The Supanova Melbourne Experience

WOW!!! I can’t be more linguistically artistic than that.

Two weeks ago I experienced two amazing things.

Firstly the official public launch of Awaken. The NERVES! It was a paper bag puffing moment when the first person approached my table. I’d practiced my 30 second book synopsis a million times and you know, I think I described Awaken 100 different ways over this two day period! *you may laugh*

I’ve never been a public person, never enjoyed being the focus of attention at all…..

Well, did this address that issue!!. I wouldn’t say I would ever deliberately put my hand up to speak at a packed house with all eyes on me, but I certainly relaxed over theses amazing two days as I talked to so many wonderful and diverse people . Some came to compliment my table decorations, some to browse over Awaken, some to purchase it, and some came over well, because they were dressed as Darth Vader!

Awaken was very well received. In these two days I sold more books in person than I have through Amazon and that was just sensational. I was so knocked out by this. It really hit home how important connecting with people is. This was further supported by all the new and lovely followers I received through Instagram and Twitter. The love and feels I have for them all is endless. I went to Supanova expecting small things. I came away from it feeling a million dollars, having made new friends, wonderful connections and learned a whole damned lot about book promoting and myself. To all who supported me, thankyou from the bottom of my full and bursting heart.

Now to Supanova itself. What an amazing event. For those who don’t know its like ComiCon. An amazing colourful, diverse pop culture event that attracts all kinds of amazing stalls. Art, film and literature. Actors visit for fan pics and autographs. There were actors from Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Arrow just to name a few. My kids were thrilled to meet some. A huge theme was Anime. The amazing costumes people were wearing just blew my mind. All kinds of genres were there both cute, gorgeous and downright scary. I met Thor, Darth Vader, Storm Troopers, The suicide Squad and the Grim Reaper who happened to be rather nice actually. Plenty of zombie contact lenses and wildly coloured hair made this an eye popping, people watching fest that was an absolute delight.

The crowds were there to have fun, good fun, polite and kind fun, not an unpleasant word or moment was to be seen or heard.

So enthralled was I, that I’m packing my car up and I’m following this show to Sydney in June. How could you not want to roll with such a fun, positive experience that doubles as a sensational book promotion vehicle.

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What am I Reading?

I have a confession to make. I’m a very impatient reader. I often have multiple books on the go at once because I get too excited to start one before I finish another! Always been like this.

Generally I have levels of books. By this I mean I have my ‘sleepy book’, this is an easy read when I’m really tired. Then I have my ‘need more coffee book’, this is the intense page turner that I can’t put down. Lastly I have my ‘we’re casual friends book’, this is that book that I want to finish but meander back and forward from because its not quite drawing my in. This one always gets finished but sits at the bottom of the queue.

At the moment however I’m reading three ‘need more coffee books’ so as you can imagine, I’m rather beside myself and not sleeping too much. I have to almost toss a coin for which one I allow myself to pick up. I should be more disciplined and force myself to finish one at a time but where would the fun in that be? Right now I have multiple fantasy worlds I’m drifting in and out of!

So what am I reading?

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. I LOVE this series. How superbly unique to imagine a story from random vintage photographs. The story drags me along at a wonderful pace. The characters are supremely unique and engaging. There is just enough dark fantasy in this little book to keep me looking over my shoulder. Best of all, Tim Burton is bringing out the movie this year, its a win-win for me.

Sensory Overload Book 3 of The Pria Chronicles by Shannon Rieger. A wonderful series by a self-published indie author. Firstly, I love to support fellow indie authors, its like propping up your family as well as the fact that I totally understand the uphill battle to get yourself out there. So, to the book. It’s a quirky fantasy written in multiple POV which works. A YA novel aimed probably for 13 years plus, it divulges just enough to keep me guessing so I just have to keep turning the page. I love that. The story is unique, about a boy named Michael who has the ability to sense the emotions of others and how this almost tears him apart  There’s an innocence and vulnerability about the characters as they navigate through discovering who they are whilst trying to understand the danger they are in.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I’ve only just started this so don’t really too much I can say, but its about witches and that’s good enough for me! Will follow up on this book at a later time.

So, what are you reading and what kind of reader are you?

 

Connections

Over the past couple of months I have had the absolute honour of making some wonderful connections amongst the Indie author community. For a while there I was quite honestly feeling a little lonely. Tapping away at my keyboard, with only me, myself and I to talk to about my self-publishing experience *collective sigh*, it was proving to be a little isolating.

However,*dramatic music*, I finally cracked into a lovely circle of like-minded indie authors. A simple Instagram post by a writing coach had a lively conversation happening between kindred spirits. From this a FB support group evolved and now we are nurturing each others writing dreams. From asking questions, to sharing posts and purchasing each others books, it’s a wonderfully warm and encouraging environment.

I suppose my piece of wisdom from this is that no matter how strong your desire to succeed is, not a lot is going to happen without the hard ground work you need to put in behind the scenes. The writing, that’s fun, but the self-promotion and networking…..sheesh, that’s a whole different ball game! This was the one thing I was less prepared for. Slowly I’m getting it, understanding that making connections, supporting others as well as reaching out for myself is unbelievably essential. Its not easy, you know I’m shy, but its a challenge I’m taking head on. Hell, I’ve had 3 babies, I can do this!

Facing the Public -eeeek!!!!

By nature I’m a very shy person. I’m obviously comfortable and relaxed around my family and friends and certainly can make my presence known in a room. However, ask me to stand in front of a crowd, speak in a public forum, even just be generally noticed and every cell freezes. Suddenly the elocution I’m quite proud of becomes in-audible gobbledygook, my cheeks flame, my palms sweat and generally I’d rather stick a samurai sword in my eye!

This brings me to the next stop in my travels as a debut author. I have to be seen, I have to speak to people I don’t know and hardest of all I have to sell my book by being super confident about me, myself and I and my novel that I’ve worked so hard on. Of course, at a keyboard I can say all of those things with relative ease whilst maintaining as much humble and thank you in my tone, and that is the honesty of it. I am humble and deeply grateful for the opportunity afforded to me to be able to live my dream and create a real, tangible book that is actually available to buy all over the world!  Gratitude doesn’t cover it.

Herein is my conundrum. I’m shy, I don’t feel at all confident to speak publicly, yet it is a mountain I must face very soon as I’m booked into two events to promote Awaken and it’s upcoming sequel. I am honestly very excited about being at Supanova Melbourne and also the Book Expo Australia in Sydney. They are amazing learning opportunities. However, I need to psych myself up to feeling confident enough to present myself in a way that exudes an energy and pride in my writing without either falling flat on my face getting tongue tied or to the other extreme of overcompensating and not showing the gratitude I feel inside.

More than anything I want to entertain readers with my stories but I also want them to understand that I’m humbled by anyone who offers their time and hard earned money to read my words, that I ‘m thankful I live in a country that allows me the opportunity to achieve this goal, that my husband supports me and all the expense it has been so far to achieve this dream.

If you meet me sometime across a table and I sign your book or even just say hello, please remember I thank you and I’m grateful. I could just get a little overwhelmed by not being that girl that prefers to hide somewhere deep in the back row of the school production.

Say hello, it might just break the ice for me and make my day.

Inspiration

I have discovered an amazing thing since I began writing, other than my grammar needed a hell of a polish up! I am seeing and hearing and even tasting the world in a very different way.

Inspiration is EVERYWHERE. Seriously, I see a lady in the local shopping centre with thigh high stiletto boots and BAM, there is my lead female demon for Awaken. I have tea and scones with my sister at a little tea house called Miss Marples in the Dandenong Ranges and there was the place my protagonist had a part time job.

The one thing that really gets my head in a spin though is music. Now I don’t at all profess to being an aficionado of music at all, but I know what I like and I like music that hits me in the guts, apart from ABBA which just makes me want to dance and embarrass my kids! A good emotive song has visions of characters in various scenes popping into my head quicker than if I sat at the pc trying to just imagine it up out of thin air. In fact, one of the first ideas I had for Awaken was inspired by Guy Sebastians’ Battle scars. Every time I heard this song I imagined battle weary angels and it all went from there. Thanks Guy!  Since then I’ve adored ‘Demons’ by Imagine dragons which has been on repeat endlessly, and more recently Adele’s’ ‘Hello’. I really love this song and I have a very specific scene I’m going to write for the sequel to Awaken because of it.

Inspirations is everywhere. Look around you, not just if you write, but for anything. The world is amazing when you allow it to be.

 

3 months on…..

It’s been three months since I published Awaken and I have to say it has absolutely been a roller coaster of emotion throughout this time. The initial elation was tempered by expectations I had of myself and others not being met. This left me feeling disappointed, unsure of myself and wondering, “Does anyone give a damn?”

I found that my expectations of others did not necessarily gel with the joy and pride I felt with completing and publishing a book. I really let this get me down for a while. It wasn’t about book sales, it was about the fact that no one seemed to be talking to me about my book, my experience or even giving me a call to say well done. I suppose I thought that when I plugged my new achievement all over social media I might get at least one message of congratulations but nothing happened. It was really hard. The doubt I felt was overwhelming. It took many conversations with my sister and husband to get it out of my system and realise that you just can’t pin your hopes on the reactions of others to keep your motivation and belief in yourself going. I learned a very important lesson here. I did and do believe in what I’m doing. I am very passionate about my writing and the joy it brings me is worth more than any book sales I may or may not have. Slowly, I have moved on from this with a clear vision.

I have discovered the joy of Instagram and met some lovely book bloggers, book lovers  and reviewers who are going to review Awaken. I’m very excited to receive their feedback.

I’m now knee deep into the sequel to Awaken. I managed to write a few chapters on some recent plane flights as I’m terrified of flying. I punched out thousands of words to prevent my knuckles going too white from fright!

I’ve have learned a lot about writing style and technique which is making the process a little quicker. My beautiful artist is currently working on the cover of the second book, the initial drawings are just too amazing which is motivating my writing even more.

Life  really is one long lesson. I discover everyday something new about myself and the world, and everyday I read, reading is food for the soul.

Go read, feed your souls heartily!

A Journey Begun-or continued….

Well it’s been an amazing, crazy 18months. In between school runs, pony club, karate, ballet, gymnastics and the torture room(aka the laundry room!), I’ve managed to write a book. Yes, my first novel, Awaken, went up on Amazon and Smashwords over the past 2 weeks. I can’t believe I made it to this point, but wow, it’s a great feeling.

The biggest challenge I faced, other than where to squeeze in writing time(often done in the witching hours after midnight), was self belief. Having committed to a very different career for nearly 2 decades, it was difficult to imagine myself somewhere else, someone else. Well, as I discovered, I just needed the right inspiration at the right time. I’ve realised I’m not someone else, I’m just me, evolved and on a continuous learning curve.

What we learn as young adults in school is to choose a career path. What we are so often not told is that what you choose early on is not the only option. Your entire life is not set in stone. You can do and be many things.

Do that. Be many things. Try new things. Every age that you are is a new opportunity to live your life to it’s very best.