Libbie the Lobster

To purchase the children's book "Saving Libbie the Lobster" go to www.LibbietheLobster.com


11 Comments

Marketing Blues

1743723_677113645665846_134243804_n

My head is buzzing and my feet are stuck in clay! My fingers are poised on the keyboard but my eyes keep drifting from the computer screen to the ocean outside my windows and I’m trying to think. Thoughts come in words and phrases and follow one after another in a circle. I think you, my readers, may recognize some of these. You know the ones that keep streaming in with no action behind them because they’re circular!

target audience, holiday book signings, tweet, post, blog, write, sell, promote, follow, join groups, comment, like, apply for awards, hashtags, tags, guest blog, email, call, search, watch tutorials, learn more, do more, ad infinitum

photo

I know the target audience for our book, Saving Libbie the Lobster, is children but young children don’t buy books so how do I appeal to the adults who can’t wait to purchase an awesome, based-on-a-true-story, signed by the authors, one of a kind, fun, funny, educational, artist illustrated, children’s book? “All of the above words in red” you may respond. But which ones work the best? There must be a way to do less and accomplish more — an easier, softer, smarter way that doesn’t include an “Upgrade to Premium” which costs money which is what I’m trying to bring in, not put out.

unnamed (3)

I think if I can just finish this blog, I’ll be doing well. But the moment I stop writing, the litany of words starts over again. And too, what about my novel, The Jumping Off Place? It is finished or just about and after it’s finished, there is a whole new target audience!

Maybe there is a solution after all. I haven’t found it yet but there must be one. It’s not rocket science I’m sure, although I think I understand rocket science better than that terrifying word — marketing!

If you can relate, please leave your comments below. If you have solutions, please leave comments below. If you have funny stories or anything that will stop this circular stream of consciousness, please write in the comments below.

And as always, thank you for reading.

http://www.libbiethelobster.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LibbieTheLobster

Advertisements


2 Comments

Life From My Window or Lack Thereof

Barely able to reach the window to see outside, I pull myself up with all my strength. A repeated pattern of houses all in a row meet my view with only the door to tell one from another. And trees, every second or third house has a tree in front. It is all the same tree, growing the same height in the same way. Do the people all look the same too, my child mind wonders.

img_1780

Fitting just right on the window seat on a cushion made of forest green velvet I watch the snow falling slowly, gently blown by the wind. The long sloping hill is covered with a bright white mantle. I squint in the brightness to see the sheep with their thick wool coats huddled together in the field at the bottom near the shed. The trees, now bare and snow laden make the woods look mysterious. article-2246917-167B19B2000005DC-697_964x636

Leaning on my elbows looking from the second floor bedroom window, I glance at the driveway below. Mine is like every other along the row. Living in little boxes is boring when everyone’s is the same. But there are flowers on my windowsill even though there are none outside. A088-00146_Flower_pot_on_a_window_sill

A parking lot. All I can see is a parking lot. Oh, I know there is a swimming pool over there somewhere behind the fence but all I can see is a parking lot with cars, some old, some new but none are interesting. I wish it was water, all water out there or a field of flowers, but not a parking lot. download

Curled up on the window seat, I can feel the chill come through the old window frame but I love looking out at the city with all of its life, going on in every which way — buses on their regular route but always late, cabs rushing past everything as if there are no traffic laws, horns honking, people shouting or just talking over the noise. But even in the seeming chaos there is order. One rarely sees the sky here. It is a concrete jungle full of life with a few old trees asserting themselves along the sidewalks. philadelphia-city-center

The horn of a cruise ship bellows and wakes me from my slumber. I turn in my bed to see it across the bay and I smile. I feel like I’m on a boat in the water myself since it’s all I can see from here. Sail boats, and yachts sparkle in the sunlight which also dances on the water. EP-140639983

Looking outside at all is difficult. All I see is these four walls . It is lonely here, there’s not much to do even if I could. I wish I could be in those other places, any other place will do. I am forlorn. armoire-in-bedroom

As I sit writing this now, I turn to look out the windows to my left and there the sun is sliding toward the horizon, the day is coming to an end. In the cloudless sky, the sun is brightest now but I cannot close the blinds. I love the light too much. The large windows to my right show me the magnificent Atlantic Ocean in all its glory. The sun is shining on the break of the waves making them bright white in contrast to the slate blue of the incessantly moving sea. The palm trees are swaying in the onshore breeze common to this time of the day. So many windows, so much to see. This is truly home to me. flagler-beach-municipal

As always, thank you for reading and whatever you see from your windows, I hope the view is filled with wonder for you as it is for me.

https://www.facebook.com/LibbieTheLobster

http://www.libbiethelobster.com/


7 Comments

The Agony and the Ecstacy of Writing

I am a writer. At least that’s what I call myself. I write. That’s what writers do — we write. Right?

I have been telling people I am a writer for a couple of years now, which is not very long I know. Each time I hear the words leave my mouth, I wonder if I will ever finish my novel, The Jumping Off Place. Write-and-keep-on-writing

I love the experience of writing once I begin. It’s the starting that is torturous for me. I can think of a thousand unimportant things that simply must be done before I can sit down and immerse myself in a wonderful, timeless journey into the world of my story. Am I filled with self-doubt to the point that I choose to ignore those around me who consistently tell me I write well? Or am I perhaps afraid I will actually succeed after all?

Certainly at the end of a day of writing, I feel quite accomplished and even energized. I am closer to the end of the story than when I began. In fact, the end is in sight. I can see it! It is so close I can taste it. So what keeps me from sitting down for as long as it takes to write 2,500 more words, the last two being, THE END?

For the last two years I have been climbing a mountain, a very high, rocky mountain with several difficult obstacles. There have been times when I thought I reached the summit. It was beautiful there. Maybe that was good enough, I thought. Did I really need to go on climbing? I could sit back and enjoy the success of the climb to that point couldn’t I? But climb on I did. I went on with trepidation and doubt, but go on I did. Little by little, one step at a time, I climbed ahead.

My attempt at metaphor may have been flimsy but nonetheless, it describes my uphill journey as a writer. The beautiful place I spoke of, was the publishing of our children’s book, Saving Libbie the Lobster, of course. But meanwhile my novel sat unfinished. I had a yearning to tell the story I had inside of me, the one I had begun to write. After all, I  want to leave a legacy in some small way that I have been here.

I look forward to the day when I can look back on this time with my novel in hand, in awe, and wonder how I could have struggled so.

Many thanks to my readers. I would love to hear if any of you experience these same struggles and if so, how you overcome them.

http://www.libbiethelobster.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LibbieTheLobster

https://twitter.com/MJeitner


4 Comments

You Know You’re a Writer When…

“Can I have your name please,” asked the young woman behind the large registration desk in the hospital earlier today as she raised her eyes and looked at me stoically.

Glancing at her name tag, I said cheerfully, “Hi Nicole! I am Marybeth Jeitner and I’m here for a procedure. I had an appointment at 10:00 AM and I know I’m late. Sorry about that.”

Nicole smiled politely as she got busy on the computer to find my name. After some difficulty and a phone call to find out where I was supposed to be, she told me to go to the 2nd floor registration desk where she was sure I should be.

Nicole could not have known that my morning was already a comedy of errors. I was laughing to myself about how hard I had tried to be responsible to be where I’m supposed to be, dress appropriate to the situation (in this case, dressing down for medical professionals–dreads pulled back, no biker shirts and cover most of the tattoos, and shoes instead of sandals–my mother would be so proud), and be on time. But none of that went as planned. After receiving a call from the hospital nuclear medicine department that I needed to have the surgeon mark the spot for the procedure, at the exact moment I was ready to walk out my door, directions in hand, sweater for the air conditioned hospital, phone fully charged…well, you get the picture.

Now at that moment, I had choices:

1) I could be angry because no one told me sooner and because the delay was going to cause me to be late for my appointment. I’d have to spend time and money to go in the opposite direction to my doctor’s office first…if he could even see me to mark the spot. OR, 2) I could have chuckled and realized this is just life. This is my life. I continually get lessons about lightening up and not taking things so darned seriously.

So, to continue with my story, after having driven north to my doctor and then an hour south to the hospital, I found myself in front of Nicole, who could not find my name in her computer. Shaking off my desire to burst into laughter, I turned my attention to the beautifully clear sound of classical piano music in the large lobby. heinz loft 1b_27 To my amazement there stood a magnificent baby grand piano. I couldn’t see the keys from where I stood but I was sure someone sat playing the melody I heard. I looked more closely but no one sat at the piano. Clearly the sound came from it. Suddenly an eerie feeling came over me and a story about a ghost who played the baby grand incessantly formed in my mind. I knew that writers see stories everywhere but never had one come to me in quite that way. It was exhilarating!

But my adventure was just beginning. On arrival at the registration desk on the 2nd floor, I was greeted by a woman whose facial expression said, “Who are you and don’t answer that because I don’t really know what I’m doing.” Smiling a little too much I think, I told her my name and why I was there. After searching several lists of names, she said, “I don’t have you here but I will find someone who can tell us where you are supposed to be.”

I began to notice that everyone I made eye contact with, smiled at me. My humorous attitude toward the fiasco was catching on. As I sat waiting, I noticed many others were waiting to be called for whatever procedures or surgeries they needed so I did what any writer would do, I began adding them to my burgeoning hospital story of the piano playing ghost. My imaginings were interrupted by the receptionist saying, “Mrs. Jeitner, I’m sorry but you are supposed to register downstairs.” Much to her surprise it seemed, I began to laugh. I told her it was okay and that I liked the ghost playing the classical piano on the first floor. She began to laugh with me as did several people who overheard us. I left them behind sensing I had made a small difference in there otherwise serious and difficult situations.

Standing once again in front of Nicole who was apologizing profusely as she hurriedly had me sign papers, I saw a forlorn, frail woman in a wheelchair nearby. Before long, we engaged in a conversation about the beautiful music being played by the ghost. Laughter rang out from surrounding offices as people within earshot, heard me telling the story of the pianist who was trapped in the lobby of the hospital causing havoc with the computers by his music which often had the effect of sending patients from floor to floor trying to find where they were supposed to be and kept receptionists pulling out their hair in utter confusion.

Finally my procedure was to begin so I bid adieu to my happy audience and as I turned to say goodbye to the gentle woman in the wheelchair, she looked up at me with the brightest eyes, and a smile from ear to ear. She waved a weak hand and we said goodbye.

My attitudes are catchy, this is true and I am a writer who sees a story in the most unlikely places. What began as a comedy of errors today, became an opportunity to bring a some joy where there was little and had the further effect of providing me with a beautiful picture emblazoned in my mind of a gentle, sad, frail woman in a hospital wheelchair who felt joy for a moment with me and perhaps because of me–a writer of stories.

Thoughts, ideas and comments are welcome.

As always, thank you for reading.

https://www.facebook.com/LibbieTheLobster

http://www.libbiethelobster.com/

https://twitter.com/MJeitner


2 Comments

So How Do You Write a Children’s Book Anyway

When Heather Chalmers and I decided it would be fun to write a children’s book about our adventure of saving Libbie, the rare yellow lobster, from our local supermarket, we had very little idea what the job would entail. We were still speeding along on the roller coaster which had lifted us into the air in a very short time. The dizzying heights were clouding our minds with grandiose ideas of writing a book that would become famous because of the enormous amount of press that had already been done about the story. But in our hearts, we cared little for becoming rich or famous. We wanted to make kids happy by reading a book of our amazing journey with Libbie the Lobster. unnamed (3)

Because Heather is a former first grade teacher, she  had a myriad of supplies to begin our project and a plethora of children’s books from which to define a plan of action. And so we set forth with excited determination to write the true tale of our beautiful yellow lobster, named Libbie.

Heather and I were not new to the writing world. Heather has written poetry and I had begun work on a novel a year prior. However we were new to each other, having only met briefly twice before we joined forces to rescue Libbie. Therefore brainstorming about our book was often interrupted with intermittent getting-to-know-you sessions. We liked each other instantly and became fast friends. If anyone had been listening in on our conversations in those first few days of planning our book, they would have heard much laughter interspersed with quite serious discussions about our lives. Overall there was a sense of having met by design for a greater purpose.

Looking back, I recall that there were moments when we doubted we could actually produce a children’s book we could be proud of but we forged ahead, encouraging each other when doubt crept in. Neither one of us could have imagined the incredible children’s book we were going to produce. And it all began in what now seems a flurry of activity to find our way.

That first day, we had decided to meet early in the morning and keep going until we thought we had made a good beginning. Heather had stacks of children’s books for us to go through for ideas. We soon realized we had many questions: How long should our book be? What age group are we writing for? Do we want words and pictures on every page or pictures on one and words to follow? Should the pictures run across the center of the book or be different on each side? What is the moral of the story? Do we want the words to rhyme? What type of illustrations and colors? And who will we get to illustrate our book, anyway? How much will all this cost????

It was a daunting task but we had the experience of working tirelessly to rescue Libbie and get her to a new home, so we pushed on. At times we were tackling several things at once, seemingly haphazardly but within a few days, we began to see results. Within one week, we had an illustrator and a publisher and our story boards were laid out around a large table to tell our story. We were learning the process of creating and producing a children’s book at lightening speed.

We solicited help from our author friends and began making several difficult decisions, i.e. self publishing vs. indie publishing, cover designer, web design, graphic design, contracts (between Heather and myself too), hard cover vs. soft cover, size of the book, printer, bios, and photographer. We were making important decisions together and we were only two weeks into our project.

All the while, Heather and I were working hard and having fun. We were motivated by the desire to “strike while the iron was hot!” People were talking about Libbie the Lobster everywhere and we were building quite a following. My fondest memory of those first two weeks was of Heather and I standing around the table writing the words to our story. Because I have been far removed from children in my later years, Heather had to remind me that the words I suggested would not be understood by little ones. The wonderful rhymes in our story were entirely Heather’s doing. She later told me that she read Dr. Seuss books before going to sleep. She would awake in the morning with rhymes for our book. I loved the rhymes and laughed heartily when we added them. (I am laughing as I writing this.) photo (6)

IMG_20141117_114203_169

The entire process was not without its difficulties. We did not always agree but our respect for each other deepened and our friendship grew even stronger. Looking back on it now, I can only speak to the incredible joy we both felt when we finally received our book from the printer a mere four months after I first laid eyes on that special, rare yellow lobster in Publix Supermarket. We were both so very proud of the children’s book we had created together. And the best part is that children love our book!!!

Feel free to comment and ask questions. And thanks again for reading.

http://www.libbiethelobster.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LibbieTheLobster

https://twitter.com/MJeitner

 

 


Leave a comment

Writing: Seeing It Through to the End and Beyond

My days were going along as usual procrastinating about writing and filling my time doing everything but writing, other than those few short bursts of fluid creative thought that seemed to pour from my mind as though someone had taken me over. typewriter_quote You know the feeling when after writing a few hundred awesome words that flew through your fingers onto the page, who wrote that?

For over a year my apartment was cleaner than ever before because I had to clean before I could write, right? Then I had to go to the gym because if I didn’t keep up my strength, how could I ever finish my book? And of course keeping up with friends, the myriad of unnoteworthy emails I received needed to be seen, and generally enjoying beach-life all served to distract me and provide excuses for not writing.

But the truth is, I didn’t believe in my heart that I could write well. quotes-about-writing-writers-block-doubt (1) Somehow I thought I had to write the novel of the century! Growing up I learned that if you can’t do a thing well, don’t do it at all. Somehow I heard, “If you can’t do a thing ‘perfectly,’ don’t do it at all!”

Despite friends and strangers who have heard me read excerpts from my book, telling me I write well and exhorting me to complete it, I continued to struggle. What if I did complete my book? What then? I knew nothing of how to publish a book, where to get it printed, who would do the cover, or how to market it. A few good friends who are accomplished authors promised to help with those things but the job seemed monumental.

Somehow I think I am not alone in this dilemma. I hear many who say they would like to write a book–far more than those who actually do. Perhaps they struggle like I did with the daunting task of seeing the work through from beginning to end. To those who feel as I did, I say, do it anyway! The help is out there! If you can write a book, you can learn to do the rest. And honestly, if I can do it, almost anyone can.

Having experienced the labor of love seeing our book, Saving Libbie the Lobster, through to it’s completion and beyond, has taught me much. I see once again in my life that I am my own worst enemy. I alone will stop myself from fulfilling my highest hopes. So back to my novel I shall go. I will see it through to the end and beyond.

https://www.facebook.com/LibbieTheLobster

http://www.libbiethelobster.com/


5 Comments

As A Child Growing Up I Learned That Life Is…

Would you like to know the people you communicate with better, to learn something about how they see the world and their place in it? Here is a small exercise of sentence completion that will help us all know each other a little better. Here’s how this goes:bfdd953dc713b8cf68d06d6d18d9ee49

Repeat the sentence stem to yourself and write the first word(s) that comes to mind. No editing or changing it please. You may surprise yourself.

In the past six months of blogging and participating in several social media sites, I have become friends with and followed many people, most of whom I will likely never meet face-to-face. And yet my curiosity about the psychology of us humans and a desire to be connected to others, drives me to want to know you.

So lets get to know each other! Complete this sentence, “As a child growing up, I learned that life is___________.”

Thanks for reading and I look forward to getting to know you better.

https://www.facebook.com/LibbieTheLobster

http://www.libbiethelobster.com/