Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Winding Up or Winding Down

Hi, all.

This will be the last of my "Adventures in Self-Publishing" blogs at Mid-Willamette Valley RWA, so you could say I am winding down.

But I'm actually just getting started. This year has been wonderful for me. I dipped my toes in the self-publishing water, and found the ocean so fine I dove right in!

I'm making as much money as I would as a mid-list author with mainstream publishers. No, I haven't hit the big-time yet. But I'm paying some bills, while writing *my* stories my own way. 

I will release six books in 2012. I plan to top that in 2013. My biggest concern now is that I can't write fast enough to keep up with my plans:

I have a set of four books for next year called "A Year in Pajaro Bay." Each story is complete in itself, but there's also a continuing storyline that will wind up with the Christmas story late in 2013. I have another eighteen Pajaro Bay books outlined after that, so I hope to continue the series for a very long time.

I also have a new series which I'm calling "PB DARK." These are books set in the same world of Pajaro Bay, but they are darker stories (hence the name), with a heavier emphasis on the suspense, and plot twists that don't fit into the cheery world of the main Pajaro Bay brand. I have three of them so far, and am really looking forward to that mini-series, too.

Then there's the cozy mystery series I've got in mind. I don't want to give that one away, but it's a trilogy plus a Christmas story that I can hardly wait to write.

And that doesn't even begin to cover the fantasy side of things. I have "Deeds of the Ariane" sequels, and another series that is more directly based on my Medieval Studies degree, with a present-day immortal who was a figure in medieval history.

So my biggest problem is writing quickly enough to keep up with my imagination! And that's the ultimate plus of self-publishing. I am no longer confined by "the market." I put my work out there, and see what readers like and don't like, and go from there. The fantasy is on the back burner because it's not selling as quickly as the Pajaro Bay books, but I still have the freedom to write the less-lucrative storylines as I find time. I'm not worried about being "dropped" by a publisher. It's up to me.

And this year has given me the best gift of all: I have regained my joy of writing. I had gotten so sick of being told "you write well, but you're doing it wrong." Turns out I was writing something that an audience wanted (as I believed all along, but couldn't convince New York). It wasn't that they were wrong--I didn't fit into their marketing plans, and by their standards wouldn't be a success. But as a self-publisher, my books can go directly to an audience that is hungering for them. With a much larger slice of the pie coming my way, it is just as lucrative for me to work for this audience as it would be to reach the NY publishers' definition of a good audience. I am now blessed to be connecting directly with readers who want what I'm selling. No middlemen, no rules. Just the readers and me on a journey.

And that's the ultimate happy ending.

I'll be blogging in different places and with a very different format next year. I'm now at a point where I need to connect more directly with my readers with my blogging, so I will be centering my blog activity at my site and Goodreads.com (I'll put in one final plug for Goodreads: I highly recommend it for all authors; it's a great way to connect directly with avid readers). My 2013 blog will profile the "People of Pajaro Bay." I have over 120 brief character biographies now, so I'm thinking I'll be posting the bios twice a week. I will be posting at my site, Goodreads.com, and Pinterest, with links to Facebook, Twitter and who-knows-where. Whew. 

I wish all my former chapter mates in Mid-Willamette Valley RWA the best. It's been wonderful knowing you all, and I hope to continue that in the new year (maybe I'll even get around to doing weekly goal-setting).

Happy holidays and a wonderful new year to you all!

And happy writing, everyone. :-)

Barb
Barbara Cool Lee

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Great Escape

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving. I've been busy writing (hurray!) and haven't had much time to think of a subject for today's post. So I thought I'd share a few pictures we took at the San Diego Zoo in October, when the skies were blue and the temperature was in the mid-70s (something I dream of at the moment).

We were walking around the huge elephant enclosure and saw this magnificent fellow, hanging out at the far end.

While my husband was taking that picture, I noticed movement on the bank below the fence. This little guy poked his head up and looked around.

We decided he was the advance scout for the Escape Committee. Hey, I say dream big or don't bother. :-)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome!  This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA chapter's weekly progress check-in.

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

(The best prize is achieving your writing goals, but as an extra incentive, we will award gift cards from Powell's bookstore to the chapter member and the non-member who check in for the most weeks in 2012.)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

Current Project: Halo Legacy Series
Status: Deep in book #8
Posted by: Genie Gabriel


Maybe it's because I haven't started Christmas shopping or even thought about it much, but this year--for a change--Thanksgiving actually seems to have its own space and isn't just jammed between other holidays on the rush toward the end of the year.  

My grown sons will attest that I'm not much for traditions. On holidays, we do whatever we feel like doing and not always on the day designated by most of our society. However, I do have much to be grateful for and would like to share part of that list--some serious, some silly--that hopefully will bring a smile or a nod to you.

-- My "work" is things I love to do.

-- My house is warm and dry.

-- I can see that darn blinking cursor, and most of the time there are words beside it.

-- My dogs adore me--as long as meals are on time--and love to cuddle.

-- I have the power to heal and sometimes I quit whining long enough to use it.

-- I can walk, I can run--though kinda slowly--and I can laugh.

-- My sons and grandkids take time from their own lives to play cards or board games with me.

-- The lights still come on when I flip the switch and the thermostat on the furnace works.

-- The dishes are washed and the dusting can wait another few days.


AND I am also especially grateful to other writers who take the time to support each other and to share their thoughts. Please share one or two of your own special items of gratitude if you are so inclined and aren't too exhausted from shopping. :) 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome!  This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA chapter's weekly progress check-in.

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

(The best prize is achieving your writing goals, but as an extra incentive, we will award gift cards from Powell's bookstore to the chapter member and the non-member who check in for the most weeks in 2012.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Merely Wounded

Wow. I just realized I've missed my last several scheduled posts. Bad blogger, no biscuit!

I can't believe it's November already. I had so many plans after the RWA Conference in July. Sadly, few of them have happened. Let's see...I was going to: (1) finish the final Big Edit on THE LAZARUS GAMBIT and send it out to the agents/editors who requested it in Anaheim; (2) Gather my research for my next books, THE SUNDERED EARTH and TIAMAT; (3) Put together the minimal outlines for those books; and (4) Decide which one to work on first and Start Writing.

And where am I? Still working on the Big Edit. Some of this has to do with having a reaction to the Golden Heart thing and needing a break in general. A lot of it, however, has to do with wanting the book to be good...and there's this whole big mess in the middle that I'm fighting with. I knew it was there, even if I did want to stick my fingers in my ears and close my eyes and just go "la-la-la" and ignore it.

I can't ignore it.

I can fix it. It's just taking longer and it's harder than I thought.

That's what I've been up to these last few weeks and what I'm still working on. How are things with you?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome!  This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA chapter's weekly progress check-in.

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

(The best prize is achieving your writing goals, but as an extra incentive, we will award gift cards from Powell's bookstore to the chapter member and the non-member who check in for the most weeks in 2012.)

Friday, November 09, 2012

Disney Land 2012

Current Project: Highland Miracle
Status:Chapter 2 Scene 2

At the moment, just having fun. Sharing some pictures.

It's a rainy day Thursday but it's not Oregon rain.

 Space Mountain


Ferris Wheel in California Adventure.


Thursday, November 08, 2012

Current Project: Halo Legacy Series
Status: Finishing book #7
Posted by: Genie Gabriel


Since my own words seem to be elusive today, I'd like to share a short piece written by Christian D. Larson in 1912, that really resonated with me. I usually consider myself an optimist, but realized optimism could be taken to a deeper level, and many of these words could apply to our writing lives.

In searching the Internet, I found this had been used in the movie, The Secret, and had been adapted by Optimists International as their creed. 

I hope you enjoy this.

The Optimist Creed

Promise Yourself...
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature you meet.
To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud word, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

--Written by Christian D. Larson in 1912

Monday, November 05, 2012

Weekly Progress Check-In

Welcome!  This is the Mid-Willamette Valley RWA chapter's weekly progress check-in.

Did you meet your writing goals last week?  What do you plan to accomplish this week?

(The best prize is achieving your writing goals, but as an extra incentive, we will award gift cards from Powell's bookstore to the chapter member and the non-member who check in for the most weeks in 2012.)