#KeepinTouch: 5 Reasons you should subscribe to my blog

I’ve been working on my blog as part of my author platform for a while now. The truth is, it’s become so much more.

As I write this, I’m already thinking of what other things I will add to my blog to make it more interactive for my readers. Not just those who read my books, but those who drop by on occasion to keep in touch. I love the alerts when someone likes a post I’ve read or when they send me a message about something I’ve written. It feels good to be connected.

So, I want you to come here more often. I want you to send your friends, your frenemies, and the all that you believe will be interested to my website. I’m more than just books and here are five reasons you should subscribe to my blog and keep in touch.

 

Mama Stories/Wife Things

I’ve only been a mother for three years. I’ve been a wife for nearly eleven years. My years alone with my husband are a very telling part of my being a romantic. My years with my children were the catalyst for me to stop ghostwriting. Already, I’ve gained a lot, learned a lot about myself and the world around me that I didn’t notice until my children were born. Their births kicked my writing into gear and I love it. Often enough, I found myself writing about their influence as I blogged. It has now become a permanent and intentional writing point. I’m a #MamaAuthor. It is a major factor to my work. If you are a mama/ wife who has found yourself influenced by your children or your spouse to commit to your other passions, these stories are for you.

Book updates, snippets and conversations on publishing

My blog came to exist because I am an author. It is a place for readers to connect with my books. So of course, there will be updates for what I am working on, new release information, and soon there will be snippets of works in progress. I write shifter romances with African-American leads. If you are into that sort of thing, subscribe! keeping in contact here will allow a greater chance that you will see what’s coming next, first.

Goal Digging

This is a big thing for me. I’m always working on other projects. It’s not that I just prefer to be busy, but I prefer to expand on my purpose. My blog deals a lot with my goals from the stand point of an author. However, the tools and methods I use can be applied to anything. I’m all for accountability. When I’m writing to you, I am asking you to hold me accountable for the dreams I have made public. When you comment, you are inviting me to do the same. It is a small thing, but a very useful one. Together we can inspire each other toward the lives we all want.

Exclusives and Giveaways

Now that I am getting the hang of this blogging thing I’m offering a lot more. My writing career is officially kicked off and while establishing my dream team, I’m in the process of developing exclusive swag for those who join. In addition, the excerpts and #freshpress work that you find here is exclusive unless otherwise noted. When you come to my website, I want your experience to be one fluid invitation into the creative space of my life. I aim to make that as seamless and welcoming as possible.

We’re All Family Here

You may have stumbled upon my blog. You may have gotten here through a search engine or some other method of funneling. Whatever the way you got here, it is because you were looking for something. So is everyone here. I’m writing African-American centered shifter romances because I couldn’t readily find them when I was looking. Maybe that was what drew you. Stay for the coffee and conversation. Stay for the insights on publishing, and the struggles I face while trying to write what I love. Comment with tips for dealing with anxiety or other ways to balance work and wife/mama life. We’re all connected here. We are all here for a reason and I am working to nurture those reasons for all of us.

There you have it. Five good reasons you should subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already.   You can simply follow me from the site or you can sign up  for my newsletters for updates on the latest going on here and with the books I am publishing. I’m sure you have your reasons for coming. These are reasons to stay. Don’t break my heart. Leave a comment below about some of the things you’ve liked about my growing blog so far. I love to hear from you.

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.

#RaisingReaders: Reasons it’s important to me to raise children who read

Some of the best advice I was given as a writer was to write everyday and to read everyday.  Words to live by.

After the birth of my children, I found myself thinking a lot about books. From all the research and studies conducted, the impact of reading to children during their formative years is lifelong. Education is big our home. Knowledge and access to information are things we openly discuss and advocate.

It was a no-brainer for us that we would incorporate books into daily life of our children. The result is my littles love to read. They enjoy a good book as much as I do and a trip to the library may as well be the state fair. It’s an ordeal. I love that.

As an author, I feel a lot of responsibility in nurturing their love of books. I want their relationship with literature to be one that thrills them for the rest of their lives. With that being said, I’m pretty critical of the books I read to them. There are several criteria I look for when establishing a reading habit for my littles. I’ll discuss those in a later post. This post is all about them being readers period.

When I was a child, the library was a sanctuary for my siblings and I. I wasn’t a fast reader, didn’t eat up series after series like my sister did, but I did love the process of choosing books and what they represented for me.

It was more than just a way to pass the time.

The cliché is that it became an escape. There’s a lot of truth in that, but as I think about it now I’m sure there are deeper levels. What I found in books was exposure. In the small town that I grew up in, there were very firm ideas about identity, race, and cultural norms. In books, I was able to expand my vision of those things. Writers have been critical in shaping my values, my belief systems, and my personal identity.  I want that for my kids.

There are things that I cannot teach them, because I don’t have the experiences to accurately express them. Even though I don’t have the tools, these lessons are still things they must learn. By nurturing their love for books, I’m giving them another resource to turn to when their father and I don’t have the answers.  I’m also giving them autonomy, teaching them responsibility in seeking answers to their problems/ questions, and allowing them the freedom to live beyond the natural circle of our lives.

Raising readers, isn’t just about expanding our children’s ability to read and process information. It is about giving them access to a larger world that they may not otherwise experience. Teaching empathy toward fights they may not have to face, and still giving them authority over what they learn.

They are getting older and will soon take more ownership over the books they read or that are read to them. By then, I’m hoping to have firmly rooted them in the power of taking authority over the information they receive, among other lessons.  Hopefully, what they will come to recognize is that books are an expanded universe of their own and all they have to do is be brave enough to dive into it.

Is storytime important in your home? Comment with some of the ways you share books?

Joy

#MayShowers

I’m firmly on baby countdown time, but there are still a few things on my list for the month.

After finishing April off clear and my launch going pretty well, I’ve been thinking more about what the rest of the year looks like in my writing. As all of us know, we can only take one month, one week, one day at a time and so on. I’ve been trying to be realistic about what to expect from myself since my earlier goals seemed a bit loftier than I was able to accomplish.

My aim every month is to execute every goal that I express to all of you. It isn’t just for the surge of success from getting the work done. It is because I believe that one of the best ways to motivate each other is by sharing in success. With all of that being said, here are the things that I hope to accomplish during the month of May.

May Goal List:

-Focus on blog growth and promotion

-Begin a Shifter Short Series

-Continue Promotion of The Alpha’s Dream

-Have a healthy and happy baby

-Throw a wonderful birthday party for my oldest little

Just four short things on my list right now. The bulk of my energy will definitely be going to being a new mama all over again. Every time I give birth, I feel like I’m starting over from scratch. It’s the same awe, and sleeplessness that I had the first time. My goal list reflects this in my workload. I can’t stop being an author because I am a mama. I am both. They both need my energy and attention.

I will accomplish everything on this list and keep you updated. Keep your eyes peeled for my special delivery posts once baby is here. In the meantime, stay occupied by reading The Alpha’s Dream and signing up for my newsletter. Don’t forget to leave a review!

Joy.

 

#TeamJoy: I’m building a street team and I want you to join it.

One launch down, numerous to go.

As I wrap my head around being a published author a few things come to mind. I can’t do this alone. I need your help. I need your ears, your eyes, and a little bit of your free time. I’ve decided that now that I have an idea of what my launches will look like, I should build a street team. Here you’ll find all the specifics, and decide if being a part of the team is for you. Loved The Alpha’s Dream? Great! Here’s how you can help me bring you more.

Street Team Requirements:

-Like Jocelyn F. Young Facebook page

-local distribution of flyers to coffee shops or other reader friendly locales

-minimal promotion assistance, I.e. tweets, retweets, ig, and Facebook promo

-launch week reviews of projects

 

Obviously, I don’t expect you to do any of this without incentive. I realize you are giving up your precious time. So, here are the things I will be giving to those who join the team!

-free finished e-book copies of future works

-exclusive team swag

-exclusive street team only giveaway

I already have the first giveaway planned. I’m really excited about growing with all of you and sharing in my success. So, join my street team and we will take Shifter Romances to a new level.

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.