Archive | June, 2012

Guest Post: Baby Steps for New Authors by Emerian Rich

28 Jun

Emerian Rich is back today with more help for writers:

 
I’ve spoken to hundreds of authors over the years… new, old, mid-career, famous, struggling, you name it. One thing we all have in common is that we were all once where you are. We know how it feels to submit your first work and wait with high hopes by the mailbox (or email inbox) for that special editor’s reply. We know about declines and how sometimes they seem so crippling, you don’t even want to continue. The other link that many new writers have is they are timid and shy about their careers and marketing the “way the pros do it”. Well here are some Baby Steps to get you started.
 
1. Convince yourself you are an important writer and have something valid to say. If you haven’t read my other post “Three Ways New Authors Sabotage Themselves”, do it now. Once you’ve accepted your fate as a writer and know you have no choice but to follow your dreams, it will be easier to chip away at making those dreams a reality.

2. Start a List. Lists are your best friend for brainstorming promotion ideas. Carry a little notebook with you to brainstorm while waiting in lines, at the doctor, sitting in the car wash, or while stuck at stoplights. Use every spare moment of the day to work on your craft. Remember, you are a writer. Think of it as a real job. A job you enjoy and will succeed at if you keep working on it. Plus, since most of us have day jobs to pay the bills, this daily brainstorming will keep you inspired t!
o continue your writing career and less frustrated with day-to-day mundane tasks.

3. Research your genre and other authors that you admire to find places you might list your book or things you may provide on your own website to draw readers to your site. It is fine to review or discuss other writer’s work on your own blog in hopes of drawing a crowd of those sorts of readers to your blog, but make sure you are always respectful to the other writers you are speaking about. Also, chat with visitors to your blog. The longer discussions you have, the more people may pitch in. Make sure these are subjects you like and can geek out on yourself. It’s okay to have fun!

4. Schedule time to work on your craft every day. If for some reason your life is too crazy for everyday, make it every week, but do it. Don’t let other things get in the way. Don’t cancel and don’t let others make you discount the importance of your writing ritual. Think of it as a job. If you were at work, you wouldn’t necessarily call in because you friends wanted to meet for cocktails.

5. Network with other writers. Even simple discussions in a Facebook group could lead you to a contact who knows other contacts who will help you advance your career. Don’t go into the conversation with the goal to use people to get ahead… just go and chat. Let the networking happen naturally. If you act like a spammer, bot, or used car salesman,!
you will be tuned out automatically. You also need to tend to your social needs. We all need to feel like we have partners in this crazy career. Count on others online to fulfill that need if you can’t or don’t feel comfortable chatting with writers in person. Try to go outside your comfort level and chat about everyday events in your writing career with others who are going through the same thing.

6. Don’t get discouraged. We’ve all heard, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Get back on the horse and keep at it till you’ve amassed lots of tries. At least one out of three will be productive. When you aren’t good at putting yourself out there and communicating with people you don’t know, it may seem debilitating, but keep telling yourself it will get easier, and it will.

7. Start a blog to practice writing to your future readers. Who cares if no one reads it right now? If they buy your book and start reading it, they will go back to read your old posts. They will be interested because your book interests them and soon you will have someone to geek out on your book with that loves it just as much as you do. Readers love to see where an author started and how far they’ve come. Don’t deny your fans the experience of traveling with you.

8. Be good to people. Don’t be a jerk. Treat them as your friends, because hopefully they will be. I’m not!
saying invite them over to your house for pizza, but you can be personable to them. Some of my favorite writers respond to their fan Facebook messages or Tweets. The more accessible to the readers, the more they will be interested in your work. You don’t have to put on a fake personality (unless that is your shtick) to gain readers. People respond to real. Just like they tell us to write what we know, you should chat about what you know and what you like.

Baby Step Sample Plan
Now you can make your own schedule that works for you, but here I have laid out a sample plan for those of you who don’t know where to start. I have broken it into two groups. Those that have something to pitch and those that are still working on their craft but haven’t published anything yet.

For the new writer who is has nothing to sell yet, but is working on it.
For those of you not done with something to send out, keep writing and finish it. You will never get published without a complete project to pitch when the time is right.

  • Week 1: This week, scout out 3-5 places where you can link in to writers or people who enjoy what your book is about. Example: Writer chat groups on Facebook, forums discussing your book topic, blogs that are writing articles interesting and connected to your book.
  • Week 2: Start a blog this week. You can get one free at WordPress.com. Start posting at least weekly about your research. You don’t have to share story plots and details, just share what you are researching. Example: “Romantic poetry. A character in my book is a poet. Thankfully I don’t have to be one, but here is what I’ve learned about romantic poetry in the 19th century.”
  • Week 3: Work on your writing this week. Really push. If you have an hour, make sure it’s a tough, no breaks, no interruptions hour! Get something down on paper.
  • Week 4: Research this week. Look up your top 5 favorite writers websites. Take notes. Write down what you like and don’t like about their websites. Find things that they have done to pitch their work. Make more lists! Brainstorm ideas to push your brand as an author. Example: Are you writing a book series about frogs who fall in love? Ask yourself… what will the website look like? If you were sitting at a fair booth, what would you have on the table as freebies? Toy frogs? Lily pads?
  • Week 5: Plunge in this week. Pick one story/novel you are going to pitch and research the places you might sell it. Are you going to self publish? Start charting out the steps. Will you get an editor? What will the cover art be like? Do you need a formatter? How much of a budget do you have?
  • Week 6: Make sure your social media is in check.!
    Do you have a Facebook page? Do you have a Twitter account? Send out messages, make friends, search for people with like interests.

For the new writer who is ready to pitch.
For those of you already published, but are having a hard time drumming up the business you’d like. It is presumed that you have already done all the steps above.

  • Week 1: Scout out 3-5 places where you can place an ad or message about your book without spamming. There are sites that will list you willingly.
  • Week 2: Take this week to build your exposure on Facebook and Twitter. Share your life.  Not intimate details, but pick something you like to talk about and talk! Example: If your book is about fairies, post links about fairies. Tweet: If I had fairy wings, they would be purple. How about you?
    *I suggest that unless you are someone huge like J. K. Rowling, you stick with the normal personal Facebook profile. Making yourself a celebrity before you truly are one by creating a “public figure page”, distances you from fans and makes the readers feel more removed from you. Once you hit the too many friends amount, then you can think about upgrading.
  • Week 3: Work on your sequel this week. !
  • Week 4: Research to find 3-5 reviewers. Most take digital copies now. Email and make plans to send out your book with the understanding that reviews can take months to post. You are laying the groundwork and hopefully setting up a place where you can return and submit your sequel.
  • Week 5: Find 2-3 friends or other writers/artists/bloggers/musicians you admire and ask if they would like to swap guest blogs.
  • Week 6: Research and email 3-5 podcast/radio shows that you can come on and talk about your book.

I believe you can do it. Do you?

Emerian Rich is the author of the Night’s Knights Vampire Series and Sweet Dreams Musical Romance Series. She is the Horror Host for the international podcast HorrorAddicts.net and the Queen of Lists! To find out more about Emerian, go to her website at http://www.emzbox.com 

Interview With Gail Z. Martin

22 Jun

0061-04382x3

Gail Z. Martin, author of The Fallen Kings Cycle series (The Sworn and The Dread), unveils her sneak peek of Ice Forged, Book One in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, coming from Orbit Books in 2013. 

Gail’s giving everyone a first look at the cover art for Ice Forged, as well as book excerpts, author Q&A and more as part of her Hawthorn Moon Online Sneak Peek Event.  She’s got exclusive goodies spread out across more than a dozen partner sites, and you can find out about it all on Gail’s site, www.AscendantKingdoms.com.

Here’s what we as!
ked Gail….

Q:  You’ve written six books in your world of the Winter Kingdoms, between the four books in your Chronicles of the Necromancer series and the two books in your Fallen Kings Cycle.  Now you’re launching a brand new series, the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, in a totally new world with all-new characters and settings.  What are the challenges of creating a new series when you’ve already created a well-established world?

A:  It’s like moving to a new city!  You know how, when you’ve lived someplace for a while, you know where everything is. You’ve got your favorite grocery store and pharmacy and movie theater, you know the best routes to take when there’s traffic, you’ve got a comfort zone.  Then you move to a new city, and you have to figure it all out again.  You make wrong turns.  You find out that you can’t get to where you’re going easily from where you started out.  If you move to a different part of the country or to a different country, the customs and expectations are different.  People act differently.  It takes a while to get the new place all mapped out in your head.

I had become very much at home in my world of the Winter Kingdoms.  I was very comfortable with the geography, the history of the seven main kingdoms, the magic system, t!
he Cult of the Sacred Lady.  And I knew the characters very well.  It fit like a second skin.

When you create a new world and new characters, you start all over.  You have to build it from the bones up.  You have to keep asking “why” and keep saying to yourself, “and then what?”  Why does magic work a certain way?  Why would a character do or say something and not do or say something else?  Why make the choices a character makes?  Why have the ramifications of those choices be one thing and not another?  What if something goes wrong?  What if the things they take for granted as certain suddenly fall apart?  What if everything they rely on to frame their society went away? 

I start with an intriguing character idea (what if you had a young man who gave up his title, lands and freedom to save his sister) and an intriguing problem (what if the magic that underpinned every level of society suddenly failed) and an interesting solution (what if that disgraced, exiled lord was the only one who could set it right, but it would require him to return to the place that cast him out).  And from there, I thought long and hard about what that world would look like (or at least the parts of it we’ll see in the book), what the characters would be like having been shaped by their world and their experiences, and what the challenges and dangers to trying to solve the problem.  I get to explore and imagine, and then introduce my readers to the world I’m building.  It’s really a lot of fun!

 

Q: What is the Hawthorn Moon Sneak Peek Event?

A:  It’s an online event I started doing it back in 2008, and it’s become something my readers have come to expect.  The solstice (aka the Hawthorn Moon) was an important event in my first book, The Summoner, and the name and timing just stuck.  It’s my online unveiling of the cover art for the new book, along with excerpts, interviews, all-new guest blog posts and lots of fun stuff spread out over a dozen or so sites.  To find out all the goodies and all the partner sites, please visit www.AscendantKingdoms.com.

Q: Can you give us a hint about what to expect in Ice Forged?

A:  Here’s the story in a nutshell:

Condemned as a murderer for killing the man who dishonored his sister, Blaine “Mick” McFadden has spent the last six years in Velant, a penal colony in the frigid northern wastelands of Edgeland. Harsh military discipline and the oppressive magic of the g!
overnor’s mages keep a fragile peace as colonists struggle against a hostile environment. But the supply ships from Dondareth have stopped coming, boding ill for the kingdom that banished the colonists.

Now, McFadden and the people of Velant decide their fate. They can remain in their icy prison, removed from the devastation of the outside world, but facing a subsistence-level existence, or they can return to the ruins of the kingdom that they once called home. Either way, destruction lies ahead…

 

Ice Forged, Book One in Gail’s brand new Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, will be available in stores and online world-wide in January 2013.   

 

 

 

In addition to Ice Forged: Book One of the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, Gail Z. Martin is the author of The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven and Dark Lady’s Chosen ) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle from Orbit Books (Book One: The Sworn and Book !
Two: The Dread).  For book updates, tour information and contact details, visit www.AscendantKingdoms.com

Gail is the host of the Ghost in the Machine Fantasy Podcast , and you can find her on Facebook, GoodReads, BookMarketing.ning, Shelfari and Twitter @GailZMartin. She blogs at www.DisquietingVisions.com.  Gail’s short fiction has been featured in four anthologies: Rum and Runestones and Spells and Swashbucklers from Dragon Moon Press, The Bitten Word from New Con Press (UK) and the upcoming Women’s Mammoth Book of Ghost Stores (UK).

You can find Gail’s books in bookstores worldwide, as well as on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Indigo.ca, Waterstones.com and everywhere books are sold.

 

Book Blurb:

Condemned as a murderer for killing the man who dishonored his sister, Blaine “Mick” McFadden has spent the last six years in Velant, a penal colony in the frigid northern wastelands of Edgeland. Harsh military discipline and the oppressive magic of the governor’s mages keep a fragile peace as colonists struggle against a hostile environment. But the supply ships from Dondareth have stopped coming, boding ill for the kingdom that ba!
nished the colonists.

Now, McFadden and the people of Velant decide their fate. They can remain in their icy prison, removed from the devastation of the outside world, but facing a subsistence-level existence, or they can return to the ruins of the kingdom that they once called home. Either way, destruction lies ahead…

 

Ice Forged, Book One in Gail’s brand new Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, will be available in stores and online world-wide in January 2013. 

 

 

Ice_forged_cover_2

Want a sneak peek at Ice Forged, the new epic fantasy by @GailZMartin? Excerpts, interviews at www.AscendantKingdoms.com

Three Ways New Authors Sabotage Themselves by Emerian Rich

17 Jun
Today, by guest post is from Emerian Rich, author of the Night’s Knights Vampire Series and Sweet Dreams Musical Romance Series. She is the Horror Host for the international podcast HorrorAddicts.net and regularly commits author sabatoge on herse!
lf. To find out more about Emerian, go to her website at
http://www.emzbox.com

As writers, we have many bad habits that hinder our careers. I am just as guilty as the next author and some of us don’t even know we’re doing it. I’m going to bring to light three self-torturing habits we have, in hopes that we can all help each other stop the madness.

1. We don’t support ourselves.
Sounds weird, but it’s true. We wrote these stories, we love them, but are we going to stand up to the masses and say, “My story is good enough to pay $10 for! Get it now!” Most will back out of this quicker than dodging a trip to the dentist. We are writers and as a rule introverts. We’d rather write the 100 page essay than give the 3 minute oral report. We also sabotage any self confidence we may have by discounting our gifts. We tend to separate ourselves from “real” authors.
What to do:
Stop it. No really, STOP IT!

2. We overuse the word JUST.
I’m not talking editing 101 here, I’m talking about thinking of yourself in JUST terms. I’m JUST self-published. I’m JUST a short story writer. I’ve JUST got one book out. I’m JUST with a small publisher. I’ve JUST sold two short stories. Cut out the JUST! What is the standard you hold yourself to? Stephen King? How many millions of horror authors out there are not Stephen King, but are still living their dream of being respected, valid writers, with something to say that people will listen to? It’s okay to set your sights on the Stephen King ideal, but don’t make it all or nothing.
What to do:
Believe in yourself. Believe in your message. Stop JUSTing yourself. Stop discounting your gift. Set your sights high, but reward yourself at every milestone. Keep track of your milestones and look back on them every year. This writing biz goes really fast and you’ll be surprised (if you take baby steps every week) what you can accomplish.

3. We take editor response, critiques, and reviews too personally.
Yes, our writing is our baby, but the more I’m in this business, the more I realize that it’s all about timin!
g. Most declines have very little to do with the story content. So what if you’ve submitted your story 57 times and never got a bite? Is it about you? Do the editors not like you? This is true in only the rarest of occasions ie… camping outside their hotel room at Con chanting “Sign me! Sign me!” all night until they give in – probably not a good idea. But to most editors, you are a nameless, faceless number. You’re number 902 in a pile they’ve received to read that month. They are under pressure to get through them all and they are looking for ghost fiction only this year, not zombies. You missed your window. It’s not personal. It’s not even about your writing half the time because they read the title: “Zombie Apocalypse” and because they aren’t buying zombies this year, bam… it’s in the reject pile.

What to do:
Make sure your work is as perfect as you can make it so if an editor decides to give you a chance, your writing will stand on its own. As far as reviews go, they are completely subjective. The reviewer could be outside your target audience, against your message, or have religious differences. You may have said MOIST in the first paragraph of your book and from then on they just knew you were trying to gross them out. Every reader takes something different away from your writing. That’s what you want to happen. If you are a self-published author and you didn’t have money for a full edit, expect grammer slams. Expect them to point out errors. Don’t take it to heart. Don’t let yourself get caught up in what you did wrong in the past. And those crazy reviewers that suggest 10 different ways you should kill yourself because they hate you so much? Let it roll off your back. Anyone with that much hate over a bo!
ok review obviously has emotional issues. Take what reviewers leave with a grain of salt. Try to evaluate it in a removed way, see if there is any truth in it, and then move on. Put out that next book. Do better. Learn from your mistakes and grow as a writer.