Friday, March 23, 2012

Feel like Dancing!

So, I made it!  I did it!  I'm doing my little victory dance! 151,832 words of deliciousness!!

It's been ONE YEAR in the making, almost, and now it's finished.  Well, the rough draft anyway.  This week it will be in the tender hands of some trusted pre-readers, who will give me feedback on plot and character.  Then, after some additional edits it will head off to be proofed.  And then it will be finished.  Blessedly finished.  It feels SO GOOD TO SAY THAT to all of you, my friends.
And now, come the first of many celebratory reveals.  First, and most important, I thought you'd all like to see the cover of Aeris.  I've hung on to it for a year, but I wouldn't let myself release it until the first draft was finished.

Now, for those of you who have read the book, that charm bracelet should be familiar.  It's the one Nikka always wears and I thought it would be a good representation of her stay with the tribe of her birth.  My fabulous sister did it for me again!  Thanks, B!

BTW- for those of you who picked up a free copy of Significant Circumstances when it was available(and it will be again soon, on Easter weekend, I think) the girl character, Bethel, was inspired by my own sister.  She rocks.  She is also the first character that I've built off of a real person. :)

My other bit of exciting news!  A couple months ago I asked Kait Nolan if she'd be willing to let me put an excerpt of her work in my book and she said yes!  Whoohooo!  So hopefully I can convince a whole slew of new readers that Red is awesomesauce!  hahaha

That's all from me.  See you all during the next ROW80, until then I will be busy with edits and things.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Work For Your Week

This is the final week of this ROW round, and it's coincidentally the last big push for me.  My husband will be out of town all week, and I have made the goal of FINISHING up Zyander by the end of the week.  I'll have an hour in the mornings, 2 hours or so at nap time, and another 1.5 hours at bedtime to work.  If I can't get it done by Friday, I never will. :)
The downside is that I won't be able to announce my triumph via ROW, but for those of you who read my blog outside of that, and all the readers that I've passed along this URL to, be on the lookout this coming Saturday or Sunday for some big news!  If I get it done, I'm going to have some big celebration time, because this book has been in the works for almost a YEAR now.
So let's all cross our fingers and see what the next week brings.

Some interesting things in the internet world:

Remember THIS entry from last week?  Well, it turns out an author has an opinion about traditionally publishing.  It pretty much echoes what I said and others commented, still I found it interesting to read.  Find it HERE.
In that same vein, remember how I said I was SHOCKED at traditionally published authors who were able to earn a living?  Well, Francesca Lia Block, who has dozens of books, is losing her house.  Find out about it HERE.
And finally, my local writing friend and I have talked about doing one of those letter books, where you both come up with a world and a each create a character and then have that character send letters to the other character.  Except she went back to school and we never got around to it.  :(  But then I read THIS and man, I want to do that!  I just have to find the time. hahaha  Maybe after I finish Aeris I can round up some authors. :)

So, in honor of this last week of ROW80, I will change up my closing.
Happy WRITING, everyone, and good luck!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I Need a Little Understanding...

Made some really good progress at the end of the week and now I'm about halfway through my story line edits of Zyander.  Hoping to make more headway this week and spend the week after finishing up his story.  Aeris is coming together, guys!
I just want to give a shout out to all the wonderful emails I've gotten from readers in the past couple of weeks.  They have made me push through the fatigue and crank this last part out!  It is so motivating to have people write you and tell you how excited they are to read the next book.  I don't want to disappoint, and I'm working hard to make this next book the best that it can be.  So thank you, all!

Now onto this week's topic.  I've been following the writing world through the great, which is probably one of the best websites out there for people who are interested in such things.  Granted, it slants heavily toward the indie side of things, but it's always informative.

Which brings me to my questions for some of the other ROW authors out there.  Several of you are going the traditional route: querying agents, trying to get published, etc.  I just wondered why.  Just... what is your reasoning?  Have you ever considered going indie?  Does indie seem like the lazy way?  Does it feel more legit, the idea that an agent and publishing house would want you?  Does it appeal more, letting someone else handle the cover, the editing, the proofing and formatting?  Do you think you'd get a better marketing package if you went through a traditional publisher?

I used to think about trying the traditional route.  Nothing sounded better... you get an advance (most times), they handle everything, and all you have to do is write.  What could be better than that?

Then I had a kid and bought a house, and didn't feel like trying to budget in the time and money to send out queries to everyone and their brother.  So yes, that is why I put my books out there without going that route.  But it's been a year now, and I've learned a lot about the indie process.  The more that I learn, the more motivated I am to keep doing it the way I have been.  Here are a few of the reasons why:
1) I get to set the price of my ebooks.  I can make them $9.99 or $.99 cents.  I can choose what promos to put in place, whether free or half off or whatever I feel like to promote what I have out there.  In traditional publishing, they pick the price and it's usually so high it pisses readers off (sometimes higher than the HARDBACK version).  
2) I get a royalty check every month.  I get an excel spreadsheet statement every month clearly outlining each book sold, for what price, what my royalty percentage is, etc.  In traditional publishing, you get paid every 6 mths and the documentation they send you is incomprehensible(or so I've read from the authors who've commented on it).
3) No one holds the rights to MY BOOK, but ME.  I don't have to fight to take my books off a website.  I don't have to go through painful court cases or hire lawyers or send  nasty letters trying to get my book rights back when a publisher fails me.  In traditional publishing, publishers hold onto those rights like toddlers with their favorite toys.  Dorchester, just last year, totally dropped the ball with their authors, pulling books, not paying authors, etc.  And yet SOMEHOW those authors couldn't seem to get their rights back.  Not only that, but now Dorchester is selling off those book rights to the highest bidder.  Even after all that EPIC FAIL.
4) I release my books when THEY ARE FINISHED.  I don't have to wait out a schedule.  I don't have to wonder why, when I'm already on the THIRD FREAKING BOOK, my first one still has yet to be released.  And don't tell me that it's because making a book look good takes a long time.  BULL.  I can name a dozen indie writers who have clean, edited books and manage to release them in a timely manner. In traditional publishing, publishers have a QUEUE, and where you are in the food chain directly relates to how your soon your book gets released.
5) I get to choose my own cover.  Granted, I have to find a good artist and PAY that artist.  I mean, I'm fortunate that my sister is so freaking talented and pretty much uses me as a portfolio builder.

But there are some great "pre-made" covers out there that don't cost a ton and look as professional as you'd ever need.  In traditional publishing, someone else chooses the cover and maybe you get to sign off on it, maybe you don't.  Maybe the publisher tries to rip off some other artist's cover, causing a scandal that surrounds your new and highly anticipated sequel.  Maybe they pick a cover that is so out of place as to be laughable.

And I know there are benefits to be traditionally published.  People take you seriously as a writer, for instance.  I can't tell you the times I've gotten "the look" from people who find out I'm an indie.  Or when someone says to me, "Wow, that seems so easy anyone can do it."  Or "My girlfriend/wife/brother has this great idea for a book, can you tell him how you do that indie thing?"
You get an advance, which is nice.  I get nothing upfront.  On the other hand, advances for newbies are small, and you get them in pieces, and a lot of times you have to "earn" certain amounts to get the rest of your money.  That is hard to do when your publisher pulls your book off B&N shelves after a short amount of time, or lists the ebook price so high that no one will try it out.  I was shocked, SHOCKED at how many of my favorite writers are part time.  I was SHOCKED that they didn't earn enough to quit their day jobs.  I always figured that after all the time and effort and rigmarole you go through to pass through those "gatekeepers" that the payout would be better.  I mean honestly, if I had to keep my day job, I would much rather be an indie, and get my 70% royalty.  I would rather keep the rights to my book.
According to several sources, advances for newbies are now between 5-10,000.  In chunk payments, remember.  I've almost made that much.  Granted it wasn't up front, but that's still pretty good.  The more books I add, the better that will be.  Business wise, it makes so much more sense to me to put my books out there, let my readers decide if they like me, and let the publishers come to ME, if they so desire.  And if they don't... well, I'll be here, writing my next book.

So yeah... am I an idiot?  Am I looking at this all wrong?  Tell me!
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Questions answered!

I've had a complete failure in the writing dept. this week.  Give it up for fatigue everybody!  I'm going to have to work double time to improve my numbers for Aeris.  Oh well.

I've gotten a few questions regarding the Five Tribes series that I wanted to answer really quickly, just so everyone has an idea of what's going on there.

Q. Are the characters from the first book, Compis, going to carry on in any other books or will there be new characters for every book?
A. I think I can emphatically say that Luka, Nikka, and Zyander will be in every book in this series.  I have long term plans, people, long term.  This means that I have a story for each of the characters that will carry through till the end of this series.

Q. How many books will be in this series?
A.  For the story of Nikka and choosing, there will be 5 books.  I know, that's a lot, right?  And it might change, depending on where the story goes.  My plan is/was to write one every 6 mths, but I didn't expect the next book to be so long or to have a baby (haha).  Hmmm... Assuming the rest aren't as large, I should be able to do that, but for now, it will have to be 6-12 mths each.

Q. I liked the other characters in the book, will we get to read more about them?
A. I have in my mind the idea that I'd like to do a standalone book about the first Compis, (when I'm a MUCH more experienced writer) because that one will be complicated.  I'd also like to do a SHORT series, like 2 books featuring Alea and Keran.  Then there is Nikka's sister, Teah, who I'd like to write about.  And THEN there is a whole other story brooding about in my mind that I'm busily ignoring that is also (sort of) set in the 5 tribes world.  Other than that, no.

Q. My favorite character was the vixen, do you have any favorite characters?
A. I'm quite fond of Luka.  I think it's pretty obvious that my books are all about character growth and initially, I think it's much easier to see where Nikka and Zyander would have lots of character growth, but not so much Luka.  But actually, his story line is one of my favorites and despite his modest beginnings, I have BIG plans for him.
The "crone" character has always been a favorite of mine.  You know: maiden, mother, crone.  Agga and the vixen are both crone characters, imparting wisdom from a long life of learning.  Both of them are also my favorite characters.

Alas, I must run and start dinner.  But if you have any more questions, feel free to ask!  Happy Reading!

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Got some good work done this week.  Not much time for any of my usual internet hopping, though.  So this entry will probably be brief.

I finished the new Angelic Agents story.  I really enjoy these, maybe because I'm a pastor's kid and angels have always fascinated me.  I sent it to my sister who tends to do a lot of informal first reading for me.  She reads a lot of the same stuff I do, and she gives good feedback.

I've been working steadily on Aeris.  It is tough work, though.  Not because I'm uninspired or don't know what to write, but because my work at this point is half editing, half writing.  I'm making a lot of changes in Zyander's story line, which affects him and in turn Nikka, whose story is intimately entwined with his in this second book in the series.  I basically have to write a chapter, read two chapters, make some changes, and write another chapter.  It's slow work and takes a lot of brainpower that I just don't seem to have.  (New Baby, anyone?)

I'm also worried because, series are HARD!  Especially this series, which gets more and more complicated as you move through it.  Not in the drama sense (I really hate that, like where the drama between the actual characters is the only action in the story.  Argh.), but in the sense that I have 3 MCs, all with their own complicated story lines, and 5 tribes, each with a problem of its own, and now, I have at least 3 outside forces I have to deal with to end the series.

For the first time, I'm starting to wonder if I've bitten off more than I can chew.  Can I just say it again?  Series are HARD.  You have to worry about character growth, keeping the overarching story line interesting, keeping each individual story for the book interesting.  You have to think about how each thing that happens in the book you're currently in affects what happens in every book after.  "If I add in this element to make this book interesting, how will it affect the next book.  How will my characters deal with it?  Am I writing myself into a corner?"

It makes my brain hurt.  I'm starting to understand why people want editors.  These people are professionals whose job it is to pick apart a story and point out all the inconsistencies and continuity errors.

I can't believe how close this book is to being finished.  FINALLY!  :)

Off to work.  Happy Reading, all!

PS- As a celebration of Read and Ebook week over at Smashwords, Compis is now half off.  The coupon REW50 is supposed to work until the 10th of March.  Link to my book HERE