Tag Archives: self-published

July 2016 in Review

In Review July

Last year, I decided that I would post my accomplishments for the month and what goals I hope to achieve in the following month.

In July, I found that while I got a lot done on Dead Magic, every other goal I had made in June suffered.

What I accomplished in July:

  1. Wrote 22,000 words of Dead Magic (total 82k)
  2. Wrote 3,500 words of “The Errant Earl”
  3. Wrote the “final” blurbs for DM and “EE”
  4. Read 2 books:
    1. Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (4.5 stars)
    2. How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis by Bryan Cohen (5 stars)
    3. I also have 3 other books partially read that I’ll finish next month
  5. Published the Italian translation of The Earl of Brass (not yet on Amazon)

What I hope to achieve in August:

  1. Finish writing Dead Magic
  2. Start editing Dead Magic
  3. Finish, edit, and publish “The Errant Earl”
  4. Write 6 blog posts
  5. Publish the Spanish translation of The Winter Garden
  6. Read 4 books

I can’t believe I’m nearly done with Dead Magic. I have less than 10k words left to write, and then, it’s onward to editing. It’s always amazing to me how quickly the words come once I’ve gotten past the middle of the book. Now, if only I could have monthly word counts this high from the start.

Later this week, I’ll share the final blurbs for Dead Magic and “The Errant Earl” along with the covers for both. I’m so excited to be fleshing out bits of the series and finally finishing up Dead Magic. I think DM is one of my favorites thus far. It’s dark and creepy, but beneath it all is an undercurrent of love that balances it out. “The Errant Earl” is a short story with some backstory about how Eilian and Patrick became the dynamic duo bromance they are now.

The downside to writing so much is that everything else suffers. I don’t read much, I don’t write blogs, and every other outside activity takes a backseat. Since I’ll be finishing both projects within the next two weeks (hopefully), I’ll be able to read again and actually enjoy life a little before I throw myself into editing.

I keep thinking about how being an indie author really is the best course of action I could have taken.I love being able to publish what I want, when I want in whatever genre I want. If I wasn’t indie, could I be writing side stories for my readers and working on semi-related novellas? I don’t know, but I know that where I am right now is a good place for me.

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Book Review: Write. Publish. Repeat.

wpr cover

Title: Write. Publish. Repeat.: The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-publishing Success by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant with David Wright

Genre: Writing, non-fiction

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

TL;DR: Write. Publish. Repeat. is an indie author’s dream in terms of a straight-forward how-to book for marketing, building an audience, and creating a writing empire.


I love Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant. This is the first of their books that I’ve read. I picked this one up on a recommendation from several other authors, and I am so glad I did.
Write. Publish. Repeat. is an extensive book, covering the self-publishing/publishing as an industry, how to look professional, what to do, what not to do, marketing, and probably every other topic under the sun that an indie author could want to know about.
The information is laid out in an easy to follow manner with each section of the book being devoted to a certain topic, and while the authors say there may be some back-tracking and double covering of topics, I didn’t notice. The tone is conversational and most importantly common-sensical. Platt and Truant pull from their own experiences as indie authors as well as those of their friends and fellow authors to illustrate how to an author can make it in the industry by achieving certain manageable goals. The book certainly isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme or a sensationalized how-to-make-millions-with-a-shitty-but-marketable-book book. Truant and Platt don’t play that way, and they remind the reader of that.
Write. Publish. Repeat. relies on an author understanding a few finer points: be adaptable, work hard, and be yourself without being an asshole because no body likes those.
People who should read this book: Indie authors of any range (new, moderately successful, successful, thinking of possibly maybe publishing) and traditionally published authors who need to learn how to market their book professionally or would like to know about more publishing options or would simply like to build their brand. I’m thinking especially of authors published by small presses.
People who shouldn’t read this book: people who want fame and fortune with one book, people who aren’t in it for the long haul, quitters, whiners, literati types, and people who can’t deal with occasional profanity.
Write. Publish. Repeat. is an indie author staple. The advice within in it is straight-forward, doable, and for the most part, painless. If you’re even thinking about going indie, read it.

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Diversifying Distribution

d2d

For the past year, I have had my books on only Amazon/Kindle because I wanted to be enrolled in their program KDP select, which allowed me to run sales and for others to download my book via Kindle Unlimited, which gave me a certain amount if the reader read past 10% of my book. Honestly, I have no complaints about being strictly on the Kindle (along with paperbacks), but I know that many of my readers do not use a Kindle.

This is the main reason I decided to branch out. I didn’t want to limit my audience to my own preferences, so I decided to look into services that distributed to other ebook servces. There are basically two choices: Smashwords and Draft2Digital.

When I first published The Earl of Brass, I decided to get my manuscript professionally formatted, so I could upload it to Smashwords. I paid less than $50 for formatting, but despite being professionally formatted, Smashwords still wouldn’t release the story to iBooks or put it in their premium catalog, which is reserved for perfectly formatted manuscripts. No matter how many times I or the formatter tinkered with it, it still wouldn’t go through. I gave up and pulled my manuscript off Smashwords and stayed exclusively on Kindle. I was frustrated and not particularly willing to try to branch out again despite possibly finding a wider audience. At that time, Smashwords was the main deal because they branched out to the most services, but since then, Draft2Digital has stepped up as a viable alternative.

I’m trying not to make this a PSA about how wonderful D2D is, but I have to gush over how much easier it was to use than Smashwords. Instead of having to feed my manuscript through a “meat grinder,” which usually kicks it out telling you what is wrong with the formatting of the manuscript, D2D allows you to simply upload a word document, and they convert it to other formats. No following a 200 page long style guide, no meat grinder, no putting my head through the plaster with frustration. I was in heaven. It would still be prudent to use a cleanly formatted word document (12 pt font, times new roman or garamond, 1.15 spacing, and justified), but the process was so easy. At first, I was suspicious. How great could it be if it was that easy and they only take a small royalty? Well, they may not distribute to ALL of the sites Smashwords does, but it distributes to these major distributors: iBooks, Nook, Scribd, Kobo, Tolino (big in Germany, which has a high English-speaking population), and the Page Foundry. I uploaded The Earl of Brass on the 9th, and by the 10th, it was on all six of the platforms. It even automatically created a table of contents for my book by searching it for the distinctive bolding and font size I used on chapter headers. It was fantastic.

Okay, well, I lied when I said I wouldn’t gush. The downside is that unlike Smashwords, D2D does not have a centralized store/directory where I can directly sell all of my books in epub or mobi format. Hopefully in the future they will open that service. One of the things I love is that they are still expanding their distribution channels and website, so who knows if D2D will catch up with Smashwords in terms of distribution channels. For now, I’m content to have my books out on seven different channels along with paperbacks.

Some may wonder what the point is of diversifying platforms when Amazon has such a high percentage of the market? Well, I want my book in as many readers’ hands as I can, and I can only do that if I hit most of the major platforms. More than likely, Amazon will still be where the majority of my sales are, but I know several people personally who use a Nook or Kobo. Plus, I want my books to be perceived as professional, and while Amazon is great, a professional author should also have their books on other platforms (or at least that is what I think). I want people to be able to read my book and not have to download a special app to do it.

Over the weekend, I plan on uploading The Winter Garden as well, but it doesn’t faze out of KDP Select until the June 12th. By Sunday, it should be live on iBooks, Nook, Scribd, Tolino, the Page Foundry, Kobo, and Kindle in ebook form. If you’re interested in picking up a copy on these new platforms, please head to the tab at the top of the page marked Buy Links where all of the ebook links have been updated for The Earl of Brass and will shortly be updated for The Winter Garden as well.

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The Winter Garden has Launched!

wg proof 1kindle wgThe Winter Garden, book two in the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series, has officially launched in ebook or paperback, which can be purchased here.  The ebook is still 99 cents for a limited time.

Okay, now that the shameless self-promotion is out of the way, I want to thank everyone who pre-ordered a copy or will buy one in the future. Writers are nothing without readers, and I have been made to feel loved by my readers and appreciate everyone and anyone who has ever asked when the next book was coming out or how they could help me promote my work or left a review. Continue reading

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Advertisement and the Awkward Authoress

Marketing has never been my strong suit.  I always worry about where the line is between good marketing and being absolutely obnoxious. Typically I air on the side of caution and not get on my box with a megaphone and shout about my book like a sideshow barker, but on Sunday and Monday, my book was on sale for 99 cents and I went to town advertising.  I convinced my boyfriend/in-house artist to create an ad banner for me along with a new banner for my Facebook and Twitter pages.  I also paid $15 to have the Ereader News Today advertise it in their email newsletter and website.  From Sunday morning to mid-day Monday, I was hustling.  On both of my pages, I posted the advertisement banner along with a little message saying to please share the picture and spread the word, and guess what, people did! Continue reading

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You Are What You Read

tbr pile oct 30What do your reading choices say about you?  Since beginning graduate school, I have been turning this question over in my mind as I listened to others in my classes mention who their favorite authors are.  Most of them are people I have never heard of or read but are rather famous in the contemporary lit world.  Typically, I hold my tongue and don’t mention what I read for fear of being ridiculed or looked down upon.  This led to a greater question: why do people read certain books?

Do people (especially those in academia) read for fun or do they read certain books because they feel it is expected of them?  As I continue my journey through the MFA in Creative Writing program, I find myself wondering what my professors read, especially when they are writers or poets as well.  What we read automatically becomes ingrained in our beings and eventually comes out in our writing. I can attest to the fact that when I read a book I love, I am inspired to write and often I will lean toward that genre or some theme found in that work.  If I read a book I had to drag myself through, it typically slows my writing to a crawl.  Oddly, while I didn’t love reading Virginia Woolf for the most part, her works had a huge influence in the way I deal with close narration and “head hopping” as others call it. Continue reading

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Cover Reveal for The Winter Garden: Book Two of the Ingenious Mechanical Devices

Real-Winter-Garden-Cover-Final-front

Well, my second novel finally has a cover! I am beyond excited to present the cover for The Winter Garden: Book Two of the Ingenious Mechanical Devices. The illustrious Javier Ruiz has created a lovely cover for the second time in the style of a paper theatre.  The book is slated to be out in early 2015, but it already has a Goodreads page found here.  The synopsis is as follows: Continue reading

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The Winter Garden: Book Two of the Ingenious Mechanical Devices

first line

The Winter Garden: Book Two of the Ingenious Mechanical Devices is only chapters away from completion (apart from editing), so I decided it was time to post the blurb and hopefully build up some hype.  Here is it:

Emmeline Jardine and Immanuel Winter are only months away from achieving their dreams, she will enter debutant society and he will receive a degree from Oxford, but a day at the Thames transforms their lives forever, intertwining their souls and putting them into the path of a predator.

Ripped from the comfort of the world they know, Emmeline and Immanuel are thrust into a struggle for their survival. Even though they escape, Immanuel is forever altered by his time in captivity. Gradually he begins to settle into a normal life as the coroner’s assistant until he comes face to face with the man who nearly destroyed him.

Unaware of what he is capable of, Emmeline is infatuated with the dashing madman and follows him deeper into a world of corrupt mediums. When a murderer masquerading as a monster begins to hunt beautiful Spiritualists, Immanuel knows the key to stopping him lies within the girl who shares his soul.

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The Writing Process

One of the members of my Facebook author page asked if I would do a post about my writing process.  After I saw it, I sat back and scratched my head.  What was my writing process?  Like many things, when you live with it, it isn’t nearly as obvious as it is to others.

 

As with all writing, it begins with an idea.  Sometimes it comes as a smattering of dialogue or description while other times it comes as a topic or idea.  For The Earl of Brass, it began with the idea of a man needing automaton parts in order to survive, but this rapidly evolved into a man with a missing arm who needs a prosthesis.  In the beginning, I typically free write and put down anything that comes to mind.  Sometimes it becomes the first chapter of a novel while other times it gets completely rewritten or discarded.  Once an idea beginnings to take form, I make an idea map or an outline of what events will happen in the coming paragraphs.  For flexibility’s sake, I usually only plan five or so chapters ahead at any given time.  Typically, my characters are wayward and do what they want, so I need to alter my plans to fit them.  Forcing an agenda on my characters never goes well.  Sometimes when I have ideas but am not sure what order they should be in, I make index cards and lay them out.  I will move them around and ask my best friend/beta reader and see what she thinks to ensure it’s logical to others. Continue reading

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The Earl of Brass is IndieReader Approved!

IR Approved Sticker 2I awoke today to the most glorious news: The Earl of Brass was given a 4.5 star rating from The IndieReader, which means it has been given the distinction of being IndieReader Approved!  You can check out the review here.

 

Since 8:30 this morning, I have been doing my happy dance and texting, messaging, and bugging anyone who would listen that my novel made the list of approved books.  For an indie author, this is quite a big deal.  The IndieReader is one of the larger, more prestigious book reviewers for Indie and self-published books, and their reviews allow readers to find the gems in indie fiction as well as give indie authors the credit they deserve.  For a self-published author, marketing and getting your book recognition is an uphill battle.  Often reviews like Kirkus, are rather pricy for the average indie writer, but the IndieReader offers a moderate price with a thorough, balanced review.  Being IndieReader Approved is nothing to sneeze at.  Plenty of books they review do not reach the 4 to 5 star level, and the reviewers aren’t afraid to say the book is in need or editing or is lacking in certain areas. 

 

The Earl of Brass is my first literary child, and I definitely feel like a proud parent today.  Here is a sniplet of the review that made me particularly happy and I think captured the spirit of the novel:

The novel proceeds in a satisfying series of complications as Lord Sorrell and Ms. Fenice work together as archaeologists. The plot takes some unexpected turns and, while not overburdened with action, the events are well-paced and follow logical choices of the characters. The depictions of everyone, from London socialite to field laborer, showed distinct personalities which made THE EARL OF BRASS a humorous and delightful book to read.

Thank you, Claire L. Deming for reviewing my book (no, I do not know any of the reviewers, but her name is listed at the bottom).  I am honored and ecstatic that my debut novel is now on the IndieReader Approved list. 

 

Once again, the rest of the review can be found here.

The Earl of Brass can be purchased here:

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