Be Prepared

The Boys Scouts’ motto is “be prepared.” But I failed several times this year. What about you?

With 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 Ada is to marry? Janet’s character, Opal, becomes a governess of a widower’s two children. Two men vie for her affections. She Came by Train will she 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. I failed. My only salvation is all will be completed before the paperback Feb. 1 release.

Thus think ahead. If you have a book coming out, update your social-media profiles BEFORE your book is released. Doing so, acquaints people with you, your book and its cover, such as our anthology.

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One good thing I learned from Ruth is to publish excerpts of your work-in-progress on your blog and post on social media. Readers become acquainted with your work, and it entices them to purchase the product once done. This is an excellent marketing tool.

Also, respond to blog comments. In this way, you show you value the commenter’s input. Remember online interactions build relationships as do  personal ones.

How else can you be prepared? Goals help. Some people do longterm goals, such as when a book will come out and more. I do a little of this but not as intense as others. I will sit down in January and incorporate realistic expectations in completing my Cameos and Carriages, a prequel novel to Lockets and Lanterns, which was released in 2012.

However, more valuable to me is my short-term list. What do I wish to accomplish this week? A weekly planner (another great Ruth tip) sits beside my computer.

The small calendar allows you 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 you can erase and move that entry to another day. My entires include when to submit stories, join or rejoin organizations, write blogs, post work-in-progress excerpts and re-examine certain e-mails to better digest their contents.

How do I know what e-mails to re-examine? I star them in my e-mail system. There are days, as everyone of you knows, where you do not have time to study a confusing or lengthy e-mail. By placing a star beside it, you can return to it on a date where you have more time. I do this also with Facebook birthdays. If I do not have time to wish a person a Happy Birthday, I can return to it a day later as long as it does not pass their birthdate.

Well, I think I have said enough. Remember to be prepared. However, also remind yourself that you will fail at this. You are human by the way. Have a great new year and may the Lord richly bless you in 2014.

12 Comments

  1. Eric Alagan says:

    Great advice for all who are gearing up to publish their WIP.

    All good wishes for that Feb release 🙂

    1. Thank you, Eric. I thought the topic was particularly timely with the new year. God bless.

  2. Word of wisdom, Janet!

    You addressed one of my pet peeves. You said “respond to blog comments”. Yes! I always do this, and it really bothers me when I take the time to comment on a blog and the writer doesn’t respond at all.

    1. Yes, we should respond. If they take the time to comment, we should let them know we read it and a reply shows them that. God bless.

  3. M T McGuire says:

    As somebody who actually IS gearing up to publish a w.i.p. I agree that is excellent advice. I have lists of isbn’s and info to put onto nielsen, am lining up beta readers for February and am about to start on lining up arc copies to be reviewed on or around April. However, the big one at the moment is the spec document for the cover – plus accompanying photos – which I’ll be aiming to send to the designers by next week. Then I’ll have something concrete to hang it all onto.

    Happy New Year you guys, I hope bridge by arrangement goes well.

    Cheers

    MTM

    1. M T McGuire says:

      Grrrr cursed iPad! Bride By Arrangement… Gah.

    2. It sounds like you are quite prepared. Good for you and may everything continue to go well for you. God bless.

  4. It’s a process to figure out the best system that works for you. I think I’m finally getting to a place where I can start tracking my progress to see if what I’m doing is effective or if I’m better off doing something else. I like breaking up the long term goals into shorter term ones. That way it doesn’t get overwhelming. Whenever I start a book, I get a bit of shock. Thinking, “I need to write 60,000 or more words” makes me freeze up a bit. But if I break it down into weekly word count goals, it feels like less and I’m able to write. So I’m definitely with you on the weekly planner thing. 😀

    1. You are so organized. I hope to follow more in your footsteps. I plan to worm my way into it this next year. I can see where breaking it into smaller portions helps prevent projects from becoming overwhelming. That is the only way I could attempt to do some of what you do. You are so awesome! God bless.

  5. RavenWest says:

    “Be Prepared” is ALSO the Girl Scouts’ motto

    1. You learn something every day. I did not know that. I only was in Girl Scouts for a year. My background was 4-H. Thank you for informing me of that. God bless.

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