Hashing out my stories

Posts tagged “marketing

A Feast in the Forest

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Prepare for “A Feast in the Forest” – my cookbook for The Willow Lake Group!

(To be written from the POV of Sondra – one of the main characters!)

Recipes, photos, art and poetry –

as well as a few magical tips from the Hedgewitch herself!

Register your interest here!

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Tips and Hints for Indie Authors

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I’d like to advise those who read this that I’m probably in the same position – struggling to make my way through a vast, crowded ocean full of vessels and bobbing heads who all have the same thing in common. We all want to make our mark and get our work noticed, make sales and increase our status – while we scramble to reach higher ground.

I am by no no means an expert and definitely not a high profile author. I am also still learning and making mistakes, so you might well ask, “Why does she think she could help me?” My answer is – I can only help those who are currently in the same position I was in two years ago – when the world of self-publishing was a huge, looming giant in the center of a maze that was continuously morphing and adding new levels every day.

Of course, we are all at different stages in our writing careers. When we share what we’ve learned, we fill in the gaps and strengthen our positions. Some might find what I share here incredibly useful, while others might yawn and say, “Been there; done that!” Therefore, this post is meant for the former – while the latter can surely think of other tidbits to share via comments – if they so desire.

When navigating the maze of never-ending information and hints and tips for authors who decide to go the route of self-publishing – it’s inevitable that you will run into some – if not all of the following:

  • Dead ends or leads that go nowhere – leading you on a wild goose chase
  • Scams and fraudulent claims about services offering the earth
  • Monthly charges for bogus programs who do little or nothing for your work
  • Websites and services that are all fluff with no substance
  • Confusing terms, buzz-words or language that only rehash prior info
  • Fads and trends that distract you without adding any value

There’s probably more that I could’ve added to this list – but for me – the above has been the most prominent during my own promoting and marketing journey, not to mention the actual art of writing!

I’m attacking this subject from the position of an author who either can’t or won’t spend a lot of money. What I find interesting about “high profile” authors, meaning those who we see all over social media and getting many reviews on Amazon, etc. – is that, while they seem to be doing extremely well – obviously spending quite a substantial amount of money for sleek or flashy advertising and so on, they still seem to be struggling like the rest of us.

I say that without a shred of jealousy or bitchiness. Sure, the majority of those authors are strangers to me – most of them are not well-known and some of them are still working a full time day job. I have often ventured into the world of expensive services and programs, only to discover that the bottom line was me all along. Throwing money into a bottomless pit with scant return bit me on the butt most of the time – and hurt my bank account.

So, without further ado – here’s the skinny (or my skinny!) – broken into two parts: The Writing Life and The Marketing/Promoting Life.

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The Writing Life

There’s a glut of writing advice out there – in the form of daily prompts, newsletters, courses, websites and webinars. Many websites have their own links to information such as “100 Best websites for writers” and the like. The majority of them are great and you should seek them out. Here’s what helped me (and continues to help me) in random order:

Websites:

http://thewritelife.com/ (Great advice)

http://www.writersdigest.com/ (Wonderful)

http://www.grammarbook.com/ (Grammar and Punctuation)

http://www.writersmarket.com/ (Especially good for freelancing)

http://fundsforwriters.com/ (Tips and Tools – great site!)

https://writeon.amazon.com (Get feedback as you write!)

http://theditors.com/ (First 3,000 words critiqued for free)

goodinaroom.com – How to develop a pitch for TV

http://www.creative-writing-now.com/ (Great basic advice and free stuff!)

https://criticl.me/ (A great place to post truthful or even “dangerous” writing)

https://www.thekindlebookreview.net/author-resources/ (Great links!)

http://selfpublishersshowcase.com/author-resources/ (Great site for Indies)

Okay – I could go on and on – but these are great for a start.

I find the best advice encompasses the basics – as you’ll discover what works for you along the way. It all depends on the genre you write in and what you expect to get out of it. Some only write for pleasure and are happy to share their writing with those closest to them. Others write for a cause and want to change the world, while many of us write to escape – or at least – to create worlds full of adventure and other things we may feel are lacking in our lives. (Notwithstanding those of us who simply adore great literature and who are “addicted” to the pleasure of the actual process of creation.)

You’ll find basic rules of thumb everywhere – but here’s what I’ve found to be the most useful – in terms of the creative process of writing:

No matter what – just write

Save the editing and revision until the end – if you can stand it

Outline and plan your book – before you start writing

Create a chapter by chapter synopsis to use as a guide (it will change as you go)

Always use spellcheck and a thesaurus

Research everything you are not 100% sure about

Keep your finger on the pulse – but don’t be swayed by useless fads and trends

Be true to yourself – yet open to constructive criticism

Don’t take a bad review personally

Use beta readers and proper editing (when you can afford it)

Read the work of others

Share what you know and support other writers

Start a blog and post regularly

Hone your skills, take a class and/or join a writing group

Don’t ever give up!

I’ve mentioned before how I write every chance I get. When I was working my 9-5 job, I was writing in my breaks and lunchtimes – then after work and sometimes even before work (when I could get up in time!) and on the weekends. In between – I’d be scribbling notes on anything I could get my hands on – as well as emails to myself.

The Marketing/Promoting Life

Now that I’m a full time author and freelancer – I’ve structured my days to ensure that I get to spend time writing – outside of promoting and marketing or creating my own ads and blog posts.

There are great, cheap or free services out there – which I will share further on – but I found it rewarding to use programs such as paint, Corel and an old Microsoft program (which is easier than Photoshop) – called Microsoft Photo Premium 10. I’m no expert and I’m sure that those experienced Graphic Designers would scoff and cringe at my ads, book trailers, banners etc. For me – it’s all about saving money – while at the same time having a lot of fun! Here’s a few examples of what I’ve done on my own (using free images – websites to be shared further on.)

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(Book cover created by Jessica on Fiverr – the rest of the ad was me!)

Okay – on with cheap and freebie services (for creating ads etc):

https://www.fiverr.com/ (Anything you can think of – incl. Book Covers – for $5 and up)

https://pixabay.com/ (Completely free images and video footage!)

http://www.freeimages.com/ (Free images)

http://www.freeepy.com/ (Free images)

https://foodiesfeed.com/ (Free food images)

https://unsplash.com/ (Free images)

http://cupcake.nilssonlee.se/ (Free images)

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page (Free images)

https://videos.pexels.com/ (Free video footage)

http://www.videezy.com/ (Free video footage)

http://www.lifeofvids.com/ (Free video footage)

http://freegifmaker.me/ (Make your own gifs)

https://www.canva.com/ (Free banners, wallpapers, book covers and lots more)

http://www.bookbuzzr.com/ (Cheap book “flipper” to display excerpts)

http://tineye.com/ (Find out where images on the web came from!)

This list is by no means exhaustive – but it’s a good start!

Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with forking out a little cash for professional services. For me – I’m on the fence – as it depends on your goals and how much you’re willing to spend. I agree with the adage that “you get what you pay for” – but it’s heartening to see many people out there willing to offer their products and services for free or on the cheap. That being said – I know that more discerning authors (and readers) might consider a “home-made” ad, book cover etc to be less valuable or worthy than one with a sleek design.

It’s sad that poorly marketed books can fall by the wayside – especially when their stories are well-written and worth the read. I’ve also seen many well-marketed books with great exposure for stories that are at best – run-of-the-mill or poorly written. This is the quandary that indie authors often find themselves battling with.

Here are some great sites for Promoting and Marketing:

https://www.fiverr.com/ (Anything you can think of – incl. Book Covers – for $5 and up)

http://www.ebooksoda.com/authors/ (Cheap ebook promotion)

http://booktweeters.com/ (Reasonable pricing with good conversion)

http://selfpublishingadvice.org/ (Great info on promoting, marketing etc)

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/advertise/for-authors/ (Free promos etc.)

http://www.bookdaily.com/ (Emails sample chapters to readers)

https://www.librarything.com/ (Ebook giveaways, etc)

https://www.rafflecopter.com/ (Advertise your Giveaway on your blog or site)

Awesome tools for Authors! (119 tips and resources!)

One important thing I’d like to point out is that self publishing is daunting on it’s own – before you even start to think about promoting and marketing. Whether you decide to use Amazon (user friendly – well, I think so!) and Createspace, Kobo or some other platform – publishing your book is one of many steps in the life of your writing.

When it comes to social media, setting up profiles on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are just the tip of the iceberg – and some would say not worth the time and effort. Others say that email marketing – using newsletters (and services such as Aweber or Mailchimp) are the way to go – however, in order to build your mailing lists, you need to be able to drive people to your site to opt in. Using social media is one way to do this.

Having a blog has the same issues: driving people to the blog in order to read it and click through to buy your books. Here’s a small list of steps to think about – from “go to whoa” – and beyond!

Read and get inspired

Research and plan your book

Write your book with necessary revisions

Get beta readers to review and offer feedback

Edit the book – either yourself or with a reliable editor

Write the blurb and create an excerpt

Find out your target audience and where they hang out

Create a cover, ads and a book trailer

Create or update your author website

Update social media and blog

Publish it

Create a buzz through giveaways etc

Promote via different platforms

Come up with different ways to sell your book

Consider the following:

Create an audiobook

Create profiles on Goodreads and Amazon

Guest posting on other blogs

Blog tours

Create a Podcast

Post videos on Youtube

Conduct readings at local libraries and bookstores

Get involved in Book Fairs

Radio and print interviews

Marketing material, such as bookmarks etc

Create an ebook as a giveaway

Email marketing

More links that might be useful:

http://www.artistfirst.com/authorswanted.htm (Radio interviews)

http://www.thebingbing.com/ (Like Ebay, Twitter and Facebook all in one!)

http://www.weebly.com/ (Great free websites – easy to use)

http://speculativeliterature.org/grants/ (Grants for quality literature, etc)

http://thewritelife.com/writing-residencies/ (Author residencies)

http://www.indiebound.org/ (Find out where your book is available)

http://bookfairs.com/ (Find a local Book Fair)

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ (Get interviewed)

http://www.authorgraph.com/ (Offer signed ebooks!)

http://www.outbrain.com/ (Promote your content)

Create econtracts

You’re probably drowning in all these bits and pieces – yet there’s millions more to discover and as I said – I’m still navigating my way through and trying to figure it all out. I just wanted to share what I have discovered so far and will drop by to comment every now and then – when I’ve found something new or need to offer an update.

Good luck and by all means – if you know of anything else that might be useful – leave a comment!


Tentative Tempests: Lessons Learned in Self Publishing

Storming Books

2015 was a big year for me, in terms of finally becoming a published author – notwithstanding the fact that I am self-published. I have three of the four planned books from my Storming Archives available on Amazon (Kindle Editions and paperback), with the fourth currently being written, as well as a novel planned for release in early 2016.

I have a total of ten writing projects slated for 2016, including fiction, non-fiction, short stories, poetry and other stuff and nonsense! I’m lucky to be in a position where I can finally say that I’m a full time author – with 1/4/16 being my last day in a traditional job. I am very grateful to have a wonderfully supportive husband, who has afforded me this awesome opportunity to live the life I’ve always dreamed of.

Now, I want to advise that I do not intend to sound like I’m doing the dying swan routine, but 2015 was very much a case of trial and error in regards to navigating the world of the self-published author. As I was impatient to get my books out, I ventured into the realm of self-publishing after sending only five query letters out. (They were all very gracious in their rejection letters – stating that, whilst they enjoyed reading my synopsis and sample chapter, they felt that it wasn’t what they were looking for.)

I knew early on that my Storming Archives would present a challenge to anyone (including me) in terms of promoting and marketing, as the genre and style is a hybrid of various elements. I market the series as a fantasy, with a twist of horror, but it’s also very surreal and in the realm of consciousness.

There are many reasons for this. Firstly, the protagonist is a thirty year old woman who (like me) “suffers” from a series of mental afflictions – namely sleep paralysis, hallucinations, astral projection and vivid dreams. In “Delwyn of the Realms” (Book 1), we follow Delwyn through a mirror portal to the realm of dreams (known as Onesol). There, she has to face her Shadow in order to properly integrate – in preparation for becoming a “Portal Stormer” (Book 2).

In the second book, Delwyn escapes into the “Realms” – where she meets her fellow Portal Stormers and discovers that she has to face her Last Sorrow in the hellish realm of Nidar. After being initiated as a fully fledged Portal Stormer, she and her troops have to learn how to shapeshift, in “Totem Shift” (Book 3). This is where Delwyn and the Portal Stormers go on their ultimate mission, to secretly infiltrate the realm of animal spirits (known as Erankorun), so that they can persuade the Ural to join with the other realms. A united front is needed to face the Founders – who are coming to destroy the realms (our galaxy – known as Kendanerum).

In most cases, fantasy and science fiction stories are set in physical realms, whether past, present or future. They can also be alternate or parallel worlds, on other planets as well as earth. They are sometimes slotted into fantasy genres such as slipstream, portal, epic and so on. The bottom line is that they are actual/physical places, or at least – if they are “imaginary” or unreal – it’s an aberration and the resolution is usually dealing with hallucinations, dreams  and alternate realities.

I found it difficult to define the fact that my stories were set in the “inner” realms, which are usually mental or spiritual places considered non-physical. Sure, there have been many stories set in the dream world or imaginary places – such as hell, heaven, etc. The difference with the Storming Archives is that – on the one hand – the realms/worlds involved are usually considered imaginary, but on the other hand, they can be visited by a chosen few, in physical form.

This might not be a stretch for some people. To give you an idea, here’s my “map” of Kendanerum:

Kendanerum

Here’s a legend or key to the realms in Kendanerum:

  • Onesol is the dream world – the realm of the Collective Unconscious
  • Alusol is the realm of hallucinations – where visions and inspiration come from
  • Meditar is the realm of meditation – a place for contemplation and revelation
  • Akasha is the realm of Karma – the Hall of records and hub for transit to the Seven Heavens
  • Nidar is the Underworld – once the source of Dark Matter; now a hellish realm of retribution
  • The Seven Heavens is just that – where good souls cycle through on their way to Nirvana
  • Erankorun is the realm of animal spirits – a safe haven (heaven) for animals
  • Aletheia (Earth) is the material realm – where Aletheians (humans) reside

Only those, like Delwyn – who have the ability to traverse all realms (given her mental “afflictions”) – are allowed to visit these worlds in physical form.

I’ve drawn on my own experiences, as well as inspiration from surrealism (literature, art, music). What I’ve found quite annoying, is that the majority of novels being produced (traditional or self-published) rely heavily on the aspect of romance and/or sex when it comes to selling their stories.

Of course, we all know that sex sells, but I consider myself very altruistic when it comes to telling (and reading) a good story. What I mean by this is, I don’t feel that every bloody story has to have a romantic vein running through it. I’m probably setting myself up for ridicule – but there’s more to life than finding your soulmate or electrifying sex! I understand completely that the majority of humans are drawn to sex and romance. It’s not like I didn’t include a romantic interest – and sex – in the Storming Archives. It’s just not the main focus.

Not wanting to boast, as a side note – I have my soulmate and good sex – so I don’t have a burning desire to live out a fantasy in order to make up for something I don’t lack. Having said that, I totally enjoy good erotica and a story that involves romance, blah blah blah. It’s just frustrating to feel the need to promote my work along those lines.

I will say – that hasn’t been my only problem with getting more sales. I am a complete novice when it comes to promoting and marketing. I hate Facebook, so there’s that – but I do my best on platforms such as Twitter, Google+ and here on WordPress, to name a few.

I purchased a Snowball microphone, for the purpose of recording an audiobook. I’ve been practicing, so we’ll see how that goes. I’ve also entered a short story (unrelated to the Storming Archives) – in the Neoverse Short Story competition. Winners will be announced on 1/15/16. (Fingers crossed!)

I loathe the idea of “buying” followers, so I have that against me too. I am still learning about other formats and procedures – which I will be incorporating in my promoting and marketing plans for 2016. (Such as book blog tours, readings, more radio interviews, Youtube videos and slideshows, better advertising, etc.)

I utilize Hootsuite and Crowdfire, as well as giveaways and campaigns on Goodreads and Amazon. I also have profiles on Shelfari, Bookbuzzr, Mythic Scribes and many others I’ve probably neglected or forgotten about. It’s just so daunting, time-consuming and frustrating – to say the least. (Especially if you’re working full time and running a household, on top of that.)

I don’t mean to piss and moan. I understand that, even if traditionally published – I’d still have to do a lot of the legwork myself. The thing I’ve discovered is, it doesn’t matter if you’re using services you have to pay for (who promise the earth!) or whether they’re free. You have to find the nerve and strike while the iron’s hot.

The daunting thing (whether self-published or not) is that there are millions of other authors scrambling just like I am. It feels like being a tiny, insignificant drop in a ferocious tempest – inside an endless teapot. When I’m “spruiking” on Twitter etc – I get the image of myself clamoring over a sea of bodies. Most of us are drowning – occasionally reaching out and waving frantically – only to be absorbed by the teeming throng. (Melodramatic piss-ant that I am!)

The things I know I have to do better with include:

  • Finding and targeting my audience (who and where in the hell are they? I’m not asking – I know now – and it’s great to finally have the time to focus on this.)
  • Flowing on from the above – engaging my readers and keeping them engaged (*sigh*)
  • Creating meaningful giveaways and prizes to “lure” my audience.
  • Swallowing my pride and side-stepping my altruistic tendencies (to a degree. I don’t want to have to “sell my soul”.)
  • Doing away with frittering away resources and money where it is not doing me or my books any good.
  • Being more intuitive in regards to trends.
  • Getting more reviews!!!!!
  • Dealing with my shyness and learning how to believe in myself and my work (Lordy, I’m trying!)
  • Being more open about constructive criticism – but at the same time – knowing how to sort the wheat from the chaff (as I have received some hair-brained feedback and even personal attacks!)
  • Entering more writing competitions
  • Figuring out what else I have to do to – working smarter AND harder!

Having the time to organize and execute a solid marketing plan is key. After 1/4/16 I’ll have no excuse! Even though I’m doing some freelance work to make my own money (as I’m not one of those women who like to ask their husbands for a handout) – I have structured my “routine” to include time every day for my own writing.

Robert (my husband) said something totally sweet the other night, after I advised my plans re: housework, cooking and errands (just to reiterate that I would keep it all together).

He said, “I do not want you to turn your back on your creative urges just to do the dishes or laundry. If you feel the flow – let it out and focus on your writing. I’m working less hours for more money now and I’m quite happy to pick up the slack, if it means that you get to produce solid work. Do not allow the mundane to thwart your creativity!”

How’s that for romance?!

 

 


Dream Blogging – Swallowing Feathers

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This is another hodge-podge dream. I had it last week and just now have time to post it – on Mother’s Day, no less!

At first – I was walking through an animal sanctuary – when I came across two lions that were quite pale and thin. I was worried about them but too scared to approach them.

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Then I walked through a section where the birds were. I saw two birds on the ground behind a fence, who were swallowing feathers. One was able to manage at least seven – which were hanging out of it’s mouth as it tilted its head back and slowly swallowed them. The other bird could only manage two feathers and it stood watching the other bird. I sensed that it was upset that it could only manage two – while the other one handled a lot more with ease.

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Then I was in a hotel with a work colleague and her parents. We were going to catch a plane to Canada, and as we walked out the door, I noticed that she had left her jacket behind.

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She was grateful and grabbed it, but as we walked through the airport – I realized that I didn’t have my shoes on – only socks. There wasn’t enough time to go back so I had to continue on without shoes.

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We discovered that we had missed our flight and had to wait for the next one. We went to a cafeteria and sat down to eat. I was annoyed that the only food available was fried food. There were huge platters of all kinds of fried food on the tables, but I wouldn’t eat. I sat and watched the others – quite disgusted.

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Then I was sitting on the edge of a bathtub – peeing relentlessly. I was worried that someone would find out – but there was no toilet and I was busting to go. The whole bathtub filled up and I was still peeing. I frantically tried to get off the edge of the tub – as I wanted to find a toilet – but I tipped the tub and pee spilled all over the floor. I worried that the pee would flow out into the hallway.

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THEMES: Illness, weakness, ingesting foreign objects, thwarted travel, flight, disgust, release.

SYMBOLS: Lions, birds, feathers, swallowing, jacket, shoes, socks, Canada, fried food, pee, bathtub.

EMOTIONS: Concern, wonder, forgetfulness, annoyance, disgust, embarrassment

ARCHETYPES: Lions, Birds, Colleagues, Parents

INTERPRETATION: The theme of concern over sick animals continues! The pale lions represent weakness and dissipating strength – which has been a niggling thing in the back of my mind lately. It could also indicate my concern over apparent lack of interest in regards to my books and numerology business – feeling like I’m having little or no impact and that I am ineffective in my pursuits.

The birds represent the side of me that feel grounded and unable to ‘fly’ – as they were on the ground – doing the opposite of what they are supposed to be doing, which is flying – not eating the things that help them fly. The fact that one bird handled at least seven feathers – while the other one had difficulty with just a few – could symbolize how I feel about my ventures and inability to succeed. Eating and swallowing feathers (which are a symbol of mobility, flight, lightness, adornment, magic, intuition) – could also represent my desire to achieve greater heights and hunger for elevation above the drudgery of everyday life. Alternatively – it could mean that I’m wasting too much time with the promoting and marketing.

Like the Ouroboros – the cycle of death and rebirth (eternity) – the birds were swallowing their own feathers. It could be indicating that I see others doing far better than me and I struggle with just a small level of ventures. This image still bothers me and I continue to try and interpret it.

Being in a hotel with a work colleague – and her parents – represents worrying too much about things that don’t matter. The shoes would have been more important than the jacket. The shoes protect your feet, and even though the jacket provides warmth – it’s more socially acceptable to be without a jacket. The jacket could symbolize my public persona – worrying more about image rather than my health, protection and how I travel in life.

Canada is a place that symbolizes a perfect society – to me, anyway! An idealistic place where people are a lot calmer and seemingly more intelligent and compassionate. In the dream, it could indicate my desire to escape to a place where I would fit in. Missing the plane symbolizes my fear of not ‘making it’. Having only fried food to eat, could represent my annoyance at having to settle for the cheap things that don’t do me any good – when I would prefer good food, therefore better sustenance and a higher level of success and a better life.

Peeing is release of negativity and purging. The fact that I had so much shows how I desire to let it all out, and that no matter how much I do release – it keeps coming. The fear of never being pure or achieving my goals – always needing to purge. The bathtub is a place where you should be cleaning yourself. It symbolizes an opportunity for washing away the dreck to become a new person. Filling it to the brim with more pee coming – then tipping it and flooding the bathroom (and possibly the hallway) – symbolizes my fear of showing my true self to the world. I want to get it out – but at the same time – am embarrassed to do so.

SUMMARY: I need to continue taking better care of myself and work to increase my stamina. I need to stop wasting my energies in areas that do not feed my goals. I feel that the time has come where I need to re-evaluate my ventures and change the way I operate – especially in regards to promoting and marketing. It’s getting to me lately – the fact that I have to work a full time job – which eats into my writing time. I know that we all have to do it – to pay the bills etc – but working a full time job and then coming home every night (and spending every weekend working on my ventures) is zapping my energy levels – leaving nothing left for family and friends.

All work and no play makes Kelly a dull bore!


Dream Blogging – Pants down

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I had this dream last night. First – I was in the building across from my work, and I knew that I had to get back there, but something was holding me back. I remember feeling that I didn’t have to return to work – and even though there was a sense that I ought to return – the possibility of exploring the new building was overpowering.

Then I was in someone’s home and needed to pee. The house was a little messy or haphazard – with things everywhere – and the rooms were disjointed and confusing. I was finally told where the toilet was and when I entered the room – it was a combination of a bedroom and toilet. It belonged to a young man who was playing video games in the corner, close to the door. I was embarrassed to go in and do my business – but I had to go, so I went over and pulled my pants down, then sat down on the toilet and started peeing.

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I was worried that the young man would turn around and see me – but he didn’t seem to care. Then a door next to the toilet opened and a middle aged woman started coming in – but I tried to tell her that I wasn’t finished. She also didn’t seem to care – but I was embarrassed and wanted to finish so I could get out.

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THEMES: Exposure, being discovered, decisions, lack of privacy.

SYMBOLS: Work, toilet, half-naked, urination, games, small and strange rooms/house.

EMOTIONS: Desire to run away, indecisiveness, embarrassment, annoyance.

ARCHETYPES: Young man, Middle aged woman.

INTERPRETATION: In regards to the first scene, the idea of not wanting to go back to work is obvious. As I am trying to build a ‘career’ with my writing and Numerology business, I’m finding it increasingly annoying to have to keep going through the motions and working a 9-5 job, when all I want to do is be creative and focus on what I really enjoy doing. (Don’t we all?!) So, hiding in the building across the street from my workplace – trying to decide whether to go back or not – indicates the internal battle that rages inside me. I have to work to pay the bills – a steady job. It takes up most of my time, when I could be spending all my time on my writing and other interests.

Being in a strange house with strange rooms could represent how I feel with the promoting and marketing of my book. Trying to navigate my way around all the daunting elements of promoting my book and business is confusing, time consuming and sometimes frustrating. Trying to find a place to pee signifies the side of me that just wants to let go and be myself. Urinating also symbolizes getting rid of refuse. Not being able to find a suitable place to do so could represent my annoyance with trying to get things in order and be who I want to be.

We’ve all had the naked in public dreams, and they usually symbolize our fear of being ‘found out’ – or our true natures being discovered. Sitting on the toilet, as the young man showed absolutely no interest (aside from the fact that I was a stranger peeing in his room!) – might indicate how I feel about revealing my soul in public when no one seems to care. When the woman came in and also seemed uninterested in what I was doing – it didn’t alleviate my embarrassment with being caught with my pants down. I was annoyed that she didn’t listen to me, so it rang true for me – in regards to my book taking so long to get off the ground. (Three people have actually paid for it – at a measly $3.95 – and 69 others have downloaded it for free. I have one great review – from a stranger – with 5 stars. Every author understands how frustrating it is – especially when you’re self published!)

The young man could also be my animus – signifying the side of me who just wants to do what I want to do and not be bothered with anyone else! The fact that he was playing games symbolizes how I feel about all this. I sometimes feel that I’m just ‘playing’ and should get back to working a ‘normal’ job. The woman could represent my apparent flippancy regarding how I am putting myself out there.

SUMMARY: Pretty much summarizes how I feel about trying to forge ahead with my writing etc. I am revealing a hell of a lot about myself with the process of promoting and marketing – which is refreshing and frightening at the same time. I want to connect with people – especially my readers, and that means sharing myself. Maybe the dream was trying to tell me to be more discriminating about what and how I share. (Funny – as I’m here writing about my dreams and peeing!)

I feel – sometimes – that no one cares, but it’s not true. I have great feedback – mostly from strangers, although I’d like some people who are close to me to show more interest. Maybe it’s my subconscious expressing my fear of being irrelevant – baring my soul to an invisible or uncaring audience?


Soundcloud ad for my novel “Delwyn of the Realms”

Here’s the link to my ebook on Amazon – $3.95:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TD0RF7E

Here’s the link to the books’ website:

http://www.delwynoftherealms.com/

and here’s my Author website:

http://www.kellyproudfoot.com/


Chronicle Schmonicle – Here’s Delwyn!

It’s been so hard – as any self-published author knows – to deal with marketing and promoting on multiple platforms, especially when working full time. But it’s finally paid off – my first review and it’s 5 stars! Yay!

Delwyn of the Realms (Storming Archives – Book 1) – is the culmination of my chronicles – realized as a fantasy novel. As explained previously – I decided not to write a memoir and started channeling some of my experiences into a fantasy novel. (Which was a young adult novel at first – but it was so much more fun changing it to an adult fantasy – about a woman who deals with hypnagogic hallucinations and astral projection, and finds a mirror portal to the dream world.)

Realms

I’m almost finished with the first draft of the sequel – which has become a wild ride – to say the least. It was exhilarating to discover how easy the sequel flowed, once the first book was done. I started a group board on Pinterest – called “Storming” – where fellow (invited) pinners help to inspire me with images regarding the themes in the sequel.

What is daunting is the marketing and promoting. The platforms I’m using are Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Goodkindles, Shelfari, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, Youtube – and others! I’ve used Fiverr for the book cover and advertising. I’ve paid for Twitter blasts and ad campaigns on Goodreads, Facebook etc.

However I knew that reviews would be the number one selling point – and my Beta readers (who say they’re loving the book!) – are taking their time putting reviews on Amazon. I am humbled by the amount of support they are giving me and understand that it takes time to first read a book and then review it. I’m just impatient – and seeing as I am not tech savvy – it’s been a giant learning curve.

Would I prefer to be going through a publisher instead? (Should I be so lucky? Is lucky the right word?!) I’d have to say – No – as much as the idea of someone picking it up and producing it for me is enticing. The problem is – especially these days – it could take an eon to finally get a deal with a publisher (or hook an agent), and after all is said and done – you still have to put a lot of legwork into the marketing and promoting.

So – for me – I find that having control over the book, and stretching myself thin and driving myself crazy with the promoting etc – has been a rewarding experience, after all is said and done. I released the novel as an ebook on Amazon in early Feb this year, and have only sold three units – but I started a freebie campaign today and I already have a 5 star review! (Oh Lordy – wiping sweat off my brow – teeth gnashing momentarily paused!) As at 9:19pm on this first day of the freebie campaign – 23 people have downloaded it.

I used to baulk at the idea of giving away my hard work for nothing – but the cloud has a silver lining. The great review was worth it’s weight in gold. It wasn’t selling that well without a review – so the freebie campaign has become a viable option. (The campaign ends on 3/10/15.)

What was bizarre – was that some of my Beta readers emailed me with glowing reports – but they weren’t putting the reviews on Amazon! (Sometimes it’s like herding cats – you have to be respectful and patient – not a strong point for me!) But it’s paying off and I’m learning as I go. The trick – I think, for any writer – is to persevere and not give up. Keep your eyes on the prize and remind yourself that your hard work is worthy of the struggle. (Pant, pant!)

Review

I have created the paperback version on Createspace and am waiting for the proof to arrive so I can review it before I finally release it. I’m looking into creating bookmarks to take to bookshops, libraries etc. It’s amazing just how much is involved with promoting and marketing. AND IT NEVER ENDS! But I wouldn’t have it any other way! Once the sequel is ready for release, I will continue offering the first book free – occasionally – to keep pushing the units!!!! Where’s the vodka?


Venturing out of the Cave

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Here is a short version of a dream I had the other night – which encapsulates how I feel about marketing and promoting myself as a writer. (Even though my novel hasn’t been published yet.)

I was backstage at a rave concert, and a female – that bore a striking resemblance to a certain, twerking female singer who likes to hang her tongue out – was on stage. Wearing only a pink bikini top and Doc Martens’, she was singing and talking into a microphone – while the other hand was shoving a pink microphone up her rectum! She was shaking it around vigorously and pulling it in and out as she sang and whipped the crowd into a frenzy.

Then she turned to the D.J. and said “Tell George he has to relieve me! And don’t don’t forget to tell him to shove the mike up his butt!” Then I walked around backstage and saw a t.v. under a table, showing a tattooed woman with her back to the camera – lying on her side, reaching around and playing with her butt. I walked offstage to what seemed to be a warehouse, where someone was yelling out “There’s alcohol for sale!” Like it was a big deal. People were crowding and clamoring to see, and there were tables and displays of liquor and soda.

As soon as I woke up – I got the symbolism. For the last couple of weeks I have been earnestly working on my website and checking my Twitter account (not knowing much about either, I might add!) – trying to fit in time for my miserable Author account on Facebook and answering reviews on my profile with Book country (and therefore – altering and editing my novel.)

I have been researching literary agents and publishers, set up a profile on Mythic Scribes (which is a nice place for fantasy writers), trying to perfect my synopsis and query letters, sending PDF versions of the novel to my Beta readers and so on. I’m sure it’s all worth it. I’m sure it will all pay off. I appreciate the feedback I’m getting and the constructive criticism is helping me greatly with my rewrites. In the meantime I am working a full time job and trying to write the sequel to my novel. I am up to chapter seven – first draft – and feeling quite proud of myself.

I know I’m preaching and whining to the converted – but #*%@! I feel like a cheap, second hand spruiker! I feel like a shy, dorky wallflower in a gaudy showgirl costume that’s too big or maybe – too tight for me – and I don’t know how to wear it! I keep hearing Gypsy Rose yelling “SING OUT, KELLY!” And here I am, stumbling in skyscraper heels, trying (and failing miserably) to toss a feather boa over my slumping shoulders. “Let me – entertain you. Let me – make you – wince!”

I need a scotch!

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