Tag Archives: self published

A Day in the Life of a Summer Writer

I don’t know why I think anyone would care what I do all day, but I get that question a lot for some reason. It’s summer, and I’m a teacher ten months out of the year, which means I get to collect my overtime for two months. (June and July) Save for a few professional development days. I write all year ’round, but during the summer…I’m a full-time writer. And it’s awesome.

Currently, I’m writing Alex and Azalea, the prequel novella to my Underground Trilogy. And I’m editing Ash, the second book in the series. It’s been published, but I’m working on re-editing and re-formatting it.

So, here’s what my summer writing day looks like:

7:30 am– Wake up without an alarm 🙂

(Lay in bed and scroll through all the social media platforms. It’s embarrassing how long I let myself do this.)

8:30 am– Actually go downstairs and make coffee, brew, add cream, clean up coffee grounds, nuke it until it’s scalding. Grab chocolate. (Important step)

8:45 am-Sit in “the writing chair” and open Scrivener, scan the last few paragraphs of what I wrote yesterday, long-hand write what I plan on writing today in a physical journal. (For some reason it helps.)

(Get stuck on Facebook for another five minutes.)

IMG_2204

9:00 am– Using the “Pomodoro Method” write for 25 straight minutes with a timer. (Wrote 750 words during this go.)

9:25 am– 5-minute Break (Nuke coffee again)

9:30 am– Write for 25 more minutes (700 more words)

9:55 am-5 minute Break (Nuke the last of my coffee)

10:00 am– Write for 25 more minutes (Final morning word count = 2029)

IMG_220510:25 am– 5-minute Break

10:30 am– Have a psychotic break and decide it’s a good idea to take a 45-minute walk outside…in the Texas heat. Why? Who knows.

11:20am– Collapse on living room floor. Chug water.

11:30am– Make myself get up off the floor and return to my chair. Open Grammarly and the word document of the novel I’m currently editing (inwardly whine about it) Edit for, like, 20 minutes and decide I’m hungry for lunch.

11:50ish am– Make avocado toast with ricotta cheese (it’s delicious) Open Netflix, watch an episode of Shameless (SO FREAKING GOOD)

IMG_2218

12:45ish pm-Go back to editing

1:30 pm– Decide I’m gross from walking outside and probably need a bath. Grab book, read in the bath, wash hair, etc.

IMG_22202:15 pm– Get mad because I somehow got my book completely soaked. Brush hair, apply lotion, get dressed, go back to “the writing chair”

2:30 pm– Write half of this blog post

3:00 pm– Go back to editing (UGGHHHHH)

IMG_22223:30 pm– Eat a snack. Watch more Shameless. (Because summer.)

4:30 pm– Chat with the HusBen who is now home from work, do some crunches to get that six pack…yeah, contemplate whether I should do more editing now or later.

(Mess around on social media instead)

5:15 pm– Make tea. Edit some more.

IMG_22236:10 pm– Throw computer across the room. Just kidding. But…no more editing for today. Okay? No more.

6:15pm– Make more avocado toast. Because I can have the same meal for lunch and dinner. Shhh. Don’t judge me.

IMG_2224

 

SHAMELESSSSSSSSS

IMG_2225

(Can’t you tell it’s so good ^^^ LOL!)

7:30pm and on– Probably watching more Shameless, finishing and posting this blog, messing around on Pinterest and social media, reading my new book (from my book of the month box!) and hanging with the HusBen.

Tomorrow (after my damn 7am dental appointment) I’ll probably do it all over again in one way or another. But, yeah. In addition to what I wrote, there were also other random things that are too minor or inappropriate to write in a blog. Also, I’m a type one diabetic, so there was, of course, testing of my blood sugar and changing out my insulin and such in between everything.

Do this every day, and you have the completed first draft of a novel (or novella in this case) and an edited novel ready within about two months. (or less)  It works for me. This is my summer. (Sometimes I go to coffee shops and do the writing and editing thing.)

And this is basically what I do during the school year too, only minus the fun Shameless watching and snacks and social media checking breaks. I wake up earlier (5AM!) and write about the same amount, and edit in the evenings. It’s a full-time job wrapped around my other full-time job.

Maybe soon it will be my only one. 😉

Advertisements

West Texas A&M Writers’ Academy

Every year I escape to a writer wonderland in Canyon, Texas. The Writers’ Academy. It’s a week-long, intensive workshop setting where writers come in as one person and leave as somebody completely different.

When I completed my first novel, I didn’t even know there were other people like me out there. I mean, I did. But I didn’t know there were any close by. I reached out to a creative writing teacher I had when I attended Wext Texas A&M in 2009 and asked her for some advice on publishing. She gave me the contact information for a local writer named Jodi Thomas.

I did some research and learned that Jodi really knew her stuff. She was a New York Times Bestselling author and she was living only a few hours from me. I emailed her, not expecting to get an immediate response, but within a few days, I’d received a follow-up from her. She said that she would be in Lubbock the next week and asked if I wanted to meet for dinner to talk about writing.

Um. Yes, please!

So, we met and I got to talk to someone who was just like me. Someone who breathed writing like it was her life source. Then she told me about the Writers’ Academy. I had to come, she said. It would change my life.

And it did.

Imagine. An entire workshop of 50 or so people that are obsessed with the same thing you’ve been obsessed with for years. People who don’t think it’s strange to carry around journals or to jot down interesting names to use for a character. People who are filled with words just like you. This was my idea of paradise. And now I return every single year.

This year I will be taking Bethany Claire’s class on Self-Publishing. As a self-published author, you might think it would be pointless for me to take such a class. But I know I have so much to learn about this craft that is truly a business. Sure, I can write a book. I can write several books. But getting them out there when no one knows (or cares) who you are is more difficult than I ever imagined.

I’m excited and nervous. Nervous because I know I’m going to learn about the things that I should have done with my first four novels. I’m nervous because I know this class will be the catalyst I need to get my email list up and running and all the other stuff that goes along with publishing a novel. Self-pub or traditional.

I’m nervous. But I’m ready. 11048719_1092639154083643_1582680029528583240_n

 

Giving it All Away (Free E-Book Option on Amazon)

IMG_5044

Okay, maybe not giving it ALL away. But I did set OAKEN to FREE for 3 days. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I still don’t know how all of the math-related statistical whatchamacallit stuff works on Amazon. I just decided to set my book to free when I released my second book, ASH, blindly hoping that maybe some people would download it and then go on to get the next book. Maybe. What happened, though, blew my mind.

IMG_5051 IMG_5053

People started to download it.

I’ll admit, the first day I probably refreshed the “sales” page and my book’s page a million times to see the numbers go up. By the end of the first day, 2,844 people had downloaded Oaken.

IMG_5074

Then, somehow, I managed to go to sleep. I randomly woke up at 1:33 AM, and, of course, checked the page to find that Oaken was #1 in the FREE Paranormal Fantasy category. What’s very strange to me, though, is that I never put my book into that category…because it’s not really paranormal in any way. This is one of the things I need to find out more about because it’s truly fascinating to me. It was almost as if Amazon was putting my book into the category it would do best in–the category where it would be ranked the highest.

IMG_5068

In the Young Adult Fantasy category, I reached the #2 spot and stayed there for the next two days. (Damn Relic wouldn’t budge.)

IMG_5064

And in the TOP FREE 100 I reached #46! MY MIND WAS BLOWN.

IMG_5072

On the very last day, I received an email from ebookdaily.com that my book would be featured that day in their Fantasy selection of free e-books.

IMG_5149

I’m telling you guys, I have whiplash from how fast and hard all of this hit me. So, I wasn’t making any money off of Oaken? So what? Look how many people saw and downloaded my book with the potential to buy my other books later. It was so incredible to experience. Truly.

IMG_5170

By the end of the last day (and apparently 49 units after midnight) 7,414 people downloaded OAKEN. 7,414 people that, let’s face it, probably wouldn’t have taken the leap to actually purchase the book for $3.99. I get it. There is a lot of self-published crap out there. But there are also a lot of jewels, hidden in the mountain of books online. It’s an overwhelming thing, really. So, I get why people wouldn’t want to take a chance on a self-published author like myself. But there is nothing to lose when they can download the book for free. And, if they like it, maybe they’ll keep coming back. 🙂

One of the coolest things, though, is that, even after the FREE period ended, I saw an enormous jump in sales. (45 PAID units total by the very end of the day on the 20th)

IMG_5186

As it stands–wait, lemme go refresh the page and give you the latest–Oaken is #82 as of 9:00 AM the morning of June 22nd in the Top PAID 100 of the Young Adult Fantasy category. (This number changes every hour. Yesterday it bounced around from 98 to 117. This morning it was 76) The top 100 is golden, though, y’all, because this means your book is visible. Amazon only displays the top 100 books per category and many people won’t venture much further than this.

IMG_5224
So, if you are self-published, or thinking of self-publishing, and are unsure of whether or not you should take advantage of the FREE book promotion Amazon offers, I can say from personal experience that there is NOTHING you can lose by doing this. It’s basically free advertising for you, thanks to Amazon. Whether 100 or 1,000,000 people download your books, that’s just that many more people who now know who you are, who know about your books. By setting your book to free, you have nothing to lose and SO MUCH to gain.

Trust me. Just do it.