Author Archives: Ruth Ann Nordin

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to contemporaries romances and other genres (such as science fiction thrillers). For more information, please go to www.ruthannnordin.com or check out http://ruthannnordinauthorblog.wordpress.com.

Your Top 2-3 Writing Goals For The Year

Since it’s the beginning of a new year, this is the perfect time to start off with a clean slate (or as much of one as you can). 🙂

I was thinking this morning that it’s a good time to think about the main things we want to accomplish this year.  I originally going to suggest making five goals, but then I thought 2-3 is a lot more doable than five.   By keeping this short and simple, I’m hoping we’ll see success with them.

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What Should The Goals Deal With?

These should be goals related directly to writing.  Yes, I know there are health goals and other non-writing related goals this time of year, but we’re not going to go into that. This is a blog dedicated to the writing business, and that being the case, we’ll focus on writing related goals.

It can be books you want to get done, an LLC you want to set up, a course you want to take to become a better writer or market your books, a new website design, a strategy to get a blog going, a new marketing idea…  As long as it relates to the world of writing, it fits.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at what we most want to get done.   I suggest writing these down or recording them if you use dictation software.  You don’t have to do this in one sitting.  I think taking a day or two to mull this over is a good idea.  Often, something will come to mind when you’re doing a chore or taking a shower.  (Funny how that works, isn’t it?)  So as you come up with these goals, mark them down.  The list can be as long as you want in this stage since all you’re doing right now is brainstorming.

Narrow It Down to 2-3 Main Things

Next, set the list aside for a week.  This should help your subconscious mind work through everything you put on it.   Then take the list out and mark the top 2-3 things you want to do.  These are the high priority items.  If you get nothing else done this year, those 2-3 things should be accomplished by the end of the year.

1. Keep it simple.

I advise keeping these things simple enough so you don’t get overwhelmed later in the year when you’re working on them.  So instead of making a goal  something like, “Write a four-book series,” have the goal be, “Write Book 1.” That gives you one goal that is a lot more doable.

You know the expression that says, “You can’t see the forest through the trees?”  Guess what?  You can’t have a forest unless you have trees to begin with.   The purpose of this exercise is to set up strong trees that will make for a healthy forest in the long run.  If you try to do too much, then your trees will be weak.  Do what you can handle with everything else you have going on in your life.

2. Make your goal something you can control.

Having a goal like, “I’m going to make more money this year,” isn’t something you can control.  As much as I would love it if we could control this part of the business, it’s not possible.  All we can do is take steps toward making more money.  So instead of, “I’m going to increase my income,” try something like, “I’m going to create a group on Facebook where I can engage with my readers” or “I’m going to create an email list” or “I’m going to make a blog post twice a month”.  Something like that is directly under your control, and it’s a way to promote your work.

(Below I went off tangent.  Feel free to skip.)

I have been criticized for speaking out on losing income in the past, but I write posts on this blog because I believe in being straightforward and honest about things.  If I don’t do that, then I’m only wasting my time and yours.  I am not going to promise anyone that if they plug in a certain formula or do something specific, they’ll magically find their income go up.  I can share things that have helped me earn more money, but that’s all I can do.  And just because that one thing (such as pre-orders) helped me earn more money, it doesn’t mean I made more money than I did the year before.  What it did was help take some of the buffer off the losses I was experiencing.

Personally, I’m tired of hearing how we are supposed to expect income to go up all the time.  The truth is, it doesn’t always work that way.  You can do everything right and still not have more money coming in.  I have had private conversations with other authors who make a living with their writing.  Last year, some of them (including me) lost income.  Some were losing income in 2015, too.  This is despite doing all the things marketing experts tell us to do and selling in a popular genre.  So if you find that you’re not able to make the income you want even though you’re following all the advice out there, I hope you’ll take comfort in knowing you are not alone.  (Sometimes the worst feeling in the world is thinking you’re the only person this is happening to.  And it certainly doesn’t help when people criticize you for being honest.)

(Now back to the topic.)

If You Finish The Goals Ahead Of Schedule, Make More

Congratulations if you get things done before you think you will!  That’s wonderful.  It’s better if you end up having to add more goals than to not complete the ones you set out to do.

What Are Your Goals?

I’d love to hear what you guys are planning to do this year, so please share!

Categories: Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Author Resources: Cover Artists, Book Formatters, Editors/Proofreaders, and Book Promoters

Below is a list of  professional cover artists, editors, proofreaders, and book promoters.  I’m going to divide it up according to category to better help you find what you’re looking for.

Cover Artists and/or Other Graphic Designs

Anya Kelley Designs – ebook, paperback, and website banners, business cards

Blue Valley Author Services – ebook, paperback, Facebook/website banners, business cards, audiobook covers, logos, and animated covers

Bonnie Mutchler Covers – ebook and paperback

C. M. Wright’s Author Services – ebook and paperback

Children’s Book Covers – cover art for children’s books

Children’s Books Illustrations – for interior illustrations in children’s books

The Sazzy Reader – custom design ebook and paperback, pre-made ebook and paperback, and social media graphics, postcards, and book markers

Book Formatters

Blue Valley Author Services – ebook and paperback

C. M. Wright’s Author Services – ebook and paperback

The Forge Books  – ebook and paperback

The Sazzy Reader – ebook and paperback

Editors and/or Proofreaders

C. M. Wright’s Author Services – editing and proofreading

Devil in the Details Editing Services – copy and line editing

The Forge Books  – content editing and proofreading

Book Promotion Services

C. M. Wright’s Author Services – blog tours, promotion on all social media sites, Facebook hosting event, media production kit, author commercial, teasers and trailers, author branding, and more

The Sassy Reader – landing page for your book  with book release countdown

Personal Assistants

C.M. Wright’s Author Services – short and long-term assistants

Categories: Uncategorized | 18 Comments

What To Do When Someone Hates Your Book

The older I get and the more books I publish, the more I’ve learned that it’s okay if everyone doesn’t love my work. This wasn’t an easy conclusion to come to. Believe me, I have my share of critics, and I had to trudge through some difficult times as I struggled to keep quiet when people were letting me know how much my books suck. I even almost quit writing several times because I got to the point where I believed I was a terrible writer. So I get it. I know how hard it is to brush off negative comments and reviews when it comes to your work. It is a lot easier to be objective when you see another author’s work being criticized, but when it’s your book that takes the beating, objectivity tends to fly right out the window.

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So today for those of you who are struggling with this issue, I thought I’d share things that helped me over the years as I’ve had people tell me why my work belongs in the city dump.

The first step is to be objective about criticism.

1. Understand that taste is subjective.

Honestly, you can’t make someone like your book. Trying to explain why you handled a conflict in your story a certain way or why your character did something someone doesn’t like is a fruitless endeavor.

Why? Because people will think whatever they want. Everyone who reads your book will be doing so with their personal bias already in the back of their minds.  Think of a book you hate that was massively popular. This is the book that makes you ask yourself, “Why do so many people love this horrible story?”

I’ve certainly had this question pop up in my mind.  There is a traditionally published book (which I will not name) that I hate. My hatred of this book was so strong that I actually felt like I was going to vomit while I was reading it. It got so bad that I had to stop halfway into it and throw it out. For the life of me, I can’t understand why this is a bestselling book. When I talk to others about this book, an overwhelming majority praise it. They encourage me to finish it. “It is so worth it when you get to the end,” they say. Personally, I don’t care how much they loved it. They aren’t changing my mind. I don’t care what motives the main characters had. To me, one character was stupid and the other character was undeserving of a happy ending.   Nothing could redeem them to my satisfaction.

Does this mean the story truly sucks? No. Of course not. All it means is that I think the book sucked. It’s just one person’s opinion. That’s all.  The same is true for people who don’t like your books.

2. The reason someone hates your book says a lot more about that person than it does about your book.

The book I mentioned above, the one that I hate more than anything else I’ve ever read, reveals my own likes and dislikes. It reveals an aspect of my personality. The hero and heroine have personality traits I absolutely despise. They did things I would never do in a million years.  Those characters represent the antithesis to the kind of person I want to be and the kind of people I want to hang around.  So all that book really did was reveal the kind of people I admire and respect.

The very qualities a reader likes or doesn’t like about a book are a window into the reader’s soul. You can gain insight into a person by their praise or criticism of the work. So take that into consideration when you come across the comments people make about your books.

Now, that we took an objective look at criticism, what should we do about it?

1. Ignore it.

The longer I’m in this business, the more convinced I am that ignoring criticism is the best way to handle it. Trying to defend your book is pointless. Instead of answering your critics, the best thing you can do is cater to your fans. They’re the ones you’re writing for anyway. They understand your vision for what you do, and better yet, they are already supporting and encouraging you.  They enjoy your work for a reason.  Why change what you’re doing to please the critics when the fans already love what you’re doing?

2. Choose to think on good things.

Recently, I’ve learned that the more attention I give something, the bigger of an issue it becomes. If I dwell on negativity, after a while, I start getting depressed or angry. I stop being as productive as I want to be. Negativity drains you of your energy. On the other hand, if I focus on positive things, I feel happier and freer. I find it easier to focus on my work. I’m more relaxed. I smile a lot more. I’m pleasant to be around, and believe me, my family is a lot happier when I’m pleasant.  So by focusing on positive things, you’ll probably attract a lot more pleasant people into your world.

To be honest, I used to think there wasn’t a correlation between what I was thinking and how I felt, but the more I’ve experimented with focusing on the positive, the more convinced I am that what we think about definitely impacts how we feel. It’s not easy at first. Breaking the old habit of dwelling on the negative takes time to do. But the more I do it, the easier it gets. Life is short. You have to decide whether you’re going to spend it in misery or whether you’re going to spend it in joy.  The choice is yours.

3. Be thankful for what you have.

A spirit of gratitude has a tremendous impact on our mental and emotional wellbeing. When something bad happens, I take a step back and start to list out things that are good in my life. If nothing else, the fact that I have food on the table, a roof over my head, and clothes on my back are huge. The fact that I can walk to the car or type on the computer or that I even know how to read are huge. Sure, I have problems. We all do. But no matter how grim a situation is, there is always something you can be thankful for.  Or, to put it another way, there is always someone out there who has it worse than you do.  So taking into consideration your blessings when problems start to pop up can help buffer you from the negativity when it rears its ugly head.

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In conclusion

If you reach a wide enough readership, you will have your share of critics. When this happens, do not engage with them. I know it’s hard, but it’s necessary. There’s no need to try to defend your book to someone who hates it. Your time and energy will be better spent focusing on your fans.

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