My poor little writing blog has been so neglected. It is very difficult for me to find writing time during the school year, so I felt I had nothing to write about. However, I was wrong. I HAVE been writing for the last several weeks. It just hasn’t been fiction, which is what I truly love to write.
For the last two years I have offered to write web content for “my” local renaissance faire, and this year the owner gave me the go-ahead. My idea was that I would write a little profile of each of the vendors and performers at the faire, so that people could preview the attractions and maybe be convinced into coming.
So, working strictly as a volunteer, I started going around and interviewing vendors and performers. I took notes. I took photos. Then I would come home and write the articles. So far I have written 35 profile articles and a review of the Queen’s Tea. There are plenty more to do but I am running out of time!
I don’t think I really thought of the effect of my articles as I was doing them. I just wanted to get the information out there. So you can imagine my delight when several vendors told me that someone came into their shop and bought something after reading my article about them. This is not fancy or prestigious writing, but it’s having a positive effect, and that makes me pretty happy, especially as it’s helping the faire I love.
Sorry for the lapse in time again. I really have no excuse, because stuff has happened. The Kindle version of my memoir is live at last, and you can get it here:
I also submitted two of my short stories to online publications, and one was rejected in less than 12 hours. Yikes! But you should be proud of me because I sent it back out immediately. This weekend I hope to submit another two stories.
I also hope to spend some time setting goals and trying to figure out how to sell more the of huge amount of stuff I have already written.
Depending on whom you believe, somewhere between 1% and 5% of all books published do not sell more than 100 copies. If your book is self-published, you have even less hope of breaking the 100 mark than if you are published by a traditional publisher.
So, you can imagine my satisfaction when I did the math recently and discovered that in the year since its release, my memoir This Rich & Wondrous Earth has sold 107 copies. True, quite a few of those copies were bought by yours truly to give as gifts. But still, I am happy that everyone who has given me feedback has enjoyed the book and would recommend it to others.
I am in the final stages of preparing for a release in the Kindle format, and I am hoping that this will spark some more sales, especially of those who live overseas and don’t want to pay shipping for a physical book.
I am also working on another e-book of material that I have created over a period of years. And yes, the stories will be going back out SOON! I just have to get through my classes on Monday and Tuesday.
This week I’ve been too busy to do some actual writing, but I’ve made some resolutions. One is to send all my stories back out. This might mean subscribing to Duotrope. It makes me mad that I have to subscribe and pay money, because I was a paying subscriber before and I was helping to subsidize all those people who didn’t pay at all. Now if I want access to that database I have to pay a hefty fee. *sigh*
I will also go back to work on my website, produce some videos, and prepare a couple of helpful e-books for release. Till the end of this year, I believe my focus has to be on marketing materials I have already created.
Hey look! I’m still alive! I will write about Realm Makers at some point, but right now that’s ancient history compared to this weekend, when I attended the East Texas Christian Writers’ Conference. I went once before, several years ago, but have not had the transportation to go in the intervening years.
Now, however, I have my own wheels so I was eager to attend. And just to challenge myself, I entered all three categories of the writing contest: poem, essay, and short story. My thinking was that if I entered all three categories, perhaps I would be fortunate enough to place in one of them.
Imagine my surprise at the dinner Friday night when I found that I’d placed second with my poem, first with my essay, and tied for the grand prize! That was some very badly needed encouragement for me.
Saturday I attended a total of five workshops, all of which I enjoyed. This is a short conference, and a relatively small one, but it is also high quality and I definitely felt that it was worthwhile. I took classes from both Kristen Clark and her husband Lawrence (both of whom have spoken to our local writers’ group) and got really inspire to work harder at marketing the things I’ve already written.
I’ll try to get back on track with this blog as I chronicle my efforts to get my work noticed and build that ever-elusive “platform.”
Guess what? I am finally going to do something to further my writing goals. I have registered for Realm Makers, a writers’ conference aimed specifically at Christian speculative fiction writers. This is the first conference of its kind and I am excited to get in on the ground floor, as it were. We writers of speculative fiction are a tiny minority in ACFW, the very large group to which I belong and whose conference I have attended three times now. I am very much looking forward to attending a conference that is focused on the kind of writing I do, and to know going in that everyone I meet will be a kindred spirit of sorts. At the big conference, it was sheer happenstance when I would chance to meet another speculative fiction writer.
Meanwhile, I have just a few days to finish making my daughter’s wedding dress and wedding cake. Yes, I am panicking just a little.
Well, I see I have allowed another month to pass without posting. I should be ashamed of myself. However, the truth is that what I wrote last month could almost be repeated verbatim. I am STILL waiting to hear from the two editors who have my manuscripts. I am still selling just the odd copy of my memoir here and there. In fact unless there is a sudden surge of sales in the next two days, I’ll make less than $20 this month.
The good news, if you want to put it that way, is that the worst part of the school year is behind me and I can begin to think about how to get writing back into my life. One thing I need and want to do is to start sending out my short stories again, after going back over them to see if I can improve them further. I also have a manuscript to finish and two to edit. Think I can do it all by the end of July?
Sorry for lapsing into silence for a few weeks here. I have barely had time to breathe, and getting very sick did not help either. I continue to get positive reviews of my memoir, and I continue to wait in vain to hear from the editors who are considering my fiction.
A few people have posted reviews of my memoir on Lulu and on Amazon, and for that I am very grateful. I was a little surprised and dismayed the other day, though, when I pulled up my memoir on Amazon. There are already three used copies for sale! I just wasnt expecting that considering my book has been out for only three months and has only sold about 60 copies total. Its not like I thought that everyone who bought it would keep and treasure it forever, but I was just not expecting anyone to recycle it quite so soon!
So, sales of my memoir have been rather underwhelming, but I live in hope that the people who read and enjoy it will recommend it to their friends.
One of the first things I did when I got my first few copies of my book was to send one to Miss Joan Hoyte, who was the school nurse during my years at Sakeji. The book is dedicated to her, and to the memory of Miss Mary Poole, who was my mentor at school. Miss Hoyte has been such an inspiration to me. One of the reasons I published my memoir when I did was that her health was failing and I really wanted her to be able to hold a copy in her hands and see the dedication.
I have not heard back from hernor do I expect to, as she has had several strokes and finds it difficult to get around much anymore. However, I couldnt help being a little anxious. Did she actually get the book? Was she able to read and enjoy it?
A few days ago I checked my author emailthe one thats part of this website and which I almost never check. I am trying to remember to check it more often because that is the address I put on my book cover. Well, imagine my surprise and delight when I found an email from a former Sakeji staff member, who had recently visited Miss Hoyte and reported that she was thrilled to get my book and see that it was dedicated to her. That made my day! And furthermore, someone (I think the same someone) ordered six copies of my book!
Today I checked that mail again and found a lovely comment from someone else who has read and enjoyed my book. I needed a smile today!
This week I was feeling very discouraged about salesthe lack of them, that is. I check my Lulu account every day and every day there are no new sales. But one day this week I checked and there was a new salebut it was through Ingram, not Lulu. Now I paid what for me was big bucks to have my book listed through Ingram, and I knew that it would take some time to show up, so I was intrigued.
Just out of curiosity, I searched my name on Amazon, and was gobsmacked to see my memoir come up right awayand also my Story Quest Curriculum, and also two articles that I wrote for Practical Homeschooling magazine several years ago!
You know what that means? That means I get an author page on Amazon! So far all I have up are a profile photo, a brief bio, and a link to my rarely-used Twitter account. But its a start! Now all I need to do is get people to post positive reviews of both my memoir and my curriculum . . .