A Fresh Start

There’s nothing I love more than the prospect of a fresh start. I, for one, could sure use a new beginning. 2016 was largely a year of introspection for me. In other words, I didn’t get much accomplished and spent much of my time confused and stressed out. I read a lot, made countless lists, dreamed, wished I were more like (fill in the blank), and beat myself up for not reaching my goals. What a year.

It’s time to move forward, leaving the gunk of the old year behind, yet learning from my mistakes. This year, I plan to complain less and do more to change my undesirable circumstances. I also would like to give myself more rest. I’ve learned that if I don’t take the time to relax, my mind races and I end up tied in knots. My husband smirked when I told him I intend to have “tea time” every day. Sit, drink tea, and read a magazine for twenty minutes. He’s a “doer” – doesn’t believe in sitting still – but I need it. Maybe he’ll sit down with me once in a while?

Another goal is to write more. I feel like a part of me was missing in 2016 by not writing as much. Yes, I will be finishing my third novel and starting my fourth. But in addition, I will blog, journal, and <gasp> write handwritten letters in 2017! I have a few friends who aren’t on social media, and I had the best time writing to them for Christmas. Writing letters is becoming a lost art, but I miss getting those 2-3 page handwritten notes from my old friends. It’s kind of hard to save texts or emails in a colorful box.

Whatever your goals are – exercise more, eat better, spend less – I hope you also take the time to do the things you love. Live in the moment, soak in your surroundings, breathe in the scent of fresh flowers. Give yourself a break. Make 2017 a great year!

Thanks for reading…

~ Anne

Why I Don’t Do Newsletters, plus an update on Never Change (Book #3)

I could make this a one sentence post: Because I don’t have time.

But let me flesh this out a bit more. I have a newsletter program set up, along with 50 subscribers. Many experts in the writing world advise authors to have newsletters to announce contests, new releases, and to keep in touch with their readership. I love the idea of a cute monthly newsletter, complete with awesome graphics, links, quizzes, and trivia, yet at the same time it seems daunting.

Daunting because I’m terrible with graphics, it takes me a long time to learn new programs, and the energy it takes just to think about putting together a newsletter steals away from the energy I need to simply write. My focus now needs to be writing my third book, Never Change. I use other methods to connect with readers, mainly my Facebook reader group, Instagram, Pinterest, and this blog. I know I haven’t been too active recently on this blog, but my intention is to make this like a newsletter.

That’s not to say I’ll never do an official newsletter. Perhaps somewhere down the line I’ll have the time to put into it, or I’ll be able to afford a good PA (personal assistant). Or maybe I’ll never do one, and that’s okay, too. Honestly, I subscribe to probably 10 author newsletters, and really only open a few, if any, per month. I feel bad that these authors spend time making newsletters that only a small percentage actually read. Right now, in this season of life, I’m not willing to put forth the effort for such a small return.

Thank you to those who’ve subscribed to my newsletter, I really appreciate your support! However, the best way to follow me is through the methods I’ve mentioned above. (Links are on the right side of the page).

So here’s my latest news, for those who are interested: Never Change (Faithfully Yours #3), is still in the rough draft form. I’ve written almost 50,000 words. That’s a little more than half-finished. Now that my kids are back in school, I have more time to write, so my plan is to finish this rough draft within the next four weeks. Once it’s finished, I’ll polish it up and hand it over to my beta readers. While my beta readers have Book #3, I’ll start working on Never Give Up (Faithfully Yours #4).

I’ll keep you posted as things happen, but my plan is to release Never Change by the end of February, 2017. I’m hoping (crossing fingers) to release Never Give Up by the end of 2017, or early 2018. Beyond that, I have plans for a box set with tons of extras, including Never Let Go (Book #1) written from David’s POV. That, I’d love to publish by the end of 2018.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to message my FB author page, https://www.facebook.com/annecarolauthor/

As always, thanks for your patience and support!

~ Anne

 

 

 

Starting Over

In a few weeks, my sons will return to school – and I have to admit I’m looking forward to a return to routine, as well as a quiet house on my days off. So why do I feel a twinge of guilt at my joy? You see, my younger son will be starting high school, which means in just four years, I’ll have two college-age children.

That scares me. When I think about life three-four years ago, it feels like yesterday. Time is moving too fast for me, and in a blink of an eye my “babies” will no longer need me like they do now. They may be living across the country for all I know. Or they may choose to stay closer to home. Nevertheless, life will look very different.

It’s for this very reason you haven’t heard much from me on this blog over the past year. I’ve been too busy soaking up these last few years of parenting children at home. Parenting teens is a huge job. When I think of all the things that need to be taught over the next four years, it overwhelms me – from juggling academics, band, and sports to how to drive a car; from how to prepare meals to learning to work with difficult people. The physical exhaustion of parenting littles has evolved to a more emotional and mental series of tasks.

My priorities have changed dramatically since last fall (2015). Not only did our older son start high school (and in the process, adding a load of activities), but my husband and I were in a serious car accident in November. A drunk driver hit our car and then plowed into a second vehicle. Fortunately for us, our airbags deployed; but sadly, the passenger of the other car passed away after four days in a coma.

Even though we were physically okay (aside from whiplash), I struggled with anxiety, depression, and guilt for months afterward. My second book, Never Fall, was published nine days after the accident, but my heart wasn’t into it like with my first book. I didn’t feel like writing for a long time, and then my busy season at work arrived. Any hopes of a fall release of Never Change, my third Faithfully Yours book, vanished.

It’s now August, and I’m happy to say I’m about a third finished with the rough draft of Never Change. I’m aiming for a late February release date. I feel bad I’ve let down my readers, yet I know they’ll be patient and understanding. The thought that I could’ve been the one who died in the accident woke me up to the notion I need to put my family first. The lady who died had two sons in college, and I’m sure those boys will be cherishing every moment they spent with their mom. I don’t want my sons’ memories to be me sitting in front of my laptop 24/7 while they play video games in the other room.

The end of tax season and several wonderful vacations this summer have revitalized the itch to write, and I’m happy to say I’ve come out of my funk. But now the challenge is establishing the balance of writing and caring for my family. Until my last breath, they will always be my first priority. I could’ve done without the trauma of the car accident to reach this revelation, but I’m glad I can take something from that awful event.

So I guess you can say that I’m starting over, taking it one day at a time, and enjoying the writing process.

Thanks to those who’ve read my first two books. Never Change is coming along, I promise you!  I appreciate your patience.

~ Anne

#writing #romanceauthor #lifebalance #parentingteens #selfpublishing

 

 

 

 

Keeping my head above water

A few weeks ago when we were in Kauai, we went snorkeling in a body of water that was (to me) a bit too rough and, therefore, out of my comfort zone for observing sea life. Let’s just say I freaked out a bit when I saw how far from shore we were, and my poor husband (who’s like a fish in the water) had to calm me down and escort me back to the beach. Thankfully this beach was empty at the time, so nobody saw my panic attack. Of course, once I was safely out of the water, it started pouring rain!

In spite of the rain, which was warm, I was just happy to be somewhere I could breathe freely. Snorkeling in calm waters is not a problem for me; in fact, I enjoy it. It’s when the water jostles me around that I start feeling unsettled. Where am I going with this, you ask? Well, I’ve been feeling like this with my writing life lately. I’ve been so focused on sales and marketing and how I compare with other authors that I feel like I’m drowning in my own negativity. I’m tired of it. I’d like to go back to shore and re-group. Breathe again.

To me, writing is breathing, and I’m ashamed to say I’ve hardly written anything new in over a month. I know I’m not the only writer to be distracted by and even obsessed with their book sales. It’s so easy. I mean, why do we write? If it was just for ourselves or our close group of friends, we wouldn’t have to pay for editors and cover designers and formatters, etc. We want people to read our books, and preferably, have those people pay for our books so we can afford to pay our expenses.

Lately I’ve become jaded by the indie publishing world – jostled like I was that day in the ocean. It’s scaring me, and I need to stop my negative emotions before they literally drown me and force me to give up what I love most – writing and sharing my stories. Okay, so I have an expensive hobby for a while. I think I’ll have to live with that for now. I just can’t stop doing what I ache to do.

This blog is going to change after this post. I’m going to try something different and write about my favorite things. I want you to get to know who I am – beyond the face of the struggling indie author. There’s a lot more to me than that!

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for My Favorite Things, a new series of blog posts!

Rock Star

Contrary to the title of this post, I’m definitely not of “rock star” status yet. A week ago I released my second novel, Never Fall, which is the second installment of my Faithfully Yours series. At the same time, I made my first book, Never Let Go, available for free for five days. The idea was to have the first book easily available to those who wanted to read Book Two but hadn’t yet read Book One.

Let’s be honest-the free book flew off the shelves, which made me giddy. The number of people who snatched it up surprised me. Sales on the second book? That also threw me. They sucked, truthfully. I was disappointed and really had a “lightbulb” moment about the fact that this indie author industry is a tough nut to crack. I’m not giving up, though there have been times over the past week where I said, “What’s the point?” I can’t compete with authors who have more money, time, experience, and talent than me.

But I love writing, and for the few people who DO enjoy my books, I will carry on. As of tomorrow, I will have been a published author for a year. One might say, “Wow, a whole year?” or, conversely, “Look at everything I’ve done in just one year.” It depends on your perspective. The negative side of me says, “I should have a much bigger audience by now.” But the logical, patient side says, “I’ve learned a lot in the past year, have made a lot of friends, and I’ve become a better writer.”  Obviously, my confidence is better when I have the positive outlook.

Unfortunately I’ve been gifted with a pessimistic viewpoint. (I get it from my dad, but don’t tell him I said that). When I see other new authors post about their successes – pictures of their Amazon rankings, Tweets from readers, fan-made teasers – I feel like a nobody. This is me being very honest. It’s not that I don’t want them to succeed, trust me. These are my friends and I truly believe they deserve it. But sometimes I feel like a beat-up Pinto next to a sleek Ferrari. Will I ever be that Ferrari?

The answer is “I don’t know,” but I sure plan on trying. Even if it takes me years and several more books, I will strive to find an audience for my books. Those who have read my books have sung my praises. They believe in me. So I have to believe in me. The insecure 12-year-old girl inside me needs to take a hike so I can stand strong and show myself.

Thank you for reading. If you like sweet rock star romance, my books are available at Amazon.com, links are below.

Never Fall (Faithfully Yours #2): http://amzn.to/1WXeqRm

Never Let Go (Faithfully Yours #1): http://amzn.to/1WXfmVR

Being Brave

Why is it that some people just naturally draw attention and others (like myself) have to fight to be noticed? I suppose it has a lot to do with having the right balance of charisma and confidence. My husband oozes confidence and has one of those personalities that lights up a room. I’m, well, the opposite. I tend to be insecure and shy. Growing up, I was the kid who wanted to hide in the back of the classroom. Oral reports scared me to pieces. To this day, I’m still frightened by public speaking.

I’ve found, however, that in order to sell a book successfully, I need to be more like my husband. Other authors-ones who are bestsellers-have advised me to “put myself out there” and not be afraid to self-promote. They’re right. Many new authors are promoting like crazy, and as a result, they’re getting a lot of attention and probably more sales. Hmm…I should learn something from this. It’s very hard not to compare yourself with others in this business of selling books, and I believe observing how others achieve success can be helpful.

One part of me wants to curl up in a ball and whine about how my shyness has hampered my marketing efforts. I can be a big complainer (just ask my husband), and I can do pity parties like nobody else. But you know what? Feeling pathetic and stuck in a rut isn’t going to help me sell my books. My first book, Never Let Go, has been out for almost a year, which in indie book publishing, is ancient. It’s collecting cobwebs. Naturally sales have slumped since last spring. Is it because readers have moved on? Yes. Is it because I haven’t been promoting it the best I could? Also yes. It’s up to me.

Next Tuesday (November 17th), my second novel comes out and you’d better believe I will market that baby as much and as often as possible without a care as to what people think of me. Well, I’ll try not to be a pest about it. But if some people are annoyed, so be it. I’m trying to make this my part time job. I’m trying to prove to my husband that this is more than a hobby. So instead of sitting back and crying into my coffee about how all the other new authors are doing better than me (yes, I’ve had those days), I’m going to force myself to follow through on that advice – to “put myself out there” – and share my writing with people, not hide in the back of the classroom.

Never Fall, my second Faithfully Yours book, about a California girl who falls in love with a London-based rocker, hits the Amazon Kindle store November 17th.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23805689-never-fall