Six months in: General updates

As of yesterday, it has been six months since I launched this blog. What an amazing experience. Since then, 717 unique users have viewed 3,890 pages in a total of 1,470 sessions. These users viewed My Love History the most, followed by All I know about my dad, and I grew up feeling ugly. Most users are from the US, but there are also several other places represented such as the United Kindom, Austria, Germany, and Italy. Thank you all for reading.

I have utilized my previously unused Twitter account @caniscareyou and went from 1 follower to 541 as of this evening. There’s a neat network of fellow indie authors out there and other interesting people. I participate in writing hashtag games and spread the word about my YA book, Caroline’s Lighthouse, and my upcoming adult novel, Jordan’s Sister. I learn more about other independent authors and writing contests.

Caroline’s Lighthouse is selling. I will get my first modest royalty check at the end of February. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, the book signing I had scheduled for this coming Saturday had to be cancelled. I will let everyone know when it is rescheduled. The reviews have been positive. Here’s what people have said: 

“Caroline’s Lighthouse is a wonderful debut that I believe young adults will find very appealing. The book is well written, with plenty of mystery and suspense, along with the wonder of first love. This is a good read, and the author has a great future ahead of her.”

“Caroline’s Lighthouse comes alive with the characters and settings in the book. Brandi uses wonderful details in the descriptions, along with weaving the mysteries of the story from the past to the book’s present setting. I read it all in one night and can’t wait to see what she publishes next! This is a perfect book for a teenager or adult who loves mysteries and romance.”

“Love this book! I had a hard time putting it down. This story is so intriguing. I enjoyed the suspense and the way the author was able to capture the feelings of a first love. Can’t wait to read more of her work!”

“In her debut novel, Caroline’s Lighthouse, Brandi Easterling Collins presents her readers with a well written story about the protagonist Caroline and her quest to solve a family mystery. While the novel is a tale of the supernatural, the reader must not fail to realize that the author has skillfully presented a coming of age story of Caroline and her peers; these two elements beautifully coexist. Through rich details, the author creates a hauntingly beautiful setting for her characters to exist. Readers are certain to find this novel intriguing, engaging, and intelligently written. As a newly established novelist, Collins is sure to create a fan base who eagerly awaits her next literary releases.”

My next novel, Jordan’s Sister, is in progress. I just passed 62,000 words last night. I am working on adding back-story and a few dates that need to be accounted for since I adjusted my timeline. I have a clear beginning, middle and end that I am satisfied with. My favorite line in the whole story so far is spoken by my lead male character, Layne. He is speaking about Taylor, the main female character. He says: “She is the most beautiful person I’ve ever met, and only a fraction of that beauty is on the outside.”

The two leads are singer/songwriters. I’ve written their two main songs, Layne’s Song and Taylor’s Song. I don’t have music for them, but I know the melodies in my head since I have sung them several times. Seriously, though, I can’t sing, so I doubt I will ever have the courage to post my a capella recordings of the songs that I did only to prevent myself from forgetting how the songs sound. Singing is weird for me. I can sing in front of my kids and my husband with some embarrassment, but no one else. Yet, I can speak in front of a large crowd without the same embarrassment.

I am considering trying to find an agent to pitch my new novel to traditional publishing companies.
Pros: Prestige, Money, Marketing, Exposure
Cons: Rejection, Criticism, Loss of rights to my story

I could also self-publish.
Pros: Keep rights to story, Be in control of editorial process
Cons: Cost, Criticism, Low exposure, Lack of prestige

I have a lot to think about. In the meantime, I am looking at a couple of book contests for Caroline’s Lighthouse. There are the Writer’s Digest and the Independent Author Network’s contests I am actively considering. There was a third option that I have nixed, the International Publisher Award, for two reasons: the high submission cost and the fact that they misspelled “separate” twice on their entry form. What am I seeking? Validation. Exposure. And of course, winning would be nice.

I am working on some ideas for future blog posts. My personal posts get the most hits, and it seems that people also like to click on the “Sex” tag more often than any of the other common tags. I find that funny because it’s human nature to think about sex.  I don’t write about it too graphically, but I am currently writing a letter to my daughter about that subject (yes, she is only four now) that I plan to give her when she is old enough. I will determine that as I get to know her better. It’s something I may or may not post on this blog. I will wait and see how I feel about it after it is complete.

I made a pledge to myself to read 52 books this year. I am on book four, which happens to be The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. How I would describe it is hauntingly beautiful, borrowing the words from my dear friend’s review of my book. The movie was great but does not do the novel justice.

So, those are my updates. I’m reading, writing, thinking, strategizing, etc. I am also continuing to seek engagement from my readers. If there’s something you want to know in future posts, leave a comment for me.

-Brandi Easterling Collins

1 thought on “Six months in: General updates”

  1. I enjoyed reading Caroline’s Lighthouse very much. The book kept me interested, the time it was set in and the author did a great job in describing settings of the era the story was about. Loved it and I would say it’s a must read.

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