I finished a raw MS a couple weeks ago and I am about a third of the way through the beginning edits. These edits are for me to make sure I got all the tenses right, have correct commas, and prepping for other people to read it before I edit again (and again) for a new agent.
This new MS is much different from “The Healing Pool.” It is an adult fiction–not sure if I can get a more specific category–that addresses heavy issues such as mental illness and domestic violence. I think that this work is much more gripping and interesting than my first book, but as I go through and edit some worries are creeping into my head.
I am a senior in college. I am graduating with a music performance degree, but I want to make a career as an author. I know that my writing dream will take time. I can live with that. But the pressures of being an almost-real-life-adult along with the stress of marketing myself and my book is beginning to sneak up on me.
I love the writing process. I love the editing process. Hell, formatting was pretty cool too. However, I really want this second book to get an agent. I want some hard-core help with marketing and for someone to fight for my book and get a publisher really interested. Self-publishing is difficult. I did it once and I know I can do it again, but I don’t know if I can afford to do it again. Self-publishing takes a lot of time but it also takes a lot of money to do it right. I was financially savvy with “The Healing Pool” but even so it took a chunk out of my wallet. I also feel pressured to get this new book out ASAP. There is no one pushing me but myself, but myself wants to keep turning books out so I can get a wide audience and a good standing as an author.
I might be getting ahead of myself. The new MS is still raw, the edits are only beginning, and by the time it’s ready to submit I will likely be graduated and looking for jobs. I think once school is over my mindset will be able to focus. It is difficult to write while in college. I’m sure many of you can attest to that! There are so many other priorities in life right now although the latest MS feels like it should be the most important!
Ok, my nervous rant is over. Needed to get that off my chest! I know that all good things come with time, and although I consider myself to be a patient person, sometimes things need to happen NOW. Right now I need to focus my energies on the creative process before I freak out about the other stuff. I still need to take into account that I might decide to self-publish again and prepare for that, but right now I can also spare to enjoy the process a little.
Has anyone else had freak outs like this before? It’s nice to know you’re not alone!
Doing a little post-holiday writing. The next couple books feature dragons and Fafner wanted to give me some inspiration!
This past Thursday I had my first school visit! I went back to my alma mater Nichols Middle School to talk to the bookclubs and a couple of the LA/Lit classes. I saw many of my old teachers who were all very happy to see me! It was very strange being back though. I felt like I had gone back in time. (Mixed feelings about that…middle school was not the best time of my life!)
I had three different experiences at the school. I went to 2 classes of the same teacher. There I stopped by for 5 minutes to say who I was, talk about the book, and then open the floor for questions. Many of the students wanted to know how I got my idea for the book and where I went to school! It was very cute.
At the other teacher’s class, however, I was given 20 minutes! I introduced myself and the book like in the other class, but then I read a chapter from The Healing Pool. I decided next to give a creative writing exercise. I gave them 2 prompts and 5 minutes to start either a scene, a story, or develop a character. The seventh graders didn’t know what to do with that much freedom, so they all started a story! Many of them shared what they wrote which was a mix from a couple sentences to a whole plot in a paragraph. They seemed to enjoy it, but I think they were happier to have something fun and creative versus a book report! I ended my time with a little speech about inspiration and how we shouldn’t take anything for granted. Anything can give us the opportunity for inspiration. I also made it clear that inspiration should be for anything creative, not just writing. I know that writing does not resonate with everyone so I wanted them to know that music or dance or poetry or visual art can all be inspired from every day events. Always be open to inspiration!
The book clubs were lots of fun. Many of the students were writers so they talked about what they were writing and what they liked to read. They were also very particular! I told them how enough punctuation errors can make a book seem sloppy and can ruin the book, and several students already had examples of books with spelling errors! Yes, people, middle schoolers are paying attention!
I left most of my topics pretty open for the students. I was lucky that most of them had questions that I was able to elaborate on. I know that many authors bring presentations with them, but I didn’t want to do that for this crowd. The kids see enough power point presentations and listen to people talk at them in class enough as it is. I wanted them to talk and do so that they felt apart of the process and I felt like I reached them on their level. I do not know how I will structure my next school visit, but I hope that students will continue to respond to a more open approach.
I began my career as a sales woman at the age of 10, selling wrapping paper and tubs of cookie dough to my mom’s unsuspecting friends so I could earn enough money to get the best prize in the little catalog my elementary school gave me. I never earned thousands of dollars to get the super-expensive remote controlled cars or anything, but I did reach my goals and got some cool stuff! I learned in those days how to politely get in people’s faces to get them to want the product. Being a cute little kid did help some, but I was also good at getting people’s attention.
My hidden talent and joy in selling things has come in handy in the past couple of weeks. Of course it is relatively easy to sell books to friends and family, but getting other people to buy them is much more difficult. However, I did manage to sell both of my doctors books! I brought my proof copy (ready copies not delivered at the time) and some bookmarks. Once I hooked them with the proof copy I gave them a bookmark with a picture of the cover on it and they promised to buy books to support me. While I did not see them buy books for myself, I want to believe that one of the numbers of sold books on createspace is one of them.
I know that I will have to deal with plenty of uninterested faces and rejection in the near future when it comes to selling my book, but in the mean time I am taking advantage of my resources. I will be carrying my “book bag” with me with a couple extra copies of the book. I am not completely afraid of telling people about the book and asking if they are interested in buying one from me. While I can’t see myself selling books in an elevator to strangers, if the opportunity strikes I will likely bring it up.
I do not want to sound pushy or brash, I just want to sell my book. I want to make a living off of my writing one of these days so I need to do whatever I can to get my name out there. Linnea Garcia is not a name that the world knows about. Even if I don’t sell a book to someone at a bus stop or while waiting in the dentist’s office, I can at least mention it to people and hopefully they will spread the word. I don’t have a little catalog of toys motivating me this time. My motivation is to be successful and to survive on my writing if at all possible. For this book my goal is to break even. I put a lot of money into this project between the editors and the cover artist and other expenses. I need to sell about 1000 books. I have a lot of friends, but not quite that many. I need to start my advertising work now so that, hopefully, once the second book comes out more people will recognize my name and be excited to see my work.
So now that the book is up and ready to go (http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Pool-Linnea-Garcia-ebook/dp/B00Q96V0LM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417583014&sr=1-1&keywords=the+healing+pool ) the marketing strategies are beginning!
The first step of course was emailing all of my friends and family about the book. My mom emailed everyone she knows too, so a good portion of Evanston should at least be mildly aware that I have a book published! Many of my friends will be buying books directly from me once school starts up again in January, but for the time being I am trying to widen my net for people who want to buy online.
I emailed my middle school librarian to see if she would be interested in buying a copy for the library. She was so enthusiastic about it! She wants to buy a book and invited me to come to the bookclub meetings during lunch for all the grades. There’s a chance that a couple LA/Lit teachers might want me to stop by their classrooms as well. I doubt that I will sell a lot of books at the school, but it will be nice to know that I will have at least a small cluster of middle schoolers who will read my copy in the library!
I’ve also begun researching different websites to advertise the book. My first targets were the SCBWI member bookstore and Goodreads. Both places now have my book available to look at. I have also targeted Bookbub and a couple reader/writer groups on Facebook that I am apart of. I found an application to try and get on the B&N nook website, but that is still in process.
The biggest setback thus far has been the city of IL actually. I called to get an appointment about getting a sales license so I can sell my books in public libraries and such in IL, but according to the woman I spoke to I cannot get a business or sales license unless I have a permanent retail location. She sounded as equally confused and annoyed about this as I felt. I didn’t really know what to say to her. It’s not her fault, but really??? That makes no sense. A friend of mine suggested that I promote my book at libraries and then encourage them to buy via amazon or my website, but I don’t know if that will generate sales at all. I pictured myself with a nice little table with lots of books all pretty and set up at a library. If I show up with a single copy and some business cards it makes me feel like a really bad insurance saleswoman! I’ll email the libraries and ask (if they are interested in me coming) if the lack of sales license bothers them at all. I don’t see it being a big deal, but I also hate breaking rules!
Any IL self-published authors out there with advice? Bueller?