Category: Writing life

seventhnewcover_smAt the suggestion of my longtime and fabulous critique partner Tracy Fobes, I’ve been meaning for a while to update the ebook edition cover of Seventh Sanctuary with an image that gives a better sense of the steaminess of the story. (For now, the print edition will still have the original cover, since changing that is more complicated.)

After a lot of contemplation and a bit of a quest, a stock photo caught my eye, and the more I thought about it the more I liked it. Over the weekend, Hubby helped with tweaking and typography, and voilà, the makeover is now complete on the Kindle and Nook editions. What do you think? 😉

For those not familiar with Seventh Sanctuary, the 154-page steamy romance novella tells the story of three ancient Sumerians caught in a web of desire and — maybe — divine intervention. But will the great and terrible goddess Inanna smile on them — or is it her will to destroy them?

The back-cover blurb and a sample are available on the book page here. Scroll down to the web reader for the sample.

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Life is crazy lately as I rev up for releasing my first totally self-published book. (I say “totally” because my other indies were previously traditionally pubbed.) Hubby and I are mocking-up cover concepts; I’ve been formatting the manuscript for a print edition; and I’m still proofing and making tweaks — hopefully only one more round of that to go. Last night I read up on copyrighting info and registered with Createspace, an Amazon affiliate that will print and distribute the print edition.

Among the trickiest dilemmas is deciding how much advertising to do. Department-store owner John Wanamaker once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” For small-time businesses — and mine is very small — I suspect wasted effort makes up an even bigger portion. So the question is how important is it to make a little money on the book versus spending money for a chance at wider readership but possibly not getting a return?

Not being much of a risk taker, I’m leaning toward a middle road. I’ll probably schedule an ad in Romance Writers of America’s monthly report. Given that everyone in its audience is involved in creating romance novels, a small ad should be a good value. Promoting with Google AdWords also looks worth a shot, because I have a credit that’ll get me started. Investing in review copies is a must. If I can come up with willing and able reviewers, I’ll happily gift Kindle copies (I need to look into gifting Nookbooks, too), and I’ll squeeze a few print copies out of my budget as well.

Of course, I’ll be blogging, tweeting and posting to readers’ forums as usual. Having a new book to talk about will be great, because I’ve about exhausted ideas for posts that tie in to the old ones. Until the new one is available, all I’m revealing is that it’s a “contemporary mystery with strong romantic elements” that revolves around an archaeological dig near Pompeii. Not much to go on, I know — please watch this space.

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Yes, I’m talking about writer’s block. Like many authors, I suffered a multi-year bout of block that felt like it would never end. Then it did, and I’m here to tell you how.

I’ll skip the stuff that caused me to fall off the horse. (You can fill in your own life’s stresses.) But once off, I couldn’t get back on, because I kept (subconsciously) anticipating the next fall. I dabbled with writing but never got anything substantial down on paper.

Gradually, some of the bad things in my life faded, outshone by new, good things. Then, I lost my job. While losing a job is generally bad, I was well aware of the silver lining (time for writing!), and I honed in on it. I set a schedule that, among other things, included a writing goal, and I made sure I stuck to it.

Here are a couple of tips for recovering from writer’s block:

1. Set yourself a modest goal that you can achieve. Can you only find time to do a page twice a week? Make your goal two pages a week. Too much? Make it one.

2. Don’t worry whether your work is good. Revisions can be made later. In fact, it’s probably better not to revise at all until you’re back in the groove. Keep moving forward.

While I was unemployed, I wrote 10 pages a week. When I started working again, fear of losing that rhythm caused me major stress, but I think I’m surviving. (Knock wood!) I’m currently meeting my goal of writing five pages of fiction a week, as well as working. Of course, the house and yard are suffering — but you and I both know what’s important, don’t we? ; )

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