I'll be at Hastings Entertainment (2512 E 29th Ave, Spokane, WA 99223) today from 2 pm to 5 pm. Me and a group of awesome authors are hanging out to sign books and chit-chat. So if you are in the neighborhood, or looking for an excuse to visit, I'd love to see you.
Shortly after I resigned from my job (see May), I began researching ways to market The Burden. I found that several Indie Authors were producing book trailers to help promote/market their works and decided I wanted to create a trailer of my own. I have two kids and had been video taping them for years...how hard could it be? Well, lets just say it took less than a day (okay - 2 hours) before I realized I was in WAY over my head and needed tons of help. Actually...I needed someone else to take on this project because technology is NOT my forte.
I did a little more research and found a non-profit for Indie Artists in the filming world, kNIVES Northwest Independent Film & Video Society. In May I attended their monthly meetings and noticed Rebecca Cook. At the beginning of the meeting she did a presentation on the progress of Root Bound, a short film she was directing. There was something about her...I didn't know what exactly (and still don't) that made me notice her above the rest.
Before the meeting was over, as a guest I was given the opportunity to introduce myself, talk about The Burden, and make an announcement of the project I was working on (book trailer). I invited those interested in partnering with me to contact me. I made it clear that this was a joint project to help me out as an author and them out at a filmmaker...basically I didn't have much in the way of a budget. After hearing myself, I didn't think anyone would help me. Why would they...I had NOTHING to offer in return except for an awesome story and opportunity to enter into an new market! I felt like a complete idiot.
When the meeting was over, I remembered Rebecca and hoped to talk to her. But she was already swarmed by her cast and crew getting ready for their meeting that directly followed the kNIVES meeting. Everyone was saying their goodbye's as I began to pack my things (the "free" books I was going to give to those interested). Just as I closed my bag, I noticed a man approaching. My heart skipped a beat when he started asking questions about my project. I had barely shook his hand before another person approached...then another. Within five minutes I had several business cards and even a few folks who wanted to continue our conversation elsewhere so Rebecca and her crew could have the conference room.
I was beginning to think maybe I wasn't such an idiot after all. But there was still Rebecca, and that "something" about her that motivated me to sneak a book in her bag. I just couldn't let this opportunity pass me by. I was quick and didn't give her an opportunity to turn me down. I stuck The Burden in her bag as I passed her by on my way out the door. I mumbled something to the effect that if she had time to read the book, I'd appreciate what she thought.
Even though I didn't feel like I really connected with anyone, I left the meeting excited. I had at least two people really interested in directing a book trailer for me. They wanted to break into the book trailer market and The Burden was intriguing They took copies of my book home and would get back to me later.
The next day (or maybe 2) I was contacted by Rebecca and I couldn't have been more excited. I think she may have took pity on me...being new to the writing world and having NO CLUE about the filming world. She was much too busy to take on my project but recommended I contact a good friend of hers, Joe Dellwo. By now I had already been communicating with someone about filming the book trailer, but still didn't feel like we were connecting. I quickly sent an email to Joe, he replied that he was interested. I have to say his email had me at "It looks like it would be a great project." Joe and I entered into a contract and the work began.
A couple weeks later I met with Joe and his wife Adrienne and their wonderful kiddos. Rebecca was able to meet with us and provide some input too. That was the first time I got a chance to read the script. It was amazing (I had know idea the scope of work that was to come). We discussed locations and actors/actresses and crew. Rebecca was able to network crew and we all came up with extras :)
There were certainly some frustrations along the way. We overcame venue problems, (places not letting us film on their property), dealt with time conflicts, and distance issues (I live 53 miles from Joe). But eventually we had two solid days of filming...and I have a WHOLE new respect for industry. Because we filmed during the week, Rebecca was able to help. We all worked together as team...but talk about exhausting work!
In the end, Joe took two full days of work and edited it down to 2 minutes and I couldn't be happier. Not only do I have a fantastic product, I made some great friends. What I learned from all this, and what I want most to share, is to follow your instinct. If I wouldn't have stepped out of my comfort zone and approached Rebecca (lets just say I did), the chain reaction that lead to where I'm at today NEVER would have happened.
I thought I'd get tons of writing done this summer. In fact, I had anticipated the release of The Burden's sequel this month back in January. Well....I'm on chapter 5, not even a quarter of the way through. I could blame my lack of progress on summer break and kids, but honestly I've enjoyed being home with my boys. While I should have been behind the computer typing away, on more than one occasion we hit the lake.
However, this summer hasn't been a total bust. I have my book available in three different formats (paperback, eBook, audio). I met some fantastic people that will be life long friends in this journey of mine. Dellwo Studios
is about to release The Burden's book trailer....A FRIGGIN BOOK TRAILER! And I'm learning new things every day (today I created an account on Vimeo).
I know I have a long, long, LONG way to go before I'll be on the New York Times Bestseller's list, but that is okay. I think the most important thing I'm learning is not to loose heart and trudge away. I would like nothing more than to sit behind my computer and escape into my fantasy world, but us Indie Authors have so much more work to do than just write. There is simply not enough time in the day, especially for those of us who get easily distracted. I write because I enjoy it. I write what I write because the real world is way more terrifying than anything I could create. I just hope I can gain readers. I've become a little attached to my fans.
I follow Brian Klem's blog (click here
for link) and took his advise on the importance of networking for self published authors. And so far it's been great!
A couple weeks ago I went to a kNIFVES (Northwest Independent Film & Video Entertainment Society - click here
for link) monthly meeting and was able to meet some fabulous artists. Through those connections found a filmmaker to do a book trailer for The Burden. And today I went to a Spokane Authors and Self Publishers (click here
for link) monthly meeting and met other writers, one being Bob Manion. Bob's an accomplished author who is going to help me out and already hooked me up with a book signing gig at Hastings June 22nd (more details to follow)!
So far most of my networking experiences have been positive. BUT, I have to admit I've reached out to other authors and been totally ignored. I've attended writer's groups, most of which have been great, but some that were not so great. I will never forget one meeting where I was told by a "published" author I had not business writing because my punctuation was horrendous. Needless to say, not every group is going to be the right "fit". But I'm so glad I didn't let those negative experience discourage me to the point of quitting writing. Look at where I'm at today. I may not have an agent or publisher, but I've sold hundreds of copies of my book and hopefully will have a book trailer in August.
I'm positive that networking through groups, whether social media or with other breathing humans, will help generate more buzz about The Burden. My advice to you, take the time to seek out groups that can help you grow in your area of interest. Step out of your comfort zone and be the newbie. You'll make friends, learn new stuff as well as share information. It's totally worth the few negative nannies you'll meet along the way.
Wow, time flies when you're working for yourself:) Life has been extremely busy but productive. I'm not as far as I'd liked to be in the sequel to The Burden. Marketing my own book has taken way more of my time than I intended....and to be honest, I need to be more disciplined when it comes to writing. I found myself working outside in my garden several times when I should have been behind the computer.
I do have some great news to report. I've partnered with some talented filmmakers to put together a trailer for The Burden. I'm jumping through the hoops now so hopefully The Burden will be available for purchase at Costco, Barnes & Noble, and Wal-Mart sometime this summer. And I'm putting together a book tour.
This experience is fascinating. I've met so many supportive people who have become friends I cherish. I only wish I could add more hours to the day - time is passing way too fast!
I've waited for today for several weeks now...my first day working for myself. As you know, I've struggled with the decission of leaving the security of a monthly paycheck. But deep in my heart I know I've made the correct decission to pursue a writing career. It will be a tough road, especially since I don't have an agent or publisher to guide me (so I will be marketing in addition to creating). Honestly, I find myself a bit overwhelmed and not sure where to begin. I'm sure I'll figure things out and will keep up to date on my blog to help others who may someday find themselves in this same perdiciment. Hugs to all of you, and thank you for joining me on this journey.
This will be my 4th book signing and I'd like to say I'm getting used to them...but that would be a lie. I am so nervous. I fear that no one will show up and that I'll make a huge idiot of myself. I suppose both will happen eventually, but that doesn't make me feel better.
I've officially resigned from my job and last day will be March 29th. I'm both excited and sad. I met a lot of great people and was part of a great group, but need to take this risk. To play it safe and not take chances would be too boring of a life... that's what I think anyway.
I uploaded The Burden December 27th of last year not knowing what to expect. Writing has always been a dream of mine, but never the career I chose to pursue. My degrees are in Public Administration. But I never found rest from the endless daydreaming and constant characters nagging at my subconscious to be brought to life. Now that The Burden is out there, and more than just my nuclear family have great things to say, I've found the courage to overcome my fears of rejection and pursue the career I always thought of as a fantasy. I've decided to put my Public Admin career on hold and see if maybe, just maybe, I can make a living by creating fantasy worlds to escape from the one we trudge through day after day. Starting April 1st, I will be a full time writer. In the meantime, I'd appreciate any helpful advice.
It is amazing to me that January is already over. Where does the time go? My mom tells me it only goes by faster the older we get...and when I look at my boys and it seems like just yesterday they were learning to walk...sigh. That is why you should take risks and follow your dreams - life is short!
I'm glad I took the risk and self-published. I'm humbled by the success of The Burden's first month out. I've sold almost 200 books and have over 300 likes on my Facebook Author Page. I'm making friends in the writing/reading community and just created a Goodreads.com account. There is so much to learn and overwhelming, but totally worth every minute. I have a book signing event Saturday at the Public Library in Priest River, Idaho, and hope to meet lots of new people. If you're in the area stop by.
I've come to realize, I either need to figure out how to add a couple more hours to each day, or I need to give up some responsibilities in order to continue writing. My time problem is not unique. I don't know how many times my advice to someone in my situation was, " just quit", but it's not that simple. I've decidend I only get this one chance to live and it is important to be happy and make choices best for myself and family. Being overcommitted with volunteer obligations, while important, are optional. I can only give 100%, and when I start dividing that amount up between family, work, chores, and the four organizations I volunteer for...there is not much room left for writing. So, it has been a hard decission, but I am giving up 2 of my volunteer jobs. I will be able to spend more time writing/blogging/reading, doing the things that might actually help me one day make a career out of my passion. What everyone wants...right?