The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

First 100 Copies of Beautiful Demons Sold!!

The 100th copy of BEAUTIFUL DEMONS just sold! I am so excited about how well the book has done in its first month. Honestly, I had very modest expectations since I hadn't done any promotion for the book. I was expecting maybe 25 copies in a month, possible up to 50 by the time Book 2 was released. If things continue at this rate, though, I may hit 150 or 200 by the time the second book comes out next month.

I want to say thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy, retweeted my promotional tweets, or told a friend about the book. It feels so amazing to finally have a published book out there that people are actually reading! This is truly a dream come true for me. At 100 copies, no one is going to put me on the NYT Bestseller list, but everyone has to start somewhere, and as an Indie author, I think 100+ sales in the first month is not too shabby. To me, it feels like the first sales milestone - with many more yet to come!

NaNo WriMo Tip #4: Reward Yourself

We're getting down to the wire here. With less than one week left, where can you find that extra ounce of motivation you need to get to the finish line? In a word: Rewards!

Find something that you really want. Something worth working toward. Something that motivates you. Then set your goal and go for it. For example, if your goal at this point is just to get to the 50,000 mark on time, pick out a great reward for when you hit that goal. Buy a cute purse you wouldn't normally splurge on. Get that new techie item you've had your eye on for months. Promise yourself a night out to see the new Harry Potter movie (plus popcorn!). Or, if you're cash-poor, try to think of other ways to reward yourself. Give yourself permission to spend an entire afternoon doing nothing but watching TV and doing your nails or eating pizza! Reactivate your WOW account and create a brand new character and play 24 hours straight. Whatever you can think of that inspires motivation, go for it. There's got to be something you want, right??

I am currently sitting at 30,069 words. With basically only six days left, I need over 3000 words a day to make my 50k goal. Can I do it? Absolutely. I just need a little push. So what did my amazing husband promise me? The one thing I've been wanting for over a year: a new Android phone! He came home from work tonight and told me that if I can write 9,000 words before tomorrow night at midnight, we can go to T-Mobile on Black Friday and get Android phones. Believe me, I already have mine picked out! For me, it's a reward worth working toward! Of course, it will also double as our one year anniversary gifts to each other (hey, we're not millionaires, hehe), but it's still an amazing incentive to work hard.

Writing an entire novel in a month is not an easy task. It's not something that most people can do. Just taking on the challenge is amazing and ambitious. If you've even gotten halfway to 50,000, you've accomplished something great. Don't forget to reward yourself along the way. We all need to refill our motivation every now and then, and during a month like November, we need extra motivation juice to keep us going. Next year, if you dare to try again, think about setting word count milestones. At 12,500 words, you get a new set of pens. At 25,000 words, you get to go out to your favorite restaurant and pig out on chocolate cake. At 37,500, you reward yourself with that new book you've had your eye on. And save something really special for the 50,000 word goal. Choose rewards you can feel good about that will push you to keep going.

NaNo WriMo Tip #3: Don't Give Up

Here we are just 9 days away from the end of November (if you count today). Obviously, I'm way behind. Not only on my NaNo word count, but also on this blog, cause hey, if I don't have time to write one, where would I find the time to write the other? I thought about doing 10 tips, but let's shorten it to 5. :)

Tip #3: Don't Give Up
This is my mantra lately. I repeat it to myself in the shower and on the sidewalk and in the car. I remind myself when I wake up in the morning and again sometime in the evening when I'm feeling exhausted after a full day. Don't give up! It's not over yet!

Those first few days and even weeks of November can seem so magical. The story you've been thinking about for the past few weeks (months?) is finally coming alive on the page. You see your word count shoot up beyond anything you ever imagined. But then somewhere, life steps back in. Your husband gets sick. Your mom turns 60 and you can't miss that party. Work needs you to work overtime. There's always something that is bound to come up that will derail your word count plans. But Don't Give Up!

With only 9 days left, my word count currently sits at 21,897, not even halfway to the 50,000 word goal. At this point, I have two choices. I can throw my hands up in despair and admit defeat, leaving my word count to sit at that measly 21,897 for the rest of the month and possibly the rest of my life. OR I can spend the next 9 days re-dedicating myself to the goal I set at the beginning of the month. I can try to recapture that excitement and happiness I felt when November 1st finally got here. I might not be able to punch out the over 3,000 words a day I need to win NaNo this year, but I could try. I could refuse to give up and just keep pushing through.

Who knows? At the end of the month, you might still be shy of your 50k goal, but what if you made it all the way to 40,000 words? And what if you persisted throughout December to finish this novel and make it great? Or what if you found your excitement again and pulled out a miraculous win over the next 9 days?? It's not too late, I promise you. I plan to be a winner in 2010, and I know you can do it too.

Don't Give Up. Not now, after you've come so far.

NaNo WriMo Tip #2: Make Friends

We're one week through NaNo. Three to go! How are you doing so far? Have you been to any local write-ins? Last night, I went to an amazing write-in here in Cary, NC. We had 12 people there. We ran period word sprints, got to talk and find out about each other's work, and enjoyed hot coffee and snacks together. It was so much fun! I got over 2,000 words written within the 3 hours we were there, and more importantly, I made some new friends.

Writing is a solitary life. Sure, writers get together to talk about craft and critique each other's work every once in a while, but when it comes down to it, it's just you and the blank page. NaNo WriMo isn't just about writing a 50,000 word book. It's about doing it at the same time as thousands of other people. It's about the collective struggle. It's about the community.

If you're doing NaNo this year, but you haven't had the nerve to go out to one of your local write-ins, you might really be missing something. I know it can be hard to walk into a cafe or library you don't know very well and search for a NaNo sign or a group of writers hard at work on their laptops, but it's one of the most valuable experiences of the month of November.

My first year doing NaNo, I didn't go to a single event. I wrote alone and stayed home. I was solitary. And really, other than a higher word count, it wasn't that much different or more exciting that a regular writing month. But last year, I broke out of my shell and went to some write-ins. At one, I met Jennifer. We hit it off right away and exchanged buddy info and email addresses. About a week or so after NaNo, she emailed and invited me to join a critique group. Through that, I met Erica, and the three of us are still working together. To be honest, they have become two of my best, most valuable friends in the world. And I never would have met them without a NaNoWriMo write-in.

Many of us who do NaNo are full-time, serious writers. Writing is an all year thing. But try to remember that NaNo is about more than just the writing. It's about belonging to a group of people - writers - who share your dreams and fears and interests. So get out there and find a local write-in. Meet people. Exchange email addresses and user names. Make friends. It could change your life.

NaNoWriMo Tip #1: Quantity Not Quality

As I get past the first few days of initial NaNo excitement and head into the really tough part of National Novel Writing Month, I thought I would write a series of posts on my top 10 tips for making it through the rest of the month.

I first started NaNo in 2008, just after I had started taking writing seriously in my life (meaning wanting to make a career out of it). I wrote a book called INTO DARKNESS about a girl whose twin brother goes off to college and disappears two weeks later, leaving nothing but a pool of blood behind in his dorm room. It was an awful horror novel, but when the month was over, it was 50,000+ words, and I had won! In 2009, I attempted a novel called PANDEMIC about a group of teens trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. I only got 30,000 words in by the end of the month.

So what made the difference? Why couldn't I reach my goal the second time around? My answer: NaNo is sometimes more about Quantity than Quality. The first year, I was clueless about what agents wanted or what the so-called 'rules' were. I just wrote for fun. I had nothing more than a basic idea of the plot and a joyful sense of oblivion. I wasn't worried about whether I was writing the great American horror novel or not. I didn't even worry too much about whether the plot totally made sense. I just let the words fly out of me and land on the page unedited.

By 2009, however, I'd been a member of several writing organizations, a critique group, had read a dozen or more books on writing and was avidly following agent blogs and author websites. I was full of do's and don'ts. With every scene I wrote, I worried and obsessed about whether the book was any good. I wondered if the plot was something an agent would find unique or if I was just writing something cliche and overdone. I ruined my chance at winning NaNo by worrying too much about things that honestly don't matter during that first draft process.

Quality is what second drafts are for. There will be plenty of time to revise and shape your first draft once November is done. My advice? Stop worrying about quality. You are a writer. The quality will be there. After NaNo, you'll discover moments of genius you don't even remember writing. Granted, you'll probably also discover complete dreckitude within those 50,000 words, but no one ever has to see it but you. Don't worry about whether an agent will ever think your idea is awesome or not. Just write. Stop thinking about the rules. Just let the joy of writing flow through you for once. Let it come without judgment. Be free to write material of questionable quality. It could be some of the best writing you ever do.

12 Copies Sold!

I know it doesn't sound like much, but a girl's gotta start somewhere! The truth is, I feel on top of the world. My new release, BEAUTIFUL DEMONS, went live in the Kindle and Smashwords stores just two days ago, and without much promotion beyond a few tweets and a facebook post or two to friends and family, I've sold 10 copies on Amazon and 2 on Smashwords.

So why am I this excited about just a handful of sales? Because these are the very first books of mine that anyone in the world has paid money to own and read. One twitter friend of my crit partner Erica's already finished the book yesterday and declared it "A Great Read!" That's a huge compliment and seriously the beginning of a new phase of my writing career.

For the past three years, I have longed to be a paid writer. I've written a total of four books and one novella in that period of time, but this book is the first I have been brave enough to put out there in the public arena and proudly say "This is my book! Go forth and buy it!". Every bestseller starts somewhere, and I'm looking forward to all of the victories (both big and small) yet to come. For me, 12 copies is a victory. Next, maybe I'll shoot for 100 on launch weekend. Some day, I might be able to say I sold over a million copies in the first month of a book release. The sky is the limit as long as I keep writing and keep reaching for my dreams.

If you haven't already, buy your copy of BEAUTIFUL DEMONS now on Smashwords and Amazon's Kindle store for only $0.99. (Barnes & Noble coming soon.)

Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

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Beautiful DemonsThe Time Traveler's WifeLoveroot: PoemsFear of FlyingWe the LivingAnthem

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