Friday, October 24, 2014

Writer's Retreat: Unplugged and Focused

I'm back from a brief writer's retreat with no internet access, and very spotty cell service. I got quite a bit of work done, but even at that Emily's story is a struggle. She's a complicated young woman.

To do justice to her story--and heck, to get it written at all--I have to consistently attain the level of focus I had in August while working Small Town Christmas, the first book in this series. The retreat helped get me on track; I was surprised with how well the writing flowed. But now I'm home and faced with the things that pull my focus away from the story.

In August I was mostly glued to the chair, but if I want to stay healthy I have to make time for daily exercise. While the weather cooperates, that means a nice long walk.

I need to make time to get Small Town Christmas published on its own. Right now it's only available in the wonderful ebook boxed set, Sweet Christmas Kisses.

As soon as I've published Small Town Christmas (um, first time doing this myself) I'll send out a newsletter to everyone on my email list. The winner of last month's contest will be announced, and a new only-for-newsletter-subscribers thingie will be available. Guess who doesn't know what that is yet.

And  then there are people and relationships and preparing and consuming healthy meals, and keeping my apartment from looking like a paper mill blew up in it. All important to a well-rounded life.

As I've explained to Attila, no story = no royalties = no more treats for either of us. He doesn't want to hear about that, or about self-publishing or sending out newsletters, or exploding paper mills. I imagine he wishes he'd been adopted by a normal person instead of a writer.


P.S. I took the photo above on a walk last week. I love autumn!

P.P.S. If you're looking for something to read while I'm writing Emily's story, all my books are available here:

Amazon (U.S.)    ~  Amazon (U.K.)

   Apple  ~  Barnes & Noble  ~   Kobo  ~  Smashwords

Monday, October 13, 2014

How Should I Celebrate?

Golly. I hardly know what to do with myself now that our boxed set, Sweet Christmas Kisses, hit the USA Today Bestseller list. We landed at number 51, just short of being in the print edition (drat!). But I've downloaded the list and have it saved in my virtual OH-MY-GOODNESS-WHAT-A-RIDE folder.

We learned about it on Wednesday night, October 8. I didn't even know how to celebrate, except to share posts by some of the other 13 authors in the set who announced it on Facebook and Twitter. Now that the news is almost a week old, I'm still at a loss. Do I throw myself a party? Buy a cake (bad idea, as I would eat the cake).

I did take a permanent marker and write the news on some of my giant postcards, then hand-deliver them around town. Nobody turned me away, and everyone seemed happy for me. I guess in a way, I gave myself a traveling party, and the party favors were the postcards.

I used to be organized, and a bit of a planner. In the past several years, life wore me down, and I struggle with both of those things now. Boy, does that need to change!

I can't take much credit at all for this achievement. The only things I did were:

1. Recognize that the formation of Sweet Romance Reads in 2013 was a turning point in my career. Before SRR, I always felt a bit out of place because I didn't write spicy romance.

2. Taste the thrill of great sales when Love in a Small Town with Maddie James, Janet Eaves and Jan Scarbrough was an Amazon bestseller in late 2013 and early 2014. And be hungry for that thrill again.

3. Quit my day job in order to make writing my full-time career. This was a crazy move--or, as I like to refer to it, this was stepping out in faith.

4. Attend the Romance Writers of America national conference in San Antonio and become even more excited and encouraged by the great information sharing and camaraderie. I even got to participate in the Readers for Life booksigning, with copies of my own three-story anthology, The Sweeter Side of Legend: The McClains of Legend, Tennessee. Thanks to Turquoise Morning Press for making that happen!

5. Write my best book in years, taking less than a month from start to finish. Enlist beta readers, purchase a cover, hire an editor. (This part makes me sound organized, but I think it's an anomaly.)

Most of the credit for the USA Today list goes to the other authors in the set. They are amazing businesswomen, clearly outstanding in their organizational and planning skills.

The choices, the relationships, the work and the teamwork have resulted in the letters USAT appearing after my name. I consider it a doctorate of sorts, cooler by far than the degree on my college diploma. (I'd leave instructions to have "USA Today Bestselling Author" put on my tombstone, but I plan to be cremated. I wonder if I can have my college ring altered to include USAT...)

The romance writing world is a beautiful place. I'm so fortunate to be here!

And you know, the next time I hit a big list, I think I'll go ahead and get cake.

Magdalena Scott, USAT


You can find all my books at your favorite online bookseller:

Amazon (U.S.)    ~  Amazon (U.K.)

   Apple  ~  Barnes & Noble  ~   Kobo

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I Get by with a Little Help from my Friends

Or, you know, a LOT of help from my friends.

This is true in every day life, and in my writing life, too. Here is one example:

All of the other 13 authors in the Sweet Christmas Kisses boxed set are not just authors, but incredible businesswomen. I am in awe of their abilities, and so fortunate to have worked with them in the creation and promotion of our boxed set.

It's doing very, very well...but that didn't just magically happen. Even when you write a good book, people have to learn about it. These women know how to get the word out!

UPDATE: We made the USA Today Bestseller List!

If you haven't bought your copy yet, there's still time to get it at the 99 cent price from your favorite ebook retailer:

   iBooks  ~  Barnes & Noble Nook  ~   Kobo

The graphic above shows the covers of all of the books contained in the set. All the authors are different, and our books are all different. But readers' reviews indicate that the set works really well together. 

I think we have too, and I'm so grateful for it.

I have other author friends that I'll tell you about one day soon. For now though--

Happy reading!