‿➹⁀How to Sell More Books on Facebook‿➹⁀

computer-snoopingSo. You’ve spent the last four hours spamming twelve thousand FB groups that inhabit only others doing exactly the same thing. How’s that working for ya?

Have you ever bothered to go back into one of these promo-only groups and check the response?

Chances are, you just wasted four hours of your life you’ll never get back. No likes, no comments, and I guarantee no sales, for the most part. In fact, I’d say all you got from this ordeal was an achy click-finger, bug-eyes, chair-ass, and a sour mood.

Never fear. I’m here to help.

*Hangs top hat and cane on wall rack, straightens suspenders*

*clears throat*

Imagine for a moment that this is real life. And let’s say your book is a beautiful, rare, only-found-in-the-shark-inhabited-waters-of-Fiji fish called … Le Bookuri. So, there 8sassoondock croppedyou are in a crowded marketplace, telling everyone how great your Le Bookuri is and that they should buy it, but the problem is, they also have this rare, precious Le Bookuri. Why would they need any of yours? And why are you trying to sell it to them in the first place?

So what do you do? You go to where the hungry people with no Le Bookuri are. You must hunt these people down. They do not generally travel in packs, no … that would be too easy. They are rogue, traveling the vast plains of Facebookland, hungry for their next Le Bookuri … Will it be yours? Chances are, if you’ve taken care of the following items, your Le Bookuri will be exactly what they need to wet their whistle and whet their appetite.

Make your Le Bookuri stand out from the rest.

Everyone has it. You have to do something different. Shine its scales, season it, remove the bones, fry it up and serve it with some tar-tar, but whatever you do, don’t expect a hungry person to jump at some flopping, wiggly thing that’s still half-alive. Make sure it’s finished, prepped, and served up proper. Spend time on this—don’t rush. Seriously. If it takes a year or longer, then that’s what it takes. Just because the lady in the next stand over can whip up five at a time twice a week and sell them at half-price to the street beggars, doesn’t mean that’s what you should do. Create an exquisite dining experience that you can be proud of. As long as it takes.

Make connections.

You can’t expect to be hand-picked out of the crowd of Le Bookuri fisherman unless you have made connections. Those hungry folks are going to feed you in return, yes, so it’s important that you sell your Le Bookuri to them, of course. But make them remember you. Give them a free Le Bookuri, even. Because if they like it and they like you—because you were generous enough to give without expecting in return—then they’ll be more apt to go tell their friends and family about this wonderful Le Bookuri experience they had, and they will send more hungry folks your way.

Quitcherbellyachin’.

Nobody wants to hear your sob story about how you didn’t sell any Le Bookuri last week. It’s annoying. They have enough problems of their own. They have a sick kid or bills they can’t pay. Their igloo is about to get repo’d or their sled has a rusty runner. They can’t figure out how to get that stupid childproof lid off their meds and they have a bunion. And the like. You never know what’s going on in other people’s lives, and I guaran-flippin-tee-ya your lack of Le Bookuri sales is not a burden others want to shoulder as they navigate the icy slopes of Facebookland. (I’m not sure when it started snowing, either, but just go with it people—focus.)

Nextly and lastly,

Don’t be an asshat.

Nobody wants to be around somebody who obviously thinks their Le Bookuri is the crème de la crème and is not afraid to display an array of snobbery to prove their position as high above the rest in the Le Bookuri marketplace. Unless you are one of the few big guys who can easily sell their Le Bookuri to other, lesser Le Bookuri fisherman, quit being a jerk and be nice to people, even other Le Bookuri fishermen. They may take a liking to you and share some of their customers with you, and they may even be nice enough to point out that squiggly black hair protruding from the half-baked mess on tarnished silver resting in your lap, there. Get back to work. Get humble. Say thank you. And for goodness sake, put your hair up.

So in short: quit wasting time with the spam-bot promo posts, and instead, spend that time polishing up the most amazing Le Bookuri you can, and make genuine connections with other humans. It works. I’ve experienced this magic myself over the last year since I first published.

What about you? Do you have any experiences on this topic you’d like to share? Spit it out in the comments below, if you dare. 😉

And until next time, fellow Le Bookurians,

Write on ❤

★★★If you’d like to check out my mature YA Dystopian Scifi Horror bestseller, “The Treemakers,” click the cover.  “The Soultakers,” (book 2) releases 12/3. You can check out some early reviews on Goodreads for now by clicking on the cover.

UPDATED EBOOK COVER WITH TAGLINES smaller

TST EBOOK at 50 percent

 

It Began in NaNoWriMo: One Writer’s Debut Journey

As we approach the frothing mouth of the great NaNoWriMo, many of you are gearing up to spew those sexy words like machine gun wielding cheerleaders. Hell yes, game on! Sure, the peanut gallery is across the field bitching about how NaNoWriMo is a waste of time because you’ll have to rewrite everything anyway if you want it to be worth a damn, but get your game on anyway and plug cotton in your ears. Don’t listen to the naysayers. We’ve all got to learn what works best for us, and we can’t spend our lives letting others decide what we should or shouldn’t do. The truth is, YES, you will probably do some rewriting. But that doesn’t mean National Novel Writing Month is a waste of time. My self-publishing journey began in NaNo, and I’m happy to say I now have a novel I’m proud of that bounces around on the Amazon bestseller’s list from time to time, and currently sports 84 reviews and a 4.7 star average. Did I rewrite? Yep. Was NaNo a waste of time? Absolutely not.

I had a blast! I learned who my characters were and what I wanted my story to be, and I also learned a ton about myself as a writer. I learned that there is this frigging amazing community of writers out there, whom I have grown to love and adore tremendously.  But perhaps most important was learning that I can write every day, no matter what, despite the excuses I had let hold me back in the past. NaNoWriMo gave me my very first taste of being a word-slinging BADASS, and I spread my tattered Dystopian Scifi wings and soared into action. NaNo jump-started me there.

If you’d like to watch my journey, you can here:

If you’d like to check out reviews or purchase my NaNoWriMo-spawned debut novel, “The Treemakers,” (Mature YA Dystopian Scifi Horror) you can by clicking on the cover. 
UPDATED EBOOK COVER WITH TAGLINES

So, happy writing NaNoWriMos!! You can do it!! And here’s a nifty little calendar I found for making sure you hit that daily goal. Good luck!!

2015_nano_calendar___tardis_by_margie22-d98fgll

And as always,

Write on ❤

Play Your Violin Amidst the Madness

violin3

Well it’s that time again. 2014 has come to a close, another year has passed us by. How was it for you? Horrible? Fantastic? Just kinda meh? Best year ever?

For me, it was mostly fabulous, with sprinkles of meh, and a few jiggers of heartache.

I did an amazing thing this year. I wrote and self-published a novel while single-handedly raising four children. That, alone, is cause for celebration, right? So, why the meh and heartache?

On top of all of the loss, death, and devastation present in everyday life around us, which makes it difficult to focus on life’s beauty sometimes, I have struggled with the disenchantment of my love of writing.

This masterpiece of mine (“The Treemakers”), which has garnished such fabulous (though few) reviews, hasn’t brought my children and I out of the poorhouse (yet!), and I have been dealing with some grim realities of my existence as an indie author.

Sure, there are things I love about being an indie author, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t sell out to the first big publisher with a five or six-figure advance. Because struggling sucks. Right? I know we all struggle with different things. A lot of you can relate to mine, I’m sure. Skimping on the groceries toward the end of the month because you’re almost out of foodstamps . . . . Having to go without things so your kids don’t have to . . . . We could sit here all day and whine about how much it sucks to be poor. And bitch about why it is that people say they care about us, want the best for us, totally support us, but then won’t/don’t even buy/read our books/art/etc… Or, they read it and don’t review it/recommend it to others… (why? Do they not realize that this is the bread n’ butter of our existence as an indie author/creative person?) But none of that wallowing and complaining and whining would do us any good. It won’t make us rich, and would only be counterproductive. It would irritate those around us, and bring more negative results into our lives.

But still, I wonder about those people. A little birdie pointed out to me that some of them are perhaps just quiet souls who honestly aren’t of the reviewing/recommending-variety. And some of them are just lazy. But then . . . there are those of the hater variety. Even people you may share blood or long-term friendships with. They see you shine and it reminds them of how dull they feel, so instead of lifting you up and adding to your brightness, they shoot you down, or try to ignore you altogether. They secretly want you to fail. Your greatness makes them realize how un-great they secretly think they are.

So. What now? What to do in the dim light of the people who want us to fail? Who want our children to go without? Who secretly want us to crash and burn because they are so flipping self-centered that they can hardly see the world around them for what it truly is? Shall we lie down and die so the poor haters may feel better about their wittle selves?

HA. WE THINK NOT.

our-deepest-fear-quote (1)

I’m not a millionaire yet. I’m not even a thousandaire. Hell, I’m not even a hundredaire. But I’m not dead yet, either, and neither are you. I sure as heck don’t plan on making things any easier for me or those around me who can’t handle the light, do you? Put on some sunglasses, haters, because we’re just getting started. And hey, those who may be in need of that permission to shine, will look at us and find the strength to do so. Our strength will make them feel stronger, too.

I’ll tell you what I did once I saw “The Treemakers” plateau at a level of un-greatness (for me). . . I cried.

I cried good and hard. I died inside for a short time. I gave up writing (for a few hours) and imagined what life would be like without it (horrible). I cursed the day I ever decided to do this for the long-haul, and I wallowed in my morass of self-pity until I was so drenched in the muck that only two choices remained: give up and “die,” or take a nice hot shower, put on some fresh clothes, and do what I do best.

Stick my two middle fingers in the air . . .

and then get back to writing.

A friend and I were discussing how difficult it is to be heard in the chaos of social media land. When you have a book out, especially when you’re new, she said it can be much like standing on a runway filled with jetplanes and screaming to be heard. I thought about this for a long while. It didn’t sound like anything I wanted to do. How pointless. I thought, “why not do something that would make the pilots stop the planes and get out alongside the passengers and watch?”

This is what happened next (in my head)[you may have to skip a stupid ad first]:

No matter what life brings us, no matter what elements lie before us, we have to “play our violin” amidst the madness . . . or the calm, or the heartache, or the bliss, or the riots in our minds, or the joy, or the sorrows . . . we let our light shine on, and don’t give up.

What is that thing you do that makes you stand out, like in a good way? That’s your violin–Do that. Writing is my sweet violin, and I know if I just keep playing it, eventually, someone will hear me. They’ll see me, feel the music pouring from my soul into theirs . . . the pilots, passengers, and all the people inside the airport will gather ’round to listen when it’s my time to shine.

Same as you.

It may not be our time to shine for everyone all the time. Sometimes we may stand alone on an empty runway with no one around for miles. It’s at those times we must practice practice practice, preparing for when it’s our turn. When the world and time stop and wait, and listen. For us. It will happen if we believe, plan, practice, prepare, and continue to play our violins amidst the madness.

Believe it will happen, and make the best out of this miracle before you. Another year awaits to unfold before our eyes.

Happy New Year to you, my friends.

And no matter what, always . . .

Play on

To check out reviews or purchase “The Treemakers,” follow the links below. Thanks!
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P49KVKG
Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00P49KVKG/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22036603-the-treemakers

Don’t Water Yourself Down

It’s the home-stretch for publication of “The Treemakers,” my YA Dystopian/Sci-fi, and I’ve been super squirrelly. This is a special kind of limbo. Admittedly, yes, it is a fabulous problem to have, a complex, beautiful conglomeration of fears, hopes, and worst-case-scenarios, replaying in my mind continually. Yes, most of these fears are irrational, but being new at all of this, it’s easy to run with them, not yet having seen the actual outcome of publication. Here are a few:

What if everyone hates it?

What if I’m delusional and it’s not really as good as I think it is?

What if people are just being nice to me when they say [fill in blank]?

How will I handle bad reviews?

What happens when friends, family, and others read this story and it doesn’t meet their expectations?

What if I let everyone down?

What if I am not successful?

There are likely hundreds, if not thousands more fears writers share when faced with putting their work in the hands of the masses. For me, I’m thinking, “I labored over this for a year, scrapped 103K words and started over from scratch. I put my heart and soul, both the dark and light of me, all into this, and if it falls flat, maybe I’ll fall flat, too….”

Truth be told, there are a ton of themes/events in “The Treemakers” that can–and will, probably–make certain people uncomfortable. I’ve doubted myself over the past few days, afraid that people, particularly, ones I know personally, might raise an eyebrow and wonder WTH I was thinking. Also, it has been quite nerve-wracking waiting for word back from my advanced reader/reviewers that may never come. They may hate it. They may not even finish reading it.

BUT.

I saw this meme yesterday and it gave me an “AHA!” moment.

Don't water yourself Down

How on Earth could I ever please EVERYONE? It’s not possible. I told the story that was in me to tell, leaving out nothing, and that’s the best I could ever do. Be true to myself.

Coming from a bleak past into the light where I am today has given me a unique viewpoint from which to tell a story. This is why I enjoy writing and reading fiction that shines a light in the dark, is fearless, honest, makes me feel, provokes thought, and pushes the limits. I pull very few punches, because I believe the punches are where the magic’s at.

It’s when we are faced with life’s toughest trials that we are given the opportunity to rise above and shine brighter, and brighter, and brighter still. Yes, at times things get dark in my fictional worlds—as in reality—but there is always that inherent hope and light, urging, yearning, pushing onward.

So, no. I will not be watering myself down because others can’t handle me. I’ve seen some sh*t, have had experiences in my life others could never imagine, or have only seen in movies. I have been near-death and seen death. I’ve been dangerously close to permanently losing my children, have struggled with psychological malfunction, and addictions of all sorts. And I have overcome. (With help, of course. 😉 )

Though those themes aren’t blatant in “The Treemakers,” the quest for love, strength, freedom from bondage, the yearning to rise above and fly up from the rubble–it’s all there. I can’t help but write that, it’s what I know. It’s me. And I can’t water down or sugar coat me or my fiction out of fear that there are people out there who won’t like it.

The fact is, my life is a miracle. I should not be sitting here writing this to you right now with children watching Sunday morning cartoons in the background, and a toddler continuing to bring me random items from around the house because mommy’s at the computer and that means it’s time to bug her now. 🙂

Most people who experience the bleak past I came from lose their children, end up in prison, or dead. The number of people who actually make it out, heal, grow, get their children back, and THEN go on to be any sort of successful, is so small, it’s super sad.

That being said, of course there will be themes in my fiction that make people uncomfortable. But the gift I have to offer is that on the other side of that there will be hope, discoveries, redemption, justice, and magic. Because on the other side of even the darkest night, there is always the precious, living dawn.

So, as I wait patiently these next ten days, in hopes that my fictional baby will do well, I also have to let go and have faith. And move on to the next project. Letting go is difficult, but it has to be done. I’ve done my part.

I hope that you will not water yourself down, either. If we worry too much about what is “right” or “acceptable,” or what everyone else is doing, we are selling ourselves short. This is why I believe so many writers are unhappy in their craft. Maybe they’re afraid to dig too deep, unearthing the story inherent in their soul that begs to be told. It can be scary. It can be very uncomfortable. It can dredge up all sorts of emotional baggage. But it’s so cathartic, and extremely fulfilling, like scratching an itch that has pleaded for relief, once it is written, it is seen, heard, validated.

Be true to yourselves and your stories. Tell the story that begs to be told. Don’t worry so much about what everyone else will think or what everyone else is doing. Do your own thing. Your readership will find you, and they will love you for this. These are the things I will continue to remind myself over the next few days, as those fears try to creep in and cast shadows on this glorious moment. Because this is no easy feat. Writing and self-publishing a novel that you’ve worked on for a year is something to be proud of and excited about.

So, let’s do that. Focus on the positive.

To thine own self be true.

Until next time,

Write on! ❤

***UPDATE 11/13/15*** The Treemakers is now an Amazon Bestseller! And you can one-click it right here for currently only .99: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015DC4Q5E/

Book 2, “The Soultakers,” will release 12/3/15, and you can check out early reviews on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26206748-the-soultakers

The Treemakers Trilogy Teaser Gallery

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12 Things I Learned While Writing “The Treemakers”

 

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My release date for my upcoming novel, “The Treemakers,” was originally set for this July. As you can see, that date has flown by and here I sit, awaiting still that righteous day when I hit that big, red “PUBLISH” button. (Is it red? I don’t know, I’m new here.)

“The Treemakers” (blurb below) was a project I began during National Novel Writing Month last November. I did, indeed, write the first 50K words of what I believed at the time would be something of a short novel. Being still a new novelist, this was my third novel, but I still had not worked with a professional editor. I was nearsighted in my vision for the future of TTM, thinking it was a quick little project that I could toss to the masses and maybe, snag a few readers for when I put the REAL work out there.

Yeah.

“The Treemakers” had other plans.

After I decided to go Indie (link opens new window), I also decided it was time to get professional feedback on my work.

BEST. DECISION. EVER.

I had just had TTM read by a couple of trusted beta readers, who had great things to say about it, but also pointed out a few of the story’s weak spots. I went back to work and fleshed the entire story, stretched it out and tacked on another 53K words. I thought the project was close to being “perfect” when I sent it over to my editor, Kimberly Grenfell. Um, yeah. Not so much. What I received back from her was 33 pages of content notes.

What happened when I read those content notes was a reverse-alchemy of sorts. The solid gold badass status I had dubbed upon my 3 novel-writing, NaNoWriMo-winning self, became a cackling peanut gallery. Those questions opened a sort of Pandora’s Box, a snowball effect of doubts, fears, and inadequacies dumped upon me like a mighty, putrid ice bucket challenge…

Dramatic, yes. But also, true.

I spent precisely two days regretting the day I picked up a pen when I was 14 and spewed out my first, four page teen-angst poem.

And then.

I pulled myself up by my uncle Allen’s rainbow suspenders… I realized, like he, and so many others have said to me in my life–that I am a storyteller. I was put on this earth to do so, and though I might do it kicking and hurling wet noodles, I shall do this thang, I shall do what I need to do to move forward; I shall do to my stories what they need to thrive and grow wings and fly into the world, as beautifully-winged creatures who can withstand the certain storms of darkness and whirling pools of light ahead.

I didn’t really intend to rewrite the entire 103K word novel, it just happened. The truth is, even when I sat down to tackle my editor’s content notes, there was that little voice telling me things I ignored as I smothered it with a mental pillow. As I fought to rework my manuscript, things began changing. Big things. So many things were changing in fact, that I finally just threw up my hands and never looked at the old manuscript again. I was at 13K words. I had a whole novel ahead of me, and though the bones of the story were very similar, but an ounce of the same flesh remained from the old version to the new. I was terrified. For a moment, I was unsure if I could do it. But do it, I did. I conquered that mountain and buried my flagpole deep in it, claiming it for myself and all writers who have ever accomplished similarly amazing feats, or wanted to, or needed to, but were too afraid. I did it. And boy, did it feel great.

Following are some things I learned during this past year while working on “The Treemakers.”

#12. Characters and worlds are like real life, in the sense that it takes a while to get to know them.

How well do you know a real life person in three months? Do you know them better in six months? How much better do you know them in one year? The same with places. I mean, I’ve lived in Dallas, Texas most of my life and still get lost. (True story) But what if I took a trip to an alternate dimension of time and space to a third-world alien country where up is down and left is right and so on… you know, like opposite world or something. In many ways, this is what my imaginative worlds are like. When I first started writing TTM, their world of Bygonne was a foggy, bare bones rendition of what it is now. It took me writing the story three times to really, I mean really flesh out my world and characters. Not until the third time (and months later) did I finally know my characters as if they were real live persons, and their world as if I lived there myself.

#11. Trusted, honest beta readers are absolutely necessary for the success of the beginning novelist.

It can be scary, handing over your work for critique. In fact, it’s a miracle Logan Keys and I are still friends. Logan and I met on Facebook and before we really knew each other well, we were swapping stories. From that first encounter, where we asserted our mutual knowingnesses of the other’s weak spots and thus shared, I discovered something about myself: I am a total masochist when it comes to writing. I fear the painful results of sharing my work for critique, but there is nothing more fulfilling than feeling the burn of truth when my eyes are opened to my own weaknesses, and facing them with honesty and humility, tenacity and courage, to become a better writer, telling a better story.

#10. A brilliant, encouraging, honest, open-minded, and optimistic editor is absolutely necessary for most writers to reach their full potential.

I say most because I’m sure there are writers out there who would beg to differ. Maybe you need a drill sergeant who sprays you with lemon juice for every comma splice…. But as for me, and many others, we’re squirrely little rascals who have spent too much time doubting our abilities. The slightest bit of harshness or unnecessary pessimism or negativity in regards to our work may send us packing to some far off land where we take up knitting and drinking and sobbing into the wee dreary hours of dawn. As with many people, it takes someone with a positive, encouraging attitude, the know-how, and the optimism to help us cultivate our inner talents and bring them to their highest yeilding states of fruition.

#9.   You don’t need an agent or a publisher to be a happy writer.

For the longest time I really did think I had to be an agented, NY-published writer to be happy. With this belief, I was self-fulfilling my own prophecy. Once I realized I didn’t need these things and really began to focus on why I write, and started doing it for the right reasons, magically things began to fall into place for me. See #8 below:

#8.  When you follow the light, it multiplies.

When you discover that spark in the dark, with it you can build a massive fire, burning up dark worlds and naysaying universes in an instant. All it takes is a spark. Follow that, and things in your life begin to rearrange themselves to bring more light. Sure, this is my personal hypothesis, but it has also been proven in my life in a trillion ways. If you missed it and you want to know more about the darkness I’ve come from, check out a bit of my story >HERE<.

#7.  You can be a single parent and write a novel.

It’s true, anything we are really passionate about in life, we make time for. I once made up tons of excuses for why I didn’t have time to write, but one day I finally said enough is enough. I quit squirting lemon juice in my own eyes and made a commitment to myself to write every day.  Just a year later I was wrangling NaNoWriMo by the horns and “won” with my first draft of “The Treemakers.” Now, with a little help from a good set of headphones, some awesome, mostly-wordless music, a fierce ambition, and stern rules with my children about “mommy’s writing time,” I have been known to write between 1K-4K words a day. It can be done. All we need is a bit of gumption.

#6. I queried for agents too soon.

Not that it makes much difference to me now, but I know there are many of you who still aim to give it a go with traditional publishing. This one’s for you guys. Now I see where I was blind when I queried agents for my first and second novels. Not only was my writing not the best because I wasn’t yet working with an editor, but also, my worlds and characters were way underdeveloped. Not to mention, my query letters and synopses totally sucked dirt balls.  I get all teary-eyed and sneezy when I look back over them now.

#5. I realized I had no idea how strong I really was. 

I love this journey so much. Before I began it, I was a very needy soul who lacked confidence in my work. I was scared of him and her and they and didn’t show my work to many people. I’ve only been blogging for a year, because I believed I wasn’t good enough for any of this. I couldn’t be successful. No one would want to read my words. I could dream of being a published writer all day but that wouldn’t make me a published writer. Those were my debilitating and belittling beliefs. They totally held me back in the cesspool of fear for the longest time. But then, things changed. Once I started conquering my fears within the writing itself–taking criticism/critique, hiring a professional, rewriting–I changed. I realized I didn’t need anyone to wave a magic publishing wand over my head and tell me I was “good enough.” I could do it myself. Well, mostly… (See #4 below)

#4. It takes a village.

Just because I’m an “Indie” author, doesn’t mean I’m solo. I do need others to help my stories come to life and be amazing. Beta readers, trusted friends, supporting family members, encouragers, EDITORS, and (for me) children to remind me that there is so much wonder and magic in life when I dive deep into my imagination. Most importantly though, it takes believers. People who believe in you and your work are so important.

#3. Too many cooks in the kitchen can spoil the soup. Or spill it in our nether-regions and scald and/or singe our unmentionables. Not to mention, no more soup.

There is such a thing as too much outside input. There comes a time–when 2,000 of your closest friends on Facebook are writing this or that or telling you to write this or that–that you have to press the “mute” button and do your own thing. Don’t chase trends or do what they do, if it means straying from your own lighted path. In “The Treemakers,” I touch on some pretty taboo subjects. I’ve had to have some heart-to-hearts with my characters and make sure it’s really what they wanted. The answer was yes. I wrote the story the way it would’ve really happened, I truly believe that. And if I were to change it because so-and-so say it might offend a few narrow-minded individuals, then I would not have a true, authentic story to offer to the world. We must write the story that is in us to tell, regardless of those pesky naysayers who don’t like much anyway.

#2. Growing Up in Public SUCKS.

I’ve erased countless blog posts because I read back over them and sputter the contents of my cereal bowl onto my computer screen. “Ugh, did I really write that crap?” Sometimes, it’s so overwhelming learning all of the things that go along with being an Indie author. Social media. OY. All of those things those “other authors” do that piss me off on Facebook? I think I’m guilty of every single one of them. Almost. You’ll never catch me in a half-naked yoga pose, but, you know… all the rest. We learn as we go. It sucks that we have to be ignorant of certain things in the process, but that’s just the way it is in this golden age of Everything Online & Social Media. My advice though: Never get on social media angry or drunk. That will save you so much embarrassment.

AND

#1. I can prove the naysayers wrong–just because I am self-published, doesn’t mean I’m throwing a fat turd in the air and calling it a book.

I just wrote an amazing book. I can say that with confidence. I put the work into it and it will be great. There will be people who hate it, most definitely, but the fact is, there will be a ton more people who don’t. And that makes me happy. 😀

Sooo, that’s it for now! I have a slew of amazing announcements coming up, including my cover reveal, and the unveiling of my fansite. I’ve yet to figure out how to do an actual mailing list signup in WordPress (growing up in public!), but for now, take a look at the blurb for “The Treemakers” below, and if you’d like to be added to my launch list for when it releases, you may email me at rozelle[dot]treemakers[at]gmail[dot]com. Feel free to email me for any other reason as well; just to say hi, ask a question, or vent about whatever… just promise you’ll be nice because I’m sensitive. 😉

“The Treemakers” (Edgy YA Dystopian/SciFi)

Doomed to a life of building mechanical trees for the dying world of Bygonne, sixteen year-old Joy Montgomery remains the only one left to care for over thirty orphaned children enslaved by the Superiors in the Tree Factory.

But the iron bonds of friendship and family, the discovery of magic in the dark, and love amidst devastation, soon fuel her search for a way out. Aided by an unlikely ally who harbors a dangerous secret, Joy and the Treemakers embark on a quest for freedom, and for the truth about the existence of a forbidden paradise.

Coming in November! (Release date/cover reveal TBA)

Until next time, writerly souls,

Write on! ❤

Stop Trying to Write a Novel

insane-writer-girl

Seriously, stop right now. Hands off the keyboard. Don’t type (or scribble) another word.

We need to have a good heart to heart.

So . . .

I hear you are “trying to write a novel.”

Interesting.

How’s it working for you?

*puts on teacher glasses and grabs notepad and pen*

Hm . . .

That good, huh?

If I may make a suggestion?

Instead of “trying to write a novel”–a daunting task at the very least–why not focus on telling a story?

“What’s the difference?” you ask?

The difference is that “trying to write a novel” puts the emphasis on you. A lot of pressure can result from “trying to write a novel.” You can fail, miserably. People won’t like you because you suck at writing novels. You can’t even finish the damn thing.

Why?

I’d be willing to bet your characters and world aren’t real enough to you.

Why?

Because the focus isn’t on them and their story, it’s on you and your status.

I love this quote by Ernest Hemingway:

‘When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.’

When you create real people in real worlds, suddenly, you create commitment of a new sort. It’s a lot easier to commit to your main character’s story if he/she is real to you, fleshed out, the story is vivid, and is yours to write.

“What the crap does ‘yours to write’ mean?” you ask?

There are some things that may not be yours to write. I can’t answer this for you, only you can do that. But a good indication is the level of passion you feel for fleshing out your story and characters and following it through to the end. In much the same way a reader is pulled through the story because of their emotional attachment to it (among other elements), if you have a good deal of emotional investment in a story, it is a kazillion times easier to write, and a gajillion times better to read. Some would say the story may even begin to “write itself,” with the characters pulling you along, telling you exactly what to write. That is what you want to look for. Not the bragging rights of having written a novel, but instead, that connection deep inside you, deep in that well of strengths, weaknesses, and experiences you yourself know to be true for your life. This is the cornerstone to build a good story off of; the lifeline to all of humanity, where creation springs forth from the inner voice and knowing that says, “This is wholly and authentically me.”

Readers have to care about the story or characters in some way if they are to spend the time and money to read it. If you are not emotionally invested in your story and characters, chances are great that readers won’t be, either.

So, stop trying to write a novel.

Start telling a story; the story that is yours to tell. Tell that story that your innermost dreams, fears, desires, and horrors, are both screaming at you to and not to write. Maybe step into the darker, scarier parts of yourself and what you know about life, and dig there for fiction fodder. That’s where the juicy stuff is. That’s some of the deliciousness readers crave. That’s the stuff that will change your life, make you blossom and grow as you write. And when you look back, you’ll be able to call yourself a novelist. But more importantly, a storyteller. Through stories, readers can live lives vicariously through your characters, they can learn and grow and experience, they can laugh, cry, and escape. When you are telling a story, you are a vestibule for the creative workings of the Universe to flow through into others. Telling a story isn’t just about you. It’s also, if not more, about the connection, the readers, the listeners. Make them feel something. It will fulfill you at the same time. That’s what they want. It’s what you want. To tell a good story; to hear a good story. It goes back to the dawn of man and pictures on cave walls. It’s what links us to our ancestors and reminds us of what things used to be like. It’s what helps us open our minds to new possibilities. Sometimes, it’s the best way to learn a lesson. Storytelling may very well be the single most badass thing in the world, IMHO.

So, to sum up . . .

It isn’t about the title, “novelist.”

It’s about the very necessary (and badass) art of storytelling.

I will leave you with this last quote to ponder as you go about your merry, writerly way:

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.” -unknown

~

And if you are in the mood for more, please check out one of my faves, “50 Awesome Moments Only Writers Would Understand.” 

Until next time, writerly peeps . . .

Write on! 😀