Confessions of a Chubby Girl

There is a monster that lives inside every girl.

Sometimes it’s a big one that drowns out all the others. Often we have an entire crowd of little monsters. No matter the amount, monsters are universal.

I’m going to tell you about my biggest monster, and how it spawned a piece of art I never anticipated.

Confessions of a Chubby Girl by @kcrosswriting

Photo taken when I was twelve at girls camp.

The Chubby Girl Monster

By twelve years old, I was blatantly imperfect, flawed, and terribly insecure about it. So I did what any hormonal, emotional wreck-of-a-tween would do.

I turned to the loving, constant arms of food.

Brownies were a favorite, though I wouldn’t turn down Ben and Jerry’s or mozzarella sticks or any other battered goodness that I could just pop in the oven or microwave. Fistfuls of animal crackers? Perfect snack with a quart of sugary-sweet guava juice from concentrate. Mom cut up carrots and apple slices, but I dipped them in gobs of peanut butter.

Nutrition therapy at it’s finest.

Growing Up Chubby

Confessions of a Chubby Girl by @kcrosswriting

Being a kid is hard enough, but being an overweight kid is even harder. Combine frizzy hair, an odd obsession with books, and an absent father, and I was a walking monster mine. By third grade, I knew I was a “big girl” because the other kids told me. That’s when the whispering monster started.

I didn’t really notice the monster at first. I mean, I did. When you’re in fifth grade canvassing a room to see if you’re the biggest kid in there, you know something is different about you. But I didn’t really understand how much power the monster had until the cutting verbosity of seventh grade teenagers shredded holes in the thick curtain of my denial.

You need to be smaller, the monster would say. Look at how big you are. 

I won’t get into details, but suffice it to say that kids and monsters are mean.

Learning to Wog.

Confessions of a Chubby Girl by @kcrosswriting

Fortunately, I had many friends that loved me in spite of my flaws, one of them being the lean, red-haired, spit-fire Breanna. She invited me to jog with her one day when I was in 8th  grade. Because I wanted her to like me and I wanted to be cool and svelte like her, I agreed. The monster, for once, was quiet.

“Jog” is an extraordinarily generous term for what I did. If you’re looking for accuracy, review the terms shuffle and walk. But it didn’t matter. It was one of the first times that exercise felt good. Breanna didn’t make me feel like the fat kid, and helped me learn how to breathe through side cramps. Silencing the monster felt amazing.

“The world is much more clear after you run,” she pointed out one day. I remember blinking rapidly because she was right. Even my vision had came into sharper focus through the lens of exercise.

After profusely apologizing for being slow, I decided I could do more of this “running” and asked if we could go again the next day.

And the next.

It became our “thing” together. We’d run in the country by her grandpa’s house. We’d run along the canal. Through the neighborhood. At the cabin. Anywhere. My wog slowly turned into a trot, and then a jog, and eventually I could almost keep up with her on the sprints at the very end.

But never, ever did I beat her.

My monster reminded me all the time.

Fairytales? Pah.

I’d love to tell you that in eight and ninth grade I slimmed down to a lean size 6, started a spinning class, and ate only sprouts and carrot sticks sans peanut butter, but it didn’t happen. Luckily, my love of exercise cancelled out my greater love of food. I kind of went crazy on both.

In ninth grade I satisfied the monster and joined a gym. I’d work out for an 60-90 minutes after school. My favorite? Walking 4.0 mph on the treadmill until it maxed out at 100 minutes while reading cheesy romance novels.

Hey, I was exercising, so the monster was quiet. Then I could dream of being a damsel-in-distress. Remember, I was kind of bookish weird?

I went from a size 18 in seventh grade to a size 12-14 sometime in ninth. For the most part, I hung out around there. It was a far cry from the fragile seventh grader that had been made fun of so much, but my insecure monster still thrived, never satisfied.

Must get smaller. Must get smaller.

I found that not even exercise could silence the monster now.

Hobby, Shmobby

After getting my RN at twenty and moving to downtown Salt Lake City to work as a pediatric nurse, nutrition and exercise became a kind of hobby for me.

Confessions of a Chubby Girl by @kcrosswriting

I dove into half marathons, marathons, centuries (100+ mile bike rides), snow shoeing, lots of hiking, and trail running with gusto. Did my weight drop? Nope. I leaned out, could hike like a boss, but the scale never seemed to go anywhere. I counted calories, drank water, avoided soda, and worked my butt off. But not literally, unfortunately.

Ever run 20 miles and watched the scale maintain? #frustratingas@#$*(!%*(

Must get smaller, chanted the monster. You’re still a size 12-14, which means you aren’t doing enough. Must get smaller.

Figuring It Out

Confessions of a Chubby Girl by @kcrosswriting

Thanks to other issues in my life, I started seeing a professional therapist and “dealing with my crap” so to speak, which started me realizing how food had *gasp* become the way I didn’t cope with my emotions. Truly, I’d never, ever, ever comprehended that food was an emotional escape. It seems to obvious to me now, but was such a shock to me then.

*face palm*

Happy ending?

Not quite. Because no matter what, the monster reminded me that I still wasn’t smaller. At that point, I’d been a 12-14 for what seemed like forever, and still maintained an incredibly active lifestyle. My health was good, and I felt okay with how I looked. A veritable 3-4 on my self-diagnosed “Hotness Scale”.

Then I met the love of my life at 24—read more about how I broke the Hotness Scale and married someone WAY hotter than me here—and suddenly my perception of health, self, and food took on a whole new meaning. The mega attractive, sarcastic, intelligent guy I was dating didn’t care that I was still imperfect, insecure, needed therapy, size 14, and loved California Pizza Kitchen to a fault.

He also didn’t know about that niggling monster who insisted you aren’t small enough for him.

Wuv. True Wuv.

Meeting my husband and realizing that he didn’t care about me being smaller threw everything I perceived about myself into question. I started realizing that I’m good enough just because I’m me, not because I measure up to some defined quality of beauty established by a magazine.

Confessions of a Chubby Girl by @kcrosswriting

I’d love to tell you that I banished the ugly monster who controlled me like a puppet, who reminds me that my weight hovers dangerously close to Husband, that a wife should be smaller. I’m still a size 12, (when I’m not nine months pregnant, anyway, but that’s a post for another day), I still love CPK, and I still battle food cravings and the need to turn to food for comfort on a daily basis.

And I still have a monster inside me.

Write It Out

That monster is why I started writing Bon Bons to Yoga Pants. I knew I couldn’t be the only person to have a chubby girl monster, because there are skinny girl monsters, and straight hair monsters, and knobby knee monsters. There are monsters for everything.

Lexie Greene is born from that insecure, flawed little girl I told you about at the beginning of the post. Like me, Lexie struggles with weight, she doesn’t want to diet, and when things get tough, she turns to Little Debbie. Lexie and I are not the same person; I love exercise and she tolerates it. She has a sister and I don’t. But we are the same insecure little girl with the same monsters.

Bon Bons to Yoga Pants by @kcrosswriting. Follow it on Wattpad!

Lexie Greene has always had such a pretty face.
Unfortunately, that’s where it seemed to stop. She’s grown up hearing her Mother constantly remind her that she needs to lose weight. And twenty-two-year-old Lexie knows she’s overweight.

With her younger sister’s wedding on the horizon and a crush to stalk on Facebook, Lexie’s had enough. She gives up her constant daydreams about food and joins a dieting group. As the pounds melt away at the gym, she finds that life on the other side of junk food isn’t what she thought.

Bon Bons to Yoga Pants is an inspirational hit about a girl coming to terms with herself, and her past, all while navigating a world of food and fitness.

In less than 6 months, BBtYP has 160,000 reads on Wattpad, a sponsorship by Athenos yogurt, and helped me garner 14,000 followers. I hear daily from other people with monsters that have to face the same battle. At first I wondered over it’s fast success, but really, it’s a story about all of us. Lexie is every girl.

So, to honor of all the Lexie’s out there, and by popular request amongst her biggest fans, BBtYP is now available for you to buy on ebook and paperback.

Or read it for free on Wattpad by clicking on the cover. No registration required.

Goodreads

Official Website

Kindle US

Kindle UK

Nook

Kobo

Paperback

iTunes

Smashwords

Oyster

Scribd

Page Foundry

Because we’re all fighting monsters. But that doesn’t mean we fight them alone.

Confessions of a Chubby Girl by @kcrosswritingKatie Cross loves sweet potatoes, running in the mountains, and hasn’t met a cookie she didn’t like. If you want to hear more about Lexie, visit the official website at The Health and Happiness Society or start reading for free on Wattpad.

Using NetGalley for Exposure

Who hasn’t heard of NetGalley, right?

I’ve seen it mentioned just about everywhere books are found. Goodreads, Amazon, Nook, Kobo, book reviews, book bloggers, etc. Typically it would say I received a free copy from NetGalley so I knew there was something in this magic for me as an author.Using NetGalley to Increase My Book Exposure by @kcrosswriting
Modern Girl's Guide to Vacation Flings by Gina Drayer
First things first: I have to give a huge shoutout to Gina Drayer, author of Modern Girls’ Guide to Vacation Flings (amongst many others) for helping me out and being my go-between. Go buy her book, guys. It’s only $2.99! I just bought mine.

NetGalley Options

I’m not going to go in great depth here, but will refer you to NetGalley for more details. Here are a few quickies.

– Here’s a great FAQ for authors.

– Publishers pay a set up fee and monthly cost depending on number titles listed. (Best option if you have anywhere from 10-15 titles listed at a time) OR authors/publishers can just pay to list a single title.

*side note: Gina worked with a publisher that would “rent out” a month slot for a small fee. Gina offered me one of those slots for the month of June so I didn’t have to go through the hassle of registering/paying directly to NetGalley. This is also an option if you can find a publisher on NetGalley that has open slots they want to fill. This was a much, much, much, much cheaper option. I paid Gina a small fee and she acted as my go-between with the publisher and myself. Prices for this may vary, however.

– Pricing for individual authors can be found here.

– They also have a program for small, indie publishers and authors to list titles that’s associated with the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Statistics From My Month On NetGalley

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls went live June 1st. NetGalley gives the option to approve or disapprove of people requesting the book. Since I was doing this as an experiment, Gina and I decided to just accept every request.

By June 3rd I had 190 requests. On June 10th, I had 307 requests.

Here are the month long effects on Goodreads alone.

Using NetGalley to Increase my Book Exposure by @kcrosswriting

The effects continue for the month of July.

Using NetGalley to Increase Book Exposure by @kcrosswriting

Reviews on Amazon have increased by about 10.

Effects on Sales: Nothing worth bragging about, and I’m not sure it can be tracked back to NetGalley or not. My sales on the second book in the series, Antebellum Awakening, did see a slight increase over the whole month from previous months. Free downloads of the novella the Isadora Interviews saw a little spike as well.

Connections Made on Net Galley.

BLOGGERS AND SUPERFANS. <— This is why I tried NetGalley out, to be honest.

Srsly.

Book lovers/bloggers/librarians/publishing companies, etc, have the option to request (via NetGalley) author interviews or other promo stuff. I received a few requests for interviews through NetGalley (which I of course agreed to), a couple of direct emails, messages on Goodreads, messages through this blog, and new ‘likes’ on my MMSFG Facebook page. Bloggers who posted a review on their blogs would occasionally inform NetGalley that they posted it on their blog, and I would get an email about it from Gina, then go tweet and support the blogger, which also gave me a few connections.

By far, the best connection ground was twitter. The best book bloggers found me on twitter and linked me in (or searched me out and found my handle through my blog.)

I’d log on and find tweets like this popping up everywhere:

Using NetGalley To Increase Book Exposure by @kcrosswriting Using NetGalley To Increase Book Exposure by @kcrosswriting Using NetGalley To Increase Book Exposure by @kcrosswriting Using NetGalley To Increase Book Exposure by @kcrosswriting

To every single blogger that tweeted, I offered the rest of the book series, retweeted, found their blog, and supported them.

All in all, I connected with about 10 new bloggers (possibly more) and all of them are doing reviews on my other books. Including my new release, Mildred’s Resistancewhich I wanted to build traction/reviews/ratings for on Goodreads.

An Array of Reviews.

Of course, with a slew of readers comes reviews on all ends of the spectrum. I found super fans, fans, people who liked it, and not-so-excited fans, which I had already expected. My Goodreads rating for MMSFG went from a 4.14 to a 4.10 overall, a dip I was pleased with. I thought it would be farther.

Using NetGalley to Increase Book Exposure by @kcrosswriting

 

I don’t actually mind reviews like this, because I don’t expect everyone to like my book. I didn’t liked the second Avengers movie, so why should I be upset is some people don’t like my writing? To be honest, the majority of people really enjoyed my book, which means NetGalley really helped me find my audience. The latest reviews on Amazon are mostly 4 star and I could not be happier about that.

That being said . . .

By far the best and most valuable of all these new reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are the positive, fair, 3 star reviews. If only for getting these reviews alone, NetGalley was worth it. (Don’t get me wrong. I love the super fans and those gung-ho for Bianca, but the best review that sells books is a positive, honest three star.)

Using NetGalley to Increase Book Exposure by @kcrosswriting

My Overall Thoughts

NetGalley was definitely worth the money (but I also paid nowhere near $300). It was an opportunity that fell into my lap through networking and the beautiful, magnanimous Gina Drayer that I’m incredibly happy I took.

Would I use this for future works? If I could go through an established NetGalley-signed-up publisher with open slots, definitely. I don’t know that I’d pay the cost for a single listing unless I wanted a really powerful push, and I believed it would work based on the cover of the book and the content.

– FWIW- I think having my book be YA fantasy made a huge difference in the popularity overall.

Exciting Announcement

Mildred's Resistance is now available to purchase!The prequel to The Network Series releases today!

*throws glitter*

Get your copy of Mildred’s Resistance by clicking on the cover over there <—- or any of the links listed below. Thanks so much, guys. You. Are. The Best.

Amazon

Nook

Kobo

iBooks

Smashwords

Paperback

Goodreads

Official Website

Why I Left Smashwords for Draft2Digital

. . . because I wanted to try it. And, I admit, my title is misleading. I haven’t entirely given up on Smashwords. Allow me to explain . . .

Why I Left Smashwords for Draft2Digital by @kcrosswriting

Smashwords is great, don’t get me wrong.

I’m still hanging out there and uploading my books because, well, availability. And I love Mark Coker’s blog posts from Smashwords. He’s a vewy smart guy. But when it came to distribution and ease of uploading, Smashwords didn’t have the easiest interface for me to deal with.

So many rules!

I had 3 main issues with Smashwords.

1- Some of my books literally took weeks to distribute and I never knew when it would happen, so I had to constantly check all the ebook sites. While I know that this is occasionally the fault of the other retailers, the fact that it happened with every book was discouraging. Three weeks to get to Kobo?

Really?

2- Trying to figure out the special copyright page/notice for Smashwords took forever and was a real pain. Although they have the Smashwords Style Guide, I still often became frustrated trying to read through all the print. It’s 27,000 words long.

3- Quarterly payments. REALLY?

Enter Draft2Digital

1- D2D sends me an email when my book has uploaded to a retail site so I don’t have to go hunt it down. And it published within 24 hours to places like Scribd, Tolino, and Apple. If changes are made to your ebook, D2D uploads changes hourly. HOURLY. It takes me around 10 minutes to upload a book.

TEN MINUTES.

Why I Left Smashwords for Draft2Digital by @kcrosswriting

2. D2D doesn’t have any extra formatting requirements (and certainly not a 27k manual of suggestions). They do ebook conversion from a word file too (but I have Kella Campbell format all my ebooks cuz she’s amazing.) So all I had to do was upload my ePUB file without tweaking.

I hear good things about their ebook conversion process, too, which is what sets D2D apart from Smashwords.

3. Monthly payments. Bottom line.

A Few Comparisons.

– Both SW and D2D allow preorders with iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

– D2D offers FREE ebook conversion, SW does not.

– You can make coupons on SW, D2D does not have that option.

– You can call D2D for human interaction with any issues or questions you may have.

– Both offer daily sales reporting.

Retailers List.

In all my research between these two companies, one of the biggest complaints against D2D was that they didn’t have the distribution list that Smashwords has. Fair enough. Coker has been in this awhile longer. But I’m happy to say that that seems to be rapidly changing.

In fact, Oyster just signed up with D2D. For this guy, that was a deal breaker.

Smashwords

Apple

B&N

Scribd

Oyster

Overdrive

Kobo

Flipkart

Baker and Taylor

Smashwords itself

Amazon

and other various platforms in other countries, such as Rakuten, indigo, Bookworld, etc.

Draft2Digital

iBooks

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Page Foundry

Scribd

Tolino

Createspace

Oyster

Clearly Smashwords has the upper hand on distribution, but D2D has proven the past year or so (based on old blog posts I cruised) to work hard at expanding distribution. In the beginning, they only had major retailers like Sony, iBooks, B&N, etc. Now they’re steadily growing out.

When it comes to distribution of my books, I do a hybrid. I distribute through D2D to all the above retailers except Kobo and KDP and Createspace (which I do directly), and then do the rest through Smashwords. Because why not?

#Bestofbothworlds.

Nothing but love, Smashwords. I still distribute through you, my friend. But I just cannot ignore the ease of use and access that D2D affords for the bigger guys.

Other Links.

This is a great article on a guy that leans to Smashwords, but also appreciates D2D.

Draft2Digital Blog

Smashwords vs BookBaby vs Draft2Digital

A Great Watchdog Article on D2D.

A KBoards thread on Smashwords or Draft2Digital

Sound off, guys. Have you heard of D2D? Ever been frustrated with SW? Nothing but love for both?

Mildred's Resistance is now available for preorder!As an aside, my next book, Mildred’s Resistance, releases July 15th! It’s the prequel to the Network Series (I’m going all Star Wars and writing this out of order a bit) and is available for preorder across most platforms. #wootwoot. Get your copy today and help spread the word!

MUAH.

Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Many Platforms

Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Many Platforms by @kcrosswriting

1. When my sales are low on one, the cumulative effect of others brings my numbers up.

This is a snapshot of my Draft2Digital board after putting The Network Series up on their website instead of Smashwords. D2D is my distributor for Nook, iTunes, PageFoundry, etc.

Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Many Platforms by @kcrosswriting

While 18 books sold there through May, my sales for KDP went like this: click here to read my latest post on the post KDP Select Amazon slump.

Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Many Platforms by @kcrosswriting

And then Kobo was doing this:

Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Many Platforms by @kcrosswriting

When I was exclusive with Amazon, I had just Amazon and couldn’t do much about a slump. While slumps still happen across multiple platforms, a slump on one doesn’t mean that sales have stopped.

2. I don’t receive emails from fans/potential fans asking when they can buy it on Nook/iTunes/KoboTop 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Many Platforms by @kcrosswriting

I didn’t save all the emails I’ve received from fans seeking an ePUB version of the book because it made me feel so guilty, but this is just one example. Of course, I usually sent them the ePUB file, but it goes without saying that very few people are actually going to track down the author to ask. Which meant that I was definitely missing sales from people who didn’t track me down to ask.

3. New opportunities (and sometimes reviews) pop up on the other platforms.

Last week I did a post on the promo opportunity that Kobo has given me since uploading directly to them through Kobo Writing LifeIf you haven’t read it, do it now. Basically, my ranking and sales increased exponentially and have been steady selling at 2-3 books per day ever since on just Kobo. It may not seem like much, but that’s a respectable, awesome number for an indie. (Also considering I only have 2 full novels available for purchase there).

Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Multiple Platforms by @kcrosswriting

Some of you loyalists may remember, but not long after releasing MMSFG over a year ago, the Barnes and Noble Book Blog released this article:Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Many Platforms by @kcrosswriting

Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Multiple Platforms by @kcrosswriting

I had almost 50 sales in 1-2 days and it truly came from nowhere. Had I not been on B&N, this would never have come to pass. I wouldn’t have even known about it if a friend hadn’t shared it with me.  Not to mention how awesome that is for a selling point at book signings.

4. Email subscription services are a lot more useful and profitable when you have multiple places to sell the book.

My BookBub ad, for example, would have a much bigger effect on all platforms if I had been selling on more than just Amazon. And we all know how difficult it is to get on BookBub, right? So I should have made the best of it.

I sold well over 2,000 copies (and had almost 500 “borrows” on KU) when MMSFG was featured on BookBub last October. Awesome, right? Yeah. Because the huge sales spike helped trigger something in Amazon’s algorithms (I think) because they seemed to promote me like crazy after that and I averaged about 4-5 sales per day (not including borrows on some days).

But now I live in regret.

I could still have had awesome sales on Amazon, gone exclusive after the ad, and still benefited from increased marketing with the “long tail” effect. Not only that, but I would have had higher rankings/sales on other platforms using. I kick myself daily for the missed opportunities with that BookBub ad.

5. Branching into new platforms increases my reach across the globe.

Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Multiple Platforms by @kcrosswriting

I see this mostly with Kobo because they have the easiest dashboard to use in the entire world (with a map that actually shows where the sales are), but I’ve also seen extension with Wattpad. I have readers there who email me asking where they can read more of my stuff because they love my contemporary chick lit story Bon Bons to Yoga Pants so much. A sweet girl from Pakistan has been messaging me, and a few others from various countries.

Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Multiple Platforms by @kcrosswriting

Note: I don’t sell anything through Wattpad, but I do write and reach fans through it, so I consider it a platform. Plus I have amazing, dedicated, loyal fans at Wattpad, and some of them are starting to slip into my YA fantasy series now.

While I’m excited about globally furthering my brand now, when I start translating my books and branching into foreign markets then I will be really excited about it because I’ll need to track it more then and see where I can benefit the best.

In Summary:

Being exclusive with Amazon definitely helped me increase sales, make money to work off of for a few months, and see a greater base of Amazon fans. But as a long term strategy I’m finding that multiple platforms are benefitting me much more. I’m not passing judgment or saying that exclusivity is bad: I think everyone should try it once. At least once. See what it does. It works really well for some authors. But also be aware that there are other options out there and success with KDP Select is not the end-all-be-all in this game.

What are your thoughts? Have you had good experiences with multiple platforms? Massive slumps like I have? Good things?

Air. Your. Thoughts.

PS—Next week I’ll be posting on Why I Left Smashwords for Draft2Digital Distribution. Because D2D has rocked my freaking world. #loveit

How Kobo Has Increased My Sales Off KDP Select

Remember when I decided to go off KDP Select?

Sales pretty much plummeted and took my ego with it. Just kidding. No I’m not. #sorrynotsorry 

How Kobo Increased my Sales Off KDP Select by @kcrosswriting

Some days I would see (with KU borrows) up to 5 sales per day. (In previous weeks there had been up to 5-7 per day. It may not seem like much, but for an indie, it’s pretty awesome/typical.) I left KDP Select the 1st or 2nd of April. It took a few days for the system to take it down, but by 4/8/15 I was clear. There’s one little blip on the 16th.

Here’s a chart to show you the change that happened in my sales on Amazon once I left. (This is for my YA fantasy novels Miss Mabel’s School for Girls and Antebellum AwakeningThe green line is my free novella The Isadora’s Interviews.)

How Kobo Has Changed My Sales Off KDP by @kcrosswriting

As you can see, I had up to 4 day stretches without any sales or activity. (It gets uglier as April goes on).

I was determined to find a way to increase sales without Amazon.

I couldn’t believe that, as an indie, I couldn’t use other platforms to find readers. Amazon definitely marketed my book more when I was exclusive, and I worried what pulling away from that would mean. But not so worried that I wanted to stay. 

I googled it and looked into different methods, but didn’t really find anything that I could wrap my head around.

Enter Kobo Writing Life.

I met Mark Leslie Lefebvre, the Director of Self Publishing and Author Relations over all of Kobo, at a conference. I pulled him off to the side and grilled him for about 45 minutes about how Kobo can do for me what Amazon was (at the time) doing. IE- selling my books.

(side note: Here’s a great post on Ebook Publishing on Kobo that he did on The Creative Penn with Joanna Penn.)

Know what he said?

He said, “Don’t go through Smashwords. Upload directly through Kobo Writing Life. We can get you promo opportunities that way. If you upload directly, I will see it.”

So I said, “Okay. I’ll try anything.”

The Results of Directly Uploading to Kobo

God bless Smashwords, but using them has been a bit of a nightmare. It took weeks for my books to get to the other sites, their website feels a bit archaic, updates took days and days, and I was constantly emailing them complaints. So it didn’t take too much convincing to get me on Kobo Writing Life. I pulled my books from Kobo through Smashwords and waited.

The moment MMSFG was off KDP Select (as in the very day) I had it uploaded on Kobo to get it through the system. Mark hooked me up and shortly afterwards we had MMSFG on Kobo Next. 

How Kobo Has Changed My Sales Off KDP by @kcrosswriting

To say I was excited for the visibility is an understatement. Note: you don’t have to have an “in” to get on Kobo Next. Mark just helped me out because I networked with him and because he’s awesome. I thought this would give me a huge boost once I got on Kobo and increase my sales.

My Sales On Kobo

Drumroll please . . .

How Kobo Has Changed My Sales Off KDP by @ Kcrosswriting

As you can see . . . I sold 2 copies of MMSFG on April 14th and gave away ~3 free copies of TII while listed on Kobo Next.

Thaz it.

After a frustrating week or two of no movement, I emailed Mark, and he said, “Calm down, padawan. Be patient. It takes time.” So I took a deep breath, relaxed, and went on my way.

Then this happened:

How Kobo Has Changed My Sales Off KDP

The quick demographics of my sales (5/13-5/31)on Kobo:

How Kobo Increased My Sales Off KDP Select by @kcrosswriting

Pretty awesome that I can see where my books are going. Even more awesome? I’m finally in a strong Canadian market. (Love you guys up north!)

Want to know how that sudden spike in sales happened? Read on.

Promo Opportunities at Kobo

Mark helped me get on Kobo Next, which didn’t work out for me the way it has for others. (And that’s fine. It’s life. We all skid our knees. I’ve moved on.) But then (because I’m enrolled in KWL) I got this email. Not from Mark, as an aside.

How Kobo Has Changed My Sales Off KDP by @kcrosswriting.

Duh. Of course I signed up. Who cares about decreased royalties? I want visibility and presence. Amazon never gave me an option like this. I’ve had other offers from Kobo since this one, for the record.

While my sales were still averaging 1-2 per day on Amazon, that doesn’t really matter as much now because I’m starting to see sales on Kobo. And I’m not stuck on JUST Amazon with nothing else to try. <— Awesomesauce. 

Is 2-3 per day on Kobo a big deal? Not necessarily. It certainly isn’t 50-150 per day the way some authors do.

But it’s still awesome.

Because that means people are getting the book. I’ve embraced the fact that being an indie author takes time, and selling up to 17 books in one day on a platform outside Amazon? #love

Are you on Kobo or have you heard of it before?

If so, leave your thoughts.

Next week I’m doing a post on Top 5 Reasons I Love Publishing on Many Platforms so put your email in that subscription box if you want to receive notifications of that post.

Love yer guts, guys. MUAH.

How Wattpad is Extending My Author Brand

How Wattpad is Extending my Author Brand by @kcrosswriting

While attending the Superstars Writing Conference in February, I ran into Ashleigh Gardner, the Head of Content and Publishing at Wattpad.

Okay, okay. I didn’t just “run into her.” I cornered her. For 45 minutes.

She’d just been telling us about all the awesomeness of Wattpad, but all I really heard was this is just one more time suck to take me away from writing my fantasy series. 

After I cornered her—effectively preventing her escape—she graciously talked to me, answering all the questions. Like: “What can Wattpad do for me?” and “How can I be successful?”

Her answers? It can extend your brand as an author and write, network, and write some more.

Okay, so I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, and I signed up.

If I run my business by any philosophy, it’s try everything. 

How I Started.

I started writing my first Wattpad story Bon Bons to Yoga Pants during my downtime at the writers conference, and uploaded the first chapter on Valentines Day.

Here’s the blurb. Feel free to skim.

Lexie Greene has always had such a pretty face.

Unfortunately, that’s where it seemed to stop. She’s grown up hearing her Mother’s voice constantly remind her that “beautiful girls aren’t overweight.” And Lexie is indeed overweight.

With her younger sister’s wedding on the horizon, a crush to stalk on Facebook every minute she’s not dreaming about chocolate, and working hard to win a competitive internship, Lexie’s had enough. She joins a dieting group and a gym, but as the pounds melt away, finds that life on the other side of the scale isn’t what she thought.

Lexie has to figure out the lines between healthy and skinny, all while navigating a brand new world she wasn’t quite ready for. This story is packed with laughter, tears, and a whole lot of drooling over really amazing food.

At first I was just learning the Wattpad ropes and figuring out the culture, so I started following other stories and threw up an easy cover for my own that I made on Canva.

Bon Bons and Yoga Pants

Yes, the hot pink has a purpose. 

Finding readers started out slow enough, but the more I read and commented on other people, the more response I had on mine, so I kept going. That whole networking thing, you know.

At this point, I was getting about 20-30 reads per day. And I was satisfied with that. But not for long.

I soon realized the importance of cover art on Wattpad, so this cover came next. Not all that different, but not so ugly either. (I also changed the title a bit).

Bon Bons and Yoga Pants-3

Things started to pick up just a bit. I was heading toward 1,000 reads overall and getting a few regulars. At that point I was posting about 2-3 times per week. I realized that I needed to up the heat because the story had a lot of potential.

So I finally got back on canva, and for $1, made this baby.

How Wattpad Is Extending My Author Brand by @kcrosswriting.

While still not perfect, it’s far and away better than the others.

I also talked with author Leona Henry, who had more experience on Wattpad than me, and learned a crap ton about success on Wattpad by reading her blog post on how to succeed on Wattpad. She went through and figured out a few tweaks that the most successful authors employed and put all the secrets in one article.

Which is great! Because then I didn’t have to :)

This was the turning point.

The Results/My Current Stats.

I can’t find the stats farther than 1 month back so I’m just going to give you screenshots of my current Wattpad statistics for Bon Bons to Yoga Pants.

How Wattpad is Extending my Author Brand

Notice the gradual upward trend of unique readers? Before April, the numbers were even lower with a less obvious upward trend. My highest number of unique visitors in one day has been 105.

The gradual increase in readers is partially thanks to BBtYP being featured on the “What’s Hot in Chick Lit” list for at least two weeks, possibly more. The spike around May 14th can be attributed to my book tour where I advertised my Wattpad story a lot with the teens.

How Wattpad is Extending my Author Brand by @kcrosswriting

I mostly show this graph to give a better idea of increased engagement over time. The spike in unique followers naturally led to more comments. Somedays I didn’t get any comments, but now I always get at least 10-20.

Current screen shot (as of Sunday, May 24th)—
How Wattpad is Extending my Author Brand by @kcrosswritingAverage reads per day: anywhere from 500-1000. (More on the weekends, I think 2,000 is my best so far).

Ranking: I haven’t seen it drop below #18 in at least three weeks. On the weekend it hovers around #11-14. The best I’ve seen it was #6.

Posting frequency: I switched to a posting schedule made of steel: Every Monday and Thursdays.

I did this because I had a lot of people asking when to expect more, and now the regulars know to look forward to it. Some have sent me messages on FB in a panic because I may not post until the evening. 

Average time spent on Wattpad: At least an hour a day responding to PM’s and comments (I respond to all of them, or at least try to. Sometimes I can’t keep up.) I still read and comment on other stories as well at least once a week.

A Few Things I’ve Observed.

1. Like all things in indie publishing, it’s taken time and consistent work to build this momentum. About 3 months, to be exact.

2. Comments/reader engagement increased exponentially when I started asking questions at the end of the chapter.

3. A lot of new readers thank me for responding to their comments. It also forms fun little friendships.

4. Traffic from my contemporary chick lit BBtYP doesn’t really leak over to my free YA fantasy novella The Isadora Interviews. (Which has only 236 reads). I have had people message me and ask about what else I’ve written and then I can ferry them to my fantasy series.

5. I started a Bon Bons to Yoga Pants Pinterest Board and put the link at the end of one of the chapters. I get about 1-2 new pinterest followers daily. Around half follow all my boards, the rest just follow BBtYP. Over time this is really adding up.

6. Chapters of about 1500 words seem to hit the sweet spot.

7. Chapters with a picture uploaded to it (I always do funny food/exercise memes) are always more fun to read.

8. Sharing my posts on FB, Pinterest, and Twitter was responsible at first for getting me an audience. Now a lot of those people are solid regulars who love the story so much they stare it on FB with their friends. Having it on my blog and a few other places has also exponentially increased my following/chances of getting seen.

9. Regular updates (at least once a week) are always very appreciated by people. A lot of Wattpad stories are abandoned or forgotten for long periods of time, so consistency pays off huge dividends.

A Few Story Recommendations

Finding good, well written stories on Wattpad can be difficult because there’s a lot of sludge and crap to wade through. Even the stories with over a million reads can be horrid.

Here are a few that I’ve found and still follow: Just click on the photo.

A Stolen Kiss: Read it free on Wattpad!

Oscar Tweed: A String of Novellettes: Read it free on Wattpad!

Tess: A Wattpad story you can read for free by Claire Duffy!

Tess by Claire Duffy

The Emperor of Time by Holly Heisey- read it for free on Wattpad!

 

My Future Plans with Wattpad

Things have gone so well with BBtYP that once it’s finished, I’m going to have it copyedited and published as a paperback and ebook. (Several fans have requested it and I had tentatively planned it if all went well.) It will still be available on Wattpad to read for free.

Because BBtYP has such a dedicated fan base and is getting so much attention, and I’ve come to love my characters so much, that I’m planning a whole series (The Health and Happiness Society Series) that will all originate from Wattpad.

Have any questions/comments/ideas? Drop them in the comments and let me know what you think!

MUAH.

My Idaho Book Tour: Statistics and Results.

As an indie, I don’t have the luxury of traditional publishing distribution and connections, but I do have connections.

Since Baby Boy Cross is coming in August, and I’d had some people in my hometown of Idaho Falls asking for appearances, I decided to make a week-long book tour out of it while I could still travel.

Here’s a breakdown of how I did it, how I connected/arranged these events, how many books I sold/gave away, what I learned, and what the results are. 

Stats and analytics from my Idaho book tour by @kcrosswriting.

School Presentations

I’m going to lump these into one grouping.

How I connected: I emailed the beautiful Ellen Duncan (the head librarian at my old high school IFHS) and she set me up with a presentation at Taylorview Junior High and Idaho Falls High School.

Taylorview Junior High:

The presentation: One of the teachers in the school sent me a list of suggested ideas for speaking to the kids.Statistics and Analytics from my Idaho Book Tour. @kcrosswriting. So I put together a presentation that combined most of those elements, a lot of memes and pictures, and talked about the writing process and what it was like to be an author. (If you want a copy of it, shoot me an email or a message and I’ll send it your way.)

*Important note: in order to get a pertinent audience, the librarian organized it so that a few students from each grade/class that were interested in writing and reading came to the library.

Outcome- Gave away a set of books during each class.

—Had bookmarks to give out to each student.

—Reached about thirty kids per class. In all, I probably taught and met about 100 students.

—Had posters/slide advertising my public library appearance and book signings.

Connections made: Out of curiosity, I polled most of the students to ask their favorite social media site, and found it to be Instagram. Most didn’t care about Facebook.

—A lot of the students were on Wattpad.

—I pitched my story Bon Bons to Yoga Pants and increased my following by 20 people. I followed back, read, and critiqued).

Worth it? 

Definitely. This was a perfect way to find my target audience and not only get Miss Mabel’s in front of them, but connect, make friends, and learn more about the reading/writing habits/ interests of kids that age.

Idaho Falls High School:

How I connected: My old history teacher Mr Morris is an author—although a more noble one than I, because he writes nonfiction in order to preserve WWII history—and wanted to have me in his classroom as a guest speaker.

The Statistics and Analytics of my Idaho book tour. @Kcrosswriting

The Presentation:

—Focused on the daily life of an author, how to put a book together (I showed them cover progressions like you’ll find here and went through the editing process, marketing, etc.), and why writers write.

—I presented 5 times. 4 history classes (Mr Morris’s), 1 Honors English, 1 regular english class. About 175 kids.

The Outcome: 

—The favorite social media sites were Facebook and Instagram. Most didn’t care about twitter. Several had Wattpad.

—I gave away 20 books (one set each class and a few others at the end).

—I sold about 10 books.

—Gave away at least 100 bookmarks.

—Mr. Morris was kind enough to copy the flyers announcing my book signings and the public library event to distribute to those interested. At the end of the slide show, I had a slide with my contact info. Lots of kids took a picture of it.

Worth it? Definitely.

The kids who were most interested spoke with me after class. Many of them emailed me portions of their writing, or messaged me on Wattpad to ask for feedback (which I have given and am in the process of doing so).

I had around 7-10 people attend the public library event because of these two schools combined.

Emerson Book Club

How I connected—Through a friend of my brother. He worked at Emerson school, took a book to the library when it released, and the librarian decided to do it for their book club. When he found out I was coming, he asked if I’d make an appearance.

Presentation—This was the most laid back because it was on the students lunch break, I just talked to them and answered their questions. No powerpoint.

—Met about 10 students and 3 adults/teachers.

—Gave away bookmarks, discussed writing.

—2 of these students came to the public library event.

Blue Sage Writers of Idaho

Statistics and Analytics from my Idaho Book Tour. @kcrosswriting

This was taken from their blog website. Click on the photo if you’re interested in more. 

How I connected: I googled ‘writing groups’ 2 months before the book tour and found them. I emailed a sweet lady named Karen at the address on the blog and asked if they were meeting. To my luck, they were meeting the week I was in town.

Presentation: I did not do a presentation for them. Since they are a writing group (and have been for twenty years) I mostly wanted to meet them and talk with them, which I did. This was definitely a highlight of my trip! It was really fun getting to know them and hearing their experience and organizational strategies.

I ended up just hanging out, participating, and finally chatting with them about my experience in indie publishing. Many of them had been published in the nineties, so we were able to discuss how things had changed.

Connections made: I now have a great set of writers that have invited me back anytime to visit with them, which I will whenever I come to Idaho. They also were very intrigued by my book after hearing all about how I published it. I sold about 10 books for them and their grandchildren.

—2 of them came to my presentation at the library.

Worth it? Absolutely.

I learned a lot about how a writing group works as well as how publishing has changed.

The Idaho Falls Public Library

How I connected: I emailed the fabulous Jennifer (about two months in advance) about doing an author event. Over the next few weeks we worked this idea out:Publishing and Writing 101 with @kcrosswriting at the Idaho Falls Public Library May 14th, 2015

Jennifer was a bit wary because attendance to author events is usually very low and minimal, but I was confident with the right marketing, we could pull something off.

#nailedit

How I marketed it: Announced it at every appearance beforehand. (Schools, book club, writers group).

—Asked local friends to share it on Facebook.

—Facebook ad targeted to the Idaho Falls area.

—Promoted pin for the Idaho Falls area (I ended up paying $3.42 and it had 1, 667 impressions, 8 repins, and 9 clicks). I don’t know if anyone came based on finding it from Pinterest.

—Community calendars online (at least three- the first ones that came up on Google).

—NPR radio (announced it over 5 stations) and one of the other local radio stations that reports community events.

—Newspaper.

The presentation: Powerpoint slideshow. (Click here to let me know if you want a copy).

Lasted about an hour and a half.

—Printed out contact sheets, provided a sheet of paper, a pen, a bookmark, and a free Miss Mabel’s Caramel.

Statistics and Info from my Idaho Book Tour. @kcrosswriting
Statistics and Info from my Idaho Book Tour. @kcrosswriting

All of these books were sitting at the front and were sold or given away (only 4 of MMSFG remained) as door prizes by the end.

Outcome: 40 people attended. I had only anticipated and hoped for more than 10. We ran out of tables and had to line chairs along the edges.

—Only 4 were my family members.

—I knew/had some connection with only half of the people who came. The rest were organic.

Money made: I didn’t separate cash from different events, but I’m guessing around $200 from book sales. Some in cash, some in check, some from credit cards taken from my square register.

Connections made: I met a few of my Facebook followers in person for the first time from the local area.

—Sent traffic to my website- no further blog subscribers so far, but I didn’t emphasize my website as much as I had originally planned because this wasn’t necessarily an “indie” market.

—Gained 3 more people who are “following” me on FB

—Increased my Wattpad followers.

Worth it? Absolutely. I met many people I would have never met before, gave away copies of the presentation (that will have my name attached and contact info for the future if they have questions) and extended my brand for Antebellum Publishing.

Book Signings

Statistics and Analytics from my Idaho Book Tour. @kcrosswriting #indiepublishers

Hastings

How I connected: I called Hastings and made the arrangements over the phone about two months in advance.

Marketing: Facebook, handed out flyers at presentations, and word of mouth.

Results: The store manager said this was the most successful book signing he’d ever had because he’d never seen an author interact with people so much before. Most authors usually sit there, don’t make eye contact, and read their own book. I told him that my secret is giving away free caramels: I draw them in with sugar.

—I sold 15 books

—With a 60/40 split, I made $160. 80% of my sales were organic: I had friends come by to get their books signed, but most of them already had books that I then signed.

—Gave away at least 50 caramels and bookmarks.

—Connected with about 5 other writers (some of which emailed me later that night).

—One of the students from the Junior High came by.

Starbucks

How I connected: My old high school friend Courtney worked at Starbucks. I worked through her to get permission from her manager, who was only too happy to let me come.

Marketing: Facebook, handed out flyers at presentations, and word of mouth.

Results: thanks to a rainy, gloomy day, traffic was low to minimal and I had to leave a little early because I started to get sick from being 6.5 months pregnant 😀

—Sold 12 books

—Gave away 5

—Had visits from two students from the junior high.

Overall Numbers

Total money made: at least $450. (I haven’t tallied all of it up from checks, cash, and credit card). I also gave discounts to students, teachers, and friends.

Round trip flight: $440

Total books sold: Uncertain, but around 70.

Books given away: around 50 (to students mostly).

Effect on ebook sales (amazon only): After pulling out of KDP, my 5-7 sales a day (not including borrows) decreased to an average of 1 sale per day. During my book tour, I sold at least two books per day.

This does not reflect my sales on Kobo, Nook or iTunes, which also saw an increase.

Statistics and Analytics from my Idaho Book tour by @kcrosswriting.

Effect on Wattpad: My following increased by about twenty followers. My story, Bon Bons to Yoga Pants continues to rank anywhere between #11-18 in chicklit, but my number of Unique Visitors increased to 105 in one day.

Statistics and Analytics from my Idaho Book tour by @kcrosswriting.

In Conclusion

The only thing I would have done differently is schedule the public library event for the weekend (it wasn’t available) after the book signings. Book signings bring in a lot of writers, so I could have extended the reach of people coming.

All in all, using the contacts from my hometown made a significant increase in visibility for my brands. It was a lot of work and planning, but I believe will pay off in networking and visibility alone.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and share with any friends (especially YA authors) who may be wondering about ways to reach their target audience!

#youarethebest

Why I Love MailChimp More Than Chocolate

Once upon a time I relied on WordPress for all my email subscription needs to KCrossWriting. It was a wonderful, beautiful time with unicorns and rainbows and PFFT.

Yeah right.

More like a nightmare.

I’d heard a lot about MailChimp, so I decided to switch over for ease of managing my stuff. I was tired of doing blog posts “blind”—IE—not knowing who was opening the emails or what was working.

Here’s why I adore MailChimp for my indie author business.

1. I can manage subscriptions from two different websites in one account.

(And the emails show up from different places). Not actually sure what the ratings mean yet or how I got them, but the three stars has always been there as a subtle blow to my fragile ego.Why I Love Mailchimp More Than Chocolate. @kcrosswriting

 

2. All The Analytics.

What blows my fragile ego gets from the mysterious low rating always feels better when I see that upwards of 62 % of people are at least opening my emails, something I definitely didn’t get with WordPress/Jetpack.

Why I Love Mailchimp More Than Chocolate. @kcrosswriting

The double bonus is that I can then analyze and figure out which email titles grab the most attention. The one you see highlighted here is when I announced I was having a baby. It also gives me a better idea of what content my audience is actually interested in, which is key to success, IMO.

They also have fun features like this:

Why I Love Mailchimp More Than Chocolate. @kcrosswritingMy mom is definitely in the top five, for the record. *waves* HI MOM.

Why I Love Mailchimp More Than Chocolate. @kcrosswriting

Why I Love MailChimp More Than Chocolate. @kcrosswriting

3. Pain-free Switch from WP to MailChimp

I’ll give WP some credit: at least they let you download your already existing subscribers into a CSV file so I can then switch my loyalty to MailChimp. Like right here under the Site Stats page.

Why I Love Mailchimp More Than Chocolate. @kcrosswriting

All you have to do is click on ‘Create List’ under MailChimp.Why I Love Mailchimp More Than Chocolate. @kcrosswriting

And then once you’ve filled in the details, you hit import subscribers.Why I Love Mailchimp More Than Chocolate. @kcrosswriting

And click on the CSV file. (Or there are many others that you can import from, like an excel file, Google Drive, etc.Why I Love Mailchimp More Than Chocolate. @kcrosswriting

That’s pretty much it.

Just don’t forget to disable your other email subscription widget on wordpress. Because if you don’t you’ll be sending two separate emails about the same post and no one likes spam.

*a little side note—I only imported email subscribers from my wordpress account. The web/wordpress followers will still be notified of my posts through their WP dashboard.

4. They Throw Me An Email Party. . .

. . . every time I get a new subscriber.

Why I Love Mailchimp More Than Chocolate. @kcrosswriting

Which is nice because then I can directly keep track of, and be aware, of who has subscribed. You can’t see it here, but they also list the email address. Sometimes I recognize the emails, most of the time I don’t. Which is the best. day. ever.

5. I can customize the emails that announce the blog post.

So they aren’t an exact replica of the post (or have the strange formatting that WPess seems to love). That way I can include small snippets in the headings such as this:

Why I Love MailChimp More Than Chocolate. @kcrosswriting

6. I can easily send out emails not attached to blog posts for email subscribers only.

Such as the email I sent out with the link to the YouTube video for the So You Want To Be A Writer: An Inside Look at Indie Publishing seminar with Quill Pen Editorial.

Why I Love MailChimp More Than Chocolate. @kcrosswriting

The Downsides to MailChimp

I can only find one so far.

I have to customize an email after I’ve already done a blog post, which takes a little more time. It’s not a big deal, but sometimes I get dramatic and act like it is.

#dramamama

Who here loves MailChimp?

Let’s hear your shootouts in the comments. Or if you don’t let your email subscription service, let’s bash them. JK, guys. JK.

Be cool. Keep it family friendly.

10560333_10100601156785714_8565122733714974256_oKatie Cross really likes pumpkin flavored things, and not just in the fall, either.

When she’s not writing for her chick lit serial story on Wattpad, Bon Bons to Yoga Pantsthen she’s probably hiking. She does that a lot.

Check out her kick @#$*(! YA fantasy book, Miss Mabel’s School for Girls.

Publishing and Writing 101 Presentation

The Idaho Falls Public Library and I have teamed up!

We’re providing a free presentation on the basics of writing and publishing your book!

Come hang out on May 14th, 2015 at 7pm.

There will be door prizes.

#obviously

Publishing and Writing 101 with @kcrosswriting at the Idaho Falls Public Library May 14th, 2015

Topics covered:

– How to write a book (stages/drafts, finding inspiration, sticking with it, word count expectations, the length of the average novel, etc)

– The editing process (how to find an editor, the different stages of editing, what is edited and when, typical costs.)

– A day in the life of a full time author

– Different publishing avenues (indie publishing, traditional publishing, small press, etc)

Why I’m Scared to be a Mom and an Entrepreneur

Why I'm Scared to be a Mom and an Entrepreneur by @kcrosswriting #indiepublishing

As many of you know, Little Boy Cross is coming this August.

#throwsglitter

Why I'm Scared to be a Mom and an Entrepreneur with @kcrosswriting #indiepublishing

I’m stoked, truly. So, so excited. Pumped. Gung-ho. Ready to meet the little parasite that’s pummeling my insides day and night.

BUT SERIOUSLY I’M TERRIFIED.

Setting aside the fact that I was a pediatric RN for the first six years of adulthood and saw everything that can and does go wrong, I also started this great little idea called indie publishing. 

Right now, publishing is not only a hat I wear, but almost a child unto itself.

I spend all day with it. When I’m not working on it, I’m probably thinking about it, or forcing my time away from thinking about it because I need a break. Writing is what brings me joy, happiness, depression and frustration all in the same day. It keeps me up at night, prevents me from sleeping in, and alters my social life.

Luckily, I can take an easy break from wearing the publishing hat for a little while. Little Boy Cross?

#notsomuch

Little Boy is bringing a whole new hat to my world. One that will probably look like this:

thanks to www.everydayfunny.com

Why I’m scared to wear both hats.

1. I don’t want to lose career momentum.

2. I don’t want to be so motivated for my career that it weirds out my relationship with Little Boy. I have a tendency to get intense and do things in overdrive to prove myself.

3. My pretty flexible schedule is about to get whacked.

4. I thought a mortgage was a big commitment, but this child thing brings in a whole new dimension. Thinking about how much I rely on my own Mom even at 28 (hi Mom! *waves*) means this raising-a-child party isn’t ending soon.

5. I was an awesome nurse, I loved my job, and I may know how to take care of babies and children, but that doesn’t mean I know how to do it 24/7.

6. It also doesn’t mean I’m good at it 24/7.

7. Everyone likes to talk about their terrible experiences either in labor or child raising, which I get. People vent. The truth hurts. Parenting is sucky sometimes. It’s tough. But it’s getting to the point where I’ve stopped bringing Little Boy up in conversation because I just can’t handle the insinuation that having Little Boy means I lose all sense of personal gravity or hygiene. (Seriously). This happens ALOT. ALL THE TIME. NONSTOP.

This helpful advice throws me into mini panic attacks.

“Kiss your life goodbye. You’ll never sleep again. Hope you function well on three hours for the next two years. Did you like exercising? Cause that won’t happen when baby is here. Date your husband now because you won’t get alone time for the next eighteen years. Take pictures of your body now because you’ll never get it back. Your life will never be your own from now on out. Don’t plan on publishing books for a long time after having kids because you’ll never have time. Your dogs are about to become just dogs because you won’t have time for them. Get ready for labor because you feel like you’re split in half. You’re going to lose all the curl in your hair so enjoy it now.”

To be fair, not everyone is like this. My bestie Tara, my mom, and watching my sister Sarah (who still showers and sleeps) with my 4 month old Nephew, Caleb, helps calm the panic.

7. Being a nurse means I know where things can and do go wrong in a child’s world. I’ve given CPR to babies. I’ve watched parents lose their teenage child. I’ve seen children cry in pain that can’t be stopped. I’ve seen sapped Mothers sobbing because they’re on their last straw because we couldn’t find out what’s wrong with their once perfect child. And that changes a person.

Quantifying how I feel about this whole merging the entrepreneur hat with Little Boy hat isn’t all darkness and angst, however. I don’t feel like I have to wear only one hat at any given time. My hope is that I can still wear the entrepreneur hat, but maybe keep it underneath Little Boy hat, which will obviously be bigger and consume more than anything else.

Let’s be fair: while I’m sincerely frightened of this whole parenting process, I’ve also never been so excited for something in my life.

I’m going to end this on a note of happy reality.

Why I’m NOT Scared To Wear Both Hats.

1. Little Boy is going to be a runner based on how much he moves now, which means he’s going to party in the mountains with me all the time, which means I have another partner-in-crime and a clone of my husband. #wildchildinthemaking

2. I already really like this little terrorist.

3. I love a good challenge. Seriously. While it will be difficult to wear both hats, I’m determined to make it happen because I want to prove to Little Boy that working for dreams is worth it.

4. The fact that he’s half Husband means he’s going to be a stud. A serious stud. I’m stoked to have another Husband in my life, except that will exponentially increase the number of farts in my world. My husband is a major hottie, if I haven’t said it before.

5. Fresh baby smell far outweighs New Car Scent. By 10,000.

6. Because my mom told me that having kids was the best thing she ever did, and when I freak out because I’m not sure I’m ready to do this, she’s the first person I turn to for comfort, and that means something really cool about Mom’s.

Why I'm Scared To Be A Mom and an Entrepreneur by @kcrosswriting #newmom #writing

Isn’t she the cutest Mom ever?

Tell me your thoughts on the hats in your life. Or mine. Or give me MORE delightful tidbits on why parenting is the rockiest road on planet earth :)

In the meantime, check out this yummy Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe that I made for dinner tonight. #seriouslygood