Monday, December 13, 2010

2010 Recap & 2011 Outlook

2010 has been the most exciting year for me as a new author. To just think there's so much that I didn't do but I'm still proud of what I did do. For starters, I dedicated significantly more time to my craft this year. I attended 2 major writer's events: Literary Meet & Greet and the Motown Poetry Jam & Literary Conference. Just recently I began setting aside time for writing AWAY from home. Having learned that under no circumstances am I going to get a lot accomplished at home because I'm surrounded by too many other obligations, I've concluded that I must get away. Borders Book Store has become my place of refuge. Being surrounded by what I love most--new books--I'm instantly inspired. And as long as I stay off the Internet everything I accomplish during those 90 minute to 2 hr sessions is significantly more than I would at home.

Although I wasn't successful, I set some pretty high goals for myself this year. One of them was entering the 30 day National Novel Writing Month contest where participants try to complete a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. As for my current writing project, the goal was to have the 1st draft completed by 12/31/2010. I haven't given up. There's still 2 1/2 wks left in the year and anythings possible, right? The ultimate goal is to be published by June 2011.

Since I've jumped into 2011, I might as well get into my 2011 outlook. Delegation, delegation, & delegation. Yep, I'm going to be delegating some of these self-publishing responsibilities beginning with my website. Admittedly, I like the layout & design of my website, but there's a lot more that I could do with the site IF I had the time to invest in it. My time needs to be spent writing & promoting my work!

As for writing goals for 2011, they are to publish my second novel, Reconciliation to Hell. Next, I plan to finish writing my first non-fiction book. Lastly, I plan to have my quarterly newlestter up & running--1st edition due 1/2011. Sounds like enough, right? And to think I didn't even mention the number of workshops, conferences, & writing classes I plan to participate in. Oh, and how could I forget book promotions!!!

I'm exhausted already! Wish me luck!

Essence of Motown Literary Jam & Conference

Actually sold a book during the conference! And to think that I almost didn't didn't attend. What was I thinking??? The conference was awesome! I made some great contacts and picked up a possible writing mentor. I attended a workshop entitled "Writers Tools" and learned that a massage therapist can be used as a writing tool? You know, relieve the stress of long hours spent at a computer or the frustration of writer's block. Something I needed to know. Hmm, lets see what else did I pick up during the conference:

1. Post-it notes are ideal for plot planning
2. Delegating key tasks such as website development,& editing
3. Allowing guest bloggers to help keep blog regularly updated
4. Continue professional development wby attending conferences & writing programs
5. Set daily writing goals (i.e. page count, word count)

 Pam Perry-PR Specialist
Hajj: Founder of Brand Camp University

Wow! What can I say about PR. It's where the real work begins. Yes, I thought the writing was the real work until the book was done and it was time to sell the darn thing! Did you know that effective PR for your book begins up to 2 yrs before you're even finished with it. Yes. Seriously! Below are a few of the PR tips I picked up.

1. As an author, your book is your product but YOU are the brand. Translation: Time to break out of that shell! According to Pam Perry, people buy things from people they like. Therefore, plaster that poster girl/boy grin on yourself and look the part of a professional at all times.

2. Speaking of looking the part--invest in a professional photo shoot for your website photos and especially book jacket picture and any promotional products. Yep, get your "America's Next Top Model" poses ready.

3. Always look the part. No more stepping out of the house looking all homely--even just going to the corner store. Pam Perry says you should always represent your brand even when you're not in that mode. You never know who you'll run into.

L.A. Jefferson & "Street Lit Phenomenon" Relentless Aaron

What can I say about our afternoon keynote speaker Relentless Aaron? He's got an amazing story of tenacity and well, relentlessness. He's received accolades from some big name folks like The New York Times, Publisher Weekly and ABC World News for being a "one-man marketing machine". From what I learned of him on this day he's about his business and part of that is helping aspiring authors to achieve their dreams. But he had words of caution too. "Expand your mind from just writing books." E-books are all the rave now. They're out selling print books now. Authors have to think outside of the box if your plan is to make it beyond your city and state limits. My ears were wide open to his words of wisdom and I encourage other writers to listen up as well.

No doubt I was fired up about my writing career at the close of the event. Well done Sylvia Hubbard for putting this all together! Can't wait til next year's conference.