The post-Writing Life

Cover collage 1Some people think writing a book is a way to earn a passive income. Think again. If all I had to do was write, that would be one thing. As an Indie author, there is a whole lot more.

Obviously, there is a lot that goes into getting a book published. Besides writing, there is editing, revising, beta reading, more revising, proofing, and more revising. Another important step is formatting for Kindle. And, let’s not forget the cover design process.

Once you make it through all those hurdles it is finally time to hit “Submit.”

That’s it, right? Pop the cork on the champagne and sit back to relax.

Nope.

Here is a list of things that needed to be done after finishing my last book:

  1. Format for Createspace
  2. Prepare the Createspace cover.
  3. Download and approve Createspace proof.
  4. Edit website to include new book.
  5. Post book launch on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  6. Edit Media Kit.
  7. Edit Facebook banner.
  8. Prepare and send newsletter.
  9. Write blog post.
  10. Submit new book to Goodreads.
  11. Add book to Amazon Author Central.
  12. Prepare book trailer.
  13. Begin next book.

I have completed everything on the list except the book trailer. In a future post, I’ll discuss the on-going marketing tasks involved with Indie publishing.

Did I skip something? Let me know if I should add to the list!

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Review: Go Set a Watchman

If Harper Lee’s intent in “Go Set a Watchman” is to have people see others as they really are, she has certainly done that–starting with herself as the book’s author. As a former English teacher who has taught “Mockingbird” too many times to count, I had set Miss Lee on a literary pedestal so high she had become an immortal, of sorts, hovering over the rest of us, unattainable and powerful. “Watchman” has pulled back the curtain to reveal an ordinary writer with extraordinary talent, set on writing works that are meaningful, believable, and enjoyable. Nothing superhuman about that.

Some readers may be disillusioned with Lee and especially with the character Atticus Finch. But that disillusionment is at the heart of the book’s theme. As we grow older, we see the world through different eyes. People and places larger than life back in the day, seem smaller and less significant viewed from the distance of time. Jean Louise knows this to be true, but can’t accept this new reality. Like Jack Finch, Jean Louise views the world through her own half glasses, leaving her with a blind spot when it comes to the hearts and motives of those around her.

As the reader struggles to make peace with seeing the two stories and their author in a new light, he would do well to remember that the two books have different purposes. Without the naive narrative viewpoint of young Scout in “Mockingbird,” there could be no evolution in the second story. As a novelist and commentator on life, Miss Lee shows people as they are, for better or for worse. Watching characters change, react, and adapt is what makes reading so seductive. If you just want a “Book 2” in the “Mockingbird Series” that picks up on Scout’s newest misadventure and snarky wit, “Watchman” is not for you.

It seems apparent that this book was never revised or edited after the release of “Mockingbird.” If Harper Lee had been able to weather the psychological storm that came along with the overwhelming attention and adulation she received from her first work, she likely would have made numerous revisions to “Watchman” so that it would flow more logically from the first story. She would have removed duplicated anecdotes, handled the fate of Jem with greater depth, and added the same care, nuance, and sensitivity that made “Mockingbird” so powerful and palatable. Alas, Harper Lee mislaid her inner Jean Louise even before she did the same with this draft of “Watchman.” Still, it is what it is.

Put in perspective, the themes are powerful and relevant. There are places where the story could have been tightened up, and the ending seems a little rushed. But for a story that in some ways is so unsettling, it has a fairly satisfying ending.

We, the readers, put “Mockingbird,” the characters, and the author on that pedestal, just like Scout did with her father. “Watchman” is just as much a reality check for us as it is for our beloved Jean Louise. Miss Lee gave us a book that makes us think and debate and rethink. That is an enviable legacy.

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You know you’re an author when…

…you publish your second book.

Sharpe Edge is now available on Amazon!

Writing and publishing my first novel, Sharpe Shooter, felt like I’d birthed a baby. I was the proud parent of a 207-page newborn. I wanted to show it off to everyone.

But then postpartum set in. Although writing a book was a big accomplishment, I still felt like a wanna-be. A one-hit wonder. Like The Knack singing My Sharona.

That’s why I am so proud of the second book in the series. Now I feel legit. Which book do I like best? That would be like asking which child I like best. I could say something funny here about my children, but I won’t.

I’ve just started writing Sharpe Mind, book three in the Cozy Suburb Mystery Series. I’ll give you a hint: It involves a psychic and a magician.

For those of you who are fellow writers, how would you complete this statement? I look forward to your answers.

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Two Sides of the Same Coin

Lisa'sIf all I did was write all day, I’d lose my mind.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love writing. Since retiring from teaching, it has been the secret lover I never knew I had. It’s what gets me out of bed every day. It fulfills my creative side.

But I have another interest; one that encompasses my adventurous side. It’s treasure hunting. I love metal detecting and rock hounding. Sometimes I wish I had become an archaeologist. But come on, do I really see myself in a searing hot desert bent over a bone scraping it with a toothbrush?  About ten years ago, I found a way to satisfy my urge to explore and dig up treasures and still stay inside with air conditioning (usually, that is.)

I’m a thrifter. A junker. A scavenger. Sure I could fancy-it-up and say I deal in vintage and antique collectibles, and I do say that sometimes. But the truth is that I buy and sell used stuff. I started out selling in an antique mall, like my character Deena Sharpe, but it started taking up too much of my time. Now I sell my found treasures online.

Those of you who frequent garage sales, flea markets, and thrift stores can understand where I am coming from. Whether you are buying items to keep or to resell, you understand the thrill of the hunt. Bagging that bargain. Showing off your trophies.

But wait. Aren’t authors supposed to be stuffy intellectuals? I’m sure there some who are but most are just people with a passion for the written word and outside interests just like everyone else.

Besides reading, dear readers, what hobby gets your juices flowing? Share in the comments below. It just may show up in a future book!

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