Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Alexandra's Year in Review

Wow! 2014 is coming to an end so soon. My next post, it'll be here's a year in review for me. 2014 was a wild had it's ups and it had it's downs. Some days I'm really not sure what 2015 is going to look like for me or for SPE, those days are rough.

Let's start with the highlights:
Twisted Redemption came out with Ellora's cave
Black and White finally made it's SPE debut
SPE survived another year and will be hitting it's three year mark in 2015
I've gotten a beta team started
I'm finally getting a handle on marketing.

The lows:
A Demon's Heart was shelved
There's a lot going on with EC

That's about all there is to 2014. SPE had some great articles and I hope that we continue next year to provide insight to those who find it helpful. As for me? I'll see you guys in the new year! Cheers!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Review: Out Through The Attic by Quincy J. Allen

I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thirteen fantastic tales from the cavorting, twisted mind of Quincy J. Allen, Out Through the Attic
covers everything from steampunk and fantasy to sci-fi and horror. It’s a cross-genre smorgasbord that’s sure to hit the right spot, with a dose or two of straight-up genre fiction for the meat-and-taters appetite.

I don’t even know where to start with this book. I just loved it. Loved it with a capital L. I can’t even put my finger on why I loved this so much (which is not the best thing for a reviewer to say, but it’s the truth). Here’s what I can attribute my adoration for this book to: 1) I love short stories, and you get 13 of them in here. 2) I love eclectic storytellers, at least that’s what I call them. The author calls himself a cross-genre author. That works for me too. I just love when an author can put on many different genre hats and no matter what, they still work. Their voice is still clear regardless of settings. 3) There aren’t many steampunk stories out in the market place and even fewer that are as devout to the genre without making it cheesy or campy or over commercialized. This author can do that, seemingly without effort.

If I had to single out one aspect that justifies me giving this a top rating it would be Quincy Allen’s ability to describe the world you are reading about with such imagery, so vividly that you can taste it. The settings jump off the page in a color scheme of electric blues, grays, yellows and everything in between. The darkness is just perfect when it needs to be. Nothing is taken away from in these stories.

I know that this type of book, short stories that are from multiple genres aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you enjoy stepping out of the box and reading something a bit different than pick up Out Through The Attic by Quincy J. Allen. It is a great read.

5 out of 5 Stars

Buy This Book:

About The Author: Quincy Allen, is a self-proclaimed cross-genre author. What that really means is that he’s got enough ADHD to not stick with any single genre and, like his cooking, prefers to mix and match to suit his tastes of the day. He has been published in multiple anthologies, online and print magazines as well as one omnibus. He’s written for the Internet radio show RadioSteam.  His novel Chemical Burn—a finalist in the Rocky Mountain Writers Association Colorado Gold Writing Contest—was first published in June of 2012 and is due out in 2014 in a newly revamped edition from Word Fire Press, which will be carrying the Justin Case series.  His new novel Jake Lasater: Blood Curse, is also due out this year as well as a military sci-fi novel from Twisted Core Press. He works part-time as a tech-writer to pay his bills, does book design and eBook conversions for Word Fire Press by night, and lives in a lovely house that he considers his very own sanctuary.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Presenting Yourself as a professional: Guest Post Annie Slasher

Annie Slasher of Booked and Loaded was kind enough to write this guest post for us. This is geared towards bloggers, but authors pay attention, because you could learn something too. Like how to treat your bloggers.

Booked & Loaded

Book Blogger Professionalism 

Lets face it.  In our current world anyone, any place, anywhere can say whatever the hell they want and hide behind the safety of their computer screen.  So where do we, as book bloggers, draw the line in the sand of professionalism? 

Every blogger on the net has individual views, likes, and dislikes.  So when does putting your opinion out there for anyone wondering around the stringy webs of the internet cross a line of professionalism? 

In my personal bubble it is clear - Personal insults, plagiarism, piracy and crazy making of any kind.  

I am going to give it to you straight.  I am not the nicest person in the world and my filter probably resembles a sieve more than an actual healthy filter (I always think of cheese cloth), but I DO have a healthy respect for my fellow humans.  I know that somewhere behind each author pen name, blogger alias, and Facebook profile is a real human being.  This human being has feelings and their own personal views with their own shit going on that you know nothing about.  Not every individual puts their personal troubles on display for everyone to see, so do not pretend to know what that person is going through on any given day. 

Personal insults are not productive and no one benefits from them.  How do you think your readers benefit from calling an author or other blogger that you do not like insulting names?  I cannot find one good think that would come from this.  If you want to call someone out that is your choice, but there is a difference between insults and facts.  If you can prove you have been wronged by someone and you feel it is in your readers best interest have access to this knowledge, go for it!  You can still do so in a professional manner.  List facts and discuss why you got offended or were wronged.  This can all be done without childish name calling. 

Plagiarism is just not only unprofessional it is also illegal.  I am amazed at the stories I have heard and things I have personally experienced regarding reviews being plagiarized.  If you are not sure what plagiarism is:

According to the merriam-webster online dictionary, it means:

         * to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as ones own: use (anothers production) without crediting the source.

Using pieces, phrases, or all of another review is stealing and not professional.  So do not do it!  If you think it is professional to not read a book and just read reviews off of Goodreads and recap them, maybe you should rethink your passion of book reviews.  You are truly not doing yourself or any other bloggers a favor.  Readers should be able to put their trust in Book Bloggers to give their own honest opinions. 

There is a lot of buzz lately about piracy.  Ebooks are hard thing to stop from being pirated.  In my opinion book bloggers have a professional obligation to have a very high standard of what constitutes piracy.  Sharing via email or any other electric form without the authors written permission with anyone is stealing and constitutes piracy.  Uploading or sharing electronic ARCs or copies with a site that provides free aka pirated books is not only unprofessional it is illegal.  Bloggers should be able to be trusted, and right now I think any author would be wise not to 100% trust anyone with electronic copies of their work.  I have theories about why this is so rampant, but that is not what this article is about! 

And we are onto the big one - crazy making! This should apply to all aspects in your life.  Not just blogging.  If you are stirring shit up between authors and readers, bloggers and authors, or any other combination of readers, bloggers, and authors you are crazy making.  It is the epitome of unprofessionalism.  All of us view our book blogging hobby differently.  Some more business oriented and some just enjoy spreading the word of authors, but ultimately you are responsible for your own professionalism.  It is up to you to set your own lines and not to cross them.  If you are spending your time hand picking authors to support and you think that means bashing others, you are not only unprofessional you are irrational.  I find these types of acts the most offensive.  You are truly not supporting authors if you think bashing one IS supporting another.  Readers read.they are not only going to read ONE author.  Support the ones you love by reading, reviewing, and repeat!

I think Facebook becomes the hardest thing to manage.  I am pretty open on my blogger Facebook account, but do apply the above rules to my Facebook Page.  I view my page the same as my blog.  I try to keep it as professional and unbiased as I can.  Warning, if you are friends with me on Facebook I roll out the honesty and leave the professionalism for my blog and Facebook page.  =)

Professionalism should be something all Book Bloggers care about.  It helps build a foundation of trust and respect for not only authors, but readers as well.  With so many Book Blogs closing their doors and others starting their new journey, we should be setting a high standard for professionalism in this industry.  We should be a group that authors and readers can trust and confide in and this can only come from a standard of professionalism. 

Follow Annie

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Presenting yourself as a Professional Part 2

Ahhh the joys of social media, you can vent, you can keep in contact, you can advertise, and you can well...destroy your career. Don't want that now do you? I'll be honest with you. I hate social media, it sucks my time away, but it is honestly the only thing that has worked for me as far as building my platform and my marketing. Now you're wondering where this comes into play when it becomes to being professional. Imagine you're a reader and you're talking to an author, just in passing, an elevator or something and the first thing he/she says to you is. "Oh my fucking god, someone gave me a one star review! How dare they not appreciate my genius!"

Now I hope realize that it's rude and probably should have been kept in the authors mind. I get being frustrated, especially with drive by ratings, and reviews that just make no sense to you. I get it, I do, but here's the deal. They are going to happen. Every author gets bad reviews. Don't believe me? Go look up your favorite authors. Honestly, as a reader, I don't trust a book that doesn't have at least one low rating. Why? Because I feel like one book cannot be everyone's cup of tea. As an author you need to realize that. My point? You wouldn't do this in person, don't do it on your Facebook, tumbler, blog, twitter, whatever you use.

Best policy? Don't respond to the review or rating. Do not let your street team respond, and for the love of the writing gods do not stalk the reviewer! I can hear you now: But it's my personal page! I want to be real with my readers!

My answer to the first one: Yep, but this is the age of the internet, nothing is truly private. That's what's scary about it. Personal or not, you need to control your emotions and feelings. You are a business now, the way you act reflects on your product.

Second one: Be real with your readers, yes, let your readers know you're human to, but do that by interacting with them. Not ranting about them. I'm going to touch on that in just a minute.

Okay, so no responding to reviews. Next not go on some crazy rant about haters that you have. Seriously. We all have them, we all have people who say things mean about us or our work. Move along, for many of the same reasons above. You are going to hurt your brand if you react badly. This goes back to not ranting about your readers.

Interact with your readers, invite them to answer questions on your pages, they don't have to be related to writing or your books, they can be, but don't have to be. If they ask you a question, answer them honestly. (within reason of course) Even if the question is "What is the order of your series." You need to appreciate your readers, because without them you would be nothing.

Basically don't do anything online that you wouldn't do in person.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Cover Reveal: Past Demons by A.L. Kessler

Cover Reveal For 
The Dark War Chronicles Book 4 
Past Demons 

With her freedom stolen from her by the Father, Tegan had never lived a life of her own. Whisked away to be a bound human to Lucius, she never knew what it was like to have a mate to love and cherish her. Now after losing three hundred years of memories, Tegan needs to rediscover everything she’s worked for and learn every lesson again, but this time something is different. Kaden claims that he is her fated mate.

The reason for Kaden’s exile from the Demon world is no secret: he beheaded his own king. The one thing that makes his exile bearable is being close to Tegan. When Tegan returns he knows he finally has his chance to make her his, but two people stand in his way: Lucius and Tegan’s brother, Zaaren.

The war rages on. With the rumor that someone has raised the Father and the Originals showing signs of waking, the bloodshed will only get worse.

A.L. Kessler is a paranormal romance and steampunk author

residing in Colorado Springs. Since she was a teenager

she's loved weaving stories and spinning tales. When she's not at

the beck-and-call of the Lord and Lady of the House, two

black cats by the names of Jynx and Sophie, training a

playful puppy named Zelda, playing with her daughter, or killing

creepers and mining all the things with her husband of 4

years, she's either reading, participating in NaNoWriMo, or

writing in her Blog Writing Rambles.

Past Demons will be released on February 16th 2015 you can add to your Goodreads list now on your to be read list!  

In the Light of the Moon (FREE in ebook)

Audiobook: http://
A shifter with no control...

As a panther shifter stripped of her control Kassity has no choice but to be a killer for Lucius. Obeying the vampire was simply her way of life. Until Jaxon comes to town, bring trouble with him. When she recognizes Jaxon as her fated mate, Kassity must deal with betrayal, secrets and Lucius in order to be with him.

A war rages on...

Jaxon must decide who he is fighting for and against. What started as a simple job turns into a complicated game of hearts when he meets Kassity, the woman he thought he was rescuing.

But not everything is as it seems in Lucius' territory...

Dance In the Moonlight


Blurb: Renee’s life had been normal until the shadows reappeared and the legendary stone was sent to her. As the arrival drags her further into the paranormal world, the last thing Renee expects is to be swept off her feet by a brooding werewolf.

Yet Coran captures her heart and attention. Small problem—he doesn't want a mate. Coran still suffers from the loss of his first mate, but when Renee is attacked by shifters he is forced to protect her at all costs. Things heat up when he realizes fate has wickedly granted him a second chance at love. With the war causing the body count to rise, now is not the ideal time to find a mate.

The Circle is becoming desperate and something has Lucius worried which means trouble for his followers. It's a dance between danger and fate in this second installment of the Dark War Chronicles.

On Torn Wings


Blurb: A Hunter

Danielle is on a mission to take down a killer, when all signs point to vampire she recruits Orion to help. Bribing him with information on the Fae Queen who stole his crown takes her further into the supernatural world than she wanted. Working side by side, they start to realize there is more there than a forced work relationship, but Orion is still pining over the disappearance of Tegan.

A missing human

Tegan’s kidnapping is taking a toll on the whole territory, Lucius is losing his sanity and the war has taken a turn for the worst. Fed up with the chaos Orion seeks to escape the territory, but other than death there’s only one other option —taking back his crown. After centuries of working under the vampire Danielle offers him the chance and ability to take his rightful place.

Social Media Links:
Author Profile:
Author Like Page:
Series Like Page:

In the Light of the Moon:
Dance in the Moonlight:
On Torn Wings:



Hosted By 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Where You Write

Where you write can make all the difference. For me, it can make or break my concentration.

If I am sitting on the couch (as long as there isn’t something distracting on the TV) I can be productive. My kids playing video games, not a problem. But put on a TV show or movie, even one I’ve seen a dozen times, and I’m lost. But I love to sit on the couch because we have a big window that lets me look out into the world and I don’t feel so trapped.

If I am sitting at the dining room table I’m good to go as long as everyone is doing their own thing, because it drives me nuts if people are walking behind me and trying to look at my computer screen. So it’s not an ideal place seeing as how as soon as I whip out my laptop the whole house turns into Spy vs. Spy and tries to look over mom’s shoulder.

My next option is sitting at my sons school computer desk, that would be great, but it runs the same risks as the dining room table seeing as how it is in the same room.

Moving on… My last hiding place is my bedroom, where I actually have a desk, but do I get to sit at the desk? Nope, because my comfy office chair has been taken over by everyone else. It can either be found in front of my son’s computer or in the living room parked right in front of the TV/Xbox. And since I never use the desk it has become a holding station for all items in the house that have no home of their own.

That leave my bed. I actually do like working there but only for short periods of time. My legs get sore sitting cross-legged and eventually my firm mattress wreaks havoc on my lower back.

Can I get work done in these places? Yes, if I really stay focused. But will it be productive work? More likely than not, no unless the atmosphere is right and distraction free. Right now is a very productive, ideal writing time. As I write this I am on the couch, my son is at his computer so the TV is off, the house is quiet and this is actually the second blog post I’ve pounded out this hour. It’s quite productive out here. If I were in my room I would have maybe made it through half of the first one and then called it quits. At the dining room table wouldn’t have worked either because my son would be more tempted to say “Mom, I need your help.” Even though he really doesn’t.

So my spot, at least for now, is the couch. That is the spot that makes all the difference in my being productive. I can work, for the most part, uninterrupted and distraction free. Until 4:30 hits and everyone else gets home, flips on the TV and totally messes up my writing juju.

Do you have a place where you find you are more productive? Is there a spot you know once you sit down you won’t get anything done? Are you distracted by the TV? Music? Birds outside the window? Let us know in the comments.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Presenting yourself as a professional Part 1

Little fish, big fish....which do you feel like when you're acting as an author. Strange question I know. When I first started attending conventions I felt like a little fish... a tiny tiny tiny fish. Why? Was it because I only had two books and a short story under my name? Possibly. Was it because I really had no idea what I was doing? Mmm most likely.  I touched on this a while back, but it's been about a year and a half since, so it's time we touch on it again, but in a little more depth this time. That is why I'm breaking it into parts.

Today we're going to cover physical appearances. What I look like on a normal day, where I'm

chasing around children, cleaning house, and just writing is completely different than when I'm face to face. Example? Well let's take a look: My hair is pulled up (and most likely not very well), I'm wearing a Pink Floyd shirt (not very flattering) and if you look closely I'm wearing loose black pants. Now, I'll be honest, I am likely to go grocery shopping in that outfit, but I'm not likely to go to any writer's event in it.  (please excuse the  legos. I was playing with my daughter)

But it shows my personality. I don't care. If you're going to a convention, a conference, or an event, dress appropriately, dress to your brand. I'll admit, I struggled with this. Should I go around wearing corsets and BDSM gear? I could, except for I write multiple genres. I know an author who has totally made corsets and masks her thing, it works for her brand and that's how she dresses at every event. No one ever sees her face. Again that works for her, but since I write multiple genres, I dress according to the convention and which reader group I'm more likely to face. Some examples? Most conventions will find me in a black dress, leggings or tights, and boots. My hair is always down and fixed (this helps me look older, trust me, it's needed.) I always wear heels, because well I'm 5'2" I'm short. For a more casual event I wear something nice, maybe nice jeans with a tailored polo or a nice shirt, maybe a sweeter dress. Something decent. If there's a chance I'm going to introduce myself as an author, I'm dressed and ready to present myself.

Moving on to the other part of physically presenting yourself as professional...engaging with readers and other authors. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, just go up and say "Hi, I'm an author read my book." No. Now if you're at an event where you have to introduce yourself, say a fact about yourself, or some other ice breaker situation, then yes, you can say that you're an author. Just don't do it randomly or forcefully.

I just got back from an event where I had a wonderful time sitting down and chatting with readers and authors alike. Not once, unless asked, did I mention I was an attending author. Why? Readers are smarter than most people give them credit for, they can recognize a name. My name is in the program and on my name badge. Also, I was on panels, that's kind of a dead give away, they make you introduce yourself on panels, that's when I get to tell people I'm an author and what I write. Also, they'd see me at the book signing, that's also a pretty dead give away. Readers like it when you can connect on the same level as them.

Okay? But what do we talk about? Well, anything really, I had an hour conversation about cats. I also had a breakfast conversation about BDSM struck up by my collar and woman brave enough to ask me. You are a normal person, let your readers know that. Also...unless it's super important, do not text, read emails or check facebook while talking to people. Hello rude! Why should they care who you are or what you're talking about if you're more interested in your phone. Eye contact, an interested tone, ask question, converse people! It's not that hard, and it's professional. No, you will not like everyone you meet, but you at least need to be polite.

Have a table at the event? With the exception of IRC, where the tables were short and the moving space limited, I stand up every time someone approaches the table. Why? So I can have better eye contact. If they pick up a book, or are looking at them, I'll give a little piece about them, to give them enough info. If they just come up to the table, I do the simplest thing ever...I say "Hi, how's it going?" I had someone come back and buy my whole series because of that. We talked for a bit, they walked off and then came back.

Professionalism isn't just about how you look, but how you act. This is a job, a career, and you should treat it as such.

So while you wait for my next part in all this some questions for you to think on.
What's your brand and how can you dress?
What is appropriate for the events?
How do you act around readers and customers?
How can you improve any of this?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: Under the Moonlight

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Zara's fate had been decided thousands of years before her birth. She is now fighting against time and family to reclaim the decisions that will ultimately shape her destiny. 

Sentenced to live an existence in the Underworld, mated to a man she despises, Zara must find a way to overcome the Gods and their curses, with love as her only guide. 

Can James, a handsome and rugged sailor, help Zara break the bonds of magical spells or will she end up mated to Xander, the Son of Satan? 

Take a dive Under the Moonlight to see where love can take you.

Review: I loved this. I thought this was the sweetest novella I had gotten my hands on. Yes, a novella it's short, but Ms. Nemer does a great job with crafting the story and pulling you in. We have Zara (which I'm in love with that name, just so everyone knows.) a young mermaid who is fascinated by a human, she can make the choice on her birth day to walk on land or stay under the sea, but something is different. She's been betrothed already to Xander. I love stories where the gods meddle in everything and this is one of those. 

The plot is solid, though I do want more, it ends on it. There is mermaid sex in it, which I think Ms. Nemer does a creative and great job on, it wasn't nearly as awkward as I thought it would be. If you need a quick read, I definitely think you need to pick this up!

Rating: 5 Stars out of 5
Heat: Mild
(mild, medium, hot, spicy, scorching)

Buy the Book:

About the Author
Ashley, also known as Niki Becker, is married and lives in Houston with her husband Tony. They have two dogs, Toto and Doogie. They have been together for over 8 and a 1/2 years and he brings her more joy than she could ever imagine as a child. She loves to read and has been hooked on the romance genre ever since her lifelong best friend gave her "Ashes to Ashes' by Tami Hoag to read when they
were younger.

Ashley finds her strength through her family, especially her parents. They always support her in life; 
they push her to strive for greatness. There once was a motto that Ashley heard in her youth through her Taekwondo life 'Reach for the Stars' and that is what Ashley has always done. It was through her upbringing that the values Ashley has and displays come from. With her parents always cheering her on in life she was able to grow up having faith in herself and her ability to conquer the world.
Ashley enjoys writing many different genre’s of fiction. Her areas range from science fiction/ paranormal, mystery, romance, poetry and erotica (using pen name Niki Becker.)


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gearing Up For NaNoWriMo; Part Quatre

This is my 4th year doing NaNoWriMo. Year one was a mess, year two was productive, year three was a disaster up until the last minute and as for this year- I’m still not sure if I am committed to it with the hectic schedule of doctors appointments and traveling to Denver. Even if I don’t go all in, November is a great time to re-assess my writing journey and take stock of my projects that are lingering.

I finished Waking Up In Bedlam before NaNo was over in 2012 (year two), and I was like this story is finished and I’m only at 38k! Then I went back, filled in some spots and by the end of the month I came in at just over the 50k… Then came the editing and cutting and I was back down to around 38k again and wondering what the heck was wrong with me. But then after countless Betas and editing it ended at over 56k. The point being, no novel is ever ready at the end of NaNo. You still have to fill in plot holes and shine it up with editing. Lots and lots of editing.

This year I might go at it again but with a story I’ve already been working on and if I really dig in and try for the 50k goal I’ll just make sure that whatever I write in the month of November equals 50k minus whatever I’ve already written. Or maybe I’ll start something new and fresh. At this point I have no idea what my plan will be. But what I love about this time of year, this month before the chaos starts, is the excitement for writing that abounds around the internet. People are excited about writing. Companies are encouraging people to write. It’s fun. Go to YouTube and you will find any number of NaNo songs, skits, information, tips & tricks. It’s so much fun to see people get excited about something that encourages everyone to get their creative juices flowing. It’s fun to experience, but even if you can’t devote your entire month of November to pounding out 50k words at breakneck speeds you can still have fun enjoying the energy and excitement of the participants.

So in honor of NaNoWriMo I’d like to share a couple of the deals, tips, and songs that can be found around the internet to help spread the cheer of Pre-NaNo this month:

1)      StoryBundle has a NaNoWriMo bundle that includes up to 12 books about writing and also on crafting a career out of writing. Check it out. StoryBundle lets you pay what you think the books are worth. The minimum is $5 which gets you the first 6 books, anything over $15 gets you the other 6 for a total of 12 books by amazing authors. My favorite has to be 500 Ways To Write Harder by Chuck Wendig.

2)      For Tips and Tricks the web is an abundance of information but the best place to start is the NaNoWriMo forums. Participants throughout the years have posted their best tips, tricks, and hints for everything NaNo related from plot holes to writers block. Check out the forum here to get you geared up and prepared for the 30 days of chaos you might embark on come November 1st.

3)      And lastly. NaNo on YouTube. Oh the fun. Check out classic vids by some fantastic NaNo folks!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pros and Cons

My last post I covered knowing what you want from your writing and publishing. With a lot of drama going on in the writing world, I'm reminded why I'm primarily indie. When I first went indie, my husband sat me down and said "Hey, make a damn choice and stick with it." Or something to that effect. So as I do with many things. I sat down and made a list. A list of pros and cons. I'll share them for you and I invite you to continue the list on your own or in the comments.

Indie Publishing
I get to keep more profit
I control everything
I don't have to change my story (this has happened to me on a short through trade publishing)
My deadlines, my schedule

Most of the profit goes back into publishing
Everything comes out of my pocket or I have to learn how to do it myself
Still have to depend on others for cover art and editing

So those are generals, I actually listed out what I get to control and what was going to cost me. I also tried to draw on experiences of others, with keeping in mind that I wasn't going to be an over night success. From there I moved on to trade publishing, including small presses- anything that I had to write a query letter, submit, and wait on.

Traditional Publishing
Professional editor
Professional Cover art
The attraction of a big name behind the title.

Possibly less royalties
Very little or no control
Still might have to do all my own marketing.
Could take a long damn time.

Both lists are close to being even, Trade has a few more pros, but since marketing is questionable, it evens out. To me. To someone else they may think that trade publishing is better. To each their own. However, due to recent events (that because it's not SPE related, I won't mention here in detail) I'm very happy that I didn't put all my eggs in the trade publishing basket.

The thing is that indie publishing met up with what I wanted and what I need. I have a wonderful support team and I've learned a ton on this journey. I've even learned a program that I swore I'd never get along with. I have to say that I like having the control over everything. Down to what edits make it in the book (have I mentioned how much I love my editors?) to what the cover looks like, to the release day. I get to throw my own parties, decide how I want to market, say what events I go to. I can also hammer down my own timeline and if it doesn't get done, I only have myself to blame.

So while you're asking yourself: What do I want out of my writing. Also ask yourself: Which route is best for me?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What do you want?

This was not the original direction that I was going to go with this post, but I think it might be time to get back to the start of SPE and those very first frightening steps as a new indie author. Go back to the very reason you wanted to become an author. For me it was the want to share my stories with everyone. (Well that was the realistic one....the others were just fantasies.) Do you want this as a hobby? Do you want this to be your career? Pocket change? Make a living? We all go in this entertaining fantasies of becoming famous, making 100k+ a year on just our writing, but that doesn't happen to everyone and rarely does it happen without a lot of hard work.

Have I broken your spirits yet? No? Good.

Writing is my passion and I would do it with or without publishing. It's something I cannot not do. It's in my soul and I'm pretty sure my head would explode if I didn't write. It's how I deal with stress, it's how I cope with depression, and it's part of my life. I knew when I started this I wanted to make a living off my writing. When I first pressed published on Amazon, I had NO idea how much work was included in this.

I know authors who made a living by their third book. I always felt that I was far behind because of that. Then I realized that they had other funds to dedicate to this, dropping $300 on ads wasn't an issue for them. I have a minimal budge and though I've come a long way in two years, I'm not where they are. It's a slow climb and I'm okay with that. I'm only 27 and I have time to get where I want to go. I'm lucky enough that I work from home, so I'm able to work on writing throughout the day and at night. I treat it as another job. Why? Because if I didn't, I'd never get things done and published.

I mentioned marketing. This goes back to what do you want from your writing? I know people who publish on amazon for the simple reason of being able to say "I am published." I know others who publish and want to "hit it big." It goes back to hobby or career? It's a passion, yes, but what do you want to do with it? Where do you want it to take you? Just a hobby? Okay, don't worry about marketing. Career? You better start working on marketing, contacting people for reviews, figuring out how to run contest. Oh and write another book. This is a number game, having just one book won't cut it.

Indie-publishing is an uphill battle. Before you hit that publish button, ask yourself....what do you want from your writing? Think about it. Write down those goals....and then get to work.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Writer Tools

Writers use lot of tricks, we listen to tips, we craft our own little ticks, spells, rituals, and habits, but every once in a while it’s fun to take a peek into another authors bag of goodies.

Thanks to a Facebook post by Phoebe Chase I’ve found a fun little tool to play around with and it is helpful. It can all be found on author Shawntelle Madison’s website.

First up is the GMC wizard, I have a blast playing around on this. It helps you lay out your characters goals, motivation, and conflicts. It’s everything you probably already have in your head but you enter it in and the wizard lays it out nice and neat for you. I’ve used it repeatedly. Also if you can pick up GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon, I highly recommend it (I mean really, an author can never have too many resource books)

There is also a Royalty Calculator, I haven’t played too much with it, but give it a go while you are there.

My next go-to in my goodie bag (my bag is pretty small, but it will grow over time) is the Emotional Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. This book is invaluable. Seriously. It helps cut down on flat characters and repetitive words.

I suppose the last little thing in my bag is when it comes to names. The list of name sites I have bookmarked is ridiculous but here’s a run down of some: (also, beware, I don’t know if these sites are safe, I use them but that doesn’t mean that the next person who goes there might not run into some trouble with popups or other unsavory issues)
(yes, if you haven’t figured it out by now baby name books/sites are an excellent resource for pinning down that hard to find name for your characters)

What are your tips, tricks, or tools that help you with your craft? Let us know, we’d love to hear about it!