Theresa Stillwagon

Edgy romance, sensual love


2 Comments

The Indie Author: A Jack of all Trades by Jill Edmondson

If you’re filthy rich, you can skip reading this post…

I often wonder if people really really really know what goes into being an indie author, what it takes to be self-published.  I suspect that in many cases, aspiring writers don`t fully understand just how much more there is to do than just writing the book. In fact, writing the book is probably the easiest part.

Some of the additional tasks are obvious, such as editing and proofreading, but those tasks are just a couple of steps in a very big, very long process.

What people sometimes miss is that it is not of case of spending the time doing a given task, it’s a case of how much time you have to invest in LEARNING how to do a task before you can do that task proficiently.  If you’ve got some cash, maybe you can just hire freelancers to do things for you.  But if you don’t have a bucket of cash…

frisky businessLAYOUT and FORMATTING

Ugh.  I bought some software and thought I could do this.  I was wrong.  I spent about a day and a half trying to learn it. By that I mean just learning the basics.  I’m not even talking about learning it to a high standard.   I suppose I could have figured it out if I had tons of time, but why?  Why not let a professional do it?

COVERS

Can you design it yourself?  Really?  Is it worth spending the time trying to do so?

Okay, maybe you’ll just pay someone.  What if you put out a call to a few designers and three of them respond by sending three samples each.  That’s nine covers.  How do you choose?  And don’t just pick the one you like best.  Consider what readers may think of it.   The cover for my first book was chosen by my publisher.  It was a good cover, but not for what was inside.  Some of the responses from readers regarding the cover were quite negative, but negative in a way that none of the people involved in the design had anticipated.

BOOK TRAILER

As the release of my first book approached, the topic of making a book blood and groomtrailer came up.  Once again, the how-to and technical side of things was a skill set I did not (and still do not) have.  So there is that side of things – figuring out how to fade one image into another, how to add text or sound, etc.  But beyond that, what about the actual content?  I had no idea what to try to show in a two minute video.  Should it be informative?  Funny?  Should I be in it?

COMMUNITY

Okay, you already know that you need to have a social presence.  Yup, that’s a given.  But again, where and how will take some time to figure out.  Every new author marketing dot.com or every new author support site promises to be the best, to have the most pageviews, to have the most subscribers… I think I have now become a member of/created a profile for/registered in no less than 9,300,289 sites all promising that THIS is where I’ll connect with readers.

As to the where:  Yikes, that’s hard.  There are a million, no wait, a zillion blogs, chatrooms, discussion boards, aggregator sites, curator sites, share sites, retail sites, review sites and so on and on and on…  Which ones are most effective for you?  For your genre?

As to the how: You need to spend time learning the rules and conventions of each online place.  By this, I do not mean general etiquette for Twitter or Facebook.  I’m talking a little more specifically.  I once innocently/stupidly posted on a discussion board about an upcoming promotion for one of my books.  DOH!  I should have read the guidelines (pages and pages, or I guess I should say screens and screens) more carefully.  Turns out I had violated a rule and other members raked me over the coals for it.

ADVERTISING

Okay, so yes, you say you’re willing to spend a few bucks to advertise your book.  Great!  Maybe you’ll make a banner ad.  Great!  Do you know how to?  What should it say?  What will inspire people to click on the ad?  What kind of image might you use (if not the book cover)?  I once spent 8 hours (yes, really, 8 hours!) trying to get an ad image to work.  In hindsight, I wish I had simply paid someone to design it for me, and spent those 8 hours doing something else.

WEBSITE

You don’t need me to tell you that you have to have a website.  And there are lots of ways you can do this yourself.  You can do it very cheaply, if not for free.  But if creating a website were as easy as tying your shoelaces, then colleges wouldn’t offer diplomas in web design.  Workopolis and Monster wouldn’t have lots of job postings for web designers.

If you think about the points I’ve just discussed (and there are many others ro be considered as well),  you’ll realize that many of the skill sets an author needs are quite far removed from telling a story.  Yes, there is a certain amount of creativity in all of them.  Yes, many people are multi-talented.  But but but… It wouldn’t make much sense to expect the graphic artist who created your ad, or the web designer who developed your site to sit down next week and write a novel would it?  Maybe when it comes to indie publishing, you shouldn’t try to be a Jack of all trades.

* * *

For more info on Jill, check out her:

Website www.jilledmondson

Blog www.jilledmondson.blogspot.com

Other titles on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Jill-Edmondson/e/B006Y0YWUO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/sashajacksonmysteries

Follow her on Twitter @JillEdmondson


Leave a comment

Interview with Anthony Caplan

What first got you interested in writing? What has kept you doing it?

I always loved reading, and my parents both held writers in very high regard, so it was always in my mind as a goal. Then in high school I had a teacher who encouraged me to think of myself as a writer, but he thought fiction writing was a lower sort of calling, but I admired some writers and I wanted to be like them. That got me going. What kept me going was some early encouragement from writing teachers, and words of praise from a publisher who told me to keep writing even though it would be tough to get published.

Do you have the support of your family and friends? Has that support always been there, or has it changed since being published?

My family supports my writing because they know it helps keep me centered and is important to me. The support has grown recently with the publication of my latest book, because they see it now as something real, not just a crazy pipe dream.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? Strangest habit? Is there anything you have to do before you start writing?

I write all my first drafts in journals, and for my latest book I started dictating into an MP3 player on my hour long commutes to and from work every day. Then I transcribe into the computer using a dictation program that works pretty well. The one thing I absolutely must do is have two coffees before I can write or edit. Editing for me is where the magic happens.

What advice would you give to a new writer?

Read everything you can. Aim high. There’s no sense thinking you’re going to get rich quick and write what you think is going to be a best seller. Look at writing as a high calling and think about what your aims are. What kind of world do you want to live in? How can you improve the world with your writing? Then sit down and write every day.

What has been the biggest challenge of your career so far?

Keeping going past my fortieth birthday and thinking of myself as a writer, having faith that what I was doing was valid, for the many long years that my writing was being rejected by mainstream publishers.

Has a reader ever complimented you on your writing? What was the best thing you ever heard, and who told it to you?

A recent reviewer said my book Latitudes – A Story of Coming Home left the reader with important questions still unanswered, but that they were important questions to consider about family and belonging and the way relationships change over time. I thought that was a well-considered point and a great compliment.

What are you working on now? Could you give us a little taste?

I don’t like to talk about what I’m working on. That might be the answer to number three.

Tell us about your latest book.

Latitudes is about how a boy struggles to become himself, and it isn’t until a death in the family that he realizes all his running away has led him back to the need to reconcile with his past.

How can people find out more about you?

Check out my books:

Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/Anthony-Caplan/e/B004C6F15W/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/633215.Anthony_Caplan

And don’t hesitate to get in touch on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anthony-Caplan/348326781857597

Twitter: @anthonycaplan1


Leave a comment

Interview with Larissa Hinton

I have a fellow WLC author on my blog today. She’s interviewed a few questions for me.

Enjoy.

What first got you interested in writing? What has kept you doing it?

Well actually my eighth grade teacher started me on the path of writing with one simple assignment: Write a poem. I haven’t stopped ever since.

Do you have the support of your family and friends? Has that support always been there, or has it changed since being published?

To be frank, my family has never been very supportive of my writing. The only person in my life that has been very supportive is my ex-boyfriend. He was there during every up and down of my writing career and I can never thank him enough for it.

When I decided to self-publish and tell my parents, they were at first unsure about how self-publishing worked. However, as time progressed, they grew to accept the idea. They still struggle with writing as my career, but they are warming up to the idea.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? Strangest habit? Is there anything you have to do before you start writing?

I hate to say this, but I don’t think I have a writing quirk. I outline, I write the story, then I edit the story. The only odd thing I can think of I do is I constantly twirl my hair as I write and think. I think it’s specifically a writing quirk, but more of a whenever-I-think quirk. So that’s the only thing I can think of that could be described as a possible writing quirk.

What advice would you give to a new writer?

The first piece of advice I would give to an newbie writer is to never give up. I really cannot stress this enough to writers.

It seems like defeat is fate for writers. Traditional publishers and agents are dishing out rejection slips as if it’s the new hottest trends. Self-publishing seems like giving up on your dreams altogether.

But reconsidering your options, doing research on your plans in publishing and joining a support writing group makes all the difference.

Throughout your writing career, just remember to never give up. Never give up and believe in your talent, and from there you’ll know where to go.

What has been the biggest challenge of your career so far?

Self-publishing. Straight up. I cannot tell you how difficult it is to balance my business mind with my writer mind. They are constantly at war with each other. The one part of my business mind is to constantly market, constantly keep my eye out for the next best thing in the publishing industry. My other brain is focused on finding the time to write, coming up with ideas, and taking breaks in between books.

Has a reader ever complimented you on your writing? What was the best thing you ever heard, and who told it to you?

Absolutely! The best compliment of my writing is the fact that they couldn’t get enough. I’ve heard this in several different readers, and in several different ways. Some reviewers say it in a negative tone that my short stories were not long enough. Some reviewers say it in a positive light that they can’t wait to read Everblossom 2. So I find it interesting to say the least.

What are you working on now? Could you give us a little taste?

Angel Diaries, YA paranormal romance, is my latest work. Here’s a sneak peek of the rough blurb:

Lindsey’s life couldn’t have been any more ordinary. So, she had two guys fighting over her, a psychic friend and a school dominated by Goths but, other than that, life was good. That is until horrible nightmare start about her mother being ripped apart by a monster changed her life from the inside out. Literally. Her whole world was full of lies. She’s not even human. She’s an Angel.

This book is recommended for 16 years or older due to adult scenes and situations.

Tell us about your latest book.

Everblossom: A Short Story and Poetry Anthology is a collection of short stories and poems that explore the three stages of a flower that correlates to the human different stages of life but with a paranormal and fantasy twist. Here’s more information about it in the blurb:

 An anthology that will quench your thirst for more than the ordinary.

Everblossom is a journey through poems and short stories that may seem ordinary on the surface but dig a little deeper and the world not only shifts . . . It changes.

The author who brought you Iwishacana/Acanawishi, now brings you a dash of everything from dark fantasy to the paranormal to romance. So prepare yourself to delve into the three stages of the flower from bud to blossom then back to seed; you’ll go through them all with a whole new perspective on what it all truly means.

How can people find out more about you?

They can visit my blog here:

http://teacherwritebookaholicohmy.blogspot.com/

And they can read my latest book, Everblossom: A Short Story and Poetry Anthology at these websites. That’s a fabulous way to get to know me better.

http://www.amazon.com/Everblossom-Short-Poetry-Anthology-ebook/dp/B005H5GKIY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1313954227&sr=1-1

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/80600

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everblossom-larissa-hinton/1104907595

 


1 Comment

Interview with Darlene Jones

I’d like to welcome author Darlene Jones to my blog today. Why not take a few minutes and read through her interview?

What first got you interested in writing? What has kept you doing it?

Hm, good question. I remember wanting to write when I was young and taking creative writing courses, but not really knowing how to go about the whole novel thing. I started seriously playing around with writing about 12 years ago. It was joining the provincial writing guild and getting into a critiquing group that really got me on the right track.

Do you have the support of your family and friends? Has that support always been there, or has it changed since being published?

My family have been great. They don’t mind the hours I spend on the computer or the time at writers’ conferences and that makes my writing time really guilt free.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? Strangest habit? Is there anything you have to do before you start writing?

Most of my novels are written on yellow stickies – yes, you read right. I jot down notes when I’m sitting at red lights, and when I can’t sleep. The problem with writing the notes in the dark is that I often can’t read my scribbles in the morning or I find I’ve written one note on top of another and that’s impossible to decipher.

What advice would you give to a new writer?

Don’t give up and do get yourself into a critiquing group. You need other sets of eyes and other perspectives that will be impartial. You can’t evaluate your own work objectively—you’re too close to it. Also, you know what you are thinking, but that doesn’t always come across clearly on the page. You need to know how a reader will see it.

What has been the biggest challenge of your career so far?

Marketing!!!!!! It’s almost more work than writing the book. Time consuming and no magic answers to get people’s attention.

Has a reader ever complimented you on your writing? What was the best thing you ever heard, and who told it to you?

Many people have said nice things. This one from a male reader stands out. “Darlene, I cracked the back of Embattled two nights ago and I am captivated. Cool construct.” I really liked that I “captivated” a male reader with a female heroine.

What are you working on now? Could you give us a little taste?

I’m getting book three of the series ready for publication and have to finish book four. Here’s a snippet from book three.

Abby propped the microphone above the bowl of Rice Krispies, turned the recorder on, and poured milk over the cereal. She listened to the resulting recording a dozen times. Yes, the snap and crackle resembled what she heard in her teeth, or rather in her fillings, every night. The pop not so much. But, so what? She slapped her forehead. “God, I’m stupid. Whatever made me think Rice Krispies would lead me to an answer?” She sighed. Yet another failed attempt to identify the sounds. She dumped out the cereal, rinsed the bowl, and left it on the counter for morning.

What the hell were they anyway—these snaps and crackles that jumped from one side of her jaw to the other like soggy Morse code? Stupid teeth. If she didn’t have so many fillings to carry the signals…

Signals? Why did that particular word keep coming to mind? Because she believed something out there was trying to contact her? “Jeez, girl, get a grip. But, what if aliens did really exist? “Like they’d be trying to contact me of all people.” It could be possible. Couldn’t it? Nah! The universe was a damn big chunk of stuff; suns and planets and moons and whatnot all swirling about out there. Earth couldn’t be the only inhabited bit of rock. But…, if the clickings were signals from some alien, shouldn’t she be scared out of her wits?

Tell us about your latest book.

In EMPOWERED, a young woman is convinced she is invincible. The visions she experienced as a child told her so. But, where will these wild beliefs lead? To love? To danger?

How can people find out more about you?

My website is www.emandyves.com and the best place to find out more about the books, links to buy and how to contact me.

Theresa, thank you so much for this chance to talk about my work. I hope you and your readers enjoy my novels.

You are more than welcome, Darlene.


1 Comment

Interview with Sarka-Jonae Miller

I would like to welcome a fellow member of the World Literary Cafe today, Sarka-Jonae Miller.

What first got you interested in writing? What has kept you doing it?

In elementary school our teachers would sometimes tell us to write stories. I remember being in 2nd or 3rd grade and just writing pages and pages for this one story even though the assignment only need to be a page or 2 long. I just loved sitting there and coming up with more details. I even enjoyed going back over it and trying to make it better. All my classmates seemed to dislike the assignment or want to finish as quickly as possible. I guess I realized then that there was something unique about enjoying creative writing as much as I did then. I still love it that much.

Do you have the support of your family and friends? Has that support always been there, or has it changed since being published?

My family and friends are very supportive. Many of them went through my book chapter by chapter with me to make it as good as it could possibly get. They often gave me criticism and even more often disagreed with each other. Their feedback was invaluable. Now that the book is out everyone is helping me to promote it. People are buying copies for friends and writing honest reviews. They prod me to finish the sequel, which I am working on. They’re all really great.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? Strangest habit? Is there anything you have to do before you start writing?

I don’t know that there is anything I have to do before I start writing or a particular odd habit, but I do think I write better when I have a soy mocha and I definitely cannot write at all if I am cold. I’d wear a ski jacket and ear muffs inside if I had to to stay warm enough to write, even if that meant everyone else thought I was insane. It’s come close to that a couple of times when I’ve tried to write at coffee shops that keep their AC on full blast despite the fact that the female customers are shivering and covered in goose bumps.

What advice would you give to a new writer?

Just write. Many new writers get hung up on thinking up the perfect story before they start writing, and then they never start. Experienced writers already know how to organize a story but newbies are going to have to make a lot of changes as they figure out what it takes to make a book work. I think new writers are better off just putting something on paper (or onscreen) and seeing where it takes them, then going back and making changes to a first draft. I also highly recommend that writers take a class or two in editing. If you choose to self-publish you may have to edit the book yourself, which is nearly impossible to do well. If you take a proofreading course or learn basic editing at least you are less likely to have all the dreaded copy errors that readers understandably complain about from self-published books. Also, if you submit your book to literary agents riddled with copy errors they will almost definitely reject it, even if you have a good story.

What has been the biggest challenge of your career so far?

Finding time to write while still having a day job is really tough. Fortunately for me, my day job is writing articles, mainly about health, fitness and wellness. It isn’t the same type of writing I use for my books but at least it keeps my basic writing skills sharp. Still, freelance writers don’t make a lot so I have to work a lot and that does not leave a lot of time for writing novels.

Has a reader ever complimented you on your writing? What was the best thing you ever heard, and who told it to you?

Everyone who has ever commented on “Between Boyfriends” has complimented my writing, except one person, but if enough people read your book someone eventually is going to hate it. I think the best thing anyone has told me is that my book is both hilarious and full of emotion. It is hard to find a balance between being funny and bringing up tough, emotional issues and situations.

What are you working on now? Could you give us a little taste?

I am currently working on two books, mainly. One is the sequel to “Between Boyfriends.” Jan does study abroad in Thailand and what happens in Thailand stays in Thailand, or does it? The other book I am writing is a one off that takes place split between San Francisco and Paris. I spent a week in Paris doing “research.” I also spent two months in Thailand. I think I may have an addiction to traveling for inspiration.

Tell us about your latest book.

“Between Boyfriends” was inspired by people I knew in college. We all have that one friend who jumps from relationship to relationship. She changes for every guy and bends over backwards to make him happy, even to the point of screwing over her friends. The relationships never work out because you can’t be happy when you are trying to be someone else. I wanted to write a book from the perspective of one of “those girls.” However, because those girls drive us all crazy I thought I would see what would happen if someone like that did what we all wanted them to do: STOP DATING. Just stop going from guy to guy and be single for five minutes. Figure your life out and why you act like this. So that’s what the book is about. Jan is a true relationship addict who gets her heart broken one too many times and adopts the extreme view that dating is insane and she is better off not doing it. She also gets the rug pulled out from under her when her mother cuts off her financial support because Jan decided a traditional college education wasn’t for her and she wanted to try massage therapy. I actually was a massage therapist for a couple of years so I know how struggling to pay for college, looking at how much debt you’d be in, realizing how terrible the job market is even with a degree, and hating having to take classes outside of your major that you are not interested in can make alternatives like massage school quite appealing. Though I did get my undergraduate degree first.

How can people find out more about you?

I have a blog on Goodreads and Word Press. I post a lot to my Facebook page and have two accounts on Twitter, @boyfriendsnovel and @sarkajonae. I update all of those pretty frequently with updates on my novels, my most recent articles and other random stuff in my life, plus tips on publishing and free book alerts. My Amazon profile has more about my past if anyone is curious how many countries I’ve been to, what music videos I have been in or how many rescued pets I have. Riveting stuff, I swear :)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,028 other followers