IWSG — How Much Is Enough?

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here. Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Last year when I published my first book and saw it on the shelves of Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores, I thought that was the best thing ever and I’d never be able to top it.

Today while out running errands, I stopped at one of the Phoenix Bookstores, a local indie, and took a couple of photos. Book 2 is on the shelves now, and I have to say having two books out there is even better.

 

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So what’s my insecurity this month? Marketing. How much is enough? Since publishing Book 2 in mid-May, I’ve run a wonderfully epic blog tour and participated as a vendor in two farmer’s market/craft shows and the Renaissance Festival. I’ve got more market/craft shows lined up, along with VT Comic Con, and I just set a date with Barnes & Noble for a book signing, coming up in about two weeks (Yes!).

All this is great for sales and getting the word out, but it’s also time-consuming, and I’m not getting much writing done. At some point I have to say enough is enough and get back to writing, because if I don’t, there won’t be any new books to sell.

Does anyone know if there’s any kind of rule of thumb for how long to market a new book when it comes out? How much effort do other authors out there put into it? I’d love to know!

 

The July 6 IWSG question: What’s the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?

I love it when people tell me how much they care about my characters. They can’t wait to read the next book to find out what happens to them. That means I’ve written my characters well and made them as real to others as they are to me. And to me, that’s the best compliment.

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. All rights reserved.

IWSG — Out Of Order

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here. Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Now that I’ve finally gotten Book 2 in my Trouble series out into the world, I need to get back to work on my next project. There will be a Book 3, but the trouble is (sorry, no pun intended) that up to this point I haven’t done much with it. Instead, I’ve been working on another story that’s not at all related to the series.

This story, called The Road Once Taken, is also a fantasy adventure, but it takes place in another imaginary world with new characters and has an entirely different feel to it.

I’m about three-quarters of the way through the story, and the characters have been clamoring in my head for a while now for me to finish it.

I’ve already decided that this will be my next project, but I’m a little concerned about switching gears in the middle of a series. I don’t want to annoy those readers who enjoyed the first two books and are looking forward to the next in the series.

So my question is: As a reader, how much would it bother you if an author of a series you were following interrupted the series to write an unrelated — but still in the same genre — book? I’d love to know what you think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. All rights reserved.

IWSG — Prepublication Jitters

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here. Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

My insecurities this month revolve around the impending release of my second book: Trouble By Any Other Name. I’m excited to get it out there, but I’m really nervous about it, too. The usual worries chase each other around in my head. Will anyone like it? Will it sell? Etc., etc., ad nauseum.

I’d also like to avoid the glitches I had with the e-book last time. I’m hoping everything will go smoothly over the next couple of weeks until it comes out, but I know all about Murphy’s Law, so I’m not taking anything for granted. You’d think that since I’ve done this once already I wouldn’t be so nervous about it, but it doesn’t seem to matter. I’ll be glad when the launch is over and I can relax and get back to writing.

I’m working on setting up a release day blitz and blog tour. If anyone who hasn’t already signed up (thank you!!) would like to help me out with one or the other or both, I’d really appreciate it! Please let me know in the comments. I’ll be happy to return the favor. Thank you!!!

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. All rights reserved.

IWSG — Piracy

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here. Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

A few days ago I received a Google Alert e-mail message alerting me that the title of my book and/or my name had popped up somewhere on the web. I followed the link and ended up at a site called TzarMedia.com. According to the site, if I signed up for an account, I could download my book for free. Completely unauthorized, with no compensation to the author or publisher.

Yes, I’ve been pirated.

When I clicked on the link again to go back and send a take-down notice, I ended up at a different site, LipsMedia.com. Then it was LilPlay.com, then DonnaPlay.com. I sent take-down notices all around, though I know it’s an exercise in futility.

It’s really infuriating to know that your hard work can be stolen so easily. With all the advanced technology out there today, it seems like there should be a way to eradicate these sites.

Has anyone out there had any luck dealing with pirate sites? What did you do?

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On a happier note, I’m planning on doing a cover reveal for my second book, Trouble By Any Other Name, on May 2nd, which is a Monday.

If anyone would like to help me out with the cover reveal, I’d really appreciate it! Please let me know in the comments. Thank you!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. All rights reserved.

IWSG — My 2 Year Blogiversary!

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here. Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

On this date two years ago, I posted my first blog post. I was embarking on a new journey, the pursuit of my dream of becoming a published author, and I wanted to document that journey in hopes that it might help someone else who had the same dream.

I went back and read that first post and couldn’t help but smile at how far I’ve come. Not only did I achieve my dream, I’m on the verge of accomplishing it a second time. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Book II: Trouble By Any Other Name will be published this spring.

To celebrate the revelation that dreams can indeed come true, I’m reblogging that first post. Never stop believing in your dreams.

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March 2nd, 2014 — It’s Time

Writing has always been a part of my life. It began with creating stories in my head for fun when I was young. Or rather, creating characters who wrote their own stories. I never told them what to do. My characters took care of that themselves. They lived their adventures, fought, loved, and sometimes died, in my mind. It was like watching a movie in my head, seeing and hearing the characters as if I stood beside them, holding my breath, along for the ride.

As I grew older, my mother suggested I write my stories down. Such euphoria ensued, sparking a dream of one day being a published author. To hold in my hand a book of my own making would be the greatest nirvana. But life being what it is, with the necessities of having a steady income to pay the bills, and later the beloved obligations of family, the dream stayed just that — a dream. Writing remained a hobby, though in my head my characters’ stories still clamored for release.

Until now. Now, circumstances are such that my dream might actually be within reach. I am going to self-publish my novel. There… I said it. I’m going to self-publish my novel and set my characters free. Wow. Just writing the words and putting them out there is enough to make me laugh and cry at the same time.

I know this will be a huge learning experience, and there will be bumps along the road, but I will persevere until I hold my book in my hand. It may not be the best book ever written, but that’s okay. It will still be nirvana to me.

This is my journey. I invite anyone who wishes to share it with me.

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Originally, I was planning to release my second book in April, but with A to Z coming up, I chickened out and decided on the first week of May. I hope to do a blog tour soon afterward.

If anyone would like to help me out by doing a release day post or hosting me during the blog tour, that would be wonderful! Please let me know in the comments. Thanks so much!!

 

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. All rights reserved.

IWSG — To Raise Or Not To Raise…

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here. IWSG_Badge

The print version of my book, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble, is printed on demand by the distributors Lightning Source/IngramSpark (LSI), so I don’t have to keep cases of books as backstock in my basement. Recently, I received notice from LSI that their printing costs would be increasing to cover their rising costs. I was given a window of time in which I could raise the retail price of my book and submit a new cover file reflecting this increased price without having to pay for the file update. The deadline is the end of February.

So I have to decide — do I raise the price of my print book, or leave it as is?

I had originally set the price at $16.99, which was about as low as I could go without selling at a loss. I figured if I priced my first book too high, no one would buy it. But with the 55% wholesale discount the big retailers get, the margin of profit is miniscule.

If I leave the price as is, I’ll still be in the black, but just barely. I tell myself, it’s okay, I’m not in it for the money. And yet I have to say it would be nice to make at least a little profit. But I’m concerned that if I raise the price a dollar or two, I’ll lose sales, and that would defeat the purpose of getting my book out there into readers’ hands. What to do?

Has anyone else ever run into this problem? What did you decide?

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2016. All rights reserved.

IWSG — My 200th Post!

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here. IWSG_Badge

I realized today that whatever I wrote would become my 200th blog post. That stopped me for a minute. I mean, wow, for someone like me who isn’t social by nature, 200 posts is a huge accomplishment. To commemorate this milestone, I decided I’d celebrate some of the other major things I’ve accomplished this year, such as:

Self-publishing my first book! For a writer, nothing beats holding your own book in your hands, though seeing your book on a store shelf is a close second.

Organizing a blog tour! So many wonderful people offered to help by hosting me and/or getting the word out about my book. I will be eternally grateful.

Getting my book into brick-and-mortar stores and libraries! It was hard at first to walk into a bookstore cold and ask them to stock my book, but I’m glad I made the effort.

Arranging book signings! I’ve done a few now, so I’m not as nervous about them. They’re great opportunities to meet people.

Participating in craft shows! I’ve sold more books at craft shows and farmer’s markets than I have at the signings, which I found interesting. I’ll definitely be taking part in more of those next year.

Being interviewed on radio and TV! I never thought I’d ever do anything like that. I’m proud of myself for going so far beyond my comfort zone.

It’s been a pretty amazing ride so far, and I’m about to jump on the rollercoaster again with Book 2. Soon.

So for anyone out there wondering if it’s worth it to keep going with their writing projects, my answer would be a resounding YES! Don’t ever give up. If I can do it, anyone can.

 

 

 

 

© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.