My surgery date has finally been scheduled – July 18th. I was getting a little discouraged, thinking the doctor’s office would never call. It only took four months (being sarcastic), but as long as it’s scheduled, that is fine. I will be having a lesser surgery. No ankle surgery, but splicing the tendon to release tension in the foot. I hope it helps to alleviate the pain I’ve been having in my left foot and left knee. I will be hospitalized and then going into rehab afterward. I will be having a pre-surgery consultation at the surgeon’s office and the hospital on July 1st. I have awaited this surgery for a long time. Please remember me in your prayers.
As a retired teacher, I spoke to other retired teachers today. After the luncheon, there was a presentation of authors and then some book signing by authors. I was one of four authors to speak in the area. I went first. Good to do that. People generally remember the first and last speaker. You usually lose your nerve if you have to sit there and think about it.
I thought it went well. I got through the speech. There were some sober moments. An emotional flow of words, mixed in with highs and lows. But the most tortuous part was telling my story of how I got here, how I was inspired and who inspired me through life. My words spoke truth through my tears, my heart and my inner soul. I wear my emotions on my sleeves.
I just got a call from a traditional publisher about radio interviewing. True, I want to get radio interviews scheduled. I do need a way for a publisher to sponsor me. My dilemma is my medical condition, but I would like to start scheduling in the area if I could. If there are any sponsors in the metro-Atlanta area, please contact me. My trouble would be transportation outside the Atlanta area.
I’m starting to feel a little better this week. Going to Augusta to see my neurologist there on April 16. This is my last visit in the study and then every six months thereafter, if I wish to continue seeing Dr. Rivner. I prefer to keep seeing him. He has been a very helpful and knowledgeable source of information when I had no where else to turn.
Back to real life, my home physical therapist is coming tomorrow morning. I delayed occupational therapy this week due to my rigid schedule. Maybe a way to extend my physical therapy. The work over these last few weeks seemed to have help limber me up a little. I’m still stiff, but at least, I can walk across the floor now.
Someone tried to attack my name and writing on social media two weeks ago under my author’s name, Anne R, Murray. It is slander; I refute all wrong accusations. If they had bothered to read my novels, they clearly state that some of the events and dates are fictitious. Facts do manner, but they need to get their facts straight.
The last few months have been eventful, to say the least. I find myself quite elated, yet, cautious at the same time. My new infusions have brought my autoimmune disease “under control” this year. My neurologist is pleased with my progress there. I will be seeing an orthopaedic physical evaluation specialist within two weeks for botox treatments on my feet and ankles. I’m hoping treatments will improve my mobility issues. In addition, I will be seeing an orthopaedic surgeon specialist next month to evaluate my feet to see if I am even eligible for foot/ankle surgery on both feet. Past visits with specialists have revealed no solutions, as the neuro-muscular problems lied in the autoimmune condition itself.
Two weeks ago, I slipped and fell hard on my left side. After several agonizing nights, I went to urgent care. The medical doctor sent me to the hospital to get chest x-rays. They didn’t have the facility to x-ray my type of injury, as I couldn’t stand without support. A trip to the emergency room saw me several hours under a morphine iv-drip. My x-rays came back conclusive. I had four fractured ribs. They were all the middle (5 through 9) ribs and in back. Ouch! I have never cracked a rib before, much less four in a row. No wonder I was in pain!
While reading the Bible and mediating, I pondered on a Bible verse of a book, Jesus Calling*, my sister Janice had given me to read. Who knew that such a little book would have so much impact on me! It was meant to be given to me. I’m 100% certain about that now. Then the Lord spoke to me. “You can not solve your problems alone; let Me intervene and be the Healer.” I prayed that day and repented to release these burdens “stressors” off me. That I had a great deal of anxiety and stress already and I needed resolution in my heart.
The mistake that I made was that I tried to resolve the problems myself, but I couldn’t. I’m neither strong enough physically or emotionally to resist any stress coming my way. I allowed it inside me and it upset me. My psychological ego “fractured ego” got in the way of healing as well. From Hebrews 11:6; John 4:23-24, I was allowing those thoughts damper my relationship with Jesus Christ. Remember, in my previous post, I said God is a jealous God. He wants everyone to focus their eyes on Him and not to please others. That is not easy for me. I’m a people-person and do not like or want to hurt others’ feelings.
Within days, I have never had such peace of mind. It is like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m not just writing about this, but I feel it in my heart. I was experiencing a spiritual warfare. One that could have very well gone the other way, but God won in the end. He is magnificent. I was weak due to medical and physical health issues. I was weakening, but God is the source. Jesus Christ can see us through anything and remove those roadblocks, if we allow Him to enter our hearts.
I’ve been enduring continuous treatments/infusions and procedures for several years. My journey seems endless, at this point. But I feel assured that Jesus Christ will get me through these “stumbling blocks” along the way. I ask Him to remove the blocks, that I can not do it on my own. I’m progressing in areas of science that were merely ideas seven to eight years ago. I see myself being well: healthy, full of energy and vigor, and walking. Yes, I said walking. I know it is just a matter of time.
*Jesus Calling, Enjoying Peace in His Presence, by Sarah Young. Daily devotions for every day of the year.
I was introduced to a new health diet early last month. It was a concept by Dr. Eric Berg to reverse autoimmune diseases. Some might be familiar with the Keto and Intermittent Fasting diet. Both are important facets of the diet. It is designed on consuming high fats, low carbs and no sugars or grains. Dr. Berg’s concept is that the body will start attacking the animal fat cells instead of one’s own cells. It is a process of decoying the body’s own defenses.
My sister Janice has been sending me links of videos on Youtube from Dr. Eric Berg. He is known internationally for his concept of Ketosis and the adrenal glands of the liver. He talks about high insulin levels around the stomach and how it relates to belly fat. That is my problem area too, especially my sides. You can find information on the Keto and Intermittent Fasting diet by clicking https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3w193M5tYPJqF0Hi-7U-2g
FYI, I have lost several pounds within two months, ever since beginning the diet. It is not only designed for autoimmune disorders, it is for those that have other medical conditions (e.g., cancer, arthritis, kidney, thyroid, heart) or want to lose excess weight. I’m not advocating to try the Keto diet. I’m not a medical doctor nor can I give medical advice. I only know how it makes me feel – better and more energy. I usually fast 15 to 18 hours three to four days per week for the autoimmune illness. I never go past 20 hours fasting at one time, although I might try it soon. You can have some liquids during this fasting time (e.g., black coffee, tea, water, bone broth or unsweetened almond milk). The longer the body does fast without food, the more the body begins to heal itself.
DETOX: Dr. Berg recommends detoxifying the body of impurities and toxins daily. It also hastens the healing process and promotes weight loss as you diet. His focus goes for a 21-day cycle, however, I do it daily. There is a mixture of one glass water (filtered or tap), one tbsp apple cider vinegar and one tbsp lemon juice to drink three times a day.
FOODS TO AVOID: While enjoying various foods, there are foods high in carbs and sugar to avoid, such as bananas, kiwi, apples, pineapple, and peaches. For a list of restricted foods, please see the 14 worst foods to eat on a Ketogenic-diet at http://health.facty.com/food/nutrition/the-14-worst-foods-to-eat-on-a-ketogenic-diet/
Dr. Eric Berg also has a pamphlet that explains the dos and don’ts while on the Ketosis diet. Amazon offers Kindle as well. Please see https://shop.drberg.com/checkout/cart/ for any questions you might have.
Plus, Dr. Berg offers many products on his website to take daily. I especially like the nutritional yeast (powder). It comes in two forms: pills and powder. I am allergic to pill form and the powder tastes just like cheese. It takes two tbsp a day sprinkled on food or mixed in a drink and it also helps headaches. Two more supplements I take is Keto MCT Oil Powder – available unflavored, vanilla and chocolate. I love the chocolate – tastes just like cocoa. One big scoop is good with a eight-ounce glass of almond milk. It is delicious. Also, I take Electrolytes with MCT daily. It comes unflavored and one small scoop taken per meal.
Please be advised that the weight will take time to gradually come off. But it will eventually start coming off. Mine started around 4 weeks and now at my sixth week, I am really starting to lose weight. Be patient with it and yourself. You want to lose weight slowly instead of fast to prevent sudden (quirks) weight gain.
Several months ago, I weighed 145 pounds. I went down to 137 to 139 pounds a few months ago. Getting on the weight scales this morning, I weighed 129 pounds. I will continue to lose a few more pounds to cushion myself and then maintain a balanced diet. It is a lifechange and a lifestyle diet, not just a temporary diet. It is not designed for quick fixes, like losing weight for a class reunion or a social event. I’m on the diet not only for health reasons, but to save my life. I’m fighting for my life and to become healthy.
This is the tenth and final week I will be presenting tips to new writers and authors. I hope the ten weekly posts were helpful and something you can come back to. At least, it gives you an idea of what to expect in the publishing world. As reiterated many times, no course or book can teach you everything to learn about publishing. Practical experience and recognition as an author and writer are the best teachers.
A good writer knows how to write. A great writer not only knows how to write well, but will give direction and guidance to others. This advice is offered freely. I don’t proclaim to be an expert; I still have lots to learn too.
Five years of writing and publishing led me down this path. A path I did not choose; it chose me. To wrap up this week, I offer several suggestions:
- Look at alternate publishers before you select a publisher. Do your research beforehand and ask questions. You might find another publisher who does work less expensively than another and/or you get more profits (including royalties) from book sales.
- Remember to get everything you expect in writing before you sign a contract. If not in writing, then it is your word against the publisher or marketer. Once you sign a contract, you are bound to their regulations and procedures. Legally, you usually have 7 to 10 days to cancel the contract.
- Talk to your book consultant if any questions about the publishing process. Usually, they can advise about complimentary copies of your book(s) or marketing services offered. *Note – I find marketing services to be more expensive than publishing sometimes, depending on the service offered, so choose wisely. This seems true for self-publishing, as well as traditional publishing.
- Please note that once you publish a book, you are placed on a calling list. If it gets too annoying, you may want to ask the publisher to be removed from the list. If they say the list came from a website like Amazon, please ask to be connected to their customer service or a manager.
- Continue to market your book(s) online. Social media is a great way to advertise your book(s) online and very affordable. Shout my Book will market your book(s) on social media inexpensively. They will do as many books as you want daily or monthly (at a small fee, of course).
- Keep in contact with other writers. Seek a writer’s group or an organization for writers that meet monthly to discuss their books. This is an excellent opportunity to not only do some advertising, but to get advice from other writers.
- Keep getting your name out there – mail book markers, postcards or business cards to potential interested readers, like family, acquaintances or friends. This can get expensive with postage and takes time; however, it’s gets your name and title of your book(s) out to the mainstream public.
- Ask businesses (depending on the type of business) that know you if they would post a flyer of your book on their window. Usually, it is best if you are a customer or they’re acquainted with you.
- In retrospect, see if these businesses would let you market your book(s) through a book signing. You would be surprise. They might say yes.
- Keep hanging in there – never give up. Enjoy the writing process as you write that next “best seller” one day. Simply, just have fun with it.
There are many more suggestions, but I feel it would be too repetitious in words. This project started out as your idea, your creation and your book. It is your baby. When I publish a book, I feel like I have given birth to a new creation.
Please keep in touch and if you have any questions, I am here to help. I may not be able to answer all your questions, but I will attempt to find out the answer for you. In the meantime, have a wonderful week and hope to be reading your best-seller soon.
For new writers, it is an uncertain destiny. You’ve written and published your first book. Where do you go from here? Often, it is soul-searching. Remembering back to when I first began to write books, I was mystified as to which direction to go toward. It wasn’t much longer, that I wrote another book. From then on, I was hooked and started writing my third book shortly afterward.
I would suggest to just enjoy the ride. It is hard work to constantly monitor your book sales, but being well-organized is half the battle. Whatever you do, it is important to stay upbeat and positive in the process. Your door will open oneday. It is also important to never give up! If writing is your passion and you love writing, stick with it, no matter what anybody says. After all, it is your life. Nobody else can live it for you.
Again, as previously mentioned, no course taught me these things. Rather, it was hands-on experience over time. I offer several suggestions for new writers and authors, which I feel may benefit you:
- Seek out other writers and authors both in social media and the community. The more you reach out to others, the more your writing skills are recognized. In this case, a monthly writers’ group would benefit, as they offer advice to new writers.
- Do some self-marketing and advertising. Everywhere I go, from restaurants to social events, I give at least one person my business card. It identifies you as a writer and where to find your book(s) online or publisher.
- Acknowledge that your book(s) will not sell overnight. Rather, it will take time and effort to build up an audience of interested readers.
- Establish yourself in your local community before spanning out to other areas. People will usually purchase something from someone they know or acquainted with, rather than a complete stranger.
- Do not get discouraged. It is easy to find discouragement along the way. Remember that there are thousands of writers competing against you for recognition and notiety.
- Keep your communication lines open. You never want to give all your personal information online. If you have an author’s website, that should give interested readers enough information to purchase your book(s). If using social media, like Twitter, Facebook or Google, set up a paypal or method that readers can purchase your book(s).
- Always look for alternate ways to market your book(s), such as online campaign ads or newspaper ads. You never know when literary agents, publishers and marketers might find interest in your book(s).
- Constantly look out for conferences or meetings in the community. There are some organizations that allow new writers to speak to their members. Contact local organizations to see when their next meeting is. Introduce yourself and that you are a new writer in the local area. You can also check with local bookstores for booksignings.
Next week, I will be wrapping up my weekly postings. I will be discussing how to expand your horizons into other areas of writing. More importantly, how to write and get paid for it.
What does branding mean? I don’t mean branding like cattle. “Branding” is identifying yourself as unique that sets you apart from other authors. The key is developing a brand that is targeted and focused. You need to determine what genre and style of writing you want to go with among your readers. For example, five years ago, I started out writing nonfiction books. By the third book, I changed to fiction. My last several books have been historical novels, based on actual events, but the characters are fictitious. The readers will be more impressed if you identify with one genre or style. If you are enthusiastic about science fiction, branding yourself to science fiction books goes further than skimming around genres. If you love poetry and poems, establishing yourself as a poet is beneficial. If you love children’s books, then establishing yourself as a writer of children’s books or educational books is essential.
As a new writer, it is important that you establish yourself as early as possible in a particular brand. Once recognized on social media, your name will go a long way. The more your name is put out there, the more you are recognized. It is more than social media and online advertising. It is actually getting out in the community and marketing yourself as a writer/author. I started off with a pen name and changed it to my legal name later on. Why? Upon the advice of the publisher, my first two books were more on a personal nature and self-closure. I didn’t want personal confidentiality to get out to the mainstream public. I did that to protect my family and family members. But on the lighter spectrum, it allowed me to self-heal on the inside.
So, how do I get started as a new writer/author? I had issues with establishing myself as a writer/author of multiple books. Mine are mostly because of health/medical issues, but you are a young writer, trying to establish yourself in the community. My suggestion is to simply get out there. Pass your business cards around. Take extra cards with you to everywhere you visit. Remember, people will tend to buy books from someone they know or recognize rather than a total stranger. The very first thing is to listen to Sherry Beck Paprocki’s, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Branding Yourself. She provides a video on UTube that defines a branding story and how you can develop your own story. Stephen Hertz, managing director of interactive at Lavidge, offers four tips to authors who are new to social media. These tips help to get new authors started on social media.
- Claim your social profiles on all of the high traffic platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. It is important to register your information, no matter how active you are on each.
- Start out with short and simple posts so that you don’t overwhelm your readers or yourself. I realize that writers like to write, but remember less is more in this case.
- Find your biggest supporters on each platform and reach out to them for advice on the best way to approach that specific platform.
- Actively seek out feedback from your community of followers. This helps keep them engaged while providing you with valuable insights.
Next week, I will discuss scouting out different avenues of writing. Perhaps, you have decided in midstream to go from creative writing to free-lance writing. How do you get started? There are different avenues to consider and ways that you are even paid to write. Please stop in next week and you might find your answer. In the meantime, have a good weekend and enjoy this beautiful, sunny weather today.
You worked hard on your manuscript. It has been submitted to the publisher. If you are self-publishing, it generally takes two to three weeks to publish. Your book is first submitted to a check-in book coordinator. Once the content of your manuscript is approved (usually 24 to 48 hours), it goes into the design stage. This is when your front and back covers are designed and the interior text as well. This stage can last up until you finish all corrections or revisions of your final manuscript. Once you have made corrections and revisions (if any), you will approve the final layouts of the covers and text. Your book then goes into the production stage, whereby it is ready for the printers. This stage takes anywhere from a week to two weeks usually. Once completed, you will be sent a complimentary copy or copies of your newly published book. This is your time to start promoting your book. We have covered many of the marketing strategies in the previous week. There are some suggestions that you might find effective doing this time:
- Promote your new book through word of mouth to acquaintance, friends and family members. They are most familiar with your written work and writing skills.
- Network an interest to readers through your blog, social media (Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc) or email.
- Set up a time at a local book store to introduce yourself as a new author. You can usually email to set up a time and date.
- Book signings are important as it introduces you as a new writer/author to the community. Set up a time and date through advertising and/or a local newspaper – it will also promote book sales.
- Advertise your new book in the local newspaper. You can contact the newspaper for costs. Usually, week-long ads will be more costly. It may be more cost-effective to set up once monthly or weekends only.
- Send an article about yourself and writing experience with a photo to the local newspaper. This could be less costly than advertising your book.
- Look at local organizations and clubs for times to speak about your book. This gives an outlet to be recognized in your community as a new writer/author.
- Explore radio stations to set up an interview talking about your book. Be adamant and set up a time and date.
- Set up an author’s website with your new book. You can add additional books as well. Ask the publisher if they have this marketing service.
- Marketing is costly, but you may want to ask the publisher about online campaign ads.
- Find other local writers and authors in the area by joining a writers’ club. They meet monthly and offer advice to new writers and authors. In addition, you get to meet others that share your same passion of writing.
- If you received a marketing kit from the publisher, send out postcards to persons that might be interested in your new book.
As always, do your homework beforehand. I like to research online before starting a project. Next week, I will be discussing some differences between independent publishing and traditional publishing. Seems like a broken record, but it is valuable to you as a new writer and author.
I stand in correction about copyright law (thanks Ray) from the discussion last week. Even though traditional publishers do take some control of your book, they do not take over copyrights. Rather, it is the creation itself. For example, if you post online on your blog, it is considered published. It should not be reproduced (copied) unless given permission by the writer. A similar concept with a published written work or a book. Once published, it is considered copyrights of the writer/author and can not be reproduced. It is the monetary gains in courtrooms that intensify the legal battles of what is considered “copyrights” or not.
I will discuss traditional vs. independent publishing in oncoming weeks. Frankly, I feel there are pros and cons of each one. My personal preference is self-publishing; however, I do not advocate one over the other. For now, I will stick to what I know firsthand: the process of writing and getting your book published.
We have discussed naming your book and creating the plot (storyline) in prior weeks. However, there are certain things to determine before writing the manuscript. There are two parts of writing your manuscript: the initial draft and the final draft. Most publishers will send guidelines for preparing and submitting your manuscript. If you have questions, please contact the publishing consultant assigned to your book. There are some guidelines I feel may be helpful in preparing your manuscript:
- The first thing is to consider what type genre (history, self-help, inspirational, religious, poetry or general, etc) your book is about. Is it fictional (story, novel) or nonfictional (autobiography, true facts or true story)? Who will be your audience and what age range do you want to reach?
- Consider the font style and pica format. Some publishers prefer the standard New Times script and 12 pica in Word Document. These should be included in their general guidelines.
- Indentations are determined whether you want the standard 5 or 3-tab indentation. Also, if single or double-spaced between lines and paragraphs. You may also do 1.5 spacing. Again, that will depend on the type of book you are writing. Poetry, for example, will have a different format and/or sequence of writing.
- I find writing chapters individually before combining chapters is easier to go back to correct and revise. There may be portions of your manuscript you may want to rewrite. Always read through each chapter to check if script sounds smooth and flowing. If not, you may have to revise or rewrite.
- Do not number your pages beforehand. The publisher will number as the length of the book will be longer with additional appendages. This includes the Table of Contents Page also – do not number pages before submitting.
- The very first page should include the Title Page, which includes the title of the book and the name of the author or pen name. You want to write Acknowledgments to give credit to those who helped in publication of your book. Dedications are optional, but may be included.
- Formats may vary with each writer, but I find an Introduction or Prologue useful. The Introduction can be short, but enough detail about the book. The Prologue or Chapter One should be more descriptive and give explicit details.
- Forewords usually go along well with proven writers/authors. Yet, someone who is familiar with your written work may write a Foreword or a Blurb for your book. I submit a Blurb on the back cover for this purpose. Adding an author’s photograph is nice too, where readers will recognize you.
- Always reference where you are getting information for your book. These can include References, Notes or Bibliography at the back of your book.
- End with an Epilogue explaining the conclusion or related to your book. For example, if writing a historical novel, write something concerning that era or the story you have written.
- At the very back of the book, you many want to include an About The Author page. This will include your biography, your writing experience and other publications (if applicable).
- If nothing else, always go through the initial draft with a fine-tooth comb. Some spell-checkers will not correct all spelling or punctuation errors. This includes grammar errors too. Please note that if you are self-publishing, the publisher is not interested in correcting your manuscript, unless you have paid for professional editing.
Next week, I will finish with submitting your final draft to the publisher. This is an important step, as once you approve and submit your final draft, no more changes can be made without a charge.
Please respond with any comments or feedback. Remember, any opinions or statements posted, are just opinions. I do not feel that any responses are wrong, just different in thought or opinion.