A Perfect Launch Team Member

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Does this sound like a perfect launch team member to you:

Someone who reads your book over and over again, each time helping with thoughts, corrections, and ideas, bringing out the best in you. They tell everyone they know about your book, they write reviews on every Amazon site, on Goodreads and they write an independent review. They buy your book with their own money, they share every Tweet Facebook post you make about it and they email every single person on their email list.

Well, if you do you then you may just be right. Except, that if you know someone like this then it is probably your granny. Which is lovely, but the reality is that not only are their few people like this available to you but believe it or not, this kind of person can also work against you. If they over do it, never shut up about your book or cover their entire social media in it, then people can so easily get sick of it, stop following her, and at the very least roll their eyes and move on, without even clicking on your book never mind buying it.

So what then makes a second best launch team member? Someone who at least buys, reads, and writes a review on Amazon and Goodreads right?

Well sort of. The reality is that we need ALL kinds of people on our teams! I learned the hard way that not everyone has a “certified” enough Amazon account to write a review. And not everyone has the time to proofread and not everyone has the social media links to spread it. If people love you they will do their bit, but it is most likely that their bit will be quite different to the next person. And you need them all. I had to learn that they all had something different to offer. Even the people who have no time, expertise or capacity to do much, they at least downloaded my book on “free” day and it counts as a sale.

And that is why you need numbers and you need them from far and wide. Only a quarter will leave a review, a small handful will finish a proofread, and tiny proportion will even tell their friends. Keep going, keep digging, and round up those friends … but don’t expect too much from them and don’t forget that they are doing you a FAVOUR!

Where Jennifer hangs out: Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A piece of your stage?

A great way to get out there if we are humble enough is to be the “supporting act” for someone else for a while. It also hones our skills, gives us community, puts us in front of an audience that we could never pull together, and so much more. I think that you might just get sick of me using the word “collaboration” but honestly, it is my strategy number one. I need people to support me, help me build a stage and draw in an audience. I need them to proofread, be honest with me, a shoulder to cry on, and someone to celebrate with. If I want all that from people, then I need to be that for a bunch of other people first.

And to be honest, it is kinda cool seeing my stuff out there on a different stage! Last week I started a series guest blogging on the Site “Surviving my Past”. It is a stage way bigger than mine and I truly respect the guy who runs it. He is truly amazing. I am not stupid, I know that I will never have a stage like his, and it is an honour to be invited! We are different people doing different things. I want to write books and will never blog at his level. He is a pro at blogging (but is also writing books), but the point that I am making is that spending time on his stage is an honour and a privilege and it not only helps us both out in the ways mentioned above but it is fun!

Check out my post HERE. You will hopefully still see that it is me, my voice, but it looks quite different and appeals to a different audience to my own.

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Where Jennifer hangs out: Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Author Stage or Author Platform

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Many people who are new to writing are doing exactly what we are all advised to do: Build an online presence, an online platform, and get the word out there. We have to sell ourselves, and we have to sell our books. But the biggest question I get asked over and over again is how do I get people to come to me and listen to what I have to say. This is the hardest part in some ways, but in other ways, I think it is actually the easiest, but you do need a few key ingredients: Humility, Patience, and Community are just three of them but believe me, you can’t get far without ALL of them. Here is why:

The first mistake we make is to go out, buy the wood and build ourselves a little stage in our back yard. We stand on it and wait for the crowds to come. It is heart-wrenching when no one turns up! So we fork out the cash for advertising, we stick posters on the lamp posts, and we tell all our friends. Some of them come, but still, there is no crowd and few of our books sell. It feels so unfair.

The problem is that many of us build a stage before we build a platform. Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook are all great tools, but they are just that, they are tools. They are the loudspeakers and the flyers and the billboards. But the problem is that they are lost in millions upon millions of almost identical loudspeakers, flyers, and billboards. At one end we have a FABULOUS product (aren’t all of our books going to be the next best seller?), and at the other end we have the advertising, but there is nothing in between. There is nothing to connect us and make us stand out. Even our STUNNING front cover is lost among thousands of other stunning covers!

So in comes humility and patience. Humility to ask someone else if we can perhaps have a seat at their table, to get to know them, and to one day accept a teeny corner of their stage. Over and over people tell me that they don’t have the time to meet people, to get to know them before they ask for help, or even then, that they don’t want to stand on someone else’s stage! They want to stand on their own stage. I get that. We all want our own stage to shine, but we can’t force people to come or to buy.

Another option perhaps is to build your own stage by all means, but for the first season, don’t stand on it other than to introduce our guests. Invite others to come and speak on it instead. Bring in people who you know others would love to hear. It is still your stage. But if you spend a season being the host, welcoming people, giving others a voice and a place to stand, then after a while, when people love and trust you, they will turn to you and ask you ” do you also write? I love to hear your voice at the beginning of each show, I would love to hear what else you have to say”.

These things both take time, they both take humility, and they take a whole lot of “paying it forward”. I am not saying it is easy, but for me, it is actually a whole lot easier than embarrassingly standing on a soap box and shouting “PLEASE BUY MY BOOK!” at the top of my lungs all day, every day.

We need to build an online presence and an online platform, but we must be a little careful of confusing it with simply building a stage…

Over the next few posts, I will dig much deeper into these things and answer any questions you have. Please feel free to join the closed Facebook Group on the subject of building ethical launch teams if you would like to ask your questions in a more private space, by clicking HERE.

 

Inspiring Others?

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To be honest, I don’t feel inspirational. And I am not sure that I actually do ever inspire people, but as I find my voice and begin using it out loud I starting to hear this word used more and more often and in the context of me! That used to freak me out a lot and I am not sure that it will ever sit well with me, but I have learned to become a little more comfortable with it since I reminded myself that we are all just ordinary people really. That when ordinary people do things that other people would love to do, that makes them inspiring. I will never climb Mount Everest and nor do I have even the smallest inclination to either climb or rise above others in any kind of way. But I do want to have an impact on people who walk next to me day to day. It is these people who inspire me the most and I am pleased that I can sometimes do the same for them.

Finding my voice isn’t just about writing, it is about saying what is on my heart and being prepared to now and then be the only one who says what everyone else appears to be thinking. Not in a rude or arrogant way. But I have noticed that when people tell me that I inspire them it is never because I did anything huge, it is simply that I spoke my truth. And often, that truth that I speak appears to be the truth shared by others.

The Lion and The Peacock – How I Conquered Anxiety

aa-final-book-coverAfter one of the most amazing roller coasters of a month, we are on track for the launch of my first book, The Lion and the Peacock – How I Conquered Anxiety.

I did not plan on this being my first book, but after writing the chapter on this part of my journey for one of my other books, it occurred to me that this needed to be a stand-alone book in its own right.

It is short, only about a tenth of the size of a full-length novel, which means that anyone will be able to access this, without having to read or purchase anything else or anything bigger. I am still telling my story and the books will keep coming, but this is now the first window into my complicated story.

If you would like to be on the mailing list for the book (which I promise I won’t spam you with), it will involve only a few emails leading up to the launch on the 15th of January 2017, and then from then on monthly emails with updates on promotions, free days, and the follow-up book releases. Please sign up or leave your email details in the comments below.

Where I hang out:
@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Lion & the Peacock.

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A slight diversion happened today:

While writing my book “It’s Mah Eeds”, I landed up on a chapter on my journey through anxiety and I did not feel as though a single chapter in a book did this story within a story justice. I had to cut too much out to fit in the book, not just in terms of physically fitting but also in terms of keeping to the bigger picture. It was a massive thing to live through and a truly life changing experience and I didn’t want to lose that. I have left it in the book but I also I pulled it from the book today and fleshed it out, …letting all the pieces in between shine through and the whole thing work it’s space.

I landed up with a beautiful 6 thousand word story which I will spend each day this week editing over and over again. I want to publish it as a short book all on it’s own. And I want to give it away for free, at least to start with, as I think that so many people suffer from Anxiety and there may be a few people out there who find helpful or encouraging. So comment below or send me an email if you would like to be notified when it is out (hopefully in January or Feb next year).

I will keep you updated on here anyway as the process unfolds from it’s birth today to a published book…

Memoir Writing.

img_8897I loooove train rides. Especially sleeping trains. They are my passion and my favourite place in the world to be. My writing for me is very much a series of train trips as it is all about the various journeys that I travel on in life. My health, my heart, my faith, my personal growth and my physical travels all around the globe. They are often lonely and they are deeply emotional. What I love about blogging is that I get to take people on these trips with me and I love that. I truly love my readers and their support and the fact that they choose to come on my rides with me blows me away!

The only writing that I have ever done is from my heart and soul. My experiences, my opinions, my thoughts and my dreams. I started a new memoir with NaNo on the 1st of November and since then it has been pouring out of me with such great force that I feel as though this train has a mind of its own. This one is a runaway train and I love it. Sometimes we fly through deep dark tunnels that seem to never end as I relive all kinds of experiences that I am writing about which bring up horrendous pain, nightmares, anger, frustration, …but those experiences allow me to write with feeling and color and I believe that they enrich the story and help keep them extremely real.

Then there are the highs as I write about the good things or more often they occur when I am writing about the bad but the chapters come together well or the writing flows in a way I hadn’t imagined it could, or when something or someone (usually a stranger on social media) encourages me out of nowhere. The highs are thrilling and they keep me going through the hard days. But throughout this experience, the train hasn’t stopped for a moment and it is an exhausting but thrilling ride!

I can totally appreciate why writers want to go and hide on a mountain somewhere and simply immerse themselves in their writing. It is addictive and it flows and in many a way, it is like they are living a completely separate life. This is me.

Sadly I am forced to spend some of my time in the real world and often I am finding that I enjoy it less and less. I am sure that this is not a good thing, but right now I am not sure that I entirely care. Is that shocking? Is that terrible? Am I morphing into a hermit? … my husband and my readers are the only people on this train journey with me and I am loving it. So thank you to all of you who are making this journey so exciting, I cannot wait to start publishing!

Where I hang out:
@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Book “It’s Mah Eeds”

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It’s official, I have now finished draft one of book one in the four book series…. “It’s Mah Eeds” will hopefully be out by this time next year.

Huge Thanks to NaNoWriMo for helping to make this happen … I was hoping to do 60 thousand words by the end of November but I hit just over a hundred thousand (which includes about 30thousand words of book 3) … (book 2 is already done, just waiting for book one).

Now starts the editing part, which I am guessing will be done by Feb some time. My January is booked up with loads of wedding prep so I’m aiming at editing this baby by the end of this year, but if not it will likely be Feb some time…

img_8760If you would like to be on the mailing list for updates no more often than monthly, then just comment your email address below and I will add you, or email me on jenniferpeacocksmith@gmail.com

Thanks so much for your support already and I look forward to the next leg of the journey!!

A Week of Milestones:

This has been a huge week for me. I know that these milestones are nothing huge for many out there, but for me they mark some steps that I thought I would take forever to reach.

In no particular order I made my 100th post on my Chronic Illness Blog today, I just need one more follower and I will have 50 followers, which I have no idea whether that is great stats or terrible but an average of a couple of posts per new followers can’t be that bad can it? I started (and won) my first NaNo WriMo and have have only 800 odd words left to write to make it to 100 thousand brand new fresh words in three weeks. But more importantly than that, that is one brand new book that I had no idea about last month (77,000 words) and then I’m well into the second brand new book. Mind you, between my dyslexia and autocorrect which hates me with a passion, the editing once this is done is going to be  nightmare! I don’t think anyone is going to see me for years, just trying to get through the editing. But anyway, the fact that I will no doubt never win a NaNo again, this is how it has worked out this year.

I’m super proud of all of that plus my first The Mighty article went out this week and I am sooo excited about being accepted as a contributor. I applied to write for a much smaller publication a few weeks ago and and they turned me down, so I’m feeling a little chuffed that the bigger guys said yes.

I sound as though I am counting but not I’m not really, NaNo counts for me and I have absolutely no idea how many followers or posts I have on this blog, I only know about the other one because it popped up when I turned on my computer, saying congrats on the 100th post.

img_4715So anyway, this post is just a simple brag and babble in between NaNo and life and getting ready for Christmas. I am extremely thankful that we have decided to forego Christmas this year and go away for a couple of weeks of writing instead. Woohoo! Happy writing everyone!

To NaNo or Blog? (Day 16)

That is the question! I have been writing like there is no tomorrow and it has so far been an AMAZING month of my very first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). My new memoir is going great guns even with a stodgy middle and a bad case of self doubt, the right people just “happened” to say the right things at the right time and I would get inspired again.

What I love about NaNo is that because all we need to do is Draft One, I am not stopping to edit, change, fiddle like I usually do. I am just going for it. The upside is that as of yesterday, the official half way mark, I was at 65 thousand words and with at least another ten to twenty thousand to go, I will have a full length novel done and dusted in under a month.

The downside is that that is one hell of a lot of words to edit from scratch. I mean where will I even start?? (other than the beginning of course)…. But between my Dyslexia and Autocorrect (both who hate me with a passion) what I have written might not even make much sense! I am petrified that the task of editing is going to be rather overwhelming …

But of course that is OK, because I don’t have to think about that at all until November is over, and it is still November right now, so we will cross that proverbial bridge when we get there…

My other dilemma is that there is so much going on in my head, so much to write about but also so much to blog about that I can’t keep up. I honestly feel terrible for the people who are sitting in front of their screens desperate for something to write. I know that feeling all too well, ….but this November does not look like that for me and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to write it all! So when I have a free hour do I blog or do I write?

img_5722The answer has come down to stress levels really. I stress about things going wild in my head and find it super calming to get them down on paper. So it comes down to what is more urgent at the time rather than what is most important. Also blogging can be short and sweet but most of the writing is lengthy and needs to be saved for the right head space… So this short gap before breakfast is a perfect blogging opportunity so I am grabbing it.

And now that I have gotten that all out of the way, it is time to get back to writing! See you later …