Friday, August 30, 2013

Marketing Before You Publish

I can't believe it is already Friday, what a busy week for me. Time seems to slip through my fingers anymore. I need about 5 more hours in a day to accomplish all the stuff I need to do. One of which, is keeping up with marketing.

But if you didn't establish a marketing base before you published your book, you have a lot more work cut out for you. If you haven't published yet, now is the time to get started promoting yourself and promoting your book.

I had one advantage a few years ago, I listened to advice from the author of Writing for Dummies, Randy Ingermanson. I happened to be invited to one of the HODRW mini-conference's and he was the guest speaker. Great book by the way.

I followed his plan for marketing, well most of it, and started with building my "tribe". What is a tribe you ask? Well, it's the people you hope will be the most supportive of you and your book. Usually it begins with close friends and family, and you build from there. 

I'm going to list what I believe is the best steps to begin your marketing endeavor. At some point though, you will strike out on your own and find your what works best for you. 

1. The first step is to build your base. Start with your email contacts. Send a basic letter to your family and friends asking them if they would be willing to be part of your tribe. Explain that you would like their support for you and your book.

2. Come up with a way to involve them in your road to a published book. I offered to send the first chapter of my book and asked them for feedback, like critiques, and what they thought of the chapter. Once they would send it back with their comments, then I would send the next - up to three chapters. Hopefully you get them talking about your work and see what you need to work on.

3. Don't be discouraged. You will find that a lot of people are busy and you might not hear back right away. That's okay, just send them an email and ask them nicely if they had a chance to read it yet. Some will, some won't. But don't forget to thank people for taking time out of their busy life.

4. Once you are getting some response, send out an email explaining you are setting up a blog for your writing and if they would be willing to join the blog. 

5. Another good enticement is a giveaway for being involved. Maybe a gift card for people that have become a fan and seem to be supportive.

6. Once you feel as though you are gaining some receptive friends, then branch out, start a blog and continue your tribe over email. There are some great ideas out there, and of course the book I mentioned above. 

7. After your blog is set up, begin to invite people to join from your email and facebook page. And if you don't have a facebook page, you need one. 

8. Continue to build your support and then join some writing groups on LinkedIn. I got a lot of support by being involved with other writers. 

9. Make sure to post on these site on a regular bases and if you have a blog, be consistent. Even if you only have time to post a new article once a week, just make sure you do it on that day. 

10. And finally, once you are really close to publishing, set up a fanpage in facebook. By then you hopefully have established followers and they will be willing to be a part of your steps to becoming an author.

What you are doing is building a fan base, or what it's commonly called, a platform. There are other sites you can go on to help build your followers, too, and as you get more involved in the process you will be led to those sites, such as pinterest and google+. 

My suggestions are only where to start your tribe building, I'm sure you will figure out things as you go. You can also search out sites that are drawn to the genre you write in. I have found lately a few sites for readers to buy the books of their favorite type reads.

Getting yourself out there early really helps in your sales. I started two years before I self-published. I mean, after all isn't it about getting your baby out there and hope that people enjoy it and pass it on?

Until next week, have a great weekend everyone and don't forget to drop me a comment and let me know how your sales are going and some ideas that have worked for you!

Love, Lisa

Monday, August 26, 2013

Darkness In Fated

We have been working diligently on Fated and it's come to my attention, not by anyone in particular, but my own assessment, that parts of the book is really sad. 

Yes, there's conflict, and those of us who are writers know the mantra - conflict is our friend - and yes there's action and character building. But it is the story of what happened to Shylae's parents and how she ended up on this side of the dimension. And if you've read Fable, you know the truth of it.

I just hope that it doesn't pull people away from the series. The Lorn Prophecy series has action, intrigue, and even a love story, but Fated, and the other side books to the series are the history of Djenrye, and this particular story is about what truly happened to cause the shift in the prophecy and their world. 

Although, there is quite a lot about Torren in it, and if you want to get to know our bad boy, then you'll enjoy that. 

The sad part is something that touches me more personally and a few people I know. I am adopted and it hits home in a lot of ways. I couldn't imagine what it would be to give up your child but there are people that have to face that everyday. 

Since I am adopted I do know how it is for the person who was given up, for whatever reason. It is sad in some ways, but it is also a blessing in others. You learn that family is not based on blood alone and it doesn't matter what your name is, you are your own person and have your own identity. You're you, no matter who raised you and hopefully the people who adopted you loves you and treats you as if they gave birth to you.

That's how it is in my family and I've never had the desire to hunt down the woman that gave birth to me. Not because I'm not curious, of course I am, but because I never felt a void that a lot of adopted people feel.

I'm a little curious, are any of you adopted, or know someone who is? How has it left you feeling? 

I hope that all of you enjoy Fated and understand the reasoning behind it. It is history and needs to be told for the sake of the books. The prophecy begins to unfold and causes serious unrest and turmoil. Something quite a few readers like any more. Look at Game of Thrones, people love the dark stuff.

So when it comes out, sit back and relax and enjoy getting a good look at the world of Djenrye and the conflicts they endure.The series will get deeper and more intriguing  There will be plenty of action and there will be good things that will happen and dark things, too. There can be happiness in darkness if you change the way you look at it. Sometimes, there's a logic to the madness.

Until Friday, I hope everyone has an awesome week.

Love, Lisa

Friday, August 23, 2013

So, You're A New Writer

Okay, you have made up your mind, you're going to write a book. Something you've wanted to do for as long as you can remember. 

You set out what it will be about and begin typing away at your keypad and your manuscript is on it's way. Your friends and family tell you, just write the book, then work on revisions, (which is good advice) and you do just that.

Now, you have finished, and you find yourself asking "What now?" Well, my answer to that is "Congratulations, you wrote a book! But, it's only the beginning."

There are all kinds of people that will give you different advice, but unless you have a degree in English, or creative writing, you have a lot of work to do to get that manuscript to the point of publishing. 

Believe me, this is where I was over 4 years ago. I knew that my writing needed a lot of help. I struggled with the right paths to take because for me I didn't want it to take me 10 years before my first book would be ready.

I worked with my mom through the manuscript since she had been an editor, but it was for non-fiction, a big difference, and even though it did help some, I was still left feeling frustrated. I even tried working with my sister, but she had so much going on in her life then, she didn't have the time.

So I was back at square one.

I couldn't afford to take college classes and didn't know where to turn. I knew that my family and friends were not going to tell me the truth, (my writing sucked, not my story, my writing) and I didn't know of anyone who could help me. 

That's when I began to seek out other avenues. 

I want to stress that I believe in paying it forward. This is why I want to give those of you that are going through this very same thing some advice and ideas to help you get to where I am now. I am going to give some points and information and I hope you take it and become a published author.

1. First thing you need to do is find a group/meetup that's sole purpose is learning the craft of creative writing. If you go on line in to and search in your area, you can usually find a writing group. If you can't find one, then there are groups on line.

2. Bring in your writing, ask questions, and work with the person leading the group. Most of the time they know what they're talking about. Being involved makes all the difference and don't forget to write as much as you can.

3. Get to know other writers either in your group or search out more organized groups, such as, RWA, or any fiction writing groups in your area. You can find them on line.

4. If you can, go to some of their meetings. Check them out. They usually have mini-conferences you can go to also for a minimum amount of money. My group, HODRW has them and if you can't afford to be a member, the mini-conferences are 40.00.

5. Once you have gotten to know some writers, find a critique partner and get together with him/her on a regular basis. Working on your craft will help you to become a better writer.

6. Study the creative writing skills. There are tons of blogs from writers out there that go over the skills you need.

7. Work on those revisions faithfully. Even if you are so sick of chapter one because you've rewritten most of it 10 times! 

8. Listen to advice from professional writers and get to know some editors. Most people are willing to help. 

9. Save money up and hire a writing coach. They are sooo worth the money! Working privately with a coach will get you much further ahead. 

10. Be patient with yourself. A good story is one thing, a well written novel is another. It takes time to turn your first one into a novel. 4-6 years is about average.

Once you feel like your book is ready, make sure you hire a professional editor. You can shop around and find one's that are at a reasonable cost. And before you do that find some beta-readers, people you don't really know, or there are sites that will review your work for a nominal fee. You want to know the truth about your book before you send it out to the public.

If you find it's not ready, then work on it some more. Don't ignore the red marks because you don't want to go through the book again. 

And finally, I am more than willing to help anyone out there if they need me. If I don't have answers then I know someone who will. Don't be afraid to ask. And, I'm sure there are plenty of people out there, like me, who would be willing to help you become the successful author you know is hiding in there and need to show themselves to the world.

It's all worth it if it's your dream!

Until next week, have a great weekend!

Love, Lisa

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Is It In The Right Voice

As Toni and I write the Lorn Prophecy series, one of the issues that always creeps up is writing each character with an individual voice. This is one problem that I think needs to be addressed when we run through Fated before approving it for the beta-readers. 

We've found it isn't as hard to develop the voices for the main characters, but the secondary or even the pop-in's are not as easy. We tend to have the Djen men talk the same, and the same for the Djen women. See, they talk more formal than you or i would.

But we always seem to figure it out and manage to separate the different characters personalities. That's one thing that's great about having two critique partners that seem to always ask if this would be the way the character would talk or act. But, that's not always the case with every book out there. Not everyone has a critique partner, and especially ones that are that intuitive.

I think this is especially obvious when people try to write in different sexes than their own, or with a huge age gap, such as older people writing as a teenager. 

When I first wrote Fable, I had a difficult time writing Stevie and her friends the way teens talk. In fact, it was a friend of mine who's niece read the first 8 chapters and said it doesn't sound like the kids today. Toni and I decided to research the way teens talk and found a few great sites that we used on a regular basis throughout the manuscript. If you google teen talk you can find several good ones out there. There were some places that we had to wing it though. 

As far as writing in a man's voice, we went to the source, men we know. My husband was pulled in to get the voice of Wood and Colton. Even though we wanted them to not be "a" typical, we still wanted them to think like a man would and react that way, too. 

Then there was Torren. We wanted him to be a bad boy, but smart. I was adamant that he would not sound like a bad "B" rate movie. I think we did okay considering. 

It is tough to find that voice of your character if they are so different than you. What have you found that helps you with the different voices? I know there are even writers who have a whole different set of speech and ideals of a made-up race. What would keep them consistent throughout so it rings true?

Would every race of beings think like us? Probably not, but it still needs to bring the reader in and immerse them in the story. This, again, is where keeping track of everything within the story with outlines helps. Even with character development. When it sounds like a bad movie, it doesn't captivate.

I would love to hear anyone's thoughts on finding the voices of hard characters and what helped you to accomplish that successfully. Leave me a comment and share your ideas. All writers learn from each other, so spread the knowledge. 

Thanks again for all of your support, I always appreciate your comments and


Have a great week all, Lisa

Friday, August 16, 2013

Writing On A Busy Schedule

Yesterday was a very productive day, not only in the Djen world, but also with my friend, Jodi's manuscript. Without even realizing it, Jodi brought up an issue that effects a lot of new writers, trying to come up with time to write.

When you have a busy life, writing tends to get put on the back burner. Suddenly you have a deadline for your critique group so you try to get in some writing and, without a clear head, (because your mind is on a million other things) you send it on in hopes that it will not get too many markups. And of course, that's not the case.

Sometimes trying to write on a busy schedule seems down right impossible, but the last thing you want to do is not write. You love writing and can't wait for the opportunity for some quiet time, but it never seems to happen. This is when putting aside certain hours of certain days is paramount. 

We humans get caught up in day to day life and forget to set aside time for ourselves. To do the things we like to do. Whether it's reading, walking, taking a hot bath, whatever it is that we enjoy. Unfortunately, that includes writing. True, it is a joy for us, but it is also a necessity, if you are a writer.

Just like a painter or musician takes time, so should you, especially if your goal is to write a book.

She and I devised a plan for her to have that time to write, and without unneeded pressure. Jodi figured out when she could set aside a few hours on certain days and now she won't have to feel like she needs to squeeze in a whole chapter to send me. I told her if she only gets a few pages done, so be it. If, for some reason she has nothing for me on the week she's coming over, well, we cancel and reschedule. 

But if she finds she wrote extra pages we can always plan extra days to work on those, no pressure. Life's to short to not enjoy your love of writing.

There's been plenty of times where my critique partner's don't have a chapter and we just work on who did have one. You should never feel hurried when your new at something and are learning the skills to be successful.

Creative writing skills can be tough to master and until the new writer gets it, they need space. Take the time to allow yourself to learn what you need to learn. Before you know it, it will become second nature.

Are there any of you that are new to writing? I would love to hear your thoughts and know what obstacles you've come across. Drop me a line and we can surely talk about ways to help you.

Until then, have a great weekend! Take care, Lisa

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Slower Than Expected

Recently I have begun to tackle my draft of the second book in the series, The Lorn Prophecy, and have found out just how hard it is to go back to something you've written several years ago.

Even though the writing isn't "as" bad as the rough draft for Fable, it's pretty close. It is a perfect example of the lack of creative writing skills I've talked about on this page. I see how far I've come, and my sister has come, too.

When I decided to search for education in creative writing I had already written the first 32 chapters of Lore, by hand I might add, and it sat collecting dust in my rough draft box in the closet. 

There was notebook after notebook stacked inside waiting to be transformed into my computer. Thankfully my mom offered to come over a couple of days a week and type it in for me, of course she left me side notes along the way, too!

It's a good thing that she did that for me otherwise I would still be typing it in. Actually, she added the manuscript to my computer about two years ago, so it has sat and collected cyber space dust as well.

Anyway, I started at the beginning and am now on chapter 6. It's taken me weeks to get to this point, not everyday mind you, but at least one day each week I've dedicated to working on it. It's not as easy as it sounds.

There's head hopping, (lots of it) telling instead of showing, and really very little detail. I would think I was through a chapter and then it would dawn on me I still need to add things like descriptions of the palace, or what someone looked like. So, I go back in and add little somethings for us to tackle when we get to that particular scene. Basically little reminders.

Now I've realized that the story needs a lot more action. It's kinda boring, the next thing, changing the story. Basically what I'm trying to say is it might take longer than expected to get the next book in the series out, but I have decided what the ending will be, which means I do have some direction.  

I am determined to get it finished next year. I don't want to leave all of you hanging for to long. But look at it this way, it will be worth the wait. At least we have the side story coming out by the end of the year. I hope that will help to keep you satisfied until I can get through this next book. 

I guess we "all" have to be patient but know I'm working it and I am dedicated. It will be great!

I hope all of you have a wonderful week and I will continue to report on the progress of the book(s).

Love, Lisa

Friday, August 9, 2013

Blonde Moments Abound

I thought I was doing so good today. I finished everything I needed to finish with the Molly contest I'm part of. I critiqued my friend Sunni's chapter. I went over the chapter we received critiques on for Fated. I typed up and emailed the minutes from the meeting I had with two people from HODRW for the possibility of a workshop setup. 

I was on it...until it hit me...I forgot to write a new blog post! 

So here I am, writing my blog, on a Friday night, instead of Friday morning. Well, at least I remembered before Friday was completely gone! 

What I wanted to talk about is there has been a lot of wonderful articles that I've read lately to help writers with everything from social media to creative writing skills. I have posted some of them on my fanpage on Facebook and I hope that some of you take time to reading them.

There is so much help out there that is appreciated, at least by me, and I like to share. Sure, some of them can be debated, but it's nice to see other writers helping their fellow writer friends. In fact, there is one of my author friends that I would love to see get a blog going. He is so knowledgeable and if you've read some of his comments on my blog, you would know what I mean.

Of course, I am talking about Ryan. The guy is on it. I wish I had the time and, not to mention, the eyes to brush up on everything there is to know about writing, publishing, and social media. If he ever gets his blog going, I will certainly share it with all of you.

Although I do try to post information from time to time. I'm not as up on it as Ryan, but it's always a good debate between he and I. I appreciate his participation though, and look forward to learning something new. 

But, one of the articles I read I thought was great news. I hope I'm not setting myself up for trouble, but I read that KDP, the publisher for Amazon, was sending out notices to authors if they have mistakes that need to be fixed in their books. I do understand why they are doing this. Amazon wants to have the reputation of putting out quality books, too.

My sister and I found some issues in Fable and fixed them as soon as we could. Since then, there have been others that have been pointed out. Not big ones, mostly grammar, and mostly based on the editor's style. (She is one of my mother's closest friends and was an editor for Stanford University. Plus she's 80 yrs old.)

There were a few of them we do agree on, but some were the older style of writing. We will fix them and reload the book once more. I hope that's the last time!

So even when you think you got 99% of the mistakes in your book, there's always some you miss. Well, we aren't perfect. I've seen plenty of mistakes in traditional published books, but I think writers who self-publish need to be more vigilant with this issue. Like I said before, if there continues to be all these self-published books out there with tons of mistakes, it makes those of us who take the time and money to hire an editor look bad, too.

And not just grammar and punctuation issues, but also if the book is tight and clean. This is the biggest problem I come across and it sends up the red flag that these books were never edited, or the writer ignored the editor's red marks because they didn't want to rewrite their book.

Like I've said before, I would be embarrassed if my writing was that bad. It's not the story, it's the info dump, the head hopping, the redundancy, those slow down a story and cause skimming. 

I have read a few books lately that have been great though so it's nice to see self-published authors taking the time to hire an editor/proofreader. It makes spending the money on it worth while. And I am one of those people that buy books, including my writer friends books. I like to be supportive.

Well, I hope you get a chance to stop by my fanpage and "like" the page and read some of the articles. I believe in paying it forward and that every little bit helps!

Have a great weekend all! Lisa

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I'm Back!

Well, I had quite a busy week and now I'm back on track. The novella, which is becoming a novel, is getting close to being ready for beta-readers, and I've been working on the second novel in the series here and there. I would like to at least have the first 10 chapters ready for us to revise as soon as we are ready to tackle it.

I also spent extra time with family last week and that was really nice. I had the grandkids over night and all the next day. Also spent more time with my mom and my husband, especially since last week was our wedding anniversary and his birthday. 

On Saturday night we all went out to dinner together, the whole family, and celebrated Rick's birthday. We had a great time! Lots of wonderful conversation and catching up on each other's lives. Now if only we could all go camping. Sounds like fun to me!

We did, however, spend a weekend, all of us, in Buena Vista this year, and had a great time there as well. Rick and I couldn't afford the big vacation, but at least we had a very nice weekend. 

I do have a bucket list of places I would like to go, but we never seem to have the money. Oh well, maybe some day. I'm just curious if any of you had a big vacation this year? You know I've told you before, I live vicariously through all of you. 

Did you go somewhere fun this year? Or maybe getting ready to go somewhere? Please drop me a line and let me know what you did for summer vacation, you know, like in school! I would love to hear about it.

Maybe next year we can go up to British Columbia to see the White Bear rain forest area. I sure would love to see the wild coast along there. I guess you can see whale, seals, wolves maybe, and a white bear, or Kermode bear as they are officially called.

We would take a ship along there and possibly stop at the Indian reservation, too. Well, we will see how the book sales go. (I know, I'm probably dreaming). But hey, at least dreams are free!

Have a great week everyone and don't forget to leave me the details of your vacation down in the comment box!

Love, Lisa