Category Archives: life as a writer

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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The Six Question Character Challenge

I was tagged by Luke over on his blog, to do a Six Question Character Challenge. Thanks so much for tagging me! I always get excited when someone tags me in a blog challenge. 🙂

Okay, so I decided I’m going to do it on my WWII novel, This Very Moment. (I thought maybe you were tired of hearing about that story, but I already got started to use that story so it’s too late now! 😉 )

These are the six questions I’ll be answering about some of my most important characters:

  1. A contradiction within the character (the good kind that indicates depth)
  2. The character’s Meyers-Briggs type
  3. Favorite color
  4. How would they slay a dragon?  (Even if there aren’t dragons in your book)
  5. What is their darkest secret?
  6. Where do they see themselves in ten years?

I’m also going to include pictures from my pinterest board. 🙂

marilyn

Marilyn King: (main character)

  1. Contradiction: She is fun, and strong, and brave, and wild (in a good way) but she is also terrified of turning into her mother.
  2. Personality type: I actually don’t usually do MBTI tests, but I think I did for her a LONG time ago, and I think it may have been ENFP. Maybe. I wouldn’t swear by it.
  3. Maroon, or Navy. Those are usually the colors I imagine her wearing.
  4. I could see her standing up to the dragon, just herself and her God. 🙂
  5. Her darkest secret? I don’t think I can say without spoilers….
  6. In ten years, she would be relaxed. Happy. The war would be over, and those she loved would be able to have a peaceful life with little to know sadness in it. Kenneth, her twin brother, would be happily married with kids of his own for Marilyn to spoil– because marriage and children wouldn’t be in her future.

peter

Peter:

  1. He believes in right and wrong strongly, but he believes in getting the right results no matter the cost.
  2. I have no idea…
  3. Navy blue as well.
  4. He would charge at the dragon, yelling. Maybe a shotgun in his hands?
  5. Well. Um. Spoilers. So. I’m skipping. 🙂
  6. In ten years, he would probably be happily married, maybe back where his family came from. Someone high in society, and very rich, and smart. Someone people looked up too.

william

William Millbrook:

  1. He is brave and wise and strong. But the hardest thing he ever does is walk away.
  2. And again, I never figured it out (or if I did I forgot.)
  3. Green, like grass. Or red like apples from the apple orchard where he lives.
  4. He would quietly assess the dragon before trying his hardest to take it down (but probably dying in the process.)
  5. Darkest secret? He his head over heals, completely, 100% in love with someone, but he can’t tell her. (Wow, that sounds dramatic. I’m almost rolling my eyes…)
  6. He doesn’t really think about the future much. He just wants the war to end.

kenneth

Kenneth King: (Marilyn’s twin brother)

  1. He cares about people a lot and loves to help them…medically. Other then that, he isn’t the best at making friends (kind of a loner, shy.)
  2. I think he is an INFJ. I think.
  3. White. Clean. Fresh. Pure. Like snow on the mountains, or a clean hospital room.
  4. He would probably try to take the dragon down, not by fighting but by poisoning him, or starving him somehow. Then when the dragon is weaker killing it.
  5. He thought he was in love once, or at least he thinks he would’ve been eventually. She hurt him, and now, even though he’s no longer upset, he doesn’t think he’ll love again– he just accepts is as a fact of life.
  6. In ten years, Kenneth wants to have his own medical practice, or even a hospital. He’d love to be an uncle and see Marilyn happily in love and married.

There we have it! Some things you might have not known about my characters until now! (I didn’t even know some of those things about my characters until now. Like their favorite colors. XD)

I’m tagging Kara (figures, right?) over on Saved By Grace, Sierra Abrams, and Tessa Emily Hall.

Any questions y’all want my characters to answer? Or from another story, perhaps? Let me know and I’ll see what I can do. 🙂

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Being a Reader And A Writer

I love to read. But I also love to write. And the more I learn how to write, the more I (hopefully) improve at writing, but the more I find bigger mistakes in other people’s stories I find.

Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect– nope, nope, nope. But I think it is easier for readers to notice mistakes in books (in some ways) then writers.

Readers are not emotionally invested in the book.

Okay, reader DO get emotionally attached and invested in characters, but if you haven’t created the character, pulled them into the page and written them into the story– as much as you love those characters, you won’t know them like the author. As a reader, you get a different perspective then the writer– which is good and bad. 🙂

Whenever I get ready to write a not five or four start book review, I feel guilty. I usually try to convince myself it was better then three or two or one star reviews.

As a reader who writes, I don’t want to crush the author’s hopes and dreams of having a book that everyone will love. Usually, whatever I want to say about the book, I try to say nicely. 🙂

I’ve heard of writers who don’t read… and I don’t understand them. That’s like drinking but not eating. Both are good and enjoyable. I love to write but I love to read too. 🙂

Are you a writer or a reader?

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Life As A Writer

I write. (I know some of you are thinking, “well, not on your BLOG but okay.” I’M SORRY, OKAY?!?! 🙂 ) Anyway. I don’t write some of the ‘weirder’ books with time travel and aliens and evil government uprisings (usually) but I still write. And I still get IDEAS even if I just stick them in the “Someday-Maybe-I-Wish-I-Could-Write-All-The-Stories-Now” folder.

As writer, though, (or maybe it’s just me, or because I’m homeschooled– I think it’s a combination really) I can be really… unique. Very different. 🙂

For example, several weeks ago I went out to dinner for a friend for her birthday. I got sweet and sour chicken, but they put it on top of cabbage (which it turns out I kind of like) and had rice in a separate bowl. We started talking about the cabbage and I said, “How do we know this is actually cabbage and not something like dried spider guts?”

Probably not the most pleasant thing to talk about while eating….

Blurting things out before you think about them is bad enough when you’re not a writer, but when you ARE a writer what you blurt out is even worse…. But it’s also a bigger and better accomplishment when you don’t! Or at least I get pretty excited….

Oh, or I have another example.

A couple of years ago I volunteered at a Renaissance fair. Since I was just a volunteer I didn’t really have to ‘act’ at all so for the rehearsals we mostly played games that forced you to interact with each other and think quickly. So when it came to me to say an action quickly– did I mention I don’t work well under pressure? Can we blame it partly if not completely on that?– I blurted out the first thing that came to mind, “Shooting people.” I’m pretty sure everyone took a step back.

So, yeah. At any given moment I can/will make up a story about the person in the story who had five tubes of tooth paste in his cart any nothing else, or anything really.

Famous quote from the famous Adrian Monk. (This is really a fictional tv show but Monk has a sever case of the mental disorder known as OCD or CDO)

I just figured this quote from Monk fit. 🙂

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