Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I am not soliciting

Last Friday, I received an interesting email from my publisher, Life Sentence Publishing. They would like to see more reviews of my devotional “The Christmas Story in 40 Days” on Amazon before the Christmas season. They say my goal should be to get 30 reviews in 30 days. To which I wanted to reply, “but the book is all about growing closer to God in 40 days. Shouldn't I try to get 40 reviews in 40 days?”

So that has been consuming much of my free time the last few days – emailing family, friends and soon-to-be former friends that I would like them to write a review for me. Of course, then I need to get them a copy of the book, which I figure I should offer for free if they are willing to write a review for me. But I can’t give away all of my books. So I have told them, that if they don’t already have a copy (really? And you call yourself my friend and you don’t have a copy of all of my books?), I will loan them one. I trust them and am sure they will get this copy back to me, but then what am I going to do with it? I haven’t quite figured out all of the logistics, but most people have been willing to cough up the money if I lay a book in their hands.

And, yes, the book is available for e-reading, but it seems that many of my family and friends don’t have e-readers or they just want that book in their hands. I can never tell.

At last count, out of 51 people personally emailed or facebooked, seven say they will write a review and one has actually done it. I am a long ways from 40!

I’m just going to throw it out there, that if this kind of book sounds like anything you might be interested in reading and writing a review on Amazon for, let me know. I will get you a book. Somehow. If you want one. And if not, that is totally fine. This blog is not about solicitation, it is about my writing journey and that is really what I wanted to share with you tonight.

I guess as helpful as reviews would be, it would also be helpful to get advice on how to prod people into writing reviews for you. I’ve read up on this and have yet to find something that actually works for me. Or is like a 15% success rate the norm? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

My week? Meager goals and a wedding

I was planning on keeping it simple this Round. But it seems that if I don’t have a long list of stringent goals I just don’t do much of anything. Is anyone else already tweaking and adding goals? Or subtracting goals??

This is the meager list I began the Round with.

Big goal
1)      Publish “The Early Life of Jesus in 40 Days” – I have finished eight of the ten items on the list my publisher sent me. I told him I would work on my biography this week, but sorry to say, that did not happen. I got an email from him the other day saying that my editor has finished the first round of edits and that they are sending the manuscript next to be proof-read. Hopefully by the end of the week they will send it back to me for my review. Also, the graphic designer for the cover art will be back from a ministry trip and should get back to the cover this week. Sounds like things are moving along.

Small goals
1) Submit three pieces somewhere. Last Sunday night I submitted the flash fiction piece, “Would You?” to Splickety magazine. The last time I sent them something, the editor emailed me back within two days that they didn’t accept it, so going a whole week has to be a good sign, unless of course they never received it for some strange internet-glich reason. In any event, that was my second piece submitted already this Round.
2) Finish the novel. I actually worked on the novel, writing one section of about 300 words. I cannot believe how I am dragging that thing out. It makes me wonder if it is meant to be.
3) Start my third devotional, with a tentative title of "The Early Ministry of Jesus in 40 Days". I don’t remember working on it this week. Hmm?  
4) Christmas program at church. Didn’t do much with the program this week, just got our organist on board. I keep thinking I have lots of time, but it less than two months away!

What else have I been doing? We went to a family wedding on Friday. It was such a beautiful fall day. Ideal weather! And such a beautiful couple. Best wishes to Ann and Joe on a long and joyful life together.
The couple with Ann's dad and step mom. The sad part of the wedding was that her mom had died of cancer right before Ann graduated from high school in 2007. The happy part is that her mom was watching from heaven and certainly approving of it all. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Coming Out of My Funk

I’m sorry I didn’t post earlier this week. There wasn’t much to say and I had been in rather a funk.

I had a meeting in the next town over on Thursday morning and the boss told me to take the rest of the day off. It was a sunny day, with temperatures in the 50s, which felt warm after the last few weeks. So I took a walk through the city park of that town and along its main drag. When I got back to my own town, I took another walk, through the neighborhood where my best friend in high school had lived. Her dad passed away last year, and they recently sold the house, Mom moving to be closer to her daughter. Walking that street was like walking back in time.

I don’t know if it was the fresh air or the sunshine or dredging up memories, but my funk seemed to lift. A feeling of success came over me, a feeling that whatever comes my way, I will conquer it.

Not that I conquered all of my short list of goals since then. But there has been progress.

Big goal
1)      Publish “The Early Life of Jesus in 40 Days” – I am half-way through the list of ten items my publisher sent me. One of the items was my thoughts for the cover picture. On Friday, my publisher sent nine concepts which his graphic designer came up with. I picked two and made suggestions to make them better, because nothing is ever perfect the first time around. I am also waiting to hear who my editor for this project is going to be and when I will get the first round of edits from them. That’s always the biggest task and one of the most important, I feel, because we do want this book perfect. Right?

Small goals
1) Submit three pieces somewhere. I haven’t submitted anything more, but I did hear that the piece I submitted to Christian Flash Fiction Weekly was not chosen as the winner, but it was still on their blog, so that is still exposure.
2) Finish the novel. Still haven't gotten back to it. 
3) Start my third devotional, with a tentative title of "The Early Ministry of Jesus in 40 Days". I did pick all of my Bible verses and slotted them into 38 days. I know, that’s not 40, but it usually shakes out as I start writing stuff. I never know when a Bible passage is going to scream to have the attention of two entries.
4) Christmas program at church. Just waiting to hear who wants to participate, and if I haven’t heard from every single kid in our congregation in the next three weeks, I will start calling them. 
I don't know how I could ever be in a bad mood when I get to cross this bridge every day. I'm blessed to live in an idyllic place. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Keep it simple? Yeah, right.

I am so into keeping it simple right now that I am amazing even myself. I’ve had a stupid cold for three weeks now and my back went out the other day. There is nothing more for me to do except be lazy! Nah, that ain’t gonna happen.

What is going to happen is that today my daughter is having a work day for her nonprofit, Tumaini, all day at her house. I need to leave my house at nine (shortly) to get to her house in time to help her make breakfast for everyone before we start working on our various projects.

I need to leave her house by three, so that I can pick up my Kinship kid on the way home and still have a little bit of time to spend with her before I have to run her back home. Because she is just as busy being a sophomore in high school as I am being a middle-aged crazy lady, I haven’t seen her in like six weeks.

But that’s it. Nothing else crazy all week, except our women’s church group on Wednesday night.

Anyway, what did I do in the last week? Well, on Tuesday, I got the list of ten things I need to do for my publisher by November 18 or so in preparation for the publishing of my third book, “The Early Life of Jesus in 40 Days”. I got four of my tasks accomplished. Yeah, me! Except that of those four things, only one was in any way time-consuming. But hey, a task is a task.

I need to work on my thoughts for a cover design this week. Bleah! The most important part of the book. So, hence, a time-consuming task.

And my small goals:

1)      I submitted a piece to the blog, Christian Flash Fiction Weekly. First time I have posted something to their blog. I may be way off, I have a lot to learn about flash fiction, but it does seem to be quite the trend, so I should work on it.
2)      Did not work on my novel. What a surprise.
3)      Did not work on my third devotional in the series.
4)      Did meet with our pastor, our lead Sunday school teacher, and the puppet master. Got them all on board for the Christmas program.

And that’s all folks.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cutting back and moving on

At the end of each Round, I look at the calendar, and think, "oh, look at how many days until I have to finalize my new goals and post them on my blog." And then the new Round starts and I am like, "Bleah! What am I doing?"

I guess this time it worked out for me. I will have no time in the next three months for a long list of goals. I have one big goal and several minor goals and that's it folks.

Yesterday, my publisher agreed to take me on for another book. This will be the third fall in a row that I will have a book out by the end of the year, and that to-do list between now and then seems to get more daunting each year.

So that's my big goal, get my third book, which is my second devotional and will bear the title, "The Early Life of Jesus in 40Days", published by the end of the year.

As far as my small goals:

1) Submit three pieces somewhere, because getting published anywhere is a good way to market myself and because I think that all writers just need to keep submitting stuff.
2) Finish the novel. I know you are all sick of hearing this. I still have those last few chapters to go but this will still happen by the end of the year.
3) Start my third devotional, with a tentative title of "The Early Ministry of Jesus in 40 Days". That's the problem with starting a series. It is not a series if you don't write more books for it.
4) Christmas program at church has a date. December 20. I wrote the program last weekend, but it is still going to take lots of tweaking, phone calls, meetings with my sunday school teachers, etc., before that date to pull this off again.

 Anything else that comes up in the next 80 days - - well, I am just going to pass. Well, except maybe Thanksgiving and Christmas. Wish me luck!