Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Marathon Has Begun!

I mentioned a couple of months ago I was setting up a reading project for myself, but stayed vague on the details. So, what's the project? I've embarked on a reading marathon. I'm giving myself a year (hopefully that's enough time!) to read the entire Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin--plus Super Specials, Mysteries, and spinoffs. Thanks to a user on this BSC board for the complete list, I know that it is 367 books. But they are children's books, so maybe I have to invest an hour and a half to each, including note-taking time.

Why am I doing this? Honestly, I don't entirely know. There was a hankering to do it, so I decided now is the time. I know what it's not--it's not some desperate attempt to recapture my youth, because most of the time I spent reading these stories as a kid I finished each book wishing I was a character in it and totally jealous that I wasn't. Though I can see it being beneficial to me as a writer, because it's a deep study of a successful series that's stood the test of time. And I never got to read them all as a kid, so now I can fill in the gaps.

Originally, this marathon was supposed to be for Sweet Valley High and all of those spinoffs because I only read a few Sweet Valley University titles in middle school (and loved them, of course), but there were a few problems with a SVH marathon--the major problem being the spinoffs are not available for Kindle yet. And I'm a stickler about reading in chronological order, which means there are three or four spinoffs that take place before the original series. The additional problem with a SVH marathon is that there is no single list of every title available like the BSC has, and as far as I can tell while I'm putting one together myself, there has to be close to 600 books. I'm a good reader, but whoa... maybe that marathon needs a little more planning.

Along with this is all that regular, mundane adulting I have to do. Like finishing the third installment for my Kindle Worlds series. It's going slow, but it's going. I still hope to succeed with 10k words before the end of the month. I just need to give myself a little boost to get through that first draft.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Are You Getting Ready for #PrimeDay?

It's that time again! Amazon's going to be crazy over the next couple of days because they are offering some amazing deals to Prime members. Not a member yet? You can sign up now so you won't miss a thing:

And here are just some of the deals that you'll find for this year's Prime Day. Which of these are most appealing to you?

Prime Day 2017 - 30 Hours of Deals

Kindle - Up to 40% Off Kindle Unlimited

Get 4 months of Amazon Music Unlimited for $0.99

Save 20% on Select Home Services Leading Up to Prime Day

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Few Short Updates

I'm getting back into the swing of things, full force this time. And here's just a few updates about what I'm embarking on this summer.

Upgrading The Career

I've been freelancing for almost a decade, and for most of that time I've had a sense of pride for how little I have had to invest to live the dream (which is probably 60/40 dream/nightmare at any given time). But things are changing. I'm still committed to making money solely from writing/editing/being generally creative, which means I have to start upgrading the business. I've been making tons of lists on what I have to do to get all of this going, but really it starts with two simple things: a P.O. box and a website.

Without a business address, I've been stunted at what I can do. I can't have a mailing list through MailChimp or any other company without one, and I certainly don't want to put out email blasts with the home address. Without a website, I don't feel I can do all I need to do with communicating my writing services, my work, and everything else. That, and as good as Blogger has been to me, it just doesn't look professional to have a Blogger web address on a business card (which is another one of those pesky tasks on my list). I'm amazed I've been able to work this long without these two very important items, but that time is coming to an end.

Submissions Calling

When it comes to submissions, I'm getting back up on the proverbial (and temperamental) horse. Although I missed the deadline to send in my poetry chapbook to one particular press, the manuscript itself is not dead. I've been researching places that take chapbooks and have found quite a few that may be a good home for what I've created. I found this list of chapbook submissions particularly helpful, and maybe you will too if you have something to submit.

Unfolding Life on Playster

Draft2Digital just added a new distribution channel, Playster, and I've placed Unfolding Life on it. Honestly, I hadn't heard of it before this, but it seems similar to Kindle Unlimited where you buy a subscription rather than individual titles. So, if you're already a subscriber, please check it out. And by check it out, I mean read the whole thing, because with subscription services, I don't get paid unless the book gets read.

Those Lashes, Though

I've also been keeping up with my product testing and reviews over at Showered in Beauty. The latest review is for Revlon mega Multiplier Mascara.

That's it for my updates. What are you working on this week? 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Lessons on What Could Have Been

Sometimes you think when an opportunity presents itself, it's the universe telling you that you need to make a move, take a chance. I had that sort of moment two weeks ago when I found an ad for a press looking for chapbook manuscripts. Since I had just come off of a month of putting together a poetry manuscript, I thought I would make the most of it—pick out the best of the original to create a chapbook. And it seemed like a good, cohesive collection. I felt proud to have made it.

But I flaked. Over the past week I kept going, “oh, I'll submit it later tonight.” I convinced myself I had one more day, one more day, wait, just one more day—then I ran out of days. On the last day before the deadline, I decided to reread the submission call. It wanted stuff that was experimental, surreal. And I quickly decided that my poetry didn't fit within those parameters, and convinced myself it wouldn't be the right fit.

I should have submitted anyway. 

It wasn't the fear of rejection. I think I need a recent rejection under my belt to get me back in the swing of things. It was the fear that I may actually succeed. I thought about all that may entail, and I was worried about a lot of things. I have anxiety about sharing my work, which has really only developed over the past six months. I will let absolute strangers pour over my every written word, but there are maybe ten people on this earth that I don't want near my work—I don't want them to even know what I write. And it's the fear that this tiny group of people could get their hands on my work, could confront me about it, could potentially ridicule me that's done more that keep me from submitting my work. It's inhibited my ability to promote the stuff that's already out there for fear they may come across it. It's prevented me from completing as many posts on this blog as I would like. In my mind, the threat is circling and I feel like if I make the slightest move, everything could crumble. It's stupid, but it's hard to argue with anxiety because it's irrational. And you know it's irrational. But you buy into it just the same.

I used to freely be able to talk to people face-to-face about writing, even going as far as talking about projects I have in mind. I used to be able to immerse myself in new submissions. I've been putting together a list of publications for my own use, cobbled together from some of my monthly writer newsletters, and I'm starting to see some publications I've already submitted to. Then my mind wanders back to five, six years ago. That's when I wasn't afraid to submit my work to place far and wide. I wasn't afraid of the rejection. I also had the mindset that everything I sent out had a real potential of making it.

Obstacles to publishing don't phase me. It's just the irrational fear that's left. Even if no one wanted it, I could get work out there and take no pay. But I'm still convinced that the best of my work hasn't touched the light of day and still has earning potential. I can't give it all away just to prove something to my own anxiety. My anxiety doesn't really care. If I get over this obstacle my anxiety will just find something else to latch on to—it always does.

Each morning I get to start over. I get to face whatever hangups I seem to have, and I get to try and work towards a better situation where I don't have to feel as anxious about every little decision I make (or fail to make). If this post is published, it must mean that I've been able to conquer the first of many battles to get back to the full-fledged writing career I'm meant to have.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Amazon Charts--What's It Doing for You?

Amazon has a new feature that they rolled out recently--Amazon Charts. The charts published weekly include the most read books on the site and the most sold. The question here is who benefits from this information, and is it enough?

Let's start with who I think doesn't get any benefit from these charts: readers. I just don't think that readers can gain much from this list (I also really don't think they get anything from NYT or USA Today bestseller lists either). At most, it encourages a reader to buy a book based on the popularity of it rather than the substance. Not all popular books are good, and not all good books are popular. It simply feeds a reader's ego: "Oh, I've read all those books that are popular this week. I must be an astute reader!" Nah.

Okay writers--it's your turn now. Amazon Charts can be beneficial to you, but only to a point. Knowing the difference between what's selling the most and what's being read can clue you into what genres are getting the most movement. However, because these charts take into consideration different formats (paperbacks sold can be tracked; paperbacks read cannot), it's not a full picture of what's going on. For example, my personal preference is to get a nice hardback copy of a book if I know I'll enjoy it. If I can get a great deal on an ebook ($2.99 or less) I'll take the risk to try something new. For Amazon Charts, one of these purchases would count, one would not. Writers can't really distinguish a reader's motive from the charts alone.

And while the charts can tell you something, it won't tell you everything. Specifically, it won't give you numbers. It doesn't include how many have been sold, downloaded, or how many pages read for any title. Those would be like gold to a writer. That would give a much better perspective on how these titles end up on the charts any given week.

So, reader or writer--will Amazon Charts have any impact on how you buy and read books?