Friday, September 25, 2015

Finally - A Writing Group!

Back in May, I carpooled to the LDStorymakers conference with these guys. After four days in the car plus three days sharing a room at the conference, we got to know each other pretty well. 

And we decided to start a writing group when we got back to Texas. 

It took us four months, but we finally had our first official group meeting yesterday. We read about firing squads and un-killable prisoners, farts that smell like flowers and flowers that smell like farts, and how cybernetic mermaids are always the worst. 

I think this is going to be a very entertaining group!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Art of Into The Wind

With Into The Wind, I will have much more control over the entire publication process. That includes decisions on the book's cover.

It became clear very early on that putting together a book cover to represent the mood and spirit of Into The Wind using existing clip art would be difficult if not impossible.

Fortunately, I know a talented young artist named Laynie. Even though she is still in high school, Laynie teaches painting classes at a local craft store and has her own custom painting business called  Laynie's Custom Paints.

I felt like my vision for a cover image matched well with Laynie's abilities, and I was right!

Last week, newsletter readers got a look at the original painting I commissioned from the lovely and talented Laynie. Today I am excited to share the picture with everyone.

Readers will recognize the Waipio Valley Lookout, which played a significant role in both Bumpy Landings and does so again in Into The Wind. Although the image doesn't come from an actual scene in either book, I think it perfectly captures the feeling of the story.

I have this painting in my office. It's also the wallpaper on my phone, and I smile every time I see it!

There is still a lot of work to go from raw artwork - no matter how great - to an actual book cover. But the mock-ups I have seen give me the chills. I can't wait to reveal the final cover design in the December edition of The Delusion Tree news. If you aren't on the mailing list, sign up now.

And thanks again, Laynie!

Friday, September 4, 2015

That Social Media Platform Thing

This past week, in addition to keeping up with the home front, the day job, and my aggressive writing schedule, I put together the premier issue of The Delusion Tree News. (Click here to read a copy!)

And all the time I'm like, What the heck are you thinking?

This is all a part of the whole Building an Author Platform on Social Media thing. As is this blog.

I have a very strong love/hate relationship with this whole process. I think it's because it's easy to lose focus and let things spiral out of control.

For me, the hardest part of this process is Defining My Author Brand. This is because presenting myself to an audience in a consistent, understandable way would mean that I have to at least appear consistent and understandable.

Okay, let's get this out there right now - consistency is not my strongest point. It's not my fatal flaw, by any means. And I know people who are worse. Much worse.

But still, trying to be consistent, or even trying to appear consistent is hard. It's exhausting.

And for the moment I'll ignore the whole thing about being understandable. Yeah, good luck with that.

This is not to say I don't enjoy interacting with my friends and fans on social media. In fact, I love it. Most of the time.

As long as I am able to keep everything in proper perspective and not lose focus on what it is I'm trying to do. Again, not my strongest point.

For example, working on my newsletter this past weekend triggered a mild panic attack. I don't think it was the actual cause of the attack, but certainly the trigger. Not fun.

I'm constantly reminding myself that social media - Twitter, Facebook, this blog, and now The Delusion Tree News - these are not games that I'm playing. Which is good, because I would lose at every single one of them.

Rather, these are ways for me to reach out to my fans; my friends. What's the worst that can happen? That I'll reach out and find nobody there. And that already happens. A lot. Because this whole Author Platform thing is still in the building phase.

But I've also reached people, and had people answer back.

It's easy to be frustrated. It's easy to be weighed down by a feeling of futility. I have to forget these things. Ignore them. Because it doesn't matter if I reach anyone or not. The important thing is that I reach. That I build the platform and generate the content.

I'm deluded enough to believe that one day these efforts will no longer be frustrating and futile. One day I will have a consistent and understandable Author Brand. And the platform must be built long before then.