Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Plan

Great things have been happening in the writing community. Lots of people I met years ago as a new writer who weren't published or agented are one or the other or both today. Misha Gericke recently announced her plan to earn $7500 month in royalties consistently in five years time which led to me finally admitting to the world in writing what I told my husband months ago was my next goal. I want to write my way into a million dollars. I asked Misha to start a linky for her plan, so we could all join in and support each other as we work our way up the ladder. She did and she put together the list in a way that let's every person set their own goal! So a new writer can aim to simply finish a book or send a query. Once they've reached that goal they can set a new one. This is basically another example of what we already know the writing and blogging community to be. Amazingly supportive and encouraging. So here's the link! Set a goal and join in.

The Plan
Earlier this week when I voiced my goal, I promised to have more of a plan today. The truth is we can write our hearts out (and we usually do) and how it's perceived by the world is up to the world. So having a firm plan on making a million dollars in an industry that thrives on subjectivity feels like making a plan to win the lottery. You're banking on luck.

But I'm not a gambler and accomplishing a goal without a plan is a lot like taking a rod trip without a map. You'll probably end up somewhere. It just might not be the place you were looking for. So I'm going to come at this with what I know. Things I can control. The more books I write, the more chances I have for a million dollar deal. The more books I release the better chance I have at making a million dollars in royalties. (Consistent strong sales of multiple books could mean I wouldn't need one book to sell like Twilight). I'm aiming to write four books a year. This means I have four months left to write 1 and 3/4 books with a 1200 mile move peppered in between. Wish me luck.

Here's what else I know. Supposedly, at a million words you become an expert writer. If we count only fiction written since I got serious in 2010 (no nonfiction and no God awful shorts written like journal entries) then I'm sitting on 432,000 words. This does not include the 20k I have on my current WIP. I'll make that entire deposit once I write "The end." If you were an engineer, doctor or lawyer, once you obtained that kind of experience you'd get a pay raise. I'm guessing this is at least partially true in writing too. I understand no publisher is going to pay based on my experience but theoretically the more you do something the better you become. I should hit half a million by the end of this year. Probably more but since one of the books left on my slate is part of a novella series I'm not sure if it will be full length yet. Writing 4 books a year, even at 50k is 200,000 words per year. Assuming I finish this year off at 500,000, I should hit the million word mark in 2016.

I think my current plan is to write four books a year, reach a million words, and better manage current products. Once I hit a million words, I'll re-address this to get a picture of where the additional experience has gotten me and what I can do to get closer to the goal--a million dollars by 2024.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I Wanna Be A Millionaire!

I want to make a million dollars. I've been milling it over in my head for a couple of months, and this seems like the lofty next goal I want to tackle. why? Because it's damn near impossible and will keep me working. Three years ago, when I decided I wanted to be a writer I read more than once that the odds of getting struck by lightning were higher than the odds of getting an agent. With the changes in the industry, I'm not sure this is true anymore. Lots of people are opting not to use an agent, and I think that helps those of us who would like to. But the fact remains that it's still next to impossible. (It's not impossible. I got an agent, and I'm not some special, magical writer--but it's HARD)!

 So once the reality of having an agent and an editor sunk in, I started thinking where do I go from here? This has to be the beginning not an end. (I mean I'm still not in B&N). The next logical step was a print deal, but that's something I feel I should be able to accomplish in the next year or two. I didn't feel that was a strong enough long term goal to keep me chugging away. I'm aware I haven't been around commenting like usual. My life is kind of up in the air right now and I don't have much time, but I've been doing a lot of reading from my phone. I'm staying up to date on the industry and what's going on. I came across an article posted by Hugh Howey that said a self published writer shouldn't worry at all about sales until they have at least a dozen books out. I think this means me. True, A Missing Peace is being published by an imprint of Harlequin, but The Last Marlowe Girl will still be self published. (My agent and I agreed I should finish my self published series). But even A Missing Peace will be ebook only, and I don't think marketing an ebook changes because of the publisher's name. Then I read another article that said first books don't become bestsellers and when they do there is a reason for this. It's tied to some unexplainable thing going on in the culture. My first thought was Twilight, a less than perfect book about hope and the impossible in the midst of a recession. And somewhere in the midst of first books aren't bestsellers, you need 12 books to sell, print is a totally obtainable goal, it struck me. I want a million dollar book deal. I really do. I know what you're thinking. "Beth, don't we all?" You're right.

 But then I saw my friend Misha Gericke's plan to make $7500 in royalties per month every month and to do this in five years time. Misha's plan is not solid. There are lots of things she does not know, like how she's going to do this. But it's well thought out. She has laid the groundwork by selling her first book , thinking of her next goal, placing a time limit  on it, and going for it. And I realized reading her post that I really, really wanted a million dollar deal, but I had no plan as to how to get there. I read Misha's post again. I combined this with the earlier articles. It's going to be easier to make a million dollars selling multiple books. It does not make me less of a success because it requires lots of writing and means some combination of my books are selling like wildfire. So I amended the plan. Rather than banking on a million dollar deal, I want to make a million dollars in some combination of royalties and advances. Although, I'd still rather do it in one deal. And I don't want this to be stretched out over the course of a lifetime. Just working our day jobs, we could all probably accomplish that over the course of our life time with a small salary times a lot of years. So in one twelve month period between now and 2024 I want to earn a million dollars. This is the goal. I'll have another post soon with more of a plan.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card And Announcements

First of all, I'm sorry I haven't been around much. Life is crazy right now! I probably won't be around the way I usually am until September. I'd like to say I'm so busy doing stuff to launch my book, but the truth is it's not that. We're moving back to Texas. (I'm currently in Wisconsin). It's a 1200 mile move! With a one year old. In a car. for 19 hours.

Now that that's done big news today.  I have the cover and official synop for my debut YA novel A Missing Peace. I'm giving away a $10 gift card, and I'm announcing a blogfest Catherine Stine and I are hosting in August.

A turbulent, emotionally charged YA novel that breaks down barriers and challenges the status quo...
Angry, seventeen-year-old Iraqi war refugee Mirriam Yohanna hates her new life in Killeen, Texas, where the main attraction is a military base, populated with spoiled army brats like Caleb Miller.
Caleb has much to be angry about too, including Mirriam who turns him down flat in front of everyone. Eager for retribution, Caleb agrees to a dare that will see him take Mirriam to the prom and regain his pride. But their relationship soon moves beyond high school antics. Mirriam and Caleb are bound together by more than location, and as they are forced to work closely together on a school assignment, they start to uncover an explosive story that has the potential to ruin lives — and both of their futures. One single truth changes everything and strengthens their bond.
When Mirriam's family discovers their relationship, they decide it's time to arrange her marriage to a proper Iraqi man. Caleb must convince Mirriam that he is in it for forever — or risk losing her for good.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And that brings me to the International Potluck Blogfest. There will be cool things up for grabs including another $10 Amazon gift card. You can promote your book during the blogest. The rules are simple post our image (available later) and a recipe or book from anywhere in the world. The ideal post would combine both. Sign up with the linky.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Show Days #6

To find out more about what "Show Days" is or why I'm doing this you can go here. This week's selection is from Gayle Foreman's If I Stay.

"Are you going tonight?" Dad asks.
"I was planning to. It depends if they shut down the whole state on account of the snow.
"It is approaching a blizzard," Dad says, pointing to a single snowflake floating its way to the earth.
"I'm also supposed to rehearse with some pianist from the college that Professor Christie dug up." Professor Christie, a retired music teacher at the university who I've been working with for the last few years, is always looking for victims for me to play with. "Keep you sharp, so you can show those Juliard snobs how it's really done," she says.

That's a brief selection, but it tells you our MC is in high school (we already know this but it still tells you  that), she's a talented musician, and there is a freak snow storm (important since her family dies in a car accident).

What do you think?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

On Newsletters And Notifications from Author Janeal Falor

Janeal Falor, author of You Are Mine is here to talk about newsletter and notification emails. 

You published a great book, readers love it and want to know more, and you want to give them more. The problem: How do you make the connection? Newsletters are fantastic, but they didn't fit my personality. Then I discovered Series Notification and quickly fell in love with the idea. Simple to make, easy for readers to sign up. Readers hear about your next book and it's an easy way to communicate wtih them. Win, win. Series Notification: An email sent on, or close to, release day informing readers that your new book is available for purchase. If you don't write series, or if you write multiple series, you could also do an author release notification and send out notices when any of your books are released. How to do this?
  • Newsletter Manager. I'm not going to go over all the newsletter program options here for spaces sake, you can research what you'd like. Personally, I use Mailchimp. It's easy to use for both you and readers, plus it's free up to 2,000 subscribers.
  • Make it easy to sign up. I have a link directly to sign ups at the end of my ebooks. This is the best place for it because readers are eager for more at the end of a good story. Links are also included on my website where readers will be looking for more information about the book they read and my works in progress.
  • Notification Email: Once your book is released, send out an email with information and links. Make this simple, eye catching, and easy to navigate. I've created an example for you here. This is an already released book, but gives you an idea what to make. This is just how I chose to do it, make it it to fit your book(s) and personality. [caption id="attachment_1104" align="aligncenter" width="212"]You Are Mine Notification Click to Enlarge[/caption]
Whether you decide to make a release notification or newsletter, try to make it fun and useful for your readers. Keep it short with lots of eye catching details like a magazine article. You can also do this with your social media, like twitter and facebook. If you'd like to do a newsletter, you will need a bigger variety of content. Ideas for inclusion in a Newsletter or Release Notification: What you decide to include is entirely up to you and will depend on whether you're doing a newsletter or notification.
  • Book Cover
  • Book Title
  • Description
  • Purchase Links
  • Short Excerpts (favorites from past books, sneak peeks from new books)
  • Character highlights
  • Reviews
  • Quotes made into images
  • Polls
  • Contests (both for newsletter subscribers only and for the general public)
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Exclusive information on new projects
There's a lot more you could do, but whatever you decide to use, keep it simple. We skim through things a lot these days so it's good to have it short, interesting, and eye catching. What would you prefer, a newsletter or series notification? Do you have any ideas, either as a reader or writer, of things to include in a newsletter?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ride for Rights

My friend Tara is here today to celebrate her book Ride for Rights, a YA historical about a girl with a bike.

In the summer of 1916 women do not have the right to vote, let alone be motorcycle dispatch riders. Two sisters, Angeline and Adelaide Hanson are determined to prove to the world that not only are women capable of riding motorbikes, but they can ride motorbikes across the United States. Alone.

From a dance hall in Chicago to a jail cell in Dodge City, love and trouble both follow Angeline and Adelaide on the dirt roads across the United States. The sisters shout their triumph from Pike’s Peak only to end up lost in the Salt Lake desert.

Will they make it to their goal of Los Angeles or will too many mishaps prevent them from reaching their destination and thus, hinder their desire to prove that women can do it?

There was a twinkle in Francisco’s eyes as he looked the women up and down, taking in their dirty riding attire and the motorbikes behind them.
“We are just moving some of our caballos and mules to a more desirable location,” he said smoothly. “You must be the famous sisters riding to Los Angeles and getting into muchas problemas!” He laughed boisterously and, turning to the conversing men waiting on their horses and mules behind him, said something in Spanish to them all. The men began laughing and slapping their thighs with their large hats.
Angeline didn’t like this and stepped forward. “What are you saying?” she demanded.
Francisco gestured for his men to be quiet. “I read your American papers. You are quite famous. You brought trouble upon a man with many wives.” He shook his head and raised his hands in the air as though in supplication. “More than one espousa. Por que?  Hombre loco!”
The men behind him roared their approval once again. Finished with his antics, Francisco turned a serious face to the women in front of him. “Crazy man, I say. One woman is enough.” He held up a single digit. “Any more woman than that, and I would be drowning in my José Cuervo!”
The men behind him began yelling amongst themselves, and Angeline had no idea what they were saying but decided it sounded rather bawdy and thus related to women and a man named José, and it seemed harmless enough. The men looked dirty and disheveled, and she noted they carried weapons, but the man called Francisco was smiling and did not seem to intend them harm, so she permitted herself to relax.
Adelaide was quite charmed by this foreign man in front of her. She liked his smooth movements and the way he spoke with a twinkle in his eye. She also liked the idea of being famous. She asked the man to tell her more about what he had heard.
“You are representing women, yes?” Francisco asked them. “You aretropas and rebels!”
“Well, I don’t know what a tropa is, but I suppose you could say that.” Adelaide blushed again. Angeline was watching from the corner of her eye.
“Tell me more.” Francisco placed her hand in the crook of his arm. “Maybe we can help you.” He gestured to his men to dismount, and they all rushed to obey, pulling saddlebags off their horses or mules. “We have food and water and José Cuervo.”
Angeline was looking around for this mysterious José they all seemed to worship so, but no man in particular seemed to respond. She shrugged and reluctantly followed Francisco and her sister as they walked. The men obviously under Francisco’s command were all resting on their colorful bedrolls and chatting, occasionally looking in their direction in curiosity.
She caught up to her sister and new companion and grabbed her sister’s free arm, forcing her to stop her chattering and turn around. “We really should be going. We must reach the next town before dark,” she said in a warning tone.
Adelaide’s eyes were bright with excitement, and her cheeks were flushed. “Francisco says we will not make the next town before dark. He says we may join him and his men when they set up camp.”
“Absolutely not!” Angeline hissed, glancing discreetly at Francisco who was now directing orders at his men. “What has gotten into you?  We are two women alone surrounded by strange, foreign men! Do you have any idea what could happen?”
“Mujures, I assure you no harm shall come to you. Here…” Francisco came up to them and pressed a Colt dragoon into Angeline’s hands, “for your safety.”
The dragoon was heavy, and she struggled not to show surprise or dismay. She had never shot a weapon. She attempted to exhibit a confidence she did not feel as she looked Francisco in the eye. “Why?” she asked defiantly. “Why do you want us to stay with your camp?”
“My men and I would love the company. We have been traveling for days with nothing but ourselves, our horses, our smelly mules, and José for company. We will not harm you, but I will not stop you from leaving if wish you wish to do so.”  He gallantly bowed once again.
A camp was being set up near a formation of rocks, and the men were unpacking cooking utensils as Angeline looked at the setting sun. She sighed. They had wasted too much time. She did not want to get lost again.
She looked at the dragoon in her hand, and its weight reassured her. She looked at a hopeful Adelaide and nodded her consent at Francisco. They would camp one night, but if any of the men bothered her or her sister, she was putting this dragoon to use even if it meant shooting her own arm off.

Tara Chevrestt is a deaf woman, former aviation mechanic, dog mom, writer, and editor. You’ll never see her without her Kindle or a book within reach. As a child, she would often take a flashlight under the covers to finish the recent Nancy Drew novel when she was supposed to be sleeping.
Tara is addicted to Law & Order: SVU, has a crush on Cary Grant, laughs at her own jokes, and is constantly modifying recipes and experimenting in the kitchen. Her theme is Strong is Sexy. She writes about strong women facing obstacles—in the military, with their handicaps, or just learning to accept themselves. Her heroines can stand alone and take care of themselves, but they often find love in the process.
You can connect with her on Facebook or follow her blog

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Show Day 5

If you want more info about "Show Days" or why I'm doing this, you can find that here.

So today's example is from the book Slammed. (If you like my PG-13 book reviews, I loved this one but I wouldn't read this author beyond this series).

"Kel and I load the last two boxes into the u-haul. I slide the door down and pull the latch shut, lucking up eighteen years of memories, all of which include my dad.

It's been six months since he passed away. Long enough that my nine-year-old brother, Kel, doesn't cry every time we talk about him, but recent enough that we're being forced to accept the financial aftermath that comes to a newly single parented household. A household that can't afford to remain in Texas and in the only home I've ever known."

You get a lot of information in these two paragraphs. You know that the narrator must be a young person, she's moving out of state, away from the only home she's ever known. And you get a sense of the emotional impact the father's death had on the family.