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!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Return of Alex's SPE

Once upon a time, we started this blog to help document our journey of self publishing and to help others who were starting out on the journey. Mia had started with Waking Up in Bedlam and I had started with Black and White Desires (originally titled In Black and White). Mia and I were both gearing up to publish...and then we were contracted with Ellora's Cave for another project— officially making us both hybrid authors. Because of the contract, I was required to submit Black and White to Ellora's Cave. Here's where things get tricky....

Over eight months went by without any progress on my edits on Black and White. I never received them. Through a series of e-mails, I got my rights back. That's all I'm going to say about the situation, because I don't believe in bad mouthing.

That being said, with some wonderful support I was able to get Black and White ready and out in a short amount of time. It is now up on Amazon, ARe, and Smashwords. This book is so near and dear to my heart that I was so excited to get it out in the public. So I'm officially back on the Indie (well Hybrid) band wagon. I'll be testing out marketing, take overs, public events, and anything else I can think of. I already have a book trailer and I'm working with a PR group to start getting the word out there!

Black and White Desires

Blurb: Erika’s world is turned upside down when she agrees to a photography job for Landon, a sexy archeologist with a passion for control. When he hires her for a shoot of a different nature, a BDSM demonstration on submission, Landon takes her into a lifestyle that has only been a curiosity for her. She must learn to let go of her control to follow her desire to submit. Can Erika come to terms with what she needs from Landon and learn to give up the control she clings to?