Include Your Passion in Your Writing

Today I pulled out a picture book I created for health class back in middle school. I laughed out loud when I saw it because 25 years later, I am once again drawing body cells with cartoon eyes.

disease book 1I’m working on a series of blog posts for Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating wherein I interview various organs whose body has recently been diagnosed with type two diabetes. Everyone’s blaming the disease on Pancreas, of course, but she claims it’s the fault of Muscle or the Kidney Twins.  In the illustrations, the organs sit in armchairs to chat with the hostess and I’m having fun adding silly mustaches to glucose and endoplasmic reticulum hair to exhausted cells.

disease book 2The blast from the past book got me thinking about where our interests and passions begin: some come naturally and some come from the influence of others. For example, my mother is a high school biology teacher who tries to make biology memorable for her students. To this day, my siblings and I can name the phases of cell reproduction because Mom invented a tale of lovers torn apart that made the phases fun. Just last month I spotted two giant stuffed sock ribosomes in the guest bedroom, ready for class. Mom is fascinated with biology, which led to my own fascination with how the body works. Mix in the conviction (and living proof) that learning can be fun, and voila! You get nerdy kidneys arguing about mustached glucose on a healthy living blog.

disease book 3What are some of your passions? Do you include them in your writing?

For a good time and a better understanding of type two diabetes, check out The Diabetes Debate: Whose Fault is it?

Writer-speak

coffee-bookLast week I had coffee with a friend I met at a writers conference and I had the best time. It wasn’t just our common interests, our common faith, or the fact that she’s really cool that made it great. It was our ability to communicate in Writer-speak.

I complained about the head hopping in the novel I’m reading, shared my hope that I’m adequately using deep POV in the novel I’m writing, and bemoaned platform building and she UNDERSTOOD. I didn’t have to explain the terms, didn’t have to explain the publishing process or my writerly struggles. Together we celebrated our seemingly-insignificant-to-the-outside-world-but-huge-for-a-writer-little-daily-victories we’d had.

I encourage you to find a writer friend (or friends) if you haven’t already. Conferences are great places to meet like-minded writers. They will share your passion for writing, they will “get you”, and they will encourage you in a way only a fellow writer speaking Writer-speak can.

 

So Boaz said, “Come aside, friend, sit down here.” So he came aside and sat down. Ruth 4:1b

Image courtesy of The Coffee Book Tag

 

Selling Your Book at Events and Fairs

img_3490I’ve had tables at four events in three months trying to promote and sell my book and here are a few things I’ve learned:

  1. Before you sign up for an event, check out the event’s promotion. If the event isn’t being promoted well, foot traffic will be light, and your sales will suffer. A well promoted event becomes a well attended event.
  2. Keep your expectations in check. That may sound pessimistic, but if you expect to sell 100 books an hour, you will be sorely disappointed. Focus on getting the word out: hand out business cards or bookmarks that promote your book and get people to sign up for your newsletter. Selling the book right on the spot is a bonus.
  3. Be bold! You can draw people to your table with nice displays and bowls of candy, but at some point you have to open your mouth, hold out a card or a bookmark and say “Hi, check out my blog/book. It’s funny/witty/useful/a great story/can change your life.” Be ready with your tagline, that one sentence catchy answer to “What’s your book about?”
  4. Do the math. How many books do you need to sell to make that table fee worth it? Line up as many free or cheap tables at events as you can.

What have been your experiences with selling books at events and fairs? Has it gone well? Have you sworn never to rent a table again? Any tips to add? I’m still learning!

Realmscapes

realmscapes In all the excitement over my own book coming out this summer, I never mentioned another exciting publication that also came out this summer: Realmscapes: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Anthology. Brimstone Fiction ran a contest for short stories last year and the finalists’ entries were compiled into this gem of a book. (My short story Bipedal Idiots is part of it, so I’m a little biased.) 

I’ve always fancied novels, but last year I picked up 101 Science Fiction Stories (Avenel Books, 1987) and it filled a need I hadn’t realized I had. Sometimes I look at a thick ol’ novel and think “Not today, I don’t have the time and attention span to invest in another world right now”. Enter short story anthologies! They give you a hit of your favorite genre but if you can’t remember what you read a week ago when you last picked it up, that’s okay. A fresh story awaits you.

If you haven’t read a short story since high school English class, give it a try. Short can be fabulous.

Publication at Last: One Week to Go

Book coverAugust 9th. That’s the official release date for my first book: Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating: Hilarious Weight Loss for Wives. After months of preparing and waiting, I can mark a date on the calendar.

I’m excited: I want to giggle and shout and throw promotional bookmarks from the rooftops!

I’m also nervous: I’m not sure how an author can screw up once the book is in print, but I worry that I might find a way.

All of those great ideas for promoting my book that I came up with for the proposal? It’s time to implement them. My daydreams have become reality and it’s time to ACT. Create author pages, set up signings, contact libraries and radio stations, and so forth. Who me? Really?

It’s a little like how I felt on my first day teaching high school students. With nervous excitement, you prepare, you fret, you dream, and when those students stroll in you set aside all joy, fear, and butterflies and take action, accomplishing what needs to be done.

One week to go! Bring on the action.

 

Reactions to a First Book Contract: Joy and Fear

excited-clip-art-652608I signed my first book contract one month ago for Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating: Hilarious Weight Loss for Wives! I am super excited!

My first reaction upon reading my agent’s “we got an offer!” email was joy – I squealed at my desk, did a little dance, called my husband, and we went to dinner to celebrate. What I wasn’t expecting was my second reaction: fear.

I had read blog posts by authors and agents talking about experiencing fear in their writing career and that never made sense to me. When your biggest writing fear is that no one beyond your immediate circle will ever read your work, it’s hard to imagine that post contract, your biggest writing fear will be that many people beyond your immediate circle will read your work!

nervous-woman-cartoonIs it fear of rejection? In a wide world, there will be people who don’t like my book. Fear of criticism? Critique will be offered whether I solicit it or not. Fear of success? My life will change, but I don’t know how much. Fear of letting down my publisher? It’s a group effort now. Fear of the unknown?

This fear is not all bad. It’s kind of a good fear – a nervous fear – a fear that inspires an author to do her best. The fear just needs to be counterbalanced with joy: joy in sharing my work, joy in writing and holding my book in my hand (It’s still sinking in that I get to do that! Yippee!), joy in not knowing exactly where my writing career is headed, but knowing that God is with me and knows the outcome. And joy in my original audience, my family and friends, the people who will continue to love me no matter what happens with the book. Both the fear and the joy drive me to pray and persevere. Look out world; here I come!

“”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”” Jeremiah 29:11