Monday, May 23, 2016

It Takes a Village

When I first started toying with the idea of writing a book (almost 4 years ago), I never imagined where it would lead. All I knew was that I wanted to write. So, I wrote. And wrote. And wrote some more. Then I learned about editing. So I edited. And rewrote. And edited some more. I did all of this by myself, sitting at my desk, pounding away at the keyboard when no one else was in the same room with me.

This is good work for an introvert. But, as the "book" looked more and more like it could really be a book(!), I had to start reaching out to people. Gasp. "Will you please read my book and give me honest feedback, including corrections, additions, and questions about farm stuff that doesn't make any sense to a non-farm-type person?"

It's one thing to have a book on your computer, but quite another thing to turn it into something you can hold in your hands. I had no hopes of getting a publishing house to take my book and, after lots of studying on the matter, I was pretty sure I didn't want to go that route anyway. Instead, I read many books about self-publishing. I had pages and pages of notes about what needed to be done, but if I had to learn how to do all these things, the book might still be locked up in my computer.

Enter daughter Katie, with years of computer savvy under her belt and the patience of a saint. I told her what I wanted/needed and she did it ... or gave me an idea for something even better. We spent hours working together; she in New York, I in North Carolina. The innards started to look like the real deal, complete with chapter titles, headers and footers, table of contents, source page, and even drop caps. Then she continued her magic, turning my ideas into a gorgeous, funny, eye-catching cover.

On October 31, 2015, Crap Happens...Wallowing Is Optional went "live" on A real book was born. Then, after reaching out to the expertise of a few more people, the e-book was born on Thanksgiving Day, 2015.

I would have sat back and said, "Whew! That was fun. A lot of work, but fun!" End of story. But, no! The story was only beginning, because I have a whole village around me, encouraging me to sell, write, and get out there! A whole village of naggers ... and I'm very thankful!

My book is in five local stores, four bookstores, and one gift shop - and actually selling in all those locations. Family members carry books with them to sell to others, and friends buy the book and share it with their friends. Crap Happens...Wallowing Is Optional was reviewed in Yadkin Valley Living Magazine (March/April) and Foothills Times Magazine (Mar/Apr), and I was interviewed for an article that will appear in Forsyth Woman Magazine in June. I can assure you I didn't approach any of these establishments on my own. It's this village of family and friends who are pushing me to walk through the doors they've opened for me.
Local magazines are spreading my name around town.
Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, NC
Writing a children's devotional each month for Forsyth Family Magazine has been a "side note" blessing, again because of a friend who put my name out there. It keeps me writing without having to deal with too much crap :)
Devotion in May issue of Forsyth Family Magazine
I can take full credit for reaching out to one venue only: On June 4, I will be selling my book at NOMAD Farms Festival of the Arts in Tobaccoville, NC. Even so, I will depend on my "village" to help me find a tent to use, give me some pointers on making my little area interesting and inviting, perhaps sit with me for an hour or two during the afternoon, and then help take it all down and get me home again.

Whew! If this had depended on my marketing skills, I would have sold a handful of books. If I had relied upon Amazon's selling platform, I would have sold less than 100 books. But because of my awesome village, I have sold and/or given away almost 400 books. Writing and selling a book involves a whole lot more than I ever imagined. I'm loving it, but I couldn't have done it without a village! Thanks, peeps and neighbors, friends and relatives. You're the BEST!

Friday, May 06, 2016

Spring 2016

 In case you haven't noticed, it's been a while since I last posted here. I've been busy! I've been having fun! BUT, I know some of you have missed me, so here's a brief synopsis of the last two months. You'll most likely be terribly jealous, but try not to hate me.

March 5-9: North Myrtle Beach with the Ladies' Bible study group. Yes, we studied every day but we also ate well and played well.
When I got home, spring was bustin' out all over.
The yard was covered with violets.
Peach trees were blooming.

Even the tama-no-ura camellia had two flowers.

March 19-24: Road trip to Savannah, GA with my daughters! Waterfront, squares, parks, gardens, churches, cemeteries, FOOD.
Love the hanging moss.
Wormsloe State Historic Site
To the ocean again! Tybee Island.
Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden on our way home.
Amazing! See the movie: A Man Named Pearl.

April: Mama cats are having babies! And, yes, Rita has babies in the attic again.
Mrs. Mewer has FIVE babies.
Saturday, April 9: Weldon and I took a historic steam engine train ride from Spencer, NC to Lynchburg, VA. Up at 4am, back home at midnight.
April 22-24: To Lake Junaluska with our church youth director and two young ladies for a confirmation retreat. My first time to this beautiful location in North Carolina.
In spite of lots of rain and cold weather, the flowers have been blooming well, with no help from me. And the skies have been amazing, almost every morning and evening.
Early morning iris.
Confused Christmas cactus.
Peonies are showing off and standing pretty well against all the rain.
The skies displaying the handiwork of God!
I told you I've been busy :) Next post, I'll fill you in on my new experiences as an author. Till then, keep loving life!