Signing Books, Sending Emails, and Meeting Blog Friends #AuthorLife

This has been a fantastic week at the Creation Museum, and I’m kinda sad that Friday has arrived so quickly.

Throughout this week I’ve had so much fun following my adopted parents around and helping when possible (yay!). I’ve spent hours back in the offices sending Where Dandelions Grow out to dozens of new reviewers, answering lots of emails, working on editing Echoes, and other writerly tasks. (Today I sent out the information regarding the Cover Reveal that takes place next week! *cue happiness*)

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I’ve also had a delightful time meeting new people each day after Dad’s concerts and workshops. Yesterday I talked to a family with six young boys who said they love my book and keep the audio version in their car. That was incredibly, fantastically encouraging! That kind of feedback is what helps keep me going even when writing gets tough, and reminds me of how blessed I am to get to write.

It was also fun getting to sign some of my Cool Critters of the Ice Age books. Nothing like signing a book to make me feel like an actual author. 😉 When not signing books (which, in reality was most of the time), I had a good time getting to answer people’s questions about what songs are on what CDs, and which DVD I would recommend, and all that exciting stuff.

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One extra-cool thing that happened the other day was I got to meet some people in real life that I’d only known through blogging/emailing. A couple of years ago a guy introduced himself to me at a conference, saying he’d read my blog before after seeing a link shared by a mutual friend. I didn’t stay in contact with him, but two of his sisters ended up becoming beta readers for various books of mine. I’ve had fun emailing them on and off, so it was so neat and unexpected to suddenly meet them in real life. (YAY for blogging friends!)

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If you’d like to be a part of the Cover Reveal team, email me at: aidylewoh@gmail.com (Any type of social media works for this – you don’t have to have a blog.) Thank you to everyone who has already signed up – y’all are amazing!

Question of the day: Have you ever met a blogger in real life? If you could meet any blogger in real life, who would you want to meet?

Have a totally delightful weekend, y’all!

Writerly Happiness: When Book Reviews Make You Want to Cry

This morning I’m doing that whole “Twenty-first-century-author” type thing. I’m in the backseat of a car, typing away on my laptop while using my phone as a hotspot, and the phone is plugged into an external battery so I don’t have to rush to conserve the juice. Pretty crazy, right?

Today is a happy authorly day for me. Not only did four (!!!) more of you sign up to read Where Dandelions Grow since Saturday night *cue happy dance* but two people have posted reviews on Goodreads. And yes, I will happily admit to getting tears in my eyes when reading the reviews and thinking of how incredibly blessed I am to not only get to be an author but to have you AMAZING people as part of my community.

If you want to check out the reviews that are live, you can look at the Goodreads page for Where Dandelions Grow. I’m also blown away by how many of you have marked the book “To-Read” – Thank you, thank you, thank you! If you haven’t done that, I’d be thrilled if you’d take a moment to do so, and if you want to recommend it to your friends on Goodreads, too? Well, that would be totally amazing as well! 😉

 

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Traveling office – and yes, that is a pile of clothes next to me cause I’m going to the Creation Museum for the week. Y’all should come visit! 😉 

I finally received the final front cover of the book from my designer, so that means I get to send that out in an email to everyone who has signed up to read WDG in exchange for review. Cause you know, they get the first sneak peeks. 🙂 (You want to get into the fun? It’s still not too late to sign up! Tomorrow is the Five-Weeks-Until-Release-Day! *cue yet another happy dance*)

 

This morning I’m also working on sending out info to everyone who has signed up to be part of the Cover Reveal team because the Cover Reveal is only eight days away! (If you’d like to take part in that, but don’t have time to read and review the book, you can email me at aidylewoh@gmail.com – We’re going to have lots of fun with Giveaways and all that.)

Among other writerly things that I’ve done recently, on Friday and Saturday I sent 38 emails, wrote 11 book reviews, scheduled two (book review) blog posts, and hung out on quite a few blogs. That’s in addition to having an already-busy weekend (which included packing for this week, having a bunch of company, and hanging out at my sister’s house).

And speaking of busy, we’re only about a half an hour away from the Creation Museum so I’d better sign off here so I can send out those emails. Have a delightful Monday, y’all! Thank you SO MUCH for being part of my journey as an author. Your support and community mean an incredible amount to me! 🙂

That Day I First Became A Published Author

Happy Monday, Y’all! Am I the only one who has like ten thousand things to do this week? I’m excited about seeing what I can accomplish, but also maybe a wee bit overwhelmed when I stop and think about all there is to do.

I’ve been working on getting my book Where Dandelions Grow ready to be released, which has been so rewarding. (And Hey! It’s not too late to sign up to be part of the release team! If you want to read the book for FREE in exchange for a review, you can sign up here.) With the release of a new book, I thought it would be fun to share with y’all part of the story regarding my first book release.

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Cue the year 2013 and I was in the beautiful state of Hawaii with my family. Even though I was throughly enjoying my time there, I was also frantically trying to get everything in place with my book, Cave Secrets of the PterodactylI’d co-authored the book with my adopted parents, and there was a really good chance that it would be published, and the next couple of weeks were the determining factor.

I spent a lot of time on the phone and computer and texting working out small details (like who I wanted to dedicate the book to), without actually knowing if it would be published or not.

Then I awoke early one morning to see I’d received a text from my adopted parents telling me it was a go. I kinda totally flipped out, wondering if I was reading the text correctly. (With the time difference, I’d gotten into the habit of answering texts and then falling back to sleep.) Jumping out of bed I quickly threw some clothes on in the dark – not even knowing if they matched – then slipped out of the hotel room, through the lobby, and onto the path that led down to the beach.

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I called my adopted parents, nearly shaking with excitement (they were the ones dealing with the publishers, so I got all my info from them). When they answered I probably had to ask about ten times before I finally let it sink in that my book was indeed going to be published.

Sitting out on the beach that morning, I talked to them, begging for all the details, and watched as the surf rolled in and out. (See the top picture.) When my adopted parents finally had to get off the phone to go to work, I snapped a selfie that clearly shows that I’d dragged my young-little-braces-self out of a deep sleep to hurry down to the beach. 😉 Really though, although I’m not generally a fan of selfies, this one will always hold a special place in my heart because it’s when and where I learned that my published-author-dream was coming true. (And, this also ended up being the first picture of myself I ever showed on Noveltea, because until that time I hadn’t posted any pictures of myself online.)

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After we got home a few days later I signed the contact for the book, and the dream was underway.

My author-ish life didn’t explode after that like I thought it would, but it was a good beginning. I got to attend some conferences/hang out at the Creation Museum bookstore and do book signings. I’ve gone places and randomly seen the book in bookstores. I’ve met fans of the book, which still feels incredible.

And now I’m about to release my fourth book. (Two self-published, two traditionally published.) I’m still a bit in awe over the fact that I get to be a writer. It’s not always fun. It’s not always easy. It’s not always what I feel like doing at the moment. It’s hard. And discouraging at times. And quite crazy.

But it’s worthwhile. It’s a dream come true. And I’m so thankful that this is my dream – that this is what I get to do.

Tried and True Process For Writing a Great Book

My writing process generally looks something like this:

  1. Muse over a story idea for endless hours while cutting grass, cooking, driving, sleeping (or trying to, anyway), walking, brushing teeth, reading other books, and pretty much anything else that involves breathing
  2. Sit down to write it, then freak out because I remember that plots are delightfully confusing things to put on to paper (Because apparently saying “And then the main character somehow solves the mystery and is heralded by her brothers as being brilliant” isn’t considered a proper plotline)
  3. Frantically pull out my plot-writing books, read them, then Google “how to write a plot for ___________ type of book.” Make decaf coffee to sip (aka gulp) while reading (aka zoning out and eyes glazing over) the articles that pop up
  4. Realize that the step I’m really supposed to be on is Brainstorming
  5. Light my candle, then chew the matchstick to splinters as I jot down bunches of random ideas (on computer and paper, cause I’m amazing like that)
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  6. Decide to have a go at the plot again – this time following Angela Hunt’s The Plot Skeleton (for simplicities sake). Because I’m cool, I use my small whiteboard to jot down the various elements of what the plot’s supposed to look like
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  7. Begin plotting like a pro, and maybe do a happy dance when I come up with the perfect villain
  8. Discover the bottom of my coffee cup looks like the sediment of a swamp, and that the texture of coffee grounds is actually enjoyable to chew, although I do begin to wonder about my coffee making skills
  9. Realize that you need to brainstorm some more, and cutting grass is legit the perfect place to brainstorm. Sigh over the fact that you’ve already cut a lot of the grass, but head out anyway, scrap paper and pen in hand
  10. Get great ideas, return to the writing table raring to go… to Pinterest where I find the perfect picture for each of my main characters (and maybe some of the non-main-characters, too – we really don’t want to leave anyone out)
  11. Type out several more plot points, then the perfect opening line pops into my mind, so I slip over and begin writing the actual book #finally #yay #LookIReallyAmAWriter
  12. Get so excited about being a pro at this whole writing business that I decide to tweet a pic of my writing setup. Only, after I take the picture I freak out because as it turns out, my writing table is a grand disaster
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  13. Spend ten minutes frantically cleaning my writing table (which mostly involves stacking everything just out of the camera’s view), looking through my camera every two minutes to see what else needs to be moved. (Optional: Add stars and rays of light to the picture to make it look like something utterly amazing)
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  14. Take picture, get two likes, feel like a legit pro
  15. Realize it’s time to go make supper, consider taking my computer with me since I’m in such a good writing rhythm
  16. Write frantically for twenty minutes after supper and text a couple of friends about the great progress I’ve made
  17. Fall into bed (well, I actually sleep on the floor, but saying “fall onto the floor” just doesn’t have the same ring to it), ready to begin the process all over again the next day

And there you have it, folks. A fool-proof way to write a fantastic book.

Coffee Shop & Echoes

Today I’m hanging out at a coffee shop in Mexico, working on Echoes, and drinking a frappè de caveat y chocolate blanco. I’m not exactly sure what it means, except for being an exceptionally delicious and extremely, extremely sweet cold coffee drink  with carmel  and white chocolate. (And, in case anyone doesn’t know this, white chocolate is the best.)

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I’ve finally reached a place with When Life Hands You Lymes where I can’t do any more on it until I receive feedback from the (hopefully) last round of beta reading. That means I can turn my focus nearly solely to Echoes, which is a crazy feeling, and rather exciting. (Just for the record, I’m chomping at the bit to send WLHYL off again so I can focus 100% on Echoes. When that day arrives, I will probably be found dancing around and yelling happy comments to the world.)

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For now though, I’m happy to have snagged a round table by the window that includes a nice little ledge where I can put my drinks. There’s AC (a rarity around here!), internet for blogging, Spotify, and maybe allowing myself to be distracted by texting. Twenty-eight other people are moving or sitting around me, all completely intent on accomplishing their own set of tasks. It’s the perfect environment for a writer.

Adios amigos!

Querying, Rejections, and Reasons to Celebrate

There was a time when I thought seriously of not posting anything on Noveltea about querying for agents and all that fun stuff until I was on the other side of the process. But then I realized y’all have been with me for the rest of the journey, so why stop now?

Yesterday after months of preparation and research I sent out my first query letter at 10:32 in the morning. Throughout the day some other things came up – like cooking and dishes and babysitting my best friend’s little girl – but for the most part I stayed up in my office, drank lost of water and coffee, kinda decided to set aside the rest of my goals for the day, and focused on researching, researching, researching, and sending queries.

I sent out my last query for the day at 10:00 (although I did continue researching for another hour and a half). I was amused to no end when I received my first rejection at 10:04, literally four minutes after I had sent the query. At first I thought the email was simply a receipt, letting me know the query had been received or that the offices were closed (I received several of those yesterday). But no, it was a real, live rejection. (And yes, I had followed the guidelines on the website.)

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I took a few minutes to celebrate and sent a screenshot to several writerly friends because I figured the moment should be documented. See, I’ve decided that hopefully rejections are going to be an amazingly fun part of this journey.

Last year when I was researching the querying process nearly everyone talked about how hard it is to wait, wait, wait, and then receive rejection after rejection, after rejection. But it’s life! It’s part of what has to happen. (At least if you’re going the traditional route.)

So, I decided to make it into a game, and to celebrate a lot. For instance, I’m going to reward myself for every rejection I get. I’m also going to reward myself for every day that goes by and I don’t hear back from any agents. From the research I’ve done, that means I have a ton of rewards to look forward to.

I’ve not decided 100% on the type of rewards I’m going to give myself, but I’m fairly certain that each rejection and each day that goes by without hearing back from agents I’ll pay myself a certain amount of money or give myself a certain amount of time to work on Madalyn Emerson’s scrapbook. And yes, I realize that it sounds weird to pay myself, but there are some writerly things on Etsy and some books I would like to have, but generally wouldn’t buy. As for the scrapbook, that will have to wait for another post…. For now I’m just gonna reward myself by drinking way more coffee than normal and listening to Christmas music in January.

Have any of y’all queried? What did you do to make the process more fun?