Lauralynn Elliott

Fundrazr for Lauralynn Elliott Now With INCENTIVES

NOTE: This is a sticky post.  If it is past May 10th, please scroll down for the newest content.

Okay, so I’ve been woefully slow getting this out here.  Part of it has been personal scheduling, part of it was the close occurrence of other, more well publicized disasters.  Thankfully Susan Bischoff helped me out by creating the entry form.  THANK YOU SUSAN.

So, here’s how this is going to work.  A whole bunch of paperbacks and ebooks have been donated by various and sundry authors and have been assembled into prize packs.  Everyone who donates will be entered into a drawing to win one of the prize packs.  For simplicity’s sake, you have just as much chance of winning for donating $1 as you to for donating $100 (trying to figure out how to do it in some weighted fashion was one of the other things that held me up).   When you click through to the form, you will see that we ask for your paypal email address that you used to make the donation.  This is so we can confirm that you donated and also in order to notify you that you have won.  I know a great many of us write under pen names and therefore donated anonymously (since our Paypal accounts are under our real names).  This gets around that without breaking your privacy (certainly *I* won’t be sharing your real name or paypal address with anybody).  Only Lauralynn and myself will have access to those names (due to our access to the Fundrazr itself).

So, without further ado, the prize packs are as follows:

So hie thee to the Fundrazr to DONATE if you have not already.   And then go FILL OUT THE INCENTIVE FORM to select which price pack you’d like to be entered for.  We have raised a whopping $1766 so far.  I really want to see this top $2500, y’all!  SPREAD THE WORD!

Sunday #ROW80 Check-In

A week after we’ve launched and here’s the Fundrazr campaign update!  We’ve topped a whopping $1200 so far, which is fantastic, particularly considering all the much bigger happenings that have been taking over news and social media channels this week.  But here’s the shocker.  That $1200+ is from only TWENTY SIX PEOPLE.  26 y’all.  Remember what I said on Monday?  There are over 6,000 of you on this mailing list?  I’m just sayin’.  Now a whole bunch of you have gone out and bought Lauralynn’s books, which is fantastic.  Even more of you have tweeted about them, just as I asked, so thank you thank you.  Mr. Lauralynn is home from the hospital (WOO HOO!).  But he’ll still be out of work for at least a couple of months as he recovers so DON’T FORGET ABOUT US HERE.  I haven’t done as much as I intend yet because of the high profile tragedies this week, but more is coming.  There will be incentives and prize packs up for grabs for all those who donate.  The lowest possible donation is $1.  Just a $1 and you could get a shot at FREE BOOKS!   I swear I’m going to get that organized this week.  So that’s the update there.  Keep your eyeballs peeled.

In OTHER NEWS I hope you have all been making TIME for your WORDS (or pages, if you’re into editing right now).  Let us know in check ins.

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Midweek Check-In and a Fundrazr Update

UPDATE: The linky is now fixed (as are all the remaining Wednesday linkies that got cloned from the first screwed up one).

We all made it through tax day.  Joy.  It’s back to work.

In other news, if you were under a rock or out of town on Monday, we are running a Fundrazr campaign for our own Lauralynn Elliott.  Her hubby is in the hospital, meaning they’re both unable to work just now.  YOU CAN HELP.  I would insert the happy little progress bar, but of course it’s in javascript which doesn’t play nice with WordPress.com blogs…   Anyway, CHECK OUT the campaign and share about it.  Donate a $1.  Everybody can afford that.   Just skip that Jr. cheeseburger on the Wendy’s value menu this week…

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#ROW80 Writers Mobilize! Time To Help One Of Our Own!

I’m interrupting our regularly scheduled inspirational post (Elizabeth Mitchell’s words of wisdom have been rescheduled for May the 20th) because I need something from you.  The last time I did this was because my book Red got nominated for the DABWAHA Award in 2012 and I mobilized you all into a fun, heady campaign that got me past the first Round against Kendare Blake.  That was awesome.  And it showed me the power of this platform.

Now I’ve got something much more serious to talk about.  A way more important reason to mobilize.

If you have spent ANY time hanging out at #ROW80 then you’ve heard of Lauralynn Elliott.  She has been a sponsor just about every single round.  She’s one of the biggest #ROW80 cheerleaders and is absolutely fabulous about commenting and checking in on people.  And y’all, she needs our help.

Last week her husband was put in the hospital.  He’s got a massive blood clot in his lungs and another in his leg.  This is a hella dangerous condition to be in.  Lauralynn lost her best friend to the same thing a couple years ago.  In this case, it was caught, and he’s on blood thinners, but it takes time for these things to resolve.   Up to two weeks, according to the doctors.  And then there’s the recovery time after.  So Mr. Lauralynn can’t work right now and neither can Lauralynn herself.  And no work means no income.  In these difficult financial times, we all know that’s a really tough spot to be in.

But we can help!

I have a number of schemes in mind, so this will be developing over the course of the week.  Keep your eyes peeled.  Here’s what you can do (pick one or all–your choice!)

  1. First and foremost, if you are interested and able, go buy one (or more) of Lauralynn’s books.  That’s direct support of her as an author and will additionally help with her rankings on various and sundry sales platforms, which will increase her visibility.  They are available across all major ebook platforms, and several are available in paperback.
  2. Tell your friends.  If you aren’t able to purchase (and even if you are), take the time to tell your friends about her books.  Post a tweet or a FB status update.  Use those social media platforms to get the word out.  If you’ve got a friend who likes ghost stories, tell them about See Me.  Know a reader who love vamps?  Well Guardian Vampire is just for them.  This costs you nothing but a little bit of time and could make a big difference in her visibility.
  3. If you are a published author and you have an ebook or paperback you can donate to the cause, email me at kaitnolanwriter (at) gmail (dot) com.  I’m working on putting together some prize packs for another scheme.  More details to come when I know what I’m working with.
  4. There is a Fundrazr campaign for direct donations.  People, there are over 6,000 of you on the #ROW80 mailing list.  If everybody donated just $1, ONE, we could help out tremendously with two months of living expenses.  This bad boy comes equipped with every social media button imaginable so GO make your donation, whatever you can afford, and tweet, Facebook, Pin, Google+, email, whatever everybody to GET THE WORD OUT.
  5. And above all, drop by Lauralynn’s blog and let her know that we’re thinking about her and she and her hubby are in our prayers and thoughts.  

Why Haven’t You Finished Your Manuscript? by Lauralynn Elliott

Now before you come after me with pitchforks, I need to clarify what I mean. I know the title might have sounded almost like an accusation, but bear with me.

There are many legitimate reasons you might not have finished yet. One is that it may simply take that long to write and edit your book. There’s nothing wrong with that. Different books take different amounts of time to get ready. There’s also the fact that some people simply don’t have time to work on their books as much as they would like. But what if that reason is fear? I’ve listed two reasons (I’m sure there are many more) writers might fear “the end”, and what my answers are to those reasons. I’m certainly not the “know all” when it comes to fear, and others might have very different answers, so these are just my opinions. So here goes:

  1. 1.      Fear of not being good enough. I’ve seen this a lot. Many writers fear they aren’t good enough, or that the book they just wrote isn’t good enough. So they edit and tweak, adding here, taking away there. It’s good to edit and make the book the best you can possibly make it. But some just can’t leave it alone. I can tell you this…it will NEVER be good enough for some people. No matter how good your book is SOME people won’t like it. And it may never be good enough for you. No matter how long you fiddle with it, you may never be satisfied. After almost every book I’ve published, I’ve always thought of ways I could make it better. But, you know, at some point, you’re going to have to decide it’s done. Otherwise, you will never publish it. Let some beta readers look at it. Chances are, if your beta readers love it, others will, too. So take the chance. If you’re just fiddling with the book because you’re afraid, then stop doing that and call it “done”. The world will not come to an end.
  2. 2.      Fear of not selling/making money. This is a legitimate concern, but shouldn’t necessarily be a fear. Trust me, I know about this one first hand. In January and February of 2011, I made more money from one .99 book than I did at my day job. But I kept things realistic, knowing that every book I wrote wouldn’t take off like that. I had one other book that did very well, although not as well as the one that sold so many copies. None of my other books have sold anywhere near the copies the big seller did, even though they are better books. Right now, my sales numbers are terrible, and I’ve heard the same thing from other authors. There is a LOT of competition now. I know many of you want to do this as a career at some point, and I know it’s scary to think it may not happen. However…if you never publish your book, whether independently or traditionally, you most certainly WON’T make any money. An unpublished book can’t sell even one copy. So what do you have to lose? Publish the book.

I hope I haven’t been too harsh or forward in this post. But I really want to see all of you face that fear, conquer it, and get that book out there.  I want you to feel that sense of accomplishment and excitement that comes from knowing it’s out there. There are several of us at ROW80 that have published already, and we’re always here to give you encouragement and help however we can. This is a great community of writers, and I’m so glad I can be a part of it.

~*~

Lauralynn Elliott

The Importance of Community by Lauralynn Elliott

One of the things I’ve found out about writers is that most are introverts. I’m sure that’s no big surprise to you, right? I’ve always been an extrovert on the outside, comfortable around other people, but sometimes it becomes sensory overload. It wasn’t until I took some kind of test (I think it’s called Myers-Briggs) that I realized I really was, basically an introvert. I can be around people for a while, but soon I’m ready to get away. I much prefer small groups of close friends to a party where I know few people. I do okay with those parties, but not for an extended time.

There has to be a point to all of this, you’re thinking. Yes, I’m getting there, I promise. My point is that if we’re mostly introverts, what do we do when we actually need someone? Are we comfortable asking for help, or do we just try to go it alone? Obviously, since you are all part of this wonderful challenge called ROW80, you feel the need for something other than sitting in your own corner and shutting out the world. But do you use all the resources ROW80 has to offer?

When Kait Nolan started this challenge, she did it because she felt there was a need for a challenge that took in consideration the fact that life outside of writing does exist. She wanted to offer a challenge that didn’t make you lose sleep or forget to eat because you HAD to make that word count. She wanted to offer a challenge that was much less stressful than some of the other ones around the web. Kait has accomplished what she set out to do, and we’re all so grateful for that. But as much as ROW80 has to offer, are we letting this challenge help us in all the ways it can? As introverts, sometimes we keep to ourselves and don’t open up to all possibilities.

So, what can ROW80 offer us? Here are a few things I’ve thought about.

  1. Experience. Some of the authors have been writing and publishing for years. If you have a question about an aspect of publishing, are you afraid to ask for help? Do you feel like you’re “bothering” someone? Or do you take advantage of the experience of others? I don’t mean you never try to learn on your own. You shouldn’t expect others to tell you everything, and constantly hold your hand. But when you’re not sure of something or stuck on something, don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’ve been self-publishing for about 4 ½ years, and I’m also glad to help anyone who needs it.
  1. Encouragement. There are a lot of writers in this ROW80 group who are natural cheerleaders. You can tell these people, usually, by the comments they make. When you’re feeling discouraged do you feel comfortable asking these people for help? Or do you curl up in a ball and feel sorry for yourself? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. That doesn’t mean you depend on them for your happiness because we all need to learn to stand on our own. But sometimes we just need a kind word or a pat on the back.
  1. Discipline. Maybe that word seems a little harsh, but I didn’t know what other word to use. Sometimes, instead of a “good job” we need a “stop whining and get your butt in gear”. There comes a point where we need a kick in the butt. We don’t need someone to say “Oh, that’s ok, I know you’re doing the best you can”, but we need “Do you want to be a writer or not? Get to it!” Do you feel comfortable telling someone you need to be accountable and you need them to help you do it? There are some people in ROW80 that aren’t afraid to tell you that you need to sit in that chair and WRITE. If that’s what you need, seek out those people, but don’t be upset if they kick your butt. That’s what you wanted needed, right?

So are we ready to fully utilize ROW80? Are we ready to be a community of writers who help each other in any way that’s needed? Are you willing to give as well as take? Then let’s all get started being a true community. And let’s get some writing done!

~*~

Lauralynn Elliott

Is Writing a Real Job? by Lauralynn Elliott

This post is geared, not necessarily toward your progress in ROW80, but more toward what happens next. But, at the same time, the subject of the post could determine whether you decide to stick to your goals or give up. It has a lot to do about our attitude toward what we’re doing, but, in many cases, we let the attitude of others play way too large a part in what we do about those goals. I’ll start with a conversation I had with my husband.

 Me:  I need to go work on my book.

Hubby makes some smart remark, I can’t remember exactly what.

Me:  This is a part time job just like if I was working for someone else.

Hubby:  No, it’s not. It’s a hobby.

Me: What do you mean, it’s a hobby? It’s a job!

Hubby:  A job is where you go somewhere to work and come home. Writing is just a hobby.

Me:  You spend money on hobbies. You make money on a job. What about that new patio set? What about the new BBQ grill? What about the new shelving unit? What about the vacation I’m taking where I don’t have to use any money from our full time jobs?

And it goes on and on. The bottom line is that most people won’t see our writing as a real job. If we have to leave a friend’s house early because we need to write, they just don’t understand why. They don’t get the fact that it’s a job and we need to work. This whole attitude makes me furious sometimes. Why is someone else’s job more important just because they are working for someone else? In fact, I feel like my job is MORE important because it’s MY business and I’m working for myself.

So, you are going to run into people who will never take you seriously. I’ve made over $13,000 from my writing so far, and my husband still doesn’t get it. There may be some of you who are doing this whole writing thing just for the fun of it. But I bet most of you are doing it because you want to write for a living. Am I right? My point is, don’t let these people discourage you and make you want to give up. Just like with other things (like weight loss), the people you love the most can be the very ones who sabotage your efforts.

I think the best way to keep from being discouraged by unsupportive people is to make sure YOU think of it as a real job.  Set times aside for your writing. When speaking to others about your writing, treat it as a job. Be firm about that. If you are already published, keep good sales records. Keep up with your expenses. Do everything that you would do if you were running your own business in another field. If you were running a retail store, you wouldn’t just throw money around willy, nilly and work only when you “felt like it”. You wouldn’t let other people tell you that it wasn’t a real job. You would WORK.

Many of you are just starting this writing journey, and are new to all of this. Some of you will publish traditionally, many more of you will self publish. If you take it seriously and treat it like a business, it will help others take it more seriously. You will have some who will never understand, but no one will understand if you don’t. Writing is a real job. It may be one that you love, but no one ever said you couldn’t love your job. Don’t let anyone ever tell you it’s not real work. I’ve never worked so hard in my life!

~*~

Lauralynn Elliott

How Badly Do You Want It? By Lauralynn Elliott

One of my other posts was about the three stages of writing, and I had compared it to the three stages of weight loss I learned from Weight Watchers. Since I worked for WW for about 15 years, I learned a lot, so I’m going to use something else I learned from them. How badly do you want it?

What really started me thinking about his again was when I was complaining the other day about my weight loss efforts. My husband simply said, “You’ve got to want it bad enough.” And I had heard that very thing, and taught it, at Weight Watchers. This can be applied to writing as well. We have to want it.

When everyone starts a ROW80 round, there is a lot of enthusiasm and goal setting. And everyone is sure that they’ll make their goals with no problems. But one thing I think some people forget…it’s a lot of hard work! If you’re new to the writing business, you may not realize just how much work goes into writing a novel or novella. That’s one of the reasons we should set goals. It’s not just something you play around with and dabble at. (Yes, I ended a sentence with a preposition.) We have to put ourselves into what we write, or it will be shallow and empty.

So, are you willing to work? There are going to be times when you’re really tired and you want to just forget about the writing for that day. There are going to be times when you’re really stressed out and you don’t feel like you can emotionally put yourself into the writing. There are going to be times when shiny new games lure you into a world where your writing doesn’t exist. Things are going to distract you from your best laid plans. But do you want this? How badly?

We aren’t perfect, and we’re going to slack off sometimes. But when it becomes a habit to NOT write instead of write, that’s when we start getting into trouble. Sometimes I want to lose weight so badly that I can’t wait to do it. But when I see and smell that pizza, it suddenly becomes more important than my weight loss efforts…for a short time. Then I regret all the pizza I put into my mouth. And I get really excited about exercising, but then when it comes time, it just doesn’t happen. When we start finding excuses not to write, then our priorities are getting mixed up and we’re losing our focus.

So how badly do you want it? How important is it to you that you see your work published? You can’t publish it if you don’t finish it. Are you willing to write when you’re tired? Are you willing to write first and play that fun game later? Are you willing to rein in the emotions that are making you crazy right now long enough to put down some words? Is it easy? Of course it’s not easy. Nothing that’s really important in life comes easily. It takes work, dedication, and perseverance. You’ve got to want this so badly that you’re willing to make sacrifices. I don’t mean neglecting the really important things in your life, but we are prone to finding all kinds of excuses not to write.

Think about the things you have accomplished in your life. Did you get a degree, raise children, work hard at your job, or play a sport? What are the strengths inside yourself that enabled you to do these things? Was it determination, good self-esteem, stubbornness? What made you accomplish the things you did? Whatever it was that kept you going with all the other important accomplishments in your life, those same things can help you along your writing journey. Reach down into yourself and find those strengths that you possess. Use those traits to aid you when you feel like you just can’t do it. You have those strengths!

So how badly do you want it? Can you taste the success? Can you envision your book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble? Can you feel the book in your hand if you decide to do a print version? How badly do you want it? Only you can answer that question. But for those of us doing ROW80, I think the answer is obvious…or we wouldn’t be doing this challenge in the first place. Keep working. The rewards are worth it!

 ~*~

Lauralynn Elliott

When Life Throws You A Curve Ball

One of the best things about ROW80 is that it allows for life…REAL life. Wouldn’t it be great if life always went exactly the way you planned and nothing bad or unexpected ever happened? But that’s not the reality we live in. Life does happen and sometimes things come at you HARD.

This year several things happened to me. My mom had a heart attack with other complications stemming from it. The county I live in was devastated by a series of five tornadoes. And, not long ago, I lost my best friend. Life threw me curve balls, change ups, and some really fast balls. The question was, though, was I going to strike out or hit it out of the park?

How about you? What has life thrown you? I’ve read a lot of your blogs and there have been several instances where the authors had some really tough times. Sometimes it’s something tragic, sometimes it’s just something frustrating. But all of the things that happen to us can cause us to make up excuses not to write. We can get so tangled up in all of life’s problems that writing gets put on the back burner. And the next thing we know, the round of ROW80 is over and our project is abandoned.

So what can we do to get back in the game? I think one of the most important things we can do is turn to our fellow players. You know, those other authors doing ROW80. This has become quite a close knit little community, and I couldn’t believe the outpouring of thoughts and prayers when my friend died. All these people are here to support you when you need it. When you’re feeling like you’ve been benched and can’t get out of the dugout, talk to us. I’ve noticed that some authors will skip their check ins when they feel they haven’t done well. That’s the time you need to check in the most! Go ahead and do your Sunday and Wednesday posts, and let us all know how you’re feeling. I guarantee you’ll get the support you need. And if you pop over to my post for that day, let me know how you’re feeling right there on my blog. The next thing you know, you’ll feel more energized and you can swing that bat and hit a home run.

But what if, no matter how hard you tried, you didn’t make your goals for that round of ROW80? Just remember, a team never wins all the games. The important thing is that you play the best you can and give it your all. Like I said in the first paragraph…ROW80 allows for real life. And there’s going to be another round of ROW80 just like there will be other games. So don’t quit the team! Let’s all work together to win some games!

 ~*~

Lauralynn Elliott