Writing, Critiquing, Beta and Launching

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Wow. What a list there.

listThe list may go on.

As I write, I look for those readers/writers for critiquing, and Beta before I send to editor. And then … launch (that does not mean, ‘to the moon, Alice, to the moon!’)

moon

Writing is my job.

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Critiquing is for … critique-ers – i.e. committed folks offering to suggest better sentence structure, grammar, and spelling, big plot holes. Pronouns with each sentence … i.e. I, I, I, or she, she, she … confusing statements, things slowing the plot down.

Beta readers are those committed folks who reads/swap novels to beta (or critique), and look for interest, pacing, plot holes and words like, ‘I would buy this.’ Or … ‘this sucks, start over, dump it,’ etc.

reading dog cartoon

Not the soul-sucking critiques/betas that pulverize the soul of the writer/author. Generally, in one’s genre or close to … or willing to suspend belief enough to read the work (and if you swap with me, I would do the same). But, honest. Above all honest and respectful. I have had the bashers, some with good points; good grief, leave the mean crap out. Not cool.

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Then the launch. Meaning … I am now ready to sell that work. Add the novel to social media. All of the above willing to be part of it. Easy job. Post to your Twitter, Facebook, or whatever your favorite social media site(s).

When I review a book, launched, I hit all my sites. I give stars (honest) on Amazon (no stars if it requires work, at which time I send the author a note … this needs work, want another review?). I am a dedicated critique -er, Beta, and launcher, ARC reader and reviewer. It is what authors & readers do.

If you are interested in a dedicated swap, critique, beta, launch, these are free copies/swaps. I post via email to a group I dedicate, both readers only, writers only, both. And swapping novels. I have two more Betabook spots that are free. On my beta site I send chapters at a time since my current work is still … in the works.

writer reader dedicated

Let me know if you are interested. Send me that email, and I’ll answer and add you to my list of readers etc.,.

c.mahoney.fnp@gmail.com

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Self Publishing. Is it up or down?

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Make Self-Publishing Mighty – Setting Goals

Claire O’Sullivan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorClaire1/

Steps to publishing have many different routes, including (yay!) self-publishing. These free the writer from the constraints of the traditional route. I point to the length of time one may wait for agents/traditional houses to accept a novel. Not all (many) make it through slush pile(s). Indie is self-publishing peppered with a light to traditional publishing taste, except… different.

The cavalry has arrived. No, really. The cavalry is here and self -publishing, after several years, is gaining popularity. Again, yay! That cavalry is you. So this is a sexist image, but… okay, I think he’s hot.

cavalry

 

How does one enter the foray of fast growing market? As you read, don’t lose heart. It seems overwhelming for first time self-publishers. Self-publishing is a funny animal. It has ups. Then… downs. The market waxes and wanes.

These are the goals you must have to follow through. You are starting a business, and floundering around ends in ‘dead fish’ fodder.

While tempted to throw your first draft to a self-publishing outfit, don’t, have a cup of coffee. Do not pay an agent or publishing house unless you are wealthy (or a politician). Do you want to spend your hard-earned money for ‘I’m published’ gleam in your eye? The real sparkle is in their eyes: the scratch in your pocket. Oh, get your mind out of that gutter. Money.

 

Here it is:

You’ve completed the manuscript. That is an endeavor. And a half.

pen and sword

 

Determine your budget for every step of this endeavor listed. I cannot stress this enough. Encourage an elephant to sit on you before you write checks. Have a look around for self-publishing groups.

What do you want to sell, e-books only? Consider Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/about/tos Or both e-books and paperback? I recommend both, but in the end, this is up to you. E-books are far less expensive but bring fewer royalties (though I have heard some great success stories). Smashwords gives you about 70-85% of royalties… though you pay 35 cents per book sold. This royalty number is awesome. You keep copyright, and can participate in other parts of the program. Well worth the look. Your biggest obstacle with ebooks is the dearth of readers who are aghast at any work requiring more than 99 cents.

 pay writers ha

 

Set a time goal. Six months before your novel is ready for printing, start your online advertising. Tell your friends. Get the word out. You are Wonder Woman. Or Superman. Pick one.

      Wonder_Woman                              superman          

 

Plan a marketing program. Let’s talk cost. Squish your toes in social media. Make it sexy. If you don’t have a website, fer cryin’ out loud, get one. WordPress blogs are free. Their websites cha-ching your pocket from one hundred to five thousand dollars. A domain name will cost from ten dollars to one hundred. Go Daddy and others will offer for a fee, SEO (search engine optimization) to improve visibility.

marketing

Some custom websites charge ten times that amount.

Facebook fan page. Love this. If you want advertising on your Facebook fan page advertising costs, but nominal. Twitter is free. With WordPress blog free, you can post to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter… you get the idea. You can find free or pay for website services. I went cheap. As in, starving-artist-free: http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan a DIY site. 

 

ISBN number. You must have one for your novel. That’s the little barcode on the back so you get paid. CreateSpace offers one free, however it remains with them … forever. You can also purchase one for one hundred dollars or more.

 

ISBN.png

Get your murder hat on. Why do I mention this here in your goals? You want your book to sell I suspect. So, slash those scenes like Dexter in a bad mood, those that don’t push the plot along. Some self-publishing businesses will not pass three-hundred-eighty pages. Paying for editors is not cheap. Pretend for a second your novel is five hundred pages. You want to pay said editor a zillion buckaroos for pages to be removed, and edited… again? How do you spell redrum? Editors often charge thirty to forty dollars per hour. Your team of readers/critique buds can help with murder. One with the vase. One with the rug. One with the shovel.

kill em offer

 

The cover. I know you already have a cover in mind. Now find an artist/photographer to design, or look at stock photos, you can pay a lot or minimal. On my website, I have stock images I want on my new works. Some folks have luck with fivver, a less-expensive method. Fivver is a conglomeration of people who will work in five-dollar increments. Ask your Facebook fans which cover mock-up they like best.

CreateSpace offers free front/back and spine flaps with limited covers, though you can upload your own. When they create a cover for you, now you are looking at over three hundred dollars. I changed one book’s title and cover three times… that’s a buncha clams if you switch from one picture or another through custom artists. Keep that in mind. This was my second free cover (which I liked), another DIY on CreateSpace. The Big However… upon beginning the first chapter as a reader, I realized my fiction (and title) didn’t fit the cover—the formatting was fine. Don’t bother looking for it, the cover never moved passed the proofing stage. Sigh. Looks lovely, though. Keeping it for my next book.

CreateSpace is an easy platform that offers eBooks and paperback. They do the hard work such as bookbinding. They will gently place your work on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and it’s ready. Amazon Publishing is not currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts, but this is their site: https://amazonpublishing.amazon.com/work-with-us .

Preview your work online. Order five book drafts if in paperback. Most self-publishing requires a minimum. CreateSpace requires five. When you receive the box, shout with glee, review it, and bust out the champagne (or beverage of choice). I have declined some first copies and reformatted. No they don’t give you your money back. Rats. Each print-on-demand book through CreateSpace costs three dollars and ten cents. Minus shipping and handling.

Social media blitz and marketing. Put pictures of the books, a box of books in fact, onto every social media site you have. Plug to your friends, and now, family (they don’t count early on). Take the box you’ve ordered to local bookstores. Go to signings wherever you can find them. Authors Innovative Marketing on Facebook is chockfull of ideas for authors. Post your novel on Goodreads. Don’t forget! Put a PayPal button click on your website, and your Facebook fan page-

social media

 

Before you think the endeavor is beyond you, it’s not. Royalties may be great: but read the contract with a jaundiced eye. Not … really jaundiced, but … Consider the amount you will pay for twenty-five books, print-on-demand. Three-dollars per book. Consider shipping/handling and your profit and loss.

So check around. Self-publishing sites that are true self-publishing sites are tough to find. Vanity and boutique presses, shrouded vaguely, tell you the cost for purchasing a package and then sink their teeth in your pocketbook like Monty Python’s savage attack bunny… “Run away, run away!

monty python

            If you are interested in Indie publishing, the larger Indies (for independent, not East Indian) pay well. And do not make fun. I thought that’s what Indie meant… hey, it was a long time ago, yeesh.

 

https://www.myidentifiers.com/Get-your-isbn-now ISBN site

 

This is Diggypod. I don’t consider these folks self-publish but you may get some ideas: https://www.diggypod.com/self-publishing/companies/

 

Here is CreateSpace, and I do recommend taking a look: https://www.createspace.com/

Post your books on https://www.goodreads.com/

 

And … a list of the top Indie publishers: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/73281-fast-growing-independent-publishers-2017.html

Here you have it. Goals for your journey to self-publishing.

I love editing … said nobody, ever…

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. . yes, still editing Forget Me Not . . . and trying to decide if I should change the title.

      Forget Me Not: Non Compos Mentis — refers to a specific character…

     OR . . . should I change it to Nobody Girl — the victim?

 wonder

     Thoughts?

     Let me know!

     You can also give me thoughts at c.mahoney.fnp@gmail,com

I been away. oops.

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Whoops. Been quiet. Sorry.

December 3, 2017

Goodness. I disappeared for some time. YEP. I’ve stuck my nose into editing/rewriting/editing/rewriting Forget Me Not: Non Compos Mentis. In this heinous process, I MEAN, wonderful process … yeesh, I realize the title is no longer relevant to my story. The protagonist’s obstacle has changed. That’s ’cause the ‘original’ antagonist is different …

PHTTP.

So, I am fiddling with some new ideas. If you have any suggestions do let me know. Thus far my favorite is The Nobody Girl. Or, simply Nobody Girl.

Thoughts?

Be the slasher. First.

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As I report the humor: I copy and pasted this from my website…and didn’t edit the formatting…
facepalm gif
       Okay then. Here are words of wisdom. I don’t recall who said this, but printing your novel is a good way to find plot holes. And other stuff.
       I am in the slash and dash portion of Forget Me Not (again). So today, I am printing the monster to read as a book, slashing (and making notes for my computer copy), making changes in red, blue, or whatever destructive item that fits my mitt.
       I’ve not done this before. I’ll let you know how it goes. Pretty sure this will suck.
      If you say, ‘Oh, argh, I have no printer…,’ put the MS on a thumb drive and take it to Kinko’s or your closest/favorite copy spot. Take the printed behemoth, put it in a MS box, and pretend you are an editor. Consider taking it to a coffee shop, tea room, library.
      The more you rewrite and edit, the happier you’ll be, and find a BETA group (not family or friends) to read as well. Why? They will find what you have not.
      If your hire a copyeditor, make certain your manuscript is ‘clean,’  as possible. Less turnaround time, because often, the copyeditor turns out to be a ghostwriter or has to rewrite your work.  An editor will not point out your wording, style. Only spelling and grammar. Once that editor takes your $1000 or more, and an agent accepts it, guess…what? They will want portions rewritten. Then a publishing house will want more edits. How rich are you to have it edited two more times?
      Avail yourselves of resources. Conferences. Read well-written books. I always recommend a great writer, Stephen King. He knows the craft. When to use short, long sentences, and when ‘unnecessary’ words are needed.
      Whatever you do, do not… do not… publish your first draft. Don’t hire a vanity press.
       Print that puppy, read a Stephen King, and even though the genre is not one I enjoy, I recommend pay close attention to his use of the English language. Then, slash and dash.
      Wish me luck on a new trial of wisdom passed down. Slasher status. Before the editor’s conference…
Thesaurus_Comic

Secs Sells …

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innocentMy works are not filled with sex scenes or erotica. On purpose. Yep, I know sex sells, but I would rather NOT sell at all than pander to the worldly view of voyeurism. Image, well maybe not that ‘cute,’ but you get the idea.

Passion is different. Fighting the battle of not falling into sex is a battle (a subplot) but the main plot is that which grabs. I have read good writing and must skip the erotic scenes because it’s simply a turn-off.

My main characters are flawed, angry, worldly, physically flawed, and emotionally damaged. Once they accept Christ, they backslide. Are we perfect? St. Paul bemoaned his imperfections. At the end of his life he says, ‘I fought the fight, I ran the race’ … what in heaven’s name could that possibly mean? It’s an easy thing to accept grace. It’s a battle to walk, even pray or read the Bible.

I read/write Christian suspense/romance. I want readers to know the plot and the subplot of walking the talk of faith, stumbling, battling the worldly enemy as well as the physical enemy. Asking for help understanding Scripture. It ‘is’ realistic. It is attainable in real life. Using sex to sell is an easy copout.

What do you think?

 

 

Interview… Tonight!

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Hi friends of the written word. And food. Etc.

I was invited for an interview regarding my (healthy) cookbook on an internet based radio show, one I’ve never been on.

PR is PR. Right? It is exposure, and I will be donating a portion of my proceeds to disabled vets.

The radio show is Republic News Radio 101 and you can tune in here: http://tunein.com/station/?StationId=287184

It begins at 9 PM EST and I will also be chit-chatting about my fiction, my website and how to purchase the cookbook.

Hope to see you there! Well, with internet vibes ….

Here is the link to my  website because I KNOW you’ll want the cookbook… http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan

Just click on the URL next to Fabulous Foods.  After Oct. 31, click on the book.. it’s confusing yes. I know.

 

 

cake

OH, the reviews … and my own level of impatience …

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white board My ability to paste what … I want … today, on WordPress is giving me a migraine. So, I share it here:

http://cmahoneyfnp.wixsite.com/claireosullivan See today’s blog on my web! Kristen Lamb Dale Amidei RD Roger D. Peterson and Brad Carl Books!

 I can’t remove the GIF. I thus, maybe fatigued forever… phttp.

MEH?

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dog tired gif.gif

Coffee, please…. just another 5 pots.

October 15, 2017

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Claire O’Sullivan

Well, okay. Not five pots. Maybe a cup or two.

This morning I had a fire in the wood stove. Yes, it was that cold, unless you’re a polar bear. Or you have an overactive thyroid…

Now I have a screen (big TV screen) running my ‘tropical island paradise.’ This could be good. Or bad. I am sooooo calm,  sleeping on the beach (aka couch) sounds like a great idea. This is the perfect setting for my characters to snooze in, too. Is there a ‘what the heck?’ music track? Anyone else write to music?

I am not done reading a thriller by Dale Amidei, Absinthe and Chocolate. But I am close. Perhaps that’s the reason I need a senior nap. Up too late, once again.

I have a process, like all authors. I come up with an idea, work a plot out of it (sometimes that whole concept crashes big time), get a handful of characters, and head to NanoWrimo.

This is my first year since 2012 where I will be in absenscia I am in the rewrite process of all but one. Of course I try to work on one at a time… Then there’s the rock, hammer, scissors. Sometimes all at the same time.

What’s your process?

For me, I always have to work on the characters. Are they flatter than a pancake? It’s easier to develop biological weapons from dust than to rewrite a character meh to great.

That’s where I am at with Forget Me Not: Non Compos Mentis ( compost was an appropriate term a bit ago). I had to write in a love interest’s point of view. Otherwise it looked more like 50 Shades without the sex scenes.  Meh.

‘Tis Gone… for Now…

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Ah, keep your shirt on.

I removed the first three chapters of How to Steal a Romance … see how it works? A wee bit for fun…

Then, addiction strikes.

It will be published, and hopefully within my – and your lifetime, and hope that addiction sticks …. 🙂