Archives

writing

Writing Tips

I’m not a planner. I like to go with the flow and see how things unroll. I am like that in life, and I’m like that with writing. I know many writers who outline their entire novel – chapter by chapter. The aspect of this terrifies me. Before I begin a novel, I have a general idea of what the novel is about and where it’s headed (beginning, middle, and ending) but the rest happens as I write. By the same token, I’m sure my method  would frighten the Type A’s out there. To each her own. What works for some won’t work for others. And my pantser style works for me.

On various occasions, I’ve been asked to speak to writers groups. This is one of those instances when I can say with all sincerity, “It’s an honor to be asked.” There are lots of writers out there, and to be chosen out of many to offer some advice, well, like I said, it’s a compliment. That said, I don’t plan what I’m going to say before I go. I’m not a list maker. I know what the crux of my statement will be, but beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.

I’ll be speaking to a young writers group later this week, which got me thinking (insert lightbulb and angelic music) that I should have some tips for them to refer to if they need advice in case I forget to address it since I won’t be outlining my speech. Of course when I say “advice” all I can picture is Lucy from Peanuts in her cardboard booth offer Chuck advice for five cents. Geez, I hope my advice is worth more than that. With the invention of self-publishing tools such as Amazon, IBooks, Nook, Kobo, Wattpad, etc., the market has changed significantly, and stories which would have only been seen by a few set of eyes are now available to the masses. Potentially, these aspiring novelists I will be speaking to will become authors thanks to these outlets. How awesome! How exciting!

I’ve been an Indie author (sounds so rogue, doesn’t it) since 2012. These are some things I’ve either learned or observed the past five years. Take these tips and do as you wish.

1) If you plan to self-publish, hire an editor. Your friend of a friend who knows where to insert commas isn’t enough. Hire a professional. Before you hire them, do some research. Ask for a list of writers who have used their services. Ask for a sample of their work to see their editing process. Comparison shop. Just hire an editor.

2) Pay a graphic designer to design your book cover. Don’t think that taking one measly class in Adobe Photoshop is enough to make you a book cover designer. It’s not. A poorly designed book cover sends the wrong message. Your novel could be a work of art on the inside, but it won’t translate as such if the cover isn’t designed well.

3) Find beta readers who will offer you constructive feedback and won’t sugar coat things. These beta readers should read your genre. They should be readers who can offer you an honest opinion about your novel. They should want to help you not hurt you. There is a difference.

4) Don’t use social media as a tool for “Me! Me! Me!” There’s nothing more annoying than people who talk of nothing else but themselves. Socialize. It’s okay to tell others about your book, but don’t make it your only message. Share things about yourself other than your writing. Let people get to know you and get to know them, too. Think of it as a first date. Imagine if the other person was talking only about themselves and how great they were at writing the entire night and didn’t ask you one question. Annoying, right? Don’t be that person. Share the love. If you discover a great read, tell others about it. If you have an Indie author friend with a new book release, share that with others. Sharing is caring.

5) Make sure your inner-circle is supportive of your efforts. Writing is a lonely business. You need to be around people who will lift you up.

6) Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Do not compare yourself to others. So what if they’re getting more reviews or selling more books. It doesn’t matter what they do. What matters is what you do. Are you writing from your heart? Are you proud of your novel? Did you enjoy writing it?

7) Critics exist. Sometimes a critical review can make you a better writer. I’ve learned from a few. Sometimes you just have to let the criticism roll off of your shoulders. Never, and I mean this, never engage in dialogue with a reviewer. This is tacky and unprofessional. So they didn’t like your book, move on. It happens to the best of us:)

8) Trolls exist. Don’t let them get to you.

9) Appreciate your bloggers. Send them some love. Write them a thank you note. Send them a signed copy of your book. Bloggers receive countless review requests. The fact that they chose to review your book should make you feel special.

10) This is a personal decision, but I don’t negatively rate or write negative reviews for books I’ve read that I didn’t love. Just because a book wasn’t right for me doesn’t mean it isn’t perfect for someone else. I realize the blood, sweat and tears the author put into their work and don’t want to diminish that. To me, it’s professional courtesy. But, like I said, this is a personal decision.

11) Do your research on self-publishing. Read! Read! Read! You can ask other Indie authors about their experiences, but make sure to do your own research.

12) Write and read all of the time. Even when you don’t feel like writing, write. Something. Anything. Just write. Read. Reading makes you a better writer. Read books by authors you admire. Read for fun. Read to learn. Just read.

I won’t have a 13th tip because I’m superstitious. I hope this advice helps. Feel free to contact me if you have other questions, and write on!

Don’t Talk, I Love You is now available for purchase!

It’s release day! Here’s the link to buy Don’t Talk, I Love You: goo.gl/uaTFiL  If you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can grab it for free!

Kindle Press didn’t select me. No worries, though. I’m happy I tried it (What’s life without risks, right?), that it was viewed by new potential readers, and that it stayed on the “hot list” for 1/3 of a time:) — that’s all because of you!!! To everyone who nominated it, thank you so much!  Side note: Writing this book was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my writing career. I’ve never laughed so hard while writing:)

Synopsis: Recent college graduate Hadley Echols finally has a job. Her first priority – find an affordable place to live. She thinks it’s hopeless until she sees an ad that at first seems like a joke: “THREE MONKS SEEK ROOMMATE.” She doesn’t know anything about monks, only that her new roomies are on a vow of silence and only communicate via text. Then there’s the slight problem of her finding one of them irresistible. To make matters worse, her new boss might be Satan incognito and her ex-flame is back.

 

It’s Release Day for It Started With A Whisper!

Happy Release Day to me (now I have the birthday song in my head). I’m excited to tell you that today is the release day for It Started With A Whisper. Here’s the link to purchase.

Advance Praise for It Started With A Whisper: “It Started with a Whisper was an amazing and touching story, that in places you will have your emotional state tested.” – The Phantom Paragrapher.

 

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

I lived thirty plus years in Florida and in the same city where I was born. I even went to college in Central Florida. It was all I ever knew. I figured that I’d grow old and die there, but then something happened. Something in me changed. Read more →

Connecting without a Facebook Fan Page

Not long ago there was this social media site called Facebook that was really cool. People from all around the world could “talk” to each other. They could share pictures and stories about their lives. It was an author’s dream. Then this social media site changed. Posts and pictures seemed to get lost in some land of oblivion unless $ was spent. This author (points to self) began noticing dwindling interaction. No one was commenting. No one was seeing posts. Crickets. Read more →

Writing Updates

The first draft to Like All Things Beautiful, the sequel to Kiss Me Hard Before You Go, is being edited by my awesome (adore her) editor. I’m writing the 3rd book in the series. Both are scheduled for release in spring, 2015. Read more →

Relieve stress. Read how.

Did you know that looking at a picture of a cute animal relieves stress? So does reading my monthly newsletter. It’s free and is good for your health. Sign up here: bit.ly/Ma0iSJ

In case you missed it…

In case you’re not on my mailing list, I made a couple of important announcements, and I’d like to share them here with you. Read more →

Finn and Jesse? What’s going on with Finn and Jesse from The Graceville Series?

Have you read The Summer I Learned to Dive and The Year I Almost Drowned? And, are you wondering what happened to Finn and Jesse? Well… Read more →

Remember these?

I do. I had a pair just like them (and they’re way cooler than those lame-o roller blades that everyone skates on now). I would skate in my driveway while listening to Olivia Newton-John on my boombox. (A radio with only a tape player. CD players weren’t invented yet, and if they were, they probably cost a bundle). I’d twirl on my wheels, thinking I was the next Dorothy Hamil. I’m sure I looked better in my head than I did in real life. But when you’re a kid, you think you’re the best at everything you do. And really, you don’t care. Read more →