Saturday, October 30, 2010

After a hectic week of checking the manuscript of Beyond the Gate, I’m able to get back to the thousand other things I need to do to get ready for this release. Okay, not quite a thousand but it is quite a few. One of the things I’m doing is working on two short stories that are prequels to The Futhark Chronicles. Then I have to decide where to post them. It’s been fun to revisit the world of Futhark. More about those stories when they’re ready to go.

I’m also still working on my blog tour. I’m not sure how long to make it. Five blogs, ten blogs, more? How long is a tour anyway?
In the meantime, I’ve discovered a few new blogs I’m really enjoying. One is Alex Cavanaugh, a recently published SF writer. Read about his new release, CassaStar.
I’ve found staying up to date on all the things I’m doing to increase my web presence is taking away from my writing time during the evenings. Not much I can do about it for the next two months as I really push the release of Beyond the Gate. So my writing goals will be to finish one of the short stories by the onset of daylight savings time renders the world dark before dinner every night. I believe that occurs November 7th.
Actually though I miss the many hours of sunlight during the winter, I do get more writing done without so many outdoor activities and chores to tempt me. I’m hoping for multiple snowfalls this season. I love shoveling the white stuff when the world is quiet, especially after dark. Of course, one of the neighbors will eventually power up their snow blower and ruin the peace.
So do you get more writing and reading done in the winter or are you disciplined enough to work like hours no matter the season?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Game Plan

Excitement is slowly growing.  The countdown is starting in my head.  Beyond the Gate, Book #2 in The Futhark Chronicles, will be released January 1st.  There is so much to do.  This week I'm doing a final read through and kudos to my publisher.  I'm a third of the way through and have found only one typo. 
I had a little phone conference last week about promotion with the Paul and Bridgett from Medallion.  They gave me some great ideas and answered tons of questions for me.  I put some things together already and am working on a few more.
One of the first things I'm working on is a blog tour.  I've never done one though I've visited the blogs of many fellow writers in support of their tours.  One of my questions was when to start it.  Right before the release of my book?  Right after?  How many blogs?
Another thing I've finally set up was my author page on Amazon.  I'm still working on my page for Barnes and Noble online store and Goodreads.  I wonder if anyone ever visits those.  Will it bring me more readers, more sales?
I also have a few short stories in the works I'll be offering for free in various places.  I'm rather excited about the two I've started.  Both are prequels to The Keepers of Sulbreth and will delve deeper into the events that shaped a few of the secondary characters in The Futhark Chronicles.  I know people who've read the first book in the series will be interested in the short stories but will such things draw in new readers?
I'm also compiling a list of reviewers and hoping I can place this second book with more of the fantastic bloggers who regularly review books.  Many of them have hundreds of followers.
I read every blog I find on promotion and networking.  I've read the posts of many talented authors and agents but I'm still unsure if anything I'm doing is reaching prospective readers or only other authors.  Have you found any of the above mentioned promotional plans particularly successful as an author?  Have you discovered or investigated a new author from any of the promotional gambits mentioned? 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Some good things happened over the last seven days.  I shared a book signing table with Jon Sprunk, author of Shadow's Son at Barnes and Noble in State College on Sunday.  We had a great time.  Jon shared many great insights and his impressions of where the future for authors and books might be leading.  If you haven't heard of Jon yet, you will some day.  His first book is terrific and the second one will be released in June.  Expect to see an interview here closer to his release date. 
Bad things are of a more personal nature.  If someone had asked me what appliance I couldn't do without I might have had to think about it.  Well, less than a year ago I had to have my washer serviced and it was frustrating waiting for the parts to arrive.  Five days ago my dryer lost its will to dry the mega loads of laundry I do on nearly a daily basis.  I don't like laundry to pile up and do at least one load a day.  Now horror, as it piles up, as I hang it about the house and on the meager lines outside.  There's little daylight left when I get home from work.  Repairman came today and said it couldn't be fixed until Friday!  (Insert curse words here!)
And the ugly?  I didn't make my writing goal again though I did better than last week.  About 5K for the week and the next week is very busy also.  I need chained to my computer chair.
So this week, I'm going to be more reasonable with my goals.
1.)  I'm going to write no less than 8K this week.  I really, really mean it.
2.) I'm going to continue making the contacts for my blog tour around the upcoming release of Beyond the Gate.
3.) I'm going to put together a list of reviewers I would like my publisher to send this book out to.  There are many online reviewers I think could really help promote my book who were overlooked for the last one.
And one last thought on this week's report.  I want to thank everyone at B&N for their kind welcome.  James, the Community Relations Manager, was especially helpful.  Jon and I had a great time.  I also want to thank the customers who talked to us and some even bought our books.  Two ladies bought my book on their Nooks.  Exciting.
Have you ever done that? Met an author at a book signing and then downloaded their book on your ereader? How many of you are expecting an ereader for Christmas?  I hope you all get them.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weak Week

I confess.  I did not meet my writing goals for last week.  I missed it by tons.  I did minimal promotion for my upcoming book signing in State College this weekend and didn't update my website at all.  So here are my goals for this week.
1.  15K this week on my WIP.
2.  Some promotion EVERY day for the upcoming booksigning with Jon Sprunk.
3.  Continue to set up blog tour for January release of Beyond the Gate.

On another issue, I'm going to take the plunge and buy some ereaders for Christmas gifts.  I found a link to this article on FB and am going to share it with you.  It compares the demographics of consumers who prefer Ipad versus Kindle.  I'm not telling which one I'm thinking about purchasing but it was interesting reading this.  So tell me, where do you fall and why do you think it works out the way it does?  Or you the Ipad type of the Kindle type?  No other types of readers are compared so I assume the two written about are the ones with the biggest chunk of the market.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The 'P' Word

Writers overcome many obstacles to follow their career dreams. It’s a tough road where one must battle rejection, loneliness, and frustration. The continuing evolution of technology and the changes it brings to the writing industry offers as many challenges as it does opportunities. Writers are expected to design and maintain websites, blogs and have a presence on other social media. It seems everyday a new tool is invented or updated. Promotion, promotion, promotion. And somewhere in those hours we squeeze out to work on our careers, we try to find time to actually write.

So far I’ve only mentioned the distractions created by the various responsibilities a writer faces beyond working on their current manuscript. The other parts of life intruding on a writer’s work time are worthy of their own blog sometime in the future. But there is one more anchor dragging on an author’s creative ship. It often threatens to sink my own. The p-word. Procrastination.

I’ve used all the things listed earlier in this post to put off getting to work on the current WIP. Sometimes the weather is just too beautiful to miss. Sometimes the minutes I have before the next demand on my time are too few to bother opening the word document. Sometimes I really must read over what I sat at the keyboard. Sometimes I have to warm up my coffee or brew a new pot. Whatever the reason, they’re all just excuses to procrastinate.

Setting goals, having critique partners, deadlines, all these things can help you stay on task. If no one is looking over your shoulder, set targets for accomplishments and make promises to yourself. I used to do that on my blog and intend to start again this Sunday. Each Sunday I’m going to make my week’s goals public on my blog and then report the following week on how I’ve done. Starting today.
1) I'm going to do write no less than 15K on my current WIP.  Grand plan there.
2) I'm going to promote my upcoming booksigning in State College.
3) I'm going to start putting together a blog tour for the release of Beyond the Gate.

es goal setting work for you? Do you make your goals public or keep them private? What is your favorite form of procrastination?