Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ups and Downs

Ah! The writer's life...it's filled with ups and downs. A couple of weeks ago, I was experiencing some unexpected "ups" but those have now turned to "downs".

I already told you about turning down the book the contract. My other up was the South Dakota Festival of the Book was considering for their festival line up this year but I found out yesterday that I didn't make the cut. : (  I was really hoping to use the venue to promote the inspirational romance genre, but I guess it wasn't meant to be....for this year at least.

Which brings me to a question for writer's and readers? Does the state you live in have an annual book festival? If so, do you go?

I really encourage people to attend book festivals, it's a haven for readers and writer's. Here is the link to the SD Festival of the Book. There is a wide variety of writer's so if you're in the area in late September, check it out!
http://www.sdhumanities.org/programs_festival.htm

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Turning Down A Contract

So last week, I left you with a cliff hanger of "news to announce", today, I'll tell you about one of them.

My title gives away the end of my story but here is the beginning and middle. I received an offer through the mail from Arcadia Publishing to write a pictorical history of Elk Point and Union County, South Dakota. I was actually REFERRED to them by the South Dakota State Historical Society, so I felt very honored.

If you aren't familiar with Arcadia Publishing, visit their website, http://www.arcadiapublishing.com/. They put out awesome books. I was very familiar with them because my huband is a big fan and my friend, Marilyn Kratz wrote a book for them.

The first thing I did was kick an email off to Marilyn for advice, then I started researching picture availability as the book requires from 175 to 200 pictures. I came upon some deadends but did find that the Union County Historical Society housed right in Elk Point has a plethora of pictures.

With the Historical Society five minutes from my house, it seems like a perfect opportunity, right? That was my hope too, but historical pictures are a valued commodity and need to remain on the Historical Society's premises. Understandably, but then that meant, I'd have to buy a scanner and use my vacation days to research and scan pictures because the Historical Society's hours of operation are during the middle of the week days.

So...I had to make a hard decision to turn down the book contract. Believe me I'm not a writer who likes to turn down work, but I'm also a writer who's never missed a deadline and who feels I just don't have the time I need to devote to this worthy project. I'm hoping the publisher can find an author to work on this book because just doing the basic research that I did, I saw pictures of things that I never knew existed in Union County and things I had forgotten!

Perhaps, some of my writer friends who are readers of my blog are interested in this project? If so, let me know and I'll give you the publisher's email address.

So, reader's and writer's have you ever had to turn down a project? Did it pain you to do so? I'd like to know.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Whoa!

Yes, I said beginning in March that I'd be posting three times a week and look at what's happened just two full weeks into the month. I slipped back into the habit of NOT posting.

I can tell you every excuse that stopped me this week, but that doesn't change the fact that I didn't get two short posts written. The sad fact is: I just didn't make the time to write for my blog and what free time I had, I didn't use wisely.

Writer's, do you find this happens to you? You have this great story idea but can never get it down on paper? Or you've started a great story or article but can never get back to it?

Reader's, do you start a project, like scrap booking, get all excited and then have trouble finishing it?

I promise that I'll be more faithful this week in my posts.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Surprises!

Do you ever bemoan, 'nothing good ever happens to me'? I do! Most of the time I'm referring to my writing career. I see other writer's "making it" and think, why doesn't that happen to me...forgetting all my own writing accomplishments.

It's easy to measure ourselves by others, but it's not a realistic way to think. I have to admit since the first of the year, I was bemoaning that my writing career felt like I went one step forward and two steps back, then in one week's time, all of that changed!

The unfortunate thing is I can't really talk about some of it right now because nothing is finalized. I can reveal one thing, and this is something I encourage ALL writer's to do, answer work for hire calls. Recently, while perusing a conference website, I noted a children's editor is looking for writer's who are interested in work for hire. I met this editor last year and sat beside her at lunch, I'm not waiting until September to answer her need for writer's, I'm sending my credentials and interest to my agent who is contacting her next week. Then, in September, I will follow up this submission in person.

I almost didn't read the blurb about this editor, because I knew who she was and what she was seeking last year but I'm glad I did because 'Surprise', another avenue for my work. The other surprise, that I can't discuss yet, came as a total surprise to me!

Sometimes in life, surprises come to you, other times, you must find the surprise. Either way, they make your day!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What Are You Reading?

I ask this question from time to time on Facebook. It's an important marketing question that most writers should ask friends and collegues-even if they aren't the target audience you aim to please. Another good question to ask: Do they purchase their books or check them out from the library?

Why are these questions important? First, friends and family may be reading something that would interest you. You may find a new trend or genre in the publishing industry. Not only something you'd like to read but maybe try your hand at writing. Second, if a greater percentage of the people you ask, utilitize their library, you may want to target some of your marketing efforts toward libraries. Now, there seems to be no gray area on marketing to libraries, writers are either for it or against it. But I think they are a viable market as larger (and some smaller) libraries stock more than one of the same book and chances are if one of your books is frequently borrowed, a librarian will more than likely order your next book. Just something to think about....

I am currently reading two cozy mysteries. Buried in a Book by Lucy Arlington and Quick Step to Murder by Ella Barrick.

What are you reading?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Goals!

It's about time I posted my writing goals for the year 2012! So here they are:

Put together proposal targeted at the Love Finds You In line of books
Write "trick rider" historical targeted at Love Inspired line
Write chapel car historical targeted at Love Inspired line
Answer manuscript calls and apply for work for hire
Finish the second and third chapter of Casey Tibbs bio aimed at children and submit
Keep my blog current

I feel pretty good because I've already completed one goal, inquired on a work for hire post and committed to keeping my blog current.

In addition to writing goals, I set some personal goals this year too. I started two quilt projects and they both have to be completed by year end. I have several "local" museums that I plan to visit because none of them are more than an hour away from my home. Sometimes, it seems we miss the local treasures looking, thinking about or wishing we could visit a nationally known vacation sight. Do you ever do that? Bypass a local museum for something bigger, better and farther away?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What's Up?

Okay, I said I'd start posting more regularly on March 1st, so here I am!

I'm going to talk about what's going on in my writing life so far this year. First, I've been working with my agent, polishing up a book proposal. I'm hoping that we're both happy with it by the end of the month so she can send it to the targeted publisher.

Second, I spoke to a group of children's writer's on the importantance of setting goals, making them public, and committing to them.

Yesterday, a writing friend invited me to participate in a speaking engagement at a library in April! What a nice and unexpected surprise that was in my inbox yesterday!

I also learned that the Dakota's SCBWI chapter has a spring conference scheduled for the last Saturday in April in Brookings, SD this year.

Springtime is starting to fill up for this writer!

How about you? Writer's and reader's what's going on in your life?