A small drop in a big bucket

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For anyone who has self-published a book, you will most likely agree the marketing is the hardest part of the process. Writing, for me, is a natural routine. I can spend hours in a fugue-like state typing words that form cohesive sentences, but when I am faced with the daunting task of putting myself out there, the wheels fall off the bus and I struggle to put together a simple string of words that do my stories justice.

Thankfully, I have learned a very valuable lesson along the way. Talk to people about your book. Talk to anyone who will listen and who shows interest in your story. I am blessed to work in the hospitality industry, so I encounter a myriad number of people who stay at the lodge each season. I know them all by name, I know all their children by name, but I am not afforded the luxury of knowing what they do for a living, nor do I know the broad scope of contacts they may have in their lives.

Last summer, in a random conversation, I talked about my first book with a woman who knew I was trying to find an agent, and she knew about my desire to become traditionally published. Unbeknownst to me, the table behind me was listening intently to that conversation and was soon asking questions about the story and expressing a desire to read the book. They both read it and my life as an author had new life breathed into it.

Neil has since become my mentor, and the reason I now have three books for sale on Amazon. My stepdaughter, Abby, boarded the train of my crusade and used her contacts to get my book into the Chapters/Indigo store in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Knowing my book was now live in that system, yet another guest at the lodge used her contact to get my first book into the Chapters/Indigo store at huge location in Toronto. Having overheard the conversations about my books during her stay at the lodge during the same week, a copy of my first book was purchased and is now in the hands of the marketing manager at Penguin Random House in Toronto. And, that same fateful week in August brought me together with a professional graphic designer who is going to update my website and bring my SEO to a level that will increase hits to my website.

I can’t stress this enough. Talk to people about your book. Talk to anyone who will listen and who shows interest in your story. I now have a small army of people using their gifts to help me sell mine. And having six copies of my first book in two separate locations of a large chain of bookstores is truly a small drop in a big bucket, but I am that small drop in that big bucket, and that is a feeling I will cherish.

A big part of my process

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Authors are unique, and no two writers will ever have the same method of achieving their desired result. Sure, there may be many similarities along their journeys, but they will never use the same string of words to describe how stories come to them, how they harness the power of their imaginations, or characterize the voices in their heads that tell them how to write their individual stories.

The beginning of my trek into the writing world began many years ago and was suddenly repressed by reality. What started as a promising adventure sat on a shelf until the facets of my existence shifted and allowed me to embrace the creative part of myself once again. Picking up my first novel, still swaddled in its infancy, was a daunting task, but one I was eager to embrace and nurture.

Along the road to writing books two and three, comfortable patterns began to form. I was encouraged by my newly found mentor to buy a few white boards and they have become my saving grace in my writing process. Having the space to quickly jot down new ideas is a revelation and having those ideas staring back at me every day keeps me engaged in the stories, and motivated to continue writing.

I have surpassed fifteen thousand words in book four, and my muse is extremely long-winded. That voice I have come to love is pushing me to add words, not only to my manuscript but, to the four boards that flank me as I sit in my comfortable position on my couch. This is the place where I harness my ideas and feed off the energy and the words that come from places I will never see.

Board number four is a blank slate, but it is waiting to be filled with messages for the next series of books that will be written under the umbrella name of Farmhouse. If you haven’t had a chance to read the books in my current series, and you enjoy a good thriller involving serial killers, the first three books in The Relative Series – The Waking Hours, One Eleven, and Darkroom are now available on Amazon.

The branches, and the tree

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If you have been following me on this blog, you will know I have self-published two books on Amazon that are part of a six-book sequence called The Relative Series. I am new to the writing world, and have been doing my best to maintain a structured writing schedule. Weekly Zoom meetings with my friend and mentor, Neil, have kept me on track (for the most part) and held me accountable to meet a weekly deadline.

The creative aspect of constructing stories that come from the depths of my imagination is a dream come true. Since I was a young child, I have built worlds in my mind, developed characters who lived in those worlds, established conflict, and designed fitting endings for each tale that I had manufactured.

Along the way, there were always signs to tell me that I should forge ahead, to throw caution to the wind and put each and every word onto a page, and last night was no different. I have three white boards in my living room to help me keep the timelines of each book so they flow properly into the next story, and one of those white boards spoke volumes last night.

Writing a series of six books is daunting enough, but making sure the timelines throughout the generations match up is overwhelming. While sitting in my living room as the sun went down, the outline of the tree I planted in my mother’s memory after she passed away magically shadowed the white board holding the family tree of my series. I got the message loud and clear, now back to the story board I go!