10 Things I Wish I Knew About Being An Author I Didn’t Know Before

I’ve been professionally writing for approximately a year and a half now. I assumed that writing “professionally” would be as easy as writing for pure enjoyment.
Three words: Color me wrong.
Here is a list of the Ten Things I Wish I Knew About Being An Author I Didn’t Know Before:
 1. Your computer/iPad/phone becomes another appendage 
As an independent author, social networking is paramount. I’m rarely without some form of electronic device to answer e-mails, post blurbs and yes, I’ve even been known to stop in the middle of the grocery store, frantically writing out a scene on my iPhone Notepad before it disappears into the abyss of my mind.
2. The book is written. Now I can relax, right?
Wrong. You’ve written your book and now the second part begins. It’s the part where you spend hours blog hopping, Tweeting, connecting on Facebook, writing blog posts…need I continue? Writing the book is the easy part. Trust me.
3. I can take my time writing my second (or third, fourth) book
Again, I was wrong. If you’ve developed a fan base, they want your next book. And they will want it soon. So between #1 and #2, you’ll need to be writing your next book.
4. Uploading a book to Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble is quick and easy.
Don’t be fooled by the author that tells you it’s a walk in the park to upload your book to the above mentioned sites. Be ready to meet formatting requirements that at times – well, at times it makes you feel like you need a degree in computer science to accomplish the upload. It does get easier with time, but it’s no walk in the park.
5. How to emotionally handle negative reviews.
You’ve poured your soul into your book. You’ve cried, you’ve spent hours sweating and proof reading your manuscript. It’s published and available for purchase. Then it happens. You get a negative review.
How did that happen?
Anytime you put yourself out there artistically, you’re going to have people that love your books. And you will have those that will hate them.
The worst thing you can do is let the review personally affect you. It’s an opinion – and we all have them. The second worst thing you can do is to take it upon yourself to respond to the reviewer…or throw gas on the fire by sending in your fan base in to let the reviewer know how wrong they are in disliking your work.
It’s taken awhile, but I’ve learned to take those bad reviews with a grain of salt. I try to learn from the negative and use it as a positive for the next book. And besides, you’ll never make everyone happy anyway.
6. I can still have a social life as an author.
That sounds like such a bold statement. I still have a social life. I just have to be selective about how I spend my time since I have so little free moments. Writing is a full time job for me – and in addition to writing, I’m a stay at home mother that homeschools my daughter. I still go out to dinner with my friends. I still go on vacation. I just have to manage my time wisely.
7. You have to fully plot out your storyline before you write your book(s) or it will never work
I was under the understanding that it was imperative that your fully write out an outline or storyboard for your book prior to writing it.
Yeah, that doesn’t work for me.
I do roughly outline each chapter. However, I let the characters guide me through the book. Some of my best writing has happened when I dared stray from my outline.
My advice: write however works best for you. If you need an outline, write one out. And if writing by the seat of your pants works best, go for it. There are no true rules of writing.
8. I have to work on getting the “big” book deal. Then I won’t have to work so hard
Another myth that has been exposed as I connect with other authors, some of which have contracts with a publishing house. Sure, you have a book deal.
But they do little promotion for your book. That’s still up to you. See #2.
9. Being a published author is glamorous.
It may be a lot of fun, but it’s far from glamorous. I’m a jack of all trades: a publicist, PR rep, personal assistant and a Mom.
10. Writing would be one of the best experiences of my life.
I’ve rattled off a lot of negative things about being a writer, but it’s almost been one of the best things that happened to me. I’m able to create worlds and plotlines, I happen to have some of the most wonderful fans in the world and I get to do what I love: Write.
No one could have prepared me for the amount of self-pride I’d have when I saw my first book go live on Amazon and B&N. Or the moment I held my paperback in my hand. It was a beautiful, humbling experience to see my words on paper, bound in a pretty package.
And I’ll take the good with the bad. And I’ll keep writing.
Tempted
Alexandra Anthony is an award winning independent Author of two romantic, erotic book series: The Vampire Destiny Series and The Dark Hart Chronicles. Both feature sexy vampires to die for, steamy love scenes and follow the twists and turns of her character's many adventures.  Her books are not for the faint of heart.
 
She was most recently featured in USA Today in an article by Joyce Lamb titled, "It's time to put some Paranormal Activity into your Reading" and was featured under Self-Published/Indie Authors for the release of Ascend (The Vampire Destiny Series Book 4).  Her book, Tempted: The Dark Hart Chronicles Book 1 won the 2013 Orangeberry Hall of Fame Award for Best Erotica.
 
Ms. Anthony is from the Midwest (Ohio to be precise) and was bitten by the lure of the vampire at an early age.  She chose to take up writing and put her own twist on these mysterious immortal creatures...making them day-walkers that could easily blend in with their human counterparts.  She also enjoys weaving Old Norse and Greek Mythology into her stories, adding a bit of realism into escapism.

More details about the author & the book

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Writer's Block


Unfortunately it can happen to us all at some point or another. The reasons behind it might vary but we all know, and dread, writer's block. This infographic takes a look at writer's block and offers some suggestions for ways you can beat it.


Got some tips of your own to add to this list? How do you over come writer's block?

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E-Book vs Print Book: Who Will Win the Battle?


Since e-books were launched there's been a battle over which format is best. Have e-books really taken the place of print? Not yet. Each format does have it's pro's and con's though. This infographic sums up some of them:
This Infographic is produced by Coupon Audit and Self Publishing Review
What format do you prefer, E-Book or Print? Which format would you pick for each of the points mentioned?
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Advice for Writers


When I immerse myself in my writing-- attend a writing group, and practice with short works or exercises-- an amazing thing happens. My writing gets better. How can I tell? I edit less, the tone stays consistent, and I can feel emotion in what I wrote. As with any activity, practice makes perfect. There is a reason that a professional basketball player will throw thousands of free throws in the off season. Because they know that when they’re at the foul line, they don’t want to have to think about where their hand goes on the ball or how they position their feet. They want to do it by rote or at least have some muscle memory.

Writers aren’t any different. There’s a groove, a writing nirvana that comes from constant work, and makes us better at our craft. I don’t know how to describe it any other than to say you’ll know when it’s happening. I know I’ve hit the proverbial ‘sweet spot’ when I lose three or four hours and have that ‘I don’t know where I am’ feeling when I finally look up from the computer screen. I’m usually amazed at how much I’ve gotten done and find there is little to edit.

So my advice is this: Write. Write as much as you can. Write anything you can. Spend some time with other people that write. Write about things that are hard to articulate or require research. Write about simple things. Write about a time in your life that made you face or deal with an emotion you’d rather not. Write something funny. Write about a current event. Write it and read it out loud. And then write some more. 



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5 Common Marketing Mistakes


I often see the same marketing mistakes made time and time again. And confess, at times, I've been guilty of committing some of them myself. Here's 5 common marketing mistakes to avoid:

1) No Marketing plan
Your marketing plan will help to keep you focused on your goals, save you time, and make it easier for you to analysis what's working and what's not.

2) Being too "me-centric"
Make it about them, NOT you. No one likes to be spammed with constant sales pitches. Instead build a marketing plan that offers value to your target audience. What benefits does your book offer readers? Why should they be interested in what you have to say?

3) Forgetting calls to action
Give your readers clear instructions about what you'd like them to do. If you want more reviews, ask for them. If you want people to share your link, ask them to share it. 

4) Waiting to start marketing
If you wait until your book is published before you start marketing you've waited too long. Marketing should start even before you've finished writing the book. Build your author brand and create some pre-release buzz. Launching your book will be much easier.

5) No personality
Competition is tough. If you just try to "fit in" you'll soon be lost in the sea of other writers trying to market their work. Don't be afraid to show your personality.

What marketing mistakes do you often see? Are you guilty of any of these? Leave a comment below with your 2 cents.

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Interview with Jeremy Hayes

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?


I started to write and draw my own comic books when I was about nine years old. Sometimes I would bring them to school so my friends could read them and write comments at the back (which I still have today). I just loved to create interesting characters and write stories about them. As a teen I worked with a close friend to create comics, he would draw them and I would write them. We made a good team but sadly he passed away of cancer at a young age. I still thought about stories and characters in my head but it wasn’t until I was in my thirties, that I wrote my first novel. Had so much fun doing it that I turned it into a trilogy. My second book is out and now I am working on my third, with many more planned after that.


What genre do you write and why?


I write fantasy books. It is what interests me the most. I love watching sci-fi movies but my brain does not create sci-fi characters or stories, just fantasy-themed ones. And they come to me quite easily. My first novel took me three months to write and my second took six months. I never seem to struggle with ideas, everything just flows. I first got hooked with fantasy when I read a choose-your-own-adventure type book as a kid, called “Deathtrap Dungeon” by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson. Just loved it.


Tell us about your latest book.


My latest book, The Demon of Stonewood, is the second book in my Stonewood Trilogy, the sequel to The Thieves of Stonewood. It picks up six months after the first book and the Thieves Guild is embroiled in a street war with a cult of demon-worshippers, attempting to rid the city of them once and for all. The cult draws closer to their goal of summoning the demon they worship back into the world. My main character, is a likable thief, by the name of Harcourt. He does make mistakes and poor choices from time to time but generally tries to do the right thing. Harcourt returns with many characters from the first book, along with a cast of new ones. I am also very proud of the covers for each of my books. They feature artwork from my friend, Mike Kotsopoulos, who passed away. It is my tribute to him and a way to share his art with the rest of the world.


What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 


I try to mention it in as many online groups and forums that allow promotion. I am also on Goodreads and right now I am doing a giveaway with my latest book. I have seven free copies to give away to those interested.


What formats is the book available in?


My books are available in paperback and as an ebook for Kobo and Kindle. The Kindle version for my latest book will be available very soon.


What do you like to do when you're not writing?


When I am not writing, I do a lot of reading. I still read comic books and of course other fantasy novels, especially the ones set in the Forgotten Realms world. I am also a boxing fanatic and watch my share of fights too.


Jeremy Hayes
Who are your favourite authors?


As with most people into fantasy, I have to say that J.R.R. Tolkien ranks right up there. The Lord of the Rings in my opinion is the greatest fantasy story ever told. I also love Robert E. Howard, who created Conan the Barbarian and Solomon Kane. For authors that are still living, I really enjoy R.A. Salvatore’s work. I have been following his dark elf series for over twenty years now. And lastly, I credit Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson, who’s Fighting Fantasy series really got me started.


What advice do you have for other writers?


I know it’s said all the time, but, never give up. Write for yourself first and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Oh, and always keep a pen and paper handy wherever you go, you don’t want to forget those great ideas you think of when you are out and about.


What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?

My favourite is, “A professional writer is an amateur that didn’t quit.” – Richard Bach


What's the best thing about being a writer?


I enjoy visiting other worlds and spending time there. You get to create the worlds and the people to your liking, then allow your readers to join you there and partake in the adventure.


Where can people find out more about you and your writing?


You can always find about my books and the latest news at www.northlordpublishing.com, and you can like us on facebook, just search for Northlord Publishing.


Anything else you'd like to add?


I would like to thank you, Jo, for this opportunity, and for the work you have done in trying to help other authors find ways to promote themselves, through your site and with the help of your latest book.

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5 Tips for Easier Writing

Source for Infographic
Have you got a good tip that should be added to this list? Share it in the comments section below.
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10 Tips for the Care of Writers


At times it must be tough being around us writers. I found this great little list at http://www.pinterest.com/pin/224828206370322873/ that offers some tips for the care of writers to help people understand us better.


Anything you'd add to this list?

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How To Do a Live Twitter Chat


Twitter chats or Tweet Chats are a great way to reach a large target audience on Twitter. As all the tweets can be retweeted it can also be a great way to send your message viral and help establish yourself as an expert in your niche.

Live Twitter interviews are done using a hashtag which is attached to all the tweets. This makes it easy for people to follow and also allows people to find all the posts quickly as they can just do a search for the hashtag and it'll bring up all the posts from the chat.

Yesterday I was interviewed in a Tweet Chat as part of my virtual book tour to promote my latest release Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home, where I shared loads of tips about virtual book tours. As I was preparing for the interview I decided to do a quick how to video to show how to do a live Twitter chat. I also show some of the tools I use to make doing them super easy. 

Check it out here:



If you missed the Tweet Chat and would like to check out the highlights, you can see it here http://storify.com/jolinsdell/tweetchat-with-jo-linsdell


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The Power of Amazon

I love Amazon. Seriously. Though I’ve heard grumbling for years about Amazon sweeping other booksellers into oblivion, it seems clear to me that Amazon might just be a writer’s best friend—the website that attracts and informs millions, offers writers opportunity to publish their work through a variety of companies, and has a ton of tools to help invisible writers become visible.

I talk about this last point often, and I’m always surprised that writers aren’t aware of it. Do you realize you can promote yourself on Amazon FOR FREE (which Amazon not only approves of, but provides tools for)?

How about:

1)   Your Customer Name. I’m not suggesting that if your name is John Smith you start calling yourself Carmen Miranda. BUT... if you’re a writer, why just say John Smith? My customer name on Amazon is not ‘Susan Sloate’. It’s ‘Susan Sloate, Author, Forward to Camelot’. Why? Because EVERY SINGLE PLACE where my name appears on Amazon, it’s a free advertisement for me and my book.

How do you use it?

WRITE REVIEWS. Book reviews, music reviews, movie reviews—whatever products you like and want to voice an opinion about. You don’t even need to buy it on Amazon!! If you got a good book at a yard sale for 50 cents, you can still write an honest review about its merits, and your name shows up on the review. Pick items you like, so your review is positive. If you write a snarling review, it might make you feel better, but will potential readers reading your review want to check out your book, given your attitude? Doubtful. And try if possible to pick stuff that’s ALREADY GETTING A LOT OF TRAFFIC and is in the same genre as your book. Recent bestsellers are good, or books by authors who are already popular. You’re getting YOUR NAME AND TITLE on THEIR PAGE—for nothing! Isn’t that worth a few minutes of your time to write a review? I think it is. Besides, I like boosting other writers. It’s fun. Remember to write a review long enough to get some attention. Two sentences won’t impress other customers. A thoughtfully-written paragraph will.

2)   Listmania. Hard to believe more writers don’t take advantage of this one. Listmania allows you to create a list of items that have something in common—in the case of books, often books with the same subject or in the same genre. The list shows up on the page of EVERY ITEM that’s listed.

Example: I co-wrote a time-travel thriller, FORWARD TO CAMELOT, and created a Listmania list titled “Best Time-Travel Novels Ever”. I listed THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE, at that time a New York Times bestseller and #2 on Amazon, along with Jack Finney’s famous TIME & AGAIN and a few others. I also listed FORWARD TO CAMELOT. You as the list creator can make a comment on each item you list. Under CAMELOT, I wrote, “Best time-travel book ever”. Hey, it was an honest opinion. That list appeared on ALL the pages of ALL the items I’d mentioned—and customers look at them. You can put the same item on more than one list. I also listed CAMELOT with “Best JFK Assassination Books Ever”. You can create multiple lists using the same book, to take advantage of the buzz around OTHER books—why not? It’s a free and very simple way to leverage the power of others’ popularity to help yourself. Try it and see.

3)   Author Central. Amazon WANTS you to have an author’s page where you can post your published books (and Amazon will have all of them!), your photo, your blog URL (and if you don’t have a blog, shame on you!), your bio, and many other items of interest. Keep it up to date. Give people a chance to find you. That page has its own simple URL you can promote on Facebook, Google +, etc.

Amazon has created a host of wonderful tools (these are just a few) to help you get noticed—if you take the time to learn them and use them. Amazon is by far the world’s biggest bookseller, so why not devote some effort to using it well? I guarantee you’ll sell more books on Amazon than anywhere else online. See it as a friend.

When my new novel, STEALING FIRE, went live on Amazon, it went live ONLY in the Kindle edition, and it was not available anywhere else on the web. After I mentioned it on my Facebook page (and I don’t have that many friends), the book went to #2 in its category and was listed as a ‘Hot New Release’. Without doing ANY of my planned promotion, I had an Amazon bestseller WITHIN 12 HOURS.


That’s the power of Amazon. Take advantage!

Susan Sloate is the author of 20 published books, including FORWARD TO CAMELOT (with Kevin Finn), an alternative history of the JFK assassination, STEALING FIRE, an autobiographical love story, and REALIZING YOU (with Ron Doades), for which she invented a new genre – the self-help novel.  FORWARD TO CAMELOT was a #6 Amazon bestseller, took honors in 3 literary competitions and was optioned for film production by a Hollywood company. STEALING FIRE was a quarter-finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. Susan has also written young-adult fiction and non-fiction, including RAY CHARLES: FIND ANOTHER WAY!, which won a silver medal in the 2007 Children’s Moonbeam Book Awards, AMELIA EARHART: CHALLENGING THE SKIES, a perennial Amazon bestseller, and MYSTERIES UNWRAPPED: THE SECRETS OF ALCATRAZ,
which led to her appearance on a special for The History Channel in 2009, as well as books for five girls’ fiction series. As a screenwriter, she has written an informational film for McGraw-Hill Films and optioned two scripts to Hollywood production companies. As a sportswriter, she’s covered the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Mets. She’s also managed two recent political campaigns, founded the East Cooper Authors Festival (which put 18 professional authors in 17 area schools in one day) and serves on the Culture, Arts and Pride Commission of the Town of Mount Pleasant.



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Interview with Jaimie Admans

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I think I was ten when I read my first Judy Blume book, and twelve when I read a Judy Blume book that I really connected with. It was like she had written Tiger Eyes about me. I had never read anything that meant so much to me or affected me so deeply, and from then on, I wanted to be able to do the same. I wanted to write stories that would one day mean as much to other people as hers had to me.

What genre do you write and why?
I write chick-lit and young adult, and the only reason is because they are the genres that I love. I love reading books from both genres, and my mind is always biased towards them when thinking up plots.

Tell us about your latest book.
It’s called Not Pretty Enough, it’s a YA romantic comedy, about a fourteen-year-old girl called Chessie who is head over heels in love with a boy in her class. The problem is that he doesn’t know she exists, and the book is about the lengths she goes to just to get him to notice her.

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
I’m awful at marketing. Apart from a few tweets on launch day, this blog tour is the extent of my marketing so far, but it’s so much fun that it doesn’t even feel like marketing at all!

What formats is the book available in?
Right now, it’s in KDP Select so is only available on Amazon. You can download a Kindle app and read from that on any tablet, computer or phone though if you don’t have a Kindle.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love reading, of course! I also love gardening and watching horror movies – the scarier the better!

Who are your favourite authors?
I love Sophie Kinsella and Meg Cabot. I also grew up reading and still love Judy Blume, Enid Blyton and Virginia Andrews.

What advice do you have for other writers?
Unplug the internet cable! It might sound like a bit of a joke, but it really helps if you’re struggling to concentrate or procrastinating. It really helps to just switch off the router or whatever you use, and forbid yourself from putting it back on until you’ve hit a certain word count or a certain amount of time has passed.

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
“You can’t edit a blank page” – Nora Roberts. This says it all for me because I’m a big fan of rubbish first drafts, and for me the best way of writing is just to get the first draft down, and worry about everything else later. You can make a bad first draft better, but you can’t do anything with a blank document.

What's the best thing about being a writer?
Oh gosh, where to start?! It’s the best job in the world. I get paid (admittedly not much!) to make up stories and write them down. It’s a constant learning curve, and incredibly satisfying when you take a step back and can see how much your writing has improved over the years, and of course, reading good reviews or having someone tell you they loved your book is one of the best feelings in the world!

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
My website is http://www.jaimieadmans.com and you can find me on Twitter @be_the_spark!

Anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you so much for having me on Writers and Authors today!

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