Family Wedding, Social Anxiety and ramblings

So I came back last week from a wedding in Georgia (the US state, not the country). It was a family wedding and the first time in ten years that all of my siblings have been together – there are 12 of us.

My oldest – is there a nice way to say that? – how about the sister with the most life experience – got married. It was a beautiful wedding – she’s very talented – and made her own gorgeous, unique dress – and it had some wonderful nods to the geeks in the family (most of us) with the music from The Hobbit and a dance to a song from Howl’s Moving Castle. During the dance with my dad, both my sister and dad were singing to each other, a lot of people teared up.

Of course, being a family affair there was plenty of drama. Why is it when we get back together we all seem to act like children again? Well except for the drinking. Is this the case for all siblings?

I didn’t want to say then, because it was my sister’s special time, but I had a breakthrough. For those of you who have been following my blog and probably those who’ve read ‘A Blush of Magic,’ I struggle with social anxiety. I don’t think I’ve completely overcome it yet, but I did something big:

I got on the microphone and spoke in front of a few hundred people – many I didn’t know – completely unrehearsed. Had only had one one drink. My palms didn’t even sweat. Have I turned a corner? I really hope so.

I know I haven’t posted much recently, but life has been really busy. I hope to start the rounds of agent queries with a new book soon – needs a tiny bit of polishing. It’s basically a paranormal romance and has garnered good reviews from beta readers.

Then I’ll be starting on another book.

I’ll try and update more often, but in the meantime:

Happy Reading
Rose Connelly

How not to do a KDP Free Promotion – Obviously

Hello readers and fellow authors. I’m here today to share with you a little story that I wish wasn’t the truth, but sadly is. Here goes.

So after months of querying agents and publishers, getting some interest and positive comments, but – ultimately – being told it just didn’t ‘fit,’ I finally published ‘A Blush of Magic‘ through Kindle Direct Publishing.

Then I had this bright idea (I know, you’re probably already cringing – right?). I already had one romance, ‘Running from Fate,’ published through KDP and I thought: why not do a double promotion?

For those of you who don’t know, a KDP author can sign up for KDP Select, give Amazon exclusive rights to the ebook for 90 day and, in return, get 5 days where they can offer their ebook for free.

Bright idea: offer ‘Running from Fate’ free for 2 days one week and, in my blog and tweets, I made it clear the promotion was in commemoration of my new book.  Then, a week later, offer ‘A Blush of Magic’ free for two days.

I tweeted, tweeted to other people and asked for retweets, I blogged, I posted notices on Goodreads and other websites; I was ready for downloads to sky-rocket (they did the first time I did this for ‘Running from Fate’).

THEY DIDN’T! In fact, I got less than a quarter of the free downloads I had the previous week with ‘Running from Fate.’

So, I ask you – and please feel free to answer – what did I do wrong? Help or advice on marketing would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks to all those people who did spread the word and who downloaded my books.

Happy reading

Rose Connelly

Fear Unfounded

Finished my first read through of my most recently completed novel, ‘Prophecy of a Dangerous Love.’ The writing of which gave me more trouble than anything I’ve ever written (granted it’s only my third novel). I was terrified it would be horrible, but I’m very pleased to say that it’s not. Sure it needs some revising, but I’m now looking forward to it. Damn you creeping rot disease for causing me such stress. Weight gone, hope restored.

Happy writing everyone

Rose Connelly

 

National Novel Writing Month

ImageThis month is November so not only does it mean Thanksgiving for those who live in the United States and Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes Night) for those of us who live in the United Kingdom, but it is also National Novel Writing Month.

From 1999, when National Novel Writing Month started with 21 people in the San Francisco Bay Area, it has grown into a worldwide phenomenon. I can’t say how many people are participating this year, but according to http://www.nanowrimo.org/en the current collective word count for 2012 is 613,259,092 and growing and it is only the 5th of the month.

The official website calls it ‘Thirty days and nights of literary abandon’ and they are right. For writers who choose to go onto the website and sign up for the challenge the goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It seems like a huge tasks, but not when you really look at it. According to the breakdowns on the website, in order to reach this goal you must write an average of 1,667 words a day. The trick to this is that, when you sit down to write, don’t stop. Revising and editing can be done later; November is just about getting the story written.

Each day participants can update their word count on the website and stats will tell you how many words you still have to go, when you are expected to finish considering your current stats and how many words you would have to write per day to complete 50,000 words before the deadline. The best part of it, though, is not really the competition but the community. The website has everything from forums to badges to information on NaNo near you.

I have signed up for the challenge and it’s this last part that I’m enjoying the most. It turns out there there is a rather large group of writers in my area who have taken up the challenge. If I want to I can talk to them online and discuss my progress or even the kind of food I’ve bought for rewards (currently boxed chocolate – I get 1 and a glass of nice wine every day when I complete my daily writing goal). The group in my region also meets up twice a week at a local bookshop, to write, to gain and give encouragement, to take a break, or just to chat.

I don’t know if I’ll complete the challenge, but I’m writing, more and faster than I have in a very long time and, more importantly, I’m really enjoying myself.

So, if you’re a budding novelist just getting started, someone who just wants to write for fun, or an author with a novel or two finished who needs a push (me) or just wants a challenge then I would highly recommend signing up.

It’s still early in the month or there is always next year.

Go to http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/sign_up to sign up.

Happy writing everyone,

Rose Connelly

Contemporary Romance – Running from Fate

Well sales have slowed on my ebook ‘Running from Fate,’ likely due to the fact that I have done very little in the way of marketing or being visible on-line. I’ve been so busy and stressed, working so much (and not on my writing), that it’s difficult to get up the energy. Still, I have decided to make it available in print through CreateSpace. Just waiting for the proof to come in, which I’m quite exited about. Then I’ll see what I can do to make myself more visible.

Published on Amazon Kindle

Well, I have gone ahead and done it; published an e-book on Amazon. It’s a romance with a good mix between contemporary and suspense. The tile is ‘Running from Fate.’ I’ll do what I can to market and increase my ratings and we’ll see what happens. I’ll keep everyone updated. View my book here: http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-eBooks/b/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=node%3D1286228011&field-keywords=Running+from+Fate&rh=n%3A133140011%2Cn%3A!133143011%2Cn%3A!251259011%2Cn%3A1286228011%2Ck%3ARunning+from+Fate And if you have any e-book stories of your own, I’d love to hear them.

Happy writing,

Rose Connelly (real name Cassandra Connolly-Brown )

Writing for a Genre – or Not

As every writer knows, it’s wonderful to let your imagination go, allow your characters room to breathe and speak, and just write. Then comes reality. You’ve finally finished your book. You’ve agonized over the words, edited it until you can barely handle looking at it then passed it on to a friend with an eagle eye. You’ve closed your eyes, taken a deep breath and sent your manuscript out to a group of friends, friends of friends, members of your writing group. You’ve told people to be honest with you and know that some of them have because you feel like the comments in the margins of your Word document should be in glaring red and some of them make you see that colour.

Then you get over your anger because, as a writer, you have to be able to handle criticism; chances are very good that it will only get worse.  So you suck it up, carefully consider what your focus group has said, make your final adjustments, and start the process of querying.  At this point I’m going to talk about my own experiences so far with my most recently completed manuscript, ‘A Blush of Magic.’ As I have previously mentioned in other blogs, the feedback from agents and publishers, in one case, has been quite mixed.

Sourcebooks, who will accept un-agented manuscripts, said it had a good, solid foundation and enchanting accents; they had nothing really negative to say about it, only that it didn’t fit in with what they published. All in all a good start. Then I had a partial manuscript request from an agent; she liked it but felt the romance didn’t move quickly enough. Another agent requested a full manuscript and felt I should clean it up, cut big parts of the story. I’m assuming that she wanted me to cut those parts that didn’t directly contribute to the romance, but doing that, I felt, would change do too much to of the story, what I wanted to say, what my characters had to say. ‘A Blush of Magic’ is definitely a romance, but that’s not all it is. It’s about a woman struggling to overcome a debilitating social anxiety disorder, finding out who she is, discovering a family, overcoming a difficult problem.

And that, it seems, is my problem.  According to Wikepedia, ” Novels in this (romance0 genre place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people…”  And if your book, as mine did, strays outside these constraints even a wee bit, you’ve gone into dangerous territory, territory that, in general, agents and publishers want to stay far away from (at least until you’ve published a few best sellers then I’d imagine that you have a bit more freedom).

This issue became even more apparent in a comment from a publisher on my first manuscript, ‘Running from Fate.’ It was apparently a solid plot, but the tone was uneven, mixing elements of both the contemporary and suspenseful categories of romance, which would apparently make it difficult to market. What’s wrong with that I say? What about comedic relief. When they’ve lost the bad guys for a bit, why can’t the characters take a little break from the stress, dance together, play together, just decompress.

I’ve been stressing over this issue, wondering how I change my already finished works to more closely fit the parameters, worrying that I’ll never get published, doubting my own abilities. And it has played havoc with my creativity, my confidence, my writing. It was something I didn’t even realize until a few weeks ago when I was sitting on the bus and had a flash that I haven’t had in good long while: the germ of a new story. And God how I’d missed that buzz, the excitement, the quick-fire thoughts that I had to get down immediately or lose them. I realized then that I had allowed all the reasons that I had started writing in the first place to become a distant speck, where they were barely even recognizable.

And then I picked up a book by Sherrilyn Kenyon and found something interesting in the author’s note. She says that, prior to this book, she had published six books in one year, but hadn’t sold one book in four years because the genre she was writing in (paranormal/futuristic) had become passée (my words). Then she wrote a book that specifically had everything a ‘marketable’ book of the time should have, but it received a scathing rejection and made her realize something: that she “…didn’t want to succeed by trying to play by other people’s ‘rules.'”  If she was going to fail it would be by writing books that she wanted to write. (Excerpt taken from “Born of Fire” by Sherrilyn Kenyon).

Why can’t I colour outside the lines?

Happy writing,

Rose Connelly

As a note: I will continue to look for an agent for “A Blush of Magic,” but I’m going to give publishing “Running from Fate” as a Kindle ebook a try. I still have to get a cover designed (thankfully I have friends and family members who are artists) and figure out how to market it (for free preferably), but it’s worth a shot.

Book update

I just had a ‘no’ from Sourcebooks on ‘A Blush of Magic.’ They said they ‘enjoyed the writing, especcially the engaging Irish voices’ and ‘it showed a lot of promise’ but ‘it wasn’t the right fit for our line.’ I know I should see their comments as a good thing and perhaps I eventually will, but right now I’m just a bit depressed.

Second Novel

I should be hearing soon from Sourcebooks on my second novel. Checking my e-mail is a bit scary.

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