This Crazy Little Thing Called Writing

Writing and publishing Flashback To The Dragon has certainly been a learning experience and at times a fun ride, but lets slow it down for a bit. I’m going to tell you what has helped in this entire experience for me from beginning to right up to this very moment.

Step 1 – I purchased two toolkits in 2010. One was The Writer’s Toolbox by Jamie Cat Callan. It contained creative games and exercises to get you going, such as First Sentence Sticks, Action Spin Palettes, Sixth Sense Cards (to get you in touch with your senses), and an hourglass to time yourself.

The other toolkit was No Plot? No Problem! A Novel Writing Kit by Chris Baty, Founder of National Novel Writing Month. This kit contained 4 weeks worth of flashcards to cheer you on and give you advice, a novelist pin, gold stars, and writing tips on how to get started, how to conquer writer’s block, and how to finish your novel (which according to the author is something very hard to do and is something I subsequently learned once I started writing).

So I had some tools, I had some ideas in my head, and a willingness to take on this new life. I wrote a few story ideas down, but something still wasn’t right. I did a lot of soul-searching, got advice from my husband, researched the internet, and looked through social media sites, and started writing the Flashback series, which brings me to …

Step 2 – I found Twitter! Somehow I found Michael R. Hicks through his book The Path to Self-Publishing Success. I purchased the book on my Nook and started following him on Twitter (I’m not stalking you Michael you are, however, my inspiration.) Reading his book, (and most of his In Her Name series and Season of Harvest) I knew there was a lot of competition – good, no great competition, and hurdles. I had a bumpy ride ahead of me and my seatbelt wouldn’t always stay fastened or my arms always stay inside of the vehicle (but wheeeee tickle-belly hills!).

Anyway I started following other author types and listening to what everyone had to say about writing, publishing, the publishing world, marketing, etc. (and I’m so not into marketing) which brings me to the next step …

Step 3 – I found Abbott Press. They advertise that they will “help writers self publish books and also provide writers with self-publishing educational opportunities” – that wording is from the response in the search engine. Perfect! I could write and let them worry about the details that I knew very little about, while I learned along the way – bonus! What they fail to mention, but should come as no surprise to anyone is, it costs money for their help. Yeah. I know, but the help I received as part of my contract was invaluable and, I think, produced a better final product than if I had done everything on my own. I moved forward with them because I didn’t have much of a clue how to get started and wasn’t ready to go out there on my own.

While I felt I had a fresh story concept and had fun writing the character emotions, humor, and the intense scenes that the were in the story, I am NOT a creative writing major, minor, or student. My book will NOT rival the great classics – I know this.

Flashback To The Dragon is a story about a guy with a gift that gets dragged into catching a serial killer. There is an attractive and likeable cop who hides his gay lifestyle with spot-on detective work and good acting while in the office, and a serial killer who was homegrown by his own mother and her friends. But I forgot this step …

Step 4 – This step kinda comes here or between Step 2 and Step 3. I entered the National Novel Writing Month competition in 2011 to complete a 50,000 word story within 30 days. This is crazy sounding, but I did it. I completed book 2 of the Flashback series, Flashback To The Mosquito, in November 2011. It is this story that I’m now editing in hopes of getting it published by next Spring 2013. The only thing holding me back is the money issue that I mentioned in Step 3. I need to first make money off Book 1 before putting Book 2 through the publishing wringer.

Which brings me to my, so far, last and final step …

Step 5 – Marketing. Yep, this is the topic I’m trying to understand right now. 

  • Marketing Book 1, Flashback to the Dragon available on Amazon.com (see what I’m saying) is what fills 50% of my tweets.
  • It is why I joined Pinterest and have created boards to include Nate’s Desk (my detective), John’s Flashback Bucket List (my main character with a gift), Through The Eyes Of A Killer (what made the killer what he is today).
  • It is why I’m writing a short story that loosely ties to the Flashback series that I will be post on Pinterest (limit 500 words) and here on my blog over the month of October.
  • I have some of my books in paperback and hardcover that I’m hoping to sell during book signings at a local shop.
  • I’m planning to meet with the managers of Barnes and Noble and Shuler’s to schedule additional book signings.
  • I plan to do another podcast for a local internet show that tells about my book (working on the perfect wording to market my book has been challenging because I really don’t want to blow it). The first podcast was about why I started writing and how the publishing experience has been.
  • I market to family and friends on Facebook.

My dream, like every other writer, is to be a recognized author with a reader following. That is the step I’m working toward, my next step (once I finish Step 5).

Oh, and I forgot to tell you – these are all baby steps. But, they helped me along the way and hopefully could help you. And I’m moving forward toward my goal of television!! Ok, that is probably Step 50, but I’ll keep you posted. Wheeeee!

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