You might hate me after reading this

When I was a kid I used to love going to the library to check out books. I went at least twice a month, leaving with an armful of books to read until I came back to return them and get more. There was something magical about being surrounded by books, knowing that any one of them could be mine with a simple swipe of my library card. With the amount of books I read, there was no way my parents could afford to buy me all of them, so it was the perfect solution.

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I don’t go to the library as often now, but I do have Windell (my kindle) and I have a Kindle Unlimited Membership. Don’t start throwing stones yet. Hear me out. I pay $10/month for unlimited borrows (up to 10 at a time). And I discover a ton of great authors this way. I still read as much as I did when I was a kid – several books (or more) a week, and the KU membership allows me to do that.

But here’s the thing: As awesome as this is for me as a consumer, I sometimes feel guilty about it as an author.

Before KU rolled out, I was selling tens of thousands of ebooks upon release. Now I sell hundreds, if I’m lucky. Sure, I get borrows, and some of the time those make up for my lost sales, but sometimes they don’t. The truth is that, while subscriptions services do help authors/artists in some ways with exposure and stuff, they also hurt us.

I’ve wanted to be an author since I was a little girl roaming her local library every weekend. Words are my first love. Descriptions flow through my veins. Dialogue makes me giddy. Characters talk in my head. Plot holes keep me up at night. New plot ideas wake me each morning.

There’s nothing else I want to do with my life.

I get that computers and smart phones have taken over. I’ve spent so much time trying to fight against the current. To turn back to how things used to be, but I’m exhausted. I need to stop. Stop swimming. Stop struggling. It’s time to climb out of the water, dry off, lie on the beach and take a few deep breaths. Maybe borrow a book, or listen to some soothing songs on my Itunes account.

I’m a hypocrite if I support all of these things as a consumer, but not as an artist.

It’s the way of the world.

So, I’m embracing it.

Recently, I’ve even started writing for an app called RADISH. I love the team there. They’re helpful and encouraging, and I think it’s an exciting way to share my work. It’s a free app you can download on any device from your app store. I have a free story  and a premium story. Premium stories costs coins you can purchase or earn on the site (first 3 chapters are free though). The stories are uploaded as episodes, just like your favorite TV shows. Each episode ends with a writer’s note. Readers also have the option to engage by liking the episodes.

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Sometimes I hear people say that no one reads anymore. That books are a thing of the past, but I honestly don’t think they will ever be obsolete. There will always be people who read. I can’t imagine continuing to live in a world where people don’t. How sad would that be? But I also understand that it may sometimes look a little differently, especially for the newer generation.

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And I’m alright with that.

So, go ahead. Join that subscription service. Download that app.

Just don’t stop reading.

Okay?

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How I’ve Failed at my Job

The truth is that I’m not very good at my job.

When I decided to publish my first book I had this grandiose idea that I would throw it out into the world and it would miraculously sell while I started work on the next one. You see, what I want to do is play in fictional worlds all day long. I want to crawl inside the pages of my latest manuscript and hide out there. But being an author is so much more than just writing. There are other aspects I hadn’t considered when I first took the plunge into this crazy business.

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I’m a one-man show. Since I don’t have a publisher, I am in charge of every aspect of the writing and publishing process, which includes editing, revising, formatting, cover design, uploading and marketing. Lucky for me, I have a team of people who help me and they are truly invaluable – my PA, my editor, my cover designers, my beta readers – and up until a book is released things go pretty smoothly. It really is the release and beyond that I suck at. I mean, truly suck at. Can I be real with you? I’m horrible at marketing. My creativity seems to be limited to my characters and plot lines. I have absolutely no creativity when it comes to how to market and promote my work. Plus, I’m tired. As an author, I rarely sleep because my characters keep me up all night talking nonstop in my head. (Okay, I’ll move on so you don’t have me admitted to an insane asylum). And I work pretty much round the clock during the day. So by the time I sit down to brainstorm marketing ideas, my mind is blank.

Earlier this year, I discovered a band I love. They’re called The Neighbourhood, and you may have heard their song Sweater Weather before. What I found interesting about them was their unique branding. All of their videos and images are in black and white and have a very distinct feel. Their music all has a certain distinct mood and feel to it as well. Honestly I was impressed with this group of young men and how well they had branded and marketed themselves. It’s clear from listening to their music that they are creative like me, but unlike me they had come up with a game plan long before releasing their first album.

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It sort of made me want to turn back the clock and start over. Before I released my first book I hadn’t thought about who I wanted to be as a writer or what my vision was. In all honesty, I’m not sure I knew at that time. But I do now. I have spent time thinking about who I am, what makes my books unique, and what my vision for the future is. About six months ago I came up with a branding campaign and my tagline was Addicted to Love. I thought it was cute and fun. Problem is that I don’t think it really describes what I’m about. See what I mean about sucking at this part? I can’t even figure out a tagline that works for me. 🙂

Knowing that this isn’t my strong suit, I turned to my fans and asked them what made me different as an author. I got responses like:

In your books I’ve learned to expect the unexpected

Unexplained love

True love

Love that heals

Suspense

Twists I never saw coming

Clean reading experience

You always write good guys. Guys I want my daughter to date

And then I knew it was time to re-brand myself. All of these answers are true. My books are always clean, and the guys are always good, upstanding guys. I actually explained why this is in an earlier blog post called Bike Ride Musings. And I do always have unexpected plot twists in all of my books.

Even though I’d love to hide out with my characters and never have to deal with the business aspect of this job, I know that isn’t possible. It’s also not possible for me to turn back time and start over. So I have to change things up starting today. And today I’m launching a branding campaign. It kicks off with this blog post where I’m revealing my new logo and tagline.  In the near future I will be revealing a series of videos for you to get to know me better and hear from my heart. I’ve already posted the first couple earlier this week to get the ball rolling, but check back in for the rest!

Without further ado, here is my new logo:

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Thanks for indulging me. Now I’m off to my writer’s cave. My characters are calling!