5 Ways to Keep an Editor from Deleting You

Over the last couple of days we’ve gotten information on writing, and on self-publishing, and now Ms. White from White Fire Publishing is going to close us out on a post how on to keep an Editor from Deleting you! 🙂

5 Ways to Keep an Editor from Deleting You
By Roseanna White
WhiteFire Publishing

Getting an editor’s attention—and keeping it all the way through a proposal—is tough. Pinpointing the “right way” to do this is also tough. But you know what’s pretty easy? Pinpointing the wrong way to do something. 😉 So that’s what we’re going to cover today—those things that will get your proposal sent to the trash bin before an editor even opens it.

Let’s assume you’re doing cold calls, just sending out queries to publishers or agents you see online. Resist the urge to send out a query that sounds like this (and for reference, this is based on actual queries I’ve received, yes. Don’t laugh. Okay, laugh. I did.)

Hello Mrs. Rossana Black of WhiteBlazeAgency,

Do you want to represent the next bestseller? Well, I’m coming to you today with an opportunity to do just that! My fictional novel is destined to be the next Harry Potter and will appeal to everyone from age 9 to 90.

The Story of a Truly Great Lady is an epic historical fantasy love story thriller based on a true story that God revealed to me in a dream, in which He told me I must write this book and that it would save souls for Him. I know you want to obey the Lord, so please find attached the complete manuscript of Truly Great Lady as well as three chapters of the third book in the series, though I haven’t written the second yet. TGL is 400,000 words and is completed. I realize this is long, but I’m sure you’ll agree that nothing can be changed without losing the essence of the story God Himself gave me.

Please respond promptly, as if you don’t jump on this opportunity, I feel certain another publisher will.

Your Servant,
Jack Benimble

Ahem. Now, where do I start? Oh yeah—at the salutation.

Avoidable #1 – Get Your Info Right

Please, for the love of macaroni, do not misspell an editor’s name or, even worse, send them a letter made out to someone else! Sounds basic, I know, but it’s happened to me. Many times. Needless to say, I didn’t request anything from those people. If you don’t know the editor or agent’s name, that’s okay—a “Dear Sir or Madam” works fine, as does “To Whom it May Concern” or even “Dear Acquisitions Editor” or “Dear WhiteFire” (in the case of my house). But let’s note that my name is Roseanna, not Rossana. White, not Black. And it’s Fire in my publisher’s name, not Blaze or Rose or House. (Catch that one? White House? Tee heehee) For that matter, I am an editor at a publishing house, not an agent at an agency. I can’t tell you how many times I get letters obviously tailored toward agents—they mention representing them in one paragraph and then have changed later instances to publishing, but not all. If you’re not paying attention to these details in a 500 word cover letter, how am I to trust that you’ll pay attention to details in your book?

Avoidable #2 – Do Not Be Presumptuous

Again this might sound basic, but there are a lot of people who think that to sell their book, they have to make it out to be the best thing ever. Resist the urge—humility goes much farther than pride. Do not liken your book to an all-time bestseller. Do not claim your book will be the next one. And for goodness sake, do not make it sound as if you’re doing the publisher or agency a favor by submitting to them. That won’t gain you any points. And this applies to later parts of the sample query there, too. Don’t try to tell me this is what God wants—it may be, but that’s something we get to decide, not you. After all, it’s our money on the line. And one of the biggest presumptions—don’t say your book is perfect as is! It’s not, I can promise you that. We all have to change things, and saying up front you’re unwilling to do so will have an editor hitting that delete button before you can say, “But it’ll make you millions!”

Avoidable #3 – Know Your Target Audience

By telling an editor your book will appeal to everyone, you’re basically telling them you don’t know who you actually intend it for. Narrow it down. This doesn’t mean people outside your target won’t read it and like it, but you’re trying to tell the publisher to whom they should aim their marketing. Men or women? Kids or adults? Baby-boomers orMillennials? Even those books that have crossed generational barriers—Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, the Hunger Games—had a target audience. And those audiences are very clear when you read the book. I might love Percy and his friends, but I could tell from the start that it was written for my daughter, not for me. It just so happens that great writing and amazing stories transcend their ages.So write your best story, and hope that it will appeal broadly…but had the publisher or agency a narrow target to aim at.

Avoidable #4 – Messing Up Your Book Description

I know we never want to be put in a box—but genres exist for a reason. They exist because readers can make decisions based on what genres they like. Genres equal readership. Sowe as authors should know our genre, and know it well. Don’t ever, ever call it a “fictional novel.” The redundancy makes us cringe. 😉 (Although, worse is to call it a “non-fiction novel,” LOL. I’ve gotten that one too!) Also don’t try to cover every possible genre in your description. It’s fine to say it’s “young adult fantasy” or “historical romance with an element of suspense.” But limit your terms to avoid confusing the agent or editor. You don’t want to make them have to puzzle out how to pitch your story to their team.

Avoidable #5 – Not Reading the Guidelines

My last point is this—each publisher has very specific submissions guidelines, both in the kind of books they want and how you can send them. Read them. If they say to send a query first, don’t attach anything. If they ask for a proposal, send the correct elements—don’t assume you know better what they want to see than they do. Pay attention to the particular things they’re looking for, and in what format they should be. When they ask for a manuscript in an attachment, don’t paste the first 50 pages in the body of the email. If they ask for the query to be the body of an email, don’t attach it. Each agency or house designs its guidelines for maximum efficiency—they need to be able to glance at something, make quick decision as to whether they want to see more or not, and move on. Following their guidelines at least keeps you from being an insta-delete.

So there you have your 5 simple steps to avoid getting deleted. Now, as for how to get a request . . . that’s another post. 😉 Have questions? I’m happy to answer them!

 About Roseanna:

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary.

Being educated at St. John’s College (the Great Books School) taught Roseanna to ask questions, to value conversation, and to never accept the simple answer without exploring it for herself. She and her family make their home in the mountains of West Virginia where she and her husband both grew up. Roseanna is a member of ACFW, a frequent speaker at writers events and small groups of readers, and an unabashed email addict

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Writing for the Rodeo: How to Ride the Ups and Downs of Publishing

I’m excited to have Caroline George visit today, the last day of Inkling to Write. We’ve talked many times, and she’s such a friendly, positive, and wise writer! Make sure to make her feel welcome (and then maybe she’ll come back one day. 😉 )

Writing for the Rodeo: How to Ride the Ups and Downs of Publishing
“Get back on the horse,” my instructor said as I lay flat on the floor of a riding arena. She crouched over me and offered her hand. “You got bucked off. No big deal. Get back on.”
I squirmed from the pain pulsing up my spine and choked on a mouthful of dust. Riding a horse involves risks—I should have recognized the risks when my stallion bit my leg and refused to let me on his back for ten minutes.
Besides risks, riding also involves various equipment and methods. For example, there are dressage saddles, Western saddles, those with horns and those custom made for riders. Regardless of saddle preference, what matters most is that a rider gets on the horse . . .
And they ride.
My reason for sharing this analogy is to show the similarities between publishing and riding a horse. Like there are many ways to ride, there are many ways to publish. What matters most is that an author releases his or her book and successfully navigates the post-publishing promo process.
I self-published two books and went through the traditional publishing process with my latest young adult novel, “The Vestige.” I know the ins and outs of eBook coding, how to negotiate publisher contracts, when and how to promote new releases, why the book industry has changed and so on. I own many different publishing “saddles” and because of my collection, I’m able to “ride” with more ease.
In this article, I share personal experiences with both self and traditional publishing and offer tips to help you “ride” with knowledge and skill.
Self-publishing was a primitive, almost foreign style of publication when I released my first book at age 15. Taking complete ownership of the publishing process was like riding bareback in a polo match—it was viewed as improper, rebellious and unworthy of true respect.
I formatted my books for various distribution sites, organized photo shoots for their covers and handled all marketing efforts. While I read “eBooks for Dummies,” people told me I was impatient and silly to attempt such a feat. They said I would be “bucked off” my metaphorical publishing horse and find myself in the dirt, bruised and aching.
Although my journey through the publishing process was far from easy, each time I found myself “out of the saddle,” I stood up and tried again.
If you forget everything else in this article, remember: Tenacity always trumps talent. You don’t have to be the best writer to be the hardest worker.
Steps to Self-Publishing:
Write and edit a book. Research your genre and produce a manuscript that fits the genre’s word count, refrains from passive voice and caters to a specific audience. For example, if you write a YA contemporary novel, you won’t market the book to middle-age fans of Karen Kingsbury or have a word count that matches fantasy epics like “Eragon” and “The Lord of the Rings.”
Create a strategic plan. Make a list of your book’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Write down possible slogans to use when marketing the book, the desired target audience, cover ideas and timeline for release.
Produce a book cover. Hire a graphic designer, photographer or purchase a cover template. Your book’s cover is as important as its content. Without an attractive cover, the book is less likely to generate a large amount of sales.
– Research and plan marketing efforts. Before you move forward with publishing, outline your marketing plan. Create a timeline of social media posts, reach out to authors and ask for endorsements, budget for paid advertising and develop an elevator pitch to use when telling others about your work.
Format for online distribution. Each publishing platform (CreateSpace, B&N Press, etc.) has different format specifications. Format your book for each site.
Decide the book’s release date and begin promotions. Six months of promo are needed for a successful release.
Organize a blog tour and book launch party.
Implement marketing plan.
Book releases!
Continue marketing efforts.
Traditional publishing involves more patience and communication. I spent a year writing “The Vestige,” a year pitching it to agents and another year shopping it to publishers. The process took almost four years to complete.
Steps to Traditional Publishing:
Write and edit a book. Know your genre’s word count and what topics are selling.
Create a well-researched query. Sites like QueryShark.blogspot.com offer tips to help you develop an attention-grabbing query for your book.
Send query to literary agents acquiring books in your genre. Do your research—I cannot say this enough. Agents do not appreciate receiving queries for projects that do not meet their wish list.
Follow up with agents after two months. Often, agents specify their timeframe for response on their website.
Continue editing your book while you wait for responses. Other productive tasks to complete while waiting: Submit your manuscript for awards, work on a new project and send out more queries.
Once you gain representation from a literary agent, put together a proposal to send to publishers. Often, agents will help their authors craft proposals.
Wait to hear from publishers. This stage can take up to six months.
If publishers reject the proposal, the waiting process repeats.
After a publisher accepts your manuscript, you’ll go through several stages of editing, approve the book’s cover and begin promotions.
Book releases! In most cases, a book releases a year after it is accepted by a publisher.
Marketing efforts continue.
The publishing industry is a rodeo. Regardless of the “saddle” you choose, you will eventually find yourself on the ground and be faced with the choice: Will you get up, dust yourself off and try again? Will you ride despite the risks?
I ride because I believe my books’ messages are meant to be shared. Each time I step into the publishing rodeo and commit myself to a bucking round of late nights, rejection and rewrites, I think of each person who will read my work. For them, I get up and try again.
For them, I accept the risks.
Will you choose a “saddle” and pursue publication?

Caroline George
About Caroline:
Caroline George, author of “The Prime Way Trilogy” and “The Vestige,” resides in Nashville where she spends most of her time in hipster coffeehouses, sipping lavender mochas and undertaking over-the-top projects. She is a two-time Georgia Author of the Year nominee, speaker, blogger and writer for teen magazine PURSUE.
Instagram @authorcarolinegeorge
Facebook/AuthorCarolineGeorge
Twitter @CarolineGeorge_
Website: authorcarolinegeorge.com

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Writing Emotion With Music

Rayleigh and I have gotten to know each other recently through various forms of social media, but the most exciting may be that she is Associate Editor and Web Manager for Pursue— the online magazine I write for. 🙂 So here’s to the 2nd post of Inkling to Write for today!

Rayleigh Gray
typewritersheart@gmail.com
http://AccelerateTheJesusMovement.wordpress.com
http://LiteratureApproved.com

Writing Emotion With Music

 

My favorite books in the whole world are the ones that made me cry. Books that make me feel my heart breaking for the characters, books that cause me to laugh out loud, books that make me feel as if I were in the book.

Being a writer, my dream is to be able to capture an emotion with the intensity to make the reader feel it. I don’t want to just tell them that my main character feels as if she is going to fall apart, I want them to feel it for themselves. The way I’ve accomplished this is through music.

Music plays the biggest part in incorporating emotion for me because music itself portrays emotion from the artists. I’ve always been told that writers should write from their own experiences, but what if what we are writing has never been experienced? Should we just leave it out of the story? I don’t think so, some things really are necessary to complete our plots.

So I go to songs. I figure that if we can feel it through the song, because music really is powerful, then we’ll start to feel it in our writing too. I’ve witnessed improvement in the emotion in my characters as I listen to certain genres of music so I’d love to share some of those tracks with you! Maybe they can help you as you write your next scene too!

Battle/Fight Scenes

I write a lot of fantasy and dystopian so I come across the need for battles, wars, and plenty of fights in my stories. To get the adrenaline going for these intense scenes I always have movie soundtracks playing. If those songs are able to capture the ferocity of a war for a movie, then of course it can fuel the tension for our writing! I listen to these when I’m writing any scene that needs tension, so even arguments between dear friends have an epic soundtrack! Some of my favorites are:
Ben-Hur (Original Motion Picture Score)-The best songs being Chariots of Fire and Brother vs Brother, both are almost 5 minutes long so they should get you through that scene!
Pacific Rim Soundtrack from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures– The top two being Pacific Rim and Cancelling the Apocalypse.
Drop That– Jacob Plant (Yes..it’s from the adorable cartoon Home, but it’s so good!)
2) Fun/Party/Light-hearted Scenes

Parties are some of my favorite scenes to write because everything is so cheerful! But what’s a party without music? The music I use for inspiration here depends on which genre I’m writing, however the majority comes from jazz. Pop music is also great to play for these scenes. Here are my top picks:

La La Land (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)- This entire album is gold! However, specifically for parties and fun scenes, I recommend Another Day of Sun, Someone in The Crowd (this is actually a soundtrack for a party), and Start a Fire.

Better When I’m Dancin’– Meghan Trainor
Shut Up and Dance-Walk The Moon
Firework-Katy Perry,
Just Like Fire-P!ink
Dancing in the Dark– Rihanna

 

3) Sweet Romantic Scenes

Whether the genre of the book is “romance” or not, most writers love to include that little side love story that keeps the readers flipping the pages. The soft piano music in the background while our main character finally proposes captures those feelings perfectly. Of course, I’m recommending:

Ed Sheeran– Pretty much everything! But I’ll name some specifics ones: Perfect, Photograph, How Would You Feel(Paean) and Thinking Out Loud.
Just the Way You Are and Count on Me-Bruno Mars
Wanted, Still Fallin, and Cry With You-Hunter Hayes
I Won’t Give Up-Jason Mraz

   
4) Heartache Romance

Oh those heart-wrenching moments of breakups, sicknesses, or deaths most certainly blow us away and steal our breaths! Though I don’t mean to be stuck on Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars, they are two of my most favorite artists and capture these feelings so well! So, I recommend the following songs:

Bruno Mars– When I was Your Man and Grenade are my “go-tos” here.
Ed Sheeran– Dive, Happier, and Save Myself.
James Arthur also has one called Can I Be Him that is wonderful!

 

5) Sad Scenes in General

It’s very hard for me to write sad scenes because I’m generally a very cheery person, however, a lot of my stories require at least a couple scenes that are sad. What better way to write a scene that will make the reader cry than by temporarily making ourselves sad by a tear-jerker song? Here are a few suggestions:

Don’t Take the Girl-Tim McGraw
Rainy Season– Hunter Hayes
Praying– Kesha

 

So there are some songs to help you feel the emotion that you are writing so that hopefully, your reader will feel them too!

Do any of you have any song suggestions that you listen to while you’re writing any of the above scenes? What about any songs that you listen to for emotions that I didn’t cover? I’d love to build my own playlist with your recommendations!

Thank you so much Naomi for having me here today!

 

 

RAYLEIGH GRAY
Rayleigh is the Associate Editor and Web Manager for PURSUE Magazine in addition to writing in her monthly column, Tap Into Your Potential. She is a College Freshman with an Accounting major, Soon-to-be Novelist, and avid reader of classic literature. Visit Accelerate The Jesus Movement for short-stories/snippets of life, Literature Approved for book reviews, and Pursue Magazine for her column articles.

 

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When Jesus Takes Writing Away

Lately I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Stephanie Kehr a little better, and I’m so glad I get to share this guest post with you. It’s really good and I’m glad she gets to open up our second day of Inkling to Write!

When Jesus Takes Writing Away
Stephanie Kehr

I’d tried everything to make my brain write. I tried different stories, different music, I tried talking to people about it, and I even tried writing about not being able to write. I tried taking a shower, plotting my books and not plotting my books. I started fifty different stories and hundreds of different blog posts. Still, nothing came. There were words and stories inside my head, but none of them wanted to make their way outside of it. I tried for three years, and nothing.

After living out a grief period over losing my lifeline, I began to wonder if Jesus had taken away my writing for a reason. I had always feared that He would, someday. There had been times when I’d offered it up to Him and completely surrendered my pen to His will. I just never expected Him to take me up on it. But through the process, despite lots of weeping and gnashing of teeth, He taught me a lot about myself that I didn’t know I needed to learn. He prepared me for a future I didn’t know I was going to have.

Now, only a few months after my three-year silence, I’m writing regularly for a publishing company, taking over submissions for a literary agent, penning this guest post, and working on the literature for a real estate website. It’s crazy.

A lot changed.

In some ways, I was waiting for that change. I knew it would come because I knew I loved writing too much to let it go. I knew that God had called me to this, that He’s always called me to this, and although I was afraid of my loss I wasn’t necessarily convinced I would never regain it.

Back in the days when I was just starting out as a writer, I used to be really into those inspirational quotes. You know, the ones that say, “never stop writing,” and “you only quit if you stop writing”? They’re on Pinterest. As cute as they are, I don’t find a lot of truth in them anymore. Don’t get me wrong, it’s so incredibly important to do your best and put everything into the work you do. I’m a big believer in working hard and beating the odds.

However, we must recognize that a lot of these ideas come from secular writers. That’s not a bad thing–it’s just that we have to realize we’re different. We’re writing for Jesus instead, and there’s going to come a point in every Christian writer’s life, perhaps multiple points, when Jesus might decide to take writing away.

As Christians and writers, we have two huge responsibilities. The first is to share the gospel through our pen, and the second is to listen to the Holy Spirit and write what He lays on our hearts. Or, maybe, to stop writing when He tells us to stop.

I know, this isn’t what you expected to see in a conference that’s supposed to encourage you in your writing. It’s a little ironic, but it isn’t without a point. Here I’m going to share with you four reasons why God might be asking you to take a break. And why that also might be okay.

1) The Holy Spirit is Quiet
We know this happens in our lives, why not our writing? We don’t know why the Lord chooses to sometimes hush the Spirit, but we do know that He is good and He has a plan. Likely, we’ll find out soon enough what His reasons are. If the Holy Spirit is quiet and doesn’t have much for you to say, listen to Him. Sometimes we writers think we need to come up with spiritual content all the time. But if the Holy Spirit isn’t speaking to you, it could be dangerous for you to try to force words from God. Go take a break from speaking out, and choose to spend some time focusing on listening and reading the word. Choosing to be still is a big part of the Christian walk. God probably has all sorts of awesome things to show you!

For some seasons, God has often asked me to only create spiritual content: things that matter to eternity. That’s not an across the board thing, though. If you want to keep writing during your period of quietness, perhaps think about writing about something else. Focus on creativity, lifestyle tips, or do a blog tour until you feel like the Lord has given you the green light again. There’s no shame in switching things up. But again, make sure it’s okay between you and God before you decide to take that step, too. Be okay with being still.

2) You’re in Sin
So, this one kind of sucks. For me, sin creates this horrible snowball effect. Sin separates me from God, God separates me from writing, not being able to write separates me from who I am as a person. It’s super uncool. God and my writing are so connected to each other that without God, I am basically wordless.

I’ve noticed, too, that if I’m in sin and I still try to write about God, my writing ends up being a total spiritual disaster. My theme strays from a relationship with God and focuses more on my opinions. I weave in my bitterness about certain issues, and it’s like I’m just spreading around this horrible darkness to the world. The Lord usually stops these books or articles in their tracks, and I just can’t finish them.

Not that God doesn’t use us even in our sin, He does. It’s just important to be “slow to speak” in our writing as well as with our voices. I think God uses silence of the pen to make us think about the content we’re putting out. For me, I know He’s used it to protect me and others from my own disasters.

The last year of my unwelcome hiatus was particularly a bad year spiritually. I was holding onto a lot of anger and bitterness against God and against other people. When I started repenting of that sin and drawing near to God, I found that He drew nearer to me, and words started to return. The danger was over, so it was okay for me to start speaking again. Think about when God silenced Zechariah when he didn’t believe he and Elizabeth would have a son. He was silenced until he was ready to praise the Lord. I think being a Christian writer is kind of like that.

3) You’re in Danger of Making Writing (or success) an Idol

God’s going to use your writing, there’s no question. Especially if you’re seeking after Him and following the Holy Spirit, He’s going to speak through you to bring the gospel forward. But here’s the deal. God loves you so incredibly much and He doesn’t want anything, even something as wonderful and amazing as writing, to come in between you and Him. Idols are dangerous. He doesn’t want His children to be in danger. Instead, He wants you to be healthy so that you can be in communion with Him and share His word with others. If this requires taking writing away for a little bit, that’s what it requires.

I’ve always been most afraid of losing my words. But I know that even if I do, and even when I did, that He’s there. I only lose everything when I lose Him.

4) God Has Something Better
I’m a little bias toward writing. What could actually be better? I don’t know — but God does. It might be that He’s asking you to take a break from writing for a little bit so that He can show you something even greater. Maybe He wants to move in your life, or take you toward a career or ministry that fits you even better! Remember that He is trustworthy, and He’s not going to make you jump off a cliff unless He’s already waiting to catch you.

Remember, by no means am I encouraging you to stop writing. I love writing. Writing is incredible and it can speak and heal and do so many beautiful things. What I am encouraging you to do, though, is to listen to the Lord. Always have your ear open to what He’s trying to tell or show you. Always be in communion with God, and that way, you can never go wrong. Always, always, always fight for your words, but never fight against God.

Stephanie Kehr

About Stephanie: Stephanie is a professional writer and journalist living outside of Buffalo, New York, where it probably snows a lot. She’s pursuing publication for her first novel, Reaching Home, and she spends her quiet moments writing poetry and blogging about her adventures with God. Stephanie has a heart for sharing real stories and encouraging authors to write for Jesus and to love what they do. She’s a big believer in hard work, audiobooks, and chocolate, and can usually be found changing the world somewhere.

Twitter: twitter.com/stephiekehr
Blog: www.stephaniekehr.blogspot.com

 

 

 

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What it Means to Self-Publish (from a self-published author)

This afternoon I’m happy to give the blog over to Abigayle Claire! 🙂

What it Means to Self-Publish
(from a self-published author)

Self-publishing is all the rage today because anyone can do it. Gone are the days of having to get picked up by a big-name publishing house in order to be a published author!

Silly Picture

And before we go any further I want to briefly explain those two terms:
— Self-publishing is publishing a title independently, usually by uploading files to an online publication site (such as CreateSpace or Lulu) and passing minimal technical approval
— Traditional publishing is publishing a title dependently, usually by getting signed by an agent and represented to a traditional publishing house who agrees to help you make your title into something they can sell and get a percentage of

As a self-published author, I’m here to tell you that I really do think self-publishing is the best thing since sliced bread and air conditioning. But even sliced bread can make burnt toast and air conditioning can make you miserably cold. So while self-publishing is an amazing opportunity, it’s just that: an opportunity. You don’t have to do it. Because (1) it’s not for everyone, and (2) it requires a steep learning curve to be done well.

Thanks to self-publishing, anyone with enough willpower can be published. This means it doesn’t require any amount of talent to become an author. This fact really bothers some people about self-publishing, and it’s the reason that many people view self-publishing as lower quality than traditional.

But the fact still remains that it takes a degree of writing talent to make books sell and keep selling.

What it really comes down to is this: Are you someone who will take the time to learn the process and work hard in order to have control over every aspect of your publishing experience? Or would you rather only have to sell your book once (to an agent or publisher) and then rest easy knowing many of the details are in the hands of professionals who will publish your book for you?

I chose self-publishing because I’m a true control freak who wanted to learn how the publishing process worked. Now that I’ve been through the entire process with two books, I’m curious to know if I could make the traditional publishing cut. Thus, I’m looking at becoming a hybrid author (someone who publishes both independently and traditionally). There’s no reason you have to be locked in on your decision between the two!

Since I am successfully self-published, I want anyone considering it to know what they’re getting into! Because it’s entirely independent, you can quit at any point—you’re not tied down to a contract. And you don’t have to do elements like marketing if you don’t want to. But if you let your books just sit on Amazon, that’s probably about all they’ll ever do. So if you’re really serious about being an author, you’ll want to commit yourself to all of these things.

Here’s a brief rundown of some of the decisions you’ll be faced with:

Self-publishing or traditional publishing (I’ve covered this here)
How you’d like to attain an ISBN
Who to hire for editing, formatting, and cover design (note: not if to hire; while it costs money, it’s worth it for professional services)
How much you’re willing to spend on the whole process
Cover finish and trim size
Marketing channels
e-Book and/or paperback
Writing a back cover blurb
Release date
Your independent publishing name and logo (totally optional)

Phew … and you thought character names and passive voice were daunting?

I had no idea what half those things were when I decided I was going to self-publish, so that made it a Google-intensive road 😉 And there’s nothing wrong with doing that! If I had gone the traditional route, I’m not sure I’d be any the wiser, because I could have let the pros help me with all those decisions or make them for me (it really depends on who you work with; obviously I’m not traditionally published yet to know).

If you’re still on the fence about self-publishing or still completely lost (don’t worry!), I’ve done an entire blog post series on self-publishing. You can find the first post here. I’ve also created a self-publishing checklist that helps outline not only the many decisions but the general timeline they take place in as well.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I hope that was at least somewhat enlightening, but if you have any specific questions please feel free to ask them below! I know publication can be a daunting thing, but you wouldn’t even be reading this if you weren’t considering it. 😉 And no matter which route you choose to go, I think it’s a complete waste of talent to never be published at all! (No pressure, of course. :P)

What appeals to you about self-publishing?

Abigayle

About Abigayle:

Abigayle has been a writer ever since her mother taught her how to hold a pencil. However, she devoted more time to reading words with her green eyes than penning them with her left hand. Inspired by a crazy dream at the age of sixteen, she set off on a journey to self-publish her first novel, Martin Hospitality. Since then, Abigayle has devoted herself to sharing what she has learned through the mediums of freelance editing and her blog theleft-handedytpist.blogspot.com … when period drama films are not calling more loudly. None of her successes, including winning a Readers’ Favorite award, would be possible without the support of her Savior, large family, and online community.

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6 Ways to Help Stay Inspired

Hi everyone! I’m so excite to kick off Inkling to Write with this post! 
Being a writer takes a lot of hard work. Sure we have our fun, but we do plenty of hard work as well. But… going from 0 words to 25,000, or 50,000 or 100,000 or even more can seem daunting… and sometimes we writers lose our steam.
So is there a magical way to stay 100% motivated through the entire process of writing a first draft? Or are we writers doomed to feel as if we are slogging through a good portion of it?
I don’t know of any guaranteed way to write where you are motivated the whole way through (if you do know of one, though, please share it!) but I will give you some tips on what I do to help keep me motivated.
1. Make a playlist. I love music. Even though I don’t play an instrument it’s probably right up there next to writing on the scale of how much I love it. But besides to just listen to music I genuinely enjoy, I enjoy it even more if it makes me think of my story! I love it when I listen to a song that makes me think of something my character would listen too, or maybe the song is about something my character is going through. It makes me happy… and when I have an entire playlist of songs that make me think about my story and characters? Well, that’s the closest thing you can get to having a movie soundtrack for your book! (That is: until your book is made into a movie… 😉 )

There is some disagreement on when you should listen to your playlist, though. I believe you should listen to it whenever you write that story but not limited to only that time. Even if I’m not writing, but doing chores and listening to my playlist I can be thinking about and planning for what’s going to happen next in my story. Other people believe the only time you should listen to it is when you are writing, but then there are people in the opposite party who can’t listen to anything while they write so… do what works best for you.

2. Make a Pinterest board. Often times when writers talk about Pinterest they mention that it’s a great way to procrastinate… and it is… but there is an upside to Pinterest as well. Personally if I ever am feeling discouraged about my book, I can go look at my Pinterest board for that book. If I see the settings, my characters, and some quotes… sometimes I get inspired all over again to write some more.
Just be careful you don’t get sucked in…. because that can definitely happen also.

3. Make goals. I can be a very, very goal orientated person. Sometimes I feel like if I don’t have a goal, I’m doing nothing with my life and I need to get it together. But I also discovered a loophole. 😉 Small goals! I’m still meeting my goals, but they’re more manageable and I can adjust them for myself. It can be a certain amount of words written a week, or a certain amount of time spent on your story, or even ‘do this by such-and-such date’. Make your goals fit your schedule. (And also be okay with sometimes taking a break and relaxing. You weren’t made to do everything all at once and I know some people don’t like to, but I promise it’s good for you. Take a break if you need it.)
4. Take a break. Wow that worked out nicely didn’t it? So you’ve been slaving away on your book or project, whatever it might be, and you want to pull out all your hair. You know what’s supposed to happen next but somewhere between your brain and your fingertips the idea just… dies and the words don’t work.
Take a break. Go for a walk, doing something else creative and relaxing, talk to a friend, take some pictures. There are so many things you can do, but the point is to relax. Sometimes after relaxing and taking a break, your head is clear and you can start working again. It may not be easy still, but your mind will be refreshed.
5. Don’t be afraid to share about your story. I love it when I start to tell someone about a story I’m going to write and they say, “I want it to be written now so I can read it already!” That may not always be their exact reaction, but if you go to the right people they will definitely encourage you to write that story—and sometimes they can help you unravel and particularly tough plot hole you’ve been stuck on. Even non writers are great at being a cheerleader for writers, and don’t underestimate the power of a cheerleader!
6. Remember why you’re doing it in the first place. This is a crazy world we live in and we can get caught up in so many different things. “I need my book to fit into this trend” or “I need my book to look nothing like that book” or “I need to work on my characters” and the list can be endless. Last year I even paused my writing and did some thinking about why I do this. I had been getting so caught up in the rules the joy was sucked out of writing. When I cleared my head and determined to ignore the rules and to just write for the love of it, my passion and love for writing came back. Of course you want to have good grammar, and a good story, but do it because you love it and because you feel called to it. 
These are just some of the tips I’ve learned on how to stay inspired. Have you heard of any of these before? Do you have more you’d like to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below! And… are you excited about Inkling to Write? You can use the hash tag #InklingtoWrite to connect with us all! 😀

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A Exciting Announcement!

During the summer it seemed like many of the authors that I ‘know’ (meaning, I following them on social media) were going to a lot of writing conferences. I was happy for them, it seemed like they were having fun and learning a lot (and meeting really, really cool people!).

And here I was, slaving away in my Statistics math class ( 😉 I had a good summer, I’m joking.) I thought, “I would love to go to a writer’s conference, but I won’t be able to afford that for a while.” And then I thought, “I can’t be the only one who thinks that…. what if…” (pause for dramatic music) “there was an online conference!”

And that is how I got the idea for hosting an online writers conference! I have several different authors commit to teaching at my conference and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you.

After putting together a ‘game plan’ of potential people to ask and potential posts to do, and lots of thinking and praying this project is getting closer to being released out into the world!

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The conference Inkling to Write is going to be November 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, and anyone who is interested is welcome to ‘attend’. I’m planning on having a post in the midmorning and in the afternoon, with writers sharing their wisdom.

So. What do you think? Are you excited?

 

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Filed under Inkling to Write, life as a writer, writer life