Rare Creature Sighting

2nd Look Books logo

Within the burrows of my heart hides this tiny creature. It’s fuzzy with rounded ears and a small nose, much like a pika. It’s about the same size too.

PikaThis is the creature that jumps for glee at being invited to a friend’s event or that scrambles with purpose when hosting a game night.

This is also the creature that excitedly rolls out ideas for marketing or squeals when I book a book signing.

But this small, fuzzy bundle of joy lives in the silent puma’s territory.

The Puma does not jump for glee at the idea of a party. It would much rather climb a tree or find a quiet place for a sun drenched nap.

It doesn’t scramble in excitement over a friendly get together but bares its teeth and wanders away on silent paws, choosing to hide in its den over rubbing shoulders with other cats.

If annoyed too much, the puma might just eat the round eared pika out of spite and so, the pika hides the majority of the time in its burrow.

And there the pika stays, quiet and cautious, while the puma handles the day-to-day details of life.

Puma

There are, however, a few, rare instances when the pika gets to climb onto a rock and sing its existence. Perhaps the puma’s deep asleep, or perhaps it’s too focused on hunting and doesn’t hear the pika’s chirping. For whatever reason, it’s distracted enough that the pika gets its way.

This Saturday, come glimpse this seldom seen creature.

2nd Look Books logo

From 11am to 1pm, I’ll be sitting out front 2nd Look Books in Spokane, Washington in hopes of encouraging passersby and book shoppers to purchase a book and get a signing. (There’ll be free, homemade cookies too! Definitely the pika’s idea.)

I’m terrified and excited, but for two hours the pika gets its rock from which it can sing to the world. Then, after 1pm rolls around, he’ll scamper back into the burrow within my heart and wait patiently for the next time the puma’s distracted.

Hope to see you there.

Blessings,

Jennifer

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The Little Things

Zeiger Business Cards

I had a post planned for today.

For various reasons, I don’t have all the elements I need to actually run that post.

Grrrr….

My brain grasps ahold of that one hiccup and gnaws away at it. Frustrated, stressed that I need a new post, hoping, although it’s not going to happen, that the original post will work in time.

I spiral down the pit, letting one thing ruin my day.

This happens too often.

I too often forget to relax, forget to enjoy the process of making something special, forget the passion that fuels my actions. Writing easily becomes a stress because I focus on the thorns and not the flowers. I stress about stuff that I’ve no control over and, in the end, really doesn’t matter.

But I truly believe we can intentionally control our train of thought. We choose what we focus on. It’s pure laziness on my part that a disrupted post can ruin a day.

So, I’m going to flip that on its head. Here are three things, simple things, that make me slow down, relax and enjoy each day.

A goofy breakfast set out by my husband.Smile breakfast

The Writing Sidekick reminding me to take a nap.
Writing Sidekick

Getting my business cards in the mail in time for my first book signing, and being super happy with how they turned out.
Zeiger Business Cards

It’s the little things that make life great if we choose to notice them. Let’s take a moment to appreciate them.

What little thing today put a smile on your face?

Blessings,

Jennifer

 

What’s in a Name?

The Adventure Book by Jennifer M Zeiger

Last week I reminisced about the color of The Adventure’s cover and the balance between loving the cover as it is and trying to use it for marketing. In other words, trying to make it visible on a book shelf or a screen.

This week, please bear with me while I share the learning curve on names.

One, in the book’s title and two, in my author name.

Book Titles

Like book covers, in traditional publishing, the publisher tends to have more control over the title than the author. For instance, Twilight started out as simply Forks (named after the town the story is placed in).

However, that wasn’t interesting or unique enough, so it was changed to Twilight. A publisher, without a doubt, would have changed The Adventure to something else. And in hind sight, I should have too.

Here’s why…

Let’s have a little field trip. Go to Amazon and pick books. Then type in The Adventure.

Can you find the book?

I’d be seriously impressed if you could. It’s lost in pages and pages of other books, and maps, and piano book lessons, and Pathfinder game guides, and… I could go on for 100 pages worth of titles. (literally).

I liked the simplicity of The Adventure. I still do. But for marketing purposes, I should have picked something not only simple, but more unique.

Author Name

An author’s name is an author’s name. A traditional publisher doesn’t get to control that. However, they might suggest something different if it’s hard to find or your name matches someone else’s.

Let’s try another field trip. Go to Amazon and type in Jennifer Zeiger.

What do you get?

You get Jennifer Zeiger, but it’s not me until the second page. Now, if you type in my full author name with the middle M, you will find me, but this is such a subtle difference that it’s often overlooked.

On a side note, the other Jennifer is related to me by marriage. She writes for Scholastic and has often answered my random questions when she can.

Now, I knew there was another Jennifer out there who wrote books. When I decided to use my name for writing, I figured I’d have my full length novels published traditionally if anything, and they’re in the fantasy genre (YA and Epic). I figured these were different enough from what the other Jennifer wrote that it wouldn’t be a problem.

However, add that to the fact that The Adventure itself is difficult to find and everyone gets confused. (Including family. I’ve had aunts contacting me thinking I’m the other Jennifer.)

The takeaway from all of this:

Find a distinct title. And be choosy about the name you write under. These are the two gateways people will use to find your writing online. It’s worth taking the time to pick well.

What catches your eye in a title? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time, Blessings,

Jennifer

Note to Self, Go Lime Green

The Adventure in Auntie's Bookstore

A professor of mine back in college educated us on how book covers are made in the traditional book publishing industry. It kind of terrified me.

Why?

Because the author has very little say in the design and ultimate copy of the cover. Don’t get me wrong, she can have some input, but an author has to be selective with what she chooses to take issue with because the publisher will consider her input, but will, in the end, go with what will probably work best for marketing.

Silverville Swindle, The Editor Connection Blog PostIt’s a business, I get it, but my professor brought in his own book to illustrate his point.

The book was lime green with an alien on the cover.

He hated the lime green. However, when that book got placed on the shelf in a bookstore, mixed in with hundreds of other books, it popped. It stood out amongst the masses, as it were.

You may have seen my recent, probably overly excited social posts, about a couple bookstores carrying The Adventure. (Check out Aunties Bookstore and 2ndLook Books!) I am beyond ecstatic about this next step in the book publishing adventure.

But I definitely see now why lime green is more eye catching than dark blue.

Gah! It’s hiding back there!

With a last name like Zeiger, the book ended up on the bottom shelf. Plus, with it’s dark coloring, it’s harder to see in the first place. (I still love the cover! but marketing might dictate I love brighter colors a little more.)

So, Note to Self for the Future, go with a brighter color or something that will pop against a dark background.

My learning curve continues. =) What catches your eye in a bookstore? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Blessings,

Jennifer

Working Out the Brain

The human brain is a marvelous thing.

Muscles

Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

Just like a muscle, it can be worked out until doing certain activities becomes easier. Memory can be improved by memorizing (imagine that). Reading can be improved by reading and writing. Sight reading sheet music can be improved by practicing piano. I could go on.

But similarly, if the brain’s not used in a certain activity often, it atrophies in that activity. It will struggle to perform at an efficient level.

All that said means, I haven’t written stories in a while and it’s showing. Last year I focused on editing, formatting, and promoting The Adventure, and I’m not complaining, but my ability to sit down and write a cohesive adventure story has atrophied.

I fully intended to post an adventure in January. Don’t look at the calendar, it’s embarrassing. There was a time I could fully write an adventure in three days. All eight endings written out, done, complete. That time is not now.

I can’t do the eighteen pull-ups I used to crank out either.

But, just like I’m getting back into my workout schedule, I’m sluggishly getting back into my writing schedule. My lesson has been learned, a little bit of story writing on a regular basis goes a long way in keeping my brain fit, as it were.

So, a little late, welcome to 2018. Thank you for your patience with me.

Thursday will see the start to this year’s first adventure story.

Hope to see you then.

Blessings,

Jennifer

At the Door of December

It’s that time of year again…already. I’ve no idea where 2017 went, but it’s interesting to look back for a second and contemplate.

Last year this time I hoped to self publish one of the adventures in 2017. It was my next big project. I hoped you could, “hold a hard copy of an adventure and explore all the different endings at your leisure.” I’m a bit surprised and pleased to be able to say this goal was accomplished. In fact, you can explore three of the adventure stories at your leisure! (Check out The Adventure on Amazon.)

Now it’s time to breath for a bit. Every December I step back from writing to focus on family and friends, to breath and relax.

This time also allows my brain to ruminate on what, exactly, the next year’s goals should be. Nothing will be decided until January, but this is the time to start those fires burning in my brain.

In other words, I won’t be posting again until January. If you’ve read this far into this post, thanks. =) With everything that demands your attention, I appreciate your support of this blog and my writing.

I promise to return in January with two things.

  • One, some goals for 2018 and
  • Two, a whole new adventure story to explore. It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a new adventure for the blog. It’s about time to get back to it.

What did you achieve this year? What will next year hold for you?

Blessings,

Jennifer

P.S. If you’re wondering about the Kickstarter rewards, I’ll be posting updates about those on my Facebook page. Be assured, I’m still working on the Hardcover. It’ll be ready soon. =)

Defining Success

Sleep

Writing Sidekick sleeping…he’ll sleep anywhere.

My husband and I have this routine we follow almost every night before we drift into dream land. No planning went into this routine, no preconceived notion forms how it’s followed but over the years it’s developed into a habit.

As we lay there about to drift off, we let everything from the day come spilling out in conversation. Logic would say dinner would be a better time for this and my sleep habit would agree, but reality doesn’t usually agree with logic.

So the other night, my husband and I were discussing the deep matters of the world, workout schedules, work grievances, body aches and pains, you know, the really pressing stuff, when we stumbled onto the topic of success.

I’m a worrier. As you can imagine, my worry level is up to the red when it comes to The Adventure, which launches on Amazon the end of this month. As we discussed this, Nate commented, “Define what success is for you. People will tell you all sorts of things but if you know what you want, then you know if you’ve accomplished what you desired no matter what others say.”

This stuck in my brain like a fly in honey. It wriggled around until it became fully immersed in my thoughts.

Regular, traditional publishing says you have to sell thousands of copies before a book is a success. Some say you have to make a living off of your writing and then you’re a success. Others gauge it on whether or not they’re familiar with your name, or if they’ve heard of your book before. Some point to Amazon reviews and press releases, interviews and book signings.

By many of these, I’ve a long way to go before I’ve achieved success and if I let these things define what I’m striving for, I may never reach the point where I’m satisfied with my accomplishments. Ouch.

But Success, as according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as:
  • A: degree or measure of succeeding
  • B: favorable or desired outcome; also :the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence
  • C: one that succeeds

Interesting…only one part of the definition deals with ‘wealth, favor, or eminence,’ and even those have varying degrees. A and C both rely heavily on what success is defined as in the first place. So really, the ‘favorable or desired outcome’ is where we each need to focus.

What, to each one of us, is the favorable or desired outcome that defines success?

The Adventure Kickstarter ImageFor The Adventure, I think achieving my goal for the year, as I outlined in my last post, The Trap in Dreaming, defines success.

That goal, specifically stated, was: Publish The Adventure and break even on the cost by the end of 2017.

Thanks to the amazing backers of The Adventure Kickstarter, that goal will be accomplished November 30th. Thus, this year has been a success. Period. Dot. Done. =)

What to you is success in your own life? Don’t let others define it for you.

Blessings,

Jennifer