Battle royale

It’s been a while since I’ve had a legitimate bipolar breakdown, so I guess yesterday’s little panic attack was overdue. Still, it would be nice not to have to go through that at all.

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Yeah….

So the marketing process for Abnormal combined with the marketing workshop that my publisher is running on Facebook combined with general anxiety about the projected success or failure of said book all are working together to create that perfect environment for a bipolar freak-out. Last night was the first of what I hope is a minimal number of said freak-outs.

It all started with the sudden realization that the workshop assignments were leading up to us authors identifying and contacting our top genre influencers about our works.

Wait…I have to find out who the top sci-fi/dystopian/LGBTQ bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, journalists, etc, are, then I have to write out emails asking them to read and review my book or do an interview with me, then I have to send out those same emails? Like, actually send them? To people who have thousands and thousands of followers, who probably already lead busy lives and already get gobs of junk emails with the same type of requests? But–but–but…what if I’m bothering them?

Ah, yeah, there’s that irrationality. There’s the anxiety rearing its ugly head.

Fuck you, anxiety. You ruined my evening yesterday.

Fighting with this type of anxiety is a tough one. I can always go to friends or family or to my husband or my publishers with my unfounded concerns, but I can’t always take their logical, rational advice and apply it to the very much illogical and irrational fear I’m experiencing. The irrational fear eats logic for breakfast, chews it up, and spits it out in a sloppy wet wad on the carpet. I always end up stepping square in that wad. I hate stepping on anything wet, literally or metaphorically.

Why is it so horrifying to have to send out some nice, polite emails requesting consideration for myself and my book? I don’t know. Again, it’s an irrational fear. And no, it’s not the fear of them ignoring my emails or sending rejections–it’s the fear of being a bother. A nuisance. An annoyance.

It was difficult to send email requests to some of my favorite authors asking if they’d be interested in having an Advanced Reader Copy of Abnormal to peruse and maybe write a blurb on. I was terrified of annoying them. Of being viewed as spam–even if it was potentially some random assistant who was handling that day’s particular emails. That is what had me paralyzed yesterday. It’s still got me shaken up a bit, but so far this morning no fountains of tears. So that’s progress, right?

Another stressor to add onto these imaginary stressors is the feeling that I have to get all my marketing done before the September 1 release date–which is now ten days away. Ten. Short. Days. My publisher assures me that’s not the case, that I have the entirety of the series to build upon and market to my fanbase, but the timing of the marketing workshop is not helping. Don’t get me wrong–I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to have such a workshop. It’s just giving me a minor heart attack thinking about all the assignments that are being given with “just ten days” in which to complete the assignments.

Ten days…I’m almost in the single digits.

I had my freak-out. I talked with close friends, with my publisher, with my husband. I whined and moaned and misunderstood the assignments and cried and sobbed and overreacted. I did all the things except stay calm and look at it from a logical standpoint. Logically, the bloggers and vloggers and podcasters and journalists are there to build on their own fanbase, and they (theoretically) welcome the opportunity to read and review something that their fanbase might enjoy. Illogically, they’re going to view me as an overeager spammer nobody who needs to leave them alone.

I’m going to get past this. I’m going to finish this post, search for my genre’s “influencers,” and get started on a template to share in the workshop to eventually turn into emails to said influencers.

It may not be within the next ten days. But I have a whole series to get this done in.

Still, better now than never.

Off I go.

Kicking and screaming, but off I go.

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Revealing

Five days. Just five little days to the cover reveal for Abnormal. Five days til the preorder link goes live. Nineteen days to the book release.

Not that I’m counting down or anything.

The excitement is getting to me just a little bit. A lot. I can’t have a cover reveal party because I didn’t find out the date for the reveal until after I’d made plans for that day, but I’m hoping my husband will let me have a few friends over on the day the book releases. A few friends and some alcohol. And books. They’d better have books. Lol

Ooh, I need pens! Lots of different colors! Or Sharpies. I’ve seen authors use big, bold Sharpies to sign books. Back to school sales are still going on, right? Maybe I’ll find a sweet deal Friday. Because autographs are a thing.

I’ve nudged the local bookstore to see if they have a date when they’d want me there for an event/signing. I need to step up my game though. There’s radio stations, newspapers, TV stations, libraries–I have to get all the things done, and I’m running out of time. Man, it really snuck up on me. Five days, dude. Less than a week until the world sees what Abnormal will look like. Less than a week until they can place orders for Abnormal. Wow.

My mind is continually being blown here. It’s a whirlwind of dates and things. I’ve got X due for the SCA on this day, Y to do for Abnormal on the next, then work and work and work and Z for Abnormal and…. Well, you get the drift.

So. Bloody. Exciting. And Book 2 is still well underway, so we’ll see what I can come up with for that. I’m looking over it again after some “time off” from it to get a fresh look. Seems like solid writing, but I know I need to add more to it. The word count isn’t quite up to par yet, so I have some work to do there as well. I need to tweak and fidget and adjust until it’s ready for submission.

Shit. I have to do an outline. And a query letter. And a synopsis. And…and…and…Oh, hell. I forgot about that part of the process. Well, better get to it.

Ever the student

i have no idea what im doing

Well, it’s getting to Documentation Time for my Arts and Sciences projects, so of course I start with the hardest one: the research paper. I haven’t done a research paper since the last time I was in college–so twelve years. Twelve years rusty. Why did I choose to do a research paper again?

Oh yeah…I had a brilliant idea.

No, I won’t go into it here. I only have two very rough draft paragraphs done, and it’s going to take this whole week to get it done and up to snuff…and to document the arts project. That one should be easier, but first thing’s first.

A lot of people have told me that they do the research first, then the thing. I ended up going backwards on my arts project. I did the embroidery using stitches that I knew to be used in period times; now I have to prove that they were used. D’oh!

With the competition a week away, I have to put Book 2 on hold. I guess that’s a good thing, though, because I’m kinda stuck a bit. Not stuck-stuck, but stuck enough. I’m at that point I usually get to in my writing where I’ve reached the near-end before enough has happened. I have to add more action, more description, and/or more dialogue. I think I’ve dialouged things out, so it’s going to have to be the former two.

I started my research on local media outlets, bookstores, and libraries for Abnormal‘s release, too. There are a lot of libraries in Tucson. I haven’t finished there yet, and I still have Phoenix left to go. I plan on taking one of my half days/partial days at work to start making calls to set up potential appearances/book signings/etc. I want to have the marketing materials in hand though, so I will have to just research until then. Maybe by then I can narrow down where I want to go to plug my book.

The web media sites I haven’t really gotten into yet. I need to, but it’s a bit hard to weed out the clickbait sites and find the real entertainment/book websites. I also have to avoid the “pay to be put on X lists” sites. I want none of those shenanigans.

Proofreading is done, the publisher loves the ending, and things are moving along. I just need to finish my Arts and Sciences writing, finish the second first draft of Book 2, finish a bunch of illumination/scrolls that I said I’d do, and oh, yeah, the arts exchange project and…..I’m probably forgetting something in there. Work! Yeah. I have to work. Damn day job.

I guess that’s enough rambling for now.

 

Media frenzy

The time has come to research media outlets near me to receive the press kits for Abnormal. 😀

Okay, so the time was probably long ago–the point is, I’m getting ready to do it now, before I head back to work after my vacation. I’ve got a browser window open to locate the various Arizona media outlets I may want to contact and a blank Word document open to receive those outlets’ contact information.

Except…I don’t really know where to start.

Okay, so I did have a starting point yesterday when I first did a search, but that starting point was a costly one. Sure, I could’ve had the contact info for whichever media outlet in Arizona I chose–or all of them–for a cost, that is. The site I found was not a free resource. Back to the drawing board, I guess.

I know I want to promote in my local town, as well as the larger areas like Tucson and Phoenix (especially Tucson, seeing as how I’ll be attending one of their conventions in the fall), but beyond that I’m clueless. How far am I willing to travel to promote? Would I even need to travel? And what about online outlets like Talk Nerdy With Us, Starry Constellation Mag, and others? They would be great resources for reaching my audience, too. I already know one of my old friends at Talk Nerdy who would like to do a read for review, and possibly someone at Starry Constellation. I have to go through the proper channels, though; I can’t just say “Hey, remember me? I wrote for you a time or two–how about you give this here book to one of your reviewers and have them type up a little something-something for me?” Yeah, that’s not very professional. Not gonna fly, much as I would like to pull a string here or there.

It’s kind of exciting to think about potentially being on the receiving end of a review or interview. I had a review done of Whispers of Death the day I self published it, but that was definitely a string-pulling event. “Hey, guys, I wrote and published a thing–somebody go read and review it!” Exciting though it may be, I tend to also get nervous when I think about phone or radio interviews. I tend to stammer and stutter, and my voice is weird in recordings. All high-pitched and girly, not at all how I hear it when it comes out of my mouth. Is that what I really sound like? And that machine-gun nervous laugh I have? Geez.

It’s gotta be done, though. I have to grin and bear it and not worry so much about how I sound. Worry about promoting the book, about getting word out there, about getting Abnormal to those who would enjoy the story.

Time flies

Where does the time go?

So Facebook has this somewhat-entertaining feature called “On This Day” where it shows you the posts you’ve made on that particular date for the past however-many-years-you’ve-been-on-Facebook. Sometimes it reminds you of stuff that sucks, but for the most part (if you’re not a Negative Nelly) it shows you the highlights of the past. It can even be a little cool to see what type of person you used to be–though I shudder at the horrendous spelling and grammar errors I made when I first started Facebook; I guess I thought textspeak was OK at the time.

Though I’ve seen the shared tweets and articles, it only just hit me today that I’ve been with Talk Nerdy With Us for over two years! It might not sound like much, but it feels good that I can say I’ve worked as a “freelance entertainment journalist” for that long. When I started writing for Talk Nerdy With Us I had never imagined having that kind of work, paid or no, and despite the free nature of the freelance work–and the fact that I don’t have much time to write anymore–I still enjoy it. I’ve stayed on as an editor even though that writing time is scarce, so I can still contribute to the site’s work. Come to think of it, I really need to dream up more article ideas…. I’ve also written an article for another entertainment website, Starry Constellation Magazine … though again, I haven’t had the time or energy (or creativity) to think up more article ideas.

It’s crazy how life turns out sometimes. Even though I’ve been writing for Talk Nerdy With Us for this long and have had tons of Twitter followers that likely followed me for that specific reason, it’s still almost surreal. I mean, wow. Just wow. I don’t think words can relay to my “bosses” how much I appreciate the opportunity they’ve given me over the past two years. It still blows me away some days.

I hope I can continue to do this work and dream up more articles and do more reviews (and the occasional interview–when I’m not working). This experience really allows me to tap into both my creative and my supremely nerdy sides.

Tested

Okay, so we did a quick test of the materials used for the tunics, and it looks like I need to add another layer of fabric at least (with a T-shirt underneath they’d be okay, but I’d feel more comfortable with another layer altogether). So yesterday we bought more fabric, and tomorrow morning I hope to have at least one tunic completed. Maybe both by tomorrow evening, if I push myself.

My problem is I get distracted by things like food and TV. My husband and I relax in the evenings with our dinner and watching our recorded shows. Sometimes we get backed up on shows and have a lot to watch, so we tend to spend almost every evening watching TV. Much as I love TV and movies, it’s killing me as far as cosplay and SCA sewing goes. I need to just let my husband watch the shows without me so I can focus on the work I need to do before Barmaids and Phoenix Comicon.

Somewhere in there I also need to practice with my loaner rapier to get the hang of holding it up for long periods of time and moving it around. My goal is to not have my arms shaking for hours afterwards every time I practice. That’s a tad embarrassing. I want to up my endurance so I can practice more than just 45 minutes to an hour at a time. Weekly practices are two hours long, and ideally I’d like to up my stamina so I can practice for at least an hour and a half (with short breaks for water and rest, of course).

I guess if I want to get this stuff done I should be heading to the craft room and getting back to sewing. Motivation is just so hard to find sometimes.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Man, I had both a terrible night’s sleep last night and I slept like a rock.

It took me a long time to get to sleep in the first place (too tired to take my night meds, too wired to nod off), then I woke up at every little sound until my husband went to bed. I don’t think I was tossing and turning much, though, because I woke up with my back muscles all knotted up…possibly because I didn’t take my nightly muscle relaxer.

Another possibility: I was moving around so much in my damn dreams that my body is worn out. I had dreams of walking cross-country, taking a long trek for some reason or another–a quest-worthy reason–that involved old friends, Stephen Amell, and assassins. And humanoid aliens. My long walk apparently took me into space as well.

Stephen Amell was pretty nice. He tried to protect me from the assassins, which I thought considerate given that he doesn’t know me. Old friends were mostly waypoints on my journey, places more than people but people all the same. I walked to Alabama. I walked to Ohio. I walked to places I’ve never been before.

The aliens had some pretty opulent jewelry, which was sold in malls. Space malls. That I walked to. And shopped in. With Wolverine. Well, Old Man Logan. He was my dad, I guess. In the dream that is.

Aside from the aliens, the analytical part of me can pinpoint all the events of yesterday that could lead to these dream elements. I’ve been eager to be rid of this fracture boot–hence the walking. I watched Flashwhich crosses over with Arrow quite frequently, hence Stephen Amell. I talked with my husband about the various people who we’ll have over to visit when our house is built. And I talked with my sister about seeing Logan in the theaters.

So there are the pieces of the strange puzzle of my subconscious mind, haphazard and random. None of the “major” parts of the previous day played a part; no cosplay, no immediate family, none of that. Funny how dreams work.