Don’t Wait to Get Picked, Pick Yourself

It’s been two years since I last blogged. But I haven’t stopped writing.

For the last few years, I have worked on my craft—grinding it out, finishing one new novel after another, editing each manuscript—toiling over every sentence until I was satisfied. Then I would send out queries and wait for literary agents to get back to me—hoping for one of them to believe in my stories as much as I, and my beta readers, believe in them. With every few rejections I would receive, there would be a spark of hope—agents asking for a partial or a full manuscript. And while I held my breath, I would fulfill each request with my fingers crossed. Soon, the replies would filter in, some automated and generic, some even complimenting my writing and my stories—yet all would end with different variations of saying no.

Despite all the hard work I had put into each manuscript, I was back to square one.

Feeling defeated once more, I would take a deep breath and accept the fact—as discouraging as it was, that this was all part of the process of finding an agent. At least based on my research, other people’s experiences, and the information I had gained from writing workshops and conferences. It wouldn’t take long until I would start working on a new story, while emotionally and mentally preparing myself for the next round of writing, editing, and querying.

A few weeks ago, while scanning thumbnails on YouTube, I noticed an interview from Behind the Brand with Brian Elliott called, Seth Godin: Don’t wait to get picked, pick yourself.

I was intrigued. So, I clicked on it. Minutes later, everything made sense.

Don’t wait to get picked, pick yourself. A line that lingered in my head for the rest of the day.

It was clear. By me following the same paradigm year after year, I was no longer pursuing my own goals. I was simply following someone else’s path—hoping and expecting for the same results.

Without me noticing—this way of thinking and pursuing had caused me to forget the one thing I had set out to do: Write my stories and share them with you.

While I stayed cooped up inside my writing box—with one click, people all over the world were sharing their craft, product, or idea through social media and other platforms—finding their audience, building their careers, joining communities, changing their lives and others, and never looking back. People who believe and trust in their dream or idea—enough to let it drive them forward, regardless if they would fail or not.

Seth Godin is right. Don’t wait to get picked, pick yourself.

Follow your own path. Because just as we are all unique, each of our dreams are, too. There is no wrong or right way to achieve your dream. If one path does not work, do not give up.

Instead, move on and create your own opportunities.

I would love to get a literary agent. But it might not be in the cards right now. It’s time I fold this hand so I could get dealt a new one.

In 2012, I self-published my first novel, HIGH (A Caffeinated Love Story). To my loyal readers who have asked me through the years when my next novel is coming out—thank you for patiently waiting. I finally have an answer for you.

HEARTS AND ERRORS will release on January 19, 2019!

Beginning this week, excerpts from my upcoming novel and updates will be posted here and on my other social media accounts.

After all, this is all I ever wanted to do. To write my stories and share them with you.

 

 

Self-Published Authors Night

I think it’s wonderful that there are bookstores out there who support self-published authors. Lauren, the owner of The Reading Bug, had her first Self-Published Authors Night last July 9. I was lucky enough to be part of it.

Three other authors and myself, got to present and read our books to the crowd. Click here to view more photos from the event.
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The Reading Bug is a bookstore mainly for children, so it was a delight to be able to showcase Sammy’s Books.

As authors, I believe it’s important to go out there and meet our readers—talk to them and engage with them. Participating in events like these really brings us closer to our audience. It’s also a good way to meet and support other authors.

 

 

Novel Update and More

Oh dear. It’s November.

I think it’s about time I paused and updated you on what’s going on with my novel and why I haven’t been blogging recently.

My manuscript has been with my editor the last two weeks. In the meantime I’ve kept myself busy—maybe a little too busy.

Ever since I became a mother a little over 3 years ago, I’ve thought about creating (writing and designing) my own children’s books and self-publishing them. Mostly because I wasn’t satisfied with some of the books I was reading to my daughter. But I put my ideas aside for a while because I was busy taking care of her and was focused on writing. But now that my daughter goes to school in the morning and I’ve sent my manuscript out to my editor, I have a little time to spare. So I thought it would be a good time to start creating my own children’s books. So far, it’s going well. Since my daughter loves Goodnight books, I decided to create a Goodnight book I hope she will love and hopefully other kids will love too. I am also working on a book on First Words, plus a few other ones.

I have one more week before I get my manuscript back. My goal is to get the Goodnight book to print by the end of November. I know it sounds a little crazy, but that’s the funny thing about inspiration, when it hits you—it’s hard to stop. Just like when you get an idea for a story in the middle of the night and you must write it down.

It’s a lot of work, but it’ll all be worth it in the end. It will be a nice gift for my little Samantha.

I will have a separate website for my children’s books, which I will share here soon.

Do you have kids or nieces and nephews under the age of 5? What are their favorite books?

Helpful Advice from Indie Authors

I saw an article today on Twitter that I thought I’d share with you.

If you’re in the process of publishing your book, like I am, or have published your book but could use some helpful tips on marketing and self-publishing, check out the link below.

What do you wish you had known when you first started self-publishing?

If you’re already a self-published author, what do you wish you had known when you first started self-publishing?

Helpful Advice from Indie Authors

I saw an article today on Twitter that I thought I’d share with you.

If you’re in the process of publishing your book, like I am, or have published your book but could use some helpful tips on marketing and self-publishing, check out the link below.

What do you wish you had known when you first started self-publishing?

If you’re already a self-published author, what do you wish you had known when you first started self-publishing?

An Interview with Author, Sara Flower

I am excited to have the wonderful Sara Flower as my guest for this interview. Sara is the author of the books, By the Sword and Followed.

Congratulations on your second novel. What inspired you to write, Followed?
SF: Thank you, Corey. Followed was inspired by a lot of different things. I had always wanted to write a dark story set in the Regency era. I listened to a lot of metal at that point in time, so I think that’s responsible in part to the mind-bending plot twist.

If you could describe Followed in one sentence, what would it be?
SF: Four young people from 19th century England discover that being lost in an eerie forest is the least of their worries when they wake up in a research lab.

    

When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
SF: I started writing stories in kindergarten, so it’s something that I’ve always enjoyed.

What made you decide to self-publish?
SF: I had queried literary agents for two years, until one kind lady responded and said that Christian fantasy is a tough market to break into, so she was hesitant to request a full manuscript (despite how much she liked the premise). After publishing my first book, By the Sword, on my own, I enjoyed the full control and confidence that comes from being an indie author.

What do you think is the easiest part about self-publishing?
SF: It’s so fun to lay out the ideas of my vision for the cover with my designer.

What do you think is the hardest part about self-publishing?
SF: There is honestly nothing very difficult about self-publishing, but the most challenging thing would be organizing the print book files on CreateSpace. That is a bit of a hassle I have to admit.

How do you market your books?
SF: I promote them on my blog, on Twitter, Facebook, and Good Reads. I also contact book bloggers that enjoy the genre that my book is in. I think the best way to market your books is to keep publishing news ones. Your name becomes better known with the more you do.

Do you do blog tours? Would you recommend them?
SF: I did a blog tour earlier this year. It did not turn out so well, because most of the bloggers did not really enjoy YA fantasy. I think it would be a helpful thing is you are selective of which blogs you appear on.

What do you think about book launches? Do you think they’re necessary?
SF: I just think they’re fun! 🙂

How many books do you think you read a year?
SF: I read anywhere from 12 to 20 books, depending on how busy I am.

What is your favorite book?
SF: The Book Thief

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
SF: Gosh, being a writer defines me. As I wake up and go about doing all these things during the day, I am constantly inspired and thinking of what could make a great story. So, I suppose my ability to daydream and escape reality is what I like most.

Thank you, Sara.

Check out Sara’s blog and her book, By the Sword.  Followed is set to launch in October 2012.

An Interview with Author, Sara Flower

I am excited to have the wonderful Sara Flower as my guest for this interview. Sara is the author of the books, By the Sword and Followed.

Congratulations on your second novel. What inspired you to write, Followed?
SF: Thank you, Corey. Followed was inspired by a lot of different things. I had always wanted to write a dark story set in the Regency era. I listened to a lot of metal at that point in time, so I think that’s responsible in part to the mind-bending plot twist.

If you could describe Followed in one sentence, what would it be?
SF: Four young people from 19th century England discover that being lost in an eerie forest is the least of their worries when they wake up in a research lab.

    

When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
SF: I started writing stories in kindergarten, so it’s something that I’ve always enjoyed.

What made you decide to self-publish?
SF: I had queried literary agents for two years, until one kind lady responded and said that Christian fantasy is a tough market to break into, so she was hesitant to request a full manuscript (despite how much she liked the premise). After publishing my first book, By the Sword, on my own, I enjoyed the full control and confidence that comes from being an indie author.

What do you think is the easiest part about self-publishing?
SF: It’s so fun to lay out the ideas of my vision for the cover with my designer.

What do you think is the hardest part about self-publishing?
SF: There is honestly nothing very difficult about self-publishing, but the most challenging thing would be organizing the print book files on CreateSpace. That is a bit of a hassle I have to admit.

How do you market your books?
SF: I promote them on my blog, on Twitter, Facebook, and Good Reads. I also contact book bloggers that enjoy the genre that my book is in. I think the best way to market your books is to keep publishing news ones. Your name becomes better known with the more you do.

Do you do blog tours? Would you recommend them?
SF: I did a blog tour earlier this year. It did not turn out so well, because most of the bloggers did not really enjoy YA fantasy. I think it would be a helpful thing is you are selective of which blogs you appear on.

What do you think about book launches? Do you think they’re necessary?
SF: I just think they’re fun! 🙂

How many books do you think you read a year?
SF: I read anywhere from 12 to 20 books, depending on how busy I am.

What is your favorite book?
SF: The Book Thief

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
SF: Gosh, being a writer defines me. As I wake up and go about doing all these things during the day, I am constantly inspired and thinking of what could make a great story. So, I suppose my ability to daydream and escape reality is what I like most.

Thank you, Sara.

Check out Sara’s blog and her book, By the Sword.  Followed is set to launch in October 2012.

Why We Need Beta Readers and Editors

I recently mentioned to a friend that I was self-publishing my first book this November as an e-book, as well as a printed book. I told him that after I edit on my own, I will be passing my manuscript to beta readers, possibly a proofreader and after that, edit it again and then it goes to an editor.

To which he replied: “The editing process is never ending anyway. With the technology now with e-books, why don’t you just eliminate the beta readers and editors and publish your book now and get the readers out there to give their feedback and then revise your book again based on the feedback you get, and then publish it again.

My head spun a little.  So I said, “What do you mean? Revise my book again, even after I’ve already published it?” A bit confused, I added, “Why would I want to do that?”

He said, “Yes, keep revising the same book and publishing it over and over based on the feedback you get from readers.”

I asked, “The same book?”

“Yes, the same book. The one you have now,” he confirmed.

My head spun again. “You mean, just print what I have now and let the readers read and judge it without having beta readers read it first?”

He said, “Yes.”

I said, “But once my book is published—that’s it. I’d like to be done with it so I can move on and start writing other stories. Why would I want to keep revising the same book and publishing it over and over again?”

Completely nonplussed, I asked my friend what the advantages are of doing it the way he’s suggesting. To be honest, I don’t even remember what he said because it probably didn’t make sense to me.

For me, it almost sounds like he’s saying:
“Why don’t you rush and publish your book now, even if you’re not satisfied with it and it hasn’t been read by others who can help you polish it. Who cares? You’ll get feedback from readers outside anyway. You can use the feedback to keep revising and keep publishing THE SAME book, over and over again.

To me, it also sounds like: Why don’t you just put a product out there that hasn’t been tested? Who cares if it doesn’t work? You can keep revising the product anyway?

But wouldn’t I be setting myself up for failure by doing it that way?

First of all, why would I risk my reputation as a first time author and publish a book that’s not polished? Just to get it out there because I can keep revising it anyway? It doesn’t make sense. Also, what happens to the printed pieces?

After researching, reading articles and posts from other writers over the last 6 months on self-publishing and e-books, and seeing the results of self-published authors, my friend’s comment didn’t make any sense to me. I can think of a hundred reasons why I do not think his idea is a good idea. For one, beta readers are there to help you. They will read your book and critique it and give you helpful feedback. If I rushed and published my book now and eliminated the beta readers and editors, I would probably get feedback, but none of which would tell me if I made a typo on page 40 and 180, or that I should rewrite a sentence or a paragraph because something is missing, etcetera. Regular readers won’t give the same feedback. They will give general feedback, but won’t go into specifics like beta readers and editors do.

There are many reasons why a lot of e-books fail and why some succeed. I’ve read a number of posts from self-published writers who all give the same advice:

  1. First, write a good book.
  2. Get people you trust who aren’t family to read it and give you honest feedback (example: beta readers) before you publish.
  3. Hire an editor.
  4. Create a great book cover.
  5. Have a marketing plan.
  6. Know your target audience.

I’m sure my friend meant well. Maybe all he was trying to say was take advantage of technology. But even then, some of the things he suggested didn’t make sense.

At the end of the day, I am still sticking to my plan. My manuscript will still be going to beta readers. I personally believe that having them read it and critique it will help me polish my book before it gets published.

Here are links to some posts that I’ve recently read on self-publishing and why beta readers are important:

http://crimefictioncollective.blogspot.ca/2012/08/three-mistakes-you-dont-want-to-make.html

http://jennymherrera.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/four-reasons-why-you-need-beta-readers/

http://saraflower.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/beta-readers/

What do think? Eliminate beta readers? Rush and publish and keep revising and publishing the same book over and over again?

My First Novel

After spending the last 6 months trying to decide between traditional publishing and self-publishing, I have finally made up my mind.

I am going to self-publish my first book, HIGH.

Based on what I’ve learned and researched, self-publishing seems to be the perfect fit for me at this time.

My aim is to publish my novel by November of this year. I’m spending the next few weeks editing and by the last week of August, I will be sending my manuscript to a group of beta readers that I have carefully picked. By the third week of September, if not earlier, I will be editing again based on the feedback I receive from my beta readers and then it’s off to an editor. Whatever pockets of time I get in between editing will be dedicated to working on my book cover and working on a marketing plan.

Yes, I said marketing plan. I wrote a book, but it doesn’t end there. Since I am self-publishing, I have to be involved in every aspect. In a way, it’s like running a business. I have a product—my book, and my job after writing the book is to get it out there. It’ll be an exciting challenge that will probably involve a lot of sleepless nights, limited breaks, a good amount of caffeine, trial and error, and a lot of growing up to do as a writer and as a person. I am aware this journey won’t be an easy one, but I am willing to give it my all. Besides, it’s for my book—the reason why I am a writer and why soon, I will be an author.

I will be sharing the ups and downs of self-publishing and the lessons I learn along the way. More about the book, plus excerpts will be posted in the days to come, so check back soon.

I have no idea what the fate of my book will be, but I can’t wait to find out soon. All I know is I have spent a lot of time writing and rewriting HIGH. I gave birth to it and raised it. Now it’s time to set it free.

My First Novel

After spending the last 6 months trying to decide between traditional publishing and self-publishing, I have finally made up my mind.

I am going to self-publish my first book, HIGH.

Based on what I’ve learned and researched, self-publishing seems to be the perfect fit for me at this time.

My aim is to publish my novel by November of this year. I’m spending the next few weeks editing and by the last week of August, I will be sending my manuscript to a group of beta readers that I have carefully picked. By the third week of September, if not earlier, I will be editing again based on the feedback I receive from my beta readers and then it’s off to an editor. Whatever pockets of time I get in between editing will be dedicated to working on my book cover and working on a marketing plan.

Yes, I said marketing plan. I wrote a book, but it doesn’t end there. Since I am self-publishing, I have to be involved in every aspect. In a way, it’s like running a business. I have a product—my book, and my job after writing the book is to get it out there. It’ll be an exciting challenge that will probably involve a lot of sleepless nights, limited breaks, a good amount of caffeine, trial and error, and a lot of growing up to do as a writer and as a person. I am aware this journey won’t be an easy one, but I am willing to give it my all. Besides, it’s for my book—the reason why I am a writer and why soon, I will be an author.

I will be sharing the ups and downs of self-publishing and the lessons I learn along the way. More about the book, plus excerpts will be posted in the days to come, so check back soon.

I have no idea what the fate of my book will be, but I can’t wait to find out soon. All I know is I have spent a lot of time writing and rewriting HIGH. I gave birth to it and raised it. Now it’s time to set it free.