The Biggest Roadblock Along the Road to Publication

IMAG0609I’ve been thinking a lot about the writing process these past few days. As I sifted through some older writing files and reread some of my stories that had been published in literary magazines, I was reminded of that time when publication was only a dream—a dream that felt so very far away.
Yet a dream I was sure would come true…
…possibly….
…maybe….
…hopefully…..
…one day

PRETTY PLEASE!

Over time, as the rejections mounted, as the dream began to look a little fuzzy, I came to a realization about my writing, something that writers don’t often want to admit:

The biggest road block, the thing that was keeping me from being a published author was me.

Yup, that’s right, little ole me.

While there were things I was more than willing to work on—my writing being one of those things—something else was preventing me from being published. I was inadvertently placing road blocks in the way, not because I didn’t want to be published (Lordy, but I wanted it) but because, on some level, I was afraid of it. Fear is the one thing that has the power to hold us back, to keep us from realizing our dreams, and no matter how badly we might want something, we’ll allow that very same fear to put obstacles in our way and keep our dreams from coming true.

I think of these fear-based obstacles as roadblocks because they do just that—they block our path and prevent us from continuing our journey toward publication. When the obstacles show up along the road we can either let these roadblocks stop us or we can figure a way to get past them. And in order to do that it’s important to recognize these roadblocks when we come up against them.

Here are a few of the road blocks I’ve encountered in the past, ones that I unknowingly placed in my path.

1.Procrastination: Believe me when I say I can procrastinate with the best of them. I’ve had plenty of practice, too. There is always something else to do. That something else might very well be important, like spending time with my family or friends, or it could be something as insignificant as watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory. If you want to be published you need to make writing one of your priorities. REPEAT WITH ME. “If I want to be published I need to make writing one of my priorities.” You may not be able to write each and every day, but you need to make an effort even on those days when you don’t feel as though you have a literary bone in your body. Even ten or fifteen minutes of writing are better than no minutes. Remember, if you can’t publish what never gets written. No one’s going to publish blank pages. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

2. Believing that you are not worthy of publication: This is a biggie. Too many of us struggle with this. While there are a few writers out there who have unrealistic goals, like signing a million-dollar book contract prior to publication when their writing needs much more work to make it publishable, many more writers struggle with the belief that their writing will never be quite good enough for publication. I’m here to tell you, in order to succeed in writing you have to believe that you are worthy of success. REPEAT WITH ME : “In order to succeed in writing I have to believe that I am worthy of success.” If you’re inner dialogue is constantly telling you something different, you need to give yourself a good talking to. Nothing good is ever accomplished beneath a cloak of negativity. Believe you are worthy because you are. Why wouldn’t you be?

3.Not owning it: If you’re a writer, admit it. Don’t gush over the fact, stammer and stumble to get the words out, own up to it. When I say, own it, I don’t mean for you to shout it from the rooftops because that would just annoy the heck out of everyone, I mean accept once and for all that you are a writer. Forget all that once-I’m-published-I’ll-be-a-writer nonsense. Every published writer was once an unpublished writer. They didn’t become a writer the moment their words were printed, they were writers before that. REPEAT WITH ME: “Every published writer was once an unpublished writer.” Did you think all writers were born with publishing credits? No sir, not a one. They worked at their writing until it was good enough for publication. But here’s a little truth, sometimes even publication isn’t enough to make you feel like a writer. I know, sounds silly. Certainly to be published is to be a writer, right? Yet I can tell you that I had several stories published before I finally, finally admitted that I was a writer. So do yourself a favour and admit it before publication, that way it won’t come as such a shock when you’re holding that first published story in your hands.

4. Saying you’re a writer but not really feeling it: Feeling that you’re a writer means much more than simply saying the words, “I’m a writer.” Anyone can do that, writer or non-writer. Don’t get me wrong, while it’s good to say the words, important even, it means very little if we simply do not feel it. REPEAT WITH ME: Feeling that I’m a writer is more important than just saying it. The day I actually felt like a writer, really and truly felt like one, was the day something momentous happened in my writing life. More and more of my stories were accepted for publication but, more importantly, the rejections that came afterward stopped stinging. I came to understand that rejection wasn’t necessarily a commentary of my work, but simply a story that didn’t catch the attention of the right editor on the right day. Finally, I stopped taking those rejections so personally.

While some of these may or may not be roadblocks you’ll encounter along the way, I feel as though we often underestimate our own self-worth. And when we’re not at a particular place in life when we want to be, we often end up beating ourselves up because of it. Maybe we even decide that it’s just too hard, that we’ll never get there. But we all take our own time getting places–that’s all part of life. Some stories take longer than others to polish. It’s always important to have someone in your corner. Isn’t it only fitting for you to be that someone?

What are some of the roadblocks you’ve encountered along the road to publication

Guest Post–Christi Corbett

Christi Corbett Picture for Bio-1Today, I’m thrilled to have award winning author Christi Corbett as a guest on my blog. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure to watch Christi go from unpublished author to published author. Christi’s first book Along the Way Home has been described as “epic romance inside of an epic Western adventure.” Her second book Tainted Dreams was released on May 12th. Christi is the winner of the 2013 RONE Award for Best American Historical novel and lives in a small town in Oregon with her husband and their twin children. The home’s location holds a special place in her writing life; it stands just six hundred feet from the original Applegate Trail and the view from her back door is a hill travelers looked upon years ago as they explored the Oregon Territory and beyond.

Without further ado, here’s Christi.

First, I’d like to thank Laura Best for hosting me on her blog today! I really appreciate her generosity and willingness to share her readers with me as I talk about support systems.

Writing is a solitary endeavor and once a writer has spent months, or more likely years, honing every word to perfection, they’ve only just begun. The publication process is filled with more ups and downs than a roller coaster, so it’s very important to have a network of supporters. After all, who else will understand what you’re going through when you get three rejections in one day? Or when a famous best-selling super author releases a book with the same title you slaved over for months and is perfect for your next book? Or when you finally have to shove your first novel in a drawer because even after you’ve made every improvement you can think of, it’s still not working?

I met Laura years ago, and while the details are fuzzy how exactly that first virtual meeting came about, I do recall it centering on her book trailer. We chatted at great length about it, and have kept in touch ever since. I’ve cheered from my desk chair as she’s shared her details of publication with cover reveals, excerpts, and release day news.

I’ve been a published author since June of 2013, and I’m so very grateful to all those who’ve helped me on my path to publication. From critique partners to beta readers, from bloggers to members of writing groups, I’ve gotten to know hundreds of writers, and I’ve been fortunate to call many of them friends. I cherish every one, and rejoice in their successes, and cringe right along with them when they suffer setbacks.

It’s also important to have a supportive network of family and friends, who aren’t going to complain or try to talk you out of writing sessions. My immediate family is very supportive of my career, for which I’m very grateful. Rest assured, it took years for them to fully appreciate my need for writing time, and cooperate, but now they understand and are (usually) happy to oblige when I say I need to be with my imaginary friends who live in my imaginary world. Or, when I say I need to do book marketing. In fact, my husband is currently handling dinner preparations for our twins so I can write this post. And while “handling dinner preparations” actually means he’s taking them out for pizza, the end result is still the same—they are giving me some much-needed quiet time to write.

How about you? What is your support system like? Is there anything you wish your family and friends did differently to support your dreams?

Tainted Dreams

Back cover copy:
TaintedDreams_1600x2400 FINAL2-1Sometimes, the end justifies the means…
Kate Davis arrived into Oregon City transformed from a pampered daughter of fortune into a determined woman with a plan–fulfill her father’s dream of starting a horse ranch in Oregon Territory.
She quickly discovers a harsh truth–even thousands of miles from home, on an unsettled land America doesn’t yet own or govern, gender still takes precedence over ability. Refusing to be ruled once again by the stifling laws and societal norms she’d escaped by leaving Virginia, Kate begins creatively claiming what is rightfully hers.
Until a visit to the land office changes everything.
Jake Fitzpatrick guided Kate across the Oregon Trail, and fell in love with her along the way. Now he wants to marry her and build a life together, but a ruthless man from Jake’s past threatens to reveal a dark secret, and destroy everything he’s worked so hard to achieve.

To find out more about Christi check out her

blog.

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Tainted Dreams  is available for purchase on Amazon.com

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Smashwords:

Catch up from my Little Corner of the Web

It’s been awhile. Maybe you noticed but maybe you didn’t.

As unbelievable as it seems, last winter’s snow still clings to those places where the sun hasn’t been able to reach. Snow in May. You don’t see that often. With temperatures up in the twenties (that’s Celsius for my American friends, wouldn’t want to send you into shock!) I believe the snow has seen better days. In fact, it may be all gone today. Good news since last winter seemed like the winter from Hell. Yes, I do like snow, in fact I went out snowshoeing many days and did my share of shovelling. But no one, I repeat no one, needs four feet of snow in their backyard. I don’t care who yah are.

So what’s new with me in no particular order? Editor Gary Doi is putting together another anthology for charity and I am one of the contributors. Not sure when the book will be out but I’ll let you know.

Now with the snow gone, I’ve fired off a photo from our cemetery here in St. Cyprian’s. In February I was contacted by someone from Connecticut, looking for a photo of their ancestor’s tombstone from way back in the early 1900’s. Marvelous how the Internet can bring people together. I dare say a request like this would never have been possible before.

I’m excited to be signed up to receive books in the mail from the library. Love this program, although I just learned that the bookmobile will be making monthly stops again. Yay! If there’s some way to get books in the hands of as many people as possible then I’m excited.


Miss Charlotte turned five in April
and is newly registered for school. She has her interview later this month and is very excited to start school in the fall.

Mr. Levi will be a big brother at the end of September not only that, he’s discovered all the wonderful places to play at Guppy and Nanny’s house. The big pile of gravel in our backyard being one of them. Although I think Dad’s having just as much fun playing with his old Tonka Toys as what Levi is.

Earlier in the month we went to the Pearle Theatre in Lunenburg to see Agatha Christi’s, The Mousetrap. Lunenburg is such a beautifully historic town. It’s just like stepping back in time. Perhaps I’ll snap some photos this summer and post them.

Lastly, I want to mention that award winning author Christi Corbett is scheduled to be a guest on my blog on the 14th of May. I hope you’ll drop in and say hi..

What’s new in your little corner?

Everyday Success

Have you ever wallowed in your own success or, rather, lack of? We’ve all attempted things in the past only to be disappointed when the outcome we received failed to take the form we hoped for. We’ve all felt like a failure at some time or other. But the truth is many of us don’t even recognize what success is. Success, we reason, has to be some grand, spectacular thing we’ve accomplished in order for it to count. But life is made up of many smaller successes, successes we encounter every day and shrug off because they seem too small, too insignificant. (I haven’t saved a life, or brought about world peace, I haven’t climbed any mountains–you know how it goes.)

If only we’d change the way we think.

Success doesn’t need to be some grandiose thing–the making of a million dollars or the purchase of a seaside home worth millions. Success can be as simple as getting out of bed in the morning—maybe not for you or me, but for some people I’m sure it is.

Today, I challenged myself to write down 100 of my successes. FYI I’m reading, The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. I figured if it was good enough for Jack Canfield, it was good enough for me. I mean, even if you’ve never read a single “Chicken Soup” book, you’ve got to admire this man for what he has accomplished. So when Jack suggests making a list, I make a list. What can it hurt?

So with pen and paper in hand I set out, wondering if I even had 100 successes to write down. 100 is a lot, I mean a LOT. I started out with the important ones—the birth of my children, thirty-six years of marriage, the publication of two books and my many other writing accomplishments. I quickly wrote down the award my first book was short-listed for. I whizzed through all these things with plenty of steam to spare.

But then it got a little more challenging. Hey, I’m not all that interesting. I haven’t done that many things. At least that’s what I thought! I dug back into my childhood and added things like learning to swim, to print, to read, and to write—all very important accomplishments. I’ve never won any big awards but I got my drivers license at twenty-five even though (and many of my friends can confirm this) I don’t really like driving. I taught Sunday school—bet you didn’t know that. I was even a 4-H leader at one time. I added friends to the list because to have friends is to have success, and I’ve got some pretty awesome friends. (Please take a bow if you’re one of them reading this now!) I listed the fact that after six years I’m still blogging and hey, I even have some followers, some of you even check out my posts when I publish them! I added learning how to can vegetables the year I was married. And even learning to play the recorder in grade five (shivers to this day.) I was a choir member in elementary and wrote and presented several speeches to the Home and School Association even though my heart was pounding in my ears. I wrote my first play at ten and bribed persuaded my friends into act in it with promises of fame and fortune. (Okay, so the promised fame and fortune part never happened. Who knew what fame and fortune was back in the fifth grade anyway?)

The more things I thought about the more successful I felt
which I suppose is the point of the whole exercise. I’m only half-way through the list but I’m confident I’ll reach 100 before the evening is out. I’ll be on top of the world!

No matter what your definition of success it, the one thing we can all agree upon is that success is always a positive thing. And if you think you haven’t been very successful in life maybe you need to rethink you definition of success. Maybe we could all benefit by taking a step back and deciding just what success looks like. Does it mean you have to lower your standards? I don’t think so. We can still set goals, in fact there’s nothing wrong in that, but we should still take time to acknowledge all those everyday successes that come our way while we’re waiting for that goal we’ve set to become a reality.

For the writer waiting for that first piece to be published, maybe success is the writing of a publishable short story, poem, novel or article. Maybe it’s making a commitment to creating a blog and writing regular blog posts. Or maybe it’s taking the time to write a letter to someone you know would appreciate a hand-written note. We won’t all sell thousands of copies of our books, we won’t all win awards, we won’t all retire from the royalties we earn, and we won’t all be published in book form—but we can still be successful.

So if you’re not feeling very successful at the moment I’d suggest you start making a list of your own, and I challenge you NOT to feel successful by the time you reach 100.

Ready…set…go!

Guest Post–Heather Wright

Today, it is my pleasure to welcome author Heather Wright to my blog. I’ve asked Heather to tell us a little bit about how she came up with the idea for her how-to writing books for teens and pre-teens.

Heather is a busy freelancer and children’s writer. As a freelancer, Heather has worked for educational publishers, non-profits and agencies. Her feature articles, profiles and promotional copy have appeared in local and national publications.  Her books for middle readers and teens include Sherlock Holmes and the Orphanage Mystery (for Caramel Tree Publishing), Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens, Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens, The Dragon’s Pearl, and The Dragon’s Revenge, all available at on-line bookstores. In late September, with co-writer Jean Mills, Heather launched an anthology of stories for middle school boys called Dude! Heather enjoys working with young writers and loves visiting classrooms to teach writing skills and to talk about the writer’s life. She runs teen writing workshops at her local library and at art camps, and has also created presentations for teachers’ conferences. Her website, http://wrightingwords.com, hosts resources for teen and pre-teen writers and their teachers.

 

IMG_4467.HeatherwrightWhen I was a kid, what I wanted to be more than anything else was a writer (Nancy Drew has a lot to answer for.) Later, when I taught middle school and high school English, I met students with the same dream. What I noticed, though, was a lack of creative writing resources for pre-teens and teens–resources that treated them like writers and not like students.

Around the same time, I got the opportunity to write a how-to-write column for a national magazine for teens called, What If? Canada’s Creative Magazine for Teens. By the time I had finished my four-year run creating a bi-monthly column, I had a lot of material that begged to be made into a book. So I wrote one.

Now there are other writing books out there for teens, but I wanted mine to be different. First, it had to be short. I’d taught enough creative kids to know that what they want is to be given the main framework for a concept or technique, and then go and run with it themselves. I also wrote my book writer-to-writer, not teacher-to-student. My book explains what published writers do to keep their readers turning the pages, and shows young writers how to make their own writing better. My book has no end-of-chapter homework questions or assignments, but there are 50 writing prompts included to help my readers get started if they don’t have an idea for a story.

Once I’d written Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens, my writer and teacher friends said that I needed to write a book for pre-BookCoverImageteens, too. That book, Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens was published at the end of July, 2014.

Reaching out to young writers and their teachers has been a passion of mine for a long time, and my website is dedicated to finding and creating resources for them to use. I want young writers to write the stories they want to write. I hope that, with good resources, they’ll learn how to write better stories every time they try. Because of my books, I get to visit classrooms and conferences, and I also run free writing workshops for teens at my local library. I’m definitely in my happy place—and that’s why I write what I write.

Thank you, Heather. How wonderful it would have been if such books existed when we were teens and pre-teens!

Listed below are some links where you can learn more about Heather and just where her books are available.

Heather’s website:http://wrightingwords.com

Amazon.ca link to Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens Second Edition http://www.amazon.ca/Writing-Fiction-Hands–Guide-Second-ebook/dp/B00I2MXH8U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406810173&sr=8-1&keywords=Writing+fiction+a+hands+on+guide+for+teens+second

Amazon.ca link to Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens: http://www.amazon.ca/Writing-Fiction-A-Guide-Pre-Teens-ebook/dp/B00M3HFDFA/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_img_11

 

Reviews for first edition of Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens are here:

Review of Canadian Materials (University of Manitoba) http://umanitoba.ca/outreach/cm/vol17/no5/writingfiction.html

Canadian Teacher Magazine – the PDF of this review is no longer available (darn,) but a quote from the review follows:

“This guide to writing fiction speaks directly to young writers and provides tools to help them become successful in their writing endeavours and to have fun doing so … The author’s love of writing and enthusiasm for sharing her expertise with young writers shines through this guidebook, making it a wonderful resource for young writers.”

CANADIAN TEACHER magazine

This is an excerpt from Review of Canadian Materials (University of Manitoba) review for Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens:

Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens follows in the footsteps of Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens and attempts to provide the same sort of how-to-write assistance, but for a slightly younger audience. Longer than the first resource guide—this one comes in at 66 pages, covering primarily the same ground from goal setting and tapping ideas to character-building and writers’ block. Wright’s explanations are clear, concise, and illuminating, without talking down to the user. The guide would be a useful resource even for adults.”

 

 

Reflection

The sudden passing of a friend in February kind of threw me for a loop. For a few days I withdrew into my thoughts to contemplate the things I would miss with this friend no longer here, and to honour the memories I had of her. Whenever we lose someone in our life it causes us to reflect upon so many things—the frailty of life being one of them, our own mortality as well as the mortality of those closest to us, the things we haven’t yet accomplished that we’d like to, the relationships we forge and so, so much more.

When we get to a certain age, we begin to understand that life doesn’t always make sense. Good things happen, bad things happen, and we have no idea why. We can become angry and bitter over the things we deem senseless in this world and yet delight when good things happen that also don’t make sense. (If that makes sense!)

I’m not sure that life is supposed to make sense. If it did make sense all the time, I think we’d lose a little of the wonder and the magic that exists in the world. And without the wonder and the magic what would that do to our hopes and dreams and wishes? Without magic I’m almost certain all those things wouldn’t exist. Why would we ever wish for something or allow our hopes to propel us into some crazy new direction, why would set our dreams on anything other than the reality we now have if there wasn’t some force out there capable of making our hopes, dreams and wishes come true? Wouldn’t we simply go through our days and wait for life to happen? How drab, how utterly mundane and ordinary, how sad.

Truthfully, I’m glad to live in a world that doesn’t always make sense, where strange, out of the ordinary things sometimes happen, where people overcome insurmountable odds, a world that fills us with delight and yes, sometimes, sorrow. My friend once sent me a link to a site about fairy homes. There are those who might say that a site like that doesn’t make any sense, and maybe it doesn’t, but so what?

If I was looking for things to always make sense I might have said a long time ago there’s no sense in trying to get published. I might have said it’s too hard to a thing to accomplish. I might have looked at the stats from some of the literary magazines I submitted to (we receive over 1200 submissions a year and publish 5%) and said the odds are not in my favour. I might have said, I have no one to show me the way. I might have counted the rejections (I had a few file folders filled) and said it isn’t meant to be. I might have said I’ve never once taken a writing course. I might have said I don’t know one single solitary writer in the entire world. But I didn’t say those things. I kept doing what I was doing even though there were times that it didn’t make sense to be doing it. (Seriously, some of my friends worried about the postage I was spending and if it was actually “paying off”) I kept wishing and hoping and dreaming…and writing.

And for those people who think life makes perfect sense, that if we dig deep enough we’ll find out exactly why things happen, I feel a little sad. I might be a Pollyanna, I might set my sights on things that seem an impossibility, but I’d rather live in a world of magic and wonder than a world that just is.

R.I.P my friend–the next time I find a fairy house in the woods I’ll think of you.

Do you believe in magic and wonder or in a world that always makes sense?
(Please drop in next time when author Heather Wright will be a guest on my blog. Heather will be telling us about her new book : Writing Fiction: A Guide for Preteens.”

PUBLISH BEFORE YOU PERISH or The Little Red Hen

Today, it is pleasure to welcome author Syr Ruus to my blog. As both a traditionally and self-published author, Syr has kindly agreed to share her thoughts on this with us.

37816_135253859838486_2745956_nSyr Ruus was born in Tallinn, Estonia during the Second World War. As a small child, she escaped with her mother to Germany and
subsequently immigrated to the United States. She has an MA in English and MS in Education and taught in the English Department of Illinois State University. She has lived in Crescent Beach, Nova Scotia since 1970, formerly working as an elementary school teacher while raising her three children and currently devoting herself full-time to writing. Her short fiction has appeared in anthologies and journals and in 2009 her novel “Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart” was published by Newfoundland’s Breakwater Press.

PUBLISH BEFORE YOU PERISH or The Little Red Hen

I have always loved books. I became a reader at three. More than thirty years later, I became a writer. Why did it take so long, you might ask? Perhaps because English is my second language, or maybe I felt that I didn’t have anything worthwhile to say. Once I started, however, I never stopped.

Publishing, of course, is another matter. People say it’s extremely hard to find a publisher these days with things being as they are. I know from personal experience that it has always been hard. It’s even difficult to find places to send a manuscript. Only small publishers accept unsolicited queries. If anyone does offer to take a closer look, it takes many months, even years, before a decision is reached. Often you hear nothing at all.

Not that this is altogether bad. It gives a writer a chance to reflect. After the first flush of enthusiasm, one can make some meaningful revisions. Sometimes, along with a rejection, there is feedback. I have read in a manual for writers that when you finish a novel, it should sit in a drawer for at least two years before you begin working on it again. A bit extreme, maybe. Yet often it sits that long in a slush pile on some junior editor’s desk. There does come a time, however, when a work is definitely ready. Finished. Done. Only a few final perks and tweaks could make it any better. Or perhaps not. Still no one has offered to publish it.

The wonderful news is that it has become more acceptable than ever to do it yourself. Even the Writers’ Union of Canada has recently voted to accept self-published writers.

321214_269317809765423_1682562519_nI was lucky. A smattering of my short stories appeared in Journals and anthologies. After my novel Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart received first prize in the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia annual competition, it was published by Breakwater Press in 2009. This gave me a much needed boost and sufficient confidence to actually begin referring to myself as an author.

But what of the two books I had written earlier? In 1999, Devil’s Hump was being seriously considered by a well-regarded publisher before being rejected. A few years ago, a new editor at the same company found the same novel (revised edition) “transporting, enchanting, strange, unsentimental, vivid,” but not fitting in with “what we’re trying to do with the fiction list at present.”

“I do think you should be able to find a publisher for this,” she added.

So, like The Little Red Hen, I did it myself. Devil’s Hump was published in 2013 by etc. Press, Halifax, N.S.10569081_810453168985215_2058664649597654044_n

The first novel I ever wrote also received an award from WFNS. In 1994, Edgar was the winner in the juvenile novel category. After some years, I decided to incorporate the original story which concerned a pet crow within an adult novel about the family which raised it. As such it was shortlisted for the Ken Klonsky Novella Award, yet despite positive comments from various publishers, no one was prepared to take it on. Just a few months ago, The Little Red Hen did it again. The Story of Gar was published in December, 2014.

Each of our voices is important to our collective humanity. Those that have spoken to me in the books I have read over the years have enriched me beyond measure. Our writing preserves a personal vision of a world which is constantly changing. The characters we have created with such loving care deserve a chance to sit on a bookshelf and perhaps come to life in someone else’s mind also. It’s every writer’s dream to be published, but you can’t wait around forever. Sometimes you have to do it yourself.

It’s exciting to prepare one’s work for print: to choose the paper, to select the font, to format the pages, to decide on a cover, to be in full control from beginning to end.
This includes promotion, of course, which these days is increasingly left up to the author, but which publishers certainly facilitate. Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart is available in bookstores all over the world (as I see when I Google myself). It was also reviewed in 10247462_880235172007014_1772275323027241970_nvarious newspapers and was submitted to contests which I cannot access as a self-published author. Since both of my independently published novels have a regional content (as does In Pleasantry, a collection of connected short stories, which I plan to publish next), shops in the area are willing to take a few copies on consignment. The books are printed in limited editions; the cost goes down as the number goes up. Being a diffident self-promoter, I am mainly depending on word-of-mouth for any future sales, and with luck, I may get back what I spent.

But as writers, we know that we don’t do it for the money—we do it for love.

Thanks so much, Syr, for sharing your thoughts and your wisdom. I hope that In Pleasantries will find the same success as your other novels. I am looking forward to reading your next literary offering.

To learn more about Syr, check out her WFNS page here. And her Facebook page. Her books are available locally at Coles in Bridgewater, The RiverHouse  and Lahave Bakery or by contacting the author directly: syr@eastlink.ca

20 Quotes to Inspire You

Because this has been one very long winter, I thought perhaps we could all use a shot of inspiration as we spring into March. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m excited to be leaving February behind us.

1.You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. ~ C. S. Lewis
2. A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.~
Ayn Rand
3. Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.~ Norman Vincent Peale
4. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.~ Samuel Beckett
5. Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.~ Og Mandino
6. It does not matter how slowly you go along as long as you do not stop.~ Confucius
7. Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. ~ Oscar Wilde
8. You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.~ Christopher Columbus
9. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. ~ Henry David Thoreau
10. Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.~ Maya Angelou
11. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover. ~ Mark Twain
12. The mind is everything. What you think you become.~ Buddha
13. You become what you believe. ~ Oprah Winfrey
14. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. ~ Zig Ziglar
15. I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.~ Ray Bradbury
16. Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.~ St. Francis of Assisi
17. Doubt who you will but never yourself.~ Christian Nestell Bovee
18. Every artist was first an amateur.~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
19. We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble
problems.~ John Gardner
20. Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.~ Leon J. Suenes

I love the wisdom and inspiration in all these quotes. I hope you read something here that will inspire you to greater heights.

Speaking of inspiration, author Syr Ruus has graciously agreed to be a guest on my blog next time. I hope you’ll drop in to read her inspiring post : PUBLISH BEFORE YOU PERISH or The Little Red Hen.

It’s Not Always About Me

Long before I ever had a book published it seemed important to me to support other authors. So you can imagine my glee when little by little I began to meet and get to know some of them! I’ll admit that many moons ago it didn’t seem so important to me, even way back when I was writing and publishing some of my stories in literary magazine. But then something changed and I don’t exactly know what. I started to realize that celebrating the success of other authors is also a way of celebrating my own success. Once I figured that out I  really started to feel like an author. And when I started to feel like an author, more and more opportunities came my way. I began to have work published in those literary magazines that, in the beginning, seemed so far out of reach as I wondered if I’d ever write to their standards. Things were looking up.

I’ve got to tell you, life can’t be all about me…me…me. And it shouldn’t be. No one likes a self-centred author no more than a self-centred human being. And so, because it’s not all about me, nor should it be, it’s time for me to give a shout-out for some books I’ve either read or plan to read in the near future. It’s a combination of kids and adult books from authors I’ve met in real life or from the blogging community.  Hopefully, a little something for everyone.. Enjoy!

Rain Shadow - CoverRain Shadow by Valerie Sherrard
Bethany knows that she is special. She doesn’t learn things as easily as her classmates do and that sometimes makes them mean to her. They call her names — including the really “bad” name. Even her mom and her sister Mira say unkind things at times. But Bethany has friends like her neighbour Mrs. Goldsborough as well as happy times with Daddy when he gets home from work. And now, Mira has promised to protect her from the bullies when the new school year begins. Then tragedy strikes, tearing Bethany’s world apart in way she could never have imagined, and she starts to wonder if there will ever be a place that feels like home again. For fans of The Gory Wing , this book is set in the fictitious town of Junction, Manitoba (setting for The Glory Wind) in this story.

I love the cover of this book! To find out more about Valerie and her many book, check out her blog. Here.

 

tumblr_ndsrj3YMpD1rzzbp4o1_500Gertrude at the Beach by Starr Dobson

Everyone’s favourite goat, Gertrude Allawishes, is back! School is out for the summer, and Starr and her family—even Gertrude—are heading to the cottage. Starr’s mom is worried Gertrude will get into trouble. But it isn’t long before Gertrude proves she is one loyal goat and saves the day.

Many of you know Starr Dobson, co-host of Live at Five for a number of years. This is a follow up to her popular picture book, My Goat Gertrude. The illustrations for this picture book are beautiful. To find out more about the artist , Dayle  Dodwell check out her site Here

 

9781771082570MacLean by  Allan Donaldson

This book is a reprinting and was originally published a few years back. It’s on my TBR list simply because I enjoyed his book, “The Case Against Owen Williams” so much.

Twenty-five years after the Great War, John Maclean is still struggling to carve out a meaningful existence in his small New Brunswick hometown.

One late summer day he embarks on a seemingly prosaic search for a little money, a little booze, and a birthday gift for his mother. But he’s haunted by memories—of war, of his cruel father, of opportunities wasted and lost—and each moment is shadowed by his bleak history. Shell-shocked and alcoholic, Maclean is divided between a lonely present and a violent past.

 

FC COVER--smFollowing Chelsea by Shari Green

Walking in the footsteps of a dead girl isn’t easy.

After her social life flatlines, seventeen-year-old Anna Richards wants nothing more than to lie low at her new school. But it seems Anna looks an awful lot like Chelsea, the sweet and popular girl who recently died, and Anna finds herself stepping into the void created by Chelsea’s absence.

Anna is determined to make the awkward situation work in her favor, because Chelsea didn’t just leave a spot open with the in-crowd; she also left a gorgeous—and now available—boyfriend. But it turns out that following Chelsea might be a lot more complicated than Anna expected.

I met Shari a few years back through WordPress and am so excited for publication of her first book. You can check out her site here.

 

evbishop_biggerthings_200pxBigger Things by Ev Bishop.

Best friends since childhood, Jen, Chelsea and Kyra know everything about each other. Or think they do.

Jen should be celebrating her whopping 121-pound weight loss. Instead she feels like she’s betrayed fat girls everywhere. Will anyone love her for who she is inside, fat or thin? More importantly, will she?

Chelsea appears to have it all—a husband, a family, a beautiful home—but plaguing memories threaten to destroy everything. In her desperation to maintain control, will she succumb to a compulsion that costs her life?

Kyra is sick of the superficial persona she’s worn for so long. It’s exhausting to pretend to be an airhead while running a successful business. But if she sheds her life-of-the-party façade, will she ever find the boyfriend she thinks she needs?

When a nervous breakdown leaves one of them fighting to survive, all their secrets are laid bare. To stay friends, they need to battle personal dragons, confront the past, and embrace change. But can they break free from the roles they’ve played so long? Or must they leave one another behind in order to move forward?

Click here to find out more about Ev and how to order Bigger Things.

alongthewayhome-christicorbett-453x680Along the Way Home by Christi Corbett

Kate Davis is intrigued when her father reveals his dream of starting a horse ranch in Oregon Territory. Settlers out west value a strong woman, and though she manages the financials of her father’s mercantile her competence earns her ridicule, not respect, from Virginia’s elite society. 

Jake Fitzpatrick, an experienced trail guide, wants land out west to raise cattle and crops. But dreams require money and he’s eating dandelion greens for dinner. So when a wealthy businessman offers double wages to guide his family across the Oregon Trail, Jake accepts with one stipulation—he is in complete control.

Departure day finds Kate clinging to her possessions as Jake demands she abandon all he deems frivolous, including her deceased mother’s heirlooms. Jake stands firm, refusing to let the whims of a headstrong woman jeopardize the wages he so desperately needs—even a beautiful one with fiery green eyes and a temper to match.

Trail life is a battle of wills between them until tragedy strikes, leaving Jake with an honor-bound promise to protect her from harm and Kate with a monumental choice—go back to everything she’s ever known or toward everything she’s ever wanted? Christi is also a blogging friend. Check out Christi’s WordPress site Here

downloadRocket Man by Jan Coates

If only Bob could go back to being the Mr. Invisible of his superhero days. Back when he wasn’t always being compared to his super-talented hardcore basketball god brother and perfect little sister. Back when Roy and Kyle didn’t know he existed. To make matters even worse, his dad is really sick and getting sicker.

When Bob begins planning a fundraiser basketball game in support of cancer research, things start to look up. With Roy being temporarily out of the picture after terrorizing some little kids, Bob finally gets a chance to play on the D1 basketball team and ends up helping Roy complete his community service. Maria seems to be becoming more than a friend, and even big brother James starts paying more attention to him, and gives Bob some pointers on how to become The Rocket Man. But cancer rears its ugly head again when a bad fall lands Dad in a wheelchair. Will he be strong enough to make it to the Hoop Heroes 4 Health game?

You can find out all about Jan  and her books by visiting her blog here.

buddyfordavidlargefront2Buddy For David by Carol Ann Hoel

I had the privileged of reading Carol’s book before it was published. Carol is another friend I met on WordPress. I’ve added a link to her blog here.

If you like Christian fiction you may want to give this a read.

Young David disappeared. The only clue was trapped inside the mind of his little sister Rachel. Experience the panic David felt, kidnapped and locked inside a cage. Delight in a Great White Pyrenees dog and a woodpecker playing their roles incidentally turning tragedy to good. If you have ever felt overwhelmed by grief or oppressed by a general sense of hopelessness, or discouraged by the trials of life, you will discover in the pages of this book a living, loving, and powerful God. Incidentally, you will be entertained. Read about this sweet family, the kind all of us might wish to call our own. Find out, immediately, that their lives are about to be molested by a tragic event. Meet the family, father, mother, children, and grandmother. Walk in the shoes of the sheriff and his staff, as they struggle to find and rescue David from his captors. Meet Buddy, a Great White Pyrenees dog, just a dog, not an angel, but a big, white, fluffy dog, that plays an integral part in this saga…

I hope you enjoy this  eclectic list of books. I wish each and every author all the best. Thank you for doing what you do. You’re awesome!

7 Ways to Sell Your Book in the Real World

While all writers live in a world of make-believe, a warm safe place where we go to plot our stories, there comes a time when all writers need to step out of world we’ve created and become a part of the real world of actually selling that book you put your blood, sweat and tears into.

Once that book is published a writer needs to get down to the business of promoting that same book that kept them hidden away in their fantasy world all those months. The truth is, many writers would like nothing better than to leave the promotion of their books to someone else. I mean, wouldn’t that be wonderful if we only had to spend our time writing and not have to bother our heads about book sales at all? Wouldn’t that be a writer’s dream? Realistically speaking, that’s not very realistic. Not in the real world. Whether you’re a self- published or traditionally published author you need to pitch in and do your share.

As a published author, you need to keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to sell your books. You might not be able, or willing, to do everything I’m about to suggest, but don’t you owe it to yourself to give it a shot? As one author put it, “I’ll do anything for my book.” If we’re going to go though all the work to have our book published shouldn’t we do just that?

Here are a few ideas for opportunities to watch out for right in your own “real world” community.

  1. Craft Fairs: This year I made a commitment to take part in some craft fairs in the area where I live. It all started in May Fall 2014 117when I saw a billboard by a  local legion selling tables for their upcoming craft fair and it got me thinking. Books are crafts, right? And a little something different than what you’re likely to see at most craft fairs. Tables ranged from $10 -$ 20 depending upon the venue. Some can be even pricier depending upon how popular the event is so check before hand. Books don’t take up a lot of space and set-up time doesn’t take long. A few times an author friend of mine, Jan Coates, came along and we shared a table.  Not only did we get to chit-chat to the people who stopped by our table but we kept each other company during the slow times. The day flew by!
  2. Festivals: Keep your eyes open for any festivals that are planned for your area. Some of these festivals are very well attended. For instance, the local museum puts on a  Heritage Blueberry Festival every year. As part of the festival they have an area  designated for vendors to set up. That particular event attracts over 500 people. I  had a wonderful time at this festival. A friend of mine came to keep me company that day and was absolutely astounding when it came to “talking up my book.”
  3.  Farmers Markets: I know a few authors who regularly take their books to the local farmers market. While I’ve never personally         gone to a farmers market I’ve  heard some wonderful stories from other authors who have. Some of them go every week.
  4. Ask small business owners in the area to carry your books. If you’re lucky they’ll  say yes, and accept them on consignment for an agreed upon percentage. Chances are yours will be the only book they carry, so you’ll be unique. And sometimes unique is also eye-catching. My books are  available at the convenience store right in the community where I live, (how cool is that?) as well as the local museum in a nearby community, and several craft shops. You’d be surprised how many copies they’ve sold.
  5. Readings: What better way to interest people in your book than taking part in a public reading? Some of these events will also have copies of your book on hand. I  know, reading in public can be a scary thing. I can remember a time when the thought of reading my work in public was terrifying. But with lots of practise I no longer feel my knees go weak or my heart hammering out a strange tune.      I’ve now read at Word on the Street several times, as well as several library readings and a literary night held in a neighbouring community where I was also invited to sell copies of my book.
  6. Carry copies of your book with you wherever you go. I’ve been doing this since I  met a gentleman who told me his wife had sold 800 copies of his book from her purse. Wherever they went his wife took along three copies. I can’t begin to tell you how many people, once they find out you’re an author, will ask  you right on the spot if you have any copies on you. So be prepared!
  7. Fight the fear and be ready to say yes.  While saying yes can sometimes be a scary thing it’s always important to be willing to take part in as many opportunities as we can, when and if they arise. Reading in public, being interviewed by the local paper, radio, or TV station can be as scary as it gets. My advice is to say yes when opportunities arise unless you have valid reasons for declining. And no,“I’m too scared” is not a valid reason. My experience has been that the thought of things are always more frightening than actually doing it. Many of us are self-conscious and don’t really like being in the limelight. We’re writers and many of us are introverts. But sometimes even introverts need to come out of their shells and make themselves visible.

So I’ll leave you with seven opportunities to watch out for selling books in the “real world.” I’m sure if you keep looking you can come up with plenty of other opportunities for selling your book in the real world. You’re welcome to share any of your ideas in the comment section.

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