Promotion Dos and Don’t PRIOR to Book Launch

According to the ever awesome Lindsay Buroker, I’ve been doing it all wrong. Forget blogging to attract an audience (although I do that anyway out of the need to whinge, keep notes on important stuff, and save my husband’s ears) – etc. What works? According to her, samples of your work. So post them. On your website, if possible.

As a very worried newbie who’s freaked my book will sink like a stone forevermore in the murky waters of the e-publishing ocean (yeah, like I’m even close to finishing?), this moved me. Read the full post here!

http://www.lindsayburoker.com/?s=wattpad&x=-894&y=-172

Writing the Slog

Resistance was strong today as I sought to make progress on my novel. It didn’t help that I realized that the last third, which I haven’t really tackled, needs substantial deepening. Days like this, when the goalpost inches farther away, my determination burns a little lower. Worst of all is the headwind of writing against the inner voice that says gosh, this is dumb; the Voice of Fear, a voice that draws strengths from little setbacks like today’s. Even though it’s not really a setback because hey, my end is now going to be stronger and more awesome. (Positive thinking. Positive thinking.)

Maybe the best way to just deal with The Voice is to say, my goal at this point is just to finish something I’m satisfied with, not to be great. So that on my tombstone they can engrave, SHE DID IT!

Writer’s Burnout: the Discipline of Gratitude

Gratitude, like writing, is a process, an art. I think of Julia Cameron’s famous advice to write 3 hours of longhand each morning to jumpstart the creative process, which I could make time for but typically prefer to spend cuddling the baby – helping oldest daughter put on socks – checking fridge contents for grocery errands post-work – checking email; these and innumerable other tasks. But unlike writing, one can be grateful as one does these things.

Why does it matter? At its core, writing is an act of generosity, of nurturing, of giving. I’ve learned the hard way that one must be filled with something in order to give. Lately I’ve been feeling burned out, blue and hollow and hollow following a high performance streak of give – give – give — giving to family, to clients, to the Muse. Now I’m running low, coasting towards empty. I want days of lounging, slow living, moving at the uncertain pace of my four-year-old sometimes quick and sometimes slow, but always in the moment.

That’s not happening.

We’ve got a startup happening, bills to pay, kids to nurture. Taxes to pay, socks to be mended, family dinners to attend.

But as a friend sharing her considerable burdens reminded me, I have time to be grateful. And in that moment, when we remember and give thanks for what blessings we have, the inner well starts to fill; not completely,  but enough to see a sheen of moisture on those dry rocks, enough to oil the gears, resolve the block and let me flow onwards.

Writer Burnout

Some people fantasize about sex. Some people fantasize about being thin, or winning the lottery, or having a great kitchen. For years, my fallback fantasy is that of being a writer – or more precisely, since I am a copywriter and communications consultant by trade, to make a gazillion bucks by writing fiction, quitting my day job, and living in luxury.

Time has fortuitously tempered by expectations, and I’ve adjusted my ambitious from living in luxury to a comfortable living (and even that can be a stretch, I know). I realize that a combination of hard work, zeitgeist, good luck and perseverance is necessary especially if one wants to try the self publishing route – it seems that the most successful authors are virtual machines of productivity.

Hard work doesn’t daunt me; I worked a full time job while nursing and taking care of my daughter, typing at all hours with my baby on the boob to make income. But as I come closer to finishing my first decent novel, I suddenly realized: wow, this has been a marathon. Would I be able to do this – and enjoy this – every day?

In place of the familiar fantasy of freedom and financial comfort, I suddenly think of writing under pressure (something I’m familiar with), but upped: instead of a company profile or annual report, which needs to be incisive and clear but not necessarily creatively inspiring, I imagine trying to pin down that elusive muse under stress and fear that I won’t make enough money to eat and/or that my self pubbed writing career will shortly implode. Ugh. In a moment the golden vision turned to dross.

A quick skim of other writer sites turned up the same issue right up. One woman said that after 10 years of abusing her muse it left and she burned out. I like to eat; I like not to live in fear. Maybe I need to readjust my fantasy and make it more specific.

How’s this for a new vision? A four hour work day concentrating on my fiction with some time for marketing and promotion, with good stable income and the rest of my day to take care of m kids and handle craftsy projects to refresh my muse and spirit.

How about you, any experiences of burnout?

A Summary of Book Publishing and Book Cover Design Sites

Fantastic post! Includes royalty rates and capabilities.

Here’s a sample (verbatim from the post):

Payhip

Payhip will help you do most of the hard work: host your eBooks and securely deliver the eBooks to your customers. It will also handle payments through PayPal for you; all you have to do is upload your eBook to start selling. Once your eBook is on the site, you can promote your book anywhere (FaceBook, Twitter) with a link for your eBook page.

Sign Up [Free] | Royalty per Sale [100%]

To view the whole post, visit:

http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/sell-ebooks/

This is one resource I’ll be referring to again.

Book Cover Designers

Here’s a short summary of some more book cover designer sites that I’ve found:

1. Another designer of book covers, not the best in my opinion but cheaper than many:

http://www.bookwebs.co.uk/ebook-cover-designer/

Bookwebs offer three levels of ebook cover design.

– Bronze £50
– Silver £70
– Gold from £200

They also offer custom websites but I don’t think it’s good value — ” Three page starter ‘ebook’ websites from 199 pounds”, with limited space for uploads of stories. Better to go Word Press where you can get a nice website template.

2. BookBaby.

They are basically an e-publisher but have cover design options too, with a nice portfolio!

Basic package at $149

Deluxe package $279

http://www.bookbaby.com/ebook-cover-design

Muuuch nicer visuals!

 

3. BookTango

Another e-book publisher offering cover design, this for $159. Seem less focused on this than BookBaby but the samples covers shown are strong.

Closer to the Goalpost

Tonight, after a solid 2 hours tidying up the first half of my novel while waiting for my kid to get out of school (oh how my butt hurt from that bench!) I can safely say that I feel it’s getting there. The first half that is. The second, half, ho hum, has yet to spin to a tidy conclusion. And then there’s still Book 2 to deal with.

Still, I feel some hope: part 1 of Book 1 is already long enough to be called a decent-size novella at 40K words. I’m tempted to put it up and self publish as is just to get a response. However, I have a feeling it’ll lack oomph without the second half. (There’s a reason why they are part 1 and part 2 of the SAME book). Either way, the mere thought that I’ve got something nearly good enough to publish without dying of shame has raised my flagging spirits. Beta reader is coming this week, and said friend will be handed a printed copy of the first half to critique. After like 20 years of practising writing novels, classes, finally some progress!

Which means that now I have to put on my thinking cap and see if I can figure out how to self promote. I still haven’t given up on traditional publishing, and I think my book is good enough to be picked up but I’m curious to see if I can break in on self pub. Plus there’s the lure of insta-royalties if you make it. And if the book sinks like a stone, at least my reputation won’t be wrecked!