Saturday, January 11, 2014

2013 After Thoughts and 2014 Aspirations

I have seen many authors reflecting on 2013 and setting goals for 2014. I certainly have quite a few “After Thoughts” about 2013. ::stretches out in favorite lounge chair with laptop and cup of tea at the ready::

In January of 2013 I found myself at an impasse while working on the seventh volume of my Star Traveler Series. I stopped writing it and reverted yet again to volume one for revision. This had become a pattern in my writing since I wrote the first volume in 1990. Because they had never been published I still insisted on revising, and revising, and revising.

It had to stop. I had to move forward. As some of you may know who are friends and follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I am the CSR\Scheduler for the print shop at our local community college. I determined to ‘put these puppies to bed.’ I was going to give all twelve of my books a final read through, make two hardcopies each and put them on the shelf – never to touch again except to read.

I told my writing group my plan for getting past my faux writer’s block and they all agreed, but Bill, bless his heart, said “Theresa, why don’t you put them up on Kindle?” Well, he sparked my imagination, my marketing juices flowed, and he also got himself into a whole lot of work because he offered to format them properly for me. I edited, he formatted. The goal was to get them all up, six scifi, five fantasies and one memoir by the end of the year. We posted the first on May 1, 2013 and the last December 28th. Thank you Bill!

But that wasn’t where it stopped, because as all you indie authors know you must follow up posting with marketing. My students at the college, who work in the print shop, suggested I get on Twitter. They knew how social I was personally and thought the media would work for me. Boy did it! I am thankful and overwhelmed at the support I have received from my Twitter friends. 

In the process I was coached by a dear follower who became a friend behind the scenes as he DMed me on Twitter etiquette mistakes I stumbled into. I picked up a book by another scifi author, fell in love with his writing and then found out he too was a great coach and mentor. I tweeted and talked and learned. It has been a great experience and one I look forward to growing over the years to come.

Reviews started to appear on the books and I was so pleased to see four and five stars that I was doing the happy dance around the house on a regular basis.

Things began to happen in October. It was a very good month. Mid-month, I was interviewed for the first time by a fellow writer and blogger who created a place where authors and readers could meet. From there I fell into too more interviews in quick succession.

Magic happened later in October. A wonderful woman wrote a lovely review of my book “James & the Dragon,” the first book in The Farloft Chronicles, on her blog in Singapore. It came out on a Monday and by that Friday folks on Twitter wanted my dragon, Farloft, to have his own Twitter account, Facebook page and Blog. Well, he shares my Twitter account the last Friday of each month, he has his own blog, but I do draw the line at a Facebook page. We don’t want his ego to get too big.

Farloft has been embraced by the Twitter community and his fans. ::He wing huggles back in thanks:: It is everything an author could want for her dragon. He sent out a few Farloft Pins to the folks that interacted with him the most on his ‘Follow Farloft’ Fridays. Photos of the pins started to appear on twitter from all over. People were taking him traveling to their gardens, on vacation, to school. He loves to go. He and I can’t thank the person who started the whole ‘travel thing’ enough.

In November Farloft’s first book came out on audio and was placed on his blog for a free download. A group on Facebook, who call themselves the Effortless English, are teaching themselves English by listening to the audio while reading along with the downloaded ebook. Farloft loves the role of teacher.

What will 2014 bring? I don’t really know. 2013 was so full of incredible surprises. I know what I have planned. 

This year’s goals are to finish the revised covers of The Farloft Chronicles. The volumes were thrown up with a cover I created to get them published and I am not a graphic designer – I am a printer. As you might have seen Sarah Hyndshaw is creating some really inspiring covers, each with a different dragon from the series. She hopes to have them finished and we will post them all to kindle by the end of January.

Farloft loves his forays on Twitter, the last Friday of each month, and intends to do those marathon tweeting sessions throughout 2014. He is old, but his personal best was in December with 22 hours of tweeting and 568 tweets. He has launched a contest to give away a full set of his Farloft Chronicles each month this year. You can read about it on his blog here:

I intend to write yet another Farloft Chronicle prompted by someone’s question to him, “How did you meet Theresa?” Well, it just so happens that I am in the stories too and we will delve into that topic in the next volume.

I will finish up posting the first draft of my seventh volume of the Star Traveler series (I did manage to complete it) on my blog and when that is finished I will revise and edit based on all your comments. It will be pulled from the blog and I will post it on Kindle sometime between June and December. After that the blog will be devoted to another exciting Star Trader episode with 3su.

Also, this year I intend to press Bill back into servitude to format the first three volumes of the Star Traveler Series into an omnibus. (I am lucky he can be bribed with anything containing bacon.) Since the books currently are novellas, the new omnibus will make it a nice sized book and I believe the readers will be able to see my growth as an author. 

I will continue to tweet with delight and wild abandon, because I love it almost as much as Farloft does. I am so grateful to my twitter friend who have become so much more to me than followers.  If there is anything I can do for any of you, just ask. If it is in my power to give, I shall.

Have a healthy, happy and prosperous 2014. It is going to be a Very Good Year!