So, in my never-ending quest to promote and involve my books in various places, I signed up for Pronoun. The service tracks the rise of your books and the rank within your dedicated categories (something I really haven’t given additional thought to). In this instance, while I understand the service is trying to be helpful by suggesting alternate categories, the results gave me a reason to laugh.
The year is over, as is the wait.
I am out of Amazon jail and hope to remain that way (at least I can get the Queen published).
I don’t have super high hopes for what my inclusion back into KDP Select means or how it’s going to completely impact my sales, but I am glad that more readers will now have access to my books.
And on that note, I feel the correct celebration is one for my most recent protagonist, Liz, and the opening of the Museum of Ice Cream — a location she definitely would’ve visited in Los Angeles (well, when she wasn’t so comfortable tucked away at the Winchester).
If you want to know what I’ve been up to this week, I’ve been furiously formatting. It is definitely not as fun as it sounds. So. Much. Tab. Anyway, with the first draft 99% there, I’m happy with the changes between the rough draft and this one. I know some additional changes will need to take place, but at least the manuscript is now in a place where I can confidently share it with others.
- 2, invented countries in the Queen 2.
- 72,734, words. I came in more or less exactly where I thought this draft would finish. Yay goals!
- 10, years, since my first book was published. I look back fondly at the motivation levels I had for The Line. There was literally no avenue I wouldn’t try to promote it. Although I stopped counting, between sales and giveaways, I think in its lifetime that more then 10,000 copies are out in the world. That makes me happy.
- 5, dinners I have lined up next week in Bangkok. My liver might actually die. I’m not sure yet. I’m hopeful the clothes I’m packing will be forgiving.
So, it’s been a year since I left the corporate world and entered whatever world I am in now (which is weird and strange, but mostly awesome). In the past 365 days (give or take), I’ve accomplished quite a bit, but not without some frustrations and realizations along the way.
So, here, in no particular order, are some of the lessons I’ve learned:
- Be open to new friendships. With leaving a traditional office environment (and the various friends that came with it), other than Elena, I didn’t really have someone who was in the same ‘space’ that I was. Fortunately, in early April, I connected with Zoe, and haven’t looked back. We both tell each other (constantly) how different our lives would have been had our paths not crossed. It’s funny the impact one person can make in your life. (Of course, I’m still super bummed that potential friends Lindsey and Nate left before we could really spend time with them). There are plenty of other new pals, of course, and I never know where the next relationship is going to start.
- Keep up with old friends! Fortunately for me, covering new restaurants has allowed me a great excuse to take friends out to eat in Abu Dhabi. Not only that, the trip home last summer allowed me to catch up with some old friends. In today’s uncertain times, I value seeing others in my life who have many of the same values that I do, and are willing to stand up for them.
- Value time off. Honestly, it could be my inner introvert, but (usually) my most favorite days of the week are the ones where I don’t have any reason to leave the house, set the alarm, or put on makeup. It’s days like these when I get the most work done and I feel a bit stressed if I don’t include at least one ‘at home’ day during the week to keep up, catch up, and look ahead.
- There are going to be down times. I’ve gone through periods where I was in a reading slump, or an exercise slump (aka, not doing any), as well as a ‘why is everyone doing things and getting invited places but me’ slump. For the most part they didn’t last long, or I was able to just power through them. However, I recognize I can’t be firing on all cylinders all the time. Some days require a bit of mental health or self-care and that’s totes okay.
- Routines can be a good thing. For the most part, my week starts by doing food prep over the weekends with Hubs (so there’s at least some healthy food in the house), on Sundays, I’m off volunteering at K9 Friends. Mondays are usually my at home day and then I filter in reviews and appointments accordingly.
- Achievements are great, but not the only thing. While I have completed a book, I’m still not ready for it to be out in the world. Late in 2016, this fact was super bumming me out. I felt like I had let my past self down — the one who had all these ideas and thought she was going to be a bestseller by now — the one who hasn’t published a book since the summer of 2015. While it’s still a work in progress, every day I make peace with the fact that I’m at least moving forward on projects and that is enough for now.
- Always be hustling. While I had times where it felt like nothing was moving, I’ve been trying to get in the habit of researching and pitching restaurants and other venues I want to visit. Sometimes they pay off, and some never get a response. I’m hoping to translate some of this energy back to the Queen, once she comes along.
- Always drink water before going to bed (I really need to get on that train, especially when coming home in the 2AM hour).
Anyway, I’m looking forward to what lessons the next year will yield. I also need to figure out how to get paid more regularly…
Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
There were parts of this book I liked… The set up was great, but the third act really fell apart. Still, there was some decent characterization and a few lines that worked for me.
It’s looking positively dreary outside — I love it! Lots of good numbers this week:
- 70,414 words. The nearly final first draft of the Queen 2. I’m currently running the entire book through a grammar program, and imagine I’ll end up adding and finalizing a few scenes (which will put me closer to the 75K I thought the book would end at… 10+ manuscripts in, I’m getting pretty good at knowing this stuff).
- 221 pages, in case you wondered what that looks like.
- 13 pages, that were cut entirely (I have a Google doc for scenes I might want to come back to). I think the reality is with all cuts, edits, and scenes I probably chopped closer to 20 pages (which is 10% of the original rough draft, which also feels right).
- 1, amazing suite I got to stay in this week (Fairmont Fujairah).
- 100%, the level in which I am frustrated by the state of US politics right now.
- 20+, years, our dear cat Nubbins turned this week (her birthday is on January 31st).
- 3, number of dishes I picked out for my top meals in January.
Any good numbers for you to share?