Writing

writing quotes

I love quotes. Literary quotes, quotes derived from books: I find myself in them. It always surprises me when I realize that the things that puzzle me, inspire me, plague me, and excite me have already been discovered, dissected, and transformed into pieces of poetry by strangers whom I will never know. Isn’t it amazing how words can transcend time and space that way?

I’m preparing myself emotionally and spiritually to begin tackling my second book. Here are a collection of 21 quotes on writing that inspire me. (21 being a nod to my 21st year of life – gah!) I hope they can inspire you too!

  1. Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.

― Natalie Goldberg

2. Write what should not be forgotten.

― Isabel Allende

3. When we read, we start at the beginning and continue until we reach the end. When we write, we start in the middle and fight our way out.

― Vickie Karp

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5. Don’t be a writer. Be writing.

― William Faulkner

6. Quiet people have the loudest minds.

― Stephen King

7. If it is still in your mind, it’s worth taking the risk.

― Paolo Coehlo

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.

― Anaïs Nin

9. There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

― Ernest Hemingway

10. Be the instrument playing the sound of your life’s passing.

― Jonathan Safran Foer

11. Nothing haunts us like the things we don’t say.

― Mitch Albom

12. The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.

― Terry Pratchett

You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

14. We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.

― Anaïs Nin

15. The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.

― Agatha Christie

16. This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard. 

― Neil Gaiman

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18. A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

― Thomas Mann

19. I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.

― Anne Frank

20. Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

― Anton Chekhov

21. Don’t be paralyzed by the idea that you’re writing a book – just write.

― Isabel Allende

Are any of these quotes your favorite?

 

Life

new year

This last year has been one of the most triumphant, rewarding, frustrating, overwhelming, and ultimately painful years that I have ever experienced.

2015 began on an impossibly high note. I had just completed my memoir and was getting ready to start looking for a publisher. Life was busy and exciting: my family was able to catch up with old friends over the holidays, visit with family members that we hadn’t seen in years, and plan for the new year ahead.

I started up my first blog using Blogspot. It was definitely a learning experiencing, but eventually I grew frustrated at how little I was accomplishing and it drove me to re-evaluate my goals. I ended up ditching the old blog and began a new one (the one you’re reading today!) and so far, the running of this blog has been so much more enjoyable. (I definitely prefer WordPress to Blogspot!) My blog still has a lot of room to grow in and that’s one of my New Year goals – but more on that later!

Besides blogging, I took a publishing course and learned a whole lot more about the publishing industry. After a lot of prayer and tears of frustration, the Lord eventually showed me to pursue self-publishing. I felt such peace in my heart at this decision. I laid aside my unfinished book proposal and query letter, and began learning as much as I could about the self-publishing world.

I also looked into translation. I live in Puerto Rico, but I’m American – my first language is English, and I wrote my memoir in English. Getting my book translated to Spanish was an absolute must. I ran into a lot of walls and closed doors; a prominent psychologist friend of my family even asked around at the state university but was unable to find anyone that met my criteria. I felt so overwhelmed, and prayed often, asking God for direction.

I stumbled upon Translator’s Base one day. I got 22 bids within a couple of days. I felt a strong pull in my heart to contact one particular woman… and I am currently in the process of reviewing her work and deciding whether or not we’re going to go forward with her. Say a prayer for me that God would confirm if this is the translator for the job or not!

There is so much to learn about self-publishing, and I still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. Finances are currently an issue because I can’t go forward until I have some kind of budget to work with. My family is waiting on God to provide. Again, this is something I’d love some prayer about! 

In family news, my siblings’ choir was chugging along. They sang on the radio as well as at outdoor venues; they even filmed their first music video. We met with a couple of interested producers; there was even talk about making a film based on my family’s story.

In the past couple of months, a lot has changed. It has been an incredibly painful time for my family. Sadly, the music video may never be released, for reasons I can’t share here. The choir is also on an indefinite sabbatical. God knows why He has allowed these trials, and my hope is that He will bring good out of our present circumstances.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28

I am learning so much in this time. My circumstances almost had me convinced at first that my purpose had been stripped away; that my destiny had been irrevocably changed. This is not the case. In fact, I have been assured that nothing, absolutely nothing, can get in the way of what God is going to do. Not satan, not any of his minions, not the plans of the wicked. God is going to do what He is going to do – and no one can stop Him!

I am so looking forward to the coming year. I know that it’s going to have its share of hardships but I know that there are rewards and blessings ahead. I feel like I’m taking a huge step forward and I’m not going to be looking back any longer! The past is the past. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me!

What kind of year was 2015 for you? In my next post, I’m going to be talking about my goals and resolutions for 2016. See you then!

Life

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The holidays weren’t very joyous this year for my family.

Maybe they weren’t very joyous for you either. If that be the case, let’s do something, shall we? Let’s find as many things as we can think of that we are grateful for, and let’s thank God for them!

Here’s my list:

  1. Jesus – His birth, His sacrifice, His gift of grace, His love, His Holy Spirit, and His mercy
  2. My health and the health of my family members
  3. Our beautiful house
  4. Our gorgeous property
  5. The freshly cut lawn 
  6. Our mountain
  7. Electricity
  8. Running water
  9. A working washing machine
  10. A working water heater
  11. Food on the table
  12. Being able to have sushi this week
  13. Christmas cookies
  14. This song. I don’t understand most of it (it’s in Portuguese) but I cry almost every time I hear it.
  15. My brothers and sisters
  16. Pine trees
  17. My sister’s humor
  18. Homemade bread every morning
  19. My sister, who makes our bread
  20. Books
  21. Rain
  22. A working car
  23. My almost-2 year old brother + his hugs
  24. A new year 
  25. Our Christmas tree
  26. God’s love and how it fixes everything

What are you thankful for during this season?

I hope everyone is having a merry Christmas!

 

Faith

bible study

“You ought to search the Scriptures yourself, to discover the glorious gospel.”

Lailah Gifty Akita

As a lot of us know, studying the Bible is a cornerstone of the Christian walk. The Bible is, after all, the Word of God, and it is just as prevalent to us today as it was when it was originally written 2,000+ years ago.

I grew up reading it, of course. Studying the Bible in communal gatherings is also familiar to me – my family sits down together every morning to read and study with my father leading us. But when it comes to my private relationship with the Lord, I’ve always felt a little bit confused and unsure about how to go about it. Do I close my eyes, open the Bible, and point with my finger, assuming that’s the verse God wants me to read that day? Do I start at the beginning and work my way through to the end? Most of the time I’d just pick a random chapter to read through, but I wouldn’t retain anything.

I wanted to be diligent to spend time in the Word, but I didn’t know where to start or how to do it. I started Googling things like “How To Study the Bible” but nothing really stood out to me. Except for this video, which I actually found when my sister showed me this channel:

After watching this video, I understood that I needed to have a focused approach to Bible study. Taking elements of what Gretchen spoke about, and compiling them with the bits and pieces that I was picking up in other places, I began tackling my “secret closet” time in ways I never had before.

But it was one particular thing that brought studying the Bible to a whole new level for me.

A notebook.

“I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from The Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book.”

Abraham Lincoln

If you read my last post, 7 Reasons Why You Should Keep A Journal, you would have noticed that reason #3 had to do with the secret closet – writing your prayers down to the Lord. But what I didn’t get into was my own personal testimony when it came to the amazing ways that journaling helped me in delving into the Word.

So just how do you study the Bible using a journal?

First of all, watch the video up above – Gretchen, the speaker, gives a great foundation on how to go about it, including insight on how to navigate choosing your study. When I started using the method of journaling as I studied my Bible, I chose the Book of Ruth for my first in-depth study (and wow, was that a huge blessing!)

Pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit

This is first and foremost. You should pray before every study session for the Lord to touch you and anoint you with wisdom and understanding. He wrote the Bible; He holds the honored and glorified position of interpreting it to you. Don’t leave Him out.

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

Psalm 100:4

Read

Using the Book of Ruth as an example, I open up to the chapter I’m preparing to study, and I read through several verses. How much you read through and how long you take to study a particular verse, or verses, is up to you. Sometimes, I use the whole of my study time to focus on one single verse; other times, I read through and take notes on several verses. It depends, and there’s no right or wrong way of doing this. Let the Lord lead you and take rest in the fact that this is a learning process and a journey – you can’t fail!

Reread & meditate

Often, we skim over the words, not letting them take root in our hearts and minds; being a fast reader, I’m particularly prone to this. Read slowly. Meditate on the words. Read the verses over and over and over again. (Literally. It’s amazing how things start to become clearer when you’ve read the same verse eight times in a row.)  If you’re wondering about the meaning of the word, get your hands on a Strong’s Concordance (if you don’t have one, consider investing in one – it’s a priceless addition to your Bible study toolkit). You can find the Hebrew root meaning of any given word in that concordance, and oftentimes the verse you’re studying can take on new depths and meanings when you understand where the word comes from.

Take notes

This is where the journal comes into play. I write the date; some people choose to write the hour and the location – I don’t bother with that sort of thing, but you can if you want to. I write down the verses I’m studying, and then I break it down. Sometimes – like when I was studying Psalm 119 – I copy down the verse, and then I write my notes on it. My notes include everything from my impression of the verse, what I think it’s saying, how it pertains to me, what I think God could be showing me with it, and so on and so forth. If I don’t understand something I write it down. This brings the Word home in a deep and personal way. I’ll never forget those verses that I took notes on, that I meditated on and pondered.

You can ask yourself these questions:

  1. How does this apply to me?
  2. What is God showing me through this verse?
  3. What can I take away from it? 
  4. How can I learn from it?

Other things I write down in my prayer journal are personal testimonies, answers to prayer, dreams, things God is showing me, trials I’m going through, and how God is ministering to me through my study of the Word.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Be open to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. You may be in the middle of a study on the book of Proverbs, but God may put into your heart one day to turn to the book of Galatians. Don’t hesitate. That’s God speaking to you. He wants to show you something.
  2. It’s okay to play ‘Bible Roulette’ every now and then. (That’s when you close your eyes, open your Bible, and point to a verse.) Sometimes when we’re desperate and in need of an answer, God will use this method of “chance” to minister to us. However, use wisdom. There’s a story of a man who does this and the verse his finger falls on is that of the man who vowed to God that he would sacrifice the first person who came out to greet him on his return home from battle and it ended up being his daughter (Judges 11:29). Naturally, this left our Roulette friend pretty confused. I would pray and ask God for discernment if you’re confused about what you’ve read.

Did this help you in any way? Do you have any tried-and-true methods when it comes to studying the Bible? Leave me a comment and let me know! 

I have one desire now – to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.

Elisabeth Eliot

Writing

7 Reasons

To me, journaling seems to have a bit of a bad rap. When you say the word “journal,” what comes to mind? I think of angsty preteens with fuzzy, pink diaries and feather-tipped pens scribbling away about their first crush or that horrible thing that so-and-so said at school today. Journaling almost seems petty – trivial.

However, coming from firsthand experience, I can say that it’s anything but.

I have journaled off and on again since I was ten years old. I originally started because I was in foster care: not only did my dad want me to record everything that happened, but I had nobody to talk to and I was lonely. I carried that journal with me everywhere.

I started up again the following year during my second bout in foster care. This time, the habit stuck, even after we were returned home.

The older I got, the less I needed to rely on journaling. But in recent times, I have gone back to it and I have discovered a bit about the underrated practice – and myself – along the way.

  1. Journaling is cathartic

“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.”

Christina Baldwin

For me, journaling is the freest form of expression. It’s the only place where I can truly admit what I am experiencing, knowing that no one will judge me. I am still teaching myself to let go more, to delve into those thoughts and feelings that I usually ignore – the ones I don’t want to put a name to. But whenever I do? I feel nothing but relief.

Don’t be afraid to state in your journal, in no uncertain terms, what you’re feeling or going through. It has an immediate cathartic effect that will help you to make peace with whatever life is throwing your way. 

2. Journaling helps you make sense of what seems senseless

“Writing is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself.”

Pat Conroy

Often, when I’m journaling, I find myself writing, erasing, and rewriting as I go, trying to capture the exact feeling, the exact emotion, trying to recreate every altering moment, every twisted thought and half-formed fear. Putting an exact name to the feeling or to the situations that I experience was, I used to think, just another symptom of my raging perfectionism. Now I know better: what I’m really doing is trying to make sense out of what, to me, is senseless; every time I erase, every time I rewrite, I am understanding more and more about myself, about my troubles and fears and pains, about the people that feature in my life and the experiences that we share.

Why is it that this happened? Why did it make me feel this way? Journaling will help you find the answers to those questions. 

3. Journaling is a form of praying

“This is what you do when you journal. You are recording God’s grand, epoch-spanning redemptive story as it unfolds in your limited, temporal sphere of existence here on earth. Your journal has the potential to record the continuation of the Holy Spirit’s work in our world!”

Adam L. Feldman

Did you know you could write your prayers down to the Lord? Write down your hopes and dreams, your pains and fears, and be open and honest – with Him and yourself. Not only does this increase intimacy between you and the Lord, but it’s a great way to keep focused and not get distracted. I don’t know about you, but I often struggle with not getting distracted in my thoughts when I pray. Praying aloud – even if it’s in a whisper – helps, but when I’m alone inside my head, my thoughts wander. Writing down my prayers is a focused, deliberate conversation with God and seeing the evidence of the state of my heart does two things for me:

  • Forces me to acknowledge those areas about myself that I would rather close my eyes to, i.e. selfishness, pride, pettiness, etc.
  • Gives me a play-by-play of what God is doing. I love reading back old entries and seeing the areas where God has caused me to grow or the things He has answered prayers about.

Pour out your heart to the Lord and watch Him heal you. One day you will look back and read an old entry and think, “wow, I remember how horrible that was! It’s amazing how God brought me out of that place.”

4. Journaling is a way to record memories

“These handwritten words in the pages of my journal confirm that from an early age I have experienced each encounter in my life twice: once in the world, and once again on the page.”

Terry Tempest Williams

Your journals can become the chronicles of your life – they are your unpublished memoirs, if you will. Cameras can’t capture everything, and there is something very priceless about reading over old journals, recalling and acknowledging the different chapters of your life story. Based on what you write, you may even choose to share your journals with someone someday; maybe a daughter, maybe a spouse. It will provide both you and them with an unfiltered glimpse into the past. And your heart.

Journaling is the evidence of a life lived. Record all those moments that you don’t want to forget; you’ll enjoy reading them over again someday.

5. Journaling helps you heal

“These empty pages are your future, soon to become your past. Twill read the most personal tale you shall ever find in a book.”

Anonymous

Sometimes the things we go through seem almost too painful to put into words; we’d rather repress it than face it head-on. We all have our different coping techniques, and repression has definitely been high on the list for me. So I don’t always feel like journaling. In fact, when really horrible things happen, I’d rather not acknowledge it – even to myself. For example, I’ve been avoiding writing about a certain experience in a my journal for several weeks now. Last night, I finally confronted it in my own way, and I felt freer afterwards.

You don’t have to force yourself to write down what is too painful to express, but you might be surprised by how you feel after getting it out. Working through each phase of the grieving process is a part of healing, and writing down your thoughts as you go through your trials will help you in accepting your circumstances. 

6. Journaling is synonymous with self-discovery

“Often as writers, we are surprised by what we learn about ourselves. It runs counter to what we’ve thought about who we are. But it is closer to the truth.”

Rob Bignell

To journal honestly is to take a good, long look at yourself in a mirror built for souls. I used to struggle with truthfulness when it came to journaling. I’d rather have been lenient, painting myself as the victim of life’s circumstances, a damsel in distress. I shielded myself from my own bitterness and anger. But, with time, I realized that I would rather give an exact representation of my thoughts and feelings than have to face them later – the hidden shadows in a sentence made of sunshine.

The truth is, we’d rather not face that we are shallow, mean, resentful, and silly. But how else will we grow? The Bible teaches that we must confess our sins before we can be forgiven and made new. To confess means to acknowledge. And acknowledgment happens naturally when you journal. You are forced to see yourself for what you are. You come to understand yourself.

Through journaling, you will grow and you will change. Embrace it. It’s all a part of the process.

7. Journaling is a safe place

“And so I just kept writing to myself.”

Kimberly Novosel

My journals are like a scribe’s record of secret closet meetings. The Bible speaks about the secret place – a place where you are alone with the Lord, a place where you find His presence. My journals are the essence of what that secret place means to me. They see the worst of me – they see my frustration, my anger, my bitterness – and still, empty pages remain, waiting to be filled. My journals also see what is most fragile about me, the hidden wounds that no one but the Lord knows of, and I can trust that it will remain that way. There’s no one but me and God there.

It’s an escape; it’s a place to run to – a place that doesn’t exist within the crowded walls of my home. It’s where I pour out my heart with only God as my witness.

In our lives, we are often faced with terrible challenges and bitter truths. Journaling provides a safe place where you can express what you’re going through.

I hope this entry inspires you to keep a journal!

“Why, then, do I set before You an ordered account of so many things? it’s certainly not through me that You know them. But I’m stirring up love for You in myself and in those who read this so that we may all say, great is the Lord and highly worthy to be praised. I tell my story for love of Your love.”

Augustine of Hippo

Memoir, Writing

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“My book… was written on stalled subway cars, noisy cafes, and park benches…”

— Lincoln Michel

I wrote my book in between music classes on loose-sleeve paper in a library. My oboe sat on the floor at my feet and in my ears I had a cheap pair of earphones. I couldn’t write much in those days – the most I ever finished was a chapter or two. It was still too raw.

I wrote my book in the public library with my father at my side. He was creating a multilevel marketing company; I was writing books. I brought my USB stick and inserted it into the old computer. The librarian hovered nearby, anxious to be of assistance. When the afternoon had drawn to a close, we could hear the chains jingling on the gate outside, signaling the end of the work day. We would pack up our things – my father, his papers, me, my bag – and say goodbye to the librarian. We rode home through the city on our bikes.

I wrote my book at night, when the generator had run out of gas, and I was all alone in my Dad’s office downstairs in the dark, my laptop hooked up to a cable that ran out the screen door and to the car that was parked ten feet away, the hood up, wires entangling around the small electrical box that was attached to the car’s battery. We had no electricity during that year and had to charge our electronics by the battery in the car; every half hour, I would go out to the car, climb into the front seat, and turn on the engine, letting the battery recharge while I sat in the dark, damp silence.

I wrote my book sitting on my bed, staring at the unpainted walls of my new bedroom. Sweat formed on my upper lip, my temples, and I shifted uncomfortably, staring at the same pages on the same old Word document. Nothing changed much during those months.

I wrote my book on the back porch of our apartment, beneath the shade of a single tree – the which I often stared at, wondering how it got there, surrounded as it was by buildings and broken down gates. The fading sun glinted on my laptop screen.

I wrote my book after poring over old pictures, articles, newspaper clippings, journals, and medical notes. I compiled a box full of this sort of memorabilia.

I wrote my book at the dining room table. The television was blaring and the children played on the balcony outside the window. Trucks blared as they lumbered past and tires screeched as teenagers in their cheap, little cars raced past our humble little apartment – the Bucket House, as we called it, because of the leaks in the ceiling – blasting reggaeton music.

I wrote my book on a breaking down laptop, the wire rigged up to keep the battery charging. I kept it on a little desk next to my bed. No more sitting at the dining room table or hiding on the porch out back. I was stuck on my bed, staring at the now painted walls, struggling – as I had for years now – to put down on paper the words that tumbled around inside my head.

I wrote my book on the bedroom floor of a stranger’s house, now on my sister’s laptop. “Hiding out again?” People joked with me. I didn’t try to explain.

I wrote my book sitting in the living room of our new house. It was quieter now. The children still played and now there was the barking of dogs and the neighing of horses, but the trucks and screeching cars were gone. I wrote every day and the months passed quickly. At night, I scribbled my thoughts on scraps of paper in the dark and in the morning, tried to decipher them.

On New Years Day, 2015, I told my father that I had a present for him. I was newly twenty. The project that had encompassed my life from the time I was thirteen until the week I left behind the number nineteen had come to something of an end.

“I finished my book,” I told him.

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”

Neil Gaiman

Writing prompt: where and how did you write your book? 

Self-Publishing

 

selfpublishing

When it comes to self-publishing, everywhere you go and everything you read inevitably points to the same conclusion: support teams are massively important, so get one.

In the beginning, your support team may consist of just your mother and maybe a handful of sympathetic friends. Actual professionals may be a long time in coming. That’s okay. The point is to surround yourself with people who care about you, about your message, your project, and your story. This is the beginning of your “tribe,” as Jeff Goins would say. They are the faithful few who will help promote you, be the first to write reviews for you, share your work with others (online or otherwise), and stand as your support when it comes time to broadcast your story/work to the world. 

Right now, my support team – that is, the one which has to do with actual promotion, meaningful contributions (help-wise), and back-up – is small.

Quick note: I have a theory that two support teams will naturally develop in the process of writing and publishing a book: a technical one and an emotional one. I’ll be mostly talking about the technical one, although right now, my support team is kind of a blend of both.

It consists of my mother, my elder sister, and two of my younger sisters. My older sister is a burgeoning graphic artist, website designer, blogger, and writer. She asked me recently if there was anything she could help me with and I told her I needed somebody to study the ins and outs of CreateSpace, a site providing free tools for self-publishing and distribution. She already has the whole formatting concept down pat – she tried to explain it to me and I must admit, I felt my eyes glaze over. I didn’t even try to understand it – it’s like algebra, a subject I wasn’t too fond of. But she is learning the ins and outs of it, just like I asked her to, and that fact brings me a lot of relief. Which got me thinking… she is one of the starring figures of my “support team,” as is my mother. What a relief it is knowing that I won’t be forging this self-publishing path on my own, that I’m going to have help and support along the way, and that I don’t have to do everything by myself. This is one of the many benefits of having a support team.

My mother is the one who I will be taking along with me when it comes time for book tours and interviews and all that terrifying stuff. Not just because I want her to be there, not just because I know she wants to be there, but because her steady stream of encouragement over the last twenty years of my life has practically guaranteed her an honored spot in the Hall of Fame. There were so many times I came to her and forced her to sit down and listen to me rant about my raging ineptness, my frustration over the lack of progress, my bewilderment where it came to executing what I often felt was an impossible task, and she patiently listened, helpfully consoled, and patted my back when there was nothing else she could do. Those were defining moments for me, whether anyone realizes it or not. Those were the moments I needed help, and I found it in her. She didn’t expect anything in return. She just did it because she loves me.

My point? Surround yourself with people who don’t expect a return on their loving support. However, if at all within your power, keep these people in mind when your turn in the spotlight comes. They earned it. As for those who didn’t, I guess they’ll wish they did.

The two big ways a support team can help you:

Marketing & Promotion

This could be as simple as having them share one of your posts on Facebook, reposting or posting about your blog or website on their Instagram or other social media site, or telling other people about you, your work, or your site.

The private group gave me the ability to interact directly with the people who would be the front line in our marketing and promotional activities — from writing reviews, to spreading the word.

Jeff Goins, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Launching a Best-Selling Book

Jeff recommends starting a private Facebook group which consists of those people who you’ve been able to recruit as your support team. The group page would basically serve as your “working table” for all your projects where you can share things you need help on, recruit specific members to promote something, or share an article that would benefit the other members, etc.

The Book Launch

 

This post isn’t a breakdown on what a book launch is, however, just to briefly touch on it – a book launch is in itself, somewhat self-explanatory. It is the process of launching your book into the market, and each launch is different (or so say my sources). A strategy is needed in order to maximize promotion and book sales. While I won’t be getting into the different strategies or methods that can be used, I will say that having a support team (or, in synonymous terms: a launch team) is essential, according to all that I’ve read. Here’s another excerpt from Goins’ great article on book launching:

Here are some ways to leverage a launch team:

  1. Ask them to leave a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads when the book launches (assuming you’ve given them free access to the book early — which you should).
  2. Encourage each member to write a review on their own blog. In exchange, highlight these people on your blog when the book launches! See below for how we did that.
  3. Coordinate a Thunderclap.it campaign (a great way to get a lot of eyeballs on your book during launch day as long as the campaign succeeds — so make sure you set a low enough goal that you can achieve it).
  4. Share important blog posts, guest posts, or listing site mentions and ask members to support by checking it out and sharing if it resonates. I told our team that I’d retweet as many of them as possible when they talked about the book.

By this point (getting ready to launch point), your support team will have (or should have) grown. You can include blog readers, social media followers, friends, family, you name it! How do you do this? Again, you can use the concept of a private Facebook group. You can invite as many “members” as you like (Jeff says he had a team of no less than 250 people!) and all these will pitch in when it comes time to promote like crazy, leave Amazon reviews, blog post, and campaign.

I’m still in the baby stages of the ballgame, but ever since I first read about having a support team, I’ve pondered the kind of people that it would take to make up one. I can think of several off the bat, and as time goes on, I know my support team is going to grow. It’s funny, because in most areas of my life, I’m thoroughly independent: when it comes to the things that matter, I yearn for collaboration.

I guess that’s what publishing a book really is all about: the collaboration between writer and reader, seller and buyer, author and team.

Stay tuned 😉

COMING SOON

Self-Publishing

 

I just stumbled upon this website called Curiouser Editing. (A curious title that I have no idea how to pronounce, curiously.) They’re a team that help with book development, editing, consulting, and self-publishing services.

On their blog, they’re offering a FREE Pre-Publishing Checklist PDF for authors. (Score! If you’re an aspiring author, I highly recommend checking it out.) I immediately subscribed and downloaded the ebook, and BOY, am I in for a ride.

This is going to be one of the hardest things I ever do, I can already tell. 

Just check out the table of contents for the ebook:

  1. Pre-Pre-Publishing Checklist
  2. Prepare a Promo Kit
  3. Copyright & Such
  4. Choose an Editor
  5. Find Your Target Audience
  6. Set Up Social Media
  7. Set Up an Email List
  8. Pre-Marketing Part One
  9. Research Self-Publishing Platforms
  10. Rock Your Book Cover
  11. Choose Your Publishing Platform
  12. Format Your Book
  13. Pre-Marketing Part Two
  14. Publish on Amazon
  15. Set Up Amazon Author Central Page
  16. Publish on Createspace
  17. Throw a Launch Party
  18. Promote Your Book
  19. Market Your Book
  20. One Last Thing
  21. Curiouser Editing’s Favorite Publishing Resources
  22. Notes

Ahhhhhhh.

There’s so much that goes into this process. It’s somewhat bewildering and quite overwhelming but I plan on blogging the heck out of it along the way, so… there is that 🙂

Join me for the ride, will ya?

In my next post, I’ll blog about the first things I’m going to tackle on the list and how I’m going to go about doing them. See you then! 

Memoir

The last couple of weeks have been quite off-kilter. I feel slightly scatterbrained and slightly all over the place (but just slightly… let’s get that straight). Buuuuuut!

I’ve gotten my manuscript printed! Isn’t it pretty?!

manuscript

I’ve already read through most of it. Reading it objectively? Close to impossible. But I’m trying. I’m trying also not to judge it too harshly, although that’s my first instinct. Every sentence, every word, every comma – I want to study and obsess over it and try to recreate it. To achieve what? I don’t even know. I remember somebody, a friend of my family’s, mentioning that I’ll never be 100% satisfied with it – that I should just try to be 80% satisfied with it. I think I am. Or maybe 63%, give or take.

Okay, 27%.

Does there ever come a point where I stop being so hard on myself? If not, what does this say for my writing, for my desire to learn or grow? Should I be so hard on myself? I don’t know, I don’t know… Doesn’t seem like I have the choice not to be.

In the meantime, I keep telling myself this:

A professional writer is an amateur writer that did not quit.

Richard Bach