Wednesday, August 13, 2014

THE INDIE AUTHOR JOURNEY



Actually, I think "My Journey to Publication" might have been a better title for this post...


When I was growing up, the only thing I ever dreamed about was being a professional writer. Today Amazon sent me an email inviting me to create an author page. This probably sounds lame to some people, but it’s an exciting step to me. My own official author page! I realize for self-published and indie authors that it’s an on-going struggle to get your books out into the world, and hopefully make some money in the process.

Like every writer, I am incredibly passionate about my work. The main reason I write is because I love to do it. Not for the money. No, because I love creating characters. I love crafting suspense. And I love telling stories—my kind of stories.

Writing has always been my true passion. This was what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to publish novels. I dreamed of being a professional author since I was seven years old, and I enjoy writing both adult and young adult tales.

Best-selling author, Tracy Hickman was quoted as saying, Don’t seek to be published, seek to be read.”

Simple words. Great advice. It made so much sense. Write for your readers. Write what you love. Write every day and don’t give up.

Our dreams should give us wings. Let us fly. Soar above the clouds. And we should never, ever have to look down. Right?

Being a voracious reader all of my life, I believe my writing style differs from the other young adult paranormals being published; because my stories tend to have elements of chilling suspense weaved into the plot. Nor are my stories always focused primarily on “love.” But there is a lot of kissing!

Yet I do write about people who fall in love under unusual circumstances. Not because I like a conventional happy ending—no, I write about love because I believe it’s the strongest human emotion we possess. And sometimes my character’s choices don’t get them a happy ending. Sometimes the endings are surprising. Sometimes bittersweet. Sometimes they end with a cliffhanger. But I hope they are never boring or too predictable. 
I was so excited this past week when three glowing reviews  of Beautifully Broken showed up on various book review blogs. Yay! And not so excited when two not-so-nice reviews were posted. But that’s okay. I knew not everyone would like my brand of storytelling. I knew I was going to need thick skin. 

Still, I sincerely appreciate every reader who has bought my book. Even if you didn’t like it that much. My main ambition is just to be a good storyteller and take my readers on a journey with me. One I hope most readers will find entertaining and enjoyable.

How did I start?

Well, like I said, I’ve been writing since I was seven. I’ve written a lot of books over the years. Yeah, a lot of bad books, too. I went to college, but mostly took creative writing and English classes. I couldn’t go full-time because I had a family to look after, but I did take various writing courses for the past ten years.

To be honest, I’ve tried three times in my life to find a literary agent, aka the gatekeepers to the publishing world, without success. I’ve even had a few prominent agencies request my work. Looking back, I know what I did wrong. I didn’t have any critique partners. The manuscript wasn’t tightened up and polished. I didn’t hire a freelance editor. I thought it was good. Well, it sucked. Hence, the multiple rejections. Which also sucked.

I’d like to think I’ve learned a lot since then. I hope I have.

The turning point in my life came when, like so many people across the United States, I lost my job. I feel into a deep, dark depression. To escape my utter hopelessness and to be productive, I decided to try writing again. I rewrote an old story that I still believed in, but knew it still needed some major revision. Maybe this was a sign from God to try to get published after all these years. I wrote every day for months, then started query agents and editors again. No luck. More rejections.

 I worked part-time and kept writing. I started editing a manuscript that I wrote about nine years ago called, “IMMORTAL ECLIPSE.” I did some freelance developmental editing to pay the rent. Then I was laid off again and after a few months, my unemployment ended. I was scared. No job. No money in my checking account and my savings account had been closed by my bank. Zero funds.

Time to freak out. I was a single mother with two young children to support. But no way to support them. Then I discovered that my seven-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a severe and very rare disease. The medical bills began to mount up. I needed money.

In my heart, I still didn’t want to give up on my dream. It was all I had left to encourage me…

Once I gave up the idea of a book deal with a New York publishing house and finding an über agent that loved my work, I decided to look into indie publishers. Then I read about Amanda Hocking’s success story on her blog. I was impressed and awed. She had taken a chance, so I decided to self-publish one of my early novels. Why not? I talked it over with my family—who agreed. I had nothing to lose. And since I was out of a job, I had time to promote my work.

Then some of my family members announced that they wanted to start an online publishing company. And guess what? I was the first to sign with them. Sure, they’re small but everyone has to start somewhere. So, they didn’t mind when I wanted to hire my own cover artist. (Do not be naïve—book covers sell books. Well, that and good writing.)

Going Indie is a scary endeavor. On occasion things don’t work out. Books don’t sell. The genre dead ends. Bad timing. Worse luck.

But indie authors can find a small amount of success due to the book blogging community, which is so incredibly supportive. And I sincerely thank the book reviewers who have embraced and heartily praised my novels.
Although, I may never reach the success of other self-published or indie authors, I won’t look back at my life someday with regret. At least I’ll know I tried, and that’s something, right? You only fail if you never try…

“If you’re waiting for the universe to provide for you, I’ve got a feeling you’re going to wait a long time. If you know what you want, then my advice is to confidently take the necessary steps and go get it.” – Bryan Hutchinson
 So, now I need to get back to editing and writing new stories. No reason to let these manuscripts sit on my hard-drive. Maybe someone will enjoy reading them. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll keep dreaming and hoping, and someday those hopes and dreams will come true. Maybe not.

But what good are dreams if you don’t try? What good is trying to follow your heart if it can’t be turned into reality?

Never let someone else put limits on your goals or hinder your own personal dreams. I know, I won’t....

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Post for Aspiring Writers! Fiction Writing Tools




Trying to get a literary agent?
Decided to self-publish your novel?
Want to take your writing to the next level?
Well, these inexpensive books can help!
Each of these helpful self-editing books cover many topics such as, dialogue, exposition, point of view, internal-monologue, deep POV, setting, and other techniques that will help you take your writing to the next level!


*Craft Vivid Scenes and Characters*


Most writers struggle with constructing lifelike scenes and realistic character descriptions. This handbook offers tips on how to create vibrant settings and vivid characters that will deeply submerge the reader into the story. This handbook also provides vital techniques on world-building and character depictions, with bonus examples on how to combine the five senses and use Deep POV in all of your scenes, which will take your writing skills to the next level.

*Writer’s Guide to Emotion: Deep POV*


NEW EDITION - AUGUST 2014
Most writers struggle with writing a captivating story. The fastest way to improve your writing is by using and developing the “Deep Point-of-View” technique, which can transform any novel from mediocre storytelling into riveting prose. This handbook is great for self-published authors, fanfiction writers, and even traditionally published novelists yearning to take their writing skills to the next level.
This manual will explain how you can greatly enhance your characterization, and it includes tips and tools on how to emerge your readers so deeply into any scene that they will experience the story along with your characters. Also, learn how to avoid “telling” by applying “showing” methods through powerful examples that will deepen the reader’s experience through vivid, sensory details.



*Create Vivid Dialogue*
This manual is specifically for fiction writers who want to learn how to create riveting and compelling dialogue that propels the storyline and reveals character personality. You’ll also learn how to weave emotion, description, and action into your dialogue scenes. With a special section on how to avoid the common pitfalls of writing dialogue. All of these helpful writing tools will make your dialogue sparkle! 

*Craft a Gripping First Chapter*
This manual offers basic techniques for creating stronger beginnings and a page-turning “hook” for your fiction novel. It includes guidelines and tools for correcting common first chapter problems and it is filled with helpful examples from published novels. It provides comprehensive tips on revision and practical guidance on self-editing, which every writer needs to revise like an experienced pro.

*Book Blurbs and Query Letters*
Writing a query letter that keeps your fiction manuscript out of the slush pile isn’t easy, unless you have the tools to create a query letter that rocks! This in-depth manual includes examples of query letters for almost every fiction genre and practical advice on how to craft a strong hook that will have an editor or agent asking for more. Plus, this book covers how to write an enticing book blurb (back jacket copy) that both self-published authors and writers querying agents can use to hook their reader. 



*Fiction Writing Tools: Basic Plot Guide*
This manual is specifically for fiction writers who want to learn how to create dramatic and comprehensible plots that have veered off course. Learn how to blend character ARC with story ARC, and heighten each scene by building suspense and how to include character goals, create tension, and increase suspense in every chapter. If you want to take your writing to the next level, then this book can help guide you in the right direction.




*Fiction Writing Tools: Back Jacket Copy*

This manual contains valuable tips and tools on how to write an enticing book blurb (back jacket copy) that both self-published authors can use to lure readers into finding out more about their books, and it will help unpublished writers querying agents to hook their reader. A book description (found on the back of a novel or as a marketing tool online) is one of the most important selling tools an author can have for their self-published book. Or if you’re a writer sending out query letters to literary agents, then you definitely need a strong enough “hook” to get their attention, and this guide should hopefully inspire you.
 
Buy Your Copy Today!
*Get Books Reviews the WRITE Way*

This comprehensive guide to marketing a book is perfect for self-published writers publishing their first novel or experienced authors trying to gain a wider readership. It includes valuable tips on networking and how to get more book reviews. And the manual explains how successful authors use social media to connect with potential readers, book reviewers, and how to sell more books. It also contains wonderful advice on how to best promote your work from established authors and recommendations by popular book bloggers on how to get your work reviewed. Whether you’re a multi-published author looking to expand your audience, or a brand new author, this book will give you the tools to market your book(s) like a pro! 
 
*ON SALE NOW AT ALL MAJOR ONLINE RETAILERS*