Ten Things I now know as a Newbie E-Book Writer.

I still consider myself to be a certified newbie.
Before I started writing in earnest, there would always be some sort of drama and dialogue going on inside my head. Now, some might say, I have a problem and need to visit the brainy peeps in white coats. But, really it’s just my imagination at play.
Transforming the scenario’s inside my head into stories, and ultimately publishing them as e-books requires more than the “ten things I now know” written below (hello that’s an unintentional rhyme). They are however, ten steps in the right direction.
Please note – if you are looking for a meaty how-to-e-publish post, I’m afraid this post will disappoint. It’s my intention to blog more on this, and e-book marketing in the near future. 
1.  Commit
Make a commitment to write with the intention of publishing an e-book. Commit to wearing more than a writer’s hat. At some stage, and sometimes all at once, you’ll be wearing a marketing, publishing, and a therapy hat. 
2.  Show Up
If you don’t show up to write, not a single word will get written. All you’ll have is a blank screen, or page. Time, focus, and words strung together into creative sentences, are a few of the necessary ingredients of writing. Make, and schedule time to write.
3.  Go with the Flow
As a runner, for me writing is a lot like pounding the pavement. Not one day is the same. Some days I feel like I can run for miles, while the next…my legs feel like I’m lugging around blocks of of concrete. With writing, one day you’re on a creative roll, the next your river of words has dried up to a mere trickle….Frustrating? Definitely. I’m learning, to go with the flow. If you’ll pardon the pun.
4.  Be a Sponge
Soak up as much information from others about writing, and the world of e-book publishing. Follow related blogs, befriend google and ask questions, join forums and groups – Amazon and Goodreads, a great place to start. Take webinars – online seminars cover a load of subjects from publishing on blogging, Kindle, e-book marketing and PR, success stories…they’re free, and jam-packed with juicy relevant information.
5.  Don’t be Afraid
Whether your brazen, über confident, or super shy, you’re going to need bucket loads of courage. To write, e-publish, read reviews, find your readers, navigate your way around the marketing, and dealing with angst and uncertainty. All require a badge of courage, and a willingness to venture into the soon-to-be-known territory
6.  Establish your name
As a newbie author you probably count your Mum, and a couple of good friends as die-hard loyal readers. I know I do. Expanding your reach beyond that precious three, requires a plan to find readers who, over time will like, love, and trust you enough to buy your books, and share the book love with their friends and family. Establishing your writing name/brand is an essential part of the marketing plan.   
7.  Marketing

Writing with the intention of selling requires at the very least, the backbone of a marketing plan. Step one, know from the onset who you perceive your readers are. Step two, know where to find your readers. A healthy mix of digital, with a little traditional marketing is needed to get your name established, readers, and sales. Without going into too much detail – to build a marketing foundation the must do/have basics are:

  • Blog. Create a blog relevant to establish your identity and what it is you want to be known and recognized for. Whatever you do, have a contact me page.
  • Website. At this risk of sounding like an old fashioned fuddy duddy – in this day and age if you’re not online, well let’s just say you risk extinction. Having a digital presence is crucial if you want to have a ounce of e-publishing success. For the budget conscious, like me, my free wordpress blog site doubles up as my website. And I love it.
  • Social Media. Its social, and its media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr connects you with like minded people who are interested in what you do. It’s a platform to interact.
  • PR. Public Relations interacts with social media, your blog, and or website. In fact, they all interact. But, a good old fashioned press release to announce your book, what it’s about, who the market is, how and where readers can buy it from, the price and why people should buy your book is like a one stop shop of information for media, and potential readers.
  • Elevator Pitch. A long lost friend stops you in the street and asks you, ‘so, what are you doing now?’ What’s your 15, ok maybe stretch it out to 30 seconds summary of what you do? By the time it takes you to ride the elevator from the ground to the penthouse suite, is all the time you need to sell yourself, and your book.
  • Be Consistent. Just like you show up for writing, be regular and consistent with your marketing. The key is consistency with relevant and engaging content. It’s not all about sales, don’t be afraid to mix a little sales with social. People want to get to know, like, love and trust you.

8. Accept Not all Reviews will be 5*****
Develop a thick skin. No matter what, getting and reading a review is a daunting task. One, I’ll never quite get used to. The way I survive reading a review and minimizing the possibility of a bad one completely ruining my day, is to allow myself only a couple of hours to think about it. Tops. Then, I have to let it go.
My policy. Focus on the positive, and respect your reviewer’s opinion. If you don’t like what you read, don’t even think about stepping into the boxing ring and going glove to glove with the reviewer. Sure, it’s tempting, but I believe, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Same applies if you get a great review. If you turn around and laud the reviewer with adulation, and praise, you no longer have an honest review.
Whether the review is good, or just plain ugly and brutal, try taking something positive from it. It’s easier said than done. One reader gave my book a 1* rating, and didn’t back it up with a review. Where’s the positive in that I asked? Well, after digging around, I found out the reader wasn’t in my target age group, and more than likely was never going to enjoy my story.
As hard as it is sometimes, I always appreciate the time and effort it has taken the reviewer to read your book, and write and post a review.
9.  Believe
For many self belief is the biggest hurdle. At times I’m plagued with self doubt, and throughout my day I can be heard muttering sound bites of encouragement. ‘Back Yourself’ has become a personal favorite. As Jack Canfield once said “tell people you’re a writer when you think you are.” I now tell peeps I’m a writer. And yes, I believe it too.
10.  Reality Check and Luck
This is a goodie. How do you measure success? By achieving your own goals? Showing up? Sales? Or….is it the little things you achieve, and learning from and surviving the failures, disappointments, dark days, mistakes, crankiness, writers block…that ultimately point us in the direction of “being successful.”
Writing with the intention of selling your book is a magic combo of content, marketing, luck, and giving people what they want at the right time.
Timing is everything. Whether it’s an overnight runaway #1 best seller, or it takes you a few months, or years. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither will your writing career. Either way…believe, believe, believe in you.

Magdalena has recently written a contemporary romance e-book, Love in the Vines. Food, wine, love and betrayal. Like wine, love begins in the vines. Betrayal begins in the heart of a marriage.
Her first e-book was an mage to her cat, Minnie Moo….Minnie Moo The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat.
Both e-books are available to buy on Amazon.
Having successfully completed NANOWRIMO writing 50,000 words in 30 days (the month of November), Magdalena is currently working on the sequel to Love in the Vines – Love Entwined.
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A bite size reminder. No matter what, keep going.

After a trying few days….this simple reminder fuels my determination to keep going. With every step, hurdle and any other crappy obstacle bringing me one step closer to my dreams, goals and aspirations.

Positive Power Surge.

By nature I’m an eternal optimist; not quite Pollyanna but definitely a borderline Ollyanna. Despite always looking for the proverbial silver lining occasionally a shadow of doubt tries  to cast aspersions on my otherwise positively cloud free day.

Usually loud and obnoxious, negative thoughts aren’t known to be shy. These big bad words forming as sentences are on steroids and show no remorse when muscling in to bulldoze flat any chance of a rosy positive healthy outlook. Open the door and negativity will barge in to take over any precious thinking space and never leave.

With negativity you’ve got yourself a guaranteed life long frenemy.

Sound familiar?

Switching the pesky and persuasive negative whiney conversation threatening to settle inside your head to positive thinking takes no more than a conscious effort to change.

You have to want to replace negative with positive.

If you’re quite happy wallowing in shallow negatively charged waters or love the cool embrace of “I’m not good enough or I can’t” – I’m pretty sure this post isn’t your cup of tea.

This snippet of a typical power struggle may sound familiar. A simple dose of will and conscious desire swings the balance of power back into the warm fuzzies zone. Note, in my world, the positive always gets the last word.

-ve: You’re no good vs +ve I  am excellent.
You can’t do that vs Yes I can. I will try.
Other people are better than you vs I learn from others who are more experienced. I am interested in being the best person I can be.
You’re a loser vs Sorry, the L word is not in my vocabulary.  Every day I strive to reach my potential. If I fail. I learn.
Don’t be silly, you’ll never make it vs I’m already on my way.
Who’s going to believe in you vs Well for starters, I am.
So, you’re feeling a tad insecure today? Well, I’ll make you feel worse. vs For a moment I had the wobbles but right now and for the rest of the day I’ve decided to feel great.

With most of us spending our days navigating through choc-a-block schedules backed up by a page long to-do list we need every ounce of positive energy to bolster us through the demands of everyday living. Negativity is quite happy to sit for days on end eating away at your progress, self confidence, spirit and overall sense of well being, its definitely baggage we don’t need. Why indulge it.

The last thing negative thoughts want is you on the podium of success. They’re happiest when squashing dreams and aspirations. Disconnect from the negative. Switch to positive connections.  It’s a no brainer.

Having just written and self-published Minnie Moo The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat, I’m onto my next Minnie Moo story as well as Love in the Vines. Negativity can often be found lurking on my – my life my way doorstep. It’s still sitting out there languishing in the cold. My door remains firmly closed.

My life my way takeaway for; Positive Power Surge, “Plug into positive thinking”

Back Yourself.

Late nights glued to the telly watching the world’s best strive in the heart racing adrenalin pumped pursuit of their ultimate goal, Olympic glory is nothing short of inspiring. For those of us living south of the equator it’s also a tad exhausting.

Just as inspirational is a ‘note to self reminder,’ a place on the podium is not due to an overnight magical transformation. Hard work, dogged determination, dedication and single-minded focus is the currency.  Bucket loads of the stuff is needed time and time again to get up every day and go to work at achieving dreams and goals.

Success isn’t a gift you wrap up nicely and simply hand over like you would a birthday present. It’s certainly not a right of passage. Neither is it something left to chance. Not a single competitor sits back and waits for their opportunity of success to find them. Complacency doesn’t even enter the psyche. No matter what discipline, these athletes expect to give it everything they’ve got and more. Leaving nothing of themselves behind.

It’s the worlds biggest sporting spectacle and thus begins my two week fascination with sports I know absolutely nothing about. Archery, equestrian, canoeing, javelin and some of the intricacies of cycling around the velodrome are all just a remote control click away.

No disrespect, my knowledge of Judo ends at the fact its a martial art. By chance I caught the tail end of USA Gold medal winner, Kayla Harrison’s interview. Having mastered a 360 life degree turn, the former self-confessed punk rocker won the most coveted golden accessory in the women’s 78kg Judo event. Ecstatic with her win what made her post-award ceremony interview impressive was her formidable undeniable self belief.

My ears pricked up at a resonating point she made when asked how she felt on the day and in that moment. Her answer, it’s not a day or moment. It’s four years. By my calculations that’s 35,040 hours of relentless preparation of never allowing the mind, body, spirit or soul to stray far from the job at hand. Sleep counts as recovery time.

35,040 hours (365 days x 24 hours x 4 years) of scaling the high’s and lows of mountains of mental and physical work to be deserving of an Olympic title. Incredible guts to achieve the penultimate glory.

Since the 2000 summer Olympics, Michael Phelps has been chasing the monotonous black line of the 50m pool. A staggering 105,120 hours invested to become the most decorated Olympian of all times. 20 Olympic Medals. 16 Gold Medals. And, that’s not counting time as a young seven-year old dipping his ever growing feet into the pool of destiny. Mind boggling and extraordinary.

Inspirational? Most definitely. Two different sports, two different athletes. Same ethos involving time, hard work, focus, planning, the value of team and support and, self belief, all driving them towards their ultimate destination.

Working for myself, writing and setting my own goal to become a published author sounds a romantic notion, lofty even. It’s neither. Like anyone charting their own course and chasing dreams, it takes guts, desire, passion, love and self-belief to get through the lonely, nerve-wracking and self-doubt moments.

I’m drawing inspiration from the Olympians. Put in the hard work – rewards will come. Dreams will become reality. More importantly, back yourself every step of the way.

My life my way takeaway for, Back Yourself. “Keep your eye on the prize.”

My first E-Book is out now!
Click here to view.
Minnie Moo The Extraordinary Adventures of an Ordinary Cat 
One little cat, one big message “it’s ok to do the right thing, it’s not ok to be a bully.
Only $US4.99 – available for most e-book formats.
Also available direct from Amazon for Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony E-Reader, I-Books.
PS: Minnie Moo’s my cat. I’m his personal door opener!