Tag Archives: author

ONLY Three Kids–One Author’s Story

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A couple weeks ago, I sat in a hard chair at a book signing event, trying to get people to come talk to me. Finally a man came over and asked what my book, How to Have Peace When You’re Falling to Pieces, was about. I told him it was about motherhood and overcoming the feelings of guilt, stress, and inadequacy that many moms face every day. 

“How many kids do you have?” he asked.

“Three,” I said proudly.

He gave me a funny look. “Only three?”

I knew exactly what he was thinking. There are books out there by mothers of eight, ten, and even twelve children. Now those are the books you want to read. Those moms must have it all together, right? They know all the tricks and secrets to motherhood, after raising so many kids. So why would you buy a book by a mother of three? 

And that, my friends, is my point. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to other women who have said, “I know we ONLY have four, but I just can’t handle more than four. Do you think that’s selfish?”  Or, “My mom had eight kids. I’m going out of my mind with five! I don’t know how she did that. I want to be a good mom, but I just don’t think I can handle another one.”

I live in Utah, where sometimes it feels like the number of kids you have is the familial equivalent to the brand of car (or minivan) you drive. In some peoples’ eyes, children are like pets, cute little collections that you play with during the day and then lock up at night–adorable little faces that you dress up on Sundays and parade around the neighborhood on family walks. Then we go home and struggle with back-talk and natural consequences and messiness and chore lists, and wonder where we went wrong.

We live in a very different culture here. In many ways, it’s not “how many kids do you and your husband want?” It’s more like, “What’s the maximum amount of kids you can juggle and keep alive?” And frequently, you add one or two more on top of that.

I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek here, but seriously. In other states, ONLY three kids would be above the national average. It would mean that each one was wanted, raised, loved, and cared for. Each is a person with a personality and dreams. I may ONLY have three kids, but you’d better believe they’re my world, not just numbers. When did adding to a family become an Olympic event, or a status symbol?

Does a mom of ONLY three kids know any less about her children than a mother of eight? Does a mom of ONLY three kids not experience pain, guilt, stress, and overwhelming love? At what point is a woman eligible to share what she’s learned on her journey–when her kids are in college, or when she’s still on the rocky road of parenthood, taking notes as she goes and trying to lift others?

At what point does the ONLY go away? 

My children are still young, and yes, there are ONLY three of them. I’m sure we’ll have more someday (and no, it’s not really everyone’s business). But I believe that every mom, whether she has one child or ten, whether she works or not, and whether she’s single or married, experiences the same bleary-eyed, sleepless shock of a new baby. Every mom knows how it feels to wake up, force a smile, and begin the arduous mountain climb of motherhood all over again. It would sure be nice if moms felt comfortable expressing their feelings about motherhood with each other, instead of comparing number of kids and ages and deciding who’s a “good” mom and who’s not. It would sure be nice if we could help and pull each other along, able to rely on other people instead of feeling so alone.

I hope it happens someday. I hope that women who read my book feel that way. I really do hope that moms understand how important and rewarding their job is, regardless of the hard stuff–because each child is a person, not a number, and ONLY three is a pretty dang good job.

So the next time someone looks at me and says, “Only three?” I’ll smile and say “Yep!” And then I’ll ask about their own children, because that’s probably what they really want to talk about anyway.

Do you have any thoughts? Please comment below. 

What Makes an Author? Thoughts on Self vs. Traditional Publishing

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My kids watched a cartoon after lunch today. I half-listened as I cleaned the kitchen, perking up as the young character showed his teacher a story. The teacher said, “Good job! You just wrote your own book. That makes you an author!”

Well, no, I argued internally. It hasn’t been published, so he’s not technically an author yet. After all, if every person who wrote a book called themselves authors–whether the book was Uncle Fred’s yet-to-be-proven World War II story or the next great American novel–then the title “Author” would lose its value, don’t you think? There are millions of people who say they’ll write a book but never do–so shouldn’t those of us who actually do be entitled to the term Author? 

I’ve thought about it all day. I know, I must be bored (hey, it’s cleaning day, all right?). But here’s why–where do you draw the line between two people and say, “You’re an author, but you aren’t.” It’s like saying, “You play football, but you aren’t a football player.” Some of the best cooks I know don’t consider themselves chefs because they don’t have their own cooking shows. Some of my favorite teachers didn’t have degrees, but taught me powerful lessons. So what is an author? 

Fifty years ago–heck, even twenty years ago–authors were writers who’d had their work published traditionally, in a hardbound book that people could purchase at bookstores. Now, it’s not that simple. Mine was published traditionally, sure, but what if it had been exclusively an ebook? What if I’d self-published, and my book wasn’t available at brick-and-mortar bookstores? What if my book had come out in sections in a magazine, but nowhere else? Now it gets complicated. The old definition of an author breaks down at that point. We’ve got Amazon, handheld reading devices, and thousands of books available for free online. So what is an author?

It makes me sad when some high-and-mighty authors who’ve chosen the traditional route frown on self-publishing authors, as if their method is the only legitimate one. I love being able to go to the bookstore and see my book, How to Have Peace When You’re Falling to Pieces, on the shelves–it’s a great feeling, and I’ll never get tired of it (or the funny looks I get from the staff when I pull out my camera like a proud momma). But does that make me more an author than someone else who chose a different publishing path? In an age of worldwide media at the click of a button, where 300,000 books are released a day, does it really matter HOW it entered the universe? Personally, I don’t think so. I think it’s an exciting time for writers and authors alike. There are more books enticing readers to their pages–er, um, screens–than ever before.

Honestly, this musing has confused me more than anything, but I do feel strongly about one thing. An author is someone who loves to write, lives to entertain others, and will never be able to stop–because the art of storytelling is one of the most fulfilling services a person can leave behind. Free or not, print or not, and best-selling or not. Period.

Best of luck to my author friends. For more information about my book and fun content, click here.

Meet W.B. Kinnette, Author of “Waiting Fate”

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Today’s guest is W.B. Kinnette, Author of “Waiting Fate.” The moment I saw her cover I knew I wanted to read this book–adorable, fascinating, and attractive. And that’s just the cute smiling guy in the background.

I’ve heard great things about her writing, too, and I’m so excited that she agreed to visit my blog today! Check out our interview:

 

1) Why and how did you become a writer? 

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was teeny tiny. I was half-heartedly pursuing that goal when my oldest daughter asked me, when I was little, what had I wanted to be when I grew up. I said a writer, and she gave me the biggest smile and said, “And you are!” At that moment, I knew I couldn’t fail, not when she smiled like that!

2) What’s your biggest challenge in the writing world?

Finding time! I have three kids. They like me quite a bit. Which means that where I am, there they are, and trying to write when they are trying to entertain me is difficult, to say the least. I write late at night, after they’re in bed and the house is quiet.

3) What’s your favorite book, and what book influenced your writing the most?

My favorite books ever are the Harry Potter series. I love the way they blew the world-building doors wide open and pretty much sucked the world right back into reading. Her writing may not have influenced me the most; I’ve read a lot in my life and I like to think that everything I’ve read has influenced me in some way, but J.K. Rowling’s story definitely gave me the biggest push!

4) Tell us about Waiting Fate. 

Waiting Fate is a true love story about a woman escaping an abusive relationship, and the man who has been waiting for her his entire life. It’s about hope and new beginnings and old friends and never letting go of the things that mean the most to you.

5) What advice can you give to aspiring authors? 

Find a support group of other writers. They are invaluable! I never would have made it through that very first draft if I hadn’t had other writers there to bounce ideas off, sprint with, and ask for feedback from. The writing community is fabulously supportive and I love it so much!

Thanks for visiting. I totally agree about the support group thing! If I didn’t have my writing friends to keep me sane through the highs and lows of publishing, I’m positive it would have never happened for me. Best of luck with your book! Here’s more info, and an excerpt at the end:

AUTHOR BIO

 W.B. Kinnette was born and raised in Utah, the baby of the family and spoiled rotten. She lived briefly in Texas and Alaska before coming back to raise her family only a few miles from her childhood home. She’s loved writing since she was small, because daydreams demand to be written down. She believes that dreams must be chased, if only so she can tell her children honestly that dreams do come true if you work hard enough – and never give up!

 BACK COVER BLURB

Sometimes Fate hides in plain sight while you stumble through darkness.

 Ivy escapes from an abusive husband, finding peace with her daughter in her childhood home. She’s determined to keep her past a secret to protect those she loves. 

Archer has been in love with the same girl since seventh grade. When Ivy comes back into his life—bruised, broken, and haunted by secrets—he knows he can’t lose her again.

 But Ivy made a promise to her daughter. No one would hurt them again. She’s afraid to trust, afraid to be wrong again, and afraid that the one man she’s loved forever will break her heart.

 Fate might take its time, but it won’t wait forever.

EXCERPT

 As he walked her to her door, she slid her small fingers into his, and he ran his thumb across the back of her hand. The night was cool. At the door she turned, smiling up at him. “Thank you Archer. It was… fun.”

He couldn’t see clearly, but he could swear she was smirking. Yeah, you blew your chance. Way to go. So he hugged her, wrapping his arms around her waist, like he’d done a hundred other times before. They were a huggy group.

He was surprised when she rose on her toes and slid her arms around his neck, holding tight like he was a lifeline. He pulled back, just a bit, hoping but afraid to hope as he searched her eyes. They sparkled, just a bit, and then she leaned forward, closing the gap between them and brushing her lips against his.

Time stopped. The world stopped and he froze in shock. It took him several seconds to realize what was happening, and then he kissed her back, holding her tight against him. He could feel her heart racing, matching his. When she relinquished his lips, he sucked in a breath, struggling to breathe. “I’ve wanted to do that since high school,” he muttered, almost without realizing it. 

MORE INFO

 Links: https://www.facebook.com/WbKinnette

Twitter: @wbkinnette

Website: www.wbkinnette.wordpress.com

 Buy Link:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Waiting-Fate-ebook/dp/B00CY4A5IM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369290043&

I Wrote a Book, and I Did It For Me

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I had a breakthrough last week. I realized that much of what I do is for other people. I’m not talking about service, exactly, but more like the old adage of the fallen tree in the forest. If no one was around to hear it, did it really happen?

Think about it. If you clean the house and no one notices, was it worth it? Why play a beautiful song on the piano if no one is around to hear it? Why put in volunteer hours at the school if they don’t count for something? Weed a backyard that no one else sees? Vacuum a car no one else drives? Get an A in a class that won’t count toward a degree anyway? It all comes down to one question.

Did you do it for yourself, or for them?

My epiphany began when I started collecting all the book reviews of my newly published book, How to Have Peace When You’re Falling to Pieces. I’d pore over those precious words, memorize them, post the best words on Facebook, and retweet them. It was like an emotional massage for a first-time author who had waited a lifetime to hear her writerly praises sung.

But then a realization hit: what happens after the blog tour is done? What happens when my friends have finished the book and set it on the shelf? What happens when my publicist moves on to other, newer authors, and my Amazon rankings start to slide? Am I still glad that I wrote the book?

Did I write it for them, or for me? 

I was one of those geeky school-focused teenagers who had to ask a guy out on my first date (a girl’s choice dance), and only then because that’s what teenage girls do. They go on dates. So I made it happen.

Then college came, and I got a degree. Because that’s what girls do. I got married, had kids, and decorated my house–because that’s what women do. I quickly found that I wasn’t the crafty type, and I didn’t run marathons or throw elaborate parties. But there was one thing I loved, and it was writing. So I wrote a book. It was my answer to those Pinterest-worthy cooks and housecleaners and crafters, those moms who spent hours building PVC-tents and IKEA bookshelves for their kids. They were good at that stuff, and I wasn’t. So I stopped trying and switched to what I knew. 

Now that the experience is over and tapering off, it’s taken a little soul-searching to realize that I really did write “How to Have Peace” for me. If no one read it, or if the publisher hadn’t accepted it, I’d still have done it. A small part of me probably wanted to experience being an author, and another piece wanted to influence the lives of others in a cosmic and literary way. Maybe a deep, innermost piece wanted to feel like I was worth something as a person. But at the end of the day, I wrote a book, and I did it for me.

That realization is starting to change a few things in my life. I’ve struggled with weight issues since childhood. I have three sisters who can eat anything and never gain weight, and most of my friends are thin. I’ve finally admitted to myself that my half-hearted diet and exercising attempts were for them, not for me. I wanted their approval, and I wanted that body that magazines and TV shows say we should have, or we’re not worth much. With that mentality, of course I wasn’t going to lose weight! I had to decide to do it for me.

Whether I lost weight or not, whether the inches fell off or I worked myself into the ground for no reason, I had to make that decision. So last week, I made it. I signed up for a month-long strict diet program–and I did it for me. 

My next book is in the works, and even if it doesn’t see the light of day, I’ll always know that I did it for myself. That’s really the only reason to do something anyway.

How about you? Please comment below and click on “subscribe” if you like what you’re reading. Thanks!

 

 

 

4 Tips for the Perspiring–I mean, Aspiring–Author

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My book was officially released today, so I’m feeling a little nostalgic.(Excuse that horrible picture, please.) I can’t help but think back to that day a year ago when I got the long-awaited email from Jennifer, the acquisitions editor at Cedar Fort, saying that my writing was “engaging and entertaining” and that they were “pleased to offer me a contract” for my book, HOW TO HAVE PEACE WHEN YOU’RE FALLING TO PIECES.

I had NO idea what I was getting into.

It’s been a crazy, heart-wrenching and elating roller coaster during the last year. When people ask me if I’d do it again, I tell them my second book is nearly done–so yes, I hope to do it again, but I’m changing a few things this time around. Experience is a painful teacher, especially in the publishing business! Here are five tips for perspiring–ahem, I mean, aspiring–authors:

1) Schedule a writing time and place–and stick to it.

With three kids underfoot, writing anything was hard for me. It took awhile to realize that I just couldn’t do it when the kids were awake. So I started getting up at 5am and writing until 7am, and then writing when my toddler was taking a nap in the afternoon. That meant my four year-old got a precious hour or so to play video games, during which time he was banished (happily) downstairs, and I got some precious writing time in. My housecleaning slipped a little, and I had to learn to let a few things slide. But if you wait until the house is quiet, with scented candles and a bubble bath is drawn, it just won’t happen.

2) Make it absolutely perfect, whole, and complete before you send in that manuscript.

It sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often this rule is broken. In my case, I actually only wrote a chapter before pitching the idea to Jennifer. I found out about a publishing fair at the local university two nights before the event and decided, why not? So I wrote the chapter really quick and pitched the idea to her at the fair (not even knowing what a pitch really is). I didn’t even look up the submission guidelines first. I know, it was a bit foolish and naive, and I still can’t believe I did that.

But miraculously, she loved the idea and wrote back within a couple weeks asking for more. I spent two weeks on four more chapters, got feedback from a few friends, tweaked them a little, and then emailed them to her. At this point I still didn’t take it seriously, so I didn’t write anything else. I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

Imagine my surprise when a couple months later, that email arrived. I pumped my fists in the air like I’d just scored a touchdown and called my husband at work. He was elated, of course, until I read him the contract. Then my jaw dropped.

They wanted the entire manuscript in 30 days.

Oh boy. Hmm. That was a problem. I was going on a two-week vacation in the middle of those four weeks, and even then–how do you write practically an entire book in thirty days? But with the help of my dear husband and my critique group, I got down to business and got ‘er done. It was a stressful, sleepless, panic-filled month.

Please, don’t do this to yourself. Obviously fiction is different–editors require the entire manuscript to be finished before they’ll even look at it. But whether it’s nonfiction or fiction, have enough faith in yourself to get it perfect (and DONE) first. Then take a break and go back through it later with a fresh perspective.

You’ve worked too hard to sell yourself short by turning in a less-than-perfect manuscript. Many editors complain that authors have great ideas and that their writing style is wonderful, but that they didn’t spend enough time editing their work. It’s worth the extra few months to make sure it gets considered seriously.

3) Start building your platform as early as you can.

In the old days, authors would turn in their books and then sit back and watch the publisher do the rest. But the market has changed dramatically. Even the big boys in New York City require a lot of marketing from their authors, and the smaller the publisher, the more promoting you’ll have to do. (If you self-publish, you’ll have to do it all by yourself.)

It takes time to build a reputation. If you wait until your book is released, or even until your book is accepted, it may be too late. Publishers look for two things: great writing and a solid platform. Even if your book is fantastic, many publishers may not take a chance on you if you aren’t trying to get your name out there. No matter how wonderful the book, if people don’t know about it, they won’t buy it.

As soon as you can, start a Facebook account under your pen name. Start using Twitter, and build up a reading list on Goodreads. Get writing quotes and interesting photos up on Pinterest. Start a blog. Enter writing contests and submit articles to magazines. Get your name out there, anywhere you can.

While you’re at it, attend writer’s conferences and meet editors and agents. Learn your craft and do your research. It will pay off a hundred times over when your editor reads your manuscript, likes it, and goes online to find out more about you. And believe me, they will. It’s a big risk for a publisher, so your job is to make that decision easier by having a platform already in place.

I was lucky, because I’d been writing for KSL.com and a newspaper called the Deseret News for a couple years. So my name was already out there, and Jennifer was able to read some of my work and decided that my writing wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t until six months before my book came out that I started a Twitter account. But now that release day is here, I’m wishing I’d begun promoting a lot sooner.

4) Keep writing, no matter what.

Writing should be fun. There will be deadlines, of course, and there will be tough days when the last thing you want to do is plop yourself in front of the computer and force your brain to work. Take a break and refresh yourself, but come right back. Even if your work is rejected, start on something else while you continue to submit it. Write different types of things to keep your mind fresh.

Writing takes practice just like playing an instrument or learning a sport. Even if your first or second (or tenth) books aren’t accepted for publication, it doesn’t mean you can’t write. Don’t give up. Being published doesn’t necessarily mean an author writes better than others, but they had the right idea at the right time and submitted it to the right publisher. Book publishing is fickle and extremely competitive. Take a break, but don’t stop writing.

You can get published. It happens every day to lucky authors across the world, so why not you? Best of luck.

Comments? Questions? Subscribe to my blog or visit me at http://www.AuthorRebeccaRode.com. Have a great day!

5 Easy Ways to Help a New Author

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With my book release coming up in a couple weeks, I’ve had several people ask me the best, most awesome question in the world: “How can I help?” (Wow. Thank you for asking!) Buying a book isn’t the only way to support an author, and these days, you don’t even have to do that. Here are five easy ways to give an author some love:

1) CHOOSE THE BOOKSTORE. If you choose to buy the book, get it at the bookstore. Why? Well, of course there’s nothing wrong with buying books or eBooks on Amazon and other online sites. A sale is a sale, and the author usually makes a higher percentage off of eBook sales than hard copy ones. So yes, online are great. But if a book doesn’t do well at a bookstore, the publisher won’t have any reason to keep printing it–which means the author is suddenly thrown into a dark state of book limbo.  

2) ASK FOR IT. If you do go to the bookstore to buy the book, and they don’t have it, ask the manager when the book will come in. If he or she gets enough requests, they will give in and purchase it. (And if they do have it, turn one of the books so that customers can see the cover and not just the spine. Thank you.) If you don’t want to shell out the cash, ask for it at your local library.

3) REVIEW THE BOOK ONLINE. This is a biggie! It’s not hard, it only takes a couple minutes, and it has a HUGE impact on sales. Give the book a positive four or five-star rating on Amazon, then copy your review onto Goodreads and Barnesandnoble.com. Many readers make their buying decisions based off those reviews, so if a book isn’t rated, it gets passed over.

If you want to go the extra mile and you have a popular blog or website, offer to interview the author or review the book on your site. (Believe me, she will love you FOREVER.)

4) SHARE THE WORD. The book business is a cutthroat one–50-60% or more of a publisher’s books don’t even make a profit. if a book doesn’t do well right out of the gate, the publisher may write it off as a loss and turn their attention and resources elsewhere.

That’s why social networking and word of mouth are so important in the publishing business. Repost the author’s book giveaway on your Facebook page, or retweet links to their book reviews. It only takes a second, but that action can expose the book to hundreds of fresh eyes. If you’re not an internet person, tell friends and neighbors about it, or let them see you reading it. Be creative.

5) Subscribe to the author’s social networking sites: blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or whatever they are using to promote their book. It only takes a second, but every little boost in their numbers shows future publishers that they are building a following, which makes future books possible. Yes, it really is that important to publishers. (And you can always unsubscribe if the promotions get too annoying. That’s the great thing about the internet, right?)

 In a world where bookstores are closing their doors and anyone with a few thousands dollars in spare change can publish a book, it’s really really REALLY hard to get a manuscript accepted by a publisher. I thought my work was done at that point. Boy, was I wrong. More is expected of today’s authors than ever before. 

Luckily, my fellow authors and I have our fantastic friends and family members to help us out. Thanks again for your awesomeness, and happy reading!

Can you think of another way to support an author? Post it here, and don’t forget to follow my blog. 🙂

BLOG ANNOUNCEMENT!

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Apology time. I haven’t been a very good blogger lately. My book, How to Have Peace When You’re Falling to Pieces (comes out March 12th! Yay!) has absorbed nearly every minute of the last few months. But I’m recommitting to this blog, and I hope you’ll stick with me. A lot of authors have book-related content on their blogs, and that’s great. But if I weren’t an author, I’d probably find that a little boring. So… I’ve figured out what I want to focus on here. And the decision is…drumroll…

Basically, anything of interest to women. Mind-blowing, I know.

Once a week, I’m going to post about something related to the world of women. (If you’re a guy, you can still read it. I won’t tell.) These posts will be for women, moms, writers, and readers alike. And I’m hoping that it’ll become more of a network than a blog. (Hint, hint. Please post comments…)

Some topics I have in mind include:

  • Fun quizzes
  • Weird and funny habits of kids
  • Quirks in literature and media
  • Favorite pastimes
  • Overcoming the winter blues
  • Yummy/filling/healthy snacks (do those exist?)
  • Clean entertainment ideas and opinions
  • Color trends in clothing and decor
  • Bad habits we find hard to break!
  • Home organization (or the lack thereof)
  • DIY projects we’ve tried
  • Differences between men and women
  • Cheap date night ideas
  • And much more.

If any of these sound interesting to you, will you please subscribe to my blog? I’d love to hear from you. And in the next couple months I’ll be giving away free stuff to a lucky subscriber/commenter. 

What would you like to talk about first? Is there something of interest to you that you don’t see here? I’d love to hear any ideas that pop into your head.

Talk to you again very soon!