Something has changed

Something is changing. In the last two weeks I have been approached by several authors who have liked my reviews on various books that I have read (some I read and reviewed more than two years ago!). They liked my review of whatever book it was and they are offering free downloads of their book if I will give them a review. I am fascinated by this.

Should I have expected this? No one said that I should. I did not. It has caught me completely off guard. Amazon notifies me if someone likes one of my reviews or if someone found my review helpful, but that is all. It is they, these authors, who have reached out to me because of my writing.

I  am suddenly curious as to how I can use this to some advantage. Obviously first I should probably be careful in which books to review. I have interacted with only two of these authors so far because their books actually interest me. If the subject or genre is not of any interest I know I will not be able to review a book properly. I do try to widen my reading diversity but some subjects or genres are very low on my list.

A couple of the requests have come from authors who have written in a completely different genre than the book they liked my review of. (that is a awkward sentence – did I get the point across?). I am trying to figure out whether or not to respond to them at all. It’s like receiving a letter addressed to Mister Allen Rigg. Obviously they have not done their research – a top priority. First I am female and appreciate and expect the correct salutation. Second and probably most important spell my name correctly. If the review they liked is on a children’s book and they are asking me to review their steam punk erotica book, I am probably not going to say yes – there is a slight disconnect between the two. However, if their book is on writing and they have contacted me because of a review of a similar book then the answer is probably on the positive side.

I was surprised by the first request which came to me three weeks ago. I have since received three more requests. The realization that I have been “out there” reading, reviewing, writing, and publishing for over four years and all of a sudden I am getting attention from other authors is intriguing, unexpected, and (if I am honest) humbling. I have written things that have made an impact on someone. And they want my opinion on their book. I am honored.

At the moment my hope is that the ones I choose to read and review are decent and have something to offer me as a reader and as a writer. But something has changed and I don’t know what.

Have you experienced anything like this? Have you been asked to read and review a book because of a review you have written? How do you handle the request. Do you use the same technique and contact reviewers of books that are similar to yours and ask them to read and review your book? Should I do that?

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In Search of My Expertise

Jeff Goins says in his blog, Copyblogger.com, from May 2016 that “One way to help others is to first share how you’ve helped yourself. Hidden in your experience is an expertise other people need.” Click here for more of Mr. Goins’ blog on how writing can enhance your life.POV outline 2 for The Balance 1-16-2015

I know writing has made me happier than ever, excited about the future, and has encouraged me to expand my knowledge. Writing and reading lets me explore new worlds, new ideas, and old things in new and fantastic ways. Writing encourages my imagination. Sometimes it helps keep order in my world and other times it bleeds words and chaos – which is not necessarily a bad thing. Writing has shown me that I love life, my life. I wake up every morning wanting to write. I go to bed every night wanting to write. I dream about writing.

Is this the expertise other people are in search of or need? I don’t know. I am not the one to say what others need. I do know that I am going to write until I find it and then I will continue to write.

Come along with me. Let’s do it together, let’s discover our own expertise by writing. Starting right now.

 

Letting Go of or Changing the Goal

It is difficult to let go of a goal. Or even change the goal. Actually it is not the goal itself, rather it is letting go of the interim step, the first step, towards the main goal. The main goal is book three of the sci-fi series, tentatively titled The Blades. The interim step was writing 50,000 words in the 30 days of November (NaNoWriMo ). It was meant to be the leap off the cliff with the introduction of Uncle Reslo as a point of view character and the beginnings of figuring out the mysterious woman (or the b**** in the corner) who showed up out of nowhere while writing the first 52,000 words of book two, The Balance (written in the_balance_cover_for_kindlethe NaNoWriMo challenge in 2012). I figured that this year I now had the opportunity to find out who the heck is she and what does she want. – You can read chapter nineteen in The Balance to meet her.
 
While I did make a solid stab at that interim goal with over 33,000 words and I am getting to know both Reslo and Sarinne (that b*** now has a name, which I did discover during those 33,000 words), I still feel sad that I did not WIN the 50,000 word challenge. I participate in a weekly writing group that had gotten to know each other during the 2012 NaNoWriMo where I started The Balance. Four of the six of us took on the challenge this year. Three WON! I am so proud of their efforts. Two of them did not think they could do it in the beginning because the writing process is so different from how they have been writing.
 
And here I am, having succeeded with my first NaNoWriMo challenge in 2012 and having nanowrimo-winner-100x100-2published two books in the last two years, and this year I only managed 33,000 words in 30 days. — I kind of want to hear an ‘oh, you poor thing,’ from you on this but I know that won’t happen. — It took a comment from Rondi, one of the writing group’s members who was working on editing a MG book instead of doing the NaNoWriMo challenge, who explained to me that even though I had not written 50,000 words on a single project I had been and was successfully living the life of a writer. That I WAS a winner through my work on editing a quarterly publication for a non-profit organization, assisting that img_3725organization with upgrading the management of their membership files and helping their election of board members move forward. And, of course, she added the awareness of the extra duties and travels I was experiencing with my father’s recovery from a serious leg injury (a comminuted fracture, where the bone shatters into three or more pieces, of his femur at age of 89) and all the changes and decisions that needed and still need to be made with the help of my siblings and my father.
 
After that small lecture she suggested that I go buy a calendar where I can write in each day what I have done as a writer. That includes reading in my genre, research, listening to podcasts on writing, participating in webinars, marketing, editing anything (including my husband’s writings for our square dance business), updating my website, and writing for my blog. She said even reading for pleasure is part of the life of a writer and should be written down. she showed me her calendar, begun just three months ago, and it was a visible record and proof of the FACT that she was a writer every day and not just on one project. I am purchasing that calendar today.
 
So, while I didn’t complete what I thought would be my first step on one project I did in fact, get my foot planted on the ground and I have momentum to take the next step – it will just take a few more weeks. And now, that is okay because I am a writer and I will live the life of a writer every day. Even if it is jotting down ideas that come to me while driving to and from my father’s rehab facility or shopping for groceries, or meditating in the dry sauna or while swimming laps at the gym.
 
I am not going to focus on the length of time it takes me to complete that interim step – this is the letting go of the goal part – because I know I will complete it. I can be proud of the fact that I got it started.oakland-trailhead-near-larry-r-03-15-2015
 
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu