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Be My Horton

Hello friends,

Look! It’s me on that little speck.

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I am here! I am here! I am here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my last blog post, I talked about the challenge to find readers. It’s so hard. I feel like a little a who down in Whoville shouting on a speck at a world that’s too big to hear me. But it’s okay. If you’re reading this, you’ve heard me. You are my darling, Horton, and I appreciate it.

While I wait for the rest of the world to notice my tiny, insignificant voice, I’ve got to find a way to keep myself going when my writing can seem so pointless.

So, I’ve invented a way to play with myself (uh, err. Should I scratch and rephrase?)

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Ahh! The floor is lava!

At this point, I have approximately five manuscripts that I haven’t finished, so I’m going to start sharing them on Wattpad and Chapterbuzz…the one that gets the most love is the one that I’m going to concentrate on writing for that week. It will kind of be like American Idol, The Voice, or America’s got talent (which I stopped watching when The Regurgitator lost–he got robbed) but with my manuscripts.

They are early drafts, so they’re not perfect, but the good thing about Wattpad and Chapterbuzz is that I can get feedback from readers on how to improve the chapters as I go. Then, most likely, I will publish them through my publishing company, WhistlePig Publishing. Of course, that will be after multiple drafts, professional editing, and a professional cover artist has designed a proper cover. For now, I’ve made quick covers for Wattpad and Chapterbuzz purposes (so please don’t judge these books by their covers 😂) and given them a working title.

If new readers discover me along the way, that’s only ever going to be a good thing. True, it could just be more crickets, and there won’t be many views, votes, or comments on either site but finding just one more reader–one more Horton–would be incredible. If you’d like to read the chapters of my works in progress here is the link to my Wattpad profile and here is the link to my Chapterbuzz profile.

To my manuscripts…

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Here I go, yet again

Here I go, yet again

A few things about me before I begin this blog post:

  1. I love to tell stories, always have.
  2. Every day I fight the voice in my head that tells me I’ll always be a failure
  3. I’m awfully stubborn.

1 & 3 are the only way I can fight 2. 2 is always telling me to quit. 1 is the biggest reason I’ll keep pushing, keep failing, keep picking myself up and trying again.

What am I doing to fight the voice that says I’m a failure?

I remind myself of a few things:

There are a lot of people out there who want to write a book, haven’t, and probably never will. I have, over and again.

There are also a lot of writers out there who don’t share their work. I understand that. I’ve been sharing for a few years now. I’ve been trying to put myself out there more and more no matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel.

I’ve done things in my past that scared me and made me push myself to succeed. I try to put myself back in the place I was in during those times when the thought of failure gripped me tightest. This helps me remember how helpless and hopeless I felt then, yet, I succeeded in the end.

What’s making me feel like a failure now?

Marketing myself and finding new readers. This seems like mission impossible. I wish I had the budget to do a massive marketing campaign, but I don’t. The writers I see succeeding are those that have lots of dollars behind them (I’m not saying their books are good, but I bet there are a lot of great books that go unnoticed because they can’t pay for the buzz that comes from a great marketing campaign–both indie and traditionally published authors.) I just read an article yesterday about an indie author whose debut novel sold over 10,000 copies. He said the key to his success was spending the money on a intensive marketing campaign.

I’m putting all my extra money into opening another business at the moment and chose to spend my writing budget on editing and cover art. Hopefully, in the future, I’ll have more money to sink into marketing, but I just don’t have those funds available right now.

While I work on the other project and wait to have these funds available, I feel like I’m stuck. There’s only so much I can do on my own with a shoestring budget to try to get the word out about my book. But I don’t think there are a lot of people out there who are willing to take a chance on an unknown author. Maybe this is bad of me to say, but I feel like a lot of people just buy into the buzz that comes from reading something on the NYT bestseller list.

What steps am I taking to push forward until I have a marketing budget?

I’m going to use all my platforms to try to find more readers. Finding even one more reader is better than giving in to my fears and giving up. Someday I may be someone’s favorite author, but that won’t happen if I stop trying to find them.

I’m going to keep sharing my journey on this blog. I’ll keep tweeting. And I’ll keep searching for new avenues to find readers I can connect with.

The newest way I’m doing this is…

I’ve joined Chapterbuzz.

I’m hoping to find more readers via Chapterbuzz. I’d love (and also feel terrified and nauseous) to share my work-in-progress and hear constructive feedback about how I can improve each chapter.

If you’d like to read my 1st draft as I go and help me improve my book, I’d love if you’d come on over and join me. When you become a fan and “buzz” my chapters, it gives me points that will help me to become more discoverable by other readers. Click here to join. (It’s free, btw)

I’ll also be posting on Wattpad.

I’ll also be adding my chapters on Wattpad. You can follow along and read my chapters by clicking here.

 

Maybe these will be flops, some of many failures on my road to finding readers, but perhaps it won’t. I’m always willing to try.

I’m going to keep moving forward, no matter how slowly, or how many times I stumble and fall flat on my face.

Thanks for reading. From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate it.

 

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Free today only – to celebrate a fantastic start

Crushing it so far!

At the end of August, I had 100 followers on this blog. The goal I set to achieve by the end of September was to double that number. I’ve been working hard to reach new followers, and I’m already at 128 subscribers! Woooohoooo! Thanks to everyone who has followed me. I really appreciate it, and I feel like I’m going to reach my goal.

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You should set more than one goal, girlie!

Why stop at the number of people who follow your blog, Allie?

Great question! Why am I stopping there when I know that I need to work on my email list and the number of reviews I have on my book? Okay, well, here’s another goal…get more people to sign up for my author email list (which I NEVER give out anyone’s information and I NEVER spam people with.) I just want to keep in touch with my readers should I ever lose access to my blog or social media accounts.

I also need more reviews on my book ASTER THE SPIRIT TALKER on Amazon and Goodreads. Indie authors, like me, need reviews to reach new readers. I know I check out reviews before I decide to buy any book and so few people leave them.

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Your reviews helping me 😂

 

So what are you going to do about that, Allie?

I’m so glad you asked! (Wow, I’m a nerd.) 😂 😂

To try to get more readers that I can stay in touch with via my email list (and who will hopefully leave reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads 🤞🏻 🤞🏻 🤞🏻 please and thank you) I’m going to gift a Kindle ebook copy of ASTER THE SPIRIT TALKER from Amazon to anyone who signs up on this terrific Tuesday (extending this to anyone who stumbles across this post) by clicking here!

Wooohoooo! Getting people to sign up for email lists has got to be one of the most difficult things I’ve tried to do as an author. No one wants to do it. LOL! I get it. I’m reluctant to do that as well but I can promise you that I’m not going to bombard you with emails. I’m just a nerdy author, standing before a group of readers, asking them to take a chance on me.

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Where’s the sweet spot?

Where’s the sweet spot?

Hello friends,

I’ve been trying to blog more regularly but that’s got me wondering how much is too much and how much is still too little?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I want to post content for my readers regularly, but I don’t want to overload their inboxes either. When I subscribe to a blog and get more than one or two posts a day, I get the urge to unfollow the blog. It’s just too much when 5, 10, or it may as well be 1000 pour in. That’s all I see. I don’t even read them or check to see what the subject is anymore. Usually, I don’t unsubscribe because I don’t want them to feel bad but I really do hate it. I don’t want anyone to feel that way about me and my posts.

I don’t want to post so infrequently that I’m not finding new followers or keeping the ones I have interested in me and my journey.

So where is the sweet spot?

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Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

I guess just like figuring out the best days and times to post, I’ll have to experiment to find the answer to this as well.

I’d love to know your thoughts. So please, leave a comment below to let me know how much is too much or too little?

Also, is there anything you’d like me to post about?

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Join In The Fun! Join In The September 2018 Tea Party! — The Little Mermaid

Reblogged from The Little Mermaid. What a cool idea!

“What better way to suggest friendliness – and to create it – than with a cup of tea?” -J. Grayson Luttrell Aloha, charming WordPressers! I’m delighted to announce you that The Little Mermaid is hosting her third monthly tea party on her website. What? A tea party? On WordPress? When? How? For whom? Alright..alright…take it […]

via Join In The Fun! Join In The September 2018 Tea Party! — The Little Mermaid

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I thought I hated ebooks.

I thought I hated ebooks.

I’m going to say right away that print books are still my favorite way to read.

And I continue to hate reading anything longer than an email, blog post, or article on my phone or my computer.

For quite a while now, I believed reading an ebook was always going to be a horrible experience. I bought a kindle fire years about because I used to travel quite a bit and I thought it would be nice to be able to play games (like Scrabble-even though I suck at it and always lose😂), watch movies, and have some books to read while I was on airplanes or trapped on a long car ride. It was nice for the movies and the games, but I hated reading on the fire.

What did I hate about it? Two things really:

  1. The fire feels heavy. Maybe I’m weak, but it’s just heavy enough to make reading in certain positions uncomfortable.
  2. The glare! I hate it. It doesn’t matter how I adjust the brightness, I can’t see it outside. And any lamp or skylight in my house that hits it the wrong way makes it annoying.

Besides the ability to play games and watch movies on the fire, I liked the price. It’s so much cheaper than the kindle Paperwhite. And I’m into saving money.

My brother told me how much he loved his Paperwhite and I kept thinking, “no way I’m spending money on one because I already know I hate ebooks and how much different from reading on the fire could it really be anyway?”

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Then, one day, a book that I desperately wanted to read was released, and it was available as an ebook only. That book was Unanchored by Stephanie Eding (you can read my review of it by clicking here). I waited for the print version to release. And I waited. But then I decided I couldn’t wait anymore. So, I bought it. Then Amazon Prime Day happened, and with the discounted prices on kindles, I decided to treat myself.

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While I didn’t go for the Paperwhite like my brother recommended, I did buy the plain kindle e-reader in white, and I LOVE IT!

I read Unanchored (excellent book, btw) and enjoyed every moment!

The e-reader was light, and the pages looked like real, print pages! It doesn’t have the built in light but I’m always too sleepy to read when it’s getting dark anyway. I’m sure if it ever becomes a problem I can get one of these nifty, little, clip-on lights (And I’ll still be saving money- YAY!)

I am reformed. I love ebooks! Ebooks are cheaper, which appeals to my thrifty nature, so I don’t feel like I’m taking quite as big of a risk as buying a print book. Usually, I get print books at the library anyway, but I’m a slow reader, and if a book is a new release, I can’t always read a book in the time the library gives before a hold is placed, and I have to return it. Now I can get the ebook and enjoy, reading along at my own pace. And btw, when Unanchored comes out in print, I’ll buy a print copy for my bookshelf. If it’s something I know I’ll want to read again or gift to a friend, I still prefer print. I’ll also still be utilizing the library for a large majority of my reading (I rarely read new releases anyway), but it’s nice to know that if a book is only available as an ebook, I don’t have to grumble and roll my eyes.

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YAY!

If you’d like to buy my book, ASTER THE SPIRIT TALKER, available in print or ebook, click here. 

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How I reclaimed my inner spark

How I reclaimed my inner spark

A while back I wrote about discovering that I had a vitamin d deficiency. You can find that post by clicking here if you’re interested.

I suppose it started when I moved from Hawaii to Ohio (there’s whole lot less sunshine here😂).

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Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

I knew I wasn’t feeling great but it was such a gradual change, I didn’t really recognize my symptoms. Here’s what some of them were:

Depression ✅

Muscle Weakness ✅

Tiredness ✅

Crankiness ✅

and a few others that open a whole other can of worms that I’m not interested in sharing with the world at this point.

My doctor put me on a high dose of vitamin d which I’m still taking and will continue to take forever. At first, I didn’t really notice a difference. I experienced some pain in my joints, and the changes to my mood were so gradual, I didn’t really see a change taking place (oh, but it was).

This summer I’ve been spending more time outdoors, without sunscreen. I know. I know. You should wear sunscreen, cancer and all that jazz. I wear hats and long sleeves if I’m going to be out long doing yard work or something like that. And I will put a little sunscreen on AFTER I’ve been in the sun for a while but never before going out. (I’ve not once gotten sunburned, btw).

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Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

Anyway, I did not realize how deep into a shadow I had moved until I was basking in the glow of my inner spark once again.

Before, I had a hard time doing anything or remembering to do anything. I’d forget appointments and important dates without lists, alerts, and alarms. I’d always been the kind of person who was on top of the shit that was important to me. Then, nothing was important to me. I struggled. Everyday.

When the warmth of spring arrived this year, I started taking daily walks again. Walking is something I did a lot of in Hawaii and I was happy that I was finally feeling like doing it again.

Then, this summer, I went for one of my evening walks. The person I was walking with and I saw a man bending over in his yard. I couldn’t help myself, and I made a loud fart noise and started giggling (yes, I’m 10), and I laughed so hard I struggled to continue the rest of the way up a hill we were on. On other walks, I’d mall walk or sometimes prancersize. Laughing became a regular part of the walks. I had so much energy. I really was acting like a complete idiot again.

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Now it’s the norm once more. I do stupid shit. I giggle. I snort. I really enjoy doing simple, everyday things that had brought me so much misery to even think about doing before.

And guess what…I’m usually not even tired until bedtime!

Who knew a vitamin deficiency could have such an impact on my life?

I’m grateful to have a doctor that thought to check for it and didn’t just throw a pile of antidepressants at me and call it good (Not that people don’t benefit from anti-depressants. I’m just saying it wouldn’t have been the answer for me because it wasn’t the root cause of my problems, so please don’t feel the need to yell at me in the comments).

I’m so happy to feel like myself again. It would have been absolute misery to live the rest of my life the way I was feeling. I’m not sure I could have continued on that way.

I’m back. And it’s really great to be back and remember how it truly feels to be me.

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If you’re interested in buying my book, ASTER THE SPIRIT TALKER, you can buy it by clicking here.

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Ugh, why did I do that?

Ugh, why did I do that?

The first thing I do (after getting ready) in the morning is to check my emails and my book sales.

Yesterday, I got an alert in Createspace asking me if I wanted to move my paperback title over to KDP. I thought, “why not?” because then I’d be able to track everything in one place. Man, am I kicking myself for that decision now.

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The paperback title shows that it has no cover. Ugh, why did I do that? Whhhhhhyyyyyyy!

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I guess it’s partially because I keep hearing that Createspace is going away. I also thought it would be a smooth transition. And that it would be so nice to track my sales all in one place.

Now I’m worried everything is jacked up. I was so happy with the way my paperback turned out with Createspace. Now there might not be a cover on my paperback. Who knows, the formatting could be all jacked up, too. Or everything could be fine. I hate not knowing. I emailed KPD, and they’re usually extremely helpful, but I’m worried I’m going to have to do everything all over again. And that I’ll have to pay for more proof copies to make sure they are. What about any book sales that come in while I’m experiencing issues while I’m waiting for an answer from KDP?

“What about any books sales that come in?” 😂 😂 😂

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Oooooh, that’s funny! Okay, I’m working on the marketing portion and someday the book sales rolling in will actually be a concern of mine. 🤣 🤞🏻 🤞🏻 🤞🏻 I’m stubborn, and I have no doubt I’ll figure out how to be a productive sales(wo)man one day.

Okay, back to my issue. I’m always doing things where I mentally beat myself up and ask, “Ugh, why did I do that?”

I wish I hadn’t moved my book over to KDP. I’m not even going to dare do a google search on the topic because I’m sure there are numerous blogs saying, “Don’t do it! Stay with Createspace!” and I’m going to feel like an even bigger idiot. But I know that I’ll figure things out. I’ll feel like an idiot for a while, but soon I’ll be wiser. I’ll know how to use KDP and I’ll be happy that I can track my titles in one place. I’ll love the fact that I can create my future titles’ paperback and ebook versions in the same place. There will only be one customer support that I’ll have to contact for help the next time I’m kicking myself and muttering, “Ugh, why did I do that?”

Eh, I’m making mistakes, but I’m learning. By the time I’m dead, I just may be wicked smart.

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Haha! Someday. Right now is not that time. Oh well. I have to feel like a dumb@$$ for a day or two. Then I’ll move on and maybe feel proud of what I’ve accomplished for a day or two before doing something else I’ve never done before and falling on my face.

But for today, I’m trying to keep in mind that I’m doing, I’m trying, I’m learning, I’m working to accomplish my goals. And while all my failures suck for a while, someday I might find myself winning.

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**In the time it took me to vent and write this blog post, everything is back to looking the way it should again.** Ahh, I feel so much better.

Anyway, if you’d like to buy my book, ASTER THE SPIRIT TALKER, it’s available by clicking here. 😁

 

 

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Are book trailers useful? (part one)

Are book trailers useful? (part one)

Hello friends,

When you publish a book and you’re trying make it discoverable by readers, there is so much conflicting advice on what you should do it can be overwhelming. And unfortunately, a lot of the advice offered (to help you become a bestseller) isn’t free. I’m beginning to think there are a lot of authors out there who really make their money by promising to help others sell their books (but it doesn’t work and your money is wasted). They don’t write for the love of writing but to scam aspiring authors out of their dollars and cents.

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I want to share everything I do with you–for free! So that you can learn from my mistakes (yes, it’s embarrassing to show my failures) and you can benefit from my successes (if I ever have any 😂 😂 😭 😭 😭).

So here’s question 1 I’m going to explore and I’ll report back on whether it was a big, fat flop in a future post…Are book trailers useful?

I suspect the answer is no. I’d like to point out that I do have a bit of advanced knowledge of this in that I release a book before, paid someone on Fiverr to make a book trailer for me (I think I paid $15), and it brought me no noticeable sales.

This time, I’ve made the book trailer myself, so it only cost me my time. To be honest, it turned out just as well as the one I paid for.

Here it is…

 

Now you may be thinking, “Allie, if a book trailer didn’t bring you any sales before, why are you even bothering?”

Great question! You are smart, dear reader. I’m trying again because I think everything is always worth a few attempts–especially when they don’t cost me anything. I’ve shared the video on Youtube (which I plan to try to start utilizing), Facebook, in this post, Twitter, Google+, my Amazon author page, and I also plan to put a link on Pinterest. I’ve yet to figure out if I can put it on Instagram. (Have I ever mentioned how much I despise using Instagram? I find it so UN-user-friendly)

I’m not sure of any other ways that I can use this book trailer, but I’m going to dig around in some blog posts, seek out other book trailers to learn how they’re used, and try to brainstorm different ways I can use it. My goal is to make my book discoverable in as many places as I can. Whether or not that will convert to book sales, I have no idea but I guess we’ll find out together.

Are you an author who uses book trailers to try to generate sales? If so, would you mind sharing your experiences in the comments below? If you have any suggestions on additional ways to use a book trailer, I’d love to know those as well. I need all the help I can get.

Or maybe you’re a whiz at marketing and you’d like to share your knowledge with someone like me?

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Writing a book was the easy part for me. Marketing myself and my book–whew, that’s another story–one I’m struggling with.

If you’re interested in buying my book after that amazing book trailer 😉 you can purchase it by clicking here for the ebook or here for the paperback. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free.

See you in part two–which will hopefully be named Are book trailers useful? (part two-success!) 😂 😂 🤞🏻 🤞🏻