Friday, February 25, 2011

What's in a number?

I think whether indie or traditionally published, it seems like some find overnight success because all we see is the end result…slowly we hear the story behind that success. A well placed tweet picked up by a celebrity or a book filled with romping vampires I think for most of us, success will be slow and will be an uphill battle, riddled with self-doubt and naysayers. One of my favorite quotes is by Genghis Khan…that which does not kill us makes us stronger.

Self-publishing, like life, is about picking yourself back up, dusting yourself off and moving forward, past the one star reviews and slow sales. My journey started in mid-September 2010 and it has been up and down, but I am determined not to give up. You are opening up a very personal part of you to public display and potential criticism so be prepared to grow a thick skin and learn the opinions are subjective, some will hate you some will love you most won’t have an opinion.

There are wonderful people and resources out there to help you on your journey, so use them. Social networking through Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and various other sites is necessary to get your name and your work out there. Be helpful to your fellow writer and it will come back to you in loyalty and favors returned. I try to be subtle in my marketing, if one can be, and have joined various group that cross-promote each other. I find being the shy writer, this is very helpful. It is often easier to promote someone else’s work. I joined Independent Author Network and have been pleased with the cross-promoting that goes on. It’s difficult to try and write and promote your work so having others help you in that process, by keeping your name out there, is invaluable!!
Try to connect with people through other passions in your life as well. I enjoy photography and post my pictures on various sites. I have plans to sell the scripts I’ve written based on my novels, so I have branched out into screenwriting venues to promote my scripts and never know! I read a blog the other day where one well-placed tweet led to thousands in sales.

Value yourself and the time you have put into your work. Like so many things in life, you get out of self-publishing what you put into it. I have been going through some personal struggles and had to put the PR for my novel on the back burner. I for one am not into the hard sale. I try to be as unobtrusive as possible. Maybe someday I’ll break you down and you’ll buy one of my books. Who knows you might just enjoy it! My sales aren’t monumental but I am seeing a steady increase each month. I have made it to #12 at Amazon in romantic suspense and the top 100 in several other categories. Amazon rankings are fluid and always changing. Those numbers were achieved through the .99 sale.

If you want something in this life badly enough you will have to fight for it. I’m a fighter and I’m here to stay! I may never find fame or fortune, but if my words can make one person feel something then I have succeeded.
Best of luck!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

You can't go home.

You can't go home again...truer words have never been spoken. Okay, we can go home but should we and what will it cost us emotionally when we do? 

If you had a happy normal, pain-free childhood then probably nothing. But if you return to face demons, you will pay the price. I returned to a home I had fled the moment I was able to. I returned home with an alcoholic mother suffering from Alzheimer's to a home that was anything but normal and happy. 
It seemed like a good idea at the time. Having Mother being surrounded by caring and familiar neighbors who would make sure she was safe should I have to leave her alone, briefly. It worked well for years, because I was too busy with her to worry about the past and the rejection. I was a good and loyal daughter until the end when I could no longer care for her myself.

Mom passed away in a nursing home 2 years ago this month, but I am still stuck here in the past and in the house with the scars and painful memories. Trapped to some degree by the guilt
and the inability to let go.

I discovered my favorite writer and character a few years ago. Writer Robert Crais, and his amazing, Joe Pike character who endured child abuse. He may not be the man most parents would want to call son, but I'd be proud to have him, knowing what he endured. Pike has red arrows on his arms that represent moving forward in his life. Don't go back because the past is always there ready and able to steal a little from us each time we revisit it. I think Pike is a character who ignores his past and I hate to tell him that will come back to haunt you just as viciously as those who try to go back and relive it or change it.
I will be putting my past to rest again for the umpteenth time. I'm selling the house and moving with my red arrows facing forward. This time there will be no looking back on my past, no regrets and no hesitation. A fresh start in what will be my 50th year on the planet. I have to do this for myself because I have spent way too much of my life caring for's finally my turn. I have been living with a wonderful son who means the world to me and I need to give him his freedom so he can make a life for himself. I'm getting old and I need grandchildren. LOL

Visit the past, wave hi from a safe distance, but don't let yourself get caught up in things you can never change. Most importantly give yourself the life you deserve. I imagine no greater failure than wondering 'what if" on my deathbed,that's not going to happen! I may fail miserably at my dreams but at least I tried and that will be enough.
Always look to where you are going, not where you have been.