I AM FREAKING OUT

Edit: Here is the Amazon link for Kiss of The Fey!

OMG

“kiss of the fey amazon”

SOMEONE TRIED FINDING MY BOOK ON AMAZON. Granted, they may have been searching for another book, but there aren’t any prominent books out there with that name (I know, I checked before deciding on the title).

You, you person, you are the best. I know it’s not my mom, too, because I’ve been using her computer all week.

As for news for Kiss of The Fey, I’m going over it one last time to check for any extra errors. Once that’s done, I’ll be formatting it for Kindle and ordering a proof copy to review from Createspace. Then it’ll be a waiting game between whenever that’s finished and September 1st. (I’ll say once again to follow this blog for updates strictly related to publishing, so none of this nonsense).

I am just happy as a clam right now. Thank you, random person, for making my day that much better.

 

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How do you write a good description for your novel?

From what I’ve gathered, your first sentence has to draw the readers in. You need to be to the point without giving too much of the plot away. You have to make readers want to pick that book up, so you have to use strong wording (so, nothing like “yeah, and they kinda fell in love”). It should be short so that you don’t lose the reader’s interest before they even get to chapter one.

I am very bad at writing descriptions. If I plan on publishing by the end of the summer, I need to get my shit together. Here are some of my attempts.

King Xenos has a heart cold as ice from a childhood curse, so how is it that he is the only one who could save Princess Johara? Johara thinks there must be a mistake when Xenos takes her north to be his queen, but they are wed as man and wife and the rest of her life must be spent living in a gloomy castle with a cold husband.

However, things might not all be as they appear. Xenos’s passion is nothing close to cold, and Johara knows there is more to his curse than he’s telling her.
Will Johara turn to ice when pressured with the cold, or will Xenos set her heart aflame?

I think it captures the essence of Kiss of The Fey pretty well, but I don’t know if it would draw readers in.

Princess Johara expected it to be a knight in shining armor that came to her rescue, but what she got was a cursed man in black.

King Xenos hadn’t planned on saving Johara, but now that he had he would wed her and make her his queen.

Johara must go north and live in the freezing kingdom of Malum, where crime is rampant and there are no laws or order. Confined to the gloomy castle, Johara has no choice but to spend time with Xenos, who seems oddly reluctant to spend time with her.

Johara realizes that Xenos’s curse might not be what it appears. He’s keeping something from her, something that might cost him his life. Can she save him in time, or will all of Malum be lost?

Basically I’m really bad at writing descriptions. I think this is a universal thing and everyone is equally bad, but I need to get my shit together so that I have something usable to stick by my book and put on the back cover.

Here is what I had way back when this was on Fictionpress:

A cursed king seemingly as cold as the ice flowing through his veins. A princess chosen to produce an heir. As she unearths the truth behind the dark rumors surrounding her groom, will she find more darkness? Or something to set her heart aflame?

Anyone have any opinions?

If you want to support a starting author, you can follow the “Charlotte Cyprus” tab to my author blog and follow that to keep track of when I publish (there will be much fewer posts there, they’ll only be about publishing and such).

Coming Soon!

I’m wrapping things up with Kiss of The Fey! I just need to put on the finishing touches and it’ll be good to go. I haven’t decided on a publishing date yet, but it will be this summer. I just need to get it out to some pre-readers to get a general opinion of it. I’m excited to finally share this novel with the world!

 

-Charlotte Cyprus

How to Self-Publish Your Novel

This is more of a checklist than a how to guide. I’m getting closer to publishing Kiss of The Fey so I’m getting more nervous about everything that needs to be done. I was going to just make a checklist for myself, but I thought sharing it could benefit a few of you who might be going through the same thing.

1. Write a novel. This is the easiest part.

2. Edit your novel. This could involve looking over it yourself, finding beta readers, hiring a professional editor, or having your English major friend from college look it over in exchange for a trip to the spa. Whatever you do, you have to get rid of the typos, spelling and grammar errors, sort our your plot so that it flows right and makes sense, make your your characters are likeable and written properly…. everything, basically. That novel has to be perfect.

3. Get people’s opinions. Use beta readers or friends and family. I’m having my mom read it and I’m going to ask for a few people from the Nanowrimo group to read it for me. If you’re reading this and you’re interested in reading it, tell me. I’ve also asked a co-worker to read it for me but I don’t know if she actually will because she sounded a bit put off by the idea when I asked her for a favor. I don’t really have friends, so this is actually a hard part in the process to get by. Others might have an easier time, especially anyone who belongs to a legit writing group or anything. You need to do this after you edit, but before you publish in case they all agree that your hero is terrible or your plot makes no sense.

4. Decide on a penname. This might not be applicable to you if you’re just going to use your own name, but if publishing in multiple genres or writing smutty stuff you don’t want under your own name (or any reason, really) then you’re going to have to think of something. Look at other popular authors in your genre for ideas. You don’t want your penname to be Alberta Lickenhymen if you’re writing Christian Romance. Also, Google it to make sure it isn’t already an author name or someone famous that would overshadow searches for your book. It has to be unique.

5. Decide how you’re going to publish. I honestly haven’t explored this at all because I plan to use Createspace to publish through Amazon. I might put my novel on Smashwords, too, but that would be later. I want people to be able to buy a print or digital copy of my book, and I’ve already used Createspace so I know how to do it. I have to set up an Amazon author page, actually get on there, and get all the payment information sorted out too once I actually get around to publishing.

6. Get a cover. This could be simple if you’re only doing digital copies and a tad bit more complicated if doing print, because you’ll need a back cover and your dimensions need to fit the actual dimensions of the book. The easy way out is to pay someone to make a cover for you (this place does fabulous work) but I just don’t have the money for that, so I have to make my own. This means finding stock images that are free to use and learning to use editing software. I use Gimp, it’s basically free Photoshop. My covers still have to be pretty basic because of my skill level. I know what image I want to use for Kiss of The Fey, but I’m stuck on fonts, of all things. I just need to get the font right or the title won’t stand out enough.

7. Promote your book. The entire reason I started this blog was to promote my book. I’ll be changing the blog up a little closer to publishing to make it more obvious that this is the website for my books, but it’s never going to look professional. If I end up being successful I’ll be able to get a real website and everything, but until then this is what I got. It’ll be even weirder with the penname. I have to think about whether I want to create a separate blog for my penname. Beyond that, I need to somehow reach people and get them interested about my book. I think how I’m going to do this is to use the people in the Nanowrimo group on Facebook to review a free copy of my novel to try to get good reviews and ratings so that it looks more appealing on Amazon. I might ask fellow bloggers to review my novel. I don’t really know what to do, beyond that.

8. Publish your book. Just put it out there and hope that people like it.

9. Cry a little. Freak out. Get drunk. Have a meltdown.

10. Celebrate your first sale. It doesn’t matter if you only make $0.60. You’re a published author, baby. Celebrate.

I just really wanted a list that had ten things. You don’t have to freak out or get drunk if you don’t want to. I hope to publish by the end of the summer but I don’t know if that will happen with the way things are going. I could rant about why my computer is now dead to the world, but instead I’ll just say that it is and that that is a HUGE inconvenience. I think I’m going to need another one and I don’t have the money. I’m using my mom’s right now. I’m lucky it didn’t die while I was at school.

Self-publishing verses Traditional Publishing

I’ve thought about it and I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to go straight for self-publishing. I think it’s just the better choice for me. Here is the basics of what I got of the pros and cons for both sides.

Traditional Publishing:

  • Pro- They have more resources. They will makes sure your book is seen.
  • Con- Not all publishing houses accept submissions if you don’t have an agent. I absolutely cannot afford an agent.
  • Pro- You’ll get a cash advance. If your book does good, they’ll want another one. Mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money.
  • Con- It can take years to get published. Only submitting to reputable (not the vanity presses) publishers who take 6+ months to give you a yes or not who accept unsolicited submissions in my genre.
  • Pro- People will probably take you more seriously if you’re traditionally published.
  • Con- You WILL have to give up some control to editors and cover artists to please the publishers.

Self-publishing:

  • Pro- You have complete control over everything, assuming Amazon isn’t a dick about anything.
  • Con- You need to figure out how to do everything. This can include marketing, editing, formatting for both ebooks and paperbacks, and cover art. No publisher is going to help you come up with that snappy title that everyone will love.
  • Pro- It doesn’t take that much time. Once you’re finished writing you can publish it the next day. If you do well, you can start earning good money in the time that it would’ve taken a traditional publisher to say, “Okay, let’s talk about your submission.”
  • Con- There is no advance. You may only make $1.28 in ten years. You HAVE to find readers who LOVE your story.
  • Pro- Again, you control everything.
  • Con- People might not take you seriously. They might think you write terrible fanfiction about Ginny and Voldemort.

There you have it. Basically, I don’t want to wait for traditional publishing or give up control. The hardest part for me is going to be marketing. I mean, I have 169 followers, maybe ten of which read my posts semi-regularly. I don’t even have a Twitter, and I don’t know that many people. But I got this. It might take 4 years to make more than $1.28, but I got this.

I’ve also decided on using a pen name for sure for my adult novels. I even have it all figured out. It fits my genre, is easy to remember, and doesn’t (yet) show up on Google. So wooo to that. Now I just need to finish editing Kiss of The Fey. If anyone would like to give me a donation so that I can get a new computer/power cord, I would gladly accept it. I’ve typed this whole post with one hand so that I can hold my charger in with my right hand. Poo to everything.

Stop Writing Gold, Start Writing Shit

Seriously. I urge you all to put down your pens (I’m kidding, I know we all use computers and spellcheck) and stop whatever great novel you’re writing. Throw it out and never look at it again. Forget everything about writing that you were ever told. Actually, turn off spellcheck too. Turn off all possible squiggly lines that might distract you from writing.

 sm

Now, come up with a super generic character. Just go down the checklist of Mary Sue characteristics and use everything there as the base for your character. She is super hot, but she doesn’t think so. All the boys love her even though she shows no interest in her. She is flat and lifeless and will make your readers want to stab her. Have the perfect character yet? Good. Moving on.

EL James

Now you need a love interest. Assuming your MC is a girl, the love interest has to be a boy. This is mainstream romance, people. Gay people don’t exist. Neither do transexuals, or people of color. Just straight white men throwing themselves at your MC. However, since your MC has so many men to chose from, your love interest has to be special. To make him special, we’re going to make him abusive. He’s going to stalk and harass and place ridiculous guidelines for your MC to follow. That makes him so super hot, right? You don’t even have to describe how attractive he is, just say “He’s, like, so hot” and your readers will just know.

nope

Next, you need a plot. Publishers want what sells, so you’ll need to write romance. There is no other genre, only romance. This means the entire story will be boring things between your MC and your love interest. Them talking about the love interest’s boring siblings. Making sandwiches together. Going from hating each other to loving each other in the same scene. Unrealistic make-out scenes. A pointless love triangle between your MC, the love interest, and some guy you know has absolutely no chance with the MC. (If you can’t come up with a plot, just steal all the characters and elements from a wildly successful young adult series and then change all the names.)

cat

Finally, you need to take that plot and stretch it out into at least three books. Four, if you can manage. Just throw in whatever scenes you can, they don’t have to make sense. Hell, none of it has to make sense. Just write the first crap that comes to mind and shove it on in there. Now you’ve got your gold.

grumpy

This all stems from this post about how some terrible One Direction fanfic is now being published. Also on that blog is an overview of each chapter and why it is horrible.  I have just given up on life, for the moment. I don’t even have time to write right now, but all I can think is “Oh, my writing is too good for publishing, maybe I should give up on punctuation!” I’m thinking of writing a fanfic of Obama’s family and make it so Mrs. Obama is having an affair with Kim Jong Whoever (you know who I’m talking about). That should get me some attention.

Editing – You Have to Embrace Change

So you finished a story. Whether it be a novel, a short story, or some 10,000 word rambling you don’t know what to call. Congratulations! You finished. That’s great. That’s the first step.

Now, you have to take a step back and look at it. You go and fix all those your/you’re confusion or when you accidentally made your character pray to “Gid”. All those little errors that you know are hiding in there from your mad dash at writing.

You’re done now, right? All grammar errors are fixed and all typos have been abolished. You’ve finished your story! It’s all done.

WRONG. BAD YOU, IF YOU AGREED WITH ME.

There is more to a story than grammar. What if all of your sentences are too short? What if ALL your verbs have adverbs riding on their tails? What if you only say “Said” four times, and the rest of the time it was “Yelled,” “Decided,” “Expressed,” “Hissed,” “Gulped,” or “Addressed”? What if your chapters are wildly uneven or your “novel” is only 30,000 words? Or it’s a romance at 300,000?

Still, that’s just surface things. Those are writing elements that you can improve as you grow as a writer. That’s still not focusing on the content of your story.

What if your character starts loving their love interest for no reason? What if by giving your MC’s mom “cool”, you actually made them annoying as fuck? What if your plot is weak, or your character motivations just aren’t there? What if all of your characters are flat generic bores with no differences between them? What if there’s nothing realistic about your story, like a girl from a trailer park owning a brand new BMW?

Some people forget that looking at this is a part of revising your work. The problem is, you might not see it in your own story. I had to reread my novel Kiss of The Fey at least four times before realizing that my MC never mentioned her family after she was taken away from them. The plot I had set up was convoluted as fuck (I actually wrote that in the margin while revising) and it took me days to think or something that would be simpler to replace it. I cut characters and cut scenes, even scenes that had really good lines in them. (I know how it feels to write a sentence that comes out flawlessly, but if it doesn’t fit you have to take it out.) My characters started liking each other too quickly and the old warlock acted too much like a typical old warlock.

I knew I had to change a lot, and I know I’m still not done. I’m a critical reader, even on my own work. Until I can get someone to tear it apart, I know it won’t be as good as it can be. I urge everyone to find a critical reader of their own. Don’t ask for a reader to fix your spelling or grammar, and don’t ask them to help with sentence structure. Ask them to dig deep and find the structural issues in your story. John Green agrees that an editor’s job is not to correct grammar, but to help your story make sense as a whole. I know that those kinds of changes are the painful ones, like when someone tells you your main character is boring or that the plot was stupid and didn’t make sense.

Some people can do this on their own, but many become too attached to what they’ve already written and refuse to rid their story of what shouldn’t be there. Either way, you need to remember why you write. If you write for yourself, don’t bother changing anything. It doesn’t matter. If writing is what pleases you, just keep writing. However, if you plan to have your story available to a wider audience, you need to EDIT. Edit that baby so hard that it’s almost unrecognizable in the end. Don’t just change a sentence here and there, change entire scenes, entire subplots.

Listen to what others say to make your story the best it can be. If ten people say “Oh, that’s great” but one person says “They fell in love too fast” you need to examine to see if that second person is true. You don’t have to try to change your work to please everyone, but I know that some readers just don’t care about quality as much as others. I’ve had people tell me I should get truly shitty writing published. It’s the critical readers you need, whether they’re right or not, to help improve your writing.

So go forth, write, but remember the importance of editing.

 

Preparing to submit for publishing!

First off, I changed the name of my blog and my picture for wordpress, so I hope that doesn’t confuse anyone.

Secondly, I’ve prepared my manuscript for printing so that I can use all the free print credits here at school and steal all their ink. I’m paying thousands in tuition, I deserve it. I still have to do a cover letter and synopsis, but I have some time as I can’t mail it until I get home anyways, so I’ll give myself two weeks to get that done. After that, it will be off to the publisher and I should expect a generic rejection letter within 4-8 months. Way to be optimistic, I know!

Seriously though, I’m submitting to a place that gets like two trillion submissions a year. I don’t really expect anything to come of it, I just have to try. After that I might find another publisher that accepts submissions without agents and is in my genre, but most likely I’m going to self-publish. Just being realistic here. I know what I write is good, but sending it to the wrong agent within the company on an off day, or realizing that my novel has too slow of a start for them to consider it, or if they just accepted ten manuscripts in a row and they don’t have time for my shit; all of that could lead to a rejection letter. I 100% believe that getting into the market is all about luck.

You know that thing about how Rowling was rejected X amount of times but she still made it (or conversely, that Twilight is a piece of shit and it made it)? If you look at Rowling’s first two books (possibly the third one too, I don’t remember) the writing isn’t that good. The plot is fabulous, the setting is fabulous, all those writing elements are fabulous, but the books just don’t read like the later ones do. She improved herself for the last books, but the first books were probably rejected for a reason. Publishers took a look at the writing, thought the plot was okay, but ultimately didn’t think the writer was that good. Their loss, clearly. But seriously…. how the hell was Twilight published?

This is a bit of a tangential rant now. I haven’t even mentioned that it’s Kiss of the Fey I plan to publish. But yes, in summary, I plan to submit to 1-3 publishers and then if that doesn’t work out I shall self-publish.

More Covers

Image

I’m done, I’m done. I’ll pretend like this is the final cover and the final title. My friend pointed out that if it’s accepted by a publisher that they’ll probably change the title and the cover. I’m not so sure that I’ll be able to be published, but I am going to submit to at least two or three publishers before deciding to self-publish. I think I already have decided to submit my novel to one specific publisher, so my plan is to have it all edited and finished in time to send it to them before summer (mostly because when at school I can print all the submission pages with my school print credits and not pay for ink (well, not directly, I’m still paying thousands in tuition)).

But since I’ve been mucking about all day (really, all I’ve done is nap and use fake photoshop for covers I won’t use) here is an excerpt from Woman of Fire, Man of Ice. Or rather, Kiss of the Fey, now. I just don’t know.

Xenos scowled as he looked down on the beach. Orion was standing at the tide line, teetering along on his staff and looking every bit the old fool that he was. Deep wrinkles ran down his face, and his skin hung off of his bony frame. He was tall and stooped, with hands so gnarled they looked like claws. Even at a distance, Xenos could see the bright blue eyes, framed by bushy white brows, that denied all knowledge of the advancing age of the face upon which they sat. The eyes could have belonged to a newborn baby.

Scowling at the twinkle in those blue eyes, Xenos slowly led his horse down the cliffs until he reached the sand. At his command, his men waited for him above as he approached the old warlock. By the time he had ridden down the beach Orion was bent over leaning heavily on his staff, looking, apparently, for seashells.

“Why hello! The beach is always lovely this time of year, wouldn’t you say?” Orion asked, his deep voice booming. His robes were in surprisingly good condition considering his long journey. His sandals, however, were in poor condition, and Xenos wondered if he would need to give Orion his own shoes before they made it to the nearest village to buy some. The old fool was constantly inconveniencing him.

“You’ve gone too far this time,” Xenos said, riding up and dropping from his horse. Lovely indeed. He hated the beach. His kingdom of Malum was cold year round, with snow covering the ground seven months out of the year. Orion had fled so far south that they were in the kingdom of Blairford, the southernmost kingdom on the continent. Malum was the northernmost kingdom. Xenos had not enjoyed the chase, nor did he enjoy the climate. It felt as if he was swimming through the air, and already he could feel the sand from the wind getting all through his clothing. The horses didn’t like the change in weather either, and their progress had slowed the further south they’d gone. They were mountain-bred horses, meant to stay in the mountains. Xenos himself felt sure that he hadn’t been meant to leave the cold peaks either.

“Or not far enough,” Orion said. He turned and smiled at Xenos, holding a large seashell in one hand. “It is your first time here, is it not? Perhaps you should enjoy yourself.”

Xenos grit his teeth. The waves of the ocean were choppy and full of white. The sky was overcast and there was lightening in the distance. Xenos felt satisfaction in the fact that the weather was reflecting his mood rather nicely, even if that meant that there was a good chance he and his men would be caught in the storm. “Must I use force to move you?”

“No, no, of course not,” Orion said, smiling. He started handing the seashell to Xenos. Xenos almost took it before he saw the gleam in Orion’s eyes. His eyes said “yes, trust me,” but the gleam said “trusting me could be your biggest mistake”.

“What have you done to it?” Xenos asked. Old, dried-up warlock that he was, Orion still had some magic in him. In his prime, Orion would enchant various objects with very powerful spells. He could enchant a crown to induce obedience from a king’s subjects. He could make a ring that would transport the wearer to any destination he wished. Now, Orion had the ability to enchant a seashell to give a nasty shock to whoever touched it. Xenos had learned to be wary.

“Nothing, nothing at all,” Orion said unconvincingly. He shoved the seashell into Xenos’s hand. “Just a trinket, that’s all. Wouldn’t you carry it for me? It’s amazing what you can hear with it.” Nothing happened, so Xenos slipped the shell into the pouch hanging from his belt. Nearby, his horse made a noise as it studied the waves curiously. “I’ve missed the sea. It’s so pleasant here.”

“Is it? I hadn’t noticed.” Xenos looked out at the waves as the wind whipped up and sand blew into his face and hair. He shivered and ignored the look Orion gave him. Even there, he was cold. He had never gone so far south because he had wanted some hope left that the heat could warm him. Yet at a temperature that would make any other man sweat, Xenos and his frozen heart were completely unaffected due to his curse.

“So, have we any plans?” Orion asked pleasantly as Xenos lifted the old man up to his own horse.

“Yes,” Xenos growled. “We’re going home.”

“Oh, certainly not.” Orion shook his head. A lone colorful bird flew overhead, crying out and drawing Xenos’s attention. The south was a strange place.