Friday, July 31, 2020

A Promise to Keep.

I promise, one day I'll have more to show than a few quotes from an unfinished book.

To my dearest friends and followers,

I want to thank each and every one of you that has been supporting me. If you follow me on Twitter and build up the Writing Community, thank you. If you like my Facebook page, thank you, because I know I don't post there as often as I should. If you followed me on Google Plus way back when, thank you. If you found me through NaNoWriMo or Rowanvale, thank you, because those were both very good and memorable times for me. If you follow my author profile on Goodreads, thank you. If you've purchased my book, thank you. If I know you in person and you come here to see what I've written every week, that truly means a lot to me, so thank you. And if you're new here, welcome.

I am sure I will never know most of you, but you're support to me means a lot. I'd rather have a small community of people who are close than a large following with little interaction. My views are steady for the most part, so I know some of you are faithful readers. <3

When I published my novel two months ago, I felt so many things. I felt happy, excited, nervous, relieved, amongst other things. I was recently reminded of something else though. While I was looking through past messages to people, I saw that I had made a promise to so many of them. That promise was this: I promise, one day I'll have more to show than a few quotes from an unfinished book. I feel like I have kept that promise, now that my novel is published and available to you guys. And that makes me feel happy in a peaceful sort of way, like I did good by you.

However, I have failed to deliver when it comes to those of us who prefer ebooks over paperbacks. I intentionally waited on that, as I wanted to release the ebook once the physical copy had been available for a few months. I am happy to announce that The Story of Hollyhocks will be available for purchase as an ebook on October 1st, 2020, just after the autumnal equinox and on the day of the Harvest Moon!!

I'm still working on a few kinks, and trying to figure out how publisher compensation works with an ebook, using an ISBN, and formatting. I felt achieved when I had completed all of this for my paperback edition, but it's all so different with an ebook, it's frustrating!!

Oh well, I'll pull through because I know it will be rewarding in the end. XD

Yours truly,


Friday, July 24, 2020

Multiple Projects.

To my dearest friends and followers,

This week (and the week prior) has been really fun for me, due to my working on several projects.
I really enjoy designing things on and making things on my computer. I don't know if I'm "good" at it or not, but I like what I make. XD
I actually thought about getting my degree in Graphic Design back when I was in college. Instead, I ended up getting a BA in English (not to teach, as many assumed, but for the literature/writing aspect of it to help me in pursuing my own writing career).
Anyhow, to get back on track, I have been thinking about creating a journal for myself to write down memories. If you read my post last week, you'll know I have been going through my belongings and getting rid of things, or "tidying up" as Marie Kondo puts it. She suggests writing down memories associated with sentimental items, since it is the memory we cherish and not the item. Once the memory is written down, it is easier to part with said item.
I've been working on creating a cover for my journal, using the Alice watercolor painting I made a few months ago.

Another thing I made is a bridal shower invitation for my sister. I offered to be in charge of that, since I really enjoy making things of that sort. She accepted my offer, and seemed pleased with the finished result. XD I'm looking forward to addressing them. I haven't decided if I'll print the addresses on the envelope, or if I'll hand write them in calligraphy. Decisions, decisions.

I also made a birthday card for a friend of mine. It had a birthday cake on it, each layer painted in watercolor, cut out, and glued together. I then gave it dimension, using adhesive foam dots (or squares in my case).

The thing that I am most excited to share with you though is the bookmarks I made!!
When my book was first published (May 29th, 2020), I wanted to hit up all of the local bookstores in my area and see if they'd carry my book. Due to the pandemic, that didn't happen. As more things opened up though, I realized, I should have made bookmarks to go with my book!! it would be the perfect thing to leave at all of the bookstores, right?

So, using Canva and BeFunky, I created really cute bookmarks that match my book!! I haven't decided if I'll offer them from my blog to people who may want them, but I'm considering the possibility of it, would I charge people (to cover the cost of shipping, etc.). I'm not sure yet, but I'll keep you guys posted if any decisions are made. XD

Thank you for reading!!

Yours truly,

A tale of friendship, love, loss, and coming of age.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Tidying Up.

 .Deciding to downsize my belongings
To my dearest friends and followers,

This week, I dedicated myself to the task of going through my belongings. There are several factors that went into my decision to do this, and I'm glad I did - decide to do it that is. XD

For the past two or three years, I have said to people that I believe everyone should have to move at least once in their life. My family moved a lot when I was a teenager. As difficult as some of those moves were, I believe they were really good for a few reasons, but mostly because it forced all of us to go through our things. It made us realize, do we really need all this stuff (or "junk" as my mother used to say). If we hadn't used it in the last year, or missed it or thought about it, do we really need it? Probably not.

With each move I had to endure, I went through my things. I did this because I was tired of having so many things that I had to pack each time. Certain toys I thought I would never get rid of became a hassle to deal with. Certain clothes that used to be my favorite thing to wear were not appropriate for my age anymore. And so I downsized.

Once I moved to my new home and got married, I had a lot of things from my single life. I initially went through my things because I realized I had a LOT of clothes that wouldn't fit in the closet that my husband and I share. And I had one dresser that was much smaller than the dresser I used to have. So I went through my clothes and took out the things that still fit, then the things that were appropriate for my age, then the things that I still liked, since my style had changed a lot over the years. I always find myself wearing the same few items over and over anyway, so it was pretty easy to get rid of 3/4 of the clothes I owned. And of the 20+ pairs of shoes I owned, I kept 5. And I haven't missed the ones I got rid of once.

So my clothes had been gone through, and I felt like I didn't go through much else after I got married. Until recently. Over the last week and a half, I have been going through my things. I started out by asking myself, if I was going to move into a small apartment or something, what would I keep with me?

I went through my clothes again and realized there were several things I still had that I really hadn't worn or that I didn't really care for, even though I might have worn it a few times. So I got rid of them. There were probably 10 items in total - 10 items that were taking up space that would be better appreciated by someone else.

I then went through my toys again. I still had several boxes, though it was hardly anything compared to what I had a few years ago. I decided to keep my American Girl dolls, my marionettes, my favorite stuffed animals, an antique Pinocchio doll, and a few other items that all fit into a small tin box. I then went through my papers; old letters, school papers, "important" papers, etc. I felt like, "if I don't get rid of these, I'll just hold on to them forever." So I kept only what was most important to me, and discarded the rest. I have a very small paper pile now. It's not really even a pile, it's a stack only a couple inches high.

After that, I went through a few odds and ends. When it came time for my Christmas stuff, I asked my husband to help me. I knew it would be difficult for me to go through those things, as many of them hold precious memories. But he was there and I was able to downsize to only a couple boxes. I don't like the idea of having many boxes in storage filled with items that I only take out once a year. Now, I LOVE Christmas. It's my favorite holiday. But I don't need a bunch of stuff in order for me to enjoy Christmas.

Last, I wanted to go through my books. I knew this would also be difficult for me, so I asked that my husband would help me, and he did. <3
In the last couple days, thanks to my husband and his having read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, I went through my books with the thought, "does this spark joy?"

I've always had the vision, or dream, of having a small library in my house. I love books. I love reading books, collecting books, writing books. Books, books, books!! Whether I liked the book or not, I kept it. Whether I read the book or not, I got a new one. I had a small collection of books I hadn't read yet - some of them I probably never will at this point and some of them are on my reading list for this year. None of that mattered though, and I still wanted to always be getting new books.

My husband read to me the section on books in Marie Kondo's book and it really helped me decide which books to keep and which to discard. I began with the easy ones, the ones I didn't enjoy. Then I did the ones I probably won't ever read. Then it got more and more difficult, and I had a LOT of books. The shelf was completely filled up, so I had begun to fill up another shelf. I even had multiple LARGE boxes filled with books.

Not any more!! I downsized a lot, everything now fits on the one shelf. And it feels great!! It looks neat and tidy. It immediately made me feel lighter. I like to have my things organized and clean, and to apply that to my books is such a good feeling. I can see what I have all in one place. I can see that it's only my favorites and ones that I am excited to read. The books I can see now make me feel good - it makes me feel happy to see them on my shelf.

Going through things isn't easy. But it is so rewarding. To be able to see and know what I have. To have only the things I truly care about. I still have several things I could get rid of, but I am proud of myself to have already made the decisions I have and to have gotten rid of so much. Yay me!! Thank you, Love, for helping me, and if you made it to the bottom of this post, thank YOU for reading. XD

Yours truly,

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Amazon Reviews.

Amazon reviews and why they matter.
To my dearest friends and followers,

I would like to talk about a subject that a lot of people know of, but most don't take the time to learn about: Amazon reviews. 
Everyone knows what Amazon reviews are of course, you may have even left one yourself. But have you ever taken the time to think about why they matter? I can honestly say I never put much thought into it - that is, until the last few months.
I'm sure I still have a lot to learn, but I would like to share with you what I do know and what I have found out thus far.

To start things off, I have sold nearly 70 copies of my novel, which was released just over a month ago. Ideally, I would also have nearly 70 reviews of my book on Amazon (assuming everyone actually read the book). However, that is not the case, as only 2 people have left reviews. That's crazy to me!!
I must admit though, that I fell into the category of people who don't leave reviews. I felt like I didn't need to. Being a published author now has changed my views drastically on the importance of leaving reviews.

Let me ask you a question. If you're searching for an item, you find said item, but it doesn't have any reviews, would you buy it? It seems like maybe no one has purchased it yet. Or maybe no one took the time to leave a review if they did. How do you know the seller can be trusted? How do you know if the item is any good? It can feel like a gamble (at least it does to me). I always feel way more confident about making a purchase when I know that others can testify that the item is worth getting. Leaving a review helps to boost credibility for the item being sold.

Another thing I heard was, if you didn't purchase the item on Amazon, you can't leave a review. That is not the case. Whether or not you have actually purchased the item on Amazon, you can still leave an Amazon review. It does help immensely though when you HAVE purchased the item on Amazon. It leaves a "verified purchase" status when you leave a review, so people know you actually own/tried the item you're talking about. Leaving a review helps the ranking of the item in future search results.

Did you know that MOST of the success of an item sold on Amazon HEAVILY depends on the amount of stars/reviews an item has? That's right. If you like an item and/or seller, you're going to immensely help their sales just by leaving a review. Stars matter. It's not just about the reviews, but good reviews. An item can have 100 reviews, but only 3 stars. That probably says the item is just mediocre. The more stars an item has, the more likely someone else will be to buy it.

You can also earn a "trusted reviewer" status if you review a lot of items on Amazon. This makes you look good and also tells others that your review is legit - that you can be trusted, as the status says. You can also earn rewards from Amazon, such as special offers, promo codes, and/or gift cards. Leaving reviews on Amazon can benefit you!!

Lastly, I would love to see more reviews for my book on Amazon just for the sake of seeing them. I want to know who has read my book, who enjoyed it, and what you guys thought of it. Leaving reviews would be really valuable to me to see feedback about my hard work.

Thank you so much for reading!!
If you haven't yet, you can check out my book on Amazon!!

Yours truly,