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Seekerville: The Journey Continues

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Do I Need a Platform?

 

Do I Need a Platform?

If your desire is to be a published author, I’m sure you’ve heard how important it is to have a platform.

What is a platform? It’s a number, and a bit more. A platform tells prospective agents and editors how large your reach is into the big, wide world.

How do I do it? Where do I begin?


Do I Need a Platform?

1. Start with a bit of brainstorming. What is unique about you? Or what is unique about your book? What is a good hook to draw people to your platform?


Do I Need a Platform?

2. Keep your online presence simple at first.

Linda Yezak loves coffee, so every day she posts a meme about coffee on social media. Simple. Easy.

You can share photos of sunsets with a Bible verse for the day. Or your breakfast plate. Or your dog sleeping while you exercise. Anything – as long as it is genuinely you.


Do I Need a Platform?

3. Relate your social media posts to your book in some way – even if, or especially if you aren’t published yet. My next book is a cozy mystery that takes place at a Bed and Breakfast in the Black Hills. Tourists are a big part of the stories in the series, so starting this week, I’m not only posting pictures of our area, but news about what to do when you visit as a tourist.


Do I Need a Platform?

4. Be consistent. Make a plan and write it down. For example – commit to posting a meme on social media every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And then don’t forget to do it!


Do I Need a Platform?

5. Give shout-outs to others. Not only is it great for your friends and favorite authors when you talk about their new book, they will remember you and return the favor when your book comes out. Platform-building and marketing doesn’t need to be all about you.


Do I Need a Platform?

6. Decide how much of you and your life you will share and draw a firm line. We all know that we only catch a glimpse of a person’s life on social media, and that’s how it should be. We need privacy and other people deserve it. I have decided to share very little about my family on line (although the dogs are on Instagram a lot!) but you might decide to make your children’s smiling faces part of your platform. No problem. The point is to decide and then stick with your decision.

What about a website? Or a blog? Or a newsletter? I thought I needed those.

Yes, you will need a website, but maybe not right now. Think of it as the place where your readers will land. How to build an author website is a huge subject – definitely too much for this post. For now, a great place to find information is Thomas Umstattd’s Author Media (link here.)

And a blog? Mine is connected to my website, and I post at least once a month. My goal was once a week, but life has gotten in the way this summer!

And a newsletter? Yes. It’s a great idea to have one. I've committed to sending out my short and simple newsletter once a month.


Again, the key is consistency. If you can’t be consistent, then don’t promise you will be. But it’s a good idea to make time in your schedule for at least a once-a-month website update and/or newsletter mailing.

Also, remember that not everyone is on social media. If you rely only on Facebook or Instagram for your marketing, you’ll be missing a lot of potential readers. 
So spread yourself out - but not too thin. I'm on MeWe, Facebook, and Instagram. I keep my website updated and post regularly on my blog. I catch a varied audience because my outlets are varied.

Are you working on building your platform? Tell us how you're doing it!

 



Revamping: strategies for success in a changing world

 

Revamping: strategies for success in a changing world


It’s been fourteen months since our world slammed into a brick wall.


Revamping: strategies for success in a changing world

Ouch!  

I don’t know about you, but for me the past year and a little more has been a lesson in digging deep into my character and finding out what I’m really made of.

There’s nothing like social and political upheaval to bring out the best…and worst…in us.

Sometimes I was appalled by what came out of my heart. Terrible things. I yelled at people (while I was in the shower,) and stomped my foot hard (when I was alone,) and even committed murder (okay, characters, not people, but the killing part was quirkily satisfying.)

But once I got past the idea that two weeks would bring us back to normal (about four months into our current situation,) I started pulling out the good stuff. Digging deep into my heart and tapping into the creative part of me that needed to pull up my big-girl panties and get on with life and my career.

Revamping: strategies for success in a changing world

 
So, what did I do?

First of all, I took a fresh look at my writing. In January and February 2020, I had two proposals rejected. It was time to reevaluate what I was doing.

Since I am in that miniscule minority that sold the first book I ever wrote and had steady contracts for the next nine years, I had never taken the time to explore different genres and different writing styles. So, I decided to write a mystery.

What did I know about writing a mystery? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero.

So in May 2020 I started learning. I read every cozy mystery I could get my hands on. I searched the internet for blog posts on writing mysteries. I sat down with that information and outlined a course of study. I spent three months developing my story, my characters, and a series idea.

In the summer I started writing. Fits and spurts. Do you remember the stereotype of the author typing a few words, ripping the paper from the typewriter in disgust, only to do the same thing with the next sheet of paper? That was me. So many false starts.

But slowly and surely the pieces fell into place, and now the story is almost finished.

Will I write another cozy mystery? I plan to, Lord willing. But I also want to continue writing historical romance (my first love!)

The biggest take-away from this experience is that I love writing again. Love it. It is no longer work, but a joy.

Revamping: strategies for success in a changing world

 
The other thing I’ve done to revamp my career is to analyze what was working and not working in my marketing strategies.

When I first started writing, everyone needed to have a blog. Remember those days?

And a website.

And then everyone had to have an author page on Facebook.

But time moves on. Facebook has changed (again – they’re always changing!) And Amazon changed (again!) And my new, big-girl-panties-wearing-self decided I had had enough.

After doing more research, I decided that I needed to quit relying on Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos to do my marketing for me. It was too expensive – not in cash, but in my sanity. Those two don’t know me, and they wouldn’t care if they did. They are looking out for their best interests, not mine.

I knew I needed to control my own marketing rather than relying on someone else.

So, I revamped my website, which is something I actually own and have control over (unlike social media,) and I started putting more content on my blog to make a visit to www.JanDrexler.com  worthwhile.

Revamping: strategies for success in a changing world

Instead of being the dog whose tail was being wagged by tech giants, I’m in control.

Now I use Facebook, MeWe, and my soon-to-be-revamped newsletter to market my website and books and to bring people to fresh and (hopefully!) entertaining content. Instead of being at the mercy of big tech companies, I’m using them to my advantage. It feels good.


All in all, the past year has been a hard one, but a good one. I will be reaping the benefits of my revamping strategies for years to come. Or at least until it is time to revamp again!



What changes have you made in your writing or in your life in the past year? Tell us about them!

One commenter will win a e-book copy of “A Home for His Family,” an historical romance set in the gold rush days of Deadwood.


Revamping: strategies for success in a changing world
About the story:

Nate Colby came to the Dakota Territory to start over, not to look for a wife. He'll raise his orphaned nieces and nephew on his own, even if pretty schoolteacher Sarah MacFarland's help is a blessing. But Nate resists getting too close—Sarah deserves better than a man who only brings trouble to those around him.
 
Sarah can't deny she cares for the children, but she can't let herself fall for Nate. Her childhood as an orphan taught her that opening her heart to love only ends in hurt. Yet helping this ready-made family set up their ranch only makes her long to be a part of it—whatever the risk.



 

 

The Author-Editor Relationship

The Author-Editor Relationship

by Mindy Obenhaus

When I received my first contract with Love Inspired Books in 2013, I was so tickled to be able to use the phrase “my editor.” It meant I’d finally achieved my goal of becoming a published author.

While I’ve been with Love Inspired for eight years now, I’ve changed editors several times. I’m currently with my fourth editor, plus I’ve worked with two additional editors when my regular editor was on vacation or had some other extenuating circumstance. With each change, there was that momentary twinge of “What if she doesn’t like my writing? What if she doesn’t like me?”

Of course, my worries, while understandable, were all for naught. Yes, every editor has their own way of approaching things. Each has a different personality. One may not care for a particular turn of phrase I'm prone to using, while another never mentions it. Yet in each case, the transition turned out to be a positive experience. I’ve learned from each editor and that has grown me as a writer. How? By adhering to some basic principles. 

Be professional – Your editor is your partner. He/she has entered into a contract with you, like someone you might hire to remodel your bathroom. You are to provide the expected work to their satisfaction at the time you both agreed to, and, along the way, they will provide input in the form of revisions/edits. Yes, their requests might have you groaning or wondering why they bought your book in the first place. Still, you shove those feelings aside and get to back to work. 

Don’t argue with your editor. If you have a valid point you’d like to discuss with them, do it in a respectful manner. And don’t ever share your displeasure on social media. This should go without saying, I know, but there’s always one.
The Author-Editor Relationship
Be open – Discuss your career goals with your editor. This is particularly true if you change editors or are nearing the end of your current contract. Be sure to bring a new editor up to date on your career thus-far. Let them know how many books you’ve done with that publisher. Tell them your plans for the future. Are you already working on a proposal for a new series with them or are you looking to go in a different direction? You never want to burn any bridges. However, if you plan to stay with that publisher, your editor will be your advocate in growing your career.

Don’t make demands. Editors don’t want or need difficult people when there are many talented authors waiting in the wings.

Be flexible – This is a must no matter where you are in your writing career because things are always changing. If you find yourself having to work with a different editor, embrace the change. If your editor feels as though the second half of the book would be better done a different way, schedule a time to talk with him/her to discuss those changes, then go into the meeting with an open mind. And never forget that editors are people, too. They make mistakes and overlook things which can occasionally result in a tight deadline for you. Whenever possible, do your best to meet that deadline. Of course, the flipside of that coin is that sometimes life throws us a curveball and we find you’re not going to be able to meet a long-established deadline. If that happens, contact your editor right away and let them know the circumstances so they can work with you.

Don’t dig in your heels or set unrealistic goals/deadlines.

The author-editor relationship should be one of mutual respect and your attitude helps set the tone. By being professional, open and flexible, you’re opening the door to the possibility of a wonderful career.

Now it's your turn. What elements do you think are important to a successful author-editor relationship?

In other news, A Brother’s Promise, book two in my Bliss, Texas series, is now available! 
Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy (U.S. mailing addresses only, please). Also, I’m in the midst of a blog tour with JustReads Tours and there’s a nice prize package involved. Click here for details.

The Author-Editor Relationship

A BROTHER'S PROMISE

He didn’t realize he wanted a family… Until he suddenly became a single dad. 

After his sister’s death, rancher Mick Ashford’s determined to ensure his orphaned niece, Sadie, feels at home. And accepting guidance from Christa Slocum is his first step. But just as Christa and Sadie begin to settle into Mick’s heart, Sadie’s paternal grandparents sue for custody. Now Mick must fight to keep them together…or risk losing the makeshift family he’s come to love.

Get your copy HERE!


The Author-Editor Relationship

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com  

My Writing Journey—What I did Right and What I Wish I had Done Differently

By Guest Kerrie Flanagan

The writing journey can be a long and winding road with bumps, detours, and success along the way. These four authors share what they believe they did right along the way and what they wish they had done differently. 

My Writing Journey—What I did Right and What I Wish I had Done Differently



One Thing I Did Right! 

Jamie Raintree: I think believing in myself is the foundation of any and all success that comes in publishing, however you define success. (And defining success for yourself is another important key!) The author's journey is full of ups and downs and the only way to weather them is to have a deep faith in yourself that allows you to keep writing and keep putting yourself out there, no matter what the publishing landscape looks like and no matter how many times you fall down along the way. How do you build that kind of confidence? For me, it has been by doing the work. Study the craft exhaustively, stay in touch with what's happening in the industry as much as your inner artist will allow, and commit to the long game.

Windy Lynn Harris: I bought books that I admired and dissected them to figure out the mechanics behind the magic. There is something to learn from every author on the shelf.

Sara Jade Alan: The best thing I did on my writing journey—after I finished my terrible first draft—was to find a writing community and critique partners. I took classes, went to writing conferences, met up with my critique partners once a month, and became an active member of Lighthouse Writers Workshop and, later, SCBWI. Not only did it help my craft, but it also buoyed my spirit to be alongside kind, fun, creative friends on the same journey.  

William Kennower: I asked myself, “What would you write whether it got published or not?” The answer was different than what I had been writing at the time. That one question changed trajectory of my career and is in many ways responsible for all the success I’ve had.


One Thing I Wish I Would Have Done Differently

Jamie Raintree: I wish I would have stood up for my own voice and my own vision for my work sooner. Wanting to be published sometimes encouraged me to compromise parts of my story that I still regret. But it was a learning process, and what I learned is that you should never put anyone in the industry on a pedestal so high that you forget that you're all in the trenches together. Everyone on your team wants your book to be as successful as you do. Their suggestions come from the best intentions and lots of experience, but if something doesn't feel right, it's okay to disagree and brainstorm ways to make something work so that everyone on your team feels good about it. Be respectful, always be humble in your craft and open to improvement, but also remember that no one knows your story better than you do. Trust yourself.

Windy Lynn Harris: I wish I would have given myself more credit along the way. I knew my first couple of books weren’t very good, but I sent them out anyway, hoping someone would pluck me out of the slush pile and show me how to improve my writing. That led to (well deserved) rejections, which had me doubting myself. I was working and improving, but rejection stings and it did set me back. It took years to find the confidence to finish another book. I wish I’d done it sooner! 

Sara Jade Alan: Yes! I wish I’d been even more patient. I thought I was being patient—after all, it took ten years from starting my first draft to signing a book contract. Now I see that when it came to signing with an agent (who I parted ways with a year later), I ignored a few red flags. Because I wanted help navigating the book contract I’d gotten on my own, and I wanted so much for this to be the partner I’d been waiting for, I let myself get blinded by the excitement. It’s a tricky balance, because you can’t necessarily hold out for perfection either. When making big decisions in writing, as in life, you have to dig deep, be honest with yourself and try not to make choices out of fear or eagerness. 

William Kennower: Focused on less on results on more on process. For years I was too obsessed with publication and success, and not enough on whether what I was writing was right for me, whether I was loving the experience of writing, whether I was always happy writing. I think this is common for a lot of writers, particularly if, like me, they don’t have another meaningful career they’re pursuing simultaneously.


Today, we'd love for you to share one thing you did right and one thing you wish you'd done differently (in your writing career or in other careers if you're not a writer)! Kerrie plans to drop in to answer questions as well!

****
My Writing Journey—What I did Right and What I Wish I had Done Differently


Kerrie Flanagan is an author, writing consultant, presenter, and freelance writer with over 20 years’ experience in the publishing industry. She is part of the Writing Day Workshop team, and coordinates one-day writing conference throughout the country. See if there is one near you.
She is the author of, The Writer's Digest Guide to Magazine Article Writing and the creator of the Magazine Writing Blueprint. In addition, she has published twelve other books, including three series’ with a co-author, under the pen names, C.K. Wiles and C.G. Harris. Her articles and essays have appeared in publications and anthologies including Writer's Digest, Alaska Magazine, The Writer, FamilyFun, and six Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her background in teaching, and enjoyment of helping writers has led her to present at writing conferences across the country and teach continuing studies classes through Stanford University. Visit her website to see where she is speaking next. 

My Writing Journey—What I did Right and What I Wish I had Done Differently

A Fortune Cookie Attitude



Missy Tippens


How many of you get a kick out of fortune cookies? I want to share with you a recent fortune I got in a cookie at one of my favorite restaurants…

A Fortune Cookie Attitude

In case you can’t read it, it says: Your abilities will shortly bring you to fame.

Ha! I took a photo so I could kiddingly send it to my kids. My husband and the kids and I had a good laugh about it, and then the thought faded as newer photos overtook it in my phone.

Then last week I attended the Novelists Inc. (NINC) conference in gorgeous St. Petersburg, Florida.

A Fortune Cookie Attitude
Photo I took from my balcony at the Tradewinds Resort. See how the clouds mimic the palm trees!

As I attended workshops taught by successful authors and publishing gurus and chatted with other professional writers, I noticed a spirit of confidence, of can-do. Of course, success requires loads of work. It’s not like confidence alone will create it. But when I’m around successful people I notice a sense of excitement, of expectation, of determination, and the gumption to try new things. These same people also have a willingness to share their knowledge and are happy to help. As we had meals together or chatted outside workshops, they generously (and patiently) answered my questions about publishing and promotion. And let me tell you, some of my questions were embarrassingly basic.

As I was on the way home, reading Newsletter Ninja by Tammi Labrecque, about building and maintaining a newsletter list, it hit me that I’ve had the wrong attitude about many things having to do with promotion and reaching out to readers. I’ve always felt my readers considered it a blessing that I only email them quarterly or that I don't post on my Facebook author page multiple times a day. However, I’m discovering through these other authors that their newsletter readers and social media followers love to hear from them.

What an attitude shift that is from my old one!

A Fortune Cookie Attitude


Excitement is contagious. If I’m excited about my books (which I am!), and I share that excitement (which I sometimes feel sheepish about doing), then my readers will be excited to hear from me.

Sounds a little like a math problem!


A Fortune Cookie Attitude


I have many new goals after attending the NINC conference. It’ll take a bit of time to get organized and figure out how to do it. But mainly, it hit me that I should have an attitude that goes along with my fortune from that cookie. I thought I’d share a few tips for how I plan to adjust.

1.  Watch successful people. Make note of their attitudes and try to mimic their work ethic and confidence.
2.  Let go of negative self-talk. Or maybe I should state that more strongly: Recognize and destroy negative self-talk.
3.  Allow yourself to be excited about changes you’re going to make. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Failure will just teach you what works and what doesn’t. (It won’t end the world!)
4.  Surround yourself with supportive people (like us here at Seekerville), people who will pray for you and help you along the way.
5.  Come up with a plan. (And of course, pray for direction as you plan.) You can have the world’s best attitude and loads of excitement, but that has to translate into ACTION.

Now, I’m off to work as if I have fame in my future! :)

I hope you’ll try that as well. In fact, I’ll share my fortune cookie with you: YOUR abilities will shortly bring YOU to fame!

Think like it.

Act like it.

And watch your business grow.

I have a new novella coming soon!! His Perfect Christmas. I’m in the middle of the formatting and uploading now (learning more about choosing keywords and categories!).

One of my other goals post-conference is to sign up and learn how to deliver books on BookFunnel. So today, I’ll be giving away two copies of my novella, His Perfect Christmas, to two commenters (please let me know you'd like to be entered)--to be delivered as soon as I get my account working. :)

So let's talk about our attitudes! Is there anything you need to change to put on your fortune cookie attitude?

A Fortune Cookie Attitude


His Perfect Christmas

Unlucky in love, police deputy Hardy Greenway has spent his life in the friend zone. But now he’s fallen hard for the girlfriend of his nemesis. Dori Blanchette has been waiting for a proposal from her boyfriend, but how can she say yes when she has feelings for Hardy? With Christmas tree ornaments playing spontaneously and secrets being revealed, there’s no telling who will end up together at Christmas!


A Fortune Cookie Attitude
Also! Don't forget to check out my true story about adopting my dog in this recent release! Second Chance Dogs. My story is titled "It Started with a Guinea Pig."














After more than 10 years of pursuing her dream of publication, Missy Tippens, a pastor’s wife and mom of three from near Atlanta, Georgia, made her first sale to Harlequin Love Inspired in 2007. Her books have since been nominated for the Booksellers Best, Holt Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Maggie Award, Beacon Contest, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, and the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award. Visit Missy at www.missytippens.comhttps://twitter.com/MissyTippensand http://www.facebook.com/missy.tippens.readers.





Charting Your Path to Success—One Step at a Time

by Guest McCall Hoyle

Charting Your Path to Success—One Step at a Time


If you’ve been writing long enough, you’ve heard more than your fair share of advice. If you haven’t been writing long or don’t believe me, open your Pinterest or Twitter app, and search writing. You’ll be inundated with advice and pearls of wisdom on how to outline a book, finish a book, and sell a book. One of my favorite motivational nuggets is: writing isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. The truth is, sometimes the race to publication feels way longer than a 26.2-mile endurance run. Sometimes it feels like a barefooted-uphill-battle in the jungle. 
But there’s light at the end of the tunnel, the end of the race, and at the top of the hill. The good news is that each of us can finish what we start, whether it’s a physical challenge or a writing challenge, if we just keep putting one word, one goal, one foot in front of the other. And there are a few things we can do to make life a little easier no matter where we start. 
First, we can set goals. We can choose whatever we like, but we must set them, write them down, and tell someone else about them so that we’re accountable to someone. Several years ago, my goals included entering contests that required longer and longer entries until I had a substantial chunk of a manuscript. Then my goal was to finish a manuscript and enter the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Contest, which leads me to the second thing that helped me accomplish my ultimate goal—publication. 
Finding a tribe of like-minded writers is invaluable. I found my people at Georgia Romance Writers. I found my critique partner at my first GRW Moonlight and Magnolia Conference, and I started learning about the business of writing which is almost as important as the craft of writing. 

Charting Your Path to Success—One Step at a Time

Remember how I wanted to enter the Golden Heart Contest? Well, I did enter, partially because it was a goal that I had written down and worked toward in increments and partially because I’m really stubborn and determined. I finaled and won the young adult category in 2014 with the manuscript that would become my first published novel, The Thing with Feathers. I finaled again in 2016 with a manuscript that hasn’t sold yetThe Other Cheek. The greatest prize that came out of those contests was the lasting relationships I’ve built with my Dreamweaver and Mermaid sisters. 
Finally, we have to challenge ourselves to take risks. We have to take classes that push us out of our comfort zone, and we have to open ourselves up to rejection from all over the place—contest judges, potential agents and editors, readers, even our own well-meaning critique partners. 
Some of us may start strong out of the gate, writing thousands of words in one sitting. Some of us might experience a runner’s high when we hit the 13.1-mile midpoint of our current manuscript and fall in love with our heroine or sell our first manuscript. A few of us will even sprint to the finish, arms up, smiling for the cameras and writing the closing-scene-to-end-all-closing-scenes. A few of us might even support ourselves as full-time writers. 
But when our calves scream, the words don’t come, and the rejection letters pile up, we must remember to run our own races and more importantly to support each other along the way. We can’t be sucked into the muddy quagmire of competition. There is no competition in the creative or the spiritual realm. In fact, it’s been my personal experience that when I help other writers, the universe repays me forty-fold, and this is usually when I learn the most about myself as well as my writing. 
In fact, instead of falling into the competition trap. We should focus on the gift of community and seek out other writers who enjoy the collaborating and cheering for one another—much like the Seekerville bloggers have done here and much like I do with my Golden Heart sisters. The marathon that is writing and publishing doesn’t have to be solitary. Pretty much everything I have learned about the craft and business of writing I’ve learned from communities of writers who welcomed me with open arms.

Charting Your Path to Success—One Step at a Time

So here’s my advice, run your own race, my friend. Forget competition. Set goals that work for you. Work toward them in increments, and fearlessly force yourself to take risks. 
Celebrate every mile marker along the way, no matter how quickly or slowly you reach it. If you’re lucky, you might learn to catch your breath and enjoy the water breaks at the end of each chapter. If you’re really good, you’ll learn to savor the bananas and bagels at the finish and to celebrate your peers too. 
So fire up that laptop and let me hear those words hitting the page, like a fresh pair of running shoes on the road to success.  
On your mark. 
Get set. 
Go. 
 *********
Missy again: I have loved McCall's books, so be sure to check out her newest release! Let's chat today about charting your path to success and moving along one step at a time.

Charting Your Path to Success—One Step at a Time

Meet the Sky
Seventeen-year-old Sophie wants to keep her fractured family together. She's all about sticking to a plan--keeping the family business running, saving money for college, and making sure her mom and sister don't endure another tragedy. Then a hurricane forms off the coast of the Outer Banks, and Sophie realizes nature is the one thing she can't control. To make matters worse, she's stranded in the middle of the storm with Finn, the boy who broke her heart freshman year. 

Click here to view visit McCall's website so you can find the book on the different book seller sites!
Click here to visit the new release on Amazon.

McCall Hoyle writes young adult novels about friendship, first love, and girls finding the strength to overcome great challenges. Her second novel, Meet the Sky, released September 4, 2018 from HarperCollins/Blink. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with her family and their odd assortment of pets. She has an English degree from Columbia College and a master’s degree from Georgia State University. She lives in a cottage in the woods in North Georgia where she reads and writes every day.
Find her:
Instagram: @mccallhoylebooks
Twitter: @MccallHoyle
Facebook: McCallHoyleBooks

Plotting Your Journey


Plotting Your Journey

I am unashamedly a pantser. Most of you know what that means. A pantser is a person who does not lay out big plans or modes or outlines or graphs or models of stories... we don't do creative boards about our characters and generally speaking we get a story idea and start fleshing it out mentally... and then we start writing. And in that initial writing process we get to know our characters, our setting and our plotline. We might go into the story knowing that Jennifer not only keeps her job, she gets a promotion and that Kyle realizes he isn't really meant to be alone... that he felt that way because of past wrongs.

BUT THAT'S ALL WE KNOW.

And so we write and get to know things and add things and bob and weave as we create the opening chapters, checking the sequence, tweaking this and deleting that.

Now this process is natural to pantsers. It doesn't worry us, bother us, fret us or take all that much time, really. It's an artistic process.

But this is not how to run a business.

The business side of writing is different. It's serious. It affects the paycheck. Which affects the mortgage. And the bank's pleasure at dealing with you.

These two distinct sides of your business need to be handled uniquely. You're fine being a pantser when writing books as long as you're creating saleable material. It's all good.

But running a business takes plotting to be successful, no matter which side of the publishing divide you fall on.

Plotting Your Journey
 
1. Plan your work and work your plan. 
    A. How much money do you need to make?
    B. Are you published already?
    C. If not, are you doing what it takes to get there?
    D. Are you working regularly?
    E. Are you sending things out?
    F. Entering contests?
    G. Working with a critique partner?
    H. What are your goals?
    I.  Are you working every day to achieve those goals?
    J. Have you put a lid on whining and/or being envious of others? (You would be amazed at how many writers are never satisfied with where they are because they're so busy looking around at others. This is not helpful. Keep production up at least until you're on the NYT list... and even then, if you're smart!)



2. Now that you're published, what are you doing to stay published?
   A. Are you writing daily?
   B. Are you editing your work regularly to polish it, make it shine?
   C. How many books can you write in one year?
   D. Do you crunch numbers regularly or act surprised when income rises or falls?
   E. Are you examining all sides and opportunities in the current publishing landscape?
   F. Do you set up a one year plan? A two year calendar?
   G. Most businesses run the "numbers". What are your numbers? How much can you write in a day? Then multiply that by days in the week and weeks in a year, etc.
   H. Do you have a back-up plan? When a line closes, do you have another outlet for your work?
   I. Are you utilizing the indie market as well as traditional markets to get your name out to more people?
   J. Do you watch market reports, Author Earnings, check Seekerville links and read with respect and skepticism?
   K. Do you know why you should be skeptical? :) Go to letter "L" and I'll tell you...
   L. Because you are the captain of your ship, and not everyone wants your success. You should! So don't pay too much attention to the whiners and naysayers that pepper the publishing landscape.
Plotting Your Journey


Now  you're asking yourself, is she serious?

Heck, yeah. And here's why: Most of our audience is women. Women are amazingly creative but tend to want to THANK EVERYONE for the chances they've been given instead of riding through the corral, boots on and heels down, showing everyone that they're in charge.

You need to be in charge.

You need to be the captain of your ship. You need to be the person in charge, the one with a plan because you are the only one who can make that plan work and make that dream come true.

You can dilly dally.

You can fuss over this and that. So many do...

But if you attack this new career like a job, even a simple part-time job, and give it that dedication of an hour or two/day, you will begin amassing an enormous stockpile of work in a year or two.

Why is that important?

Because no one buys a blank page.

NO ONE.

I love to see women take charge. I love seeing women square their shoulders, stick their chins in the air, and get the job done.

Plotting Your Journey

In the movie Willow, the little Nelwin "Willow Ufgood" is yearning to be the sorcerer's apprentice. The sorcerer holds out his gnarled, aged hands and asks the candidates to pick the finger with the power. Each one picks mistakenly. Afterward, the sorcerer asks Willow what his first instinct was, and Willow somewhat abashedly answers "I was going to pick my own finger."

"And that was the correct answer," said the aged sorcerer.

No matter where we are in this writing career, we shouldn't feel the need to look for power elsewhere.

Draw it from within.

Master your own destiny. Learn from other's mistakes, but that doesn't mean you have to follow their examples or timeline.

Plotting Your Journey

I have always admired production. Mary Connealy, Margaret Daley, Linda Goodnight, Karen White, Lisa Wingate, Nora Roberts, Shirlee Mccoy, Debbie Macomber, Lenora Worth, just to name a few. What these talented women share is the self-discipline to work daily... and to get the job done. They have shown all of us what can be accomplished if we just keep working.

A few weeks ago my buddy Vince mentioned writing a renowned classic.

You know, I have never worried about such things. If I can touch hearts and help troubled souls with sweet stories of longing and forgiveness, I'm happy. I have no need for stardom or awards or huge money...

I just like to write the kind of stories folks like to read. And I like to write them quickly.

BUT THAT'S ME.

And you don't have to be a Ruthy or a Mary or a Nora....

But if you're going to be running your own small business, you do better if you make a plan, then let the plan guide you.

It's all mathematical, darlings.

If you want to write three 60K books in a year, that's 180,000 words.

180,000/365 is just under 500 words/day. TWO PAGES, my loves.

Two.

I might not be big on planning and plotting my stories.... except in my head. But I do plan my work, my job, my business because planning that not only affects my pocketbook. It affects my life.

And while there are lots of things in life I cannot control... and as Shirlee Mccoy pointed out on facebook so succinctly this week, every writer deals with the stresses of life. No one is immune... the trick is to keep on working because while life throws you curves, the one thing you have full control over is your work. Your effort. Your production.

So tell me? Are you a pantser or a plotter in your writing? And how can you make yourself be a better planner when it comes to working?

Ruthy has a copy of her newest Love Inspired, a beautiful opening story to her new Western series "Shepherd's Crossing"... Wait, make that TWO COPIES!!!! Win it before you can buy it!

Plotting Your Journey
This beautiful reunion story will make you smile and sigh... and then smile again.
Leave a comment and let her know you want it... and tell us what you're doing to make your dream come true. If you dare... otherwise, just grab some cookies and lemonade and we can talk about any old thing.


Plotting Your Journey
Multi-published, bestselling, award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne writes the kind of stories she loves to read. Stories ripe with romance, faith, fun and fiction and enough poignancy that when they're done... when you turn that last page... you wish you hadn't finished. And that's the best compliment in the world... Friend her on facebook, follow her on Twitter, swing by her website ruthloganherne.com and feel free to e-mail her at loganherne@gmail.com. She loves to hear from you! 



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