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romance author

Measuring Success as a Self-Published Romance Author

I’m a self-published romance author. To be exact, I’ve published my novel, The Summer of Annah: A Midsummer’s Wish, a contemporary women’s fiction. I’m in the similar sub-genre as Nicholas Sparks (although not as successful), which, interestingly enough, brings me to the topic of this post–how should I measure my success as an author?

 

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How does a person measure success? Money? Fame? Glowing accolades? Affording a new boob job? Having Ben and Jerry name an ice cream after them? Hmm, how about Sexy Shortbread Author or Tinthia Toffee Nutty Swirl? I’ll have my marketing manager work on that as soon as she figures out how to market my book. (Don’t rush me, I’m still trying to figure out how to market your damn book.) Sigh, the voices in my head are starting to annoy me. Where was I? Oh yes, success. There isn’t a yardstick that a person can use to determine success. It would be great if there was. I could say, ‘Yup, I’ve reached success. See here. I’m at this little bold line. Sure thing. I’m successful!’ And success isn’t a one-shot occurrence. A person will have many successes and, sadly, many failures, in her (or his) lifetime. For simplicity sake, however, I’m focusing on my success as a debut author.


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Allow me to reword my original question: How will I, a newly published author of contemporary women’s fiction, determine when I’ve reached success with my debut novel, The Summer of Annah? My son posed this question to me just the other day. I almost blurted out, ‘When I’ve sold a million copies!’ But then reality took hold, I paused, allowed his question to register, and pondered it a while. How will I gauge my success? What will be my yardstick?

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While contemplating his question I thought about birds and flowers. Here on the Concord River I have an abundance of both and I often draw wisdom from watching how Mother Nature uses them for her own success. So, as I sat and considered my son’s question, I thought about a robin’s nest I found this past spring. Like all birds, American robins will lay more eggs than can survive. It’s just one of the many laws Mama Nature set in motion eons ago. (Stay with me, I’ll get back to books in a moment.)

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This particular nest contained four eggs. A few weeks later, by the time they were ready to hatch, only one egg remained. Two eggs had been eaten by a pair of grackles and, sadly, one resembled Humpty Dumpty. Not even the king’s men could have helped it. The parents were left with one egg, resulting in one fledgling. Were they successful? Think about it for a second. Seventy-five percent of their progeny died!

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However, as far as Mother Nature was concerned, the parents were successful. Evolution granted them a large clutch to allow other animals to continue their own survival while allowing the robins to continue their genetic line. Get it? It’s a number game.

Now, let’s consider plants.

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A single dandelion can produce over a thousand seeds in a growing season with each flower generating close to 200 seeds. If even one tenth of the seeds germinate, that translates into loads of dandelions, which will probably find their way onto my lawn however, that’s another story for another blog. Back to success. Even if one dandelion plant produces two additional plants, that’s success in Ma Nature’s eyes.
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Most sunflowers will generate up to 2000 seeds from a single flower! Again, if a one sunflower plant results in two additional sunflower plants producing their own seeds, success has been achieved. Have I lost you? No? Good, because not it’s time to come back to the whole reason for this post–measuring my success as an author.
My book, The Summer of Annah, which is available on Amazon in ebook and paperback, (Granted, that was a shameless plug but since I’m paying for the web hosting of this blog and this is my blog, I can damn well plug anything I want. This blog post is full of shameless plugs.) is, as already mentioned, on Amazon, the largest virtual book warehouse in the world, possibly even the universe.

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Placing The Summer of Annah on Amazon‘s virtual bookshelves is similar to scattering thousands, no, tens of thousands of seeds into the wind. How many do I need to germinate to represent success? Well, if one person buys my book, that could be construed as success. Correct? Does the reader who purchased my book have to enjoy it? Well, dah! So, my success will not only be measured by someone buying my book but actually enjoying the story I wove. Okay, how about leaving a review? Does the person have to leave a positive review on Amazon before I’ll admit to myself that I’m a success? Yes… No… Perhaps…Wait, most people don’t write reviews. The reader could still enjoy my story, so… no. Then how will I know she enjoyed the story without the review. So… yes. Emphatically, yes! The reader must buy the book, enjoy the story, AND leave a review.

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According to Amazon, six people purchased my book and they’ve left great reviews.
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Therefore, more than one person has purchased my book, enjoyed the story, AND left a review. Translation–I’m a success. Hooo Yeah, time for a happy dance.
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Then I thought about it some more and came to a different conclusion.
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When I saw my son later that day I told him all I needed to be a successful author was to write a story as best as I could. If my readers like the story and leave reviews, that would be gravy on the mashed potatoes of life (or ice cream on the cake). I’m 60 and I want to start a career as a storyteller. I may not be as successful, financially speaking, as Nicholas Sparks, or as popular as Nora Roberts, but if I write true to my heart, I’m a success.” (By now my son’s eyes glazed-over and he was probably thinking about his next snack.)
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In closing, The Summer of Annah is my first book. Oh, I’ll grow as an author. (Goddess willing I have enough years left in me to remember the difference between a dangling participle and modifier.). For now, though, I’ve written the best I had within me.
I want to thank those of you who have journeyed to Copedale, New Hampshire, to share the love story of Annah and Eric. Thank you to the readers who have left reviews on Amazon. In addition, thank you to my future readers, whoever you are, for taking a chance on a debut author of women’s fiction. You are my yardsticks to the success of my journey into storytelling.
I am a success! Blessed be :}

 

 

I think I can!

Have you ever read the story about the little engine that chugged up the steep hill? He kept repeating to himself (yes, he was a talking engine) ‘I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.’ He was the original self-published author.

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For example, when a person says they think they can do something, they truly believe it! Case in point: When I say I think I can market my book The Summer of Annah, I’m implying that I believe I can do it. I believe I can tell the women (and men) in Sidney, Australia and Sacramento, California, and all the lands in between that A Midsummer’s Wish is a fabulous romantic drama. I really, really think I can do it! How, unfortunately, is the conundrum.

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How do I tell a woman sitting in a Starbucks at the Sydney airport–a woman who happens to be searching Amazon for a book to read on her flight–that The Summer of Annah should be her choice? Or, how to I get a woman who just received a Kindle for Mother’s Day to add A Midsummer’s Wish to her reading list? How? How? How?

To help me answer the marketing conundrum question I took a self-publishing marketing course. The course could have been four weeks of intensive, thought-provoking, insightful, helpful information that laid out a marketing plan in a concise, step-by-step fashion with loads of success stories thrown-in to help fuel a desire to succeed. Or, the course could have been a waste of time and money. Ummm, I’ll take door number two for $1.00!

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Oh wait! My bad. I did learn something. I need to market myself on a daily basis!

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I’m not sure standing in the center of town counts but it’s worth a try. Blessed be :}

Oh, and BUY MY BOOK PLEASE!

And, please, sign-up for my newsletter at tinthiaclemant.com.

 

 

 

 

#olderheroinesrock

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The Romance Writers Association New England Chapter’s conference is over. All the writers have withdrawn into their collective corners to sort through the networking names they collected, write down the ideas they acquired, and, as in my case, shake their heads about their literary agent appointment and wonder, WTF!

The appointment was seven minutes in length. I prepared myself by admitting it could either be the shortest seven minutes of my life or, to date, the longest seven minutes. It fell somewhere in-between.

Although the agent was a lovely young women (young being the operative word) she proceeded to tell me there wasn’t a market for romance novels with older heroines. Really? Well, bull-oney!

Let’s go over some facts. According to the U.S. Census, between 2000 and 2010, 45 to 64 years old grew in number from 31.5 percent to 81.5 million. Since women make up over 50% of that population, that means there’s, hmmm, let me see, carry the two, move the decimal, oh geez, there’s a whole lot of woman who need older heroines!

Even young girls need older heroines. How else will they learn about strong women who can stand on their own two feet, survive and prosper–and still have hot sex?

Tweet #olderheroinesrock

Spread the word. It’s time to take back romance novels and show those youngun’s a thing or two about being a heroine. We own it!

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Sexy and smart. I want Diane Lane to play Annah in the movie version of my book. Step aside Katniss Everdeen.

Join my poll on my Facebook page. Choose and be counted. Do you want older heroines or young, inexperienced, moody, emotional, pouty heroines?

And Tweet #olderheroinesrock

Oh, yeah. It’s time to rumble. Blessed be :}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Down the Marketing Rabbit Hole

Read about marketing, make notes, read about marketing, make notes, find time to write new story, read about marketing, make notes, find time to eat ice cream, read about marketing, oh dear, oh dear, I’m running out of time.

I’m channeling my inner white rabbit.

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I foolishly believed writing a book would be the hardest part of the journey to becoming a published author. Create a great story, get the words onto paper, struggle with dangling participles and modifiers, and, ultimately make the words flow in a manner that pulls the reader into the story. Easy as pie. (I’ll have a slice of apple, please. Extra Ben and Jerry’s vanilla ice cream. Make it three scoops.)

Don’t get me wrong. I knew having a big-time publisher accepting my humble novel was a shot in a very dark, very long, very large tunnel so I made the decision to self-publish. Seemed like a no-brainer to me. Hey kid, don’t drink that!

Yup. Just like poor Alice, I’m now a very tiny (did I mention I feel tiny?) author in a raging sea of other self-published authors, all scrabbling for life boats we call ‘readers’.

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How do I get my first-time, self-published author’s name out to the readers in this country? The world? Hello, can you hear me?!

The information about marketing a self-published book is overwhelming. Do this. Register for that. At times I stare in awe at all the papers littering my desk. It’s astounding the desk hasn’t collapsed under their weight. Where did I put that article on creating a marketing to-do list?

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Mr. Caterpillar, may I have a hit on that pipe?

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There are companies who will market your self-published romance novel (or any book, for that matter). Hmm, interesting. Oh, what’s this fine print? WTF! You want how much money?

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Sigh. Can someone help me find my way without forcing me to take a second mortgage on my house?

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Blessed be :}

Oh yes, please like my Facebook author page.

Photos: http://conradaskland.com/blog/alice-in-wonderland-illustrations/

Thoughts on marketing my debut romance novel, The Summer of Annah.

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By definition, self-publishing is when an author publishes her (or his) own work. I first self-published at the young age of seven. I stapled together the pages of a love story I had written and presented the book to my mother as a gift. Ta da! In the hands of my audience. Self-published and marketed in one step!

I wish I could write it was still that easy. According to an article in Publisher’s Weekly, “self-published books now represent 31% of e-book sales on Amazon’s Kindle Store.”  Considering that Amazon sells a heck of a lot of e-books 31% translates into a massive amount of self-published e-books.

Sooo, how does a self-published author, with only one romance book under her belt, get found in that vast ocean of books? It’s called marketing and it’s equivalent to swimming in an ocean while expecting the Coast Guard to find me. Without giving them coordinates. While wearing clothing that makes me invisible. At night. During a hurricane. In the winter. (Are you getting the picture?)

Photo credit: bibliothequedetoulouse via Visual hunt / No known copyright restrictions
Photo credit: bibliothequedetoulouse via Visual hunt

Sigh. Stay tuned as I attempt to swim the waters called marketing a self-published book. Oh yes, and please pre-order my book, The Summer of Annah: A Midsummer’s Wish, on Amazon.

Blessed be 🙂

Plus ‘like’ me on Facebook!

A journey of becoming a storyteller begins with a single word.

Lao Tzu is quoted as saying “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I wonder if he was speaking literally or figuratively? Most likely figuratively and that’s how I’ll use his insightful wisdom in this post.

No matter what path one puts herself (or himself) on, the first step must be taken for the journey to begin. Once we’re on the path, tangles of roots and jutting stones may cause us to falter, stumble, and perhaps throw our hands up in frustration and admit defeat. This damn journey is too perilous to undertake. The heck with it!

Other times we pick ourselves up, dust off the grime and pebbles, then plod forward, determined to reach our destination. Our focus might become narrowed at this point. Wanting to avoid any further mishaps we keep our sight on each step.

The downside of this mindset is we miss out on the wonders the journey can hold. A rainbow, waterfall, encouraging smile from a family member. We’re not celebrating the journey, we’re enduring it, just to get to the end.

This musing does have a purpose. I’ve been so caught in the jungle called learning how to write that I forgot to enjoy why I started writing in the first place. I wanted to tell a story. I wanted to create characters that live and breath and love. I wanted the world to meet my new friends know them as I’ve come to know them.

Now that the book is finished and scheduled for its June 21, 2016 publication, I’m brave enough to look back over the path I’ve traveled since May of 2015. Damn there were lots of places where I tripped, fell, skinned my knee, and almost burned the pages. But I didn’t. I wrote a book. I told a story. It started with a single word and grew, morphed, and is finally ready for the world.

The beauty of it all is I’m not even close to reaching the end of my journey, which is to be a story teller. I’ll be on this path for a long, long time.

Blessed be :}