Fifth Report of My 12-Week Challenge

Here is my fifth report for my twelve weeks challenge:

 

  1. My book to read goal is still on target. I finished Angels & Demons by Dan Brown on 9/8/16. I now have to read 5 more books in 7 weeks to make my reading goal for my 12-week challenge.
  2. I made my marketing goal this week – 73 marketing posts/pitches:
  • 3 posts on Social Media. One of them has 191 members. The Giveaways post on Goodreads have 254 entries total, 43 entries this week alone. It have 94 on “to read” list so far.
  • 70 emails and letters to friends.
  1. I’m still way behind my word count challenge. I’m only up to 21,740 words. This week, I’m supposed to be on 25,000 level. I have to double my effort next week.

 

See you next week.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda, The Rose Lady

Author of The Wentworth Legacy

www.rosalindarmorgan.com

 

2016 New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year again when we have to think of our goals for 2016. Below are my resolutions for 2016. It can apply to all writers who want to improve their craft and make 2016 a successful year.

  • Edit my manuscript. After finishing the NANOWRIMO challenge for 2015, I put the manuscript aside for the month of December and will start editing in January. After I have gone through a couple of times to check typos and add and delete, my editor will go through the whole process of line editing and copy editing. Then back to rewriting, finding what is wrong with the book and trying to improve it. Then edit, rewrite, again more edits and rewrites until I feel comfortable with it. You’ll be amazed at how many errors you’ll see as you edit the manuscript again and again. To put my name in my work, I want to have it free of typos and errors. I’m getting much better as I progress through my writing journey. You can have the best story in the world, but if your manuscript is full of typos, it can turn your readers off for good. I hope to finish the final rewrite of my third novel, my 2014 NANOWRIMO winner, and get it published this summer. It takes a year and a half to edit a first draft.
  • Read more. In 2015, I accomplished my reading goal at Goodreads. I read 28 books. To make it as an author, you have to read and read what your audience wants to read. I read mostly historical novels and write historical novels. Once in a while I will read other genres just to keep myself knowledgeable of what’s out there. I also read magazines. All the books that I read inspired me to do more writings. This year, my goal is to add 2 more books from my 2015 reading challenge. Since I intend to read some lengthy book in 2016, I feel 30 books is attainable. I’m starting the year with Edge of Eternity, a 1098-page book by Ken Follett.
  • Write more. Even with the NANOWRIMO finished and done with, I never slack on my writing. The only difference is I wake up an hour later. During the NANOWRIMO in November, I woke up at 5 a.m. I write better when everything is quiet around me. Now, I still write for 1-1/2 hour before breakfast, then an hour just before lunch, a couple of hours in the afternoon and possibly an hour at night. I either write, blog, do a research, read but there is always something I do towards my writing goal. I’m polishing my third and fourth novel and will start a nonfiction project this year.
  • Publish my manuscript. Once I’m comfortable with the manuscript, it’s time to let it go. How do I know if it is ready? After editing it a dozen times, you know in your heart, whether it is ready to publish or not. Then I go into promotion mode before its release. Right now, I have not made up my mind if I want to go through the traditional route due to my time constraint. I have so much idea in my head that there is no time to waste querying and waiting for months for an answer. If I was younger, I might consider it. I love what I do and I feel that the time I will spend on querying is better spent studying to improve my craft. Between taking care of my sick husband, writing, reading, doing voluntary work for my community, maintaining my house and garden and studying my market do not give me ample time to query and wait which takes too much time. I know. I tried it before. I got two rejections. However, I might change my mind later. You never know.
  • Marketing my work. Traditional publishers nowadays do not have time to market your book unless you are a celebrity. So I might as well go through independent publishing. I do my own publicity for my book. I have a web presence since 2000 when I was in real estate and have continued to do so, more now that I am a writer. I am on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, ActiveRain, Google and more. I have websites and blogs. I know marketing is important. I used to work in the corporate world and know the importance of marketing your product. I will keep on marketing my books through my web presence and word of mouth.
  • Enter a writing contest. I entered a writing contest for short stories in 2015 at Writer’s Digest and won an Honorable Mention. I write to educate, stimulate and inspire. My stories are original based on life events. I have won writing contests on my gardening articles before and will continue to enter my articles.
  • Update my website. I will keep the content of your website fresh. I have a website and two blogs. My Facebook pages are linked to my blogs and my website. I have an author’s profile at Amazon and Goodreads. I’m constantly updating both my websites and my blogs. I will keep on posting regularly to keep my readers coming.
  • Be more active on social media. It’s important to maintain your social media presence. I’m on Facebook but there is one thing I don’t post on Facebook. I still feel strongly that things personal is not a matter of public knowledge. I post mostly about my writings and my reading. Since my website is linked to my Facebook page, my postings on motivation and inspirational tips and gardening tips go right to my Facebook page. I will like other pages and make comments every so often.
  • Be active in your community. Get involved in your community and let them know you’re an author. That is one ready market for you. I’m on my HOA board and an active member of a garden club, my church choir and a president of my local rose society. These are other potential markets. Join a local writing group. I joined the local NANOWRIMO writing group two years ago but I must admit I never went to their writing sessions because I like to write in solitude. I joined in their conversation on Facebook. I’m also in several groups at Goodreads, LinkedIn and CreateSpace. Regarding a writer’s conference, I have read conflicting views on whether they help a writer or not. I have not been to one so I have no opinion at this point. When you finish your book, you’ll be glad you have been active in the community that will be excited to read your work!
  • Start something new. I always wanted to write a nonfiction book on gardening. After all, I have been writing gardening articles for years before I started writing fiction. I have gotten awards on some of them so I might try to compile them in a book form. It will be my next project this year. I have a great idea in mind and it will be interesting to pursue it.

So what is your New Year’s resolution for 2016?

 

Until next time, stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda

 

Rosalinda Morgan

Author and Garden Writer

The Iron Butterfly

BAHALA NA (Come What May)

Get your copy today at www.amazon.com/author/rosalindarmorgan.

 

 

 

TIPS ON BECOMING A BETTER WRITER – Day 28

The next three days are tough ones since I have another deadline – to work on the December newsletter for my rose society and send it out on Monday. In spite of that, I was able to squeeze some ideas into my novel and I made it to 54,926 words. Not bad at all.

The tip for today is the most important.

  1. Publish your manuscript. After you have done several edits and believe that your work is polished, now is the time to let the world know about it. It is time to release the beast and let go. Now the problem is whether to go traditional publishing or self-publishing. If you are going for traditional route, be prepared to get plenty of rejection letters. It’s hard work getting through the gatekeepers called literary agents. Unless you are a celebrity, it is a hard road to navigate. If you are young and have plenty of time ahead of you, you can try it. I’ll be 73 next month and I’d rather spend my time, reading and studying to improve my craft than wasting time sending query letters. I did that in 2012 when I wrote my first book. I received 2 rejection letters and 2 no answers. That was the end of my query letter days. I have plenty of ideas in my head and so I’ll just keep on writing and go the self-publishing route. My stories are unique based on my life experiences.

Going the traditional route may take months to see your book in print. I know a lot of writers go with traditional route to make a lot of money. In my case, I want my book out there first and the money will come when they see what I’m offering, a unique story. They will learn something from my books. I write to educate, inspire and stimulate the minds of my readers.

Also, remember that only big celebrities get big advances. There is also a  big difference in royalty between traditional (15%) and self published (70%). If you are in a hurry, you can go with self-publishing. I recommend CreateSpace. You don’t have to pay anything until you order your copies. No upfront fees like vanity presses. Just remember and it is very important. Make sure your book is polished and can stand the competition out there.

My book recommendation for today is Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

Gone with the Wind

Margaret Mitchell’s epic novel of love and war won the Pulitzer Prize and one of the most popular movies of all time. Many novels have been written about the Civil War and its aftermath and to some southerners, this is the story of the civil war in its most vivid details. Margaret Mitchell wrote a brilliant love story between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler amidst the turmoil and hardships during the Civil War.

How many places did you visit this year? I went on a world tour. Did you?

Did I visit any country this year? Oh yeah, plenty. I went all over the world.

The Earth

Most people go on big vacation during the summer. Some retirees go at different times during the year. I don’t go on vacation nowadays but I visited a lot of places. Been there, done that. My husband and I used to go on vacation when we were younger. When my kids were young, we went with the kids until they reached 15 and then they don’t want to go on vacation with us anymore. Funny at that age, they were embarrassed to be seen with their parents. It was not cool. We went on a grand tour of Europe with the kids when they were 9 and 12. After 45 years of marriage and my husband having difficulty walking, long trips are not an option anymore. Besides, Charleston where we live now is a great vacation spot so we are basically on vacation all the time. Charleston is No. 1 vacation city in the United States and No. 2 in the world according to Conde Nast.

Nonetheless, I still have visited so many places this year thru my reading. It’s the most extensive, least expensive and most enjoyable trips I have undertaken. Without leaving my home and the comfort of my favorite chair, I have been to several places this year. With all the books that I read this year, I have been to so many places and thoroughly enjoy my trips. Below are some of the books I read in 2015 and the places where I visited.

  1. I just finished reading Hawaii by James A. Michener which took me on an adventurous journey to exotic places in the Pacific – Bora Bora, Tahiti, the islands of Hawaii, an ocean voyage on the Atlantic from Massachusetts westward to Cape Verde Island, then down to Cape Horn, on to The Falklands, through small islands at the southern tip of South America then up through the Pacific to Hawaii. I visited mainland United States from San Francisco on the west coast to Connecticut on the east coast. I also visited Japan and China.
  2. At The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder, I visited Peru and Spain.
  3. The Bells by Richard Harvell took me to the concerts halls in Europe in Austria, Italy, and Switzerland.
  4. Gifts from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh took me to the beach at Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod and Maine.
  5. Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer took me to England and New York.
  6. Mrs. De Winter by Susan Hill took me to England, Monaco, France, Italy and Spain.
  7. With Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, I visited England, Monaco and Italy.
  8. The Glitter and Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan took me to New York, Newport, Palm Beach in U.S. and France and England in Europe.
  9. The Secret Mistress by Mary Balogh, I went to Cornwall in the United Kingdom.
  10. Dead Wake by Erik Larssen took me to the coasts of England and Ireland.
  11. Flapper by Joshua Zeitz took me to New York and Chicago.
  12. The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber took me to the Pacific Northwest.
  13. The Lady of the River by Philippa Gregory took me to England.
  14. With The Iron Butterfly which I, Rosalinda Morgan wrote, I took the readers to southern Luzon in the Philippines from Batangas to Manila.
  15. The Steep Ascent by Anne Morrow Lindbergh flew me across the Swiss Alps.
  16. Escape from Davao by John D. Lukacs took me to the wild jungle of Mindanao in the Philippines and Australia.
  17. Below Stairs by Margaret Powell took me to various great houses of England.
  18. At Howards End by E.M. Forster, I visited England once more.
  19. Winter of the World by Ken Follett took me to England, Germany, Spain, Russia and the United States.
  20. The Landower’s Legacy by Victoria Holt, I visited more of England.
  21. In Downtown Abbey, Rules for Household Staff, I visited England again.
  22. Upstairs at the White House in Washington, DC, by J.B. West, I saw the inside of the most famous home in the United States.
  23. All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank I went back home to Charleston, South Carolina.

Can you read 260 books in a year?

IMG_1039

I was browsing on the internet and something caught my attention. Someone claimed that he read 260 books in 2014. Another said he read 500 books in 2014. How do you do that? Do you have a life at all? Unless you are reading Children’s Books, I can’t see that is possible. Even if you are reading in your sleep.

My husband and I are both avid readers. We are both retired. My husband read a lot and he does not read quite close to that number. I very seldom watch TV except for Downton Abbey. My husband watches PBS News Hour and old movies. Yet we do not read as much compared to those readers.

Do you read or do you scan a book? There is quite a difference between the two. If a book is a page turner, I can possibly finish a book of 250 pages in two days if I don’t do anything else but read. A 500-page book or a book like Sarum which is 1035 pages will take me forever. Right now, I’m reading Hawaii which is 937 pages long. It will take me a while to finish it since I do something else in between my reading. I enjoy historical fictions and lately I’ve been picking up books heavy in history and it takes a lot of time to read them and absorb everything you read.

I read 26 books last year and to me that’s quite an achievement. I add 2 more books this year as my goal. In November I don’t read but concentrate on writing because I join the NANOWRIMO challenge in November when I have to write a novel of 50,000+ words in 30 days. I also have a life. I garden. I clean my house. I volunteer some of my time. I write – published my second novel, The Iron butterfly early this year. I am an editor of two newsletters (used to be three newsletters) and won an award with one of them. I chair the Landscape Committee in my neighborhood. I volunteer for the garden club. I sing at my church choir. I have a full life.

So how do you fit 260+ books to read in a year? How do you read a 440-page novel in one day? Do you just read the jacket and scan the pages from the top down to the bottom? You still have to sleep and if you are retired, you may even take a nap. I know you can eat and read at the same time. I don’t do that. I enjoy my meals. But reading a 440-page historical book in one day to me is unbelievable. What’s the secret? We all want to know how anyone does that.

What kind of books do I read?

I always want to learn something new. Since I did not have much time to read during my working days, I’m trying to catch up on my search for knowledge. I feel I missed something along the way. There are so much to learn in one’s lifetime and to do this, I have to read more to supplement what I already know. History book in itself written in a textbook form can be so boring but written within the context of a historical fiction can be both entertaining and educational. So as much as possible, I veer toward historical fiction.

I also like memoirs especially with an inspirational theme. Historical novels and memoirs are my favorite genres and they are also the genres that I write. Both the books I have published so far are in historical fiction category based on real-life events.

Iron Butterfly

BAHALA NA (Come What May)

Both books are available at www.amazon.com/author/rosalindarmorgan.

You can check the books I read at www.goodreads.com.

What kind of books do you read? Leave a comment.

My Reading Challenge for 2014

Last year, I challenged myself to catch up on my reading and decided to read 25 books for 2013. I never thought I would reach my goal since during the whole month of November, I was not able to read anything. I was busy with the NANOWRIMO (National November Writing Month) challenge, writing a 50,000-word book which I finished on November 30 at 56,667 words. It is my second book and will be published as soon as I finished editing it. The Iron Butterfly is now up to 72,000+ words.

This year, I only added one more book to read for a total of 26 books for 2014 – one book every two weeks. Right now, I am 4 books ahead of schedule but I know in November, I will not be able to read again because I plan to join the NANOWRIMO challenge again. Also after the summer, I will be busy with other projects being president of Charleston Lowcountry Rose Society so I will not have enough time to do more reading.

I have seen people challenging themselves to read 100, 200, 250 books. That’s an amazing feat! Unless you read a short story, young adults or children books, I cannot imagine how you can finish 250 books in a year. That is like reading 5 books a week. Not feasible if you are reading a 500-page book. I read on Goodreads that someone had read 50 books already before January ended. How did he do that? Do you scan the book or really read it?

I have read some lengthy historical novels this year and I pushed myself to finish it. A stillness at Appomatox (I often wonder how the North won the Civil war) and The Grapes of Wrath (extreme poverty and hardships that kept me saying enough already) were two books that were a real struggle to finish. I had to follow them with light reading before my mind fried up.

Here is a list of the books that I read this year so far:
1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
2. Don’t Fall Off the Mountains by Shirley MacLaine
3. Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd
4. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
5. The Bells of Freedom by Dorothy Gilman Butters
6. In our Image by Stanley Karnow
7. Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini
8. The Nabob’s Widow by April Kihlstrom
9. A Stillness at Appomatox by Bruce Catton
10. The Way We Were New York by M. Howard
11. The Women of the House by Jean Zimmerman
12. The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton
13. A Distant Trumpet by Paul Horgan
14. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
15. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
16. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
17. Mount Vernon Love Story by Mary Higgins Clark
18. French Silk by Sandra Brown
19. Day of Infamy by Walter Lord