Wednesday, October 5, 2016

On Writing Rules, POVs, and Amazon's New Review Policy — IWSG (35)

The Internet, being a universe in its own right, is practically cluttered with all sorts of advice on everything and anything. So, you very well know that there are TONS of articles on writing, being an author, what you should and shouldn't do, blabblity blah, etc, and such. 

But things change. And there's no hard rule because everything is subjective. Speaking of, I—apparently—have some opinions of my own . . . and have made some contributions to the world of writing. I've also enjoyed some good advice written by an editor and have felt very opinionated on Amazon and its going ons.

I won't bore you with too many details, so I'll get to it:

If you've ever wondered about breaking writing rules and things we do to sabotage ourselves as writers, check these out: 3 Things Every Writer Should Stop Doing Immediately and 3 Rules to Break if You're a Writer

But those are just my POV on some things. For actual POV rules, allow me to send you to a fantastic series on them. Editor Lynda Dietz covers the important factors on Points of View Guidelines. There are three parts, all worth reading!

And AMAZON . . . well, they've changed their review policy again. The new rule states that a customer must spend at least fifty dollars using a valid credit or debit card before they’re allowed to leave a review. Prime subscriptions and promotional discounts don't qualify towards the $50.00 minimum—which probably isn’t fair as everyone looks to save money these days. Also, customers in the same household cannot submit a review for the same product, which does make sense.

Some of our fellow writers are upset about the change. It’s difficult to get our readers to leave a review as it is. But is this new rule really as negative as it sounds? When you think about the amount of scams and “fake accounts” leaving reviews, this might overall be a good move, and frankly a great attempt at leveling the playing field for all authors.

But anyway, here's an in-depth article on it: Amazon's New Review Policy's Impact of Authors

. . . and NOW onto the IWSG Question of the month: 

When do you know your story is ready?

I always find it easy to know when my book is ready.

Okay. Let's all laugh together now. If there's a writer out there who knows for sure their book is ready, I love AND hate them. It's not personal, though. Sort of.

As a "Chronic Rewriter" I truly never know how to decide a book is ready. I can always, and I do mean ALWAYS, find new (and old) things I could tweak. So, basically, it's more about deciding when to give up. 

Okay, that sounds terrible. But it's about admitting and accepting that the story has all the elements it needs and the writing is as it should be. Most importantly, that all my loose ends have been tied. And even more importantly, when my critique partners, betas, and the editor say, "For the love of God, woman, enough! It's done." THAT is how I know. 

I know. I'm not helpful at all when it comes to this. How bout you, though? How do you know when your story is ready?

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group hop.
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!  Posting is first Wednesday of every month. Click here for more info.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Confidently Insecure — IWSG (34)

I love summer. I get to be permanently exhausted and happy for a couple of months by doing nothing more than being a mom. So naturally on the kids' first day of school, I cried while popping that wine bottle open to celebrate cope with my freedom loneliness. 

But mainly to celebrate. Now, I'm not being a harsh mom. On that particular day (September 1st), I received a book award for KINETIC. Sort of. In a competition of thousands of entries, I snatched the 5th place (with a couple ties on some prizes) and won the READERS' FAVORITE FINALIST AWARD in the Urban Fantasy category. Say whahhhh? I know!!!! :D (Also, I say "sort of" because it says finalist there, yet my email said I won the "finalist award", so I'm calling it an award based on that. I'm waiting on the rest of the details while I celebrate and, umm, before they take it away lol)

I was planning the demise of at least 3 winners in front of me but decided to let it slide . . . this time. This is just my first book, and I'm grateful and proud of my spot. I guess. Ahem, I mean, I am. Truly. 

It came at the right time. I'd just decided to step away from the series and feeling like a failure and overwhelmed by my lack of time to give it my all. As anyone who writes a series knows, it takes a lot of details to keep it all together, which for me personally is a little more difficult than a stand alone . . . And that's exactly what I'm working on now: a different separate stand alone story to get a break. I'll come back fresh to Chaotic in a few months, hopefully. 

So while I'm feeling a bit down for needing a break on the Luminaries, I feel great for having been recognized with my first book. And to celebrate even more, in a totally unrelated manner, check out my latest video and let me know if you agree that:

Every Story is a Love Story
(bonus point to whoever counts the right number of times I say, "I mean" o_O)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

What Vacation Did for My Writing

It would seem that I've been gone for a hot minute. That's because I was. I'd love to tell you it's because I went into the world to find myself. Or to contemplate upon the wonders of the world. Or to find inner peace.

Umm, sure to all of the above if you look at it this way:

My five-year-old twins are home for the summer (ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. So I've been running around behind them—my personal wonders of the world—keeping them busy and having fun. All while breathing very very deeply, trying to find that inner peace because I haven't been able to find myself. Who am I if not just their mother for the summer? I'm nothing else. And that's the way I like it! Even when my darling mini me found a way to break my back. Okay, so she didn't break it, but she did manage to put me out for a week now with pinched back nerves. Long story short: OUCH. (It's getting better, but I'm still in some pain.)

Before that happened, we went to several places on vacation. Something I needed  because I was internally dying, feeling like a failure thanks to my lack of progress with my book. It turns out, I learned some interesting facts that I can now use to keep the story going. So it truly was a case of "things happen for a reason." I needed the time away from my laptop. I needed to go on that specific trip to learn this particular piece of information that I plan on using. And I needed to relax. 

The other good news? Well . . . 

Right before leaving I went on a limb and put both books out for free on Amazon for a couple of days. KINETIC hit #1 for three days, and STATIC made it to #16 on the best seller list.

BUT then . . . 
The following week (when I was away), KINETIC was in the top 100 books SOLD on Amazon Best Sellers List (at #74), and STATIC was in the top 200 sold as well (at #167). And now my "pages read" are going insane on Kindle Unlimited. I'm not saying any of this to boast, but as darling Janie said, I'm sharing the great news with my friends. I needed a little pick me up, and this certainly did it.

What else have I been up to?

I've recorded a few other episodes that are awaiting editing. And did share one more video on how men and women argue differently. I know this sounds odd, but I cannot watch it without cracking up. Maybe because we talk about my husband a little bit, maybe because there's so much truth to what we discuss, or maybe because we have some hilarious video cut-ins. Either way, enjoy!

Thanks for watching!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Should You Self-Edit Your Own Book?

I'm going to keep the answer short and sweet:

No. No, you should not self-edit your own book.

There you go. You're welcome. :P

But if you don't believe me, check out this video interview with my darling BFF, Lynda Dietz, who actually knows about this particular subject because she's an editor. 

And don't worry it's only 12 minutes long. Well, 6 minutes long once you laugh through all the shenanigans. 

For those who followed the coffee chat series and may have wondered what happened to us, well busy-ness happened. Besides, we found it cooler to hang out in person for real-life coffee. The first time was for about 12 hours . . . and the second time, we decided one day wasn't enough, so we spent 5 days together. Well, us and our other author buddy, Raymond Esposito a.k.a. my Writers After Dark co-host. 

And since we were all together, it seemed crazy not to take advantage and interview her for the Writers After Dark show . . . umm, even though, we recorded in the middle of a 3-day hangover. #TrueStory

So there! Please go check her out and give her some love. Our editors are hard workers and without them, our books just wouldn't survive!!!! ;) 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Barnes and Noble to Sell Self-Published Books In-Store!!!!

What is it?
Self-published authors will soon have the opportunity to see their books on the shelves of Barnes and Noble.
Why is it game-changing?
This decision, not only opens doors for indie authors everywhere, but it’s also the first move to offer real competition to Amazon. How is one Amazon bookstore to compete against 640 Barnes and Noble stores? The answer may surprise you!

Long Story Short
Amazon has been the leading supporter of Indie Authors for many years, and with the news of its upcoming bookstores, it was sure to knock Barnes and Noble off its own shelves. B&N, however, isn’t going down without a fight. They’ll be offering indie authors the chance to sell their self-published books in-store.

Before you start doing the happy dance, you need to understand the catch. To qualify for this program, you would need to say goodbye to Amazon’s KDP Select. This is only for NOOK Press authors  whose e-book sales (per title) have reached 1,000 units in the past year. So this “opportunity” isn’t as simple as it sounds. Still, it may very well be the first of many changes that will help knock down the gates holding back talented self-published authors.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

When In Doubt, Trust Your Gut — IWSG (33)

Isn't the internet awesome? It's full of information and provides many how-tos for anyone and everyone. It can guide us when we're trying to figure out the ins and outs of writing our books. 

Not sure what genre your book falls under? Need to know if you captured a scene or conflict in a realistic way? Have to find the proper dialogue rules? Wonder which Critique Partner/Beta is on the money? Well, look no further than our darling Mr. Google.

The problem is . . . can you even trust what you read when everything has a conflicting counterpart? And if they all seem to make sense, how do you decide what's right and what's wrong? Well, the answer is as simple as it is complicated: we have to trust our gut. 

Right now, my gut has no idea what to do. All it wants is for me to stuff my face with lots and lots of carbs. In all its complex simplicity, that little thing we call fear is making me question everything. But I'm reminding myself that yes, I need to do my third book the justice it deserves, so second guessing every move is lethal. Not to mention, plain stupid.

Still, it's not all bad. The questions and doubts can keep us grounded and can stop us from falling off the rails. The main thing to remember at all times is that no matter what, this is YOUR story. YOUR characters. YOUR world. No one else knows what would be unnatural. So if you want to write notes for two different directions, I say: do it. That's what I did. And I learned real quick that one of those paths made me question whose book this was. It certainly was not mine.

The kicker is I knew the other way was the way to go . . . but I didn't trust my instinct. Rookie move? Nah, it helped me remember to keep following my gut from this point forward. Until of course, it goes out to CP's, and they say I made some terrible mistakes . . . then I'll revisit my instincts and probably ask for a donor gut that *might* know better than mine. :P

What about you?
Do you also need a reminder, every now and then,
 that YOU hold the answers?
No? Just me? O_O Umm . . . carry on! ;) 

And in case you need extra reinforcement in writing "how-tos" visit this page for an ever-growing list of resources! 

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group hop.
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!  Posting is first Wednesday of every month. Click here for more info.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ever Received a Misguided Review?

Recently, I uploaded my third book's, Chaotic (The Luminaries, Book 3)synopsis to Goodreads. I'm still in the writing phase, but I thought it was a good motivation to keep up with the writing. 

But imagine my surprise when I received a 3-star review on it. This book hasn't been published yet because it's not finished. And it hasn't been shared with anyone. At all.

It was a decent one too, except for the rating. The person said she loved it; the characters were great, but the other two books were better. Now, I don't believe in contacting reviewers, but I wanted to ask if maybe she meant to review the second book in the series, Static, but she said no. Then I explained why I reached out and the review disappeared with no reply from her. All good, it was a great chuckle, I mean . . .

It's not every day you get a review on a book that is still mostly in your head. 

Which brings me to the newest episode in the Writers After Dark video series! 

Some of our favorite followers were kind enough to send us their most awful, misguided book reviews! In return, we’ve responded to the readers on their behalf. 

So take a quick 13-minute break, 
sit back, and enjoy!

Special thanks to our lovely participants:

Feel free to visit our website:

www. WritersAfterDark.Net

Thanks for watching!!!!