The official blog of author Jean Marie Bauhaus

Category: Self-Publishing Page 2 of 7

Let’s Make 2014 Awesome!

shiny copyLet me get this out of the way first: I have a problem with referring to my readers as “fans.” Maybe this is a confidence problem, and I need to get over it and learn to embrace the word. After all, I don’t have any problem whatsoever with proudly referring to myself as a fan of the things that I love, and that’s exactly what I need to cultivate: a community of people who love and are enthusiastic about my fiction. Still, though, calling devotees of my own work “fans” makes me break out in mental hives. It just feels so egotistical and, well, unearned.

But here’s the thing: I’m willing to earn it. And with all of that said, let’s get to the actual point of this post:

Do you consider yourself a devotee, or even a fan, of my fiction? Are you enthusiastic enough about my writing to help spread the word? Are you impatient for me to write more books, and willing to do what you can to help make it possible for me to write more?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then this post is for you.

I’ve finally figured out what to do with my mailing list. I’ve decided to turn it into a sort of “reader appreciation club” whose members will receive the following:

  • Be the first to read my latest short story, Shiny: A Clockwork Fairytale, which you can preview right here
  • Exclusive sneak peeks and previews
  • Opportunities to beta-read new manuscripts and provide feedback
  • Opportunities to receive advance review copies of completed books
  • Be the first to know about release dates, cover reveals and other big news
  • Discounts on new releases
  • Have a chance to weigh in on decisions like which book I should write next
  • One-on-one communication with the author (that’s me)
  • And eventually, I hope to do exclusive giveaways and free swag, although that’s not in the budget currently

In return, I’ll occasionally ask you to do what fans do — be enthusiastic and tell people about my work.

So how does this help make 2014 awesome? Well, in theory, this will help generate some good word-of-mouth, which will help sell more books, which will in turn allow me to spend less time on paid freelance projects and more time on writing new books, and then we all win. Also, hopefully, organizing my reader base like this will help me keep tabs on how large my audience is and will also provide me with a muchly needed source for feedback so I’m not just shooting in the dark guessing about what my readers want.

Sound good? Well then, just enter your e-mail below to join the club!

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So Long, 2013. Don’t Let the Door Hit Ya.

So, 2013 kinda blew, and I can’t say I’m sad to see it in my rear-view mirror. I spent a lot of time doing the things I thought I was “supposed” to do–looking for a “real” job, doing low-paying and unsatisfying work to keep the lights on, marketing the heck out of a web design business that is becoming less and less viable as a business model (seriously, how does a small studio compete not only with the big design agencies, but also with all of the pre-made themes and cheap/free DIY solutions out there? The answer: not very well), and it didn’t get us anywhere. Well, the lights did stay on. And I did experience some personal growth, which you can read about here. But otherwise, 2013 was pretty useless.

Especially from a writing standpoint. I mean, it wasn’t entirely void of accomplishment; I did write some short stories, and experienced some much-needed growth in that area. But I didn’t write any of the novels I’d hoped to write this year. Heck, I didn’t even make good headway on one. It wasn’t just that I didn’t have the time, I simply didn’t have the energy. For a while there, it was like I forgot how to write. The story-telling part of my brain just ceased functioning, and when I did try, everything was crap.

With all of that in mind, for the New Year, my biggest goals are, one, to not allow myself to get distracted from the things that really matter. Instead of wearing myself out doing things that feel dutiful and responsible that aren’t really generating any income anyway, I’m going to try out this wacky theory that keeps getting put forward by successful people that if you focus on doing what you love, success will find you. And you’ll be a lot less cranky in the process.

The other big goal is simply to develop a daily writing routine and stick to it. Even if it’s only, like, 50 words a day. But it has to be fiction. Blogging and freelance writing don’t count.

I do have other goals. For one, I’m going to experiment with new ways to grow my fan-base (I’ll be doing a post in the next few days about how you can help with that) and increase book sales (because the more books I sell, the more time I can free up to write new ones).

This is also going to be a year filled with editing. You should see some new books coming out this year, but they’ll be books I wrote years ago and never finished (or started, in some cases) revising , as well as last year’s slew of short stories and flash fiction, starting with Shiny. I might also experiment with serializing one of those unpublished novels, but I’m still working out the details on that.

As for books in my “to be written” queue, that still includes the untitled Restless Spirits-adjacent-but-not-a-sequel paranormal romance, the other two to three books in the Damned series, the steampunk western Radium Town, and a Restless Spirits YA prequel that might become a series. If I can get just one of those drafted this year, I’ll be happy.

The keyword this year is “Focus.” And if y’all know me at all, you know what a huge challenge that is for me; but new years are all about challenging yourself, right?

Right. So what are your big goals for 2014?

Editing the Heck Out of your Indie Novel – Part 4: Q&A

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In the course of my series on editing your indie novel (in case you missed it, you can find it here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3), I had an excellent question asked by commenter Tam Francis:

How do you know when to stop?

There comes a point where you have to just call it done and let it go, and acknowledge that no book is perfect. No book ever makes it to publication 100% free of problems or errors, no matter which route to publication it takes. Your book will have imperfections. Some of those imperfections are what make up your style and voice. If you over-edit, which you can do, you run the risk of editing yourself–your voice and style, the thing that makes this book uniquely YOU–right out of your story.

So how do you know when you’re there? One way to know is when your beta readers stop sending your manuscript back with notes pointing out things that need work and start telling you how great it is instead. But sometimes, beta readers can be nitpicky, and you have to learn to trust your gut about whether the problems they point out are indeed actual problems, or if they’re simply difficult to please. If you feel it’s the latter–especially if nobody else seems to have a problem with whatever it is they’re pointing out–you’ve got to accept that you can’t please everybody, and move on.

Basically, you want to make sure you’ve done the best you can in these areas:

– You’ve fixed glaring plot holes, and addressed the not-so-glaring ones in some way, whether that’s by plugging them up, offering some kind of hand-wavy explanation, or hanging a lantern on it–that is, having a character comment on the fact that it makes no darn sense. Generally, it’s best to plug up even the minor holes if you can, but sometimes you just have to resort to one of the other two techniques and move on. These are best reserved for things that qualify as fridge logic.

– You’ve fixed continuity errors and anything else that might pull the reader out of the story.

– You’ve cut boring scenes and tightened the pace (here’s a tip: if you get bored writing a scene, your readers will get bored reading it. It can go).

– You’ve fixed grammatical errors, or made sure that any grammar rules you’ve broken were broken artfully and on purpose.

– You’ve gone through and nuked words you tend to overuse (i.e., like, that, just), or gestures you repeat too often (he shrugged, she sighed, he shook his head), and converted passive tense to active.

– You’ve read your dialogue out loud to make sure it’s not stilted or awkward.

– You’ve corrected every typo, spelling mistake and formatting error that both you and your beta readers have been able to find.

If you’ve done all of those things, and the majority of your beta readers are giving you the green light, then you’re done. Slap your cover on it, upload it to your publishing sites and have yourself another beverage before moving on to your next book.

And the winner is…

I had a few good entries for my pro bono developmental edit giveaway, and it was really hard to choose between them. In the end, it came down to a gut feeling about which one I feel will benefit the most from my help. After a lot of deliberating, I decided to give the pro bono edit to…

Christy and her manuscript Picture Perfect Lies.

The runner up — and it’s a close second — is Tam Francis and The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress. Tam will be getting a certificate for 50% off of my standard rate.

Congratulations to our winner! And I’d still love to hear from the rest of my readers. If you have any more questions on editing for indies, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments. Same goes for if you have any advice to ad!

Editing the Heck Out of Your Indie Novel – Part Three: 3rd Draft to Print

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This is part three in what’s shaping up to be a four-part series. If you missed part one, which mainly covers WHY you should take extra pains in editing your indie novel, you can read it here. Part two, covering initial revisions and rounding up good first readers, is here.

 

 

Step Five

Send it to your beta readers. This group should look for both story problems AND technical problems. While you wait for feedback from this group, round up yet another group of beta readers. This last group should contain your eagle-eyed grammar cop friends, because they’ll be focusing mainly on looking for technical errors. These last two groups might sound redundant, but believe me, the interim group is necessary. They’ll catch things the first readers missed as far as story problems, and also get you well under way to a clean and polished fourth draft.

Step Six

Repeat Step Four with the latest round of feedback. This time, as you read through your manuscript and make edits, you’ll want to go through the whole thing, sentence by sentence. Start by doing a blanket find & delete of words you know you tend to overuse. Read every sentence and paragraph and justify every word, every dialogue attribution, every piece of punctuation, every chapter break and paragraph break and scene break. Read it aloud to yourself — especially the dialogue — to make sure nothing is stilted or awkwardly written.

Once you’re satisfied, or you just can’t stand to look at it anymore, celebrate completing your fourth draft and send it to the last group of beta readers.

Step Seven

Protip: don’t send it to this entire group at once. Send it to the majority, but hold off on sending it to the most trusted and eagle-eyed members of the group. Once you get the initial feedback, go through the manuscript again, formatting it for publication and fixing any errors they pointed out as you go.

Now that it’s all formatted and proofed, send it to the last of your beta readers. If possible, send it to them in its final format. Send one an e-book file and send the other a paperback proof copy. Have them look for formatting errors as well as typos and grammar & spelling errors. This is important, as these things WILL come back to bite you when people start leaving reviews.

If they find errors, fix them. Order another proof and check that the errors are indeed fixed in the print edition.

Congratulations. You have completed your fifth and final draft. NOW you are ready to unleash your masterpiece on the world. Upgrade your beverage to a glass of champagne and toast yourself as you upload your novel files to your various publishing platforms, confident in the knowledge that you did everything humanly possible to make it professional and legit.

Now to recap: that’s SEVEN steps involving FIVE drafts and FOUR different groups of readers. That’s what it takes to bring your novel up to a professional, publishable, ready-for-primetime level “by yourself.” If indeed you want your readers to regard you as a professional and take you seriously, don’t take any shortcuts that don’t involve simply hiring a professional editor to do most of this for you. And if you can afford to do that? Then just do it. You’ll be glad you did.

Do you have any questions for me about the editing process? If so, leave it in a comment. If it’s not already addressed in the next two parts of this series, I’ll do a follow-up Q&A post at the end. Also, I’d LOVE to hear any editing tips you have to offer.

Ready for the Q&A? You can read it here.

Editing the Heck Out of Your Indie Novel – Part Two: Getting to 3rd Draft

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This is part two in what’s shaping up to be a four-part series. If you missed part one, which mainly covers WHY you should take extra pains in editing your indie novel, you can read it here.

In this post, we get down to the nitty-gritty. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Step One

Well, technically step one is to write the book. But for our purposes today we’re assuming you’ve already got a rough draft ready to go. If so, then put it away. Don’t look at it for at least a month. Spend this time recruiting first readers. Don’t worry about roping in the eagle-eyed grammar cops at this point. Look for people who have good instincts about storytelling and pacing, and people who are good at spotting plot holes and continuity glitches and things that just make no damn sense, and people who have a good ear for dialogue. Look for people who read a lot of fiction and/or watch a lot of episodic television.

Where do you find these people? This is where a good critique group can come in handy, but I usually put out a call for volunteers in my personal and social networks, stating what I’m looking for, what things I’m going to be focusing on this round, my time frame, etc.

Step Two

When you’re month is up, take out your rough draft and do the first pass. Fix the problems that you can identify all by yourself. I’m not really concerned with which method you use; just do what works for you. Chuck Wendig’s got some great advice on how to revise a manuscriptSo does Holly Lisle, and hers is 100% less profanity-laden.

After you’ve made your first developmental pass, do your first copy-edit pass. At this point you can go ahead and take the lazy route and use an automated grammar editor like Grammerly. Your purpose at this point isn’t to make it perfect — it’s simply to clean it up as much as possible to minimize errors that might distract your first readers.

Step Three

Now congratulate yourself on completing your second draft. Have a beer or your beverage of choice and fire it off to your first readers. Explain to them that it’s too early in the process for them to bother pointing out typos or grammar snafus, because there’s still a good chance that whatever scene contains such errors will get extensively rewritten or cut altogether.

These first readers should focus on developmental feedback. Does the dialogue ring true? Is characterization consistent? Are there any plot holes, or anything that confuses them or pulls them out of the story? Ask them to refrain from telling you what to fix or how to fix it — that’s your job to figure out. They just need to point out any such problems, and to be honest, even brutally so if necessary.

While you wait to hear back from them, start recruiting your next group of beta readers.

Step Four

Read the feedback as it comes in. Don’t do anything with it yet. Let your subconscious digest it (and give any hurt feelings or irritation a chance to subside). Once you’ve heard back from everyone (and given your emotions time to settle), open up your manuscript and go through it again, looking at the problematic parts and making story repairs according to the feedback.

This, for me, is the hardest part. It’s not really a good idea to just automatically change anything that’s been pointed out as problematic. You need to analyze it, and analyze the feedback and who’s giving it. Are they savvy about the genre? If not, is their confusion simply because they’re unfamiliar with the genre shorthand you used? If that’s the case, should you maybe not resort to genre shorthand, or should you trust your audience to know what you’re doing there without dumbing it down for them? This can be a hard balance to strike. Basically, I look for agreement, and lack thereof. If only one of my first readers doesn’t get my Doctor Who reference, for instance, I’m going to leave it in there for the other four who did. But I’m also going to take a second look at that reference to make sure it actually ads to the story. Whether you make a change based on feedback or not, be sure you justify every decision.

Finish your changes, run it through spellcheck and Grammerly again, and have another beverage. You just finished the third draft.

Do you have any questions for me about the editing process? If so, leave it in a comment. If it’s not already addressed in the next two parts of this series, I’ll do a follow-up Q&A post at the end. Also, I’d LOVE to hear any editing tips you have to offer.

Ready for Part Three? Read it here.

Editing the Heck out of Your Indie Novel – Part One: The Extra Mile

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If there is one professional service that indie authors should be spending their money on prior to publishing their books, it’s editing. Unfortunately, many (too many) self-published authors don’t do this. Some think they don’t need to. But many of them, especially in the beginning, simply can’t afford to.

If you fall into the latter camp, does that mean you shouldn’t publish your book? No. But it does mean that you shouldn’t publish your book until you’ve gone the extra mile (or five) in the editing process. It means you shouldn’t be in a such rush to share your story with the world that you neglect these steps, and it means you should NEVER shrug off manuscript problems thinking that if the story is good enough nobody will care. Because let me tell you something about mistakes in indie books:

PEOPLE CARE.

Sure, I have yet to read a book from a major publishing house that didn’t have its fair share of typos or other errors. I also have yet to read a review of any of these books that mentions said errors. But for some reason, reviewers tend to hold self-published books to a higher standard, and no matter how much they love your story, they will mention errors in their reviews. Some will even deduct points, or those coveted stars, because of them. A bad edit, or no edit at all, can hurt sales and harm your reputation as a writer.

Worse yet, it contributes to the perception that indies are basically one big slush pile unleashed on the masses and that only books that have been vetted by a major New York publishing house are truly worthy. So please: do us all a favor and GET YOUR BOOK EDITED.

So back to what to do if you can’t afford a professional edit. I’ve been there with both of my novels, so I’ve got some experience in this — and overall it’s been a good experience. Not to say that either of my books were perfect the first time I put them on the market, but what errors were pointed out in reviews were few enough and minor enough that I’m pretty confident my self-editing method is about as effective as it gets (oh, and as soon as I notice a reviewer point out an error, I immediately FIX it, then republished the book — that’s not something traditionally published authors get to do). Hopefully, by sharing my method here we’ll have fewer barely-edited and rushed-to-publication books winding up on the market.

There is a lot of great advice out there already about how to edit your manuscript. The thing is, most of it is by established authors, most of whom either are or have been traditionally published. They are primarily concerned with getting your manuscript to a point that an agent or editor will want to read it, presuming that if it gets accepted by one or both of those then it’s going to go through another round of editing (or several) with the publisher.

But as an indie author, you ARE the publisher. That means that you’ve got to go through the whole process as a writer–and then go through it all AGAIN as a publisher.

This means a lot of drafts. It takes a lot of time and there’s going to come a point where your eyes feel like they’re going to melt and leak out of their sockets if you have to look at that blasted manuscript one more time. But stick with it, because I promise, it will be worth the extra effort.

This is turning into a monster of a post, so I’m going to stop here and split it into three parts. Next week, we’ll get into the nitty-gritty as I start going step by step through my editing process.

Do you have any questions for me about the editing process? If so, leave it in a comment. If it’s not already addressed in the next two parts of this series, I’ll do a follow-up Q&A post at the end. Also, I’d LOVE to hear any editing tips you have to offer.

Ready to start editing? Proceed to Part Two.

Five Writing News Tidbits On a Friday.

Here’s a quick and random Friday Five to update everyone on what’s happening in my corner of the writing and publishing world.

1. Last Friday, I submitted Eucha Falls to a horror anthology for consideration. As of today, their submission tracking system says it’s #705 in the queue and their average response time is 20 days. And so I wait…

2. I’m still taking a break from Radium Town as I work my way (slowly) through Holly Lisle’s latest free course, “How To Write Flash Fiction That Doesn’t Suck.” By the time I’m done with it, I should have a new flash fiction anthology ready to publish, with a couple of stories set in the Dominion-verse.

3. Otherwise, I’m pondering the future of my writing career and the path I want to take. As much as I enjoy self-publishing, the entirely DIY model is SO much work — really, I can’t overstate how much work is involved in producing your own book, especially if you care about quality — and my marketing reach is pretty limited. I’m thinking about shopping the Dominion trilogy around to some publishers, or maybe even some agents, to see if I can get it picked up. Even a small indie publisher would lift a lot of the burden off of me and extend my reach.

4. Along that same vein, I’m considering serializing Radium Town. I think it would lend itself well to serialization, and if I could get it into the Kindle Serials program, I could be earning on each episode (not to mention building a fan base) as I write the novel. I need to do more research before I decide on that, though.

5. I don’t really have a five, but Friday Four sounds lame. Oh! But I guess this counts as a #5 – if Eucha Falls gets accepted to that anthology, then I will be mightily encouraged toward writing more short stories for paying markets and seeing if I can turn that into a regular income stream. But I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. Let’s just wait and see how EF does for now.

In other news, we’ve had a lot of wicked weather this week, with more expected this afternoon and evening. Last night, a major storm passed right over us, with enough rotation to make the rain fall at odd angles while it dumped a bunch of hail on us, before moving a few miles southeast and turning into a full-blown tornado. Some roofs got destroyed in Broken Arrow, but nobody was hurt, thank goodness. I hope tonight’s weather stays on the mild side. Or misses us altogether. If you’re in Tornado Alley today, stay safe!

Is Kindle Worlds just kindling a storm?

Yesterday, Amazon announced that it’s starting Kindle Worlds, “a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games.” Naturally, people have thoughts about this. I’ve seen opinions ranging from “Yay, this will totally legitimize fan fiction!” to “Boo, this will totally destroy fan fiction!” to “… what’s fan fiction and why should we care?”

I have a few thoughts of my own; the first of which is, this is not fan fiction. Despite the label Amazon is trying to put on it, fan fiction is by definition unlicensed and unpaid. The fact that these stories will be both licensed and paid makes them, by definition, NOT fan fiction, regardless of whether they started out that way.

What it does make it is licensed, work-for-hire franchise fiction–the same thing as all of the tie-in novels you see on the shelves for Star Trek, Star WarsDoctor WhoBuffy, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. The writers who produce those books work for very similar contractual terms and with pretty much the same guidelines. Back in my fan fiction days, I was interested in breaking into the tie-in novel market, and I sent away for the submission guidelines for Buffy, and also checked into the guidelines for Star Trek. What I saw then is pretty much the same thing I see here: don’t deviate from canon, keep it family-friendly, no cross-overs, etc., and whatever you write becomes the property of the franchise, to be used as they see fit with no further compensation to the writer.

The big differences are these: one, whereas for years fanficcers have argued that professional tie-in novels are nothing more than paid, legitimized fan ficiton, Amazon is coming right out and calling it that. And two, the traditional method of obtaining licensed novels involve paying hand-selected professional writers a sizable advance for their troubles that is in keeping with guidelines established by the Writers Guild of America. By lowering the bar for entry to amateur fanficcers, Amazon (and the licensors they’re working with) are able to get away with paying less than the going professional rate.

Do I think this is rather sneaky? Yes. Do I think it’s inherently evil? Not really. I think it’s a smart business move, and just another way that Amazon is pushing against the traditional publishing mold and trying to maintain their lead in shaping the future of publishing. I think they’re a little wrong-headed in the way they’re going about courting the fan fiction crowd, but I understand their reasons for doing so.

Do I think this will endanger the online fan fiction community in any way? Nope. I do understand that fear–that the production companies licensing this fiction might see this as a way to put the fans on a leash and give them more legitimacy for cracking down on unlicensed fan fiction; but, well, they don’t really need more legitimacy to crack down on fanfic if that’s what they wanted to do. And licensed fiction already exists. This is just a way for Amazon to profit directly from it by making a large portion of it exclusive to the Kindle. This is, first and foremost, about Amazon shoring up a market share where they see a potential for profit. They don’t really care about quashing or regulating fan fiction. What they care about is giving the fan fiction crowd a reason to buy Kindles.

Agree or disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this development in the comments.

What to do with Eucha Falls?

Originally, my Slenderman-and-dream-inspired short story Eucha Falls was intended to be a free release, just a quickly thrown-together e-book with previews of both my novels in the back, more of a marketing tool than anything else. But then I grew attached to the idea of having a cover done by an illustrator whose work I follow (and adore) in the Marble Hornets fandom, which would really be a perfect fit. And in the interest of paying her for her work, I’d have to charge for the book. I suggested a profit share, but she prefers a flat fee, for which I can’t blame her in the least. She offered to do it for a very reasonable fee, but it’s still high enough that I’d have to do another pre-sale on Indiegogo to raise the funds.

Which, I think, is doable. I could pull my other unpublished horror novelette, Hungry Child, out of mothballs and finally do a revision to fix all the problems the beta readers found with it, and package them together for a paperback so I could offer signed copies. Maybe also throw in a few flash fiction pieces to flesh it out and make sure everyone gets their money’s worth. And if somehow the IGG campaign took off and became wildly successful, we could also talk about maybe doing that graphic novel version that Matt was all excited about.

But then yesterday I found out about a horror anthology that Ellen Datlow is putting together, and she’s accepting submissions, and in an unusual twist she’s accepting stories up to 10,000 words. EF is just over that and it wouldn’t take much trimming to get it under the limit. And if it’s accepted, it would mean a pretty decent paycheck. Not to mention a traditional publishing credit, plus it would expose my work to a much wider audience than I’m able to reach on my own. AND the anthology has the same title as my very first finished novel, which if I were superstitious I would take as a sign.

Hmm. Writing it all out, it kind of seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?

There is a downside, though. Mainly, the waiting. If I submit it and it doesn’t get accepted, then I’ll have wasted weeks or months in which I could have been using the story to promote my whole body of work, just waiting to be rejected. If it DOES get accepted, then I’m sure I’ll have to wait some contractual period of time before I can publish it as a stand-alone, or in any other collections. Or do that graphic novel. 😉

But again, if it does get accepted, I’ll get paid more in one fell swoop than I’ve earned in total royalties during my entire self-published career to date. Which, admittedly, isn’t very much.

I’m thinking I should follow the money. What do you think?

Indie Author Spotlight: Nichelle Rae

Author Nichelle RaeToday the Indie Spotlight falls on fantasy author Nichelle Rae!

Nichelle Rae, fantasy’s newest author, was born and raised in Massachusetts. Her love for writing began when she was 14 years old and she wrote short stories about meeting her favorite music group at that age. She received so much praise and complements on her writing ability that it quickly became a passion of hers. Throughout the years she has gotten much praise from peers, professors, and professional author’s she’s had a chance to work with about her writing and her ability to put emotions into text.

The White Warrior Series is her debut fantasy series she’s publishing as an independent author which will consist of seven books total. Nichelle already has begun three more fantasy series that she hopes to publish in the future after The White Warrior Series.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

This is a slightly complicated question. I always enjoyed writing from the day I realized people loved my work. But writing was always just something I enjoyed doing, nothing I really considered as career option. It’s taken years of praise and complements from a variety of people, peers and professionals, on my writing abilities to think it might be something worth pursuing more seriously. The moment I really made the decision to be a published author, was right after I sent out a sample of The White Warrior series to some close friends of mine. I was just looking for some critiques but the resulting excitement, and overwhelming praise really lit the fire for me to go after this; even if only to get my book out to these close friends of mine who suddenly wanted it so badly.

I guess there wasn’t really a defining moment of when I decided I wanted to be a writer, it’s just something I’ve always done and enjoyed.

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?

The easiest thing about writing, for me, is my characters. They come to me so easily it’s sort of frightening. I understand them immediately when I start a new story. I know how they will respond to situations and progress the story along with their reactions. This might sound super weird but I sort of build a relationship with them while I write. I come to care about them as people. I worry about them when they enter a situation that seems to be too much for them, and I’m relieved when they come out the other side of said situations. I legitimately fall in love with every character I create. I cry if they die and rejoice when something good happens.

The hardest thing about writing is marketing your work. It’s difficult to get the word out and have people listen. Fellow authors are usually concerned with getting their own writing out that they can’t pay much attention to other authors. On the same token, the general public isn’t going to listen to a nobody debut novelist. It’s hard to be heard.

Talk a little about your debut novel “Only a Glow”.

Only A Glow Cover“Only A Glow” starts the journey of Azrel, Rabryn, and Ortheldo across their land in hopes to save it from another age of the evil Shadow God’s rule. Azrel’s journey however, isn’t just across the land she lives in, but it’s a journey of healing and self-discovery that she needs to take.

It’s a journey of accepting who she is and to do something great with it. The end of the book isn’t just about whether she wins or loses the battle to save her world (though that’s still a huge part,) but also to see if she can overcome her own self-hatred and become everything she was born to be. Or to see if she will fail and destroy herself, thus the world becomes destroyed with her. It’s also interesting to see how she overcomes some obstacles and how she often fails at overcoming others.

How would you describe the success of your book so far?

Surprising! I’ve gotten some really stellar reviews in my email, in Facebook messages, on Amazon and Smashwords! I average about 3 – 5 downloads every day on Smashwords. It’s slow going but I was prepared for that. I understand that it takes a while for an unknown author to get on the radar, if I’m meant to be on the radar at all. If not, well, I love writing and I’m going to keep doing it because life doesn’t make sense if I’m not writing. Being successful at what I love to do would just be a bonus. I’m not doing it for the success; I’m doing it because it’s what I love. I will get all 7 of my books in this series out whether the world wants them or not, because I want them.

Can you give some tips for other Indie Authors regarding the writing and self-publishing process?

First, and the most important advice I can give from my limited experience as an indie author is this: While you’re writing your book and getting it ready to publish, find as many bloggers in your genre (even some that are not in your genre) as you can and become fast friends with them. Bloggers ARE the marketing tool for independent authors! You cannot get the word out about your book without them. Blog shop and blog shop a lot.

Second, when self-publishing a book you have got to read up on what is needed and required. Do your homework. That is the best advice I can give. Don’t jump into this blind. You could save yourself a lot of time and hiccups/issues. When I started going full force with getting this book out, I did it in 5 months, which is pretty good timing I think considering everything that needed to get done…which was a lot!

Finally, do your book your way! Get advice and ideas from people and successful authors but ultimately do your book how you want it done. Your uniqueness will make your book stand out and it will truly be your own. Make sure you are happy with it, not that anyone else is happy with it, because it’s your book, no one else’s. You have to live with it and look at it forever, so make sure you love what you’re seeing.

How can readers connect with you?

I am a huge Twitter nerd and I’m ashamed to admit it. I’m on every single day. Follow me Twitter and we can chat. You can also contact me via my website or you can just email me at Nichelle_Rae@yahoo.com. Thank you so much!

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Thanks, Nichelle, and best of luck with your newest book!

If you are an indie author and you’d like to the Indie Author Spotlight to shine on you, click here to read the submission guidelines!

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