That Crazy Legacy

My next year of living writerly post is going to be called the future, because the future came knocking this week, and you might like to hear about how one might manage the future, but I thought this week I would talk about a personal topic, and try to be thoughtful.

Yeah. Like that.

As you may or may not be aware, my last parent passed away, quite unexpectedly, in January. You might also be aware of how my background wasn’t the best. I’ve been coming to grips with a lot of energy that is now floating ambient throughout the universe. All that energy that used to be against is now just energy. I have begun to take a good solid look at who I am and what my background has made me, and where I’ve gone and some of the choices I’ve made.

One of the things I’ve discovered is fear, although I don’t think I knew it was fear. So much of my life has been designed to screen and shelter. I have a deflective sense of humor, I have built image and entitlement around myself through my profession, and I reveal my true self to very few people. I go through life playing a variety of roles. Well, there are some positives here, and I am really quite funny and adaptable, but when you think about going through life vulnerable, well, I made a decision to give up my address in Vulnerable a long time ago.

If the screens didn’t work, if the deflections didn’t work, there is always the crazy. I’ve always painted myself as someone who stands up for the honor of others, or tries to protect people from harm, but I’m pretty sure what I’ve been doing is protecting myself from things that make me uncomfortable by pretending to protect other people. Because when all else fails, judgmental craziness has been known to work, right? Mistakes have been made. Lies have been told to myself about myself.

Lest this sounds too severe, I know we all do something like this. I know we all have foibles, flaws, and regrets. I’m actually quite lucky inasmuch as I am a pretty self-aware crazy person. My biggest issue with myself isn’t that I’ve been fearful. It’s that I’ve lashed out when I’ve been afraid and pretended it’s been for a good cause. The good news is I understand better what I’m doing now, and will be doing my best to not do this. Habits are hard to break, but I will become a better person for breaking this one.

Don’t read this as regret about leaving my family. There’s chasing people away, and there’s understanding when to walk away, or, as Kenny Rogers says, knowing when to run. However, if your first reaction is to justify chasing someone away by pretending virtue or protection, when you could just not do anything, smile and move on, or you could avoid the situation, well, there you go. You need to do some work. You aren’t going to like everyone or everything, but you don’t have to make a lie of it because you’re afraid.

That said, I’ve broken a few vases and I can’t see how those can be fixed, and therein lies regret. I think the best you can do in those situations is apologize if it comes up, and move on with new behavior. That’s not only the best you can do, but it is all you can do. Sorry to get heavy.

One more thing for me to note to myself. I am an introvert. It is okay to be quiet. It is okay to be awkward. It is allowed. And you know, maybe people do make you uncomfortable. So be more cautious, not judgmental.

Okay. Nice talk. 😀

The Year of Living Authorly: Post 11 Juggling Many Balls

I have to say at this point I’m feeling it.

It started when I was working on The Pawn of Isis and The Vessel of Ra came back for edits. My editor was very fast, and I turned the edits around very fast, both times. What I was not used to was the idea of writing two projects at one time. Toss!

I was recently, happily, asked to participate in an anthology for which I must produce a themed short story. Yes! Toss!

I am diligently speeding through and enjoying writing The Pawn of Isis for the 4th time. My 3rd revision didn’t do what I wanted, and I know how to write it better now. I wish I’d known that before, but hey, growth as a writer! Toss!

Oh, hey! My book comes out September 12th. I’m going to conventions, and I’m needing to get some book tours and events set up. I need to change my email server because the friend who’s been supporting me is filling up. Toss!

Here’s an organized list of things I still think I need to do to get ready for book support:

1. Find out about ARCs.
2. Send ARCs out to advanced readers for blurbs and reviews.
3. Arrange merchandising.
4. Arrange freebies.
5. Arrange book launches.
6. Arrange appearances.
7. Keep going to conventions
8. Keep track of all of this for accounting purposes.

Toss! Toss! Toss! Toss! Toss! Toss! Toss! and Toss!

And finally, online support. This blog, those podcasts, and that other blog. And maybe a blog tour? I dunno, maybe. And a newsletter. And….

I want all these complications, make no mistake. But it might be a good idea to make a note for you as you look over these to realize, yes, these are things that you might encounter as a debut author. Just thinking about that.

Next up: I start work on my list of advanced readers.

The Year of Living Authorly Post 10: The 25 Best Email Marketing Newsletter Aps

Right now I am deep in the throes of the fourth draft of The Pawn of Isis. What this basically means is it’s pretty much Pawn of Isis and the podcast and work, although I am looking into newsletters and Facebook groups, and what not. Since I am in the preliminary stages of that research, I can’t write a good post yet on that.

To start, though, here’s a post by Matthew Guay called The 25 Best Email Marketing Newsletter Aps. Looks like a great resource for aspiring email marketers (marketeers?). Most of the buzz I’ve been getting from fellow authors suggests Mail Chimp is great unless you want a drip campaign. (What? You don’t know what a drip campaign is? Okay, I don’t know much either, but I’m learning).

Anyway, go read that, and I’ll get back here with some real content…eventually…after I’ve poked at the Mail Chimp sight. I also plan to hypothesize what might be good content for a newsletter. Or I could just post some words from the new book. We’ll see how it goes.

Back to needing two of me: one to work the job, one to write the books.

The Year of Living Authorly Post 9: ARCs and Reviews

Over at the SFWA blog, I read this article: Four Strategies to Gain Early Reviews for New Releases by Intisar Khanani. I found this article to be a really strong mix of pragmatic suggestions from self-publishing, combined with practical advice about newsletters, lists, and launch groups. Go take a look. It’s really quite good.

Okay. Let’s get Midwestern for a moment. For some people (raises hand), the idea of asking people to review your book seems a little uncomfortable. I cannot help but see the truth in getting people to review your book–good, bad, or a combination of the two–as an important strategy to creating buzz and attention around that book. Does it seem presumptuous to you? It does, but here’s the thing. I wrote a book because I wanted to tell a story. Perhaps the time to have been shy was before the writing. Now, I suppose, I have this book. Did I believe in the story enough to write it? Yes. Do I believe in the story enough to want to share it? Yes.

So. Soon, I will be creating a mailing list just for ARCs and reviewers. I will be working on figuring out how to get many ARCs to a variety of people, and ways in which to encourage people who are kind enough to buy my book to review it. I am going to turn my book launch into a group event as much as one can. I will break these publicity pieces down as clearly as I can as soon as they happen. While I am on hold in generating physical support materials until my cover image is ready, this I can certainly do now.

So, look for information about book launch plans soon. I’m also going to research mailing lists and newsletters. I suppose also I should need a press kit, and I should get around to scheduling events. Right now, if you’re an author or a reviewer, and you’d like an ARC and are willing to review, let me know. Also, if you’d like to be part of The Vessel of Ra launch experience, let me know. You have no idea how silly I feel saying The Vessel of Ra launch experience. 😀

The Year of Living Authorly: Post 7 Conventions–Promoting and Touring

A caveat regarding this post: This is one aspect about conventions that I’ve not been involved with until now. Some of promoting and touring can come down to doing a lot of what I’ve been talking about in other convention posts, like being on panels, and presenting a professional image, but the active promoting of a book? Well, this is where I am learning, just like you are.

With that in mind, let me tell you about some of the things that I have learned. Let’s start with promotion. It is GREAT if you can have a giveaway for a convention that will remind people that your book exists, and that they might want to look it up to buy it. I’ve seen bookmarks, pens, pencils, cards, buttons, all manner of items. The most successful freebies I’ve received from authors go to Mary Robinette Kowal for her fans with card attached to advertise her historical fantasies, Jim C. Hines for his Jig the Goblin tattoos, and Ann Leckie for her spaceship lanyards. Swag should be cost effective (not too expensive), but memorable. So. I am currently looking into Egyptian swag, as The Vessel of Ra has a definite Egyptian vibe. It would perhaps also be good to go with something alchemical, or shadow-y. Here are some ideas that a casual search of the Internet has yielded.

Egyptian pencils
Team Drusus or Team Khun buttons or lanyards
Egyptian stickers
Egyptian tattoos
Egyptian beaded bookmarks

So, I will let you know whatever little thing I decide on. First, I’m waiting on my cover image, and then I will start planning.

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Touring. Again, I’m in new territory. I think going to a convention can give you an opportunity to be in an area already, and if you’re in a city, you might take some time before, during, or after the convention to visit a bookstore nearby. I will be playing with this as soon as the book comes out. For example, I could be in Minneapolis for a convention, and then make arrangements to have a Thursday night or a Sunday night signing with a local bookshop. Another idea I am playing with for summer of 2018 is a tour to several cities on one of the coasts. As I learn what are good tips to set this up, I will share.

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Next time, I’ll talk about touring. What have I heard about what works best? Stay tuned.