Thursday, April 24, 2014

Words With Andrew Joyce

Today I am talking with author Andrew Joyce as he tells us about the world of writing.  To learn more about him or his work, check out his website.
Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer

What have you been working on?
REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.
What ever happened to those little boys, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer? They grew up that’s what. In the spring of 1860, General Beauregard fired on Fort Sumter and the now twenty-four year old boys can’t wait to sign up to fight the Yankees.
In the first battle of the war, Tom is wounded and Huck brings him back to Missouri. Along the way they run into trouble and Huck ends up saving the life of a sixteen-year old Yankee soldier who deserts and travels to Missouri with the boys.
Once in Missouri the Yankee, whose name is Jed, leaves for California. A month later Huck and Tom set out for San Francisco where Tom hopes to catch a ship headed for China. Huck goes along to keep Tom company and plans on returning to Missouri when Tom sails.
Jed never makes it to California, Tom sets sail but never reaches China and Huck never sees Missouri again. Twelve years later, they come together in the town of Redemption Colorado to fight a greedy rancher and his army of hired guns.
They are not boys anymore. They are now men doing what men have to do. Huck is a famous lawman, Tom a widower and Jed is the infamous Laramie Kid, a notorious gunfighter.
REDEMPTION is an incredible sequel to HUCKLEBERRY FINN, intertwined stories that take place between 1860 and 1873. They are stories of growth and learning, stories of change as told through the reminiscences of a sixty-year old Huck Finn. They are also adventure stories that dovetail together for the climax.
Andrew Joyce
Are you self-published?  

Kind of. I wrote the book, but my literary agency laid out the money for formatting, cover cost ... etc ... and placed it with the various retailers, but I am the publisher of record.

Do you have any favorite resources you go to for help, inspiration or know-how?

What has been the most difficult aspect of writting?

What has been the best part about being an author?
Not having to leave the house every morning to go to work. Or in my case, not having to leave the boat. (I live on a boat.)

What advice can you share with us?
As Billy Shakespeare said, "To thy own self be true."

Monday, April 21, 2014

Secrets of the Unaltered by Leti Del Mar

For today's Indie Book Buzz, I am thrilled to announce that my very own Secrets of the Unaltered is now available!  Check it out, enter the giveaway and if you want to pick up either of the books in the Confederation Chronicles, do it now.  They are both available for $0.99 for a limited time!

The fate of the entire Confederation rests on their shoulders. 

Only they have what it takes to uncover the secrets that have imprisoned their land, but can they survive a truth more disturbing than they ever imagined?

Rose and Flynn have left the Land of the Unaltered on a mission to discover the truth behind who created the genetically engineered super army and stop it before the Rebellion is doomed. Time is ticking, but soon capital life begins to pull them in different directions. Flynn struggles to fit in with the self-indulgent and fashion obsessed populous while the expectations of Rose’s influential family tests their fragile and newly formed relationship. Will they let the capital pull them apart? 

Everyone is counting on them, but in this time of discord, can they count on each other?

Secrets of the Unaltered is a Young Adult Dystopian Romance and is the second installment of 
The Confederation Chronicles.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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The Writing Process Blog Tour

To help celebrate the launch of Secrets of the Unaltered, I am participating in a Blog Tour Tag.  Amy Metz from A Blue Million Books has asked me these  4 questions.  I hope it lends some insight into my process. 
 The Writing Process Blog Tour photo ce947983-616e-4c37-8157-ae66e195616e_zps64f8e7e4.jpg
1) What am I working on?
After finishing the launch of Secrets of the Unaltered, I am working on outlining two projects at once. The final installment of the Confederation Chronicles, Rise of the Unaltered and the long awaited sequel to my romantic suspense The Inadvertent Thief. It will be called The InexperiencedThief. I am also at the very beginning stages of planning a new YA Sci-Fi trilogy about a summer camp in Hawaii for teens with superpowers.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? 
I like to take other genres like mystery/Suspense and YA Dystopian and add a heavy helping of romance.
3) Why do I write what I do?  
I love a good love story but get bored when it is just romance. So I like to add it to other genres that I love to read. I have really enjoyed writing Young Adult because in addition to reading lots of YA, I teach teenagers and I think it gives me insight into the inner workings of the teenage mind.

4) How does my writing process work?  
I am so organized, I'm nearly obsessive compulsive about it. I jot down some ideas in a journal, then organize it all onto a detailed outline with lots of charts. I write the first draft as quickly as I can before moving on to a step-by-step revision process. I send it along to some beta readers and after I get their feedback, I edit, then format. If you are really curious, check out the How To Self-Publish tab of this website!

Want to hear from a few of my favorite authors? Find out what these talented writers have to say next week on Monday, April 28th!

Carmen Stefanescu was born in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble - the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.

Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books.
Learn more about Carmen at Shadows Past Mystery

 Mark Lingane was first published at the ripe old age of eight, when a local newspaper published his review of Disney on Ice. The next time his name was in print was a life time later at the age of fifteen, when a national magazine ran his review of the Commodore 64. It was downhill from there, picking up a weekly column in the Sunday Times which funded a rather noncommittal path through university, studying a wide range of topics from Robotics, Anthropology, Philosophy, Computer Science, Psychology. In fact so many subjects were studied he was eligible for graduation at the end of his second year, based purely on attendance.
In 1994, one bored Thursday evening, he sat down and started his first novel.
Further writing followed with regular columns for various technology magazines and newspapers around the country. Then as the reality of permanent food and shelter began to bare its teeth, an attempt at the corporate world beckoned as a technical writer, which provided the opportunity to travel and live in some desolate and exotic locations where the locals don't like you much.
In 2011, he decided that these shells of books that had been lying around for the last twenty years needed to be finished or burnt. Since no matches were at hand, he finished them and has been releasing them at a consistent rate since.
Learn more about Mark at Mark My Words.

Victoria Sawyer melds fact, fiction and humor to create honest stories about life and living with mental illness.  Her first novel, Angst, is a fiction retelling of her struggles with panic attacks, anxiety and depression during a wild freshman year of college.
Learn more about Victoria at Angst Anxiety Panic

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Words With Perri Iezzoni

Today I am talking with author Perri Iezzoni as she tells us about the world of writing.  To learn more about her or her work check out on Amazon.
Fear of Intimacy and the Tango Cure

What have you been working on?
Fear of Intimacy and the Tango Cure

Are you self-published?  
Yes. I felt it necessary that my work should be made available because I wanted to share what I learned about tango, about homeopathy and about my fear of intimacy and how I overcame it.

Do you have any favorite resources you go to for help, inspiration or know-how?
I dance tango regularly and blog about my experiences afterward. Blogging is like psychoanalysis, especially if I put in the effort to construct a well-written essay. Almost always I find that my initial presumptions about everything are wrong. When I read and reread my work, I end up taking my original assumption and reversing it. It is from this process that I gain the most insight into myself, women and people in general.

What has been the most difficult aspect of writting?
Editing, proofreading and finding the time to do both effectively. Finding the right balance is something I've experimented with extensively. There is a critical period of time between the moment of inspiration and the actual process of putting words to the page that must be handled deftly. If an idea gets 'cold' then the editing process needs to be longer. When I am fresh from an new experience, I need to begin writing as soon as possible and restrain myself from spending too much time analyzing what I've done.

What has been the best part about being an author?
I discovered a great deal of satisfaction when I realized that my work was complete. It is as if God had commanded me to tell the citizens to repent and I couldn't rest until I got the word out. Having done it, I experienced a tremendous sense of relief.

What advice can you share with us?
Write to reveal your passions. As a writer, this is your purpose in Life. Your inspiration is part of a natural process to allow others to release their own passions by reading your words.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Top Ten Bits of Advice for Indie Authors

I’ve been reading and researching Self-Publishing for over two years now.  Although that doesn’t make me the most knowledgeable person on the planet, I do feel like I’ve come across some gems of wisdom on how to put together and launch successful Indie book.  So here is a top ten list of helpful hints.
1. Choose very specific genre tags.  There are tens of thousands of Romances out there.  There are only a few hundred paranormal/time-travel/suspense/mystery/romance novels.  The more specific the tag, the greater your chance of climbing the Bestseller lists, which increases your visibility and sales. 

2. Do a cover reveal at least 6 weeks prior to your release. This builds interest in your book before you publish it. 

3. List your book with Goodreads when you do a cover reveal so that readers can put your book on their “To Read” list prior to its release.
4. Study books in your books genre to make sure your cover reflects that genre.

5. Make sure your blurb is exciting and enticing. Ask others to proof it and give you feedback.

6.  At the end of your book, make sure the first thing your readers see is a review request and information on how they can connect with you via social media.
7. Set up a mailing list and provide incentive for readers to join.

8. Be flexible with pricing.  Drop your price for sales and promotions or perhaps for the first book in the series.

9.  Get and use Beta Readers to put out the best book you can.
10.  Writing is more important than marketing.  Yes, you need to devote some time and effort to selling your book, but you need to constantly be writing the next book.  The more books you’ve written, the more opportunities readers have of discovering your work.

So there are my Top Ten Tips for Indie Authors.  
Do you have any tips to share? 
Please let us know!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Words With Ellen Mansoor Collier

Today I am talking with author Ellen Mansoor Collier as she tells us about the world of writing and reveals the cover to her newest book.  To learn more about her or her work check her Website, or find her on Goodreads.

What have you been working on?
I just finished 
the last novel in my trilogy of 1920s Jazz Age mysteries set in Galveston, Texas. In each novel, I cover a different vice rampant in Galveston during Prohibition: alcohol, prostitution and now gambling. I've heated up the romance, added some twists and turns and some new characters so I hope readers will enjoy it. Whether or not I continue the series depends on several factors.
Are you self-published?  
Yes. I wasted too much time querying agents during the worst economy, who ended up telling me: “The 1920s don’t sell” and “New Adult isn’t a category.” Now that I see all these Roaring Twenties and NA books on the market, I think we proved they were wrong—or at least short-sightedI have a magazine journalism background, and worked as a magazine editor/writer and also in marketing/public relations, so I thought I’d try it out. I like being in control and making my own decisions re: cover, fonts, price, marketing, etc.

Do you have any favorite resources you go to for help, inspiration or know-how?
Your book was great and the Writer's Digest magazine/blogs are also helpful. Mainly I've learning by jumping in and doing it myself--the hard way.
What has been the most difficult aspect of writting?
I only sit down and write when I'm inspired and have ideas, but making time to write and avoiding distractions is difficult. I live in a big city and it often takes all day just to get a few errands done--plus the noise level can be disruptive. Finding a good editor and beta readers you trust and who get your work can also be challenging.

What has been the best part about being an author?
I've made some nice writer friends and gotten lots of positive feedback from readers. The worst part is reading bad reviews or getting low ratings, especially when you suspect that person is a troll who never read your book.
Ellen Mansoor Collier
What advice can you share with us?
Though I've been pleased with Createspeace, I've gotten very negative reactions from Barnes & Noble and indie bookstores who somehow think Amazon is driving them out of business. They don't seem to realize that Createspace is mainly a printer, not a publisher. I'd recommend using Lightning Source/Ingram Spark if you're serious about getting into bookstores.
Be sure to give your books away for free to influential people who can spread the word and bloggers who are willing to review your book.
Set deadlines for yourself or you may never get your book finished.
Also I never force myself to write because if I do, it often comes out as drivel. Let your ideas percolate while you do other things.
For writers, it’s important to stay active---move around and take breaks.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Why Series Work

As I am about to release my very first sequel, I'd like to take a moment to talk about why I've written a sequel in the first place.  Why not just write lots of stand alone novels?

When I started to write Land of the Unaltered, I had every intention of writing it as a trilogy.  The move was quite intentional and in response to the overwhelming advice out there for new and emerging writers.  Evey bit of advice I came across told me to write a series. And here is why:
1. People love a sequel.  Take a look at the top box office earning movies last year.  The majority are sequels or part of some kind of series.  Why? When people connect with and invest in characters, they want to see them again.  The Avengers is a classic example.  This is a movie chalked full of characters people already love.  Iron Man has had three films on his own, Captian America and Thor each have two films on their own.  Even Agent Colson has a spin off TV show.  Again, people like to see their favorite characters again and again. 

2. People want loose ends tied up.  If you really have a plan, end a book on a cliffhanger, or at least with some major unanswered questions.  If a book ends that way, and the author has done their job well, readers will want to get their hands on the next installment.  I adore the I Am Number Four series and sure enough, each and every book ends with a crazy cliffhanger that leaves me chomping at the bit for the next book.  I even pre-order them! So yes, a series is a great way to bring your readers in for the long haul.

3. They offer some real writing perks. As an author, you have already invested time and energy creating a world fill with characters.  That time is an investment if you can continue to build that world in the next book instead of starting fresh.  Think about the Songs of Fire and Ice series.  It has, literally, hundreds of characters, many of which have lasting legacies.

4. They help build readership that will pay off in the long run.  Long after you have completed the series, readers will discover the first book, and then delight when they find out there are two or three or ten more books in the series to read!  I know I did when I discovered the fantastic Agency Series by Y.S. Lee.  I read the first, then immediately bought the rest of the books.  Also with a series, if you've self-published, you can sell the first book for a reduced price or even give it away to encourage readers to give it a shot.
So yes, I had a plan in mind when I sat down to write The Confederation Chronicles.  Who knows, I might write a stand alone a some point, but right know I am having way too much fun planning these series.  
So where do you weigh in?  
Let us know!

Monday, March 31, 2014

My Worst Rookie Mistakes

Two and a half years into my Indie Journey, I'm taking stock on what I've done so far. Not to pat myself on the back, but to take an honest look at what I've done wrong.  Who knows, maybe my prior mistakes could help you on your Indie Journey.  
So here is a list of my Top 5 Rookie Mistakes.
1. Launching a book, then developing an Author's platform.  I wrote a book, published it, then thought about marketing it.  I now recognize this as a classic rookie mistake.  If I could, I would have spent some time while writing my first book to establish relationships and make connections.  I'm sure it would have given me a much stronger launch and a clearer idea as to a marketing plan.  The proof is in the pudding.  Each book I release has a stronger launch with better sales than the previous.

2. Not having a Beta Reader for my first book.  I absolutely adore my beta readers.  They have made my last three books shine, pointed out obvious errors and asked me all the right questions. 98% of the time, I whole-heartedly agree with what they have to say and I have written better books because of them.  I only wish I had had more than one beta read my first book, The Inadvertent Thief.  The feedback I have goten in some reviews has told me I could have mede some simple changes for a better book.
3. Not using royalty free images for my first cover.  I did my first cover with a free image from Flikr that the photographer let me use.  I loved the image, but alas, it did not look as professional as it could have.  With just a few dollars spent (and I'm talking under $10), I could have gotten a professional, royalty free image.  I have since changed the image and with some basic Photoshop work to insert the title and byline, I am much happier with the results.  What do you think?

The Inadvertent Thief
  4. Not using an online editor. Everyone says you need an editor.  I refuse to spend hundreds of dollars on one. Unfortunately, I discovered a little too late my serious issues with Homonyms.  I know call them my Nemesis!  The good news is that I love to use Grammarly. It does some fabulous grammar checking that is far and above anything Word can do is is pretty affordable, considering how often I use it.  
5. Wasting time on non-essential marketing.  There are so many gimmicks and tricks out there and people who want to sell you their "fool-proof" book marketing strategy.  I wasted time (not money) on a few of those myself.  Now I spend my time in this order:
 1-Writing/working on my next book, 
 3-Reading and reviewing books in genres similar to mine and 
4-Establishing and maintaining connections with people in the industry.  

That is it.  That is all I am willing to spend my time on.  I have no time or patience for the little gimmicks and tricks that waste time I should be spending on writing my next book.

I sincerely hope my mistakes make your experience just a little easier.  Have you made some mistakes you wish you hadn't?  Please share!  We promise not to judge.