Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Getting the Word Out

My super sweet friend and critique partner posted about The Secret Underground today.  It's also the first place you can see the book trailer (that isn't really a book trailer).  Please check it out here!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Social Networks: Which Ones Do You Need?

Thank you all so much for the kind words, congratulations, pre-orders, and especially for spreading the word about The Secret Underground! I'm so excited about this book.  It's a story I really love, and I hope others will enjoy it too.  Plus, I'm hopeful its sales will help out Jayden's family.

It's will be available on NetGalley for the next month.  If you'd like to review a copy please check it out!

For the past 3 years I've tried to keep my social networking simple.  I blogged (occasionally), I tweeted, and that's all I did. Even those two things felt like too much sometimes. It wasn't hard to resist the urge to join Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn or any of the other cool new networks.

I thought I was doing just fine with what I had.

Then I had a book coming out.

When I told some of my published author friends about The Secret Underground, their very first advice was, "You need to get on Facebook and Goodreads."

They explained that, while I've been able to make writer friends through blogging and Twitter, READERS don't hang out (much) in either of those places.  When I tried to explain that I doubt my target audience (9- to 13-year-olds) hangs out on any social network, my friends countered that while most kids don't have Facebook or Goodreads accounts, their parents, teachers, and librarians do.

I have smart friends.

So, convinced it was something I had to do, I opened Facebook and Goodreads accounts last week.  Now I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner.  It's probably not a great idea to start something new right before a book comes out.  It's tough to learn how the networks function while also trying to make friends. I have a feeling neither will be very respectable for months (or even years) yet.

The moral of this story:  START NOW.  Most networks don't take that much time and you'll be grateful to have friendships established when you have a book to sell someday.

How many social networks do you use?  Which ones do you get the most out of? Which ones are a waste of time?  (Please tell me!  I need to know.)

P.S.  If you friend me on Facebook or Goodreads, or add The Secret Underground to your Goodreads bookshelf,  I'll love you forever!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BIG News

Things have been a bit crazy around here, and I'm about to tell you why...

I am thrilled to announce my first book, The Secret Underground, will be released September 28!

The Secret Underground is a middle grade adventure about a girl named Ally who discovers all the boys in her neighborhood are digging a tunnel to an abandoned steel mill.

My family and I have decided to donate 100% of the profits from this book to baby Jayden and his family. Most of you probably know a bit about Jayden, since we did an auction for him earlier this year, but for those of you who don't, here is his story:

Jayden was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, just before the horrible earthquake in February 2011 that killed 182 people. He suffers from a combination of congenital problems including Hirschsprung's disease.  Because of this he's been through many serious surgeries during his short life.  He's almost died multiple times, but he's a strong little guy and whenever things look bleakest, he rallies and shows his doctors and family that he will fight to hang on. His family recently moved to Australia in order to be closer to a hospital that could handle his care.  They've been through SO MUCH.  Along with the stress and anxiety of dealing with Jayden's condition, they are also struggling financially because of the massive burden of caring for a chronically ill child. For more details check out his blog.

To support Jayden, my agent has helped me put together the perfect book package. We've worked together to create a print book and ebook (and probably even an audio book) that can be marketed 100% as a fundraiser. It's been quite an exciting (and busy) experiment! 

You can pre-order the eBook on Amazon and Apple.  It will be available at all other online book outlets (Nook, Kobo, Sony, etc.) soon. The print version should be available for pre-order on Amazon in the next few weeks and later this fall you'll be able to walk into to any bookstore and order a copy.

I'm so excited about this project and so happy to be able to do this small thing for Jayden's family. 

Stay tuned!  I'll be posting many more details in the coming weeks. 

Or, if you NEED to know more now, feel free to visit my website

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Five Years

Five years ago, when I was eight months pregnant with my third child, I decided to write a novel.

My first book took me more than a year to write.  When I finished, I thought it was AWESOME.

It wasn't.

Now, five years later, I've written five finished novels. Two of them are pretty darn good.  Two are passable--meaning I could probably let friends and family read them without dying of embarrassment.  And one, the one I wrote first, is really, really awful.

I don't regret writing any of them.  Each one taught me something about my voice and how I build worlds and create characters.  The hours I put into writing crap made me a better writer.

Have you finished a book? Five? Ten? What have you learned as you've transitioned from a clueless new writer to a less clueless older writer?