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One Woman Strong

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. In my home country, this day is celebrated with appropriate pomp: women get flowers, chocolates, they get acknowledged at work, in school, at home, etc.  In America, this day is not even marked on the calendar. It simply does not exist. And when someone brings it up, they get odd looks, condescending smirks, and a brush-off.

Yesterday, I somehow stumbled upon a bunch of TED Talk videos on YouTube on various topics pertaining to women. I was fascinated by these, and spent a good few hours watching them. Many of those messages rang so true for me personally and for what I observe around me every single day. It seemed like such a revelation that these speakers (all of them women) finally managed to put it into the right words, but at the same time it was almost insulting that it had to be put into words for people to acknowledge that it’s real, and it’s happening, and it’s having a massive impact on women all around the world.

Yesterday, one of my Facebook friends wrote a post about how difficult it is to share one’s pride in a personal accomplishment, because it inevitably gets met with a negative response. I had another small revelation while reading that post. It’s true. We’ve become a society where we shower sympathy and attention on people who struggle, who meet with tragedy, who are having a hard time, and somehow take it as a personal insult when people share their achievements, as if those achievements somehow reflect badly on us. Women especially have a hard time with this. Because women are taught to be the peace keepers, not the competitors. They are taught to be quiet, and humble, and inclusive, rather than brave, entrepreneurial, and confident. A confident woman is seen as vain, proud, intimidating, and unattractive.

Part of why I struggle so much with book promotion is that it necessitates a level of confidence and extraversion that I simply don’t possess. I don’t know how to brag about myself, and even when I try, I always end up doing it in a joking, self-deprecating way. Case in point:

This is my  attempt at celebrating my achievements. The note says:

This is an Alianne Donnelly book published by Alianne Donnelly.
It’s not bragging if it’s true.

It is printed on the copyright page of every one of my new IngramSpark books. I wanted to do something to acknowledge how much freaking work I did on those books. Those are my books from start to finish. I wrote them. I formatted them. I designed the covers. I set them up on IngramSpark and published them. The only things I didn’t do were the editing and the actual printing/binding/shipping of the physical copies*. The rest is all me.

Eight books I created this way. Eight of them. In a span of three months. That is a massive undertaking, and a huge achievement more confident people would be trumpeting to the stars.

Me? I shared a few posts outlining the workflow, and printed a short little note on the copyright page, which no one except a hardcore bibliophile ever reads.

No, I don’t like to brag. In fact, I hate being the center of attention for any reason. I’m a behind-the-scenes kind of person. I keep the wheels spinning, and let someone else stand out on stage. I’m often overlooked, underestimated, undervalued, or flat-out ignored, and 99% of the time, it doesn’t bother me.

I know that I’m accomplished, and very much capable and, when it comes to this writing and publishing business, I know I can put out a hell of a book. I know, because I’ve already done it. And I know I can do it again.

But saying it out loud still feels wrong. It feels like I’m bragging, and even I argue with myself that all the things I consider awesome are completely subjective, and people will still find fault with them. That stupid doubt laughs at me and say that if I was really that awesome, I would be much farther along by now. I hate that internal voice, because it’s right. It’s the reason I sometimes get writer’s block so bad I don’t write a word for months.

It’s also the reason why I keep going, keep learning, keep improving on everything I do. Yes, the finish line keeps getting pushed farther and farther, but I’m stubborn as hell, and I cling like crazy to the one thing that makes the struggle worth it: the stories.

So, today, belatedly, I celebrate International Women’s Day by proclaiming to the world at large that I am one woman strong. My achievements are real, and tangible, and freaking awesome. They are my contribution to the world and I am proud of them.

 

*Though, ironically, I have done that, too, for unrelated reasons and projects at my day job.

 

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New Print Editions Available (despite what Amazon says)

A very quick post to address Amazon’s new policy of showing print-on-demand books not published through CreateSpace as out of stock. I did a longer write-up on my Ask Alianne blog, if anyone is interested, but here is the gist of it:

Amazon is at its tricks again, changing how products are displayed to encourage shoppers to buy their products over other suppliers’. In this case it means my CreateSpace books all appear to be “In Stock”, while the new IngramSpark versions show as “Ships when available in 1-2 days.”

Here’s what I want to stress:

#1 Both of these are print-on-demand items, which means they don’t get produced until someone orders copies. That means neither is ever truly “In Stock”, but both are always, without issue or delay, available. Processing and shipping time is the same for both, regardless of what label Amazon decides to slap on them. Order with confidence, and if you have any issues whatsoever, please let me know so I can look into it and get it resolved.

#2 Both editions of every book are also available at other online bookstores, and some might even have a discount on the IngramSpark versions, which might turn out to be a way better deal for you than Amazon. I know Barnes & Noble did that a few weeks ago. 🙂 The point is, sometimes it pays to shop beyond Amazon’s stronghold.

#3 Both editions of every book are also requestable through your local library. They might not have them in stock, but if you request them, they should be able to order either one without issue.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled Thursday. 🙂

Last but not least…

The Beast Series has a new cover (finally)! This one was really difficult to do, partly because the story is so close to my heart, and partly because it has been done so many times, it’s almost impossible to make it look original. I must have done at least 15 different versions of the cover before I got to this one, and all of them made me want to throw my brand new laptop against the wall. Hard.

So here’s what I finally came up with. It has elements of every Beauty and the Beast story on it, because that’s what it is, but I’m hoping I made one of those elements just unique enough to make it stand out. The tarot cards that play such a huge role in the story had to be included in some fashion, and three of the versions I attempted had them on the cover in different ways. I ultimately discarded them because, while they made amazingly stunning pictures, capturing particular scenes like a movie still, there was no way for me to add the book title and author name without completely ruining the effect.

This was my compromise: me going back to what feels natural to me, which is “less is more.” I didn’t want an overly elaborate scene, I wanted a visually striking representation of the story itself. I also wanted something stylistically similar to The Rebel Court series cover, since they both fall under similar genres, but not identical, because there are significant differences between the two series. Do you think I accomplished all that?

Continue reading “Last but not least…”

2018 Book Industry Predictions

Every year, Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords puts out a long post of predictions for the near future of the Indie book industry. He is usually pretty spot on, so every year, I spend a few minutes reading what he has to say. Today, there are two posts I want to share:

2017 Year in Review and 2018 Preview

2018 Book Industry Predictions

My main take-away from these post is perfectly summed up in this one sentence: “Fair competition at Amazon does not exist.” 

This is one of the reasons why I never even contemplated enrolling any of my books in KDP Select or Kindle Unlimited. It’s one of the reasons why I am making the move to IngramSpark. It would be totally hypocritical of me to ask readers to shop somewhere other than Amazon, since I myself have a Kindle and buy most of my books from their platform, but I do want to say one thing: You, my dear, beautiful readers, have more power than you realize. You’re the reason why we do what we do. You allow us to dream and share our dreams with the world, and for that, you will always have my undying gratitude. I may never get to meet you, but just know that you are among my most favorite people in the whole world.

For every book (my own, or someone else’s) you buy instead of pirating, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

For every book (my own, or someone else’s) you buy instead of reading through KU, I thank you in the name of all Indie author.

And for every book (my own, or someone else’s) you buy from any store other than Amazon (especially independent neighborhood bookstores), I thank you with every fiber of my writer being.

Thank you for every kind message you send about how much you loved one of my books. Thank you for every anxious note and question about when the next book will come out. Thank you for every time you share one of my posts on social media, and every time you tell someone about my books.

Just…thank you for reading.

IngramSpark: A Saga in 3 Parts

Today I uploaded the bulk of my book files to IngramSpark. While Wolfen will become available tomorrow, you should be able to see and order the new print editions for Blood and Shadows and Dawn of Ragnarok on February 1, 2018. Let’s see if that actually happens. The Beast Series is still under construction for need of a new cover design. I’m working on that. LOL

In honor of my completion of this Herculean task, I have put together everything I learned from the process into a three-part blog series on my author resource site. If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts, or if you are considering publishing your own books through IngramSpark, check them out here:

Part 1: Homework

Part 2: Interior Layout

Part 3: The Little Things

See you all on the flip side of 2018! May the New Year hold all the good things 2017 lacked, and more! 🙂