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This turned into a Chicken Pot Pie week. Lots of deliciousness and only the rare burning of my mouth if I went to fast and furious.
I got some delayed numbers from the B&N paperback sales and low and behold, I’ve sold over 100 copies in 2.5 weeks.
So yay! It’s a good start.
The lovely Gwen of The 4 A.M Writer blog featured me as part of her series on the power of persistence this week. She was a delight to work with and I love the feature how it turned out!
The awesome Limebird Writers blog featured me as a “award winning author” and showcased my book! Love my UK blog buddies!
The Six Train to Wisconsin received it’s first international review on Amazon UK! Thank you Hecate!
The talented Roxanne of So Much To Write So Little Time blog gave an in-depth and much appreciated review of Six Train! Thanks again, Roxanne!
The brilliant Jennifer Fusco shared how The Six Train to Wisconsin and I scored press coverage/earned media on The Writing Secrets of 7 Scribes.
My Taylor Swift concert ticket giveaway is still going on–if you’ve liked my fan page, follow me on Twitter, liked my Amazon page, pinned my bookcover on Pinterest, or bought the book, you’ve already done things that get you multiple entries.
It’s open to all US citizens over 18. Maybe you can’t make it to PA, but these tickets have a great resale value for you. They are my way of saying thanks for all the support!
I am also having a Facebook Online Six Train Book Launch Party with fun games and giveaways on May 28th from 8:45 am-10:45 pm EST.
Very sorry to my UK friends for the time! I did it because FB has a spike in activity around 10 pm. I’ve invited everyone whose a friend on FB and anyone who isn’t yet my FB friend is also invited to stop by!
If anyone has any suggestions for what they love or hate in an FB online party, please let me know! I want to make it a fun and interesting event and avoid Dullsville.
Lastly, if anyone is in Waterbury, CT May 30th and wants a signed copy of the book, I will be at John Bale Books from 12-2pm, signing and chatting with readers.
It wasn’t just Emerson sweating things last week. I was riding a ranking roller coaster. Moving from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands over the course of two days on Amazon.
I had no concept of what was good or bad, but watching my ranking drop into the 300K arena sucked all the air out of my lungs. This had to be bad. Something that shouldn’t be happening.
So I reached out to my published buddies. I needed a benchmark. I needed affirmation of what was happening and then possibly consolation. They assured me that for a debut indie author I was doing pretty well. But it still stung. No one wants their book to be unpopular.
I wasn’t expecting to break into the top 1000 any time soon. I was kinda hoping for that slow build. So when my ranking plummeted, it hurt.
But then the the best surprise in the world arrived…
My first fan letter!
From my aunt in Arizona.
We hadn’t seen each other in years, but we reconnected on FB. And she devoured my book. Loved it.
So much that she took the time to hand write me a thank you note, where she actually thanked me for writing Six Train. Wow. I never expected to receive anything like that.
She also made me an adorable handmade writer doll that looked like me and gave me a lovely handkerchief.
I was so touched by the gifts and the card. By the time and care my aunt put into them just to let me know that my book mattered.
It made me realize rankings are interesting, but they don’t count how many hearts you’ve touched. And for me, knowing I moved one person with my words is the best feeling in the world.
It makes all the work, all the self doubt, all the uncertainty worth it.
This has been the craziest, best spring of my life. As I prepared to indie publish The Six Train to Wisconsin, I got “The Call” from Harlequin.
Except I was editing and didn’t hear the phone ring. LOL. So it went to voicemail. But she immediately sent an email to contact her. When I got in touch with her, it was awesome. She really liked Reckonings, my first YA novel.
She had revisions she wanted, but she wanted to make an offer on it!
I almost fell over. This was my first novel. The one I wrote in 2006. The one I cut my writing teeth on. The one I workshopped and submitted to critiques for years. The one I’d revised from 120k to 67k because I loved it so much. The one I feared I’d never sell.
And I’d almost given up on it. I’d submitted to 192 agents and 15 publishers over the years. The last publisher had a lovely editor who gave me a page of feedback, saying I could revise and resubmit to her. I taped her email over my desk. It was the kindest rejection I’d ever received. It buoyed my spirits.
She recommended I submit to this Harlequin editor.
I did. Eight weeks later I got the editor call!
But I knew nothing about negotiating book contracts. I talked to my mentors Jenna Bennett and Paige Shelton who advised trying to get an agent to help. So I went through my spreadsheet of agents and contacted the ones that gave me great feedback on the full manuscript to see if they might be interested in working with me.
ICM Partners expressed interest. ICM Partners!!! Agent Lyndsay Hemphill devoured my revised book in a day and we set up a call. She offered to represent me. She was super enthusiastic about the book and she patiently answered all my questions about everything. I immediately wanted to work with her. I signed with her last week.
So I’m delighted to announce Lyndsay Hemphill of ICM Partners will be representing my YA novel and negotiating the offer from Harlequin.
I still can’t quite believe this is all happening. And I am so thrilled to work with such a top notch agency and such a publishing giant!
Formatting the paperback book with Createspace was a massive mistake. Every step takes them 5-10 business days. For five minutes of work. For an hour of work. For 6 hours of work. Doesn’t matter. It’s always 5-10 business days.
We are closing in on my release date. It’s now less than 5 weeks away. As of last week, they cannot guarantee I will have the paperback by my signings. But it may happen. That a serious five alarm fire problem that dropped into my lap on last Wednesday. After I hit the panic button, I dug into problem solving.
Luckily, my ebook formatter, the amazing Rik Hall, was ready, willing, and able to format the paperback interiors on zero notice.
He’s not just a formatting magician, but an actual magician.
Jian Chan jumped in to reformat the cover two more times to fit these book printers’ requirements.
Jian isn’t just my cover designer and web designer. He’s a musician. A multi-dimensional artist.
Rik turned out a terrific interior in 4 days.
I am so grateful to have Rik and Jian on my team. Otherwise my entire book launch could have been derailed.
Lessons learned: 1) Never rely on one source for the paperback book and 2) Hire Rik to format all ebooks and paperbacks. His turn around time is phenomenal. His customer service is top notch. His kindness is soothing to nerves more frayed than they should ever be.
And Jian. He’s a bastion of calm. He always gets things done before deadline. And he makes sure I’m in love with his work.
I think I’d be in a corner rocking and crying right now if it weren’t for these two amazing individuals.
How do you thank people for saving your butt over and over again? I can’t begin to figure it out. But I owe these dedicated, hard working wonderful guys so much! 1 million thankyous wouldn’t cover it! But I’d like to begin there.
Drumroll please….This is my book’s cover!
Jian Chan and I spent hours and hours and then a few more hours on it in February. He is the most patient and most talented cover designer. He took a couple of my photos and turned them into art. I am absolutely beyond lucky to get to work with him.
The back cover blurb:
Sometimes saving the person you love can cost you everything.
There is one person that ties Oliver Richter to this world: his wife Kai. For Kai, Oliver is the keeper of her secrets.
When her telepathy spirals out of control and inundates her mind with the thoughts and emotions of everyone within a half-mile radius, the life they built together in Manhattan is threatened.
To save her, Oliver brings her to the hometown he abandoned—Butternut, Wisconsin—where the secrets of his past remain buried. But the past has a way of refusing to stay dead. Can Kai save Oliver before his secrets claim their future?
An emotionally powerful debut, The Six Train to Wisconsin pushes the bounds of love as it explores devotion, forgiveness and acceptance.
Do you like the cover? Do you think it fits the back cover blurb?
I’m surprisingly pleased with my Q1 results regarding my New Year’s Resolution Implementation Program. Call it something serious and you take it more seriously–at least I do.
Here’s my quarterly update:
- Lose 35 lbs and keep it off.–Since last December, I lost a total of 10 lbs which I have kept off to date.
- Exercise 4-5 days per week.–More like 3-4 days a week. Two days of cardio, two days of toning.
- Follow a low-carb eating regimen.–Hit and miss. But getting back on it again. It works, it’s just hard to limit sweets. They are my favorite reward.
- Self-publish my novel, The Six Train to Wisconsin.–60% done. Createspace is formatting interior, book cover is created, ebook is being formatted by me. Blog tour and book tour are being set up. Reviews are being requested.
- Find a full-time job and move back to a major or minor city.–This got back-burnered while I work on #4.
- Submit my third manuscript to agents and publishers.–After I finished revising in January, I sent out to a few agents and editors from the SCBWI Summer Conference because they had a time limit on submissions. I’d like to get beta reader feedback before submitting to a wider range of agents.
This is what the inside of my head looks like lately. Leaping from task to task. In the midst of one, I get insight into another.
Saturday was spent typing in copy edits. From my proofreader and from me. Do you know the difference between “liquefy” and “liquify”? I do. And liquefy is the primary spelling according to Merriam’s.
“Within” and “in” caused me endless agony. “In” being a location, “within” being a limit. Which did I mean to imply? I rung my hands and worried. I changed it six times.
My beloved rhetorical device: asyndeton. Will readers think I just forgot the “and” in a series or will they get that the absence of conjunctions is to speed up the pacing?
Third and fourth guessing things. My brain whirled.
I needed to switch gears.
Emailed the promotional company for more quotes and samples for my promotional swag bag. Still undecided on the items. Have to get more numbers. Compare and contrast. Trim quantities and repeat.
Proofed all my revisions to the website copy and sent them to the web designer.
Contacted a book blogger requesting he review my book.
Did I forget to feed the dog? Yup. Luckily he barked at me at 3:24. Repeatedly–until I left my desk. 24 minutes after his normal lunch time.
Was I still in my pjs at 5 p.m.? Of course.
But it’s the difference between staying on top of everything and getting overwhelmed by it.
When I’m in the zone, knocking out tasks, there is nowhere else I want to be. As the brain mushifies, I hit the treadmill. The brain must take a break. So I can get back to Facebook and social media work in the evening.
I may be the toughest boss I’ve ever had. But I love every minute of working for me.
As a thank you for all the Facebook likes, I’m running a giveaway for anyone who liked my Facebook Author Page. $10 Amazon Gift Card. You can enter this week by going to the Giveaway tab of my Facebook Page.
We’ve reached that point. The dreaded point. I need to have a one line summary of my novel, The Six Train to Wisconsin, for my promotional materials and my newly-created Facebook Author Page.
I despise one line summaries. How do I boil 400 pages down to a sentence? How?! How?!
Okay, sorry for venting.
I wrote out a couple dozen attempts. I’ve whittled it down to my top four with the help of a few people that read the manuscript.
But then I realized I really really need input from people who haven’t read it. Because this one line summary has to grab potential readers’ attention.
So I’m putting up my first poll ever in this blogs three year history. Do you hear the trumpets blaring?
Please let me know what you think by voting or commenting on what didn’t work with any of the one liners. I really appreciate hearing your thoughts.
And if you like my writing, would you please click on the ”like” button for my just launched Facebook Author page (it’s to the left)?