I have two book edits left to do and I can’t manage to force myself to do them. As I previously mentioned, there’s been some ongoing family drama that’s really brought me down. I’ve been really struggling with it and it’s been a challenging time. But things are looking up on the horizon and I really want to get these edits out of the way so I can really focus on marketing and building a fan-base/readership. I’ve wasted so much time getting through the break up that I’m letting time and my dreams slip. I’m giving myself August to really sit down and hack away at this. Wish me luck!
First Time Author
As I strive to be more consistent in my blogging, I’d also like to address book marketing dos and don’ts and what I’ve experienced. One thing I’ve done that I sort of regret is a book launch party. I reached out to bloggers, media, friends and family. I even posted invites in coffee shops and local shops. The night of there were a couple of randoms, one media photographer and mostly friends and some family. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my family and friends and I was able to raise funds for the Centre for Addition and Mental Health (CAMH) which has been one of my goals with this book, but I thought the night would make a bigger splash guest wise.
To fill you in – I ran an auction that I had local businesses contribute to, item wise, I did cake and designer cookies as a treat and a cash bar. Between the venue, decoration, liquor permit, the costs added up. I did sell books that night however, which recouped some of the cost.
What I think I’m trying to say is, it was a nice evening but don’t expect it to be a perfect night with books flying off the racks. What I would advise my past self to do if she was looking for that type of party, is to build a local audience first. Do targeted posts specific to your city. Build relationships with local bloggers first. Or if anything wait until you’ve done all that with your first book and throw a party for your second.
What are your thoughts on book launch parties?
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In October, I printed/ordered books with Amazon CreateSpace with the intention of selling to friends and sending to local media. However after printing (and having friends read it) I realized there were mistakes. Yeah I know. How could that happen? Especially after so many edits. It was a bit devastating but at the same time I wasn’t too ashamed because a) this was my first book ever b) reading your book in book format is very different from a print out or viewing it on the computer screen. I’m not sure what it is but once you have it in a novel format, mistakes just shout at you instead of sneaking by. c) It gave me a chance to test an audience and get honest feedback (from those friends who I knew wouldn’t hold back).
For the last half of 2014, I had worked on my depression with a social worker, using the Cognitive Behavioral Book (CBT) based book Mind over Matter. This was a type of therapy I had avoided for years because a) it was only offered as group therapy (no thanks) and b) it was only during the day – which is difficult to spare if you work full-time. I was lucky that I found a social worker who would work with me after 9 to 5 hours. So far, I feel a lot better (there are still difficult times). My thought process and automatic thoughts are changing and I feel more like my original (before the Depression began) self. I am hopeful that with this new change, I will feel more balanced to work on marketing my novel and continue writing. Nothing like hope to get you going! I would also love to blog about my mental illness more, so look out for those posts!
Next steps are to do a last edit using the physical copy, keep blogging and expressing myself, in particular about this journey and mental illness in general. Another big eye opener for me – not one single book has sold via Amazon in the last 3 months. But realistically, how could people buy it without knowing about it? That is something I will have to change. 2015 is the year of marketing A Hidden Life! Also, when the time comes, I’ll need to figure out how to publish using other “vendors” as well, i.e. iBooks and Barnes & Noble etc. which I’ll write about.
Hopefully, you and others will join me this year and I won’t be the only one benefiting from all this goodness to come!
What to do when you’re writing a book inspired by your mental illness and you’re having issues coping
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I feel like I’m at confessional! You see I’m having a bit of a meta-cognizant moment here. I’ve written a book inspired by my mental illness and here I am having a rocky patch with it during this time. I guess it was bound to happen. All the stress and planning that this is taking plus other unforeseen circumstances (mainly the boyfriend’s rock climbing accident – i.e. broke back and the puppy, as I’ve mentioned before) are taking its toll on me.
I’m at the point where I have my first draft back from my editor and my anxiety is rolling on high. It’s hella challenging doing these edits! I’m sure my anxiety and OCD are making it worse but tracking changes made by my editor and also making judgement calls for writing style (her corrections versus my original writing) is exhausting. It takes me nearly two hours to do a chapter. And it all has me second guessing the quality of my work and if it’s good enough to put out there. Now my editor has assured me it is but I’m still worried. Plus the added bonus of reading a story inspired by my true story can be scary at times. I read passages and experience things all over again.
It’s also been strange this long-term planning that needs to happen. I’ve never had a project be so far into the future and had to plan accordingly. It’s nice in a way but also adds this extra stress. My birthday just passed last week and Christmas is coming up but those are pushed aside with book stuff that needs to happen in time for the release.
I have made one decision today however and I think it’s a good one. I’ve decided not to pursue other book blogs/websites asking for book cover art announcements to be done for A Hidden Life. I will do my cover art release on this website (Tuesday November 26th) next week Tuesday and that will be it. Right now my focus is organizing the launch party in February and doing my editing. I will soon also be contacting websites to be part of a blog tour for the book, as well as giveaways and reviews.
Taking on too much has always been a trend in my life and a contributor to my illness. And I think this is a situation where I need to recognize that and prioritize. This is at least something I can skip that I don’t think will severely impact the outcome of my novel, better yet it may help me give readers a better product in the end.
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With A Hidden Life in the hands of my editor you’d think I’d have nothing to do but apparently not. As a self-published writer your to do list technically should never end! I will admit I’ve taken a bit of a break from it all, except social media of course. On a personal note, my boyfriend whom I live with had an unfortunate rock climbing accident in August which has of course affected working on this project. He’s been fantastically brave and strong as usual however that doesn’t take away the fact that this has been a challenging time in our lives especially because we had recently gotten a puppy as well. That being said, once I handed the novel over to my editor, I definitely finally felt the strain that dealing with everything had put on me. I needed a breather but with October ending, I’m realizing times a ticking.
What I need to do now is flip on the PR gears that I exercise in my day job. It’s time to do the following:
- Press Release
- Media Kit
- Create a launch party outline for sponsors
- Start contacting potential launch party sponsors (oh yeah, I’m planning a book launch party for end of January – I’ll write a separate post on that!)
- Finalizing launch party details (photographer, venue and food and drink)
- Finish cover art (which the boyfriend has been designing during his recovery when he can muster the strength)
Okay so I haven’t been doing nothing for the last few weeks. I’ve spoken to contacts for the venue, photography and dessert – so the launch party ball is rolling. I’ve also purchased a photo from a German photographer for my book cover and had my boyfriend (he’s my cover designer – lucky me I know) do a mock-up. I am absolutely in love with the photo I’ve purchased and could not be happier. That reminds me – I also need to pick a day to release the cover art. I was thinking end of November/first week of December, which is almost two months before the official release.
It’s insane how much there is to do once a book is done and I keep thinking of things to add to that list. I know once I get the book back from the editor the first rewrite itself will be brutal but like everything else in life I have to take this one day at a time.
Now seeing as how October is finished in ten days I better get on it!
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I’ve been doubting this project lately, maybe because I’ve had a bit of down time as my editor takes a look but I have to remember why I set out on this journey in the first place and why I believed in this project. There’s still lots to do! Three more months until the #January release date. Happy Friday!
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At 27 I’ve tackled various projects, both personal and professional, and gone through one major change in career paths. And let me tell you I’ve been stressed and down in the dumps for one reason or another more than once during this time. But with A Hidden Life something’s different. I’m not stressed. I do think about the results of course. Will people like it? Will it do okay on Amazon rankings? I also find the editing process daunting and challenging. However underneath all this, I feel a calm. For the first time in a long time I feel an overwhelming sense of calmness. I’d even go so far to call it a spiritual calm. I’m not sure where this feeling is coming from. Maybe it’s the freedom in so what? If this bombs I can write another, no one will stop me from doing so and trying again. Also, I’ve learned a ton. No one can take that away from me. And I’ll have accomplished a feat many set out to do and never complete. I will have a book that is my very own. Maybe this is how a woman feels right before giving birth? I kid. Sorta.
Now back to editing!
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Image courtesy of ponsuwan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net