I hated gardening when I was a kid. My grandmother lived with us (or maybe it was the other way around), either way, she had both an indoor and outdoor garden.
She would spend a good portion of her day, tending to her assorted plants and flowers. She had exotics like orchids, a terrarium of cacti, miniature palm trees, and a variety of African violets in a rainbow of colors.
I thought them bothersome, as well as a waste of time. When she passed, my mother took over the care of them. My mom wasn’t much of a gardener either, and I was stunned when the plants became an important part of her life. When my mother died, I was faced with either throwing the lot out or taking them to my home.
I couldn’t toss away something that meant so much to both of them. The women in my life nurtured and respected these plants, devoting huge amounts of time and emotion to their upkeep.
They took over my kitchen in a tangle of vines and vibrant leaves. Between my husband and myself, we managed not to kill any of them. I didn’t know that nurturing these plants would prepare me for my future ventures when I started marketing my son’s and my books.
Lesson One It may be a weed to you, but to someone else, it’s a beautiful flower.
Some of these plants were plain ugly. Still, they were important to my grandmother, and I continued to care for them. They might have prickly leaves or be a noxious shade of green, but she saw something in them to keep them lovingly watered and safe from the elements.
So, the connection to books. I like some of my stories better than others. Each was written during a different point in my life and brings back memories like old photographs. Sometimes when I reread them, I’ll wince or have a cringe-worthy moment. I know I can do better than that. In fact, I think I have, but if the goal of writing was to be commercially successful, we have to write about what will actually sell.
Experience has taught me many things. However, the surprise is, that the ones that I may not have enjoyed creating are sometimes more successful financially.
While I do have a regular job, most of the purpose of being an author for both my son and me was to create another income stream. The point is, you have to push forward and market the books that earn if your goal is to make money. It may not be what you want to write about, or your passion, but the ones that support your other interests need the most time in the sun to help your endeavor.
Lesson Two Oh, the Constant Care
I learned to water those plants. Sounds stupid? Once I put them in that corner of my kitchen, I forgot about them. It wasn’t until I saw their roots showing with water deprivation and the soil had shrunk to half the pot that I realized they had to be looked after daily. Some plant varieties needed more water than others- I learned that valuable lesson when I flooded the pots, nearly drowning the poor things.
Marketing books have to be tended daily. The watering comes in the form of talking about them on Facebook, or blogs. You can run specials on the various reading sites like Bargain Booksy, or Instafreebee, or even give them away directly from Amazon in the giveaways located at the bottom of the page. You can flood the market by giving them away too often or for too little; it may cheapen the product. However, you have to expose your books just the right amount of time by letting people know about them.
Lesson Three Knowing When to Prune
Sometimes the plants got too big for the pots, and they had to be replanted. In the same way, sites can become stale. You have to search for fresh places to post about your book, “replanting” it in front of new eyes. Check out other authors in your genre, see if they will do Facebook Takeovers or Facebook/Blog Exchanges with you.
Get a group of writers together and see if you can make up a Spring or Fall catalog of your books to send out on all your mailing lists. By sharing your spotlight and resources with others, you expose readers to more books, and the other authors will be doing the same for you.
By offering a variety of books to the readers on your mailing list, you show it’s not just about you. It may spur them to purchase multiple books. If you continuously bombard your followers with the SOS they will likely get bored. You may find your mailing list taking off and growing like a field of bluebonnetsin Texas; once exposed to new potential followers gathered from your colleagues collections.
Lesson Four Rome wasn’t Grown in a Day, Either
Most of all, taking ownership of those plants and caring for them taught me patience. When one finally bloomed for me the first time, it was a delicate and surprisingly little bud for all my efforts, but I beamed, nonetheless. I had a huge victory.
My efforts yielded something, and you know what? The next batch of flowers filled that kitchen with color. Fat, juicy flowers that made my grandchildren want to share the activity of creating a herbal garden that spring.
I learned patience. I learned small victories are windows to substantial benefits. I learned that if you want results with anything, you have to put in the work and the work is constant.
It may not be backbreaking, it may not be hard, but it has to be watched, and when the time is right you can’t sit on your keister waiting for life to happen. Sometimes you have to help it along.
Three years ago, during a movie marathon with his son, bestselling self-published author Michael Okon asked himself why there wasn’t a theme park with zombies. His brother, in turn, asked why the theme park couldn't have werewolves, vampires, and zombies. Okon started writing Monsterland that very night. He initially released the thriller about two young boys lost in just such a park on his own, but the idea generated enough buzz to help Okon sign with indie press WordFire and with a Hollywood agent hoping to turn Monsterland into one of the classic popcorn movies that inspired it. He might still be waiting on Hollywood’s final answer, but Okon has kept busy turning Monsterland into a long-running book series.
What do you think sets Monsterland apart from other typical horror stories?
Monsterland has many layers. I tried to avoid the typical clichéd horror story and dive deep into very raw issues such as bullying, broken family relationships, being comfortable in your own skin, political upheaval, corruption. Monsterland covers a wide gamut of topics. And yes, there are monsters, but it’s so much more than a typical slasher gorefest. The deeper meaning of Monsterland is simple: How do you capture the world? You build a theme park.
Have you always wanted to write something in the supernatural/horror genre for YA readers?
I’ve learned there literally are a million ways of telling a “monster in the house” story. The genre never gets old, and as long as you come up with a fresh take on the horror/paranormal theme, you will always have a great story to tell. I would never box myself into just being a horror writer or paranormal writer, for that matter. My stories can appeal to the young (my 9-year-old son is one of my beta readers) to teens, to new adult and beyond after that. Nine to 90 is my target audience.
How has it been to go from self-publishing Monsterland to having a film agent?
Everything that is happening in my life now, I planned out. I know that may sound far-fetched, but I believe in asking the universe for the life you want. I actually wrote the book on creating a life blueprint, Just Ask the Universe, which is still a bestseller on Amazon. Going from self-publishing to being a commercially published author has been incredible. It truly is the dream. But…getting a literary agent, a powerful entertainment attorney, and a film agent at a major agency has been the best part.
On that note, any news on a film adaptation?
Yes. My film agent got Monsterland into the hands of a mega-producer, who I’ve spoken to on a few occasions. He is convinced this is his next movie. And now…like right now…they are pitching the movie to every studio in Hollywood. Is this a dream? Heck, yeah! Is it a slow process? Absolutely. Believe me, when it happens I will be the first to shout it to the world.
How have you found the experience of working with a small press?
Wonderful. The team at WordFire have been mentors to me. They have guided me to create this incredibly tight story called Monsterland. Kevin J. Anderson has been a Jedi Master to me.
Any exciting new monsters readers can look forward to in the upcoming sequel?
Monsterland Reanimated was released to the world on Friday, April 13. In Book 2, the readers will meet The Glob (think a modern-day version of The Blob), Mummies (this was fun to write), and a reanimated monster (think Frankenstein’s monster), and every reader will figure out who it is in the first chapter. I’m almost done with Monsterland Beneath. Books 4, 5, and 6 have all been named and the stories have been beaten out. I already know the finale.
Rhett Morgan is a writer and translator based in Paris.
Join your favorite authors for a day full of fun and prizes
Follow @IndieAuthorsMonthly on FaceBook on Thursday, May 10th from 12PM-8:30PM for #AuthorTakeover Day!
Indie Author's Monthly would like to invite you to our #AuthorTakeover happening Thursday, May 10th from 12PM - 8:30PM only on FaceBook @IndieAuthorsMonthly featuring the following authors! Come for the prizes, stay for the fun!
Thursday, May 10th 12 PM @IndieAuthorsMonthly ONLY ON FaceBook
Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.
Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.
CAROLE P. ROMAN
Thursday, May 10th 12:30 PM @IndieAuthorsMonthly ONLY ON FaceBook
Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of over fifty children's books. Whether it's pirates, princesses, or discovering the world around us, her books have enchanted educators, parents, and her diverse audience of children. She hosts two blog radio programs and is one of the founders of a new magazine, Indie Author's Monthly. She's been interviewed twice by Forbes Magazine. Carole has co-authored a self-help book, Navigating Indieworld: A Beginners Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing. Oh Susannah is her first Early Reader Chapter book series. She lives on Long Island near her children and grandchildren.
DALE E. LEHMAN
Thursday, May 10th 1 PM @IndieAuthorsMonthly ONLY ON FaceBook
Dale E. Lehman writes mystery, science fiction, and occasional nonfiction. His Howard County Mystery series, set in Howard County, Maryland, includes The Fibonacci Murders, True Death, and the forthcoming Ice on the Bay. His fourth Howard County Mystery is in the works, along with a science fiction humor novel about a hapless opera company trying to make it in the outer reaches of the solar system.
A veteran software developer, amateur astronomer, bonsai artist in training, and member of the Baha'i Faith, his writing has appeared in Sky & Telescope magazine, a couple of technical journals, and on his own website Planet Baha'i (which went into retirement, lost its memory, and has now been resurrected as a not very active blog). With his Catholic wife, he owns and operates One Voice Press, a small religious press, and its fiction imprint Serpent Cliff. In his "spare time" (ha ha) he facilitates a small creative writing workshop for local authors.
Thursday, May 10th 1:30 PM @IndieAuthorsMonthly ONLY ON FaceBook
With a degree in English, a second degree in Finance and a Masters in Business Administration, Michael Samuels has attracted everything into his life because he followed successful people and their thought processes. He has read and thoroughly tested hundreds of books on spirituality, self-improvement, and the metaphysical. The Universe has helped Michael run a highly successful family-owned business with offices all over the country. He currently lives in New York with his wife, son, and daughter.
Thursday, May 10th 2 PM @IndieAuthorsMonthly ONLY ON FaceBook
Erica Graham is an award winning children's author. Graham graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with her Master of Science Degree in Speech Language Pathology. She also holds her Certificate of Clinical Competence with the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. As a mother, Graham understands the difficulty parents have finding time to work on speech with their children. In her pursuit to create a fun easy way for therapists, children, and their parents to enhance speech development while promoting literacy, she has written a series of exciting children’s books. Each book focuses on a core sound used in the English language. Outside of writing and working as a Speech Language Pathologist, Graham enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and daughters, volunteering with the youth group at church, and a good cup of tea.
Thursday, May 10th 2:30 PM @IndieAuthorsMonthly ONLY ON FaceBook
Ceci Wolfe writes whatever her characters tell her to write, including YA, contemporary family drama and romance, and Christian historical romance.
Upcoming releases (2018): Starlight, The Competition, and Treasure of Hope.
Thursday, May 10th 3:30 PM @IndieAuthorsMonthly ONLY ON FaceBook
Aaron S Gallagher was born in Syracuse, New York and currently resides in Leander, Texas with his long-suffering wife, three rowdy teenagers, and a thoroughly indifferent cat.
His writing career began at a young age after he annexed an old mechanical typewriter from his mother. His work has appeared in Analog Science Fiction & Fact, Ares Magazine, and Escape Pod . He has received both a semi-finalist and honorable mention in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest. In between haranguing magazine editor he also wrote 17 books and refuses to stop.
His genres include crime fiction, science fiction, and drama. He prefers to read deep stories populated with characters that develop and breathe on their own, and endeavors to write the same. His goal is to create new worlds, compelling characters, and to bring something unique into the world experienced.
All of his work is available on Amazon.
Thursday, May 10th 4 PM @IndieAuthorsMonthly ONLY ON FaceBook
M.J. Woods lives in Central New York with her husband, two daughters and her beautiful but not-so-bright Bernese Mountain Dog. For over twenty years, her 9 to 5 days have been spent working in the legal field of a small town. She often draws from these experiences and re-imagines them to get her characters into trouble while they find love.
M.J. writes motivated by coffee and music, also drawing inspiration from the Central New York landscape or random stimulus, like her husband’s latest copy of “Motor Trend”.
She is a member of the Central New York Romance Writers and the Romance Writers of America.
Thursday, May 10th 4:30 PM @IndieAuthorsMonthly ONLY ON FaceBook
I’m the mother of five (yes, you read that correctly, FIVE), all of which are grown and gone except my youngest who has a few more years yet before she is let loose into society. I’ve recently become a grandmother, and I expect that will happen more often as the years go by. One of these days I’m going to write a book about my children, much to their impending regret, but that's what memoir writers do, they share their lives and their stories. And let’s face it, children are ripe fodder for the funny and the tragic, often all at the same time.
Thursday, May 10th 6:30 PM @IndieAuthorsMonthly ONLY ON FaceBook
R.L Jackson is an avid reader and writer, hailing from the Sunny state of Florida. She is also the Editor In Chief of Indie Authors Monthly a new magazine created for readers and authors. She enjoys binge-watching Netflix, uses her treadmill as an oversized coat hanger, and hopes to entertain you with awesome emotionally charged books for years to come!
Thursday, May 10th 7 PM @IndieAuthorsMonthly ONLY ON FaceBook
She is a proud member of the Visionary Fiction Alliance and was the founder of a national writers organization. She has conducted numerous writers conferences and workshops for adults and children. She is the founder of Ascension Cabin at Camp NaNoWriMo.
BEN JACKSON & SAM LAWRENCE
Thursday, May 10th 7:30 PM @IndieAuthorsMonthly ONLY ON FaceBook
Ben lives in Tasmania, Australia while working the Long Distance Relationship with his wife Sam who lives in Canada. He is a tradesman by day and a writer by night. He has numerous books in progress so stay tuned for information on those by following this page.
DEL HENDERSON III
Thursday, May 10th 8 PM @IndieAuthorsMonthly ONLY ON FaceBook
Del Henderson, born and raised in Illinois, enjoys writing, fueling his passion and love for the noble art of putting pen to paper, or more appropriate, keyboard to computer. Diving into pure imagination he has produced works that grip his reader's minds with mystery and suspense as they are brought into the fascinating world of fiction.
Celebrate Mother's Day with this Mother-Son book duo! Enter here for your chance to win signed paperback copies of Monsterland and Monsterland Reanimated by Michael Okon AND Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag, Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump, and Oh Susannah: Color With Me by Carole P. Roman. The perfect mix of horror and fun!