Project Thankful: Reason #96

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being a writer.  I currently have two books, The Hunted and Darkness Calls, published on the Amazon Kindle store.  I am also currently in the process of writing the sequels to both of the books.  As I’m going through this process, I reflect back on the books and a list of things comes to my mind stating all the edits, changes, and just what I would have done differently back when I first wrote/edited/published them.

There will always be things I should have done differently.  That’s just life.  In regards to being a writer, I don’t associate the things I should have done differently with regrets.  I don’t have any regrets when it comes to being a writer.  No matter how scathing that part of me that looks at the books and says “Yeah, it would have been better…” is, if I had a time machine and could go back and re-do anything, I would still leave the books as they are.

Mistakes, failures, errors, misjudgments…they happen for a reason.  When it comes to being a writer, all of mine have made me a better writer.  I’d rather start weak and become strong instead of starting strong and turning weak. 

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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.

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!

Help One Fund Boston

I was reading an article on The Huffington Post today about the cost of the Boston Marathon tragedy in terms of money.  One Fund Boston, the charity set up by Mayor Menino and Governor Patrick to help the victims of the bombings, has so far raised over $25 million.

As impressive as that may sound, it probably is not enough to help cover the costs of the victims.  As The Huffington Post article points out, at least fifteen victims had to have limbs amputated.  According to The Huffington Post, it costs around $20,000 to amputate a leg, plus more than $50,000 for the most high-tech prosthetics, plus tens of thousands of dollars more for an amputees’ rehab, plus the wages that person will lose because they are out of work, plus the thousands of dollars it will cost to have that person’s car and home modified to accommodate their prosthetic, plus a lot more expenses that will incur.  Now multiply those rough numbers by fifteen.  Subtract the number you get from that original $25 million, and you can begin to see that the money raised by One Fund so far is still not enough to help all the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy.

The website to donate to One Fund is onefundboston.org.  I hope that you will please consider donating.  There are so many victims and those affected by the tragedy that any amount will make a difference.

I’m going to make an initial donation to One Fund Boston.  In addition to that donation, I will be donating 10% of the proceeds from The Hunted and Darkness Calls sales (my e-books, both available on the Amazon Kindle and NOOK stores) to One Fund Boston from now until the end of the day on May 15th.

Thank you.

Lauren

Confessions Of A Writer #7

Procrastination has become my drug.

I am almost done with the first draft of Book 2 in the Darkness Calls series.  I emphasize the almost part because I am at the point where I know how the book is going to end, what scenes need to be added, the finishing touches, etc.  But despite knowing what needs to be done to finish the draft, I have yet to finish it.

Why?

Because I procrastinate.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and start heading towards it, but then stuff comes up which sound like perfectly good reasons to delay finishing the draft.  Holidays.  Errands.  Oh, and the job I do to provide me with the paycheck needed to pay back my student loans.  By the end of the day when I go to write, I am tired from all the other otherness in my life.

My job has become a large part of it.  I substitute teach but have recently taken on tutoring and proctoring the MTEL in addition to substitute teaching.  So, yeah, I have been very busy in an effort not to disappoint my inner Suze Orman.

But I have also recently come to the revelation that the job is not my life.  The job is not the path, or even the baby steps towards the path, I want to be on in life.  I do not want to be a teacher or any type of education-related profession.  The job is my current source of a paycheck, but it does not define what I want to do in life.

I am a writer.  I find it odd that I need to remind myself of who I am and what I truly want.  It is as though I have unintentionally allowed the other stuff I do not like to take over my life to the point where I have to remind myself that I enjoy doing something and force myself to do something that I truly like, such as reading a book or writing.  And I think I am not alone in this perplexing situation.

So, yeah, procrastination has become my drug.  Yet, I like to think of myself as a recovering addict in that I am rehabilitating myself to the life that I truly want to have and to go for that life.  Not the one where I let a job I do not like hijack my life and identity.

Confessions Of A Writer

On the left side of this blog you will find an addition to the menu: Confessions Of A Writer.  I decided to start this series because often times, when I sit down to update this blog, I draw a blank.  So here are some of the secrets I have been trying to keep from readers because I hope you do not judge me in a bad way.  I still hope you do not judge me, but I hope this will give you a better sense of who this blogger/author is behind all those dang posts.  Note: The page (you can get there by clicking on the page’s title on the left side at the top of this blog) will be updated as more Confessions come to mind, but these are the confessions of this writer so far.

Confessions of a Writer:

1. When I click on my Amazon Reports page to see if anyone has bought either of my books, I get wicked excited when I see someone has.  That balloon quickly pops when I also see that they then returned said book(s) as soon as they accidentally bought them.

2. I get jealous when I read another person’s blog, and I see that they have thousands of blog followers.  The number of followers I have is still in the teens.  I feel small.

3. I have this panicky knot in the middle of my stomach that a year from now, not more than fifteen people in total will have read my books.  I try to untangle that knot through many self-therapy sessions, but it keeps getting tangled in places.  I am working up to burning the knot all together, erasing the very thought from my brain.  It’s a long, dubious road to get to that point.

Making the Internet My Minion

Lately I have been having an energy burst when it comes to writing and doing the things writers should do in terms of tweeting, blogging, and over all just trying to reach out to the audience more.  At first I thought it might have to do with some planet entering a moon phase or some other astrological explanation, but I think the reason behind this focus is more ordinary: I do not like my job.

No, not my job as a writer.  I have been working as a substitute teacher for the past year and a half, and to say that I thought my life would be different by now is putting it mildly.  Substitute teaching was the first job I was able to get out of college (thank you, economy) and no, I do not want to be a teacher nor did I go to college to become one.  I was an English major who wanted to get a job writing for a newspaper or magazine.  Because I wrote a column for my college newspaper and was the assistant editor for Arts & Entertainment for a chunk of time, I thought when it came time to apply for the job I wanted I stood a good chance.  Oh what they do not tell you in Career Services.

Despite not getting the job I thought I would post-graduation, I came out of my first year substitute teaching being able to say that I enjoyed my job.  Then a lot of somethings happened.  As I mentioned in my last blog post, I fully realized I want to be a writer and started taking steps towards having the life I always wanted.  I also realized come the start of the school year that somewhere along the line I outgrew substitute teaching.

The first year I subbed provided me with a platform, the space I needed to figure my life out and to actually answer that age-old question of “What do I want to do with my life?”  As I started my second year I am currently in, I felt like substitute teaching has morphed into this dollhouse; when I was younger I had this pink dollhouse that I thought was so huge, but when I was older I looked at it and it was not as big anymore (in fact I felt big looking at it).  Unfortunately the economy is still such that this is still the only job I can get (and believe me, I searched for others and applied).

Instead of letting my dislike fester, I decided to channel my frustration into my writing career.  I am finally getting good about tweeting, blogging, and not dragging my feet to actually sit down and, well, write.  On Twitter I am tweeting every day now, and more than once at that.  I created author pages on Amazon and Goodreads that include my biography.  I am spreading the word about my books, bringing out my inner marketing persona (she wears black stilettos I would otherwise be too afraid of wearing out of fear of breaking my ankle and is the equivalent of mental dynamite in board rooms).  In other words, I have made the internet my minion in building my writing universe.