For All the Writers, Singers, Composers, and Artists Out There

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I went to the Holocaust Museum in Houston. It causes deep reflection. I drew a picture in response to it. Some things only a picture will do. I combined it with text. Picture after picture showed these people coming off railroad cars. No one knew who they were other than they were Jews taken by Germans to camps. It goes for artists too. We create and others make money off of us. Works when we get enough but does not work when we are not paid enough or treated fairly. For what it is worth. How about that for a Writer’s Halloween ūüôā Reflection.

I have a face

It is All in the Marketing or Is It?

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You can write the best book ever. Have a nearly perfect manuscript. Spend countless hours tweaking words to conciseness until it says what you want it to say and describe each scene dripping with sensory detail but if no one knows about your book no one buys it. My book is known. Have money buy my book. 

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       Courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org  http://2bgr8stock.deviantart.com/art/Money-Cash-113445826

Taxes Make You Look at the Facts

It has been stated across the Internet that it takes about $10,000 for traditional publishers to begin marketing your book. Market conscience to the max, but for most writers writing is not about the money but  about the craft. At times writing articles earns you less than one dollar an hour. You do it anyway because it matters. Other times someone  pays you an exorbibant amount for 25 words. At tax time you get an overall picture of the year. 

What it Takes?

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Courtesy of wickimedia.org by User:David Monniaux, flickr user 007 Tanuki, User:Jorge Ryan, and User:ZX95

The other route the author writes and markets while a hybrid publisher does the publishing and markets. It allows many more writers to get their work on platforms such as Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble. It is tax time. Here are the facts for the first year of “The Grand New Delhi Escapade”. ¬†

Editing cost between $800 and $1500 for the novel of my size. Some charge by page and some by words. I had my book edited twice since it was the first time. To prep the manuscript for publishing I hired an outside editor recommended by a friend. She did a grand job on it and it made the process go quickly. I chose to use a hybrid publisher and they charged a fee a little less than $1000. For that amount they prepped the book for publication, gave advice, put a cover on it, a webpage, a press release, taught me the process, and gave me access to 55 outlets in marketing on major platforms online. Priced separately I could not even touch it. They recommended an edit which was to create more flow in the novel and it was around $800. The book published in five months.

I chose digital media advertising for my novel. A publicist could have been hired for $300 a month to set up book store dates and events. It was limited to the local area with a setting in India I felt global methods may be better suited. Two million people saw my book on Google Ads. Does not mean they bought it but it was good enough for them to click on and take a look. Facebook 382,345 clicked and viewed my book. On LinkedIN 1,172,201 million people looked at my book. So about 3 and a half million people. Of the three I got the most clicks for the best price was Google Ads and general public clicks. Facebook exposed my book to teenagers. LinkedIn the professional network exposed by book to executives with buying power. For us new authors I would say it is good exposure early in your career. It gets your face and name out there. I ran strategic campaigns like when the book first came out (2 weeks), then for summer reading (2 weeks) and then for the holiday season (3 weeks). 
 
The Count 1 book, 2 book, 3 nook …… 100 kindle….. etc.
 
Because of changes in the process of distributing royalities at my publisher that I cannot give you it. I would like a year’s ¬†worth of data to decide. The ebook did make money so it is on the path of gaining. (publisher recovered their cost so my turn) The paperback I do not know since I do not have that report. Some places takes months to report. That comes as the hardest part. Reading the amount of inventory available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble does not give you the information you need to market. You have a long wait. Authors tell me it is worth it and books do make money even though most do not get rich. A long term investment with a long term return. At this point selling enough books to get a literary agent interested has become the goal and creating supplements to the novel to reach niche markets will be my project this year.
 
Was it Worth It?
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Picture taken by my Grandma Sutton, Mary at 6 and the Law
 
Yes on a personal level it was worth it. It healed my soul and body. I developed into an artist with gifts in music, art and writing. I have written a children’s book and it will be published soon ~ “White Shark Cafe”. Some how in it, it is the ultimate act of defiance against all the people who told me no or hurt me. Some how it makes them no longer matter. Having a disability develop in my brain processing makes it a serious victory against all those who try to make us less. In the writing I found all the pieces of me and know just like scripture says we are so much more.¬†
 
I Am
 
I write ¬†because that is who I am. I sing because that is who I am. I oil paint and draw because it is who I am. Mary who’s pain and feelings all spilled out one day, God took put back together, smiled, and handed me a beautiful mess to play with for the rest of my life. No one ever gets to take it away.¬†
 

Descriptions

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Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com by ullrich

Reading good books help put the writer voice inside the mind. Great prose has a rhythm and flow to it. More than that it evokes the mind to visualize the experience. The setting feels real and one expects to see it somewhere, some place, some time. The characters become fleshed out with vices and virtues. Most of all the relationships connect to the reader’s relationship and one begins to put themselves in the characters place. How does that happen? How does writing suspend reality to the point some books become more real than real life?

Specifics

One way a writer makes a scene realistic is to create specifics. Much of what a writer does becomes observing life and making mental notes. Then when one sits down to write one takes all these mental notes and visualization and converts them to words. Humans have six senses– smell, sight, sound, feel, taste, and touch. Describing these connects with a reader’s own senses. ¬†Sensory detail puts life into a fiction or non-fiction story. It makes it real. Some writers keep small journals or index cards of phrases they have read or things encountered in life. The goal comes as creating a vivid scene, an engaging place or a moment in time. A writer literally creates a world in every story.

Language Choices

Via www.Wikipedia.com by Koryakov Yuri

Words categorize into specific or general and both have a purpose in writing. General words give a framework to work off of. At times in a story because it would not move the story forward or make the book too long general words let a writer give a bit of information without taking much space. Words such as fine, great, pretty give some idea of what is going on or what something looks like but does not delve in deeply.

Specific words give exact meaning. A cake described by size, color, texture, smell and taste names a specific cake. For example, a nine by thirteen inch rectangular cake with white icing and dark umber brown mix finely crumbling as the knife slices through releasing an aroma of ginger and cocoa tells a reader exactly what kind of cake it is, A good exercise to try to improve descriptive writing is to take a general word such as “cat” and specify it. For example, calico cat, tomcat, crooked tailed cat, a Persian cat, tuxedo cat with a white chest and coal-black body and feet shows how to transition from general to specific.

How to Begin

Take an experience such as kissing. Focus in on the moment. How do you feel before a kiss? What senses heighten? What does a person anticipate? What goes on in the mind’s eye? Now how does it all change as lips touch. What did it feel like? How did the two lips merge? Was it pleasant? What sensations happens in the body besides the lips?

Take any moment in an ordinary life and ask questions. Find words to describe that moment. Write it down. Then take a thesaurus and see if a better word can more fully explain what you have observed. Leave the writing alone for a day or two. Come back and read and adjust to create better flow or clarify  phrasing.

Much of writing is playing with the images, conversations, phrasing and words that surround you. Do not be afraid to play. It is part of the process. Writing really is not about perfection but about conveying a message or communicating in a way that makes a reader respond. Enjoy the playing and then use it to create a serious piece of language art that says what it needs to say in an unforgettable way.

Until next time enjoy many grand escapades in September and make sure all the changes in the season, people and routines get recorded in the mind.

So Comes the Novel

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Via www.flickr.com by the Italian Voice

After experimenting with short pieces of writing and getting paid on the Internet, I joined the Institute of Children’s Literature shortly thereafter. I had been dabbling in writing to heal along with oil painting and increasing my music activities. Teachers at the Institute are high level authors that are published, have won awards and are the most patient people in the world. The course has a component where the instructor has you set your own goals for your writing. I started doing the assignments and began to make further progress reaching a new norm in my life after the triple “D” years. (See blog Why Write?)

The Writing Nudge

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Via www.wikimedia.com by Blue Plover

The assignments were subjects found in your life making it personal and then were taken to the next level. Several things happened at once. I began to have a nudge to do a children’s book about math so I drafted “Ways to Say Zero” using the skills I had gained from Kristin Nitz, the writing teacher and from traits my youngest son, Morgan, ¬†had. It was not an assignment, but I used the techniques.

My Friend Rajiv

My SEO writing became much  improved and I received more assignments.  My editor became Rajiv Karran for many of my assignments. At work he was the consummate professional. He made friends with me on FaceBook where he shared his family, friends and life with me.

Creating Narrative From Real Life

For an assignment I wrote a character sketch from Rajiv’s description of his brother, Sajiv, who had been in a tragic accident in young adulthood. For another assignment,¬†I wrote the first chapter of my novel “The Grand New Delhi Escapade” using the title “Market Boom” based on information about India from him. “Ways to Say Zero” was accepted for publication in April 2012 by Guardian Angel Publishing and is in progress. For the course, I wrote a non-fiction children’s book “White Shark Cafe” which Kristin Nitz helped develop the idea for and edited several times for me. When my novel reaches a certain level then “White Shark Cafe” becomes next for publication.

A Novel is Born

The novel developed slowly at first. As Rajiv and I’s friendship continued I learned more about India. We had some deep discussions about life. I did not want to forget the many things I had learned about India from him. Combining what I learned with SEO writing, all the lessons from the Institute, my prior education experiences, and the friendship the characters came to life in my mind. Dr. McGowan, Sajiv and Sharlene began to wander in and out of my life having conversations and adventures. I rewrote parts¬†of the first chapter and with the help of my adult son, Jake, I discussed ideas and plot lines. His advice was insightful from a young adult perspective.¬†Then Rajiv suggested editor Crystal Ross also a young adult who he had worked with. Her input increased the flow of the novel.

Finding a Publisher

Once a novel is finished you have to find a publisher so about the time I decided to have it edited I was talking to publishers. My children’s book I pitched to various publishers, had the rejection letters, and then the glorious acceptance but that company did not do adult books. Working in SEO and reading the blogs you learn of developing trends in the digital world. I had read about hybrid publishers who collaborated like a partner. So I searched for a company who globally did that. I ran across Sherrill Cannon’s blog on SBPRA¬†who described the process used to publish her children’s books. I sent the manuscript in and Tom the acquisition man accepted it.

Look Mom! I am on Amazon

SBPRA ¬†has taught me the process of publishing to marketing. In future blogs I will describe the process. As of May,¬†I have novel on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and more than 55 other outlets I have found when Googling it. Presently the novel has been scheduled for marketing at five top-level Asian Book Fairs. The video for the book appeared at a major Indian news site. My SEO jobs taught me how to market with social media so typing in “The Grand New Delhi Escapade” it pulls up many sites that have my novel.

As Rajiv taught me whether life is good or not so good when one gets up every morning say “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you and I accept the gift for today.”

Writing has given me many unexpected gifts and pleasures. Until next time may you have grand escapades of your own anyway you wish.