Guest Post by Kimberly Johnson

Governor Sarah Palin, Book Reviewing, and Becoming an Author

I started my first blog about fifteen years ago and I wrote about whatever interested me, which included books.  To my great surprise, the authors showed up and started commenting and thanking me.  So, I started trying to do more reviews because I was also learning a lot from them. 
This was before Facebook and Twitter became all the rage.  We got a lot more traffic in the blogosphere.  People hopped and commented more.  Now, a blog needs to be very focused and people save their chattiness for faster social media sites, it seems.

Interestingly, I got a huge, unintentional boost in visitors from Sarah Palin, former governor of my home state of Alaska when she was named John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential election.  First, I spewed coffee all over my computer screen on hearing the news.  Of course, I posted about it, ‘cause, hey, I was an Alaskan!  Then, I watched as thousands of new visitors hit my site from around the world.  Awesome.
Governor Palin was the first female governor of the state of Alaska, and the youngest.  I can’t understand why some people can’t set aside partisan politics to celebrate that. 

Important Note:   We don’t need to agree on anything or understand each other at all in order to respect and be kind to each other.
Kindness and Respect doesn’t sell stories nowadays though.

Things escalated organically from there and I created a sister-blog just for book reviews called Enduring Romance.  I removed my original blog, but the sister-blog is still online as a read-only.  You can see how unsophisticated it was compared to book blogs today, but I’m still proud of it. 
Always be proud of your growth spurts!
This was long before I knew anything about blogging book tours.  I’m not sure when that started.  But I was doing something very similar and for free for my favorite authors. 

At the same time, I was writing novels and learning how to write query letters and synopsis and all that.  I wasn’t yet considering Indie Pub, because it wasn’t nearly so easy and convenient back then!  I’m glad, because I had a lot to learn!
Writing under the pen name ‘Kimber An,’ I finally achieved ePublication of my first novel, Sugar Rush, in 2010.  (This is the one I revised to become ‘Newblood & the Ice Princess.’)  I wrote a prequel short story, Crushed Sugar.  (This is the one I revised to be ‘The Finding of the Ice Princess’ which is now available as a free short story.)  That publisher wasn’t interested in the next book in the series, so I found another publisher.  That one published Sweet Bytes (this will be retitled ‘The Ice Princess & the Immortal Protector’) and a Contemporary Romance short story, Drive-By Valentine. 
The Finding of the Ice Princess can be found here-
And then my husband lost his job. 
I suddenly didn’t have the time or emotional energy to be an actively engaged author.  And you have to be actively engaged or nothing sells. 
So I asked for and received my Reversal of Rights Letters on all my stories from both ePublishers.  The second one actually went out of business around the same time.  This is why the third novel in the trilogy has never been published.
A few years later, my real life settled down on bedrock again.   My husband was happily employed and all four of our children grew old enough to attend school.
I started reviewing again and blog tour hosting to brush up on the business.  Wow!  A lot has changed and all for the better, as far as I’m concerned.
Another Lesson Learned.  Life is hard.  Sometimes it’s really hard.  But, it will get better, if you hang in there.

Now I can Indie Pub and I really enjoy it so much better.  I don’t have to be a techno-geek, an accomplished artist, or a photographer to be an Indie Author.  I just need to be persistent to find and learn how to use the resources I need.
If there’s a moral to my story, it’s to never stop.  Just keep going.  If you quit, you certainly will fail.  If you don’t give up, you just might succeed. 

Stay constantly curious and always learning.


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