New Release – Sea Whisperer – Author’s Notes

Sea Whisperer—Empath Series Book One
Sea Whisperer—Empath Series Book One

As an author, the most challenging part of being an independent novelist is publishing. Have I missed the first step—writing? Maybe, but I love the writing process, the creative juices flowing, characters jumping off the page, and scenes appearing in my imagination as my fingers fly across the keyboard. For me, writing isn’t work; it’s fun. The work begins after the writing is done.

My first novel came out about ten years ago. Since then, I’ve written four more novels in two different genres—YA and Adult Crime. Cool— five novels sitting on the shelf (actually my computer) waiting to be published.

I’ve chosen Amazon’s platform to publish my novels. I’m fortunate. I have a wonderful editor who holds my hand every time I venture into the KDP world. She keeps me from slitting my wrists during the review, edit, cover design, upload, and publish process. But wait, there’s more.

After publishing, one must jump into marketing. I’m still learning the art of novel marketing. I have a small advantage. For over twenty years, I ran a technical software marketing company. That experience gave me the foundation for marketing my novels, but the devil is in the details. That is where I’m mucking around now: advertise, analyze, edit, and advertise again.

Over the next several months, I’ll update my progress and throw out a few pointers as I learn them. The first novel in my Empath series—Sea Whisperer, is already published. Ads have run for several months on what was KDP Advertising, but is now https://advertising.amazon.com. The cost so far? About $350 with five books sold. Not a good return, but think of it as continuing education. Each week, I’ll review ad results, fine-tune the message, narrow the focus on keywords and phrases that produce results, and keep you posted on how it goes.

Getting from the first word of a new novel to the last word of advertising is a great deal of work. I believe that a well written novel, independently published, with good marketing, can be successful. I hope to demonstrate that.

So, why am I doing this? Oh, yes, to support the joy of writing. Until my next post, stay safe, be well, keep smiling, and be social—from a distance.

Sammy Re-branding

Sea Whisperer, girl power, novel, ya, adult, adventure

My original goal with the Sammy and the San Juan Express series was to complete three novels before doing any marketing. I’ve traveled each summer to do pop-up book signings and knock on book store doors, but no online ads or promotions. Starting this Spring, I’ll be initiating promotional campaigns, and the first step is redesigning the book covers. Book one, now titled, Sea Whisperer, is finished and I’m happy to share.

Building Sammy’s character — Sammy and the San Juan Express

As a writer, I’m constantly challenged to add to my character descriptions. In my middle grade/young adult novel series, Sammy and the San Juan ExpressI constantly search for ways to define the protagonist (hero), Sammy. Recently a dear friend and editor, Vera Haddan, reminded me of this quote from Maya Angelou that helped me add to Sammy’s identity. This is what I hope Sammy does in her adventures,  Sales the Deal,  Presidential Bear, and the upcoming Alpha She Wolf. 

Writer’s Panel at Write On Seaside

We came, we wrote, we spoke, we drank —so went the evening for six Oregon writers at the first annual fundraiser for the Seaside Library, Write On Seaside. Thank you to the organizers, it was a fun evening, and after two hours of writing from prompts, character names, and plot twists, provided by the audience, we were all ready for a glass of wine.

Hats were the feature of the evening as our protagonist, Lizzy Miller, arrived in Seaside donning a hat with a bird’s nest and a blue and red striped bird. Some of the phrases we, the lucky writers, had to include were: Gypsy piano teacher, galoshes galore, Candy shop owner named Jeremy Rust, Check the bottom of your foot, One eyed cat named Bunky, Green walls peel, a talking racoon named Sawyer, Hard hats and bows, Quirky street performer named Karen Emerling, and Your stripper name.

We authors gave six readings, and the crowd was soon driven to drink. It seemed everyone had a good time and the library raised some money for their Radio Frequency Identification System, Adult fiction books in Spanish, and Book Bundle Backpacks for the Children’s Room. If you missed the frivolity you can make up for it by going to www.seasidelibrary.org and making a donation.

Participating Writers, (Diana Kirk, Melissa Ousley, Brian Ratty, Jim Stewart, Deb Vanasse, Nickolai Vasilieff)

Back from Publishing Pandemonium

20150318_142459
It’s been some time since I’ve updated my writer’s blog. Last post I was traveling in Thailand and Cambodia, gathering information and inspiration for a new Sammy novel. Since I returned, over a year ago, I’ve been busy publishing the first in the Sammy and the San Juan Express series—Seals the Deal. I thought writing was a challenge until I waded into the world of publishing. Little did I know the work that would be involved in contacting agents, talking with publishers, and ultimately learning publishing and the world of marketing books. I’m happy to say, the novel is now available at www.sanjuanexpress.com, Amazon.com, and at Barnes & Noble online. in both paperback and Kindle.

Do first time writers have a chance in the world of publishing if they don’t know anyone in the industry? Little, I would say. I contacted almost one hundred agents, only to receive almost one hundred rejections, some, I should say, with nice compliments, but no takers. I gave up after that and want directly to online publishing.

I’m now finishing book two in the Sammy series and may try again with traditional publishing. I’ll keep you posted.

Landed in Thailand

20150316_123520  I’ve been delinquent, blissfully delinquent. Three weeks ago I flew to Australia for a visit with some dear friends I hadn’t seen in six years. A week ago I flew to Thailand, to visit a country I hadn’t seen in nine years. Both have exceeded my every expectation. My delinquency? I promosed myself I’d outline two new stories while I was traveling and finish my latest book. Neither has happened. I’m actually forcing myself to start posting in the hope it will lead to some form of creativity.

In my defense, I’ve included a few pictures as an exclamation point on why I haven’t had the writer’s motivation. It’s not writer’s block, it’s writer’s insatiable appetite for ninety degree weather, eighty degree water, and the simple beauty of Thailand.

Tuk-Tuk
Tuk-Tuk

An update: March 14, 2015 – Thinking ahead, I’d made a reservation at a small hotel about one half mile away from the small, yet efficient airport. A crowd of languages pushed past three immigration stands where handsome Thai officers inspected passports and waved us through. A baggage belt sent children scurrying when it kicked into action only minutes later. This isn’t, I thought, anything like my first visit to Thailand, nine years ago, when porters pulled huge carts of bags into the terminal, some thirty minutes after arrival, if at all. I followed the green sign reading, Nothing To Declare, to outside the airport. A wave of sauna like heat pushed over me, some things don’t change. I expected to be assaulted by a throng of tuk-tuk drivers, but instead a small man in a white cap, inside a kiosk, called to me. I showed him the name of the hotel, and within seconds my bag and I were inside a new Toyota, speeding toward my nights sleep. Along a dusty road, blocks off the newly paved highway, the cabbie delivered me to the three story stucco building. He banged on the office door. A young man sleeping in the lobby hopped out, and carrying my bag, led me to my air conditioned room. Thailand, it seemed, had evolved.

20150317_152337