author interview, support, Writer

Interview with Author JL Rothstein

author-interview-jl-rothstein

JL Rothstein is being highlighted this month in my author interview. She has the most realistic and helpful words of wisdom in this blog, so make sure to take it in, sit on it, and use it for your future endeavors. New writers will especially benefit from her answers.

What would you tell yourself 5 years ago about facing the challenge of publishing?

I thought I was prepared for self-publishing. I have a business background and manage an accounting department for a privately held company. I went into the project with the understanding that publishing is a business, that your book is a product.

You have two jobs as an author; finish the manuscript and get it into the best polished form you are capable of. The second is to pitch its worthiness, either to agents/publishers or directly to clients if you are self-publishing. The latter is so much harder than it sounds. I think there is a misnomer out there that since Amazon has knocked down all the barriers to publication, that you can just reach this mass of readers and sell, sell, sell. Nothing could be further from the truth. Understanding who you are writing for, who that audience is, and what they are willing to pay for it, is so important. I wish I had understood that more and that I had spent more time researching it.

I believe more than 1.5M manuscripts are self-published each year in the U.S.A alone. If you add in the other markets, it climbs to over 2M. That makes every unknown, previously unpublished author, a very tiny fish in a giant ocean of authors. Not to mention that the reader market is still in flux. They say not as many people are reading anymore, but you do have a growing audio book audience, so you need to acclimate to an ever changing publishing environment. Understanding this ahead of time helps to set realistic expectations.  

I don’t write this to discourage young writers from entering the market, please enter the market. The more the merrier, truly. It is important however to understand what you are getting yourself into and to know the chances of getting some big publishing contract or replacing your current salary with the income from writing may not happen.

Those in the industry often say, “you don’t write books to make money.” Those who have written books roll their eyes and smirk. It’s true, you should write for the love of it, but we’d all like to make enough money to earn a living and there’s nothing wrong with that desire. Don’t give up, reach for those goals, but do it with the understanding that it’s an uphill battle and there will be a lot of mistakes and frustrations along the way. Knowledge is power. Do your research, be patient, and keep writing. That is the best advice I could have given my younger self.

What gives you energy and joy?

I think if you are not getting joy from writing, then you shouldn’t do it. It’s simple, but it holds true no matter what you are doing. If you turn your love for baking into a business and then you lose your passion for baking, then it wasn’t meant to be a business.

When I want to reconnect to my inner creative self, I like to walk in a beautiful garden or visit the ocean. One of my favorite places near our home is a small art museum I like visiting a couple of times a year. When COVID happened, most of us lost all of that, our creative wells dried up.

Being around family and connecting with friends gives me energy. Being in nature sparks creativity and writing brings me joy. I think everyone should answer those questions. Understanding what brings you joy is necessary to living your best life.

Talk about a life lesson you have learned while on the path to publishing your book(s).

You need a support structure. No matter how confident you are, no matter how much experience you have, you will need support. If you don’t have a partner or a big family, then create a different kind of support system, one that works for you. Join a writing group or volunteer to help others. Support comes in so many forms.

I am so grateful that I have my husband, Alan, who has been an amazing partner on this journey. I have a large family and a group of friends who have been very encouraging. I am blessed to have that in my life. I do what I can to help others who do not have what I have. Being grateful is something I focus on and I find that staying in that state of mind is in itself its own reward.  

Thank you, JL, for taking the time to help our writing community, as well as all who want to reach for the stars and dream big.

jl-rothstein-vengeance
Click on picture to purchase

JL’s biography and how to connect:

I am a published author, my debut novel Atonement: Heaven Sent Book One launched June 2020. I was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts USA. I come from a large Irish Catholic family and spent twelve years in Catholic School where the concept of Heaven and Hell were deeply ingrained. I write in the Fantasy genre with an affinity for the supernatural.

I have a BS from Suffolk University and I’m currently pursuing an MBA in Creative Writing. I live in the central part of the state with my husband Alan, & two cats, Brady, and Mr. Thumbs. Book Three in the Heaven Sent series, Vengeance released in July 2022.

You can visit me at my website for more information about my upcoming projects http://www.JLRothstein.com or on social media; Instagram & Twitter @jlrothstein1 or via Facebook @authorjlrothstein.

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Copyright © 2022 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.

Behind the scenes, new release, Women's Fiction Author

Interview with Author Anne Marie Bennett

C_DAngelo_Behind_the_Scenes_Blog_Author_Interview_Anne_Marie_Bennett

I recently read this author’s new release, Feathers in the Sand, and loved every minute. Anne Marie Bennett has such a beautiful talent for storytelling, as well as including one of my favorite shows of all time, Gilmore girls, in her story! I may have dressed up for Halloween as one of the characters a few years ago, just saying. Anyway, her writing routine and how she handles things like her inner critic was so wonderful that I know you will take something out of it to apply in your own lives.

What gives you energy and joy?

I receive SO much energy and joy from the simple act of sitting down at my laptop and letting the stories spin out of my imagination! In fact, when the drafts are finally done and the novel is heading into the production aspect of the process, I find myself longing to be back in the creative mode of letting a story unfold on the page.

Also, joy and energy come to me when I am in nature (especially by the ocean), laughing with my husband, relaxing with a good book and a beloved feline friend on my lap, and when I am in community with my SoulCollage® friends.

Share one meaningful aspect of you that appears in your writing.

There are so many more than one! In Feathers in the Sand (Seahaven Sunrise Book 1), it’s definitely my love of the TV show Gilmore Girls!  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched the entire series. When I realized I was writing a book about a mother who longs for a Lorelai-Rory relationship with her daughter, it felt natural to give them the names of Tess and Eva Gilmore. There are references to characters and scenes from Gilmore Girls woven throughout the story, because Tess wants Eva to watch the show with her, but Eva is pushing her mother away. And speaking of Gilmore Girls, the setting for most of the book is fictional Seahaven, Maine which in many ways is reminiscent of Stars Hollow—a picturesque small New England town with quirky, interesting characters and shops.

What works best for you with time management?

I learned from both Jennifer Louden and Jessica Brody that big things can be accomplished in tiny steps. When I am ready to start a first draft, I set a goal that is reasonable and attainable, considering the other demands on my time (my online business, KaleidoSoul, plus family time . . .etc.). For Feathers in the Sand, I gave myself from March 1 – June 1, 2021. My commitment to myself was to write for 1-2 hours, 3-4 times a week. I was able to stick to that (and some weeks even more hours!) because it was do-able and because I knew I had a deadline in mind. This might not be a realistic goal for someone else. It’s important to look at your other responsibilities and give yourself a reasonable amount of time.

Another thing I learned from Jessica Brody about time management, especially during the writing of the first draft, is to KEEP GOING.  For example, if I’m writing Chapter 4 and suddenly realize that a character’s last name has to change, I don’t go back through the first three chapters and make those changes. I just make a note of it (on paper or online) and Keep Going. Also, I use brackets [ ] a lot during the first draft. For instance, if I get to a place where a song is playing in the background but it has to be a song from the 70’s, I don’t stop to research that song (which could take me down a very long rabbit hole!) . . . I just use [ ] to hold the place. This was SO helpful to me when writing the first draft of Feathers in the Sand.  There were a lot of brackets for me to go back and fill in in future drafts, but it was okay, being able to use the brackets like this truly enabled me to Keep Going, which helped me manage my time more effectively, which helped me to meet my goal of finishing the first draft in three months!

How do you quiet your inner critic? (the voice of internal negativity)

The best way I can quiet her down is first to become aware that she’s nattering on in the background. It’s been helpful to give her a name and to imagine in my mind what she looks like. I call my inner critic Ethel. When my thoughts turn to “You’re never gonna get this,” “Why bother?”, “Just give up!”, “This is really bad . . .” etc. I know that this inner part of me is trying to get my attention.

Once I become aware of her tugging at my sleeve, I have an inner conversation with her. “I hear you. I see you. What do you need? How can I help you?” She usually calms down as soon as I acknowledge her and try to meet her needs. Sometimes she needs a walk outside, or a nap, or to set the writing aside for a few days. She might need a healthy meal or a piece of chocolate or a glass of water. The bottom line is that when I really pay attention to Ethel and her incriminating comments, it turns out that she’s almost always afraid of something (failure, success, loss of some kind, being laughed at…etc.) If I take the time to listen to her, and to find out what she needs (aka what I need) I can usually reassure her that I’ve got her back and that she is safe.

It’s also helpful to remember that Ethel is really, really good at the editing and revising parts of the writing process!  When she starts criticizing the actual story and characters, I can gently ask her to take a few steps back, and remind her that I’ll really need her help when I have to start cutting out words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters…

What is your next project or goal? If it is a book, tell us about it and when you hope to publish it.

I have already started writing the second book in the Seahaven Sunrise Series!  This one is tentatively called Sea Glass Memories and will include several characters from Feathers in the Sand, but will also work as a stand-alone story. It is also Women’s Fiction with a small-town romance woven in.

A major theme will be how we choose to carry different kinds of grief and loss. One of the main characters is a young widow, Elena Jeffries, who is the new high school English teacher at Seahaven High School. She gets drafted into directing the Drama Club’s senior class play, “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder, and parallel stories and emotions will be woven through Elena’s story as well as the lives of some of the other characters. Fingers crossed, Sea Glass Memories will be found on bookshelves sometime in the autumn of 2023.

I know you want to read this cozy summer story asap, so here’s the info below. Thanks so much, Anne!

Feather_in_the_Sand_Anne_Marie_Bennett

Links to purchase:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Feathers-Sand-Seahaven-Sunrise-Book-ebook/dp/B09ZJBD9G1
Googleplay: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anne_Marie_Bennett_Feathers_in_the_Sand?id=ECNuEAAAQBAJ
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/feathers-in-the-sand-anne-marie-bennett/1141427543
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/feathers-in-the-sand
Apple iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1622515326
Bookshop.org:  https://bookshop.org/books/feathers-in-the-sand/9798986050317
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61107714-feathers-in-the-sand

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Copyright © 2022 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.

author interview, community, Publishing

Interview with Author Leah Dobrinska

c-dangelo-behind-the-scenes-blog-author-interview-with-leah-dobrinska

This month’s blog features author Leah Dobrinska, a Small Town Romance and Cozy Mystery writer. She’s releasing her second book in her Mapleton series on Tuesday, April 5, named Good To Be Home. I loved the first book, Love at On Deck Café, so I’m first in line to read her next one.

The answers to my questions about her writing world are ones I need to keep reading for a reminder of keeping perspective at times. She shares such spot-on advice that she’s learned from publishing and shows her ability to remain centered and true to herself. We can all admire that in a person.

What gives you energy and joy?

My kids! Well, I guess they both give and take away my energy. Ha! But seriously, I’m so inspired by them and their resiliency and willingness to forgive and laugh and have fun. They are the reason I write. I want them to know that their words—their stories—are important, and the world needs who they are. We have a blast together, and not only are they my “why” but they’ve also given me some great one-liners for my books.

Let’s see…other things that bring me joy and revitalize me are reading and running. Going to my book club is the highlight of my month. I love reading in community, and discussing books is good for my soul. I firmly believe that to be a decent writer I need to also be an active reader. Many times, when I’m feeling drained with my own creative projects, I’ll slip into the pages of someone else’s work and find inspiration there.

And I’ve always been a runner, but I got back into the regular habit last summer. I don’t go fast and I don’t run far, but it’s one of the best ways I know to clear my head and lift my spirits.

Talk about a life lesson you have learned while on the path to publishing your book(s).

Whoa boy. So many lessons. It has been a trip! I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned is to focus on the things I can control. So much of publishing a book is out of my control. Will my book land? Will it be overshadowed by another book releasing on the same day? Am I targeting the right group of readers? Will people leave reviews? Will they share my stuff on social? Who knows! I can’t force any of that. But what I can do is go back to the words. I can control what I’m putting on the page. That’s where I find deep joy and purpose, so I think the whole publishing process was a good lesson in remembering why I write. It’s not for accolades or popularity. I do it because I feel more like me when I’m creating. No publishing mishaps can take that away.

The publishing journey has also been a great reminder that comparison is a thief of joy. I’d much rather be celebrating fellow writers (and people in general, really) than pitting myself against them. In a similar vein, I’ve also learned that while writing and publishing is a solitary endeavor, it’s way more fun (and so necessary!) to do it as part of a greater community. I’ve met some amazing people who are fellow writers, and their encouragement and support has meant the world. We’re not meant to go through any aspect of life alone, and the publishing journey is no exception.

How do you quiet your inner critic? (the voice of internal negativity)

I pray. I remember that my worth is not tied up in what I do, but in who I am as a human being whom God created. I also take a step back. Usually my inner critic is being stoked by external things I’m consuming—social media, blogs, reviews. So, I’ve found it’s healthy and good for me to turn those things off every once in a while.

I’m also blessed with an amazing husband, family, and group of friends who serve as an incredible support system. They help me remember that life is bigger than books, that failure is okay, and that I’m loved. To be honest, I love that most of my real life people don’t know what an ISBN number is or what it means to get a Kirkus review. They keep me grounded and remind me that no matter what happens or how down and critical I’m feeling about my work, there’s more to life than that.

Share one meaningful aspect of you that appears in your writing. This can be personality, physical attributes, or anything else.

I write love stories, but in many ways, my books are also love letters to the communities I’ve been blessed to be a part of. I started writing novels while my husband was in the Marine Corps and we were living many states away from home. But I chose to set my stories in a place very reminiscent of where I grew up. They always say to write what you know, and I know small town living!

I think I was craving that feeling of belonging—of home—and I knew I wanted that to be an important theme for my characters. Everyone can relate to longing for home or longing for a soft place to land. We find that in many ways—through our actual families, or friends who become like families, or our romantic partners. In all of my books, you’ll see my characters undergoing that search for home and their place in the world.

In a really neat way, all the goodness and beauty of small town living that I tried to write out in my stories has been exemplified in real life in the way people from my community have supported me and my book. I’m so humbled and very grateful. I hope that anyone who picks up one of my stories will feel at home within the pages and will be encouraged to love on the people in their real lives, too.

Oh, and on a slightly less meaningful note, I’m a Taylor Swift lyric junkie, so I think I’ve managed to sneak in a TS lyric-inspired sentence somewhere in each of my books.

What is your next project or goal? If it is a book, tell us about it and when you hope to publish it.

I’ve got a lot of projects up in the air at the moment. Launching Good To Be Home this month has me itching to get back to Mapleton. I’m currently in the process of editing book three in that small town romance series. It’s set to be published this fall. It’s a holiday romance that will feature two minor characters from Good To Be Home. If you read that one, you should be able to figure out who I’m referring to!

I’m also drafting book four in the Mapleton series. It’s giving me a run for my money, mostly because I want to do these characters justice. Their love story is so gorgeous in my head. Now, I just have to make sure it translates to the page!

I also got a book deal! My debut cozy mystery will release on December 6, 2022 from Level Best Books! I’m putting the finishing touches on it now before I’ll turn it over to my editor. Then it’ll be all hands on deck to get that book out into the world. I can’t wait to share more about this project, but right now, my lips are sealed…

Okay, well maybe a *little* teaser wouldn’t hurt, right?! The setting for the cozy mystery was inspired by the northern Wisconsin resort town my family used to visit each year, and it features a protagonist whose job has a lot to do with books. Oh, and it’s tentatively titled Death Checked Out. More to come… 🙂

And I, for one, can’t wait, Leah! Thank you for imparting your sage views on the blog. I know my readers will be able to take your thoughts and apply them to their own lives in multiple ways.

Click on picture to preorder
Click on picture to purchase

More ways to connect with Leah:

Website: https://leahdobrinska.com/

Newsletter: https://leahdobrinska.com/newsletter

Instagram: https://instagram.com/whatleahwrote

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/whatleahwrote

Twitter: https://twitter.com/leahdobrinska

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/whatleahwrote/

Blog: https://leahdobrinska.com/blog

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/leahdobrinska

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/leah-dobrinska

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NEWS: My next novel, The Visitor, is coming out in less than 2 months! You can preorder now for your Amazon Kindle. If you would like the paperback, June 1 is right around the corner.

Click on picture to preorder now!

Back cover info:

Fiercely independent Mary Pontrelli is blindsided when the New Orleans building housing her New Age store and upstairs apartment is listed for sale. Worse yet, a developer wants to destroy it and her high school ex-boyfriend—ahem, nemesis—is leading their charge. But this budding sweet spot for that weasel from the past can’t happen since traitors never change.

The best chance Mary has to save her cherished French Quarter building is to join forces with the other business owners whose livelihoods are also at risk. Too bad she avoids teamwork at all costs. Thankfully, a mystical new customer who shares Mary’s lost Italian heritage may be able to help alter her stubborn patterns. And, learning about the city’s history and her own Sicilian roots from the shopper may prove beyond merely engaging.

Even so, acquiring trust in strangers and accepting assistance requires more bravery than any societal expectation she’s challenged in her life. But if she doesn’t depend on her community and learn forgiveness, she may lose her career, home, and deeper relationships. No eccentric spirituality or heritage lessons can fix this…right?

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Copyright © 2022 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.

Behind the scenes, Debut Author, Women's Fiction Author

Just Say No to Comparison

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You are not meant for my journey and I am not meant for yours. That’s a dose of Captain Obvious, right? We usually know this statement to be true in our heads, but our hearts fall into webs of anxiety, disappointment, and helplessness because we compare ourselves to others at times. No matter the topic for comparison, it will always bring us a false sense of security or happiness… or dreaded sorrow. What a time waster! So let’s try to stop this behavior together.

You may not know unless you are in this book publishing world that it is the slowest business on the planet. That’s my perspective of course, but I view it as a beautiful shiny green turtle walking toward a lake. The sparkly blue destination will come in time but getting there takes forever and a day. The turtle crawls along the grass with a smile on its tiny face taking it one step at a time. He’s slow and steady, knowing he will get there at the perfect time for him.

I’m a person who works non-stop until my goal is reached, so on a long game like getting my book published, it’s challenging. I want to knock it out, like, yesterday. During the wait, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing myself to other authors’ experiences, based mostly on what they post on their social media. Ah, there are the key words. Social media. Cue the doomsday music.

Who looks on their social media and wonders about your own life based on what you see your friends doing? *Everyone raises their hand including me.* This doesn’t happen on my personal accounts, but lately has been happening a little on my author accounts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond thrilled for others’ success, but when it’s taken this long to get my book published, it’s hard. I’m human. And I’m just being honest, as I always try to be with you. I still cheer for my fellow writers and support them all I can. I always will. And I always want them to shine and succeed. It’s just that moments happen where I have the feelings of wishing I could control my circumstances and get The Difference finished and out to you already (there have been publisher delays, which is common in the industry). I’m sure you can think of a time in your life, even now maybe, where you felt like you wanted to do something beyond your control and fall into the hole of comparison. Here’s my thoughts on the chain effects of social media comparison.

social-media-cycle

It’s a slippery slope, huh? Remember that I am a licensed psychotherapist as well as an author, so this is my personal perspective and not research based for this blog’s purposes. However, this graphic information comes from twenty years of psychological experience of comparison evils. Anyway, it is very real and can happen easily, I think. But let’s remember one key fact.

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Brilliant (especially for my behind the scenes blog)! When we see what others post, we only see a snippet. Try to remember that. Who knows what happens behind the curtain? I know that I never post negativity or struggles on my own profiles because I don’t want to spread that energy. I want people to experience an escape and to feel joy when they see my content.

So how can we stop the comparison monster from feeding on our motivation and happiness? Below are a few my suggestions and those that I tell myself.

 Thoughts to play on repeat in your head:

  • You may be seeing the result of many more years of work by someone, when you are just starting.
  • You are shining in your own way that others may admire. The sun shines at a different time than the moon.
  • Apples and oranges are not comparable. Both are needed, beautiful, and desired.
  • Feelings and thoughts are fleeting. You will not always feel this way. It’s temporary.

Actions you can take:

  • Ask yourself what is in your control. What can you do to help you reach what you want when you look on social media? How can you work toward your goals?
  • Imagine a tiny person inside of you, called your inner critic. Give it a name, think of what it looks like, and think of what it says to you to de-motivate you and harass you. Now tell it to stop! Send it away by throwing it out the window. Do anything in your imagination to make it cease or leave. It does you no good.
  • Take a social media break. Don’t look online for a day or more. Everyone gets burned out and needs time away. It’s more than okay; it’s necessary sometimes.

Let’s make sure we stop comparing ourselves to others. Make it your mission this month. Know that I’m doing it with you. This way, you can feel even more joy for your fellow humans. Your turtle will make it to the lake, so enjoy the steps along the way. And when it reaches the warm, fresh water, drink it in and float in your success. We’ve got this.

(Just in case you need to talk to someone about your feelings of anxiety, depression, or anything else, make sure to reach out to loved ones in your life and/or make an appointment with a professional. Here’s a national hotline that can provide resources and help as well: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). Be well, friends.)

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Copyright © 2021 C. D’Angelo, Author All rights reserved.

Author, Debut Author, Italian American Author, Women's Fiction Author

New Roles, New Growth

Lately, I have had to get used to more differences in my daily life than I ever imagined, and I’m sure I’m not alone. This year has brought all of us many shifts in the way we live, work, and play. I feel like I am constantly trying to adapt to the newest change. Have you felt like that too? I think more than a few of you are probably thinking “Yes, yes, my God yes!” And all of this shifting doesn’t necessarily have to do with the world situations occurring, for my author life at least. So, guess what; I’ve realized these adapting times are bringing thrilling changes, which have brought me incredible chances. It’s only one small letter variation between the two words, but one large opportunity.

In reflecting on the first half of 2020, I realize how many roles I have taken on in the most natural manner. Just as I have said before, my artistic expression influences more artistic expression, but I never knew my art would extend to aspects like, say, marketing and promotion. Whoa now, that is pretty business-y, but still inclusive of my art and a way to explore creativity. Oh yeah, it’s also a necessary part of author life. One role has led to another in my journey and I seem to be collecting them as I go along. I know many of you have also taken on new roles this year, often ones we never expected, so you can most likely relate to my surprise and intrigue, as well as the satisfaction that you can accomplish the task at hand.

Ok, what are these roles I speak of? Two began before this year, but I still need to state them. Well, the first, most important, and starting role is obvious; it’s the novelist role. Ta-da! This remains my most important role, no matter what else develops from it. I write because I have stories to tell. I love to express myself in this art form and to have others enjoy my tales as well. I’ve always been fascinated by creating something of beauty from nothing. Words creatively placed into phrases turn into books that remain forever. That carries huge meaning for me.

What came from writing was, of course, the next step of getting myself out there in the world; my website and social media. From here, other roles emerged. When I started engaging in this manner, I never thought this blog would stem from it, for example, but here I am…and loving it. I have the opportunity to write for my behind the scenes lovers and have a more frequent outlet for my writing expression. Plus, you guys get to see more of my writing style. It’s a win-win situation.

Next came my newsletter, earlier this year. When my publisher said I need to think about having one, that was all it took. I want to do anything that will help my name get out there so more people experience The Difference and my future endeavors. See, newsletters help an audience to stay connected. They allow me to send you news and fun info. Being the first to know what’s happening is exciting so I want to share it there first, with my biggest fans. I feel privileged to be able to connect with people in this manner because they are trusting me to provide quality content and they specifically want to hear from me. They took the time to sign up, after all, and I’m flattered. So, there I went with yet another role added on in my life.

Now I started to be a newsletter writer and role carrier of 3 categories, all with a lot of learning on my end. Anxiety, check. Fear, check. Questioning what I am doing, check. Just to have a newsletter I needed to find a site that can provide the service of sending to a list of people, connect it to my website, and create the “campaigns,” or emails to my audience, as they are called. Whew. Who knew all the IT knowledge I would gain just by being an author?! It’s not just the writing, my friends.

My personal and professional growth continued to happen in a burst with my Pitch Party Prosperity program that I released last month; role 4. This is a variety of services for writers who want to pitch their manuscripts in pitch parties on social media, most often on Twitter. During the party time, agents, publishers, and editors can show interest for the writer to send their material to them by liking their post. This is challenging for us writers because the pitch needs to be within the 280 characters Twitter allows, as well as leaving room within that range for the genre and other identifiers. I found that the 2 times I participated last year I had success; the 2nd being how I obtained my publishing contract. So, why not support others with this challenging process, right? I’m a helper by nature, so my intuition told me to move forward with paying my knowledge and experience forward.

I ended up developing a variety of packages for people interested in my help, including an eBook with step by step guidance for writing the pitch and how to manage the party, personalized pitch evaluation, and coaching services for those that want longer term assistance. I also have a free tip sheet for those that sign up for my newsletter. Offering these services included coordination of 3 more programs with my website. Wow, huh? It looks so simple when you view that page on my site, but so much behind the scenes work goes into every decision. Guess what though, it is paying off! I have already helped people in pitch parties and they are having large success. In one party alone someone had interest from a huge agent and another had 24 industry pro likes, including 3 of those from large names. My mouth literally dropped open when I read that news. This is why I do it! I want others to flourish with me. That is what us writers do; we uplift each other.

So, do you think my roles stop there? Nope. Those are the main ones, but you can say I also can add marketer/promoter to my list. Besides using social media and word of mouth so far, I did an interview this month and will have more press type events in the future. I added an Events and Media page on my website to track book signings and many more events that will occur. My roles continue and I continue to learn and grow in my varied skills of being an author.

The changes that have evolved in my writing career have allowed me the chance to grow as a person. Last year at this time, I didn’t even have my publishing contract yet. I had a basic website, a query package, and a publishing dream. I have proven to myself that I can do this! I can write a novel (that others want to read!), I can build a website, I can do a blog and newsletter, I can keep up social media, I can create a supportive business for writers, and I can market and promote myself and my brand. I’m learning as I go, but I. Am. Doing. It. I have even more roles I want to take on in the future, but they will happen when the time is right. My passion for my art and my helping heart drive me, but I think I have enough to keep me occupied, don’t you?

I hope you embrace your chances for change, especially during this unusual year. You never know the wonderful places they will take you and make you. Thanks for coming along for my ride.

***

Please follow and share my blog if you enjoy reading about my author journey. 

  1. Just click on the “Follow” hover button in the bottom right corner. You will be emailed when new posts are created. 
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Copyright © 2020 C. D’Angelo, Author. All rights reserved.

Author, Italian American Author, Women's Fiction Author

Vulnerability: Steps and Lessons 

If you follow my social media (and I sure hope you do! 😊), you know that I just submitted my first round of line edits back to my publisher. During this process, I started to think about the amount of vulnerability that is needed in the author world, as well as lessons I have already learned. Let’s look at the meaning of the world “vulnerability” before I go any further.

Vulnerability- the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. (Oxford Dictionary)

These words strike me especially strong at this time in the world. They are powerful, anxiety provoking, and just plain scary! What is your reaction? What have you been vulnerable with or are being vulnerable about right now in your life? (Pause for self-reflection, lol…but seriously)

Okay, you’re back. So, I’ve given deep thought to the concept of vulnerability in the past, due to my role as a mental health therapist. I’ve thought about it for my clients and in my own life, but never as much as lately. I’m happy to share some insights here, in hopes you can connect to them for your own benefit. But first, a slight backstory. You know that’s how I work by now!

From the moment I opened myself up to the public as an author, when I started my website and social media platforms in December 2018, I had to get more comfortable with the risk of others’ thoughts, responses, and opinions…risk meaning the possibility of something negative or hurtful. I hoped and thought that most people would be kind souls, but you never know. “Attack” is always possible. That was level one for my vulnerability, in my mind, as I reflect back. It’s a constant threat, as I open up my heart every single time I post something or respond to other people’s posts. Of course, it’s a risk I’m willing to take. Just as the next steps.

Level two came as soon as I sent my first query letter in June 2019. Now, you see, I was not only exposing myself to the public, but specifically to experts in the publishing field. Cue the racing heart and flood of second guessing my work. But I persisted. I had to in order to meet my dream of getting published.

The stakes kept rising with each risk I took; the pitch parties I participated in, the interactions with agents and publishers, going to classes, and joining webinars to build my skills. Every bit was allowing a piece of me to escape, without knowing where the piece would end up. This is wayyyy out of my comfort zone, let me tell you.

But then came the call with my now publisher. Level three was in action. She already knew I had not published books in the past, but during this call she mentioned a popular website I hadn’t heard of, which I told her I didn’t know, and I’ll never forget her response. She commented on me actually being a newbie to the field (not in a rude way at all, more like a “oh yeah” moment). The comment stayed with me because I always want to be known as knowledgeable and intelligent (that’s just a part of my personality). I love to be as prepared as possible for any circumstance, but can’t be, obviously. Also, what stuck with me was that it was okay with her that I was new. It wasn’t an issue at all. In that conversation, nor in future correspondence, did she ever have an issue with my past experience.

From that point on I felt a large increase in comfort with being able to be myself during our work together. The lesson of “honesty is always the best policy” is one I abide by and it was reinforced from the start of my relationship with my publisher. There is always going to be a first time for people. We all have to start somewhere and thank God she is giving me a chance.

The next lesson I learned from the requirement of being vulnerable in the author domain is that my desire to learn works for me and my success. Although I want to know everything I can, I know I don’t. Even if I was one of the experts in this field, I still wouldn’t ever consider myself an expert. I have a mentality that I’m always learning. There is always better and more I can do. I love to learn, as written about in last’s month’s blog, so why would this journey be any different? I know I need to listen to my experts (editor and publisher; also, another lesson) to make my book the best it will be. Otherwise, I may as well have self-published.

As I have read through the editor comments in my manuscript these last two rounds, I always try to keep an open mind. I need to be flexible and be able to ponder other people’s opinions of my writing, in order to make it shine. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I don’t agree, but that is okay. We can have conversations about both of our thoughts and go from there. Sometimes though, it may be that I first don’t agree, think about it more, come back to it at a later point in time, and then see the opinion is correct. Sometimes, even after thinking about it, I come back and still don’t agree, but change the issue anyway, just to see what it would be like. Then, magically, it does work better. Most of the time, the editor is spot on, in fact. It’s not easy to see some things within your own work; you need others. When your art includes your heart, which it always does and yes I rhymed on purpose, it can be difficult to know what can make it better. Even some published books can still be better, I’m sure. The experts are there for a reason, so let them help you. They are on your side. Defensiveness or ego be gone. They won’t get you anywhere, in my opinion.

Maybe the steps are endless in my journey, as I continue to embark on new and exciting aspects in the author world. I know I will be expanding in the future for areas in marketing and such, so there may be a hundred steps of vulnerability. Who knows? What I do know is that as I continue to open my heart and soul, I am becoming a stronger person. This gift is earned and takes time. I’m curious and excited to know all the steps and lessons that are to come in my future as an author.

Tell me if you can relate to being vulnerable at this time and any teachable moments you have had, below in comments. Thanks for reading!

***

 Please follow and share my blog if you enjoy reading about my author journey. 

  1. Just click on the “Follow” hover button in the bottom right corner. You will be emailed when new posts are created. 
  2. Feel free to comment or share (click comment and share buttons appear). I’ll always respond to comments. Thanks!  

Copyright © 2020 C. D’Angelo, Author. All rights reserved.

Author, Italian American Author, Uncategorized, Women's Fiction Author

A Time of Learning

Let me tell you a little secret; I’m a big nerd. Yeah, I said it. I don’t mind yelling it from the rooftops at this stage of life because it’s so darn true (unlike in my youth, but we won’t go there). I am a nerd in multiple ways, but one of the ways is that I love to learn.

I’ve always adored knowing everything about everything. Even things I don’t care about, I care about, if you know what I mean. It’s just for the sake of knowing more that thrills me, so sometimes the subject doesn’t even matter. I know I drove my mom crazy as a child with my million questions of “Why?” and “What does that mean?” She would try to answer until I got her to the breaking point, though that was not my intent. As I got older, I realized it is just that my mind doesn’t stop. Imagine a marathon of the mind. That’s me. Don’t even get me started on taking a multiple choice or true or false test. I could go on for hours for each answer’s possibility if time allowed.

So, this brings me to the present. The endless wonder I have within has done me well in life overall and continues to help me succeed in the author world. My lust to learn has allowed for a continuum of necessity and pleasure in my years, from retaining countless useless facts about topics of interest (hey, you never know when a Titanic fact may come in handy in conversation though), to providing me new worlds of hobbies (teaching myself the ukulele for one), to succeeding academically and in my therapist career, and navigating the publishing world to get my book in all of our hands. I thought last year was a year of major learning for my book and its process from how an idea goes to eventual physical book, but boy was I wrong. Last year only included writing, although learning to write to get signed as well, which I have told you is a whole different animal. This year of 2020 is only 3 months in and has 2019 almost matched, so I expect it to surpass last year.

Now, let me just say, because it would be strange not to address at this time, that I typically do not post on social media or put out on my website anything negative in any way, even in my personal accounts. I am a believer that what you put out comes back, so I want to say and write what I want to happen or just about spreading joy in general, be it through actual inspirational/growth quotes, travel pictures that are related to reading and writing, or Italy/Italian posts. That’s why you may have noticed my topics for posting include these themes, which I believe all have a cheerful vibe. Right now, in the world, there is a health challenge, so I had to decide recently whether to continue my inspirational path, when it would be easy to post only about the difficulties of this time. I don’t think people want or need the sadness and negativity (ahem, plain old reality) all the time, so I learned to listen to myself and the path I set out on over a year ago when interacting with the public. I am continuing to learn to keep that boundary, but there is a fine line sometimes. I do not want to ignore what is on everyone’s minds, so I find creative ways to address it and try to uplift others (which I sometimes need myself of course, and I appreciate when others do this as well).

So, there is the unexpected learning that has occurred from the world health issue at this moment, including the above and how to continue the focus on my writing with swirling changes in work and personal life. Then, there is the straight up learning for the editing and marketing process for my book, which was expected, although still has its surprises. What does that include you ask? Well, let me tell you what I’ve been up to since the last blog.

I have exciting plans for my website, all of which include a lot of, you guessed it, learning for me. Changing anything on my website was always scary for me because if it works, I don’t want to mess with it…except that I have to mess with it! Not being a web designer, these things are scary to an author, ok? Although I love learning, I sometimes have to push through fear, as I am sure you understand. But, I wanted to and did add new pages (a super secret writers page with upcoming fabulousness and a newsletter!). Go me! I also had to use an external app to get the newsletter mail list working; yet another layer of discovery. I secured my new and tighter domain name as well (no WordPress name appears in it anymore). This all sounds pretty simple, but for a Gen X’er new to this web creation world, it isn’t so cut and dry. But I did it. And continue to do it. Stay tuned for more website changes as we get close to my debut in Fall.

I am also learning more about marketing, including getting a logo and working with a graphic artist. Yup, I’m also not a person with a degree in marketing or graphic art! Go figure. And it seems like this career of being an author requires knowledge of many different fields. Thank God for knowing geniuses in the various fields. Specifically, being part of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association has been one of the best decisions I have made in my author career because their webinars are outstanding. The amount of marketing tips and ideas I have complied just from some of their expert talks is pages long.

Nerd Alert: All of these roles I have had to learn about and semi-take on has me even more excited about my path for my novel. It’s just that I didn’t realize 2020 would include all of these tiny pieces. A writer just has the idea, writes it, and then goes totally out of their element to get out there in the world (which seems to be the majority of us introverts anyway). It’s an interesting combination of knowledge to acquire, which continues to draw me in. I am not one for the same old boring job day in and day out, so this author life keeps me on my toes…and I love it.

Who knew (not me) that I would get to experience all of these interactions with others as well, be it in social media or otherwise? My main person in this whole process is my publisher (and I’ve learned so much from her already- she’s amazing). I have had some discussions with her for setting up my editing schedule recently, right through to a tentative release date (yet another I-can’t-tell-you-yet, but will soon enough). Right now, I am moving into the second phase of editing (out of 4; refer to my last blog for a nifty little guide picture), called line edits. This phase examines and fixes any issues with sentence structure and wording (so I don’t repeat something 5 million times; you might get tired of that, right?). While this is happening, cover design, the start of the marketing plan, and finding a narrator for the audio book is beginning as well. I am listening to actress voices to see if anyone feels like the right fit for The Difference. All this learning, all of the time; it’s wonderful. Keep it comin’!

I hope you enjoy your learning about the writing process from my behind the scenes posts. Don’t let me stand here alone in my nerdiness, please. I know I’m not alone! So let’s keep rolling with learning from life’s changes together, as well as this whole making my book a reality thing. 😊

***

*Please follow and share my blog if you enjoy reading about my author journey. 

  1. Just click on the “Follow” hover button in the bottom right corner. You will be emailed when new posts are created. 
  2. Feel free to comment or share (click comment and share buttons appear). I’ll always respond to comments. Thanks! 

Copyright © 2020 C. D’Angelo, Author. All rights reserved.