow, reach my potential, if I let everything, anything–big or small get in between me and the words on the page?

I believe I know my path, and putting in my best effort to write daily is the best way for me to stay on course. If I can’t get both hands on the keyboard of my laptop or my new ASUS Transformer tablet (my Christmas gift to me!), I’ll start carrying one of the many beautiful writing journals I’ve got in my collection and write with one hand if I have to. If I can’t move forward in a WIP that’s giving me trouble, I’ll sketch out some notes or scene work on another story I’ve got on the to-be-written list.

I must keep it movin’!!!

I’d love to hear the stories of how other people have gone through the unexpected and discovered that putting their writing on the shelf wasn’t the proper response to trouble.  So many of you probably already know what I’ve just discovered—writing is the release, the answer, the healing balm in times of trouble, not just another ‘task’ that can be put off until another day.

In life, I have to conclude– you may have stumbles or falls, but you don’t have to be thrown off your path.

Trail in Temperate Rainforest

And, I’ve missed blogging! Glad to be back 🙂

Sixty-four and Counting! (Newbie Indie Writer Ramblings)

Sixty-four and Counting! (Newbie Indie Writer Ramblings)

How are things going?

I’m up to 64 ebooks sold of my short story  BLACKOUT IN THE GARDEN OF LOVE on Amazon. Yes, I know that doesn’t put me anywhere near Amazon’s top 100, but you know that’s alright. Sixty –four people out there have read my short story, and I can see the real magic in that.  I’m a published author, and I’ve sold something I wrote. Sixty-four somethings!  It breaks down to an average of about me selling around 2.7 ebooks per day since I published the short on October 7th.

I also uploaded BLACKOUT to Kobo and B&N Pubit.  I sold 4 ebooks on Barnes and Nobles Pubit for a total of $2.08 and have absolutely no action at all going on over at Kobo so far. Actually I didn’t see that many IRs on Kobo, and I haven’t quite figured out how folks can even see my story.

Since I’m selling Blackout on Amazon for $1.29, my profit margin is just 35%. On B&N I’m making a profit of 40% for each ebook sold.

I looked into Smashwords –which would distribute it to other major online retailers like Apple, Sony, the Diesel eBook Store and others. I guess I will also upload it there too, at some point.

My October sales:

Blackout in the Garden of Love: $30.88

I have no plans to make Blackout in the Garden of Love a freebie yet. Maybe I’ll consider doing so when I publish TENDING DEACON’S GARDEN, as a way of generating more sales for TENDING DEACON’S GARDEN. I’ll keep y’all posted on that, and continue to report to you how Blackout is selling.

I’m testing the waters here as an indie writer, and if you’re a writer thinking about sticking a toe into the indie publishing pool, come on in and join me. If I can do this, I know you can.

🙂

~venice

What’s Happening?

What’s Happening?

Well, I’m officially a one week old indie writer–that’s what’s happening!

  • I’ve sold 38 copies of BLACKOUT IN THE GARDEN OF LOVE.
  • My debut short showed up on Pat Crowell’s IR List for the week ending 10/13 report. The site is very popular in the interracial romance community. Pat is a doll to keep us all up to date with what new IRs are coming out and where to find them. Thanks, Pat!  I was doing my regular perusal down the new books published – and ‘POW’ there was Blackout!! Very nice!
  • I added my author’s profile on Good Reads, and even threw a few books on my shelf, I’ll review later on.
  • And… I also uploaded Blackout to the Barnes & Noble site on Saturday, so it’s also on sale there. Um, well it’s there, not exactly selling anything yet.

Not bad. If you would have asked me on last Monday, if I thought I’d take on the author profile on Goodreads and publish on B&N, I sure would have said, “Nope, I’m fine with getting through pubbing to Amazon.   Now I’m looking at the pros and cons of selling on Smashwords vs Lulu vs Kobo vs… oh boy, there’s no turning back now.

The main thing is I’m learning a lot. I was beginning to doubt my choice of debuting with a short story, instead of something more substantial and plot-twisting. But this is a great way to get some hands on learning, like doing a trial run. Maybe, I’m not making the big bucks this time around, but how fortunate that I get to learn how to do this indie-publishing thing while making some cash. Most important though, I don’t have to be moping around, sulking, and wondering how all these other writers were living out their dreams.

I’m amazed that I’ve been able to do this!

Oh, and I’ve posted a Freebie Short Story, check it out here.

Intervention, please!

~Newbie Indie Writer Ramblings~

 

Intervention, please!

Yep, three days into this indie publishing thing on Amazon’s KDP, and I’m already addicted to clicking on the Month-to-Date Unit Sales report thingy. I need help!

Is there already a support group out there somewhere? Somebody drop me a link, please?

My fingers are getting numb…

🙂

Twelve Again? (Newbie Writer Ramblings)

~Newbie Indie Writer Ramblings~

Well, twelve appears to be the magic number. Twelve kindle editions of BLACKOUT IN THE GARDEN OF LOVE– sold! Yep, that’s 12, not 1200, not 12,000. Am I disheartened? Nah. Am I disappointed? I’m not sure. I’m still totally jazzed over the fact I’ve got a book (short story) up on Amazon. That I’m a ‘published’ author. And when I do a search for my first book, it keeps popping up, and my name is right next to it. 🙂 I don’t know how those twelve folks came to decide to click that ‘Buy now with 1-Click’ button. Point is – Woo hoo!—they did! Truth is I haven’t done a lick of marketing. Definitely going against everything I’ve read on what you’re supposed to do when you indie-publish a book. I haven’t even blasted a proud shout-out that my new book is available for purchase on the two IR forums I’m active on. Interesting. I’m busy with work, and caretaking an eighty-four old year dad, who every day reveals to me and my sibs a new reason why he needs to be ‘supervised’. But– I could have scrambled to do at least some of that critical marketing other writers are out there doing. For me, this first book has been more like taking a deep cleansing breath while looking out at the journey before me. I have a lot of road to travel, I get that. It’s only just recently that I started feeling like I could own this ‘being a writer’ thing. It might be the reason why I’m here. Not on WordPress, blogging–but in the world. A good friend asked me today—so how does it feel? Being a published writer? Despite the fact I haven’t hit the internet highway to sell my wares, and done all of the marketing I should have – I’m at peace for now with what I’ve accomplished. I was blessed to be led back to my gift after decades of neglecting it, and to be returning to it during a time when a newbie can step out and live their dream to be published, is a wonderful place to be.

I know there have to be a few other writers out there, like myself, green as hell—but slowly making their way. Who are stumbling, and going off the Indie publishing 101 script because their days are full of the unexpected. You guys feel me, right?

BLACKOUT IN THE GARDEN OF LOVE was a private victory lap. Someday I hope it’ll hit sales of 1200 – or 12,000!! But for right now, to these twelve people who have bought BLACKOUT IN THE GARDEN OF LOVE, I just want to say – Hey, come back around, I’ve got more and better stuff comin’ your way! And what are you twelve folks waiting for – LIKE my book and give me a few five star reviews, too while you’re at it, will ya? 😉

~venice