Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Welcome Dorothy Thompson to the Polebarn!!

Today we have a special guest in the Polebarn! Dorothy Thompson, the Soul Mate Queen, is here on a virtual blog tour for her latest book, “A Complete Guide to Promoting & Selling Your eBook”. Dorothy, Welcome!!

1. How long did “A Complete Guide to Promoting & Selling Your Self-Published e-Book” take for you to research and write?

Hi Laura, and thanks for having me! "A Complete Guide to Promoting & Selling Your Self-Published eBook" actually was a result of five years of research. The actual ebook was an accumulation of notes I had kept in folders--promotional outlets that I had used in the past or had heard about during the five years. It took maybe about six months to sift through it all, and explore new promotional venues. The Internet is a wonderful place for research; but, unfortunately, links become outdated, so it's ever-changing.

2. What did you learn while writing this e-book that you found surprising? What did you learn while writing this e-book that was frustrating?

The one thing I found surprising was the fact that the key to promoting eBooks was right under my nose. As I was exploring different venues to add to the eBook, it dawned on me that it took more than I thought to promote an eBook right, much less a self-published eBook. Just putting the cover up on your website and in a few online stores wasn't going to cut it. As I was putting it to the test with my writing group's free eBooks to see how well this system worked, it dawned on me that it was an accumulation of things such as making sure your selling page was search engine friendly and using key search words or phrases in every single piece of promotional literature I sent out.
The most frustrating thing? Gosh. I don't think there were any. It was a ball to put together. Every time I would find a neat new way to promote a self-published eBook, it was like I had hit a gold mine.

3. If there is one piece of advice you can give aspiring writers, what would that be?

To all aspiring writers, I would like to say that in order to reach whatever goal you have, you have to remember that you will not get there by being passive. You need to be driven. You can't say, "Oh, I've worked hard today; I don't have time to write." A true writer writes. Every single day. And if your goal is to be published, make it happen. Don't say, "I don't know how." Find out how. The Internet has made it possible for anyone to be published. Years ago, we didn't have the Internet. We didn't have all that research at our fingertips. Use this wonderful opportunity, and reach your goals.

4. Will there be a sequel to “A Complete Guide to Promoting & Selling Your Self-Published e-Book” or a revised edition in the near future?

LOL, you're reading my mind, Laura. There will be a revised edition in a year. Because it is filled with hundreds of links, the possibility of some of those links not working is almost a given thing. But, that's okay, because every single day I find another promotional outlet to make up for it. So, yes, you will see a revised edition around this time next year. ;o)

5. Did you find that the information you found was limited or that you had to cut it off someplace because there was too much out there?

Oh no, the information is there. You just have to know how to sift it all out. I stopped at the point where I just could not find another one. And, it's funny...just as soon as I stopped, I found more. So, that's the reason for the revised edition next year!
However, for anyone buying the eBook now, they will get the new revised edition absolutely free as soon as it comes out.
Also, Laura, I would like to mention that I am offering a free eBook cover to anyone buying this eBook between now and March 31, 2007. All you have to do is email me with your purchase order information and put "free eBook cover" in the subject line, or somewhere in the body of the email. Tell me the name of your eBook, your full name for the cover, and what your eBook is about to give me an idea of how to design your cover.
Thank you, Laura, for having me, and happy promoting to you and your readers!

Everyone feel free to leave comments and if you are interested in obtaining a copy of Dorothy's eBook, please click on the link below: http://www.dorothythompson.net

Dorothy will only be in here today to answer or respond to your comments. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

52,050 Words-A NaNoWriMo Victory!

On November 20, 2006, at 2:33 a.m., I realized my goal. I hit 52,050 words on my novel I was writing for the National Novel Writing Month competition. I still have to get it verified through their website, but I am still in shock that I actually made it!

I feel in some ways like I climbed Mount Everest or ran the New York City Marathon! In short, I'm pooped! My dear BF (boyfriend), asked me if I was all done staying up all night writing. I replied, "For a little while!"

I am so thankful for the love and support of my son, my BF, my parents and my sister and brother and all of my friends and my friends at the Writers Life known as the Writersville Gang. They kept me going and made me feel like a winner when I finally realized my goal, and it is fitting that this is also Thanksgiving week. I am so thankful to all of you.

Now, I'm going to get some sleep!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Welcome to the Polebarn, Dorothy Thompson, the Soulmate Queen!

Coming soon this blog will be having our first guest, Ms. Dorothy Thompson, author and relationship expert, here at the Polebarn! I am so excited to have her as my first guest!

I came to know Dorothy through my online writing group, The Writers Life. We call ourselves the Writersville Gang. Dorothy is on a virtual blog tour promoting her newest e-book, A Complete Guide to Promoting & Selling Your Self-Published eBook. Once I have a set date I will post it here, and I can hardly wait!

If you would like to know more about Dorothy, please visit her website at dorothythompson.net or thewriterslife.net. Feel free to visit her blog at overthehillchick.blogspot.com.

Thoughts on Voting and the Taxman

Tomorrow is Election Day. I am going to vote early in the morning so I can get it done and over with. I am so happy this campaign season is going to be over! The campaigns are not about the issues anymore, they are about how horrible the other guy or gal is, and all the stuff they did in the past that makes them a horrible choice for the office they are running for. I wonder who decides that dirty campaigning is a good idea and when to start running these ads that make me sick? How are you supposed to make an informed choice with all of the gossip and the mudslinging and the backstabbing? What are we, in fourth grade?? I do want the campaign managers out there to know that part of my decision on who to vote for has to do with who ran the most negative campaign as well as the issues they stand for and the party they represent. I can't say that I will vote down the party lines because I feel you should know who your candidates are and what they stand for, not just how they appear on TV. I hope everyone goes out and votes and if you don't vote, then you have no right to complain!!

Another issue that came up this week for me has to do with the Taxman. I was hit this week with a bill for about $800.00 for an overpayment by the State of Minnesota Department of Revenue for my 2003 Renter's Credit. Yes, you read that right, 2003!! I called them and asked the obvious question, if you overpaid me then, why on Earth are you asking for it back now three years later!! I got the stock answer which was an audit was done in June 2006, and there was an error and now I have to pay this back. Thanks a bunch, guys!! Like I can just materialize that out of thin air! I said I wanted to see a copy of the audit and the man on the other end of the phone sounded like that was going to be such a big hassle. I explained to him that before I send them a dime I want to know what the error was, to which he promptly informed/threatened me that I had to pay this before November 30th or make some payment arrangements with them or they would garnish my wages, put a lien on my property (I rent, remember? I don't own any property you numbskull!), or any number of tactics the government can apply to get blood out of a turnip.

I explained to him that I was not trying to get out of paying this bill, I just felt it was my right as a U.S. citizen and a citizen of the great state of Minnesota that I find out what the hell I owe this for before I start counting out the pennies in my piggy bank to send to him. He didn't laugh at that. I'm not surprised. In the meantime, I am working tirelessly on getting my little home based writing business off the ground so I can be free of this. Anyone need a to hire a writer??

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Eesha Baby Girl

It's been almost 2 months, and I still catch myself looking at the spot between the refrigerator and the kitchen table to see if she has food or water. Or, I will move the computer chair in front of the garbage can so she won't be tempted to get into it and make a mess. Old habits are hard to break when your heart is already broken. I sometimes don't even realize I do these things, but when a dog as special as she was is in your life for 12 years, well, it's just hard.

I have had a hard time coming to grips with what happened in the days leading up to August 31, 2006. It started with my BF telling me that Eesha was thin, and that her ribs were showing. She was already showing signs of aging in her hips. She had problems getting up off the linoleum floor and we had rugs all over so she wouldn't slip, fall and hurt herself. But thin? Eesha was lab/husky/German Shepard mix. Large black dog, white spot on her chest and thick husky fur that if you caught her in the right light you could see the "saddle bag" so distinct in shepards, just an outline of it. She had been overweight (much like her family), and I had changed her food and tried to make sure she didn't overeat. Each visit to the vet brought news of "more exercise, only feed her once a day..." I realized that I had to bring her in, it could be worms, because she was eating and drinking regularly. I didn't think there was a problem, or if there was, it was fixable.

In to the vet we went on a Monday. They did an exam, drew some blood, gave her treats and we both waited in the exam room while they did the tests. I remember there was a cat growling somewhere in that office and he/she didn't sound happy! We waited, I petted her to keep her calm. Then the vet came in with a look on her face and I just knew before she spoke. "The results show she is anemic, and the blood cells are attacking each other. It's probably leukemia..." I think all the blood ran out of my face and I felt sick. "Are you ok?" she asked concerned.

"What...What can you do?" I tried to say, but it came out shaky and in a whisper.

"We can do more tests to be sure, but she may only last two weeks...a month at most. She will be in a lot of pain.." and her voice faded off. I knew this was the day I had been dreading since Dad and I picked her out at the Humane Society.

I had other dogs in my life, but they either were hit by cars, ran off or died of natural causes. I loved her and I didn't want to let her go, but I knew that I couldn't put her through all of that suffering. She would have hung on forever for me, if she could have, I know she loved me that much. But I loved her enough to stop the pain. So, I brought her home, and I let everyone say goodbye. She ate all the things she wanted to eat and then my sister Kelley and I went to the vet that morning of August 31, 2006. I can honestly say, it was quick. I felt her spirit leave and when I looked into her eyes I saw a look of thanks, not betrayal or confusion or fear. In a small way that was comforting. She is now buried under the willow tree, where she played as a puppy.

I have had people say that I should get another dog, that it will help me "get over" her death. I'm just not ready, and I'm not sure I ever will be ready. All I know is there will never be another dog like her and I miss her terribly.

The future's so bright...!

I haven't been getting much sleep lately, but I feel that sleep is sometimes overrated. I have been too busy trying to find a way to kick my writing career into high gear that sleep has gone by the wayside.

I still have a job that pays the bills, but I feel like it's sucking the creative essence out of me and I need to get going on writing as a profession instead of a hobby if I am truly going to live my dream. Also, I feel the writing is on the wall, so to speak and I am expendable there. It's also no fun anymore! I need challenges, variety, and a schedule where I can see my family more than just the 2-day weekend catch-up! More money wouldn't be bad either!

So, I have been doing a lot of homework, reading up on my options and the one option that seems to make sense is for me to go into the copywriting business. I started taking a course through American Artists and Writers Institute (AWAI) a year ago, but I stopped because life was getting in the way of me completing it. Last year we had 2 weddings in the family, my sister Kelley's in June and my brother Andy's in October. Plus, I was working weekends and then dayshift, then back to weekends, then to second shift, then...well, you get the picture. I also hadn't considered that it would actually be something I could do, until I learned about Beth Ann Erickson.

Who is Beth Ann Erickson? She is a writer who lives in Kandiyohi, Minnesota, which is basically just down the road from me. She is a copywriter and she OWNS HER OWN PUBLISHING COMPANY!! Yes, she owns and operates Filbert Publishing. She writes books geared to help writers in the business or wanting to start in the business, and as she puts it, the copywriting and the publishing help pay for her fiction addiction. She is able to make a living in a small town in Minnesota as a writer AND write what she wants and gets it published too!! I have read/devoured both of her books on writing and a huge light bulb went on over my head!! Where was she in 1987 when I graduated from high school and I really didn't know what I wanted to do when I grew up? Ok, I secretly wanted to become a writer, a successful writer, live in New York, marry John Taylor of DuranDuran, live happily ever after...sigh. I guess it's true, "Life happens while your making other plans".

My homework also revealed a gentleman by the name of Peter Bowerman who has written a couple of successful books on copywriting and the business entitled "The Well-Fed Writer" and "Back for Seconds". I finished TWFW and I am almost done with Back for Seconds. I am eagerly anticipating is new book entitled, "The Well-Fed Publisher" which is to be released soon. These books have opened my eyes to the fact that writers are needed everywhere, and they should be paid well for their skills and that this is a career that anyone can do anywhere. Possibilities, possibilities.

But this has become more than just a possibility for me. This WILL BE a reality! I am already making plans to begin this business venture and I also plan to document my rise to success and write a book about it. I want the world to know that it is possible to make your dreams come true if you do your homework, work towards that goal and let nothing stop you! I am in a perfect position to be a case study for both Beth Ann Erickson and Peter Bowerman and the AWAI school. I want to be their poster child. I will be the one wearing the sunglasses because the future's so bright...I gotta wear shades!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My first assignment!!

I just received an email from my editor, Steve, at Zimmerman Today, and he gave me my first paid writing assignment! I am so excited, and nervous and I hope I don't screw it up!
This has been quite the month so far. I am hoping to get more assignments, but this will be my first time earning money as a writer! I would love to be able to do this full time and quite my night job, but my budget won't allow that just yet. I am optimistic that this is just one baby step in the right direction. Man, this is the best!!
For all of you out there that think that it is impossible to live your dream, just take one step towards that dream, or just jump right in! Life is too short, and death is too long, so do what you can to make your dream a reality. Everything else just falls into place!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Hot enough for you?

Has this week been hot enough for you? It was for me! I have never been so happy to see rain clouds in all of my life. I think I finally cooled my brain down to the point I could finally think straight and come back to post here! Whew!

A lot has happened this week and I am gearing up that this week will be just as busy. I am hoping to post here at least once a week and add some links to my template from some of my other friends. In the meantime, stay cool!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Greetings from the Polebarn! Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my Polebarn!

What is a polebarn you ask? It is a metal garage used for storing equipment, cars, just about anything. I, however, live in an two bedroom apartment built inside of one in a small town called Zimmerman in Minnesota.

I reside here with my son, Alex; my boyfriend, Quint; and my dog, Eesha. It is sometimes cramped, but it is home for now and unique.

I am a freelance writer and I have wanted to set up a blog for a long time, but I just didn't have the need or the courage to actually do it. Now, I have both.

I welcome you all here and your feedback, so just sit back and relax and hopefully you will be entertained or educated or both.

Laura M. Crawford