Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Pros and Cons of being an Indie Author

I have been reading several posts on Facebook the last few days about the ongoing changes in publishing lately.  It seems that the big players are positioning themselves to grab a bigger piece of the action, while making it more difficult on the little guys: The Indie Author.

We are all aware of how Amazon is the 800 lb gorilla in the room, and there is no escaping the fact that they control the majority of ebook sales.  We all know how Amazon has made it possible for thousands of self-published authors to reach more readers than any other outlet available today, but that all seems to be growing more difficult with each passing day.  Now, I'm not complaining about Amazon's business practices because they are in business to make money just like anyone else. They will do as they see fit to remain successful, and that's just a part of being in business. They never promised us successful writing careers, only a place to offer our books to their large customer base.  However, with the numerous ereader devices available today, readers have more options than ever.

I have thought about all the changes, and I decided to offer my opinion of the Pros and Cons of being self-published.

CONS - As any Indie Author knows, it is a difficult road to travel when you decide to self-publish.  You are not only responsible for every aspect of preparing your book for publication, but you also have to learn how to reach the readers on your own.  I, for one, am amazed at all the different advise out there for Indie Authors on how to become successful, but so far most of it doesn't seem to help the majority of us. We all spend hours promoting our books across the numerous social media outlets, all with the hope of reaching readers who will fall in love with our books.  We give our books away by the thousands through Amazon Select with the hope that just a handful of them will actually be read, and then we wait for the reviews that never seem to come. We panic every time Amazon changes their algorithm, or comes up with a new program; such as Select, Prime, or now, Kindle Unlimited. We collectively hold our breath and pray for the best, while hoping it doesn't kill the little sales we currently enjoy.

PROS - For all the bad, there is even more good when it comes to self-publishing.  WE have the control over our own destiny.  We get to decide the direction we go with our careers, and we get to decide what we write.  I must admit that I once had dreams of being signed with a big publisher. I wanted to have the guarantee of professionals holding my hand and molding me as a writer.  Then, I thought of what that meant, and I realized I'm too set in my ways to hand over control of something that lives inside of me. I have the freedom to choose my cover designs, when I will publish my books, and how I will tell my stories. I don't have to follow some artificial format for the genre I choose to write, or write something because it's the hot trend at the moment.  No one is depending on me for their livelihood, so I don't have to endure the pressure to produce. We have so many options today as Indie Authors. We can create an ebook, upload it, and sell it to anyone who want to enjoy our labor of love.  We can get our books put into paperback or hardback, and even audiobook.  It is quite exciting what we have available to us today. We all have the freedom to write for the LOVE OF WRITING, which hopefully allows us to grow into better writers over time.

I recently came across a very interesting blog post on UP Authors.com where they give some interesting stats on how readers buy books.  Here are a few things that jumped out at me -

Statistic: Do readers prefer eBooks or printed books? (Source: Wall Street Journal)

6% of people read only eBooks.

46% of people read only printed books.

48% of people read both eBooks and printed books. (Of those, 33% read more printed books or at least as much printed as they do eBooks.)

Lesson: If you have low eBook sales, then maybe it’s because readers prefer printed books.

Statistics = Reality. You may or may not like the results of these statistics, but your success depends on adapting to the reality of what readers are actually doing.

Go to the Blog post to read more interesting information.
 As authors, we need to decide what drives us to write our books.  Do we write for wealth and fame, or do we write because we have stories inside of us, begging to be told? While I wouldn't mind to earn some wealth from my writing, I understand the chance is greater than not that I will never see my bank account over-flowing with royalty payments. Therefore, I will continue to write because the voices in my head have stories to tell, but more importantly because it makes me happy.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The progress of my next release - Hellfire's Judgment

Nearly every day on the nightly news or on the internet, we see reports of heinous crimes committed on the most innocent, and nothing ever seems to come of it.  How many times have we heard of a child violated in the most cruel way, only to learn that the perpetrator never faced judgment because of a corrupt lawyer or judge twisting the law ?  What was the first thought to come into your mind?  What if it was your child?

Clay Jefferies was faced with those difficult questions and he answered them in the only way he knew how.  Hellfire's Judgment is the story of a man, faced with the difficult decision of how to protect his granddaughters from a man who believed himself above the law.  A man who had brutally raped his 12 year old granddaughter and was able to escape conviction.  

In 2012, I published Hellfire's Judgment as a short story; however, after receiving several requests, I have done a complete rewrite and it will soon be re-released as a full-length novel.  I have to say that it has been difficult at times to revisit the characters, and to experience the roller-coaster ride of emotions again as I found myself crying or burning with rage, while the story flowed from my mind. To write of such a dark subject is very draining, but the characters demanded to be heard so I was helpless to resist.

I have nearly completed the rewrite, and it will soon begin the editing process. I look forward to making this available to you, and I know that you will experience the same roller-coaster ride of emotions as I did.

Here is a small sampling of Hellfire's Judgment - 

“Where is your sister?  She's been been gone for nearly an hour!”  Carolyn lifted Amy off the changing table, and then walked to the front window.  “Maybe she stopped at Megan’s and has lost track of time.  I’ll call and ask if they have seen her.”  Carolyn walked to her chair, and placed Amy on her lap.
“Your sister is in real trouble,” she said to Amy, knowing the baby had no idea why her mother was so upset.  She picked up her cell phone and dialed the number, and then waited as the phone rang several times with no answer.  “Huh, she’s not there.  Now I’m really getting worried,” Carolyn groaned, while dialing Ray at the feed store.
“Jefferies Feed, how may I help you?” Ray said, as he held the telephone receiver with his shoulder, so he could give a customer his change and receipt.
“Ray, I let Sherry ride her bike to the store for me and she’s been gone for nearly an hour.  I called over to Megan’s house because I figured she probably stopped there and has just lost track of the time, but there was no answer.  Oh Ray, I’m really worried.”
“I’m sure she’s fine.  She probably just met up with one of her friends, and doesn’t realize how long she’s been gone.”
“I don’t know.  I have the strangest feeling that something has happened to her.  I’m going to drive to the store and see if I can find her.”  Carolyn stood and grabbed her car keys off the small table by the front door.
“Okay, but if you don’t find her call me back,” the concern was clear in his voice.
“I will.”  Carolyn hung up and rushed outside.  “Your sister is going to be in big trouble when I find her,” she said to Amy as she put her in the car seat.  “When I find you, you are going to be in such trouble!”
***
When Carolyn drove past Megan’s house, she could see that no one was home.  “Okay, so you’re not here.”  She then continued on to the supermarket.  By the time she pulled into the store parking lot, her heart was pounding in her chest with such intensity that she wondered if it would explode.  “I knew I shouldn’t have let her go this far from home alone.  Why didn’t I trust my instincts?” she said to herself with both anger and fear welling up inside of her.
Carolyn pulled up to the entry doors, and looked for Sherry’s bike.  However, to her horror, it was not there.  “Where are you, Sherry?”  Unsure of what to do next, she pulled into a parking space and called Ray.
Ray grabbed the telephone receiver, praying this was a call from Carolyn, “Jefferies Feed.”
“Ray, I can’t find her anywhere!  She wasn’t at Megan’s and she’s not at the store.  Where could she be?” Carolyn cried with tears streaming down her cheeks.
“I don’t know, but you need to go back home in case she shows up there, and then you need to call the police department to let them know that she is missing.  I’ll call dad and get a group of men together and begin searching the area.”  Ray said a silent prayer that Sherry was at home waiting for Carolyn.  He then looked out of the window and realized it was beginning to grow dark outside.  “Sweetheart, get back home and I’ll check in with you in a bit.”
With terrifying thoughts swirling in his mind, Ray turned to his yard foreman and said, “Frank, I have to leave.  Will you close up for me?”
“Sure, is there something wrong?”  Frank could see the fear in Ray’s eyes, as he walked to the counter.
“I hope not,” were the only words Ray said as he rushed out the door. 

I hope that you have enjoyed this sampling of Hellfire's Judgment. I look forward to seeing it completed and available for publishing, and I will keep you advised of its progress and publish date.  I also plan to offer Pre-Orders at a greatly reduced price, so check back often for when that option will be available.  Thank you again for your support.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

What I've been up to lately

As many of you may know I started a little business venture called Deadly Reads the end of last year.  When I first came up with the idea, I had grand plans for it, but after time reality set in and I knew what Deadly Reads was meant to be... a way for new authors to find the help they need to realize their dream of self publishing.

When I published my first book, Next Move, You're Dead back in March of 2011, I had NO idea what I was doing. I foolishly thought that you only needed to write a book, and the rest would somehow fall into place.  Boy, was I clueless!

I had no idea just how complicated self publishing could be to someone who did not understand the process of preparing a book for publishing, let alone all of the work to come once the book went LIVE on Amazon. As a first time author, I ran into numerous people wanting to help me get my book prepared for publishing.  The only problem was I would have cleaned out my life's savings, and had to offer up my first born to pay for their reasonable fees. Then of course, there are those companies who will do all the work for you, but will take the majority of the earnings from YOUR books. I don't know about you, but if you don't at least see a slim profit from all the work and sweat you put into writing your books, then it's just an expensive hobby.  While I love to write, I would still like to make some money for my effort. I don't think that's asking for too much.

Well this is where Deadly Reads Author services comes into play.  With the understanding that most people do not have endless funds to prepare their book for publishing, I have gathered together some talented people to help those wanting to join the thousands of other Indie Authors, who enjoy the freedom of self-publishing. We will be offering editing, proofreading, formatting for ebook and print, book cover design, book trailer creation, as well as other exciting features at a price with will NOT break the bank.

Another feature we will be offering is our Mentoring Program.  This is a membership program where you will have someone at your side as you take your first steps in self-publishing, or if you are already published and just tired of going it alone.

If you are interested in seeing what Deadly Reads has to offer, drop by our website for more information.









Monday, May 26, 2014

It's my turn on the My Writing Process Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop on the My Writing Process Blog Tour. I normally would do my best to hide from things such as this, but my dear friend, fellow writer and partner at Deadly Reads, Lisa Vandiver asked me to be a part of this.  For some strange reason, which is beyond me, she thought that I should share the process of how I write my books. Nothing like the pressure of someone who believes in your ability, dang it. LOL

As I sit here, mulling over in my mind of how to put what I do into words, I cannot help but feel a tightening in my chest at wondering if I can make this both an informative and entertaining experience for you, without letting it out that for the most part, I have no magic formula for writing my books...oops, I skipped ahead. Dang, I hate spoilers. Okay, so, without any further ado, let's get going!

1) What am I working on?

Wow, where do I begin?  I have so many projects going on at the present time.  Okay, well first I recently finished the first round of edits on Lisa Vandiver's book Mystic Mist, which is the first book in her New Breed Series. I have to say that it is a great book, and I know that it will be well received by the readers once she makes it available. You know it's a good book when the editor keeps getting lost in the story. LOL 

Second on my to-do list is my book, Hellfire's Judgement.  I had first published this book as a short story a couple of years ago, but the readers seem to feel that they want more.  So, after some thought on it, I pulled it off the virtual shelf and dove in. I must say that I am enjoying revisiting the characters in this story, in spite of the difficult subject matter.  I am looking forward to the day I am able to re-introduce everyone to Clay and his family.



My other exciting project is my first attempt at horror.  It's a different type of book for me, but I am having a blast with it.  The title is "4" - A Cursed Bloodline will forever live in fear. It is the story of a vengeful spirit, that rains down horror on the family of the man who murdered is wife and three children. This book has taken me to a dark place that I have never been before, and I have to say that I find myself enjoying my time with this character.



I have a few other projects brewing around in my mind, but I'll save those for a later time.

2) How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Now, this is a tough question. How does one answer this question without seeming as though they are bragging or just making something up so as not to sound foolish?  Hmmm, let me think a moment....
I guess the best way to tell you how my work is different from others is very simple, I wrote it. There, I said it, whew! I have never compared myself to other writers because we all have our own talent, vision of what a story should have, and our own personalities which come across in how a story is developed. However, if you must know what I think the difference is, I don't follow the rules.  I know there are certain formulas we are supposed to follow, but I find that boring.  I like to follow the characters lead, and if that means I don't follow the normal way a story should be structured, well then, I will march to my own drummer.  I have decided that my books are those that a reader will really enjoy, or think is a complete disaster.  No grey area for me, but that is how I am in my life, so it only makes sense to find that same feeling in my books.

3) Why do I write what I write?

This one is easy. I write what I write because the VOICES make me, and my muse, who is also my husband, seems to think up the most deliciously dark stories. I guess that writing has released the dark force living deep inside of me. Yeah, I know, it surprises me as well. LOL

4) How does my writing process work?

Dang, now we are at this question. I know that authors all have their special rituals for writing. Some listen to their favorite head-banger music, and others need something soft and soothing playing in the back ground. Some have boards hanging on the wall, with plot notes attached all over the place, while others have a complete plot layout to work off.  Now, I'm not that organized.  While I do have a word document with simple notes and characters names, for the most part, I write by the seat of my pants.  I tried doing the plot outlines, but the voices NEVER behave. If you ever want to think that you have gone completely insane, try having an argument with a character in your mind if you are trying to take it in a direction that it doesn't want to go...been there, done that.

Therefore, I have surrendered to the characters as they tell me THEIR story.  I write what they tell me, and I never try to force them to a place that they do not want to go. I have often wondered if people who have multiple personalities are just authors who never knew it. LOL

I have to laugh when people learn that I'm an author, and then act as though I have some mystical power with the written word. I tell them that everyone has a writer inside of them, they just have to listen to the voices. So, if you want to know my process, it's as simple as sitting in my chair, wearing my comfortable slippers, and typing on my worn-out laptop. Nothing fancy or complex; just a woman who loves to share the stories swirling around in her mind. 

Whew, that wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  Maybe I need to do this more often?

A big thank you to Lisa Vandiver!  
I want to thank Lisa for inviting me to join the Blog Tour and force me out of my comfort zone. If you want to follow a great writer, as well as an all-around wonderful person, go check out Lisa' entry in the My Writing Process on her blog, Lisa's Place. I promise that you will be happy you did. You can also find Lisa on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and on the DeadlyReads website. 


Now on to the next step in our little Blog Tour...

I am thrilled to introduce the two authors that I suckered, I mean, that have graciously agreed to continue the fun on their blogs for the My Writing Process Blog Tour.

First, we have Karen/K.L. Docter-

Karen will have her entry for the My Writing Process Blog Tour on Tues, May 27th at  KarenDocter.com


Karen writes two different kinds of romance novels: Romantic Suspense w/a K.L. Docter and Contemporary Romance (with a kick of humor) w/a Karen Docter.

Karen's contemporaries are cute & spicy romances. She loves writing about real men and women with dreams and goals that don't allow for a relationship just so she can throw them in each other's path...with a tickle and a smile.

K.L.'s romantic suspense is filled with romance, too, all though the dangers the hero and heroine face are intense, usually because a serial killer is bent on ending one of both of their lives before they can fall in love.

Karen/K.L.'s an award winning author, four-time Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® finalist, and won the coveted Kiss of Death Romance Writers Daphne du Maurier Award Catagory (Series) Romantic Mystery Unpublished division. 

When she's not saving her characters from death and destruction, or helping them fall in love, she loves camping and fishing with her family, reading, gardening, and cooking. If she can do most of those things over a campfire, all the better. 


Next we have Nickie Asher-

Nickie will have her entry for the My Writing Process Blog Tour on Monday, May 26th at

Nickie writes dark urban fantasy, horror, contemporary romance, and erotica. Her work has been described as complex, realistic, frightening, and erotic. Besides mayhem, she loves writing stories that have a strong love story, entwined with action filled plots. A member of Romance Writers of America, Nickie believes that no matter how much her characters have to suffer, they deserve their Happily Ever After. You can also find Nickie on Facebook, Twitter, and her Website.

I want to thank Karen and Nickie for agreeing to share with you the fascinating way they develop their stories in the My Writing Process Blog Tour.  I'm sure that everyone is looking forward to learn how they write the books that keep their readers turning the pages, as much as I am.

We have come to the end of our time together on this little Blog Tour. I want to thank you for stopping today, and I hope you will come back often.  


Thursday, May 15, 2014

I just don't understand some people...

As I was scrolling through my facebook timeline the yesterday, I came across a rather disturbing post.  In it, a very talented author that I'm honored to know, mentioned how someone had called her a traitor since she has signed on with someone.  I left a comment, telling her not to listen to their foolishness, as they were only jealous of her success, and then I went on my way and shared the normal funny pictures and such, not thinking of it again.

I went to bed that night, when suddenly her words flowed into my mind, and I found myself growing angry.  How is anyone a traitor for taking a different path with THEIR writing career?  Why would anyone feel the need to split writers into groups anyway? Are we not ALL writers?  Do we not all live to tell the stories swirling around in our minds? Therefore, why is it necessary to split us up into groups, other than to make oneself feel better for not achieving a conceived level of success that THEY desire.

When I began writing my first book, I had dreams of wealth and fame.  However, after I published for the first, I soon learned that if I only wanted those things, then I was cheating myself out of the joy of writing.  I'm not saying that I wouldn't love to have the next best selling novel and make a boat-load of money, but I would NEVER begrudge the writer who did.  I know several writers who began publishing the same time as me, and some have seen great success with their careers, but not once was I jealous of them. I am thrilled for their successes, and I know that someday, with the right book, I may enjoy the same.

I don't care if you are an Indie, traditionally published, or a mixture of both. We are all writers, and to me that makes us a family.


Just a random thought....

As I look outside and see the green grass and all the leaves covering the trees that just a few short weeks ago were barren, I cannot help but marvel at the beauty of the life.  Too often we get so caught up in our daily lives and forget to just stop and look around at all the wondrous things that surround us.  Just the most simple of things can bring us joy if we would only take a moment to notice them.  From a squirrel scampering across the yard, to a humming bird feeding from the feeder hanging by your window, or a beloved dog greeting you at the door.

Life passes us by too quickly not to take the time and look around; for who knows, you may never have the opportunity to see it again.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Hello again!

I know that I have been bad about keeping this blog updated, but for some reason I always seem to find an excuse to stay away. Okay, I guess I just need to be honest and confess that I am a Blog-a-phobic. I know that's not a real word, but what else would you call someone who is terrified of blogging?

In my attempt to learn the fine art of blogging, I have gone on several blogs of my fellow writers and I find myself amazed at the quality of posts they offer for their readers.  As I read their posts, I will have full intentions of making this blog into a fun and informative place, but I always seem to have one of my famous squirrel-moments, and all ambition is soon forgotten.

I have come to the conclusion that I have been going about this the wrong way. I have decided that I don't need to solve the mysteries of the universe in each post, I just need to have fun, and if I am having a good time then so will you. Wow, who knew it could be that simple?

Therefore, from this day forward, I promise to keep things simple and entertaining to the best of my ability.  I will find interesting authors to interview, share the fun events of my life, and along the way I will try to share some interesting facts about the world of being a writer.