Happy New Year 2019

Greetings! In the course of the past few months, after I had decided I would be returning here regularly to update as I used to, that commitment somehow got lot in the shuffle. I must ashamedly (is that a word?) admit that among the host of other online outlets I participate in, I neglected this one, which used to be the first place that I would come to do blog updates, to do “This Week in Writing History”, to update my “Horror Review” page, and whatever other activities I used to engage in. Needless to say, I need to make a list of my outlets so that none of them fall through the cracks – particularly this one!

I have discovered, as I leaf through these pages, that not only have I forgotten to come back and blog regularly, that I didn’t even complete the last update on my “Home” page for The Shady Side, which I released on April 30, 2018. Distracted, much? I must appear to have the attention span of a gnat.

Last year saw the release of The Uneasy Series Volume II, The Shady Side: Shortcut to Uneasy Street, as an e-book in April, and then as a paperback edition in May; and mysa cover for web newest project, Story #7: Stuffed Animals, a Novella, went live on Amazon on December 30th. This third title is a huge milestone for me. It represents the clearing away of a difficult time period and the creation of a forward-facing path.

Now, as I sit and watch the snow fall steadily outside my front window, I am making my plans for 2019. Setting some goals. Why “plans” and “goals” and not “resolutions”? I don’t quite know. I think because something in the wordage of “plans” and “goals” indicates flexibility and the ability to adjust my plans and goals as I go along. I mean, really – how many of us can claim that all of our plans or goals have succeeded, step by step, from beginning to end, without some kind of deviation, or hitch, or unexpected event, that had to be taken into account and for which an adjustment or accommodation had to be made?

Life happens, and as the Tori Amos song goes, “We make it up as we go along. . .” And it’s true. Sure, we can make a life plan. Finish high school, choose a career path, go to college, get that dream job. Meet that partner, fall in love, get married, have the house and family, live happily ever after. That is just an example of a plane. Many of us may have different plans than this. However, we need to be flexible in order to hit the curve balls life throws at us. The word “resolution” sounds so stiff and unbending. Inflexible. And if you can’t bend, you just might break.

Part of this flexibility is the ability to adapt to changes. And adaptation requires learning new information; and adjusting practices to change with the technological trends.

There are some practices I am resistant to. I am an 80’s kid. I know what life was like before cell phones, computers and the internet, when all of our files were paper hard copies, and “marketing” meant television, radio, or print advertising. Getting published meant that you slaved over a typewriter, mailed copies of your work to publishing houses and waited months, even up to a year, to receive your rejection slip – if you received anything, at all. Self-publishing was an expensive proposition, often costing thousands of dollars.

Now, I am an Indie author publishing titles under my own publishing company. While  things like multiple rounds of editing, dealing with procrastination, lack of motivation, writers block, trying to figure out how the story is going to get from point A to point B, and finding time to write, are all challenges, these and other challenges inherent in releasing a self-published book are relatively easy to me. I am skilled at facing, and embracing, these challenges. The publishing process itself is also easy. Online self-publishing services make it simple and inexpensive for authors like me to publish their books.

But then there is “after” the release. The e-book is live, the paperback is available for purchase. And then, for me, the waters become murky, because I must enter the realm of a monster referred to as “marketing”.

I am not prolific at “marketing”. Marketing, putting myself out there, touting my work as exciting and interesting to read, for those readers who enjoy my genre, are difficult things for me. Self-promotion. The time that I should be out there, shouting to everyone, “My book is live! You must read it!” Is the time I want to crawl into the shadows and hide. Even writing a blog post, putting myself out there, feels too personal.

Yet it is necessary. I intend to write and publish many, many more titles. I want people to read them, so yes, I need to get myself out there and let readers know about them. So among my big “plans” and “goals” for 2019, is to learn how to market my work.

I quit smoking around 2012, I think. If I can do that, I can do anything, right?

Best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy, safe, and prosperous 2019!

-Shannon

 

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