Tag Archive | books

Weekly Update – Book Shows!

I had a book signing today at an author showcase – the first in a long line of weekends full of selling books, signing books, and talking about books!  As you can see from the picture above, Ralph the parrot made a special appearance (thankfully not annoying customers like he does for Captain Patty), and the day was a lot of fun!
But what are book shows and what can you expect from them?  When I was a newer author, I wasn’t quite sure what to do or how to start.  Not all shows/signings are the same, and it’s important to learn about them to make the experience less stressful.  

Here are some things I’ve learned after doing a variety of in-person shows…

  • Not all shows are successful…

You’ll learn quickly that some shows will not help you earn money or exposure.   It may be weather, poor turnout, uninterested customers, or just plain bad luck.  Don’t fret – just because a show has poor turnout or sales one year doesn’t mean it will always be that way.

  • …But they aren’t all a flop, either.

Some shows may surprise you.  Even if turnout is low, you may find yourself getting a profit.  Do your best, pray for good weather, and stay positive.  Good shows do happen, and when they do, there’s no greater feeling.

  • It’s a great time to connect. 

I spent a good half hour talking with two readers who happen to be inspiring writers, and it was a blast!  Book shows are a great way to learn what your readers are looking for and what they’re wanting to read.  You also get a chance to share your experiences about writing and what makes your book(s) great!

But readers aren’t the only ones you can connect to.  There are plenty of other writers that you can get to know as well.  Not only can you make new friends, but you also create great connections and find ways to help fellow writers out (or they can help you!)

  • You learn how to market your book(s).

Being at book shows and connecting with others allows you great practice in perfecting your sales pitch.  You’ll learn quickly what hooks potential readers and be able to use that for future shows.

  • You can learn about how other books are doing in your field.

Let’s be honest – we authors are curious about how our peers are doing.  How are sales?  What genres seem to do well?  Is the market changing?  What are good strategies for marketing?  What are good shows to attend?  You can learn a lot through observation and speaking with your peers!

  • You gain increased exposure, even if a profit isn’t made right away.

Even though some shows have flopped, those same failed-signings occasionally brought me good things, such as connections with magazines and newspapers, invitations to other shows, and opportunities to speak at book clubs and schools.  You never know who you’ll meet at a book show!

  • You might improve your eBook sales.

Not everyone wants to spend the extra dollars in buying a paperback, so it’s important to have business cards at the ready for e-readers to take and remember you.  Though I haven’t seen a dramatic increase in my Kindle sales (yet) from shows, I’ve gained a handful of readers through people taking my card and buying the e-book version later.

Book shows can be a lot of fun (and sometimes a lot of work!). The profit isn’t always right away, and sometimes they may seem like a waste.  Weigh your options and see what works best for you, but if you’re willing to give book shows a try, don’t worry!  Just have fun.  ūüôā

Weekly Update: The Power of Words

I had an interesting conversation regarding a short story that was read by myself and two other people this week.

The story, in a nutshell, was about a student getting sent to the principal’s office at school.¬† As we were discussing the story, however, things took an interesting turn, not so much in what the story was about or what happened, but because of a few simple words: he mumbled

Now grant it, most discussions aren’t often so focused on the wording of a story, but in this case, the word “mumbled” changed the personality of the character, depending on who you were talking to.¬† For one, the fact that he mumbled meant that he was apathetic to being sent to the principal’s office.¬† To the other, the fact that he mumbled signaled that he was angry.¬† It led to an interesting discussion, and we came to the conclusion that we all saw the character in a completely different light.

It got me thinking about how powerful words…even simple ones…can be.¬† To most, a mumble is a mumble.¬† It doesn’t really change the characters or their personalities.¬† But in this case, since the story was so short, it made the difference between an apathetic person and an angry one, and once the character was changed, the plot of the story started to be looked at in a different light, too.

If anything, it taught me that clarity in writing is something we all need to strive for.¬† Do the words we use make sense to our readers?¬† Do they fit the character we’re describing?¬† Are they adding to the plot or are they taking away?¬† These are all questions we must take into account when writing, because if a reader thinks our words aren’t making sense, chances are they might not be reading our work much longer.

Have you ever come across a word (or set of words) that confused you?  How do you think it could have been written better?

Weekly Update – Crafting a Villain

In the midst of editing this week, I decided to work a little more on¬†Heir of Vengeance, Book Five of¬†The Ripple Affair Series.¬† It’s about 80 pages in, and so far…so good…but I can tell that this one is going to be a fun one to write!

Because in this story, one of the biggest villains in the series is about to take center stage.

Now, keep in mind that there’s some spoilers ahead.¬† Okay, maybe they’re big spoilers.¬† So you have been warned!¬† Stop reading now unless you want to be spoiled (or you’ve already read the ending to Book Four,¬†Heart of Deceit)…

Remember, spoilers ahead…

Keep going…

Almost there…

Okay.¬† If you’ve scrolled down this far, you’ve decided to enter spoiler territory.¬† In¬†Heart of Deceit,¬†we learned that Malum (the leader of the Velori) is none other than Edward’s older brother, Stephen!¬† No, he’s not a ghost.¬† He’s very much alive.¬† And after years of being amongst the Velori, I can tell you right now…he’s out for vengeance (hence the title).

What’s been interesting about writing Stephen’s character, though, is just how different he is from Malina, the series’ original villainess.¬† I’ve always imagined her as the kind of classical villain-type.¬† Egotistical, powerful, no moral code, and occasionally snickering, “mwa ha ha ha ha!” when no one is looking.¬† Malum (or Stephen, as he will eventually be known), is far from her type.¬† He’s more centered, grounded, clever…and he still has some good in him (even if it’s buried really deep).

One of the things I’ve been working on this week is some backstory for Stephen.¬† Just how did he go from the quiet and shy little boy to the ruthless people-puppeteer bent on destroying everything his brother touched?¬† What is his agenda?¬† Why was he gone for so long and why is he just now coming back?¬† Are he and Edward really so different, and if they aren’t…just how are they the same?

As I work on Stephen’s story and how it fits in¬†The Ripple Affair, I can’t help but think back on all of the changes that’s happened just within the last year or so while writing.¬† Originally, Malum was meant to be a separate character (and Stephen was really, truly gone).¬† But as anyone who has ever written a story knows, characters often don’t listen to their authors and tend to go their own way.¬† Stephen is such a character, and once I decided for him and Malum to be the same person, everything seemed to flow a little easier.¬† Of course, once I started writing him, he was similar to Malina – a classical villain type.¬† But now that I have to write his backstory, and now that he has a bigger role to play in the overall series, he’s once again changing.¬† No longer is he the typical villain.¬† Now, he’s got more conflict, and that conflict may make him more similar to his brother than he realizes.

All in all, I’m super excited to get this written and published so you can read the next installment of¬†The Ripple Affair!¬† And I’m even more excited about showing you the cover for¬†Captain Patty and Veronica’s Vengeance!¬† Stay tuned to the blog as I’ll be premiering the cover soon!

Weekly Update – 07/15/17

One of the hardest things about being a writer is finding the time to just sit back and read.  I’m ashamed to admit that aside from the occasional story, I’ve hardly read any books since beginning my writing career.  That’s unfortunate, as reading was what made me realize I wanted to be a writer in the first place.

So this week, that changed.  I sat down and took the time to do some reading.  And you know what?  It was fun!  It reminded me of the days when I’d sneak in pages to read between classes or curled up with a good book while everyone else was watching TV. It felt wonderful being lost in a fantasy world with new characters I’ve never met before, as if I was meeting new friends for the first time.

It’s easy to get distracted or overwhelmed when life gets busy.  Sometimes we can barely find enough time to eat or sleep, let alone relax.  But it’s always important to have that downtime…to have that time where you can sit down and enjoy the moment.  Reading is a form of entertainment that is as classic as time itself, and despite the fun found in our latest technologies, television and games can only go so far in helping us develop our imaginations to enjoy written worlds.  As you go about your weekend, I encourage you to enjoy a book or story and take some time to relax in this busy thing called life.  

Weekly Update – 06/24/17

Good afternoon, fellow readers!

I’m happy to announce that Captain Patty and Veronica’s Vengeance is finished!¬† It’s been a long road, but it’s finally made it to the editing stage.¬† I’m busy going through plot checks and getting feedback from my beta reader, but Book 3 is well on track for publication soon!¬† I’ve also gotten the initial designs for the cover and back of the book, and I’ll be sharing those as soon as they’re finalized!

In other writing news, I’m in the midst of writing Heir of Vengeance, Book 5 of The Ripple Affair Series.¬† It’s been a while since The Ripple Affair got some writing attention as Captain Patty has taken up most of my time.¬† I promise to give you updates as they come along, and I’m happy to say that we’re about 50 pages in to Heir of Vengeance!

Speaking of The Ripple Affair, I have some special deals this weekend that you can check out!  For this weekend, The Ripple Affair and Captain Patty and the Nameless Navigator are available for FREE on Kindle.  Be sure to take advantage of this special deal before the price goes back up!  Click here to download The Ripple Affair and click here to download Captain Patty and the Nameless Navigator.

I hope you all are having an amazing week!

Weekly Update – 06/10/17

Hi all!¬† I bet you’ve been wondering where I’ve been.¬† ūüôā¬† Things have been pretty busy here lately, and with increased work hours, it’s been tough to find time to update the blog.¬† With summer here, however, I’d like to make some goals, and one of those is providing weekly updates on how the writing is going (or whatever else seems to be on my mind at the time, ha ha.)

I’m happy to say that Captain Patty and Veronica’s Vengeance is about four chapters away from completion!¬† I’m so excited to have this book finished and published so you can read it.¬† It’s by far my favorite book I’ve ever written and I can’t wait to share it with you!¬† Today’s writing will be wrapping up the action-packed ending and I hope to have the epilogue finished within the next few days.¬† Spoilers: the epilogue is going to reveal something big, and will definitely have some major repercussions going into Book 4!

As always, I will keep you posted on how everything goes and when the book will be published.  Keep watching the blog as there are some exciting promos coming up later this month!

Happy writing!¬† ūüôā

Erin

P.S.¬† In case your day needs something cute, here’s a picture of a little visitor I had a few days ago when eating breakfast. ūüôā

IMG_0551

The Truth About Publishing

I’ve talked to a lot of people lately- at craft shows, book signings, and online- and when I meet a fellow writer, I hear the same sentence over and over again:

“I love to write, but I’m afraid to publish.”

After listening to their experiences, I’ve come to learn that it’s not so much the process of publishing that scares them (they don’t mind the writing, editing, or marketing), it’s the thought of having their work out there. ¬†In the public. ¬†On the web. ¬†Out and about where everyone in the world can now see.

Take it from someone who was once a non-published author before: putting your work out there is a scary task!

Because when you publish, you open yourself to critique, or better yet, troll-infused criticism. ¬†You risk¬†the possibility that your dream of living off of your book’s royalties may not come to pass. ¬†You¬†just might have to come to terms with the fact that even though your work is brilliant and great, there is a chance that it’ll get lost in the endless supply of books being published daily online, and only a select few will ever come to appreciate it.

Those are fears that are a reality to a lot of published authors, and it’s a reality that many people will never understand.

So I’ll be honest- publishing is scary. ¬†The risk is high, the rewards are sometimes scanty, and even if you do have good sales the first time around, they aren’t guaranteed to last.

But I’d be lying if I said publishing still isn’t worth it.

Because the truth is, despite the trolls, despite the roller-coaster sales, despite the risk that your¬†books may only ever be read by a few people on Goodreads who somehow found you, publishing is still worth it. ¬†Amidst the trolls, there’s readers who will read your book and love it. ¬†Despite the low sales and having to still work that nine to five job, you can say (unlike many others), that you’ve got to live your dream. ¬†And even if your story gets lost in the shuffle, it’s still in that pile, and even if people don’t read it today, there’s always the chance that after a time of digging, they’ll read it tomorrow.

None of us know what the future holds. ¬†It may be bad, it may be bland. ¬†But there’s also a chance it can be good. ¬†But unless we take that first step into the unknown and actually try, we’ll never know.

So if you’re unsure of whether to publish or not, I’ll tell you what I tell the other writers I talk to:

If you want to publish, then publish. ¬†If you don’t, don’t. ¬†Only you can make the decision on what to do with your writing, and you’re the one who knows best. ¬†But if you’re still unsure, don’t let worry or fear get the best of you. ¬†You’re a writer. ¬†Whether you’ve got a book for sale on Kindle or a dusty old journal on your nightstand, you’re a writer. ¬†And no matter what, as long as those words are on paper (or in digital space), you’ve already accomplished what most people could only dream of.

And that, my friend, is something to be proud of.

Ode to the Finished Book

It took much longer than expected, but I’m happy to announce that “Heart of Deceit” is finally finished! ¬†(You can get the paperback here and the Kindle version here.) ¬†My apologies that it took so long to complete. ¬†The past few years have been full of hospitals, doctor visits, and caregiving, so needless to say family has been taking a higher priority at the moment. ¬†But despite that, I didn’t forget about you, dear readers, and I’m still writing away!

In celebration of “Heart of Deceit” and its release, I decided to write a poem that will hopefully give you a good laugh as it did me. ¬†Being a writer is full of twists and turns, and at the end of a story’s ride, you can’t help but be happy that it’s finally finished so that others can enjoy it. ¬†ūüôā

Ode to the Finished Book

I set about to write a book

That’d grab my readers with a hook

With characters who laugh and cry

And plot lines that make them¬†go, “Why?”

With pen and ink, my mission set,

I wrote until my eyes were wet.

Computer glare became my foe

And editing had caused me woe.

But in the end, my story worked!

I may have done a happy twerk.

This story took so long to write,

I thought I’d never see the light!

But hard work does a story good,

And without it, it never would.

My book is done and now complete!

I will now celebrate this feat.

But not too long!  My story waits.

The next book surely can’t be late!

Signs You May Be A Writer (Part 2)

  • When I first started my blog, I wrote a post listing 10 signs that show you may be a writer.¬† That was a long time ago, back when publishing and the world of being an author was a relatively new and exciting adventure.¬† Now that I’ve been at it for nearly two years, I’ve noticed a few more signs that may show we’re writers.

So here, for 2016, is the sequel to “Signs You May Be A Writer”:

  1. You feel a sense of accomplishment when you find grammar errors in professionally published books.¬† Because you’ve edited your own story so many times,¬†you know commas and pronouns like the back of your hand.
  2. You have a soundtrack full of favorite scores and songs that you write to so you can feel like you’re in the moment.¬† Because nothing says “I’m sailing the seas!!!!!” like the soundtrack to Pirates of the Caribbean.
  3. Your characters have a mind of their own because they always take your outline and throw it in the trash.¬† Yeah, I’m looking at you, book characters.¬† You never do what the writer tells you to do.¬† Never!
  4. You could earn a Ph.D. from all the research you’ve done.¬† Who knew one book could make you an expert on astrophysics, neurobiology, networking, and the personality traits¬†of a poodle?
  5. You frequently mix up past, present, and future tense.  The struggle was real.  Or it is real.  Or it will be real.  Ah!
  6. You get excited over office supplies.  Nothing says bliss like the smell of a crisp, fresh notebook right out of the wrapping.
  7. You never leave home without a notepad or¬†note-taking device.¬† Because you never know when inspiration may strike, like when you’re in a bathroom or meeting your grandparents for lunch (both have happened to me, by the way.)
  8. You critique every.¬† single.¬† story¬† you come across.¬† You can’t help it.¬† You really just can’t.¬† You try to be nice and understanding, but¬†it’s so obvious¬†that plot line just screams predictability!
  9. You learn that writing happens at all days and times.¬† Holidays?¬† Weekends?¬† When you’re supposed to sleep?¬† Writing has no regards for personal enjoyment sometimes.
  10. You are inspired.  Who knew that old dish rag and toothbrush would give you the idea for the greatest story ever?

What are some signs you notice in writers?

Captain Patty Review…As Told by the Characters

Reviews…every author loves them. ¬†Whether good or bad or mediocre, reviews show that a book is being read by an audience, and more readers equals more exposure (and let’s be honest…more sales…) for the writer wanting to make a living.

Getting reviews is all fine and dandy coming from real people, but what if the characters themselves got a hold of the book? ¬†Would they leave a good review, bad review, or spam? ¬†I decided to give the characters of “Captain Patty and the Nameless Navigator”¬†a copy of the book they’re in, and here’s what they submitted:

  • From Samantha: “Captain Patty is the adventurous story of a young girl and her father braving the Seven Seas with the silliest pirate around! ¬†There’s chocolate, hamsters, a big sea monster, and singing and dancing! ¬†You’ll never want to go back on land after reading this fun and exciting story!”
  • From Reuben: “So…there’s this guy. ¬†A guy named Reuben. ¬†He’s a mighty fine chap. ¬†I think he’ll go far in life. ¬†He’s brave, handsome, strong…did I mention handsome? ¬†If they make a movie version, I think they should cast him as himself. ¬†He’d win an award for sure.”
  • From Charles: “It is in my most humbled opinion that ‘Captain Patty and the Nameless Navigator’ is one of the greatest stories of our time. ¬†It is a moral tale of bravery, compassion, loyalty, and love, and anyone who gets their hands on this book will have no trouble putting it down.”
  • From Louis: “LOOKING FOR A NEW SOFA? ¬†LINENS? ¬†PET CANARY? ¬†THEN LOOK NO FURTHER! ¬†SHOP AT LOUIS’ TRADING POST FOR THE BEST SELECTION IN ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING YOU COULD WANT! ¬†WE HAVE THE BEST PRICES THIS SOUTH OF THE MAINLAND. ¬†SHOP AT LOUIS’ TODAY!”
  • From Moderator: “@Louis – the post above has been marked as SPAM. ¬†Please do not solicit customers towards businesses that exist in a literary world.
  • From Bartleby: “This book is trash. ¬†It makes that pompous frilly girl Patty look intelligent when she clearly isn’t and makes that CLEARLY VILLAINOUS FIEND Charles look heroic. ¬†I’ve never read such a one-sided piece of filth. ¬†IGNORE THIS BOOK.
  • From Patty: “I received this book for an honest review in exchange for thirty pounds of chocolate. ¬†From beginning to end, this story captivated me. ¬†I felt as if I were on the ship itself! ¬†Oh wait…I was…
  • From Franky the Hamster: “Squeaky squeak ¬†squeak squeak. ¬†Squeaker squeaky squeak squeak squeaken squeak! ūüėÄ

Well, there you have it! ¬† Honest reviews from the characters themselves! ¬†If you’d like to read more about “Captain Patty and the Nameless Navigator”, visit the Books page for more information!