Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bye Bye 2011. So Long, Mr. Earl. Bring On 2012

2011 - It was the best of years, it was the worst of years.  On the good side, I published my first two books.  Along the way, I made some awesome friends and contacts.  Other than that, the year was sort of "blah."

Unfortunately, my buddy Mr. Earl died just this past week.  He didn't look good at the Christmas party, but I was somehow convinced that he would live forever.  I would not put it past him to have held on until after Christmas for his family.  He was that kind of guy.  Mr. Earl was an old man with a bad ticker who reminded me of my grandfather that died when I was 18.  I didn't get to spend a lot of time with Mr. Earl, but he was always the person I wanted to see at the parties we attended.  Like my grandfather, he was not classically educated, but he was infinitely wise.  They also shared a similar work ethic and made sure their kids had opportunities they never had.

They were both just damned fine men.  They were good men.  And isn't that how all guys would like to be remembered?

Godspeed, Mr. Earl.  I am proud to have known you.

On to 2012.  I have two more books scheduled to be published this coming year--maybe more.  As more people hear about the Crayder Chronicles, I continue to meet new and fascinating people.  When you come down to it, everything--every accomplishment or victory--comes down to people.

So to my people--'cause I have people now, ya know--THANK YOU for taking up the slack for me this past week.

To "My Happy Few" (those that read my ramblings in different places around the internet and those that I have come to know), thank you for being "you" and providing me with endless hours of entertainment and interest.

Everyone look for some new and exciting stuff here in SpilittersWorld:

Some of the new graphics are going to blow you away.
"Ask Tom Crayder" is coming in January.  As a matter of fact, Tom is going to be taking over the main blog page here.  You'll have to click a tab for my ramblings.  Tom assures me that he is going to have some fun answering your questions on life, love, and dealing with noisy neighbors...

See y'all next year!

Splitter

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!




Merry Christmas!

And Happy Hanukah, and Happy Festivus, and Happy Whatever religious and/or cultural traditions you follow!  If you don’t follow any of those traditions, then I hope you are enjoying the general merry and happy feelings that infuse people at this time of year.

There.  Did I get everyone?   Good!

I hope you don’t have the blues for Christmas, but a little blues around Christmas can be a good thing:




Still not into the spirit?  I’ll bet you would like a sandwich though, wouldn’t you?  Sandwiches and Christmas project are very similar.  Sounds dumb, I know, but I can prove it.  Go check out Heidi’s blog for a little Christmas Lites cheer: Christmas Lites and Hard-Boiled Egg Sandwiches

New and exciting things are coming to Splitterworld in the New Year, but I will wait to give those announcements in the equally obligatory New Year’s post coming next week.  For right now, just know that my little elves are beating the snot out of me to get things done in preparation for the blog tour and the release of the first two books in print.  I wonder if Santa goes through this?

For now, let’s just hunker down with some mulled wine (or hot cocoa for the anti-adult-beverage crowd), holiday movies (you'll shoot your eye out, kid), and a big family meal (fah-rah-rah-rah-rah).  We’ll start thinking about the end of 2011 and new beginnings in 2012 next week.

Good tidings to all and much appreciation to you and yours!

Splitter

Thursday, December 15, 2011

CrayderMania Tour 2012 (coming to a blog near YOU)


I have people now.  Really, I do!  Have your people call my people to set up a blog tour stop on your site.

Forgive me, that was just fun to say even though my people spend a lot of their time ordering ME around.

CrayderMania will kick off on February 15th and run for the next month.  The first two books in The Crayder Chronicles will be available in PRINT at that time and I will be whoring myself out to promote them.  Need a good guest post?  Want a creative interview?  Looking for books to feature?  Contact us and we will get you set up.

BUT WAIT!  There’s more!  (I have always wanted to say that, too)

Want some freebies for your readers and followers?
We will let you push our buttons.
It will be a banner event.
We might charm you.
We might get you detained at the airport.
We might diagnose you.
It might be a sign.

Cryptic stuff, eh?  Check back here for details.

Remember our motto:  Here at Team Splitter, we give good blog.

Splitter

Thursday, December 8, 2011

KDP Select


Doesn’t anyone else see this?

Amazon is offering a new “service” called KDP select.  Offer your books exclusively through Amazon’s KDP program and you get a shot at a pool of money if you follow the program perfectly and cut out EVERY other avenue of distribution.  That pool of money is not all that large considering how many eBooks are available through Amazon.

Look…I am an unashamed capitalist.  While that means that I believe in survival of the fittest, it also means that I believe in competition.  This appears to be an attempt on the part of Amazon to eliminate the competition.  They already own about 80% of the market, I guess they want more.

What happens when Smashwords goes away?  What about Barnes and Noble?  For all practical purposes, we have already lost Borders.

I LOVE Amazon and I have spent a fair amount of money with them.  They are a GREAT story.  I just don’t want them to be the only game left in town.  It is true that most sales come from Amazon and their royalties are GREAT compared to some other options.  But there are other companies like Smashwords offering the same royalties and more options.  What happens when those other outlets die off?

Monopolies never work out well.  It is not hard to look into the future and see 70% royalties being cut to 65% or less.

I know—a lot of authors are going to go for this gimmick.  Indie and self pubbed authors tend too often to be desperate.  I am not going to knock my fellow writers for going for this program.  I will simply disagree with them.

The indie and self pub knock against the Big Six publishers is that they have for too long acted as gatekeepers.  They dictated terms.  Amazon changed that and it was a good thing.  Now, it appears that Amazon is headed down that same road.  When there is no threat to their domination of the eBook market, what will they do?

Do YOU want to depend on their benevolence once competition is eliminated?

I don’t.  With my level of sales, Amazon could not care less.  The same probably goes for you if you are an author.  What they care about are the big names and the heaving mass of indie and self pub authors as a whole.  What I do or don’t do means nothing and I realize that.  Still, I am not going to be part of this.

Splitter     

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Short Course in Self Publishing


I should be using my “free” time today to write.  I should be using it to do some marketing.  Instead, I am going to do something for my fellow authors.  Ain't I nice?  Nah, I just remember what it felt like not all that long ago when I was faced with the huge prospect of self publishing.  It was a daunting prospect and I screwed up in almost every way possible.  That is why I did not call this post an "Idiot's Guide to Self Publishing."  I still feel like an idiot for some of the things I did and did not do so the "idiot" would have been me.

Somehow, I have people sending me emails and asking me about the nuts and bolts of self publishing.  People on forums send others that are new to self publishing my way…like I am an expert.  I am not!  I have just done it before.  Maybe not well, maybe not smoothly, but I did it.  Many of the same questions keep coming up over and over so I decided to address some of them in one blog post.  Along the way, I will give you some definitions and alternate sources of information…like people who ARE experts.

Someone told me that I should put this out as a short pamphlet for $.99 and make a few bucks, but since I am no expert, I would not feel right about taking money for what I have learned thus far.  Plus, I like “free.”

FREE!  I love that word.  Our whole country was founded on “free.”  Our definitions might change, but we all love “free” in one form or another.  One form of “free” that I love is “no-charge.”  When I give away my books, I usually use the term “no-charge” because the time and effort I put into writing that book was definitely not “free.”  People do not appreciate “free” because the concept takes away value, but when they hear “no-charge” they rightly think that the item has value.  They are just not paying for it.

Others may have written this information down and done it better, but I have not found all the information I wanted in one place.  You won’t find it all here, either, but it is a start for you.  Today, I am going to talk about how to self publish your books for FREE (or very close to it).  I will endeavor to do it simply and in an uncomplicated manner even though I may take a diversion or three.

Maybe someday, I will write a book called, “How I Sold a Million Books Without Spending a Nickel.”  I do have that goal but, ummm, I am going to need your help with that.  I know some of you have a similar goal so when you sell that millionth book, remember those of us who tried to help you along the way, k?

You are FREE to publish your own book just as you are free to dance.  I say “you are free to dance” because I have been banned from performing in several jurisdictions:



So you see, even though you are “free” to do something, that does not mean that you should.  Cambria Hebert and I had a discussion about self publishing versus traditional publishing here:


There is a mystique about self publishing.  I imagine that people picture self publishers as either computer geeks turned author or authors turned computer geeks.  That may be true in some instances, but the only thing you really need to be is an author.  Seriously, self publishing does not take genius…just look at all the poorly done self published books out there.

That brings us to the flip-side of the mystique: the stigma.  People think that self published means poor quality.  While that is true in many cases, it does not have to be true for you.  Or me, I hope.

I am not trying to sell you on going one way or the other on self publishing or finding a traditional publisher.  Do what is right for YOU.  For the sake of argument, and there is a debate raging across the Internet if you want to Google it, let us say that you have chosen to self publish.  You have been rejected by publishers OR you do not want to wait for them OR (if you are like me) you have a compelling need to Do-It-Yourself.  Even if you choose to go with a small publisher, you should probably KEEP READING so you will know a little about what goes into the services they perform for you.

A Simplified Process to Self Publishing:

1)  Write the book.  This is what we do as writers.  There are MANY opinions on “how” to write a book and I won’t get into them here.  I am focusing on function.  You will need a word processor program like Microsoft WORD or Open Office.  I know a lot of you hate Microsoft, and while I am a big believer in Open Office, WORD is the way to go if you have a choice between the two for getting your book ready to publish.  Amazon and Smashwords like the .doc format for conversions.  You can save documents in Open Office as .doc files, but they do not come out quite the same and that can lead to formatting issues.  However, because Open Office is a free program, I import WORD documents into it and use the grammar and spellchecking functions because each program finds different potential errors.

Michael J. Sullivan just wrote an article about Scrivener here:  Sullivan on Scrivener.  It is a program to help authors write books.  I have not used it and probably will not in the near future because I finally have my own system and am loathe to change to something else so quickly, but it sounds like a good way to stay organized.

2)  Read your book a million times and correct all the errors that you find.  Honestly, I only do about six re-reads and self edits before sending it off to my first round of test readers.  The VERY FIRST person to get their hands on my new work is Jenn at Indie Supporter.  If it is terrible, she will tell me.  Then I send it out to half a dozen people who do not normally read the genre in which I write.  I am LOOKING for criticism at that point.  I want them to point out the flaws.  I want them to be blunt and honest.

I want them to let me know what needs correcting and whether my story and characters are any good.  Face it, at this point in the process, our books are terrible.  We might hit the mark on story and characters, but the writing will not be something of which we should be proud.  I know this because I made the mistake myself!  As a matter of fact, if you name the self publishing mistake, I have probably made it too: JA Clement's Blog.

As your test readers send you their feedback, make the corrections and send NEW COPIES to the test readers who are not yet finished with your book.  It is the only respectful thing to do so that they do not keep finding the same mistakes others have.  You want to be respectful of their time and you want them finding NEW mistakes.

3)  Now you have your book in a WORD document that has gone through one round of test reading.  GET AN EDITOR.  I know a few and if you ask, I will point you in their direction.  Leave a comment below and other authors will recommend editors to you too.

DO NOT publish your work without it being edited.  For the sake of the rest of us who self publish, have your book edited.  Work something out with an editor if you cannot afford it.

4)  What to look for in an editor?  You need someone to unabashedly point out why your book still sucks.  You need someone to proof read your words (this can be your editor OR you can get proof readers separately).  You need someone to find the flaws in your story from a “standards” perspective.  You do not need to heed all of their opinions, but you need them to point out potential problems that will jar the reader out of your story.

You also need them to polish your work.  Add this, subtract that.  They are there to make YOUR work better.

CAUTION:  You editor needs to love your book.  They need to see what you first send them as a four star book that could be a five star book once they do their magic.

5)  Your editor has your book and says it will take between two weeks and several months to get through their first pass on it.  What to do with all that “free” time?  Forget about free time.  Go build your social network: Lizzy Ford's Site.  Research what other authors are doing for marketing.  Here again, I failed for you.  I did not want to market my books before I knew they were good enough.  Silly me, that social network will always be there!  Start building it now so that it will be there when you write a book you think is good enough to let strangers read.

6)  In this free time, find a cover artist.  YES!  Any idiot with no artistic talent can use the tools (I will show you later) available for FREE to make a cover.  It probably won’t be a good cover, but it will be a cover.  Yep, I made my first cover and it probably sucked.  When I re-issued the first book, it had a professional cover.

I do not believe that many people buy a book based on the cover, but I positively know that sometimes the cover will dissuade them from reading the blurb which means “no sale.”  A good cover is mandatory.

What makes a good cover?  That is up for debate.  Talk to your cover designer about that.  Oh?  You don’t have a cover designer?  Leave a comment and I will point you to a couple.  So will other readers of this blog.  If you cannot afford them, work something out.  Chances are they need some services too.

7)  Write your blurb.  Write your tag line sentence or two.  Write a four word tag line: Robin's Write 2 Publish.  Do not think these things will be easy or that they do not matter.  There is a very good chance that your blurb will be your BEST opportunity to sell someone a book.  Your editor might be able to help you with this (you feelin’ me on this, Tricia? We need to re-write the blurb for The Reluctant!).  The blurb on my first book is “ok” at best.  The blurb on the second is pretty good, I think.  But if people do not read the first, they won’t read the second.  PROBLEM!

Authors are generally BAD at writing their own blurbs.  Maybe we are too close to the work to break it down to a few hundred words.  Maybe we are not good at promoting ourselves.  Maybe you are the exception.  In any event, use this “free” time to get the blurb and blurb-ettes perfected.

8)  If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make any sound?  If you write a great book and no one knows about it, or you cannot attract them into reading it, are you really an author?  Develop a marketing plan.  I failed so hard at this, and am desperately playing catch-up, that I am not even going to touch this one.  Go do your research.  Find out what other authors say.  Try some things.  Get that social network going.

And when you find the magic formula, help a brother out and send me an email.

9)  Your editor sends back your manuscript with all sorts of red, yellow, purple, and green marks on it.  See how much you really suck as a writer?  Read through it, skim it, see the things that come up over and over…like my poor use of ellipses.  Then, consider everything your editor has marked and fix those things that need fixing.  If you reject a suggestion, explain to your editor why in the notes you send back to them with your "fixed” manuscript.

Your editor is no more of a writing god then you are.  They will not understand everything you were trying to do or why you used certain words.  Somewhere in the middle, there is a good balance.  Just understand that where that balance is PROBABLY falls more toward what the editor noted.  Be humble.

How “clean” your original manuscript was will determine how much time you will need during this first, real, re-write.  Typos are hard to find but easy to fix.  Plot holes are a different story.  If you had gaping plot holes that were not found until your editor pointed them out, you have a lot of work ahead of you.

10)  Have a conversation with your editor when you send your fixes back to them.  How many more editing passes do they think they will need?  What is their schedule like?  What is their time estimate?

Set a publication date—and add two months.  Stick to that first date as the “drop dead” date.  That just MIGHT leave you enough time in the extra two months to fix the things that you MISSED leading up to the “drop dead’ date.  Yes, I am saying you should lie to yourself about which date is the really important one.

Hey, guess what?  I screwed this one up too.  Tricia and I spent sleepless nights fixing my books before the final release date.  If you have a choice through good planning, do not follow in our footsteps.

11)  Now you have something to send out to your second set of test readers.  This document has had its first pass by a real editor so it SHOULD finally be readable.  Far from perfect, but readable.  Lots of people want a “free” read in exchange for their comments.

You have some choices here beginning with: what format do I want to send them?
A WORD document might be fine for some of these test readers.  They can easily notate corrections.
Many of these readers want to read your “book” on their eReader of choice so you will have to convert your document to an appropriate format for them.

How to turn a WORD document into a format for an eReader?  Here is one method that works pretty well:
First, understand that there are several formats with the most common being ePub, MOBI (Kindle), and PDF.
Second, download Calibre here: Calibre
Third, convert your WORD document into a PDF.  If your software will not do it, use a free service like this one: WORD to PDF Converter.
Fourth, go ahead and save versions of your book onto your computer in all three formats.

Calibre is pretty easy to use but do be aware that it can do some funky things to the appearance of your work in those new formats.  Make sure this new group of test readers KNOWS that what you are sending them is NOT a final version.  You will start with the PDF in Calibre and convert the PDF into other formats.

12)  Either while you are sending the book out to your second set of test readers, or after another editing pass or two, you are going to want to send out Advanced Reading Copies (ARC’s) to reviewers and bloggers.

Sorry, Scooter, you are only a self pubbed author with all the stigma that comes along with the label.  The New York Times will not take your phone calls.  Some bloggers won’t want you either.  Go to GoodReads and find a few groups with reviewers.  Here is just one of my favorites: Creative Reviews.

Research a blog before requesting a review.  Do they like your genre?  Do they give thoughtful reviews?  What are their submission guidelines?

Also understand that even amateur bloggers often have deep to-be-read piles.  Get an ARC to them MONTHS in advance, if possible.  Again—oops on my part!

13)  FINALLY, after your editor and test readers are satisfied, you have a document ready to publish!  Congratulations!  Now the really hard part begins.

I will focus on only three main avenues to getting your book into the hands of readers: Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Smashwords, and Createspace.  Amazon’s KDP and Smashwords do eBooks.  Createspace does Print on Demand (POD).  All are FREE.

Amazon and Smashwords like WORD documents.  Theoretically.  The truth is that you may have to export your .doc to “HTML unfiltered” for Amazon and Smashwords—well, they call their conversion software the “MeatGrinder” for a reason.  Just go start beating your head against the wall now to save time.

But, really, it is easy after you do it the first time…aren’t you glad you built in that extra two months so you could learn this stuff?

Amazon’s KDP has templates for making your WORD doc into something that will convert well.  Go here:  Kindle Templates.

Smashowrds has its Style Guide here:  Smashwords Style Guide.  Read it.  Learn it.  Live it.

You will need two separate documents, one for each site.  Your copyright page will be different for each AND...

Smashwords will make up an active Table of Contents (TOC) for you during the conversion process.  Amazon will not at this time.  Since I write fiction, a TOC is not even really necessary, but I copied Smashword’s into my Amazon document.  It is not “active,” but it works fine for what I do.  Smashwords will send your document through an “Auto Vetter” to make sure there are no glaring deviations from their Style Guide.  Still, you are going to want to download their conversions in various formats to make sure things turned out correctly.

At that point, your book will go into a review process for Smashword’s Premium Catalog where, if it measures up, it will be made available through other retailers like Barnes and Noble, iTunes, KoBo, and the like.  Cool, huh?  The bad part is that the review process takes up to two weeks for the Premium Catalog and then it takes some time for the book to actually show up on those sites.  Ask me how I know—SORRY to my Nook fans!  It is coming!

Amazon will only make your book available in the MOBI format for Kindle.  I will tell you now that it seems to be much more forgiving than Smashword’s MeatGrinder (which converts into several formats) and most of your sales will probably come from Amazon.  Try loading your WORD document but be aware that you may have to convert that first into an unfiltered HTML file to make the book look the way you wanted it to look.  You can do this through the “export” feature in WORD.

Yes, you might have to do some experimenting and trouble shooting.  Or, you can hire a formatter.  Yep, we know some of these people too, just ask.

-Once you have uploaded your book to Amazon, use their preview feature to make sure the conversion went well.  When you hit that “enter” key, your book will go into “review” and will be available to the world in about 48 hours.  Go make your author page on Amazon through Author Central: Author Central.

The thing to remember above all else for publishing an eBook is: keep it simple.  If you want to use 37 different fonts and have cool little illustrations, your workload is going to increase drastically.

-For print, I will focus on CreateSpace.  There are other services available, but I am trying to keep this simple.

CreateSpace has templates for different sized print books here:  Print Templates.  Copy and paste, Baby.  By this time, you should have just about all of the information you need to go to print.  An author bio, blurbs, a picture of YOU, a cover, a copyrights page, etc..

Don’t have a cover yet?  CreateSpace has a FREE cover design feauture.  The result will not be original but it might be useable.

A note on ISBN numbers: It’s a good idea to have them.  Smashwords will give you one for free BUT you should not use it on your Amazon eBook.  You will need a new one for your print version too.

Order your proof from CreateSpace, check it for accuracy, and frame it!

I have done everything on the print side except actually putting my books out in print.  Why?  Because I want to make them perfect.  eBooks can evolve a bit, print is pretty permanent.  Like I have said, I have learned from my mistakes and hope to avoid future mistakes.

There you have it.  I know it was a cursory glance at self publishing, but it is more than I had when I started.  The above is only one path to getting books into the hands of your readers.  There are other services, other retailers, and other theories.  Check out the list of blog on the right side of my page for more discussions.  Follow the sites I listed above for some in-depth discussion on the finer points of self publishing.

Want to say “thank you” for my no-charge little post here?  Just download a no-charge copy of “The Reluctant” from Smashwords: The Reluctant and/or buy the second book in my series, The Willing, at:  The Willing on Smashwords and The Willing on Amazon.  You don’t have to, just sayin’…

Most of all, HAVE SOME FUN publishing your work.  You don’t have to be a computer geek or web expert to self publish.

Splittee

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Feaatured on Lizzy Ford's Site

Yours truly is being featured on Lizzy Ford's site: Guerilla Wordfare .

Click on over and pick up a free copy of The Reluctant.

Not enough for you?  FINE!  She is also giving away THREE FREE copies of The Willing .

Show Lizzy some LOVE!  Her site is SERIOUSLY one of the best out there for writers and I now follow it religiously.  You should too, it is that good.

Splitter

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Blog Tag Team with Cambria Hebert: On Writing and Publishing

My response to Cambria's guest post here is on her blog at: Unlocked Diary.  Go there to see hit and make sure you hit the follow buttons!


The Making of a Novel.
Hey everyone!
My bud Splitter was gracious enough to invite my babbling crazy self over here to his fabulous blog for a guest post on writing. Why would he do that? Because like him, I am a writer and because I have a lot of opinions that I like to tell people about. Ha ha.
A little about me: (just so you know my opinions might actually have some background to them.) My name is Cambria Hebert and my debut novel, Masquerade, comes out December 16, 2011. It’s a young adult paranormal book. I also have a prequel to Masquerade (a short story) coming out November 18 called Before. And if that isn’t enough I have yet another short story coming out November 23 called Whiteout.
My journey through writing has been everywhere from smooth to chaos and everything in between. When I first started writing with the intent of publishing I had no idea the amount of work and time that it would take. It took me almost 3 years to find a publisher – yes, I chose to go traditional. But no – I couldn’t get a deal with one of the Big Boys.
Note: Big Boys = no time for no names like me. LOL.
I couldn’t find an agent either. I have about 100 rejections all with the word NO resonating through them. But it didn’t deter me. It made me mad and I kept trying. Lol.
I received a deal 6 months after submitting to Otherworld Publications a small publisher out of KY. From there it’s been a whirlwind of marketing, editing and networking. My advice to any writer who plans to be published whether its self or traditionally: start networking NOW. Don’t wait til your book is published. Don’t wait til you have a deal. Start talking to people, start being friends and care about others around you. Draw them into conversation and encourage them. It pays back in so many ways and you know what? It makes you feel good. Because being good to others – knowing that you made someone else smile is way better than just one sale. But the real point here is that – if people like you and genuinely care about you – they will be interested in your writing.
But what about the actual writing? What goes into that? A LOT. It’s not just naming some characters and slapping some sentences on the page. A writer has to build a whole world – a world that entices someone to stay, characters that the reader either identifies with or is so interested in why they are different from them. You have to have action and plot and believability.
Splitter asked me a few specific questions about my writing that I thought I would answer here because maybe others would wonder about as well.
The first, Why did I choose to right about someone who is disfigured?
In Masquerade the main character is disfigured on the left side of her face. She is sixteen. She hates to look in the mirror and everyone calls her a freak. Her life is literally split in half. Now and Before. She can’t remember what happened to her and she is haunted by not knowing. I wrote about a disfigured girl for a few reasons. One being that I thought people might identify with her. Sounds a little silly because not many are horribly disfigured right? Well, no. But I know a ton of people who get up every day and don’t like what they see in the mirror. I know some people who just try to get through the day. And what about those people that DO have some kind of disfigurement? Maybe they would like to read about someone like them. (note: Heven is just a character – I don’t claim to know what it must be like to be disfigured) I think as a whole people get tired of reading about a main character that is perfect and beautiful and has it all. That’s not very identifiable because no one is perfect (except for me of course. LOL). There is (in my opinion) a lot of room for growth in a character that starts out in a low place and gradually begins to realize that they might be more than they thought.

The second question Splitter asked me about was writing a novel with POV shifts. That’s point of view. My novel is written in First Person. To me, I can’t imagine writing any other way. Writing in first person really gives the writer and the reader a chance to get to know the character. When I write in first person I put myself in the characters head and write as them. Really, it’s a nice break from my own internal dialogue…. I can be a lot to handle sometimes – even for myself. LOL.
Masquerade has 4 POV shifts. Yes, it is A LOT. I didn’t set out to write it that way. It evolved. The first draft was all Heven with no other POV shifts. Then as I was reading it I thought… this needs something. It needs more. Then I came up with The Hate and The Hope. Two unidentified personalities in the book that the reader gets glimpses of. They are strong personalities – strong characters - but the reader doesn’t know who they are until halfway through. I think as you can tell from their names… one is good and one isn’t. Complete opposites. How did I manage that? I wrote all of The Hate scenes first. I slipped into that ‘bad’ personality and really asked myself what my version of heinous was – what someone in that position would do and say and I wrote it all out. I found the places to insert the scenes (which are short – no more than one page) and I wrote. Then I went back to those Hate scenes and I followed them with a Hope one. Something that pretty much went against The Hate. So I stayed “in character” with each person I wrote. Then came Sam. He is a huge part of the book. My editor actually suggested writing a scene or two from his POV and it worked so well and added a whole other side to the story that you would never have gotten to see so we did it through the whole book. Every time I felt there was a need for more depth or explanation or action in came Sam. That’s when I realized it. I hadn’t known Sam at all. That really hit me in the face like a wet mop. How could I have written a book (actually the second in the series was done as well) and NOT know one of the main characters. I was appalled at myself. So I plowed into Sam’s head and really got to know him. I won’t lie – the first couple scenes I wrote of him were the hardest of the book. Sam has secrets… secrets and feelings he didn’t want even me to know…. But I went with it and I kept working. And Sam came alive.
I think writing in so many POV shifts was very challenging but so useful in really getting to the bones of the story. I was able to understand the story from every angle and not just see it through Heven’s eyes. I hope that it makes it a better – fuller story. Is it necessary for all books? Nope. Was it necessary for this one? I think so. Judge for yourself.
The challenging thing about POV shifts is making sure the book still flows and that the writing stays consistent. Just because the character is different doesn’t mean the writing necessarily will change. The writing is what sets the tone throughout the entire book. The characters are what give it flavor.
In short (yeah, cause I’m so good at being short, lol) writing is like cooking. A little bit of this, a little bit of that all thrown together make on great stew. Its finding the right mix of ingredients that make the story.
So that concludes my thoughts on writing today. J I would like to thank Splitter for having me by today to talk your ears off. What are your thoughts on POV shifts in books? Love em, hate em? Too distracting? Tell us how you feel.
Have a great day!


Thank you, Cambria!  Go check out her books:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas Lites is RELEASED!

Somehow, some way, this book came together in a tremendous fashion.  This is what can happen when people work together.

I wrote about it more extensively before, but I will just say again: the: thank you to the people who worked sooo hard to make this happen.  All proceeds go directly to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  The short stories are FANTASTIC!  

Indie View

Find the buying links and more great information at:  The Blog Starts Here

Splitter

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Before: A Man's Take


I am breaking a personal rule here.  I do not do reviews as C.S. Splitter for several reasons.  When I write, I do not read because I find it distracting.  I do not have time to do proper reviews so, to be fair to other authors, I do not want to do half the job.  I also do not think I am a very good reviewer because I nitpick plots and characters and completely gloss over technical details like punctuation and grammar—just ask my editor.

There are also a couple dangers for authors that do reviews.  What if I do not like the story?  Is that other author going to turn around and give my work a bad review in revenge?  What if I like the story and the other author likes mine?  If we both post reviews, it looks like we did a “review swap” and, in my opinion, review swaps where both parties agree to do positive reviews are very unethical.

So without further prefacing, read on:

If there is anything that drives me more nuts than highschool girls talking about what they are going to wear, that boy that smiled at them, or how cool it is to BE a cheerleader, I don’t know what it would be.  I didn’even like cheerleader-types when I was IN highschool.  I liked the bad girls and the nerdy girls and the rock star wannabe girls.  Nothing made me happier than attending reunions and seeing that the former cheerleaders had peaked at 17 and gone downhill from there.  I am not only a guy, I am a cynical guy.

I also do not like perfect people—which I guess goes along with my prejudice (and that is what it is) against cheerleader-types.  We have all met that seemingly perfect person who leads the seemingly charmed life.  They make you want to slap a “kick me” sign on their back.  Right?  Tell me I am not alone here.

Well, Heven is the perfect cheerleader-type.  She will not even cheat on a term paper.  I should hate her.  And, I do, but I don’t.  Cambria gave me just enough daylight to kind of like Heven.  She is a good kid.  She is, after all, just a little highschool girl that has not seen anything of the world.  Yet.

The “yet” is why the story is very good.  Enter Sam, a mysterious fellow who has a stalker-ish crush on Heven.  We do not know much about Sam except that he has some rather dangerous associates and that he is trying to protect Heven from them.  When I say “dangerous associates,” I am talking about body parts being strewn about and a fair measure of gore.  Hey, we’re getting closer to my tastes in literature here, too!

In my mind, stories are about characters first.  When I think of all the memorable stories I have read, the characters spring to mind before anything else.  Characters, good or evil, likeable or not, are supposed to evoke a reaction in the reader.  As you can tell, Heven made me react.  A deep, dark part of me wants Heven to take a tumble from her perch on that pedestal.  I don’t want anything terrible to happen to her, just enough to wake up the non-cheerleader side of herself.

It seems, however, that Heven is gong to get more thrown at her than I would have wanted to satisfy my anti-“highschool popular girl” prejudice.  I mean, Hev, as she is known to her friends, seems to have some serious trouble headed her way.  She is not only going to be knocked off her perch, she is going to have her soul ripped to pieces.

Suddenly, I found myself feeling, dare I say it, “sorry” for what might befall Heven.  That is where Cambria Hebert nailed it.  She made me care about a character that I should not have liked.  In a short story, no less.  That is skill.  I get the distinct feeling that Hev is going to get much more than a “kick me” sign taped to her back and I want to tell her to duck, run, fight, or whatever else might prevent her impending fate.  Run, Heven, RUN!!

This short story is a prequel to Cambria’s upcoming “Masquerade” novel due to be released in December.  I won’t do a star rating because that isn’t my style--eh, what the hell, it's a five because it makes you want to know the rest of the story--and I will say that you should read this short story.  It is the perfect set up for a growth and coming-of-age story for Heven.  My guess is that we are gong to find out that there is a lot more to Heven than cheerleading and fashion.  Or Heven dies at the hands of “monsters.”  We will see in “Masquerade” and I can’t wait to read it.

Splitter

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Please Help Spread the Word



Tomorrow, November 21st, 2011, The Willing  hits Smashwords.  If the stars align perfectly, it will hit Amazon also.  Check back here for the Amazon link.

The Reluctant is going on SALE and is FREE for a limited time.  Seriously, what more do you want from me?

Please help spread the word through you blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and if the spirit moves you, walk up to a total stranger and tell them about these books.  I dare ya!  (Disclaimer:  Author is not responsible for strange looks or slaps that might result)


On another note, check out a fun interview on JA Clement's blog On Dark Shores Have a laugh at my expense.  It's ok, I'm a big boy and I can take it.

Splitter




Friday, November 18, 2011

An Interview with BarbWire

OK, folks, head on over to Barb's Site to read my latest interview and check out a really nice book site.  I LOVE the banner, it always cracks me up when I go there (and I do).

Want to know what inspires these stories?  Get a sneak peek at "The Willing?"  Take a gander--that's southern for have a look.

Splitter


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What Happens as the Release Day Approaches


“Are you getting excited about the release on the 21st?”

Someone just asked me that and I did not know how to answer.  I should be excited but I do not have time to get excited.

Along with getting “The Willing” ready for release, I am getting “The Reluctant” ready for a re-release with a new cover and the editor’s touch.  Files are flying back and forth between me and my editor, Tricia.  She just keeps finding stuff!  I love her, but it is like watching your game film over and over again and having the coach point out every mistake you made each time.  You know you will be better for it, but the process is painful and time consuming.

The good news is that the new covers and the professional editing will put the books ahead of most of the indie books on the market today.  My goal has always been to tell good stories with good characters and keep the writing from getting in the way.  And, if we want our books to be judged by the same standards as traditionally published books, the covers and the writing have to be “clean.”

The bad news is that polishing two books at once takes double the time.  Add to that the interviews I have been doing, the review solicitations, the guest blog spots I am writing, and the obligatory social networking, to see why I do not have time to be “excited.”  Did I forget to mention the promotions for “Christmas Lites” that I am flitting around to support?

However, there is yet another piece of good news: I do not have time to be nervous, either!  I am not expecting big sales the first day.  This is a marathon, not a sprint, and I am in this for the long haul because I am stubborn that way.  The books will be there forever and Tom’s story is just beginning.  Elephants are, after all, eaten one bite at a time.

Splitter

Sunday, November 13, 2011

First Review for "The Willing"

I have had positive feedback from my crew of beta readers (some of the greatest people around even when they point out my flaws), but the FIRST posted review of  "The Willing" is in.

And...it's a good one.  You can check it out at Gathering Leaves and on GoodReads where it got 5 stars.

One thing this review points out is that Lorena gets some time to shine in this volume.  I loved writing about a kick-ass female character who was more than a pretty face--and more than the neighborhood sociopath.  I hope I can keep up with her and Tom.

Splitter

 

 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Interview with Amy Eye, A Driving Force Behind "Christmas Lites"


You may have heard the title of this new book going around on Facebook and Twitter recently.  “Christmas Lites” is a holiday short story compilation whose proceeds are going to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and the book will also be made available for our troops.

The effort started on a GoodReads group called “Creative Reviews.”  When I first joined the group, there were less than 150 members.  Now, we are approaching 1000.  One of the group’s founders is Amy Eye.  She is also a driving force behind this book of short stories and she was kind enough to take a detour into SplittersWorld for an interview.

I present to you--Amy Eye:

What exactly is “Christmas Lites?”

Christmas Lites is better than your first kiss, more shocking than getting your tongue stuck to an ice cube, and more fun than a vat of Jell-O.  It is a gigantic bunch of awesomeness all crammed into 260 pages!  And this tasty treat will be making loads of money (so we hope) for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), and we will also be donating copies of it to the troops overseas through Operation eBook Drop.

How did you come up with this idea?

I think YOU would be much better at answering this question. All I did was make a suggestion about doing something as a big extended family on Creative  Reviews.  I thought it would be great since so many of us have gone from being acquaintances on a group on GoodReads to real friends that we actually talk to on a daily basis and support as often as we can.  BUT THEN!!  You came up with the brilliant idea that we should use what we all know and create a book for charity. Between your idea and my impulsiveness…a book had been hatched.  Or born.  Or maybe just conceived…

(Interviewer’s Note:  Did I say that?  I honestly do not remember making any such suggestion.  Lesson:  I should pay more attention to what I say! lol  Thanks for the shout out, Amy.)

What has the process been like to get this ready for publication?

The opposite of professional.  J  Considering we had NO idea what we were doing when we started, however, I am impressed we ended up with a completed book at all, not to mention a completed book that I am EXTREMELY proud of. 

What kinds of stories are in “Christmas Lites?”

There are probably very few books out on the market right now with the type of diversity shown in Christmas Lites. Ghosts in Great Britain, run-away gingerbread men in the south, ninja elves in secret locations, and lawyers in big cities, all have their own piece of the pie. We were nice like that. There is a place for each of those types of stories and a myriad more. 

I wanted this book to be as diverse as the members of Creative Reviews – we all came together and became friends because of our differences and it is a perfect balance.  I think this book reflects the same thing.  As different as they all are, as a whole, it couldn’t work out any better.  And that is honestly how I feel about all of my friends in CR.  (Sorry, I went all sappy on you guys…with the XX chromosomes surging through my body, I think I have the right to do that from time to time!!)

Who are some of your contributors on the artistic, proofing, formatting, and editing fronts?

We had loads of help with this book!  I will have to say that I NEVER could have gotten through this without Cambria Hebert and Jenn Pringle.  We are the Three Stooges of the literary world, but we loved everything about this trip and we hope that we will be able to do it again soon.  But THANK YOU so much to both of you for helping out with everything!!

Vered Eshani (my co-editor)– Thanks for the late night editing help!! You helped me laugh when I wanted to cry some nights.

Cassie McCown, Alan Zendell, and Tricia Kristufek (my proofreaders) – thanks for helping us catch all those pesky errors our tired eyes glazed over.

Dafeena Jameel (the cover artist) – the beautiful cover you created has the perfect balance of what the book is about.

Regina Wamba (interior art) – Thanks for the perfect accents to the interior pages.

I formatted the e-book and the print copy – so I hope it looks as pretty in print form as it did when I finished setting it all up! J  Cambria figured out the CreateSpace part of it – I’m learning SmashWords now…pray for me. LOL

(Interviewer’s Note: Amy, meet the Smashwords Meat Grinder.  I am sure you two will along just great!)

Who are some of the authors we can expect to see?

There is no way I can just tell you guys about a few…so as a small treat – I will provide the TOC from the book and you can see for yourself how incredible this book really is!!

1.  Last Year’s Eggnog – Brett Talley
2.  ‘Tis the Holiday Spirit – Ottilie Weber
3.  The Perfect Ornament – Cambria Hebert
4.  How I Found My Soul Mate – E.C. Stilson
5.  Face – Mark Faulkner
6.  Christmas Disco – Paige Kellerman
7.  Sweet Child – Mark Koning
8.  The Hunt – Amy Eye
9.  An Amy Harkstone Christmas – Mark Mackey
10. The Gateway Incident – Catherine Forbes and Paul Woods
11. Memories of the Splendid Splinter – Richard Phelan
12. Turkey Avenger – E.C. Stilson
13. Christmas Ghost – Vered Ehsani
14. All I want for Christmas – Angel Armstead
15. Christmas Story – Phil Cantrill
16. Accidentally Gift Wrapped – Tricia Kristufek
17. The Road to Comfort – S. Patrick Pothier
18. Broken Glass – Nicholette Alexander
19. Blank – Cambria Hebert
20. Only That Day Dawns – Angela Yuriko-Smith
21. The Carpenter’s Wife – Misty Baker
22. Higher Ground – Shane Stilson
23. A Sprig of Holly – JA Clement
24. Star of Christmas – L.A. Wright
25. Whimper – C.S. Splitter
26. Mirror – Cassie McCown
27. Santa’s Ninja Elf – Lizzie Ford


What made you pick these particular causes?

NCADV is a wonderful organization who helps people who have dealt with more than I could even imagine. They provide a service to those who need some hope, some comfort, and a place to regain their sanity and to feel safe once again. Men, women, and children can all turn to this organization when things seem to be as dark as they can be, and the NCADV gives them hope. And I think that is what the holiday season is about. Helping people to remember there is hope in the world, hope for good things, and hope for better things in the future.  So what better organization to donate our time and effort into than one that models the very holiday we are celebrating? 

Operation eBook Drop – it’s just one small way that we can do what we can to show our support to the men and women who risk their lives every day for us. This is just a small drop in the bucket, but with enough drops, the bucket will slowly fill. We hope this inspires others to throw their drops in the same bucket and help make things for our soldiers a little easier and a little brighter. This is just one token to show them how much we appreciate all they do for us.

What has been the largest challenge in getting this book ready for publication?

Making the publication deadline.  Like I said, I really never thought anything like this would be happening when I sent out that post about Christmas a couple of months ago.  Had I known we would be taking on a project this large – I may have started it just a tad bit earlier…like June…of 2010…HAHAHA! 

But I mean it when I say there is NO WAY this book would be out, or even half of what it is now without the help, support, and contributions from all the people listed above. 

Who is this Amy Eye woman and where can we find her hanging out on the internet?

OOHH!! OOHH!!  I know this one!!  *raises hand*   (climbs  on the desk)  Pick me!! 

This Amy Eye chick is kind of a strange lady.  She loves toe socks, ponchos, Harry Potter, war paint, singing to herself, interviewing authors, and licking windows.  You can find her avoiding anything with freaky textures or creatures with more than four legs all over the web. Her favorite hangouts are:


I just realized, I am ONE BUSY LADY!!  WHEW!! (crumples off the desk)

(Interviewer’s Note:  Toe socks?  Seriously?)


Where can we buy the book?

I wish I could say at every bookstore across the country, and to be honest, I CAN say it, but it would not be true.  BUT!  You will be able to get a print copy of the book at Amazon.com, and the e-book version will be available at Amazon.com, SmashWords.com, Barnesandnobel.com, and loads of other e-bookstores.

A Splitter-sized “Thank You” to Amy and all the people who made this book possible.  I know I am truly honored to have my story included and I am hoping, in that very Christmas way, that this book brings some light and hope into the lives of people who need it.      

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Christmas Lites and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Once upon a time, a group of writers, editors, proofreaders, formatters, and artists, from a GoodReads group got together to make a difference.

The result is a book called "Christmas Lites" and it is hitting the shelves the day after Thanksgiving.  The book is a collection of short stories that have one thing in common: the holiday season.  All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).

Being one of the authors invited to participate, and knowing many of the authors who participated, this book is going to have something for every reader.

Want to see the cover?  Want to see the trailer?  Want more information?  Go here: Jenn's Blog .

I could say it more eloquently, but I will be direct here--buy the book, enjoy the book, support a good cause.

Splitter    

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Self-Pub Suicide (link)

Apparently, I am not the only one thinking about the world of indie publishing and the "quality" issues related to it.  Go back to my post of October 27th for reference:  The Gripe .

The Passive Guy, a blog that I find myself watching and participating in more and more often, did a great article on "Self-Pub Suicide" :  Self-Pub Suicide .

On that link, you can go back and read a blogger's controversial assertion that if you are self published, your work probably "sucks."  You can also read the storm of opinions on her site and on Passive Guy's site.

Heck, I even made a confession about being part of the problem and trying to become part of the solution.

I SERIOUSLY have no idea why there is animosity between traditionally published authors, small press published authors (some draw a distinction still), and self published authors.  It seems to me that today's world provides CHOICES for writers AND readers.

I understand there is a lot of "crap" out there from indie writers, but I still say that is little different from some of the slop that is foisted on us by large publishers at higher prices.

Think about it...have you read a traditionally published book recently and at some point thought, "I want my money back."

Probably, you have.

Splitter

Sunday, November 6, 2011

How Jim Butcher Almost Killed Tom Crayder

After the millions of books that have been written, we all still want to be original.  It is not an easy proposition.

If you look at my profile on GoodReads, you will see that I list two favorite authors.  Both are recent for me.  One of them is Jim Butcher even though he almost killed off my series in its infancy.

It was not his fault, he doesn’t even know who I am.  Until I had written “The Reluctant” and put it out for beta reads, I had never read “The Dresden Files.”   I had seen it in book stores when I went to peruse the fantasy section because that is my favorite genre to read.  But, I had never actually picked up one of his books even though they were usually sitting on the coveted aisle end cap.

A detective wizard in modern day Chicago did not sound like my sort of fantasy series.

I had always wanted to write a fantasy story, but I never had a good idea that hadn’t already been done to death.  “The Reluctant” was not the sort of story that I would normally read or write, but the concept hit me hard when it finally broke through my skull.

One of my early beta readers sent me an email that said my writing reminded him of “”The Dresden Files.”  What?!  I finally found a unique idea and it reminded him of someone else’s writing?  Damn!  After more than a decade of not getting an original idea for a story and character, someone was saying that my work was like another author’s work.  I was crestfallen and considered, seriously, just deleting “The Reluctant.”

While my finger hovered over the “Delete” button, I decided I should check it out for myself and ran out to buy Butcher’s series.  I was not waiting for Amazon and UPS. 

I saw some similarities in the writing and the characters, but I saw a lot more differences.  First of all, Butcher turned out to be a very good writer and GREAT story teller.  I don’t pretend to be as good at either.  My main character is a lot more rough edged, Dresden is more likeable from the “git go.”  And, of course, there is no magic in my series.

Butcher quickly turned into a favorite writer because of his story telling ability.  He could make a phonebook sound interesting.  I have devoured his whole Dresden series including the short stories that preceded “Ghost Story” (which I am reading currently).

Now, I look back on what that beta reader said with fondness.  I’m not in Butcher’s class so I take what that reader said as a huge compliment now.  It was just one man’s opinion, but it was a fun opinion to me!  Plus, his email turned me on to a great author who was new to me and gave me many hours of enjoyment.

And that’s how Jim Butcher almost killed Tom Crayder without ever knowing it.

Splitter

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Splitter in the Spotlight

I am not too modest to say it: I enjoy the spotlight from time to time.  Danica Page has been kind enough to shine the light my way for a while on: Danica's Page .  What are you waiting for?  Click it!

The truth is, self promotion is one of the toughest parts of being a writer.  I am lying just a bit when I say I enjoy the spotlight.  I do, but I am always asking myself, "Will anyone care?"  I mean, what do I have to say that others could not say better?

This time, however, Danica threw me a bit of a curve ball.  She not only wanted to shine the light on me, she wanted me to talk about one of my favorite authors.  Strangely, it was easier to talk about someone else! lol

Let me know what you all think of the interview.  It was fun and Danica runs an outstanding blog.  As you all know, I am going into full marketing mode so look for more blog appearances here in the near future (you know who you are...).

Thank you, my Happy Few.

Splitter


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Envelope, Please.

Someone told me that I need a special name for my awards like the Emmy, the Oscar, or the Grammy.  Unfortunately, those were all taken.  So…

...and the winner of the first ever Splitty is:  Cover Sample 1! 

Sample 1 will be the new cover for “The Reluctant” and will be released simultaneously with “The Willing” debut on November 21st, 2011.  Dafeenah did a bang up job on both cover designs and continues to impress with every new design that I see from her.  Yes, as one of the authors for the upcoming Creative Reviews Christmas anthology, I have seen her that book too for it and the cover rocks.

I said elsewhere that I had a couple big announcements, so here is another:

For a while now, I have been working with an editor on “The Willing.”  Surprise!

Tricia Kristufek ( Tricia's Blog )and I have partnered, along with my beta readers, to turn out the first PERFECT independently published book ever.  That’s what we call hyperbole, folks, but we are going to come as close as way can.  No pressure, Trish!

I knew other editors but all seemed to be busier than one armed wallpaper hangers and would not be able to meet my tight deadline.  Once again, I was on my own, but I knew that I had a wonderful stable of gifted and honest beta readers.  I would make the best of it.

How Trish and I got together is on of those “who knows who” internet stories born from the best GoodReads group there is: Creative Reviews .  She was recommended to me as a beta reader by Cambria Herbert who also has a new book coming out soon: Cambria's Website .  There was a rumor that Trish was also an editor so I figured she would make a good beta reader for my new book. 

When I sent Trish my manuscript, I put in my normal cautionary notes such as the fact that it was not yet final, my characters are complex (meaning they might kill people for good reasons), my characters speak like adults, and that while I don’t write explicit sex scenes, there are adult situations.  In other words, my books are probably not a good idea for your PTA’s reading group.  I also do not write about vampires or zombies thus some people may be put off by my lack of things supernatural (more on that in another post).

“No problem,” she wrote back, “Most of what I have been working on lately is M/M romance and erotica.  I think I can handle it.”  M/M?  As in male/male romance and erotica?

I must admit, I have never read a book in that genre.  Hey, I’m an open minded guy but if that’s what she was used to, I thought her feedback would be interesting to say the least. 

I followed up with her a couple weeks later to let her know that I had incorporated some changes other betas had suggested in a newer version and she responded by apologizing for taking so long to get back to me.  Apparently, she was a bit retentive when it came to reading new material and found herself compulsively editing as she read along.

What would her suggestions be like?  Would she admonish me for not having “rippling muscles” in the book?  What in the world would she think of Tom and his world views?

She finally sent back my manuscript with her notes.  I was blown away by the detail involved and the obvious effort she put into it.  I was embarrassed by the number of yellow AND red comments she made.  I was heartened by the positive notes and laughed at the funny side comments she inserted.

We exchanged emails and finally I asked her to be my editor.  Why?  A few reasons;  She was in tune with my style and when I ventured into foreign territory while trying to show off what little writing prowess I might possess, she let me know that it did not fit the style I had already established.  I have also dubbed her, “The Comma Queen.”  She likes punctuation.  She makes me use the hated dash.

Mostly, however, I went on a gut feeling.  I tend to argue with my gut but I am trying to change that.  My gut is right more often than my brain in some areas.  Here was a person who, for no other reason than her love of editing, took the time and effort to edit my work in exchange for a free read of an unpolished manuscript. 

That spoke to me of passion.  Of enthusiasm.  Of a compulsion.  I know from my coaching days that I can work with people who have those qualities.

I have had a new business model in my head for some time relating to indie publishing.  Maybe it is not new, but I don’t know of anyone else doing it precisely the way I am envisioning it.  I am nowhere near finished fleshing out the model so we are not going to talk about it any time soon.  But we are trying it.  Just wait, you’ll see.  And if it flops, we shall never speak of it again anyway lol.

Within the next week, Trish and I are going to publish a two-way conversation between an editor and an author.  It has probably been done before also, but I have not seen it.  Hopefully, you all will find it interesting, so check back.

(I also promise to fulfill my promise to publish my post on how Jim Butcher almost killed Tom Crayder.)

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Which Cover Do You Prefer?

These two cover proposals came from Dafeenah over at Indie Designz .  She does some seriously fantastic work.  Go take a look!  Her rates are more than reasonable and it has been a pleasure working with her.

Which cover style do you prefer?  Take a look to your right...see that poll?  Cast your vote because, as always, your opinion matters to me.  Leave a comment on the covers if you like.  Like one font and the other image?  Let's get some feedback from the "Happy Few"!

Option 1:
 

Option 2:



Remember, whichever style is chosen will be the style used for the rest of the series so, please, do leave a comment below.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tom Crayder's Page and a Gripe

First thing first: Tom Crayder has his own GoodReads group now:  Ask Tom Crayder.

Drop by and talk to Tom about life's problems and get his unique take.

Now, on to the blog post!

“Typographical errors, plot holes, poor punctuation, and terrible grammar, are all sure signs of an independently published book.”

That’s what I read recently (no, they were not referring to any of my work so this is not personal).

Really?  Really??  Have you read any traditionally published books lately?

I’ll admit (never use a contraction outside of dialogue) that I can’t (Help!  I can’t stop!  Oh, no!  I did it again!) read while I write so it’s been a while since I have finished a full length, traditionally published novel.  However, the last few that I read were FULL of all of the mistakes stereotypically attributed to indie books.

I do not know (ok, getting better, I guess) if the economy has forced cuts to the editing staffs at large publishers.  I do know that in the age of computer programs that find errors and with the ability to transmit the latest versions of a manuscript at the speed of light, books SHOULD be coming out with fewer errors.  They are not.  I could give examples of errors by well known authors but shall refrain from doing so here.

Just trust me when I say that errors are rampant even for authors that have entire “Big Six” departments at their disposal.

I don’t (damnit) pretend to write great literature.  I tell good stories (I think) with interesting characters (I hope) and try to not let my writing get in the way of the reader enjoying my stories.  I know that I have annoying tendencies like leaving punctuation outside of quotations, comma dilemmas, and the occasional malapropism (like calling people “expandable” instead of “expendable”).  Most of those get found and fixed thanks to my beta readers and the editorial process.

I also know that I break some rules on purpose, like I have done in this post by over-using parentheses.  I use contractions in first person narratives at times.  I love my ellipses and detest the em dash.  And I will never, ever, stop using two spaces after the full stop period of the previous sentence.  Sometimes, I even use conjunctions to begin sentences…

All of this is to once again say that indie authors need to be judged by the same standards of traditionally published authors.  We know there are a ton of bad indie books out there and we do not like them either.  We, however, do not hold the poor quality of some traditionally published books against ALL traditionally published authors.  We only ask for the same consideration.

In my next post: I should have written vampires and how Jim Butcher almost killed Tom Crayder.

(Please note that while he is one of my favorite authors now, Mr. Butcher has no clue who I am or who Tom Crayder might be so there was no ill intent on his part.)

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