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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Storm building...



  I've finished the first installment of my serialized YA novel, and I'm anxious to see it go up, but first the hard task of editing, which always makes me grind my teeth and of course reach for the cheetos...
The monsoons have come to the edges of my world every day, rimming the sky and promising rain but never delivering.   
It's been frustrating, as waiting for anything good can be...but this strange weather-induced tension has added something to my work, a sense of suspense and anticipation.  
If you are open, motivation can come from the most unexpected places, the promise of a storm in the sky, or the sudden notice from a person you don't know that takes the time to do something, say something, that humbles and inspires you. 


One of the biggest things I've had to learn this summer was un-marketing.

After my initial blitz, where I sounded like a book selling parrot squawking about my latest release, I've discovered the joy of just meeting people online, fellow authors and bloggers who have more to share than the latest sales info.

When I sat back and just started listening, I really started to gain some lasting wealth.

This can be a hard life, a solo life, but the online community has reminded me that I'm not alone.  I want to thank every single one of you, people I have gotten to know from America, China, Belize...anywhere you can imagine.

It's like magic isn't? Being able to touch someone you would never have met, and having them become precious. Like rain on a hot dry day.

Keep your ears and heart and mind open my friends, listen for inner thunder.

At any given moment, anything is possible...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

And now for something completely different...


Although Godhead is my first self published novel, it is not the first I've written.  I have one more finished and two more halfway or more done.  All of them are adult novels, most with historical or exotic locales.  But I have four children...and they have been asking me to write something for them for a long time now.  I tried children's books and wrote one really rousing story about a dog that outran a bee by crossing the entire world...I think the first line was Chester liked to lay in the yard...anyway, I don't think picture books are my calling.  Plus, I can barely draw stick figures.

My life is full of teenagers, rife with them, like a plague (but a good plague), and I remember my teen years so vividly that I felt fairly confident writing a young adult novel.  For years a book I wrote with two of my best friends gathered dust (literally) in a big plastic bin in the shed, but it was a story very close to my heart and I often thought about reworking it.
"Lux" is now taxiing down the runway of completion, to be released in installments of a hundred or so pages every three weeks on Amazon.  I am told this is a crazy feat, and that I will become a slave to these installments, but I really don't care.  Bring it on, I say.
So you might see a bit of hiatus while I finish the first installment for release.  But I'll keep you posted.

 It is a recipe free of vampires and zombies, but it does have a few cool and unusual supernatural elements, and bad guys, and teenage angst. I feel young again just writing it...and I hope when I let it fly that it finds its way to you Dear Reader.

Thank you, for everything,

Jordan

And in other news....

My rather smutty snippet is now featured on Indie Snippets.

http://indiesnippets.blogspot.com/

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Upcoming Events

This week, look for my first ever author interview.
Monday on My Lady Web:
http://myladyweb.blogspot.com/

And coming soon, selections from my work showcased on  Indie Snippets:
http://indiesnippets.blogspot.com/

I'm almost famous.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Whew!


What a week!  I've been in a whirlwind, marketing, making trailers, and (theoretically) writing my next book.
My children have lived in their underwear eating Ramen noodles and watching the forbidden "Family Guy" unchecked.
In two weeks I may have ruined them.
This morning my refrigerator broke, and I sat around slurping melting ice cream and crying over all the lost groceries, and the expense of a new fridge, and generally just feeling tired and sorry for myself.  Then I opened my email and read the headlines.  Death in Norway, Amy Winehouse (supposedly) dead of an overdose at 27, economic dissapointment, kids with leukemia, and well...suddenly my refrigerator didn't seem like such a big deal.
So I spent the rest of the day cleaning house, and baking cookies, and kissing boo boos, and drinking unknown potions they concocted for me, and I felt really lucky.  I am doing what I wanted to do... writing, and even making some money for it, playing with my kids who are alive and healthy (Well, not as much as before the Ramen, but basically.)
And lo and behold my fridge started magically working again, and I'm not going to question it.

I'm back on air...feeling refreshed and generally under the grace of some pretty good karma. I'm back to the grind, but it's a good grind.

Now if only I had some ice cream left.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Baa Baa

So...marketing strategy.  I didn't want to put myself on blogs and websites where a zillion other writers were already hocking their wares.  To some extent you have to do that, but many of those same blogs are mostly haunted by other writers that are scoping the competition, and not actual buyers.  Authors can make good buyers, don't overlook that.  And if you don't mind the fact that they are comparison shopping if it lines your pockets, than by all means go for it.  And I don't man to slur other authors...they can be a wonderful source of both emotional and financial support.  I've logged enough hours on the Kindle forums to develop a very warm and fuzzy feeling for the authors that hang there.
All that being said...an author's goal is to build a readership, a base of consumers (Dare I say fans?) that will return to buy your next book and your next..and recommend you to their friends.  But doing that is no easy feat...you have to stand out from the crowd.  And for me standing out meant getting away from the crowd.
I was lucky enough to choose an unusual setting for my first published book, Godhead.  I set it in Belize in the 1960s. (At that time it was still known as British Honduras, back when the British Empire was gamely hanging onto as many outlying colonies as possible.)  I thought perhaps I'd have a market in Belize itself.
As it turns out there are few books set there, which astounds me, as it is lush and fertile with stories, and scenery, and memorable characters, but hey I'm not complaining...  So I started hunting for Belize forums and  there are plenty of those.  I posted my blurb, explained why I had chosen Belize and within days that post had been looked at over six hundred times.  Realizing I was on to something I posted in other forums, and at this time the majority of my sales have come from Belize itself, or at least from those with more than a passing interest in the country.
Now, I realize that since the rest of my books aren't set in Belize, I may have a hard time getting follow-up sales from the same people, but if they like my writing hopefully they will come back for more.
So my advice to marketing noobs with a zero budget, is to look for a niche market that your book belongs in and pitch it there.  If it's about detectives, pitch it on police forums. If it's about a particular locale, look for those web pages that may support you.  If it's about hacker,s pitch to techie groups...you see what I'm saying?
Think of your book as more than a book, think of it as a wealth of information on a particular subject that someone somewhere will appreciate beyond a good story.
Take your book and your brain out of the box.
Set it free and you may just be surprised where it takes you.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Here comes the sun...

Stayed up all night finishing my my next Lux trailer...now it's time for coffee and a nap.


Any reactions?

video

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Smuggers and other stories...

Embarrassment, rejection, uncertainty,

All part of a days work for a newly published writer.

This has been a long long week...doubled by the fact that I've stayed up until three in the morning for four nights and I'm kind of like a ten o'clock bedtime girl.  But I'm excited...too excited to sleep.  So I stay up pounding the key board, riding the high slippery wave of exhilaration...and then I wake up in the morning wiped out on the beach.

I went on a marketing blitz this week and ended up posting about a million announcements with a typo.  Not just any typo, but one that designates my antagonist as a Smugger, not a smuggler.

To add insult to injury I discovered the same typo on my sale page at Amazon.com.

Ugh.

Meanwhile while I flounder through the self publishing trenches my first novel, the child of my author's heart, has languished with two agencies.  After eight months I finally heard from both.

One letter had this theme:

We like it, but not enough.  Actually we'd like you to come in and get down to brass knuckles on this, but you can't because you're not in Europe.
We aren't taking any new clients at the moment really...Do you have anything else we can read? We really like you're writing.  Just not enough. Sort of.

The second letter came after eight months of switching between agents and sending letters and revisions back and forth.  A one sentence line with a misspelled word (See even agents make mistakes!) suggesting I look at another agent as they are overbooked.  That, without even reading my book.

Self publishing is starting to look better and better, even with the mistakes and the late nights.  It's like home school for novels.  I get to decide what influences what I write.  Me.  Warts and all.

And that might be okay.

Jordan




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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Images from the world of Godhead

 These women work in the empacadora, where bananas are processed.  The technique has not changed in decades.
 The godhead....spooooky.
 Bananas growing.  They actually aren't trees but large stemmed plants.
This Mayan temple isn't quite like the one on Isabel's land, her is flat on top.  They can be found scattered all over Belize.








Traditional Mayan women..just like a flock of birds.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

And the numbers roll in....

One.

And I think it was my grandpa.

We all know this is how it goes, that Rome was not built in a day.  I bet they had good publicity though.

You slave away researching, writing, editing, and then climb the very steep learning curve that is learning to self publish, and then you publish your beautifully formatted manuscript with an awesome cover designed by your talented best friend and...

You come rolling out of the gate selling one copy to your grandfather.

I can see marketing is going to be a very, very important part of this process and now I am trying to figure out the best way to do that.  I am humbled by the outpouring of support from friends and family (even ex boyfriends on facebook) and am so so grateful for the word of mouth.

I have begun contacting indie book reviewers and book clubs, beating the electronic streets with  copies in hand looking for friends.

This is an incredible experiment and I am so excited to be part of this new wave of publishing technology.  I'll keep you posted on what works and what doesn't but meanwhile I'm sitting here looking at my "published" book, basking in the glory of seeing under the words Barnes and Noble.

Oh and Grandpa...I didn't write the sex scenes....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Godhead is Launched!!!

WOOOOHOOO!!!

I did it!.  I'm half bald, ten pounds heavier, and sleep deprived, but I have a published book with clean formatting and a kick ass cover, published on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.

Check it out.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Next Kindle Millionaire...

Or not.

I'm a little alarmed about the recent buzz concerning a sudden drop in sales for e pubbed books on Kindle.  Just in time for my big launch too.  The consensus seems to be that a combination of a pre-summer stock up and the Sunshine sale on Amazon have driven sales down for June.  But still it begs the question...is the market saturated?
Theoretically people are still buying e readers and so new customers are coming online everyday, but like all great ideas it's always best to be in on the ground floor.
Now I'm wondering if those of us that are inspired by recent Kindle successes like Amanda Hocking and J.A. Konrath are causing our own problem by glutting the market.

It will be interesting to see if the audience will expand with growing number of e books coming down the pipe.
It's what I call the pet rock issue.  Somebody in the 1970's came up with this concept:  A rock with eyes in a box and a training booklet.  It had a very successful six month run that made the creator a millionaire.  He wisely used the profits to open a bar, which as you know is likely to be around forever.
So is e pubbing the next pet rock, a brief flash in the pan or the wave of the future? Has the ground floor been filled? Let me know what you think.

For some great information on e pubbing check out J.A. Konrath's blog.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

And here it is...

That fresh blank page.
Always exciting.  Kind of daunting.  Like a new baby, you can't wait to see it hold it get to know it but you aren't sure exactly what to do with it.

The start of this new blog coincides with the launch of my first Kindle published book Godhead a story about a woman that inherits a banana plantation deep in the wilds of British Honduras, and also inherits the dark legacy that comes with it.

I deliberated for years about e-publishing and there were many factors that won out in favor of it.  Most of all for me it's about instant gratification.  I already spend a long time writing a book and to wait years for the traditional publishing process to grind its gears is just too much for a woman approaching forty who wants to get it all done while I can still see the computer screen without bifocals.
I do believe that there is room for both processes and I'll be weighing in on that in future posts.

Meanwhile just a little bit about me.  I'm a mother of four if you don't count the teenagers that have adopted me, and because I'm the benevolent dictator of a small third world country in my own home, it stands to reason that my interests lie in small countries and small people with big stories to tell.  I like to explore those parts of history that have lain unexplored.
Most of all my stories are about the choices all women have to make regardless of their culture, era, or ambitions.

I'll be posting once or twice a week unless something really exciting happens that I can't wait to share with you.

I look forward to sharing this space with you.

Until next time,

Jordan