Social Saturday: Create Your Own Future

I have been incredibly silent on the social media front as far as my author platform is concerned. I am well aware of this. I also haven’t been that diligent toward the marketing and sales of When Stars Die. Even so, I am working on The Stars Are Infinite so that it can be released some time this year.

But crickets have been chirping on my blog for a reason.

I’ve been prioritizing my career in fitness over anything else right now. I’ve been busy building my personal training website (still super busy with this), I’ve obviously been busy with my full-time job, selling memberships and shadowing a personal trainer; I’ve been cramming my head with research to aid in my career; I’ve been hitting the weights hard to grow muscle; and I’ve just overall been busy with research to launch my business successfully when the summer comes. I’ll also be moving in with my fiance soon, and that’ll be time consuming as well.

Now that I have a planner, I can commit myself to a regular blogging schedule, but it will only be once a week, and I will dub it ‘Social Saturday.’ It’s going to basically be a recap of my entire week, a bigger, better glimpse into my life that you haven’t yet seen, where I will get real, raw, and honest. Now let’s get on to what I want to talk about today.

I somewhat regret my English degree. The somewhat part comes into play when you consider that my English degree has helped me become a better writer and self-editor. I’ve also gained many experiences from it that I otherwise would not have gained without having majored in it, like launching my own literary magazine and being a tutor for my university’s writing center. I would not give up these experiences.

I mostly regret my major because I’m in the final stretches of earning my English degree, and I know that unless I win the lottery or scholarships drop in my lap, switching my major to exercise science or something similar is no longer an option. I’m not willing to put myself in debt for an education I want to use to simply supplement my certification. At the same time, I desperately want to major in exercise science, but there is no way I’m allowing myself to be steeped in debt of up to 30,000 dollars (and I wish this were an exaggeration). The only reason I would want a BS is so that I can go on to earn an MS and conduct my own research into exercise science and write books on my discoveries. Having an MS would legitimize my research. Alas, this will not come into fruition any time soon.

I’m not brimming with regrets, though. If anything, I am currently buzzing with pride. After getting my tax return today, I was finally able to purchase liability insurance, which is the first step into launching my personal training business in the summer. All I now have to do is pay to launch my website. I am filled with so much pride because I have paid for everything myself to make becoming a personal trainer possible. This is what I have spent:

  • $799.00 for my ACE certification
  • $299.00 for my group fitness instructor certification (this one was on sale)
  • $399.00 for my functional training certification
  • About $200.00 dollars in supplementary books
  • About $60.00 for a heart monitor and calipers
  • About $17.00 for business cards
  • About $286.00 for liability insurance

Thus far, I have spent a little over 2,000 dollars to make all of this possible for me. I don’t list these prices to show off how privileged I am to be able to pay all of this off without accruing any debt. I know I am privileged. If I didn’t currently live with my parents, I’d probably be in credit card debt.

I post this to show that even though I was able to pay all of it off, I still took financial risks. I paid for some of this stuff with my credit card but was able to later quickly pay it off. I was at a point in my last job where I was very financially unstable and still in some debt from my group fitness certification, but I had to make this possible, even if that meant making just the minimum payments for my credit card.

I have decided that I want to launch my own business because currently I am salaried and also receive commission from the sales of memberships. It’s decent money. I’ve also been interning for two months and have received a pretty good insight into the life of a personal trainer. While I would still love to train at a gym, I am not willing to give up my salary and start entirely from scratch. When I move in with my fiance, I’ll have rent to pay. I still have to pay off my car. The point is that I have things to pay for, things I wouldn’t be able to pay for if I transitioned over to training full-time. My pay would be entirely contingent on training hours; building a base of clients takes time. The specific trainer I’m shadowing actually has to train on his own time in order to make ends meet. Training at a gym isn’t enough for him.

I am incredibly lucky in that my fiance is currently the primary bread winner and is able to support me in my endeavors. So I will remain a fitness consultant while also training on the side when I launch my business this summer–and hopefully surpass my fiance’s income.

I have created my own future, with my own money, and I am not going to sit here and deny that I was without help. While all the money came from me, I am economically advantaged in that I didn’t have to pay for much else while investing in my education as a personal trainer. Of course, I am also very good with money and was able to make all payments on time.

What I want you to know is that if you envision a particular future for yourself and don’t think you can achieve it, you need to find ways to achieve it, no matter what sort of risks you have to take. Don’t bankrupt yourself. Simply sacrifice what you can in order to make this future possible for yourself. Budget your money. Figure out what you need and don’t need. Just go for it.

I was so tired of not being certain of what I wanted to do with my degree in English. I was so tired of my last job. I was so tired of feeling like the only thing I had going for me was writing novels. And I was so tired of letting fear hold me back.

No more. I made this future possible for myself through hard work. I found something to be passionate about other than writing novels. I found something I can make good money from while also changing people’s lives in a big way.

I found myself by finding who I want to be. And even if I want to be someone different later, at least I know I can do it through my own hard work.

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Purchase When Stars Die at Amazon, Lulu, Kobo, and Barnes&Noble.

 

Looking Back on 2015 from 2016

As I look back on 2015 and look down the sparkling maw that is 2016, I’m filled with much excitement for this year. Let’s look back on 2015 to see some of what I’ve accomplished:

  1. Landing a contract for When Stars Die with Gnome on Pig Productions.
  2. Passing my exam to be certified as a personal trainer.
  3. Earning my specialty certification in functional fitness.
  4. Starting the advanced level in ballet.
  5. Finally nailing those blasted foutte turns.
  6. Writing, completing, and publishing A Treacherous Flame. (Seriously, this is huge for me because I hadn’t written anything in a while.)
  7. Recovering from my eating disorder in April.
  8. Being free from depression for an entire year. (I’ll write a post later this week on what this feels like for me.)

Now here is what I hope to accomplish in 2016:

  1. Earning my group fitness certification.
  2. Finding a job as both a personal trainer and group fitness instructor.
  3. Getting The Stars Are Infinite published.
  4. Increasing sales for When Stars Die.
  5. Graduating with my BA.
  6. Moving in with my fiance and getting married.
  7. Studying for a specialty certification in nutrition.
  8. Having a full list of clients within three months, preferably before I earn my BA.
  9. Getting back en pointe since my shoes are dead and I screwed up my foot when I fell on it in pointe class.
  10. Building more muscle through ballet and crosstraining.
  11. Helping clients succeed with their fitness goals.
  12. Writing a novella (or novel, whatever it turns out to be) for Forevermore Publishing.
  13. Writing the third book in The Stars Trilogy.

These are all of my goals for the year of 2016. It’s a lengthy list, but I know I can succeed.

So what do you plan to accomplish in 2016?

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Purchase When Stars Die at Amazon, Lulu, Kobo, and Barnes&Noble.

Late Manic Monday: Life Goals and A Treacherous Flame

a treacherous flameA Treacherous Flame is now free on Amazon for five days! It is a precursor to When Stars Die. Once you get the story, you can also freely lend it to whomever you wish. I will eventually make it perma free. I just have to format it for Smashwords and have Amazon do a price match.

Here’s what it’s about:

Benjamin Fairchild, interrogator at Usiburn Tower, is in charge of extracting confessions from witches–and then killing them. His methods are brutal. From crushing thumbs to cutting out tongues, Benjamin is not afraid to use the most extreme methods to get what he wants.

On a crusade to eliminate every last witch he can, Benjamin is currently tasked with a young girl named Emily. She proves to be a most difficult case. Trying to convince Benjamin of her innocence is impossible when he is certain that witches are the biggest embodiment of sin. However, Emily will force Benjamin to discover a secret about himself that threatens to undo everything he has been taught.

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So besides this, what else is going on in this hectic life of mine?

Well, I finally got certified in CPR/AED/First Aid, which means I’ve scheduled my personal trainer exam for next Friday at 1 PM. YIKES! Here I am wondering what more I need to study besides the math, which is easy, but I just need to memorize the formulas. I’m both nervous and excited because I’m finally certain of what I want to do as a career, and even though I hear it’s really tough, I hope to find both happiness and contentment in this career. To be honest, I’d love to be as big as Kayla Itsines. But that’s a long-term goal. Right now, I’m just going to focus on short-term goals: passing the exam, getting a specialty certification, getting my BA in English, then finding a job as a trainer.

I’m also developing my fitness platform, primarily through blogging and Instagram. I started a Twitter account, but I feel like I need to be more popular to really have Twitter work for me. It’s easier to get followers on Instagram because pretty pics really attract people, so I’ll depend on my blog and Instagram for now. It’s kind of crazy trying to juggle both a fitness and author platform, which is why a Manic Monday post is late in the first place.

What about my goals as an author?

Well, with the re-release of When Stars Die being next Saturday, I plan to submit my second book some time in December after I go over it once more. And I can’t say I’ll be able to start the third book soon. Maybe I can, but there’s no promise. Right now I have to focus on getting certified and then getting my BA, which will hopefully be next March if I can get into two classes instead of one like I’ve been forced to do lately.

Like striving to be like Kayla Itsines, my long-term goals are to eventually be a bestseller, or even just make enough that it’d be a GREAT supplementary income. Even if I made loads of money from writing, I wouldn’t let go of my job as a trainer.

From here on out, it’s all about HARD work.

What Wednesday: Indies and the Vitriol Against Amazon

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of vitriol against Amazon from indie authors on my feed. I haven’t clicked any of the articles they’ve linked to because I’ve mostly been fixated on their comments: ‘I won’t be surprised if Amazon fails.’ ‘All they want is money.’ ‘Amazon will collapse.’ ‘Amazon never does anything good.’ So on and so forth…

I’m astonished by these comments because our careers as indie authors wouldn’t exist without Amazon and its Kindle. Amazon is the reason why self-publishing is becoming an increasingly acceptable way of getting one’s book out there. Amazon is the reason why so many careers have launched. Amazon is the reason why there are successful authors out there that agents and big publishers wouldn’t give a chance. Amazon is the reason why many indie authors were able to find publishers, albeit much smaller ones. And Amazon lets our publishers and us put books on their website for free.

We receive 70% of the profits. We can list books for free to get our names out there. Amazon has opened up so many opportunities out there for writers whose voices would otherwise not be heard. I have one author friend who is successful because of Amazon. She found a literary agent, but that literary agent could not find a publisher for her, so she eventually had to drop her agent and fly solo. And she has Amazon to thank for this. I have another who is still with his literary agent but opted to self-publish the book the agent had since so many publishers kept rejecting it. He has Amazon to thank for this. I have Amazon to thank for making it possible for my current publisher to exist.

As indie authors, we’re really shooting ourselves if we wish for the downfall of Amazon. The downfall of Amazon can mean the downfall of our careers; I don’t foresee another online retailer being able to overtake Amazon’s ability to sell books, unless this retailer is able to create an e-reader far better than the Kindle–which is difficult considering the Nook couldn’t beat the Kindle.

I am grateful for the existence of Amazon. Yeah, book sales aren’t any easier, but at least When Stars Die will have a chance on the market, a chance to find new readers. I don’t wish for Amazon’s downfall. This is like wishing for the downfall of my own career. For now, most readers flock toward Amazon when purchasing books online, so Barnes and Noble or Smashwords or Lulu or whatever aren’t going to help book sales for many indie authors if something happens to Amazon.

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You can now pre-order When Stars Die! preorderYou can purchase it here.

When Stars Die Available for Pre-Order!

when-starsWhen Stars Die is now up for pre-order! Currently it can only be pre-ordered through my publisher’s website, and it’s in paperback and hardback for now. Check it out here. It is a young adult dark fantasy. Edits weren’t drastic at all. It was simply getting rid of typos and fixing a few errors. The cover has also been slightly altered.

The City of Malva is rife with puritanical hatred for witches.  It is said they embody the Seven Deadly sins of mankind.  

Amelia’s only chance of saving her brother Nathaniel, a born witch, is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims.  Enduring a series of trials including starvation, isolation, physical abuse and blood-sucking leaches, she will sacrifice all that she is to save him.  

Complicating all of this is the fact that Amelia can see what is lurking in the shadows.  Shadowmen,  seeking witches like Nathaniel to join their ranks.  This group of Shadowmen begin planning.  The results could be devastating.

Oliver Cromwell, a dashing priest at Cathedral Reims, is the only one who can protect Amelia, her brother and save Malva.  Yet, he may prove to be more dangerous than the shadows themselves.

It’s official release is November 21st

Cover Reveal Sign-Up!

fireandfeathersNext Wednesday I’m going to be revealing the full cover for my short story titled “A Treacherous Flame.” It’s going to take place in The Stars Trilogy universe and will be told from the viewpoint of a boy named Benjamin Fairchild. I don’t yet have a formal summary for it, but I can tell you he is an interrogator at a placed called Usiburn Tower. He is in charge of extracting confessions from witches–then killing them afterward. What’s unique about him is that he isn’t afraid to use torture to get what he wants. So, like When Stars Die, it’ll be a brutal, gritty dark fantasy. It’s going to be available for free on Amazon on October 31st!

By helping me out with this cover reveal, you will be eligible to win a first-edition copy of When Stars Die, back when it was with AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. I tried to create an official sign-up form to help me out, but since my job has taken up too much of my time and I just feel so burnt out anymore, you can either leave your email in the comments or email me at thedancingwriter@gmail.com if you’d like to help out! You’ll then be entered into the drawing.

For those on Tumblr who happen to see this, you can just message me your email.

 ***News***

  • When Stars Die now has a release date. It’ll be November 21st of this year! You can add it on Goodreads here.

My Book Re-release Fears

I don’t yet have a release date for When Stars Die, but that doesn’t keep me from being nervous about its re-release. I’m both excited and terrified, excited because my trilogy is getting another chance, and terrified because I’m worried about how successful it’s going to be the second time through. Here are some of my top fears:

  1. Sales. How are the sales going to be for my book? Are they going to be worse? Better? I want this book to be so much more successful than its initial release.
  2. Reception. Is the book going to be well-received? There are going to be new readers who will jump on board, and I’m nervous about whether or not it’s still going to receive good reviews and ratings. I know it’s such a shallow thing to concern myself with, but how the first book does will determine the course of the rest of my trilogy.
  3. Platform. Is my platform better built to help engage new readers? I know it could be better. I know I should be regularly blogging at least three times a week on WordPress and at least once on Tumblr–even though I have been uploading picture teasers on Tumblr almost daily. You always feel like you could do better, of course.
  4. Spikes. Will my book have any moments when there is going to be a sudden spike in sales? WSD unfortunately did not have that opportunity with my last publisher, but I’m hoping with my new one, it’ll see spikes in sales throughout the year. Some months your book does bad, and other months it picks up. Seeing a dramatic spike in sales from time to time is encouraging.
  5. Events. My publisher actually attends events and brings its books along. Will my book do well at events? Will it attract new readers? How’s the traffic going to be for each one? If I’ve learned anything from my job as a marketer, it takes really good foot traffic to get even one sale. And bravery.
  6. Excitement. Am I going to be able to drum up more excitement this time around? It may seem like I’m just after the sales, but I want the sales because I want people to read my book, to be able to enjoy it, to be able to take something from it. We authors don’t write for the money. We can’t. We do it for the love of the craft and the warmth we feel when a reader has enjoyed our work, wants to interact with us, and wants to become a fan. I truly want my book to change readers’ lives in some way.

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***NEWS***

  • I’m writing a short story called “The Treacherous Flame” that I plan to publish on Amazon and hopefully Smashwords. It’s going to take place in the Stars universe so that way you can get a general idea of what to expect for The Stars Trilogy.
  • I plan to blog three times a week: one post talking about my writing life, chatting about my favorite books, and a critique of anything I find in the world of writing. I can’t set any days, as I have to blog around my work and ballet schedules.

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