Author, Photographer, Lover of Life
"Capturing moments others may never get to experience."
“Stop! This is not the route to take if you want to stick to social media rules.”
What does that mean, anyway? Apparently from what I have been told, it means you shouldn’t cross over into areas that are not your line of business. In other words, writing about subject matter not in my business expertise or service are taboo! So, should my personal thoughts and experiences on topics that are not, say, within my realm of so called expertise be muted? Am I only to write and share information on writing or taking pictures?
The thing is, sharing my opinions and suggestions, doesn't mean I'm taking on the professionals, nor do I want their job. I am doing what my platform suggest, I am writing. And, my recommendations and observations quite often pertain to how artists and social media should/could work together in promoting our work. I have no urge to become a guru of the social media world. I merely share my experiences, by doing what I love, writing.
For those who provide social media services, and feel compelled to ask me why I am promoting something I don’t sell, I would like to take a look at your thoughts from my perspective. True, my published writing focuses on fiction; however, even we writers stray. It’s what keeps our thoughts rejuvenated. Titles and tag lines I use are to get the attention of the masses, as they should, if I am using social media to my advantage.
Another thing that should be considered by the social media professionals is this: If the way you teach, share and promote your product or service, is pleasing to read and easily understandable, chances are, I may write about the topic. In doing so, often as not, including a link to your blog, website or some other form of social media you are on to promote your work.
You see, when I write (because that's what I do) about topics, regardless of the profession, and not necessarily fiction or poetry or how you should or shouldn’t write; I may just end up writing about what I have been told is not the route to follow . . .
How do you feel about using cross-over writing to promote your business or product on social media?
We are all capable of telling a story, sharing information and creating ditties. The first draft of any genre is easy. It’s what we do with them in the end that makes the difference. The ensuing work can make the choice of turning it into a book not all it’s cracked up to be.
My inner spirit was compelled to write a book. No, it wasn’t a bucket list item, it was a need. A call out to the creative soul that had simmered since childhood. So, let’s rewind the film and take a look at the books, one book at a time.
Thinking the book publishing process through, and wanting to get a book published in the shortest time period, with the least amount of cost, equals e-book format. However, regardless of genre, the preparation, in my opinion, takes more time for electronic books versus a manuscript destined for a publisher. Once the idea topic has hatched from the egg, it still needs due diligence. Correctness, flow, eye catching presentation, plus conforming with guidelines set out by the publisher. The crux is you are writer, editor, cover designer and publisher. The bonus, and it is a huge attraction to most, is the lack of an exorbitant outlay of dollars. An e-book is not hard on the bank balance, but it can suck the time bank dry!
The writing was now on the wall. The hook had been set. The bait taken, and the challenge of what was to become referred to as a ‘real book’ started to take life. Moon Rising: An Eclectic Collection of Works was a relatively easy book to produce. Archived and newly written vignettes, short stories and poems cuddled together to for my first taste of a publisher’s world.
It also gave me a penchant for what was to unfold, a novel; and, not just one novel, but three. Each storyline with their own set of characters. In essence, three different books about three different topics, in the fire at the same time. All in a race to see which would boil to a finish first.
Whoa! When the light came on as to what I was doing, the decision wasn't even debated. Finish The Quiet Spirits first and let the other two simmer in the back ground. Having them to fall back on when the stagnant times hit was great. I drifted between the other two. Penning a chapter or more until I found my ground again to return to the book destined to be the next to go to a publisher.
I am not surprised by the amount of time it took to write the first draft, complete edits and rewrites (so far) for The Quiet Spirits. It is a novel, after all. But once submitted to the publisher the process seems to drag and be lengthy. Patience plays a big part in the publishing waiting game. Will there be more suggestions and/or will the nod come that we are onto the next steps? Still on track for release by the fall of this year.
I have written e-books and like the simplicity of their production for sharing information and short stories. I have written a compilation of varying genres, only to tap into a simmering passion to write in more detail. The emotional adventure writing a novel has taken me on is an experience I would not trade.
Regardless of the style, the story, the sharing of information, or the format, I look forward to the future of my writing. Short term to way, way out there. Embracing the compositions that fill the pages.
How do you support Indie Writers - ebooks or real books?
In recent news feeds I’ve received, there has been an influx of articles about how Amazon is handling the sale of some books. It is my understanding from these readings e-books are not being affected (yet).
But, what I have gleaned from the articles is Amazon now allows third party sellers to compete for Buy Box positions thus promoting books being sold by those who are not the Author. This change in Amazon's policy can push "the publisher button to a less favourable position" writes Dr. Judith Briles of The Book Shepherd. This is not to say the Author isn’t getting recognized, but the listing is now often NOT at the top of the seller’s list where it should be, in my opinion, when searched for.
After seeing this topic as one that has been trending over the past few weeks/months, I wondered how Amazon was treating my books. I started with From Our Home To Yours: Cookies and From Our Home to Yours: Cakes & Squares. Because they are e-books only, they appear to be safe from the debacle now surfacing about the Amazon book store. Apparently this is not true for books written with Amazon's Create Space books.
You can only imagine my surprise when I next typed into the Amazon Search box, my book title Moon Rising: An Eclectic Collection of Works and found someone actually has a hard cover copy listed for sale at $120.20 (shipping extra) - Used - Like New.
Now, I am flattered they think a Used-Like New copy of my book is worth so much; however, I get absolutely nothing from this sale other than bragging rites that my book is being offered at this price by a reseller on Amazon.
Continuing with my hunt for this book title resulted in finding several offers of soft cover books being sold at prices (way) above and beyond what they are offered for from my website, my publishers website and my Amazon location.
After finishing my ‘book selling research’ my interest was piqued and my ire was up. Reviewing my actual Moon Rising Amazon page for an in-depth look at what is going on, lo and behold we see some changes have been carried out, albeit subtly.
When the book was first published here by my publisher, there was no reference to other copies that might be available. Over the past few years, that has stayed the same, but not now!
So, what am I going to do about this? In my opinion, rather than continuing with a ‘you can’t do this to me’ attitude, there are a few ways for me to look at this, deal with this and use it to my advantage (or not).
First, and again in my opinion, Amazon is Amazon and unless you are a Best Selling Author with sales going through the roof, you are dumped into the ‘you don’t really count pile’ and are basically forced to deal with their changes or pull your book. Amazon is going to make money on mine and other book listings, regardless of how they do it.
Second, I want to inform other Authors (if they don't already know) about the changes in policies and to review their books posted on Amazon.
Third, while I don’t like the price misrepresentation of my book, I see it as an opportunity to let my followers know that, yes these other books are available, although I have no idea where they have acquired them from; and, if you want to pay the exorbitant or lessor prices that is up to you; however, you will not be supporting me as an independent author/entrepreneur and may be encouraging others to pirate my work.
Finally, purchasing direct from either MY website or from MY publisher's location, ensures you are getting MY hard and soft cover books; and yes, it also ensures I am getting the portion owed to me when a book sells. The bonus for everyone ordering from MY website is you will get an autographed copy of the book you order.
If you are and Author or know of an Author with listings on Amazon, pass this information along to them.
Today, the horses have nothing to say. It didn’t start that way, but as the day progressed their lack of eye contact while I leaned on the fence watching them, told me different. A blatant reminder my mind needed to settle.
I wander, drawn to a spot where the sound of a frog chorus penetrates through the trees. The sun on my face, the breeze ruffling my hair, all speaking to me in volumes.
Planting myself away from the voices, the grounding of my soul begins. Eyes closed, breathing softly, embracing the aroma of raw earth, the connection I need starts to ooze into my being.
By ignoring me, the horses suggested my direction; but, it is Mother Nature who gives me guidance. The singing of the frogs in the background while I watch my first butterfly of the season looking for sustenance from flowers yet to bloom. Tiny birds chirping their throaty sounds, flitting from branch to branch before taking wing to return to I know not where. Walking through the trees the pungent smell of rain dampened leaves meets my senses; laying lifeless to the eye, yet giving nourishment to the land.
I stroll back to the barn. The smells confined within the walls are comforting. A reminder of the journey I began decades ago when I knew someday, somehow, I would blaze my own trail.
The creativity will come, it always does. The process of late, has been mired by my mind whirling like a dust devil’s journey across the prairie.
The horses and the land have gifted me much on this day.
How do you reconnect with your creativity?
The very fact that you buy local means you are supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses owned and operated by those in your community.
Have you ever considered what reading local means?
In every urban and rural centre there are people who write. Did you know that more than occasionally, these writers have had their prose and poetry published? But, unless you know the them personally or see an article in the local newspaper, you most likely will never know who they are.
Usually, their work is available through social media outlets like Amazon; however, by teaming up with independent book stores and other shops in the area, unknown authors are becoming noticed.
Often as not, these same literary artisans promote their books by making sure the local library has a copy, ensuring anyone who takes a mind to, can read the books.
Topics written about may vary in interest covering a wide selection of genres. These locally written books may not be on the New York Times Best Seller List, but through continued support of these writers by the public (you) and businesses, the budding authors will continue to be introduced to the world.
Whether you call them authors, writers, or wordsmiths, they too are entrepreneurs in your community. Find out who they are, purchase their books and send them your reviews. Reading local means you are supporting local businesses.
Do you read books by local authors? Share their names and book titles with us.
A busy few weeks resulting in accomplishments, re-acquaintances, and favourite times being shelved (for a while).
Life does that to us every so often. Puts us in a state of hair straight back, get to hell out of my way, I’ve got stuff to do!
My time hasn’t been quite that radical, but it certainly has left me with a good feeling simmering deep within.
Writing the story for my novel, The Quiet Spirits, was by far the easiest part of the project. When it was done, I was sad. It was like I had to say, “See you around, old friend.” Then it struck me. This thing needs to be published. With that thought came a whole new get busy again “to do” list. Editing, beta readers, re-writes, meet with publisher, book cover, dedication, (A sequel?), and, and, and . . .
The biggest thing wasn't determining when did I want to have this book in my hot little hands, but more importantly, when would it be accessible to the public? By the looks of the progress, I can safely say, The Quiet Spirits will be available this fall; and, might I add, it will make a great Christmas gift.
So what does someone who writes do when they finish a book? I have to tell you, for me, lots!
For starters, I have been penning my next book. Yet to be named and not related to The Quiet Spirits. My thoughts on this novel, is the first draft will most likely be finished before summer ends. Maybe. When will it be published? Who knows? When it feels like the right time to do it would be a safe answer.
So you see, even when the midnight oil is being burned, the candles are lit from both ends, and the hair is straight back, there is always comfort in the things we know, and especially in the things we love to do.
Where do you find your solace when your life is in hair straight back mode?
Spring, the time of year I watch for the green shoots, listen for the sound of the Canada Geese, Robins and Kestrels. The season that lures me outdoors.
In our neck of the woods, the ground is still froze enough to stop thoughts of digging in the dirt; but, with all the activity Mother Nature offers, it is a good time to walk, observe, learn and feel what’s going on.
Spring is one of my favourite times of the year (the other being the Fall). The weather’s neither cold or hot, making it my kind of working environment; where I can sit on the deck, go for a walk, or take a drive along the back roads. Find a spot to listen to the sounds, take pictures, write, or sit and soak up the day.
I rely on the outdoors, the visions and sounds to clear my mind. The jumbled thoughts are given space to congregate in their appropriate location. Settling my focus through the nothing, yet the everything that is within my sight. Filtering the important from what can be shelved for another day or turfed all together.
These stolen times outside the walls of my office may be for a day, a few hours, or a 'holy crap' moment that has me running to the yard to watch the geese flying over. An interlude that makes me smile, grounds me to the things that have meaning to me, and inspire me to continue to forge ahead towards my goals.
Where does your stolen time come from?
The news feeds are all the same these days. Reasons why this didn’t happen last year. Reasons to make things happen this year. You can do it. Make the time and it will happen. On and on and on they go. The same things being said over and over.
Everyone seems to have the so called answers, and we tend to fall into the rut of reading them, agreeing with them, saving them and doing nothing more.
Is all of the time we spend trying to move forward and to be successful worth it? For some it’s the journey to no where. For others its something to keep the mind busy, and for most, it is merely a dream to do what you love.
So, continue to read your news feeds. Continue to squirrel away those articles that you might get to read one day. But mostly, continue to do what sparks the dream and makes you happy. Each step we take towards any goal can only be made if we put one foot in front of the other. No one else can do that for us.
Following someone else’s tracks is O.K. for a while; but, it is way more fun to make your own trail.
Do you follow your own trail?
Award-winning photographer and author. She loves life and all things that make us smile.
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