“World, Meet Maureen K. Howard”
~by Maureen Kovach
“World, Meet Maureen K. Howard”
~by Maureen Kovach
The End. “Woo hoo! We did it. We wrote a book. It’s a good book. We know it. At least we think it is. Is it? Maybe it sucks. It definitely sucks.” Does this sound familiar? As any author knows, writing is like a roller coaster–the peaks are high and the valleys are low. Real low. And as any Indie Author knows, there’s no one standing by to boost your morale, kick you in the pants, or hold your hand and let you cry. You come to the realization that writing the book was the easy part.
After basking in the glow of personal accomplishment for five or six minutes, reality rears its ugly head. Who is going to read our masterpiece? How will anyone know how awesome our story, our setting, and our characters are if no one even knows the darn thing exists?
That was the million-dollar question, and I didn’t have a million dollars to discover the answer to it. So I did the next best thing. I opened up my dresser drawer, pulled out my big-girl panties, dressed for action, and got down to business. My daughter and I, under the pen name, Maureen K. Howard, had written a book, and it was a good book. Now it was my mission to make sure others would have the pleasure of discovering it.
To my credit, I did have the good sense before this point to read as much advice as I could get my hands on about how to write a good book, and make sure it was market-ready. I had identified my target audience, purchased the services of a professional editor and a cover designer, and signed up for Kindle Direct Publishing and a print-on-demand service.
But that only took me so far. After all of my family members and friends had downloaded their e-books or ordered their print copies, the party, such as it was, was over. It was time to move on to a new action plan. How did I connect with new people who would want to read our book?
I thought of a book I had finished recently by an author I had never even heard of before. I had discovered the book through one of the many services that offer e-books at free and discounted prices. I am an avid reader, so I figured there were probably other people like me out there, willing to give an unfamiliar book a try if the stakes weren’t too high. This author’s style was right up my ally. The mystery was fun and fast-paced, the characters were smart but quirky, and the writing itself was impeccable. So, I wondered, how did she do it? Not write the book, because I felt mine could hold its own. But how did she get it in front of me?
I did what any techno-savvy consumer would do. I googled her. Thus began my journey into the unknown world of self-promotion. I studied her web page and used it as a guideline to create one of my own. But wait. She had a Facebook Author Page. Okay. I could do that. I began discovering on-line groups dedicated to specific genres–some were geared toward writers, others toward readers, while others joined both sides for lively, eye-opening conversations and recommendations, which led to…sales! I never felt out of place or stupid among these members and have made some dear friends who I look forward to chatting with regularly.
And next there was Twitter. I was utterly clueless. I’m still not sure I comprehend that landscape. It must be that little bird. I’ve always hated birds. But I do it. Little by little, I’m discovering its advantages.
Blogs baffle me. I have one. I’m writing one. I even enjoy reading them. My resistance to them, I hate to admit, is most likely due to my age. I stubbornly refuse to enter into a friendly working relationship with something called a blog. What kind of a word is that?
I know I’ve just uncovered the tip of the iceberg. I stepped outside my comfort zone and fell off a cliff. What I have decided is that success is out there. I am part of things now that one year ago, I did not know existed. I have a mailing list. My book is available in public libraries. I even have a street team, advance readers, and dare I say it? fans.
If you’d like to stop by and meet us (Maureen Kovach and Brigette Howard, aka Maureen K. Howard), you can find us at @mhowardbooks, www.facebook.com/maureenhowardauthor, www.lakeeriemysteries.com, www.mhowardbooks.wix.com/lake-erie-mysteries.
Maureen K. Howard is the pen name of mother/daughter writing partners, Maureen Kovach and Brigette Howard. They both live in Findlay, Ohio. Maureen recently retired from a long career as a high school English teacher and now focuses her time on spoiling her three granddaughters, spending long weekends at the lake with her husband and their golden doodle, and making friends with fellow mystery writers and readers across the globe via social media. Oh yeah, she also writes books. Brigette works full time managing multiple national restaurant franchises. She enjoys taking her charcoal lab on running adventures and spends her free time reading, gardening with her husband, cooking, and planning the perfect murder.
The evening sky made me think of rainbow sherbet as I watched the sun set over picturesque Kelleys Island. The sound of waves lapping against the side of my small skiff as I steered toward the lakeshore had a cathartic effect—my breathing and heart rate were finally returning to normal. From a hundred yards off shore, it was a postcard perfect scene. Idling past the breakwall, past the pier and the beach, I envisioned the fingers of charcoal smoke curling their way through the pastel clouds, clutching and twisting, distorting the idyllic scene. I could almost smell it, faint at first, but increasing in intensity, a foul odor like hot summer asphalt mixed with the sweetly noxious smell of burnt cupcakes. It would make your eyes water and your nostrils burn.
Increasing my speed, I glanced over my shoulder then focused once more on the shoreline, imagining the result of my handiwork and the thrill that would course through me when my mission was complete and my trophy, the charred remains of my victim, was discovered.