Vegas 2019

Last week, I attended the 20booksto50K conference in Las Vegas.

For me, the conference was a chance to enjoy sunshine, the companionship of other indie writers, and perhaps more importantly, to figure out why I met none of my production goals this year.

In January, I left my day job (yes, again) so that I could write full-time. But as spring turned to summer, I hadn’t written the three books in my cozy mystery series that I planned to, and my attempt to write a fourth book in my Celebration House series was also failing. Ugh.

So, I hopped on a plane (a challenge, as I hate to fly) and headed south. Over the next three days, I heard some of the most successful indie authors share their ups and downs of writing. Because there are going to be downs. There are going to be set backs. A writer’s career isn’t a straight arrow pointed up and to the right, as I learned. It’s more of an up, down, up, down pattern. For ALL of us, not just me.

Kevin J. Anderson, one of the most successful science-fiction writers, talked about the challenges he encountered in his career, including when one of the big publishers closed, and he had to find a day job. He’s teaching creative writing at a college near him. Mark Dawson, a seven-figure indie author, discussed his experiences with a traditional publisher, and the motivation it provided for him to pursue indie publishing instead. One of my favorite moments was when Michael Anderle, arguably one of the most successful science fiction/fantasy author today, shared a poem written by a young man about how fellow creatives threw him a rope to pull himself up from the dredges of depression. Powerful stuff.

I’m home now and happy to say, writing again. I’m drafting my next cozy mystery, Death Goes Spelunking, and revising the first version of a contemporary romance, The Courtship of Merle Walker. I think for me, the answer is to set short, succinct goals, like writing an hour every day. And remembering there will be ups and downs on this path. The important thing is to continue taking the next step. And the next.

Thanks for reading!

My family joined me in Las Vegas. My son, Jack, crosses the Vegas version of Abbey Road.

Two weeks later, results.

Hey, guys.

Two weeks ago, I promoted my book, Building Celebration House, for free with a Bookbub promotion. I thought I’d share results.

To date, I’ve given away 20,475 copies. Not bad. I’ve sold about 910 books. The second book, Stay at Celebration House, has sold almost 500 copies. The third book, Return to Celebration House, has sold just shy of 400 copies. I’m not shopping for a beach house in Hawaii, but I’m happy with these numbers, as it shows that if people read the second book, they’re likely to follow up with the third. Yay!

I sell my books on all e-book platforms, including Kobo. So, checking those numbers, my books are now being enjoyed by readers all over the world, including South Africa and countries whose name I cannot pronounce (Vanuatu?). Here’s a map of where my books sold this month:

global map

I’m humbled. People in lots of places where I’ve never been are reading my books. That feels so great! Now, I’m working with PublishDrive to make my books available in China. I’m told it’s a huge market. We’ll see. (I may shop for that beach house after all).

If you intended to download Building Celebration House for free – and I encourage you to do so – please hurry. The book will soon go back to its regular price of $1.49.

Meanwhile, I work on answering all of the awesome emails I received and writing the next book, The Courtship of Merle Walker. It’s a romantic comedy that takes place in England. (Think Colin Firth). I’ve been working on it since the Royal wedding last May. Fingers crossed, I’ll have it finished in February.

God bless, and thanks for reading.

Annette

 

Building Celebration House is free!

Building Celebration House is currently free on all ebook platforms: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iBook, and GooglePlay. So, if you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, please gift it to a friend or family member who loves to read and may like it.

CelebrationHouse_Book1On Sunday, Jan. 13th, the book will be featured by Bookbub, who will send an email to 1.9 million readers in my genre, women’s fiction. I’ve been lucky (or perhaps persistent) enough to have two previous promotion. The book was featured in May of 2017 and 40,000 readers downloaded it. The promotion in April of 2018 resulted in 32,000 downloads.

So, fingers crossed for that level of success again. And, toes crossed that readers will enjoy the first book enough to buy Volumes 2 and 3, Stay at Celebration House and Return to Celebration House.

Thanks for reading!

Annette

 

Vegas!

Hey, guys.It’s been way too long since I’ve blogged!
I’ve just returned from Las Vegas, where I attended the 20 books to 50K conference. It was amazing! I’m so glad I attended. It’s reaffirming to sit in a room full of people and know that they too have imaginary friends. I am not alone!
One of the coolest sessions I attended was a 45-minute speech by Dean Wesley Smith. He’s well known in the indie-author community. His speech entitled, “Writing Into the Dark,” really resonated with Susan, an author sitting next to me. She writes romance science fiction, and she told me she had just recently won her five-year battle with a traditional publisher to get back the rights to nine books. Nine! Now, she’s polishing and publishing them herself. Each book will be released 30 days apart. This is the same publisher whom I pitched “A Year to Geno” with at a writers conference last month. Hmm. Maybe I won’t submit my book there. Maybe I will revise the book, allow my copy editor to hone it, and then republish it with a new cover. Yeah. I like that idea. This cover will have a basset hound in it.
There’s so much to take away from the conference, but I guess to sum it up best, I would say: don’t give in to fear. Dream big dreams. Believe in my writing. Don’t be afraid to tell the story I want to tell. Does it fit the scaffolding of a romance? Um, probably not. Tell it anyway! Those are lessons worth a trip to Vegas.

Hands and arms inside the cart: Why I rejoined Facebook.

2018-11-07 18.22.17

The closest I’ve gotten to the Eiffel Tower so far.

Paris Las Vegas

I caught an Uber from the conference to the Vegas strip. Here I pose outside Paris Las Vegas.

 

Fristers for Life!

I LOVE this picture. I want to be at this party. When I received this email, I just burst out laughing. I hope the photograph makes you smile too.

It takes a lot of confidence to wear a hat like that! From left: Kristy, Kathy, Karen, and Deb. Kathy, who sent me the photo said, “We have all been close and so grateful for the love we share for each other.”

Best friends!

About two weeks or so ago, I asked readers to make a deal with me: if they would send me a photograph of themselves with their best friend, I would give them a copy of Return to Celebration House. Readers answered the call, and I received some truly lovely pictures.
The problem was, what to do with these treasures? Initially, I planned to build a collage, but because there are so many pictures, they would all be teeny tiny. That’s no good.
Instead, I decided to post one picture to my blog every day for the next two weeks or so. That way, the photographs are of decent size. I’ll share them in the order in which they were received.
It was a delight to receive these photographs. All of the women (and a couple of men) who were shown looked so happy. That in turn made me happy. My husband said I cackled with delight each time I received one.
My sincere thanks.
Annette
***

From left: Sue and her best friend, Annette. They vacation on Galveston Island, Texas, every year. Sue was one of the first readers to reach out to me.