Monthly Archives: September 2012

Indie Chores: Building a Reliable Community

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Indie authors have to wear more hats than the average author (although I have seen some major changes in online promotions lately from traditionally published authors. They might as well jump on our social media bandwagon, right?) Anywho, we’ve talked about the importance of having building an online platform and making connections and having a group of writer buds.  I want to stress today the importance of having a reliable community to turn to and to not be scared to back out of a group or from a particular person if they’re not pulling their weight.

I know a great indie author, who shall remain nameless, that was publishing a new book. To help promote the book, they searched and found someone who ran blog hops.  The blogger was contacted, a hop was set up and they took care of contacting other bloggers to participate and played the middle man, so to speak.  Time came for the blog hop to run and there were all sorts of issues: broken images in posts, changing the type of posts they said they’d write, not posting at all, etc. A regular ole cluster&*ck.

Obviously, this is frustrating both to the author and the person hosting the hop. I don’t know how well the blogger knew the other posters, if they’ve worked with them before, but those unreliable folks just made the hop runner look bad and the author will probably not look to go back to them for their next release.  We all know things come up and shit happens and there are legitimate reasons why things can’t get done, but a quick email is super helpful in those kinds of situations.

Alternatives for the author? Take the time to get to know book bloggers/reviewers and make connections so you can hand pick those participating in the hop. If you know them to be reliable, you’ll have better results. Time consuming and a lot of work scheduling everyone/thing but it’s the price you have to pay if you want it done right. It’s either that, or shell out the bucks for a promo company that specializes in such things. There are some great ones out there, but they’re not cheap.

One also has to weed through the tons of other indie authors on Twitter and Facebook and in forums, to find some who write novels similar to your own. Someone who is willing to read a rough draft, do some editing, help when you’re stuck, etc.  You will probably find tons willing to help, but they’re not all going to live up to the same standards as you. There will be some eager to swap and you, being the nice friendly person you are, will do the reading for them and then they neeeever quite seem to get to your stuff. Suddenly they are too busy on their own projects.  Yes it happens, but like all friendships and relationships, if it’s going to be a one way street, you need to get off at the next exit and look for a better rest stop.  This doesn’t necessarily make the other person bad, we all know how one can get sucked into a project and have a deadline or whatever, but those are things to think of before offering to reciprocate for someone. I have a couple great people I know I can rely on, but there are others I had to break away from. I still support them in other ways, help retweet their posts, share release info, etc. but I won’t read stuff for them anymore unless I really have the time and don’t mind doing it. I just know better now not to expect the same in return.

The same thing with beta readers. There are plenty of people out there willing to read your book for you, but many will end up not following through, or deciding they don’t like it/it’s not for them and they’ll drop off the face of the Earth before letting you know that.  Some will offer to read and post reviews and it never happens. Sometimes a gentle nudging reminder is all it takes (people do get busy and caught up) but again if someone doesn’t it like it, they might feel bad and not want to do a review, even if you told them you’re fine with any honest review.

People think writing is a solitary kind of job, but it encompasses so much more, involves so many other people. It takes time and patience, trial and error to find the perfect group of folks. These people help make your book the perfect product so why suffer through with people who aren’t as interested as you in getting your work out there.

What are your suggestions for finding the right people to be a part of your online writing community?

 

Blood Type – Release!

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I think I’ve read every book this author has released and I started reading them long before I “met” and  I made friends with her. Her works are always riveting, the kinds of books I stay up into the wee hours of the morn’ finishing. I was lucky to be a beta reader for her last two novels, The Spirit Keeper and Blood Type.

I’m super excited to be a part of the release for Blood Type. Even though the vampire craze has been quite over done, it’s one of the few standouts..a different twist on the stale theme, making it exciting and enjoyable. Another I couldn’t put down. Not to mention that cover! Tell me it’s not stunning!!  If you’re a fan of paranormal and of great stories, I highly recommend picking up a copy!

Since getting attacked by a vampire, I didn’t believe in
beginnings. Only endings. Every person born to this world comes with an
expiration date, but I had never considered mine. At least not until I met
John.

 

Now the end was all I ever thought about. I woke up every morning
wondering if that day would be my last. Venom pulsed in my veins and seeped
into my bones, infecting all my vital organs and changing me from the inside
out. Slowly killing me.

 

But I’d welcome death in the end, if only because the alternative
was even more frightening.

 

Popular girl
Blake Ehlert has it all: a prime spot on the cheerleading squad, a jock
boyfriend who’s strong and sensitive, and the winning vote for Homecoming Queen
two years in a row. But when she strikes up a conversation with loner John
Kelly, her entire world starts to crumble.

 

John Kelly
is a vampire—what’s known to his kind as a Compeller. It’s his job to recruit
human Donors with a particular blood type.

 

And Blake is
his next target.

 

Melissa Luznicky Garrett is an author of adult and young adult novels. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, three children, and numerous animals. Melissa is currently hard at work on her next project. Visit Melissa’s blog or connect with her on Facebook.

 

Blood Type
is available in print through Create Space, or in print
and digital through Amazon.

 

Stop by Melissa’s blog starting September 22nd and enter to win a signed print copy of Blood Type. All are welcome to participate. The winner will be chosen and announced October 1st. Also, claim your free Kindle copy of Melissa’s previous YA Paranormal, The Spirit Keeper, on Amazon September 22nd through September 26th. *As always, please make sure it’s marked as free before you download.*

Goal Modification ≠ Failure

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When I was younger, I had this schedule of sorts, that I thought my life would follow.  Graduate college, be married by a certain age, wait a certain number of years after that to have kids, etc. All to be done by the age 30 or so. HA! I was obviously an idealist and/or naive to think life would work out the way I wanted it to. Shit happens. Road blocks, break ups, terrorist attacks, etc. We definitely don’t have as much control over our lives as we like to think or hope.

It definitely still makes me sad that I’m not in a certain place at this point in my life, but who is to say I would have been happy in that “place” and that it would have been good for me? I’ll never know and it’s not really something that should be dwelt upon.  Because things haven’t worked out the way I had them planned I’ve had to change and/or modify my goals. Does that mean I’ve failed myself? I don’t think so. I think giving up completely might be considered a failure, but even then, if you do it because something else works better for you, then it’s not really a failure in my opinion.

I think, as a writer, these opportunities come up a lot. Maybe you decide you’re going to outline your whole story before sitting down to write. Pages and pages and hours of time go into it. Once you sit down to start writing, the story takes on a whole new direction and you don’t use that outline.  Is that failing? Certainly not! The overall goal is to get the story written, right? So why does it matter if your methodology changes? It doesn’t.

Maybe the goal is to be traditionally published. A great goal, indeed. You try for years and get a lot of feedback, but no one bites to pick it up. You finally decide you want your story out there by hook or crook so you opt to go the self published route. Does that make you a failure? Not in my mind.  You just changed your goal slightly. Your book will still be out there, people will be able to read and enjoy it. How is that not a success?

I guess it’s all in the way you look at things. Maybe it’s the pessimist’s way of looking at it to see a modification as a failure: the glass is half empty =s my book will be available to millions online but not in brick and mortar stores.

We can all hope things will work out according to our “plans”, but more likely than not, it won’t happen that way. Making adjustments to your goals, changing a time limit, changing the way you go about getting there is NOT failure. Keep persevering and take whatever route works best for you. Don’t be afraid to modify those goals if you’re struggling. There may be an easier way. Nothing is written in stone. Change is good. Embrace it.

 

Right to Write Everyday?

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You’ve probably heard that if you’re going to be a writer, you should write everyday. Hell, I’ve probably told you that in the past but let’s face it, writing is normally a second “job” for most of us and when life gets busy and complex, it’s not always possible to write on a daily basis. I’ve tried to do it and much of the time I succeed, but on those rough days…I’ve been known to stretch it and count emails, Facebook statuses and texts. Hey, it’s writing! It’s just not writing for one of my novels.

Do I think it’s helpful if you can write everyday? Most definitely. I think if you only write when the feeling moves you, you’ll end up finding that you don’t write very much at all. Sometimes we need to push ourselves otherwise we’ll just be stuck and fall into writer’s block or get discouraged and never finish the work.

Here’s the thing, I think it’s important to carve out time to write. If you’re serious about it then yes, you need to put in the effort, try to write as much as you can *BUT* don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get to it every single day. Things come up, you’re down, you’re mentally and physically drained, whatever. It’s going to happen. It’s not the end of the world. Pick it up tomorrow.

I also think it’s important to remember that as writers, we do other things besides write out stories.  Don’t forget to count time spent plotting, researching, outlining, writing character profiles, editing, revisions, re-writing, reading, etc. It all counts. Without those things, you don’t have a great completed product. They’re all a part of the process and count towards that write everyday quota. To me, anyhow.

Do you write everyday? Do you think it’s essential to your craft?

 

Interview with Sheryl Steines, Author of She Wulf

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Please enjoy this interview with Sheryl Steines, author of the action-packed urban fantasy, She Wulf. (Isn’t that cover gorgeous?!) Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this Novel Publicity blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of She Wulf, and 5 copies of its companion, The Day of First Sun.

1. When you start a book do you know how it will end or do you create the ending as you go along?

I have a rough idea of what the book will be about and I have some scene ideas and a rough ending. When I wrote The Day of First Sun, I knew that a high profile, non-magical person was going to be murdered by magic. I wrote out a paragraph of things that I wanted to see in the story and began writing. I didn’t look at the paragraph again until after the book was published and realized that I didn’t keep to my original thoughts at all. I tend to work without an outline because I feel tied to the story as if I’m trying to make everything fit. I prefer to let it flow and change. I like the freedom and the discovery. Sometimes I’m wildly surprised.

2. Do your book characters ever visit you in your dreams?

Yes and no. Not as much when I’m sleeping, but I daydream about them all the time. It’s how I work out characters and storylines. It’s almost as if a movie is playing in my head and I can change and add to storylines.

3. What are your favorite authors as either an adult or a child?

When I was a kid, I loved Nancy Drew. I read every one of them, but I didn’t just want to read them, I wished I had wrote them and started to write my own detective stories when I was seven. As I grew older, I read Judy Blume and Stephen King. Both made me feel something and from that I wanted to keep writing. I still read Stephen King and was very inspired by his autobiography On Writing. It was J.K. Rowling though, that reminded me of what I loved to read and that’s what inspired me to write my own fantasy novel.

4. How do you go about finishing a chapter when you can’t get it right?

I skip it…Just kidding. No, actually I’m not. Sometimes, I make a note in all caps reminding me I haven’t finished the chapter and other notes that I might be thinking about for the chapter and start the next one. Sometimes you just need to move on. The answer will eventually hit you upside the head when you least expect it.

5. Describe your reaction when you saw and held your first book?

I think I was numb when The Day of First Sun was published. Almost as if I had only done it to satisfy a selfish desire. It didn’t seem real. It was when I held She Wulf in my hands for the first time that I was overcome with emotion. This book consumed me for so long and I was so amazed by the final product and it seemed more than just a fantasy.

6. What is your biggest achievement to date?

Writing my first book. I always wanted to and never gave myself the opportunity. One day I decided it was time. It changed my life, gave me confidence. I lost the extra baby weight, changed my wardrobe, straightened my hair and gave my girls a role model, an example of taking control of one’s life and being the best person you can be.

7. What’s your favorite color?

Pink. I’ve always been a girly girl. As much as I’d like to be a sporty girl, I’m just not. It’s all about the pink, purses and shoes.

8. Favorite sound?

I love the sound of rain on the roof. Not during the sunlight hours, but early in the morning when it’s still dark out. I snuggle under the covers. It makes me happy.

9. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

An interior decorator. I love being creative and crafty and picking paint colors and getting lost in a fabric store. It’s almost as good as getting lost in a bookstore.

10. Worst fear?

I fear the alligators under the bed. Since I was a kid I can’t sleep without something covering my feet incase they come and get me. Don’t laugh, Stephen King admitted the same thing in an interview once.

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the She Wulf eBook edition is just 99 cents this week–and so is the price of its companion, The Day of First Sun. What’s more, by purchasing either of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Purchase your copy of She Wulf for just 99 cents
  2. Purchase your copy of Day of First Sun for just 99 cents
  3. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  4. Visit today’s featured social media event

About She Wulf: Annie is sent through an ancient time portal with only a prophecy to guide her; she struggles with a new destiny as she tries to figure out a way to destroy an un-killable demon and return home. Get it on Amazon.

About The Day of First Sun: A vampire, a rogue wizard and an army of soulless zombies are par for the course for Annie Pearce and Bobby “Cham” Chamsky of the Wizard’s Guard. But when the non-magical princess, Amelie of Amborix, is murdered by magical means, a deeper plot unfolds. Get it on Amazon.

About the author: Behind the wheel of her ’66 Mustang Convertible, Sheryl is a constant surprise, using her sense of humor and relatable style make her books something everyone can enjoy. Visit Sheryl on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.