I have a confession. When I emerged into this world so sweetly known as the BOOK WORLD, I was naive and made a ton of rookie mistakes. A ton! I am going to list a few of them in a moment in hopes that maybe someone will learn from my mistakes before embarking on their own. But real quick I want to thank everyone who has stuck by me and politely messaged me letting me know if something is in "bad form" rather than rallying the troops against me. I think it's a really endearing trait to have the strength to recognize someone is making a mistake that could hurt them and their brand and reach out to them in a non-confrontational way to guide them and help them navigate around making similar mistakes in the future. So again, I thank those of you who have done that for me and others.
Rookie Mistake #1
This one is huge in the AUTHOR COMMUNITY. Asking someone to share an upcoming release and/or cover reveal. Oh man, did I get hammered hard for this one! And not in a nice way. Unfortunately, I was berated publicly in an author group of really well-known authors about my bad form. I was obviously devastated because I had no idea that sending a message and a mass email was a big no-no. "Once is enough," I was told. Here I thought I was covering all my bases, but instead was stepping on toes. My bad! Live & Learn. However, what I don't agree with here is the public humiliation I was served. This could have been one of those great reaching out moments IN PRIVATE. Not only would that person have scored good karma points, but they also wouldn't have made them self look like a bully in the process.
Rookie Mistake #2
This one is hard for me to admit as a mistake because it's just who I am, but I have seen a few authors shy away from me because of it, so I must be doing something wrong, right? Being over-friendly. I am a walking contradiction. Why you ask? Because I'm super social but I'm also the biggest hermit in the world. I rarely leave my house accept between drop-off and pick-up. My hubby even does the grocery shopping! BUT I love connecting with people, whether it be business or personal. Well, to tell you the truth the business level is meh, which is part of this rookie mistake. I have SLOWLY realized that there are just some authors who don't want to connect outside of business (or are too busy) and my over-friendly-I-want-to-get-to-know-you personality hasn't fared well with those people to the point that they answer me with one word responses or even worst, a "sticker" comment. So, I slink away from my computer screen and have a glass of wine. Live & Learn. Know when friendly is TOO friendly.
Rookie Mistake #3
Expecting too much! This is HUGE! I had the biggest adrenaline rush with my first release and damn was I disappointed. I think a lot of it has to do with how much money I put into giveaways, promotions, etc. Also, that false sense of hope that you get (or used to get when you could "reach" everyone on social media) that EVERYONE who likes your page or sees your book release promo WILL BUY YOUR BOOK. *shakes head in shame*. Live & Learn. Likes on Facebook do NOT equal book sales. Followers on Instagram and Twitter do NOT equal book sales. What does equal book sales is, wait for it -----------> HARD WORK, DETERMINATION, and NEVER GIVING UP! Phew, that was a lot. I'll admit though, I have given up a little bit, but mainly on my commitment to social media and promotion. SOCIAL. MEDIA. IS. EXHAUSTING. And it takes time away from me writing and being mommy (ok and wifey...sigh!).
2014 was full of many challenges, triumphs, and heartbreak. I hit lows
I had never hit and highs I wish I could hit more often. The things that make
me who I am are not always easy to deal with and I realize the ones that keep
me the most grounded are the ones I tend to push away the most. I am making a
lot of personal changes, which I hinted to in recent months and with social
media not being the forefront of interaction anymore I will be scaling back on
it. I announced many moons ago that I have bi-polar and my book A FIREFIGHTER’S
FLAME encompasses a lot of the struggles I have already faced and really the
struggle I face and my loved ones face every day. I never know how I am going
to wake up in the morning, whether I am going to have a good day or a bad day
(mentally and emotionally speaking). Being in a business such as the author
life (theatre life back in my younger years) makes my already challenging
mental state even more volatile, so I have to always be attentive to how I take
things and I react to situations, which is why you NEVER see negative posts
from me because, trust me, my rants would not be pretty (LOL). Before every
post or even before any words I speak I have to really assess to make sure I am
being heard in the way I want to be. It’s exhausting, especially now that I am
publishing, but it’s manageable and I really love writing.
WRITING is just a way of life for me. It always has been. I only
recently brought it public in late 2013. I have met amazing people in the
process and, like in the real world, some not so amazing people, but tis life.
I just brush it off. While there are a few I’ve lost that make me reflect on
why, I can’t change it or how they feel about me so I don’t ponder it much. It’s
funny because so many people advise on building relationships with other
authors, but I think that can also backfire with professional lines crossing
into personal and feelings being hurt. The relationships I build with authors
are strictly personal at this point. If you’re an author and I chat with you it’s
because I genuinely like you and want that personal friendship. The professional
relationships were too tricky for me to balance and my sensitive nature and
mental imbalance couldn’t manage the stress from it, so I put less focus on
those and while I know that’s stupid from a business stand point, I just couldn’t
do it anymore. That was my first big change.
PUBLISHING is just a natural state of being for my finished works now,
no longer hidden in my notebooks (or on my computer). However, I stopped
putting deadlines on myself which is why I may not announce release dates until
right before. It also means that I will always be writing but I won’t commit to
a numbers game for the year as far as how many books I will publish. “I write
what my heart sings” has always been my personal motto so what I release next
will be a surprise to me too. I won’t force anything nor feel pressure to
release another book in a series if it’s not singing to me. That’s the
professional in me and really, the artist too. My work has to be natural and
organic and I think that’s why those who love my books will always be thankful.
I am an unconventional writer with fresh twists on story lines and a unique
writing style. I don’t think I will ever hit the big time because my work is
pretty non-commercial and not the same recycled stuff that loyal readers find
comforting, but I think I have finally made peace with that. These are for me
more than anything and while I’d love to contribute monetarily to my family I
don’t have to with my writing. I have other avenues for that. I know there’s
a market for my work and whether it's small or large I will continue to hold
true to my unconventional roots.
STAYING IN TOUCH with me will be more through my blog posts and
newsletters. I get silly on Instagram, but the other media sites have become a
little too much for me and with no interaction I feel like I’m talking to the
internet airwaves anyway. I will ALWAYS send out newsletters with big announcements,
sales, etc. and NEVER abuse it for superfluous promotion. I only send out about one a month, so it’s never overwhelming. My blog posts are created in the moment,
so they aren’t on a regular cycle, but they will be filled with heartfelt
messages like this or sales, release, etc.
THANK YOU for taking a ride with me through my dreams and I hope I
continue to live up to your expectations as not only an author, but as a good
and positive person who values your friendship and support.
MY NEWEST RELEASE is Forgotten Treasures: A Second Chance new adult stand-alone
romance novel that promises to take you on a tragically beautiful journey. I
have two other companion novels planned with this novel, but no promises and no
hints on what although you may be able to figure it out. You can follow the
link below to read more about it and add it to your TBR. My newsletter links
are below, as well.
xo Dani xo
P.S. My website is almost done with its renovation.