Evaluate, Consummate, and Propagate

Book FestivalDon’t get excited, this isn’t a blog on sex education. This is advice for my fellow writers. Here we are in the seventh month of the year and if you haven’t evaluated where you are with your writing goals so far for 2013, then its a good time to take a few minutes out and do that. That’s where the evaluate comes in. I recommend that you take a look at those things you’ve already accomplished or how far you’ve come on the  projects you’re still working on. Give yourself credit for what you have done. Don’t beat yourself up for everything you have not done. At the same time, unless there is a good reason why you haven’t accomplished more then ask yourself what prevents you from getting more done on your writing goals? What do you need to do so that you can accomplish your goals. What do you need to do so you can write? At times in the past, the answer for me was to leave the house and go to the library or coffee shop for a couple of hours so I could clear my mind enough to write. Maybe it is sitting out in your backyard away from the family for an hour every evening while they watch TV.

What could I possibly mean by consummate and what does it have to do with writing? The meaning of consummate is to complete or perfect in every way; to finish. First, get it done. Then be sure that you edit your work. Whether you self-publish or go through a royalty publisher you want your best work out there. Who wants the reader to wonder how you ever got “this thing” into print with sooo many errors in it. How embarrassing. I know from experience that no matter how many eyes are on a manuscript that sometimes a few typos or mistakes can slip through, but do your best to perfect your work as much as possible before you put it out there.

Last but not least — propagate. Keep on writing. Don’t stop. A lesson that I’ve learned in the last couple of years is that you don’t want to stop the flow of articles or books coming out. I focused on writing a couple of nonfiction projects and didn’t keep my fiction series coming out at a regular interval so that there has been a gap between book 2 and book 3 of over two years. That was not very good planning on my part. I won’t let that happen again. I’m back on track again with one in production with the publisher now and another that should be out by Christmas. I need to discipline myself to keep propagating my novels so that the readers have them. If you don’t feed your readers they may go somewhere else.

So all you writers out there — come on and evaluate, consummate, and propagate with me!

OWFI and DIY Alphabet Soup

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We live in a world of alphabet soup. Everything has an abbreviation that comes down to either a letter combination that we use instead of the name or the anachronism we use as a word in place of the full name. Have you noticed we even do that for the names of the churches we attend, at least we do in our area. Those of us who text and tweet a lot write and read in an abbreviated language that I’m not sure I even understand part of the time. I have to admit that my daughter had to explain what lol and roflol meant and then I felt quit smart and hip, one of the in-crowd because I knew what that meant. Then? I found out that there was a whole lot more to the shortened vocabulary … so much for speaking fluent text and tweet … lol 🙂

My friend and fellow author, Kimberly Black, and I went to the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, Inc. Conference this weekend or commonly known as OWFI, this past weekend.  About 300 attendees and a great faculty presented workshops for people of all levels — we all found something of interest and learned a lot. I found out I’m a hybrid author and here I thought I just aspired to owning a hybrid car someday to be environmentally responsible. With the changing publishing industry, many authors are combining the traditional pathway with a traditional publisher and then self-publishing as well.

I have a great relationship and wonderful books produced with Buoy Up Press from awoc.com, Dan Case publisher. He is a royalty publisher and produces great quality books and takes good care of us authors. We have to give him top quality writing and the editing process is stringent, as you would expect. About 18 months ago I waded into the shallow end of the pool as a self-published author with my nonfiction book, Tools and Tips: What Every Writer Needs to Know to Go Pro. At the time I wrote and published it, I have no plans to go out on my own with everything, but I had no idea that made me a DIY and hybrid author. It seems to be part of the journey for many of us. We as authors need to be flexible and adapt. A couple of jewels I learned this weekend are:

1. The fastest growing market for ebooks in the next three to five years is in the third-world countries because of the explosion in cell phone availability. Inexpensive ebooks available on iphones give us a market previously not available.

2. Ebooks priced at $2.99 – $3.99 sell approximately 4.2 – 4.3 times more books than those prices $.99 – $2.89 or some catagories prices more than than, up to $9.99. You actually make more money selling at $3.99 than at $9.99 in the long run.

3.If you’re interested in publishing your own ebooks, check out Smashwords.com – I’m not actually endorsing them, but their founder was one of the presenters at OWFI and had a lot of impressive and valuable informative information that was backed up with substantial facts. They have a lot to offer including marketing.

For those of my blog followers who are authors, as well as readers, a lot of what we do besides the actual writing is a do-it-yourself process. We cannot afford to hire a staff to do everything else for us, at least not to begin with in our careers. That’s why it’s important that writers share and help each other with what we’ve learned, not only through our books, but also when we meet each other and talk over a cup of coffee or a glass of tea. In my experience, those authors who are ahead of me in their careers have always been quick to offer a hand to bring me along and it’s my turn to pass it on. We all have the opportunity to pay it forward to someone else coming up behind us with a bowl of alphabet soup.

Printed Books, Audio Books, and E-Books

Do you have a favorite? Some of us grew up going to libraries and reading. Others only read what they are assigned at school or at work. For me, I’ve always loved books. My mom read to us as we grew up. I love the smell of a library. About half of the books that sit on the shelves in my home came from Friends of the Library sales and second hand stores. The other half are brand new books and you can hear it in the binding when you open them for the first time. In case you didn’t know, I’m a tactile and visual person.

Publishing and the way we get access to books is changing, as you all are well aware. I treasure holding a book in my hands and turning the pages. Then, after hours on the computer five days a week, my eyes got tired and I wanted to read at night but my eyes bothered me. I’d heard of audio books but had never listened to one. After a trip to the Amarillo Public Library branch closest to me, the world of audio books opened up. A whole section of classics and new releases sat on the shelves and I’d never noticed. Audio books go on road trips, flights, and act as bed time stories. They are even in the yard with me sometimes while I get the garden ready for planting in the Spring. My mother-in-law lost her sight in the last few years of her life and she listened to audio books. She’d been a voracious reader all her life.

Enter E-books in all their forms. At first, many thought it wouldn’t be much more than a flash in the pan. However, it is revolutionizing the publishing world for all of us and opens up options for authors.

Now, I realize none of this is news to any of you, but as the industry has diversified, so must we. Keep a finger in all the pies. Versify your writing and use all the wonderful ways to get your writing out to others. I’ve learned this lesson over the past year and a half and am working on just how to get it all implemented. That’s where time management comes. The next post will address some time management tips for the busy writer.