You ARE a Great Writer

As a debut author, we aren’t afforded the privileges of an established author. It’s like we’re standing on the outside looking in to another world that has not included us…yet. We struggle, we fight, we think up all kinds of creative ways to advertise and get the word out because we start with a fan base of just a few- usually family members or just ourselves. The world isn’t handed to us on a platter just because we thought we could write and do well at it and it’s hard to make it in this business without continuous marketing and campaigning. We are faced with established writers’ everyday tweeting and posting their successes which make us wonder how we, too, can experience the same.

A perfect example happened this morning. I glanced at an e-mail in my In-box and heavily sighed. There was an announcement stating a book won Best Paranormal Romance Award. My book is a paranormal romance, I think it’s good and I would love to win this type of contest. So, where was my entry? How come I never heard of this contest? I wasn’t even afforded the opportunity and no one nominated me for it. It hurts to know these opportunities pass you by, especially when, as a first time writer you are in the process of learning, struggling and don’t naturally know about these types of opportunities. You dream for the day you’re book wins “best of” something or even makes it on the New York Times Bestseller list. Every day is a learning experience for a debut author filled with ups and downs. Things that come easily to established writers are new knowledge for first time authors, like: contests to enter in our genre, book signing events in our area, good book reviewers to contact or promotional/marketing pros to help us get the word out.

So what do we do in the meantime? We keep plugging along, hoping one day to make it big, trying each day to gain more and more fans and be more noticed. We try to keep doing our best everyday with what little time we have because that’s all we can do.

So after reading about another contest I had no opportunity of winning, I deleted some of my e-mails and read the heading of another one and stopped….

The message said “You ARE a Great Writer.”

Wow. Those words made me pause. They gave me hope. They made me realize it’s not the end of the road for me. Powerful words… Was this a sign? I don’t know. Because this is what I want. This is my dream.  This is what I’ve been working hard for. To be a great writer-  delivering fun, fascinating novels that catch your eye and keep your interest. To share my love and talent with the world. To interact with wonderful fans and get excited over amazing characters in my books.

This sentence, though only five words long, renewed my faith in my ability to write and weave intriguing tales to the general public. So I’m passing this on to you. Don’t give up. Yes, it’s a struggle but keep on doing a little something every day to promote yourself. One author told me something that has never left me: To build your fan base, just keep writing. This sounds good to me because writing is what I do.  It’s who I am.

Take care my friends and be well.

While you are waiting…on that book contract, advice #6- the finale

Hello, my friends.  So… you are still waiting on a contract for that marvelous masterpiece you penned?  Well, don’t get discouraged yet.  Remember, it takes publishers and even agents quite a lot of time to get back to you (on the average).  Sometimes, you won’t hear a word from them and these’ I would safely advise that you cross off your list of hopefuls for if they don’t have the courtesy to contact you, then maybe you should discount them and spend your efforts and energy elsewhere where its appreciated.

In the meantime, though, don’t go pulling all your hair out or turn to nail-biting as a hobby, do something constructive while you wait.  Engage in something positive to distract yourself.

Have you considered…

Editing another book you have almost completed or writing a new novel.

If you started a novel but set it aside to publish another, why don’t you go back to that original work and edit it/complete it to submit it to publishers or agents in the near future?  As a writer,you have to keep doing just that:  writing.  Your fans demand it, crave it and keeping them engaged and interested is a priority.  Plus, we love our fans.  Without them, we would be writing novels for no reason.  We write so that others can enjoy our stories and that makes us happy and gives us a reason to continue our trade.

If you have no other works in process, then consider starting a new novel or even writing a sequel to the book you are aiming to get published.  This will keep up your momentum and maybe even keep the original characters alive in a second book.  It’s always fun when you can do something new and different, so let your creative ideas flow during this long, sometimes torturous waiting period.

Whatever you do, my friends, be patient for good things will eventually happen for you.  In the meantime, take care of yourself, distract yourself and do something fun!

Sharing love with the world

Today something amazing happened to me.  I was ready to leave the ladies’ locker room at the local gym when my glance happened to pick up a beautiful butterfly to my left.  It was on a decorated envelope in the corner of the counter, tucked between the wall and an air freshener.  I pulled the envelope out and read the front of it.  It said:

From:  Someone who cares

If you found this letter, then it was meant for you!

Open it.

I was going to put the note back when I saw the last two words- “open it.”  Huh, I wondered.  Must be meant for me.  So I tucked it away into my gym bag to read later.  I was thinking about reading it on the way to breakfast but I didn’t.  Then I was going to read it at breakfast but forgot it in the car.  Finally, three hours later, I remembered it during a lull in conversation with my mom who happens to live at a Nursing Home.

My mom went through a whirlwind of tragic events two years ago that made a once independent, feisty woman, dependent on others and on a manual wheelchair that others must push for her.  She is no longer able to walk, has limited use of her hands, underwent a tracheostomy which has now become a permanent fixture in her neck to allow her to breathe.  She is dependent on others for her personal hygiene, dressing her and is hoyer-lifted back and forth from bed to wheelchair, daily.  Due to the prednisone she is taking on a daily basis to assist her in breathing, her once flawless skin is now thin and has red and black blotches permanently tattooed into her arms.

So, in the lull between conversations which consist mainly of stories to make her laugh (to keep her spirits up in a nursing facility that can never be considered home) or frank, direct talks with her on her current state of health and why she can’t leave the facility, I said, “Let’s read the letter I found.”  The letter peaked her curiosity and after reading it aloud to her, the content was one I stressed was meant for her.

You see, I planned to visit my mom yesterday but other things came up and so today was the day.  I also wasn’t sure if I was going to visit the gym today because my foot had been giving me trouble last night but I decided to go, anyway.  Finding the note on the day I was going to visit her when my dad mentioned (yesterday) to me that her spirits have been down lately did not seem much of a coincidence to me.  I was meant to find that note and meant to tell her the contents of it because it applied to her.

So I read aloud to her the contents inside the beautifully decorated notecard:

Dear Friend,

Don’t ever forget that you are rare.

You are beautiful.

You are stronger than you think.  I promise.

And you are LOVED!

It was signed -DAC.  Whoever, you are DAC, thank you.  You uplifted my mom, for today, and every day she has extra hope is a joyful day to us.  I truly appreciate your effort in taking the time to write this little note, seal it in an envelope and drop it off into the locker room, sending your love and positive thoughts to someone you will probably never know or encounter.   Your small effort meant the world to us and we appreciate it.

It is also a good reminder to all of us to spread love around the world.  There are so many who need it.  A few kind words here and there take nothing out of us to say but can the mean the world to someone or make a difference in their lives, impacting them in ways that help make them a bit stronger.

The website on the back of the envelope is a good way to start.  Let’s do our part in creating a more beautiful, hopeful, positive world.

Till next time, take care, my friends.

While you are waiting…on that book contract, Advice #5

It’s been a  long while and you’re still waiting, eh?  Well, don’t give up hope yet.  Sometimes life gets you down and you can get discouraged.  But while you’re waiting for that golden opportunity (your book contract) to pop up in your Inbox, have you considered:

— Outlets to vent or expend excess energy while you wait —

It’s always good to do something else, distract yourself in some way  but it doesn’t always work. What does, though, is venting to a good friend as long as you don’t vent too much and too long.  Gather a circle of support consisting of your top friends.  You know who I mean- the ones that would do almost anything for you, that love and support you and want to see you succeed.  Possibly these could be members of your future “street team” later, helping to advertise and get the word out for your book.

Tell them your worries and concerns.  Vent your frustrations.   Give and receive hugs for that is what true friends are for.  To ‘pump you up’, give you renewed energy, strength and courage, make you see the bigger picture when your dreams and goals seem so far away and even, at times, unreachable.  Their varied views, opinions, and honesty will help you sort things out.

If that fails, exercise to relieve some pent up stress.  Take a long walk, maybe even a very long one, listening to your favorite music.  Work out on a machine, take a class, or even work out with your friend (that way you can vent and expend excess energy at the same time).

Whatever you do, do it for yourself and for your general health and well-being.  It’s a long haul from submission of your MS to receiving a contract and it’s not going to get any easier but in the meantime you can have some fun.

Some even vent or stress-release with shopping.  Good idea but take care not to over-spend or then you’ll have the additional stress of owing money.  Sit at a cafe with a friend, go to dinner, visit a local attraction.  Whatever you do, vent and laugh because in the end things will work out in your favor though  I know in the meantime it feels like you’re slowly being tortured and stretched to your limits on a rack.

Take care my friends and don’t give up.  Now is the time to have faith and look forward to your successful writing career.

Win an autographed copy of my paranormal romance book, Nightfall


Paranormal Romance Fans-

Here’s your chance to win one of 5 signed, autographed copies of my paranormal romance book, Nightfall.  All you have to do is “Like” my Facebook Fan Page:

If you have already “Liked” my page and are interested in entering the contest, please let me know here, on FB or message me on FB to let me know.  The contest runs from today, March 6th until the end of the month.  I will contact the winners the first week of April.

*** If you liked Nightfall, please consider leaving a review on Amazon.  Reviews help others decide to purchase books.  Thanks.  I appreciate your support!

While you are waiting … on that book contract, Advice #4

Still waiting… trying to remain positive and immersing yourself in other things while the Universe decides which publisher or agent is best to publish/represent your book?  Well, good.  That’s what you should be doing because things will work themselves out in the end, in your favor, even if you have to go the route of self-publishing.  In the meantime, have you thought about:

—  If they want your book, they will contact you or… have you contacted them for an update?

Contacting an agent or a publisher is a delicate, fine line so be careful.  Generally, it is okay to contact an agent or publisher after say, a month to two months after submitting your manuscript; however, I caution you that each representative has their own preferences; therefore, when you are on their website determining how to submit your manuscript, keep a note of which ones are okay to contact, their time frames (if they specify) when you can contact them for an update on the status of your manuscript and which ones state the formal “Don’t contact me, I’ll contact you…if I’m interested in receiving more.”  Please honor whatever they request.

Recently, I contacted a few publishers for an update on the status of one of my manuscripts.  One replied immediately, one after three weeks, and another has not replied yet.  The ones that don’t reply are not always a bad sign.  They may be swamped; however, keep in mind that the ones that don’t respond at all may be trying to tell you something in the end.  For my debut novel, I heard from an interested publisher six months after submission, when I already had a contract.  So, time frames definitely vary but don’t stop what you’re doing to wait for them and when you make that contact, please, only contact them once.  If they haven’t responded, don’t keep contacting them.  Your innocent e-mails requesting information for your own peace of mind could be considered harassment.  You don’t want to give them a bad impression because they will remember you in the future.

I wanted to add something here that astounded me to learn of but is good advice to share.  I read an article recently on submitting gifts with your manuscript….  Please don’t ever do this.  Not only does this turn off publishers faster than anything, this is not a good practice to engage in, at all.  Do you really want your book published simply because your gift was generous?  Wouldn’t it be better to get a contract based on the merits of your well polished manuscript than on whose Hawaiian cruise had better amenities?  You want to be remembered for your work not your bribery.  Please don’t get that desperate, my friends.  There is nothing worth you tarnishing your good name.

After you contact the agents and publishers that said it was okay to contact them, push your notes aside and work on something else in the meantime until they respond back to you.  Remember  in your ‘request for an update status’ e-mail, be friendly (but not too friendly)- be ‘professional friendly’, so to speak and always end your e-mail wishing them a nice day, to take care, or with best wishes.

Until next time my friends, take care of yourselves and keep thinking positive.  Never give up!  Your book will be published when the time is right and the world is ready for your ingenious work.