Tag Archives: writing

3 New Year’s Resolutions I intend to keep

1 Jan

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In 2015, I will be more careful with my time. I want to work in a way that is more effective, creative and efficient.

1. Outsource more

This year I will increasingly outsource the work I don’t want to do and look for new opportunities in self publishing. I will consider outsourcing anything that takes me away from the actual business of writing. I am doing some of these I outsource already. But I intend to do more:

  • Editing
  • Proofreading
  • Cover Design
  • Formatting
  • Audio recording
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Research
  • Translations
  • Foreign Rights

2. Work on simultaneous projects.

I find that is easier to stay inspired if I dip between projects. I will have one main project at a time, but I’ll allow myself half an hour here and there to dip into something else if I want to. It’s not that different to spending a little time on social media or blogging. I see it as a way to warm up before starting work, or as an alternative if my attention is flagging. The main thing is to make the most of the time I have for writing.

3. Blog for readers, not for writers

I started Self Publish Bible at the beginning of my self-publishing career, when I was still had everything to learn about the business. A couple of years in, I feel my focus has changed. I have a little bit more experience and although the world is constantly changing, I know where to go for good information. You can’t beat blogs like  The Creative Penn. There are also some great podcasts – I love Rocking Self Publishing and The Self-Publishing Podcast; a great mix of enthusiasm, information and entertainment. I still like to talk to other indie authors and swap ideas, but I don’t need to do that on my blog.

So I’m starting a new blog.

Lorna Breaks Stuff is aimed at my fiction readers. It will be light-hearted and fun, with lots of colourful pictures. It should be an enjoyable way to keep in touch with readers without bombarding them with emails.

What do you think of my new year’s resolutions? Are you making any yourself?

Should writers also be readers?

30 Jun

 

Image courtesy of Marin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The last book I read was Gone Girl, which was just fantastic. Great style, great twists, really did it for me. Trouble was, I stole a few hours from my writing schedule to read it. I know I shouldn’t have, but it was so good, I just couldn’t put it down. And it made me want to reach for my next read straight away. I am already halfway through Killing Me Softly by Nicci French, another book I can’t put down.

I used to read all the time. I spent far more time reading than writing. But that was partly because I was commuting to work every day, and what better to do on the tube than read? Since I had my children, I’ve read a lot less. In fact, it took me a couple of years to finish reading The Thread by Victoria Hislop. Not because I didn’t love it, but because I find it hard to commit to a chunky book the way I used to, knowing that I don’t have hours at a time to devote to it.

I’m making a reading comeback though. Last year, I set myself a modest goal on reader’s website Goodreads. I decided that I would read 10 books by the end of 2013. As someone who likes to tick things off lists, I felt strangely pleased when I met that goal. This year, I’ve set a goal of 15 books and I’m already 8 wonderful, delicious reads down. The more I read, the more I want to read. And the more I want to write too, because reading good books is so inspiring. Reading bad books can be useful too. When something about the book doesn’t quite click, I like to try and work out what it is, so that I can avoid making similar mistakes in my own writing. Luckily I have excellent taste (or just plain luck), and all the books I’ve read so far this year have been corkers.

I’ve heard writers who say they are too busy to read, and if I’m honest, I was one of them for a while, but I think I’m past that now. As I work on making writing my career, I know that reading needs to be an important, yet enjoyable part of my work.  A good story haunts you. It forces you to think about it, long after you’ve put the book down. Without reading, I think it would be hard to grow as a writer.

How much do you read? Do you find that reading interferes with your writing schedule, or does it enhance it?

 

Literary festivals – what’s in it for indies?

20 May
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With indie entrepreneur, Joanna Penn

As a self-published author, you might wonder what you’d get out of attending a literary festival that primarily celebrates published authors and their books. I’ve just returned from Crimefest, an annual event in Bristol, England, and I would definitely go again. 

In recognition of independently published authors, Crime Writing Day began with a talk from self-publishing guru, Joanna Penn. Joanna emphasized the need to make self-published books as good as traditionally published ones, by using professional editors and cover designers. She also pointed out the fact that each book is not just one product, but many because it can be an eBook, a print book and also an audio book. It can also be sold in many countries, both in English, and in other languages if you get it translated. This is a good reason not to sign all your rights away to a publisher, but does not stop you from accepting, say a print deal whilst keeping your eBook rights. Joanna added that it was the business side of things that had made her self-publish. Once she had worked through the process of publishing her first book, she found that it was not that hard and she did not need a publisher to do it for her. 

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Some of the other writers I met at Crimefest had been holding out for traditional publishing deals but I think the Emerging Indie Voices panel was an eye-opener for many. This panel featured successful indie authors, Tim Cooke, Eva Hudson, Mel Sherratt and Carol Westron, who each spoke about their decision to self-publish. Mel Sherratt said she was grateful to Amazon for giving her the opportunity to publish her own books, after many years of seeking a traditional deal. She has since signed with a publisher for at least one of her books, but it was self-publishing that gave her the opportunity to do so. 

As a reader, as well as a writer, I can’t deny that I found It exciting to mingle with successful authors, many of whom had plenty of advice.There was also the opportunity to meet literary agents and editors, as well as readers and bloggers. But I think the thing I liked most about Crimefest was the shared love of books. It made me want to write more than ever. 

Have you attended any literary festivals as a self-published author? How did you get on?

May Queen Killers and a game of WordPress tag

3 Mar
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Image taken from Wikepedia

I was tagged in a game of WordPress tag by the fabulous Lorna Lee of the very colourful Lorna’s Voice. I have yet to meet a Lorna who wasn’t fabulous. If anyone knows a rotten Lorna, please don’t tell me. It will break my heart. The game is simple. I have to answer a set of questions about my writing, then tag three more writers to continue the game. Here are my answers:

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on my 2nd thriller, May Queen Killers, which is set on the English/Welsh border. Here’s a little teaser:

Where have all the May Queens gone?

At 34 years old, Sapphire Butterworth is a little old to be crowned May Queen, but she has her heart set on the title and no one is going to stand in her way. But then Sapphire disappears in the middle of the May Day celebrations and someone throws a brick through the window of her tea shop. Soon, there are scenes of May Day carnage throughout the village; lambs mauled by vicious dogs and may poles ripped apart. 

Mystery writer, Jock Skone is one of the last to see Sapphire and determined to use his detective skills to find her. But Jock quickly discovers that Sapphire’s friends do not know her as well as they thought they did. And Sapphire is not the first May Queen to go missing. Is there a deeper reason why Sapphire wanted the title so badly? Does she know more about the May Queen Killers than she’s been letting on?

How does your work differ from others in the same genre?

I write very British psychological thrillers. My books are fast-paced, five hour reads that are hard to put down. I use a combination of action and dialogue with a splat of dark humour. My mysteries are hard to solve, but I write in a simple and accessible way. I don’t like too much gore, and don’t do a lot of swearing. I leave out the parts I would skip as a reader, so you won’t find any long-winded descriptions in my books. And although the police may make an appearance, they are never the ones to solve the mystery!

Why do you write what you do?

I write what I love, but I do try to stick to psychological thrillers because I have created an audience for those. If I write anything outside of that genre, I keep it short and just for fun. If my mystery readers like my side projects, then that’s a bonus.

How does your writing process work?

I usually get the idea for the next book while I’m working on the one before, so I have to write everything down before I forget it. I am chaotic at heart, but I am slowly moving towards a more planned style of writing. I still end up taking twists and turns that I had never intended, but I no longer spend time polishing my first draft until I have to. I like my work big and messy and covered in scorch marks until I am absolutely sure of the story.

 And now I have to tag three more writers

Pete Denton, is currently working on a couple of crime novels. You can download a free sample of his work here.

Rami Ungar is the author of the Reborn City series available on AmazonCreatespace, and Smashwords

Roberta’s Dreamworld – Roberta is the author of Hugged by an Angel, The Melody in our hearts and A Christmas Melody.

As always, thanks for reading!

Separate Yourself From The Pack: Getting Noticed – Guest post by Nikolas Baron

12 Feb

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Everyone wants to be a writer. If you go onto Facebook or Twitter and ask “how’s your book going,” there’s a good chance you’ll get numerous replies, many from people you weren’t even aware wanted to write a book. And, why not? When we’re hanging out with friends, we all love to tell stories, and we all want to be the guy or gal at the party who captivates the other party-goers with tales of fun and adventure. The idea of putting that natural desire to paper in the form of a book, which anyone can read, is an enticing one. Where issues enter, however, is when we realize that everyone else around us feels the exact same way. Everyone wants to be a writer.

Ebooks and the Internet have made all of this even worse. Where once, if you wanted to publish your book, you either had to go through the traditional publishing process of submission, rejection, and eventual publication, or you had to invest massive amounts of money out of your pocket to self-publish. Now-a-days, you simply format your book to certain guidelines, upload it to an Internet store, and wait for the sales to roll in. Anyone can do it, and many, many, many people do, for better or worse. What then can an amateur writer do separate him or herself from the pack? What can an amateur writer do to get noticed in a sea full of amateur writers?

In my work with Grammarly, I spend a lot of time researching online tools to make writers better, and I believe that while setting yourself apart from the pack is difficult, it’s not impossible. In fact, the easiest way to do so is to start by understanding some of the most common mistakes amateur writers make and how to avoid those mistakes. Here are a few tips I’ve learned to help amateur writers set themselves apart, and even above, the crowd.

  • Actually Finish Your Book: Remember when I said you could ask about books on  Facebook or Twitter and getting a ton of replies? Often, many of those replies will be something along the lines of, “I’m working on it. Just gotta find the time” or “I’m still in the outlining phase.” That’s because while most people talk about writing a book, very few people actually do. Writing a book is hard, and it takes discipline. The easiest way to set yourself apart from the rest of the writers on the Internet is to actually finish your book. Don’t worry about quality yet. You can edit errors in a book, but you have to have a book to edit first. Don’t think, just write.
  • Write Every Day: Writing is a skill, like sports or visual art. The only way to get better is to practice, practice, practice. Whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, a blog post, a business memo, or whatever, try to find time in your day to  lay some words on a page. In fact, if you want to avoid two major mistakes, use this tip to help with the previous one as well.
  • Remember That Editing and Proofreading Are Different: So, you’ve taken the first two tips in hand, and you’ve finally finished your book. Great! Celebrate! Then, prepare for the long and arduous process of  editing that book. No one writes perfect first drafts, and editing your manuscript is almost as important a process as writing it. Some might say it’s even more important. With that said, it’s important to remember that editing and proofreading are two different things. If you’ll allow a cleaning analogy, proofreading is like dusting. You aren’t making any major changes to the room, but you’re tidying up. Editing is like taking all of the furniture out onto the lawn, deciding whether or not you want to keep it, and then moving it all back in. Is this scene necessary?  What about this character? This bit of  dialogue – is that really how the character would talk? Would anyone talk like that? Be willing to slice and dice your book to shreds, if necessary, and in the end, you’ll have a superior product.   
  • Don’t Forget to Proofread, However: Keep in mind, however, that even after you’ve finished moving the furniture out of the room and decided what’s coming back, you still need to tidy up. You still need to dust off the coffee table, so to speak. One of the easiest ways to lose professionalism in the eyes of your audience is to put out a product filled with typos and silly grammar mistakes. You can use a standard spelling and grammar check on your word processing program, but if you really want to catch all of those errors, consider a more detailed grammar check. For example, at Grammarly.com, we offer a check that scans your text for over 200 standard grammar errors, alerting you to issues you might not have caught on standard readings. Regardless of how you choose to proofread, don’t forget this important step. A typo-riddled manuscript will quickly turn your reader off, and as previously established, he or she will have plenty of other things to read.

Setting yourself apart from the pack is not easy, but it’s not impossible. It takes work, but if you’re willing to do it, you have a better chance of finding an audience for your book. Remember to write every day, and when it comes time to edit, don’t be scared to tear your manuscript apart if it serves the story. Firmly establishing these practices early will save you many headaches in the future.

 

About Nikolas Baron

Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown childrens’ novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, travelling, and reading.

Interview with Demons in the Big Easy Author, Jamie Marchant

3 Jun

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This week I interviewed urban fantasy Author, Jamie Marchant.

Tell me a bit about yourself

 From early childhood, I’ve been immersed in books. My mother, an avid reader herself, read to us, and my older sister filled my head with fairy tales. When I was about six, I started writing stories about the Man from Mars for my older sister. I devoured every book I could get my hands on, and I wrote my first fantasy novel while in high school—not that it was publishable. Taking into consideration my love for literature and the challenges of supporting myself as a writer, I pursued a Ph.D. in American literature, which I received in 1998. I started teaching writing and literature at Auburn University and discovered the excitement of teaching. But in doing so, I put my true passion on the backburner and neglected my muse. Instead, for a few years, I wrote literary criticism. Then one day, in the midst of writing a critical piece, I realized I had no interest in doing so. What I wanted to do was write novels. My muse thus revived, I began the book that was to become The Goddess’s Choice.  I have an entire series planned.

I live in Auburn, Alabama, with my husband and son. I still teach writing and literature at Auburn University.

 What’s your latest book about?

Demons in the Big Easy is an urban fantasy novella. Adventurous in her youth, Cassandra built gateways between Domhan and its parallel realm of Earth. Now she’s too old for that kind of thing. But something is making it easier for demons to pass into Domhan. Not only that, but their behavior becomes inexplicable: whenever Cassandra banishes one, it laughs at her rather than resists, and it promises it will soon devour her essence and that of every resident of her small village. Cassandra is certain such a thing is impossible, for strong wards protect her village.

But then Cassandra’s granddaughter Aine falls through an unstable gateway. Cassandra is the only one within a hundred miles capable of creating a gateway and bringing Aine back. Despite her aching joints, Cassandra goes after her, and the gateway lands her in New Orleans. But something goes wrong with her tracking spell, which indicates Aine exists in four different places at once. As Cassandra struggles to find the true location of her granddaughter in the Big Easy, she discovers the source of the demons’ confidence.  Now, with an unlikely pair of allies—her timid granddaughter and a homeless man who may or may not be crazy—she has to not only save her granddaughter but also prevent both Domhan and Earth from being overrun by demons.

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 How long did it take you to write?

About 4 months. Fast, considering the years it took me to finish my first novel, The Goddess’s Choice.

 Why did you choose to self publish?

 A small publisher published my first novel, but I found that they did nearly nothing to market it. If I wanted it to sell, I had to do all the marketing myself. I decided that if I was going to have to do all the work, I should garner a larger share of the profits, so I self-published Demons in the Big Easy.

 Would you be interested in a publishing deal if it were offered?

It would depend on the size of the publisher and what they were going to commit to in terms of marketing.

 Who created your cover? 

I did it myself. I hope it doesn’t look like it.

Did you hire an editor? If not, how did you go about editing your book?

I didn’t hire an editor. I belong to a writers’ critique group, and they helped me edit it.

What are you doing to market your book?

I’ve been doing a lot of blog appearances. I have also participated in some giveaways.

What’s next for you?

I have all but the final edits done for The Soul Stone, a sequel to The Goddess’s Choice, in which Samantha struggles to solidify her rule, and Robrek must confront a bigger threat to the safety of the joined kingdoms.

I’m also working on an urban fantasy novel, The Bull Riding Witch, which has a princess from a parallel realm switching bodies with a rodeo bull rider.

Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed on Selfpublishbible, Jamie!

You can catch up with Jamie on facebook ,Goodreads and Twitter or follow her blog 

 

A Toddler’s Self-Publishing Tale – Guest Post by “What Squirrels Do” picture book trilogy author Hazel Nutt

27 Mar


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My name is Hazel Nutt. I’m a two year old toddler and I have so many ideas for books, that tradional publishers wouldn’t be able to keep up with me (my parents find it hard enough.)

I first decided to go the self publishing route, as I am a control freak! I wanted to keep complete control over my picture books (and my parents). My parents are easier to keep in check than an agent of a traditional publisher.

I want to get up about 10 picture books this year and I don’t have the patience to wait a year for a publishing date for each and every one. I’m a toddler and I want things done now!

I have initially self published on Amazon, where I have three picture books published as paperbacks and Kindle versions and another additional couple of picture eBooks on Kindle.

I have another picture book ready to go that my parents’ plan to publish as an eBook on Smashwords, which will be available in lots of additional eBook formats than just Kindle, to see how much that makes a difference. They may decide to make that particular book permanently free, in order to get interest in the other books I have co-created with my parents.

I tend to take up a lot of my parents’ time during the day, so they have had to burn the midnight oil to get these picture books created and published for me, but they know how important the dream of being a published writer at just two is to me.

I think they initially wanted to get everything published last year, but instead they gave me the gift of publishing my three picture books about what squirrels do when people are looking the other way, for my second birthday in February. I was thrilled.

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Since then, I have been telling my parents how to market these picture books in a number of ingenious ways. I’ve got them to create and maintain a blog written from a toddler point of view, with me letting people into my life with a weekly diary summary –  my art, tips for other toddlers on how to train their parents and picture book reviews and author interviews. I’ve got my parents to create squirrel masks and a squirrel coloring book to accompany my picture books.

As part of a virtual book tour, for the month of March, I have been doing interviews left, right and centre, being published all over the Internet. I have been asking for reviews from as many people as I can and I have been writing guest posts like there is no tomorrow (well my parents have until 2 or 3 in the morning, which I know because I often wake up with a wail and they are still dressed.)

There is of course much more we could do, like videos, more on social media sites and networking, but the most important thing is that my parents are trying to do all sorts of imaginative things (based on my suggestions) to make me successful.

This is perhaps where traditional publishing has its advantages, as there are already marketing channels in place and you have the year build up until your book is published, so there is a hungry list of buyers waiting to snap up your book. Basically, you are not on your own.

The virtual book tour will be a good basis to build future promotions on. My parents will make me a successful author and they wouldn’t get that satisfaction if we had gone to a traditional publisher.  You never know, once I’m a well known picture book author, I might get noticed by a traditional publisher.

Hazel Nutt is a baby blogger who loves to share her take on the world, through words and art. She writes funny posts that should tickle the humor buds of most parents. She particularly likes blogging her toddler opinions and advice on how to train parents, to ensure that other toddlers can also wrap their parents around their little fingers! Find Hazel and her opinions here. Please sit back, relax and enjoy.

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Hazel Nutt also writes funny picture books. Her first trilogy is about what squirrels do when people are looking the other way. The What Squirrels Do is a trilogy of picture books that give people an insight into these curious creatures, not EVER revealed to the public before. It will shock you to know some of the devious tricks squirrels play. It will solve some of life’s mysteries, like why there are shopping trollies in the middle of the woods and why car alarms go off in the night, and they will make you laugh.

These books cannot fail to bring a smile to the faces of both toddler and whoever is reading the book to them. Why not take a look at http://www.whatsquirrelsdo.com for more information on these delightful little curiosities.

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