Tuesday, June 18, 2019

June 2019 Planner Vlog

I wanted to share how I utilize my Business Projects Happy Planner, since it’s really starting to feel streamlined and simplified.  Gone are the days of overcomplicated schedules and notes that strain the eyes.
Marking things off has gotten a whole lot more motivating.  Because of the gray marker mark-it-off-as-done method, I can still see almost every project color very vividly while avoiding confusion over whether I meant to underline something, or if I meant to cross it off, or what color code the item was before...etc.  The pages look neater when they're finished.

I’ve added a few pages to my Happy Planner that don’t typically come with them, and I mention a few tips for planner newbies.  As a writer, I even make my own custom lined sticky notes for multiple uses—from documenting character arcs for every chapter, to writing chapter names, to making To Do lists, etc.  I’m excited how the process will change over time!

I haven’t even covered my other Happy Planner.  (You do get a glimpse of the crazy, though!)

If you're interested in joining my community where Indie authors and artists support, teach, and inspire each other, head on over to my 7Bloodfire Art and Story Facebook page and join us!

Monday, June 10, 2019

YouTube: Community for Artists, Writers, and Entrepreneurs

Whether you intend to become (or are) an Indie author or you want to sell your works through another company, it is important to think of your brand and of yourself as a business entity.  Consistent calls to action for your audience, with clear goals and separation between your various ideas and projects, will help you to reach success and stay there.  This means you should write down your vision, plot out your path and what you need to learn and do, and then start completing each step, one at a time.  (Organization is the first key, communication is the second.)

For me, setting up for business was more difficult than it needed to be.  I was scattered, didn't even know what I needed to learn in the first place, or how to go about streamlining the processes and developing a system that works for overthinkers and overachievers like myself.  However, I want to ensure others do not have the struggle I did, or the stress caused by the unknown or the overwhelm.  So I have created a YouTube channel devoted to art and writing, and I have set up a few pages on Facebook where we writers and artists can support each other and where I will post help and inspiration videos, news, events, book and product releases, and more.

Progress has been slow-going, but I am definitely seeing it.  So far this year, I have completed the designs for my publishing company's logo, updated my media banners across most of the social media outlets I am on, and set up or completed other important items for Brand Design.  I've created a board for business steps I need to complete, and one by one I am checking them off.  And most importantly, I have been writing and creating art, with the intent to sell and entertain.  My greatest love, after all, is reaching into others' hearts and minds, and inspiring them to feel.

Anyway, I wish you luck on your own projects!  May the rest of the year be productive, inspiring, and filled with blessings!


A page for fans of the Leviathans series!

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Channel Introduction, Store, Tour, Changes, and other channel related news.  

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

June 2018 Blog

Hi, guys!  We're halfway through another year, and I've got about a quarter of my 1st novel written.  It's exciting!  No more changing the story from here on out, this is the final version of my story.

The book is already at 70,000 words, so I'll have a huge edit to do, but it's great so far!  It's amazing to look at the completed outline and see so easily what needs done and what has been accomplished, where tiny fixes can be added, and what scenes will inspire some artwork for future merchandise.

Our vacation to Turner Falls and Castle Collins was a blast this year, and we revisited the Renaissance Fair in Muskogee, Oklahoma as well.  A first, however, was a trip to Oklahoma City, to visit the Myriad Botanical Gardens.  It was all very lovely, the various cultivars of exotic plants and the large school of coy.  We watched baby ducks and small turtles dip into the water while attempting to avoid the worst of the sun.  (Photos are at the end of this post.)

I still hope to finish my 1st draft by October of this year, but we shall see.  I will be giving out teasers as we get closer to completion, and maybe I'll post some of the art concepts, too.

I plan to continue working on the huge tasks I've set for this year.  I'm building cabinets, creating a garden, and working on a large number of business and writing related goals.

This year is still going strong, and there are still many things to keep me a mad little busywoman.

May the year continue to be as prosperous, busy, inspiring, and productive for you as well!

Castle Collins...

Turner Falls...

Myriad Botanical Gardens...

Renaissance Fair...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Don't Doubt Your Writing Instincts

I haven't written a thing for my blog in a while because I've been crushing my brain with self-doubt and worry.  Writers, the worst thing you can do in your craft is question your motives for writing and use that to doubt yourself or your abilities.  Just don't do it!

I've been struggling with the fact that my first novel Eccentric Daughter is turning out to be much bigger than planned.  But I seem to be doing something else right despite that fact.  Why?  Because I've reread it ten times now.  And every time I read the book, it sucks me in and then I get excited to edit and write some new material.  The work-in-progress is conforming to my pre-made plot, but jeeze.  My creative side keeps fighting the plot I laid out!

I suppose that's where I'm having the most trouble: Conform to my own executive decisions.  (Haha!)

Anyway, Nymeria's one heck of a unique child character in my book.  I also love her family and the people around her.  I hope the drama catches you guys when it's published.  (Blizzards and horrible, post-apocalyptic, child-eating cults aside.  Yikes!)

So far, I've got about 46,000 words in.  I'll likely cut half of the finished book for commercial purposes because it'll be far beyond 46,000 at that point.  For now, I will give you another tip: If you are prone to overwrite and overthink, don't change that.  Do that in your first draft, as I have decided to do in mine from now on.  I have discovered that when I ignore the aim for smaller word counts, suddenly everything gets easier.  There is less worry.  There is less trouble with outline conformity.

Don't worry about the word count.  Keep track of it only to see that you are making progress, and to try to prod yourself to hit a certain weekly goal.  (If I don't meet my mark by a certain date, I have to pay my husband $100 that he can use on literally whatever he wants.  Yep.  An OUCH factor for my wallet is a good boost to get my butt off the chair...so to speak, haha.)  If you fail your certain goal, there really isn't any worry.  If you succeed?  HOORAY!

Your main focus should always be to enjoy yourself.  Enjoy your story.  Figure out all of the kinks and the twists, and make the words beautiful.  Later you will worry about the word count.

Tell me a little about your stories, and the kinds of struggles you have had in finishing them.  I enjoy hearing about others' journeys.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Giving Book Club Book Reviews

Book Reviews
Questions to Answer
Many writers know a writing group or a book club can help them improve.  Some join existing clubs, others create their own.  But what do they all have in common?

The writers involved look over each other's manuscripts, analyze and comment, and review what has been mentioned on their own.

This is one of the lists I always give to my own book club members.  For beginning writers, this is invaluable.  With it, you can begin to learn to look at a manuscript the way an editor does.  When you are ready to edit your own (or another's) work, crack open a notebook and answer these questions.
  1. Description or Blurb - Clarity, conciseness, consistent voice, level of tone / diction / syntax, grammar, intrigue, clear genre and age level.
  2. Opening - Lines & paragraphs have a spark or a hook?
  3. First chapter - Is it confusing or vague through the first chapter? Does it draw the attention?  What can be done to improve it?  Are things defined well enough for lay man readers?
  4. Draw - Does the first chapter(s) end where I am drawn to turn the page?
  5. Dramatic questions - Are the dramatic questions obvious?
  6. Inciting incident - Is the inciting incident obvious?
  7. Original world / actions - Are the original world and original default actions clear?
  8. Realistic - Are the details consistent and realistic, or a little bit...strange?  Unfathomable?
  9. Repetition - Are there any words or ideas that are repeated several times, or which are weird in the descriptions?  Which should be removed?
  10. Flow - Does it flow flawlessly and smoothly instead of bumbling with run-on sentences or awkward things that make reading difficult?
  11. Grammar / punctuation - How well did they do with grammar and punctuation?
  12. Tense and pov consistency - Does the tense or pov change, or is it flowing and consistent?
  13. First Person -  Is the word “I” repeated over and over in this pov?
  14. Voice (etc) - How well did they do with voice? Tone? Diction? Syntax?
  15. Descriptions - How well did they do with sensory / thought / emotion / picturesque descriptions?  Do the descriptions ever slow the progress of the plot in favor of pretty phrases?  Do the chapters use long passages of exposition to fill the reader in on histories and back information rather than let the story itself hint throughout the entire work what has happened before?  Are there moments where you begin to skim through rather than read diligently?  Beware that.  Are there symbols or metaphors relating to a bigger picture or theme wrought throughout the descriptions?  Is there too much dialogue?  Too few dramatic questions hidden in the descriptions?  Are the interactions between the characters riddled with enough tension or micro tension that the environment itself, as perceived by a character, has become a character in and of itself?
  16. Plot clarity - How clear is the plot?  Does it lag?
  17. Recommendation - How highly would you recommend it to others?  Would you buy this book, even from first glance?
  18. Overall judgment and flavor - Personal opinions.  Ideas on how to improve, or where.
  19. Minor opinions per chapter - Comment on what you liked or didn’t like per chapter.  Or other information.

Make sure you pay very special attention to your opening line / paragraphs / first chapter.  It can make or break your book for your readers.  Think of ways to shorten what you are saying in order to make it more concise, quicker in pace, and faster to reveal what is going on.  DO NOT DALLY.  That's my rule on Chapter One.  Hook, line, and sink.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Analyzing What You Read or Write

1. Does the summary (also known as the book blurb or jacket synopsis) hint at the story and / or introduce the book's dramatic question?
  • A dramatic question is what keeps the story going and keeps us turning pages to find the answer, like "will the hero find the bomb in time to detonate it?" or "will the main character find true love despite everything that happens?"  Some writers call it the spark, or the hook.

2. Is the opening line of the book a strong one that draws interest?  Or does it dip into setting or exposition without hinting immediately (and concisely) that something of great importance is happening, is about to happen, or has just happened?  Is there a point to the actual description, aside from showing us where and when?  If not, it's boring and should not be the actual focus of the first paragraph(s).  In this case, add the setting in small doses between whatever is actually going on, as embellishment to the moving emotional state of the character, or as seasoning to the opening action.  Make sure you never have a static opening.

3. Does the opening paragraph draw interest or curiosity?  Or does it just dive into the "bobbing heads syndrome", where characters are talking and you have trouble relating to them or caring for them for a few pages?  Or, does it begin flopping about like a dead fish with pretty prose or circular, not immediately important, description?  Fix this, or many of your prospective readers will drop your book.  There doesn't have to be action, but reveal tension and apprehension from the very first line / paragraph / page / chapter.  Always consider this: How do I hook a reader from Word One?
  • This step gives ideas on how to fix any weak spots in your own works, and it helps you to figure out what type of advice to give on others' works.  AVOID LAGGING IN THE FIRST FIVE PAGES.  The first five pages of a manuscript is one of the most important parts, where agents and publishers accept or deny, and it's where most readers keep the book or drop it.  It is just as important as the synopsis on the jacket, and the cover image and title.

5. Does each chapter have some small theme or question that keeps interest and draws you to want to read farther?  Are these questions related in some way to the main goal of the characters throughout the book?  Are they related to, or revolve around, the big picture for this book?  How do they apply to the questions driving the series?  How do the questions change over the course of the book as the characters and situations change?
  • Themes are things like "good versus evil", "rags to riches", "racial issues", "the bonds of family love", etc. Click here for the link to my themes page on my tumblr profile for some common book themes that will aid you in refining your own.  Themes are one of the things agents and publishers look for, and they are one of the ways in which readers relate to the books they read.  You want your story to have high impact, right?

5. Do the descriptions need some extra work?  Suggestions for improvement?  Is it excessive in the wrong places?  Does it make your scenes lag in bad places?  Do the descriptions have undertones of tension or micro tension (as described by Donald Maas in his Writing 21st Century Fiction)?  I recommend that book highly, by the way.  It'll make things clearer for you than ever before.

6. What was your favorite / least favorite part of the book?  How can it be improved?  How can you turn it on its head?

7. How far did you write before it became difficult?  Or, if you are a reader analyzing a work, how far did you read?  The end?  The middle?  Do you think you'll continue reading this author, or writing this book or series?  Why?  What makes you passionate about it?  What is the work trying to say about life in general?

8. How highly do you recommend this book to other readers?  Scale from 1 to 5, if 5 is the highest.  How is your own work like this one?  How is it different?  Where do you fail where this one succeeds?  Where do you succeed where this one fails?
  • This is a useful tool if you are doing reviews or want to revisit a work later for more analysis.  You can thumb through some of these notes in order to remind yourself what to strengthen.

9. Does the ending satisfy you?  How?  Is it because enough of the underlying questions were answered? (Like "Did the vampires find him?" or "Did she get the guy?" or "Was the world saved?")  Did you get the ending you expected?  Did it blow your expectations in a good way, or a bad way?
  • If you're writing - Pick a different ending.  The first ending you choose can be very, very wrong because likely, it will be what the reader predicts.  Even if you choose to stick to your original idea, how can you add a new twist to it?  What did the endgame cost?  What has the character had to sacrifice in order to finally achieve his or her goal?  And, how does that character apprehend this change?  A twist like this, under the skin of everything else that is more obvious, will give the story even more meaning.

10. Does the story feel too short or too long?  Can you explain what you feel is missing or what is too much?   If you read through the story during edits or other revision processes, are their places that you begin skimming over or have trouble focusing on?  Can you pair down anything that is excessive, circular, redundant, too purple (as in purple prose--look it up if you are not sure), or not focused enough?  Are there places where only one goal is obvious, or one single risk, and nothing else?
  • Cut anything that meanders off point--like excessive sub plots that don't ultimately affect the book's main plot, but which are in there anyway because they were awesome.  (Save those for another story!  Or use them for free short stories to boost traffic to your stuff that is going to be on sale.)  Cut excessive backstory or exposition.  If you want exposition, create some side reading for readers who are interested, and publish those separately.  Detailed maps, concept art, genealogies, histories, et cetera.  Don't bog down the progress of your story by delving into a bunch of information that will only serve to get the reader to forget what is currently happening in the book.
  • If it is too short, add more.  Go more in depth.  Begin asking "What If?"  Always imagine the worst.  Throw your character through a physical wringer as well as an emotional one.  Give the hero goals that contradict one another, and needs that make achieving those goals almost impossible.  Make the hero war with himself.  Turmoil and conflict.  Use it.
  • Look at what happened in Chapter Eight; begin weaving hints of what is coming earlier in the book, like, say, Chapter Two.  Shift some of the character's ideas / morals / goals.  Make their original internal compass completely the opposite.  This will make change more difficult, more interesting, and more wrought with turmoil and conflict.  This is how you insert micro-tension and contrast, both of which are gold nuggets for writing.  The two convey change and motion even when there really isn't any.

11. What do you think were some other themes throughout the book, aside from the main one earlier?

12. What do you think the main dramatic question might have been?
  • Sometimes this can be guessed by the genre, as Romances are often about whether or not the woman and / or her lover can conquer that which threatens to keep them apart .  In a Thriller, it may instead be: Will John diffuse the bomb in time to save the city?

13. What genre do you think this book belongs to, and in what age group?
  • Does the story's tone and the writer's voice appeal perfectly to that age group?
  • Is the writing too mature?
  • Too old in style?  (Easy fix here, just pair down, simplify, and modernize your phrases and words a bit.  Only retain hints of the older style, and it will come across as archaic while also remaining understandable.)
  • Too technical?  Tone down the jargon, but make sure your facts are right.
  • Too immature?  (I'm sure, if you've ever been on Wattpad, you will have found books containing adult characters who pout and huff and stomp their feet like children, or who think the first kiss is the ultimate "encounter" of any relationship.  Ever.  And that once the first kiss is given, a character is ruined, becoming a pariah to all chaste beings everywhere, and numb to all other advances or proclamations of love.  Although some of them can have a first kiss with another character that is just as "amazing".)
If you guys want a more extensive list of questions to consider while you are reading or writing, let me know and I will compile a more comprehensive one for you.  This was kind of basic.

If you really want to know the ins and outs of every successful commercially published bestselling work of fiction, I still recommend Donald Maas's Writing 21st Century Fiction.  It is very, very informative.  Click the link below to find it on Amazon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Renaissance Fair 2016 Cosplay - Shoulder Armor for the Hubby

My husband has been working hard on his Assassin's Creed outfit, updating it to personalize it for the Muskogee Renaissance festival this year.  Of course, he does the "easy" stuff.  Sewing.  I, on the other hand, am tasked with the serious details of designing and creating shoulder armor and stomach armor.  Turned out great, coming from a crazy nerd girl who was never taught to do anything crafty!  Tommy was stunned at what came from my staying up until 5 am a few days ago.  I would be much the happier if he voiced his opinions more, rather than lifting his devilishly arched eyebrows -- THAT EXPRESSION MEANS TOO MANY THINGS.

Ahem.  Anyway...Hehe.

The project made me think of my own characters and how their own armor will look.  Mmmm.  As a great lady (who is my friend) once said, "Thoughts, thoughtsies, thoughts..."

I would love to cosplay as one of my own characters, but I refuse to sew by hand ever again.  And my mother-on-law's sewing machine isn't working right.  Sad, indeed.

But look!  Isn't it gorgeous?!

The secret?  Draw it out on cardboard first.  Then use thin craft foam.  Layers are the secret sauce.  Lots and lots of layers (and repeating patterns).  And paint markers.  Those are required, too.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Renaissance Fair - May 2016

We are heading to the Renaissance Fair in Muskogee, Oklahoma again this year!  We will be there on May 8th, so if any of you spot me, make sure to introduce yourself! Or throw a frog on me as a prank.  I will laugh after I scream, I promise!

I love all of the shows they have!

The horses are so beautiful.

The live jousts are amazing.

The belly dancers are talented.

And there is sooo much more!  There are lots of comedy acts and...I heard this year there are mermaids!  Wha...?

Great for kids.  Great inspiration for writers and artists.  Great fun!

I will die if I don't go this year.  So I am going!  See you there!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Dos and Don'ts of Taking Your Writing to a Career Level

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably going to either end up with ten mountains of paperwork, or you’re going to quit writing.  I’ve done both.  Luckily, I didn’t truly quit for long, and you shouldn’t either.

A couple of years ago, I decided to stop circle-jogging and set some career goals.  Since I did not set deadlines, I am still working on getting my act together.  That’s why you don’t want to do what I did.  Instead, do what I am telling you is better to do.  Otherwise, you’ll get some paper mountains made of the below:

  • Project Planning - Some projects planned to the end but never started; some projects never planned at all beyond a title; and some projects finished, but done so poorly because they were never planned they are now trash.
  • Project Deadlines - In notes and journals, and on walls and lamps.  Most of these are never met because they’re lost in the mess.
  • Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Goals - I took the trash out!  Most of the Goals were in it.
  • Note boards - I’m outnumbered by these monstrosities.
  • Notebooks - A billion.  All full.  All crap.  Some of them might be in another language.  Some of them look like a serial killer wrote them.  It’s okay if I’m crazy, I promise. But it’s not okay how many trees I’ve murdered.
  • Sticky notes - I LOVE THESE GUYS!!!  But when you have a thousand of them on the wall, you can’t read even one.
  • Sketches of Characters and Settings - This is cool...until you change your story idea and a picture that took 12 amazing hours to draw...is no longer applicable.  Yet you still hang on to the picture because it might inspire some other story.
  • Horrible Sketches of even more Horrible Ideas - Lots and Lots of These.
  • Research Folders filled with Nothing - I always plan to organize and give up the moment I finish labeling the stupid notebooks.  Too many.  Too much.  Why?!
  • Research Folders filled with Scraps of Everything - I love scraps.  I also hate scraps.
  • Research Folders filled with Too Much of Something - Every day of my life is now worthless.
  • Dishes - Because why not?

It’s hard to get through it all.  I have over 10,000 pages of books I have completed, and rewritten.  Some of them I started anew after realizing how bad they were.  All of those 10,000 pages are in one single series.  That single half-done series covered just four badly written, unplanned, horrible books.  My shelves are bowing. My devices are full. And I have made ZERO real progress. Just more mountains.

I would keep going, but not only do you likely now get the point, you are probably laughing at me enough to lose track of where I’m going with this post.  Where was I?  Ah.  What to do???  WHAT TO DO???!!!  A fire could have the power to free me, right?  But oh, the horror.  As I said before, if you’re like me, you’re probably going to either end up dead or...Wait.  I didn’t say that.

This is how you fix this determined circle of madness:


For the love of God, your Soul, and your Sanity.  Please, I beg of you, STOP.

You need to make a decision right here in order to save yourself the agony of giving up what you love when you have an emotional breakdown someday in the future.  Answer a couple of questions. Get your North figured out.

Do you want to become a better writer?  If yes, keep reading.  If no, stop reading. ForeverDo you want to develop your already amazing talent into a money-paying hobby someday, or even a full-time career?  If yes, keep reading.  If not, nothing I say will be of any use to you whatsoever.  You can go make your Paper Mountains of Dead Trees and then change your mind when it’s too late.  (Like me!)

IF you want to get published by a traditional publisher or become self-published, you are going to need to start with being realistic.  Tell yourself you’re not likely to hit it big with just your first book, not unless you learn everything necessary to the industry, marketing, networking, platforming, editing (quiz: what’s a galley edit?), or the inside-out, know-hows of writing commercially publishable bestsellers’ material.

Now.  When you knock yourself down to the bottom step and you realize there is a lot you are going to need to learn, you might feel a little lost like I did.  Lucky for you, that’s what this post is for.  I’m giving you something no one else gave me.  An idea of where to frickin’ start.  Once you know where to start, with everything laid out in front of you like college course material in the instructor’s syllabus, you can begin to inch forward.

You create your career plan before you screw it up and get lost or quit. Meanwhile, you continue to practice writing between research sessions in order to hone your skillset.

Every goal that is met in your career plan serves as another victory under your belt.  And guess what?  If you do it right, you won’t have to go back to the beginning like I did.

My intent is to become a full-time author. Is yours?  I have had to put some of my writing to the side and only dabble as my soul demands in order to feed my inner beastie.  This has allowed me to get some perspective, do some research, and then get some real perspective.

Here is my horribly misshapen list of everything you need to look into before beginning your career / paying hobby.  If I find new stuff to look up along the way, I will add them.  If you think of a few, share them in the comments.

Turn this into a checklist, print it out, put it in with your Career Goals syllabus, and research the hell out of each topic.  Figure out what is best for you personally, and then adapt it.  Take detailed notes as you learn, and share what you learn as you go--it helps you understand what you are learning better.  And most importantly, always work toward completing the next step.

This is the order of business:

  • Research apps that help writers.
  • Research habits of successful, bestselling writers.
  • Research pitches, synopsis, plot structure, etc.
  • Research productivity tips for writers.  There are ways to reach 10,000 words a day, guys.  Familiarizing yourself with recording devices is one of them.  It is awkward at first, just like learning to type is, so I suggest using them for writing prompts first, to practice.
  • Research how to write commercial fiction: plot structure, character arcs, and other components of stories.
  • Research Trello and editorial calendars. You may use other systems, but Trello is the best in my opinion.  Editorial Calendars will give you deadlines and push you to achieve more by certain dates.  Trello is great for that, as I said.  I’ll repeat myself later.
  • Write a business plan. Where do you (as a writer) want to be in five years? Ten Years? How many books do you want to have published 2 years from now? How many books do you want to have published by the end of next year?
  • Research the editing process.
  • Research the marketing process
  • Research platform development - and get started NOW!!!  Even if you take baby steps. Having a single user ID across many social media platforms helps your searchability.  Mine is always 7bloodfire -- whether I am on Twitter, Facebook, Wattpad, or even Tumblr.  I even own the 7bloodfire.com domain name for 10$ a year through blogger.com)
  • Research how to create your own brand.  Think series books, or a specific type of fiction or memoir you are good at.  That’s what your brand will be from, and you need to figure out what it is and how to develop it.
  • Research how to make money from writing novels, how to set improve sales and traffic, etc.
  • Research what all goes into a self-published book: cover pages, ISBNs, marketing, costs for print, promotions, gift ideas as promotions, contest ideas as promotions, etc.
  • Research how to promote your book: conferences, tours, press releases, starting book clubs, etc.
  • Research Web Site Development and HTML.
  • Plan the focus and layout of your site, blog.
  • Create your site, blog.
  • Research networking and creating business partnerships. Implement as it comes up.
  • Start, join, or hire: Review Groups / Beta Readers / Book Clubs.
  • Attend Seminars / Conferences / Webinars / PodCasts, etc.
  • Research setting up Seminars / Conferences / Webinars / Podcasts
  • Set Up your own Appearances at Seminars / Conferences / Webinars / Podcasts later, when you are famous, too.  If this is a goal, it stays on the list.  Get used to the idea that writing is a business.  And businesses have training seminars and meetings.
  • Research and Develop Email Lists, Customer / Fan Bases, etc.
  • Research and then get paypal or other online banking methods of getting paid for ebooks and physical books
  • Research and keep up with Industry News.
  • Research genre types and how to write in them.  Same with looking up published books’ lengths.  This gives you idea on what is expected across the board.
  • Create a Career Journal and add to it: Projects, Goals, Syllabus, Scheduling, Tours, Travel, etc.
  • Improve your writing productivity one project at a time.  It’s probably best to start with dictation practice--use a recorder and speak the story. Then transcribe it later.)
  • Incorporate all research into one place for easy reference
  • Put the editorial calendar to use
  • Practice and incorporate anything new that works - dictation and transcribing? Yeah!
  • Research copyright laws, like Fair Use, Plagiarism, etc.
  • Research using social media for business use, like marketing campaigns, posting times and frequency, etc.
  • Research blog post types, like Round Up posts and other types.
  • Implement Deadlines, break down your project into stages, and strive to meet those deadlines.

I am almost halfway through my list.  And I HIGHLY recommend Trello for the Editorial Calendar.  If I didn’t say that before. I told you I would say it again. Here's a link to Trello, if you want to get started: Trello.com.  I will be covering the many uses of Trello as I continue my 'setting up for success' articles.

So, as you can see, if you’re like me and got the ball rolling before you knew where it was going to have to go in order to get commercial, you’ll have to put the writing addiction on the back burner in order to get your alphabet straight. You have to research what to research.  Having a good list to start with HELPS.

As for improving your skill at the craft? I always recommend Donald Maas’s Writing 21st Century Fiction.  It’s...AMAZING.

By the way, traditional publishers want you to already have a huge platform with a couple of thousand fans anyway.  You’ll be marketing your own material even if they sign you on, and after 6 months, whether your book sells or not, you become competition to the very company that signed you on.  (Better look up publishing contracts while you’re researching! There is a saving grace called a backlist.)

If you want to follow my process for getting everything straightened out, click on the Taking Writing to a Career Level link in the sidebar on the right.  I'll be posting updates on this kind of thing there.