Posts Tagged With: librarians

“I Take Thee …”: Making That Commitment To Your Book

“Congratulations on your book.”

People are impressed with anyone who has completed the task of writing a whole book.  There are thousands, if not millions, of people who have sat down to a keyboard to start writing a book but never finished it.

After all these years of working at it, I have to pinch myself with the fact that my fifteenth mystery, Kill and Run, the first installment of my new series, The Thorny Rose Mysteries, was released on September 4.

Kill and Run

Released Sept 4, Kill and Run, Lauren’s 15th mystery, has been in the top 100 on Amazon in three different mystery categories. Click on Book Cover to view on Amazon.

My goal is to release five books this year. Struggling writers who are unable to complete even one book, often ask, “How is that possible?” As a matter of fact, I was recently asked to conduct a workshop entitled, “Writing that Bucket List Novel” to answer that question. Most writers assume that I am able to do this simply because I do write full time. I treat my writing like a job.

“Me,” they say, “I have a full time job and family to interrupt me. No way can I write a full book in less than a year.”

Believe it or not, I completely understand. I was there. But contrary to the dream of being able to sit at a desk, uninterrupted, left alone to create literary masterpieces at my leisure—this is not—

Hold that thought. My husband just came running into the room because his computer screen looks different and he got scared.

Where was I?

Unless you are totally committed to not just working on—but completing—your book, all the freedom from working for a living, family obligations, finding wallets and remotes, feeding dogs, running sweepers, finding your son’s athletic clothes, cooking dinner, cleaning up the kitchen, flying in to the school because your son forgot his essay which is due today and he’s going to flunk out of calculus and end up living in your attic for the rest of his life if you don’t stop writing the gun fight scene right now to get it there in ten minutes—

In a nutshell—it takes total commitment!

Best-Selling Mystery Author Lauren Carr ... and Gnarly, too.

International best-selling author Lauren Carr invites aspiring writers to join her in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, for a writers retreat in November (during National Novel Writing Month). Click on photo to visit Lauren’s website for more details.

A young writer who attended one of my workshops told me that he had quit his job. He had a full time job with the federal government and was making good money. Young, unmarried, and living at home with his parents, he saved up enough money to support himself for a full year. Then, he quit his job to finish his book.

A year later, he had a half dozen uncompleted manuscripts. He spent much of that time doing favors and running errands for friends and family who said, “Since you’re not doing anything …”

Believe it or not, this is a perception that many people make. Even after all these years, my family assumes since I wear my grungy bathrobe all day and sit around with a laptop in my lap that I’m not doing anything.

Yes, I am doing something!

If you don’t consider your book important, no one else will. When you make a commitment to something, you make it a priority. If you have a full time job and your buddy calls you to help him move a sofa, would you leave your job to go do it? No, because if you leave your job it may not be there when you get back. Same with your book. If you keep leaving it to go do other stuff, then you won’t ever finish it.

This means you have to put your writing ahead of Keeping Up With the Kardashian.

Now, let’s address the half dozen unfinished manuscripts.

This is what I call the Forty-Page Block. It’s not always page forty. Sometimes it’s page twenty-five or page one hundred and twenty-five. Whichever page number it is, at some point there’s a block that separates the authors from the wannabes.

At this hurdle, many writers will simply throw in the towel and walk away without looking back.

Others will try to get around the block in this book by starting a second book. Inspired by ideas from Book One, Book Two may even be a sequel to its unfinished predecessor. Then, the writer will be hit with another inspiration too good to ignore and abandon that project to start another and then another.

The Forty-Page Block stems from loss of interest in the project. Maybe the writer has a short attention span. Maybe the project isn’t worth the paperless word doc it’s written on. Whatever the reason, when the book ceases to be new and fresh, the writer doesn’t want to work on it anymore.

This is the dividing line between those writers who want to be authors and authors who have published books under their belts. Published authors will stick to a book through thick and thin. Even when he’d rather watch the game with the guys, he’ll go to that laptop and churn out five or six pages.

When he finds himself staring at the same Word doc that he’s been looking at for the last seven weeks and sees that it’s not looking very pretty, the author doesn’t walk away. He’ll work even harder to rekindle that flame of passion. He’ll stick with it, no matter what it takes – even if it means a complete rewrite.

Walking away or running off with another book is no option for the true author. Yes, new book ideas may be more fun, and easier to work on, but those flings will only be distractions in reaching the goal of seeing this relationship to the end — that being publication.

So, if you’re a writer seeking to become the author of that one finished manuscript, I call on you now to take the plunge and make that commitment by putting your right hand on your keyboard and repeating after me:

I, state your name or pen name , take thee  book title  to be my published book. To compose and obsess, for rewrite and edit, in polishing and proofreading, from this day forward, until publication do we part.

You two make a beautiful couple.

Lauren Carr's Advance toward Authorship Writers Retreat will take place at Lakewood Resort on Deep Creek Lake, the setting for her hit Mac Faraday Mysteries.

Lauren Carr’s Advance toward Authorship Writers Retreat will take place at Lakewood Resort on Deep Creek Lake, the setting for her hit Mac Faraday Mysteries.

CALLING ALL WRITERS:

Press Release: International Best Selling Author Hosts Writers Retreat in Deep Creek Lake

Advance Toward Authorship Writers Programs

Are you a writer struggling to complete your masterpiece? Or have you completed a draft but need some quiet time away from the rest of the world to concentrate on getting it ready for publication.

International Best Selling Mystery Writer Lauren Carr has been there and done that.

“It took me six months to write the first draft for A Small Case of Murder,” she recalls. It took more than that for her second mystery. “Then, one weekend,” she says, “a friend dragged me to a writers’ conference that ended up being a total bust. After the first day of not getting anything out of it, I locked myself in the hotel room and wrote for the rest of the weekend. By the time I left three days later, I had written one third of the first draft of It’s Murder, My Son.” This book went on to being her first best-selling mystery novel.

Regularly listed among Amazon’s top-100 authors in mysteries, Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries and the Lovers in Crime Mysteries. This month, the debut novel for her new mystery series, the Thorny Rose Mysteries, was released to top sales and rave reviews. Since its release on September 4, Kill and Run has been listed in the top-ten of three categories on Amazon both domestically and in the international markets.

The author of fifteen books, Lauren Carr is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

It takes more than simply getting away for it all to write books, Lauren warns. “Spending time with other writers, bouncing ideas off each other, having someone to ask advice when you’re stuck—when you have all that—then you have the total package that can inspire and motivate you to complete your book.”

Such is the package that Lauren Carr, in conjunction with Lakewood Resorts on the shores of Deep Creek Lake, is assembling for the Lauren Carr’s Advance toward Authorship Writers’ Retreat! “Not only will writers who attend this writers’ retreat have quiet and beautiful scenery in which to write,” Lauren explains, “but they will be surrounded by other writers in order to share ideas and have someone who has been there available to encourage them and lead the way.”

A variety of packages are available. Writers can sign up for a single unit to write in complete solitude or share a unit with their spouse or writing buddies. Each lakeshore unit at the luxurious Lakewood Resorts can accommodate four or more writers—making this an ideal retreat for writers groups.

Offerings include choice of a variety packages. Many offer focused writing time, weekend workshops, private consultations with Lauren Carr, writers’ gatherings, and meal options.  Retreat prices vary with level of participation.  Lodging costs are per unit, and units can be shared with family or other writers.  In addition to lodging, all participants pay the per person rate for the chosen retreat package.

The dates for the Lauren Carr’s Advanced toward Authorship Writer’s Retreat will be Friday, November 13-20, 2015. Weekend packages (Friday through Sunday) will be available. It will be held at Lakewood Resort, McHenry, Maryland—Deep Creek Lake, the setting for Lauren Carr’s Mac Faraday Mysteries! Visit Lakewood Resort’s website at http://www.lakewoodresortsmd.com/ for more information.

Space at Lauren Carr’s Advance toward Authorship Writers Retreat is limited. Writers are encouraged to visit Lauren Carr’s website at www.mysterylady.net or email her at acornbookservices@gmail.com for further details.

 

 

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Why Grammar Nazis Need to Get a Grip

By Lauren Carr

The Internet has made it much easier for anyone yearning to voice their opinion about anything and everything to do so. Among those striving to be heard are readers anxious to release their inner book critics to heap praise or criticism upon the authors of those books they love or hate. Nowadays, any reader with a kindle simply has to hit a button at the end of the book to leave their ratings and thoughts—whatever they may be.

Thus, Grammar Nazis can now easily warn perspective readers of any book that does not meet their lofty standards by posting reviews citing the read as poorly written and badly edited.

This is not necessarily a good thing because nasty reviews from Grammar Nazis can potentially deter unwitting readers from purchasing and reading books that are actually very well written and finely edited.

What is a Grammar Nazi? According to the Internet, a Grammar Nazi is someone who believes it’s their duty to attempt to correct any grammar and/or spelling mistakes they observe—

  • usually found hanging around book reading chat rooms,
  • or posting one-star reviews declaring books poorly edited (or not edited at all) on Amazon, Goodreads, and every other book website they can find,
  • or sending emails with multi-paged lists of spelling and grammatical errors to authors of said books, and declaring their editors and proofreaders incompetent.

I am very familiar with Grammar Nazis. My mother is one. Luckily for authors, she is unplugged and has more important things to do that compose detailed lists of what she considers to be grammatical mistakes in books—unless it’s one of mine.

What type of books have fallen victim to one or more negative reviews from Grammar Nazis? Well, here’s a sampling of reviews that I have found on Amazon, the biggest book seller in the world.

One reader, who identifies him/herself as a literature teacher, begins a long-winded one-star review by stating that he/she only uses To Kill a Mockingbird in his/her class “when forced to” because it is so poorly written. This reader goes on to say, “The descriptive passages were rather crude, and at times the language became practically unintelligible.”

Another reader posted a one-star review for For Whom the Bell Tolls. Not even Ernest Hemingway is immune from Nazi attacks. This reader writes:

I will not presume to say that I am right & that millions who love this book are wrong, but I really do not understand why this book is considered a classic. The dialogue is so choppy & forced-formal that it seems like the characters are all talking past each other.

Another reader had trouble understanding how Tom Clancy’s Hunt for Red October became a best-seller:

Clancy could have edited 40% of the text out and had a much better story. This novel is bogged down with irrelevant character descriptions, military acronyms, tedious sub-plots, and background stories that have nothing to contribute to the novel’s overall focus. I found myself constantly frustrated with the monotonous length it took to cover simple plot points. Clancy obviously has a huge audience; however, he needs an effective editor. This novel is a very slow read.

As you can see, Grammar Nazis really don’t care who you are or how experienced your publisher or editor is. When they see a mistake, they’re going to let readers know. Like in this Nazi’s review for Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, published by Little, Brown Books for YA:

…the editing—or lack thereof—is appalling …; the grammar and syntax are unforgivably bad; the plot is onion-skin thin; and the characters are uniformly dull and uninspiring.

The purpose of this post is not to rip apart Grammar Nazis. After all, I am closely related to one. My mother even proofreads my books before they are released to catch errors missed by my team of editors and proofreaders. (More about that later.)

Nor is the purpose of this post to convince Grammar Nazis that they’re wrong. Believe me, there is no convincing a Grammar Nazi they are mistaken about errors they have noted. They got “A’s” in English in school. They have worked for a hundred years as an editor for a daily newspaper and never once during that whole century—publishing two editions seven days a week—not once was there so much as one typo in any of those newspapers—not a single one! Therefore, the prospect of them being wrong about whether you should be using a comma or a semi-colon within dialogue is inconceivable.

As an author and a publisher, I would like to put this issue into a proper perspective for both readers and those authors whose books fall victim to a reader or two who has too much time on his or her hands. As a rule, I do not engage or argue with the rare Grammar Nazi who posts a nasty review for any of my books on Amazon, Goodreads, or any other sites.

However, I do believe that the average reader who sees reviews posted by Grammar Nazis and new authors who will (not if) receive such reviews should be aware of a few things before they accept the Grammar Nazi’s claims of bad writing and poor editing as fact.

A couple of years ago, an author friend of mine independently published a book. During the publication process, her book went through two rounds of editing (by two different editors) and was proofread by another editor, plus a friend of hers, who happened to be school teacher who taught English. Thus, her book was looked at by four different pairs of eyes before publication.

Nine months after the book was released and received several glowing reviews, she received one poor review declaring that it was poorly edited and had numerous grammatical errors. So, she hired yet another editor to proofread the book again for grammatical mistakes and misspellings. This editor, who used a different style manual than the other editors, ripped that book apart with changes on every page.

Over a year later, a traditional publisher signed my friend to a multi-book deal. As part of the publication process, this same book was edited yet again! It went through two separate editors—one of whom contacted my friend to tell her that it was very well written and was pretty clean to begin with. Not only that, but after the book was formatted, it was proofread by yet another editor.

First review my friend received from a reader stated:

This is the first novel I’ve read by this author, and while it was a good read, with a good plot, interesting primary and secondary characters, and was very suspenseful, the sheer number of grammatical errors, misused words, and spelling errors certainly detracted from my enjoyment of this book. While I’d like to read the next novels in this series, I can only hope that they are better edited and proofread than this one.

Excuse me! This book was looked at by—count them!—seven different editors plus an English teacher. Not all of them were ill-educated, poorly trained, or incompetent!

The answer to how this happens lies in this one simple question:

Grammatical errors, misused words, and spelling mistakes according to whose rules?

everyone-is-a-grammar-nazi_o_2312553

I have assembled a team of editors and proofreaders to work on my own books based on each one’s strengths. It is a given, where one editor has strengths, he or she has weaknesses in another area.

Let me explain. Last year, I sent one of my books to a new editor to be proofread before its release. Because she was unproven to me, I sent the same book to yet another editor as a backup. Neither proofreader knew the book was being worked on by someone else. Therefore, they thought it was completely up to them to catch every mistake.

When the book came back from these two proofreaders, they had both identified completely different errors. Only in one instance did they both identify the same error! They concentrated completely on different areas in proofreading the book. One proofreader was more concerned with the punctuation while the other focused on the spelling.

Also, each one of my editors/proofreaders works under a different set of rules.

One of my editors, who I have used for years, follows the new comma rules—whatever those are. From what I have seen, the comma is rarely used. I have read many books in recent years, whose editors seem to be following these rules. According to the new comma rules, the line from Gone with the Wind: “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn,” has no commas.

Another one of my editors loves the Oxford comma. Thus, the line would be written, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Based on what she learned when she was in school, my mother swears it is, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Who is right? Under interrogation, both of these editors and the Grammar Nazi could cite a source and reasoning to back up their argument of where the commas go and why.

Another area of disagreement is the ellipse. That is the “…”. One of my editors believes there should be no space before or after the ellipse. Another editor firmly believes there should be a space before and after the ellipse.

Even highly regarded style manuals used by editors disagree. Some argue that the ellipse should be treated like a word, which means it should have a space both before and after. Others (mostly journalistic style manuals) say it should be treated like an em-dash (—) so there should be no space. This is because the space before and after can create havoc with formatting.

Therefore, I quite literally split the difference. During formatting I use a half-space before and after the ellipse.

To better illustrate this issue, I love to tell writers, new editors, and readers about a book I edited for another author several years ago.

This book contained a character whose name ended in an “s.” Well, throughout the book, there were many instances in which his name was used in possessive.

Now, every editor has a thing or two or three or dozen, in which they will not trust their knowledge. To be safe, they will look it up in their style manual every single time. For me, the question of a proper name ending in “s” and used in possessive was one of those things. The Chicago Style Manual called for this possessive to be “s’” not “s’s.”

Well, the author said I was wrong and that it is supposed to be “s’s.”

So, I looked it up again, not just in the Chicago Style Manual, but several sites on the Internet. Not only did I discover that the answer varies in the Chicago Style Manual depending on which edition you use, but I also found a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States had gotten involved in this very argument while writing a decision on a case. Even the justices disagreed! Clarence Thomas (who should know since his name ends in an “s”) declared that it is “s.’”

I let the author have the last word. He requested that I change all of the possessive references for this character to “s’s.”

Then, upon proofing the book, the author brought in his daughter, a technical writer who goes by a totally different style manual. She stated that it should be “s’” without the extra “s.”

So I had to change it back.

Many people who are not in the business of writing, editing, or publishing fiction fail to realize that many of the grammar and punctuation rules that we were taught as being carved in stone really are not—especially when it comes to fiction.

Most fiction authors’ literary style and narrative voice don’t follow all of the rules taught in simple fourth grade grammar. Keeping in tune with the casual manner in which people communicate today, writers focus more on creating a conversational tone and flow to the narrative than using the correct pronoun.

When I sent my third book to the editor, I could practically hear her laughing between the lines in her notes when she rewrote a sentence in my narrative. “When was the last time you heard someone use the word ‘whom?’” she asked.

While my sentence was grammatically correct, she noted that it had such a formal stilted sound to it that it broke the easy going pace of my writing. As a result, the reader would be pulled out of the story. Yes, the sentence, rewritten by the editor, was grammatically incorrect. However, the narrative flowed much more naturally.

Grammar Nazis, particularly those who have spent the bulk of their education or professional lives in the world of non-fiction writing and editing (working in journalism or teaching grade school English), fail to realize this when reading fiction. Being a Nazi, they are incapable of becoming immersed in the plot and the story because they have spent their lives searching for mistakes. When they encounter what they perceive to be an error, they are so offended that all enjoyment of the other 99.9% of the book becomes an impossibility—all they can see and think about is that imperfection.

Feeling righteous about what they know is right, they feel compelled to note said error and to warn readers via bad reviews and/or notify the writer of what a sloppy job his editor did.

the first installment in Lauren Carr's upcoming series, Kill and Run is scheduled for release September 1.

The first installment in Lauren Carr’s new mystery series, Kill and Run was released September 4. It has been receiving rave reviews from reviewers and readers … except for a couple of Grammar Nazis

Less than two weeks ago, my fifteenth book, Kill and Run was released. Over the years, the publication of my books, which I publish independently, has been fine tuned. I use two different editors, plus I will do a round of editing myself. After the book is formatted, my books are proofread by a professional editor who has never laid eyes on the book beforehand. Plus, a copy will go to my Grammar Nazi mother.

Yet, in spite of the many steps I take to produce high quality books, shortly before Kill and Run’s release (but too late to make corrections before the release date) a total of twenty actual grammatical and spelling errors were discovered. (The corrected version is now available and being sold. Pre-order e-book customers can download from Amazon under “manage my kindle.”)

Two Grammar Nazis (my mother was not one) demanded to know how this could happen. “Your readers deserve better!”

Here’s how and why this happens–not just with my books, but most books published, both independently and traditionally:

Prolific writers (those who write more than one book a year—I release three or four) make mistakes. A prolific writer cares more about writing a thrilling book with fully developed characters and an intriguing plot than determining if every single word (Is it lay or lie?) is right and ensuring that every punctuation mark is correct (To use the comma or not to use the comma?).

Such minute details have the power to tie a Grammar Nazi’s panties in a knot.

One Grammar Nazi was upset because in The Murders at Astaire Castle, David O'Callaghan went into a donut shop to buy a box of donuts.

One Grammar Nazi was upset because in The Murders at Astaire Castle, David O’Callaghan went into a donut shop to buy a box of donuts.

A few years ago, I received an email from a woman informing me that I was a shoddy writer and how dare I consider myself worthy of editing other authors’ books. (I don’t edit other authors books anymore because I am too busy writing my own books.) Her complaint: In The Murders at Astaire Castle, which has been consistently in the top 100 of Ghost Mysteries on Amazon since its release in July 2013, contained this sentence:

“On the way into the police station, David stopped at the donut shop to buy a box of donuts.”

The Nazi wrote, “No, sh!t.” She used the actual word. My error was using “donut” twice. That is repetition, which is a no-no. This, she declared was sloppy and shoddy writing. She went on to post a one-star review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Think about it. The Murders at Astaire Castle has 66,000 words. This Nazi was having a hissy fit over one sentence, consisting of nineteen words, in the middle of a 286-page book. Frankly, I thought one bad sentence out of the thousands of sentences in that book was doing pretty good.

Since the Grammar Nazi revealed in her email that she was a writer, and obviously much better than I am since she would never have written that sentence, I looked up her profile in the social media sites and found that she has never published a book. To date, she still has yet to have a book published under her name. Based on her reaction to the news that David had stopped at a donut shop to buy donuts, I think she is probably too busy sweating over every page, paragraph, sentence, comma, period, and word to allow her book to be released to the public.

By virtue of being a Grammar Nazi, her book must be perfect. Anything less is unacceptable.

That’s pretty sad in my opinion.

Prolific writers know that there comes a time in every book’s life where we need to just let it go and move on to the next book. We accept the fact that there could very well—No, we know and accept the fact that there will be one, two, three, or twenty grammatical errors in the book that our team has not caught.

From a professional stand-point, it is not good business to hold up the release of a book to invest in yet another editor to scour a whole book in search of those few errors that will cause one or two Grammar Nazis to have hissy fits—even if they do use the power of the Internet to proclaim the book as poorly edited.

At what point can a book—not a five-hundred word article or a student’s ten-page research paper—but a 60,000 to 110,000 word book—be declared error free, especially if editors, proofreaders, and Grammar Nazis can’t agree on what the rules are?

Alas, there is yet another important reason Kill and Run was released with twenty actual mistakes that had been missed by my team of paid professional editors and proofreaders—and yes, I do consider them professional and am proud to have them working for me.

Unfortunately, not only are my editors and proofreaders professionals—but also, every single one is a human being. Therefore, they suffer from the condition that every human suffers—Yes, even the Grammar Nazis suffer from this dreaded incurable condition:

Human beings aren’t perfect. As intolerable as it may be, we all make mistakes.

I have worked with numerous editors in the thirty plus years that I have been writing and I have yet to meet an editor who is perfect, which is why I use more than one on every project.

With this in mind, I look at those twenty mistakes in Kill and Run this way:

  • Kill and Run has approximately 110,000 words. Twenty mistakes out of 110,000 words amounts to a .018% error rate.
  • That means my team of editors and proofreaders got 99.982% of the book right—based on the grammar and spelling rules as we know them.

I wouldn’t call that sloppy, shoddy, incompetent, or poor. Would you?

About the Author

Best-Selling Mystery Author Lauren Carr ... and Gnarly, too.

Best-Selling Mystery Author Lauren Carr … and Gnarly, too. click on photo to visit Lauren’s website.

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday and Lovers in Crime Mysteries. Kill and Run the first installment of her new series, The Thorny Rose Mysteries was released to rave reviews from reviewers and readers on September 4, 2015. Lauren introduced the key detectives in the Thorny Rose Mysteries in Three Days to Forever, which was released in January 2015.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learnt in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:

E-Mail: writerlaurencarr@gmail.net

Website: http://acornbookservices.com/

http://mysterylady.net/

Blog: Literary Wealth: https://literarywealth.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lauren.carr.984991

Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries

Lovers in Crime Facebook Page:

http://www.facebook.com/LoversInCrimeMysteries?ref=ts&fref=ts

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Guest Post: Obscurity: Not An Option

Today, one of my favorite guest bloggers is back. Cindy McDonald is the author of the Unbridled Series. She is just now finishing up her second virtual book tour. In her blog post today, Cindy is going to address a delicate issue that is important to every author out there: marketing you and your book in today’s marketplace. Things have changed a whole lot since my first book was published back in 2004–before Facebook, Twitter, ect. It’s both easier and scarier–

You tell ’em, Cindy!

OBSCURITY: NOT AN OPTION

Cindy McDonald

Cindy McDonald is the author of the Unbridled Series. She is working on a new series, First Force. Using social media, Cindy has grown her fan base and sales steadily. Click on picture to visit Cindy’s website.

So you’ve written a manuscript. You had it professionally edited. You’ve got a great cover design. You’ve had it published in paperback and ebook forms, and it’s been uploaded to amazon. Great! Now what? Sit back, relax, perhaps twiddle your thumbs a bit, and wait for those royalties to come pouring in, right?

Mmmm, I’m afraid not.

The fact is that no one is going to come looking for your book, no matter how well written, how engaging, or how action-packed it is unless you, the author, makes it happen!

Hey, let’s face it obscurity is not an option when you’ve published a book. The competition is fierce—and the competition is using all the resources that perhaps you are not. There is no doubt that marketing is an indie’s biggest hurdle, but you can’t afford to be shy or stuck in the nineteenth century. I’m not saying that marketing one’s book is insurmountable, but it can be hard to get started. Bookstores are not usually very willing to arrange a signing for indie writers because they are relatively unknown—they’d rather have James Patterson, go figure. However some local libraries may be willing to host an event for you. That’s nice, but that doesn’t tend to spread the word to a large mass of people. And that’s exactly what you need.

So what’s an author to do?

Brace yourself, because I’m about to say the S word: Social Networking. Yikes! You may consider it a dirty word, but I’m afraid that it is truly the reality of our time. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pininterest, it’s enough to make an author’s head spin! After all it has been widely rumored that authors are quite a recluse lot. The trick is to not allow it to overwhelm or intimidate you—no matter what your age.  The bottom line is that it is your responsibility as an author to get the word out about your book—not your publisheryou.

So get a stiff upper lip, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and do what you need to do to make that book of yours a success. Because you can.

If you don’t have a website—get one. You need it! There are plenty of website options out there and some are free. List your books—with covers, a synopsis, provide an excerpt, and yes do a book trailer, to boot! Don’t forget to provide links to your book’s Amazon sales site.

Okay, now that you have a website, you need a…wait for it…Facebook page! It’s the God’s truth. I have two FB pages: one in my name where I talk about my life—nothing too personal—and one for my books. On both pages I will announce reviews and provide links to those reviews or my books. There are also FB pages that are provided for authors to promote their books. On all these FB pages I will also list blogs that I am featured at during virtual book tours—another excellent way to get the word out about your book.

Dangerous Deception

Click on Book cover to purchase Cindy’s latest, Dangerous Deception on Amazon.

Virtual book tours help you to promote not only your book but you—the author. You have control as to how long the tour is: two weeks, one month, or the max—three months. Approximately three times a week during the tour, you will visit a blog for an author spotlight, a review, interview, or a guest post on a variety of subjects. The guest post will spotlight how well you write beyond the pages of your book. That’s important. It also provides potential readers an insight as to who you are and what you think or believe. While this service is not free, you can decide how much you want to spend by the length of the tour.

Linkedin is a great place to post a blurb about your book on a daily basis. I usually write something like: George Smuts is a just fictional character, right? You should hope! And then I list the link to where my potential audience can purchase DEADLY.COM. I went from selling hardly any of this particular book to selling as many as one hundred per month with this simple daily task.

*Wince* and then there’s Twitter. I thought I would never get the hang of that nightmare social networking demon. I thought it was stupid. Then I thought: but there are sooo many authors using it. There’s got to be something to it.  So I started following people—mainly authors—they would retweet my book blurbs—I would retweet back—this would result in book sales. Hmmm. I followed more—retweeted more—additional book sales.  Who knew? I am now tweeting approximately six times per day. It only takes about ten minutes, and the payoff has been well worth it.

Pssst…I’ve even got my publishing manager tweeting more than she ever did before. To tell you the truth, she probably hates me for it, but she has realized how invaluable it is for her and her cozy mysteries. She too has experienced a sharp rise in sales. Go baby go!

It’s true, I spend a lot of time per day promoting my books on the social networks—it’s a commitment. But hey didn’t you make a commitment to the book when you wrote it? You love your characters. You love your stories, so help send them out to the masses.

Here’s the light at the end of the very long indie tunnel—it can and will work!

Since I’ve been using Twitter on a daily basis, following as many people with an interest in books, tweeting and retweeting other authors, using hashtags, and writing something about my books on a daily basis on my FB pages and Linkedin, my book sales have skyrocketed! I went from selling four books per month (yep, that’s what it says FOUR) to selling over two hundred books per month, and I know that it will go up from here.

C’mon, don’t be shy. Get out of that “I am NOT going anywhere near social networking sites” demeanor. You CAN do this. Only you have the power. You’ve worked hard. So step up to the plate and take a swing at making your book into everything you wanted it to be—a success!

Remember: Obscurity just plain isn’t an option.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

For twenty-six years my life whirled around a song and a dance: I was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of my adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. Don’t ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about things I have experienced (greatly exaggerated upon of course) with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and the happenings at the racetrack.

Surprised? Why didn’t I write about my experiences with dance? Eh, believe it or not life at the racetrack is more…racy. The drama is outrageous—not that dancers don’t know how to create drama, believe me, they do but race trackers just seem to get more down and dirty with it which makes great story telling—great fiction.

I didn’t start out writing books, The Unbridled Series started out as a TV drama, and the Hollywood readers loved the show. The problem was we just couldn’t sell it. So one of the readers said to me, “Cindy, don’t be stupid. Turn your scripts into a book series.” and so I did!

In May of 2011 I took the big leap and exchanged my dancin’ shoes for a lap top—I retired from dance. It was a scary proposition, I was terrified, but I had the full support of my husband, Saint Bill. It has been a huge change for me. I went from dancing hard five hours a night to sitting in front of a computer. I still work-out and I take my dog, Harvey, for a daily run. I have to or I’d be as big as a house. Do I miss dance? Sometimes I do. I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books and I love sharing them with you.

To read excerpts from future books, view book trailers, and keep up with everything that is Unbridled, please visit Cindy’s website at: www.cindymcwriter.com

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For Your Junk Food Lovin’ Offspring: Jelly Bean Soup & Grilled Candy Sandwiches!

I wish Michael T had written Jelly Bean Soup and Grilled Candy Sandwiches ten years earlier. then, I would have read it to my son, Tristan, the maybe dinner time wouldn’t be such an ordeal. I have to pay him to eat his salad!

Click on the book cover to order
Michael T’s first children’s book.

Anyway, enough about that! Let’s move on to this jewel of a children’s book! Jelly Bean Soup and Grilled Candy Sandwiches, written by magician Michael T.

I met Michael T last year when he performed a magic show at our church for the children. When I found out he was working on a children’s book, and I told him that I was a publisher, we immediately clicked.

Jelly Bean Soup and Grilled Candy Sandwiches is about Mikey, bright young man. But, like many children, he didn’t like nutritious food. Instead, Mikey dreamed of Jelly Bean Soup and Grilled Candy Sandwiches. Sometimes, dreams of such eating habits can lead to hilarious images and inspiring results as told and illustrated in this children’s book written by Magician Michael T and illustrated by Joe Santoro. This book also includes children’s activities for parents and teachers, as well as easy and nutritious recipes that children will love!

I’m not kidding when I tell Michael T. that he is my celebrity client. He truly is! Every time I meet him at Panera Bread, people young and old flock to this colorful and charming man. I love him and  you will, too.

And your children will love Jelly Bean Soup and Grilled Candy Sandwiches!

“Michael T” Myers is a graduate of Hagerstown Community College and Shepherd University.  He is a Magician, Minister, Motivational Speaker, Emcee, Hypnotherapist, Teacher, Poet, WV Auctioneer #1704 and now a Children’s Author.  Michael T. lives in Falling Waters, WV with his beautiful wife, J.J. who is a Nutritionist that always encourages him to eat each meal smarter.  With childhood obesity in the news, Michael T. thought this would be a fun project to help children learn a better way to eat and live healthier.  Enjoy!

You can contact Michael T. at www.michaelts.com, P.O. Box 2955 Martinsburg, WV  25402 or 304-279-2858.  SMILE BIG; It’s Free and worth the results!

Click on Michael T
to visit his website

Now, as talented as Michael T is, Jelly Bean Soup and Grilled Candy Sandwiches would never have come to life without the talent of Joe Santoro.

Illustrator Joe Santoro
Not only is Joe an illustrator,
he’s a puppeteer, too!
Click on Joe’s picture to find out more

Joe Santoro is a graduate of State University of NY at Genesco.  He is an enthusiastic Elementary School Art Teacher where his students get excited about learning new creative skills.  On the weekends Joe and his hard-working wife, Jane own and operate the “Wonderment Puppet Theater” on 412 W. King Street in Martinsburg, WV.  Puppet Shows and Birthday Parties are their specialties.  Joe and Jane live in Berkeley Springs, WV.

You can contact Joe at www.wondermentpuppets.com  or 304-260-9382.  Be CREATIVE; Draw what you like and Color.  It’s Fun!

If you have children, especially if they love junk food, then I strongly recommend Jelly Bean Soup and Grilled Candy Sandwiches for you and your child. Also, if you live in the Martinsburg, WV, area, check Michael T and Joe Santoro’s websites for their next performances.

Happy Eating … and Reading!

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Author Spotlight: Award-Winning Author Malcolm Ater

We’ve got yet another treat for you today here at Literary Wealth. Our spotlight today is on a true jewel of an author. Malcolm Ater is a winner in every sense of the word. His YA and MS books keep hitting them out of the ball park with both reviewers and readers, not to mention book award panels.

Malcolm Ater
Award Winning Author

Malcolm Ater is the Award-Winning Author of Tyler’s Mountain Magic, based on the true story of Tyler Moore, a teenage boy with cystic fibrosis who leads his team from Harpers Ferry on the most magical sports ride in West Virginia public school history. It was selected as the Best Book Length Story of 2011 by the West Virginia Writers, Inc. and was winner of the 2012 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award in Sports. He has been a special education junior high/middle school reading teacher for 24 years.

Tyler’s Mountain Magic
Winner of the 2012 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award in Sports.
Best Book Length Story of 2011 by the West Virginia Writers, Inc.

Award-winning author Malcolm Ater’s latest novel, The Hermitage House Miracle is a mystery for middle school children and above that is sure to keep kids turning the pages.  This intriguing mystery is strongly recommended to school librarians to review for their listings.  “The Hermitage House Miracle will appeal equally to both boys and girls,” Ater says, “but especially to boys who may be reluctant readers.” Children will identify with the suspense-filled storyline, which addresses such issues as bullying, tobacco use, and the effects of alcohol, but without preaching.

The Hermitage House Miracle starts with a deep hook.  “I’ve given you the last six years of my life, and for what? To always be running from one town to another? Never having a life of my own just so you could live?”

As Jamie lay alone in bed, not knowing his mother had just been killed while driving drunk, he was filled with disturbing thoughts. His mother’s last words to him before going out did not make sense. He was even more confused when she had added, in a drunken slur, “If I had a lick of sense I’d have let old Ernie do what he wanted!”

Why had his mother said she had given him the last six years of her life when he was twelve years old? Why did she always seem to resent him? Who was Ernie? And why couldn’t he remember anything about his life before his first day of school in the first grade?

The only thought that comforted him was the newspaper story dated only a few days earlier on May 24, 1992. The article reported that a new wave of computer games would soon replace the old pinball machines and “boggle the mind” with realistic video techniques that could only be dreamed about a few years earlier. The article had aroused a curious excitement in him, and he didn’t know why.

The Hermitage House Miracle
Selected as a 2012 finalist for Best Children’s Book by West Virginia Writers, Inc.

After being sent to live at the Hermitage House for Children, Jamie begins to have a series of strange and troubling dreams. Each dream is about a little blond-haired boy who has a little sister and a mother and a father. But the mother is not his mother who was killed in the car accident and he had never known his father. Yet his dreams are always about the same family, especially the little boy and his dog. And the father programs computers and makes games, even promising to build the boy a video game so lifelike the boy will think he’s actually inside it…

Both The Hermitage House Miracle and Tyler’s Mountain Magic are available on sales now at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and directly from Malcolm Ater’s website.

Click on the book covers to purchase them from Malcolm’s website or to learn more!

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