Thoughts Brought on by Hugh Howey’s Blog

I just read “Writing Insights Part One: Becoming a Writer” on Hugh Howey’s blog,  Hugh Howey, the Wayfinder. The first of a four part series. It has started me thinking, given me support, and inspired different thinking when it comes to marketing. I find much of Howey’s ten things he wished he’d known before he started writing hits directly on me. I understand what he is saying. I have either been there, am there right now, or will be there. It is a relief to know that I am not the only one whose first real attempt at writing something I thought might be publishable was when I was a teenager and that it was more than twenty years later before that particular attempt became a finished product. It is a relief to know that it is okay to want to write and read – to need to write and read. It is a relief to know there are readers out there looking for my books, my stories – I just have to write them first. Then once they are written I can spend the time marketing them to those readers. But I have to write them first.

Howey suggests getting five to six books published before really diving into marketing. I am not quite halfway there. So in the mean time how do I get the word out? How do I build that 1,000 followers who will demand my books, share my books, talk about my books? Do I have to figure out how at the same I should be writing? Can I do multiple things at the same time? Should I spend money on getting someone to help me in this area just as I have hired an editor, book designer,  proofreader, and e-book transformer? I know I am struggling in this marketing portion. I know I can’t do it all. How can I get those readers who seem to like what I’ve written so far to help me?

And I have a several readers who are passionate about what I am writing. Some of them are helping me get the word out by telling their libraries to get copies of my books; by telling their friends to get my books; and they are buying books to give to others because they want to share their excitement and enjoyment for what I am writing. They are demanding the next book. I am learning from them – becoming a better writer. I am filled with energy and ideas that I receive from conversations with them about my books. I still have a long way to go. I know I have to get the third book of the scifi series out. That it has to be better than book number two, which was better than book number one. Each one will be better than the last – at least that is my goal. (see my blog about Another Award Winner!)

I am listening to those readers who talk to me. Their voices are filled with excitement. Their body language is animated. They ask lots of questions. Some I won’t answer. Some I can’t – not yet. They give me ideas, they explain their thoughts on why I wrote something, or what they hope I will include or what they hope will happen. They tell me how much they like my writing style, my author’s voice. Sometimes I wish they would write it all down and post to their Goodreads pages, to Amazon, to my Facebook pages, to LinkedIn, and to my blog page. I wish they would go to my website and write down these comments, questions, etc. I so enjoy seeing them, hearing them and I want to share their enthusiasm. Right now these interactions happen between tips at a dance event, during an interlude at a meeting, late a night after an event while Bob & I are trying to clean up a hall or just before an event is to happen and we are setting up.  I am trying to figure out how to let others hear and see their reactions to what I am writing. And I realize that while I am trying to research and learn how to share that, I am not writing the next chapter of the next book. The few I have so far, already really want the third and fourth books, as soon as possible. So, I am in a quandary. Write? Market? Both?

 

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Another Award Winner!

My cell phone buzzed, my editor’s name scrolled across the screen. I clicked into the text message. It read: You got SECOND PLACE!

I was in Wyoming at a national dance event and not able to attend the 2017 Colorado Independent Publishers Association’s EVVY Awards for independent publishers. I had been informed two weeks prior that The Balance, the second book of my scienthe_balance_cover_for_kindlece fiction series was a finalist in the science fiction category but I would not know if it had earned enough points to place until the award ceremony on August 19, 2017. Since I knew that I would not be able to attend the ceremony I had asked my editor if she would represent me just in case the book picked up an award. She graciously accepted saying that, of course, The Balance would place. I was not so sure because I had entered it in two other categories, Fantasy and Cover Design, and it had not been a finalist in either. My reaction was mixed on learning that – but that will be left for another blog.

I was surprised at my relief after reading Melanie’s text. Then I reread the text. SECOND IMG_1727 2017 EVVY Award 2nd PlacePLACE! I did a little happy dance and ran to find my husband and friends to tell them.

In 2014, the first book of The Stone’s Blade series, The Blood, had placed Third in both Fantasy and Science Fiction categories and the cover & interior design had received a Merit award. I had originally planned to enter The Balance in the EVVY Awards in 2016, the year it was published. However, due to unexpected delays in the cover design, publication of the book would not be in time to enter. So I had to wait almost a full year. It seems the wait was worth it.

I knew the second book was better than the first. There was a tremendous amount of work to keep story line’s straight, characters straight, and the decision to focus on particular story lines was perhaps the most important, all the while continuing sub-stories moving forward at the same time so I could highlight them in the third and perhaps fourth books being planned. And to my surprise (yes, I was surprised) a Second place in the 2017 EVVY Awards stated that we had succeeded in our goal of making The Balance better. It took team work to get this award and I thank my daughter, Kristina Book, for sparking the idea that led to the story line; my editor, Melanie Mulhall, for her coaching, mentoring, editing, and help in ferreting out the intricacies of writing a complicated series; my proofreader & e-book transformer, Helena Mariposa, for her talents, and my cover & interior designer, Nathan Fisher, for his inspired vision of the Stones which graces the cover.

When I picked up the physical award from Melanie the following week she commented that she expected the third book to bring in a First place when it was entered – she’s thinking of 2018 and I’m thinking 2019. No pressure there. Since I am only a third of the way into the rough draft I guess we will just have to wait and see. There’s exciting stuff coming up.

In the mean time you can get your own copies of award winning science fiction The Blood and The Balance via Amazon (paperback and e-book) or paperbacks at any of the three locations of The Tattered Cover Bookstore in the Denver metro area – they are in the young adult fiction shelves. Of course, you can always track me down and get a signed copy from me at a reduced price.

Let me know what you think. Oh, I am available for author events, book signings, etc. Contact me at allynn@timberdark.com.