Friday, October 31, 2008

FEELING NOT VERY GROWN UP

Last Friday, my suspense novel Dead Witness went to press for the second time. In a few weeks, it will be in the hands of my distributor Sandhill Books.

I should be thrilled. Yet, I’m scared to death.

I published one copy of Dead Witness through Lulu in April 2008 on a lark. One copy was meant to encourage me to carry on searching for a publisher. You can receive just so many rejections letters before you start doubting yourself. I wanted to hold my novel in my hands, thus making what it is I do feel real.

One thing led to another; my family all wanted one, and my husband was sure people would buy a copy; and I was printing 100 books. I’d already found several local stores that agreed to sell Dead Witness for a commission. Nobody was more surprised than me when they sold out in the first week.

Because I’m a realistic person, I assumed eventually sales would slow and I’d have enough books to last the summer, if I printed 150 more. Summer sales aren’t generally high. It’s Christmas that retailers aim for. At least that’s what I was told.

I sent a dozen books to reviewers, stocked the local bookstores, and by the end of August, was out of books. Clearly Lulu would never support me online. I’d reached my targeted audience, and the fun was over. But that was okay. I accomplished what I set out to do. Great reviews had come in; I could bow out with my head high.

And then one day my best friend’s daughter gave a book to her boss at Save-On Foods, formerly known as Overwaitea Foods. Her boss loved it, showed it to her boss, and the next thing I knew she’s calling to ask if they can stock my book on their shelves.

What could I say? I couldn’t afford to print more copies. I’d lose 70 cents on every book.

The nice lady at Save-On Foods replied, “Why haven’t you called Sandhill Books?”

Mainly because I had never heard of them.

She explained they were the distributor Save-on Foods dealt with. I’ve since learned they are a highly respected Canadian book distributor. Mention their name in any bookstore across the country and you’ve got somebody’s immediate attention.

What did I have to lose? I called Sandhill, and the owner Nancy suggested I talk to Hignell Book Printers in Winnipeg. She wouldn’t commit to distributing Dead Witness until she had a chance to read it. I understood. I called Hignell and we negotiated a very fair price. Now I needed a distributor.

I called Nancy back at Sandhill a week later and asked if she’d distribute my book. She hadn’t read Dead Witness yet. And to make matters worse, she had the flu. I agreed to call back in a week.

To make a long story short, the flu was a bad one and it took an additional two weeks before Nancy agreed to distribute Dead Witness, even though she hadn’t finished reading it. However, she did strongly advise that I change the blurb.

I called Hignell back and said, “Okay, what next?”

What next turned out to be a long exhausting process. Just before we were to go to press, Nancy asked me if I had the CIP. CIP? Something else I’d never heard of. Turns out it’s the library numbers on the backside of the title page. To which I had to apply for online, then wait sixteen working days before I’d receive them.

I contacted Hignell and we spent the next two weeks getting Dead Witness’s format-ready. The proofs arrived by mail, I approved them, and now I’m back at the beginning:

Dead Witness went to press seven days ago.

In a few weeks, a few hundred books will arrive at my door. 800 more will be sent to Sandhill. I’m scared to death.

Yes, I know I’m being silly. Dead Witness is a good story. I’ve received wonderful reviews. Of the 242 books sold, one person didn’t like it, and one said it was mediocre.

That’s not what’s scaring me. I have to sell myself. I have to do book readings and book tours and book signings, virtual book tours, not to mention all the stuff I’m already doing online: marketing, blogging, networking, I’m a writer. Writers are solitary people who like to sit home and write.

I’ve written 4 other stories, but what if all these accolades are in vain? What if I lucked out because I belonged to so many outstanding writers’ lists and it’s really because of my critique partners that Dead Witness is as good as it is? What if once I get out there in the public and start talking, “they” will realize I’m a fraud?

I know, I know, I’ve got to suck it up and be grown up about all this. And I probably will once the time comes. But for now, I’m sic to my stomach with fear. Tums anybody?

A day in the life of a writer. Humph.

Friday, October 24, 2008

New Blog site

Starting today, we have a new blog site at EverydayBloggers.blogspot.com

This new blog will showcase writings from Ernie Johnson, Judy Avila, Helen Kitson, Merilyn Liddell, Christopher Hoare, Bliss Addison, Kathryn Neff Perry, Darlene Oakley, and Joylene Nowell Butler

See you there.

http://everydaybloggers.blogspot.com

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another day closer to our new blog

It's all about being part of something bigger. A village, a community, a network, it doesn't matter. The important thing is to share your experiences with someone else. Never feel as if you have to go it alone.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Blog site in the works.

Along with a few of my closest writing buddies, we're developing a new blogsite. Not sure what's it's going to be titled, or what we'll blog about, but I'm excited. These are a bunch of terrific writers, & I'm positive you're going to enjoy what they have to say. So, tune in soon & I'll redirect you to our new page.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Interview with author Jo Linsdell

Before I began my blog, I searched for a logline that best described what I had to offer as a blogger. I finally chose The Day in the Life of a Writer because that's who I am and how I see my life. Part of that is being on the outlook for inspiring authors such as my guest today. Jo Linsdell has gone one step further than most bloggers and has created a site that showcases some of the finest authors around. And by addressing many of the concerns we face as writers, Jo has found answers to some difficult questions.

I'm very pleased to be interviewing Jo Linsdell from Writers and Authors best writers blog of 2006, and the author of Inside Out.


Jo Linsdell
Born in Gillingham, Kent (UK) in September 1980. Married name Joanne Denise Feliciani. She uses her maiden name, Linsdell, as her pen name. Having passed 10 GCSE’s, she went on to study Business Studies, History and Art A-Levels at Yateley 6th Form. She left England and moved to Rome, Italy in June 2001, where she now lives with her Italian husband and their baby son. She has had various jobs including working in hostels, being a tour guide and teaching English as a foreign language. She now works full-time as a freelance writer. She writes regularly for various websites, newspapers and magazines. Her books, Italian for tourists and A guide to weddings in Italy plus her ebooks; Il dolce Natale: Christmastime in Italy, Some risks are worth taking, INSIDE.OUT, La Befana and The Patron Saint of Lovers are all available to buy at www.lulu.com. Visit her at http://jolinsdell.tripod.com or http://www.lulu.com/jolinsdell or http://www.myspace.com/jolinsdel


You'd be surprised (or maybe not) on how many authors choose their own pics for their blog page, and they turn out looking less than professional. But your profile photo is adorable, not to mention clear and professionally looking. Was it taken in a studio?

Jo:
Thank you very much. I actually took this of myself using the timer on my camera. It was taken in the lounge of my appartment.


Is living in Rome as wonderful as it sounds?


Jo:
I came here originally with the intention of staying for 3 days back in 2001 and I'm still here, so yeah you could say it's pretty wonderful ;) I met my husband here at Piazza di Spagna and now we have a lovely little baby, so I don't think I'll be leaving Rome anytime soon.


How has your experience been working with Lulu?


Jo:
Lulu are a great company to use if you self publish. It costs you nothing as a writer to publish and they are very reliable with royality payments. You have complete control over every aspect of your book. The only down side is that they do nothing to promote your book. If you don't get out there and market your book, you're not likely to sell many. That being said, however you publish these days you will need to do a lot of marketing yourself.


How did you get started blogging?


Jo:
I got the idea from a member of a non-fiction writers groups that I belong to. We were discussing ways to promote our work for free and she mentioned that she wrote for several blogs and found them to be a great way to get more visability.


How do you see blogging advancing your career?


Jo:
Blogging is a great way to be seen and a useful tool for making a name for yourself. There's a lot more to being a writer than just writing and there are millions of people trying to make it. Blogging can give you a regular readership and help create a fan base and interest in your work. For example I use my blog http://astheromansdo.blogspot.com to help promote my Italy related books and I use http://writersandauthors.blogspot.com to learn more about the writing industry, network and help others promote their work.


What are some of the biggest mistakes Bloggers make?


Jo:
Not having a focus and aim to what they post. Everything that you blog about should meet the goal of the site. There are lots of people who blog about "nothing'ness". Write things that people want to read. Offer them a reason to visit your site and to keep coming back to it.


Where do you see blogging going; what's next?


Jo:
The number of blogs on the internet is constantly growing and the possibilities of what you can add to the site are too. The way technology is progressing I don't think there are any limits..


How did you get the idea for your webpage: Writers & Authors?


Jo:
I'd visited loads of sites for writers and found through my various writers groups that others were doing the same to learn more about the industry and find ways of marketing their work. It occurred to me that I could create a site that had all the information we were looking for in the one place. This would mean less time spent search the net and more time doing what we really wanted.
I'm also big on finding ways to promote myself and my books for free. You don't need to spend a fortune to spread the word about what you do. At Writers and Authors I offer interviews with other writers free of charge. They obviously want people to see their interviews and so send them to my site. This gets me publicity too. It's an all win situation.


Freelance must be a difficult field to break into. There are so many freelance writers. What do you think you offer that no one else does?


Jo:
I write mainly about Italy related topics and I'm an expert on Rome. My husband is Italian and having lived here for years I have first hand experience of the country and people. I can give the feeling of being here to what I write that someone researching on the internet or in other books can't.


Does success depend upon showcasing yourself or your writing?


Jo:
Yes. If you don't get out there and promote no one will know who you are.


Thanks so much for your time, Jo. And best of luck with all your endeavors.


Jo:
Thanks Joylene.

Jo Linsdell
Creator and Manager
Writers and Authors

http://writersandauthors.blogspot.com