Possibilities in 2014

The end of one year and start of another always seems to be the perfect time to reflect on things that have happened in your life, changes you want to make, and dreams you want to pursue.  It’s a good time to take stock and consider what possibilities might be out there and whether or not what’s holding you back is reality or just self-doubt.

2013 was a busy year for me in many ways, both personally and professionally.  It was the year that a long-time dream of mine finally came true:  I became an author with an honest-to-goodness publishing contract!  (Thank you, Crimson Romance!)  For years I had set writing aside in favor of more practical things and told myself that I would get back to it when I had more time, and then it sank in a few years ago that unless I made time for it, it would never happen.  It’s just too easy to let life get in the way, you know?  So I started writing again, a little here and there on weekends or during evenings after work–and sometimes it was really hard to keep at it, but I’m so glad now that I kept plugging away.  And there’s still a long road ahead of me, but at least I’m actually on it now, and that feels wonderful!

I wish that feeling for everybody out there for 2014!  If you’ve got something you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time, I hope this year is the year you’re able to take the first steps in making that dream a reality.  Even small steps add up, so why not take them?

Here’s to a wonderful New Year, and because I love all things Celtic, here’s a traditional Irish blessing:

In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship but never in want.

And because I also love a bit of humor…

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.  ~Joey Adams

Happy New Year!  🙂

Another First

Whenever the mail has arrived during the past several days, I’ve joined my dog in peering over the back of the couch and out the window to watch the mail carrier slip the mail into our mailbox, and then I’d hop down and scurry outside to see what was waiting.  And today what I was waiting for finally arrived.

My first royalty check ever!

Is it considered unprofessional to squeal over something like that?  Or to take a picture of said royalty check and ponder what sort of picture frame will best bring out the pink and blue highlights in the background of the Pay To The Order Of area that has my name printed on it?  I’m thinking something in pewter would be nice; it’s just so classic.  Plus it will look great once I’m finished bedazzling it.  There ain’t another royalty check in the world that will be so gloriously memorialized.

Too much, you say?  Hey, it’s a lot less grand than my original idea, which I backed off from because it turns out billboards are very expensive to rent…

Anyhoo, it’s been a pretty exciting day in the life of this particular author.  Hope yours is going well, too!  🙂

Do Reviews REALLY Matter? (Hint: The Answer Is NOT No…)

When you’re a relatively new and struggling author, reviews of your books are VERY important.  Well, maybe they’re important if you’re a wildly successful author, too, but I don’t have quite the same personal insight into that perspective as I do the former.  I’ll let you know if that changes anytime soon.

Bottom line is…reviews matter.  And I’m talking about reader reviews, too, not just reviews from professional book reviewers or organizations.

Reviews tell a writer that somebody was interested enough to pick up his or her book and actually read it, which feels incredibly wonderful!  Unless, of course, the reviews are unflattering, in which case I suppose it feels more like a kick to the gut–or maybe someplace a little lower if they’re especially harsh…

But the point is, somebody read the book!  Yay!  Writer’s existential crisis averted!

But there’s a lot more to reviews than I first realized, and maybe more than you realized, too.  Until recently, I had no idea that books on Amazon only became eligible to participate in the Kindle Daily Deals once they earned at least 10 reviews, and this is important to an author because Kindle Daily Deals are seen by tons of readers and represent an incredible opportunity to become known to the general public.  Eligible doesn’t mean a shoe-in, but it’s a start.

There’s more, though…

Rumor has it that there are other promotional opportunities on Amazon that an author can’t become eligible for until he or she earns a certain number of reviews, like the “If You Liked This Book You Might Like ______” or “Buy This Book With That Book” for a special discount price.  And once you reach 75 or 80 reviews, I think you win a car.  Or something.  The details are a little fuzzy right now…

But anyway, reviews definitely matter.  They don’t have to be lengthy reviews that analyze subtext and note similarities between the work in question and Anna Karenina or anything like that.  They just have to be honest.  And hopefully respectful, even if the reader didn’t particularly care for the book.

So please make a writer’s day and leave a review!  And if you want to compare his or her book to Anna Karenina, you go right ahead.

Cover Art For The Bargain

Crimson Romance just sent me the finalized cover art for my second book, The Bargain, so I thought I’d share it with you here.  Without further ado, I give you:

TheBargainCover

Hee!  Did you notice the part where it says my name and then right under it adds “author of Coming Home”?  I can’t seem to stop looking at that part.  Author.  I’ve been saying things like “I like to write” or just “I write” but I haven’t actually called myself a writer yet, and I’ve never applied the word author to myself, either.  But maybe I should start, because it’s really starting to grow on me…

Pardon me while I do a happy dance.  🙂