Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Scouts motto: Be Prepared

 The Boy and Girl Scouts’ mottos are “be prepared.” However, I failed at that this year. How about you?
After the recent release of Ruth Ann Nordin’s and my anthology, Bride by Arrangement, published by Parchment and Plume, I realized I was not prepared. 
(The anthology includes two novellas - Ruth’s The Purchased Bride and mine She Came by Train. The story is where two women meet on a train traveling from Virginia to Lincoln, Neb., in 1876. They live separate lives but keep in contact. The Purchased Bride is a mail-order bride story. Who is this quiet man, Pete Kelly, whom Ada is to marry? Janet’s character, Opal, becomes a governess of a widower businessman with two children. Her employer and a preacher vie for her affections. She Came by Train but only her heart will determine if she will return that way.)
But writing She Came by Train took many late nights and wee-morning hours to finish. Because of this, I did not update my social-media sites before the anthology was released in e-book last month. I failed. My only salvation is to complete this before the paperback Feb. 1 edition is released. 
So be prepared by not waiting to the last minute to finish your book but also by remembering to update your social-site profiles BEFORE your book is out. Doing this, acquaints people with you, your book and its cover, such as our anthology. 
Ruth taught me to publish excerpts of my work-in-progress on my blog or on social-media sites. In this way, readers get acquainted with your work, which entices people to purchase the product - an excellent marketing tool.
Also, respond to blog comments because this shows them that you value their input, which builds relationships. What else can you do to become more efficient? Setting goals helps. Some people do longterm goals, such as planning when a book will be released in a year. Other people are not as intense. This month I will sit down with realistic expectations in completing my Cameos and Carriages, a prequel novel to Lockets and Lanterns, which was released in 2012. 
However, my short-term list is more valuable to me. I ask myself what I want to accomplish this week. A weekly planner (another great Ruth tip) sits beside my computer to assist me with this. 
The small calendar allows me to see a week at a glance. I jot down my daily entries in pencil. Using a pencil is a great idea since if the day goes haywire I can erase and move that entry to another day. Entries include when to submit stories, join or rejoin organizations, write blogs, post work-in-progress excerpts and re-examine certain e-mails. 
How do I know what e-mails to re-examine? I star them in my e-mail system. There are days I am too busy to digest long or confusing e-mails, thus by starring them I can return to them at a better time. Additionally, I do the same with Facebook birthday notifications. But watch that you do not pass your Facebook friend’s birthdate.
Thus do what you can to be prepared. However, also remind yourself that you will fail at times. Humans always do as you know. Well, start out the new year right and perhaps you will want to incorporate some of these tips, and may the Lord richly bless you in 2014. 

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