It’s My Birthday Book Sale!

So here’s the story, lovely people: in a few days I’m going to be turning 34! I think… I’ve hit that time in my life when it starts to become way more difficult than you might think to remember how old you are. Don’t judge me. I’m an old lady now.

Anyway, for my birthday wish this year, all I really want is for people to be reading my books! So, in order to facilitate the convincing of people to read said books, I’ve decided to put on a sale! For the remainder of April, both of my novels are going to be only $0.99 US on Kindle! You can find them on Amazon.com by clicking on the image below, or you can search “Tracey Tobin” on your country’s Amazon site and they should be the first options to pop up in the results.

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Make my day (and yours!) by picking up two novels for less than the price of a large coffee. You know you want to! *kissy face* ^_~

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Plans and Goals 2018: Week 7 Review

 

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I had…a terrible week. That’s not a set up for excuses and a lot of whining, it’s just an admission of miserable fact. I’m not sure exactly what was going on with my body this past week, but I have to preface this entire post by explaining that I spent nearly three full days – that’s 43% of the week, folks – with a raging, unstoppable migraine. I’ve experienced what I expect were migraines maybe three times in my life, and yet, last week? Three. Full. Days. Two of them consecutive. I seriously was beginning to think I’d just bash my head against a wall until I passed out, because the concussion would have been preferable to the continuous agonizing pulsations.

Whatever the reason for the sudden, relentless throbbing of my skull, I did eventually make my way to the pharmacy and discovered a wonderful product known as “acetaminophen with codeine”, and finally I was able to rid myself of the horror, but only after it had destroyed nearly half the week on me.

On TOP of that, I had the joy to begin experiencing some kind of ridiculously painful pinch in my right thumb that would pulse randomly around my wrist and up my forearm. I hate to self-diagnose, but as it was too late in the week to see a doctor by the time this cropped up, I took to the internet, and I’m fairly confident that the problem is the rubbing of a pair of tendons that run from the thumb up the side of the forearm. The site suggested that treatment would start with wrapping the wrist and avoiding repetitive motions, so I picked myself up a tension glove and did my best to use my left hand for as much as possible for a few days, but that made typing a slow, royal pain in the ass that made it very difficult to get anything done. My hand/arm is feeling much better now, and the glove I bought can be used as a brace to help avoid future overuse of the tendons and muscles in question, but for this past week in particular, I definitely lost some time and efficiency as a result of the injury.

So, with all that fun stuff in mind, let’s take a look at the few pain-free hours I did have throughout last week and see if I managed to squeeze anything decent out of them.


Plan #1: Focus more on Writing.
Dammit, the worst comes first. It should come as no surprise that writing in general took a bit of a back-seat to trying to convince myself away from that head-bashing idea, although all things considered it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

  • Goal #1: Write half a million words throughout the year. This is the one that hurts the most, because as I’ve been explaining each week, though I haven’t been hitting that 1370 words-per-day goal by a long shot, I have been slowly increasing my daily average each week, meaning that there was always forward momentum. This week I finally killed that momentum. I did write on the four days that I wasn’t writhing on the couch in agony, but it was all just blog posts, and some of them very quick, simple ones (video announcements, for instance). I probably could have written more here and there, but because of the thumb/wrist thing, I was slowed down to a miserable crawl and more or less gave up out of frustration. As a result of everything, I only wrote 3032 words for the entire week. That brings me up to a total of 34 801 words for the year so far, at an average of 725 words per day. So, as you see, my average has gone down since last week, sadly. That is extremely frustrating to me, after having watched it slowly move upward for six weeks in a row, so I’m dedicating myself to rectifying the situation in the coming week. Wish me luck!
  • Goal #2: Sell more books. Not much to report on this front. I haven’t been speaking to my shop-owner friend recently, and there’s been zero activity as far as online sales, so I simply have nothing to say. I’m still considering sending one of my self-published manuscripts off to that vanity publisher I spoke about last week, just to see what they say, but I haven’t found a free moment to go through my files and actually get it done yet. Of course, I’m still looking for other methods of self-advertising, as always, but I haven’t come across anything interesting-looking recently.
  • Goal #3: Complete and publish The Other World: Book Two. Nothing to report here either. As mentioned above, I only managed to do blog posts last week, and when I had a few moments to finally work on the manuscript, it was the first day of the epic migraines that threatened to murder me. Then there was the issues with my  hand as well, so in the end I wound up doing nothing at all. I’m very annoyed with myself for this, because the more time I go without looking at the manuscript, the harder it is to keep everything as a cognitive whole in my head, but given the circumstances of the week I’m trying not to be too hard on myself.

Plan #2: Focus more on YouTube.
I’ll be upfront and admit that we’ve been slacking a little on the YouTube front recently, although I’ll also proudly say that we’ve been getting some related stuff done, which has been making me very happy. In week 7 we put a hard push into working on the basement, and as a result it’s actually starting to look like something I’d be proud to show off. Jason got more art, comics, and signatures up on the wall, in addition to hanging up a second pin board to hang our geeky keychains on. I shifted a bunch of stuff around so that we could hide most of the to-be-opened pile, as well as the to-be-sent-to-other-people and to-trade/sell piles, so now the main basement area is almost entirely clear of clutter, with more walking space than we’ve had since we first started filming down there. Add to that that we’ve done some more work on the shelves, and I’ve rearranged a few things so that some of my favorite stuff is more visible, plus a bit of cleaning, throwing out of garbage, and disposing of more boxes, and I’m just genuinely really happy with the way the basement is looking. There’s still more to be done, for sure, but I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have people down there now, and that’s honestly really saying something.

  • Goal #1: Film more often. I can’t honestly say that filming videos has been on the forefront of my mind in February thus far, especially when compared to how excellently we did in January, but I did manage to film one video, which was a kind of Valentine’s day toy haul with Jason. We had intended to do more, but, again…migraines. And on top of that, when my migraines did finally abate, Jason had sinus issues that snagged us up. So in the end it was just the one video for week 7.
  • Goal #2: Put more focus into, and have more fun with, the social media aspect. Despite everything else I’ve already admitted to failing at in week 7, I can honestly say that migraines and wrist pain didn’t keep me away from the social media this week. Mainly, the reason was because Toy Fair was on in New York this past weekend, and that’s kind of a big deal for toy people. Most of my activity was on Twitter, but I went a little nuts sharing the sneak peaks, upcoming hints, and prototype reveals for all the new toys and collectibles from our favorite companies. There’s some amazing stuff coming out in the near future, especially for horror fans, so if you don’t follow me on Twitter already, you really should take a swing over to my account and check out some of the stuff I’ve been sharing. My wallet is crying with anticipation, let me tell you!

#3: Focus more on myself.
Honestly, I feel a little bad even thinking about this one right now, since I spent nearly three full days just curled up on the couch, begging Jason and Adrianna to keep the noise down, and hiding under a blanket with my phone on the lowest brightness setting. But, much as it may make me feel a little selfish, those days were not “me time”, which I still deserved one way or another.

  • Goal #1: Take time daily to read/watch/play. That said, I didn’t really get that “me time”. I did get a bit here and there… On the worst day of the migraines I curled up in bed and watched Supernatural for a few hours. And I’ll definitely admit to a bit of Pokemon TCG Online. That said, I didn’t get much in as far as media consumption. We did watch the new Hellraiser movie – which I’ll be reviewing shortly – but I haven’t even touched any of my TBR comics yet, I still haven’t finished A Clockwork Orange from last month’s TBR, and I haven’t touched a real video game since early in week 6. I’m definitely going to have to try to find (or make) some time to get to some of this stuff in week 8, because I’ve been genuinely dying to read those comics and I’m going to be very miffed if it doesn’t happen until March.
  • Goal #2: Stay active, but don’t obsess. I’m still gaining weight. Trying really, really hard not to look at the scale, but it’s an unhealthy addiction. I’m currently only a few pounds away from where I was when I was nine months pregnant, and although I’m carrying that weight in a much different (and more even) way right now, that’s still an incredibly annoying thought. If I could even lose 5 lbs it would bring me back down to a mildly reasonable number that doesn’t make me want to gag, so someone lay some voodoo on me, would ya? In all seriousness though, I haven’t been particularly active, apart from a few short Just Dance sessions with the kid and a bit of cleaning, but I am having moderate success with a related endeavor: drinking a proper amount of water. I’ve never been good at that, but recently I discovered that I wasn’t even aiming for the proper number in the first place…I was about 12 oz too low. Upon discovering this, I downloaded an app called ‘Drink Water Aquarium” to help me remember to drink, and so far it’s been working really well. I only started a few days ago, but I’ve managed to hit my goal two days in a row and didn’t drink a sip of pop in those two days, so that’s actually major progress for me. Here’s hoping it keeps up!

So that was that! Week 7 was a bit of a write-off because of the physical frustrations, but I still managed to get a bit accomplished here and there, and am on my way toward making some genuinely healthy lifestyle changes so, you know what? I’ll take it. Let’s just wipe our hands of week 7 and move forward with our heads held high, yes? Yes. Sounds like a plan!

How was your week? Were you able to accomplish anything? Do anything fun? Make any progress toward your own goals? Feel free to share!

‘Nowhere to Hide’ Only $0.99 Until Halloween!

Some people roll their eyes when Halloween addicts begin talking about the holiday in September, but in the Tobin household we bounce on our heels and giggle like fools waiting for the witching hour to come upon us. It’s for this reason that I found myself completely unable to wait until October to roll out this deal, so from now until midnight on Halloween, Nowhere to Hide is only $0.99 on e-book! There’s no better time to check it out! I mean, what can you buy for a dollar, really? You can’t even get a coffee for that! So please check it out, and of course don’t forget to leave a rating/review on Amazon once you have! It does a great deal toward bumping the book up in search results, as well as convincing prospective readers to give the book a chance. Plus it makes you one of my favorite people ever! 😀

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Enjoy the early treat, everyone! (Tricks to come. ^_~)

You’ve Got to Spend to Make…and I’ve Got Nothing to Spend – An IWSG Post

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First off, this is my first Insecure Writer’s Support Group post since changing over to the new blog, so for anyone dropping in here for the first time: Welcome!

Okay, now that that’s over with…

The past month-and-a-bit have been very up and down for me concerning writing. On the one hand, I set myself a mini-goal to write 300 words per day and I KILLED it, turning out the month of August with nearly 16.5k words. The majority of those words were also toward my WIP, “The Other World: Book Two”, which was a big deal for me because I’ve been stagnating with that for quite a while now and it’s nice to see that I’ve crossed a point wherein I can force myself to write something – anything – in order to move forward.

However…

There’s another goal that I’ve been working on all year through, and I’ve experienced little to no success with it at all. That goal, in short, is to find new ways of promoting my books.

Why is this so difficult?

In short, the problem that I’ve found is that any kind of promotion past your basic pimping on social media (which, honestly, only works for so long before people’s eyes start glazing over and they start ignoring  you) costs money. Money that I don’t have. Ads? Costs money. Sending out free books in return for reviews? Costs money. Submitting your book to competitions? Nearly always costs money. Sure there are lots of websites that will temporarily promote your book for free, but most of them have requirements such as a certain number of reviews on Amazon, or your book has to be free at the time of the promotion, or it has to fit a particular genre/length/language/what-the-hell ever. Overwhelmingly, the methods that allow you to simply promote your book as it is, for the price you want people to pay for it, require you to fork out cash in advance with no guarantee that you’ll ever see a return.

I’ve been struggling with this particular issue for ages now, feeling that, if I just kept looking, EVENTUALLY I would find a couple of options that would allow me to promote my book for free, but none have ever come. I even tried contacting book-based sub boxes, only to be (eventually, after months of throwing myself out there to multiple companies) patiently schooled on the fact that, due to the logistics of such a thing, I would be required to front the printing and shipping costs. Theoretically I would be paid back later, but the initial cost would be multiple thousands of dollars more than I even have, making the whole thing a moot point.

And so I sit here, and I grumble, and I look at my 4-5 sales per month and I wonder if there will ever be a day when I’ll actually be able to feel like it was worth it putting all those countless hours into writing/revising/editing/formatting/and so on.

It’s definitely quite depressing.

I press on, because the fact of the matter is that I love writing and I do it as much for the sheer enjoyment as I do for the chance of ever actually making a living from it, but it definitely chips a little more away from my soul every time a possible promotion method turns out to be either useless or too costly.


Thanks for reading my little rant! If, by chance, you’d like to check out the books that I’ve been so desperately trying to promote, you can find them right here! Cheers!

An Author Honor – Being Read in a Book Club

I’ll admit that, most days, I still find it hard to consider myself a “real” author. It’s a combination of being self-published (which, despite attempts at the contrary, still makes me consider myself to be an amateur) and the fact that my sales are mind-blowingly abysmal. I shouldn’t harbor such thoughts – I wrote TWO GODDAMN BOOKS, DAMMIT, and that makes me an author! – but it’s very difficult, and I hardly think that I’m the only self-published author to feel that way, so I give myself a break.

That said, every so often something happens that really does make me feel like a “real” author, and one of those things happened throughout the month of July. You see, over at the Basement Geeks Facebook Group, two of our most active members decided to start up a “Basement Geeks Book Club”. I thought it was a great idea, and joined up right away, myself, but I wasn’t expecting what happened next, because there was a poll set up to decide which book the group would read first, and the book they chose…was Nowhere to Hide.

It wasn’t a huge book club or anything – less than ten people were actually reading – but, to be honest, it was kind of a huge deal to me. It felt wonderful, not only because they chose my book, but because I got to be a part of the process. The members discussed the chapters they’d read weekly, and I got to be there, joining in the conversation, fielding questions, and seeing what people really, truly thought. There were a few constructive criticisms, some awesome reactions, and a surprising amount of praise that all just made me feel warm and fuzzy and happy inside. My favorite part? The way everyone agreed on how I was able to really hammer them emotionally. No individual comment or review has ever made me truly feel like I’m doing something right, like I’m accomplishing what I set out to do when I imagine and reimagine my scenes over and over again.

It made me feel like I’m not only a “real” author, but also a good one. And I can’t describe how that makes me feel.

So thank you, Basement Geeks Book Club. You have no idea how great you made me feel just by sitting down to discuss a book.