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I started writing in 2005. I was in college at Texas A&M University, living on my own in a small one bedroom apartment, working at Old Navy, and taking classes on campus. University bus route #25 was right outside my apartment complex, but it dropped off on the opposite side of campus that my classes were on, and I was too poor/frugal to pay for parking on campus... so most days, it wasn't worth taking the bus or my little truck to campus. So I walked.
It was 3 miles from my apartment door to the Administration Building at the front entrance of campus. I would then walk to wherever my first class would be... usually on engineering row... (though I was NOT an engineering major) ;)
One day, as I walked to campus, my mind wandered to a flyer I had seen at my advisors office the day before. A flyer about studying abroad in Ireland. My little east Texas heart thought it would be amazing to go there. At this point, I had never even been out of the country, so the thought of traveling to a new place terrified, but also excited me. But... I couldn't do it. It was expensive and just not in the cards for me. I recognized that, and as I passed the Oceanography Building, I convinced myself that I would stop by the SCC (Computer Lab) after class and research Ireland just for kicks. Maybe that would satisfy my wanderlust for the place.
So I did. I ended up sitting in the computer lab for two and a half hours just fascinated with everything Ireland. And I printed information packet after information packet that I found (Because printing was free at that time) ;) or at least... I think it was. Ha! And... History major here... research was a strong point for me!
I then made the 3 mile trek back home, all the while my mind just started turning. I decided to detour and walk to the park that was about three blocks over from my apartment complex. I sat at a picnic table at Thomas Park, pulled out a notepad, and began jotting down names. That is how the O'Rifcan family was born.
I claim to be a writer for 13 years, because that is when it started. But I've only been an author for 10 years. Claron, Book One in the O'Rifcan Siblings Series is my 10th book for publication, and my 79th book to write. Most manuscripts won't see the light of day because they were terrible first attempts. It's how we learn.
The early manuscript about the O'Rifcan family is ROUGH. (maybe an understatement) But the characters and some of the scene ideas are the same... just tweaked and written by today me instead of 2005 me. Thank goodness. ;)
So this book release is special for me. It's the first story that started it all. Started one of my favorite "past times" as I would sit in my apartment and type away on my boxy HP computer I'd gotten for Christmas in high school. I'd write until too late in the night, and then get up for my 4/5 am shipment shift at Old Navy. Work. Go to class. Work again. Come home. Write. Repeat. If I was at home, I was writing (or studying/reading for class... if my mom is reading this) ;)
Now, I can call my past time my job. Not many people get to do that. And I'm thankful I love what I do. I'm thankful that a simple flyer could spark a career... just not in the way I thought it would be.
So I can't wait for you guys to read Claron.
Thank you for being a part of this journey for me.
And Lord willing, more to come.
Yes, it is still June, but man, lately all I have been doing is planning for July and August!
But let me tell you.... the next two months are going to be jam packed with all sorts of goodies for you guys!
In July: EACH week there will be an awesome GIVEAWAY. :)
Why you ask?
Because a NEW SERIES KICKS OFF AUGUST 8th!!!
Ready for a new series?! I hope so!
So in July I will be slowly introducing you to the new characters that you will soon fall in love with as the series progresses. :) You’re welcome. ;)
I cannot wait for you guys to read these books!
And don’t worry... The Lighthearted will continue as well. I have another book for that collection planned for later this year. But in the meantime, I want you guys to fall in love with some really great new characters. :)
So be sure to bring your A-game come July, because there are some incredible Giveaways coming up. Eeeeeeeep! :)
Thank you for being such an incredible group of readers. I love what I do, and I couldn’t keep doing it if it were not for you guys!
See you in July!
Okay, so I’m not literally on the road in Ireland right now, but I am traveling via the worldwide web. I pit-stopped in Kanturk and checked out an awesome castle that two of my characters will stop and take a gander at on their trip south. As you can see, they have quite a bit of time to fill.
I love road trips. Always have, and probably always will. One of the things I’ve loved about researching for my latest work in progress (WIP), is that I get to live vicariously through my characters. Though my husband and I have planned two trips to Ireland in the last 3 years, we have yet to make it there due to scheduling conflicts. But it IS our next big trip we have planned. I think I may have a more elaborate travel plan than Brad even realizes due to all my research the last year. One thing is for certain though, and I don’t even have to be there to know, but Ireland is beautiful, and thus far I’ve only encountered extremely friendly people. Both of these factors makes me want to visit even more.
My sources, aka people that provide information in regards to my manuscript, live in various parts of Ireland. Two are in Dublin, one in Cork City, and the other near Shannon. I have one that lives in Greece, but grew up in Ireland. I love picking their brains about local jargon, family interaction, and beautiful hot spots. They are a wealth of information, and I aim to bring their beauty to life in my next series.
One of my other sources is a farmer here in South Texas. Yes, farming in Ireland is different in regards to irrigation and weather patterns, but the overall method is pretty much the same. I’ve watched youtube video after youtube video about Irish farming. I’ve picked my handy farmer’s brain on personal aspects and technical aspects of farming. I’ve even picked my husband’s brain. I’ve interviewed my grandparents in regards to dairy farming, toured the old dairy farm, made friends with some cows, and walked the paths I did as a kid with the fresh eyes of being an adult. All of this has been such an amazing journey for me. I love every minute of researching for a manuscript, but this particular series has required more than others. And I’ve never had a manuscript span so many people from so many backgrounds. It’s truly incredible.
I’ve wanted to write this series for years, and now that I finally am, I cannot WAIT for you guys to read it.
Until then, be sure to check out my other titles if you haven’t already. :) I love them too. Ha!
Yes, I posted a picture of cows. Aren’t they cute?! I walked up to the fence and all of a sudden cows from all over the pasture just started lining up to come see me. Much like a friendly puppy, they all wanted just a bit of my attention. So I snapped photo after photo all while petting head after head. My favorite was the little Jersey cow poking her head through the sea of black and white. She was a curious one. Nosy, but hesitant to just fully put herself out there. I get it, girl. I get it. So I just pet the other cows around her until she finally warmed up to me and nudged my hand. Sometimes we are like that. Sometimes we need to gauge our surroundings before just jumping head first into something. It’s scary to face the new and unknown. I relate with this Jersey girl. And I will tell you how...
For the last seven years I’ve had an entire jump drive (or flash drive, whichever you call it) full of potential manuscript drafts, notes, research, etc. all for a new series I plan to write “one day.” I’ve been nervous to do so, because with all books I write, I wonder if people will accept them or appreciate them the way I do. Funny how after almost a decade of writing, I still feel those pre-publishing jitters. But that’s okay. Tackling something new IS scary, but it’s also fun. I’ve developed characters, an entire family really, that I absolutely LOVE! I’ve established a town in the middle of County Clare, Ireland, that again, I LOVE.
But it’s new. It’s different. It’s a little scary. I’ve flirted around with the ideas for years. I’ve developed the ideas for years. I’ve tested the eyes of a trusted beta reader over the last several weeks and she agreed with me that it is time for this story to come to life in book form. So, my cow picture??? Why was I visiting cows? All in the name of research. :) Because one of my characters is a dairy farmer, and what better way to learn about the dairy business than sitting down with my grandparents who were in the dairy business for 39 years?! And what better way to learn than to walk around the old farm and milk room, reminiscing, laughing, and “researching” amazing information I can incorporate into this upcoming series?!
So what started out as a fearful endeavor into something new, turned out to be a walk around something... not so new. I grew up visiting the dairy. It was fun to see it as an adult. And what seemed so daunting before doesn’t seem so big now... or intimidating. Full circles of feelings swamped me as I watched that Jersey cow find my hand for some attention... as I walked the steps I did as a kid in order to learn and listen to a legacy of hard work spilling from my Ninny and Papaw’s lips... to realizing that sometimes my stories aren’t about me and how I’m feeling. That even though I create characters from thin air, their struggles, their lives, their stories, all come from the people I meet or know in my life. That I can utilize an old dairy farm and the experiences of real people and turn them into fun, heartwarming, and even uplifting stories.
Every book I write has tidbits of my life hidden in their pages, whether it’s people, places, events, or details... And as I prepare this first book in a new series for you, I want to thank you for reading the stories I create. For your appreciation of those small tidbits that are from me for your enjoyment. It is always my hope you find them as wonderful as I do. I love weaving them together, and I’m thankful for each reader that takes the time to enjoy. :)
I’ll keep you posted as I dive further into fun for this new series. :) It’s definitely an adventure. :)
Til next time,
Well, it's happening! The second book in The Lighthearted Collection is set to release on August 5, 2017!
Montgomery House is a small tribute to my southern roots. I had more fun writing this book because of some of the jargon, atmosphere, and fun comes from much of what I know from my own life. Obviously, much is also created just for the story, but it was fun to capture small glimpses of my life into a book. :)
Here's the blurb from the back of the book so you can check it out.
Be sure to check it out on
August 5, 2017!
It's been an exciting couple of months. Thanks to all of you for making the launch of Chicago's Best a memorable and successful one. :) You guys rock, as usual.
It was a great way to launch The Lighthearted Collection!
And makes me super excited to release book number two in the collection soon!
(I actually send it off to my editors on Monday... as in a day and a half away... I better get busy) ;p
But just wanted to stop in and chat with you guys. I recently took a trip to Boston, MA. BEAUTIFUL city! Loved every second while there. While there, I took the city by storm and also sneaked in a few copies of Chicago's Best all over the place. Airports, airplanes, hotel lounges, etc. ;)
This was one of my drop offs. ;)
I hope those who found them: read them, loved them, and passed them on. We shall see though. :)
I have also recently started taking my author mentoring up a notch. I help other indie authors pave their way in the publishing world, only now I'm doing it a bit more. Last year, I mentored about 6 different authors, various genres, various stages in the process... it's a blast. This year, I have more authors on board and it's been fun consulting for them. Self publishing should not be hard, and if it is, ask another Indie author HOW they've done it. We are friendly people. We don't mind. :) But there is a new page up at the top of the website that you may have noticed: Publishing Help
Click there and you can check it all out if you are in need of some guidance. :)
Again, thank you all for supporting me on this fun adventure. I am loving doing this writin' gig. ;) And I appreciate you all for making it possible.
'Til next time.
That's right! Chicago's Best is out and about on Amazon!
I'm a bit behind in announcing it... :/ As is life with a 14 month old. ;p
But Chicago's Best released on March 10th! And so far, I'm quite pleased with how it's doing! You guys snatched it up and have been letting me know what you think, AND I love that!!! :)
CB (Chicago's Best) is the first book in The Lighthearted Collection, and I would like to say book number two is in the works as we speak. ETA for that one should be this summer. :)
I want to give you guys a bit of a breakdown on how Chicago's Best came together... and so quickly! ;p
First thing first: I have been writing since 2005. I've been an author since 2009. And when I first started out, well, you guys are familiar... I came out with children's books. (The Adventurous Life of Laura Bell, Susie At Your Service, and Sissy and Kat)
Although I was publishing children's books, I wasn't just writing children's lit. I was writing adult fiction. The Unfading Lands was mapped out in about 2006. I just never sat down and wrote the complete story until 2014. But it was in the works, even back then. On top of that though, I have written several, and I mean several, (73 to be exact), smaller novellas like CB mentioned above. However, my writing back then is NOT what it is now. I decided though, that instead of just sitting on books I've written and not doing anything with them, I should actually DO SOMETHING WITH THEM. So, there goes the birth of The Lighthearted Collection. CB is a hybrid between two of my past work-in-progresses. I sort of molded them together, rewrote, tweaked, changed, made better, etc. in order to come out with CB. Overall, it only took me two months to write it. Not too shabby. It took me about a month to go through my editor, and then the other rounds of edits. Within that month, my beta readers were reading it. Then final edits took a few more weeks. And then I sent off for final proof copy just 4 days before the designated release date. Thankfully, it came back smooth and ready. So March 10th was it. :)
What also took a couple months was designing the cover. Originally, my cover designer and I were looking at something illustrated for the cover... let's just say after coming up with several designs, I just wasn't happy with the feel of it. Neither was my designer. So I told her what I wanted. Well, turns out what I told her I wanted, was the exact thing I had originally told her I did NOT want. HA! But it works! And she did one design, and BAM! The cover of CB was pretty much done! :) She and I were both happy with it. It fits the story SUPER well. And it is pleasing to the eye, if I do say so myself. ;)
I'm happy with it. The story, the cover, the feedback... I am thrilled you guys are enjoying it as well. It makes my inner romantic so happy! ;)
And if you liked CB, make sure to keep checkin' in... because the next in The Lighthearted Collection will be coming SOON!!!!
Thank you all for the support, encouragement, and smiles. :)
Do you like Suspense? Romance? Comedy?
So you head on over to Facebook, click on Create Page, and done. You make an author platform. Now what?
What you want is for people to like your page, obviously, because this links you to their Newsfeed. Anytime you post something, it will show up on their newsfeed. And if someone likes your post, then every now and then that action will show up on their friends' newsfeeds saying, "So&So liked Author Joe's Post."
On top of that, Facebook allows you to create Ad Campaigns to promote your book throughout the Facebook world. Yes, you have to pay for these ads, but they can bring in more traffic to your website or Facebook Page. I use Facebook Ads quite often. The secret to these puppies is to start small and really try to shrink your target to 500,000 or below. So work on those keywords and get that number to go from 13 Billion to 250,000. ;) It sounds complicated, but it really isn't. It will walk you through step by step, and seriously just play with it. There are also some helpful services that you can purchase that go into this further. One being: www.selfpublishingformula.com/
Mark Dawson, well to say he is an expert might be an understatement, though there are services here that require a fee, he does offer some free videos to walk you through some basics in Facebook Advertising. I have done both the free and the packages. Both were worth the time. :)
There are others as well, like Sprout Social: sproutsocial.com/insights/facebook-advertising-guide/
They actually walk you through step by step as well. So either way, you should get a good idea on what to do. :)
Remember that it will take several times to pinpoint your demographic and target audience. Once you do, each ad should boast some solid results for you.
Another thing to remember on Facebook is the opportunity to create events, which comes in handy when you have a book release coming up or a book signing. I actually plan to do this for my next book release to try it out. I have done it for a book signing before, and it was worth the time. So I will have to keep you updated on how it goes for the book release. ;)
If you have any questions in regards to anything I've mentioned above, feel free to message me. There really are so many opportunities for marketing with Facebook. It is hard to touch upon just one or two aspects.
But I hope this at least helped some, or provided you some handy sites to check out.
Until next time...
***Photos courtesy of Facebook
So.... here are some of my tips.
I have also started posting links on my Twitter: @AuthorKatharine to share some cool articles I come across that help in all aspects of the writing venture. Be sure to check them out here: twitter.com/AuthorKatharine
1. Social Media is your friend.
I know we would all like to bury our heads in the sand when it comes to social media, but the fact of the matter is, in today's world, social media is where it's at. Everything. Your future audience. Your future followers. And your word-of-mouth marketers. Now, is it the only place you will find an audience? No. But it is important. Get plugged in. Whether Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. Whichever or whatever. My advice would be to really focus on which ones work for you. I do not bog myself down with twenty different social media accounts. I operate mostly with Facebook and Twitter, because for me, that is where my followers hang out most.
Once you have established a presence with these platforms, then it is all about connecting with people. In my next post, I will talk about how to do this in regards to targeting your specific audience or demographic. Until then, if you have not set up or established a presence within social media, I would say 'Hurry up and do it.' :)
Get yourself a website or blog set up. There are lots of free hosts out there.
And many more... the point is to get one set up. Post as much as you can/whatever you have time for. This is a way for your readers, or some strangers, to learn more about you. Even if you have not published your book yet, walk them through what you are doing. Get them on board for the journey as well. They will become invested in the journey with you, so that by the time your book does release, they want to see the finished product. :)
3. Book Signings.
Yep... sit at a booth and meet people. Some people tend to think that writing is the perfect career for introverts... not true. Yes, a lot of writers are and they make it work, but you cannot go into this field without interacting with people. If you're like me and not an introvert, only when I want to be, then talking with people never really bothers you. In fact, I love meeting people, so festivals are something I feel I HAVE to do in order to stay sane. I want to meet potential readers or writers. I want to talk with them. This is FUN! So find out what festivals are near you. They can be Fall Festivals or specifically Book Festivals. An easy Google Search will show you some options.
4. Other writers/ Support Groups.
No, I'm not talking about support groups in general, I'm talking a support group consisting of other writers and authors. It can be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or down at your local library, or in the city one town over... whatever works for you. I live in the middle of nowhere, therefore, my writing groups are mostly online based. PLUS, I'm involved with International groups, because I happen to like the diversity it brings. I'm involved with an international group that ranges in experience, a Women's Writers group, and one specifically for my state of Texas. But find groups that you can ACTIVELY participate in and draw help and support from. Don't be shy. Most of these people are either a.) More experienced than you, b.) Less experienced than you, or c.) Just as experienced as you.... so no matter which way you look at it, you benefit from being a part of the group.
DO NOT THINK THIS: "If people borrow my book, they aren't buying."
Though this is true when people borrow your book from the library, the flip side is this...
-If they like your book, they are going to tell their friends about it. (Some of these friends rather buy than borrow)
-They could possibly leave a review for you on Amazon, Goodreads, or B&N. Authors love reviews! Take them when you can get them! :)
-If they like your book, they may purchase it as a gift for their own personal library or for someone else!
So don't think of libraries as your enemies. They are extremely HELPFUL.
PLUS, an opportunity for a book signing set up is also there. I've done several at libraries, and they are a great way to interact with readers and the community.
There are multiple other marketing tips, and as I think of them I will try to pound out some helpful tips and links. For now, I will try to expand upon these and give you helpful links as well as my personal experience with each of these in upcoming posts.
Till next time,
Howdy Everyone! And welcome to my website! My name is Katharine Hamilton and I am a writer and multi-genre author! Thank you for stopping by!