Sunday, January 23, 2022

The Current Life of Me the Writer

 Initially I decided to self-publish both my books after learning that it would be up to me to market and promote them anyway, with little if any help from the publisher. 

The Light Stays On first came out in 2008. The reviews and responses were heartwarmingly good, but I did very little to publicize it. This love story was (and still is) listed on Amazon, I did a couple of book fairs, got the book into several independent book stores, and had a hilarious reading in Provincetown (me sandwiched in between two very erotic lesbian writers, one with a story about Buffy the Cheerleader and her gym coach. I crouched in embarrassment!) 

I also got a nibble from a publisher I had contacted, who was interested but only if I expanded the story by  50 more pages. I didn't follow up. Fast forward to today and The Light Stays On is finally getting my attention. I'm always thrilled when someone says that the story of Alex and Lily meant something and touched them in some way. I've made a few small changes and have recently 'republished' the book on Amazon, also making it available as a e-book and in countries outside the USA. This time I'll be more involved. 

At the same time I'm promoting my recent book of poetry, Love & Other Annoyances. Same deal: it's on Amazon, in a few select bookstores, and I've done a couple of book signings. What's different this time around, is that I'm also laboriously trying to learn about algorithms and meta data--the secret sauce that puts a book in front of Amazon readers instead of buried under thousands and thousands of competing titles. Learning anything about this computer-generated approach is no fun. I pretty much hate even reading the basics. 

It's all harder than I expected. 

I've done a bit of paid advertising on Amazon and I've nagged just about every kind person who's bought my books to leave a review on Amazon. I expected 30 reviews the first month the poetry book came out, without realizing that writing a review isn't an easy ask for many people. Reviews can help a book take off; that's for sure. So I'm still pushing and hoping, now, shooting for 50 reviews. (I'm hopelessly dogged.) But I also know this goal isn't going to move ahead without a real effort on my part. I also know I can't be nagging people!

Which brings me to my current Turtle way of life. These days I stop what I'm doing, whenever I can, when I start to lose interest or get tired or feel frustrated. So for my book promotions, this means there are many days when I do just a little. This especially means that my attempts to navigate the computer skills and knowledge I need are driving me crazy! There are some days I could throw my laptop against the nearest wall or window.

But this is also true: every single time I see a new review or there is a new sale or someone acknowledges my writing, it's gold. 

Sigh. Every single time......xo

Love kj

Saturday, January 15, 2022

A New Year

Here's JB waving from our local beach, our dog Mattie beside her, at low tide, last summer, one of my favorite photos of all time. We are so lucky to have a bay and beach within a block of our house. Today, as I write this, the temperature outside is barely 14 degrees F, and I'm no fan of winter. Mattie and I rely on JB to brave winter with one or two walks a day, a huge gift to sedentary cozy me. 

        I love these two..... 

It's now a new year and so far it's a terrible mess: continuing Covid and masks and social cancellations wrapped around very scary politics and a shocking decline in truth and civility and integrity. The USA and the world are in trouble. I haven't given up hope, but I'm teetering. Still, I wish each of us a good year and the ability to love and to enjoy ourselves, our work, our spaces, and the people who share our tribes. 

Here's JB again, another favorite. This time she's in our fabulous renovated kitchen. Not a day goes by that we don't marvel at this kitchen, with its light-filled windows and open shelving and ample room to store things properly. Only one junk drawer in the whole room!

And finally, here I am with my 8 year old granddaughter Miss Reesie. Not much else needs to be said, except how much I love her and her three older brothers. It's a joy to have these kids in my life. It's a joy to see my daughter as a wonderful mother. 

Oh yes: A word about my books. I'm learning the commerce of promoting and selling books. It's not fun. Metadata, algorithms, categories, keywords, sales reports. I'm tackling all of it little by little--relying on my turtle approach--and I'm selling my books--but slowly. I didn't expect it would be so hard, for example, to accumulate reader reviews on Amazon. It's like pulling teeth. That said, every time a review appears, I'm overjoyed. (Hint Hint: If you're reading this, and you've read Love & Other Annoyances or The Light Stays On, and you haven't already: please please write a review on Amazon. I can't offer bribes but I might if I could!)

Thanks for stopping by. I hope over time to rebuild my blog here. I'm so glad you're along for the ride. 

love kj