Saturday, January 30, 2016

Five Suggestions To Get You Writing

Recently I've had a discussion with a Facebook friend that has led me to blog about the subject. Mainly because I was where she is years ago and I want to try to help her with her dilemma. Her issue - what to write about? What will resonate? What will draw people to my book?

I remember having the same thoughts, the same self-esteem issues. Basically, am I good enough to write? But another part of this - what genre should I write in?

Yes, this is a tough problem, but if writing is calling you then yes, you should write. Personally when I hear these questions it only tells me you care, therefore you should definitely write. 

I wanted to write a book my whole life. I used every excuse in the book not to do it - not because I didn't want to, but because I worried I would suck. So typical of any artist. We have self-esteem issues. 

When I used to book comedians and bands I would go and watch their shows. I recall many conversations where they would worry about their performance. They would be harder on themselves than the audience dared to be. In fact, most shows the people loved them. I would tease all of the comics and tell them I was going to have self-esteem classes for them. Then I decided to write my book. That's when I got my first taste of what they're going through. 

I want to list a few pointers that I hope will help my friend in her decision. I know it's a tough one and she will have to make the first move toward her dream, but possibly these few suggestions will help in her decision making. 

1. Make a list : Write down your many ideas for stories. There's no need to be overly detailed, just put the ideas on paper. Hopefully one of them will resonate with you once you list it.

2. What genre : First, fiction or non-fiction? Once that's decided, them you can determine the genre. To pick the one that's best for you, ask yourself these questions. What do I like to read, mysteries, epic fantasy, scifi? What is my favorite subject?

For years I wanted to write non-fiction, but I realized how much research would have to go into it. It probably would take me much longer and, not to mention, would I be educated enough in the subject to discuss it. So I changed to fiction. In the beginning I tried to write a murder mystery because I loved to read them. Not the right genre for me to write about. Why? Because I couldn't get into the mind of a psycho path. 

But it got me writing - in fact I wrote ten chapters before I decided to put it away. After that I gave myself a couple of months of no writing hoping something would come to me. It did.

I realized I might like to read mysteries and thrillers, but I loved to watch movies and television programs that were fantasy fiction based. By giving myself that time to let the right thing come to life I was able to discover my true calling. 

On top of that I already had my main character - Stevie. She was my protagonist in the mystery story. I really liked the character so I kept her when deciding what my story would be about. 

So it can be tough trying to decide what genre, but I think what really helped me is I started writing. 

3. Join writing groups : I cannot express how much this can help. I met plenty of writers in these classes that were in the same boat - what to write about. One of them finally started writing and self-published a small book recently. 

The other writers are so supportive. Plus you will learn so much. I suggest either a local romance writers group, (they aren't only about romance) or go online to and try to find a group that way. Well worth the time and energy. It will get you involved with other writers and writing period. Once your mind is focused on writing it will make all the difference in the world. And you will meet life-long friends and possibly a critique partner.

4. Just write : Write about anything. What's going on in your life, dreams of the future, list your favorite books. Whatever you want to write about. The more you practice the better. 

5. Read a lot : Take the time to read. In fact a writer's homework is reading. Look at the way the author writes. Decide what draws you in. Is it a page turner and why. Reading in fundamental for the writer. Don't let yourself come up with a bunch of excuses not to read. If you really want to write this is crucial. Another great idea - read books about writing, I suggest Steven King's book on writing, it's great!

So I hope these 5 suggestions will help you decide what to write about and what genre. I believe if this is something you feel strongly enough to reach out to another author, then this is right for you. 

Those other writers on here who went through this process please let me know what helped you. I would love to help my friend find the niche that will get her writing.

Until next week, have a great weekend. Stay warm everyone!

Love, Lisa

Friday, January 22, 2016

Nothing Worse Than Sickness Invading Your Writing Life

Through these last couple of years while writing Lore I have come to a startling resignation - no matter how hard I try to push myself to have it ready for publishing, something will stand in my way to prevent any deadline from being reached. I'm not really sure why that is, but it is getting nerve racking. 

I recently had talked to my critique partner and editor about the possibility of running out of time to have the book printed for ComicCon in June, and they have both been on board with me to rush it a little. Then what happens?! I get pneumonia!!! Of all things - pneumonia!!

I have never had it, in fact I rarely get sick except for the occasional cold, but needless to say, it is really hard to concentrate on any type of writing when you feel this awful. It took me 4 days just to critique my partner's chapter, and a friend had sent me some pages to read of her new work and I couldn't wrap my head around anything. I finally got my comments back to her yesterday and she sent it to me last Friday.

I have decided I would probably do more harm than good if I attempted to work on my book. I have the edits back from Michael, and 4 chapters of critiques from Robin that I can't seem to do, but I think I still need to give it a couple more days. 

I actually miss my book, but I don't want to screw it up further when I'm trying to fix some things. That would defeat the purpose for the hold up in publishing. But I will be back at it by Sunday, or at least that's the plan.

I'm sure all next week I'll be playing catch-up, but rest assured, I will catch up. I am determined to get this finished as soon as humanly possible, or truly what life allows me to do.

So don't give up on me. I should have the next ten chapters to Michael in 2 weeks for editing. It will happen - the good lord willin' and the creek don't rise. Lore will be published, one way or another!

Has life continuously handed you roadblocks, but you pressed on and got through it, no matter what it was? Leave me a comment and tell me your struggled journeys. I'm sure I'm not the only on who has Murphy living in the spare bedroom. 

Take care and have a great weekend, Lisa

Friday, January 15, 2016

Is Facebook And Twitter The Only Places You Market Your Book?

Onward and Upward I always say - and that goes for marketing as well. 

Hi everyone! I hope all of you are having a wonderful day in the world of book writing and reading. I know it's been a long time since I've touched on the subject of Social Media Marketing, mainly because there are so many good articles about this very subject, but they don't always follow through with ideas as they should.

I have a few that I'd like to share, if only to help you make some added sales and possibly gain a few more fans. It's not easy marketing yourself, which is essentially what you're doing, but there are ways to get yourself out there, other than the obvious - Facebook and Twitter.

True, you can build relationships on Facebook and on Twitter you can reach a lot more people, but ask yourself how it's helping out your sales? If the answer is like my own - very little - then it's time to change tactics.

I will list some of the things I've done in the past. I feel as though doing these along with Facebook and Twitter helps to give you more sales and more of a following. Obviously you have to change up and do different outreaches whenever possible to gain the maximum results.

1. Signing at bookstores. Yes, I'm sure you have been told to seek out local bookstores for signings and sales of your books. This is a good way to get your book out into your local communities. I'm afraid that unless you are traditionally published, this will only take you so far, but having your books on the shelves of these small stores and possibly doing a meet and greet should help to get a few of your novels out there. 

2. Genre Conferences. What are these exactly? Well, ComicCon would be one for me since I write Fantasy Fiction. There are all kinds of different genre based conferences out there. Google your area's conferences for the year and see which ones would be a fit for you. They're not all for fantasy fiction. I've seen them for several different genres. Romance, horror, mystery, just to name a few, so check it out. I know there are even conferences for non-fiction. I've usually done pretty good sales, even with the competition all around you, so worth the time to get a table.

3. Blog Hopping. This is also an alternative to the usual haunts online. If you can find and meet people within your genre and they allow you to post an article, or a Q and A on their blog, you never know, you might gain a few more fans. I do believe you need to do at least 5 or more to get a good result from this though, but it can get you out there more. Of course, you would have the author as a guest on your blog in return. 

4. Find large blogs - such as Bittenbybooks - that showcase authors and their books. I really enjoyed the couple of times I was on Bittenbybooks. They write an article about you and your book, offer reviews, and have you on their site for a Q and A with their followers. I had several great conversations and met some new followers that are still on my fanpage today. Just a warning though, there are sites like this that don't always follow through and they aren't free. Most charge some kind of fee and if they don't do right by you there's really nothing you can do but spread the word so that other's don't fall for their scam.

5. Do a launch party at home and online. I have thrown a launch party here in my neck of the woods, and came out with wonderful results. I always have mine at a large coffee and used book store in my area and even sold my books to people coming in for coffee. All in all, a great place to hold my launches. Plus I've gotten to know the owner and he's very accommodating. Especially since it helps his sales too. People will buy themselves a coffee or tea. I, however, have never held a launch party online. I plan to do my first one with Lore. But first the book has to be in Ebook format so that people can download it onto whatever devise they choose. 

6. Word of mouth. Last, but not least, it always helps to have a few people who don't mind spreading the word - and your business card - to people at their work, or church, or wherever they go to. My husband has sold over 50 copies of both my books. He is always been great about mentioning I'm a writer and handing out my cards. He's got a knack - plus I think he believes in me - go figure. Word of mouth is everything in this business. Having business cards is important too. Businesses you frequent, and possibly have gotten to know the owner, might be willing to allow you a spot for your cards near their cash register. Hopefully customers will grab a card on their way out and maybe go online and check out your book.

There are other great ways to get your book out there, write a blog, have your own website, write a press release, hit up your local newspapers and radio. But whatever you would like to, and feel comfortable with, do it as soon as possible. The average shelf life of a new book is about 3 - 4 months. Not much time to take advantage of sales. 

Until next Friday, I hope all of you have a fantastic weekend and keep on writing!

Love, Lisa

Friday, January 8, 2016

Do Writing Classes Really Help To Make You A Better Writer?

I recently read an article on Kindle's page in Facebook that asked this very question. Although the author of the post believed that writing classes won't make a difference, I beg to differ.

I am sure there are hundreds of thousands who want to write books, but have been out of school for years - like I was. I really needed a refresher course in creative writing and am very grateful for my writing coach. She reminded me of certain skills I had forgotten and encouraged me to continue on in my quest to write a book. 

I have seen people use the excuse that some writers have a different style of writing than others so however your book turns out it's fine. To me this says, "I'm too lazy to make sure my book is clean and tight for my readers". 

Yes, it is true there are as many different styles as there are writers, but it doesn't mean your writing will be enjoyable, or even tolerated by the reader. If they put your book down then all the work you did was for nothing. I realize your book won't be for everyone, but if it's a reader that enjoys your specific genre and simply can't continue reading due to all the creative writing mistakes, then you need a writing class.

I remember being contacted by a writer online who told me his writing was so bad when he self-published that he pulled his books and took classes to improve his writing. After revisions and cleaning up his mistakes he was so happy to have his books back on Amazon and his sales were going great. 

Just because you need help with creative writing skills doesn't mean your story isn't good though. This has nothing to do with that. It's about molding the story so that the reader will enjoy it. I always knew I had a good story, it just needed cleaned up.

So the next time someone tells you that you don't need a writing class or even a critique partner know that isn't true. Sometimes I wonder when a writer gives advice like this it's to weed out some of the competition out there. After all, there's more books published now than ever in history because of self-publishing. 

Don't get discouraged and there's nothing wrong with reaching out for help and guidance. If they are supportive writers they will always give good advice and help you along in your dream of becoming an author!

If you've ever run into this leave me a comment and let me know. I would love to hear from you.

Love, Lisa

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year!

Well, we have finally arrived! A new year full of possibilities! A hopeful and brighter outlook for success and prospering! At least that's how I'm looking at it!

Yes, we are all praying that this next new year carries with it wonderful times. And with this last year being pretty much crappy for us, I have sheer, unadulterated optimism that 2016 will be an awesome year. 

I do have a lot to look forward to already - Rick's fixing up the house we're living in, Lore will be published in the next few months, going to ComicCon with my new book, and springtime living in the Rockies. There are a few other things, but I promised not to announce them yet. Although all in all, a good start of things to look forward to.

The biggest one being Lore finally published. I really hope all of you enjoy the book. It really is two books in one since it goes back and forth between Djenrye and this side of the portal, which makes it a good sized book. But if you like to read and like longer books, than this one is for you.

The next book - Tale - shouldn't be as big, which makes it faster to be finished, but I hope once you read Lore you'll be looking forward to the next part of the series.

I do have plenty to be thankful for and a lot that I wish for my family and I. We do have a roof over our heads, food in our stomach, and a warm bed to sleep in. We have the beautiful Rockies right out side our door and so many good plans in the works. 

Thank you all for supporting me in my writing endeavor. I appreciate all of you and hope you continue along on this journey with me. I really do wish all of you the best and that 2016 is all that you have wished for and more!

I hope we all toast in the new year together!

Love, Lisa