Monthly Archives: February 2014

Progress

Progress

At 7 a.m. this morning, I looked at my computer screen, which I had been sitting in front of for an hour or more and thought, what am I doing?!

I had been surfing the ‘net, checking out news stories, adding a story to the War on Drugs Facebook page, and looking into Mint.com.

In other words, not getting any writing done. Which suddenly bothered me. Probably because I really, really need to finish War’s End Book 2.

So I closed all the open websites and got to work. The latest chapter, “Traders and Raiders,” is now complete. I added a few lines to the already written chapter that follows, “The Truth of the Matter,” and now I’m heading into “Collision.”

So there is some progress. Word count: 76,580. Chapters completed: 30 Chapters still to go: 5

Moving right along.

Look at Me, I’m Juggling!

Look at Me, I’m Juggling!

juggling

I’m trying desperately to keep all of these balls in the air. I really, truly am.

I realized it this morning, as I switched between reading the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) newsletter, to updating a book in progress, to checking my calendar for the day – that I had written much in the world of Bubblews. And not just that, but with two applications in to BlogHer for my two main website/blogs The Deadly Nightshade and The Homeschool Advocate – I really needed to get to writing on that as well!

BlogHer wants to see at least 2-3 posts per week in a blog. I have been…remiss.

This past weekend I roped my husband into helping me paint the utility room. This next weekend I want to paint the hallway (we already have the paint, it’s just sitting there waiting), and tonight he needs to hang two curtain rods for me.

What curtains I got done this fall and winter are already hanging, the rest will wait for next fall.

I have new classes to prepare for (I need to create handouts and Powerpoint presentations) and tomorrow night I’m hosting a book club so I kind of need to clean my house. Remember, I run a cleaning business, so not having a clean house of my own is bad for business – no matter how much I remind them that it is like being married to a plumber and never getting your own plumbing done!

And did I mention I’m writing/taking notes on two new books? Non-fiction – which really messes with my creative side and getting War’s End book 2 done. One book will be on how to self-publish and market successfully. I’ve found there is no better way to teach/write it, then to take detailed notes along the journey (I actually stopped in mid-sentence a moment ago and clicked over to it and added a section on “Staying Professional” while marketing the book.

And just now I did it again and added a section on proofreading your book before uploading it to be published.

Is it any wonder Book 2 of War’s End is NOT finished?

No, I Will Not Pay You for Your Review

No, I Will Not Pay You for Your Review

show me the money

Over 1,200 email into my marketing/review campaign I’ve been working at – asking over a thousand strangers to read my book The War on Drugs: An Old Wives’ Tale – and I’ve been getting some interesting responses.

I just received the following email:

I usually only review books for my writers group
What is the compensation?
Deadline?
Guodines?

To which I responded:

Thanks for asking questions I had not yet been asked. As always, writing, and now marketing, is a learning experience.

Compensation: Financially speaking? Zero.

Deadline: Open, some individuals are ‘booked up’ and will not be able to give me a review for up to 3 months. Contrary to my father’s opinion, I’m actually a rather patient person.

Guidelines: None. Say what you want. To date I’ve received 16 stellar reviews on Amazon, but I’m willing to accept criticism. I’m wearing my big girl pants.

I held myself back from correcting her spelling. I think that was very big of me, don’t you?

I think I’m getting a bit punch drunk sitting at this computer too long.

What do you think?

This post was originally published on Bubblews at: http://www.bubblews.com/news/2245371-no-i-will-not-pay-for-your-review

The Awesome Power of Feedback

The Awesome Power of Feedback

Feedback, surveys, they are EVERYWHERE. We find surveys on our receipts, tempting us with free breadsticks if we just take five minute of our time to tell a company about our shopping experience.

Ebay sellers (and buyers) rankings are built on feedback.

Amazon has a review section and even sends out reminder emails to buyers, asking how their purchase experience was.

Even here on Bubblews, the Like button and the Comments section become crucial to our success at writing.

There is an awesome power to feedback. But we don’t ALWAYS do it. So I’d like to break it down for you, three reasons why feedback is not only important, but essential…

CRICKETS … YES … CRICKETS

It’s tough to write something. To craft it lovingly, to give metaphorical birth to it and put it out there.

Let me say it again, it’s TOUGH.

But you know what is tougher still?

Hearing nothing but crickets.

If I didn’t want to hear from you, or your opinions or thoughts, I’d write in a journal, or on my website and turn off the ability to leave comments. I’d be like, “You? You have an opinion? BORING!”

But instead I write here, there, everywhere. I open myself up for ridicule, for disagreement, for heated debate because, for me, writing is not a choice, it’s something I yearn to do. More than that, I hope for the contact of like-minded, and not-so-like-minded folk.

Say something, damn it! Don’t just give me crickets in the night!

And if I feel like this, I’m pretty damn sure others do to. So put yourself in my shoes, their shoes, or your own shoes and realize that we all need it to some degree.

PAY IT FORWARD

You might be thinking, “Well Christine (it’s okay, you don’t HAVE to call me The General), YOU might need feedback and comments, but I’m totally good for now, I’m doing great.”

And that’s cool. You are one cool cat, you know. The cat who walks alone, beholding to none. I respect that.

But there possibly come a day when you DO need that feedback. And not just a little need, but a really, really big OMG I REALLY NEED FEEDBACK OR COMMENTS OR … OR …

Pay it forward. Pay it forward and realize that even if you don’t NEED it right this minute, now is the perfect time to help someone else out. In our modern world, companies live and die by their reputation and so should you.

So, pay it forward. Leave feedback about the book you read last week, about the computer part you bought on eBay, about the music you downloaded last month. When you read a piece that makes you smile, laugh, or whatever, press the Like button or leave a comment. ESPECIALLY leave comments.

Earlier today I wrote a piece: www.bubblews.com/news/2224275-fitting-in-sometimes-it-takes-seaweed and got nothing but crickets. And I honestly can’t see why. Did I not explain it well? Did I not capture the humor of that moment? It was absolutely hysterical to me that my kid said what she said.

And even if it isn’t funny, perhaps someone could have said, “I’ve got one even funnier to share. So this clown walks into a bar…”

When I read something bad, something absolutely horribly written, I’m tempted to be snarky. It’s true, I want to say, “Before you hit submit, you might want to learn how to write.” Which I would only say in my head, truly, NEVER to another human being because that would be ridiculously mean.

BUT, I could leave some kind of comment, even a suggestion on how to improve the writing without sounding too grammar-Nazi about it. I could reach into myself and do that, instead of just assuming something equally horrible like “you can’t fix stupid.” (Again, something I would NEVER say to someone)

So pay it forward, your words could make all the difference in the world.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK

Sometimes, the absolutely hardest thing to do is to ask for help. I can’t vouch for other countries, but in the United States, we are independent SOB’s. The idea of being dependent on anyone can be rather stressful.

I myself am particularly guilty of this. Every once in a while, while puzzling over some new challenge for hours, days, weeks or longer, it suddenly occurs to me (kind of like a slap up side the head) to ask someone for help. Unfortunately it seems to occur to me long after I have passed the ‘tear out my hair and swear until the air turns blue’ stage.

And obviously there are WAYS of asking that matter too. I can remember purchasing something from eBay one year. It was a Christmas present and the ebay seller wanted me to post feedback. I explained that I still had not opened it since it was a present for a family member and I had no idea if it was in good shape or not. The seller replied back that my feedback was REQUIRED. I believe she used all caps in the email.

Needless to say, she got zero feedback, which I found a happy medium from the extreme of posting neutral or negative feedback and complaining about her DEMANDS.

Another example would be the fact that we are not supposed to ask for comments or likes on Bubblews. This makes some level of sense and there are obviously ways around it.

My favorite colors are blue and purple. What are yours?

See what I did there? That’s what I mean by a way around it.

In any case, when you have put your heart and soul into something, don’t be afraid to say so. Don’t be afraid to ask for people’s honest opinions. I recently offered my third self-published book “The War on Drugs: An Old Wives’ Tale on Amazon for free ebook download. Nearly 500 people took advantage of this. To date, I’ve had 16 reviews. And I’m damned thankful for those reviews…but I do hope to hear from more…(hint, hint)…

Writing is hard enough. But the real test of strength comes after the writing is done.

Carry on, folks…and keep that feedback loop going!

(This was originally posted on Bubblews in a 3-part series: www.bubblews.com/news/2227099-the-awesome-power-of-feedback-part-1-of-3www.bubblews.com/news/2227236-the-awesome-power-of-feedback-part-2-of-3, and http://www.bubblews.com/news/2227325-the-awesome-power-of-feedback-part-3-of-3.

Round and Round She Goes

Round and Round She Goes

I’ve been sitting in front of the computer for most of the day – creating Facebook pages, Twitter handles, and going round and round with Lulu, CreateSpace, and IngramSpark to try and find the perfect fit for my POD books.

So here are some fun links for you…

War’s End is now on Facebook and so is The War on Drugs: An Old Wives Tale.

I’ve also got Twitter feeds for both: War’s End and An Old Wives’ Tale

Edits are DONE, and…

Edits are DONE, and…

AOWT cover

I finally finished the edits on “The War on Drugs: An Old Wives Tale.” It took up the remainder of my time at Barnes & Noble yesterday, but was well worth it. I’ve managed to upload and resubmit the file to Lulu – which handles the hard copy side of things – and now I’ll move on to Amazon and resubmit the ebook.

Once everything is live and working – I’ll turn my energies to promoting the book. I’ve already sent emails to a local radio station, KKFI, which has a radio program called the Jaws of Justice.

And then there is a local lawyer who does a radio show in Columbia Missouri called “Sex, Drugs and Civil Liberties” who has already said he would like to have me on his show.

I’m trying to figure out who to contact next.

I woke up this morning raring to go – to write, to publish, to market. With the exception of a short class at the local conservation center (which I might send the husband and child off on their own to) there is nothing on the schedule for this weekend except the usual housework.

Time to get to work!

(This was originally published on Bubblews at: http://www.bubblews.com/news/2215118-edits-are-done-and-now)