Sunday, December 31, 2017

Kitten's Corner - New Years

Hey everyone, Pumpkin here again. Mom is working a lot again so I get to say hi. The big tree left so I don't have anywhere to hide when I want my peace and quiet, and boy do I need it right now, you have no idea. A couple weeks ago Mom and Dad did something terrible. They brought home a new little demon cat to join the family.

You see, back when it was hot outside, right before all the sparkly thunder happens every year, Mom took my sister, Puppy, to the doctor because she was really sick. She didn't come home with them but when Mom got home she laid on the couch and cried a lot. My brother has been spending as much time as possible with her since to cheer her up. We all miss Puppy, even if she was a know-it-all. Dad kept telling Mom they could have more cats when Mom was ready but it has just been the three of us since that day.

Then it happened. Mom's friend took her out to look for something called a Dog. The next night she and Dad came home from work with the new cat. It is small and looks a lot like Puppy did. And the darn thing plays with my tail. She took my toy and follows me around. Yesterday she even tried to jump on me while I was taking a bath. She never stops. I mean, I remember when I was her age. Always running around, but come on, it gets old after awhile.

Now Mom is making all those lists she makes every year when the tree goes away. She said something about goals for the new year. I think all humans have some version of this. I wouldn't mind if the little one didn't roam around and attack my tail when Mom wasn't looking. Well if you will excuse me I need to go lay in the sun upstairs and rest until the small one finds me again. See you all soon.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Finding Your Niche

I know the title suggests I am going to talk about marketing or finding the unique way your book fits into a store or already established genre. At some time in the near future I will discuss that. Right now I want to focus on the author instead of the work though.

Almost a year and a half ago I took part in a signing in Mesquite, NV. Shortly after the event a Facebook group was formed to help bring independent authors, like myself, together in the greater Las Vegas area. It was a small group. We had monthly coffees and would share ideas. As time went on we began to grow. More local authors heard about the group and joined in. There were no specific rules other than being from the area and being related to the writing business. We would share our cover reveals and the group could boost visibility. We could ask advice. We even talked about doing something for charity.

That charity discussion gave birth to what is now the For The Love Of Books event held in February leading up to Nevada Reading Week. It was co-founded by myself and another author in our group Victoria Kaer. One of the founding members of the Indies in Las Vegas group showed with us at the inaugural charity signing. Since then she has fallen off the map. It is near impossible to reach her and many other members of the Indies group. We became so large, we fractioned.

Sometimes in the professional world, much like the high school personal world, you can find yourself without a group. Try as you might, it is possible you will never fit in and feel isolated. I went through that in high school. As I got older though, I learned. First I came to understand it is not a shortfall to not fit in with a specific group. It just means there is something I am better suited for. The others are different from me not better or worse. Second, it is possible to establish a group of your own instead of trying to make another one work.

In life, professional and personal, it is important to have support. It is impossible for someone to support you if they don't know who you are, however. It is even more difficult for others to know you if you do not know yourself. Do not try to become someone you are not to be accepted. Be who you are and find those willing to stand with you anyway. That is your group. If they are not currently a group, bring them together. You would be surprised by the things you can accomplish when surrounded by those like yourself. It isn;t all about finding a way to be a part of something. It is about proving you are something to be a part of.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Remaking: My Book, My Career

Yesterday I wrote about the advantages of being able to update my books anytime I want and the distraction that drive toward perfection can bring. Today I am only focusing on the updates and my book Never Give Up which I released almost four years ago. I was then and am still immensely proud of the story and my ability to finally make something happen in my writing world. It was my debut novel, and let me tell you, that much is obvious.

The editing was sloppy to say the least. The formatting is a joke. The cover is an image I adore but it was created by someone who obviously had no idea how to use the program, I think given time to play around with it I could have done just as well when I have no graphic design experience at all. In short, I allowed my book, what I poured my heart and soul into, to become the thing self-published authors hate. It looks like a complete amateur because it was a collaboration of amateurs putting it together. I have now learned so much it is time to see how I can improve.

The story, for the most part, will remain the same. I will be changing the formatting entirely, while also editing and perhaps working on rewriting for grammar and flow. It is also shorter than I think it needs to be with some flapping loose ends to tie up. I am thrilled to get the chance to fix these problems. I will not be changing the characters, their motivations or the overall storyline however. The book will be what I intended it to be. I will also be remaking the cover. I fell in love with the image on the front so I am hoping to find it again but the rest will be changed, right down to the font on my name.

This will be the first major overhaul I have done on any of my work which makes it slightly more daunting. I am hoping to have to ready to release either by the charity book signing event I help organize in February or at the latest, in April as a way of erasing the previous release and remaking the day into my own celebration. It is the first item on a long to do list I have planned for the upcoming year. I am ready to make things happen.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Updates And Distractions

One of the best and worst things about being an Indie author is the ability to pull my books from Amazon or anywhere I published them, revise, resubmit, and publish again. It is a huge advantage over traditional publishing but also a tremendous distraction from the writing process as a whole.

I read a great deal and whether it is another Indie author or a New York Times bestseller I notice there are often editing mistakes and typos. When I go through my own stories I constantly find things I know can be changed, whether it is a grammatical error, the wrong word used, or just a spot I think could be rewritten to help move the story along more smoothly. The great thing about that is I am able to fix it and put it back out for the world to read. I can make adjustments quickly, see what feedback I receive from current readers, then incorporate anything I feel would be helpful.

The fact that it is so easy to make those little fixes though, means it can be tempting to constantly look for ways to fix my books. Instead of trusting my stories and working on the next project I find myself drifting back over previously released books looking for ways to make them better.

From the time I put out my first book, Never Give Up, to now I have grown as an artist in many ways. Another book I published, Survivor, is the first in a series and I will be pushing to publish the rest of them in the next year to eighteen months and I find myself wanting to go back through and rewrite Survivor in an effort to make sure all of the books will flow together. I may in fact choose to do an updated version and release it with the rest of the series when I am closer.

Because of issues with the original publisher, an Indie like myself, that unfortunately proved to be the complete opposite of what they represented themselves to be, I am being forced to publish Never Give Up all over again as well but because of that I will be doing updates. I will also be completely redoing Rescue Me as an entirely new series because of the same person from Never Give Up. I have so many other projects to work on, it is my goal to finish the current updates and find a way to trust my writing and myself so I don't fall into an endless loop of rewrites and never move forward.

Monday, December 11, 2017


Starting in January I will be making several changes and additions to my marketing plan along with what I am hoping will be the beginning of a increase in the offerings of my brand. Not only am I hoping to introduce at least three new books and a revamped on during the next twelve months but I am also excited to bring out my merchandise line I have been working on with my management team for the past several months.

One of the things I have seen a number of authors use to to engage with their readers is the newsletter. I have wanted to join this area of marketing for quite some time but I wasn't sure what to include. After subscribing to a number of them for research, as well as my own interests, I have narrowed down the information I am planning to include as well as ways to do it that reflects my personal style and professional brand. I am excited to be including this aspect along with being more active here and on my other social media accounts. Interaction is the best way to stay connected with those you want to not only sell things to but have any relationship with at all, personally or professionally.

I am hoping to add a discussion board to my website in the next year because hearing from my readers, family and friends is important to me. I love reviews of my books and meeting people when I attend events but I want a place where people can chat with me and others on subjects raised on my blog or  even a place to offer suggestions of topics to cover.

I speak and will hopefully be increasing my appearances on the subject of domestic violence awareness. This topic has been talked about extensively since the release of Survivor a couple of years ago but with the rest of the series coming soon I will be broadening the conversation with each book. I am hoping people will want to reach out and talk with me even if the conversation may be a bit heavy at times.

These are just a few of the items on my to do list for the coming year and the newsletter is the one I am focusing on the most at the moment. I cannot wait to begin chatting more and sharing what is happening in my world with you even more. I hope you are just as excited as I am.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Kitten's Corner - Christmas Time

My name is Pumpkin. My mom usually writes this blog but she has been busy so I figured I would keep you company today. She said it had been a long time since she was here. While she was away that big tree that shows up now and then came back into the front room blocking the window.

Mom spends so much time making it colorful. She puts those dangly balls on it and shiny rope wrapped around it. Dad put a goofy red hat on top of it that plays music when you push something on the side. It used to scare me but as long as it stays on top of the tree it is alright. My brother and sister like it when the tree goes up because everyone spends time in the front room where we can watch out the window while mom and dad watch the picture box.

I know mom wants to go back to her office and sit by her window and drink the brown stuff she likes so much. She stares at her computer, typing away for hours but that's ok because I can lay in the sun and she pets me. Eventually she will put the tree away and go back in there. I like it when she gets done with something because she is happy. She picks me up and holds me while she smiles.  Then, sometimes, she gets a box full of books and I can play in the box after she unpacks it. Just like the ones wrapped under the tree. Boxes are my favorite.

Well I just wanted to say hi and get to now you all for a little while. I will pop in now and then but I think I hear the can opener going downstairs. Meow at you later.