Worlds of imagination by Sara B. Gauldin
As this whirlwind called life has been going one thousand miles per hour in recent weeks, I feel fortunate to have this opportunity to pause and reflect. It has occurred to me that this month marks the one year anniversary of my first published work, To Conspire. Of course I was writing long before my impromptu novella came to be. The last year of writing and publishing has been an adventure and a blessing in so many ways.
Publishing has led me on a learning adventure that I never imagined I would need to take. Most people realize the effort and sense of personal accomplishment that completing the composition of a full length book mandates. What I never realized was the other skill sets I would have to use and develop to make my writing viable in today’s digital era.
I recently re-watched the movie Funny Farm, where Chevy Chase moves to the country to write the next great American novel. Of course the movie shows everything going horribly and hilariously wrong as Chase painstakingly attempts to hammer out his manuscript on a typewriter. His goal is to complete the book and send it to his publisher. For him that is a monumental goal, but for writers like myself, that is only a fraction of the total process.
Before my books could get past the digital document stage each book had to be carefully formatted and arranged so that the conversion programs would accept them without glitches. I was not afraid of this process; I was a computer technician before I was a teacher. I do admit there was a bit of a learning curve involved. Even something as minor as the use of spaces and tabs needed careful evaluation and selective use.
Formatting aside, the artistic element needed to be addressed as well. A good friend, Michael Sigmon designed the cover for To Conspire. For The Corporeal Pull and Teach Your Child to Read I tried out the design element myself. I don’t own any high end software to produce my covers, but I downloaded several free programs and I am familiar with what I can already do with the software I already own. Between Word, Paint and three freebees I was able to find all of the features I needed. I just had to save and reopen the graphics in different programs quite a few times.
After writing, formatting, and illustrating a new eBook was born. But wait there was another step that I did not mention; The Corporeal Pull was graciously edited by the fabulous Alison Jack. She was even kind enough to stomach my American vernacular. If you are in need of an editor, contact her here! Before I subjected anyone to my books I went through an extensive process. I reread my own work. I am not sure how effective this is because my brain fills in the mistakes. I purchased White Smoke, a grammar checking program. I found that it caught me repeating words rather than many grammatical errors. I also used a program called Text Aloud to listen to my own words read aloud It was amazing how many abnormalities I caught this way.
So I found myself with completed products, all shiny and new and ready for the world to buy and read. Except nobody knew they existed. People are busy, and people who are not in the habit of reading are hard to convince to do so. It was hard to even convince family and friends to read, much less the market at large. Enter social media and a blog. I have used Facebook for years to connect with friends and family. Now I find myself with a Twitter account, a Blog, author pages here and there. It is large and all encompassing. When my employer sent out a memo asking that we as teachers be aware of and avoid having a footprint in social media I broke out in a cold sweat. I spent the last year painstaking establishing a footprint. Without my breadcrumb trails how would anybody find my books? I decided that since my writing is clean and noncontroversial I would continue my course of marketing.
In terms of marketing, the writing world is structured with relationships; relationships with reader, bloggers, and fellow writers. These people are crucial, because without them my book is just a digital download and a nice story in my head. I have been blessed to find myself among supportive groups of people like those at Clean Indie Reads and a few other individuals who I have been lucky to share writing and support with.
So here I am, a year later. I hope I am wiser and stronger as a writer and as a business person. I would like to thank each and every individual who contributed to my journey and my family for putting up with me as I followed my dream to become an author. Look for big things in the next year! I hope to release a sequel or two this year. Currently I am working on Aware, part two of the Corporeal Pull. I may be inclined to share a preview of that work in the coming weeks! Stay tuned!
Don’t miss Sara B. Gauldin’s amazing books! Click HERE!
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