The Alpha’s Dream: A Check-in and Check up.

The year is nearly done and The Alpha’s Dream is still showing up for me.

I guess, that is the mark of a good piece of work. It continues on. I say good, because there were definitely some moments I there where I thought of pulling it due to errors. Errors, I have yet to correct. Sigh. That’s a post for another time.

What is true right now is that I still love my first release.

I had hoped that would be true. There are changes I would love to make, Things/ scenes I would reconsider or rework, but even with the editing that is goiong to happen as soon as possible, I will honestly leave most of it as it is.

I like that sometimes the characters run away with the story. I like the overly descriptive chapters and the thin foreshadowing in some places. I like that I can accept every good and bad review of it at face value and still think it beautiful. It’s a lot like falling in love. Except this way, I can fall in love the same way over and over and know that it won’t change over time.

The Alpha's Dream Check up Blog Post
http://www.jocelynyoung.com Blog post on debut release The Alpha’s Dream

If you are wondering what triggered this post about The Alpha’s Dream, I’ll be honest. It is because I am still completely infatuated with the Euphoria and Nathaniel. I want you to be infatuated too.

In other news, I’ve been thinking about it a lot because it was my first release. The following novels I’m working on all involve characters from The Alpha’s Dream and I just loved Euphoria and Nathaniel.

They were a perfect start for me. Their imperfections, their easy chemistry, and their need for each other still strikes a cord in me. I’ve written a lot of stories as a ghostwriter and co-writer. I’ve loved a lot of characters, but they are special. They are in a class all their own.

I’ve been working on my second release. It’s Heroine is Charlotte Jackson, Euphoria Blanchard’s best friend from The Alpha’s Dream. As I flesh out her life, I find myself thinking more and more about the Blanchard’s. What are the twins up too? How does Nathaniel feel about his father now? How has marriage and children changed them?

All these questions play out in my head. I wonder if they play out in yours.

It’s funny that books will feel that way. I guess that is what truly makes them powerful, the ability to make us linger in worlds that don’t belong to us. The ability to make us care about lives that don’t actually exist, and how often it feels like they do.

As The Alpha’s Dream continues to flourish. I hope that you get a chance to dive into the lives of Euphoria and Nathaniel and by proxy their amazing, loyal friends. My want is that they stay with you, the way they’ve stayed with me.

 

Joy.

Time to be a professional.

We’ve already established that my work in progress hasn’t been kind. Turns out, it doesn’t matter.

I’ve never been a fan of forcing a story. Ever. Ultimately what happens for me is that my characters become resentful and clam up. They don’t talk. They don’t want to answer any of my questions and refuse to cooperate in any progressive form.

That is exactly what is happening with my current work in progress.

A while ago, I established that I was looking to start over on a new project in order to let my preferred work in progress rest. It didn’t want to be written as illustrated by the numerous false starts. In theory, pulling back would free up my head for other great stories, In reality, no.

I have about three finished and outlined premises so it isn’t a matter of determining what to write. Instead, it is a battle of what wants to be written. This is a common problem for authors, artist. All day, I swim in ideas and narrowing one down is a war between ease and timing.

My current work in progress naturally comes next. Therefore, nothing else I think to work on will do. I tried to convince myself to be fine with the change, and nothing is working. So, its time to be a professional.

I’m going back to my original story.

I don’t know if this is a good idea yet. I’m stuck in neutral about whether or not I will have a product I love at the end of this. One thing stands out in my mind. I am not writing simply for the pleasure of it anymore. This is my career.

In order for me to accomplish the dreams I have sat for myself, I have to push against my stubborn hero and find a way to bribe him into talking. My heroine deserves that. She is ready and willing to take the journey and I won’t give up on her just yet.

So, it is back to the drawing board. So help me God, even if its only five hundred words a day I am going to get this man to discuss his life with me. Eventually, he will see that I am right or fall in love. I’m down for whichever happens first.

Any great ideas you’ve been struggling to bring to light? Tell me about it below.

Joy.

 

My Work In Progress isn’t Working.

I’ve started my second release. It doesn’t want to cooperate.

After taking some postpartum time away, I started a realistic pace back to writing. I had the perfect premise. The outline created a seemingly effortless rhythm. I thought I would be able to slip into the swing of things without much more than normal effort.

I was dead wrong.

Not only has it been like trying to herd ants to create a consistent writing schedule again, it has been like trying to thread cotton candy through a rice strainer to get the words to flow.

This is a problem. Of course, you know that.

I’ve been struggling to get to the bottom of  my difficulty. I believed for a long time it was just because I’m distracted with motherhood. My little  darlings are wonderful, but they are also little and motherhood is not a job I want to slack at. (Though sometimes I still do.) What I noticed, is that even with my darlings pre-occupied with their father, my computer in cooperative mode, and my focus on the story things still weren’t coming.

To be clear, this doesn’t feel like writers block. Instead, it feels like a timing problem. The story I want to write isn’t ready to be written. This totally sucks vinegar Popsicles. I have several premises and outlines created. I have in my head, a particular order. My second work in progress was intentionally chosen.  For it to choose this moment to be disruptive is just completely and utterly disrespectful. But it’s difficult to punish a manuscript. So, instead of a sharp reprimand, my focus must turn to redeeming the lost writing time.

So, what do I do about it?

The easy answer is move on to one of my other premises. Surely, there is something that is ready to be written. So far, I have four beautiful premises in various stages of not being written. Again, vinegar popsicle.

 

I take a deep breath. It’s time to be a professional. I could force the writing of one of the other manuscripts. Inspiration is a luxury. In order for me to hit the timelines I’ve set as my goal I have to get to work on my second release despite it not being what I want.

I start again. From scratch. I’ve decided to shelf my initial plan and make room for the stories that do want to come. It will take a little time and I hate the anxiety it builds in me, but ultimately it will be a better story.

I love all of the characters I have currently fleshed. When I get to them, I want to tell their stories right. I want to do their lives justice by being open to their voices, letting them choose their behaviors, and allowing their lives to truly take form. I won’t force them to come to me until they are ready.

When I start again, I’ll drop you guys a line to let you know how perfect it feels. Until then, cross your fingers and eat a piece of chocolate  in solidarity for me. I might not make it out of this unscathed.

Do you have any plans that have ben temporarily postpone? How does that alter your goals? Fill me in through the comment section.

Joy.

#PublishingTheAlpha’sDream

A month ago, I published for the first time ever under my own name. I’m still freaking out about it.

I’ve mentioned before, this isn’t my first published work. The thing is, it’s very different publishing under a pseudonym or as part of a collaborative work. Taking ownership of my words is something I’ve always struggled with, and thus The Alpha’s Dream is no small creation for me.

There are tons of things I learned on the road to writing it, but what I want to discuss today is what I’ve learned from dreaming it period. Here are five things wanting The Alpha’s Dream has taught me.

 

Career changes are risky.  

When I first decided to write The Alpha’s Dream there were only two things of which I was certain. I wanted a career from writing my own books and I would have to cut back on my ghostwriting.  That great book you love, it took hella long hours to write. There was no way I was going to be able to keep the pace of my ghostwriting and add in the creation of my own original work. I had to cut back my hours, which translated into missed income from my home. At the time, I had two littles and had just discovered my third pregnancy. I wanted to put it off longer. Collecting great premises that I would one day flesh into novellas or novels had become a hobby of sorts. After weeks of quietly deliberating, I talked to my husband. His response was for me to go for it. We would restructure and figure out how to make it. I was terrified anyway and rightfully so. Our budget was already stretched to it’s seam, but then the first certainty kicked in. I knew I wanted to publish my own work, and there was only one way to get there. I would have to take the chance and pull away from creating for others to build the life I wanted for myself. I had to face the risk of it, or I would never know what could come of it. Thus, the Year of the Leap was born. 

Plan. Execute. Repeat.

I have limited time. Balancing wifehood, motherhood, and writing full time leaves me short of hours. If I was goin to do this I would need to be sure from the beginning. I took a couple of weeks to determine what premise I would use for my first release, then the plotting, and writing came. I’m more of a write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl (pantser) but I couldn’t afford the writers block I inevitably end up with when I do that. I had to make the hours count. So I took the time to research the best outline methods and crafted one that worked with my writing style. Then, I went to work. Executing is by far the hardest part of this process. There were times I would fall asleep at the keyboard, or scrap an entire chapter. There were also moments when I doubted I’d find my idea market and question whether the work would sell. Ultimately, I just had to get up everyday knowing I am an author working on her latest release and see it through. Not always fun, but worth it now.

Have faith or fear, but not both.

I am naturally a worse case scenario person. I have a hard time visualizing success, and am actively working to change that about myself. The base for my doubt is always fear, and I couldn’t afford to e afraid any longer. I was taking the biggest risk of my life, with the oldest dream of my heart. I had to pick faith in my God, my work, and myself over the fear. Fear is a powerful emotion. Faith is a strong counterattack. I’m still learning to shift my focus. It has been important to me that I don’t inflate with hyper positive but unsubstantiated ideas. Instead, I honor that I have to work hard by giving voice being uncertain there will be a payoff. I have faith that with every published work, I will build and grow a little more. That is what I hold on to when things are murky. It is a work in progress.

Find your market, or be fearless in creating one.

Initially, I wasn’t sure there was a market for shifter romances with both hero and heroine as African-Americans. The norm seemed to show a comfort level for BW heroes and WM shifters as well as Caucasian hero’s and heroines. I knew I wasn’t the only brown woman who loved shifter romances, but there didn’t seem to be a recognizable market. I searched for months and didn’t find anything. There was more doubt, more fear that the risk I was taking was not going to work. After a while, it didn’t matter that I didn’t see the market. I saw the characters, and their stories. I believed that would be enough to attract readers, even if they were checking out shifter romances for the first time.  I found my niche and I am working it like it has been heavily established. I am a reader of the books I write. I am my own market. As it turns out, so are you.

You don’t have time to wait for the “perfect time”.

The time you are in is always the perfect time. Don’t get me wrong. There is an ideal setting in which i would have liked to start writing. Ideally, we would have been financially sure from other endeavors. The market would be fairly established and my darlings would have a lovely routine that allowed them not to miss me when I was writing. Suffice to say I am still working on that part of the dream.  I had to come to terms with the fact that I would have to make time, I would have to have faith, and just start. Start. I couldn’t spend anymore years waiting for my ideal scenario to make it easy for me to pursue my dreams. I had to begin right in the thick of my uncertainty. I had to start where I was and hold steady until something great happened. It is happening now.

As I celebrate The Alpha’s Dream very cute and meaningful milestone, I am happy that I took the chances I did. I’ve learned a lot, grown a lot, and produced a work I love because of it.  There will only be more from here.

Comment below with your thoughts on The Alpha’s Dream.

Joy.

 

 

#2Stars: Open to criticism

Writing is an act of art. It is a statement of creativity. It is open to criticism.

I am not above a bad review.

Common knowledge.  For some writers, the first review where a reader expresses discontent with their work is akin to having their heart plucked out while still alive. It is a shock to the system, feels fatal, and is often callous. Yup. All of that is still true for someone like me whose worked behind the scenes on several projects. Anything below a three star writing is definite grounds for improvement.

As I mentioned before, I’ve been stalking my ratings and reviews. The very first moment I noticed the below three star ratings on The Alpha’s Dream my heart sank like a stone in a pond. I read the written review carefully.  I analyzed it for days looking for some hidden bias. The hidden bias? The reader didn’t like my writing style. She just didn’t like the book. Fair. NOT FUN, but fair.

I’m bringing to light these ratings because I believe in their credibility. This isn’t about knowing the reviewer, but about knowing the process. I believe the ratio to readers and reviewers is something like 5 or 6  to 1. Out of 50 people who read a book only about 10-15 will leave a review.  So every review counts. Every review also represents multiple people. The reviewers who left the 2 star ratings represent other readers who ultimately decided against leaving a rating at all, rather than leave bad one.

Deep breaths. Long Sighs. Honesty is rarely pleasant.

However, I am not one of those authors who feels that every review must be a positive one. I am not lost in the fallacy that everyone who reads my books will fall haplessly in love with my work. It is unrealistic, no matter how badly I would like it to be true.

As an artist, it is difficult to read that someone doesn’t like the work I’ve spent countless hours developing. Art requires thick skin. Art requires respect for the audience just as much as for the authors.  I suspect over the life of my work there will be even more unflattering reviews. I’m prepared-ish for that, and I will face it with grace.

I want all my readers to know that their reviews, ratings, comments are honored. I hear you. I’ll work even harder to give you a product that you enjoy. We’re in this together and for the long-term.

Comment below with characters or stories you would like to see written.

Joy.

The Alpha’s Dream is on GoodReads!

I feel like I’ve just graduated into the big leagues. LOL.

For those of you who absolutely don’t know, GoodReads.com is a site connected to Amazon for readers. It’s sole purpose is about connecting authors, and readers to each other through books. Literally, every genre and subgenre is represented in an inviting way.

In addition to seeing the descriptions of The Alpha’s Dream, it is a great way for you connect with me. Ask me a question about my process or the book. Check out my bookshelves as I slowly fill them with things I’ve read or plan to read. You can even recommend books to me and keep me accountable to my 2017 reading goals. (I’m already 20 books behind, technically.)

I’ve finally added The Alpha’s Dream to  Goodreads. It feels both strange and wonderful. The network itself is not complicated. It’s social media for book lovers. However,  it is so fun to think about this huge network of readers who will stumble upon my book because of it’s presence on Goodreads.

If it is not clear, I love the process of publishing and seeing my work pop up in these often common book places. It brings a huge smile to my face. Book love is real. So, make your way to Goodreads and add me to your bookshelves.  Follow my author page for even more updates!

Joy.

 

 

 

#LeaveaBookReview

The Alpha’s Dream has officially been live for several days now. I’m not freaking out anymore. Maybe I should be, but I’m just so proud.

The truth is that I could write for myself and allow no one to read it for the rest of my life. I would be mostly content. My mother has done it for years. On the other hand, I don’t want to be a closest author. I believe in this writing that i do, and enjoy it. However, it is more than just a labor of love. It is how I contribute to the support of my littles. I didn’t publish The Alpha’d Dream so it could die on Amazon’s buy lists. I published it so it would flourish. I wanted more than myself to enjoy it.

So, you have the book.. How do you like it?

Yup. This is one of those post. I’m asking if you like the work I’ve done. You’ve watched me fight with it for me. You’ve read about my anxieties, my aims, and my reasons for writing it. You’ve been there through every high and low of it. Now, I want to know hat you think of it.

Keep in mind here that your honesty is most important.

Also, keep in mind I’m sensitive about my work. As much as I want that to have a barring on your opinion, the truth is that a gentle lie won’t help me get better. It also won’t fool anyone who reads the reviews. Readers see through all of the cowardice of saying something is good when it is not. Say you like it. Say you didn’t like it, but don’t sugar coat it for me.

I’ve said it before that reviews are important to authors. They are particularly important to those of us who are small publishers or self-publishers. Every review whether good, bad, or mediocre has a direct result on the work we’ve published. With the great rise in self-publishing, most of us are writing to the same or similar audiences.

I believe readers are generally discerning. Everyone wants a book worth the time and money. When an authors work is heavily reviewed, it allows readers the opportunity to gain unbiased insight about the work they are looking to purchase.

The Alpha’s Dream is in a competitive market. Shifter romances have quickly gained a reputation for being great reads and fun books. It comes without saying that it is difficult to stand above the crowd as an unknown author. Which is why reviews and readers like you who leave them are such an intricate part of the publishing process.

So, I’m coming to you with a genuine plea. Once you’ve completed The Alpha’s Dream, take a few minutes to post on GoodReads and Amazon a review of the work you’ve finished. It is important to my career, to the quality of my work and to other authors who would come after me. It is important to any breakout authors you come across.

Your simple admittance about what you think of the work is one of the factors that will encourage other readers to read The Alpha’s Dream. It doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to include exclusive details, and it I would prefer no spoilers. It does however need to be honest.

If you don’t like the book, then I can take that. If you love it, then I can take that too. I’m not going to hunt you down for a detailed explanation. I’m not going to insist you take down a negative review. I only want your subtle influence. Tell me what you think of my work. Tell all authors what you think of their work, because it matters.

I cannot thank you enough for being on this journey with me. Your presence has been a driving force and continues to validate why I work so hard at my writing. Don’t take for granted that your three word review or your four sentences won’t make a difference, because it will. I read every review. I aim to be your new favorite author. Don’t doubt that for a moment.

So, when you are down falling in love with Nathaniel Blanchard and Euphoria Atkins drop me a line. Tell me how The Alpha’s dream was everything you’d hoped.

Joy.

 

#LaborandDelivery

The Alpha’s Dream is officially live.

My heart is a toddler at Disney World. Excited, drunk with happiness, and over stimulated. All the insecurities I have had about this project are out of my hands now. What I know is that I’ve loved Nathaniel and Euphoria since their conception. I knew they were beautiful before the were flesh and bone and vibrant personalities. I learned them as they grew beneath my fingers.

I am happy to have introduced them to you, their village.

All of these metaphors are corny. I know, but they come from an honest and sincere place. They also come from my pregnant brain which as I write this is staring down the barrel at my due date. In theory, I have five more weeks. In theory.

All of my little darlings have come three weeks early. So, It’s very likely that I only have two weeks left. Birthing books and babies almost feels the same. Almost. One of those things is definitely more painful than the other. Nonetheless, they both come with fear and want. My heart swells when I think of the lives they will take on and they both make me feel like I am exactly where I should be.

The Alpha’s Dream is a manifestation of so many dreams. The newest little love who will soon follow is a manifestation of dreams as well. As they both grow and thrive,  my hope is  that I never forget these things were born of nothing. These things came to exist where once was only barren land. Gratitude above all things. Faith woven within and I am forever humbled.

Joy.

#ReleaseDayMagic

We made it! The Alpha’s Dream is live on Amazon! One-Click your Copy or read it free on Amazon today!!!!

Release day is final here and I am so excited. After months of hard work, it feels intensely rewarding to have this project complete and in your hands.

I’m not foolish. There is still a lot of work to do. There is a lot of promoting that will continue to go on in my quest to become a bestseller. I am determined to leave my mark on this genre.  All that, the knowing that the work isn’t finished, doesn’t stop me from having an abundance of gratitude for being this far.

I have loved writing all of my life. Every step I take toward being a known writer brings me that much closer to the dreams I have of being internationally renowned. My dreams are much bigger than one released eBook, but it starts here.

It’s started with The Alpha’s Dream and two unlikely characters who fell in love. I am proud. I am filled with all manners of thank you’s and Amen’s. My cup runneth over.

I have learned so much along this process. My instincts are sharpened, my skills as well. I trust my voice and the voices of my characters. I trust what I am doing and all that comes in between. Every moment that I’ve spent creating this has burned into my brain that writing is purpose.

I’m willing to grow in my writing even more and learn everything I can to be the best in my field. I expect that every project I work on will bring me more growth.

It is such a simple thing when it’s all said and done to see my name as author on my release page, but it doesn’t feel simple. Even setting up my Author’s page on Amazon brought tears to my eyes. I feel light. I feel lifted and honored.

I’ll be doubling my promotional efforts after this, but today. I’m only going to enjoy being a published author. I’m going to enjoy saying to my littles, this is what Mama has been working on all those long hours. I’m going to bask in my husband pride at the work being finished. This is a dream realized and nothing can dampen that feeling. Nothing at all.

Joy.

 

#marketingmayhem

Being an author has many layers. It is easy to imagine the creative process is something most of us enjoy. However, it is not the only process that must be addressed. Particularly in cases like mine where the all facets of writing and publishing fall on my shoulders.

Almost three years ago now I started a small self publishing company called Moody Writer Publishing, LLC. There have been a few titles published under my little label and ultimately I’m proud of its minor success.

As I made the decision to  finally publish my own work, there is one thing that has remained to be true. It doesn’t matter the work. It doesn’t matter how many long hours or how much love or how great the book is that is produced. What determines sales is how well it is marketed!

For most authors, this means starting to build an audience well before the first word is even written. It means long hours on social media, and popping into groups, and any other forms that could prove to be beneficial in even minute ways.

The author platform is to be taken seriously, because cutting right through the love of the art is the realization that it is work.

Writing is a business. Even those who write as a hobby know that if they want more than their family and close friends to read it they must save some energy for marketing their work.

This is precisely where I am. In truth, I’ve been editing and revising my marketing plan for The Alpha’s Dream since its inception. I’m still clumsy about it. I have no idea if the methods I am using will work, but in business you do what must be done.

Right now, I’ve limited the companies that I will work with until I can see what results will come. As a family of soon to be three children, my husband and I have to be extra critical of how we spend our income. There is no room for waste.

Everyone knows that what you can’t pay for in money, you pay for in time. Marketing  for The Alpha’s Dream has proven that to be true over and over again. The fact that I have to limit the work that I outsource doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need to get done. It only means that I have to do it for myself. The late nights have not ended with editing .  Instead of staying up to write that last chapter, or edit that last paragraph, I am sending out arc copies and blasting other blogs.

When you have a small publishing company, you are essentially self-publishing. I am my own PR person. I am my own secretary, hype woman, beta reader, first tier editor, and somewhere in there the author too.  Self-published authors are always at work.

It would be easier to take my polished manuscript and send it off to publishing companies and imprints and just wait for someone to pick me up. It’s a strong, and beautiful romance novel. I have faith in it and that is exactly why I do the hard work.

I hate marketing.  I hate the business of writing. The courting and researching, and logistics of sales are taxing on my introverted, right brain, and creative heart. However, I am more determined to be successful than I am to have it easy. So, I put in work.

When you see The Alpha’s Dream blitzing everywhere, know that’s just me being extra for my dream.

Joy.