Sadie Francis Skyheart

Screenwriter & Author

To celebrate the overwhelming response to my new book, I’ve decided to give away a signed paperback and a “trees” themed box of awesomeness!

One (1) Grand Prize Winner will receive a box of goodies:

•A signed paperback of THE RECOLLECTION OF TREES
•An inspirational deck of Soul Trees Oracle deck
•“Spirit Tree” zipper charm custom designed by Cool Moon Creations
•Amethyst “tree of life” necklace specially crafted by Divine Sanctuary for this giveaway
•Herbal tea sampler, & more!

3 more winners will receive a FREE digital copy of THE RECOLLECTION OF TREES!

Enter multiple ways:

1.‘Like’ this post on facebook and/or instagram, then comment #Lucky13Trees and tag a friend.

2. Follow Sadie Francis Skyheart on BookBub

3. If you’ve read the book, leave a review on The Recollection of Trees facebook page.

4. Follow Sadie Francis Skyheart’s Spotify playlists for the book.

BONUS: post a pic of your paperback on facebook or instagram with #BookSelfieTrees, get entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Don’t miss it! The giveaway only lasts 13 hours on Friday the 13th!
From 10:00 am to 10:59 pm, CST December 13, 2019.

-Sadie

For the past 30 days I’ve been in perpetual motion, yet sitting still.

I’m shopping a script

This means I’m contacting producers who might be a good fit for the genre and budget. It’s fun, exciting, and a teensy bit scary. Who knew this Michigan girl would someday contact an exec connected to an 80’s heart throb whose poster used to hang on my teen bedroom wall? Yep, that’s my new surreal-ity.

I’m also launching my book

It was originally supposed to be published in 2014. A mystery health issue trashed those plans again and again, until the book seemed so far out of reach that I nearly gave up. Thankfully that’s over! So, wouldn’t you know it, now that it’s really, truly, for sure happening… there have been some last minute issues beyond my control. It has been a lesson in detaching from perfection and staying in the present moment.

Maybe I need a clone (or a personal assistant?)

I’m putting in 14-16 hour days while wearing a dozen hats: brainstorming, writing, outlining, revising, emailing/calling 20-30 producers daily, exchanging feedback, and I still have to live… eat, sleep, shower, run errands… and I’m teaching one of my teenagers how to drive right now.

I credit my (mostly) calm sanity to transcendental meditation, lots of water, nutrition (lost 21 lbs and counting since mid-summer), and my patient, supportive family and friends… lifelong chums, ScreenwritingU peers, and echelon pals including one I met a year ago at the 30STM Chicago concert…all checking in and sending me good vibes.

THANK YOU!
~Sadie

If you’re wondering when the book will be available:

I don’t know for certain, but as soon as it is, I’ll post the link here and on social media. Please keep your fingers and toes crossed that it’s within the next few days, because I’ve got a trip to L.A. at the end of October. Have you seen the updated cover yet?

If you’re interested in joining my street team:

Please email me with “street team” in the subject line. You’ll get discounts and freebies, exclusive swag, and insider info — in exchange for your help spreading the word about my book and other future projects. I’ve got an immediate street team activity, and if you join before October 20, 2019 (11:59 CDT), I’ll mail you a handwritten postcard from L.A.! (No fee to join, no hassle to leave.)

What happened to the blog?

It’s on pause. I had the best of intentions, but there are only so many writing hours in the day! When I do get back to blogging, I’ve got some fun ideas that will make it easier for me to keep up and hopefully entertain and inspire you. With everything going on right now, it’s probably going to be November, unless I decide to do NaNoWriMo and then it’ll likely be December or January. Rest assured, if there is any big news to share, I’ll leave it here (even if it’s just a quick note like this).

Why can’t I leave comments?

Comments are turned off indefinitely until I hire an intern or a personal assistant, or clone myself. If you really need to comment on something, feel free to do so via the contact page. Thanks!

Grit is another word for perseverance. It’s a gut-level strength to embrace challenges even and especially when we feel vulnerable, because of a heart-level knowing that there is no success without risk. Grit is getting out of your own way… and into the long game of your dreams.

“How many times have you had an idea that excited you and inspired all types of possibilities, until your mind came in and convinced you of all the reasons you couldn’t do it? When that happens you can truly feel yourself split in two. One of you is listening to opportunity, one of you is listening to fear. You can feel the opportunity in your body and you can feel the fear in your mind.”

-Kyle Cease, I Hope I Screw This Up

In 2015, Rory Vaden, NYT bestselling author of Take the Stairs, illustrated this with a comparison of cow and buffalo responses to an approaching storm. Essentially, cows try to run away, but they’re slow and the storm catches up with them, while buffalo wait for the perfect timing and then charge directly into it, which minimizes the storm’s effect on them.

We don’t always get to choose whether or not we have storms. The only choice we get to have is how we respond to those storms. And more specifically, when we respond to those storms.”

-Rory Vaden, Take the Stairs

What situation or decision has offered you an opportunity to summon grit?

Hugs,
Sadie

Recommended reading, Vaden’s article: Be the buffalo and face life’s storms
Recommended viewing: Brené Brown: The Call to Courage | Netflix

Photo: BUFFALO: grounded yet heavenly, practical yet spiritual. The hooves of the mighty Buffalo are grounded in the earth, yet its heart and mind rise toward heaven. The Buffalo sees challenge, hardship, or a bump in the road as an opportunity for upliftment. Therefore, the Buffalo does not fear death, illness, or misfortune…its gentle eyes look to the road ahead, trusting every turn. May we all experience this elusive yet life-changing bliss from time to time, and may we allow this card to remind us that life is a precious gift. When in balance: trusting, pure presence. When out of balance: restless, lacks gratitude. To bring into balance: prayer, shakti. -from The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck by Kim Krans COMMIT TO YOUR PATH: Make a decision. Move forward toward your goals. Perseverance. COURAGE: Risk. Take on the challenge. Feel discomfort but move forward. Don’t let fear stifle your growth. -from Soul Trees Self-Discovery cards by Allyson Williams-Yee

I’m ba-ack! Welcome to my blog reboot!

My new monthly blog will feature brief, positive messages to inspire readers towards their dreams. It is only fitting that my first month’s theme is UBUNTU.

Ubuntu is a Nguni Bantu (South Africa) term meaning “humanity”. It is often translated as “I am because we are,” or “humanity towards others”. For decades, leaders like Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela spread the profound message of Ubuntu as a philosophical belief in a “universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”.

For me, Ubuntu is the reciprocal love and encouragement of my family and friends. It is the mutual optimism, fierce cheerleading, and honest feedback exchanges with my fellow ScreenwritingU alums. It is my amazing Kickstarter supporters who wholeheartedly believed in a first-time author.

It’s the thrill of March Madness and cheering for my alma mater. It was singing in unity with the echelon family at last summer’s Thirty Seconds to Mars Chicago concert. It is the friend who listened to my deluge of tears when I hit a major obstacle (a few, actually).

Everyone needs to feel seen and heard, which is why I often start conversations with total strangers in public. It’s also the reason I bake and share 200+ cookies with my neighbors every December. What if I’m the only person they talk to that day? We’re instantly connected by technology, but we’re connecting less in person and I believe this disconnection can erode empathy, both on the individual and societal level. I particularly enjoyed a recent article in Yes! Magazine about the benefits of connecting with our neighbors even when we believe we don’t like social interaction.

It is my sincere hope that my future readers and movie audiences will see themselves reflected in my stories. I’d love to be part of the reason that people spend quality, in-person time together again. Who are you spending time with this month? Thanks for connecting with me.

Hugs,
Sadie

After taking a long break, I’ve decided I want to shift the focus of my blog to better reflect my writing goals. Consequently, I’ve “unpublished” six years’ worth of posts while I figure out which ones are relevant to my new focus.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. My blog will be rebooted by April 1, 2019. The website remodel should be complete by August 1, 2019.

~Sadie

UPDATE: I kept a handful of my old posts because they may help someone else who is looking to publish, and some reflect my process as a writer. I hope they inspire or entertain you! 🙂 ~Sadie

*picks up blog, blows dust and cobwebs off*

Good news: my health is cooperating for the most part. I’m doing well.

Had a recent epiphany that I need a break from the digital world, not just from blogging. I went outdoors and it was amazing. (Have you been out in nature lately?)

This is me, officially, until I don’t know when:

writing cave notice

Best Schwarzenegger impression: I’LL BE BACK.

~Sadie

I’m in the August 2015 issue of Oprah Magazine!

Here’s how it all came together:

This past spring I was inspired to answer the O monthly reader question, so I did. A few weeks later, I got an email from a lovely staffer at O Magazine, notifying me that I was being considered for inclusion in the August issue and could I please send over a photo of myself?

The email couldn’t have come at a better or worse time. I’d been feeling horrible for over a week because my kids or husband had brought me some kind of awful plague. My body ached,  I had a fever, and worst of all, my nose was as red as Rudolph. But I was thrilled! It was Oprah! The photo specifications were for a neutral or light-colored background, and my latest photo has a dark background. In my current state, I didn’t even want to appear in the grocery store (never mind O Magazine). I took a chance that they would be okay with my dark photo and went back to bed.

A reply came back that the photo wouldn’t work and the lovely staffer wondered if could I send a different photo in a few days when I was feeling better. Nervous that I might miss the magazine’s deadline, I contacted my favorite photographer, only to discover that she had stopped being a photographer! I asked my friends for a referral and within 24 hours I was connected with a talented young woman who just completed a beautiful project with one of my close friends.

The evening of the photo shoot was amazing. Amanda made me look and feel like a million bucks, despite my red nose! I honestly hoped the photo we chose to send to the magazine would be included, just so she would get exposure for her work.

Then my inbox went back to the same old stuff from my favorite online retailers and bloggers. Not a peep from Oprah’s staffer. The suspense was nauseating and terrifying and exciting. Mostly I tried not to think about it.

And then, POOF!

Yes, I know it’s not an article or a book review or an exclusive interview. In fact, my original response was edited down to a single sentence.

Rather than spoil this moment with what it isn’t, I choose to celebrate what it is!

Amazingly, that single sentence sums up my intention as a writer, and as a friend: To be a voice of inspiration for those who may yet be finding their own voice. It is literally one of my meditation mantras. It is a dream to have a reader approach me at a book signing to tell me that I helped them connect to their voice.

I am humbled that my voice is in print for thousands to read and hopefully nod to themselves, “YES, me too.” I am incredibly grateful and thrilled to be able to say:

My written words are in Oprah freaking Magazine!

Sadie-SoulLitePhotography

Check that off the bucket list! How can life get any better?

I’m dancing in my lucky Halloween socks!

Since my new friend’s wonderful photography didn’t get included, here it is. It is one of the best professional photos I’ve ever taken, despite just getting off the couch after a blurry ten days of evil cooties. Thank you Amanda!

Photo credit: 2015 Soul Light Photography by Amanda

This is the final installment, PART THREE of the good, the bad, the ugly and the wonderful details of my recent experience with Kickstarter. 

Is crowdfunding right for your indie book? I can’t answer that for sure, but I can tell you a few things that will help you decide. I recently funded my debut novel, The Recollection of Trees on Kickstarter. If you’re considering the same, you might want to read this first.

If you want to know what happens while the campaign is live, read this.

Part Three: It’s over, now what?

You will have to wait up to two weeks to get your funding, minus 5% to credit card processing fees, 5% to Kickstarter, and any dropped pledges—so don’t plan on anything you have to pay for right away. I don’t know how the other sites work with fees and dropped pledges, so definitely know what you’re getting into beforehand.

Be sure to thank everyone for the shares, pledges, and support.

Hand write your thank you notes. Seriously. Make your grandma proud.

It’s nice to include a small-yet-fancy certificate that “officially certifies” each person as a backer of your campaign, at least for those who are getting physical rewards mailed to them.

Remember to thank them in all the ways they were promised in their rewards tier: thanks on social media, email, website, acknowledgements in your book, tattoo on your forehead, etc. and don’t do what I did and accidentally forget someone! You’ll be able to fix it, but the hurt feelings will still be there if they notice it before you do.

If you get the chance, reward them or thank them in a way that wasn’t promised. Like, if you end up being one of the lucky ducks who works your tail off for a movie deal on your book, maybe send them a behind-the-scenes video of you getting ready for the premiere, or visiting the set, or send them an autographed memento from one of the actors.

Don’t drop the momentum:

  • keep backers informed of progress
  • post updates on social media
  • keep the audience interested so they will read, buy, and recommend your books.

Take a nap, see a movie, read a book that isn’t yours, go to the beach, or get a massage. Do anything else for a few days.

You’re going to need the break!

Build your marketing on the momentum of your successful crowdfund campaign.

If your book is done–and by done I mean, you’ve written several drafts, revised it to be as amazing as you can imagine, then paid a professional editor to polish and proofread–then the next steps are your cover and promotion with targeted ads.

Spend time, money, or both on a professional cover. People absolutely DO judge books by their covers, and if yours looks homemade, doesn’t match what the book is about, or just doesn’t look like it belongs in your genre, you’ll be sorry. Ideally, you already did this before your crowdfunding campaign and used it as your thumbnail. But if you’re like me, your cover may change. For more information on covers, search for Derek Murphy – CreativIndie. He’s your guy. Trust me. Or hire someone.

You MUST run ads. There is no way around it. If you don’t, you will be sad that you put so much effort into your campaign, and then your book only sells to people you know. With your professional level cover, you’ll want to use BookBub, GoogleAds, Amazon ads, social media ads…maybe I’ll write a separate article about this. Some of these ads can and should start before you publish, so do your research!

Expect the marketing phase to be pretty time consuming until you get the hang of how it’s all working.

Best of luck!
~Sadie

This is PART TWO of the good, the bad, the ugly and the wonderful details of my recent experience with Kickstarter. 

Is crowdfunding right for your indie book? I can’t answer that for sure, but I can tell you a few things that will help you decide. I recently funded my debut novel, The Recollection of Trees on Kickstarter. If you’re considering the same, you might want to read this first.

Part Two: 3, 2, 1… Launch!

My project was 28 days, $2800. It was like the last month of pregnancy and the first month of parenthood, rolled into one. Yeah, that level of sleep deprivation, excitement, and stress.

Some people hold a launch party, others celebrate when they reach their goal. Either event stands to create more buzz. I didn’t do either, because I wanted to conserve my resources for my book launch party.

Remember, once your project is live you can edit some of the content, but not all of it. Read the fine print carefully. You cannot change your deadline or funding goal once it is launched, so be sure on both.

Send out your launch press release, post it on your website, send it to your email list, and tell the social media universe.

Brew a big pot of coffee and settle in for the insanity. Not joking.

Messaging magic:

  • How many days in/left until your deadline
  • How much funding left to raise or daily goal (% or $ amount)
  • Brag about the fun rewards
  • Name of the project with a link to it
  • Remind people that generous sharing is just as appreciated as backing, and LIKE whenever they do, it increases the visibility in newsfeeds.
  • Celebrate milestones
  • Be urgent, but not desperate
  • Be thankful

Sample tweet: #10DaysLeft Already 70% funded! #ThankYou for pledging & RT! (link, project name here) @kickstarter

Sample post: Did you know Kickstarter is all-or-nothing? Must raise $2000 by August 31 or project gets $0. Thank you for sharing &/or pledging: (link/name here)

It’s ALIVE!

I swear to all that is holy, this monster becomes a full time job. It is all consuming. I cannot imagine what it is like for the projects who raise six or seven figures. I aimed for just $2800, and it was a mental marathon. (If I had it to over, I might hire a student to do this, but I doubt it because I’m kind of a control freak—just keeping it honest.)

You have to balance between spamming your friends and making sure the message is out there. I posted messages about once a day on each of my social media sites.

Post updates on the Kickstarter project site, with some posts that are for “backers only” as a reward and an incentive for those who are thinking about backing. They can’t see it unless they are a backer.

Know which time is the best time of day to post your messages, to reach the most people. The middle of the night is a dead zone unless you’re reaching out to someone in a different time zone. If most of your potential backers have 9-5 jobs, send your message before or after those times, when they’re more likely to be checking email & status updates.

Schedule time for short breaks too, or you will feel chained to technology and start to lose perspective. Make sure to drink water between coffee cups, so you don’t get dehydrated and cranky. My family can attest to this.

I reached my goal with a week left in the campaign, and I chose to not try to reach another higher goal. I was happy with getting to 100%, and I didn’t want to annoy my friends, many of whom were getting inundated with political stuff because we were days from a primary. I did continue sending out thank you messages and reply to congratulations. 🙂 I also sent a press release to announce my campaign was a success.

There might be hiccups

Backer issues: Some people pledge and then the money doesn’t actually go through—the credit card is entered in wrong, no money/limit exceeded, who knows. It happened to me. There were four people who entered in the wrong number or expiration date, but corrected it (they have up to 7 days to fix the pledge on their end). Another did the same but didn’t check their email or messages until after the deadline for corrections had passed. Two others were dropped for any of the above reasons but never contacted me/Kickstarter.

The upside: as long as the pledges are made before your deadline, it doesn’t matter if some of them get dropped afterward, you still get the rest. And don’t worry, you don’t have to deal with anyone directly unless you choose to (I don’t recommend it)—Kickstarter sends them a reminder that their pledge is in error every 2 days for a week, then drops them.

The downside: If the dropped pledge is someone you’re close to or a larger pledge, that might be a bit awkward or mess up your budget, so be prepared for those minor possibilities. All of these details are only accessible to you—the public can’t see it when they view your project.

I am thankful even for the dropped pledges, because if they hadn’t pledged at all, I might not have reached my goal.

Beware of “helpful” spam

I received five or six messages through social media, often poorly written, pitching me on buying into some crowd funding boosting service. They all promised that they could get me funded and/or surpass my goal, for a small fee. The fees weren’t bad, but I would pay them whether they delivered on their promise or not.

One service offered some kind of bypass around the FB algorithm. Even if it was possible, I feel that if I need that kind of help, I shouldn’t be trying the crowd funding thing in the first place.

I also got a couple messages from other Kickstarter projects, asking me for help in getting the word out about their project, and one of them had already surpassed their goal! Total strangers. Maybe I’m being Midwestern, but that seemed pretty NERVY and GREEDY if you ask me.

NOTE: since the original publication of this article 08/15/2014, kickstarter has added a way to report this type of spam to them directly. Yay! [11/20/2019]