Category Archives: Publishing

How I Got My Writing Groove Back, by Lara Schiffbauer

Lara Schiffbauer Finding MearaWhen I finally released my first novel, Finding Meara, out into the world, I thought I’d feel all kinds of wonderful, warm-fuzzy feelings, joy, exhilaration, excitement. Something!

The reality? I felt nothing. Not a darn thing – be it a good feeling or a bad feeling. I didn’t even feel relief that it was done.  This normally wouldn’t have been much of a concern, but I’d read that a self-published author needs to get lots of work out – fast – so I was feeling pressure to get my writing mojo back. The conundrum? I couldn’t even enjoy the fact that I’d actually published my first book. How on the earth could I get excited to start the second?

Upon the advice of fellow self-published authors, I decided to cut myself a break and not freak out (as I have a tendency to do) but, at the same time, not writing at all wasn’t an option for me either. I needed to find a way to ease myself back into finding the fun in creative writing.  I concluded a visit to my writing roots was in order.

While I’m not good at it, poetry is one form of writing I’ve always enjoyed. A Sunday or two ago, I found a poetry form called a Sevenling in Writer’s Digest and slipped into the life of a unicorn being chased by a hunter. While it’s not a very good poem, I had finished under an hour. I’d played with words and lost myself in another world. There are many poetry prompts on the web, but I like Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides from Writer’s Digest. My friend and poet, JoAnn J.A. Jordan, has daily prompts and photos on her blog which are fun to draw inspiration from as well.

I began my writing journey creating short stories, and moved into flash-fiction because you can complete an entire story in a short period of time. It’s actually hard to write a good flash-fiction story, and I just happened onto a couple of wonderful blog posts about how to write effective flash-fiction and short-stories around the same time I began drawing a story together. It must have been fate. The first is a three-part series called “How to Write a Sci-Fi Flash Fiction Story” by Lydia Netzer. Although it’s geared toward Sci-Fi, the information relates to any flash-fiction story you might want to write. Another article I found helpful, which I actually read long ago, is “Tripping the short fantastical: some tips for writing short fantasy and supernatural stories” by Sophie Masson on Writer Unboxed.

Finally, I read Million Dollar Outlines by David Farland, and became so excited to put the tips I’d learned into use that I started to have that itchy, get-writing feeling. Yay! So, that’s how I got my writing groove back. Tonight I’m going to work a little on the second of the Adven Realm Adventures. Now that my motivation is back, hopefully the muse will come for a little visit too!

Lara SchiffbauerLara Schiffbauer is a writer, licensed clinical social worker, mother of two, wife of one, and a stubborn optimist.  She loves Star Wars, Lego people, science, everyday magic and to laugh.  You can find Lara on several different social media sites, with all links listed on her website, laraschiffbauer.com. Her debut novel, Finding Meara, a contemporary fantasy, released in March and is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iTunes.

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A Brave New World, by Pamela S. Wight

the-cobbe-portrait-of-william-shakespeare-570x732[1]O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is!

O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.

William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–205

Dare I quote Shakespeare while in the same sentence mention Indie Publishing, e-publishing, independent authors, self-published writers, Kindles, Nooks, I-pads, and more?

Darn right I dare.

Shakespeare was a daring writer, pushing convention, taunting enemies and hypocrites, creating love poems between lovers who should never ever be together.

Aldous Huxley used Shakespeare’s quote for his famous 1932 novel A Brave New World. Huxley was inspired by the novels of H.G. Wells (believe it or not, my favorite author when I was in middle school!) and Wells’ imaginings of the future, which tended to be positively gleeful of what was to come. Remember The Time Machine? War of the Worlds? The Invisible Man? Fabulous books for a young girl with an immense imagination.

Okay, yes, somehow I’m connecting the dots between Shakespeare, H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, and Pamela Wight, self-publisher.

See my rueful smile here?world_on_fire_600400[1]

But we are living in a Brave New World right now. A century from now, readers and writers and publishers (if there still are any) will cite the beginning of the 21st century as a landmark time of changes in the way we read. In the choices of how and who we read.

As of 3:03 the afternoon of Tuesday, January 8, 2013, I became a published writer.

I didn’t use an agent. Nor a publisher.

I created my own publishing company – Near. Perfect. Press. (The company is very NEAR, in my own computer; the idea of creating and sharing with the world in my own time and my own space is PERFECT). And when I PRESS the keyboard, I can create words and characters and worlds and then, press, send it out to you and you and you.

A Brave New World

That’s not to say it’s easy, self-publishing, pushing the boundaries of the way things always have been, always were ‘meant to be.’

I toiled for years on my just-published book, The Right Wrong Man. My main character Meredith developed over the page (printed and digital) through verbs and nouns and metaphors; through research on the police station in St. Thomas and the biting habits of the tarantula; through reading endless articles throughout the U.S. about drug cartels and the illegal trafficking of meth. Oh, and through draft 2 and draft 22.

And now I’m ready to share my novel, my work of inspiration and imagination, my years-long affair with Meredith and Parker and Gregory and the story of The Right Wrong Man.

Please join me in mythCAPA27HA

brave  

new  

world,

which has such wondrous and beauteous people in it.

***

pamela wight The Right Wrong Man coverThe Right Wrong Man, a novel of romantic suspense. The story follows Meredith Powers, who despite a sedate life in Boston, suddenly becomes entangled in drug trafficking, kidnappings, murder, and romance in the Caribbean. pamela wight

Pamela Wight is a published writer and editor.  Her writing transformed when she shifted from technical, medical articles to novels full of suspense and romance. She fulfills her need to write often and to write well by teaching creative writing classes in Boston as well as the San Francisco Bay area, and has written/edited/published a Zine of short stories and poems.  Belonging to the Women’s National Book Association/SF and the California Writers Club keeps her connected with other writers crazy for their craft. Her novels include The Right Wrong Man and (soon-to-be-published) Twin Desires, and in progress, Life After Kids and The Inn of No Regrets. Pamela highlights her passion for writing and living in her blog, Rough Wighting.

Connect with Pamela S. Wight on her blog, Rough Wighting, on Twitter, and on her Facebook page. See Pamela’s Poetry Week guest post, Snow Falls.

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What Do You Want to Know About Publishing? by Heather L. Reid

It’s Personal: What Do You Want to Know About Publishing?

by Heather L. Reid

When I asked Karen what she wanted me to tackle for my guest post today, she said, “Give me something that will help others.” That sounds easy enough, right?

I’ve been through the trenches and come out with a two-book publishing deal. I should have the answer. Sage advice should spring from my fingers and onto the page. I must possess some magic knowledge that will help others get from aspiring writer to professional, right?

It’s not that simple. My knowledge revolves around my experience, my journey, what worked for me. (You can read about how I landed my two-book deal here.)

Truth is, every bit of practical wisdom I thought to impart has been rehashed a million times by writers greater than me and would only help those who were seeking the answer to that particular question. There’s plenty of practical knowledge I could have chosen to blog about, but how do I know if any of it will help you? How do I know which bit of wisdom you need to hear today?

Each of you have different needs, different questions you want answered, personal to your journey and personal to you. What inspires you might be different than what inspires me. What’s helpful to one person might be repetitive for someone else.

Maybe you’re new to writing and have questions about basics. Or you might be in query hell, fed up with rejections and if one more person gives you query advice you might punch them in the nose. On the other hand, maybe you’re debating pros and cons of traditional publishing verses self-publishing. Maybe you’re struggling with revisions, characterization, plotting, time management, or wondering if you should give up on your dream. Maybe you need to hear a success story to give you hope.

So what do I have to offer today? Me, for what it’s worth. What would help you? What do you want to know about the process, about publishing, about my journey, or about me?

Have a question about queries?

Want to know what life is like post book deal?

How long it took me to get published?

What men wear under their kilts?

How to write great dialogue?

Want my recipe for stuffed peppers?

Where the idea for Pretty Dark Nothing came from?

How to balance a job and publishing deadlines?

Why I’m a Joss Whedon fan and still grieve over the cancellation of Firefly?

Don’t be shy. Ask me anything. Seriously. I’m not a vampire, I don’t bite.

***

Heather L. Reid eats mayonnaise on her fries, loves men in kilts, and met her husband playing Star Wars Galaxies online. This native Texan now lives with her Scottish hubby in South Ayrshire, Scotland, where she wanders the moors in search of William Wallace. She has been a guest blogger on Writer Unboxed and is founder of a new blog for writers Hugs and Chocolate. Her debut young adult Paranormal,PRETTY DARK NOTHING, will be released on April 23, 2013 by Month 9 Books. She loves to meet and help other writers and readers so feel free to say hello via her website, Twitter, FB, and Goodreads.

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Creep Into the Mind of a Book Cover Designer, by Linda Boulanger

Thank you, Karen, for inviting me to your monthly event and allowing me to share how I go about creating great book covers – information that may help your blog readers design their own covers or know what information to pass on to a designer and why.

As an author and book cover/interior layout designer, I’ve designed covers across many genres, though the process always begins the same way.

1. Gather information about the story

2. Consider elements that grab

3. Search for images that might work

4. Design the cover

Information Gathering

One of the most important aspects of designing a cover is to truly capture the story. My “tag” is: Your Readers’ First Glimpse of What’s Inside. When an author contacts me I immediately start asking questions. There’s a whole list but the information that helps me the most:

-Do you have a synopsis/blurb?

-Do you already have a “vision” or idea in mind?

-Are there particular covers you’ve seen that you are fond of/prefer?

-Any particular point in the book that comes to mind that would make a reader say “aha!” when they read the book?

Without either sitting down to read your book or getting inside your head, I am never going to know your story as well as you do. And the reality of either of those two things happening before I design a cover are … well, one is impossible and the other is improbable. You decide which is which. Same goes for potential readers. They don’t know your story yet so your cover needs to convey what they need to become interested.

Elements That Grab

Next, think about elements that attract. With millions of books being offered at the press of a mouse button, your book needs an eye-catching cover (and notice how small they are when you first see them – hint: give your cover the postage stamp/thumbnail test to make sure it stands out little as well as big). One of the major elements often used are eyes. Why? They help convey emotion. Look at the six covers I’ve included and see what each one tells you about the stories, as well as where your eye goes first. Was it to the eye(s)? That’s why we use them. However, eyes are by no means the only attention grabbers so study other covers in your genre to see what they’re using and what you like.

Images

Where do the images come from? The best place to get images are stock images sites. I like the user agreements and ease of use provided by the following:

Dreamstime – Free and Royalty Free for a small fee

BigStockPhoto – Royalty Free for a small fee

Stock Free Images  – Offers truly FREE images

If you find an image someplace else, check for usage rights. Free and Royalty Free are not the same so don’t just grab something off the web and try to use it or you could find yourself paying hefty fines (that goes for blog posts and other internet usage as well). As a rule, you purchase the rights to use a royalty free image without having to pay each and every time you use it up to a certain number sold. That’s what it means on the sites I have listed and why I like to use them.

Also begin to look at images in different ways. Look at the Creepy Title covers shown. The one in the middle – using 100% FREE images from the Stock Free Images site – is a simple combination of the two pictures shown on the right. Would you have thought to put them together? Learn to rethink as well as considering additional elements that might be added. I took my girl and kitty images, added elements from some of the covers above, moved things around, and created something completely different. Does it work? Maybe. Maybe not. The key is not to be afraid to try.

Design a Great Cover

While I can’t teach you how to design, hopefully some of the things I do will either help you with your own design or when you seek out a designer. Regardless of who creates it, the end results should be the same:

-Arm yourself with a cover that will jump out at potential readers from the multitude of offerings.

-Provide a cover that shows the reader what they’ll find inside.

-Work for a cover you love and are proud to hold up and say “This is me! I wrote this story. Want to read it?”

If you have questions or need help, I’m never too far away from my laptop.

***

Linda Boulanger

Finding Linda:

Tell-Tale Book Covers – Cover Design Site

Author Site

Tell-Tale Book Covers on Facebook

Email: TellTaleBookCovers@gmail.com

FreeStockImages.com images used:

http://www.stockfreeimages.com/3890369/Gothic-make-up.html# © Dancer01 | Stock Free Images &Dreamstime Stock Photos

http://www.stockfreeimages.com/5250691/Scary-cat.html © Everyfinn | Stock Free Images &Dreamstime Stock Photos

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