The book that almost never was

TigerLily tease2

I’m about to tell you about the book that almost never was. Every year I write a book for National Novel Writing Month in November. This last year, however, I was stumped. I had just written Reclaim Your Creative Soul, and that book took a lot of energy out of me. I figured I would just skip it this year. But at the eleventh hour before the eleventh month, an idea came to me—why not just have fun with it this year? I know, a novel idea for a novel.

And so, I did. Having always been a fan of Peter Pan and Neverland, I began exploring the idea of writing about a character that only got a bit role in the original story: Tiger Lily. I began to develop who she was, where she came from, the values of her people, and her likes and dislikes. Just like Peter Pan is a coming of age story, Tiger Lily’s story was much the same. She became a princess held captive by rules she didn’t appreciate, and with hopes and desires that didn’t fit the mold of her people.

Throw in some pirates, a few Never beasts, the Lost Boys, and Peter Pan, and I suddenly had a story.

To up the ante, I not only wrote the story, I LIVE wrote it. Many of you followed along as I posted each chapter to Wattpad, allowing you to see the inside process of what it’s like for a novel to be written beginning to ending. While it was just a rough draft, I was pleased with how things worked out as I wrote. Many of you expressed interest as well, anxiously waiting for me to post the next chapter.

The story was never supposed to be published. It was just something to amuse myself and a few fans, and nothing more. However, the more I wrote, the more I realized that the story was taking on a life of its own. It was more than just an amusing tale, it was a story that needed to be told.

This story became Loving the Wind: The Story of Tiger Lily & Peter Pan, and it just published this morning!

For the next few days, I am keeping the Kindle version of this book at 99 cents so that there are no barriers for you to buy this book. This is my gift to you for sticking alongside me, cheering me on, and anticipating this very moment. Please don’t delay in buying this book now, as the price goes back up after the weekend.

Furthermore, I have a few contests on my Facebook page if you’d like a chance to win the print version of this book. Just look up #LTWgiveaways and you’ll find a bunch of contests that are going until Sunday.

Thank you for all your support, and happy reading!

Love,
Crissi

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In between projects

Today is kind of a quiet day. I find myself in between projects, which means I am unsure of what to do with myself. My coming book, The Road to Hope, is now in the hands of my editor for the next two weeks. This is both exciting (since it’s one of the final steps before getting the book into your hands) and also nerve-wracking (it’s one of the FINAL STEPS before getting the book into your hands!).

As an indie publisher, let me tell you that writing the book is the easy part. To me, the final process of putting the book together are the hardest – probably because they are the very parts that will capture your attention and get you to open the book. Specifically, it’s designing the cover, writing the blurb on the back, and creating a worthy description of the book for Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. There’s a lot of pressure involved, because these few items can make or break the success of the book.

There are several reasons why this matters so much for this book in particular. First, of course, is because I wrote it. That’s a given, and goes with every other book I’ve written as well. But for this book, it’s so much deeper than all that.

toddler solace

The Road to Hope is the first book I have ever written – or at least, the first book I ever wrote that I knew would be read by the public. I wrote it way back before I knew what I was doing, which allowed it to hold on to a unique rawness in the storyline. It was written before A Symphony of Cicadas and Forever Thirteen. But as much as I loved the story, I knew I wasn’t ready to mold it into a published novel. So I let it sit for a few years, untouched but not forgotten.

Now that I’m getting ready to publish it, I can’t convey enough how glad I am that I waited. I feel like I needed to get a few “practice” books on my plate before I could release The Road to Hope. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the books I have published so far. A Symphony of Cicadas and Forever Thirteen are two stories that came from my soul. But they also allowed me to get out all the kinks and learn a few lessons in storytelling and publishing before I could craft The Road to Hope into what it’s supposed to be.

In about a month, I’ll be releasing The Road to Hope, the story of two women on different journeys of grief, whose momentary connection changes both of their lives forever. I can’t wait to share this book with you, and it is my greatest hope that you will receive it with open arms.

If you’d like a preview, please check out my post here.

Brittle Leaves, a poem

The other day I showed a co-worker my new poetry book, Everything I Am Not Saying. She noticed I dedicated it to “Connor”, and wondered who that was. I told her he was my third child who died just a few months before he was supposed to be born. She and I connected over our shared experience of child loss, sharing a few tears over a time when our innocence was replaced by the brutal parts of life – the reality that sometimes children do die. She then read my poem, “Brittle Leaves”, the poem I wrote for Connor after he died.

Here is the poem in its entirety. You can find this poem, and about 80-something others here —-> http://amzn.to/16TZB3q

leaves2

Brittle Leaves

It is in the golden brown of brittle leaves
that I think of you most.
My breath,
suspended momentarily
in a cloud of warmth against the crisp air,
expanding from its small containment
and reaching to the earth and sky,
breathes for you.

You exist between each click of the second hand,
when time momentarily stops
and all that can be heard
is the deafening roar
in the silence of a stilled heart.
The mornings are darker, the days shorter,
the hours precious as time slips by….
I wonder if I had only loved you more
would you still be here today?
The dates set in stone
that I have traced my fingers over
again and again
are etched in my mind
much more complete
than the memory of your face
that has faded with time.
Yet I know you by heart.

It was in the golden brown of brittle leaves
where you said your goodbyes
in a moment only we shared,
when the world around us
disappeared for a time,
leaving us floating in suspended reality
where all I felt was you
fluttering faintly from my grasp.
Yet with each setting of the summer moon
and rising of the autumn sun,
when the leaves turn from green
to red
to a golden brown,
I smile at your spirit
that exists in the laughter of a child
and floats in the wind
with the remnants of trees.
Peace has melted together
the broken figments
of my injured heart,
revealing the beauty in leaves of golden brown,
gently holding them before letting them drift away,
watching them stay strong in the wind
while knowing they could shatter in an instant,
setting you free with a delicate prayer
of love for an autumn’s child.

SHHHH…. Super secret news for fans only.

Earlier this week I announced the upcoming arrival of ‘Golf Balls, Eight Year Olds & Double Paned WIndows,’ my blog eBook on stories about my life as a single mother. Guess what?

It’s published NOW!

The chapters are cleaned up versions of past blog entries over at winecountrymom.com, the blog I keep that tells stories of my family’s adventures – from single-parent to blended family household. This book begins that adventure, and will be part of a series of books that collect these stories. And all of the stories in this book are now hidden in the blog, so the only way you can read them is through this eBook.

But that’s not my super secret news. The bigger news is that I don’t want you to buy it today.

I know, I know. I’ve gone all loony or something. But I actually want you to buy it on MONDAY. Why? Because Monday, it will be FREE!

So why am I doing this? Because I love you. And because many of you have stood behind me from my very first blog post, cheering me on even when I totally revealed all the contents of my heart and every single triumph and mistake I’ve made along the way. As a thank you, I do not want you to have to pay for this book. I want to give it to you as a gift.

I know there are a few of you who will still take issue with this, unable to accept something I’ve poured my heart into for free. But there are plenty of ways you can reciprocate the love without actually having to pay for the book.

For example, I’ll accept the following:

– Coffee gift cards
– CHOCOLATE
– Cupcakes (thanks Anastasia!)
– Leather bound journals
– Beautiful gel ink pens
– A new Mac Air Pro computer with all the bells and whistles
– iTunes gift card
– A pony

Or, my very favorite way you can say thank you:

Leave a review on Amazon, and maybe even Goodreads, too.

Amazon: amzn.to/13imM4s
Goodreads: bit.ly/12QXewa

And if you really love it, you can also share the news with your friends.

Of course, if you’re hell bent on paying $2.99 for this eBook, you have until midnight Sunday night, or you can just wait until Tuesday.

But for the rest of you, DOWNLOAD ‘GOLF BALLS, EIGHT YEAR OLDS & DUAL PANED WINDOWS’ FOR FREE, MONDAY JULY 29.

And then let me know what you think!

xoxo

P.S. this post has changed to reflect a new date. Seems I am a dufus about using a calendar. The promotion was originally supposed to take place on Sunday, but is now taking place on Monday, July 29.

New eBook on single parenting!

While I’ve been plugging away at “Forever Thirteen,” the sequel to A Symphony of Cicadas, one of my side projects has been to gather the stories I’ve written in the past and put them together in eBook format. I’m proud to say that I have finished the first book, a collection of stories from 2009 that chronicle the time when the kids and I were first starting out on our own, and the beginning days of my relationship with “Mr. W”. The eBook is due to be published this Saturday (July 27), but because I love you, here’s the first peek at what the cover is going to look like:

Hey look!  It’s us from 2009!

It will be part of my Wine Country Mom series, starting with this book of the early days, all the way through to the tales of remarriage and blending a family. The stories are from my family blog, winecountrymom.com, with a few new stories thrown in.

And I hope you’ll join me for its big debut this Saturday!

The dilemma of indie eBook pricing

There are many things to consider when selling your eBook online. It should have a good cover that draws attention, and the description listed at the online store should be intriguing enough to make potential readers want more.

But just as important to all these things is the price.

I came across a forum discussion on Amazon that swears pricing your eBook for free, or even 99 cents, is author suicide. For example, one commenter wrote: “The biggest problem with indie writers is the practice of pricing your hard work at only .99 cents. The art of writing has always been a revered art and respected.flogging your work off at .99 does nothing but cheapen the art of writing.”

Problem is, it’s author suicide if you price your eBook too high, as well – especially if you’re an unknown author.

So what is the right price? It’s hard to say. The truth is, there is no perfect number. You have to experiment with pricing before you hit that magic price, if it even exists.

I’m constantly playing with the price of my eBook, A Symphony of Cicadas.  I’ve offered it for $2.99 – a price that gives me a full 70% return on the price.  This price has done me alright, and given me a decent number of downloads.  But when downloads start to slow, I’ll drop it to 99 cents to see how it does. Granted, that only gives my a 35% return. But it increases the amount of downloads and drives my book further up the ranks so that it will get noticed even more.  Once it starts picking up, I’ll increase the price again.  And so on.

I get what the above commenter is saying about devaluing your work when you price it low. But if you’re still an unknown author, it’s not going to do you any good if NO ONE is buying your book. While it might be enticing to price your book at a higher value (because let’s face it, it’s WORTH IT), it’s SMARTER to keep it low until you have a few more books under your belt and a wider fanbase.  Right now it’s about drawing in numbers, not $.

With patience and a lot of strategy, the $ will come, too.

xoxo

Crissi Langwell is the debut author of A Symphony of Cicadas.  Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

What has been your experience with eBook pricing? Share in the comments!

 

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