Self-Publishing

The CreateSpace & KDP Merge: Pros and Cons

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! If you’re an indie author who has self-published books via Amazon’s CreateSpace in the past, chances are you’ve heard about CreateSpace merging with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) to consolidate ebook and paperback publishing. With the release of Speak Your Mind, I’ve recently had my first experience dealing with publishing a paperback through KDP. Though I only used CreateSpace for a year and a half before the merge, I had enough experience to make a good comparison between the two publishers. Here are the pros and cons I’ve noticed so far about the differences between CreateSpace and KDP’s services.

KDP

Pros

KDP’s Website

CreateSpace’s website always seemed a bit amateurish to me as far as the appearance and ease of access were concerned. KDP’s website is a lot more user friendly, though I wish their sales reports were a bit more thorough.

KDP’s How-To Videos

Unlike CreateSpace, KDP offers numerous how-to videos that range from how to select categories for your books to how to create a cover. The videos are both short and informative, and offer a better alternative than CreateSpace’s old school question forums.

KDP Consolidates Kindle and Paperback Sales

It was always a pain in the butt to have to log in to CreateSpace to check my paperback sales, and then log in to KDP to access the Kindle sales. Now, I just have to make one stop to check how my books are doing.

Ordering Author Copies Through Your Amazon Cart

KDP allows authors to purchase their copies through their Amazon cart. I like this a lot better than ordering through CreateSpace, as CreateSpace’s website wasn’t as user-friendly, especially when it came to ordering copies. Ordering paperbacks through Amazon will be a lot more welcoming for authors who are already familiar with how to buy items on Amazon.

Cons

Slower Publishing Speed

KDP’s paperback publishing process is much slower compared to CreateSpace’s. It took exactly 22 hours after I hit “Publish” on Speak Your Mind‘s paperback edition for it to become live on Amazon. When I published my first novel on CreateSpace, it was available for purchase on Amazon within an hour.

Differences in Cover Color

There is a noticeable color variation between the Kindle cover and the paperback cover for Speak Your Mind, despite it being the same color in both files. However, the quality of the paperback’s cover is not affected by the difference in color as far as I can tell.

Increased Price of Author Copies

The price of the author copies seems to be about a dollar higher than CreateSpace’s were. This is a common occurrence I’ve noticed in numerous KDP comment threads since the switch.

No Prime Shipping for Author Copies

This just ticks me off, to be honest, even though we didn’t have the option with CreateSpace either. 😡 We pay $120 a year to be loyal Prime members, and we don’t even get an option for two-day shipping (without it costing us, like, $50. And no, I’m not exaggerating!) I honestly think authors with a Prime membership should be able to receive the Prime shipping option by default when ordering author copies, no matter how many.


So, as you can see, I’m 50/50 on the KDP and CreateSpace merge at the moment. I’m sure it’ll get better with time, though.

Are you an indie author? What are your thoughts on the KDP and CreateSpace merge? Let me know in the comments!

Later Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

Advertisements
My Arrowheads, My Books

Character Interview with Zeeb from Speak Your Mind

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! Welcome back for the third character interview for my upcoming middle grade novel, Speak Your Mind! Today, I have a very special guest joining us: Joey Troup, aka Zeebot. Before we begin, there are some things you need to know about Zeebot. First thing’s first, he’s a regular child who thinks he’s an alien from outer space, and therefore has renamed himself Zeebot (Pronounced Zee-bot). For spoilers sake, I won’t mention why. Second, he always refers to himself in third person, so be prepared. XD I’ve been waiting years to introduce Zeebot (or Zeeb as I call him) to the world, and here he comes! Give it up for Zeebot!

*Applause*

CharacterInterview-ZeebSYM

Zeeb: *Zooms out from behind a curtain and over to the guest chair* The spaceship has landed!

Me: *Hand flies to my heart* Goodness, Zeeb, you scared me! Anyway, welcome to Authoring Arrowheads! I’m beyond excited to have you on today!

Zeeb: Zeebot thanks you kind earthling for the opportunity. Zeebot hopes to become a shining star in the blogosphere!

Me: I hope that happens for you, Zeeb! Okay, so how would you describe yourself?

Zeeb: *Brings his hands together in front of him, the picture of seriousness* Zeebot is an alien child trapped on Earth. He last saw his kind at a young age and has since tried to contact the Captain to aid him in is quest home, with no luck. Zeebot is fluent in his alien language, Zeebeedoten. Zeebot’s Earth family consists of a fatherling and a grandmotherling. He is also madly in love with Meredith, the sun of Zeebot’s galaxy.

Me: That’s quite a unique backstory! By the way, Victoria mentioned Meredith in her interview, though she referred to her as the meanest girl in school. What do you think about that?

Zeeb: He thinks Victoria needs to tend to her earthgirl problems and stop analyzing the behavior of Zeebot’s sun.

Me: …Okay then. Let’s move on to question two: do you have any nicknames?

Zeeb: *Blows out a frustrated breath* Adult earthlings often call him “Joey”, his earth name. In reality, he has not been, nor will ever be Joey! Some earthlings at school call him Zeeb, which in Zeebeedoten means “the most handsome guy in the galaxy”.

Me: You sure it’s not just short for Zeebot?

Zeeb: Opinions vary. 

Me: *Rolls my eyes* Next question. If you were stranded on an uninhabited island, what one item–besides food, shelter, and a boat–would you like to have with you?

Zeeb: Zeebot would bring his communicator to ask the Captain to bring him back to his home planet.

Me: I thought you said you’ve had no luck contacting the Captain?

Zeeb: Ah, silly earthing. That’s because Zeebot has always been around other people. If Zeebot was trapped on an uninhabited island, the Captain may rescue him, for there would be no witnesses.

Me: *Mumbles* Makes perfect sense. *Smiles back at Zeeb* Alright, so out of all the influences in your life, who do you look up to the most?

Zeeb: *Blurts* E.T.!

Me: *Cautiously* Why’s that?

Zeeb: *Eyes mist over with budding tears* For E.T. is an inspiration to all aliens trapped on Earth, like Zeebot. *Fans tears away*

Me: *Looks out into the audience, shaking my head*

Zeeb: *Narrows his eyes* An earthling wouldn’t understand.

Me: *Takes a deep breath* So Zeeb, I’ve heard through the grapevine that your PE teacher is addicted to doughnuts from Good Eats Bakery. What’s your favorite flavor?

Zeeb: Zeebot’s fatherling forbids him from eating anything sugary, but between you and Zeebot, whenever an earthling sneaks him into the bakery, he prefers powdered sugar.

Me: Did you sneak one off the desserts table backstage?

Zeeb: *Grins maniacally, revealing the lime green rubber bands on his braces*

Me: Thought so. That explains the spaceship landing. Okay, last question: where do you see yourself in ten years?

Zeeb: Hopefully by then Zeebot will have married the sun of his galaxy, converted her from earthgirl to alien, and be taken back to his home planet. Then Zeebot will work for NASA remotely from his planet.

Me: *Snickering* Those are some stellar dreams, Zeeb. Well, that’s all the questions I have for today. Thanks for coming, Zeeb!

Zeeb: *Shoots up the Vulcan Salute and runs back to the desserts table*


Okay, Arrowheads, now it’s up to you! Who would you like to meet next week for the fourth and final character interview?

Ms. Markovich: The kids’ language arts teacher and one of the reasons Victoria hates school

Meredith Waters: The meanest girl in school according to Victoria *Zeeb pushes me out of the way* And the sun of Zeebot’s galaxy!

Jessica Mayweather: A bubbly classmate of the kids, or

Brandon–aka Bran Muffin: Aiden’s awkward turtle older brother

Be sure to comment with your choice below! 😀


That’s it for today, Arrowheads! To view the Character Inspiration for Zeeb and the remaining cast of Speak Your Mind, you can view my Pinterest board here!

Interested in finding out more about Zeeb in Speak Your Mind? Add it to your Goodreads To-Read list by clicking the button below!

SpeakYourMind-FrontCover

Goodreads badge add plus

Speak Your Mind will debut on Saturday, November 24th 2018 (Lord willing).

Later Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

My Arrowheads, My Books

Character Interview with Aiden Andrews from Speak Your Mind

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! As promised, I’ll be interviewing another character from my soon-to-be released middle grade novel, Speak Your Mind today. Please sit back and relax as I welcome Mr. Aiden Andrews!

*Applause*

CharacterInterview-AidenSYM

Me: Welcome to Authoring Arrowheads, Aiden! It’s awesome to have you on today!

Aiden: Thanks, Allyson! It’s a pleasure to be here.

Me: Thanks, Aiden! Okay, so our first question is how would you describe yourself?

Aiden: *Taps his chin* Well, I’m the newest kid in the seventh grade at Grahamwood Junior High. I’m the youngest in my family, and according to my mom I have a sassy and sarcastic personality. I love making people laugh. I’ve been told that I have an old soul for my age. I don’t have or want a cell phone, and my favorite TV show is The Golden Girls, so I can kind of see it.

Me: *Holds back a laugh* Well, there’s nothing wrong with that! I like watching The Golden Girls too. So Aiden, do you have any nicknames?

Aiden: Not Really. I call my brother, Brandon, Bran Muffin all the time, but so far he hasn’t came up with a good one for me yet.

Me: Ah, old Bran Muffin. He’s quite a trip. Did you know I’ve been planning to give Brandon his own book?

Aiden: What?! All this time I thought was your favorite Andrews character, but it was really Bran Muffin? What’s he gonna do in a book, anyway?! That awkward turtle has no life!

Me: *Grins* You’ll see soon enough. And don’t worry, I love all my book babies equally. Plus, you’ll be featured in the book a lot.

Aiden: *Pumps fist in the air* Woo!

Me: *Laughs* Alright, so now tell me… if you were stranded on an uninhabited island, what one item–besides food or shelter–would you like to have with you?

Aiden: *Rubs his hands together* Ha! I’ve been waiting for this question all my life! I’d want a boat with a built-in GPS and a full tank of gas.

Me: Hmm… I didn’t think about that. I’ll have to add “boat” up there with food and shelter for the next interview.

Aiden: *Taps his head and winks* Using the ol’ noggin.

Me: Next question: Out of all the influences in your life, who do you look up to the most?

Aiden: As much as I pick on him, Brandon’s always been my role model. He may be an awkward turtle, but to the ones who really know him, he’s a dedicated musician, hilarious, godly, loyal, and mostly a great brother. Just don’t tell him I said that.

Me: Your secret’s safe with me! *Mumbles* Until I start writing the book…

Aiden: What?

Me: What?

Aiden: *Stares me down*

Me: Anyway… I’ve heard through the grapevine that your PE teacher is addicted to doughnuts from Good Eats Bakery. What’s your favorite flavor?

Aiden: *Laughs* Well, when Coach Jackson hasn’t gone over there and inhaled their entire inventory, I like to get the chocolate frosted with sprinkles.

Me: *Snorts* Excellent choice! The last question I have for today is where do you see yourself in ten years?

Aiden: *Leans back in his chair* To be honest, I really don’t know. This move to Grahamwood has taught me that God can change our paths at any time. We think we’ve made plans and then He shows us a better outcome. Sure, there are things I’d like to do, but I’m content in letting God lead.

Me: What an awesome response! You’re wise beyond your years, Mr. Andrews.

Aiden: *Tips an invisible hat on his head* Thank you, m’lady.

Me: Well, that’s all the questions I have for today, Arrowheads! Thanks again for stopping by, Aiden!

Aiden: Thanks for having me! *Jumps into the audience to crowd surf*


That’s it for today, Arrowheads! To view the Character Inspiration  for Aiden and the remaining cast of Speak Your Mind, you can view my Pinterest board here!

Interested in finding out more about Aiden in Speak Your Mind? Add it to your Goodreads To-Read list by clicking the button below!

SpeakYourMind-FrontCover

Goodreads badge add plus

Speak Your Mind will debut on Saturday, November 24th 2018 (Lord willing).

Later Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

My Arrowheads, My Books

Character Interview with Victoria Harding from Speak Your Mind

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! With my middle grade novel, Speak Your Mind, releasing this month on November 24th, I’ll be interviewing some of the book’s zany characters who have been begging me to meet y’all since February! So, without further delay, let’s meet Miss Victoria Harding!

CharacterInterview-VictoriaSYM

*Applause*

Me: Welcome to Authoring Arrowheads, Victoria. It’s awesome to have you on today!

Victoria: Thanks, Allyson! I’m sorry if I stutter or don’t talk much. I’m really nervous!

Me: I understand completely! I’ve always been shy too, so I’ll try my best to make you feel at home here. Okay, so our first question is how would you describe yourself?

Victoria: Well, shy of course! *Laughs nervously* I’m currently a seventh grade student at Grahamwood Junior High in the small town of Grahamwood, North Carolina. To be honest, I hate school, but I make good grades. My favorite thing to do outside of school is taking and editing photos. Oh, and I love reading mystery books by my favorite author, Carmen Marrow. I’m also a chronic overthinker.

Me: I don’t blame you, middle school can be a nightmare! I’ll have to check out those books. And I can definitely relate to overthinking! Our next question is, do you have any nicknames?

Victoria: Unfortunately, kids at school have given me a few nicknames since I don’t talk much. They like to call me Stalker Girl, Bomb Threat, Teacher’s Pet, and my least favorite… Miss Total Victory, which is totally sarcastic. That’s what the meanest girls in school, Meredith and Shaniah, call me.

Me: Aw, I’m so sorry, Victoria! *Gives her a hug* You’ll never be treated like that here! This next question is on a lighter note: If you were stranded on an uninhabited island, what one item–besides food and shelter–would you like to have with you?

Victoria: *Grins* That’s easy! Definitely my camera, Snappy! I’d have a lot of fun taking pictures of the island. Besides, sometimes I just need a break from people!

Me: Amen to that, sister! Alright, so out of all the influences in your life, who do you look up to the most?

Victoria: *Takes a moment to think* No disrespect to my Mom and Dad, but I’d have to say my cousin, Jessa. She’s two years older than me, and is more like a big sister. I can talk to her about anything, and she never judges me like the kids at school do. Her confidence is what I admire the most about her. She’s comfortable in her own skin, which is something I struggle with.

Me: Jessa is a very sweet girl! Don’t worry, Victoria, I’m sure God will help you get there some day. Just keep this in mind: never be afraid to be who He made you to be. So, I’ve heard through the grapevine that your PE teacher is addicted to doughnuts from Good Eats Bakery. What’s your favorite flavor?

Victoria: *Snorts into her hand* He sure is! I bet he eats half a dozen a day. My favorite is maple bacon, hands down. It reminds me of my favorite season, fall, and it’s the best because bacon, obviously!

Me: *Laughs* I can’t argue with that logic! Maple bacon doughnuts are amazing. Okay, so our last question for today is, where do you see yourself in ten years?

Victoria: *Bites her lip* Hmm… uh, well I’d love to have my own photography business, but obviously I’m not a people person. *Laughs nervously* And I’d really like to get married and raise a family. That is, if “Stalker Girl” can get a guy to fall for her.

Me: Those are awesome goals, Victoria. Don’t sell yourself short. Remember, with God, all things are possible. We may not understand our current circumstances, but He already knows our outcome.

Victoria: *A small smile appears* Thanks, Allyson. I’ll try to keep that in mind.

Me: Well, that’s all the questions I have for today, Arrowheads! Thanks again for stopping by, Victoria!

Victoria: Thanks for having me! Oh, and can I get a picture of us together for my wall collage?

Me: Sure thing! *Victoria pulls Snappy from her bag and takes a picture*


That’s it for today, Arrowheads! To view the Character Inspiration  for Victoria and the remaining cast of Speak Your Mind, you can view my Pinterest board here!

Interested in finding out more about Victoria in Speak Your Mind? Add it to your Goodreads To-Read list by clicking the button below!

SpeakYourMind-FrontCover

Goodreads badge add plus

Speak Your Mind will debut on Saturday, November 24th 2018 (Lord willing).

Later Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

© Allyson Kennedy, 2018. All rights reserved.

Adventures with Allyson!, My Books, Wonderful World of Writing

A Writer’s Flashback: Writing Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl

Good afternoon lovely Arrowheads! Get your seatbelts on as we blast back to the year 2009, the year I began writing my debut novel, Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl!

2009… great Scott! (Sorry, I had to! 😂)

FlashbackCBTHOACG

June 2009

June 2009 was a summer that changed my life, all due to one special gift: my first laptop. Though the first few weeks/months were either spent playing Diner Dash or The Sims 2, or spending hours upon hours on Quizilla posting random poems/stories of my teenagehood (#TheHoboAndThePrep 😂), sometime during that summer, I started writing a novel. This is the story of how it came to be.

To be honest, the way the main character, Riley, was described during her middle school years sprang from my own experience. I had a bad haircut, glasses, and braces (to which the latter two wouldn’t have looked so bad if it wasn’t for #1). I went through a phase where I didn’t want to wear anything but old t-shirts and jeans, and to top it off, for the greater part of my K-8th grade career, I hardly spoke to anyone at school other than through one-word replies or head nods. Though Riley isn’t that shy in the novel, she experienced a lot of the same things I went through as far as the teasing went, and her “transformation” over summer vacation. My freshman year of high school brought forth a new slate, like Riley’s did when the kids from Grahamwood Jr. High met kids from Corley Creek at Linwood Whaley High. Meeting new friends freshman year helped me break out of my shell, as it helps Riley in the novel. The differences between Riley and myself are: 1) I’m not as interested in writing poetry; 2) I didn’t have a major bully like Hailey Carson; 3) I had nowhere near the boy attention, let alone the boy drama, that Riley faces.

The Romance

I first wrote Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl when I was 15 to 16. At the time, I had never dated anyone. Being a public school student, the idea of dating became a strong desire of mine through observing my classmates, though I didn’t want to “date around” like some of the other girls my age. Instead, I basically wanted a high school sweetheart: a steady boyfriend that I would hopefully end up marrying. (Lol at young Allyson). Thus, the story of how Riley receives her high school sweetheart was born.

Carter embodies everything about my idea of a “dream guy” at that age. And Brett… well, he possibly stemmed from observing guys I didn’t like. 😉

I actually wrote about a certain couple kissing before I received my own first kiss. This made editing the “first kiss” scene a hoot! 😂 However, like a few reviewers have pointed out, I now think that freshman are too young to date, let alone kiss. Back then, I assumed I was “grown” and didn’t know of the temptations that arise from dating/kissing so young. This issue is addressed in a different light in my future releases. 🙂

The whole purpose behind writing the novel, though, was that it was basically me writing how I wish my freshman year had gone in terms of meeting my “dream guy”, though I did not meet him in real life until after high school. (#JoshTheBowler 🎳)

Writing Sched

To be honest, I was a much more productive writer way back when. I got invited to go with people to the local football games and I was all, “Nah, I’m gonna stay home and write.” I remember writing a chapter or two in one sitting many a time. Good times, good times.

The Movie Plans (Insert Eye Roll Here)

That’s basically all I can remember about writing the novel, minus the film adaptation I had been dreaming up. 🙄 Here was my preferred cast list:

  • Jason Dolley OR Scotty McCreery as Carter
  • Ryan from True Jackson, VP as Trent
  • Jennette McCurdy (Sam from iCarly) as Riley

😂😂😂 Disney Channel and Nickelodeon peeps for the win!


Well, that’s the tale of how Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl came to be! To preview or purchase this debut novel, visit its Amazon page here! 😊

Later Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

Adventures with Allyson!, Book Marketing, My Books

First Book Signing Recap

Happy Sunday, lovely Arrowheads! Yesterday, I was blessed to have my very first book signing at a semi-local regional library. My cousin first introduced me to the idea last month, and ever since I had been stressing, preparing, and praying for this huge milestone in my author career to go well.

So without further ado, grab a snack, find a comfortable chair, and sit back and relax as I recap this gloriously awkward adventure! 😉

BookSigningRecap

The Days Before

On Thursday, I had asked my sister, Amanda, if she could design some bookmarks for the signing. She ended up making this beauty:

Since Walgreens has same-day photo pickup, and they have a full image bookmark option, I figured I could order them Thursday night and pick them up on Friday. Unfortunately, when I went to confirm my order, it said the order wouldn’t be ready until August 2nd… the Thursday after the signing. So, first lesson learned: order bookmarks a week or two ahead of time. I was busy throughout last week, so the bookmarks were a last minute addition.

Yesterday Morning

Yesterday morning I woke up around 7:30-ish and couldn’t fall back asleep because I was a bundle of nerves. The bookmark thing was still on my mind, so I got the idea to make a makeshift black and white promo card for Speak Your Mind instead using PowerPoint. The cards were printed on some photo paper we had around the house, and I printed them off six slides per page to ensure they were a fair size for a promo card.

These were great to have when people stopped by the signing table and didn’t have enough cash on them to purchase the book. This way, even if a sale wasn’t made, I was still able to promote my author brand. After the cards were printed off, coffee was in order. This mug was quite fitting for the day’s event.

The coffee helped me get through a few proofreading edits on Speak Your Mind before getting ready!

Getting Ready

What does one wear to their first book signing? I didn’t want to dress in business casual like I do for work, so I settled on a red tank top that looks sort of dressy, my favorite pair of darkwash jeans, and painted my toenails light blue to match the cover. I picked the red shirt because it would match the red heart within the NC shape, but in turn, I unintentionally ended up dressing like Riley on the cover, minus the cowgirl boots! 😂

Selfies and Setup

Of course, selfies were in order to capture the event!

This is my sister, Amanda. Otherwise referred to as Mander by me. 😆 She had her wisdom teeth pulled out a few days ago, so that’s why her face is a little puffy. She’s also my cover designer! 😉

Here we all are in the library with the table set up. The guy in the gray polo is my sweet boyfriend, Josh. I put him in charge of making change for the customers, and Amanda in charge of giving out the promo cards.

While I was obsessing over not having promotional bookmarks for the event, there was one major thing I completely forgot about: making a sign or banner for the table. I ended up making a makeshift sign by writing on a piece of plain printer paper. Second lesson learned: make an eye-catching banner to bring, because the makeshift sign was unprofessional.

The Signing

The signing itself ran from 2 to 4 pm. About fifteen minutes in, the first book was sold. The customer was very sweet and she said my spirit as an author really sold the book. The library had a bit of traffic throughout this time, and a few people stopped and talked to us at the table and viewed the book, but didn’t make a purchase. After only selling the one book by 3 o’clock, I was beginning to feel discouraged. Amanda and Josh were fun to goof around with though. Amanda kept trying to show off the book like Vanna White, which was hilarious. 😂

The day got more exciting when a couple of my aunts and a few cousins showed up. One aunt bought a copy with the new cover, and I signed a few copies they brought. Then, a little while later, I got a huge surprise!

A month or two ago, I became online writing buddies with Penny Wood. We’ve formed a fast friendship because we’re both currently working on contemporary middle grade fiction novels. I had invited Penny to come since she lives fairly close by, and was super excited to meet her in person! It was such a joy hanging out with her for the remaining of the signing and talking about aspects of self-publishing. Penny is also a blogger! Check out her amazing blog, A Southern Belle With Stories to Tell!

P.S. I don’t know what was up with my shirt in this picture. I apologize for its wrinkled appearance! 🤦🏼‍♀️

My aunt happened to lure a lady she knew over to the table, and she ended up purchasing a copy for her granddaughter. The library also bought a copy, which was pretty cool.

Final Thoughts

All in all, when 4 o’clock came, I had only sold four books out of the 25+ I had brought. To be honest, it was a bit discouraging, especially after all the hype the event had received on Facebook. I’m thankful for everyone who came to support me though, and this experience has served as a learning experience for future reference.

Will I ever do a book signing again? Maybe. As an introvert, I am not a salesperson by nature. It was hard for me to even say, “Hey, how are you doing!” to the people walking by the table. It’ll definitely be something I’ll think about though.


Want your own copy of the featured book, Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl? Visit its Amazon page here to check it out! 🙂

Are you an author with book signing tips or experiences you’d like to share? If so, please share in the comments! 📖🖊

Later, Arrowheads!

-Allyson 😀

Adventures with Allyson!, Wonderful World of Writing

My First Year as a Published Author

Yesterday, February 22nd, marked the first anniversary of my debut novel, Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl. Over the past twelve months, I’ve finally been able to call myself something I’ve desired since early childhood: a published author. Though I chose the self-publishing route, this year I’ve still been able to experience many author firsts and epiphanies that I’d like to share with you today!

FirstYearAuthor

Release Day Blues

*Ahem* Allow me to paint a picture of what release day was like for me… it’s my 23rd birthday, I’m in my final semester of college on lunch break, I’ve just found out I won’t be able to see my boyfriend on my birthday, and despite the 50+ people that liked/commented on my book release announcement on Facebook, CreateSpace is showing NOTHING! Oh, and I’m a heavy-duty overthinker. Mix all that together… and yeah, I cried in my car in the school parking lot. For all you first-time CreateSpace authors out there, the sales don’t update instantly. I was naive/hysterical enough to think they would. Copies of the book sold on its release day… I’m just crazy.

Marketing is Hard

Marketing sucks for the most part when halfway through the year you realize you should’ve started marketing months prior to the book’s release. It’s hard work trying to come up with witty tweets, get engagements on your Facebook posts, or, for the love of George Costanza, get someone to review your book on Goodreads! (Awkward Side Note: I used “For the love of George Costanza” as a replacement for saying God’s name in vain one time and it stuck. I don’t even watch Seinfeld XD .) Writing posts for WordPress though, I kinda love at times.  I’m just amazed people actually read these every week.

Local Celebrity Status

If you live in a small town or rural area and people find out you wrote a book, watch out! Soon enough, you’ll be deemed the “local celebrity”, whether or not you’ve sold 50 books total, or even care to have that nickname. You’ll get asked about your book in the most random places. So far, I’ve been asked twice at two different drive thrus by the cashiers (two different towns, no less), and signed books on two separate occasions in a bowling alley. Oh, and another thing: the elderly will adore you. Don’t know if that’s just a side-effect of being a Christian Fiction author, but that’s become a big fanbase.

The Twitter Scene

*My inner monologue* Okay Allyson, act like you’ve been here forever and know what all these hashtags mean. Don’t act like you had to search “What does WIP stand for?” or “What is NaNoWriMo?” Play it cool.

Before Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl‘s release, I’d had Twitter twice before and deleted both accounts because I didn’t understand it. Now I kinda like it, even though I still have to search what some hashtags mean. Plus, the Christian Author community is the best!

Book Cover Blunder

For my first book cover, I made the mistake of creating it myself, with no graphic design knowledge whatsoever. It’s been suggested to me that I should change it up to see if it’ll increase sales, but I’m too attached to the little thing to do that. It’s my first baby. I’m just going to learn from those mistakes and have a more artistic person design the cover for the next novel.

Publishing Fever

I don’t know how the rest of y’all indie authors feel, but in the first few months after publishing my first book, I was already excited for the next release, though Speak Your Mind was only halfway finished at the time! I guess it’s like eating potato chips, or how some people feel about adopting cats… you’re never satisfied with just one!

The No-Sales Months

*Sniffles* I don’t even want to talk about that mess.

Growing as a Writer

Now, this one I can talk about. Over the past year, God has allowed me to grow more than ever as a writer. He has brought me back to my roots of short stories and poetry for posts on this blog, inspired me to write more often, and instilled hope that one day all this preparation and waiting could lead to a successful author career if it’s in His will for me. I’ve learned that when I begin stressing over author details, the statistics sink and my writing habits suffer, but when I turn to God and let Him take control, things start turning back around. Granted, I’m not selling thousands–or even hundreds–of copies, but I’ve definitely noticed a connection between the two. I’m not meant to handle all this myself. God is the author, I’m His pen and my life is His paper.

 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in any way this past year! May God bless you all!

-Allyson 😀

Book Marketing, Wonderful World of Writing

Conversations You Have as a Small Town Author

Okay, so you’ve just published your first novel, and you’re telling everyone you know about your accomplishment. If you live in a small, rural town like me, you probably know, or are acquainted with, 95% of the people who live there. And, whenever one of those people strikes up a conversation with you about your book, you’ve probably wished you had a dollar for every time you’ve heard one of these…

SmallTownAuthor

The Impressed Non-reader

Person: “You wrote a book? Cool! I’d buy it, but I don’t read!”
Me: *Eye twitch*

The Almost-Sale

Person: “You wrote a book? You’re so young! Oh my goodness, you’re a prodigy! I’m gonna go buy it tonight and tell everyone about it!
Me: *Continues to look at CreateSpace and Kindle sales for a week to see if the numbers rise…. and nope.*

The Referral Gone Wrong

Person #1: “Hey, did you know she wrote a book?”
Person #2: “That’s awesome! It’s so cool to have a local celebrity around ol [insert small town name here]!”
Person #2: *To Person #1, thinking I can’t hear them* “Let me borrow it.”

I kinda love this next one to be honest…

The Series Question

Person: “I loooooved your novel! Are you gonna write a sequel? Please tell me you’re going to write a sequel!”
Me: *Thinks about the trainwreck of a sequel I attempted to write for it eight years ago* “Sorry, but I’m not planning on it!”

And this one that happened a lot around two months ago…

Local Celebrity Status

Person: “I saw you! I saw you in the newspaper! With your book!” *Freaks out*
Me: *Totally forgotten about the author interview I did in the county paper* “Yay!”

But this has been my absolute favorite so far…

Every Author’s Favorite Question

Person: “Will you sign this copy for my daughter/cousin/family member/me?”
Me: *All the writer feelings well up* “Of course you can, you lovely person!”

Even though that’s technically not a direct quote from me. XD

Side note: So far, I’ve signed two copies of Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl in the bowling alley where my boyfriend bowls league, on two separate occasions. It was awesome! 🙂

What other repeat conversations do you have with people in your town about your novel? I’d love to hear about them!

-Allyson 😀

Wonderful World of Writing

Author Q&A!

QAWeek.png

Hey there, Arrowheads! Today, I’m opening up an author Q&A! If you have any questions for me, please comment below and I’ll be happy to answer them. I’ll try to reply as soon as possible; my schedule is jam packed right now, as I am starting a new job and finishing up my last semester of college.

I look forward to hearing from you guys!

-Allyson 🙂

My Books

Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl: Now Available!

Happy birthday to me! 😀

Yes, today is my 23rd birthday, but graduating to another year of twenty-somethingness isn’t why I’m excited about posting today. As a birthday present to myself, I decided to make today the publication date for my debut novel, Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl!

I first started writing CBTHOACG the summer after my freshman year of high school, and finished it up around Christmastime of 2010. I left the file dormant on my laptop until March of last year, and the rest has been history. Since November, I’ve been doctoring my first-born novel up (yes, I know I sound like a crazy person; I’m not denying that XD ), and finished proofreading last week. Here’s the cover for my little baby:

frontcover
*Country Momma Voice* Ain’t she purty? XD

So, please feel free to check out this product of my imagination!

In fact, here’s a quick little book trailer:

 Am I making a convincing marketing pitch yet? 😀

If so, here’s the Amazon link: Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl,
as well as the CreateSpace estore: Can’t Beat the Heart of Carolina Girl.

 

Thanks for stopping by today, Arrowheads! A huge thank you is in order to those of you who will actually take the time to buy/read Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl. I love you guys!

-Allyson 😀