Author Dos

To accompany my previous post, Author Don’ts, I’ve compiled a list of things you, as a new author, should do.

  1. Be nice to everyone you come in contact with. I’m not talking about every John Doe you bump into on the street, but anyone you contact through your blog/Twitter/review requests, whatever. Always make an effort to sound polite and well-meaning, even if someone is being a twit.
  2. Unplug for a while. Always set aside time to just sit down and do what it is you need to do, whether it’s editing, rewriting, writing, outlining… whatever. Procrastination is your enemy, and Facebook and Twitter are leading the attack.
  3. Write something new. I’m not talking a new manuscript, but a new idea. Relying on cliches and old tropes might get you sales, but you can’t be afraid to be an innovative author!
  4. Keep organized! This applies to everything, from editing notes to review requests. Everything saved on your computer should have smart titles and everything in a physical copy should be together in one place. Keep track of who leaves good reviews and which blogs you come across who offer to do reviews for your genre. Also keep track of your sales and expenses down to the cent, so you can finally celebrate when you’re out of the red and know what your next novel will take.
  5. Edit, edit like the wind! … or something. You don’t want to publish a first draft, or a second draft, or a third draft. Maybe a fourth or fifth draft, depending on how things are going. You want to make your novel perfect to stand out from other novels. Literally anyone can self-publish these days, so you need to establish yourself as a serious author.
  6. Keep your feet on the ground. Most likely, your first novel isn’t going to sell enough copies to allow you to quit your day job. Don’t expect your first book to be a runaway success. Or your second. Or your third. Just keep writing until you build an audience, and watch as that audience grows. It may take some time, but if you try hard, good writing will stand out.
  7. Write a good author bio. Wherever your book is, there will be an author page. You want it to stand out, not read like a formula, 3 kids + cats + Michigan = author. Mine mentions pugs because they are my one true love. If people think of me and say, “Oh, she’s the pug author who wrote that romance book” I’ve succeeded. Don’t forget to link your blog to your page, which I know for a fact can be done both on Amazon and Goodreads.
  8. Keep learning. Not all of us writers majored in English. Even for those of you who did, you don’t know everything. If you’re uncertain about a certain aspect of grammar, look it up. Read essays on character development and the precision of language. It’s important to continue growing as a writer.
  9. Read like your life depends on it, because it does. Your life as a writer, that is. Reading is the best tool we have for increasing literacy, and that’s just what you need to do to be a competent writer.
  10. Help other authors! Without the help of fellow bloggers, I wouldn’t know how to number pages properly on Microsoft Word. For someone formatting their own book, that was an issue. You can build a vast network of reviewers, cover artists, and editors just by connecting with your fellow authors, and having friends who also know your craft is invaluable.

On the topic of number ten, Marigold over on Verses Blurb is giving away free copies of her book. Just click the picture to go to Smashwords, and you can download a free copy in honor of her awesome new cover!

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Also as a bonus, 21 Tips from Famous Authors.

My Bookshelf: How to Kill Yourself in a Small Town

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Title: How to Kill Yourself in a Small Town

Author: eden Hudson

Series: Redneck Apocalypse Book 1

Genre: Fantasy/New Adult

Amazon Summary:
The holy champion chosen to save the world is enslaved to a sadistic fallen angel and losing the battle for his sanity.

The guy chosen to save the holy champion is his binge-drinking redneck brother.

So, basically, the world is screwed.

Meet the Whitney boys:
Colt—a mentally unstable holy soldier with a rapidly deteriorating hold on reality. His last plan to rid the world of evil either failed horribly or went off without a hitch. With the constant torture and brainwashing, it’s getting hard to be sure of anything but the sick attachment he’s developing to his beautiful tormentor.

Tough—a smart-mouthed honky-tonk hero trying to drown his problems in music, women, and good times. He hasn’t spoken to Colt in five years—not since their disagreement over a nymphomaniac vampire turned into a drunken slugfest—but they’re still brothers. Tough knows he can’t leave Colt fighting for his life and his sanity alone. The question is whether Tough can fight off his personal demons long enough to save Colt from the literal ones. ”

Cheers:

  • This is such a weird novel.
  • Tough might be my favorite character ever. I don’t know why, but I loved everything about him. Even when he made bad choices or fucked up, I still loved him, and that he couldn’t talk made everything better, I think.
  • The names were weird without everything being a big deal.
  • The whole fallen angels and vampires and sirens thing was done pretty casually. The author didn’t go to great lengths to info dump the whole situation in the first chapter, but instead revealed it all at a natural pace.
  • The plot and information is really deeply woven. There’s a lot going on.
  • I HATE religious themed things or anything that has anything to do with religion. I had to put down a book about fallen angels and stuff that had good reviews for that reason, because it was so heavy on the god stuff. This book somehow doesn’t come off that way to me. God was more of a plot device than someone shoving religion at you, which is how it should read when writing non-religious fiction.

Jeers:

  • It’s a cliff-hanger. *pouts* Not that I won’t be happy to buy it. I’d have bought the paperback version of this one if it was available (and if I had any money).
  • Like I said, the author doesn’t rush to explain everything. I think this might throw off a lot of readers, but in the end, the book was still fabulous.

Would I recommend it?:
If any of you happen to follow me on Facebook, you’ll see that I already did! The story is 18+ and it may offend some of you, but I suggest that everyone try it out. I don’t know if this is a permanent thing, but right now it’s free on Amazon!

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Kill-Yourself-Small-Redneck-Apocalypse-ebook/dp/B00IJJBHDI

Author’s blog:

http://whitetrashcappuccino.blogspot.com/

My Bookshelf: Hooked on the Game

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Title: Hooked on the Game

Author: C.M. Owens

Amazon description:
“Everyone has secrets that define them, a past that has shaped them, and a game they play – whether they know it or not.

Despite the fact they live next door to each other, Kade and Raya have never made an effort to speak, until a wild party, four frat boys, and… a bulldozer.

Sterling Shore was supposed to be a new start for eighteen-year-old Raya Capperton. Everything was working out perfectly until her two roommates were expelled for a prank, leaving Raya with the house she couldn’t afford on her own. Fate intervenes before she has the chance to find a new home, but she struggles to decide if it’s divine luck or the devil’s cruel sense of humor.

Twenty-one-year-old Kade Colton has his life planned out, and everything he does is an elaborate game to aid him with his future endeavors. Coming from money has made Kade’s life easy, but he wants to build his own name – his own future. The thing he doesn’t realize… when you only put forth superficial effort, you only acquire superficial friends.

Raya is torn between being amused or disturbed by Kade and his philosophy, but the drive behind his determination isn’t what Raya expected. Little by little, her hatred fades and is replaced by emotions she never would have believed she could have for the rich jerk she desperately doesn’t want to care about. Too bad you can’t force yourself not to care.

The problem is… Kade’s shiny name can’t be tarnished, and Raya has a jaded tie she can’t cut loose. Nothing about them can work, nothing about them makes sense, but nothing can seem to stop them from trying.”

My Description:
“Ember is almost forgotten as I stare into the endless pools of blue that suddenly carry such a meaningful depth instead of a guise of shallowness.”

With a line like that, you know it’s going to be a fabulous book.

Oh, wait, sorry, I was being sarcastic. That’s actually the line that made me put this book down.

Cheers:

  • I liked the part where the drunk frat boys bulldozed her house.

Jeers:

  • Literally everything else.
  • The main character is flat and shallow, making fun of all rich kids for being shallow pricks when she herself is shallow as hell for thinking that.
  • Her name is Raya. I’m sorry, but that’s a terrible name, especially for a white girl claiming to have come from Utah.
  • The entire plot set-up is preposterous. Her neighbor holds a party and random drunk guys bulldoze her house, so the neighbor’s dad forces his son to let his daughter live with him? And he owns that student house? And four cars? Rich people aren’t rich because they throw around money like idiots.
  • There are a lot of typos. I know my book wasn’t perfect, so I’m being lenient, but in the first few chapters I found multiple instances of missing quotation marks (lots of them), mixed up words, missing words…
  • Nothing that the characters did seemed genuine. Overall, it was written very poorly.

Would I recommend it?:
Even though I downloaded it when it was free, I would still say not to read it. It has a ton of good reviews on Amazon and I have no idea why. I’m thinking it’s because she has a ton of self-published eBooks available, all of which look to be of questionable quality. But hey, more power to her. She seriously needs a cover artist though (this book happens to be like her best cover).

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Hooked-Game-Sterling-Shore-Series-ebook/dp/B00KCE1K2Q/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Free Amazon Promotion Results

Books given away: 534

Free eBook ranking in my genre: 24 (may have gotten higher, but I forgot to check till the second day)

Books bought since the giveaway: 1

I think that’s pretty good for what small marketing I was able to do. I’m super excited that someone bought my book right after the promotion. I’m assuming that it was still ranked high somewhere, even though it was still ranked in the thousands of it’s genre (the non-free one).

I got a few people who said they started reading and liked it and would leave a review (plus I left a note at the end asking for reviews for anyone who finishes it) so I should get some reviews out of it. I think the promotion went pretty well, and I’ll be sure to update you guys if I get a million reviews or something.

I just got surgery on both my feet, so I might not be blogging for a few days. I was given some pretty serious pain meds, but I’m hoping not to have to use them. I hope you’re all enjoying the holiday season!

What was your experience with free giveaways?

“You’re self-published… so, like, not good enough for real publishing?”

A quick reminder that Kiss of The Fey is free on Amazon until Sunday 12/14/14!

There are typically three reactions when I tell someone I’m self-published.

  1. Oh, I’m self-published too! I understand. Let’s discuss relevant book stuff!
  2. Self-publishing? Is that different from publishing? I don’t read much.
  3. Self-publishing? So, a shitty novel that got rejected from everywhere you submitted it to?

Clearly, it’s the third reaction that’s the problem. I will admit upfront that there are lots of self-publishers whose books aren’t good enough to be published. I wrote an entire post about self-publishing fails. I’m not picking on those authors because I understand that some of them don’t really understand what it takes to be successful. They just want to be a writer, and I can sympathize with that. I’ve wanted to be a writer since 3rd grade.

In my internet searches, one article said that self-publishers flood their reviewing service and that they just can’t consider looking at them. Aside from assuming that self-published books are worse, they explain how traditionally published books “…are books that had to find an agent. And then a publisher. And then were professionally edited. And now are being professionally marketed by people with money on the line.” (source) Basically, traditionally published books have more work that go into them.

Ahem. For those of you who haven’t self-published, let me take a quick minute to explain how easy it was to self-publish. First, I wrote a novel. Next, I edited it. Then I edited again. And again. I then went out and found beta readers (sent out my novel to about 50 readers, heard back from 3). I started a blog to start getting people interested in my book. After reviewing the notes of my beta readers, I edited again. I spent hours looking for fonts and pictures for my cover, then I had to actually make my own cover.

I ordered a proof of my book to look at and realized that my cover wouldn’t work. I redid the cover completely. I ordered another proof and made sure there were no errors. I formatted my book for Kindle then released the eBook and the paperback. I looked though book blogs and asked another 50 people to review my book, of which 4 or 5 came through.

I admit that I didn’t get a degree in English or creative writing, but do I need one? I read and I’m a critical reader. I worked at my school’s writing center editing other people’s essays, so why can’t I edit my own novel? What I don’t know on the grammar end, I can Google. My covers aren’t going to be a fantastic piece of work, but they look good if I keep it simple.

To be traditionally published, the author has to write their novel. Then they probably edit it lightly before submitting to an agent. Then they submit to a publishing house. They are accepted and talk with the editor, make the changes that they need to. Someone makes a cover for them. Someone formats everything for them. Someone spends money to market their book and get reviews. These authors spend more time sitting around waiting, but they don’t personally put more work into it.

To say that self-published authors don’t put the same amount of effort into their work is an insult. Yes, there are self-publishers who can’t be assed to edit or make an effort on their cover, and I really think that it hurts the rest of us.

Contrary to popular opinion, I didn’t self-publish because I was rejected by a publishing house. I didn’t want a publishing house. There was nothing an indie publisher could give me that I couldn’t give myself, and I didn’t feel like waiting around for 6-8 months wondering if someone sitting at a desk, reading thousands of submissions, would have the patience for my novel after they read the first three paragraphs and threw it aside.

I didn’t want them to say “Congratulations! We’re putting you in print!” and then give me a list of things I had to change to make my book more appealing to the lowest common denominator of readers. I didn’t want itty bitty royalties, or the threat of “write this or else!” to keep a contract. I wanted control of my work, and as someone willing to be patient in waiting for a paycheck, self-publishing was the choice for me.

Another blogger writes, “Despite the wealth of information found online and the relative success of the self-publishing industry, the general public is still impressed by actual publication. They want to read books distributed by well-known houses and imprints… and many will turn up their noses at the idea of a self-published book… Perhaps you are convinced that you’ve written the next Great American Novel… Unfortunately, most people won’t ever recognize your brilliance because of the stigma placed on self-publishing.” (Source)

It’s clear that the problem isn’t self-publishing, but the stigma of self-publishing. As authors, we can’t decide to publish if our manuscript really isn’t ready. Can’t afford an editor? Try to find someone will to trade editing for another skill you may have, like cover editing. Talk to old English teachers and ask, or make writer friends and offer to swap. Stop buying coffee and save up to pay an editor; do whatever it takes to make your novel the best.

Before you publish, get second opinions. Do four out of five out of your beta readers say your novel is crap? Maybe it is. Lots of people want to be writers, but some aren’t cut out for it. Even if you do self-publish, chances are you won’t make a profit. Go on a free site like Wattpad or Fictionpress where you can share you stories for free and get feedback, maybe improve enough to eventually publish.

Self-publishing is real publishing. Publishing is like a popularity contest now. If you have 5000 followers they’ll consider you. If you jump onto the right trend, they’ll milk your story for all they can get. If Stephanie Meyer can get published, and people consider that real publishing, then why not my book? I admit that it’s not perfect, but it’s not the pile of crap that people make it out to be, and that’s the case for lots of self-published authors.

Posting Reviews on Amazon

Alright, Amazon has made things a little more complicated for posting reviews on books you didn’t purchase. To post a review, you have to use this link http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews?ie=UTF8&action=preview if you haven’t bought a copy. You can mention that you got a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review or just go ahead with your review, whichever. I had a friend who couldn’t find any link other than the “Post a Customer” review link on the book’s page that wouldn’t let her review it since I had given her a free copy, but there might be somewhere else on the actual page to review it that I’m just missing.

Anyways, I’m still giving out free copies of my book to those of you who will review it on Amazon/Goodreads/their blog, so just fill this out if you’d like a copy!

As soon as I figure out Smashwords and get Amazon to cooperate, I shall be back to posting normal blog posts. Until then~

Kiss of The Fey is available now!

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The release date was September 1st, but it turns out that Amazon doesn’t recognize my plans, so it’s out now! It’s available for both Kindle and paperback, and you can get it here!

You can read the preview on Amazon or right here. If you want to support a self-published author, it’s only $0.99 for Kindle!

I’m glad to finally share this with everyone. I hope you all enjoy it!

-Charlotte Cyprus