So, both of my eBooks made it to the top 20 for free downloads. That was all because of YOU! I almost made it into the top 10 and got to number 11 for La Bruja in the Orchard.
That was small potatoes.
The greatest victory was that I got three book reviews. That made the giveaway worth it. And, I didn't spend any money on ads to promote my freebies. Boom!
In between all of that promoting, I grew the members of Penned in the City, a Facebook group comprised of emerging writers from Chicago. A lot of them are my former students who want continued guidance. I was so thrilled five new writers, prolific writers, joined the group. In Penned in the City, we are really trying to promote a group where we can give timely feedback to each other, especially the emerging writers. Anybody can join, as long as they cooperate and offer constructive criticism.
The most surprising personal accomplishment, and it had nothing to do with the promotion, is that I had a breakthrough after I read an article by Steven Lester Carr in the Inner Circle Magazine and "talked to" him via FB chat. Part of the article was on beta readers. I love my beta readers. I waited a long time to get some outstanding beta readers. I have some phenomenal ones, but in the article, he talked about authors finding their voice and learning to be independent. Thus, I asked him something to the effect of, “How do you know when you’re ready to fly?” because I think I’m really close. Well, he said just to take the leap.
You know what? I’m taking the leap. Or have taken the leap.
I am finally secure within myself and listening to my writer gut. Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t ask folks to read over my work because often, beta readers home in on something I hadn’t considered and that improves the work. The bottom line is that I feel more confident. I’m also working really hard and improving, and I see the quality of my writing taking leaps, ergo the confidence boost. You know?
I did get some difficult criticism, but when someone who is a better writer than me gives advise, I listen. I won’t go into the specifics, but essentially, my endings need to be stronger. Also, somebody recommended that I clearly advertise when my publications are novelettes, and that is what I will do both in the description and the cover. However, I don’t plan on publishing short works in the foreseeable future. My new publications will have to be novellas or novels.
What’s next? I have a freebie, "Mona's Return" coming out May 1. It will be free forever on Smashwords and hopefully, Amazon. My collection of novelettes Not Your Abuelita’s Folktales is coming out soon. After that, I am working on a novella titled The Awakening. Of course, I am revising my novel The Harvest, so things are going well!
Take the leap and fly. Your support team will catch you. #barrioblues
Dr. Jesú Estrada,