Editing

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. this morning.  My mind was racing.  With sentence structures and word choices.  Literally.

I believe if I looked up the symptoms they would indicate some kind of obsessive compulsion.  But for the time being I’m just going to pretend it’s a good thing. Because I’m in the final throes of editing and rewriting my second novel and all this brain crunching is actually working for me.

I had no idea I’d ever get to this point.  I could not have predicted that over two years ago I would be here now–waking up before sunrise to quietly get up, put on the coffee, let Pig out, and happily get to work on my own words.

This enthusiasm is a heady emotion.  I have trouble turning it off, tuning it out.  But I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

In the meantime, I just read a blog post about a published author that reads quite depressing.  She’s successful, yet not.  It’s striking to read that on the same day I realized I was so excited about writing that I couldn’t sleep.

It’s all so personal.  Today, I am grateful for my own journey.

Advertisements

A humbling day!

Layered Pages just published our interview.  I’m delighted, thrilled, proud, sheepish, humbled and shy.  All at the same time!  It’s like an everlasting gobstopper that just keeps spinning different flavors.

Interviews do not come naturally to me.  But boy was this one fun.

A big thanks to Stephanie Hopkins and all the folks over at IndieBRAG.  They do an amazing job promoting Indie authors and it is so, so, so appreciated!

And another big shout out to my Goodreads A Good Thriller group who continue to be super supportive.  (New members welcome!)

I sure do feel the love today!

Five Things I’m Doing This Week

1.  We’re going down to Long Beach Island to hit up Harvey Cedars Clam Shack.  I’m pretty sure it does not get better than that!  I am going to order at least 3 entrees.  Nuff said.

2.  I’m also in edit mode for Mac Ambrose novel #2 – Deceits of Borneo.  I’m polishing sentences for 8+ hours a day.  Surprisingly this isn’t has horrible as it sounds.  It’s like dropping into a trance in time with a very clear beat in your head.

3.  I’m harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers.  Can I get a whoop whoop for the gardeners in the house?

4.  I’m having trouble watching Trump’s popularity.

5.  And drum roll…I’m going to see Trainwreck.  OMG.  So excited.

Results from Promo Week

Phwew.  Well that was a serious rush!  My ears are still ringing from the ride.  Nothing like doing your own marketing.

So I ran ads in promo email distributors (e.g. ENT, Fussy Librarians) over the last four days.  Every morning, with coffee in hand, I checked the ranking for A Spy Came Home with clear intent to seal myself off from the web until evening.  Ha ha ha.  I found myself checking both the sales and the ranking on a continual cycle every 30 minutes.  Crack has a new face and it’s my Amazon author dashboard.

I’m delighted to report that the promo week surpassed expectations.  The book’s rank dropped from an initial #711,953 to #8,744 on Day 1.  So cool to watch that movement.  Day 2 and Day 3 it maintained a nice steady spot just above 10,000 (#10,722 and #13,907.)   And it ended off the week…

june 27 rankingsTA DA!!

I am really proud of the fact that A Spy Came Home – with a very small marketing budget of $122 and a week long sale – made it to #52 in the Espionage category.  I mean, come on, that’s cray cray!  This time last year I was in the grips of absolute terror.  Who would ever, ever want to read my rubbish?

Here’s toasting to lots of naivety, a dash of bravado, and strapping into the roller coaster seat with eyes wide open.

And a big thanks to Joe for not mocking my new addiction.  (I’m not sure I would have been so gentle had the roles been reversed.)

Promo Week

I am following all the advice from the great and mighty Kboards indie authors on a promo this week of A Spy Came Home.  I’m dropping the price down to $1 and then taking out ads on the various discount book email distributors (think Groupon.)  The prom runs from Monday through Friday.

The goal of any promo like this is to raise the book’s ranking in the Amazon charts.  The theory is that if it gets high enough, that many more eyes will see it when they go shopping for their next novel.

From what I can tell, it is very difficult to get a high ranking, but I am optimistic.

So in full transparency, this is where A Spy Came Home sits right now.  I’ll be back at the end of the week!

rankings june 22

Five Things I’m Doing This Week

A-SPY-CAME-HOME

  1. Up early, every day, writing along. It’s just pouring out of me. This is awesome because it doesn’t always work like that. Some days/weeks are tough. Not this one.
  2. Moving the furniture back on the redone wood floors. YAY!
  3. My veggies are in. My flowers are just starting to sprout. Now I’ve gotta do the grass because we’ve got a shocking, dry wasteland of last year’s grass. How does that happen?
  4. The sun stays out late, the temperature is hot, and the new grill is up and running. There really isn’t just anything better than that…

except…

  1. Trying to figure out what to say about the fact that A Spy Came Home just got honored with an IndieB.R.A.G. Medallion. I’m still trying to figure out the words that come after Holy Shit. I’ll get there.

A Shout-Out to Beta Readers

I’m about to get my final edits from a professional proofreader for Ghosts of Macau: A Mac Ambrose Short Story, my second published piece. I expected to be as nervous as I was in the lead-up to the release of my first novel. I’m just not. And it’s a beautiful thing.

The difference is simple: I have people who honestly enjoyed my first attempt. Some have even agreed to be very constructive (and amazing) Beta readers.

This whole writing process is an independent path. You spend a lot of time staring into space, dreaming up stuff. After which you slam maniacally on the keyboard. Then you step back and read your first cut. No one is reading over your shoulder. At that moment, you must decide if the words on the screen have value, meaning. It’s a gloriously freeing moment – no boss, no teacher, no parent – but also a terrifyingly solo flight.

Last year I asked myself, “Is this worthy?”  Now, I ask, “will this entertain my small but growing tribe?”  Not only is that second question easier to objectively answer but it also encourages me to stretch out, try new things, and explore my voice with more honesty.  And that is a beautiful thing.

So, a special, deeply felt thanks to my Beta readers!

Trying out Facebook advertising. And a free, pre-release copy of the next Mac Ambrose story.

Specials!-3

So I’m giving Facebook advertising a little whirl – and by little, I mean I’m only spending about $20.  This is all new to me so I’m dipping my toe in.  Definitely not stomping in.

Above is the photo that I’m using in the ad and the slug line reads, “Get a pre-release copy of the next Mac Ambrose story FREE!”  With a link to my website. 

What I find horrendously interesting is that FB allows you to really parse up your targeted demographic.  For example, I targeted FB users that have liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because I believe they will like the tone, pacing, and mystery in my stories.  And it doesn’t hurt that Mac Ambrose is a smart, sassy, gritty female protagonist.

Then I further determined age and gender among those targeted.

Finally, and this is super interesting, FB will automatically ‘target’ those who are most likely to click on my link.  FB is clearly tracking how often we click and on what topic!  This explains why I am under FB barrage for pet rescue articles and videos.  [Yes, yes, I’m obsessed with underdog dog stories with fairytale endings.  In an unhealthy way, to be fair.]

So far my experiment in advertising has been slightly more expensive in terms of ‘return on clicks’ (I think that’s the lingo) than I had expected.  But I’m learning a ton.  This is what the experts call social media marketing, and I’m finding it’s not all that hard to play around in their sandbox.  Although, it’s clearly harder to get the results you want.  (My expert social media friend is going to call me on that, for sures.  As in pronto.  She follows me.)

I’ll keep ya posted as this rolls out the next few days.

Crap: I’m Officially a Writer…and an odd blanket analogy.

It’s 6:01 pm EST.  The sun is setting.  And my world has changed, if ever so slightly.

An hour ago I finished the first draft on my second publication.  Granted, it’s a short story.  But right now, I’ll take all the credit in the world.  This damn thing took me three months to structure, draft, clean, revise, and clean again.  I just sent it out to my three amazing friends who are my editors.  (An aside: thank god for friends that are smart, literate, and great writers/editors.)

Two months back, I read the advice of a Big 5 editor.  She recommended authors write short stories in between novels.  She explained that it helped them clean their craft, to focus only on the writing with less pressure of plotting a full-length novel.  As luck would have it, I found myself on that path inadvertently, organically.  With a lemon twist of sour frustration.

My second novel – part of a series – is about 50% complete.  I’ve got the structure, and the plot.  And it has a really inspiring and thought-provoking theme.  I’m digging it.  A lot.  But I just felt I could improve my ‘voice.’  You know, as an artist.  (How corny does that sound?!?)  But in all honesty, I didn’t want to spend more time on what is going to be a super cool story until I’d at least tried to raise my game as a writer.

Somewhat unwittingly, I allowed myself to ask, ‘What would happen if your novel’s protagonist ended up in a very unique, one-off dilemma?  How would you unfold + unpack that story?”  Very Stephen King, to be fair.  So I just started down that path.  And three months later I had a short story I’m really, truly proud of.

Tonight, about a minute after saving the Scrivener file, I realized, crap, I’m on the road to publish my second work.  This is no longer a fluke.  Maybe I should just admit I’m a writer.

About a minute after that thought trumpeted its way across my brain, I poured a celebratory drink.  My writing is not a one-off fluke: I’m officially a writer.  Exclamation point.

The best bit?  The thought settled down around me like the comfortable, ugly, winter blanket on the sofa that has gone slightly too long without a wash.  It’s the blanket that gets folded up and shoved in the closet when company comes.  It’s also the first thing that gets pulled out when it’s just me, the hubby, and the dog on a cold night.

Maybe on the third novel, I’ll wear my author blanket more publicly.  Or not.  Either way, I’m really proud tonight.