Author Olivia Boler

writing is fun
March 28th, 2012

Spring break vs. Inspiration

I’m on the road with the family for spring break, typing this on the WordPress iPad app as my husband drives through SoCal. Usually we stay close to home for SB, but we were about due for a vacation, so, despite rising gas prices, we road tripped down to the San Diego area. The whole journey was predicated on some discount vouchers to Legoland from the California PTA and being able to visit my cousin who is in grad school nearby. My kids are at that age where Legoland rocks their world, even though Legos do not. They love my cousin too.
Anyway, off topic, I was driving to an appointment last week thinking about a potential premise for a novel, when genius stuck: why not use this premise for the sequel to The Flower Bowl Spell? It’s true that I have a few thousand words drafted, and some of them I love, but I haven’t been happy with the direction the plot was taking (let’s just say it was a fast track to nowhere). This idea…it could actually work. I got really happy because truth be told, I’ve been kind of frozen creativity-wise. For a long, long time. So, I had to immediately find a song on the radio with an up tempo beat and do a little car dancing to celebrate.
Then we left on vacation.
Days later(and not one new word written), the idea still seems to have legs. Even as my daughter tries to wrestle the family iPad from my grasp. Thankfully, I can distract her with things like climbing walls. For now.

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February 14th, 2012

Hey, all you Nook & iPad peeps!

It’s my duty to tell you on the blogosphere that The Flower Bowl Spell is now available through Apple’s iBookstore and/or iTunes. To answer my aunt Deetje, yes, you can buy books through iTunes. Movies, TV shows, and podcasts too, as well as other stuff that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with tunes, but there you go. If you are an iPad or iPhone or iPod user, go crazy! It is also available in the Barnes & Noble online store for all you NOOK fans out there. And yes, it’s still just $0.99 in both stores. As my author colleague, the talented Tina Boscha, would say, “WOOT WOOT!”

Sooooo…FYI, I’ve received some feedback from friends and family who have finished the book. And of course all the things they say are very nice. Some have even written reviews on Amazon. OK, two have, plus there’s another review on Goodreads. Thank you, readers! I know I’m starting to sound like the dreaded broken record, but please do post your thoughts about the book after you’re done because the more reviews there are, the more new-reader interest there will be. Yay, fun! And if it helps, I’ll tell you something sad: I haven’t had any new Kindle sales in days. Days, people! Clearly, I need to do more promo work, I hope without spending any money or as little as possible. Is this possible? Must I break those eggs to make an omelet?

Well, before I get out those eggs, let me wish you and yours a Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 3rd, 2012

Premium Status and Kindle Love

The good news: The Flower Bowl Spell got Premium Status approval from Smashwords. Whoo hoo! [fist pump] That means they will ship it to Apple (iBooks/iPad/iPhones), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Sony (Sony eReader), Kobo, and Diesel for purchase through those channels.

The bad news: It won’t be up for sale at those places for two to three weeks. Boo hoo! [pout] Smashwords has the book in its shipping queue, they only ships on Thursdays and Fridays (today is Friday, and it didn’t ship), and then it takes another one to two weeks for the book to be available with those purveyors of fine e-lit.

The good news: You Nook, Kobo, and iPad users can upload the book NOW from Smashwords‘ website. You can then download it to your readers. You can find directions on how to do this here. Even Kindle users can do this, although I did upload it separately with a different ISBN (actually, it’s just Amazon’s ASIN, but what do you care really?), so Kindle users can get it NOW on Amazon.

Did I mention it’s 99 cents everywhere! That’s $0.99, in case you missed it the first time.

Next on the agenda: Uploading the paperback version to CreateSpace, wrestling with my website, and drumming up interest from readers/buyers other than my family and friends. Oh boy.

 

August 6th, 2011

It’s no fiction contest

Since my early twenties, I’ve spent lots of money entering my short stories in contests. These contests are usually sponsored by literary magazines or universities with lit mags, and the entry fee is on average $15 to $20. I keep a little notebook recording my efforts under four columns: Date Sent, Story Sent, Forum Sent To, Answer. The Answer column is mainly filled with one word: NO. Sometimes, there’s a triumphant, YES!

None of the yeses come from contests. The notebooks contain records of submissions to agents or magazines and organizations that have called for stories. I’ve only ever been paid for one story, and that was a few dollars from St. Mary’s College for my short story, Unlit. Please read it!

I gave up on contests for many years (I can only take so much rejection, people!), but recently, inspired by my good friend Siobhan Fallon, who for some reason is one of my biggest cheerleaders and for every good reason is one of my biggest inspirations, tried again. I entered Crab Orchard Review‘s contest, one that Siobhan has won, with a short story my writing group and Siobhan both loved. I would be over the moon if I were a finalist or even in the honorable mentions. Well, guess what happened? Nothing. I recorded another NO in my notebook. A sensitive soul, I always take these disappointments hard in some way, either swooning, muttering bitterly, or with a glass of the house white. I’m thinking of giving up again.

But I am intrigued by Amazon.com‘s Kindle Singles, which are brief pieces (5,000 to 30,000 words) like essays, novellas, and short stories that are pretty inexpensive for Kindle users ($0.99 to $4.99). Yes, in addition to an iPad, I have a Kindle, which I L-O-V-E (so light to hold! no eye strain! built-in dictionary! note taking! stores thousands of books!), but it’s not perfect (can’t read it in the dark, can only read things downloaded from Amazon, can’t access library books with it) Admittedly, I haven’t purchased any Singles yet, but I wonder if this might be a good way to get some of my orphaned stories out there. There’s still a submission process that’s a bit more selective apparently than Amazon’s direct publishing requirements for book-length work. So, in my grand tradition, I’m not completely ruling out the rejection experience.

What do you think, dear bloggers? Is this a good avenue to explore? What’s your experience?

August 4th, 2011

OK, traditional publishing, I’ll give you one more try

So, I’ve been obsessing about this whole e-book phenomenon, and it’s no wonder as I plow through the first Sookie Stackhouse novel (yes, I’m one of those True Blood fans who’s finally found her way to the source material) on my iPad. The app that truly legitimizes this basically rather expensive toy, although my kids would argue accessing Disney movies and Angry Birds is reason enough, is OverDrive Media, which I highly recommend to anyone who is an advocate of library usage. Through OverDrive, you can “check out” e-books and audible books (i.e. books on tape) for free. You get the file for 3 weeks and then it disappears. No late fees! Pretty awesome. Oh, and the app is free.

Anyway, e-books haven’t completely replaced real books in my personal library. An author I admire can’t sign my e-book, can she? I recently scooted down to a wonderful local bookstore, Bookshop West Portal, because I knew one of my favorite authors Ann Patchett had done a signing there for her new book, State of Wonder, and I’d be able to get a lovely autographed copy. Granted, I have yet to read her book (but it’s going to be good! It’s getting excellent reviews) because the e-books I requested keep rolling in from the library, and I have to accept them or they disappear from my “hold shelf.” But I’ll get to Ms. Patchett’s book soon. Don’t you worry! And for now, I can admire the lovely cover.

Of course, there are e-book publishers out there that specialize in digital books, and because this whole indie e-book publishing thing is kind of daunting (just found out, for example, that hiring an editor is going to cost mucho dinero), I might give one of these publishers a try. Yes, give them a chance to reject my beloved book one more time, then head off on my own, as Planned B. Let’s see…if I send out my manuscript by tomorrow to the editors, it could take three to four months before I hear back from them.

What say you, dear readers. Should I do it? Should I invite more rejection into my house?

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