Saturday, March 31, 2012

Writing fiction is like hard and stuff

Last week I signed up for the writing challenge over at Book In a Week .

Why? I need the practice. When I was a teenager I wrote all the time. I was always jotting down poems and songs and even short stories. Fast forward to my 20s and I started about 4 novels, no I never finished any of them, but I did start. One even got into the 7th chapter, go Lyza, go Lyza!

Yet as I sat down in front of my laptop last week to start work on my short story, I froze.

Then I googled how to write a short story :) I am not ashamed here people. Everyone needs a hand up at times. And this time it's me. I stumbled upon Book in a Week and decided I liked the premise. You sign up, get approved and list your goal for the week. I started with a modest 15 pages, then you write and write, you don't worry about editing during this time you just put your words down every day for an entire week.

The people on that site are some of the nicest people you will ever meet online. A few reached out to me personally just to say hello and welcome me. For an introvert like me, it was nice to be taken into the fold on a site where it seems most of the people have been friendly for months or even years. You should check the site out.

We start on Monday and I am looking forward to it. I liken it to actors who take acting and improv classes to improve their craft. Never stop learning. And hey, if you meet some nice people along the way, all the better. :0)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pen names for E-books

Obviously every writer's goal is to make money with their writing. And as I read articles, e-books and blogs it seems that getting more e-books out there is one of the key ways to gain exposure and make more sales which equals more money.

But what if you want to expand and write in different genres and categories?

There are some e-book authors doing quite well while crossing genres and using different pen names. I think I may do the same.

I do love writing non fiction budget travel books, but I have other things I long to work on. The biggest is to start and actually complete a contemporary romance novel. I say complete because over the years I have started and abandoned a few novels. Gotta work on that follow through :)

I think I am going to go with pen names for my next few projects. One is that I have been told that ethnic sounding names, like mine, do not sell as well. People assume they will not relate to your work. I pray that after I get a few reviews that I can overcome that with my books. No matter my name I am a single mom and I write for other single moms, it's as simple as that.

I do have other Traveltini's for my Broke Single Mom series that I want to put out in the next couple of months. I also have a couple of short stories I want to get started on, the issue is timing and organization.

With my Traveltini books its about research and compilation while my short stories should be pretty easy to get down on paper as they are both fictionalized versions of my dating life.

For now I will keep my very ethnic sounding last name on my non fiction titles and I will be brain storming pen names for my shorts.

And if when I finish my novel I will decide if I use one of the names I am already using or if a new pen name is in order. :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Writing and selling the non-fiction e-book

Some people say that writing non fiction is the way to go if you want to make money fast. I haven't the slightest if this is true. What I do know is what is true for me and that is that I haven't made enough money yet to even cover my costs.

So why am I continuing to write non fiction? Especially when so many writers are caking it (making money hand over fist) with fiction?

Because I genuinely enjoy writing about shoestring budget travel, time flies when I am writing and doing research and crunching numbers. And I believe that once I get my name and books "out there" and noticed I will be helping so many people that are just like me. Single parents that believe the only way to take their kids on a vacation is to either visit family out of town or set up camp and sleep in a tent.

In this day and age there is no reason that almost everyone shouldn't be able to take a week off and have a grand old time of it without going into credit card debt. My 5 day Chicago vacation was around $400, including Amtrak tickets, parking, food and hotel and we got blessed and stayed at the amazing Embassy Suites a few blocks from the Navy Pier. Meanwhile my sister went camping near Washington DC for 4 days and spend $400 just on the camp site. A nice camp site to be sure, with a lake, pool and cafe, but at the end of the day she was still roughing it.

I do want to write a novel, most writers do. But for right now I will write my next few non fiction books to add to my virtual shelf space and take it from there.

So if you have a passion for something, gardening, cooking or playing the piano and want to share your knowledge and write about it, then do. Don't let anyone tell you there isn't a market  for it or that you are wasting your time.

Do what makes you happy and then market the heckaroni out of it! And if it works then yay for you! If it doesn't? Well at least you won't spend the next 20 or 30 years wondering "what if".

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Oh wow! Slow sales, does this mean there is no hope? And my new e-book cover.

Hey all, I am in a pretty iffy place right now. So I'll give you the rundown.

-I have decided to shut down the blog that I created just for my readers
-My job is getting me down
-My sales suck, big time!
-Editing my second book, waiting for new cover

I have now asked anyone that visits my Broke Single Mom blog to come on over here and check me out. I've only gotten 5 visits on that blog in the past 4 months, so I doubt it will be a problem.

My job? Well it's a job and my biggest professional desire is to be able to support myself and my family with my writing so no matter what, it's not where I want to be 5 days a week.

My sales? Well over the past 4 months I have only had about 20 sales and yes, that is counting both Nook and Kindle. Have a done much promoting? Er, no. Why? Er, cuz I'm a dumb ass that's why.

It is so overwhelming and frustrating and not a little scary to try and follow all of the advice out there for e-book writers when it comes to marketing. If I were to follow even just the top 10 I would have no time to sleep. It seems my fellow e-book authors spend just as much, if not more time on marketing than they do writing. Where do they find the energy and time?

I have to just pick one and try it for a while. I have decided to utilize Yahoo Answers and use my signature to try and attract interested topical readers to purchase my book. I will answer budget vacation questions, no spamming, I will give them thoughtful answers pertaining to what they need. It helped me get eyes on my blogs in previous years, let's see if it helps me this time around.

I am not a social networking person, I do not have a Face book or Twitter account. I may have to soon if sales don't pick up though.

As for my second book, I am in the middle of editing and also waiting for my designer to implement a few changes to the mock up he sent me. He actually got my ideas almost right on the money but when I saw the finished product the bottle bothered me.

As you can see from the mock up it's a book on a New York City vacation on a shoestring budget of $600. I will post the updated cover as soon as I get it.

Honestly, some days it feels like I am destined to be a worker bee in someone else's hive for the rest of my life. But I push through it, what other choice do I have? I let life happen and did not start going after my dream until recently. I can't keep doing that to myself. I just bought an inspirational mini plaque, it reads;


I like it, it spoke to me, as they say.

Here's to dreaming!

Here Ye Here Ye!

I have changed my business focus which actually suits my blogs name to a tee. I will be building a business around myself, literally. I am shifting away from trying to start my ebook publishing business with other peoples work and instead I will be writing and publishing my own ebooks on sites like Amazon and Barnes and Nobles etc. While I've been published on Yahoo's Associated Content, I am a newbie through and through when it comes to the new frontier of ebooks. I am so scared I wanna pee my pants, but I am going for it anyway!