End of the Year Goal Check In

I wrote some goals for 2019 back in December and we’re full circle now! I did a 6 months check in since these goals were only for the first 6 months of the year anyways.

 

Goals for the first six months of 2019

Goals have to be measurable in order to know if you’ve reached them or not. Although I’m not happy to focus so heavily on numbers, it is an easy way to measure a goal. My goal is to increase my audience and have a successful poetry career. These numbers will help me keep track of those goals.

 

The Blog

Work on writing a media kit

Contact companies for sponsorship (and actually get one!)

Gain another 1,000 followers

Update: I’ve looked into some samples of media kits but I still don’t think my stats would stand out enough for it to make sense to create one just yet.

I’ve joined some other affiliation programs that I’ve been working on instead of doing any sponsored posts yet. There are some programs that have tougher qualifications so I still need to work on my stats. I am making a small bit of money from google Adsense so it’s great to see me recovering some of my self hosting spendings.

Debatably Dateable has gained over 1,770 followers since December and I couldn’t be happier! I love love love watching this blog grow! I hope to get another thousand in these next 6 months!

 

The Final Results: 3968 June, to 5719 dec = 1750, from my 5k monthly views article, my traffic is growing which helps my monetary goals.

 

Cracked Open

Between GoodReads and Amazon, have 20 reviews

Get 25 more books sold

The Update: I have 18 reviews so I can’t be too upset there but I did not even get close to selling 25 more books so that stings a little. I don’t see these numbers getting much higher as the year goes on. I’m not sure how to help boost sales as the book continues to age.

 

The Final Results: I thought Where I Ache sales would be the only ones coming in after the summer but surprisingly Cracked Open still sees some action on Amazon so that’s great news.

 

Social Media

Twitter – gain 2,000 followers

Instagram– gain 1,000 followers

The Update: For Twitter I only gained 1,270 so far but feel free to come check out what I talk about there! Oddly enough, for Instagram I’ve gained over 2,125 followers so it looks like I got my goals switched around! I hope to get to the 2k+ on Twitter in the Fall.

 

The Final Results: I finally started taking a deeper look into these numbers and found it was wasted efforts! So I’ve switched my focus to Pinterest, read more about why I made these changes here.

 

Next Poetry Collection – Where I Ache!

I want to add 50 exclusive poems to my next collection before I work on publishing it

Have 10 reviews before release date

Sell twice as many as Cracked Open (over the course of the year)

 

The Update: I have 55 exclusive poems! I am absolutely ecstatic about that! Cracked Open had 20 illustrations and Where I Ache has somewhere around 35 so I’m also pumped about that!

Where I Ache was only released 2 weeks ago and there’s already 14 reviews on Goodreads so I’m very happy about that! Definitely check them out!

I’m only 2 weeks in of course but I’m already even with Cracked Open’s first month of book sales so that’s a good start for me!

 

The Final Results: Where I Ache currently has 20 reviews on Goodreads and another 5 on Amazon so I think I did a bit more work during release time on my second collection and I’m happy to see it paid off. Not sure what I’ll want to do about my third collection in the new year.

All those reviews have unfortunately not resulted in more sales than Cracked Open had in it’s first 5 months. My third collection is returning to more Cracked Open style so we’ll see if that has anything to do with it.

 

Because I don’t want to solely focus on numbers, here are some

 

Non numerical goals:

Connect with new readers who resonate with my poetry.

Have my poetry help someone through a difficult time.

Have a company see value in my writing.

Keep a healthy number of articles in queue.

 

The Update: I’ve definitely found new readers and also fellow poets through my Poet Interview Series! I’ve been so lucky to connect with new readers who were interested in reviewing Where I Ache and many have said the sensitive topics covered in the collection have helped them remember they are not alone.

I haven’t really pursued this one aside from submitting Where I Ache to one of the major publishing companies. I’m not sure that I will do much for the rest of the year for this.

I have over 30 posts in queue for the past several months and it is amazinggggg! (knock on wood)

The Final Results: I still have not made the jump to working with companies and I don’t think I will in 2020, my only focus would probably be Google Adsense and working on more traffic to eventually switch to another ad company.

The past few months I hover around 50 articles in queue would has been so awesome and even with that I’ve added more posts into my schedule. At the beginning of the year I would post 10 times a month, then I went to every Monday, Wed, and Friday posting about 12-13 times a month and lately I’ve made the jump to about 15-17 times a month so I’m hoping that will all help with traffic and the like.

 

My goals for 2020 will mostly follow the same path of check the sales of my books and trying to increase site traffic so I’m unsure if I’ll set specific numbers for this coming year. Thanks for following me along through 2019!

Interview with Poet David Ellis – Installment 20

You all first heard from David a few day’s ago in the Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal interview so check back there for a full bio!

 

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a writer? 

Looking back both fondly and wistfully on my writing career so far, it is not so much a mistake, more the usual situation that I think a lot of writers feel, where if I had started writing sooner with more confidence in myself and my abilities, I would have made a great deal more progress, compared to where I am now. 

Having said all that however, you have to soak up your life experiences to make yourself a better, more polished and professional writer. So, by taking my time and developing my writing styles over the years, I have matured in ways that I would never had imagined, had I been writing as regularly as I do now than say twenty years ago, when I was originally just dabbling in composing song lyrics, which of course would eventually naturally evolve into the poetry that I write today. 

You must never be afraid to write or let that fear be instrumental in holding you back, when it comes to submitting your work for critical evaluation. It took me a long time to start a blog but I am so happy that I did eventually get round to it (thanks to the constant encouragement from my local Writer’s Circle) because of the freedom of creative expression that it allowed me to explore. 

Start a blog, develop a regular writing habit and make sure that you are willing to keep evolving and improving your writing, with the ultimate goal to constantly put out quality content for yourself to enjoy and if other people like it then that really is an excellent bonus! 

Treat all of your writing ‘mistakes’ as experiments that are completely necessary and vital for you to attempt, if you are ever to grow and thrive in your writing journey. 

 

What did it mean to you to have your poetry collection win an International Award? 

I was completely stunned and flabbergasted (I do really like that word). For me, it was unexpected, in that I doubted the popularity of my poetry, compared to other big players in the categories that I submitted for my debut poetry book. 

As it turns out, inspirational poetry is a common theme in my work to this very day and one of my greatest strengths. It turns out that Readers Favorite thought so too. 

To have received the Readers Favorite International Book Award 2016 (Silver) in the Inspirational Poetry Category was life affirming validation for me, it was like “Yes, you are good enough and people are starting to take notice – well done!” 

For me, it was a career defining moment, one of the happiest days of my life and one I will take with me to the grave! 

 

How does the process work of writing Poetic Duets with other poets? 

I haven’t done Poetic Duets in a while, since people are pretty shy about doing collaborations but I do remember how much fun it was and is to create them! Basically, I think the best way to write them is as follows. 

You come up with a theme/concept (or take a concept from your writing buddy). You then run with that concept and see if you can write three or four lines about that concept (it doesn’t matter which one of you goes first, if one of you has the ideas then let them go first!) 

From that point onwards, you then write a few lines and pass it back and forth to each other via email, until you are both satisfied that the poem is complete. 

What is so fascinating about the process itself is that you end up writing lines or being involved with lines that you yourself would never have thought to have written before because you are integrating with another individual with their own poetic perspective. I have also been very lucky to work with people that have allowed me to edit their lines for poetic flow and rhythm, so that the poem is written so seamlessly that often people used to ask me which one of us started the piece! 

I would have to say that as a poet who thrives on positive interaction with people, it is one of the most truly rewarding experiences that you can have when you mesh with another individual and create a piece of art together, there is nothing quite like it! 

 

How was it being a part of the podcast ‘The Writer’s Edge’? 

It was simply an amazing experience! Christie Stratos is a very professional and engaging host at ‘The Writer’s Edge’. Both Cendrine & I found the podcast to be a very smooth and rewarding experience for us all, it was like we were old friends having a fireside chat. We covered a lot of ground, along with giving some background information as to why we started the journal and how you can submit as an individual. I hope all of my interviews end up going this well in the future! 🙂 

Christie is also a writer, editor and entrepreneur and you can find out more about her projects over at www.christiestratos.com

 

Like his Facebook Page:- Toofulltowrite – The Creative Palace For Artists & Author Resources 

Follow him on Twitter:- @TooFullToWrite 

For Creativity Resources, Writing Advice, Guides, Author Interviews and Poetry, visit his website/blog at:- www.toofulltowrite.com 

 

Interview with Poet Cendrine Marrouat – Installment 19

Cendrine Marrouat was introduced in yesterday’s interview as co founder of Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal so I’d like to hop right into her interview now!

 

How has your writing changed over the years? 

This year, I decided to release the second edition of Five Years and Counting: A Journey into the Mind of Soul Poetry, a collection I had originally published in 2010. I had to re-read the entire book, but I did it as if I was one of my readers. 

The experience was very interesting. I noticed a sharp change in style. Of course, it has a lot to do with the fact that I am older and know what I want in life. The spirituality that animated my life is now fully part of me. 

Furthermore I write haiku, my favorite form, 90% of the time now. This shift has forced me to focus on conciseness and simpler language. I say more with fewer words, which is a great thing! 

 

Does your poetry and photography ever overlap? 

They do, yes! I photograph things as a poet. I look at the stories I can document and compose my shots accordingly. 

One of my books, When the Mind Travels: A Poetic Journey into Photography, is actually a mixed-media project featuring poetry and photography. 

 

Do you have a favorite collection of your own? 

What? Are you asking me to choose between my babies? 😉 

I love my latest books. Walks: A Collection of Haiku is a series that pays homage to my love of haiku and invites readers to enjoy the fleeting moments that make life beautiful… 

I released volumes 1 and 2 this year and would like to release two more volumes in 2020. It will depend on the time I have. 

 

Aside from Haiku, what’s another form you enjoy writing in? 

The poetry form I invented, which is based on the haiku. The Sixku (you pronounce it as ‘sis-ku’) is a six-word, untitled poem inspired by an image. Like the haiku, a reference to nature is encouraged, complete sentences and punctuation are optional. However, the past tense is allowed. 

The sixku has three lines: Line 1 = idea 1 (one or two word(s)) Line 2 = idea 2 (two or three words) Line 3 = twist, surprise (remaining word(s)) 

Sixku are a fun challenge, especially if you know how to write traditional haiku. 

More information about the sixku can be found on my blog: https://creativeramblings.com/sixku/

 

Website: https://www.cendrinemedia.com

Books: https://www.cendrinemedia.com/Books

Blog: https://creativeramblings.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cendrinemedia

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cendrinephotography/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cendrinemedia/ 

 

Interview with Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well – Installment 17

Today we’re flying all the way to Australia to talk to poet, author, and illustrator Lauren Hancock. Also known on her blog and instagram as Alice Well! I can’t thank Lauren enough for the time and effort she put into collaborating with me. Check out my review of her recent publication here. Now let’s begin!

 

Where did you get your ideas from for “Our Whimsical World”?

My ideas generally came after drawing the image for the stories. When creating art, I become lost in the process, because it can be such an enjoyable state of mind to be in, being awash with a sense of creativity and joy when creating an image that is fun, lively and bright.

From then my imagination would take over the story point of view: having an image to work from allows me freedom to create. Having words written first is more limiting, because I need the consequently drawn image to adhere to the already-present words. My ideas mainly come spontaneously, either before the drawing was commenced, during, or after. This process speaks of how when I create something “All is well”: Alice Well, the creative name I am also known as.

 

How important was it for your stories in “Our Whimsical World” to have a moral or a message?

It was important for me to write stories that were not just stories. They needed to have depth; a message, a moral, something for the readers to learn from. It was not enough for me to simply write something cute that entertained. I wanted there to be a reason for reading these stories, and for a message to be quietly presently to sink into the minds of the children or older readers while they felt they were simply being entertained.

 

Did you consider that some vocabulary used may be too complex for younger readers? If so, why did you make this decision?

Using complex vocabulary that may be out of the scope of some of the readers provides them with the opportunity to learn new words and reach for a greater understanding of language than they had previously grasped. It is like when my former violin teacher would present myself and other students with pieces of music that were slightly out of our level of expertise: – it extended our skillset and encouraged improvement for our musicality and proficiency. The same idea is present here.

 

I notice on your website that your writing has taken a different direction from the style that your book is written in. Could you explain this a little further?

Yes, my writing has altered from short, generally amusing and light-hearted stories, to more serious and deeper themed poetry. It explores the self, love, acceptance, longing, encouragement for others, and being hurt by the actions of others. I felt it was time to move on from the short story style and begin to create poetry that spoke of my internal being, to show the vulnerability I am willing to display. Hopefully my poetry shows a depth of self and the revelations I speak of can resonate within some of my readers. Knowing or at least hoping that others can or are able to relate to one’s words and/or works is one of the greatest feelings we can hope for as poets, writers, or artists.

 

At what age did your passion for writing surface?

I was a fervent reader from a very young age. My grandparents and parents provided me with books upon books — Enid Blyton’s tales, Peter Rabbit, and so on, and I read these increasing collections with vigour and excitement. Being immersed with written language and beautiful imagery from such a young age allowed my own vocabulary to develop over time and my imagination grew and grew. I turned to writing to create worlds and stories that lived in my mind, and I still have the collection of writings and illustrations to view.

 

What did you find that the most difficult thing about self-publishing?

For me, the hardest thing in self-publishing my book was the marketing/promotional side of things. I went into the experience with little idea of what I would need to do or how to prepare myself to introduce my new book to potential readers. I knew, but didn’t completely realise that the responsibility initially fell entirely upon me to generate interest and attention. But, I have been blessed to have my editor who has greatly helped me along the way with advice and support when I most need it, and he has made the marketing side of things clearer for me.

Sometimes I feel like when I do mention my book online that I may be viewed as too pushy, when I am really just wanting to share what I created with others. Being relatively new to this blogging community, I wasn’t aware that people organised ‘blog book tours’, or what ARCs were, or anything like that, but I know that for next time around I can be more organised and prepared in an upcoming launch of a second book.

 

 

Get your copy from Amazon and check out Lauren’s Goodreads too!

Check out her Alice Well Blog and Instagram next!

Where I Ache Review by Venus Davis (from Maria at Sampaguitas)

Maria at Sampaguitas is a fantastic magazine to submit your piercing yet tender pieces to. The magazine encompasses so many different forms from short stories and essays to poetry and photography. If you’re a creative artist, definitely give them a look!

I lucked out by having a regular contributor Venus Davis review my collection Where I Ache!

“In Megan O’Keeffe’s honesty through poetry, I felt seen in a way that I never have before. This book felt like a gift from a close friend. This collection is a hand reaching out to hold the hand of anyone who has ever dealt with grief, depression, heartache, and the massive love for yourself that builds from going to hell and back.”

Read the Full Review here

I’m so thankful for any review I receive, if you are interested in my collection please get in touch! (ddateable@gmail.com)

The choice to self publish

The dream for me had always been to be picked up by a big publishing company in the future of my writing career. I knew that would not happen right away and self publishing some books would almost be like building up a resume. I could grow my own fan base, I would be showing that I’m not just a one hit wonder, and I would show that I have the passion and commitment to continue on for many more years. 

 

There’s definitely stress and frustration that comes with putting a book together but I do love having control over every decision and making my collection EXACTLY how I want it. As I’ve never been traditionally published, I don’t know when the hand off happens exactly. But I’m sure there’s Cover Designers and Illustrators that can give your collection a complete makeover – a makeover you may not want. You can be included in the conversation but how could you disagree with the professionals if you didn’t like the design?

 

A big plus of signing with a traditional company is the marketing resources that can be dedicated to getting your book to consumers’ hands. When you self publish all the marketing and promoting falls on you. The thing is I’ve seen some collections that were published by traditional companies but barely have 50 reviews on Amazon. I know reviews don’t equal sales but one of the big 5 publishing houses should have enough resources to ensure their books are being promoted well. 

 

Traditional publishing companies have been in the industry for a long time, they have a lot of connections, and they know all the ins and outs to get your book in front of the right people. But will they use that knowledge on you, that’s no guarantee as this recent thread on Twitter speaks to. 

 

After publishing my first two collections, I’ve learned I want control of all creative decisions and I want as much promotional help as possible, it seems there are plenty of examples in the industry that traditional companies don’t help me with either of those things. 

 

Being picked up by a publishing company could be the greatest thing to ever happen to your writing career. It could be the greatest to happen to mine as well, I’m just saying that I no longer feel that hungry desire to chase after one of the big 5 houses. I’m happy self publishing. It’s difficult at some points and I know traditional would have it’s own difficulties as well. Self publishing has been making steady strides in this industry for years and I am here for it’s next step.

 

Interview with Poet Vontress Ortega- Installment 12

I’d like to welcome Vontress Ortega as our next guest! Vontress is a four time published author with her newest “Tainted Soil” released just last month! Her collections touch on character development, self empowerment, love, and betrayal. Vontress is incredibly talented and relatable, I had a hard time putting down her Unveiled collection and I’m sure you’ll all feel the same way once you read this interview!

Screen Shot 2019-09-25 at 1.18.09 AM

What’s the creative idea behind having the titles at the end of the poems?

I felt that the title being at the bottom of the poem was more like a “ signature”
and the poems were letters to the readers.

‘Masquerade’ speaks so well to conforming to social norms, can you talk more about the inspiration behind that poem?

The inspiration behind the poem came from scrolling down my timeline. I have
seen so many people that I know personally change themselves to fit in with that
they THINK is going on in someone else’s life based on social media posts. We
like what we see and then begin to question ourselves so much that we start to
change so that we are out of the ordinary.

 

I think the Unveiled collection touched social media in relationships, how do you think they affect each other?

I do feel that social media is sometimes damaging to relationships that don’t
have solid foundations. They affect how we feel about ourselves and our peers. Because
in our minds we have been programmed to see only surface and not substance.

 

How would you describe ‘Unveiled’ in one sentence?

Shedding light on our broken pieces !

I would like to share the Non Profit organization that I am apart of. It is called Your Hearts Deziare. It is a Women’s Empowerment and Support group. We help women who have suffered from life’s traumas and help them build self confidence and work on their mental and emotional health through beauty, retreats and art expression.

 

To get in touch with Vontress visit her:

 blog

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

 Amazon page

Interview with Poet Robin Williams – Installment 7

This month’s Poet is talented beyond her years with 6 publications in just 2 years! Robin Williams’ poetry is as much of a fighter and activist as she is, standing for equality, lgbt+ rights, mental heath, and more. Along with poetry, Robin lets her creativity out in short stories, polymer clay designs, and hand-made crafts. This artist is just getting started, so let’s get to know Robin now!

Your poems focus heavily on an array of sensitive subjects, are there poems that are just so raw that they will never be shared with an audience?

Every poem I’ve ever written has most likely been shared with an audience. There are times I do write a piece that is very raw and I question myself if it should be shared, but a big part of me thinks that it must be shared. I feel that not only am I reflecting myself through my art to heal and analyze, but that someone somewhere is doing the same thing when reading my poetry. Together, we face the raw moments in life and I think that really makes a difference to those who feel like they’re alone in the world.

What was the idea behind publishing April Showers Bring May Flowers and Scars of Apollo just one day apart?

Scars of Apollo had been a planned announcement for almost a year and a half. April Showers bring May Flowers just sort of swept in through the window during the poetry month of April. It really all was just a spur of the moment but it made sense in the end. SoA was to bring healing, to share healing, and ASbMF delivered that healing further through being a collection for donations.

Screen Shot 2019-07-11 at 10.25.59 AM
Check out more photos from Robin’s Instagram

 

With six published collections (which is extremely impressive in 2 years time!), do you have a favorite?

(Thank you!) My books are literally my children and as every parent knows, to pick a favorite is the worst thing you could do. But I must say, yes, I have a favorite. Scars of Apollo has really brought me so much growth and positivity that my life has taken a trek in the best direction. Of course, I’m very proud of my other works, but SoA is my future and I like that alot.

 

I know you stand for a lot of causes, is there anything that’s really inspiring your current poetry in particular?

I’m at a mix between wanting to stir up some work that introduces readers to what I believe in, (I’m tasting a bit of witchcraft at the moment) and really breaking down my past year in reporting sexual assault. I think many people find it hard to not only grasp the horrible events many face, but hard to also share those events. I’ve seen my poetry taking on the role of a fighter who is many emotions; anger, guilt, regret, happiness, relief, and determination. Pulling strings from all parts of myself has set a sail within that I hope more people will board.

Screen Shot 2019-07-11 at 10.29.00 AM.png
See more hand-made creations from Robin’s FactioMagicis shop

How did you get into creating polymer clay designs?

It all started with YouTube. I consider myself very crafty; I enjoy getting my hands messy, leaving paper scraps everywhere, and letting glue stick to the table and my fingers. When I came across some videos of how to craft the polymer clay, I was immediately intrigued and purchased some clay the next day. From there, I went through trial and error to get the creations I wanted. It turned out to not only be a fun activity in my spare time, but proved to be a little therapeutic. I’ve even decided to include some in my new subscription boxes!

 

To get in touch with Robin or purchase one of her many creations, you can reach out –

on Instagram, on Amazon, on her blog, and on her shop !

2019 Goal Check In

I wrote some goals for 2019 back in December and I wanted to check now that we’re at the half way mark for the year (whhhhatttt?!?!?!?)

 

Goals for the first six months of 2019

Goals have to be measurable in order to know if you’ve reached them or not. Although I’m not happy to focus so heavily on numbers, it is an easy way to measure a goal. My goal is to increase my audience and have a successful poetry career. These numbers will help me keep track of those goals.

 

The Blog

Work on writing a media kit

Contact companies for sponsorship (and actually get one!)

Gain another 1,000 followers

 

Update: I’ve looked into some samples of media kits but I still don’t think my stats would stand out enough for it to make sense to create one just yet.

I’ve joined some other affiliation programs that I’ve been working on instead of doing any sponsored posts yet. There are some programs that have tougher qualifications so I still need to work on my stats. I am making a small bit of money from google Adsense so it’s great to see me recovering some of my self hosting spendings.

Debatably Dateable has gained over 1,770 followers since December and I couldn’t be happier! I love love love watching this blog grow! I hope to get another thousand in these next 6 months!

 

Cracked Open

Between GoodReads and Amazon, have 20 reviews

Get 25 more books sold

 

The Update: I have 18 reviews so I can’t be too upset there but I did not even get close to selling 25 more books so that stings a little. I don’t see these numbers getting much higher as the year goes on. I’m not sure how to help boost sales as the book continues to age.

 

Social Media

Twitter – gain 2,000 followers

Instagram– gain 1,000 followers

 

The Update: For Twitter I only gained 1,270 so far but feel free to come check out what I talk about there! Oddly enough, for Instagram I’ve gained over 2,125 followers so it looks like I got my goals switched around! I hope to get to the 2k+ on Twitter in the Fall.

 

Next Poetry Collection – Where I Ache!

I want to add 50 exclusive poems to my next collection before I work on publishing it

Have 10 reviews before release date

Sell twice as many as Cracked Open (over the course of the year)

 

The Update: I have 55 exclusive poems! I am absolutely ecstatic about that! Cracked Open had 20 illustrations and Where I Ache has somewhere around 35 so I’m also pumped about that!

Where I Ache was only released 2 weeks ago and there’s already 14 reviews on Goodreads so I’m very happy about that! Definitely check them out!

I’m only 2 weeks in of course but I’m already even with Cracked Open’s first month of book sales so that’s a good start for me!

 

 

Because I don’t want to solely focus on numbers, here are some

 

Non numerical goals:

Connect with new readers who resonate with my poetry.

Have my poetry help someone through a difficult time.

Have a company see value in my writing.

Keep a healthy number of articles in queue.

 

The Update: I’ve definitely found new readers and also fellow poets through my Poet Interview Series! I’ve been so lucky to connect with new readers who were interested in reviewing Where I Ache and many have said the sensitive topics covered in the collection have helped them remember they are not alone.

I haven’t really pursued this one aside from submitting Where I Ache to one of the major publishing companies. I’m not sure that I will do much for the rest of the year for this.

I have over 30 posts in queue for the past several months and it is amazinggggg! (knock on wood)

 

Thanks for checking in with me! I can’t wait to see where I end up this coming December! How are your blog goals coming along?