Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey

…if you live in the USA. If not, Happy Thursday! Hope these days find you happy, healthy, and fulfilled. 😀

Sometimes You Just Need to Read Your 5-Star Reviews

FiveStars

Ok, I’m contradicting myself here, but hey… we all contradict ourselves sometimes. Right? I’ve written in the past how I’ve stopped reading reviews of my books. How, the 1-star reviews are usually too harsh and the 5-star reviews too glowing. Well, I read a new review today. In fairness, it’s for my new YA fantasy, which had all of 2 reviews up until yesterday, when I discovered there was now a third. It was 5 stars and I broke down and read it. I was happy I did. I needed it.

Being a writer often comes with a certain lack of self esteem. Often self-deprecating and sometimes introverted, we’re the last one’s to want to shout about our work from the rooftops, no matter how good it might be. We’re all just waiting for some bubble to burst. That being said, sometimes you just need someone to say something nice about your stuff. You need that pat on the back. Well, I needed one at least. It’s not like my ego is going to explode. I’m not suddenly thinking I’m the next Rick Riordan. But my writing touched someone so much that they wrote some very nice things about my book. That, for me, is what being a writer is all about.

So, go ahead. You have my permission again. If you’re having a bad day, or feel like your writing isn’t what it should be, go ahead and read those 5-star reviews. Remember that you’ve reached a few readers and you’ve touched a few lives in a positive manner. Ok, now knock it off and get back to work on that sequel. 😉

What are your thoughts on reviews? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by!

Self-publishing Isn’t…

…About Giving Up

Guess what? Despite what you’ve heard, self-published authors share the same goals and dreams as traditionally published authors. We really still all want the same things; recognition of our writing from readers and colleagues. We also still secretly want to see our books on the shelf in the bookstore. But, I get the sense that, to many, self-publishing appears to be a final decision. That is, once you self publish, there’s no going back. But that isn’t true! Self publishing is an option and a valid one at that. You can self-publish and still pursue traditional publishers with your other books. Better yet, if you establish a strong readership, you may be able to pick up a publisher more quickly. Of course, if you establish a readership, you might not need a publisher. And you can always do both! Hybrid authors publish both traditionally and through self-publishing venues. It’s not about giving up. It’s about making the right choice for each book you write.

…The Easy Way Out

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: “Don’t self-publish if you think it’s easy.” It’s not. You have to do a lot of work, or farm out a lot of the work. However, all of the rewards are yours and yours alone if you do it the right way. Professional editing, cover design, internal formatting, proofreading, and marketing will cost you money up front, but it will also allow you to deliver the same kind of content you would expect to find in a bookstore. Will a traditional publisher do all this for you? Sure, but most often you’ll have to give up all of the rights to your work, a huge chunk of your royalties, AND still do a lot of the marketing yourself (unless you’re one of those amazing top 1% authors). Self publishing isn’t the easy way out, but it can be very rewarding when it’s done well.

…Pretend Publishing

We’ve all heard it, “I don’t want to self publish because I want to be a real writer” or something like it. This one gets me. This one hits where it hurts. So, what you’re saying is that I don’t have “real” readers? That the ~90,000 folks who have a copy of my book are make believe. Hmm…I’m not sure who should be more insulted? Me or my readers? Let’s get something straight. I’m a real writer. I write novels and publish them through a worldwide distributor and readers buy them… with real money. That’s what makes a writer. Not some inflated ideal of third-party validation. Have you looked at the NY Times top 100? USA Today? Amazon? All are littered with self-published authors. I bet you might have even read one or two without even noticing. So, go ahead and keep waiting to be a “real writer.” Just don’t underestimate anything about the people doing it or the quality of work being created.

…For Everyone

Lastly, self-publishing isn’t for everyone. Do your homework. Read folks like Joe Konrath, Hugh Howey, and David Gaughran. Self-publishing’s gurus have a wealth of knowledge. If you do choose to self publish, be sure to check out sites like Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors. Great resources that will point you in the right direction for freelance help and steer you clear of the scams.

What’s your self-publishing experience been like? Share with us in the comments and thanks for stopping by! 😀

Danny Dirks on Net Galley

Mulraney_PENDRAGON_BOOK1_EbookEdition

Hello there! Just wanted to drop a note here to let you know that you can download Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon for free if you belong to Net Galley. I’ve teamed up with the lovely folks over at Patchwork Press for a month on their Net Galley cooperative. Never heard of Net Galley? It’s a place where a reviewer, blogger, journalist, librarian, bookseller, educator, or member of the media might go to download free copies of the latest books. It used to only be available to publishers to post books and it’s still very expensive to have your own account as a publisher. However, cooperatives have sprouted over the last few years, and through these, self-published authors are able to throw their books into the mix. If you’re interested, be sure to check out the Patchwork Press website I linked to or just email Kellie at netgalley@patchwork-press.com. Listing prices vary, depending on how long you want it up. My book is available for the next month, at the end of which I’ll detail my experience with this new way (for me at least) of garnering reviews.

Have experience with Net Galley? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

WIP – Opening lines

I hope your writing is going well. Been a busy week, so I thought I’d just share the opening paragraph from my work-in-progress (WIP).

Father is shaking me, whispering hot stale breath in my face. Run! I grab the satchel that he’s
handing me and don’t ask twice. I am only two steps behind him. I can smell the smoke before we reach
the town walls. I can see the light from the flames casting my long shadow into the night. We are not far
away enough when the screaming begins.

You can read a little more about this NaNoWriMo project in a previous post.

Would that make you want to read more? 😉

Get your creativity flowing…: November 17th

Author Christina Paul featured all of the authors (including yours truly) who attended the Hillsborough NJ Public Library event on Saturday. Be sure to head over and check out the roll call of talented scribblers.

Get your creativity flowing…: November 17th.

Writers2Writers Episode 1

The first episode of Writers2Writers premiered this week on Princeton Community Television and apparently, that’s a channel I don’t get! But, have no fear! Thanks to the miracle of YouTube, we can watch it over and over and… okay, maybe once is enough. This series is essentially about authors helping authors. The entire episode is 27 minutes long and the segments are interspersed with fun little interviews and anecdotes. This episode covers anthologies, NaNoWriMo, and a very basic intro to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (by yours truly). My segment starts at the 20:17 mark of the full episode below. Or, you can skip further below to see it as a standalone. Enjoy! It’s really been fun being a part of this little TV adventure. I hope someone somewhere finds it beneficial to their own writing path. I’ll be sharing new episodes every Saturday morning as the season progresses.

Full episode

Just me! 😉

 

My Current WIP

Ash is the tentative title of my current work-in-progress (WIP) and the book I’m working on for NaNoWriMo. It’s definitely something new for me on many levels. It’s first person, which I haven’t touched in years. Very challenging, but fun to work with. It’s post-apocalyptic, which gives me a bit of a clean slate (boy is it clean!) to work with. It’s YA, so that’s always fun. And, lastly, it’s got elements of paranormal, which I’ve never really written. And that is a lot of fun! It’s exciting how the story is coming along and I’m looking forward to getting the first draft wrapped up by December. I’ve written about 15000 words for NaNo and have ~27,000 words altogether. I’m aiming for 65k.

So, what’s Ash about? That’s difficult to answer. On the surface, it’s a story of survival and family and love. Beneath the surface is a complex tale of humans trying to gain a foothold in a world that is no longer theirs to control. I based the theme on a simple idea: What if the Great Flood was the Earth’s attempt to cleanse itself of man? And while it slept off the energy hangover that followed, man simply flourished into the parasitic catalyst of destruction it is today. This time, when the Earth reawakens, its method is fire. 95% of the world’s population is destroyed. Everything that is flammable and some that is not, burns and melts back into the earth. Life as we know it ends. My story begins at least 100 years after The Burning, maybe more. The Earth has changed. The humans who survived band together in small villages in an attempt to rebuild. Some humans, though, have gone wild. And, some, have changed in ways that only fairy tales would have you believe. Meet 17-year-old Ash. A boy unlike any other.

While this book is set to be a stand alone, I envision the potential for additional stories down the road. But, when I finish this first draft, I have to get back to my existing series. A book no one has read is always exciting, but I have readers itching for the next books in my Danny Dirks series and my Trilogy of the Six (by Andy Rane). I must appease the masses! Ok, there’s like one or two. That counts as a mass, right? 😉

How’s your writing going? What’s your latest WIP about?