In my mid-sixties I’ve discovered an affinity for coffee shops. Not for coffee, mind you, but for the places where coffee is brewed and served. Places where a banana nut muffin along with a chai latte can keep me company while I write or people watch.
Tallahassee has several good coffee shops, so I’ve been trying one a week for the past couple of months in hopes that I’ll find the perfect combination of good vibes and good tea.
The good ones all have electrical outlets wherever possible. The great ones have outlets and serve vegan goodies. I’m still trying to decide which place rates my devotion.
Red Eye is really good—lots of places to write and a nice selection of decaf teas, but, alas, no vegan baked goods. The Square Mug has great vegan selections, but they’re in a smaller space with fewer outlets. I haven’t tried Lucky Goat, mostly because the one time I visited there were no masks in sight in a crowded space. That was a deal breaker.
Yes, I know I could brew a cup of tea at home and have my quiet writing space while I snack on muffins purchased in advance from Sweet Pea Cafe, but going to the coffee shop makes me feel like I’m actually at work. Like I have a place to be. Call me weird, but it’s comforting.
A simple question on social media often brings out the worst in people. I’ve read the hateful and snarky responses when a fledgling writer asks for advice from other writers. Condescension abounds on writing forums. It’s as if some people need to stomp on others for absolutely no good reason. I don’t understand the need to be mean when another seeks help.
Usually, I lurk in the shadows on such sites —helping when I have a legitimate answer that might shed some light on an issue and watching for answers to concerns that match my own. I wasn’t eager to take a pounding for my own inquisitiveness. Cowardly, I know.
Yesterday on a forum in Social Media Land, though, I made the apparently egregious mistake of asking a question about royalties from Amazon. One would’ve thought I’d asked how many fingers and toes the average human comes equipped with.
I was called a dunce. An idiot. A lazy b*tch. “If you can’t read, then why are you attempting to write?” asked one respondent.
Yes, I knew I was risking the disdain of the elite when I posed the question, but I had read the information on Amazon and was still confused. Clarification would’ve been nice, but in its place I learned that I’m “too dumb to breathe.” I’m amazed I’m still able to do so, but maybe I’m breathing all wrong.
I’m excited to announce that my first novel, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, has officially garnered over one hundred reviews on Amazon. The number of reviews teetered at ninety-nine for several days, and impatient person that I am, I thought they might never cross into triple digits. Yet here we are!
Thanks to everyone who’s read and reviewed my book. I appreciate your support so much. And if you have yet to read it, I hope you’ll take a chance and add a little mayhem to your life.
My first novel, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, is doing well right now. It’s received 96 ratings and/or reviews on Amazon, and all but four of those are of the four and five star variety. The one star rating threatened to undo me, and the two star didn’t exactly cause me to jump up and down in celebration, but when I put them in perspective they didn’t bother me quite as much.
I love reading the reviews. When I’m feeling low I read through them and bask in the really good ones and when I’m feeling terrific I read through the less positive ones to see what I can learn. It’s my weak attempt at balance.
I love the juxtaposition between these reviews:
The funniest review I received wasn’t on Amazon, though. I discovered it on my Facebook author’s page and it’s made me giggle more than once. I hope this reader will hold on for the sequel.
I’ve experienced the exact same feeling, and I get it. The heart wants what the heart wants. All I can say is, Dear Reader Whose Name I’ve Scribbled Through, Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort is being edited and revised right now, so don’t despair. And please don’t throw tomatoes my way.
Okay, so “We’re Number One“ is a lot cooler and easier to chant, but for one brief shining moment on Sunday morning my first novel, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, came in at number 384 on Amazon in the Women’s Action and Adventure Fiction category.
And I know what you’re probably thinking—“Leslie, dear, there are likely only 384 entries in that very narrow category…”
However, having tracked my book since it was first published I can assure you that’s not the case. I broke into the top 500 about a month ago after being well above 1,000 for the longest time. And even as I write this I’m back to #505, so it’s always changing. I can’t get too cocky.
I’m wondering if there’s a category in which Mayhem might be number one? How about Women’s Action and Adventure Fiction Featuring Quirky Jugglers? I’d almost bet I’d be in at least the top five.
There’s an ad for my first novel, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, now running on Facebook. My Facebook friend and author, Lori Roberts Herbst, helped me set the ad up at extreme peril to her own sanity. Now that’s what I call a good friend.
So far the ad, in conjunction with my book now being listed on Kindle Unlimited, has increased my book’s visibility and its sales in a positive manner. I’ve been a bit obsessive in measuring the difference between ad costs and the number of pages read. According to my calculations I’ve either made a profit of around one million dollars or $15.65. Really, it’s too close to call.
Studly Doright, of course reminds me that there’s no profit until I’ve recouped the costs of editing, cover design, and the other bits that went into self-publishing a novel. Sure hoping that million dollars is closer to the right estimate.
For a while now I’ve had a fantasy about buying a camper van and touring the country by myself. I’d go places. I’d drive to see my kids and grandkids in Texas and Illinois. I’d drive to California and see my Aunt Betty. I’d visit the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone and every other National Park I’ve dreamed of seeing my whole life.
I could write from anywhere. Chalk my trips up to research. Maybe I’d visit Hemphill, Texas, where Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort is set, and visit my Aunt Nedra while I’m there. And I’d take some time to drive through Amarillo, the setting for The Cowboy and the Executive, making a side trip to see my mother-in-law, Saint Helen, in Hereford.
Studly Doright could accompany me anytime he chose to, but camping isn’t his thing. Heck, I’m not sure it’s my thing, but I’d like to find out.
I won’t be able to buy a camper—unless of course my book sales take off. Maybe I could print up bumper stickers and sell them: Support a Camper—Buy a Book!
So, it’s all a pie in the sky dream, but who knows? Maybe I can make it happen. Who wants a bumper sticker?
Later today, I’m getting a lesson on creating a Facebook ad for my books from my friend, author, Lori Roberts Herbst. Lori has, so far, published the first two books in her Callie Cassidy Mystery Series: Suitable for Framing and Double Exposure. (Links below). Both books are a lot of fun with believable, likable characters and plots with enough twists and turns to keep a reader guessing until the very end.
I hope Lori knows what she’s getting into, I’m fairly obtuse when it comes to all things related to technology and marketing. My efforts at marketing my own books have teetered between annoying and really annoying. Hopefully, Lori can guide me into the realm of ‘much less annoying.’
Wish us luck. And consider investing in anti-anxiety meds. Demand may rise exponentially during today’s tutoring session.
Check out Lori’s books. Both are available from Amazon and on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.