19 May 2014

Blog Hoppin'

Hey all,
I'm participating in a blog hop. This one is all about writing.

The author who invited me to participate is Ann Marie Meyers. Ann Marie is a successful MG author whose first book, UP in the Air is on the awesome side of adorable.  She's also a fellow Jolly Fish Press author. For more information about her or her book, check out her website.

First question:What am I working on/writing?
Right now I'm working on the sequel for New Sight. Today I went through the first five chapters and hopefully they're finally finished!

Second question: How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
Well, the magic system is pretty complicated...and the magic is addictive. I feel like it's mostly original.

Third question: Why do I write what I do?
Hmmm...good question. I generally write fantasy or science fiction, and the reason for that is because I love to travel and see new places. And what better way to do that then to make them up? Then a place can be anything I want it to be. Which is cool. Also, both dragons and space ships are awesome.

Fourth and final question: How does my writing process work?
Well, most of the time it feels like it doesn't. I get an idea or a character and then I come up with a story. Then I outline it about six times, toss that and start again. At some point I get impatient and start to write. The creation process of the first draft is the hardest part for me, I think because I know that most of it will get tossed. Rough drafts are fodder. I feel bad for them.
Once I finish a rough draft I usually end up re-writing huge chunks of it two or three more times before a manuscript gets to a point where I want to share it with others.
My biggest secret is to keep writing, even if it's terrible. For me, fixing is easier than making it out of nothing.

My First Book Signing...Er, Fun?

Okay, so this is the tale of the first book signing after my book launch.

The launch party was awesome. Friends came, family came, a few strangers came and a few of my stranger friends came. Everyone had a blast (or at least pretended to) and that was that.

Last Saturday I had my first real “Book Signing.”

For any of you that may not know, this means that an author sits near the door to a book store, behind a nice table with a display of their novel and waits for curious people to come talk with them about their book.

Because, let’s face it, the books become your babies, of course people want to talk to you about them.

Yeah…uh…no. Not actually true.

I decided a while ago to be honest here, so you guys get the real deal.

I suck at pimping my own work. I get all embarrassed and shy and I’m like, “Just read the sign or the back of the book.” Under no circumstances will I run out from behind the table to drag an unsuspecting patron over and proceed to talk them into buying my book.

Not going to happen. It’s really not me.

There’s a REASON I’m not a salesman.

But this is all part of being an author, so as I sat there smiling at people who came by (but not too big of a smile, so I didn’t seem desperate) I started wondering how in the world I was going to get through the next six weeks of book signings.

Lucky for me, a fellow author and his wife stopped by and showed me a few tricks that will help.

What I think I need to do is bribe some friends/family members to come to the signings for an hour or whatever and give away book marks to the innocent passerby. Then they can pimp my work and I can sit and look non-desperate.

Volunteers? Lunch will be in it for you. J

I supposed this is also an incentive to write more books, even better than this one, so people will WANT to come say hi.

There’s the real plan folks.

Let’s go!

06 May 2014

Reviews. Ugh.

You would think that I would be the one obsessed with my book. Many of my author friends skulk on Amazon, checking their ratings, their reviews and their book’s ranking every hour on the hour. They go crazy. Right now my husband is going crazy with all of it.

Now I’m not saying that I’m opposed to this. Not at all. I’m just too preoccupied with a very demanding job, being a newlywed and trying to finish writing a novel by the end of June to really get into it.

Plus, I’m kind of scared to look at the reviews.

Let me tell you why…

At my very demanding day job, the department that I work in has a weekly meeting. That’s pretty standard, right? Well, for about five years, we ALL called this meeting the “You Suck” meeting.


Oh, I’m so glad you asked.

Because, for five years the meeting was held in order to go over all of our mistakes, all of our failures and all of mishaps. Never would you hear a word of praise. Not even a “Nice job” uttered under a breath or a, “Yeah, that’s really strange. We all missed that.” A thousand products went out perfectly, but let’s not dwell on them, let’s talk about the three that had issues. We’ll rub your noses in it for a few minutes so you don’t forget that you’re an idiot.

You think I’m exaggerating. I’m not.

Now, granted, feedback is good. If you don’t know there’s a problem, then you can’t fix it. Right? Right.

So in any job there will always be some semblance of “Nice Job” and “You Suck.

This is how I feel about reviews.

The book is written. I know it’s not the best book ever. It’s my first published novel, for crying out loud. I already have a list of my own “Never do this again” and “What were you thinking?”

In my mind, reading reviews about New Sight is like the “You Suck” meeting. There’s nothing I can do to change it. Yes, I realized that the novel has that problem, but it’s there. I get it. Do you HAVE to harp on it for three paragraphs. So you didn’t like the magic system. Whatever.

You see, it just makes me cranky. And it makes me feel trapped inside a “You Suck” meeting with strangers who may not even fit the type of person who would like New Sight.

So I ask my husband to read them and tell me anything that might be helpful.

He doesn’t hold back. He’ll say things like, “This girl thought you had too many characters,” and “This one thought that your magic system felt contrived because it was like…” He also picks out the good points, mixes them all together and gives me the summary.

I want to learn from past mistakes. I want my second published book to be better than my first one. And the third better than the second. Reviews are one way to do that.

But don’t take them too seriously. I honestly have one that states that there isn’t enough information in the book and another that says they felt weighed down by all of the information being thrown at them.

People are different. Not everyone will like your book. YOU need to like your book, and YOU need to remember that you can’t please all the readers.

I’ve heard, and strongly agree, that an author shouldn’t read their reviews. And if they do, never, ever comment on one. Ever. Just don’t. Go write another book. It’ll be a better use of your time. There are much better ways to connect with your readers. Find one that works for you and go for it.

I realize you can’t ignore the reviews, but don’t let them ruin your day. There are plenty of other things lurking about trying to do that!