Keeping Sane After the Book

keeping saneYou’ve done it. You finished your book. Now the hard part comesā€”keeping sane. As writers, we experience our most fragile moments after we publish. We’ve put our souls into our work. Now comes the time for the world to see us at our most vulnerable.

Keeping Sane

An essential but difficult skill to obtain is a tough skin. Let’s face it. Things aren’t always going to go easy. There will be times when you get anxious or down. Sales may not be what you hoped for. Maybe someone didn’t like your take on a particular subject.

It hurts. And it’s normal. It’s okay to feel these emotions. I found myself feeling them to with every painting I put on auction.

Moving Pass the Negativity

For writers, we have to remember several things in perspective to achieve this lofty goal of keeping sane. It’s all a matter of putting things in the right perspective.

Don’t Take It Personally

Remember, your involvement with your book is different than everyone else. To you, it’s your baby. It deserves the utmost attention. Others will need time to fall in love with it. And just because they don’t right away is not a condemnation of you or your work.

People are busy. There are numerous distractions. Sometimes, it’s hard to be heard upon the noise. And believe me, there’s a lot of noise.

Remember Your Achievements

When things don’t go the way you’ve planned, take those moments to remember your achievements. You wrote a book! That’s a helluva achievement. Think about it. You set a goal, and you met it. You did it! That’s fantastic of itself. Don’t forget that.

And think about all that went into accomplishing that goal. It wasn’t just the writing, but it was the editing, the formatting, and the publishing. That’s a lot of work. But you stuck to it. You finished it.

Embracing Mindfulness

When doubt threatens to overwhelm you, pause. When negative self-talk invades your thoughts, pause. Live in the moment. At this moment, you are more than a writer; you are an author.

Too many times, our thoughts rush to the future or seek out the past. The best place for them is the here and now. Let yourself feel that rush again of accomplishment. The rest will fall in place. Enjoy the moment.


photo credit: Poor Charlie Brown! He’s lost his mind! via photopin (license)

Writing Tips from Lessons Learned

This entry is part of 3 in the series Lessons Learned

writing tipsIn this last post for the series, Lessons Learned, I wanted to give you some writing tips from going through the process of concept to publishing. It’s been a journey.

Writing Tips for Marketing

My book, 101 Things to Do on Lake Minnetonka, is unique for me in that I’m taking an active role in marketing it. I want the book to be a success. In many ways, it’s not unlike our experience with the Wisconsin Great River Road.

When my husband and I first saw it, we had to share it with everyone. It was too beautiful not to encourage people to visit this scenic byway. We felt the same about Lake Minnetonka.

So, here are a few writing tips I’ve learned:

  • Double, triple check all of your copy, your links, and anything going out to the public.
  • Make sure your Amazon copy is engaging. Sell your book to someone who needs to be convinced of its value.
  • You need to invest money to make money. Buy books to give out to create the buzz.
  • Get mini Moo cards guerilla marketing and just to hand out. Be sure to include an Amazon Associate referral link to capitalize on your profit. I can’t recommend these cards enough. They look fantastic!
  • Don’t be shy about engaging family and friends.

Staying the Course

It’s a tough venture to write a book. It’s your baby at this point. It’s hard not to feel a bit fragile after going through the process. Here are some writing tips to help you keep your sanity.

  • Keep a journal about the process. It’ll help you identify areas to fix next time around as well as help you remember what worked.
  • Be realistic. Your book is the center of your world, but word has to get out before it takes off. Be patient.
  • Spend the time marketing, but also start planning your next project. You’ve built some great momentum. Use it.
  • Always remember what you’ve accomplished. Think about it. You’ve taken an idea and made it come to life. Not many people can say the same thing. It’s a bucket list kind-of-thing. Be proud of yourself.

I hope these writing tips have helped. We are a unique group of people, us writers. Never forget that.

photo credit: because I was there. Yesterday at late night I went to a movie theater. The film was … via photopin (license)

Publishing with CreateSpace

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Lessons Learned

publishing epic bookPublishing with CreateSpace is an ideal solution for a new writer. And there are several reasons for this claim. For this second in this series, Lessons Learned, I’m going to discuss the advantages of using it.

Publishing on Amazon

Publishing on Amazon is where it’s at for quick online sales. The process with CreateSpace couldn’t be easier. For the new writer, there are templates for each formatted size. However, as I posted yesterday, I found Pressbooks a lot easier to use–even over Scrivner.

You can get a free ISBN number with CreateSpace. And that’s not a bad thing. Buying a block of ISBN numbers isn’t cheap. Last I looked, it runs $249 for 10.

With the cover generator, you can produce a decent cover. Tip: use Chrome not Firefox to create your title. For some reason, Firefox wouldn’t allow me to upload a cover image. Speaking of images, CreateSpace has a gallery of images to use. They’re fine, but the selection is limited.

Other Advantages

I can’t comment on Smashwords because I haven’t used it. I also published my title on Ingram Spark. However, because I had titles with Amazon already, I couldn’t make 101 Things to Do on Lake Minnetonka available on Amazon. That’s why I opted for CreateSpace and Ingram Spark.

CreateSpace has a lot going for it in the self-publishing biz. Copies are printed same day and shipped for a helluva lot less than Ingram Spark. The quality is excellent.

With CreateSpace, you can easily publish on Kindle too. From an author’s perspective, getting your book available online as quick as they do is a huge advantage. With CreateSpace, it’s a 24-hour turnaround. Nice.

Summary of the Process

For publishing on Amazon, I used CreateSpace and did not opt in for the Expanded Distribution. For publishing for retailers, I used Ingram Spark. It’s a name that retailer and booksellers trust. In a world where us indie authors are still trying to make a go of it, we have to play all of our cards.

Next time, let’s look at the editing process. Besides writing, editing is likely to take the biggest chunk of your time.

Happy Pub Day to Me!

101 MinnetonkaJune 28th marked an important day in this writer’s life. My latest book, 101 Things to Do on Lake Minnetonka, was released. After months of hard work and stress, the day have finally arrived. I can say that it is done.

For those of you not familiar with Lake Minnetonka, it is the ninth largest lake in Minnesota. Located west of the Twin Cities, the lake differs from others. You can describe it as a chain of lakes. Some have been naturally connected, but others among the 24 bays were later connected via channels.

That’s what makes it unique. If you are a boater, you can appreciate a place where there are, in essence, 24 different lakes. But it’s more than boating.

There are numerous stories surrounding the lake. I found the history absolutely fascinating. The book bridges the gap between the history and the land, like an interactive experience. Of all the books I’ve written, this one was a true labor of love.

Take a peak and see what you think. I’d be ever so grateful if you’d share the link.

Preview Link


After months of hard work, I am ecstatic to announce that my next book, All Plants Are Edible Once, is now available. This book details some of the folklore and historical uses for common wild plants. I delve into the stories about the plants, telling both the good, bad, and yes, politically incorrect tales surrounding them.

My Inspiration

The plants themselves are my inspiration. Throughout my career in conservation, I’ve studied wild plants. Telling their stories was an integral part of the nature tours I led with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and later the US Forest Service.

You look at thingsĀ  differently when you know the back story. Take creeping Charlie, for example. It is the bane of my husband’s existence. He loathes it because it has a stronghold in our lawn. The stories tell a different tale.

Did you know that it was used by the Saxons to clarify beer? That’s probably the reason it earned another of its common names, alehoof, of the ones that I dare write. And if that weren’t enough, there are the magical associations it has with fortunetelling and prophecy.

And it’s not just creeping Charlie. Other common plants like dandelion, hedge bindweed, and mullein have equally fascinating stories to tell. If anything, they inspire some interesting conversation about what people thought about back in the day. Like why would anyone call a plant devil’s plaything? There has to be a story there.

Lessons Learned

I learned several valuable lessons from writing this book. First, don’t give up on a project. Your time and effort will pay off. You will get it done.

Second, writing about things you love gets the job done. Sometimes, it’s all the motivation you need. Finally, write for yourself. I don’t know how this book will do. I expect there’s a narrow niche. But it doesn’t matter. I enjoyed the process, the stories, and the accomplishment. To me, that’s priceless.