Monday, August 24, 2015

Win a Copy of Melody of Love #bookgiveaway

This week's blog post will be short and simple. I'm hard at work on the second round of revisions for the novel, which up until now has been known as my 2014 NaNoWriMo project. Today I can start calling it by its official title: Seeing What Develops. Lots of little details are being worked on too, such as the blurb, the cover and getting it all ready to be uploaded to WriteOn.

While all that is going on, I thought I would treat everyone to a chance at winning their very own ebook copy of Melody of Love. You can enter below. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 17, 2015

Kindle Scout and Write On -- Can These Programs Help Indie Authors?

I pose the question in the title of this post for purely selfish reasons. I have two novels deep into the revision process and if I want to use Kindle Scout or Write On for either of them, now is the time to decide.

Kindle Scout
If you aren't familiar with either of these programs offered by Amazon to authors, here's what I know about them. Kindle Scout is is program where you can submit your manuscript (with cover art and all that other good stuff) and have a 30-day campaign to see if readers are responding to your book synopsis and cover. They nominate the ones they want to see published and at the end of the campaign, a select number of books are chosen by the Kindle Scout team to be given a publishing contract with Kindle Press. The terms include a 5-year renewable contract, a $1500 advance, an ebook royalty rate of 50% and marketing through Amazon. Sounds amazing, right?

There are plenty of drawbacks to this program too. First, if you have a huge following, you can get a ton of your peeps to nominate your book whether it's good or not. Although getting the most nominations doesn't guarantee publishing, it could sway the Powers That Be of it's potential sales. Then, you have to write to specific categories listed. They currently don't have categories beyond their bestsellers, such as romance, suspense and thriller.

Getting deeper into the guidelines and agreements, you have to give up exclusive rights to consider your manuscript for 45 days. And if chosen for a contract, Amazon has the discretion to shop the rights for foreign language translations, third-party licensing, any rebranded version of ebook and audiobook of your work, and other control you may not have known you had with your manuscript. The details provide a range of royalty rates that will be provided by Amazon for these other editions, but the terms of what they can do with these are not negotiable.

The biggest potential for any author considering this is probably the promise of Amazon marketing and promotion. Reading the fine print, your book may be eligible for this type of marketing, but nothing is guaranteed. Another part of this process that isn't getting quite as much hype is that if your manuscript is chosen, the Kindle Scout team does work with authors on editing to get the manuscript as great as it can be.

I've read plenty of first-hand accounts of the Kindle Scout process, and I think that the first book of my trilogy In Another Life would have the best shot at winning a publishing contract. And even though it seems small, that $1500 advance would go a long way in getting me back on track (and convince people that getting paid for writing does happen). I'm just not sure that I could rally a large enough group to nominate the book without totally spamming my social media accounts.

WriteOn is a bit different. I actually didn't know anything about this program until I received an email last week, although the program has apparently been around for a few months. The email was very short and kind of just said, "Hey, try this out." I looked and saw something that I've definitely seen before. WriteOn by Kindle looks a lot like Wattpad, however, it is a program that serves a different purpose. WriteOn is a place where you can essentially have a virtual writing workshop, but instead of trying to get feedback from other writers, you are getting feedback directly from readers. With Wattpad, what I have experienced is that people just want their stories read, not necessarily any criticism, no matter how helpful it may be. But to be fair, I don't spend a lot of time on Wattpad, so I may be wrong about that.

In theory, this is great--readers and writers are getting together to make the stories better. In practice, I still have a hard time showing what I think isn't my best work to a bunch of strangers to make it better. I also have a problem with anyone going to the site and being able to read it. Yes, there are protections in place so no one can copy it, but only the ability to comment requires a username and password. I do agree with this blog post that assigning the ASIN before publishing and connecting this service to Goodreads would make it much more helpful for writers and more accessible for readers.

I thought my currently untitled chick-lit novel that I'm revising would work well for this service. I still don't have much of a beta reader list, and this could be a great way to get feedback on the areas where I think a good beta reader could help. However, getting people to read it and give it well thought out feedback might be an uphill battle, especially since it still isn't a popular service.

As much as indie authors don't want to admit it, Amazon rules our world whether we use their services and programs or not. That is why I'm seriously considering trying both of these out because with my current book sales and promotional marketing efforts, what do I have to lose?

Have you tried either of these services? Would you put your novel to the test on either platform? 

Monday, August 10, 2015

It's Starting to Fall into Place

I've struck gold! Okay, not really. What I have discovered are resources for people who write scripts and don't either a) currently live in Los Angeles (though I'm totally not opposed to moving there) or b) have industry connections. So I've been putting effort into using these to network and figure out what I have to do to sell a script.

I joined Stage 32 which is a social media network for industry novices and professionals. I created a profile on ShowBizCentral, though I think that will be beneficial only once I have some writing credits to my name. I've also signed up at InkTip, but I don't think I'm ready to pay for people to look at my work. Thought I was lucky when they said you can post short script loglines for free, however I would have to pay anywhere from $20-$55 each to get the scripts registered first as per the terms of the site. I guess I'll just have to save up a few bucks for that.

Things are finally starting to fall into place. I'm still not where I need to be, but I have resources for my scriptwriting endeavors, two novels in the middle of editing, and a brain that just won't stop generating new ideas. I'm pretty lucky right now. The only two things that would make it better is a steady paycheck and a new address, but that should come in time.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Onto The Next Project

Yesterday I spend some time looking at half written manuscripts and first drafts. Guess what? There was something in the pile that didn't make me reconsider my whole career as a writer. The gem I'm talking about was last year's NaNoWriMo project--the only NaNoWriMo session I have completed so far (not counting the camps or the dearly departed Script Frenzy, of course).

Before I could change my mind, I put the project on the top of my revision list. It's getting the full I-love-you-I-hate-you-I-wish-you-would-die editing and revision process, and hopefully you'll be able to read it soon. I would love to tell you what the title is, but that's one of my major hurdles on this project. There's no title. There's already half of a cover design, but still no title. Yes, if you stalk my NaNoWriMo profile page there was a tentative title, but it sucks. Big time. However, if you are itching to get your hands on something, I can slip you a short synopsis. Ready?

Lindley Neil knows nothing but her small town. When her job as a photographer's assistant takes her Los Angeles and New York, Lindley is having the time of her life. She also meets a handsome man in each city who are both falling for her. Love is in the air, but which one will she choose?

Yes, clearly the synopsis needs revamped too, but I'm working on it.

It's really nice to have clearly defined goals. I'm glad I have one to concentrate on. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

My Eyes are on a New Prize

Writing is a passion of mine, not a hobby. A lot of very talented creative people have been pushed up against this brick wall of a label. They've broken through it, and I hope I don't have to keep waiting on the other side saying someday I'll break through too.

But when you look at my life at this moment, you can see how I still have not turned a passion into a sustainable career. I do understand why everyone is telling me that it's still just a hobby. I'm beginning to hate that word.

For the past seven years, I have written anything and everything under the sun for a few bucks: ad copy, social media posts, articles, blog posts. The list goes on. At least three of those years were what I would consider successful. I only had to work about five hours/seven days a week for a good paycheck. That left plenty of time to pursue my own projects. But the lean years have settled in and without changing careers completely, the path seems to stop at my feet.

I've said it before and I'll repeat it now: I will work any job to make my rent. I don't mind doing that at all. What I do mind is having to do that in a place that completely void of creative or innovative people. These concepts only flourish in places where people strive to be different, not the same. I reside in a cookie-cutter world right now. It's not the right atmosphere to work in. Relocation has always been the priority in my life, though I cannot point to a single concrete step I have taken to put it into action because I use money and fear as excuses. That ends today. 

So, I turn back to my writing. I know I have a lot already on my long list of writing projects, but I just couldn't get an idea out of my head for one of my favorite TV shows. So I started writing a script. Yes, I know that it has a pretty good shot of never seeing the light of day, but I'm at the point in my life where I can't let the idea that hope only hurts get in my way. I don't want to continue to feed this fear of success that I seem to have. So I'm going to do what I can to see this through no matter the outcome. And if I knew how to break into TV writing, I certainly would be at a different place in my life right now. But if I don't try now, when? I have nothing left to lose here.

I know how L.A. works. It's all schmoozing and networking. Two things I'm horrible at. And if you aren't located there, it's even harder to network digitally because online messages are easily ignored. It can be done, but the hill is a little steeper. The reward? Validation that I have the talent it takes to write and a paycheck to go along with it.

Thinking about all of this causes a lot of stress and anxiety. I still don't know if I have too many choices or too few. But I can either let this situation stop me from becoming exactly who I know I am, or I can grovel at the feet of the writing Powers that Be until my foot is firmly in the door.

I choose option #2.