What I’ve Learn After 50 Blog Posts (Tips & Tricks)

from blog.pinkcakebox.com

TA DA!  (TWEET, TWEET!)  WE MADE IT!

Happy 50th post on this website.  I was kind of surprised that it sneaked up on me.  But I’ve learned a lot since March 2nd, 2013 and I want to share what I have learned with any would-be writers or bloggers —

10 Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

  1. Trust yourself.  People who are meant to find you will find you, so don’t waste time trying to be someone you’re not.  Always be yourself.  Unless you can be Batman, then always be Batman 😉
  2. ‘Tag’ your posts.  The world is wide and tags really help like-minded people find you.  And be open to tagging anything — in the beginning WordPress suggested ‘Mental Health’ for some of my inspiring blogs and that was a great idea I’d never thought of.  I also got a ‘re-blog’ link because I mentioned ‘The Simpsons’ once but I’d added a tag for it.
  3. Stick to a few topics.  Catherine Ryan Howard had that advice in her ‘Self-Printed’ book and it has worked well for me.  It also guarantees that people who like one post will probably like more down the line.
  4. Do your own thing but also find out the needs and desires of your audience.  I write mostly about how to live an inspirational life, writing, and self publishing.  But people really like the inspiring life bit (they like me even more, but that’s just coincidental 😉 ).  So I keep that need in mind and try to help people, even a tiny bit, on their journey toward their dreams.
  5. Post regularly.  If I had one tip, this would be it (along with be yourself, be interesting etc).  The keys to the kingdom.  Catherine Ryan Howard suggested three posts a week but for a long time I was ‘too busy’.  But when I got serious about posting more often (I aim for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) then people really started getting interested.  I did recently take a ‘birthday week break’ because, well, I’m only human (Skyrim!).
  6. Get great titles.  The number one thing I see when I look at blogs is a lack of inviting titles for posts.  Everything doesn’t have to be ‘How To Make A 10 Tips List To Drive Business’ but I see a lot called ‘Blah Blah, Dreary Day’.  And maybe that’s great and maybe it’s funny, and maybe it’s only meant to be cathartic, but I’m not that interested.  I saw one just called ‘L’ and the first line was ‘I guess this is really happening’, and I had to see the rest of that post.  I lot of times I’d pick a title, write the piece and find a better title in one of my lines, more original, more dramatic, and I’d use that.
  7. Pictures, Links, Ponies — whatever it takes.  People respond to great pictures and quotes (at least I do).  And links not only promote things you love (like my recent Frank Turner post) but they are also added valve/fun for your fans.
  8. If you can, proofread your ‘preview’ before you publish.  I have found seeing the post in its final form makes catching the error easier (warning: you will still find errors).
  9. If you Google something and can’t find the post you wanted — jump on that.  I was looking for a certain kind of list of ‘how to move to the next level as a writer’ for my Athens Writers Association meeting and I couldn’t find it!  So I wrote my own thing to bring to the group and it turned into a very successful post.
  10. Dream (and think) big.  Act successful to be successful.  I had no idea I’d have so many followers by my 50th post but I wasn’t put off when I had just one either.  I just sent my best, most professional work out into the world and hoped to find a few people who liked it.  Thank you all for being so kind as to be part of this wild ride with me.  Onward to 100!
The Amazing Austin Kleon

The Amazing Austin Kleon

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“How Do I Format My Book?”

‘The Tragicall Hiftorie of Hamlet’ is only slightly sadder than ‘The Tragicall Hiftorie of Formatting’.

I’ll be upfront right away — if you need a good formatting how-to, Google onward or better yet, run off and buy Catherine Ryan Howard’s Self-Printed .  It will make the job easier.  However, if you’re about to lose your mind and want some comfort and camaraderie, then you’ve come to the right place.

Now, if you my age (mid-thirties) or older, you might have grown up wanting to be a writer, but you never thought once about growing up to be a ‘formatter’.  You honed your writing, and thought about book readings and tours, working well with your agent and editor, but you never thought much about self-publishing.

When I got serious about writing in the mid 90s, ‘vanity presses’ were still the main name for do-it-without-a-publisher printing.  For you youngsters, they were called that because — you guessed it — it was seen as vanity to publish a book the ‘real’ publishers didn’t think was good enough.  Of course, that’s a total fallacy, but a lot of people believed it.  It also might cost you $10,000 and you’d wind up with 1,000 copies out in your garage.

So I just assumed I’d never have to think about covers, copy editing, and FORMATTING.  I probably didn’t even know what that really meant.  Fast forward to this year, when I bought the above-mentioned book and started seeing my Athens Writers Association buddies bringing these beautiful, professional books into the world.  But behind every beautiful book came a horror story about formatting.

Still, I was a patient and smart woman — how hard could it be?  (long break for weeping here).

First, I couldn’t find any program that could save files as plain .DOC, not .DOCX (which I needed for Smashwords i.e. getting my e-book on Nook etc) except for Microsoft Word.  But I had never owned MS Word; I have gotten hooked on MS Publisher years ago and, like someone still typing that first draft on an old Smith Corona, I had never moved on.  So I broke down (despite a Windows 8-related grudge match with MS) and downloaded a trial of MS Office so I could try Word (verdict: LOVE it.  Must be an entirely different group than those Windows 8 tile-lovers).

So life was good, until I actually tried formatting.  See, following the advice in Self-Printed, I didn’t try anything fancy for my Kindle and Smashwords e-books — since an e-book is really a scroll-type document without real pages, it limits what you can do.

Not so with a paperback.  As soon as I started formatting my book ‘How To Come Alive: A Guidebook to Living the Life of Your Dreams’.  Two things became immediately apparent: I loved how beautiful and professional a real book could look and demons, DEMONS, must be in my computer.  At first the advice in the book helped me, but this was the brand-new Word and so I got a little lost, started pressing buttons randomly, and went way off the beaten path.  It was only the Headers and Page numbers that got me.

I would go through, think things were looking good and then, BOOM, everything would change and look wrong again.  It was also heartbreaking when it looked perfect in Word and then I saw my ‘digital proof’ copy from Createspace (the POD company that’s doing my paperback) and things were messed up AGAIN.  But I got it fix, for reals this time, and my good-looking, correct, paperback proof is now winging its way toward me.  If I can do it, you can do it.  Trust me.  And here are some tips I learned —

What I Wish I’d Known About Formatting

  • Use Page Break sparingly.  They have their place, but I was using them everywhere in the beginning and they were my chief problem when my ‘digital proof’ mysteriously looked bad.
  • ‘Link to Previous’ is the Devil.  Okay, say page 35 is a blank page and so you don’t want a page number on it — well, remember to click that button to un-link it (go to Insert-Header-edit Header to find the button on the Header and Footer tools area).  You’ll need to click on the page 35 page number area, then uncheck ‘Link to Previous’ as well as the page 36 page number area and uncheck ‘Link to Previous’ there.  It’s kind of like a chain of friends holding hands — Cindy 35 lets go of Lucy 34 so Cindy can do her thing (have no page numbers) but Joann 36 need to let go of Cindy 35 if she does want her and 37, 38, and 39 to have page numbers.
  • I kept having magical unwanted lines appear right below my header in the header box.  Don’t know why but they are easily gotten rid of — go to Home and then see a little square dotted-line box in the middle of the screen next to Styles.  It’s called Borders, click on it and then select No Borders (you need to have clicked on the header you want to change first).
  • Never give up.  I’m so glad I fought to get the headers, page numbers, and black pages I wanted — because the finished book is going to look incredible.
  • Spell check and proof read your work three more times than you think necessary — I let a few typos slip in during my e-book release and I have been eating humble pie ever since — not fun.

Formatting is hard, but some of the most rewarding things are.  It was hard to write a great book and now think how close you are to putting it in its best tuxedo so it can meet the world looking amazing.

YOU CAN DO IT.  Now go eat some chocolate and get this done!  Let me know below if you have any specific questions.  Good luck!

What’s Holding You Back?

The following is a guest post from a good friend and fellow Athens Writers Association member, Jennifer Innes.  Jen has shown an incredible amount of courage and persistence in going after her dream and I think we can all learn a lot from her.  Enjoy!   

I started my first novel at some point in middle school. This book was pretty awful, but main themes that would become the ties that bound my writing together were there and it was a good start to what would become an almost twenty year career in writing.

By 2002, I was pretty confident that writing was the path I wanted to take. It was my second year of college and I had to decide where I was going to transfer to and what degree I was going to pursue. I gave up on a lot of different career ideas but writing wouldn’t let me quit and so I went on to get not one, but two degrees in English.

Fast forward eleven years and you’d think I’d have a million books in print and I’d be world famous (okay maybe just moderately famous) but no, I let myself be held back from my full potential. Over the years I’ve written many books, well to be honest, I have half written many books. Almost every book I started sits on a computer drive, half completed, each project waiting to be seen to the end, and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Typically life would happen and interrupt the writing process for far too long and then fear would set in.

The only four letter word that truly disgusts me is ‘fear’ because it controls most of my life. With my novels I feared completing them because I was scared of both failure and success simultaneously. I was afraid of these things because in either situation I would be powerless. I began writing as a child to escape the powerlessness I felt and as an adult I still try to escape those feelings which means I don’t finish the novels that want to be finished and I don’t pursue my dreams of being a published author.

But it’s not all a sad story. Several years back I met someone who would become a dear friend to me. He was also a writer and he was also afraid. Together we began a novel that we both were dedicated to and by metaphorically holding each other’s hands, we helped each other complete the novel, edit the novel, and now we are pursuing publication together.

When deciding how to go about publishing our book we settled on self-publishing but wanted to see if other people would be interested enough in our book to help fund some of the publishing costs. We started a Kickstarter campaign on Kickstarter.com for “The Beginning of Whit” to test the waters so-to-speak, and so far the response has been pretty phenomenal. Kickstarter itself was another one of those fearful things because “failure” and “success” are attached to any Kickstarter campaign. But we are pushing forward because the possibility of success will help launch our book and that would feel more amazing than sitting in my comfort zone avoiding failure.

So I ask you, what is stopping you from doing the things you want to do? Is it fear? Is it something you can overcome? Don’t waste twenty years like I did, do something about your hurdles today. I said to a friend once, “I’m my own biggest hurdle.” He said, “Then get out of your own way already.” What sound advice!

Please check out the Kickstarter for “The Beginning of Whit” at:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2121709675/the-beginning-of-whit-a-laugh-out-loud-urban-fanta

Jennifer’s blog can be found at: www.fanwritunit.blogspot.com

Find her on twitter: https://twitter.com/TheLameUnicorn

Find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferInnesAndrewGrace

The Post

right

Well, here it is — The Post.  Now, for my part I promise you it is the only one of its kind.  I’m not going to keep harping on this.  But I’m also going to speak very clearly and forcefully right now.

This post is about stealing.  Specifically, illegal steaming and downloading.

For the record, it’s not because I’ve had anything stolen from me or because I am religious.  I haven’t and I’m not.  This is about right and wrong.

Now, I’m sympathetic to how we got here.  Technology has come on so fast (when I was a kid in the 80s there was no internet — gasp!).  And in the ‘old days’ some sharing was allowed, or even encouraged.  You lent out your book or record to a friend so they could experience the same joy you did.  And then there were used book or record stores where you could sell or trade goods and even though the original creators didn’t get money, you were only selling your single copy and others had to be okay with buying used goods.

I also understand that the average household income has been going down since the 70s and corporate profits have been going up.

And lastly, I understand that there’s a certain kind entrepreneurial spirit that is sometimes at play.  I was recently talking to some self-publishing friends and they mentioned you could use Paypal when people bought your books, but to the sure to mark it as a ‘gift of money’ instead of a ‘payment for goods sold’ because Paypal will charge you a fee for the latter.  Now these are good people who didn’t think about it as lying or stealing, but Paypal is a business, and not paying them what they ask when you’re using their service to further your business is stealing.  And to their credit, when we talked about it, my friends agreed.  But as someone who has made signs from trash and done my own editing, I fully understand the ‘smart way’ thinking that led them to that place.

Now the fun part, where I tell you you rock and to stop making your grandmother cry

Bart: Uh, say, are you guys crooks?

Fat Tony: Bart, is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family?

Bart: No.

Fat Tony: Well, suppose you got a large starving family. Is it wrong to steal a truckload of bread to feed them?

Bart: Uh uh.

Fat Tony: And, what if your family don’t like bread? They like… cigarettes?

Bart: I guess that’s okay.

Fat Tony: Now, what if instead of giving them away, you sold them at a price that was practically giving them away. Would that be a crime, Bart?

Bart: Hell, no.

— The Simpsons, ‘Bart the Murderer’ written by John Swartzwelder

Ah, the slippery slope of rationalization.  Now, I know you are a good person.  You have people you love, things that mean something to you.  You have a heart.  And as a good person you are going to have to give up stealing.  There is no justification.  People I’ve talked to who illegally download are almost always trying to justify it.  If you’re a thief, a criminal, and don’t mind that — at least you’re honest.  This post is for everyone who still believes stealing online is different than stuffing a CD down your pants and sneaking past the security guard at the local mall.

Below are the excuses / rationalzations I’ve heard:

The artists don’t get the money anyway.  Why should I give my money to a big corporation?

First of all, because it’s their property.  The same as a physical CD, they spent the time and money, took the risk, and produced a product — you take that product without paying, then you’re a thief.  Secondly, because the artists do get some of it.  They wouldn’t be doing this otherwise.  And they are getting enough to follow their dreams, and make more music, TV shows, and games you love.  And if their product doesn’t make money, guess what?  Your favorite artist would have to go and work at McDonalds.

The artists are millionaires.  And I don’t like some of them.  They don’t need my eight bucks.

 First of all, that’s still their work and effort you’re enjoying and they do deserve compensation.  And a lot of artists go through years and years of struggle to even get out there on the national stage; so just because you don’t think they deserve it doesn’t mean you get be cheap.  You would seem a millionaire to many in third world countries — can they come take your TV and wallet because you don’t deserve it?  You worked for your money and you should get to use it as you see fit — and so should every band, singer, game creator, writer, and TV producer.

Singers can do live shows for money.

Uh . . .  This one blows my mind every time.  Yes, and you can come listen to them.  But what you are suggesting is the end of every entertainment medium you love.  If illegal downloading was wide enough spread (if I couldn’t support the people you steal from) then there would be no cable TV (Do you know how much those HBO shows cost?), no professional quality CDs, no New York Times Bestsellers.  If event venues and artists who don’t mind working two jobs and releasing free content to you were the whole of entertainment, it would be a very sad shell of itself.  Your illegal downloading is killing the shows and singers you love most.

I just wanted to try it.  And after ten album listens (40 gameplay hours, etc) I didn’t like it that much.

Oh no, you don’t.  You got to experience a thing — that’s what you’re paying for.  Don’t think you’d like that album?  Then wait till it’s on Spotify, or listen to the singles on Youtube.  Rent that game instead of buying it, or only buy six-month-old games that have tons of reviews, walkthoughs, and are now half price.

I’m not stealing a physical item — it costs them nothing.

All the effort that went into creating something is not nothing.  For a CD — the case, burned CD, and paper cost about 50 cents.  That’s all.  The thousands and sometimes millions, go into the music itself — and that’s what you are stealing.  The same way when you gave a physical copy of a book to your buddy, that was maybe one sale they would miss out on as you shared your copy — but if you ‘share’ online you are taking away thousands, millions of sales.  If the artist or company made it, then they deserve payment — whether or not it’s in a 20 cent plastic jewel case.  If you wouldn’t steal from a store, you shouldn’t steal online.  It’s like that old joke —

He: Would you sleep with any man for a million dollars?
She: Well…I guess so.
He: How about sleeping with me for ten dollars?
She: (angrily) What do you think I am?
He: Oh, I know what you are.  Now we are only haggling over the price.

And lastly —

I don’t have any money.

I feel for you.  But in this day and age most people reading this have internet access.  And even if you don’t, there are a ton of events, libraries, and other public freebies.  And online you have Spotify, Pandora, Hulu, Youtube, and TONS of songs, shows, and games put up for free by their creators.  Maybe you are buying too much; try buying half as many things and wait for the ones you want most, or wait for price drops and sales.  Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s any better than the best of last year.

THERE IS A BRIGHT SHINY FUTURE OF PLENTY AHEAD OF YOU

. . . let go of the past.

You are a wonderful person.  You have big dreams and you want to live in a world of abundance.  That means supporting others’ dreams and works and helping make the world a more just, happier place.  You can do it.  Just stop stealing today (your grandmother would be proud) and start supporting the dreamers, the doers, and the creative freaks.  Because behind everything you steal, there’s a person like me, a nice, hardworking creator who only wants to make a living while entertaining the pants off you.

Cover for My First Book!

I’m releasing my first book, How To Come Alive: A Guidebook To Living the Life of Your Dreams in October and I wanted to share the cover with you.  It was made by the talented Sarah Cerulean (my sister).  The book is coming along nicely and will be available in e-book and paperback formats.  It is a challenge and a call to all those who know that life is about more than junk food and reality TV and who are excited about making their dreams come true.

I’ll share more details about the process of self-publishing as it happens.

HowtoComeAlive_001

Yay! I love this cover!

Is ‘Release Day’ an Outdated Term for Self-Published Books?

I am planning the release of my first book at the end of the month and I have a problem — I don’t have a burning desire to email everyone I’ve ever met, Tweet 24-7 about my “GREAT DEAL! ON AMAZON! CHEEP!”, or prime my fans to buy it on day one or else, I’ll insinuate, they’ll not really my fans at all.  I’m not interested in any of those things.  I’m happily sharing my most inspirational songs on FB and mentioning my book as I do it, but I realized this morning that ‘release day’ just doesn’t mean that much to me.

And then I starting thinking — how important are release dates for self-published books these days?

Now for movies, the first weekend of release is imperative.  Even if a movie ‘has legs’ and keeps making money, a slow opening weekend has very real implications — the actor, the director, and a franchise may be judged against it for years to come.

And for TV shows it’s even worse — a slow start may lead to a fast finish.  Your whole future is riding on a quick and intense public interest in your work.

Now we return to books.  In traditional publishing if a book doesn’t get enthusiasm from the publisher’s sales team, the initial run may be reduced.  If the book doesn’t sell right away, it may lose what little advertising it had, its shelf space, and even be headed for the dreaded ‘remainder bin’.  And then, after only 12-18 months, your book might go out of print altogether and disappear off the face of the Earth.

But with a self published book, everything changes,  Yes, selling more books in a short length of time can help you jump up in the Amazon rankings, but that’s about it.  Your book’s not getting ‘remaindered’.  It’s not going not of print.  You and your book can be on Amazon till the end of time.

I’m planning on growing my fan base (I’m aiming for 100 followers to this blog by the end of the month!) and I’m going to keep writing and improving myself and I plan on my book ‘How To Come Alive: A Guidebook for Living the Life of Your Dreams’ to be the first in a series.  So ‘opening day’ isn’t a big day for me.  It’s like the first day you meet the love of your life — it’s special, but it’s only the beginning.

And you all, my great readers of the world, are the love of my life.  And our adventure is only beginning — no countdown clock needed.

How Often Should You Publish a Book?

CDcoming

Or perhaps the real question is, how often should you self publish a book?  If you’re like me, you use to think of book releases as these nebulous, once-in-a-blue-moon happenings (when the stars aligned and the book publishers were feeling frisky).  But now, if you’re a self published author, you are only constrained by how fast you can type and how many books your readers want to buy.  A lot of people believe every six months is a good time frame, but it differs according to many factors.  So here are five things to keep in mind as you get serious and start lining up a release schedule —

  1. What kind of books do you write?  Nonfiction (especially a series) can be released pretty often.  Imagine releasing a book about cupcakes in September and then one about Christmas cupcakes in November — fans of the first one might leap at the chance to own the themed one.  The same is true for a series of short fiction books (mysteries, erotica etc) — six months might be a good time frame.  On the other hand, readers of an epic fantasy series expect to wait longer for (and get more from) each book in a series.
  2. Don’t run out of books to release.  This tip comes from the awesome Catherine Ryan Howard.  It’s not a concern if you just have one book you want the world to know about, but if you’re planning a career you don’t want to release three books in 2013 and then nothing till 2017.  Especially for a series.  If you have books 1 and 2 written and book three won’t be done till end of 2015, release one in the fall of each year and then your readers won’t have a horribly long wait to get to your exciting conclusion.
  3. Release a book ONLY when it’s the best you can make it.  If it needs three more weeks, guess what?  Ask the publisher (that’s you!) for an extension.  You don’t want to blow a release date, but honestly, in the beginning you are the only one who is super-focused on that date anyway.  And it will feel much better to release the best book you can make.
  4. Don’t die.  Just checking to see if you’re still alive and with us.  But honestly what I mean is, don’t create a publishing (and publicizing) schedule that will kill you.  There will be a ton of work required to make each new release a success and you want to allow yourself time to write the next book as well.
  5. Think like a publishing house.  Is there a time of the year that works best for your book’s release?  Is it tied to a holiday?  Or does your novel have a theme like ‘love’ that would be great to sell near Valentine’s Day?  Is it about frogs and would be perfect to release on May 13th (National Frog Jumping Day — I kid you not)?  Even non-holiday books may have a better season to release them in.  Just remember — in general you should plan your release one to one-and-a-half months before the holiday you’re tied to (‘Free Birds’ releases Nov. 1st and is about Thanksgiving turkeys).  And, unless you’re selling self-help or fitness books, right after Christmas is not a great time to launch a new book into the world.

Good luck!  And remember, what you publish (great books) is always more important than when you publish.

Amazon Descriptions for Your Novel (Part one of Three)

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What is this a picture of?

Now, you might say trees, which is correct.  You might say a meadow, which is not quite correct.  You might even say water (though I can’t image why) which is also, oddly, correct.  Lastly, you could say “A carpet of red and green plants on top of the water at Merchants Millpond State Park in NC, which, in the summer, can look like a lost scene from ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ — but that’s quite a mouthful.  Which brings us the today’s topic:

How Do You Describe a Thing?

Say a bookish, wordy thing, that you’d like people to not only buy but come to love, cuddle, carry around on most weekdays, and speak dreamily of for the next 50 years because it is the central tile to the mosaic of their lives and OH MY GOSH, WHAT IF THEY’D NEVER READ THAT GREAT DESCRIPTION AND HAD TO BUY IT???  Or, even worse, what if the description hadn’t told them what the book was really like?

And, as in the picture above, everything in this odd, descriptive realm is not always what it seems.  Now, let’s look at the first of a few common misapprehensions (all mine at one time or another) —

Descriptions Are Easy

I think this confusion comes from three sources — very good descriptions, unnecessary descriptions, and simple ones.

  • The very goods ones are probably burned in your memory, they inspired you to read that greatest book or they are the creme de la creme of what’s out now — the bestselling books, the biggest movies.
  • The unnecessary ones are for the things that are already huge and you probably don’t really need to know much about.  I was shocked that when I looked at some bestselling fantasy on Amazon, the newest books in successful series did not have that great of descriptions — but then, all they need to say is “the fifth book in the New York Times bestselling series . . .” and they’re golden, or at least a lot closer than the unknown book.
  • Now simple descriptions are the one that get you — because we all are using them every day and we use them well.  “Todd’s my boyfriend.”  “The new house is a great A-frame with a blue roof and giant front windows.”  “You’d like Suzy; she’s Cher from ‘Clueless’ meets the Terminator.”  These simple images work because 1: We all know what a boyfriend is; 2: We can see the house in enough detail to be happy for our friend (but we’re not about to buy it ourselves); and 3: This ‘taste of Suzy’ is either funny or weird, but it’s interesting, and we don’t need to be that invested.  We’ll probably meet Suzy at a future party — we’re not taking a week off work to climb a mountain to speak to ‘Suzy the Guru’ .  Can you imagine the description you’d need to convince someone to do that?


Next up — Descriptions are IMPOSSIBLE!  and Writing a Bestselling Description.

Lazy or Filled with the Integrity of the Gods? Hmm . . .

So I like some parts of this ‘writer’ business.  And some parts I LOVE (CAPITALIZED, in bold, and underlined forever).  And some parts, like creating an online presence, I just don’t know how I feel about.  Correction: I do.  I felt the bile rising in my throat just writing that sentence.

Don’t get me wrong — this site, and talking to you is one of the things I love.  As of course is writing the novels themselves, sharing info and helping others with their journeys, and making new friends.

But the idea of, I don’t know, forcing yourself down people’s throats and in front of their eyeballs until they can’t help but surf over to your Amazon page and buy your book if only to stop the pain!  It rubs me the wrong way.  I want friends, fans, followers, but I want them to come to me the way I’ve come to everything I’ve loved.  Yes, I had to ‘discover’ them somehow, but then I was hooked, and in love, because of the creations themselves.  No tweets required.

And yet, I also admire people who can talk to anyone, anywhere, about themselves and their art, who can reach the masses, who can sell without selling out.  People like Catherine Ryan Howard.  I know I have the common creator’s desire to find the most remote house, down the longest dirt road, and play all day with my creations, and wait for the hoard of fans, the agent, and the movie producer to beat a path to my door.  I wouldn’t call it lazy, exactly, but it’s definitely an easy road.  And it’s not scary, or possibly a waste of time, or too aggressive.

And so I think why not get out there?  What do you have to lose?

But where?  How?  What is a waste of my precious time upon this Earth and what stretches me and lets me grow into a greater person?  If I don’t love Twitter, should I learn to?  How can I seek the people who would love to discover my stories without jabbering at all the people who wouldn’t?

In the end, simple answers elude.  But I do know I owe it to my future fans (grandiose perhaps, but true) and to my writing dreams to try.  To work hard, to be bold, to share honestly and to find new and unknown places where I can love and be loved.

And I’ll trust my integrity to tell me when I’m being an ass.