Friday, September 28, 2012

YA Indie Carnival - Do You Audiobook?


YA writers and bloggers unite each week to share their thoughts on what it's like going indie in today's publishing world.

Today we're discussing audio-books. To be honest - I don't have much experience with this. I've tried listening to books on CD before and it soon became apparent that I'm a visual learner. I need to see something with my eyes or I just tune out. 

However, I know plenty of people who love audiobooks. My brother is case in point. He used to listen to books as he drove through rush hour to work. I know many authors are starting to look at getting their books made into audio books. I think it's a great idea. I have investigated briefly, but the site I found is only open to the USA. I will keep my ears and eyes open for other options in the future, but for now, people are going to have to read my work :)

Are you an audiobook person? 
Do you prefer listening to or reading a book?
If you're a writer - have you made your books into audios? Is it worth it?

If you'd like to find out what the other carni goers have done, check out the links below.

And don't forget to check out the YA Indie Carnival site for all the latest updates.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Indies Unlimited Is Worth Checking Out

I have a post on Indies Unlimited today. You can check it out here. "What Makes A Good YA Novel by Melissa Pearl."

I am actually lucky enough to be a monthly contributor.

I know I have posted about these guys before, but their 1st birthday is coming up on October 6th, so I thought I'd take a moment to highlight Indies Unlimited again. I think it is an awesome site that indie authors should check out. Here are my reasons why...

- There are so many ways you can highlight your work on there - guest posts, book trailers, excerpts and announcing your latest releases.

- Every day there are five posts and usually one or two of them is a really helpful article about writing or marketing. The others are new releases or snippets from books. I have discovered some great reads.

- They also do Like-fests and Twitter-fests. I have gained some great followers by participating in these and I've also stumbled across some very cool people.

- They have a large following of a variety of authors, bloggers and readers. You never know what you might learn or who you might meet.

If you haven't flittered over to their site yet, then you may want to take a moment now. I hope it can help you as much as it's helped me.


Friday, September 21, 2012

YA Indie Carnival - Indie Words of Wisdom

YA writers and bloggers unite each week to share their thoughts on what it's like going indie in today's publishing world.

This week we are sharing some pearls of wisdom we have gleaned along the road of indie publishing. I can't wait to see what the other carnival goers have posted this week, because no matter how long you've been published, I always think there is room to learn more.

Now I am actually still pretty new to this game. November 4th is the birthday of my first published novel - Golden Blood. Since then, I have published 3 (nearly 4) more books and I have learned so much. And I continue to learn more and more as I meet new people, read blog posts and articles and discover amazing links through Twitter and Facebook.

What I want to touch on today is a piece of advice I was given when I first joined the indie publishing world. "The first thing you need is a good book." I read this in an interview with Mark Coker, he's the founder of Smashwords - an online publishing company. 

I couldn't agree more. Anyone can write a book, but it takes practice and study to write a good book - one worthy of publishing. Now I know that reading is subjective. What I might love, you might loathe, but there is still a difference between a badly written book and one that has been crafted and edited to become something worthy of selling. 

So - how do you write a good book?

My advice is to:

Study the craft of writing. There are so many amazing books out there that can help you with structure, word choice, character development and much more. My favourites are Story by Robert McKee, The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. I didn't just read these books, I studied them, I took notes, I implemented what they told me to do and I truly believe my writing has improved hugely since doing that.

Analyze other books. If you find an author you love or a book you devoured, figure out why. What did you love about the story, the characters, the words? What did the author do to keep you turning pages? You can do the same with books you couldn't finish. Why couldn't you keep reading? What mistakes did the author make? I also do this with movies as they are great to analyze for story structure. Where are the climaxes in the story? Does it follow a progression with each climax getting more intense? How did each event change the character and shape them? What mysteries were held back? When were they revealed? How were they revealed? There are so many things we can learn just from watching and reading. If you ask me, it's a very enjoyable way to study.

Get your work critiqued. I send my first draft out to a few fellow writers that know me well enough to give me honest feedback. If there's a plot hole or a character is not fully developed or a certain scene just doesn't work - they'll tell me about it. I then send my second draft to an editor who can point out anything my critique writers may have missed. I then recommend giving your third draft to beta readers - these are your target audience. It's best to choose people you don't know so that they can give you honest feedback. Because I write YA, I approach local high schools and test out my work on the book and writers clubs. My fourth draft goes to a line editor/proof reader so that I can make my work as mistake free as possible.

If you take the time to make sure you have a nugget of gold, your chances of publishing success are much higher. Remember - a book can stay online forever, and a well-written book has a much higher chance of discovery and success than a bad one.

I see writing as a career and I want my readers to trust me, which is why I always do my best to produce the best work I possibly can.

To find out what other indie's are advising, check out the links below.

And don't forget to check out the YA Indie Carnival site for all the latest updates.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Next Big Thing - Week 13

It is very cool to be a part of this! I love finding out about another writer's work in progress, so you can imagine my excitement when I was tagged by Leigh K. Hunt to participate.

Let me explain...

The Next Big Thing is a chance for authors around the world to tell you about what they're up to. I get tagged and I then tag other authors and so on and so forth.

Totally awesome idea, right?

Okay - so here's mine...

What is the working title of your book?
Betwixt

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I saw a movie once with a similar premise. I loved the concept, but I really didn't like the way it was executed. The idea stayed with me for years and slowly changed and morphed into something really cool. That's when I decided to write it. 

What genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult Paranormal Romance

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I always find this question really hard, because sometimes there is no actor that fits the profile perfectly. The closest I've come to is this:



Nicole Tepper - Mila Kunis. She can be very sassy and I love this particular picture of her. To me, it is very Nicole. I can imagine her looking at a lot of people that way. 



Dale Finnigan - Penn Badgley. When I first created Dale, Penn Badgley in John Tucker Must Die, jumped into my head. I think it was his springy curls :) His manner in that movie reminded me of Dale and I think it is a really fit actually. 

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Wild child Nicole is lost in the woods dying, but her spirit is searching for someone who can hear her and the only guy who can is the one guy who has more reason to hate her than anybody.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self-published. I'm an indie through and through :)

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I was really lucky and received a writing weekend for my birthday present this year. I had already planned the novel really thoroughly so writing the first draft was quite fast. I got through half of it on my weekend away and the rest was wrapped up within a week or so.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I guess Here After by Tara Hudson is kind of similar, although Betwixt has a slightly more contemporary feel.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

As I said earlier, the idea came from a movie I didn't enjoy :) However, the story grew to become what it is now by reflecting on some of the things I've faced in my own life and also some of the tragedies my family has had to deal with. Sometimes in life you need rescuing. 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I have never written a character like Nicole before, she can be a smart mouthed, temperamental cow, yet she's lovable and easy to empathise with. I had so much fun creating her and I ended up falling in love with her little quips and sharp tongue.

Betwixt is very close to release now... November 5th. Can't wait!!
If you'd like to add it to your reading list, here's the link: Betwixt on Goodreads.

And the five authors I would like to tag are:

Jeff LaFerney - Mr. LaFerney is a fantastic writer and has published three books. He is such a great guy and very supportive of fellow writers. I am really excited about his next project and can't wait to see it finalized so I can read it!

C. M. Keller - Ms. Keller is the author of Screwing Up Time, a book I very much enjoyed. The sequel is due out very soon and I was lucky enough to be an advanced reader. I really, really enjoyed it. Can't wait for it's release.

Michelle A. Hansen - I was lucky enough to work with Ms. Hansen on an anthology project - A Taste Test. She was so fantastic work with. Her first book, Painted Blind, was released this year and I am very excited to see what she's working on next. 

Melodie Ramone - I just met Ms. Ramone through Twitter. She is awesome. Her blog is fantastic and if it reflects her writing style, I'm super pumped to find out about her work in progress.

Have fun reading about their WIPs as well. They will be posting theirs next week.

Friday, September 14, 2012

YA Indie Carnival - My Writing Space


 YA writers and bloggers unite each week to share their thoughts on what it's like going indie in today's publishing world.

This week is a fun one. We get to share where we spend our writing time. I actually have two spaces thanks to the dodgy internet connection in our house.


My favourite place to work is at my desk as I have everything I need at my finger tips. Having just moved, I haven't had a chance to set up my quotes yet, but usually my walls are plastered with inspiring quotes, poems I love and my writing goals for the year. We are renting so I'm not sure I can do that here. I'm trying to figure out the best way to get this stuff up around me. Any suggestions are most welcome.

The other space I work when my internet connection isn't playing fair, is out in my dining room. I have to say, it is a bright, spacious place to work in, so I shouldn't really complain.



If you'd like to see where other authors spend their time, check out the blog links below.
And don't forget to check out the YA Indie Carnival site for all the latest updates.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Best Thing About Marketing

I'm sure I'm not alone when I hear the word marketing and cringe. It's so not my thing. Frankly, marketing is just something that gets in the way of my writing.

Unfortunately, marketing is an essential part of being an indie author - any author for that matter. I have come to realize that as much as I don't like it, good marketing can make any book sell pretty well, no matter how good it is... or isn't. People may disagree with me on this, but I have read some super sellers that I've felt pretty blase about, but also stumbled across some of the most brilliant reads that are currently ranked in the 300,000 on Amazon.

I am in the pre-marketing phase of Betwixt, getting ready to launch the book in November. I'm trawling through all these amazing articles on how to market well and learning what I can. It doesn't take away the groan factor though and if anything I find it overwhelming. I am a very small fish in the world's biggest ocean :)

However, since I am one of those people that always has to find a positive in everything (I grew up in an attitude of gratitude household), I am sitting here searching for the best things about marketing and this is number one...

Connections.

I have spent hours drumming up reviewers, making connections through Facebook and Twitter and I have to say, it's been awesome. There are so many amazing people out there in the writing/blogging world. I have made some great friends through social networking and even if my book fizzles (which hopefully it won't!), I can at least look back and be super happy that I've made some excellent contacts I can keep in touch with.

So - if you're like me and marketing is something you struggle with, I encourage you to look on the bright side.

What do you think is the best thing about book marketing?



Monday, September 3, 2012

Betwixt Cover Reveal

I know a few of you have seen this already, but for those of you who haven't I am VERY excited to be showing you the cover and description of my latest novel - Betwixt!

This YA Paranormal Romance is due for release November 5th.
I'm so super pumped about this story. It was so much fun to write and came together beautifully in the end. I can't wait to share it with you in November.

In the meantime, I have the awesome privilege of sharing the cover with you!

Thank you so much to Brenda Howson - my graphic designer. She did such a brilliant job with it and Al Ronberg who took the photo she worked with - you are a legend, man. Thanks for the BotanyLife teens who modelled for me - you guys rock as well.

So without any more delay - here is the cover. I hope you like it as much as I do :)


Beautiful, wild-chid Nicole Tepper is hit by a car and left for dead. But when she wakes the next morning, Nicole finds herself in bed without a scratch. Perhaps she was more intoxicated than usual, as her mother is giving her the silent treatment and her friends are ignoring her as well. 

Things take a turn for the weird when Nicole soon discovers she is actually hovering between life and death. Her body is lying in the forest while her spirit is searching for anyone who can hear her. Unfortunately the only person who can is Dale Finnigan, the guy she publicly humiliated with a sharp-tongued insult that has left him branded.

Desperate, Nicole has no choice but to haunt Dale and convince the freaked-out senior to help her. Will he find her body before it's too late? Or will the guy who tried to kill her with his car, beat him there and finish her off before anyone finds out?


If you would like to add Betwixt to your reading list on Goodreads, you can do that here.

Keep an eye out for more snippets of Betwixt. I will be feeding you little morsels of information as the release date draws near.