GRANNY IS BACK IN “GRANNY SKEWERS A SCOUNDREL”!!!

Thank you to Kate Eileen Shannon for hosting me on her blog today and for the great review. I am truly blessed to have the readers and support that I do. If you’re interested in what she has to say heres the link.http://kateeileenshannon.com/2014/09/16/granny-is-back-in-granny-skewers-a-scoundrel/

Kate Eileen Shannon

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

julieJulie Seedorf is a Minnesotan. She calls dinner, supper, and lunch, dinner. She has had many careers over her life time but her favorite career was that as mother to her children. In later life she became a computer technician, opening her own business. In 2012 Julie signed a contract with Cozy Cat Press. Julie writes a column for southern Minnesota area newspapers called “Something About Nothing. “Granny Hooks A Crook” her first Cozy Mystery for Cozy Press takes place in the fictional town of Fuchsia, Minnesota. The Fuchsia Minnesota Series and other writings such as her children’s book “Whatchamacallit, Thingamajig” follow her theory that we all take ourselves too seriously and we need to have a little fun. Her second book, Granny Skewers A Scoundrel, highlights the fact that in the midst of life we have…

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It’s Hard Being A New Author!

I consider myself a new author even though I have had a contract with a small publishing company for the past year. I consider myself a new writer, even though I have had a successful column for an area newspaper for the past eight years. I consider myself a new writer, even though I have four books published, and have had excellent reviews for the most part.

I consider myself blessed as an author, and a member of the Cozy Cat Press family, not only because of my books, but because of the other authors who have given me valuable insight into working as a new author.

This blog post is for new authors and author wannabe’s. There is occasionally a misconception by new authors on  their role  after the book is published. That misconception revolves around the idea that your work as an author is finished when the writing and editing are done.  You write a book, someone else pays to publish it, and you collect your royalties in whatever fashion the publishing company’s policy pays those royalties. That’s it. Done. You’re on your way to the next book.

I don’t know how it used to work. I don’t know what big name publishing companies expect, but I do know that many smaller publishing companies expect their authors to do a little tap dancing in the social media, and getting familiar with blowing their own horn.

Remember when your mom told you it wasn’t nice to brag? So, you didn’t. After you write a book, and that book becomes a published reality, you need to throw out the niceties and brag. How else will you sell your book if no one knows about it? Life has changed and social media helps you promote you. It is up to you as a new author to promote your book on social media sites, author and readers groups that  you join, and utilizing guest stops on blogs. It is up to you to promote your work on your own blog and website. The promotion is endless,  time-consuming, exciting and exhilarating  at the same time – and it can work.

I am the perfect example of teaching an old dog new tricks. I was older when I got into the writing business. Granted, I did have some computer experience in computer repair but not promotion, website building,  or social networking. These things I had to learn on my own with the help of Google, asking questions and doing a lot of research.

You write your book. You get accepted by a publishing company or you self publish and that is where life gets fuzzy for many writers. The roadblocks kick in worse than the road construction on our highways this summer. Detours prevent new authors from moving forward. Roadblock # 1 on the detour in the life of a writer: Spouses, family and friends don’t understand the work it takes to write a book, research a book and then promote and market a book. “You wrote your book, now get back to the real living.”  “It’s done, it’s out there, I want my dinner.” Have any of you heard that? And then they qualify it with “Why isn’t your book selling?” A new author has to move beyond other’s expectations to move forward, market their book and start another if they are serious about their craft.

Roadblock #2: “I don’t do social media.”  ” I don’t have time.” “I don’t know how.” “I’m not computer literate.” Those are all statements made at one time or another that hold a new author young and old, back from accomplishing their dream. If you want success as an author in the world of 2014, you have to remove those roadblock statements from your mind. Ask for help. Do your own research. Anything worth achieving takes time and hard work. If you believe you can’t, you won’t. There are tons of tutorials out there on any given subject for navigating your way around the vast social internet world.

Roadblock #3: You don’t believe in yourself and what you wrote. You have to become your own cheering section and tell people about yourself. Join other writers and readers groups to learn the ropes and network with other authors and readers. Their advice and friendship are invaluable. Don’t expect your publishing company to do everything for you. The world has changed when it comes to what publishers do for their writers. I would guess that the most accomplished, famous authors put in much time and sweat too. Their publishing company expects  great things from them too.

Why am I qualified to write this blog about this subject. I am, because I have a lot to learn. I am, because I have met those roadblocks in my mind and in my life. I don’t know everything about Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and Amazon  or other social media. I have a zillion things to learn about my website and my blog. Every day is a learning experience. Every day is a juggling act between writing and publicity and learning. And yes, it get’s frustrating, when my brain is challenged with things it doesn’t want to learn and I want to give up. When those things happen, I take a breath, maybe retreat, and do something else creative or spend time with a friend but then –I come back to my work and ask for help.

Am I successful? It depends on what one’s definition of success is. Yes I am successful in that I am learning many new things in this old brain. I am successful in that I have met many new valued friends. I am successful in that I am living my dream-writing. Am I still comma and grammar challenged? Yes.  Do I sell some books? Yes. Would I like to sell more so I don’t have to worry about paying my bills each month? Yes. Am I willing to work hard to make that happen? Yes.

As a new author, wish yourself success, prepare for a lot of work for a life of loving what you do. Believe in yourself.

 

 

 

Teachers Matter, Thank A Teacher Today.

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Column: Something about Nothing, by Julie Seedorf- Published September 1. 2014

Mrs. Lewis was my kindergarten teacher. Mrs. Weir was my fourth-grade teacher. Sister Mary Donald was my eighth-grade teacher in Catholic school. Mr. Schmidt was my history teacher my junior year in high school. Mr. Bailey was my speech teacher and drama adviser my senior year in high school. All of these people influenced my life in a positive way.

Long after I left kindergarten, Mrs. Lewis kept in touch. She was at my high school graduation party even though she lived in another community and had retired from teaching years earlier. Forty years after Mrs. Weir shared her knowledge with me and my classmates in fourth grade, I ran into this former teacher. She knew who I was and what I had been doing with my life. Sister Mary Donald, at a reunion of the Catholic school 35 years after my friend and I had spent our time in her eighth-grade class, shared with us that she prayed for us every day. Without telling her who we were, she remembered us.

Of course there are times when you wonder what they remember about you. Was it the fact you were a good student or the shenanigans your class might have played on the teacher? I didn’t ask, and they didn’t tell.

My son’s first-grade teacher on his graduation from high school presented him with a large piece of art he had made in her classroom. She had kept it to give to him 12 years later. She did this for other students, too. Teachers care.

Today is Labor Day. It is a day dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. As with many traditions that are passed on from one generation to the next, we honor those traditions, but in the space of time perhaps the reason for the tradition is lost.

In our times we think of Labor Day as the last hurrah before school or the end of summer and the beginning of fall. That is why today I would like to write this column in honor of teachers who came before, and who now dedicate their time to shaping the lives of our next generation.

There is no doubt in my mind that many of the teachers I had during my grade-school years and my high school years have had an influence on who I have become today. Ask around and find out if any of your friends have teachers that influenced their lives.

If you think about it, our kids spend more time during the school year with their teachers and coaches than they do with their parents. How can that not affect their lives? Teachers are the people who educate and see that our children know what they need to know academically to carve a good future for themselves.

I can read. I can write. I can do math, though it wasn’t my teachers’ fault that I am a little challenged in that department. They couldn’t do everything, such as making someone that is totally uninterested in math, a math whiz. But because of them I can do the basic things I need to do to succeed in the world and in business. I also learned right and wrong from my teachers. They taught values and morals.

Tomorrow is the start of a new school year. I have not heard one teacher bemoan the fact they are going back to school. I hear excitement in their voices. Teaching in 2014 is not an easy profession. Not only do teachers have to take care of seeing that their students are challenged academically, but they also have to contend with more social issues, more state issues and a changing society where respect for those teaching our children is not always shown by students and parents.

Where would we be without teachers? We have lost many good teachers to jobs that pay more for their skills. There has always been the argument that teachers only work nine months out of the year. I am not a teacher because I chose not to be a teacher. I chose to work 12 months out of the year. We all make choices and if we did not choose that profession then we have nothing to complain about. If you have a teacher or a friend who is a teacher, you know the many hours they put in off the clock, preparing lessons that will make your child better equipped in the world today.

If we didn’t have schools and good teachers where would we be in our society? We would be a pretty uneducated bunch. If you are a teacher and are reading this, you don’t have to be a saint, but remember, for many students you are the adult who they look up to. You are the adult they spend many hours with. You are one of the adults in their lives who will shape who they are, and your example counts.

So, today, on Labor Day, if you know a teacher, say thank you. If you have a child in school, support their teachers. It takes a working team to raise our children to be responsible, literate adults in today’s world. Thank you to all teachers for your dedication, and have a great year