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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wednesday Whittleings - Blowing Bubbles in Freezing Temperatures!

Wednesdays are my day to randomly babble. Sometimes about childrens' books, others about writing, and usually about whatever strikes my mind. Random thoughts...random whittleings.

And good morning, cold world!!!

School was cancelled today thanks to the extremely cold and dangerous temperatures....*cough*....
or that's what they claim. Growing up in Denver, I don't consider 7 degrees that cold and can only roll my eyes at the fear a little chill causes in these more southern people.

But the kids are happy! So off we go!

Today, we will be trying an experiment (thanks to a FB post from one of my wonderful cousins)


Here's a video from the Crazy Russian Hacker... if you're a bit of a 'let's try weird things' geek, he's quite the guy to watch.

I can't wait to see what happens to our bubbles! Maybe we'll surprise the cows and chickens with this one...although they'll probably just ignore us like they usually do.

Silly animals.

I'm determined to have fun today no matter how chilly the wind may blow. The really...really...very last round of edits is finally complete on Music Boxes!!!!! Talk about a weight being lifted off of the shoulders. Now, I get to nervously sit in my chair and wait to see what the world will think...

Yeah. Not quite.

I had another school reading this last week and was again overwhelmed at how attentive the kids were—so cute too! Other things such as readings, tables at conferences, signings and such are beginning to trickle in...which honestly, is leaving me a little numb and unsure—a little over-whelming for 'stay on the farm and hide' me. 

That's why I'm blowing bubbles and watching them freeze. It must be relaxing, right?

I'm super excited about a tag-line video I'll hopefully be able to show the world as soon as next week. This is the first time I've done any sort of video creating...luckily, I have several people who have happily volunteered to help out, including a ballet school. This might turn out to be a complete disaster, but in my head, the video will be amazingly, mega-super-awesome! I'm praying reality will at least try to come close to my imagination.

Until then, I'm going to blow those bubbles. And watch them float...or fall. I imagine the icy surface will cause they to drop. But falling to the ground isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes, that's where the true beauty starts.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wednesday Whittleings - More Books Than Fish in the Sea

Wednesdays are my day to randomly babble. Sometimes about children books, others about writing, and usually about whatever strikes my mind. Random thoughts...random whittleings.

I'm stealing a thought today from a IWSG Facebook post by L. Diane Wolfe earlier this week because it showed something that I've been wondering, pondering and randomly thinking about the last month or two...

According to a survey from The Writer's Guild, 2017 saw an average income of published writers for all writing activity at $6, 080. That's a big drop from the 2009 average of $10,500. 25% of the published writers surveyed claimed to have no income whatsoever on the writing front for 2017.

Why did this drop happen? Are people not reading as much or spending as much for books? Or have costs gone up to high?

Last week, I had my first school presentation surrounding the theme of How to Become an Author. The class is exploring various career possibilities (5th - 8th graders), so of course, marketing me jumped at the opportunity. .... Random whittleing here....  School visits are so much fun! I couldn't believe how interested the kids really were. They had tons and tons of questions and were totally with it for over an hour! (Because of their interest, the teacher even let it run over by another 15 minutes) Mind blowing. 

Anyway, I explained to the kids a little about ebooks and marketing, and mentioned that self-published books topped one million in 2017, a 28% increase over 2016 (although I didn't mention this last part because...yawn...statistics bore kids fast). Of course, this number isn't clear cut (and you can read all about it here ), but it shows the point I was trying to make. Thanks to the expanding digital world and possibilities, while keeping the focus on the huge change from traditional publishing past to ebooks and the self-publishing awakening, the world for an author has changed drastically in the last ten to twenty years.

I remember the first used book sale I worked at with the Friends of the Library in our small town. For a nothing town in the middle of nowhere (I think they have a whooping 4,500 or so citizens), the book sale is huge. Over 10,000 titles are offered 3 times a year...and each time over half of the remaining titles are tossed at the end of the sale and twice as many new donations are brought in. Talk about a reading town! But my thought—it is a sea of books. (Random whittleing...We have a gigantic romance section, and it's the little old ladies who tote bags bursting full out of there). When I stood there and gazed over the tables upon tables over flowing with books, I seriously wondered why in the world I should become an author. All or very close to all of those books are published by traditional publishers...each writer is considered 'good'. How could any book I wrote be worth it? No matter what I write, I'm just another tiny dot in a HUGE mass of paper.

When I then think of the billions of books already published and floating around the world...and then, add the massive amount of new ones coming out every year (it's like a tidal wave these last years), the income drop doesn't surprise me. It makes sense. People do read. A lot. And they give a lot of money out for books, but there are so many fish in the sea. And let's face it, many of them are tasty too.

Does this make me depressed? No. Nothing worth achieving is ever easy. Plus, writing is a labor of love.

But still, I do wonder and whittle.

What about you?

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Wednesday Whittleings - Book Trailers and Marketing

Wednesdays are my day to randomly babble. Sometimes about children books, others about writing, and usually about whatever strikes my mind. Random thoughts...random whittleings.

Now with the holidays wrapping up...

More or less. I still have the decorations up (my husband hates it when I pack them away, so I make the time extra long for him), and some last treats are still standing around. But for all intents and purposes, life goes on. Kids are back in school. The daily dum-dum...dum-dum...dum-dum is chugging along.

With Music Boxes releasing in less than two months, a sense of urgency has dropped in. Last edits (Oh wow! Does that take concentration!), author appearances (they want me to talk for an hour tomorrow to 10-13 year-olds about being an author...how in the world do I hold their attention for an hour?), and a dive for any new promotion ideas to get the word out.

What about book trailers? I love book trailers! I'm fascinated by them. The problem—I'm not a video genius...or a video beginner...or a video anything.

Yep, I'm a video dud.

According to various articles and such (I did some research), there's no proof that video trailers make a real impact in book sales. When I'm honest, I've never bought a book because of the trailer. I can't think of a single trailer which has ever tempted me to do that. I just enjoy the entertainment of watching them........which doesn't mean I wouldn't like to have one for Music Boxes. (That would be so cool!)  But the realization does keep things in perspective.

And it doesn't surprise me.

Who says, 'Hey, have you seen that cool book trailer for the book coming out next Fall'? Maybe it happens but not often. It's not like Aquaman or the Avengers where everyone seems to be at the edge of their seat waiting to see the trailer.

Special effects. Big budget.  (Eye candy?)

Hmmm... if Jason Momoa would cast well in pointe shoes and a tutu?
(That trailer would boost sales.)

There are obvious problems book trailers run up against—budgeting, screenwriting, effective placement, and so on.

But I wonder if some of it lies in the nature of reading itself.

A book transports a reader to another world...a world described in words but one with plenty of room to be built inside the reader's head. A video determines what everything looks like, how it acts, what happens in the details. Videos leave less to the imagination, where as books have exactly the holes a reader needs to develop the described world into their own. Even though a trailer runs a couple of minutes at most, in those seconds, the reader is hit with images which won't match to their experiences when reading the book. The characters, the world and the details mold to meet the readers' personal experiences from the very first lines and become something individual. Readers might read the same book, but the experience will always be different for each person.

Videos will always fail on this end. Even short ones.

What are your thoughts? Do book trailers make an impact on the marketing end of things? Are they something that every book should have? Or is the energy (and money) better spent in promoting in a different way?

In any case, there are some pretty cool trailers out there, and I love watching them.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

IWSG - Into the New Year

It's IWSG time!

Every first Wednesday of the month, this group of writers come together to offer support, advice, encouragement or simply to let out frustrations and woes. Writing is a tough journey, and we don't have to go it alone.

Thanks goes to the brain behind this group, Alex J. Cavanaugh! If you want to join in or find out more (because there is so much more to this group) then head on over here.

Special thanks goes to this month's co-hosts:
Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue!

Happy New Year to all of you!!!

I'm a little late this morning, since our household hasn't hit normality yet.  The kids aren't quite back in school, and they're planning on living it up until that bus hits the end of our driveway to pick them up Thursday morning. But holiday cheer, Happy New Year!, and shoving those yummy still lingering treats aside (okay, never shove those treats away), let's get to the writing front!

This year is starting with a BANG! I've already got a to-do-list because only 62 days are left before my debut novel, Music Boxes, hits the world. Holy crow, time is racing by!

 Plus, I really...really...really need to get more done on my current WIP. I'm very excited about it, but simply need to get my backside into the chair and get it done. First drafts are always the hardest part for me thanks to my tenacious inner editor, which keeps wanting to go back and correct everything instead of moving on. Evil monster, she is.

But let's hit this week's question...

What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?

Up to now, it's been:
How many books have you published? Or when can I buy your book?

I hated this question because nobody took me seriously (not even slightly) while I was writing the last years. My shorts in the anthologies get a tiny nod, but most non-writing people have no idea what to think of those and soon, shake them off and repeat the question. And as to my Ubook ... well, that one is too unique to get more than a tiny nod and confused look.

Right now, I'm relishing in the fact that I have an answer for this question, and that announcing an upcoming book suddenly makes people listen. But I'm afraid that a few months after release date, this question will come to haunt again.... 'So, when's your next book coming out?'  So yep, I'm stressing a little on getting the next WIP done and out the door.

My favorite question is:
What's your story about?

I absolutely love to share my characters and their struggles with the world. Even if the person asking begins to twist their lips or stare at me as if I might need to be deported to single-confinement on a deserted island  (which would mean tons more writing time, by the way), it's wonderful to breathe that much more life into the world I'm developing.

What about you? What are your favorite/least favorite question to be asked about your writing?
And back to treats... which are your favorite? Chocolates, gingerbread, fig-pudding?