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I love the state of Wyoming. I have never felt more at home anywhere else. I love the low population, the desolate landscape, the wide-open prairie, the wildlife.

I hate the politics, the red-state mentality, the drive to keep ripping oil and gas and minerals from the earth, the reliance on fading fossil fuels, the inability of the state government to move into the 21st century.

*pictured – Sugarloaf Mountain, Snowy Range, Wyoming*

I’m still here!

Wow…it’s been awhile since I posted anything here, huh? No one to blame but myself. I’ve had a hard time getting back into writing, and I can’t pin any one reason down. I like to write, I really do…but there’s sometimes fear when I think about writing. Fear that the ideas will die, and I won’t know where to take the story next.

There’s also a self-confidence issue. Is my writing good? I like to think so. I know I can always use more practice honing my craft, getting better at creating interesting tales, but I think – no, I know – that I’m a good writer. When I read other stuff out there, some of it is so cliched and poorly crafted and illogical and just plain bad…but it gets published. It gets read. It gets reviews. And I don’t.

So does that mean I’m not a good writer? Am I arrogant? But isn’t a little arrogance necessary to put yourself out there and say, Hey! Look at me! Look at what I did!

And if no one reads your stuff, then why write? I carry a lot of stories in my head. Why put them down on paper if no one else will ever see them? I detest hypocrisy, so I’ll be honest here – I want to hear that someone read my books and liked them. That they did for someone else what my favorite authors do for me – give me something to thrill over and linger over and love. I want to hear that from someone so badly…

I blame no one else but me for not doing much writing lately. I have always been my harshest critic, my biggest obstacle, my strongest failure.

But I’m working on changing that. I really am.

So, if you’re out there, stick with me.

Getting people to notice

I’m a self-published, or indie, author. I’d love to be published by one of the big book publishers, I’d love to see my books on the shelf in a bookstore. Hell, I’d love to make millions from my books and retire from my full-time job to do nothing but write! I’ll keep plugging away at my writing and keep trying to get a literary agent, but I’ll keep working on my self-publishing platform, too.

The hardest thing for me with regards to self-publishing is self-promotion. I am, by nature, not an outgoing person. I hate to beat people about the head with my personal news or information, so getting out there and promoting my books is difficult. In addition most of my Facebook followers are my friends, so I hate to do repeat posts about my books, because I don’t want to spam my friends. I do tweets, but Twitter is so big that getting noticed without being a celebrity is nigh-impossible.

A marketing budget would help, wouldn’t it? I could buy ads on popular sites and hire a marketing team…but I’m perpetually broke. The best I can afford right now is small promotional ads on Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter. And when I have done these small ads, I never get any sales from them.

I think – no, I believe – that my writing is good. It’s not professionally edited – I can’t afford that – but it’s not a slapped-together POS either. I work hard on my books. Sometimes I feel that maybe it’s not my marketing or my advertising that’s to blame for no interest in my writing, but my writing itself. Perhaps I’m not a good enough writer to get noticed.

 

But come on – if ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ could get published then surely I stand a chance.

Reviews

 

book-1950451_1920Oh, reviews…so important to a writer. Not necessarily for the author, but to encourage others to read the books. I won’t lie…I like getting good reviews. Take a peek here, for example: http://library.wyo.gov/wyoming-book-reviews-6/?utm_content=buffer1c2dd&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer.

But even more than that, I want to hear from a reader that they loved the writing. They liked a certain turn of phrase, or the way a character acted. They got a joke I snuck in, or they want to know why I wrote something. I want – I long¬†–¬† for that kind of contact from someone who’s read one of my books.

It really makes the writing and the publishing more worthwhile to me.

As weak as that may make me.

Eclipse

Today was the eclipse. I sat outside and watched the moon slowly block the sun, and it was incredible. Where I live, we didn’t get totality, but it was pretty damn close. So strange and beautiful to see a crescent sun. Everything was very quiet and still during the most complete stage of the eclipse, and I don’t mind admitting it was quite unnerving! Once the moon and the sun started to go their separate ways, I went back inside (I was at work). For me, the best part was the encroaching moon, and the sun slowly dimming. I have a love of apocalyptic fiction, and for a little while I could (safely) experience what it would be like to lose the sun and its light.

 

(The picture above is not what I saw – this is a white light image of the solar corona during an eclipse.)