Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Appearances and Professionalism

I'm interrupting my resource blogs to bring you something that kind of hit me hard. Now, I know I'm probably going to catch a lot of grief for this, especially since I'm not a 'published-author' yet. (Though I am published under another name.) My mentor once told me that in this age, the age of technology, everything will come back to you. Regardless of how hard you try for it not to. He told me to keep that in mind if I decided to publish under a pen name. Now this was a few years ago. This in combination of a chapter in Quit Your Day Job is what brought me to the topic of this post. This business is about who know and how to use your contacts. You can push people away very easily, so let's start with appearances.

I love hanging out in my PJ's and my baggy clothes. They are loose and comfy and in the cold weather they are great. But when I go somewhere that I might meet up with a contact, or I know I'm going to be meeting up with a contact, I dress nicer. Not to say I wear slacks and blazers everywhere, but I wear my nice jeans that aren't torn, a nice shirt, and possibly heals. Depends on the event or the plans. When it comes to conventions, I tend to go dressed in something theme wise, but nothing outrages. The point is, it's easier for people to take you seriously when you act like you care. If I don't dress nicer, I look like I'm a teenage (yay for good genes!) and it's hard for people to actually think I'm serious about anything. It's kind of like a job or a job interview, dress for the part.

I mentioned it before, about how in the age of technology everything comes back to you. That means even if you post something on your personal page, it'll still come back to your author self. It's possible to post something negative on your personal page and have it effect your career on the author side of things. I have seen many indie-authors do this, the moment that I see them complain about a negative review or negative feed back from a reader I lose respect for them. If you need to vent about it, vent to a person you trust, but not in a public forum, place, website. It's okay to have opinions, but when you post them, you don't want to chance hurting your career or your fan base. You've worked hard to build up both. H.P. Mallory states:

"Now, supposing Ms. Book Blogger didn’t like your book at all, and this absolutely does happen, be PROFESSIONAL! Remember, you are trying to embark on a new career, therefore you need to act every inch the professional business person that you are and do not take negative reviews personally. I have had book reviewers email me back, telling me they couldn’t finish my book or they really didn’t like the book, etc.   When that happens, I very politely ask them if they would mind not leaving a review on Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Most times, they are nice about it and won’t leave bad reviews but sometimes they aren’t as nice and might leave you a bad review. Just take a deep breath, count to ten, and continue contacting other reviewers. Trust me, it’s not worth attacking them (especially in a public manner where other people can see your attack) because it will only make you look bad and it absolutely could destroy your career. I want to stress the point about never responding to a bad review even further. This is actually a huge issue and I have noticed many instances where indie authors get extremely defensive of their bad reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. NEVER EVER EVER respond to a bad review in a public arena. If someone leaves you a 1 star review on Amazon, for example, and says your book was the worst book they’ve ever read, DO NOT RESPOND! If you respond, it will only hurt you, not the person leaving the review. I can’t stress that enough."

(Mallory, H.P.  (2011-08-01). Quit Your Day Job, A Guide for the Self Published Author (Kindle Locations 1198-1204).  . Kindle Edition.)

I think that this can be taken further. You have a multitude of ways that you can respond to negative things, be it someone said something about your book, you personally, or something you've read in a blog post. Chose the highroad, create less drama for your fans and your career.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Review: Midnight Symphony

5 out of 5 Stars

From the back cover:
The legend of the Gypsy Lady had been passed down for centuries, and now it is Cora's turn to dance in the square. Giving people hope and taunting the Demon King is what she lives for, until she catches the attention of Darius, prince of the demons. Hidden behind her mask, she keeps her identity from him until she is captured by the king. With her magic on the verge of waking and the village on the brink of war can Cora tame Darius' heart before it's too late?
Darius became obsessed with the Gypsy Lady the first time he had seen her dance and play in the market place. The night he kissed her became his undoing. When his father captures the woman people believed to be a spirit, Darius takes the chance to observe her. His obsession with her grows into something more, he knows that together they can stop the war and set things right, but can he accept it?

I loved this book. The characters had depth, all of them, even the supporting characters. They were all well fleshed out. It was obvious that even the minor characters had back-stories just waiting to be told, but I will get to that in a minute. The scenery, setting, was well detailed. I am a very visual reader, I like to be able to close my eyes and see what the author is writing about and with this story I was able to do that.  The pace was spot on; not too fast, not too slow- just right.  Now as for the supporting characters, what I would like to see is more of their stories, one in particular, I am hoping that the author decides to tell more of their story as I am really wanting to know what will become of the people, these characters.

 Midnight Symphony is available in eBook and Paperback



This is the first self-published novella by A.L. Kessler, she also has a short story “Keeper” published in Evernight Vol. 2 anthology by XoXo publishing. Check her out.

You can also follow the author on her website:
On Facebook: alkesslerauthor
Twitter: @A_L_Kessler
Goodreads: A.L. Kessler

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Resources Part Three: Critique Groups

I personally have a love/hate relationship with Critique Groups and Writers' Groups. When I lived on the other side of the mountain, I attended three groups and I loved them all. The first on was a sit-your- ass-in-a-chair-and-write group, the second was a-get-your-mind-working and workshop group, and the other was an editing group. What I loved about these groups were they had a variety of people and no one had the 'I'm better than you' attitude, the second group I attended with a traditionally published author. I remembering being in awe that she was so down to earth and willing to help aspiring authors. Those are the kind of people you want to find in a group, people who are willing to help and treat you as if you are on the same level as them. Each person has their strengths and their weaknesses, and you want a group to play off those.

Now that I'm on this side of the mountain I have yet to find a group I like. I attended one that was completely focused on doing things through a vanity press, which wasn't the way I wanted to go. Everyone there was so scared of rejections that they hadn't bothered to finish a project or get one into someone else's hands. The second group I attended had a few published authors in it, and though they tried to be encouraging, when you asked for help they acted like they were too good for the unpublished members. The third is one that I currently attend and it has been interesting. Though I did get feed back, it was in a snarky and asinine way. Those are things you don't want. You don't want feed back that comes from someone who is being a jerk, it is possible to give constructive feedback without being mean. You want a group that has similar goals to you, are they aiming to self-publish? Are they aiming for traditional? Both? What can you learn from everyone? And you don't want people who constantly think that they are better than you.

So, Critique Groups? A good resource if you can find the right fit. So look around and see if you can't find one. You might be surprised. I'm still searching for a good fit, but I also have a string of beta readers to help me out.

Friday, February 8, 2013

When Something Is Missing

I have been going over my latest NaNo project after deciding that I will be using that as my first self-published short story. I have set a deadline for the first draft which be the end of February but I have run into a snag. The story is “alright” but it is missing something. I can’t put my finger on it, maybe it is missing more description. I think that is one of my biggest issues is that I tend to overlook detailed descriptions because I am always afraid of being “long winded” and boring the reader. So my writing tends to be fast pace and I’m guessing that isn’t a good thing.

So the question I’ve been grappling with this past week is: What do you do when a story needs more?
What do you add, where can you elaborate? Will it be seen as just filler or will it help the reader?

I know that I should just write and anything that isn’t necessary will be caught during edits, but it’s something that I worry about and therefore it is something I get hung up on and can’t move past.
I fear that getting hung up on this is going to derail my goals.

Sorry this post isn’t something more informative, it is just a little rant that I needed to get off my chest.