Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chiseled by God


I thought about everything that happened this week and I've decided to continue writing. Maybe I do need to revise and redraft my third novel, "To Love without Hope". I'm not really excited about it, but I will work on it. And to say that my novel has almost sold 400 copies on the Nook, I'm really amazed and happy about it. That one bad review won't kill my chances.

My best friend gave me this youtube video called "God's Chisel", which is by these two guys that calls themselves "The Skit Guys". I was reminded from this video that I am a masterpiece created by God; He doesn't make mistakes. Sometimes, in our lives he is chiseling away the parts of us that are keeping us from him. When I look in the mirror, I don't see God... I see myself, when I should see God, His creation. For too long I've believed that I'm junk, but God doesn't make junk. When God is chiseling the dead weight out of our lives, it can be painful. It was really good.

I'm not giving up my dream to write, it just might be harder than what I originally imagined. God will never give up on me and I won't give up the gift that He gave me; to write.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

An 11-year-old's dream


I was 11-years-old when I first discovered that I wanted to be an author. Maybe I was just kidding myself that I could actually do it. I know I've been told that J.K. Rowling was rejected from seven publishers with her idea of Harry Potter and now she's a famous author. It's just one of those "it worked out for her but doesn't mean it will work out for me" stories. She's the exception to the rule. Maybe I'm just not good enough and anyone who tells me that I'm good is just sugar-coating it, putting it in a box with a little red ribbon, then letting that box float down the river to where the chain gang is living in their van, whatever a chain gang is.

I got my two reviews from ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award) today. And I was right, both were negative. One was short and basically said that it needed work on the writing and they needed to read more to see if it would be a little good, but though it was too dark for teens. The other review stated that my character was written too immature for the age of 19 and focused on one line about the parent being an alcoholic, then stated that Sophie, my main character, was unlikeable and my writing was compared to a young teenager. I had no sense of depth to my character and the plot was unoriginal. It's a kidnapping story inspired by a true story! All the reviewer read was background on the main character. You don't get to know the character's secrets and depth until later. The reviewer also thought it was stupid that a guy would ever ask a girl's father for permission to date her. Really? I know couples that the guy asked permission. It's not archaic like he/she thinks. The review just kept insulting me as it went along and then stated at the end that my writing was terrible and would never recommend it. I was right; terrible reviews.

Maybe I do just suck at writing! I should abandon my dreams, and change my major to Business so I can sit in an office, staring at cubicle walls, dressed in my manly woman's pant suit (which I never want to wear), share gossip with women that will sell their own children for a good gossip story, and fill out endless meaningless paperwork. It would never make me happy.

What was I thinking? The odds of actual going anywhere in ABNA. 10,000 people enter their novel, their hopes and dreams waiting for the fact that only 2 will receive winning publishing contracts. 9,998 people will be rejected and crushed. 0.02% is your chance of winning. Why would anyone do that to themselves? You've got a better chance of tapping dancing with a hippo and being struck by lightning twice. I don't know if I would ever do this contest again. As least with an agent you have a 50% percent chance... because they will either say yes or no, then you move on to another.

I don't think I can stand the rejections around writing... I'll stick to writing NCIS fanfiction and dreaming of getting married. Hopefully no one will squish those dreams too quickly. For right now, I don't want to focus on writing anything and I've not a bit of interest in continuing what I've started. Maybe another day, but today... No, I'm done for a while.

At 11-years-old, I couldn't have known that... my dreams were unreachable... at least at this point in my life. I wouldn't want to have crushed her dreams, but growing up did that to me anyway.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Discouraging Week of Writing

Hey all,

It has most definitely been a discouraging week for my writing. That nasty review on Sunday was probably foreshadowing for the rest of my week and I didn't see it at first.

Firstly, Amazon posted the quarter-finalists for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award today. I did NOT make it on to the third round. I'm a little disappointed, though I knew that the odds really were against me. Cutting from 1,000 entries to 250; I really only had a 25% chance of moving on. And luck is not my friend this week. I'm happy that I did make it past the first round, since last year I did not. I will receive two reviews from two people that read my excerpt, though it might not be for several days. I'll get a little bit of an opinion if my beginning just sucks, it was good but not good enough, or what I could improve on. Hopefully it won't be all negative. I don't know if I can take anymore negative this week.

Secondly, the sales of my nook book "Falling Star" have stalled since I received the negative review on Sunday. On Sunday, I sold 41, which was wonderful. Yesterday was 18 sales, a little lower. Today I'm sitting on 1... that's it. Maybe it will be 2 by the end of the day, but I'm not holding out any hope. That negative review has sent things in a free-fall. Selling my book was never about the money, I only make 80 cents per book. It was about having people read what I've written and only having the book cost $1.99. I'm sad about it and discouraged.

My next action will be really searching for a literary agent that represents Christian authors. I have a few that I can starting querying, so maybe I'll start writing the query letters this week to think of things positively.

Being a writer is creative and fun, but becoming read is just plain hard.



Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Narcissitic Nasty Review


I admit I'm kinda in down-spirits. I received my first nasty review on my novel today. It was insulting and hurtful. I wish that I could delete it and erase it from my memory, but I can't. That review with it's one star is stuck on my page and I can't get rid of it, though I desperately want to.

I'm not a stranger to rejection. I've been rejected from two novel writing contests, by a published author that is an English professor, by an agent, by a publishing company, and even by a mean reviewer on Fanfiction that tried to steal my work. Writing is something I love and I know that writing comes with lots of rejection. I immediately wanted to cry and remove my story from sales. But I hesitated. As of today, I've sold over 300 copies and only received 1 nasty comment. I can't let that stop me from doing what I love. So instead, I goggled ways to deal with rejection about your book and found an article called "Dealing with Rude and Obnoxious Comments by Bruce Horst". It actually helped. It is really hard for a creative person to deal with nasty comments and something he said made me laugh.

"Public criticism almost always has much more to do with the person leaving the criticism than it does for the person or thing being criticized. Public criticism is often a narcissistic endeavor, meant only for the person leaving the criticism to feel good about him or herself."

That is so true!

"If a person leaving a comment really wants to offer help in the form of criticism, they would not offer it publicly."

Yes, thank you Bruce! He suggests the best thing to do, is to ignore the person and try to move on. Don't ignore the fact that you are upset, but ignore the critics and you'll feel better in the end. That's what I'm gonna do. I'm hurt, but I'm gonna turn to God to help me feel better and remember that it's okay. It was only one person. There are millions of others in this world that may like my book.

Though if you wanted, I wouldn't mind if you all went and anonymously gave me a nice review to set off the negative one. :)

I'm just gonna focus on the fact that I've sold over 300 copies and in two days I find about the results of the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. For now, I'm gonna be patience and probably go listen to "Keep Holding On" until I fall asleep.

Thank you for supporting me. :)

In Christ,

Friday, March 11, 2011

A wonderful gift


As of today, I have sold 95 copies of "Falling Star" on the Nook! I'm almost at 100 books in 11 days. I can't believe it! I feel blessed that I have sold this many books and that people are actually enjoying what I've written. I've still sold few on the Kindle, only 6 at this point. It's hard. I'm trying to comment in different forums and if any of you want to visit the page to "agree with my tags", that would help me out! A review would also help. *wink, wink*

It's a little over a week until I hear about the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. I'm not really worried about it. I'm also still waiting to hear back from the Delacorte RandomHouse Publishing contest that I entered my second book in, "Down in the Creek", which I haven't even mentioned yet. I'll give a little bit more about it in my next post.

Thanks for all of your support! :)


Friday, March 4, 2011

Publishing on Kindle vs. Nook

After receiving no purchases on the Kindle for two months, I decided to put my novel "Falling Star" on the Nook, which is the Barnes and Noble version of the Kindle. I think it was a very wise idea!

I have sold 3 on the Kindle now at $2.99, only because I could get 70% royalties if I sold the book at that price. I would get almost $2 back and that is higher than some authors receive from publishing companies. Also, a digital copy of a published book can cost around $9.99. Indie-publishing as it is respectfully called, is much cheaper. I've made the decision to lower the price to 99 cents and see how it sells! I'm still waiting for a review on it, hopefully a positive one. :)

On the Nook, to date I have sold 25 copies at $1.99, which is wonderful! I even received a very kind and positive review that is probably helping my sales. I'm impressed and a little shocked. It could also be because there are less books on the Nook, but maybe not. I only decided to sell it there because my sister has a Nook and I knew I would get one sale because she loves her little sister. :)

In other news, I made it to the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest with my third book, "To Love without Hope"! I was extremely shocked. They take 5,000 applicants and only 1,000 go to the second round based on a 300 word pitch. I find out if I make to the next round on March 22nd. Even if I don't, I'm happy that I made it farther than last year, which was nowhere. I'll post my pitch so you can read it:

The faded image on the missing poster taped to the diner door, haunts every waking thought of Sophie Olson’s life. Jordan Michaels disappeared two months ago without a trace, and his body was never found.

Nineteen-year-old Sophie is not a stranger to pain; being raised by a neglecting father will do that. She believes that no one should know the truth of her life and is content to live a lie that everything is okay. Her life crumbles as she is snatched by a sinister and eerie man one April night. Her best friend Matt tries to protect her and is taken into the darkness with her. The basement shows no hope of escape and the chain on her wrist clinks on the stone floor; the depiction of a slave to a man named Everett. Sophie quickly finds herself face to face with the boy from the poster. Jordan is broken and beaten. She begins to believe the lies that Everett spews; there is no hope, only death to come. Despite it all, Sophie starts to fall in love with Jordan and Matt and it’s a deeper love than she could ever imagine. But it won’t save her.

Inspired by a true story, TO LOVE WITHOUT HOPE is a 52,000 word journey of broken faith in God and a love that that will break our hearts and heal them. This life-changing story tells the tale of unbearable pain, lost hope, and the fight to overcome, even if we can’t survive.

The next round is judged on the first 3,000 to 5,000 words of the novel. If it makes it on, I'll let you know! Only 250 of the 1,000 will advance to round three.

I'm also including the links for my book on Kindle and on Nook. You are welcome to purchase them or not! :)