Author Olivia Boler

writing is fun
December 5th, 2012

NaNoWriMo+Strep=Winner

I am recovering from strep throat, which is why I’m late in celebrating my NaNoWriMo win. Hurray! I actually finished on November 28, hitting 50,003 words in a strep fever. So you know those words are brilliant, right? Right.

Anyway, gotta crow, so here’s my winner’s badge:

NaNo Winner-180x180

What next?

Well, I know fans of The Flower Bowl Spell are hoping the next book will be ready soon. I can’t promise anything. I’m going to have to take a little vacation time and see which of my many projects rises to the top of being publish-worthy.

Stay tuned…

August 13th, 2012

Holding Pattern

Ever since I got back from a week of camping (bliss: no cell phone or Wi-Fi access!), I haven’t been writing, or promoting, or much of anything. I’ve been reading, trying to find a book that will hold my attention and get me jazzed, but that’s been tough too. As far as writing goes, I’m at a bit of a standstill. I finished a draft of a children’s chapter book, and my first readers (my kid and the husband) gave it a thumbs up. My writing group will critique it later this week, and I’m going to a workshop in a couple of weeks at Book Passage with Amy Novesky, so I hope to get some good insight there as well.

What I Did on Summer Vacation
What I Did on Summer Vacation

Here’s the brutal truth: sales have slowed way down on The Flower Bowl Spell. I know I can only hold myself responsible for that. Most sales have been to friends, family, and the occasional acquaintance. I doubt a total stranger has bought the book (not counting the freebies downloaded during E-book Week on Smashwords back in March). If I could “break in” to the stranger market—sounds weird, I know—then maybe sales would take off. But for now, I’m dialing back promotion because it hasn’t really paid off. I did two blog tours this summer, working my butt off writing guest blog posts and answering interview questions and visiting the host blogs. Yet there wasn’t a pick-up in book sales.

Consequently, at this point I can’t justify the cost (editing, book cover) it would take to put out a second book. I’m in a wait-and-see mode. A holding pattern.
Part of this limbo has to do with my non-author life. My kids are about to head back to school, which means soon there will be more of a routine in place for us all (although more stress as we navigate homework and after-school activities, among other things). Another part is my freelance-writer life, and thank goodness it’s alive and kicking to help with the bills, etc.

Things are bound to change—of course I want to put out a second book! Most likely it will be a short-story collection, because that’s what is the most ready and polished. I also hope to query agents about the children’s chapter book sooner than later. I would love for it to be out there, published by a traditional press that can support it as a series.

We shall see. Time will tell. It always does.

July 22nd, 2012

Bewitching Blog Tour Update

There’s been a scheduling change to the last few days of my Bewitching Blog Tour, so I thought I’d just let you all know. Here is the rest of the schedule as of today:

July 22 Guest blog and review
A Chick Who Reads
http://achickwhoreads.blogspot.com

July 22 Guest blog and review
Black Hippie Chick’s Take on Books & The World
Http://blackhippiechick.wordpress.com

July 23 Interview
Mary’s Garden
http://marysbooksblogger.blogspot.com/

July 25 Interview
Books, Books The Magical Fruit
http://booksbooksthemagicalfruit.blogspot.com

July 30 Review
Books, Books, and More Books
http://dream-reader-dreamer2229.blogspot.com/

Thanks, and please pass this on to friends and family who might be interested. I’m not sure how effective this has been as far as new sales go. There’s definitely been a lot of ebooks given away, and positive reviews but not many (any?) new sales. Is that over-sharing? If you’ve done a book blog tour, has it helped your books’ sales?

June 12th, 2012

The Flower Bowl Spell By Olivia Boler.wmv – YouTube

The Flower Bowl Spell By Olivia Boler.wmv – YouTube.

May 24th, 2012

P.O. Boxing the Author

Yesterday, I went to my local post office and rented out a P.O. box for the first time. Since I’m doing a lot of writing “business,” i.e. promotion, I thought it would be a good idea to separate it off from my home. With my first book, 12 years ago, I considered doing the P.O. box thing, but in the end, it seemed like too much of a hassle. And I had a publisher, so even though I was doing all of my publicity, I could use his P.O. box as the return address. Nice and professional.

Now, since I’ve self-published, I want to put on a professional front, even if I have kind of sort of no idea what I’m doing. Publishing and the promo that goes with it are not my business, per se, at least I don’t think of them like that.Writing is my work and being a writer is my vocation, my profession. So, it’s time for the box. Plus, I have kids this time around and I’m dealing with a lot of mail to and from people I don’t really know, to put it bluntly (although, if you’re reading this, you’ve all been awesome! :D). Sure, we’ve chatted via email or LinkedIn messages or online forums—but there you go, the term online forum just ignites a CAUTION sign in my head.

What about you fellow bloggers, authors, and writers—do you have a P.O. box or are you all right with the world knowing your home address and with the possibility that someday, some “friend” might show up at your door?

May 4th, 2012

Pinterest your novel

Even though I didn’t go with bookbaby for publishing The Flower Bowl Spell, I get emails from them every so often with promotions and tips. This last one had an article, “Pinterest for Authors” by Chris Robley that I found worth a read.

I’m a member of Pinterest, having dutifully requested an invitation to join after hearing some ladies at a Superbowl party going on about a website where they could “pin up” pictures of crafts and recipes that I thought was called “Pin Twist.” Much to my chagrin, my Google searches came up with zilch, until I stumbled upon a Facebook friend’s Pinterest update on her Timeline. Ohhhhhhh…Of course I’d gone wrong by looking for real words. Anyway, I received my begged-for invite, and started pinning and repinning and following…Mostly, I pinned pretty things and stuff having to do with my children. But I didn’t have any idea how to use these online pin boards for my writing.

Pinterest Logo

Not so anymore! The bookbaby blog post makes a number of helpful suggestions like pinning images of actors who could play your characters, or photos of where you write, or the notes you take. You can also promote authors you admire (instead of always promoting your own writing) or pin places you’d like to visit while on book tour (a reading in the Virgin Islands, anyone?). I chose to go with the suggestion of pinning the settings from my novel. You can check it out here on my brand new The Flower Bowl Spell Pinterest board.

And don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest! I promise to follow back. :)

April 21st, 2012

Brilliant Review by Pete Denton

Pete Denton is a blogger and writer from Sheffield, England, and we’ve been following each others posts for a few months now. He’s made huge strides with his writing, which he chronicles on his blog, and has garnered all kinds of blogging awards. He’s also been very encouraging when it comes to my own posts about my writing/publishing journey, which culminated today in a lovely review of The Flower Bowl Spell. Here’s an excerpt:

I cannot emphasise enough how much I got sucked into the world of Memphis Zhang. I was totally immersed in her story and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. With all the reviews I have written so far, I find it difficult to comment too much on the story or characters as I don’t want to give anything away.

What I will say is that I BELIEVED the main protagonist. I felt she came alive on the page (of my Kindle) and I cared about what happened to her throughout the story. One of the character names in particular was a stroke of GENIUS and everyone we met on the journey was well drawn…

I enjoyed the story line and the humour that’s injected into the narrative is spot on. I even broke my “not reading my Kindle on the bus” rule (I know it’s a stupid rule) as I HAD to keep reading this book. I’ve said before I judge a good book on whether the story keeps popping into my mind, well days after finishing The Flower Bowl Spell, little snippets keep doing just that.

Olivia Boler is an author I *met* blogging. I read her posts on self-publishing her story and watched with interest as the cover design was unveiled and the publication drew ever closer. This is a journey that so many people are on and it is a journey I hope to make myself one day. This makes reading a book like this more important to me. It also inspires me to make sure I write reviews and help spread the word.

This was a top professional job. Great cover, well-edited and no errors to speak about. This book gives self-publishing a HUGE pat on the back. If every self-published book was to this standard then maybe the stigma attached to going it on your own would end right here and now.

Thank you so much, Pete, for your thoughtful review. I can’t emphasize enough how touched I was by it!

To read the whole review and to learn more about Pete, click here.

March 14th, 2012

Kobo Readers, anyone?

Thank you to all who downloaded a copy of The Flower Bowl Spell from Smashwords last week during Read an E-book Week. I really hope you enjoy reading the book, that it keeps you up at night thinking, Well, just one more chapter…

Since then, things have been quiet. I probably shouldn’t share this because it’s kind of negative, but I haven’t had one sale on Amazon this month! And I have no idea how things are going over at iBooks, B&N, etc. I do know the book is finally up at Kobobooks, so if you have a Kobo Reader, go for it! And to buy one, click here.

In the meantime, I am nearly done getting the book ready for the paperback version. So, so close. I hope to have it done before heading out with the family for Spring Break, but there’s also a giant freelance project looming over my head…and a little one…Ah, life!

March 4th, 2012

My e-book FREE for a limited time!

Happy Read an E-book Week! OK, I just learned about this too. But it’s a really cool thing because from March 4 to 10, you can get The Flower Bowl Spell for FREE from Smashwords as part of the celebration. Considering the price went up last week to $2.99, this is an amazing deal. And remember, you can download the book from Smashwords to your Kindle, Nook, eReader, Kobo, iPad, laptop, phone, and I don’t know what other device. Possibly your brain? So, to those who have paid full price, thank you, and spread the word to your friends that they can download The Flower Bowl Spell for absolutely no cost. But only for a limited time. USE COUPON CODE RE100.

2012lady

And here’s something that made my day, counteracting the fact I haven’t had even one download on Amazon since the end of February: I received one of the nicest, most thoughtful reviews this morning by a reader, Sara Smolarek, on Smashwords, which you can read if you go here. Sara, I don’t know you, but I thank you for writing up such a fantastic and honest review!

Another cool bit of news: Smashwords announced it has signed a distribution agreement with Baker & Taylor, a major book distributor to libraries and bookstores. That includes distribution to the Blio e-reading app, which is often pre-loaded on computers and laptops by Toshiba, Dell, and HP. There’s also a free Blio app for iPhones and Androids, and a Blio bookstore. My book should be up there soon.

My friend Debbie and I were just talking about how I could get my e-book into libraries. I’d put it on my to-do list, which is oh so very long. Well, this new Baker & Taylor deal means public libraries that use Axis 360 (I’ve also seen this written up as Access 360, so maybe someone can fact check that) could make The Flower Bowl Spell available for checkout. Huzzah!

OK, so I’ve done my happy dance, and now it’s back to the trenches. These days, the trenches means formatting my book for the paperback version on CreateSpace. It’s not as easy, to put it very kindly, as I had hoped it would be. I think they are trying to crush my spirit so I will just give in and pay for the professional services they offer. But, oh no! I won’t cave. And I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say right now, my mortal enemy is the Section Break function in Microsoft Word.

So, tell your friends: The Flower Bowl Spell is FREE on Smashwords until March 10. COUPON CODE RE100. If you download it, let me know. Thank you, and happy reading!

girlreading

 

 

February 10th, 2012

Create Space for Me

I feel like I’ve been neglecting my blog, even thought it’s only been a few days. Tweeting and Facebooking about The Flower Bowl Spell have been taking up my writing time, and I get the feeling I need to stop spinning my wheels and make something happen—namely the paperback version and reviews. I know the latter must be done ASAP, but here is where I truly feel I need some kind of road map. I’ve done this review hunting before, and it’s really time-consuming with no guarantees of success. Kind of lot publishing!

I did spend an afternoon looking at the Create Space website, feeling a little more and more daunted by what I have to do on the technical side. What’s holding me up? The cover. I have a lovely cover designed by a lovely artist, but I need to figure out the “bleed,” that is the size it’s going to be. The thing about ebooks is they don’t have true page counts, but I need to figure out my novel’s page count now so that I’ll know how wide the spine will be. Blah blah blah.

Create Space also gives you a nifty calculator to figure out what your royalties will be. I was planning on making the book really inexpensive—like under six bucks—but the profit margin is so dismal, I think it’ll be more like $14 or $15. You’d pay that for a nice paperback, right? The royalties are best if readers order from Create Space directly. They’re slightly lower if the book is ordered through Amazon, and then they’re really, truly, madly, deeply bottom of the barrel if ordered through the Expanded Distribution option (meaning, if I make the book available for order from local bookstores and for libraries). I am so going to make it available this way—money is not the main issue—because I want readers who don’t want to order online to be able to support their local independent bookstores. Heaven knows, they need all the help they can get. My neighborhood is down to one general interest bookstore. Yikes. So, I plead with you, dear readers and bloggers: Go out and buy a book this weekend. You’ll be happy. Trust me.

Oh, and speaking of being happy, have you bought my ebook yet? Well, what are you waiting for?

Happy weekend, people.

 

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