Tag Archives: success

The Slow Burn

Moonday Mania

a blog for struggling romance writers everywhere

Launched book 12 today (book 4 in my fantasy series, The Winter Queen’s Dragon). Romance, and in particular fantasy romance, is competitive so this time I tried to do all the launch strategies I could. I so want this one to jump on day one! To be number one on that fantasy romance list. Wouldn’t that be amazing? But, I’ve designed a slow burn launch by sending my announcement to my newsletter list in three batches, and doing social media on another day. So that day one jump is not likely to happen.

The idea is to show Amazon I have consistent sales, instead of a huge bump on day one. But as I look at my  trickle of sales this morning and my finger-grapping hold on the fantasy romance AZ list, I have to keep reminding myself—this is a long tail business. So it’s back to the grindstone. The good news is my early readers seem to love it. And maybe, that’s the one thing to focus on instead of sales: pleasing the readers. If I focus on that, instead of sales and launch days, then everything is a success.

I’m reading Derek Sivers book ANYTHING YOU WANT: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur . It’s this tiny book filled with lessons he learned launching CD Baby, a small business he started just to sell his own CD’s and ended up selling for millions. One of the things I love about this book is that he’s so not focused on making his business a million dollar business. Instead he’s focused on how to serve his customers, who, when he started, were mostly his friends.

What is your measure of success? Are you in control of it? Is it in control of you?

Okay, that’s not a direct quote from the book, but it could have been. What it is is my take on his book. If I look at my sales and try to go for the money, I’m a total failure. It’s true. I love my books, but they barely break even. It leaves me feeling like I’m clawing and scratching just to make a living writing romance. And it feels desperate.

But, if I focus on some of the things I’ve actually achieved, I’m a success.

My readers love my books. They really do! I get letters asking me when the next fantasy romance in the Tales of the Black Court is coming out. They don’t want to wait! And my free shifter book for my newsletter subscribers, Rogue Enforcer? That inspires letters too. People want more from me. More romance. More shifters. More fantasy.

I’m getting better as a writer. This is super important. It took me two years of edits and massaging to get my first fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman, to where it is today, but The Winter Queen’s Dragon only took months. And my editor said it was the best one yet! That’s amazing. My reviews for all my romances are at least averaging 4 stars, and usually average higher. Romance readers love my books! WOOT!

I love my life. I am making money doing something I love. Not many people can say that. Am I still struggling to get up that cliff? Yes. Do I want my job to make enough money to say it’s a living? Yes. And I’m getting there. I’ve doubled my income every year. That sounds amazing, right?

(Typically I follow that statement up with some disclaimer about what my income was the first year, but I think I need to just stick with the amazing part. I’ve only been publishing for a few years and while some others are rocking their way up the charts, most small businesses take five years to really get going. My small business is no different.)

Okay, so I’m no CD Baby. I can’t say I’m one of those romance authors who seem to appear out of nowhere and jump to the top. But I can say:

My readers love my books.

I’m getting better as a writer.

I love my life.

All of those are fabulous measures of success. And so what if the money is slow? That’s okay. I’m doubling my income every year, right? 😉

So I’ll get there. One book at a time.


the winter queen's dragon a fantasy romance by jessica aspen

 What’s a heroine to do when her dragon captor is not only her enemy’s best defense, but is also the man of her dreams?


Frozen for a hundred years the only thing on Siobhan’s mind is finding out what happened to her brother and vengeance on the queen who has punished them both. Upon gaining her freedom from the ice she finds herself the prisoner of the Winter Queen’s Dragon, Atavantador. But nothing is as it seems and when the dragon’s manservant, Doyle, turns out to be the dragon himself, Siobhan discovers that ending the queen’s reign may mean sacrificing her true love for the quest for revenge.

Doyle is hiding more than one secret from the queen, and all of them are worth his life. To keep the queen on his side he must play the game of dragon so well that no one guesses his secret—that beneath the Winter Palace lies the key to all of dragon kind’s survival, one of only seven queen dragon eggs left in the universe. And time is running out.

When the dragon egg’s hiding place is threatened Doyle finds himself caught between his heart and his loyalty to all of dragon kind. Can he trust Siobhan enough to tell her his secrets, save the egg, and still serve her lust for vengeance? Or will the attack on the palace destroy not only the egg’s chance of survival, but Siobhan and Doyle’s chance at love.

Love magic, romance and dragons? You’ll love THE WINTER QUEEN’S DRAGON.


 Buy now for 99cents (limited time offer)

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Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s newsletter and get your link to download your exclusive FREE book, please click HERE.

Rogue Enforcer by jessica aspen

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Filed under About the Author, channeling success, Moonday mania, The Winter Queen's Dragon, Writer's Journey

Discovering the Art of Splitting Oneself

Moonday Mania

 a blog on juggling balls- while standing on one

Be careful what you wish for.


See, cloning works!

Always good advice. I can see into the future and I see myself split into mini-Jessicas. One Jessica working on her edits from her publisher, one working on her edits from her self-publishing endeavor, one writing new stories for the future. Another to take care of the kids, another for the house, laundry, and groceries. One to hold down the day job. Oh, and one more- my husband wants his own.

How do we do this? How do we juggle so many balls in the air (without dropping any) and add even more? Lynn Cahoon, my guest author on Thursdays Bite addressed this very issue. She’s amazingly prolific and published with several different publishers. She’s worked hard for years to get here, and now here is today with so much to do that it is staggering. But she’s not complaining.

I’m not either. I just want more of me, so I can do more. Is that so much to ask?

And when I see other authors publishing book after book I wonder, how can they possibly get all those words down on the page and still get any sleep at night?

The answer? They don’t.

Office Punching Bag

Always good to have something to hit in your office when the tensions rise.

Something’s gotta give whether it’s your sleep, your exercise, your kids or your spouse, you can’t get it all done and I’m coming to grips with an ambition I didn’t even know I had. I want those multiple books, and fabulous fans, and I want my health too.

While writing this article I realized something amazing: this year, 2013, I will publish four books!

How did that happen?

Well for one thing I didn’t write them all this year. Snow and the Seventh Wolf was written in 2012 and The Dark Huntsman was originally finished in 2009. Another big advantage is that Snow and the Seventh Wolf and Goldi and the Bear are both novellas, under 35,000 words. So really I will have written one long novel and one novella, the equivalent of a very long historical romance. Not that I’m dissing my achievement. It’s going to be a stellar publishing year!

Another thing that helped is that I really do have several Jessicas working for me. My novellas are published by a publisher. That means I don’t have to be the editor in chief, the cover artist, or the formatter. They do all of that for me.

And as for The Dark Huntsman? I have hired help for that one too. I needed professional editing, so I’m hiring that and the copyedits out. I’m also on the lookout for a cover artist, as I am not going to add learning how to be an artist to my pile of balls I’m currently juggling.

Four books out in one year and sandwiched between generations and jobs I feel the tension. But it’s a wonderful tension and I’ll happily juggle for a little while, hoping that someday I’ll be cloned.

How do you deal with too much to do? Do you hire help, give up on sleep, growl at your family and friends? What gives when you are stretched to the bone?


Filed under About the Author, channeling success, Moonday mania

Discover Three Tools For Making Your Dreams Come True

I’m beginning to love Facebook. It’s taken a while. At first I was a Twitter fan. I could easily think up one liners and there were all these cool tools for re-sending information on my blog. Hootsuite made it organized and I found interesting things on there. But Facebook was slow. I felt a little lost, didn’t know what to post, and only visited about once a month.

A few months ago I decided to start doing a little more. So I checked it out once a week. Then a little more. Now I’m over there at least once a day. And I’m enjoying it so much more. Why?

I think it’s the pictures and the fact that people are not limited to 120 characters. They can say what they want to say and illustrate it. And I’m learning how to see when friends respond to me, or follow them better on the side. I still don’t like the way Facebook changes stuff all the time. That is not user friendly, but I’m learning to like other aspects of it.

It’s how I found this killer post on success on Karen Salmnsohn’s site, Not SalmonSelf help for people who wouldn’t be caught dead doing self-help. You gotta love that tagline.

And this poster. Which is also available as a cool journal to record your successes on your way to your dreams. Love it!

Now I am a self-help lover, I love to hear boostering talks and read books, but I am not so great on the follow through. Mostly because it either takes a lot of time, or it is very goofy. And there are only so many things I will spend time being goofy about before I give up and move on.

But I really like her philosophy.

She has three simple rules in this blog and I love all three. I’m only giving you my short explanation, for Karen’s excellent in detail explanation, click HERE.


This one is pretty self explanatory, but I want to add ban negativity. My least favorite phase this year is “The problem is….” . Forget about the problem, what is the solution?


Hence the journal. Write it down. Make lists. List your goals and your successes. Big, small, and everything under the sun. Some days it’s as simple as- I wrote 1000 words. If you can do that everyday, you have accomplished something small that will grow to 52000 words a year. And that is a novel.


This works hand in hand with #2. Those little steps grow into big accomplishments, but if you don’t acknowledge the little steps you might stop making them. So get to work stepping and start your marathon.

Many of you don’t know this about me, but after I had my second child I was in terrible shape. I was 220 pounds (and I’m only 5’2″) I’d had two surgeries and two kids within eighteen months. I was a wreck. And I was not exercising. I started getting up at five am, before any babies, husbands, or dogs could start making demands, and sneaking out of the house and walking for fifteen minutes. And then twenty. And then thirty. I lost a bunch of weight and eventually was walking an hour a day. Small steps make a big difference.

Several of my friends are working on the Artist’s Way (Sherry Isaac and Gloria Richard)  and I think that goes along with this kind of attitude. Start with the basics and the big things will come. I’m not ready to plunge into the Artist’s Way, but I think I might just start a journal like this. Fill it with all the little positives and big positives that come my way.

And if you want to read a very good post with a funny kid story then hop on over to Karen’s Not Salmon blog on Mustering Up Success HERE. I loved it and it gives you the real nitty gritty on her three steps as well as the opportunity to see what classes she’s offering that are not self-help!

How do you keep yourself charged? Do you do activities to stimulate your creativity like the Artist’s Way? Do you read books outside of your sphere? Do you make lists of blessings or three good things that happened that day? How do you stay re-charged and what keeps you going?


Filed under About the Author, Goal Setting, Moonday mania, Writer's Journey