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.

*****

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.

*****

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.

IWSG — Back Cover Blurb Blues

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’ve been working on the back cover blurb for Book 2: Trouble By Any Other Name. The problem is that there are so many important elements to the story — how do you include them all and still keep it short, yet interesting enough to entice readers to take a chance on the book? Obviously, some of the elements have to be left out, because there’s just not room enough on the back of the book. Therein, lies my frustration.

I craft a blurb and think, wow, this is great. Then something else occurs to me that really should be included. Back to the drawing board. Okay, now I’ve got it… but, wait, I need to include this other detail. Back to the drawing board. Okay, this one is really good… oh, wait… You get the idea.

Trying to condense a complex 600-page book into a couple of paragraphs is an exercise in hair pulling and teeth gnashing. But if it’s not right, no one will buy the book, even though it might be something they’d like.

I know every writer goes through this, but man, it can sure drive you nuts. Oh, well. Back to the drawing board…

 

 

 

 

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

IWSG — How Do You Get a Bestselling Author to Review Your Self-Published Book?

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

Recently, I was looking through the listings of newly published fantasy books. One in particular caught my eye. It was written by a new author, and what got my attention was the review quote posted along with the blurb — or rather, not so much the quote itself, but the fact that it was from a NYT bestselling author. I didn’t look to see if both were published by the same house, but I did wonder who secured the bestselling author’s review. The new author’s agent? Editor? Publisher?

Then I wondered how a self-published author would go about getting a prominent author to review his/her book? Do you go to their website or wherever, find contact info, and just ask?

Has anyone who has self-published done this? If you did, what kind of response did you get? Were you taken seriously, or were you shot down because of the stigma associated with self-publishing? I’d love to hear about anyone’s experiences with this!

 

 

 

 

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

IWSG — Book Two Blues

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’ve been trying to finish the final edits on Book 2: Trouble By Any Other Name, but the past month or two, I haven’t accomplished nearly as much as I wanted to. Summer was just too busy. Now that the kids are back in school, I’m hoping I can pick up the pace.

Sometimes I worry if I’ll lose the small audience I have if this second book is delayed beyond the six-month time frame in which I’d hoped to publish it. I’m hoping readers will still be interested when it finally does come out.

But then I worry, what if they read it and don’t like it? What if they think it’s not as good as the first one? I know it’s pointless to worry, but sometimes I can’t help it.

How many others out there worry about these things?

 

 

 

 

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

IWSG — Books Over Breakfast!

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

My insecurities were in full force this morning as I was driving to the local WCAX TV station to do the Books Over Breakfast interview. I didn’t know what questions the news host would ask, so I’d spent some time the night before coming up with answers to possible questions and kept running them through my head. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep.

I’d been told to arrive at the station by 6:30 for make-up and to talk a little bit about the interview, which was scheduled for 6:55. I arrived at 6:25 and went in to find the station deserted. It looked like no one was there. Then Gary Sadowsky, the weatherman, came out from the studio where they were filming the early morning newscast. I told him why I was there, and he said to just wait where we were (my kids were with me), and someone would come get me. We sat in the waiting area, and he went back into the studio.

I got more nervous as the minutes ticked by and no one came out. I wondered if they had forgotten about the interview. (It had originally been scheduled for next Wednesday, then changed to today.) We could see on the TV screen the newscast being filmed live. Around 6:40, a cameraman came out and brought me into the studio. He gave me a microphone to attach to my shirt and said the newscaster who would be doing the interview would be over to talk during a break in the broadcast. I asked about the make-up session. He said he didn’t know anything about that and didn’t think there was anyone there in that department.

At 6:45 or so, Eva and Ali, the newscasters introduced themselves, and Eva took about 30 seconds to run her intro and a couple of questions she’d planned to ask by me. Then they had to hurry back in front of the camera for their news wrap-up. A few minutes later, Eva led me to a nearby set with two comfortable chairs facing each other, we sat down, and were on the air live at 6:55. She did her intro and asked her questions, most of which I was prepared for.

In three minutes, we were done. She thanked me again for coming and went on to her next gig. I took off the microphone and gave it back to the cameraman. We exited through the empty lobby and drove away.

The whole thing was such a whirlwind experience. As I was driving home, I tried to replay it in my mind, but found I couldn’t remember what I’d said. The kids had watched from backstage, so I asked them how they thought it went, i.e. did I look okay, did I sound intelligent, etc. They assured me everything looked and sounded fine to them. They were happy it went well and thought it was cool to be in a TV studio.

I couldn’t wait to get home and watch the broadcast for myself. I was glad to see I didn’t look as nervous as I felt, and I was happy not to have stumbled over my words, though I did say “um” a few times. Next time won’t be nearly as hard.

But just the same — whew, I’m glad it’s over with!

Here’s a link to the interview:

WCAX Books Over Breakfast!

 

 

 

 

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

IWSG — Library Records for Self-pubbed Books?

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 donated a copy of my self-published book, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble, to my local library. They said they’d be happy to include it in their inventory, but they need it to have a library cataloguing record out there somewhere, such as in the Library of Congress or on WorldCat.org, for them to download into their system.

I’ve spoken with people at the Library of Congress (LOC), and unless you apply for Cataloguing in Publication or a Preassigned Control Number from the LOC before the book is published, the only way to get LOC cataloguing information for your book is to send them print copies through the copyright registration process and be fortunate enough to have the LOC select the book for inclusion in the Library. No acceptance, no cataloguing info.

I’ve done some research online and found a few companies who will create library Publisher’s Cataloguing-in-Publication (PCIP) / Machine Readable Cataloguing (MARC) records for a price.

For anyone who has self-published a book — how did you obtain library cataloguing info for your book? Did you go through the LOC ahead of time or use some other method? I’d love to hear about it!

 

 

 

 

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

Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Cassa Series — New E-Book Boxed Set Available!

CassaSeries by Alex J Cavanaugh - Trilogy

Release date – June 22 2015

CassaSeries

By Alex J. Cavanaugh 

ISBN 9781939844118

Price – $5.99 eBook boxed set

Science fiction/adventure (FIC028010) and science fiction/space opera (FIC028030)

 

The Amazon Best-Selling Series!

 CassaStar – Few options remain for Byron. Slated to train as a Cosbolt pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth to his instructor, Bassa. As war brews on the edge of space, Bassa must make a decision that could decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission destined to stretch their abilities to the limit?

CassaFire – Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters behind him, the detection of alien ruins sends him to the planet of Tgren. Forced to train a Tgren named Athee and deal with an eager young scientist, he feels invaded. Tensions mount as the ruins reveal a potential weapon, plunging him further into the chaos. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

CassaStorm – Commanding the base on Tgren, Byron watches as a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the planet. When the war hits Tgren, it triggers nightmares in his son. The ancient alien ship begins transmitting a deadly code and the probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago returns. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

 

Find it here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZAP5PV4?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00ZAP5PV4?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cassaseries-alex-j-cavanaugh/1122097909?ean=294015196217

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/cassaseries

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25705316-cassaseries

 

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm.

http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

http://twitter.com/AlexJCavanaugh

IWSG — Cash or Charge?

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’m in the process of signing up for some events where I can showcase and hopefully sell my book. My question for this month is: what forms of payment should I accept? Is it better to do cash only? Or should I invest in a machine to handle credit/debit card transactions?

The cost of my book, including tax, is $18. I’m concerned that people may not carry a lot of cash and would prefer to use a credit or debit card. I don’t want to take checks, because I don’t have the time or the desire to deal with the rubber ones, which are always a possibility.

With accepting credit/debit cards, though, I worry about data security. So many large companies with top-notch security systems have had breaches that it makes me wonder how I would prevent it. Of course, at this point, I’d be such a tiny fish in a small pond that maybe I wouldn’t have to worry about it.

I’d love to hear from other authors who have sold their books in person. What forms of payment do you accept? If you have a credit card machine, what kind is it and how has it worked for you? Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thank you!!

 

 

 

 

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