Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Surreal Life

I have become obsessed with Kindle sales, sales ranks and social media. What's hilarious is that a year ago, I was a total technophobe. I didn't even know how to download a photo! But ever since I opened my business, Perfect Pen Communications, I have stopped being terrified of the computer. For the most part.

But now that I'm crazily promoting Finding Lucas, I have had to seriously brush up on my tweeting and Facebooking skills big time. Everyone has been so kind and supportive in helping me to market my novel. The blogs Chick Lit Central and Chick Lit is Not Dead have both given me awesome shout outs on their Facebook pages, and I was beyond excited to see Finding Lucas up there. And I nearly fell over when people I'd never met liked the novel...and bought it.

But trying to be a great mom, running my business and promoting my novel is all a bit...surreal. If anyone had asked me five years ago what I'd be doing now, I could never have guessed that this insanely busy, amazingly rewarding and crazily fun life would be mine. And nobody could have imagined that I'd be spending my days sending out emails and tweets and uploading and linking like a pro. Well, almost like a pro.

So far, I've mistakenly linked Finding Lucas to my personal Facebook page (now rectified), have spent countless hours trying to log into my PR account and sent my nascent Facebook author page out before it was anywhere near done. It's all good, though, Great, in fact.

I have to pinch myself that all of this is real, and I take a lot of deep breaths when it gets a bit overwhelming. A surreal life it is, and I am so happy that it's mine.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Strangest Day

The last week has been a test of my will, patience and determination to get Finding Lucas published. Even though I had my brilliant and calming tech guy (and also the barista at my local Starbucks)  walking me through the last steps to self-publishing my novel, I still must have spent over 100 hours formatting, editing and stressing.

Finally, late at night, I got to the end of the Kindle process, and my finger hovered over the "Publish" button. A deep breath and a moment to reflect on the six years it had taken me to finally see Finding Lucas in print. Then, I clicked the key, and I was finally an author.

I've been a writer for years. And a published and professional writer at that. But, I couldn't consider myself an author until one of my novels was available for people to read, oh, and buy. So, when I woke the next morning and saw my novel for sale on Kindle, I felt excited, scared and a bit lost. I had wanted this for so long, but now that it's actually happened, I'm not sure quite what to do.

I need people to see Finding Lucas. I want them to buy it and love it. So, I guess what I do is become a marketing machine and hope that it works. Will it? We'll just have to wait and see...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Will you read your book to me, Mom?

I love showing my kids that I can be both a mom and a professional. So far, with some help and support, I have managed to stay home with my toddler daughter, pick my kindergarten-age kid up from school and run a freelance writing/editing business. Of course, I can only take on a certain number of jobs or I would go absolutely bonkers, but not only do I get the best of both worlds on any given day, but I also show my kids that I can be their mom and also have something that is all mine.
My daughter is too young to understand what I do beyond sitting next to me and typing away on her toy laptop, but my son knows I'm a writer who makes stories. He loves when we spin a little tale together, and he is always super excited to see my articles in magazines and online. So, when I started working on self-publishing Finding Lucas, I showed my son what I was doing every step of the way.
He's smart and interested in the process, and he loves being included in my work--if only he knew how many parenting articles he has been the star of. Oh wait, one day, he will. Uh oh.
I almost cried the day he asked to see my book cover without my mentioning it. And I was actually nervous to hear my almost 5 year old's opinion! Thank God he liked it. But the day my innocent and sweet boy asked me if I would read Finding Lucas to him both warmed my heart and stopped it at the same time. Well, the book opens with an orgasm and the first chapter ends the same way, so, um, no. My novel is a romantic comedy-- smart and funny chick lit-- but there are no explosions, no fuzzy characters and no robots. There is love, lust, sex and excitement. There is sadness, truth and pain. So not appropriate for a kid, but I'm hoping so appealing to an adult.
Anyway, I felt bad. He is used to hearing that something is not appropriate for him because he's too young, but I want him to know that I love sharing my work with him and love having him a part of everything I do. But, even when I imagine my boy (who is at the moment watching "Tangled" and sucking his thumb) as a teenager, finding my novel(s) online or at a bookstore (however they will exist then) and actually reading what I've written...gulp.
I am so proud of Finding Lucas and whatever novels I will publish after it, but knowing my kids will be reading what I have written about love and sex, well, I'm sure they'll be embarrassed. But hopefully, they will be as proud of me as my son is right now when he tells everyone at school that his mommy is a writer.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Self-Publishing is Scary

I'd always imagined my novel being published--I just never imagined doing it myself. And I am so happy I made the decision to do it. But, I never expected it to be terrifying. Of course, it is incredibly exciting and fun to see the culmination of years of hard work. But, knowing that in a very short time Finding Lucas will be out for everyone to read scares the hell out of me.
It's been read countless times by editors, and I have professionals taking care of the things I am not so good at so the product is as amazing as it can be. But, once I hit that button, and it goes live on Kindle, everyone and anyone can read my carefully crafted words.
The characters in Finding Lucas have become like friends to me and sharing them is daunting. What if there are errors? What if people don't like my book? What if they do?
Publishing Finding Lucas is akin to having a child. Taking care of the baby in utero, nurturing it with the best food and environment, giving birth, a painful and awesome experience, and raising that child in as loving and supportive a family as possible is much like the care and work I've put towards publishing.
The manuscript has been polished and perfected and all of the steps are in place to publish it. And like having a child, who needs to develop and grow towards ultimate independence, releasing my book into the ether requires me to let go and let it unfold as it may. Of course, I will do everything in my power to promote and market it and to give the novel the necessary guidance it needs to be a success. In the end, however, it will be up to my readers to decide.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Self-Promotion...yikes!

Now that I'm getting everything organized, and my publication date for Finding Lucas is drawing ever closer, I need to focus on how to market and promote my book. I may have a fantastic press release, but what to do with it is the challenge.
I'll be featured on clubmom.ca on their mompreneur blog for the month of May, which is a great start. I'm very excited to be included with some very talented and inspiring mompreneurs. But beyond a few blog features and my own blog, how do I get my name out there?
I run my freelance writing/editing company, Perfect Pen Communications, mostly online, and for a recovering technophobe, it has been an incredible learning experience. Creating my website, advertising, meeting other freelancers--all of this has helped me self-publish Finding Lucas. And I am far from shy so putting myself out there isn't an issue. It's just knowing where to start.
Twitter has been an amazing source of information. Ashley Barron (@dcPriya) and Melissa Foster (@Melissa_Foster) have a slew of articles, links and information for self-publishing newbies just like me. I am amazed by how helpful the writing community is, and I am very proud to be a part of the warm and wild virtual world.
Now, I just have to make sure that Finding Lucas actually makes it onto Kindle by April 20th.