What I’m Up To These Days

I finally have Secret Admirer up on pre-order. It’s set for May 7.

This was my first time using Draft2Digital (D2D) for one of my romances. I have been using D2D for the short stories and YA thrillers. I didn’t really have to do much for formatting on those because they are short, and the longer stories were formatted by someone else. I am used to the Smashwords “meatgrinder”, so when I did my Smashwords system to upload to D2D, there was a snafu that kept showing up at the very end of one of my chapters. I spent a couple of hours trying to get around this without reformatting the entire book again, but it failed. So the other day, I finally bit the bullet and started over from scratch on the entire format. This time, I took into account the issues I ran into with D2D. Thankfully, that version turned out just right. Every time you go with a new system, it takes some time to learn it.

I will say the nice thing about D2D is that it lets you modify your interior ebook so that you can have a couple of fancy fonts and chapter headings. It also gives you the links to each retailer. I like both of those features a lot.

If you want to pre-order this book, here are the links:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Apple

Smashwords

I did put it on Google Play, but it doesn’t appear to be live yet in the store. I will get this out on AI audio on Google Play as we get closer to May 7.

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Making Paperbacks

I’m going to focus on getting paperbacks set up through D2D now that I’ve removed them from KDP. (KDP is an extension of Amazon. D2D still puts paperbacks on Amazon. I got sick and tired of KDP messing up the look of my books. D2D’s quality is a lot better.)

Anyway, I have 78 paperbacks to do to get caught up with my romances. I have a total of 97 romances written. Secret Admirer is my 98th romance. 🙂 This will be a nice side project.

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A Joint Blog Coming

I have decided my main goal at this point in time is to have fun with my books. While I have story ideas, I am going to slow down in writing. I’ll keep writing, but I’ll have less books coming out, at least for this year. I haven’t written anything since the beginning of January, and I don’t feel like I’m ready to get back to those stories. I’m just tired. It takes a lot out of a person to keep writing all the time. Even though I’ve given myself breaks and had a routine that worked, the pressure to keep at it has taken its toll. I need to step back. I have finally given myself permission to write when the muse, so to speak, strikes.

But I still want to be active online, and I still want to talk about books and do fun things with the books I’ve written and am writing. I think sharing a blog with Janet Nitsick will be a lot of fun. We’re working on setting it up right now, and we’re trying to think of things to make it engaging. I’ll share more about this in the near future.

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Still Homeschooling

I enjoy homeschooling. I almost became a teacher. When I was a kid, I used to play school with my little sister. So this is fun for me. 😀

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Anyone Out There in the Omaha Area Who Would Like to go to a Book Festival in July?

There is a writing group here in Nebraska where they are thinking of having a book festival on July 21-22. Right now, they are trying to get an idea of how much interest there would be for readers to meet up with local authors. The genres will vary, and it’s been years since I did anything with this writing group, but Janet Syas Nitsick, my author friend, is a member of the group and has been active in it all these years. She is the one who told me about this possible event.

Since I am back in Omaha, I can go to something like this and meet with readers in person. I thought it would be fun to hand out one free signed paperback to any of my readers who showed up to something like this so they could say hi to me. A lot of you have been with me since the early days in 2010 to 2012 when I was just learning the ropes of being a self-published author. And it’s because of you that I’m still doing this today. Believe me, your encouragement and support over the years has been greatly appreciated.

So I thought I’d see if anyone reading this would be interested in going to downtown Omaha to this festival. Please let me know in the comments. Then I can pass along the number of people who are interested to the people who are thinking of putting this event together.

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Getting the Most Out of Writing

This morning while I was getting homeschool work ready for my kid, I came across this video. I had to stop everything I was doing because a blog post idea came to mind. 😀

The video, ironically, is about 15 changes you can make so your home serves you better. The topic I want to discuss is how to make writing serve us better.

First off, this is an approach from someone who writes for passion. I no longer write to market. If you’re looking for a “writing to market” post, this isn’t for you.

Write things that inspire you.

When we write things that inspire us, writing is fun. When we are writing things for other people, writing is not as fun. Short term, you will probably do fine writing stuff for other people. But I’m looking at the long term. I’ve been publishing ebooks since 2009, and if you are going to keep at this for the long haul, you need to love what you are writing. All the money in the world doesn’t satisfy you when you get tired of what you’re writing.

Keep things fresh. If you are no longer interested in the stuff you have been writing, switch to something else. If you have branded yourself in a certain genre, look for a niche within the genre that will put a fresh new spin on what you write. For example, I was getting tired of Regencies until I realized I could incorporate gothic themes into it. I love romance, but I also love psychological thrillers and (to a lesser extent) the high emotion of fear found in horror. By blending the together, I find that I have a smaller audience (sales have declined to prove this), BUT I love these books and have a lot of fun writing them. Now, I don’t always feel the need to insert gothic themes into my Regencies. Sometimes I go back to writing a simple happy romance because that is the story I want to write at the moment. By inserting something fresh and new, I have found enjoyment in writing the regular old Regency formula.

Clean your writing space.

If the move I recently made to Nebraska taught me anything, it’s how much more at peace and motivated I have been AFTER throwing a lot of stuff out. I had no idea that letting stuff accumulate in my house actually made it harder for me to stay focused. I donated a ton of stuff and threw out the rest before making the move. When I chose decorations and furniture for the new house, I was intentional about it. I wanted a lot of free space and minimal decorations. My work space is the same. I have drawers where I will put things I need. I file things away immediately. I have been using a To Do List for years, but now I find that I get those items marked off a lot faster than I used to, and I think keeping things neater and cleaner have contributed to that.

When you eliminate clutter, something happens to you psychologically. You feel more relaxed, and you get more done because it’s easier to focus.

Don’t be afraid of letting stuff go.

There’s no sense in holding on to something that isn’t working for you. Even if something used to work, let it go if it’s no longer adding a benefit to your life. This can apply to writing and marketing. Too many times we keep doing something just because we always did it. It becomes a habit. We can fall into habits that are so comfortable that we hate not doing them anymore. But if this isn’t providing use to you, then there’s really no point in continuing on with it.

I’ll give three examples from my life (two on a professional level and one on a personal level). One, I love my Larson family in the historical western romances, but I’m tired of writing about them. I really wanted to write about Tom and Jessica Larson’s four girls, so I did. I had the excitement for that. But I have no desire to write about any of the other Larsons, even though I sell more historical western romances if I write about a Larson. Maybe some day I’ll want to write another Larson story, but at this point in time, I’m not interested, so I’m not going to do it. I have to let the Larsons go. Two, I used to see a great benefit from Booksprout, which is where readers will review ARCs. During the last couple of campaigns, I noticed that there wasn’t much interest in the books I put up, so I didn’t renew my subscription. I’ve been a Booksprout user for years. I think it’s a good service for a lot of authors. This could be because I’m writing to a smaller niche now. I know the books I’m currently writing appeal to less people. I have changed. I need my marketing strategy to adjust with those changes. Three, living in Montana wasn’t working for me. It hadn’t been working for me for a very long time. But it was easier to stay there because my house was paid off, I had permanent plates on my cars, and I knew the right places to go to for doctors, dentists, etc. Moving meant a lot of work and adjustments. It also meant a mortgage. But it was the best choice for me and my family. So I took myself out of my comfort zone and chose this route.

My point to all of that rambling is that sometimes you need to break free of those things that are no longer working, even if you have to take a risk in order to do it. You might not always make money by letting things go, but you might find that you’re level of satisfaction goes way up.

I was ready to hit publish when I thought of something else. Sometimes you need to let go of your perfect ideal of what your writing life should be like. I know goals are important. I suggest making goals within your control. You can’t control how many books you sell or how much money you make. You can only control how many books you write, what you write about, and where you publish your books. You can control what promotional opportunities you join, but you can’t control the outcome of those opportunities. My advice is to let go of goals you can’t control. The moment I let go of the “I will make $X every month” goal, my stress level went way down.

Take time to relax.

Easier said than done on some days, but this is a really good tool to helping you have energy and focus. You might have to say no to some things. Unlike AI, we can’t keep going nonstop. We need breaks. We need to replenish ourselves. I’m sure everyone needs a different amount of time. Someone might do well with one hour. Another person might need two hours. When you feel frazzled out, set aside to rest. See how long it takes for you to feel restless. That restlessness is usually a clue that you’re rested up. How many times in the day do you need to take a step back and relax?

Some of this depends on the demands you’re facing, of course. Some people lead busier lives than others. A person working and then trying to get some writing in will naturally have more to tackle than someone who doesn’t have to work to pay the bills. A person with small children will have more to tackle than someone with grown kids or no kids at all. Whatever your situation is, you can adapt your own time for relaxing. This will help your mind settle down. When you settle down, you will be better able to write your best work. If that means writing less, then write less. If you keep running all day long in the pursuit of getting as many books out as quickly as possible, you’ll burn yourself out if you’re not careful. I know because this happened to me a few years ago. Writers need rest.

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