The Sweetie Chronicles

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

My Kindle Store Sales Increasing!

I've been doing well on PubIt! from the beginning. I sold 99 copies there the first month, then jumped to an amazing 1040 the second month. This month I have over 1200 sales on Barnes & Noble's site. On the other hand, my Kindle sales have been very slow comparatively. This scares me a little bit, because before October, when I was first considering self-publishing, there was no PubIt!. If they hadn't opened, would I only be selling a handful of copies of my books so far?

My guess? Yes, probably. So thank God for Barnes and Noble joining the self-publishing revolution and opening a new way for writers to publish on their site!

The good news, though, is that my Kindle sales are starting to pickup. I haven't done anything specific to bring attention to my books. I've just been writing Book 3, hoping to get more quality content up there and hopefully spur sales that way. The sales are just taking off on their own. I'm still not to the same level as B&N, but I'm getting there. The first month, I only sold a handful on Kindle. I'd have to look back to see an exact number, but I'm thinking somewhere around 40. The second month was somewhere around 80. Now, month 3, I've sold 382 books in the Kindle store. My sales ranking hovered between 20,000-30,000 for most of December. For most of January, though, it's been hovering between 3500-5000. A vast improvement!

My great hope now is that in February, with the release of Book 3 coming up, I can move up to the 2,000's in sales rank and hopefully hit at least 500 sales on Kindle in Feb. I'm extremely proud of this, even though I know some Indie authors are way out-selling me. Amanda Hocking just did a blog post announcing that she's sold nearly half a million copies of her books since she started, which was when? March or something of last year? Amazing! I have to admit I'm uber-jealous, but also encouraged. I don't know that I can find that level of success in the next year, but I'm on my way to something special here.

I'll post my official sales numbers in a few days when the reporting is complete for January, but I'm pretty sure the number is going to be awfully close to 1700 for the month. I never dreamed I could sell that many in just my 3rd month as an Indie author, so thank you to everyone who has taken a chance on my Peachville High Demons series. Hopefully, it's only up from here.

Quick Update

I've been woefully scattered lately, especially when it comes to blogging. I'm a little behind on my rough draft for SHADOW DEMONS at the moment, which is pretty much screwing me up in everything else too. The book is by far the most important thing to me right now! My plan was to finish the rough draft by Feb. 1st. Seeing how I only have about 4 days left until that point and about 25,000 words to go on the book, I would say it would be a miracle to meet that deadline.

What does this mean in terms of getting the book out on time? Hopefully nothing. I am still going to bust my ass trying to get the book out by Feb. 23rd as planned. After a critique group brainstorm last night, I feel rejuvenated and really good about the direction of the plot in this book. I definitely won't publish a book that's poor quality just for the sake of getting it out there, but I do want to stick to my planned schedule if I can pull it off. I'll keep you updated for anyone who is anxiously awaiting the third book. My mother included.

She called me the other day and asked in a frantic voice, "Was Jackson her mother's demon? I have to know!" It made me laugh. "No, Mom," I said. "Close, but no cigar." She wants all the answers right now and claims that being my mother should give her some special access to the answers revealed in book 3. I told her to wait, just like everyone else. There are few times in my life when I actually have power over my mother, so I'm going to relish it. :P Of course, secretly, I'm just thrilled that she read the books and cares what happens next. How cool is that?

Taking Control

One of the best things about self-publishing is the feeling of control I have over my career and my content. Before I made the decision to self-publish, I was constantly concerned about what agents would think of my stories. Is my opening engaging enough? Are zombies overdone? Would a publisher be interested in what I've written? Constant doubts. Constant rewriting my work according to what I'd read on an agent's blog or heard an editor say at a conference. There was no trust in my own intelligence or talent.

And that was all before I even actively pursued an agent or publishing deal. From what I've heard from friends who are already published, things get even worse when you get a contract. Editors hack away at your story, asking for fundamental changes in plot or character. I've heard several writers say that you have to be willing to cut out your favorite parts of your novel. They also say they know it's for the "best", but I have my doubts. Sure, editors spend all their time reading and making decisions about what's the next hot thing in fiction. On the other hand, they are essentially just guessing. They don't have a magic crystal ball any more than I do. When they chop your favorite scene out of your novel, they are just guessing that it's for the best. They are taking their academic literature degree and their best-guess and cutting out your heart and soul. Excuse me if that just doesn't appeal to me.

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to say I'm smarter or more experienced than a professional editor. I'm just saying that when it comes to novels, maybe the actual writers know more than the editors give us credit for. I'd rather hear what the readers have to say about my stories. I'd rather know what they liked or didn't like about my novel. The readers are much more important to me now than an agent or an editor's best guess.

I love being in control. I love having direct access to my readers and having the control to make the final decisions on cover art, story blurbs, marketing, and most important of all - content. It's one of the best parts of self-publishing so far.

Falling Short of My Goals

Having goals is one of the single most important things in my life. I understand that some people just aren't goal-oriented, and that's fine. But for me, everything fell apart when I didn't have goals. I went through a depression in my 20's that saw me systematically sabotaging everything I'd worked so hard for up to that point in my life. Friendships. Health. Career. I gave up my goals, believing that I would never be good enough to actually achieve the things I wanted out of life. I decided to settle for average. I got a solid job, bought a house in a small southern town, and married the wrong guy. I thought that since reaching for my goals had only brought me heartache, giving up the hope of a better life and settling into a "normal" life would bring me happiness.

Boy was I wrong! My choices back then couldn't have been farther from what I really needed to be or do. I look back on that period of my life and am grateful I was able to pull myself away and reach for something better. Now, just so we're clear - I'm not making any kind of statement about people who have normal 9-5 kinds of jobs. I'm not making a statement about anyone else's life but my own. I just think that as a young girl, I was taught that having a safe, decent job, going to church, getting married, and buying a nice house was pretty much the be-all end-all of life. It was the supreme goal. So I tried it. And I hated it.

Goals are important to me. Lofty goals. Huge, reach for them with all your heart kind of goals. I need them as much as I need food or air. It took me a long time to realize it, but once I knew for sure, I embraced that about myself. But setting a goal is only part of the equation. It's the reaching part that's the big thing. People can say they have certain goals, but do their actions really show them reaching to attain them?

I have a friend whose husband is a "fixing to" kind of guy. Whenever I see him, he's always talking about how he's "fixing to apply for a bunch of jobs" or "planning to add a new addition to the house" or "wanting to go back to school to get a degree". He obviously has things he knows he wants to do, but what steps does he ever take to actually achieve any of those things? I don't live with the guy or anything, but I have never once seen him follow through with any of those things he was "fixing to do". Maybe he finds joy in thinking of what could be. Maybe that's his thing. I need more.

It's the doing and the reaching for the goals that makes me whole. I might resist against the hard work of it, but I love it at the same time. I love seeing the fruits of my labor as I go along. Self-publishing, for example, has been a huge journey for me. My goals are lofty. I want to be a best-seller. I want to someday sell one of my stories to a big movie studio. I want to sell a million copies of my books by the time I'm 50. (Or more! I'm open to the thought!) But I don't just talk about these things. I work toward those goals. I wrote and published two books in the course of four months. I'm half-way through the rough draft of book 3 and plan to publish it in just one month. I push to reach these milestones so that someday, the rewards will also fall into place.

And here's the important thing - I often fall far short of my goals. Like today, for example. I set a goal of writing 10,000 words today. I'm behind on my own schedule for Book 3 and I wanted to work hard today to try to catch up. But I didn't make it to 10k. I only wrote about 6,000 words today. Does that mean I'm a big failure and will never reach my goals? No. It means I was a success. I got my butt out of bed and went to work early this morning. I worked hard all day and produced more pages than normal. I worked toward my goal, and even though I didn't quite hit it, I came close enough to be really proud of myself.

If I sell half a million copies of my books by the time I'm 50 instead of a million, I'm not going to cry my eyes out and scream that I'm a failure. Falling short of a goal doesn't make you a failure. It makes you a success. Why? Because you accomplished something in the process. You didn't just sit there, too scared to reach for the things you want. You gave it your all and you got something done. It's not about setting goals and it's not so much about reaching the goals. It's about making progress and a constant effort every day to move in the direction of those goals. It's about the journey along the way.

Guest Blogging Today at Lady Scribes!

My first ever guest blog post is up at the Lady Scribes blog!! The topic? Whether self-publishing is REALLY an option these days. Please check it out and comment!

Lydia Dare, thank you so much for asking me to guest blog. And thank you Lady Scribes for having me today!!

Black Swan


Black Swan is the best movie I've seen in a really long time. G and I went to Winston-Salem to visit some friends and we decided to go see a movie on Saturday. The guys wanted to see True Grit, and even though I wasn't entirely opposed to seeing that movie, I really really wanted to see Black Swan. And I'm so incredibly happy I did.

Black Swan was exactly my type of movie. A thriller. A complete mind freak. Natalie Portman was brilliant in this movie and it was worth it just for seeing her amazing portrayal of Nina Sayers, a ballerina who wants nothing more than to be the lead for the company.

As a former Opera singer, I understand the world of this movie. Of course, in this movie, it's the world of dance, but they are both so incredibly similar. When I was a singer, I only scratched the surface of the gritty performance world. I went on a few auditions. I studied with some nasty mean teachers. I felt the pressure of the competition. Maybe that's why this movie affected me the way it did. I was literally on the edge of my seat the entire time. I understand the pressure of a world like that - where time is against you and there is always someone younger and better waiting to take your place.

The story revolves around the New York City Ballet's production of Swan Lake. Veteran dancer Beth is getting old (they never say how old, but I'm thinking 30'something is too old for a ballerina) and the director of the ballet is looking for a new face. All of the dancers want a chance, but nervous Nina is desperate for a chance. The director has full confidence that Nina can dance the part of the vulnerable and beautiful White Swan. It's the free and passionate evil twin, the Black Swan, that he's worried she can't quite pull off. He gives her a shot, though, and as Nina deals with the pressures of all eyes on her, she slowly descends into madness as she tries to get in touch with her darker side.

Even though there are important relationships to explore in this movie - like that of dancer/director, veteran dancer/new star - it's the relationship between the carefree Lily and Nina that takes center stage. Nina wishes she could be more like Lily. That she could let go and just dance with abandon. Lily is sexual and ambitious while Nina is reserved and controlled. As Nina begins to find freedom, she worries that Lily is somehow after her. It's a brilliant spiral into darkness. I LOVED this movie! If I could describe it in one word, I would say INTENSE. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes dark movies.

I might have to go see it again...

The Writer's 'Well'

Some people call it the Muse. Others call it the Well. I guess I think of it as Mana, but then again, I'm a gamer, so that makes sense. What am I talking about? That special something that propels and motivates a writer to write and work hard. It's hard to explain it, but it's even harder to find it when it's gone.

Sometimes, an idea grabs me so hard that I have to write about it immediately. Usually, though, the ideas are the easy part. It's the sitting down and writing part that can be tough. Once I've got my butt in the chair and I'm writing, I love it. It's addictive and fun and amazing and magical. But if I take a week off, getting back into the groove of it is extremely tough for me.

Does that mean I have writer's block every time I don't want to sit down or I can't find my motivation? Nah. I'm not sure I totally believe in writer's block. At least not in the sense that there's some mystical thing that prevents you from writing. Okay, so maybe there are times when the writing is slow to come, but as long as my fingers aren't broken, I can always write something. It's not 'writer's block' that kills me, it's lack of motivation. It's resistance. Maybe it's even a little bit self-sabotage.

When I made the decision to self-publish, I knew that I was signing up for some serious hard work. The most important thing for me is simply to get as much quality content for sale as I can over the next year. (which is, in itself, a full blog post I need to write). Getting content out is impossible without hard work. It means long days and hours of putting my butt in this chair and writing my heart out. It means pushing myself to the limit. A rough draft in a month, then revisions in two weeks. Formatting, then publishing. The whole process takes less than 2 months. And then I start all over again. Without motivation and the drive to work, there is no way I will be able to keep up this pace I've set.

So how do I overcome those days when I feel resistance? Those days when my damn muse just isn't showing up? How do I fill up that writer's well when I'm constantly emptying it? In some ways, I'm still looking for the right path and the right method to keep myself motivated. But I think that's the real key. To keep looking. To keep pushing. To never give up. I look for the small things (inexpensive things, ha!) that can make me happy or make me smile. (See my recent post about Hello Kitty things I bought! That was only $10, but it's kept me smiling all week!) I spend time with my friends and seize opportunities for laughter. I stop and think about the joyful things in my life - like my amazing husband and my best friends. These are the things that keep my going. Instead of concentrating on the negative things and the stress of deadlines, I try to stop and think of the blessings in my life.

And most importantly, I write even when I don't feel like it. I'm not perfect. I still have a long way to go until I have cultivated the work ethic I really want to have, but I'm working everyday to get better. Never give up. That's what matters.

Iced In

A bit of a winter storm last night here in North Carolina. I went out to Borders Cafe to write with my critique parter, J, and around 8:45 got a text from my hubby saying "You might want to come home. Getting slick out there." We shrugged it off, then decided we'd leave in about 15 minutes or so. After all, from the inside of the cafe, it just looked a little bit rainy out. No big deal, right?

The second I stepped out onto the pavement, I knew I had been seriously wrong. It wasn't rain. It was ICE. I carefully crunched and slipped my way out to my car and for a moment, I was afraid the door wouldn't open. There was literally a fine shell of ice all over my entire car! I finally yanked the door open and started her up. Then, I searched my car for a crap CD, which I found (some home brew labeled "Trip to GA, upbeat"). I got outside with no gloves and attempted to scrape the ice off my windshield. No, I don't have one of those scraper things in my car. Dumb, right? But I live in NC, I shouldn't need it!

Anyway, the CD didn't scrape off anything. I had to crawl back into my car, shivering, and wait for the defrost to warm up enough to melt the ice. Luckily, J emerged from the Borders minutes later and let me borrow a proper scraper thingy. We waited together for both of our cars to be ready, then took off. I only had a 2 mile drive home, but J had to get on the highway. I think she tweeted me about 30 minutes later saying it was the scariest drive of her life!! Maybe going out to write last night during a winter storm warning was not the smartest idea!!

Today, my husband has been off work due to weather, so we've been lounging around mostly. He might even be delayed for work tomorrow due to the ice still on the sidewalks and all. It's nice to snuggle and sleep in, but don't ask me to drive anywhere. From now on, I'm staying home. :P

Ebook Pricing

What is the best price for an ebook?

This is a question I've been asking myself a lot lately. Are my books only selling decent because they are just 99 cents? Or would people be willing to pay more? Another interesting question is this: Are some people not even bothering to read my book because of the price? Some people have expressed opinions online that when they see a book priced at only 99 cents, they automatically assume it's a poorly written book. I certainly don't want to get a reputation for writing bad books. On the other hand, at 99 cents, some people will buy it anyway. Hopefully once they've actually read it, their opinion on the quality will change.

Here's the thing, though - at 99 cents, I'm only making about 35 to 40 cents a book, depending on where it's bought. Even if I sell 1,000 books in a month, that's only $400 for me. On the other hand, if I price the books at $2.00, I go up to a 70% royalty rate and bring home $2.09 a book. That means in order to make the same $400, I only have to sell 200 books instead of 1,000. And if, by some miracle, I still sold 1,000 books, I'd be making $2,000, which is almost the equivalent of a full-time entry-level job. It's a huge jump.

But would the readers who have been loyal so far feel cheated if my book went up in price? Would they be willing to pay the $2.99? Or would some people write me off as a greedy person who doesn't care about her readers? It's a tough decision to make.

Writing is not all about the money. Of course not. I write because I love it. I love the adventure my characters take me on. I love exploring the world of my novels - which is one reason I like to write series so much. But if this is what I want to do full time for the rest of my life, the plain truth is that I have to think about the money. If I can't make a living at selling books, I'll have to find another profession - and that would mean less time to write and less books coming out. As much as I hate it, money is a huge part of this thing since I'm basically starting my own business here.

I'll continue to debate this topic with myself and my husband over the next month or so before Book 3 of my Peachville High Demons series comes out. If anyone out there has any advice or opinions, I would love to hear it.

A Happy Little Trip

It doesn't take much to make me happy sometimes. Yesterday, G and I went to Crabtree Valley Mall specifically because it's the only mall around with a Sanrio store. If you're not familiar, Sanrio is the company that makes Hello Kitty. And as most of you know, I am a bit of a fan. :P

My friend J gave me an ultra cute gift card to the Sanrio store for watching her fish, Alpha, while she was out of town for the holidays. I certainly wasn't expecting to get anything for it, but the gift card was a nice surprise. Yesterday, I decided it was time to use it! After all, my birthday is coming up and why not? So, we traveled a bit farther to get to the Sanrio store (and by farther, I mean Crabtree is a 15 minute drive while the mall across the street is... well... across the street).

I got the cutest gifts! A mechanical pencil with hello kitty in a kimono, a matching little notebook, and finally, a pencil with these little jelly-like toppers. The awesome thing about the pencil toppers is that I can rearrange them or move them from one pencil to another. They are super cute. All this cost only $10, but it left me with a huge smile on my face and a happy feeling in my heart. Sure, some people probably think I'm crazy for being a grown woman with Hello Kitty purses and pencils and notebooks, but I have loved Hello Kitty my whole life. There is so much stress and grief and drama in life sometimes that I say seize joy where you can find it. And Hello Kitty brings me joy. <3

Treasurer!

Today, I officially took office as Treasurer on the Board of the Heart of Caroline Romance Writers!! I'm super excited about finally giving something back to an organization and a chapter that has meant so much to me. I'm a little nervous about the responsibility and organization required, but I know I can handle it.

It was such a fun day hanging out with other writers. Writing is often such a solitary thing. Sure, we have our online friends and all-day twitter and facebook and email chats, but there's nothing like sitting down and having a cup of coffee with someone who loves books and story-telling just as much as you. Plus, the perk of our Raleigh chapter is having so many amazing published authors like Sabrina Jeffries, Claudia Dain, Deb Marlowe, and a dozen or more others. It's inspiring to be around people who have made writing a full-time career.

Then again, it's also great to sit down and talk to someone who is still in the trenches, fighting to create a career for themselves. It's good to share war stories about agent pitches and rwa conferences. I love the diversity of our group. And even though I don't write strict romance, I get a lot out of being a part of this group. If you're a writer and you don't belong to at least one writing organization, I highly recommend joining RWA and your local RWA chapter. It was one of the first decisions I made as a new writer, and I have never regretted it.

Monthly Sales Numbers - Month #2 (December)

My December sales at Barnes and Noble haven't increased in a couple of days, so I'm going to assume the total they have up there now is the final total for the month. I know I just posted about my total sales/milestone of over 1,000 books the other day, but I didn't exactly break it down to December's sales. This is just something I want to do to both track my own monthly progress and to give other Indie Authors a realistic idea of what is going on for someone like me.

In December, I released a second book, INNER DEMONS, which is the sequel to my first book. At this point in time, I plan for this series to be five books total, with each book coming out within 2 months from the last. That would put Book 5 coming out around the end of June to close out the series. After that, I plan to release the first book of my zombie series - PANDEMIC.

So, here are my December sales numbers:

BEAUTIFUL DEMONS - a young adult fantasy book about cheerleaders who are witches

  • Amazon's Kindle store - 59 US sales, 6 UK sales for a total of 65 sales.
  • Barnes and Noble - 526 sales.
  • Smashwords - 6 sales.

INNER DEMONS - book 2 of my Peachville High Demons series, released December 20th
  • Amazon's Kindle store - 25 US sales, 3 UK sales for a total of 28 sales.
  • Barnes and Noble - 280 sales.
  • Smashwords - only 2 copies sold here.
Total December sales - 907 Books sold!

That is such a huge leap from the 139 sold last month!! Even though I hope to see some growth each month, I think December was abnormally high for a lot of authors because of the abundance of ereaders sold over the holidays. I don't expect to see such high numbers for January, but we'll just have to wait and see. Already, I have seen a significant drop in my Barnes and Noble sales ranking. They are so far behind in reporting sales that I have no idea just how much they have dropped off, but if the sales rank is any indication, I'm only selling 5-10 copies maybe a day there instead of the higher numbers I saw throughout December.

I'm more excited to see what happens after I release the third book in my series. SHADOW DEMONS is slated for release February 23rd, and I am hoping that adding a third book to my shelf will help boost sales and awareness of the series.

All in all, still modest numbers, but growing beyond my expectations! December was an amazing month! The reviews and ratings that are pouring in are almost all four and five stars, so I'm very happy with the positive response. Thank you to everyone for your support!! I'm excited to see what 2011 brings!

Jenna Black's SHADOWSPELL

I just got home from Jenna Black's local book signing at the Brier Creek Barnes & Noble. She was signing her new YA fantasy, SHADOWSPELL. I can't wait to read it. This is book 2 of her Faeriewalker series (not sure I spelled that right). The first book, GLIMMERGLASS, was awesome! Here is the very beautiful cover for her book:


I just love it! Book signings are so much fun, too. Jenna read from a chapter. There were cookies. It was a good turnout. I definitely enjoyed it and can't wait to read the book. If you haven't read the first one, go get it immediately and read the series! This will be a trilogy at the very least, with the third book coming out this summer.

Milestone! 1,000 Books Sold!

Since first publishing at the very end of October 2010, I have reached my first major milestone - 1,000 books sold! As I mentioned yesterday, December sales at Barnes & Noble continue to roll in. I'm not sure why they are so far behind on their reporting, but everyday I wake up with more Dec. sales. It's like a little belated Christmas present every morning!

My true total of sales to date: 1,218 books.

Here's how it breaks down:

Beautiful Demons: Book 1 of the Peachville High Demons series has sold a total of 826 books. 124 through Amazon's Kindle store and 689 through B&N. At Smashwords, I've sold 13 copies.

Inner Demons: Book 2 of the Peachville High Demons series has sold a total of 392 books. 37 of those through Amazon and 353 through B&N. At Smashwords, I've sold only 2 copies.

As you can see, I'm barely selling anything through Kindle in comparison, and Smashwords is even worse. I have a feeling that mostly has to do with placement on the site and how many titles I'm competing with in my genre over there. Over the next few months, I am hoping to send out a ton of free books to reviewers and book bloggers in hopes that some people will enjoy the book and put out a good review on their site. Hopefully after more exposure online, word of mouth will get my sales even in both Kindle and B&N stores. We'll see! If anyone reading this has any tips on how to improve sales in the Kindle store, I'm all ears!

I never dreamed I would be able to sell 1,000 books in just a couple of months. (October doesn't totally count for me since my book was published October 30th on Kindle and not until Nov. on B&N.) I'm thrilled beyond words! Thank you so much to everyone who has purchased my books. I hope you enjoyed them!! I definitely am loving this series. It's fun to write, and I love the characters. Even I can't wait to see what happens next with some of them.

I plan to write a blog post for each major milestone. 1,000 books is my first of those milestones. The next for me would be 10,000 books sold. Then 100,000. Any chance I'll someday have sold over 1,000,000? I can't even imagine it right now! The fact that over 1,000 readers have picked up my book and that so many of them have emailed me or left positive ratings and reviews makes me so incredibly happy.

Book 3: Shadow Demons, is coming in February 2011.

December Sales Report is Going to Be Late

I want to post my monthly sales reports on this blog every month, but I'm going to wait another week to put up December's sales. The reason is because Barnes & Noble is behind on their reporting. Every day when I log into their my sales site, there are new sales posted for the weeks leading up to and after Christmas. I want to wait until the number is a bit more static so that I can report an accurate statement for the month.

I will say that the numbers far exceeded my own expectations. With the number of ereaders being given as gifts, I think people were looking for good, inexpensive books to read on their new devices. I can only hope the sales trend stays high! I'll hopefully post December sales data by next Monday.

So Many Ideas

My head sometimes feels crammed with ideas. I mean, everyone has story ideas right? Fantasies or a spark of a story that you think you could turn into a book or a movie or a tv series? Well, I have them too, and the more I indulge these ideas by actually turning them into novels, the hungrier I get. I want to give each possible story a voice. That's one of the most fun things about writing, because you never know what an idea will grow into.

When I first come up with an idea for a novel, it usually starts with a scene or some kind of world view. I'm not the kind of writer who sees a character first, for the most part. Instead, I visualize a world and then try to imagine what kind of people might inhabit that world. Of course, a spark of an idea is just a tiny kernel of story and the characters I imagine there are just cardboard cutouts at first. It's only when I decide to really write the story that the situation and the people come alive for me. Sometimes, to be honest, I don't even truly know what the story is about or who my main characters truly are until the first draft is finished. Writing is exploration - and it's freaking fun.

There's no way to know what twists and turns a plot might take when I first embark on the journey of writing it. I come to my computer with a scene in mind, but a lot of the time, something completely different comes out. A character will do something I wasn't expecting that will turn me in a new direction. Or a bomb will go off somewhere. Or someone will get murdered. In some ways, it often feels like my story exists somewhere in entirety and my job is to uncover it. I am merely the treasure hunter digging my way through the dirt and mud to find the real artifact hidden somewhere underneath.

I am loving the Peachville High Demons series more and more as the series goes on. Harper has completely come alive for me, and so has Jackson. This town is alive for me. I can see it so clearly in my head now! But on the other hand, there are so many other worlds and idea in my head that I feel a little bit antsy. I'm anxious to get to know those other people and those other stories, too. But I can't leave Harper hanging! Her story must be finished first - and that's not going to happen in Book 3. Possibly not Book 4 either. I'm thinking it will take 5 books to get her story down on paper.

And what comes after that? Hopefully many more series and a lifetime of having the pleasure of discovering new stories.

Rough Drafts are Tough

This month, I am spending most of my time and energy on SHADOW DEMONS - book 3 of my Peachville High Demons series. I know what's going to happen in the book, but none of it is actually written yet.

Rough drafts are tough. Getting them started is often like pulling teeth. Even though I'm anxious to get the story down on paper and discover the secrets hidden in my own mind, there is some unspoken resistance that constantly tugs on me.

When I finally sit down and start typing, though, it's like coming home again. It's like finding my true self. As a writer, I'm constantly working on getting out of my own way and believing in myself enough to know that what comes out on paper is going to be great. Somehow, this mess of a draft will all come together in the end. It's hard to see that at the beginning of a rough draft. All I have in my head are doubts and confusion. The important thing is to write anyway. Write everyday. Write, no matter what the voices in my head may say.

So, Book 3 begins.

Happy New Year!

I have a feeling that 2011 is going to be one of the best years! There is so much to look forward to! My book sales are just starting to ramp up. I've finally found a solid writing process that works for me. I have great friends and an amazing husband. I am so incredibly blessed! Sure, for the moment, we're still on the cusp of poverty (ha, as my husband likes to say), but hopefully this is the year that all turns around. Plus, money is nowhere near as important as having love in your life - and I have an abundance.

My writing goals for 2011:

  • Write and publish 6 books this year.
  • Keep up with my blog!
  • Continue to learn more about my craft so that I can be a better writer in the future.
Those are my three main goals. Writing 6 books this year is going to mean busting my ass pretty much full time. It means basically a rough draft in a month, then revisions and formatting the following month. Rinse and repeat. I know I can do it, but it's going to mean a lot of hard work. This is a year of foundation-building for the rest of my life. I can just feel it. Lots of good things coming in 2011!!

I wish you the best as well. May all of your dreams come true this year!

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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Sarra's bookshelf: sarra-s-favorites

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

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