Getting Personal . . . And FINALLY Doing What You’ve Told Me To Do

Filed under Get Published.

So, on most weeks I send out helpful advice about writing, getting published and selling more books…

Well . . . today is a bit different.

I want to pull back the curtain a little bit and share something more personal.

Here goes…

I was recently out celebrating my 40th birthday (old, I know!). As the celebrations progressed I was asked, “Do you like your birthday?” I smiled at the question. This particular group of friends didn’t know (yet) about the strong feelings I have about my birthday. This got me thinking about how I should share some of this with you.

You will see why as you read further.

All my closest friends know that I think of my birthday as my own personal New Year (well it is in January). I always celebrate my birthday, even if I don’t like how fast life is going and how quickly I am getting older.

I think of it as a time of letting go, changing and expansion.

I think about my past year and what I want to change, do and accomplish in my new year, personally and professionally. My friends laugh with me and at me, they celebrate with me and they may not always admit it . . . but I think I get them to think about their “New Year” also.

Here are just a few examples of past goals . . .

  • Places to travel (We returned to Malta after an absence that was too long.)
  • Losing some weight (Still going well!)
  • Trying a new sport (Didn’t work, I like soccer too much.)
  • Working less, more family time.
  • Better planning (I am now a Getting Things Done advocate.)
  • Write more (I had two books out last year.)

. . . and the list goes on.

Some big goals and some small, but all with the intention of creating something new.

Anyway, since this year WAS a “big number” year, it felt hugely different.

I’ve found myself having BIG paradigm shifts in my life and the way I look at the business.

You may be asking, “Gary, why are you telling us this now?”

What I didn’t tell you is that I made this year about YOU!

I’m serious.

As many of you have noticed, I am revamping the way we do business (book proposal course) and am focusing on what YOU have told me over the years that you would like to see us offer or address. Hence, the blog, the weekly newsletter, the free book proposal course, the live chat, the one-to-one help I have been providing and many, many phone and Skype calls..

There’s still more to come! I am always interested to know what you wish for me to provide, so keep the ideas coming!

But…(the infamous “But”)…

There is one REALLY BIG request you have made that I’ve been holding back on– for YEARS, despite many of your pleadings and outcries.

I’m contemplating changing my mind and giving you what you’ve been asking for since, like, the beginning of time.

But I’m nervous because it means sharing with you more of myself and BubbleCow than I have in the past.

And I’m also going to need your help.

Anyway, that REALLY BIG request is . . . . (stay tuned until next time)

–Gary Smailes

P.S. I’ll be back with more details in a couple of days. But until then, tell me in the comments where you’re headed this year. Any goals for your personal “New Year”? Does anyone else do this nonsense?

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  • Paula

    I am determined that this year I am going to treat my writing more like a job and less like a hobby; more self discipline and less prevarication. I am going to get on with things!

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Paula, I am seeing more and more writers making a real living from writing. I spoke to one writer last week who is now making enough from her writing that she is considering giving up her part-time job -

  • Derek Thompson

    A belated happy 40th, Gary. I found it to be a reality check and an opportunity to refocus, retool and realise my potential.

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Thanks - To be honest it has made me look more carefully at what I do on a day-to-day basis and re-focus on the issues that matter. This is both professionally and personally.  All positive though.

  • Glynis Smy

    Happy 40th you youngster! When I turned 50 I came out of the writing closet and shared my  poetry. After a while I started writing a novel. Age 54 and I hope this year will see me share two novels with the world and complete my third. I have lost weight since 2nd Jan and aim to continue through the year. I am looking to organise my writing life with a trimmer outline.

    Good luck during 2012 and your new goals.

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Glynis - Wow, are you planning to self-publish or follow the traditional publishing route?

  • Sandra Hill91

    Happy 40th … I love your website and all the ideas/tips/advice, thank you.  This year I’m going all out with my latest project which I like more than anything else I’ve written so far.  Started chapter 4 last night, got loads of ideas bursting to get out and am pitching the premise of the novel at Get Writing Conference next month…..

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      There is nothing better then when the word flow… :-)

  • Tony Schumacher

    Well what a tease! That had me leaning forward in my chair for a while there!
    My big year? Well it mostly centres about finishing this book, not being distracted by too much other writing (other than to pay the rent) and getting this thing out there!
    Onwards and upwards everybody!

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Hi Tony… good to hear from you. What’s your book about?

      • Tony Schumacher

        About seventy thousand words mate! (Sorry couldn’t resist!)
        If I had to do a blurb mate (which I suppose I will eventually) it would go something like this:

        “Britain lost WW2, its 1947 and the occupation
        has settled down to become the “norm”. England is mostly ran by
        bureaucrats and people are just getting on the best they can.
        The Nazi’s have followed their usual pattern of using locals, overseen by senior
        Germans,  to carry out their plans and
        one, Detective Sergeant John Henry Rossett has found himself working with the
        Office Of Jewish Affairs in a planning and clearance capacity.
        Head down and following orders has taken him this far, until one morning, the
        discovery of an old Jews “treasure” forces him to question his role,
        his life and the choices he has made…”

        • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

          Ohhh… sounds goood. When you get to the book proposal stage let me know and I will lend a hand.

          We actually spent my birthday in the Hard Days Night Hotel in Liverpool. It was very classy, much too posh for me!

          • Tony Schumacher

            I will mate, exciting times for both of us! Hard Days Night Hotel? I hope you aren’t trying out for the new series of Desperate Scouswives!

          • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

            I haven’t seen the show, but just maybe!

  • David O’Connor Thompson

    Happy Birthday you old tease.

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Thanks big guy…

  • Anonymous

    Happy Birthday! 
    This year I’d like to put together a collection of short fiction and self-publish on the kindle.
    Well, I can dream…

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      You MUST do it… this is the golden age for self-publsihers. You will kick yourself if you don’t — I will kick you if you don’t.

  • Anonymous

    Happy 40th JUNIOR! Be like me, the eternal teenager. When I was 25 I decided that growing up was boring. At that age I still felt 18. So I am always 25 going on 18! It’s more fun that way.

    I am working hard to complete my debut novel, which has grown into a trilogy! There have been many failed attempts before but I am very excited about this one (I have been getting on friends nerves a bit about it so I try not to talk too much about it unless asked). I still have hopes for past attempts if I can get the Time Sentinel Trilogy to work for me andprove that I can do it!

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      I think all writers struggle with the negative voice in their heads. However, you must trust yourself and keep going. Once you have the book written in first draft it is much easier to work and improve it. The ideas are the hard bit, the rest is just technique, which can be learned.

  • Suereid08

    I had an ebook accepted by apple iBook store a few years ago and have since written its sequel (still in editing stage) during the last NaNoWriMo and the year before I started (and finished) a novel which CreateSpace sent me in paperback form.
    The trouble is - no one knows about these books and I have no idea how to promote them
    Btw - it’s some 25 years since I was 40!!

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      I think 40 is the new 20.

      In regards to promotion - what this space

      • Oliver @ VPS Hosting

        I think 40’s is just the beginning…beginning of growing old and old. Happy 40th birthday! It’s just like my grandpa which 59 years old and me 22, still he’s excellent in writing and publishing real fantasy books.

  • Carolyn Steele

    I didn’t start writing until I was 41. My son (23) already has a short story published and it made me sit back a bit and say ‘ah well, I’ve inspired the next generation, it’s too late for me’. But you liked my proposal, and people like the podcasts I’ve made as book teasers, so I might just make this the year to do all the things you wanted me to change in Chapter 1 and send out those pitches. :-) Oh, and 40 is definitely the new 20, 50 is the new 40 and I now have to hope that something good happens to 60 before I get there.

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Podcast as a book trailer, now that’s a good idea… tell us more.

      • Carolyn Steele

        It began when a friend gave me a copy of ‘The Best Laid Plans’ by Terry Fallis. He couldn’t get a conventional publisher so he recorded and podcasted himself reading a chapter at a time and had such an encouraging reaction that he’s now got published etc etc. So, I thought, ‘great, I’ll do that!’ I learned the software, set up a blog, got it into itunes and did all the techy stuff but I seem to have got sidetracked by the fun of podcasting and forgotten it’s actually about book marketing. The people who love it, really love it, but getting things to go viral is a bit harder than just putting them out there. I do think it’s a great tool though and am thinking of extending the podcasts to interviews with writers and others oddballs to try and get wider appeal. And I’m thinking of doing guest posts about podcasting on other blogs…but none of that is getting the book finished. lol

  • Maya Hanley

    I applied for a Literary Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland! I am determined to get my memoir finished this year and I only found out about the bursary 4 days before the deadline. I asked some interesting people to support me by writing a recommendation and I got 4 fabulous letters from the likes of John Boorman, the film director, Gillon Aitken, the literary agent, a well known Irish writer and an American writer I know. I was stunned and felt extremely blessed that they feel as strongly as I do about my book and I only hope their wonderful letters will help me get accepted for the bursary (the competition for it is tough). If I do get it it means I can cut back on my day job and focus on the book. I wait with bated breath….

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Fingers crossed.

      I have found that you don’t get anything unless you ask, a little bit of barefaced cheek goes a long way!

  • Maya Hanley

    Oh, and Happy Birthday! 40 is a great time of life. :)

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]


  • D.J. Kirkby

    I will spend this year as the writer in residence for Portsmouth libraries 1 day per week. My goal is to make them glad they hired me for the job! Oh, and to celebrate the publication of novel number two at some point this year….and trying not to make any major faux pas along the way.

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      When Caroline told me I thought she meant writer in residence at PortsmouthFC — libraries makes far more sense!

  • Karen

    Happy Birthday. At 55 I do my best to ignore birthdays; I didn’t start writing until 52 so the passing years scare me.
    I do what you do, at the beginning of the actual New Year. Not resolutions, but goals for the year. One of last years was to figure out what Twitter and blogging was about and learn how to use them. I did. One was to make a decision about ereaders/ebooks, I bought a Kindle and discovered I preferred reading on it over my beloved printed books. Who knew?  Lastly I set goal to finish my WIP, I didn’t*. But I did get the courage to kill the belabored little darling and begin a new one, still progress :)
    *In part due to the investment of time of another goal, my blog and other social media.

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      I love your approach.

      I was also surprised by the Kindle. I love the eink. In fact, I don’t think i have read a paper book in over a year.

      Good luck with your book.

  • Jdcoleman60

    Happy Birthday
    Mine is coming up in March and my goal, at least my direction is to think more about creativity as a time-filler rather than the usual entertainments of movies and blues bars.  Problem is my creative interests include music and painting as well as writhing.  Whatever tool I pick up will mean leaving the others.  Learning more about on-line presentation of my book might be a positive step.  I’m new here. Is it possible to put my book, perhaps with sound and illustrations on the web without getting lost in the process?  Like a cat in a new house,  every open door presents a new and absorbing side trip.

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      It is easier than ever to make your book available for readers. However, technology is changing and though things should be easy it is not always the case. For example, epub3 is out soon, this format will make ebooks far more interactive. The problem will be that many legacy reading devices will not support epub3. This means it might be years before it becomes standard.

  • Amanda Moon

    I turned 30 on December 3. My last day at my corporate job was December 1. I made the commitment to begin the new decade of my life doing what I love to do: creating. It’s been almost two months. Financially, we’re in better shape than I expected to be. And I am a million times happier now and a much better mother to my kids. I’m excited to see what’s next!

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      I used to work for an international pharmaceutical company, starting my own company was the best step I ever made, though very scary at times. Best of luck!

  • Yvonne Hertzberger

    Forty old!!?? Then at 63 I must be ancient. Your are just a baby.

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Too kind :-)

  • Sophie Jonas Hill

    Get published - I work between five and seven hours a day on my writing and that won’t change either way but it would be nice if someone else got to enjoy it as much as I!

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      What kinds of books do you write?

  • Jack Barrow

    I’m so busy trying to make things happen that i haven’t got time to read all these comments.

    Oh and by the way, I think I’ve got an interviews set up with an Australian magazine.

    • BubbleCow [Gary Smailes]

      Interview is cool, when is it out?

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  • Andrea Gray

    Gary, this is a very encouraging post. I’m turning 36 this year and my goal is to finally work harder on my very first book. My second goal is to save enough money to achieve my third goal = sending the script to you. I am crossing my fingers for you to achieve anything you’ve planned for your big 40th year. I think you are a very kind person Gary and I love how you help us with our writing. I am very glad you decided to share some personal information about doubts and plans with us, since this makes me feel less alone in the daily struggle of life.
    As for the rest: don’t forget to go on blogging when they put you in a nursing home in the. xD