As the days grow shorter, I become introspective. Taking stock, as it were, of the year that’s nearly gone, and thinking ahead to what the new one will bring. One of the things I love about being an author is the growth I see in my craft. But that’s not surprising. It takes time to settle into any new skillset, to get to a place where you find a comfort zone and begin feeling competent.
I had the same experience with psychology. Even after I’d finished the graduate degree, 3000 supervised hours, and passed both state and national licensure exams, it took a good five years to settle in to where I felt confident in my abilities to address pretty much whatever problem walked into my office. And (very important) the wisdom to know which problems needed referral. Ethics are a big part of any profession, and part of ethical psychology practice is to not take on problems where you don’t have specialized training. For example, I drew the line at pre-adolescent kids. So no one under around twelve. I also didn’t treat perpetrators. Never felt I’d have the objectivity to give them what they needed.
Back to writing. What’s ahead for me for 2015? Well, I still have traditionally published books in the pipeline. Icy Passage releases in March from Hartwood Publishing Group, and Earth’s Hope, last book in the Earth Reclaimed Series releases about the same time from Musa. On other fronts, I got my rights back for my first three novels in October. In the interim, I’ve basically rewritten the trilogy. The books have new titles, new blurbs, new covers, and new insides. Is it the same story? Yes, but with some significant changes that make it read better, with a far tighter plot structure.
I decided they’d be a great place to dip my toes into the self-publishing market. I have a number of author friends who swear by self-publishing, and say they’ll never deal with publishers again. I’m not feeling that way, but I am looking forward to becoming a hybrid author and to the relative freedom to manipulate prices. I’m also going to experiment with Kindle Select and Kindle Unlimited to see what impact those venues might have on sales.
My other experiment going into the New Year was I submitted a book, Winning Glory, a scifi romance, to Kindle Scout, one of Amazon’s new brainchildren. Unfortunately, I was in Antarctica for much of the month it was up for votes, but still I think it did fairly well. By the time this guest blog posts, I’ll know if they offered me a contract. Even though Amazon would be the publisher, that’s a different hybrid model in that I had to come up with my own cover, and if they want the book, I’ll have to come up with my own editing. They pay an advance, but there won’t be much left after paying for cover art and an editor. Anyway, another experiment.
And when you cut to the chase, isn’t that what it’s all about? Flexibility is a good skill to nurture. I’ve tried many strategies to market books, and I’m convinced it’s like trying to hit a moving target. What worked last year doesn’t work this year, so while writing is a big part of my job, figuring out how to get my books front and center in front of readers is the other one.
This is getting too long, but if any of you have successful marketing strategies to share, I’d love to hear them.
The Witch Chronicles
Release Date: 11/7/14
Available for pre-order mid-October
Genre: Dark Paranormal Romance
Jenna falls in love with two very different men. Standing on the verge of Earth’s destruction, will she defy convention and follow the song in her heart?
Jenna’s a special witch, sort of, when her magic works, which it often doesn’t. One of three remaining demon-stalkers, she and her sister witches, Roz and Colleen, are Earth’s only hedge against being overrun by Hell’s minions. On the heels of Roz’s and Colleen’s weddings, Jenna is headed for the U.K. when a demon confronts her. Any other witch could teleport out of the plane, but not her. Frustration about her limited power eats at her. It would be pretty pathetic to get killed for lack of skills a teenager could master.
Tristan is a Sidhe warrior, but his primary gift is attunement to others’ emotions. He fell hard for Jenna, but hasn’t had an opportunity to act on their attraction beyond a few kisses because she returned to Alaska, and he’s been in the field fighting demons.
As seer for the Sidhe, Kiernan is haunted by visions, particularly an apocalyptic sending that seems to be coming true. A confirmed bachelor, he doesn’t understand his attraction to Jenna, but it’s so strong he can’t fight it, and after a while, he doesn’t even try, despite recognizing Tristan’s claim to her.
Startling truths surface about Jenna’s magic, and then there’s the problem that she’s falling in love with two very different men. At first she believes she has to pick one of them, but her spirit refuses to walk away from either. It’s impossible to choose between a seer with dreams in his eyes and a beautiful man who intuits her every need. Standing on the verge of Earth’s destruction, will she defy convention and follow the song in her heart?
About the Author:
Ann Gimpel is a mountaineer at heart. Recently retired from a long career as a psychologist, she remembers many hours at her desk where her body may have been stuck inside four walls, but her soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. Around the turn of the last century (that would be 2000, not 1900!), she managed to finagle moving to the Eastern Sierra, a mecca for those in love with the mountains. It was during long backcountry treks that Ann’s writing evolved. Unlike some who see the backcountry as an excuse to drag friends and relatives along, Ann prefers solitude. Stories always ran around in her head on those journeys, sometimes as a hedge against abject terror when challenging conditions made her fear for her life, sometimes for company. Eventually, she returned from a trip and sat down at the computer. Three months later, a five hundred page novel emerged. Oh, it wasn’t very good, but it was a beginning. And, she learned a lot between writing that novel and its sequel.
Around that time, a friend of hers suggested she try her hand at short stories. It didn’t take long before that first story found its way into print and they’ve been accepted pretty regularly since then. One of Ann’s passions has always been ecology, so her tales often have a green twist.
In addition to writing, Ann enjoys wilderness photography. She lugs pounds of camera equipment in her backpack to distant locales every year. A standing joke is that over ten percent of her pack weight is camera gear which means someone else has to carry the food! That someone is her husband. They’ve shared a life together for a very long time. Children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out their family.
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)