I Made It!

I am doing a happy dance right now because I received an email from Amazon with great news: my books have amassed enough sales so that I have reached the required minimum $10 sales mark to get paid!

I have reached the minimum.  I’ll take it and continue with my happy dance.

Being an e-book author, you are pretty much your own team for the most part.  Marketing, editing, cover design, etc are fields you often have to take on yourself in addition to, oh yeah, writing the books.  So when you hear that you are making it, you are overjoyed.

It’s been a slow struggle.  I will be the first to admit that my sales are not phenomenal or that my books are not hotcakes flying off the e-book shelves.  But they’re great books I worked hard on and worth a read.

Thank you to everyone who has helped make this possible and continues to make this possible.  I’m talking about you, Reader.  A writer would be nothing without readers, and I thank you.

And resuming happy dance.

My Version Of A Love Triangle

I am reaching a very important point in my life.  That point is the place where I ultimately come to terms with my quarter-life crisis and solve it, making my decision in a very love triangle, girl must choose one boy to be with, sort of way.

See, post-college I was just hoping to get a job, like, anywhere in this sucktastic economy.  In my fairy-tale like recent post-college haze, I figured this job would come and that I would have this job all while focusing on my fiction because writing fiction was the choice I made post-college.

I applied to grad schools, didn’t get in, decided it was a sign that the Universe really wants me to focus on writing fiction as my path in life.

So I did.

A year later, guess what happened/is happening?

I am going to apply to grad school.  Again.

I should note that this time around it’s different because I am a lot more serious about grad school than I was the first time I applied.  I am reaching out for help, not afraid that I might be bothering those former professors (hey, remember me?), and I am applying to more programs this time around since PhD programs are SUPER competitive.  Especially where I am applying with my BA instead of applying with an MA.  And I went to a state university.  Oh, and did I mention that the schools I am applying to are not only very competitive and hard to get into because they are PhD programs to begin with, but also because they are top rated English graduate programs?

I am the underdog.  Hopefully one of these programs will recognize that this underdog is stronger than most of the other dogs in the competition and should totally be accepted into the doctoral program.

Where was I?  Oh, right, the epic love triangle decision of my life.  On the one hand, I have the continue to seek employment while concentrating on writing figure.  That was the decision I basically went with after I graduated from college.  On the other hand, I have the go to grad school while writing as more of a hobby figure.  After thinking Option A was the one I wanted to be happy with for my life, I realize that I am not that happy with it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love writing fiction; to me, it’s fun.  But grad school, pursuing my academic interests…I’m realizing that’s where my heart truly is.

In the love triangle model, the doctoral program is the boy the girl chooses in the end while writing fiction is the boy the girl didn’t choose, but who remains friends with.  And, yes, I realize that sounds very much like Twilight.

 

Confessions Of A Writer #18

In “Confessions Of A Writer #17” I talked about how I do not regret my decision not to attend grad school.  I still do not regret my decision about grad school because although my decision not to attend the Masters program was financial, it later became a good decision due to my health.  I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease last July, and the doctor said it would take at least one year to heal the damage caused by Celiac Disease.  I needed this past year to not only focus on my writing and the things that would have remained on my To Do list had I gone to grad school but to focus on my health as well.

After I posted “Confessions Of A Writer #17,” I began to rethink attending grad school.  Except this time, instead of focusing on the “what if” or “what could have been,” I focused on the possibilities that are still there; I focused on the “what can still be.”  And as I began thinking more about what can still be, I realized that I can still go to grad school, get my PhD in English, and have a writing career plus be a blogger plus a whole bunch of other things I decide.

Doing what you love does not have to limited to only one thing, one path, one label.  The adage is “Be who you are.”  A person is a beautiful, complex individual who has a labyrinth of parts to their soul.  Why, then, should they try to confine their identity to one singular role?

Don’t just “Be who you are.”  Be all of you.

Confessions Of A Writer #17

Sometimes I reexamine a career decision and wonder if it was a good decision.  I always come to the conclusion that it might not have seemed like a good decision at the time, but it was a necessary one to help advance me towards where I ultimately want to be.

If this was Twitter, that would have to condensed to 140 characters and would be #noregrets.

As I reflect back on where I was a year ago, I realize that a year ago I was at a crossroads in terms of my career.  I was accepted into the English MA program at Northeastern University although I had only applied to the English PhD program at Northeastern; I wasn’t accepted into the PhD program, so my acceptance into the MA program felt a bit like a consolation prize.  Torn between pursuing a career in Academia and focusing on my writing, I reluctantly sent in my acceptance (along with the $100 fee).

In the end, I decided against going to Northeastern due to the very expensive price tag in loans I would be paying back in addition to my undergrad loans.  At the time, my decision against grad school did not seem like a very good decision.  For me, grad school was a sensible, logical decision given my strong background in academic research as well as my interest in Academia.  Besides, going to grad school would make me sound impressive.  Instead of saying, “I’m a substitute teacher, currently looking for something more permanent,” I could say, “I’m going to grad school for my Masters.”

A year later, I do not regret my decision against attending grad school.  Because if I had gone to grad school, I would not have published my books or created this blog or any of the other blogs.  I might have eventually, but building my writing career would have continued to remain on my To Do list.

I guess the point of this blog post is this: go after what you love.  No, I rephrase that: don’t simply go after what you love; do what you love.

There is a wonderful video from a Dale Carnegie Training conference where the speaker says, “Give Your 100.”  To illustrate his point, he tells the story of how a teacher one time called him to the front of the room and asked him to try to throw a piece of paper away.  What did he do?  He threw the piece of paper away.  The teacher said no, try to throw the piece of paper away.  So, the speaker took the piece of paper in his hand and kept flicking his wrist, making the motion of throwing away the piece of paper without ever actually throwing it.

If you try to be a writer, you won’t be successful because you won’t actually be a writer.  Try is a word implicit of a void in action.  Don’t let your life be filled with voids; fill your life with things you do, not try.

Help With Kindle Formatting For Your Manuscript

Last night, I was reading a post on thinkinglazy (thinkinglazy.wordpress.com) about how the blogger has decided to publish their story on Amazon Kindle.  As I was reading their post, I had a déjà vu moment because around this time last year was when I really thought more about publishing my books on Amazon Kindle.  After conquering my fear of heading out into the great unknown – the Internet – I published both books on Kindle the end of last summer.

When I decided I was going to publish on Kindle, I began doing my research on manuscript formatting.  My head felt like it was spinning worse than on an upside down rollercoaster.  There was no red, bolded section on the Kindle formatting guides I found that read: The Way You Wrote Your Manuscript Is the Wrong Format, You Will Have To Completely Reformat It This Way.  Instead, I was left searching for simple instructions that did not make me feel like a total tech loser on how to format my manuscripts so that they would not look extremely distorted on Kindles.

In all my research, I found one site that was the most useful.  It’s an article written on the site WOW! Women On Writing, and it is appropriately titled “How 2 Format Your Manuscript for Kindle and/or NOOK.”  This is the link to the article: http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/46-How2-FormatManuscriptForKindle.html

I hope it helps!  As always, best of luck with your writing!

The Voice Of Blogging

As you can tell from my last post, I was feeling very burnt out (hence the venting, frustrated post).  So yesterday, instead of trying to push myself to update all three blogs, tweet, and just be over all media savvy – instead, I scaled back.  I updated one blog and recharged.  In other words, I took my own advice and took a break so that I wouldn’t break.

The break worked.  Because if I had sat down at my computer last night to update all three blogs when I only had one post prepared for one of the blogs, I would have sat going back forth between staring at my computer screen and channel surfing on the television.  I physically did not feel well from the heat, my energy was running on fumes, and my motivation was depleted.  If I had posted on this blog, it probably would have read “Books are awesome.  That is all.”  A true statement, but not the best blog post.

Today, I actually do have an interesting post (at least I hope you’ll think it’s interesting).  I recently began a third blog which I titled The Consultant (theconsultantblog.com).  I created The Consultant because I’m very interested in the fields of Business and Leadership, and I created the blog as a forum to share my interest and what I’ve learned along the way and my own take on this advice.  Because as I read the Business and Leadership books, one of the things that strikes me is that the advice imparted in these books is intended to be universal and for everyone to use, regardless of gender; unfortunately, the reality is men and women are perceived differently in the workplace and when they use the advice they are perceived differently.

To help in my blogging efforts on The Consultant, I draw inspiration from what I read in books.  I also try to draw inspiration from Internet sources, specifically other business bloggers.  As I was doing my research, I realized something about business blogs.  Compared to blogs in other fields – writing, entertainment, food, travel, etc – business blogs are not the popular kids in school.  Posts are not liked as much or reblogged as much as those in other fields.  The business blogs themselves do not get as many followers as blogs in other subjects.  It’s as though the business world has not yet branched out enough to welcome bloggers; business blogging is still in its nascent phase.

I don’t care if The Consultant is not the popular kid in school.  Okay, I care a little.  But blogging isn’t about how many followers you have or how many people like your blog or even how many people read your blog.  Blogging is writing and a platform for you to share your writing with others.  Most importantly, it gives you a microphone to express your voice.  And there are no judges here to boot you off either.