Odds and Ends of the Almost New Year

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Guest Posts

Sorry for all the guest posts I’ve done on other blogs this month. They were scheduled to be more spaced out, but with the holidays everyone posted them in January.

Book Reviews

I’ve been trying to read more in December and January. But I don’t want to turn this into a book review blog. I will post reviews to Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, but just do 1 book review post a month with my fav two reads showcased and links to the others books reviewed.

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Scrivener Update

Over the holidays, I did a Scrivener tutorial and downloaded the free software. It’s hard to adjust to a completely new method of doing everything. The tutorial did not make it easier. I wanted to poke my eyes out at certain moments. A few times, I considered just doing it in Word. But the more I use Scrivener, the more I see its benefits.

I can have a series as one project file. That means all of Six Train and its sequels can live together in one Scrivener binder. I can link research to each book rather than printing it out and having to search through folders. And I can create character and location profiles and keep them updated throughout the books. I’m working on building a series bible this week. 

My outline for book 2 is still in Word but that’s the next project. Moving it into Scrivener once it’s finalized.

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2013 Resolution Delayed Update

I delayed the start of the new resolution cycle until Chinese New Year (Jan 31).  I ate way too much over the holidays and I needed the extra time to wrap up last year. So I’m giving myself a 13 month year. Good news is I’ve been getting a jump start on things and turning them into habits since Jan 5. I’ll talk more about that in my Jan 30th post and share the Q4 results from 2013.

Sales Numbers 

December numbers were my worst all year. I sold 28 books. I didn’t have any events planned so that likely contributed to the low sales numbers. I needed a break from the promo push. I had to recenter and rebalance.  I will be adding in-person events while I outline, draft and revise other manuscripts this year.

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Upcoming Author Events in February

In that vein, I have a few events coming up in CT in February:

2/8: Hartford, CT: Wadsworth Atheneum: I’ll be selling books and signing copies from 10 am to 3 pm with fellow CT CAPA authors during the Wadsworth’s Free Saturday.

2/12: Naugatuck, CT: Whittemore Public Library:  “Ladies’ Night Out” where I’ll be reading my favorite scene from Six Train. Wine and cheese will be served. I’ll be selling and signing books. Several CT authors are participating so it will be a great place to get a taste of new reads.

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30 Responses to Odds and Ends of the Almost New Year

  1. I use Scrivener now and I know I’ve only scratched the surface on what it can do. I’ve had no regrets, though. Keeping all the work in one binder, as you said, has been great, and you can pick and choose which features of the software you use. YouTube has loads of videos on Scrivener, with pretty much anything you want to know about it.

    • I definitely see how awesome it is for organizing research and building the story bible. 🙂 I wish the tutorial had been more basic though. It just was way too much. Or I wish it was more targeted and let me learn just what I wanted to learn. I’ll have to check out the Youtube videos sometime. 🙂

  2. Mae Clair says:

    Good luck with your goals and commitments, Kourtney! I’ve had Scrivener residing on my computer since December but have yet to do the tutorial. I’ve heard a lot of authors say it makes life easier for them but a few others I know have gone back to using Word. I suppose it’s all a matter of preference!

    • Mae, I don’t like how easily you can spend time on the computer with it. There are things that can become huge time sucks and likely lead to carpal tunnel. I hate the notecards and the corkboard. I’m also not sure I like how drafting is done. I’m going to give it a try, but it may end up being where I build story bibles and keep track of research. 🙂

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    I’m taking an online Scrivener class next month. I’ve been through the tutorial, but I forgot so much of what’s available, and I know I’m under-utilizing it. Hopefully the class will make me more savvy and help me get the most out of it. Despite my lack of full understanding, I still loved using it for my last manuscript.

    • I noticed that too. The second I finished the tutorial I started forgetting stuff. You have to use it daily to really get to know it. 🙂 One of the downsides of the software is it can keep you at your computer hours longer than you’d like. I’m trying to steer clear of anything that isn’t absolutely essential to the task at hand. I definitely see it’s value for the story bible and research. I’ll have to evaluate how it works for me when I’m drafting. 🙂 Glad to hear you found it useful!

      • Carrie Rubin says:

        I did have a couple times where it didn’t back-up to Dropbox correctly, and I worried I’d lost the most recent draft. Panic, I tell you, panic. But I was able to restore it. I’m not sure if it’s because the PC version has had more problems than the MAC one, but I hope that never happens again. Scary.

        • That’s scary. Thank goodness you could restore it! I’m working off the Mac version. I switched because I read it was more stable than Word and I had lots of version control issues with Word–changes I knew I made not being there. 🙂

      • benzeknees says:

        I used Scrivener for the first time (on a free trial) for November’s NaNoWriMo & thought it was pretty fabulous for what I wanted to do. I could have my character list sitting to the side & easily refresh my memory about a character without disturbing what I was writing. I only used the online tutorial to get me going. If I start writing again more regularly on my book, I would definitely use it again & hopefully take an online course so I could use it most effectively.

        • I did the free trial too. After it became clear I’d be using it for series bibles, I decided to buy it. I’m using it slowly and learning as I go. I think it helps to have a specific task like building character bios or creating notes or outlining and then learn how to do that task. 🙂 At least, that’s my approach. 🙂

  4. Pete Denton says:

    I moved over to Scrivener for August 2012 NaNo and won’t switch back. It can be weird to start with and I doubt I use more than a few percent of its capabilities, but I like everything being in one place. I keep meaning to do some posts about it, but never seem to get the time!

  5. Who says resolutions must start on January 1st…you do what works best for you, Kourtney. Each day is a new beginning and a chance to make a change. The Ladies’ Night Out sounds like fun! Enjoy!

    • LOL. It kind of fun to delay the new year. 😉 Exactly. I just wanted my year to wrap up when I was ready. 😉 I’m excited–hope we find a few readers and make a few sales. 🙂

  6. jmmcdowell says:

    For major goals, I tend to use my birthday, which is not that close to New Year’s at all. For me, that feels more like a natural start to a year and starting point for new endeavors.

    l love Scrivener, even though there was a learning curve. And we all had one with Word, too, although we may not remember it because it was, er, “a few” years ago. 😉 And while at work I need to use a number of Word’s features, there’s no way I exhaust its possibilities (or headaches). Scrivener is similar that way. When you know which features work for you, you can ignore the rest. But it does take time to absorb that information.

    • That’s very cool. My birthday is too close to the holiday season–it just will all get derailed. But Chinese New Years has been a good second chance for me most years. 🙂

      I do think it does this series bible stuff great. i definitely will use it for that going forward since I write series books.True, when they rolled out that ribbon design it was like being 5 again and trying to learn how to read. Awful learning curve. 😉 I like that it has so many possibilities since writers write so differently. The corkboard was an automatic not doing this for me. But I know writers who love it. The tutorial was way way too dense. I needed something more basic that just showed me enough to perform a task or two not 200. 😉

  7. Wishing you well in all you do in 2014.. Don’t over do things.. And take care.. Sue

  8. Arlene says:

    I love Scrivener and have been using for my WIPs and for drafting my blog posts. I like how I can keep all of my writing in one place, but like Carrie, I’m sure I am waaaay under-utilizing it. I’d like to hear how that online course goes and see if it’s worth delving deeper into Scrivener. If not, I’ll continue to use what I know.

    At some point, I’ll need to learn how to compile with the right formatting but since I’m no where near needing that yet, I’m not too worried about it.

    Good luck with the learning curve and with your other goals!

    • Wow that’s impressive. I just do blog posts in the WordPress window. 🙂 I don’t think anyone uses all the functionality. They’d have to be sitting at their laptop all day to do it. 🙂 Hopefully Carrie will let us know how the class goes.

      If you don’t use it, you lose it. I forgot half of what I learned in the tutorial in a few days. 😉 B

      Thanks. Doing one task and learning how it works makes it way way less frustrating. Though building a story bible in 5 days is a tough timeline. However, I’m 60% done so yay!

  9. I’m with you about waiting to Chinese New Year!
    Sounds like you are recharged. (Don’t fret over Dec…nothing much happens that month for any business. annoying)
    Stay warm and give that little dog a hug!

  10. Mayumi-H says:

    The 12-month calendar is only a guideline. 😉 Did you know that some expectant mothers occasionally judge a year by a 42-week timeline, not a 52-week one? Because even without those last 10 weeks, it FEELS like a year. 😀

    I know I should switch from Libre to Scrivener, especially for my larger projects, but I just want to write and not deal with the proprietary format. Maybe if I ever go into a real editing stage, I should take the plunge. (Ha ha.)

    Good to hear you’re taking the time to recenter yourself, Kourtney. Sounds like you could use a little focusing break. Hopefully, that neat little wine and cheese reader event will breathe some fresh winter life into things. 🙂

    • LOL. Thanks for your support! I did not know that. How cool. 🙂

      I have no idea what Libre is. LOL. I love Word because I know how to use it and my mind is trained to work around it. So it’s faster right now because it’s familiar. You can import a whole manuscript into Scrivener anytime. It’s really easy. Right now I just use it for series bible building. I’m not near the drafting phase. I plan to try it then, and hopefully see the merits of it. 🙂

      Recentering is essential especially after the holiday food coma and bad habits. I am loving building the series bible all the answers to what will happen in book 2 were buried in book 1. I just had to dig through to find them all. 🙂

      Hope so! Trying to do events locally or regionally for a while. Less of a drain on finances and easier to keep writing while promoting. 🙂

  11. 4amWriter says:

    I need to learn Scrivener, but where is the time? I tried it for NaNo 2 years ago, and it was okay. But, then for my latest WIP, I just used Word because I didn’t want to put off writing to learn Scrivener. I was afraid that little bit of delay would lead into procrastination because I already had some anxiety about starting a new book. I think perhaps learning Scrivener would be best when I’m not under the gun with time.

    • Oh Kathryn, the time suck was such a turn off for me. I delayed for a long long time. I’m tackling it in projects where I learn one skill and use it repeatedly. Building character bios and location bios and concept bios for Six Train–the bible for the series is getting easy. Then I’ll take a break and then I’ll learn drafting. I did my outline for Six Train’s sequel in Word and I’m not sure I’d want to convert it to Scrivener. Definitely–you cannot learn this software if you are under a deadline or have a time constraint. It’s a big learning curve.:)

  12. Sheila says:

    I like the idea of warming up to resolutions and really getting them going for the Chinese New Year. Sometimes we need to ease into these things! That way I don’t have to feel bad for failing with my resolutions already. 🙂 I’m sure those numbers will pick up again soon. It’s a great book and word of mouth works too! Hope you had fun in Boston and hope to see you around here once the snow’s gone.

    • Me too. I usually give myself Chinese New Years as a restart point. 😉 This year I just said, let’s push it to then. I hope so. There are so many great books out there, it’s really hard to get noticed. Boston was very cool and quick. 22 hours. I talked to my mom about doing a getaway there this spring/summer. I’m going to start trying to line things up in February. Fingers crossed. 🙂

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