I did something pretty crazy a few weeks ago. I quit my job teaching so that I could concentrate on writing full time and stay home with #BabyGoodwin. I'm so excited. This is something that I've always wanted to do.
My first three books were all released under the name Jessica Strassner. This used to be jessstrassnerbooks.blogspot.com. There used to be a jessicastrassner.com. Every book cover had Jessica Strassner on it, and that was fine... until 2012 when the divorce was final and I no longer wanted anything to do with that last name.
I thought for awhile that I'd keep Strassner as a pen name, just a business thing. After selling thousands of copies of my books, why mess with that?
Except the thought of that name getting any sort of credit or any more recognition really irked me. When I published my first book, 'Here We Go' my then-husband had no idea what it was about. When asked, he didn't even know the genre. He didn't care.
I got married again in 2013. As I was writing 'Clarissa Jean, Homecoming Queen,' I knew I would release it under the name Goodwin. I'm proud of that name. Proud of who I am now - as a woman, a writer, a wife, and now a mom.
Changing your name on credit cards, bank accounts, and your driver's license after you get married is already a huge pain... So now how was I supposed to change my name on my three books? Did I have to delete them and start all over? How would people know who I was? Who I am?
I contacted Amazon and was told NOT to do that, as I'd lose all of my reviews and sales information. The solution was really very simple - go in and add a new author, then delete the old one. I uploaded new cover images to reflect the name change. My Amazon author page has been completely updated. I did the same thing on GoodReads. Easy as pie! Thank goodness.
I decided to take a chance and enter my latest book, Clarissa Jean, Homecoming Queen, in Amazon's Kindle Scout Program.
Kindle Scout is Amazon's crowd sourced publishing platform. Authors enter their books, they have 30 days to campaign, gain support, and gather nominations for their book. If they receive enough nominations to show that there is interest, and if the Kindle Press team likes what they read, the author is offered a contract with Kindle Press and anyone who nominated the book will get to download an advance copy!
In 30 days, Clarissa Jean was viewed almost 6,000 times. The book appeared in the Kindle Scout Hot & Trending List for over 90% of the 30 day campaign period. The book was on there 24 hours a day for the last two and a half weeks straight!
Despite what I thought were great numbers, Clarissa Jean wasn't picked. I'm disappointed, but it happens.
In the meantime, I learned a few things.
I have awesome friends and family (well, I actually already knew that!) who supported me. They liked my posts, shared my links, and retweeted my tweets over and over again!
My husband and his friends are awesome social media marketing experts. They got my author Facebook page seen by thousands of people!
It really is a small world. A Kindle Scout reader who nominated Clarissa Jean visited my Facebook page and left me a comment letting me know that she had voted. I saw her location (a teeny tiny town in Florida where I'd loved with my parents when I was in college) and realized that she looked kind of familiar. It turns out that we worked together in a movie theater (in that teeny tiny town) more than 15 years ago!
And also, it doesn't hurt to have a cute baby in your promotional efforts... I mean, who can resist that face?!
I was also able to connect with lots of fabulous new readers and book bloggers. I'm excited to announce that I will be the Author of the Week at Hello, Chick Lit in early May!
Not only have I finished Clarissa Jean, Homecoming Queen (and started on my next project) but the holidays are right around the corner! After all of the excitement has died down, the leftovers have been eaten, and the out-of-town guests have left, why don't you head over to Amazon and grab my first three books for FREE? Click below!
I am currently working on my fifth book, one that I started last year. I was working on it a lot last summer, but when I found out that I was pregnant, baby brain took over. We also moved into a new house and had a bunch of other stuff going on, so, unfortunately, all writing came to a halt.
Now that baby's here and we've kind of settled into a routine, I've started working on Clarissa Jean, Homecoming Queen again, and I have to tell you, it feels SO GOOD to be writing again!
I've definitely gotten into a groove. Some days I get more words written than others, but the important thing is that the words are definitely flowing. I think about the story a lot. I am constantly taking notes or mentally planning what I'm going to write the next time I open up my laptop. I don't just picture the story unfolding in my head, I can actually hear the words that I want to write. It's a little crazy. I even had a dream last night that I was writing. I sat down at my computer today and realized that I hadn't actually written that part yet - I'd only dreamed it!
When I haven't been changing diapers, I've been busy working on my new novel Clarissa Jean, Homecoming Queen. Seriously, if my son is napping, I have been pounding out as many words as I can! Sleep when the baby sleeps? No way! I'm writing!
Work on this book took a backseat months ago when I found out that I was pregnant. In addition to preparing for baby, my husband and I also moved and had our new house remodeled. Like most reno projects, there's still some work to be done, but since things have (kind of?!) settled down, I've started writing again.
It feels so good to be in the middle of a story again! I'm getting to that crazy point where even after I put the laptop away, the storyline is still running through my head like a mental movie. I'm pretty pleased with how things are going. It's great to have possibly found a balance between baby and books! I don't think I could be any happier than I have been these past couple months.
You would think that, because I consider myself a writer, that keeping up with a blog would be easy.
Not when so much has happened over the past three years. Sometimes I can hardly keep up with myself!
I've already published three books. Written a fourth, a middle grade fiction novel. Working on a fifth, another chick lit/romance.
I've also moved 1,000 miles away from where I started, gotten married, changed my last name, updated my website, moved again, completely remodeled a house, and recently became a first-time mom! Talk about reinventing yourself!
Now that I'm home with baby this summer, my goal is to get back to writing. That means finishing book number five and keeping up with this blog. We'll see how it goes!