Self-publishing v. traditional – which path? This video might help you decide… (#amwriting #getpublished)

Terrific Indie Author Day Follow Up at BCPL this past Saturday! Was fantastic seeing writers who attended the first national Indie Author Day back in October and great meeting new people who came. Below is the video from my “Path to Publication” presentation. Great discussion on the pros and cons of traditional v. indie publishing. Let me know if anyone has any follow-up questions in the comments! Good luck and best wishes with your writing!

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Indie Author Day Follow Up: March 25th at Hereford Library – Come see me!

My wonderful local library participated in the first (ever) Indie Author Day back in October of last year. (The 2nd Indie Author Day will be on October 14, 2017 — indie authors, mark your calendars! Contact your local libraries! Get involved!! 😀 ) In the meantime, my library didn’t want to wait a whole year to round up indie authors from the mid-Atlantic area for another sit-down, so we’re hosting an Indie Author Day Follow Up on March 25th. Details below!


What’s Indie Author Day?

On October 8, 2016, nearly 300 libraries across North America invited thousands of local writers in their communities to join them for a day of celebration and inspiration devoted to indie authors. During the inaugural Indie Author Day, libraries big and small hosted events where local authors connected, networked, shared experiences and offered advice to one another, while also featuring locally written books to library patrons in their communities. http://indieauthorday.com/


Hereford Library’s

Indie Author Day Follow Up

March 25, 2017

10:00 a.m. Meet and Greet: Grab a coffee, buy a book, and get it signed.

10:15 a.m. Path to Publication: An overview of traditional publishing versus self-publishing. Discussion of the pros and cons of each.

11:00 a.m. Author Platform: Building your social media foundation.

11:30 a.m. Readings/Book Sales/Q&A: Space for readings and sales are limited. Pre-registration required.

1:00 p.m. Break

2:00 p.m. Self-Publishing Nuts & Bolts: Hiring editors, formatters, and cover designers. Writing back cover copy. Obtaining blurbs and ISBNs.

3:00 p.m. More on Marketing: How to get reviews and author quotes. Perfect your elevator pitch and social media strategy.


More Details

I’m doing the “Path to Publication” part of the program. This event is mostly for writers, but would appeal to any reader who wants a behind-the-scenes look at writing as a business. And the readings are for everyone, of course!

If I do it correctly, my presentation will be dry, professorial, and purely informational (kidding — hopefully there will be a lively Q&A). I’m not doing a reading (they aren’t my bailiwick and I wanted others to have more time), but I will be giving away a few books.

girls-weekend-by-cara-sue-achterbergThe “Author Platform” session will be led by Cara Sue Achterberg, who is a blogger and novelist from South Central, Pennsylvania. She’s the author of I’m Not HerGirls’ Weekend, and Live Intentionally, a nonfiction book based on ten years of trying to shop, cook, eat, and live intentionally with kids haranguing her. She teaches creative writing and is working on a memoir about fostering her first fifty dogs. (She currently fosters dogs and puppies for the all-breed rescue, Operation Paws for Homes.)

The “Nuts & Bolts” and “Marketing” sessions are panels featuring authors with a wide range of experience, including:

Nechama Frier, co-editor of Vertoscope, A Villainous Collection by Many Devious Minds, which is “an original comics anthology that specializes in beasts, villains, shadows, and anything else you might find by taking the wrong way home.”

Rachel Rawlings, author of the Maurin Kincaide series and founder of HallowRead.

viking-by-katie-ritterKatie Ritter, author of Viking, The Green Land.

Demi Stevens, writing coach, founder of York Book Expo, and CEO of Year of the Book Press.

mosaics-by-p-k-tylerP.K. Tyler, co-curator of Mosaics, A Collection of Independent Women, an anthology whose profits were donated to the The Pixel Project.

We’d love to see you for the whole day, but you can also come to whichever part of the program interests you the most.

Hereford Library, 16940 York Road, Hereford, Maryland


Are you an author who wants more information on the upcoming October 2017 national Indie Author Day? Click here

Are you a librarian who wants to get involved in the 2nd national Indie Author Day? Click here.

In the meantime, if you live in my area…

Hope to see you at our local Indie Author Day Follow Up next month on March 25th in Hereford!

POCKET FULL OF TINDER: Blog Tour Kick Off and Other News

What I Learned from Self-Pubbing B4

I kicked off Pocket Full of Tinder‘s blog tour yesterday with a post at fellow author Marsha Moore’s place: 8 Things I Learned from Self-Publishing my 4th Novel.

There are also two nice spotlights at Books N Pearls and Sapphyria’s Book Reviews where you can enter to win my tour-wide giveaway (details below).

Still Available on NetGalley

Pocket Full of Tinder is still available to reviewers through NetGalley. Click here to request a copy! While you’re there, check out the other great books being offered by fellow SFWA members.

Please Review!

If you received an early copy of Pocket Full of Tinder, please review it. Amazon doesn’t allow reviews to be posted before the release date, but Goodreads does. Next week, I’m hoping everyone who received an ARC will post reviews as widely as possible – on Goodreads, Amazon, iTunes, Nook, your blogs, and wherever else you hang out online.

The number of reviews a book gets has a direct impact on its success. If you want to read more Noon Onyx books, help support the series by writing a review.

A big shout out and thank you to Matt at Bibliomania Book Reviews for his early review:

May be the best book in the Noon Onyx series to date… The genre-bending nature of Jill Archer’s novels is inventive and refreshing, and world-building is one of her greatest strengths… Those who are new to the series should read all of the previous books first to get the full impact of this one, but [there is] enough backstory that it is possible for a new reader to jump in.

And to Lissette Manning, a.k.a. LizzieBeth at Simplistik, for her wonderful review. Loved her description of Noon:

A headstrong heroine who… is decisive and is often led by her emotions, yet she will never back down from a fight. She will do everything possible to set all wrongs to right, even if it means she’ll die trying…. This is a series that sinks deep into your heart.

Thank you too to those of you who have left reviews at Goodreads! I tread carefully there because I think it’s a sacrosanct reader space. So I don’t comment here on reviews there. However – they are VERY MUCH APPRECIATED!!!!

Still Available for Pre-Order!

Even if you received an advance copy, please consider pre-ordering. Pocket Full of Tinder‘s price is half the price of previous books. (It’s less than lots of the crap stuff they sell at Five Below!)

Amazon | iTunes | Kobo

In Other News…

  1. I’m going to be doing a release day blitz with Xpresso Book Tours. Originally, I’d wanted to do another release day party at Bitten by Books (I really enjoyed the last one), but Rachel’s not currently scheduling them. Giselle at Xpresso was able to book a little blitz for me on short notice. She’s also based in Canada and I thought it might be nice to reach out to more Canadian readers. My release day giveaway is a $25 eGC and signed books. That giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada! 🙂

  2. I received an email the other day from BookBub. For one brief crazy half-second, I got excited. BookBub?! I mean, everyone talks about BookBub as if your launch will fail if you’re not using it. (Disclaimer for any new followers, my Twitter bio used to say, “Queen of Hyperbole”). But then I remembered I’m not doing a BookBub ad. (Pocket Full of Tinder isn’t even a good candidate because it’s not heavily discounted and it’s not a first-in-series). Then I read the email:

    Your new release alert will be sent to your BookBub followers. You currently have 4 in the US.

    Seriously, WordPress, where is your laughing/crying emoji? Clearly, I have not been encouraging my followers to sign up for new release alerts over at BookBub – and I’m still not! If you are a new follower/fan/friend who is interested in receiving new release alerts, please sign up for my newsletter. That said, I appreciate BookBub’s handling that for me and I would definitely like to do business with them in the future. 😉


  3. Penny took her first flying lesson!
    😀
    pennys-take-offpenny-in-the-air


More about my BBT Giveaway

The winner will receive their choice of either:

#1 – an Etsy “Book Lover” prize pack, which includes a book hoarder dragon poster, a dozen book page flowers, six book wine charms, and a pair of book earrings. (U.S. Only for Option #1. If these items are no longer available on Etsy, winner will receive Option #2); or

#2 – $50 worth of fantasy books from Book Depository and a $25 Etsy gift certificate.

For my complete giveaway rules, click here.

Thank you, everyone, for following this blog and supporting the Noon Onyx series! You are all amazing and awesome!

Indie Author Day

Back from my last summer vaca — visited family in Tennessee last week. This week, I’m continuing to put plans in place for POCKET FULL OF TINDER’s release. I added the book to my Goodreads page. Add it to your shelves by clicking here. Cover reveal and series spotlight will be on September 15th. (Want to host me? Sign up here.) There will be a Twitter contest, excerpt, giveaways, and, of course, much sharing (I hope!) of Rebecca Frank‘s wonderful final cover. (Newsletter subscribers saw preliminary sketches back in June.) More details soon…

For today, I figured I’d share some info on Indie Author Day. For those of you who haven’t yet heard of it, it’s happening this October. This year is the FIRST ONE and YOU can be a part of it!

What’s Indie Author Day?

During the Inaugural Indie Author Day on October 8, 2016, libraries from all across North America will host their own local author events with the support of the Indie Author Day team. In addition to these local programs, each library’s indie community will come together for an hour-long digital gathering at 2 pm Eastern featuring Q&A with writers, agents and other industry leaders. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity for libraries and authors to connect on both local and global levels!

http://indieauthorday.com/

Which libraries are hosting local programs on Indie Author Day? Click here.

Are you a writer who wants to get involved? Click here.

Are you a Maryland writer who wants to get involved? Click here and contact me.

July Update: POCKET FULL OF TINDER #SelfPub

I promised to give a more detailed update of my self-publishing journey in July. Since it’s the last day of July, my day of reckoning has come.

Where am I in the process?

It’s summer so I’m going to use a roller coaster analogy. You know that part of the coaster ride when the chain lift pulls your car to the top of that first, uber-tall lift hill? Well, I’m almost at the top of that.

Shutterstock, roller coaster, Image ID:197772362, Copyright: MyImages - Micha

What the heck is a “lift hill”?

In publishing, it’s EVERYTHING THAT GOES INTO GETTING YOUR BOOK READY FOR LAUNCH, which includes:

  • The book:
    • Outline/Research/Buy 12 month supply of coffee, wine, M&Ms… whatever you need to power through
    • Write it! (if this is where you are, DON’T QUIT!!! It’s like getting off the roller coaster before it peaks on the lift hill. Don’t you want to ride the ride?! 😀 )
    • Edit/Revise: I hired Betsy Mitchell to help me and her comments and notes have been terrific. She’s worked with some amazing writers and I was really excited when she said she was interested in working with me. In many respects, it’s been a lot like working with my former editor, Jessica Wade (who I still miss!!). Betsy gave me a four page editorial letter and a marked-up manuscript. As I’ve done with each of my past manuscripts, I started with the localized, easy fixes and am working my way toward solving the bigger, more systemic problems. Revisions are less daunting that way.
    • Proof/Format
    • Design the cover
    • Create the book “extras”: praise page, copyright page, author’s note, discussion questions, acknowledgements, bio, back cover copy, etc.
    • ISBN
  • Distribution plan:
    • Decide what formats you want to offer (I want to offer both digital and print versions, although I might offer the print version a bit later… not really sure yet)
    • Decide where you want to offer your book (I still need to decide whether I want to enroll in KDP Select or go for wider distribution. Have thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments!)
    • Price. I haven’t set this yet but the digital version of Noon #4 will be lower than previous digital versions of books in the series (current Amazon prices for those, which are NOT set by me, are $7.99 for B2 and B3 and $8.99 for B1 – !!) If you have thoughts on price — what you’re willing to pay, what you think readers are willing to pay — let me know in the comments. The price for the print version of Pocket Full of Tinder, on the other hand, will likely be higher than the mass market versions for the first three books. But it’s still nice to have the option to offer print books.
  • Marketing plan:
    • Cover reveal: would be nice to do this when I have my pre-order links ready, but I’ll have to see if this makes sense once I’m at that point (hopefully, soon!)
    • ARCs / advance reviews: this one, I’m still thinking about. LOTS to consider – timing, logistics, etc…
    • Blog tour
    • Release day event
    • Other events: I mentioned already that I’m going to attend HallowRead. Due to my work schedule and the still-uncertain release date, I might just be hanging out in the audience, soaking up all the awesome genre goodness with everyone else. Will keep you posted though — and will let you know of any other places I might be this fall. It’s always fun to meet readers and other writers!!
    • Advertising: I’ll probably buy one/some, but gotta keep it reasonable. While I think ads can be effective in terms of letting readers know what might be available, I’m already worried about blowing my budget. I mentioned before that continuing the Noon series on my own might be a fool’s errand (not because the character, world, and stories aren’t compelling, but for business reasons). I’m determined, however, to release Pocket Full of Tinder and make it the best that I can!!

Newsletter winner

ROB L. won my June newsletter giveaway. Rob, I’ll be in touch! Everyone else, THANK YOU for subscribing! Sign up here.

Thoughts on my newsletter sign-up pop-up? Are any of you blog subscribers annoyed by it? I hope not! If I designed it right, it should only pop up the first time you visit and then you shouldn’t see it again. But let me know if it’s not working the way I think it is. Obviously, newsletter subscribers are really important to me, but I care about my blog subscribers and casual drop-in visitors too!

Hope everyone’s having a nice summer — full of reading, writing, roller coasters, and other favorite things!

fantasy romance, Jeffe Kennedy, Twelve Kingdowns, The Crown of the Queen

Jeffe Kennedy: “Grateful I couldn’t selfpub easily” (#amrevising #writerslife)

The speed at which one can self-publish is often mentioned as one of its biggest advantages. A writer can get a book to market via self-pub MUCH faster than via traditional publication. But fast isn’t always best. If the mantra of real estate is location, location, location then the mantra of writers should be revision, revision, revision. Both rising star and hard-working author (those two adjectives are hardly a coincidence; they go hand in hand), Jeffe Kennedy, is here to share her thoughts on drafting versus revision and why all of us should take the time to get it right. Welcome, Jeffe!


One of the best parts of being a writer, I often say, is getting to have in-depth conversations with writers I admire. At the RT Booklovers Convention in Las Vegas, I had lunch with amazing SFF author Kate Elliott. Not only is she a brilliant author of some of my favorite fantasy series, she’s been in the business for over twenty years and generously shares her accumulated wisdom.

At any rate, during lunch, as we talked about our current projects, she asked me if I love or hate revising. This is one of those litmus test questions writers often ask each other, because most of us fall into one of two camps on it. I always say I hate it. For me, revising has always given me the sense of fixing the things I got wrong the first time I wrote it. In contrast, one of my good writer friends calls revision “God’s work.” Which I find amusing because, biblically speaking, God didn’t do much revising at all. Unless you count Lilith as the first draft of woman and Eve as the revision.

Kate falls into the revision camp. She hates drafting and feels she really shines when revising. What she hates are the ups and downs of drafting, the going from exaltation to utter despondency. As we discussed the ins and outs of both phases of writing, it occurred to me that maybe I’ve changed.

Because I really don’t hate revision as much as I used to. Largely because that feeling of fixing mistakes has diminished considerably.

I wouldn’t go so far as saying that it feels like God’s work, but revising gives me the opportunity to make the story better. Learning to relish the revision process has also taken the pressure off of drafting for me. I don’t have to get everything right on the first draft, because I can retool it later.

Finally, I think I’ve changed my feelings on this for two more reasons: I’ve grown as a writer and I’ve grown as a human being.

Seriously, I think I’m a better writer than I used to be (which is a huge relief), and because of that, I’m stretching more. I’m taking on bigger story challenges, which means that revising gives me sometimes much-needed opportunities to dig in.

Also, and this was the big revelation: I think I’ve matured into this place. A lot of that “revision is just fixing mistakes” feeling comes from me being a perfectionist and from me being impatient – two of my greatest flaws. I’ve never liked having to labor over a task. I want it to be perfect, yes, but I also want it to be perfect right out of the gate. Because I’m rational enough to know that nothing is ever perfect, I’ve managed to disengage a lot of that particular expectation, but it’s always seemed that the price I pay is still wanting it to be wonderful the moment I finish.

But not so much anymore. I still want the book to be as wonderful as it can be, but I have much more patience these days for working and reworking until it is. I don’t feel the same pressure of vanishing time that I used to.

Maybe that comes from being older, or from being farther along in my career. Regardless, it’s a better place to be.

I often reflect on how grateful I am that self-publishing was not so easy, acceptable and readily available when I was shopping my first novel. I revised that sucker numerous times because I felt forced to. If I wanted to sell that book to a publisher, I had to find ways to make it better. If I’d been able to publish it myself, I would not have put myself through that pain. And it is a much better book. Though not as good as I’d make it now, if I could go back and revise. I cringe a little when someone says they’re reading that first novel, but nothing like I would if they read that first version I hugged and cuddled like a precious baby – and lacked the perspective to recognize just how bad it was.

Perspective that also now allows me to value the revision process in a way I never could before.

So, though I’ll still answer the question that I love drafting more, I also don’t hate revision the way I used to. Which is kind of a cool place to be.

What about you all – Team Drafting or Team Revision?


This was such a great post and so timely for me! Here are a few of my thoughts:

  1. I’m Team Drafting: While I definitely understand the value of revision (I think its presence/absence can make or break a book), I much prefer drafting. The story feels immediate and real. Yes, the “exultation to utter despondency” can be emotionally draining, but I prefer riding the roller coaster to reviewing its engineering plans. Revision, for me, always requires bird’s- eye view to microscopic… big picture to itty, bitty and back again… It’s enough to give me a migraine.
  2. I probably feel that way because I’m currently revising Pocket Full of Tinder. 😀
  3. I’ve talked before about the pressure writers feel to produce more work faster so I’m not going to belabor that point again, but I think it’s related to Jeffe’s post. I absolutely agree with her — revision is ESSENTIAL. Don’t rush to publish. And yet I understand why some writers would want to. You hear a lot about FOMO these days (“fear of missing out”). Whenever I read those articles or posts, my gut reaction is to scoff. “Yeah, right,” I think. “Like I’d ever feel like I’m missing out. I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing.” … … … But I realized the other day that I *do* experience FOMO. Maybe not with respect to social events or life experiences or keeping up with every little bit of online info but with respect to PUBLISHING. So, yeah, ye writers in the starting gate who are kicking at the door — I get you.
  4. I envy writers like Jeffe who seem to grow more and more confident with each book. For me, I feel like each one is as tough as the last, just in different ways.
  5. But you know what they say: if it was easy, everyone would do it. ANYONE can click a “publish” button these days. But not everyone can write a quality novel. Don’t be the person that just clicks a button. Take the hard road. You’ll be in great company! 🙂

fantasy romance, Jeffe Kennedy, Twelve Kingdowns, The Crown of the Queen

The Crown of the Queen

A Twelve Kingdoms Novella

Dafne Mailloux, librarian and temporary babysitter to the heirs to the High Throne of the Twelve – now Thirteen – Kingdoms, finds it difficult to leave the paradise of Annfwn behind. Particularly that trove of rare books in temptingly unfamiliar languages. But duty calls, and hers is to the crown. It’s not like her heart belongs elsewhere. But how can she crown a queen who hesitates to take the throne?

This novella will be part of a duology called For Crown and Kingdom, which will also contain a novella by Grace Draven called The Undying King

For Crown and Kingdom (The Crown of the Queen) will release on May 31, 2016 and will be available in digital format and print.

Buy links will be added to the bookpage once available: http://www.jeffekennedy.com/for-crown-and-kingdom/

More on Jeffe

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review was nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose was nominated for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2014 and the third book, The Talon of the Hawk, won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2015. Two more books will follow in this world, beginning with The Pages of the Mind May 2016. A fifth series, the erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, started with Going Under, and was followed by Under His Touch and Under Contract.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, on Goodreads and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.

* Jeffe also gets the award for Most Links In A Bio. 😀 😀 😀

Writers, what about you? Which is your favorite — drafting or revision? Do you regret mistakes in earlier works? Wish you could go back and change them? Thank you, Jeffe, for guest blogging today. Best wishes for The Crown of the Queen!

Java Junkie, coffee lover, Christmas tree ornament

What story element do you struggle with most? (+ 5 Writer Resources)

In the U.S., tax season is well underway. My returns are thankfully filed, but the process of gathering receipts, etc. for the woman who helps me prepare them always reminds me of various things I spent money on throughout the year. The list below is NOT a list of things writers can deduct. (Ask your accountant about that). It’s just a thoroughly incomplete list of various resources you might find helpful.

In no particular order, here are some things I thought worth my $$$ in 2015 (keep in mind I didn’t publish anything last year; I’ve already lamented about that here so moving on, but it explains, in part, why this list is so thin):

  1. Book cover design: Way, WAY back in the beginning of 2015 I had Amber Shah at Book Beautiful design a cover for me for “Dream, Interrupted.” Although I didn’t use the cover, I loved it and would absolutely work with Amber again. She was fast, did great work, and was really nice to work with. I’m currently working with another cover designer for Pocket Full of Tinder, but that’s because I wanted an illustrated cover for it. (More info on that designer later). In any case, it never hurts to have 2-3 awesome service providers you can go to in case one has a scheduling conflict. There are a lot of great cover designers out there!

  2. Goodreads Ads: I stopped running Goodreads ads because it didn’t make sense for me to continue until I had another book to promote. But I plan to create an ad later this year for Pocket Full of Tinder. I like that authors can link to a brief excerpt or a giveaway. (All this said, I’m sure I’ll explore additional ad options for B4).

  3. Bewitching Book Tours: I’m obviously a fan of Roxanne Rhoads! Although she helps authors who write in all sorts of genres, she specializes in paranormal blog tours. If you’re a new PNR author, check her out here.

  4. Functional Nerds: Singer/Songwriter John Anealio and Author/Blogger Patrick Hester host SF/F focused podcasts every week on books, music, and technology. They are funny and down to earth — plus their guests are great. I’m woefully behind but (somewhat) recent episodes I loved were: Episode 245 with Fran Wilde, author of UPDRAFT, and Episode 237 with Naomi Novik, author of UPROOTED. Like what you hear? Back them on Patreon here.

  5. Various and sundry non-fiction guides2015 Guide to Self-PublishingMailChimp for BeginnersCreateSpace and Kindle Self-Publishing Master Class

Obviously, a meager list. But YOU can help me flesh it out in the comments below! 🙂

I’m HOPING my next post will be a joint mother-daughter post. My older daughter took some great pics in Cape May a few weeks back and I’m going to experiment with having her write part of a future post.

Pocket Full of Tinder Update: I haven’t written the last chapter yet. I moved to internal revisions to really understand the totality of the novel – what the heck I’m trying to say – before writing that final bit. One of the BIGGEST things I struggle with in every novel is the mystery element. I love mysteries but for some reason, those subplots don’t come naturally to me. It’s almost always the #1 I have to beef up during revisions.

Have you filed your tax returns?

Any resources or recommendations you want to share?

Writers, what story elements do you struggle with the most? 

Readers, what are you reading?

Are you a fan of the beach during the off-season?

Java Junkie, coffee lover, Christmas tree ornament
What does this picture have to do with taxes, resources, recommendations, or challenging subplots? NOTHING! But who doesn’t love a Java Junkie? This is one of my favorite Christmas tree ornaments. (Yes, I know it’s April. But it was snowing only a few days ago so why not continue the seasonal anachronisms?)

#Writing #Workshops for October (#indiepub #selfpub and cross-genre #fantasy)

Below are the online workshops being offered in October by RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter. If you are a writing instructor and are interested in teaching a workshop, please contact me for available dates, rates, and proposal submission guidelines. (I just signed up for the self-pub one. Come join me! 🙂 Not in the mood for a workshop? There’s a cat pic below. Enjoy! 😀 )

Self-Publishing Part 2: Self-Publishing Your Manuscript

10/01/2015 – 10/22/2015

This workshop is Part 2 of a two-part, five-week self-publishing workshop designed to teach students about the business of self-publishing books digitally and in print. (Part 1 is not required to take Part 2.)

Self-publishing provides an amazing opportunity for authors to take control of their own publishing career. It’s also a lot of hard work. Authors must build successful, long-running businesses and supervise their own production and distribution process.

Part 2 covers:

  • Finding and working with freelance editors, formatters and cover artists
  • Distributing directly to retailers vs using aggregators or publishing services
  • Self-publishing audio books and foreign translations
  • Where and how to sell your book
  • Building a basic timeline and budget
  • Best practices for building your self-published book
  • Understanding metadata and how and where it’s used
  • Is self-publishing really for you?

Workshop Goals include:

  • For students to gain a clearer understanding of how to self-publish
  • For students to take ownership of their publishing career path
  • For students to gain perspective on the financial and artistic reasons to choose self-publishing
  • For students to gain knowledge and tools to help them embark on self-publishing their work
  • For students to discover trustworthy resources for further research

About the Presenter, Kelli Finger

Kelli Finger is published under her pseudonym Abbey MacInnis and publishes books under her sole-proprietorship publishing company. Kelli recently added a certification in grant writing to her writing experience. A classically-trained vocalist with a Masters of Social Work, Kelli is a strong advocate for people with disabilities and has worked for over six years as a Braille proofreader. Having faced the challenges of developing her own self-publishing career, she’s eager to help others save time and understand their many options.

Cost: FFP Members:$20.00/Non-Members: $25.00

Register for This Workshop

Defying Gravity: Writing Cross-Genre and Succeeding Anyway

10/18/2015 – 10/31/2015

Genre definitions have a profound influence on writers’ careers. From the first queries where we must specify the book’s genre to long-term decisions about pursuing or giving up on a “dead” genre, dealing with what feels like a false construct is a necessary skill. However, following our hearts and inspiration often means tossing aside these considerations.

Or chopping them to pieces in a murderous rage.

But shedding conventions can be what sets a book apart. That’s what takes a writer’s career from midlist to break-out. So… how do you know? More—how do we find the courage to embrace a bold move?

In Wicked, the heroine Elphaba is faced with that crucial decision, of whether to choose the safe path or to risk flying on her own. This workshop will explore genre definitions and how Jeffe Kennedy went from being a “Crack Ho” – being told that her work fell in the cracks between genres – to receiving a nomination for Book of the Year and an RT Seal of Excellence for the one title each month that stands out from all the rest by an innovative twist on a familiar story or pushing genre boundaries. Participants will discuss their experiences with genre—both coloring inside the lines and stepping across them—and will leave inspired to take risks and follow their hearts.

Everyone deserves a chance to fly!

About the Presenter, Jeffe Kennedy

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic  contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review and has been nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose, has been nominated forbest fantasy romance of the year. Two more books will follow in this world, beginning with The Pages of the Mind in Summer 2016. A fifth series, the erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, started with Going Under, followed byUnder His Touch and Under Contract.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, on Goodreads and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.

Cost: FFP Members:$10.00/Non-Members: $15.00

Register for This Workshop

Nutmeg Back to School
WHO SAID CATS ARE TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL?

#Writing #Workshops for September (and a goat picture)

Interrupting this irregularly scheduled interruption: I almost made it! 😀

As many of you know, I took a break from blogging this summer. My goal was to take the month of August off, at least. It’s been weird but good. I definitely feel out of touch at times, but it’s also been nice to double down on Noon #4 (I shared a fun snippet on FB over the weekend. Check it out if you missed it!) But I wanted to do a quick post today to let everyone know about FF&P’s upcoming September workshops.

Are any of you planning on either pitching a book or self-publishing soon? If so, check out the classes below. Kerri Nelson’s Pitchworthy class starts tomorrow. Now’s your chance to practice those pitches! Good luck and best wishes, all!!

(Oh, and the goat pic is at the bottom this time. Why a goat? Uh…. Truth is, I have a bizarre habit of posting animal pics when I post these workshop reminders… Enjoy!!)

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Below are the online workshops being offered in September by RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter. If you are a writing instructor and are interested in teaching a workshop, please contact me for available dates, rates, and proposal submission guidelines.

Are You Pitchworthy?

All You Need to Know to Score Big with your Book’s Pitch

09/01/2015 – 09/28/2015

Want to practice your pitch for an upcoming pitch session to an agent or editor?  Need help refining your pitch to include in a query letter?  Well, practice makes perfect!

Sign on for this handy pitch practice workshop, taught by multi-published romantic suspense author, Kerri Nelson.

During class you’ll get to practice your pitch (up to 4 drafts with suggested revisions); view examples of the good versus the bad; and polish your skills on developing the elusive perfect sales hook for your book.

Over the past five years, Kerri has pitched more than thirty different books in every imaginable genre (from erotica to young adult) to multiple agents and editors with a tremendous success rate for follow-up requests for both partial and full manuscripts.  She has sold twenty-two novels and novellas in the last three years after perfecting her pitch process.

In this intensive interactive course, Kerri offers up the secrets to nailing your pitch, how to score a home run with editors, and how not to stop short of getting the results you want!

Finally get the contract you’ve been waiting for!

Students from prior classes have sold multi-book deals to publishers, been offered representation by agents, and many other successes after perfecting their pitch with Kerri.

About the Presenter, Kerri Nelson

Kerri Nelson survived a fifteen year career in the legal field and then took her passion for crime solving to the page. But her journey to become a mystery author took a decade long detour into the world of romance where she penned twenty-two novels and novellas in various sub-genres.

Born and raised a true southern belle, Kerri holds many useful secrets: how to bake a killer peach cobbler; how to charm suspects with proper batting of the eyelashes; and how to turn your parasol into a handy weapon.

Kerri is an active member of both Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers and as a mentor to other authors, Kerri has successfully developed her popular Book Factory Method and assisted dozens of authors achieve publication via pitches crafted in her Pitchworthy class.

She also edits professionally through her freelance editorial service, Deep Cover Edits and as a staff editor for two small presses.  Her latest writing adventure is the new #1 Bestselling Cozy Mystery series “The Working Stiff Mysteries” now available wherever books are sold.

Cost: FFP Members:$20.00/Non-Members: $25.00

Register for This Workshop

Self-Publishing Part 1: Creating Your Self-Publishing Business

09/16/2015 – 09/30/2015

This workshop is Part 1 of a two-part, five-week self-publishing workshop designed to teach students about the business of self-publishing books digitally and in print.

Self-publishing provides an amazing opportunity for authors to take control of their own publishing career. It’s also a lot of hard work. Authors must build successful, long-running businesses and supervise their own production and distribution process.

Part 1 covers:

  • Basics of self-employment models: sole proprietor, LLC, corporation
  • Protecting your privacy if you write under a pseudonym
  • Registering your copyright
  • Obtaining ISBNs and when they’re necessary
  • Creating a preliminary budget

Workshop Goals include:

  • For students to gain a clearer understanding of how to self-publish
  • For students to take ownership of their publishing career path
  • For students to gain perspective on the financial and artistic reasons to choose self-publishing
  • For students to gain knowledge and tools to help them embark on self-publishing their work
  • For students to discover trustworthy resources for further research

About the Presenter, Kelli Finger

Kelli Finger is published under her pseudonym Abbey MacInnis and publishes books under her sole-proprietorship publishing company. Kelli recently added a certification in grant writing to her writing experience. A classically trained vocalist with a Masters of Social Work, Kelli is a strong advocate for people with disabilities and has worked for over six years as a Braille proofreader. Having faced the challenges of developing her own self-publishing career, she’s eager to help others save time and understand their many options.

Cost: FFP Members:$20.00/Non-Members: $25.00

Register for This Workshop

What would Sam-I-Am say?
What would Sam-I-Am say? My younger daughter and I spied these Green Goats chomping away on all sorts of pesky greenery on the hill beside our local Wal-Mart. Ingenious, environmentally friendly way to mow steep slopes, huh? Turns out goats will even eat poison ivy. (Why couldn’t Ladew Gardens have hired these beasties back in July? :-))

What other animals have pimped FF&P’s classes?

Hope everyone’s doing well!

Five Photographs: Beth Caudill (Dogwoods, Spaniels, Chainmaille, and Backlist)

This spring, I’m hosting a guest blog series called “Five Photographs.” I asked a bunch of writers to submit five pictures and complete a brief interview. Today’s guest is Beth Caudill. In her interview, she talks about the importance of backlist and I share two interesting self-pub links. If you like King Charles Spaniels, dogwood trees, and/or chainmaille jewelry, you’ll love her pictures. Welcome, Beth!

Something that represents where you live

Caudill Pink Dogwood

The first house I lived in in West Virginia had several white dogwood trees. I always thought they were beautiful and a home isn’t a home without one in the yard. Fortunately for me, I moved to a state that named the dogwood blossom as its state flower. In springtime, you’ll find dogwoods blooming everywhere.  It took awhile, but I finally have my own tree in the yard, although it’s a pink variation instead of the bright white.

Something that represents something unique about you

Space Art

Growing up, I loved everything space. All I wanted was to be an astronaut.  While that didn’t work out, my love of space hasn’t gone away. I decorate my walls with space art of all colors. My favorite is this print titled Ladies of the Lake by Kim Poor.  It’s based off the Pleiades star cluster.

Your Pet or Plant or Thing You Care For

Caudill King Charles Spaniel

This is Megan and she’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She acts as my shadow until my husband comes home from work, then the little traitor follows him around.  But don’t let those brown eyes fool you; she gets plenty of cuddles and treats.

Something that really frustrates you

Caudill Star Gazer Lilies

I love Stargazer Lilies but I can’t have cut blooms in the house.  The dark yellow pollen on the stamen gets everywhere and it stains. At least I can have them in the garden.

Something that brings you joy (besides writing)

Caudill Flower Bracelet

A few years ago, I learned how to make chainmaille jewelry.  This flower chain bracelet is one I wear all the time.  I particularly love the feel of silver rings but also work with copper and stainless steel.  If you want to see my work, check out my website at Starlight Falls Designs.

Interview

What’s the elevator pitch for your latest published novel?

Cursed at his birth by a dark elf, Rowe Calder avoids personal entanglements, especially his betrothal to Caliressa Bellehaven. Circumstances force them together and love won’t be denied. But the dark elf claims his vengeance and only the strongest enchantress can reclaim Rowe’s soul.  – Enchantress’ Destiny, Paranormals of Arilase – Novella 2

What are you working on next?

I’ve been waffling on this. ‘The Plan’ says I should be working on the Prequel to my Tales of Ellemarlene series but I haven’t been able to decide on the main character for that story.  I’m also having trouble determining the motivation for the female character in the 3rd Paranormals of Arilase novella.  So I’m revising a contemporary novella that didn’t go anywhere because it lacked conflict.  I’m turning it into a contemporary fantasy series.

What are you currently reading?

Right now I’m judging a few books for the PRISM contest sponsored by the FF&P chapter of RWA. I can’t name those stories but I did read Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey and Dropping Gloves by Catherine Gayle this week.

What are you currently watching (TV shows)?

I caught up on my Arrow episodes and watched the finale of Face Off.

Favorite fantasy creature, villain, or weapon not from your own work?

I love Elektra’s bladed sai.  I like to watch the scene in Daredevil where Jennifer Garner practices with sandbags before she goes after the man she thinks killed her dad.

Biggest challenge facing writers today?

Producing content quickly to keep your fans interested and finding new fans.  I first sold some short stories a few years ago and had decent sales.  Then I had a few slow years, completed stories didn’t quite work and then I started homeschooling my kids. My writing derailed and while I’ve released two novellas in the past year, I feel like my career has gone backwards.

[Jill: how can you say it’s gone backwards? You released two novellas! 🙂 Writing/publishing is a very tough business. I recently read two articles that seemed to realistically capture the challenges writers face while still being encouraging:

Rachelle Ayala’s What I Learned After Four Years of Self-Publishing (Thanks to Jami Gray for the link)

Forbes’ Amazon Pays $450,000 A Year To This Self-Published Writer (Thanks to Shamus W. for the link. The headline is clickbait, but the article itself seems fairly even-handed in its approach. I especially liked the one commenter who pointed out that self-pub doesn’t have to be an all or none experience.)]

How can we meet that challenge?

While I’m still struggling, the best thing is to develop a daily schedule and keep writing. A writer’s best asset is their backlist.

[Jill: “develop a daily schedule and keep writing” Agreed! 😀

I think both backlist and frontlist are equally important. Our best marketing tool is our next book!]

More about Beth

Beth grew up in West Virginia but now resides in North Carolina with her husband and two children. She has a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and previously worked as a quality assurance computer software tester. Reading has been her favorite activity for as long as she can remember and her home has more books than shelves to store them. While being a fulltime parent, she is pursuing a writing career. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter and her local chapter Heart of Carolina Romance Writers.

Thank you, Beth, for sharing your pictures and thoughts with us!

Graphic Designer and UF Author, Cory Dale: 5 Tell-Tale Signs of an Amateur Book Cover

My next guest blogger is Cory Dale (Karen Duvall’s alter ego; Karen’s been a guest here before). Her December ’14 release, DEMON FARE, is an urban fantasy set in an alternate NYC featuring demon exorcist Wanda Snow. She’s here with a behind-the-scenes look at how book covers are made and a chance to win two print copies (US only) or 3 e-book copies of her latest release. Welcome Cory/Karen!

Demon Fare Cover

“What readers are looking for is an indication of what kind of book they’ll be getting”

Though I wish I could write books full time, alas, like most writers, I have another job as well. I’ve been a professional graphic designer for over thirty years and that’s what I do when I’m not writing. Part of my job is designing book covers for self-published authors.

People really do judge books by their covers. A huge part of the decision making process for buying a book is based on what the cover looks like. It expresses the genre, tone, atmosphere and whether or not the book is part of a series. To readers, the degree of professionalism on the outside is a direct reflection of what they’ll find on the inside.

Think of the book cover as the outside of a package. When you go to the store to buy a product, you’re looking at the packaging to help you decide which one to choose. The visual aspects of that package will invite you to pick it up off the shelf and take a closer look. When you have it your hands, you’ll read the information on the package to see if it’s what you want. A book is exactly the same. The product behind the cover is your story. The cover is a selling tool; it’s the face of a novel and a reader’s first impression of that book.

“The most emotional part of the publishing process is the book cover.” — Senior VP and Creative Director Marysarah Quinn of Crown Publishing

“Our job is to intrigue the consumer and set the tone, set the stage, create an atmosphere.” — Robin Schiff, Executive Art Director for Random Publishing Group

The creative people at Random House read the manuscripts before doing any conceptual work on the cover. The art directors believe this step is crucial to their jobs. All the cues for the cover are taken from the text. On a cover design, they don’t call out a story character in full and prefer to leave it up to the reader’s imagination. They feel it’s important that if you’re going to show a character, only use part of one. That’s why you see so many headless bodies and miscellaneous body parts on books, either that or they’re viewed from the back. Many freelance cover designers don’t go to the extent of reading an entire manuscript, but they will require at least a synopsis of the book to get a sense of the story.

Genre tropes immediately tell readers what kind of book they’re buying. The image and tone should tie in with the book. A hard boiled detective novel showing a bouquet of flowers would confuse potential readers, but it would make more sense if those flowers had blood on them, or a knife was used as a stem, or the muzzle of a gun became a vase. Romance novels are expected to show a couple on the cover unless it’s written by a brand-name romance author. In that case, readers already know what they’re getting, but debut authors may suffer if their genre isn’t easily recognizable.

Mystery, suspense, horror and thriller novels are expected to have dark and edgy covers, often with weapons, crime scenes, inanimate objects. A mainstream novel may appear soft, quiet, editorial or quirky. Science Fiction covers often portray high-tech images or spaceships, and fantasy story art will usually look surreal.

Simplicity works. A successful book cover uses the right image with the right photo enhancements, right color choices and effective typography to attract readers. What readers are looking for is an indication of what kind of book they’ll be getting, what genre it is, and expect a sense of the story’s tone. If the cover art is too literal and conveys too many story details, it will ultimately fail.

Simple, strong, and a high concept will yield an engaging design to attract readers. Drama and emotion are key to a dynamic cover design. Color is always an important consideration and the title and author name should pop from the background. Warm colors against cool colors, or cool against warm, are good contrasts to make type elements stand out.

A few tell-tale signs of amateur book covers include:

  • bad font choices
  • confused and cluttered graphics
  • colors that don’t work
  • meaningless or overused stock photography
  • too much copy

Thank you, Cory/Karen, for guest blogging today!

More About Demon Fare

In an alternate history New York City—one hundred and fifty years after an earthquake from hell nearly destroyed the planet—the twenty-first century clings to an industrial age. Steam engines rule, and demon-powered technology is the up and coming thing. Henry Paine, a half-demon taxi driver, is the go-to guy for just the right demon to possess your machine and automate any mechanical gizmo with or without an engine. The creatures are tame as pets. Or at least they have been… until now.

Wanda Snow is an exorcist who grudgingly admits to having a few drops of demon blood herself. She’s come to New York to rid the city of demonic vermin as well as any other demons that get in her way. Wanda and Henry are naturally at odds, but the two are forced to become partners in a mutual goal to round up the rogue demons biting the Big Apple and take down the sinister tyrant who started it all.

Available at Amazon

More About Cory

Karen Duvall, who wrote Demon Fare as Cory Dale, lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and four incredibly spoiled pets. Karen is represented by Elizabeth Winick Rubenstein of the McIntosh & Otis Literary Agency. Her Knight’s Curse series was published by Harlequin Luna in 2011 and 2012, and her post apocalyptic novella, Sun Storm, appeared in Luna’s ‘Til The World Ends anthology in 2013.

Karen is also a professional graphic designer who designs book covers and book interiors for self-published authors, and creates original 3D graphics for computer gaming. Demon Fare is the first book in her Spawnstertown Chronicles.

The Giveaway

Cory is giving away 2 print copies (US only) and 3 e-book copies of DEMON FARE. To enter to win, click here for the Rafflecopter form. For my official giveaway rules, click here.

Demon Fare Banner

#Writing #Workshops for September

Below are the online workshops being offered in September by RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter. If you are a writing instructor and are interested in teaching a workshop in 2015, please contact me for available dates, rates, and proposal submission guidelines.

Novel Perspectives

09/01/2014 to 10/01/2014

Examine your storytelling process from start to finish.  Whether you are a total “newbie” or an author of 30 novels, you can find tricks and processes that will challenge and freshen your productivity.  No one wants to be a forgettable copycat.  A change of approach to every aspect of your fiction writing may just be the spark you need at this moment in time.  Take the journey will multi-published Sally Walker in ten steps to creating a novel.

About the Presenter, Sally J. Walker

Born to poor farm folk in the little rural community of Exira, Iowa, Sally attended many schools in western Iowa and the Omaha, Nebraska, area.  She eventually graduated from Papillion (NE) High School then nursing school at the University of Albuquerque and, eventually received a BFA in Creative Writing back at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  That degree was accomplished while working full-time as a Critical Care/ER nurse and raising a very active family of three daughters with her engineer husband.  Adeptly juggling family, nursing, civic and Episcopal church responsibilities, Sally founded in 1985 and has conducted the weekly meetings of the eclectic Nebraska Writers Workshop www.nebraskawritersworkshop.info  to feed her own hunger for in-depth knowledge and skills. The Workshop has grown from a few tentative to over 50 confidently publishing and produced writers. Her own goal-oriented writing ethic has resulted in a vitae packed with novels, short stories, poetry, magazine articles, stage plays, screenplays and a variety of writing seminars.  In 2000 she was hired as part-time Editorial Director at The Fiction Works www.fictionworks.com and Script Superviser for the affiliated Misty Mountain Productions www.mistymtnproductions.com . After retiring from her nursing career of over 30 years, she was elected President of the prestigious Nebraska Writers Guild www.nebraskawriters.org, serving 2007-2011.

Cost: FFP Members:$30.00/Non-Members: $35.00

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

So you want to self-publish…

09/07/2014 to 09/21/2014

Book publishing is an ever-changing proposition. As a professional formatter and author, I’m always looking to make my books and the books I format look their best, while taking as little time as possible to do so (otherwise there just wouldn’t be enough hours in the day to get everything done). To that end, I use a combination of techniques to format—a mix of old and new, if you will (the old being all of six months old!).

In this class you’re going to learn how to format a book and publish it.

What many new authors (or authors new to self-publishing) don’t realize is the number of steps and details involved in this process. Each day of the course we’re going to explore one piece of the puzzle. Beginning with exactly what goes into a book and how to prep it for publication, moving through cleaning your document and coding it into HTML (for maximum control and the creation of a well-designed book), to converting it into an epub and mobi file for e-publishing, how to create a Word document for Smashwords publication, and a PDF for print on demand through CreateSpace. From there we’ll talk about actually publishing your book to the various retailers, ISBNS, copyrighting your work and I’ll even touch briefly on marketing. By the end of the course you will have worksheets and checklists to guide you through the process today and every time you have a book ready.

Are you ready to publish? Then you need to take this class to find out exactly how to tackle this project with ease.

About the Presenter, Meredith Bond

Meredith Bond is an award-winning author of a series of traditionally published Regency romances and indie-published paranormal romances. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart”, Meredith’s paranormal romances include Magic In The Storm, Storm on the Horizon, and the short story “In A Beginning”. Her traditional Regencies include The Merry Men Quartet of which An Exotic Heir and A Dandy In Disguise have recently been republished. Meredith also teaches writing at her local community college. If you want a taste of her class in book form, Chapter One is available at your favorite e-retailer.

Want to know more? Come visit Meredith at her website, http://www.meredithbond.com or chat with her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/meredithbondauthor) or Twitter (@merrybond). If you’d like to be one of the first to know of Meredith’s new releases, join her no-spamming email list here http://meredithbond.com/blog/newsletter-sign-up/.​

Cost: FFP Members:$20.00/Non-Members: $25.00

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Enchanted England during the Dark Ages

09/08/2014 to 09/21/2014

Fantasy writers, this workshop is for you. MM Pollard will bring enchanted England to you through her lively lectures on four topics: Forest Magic, Plant Magic, Wells of Wisdom, and Spirit Nights.

MM uses information on Celtics and Anglo-Saxons as the basis for this workshop because these people believed magic could be found everywhere. They looked no farther than the forest, plants, and wells and found magic in all three. Nights were especially filled with magical beings and magical occurrences.

At the end of the workshop, MM hopes students will feel the same sense of the magical world around them that the Celts and Anglo-Saxons experienced more than a millennium ago. With the knowledge her students will gain in this workshop, they will be able to add touches of the magical to their fantasy characters and worlds.

About the Presenter, MM Pollard

MM Pollard puts her teaching skills as English teacher extraordinaire and her experience as editor with Black Velvet Seductions to good use in presenting workshops for writers. She has helped many writers improve their language and writing skills through her fun workshops sponsored by Savvy Authors, Writers Online Classes, many RWA chapters, and in her own virtual classroom. MM is sure she can help you, too, master the fundamentals of English.

Cost: FFP Members:$20.00/Non-Members: $25.00

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Book Series: How Many Books Is Enough?

To B4 or Not To B4, that is my question…

Yesterday Lynda from Books Direct posted her interview of me.  We talked about what my family thinks of my writing, my upcoming short story “Dream, Interrupted” (featuring new heroine Corelei Neverest; she was tons of fun to write), and how darn difficult it was to write the ending to White Heart of Justice.

Why was it so hard?

Well, because White Heart of Justice may be the last Noon Onyx book. As I mention in the interview, I felt an enormous amount of pressure to make sure the ending was emotionally satisfying for those who have followed the series so far – which was challenging considering where I’d left things at the end of Fiery Edge of Steel and the fact that, originally, I’d roughly plotted a total of seven books in the series. (Go ahead, you can say it, what sane writer plots that far ahead of her own career?!)

So, after a mild (dare I admit, significant) panic attack, I got down to business and wrote the ending to WHOJ. That ending changed countless times. I’m not sure what readers will think of it. Early feedback has been wonderful but no one (including me) has really addressed whether this is THE END.

The only thing I know for certain is that I’ll likely self-publish any future books in the series. And self-publishing a book the way I’d want to (with quality editing and a fantastic cover artist/designer) wouldn’t be cheap.

The final decision is mine. Creatively, I have to want to do it. And financially I’ll have to decide whether or not I’m comfortable with the risk and investment of moving forward with a Noon Onyx B4 instead of some other equally awesome but different project.

So I’m curious…

READERS: After you finish White Heart of Justice, let me know whether you’d be interested in reading another Noon novel. I feel the ending is satisfactory enough for us all to walk away happy… and yet… as I said during yesterday’s interview, it’s hard to say goodbye. Halja is a fascinating world and Noon is an interesting, strong character to write about.

WRITERS: Have any of you continued a traditionally published series on your own? How’d that work out for you?

Ok, enough already with the serious talk!!!

Today, I’m over at Magic and Mayhem with a really fun guest blog:

Top 5 Cool Things

You Can Do with a Sword

and

Why Heroes & Heroines Can’t Do Without Them

You gotta come check it out. I actually mention WHOJ only once (to point out its inclusion on the Goodreads “It’s All About The Swords!” list). If you love swords, the post is a MUST READ. 😀

In addition to my Super Serious questions above, I also want to know:

What’s your favorite book cover with a sword on it? Have any examples of cool things you can do with a sword?

Lemme know your answers over at Magic and Mayhem!

Thanks for following, everyone! I’m loving all the tweets!!!

#NewAdult: 15 Authors Who Prove That NA Characters Are Like Fully Charged Batteries

Anyone who follows my blog knows I love to host themed guest blog series. It’s great to hear what everyone else is working on, as well as share writing tips, path to publication stories, thoughts on genre misconceptions, reader expectations, and even engage in a bit of prognosticating. Since January, I’ve hosted 15 authors who write New Adult books. For anyone who missed any of the wonderful posts, here’s a final list including links and topics. I’m very grateful to each and every one of them for participating!

  1. Summer Lane (Post-Apocalyptic NA Romantic Adventure)
  2. Jaycee Delorenzo (Effect of Self-Publishing on the Emerging New Adult Genre)
  3. Juliana Haygert (Staying True to Your Character and Your Voice)
  4. Carrie Butler (Addressing Misconceptions in NA)
  5. Karen Duvall (Are the New Adult Years More Formative Than Adolescence?)
  6. Bethany Lopez (Self-Publishing Tips from the SoCal Writers Conference)
  7. Shona Husk (The Character’s Journey in NA Novels)
  8. Allison Rushby (Breaking Into E-Serials)
  9. Katie Teller (Researching Ancient Egypt)
  10. Juliette Springs (“Darker Side of Romance“)
  11. Molly Zenk (Path to Publication for 90 Cats and No Litter Box in Sight)
  12. Lynn Rush (CMP’s Flagship NA Author)
  13. Piper Shelly (Secondary Characters)
  14. Theresa McClinton (YA PNR/Ancient Maya)
  15. J.M. Bray (How Writing is Like Racing)

New Adult is About Potential

To me, the one word that sums up New Adult fiction — both in terms of its characters and the future of all writers who write these types of stories — is potential. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more and more about books featuring characters ages 18-25 as this category of fiction matures. And, in time, its identity will solidify and readers will no longer question what it is or what it might become. It will have achieved those things. But, for now, I think one of the neatest things about New Adult fiction is that both the concept and the characters have enormous potential. Potential is different from ambition. Different than experience. Potential is like having a fully charged battery. Anything seems possible. As it grows up, I hope this newly emerging category of fiction will give readers an opportunity not just to be entertained, but also to be moved and to think. I hope it will give us characters who feel intensely and do extreme things. Characters who make mistakes, but who learn and grow. It’s hard to imagine a more fertile ground in which a writer could play. During the post-adolescent years, we face some of the most significant, life-defining choices we will ever make: where we will work, who we will marry, whether we will have children, where we will live, and how we will live. We will decide who we are, what we stand for, and what we believe in. Some of those decisions are reversible; some are not. But all are life-altering. And huge growth arcs make for great storytelling.

Dark Light of Day is New Adult

Fiery Edge of Steel… isn’t

(but it still has great potential 😀 )

Last month, NA Alley listed Dark Light of Day under their speculative NA recommended reads list. I was thrilled to hear it because I think it belongs there. Noon Onyx, the main character, is a 21 year-old post grad magic user who faces not just demons but also a crushing course schedule, overbearing professors, her first real romantic relationship, and a self-identity crises. The voice is also fairly youthful too. If you like a YA voice, the style that Dark Light of Day is written in will probably appeal to you. That said, Fiery Edge of Steel, the next book in the series, is not New Adult fiction. The question that Noon faces in the second book is not one that is typically faced by twenty-somethings. And, probably of lesser importance but still worth mentioning, the second book isn’t set on a university campus. So what can readers expect from Fiery Edge of Steel? Fantasy, of course! Expect demons, magic, and a few surprises. Expect some romantic elements (Ari Carmine is Noon’s field partner), a bit of mystery (what’s really going on in The Shallows, the remote outpost that Noon and Ari are sent to?), and a few scenes set in New Babylon and St. Luck’s (I wouldn’t want readers to miss those places too much!)

Thanks, everyone, for following along during the New Adult guest blog series. Very soon, I’ll be posting details about my next series: SPRING INTO SUMMER ROMANCE!

Jill Archer's Dark Light of DayJill Archer's Fiery Edge of Steel

5 Self-Publishing Tips from SoCal Writer’s Conference from Bethany Lopez

Bethany Lopez is a wife, mother, airman, and author. She writes YA, New Adult, and has her first Fantasy coming out in April. She just released the final installment of her NA “Friends & Lovers” trilogy, Trust in Me. Bethany recently attended the Southern California Writer’s Conference and shares some of the self-publishing tips that were discussed there. Even if you are traditionally published, Bethany’s list is a great reminder of some of the most important steps in producing, marketing, and promoting a novel.

Top 5 Self-Publishing Tips by Bethany Lopez

I went to the Southern California Writer’s Conference this past weekend, and there were a lot of new workshops that discussed the current trend of Self-Publishing. It is a really exciting time to Self-Publish. As a Self-Published Author, I attended many of these and agreed with everything the workshop leaders were saying. I decided on five take-aways to share with you here:
1. Hire a Professional Editor – One of the biggest mistakes that writers make when they decide to Self-Publish is to do so before they’re ready. Let’s face it, most of us don’t have any money to put into this new endeavor, but it’s an important step that cannot be bypassed. The best thing I can say is do your research. Not all editors charge a ton of money. Ask other authors, search online, and find someone who will be a good fit for you, as well as your budget.
2. Use a Professional Cover Designer – Readers will often buy, or bypass, a book based on its cover. That is the readers’ first impression of your work. Again, do your research. Look at your favorite covers, and covers in your genre, and see who designed them.
3. Build Your Platform – Your presence online, and your interaction with others, will help you reach readers. Start a website and blog; get a Twitter account, and Facebook Author Page. Check out Tumblr, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, see which social media sites work best for you.
4. Network – It is important to build a good relationship with readers, bloggers, and other authors. Look and see who other people are following, and follow them. Engage in conversations, and help bloggers and other authors. Participate. Never disparage another author, and never respond to a bad review. We are here to help and support each other. Make sure you do your part.
5. Be Prepared to Market Your Book – Writing your book is the easy part. Once it is finished, edited, and released, the real work begins. I would suggest using Blog Tour hosts for your cover reveal and for the release of your blog. This is a great way to get reviews of your book and create a buzz about it. Join groups on Facebook, and maybe a Tribe or two on Triberr, be active on Twitter and the other social media sites. Promote other Authors. Don’t just promote your book. No one wants to help someone who is always worried about themselves and never helps others.
The bottom line is that Self-Publishing is a lot of work and isn’t something to jump into without a lot of thought and research. But if you love writing and believe in your work, it is very gratifying.

More about Bethany:

Bethany Lopez
Bethany Lopez

Bethany Lopez was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in Michigan and San Antonio, Texas. She went to High School at Dearborn High, in Dearborn, Michigan, which is where she has set her Young Adult series. She is married and has a blended family with five children. She is currently serving in the United States Air Force as a Recruiter in Los Angeles, California. She has always loved to read and write and has seen her dream realized by independently publishing her novels through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Where to find Bethany online:

More about Trust in Me

Roni’s dreams of becoming a contemporary dancer were smashed under the brutal rage of her ex-husband’s fists. Getting divorced and starting over at the age of twenty-two was never her plan, but maybe in Texas, she’ll find her path. When the town’s local player, Rich, opens a Rec Center, she sees a way to rekindle her dancing dreams…and maybe have a little fun with her sexy new boss.
Rich never expected to fulfill his dreams in the town he planned to leave behind, but that’s just what he’s doing. His reputation as a noncommittal ladies’ man might make it challenging to earn respect in the business world, but he’s willing to prove that he’s serious. In fact, when it comes to pursuing Roni, he’s more than willing. But she’s taking a page out of his book, not wanting to risk another relationship. Can he convince her that his playboy days are done and that she can trust him with her heart?

Trust in Me, the third and final installment in the Friends & Lovers Trilogy, is available now! The cover was designed by BDesign.

Where to buy:

Writers, have you been to any good conferences lately? Have any other tips to share? I especially like tips 4 & 5. They are terrific reminders that, no matter which publishing route you decide to take, it’s a nicer experience when we support and celebrate our fellow authors’ journeys as well as our own. 

Readers, speaking of professionally designed covers, what do you think of the one BDesign did for Trust in Me? I think it’s both cute and sexy. Check out the rest of Allie B’s book covers (and the other two covers for the first two books in Beth’s Friends & Lovers trilogy, Make It Last and I Choose You). They’re great too! Bethany, thank you so much for sharing your conference tips with us!