Tuesday, December 8, 2015

And Everything Has Changed

I just read over my blog post from last week.  Boy, have things changed since then.  I don't know what happened in my head, but all of a sudden my thinking process shifted.  Perhaps it stems from launching the next book and getting all my ducks in a row.

This week has been very ducky.

First off, I finally have a real, grown up website.  Find it here at julieleesongnorman.com.  It's basic right now but gets the job done as a landing page of sorts.  Though I've had this blog for a few years, it was time to do something more professional.  I still love this blog even though it hasn't been a runaway success.  It's a place that I've worked out my writing struggles.  We'll see if I continue it as I put more into the website.

Another change, I updated my twitter account.  Can you believe that I had an account since 2009 and only had 6 posts?  I deleted all but one and then posted one tonight.  Now I have two and eight followers.  Yeah, hold back your gasps of amazement at my twitter success.  You can be number nine, find me @julieleesong.

And the biggest change of all, is my thinking about book promotion.  Knitting by Faith was an accidental success.  I don't know how it sold so many copies with absolutely no promotion except to tell my friends and family.  I've no idea how to duplicate that success so I've been googling.  Here's what I've learned:

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Rebel Winner

Yay - I won Nanowrimo!  Well, sort of.  I'll admit, just between the two of us, I stretched the word count a little.  Yeah, I know, that's not the way I should do things.  However, I did basically finish my story and was just a little short.  So I started another story and added it to the word count.  This falls into the "rebel" category of Nanowrimo so it's allowable.  Just not a clean win as I'd like.

I'm not sure why all my stories and books are so short.  Knitting by Faith was only about 10,000 words, India by Faith is tracking around 20,000 words and my latest Christmas story was less than 40,000 words.  Perhaps if I didn't edit so ruthlessly, I'd have longer books.

Yesterday I spent some time formatting India by Faith.  It's a slow slog at times.  But I think I've learned how to put in photos without making things go wonky.  My goal of publishing in November has flown by but I am determined to get it out by Christmas.  Now that our family holiday gatherings are over and Nanowrimo is out of the way, it should be smooth sailing, right?  I won't even think about the fact that we may be closing on our house in Minnesota soon and that we're looking for a new place in Montana.  Time to put on my blinders and get it done.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Life and Writing

I must be getting scarily close to finishing my book formatting.  Why?  Because my Other Self is trying to sidetrack me.  

Hey look, that Nano story sure is great.  And if you don't write it out now, all the good ideas will disappear.

You know that coupon blog you've been wanting to start?  Do it now, it'll be fun and profitable.

Your sales of knitting patterns are outpacing your book sales right now.  How about another pattern?

And so on.  Some of those temptations sound like good advice.  But on the other hand, finishing is good too.  And it's so close.  Now is the time to get it done and out.  Because Christmas is around the corner and this would be a good book for those people who get their kindles for Christmas to buy.

This week I have a lot of stuff to do as we get ready to spend some time with family for Thanksgiving next week.  Plus my family wants to celebrate Christmas, so we'll have to do presents and all too.  Life always happens, though.  My True Self, the part of me that knows I was born to write, must press on toward the end.

On a side note, the Nanowrimo story is going quite well.  It's going in a direction I didn't expect, which really isn't unexpected after all.  I just need to be more mean to my characters and have more conflict.  Then if all works well, near next Christmas it'll be available as an ebook.  And of course I'll have angst about finishing that one too.

But, writing always happens.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sweet Spot

George Bernard Shaw's writing desk

I've read some articles recently about ebook sales.  Most agree, ebook sales are down from last year.  But the interesting thing is, the comments on those articles usually end in an argument on ebook prices.

Here's what I understand.  The big publishing houses want to keep their ebook prices high, around $9.99 - $12.99.  Which compared to hardcovers, is a good price.  Except, there is no resale value on that book for the purchaser.  You can't turn around and sell an ebook it online, trade it in at a used bookstore or even get $1 at a garage sale.  But you get a "professionally" published book.

Then along comes the India publisher (sorry small publishing houses, I don't know much about you).  They sit in the coffee shops and homes, push the "publish" button on their computer and decide that $ .99 - $4.99 is the right price for their book.  They're making up to $3.49 a book which is not a bad deal.

This is the key: you'll sell more books at a lower price than a higher price.  As an avid reader via my kindles, I am more apt to pass on the $9.99 and up books.  If I do purchase one at that price, they would need to be exceptional and not often.  It's much easier to buy a book that's $4.99 and under.

There are of course more factors to consider in your ebook pricing.  Length of book, content, quality and if you're a newbie.  Overall, the best thing to do is think like a reader.  What price would make me purchase this book right now?  Not the highest price you can get, because that may drive away sales.  Not the lowest price because you'll undercut yourself and others.  Find the sweet spot price.

Even though ebook sales look like they are down on paper, there is still a very active readership for them.  Make it easy for those readers to buy, and make them happy with the price they pay to enjoy your stories.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Irony and Nanowrimo

All of a sudden, my writing world is incredibly busy.  Nanowrimo has taken off, I'm starting to manage someone else's publishing process and finally, I am putting the finishing touches on India by Faith.  And it's not just writing that's picked up which makes me wonder, what did I do when I had a job?  Probably wish I could be at home to write.

Nanowrimo is going well, over 3,000 words into the Christmas story.  I'm using a Random Number Generator to figure out the facts of people, places and events.  This is similar to what I mentioned in an earlier post, Random Character Dossier.

It's been interesting to discover family secrets, a teenage pregnancy, a missionary aunt who is home on furlough, a nephew who is studying to be a pastor and other facts about the characters.  All of these things I wouldn't have thought up on my own.  I hope that the story continues to be interesting and rich in characters.

But as interesting as the Nanowrimo story is, it is not my first priority.  It's time to get India by Faith formatted and published.  And it's time to get the other person's story in line.  It's ironic that usually, Nanowrimo writers get distracted from their writing and do other things.  In my case it's the opposite - I want to write the story but it's a distraction from other things.

I never said I did things the easy or logical way.  Here's more proof to that.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The End Is Near

The deadline of editing is near and I believe that I'm actually going to meet it.  This is pretty new for me and a little scary.  I'm back into the fear of failure again.  If I don't finish the book, it'll never be a failure - no one star reviews, glaring typos or low sales.

But if I do finish this book, success may happen too.  Like my husband said, it doesn't matter if I think the book is good or not at this point.  I'm almost finished, may as well get it done.  And frankly it's not a bad book.  It's also not going to get a Nobel Prize either but that's fine, this time around.

As I come in for a landing on this book, I had an interesting conversation.  There's someone who wants to hire me to help them write their book.  They need someone who can help them manage the project and has done the process before.  At first I wondered, do they have any idea how well I can procrastinate?

But, on the other hand, I do have years of experience in managing offices.  Years of managing business projects, juggling deadlines, setting goals.  I've even considered becoming a professional organizer.  It's my own stuff that's harder to do because it's close to my heart.  This is another reason for me to get my book out there and done.  I need to focus on the next thing and also on Nanowrimo.

I've decided that Nanowrimo will be focused on two things; formatting India by Faith and writing the content for a couponing book.  I'm going to be a rebel and do it my own way.  I don't think anyone is surprised with this.  Maybe be surprised that I didn't announce my rebel status earlier.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Word by Word

Today I finished going through the "frienditor" responses.  There were only two who went through the whole book, so there is some work left to do.  However, I've made a decision that will light a fire under my writing butt.

I'm going to participate in Nanowrimo this year.  In November, I will write a book that is at least 50,000 words long.  Ironically this will be the longest book I've written in the last few years.  I'm going to go with the Christmas themed story that's been knocking about in my head for awhile.  But in order to focus on Nano, India by Faith must be finished.

That gives me 11 days to finish my edits.  I'm allowing myself the wiggle room to not be done with the other matter in the book by the end of the month.  But the manuscript must be done an ready to publish by October 31st.

Huh, that's not very much time.  Better get on with it then.