Sunday, December 4, 2011

Facebook Author page

Just wanted to post a quick note to let you know that I now have a Facebook author page. You can check it out here. I'm hoping to do a giveaway when I get to 25 likes- and everyone likes free stuff!

Also, I'm hoping to do a week long writing series soon because a lot of people have been asking me for writing advice. I'm not sure how helpful i'll be since I still consider myself a newbie at this writing game but hopefully I'll find something worth sharing. Anyways, keep an eye out from my upcoming posts and head over to the FB page if you get a chance!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Promotion Tips for Authors

Nowadays, authors are expected to invest a lot of time and energy in promoting their books. While some people hate this idea, I think it’s a great chance to be creative. Besides, it’s YOU you’re trying to sell. No one else will be able to do a better job. So here are a few promotion ideas I’ve come up with while trying to think of ways to promote my upcoming book. I hope they will be of some help to other people as well.

1. Print up promotional material. This takes a small financial investment on the authors part, but the potential for sales can easily equal a long term profit. I plan on printing up a few hundred business cards with my books title and a link to Musa’s site. I’ll be able to pass them out to people, leave them at certain businesses, and give them to other people to pass out.

 I may also print up some flyers/poster to hang up on local bulletin boards. Grocery stores, laundry mats, and college campuses all usually have places for people to put up material. This is basically free advertising space. You might as well use it. Just ask permission first.

I’m also going to look into having a T-shirt made up with my books information. Every time I wear it, I’ll be a walking billboard. People will often approach someone wearing an interesting T-shirt, so it’s a great way to start up a conversation about your book. These also make great give away items because everyone loves free T-shirts. Plus, everyone who wears a shirt with your information on it will be advertising for you.

If you’re not sure about how to go about doing this, I’ve used Vistaprint in the past and have been please with the finished product. If you’re really crafty, you can probably do all of this with your own computer.

2. Recruit your friends and family. That doesn’t mean harassing them, though. Just give them the option to help you. Post a link on Facebook, or Twitter- if you’re lucky, people with repost it to help you out. I would also recommend giving them some business cards to hang onto, in case they run into someone who is interested in your book.
3. Join online forums. You can find forums discussing almost every topic under the sun. Many of these forums will let you leave a link to your book in your signature (the thing that appears at the bottom of every post you make.) Every time you say something, you’ll be leaving a link to your book. It's free and easy to use. Just be careful not to spam them with self promotion. Engage in conversation and get involved in the community. The Kindle boards are a great place to start because a lot of potential readers hang out there.

4. Take out advertising space in a local paper. There’s a small free publication near me that gets delivered to thousands of homes. I know a lot of people read it. They only charge around ten dollars for a short add. Some may even let you do a free announcement if you play up the fact that you’re a local author.

5. Throw yourself a launch party. This one can be expensive if you aren’t careful but it will get people talking about your book. You can invite close friends and family, editors, and even members of the press. It’s really up to you how big you want to make it.

6. Talk to local book stores and libraries. Many of them will let you set up a signing or speaking event. I was just at a library signing where the author sold every book she brought. Even if you don’t sell a bunch of copies, you will get your name out.

7. Blog. Most of you are probably already doing this, but participating in blogs is a great way to get your name out there. Join blog hops. Do interviews. Put up blog posts about other authors. The blogging world is huge, influential, and always growing. Don’t let it go to waste.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Fear of Failure

Something interesting happened when I made my official FB announcement about signing a publishing contract. Along with happy congratulations, many of my friends, family members and acquaintances started confessing (to my surprise) that they were writers. Many admitted that they someday want to have a book published. “I’ve always wanted to do that,” they said. I’ve been trying to encourage them as best as I can, and point them to sites that might be helpful.

Another thing many of them confessed to me was that they are afraid of having someone read their writing. “Aren’t you terrified of putting your writing out in the word?” they asked.

Of course I am. I’ve always been pretty secretive about my writing. If I’m working on something and a family member (or anyone) walks into the room, I close the laptop. I don’t want anyone to know what I’m doing. I have no idea why.

So the idea of putting my hard work out in the world to be read and judged by everyone is really, truly, scary. I know everyone isn’t going to like it. I mayfail and fall flat on my face. There are going to be bad reviews, critics, and people who just don’t get it.

And I don’t care. Or at least I’m pretending not to. At the end of the day, I’ve created characters and a world I love. All I can do is hope a few other people feel the same way.

Do you write? If so, are you afraid of sharing your writing with others?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Exciting News!

So I got some exciting news this week- I've sold my first novel, Nightfire, to Musa Publishing! I'm still kind of in shock about the whole thing. I keep waiting for an e-mail saying something like "sorry, we meant to offer that contract to someone else," but the signed contract is still sitting in my e-mail box. Musa is a fairly new E-publisher, but they have some great books for sale and are really author friendly. I'm pretty honored that I'm going to be sharing virtual shelf space with their authors (some pretty big names have signed on.) So, If you haven't checked them out-you should.  I don't have any real details yet, but I'll be sure and post updates when I know something!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Time for another poem

So it's been a really long time since I've posted anything here, mostly because my summer has been so busy. But I'm hoping to get back to posting more frequently. Since i've been so bad about posting, I thought I would start back up by posting another poem. This is one of the more personal ones i've written, so it's a little strange sharing it, but it's better than having it just sit in a drawer somewhere.


The creases from the lines of your body

Still linger on our cotton sheets

In the dark of night I’m sure I can still hear

The faint sound of you hearts beat

I can almost feel the warmth from your breath

And your dreams soft song

Until I reach out for your touch

And remember that your gone.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Here's a list of 5 of the best blogs for writers (in my opinion), in no particular order.

1. Nathan Bransford
 Nathan used to be a literary agent (and is currently a writer) and he offers all kinds of advice for people interested in the publishing world.

2. Pimp My Novel
Written by someone working in the sales department of a publishing house, this blog provided really unique insight into writing and how to improve novels.

3. A Newbies Guide to Publishing
J.A. Konrath is a legacy published author turned self-publisher. He offers advice and encouragment to people seeking the self-publishing route, along with interviews and all kinds of information.

4. Write to Publish
The owner of this blog runs a small press and shares all kinds of knoweldge about the writing world with her readers.

5. Fiction Groupie
This site is written by romance author Roni Loren, who offers all kinds of tips and tricks for writers.

Of course there are tons of other great sites out there. Feel free to leave your own favorite writing blogs in the comments!

Monday, June 6, 2011

YA Saves

So last week the Wall Street Journal ran an article about YA fiction and started a firestorm of online debate on the subject. If you haven’t read the article (which I doubt) it basically said that most of the YA fiction out there is too dark and inappropriate for its audience. You can read it here.

People are angry, especially people who write and read a lot of YA fiction. The article makes it sound like YA readers aren’t savvy enough to handle adult themes in stories. If the writer had their way, YA fiction would be little more than really long children’s stories. Nothing too bad would happen and every story would have a happy ending.

I think that’s actually the article’s author’s problem. They assume that the people reading YA are children. Very few children read YA. Teenagers read YA. Young adults read YA. Grown adults read YA. And teenagers, and adults generally have enough real world experience to read about the real world. Life is dark sometimes. There’s violence and sex and swearing all over the place. All you have to do is walk down the street to see it. Burying our heads in the sand won’t make it go away.

The positive part of this story is that it has brought hundreds of people together to defend YA fiction. People are banding together because they don’t want to see stories they love thought of as little more than poison for the children of the world. People have been unifying to defend the fiction that helped them and that’s a beautiful thing. The ultimate message of the movement is that YA Saves. And I believe it does.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Overcoming Fear

The other night I had a dream that I decided to self published my novel on a whim, just to see what would happen. In the dream I started getting reviews-and they weren’t good. The 1 star reviews started to pile up, much to my horror. Luckily it was just a dream.

I think a lot of people share this kind of fear. There’s always that voice somewhere in the back of our heads telling us we aren’t good enough. No matter what praise we’re given, people tend to only focus on the negative. So how do we push through it and keep moving forward?

For me, I have to remind myself that giving up will get me nowhere. Successful authors are often the ones who kept trying even after hundreds of rejection letters and touch criticism. Sometimes that criticism even pushes them to work harder.

Ultimately, I love the characters and world I’ve created and I want to share that world with other people. That love is the driving force behind my quest for publication.

I want to know what pushes you to keep writing. What makes you write?  And how do you move forward in the face of adversity?

Friday, May 13, 2011

One of my first writing loves was, and is, poetry. I love the way a few simple words can be transformed into emotions, or entire words. But I'm also weirdly secretive about the poems I've written. The ones I'm happiest with are the ones that are the most personal and the most difficult to share. It seems silly to me, though, that I have hundreds of poems just sitting in notebooks that no one has ever read. So I figured I might share a few of them on here from time to time, just to brush the dust off of them and get them out in the open. So here we go...

Sometimes I Dream of Georgia

Sometimes I dream of Georgia.
Never thought that I would be
so haunted
by the tangled moss
hanging from those live oak trees.
And I never thought I'd miss her
or the warm Savannah sun.
Or the scent of Juniper
that hung in the coastal coves.
I'll never whistle dixie
or call myself a bell
but I can't forget her song
though I've bid her farwell
somehow she stays inside.
That place has never left me,
Sweet Gerogia, she is mine.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Writing Advice

So I've been trying to decide what direction to take this blog. Should I focus on writing? Reading? The publishing industry? Maybe a mix of all of them? I feel a little silly dishing out writing advice since I still consider myself a newbie but  I have learned a whole lot over the last year or so.

I figure today I'll share one thing I've learned about writing... If you don't need it, get rid of it. If a word or chapter or paragraph doesn't add something to your work then it needs to go. Certain words are 'filler words' and are usually good candidates for this. Those words include 'that' 'was' 'suddenly' 'instantly' and a whole host of others. Of course these words do service certain purposes but the trick is using them sparingly. When you really REALLY need them.

And if any part of your writing doesn't progress the plot or the characters it's not a good idea to keep it around. Unless you have a very good reason.

So that's the first lesson i'm sharing on here. Edit your own stuff before you send if off to another set of eye. And cut out any word that might distract them from how good (or bad) the rest of it is.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Here's my query

So I've been working on my query on and off for months now. It's nowhere near perfect but it's slowly getting better. Closer. My goal is to be ready to query by June. We will see if I actually get there, but I thought I'd share my query. This is by no means the final version but it will at least give people an idea of what my books about (I hope.) Of course I still have to get through a (hopefully) final beta reader and another set of revisions. Feel free to comment, critique, or rip it to shreds if you wish. Don't worry, I can take it ;)

Dear agent-like person,

Olivia Townsend can't deny she's a killer. After all, she has a taste for humans. But an appetite her size can’t be satisfied by the tiny town of Peninsula. Not without getting caught. She hunts her prey far from home, where guilt is easier to run from and hunger is less of a problem. Besides, she loves Peninsula too much to risk losing it. Despite her best efforts to stay hidden, she’s still the center of the town’s gossip. It’s just too fun to talk about the town’s beautiful recluse. Olivia ignores most of the chatter, but when a local woman is killed, Olivia knows the smart thing to do is to get out of town for awhile. Suspicious neighbors can only mean trouble a vampire.

But Leaving becomes nothing short of impossible when William arrives. Olivia hopes she’s found another immortal. The last time she saw him was over a hundred years ago. She’s sure. And he may have a girlfriend but that doesn’t stop him from sneaking off to see Olivia every chance he gets. Plus he’s just so irresistible. And everything she wants. But he's no monster-he's a hunter with a nasty grudge against vampires. Even as she discovers his dislike of all things evil, Olivia's passion still overpowers her practical plan. And William's kindness, and interest in Olivia, only makes leaving harder. With the entire town watching and the guy of her dreams close to discovering the darkness inside her, Olivia must choose between life on the run or living in hiding with the man she loves.

Nightfire is a YA paranormal romance, complete at 56,000 words. The full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Joy of Betas

Beta readers can be great. They are basically people who read your work and point out where there are problems. They often catch things you miss and are super important for every writer. I love having them but I have hit a bit of confusion with them today. I sent my most recent edit of my WIP to two different betas and got two opposing opinions. One said I wasn't being descriptive enough and couldn't picture what was going on. The other said she loved my descriptions and could picture everything really well. It's sort of making me want to hit my head against the wall.

Do I add more description and risk slowing down the pace of the action? Do I leave it alone and risk having readers that can't visualize what is happening? One of the great things about writing is that different styles apeal to different people. What one peson loves is what another person might hate. Ultimately I'm the one who has to live with the story I've written and I'm going to have to find a way to make it work for me and the people that read it. I just hope I'm up to the task.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Publishing Dreams

I stole some of this post from my dream diary, but it's writing related so I think it's ok. I've been pretty torn lately about traditional pusblishing vs epublishing. Both sides have benefits and their own sets of problems. I love the idea of the total freedom you get with epublishing and the fact that it only takes hours to get a finished product into the hands of readers, but I'm terrified about having to market a book by myself. On the flip side I think the idea of having a team of professionals behind you would be amazing but the slow pace (and low commision rate) of traditional publishing is pretty frustrating. Not to mention that it's near impossible to get your foot in the door with the big houses. But a dream I had helped guide me a bit.

Last night I dreamed I recieved an e-mail (exciting, I know.) from a beta reader that's reading my WIP. In the e-mail she asked me what I planned to do with the novel when I'm finished and how I was going to market it. The dream helped me because I've been trying to figure out that question for awhile now.

 Originally I planned on submitting it to agents with the hopes of getting a publisher interested. But the market has been changing. Most publishers won't touch my topic right now (there are vampires in it) and I'm worried that no matter how hard I work it won't be enough. But the dream made me realize that epublishing is going to feel like accepting defeat. Like I gave up. I know now that I at least have to try and find an agent. Maybe I won't be sucsessful. I may fail. I may have to go with e-publishing, but at least I'll know I tried my hardest to find my book a home. And that's something I can live with.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Breaking the Ice

So I've been working on a novel for a little over a year now. It's a paranormal romance titled Nightfire. It's been through a lot of edits and headaches and I'm closing in on actually finishing it. I keep reading things that encourage writers to share their progress online so I'm going to try and do that here. If you want to come along for my journey- welcome aboard! Hopefully the ride won't be too bumpy.