Hutch & A’ris finally have their title!

I know, I know, I can’t keep referring to my current WIP as ‘Hutch & A’ris’ or ‘Untitled’ – that’s just annoying. I admit this one was tough – the story came to me before the name, which is backwards (per my usual) and now that I have surpassed the 30% mark for my word count goal, I really needed to give this thing a proper title.

I bounced ideas off of my peers and the hubby. I scribbled in my writer notebook till my fingers cramped. Many sounded awesome, but nothing really felt right. I kept coming back to a themed idea for the series and even though it might sound vague to those who’ve yet to read the story – I think it works perfectly for the content of this first book.

Anyway! No more babble, here it is – Book 1 of the Ernoth Chronicles will be titled: *cue dramatic movie music…dun-dun-dunnnn*

‘The Dry Lands’

Phew *releases deep breath* Now that it’s out there, I can relax a bit. Believe it or not, writing an untitled WIP has really stressed me out! I’m happy with the end result, though it’s far from what I was originally aiming for…but like I said…all will fit in due time. 😉 Now Hutch and A’ris can go on creating havoc and trying to save the world (or theirs at least) and not worry about such little things as the name of their own story. They were feeling a bit displaced there for a while, but I have faith they will return to their regularly scheduled antics with an abundance of enthusiasm now.

And FINALLY the Muse will stop cursing me out every time I open the former ‘Untitled WIP’ in Word. Hey, it’s the little things that make the Muse happy. Like copious amounts of chocolate and the random glass of wine. Neither of which, to my sudden horror, I have in the house at the moment. Excuse me as I lock the Muse up for the night, and hope she doesn’t invade my dreams with nightmares to get back at me for forgetting those two things on the grocery list. I mean, I did give her a new WIP title today. We should be good. For the next few hours, at least.

 

Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don’t Let the Muse Bite!

 

What’s the secret to selling ebooks?

1000sales

This week I hit a monumental milestone that I will never forget: I’ve sold 1,000 books this month, and it’s not over just yet. This is mind-blowing and beyond exciting, but also humbling, because next month I could drop down to 100 sales. I’ve been asking myself, ‘What is the secret to selling ebooks?’ You might be wondering how I sold 1,000 copies this month, and I could list all the things I’ve done over the last year to get to this point, but would it help you? I’m not sure.

The reason is this – each author and each of their books are different. We all have our own schedules, and marketing expertise. Books don’t just need to be of good quality to sell, they need to be promoted properly. I know what I’ve done the last three months that has worked for me – but will the same things work for you? Maybe, maybe not. But I can tell you what I think every author should do:

  • Write. This sounds simple but it’s not. Write, write, write…and then write some more. Write until your manuscript is as close to perfect as you can make it. And then go through and re-write the weak points.
  • Hire an Editor. An actual Editor, by the way…someone who gets paid to edit manuscripts and can be brutally honest with you. Their job is to make sure your work is the best it can be.
  • Know your audience. If your book is about an 18yr old heroine, marketing to the YA or NA crowd will get you more dedicated readers than marketing to the Adult Contemporary crowd.
  • Master Social Networking. Why? Because you can meet thousands of strangers online that might want to read what you have written – and unless you hit the streets, stopping all those thousands of people who might fit your audience, networking online is the best way to go. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc…all great places to meet new people who like to read. Be careful with this though – there is a fine line between sharing your books and spamming your followers.
  • Brand yourself. Make your name something people will remember by labeling it the same way on each book, using hashtags with your name, and having places you can send people to online for more info. Websites are great, blogs are wonderful, Author pages are mandatory. Be reachable, and readers will find you.
  • Listen to your readers. Do your biggest fans want a follow-up to your last book? Do they seem interested in you combining genres or would they love to read something different from you? In the end, the writer is in charge of what they write, but if you know what your biggest supporters would love to see, it can help steer you in a direction that makes your current fan base happy and brings in a new audience.
  • Keep writing. So you released a book and it is doing well, what now? Well, it’s natural for a book to have a peak time, and eventually that book will taper down and if you don’t have a new release, or the promise of a new release for your readers to look forward to, your sales will slow or even, worst case scenario – stop. Market what you have out, always, but keep writing. Putting fresh books out there keeps your biggest supporters reading, but also continues to bring in new readers.
  • Make friends. Yes, writing is an isolating job at times. It’s super easy for us to hide at our desks all day and perfect the art of being an introvert. But everyone needs friends. And that includes writers. Find a group you can relate to locally, or online, and surround yourself with them. They are your peers, your inspiration and your support. They are your people.
  • Love what you do. If you don’t love writing, it will show in your work. If you aren’t in love with your book – who else will be? Writers are their harshest critics, so don’t let that fool you – writers are usually NEVER 100% satisfied with their projects. But, that being said, you have to be able to look at your story and say, ‘I like this. I would read this’, otherwise your chances of anyone else saying that are pretty slim.

Like I said, what works for me today might not work for me tomorrow and it might not work for you at all, but all of those tips up there have led me to where I am today – helping to pay the bills and making awesome friends along the way. It’s possible. I’m proof. 🙂

 

Happy Weekend!

The Traveling Notebook

Today is one of those Monday’s where I’ll be away from home during my usual writing time. But I have my trusty notebook here on the desk, waiting to be shoved into my new tote for the bulk of the day. It means I can at least ATTEMPT to put some order to crazy stuff going on in my brain. I’ll even throw two different colored pens in the bag – one for note taking, the other for highlighting, because today I feel like being cool like that.

 

Happy Monday!

Wednesday Writing Tip

Some writers are great at editing. I’m not one of those. I am getting better, but editing is my nemesis. When I first started writing, I asked a few of my computer savvy and word savvy friends to help me proof my first few books. I didn’t hire an editor for financial reasons. At the time I thought it was an expense I could hold off on. Not my finest moment, I admit.

Editing for your book is just as integral as oxygen is for your lungs…it really is that important.

Without a proper professional edit, a book is not all it can be. Some writers do it all, and I give them kudos and massive props. But for those of us that tell the story and read it so many times after finishing the first draft that the word ‘the’ starts to look foreign, we need an editor. The difference can be making a 3 star review into a 5 star review. Trust me, I have a few of these myself.

So my lesson over the last year is to pay for the services I’m not a professional in. I have taught myself how to format my books, how to market and such…but editing is still my struggle. I’m a comma Whore. I’m a fragmented sentence Queen. And it’s easy for me to glance over ‘their’ when it should be ‘there’ even though I know the difference, especially after I have read through the book a gazillion times already. But, wait…there is hope for those of you just like me!

Hire an editor. A real one. Your grammar-nazi friends are awesome, just like mine are, but unless they know the in’s and out’s of editing a book, your work might not reach its best potential. My Editor will be going through my earlier works and I’ll be republishing them hopefully before the close of this year, so I know the best work I can have out there – is out there. 🙂

If you have NO idea where to find an editor, ask your Author friends, family members, or search for them online. You need to find someone that connects with your writing style, and isn’t afraid to mark up your baby with a lot of red text. This is the way it should be. An editor’s job is to make sure the work you send them is better. This doesn’t mean you, as a writer, suck. It means that you, as a writer, can be better. Like I said, I’m not an editor. And I don’t want to be. Now I pay for one, and it’s the best money I’ve spent in my writing career. Trust me, it’s worth it.

 

Happy Reading!

Now What?

The first draft is done. You’ve proofread it and tweaked it and read it enough times to have most of the book memorized, and you have sent it off to the editor to be polished. So…now what do you do?

This is my current Writer Problem. I have told myself in the past every writer should take a mini-break between books – during that time when the book is being edited, formatted, etc…just to give the brain and the hands a break. But this time around for me is very different from the last book I wrote. This time I have at least two other WIP’s that need their stories told. I have five times as many jotted down as ideas. Instead of my brain exhaling and taking a break, it’s furiously scrambling over all those other stories and WIP’s, rooting around for a good hold on one of them.

Does this mean I haven’t taken a break since finishing the first draft of the last book? Of course I have! For almost two weeks, in fact – which for me, is a REALLY long time to not write something. However, every day that gets closer to the end of June has become harder and harder to spend away from my WIP’s. Should I work on A’ris and Hutch and the Dry Lands or Riley’s journey of survival? Should I work on my children’s WIP with the feisty little fairy, who has survived the massacre of her people? Should I work on something new altogether? Seriously…I’m asking.

Despite what I decide to start back on, the right story will fight for the spotlight. These tales have been calling out to me and the Muse has been pouting in a corner, wondering where I am.

So I’ll start writing again, if for no other reason but to keep the Muse satisfied. Because, let’s face it – the Muse is boss.