How I Moved from ‘Frozen’ to Flowing Creative Author
I was frozen and I knew it.
This happened recently, soon after I retired. That’s when I thought I would hit the ground running and write great things. Instead, I found myself completely frozen. Stuck as I was, I just desperately wanted to rant, so I asked my friend, Jo Linsdell, if she would listen. What a friend! She not only agreed to hear me, but she offered valuable tips that helped to change my focus, and recharge my creativity – just in time for the PiBoIdMo Challenge.
How did I become frozen?
First, I was frustrated, because for the past 2 & 1/2 years, the sales for my 3 picture books trickled to dismal numbers over time. They had each performed well on launch dates and there wasn’t anything wrong with the books. However, like many beginning authors, I was shy about tooting my own horn and writing sales pitches. In fact, each book had received 5 star reviews on Amazon from real buyers. Here are quotes from some of them.
“A wonderful addition to any children's book collection!”
“There is no doubt that this vibrant book will be read over and over by me and my family.”
I AmTwee’ (PicBk#2)
“I love the message this book instills that you are special in your own unique way!”
“I highly recommend picking up a copy of I Am Twee', the 2nd book in the Between You and Me Series.”
Twee’ for Two (PicBk#3)
“Your books are keepers and remain on my coffee table for kids of all ages.”
“I myself love Twee’ books by Susie. I cannot wait for your future books.”
Second, my weekly parenting blog hadn’t grown much or converted to sales. I offered my best content articles with pictures! Wasn’t that supposed to help people get to know, like and trust me? I wanted to share, and I continued to write because I wanted to be read and enjoyed. However, I had hoped it would convert more.
Third, I found myself pretty worn out. By this time, I had read, watched and taken as many free and paid courses as I possibly could and sought out every “do this magic thing and become a best-selling author now” course that I could find. Even though I learned a lot, I was tired of trying to do the ‘right thing’ and still not get the promised benefit.
All my efforts left me frozen.
After all this, my platform, fan base, and sales grew at a painfully slow rate. Now I felt totally frozen and unable to move in any direction. Time had opened up for me, but it seemed that all the information from the past two years held me captive. I clearly needed help.
What could Jo do to help me?
I had hoped that Jo would say something like she understood. Then, I’d feel better, and I could get back to writing. Jo responded with understanding, but she also offered to take a peek at my web site and critique it. Wow! I hadn’t even thought of that. Her kind gesture excited me and I couldn’t wait to see what she would say.
Jo only offers quality information.
She doesn’t disappoint readers and fans. She certainly helped me. Here are a few of the suggestions she made for my web site.
*Change the header/banner; put it up front and make it clear. “The first thing readers should be aware of when they visit the site is who you are and what you do.”
*Change your banner for your books, make them more prominent, and make this first ‘call to action’ strong - ‘Buy today’, or ‘Grab your copy’ .
*Change your sign up box; put it in the top middle, below the header. “This is your second most important ‘call to action’…. so make it easy to find and fill out.”
*Change the placement of your photo and bio; update the bio. “Put your photo to the top of the side bar (above the book banner).”
Jo made a few more helpful suggestions such as, “make it clutter free and easy to navigate. “ She reminded me to create more content that helps to ‘Build my author brand and sell more books,” And, “Always ask yourself, “What is the reason for this blog post and what do I want my reader to do next.”
So, what did I do?
I treasured my friend, and the advice she offered. How could I go wrong by taking action? So I went to work and for the next two days (yes it took me that long) I worked to get my web site better, more pointed and ready for my next chapter in life.
It was during that transition that I felt my smile return, and my creative juices starting flowing again.
Why did I feel better?
Jo Linsdell gave me something more precious than her helpful tips. She gave me permission to grow again, and to put FUN back into my writing. It wasn’t anything she said, or even written in her suggestions. It was tucked within the friendship, and offered because Jo took the time to listen, to care and to offer some suggestions. As a result, and just as soon as I began making changes to my web site, I got excited. That’s why I signed up for PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month). I couldn’t wait to start creating again: picture book ideas, characters, and more. I thought “maybe I’ll try illustrating too.” Time opened up around me and made my world seem fresh and new. I wasn’t frozen any more and I was having FUN.
I hope my experience gives you some hope. If you find yourself stuck, frustrated or frozen give yourself permission to put the fun back into writing. Also check in with a trusted friend who can encourage you. Don’t limit yourself. Do what you love. Write about many wonderful things that interest you and give you joy. Put FUN back into it.
Thanks for reading. Remember to share this post with your friends.
Here are some fun links:
Visit my new and improved web site www.susiecaron.com
Buy my books: http://amzn.to/1Mr4JCN
Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/susiecaron
Like me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SusieECaron.Twee
Twee’ Means You & Me
Because Good Friends Rock!
Thank you Jo Linsdell, for being a true friend and for allowing me to share this bit of my author journey with your readers and fans.