Sunday, March 29, 2009

March Madness and Envelope Stuffing

Well, we finally did it. Over today's March Madness games, we took a list of area libraries, 80 copies of a cover letter, copies of PDF's of the PR statement about John's book, and copies of a flyer, addressed envelopes, stamped them, folded the copies inside and sealed the envelope. About 2 hours of work between 2 of us, but soon about 74 area libraries will receive information on the book and a petition to add the book to their libraries and possible contact John about speaking engagements. We'll be watching Amazon numbers to see if there is an increase in sales and seeing how else this latest effort may pan out.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Library mailings!

So! The library mailings are on again! John's book received a boost in sales after being listed as bestseller on his publishing company's website for the 2nd month in a row.

This weekend, on the strength of this new information, we are going to stuff envelopes for libraries, asking them to purchase the book for their collections. This is something we meant to do weeks ago, but which got derailed after other commitments prevented us, and I also had a crisis of faith in the whole self-publishing/traditional publishing industries.

So, the journey continues. We'll see what effects the mailings do. Then, on to more query letters, contests, conferences, etc. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Self-Publishing Review

New link for those looking for reviews for self-published books!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Book Reviews and Book Talks

The Local Author talk at the Book Cellar went well, though the group was a bit mixed. John presented with 2 authors, and one wrote on Buddhism, which meant that many questions during the Q & A had to do with Buddhism questions, rather than writing questions, though he did garner a lot of interest in the action-oriented passages of his book and their adaptability for film. I wonder if this is a common dilemma for writers on panels when they are not perfectly grouped with other authors (topically).

On a secondary note, we have been successful in beginning to get his book reviewed through some online reviewers for POD or self-published books. For those looking respectable online reviewers of self-published books, here are some that I found:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Book Reading

Tonight I'm very excited because John has a reading in Chicago at the Book Cellar for Local Authors. We'll see how the turnout is! Has anyone else done a book reading at a local store? How was the experience?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dealing with Frustration?

Dealing with frustration lately with your writing, the state of publishing, or the hope of getting your writing published? Check out this great blog by literary agent Nathan Bradsford. It's encouraging and helpful- you're not alone!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Selling Foreign Rights?

So, the latest thing I'm interested in learning about writing is the question of selling foreign rights for self-published books. Has anyone gone about doing it before or have any advice/ agent names to contribute? Post a comment!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Healing through Writing

I read an interesting study today that got at one reason why people may blog. Cited in a fabulous nonfiction book called Anticancer: a new way of life by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD, a study by Dr. Keith Petrie and colleagues from the University of Auckland in New Zealand showed that that "the simple fact of writing down the most difficult events of one's life over four consecutive days increases the capacity of the immune system to make antibodies in reaction to a hepatitis vaccine" (Servan-Schreiber 159).

Of course, the wasn't about hepatitis and neither is this entry- but it is about the idea that writing about one's stresses or life events can increase the efficiency of the immune system. Getting stresses out can help. I hadn't written in a diary for decades before I began this blog, and I had never blogged. But this new journey into the world of publishing was stressful for me, and I began to think that blogging might help relieve some of that stress. I am sure this is one reason and benefit for a number of bloggers out there- particularly JA Konrath's Venting blog! :) (see this link in My Blogs List)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rejection Letters and So Forth . . .

Today we got another rejection letter, but I will say that this one stood out from the rest. It was from an agent who had loved what she saw, but her agency was divided on the manuscript and needed unanimous approval to take on a new client. Nonetheless, she took the time to explain it and point out what she thought were two of the novel's positive points- the likable protagonist and the smooth prose. I'm trying to focus on that for encouragement for future possibilities. :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Publicity and Rejection

Today has been a great "writing" day. John spoke with a publicist who recognized his affable nature. Hopefully, something positive will come of it, but either way at least he got to have a pleasant conversation with a 3rd party about his book and background.

I also read a fantastic blog posting by J.A. Konrath on The Leaf Blower blog. It's on the numerous rejection letters Konrath has received over the years, and his responses to them. It is ultimately an inspiring, optimistic blog entry. The link is below:

I would also encourage viewers to check out Brian Crawford's other postings on The Leaf Blower, which is his blog. He has an interesting writing background, and I know I will enjoy following his journey as a writer.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Confident Writers- a blog by JA Konrath

I loved this recent blog posting by JA Konrath. I'm pasting it here for those that might not see his blog, but I will also include the link:

Confident or Delusional?

Kissinger was wrong. Power isn't the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Confidence is.

Confident people attract others. They get things done, spending more time doing and less time worrying. Confidence fosters charisma, inspires allegiance, and demands attention.

All writers need to be confident. We must believe our work is worthy, that our efforts aren't in vain.

But what are the differences between confidence, and its ugly step-sister, delusion?

Confident writers know they'll be published, if they keep at it.
Delusion writers think they'll be rich and famous.

Confident writers work to get the words right.
Delusional writers think they got the words right the first time.

Confident writers expect to be periodically rejected.
Delusional writers are shocked every time someone fails to recognize their brilliance.

Confident writers take suggestion.
Delusional writers believe their words are written in stone.

Confident writers work even when it's hard.
Delusional writers believe they need to be inspired first.

Confident writers know this is a job.
Delusional writers think this is a vacation.

Confident writers know there's a never-ending learning curve.
Delusional writers believe they've learned all they need to know.

Confident writers know when to move on, and learn from their failures and successes.
Delusional writers keep doing the same things, over and over, hoping for different outcomes.

Confident writers know luck plays a big part.
Delusional writers think there's a conspiracy against them.

Confident writers get published.
Delusion writers don't get published very often, and if they do it's not for very long.

Confident writers work within the system, even though the system is flawed.
Delusional writers work outside of the system, even though they long to work within the system.

Confident writers understand their limitations.
Delusional writers don't believe in limitations.

Confident writers understand sacrifice.
Delusional writers demand everything on their terms.

Confident writers believe in persistence.
Delusional writers believe in talent.

Confident writers believe they owe the world.
Delusional writers believe the world owes them.

Are you confident or delusional?

Chances are high the delusional people will believe they're confident, since self-awareness is in short supply in the writing community.

Here are some questions to ask yourself.

Have you been published by an impartial third party?

Confident writers eventually get traditionally published. Period.

Do you seek out and apply editing advice?

Confident writers know their words can always be made stronger.

At what point do you abandon a project and begin a new one?

Confident writers move on, but first they try to figure out what didn't work, and why.

Would you rather be paid or be praised?

Confident writers know the best form of praise is a royalty check.

Do you help other writers?

Confident writers know it's about what you put in, not what you get out.

Do you understand your failures?

Confident writers don't have failures. They have learning experiences that make them stronger.

Will you be successful?

Confident writers know success is beyond their control. But they keep writing anyway, and will continue to even if success never happens.

It's not about the destination. It's about the journey.

You must believe in yourself.

But first you have to prove yourself worthy of that belief.


Monday, March 2, 2009


Today I'm home from work. John is writing his sequel. This morning he wrote back to a young writer who had written to inquire about venturing forth into the world of writing after college. I wrote back to a literary publicist I had contacted. I also reviewed an estimate that Book Masters had sent me and continued to mull over the costs and benefits of using Book Masters over other self-publishing houses. Later I received another polite rejection letter from an agent.

Doing this work without seeing any immediate payoff, always thinking about costs, and wondering if an agent will ever consider his work can be a massive headache. I feel the muscles in my face taut with tension. But I keep telling myself to be patient. There isn't a deadline for success looming over us. I've always known that success (I should say 'Big Success' since we already have had quite a bit of success) in writing is a long, long process, but it's easy to forget when you're putting so much work into it on a daily basis. I'm glad that John has me to work on the marketing and querying, etc. for the book, while he writes his books, because I can see how having to handle all of it on one's own would be a killer for the creative work of writing- the actual work that a writer wants to be doing. Kudos to all of you writers who are doing all of it or almost all of it on your own.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Book Contests and Life

So, tonight the S.O. (we'll call him John) and I were supposed to stuff envelopes to send to libraries. The envelopes were going to contain a recent press release about how his book had been a top seller for his publisher, AuthorHouse, give a bit of a background on him, and ask them to buy the book for their library. However, we both had busy days, did a lot of other work, and now it looks like that mailing isn't going to happen. We're putting it off until tomorrow. Hopefully, it will happen tomorrow- this is the difficulty when you're doing all the marketing, selling, and writing on your own- doing it in the middle of your real life, especially when there is no pay.

In the meantime, I found out that my entry of John's book into the New York Book Festival was received, and I was notified of other contests taking place for self-published books. See the links below if you, too, are interested in them.