It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a rural writer in possession of good ideas just wants to write*—and that’s a completely legitimate way to live your creative life. If you also have dreams (needs?) of eating regularly, heating your home above freezing, or buying shoes occasionally and you don’t have a kind benefactor, however, at some point you need to find people who want to read (aka buy) your work.
The very words marketing and promotion tend to sicken the gut of even the most introverted stalwart author. They don’t need to. There are ways to find your unique readers, build your brand (Gag! Doesn’t that sound horrific and money grubbing?! Don’t worry, I’ll try to de-horrify it. 😉), and help you bring in at least enough dough to enable you to write even more—without making you feel like you’ve sold your soul.
Define some key terms
Discuss the importance of having a marketing plan that fits you
Explore three strategies I feel are critical for every author
Talk about some do’s and don’ts
Brainstorm other tactics that might be helpful.
Appropriate for writers of every form and genre, this workshop will be most valuable to those who are new to publishing or who have a few published books but haven’t done a lot (if any) formal marketing and feel intimidated by the process.
Please bring any questions you have!
This exclusive online event is brought to you by the wonderful Federation of BC Writersand is available to FBCW members for the promotional rate of $20 ($45 non-members).
Like a lot of you, my husband and I are self-isolating these days and feeling pretty housebound. It’s harder on him than on me because he’s more social than I am, plus he’s not a reader. (I know. The HORROR. I feel so badly for him. Not joking!)
I’ve always read a lot (at least two novels a week, usually more), so reading a lot these days is . . . not a change. The consistency of my “schedule” is very comforting, not to mention entertaining, happy sigh giving, educational, etc., etc. etc. I may not be leaving my house much, but I’m traveling all over the place via books and enjoying every type of getaway and fun (or thrilling!) escape you can imagine. 🥰
One thing that is new to me (or that I am new to) is that I decided to try out Kindle Unlimited — as a reader and author.
Amazon is offering great deals on Kindle Unlimited subscriptions right now (1 or 2 months free, depending on your region) and the monthly price is a fantastic deal (just 9.99 a month, or less, depending on where you live). I’m sure I’ll continue to purchase other books because I’m an addict and I want what I want when I want it, LOL — but like I said above, I read voraciously, so I thought it was worth checking out. So far I am wowed by the selection available (especially in the genres I love most: romance, women’s fiction and thrillers).
And then I thought, since I’m enjoying KU so much right now, why not share that book binging joy with my readers—and I arranged to have my whole River’s Sigh & B series put up in Kindle Unlimited. They’ve never been in KU before. April 1st was their exciting debut—no fooling! 😉
If you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber (or you decide to sign up to see if you like it), I hope you “book” a getaway to River’s Sigh B & B, “an incredible place where heartbreak can heal and love can blossom,” according to Amazon reader, LCR. (No suitcase packing or crowded airports necessary.)
Wishing you and yours peace of mind and good health. 💕
P.S. I wanted to blog about digging in the dirt and my excitement about this year’s gardening season, but, siiiiiigh, it is still sooo cold here that all I’ve gotten done so far is a whole lot of dreaming. Still hard frost every night. That said . . . at least the snow is mostly gone, LOL. I should be able to plant some early chill-hardy things soon! In the meantime, thank goodness for books, right?! 😃
Hello and happy March 8th, AKA International Women’s Day 2020!
I have to admit that I recently searched “How long has there been an International Women’s Day?” online because while it’s a day that gains greater significance for me with every year that passes, I don’t recall ever hearing about it as a younger woman or as a kid. Apparently that’s just the circles I lived and grew up in, however (something . . . interesting to me for a lot of reasons, in and of itself). It’s been around for over 100 years.
Anyway, the best site I came across is called (very cleverly, LOL!) InternationalWomensDay.com. I heartily recommend checking it out and (especially!) sharing any of the tidbits that interest you with kids in your life. Recognizing International Women’s Day, honoring it, talking about it, celebrating it, is not a slight to men or an attempt to denigrate them in anyway; it is about starting to address how much (and for how long) history failed to acknowledge women’s personhood and our contributions to the world (and, sadly, often still does). We’ve all heard and learned lots about male inventors, male pioneers-in-various-fields, male explorers, male artists, male authors (and so on and so on), and that’s wonderful because the things people have done are inspiring and great to learn from, regardless of their gender. But it’s really important to see opportunities for your own unique self, as fuel, fodder and motivation for your personal dreams, inclinations, talents and strengths. If you’ve never seen or heard about someone like you doing a particular thing, it’s difficult (maybe even impossible) to even understand it’s an option for you.
And on a personal note, if you’re a woman reading this, I encourage you to do something special, even if it’s very small, to celebrate YOU and the hard work that you do, the dreams (secret or “out there”) that you nurture, and the things you’ve overcome. 🙂
I also use the day to think about the women in my life (too many of whom are gone now) who guided, shaped and encouraged who I’ve become. (For better or worse, LOL.)
I come from a long line of incredibly tough, resilient, hilarious, deeply intelligent women—something I appreciate (and recognize!) more and more as I age. I try not to waste time beating myself up for not expressing my gratitude to some of them when I still had the opportunity (like my mom, for example), and instead strive to be someone they would say similar things about. Do I succeed? . . . Sometimes, maybe. Sometimes, not even close . . . but I think that’s one of the most important things they collectively taught me about how to live: to persevere in my goals, to keep trying.
I spent much of January brainstorming and planning, tasks I always find slightly amusing because I “map” my new year every year, but then, pretty much without fail my well-laid plans run amuck because, well . . . squirrel! That said, even knowing much of what I dream or schedule may change, the time spent looking back—and imagining what might lie ahead—felt extra special this year because for the first time in a long time, I’m looking at the start of a brand new series, and that’s not only exciting. It feels symbolic.
The last “official”* River’s Sigh B & B novel (The Catch, Book 8) launched on January 9, and as I think back on the process of writing this series—what I went through and experienced book by book, chapter by chapter, heck, sometimes paragraph by paragraph—I am struck by how it’s a little like looking back at life.
Knowing what I know now, are there things I would’ve done differently? Oh yes.
Was there heartbreak and indecision and self-doubt a plenty? Absolutely. So much at times that I didn’t always know for sure that I wouldn’t just . . . give up.
Did I screw some things up and make some embarrassing mistakes? Uh huh, for sure—though thankfully, with help from people close to me—I rectified the most serious problems. (Or so I hope, LOL!)
During the writing of pretty much every book, I hit a place before it was finished where I felt I’d totally lost my way and that it was hopeless, that I’d never be able to muddle my way out. When that happened, I went for long walks and had big talks (whine fests!) with a few trusted souls—but I persevered. Eventually, as I tiptoed along in the dark, a light would suddenly go on. The way through would be perfectly clear—so clear that I wondered why on earth I hadn’t seen it before.
But the biggest takeaway from completing River’s Sigh B & B (which also echoes life) is that even if it was excruciatingly difficult at times or brought up painful things or my nerve threatened to fail me, there was simultaneously so much joy and laughter and growth (for me, not just my characters!) in the process, so many moments I’d never change for anything. So much fun.
I can’t share a lot of details about my new series yet (because they’re still coming together in my own head)—but even that feels fitting. After all, whoever truly knows how the future will unfold? But eeeei! I’m excited to see what the next chapters of life and writing hold.
I’m often delightfully optimistic at the start of a brand-new shiny year. What will it hold? What will I do? What plans will I make—and which ones will I fail, change, or wildly succeed in? And in so many ways, this year (2020, wow!) is no different.
I’m excited about, and beyond grateful for, all that has occurred in my work life over the past seven years, especially that one little decision, so long ago now, to write a romance novel as an “exercise.” I did (do!) writing exercises all the time. Who knew that specific one would spark the type of writing destined to become my one great love? Book 8 in my River’s Sigh B & B series is just about to launch (eeeeeeiiiii!!!!), which means I will soon have 12 published novels out in the world (still can’t really believe it!!!), and my brain is bursting with ideas for my next series.
In my personal life, my adult children are healthy and self-sufficient, things I don’t take for granted and feel exceedingly relieved and happy for. I have two little grandsons (a fact that still blows me away: my baby is old enough to have babies—and really, they’re not even babies anymore. They’re small children!), who bring me so much joy and laughter that I can’t even put it into words.
I’ve been moving more, getting outside lots, and have taken a few trips (all things that were goals for 2019). We have three feet of snow right now, but as I look across my yard, I’m imagining this upcoming year’s garden (including a green bean fort!) and daydreaming about kayaking jaunts.
There’s always a flip side to my grateful looking back and sunny looking ahead, however: shadows from past months. What year, after all, doesn’t hold hard times or carry some bad news? And 2019 was no exception.
In my personal life, there were (are) tough things to face and hard facts to reconcile with, none of which were fully resolved (because some things can’t really be, or at least not quickly), so no doubt they’ll rear their ugly heads again.
In the world at large, it’s a terrifying, tumultuous time in a lot of ways. I can find it excruciatingly difficult to not get overwhelmed by the news and/or social media, to not just feel . . . afraid.
On January 3rd, contemplating my work in light of current world happenings, I was blasted by insecurity. Is writing stories about healing from personal hurts and wounds and finding love, creating your own family (whatever that looks like), seeking home—such “small scale” ideas, as a renowned author at a conference once said to me about “most” women authors as criticism—meaningless at best, or worse, utterly shallow, in light of “large” concerns?
Even a few years ago, I don’t know if I would’ve had a concrete answer. (But I’m getting better at kicking my inner critic and neuroses to the side.) Today, for now at least, I feel I do.
I’ve always believed that the small things in life are actually the big things—the things with the power to change us, to sustain us, to help us grow and to be a comfort in hard times. Remembering that encouraged me.
Politics change. What we as nations fear might finally, permanently, wipe us off the globe changes decade by decade (and, to date, thankfully, never has fully materialized or succeeded). What society holds dear—and demonizes—morphs radically, for better and worse, back and forth. Atrocities continue, yes—but there also continues to be people who stand up against them. (And may that ever be true, the latter numbers only ever growing stronger and larger, while our collective willingness to quietly accept the horrific mistreatment of others diminishes.)
But from time immemorial, what doesn’t change, hasn’t changed, and is true the globe over, in every culture, regardless of small variances in what the following “looks like,” is that we want our children to survive and thrive. We care about our families’ wellbeing. We value our friends. We want (need, crave) meaningful relationships. We long for connection. And sometimes, when there are no easy answers (and are there ever?), no fixes possible (corruption, illness, death, loss), we need stories that remind us that despite all seeming lost, awful, hopeless, or unredeemable . . . that’s only ever part of the story. The rub of human existence is that it’s all true: the ugly, awful, heartbreaking, atrocious . . . and the beautiful, awing, joy-giving, absolute sweet glory of . . . so many things. I feel challenged to write stories that explore such things, and I’m honored to have people respond to them, be encouraged by them.
On the heels of that rumination, in the lovely way things sometimes appear just when you need them to most, I happened upon two very helpful, affirming reads. One long. One short.
The second was a tweet by author Sam Sykes on Twitter: “Sometimes creative endeavors in times of turmoil feel a bit like playing the spoons while a city burns. You don’t feel helpful and maybe kind of stupid, but god damn if art can move the hearts of humans, then you owe it to everyone to play the spoons until the fires die.”
Reading it was like a good cup of strong coffee in the morning. “Buck up, Ev. Get back to doing what you do. It’s the only thing in this life you have any unique sway over.”
I don’t know how you’re feeling as we go into this new year, but I hope your optimism, drive, and hope are strong.
Cheers to 2020, my dears! Let’s all strive to be the change we wish to see in the world, this year and beyond. (I know that quote is used to the point of almost being a cliché nowadays, but I still believe in it so much and find it so personally challenging.)
Wishing you much joy, love and peace—and a whole bunch of fun, too! Happy New Year!
As you read this I’m happily ensconced in a little cabin by a huge lake in the middle of British Columbia. Doesn’t get more Canadian than that, eh?
I always spend some time on or around Canada Day, thinking of all this country I call home provides for me, and feeling very grateful.
Canada isn’t perfect. No country is, and we have our share of human rights atrocities and moments of deep shame as a nation—in the past and, sadly, in the present, but as a nation, I feel we genuinely want to learn, to grow, to be generous, to protect individual freedoms, and to take care of each other, regardless of color, creed, economic background, etc. We may disagree about means and methods—and about what/how much work there is to do—but collectively, regardless of political leanings, I think (hope!) we want to keep striving to do better for each other and for our world at large. And that’s pretty great. 🙂
I’m also thankful (awed might be a better word!) for how crazily blessed Canada is terms of geography and natural resources. I know how lucky we are and how we take some things for granted (for example, I recently came across this articleabout several cities in India that are literally running out of water, as in they have NO water or will soon have NO water—something that, as a coastal BC rainforest dweller, is almost impossible for me to fathom).
I also love our immigrant roots, our regular infusions of new implants from around the world, and our value of . I love our trees and mountains, abundant wildlife and remote, unpopulated places, our healthy oceans, and plentiful rivers and lakes. (Oh, the lakes, the lakes! You guys know how much I love a lake!)
I almost didn’t share this post because I worried, will people not from Canada think I’m being braggy? I don’t mean my gratitude to come off that way, at all. I just feel it’s easy to spend a lot of time complaining about what you think is wrong with your country, and important to occasionally focus on what is awesome. Also, while some of what I’m grateful for as a Canadian might be unique to Canada, a lot of it isn’t . . . plus I’m well aware that other countries enjoy things, have perks and advantages and bounty that we don’t. I’d love for you to share what you love about your country in the comments here.
Happy Canada to you all, Canadian or not. It’s for everyone! And wherever you call home, may you see and celebrate some of your country’s strengths today.
P.S. I’ll be sharing a few pictures of various summer adventures in upcoming months via my Ev Bishop Author Facebook page, so if you haven’t already “liked” me, LOL, please do and pop on by for a quick gander from time to time.
P.P.S. Calling all Kobo readers! On the Oh Canada note, I’m super excited to be part of a fabulous, very fitting Kobo promotion this week, From Canada With Love. 🇨🇦 💕 The 1-week sale features 13 Canadian authors and 79 titles across a variety of genres. HINT: you don’t need a Kobo eReader to get in on the fun. You can download the free app to your phone or tablet, then splurge away!
It’s Buy 1, Get 1 50% off, but there are no limits. You can mix-and-match authors, and/or buy as many titles as you want, paying regular price for one, 50% for the next, and so on. In fact, if you’re feeling extra wild, LOL, you could buy 40 books and then get the remaining 39 at 50% off each. (And hidden away on your eReader, no-one will ever know how much you treat yourself! 😁)
It’s gorgeous in my little super green niche of the world these days, and I’m busy planting flower boxes, cleaning perennial beds, and getting my garden ready to plant. (The weeding is . . . unending!)
No doubt much-needed rains will come soon (though it’s strange to say “much-needed” living where I live, where normally so much wet stuff falls), and I will post something more thoughtful or newsy then. (For now I just needed something NOT CHRISTMASSY to appear as the top post on my blog, LOL.)
In the mean time, I hope this note finds you well and that you, like me, are enjoying maximum outdoor time.
And, of course, if you fancy a little break or crave some R & R, I’d be honoured if you escape into a River’s Sigh B & B novel.
7 more sleeps ’til A Sharla Brown Christmas debuts in Love, Christmas 2! I feel a bit like Snoopy, twirling about my office in one *happy dance* after another! I am so, so, SO excited to be part of this collection of 26-all new Christmas romances, and with just 10 more sleeps until launch day, you won’t have to wait long to find out what all my warm fuzzy excitement is about! 🙂 It was weird (though sooo fun) for me to slip away from River’s Sigh B & B this year and write in a new world about unconnected people and places. I hope you love Sharla’s story as much as I enjoyed sharing it!
The other authors and I have tons of celebrations in the works, including this fun glimpse into some of the goodies mentioned each story. Now you don’t have to drool while you read; you can cook up the same recipes your favorite characters are enjoying while you gobble up their stories.
I was on a mission at Walmart the other day, with my aunt who is only two years older than me. Our search for whatever-it-was (I can’t remember the item now) was hijacked, however—though I didn’t realize it until my aunt burst out laughing.
“You really can’t help yourself, can you?” she exclaimed.
“What?” I asked, genuinely confused.
“You are totally ogling those spiral bound notebooks. You’re obsessed.”
Oops! Caught. What could I say? She was right. Even now, at the ripe young age of 46, I can’t help myself. Every fall, I am lured by the seductive cry of the wild—if “wild” can be used to describe the seasonal overflow of pre-sharpened pencils, whimsical erasers, bags of pens, fluorescent sticky notes, sketchpads, notebooks (yep, with spiral bindings being especially alluring), and other crucial necessities.
We shared a chuckle at my expense and like the mature adult I am, I refrained from putting even one super fun notebook in my cart, and got back on task. (Just what that task was still alludes me because I spent the rest of the time in the store wondering if the notebook I had my eye on would still be there by the time I could get back to it.*)
Anyway, I’m not actually writing to reveal my weirdly intense penchant for spiral bound notebooks. Instead I want to explain why I so earnestly seek them out. I blame it on the school system. No, seriously. All those formative years spent shopping for school supplies, reviewing class schedules, and marking up day planners, created monster-Ev—a completely non-mythical beast, who craves nothing more than purple ink and a year-at-a-glance calendar once the leaves start to change.
September always seems like the “official” start of a new year for me, and while I spend time in January reflecting back and looking ahead, fall is where my obsessive self really goes to town. (Only figuratively, of course. Literally, I’m on the couch, coffee close by, shiny new notebook in hand.)
And this year, taking stock of where I am and what I’m doing—and carving out time to do some planning and mapping—seems especially important. I have goals and re-envisioned dreams on every front, it seems: Home. Family. Friends. Health. Work. Community. I kind of feel the way I did when I moved from elementary school to junior high—like I’m on the cusp of a big change or a new stage of development. Dang it, that definitely calls for neon highlighters!
I’m being light-hearted and silly about it, but part of me feels anything but (kind of like how in the week or two before starting a new job or taking a class, you’re simultaneously fidgety with giddy excitement and gut-sickening dread).
Some seasons call for pulling back, to rest, restore, rejuvenate. Other seasons we need to push, to grow, to go, go, go! (I suspect I’ve given away which one I’m experiencing.)
Most of all, I regularly plan and prioritize, evaluate and possibly restructure, consider and recommit to—or dump—things because I’m keenly conscious of quickly time passes—and in the words of Annie Dillard, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” I hope I have decades ahead of me, but if I only have years, or months, or even weeks . . . I want to make sure I’m doing what I want or need to be doing—and life isn’t static. Different phases and stages call for different focuses.
Happy New Year—I mean, autumn. I hope your plans and schedules have you filled with excitement, optimism, and renewed energy—and if they don’t? Well, maybe you need a rest or a change . . . Either way, you definitely need to splurge on a new notebook and get to work.
*P.S. You can rest easy tonight, with no need to lie awake in tortured suspense. My dream spiral bound notebook was not gone! I returned to the store later that week, and—phew!—got the one my heart desired. It was a close call, though. There had been tons of the style I wanted, and I got the last one!
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
“New Year Plans, er . . . ” by me, Ev Bishop, was originally published in the Terrace Standard, October 4, 2018 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.”
In case you missed my last happy blurt, I want to blurt again! I have super fun news. My new Christmas novella, A SHARLA BROWN CHRISTMAS, is debuting in Love, Christmas 2along with 26 other brand-new holiday romances!
It’s up for pre-order now for just .99 cents. Talk about crazily merry, hey?! 😍 😍 The contributing authors and I are celebrating our festive set in a variety of ways and hope you’ll get in on the fun. Festivity 1: A super fun (and easy) Rafflecopter contest with tons of prizes, including a $50.00 Amazon gift card. Play today!
A bit about the set . . . Each title is exclusive to this set and was inspired by a favorite holiday movie, then spun into a fantastic love story by award-winning bestselling authors. The result? A must-have romance collection full of good cheer for the upcoming holiday season.
Here’s the tiniest peek into what each story you’re going to devour is about!
Christmas shouldn’t be the loneliest time of the year…
Finding herself in a run-down apartment in a seedy section of a new-to-her town, single mom Sharla Brown is down in the dumps and thoroughly discouraged. Hoping to cheer herself and others, she decides to throw a community Christmas Eve party—and receives a heartbreakingly negative initial response.
Mimi Barbour – A Wonderful Life – Though Rylee works with troubled teens, can she and an angel help a man living a nightmare?
Leanne Banks – A Royal White Christmas – Can a secret prince be a Christmas wish-come-true for a small-town girl?
Joan Reeves – Brianna’s Season For Miracles – Her seductive persona hides what she’s ashamed of… What will happen if the man she’s fallen for discovers her secret?
Mona Risk – Jingle With My Princess – The doc and the princess… He saves lives, but she may save his heart.
Rebecca York – Can She Get Home for Christmas? – Will a killer stop her from getting home for Christmas?
Jacquie Biggar – Mistletoe Inn – A grieving man finds the greatest gift is love.
Alicia Street – Miracle on Christmas Tree Street – A single mom discovers her business partner is more than he seems.
Nancy Radke – The Holiday (Christmas) – Jodi’s house-swap to Maui came with a small dog and a shipwrecked sailor.
Katy Walters –Letters from the Snowman – The snow revealed a precious love.
Stephanie Queen – Holiday Affair – Melissa goes from riches to rags but will she find gold in a holiday affair?
Aileen Fish – Christmas in Connecticut – Can a wounded warrior learn to trust her celebrity chef crush after discovering his secret?
Rachelle Ayala – A Christmas Creek Carol – A reclusive writer is given a one-star review on her life by characters from her past, present, and future.
Dani Haviland – The Polar Xpress – She prefers dogs to men…until she rescues the doctor.
Traci Hall – Love, Actually (By the Sea) – Two strangers. One intimate night. Reunited a year later, can it actually be love?
Taylor Lee – The Ref-er-ee – With a family this discombobulated, it will take a referee to save their Christmas.
Donna Fasano – Her Mr. Miracle – It’s Christmas Eve and Veronica is stuck in a nearly deserted seaside town… She needs a miracle.
Cynthia Cooke – A Christmas to Remember – A Christmas storm. Wedding plans in peril. Has a lost love been found?
Susan Jean Ricci – A Joyous Holiday Inn – Can Twigg restore the joy of Christmas to Chloe’s indifferent heart?
Tamara Ferguson – Two Hearts Home for Christmas – Can a long ago promise of love bring two lonely wounded warriors home for Christmas?
Suzanne Jenkins – Christmas with the Clouds – Tracy isn’t interested in love until an unexpected Christmas visitor changes her heart.
Natalie Ann – How Gavin Stole Christmas – Can Jolene help Gavin find the Christmas spirit when he’s the epitome of Mr. Bah Humbug?
Alyssa Bailey – In the Spirit of Christmas – Chase can protect Tara from danger, but can he protect his heart?
Stacy Eaton – Finding Love on Christmas Vacation – Christmas isn’t the same for Lucy without her father…until she meets his friend Maverick.
Jen Talty – The Christmas Getaway – A mix-up in reservations leaves a mother and her son to share a cabin with a broken-hearted stranger.
Melinda De Ross – Boyfriend Wanted for Christmas – A thirty-something singleton’s desperate yet humorous quest to find a boyfriend in the seven days before Christmas.
Festivity 2!Want to sneak some sweet first chapters to further entice and delight you?! Your wish is granted. Grab Love, Christmas 2 Book Bites FREE and enjoy the first chapters of each 26 stories. (Yes, you will be left wanting more, LOL. Enjoy!)