Monday started off great.
Got a text from Discover that my account had been hacked.
I’m still amazed that they can catch fraud that fast. When the rep asked me if I’d shopped at the two places that were suspect, I said, “No, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t places I would shop. How can you tell it wasn’t me?”
She said, “We have a very intricate system,” in a very serious and no-nonsense voice.
I wanted to ask more, but she was intent on rushing through all the security questions and closing down my account so I can spend the rest of the week reconfiguring all my autopay information at more than a gazillion sites. (Probably one of the same sites where I was hacked which means this might all happen again next Monday. Kind of like Groundhog day only it would be My-Discover-got-Hacked-Again Day.)
Since then I’ve been fixated on the fact that Discover knew instantaneously that it wasn’t me shopping at Walmart.com. They’re good. I mean, I don’t shop at Walmart.com, but it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility, does it? I hate Walmart categorically, but sometimes I’m forced to go there because I’m a cheapskate. And I live in a teeny-tiny town that has limited shopping options. I usually try the Goodwill before I stoop to Walmart. And whenever I go in there, I keep my head down hoping no one will recognize me. But no one would know if I shopped at Walmart.com. Except my dog.
It’s impressive how closely they are watching me. Impressive and maybe a little creepy. This morning I tweeted “My discover card got hacked. I wish I paid as much attention to my spending as Discover does.”
Within minutes, Daisy, a rep at Discover (not sure if she’s the person I talked to yesterday, but she sounded like a Daisy) replied to my tweet.
“Hi Cara! Thanks for sharing! We take the security of your account very seriously and we are always here to help. *Daisy”
Wow. I mean, MERE MINUTES. So maybe they are watching me.
All the time.
I’m gonna behave better today. No crazy shopping at Walmart.com.
I’m one in a million. As a new author, that is. At least there seem to be millions of us.
For the past ten years, I’ve been writing and writing and writing. I had no time for twitter. I barely used Facebook. Tumblr blew my mind. Every now and again Pinterest caught my eye and I lost hours.
But now my job is not only to write, but to promote my writing. Sigh.
I always thought that one day I’d be a PUBLISHED AUTHOR and then everything would be different. People would be pounding a path to my door just to interview me. I’d be driving a Porsche and paying a housekeeper with all those royalties that would just keep POURING IN.
Only none of that happened. Except the published author part.
At first, I slunk back to my laptop with my tail between my legs. I went back to writing. Writing is how I handle my life. No matter the frustration, disappointment, or annoying child, I can write my way sane again.
And here’s what I realized. It comes down to this- I want to write. And if I want to write, I need readers. (Well, not technically. I could easily write from here to eternity even if YOU didn’t want to read a word of it and never did.)
Back in my fantasy land, I assumed that my publisher would be in charge of getting these readers. And I have to credit them with making a big effort. They’ve put my words in front of plenty of new readers. Problem is, they’ve got lots of other books to promote. The Story Plant is a way-cool small press. Small presses are few and far between these days since most either went belly up or got gobbled up by the big presses in the last two decades. I’m proud to be a writer under their umbrella, but I’ve come to realize I have a big part in my (and their) success.
So, how do you get more readers? Good question.
The bookstores and internet are loaded with writers and their books. They’re everywhere. Liberally littered across the twittersphere. Blogs by the billions. Goodreads is lousy with them. And then of course, there’s Amazon. How do you get your name out there amongst all that noise?
I have no idea.
But I have to start somewhere, so I’ve started with twitter. I read about services who would hook me up with thousands of followers in mere weeks for more than mere dollars. That idea seemed kind of sleazy and it smacked of cheating and my guess is that all those followers couldn’t have given a flying flip about me, anyway.
One thing I did figure out is that connecting with real people on some level, as oppose to SELLING myself to them, feels better.
So I’m gathering up followers at a very slow trickle. Somedays just one at a time. I’ve discovered that there are some VERY interesting people out there. Just reading their twitter bios fascinates me. I started out looking for book bloggers and potential readers, but now I find myself following people who simply sound interesting. How do they think of these descriptions? They should all be writers! (maybe they are….)
Here’s a few of my favorites: (I included their handles just in case you want to follow them, too. That’s the beauty of twitter – there are no barriers!)
Mom/Reader/Knitter/Washer of dishes (@KyleesJournal)
The dishes part was funny to me. I don’t know why. But really, how many hours a day do I spend washing dishes? Too many. It should be in my bio, too.
My history is the same as yours. I am an amalgamation of stardust, molecules, and potential. (@Waddell2Megan) Very nice, kind of deep, even poetic.
Inarticulate writer. Hashbrown enthusiast. Reader. Ponderer. (@insecurejoiner)
It’s not just the funny hashbrown comment, I loved the handle, too.
I cook. Oh, and then I drink. And write. Not all at once, usually. (@TheOnlineGrill)
My kind of people, obviously.
I follow a 13-year-old aspiring chef with an intriguing handle (@ChaseNyurFace). He followed me first, and I have no idea how he ever found me, but I love his tweets and his recipes.
When someone follows me or follows me back, I try to message them to thank them for their follow. At first, I worried they’d think I was some cloying, ass-kissing desperate chick trying to gather followers (since I am), but after a while, I just thanked them and mentioned anything interesting I saw on their page. (Because YES, I do actually look at the pages of the people I follow!) It’s led to some fun exchanges and yesterday it even led to another idea for treating my son’s migraine that seemed to really help.
I’m becoming a real fan of Twitter, but it’s also a dangerous timesuck. I’ve been trying to limit my time in the twittersphere by only using it while I’m at the treadmill desk. Gasping for breath is appropriate for spewing out short messages to my new virtual friends.
So come, follow me, you never know where it might lead…
#amwriting #twitterfangirl #followme
I’m in that deep grind of re-writing. Polishing people so they make sense and harrowing out the inconsistencies in their characters. It’s tedious.
When I come to a fork in the story – should I dig deeper or cut the whole damn paragraph? No one will know. Except me and a couple of my characters. Sigh.
Thank God for the find/replace feature. I can change the where, when, who with just the stroke of a key.
What was it like to edit back in the dark ages of the typewriter? I have to wonder if there aren’t a few books out there that could have been even better if only it wasn’t such a chore to use that back space/eraser ribbon combo.
Sometimes I feel too lazy to make a change and it would only take me a few seconds, why would a writer bother if it would mean hours (even days) of re-typing?
I think of this phase of the writing as sculpting. It’s finding the David amongst the lump of clay. Carving away what is unnecessary, sometimes with a fine-tip brush and occasionally with a chisel.
It is exciting to see what ultimately rises from the mess and chaos of editing.
I’m nearing the end of what I can do, but still loving the story and the characters I’m crafting. I will miss them when it’s time to hit the ‘send’ button.
I need to get it right because once I release them into the wilds of the publishing journey, you never know what might happen.
Speaking of which, Story Plant (my publisher) has just begun a new venture. They’re adding a Media division to turn their books into plays, musicals, and movies. If you’d like to hear all about it, check out this Indiegogo campaign video:
#editing #amwriting #manuscriptsculpting #write