Monthly Archives: December 2014

Marketing and Inevitability

Marketing and Inevitability

Must Improve Marketing Skills

I suck at marketing. I really need to change that.

I love to write, but if I didn’t care if anyone ever read it, I’d write in a journal, or have a blog with privacy settings. But the reality is that I love to share my thoughts, interests, and dreams with others. That’s why I have multiple blogs, and books, so that others can read what I write. But when it comes down to it, I find it so very hard to promote my own writing. I will mention that I blog, or that I’m a writer, that I have some books in print, and then just…kind of…poop out.

“Yeah, so, I wrote a book and published it. If you are into dystopian fiction you might be interested in it.” That is the sad extent of my marketing abilities.

The other day we went to a Show-Me Cannabis event in Westport. An officer from LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) was going to speak there, and I had hopes of running into Dan Viets, a lawyer from Columbia who interviewed me last March over my book The War on Drugs: An Old Wives Tale and who I keep missing meeting in person. He wasn’t there, unfortunately, but I did meet some others in the organization and gave my book to one of them. Eapen Thampy was his name and he told me that he would read the book and post a review – which always makes me happy to hear. Reviews sell books, plain and simple.

A week or so later, he posted a link to my book on one of the Facebook sites he admins for and sent me a message directing me to the Americans for Forfeiture Reform website and suggesting I write a piece on asset forfeiture for it. I looked at the website and liked it, but my brain immediately kicked into non-marketing mode and that little voice that stops me from getting things done said “What do I really know about asset forfeiture anyway?” So I did nothing.

A week went by and then I saw an email and link to the website again from Eapen, with an excerpt of my book quoted on the blog.

Yeah…

This line in particular stands out to me (and yes, I wrote it)…”We can point to the individuals on the police force, or the judge who accepts bribes, or the county commissioner, or a host of others as being the “bad apples” – or we can recognize that the system of asset forfeiture is endemically flawed.”

So I read the blog post and the excerpt and just sit there thinking, “Well, crap, I WROTE that. I guess I had something to say about asset forfeiture after all.”

It’s embarrassing how often opportunity sits there, staring me in the face, and I do nothing.

I am reminded yet again of Richard Branson’s (founder of Virgin Airlines) quote…

opportunity

So…yeah…I need to work on that whole marketing thing.

Inevitability

The other word that keeps bouncing about in my head this morning (besides marketing) is inevitability. I go round and round the issue of do I try my hand at submitting my books to a publisher, or get an agent, or just keep self-publishing. Every time I decide I’m going to go the full publishing route, I run into someone who has and they usually end up telling me, “Don’t do it, it’s not worth the trouble.”

Lately it was Jacqueline Druga, who has written over 100 books in the past ten years. She writes an average of 10-12 books per year. Insane, right? Nevertheless, she makes enough doing so to be the sole means of support for her family.

We emailed back and forth and while I have no plans to write 10-12 books per year anytime soon, I truly, deeply believe that I too can be successful at earning a living writing and self-publishing books. There is just a certain feeling of inevitability to it. That eventually, I’ll write enough, and learn enough marketing tricks that it will be like a boulder rolling downhill, collecting dirt and plants along the way. Eventually I will build a readership that will follow what I am writing and the word will get out.

Who knows? I might be seriously deluding myself. But then again, it could actually happen.

Now back to learning better marketing skills…

 

Down With the Sickness…No More!

Down With the Sickness…No More!

Well joy of joys, I was whomped with illness for the third time in as many months. This was a real doozy and hit plenty of my homeschooling peeps as well. I think I managed to check off all the symptoms at different times – vomiting, aches and chills, fever, coughing, upper respiratory, sneezing, congestion, and so much more.

Really, it was rather epic.

The entire family was down for the count and we are just now starting to recover.

This morning has been a good one, however. Even though I am not feeling at 100% peak efficiency, I managed to sit down and get to work on my current book project, Gliese 581G. My new goal (because you know how much I love setting goals!) is to write at least 750 words each morning, at least five days per week.

I know that probably does not sound like much. But my problem is this. Recently, I have found myself with just one hour to write in the morning. My husband is not leaving the house until 7:40 a.m. and the kiddo is up by 9 a.m., so I actually have a very small window for writing. Factor in that I write better in the mornings than I do in the evenings, then add in all of my emails and various interests distracting me and I realized that I had little or no time to write!

So I asked myself, What are my writing goals for 2015?

And basically they are (at this moment) to write two books, edit and publish them. So I assigned six months to each book. Four months to write a book, followed by two more months of editing, proofreading and revising. So, say the book is 60,000 words. That’s an average, some are longer, some are shorter. Most of mine have hovered around 80k. So if I divide that by month and then by the number 20 (weeks days in an average month), I come up with around 750 words per day.

So today I did just that. I did not start my day like I usually do – reading emails. This takes forever, because it inevitably sends me off on tangents, on Facebook, Hometalk, Pinterest, Amazon, and so many more places. Instead, I opened up my manuscript and got to work.

Success!

I will continue this experiment tomorrow by first shutting down my email tonight so that it is not open and distracting me first thing in the morning.

Reviews Give Me Incentive

Reviews Give Me Incentive

I can’t help it, I live for the reviews. I really do.

Except when life and other projects distract me, I regularly (okay…obsessively) check Amazon for reviews.

What are they saying? What do they think? Do they like what I wrote? Did it speak to them?

Let’s face it, if I didn’t care what others thought about my books I would probably never publish them to begin with. I wouldn’t see a need to share these stories in my head in such a public way. It isn’t easy to put your baby out there on the big old internet. Who knows if someone will call it ugly, or stupid?

Thankfully, I’ve not had those kind of responses. So the reviews are a little like a drug. I look at them, break them down, read between the lines, and love them – because they have told me my baby is special and unique. This latest one came in yesterday and I wanted to jump up and down because he got it, he really got it and I LOVE that. This in particular was one of the messages I was trying to convey…”It is also about love, and finding family where you least expect.”

Especially with Book 1 – the first couple of chapters are HARD to read. Believe me, they were hard to write, and I struggled with whether or not to include them or take them out and simply hint at them. I still struggle with the decision, because the images they present are gut-wrenching, nauseating, and any parent’s worse nightmare. That said, they set the stage for what is to come. Get past them, move forward, and you will see how important they are to the overall story.

But I digress.

Reading reviews like Joe Midwest USA, reminds me, prods me, and encourages me to keep writing.

Thanks for that…now back to writing…

Gliese 581 – I’m Back At It

Gliese 581 – I’m Back At It

Gliese 581

Just a quick post for those who were wondering (and asking), “So Christine, what’s next?”

What’s next is definitely Gliese 581, a science fiction series of at least two books, possibly three, we will see. At present, I’ve got about 17,000 words written and the first book completely outlined.

This series is set in the War’s End universe, so 80 years after the end of the Second American Civil War. Some of the main characters are descendant’s of folks you met in the War’s End books (Tina Farnsworth who went on to marry Joseph Perdue is the mother of Edith Sarah Hainey – Patient Zero in this new book)

And EcoNu is a new and re-branded Monsanto, up to no good in a new century – really is there any surprise there?

Throw in a spaceship, and a new planet, and maybe even a worldwide plague, and you will have a small snippet of the story to come. Stay tuned, I may throw out little bits and pieces as I go!

Writing Income and Goals

I’ve never been afraid of posting goals and income and I’m not going to stop now. As my involvement in writing for Bubblews is officially dead in the water, I took a few weeks to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. Part of me is gungho, “gotta follow the money and get myself established writing articles.” Another big part of me knows that if all I am doing is following the money, I will not be doing what I truly, truly love to do, which is write full and complete stories…books in particular. I get caught up in following the money, something I did with Bubblews, to the exclusion of all else.

If I had all day every day to write, it would be different. But I don’t. I have about one hour, maybe 90 minutes of writing, before I need to focus on kiddo needs and home needs and other things. So I took yet another look at things and decided I wanted to set a goal of selling $100 worth of articles per month starting with January 2015. And moving up to $200 per month by mid-2015. If I keep my goal small and easy to accomplish, I can also focus on my book writing. Because my goal there is to write at least one book a year. So far, I’ve averaged about four books in the past six years, and I know I can do better than that without sacrificing quality.

So for now, my goals for writing are:

  • Get Gliese 581: Departure done (I’m about 1/4 of the way there)
  • Write enough articles to earn $100-$200 per month
  • Continue to market/promote my books through Twitter and other social media sites

Enough for now, I’m off to write!

When Opportunity Knocks

When Opportunity Knocks

When opportunity knocks, open the damned door.

At least, that is my takeaway from yesterday’s unexpected email from an acquaintance offering me some writing work in exchange for a free haircut.

I said “yes” by the way.

opportunity03

After all, I didn’t see a downside…

  • Put in some time creating content for a salon’s website
  • Get a free haircut (which normally cost around $50 with tip)
  • Add it as another option/selling point on my freelance writing options

A lot of things could have stopped me…

  • I know little or nothing about beauty salons
  • No, really, I know NOTHING about beauty salons
  • Did I mention I’m fashion/trend illiterate?

It reminds me of this Richard Branson quote…

opportunity

 

In the end, it makes sense. After all, who knows where it could lead?

And when push comes to shove…

opportunity01