There’s something exciting about spending hours deciding which book to get. It doesn’t matter whether you’re browsing the book catalogs online, wondering the rows of books in the library or sniffing in the clean scent of a fresh book from the bookstore. Every reader knows that special feeling you get picking out your books.
When you’ve finally decided and you’re walking home with that new book, there’s an air of anticipation and you want to read right away. Sometimes you may need to put off reading that a new book because of other obligations. But it’s always there in the back of your mind, it’s waiting with a new adventure just for you.
But if one book makes a reader excited, then you’ll be overjoyed to buy a complete series at one time. It’s like having your birthday and Christmas wrapped up at once- and all the other little holidays thrown in at the same time. When I can buy books in a series, I feel like I want to be shut away from the world for at least a week until I’ve read every one in a row and in order. I rarely buy a series of fiction books in print. Those I buy on the internet; space is an issue, because if I bought every series I liked, I would need to build a new house just to hold my books.
But when I buy a series of nonfiction reference books, it’s like I’ve invested in my future. My future as a writer, because these are the books I’m usually buying. And although I may not read them right away, I display them on the bookshelf, in their proper order, waiting for the opportunity to use them for reference. Oh, don’t get me wrong; I will look through each book to see what is in each chapter, but it doesn’t get quite the attention that a series of fictional books will get. Those I dive right into and become part of the series.
And I must admit as an author seeing your own series ready for purchase-well there’s just no words to explain the sense of awe and pride. Knowing somebody else might buy your complete set of works or at least what you wrote in that series is mind-boggling. Self-satisfaction doesn’t begin to cover the words.
If there was a way, I think every writer would like to sit on the shoulders of the reader and gauge their reaction. Do they like your favorite passage, or smile at that little joke you included? Do they hold their breath in anticipation of a climax, do they sign with your ending-content the story ended the way they wanted? If you’re a mystery writer like me, are they following all your clues? Are they catching which ones are red herrings and are they surprised by your ending? Are you getting the right results with each book in your series?
You hope that these questions will come up every time, in every book.
So, thank you to all who have purchased my books; one at a time or in a complete series.
I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them.
It can be a lonely world out there for an indie writer. You can be lost or overwhelmed easily, but we have resources at our fingertips that can help us along. One writer went to the extreme to help other writers. I’m pleased to introduce Kathryn Bax (Pen name Kathryn McMaster)as my guest blogger for this week.
I’m going to let Catherine tell you a little bit about her story and about the great website that she’s put together for writers and readers alike. I’m proud to be part of this website and of course you can find all of my books there. But it’s not just my books; there’s a vast number of writers from different genres. So, you be sure to go to the website and start picking out some great books to read.
One Stop Fiction for Readers and Writers
We all like to read free and discounted books, don’t we? Who doesn’t like a bargain? I co-founded One Stop Fiction for two reasons. The first was to provide readers with quality books at discounted rates, the other was as an author I was frustrated at the lack of places I could be seen, other than my own author Facebook pages and website. How could I make sure that my book was on a permanent website, rubbing shoulders with books from my peers? Along came the idea for the website.
However, 9 months ago, the idea hadn’t even been born yet. I was still frantically trying to finish my first novel. Once I was nearly finished I realized that I needed some ideas on how to market it. There was no point in writing a book that nobody would see.
So I paid a squillion to join a course on book marketing only to be bitterly disappointed. It had not stated on sign up that the course was primarily for non-fiction writers. I took very little away from the course and felt rather disgruntled. I was not the only one. Other fiction authors were very unhappy too.
So, being the rebel that I am, I decided to break away from the group and start my own Facebook group where we could all learn from each other and share marketing ideas. The group soon grew to well over 1000 members. However, after listening to the feedback from the new group, there seemed a need to provide a platform where writers could connect to readers and vice versa.
I had built and run several websites of my own before this. I was no stranger to HTML and website jargon. However, I knew that we needed a site that would be more than a ‘mom and pop’ venture. We needed something slick and professional, easy to use and attractive to look at.
In the previous disgruntled group were two very special people; Shaun Griffiths, a Young Adult author who would become our Content Manager, and Alex Okros; an author of short stories (still unpublished) and the published author of a time-management book.
We fast became Internet friends. One day I said to Alex that I was thinking of starting up a website for authors. He said that he too had had the exact same idea. I said that it was all very well and good to have lofty ideas but website platforms did not come cheap. Who would we get to build it? He started to chuckle and said, “Oh, didn’t I tell you? I am a computer programmer and my girlfriend designs websites.” Sometimes, some things are just meant to be.
The website was released to the public on 8/8/2016 which we hope is an auspicious date – not that we are at all superstitious! Already hundreds of books have been added to the site and we are thrilled to see how many people have entered our monthly competition to win a Kindle eReader Paperwhite worth $119. The competition is open to all, no matter where you live. There is no joining fee, and to say thank you for your subscription you have a choice of 30 free e-books to read.
So please come and join us, have some fun, and be prepared to find some great books!
It’s hard to believe, but this week celebrates 3-year anniversary of the release of my first book! I thought I’d write a quick little blog about what I’ve learned from the beginning. Well, the first thing I need to tell you be; I’m no expert and I have tons more to learn, I’ve barely skim the surface.
When I first started my first book it was a challenge, I never expected to do another one, or another one (etcetera), but as anyone who writes knows, once you start you can’t stop. Writing becomes part of who you are.
I think the most surprising lesson I learned is writing a book is just the beginning. It’s a business and if you want to succeed, you need to address the business end of the craft. Like any business, there are tools you need to use to be successful, so I thought I’d let you know a few of the tools I use day-to-day. As I’ve grown in my writing, I found I can’t go without them.
Foremost is Scrivener. It is a writing program which helps you organize and keep your thoughts clear. Plotter or Pantser– scrivener will work for you.
I also use MS Wordbecause most documents need to be put into word and it’s easy. there’s no fussing. Word will allow you to add in editing programs, and these aids are essential for my writing process. I work with 2 programs; ProWriting Aid or Grammerly. Either one of them will work. You need these programs to help you catch the many mistakes your eyes will miss, know no matter how good you are.
I also use a dictation program called Dragon Naturally Speaking. I can’t tell you how my writing has changed using this program. The idea is to get the thoughts down on paper, and this works great. There is a learning curve to using it, but worth the time and effort you put into it.
Two other items I use every day, without fail, and would be lost without them are Dropbox and Evernote.
Dropbox holds all my documents off-line. After losing major files because of a glitch in either my equipment or my backup practices, I found this is the smartest thing I could have ever done. I wish I’d done it years ago, not only for my writing for my business. I use Evernote to help me to make quick notes from the thoughts racing through my mind as I go through my day-to-day routine. I can dictate into the program which is great for me. I can organize the notes into notebooks so I can make notes on different books and projects I’m working developing. Evernote is a good tool to use with Scrivener, too.
I’ve also found, whether I like it or not, social media plays big part in the writing. Facebook(www.facebook.com/CitrusBeachMysteryseries ), Twitter (Victoria LK Williams@CitrusBeachMyst), LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/victoria-lk-williams), Instagram (vickilkw), and Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/vlkwcbm) are the ones I actively use, some more than others. A word of caution about the social media sites; learn to turn them off and concentrate on your writing. It is best to set a time that you allow yourself for social media so you don’t waste writing time. Because, believe me, you can.
One important aspect not to overlook is an Author Website.(VictoriaLKWilliams.com) Give your readers another option to find you, to find out about your books; where to buy them and about your upcoming works. Personalize your website so it sounds like you; don’t make it so professional that the readers are not intrigued. This is your opportunity to introduce your personality and maybe some hints about how you write and why you write it’s also a great place to post about upcoming books and their progress.
If, after all that work, you still have some creative juices left, try Blogging. It’s one more way for your readers to find out about you on a more personal level and for those search engines to find you. I have two blogs: this one and Gossip From the Southern Garden (gossipfromthesoutherngarden.cordpress.com)
It’s been said loneliness comes along with writing, but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t seclude yourself, talk to other writers, if not in person than online. There’s many forums out there where writers share ideas, tips, and encourage each other. Even if you don’t participate at first, there’s a lot to read about. Find yourself a Writing Buddy— either online or in person. Everybody needs a shoulder to cry on, or a hand to hold. When you’re celebrating, your writing buddy can be there for you.They’ll understand you in ways no one else can, because they’re going through the same thing you are.
The other word of advice I can give is have patience. Don’t be in such a hurry to push the publish button. Invest in a good cover and an editor. Even if you need to hang on to your book for a couple of months until you can raise the funds to do so.There’s good editors out there and bad ones; make sure you send them a sample chapter. Ask them to look it over and tell you if it’s something they are interested in pursuing. You’ll get a chance to see their work, too. I would recommend you go with an editor who likes the type of books you write. If you’re writing a series of books, make sure your cover tie together so readers can find them easier.
Keep track of your promotions. a book that isn’t out there for people to find will not get read. Even the best authors fall off to the charts with some of their older books.
And my last bit of advice it to take care of yourself, your family and friendships. Get up and walk around, eat healthy, drink lots of liquids and, if you can, take breaks to get some exercise. Don’t neglect your family or friends. Nourish those relationships, they’re the most important thing in your life. Besides, you might find inspiration from these same people.
So here is my little tidbits of knowledge I’ve learned over the last three years. It’s by no means is a complete, because I’m learning more every day. I make mistakes every day too.
The trick is to learn from your mistakes and keep writing!
Please note any programs or sites I mentioned, I’m not endorsing them for any type of payment; I’m simply stating what works for me.
What does your search history say about you as an author?
Almost every author has some degree of research that they had to do. The research is what gives body and life to your story.
It makes it more interesting and unusual facts with detailed descriptions can captive your reader. You can only get these facts from either physically being at the site of your book, or researching it. And since most of us are tied to one location, research is our best alternative.
I think it’s safe to say most authors tend to write it at odd hours. Often our work or family puts the writing on the back burner which can make the stolen moments we do find to work on our manuscript occur at the oddest hours. This means we may find ourselves working when going to the library isn’t feasible.
Thank God for the internet!
We can stay up until two or three in the morning, researching to our hearts content. We can easily wander off into different tangents, from one fact to another, as we researched deeper and deeper into a subject.
But all that research leaves a trail. There’s been discussion among authors I know about this very subject. If anybody ever looked into an author’s (especially a mystery writer) line of research, and the sites we visit, and the questions we ask… well, many of us would be considered a dangerous element.
How would somebody who isn’t aware you’re an author react to your research history? Would you cringe when they search your computer’s history? Are you taking in them down a dark tunnel your normal personality would never go? If you’re a mild-mannered person who is looking up all sorts of deadly and evil ways to kill off your characters, will your friends look at you differently? Could you be looking into government espionage and ways to corrupt a government official could bring some unwanted attention from ‘big brother’? Maybe you’re looking into buried Treasures in history of your area and ways to claim it for yourself.
Do you see what I mean? Your research history can land you in a lot of trouble if the wrong person looks at it. But that’s what being an author is all about! We take all our research and off we go. It’s our job to weave a spell and create a story good enough to captivate our readers and have them turning the page.
So before you judge the history of any author’s computer research, you really ought to read their books. You never know how we might twist facts to work with our plots.
As you go throughout your life, without even realizing it, you are mentoring to many people. Be it your children, friends of your children, or people that you come in contact with on a daily basis. Either at work or play, there’s always somebody there that is looking to you to be an example and to answer questions.
Don’t be stingy with your knowledge. Sharing helps other people learn from your experiences, be it good or bad. Sometimes, we learn the best lessons from our mistakes. Why not share those lessons with somebody else so that they don’t make the same mistakes?
I’ve been very lucky in this journey of writing. I’ve developed a number of friendships, both virtual and in real life. Some of these closest friendships are with writers that I’ve never even met the person. Yet they are the ones who helped me through the struggles of authorship.
As I’m doing research, or as I’m struggling in the passage of my book, or getting over the let down when you get when you finish a book, they are there. As I’m beginning to start a new book, we bounced ideas off of each other, throwing out possible plots and twists.
Fellow authors, I find, are willing and generous in sharing what they learn about the industry, as well. From ways to advertise and promote our books, to new tools on the market, the writing blogs and forums are quick to post this information. It is another type of mentoring, but it is priceless. In an industry where there is not a high turnover of money, every bit of help you can get goes a long way.
The friendships that I developed doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) are priceless as well. Each one of us in our cabin are going to the same struggles at the same time, together. As we strive to achieve our own personal goals, we are also there to give each other support. Or, just to cut up and laugh at each other and ourselves.
Sometimes that’s all a mentor needs to do; be there to hold your hand, laugh with you at your mistakes, and help you get over that next hurdle.
But mentoring also takes on community responsibilities. I feel it is our responsibility to bring up the next generation to be responsible. We need to help them develop good business sense, sound moral standing, and the sense of self pride when they accomplish their goals. It can be lonely when you’re trying to start up a business, learn a new career, or are just moving ahead in life. Having somebody there to help you through the obstacles we call life, is a blessing.
So, thank you to all those who have taken the time to mentor me. I may not say it enough but you’re truly appreciated.