When I first got the idea to write a novel back in 2006 I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I was a Certified Public Accountant and I managed accounting departments but I had always wanted to write, ever since childhood, and I had a story idea and I was finally ready to tackle writing it. It was difficult at first but I had a writing partner and we scheduled weekly writing dates and helped each other work through our ideas. I began reading books about the writing craft and I subscribed to Writers Digest and Publishers Weekly. I was enthusiastic. But my enthusiasm faded.
Fear kicked in often and each time it did I gave up on my project. I was working full time so my writing was only done on nights and weekends and it was slow going. I started thinking I was nuts to be spending all of my free time writing something that people might never even want to read. And I felt like I would never finish the book. But I had brief periods of intense inspiration that kept me going. And thank God I kept at it! I made it to the finish line and published my baby in April and I've gotten really positive feedback on it too.
I wish I had known what I know now way back then because I would have pushed past the fear and finished my book much, much quicker. 20/20 hindsight, right? Well, it may be a little late for me but hopefully I can help someone out there right now who like me, wants to write a book but is too scared to start or finish.
#1 You MUST establish an author platform! I heard over and over again that I needed an author platform but I ignored the advice. Now that I have just published my first book, I totally understand why everyone says you need an author platform. My sales are slow. No one knows about me. There are millions of books out there for people to choose from, hundreds more new books come out every day. You have to get attention in order to get sales. No one will ever know about you or your amazing book if you are not gathering followers on social media and/or with a blog. You might hate to hear this as much as I did, but I think you'll grow to enjoy it as much as I have! Start professional accounts on social media - I use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. I'm late to the game because I started doing this the month before my book was published. I recommend you start much earlier - at least 6 months to a year before your book is published. Have fun, follow writers you like and post quality helpful content. Build up momentum for your book too but don't make that your only focus. Make friends. Help people. You will grow your following slowly but surely!
#2 PUSH PAST THE FEAR! I wish I had pushed past my fear a long time ago. I was living in Hawaii as I wrote my novel. I spent a lot of my time outdoors at the beach or hiking or rock climbing. It wasn't terribly important to me that I publish the book until we moved to Portland at the end of 2015. I felt lost and sad. I missed Hawaii and my life and friends there. The only thing I could think of doing to help me get out of the funk I was in was to work on publishing my novel. I finally pushed past my fear and made it happen but I was still fearful right up until the day after I published. The week before publishing I had panic attacks. My fearful ego kept telling me to back out, not go through with publishing. Throw the stupid book away. People were going to laugh at me. Was I nuts? I was exposing myself to the world with my novel. Why would I do that? A fellow writer recently said that publishing your book is like getting naked in front of all your friends. That pretty much describes it perfectly! It's scary as hell! Push through that fear though, do not let it stop you! The only thing to fear is truly fear itself! Fear stops progress. Fear keeps you stuck. Don't let it win! Feel the fear and keep on going anyway. You'll be glad you did. It's pretty great on the other side!
#3 Just Keep Writing You'll have good days and bad days. You'll feel inspired sometimes and you'll be at a total loss for what to write other times. The key is to keep the momentum going and write every day no matter what. Write your frustrations out if nothing else. Get a writing partner or join a writing group. Google writing groups in your area - there are writing groups everywhere. Get online and join writing groups in social media. I have found that most writers offer amazing support. Some of the groups I belong to have daily or weekly writing goals. We all post our progress every day or every week and we encourage each other. 500 words a day is a good goal. And don't try to edit as you go. Editing disrupts the flow. I kept going back and editing as I wrote. It took me seven years to finish. Don't be like me! Wait until you are done getting all of your ideas out and then go back to the beginning to edit.
#4 Start Thinking Like a Marketer NOW If you want your book to be read by others (and hopefully make a little money) then you need to start thinking about how to market it as you write it. Write up a really catchy book description, something that grabs people and makes them feel the need to read your book. Play around with it. Think about the genre your book fits into and think up the main key words for your book. Google your keywords and put your key words into Amazon's search engine and see what comes up. Put those key words into your title, your subtitle, and your description if you can. Use those key words in your social media posts. Analyze other books in your genre, especially the top performing books. What are they doing right? Learn from them.
#5 Spend a Little Money to Make a Little Money With all the books available to choose from today the two most important things you need to do to make your book stand out are to have an amazing cover that catches people's attention and polish and perfect your writing. You can make your own cover for very little money on Canva or you can pay someone on Fiverr to do it for very little money but unless you have an eye for design and some experience then you are taking a big risk. If your cover doesn't look great people will pass it by. You only have a few seconds to get people interested in your book when they see the cover. Make them say wow! There are a lot of professional book cover designers to choose from online. Same thing with editing. No one can edit their own work. We are too close to our babies to see things that may be off. And your friends and family are probably not editors (and even if they are editors you want someone impartial to edit your book for you, trust me!) Other writers are not editors either. I've learned this the hard way. I paid for two editors for my novel because the first one, a writer, was really unimpressive. Professional editors can fix things in your book that no one else can. Plain and simple. You do not want to get bad reviews from readers who complain about things like grammar and typos. That makes you look like you are not a professional. Be a professional. If you're going to write a book, give it 110% and make it the absolute best it can be!
Would you like to read Chapter one from my novel Naupaka Blooming for FREE? If so, just click below:
Music plays a big part in my life and I bet in your life too. My favorite music is the synth-pop of the seventies and eighties, mostly because I was an angst ridden teenager in the eighties and I can still clearly remember all the big feelings I had back then whenever I hear certain songs from that era. Tears for Fears, Everybody Wants to Rule the World makes me exceedingly happy for some reason. Maybe because I actually thought I could rule the world one day! On the other hand, Somebody by Depeche Mode makes me want to cry every time I hear it!
Music played a big part in the creation of my first novel too. I was living in Hawaii at the time so certain Hawaiian music is briefly mentioned here and there. My favorite Hawaiian musician is Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole, also called Bruddah Iz (Brother Iz). His medley of Somewhere over the Rainbow is breathtakingly, heartrendingly beautiful. Every time I hear it I get goosebumps and chills and my eyes start watering. Wow. If you've never heard it you may have been living under a rock because its been featured in several movies and a couple TV commercials. Check it out. The whole album is amazing. That man had an amazing voice. In my novel, I have Fred sing the song at his birthday luau.
Another Hawaiian song I mention in my novel is I Am Queen by Lilo De Lima of Kapena. This song will get you all fired up! Her voice is beautiful! Check out the YouTube video of her singing the acoustic version below:
Another song that my main character Liz is heavily influenced by at a low point in her life is Into the Ocean by Blue October. This is a hauntingly beautiful song that I used to listen to over and over again at a low point in my life (which is why I gave it to Liz!). I've followed Blue October over the years and they remain one of my favorite bands, but Into the Ocean will forever be my favorite of theirs.
Saved the best for last - Could You Be Loved by Bob Marley. Liz hears it at the Halloween street party in my novel. This song reminds me of what it was like to live in Hawaii for seven years - AWESOME! I used to drive around the island sightseeing and playing this song full blast as I sang along. Good times. Ahhhhh....
What type of music do you prefer? Are there certain songs that bring a tear to your eye or get you all fired up and ready to go? Comment below!
Get the first chapter in Naupaka Blooming for free!
Have you ever wanted to have a character in a series named after you? Would you like to be the bad guy or gal in the story? Or would you like to be the wise spiritual mentor who helps the main character develop into the amazing bad ass she was always meant to be?
Well, here's your chance!
I'm currently working on my next creation - a paranormal thriller series! I'm very excited about it and I have everything all planned out. But I need a killer title and I'm not great at coming up with titles.
My working title is Out of Body Service.
It kinda sucks, right?
Can you come up with an amazing title for my series?
Comment below with your amazing title and your name. If I select your title for the series then you will get:
1) A character in the series named after you (either the bad guy/gal or the wise spiritual mentor - your choice!)
2) Dedication to you in the front of the book
3) All of my eBooks free for life! (What? YES!)
Here are the details for my next series:
Summer Frost is a beautiful American Indian woman with a chip on her shoulder. As a detective in Colorado Springs, Colorado, she takes her frustrations with the world out on the criminals she chases down. But one fateful day, as she closes in on the biggest crime ring she’s ever dealt with, she nearly loses her life in a scuffle with the bad guy/gal (insert your name here?). Luckily, Jack Campbell, a ruggedly handsome detective from a nearby precinct, arrives on the scene just in time and saves her life.
As Summer lies in a state her doctor’s call “locked in syndrome”, unable to speak or move except for blinking or moving her eyes, but fully aware of everything going on around her, Jack attempts to pick up the case where Summer left off. Summer is drawn to Jack but she has always had lousy taste in men and she has questions about Jack and doesn’t fully trust him.
After a visit from her grandfather/grandmother (insert your name here?) who she hasn’t seen in twenty years, and in frustration with her predicament, Summer accidentally learns how to astral project her spirit. As she explores her newfound abilities from her hospital bed, she plots revenge against those who put her there. Will she ever wake up from this nightmare? And is Jack the hero of the story or the villain?
Join me on Pinterest and Instagram to follow the progress of my new series and see images of my characters, the town they live in and excerpts from the book. You just might be inspired to come up with that amazing title I'm looking for!
Interested in reading my first novel, Naupaka Blooming? Get the first chapter for FREE!
I've been living with a lot of broken things lately. My car's Check Engine light was on for almost a month. My ice maker stopped making ice a long time ago. And my computer kept freezing up on me for 30 seconds at a time off and on, all day every day for at least a month.
For a while, I chose to just live with it all. I had lots of excuses. I don't have time. I can live with it. It can wait. It's not urgent. I can't afford it. Other things are more important.
This procrastination mindset started affecting other areas in my life. I had a goal to write a new blog post once a week but I've been putting it off for a couple of weeks now. I started a new blog post one day but I didn't really like the direction it was going - so I just stopped. I wasn't in the right mood. I didn't have the motivation. Something was off.
Finally last week I hit a breaking point. I could no longer put up with my computer freezing up on me all of the time. I was tired of not having ice readily available. And my car was jumping as I accelerated and I realized that whatever was wrong with it might get worse if I didn't take it in.
So I called a computer guy who remotely cleaned up my computer. It took an hour or so and $150 but now my computer runs like new again. And my sanity has been saved! This one repair is worth its weight in gold to me.
I called about the warranty on my ice maker and a repairman was sent out to fix it free of charge 3 days later and now I have all the ice I want again. Why didn't I call months ago?
And I took my car in to the repair guy down the street. I had to leave it with him for a couple of days and that meant that I had to drive my husband's car and he had to drive his big truck. But we survived. My repair guy fixed a couple of small things which cost me $253. My Check Engine light is off and the car is driving well again. Relatively painless.
Now I feel as if a ton of weight has finally been lifted off my shoulders. I am free!
These are all minor problems to have to deal with. But still, they each added up to more and more stress on me. The question is - why did I live with them for so long instead of dealing with them as soon as they became problems?
Procrastination is a slippery slope. A vicious cycle. You don't feel like doing something so you put it off. You think that by putting it off you are saving yourself from stress or grief. You put it off for so long that you start to feel guilty about it. The stress builds because you still have a problem to deal with and time is running out. You start taking your frustrations out on people around you. The guilt and the stress overtake you until you finally do what you should have done days or weeks ago. Only now you are rushing and anxious about it and probably not giving 100% or doing your best work. You just want to get it over with.
Even the best of the best face the old procrastination monster from time to time. Victor Hugo, the great French poet and novelist, whose masterpieces include the epic historical novels Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, had a unique method to stave off procrastination: he had his servant strip him naked in his study and not return with his clothes until the appointed hour.
I started writing my first novel, Naupaka Blooming, seven years ago. I procrastinated A LOT over that 7 years and now that I've finally finished it and published it I desperately wish I had not procrastinated for so long. I wasted a lot of time.
If you are anything like me then you want to figure out how to overcome the procrastination beast the next time it creeps up on you.
First - figure out the why. Why do we procrastinate? It all comes down to fear. We fear the task will be too time consuming or too difficult. We fear we are not capable of handling the task. We fear that we are not smart enough or strong enough. We fear the outcome - the expense, the grade, the opinion of others.
Then - just start. No matter what. Move past the fear. The only thing to fear is fear itself. Wise words from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Fear will keep you from reaching your potential if you let it.
Stop the negative self talk and start thinking positively. Your attitude determines your direction. You are more than capable. You are smart enough. You are strong enough. You can handle this!
Remove the obstacles in your path. If you need to go to the library, coffee shop or park to concentrate then get going.
Get organized and make to do lists. Break your project down into small manageable tasks. Start with simple easy things. Checking tasks off your list will help build momentum and give you the confidence to finish.
Whatever it is that you are currently dealing with - fixing a broken car, starting on that term paper or novel you've always wanted to write, or starting an exercise or diet program - I promise you will feel a million times better if you just get going on it. Right now! Today! Don't let procrastination talk you into putting it off until tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month. You will regret it.
Whew! I feel great now that I finally got my next blog post done! One more thing off my list...
On that note, I'm off to join that local gym I've been meaning to join for several months now...
What are you putting off?
Interested in checking out my first novel, Naupaka Blooming? Read the first chapter for FREE!
I'm a romantic at heart with an overactive creative mind and an artistic soul. I've always been an avid reader - I read as much as I can as often as I can! Writing has been a life long dream that I haven't allowed myself to pursue until just recently. In April I finally published my first novel - Naupaka Blooming, a Hawaiian Reincarnation Romance. And now I'm working on the first book in a new fantasy thriller series called Summer's Shadow.