What I learned in 2021. What I need in 2022
We have fun times at Siretona Creative. If you searched the world over and hand picked from the scrabbling billions, you could not have put together a more compatible bunch of authors.
Every week we have three hours together spread through the working week, and we ask the same questions each time: What have you learned and what do you need? There is never an end to the learning an author goes through to publish their story. At our little collaborative collective there is never an end to the supply for our needs.
What did I learn?
Moving parts and moving hearts launch stories into the world.
In January 2021 I ramped up my game, took the challenge and ran a successful crowd funding campaign for all of February. Every aspect of that campaign was run through the brains and hearts of my fellow authors. Pictures, speeches, promotions, rewards, it all received critique and enforcement from the gang.
Marcia Lee Laycock got the editing process started by splitting Book One in two: Leoshine, Princess Oracle and Leoshine, Princess Quarry. She also called for several character name changes. Colin became Gavin after a valiant young man fighting cancer, John became Uly (look in Travis’ book for the clue to his origin), and Joshua and Caleb became Shua and Yebit (they make an unnamed appearance in book one and have a big part in the rest of the books).
In March we held an Internet Treasure Hunt. What fun! Totally impossible without constant support, creative outlay, and hilarity from Travis and the gang. Even choosing the ten Canadian women who are the “treasures” in the hunt was passed through the committee.
We also started the map saga. A wonderful young lady designed the map and then was unable to continue. My sister found Nathan Ledbetter to make the changes needed. Travis gave us the final brush strokes to perfection.
In April Leoshine spread her wings to Africa, commissioning a painting by Anna Pederson who teaches at an international school. I was just learning about my TCK identity and how the globe is my playground, workplace, and family. Anna’s perspective was very welcome!
In May we had the South African Zoom Party! Leoshine has a huge fanbase there and I wanted to meet them. More zoom parties are in the works because this one was so much fun. My husband/business and tech manager created the Leoshine Shop where fans can get their merch. A whole lot of learning had to happen to get the three pillars of webstore management to cooperate!
In June we held the “Painting Delivery Driveway Party.” Local friends and supporters came to see Anna hand over the actual physical painting that forms the foundation for Leoshine’s cover. We ate ice cream bars and heard about Anna’s experience in Africa. Katie Gerke, who put me in touch with Colleen McCubbin, attended and stayed for supper.
In July I celebrated two of my favourite authors. Rachel Rossano with an interview and Connie Mae Inglis with her launch party! I held two more zoom parties and heard that Leoshine’s fans were getting impatient.
No more zoom parties until we have the book in our hands!
In August, I toured Virginia and Texas and met Becky and Jim (who become important in November). There are so many fans there, I’ll have to make another trip! Christina Petre came onboard as an editor and put Leoshine through some serious analysis! The story grew and divided and grew some more!
In September I hardly drew breath as my other job got off the ground, and October I spent hours on zoom attending writers’ conferences. There is a powerful lot of learning to do there, I tell you, my brain was smoking!
In November my sister got serious about making the chain that Leoshine wears and that Anna created for the cover. She bought charms. They arrived at her house. Then the post office shut down. Yikes! Leoshine pivoted, though, and Becky and Jim (remember them from August?) who are jewelers and neighbours of my sister agreed to create the chains. Oh wow! They are amazing!
In December Hannah Cole came on board as the Layout specialist. For the first time Leoshine is more than a Word document! Whoo Hoo! She’s a book. I learned about fleurons, orphans and widows, and that specialty fonts are not supported by ereaders. Hmmm. And just when the inside (Hannah’s work) was to meet the outside (I had hired a cover designer on New Years Eve 2020) Typhoon Rai blew through and wiped out my designer! (Pray for the Philippines)
Pivot again! Travis jumped in to redesign the front cover. Colleen wrangled up a back cover and spine and suddenly Leoshine had an outside to shelter Hannah’s inside.
Today Colleen uploaded the work of all these people to Ingram Spark! Will there be a party? You bet! Moving parts and moving hearts launch stories into the world.
What do I need for 2022? More of the same. People. Community. The Gang. Collaborators. And Book Two — Princess Quarry. Ready to do it all again? I am!