Here I sit and wait on one correction to be made on the back flap of cover for my republished book, Saga of the Ages. It has taken nearly a week to get something done. At least my original publisher was faster, although the books were more expensive online. Golden rule: You get what you pay for. I wanted to reproduce a book that was less expensive and more affordable to readers. I wonder if I invested wisely into republication. There is no way to know until I get results. Are there any other writers or authors out there that have experienced the same thing? Am I just too impatient? It has only been a few weeks if that.
It’s mighty cold in Atlanta right now. Consistent light showers and misty weather have promoted bitter cold temperatures at night. Hopefully, it won’t snow yet. Well, snow is all right, but no ice.
I’m tooting my own horn, but good things are happening. I’m turning the corner and starting to feel much better within the past two weeks. The physical therapist thinks I am well enough to go to out-patient physical therapy. She assessed me today and dismissed me from home physical therapy.
I saw my neurologist last Wednesday. He is pleased with my progress and how far I’ve come since surgery. I know he’s concerned about the autoimmune part and if surgery will be just as good for the other foot. Christ is good and will see me through the next surgery just as well as my last one. I believe surgery on my right foot will be as well or even better than surgery on my left foot. He wants me to trust Him and is showing me that all things are possible with Him.
In addition, I see my orthopedic surgeon on Monday. I’m to be fitted with a new ankle brace to stabilize my foot. It will help with mobility too. I hope to find out when I can schedule the next surgery on my other foot. Hopefully, by this springtime.
Besides just releasing another published book, Master of Disguise, I’m having a trailer (video) made for Saga of the Ages. I’m also having it republished in the U.K. These were two of my main goals in writing: to have one of my books made into a script or film one day and to become an international writer. My dreams are becoming realities now. I only have to believe Christ and what He tells me. And believe I will….
The other day, I was having a discussion with my sister. Somehow the conversation turned that I was mad at God. I didn’t say that nor meant to imply that. I do like God. In fact, I love Him. I believe I am a very intelligent person, but I put my foot in my mouth at times. On the other hand, I am also a very talented person, but seem to have problems with explaining myself. This is especially true with family members. This seems to be an emotional and stressful week for us.
I feel when there is nothing else to say, that is the time to be silent. Silence is “golden” is the rule here. After all is said and done, no one comes out the winner. How do you win a losing battle? But I do love my family. Their opinions are just that – their opinions. I respect their opinions; they need to respect mine.
This disagreement started last year with some family problems at home. The discussion led to a book I had written in the past. One family member thought the book represented an anti-God image. What it represented was the culture of Egypt and their customs. I wrote on their history, their food and their culture. There was a story too, but fictious. There was a dream denoting some dark feelings, but that was conducive to the story. The main character finds herself in a state of uncertainty until the truth is revealed in the story. It is discovered that she suffers from Lupus, an autoimmune disease. I write about the similarities with my medical condition.
However, what family members don’t realize is that I sell books that way. My books contain action, suspense and mystery. I write historical novels, fictious and created to inspire the imagination of others. That is what I write on. I like to motivate and inspire people. I am not a spiritual writer. I feel if family members want a book written on Christian “pure” ethics, they need to write a book themselves. I feel their narrowmindedness lacks the understanding to open their minds to creativity and artistic values.
While I do believe in Christ, I feel He is all around us. I feel His love and His power. I do worship Christ. I am not a fanatic; I don’t read the Bible 24 hours a day. But I do express my Christian beliefs and values through love and understanding. I feel He has brought me to write for many reasons, all good reasons. I won’t apologize for writing what I enjoy. I will continue to write as it brings me happiness and purpose in life.
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.