Saturday, December 31, 2011

Writing resolutions

Tis the season to make resolutions that may or may not last the entire year. I've learned very quickly that with writing, I can't predict the next day, much less the the next 365 days. A year ago I didn't know that I would self-publish a book, nor did I know that I would sell over 200 copies by the year's end. So, with that being said, all I can resolve to do in 2012 is to continue writing my next book with the goal of self-publishing it in October. I have other personal goals, but like my husband said last night, "I have the same goals I've had the last four years so I don't want to talk about them."

Friday, December 23, 2011

A tough time to write

December is turning out to be a tough month to write in. I haven't totalled my word count just yet, but I'm pretty sure I'll be short of my goal of 15,000 words. It seems that there is always something else to do, which is usually to go shopping and I don't even like to shop. After the holidays I plan to play some catch-up while also putting together a marketing plan for Missing Maggie. I have grand plans for 2012.

Happy Holidays, everyone! Keep reading!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Video blogging???

My husband came back from shopping (for wood, mind you) and thought he came up with a great, innovative idea to help me market my book: video blogging. I don't know much about it, but I can only assume it would be me sitting in front of a web cam speaking about the same things I write in this blog. Generally, I don't consider myself a public speaker. That's more his thing. But perhaps I could verbalize what I feel passionate about, which is writing and all of its elements. I don't know. It's something to consider I guess.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

WSJ self-publishing articles

A few articles from the Wall Street Journal have been passed on to me by a friend, all pertaining to self-publishing and the success of some very talented writers. I find these articles interesting because they give details as to how a particular author came upon their success. I've learned which websites the author used to publish, which ones they used to gain reviews from, and how they, too, struggled to find an agent and/or publisher. I've taken some notes and plan to do some of the same things in hopes of mimicking their success.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Learning from the best

I watched a video interview with Sandra Brown on the other day. I had to watch it a second time to take notes. The interview covered the movie recently aired on TNT that was based on her novel, Ricochet. I haven't read that one yet, but that's not why I watched the video. I mostly watched it because she is an amazing author with over sixty best-sellers. She is obviously doing something right. Sandra and the host discussed various details concerning the movie, but she also gave some insight as to how she writes her novels. Here's what I learned:
  1. Sandra begins each story idea by writing a 12-15 page synopsis.
  2. She writes the first draft just to get the story down on paper.
  3. The second draft is where she goes through the story scene by scene, developing the characters and the plot as best she can.
  4. Pacing is the main focus of the third draft. If she gets bored reading it, more than likely so will her readers.
  5. Finally, the fourth and final draft is when she polishes the story, assuring herself that everything is as it should be.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November's word count

It was my goal to reach 15,000 words (500 per day) for the month of November. My total ended up being about 800 words shy of this goal, but considering this is the first time I've kept track of my writing, I'm pleased with the result. Next month is going to be even more challenging with Christmas and the kids being home for two weeks. I'll be forced to take a day or two and escape to the library or somewhere I can concentrate. That actually sounds pretty wonderful!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Getting paid

I got paid for selling copies of my book! If you'd have asked me a year ago if I thought I'd be getting paid for what I love to do, I'd have laughed...or cried. A year ago I'd given up hope that my writing was good enough to put on the market. Apparently a few people think it's good enough. I'm also really excited about getting paid since it's been almost four years since I recieved a paycheck. This direct deposit isn't much, maybe enough for a couple of Christmas presents. This is just the beginning though. I have big dreams, people. Great things are going happen! Man, I hope I didn't just jinx myself.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Back to work

I had a great Thanksgiving weekend filled with family, fun, food, and shopping. I think I'm still recovering actually. Now, though, it's time to get back to work. I'm about a third of the way done with the first draft of my second novel. The characters are coming to life nicely and the action is building. Kody's clients are proving to be a little challenging for her, but that's only because she feels the need to fix what is broken. One client might be beyond repair though.

As for marketing "Missing Maggie," the review from was printed in Sunday's Fargo Forum. I still have mixed feelings about the review. Either way, it's free publicity. Otherwise, over the weekend I slipped my business cards in random places. I'm not sure Denny's and Walmart appreciated that, but it seemed like a good idea at the time!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Printed fliers

This morning I finally went out and posted a few half-sheet, book fliers at the various coffee shops in town and at the public library. I was so nervous for some reason. My nerves were completely unnecessary though because each establishment was more than happy to post a flier during the holiday season. I figured I should get them out there now before Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Hopefully someone will be intrigued enough to check it out. You just never know!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Adding suspense

Adding suspense isn't all that easy to do. This weekend I spent time rereading what I'd already written to make sure that each chapter left the reader wanting more. I've done a fairly good job so far but some of the chapters needed work. It's important to drop hints along the way as to how the story might end. This also means that I need to know how the story ends, which I do. It's the middle part that is currently bogging me down. Some characters have a mind of their own and what I had in mind originally isn't always what gets typed into the computer. I like being spontaneous with my writing, but  it makes it harder to drop the hints. I'm confident though that it will all work out in the end.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fargo Forum ad is in print

The ad I created for the Fargo Forum is running in the printed paper all this week. Hopefully this will start a buzz in the community and old classmates and other friends will take time to download a copy of "Missing Maggie." I'm interested to see how this works in comparison to some Internet advertising I hope to do in the future. I know my husband and I peruse the local paper each morning, but does that mean others do it too or do they instead read the headlines on their phones or computers? Hard to say. Anyway, the ad looks great. It's much larger than I imagined and the colors I chose definitely stand out. If you're in the Fargo-Moorhead area, snag a copy and see for yourself.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Smashwords is complete

It's only been a month since I began formatting "Missing Maggie" to be accepted by Smashwords (another site that helps self-published authors gain a wider audience), and it was finally approved yesterday. Within the next two weeks, Smashwords will electronically distribute my book to Sony, Kobo, Apple, and Diesel. This means more exposure. Time will only tell if my sales increase. Either way, I'm learning so much now that when it comes time to publish my next book, it will take weeks instead of months.

On another note, I want to thank all of my family and friends for being so supportive. Your marketing tactics are much appreciated.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Not what I had hoped for...

I'm kind of bummed. I just read my first review of "Missing Maggie" and it wasn't what I had hoped for. It didn't say, "a must read," "don't miss Missing Maggie," or "I couldn't put the book down." It instead said that I was close, but with a bit more polishing it might be great. The reviewer's comments didn't hit on anything I hadn't been concerned about myself. I also wondered if there were more grammar mistakes that I hadn't caught and if the underground business Daniel was involved with was a bit too much to swallow. In the end, I decided to self-publish the novel "as is" so that I could move on with my life. I needed to move on to the next book with hopes that it would be better. I'm determined to make it better.

The Book Bag - Review of "Missing Maggie"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


My writing is inspired by various events that have happened in my life. Some events are fun, happy, devasting, and some are just plain, old sad. After learning of a loved ones death a few days ago, the first thing I did was type some ideas of how I could integrate the relationship I had with this man into one of my characters. I was sad and I found it soothing to write about my sadness. It wasn't until then that I realized I'd done the same thing several times before. I'd written an aritcle about the unfairness I felt by being a contract employee at a big corporation. I'd written another article when my son basically told me he didn't know what made me happy. I'd also started writing a book where the main character was an awkward teen who didn't know where she fit it.

Essentially, I write from the heart. In doing so, my goal is to create "real" characters that a reader can relate to. I love books that when I'm finished reading them I'm upset because I don't know what the character does next. Does she live happily ever after? Does she commit another crime? The plot is important, don't get me wrong, but in my opinion, the characters are what really make a great story.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Creating advertisements

My mom called yesterday with news that she got a great deal on an ad for my hometown newspaper, The Fargo Forum. I was equally excited...until I sat down to create this 3" x 5" piece of mass media. I quickly discovered that I lacked that sort of creativity. My first draft was dull and boring. My husband, the artsy one, hated it. He said it needed more pizzazz and color. I still blame my years as a technical writer for my cut and dry approach, although I fully believe I was born without an artist's eye. Sadly, I passed this trait onto my oldest son. He's eleven and still draws stick figures. Poor kid!

I'll try to post the finished product when its published. The goal of this ad is to share my news with old classmates, friends and acquaintances. Spread the word, spread the love.

Random Thought: Do I always have to let my kids win? Shouldn't I be teaching them how to lose too, even if it sends them running and screaming to their room? Tough one!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I have it all figured out - the plot of the second book. What I haven't figured out are all the subplots. Each day I sit down to write, another idea pops into my head. Some good. Some bad. Friends and family even give me ideas. Some good. Some bad. I don't always immediately know if an idea is good or bad until I write it out. I might not even know until the first draft is done. To me, the important thing is to just keep typing. I can make the big decisions later. Wow. This was a rambling post!

Random Thought: I think our 7-month-old black lab is getting a little big for the cat bed. Silly puppy!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Local review

Part of marketing a book is finding people willing to write a review for you. Last Thursday, I sent my book to a woman in Fargo who writes a blog of her reviews of local authors, I'm actually excited and ready to hear some critism. I've had many wonderful comments from family and friends, which I love to hear. They've even forwarded emails and texts with positive comments from their friends whom I don't know. I guess what I'm looking for is some constructive criticism to help me write an even better second book. Sure, I want to sell more copies of Missing Maggie, but I'm looking for longevity. My dream is to be a successfull author for many years to come.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Finding time...

I've been meaning to write this blog post for several days now, but it's been rather difficult to find the time to write anything. Life gets busy. That shouldn't be an excuse though. Everyone is busy. I don't know anyone who doesn't want a little extra time in their day to get things accomplished. So, instead of feeling sorry for myself and complaining to my husband, I decided to set up a writing spreadsheet. This spreadsheet will hopefully get me motivated to find time, whenever it may be, to write. My goal is to write 500 words per day. Sadly, I'm already 500 words behind. I figure I'll have to play catch-up a couple of days a week. It's a start at least!

Random Thought: When did Halloween costumes get so sexy?!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Writing again

I finally got up this morning to work on the second novel in the Kody Burkoff series. It felt so good! I've spent the last several months rewriting, editing, researching, and formatting for Missing Maggie, so writing some new material was absolutely exhilerating. I'm hoping for a very productive winter.

Random Thought: I love that it's the little things that can make a child smile. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Struggling with Smashwords

Struggling right now with the Smashwords conversion...ugh. When it's all done though, I'll have my book available in many other formats. As a positive, I received my 30 copies of my book so now I can get them to my close friends and family. I might even have a few left to solicit some local reviews.

Random Thought: It totally stinks that the people closest to you are also usually the most irritating!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Self-publishing "Missing Maggie"

After hemming and hawing for a few years about what to do with the novel I wrote, I decided self-publishing was the way to go. It's been a great experience so far and I'm very happy with the outcome.

Here's what went down last week:
  • 10/3 - Nook and Kindle versions went live.
  • 10/4 - Recieved paperback proof in mail and it was exactly what I was hoping for. I pressed "Submit" in CreateSpace and waited for the book to appear on Amazon.
  • 10/5 - Sent out email to friends and family, published new facebook page, ordered 30 copies of my book to pass out, and published my website,
  • 10/6 - Responded to emails saying "Congratulations." This was sooooo fun to do!
  • 10/10 - Saw that someone wrote the first review of "Missing Maggie" and gave it five stars!
What's next? Promote, promote, promote! I also need to get working on the second book in the Kody Burkoff series.

Random Thought: Why is it that the flies all seem to disappear when I finally find the fly swatter? UGH!