Monday, February 8, 2016

Changing Genres, Blogs Revamps, and Contests--Oh My!

Notice any changes around here? Yep, I've got some new pages up, a new background photo, colors, etc. I hope you like it. Feel free to do some exploring.

While you're here, I want to announce my "Week of Book Love" giveaway February 15-20 right here and on my author Facebook page. I'll give you the details next week.

Finally, I'll leave you with a few thoughts on changing genres. I've been writing novel-length LDS scripture-based fiction for a while now, but recently I've begun a contemporary LDS romance novella. (Check out my PROJECTS tab.) You'd think it would be easier, but any kind of change sets those gear cogs into a different wheel slot, and we have to re-adjust.

Now I can use contemporary words and draw more from real-life experience. But I also have to keep the plot moving quickly. The pages I'm writing for this joint project take up one-fourth of the book and complete my characters' story. It's a different animal. What I'm finding is that the process goes smoother when I have at least jotted down the basic events I want to happen. And I can't forget that feedback and revisions are some of my best tools, especially when I've already scrapped a few paragraphs.

Oh wait. The need for those two things--advanced planning and doing rewrites--they never change. I might have to redirect my brain, but the writing process is basically the same. So, change? Yeah, we can do that.

Join me next week for contest time!

Monday, February 1, 2016

My Sixty Seconds of Fame - Cover Reveal Success

Surreal. Like an out of body experience, watching the numbers from a distant place. Like becoming known to strangers for one minute of their life. I'll take it. That's what my first author online event was like for me. 
 
My publisher sponsored a Cover Reveal and giveaway this past weekend. (Great cover, eh?) My job was to repost and create interest. I did that through some posts and emails.
 
My biggest disappointment was a closed group on Facebook whose administrators must have been off for the weekend. The post will probably still be pending after the contest closes. My biggest thrill was seeing dozens of comments from strangers who loved the cover and wanted to read it. Definitely a good kind of surreal.

There's a learning curve to all this marketing stuff. I'm certain there were things I could have done better, but nothing worth losing sleep over. And I did pick up a few ideas through reading comments. My biggest survival tip: Have something else to busy yourself during the event so that you don't go crazy counting Shares and Likes. (I did some next-book revisions and went to a home and garden show.) Most of all, I'm grateful for the marketing rep who led the contest, that I might find a measure of success and learning. Thank you to all who participated and lended support!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Marching Toward Marketing--Cover Reveal and Giveaway Announced

Plunging into the unknown.
You know that moment when you've planned a trip to the amusement park and you're finally at the top of a brand new roller coaster, ready to go down? I'm there. I'm grabbing the restraining bar--not quite white knuckled, but ready for something to happen, and I don't know if it will scare me to death or turn into tummy-tickling thrills.

It's all brand new and I'm ready for the ride. I'd love to have you join me, starting with the cover reveal and giveaway for my debut book, Secrets of the King's Daughter. Covenant Communications will feature my cover this Friday, January 29, 2016 on their Facebook page, including a giveaway that you can enter. I will repost it on my Author page and other places. Later in February I will host an online book launch with more contests. The book will be out the first week of March and I'm scheduling a few book signings. It's finally real!

This marketing ride has been a long time in coming--long enough that I've written the book's sequel already and just need the finishing touches. I want to thank all those who have taken an interest, supported me, read my blog over the past five years, etc. The ride is much more fun with friends along!

 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Saying "I Knew You When..."

It's not about the money, money.
A quick internet search showed results for participating authors' 2014 earnings. Over 50% of annual writing income from either traditional or self-published authors made less than $1,000. Hybrid authors made slightly more. The next largest percentage of moneymakers was the $3,000-$4999 range for all three types. Annually. Very few authors make it big.

 Signing the Contract
I'm going to be published soon. Do I think that means I expect to be rich and famous? Absolutely not. Especially in a niche market for the LDS audience. Do I still hope that people will read and love my book? Absolutely. Most authors want to send some kind of a message, make a difference in people's lives, and they continue to write because they love it.

Along with these stats, it might be fun and interesting to learn a few facts from my personal journey to publishing.
1. I'm estimating it took two years between 2010-2012 to write Secrets of the King's Daughter, including revisions.
2. I submitted the first chapter to two contests in 2011 and won first place in both for my category.
3. The manuscript was rejected by my publisher once before I fixed some crucial problems and resubmitted.
4. I submitted the manuscript in spring of 2013 and received acceptance news in August.
5. I was offered a contract in April 2014 and signed an in-house revised contract on 9/29/14.
6. Number of release dates: 3 between November 2014 and March 2016.
7. Became a LDStorymaker member August 2015.
8. Cover Release date: January 29, 2016. Watch for it!

So what do writers do between all that waiting? They write something else, of course!

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Finer Points of Accepting Feedback

Receiving feedback about "your baby" can sometimes feel like a punch in the stomach, sometimes a pat on the back. Hopefully there's a little of both, because that's what is real. I spent a week incorporating dozens of changes into my full manuscript, after going through feedback on my next book.
An example of an easy fix: She shrugged her shoulders changed to She shrugged when the comment read, "What else is she going to shrug?"
A harder fix was the suggestion that I insert a new scene to allow a certain character's response to an event be known. I agreed that his opinion mattered.
Apparently I have a thing about body parts, as in that's what I mention the most to show rather than tell someone's reaction or emotions. Characters need to emote and elicit emotions within the reader, so that's not all bad. When a critiquer highlighted the multiple times I show through facial expression, particularly the eyes, I better recognize the need to vary and incorporate some new ways. Things like this don't always show up in a few pages, so it's important to get feedback at different stages of your project.
I'm still revising. Then it goes to beta readers for further feedback. How do writer's handle all these opinions? One's attitude makes a big difference.
 
Point #1--Recognize that finding flaws is the job of the critiquer.
You want your "extra set of eyes" to find the mistakes instead of the public, because, believe me, they're in there. Plus, those flaws often disappear as you fix them. Until experience proves otherwise, trust that a critiquer is there to help you, that her comments give you something valid to consider.
 
Point #2--Each reader comes with their own set of opinions and things they focus on.
Three different critique partners gave me dozens of content comments each, and very few overlapped. This is why you may not agree with everything they notice, and also why you'll want multiple readers to give feedback.
 
Point #3--Each writer comes with their own set of preferences.
You don't have to change everything suggested, but you should attempt to understand why the comment was made so that your decision has a purpose.

Point #4--Thank your critiquers. Even if you don't agree on much.
They spent a chunk of time on you. It takes more time and mental concentration to critique rather than read. They question everything that stops the flow of reading, at least if they're any good. Whether you paid them, exchanged manuscripts, or it was a favor, a thank you is always appreciated.