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Fabulous Fall Reads September 28, 2012

 

With the weather getting cooler and October break around the corner, I started thinking about all the things I’m looking forward to this fall.

 

I love everything about Halloween, except the costume magazines, which appear in my mailbox in July.  I can’t even think about costumes when it’s still over 100 degrees outside.  And then of course, there are the big warehouse stores who put out the gargantuan (my SAT word for the day) candy bags in August.  Is it me, or do you need a forklift to haul some of those bags into your shopping cart?

 

Other things I love about fall? The cooler weather. The opportunity to finally run outside without getting heat stroke. And the release of many books I’ve been waiting months to read!

 

Here are a few titles I can’t wait to get my hands on – it’s truly a bonanza for anyone who loves Young Adult Fiction. And as you may notice, there appears to be a pattern here, as many popular series are taking their final bow.

 

 

 

 

REACHED by Ally Condie (November 13)

The final installment in The Matched Trilogy and the conclusion to the epic romance between Cassia & Ty.

 

 

 

 

BEAUTIFUL REDEMPTION by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (October 23)

Ethan and Lena have been torn apart and now they must find their way back to each other in this epic conclusion to the Caster Chronicles Series.

 

 

 

 

FINALE by Becca Fitzpatrick (October 23)

Patch and Nora have battled many demons but now they may have to battle their own family and friends in order to stay together.

 

 

 

 

THE LIES THAT BIND by Lisa & Laura Roecker (November 1)

The sequel to the enormously popular, THE LIAR SOCIETY. This time Kate Lowry is back to sleuthing when a prep school classmate goes missing.

 

 

 

 

THE EVOLUTION OF MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin (October 23)

In this highly anticipated sequel, Mara finds herself coming to grips with her extraordinary power, and finds herself doubting everyone around her, including the boy she’s supposed to love.

 

 

So those are a few of the new books releasing soon that I’m excited to read.  How about you?  Is there something hitting the bookshelves soon you’re dying to read? I’d love to hear about it!

 

 

And NEXT FRIDAY… THE F3 (First Five Frenzy) returns with Agent Michael Carr of Veritas Literary sharing his thoughts on what makes the first five pages of a manuscript compelling! For any aspiring writer, this is a must read!

 

W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday – The Illustrious Authoress September 26, 2012

 

 

Being anonymous is one thing. Staying anonymous is quite another. Yet the woman behind the blog, Miss Snark’s First Victim, has managed to successfully stay behind the curtain. All the while sharing her energetic personality with readers, as well as offering ample opportunities for writers to get their work in front of a prestigious contingent of literary agents.

 

Known as Authoress, this woman not only has an amazing touch with the aspiring writer community, but is well-versed in the world of writing, being an author herself. Fascinated by her ability to not only write, but run an amazingly successful blog, I knew I had to track down this great lady and learn about her writing journey.

 

Gracious as always (although still remaining anonymous) Authoress took up the challenge and agreed to answer my questions…

 

Amy: When did you first begin seriously writing with the intent of wanting to be published?

 

Authoress: I self-published a non-fiction book in 2002. At the time, I considered myself an essayist, and believed (truly!) that I could never write a novel. Everything changed when I sat down and wrote my first (horrible) novel, a YA fantasy. That was in 2003. From the first word, I knew I wanted to be a published novelist.

 

 

Amy: When did you complete your first manuscript?

 

Authoress: Some time in 2004.

 

 

Amy: How many completed manuscripts did you query before one garnered agent interest?

 

Authoress: What’s really interesting is that this first, horrible novel actually received 2 partial requests! Clearly I’d done a better job on the query than I had on the novel. I finally realized that my first novel was not publishable, and began querying my second novel (an MG fantasy). I received requests for partials and my very first request for a full, so there were some heady moments during Novel 2′s journey! But ultimately, it wasn’t strong enough, either. In truth, I was still honing my craft, and in looking back, I can clearly see why the MG fantasy didn’t land me an agent. By the time I queried Josh, I was on my fourth completed novel. And that was the winner!

 

 

Amy: How laborious/frustrating was the query process for you?

 

Authoress: At first, it had its normal ups and downs (and obsessive email checking, of course!), but it got really difficult toward the end. The YA dystopian that Josh fell in love with had gotten many requests and two revise-and-resubmits that all ended in rejection, and I was beginning to despair of ever landing an agent. People kept telling me, “It’s always the hardest right before your big break comes, so hang in there!” It was hard to believe that, but it turns out they were right.

 

 

Amy: If one manuscript was continuing to get rejected, how did you know it was time to move on to a new project?

 

Authoress: Well, I was always working on the next story, so after a while, when my rejections had piled up and the agents left on my list had dwindled to almost none, it was easy to shift gears and query the next novel.

 

 

Amy: If you had bites on previous manuscripts, and then was ultimately turned down by agents, what kept you pressing forward?

 

Authoress: You know, I’ve just had this carved-in-stone vision for my writing career, and quitting would have meant giving that up. Even when I was ready to walk away–and I was seriously considering it, even as Josh was reading my manuscript–I ultimately knew I could never do it. I’m just not the walk-away type.

 

 

Amy: Can you give us a short summary of your call with your agent, Josh Getzler?

 

Authoress: Short? *grin* Actually, Josh had mentioned in an email that he felt like he was already my agent, so it was clear that our call was going to be a confirmation of that. A sort of “let’s-make-this-official”. It was a cold day right before Christmas, and I took the call in our upstairs TV room, wearing a chunky, brown sweater and my gray Jodimitts (you all know what Jodimitts are, right?). As Josh talked, I furiously scribbled down everything he said. And I smiled a lot.

 

The truth is, I absolutely hate phones. So that made me all the more nervous for this initial phone call. Now, of course, my scheduled calls with Josh don’t make me twitch anymore. He’s wonderful and warm and real over the phone, so it’s not the heart-stopping event it used to be. But, yeah. That first call was scary not so much because it was Josh, but because it was…a phone.

 

 

Amy: Your blog, “Miss Snark’s First Victim” has numerous success stories. But for every success, there are many who still can’t get an agent to bite. What is your advice for those writers who continue to struggle with rejection?

 

Authoress: I know you have heard it so many times that you probably want to drop-kick the next person who says it. But here it is, anyway: DON’T GIVE UP. Rejection is hard. I’m not going to pretend it didn’t come close to crushing me sometimes. But it’s imperative that you learn–hard and fast–that rejection of your work is not rejection of you. That you have within yourself the ability to take the bad and use it to create GOOD. In other words–keep growing as a writer. Never stop. Never say, “This is the best I can do, so screw it.” Because…the best you can do today is not the best you will be able to do tomorrow. This is a journey, and we’ve got to be willing to keep traveling until we reach our destination.

 

Also? You’re not alone. Don’t sit in your warm, little hole licking your wounds. Come on out and commiserate. We’ll stroke your hair and hug you for a little while, but then we’ll kick you in the behind and tell you to get back to work. Because that’s what it’s going to take.

 

And you can do it!

 

 

AUTHORESS WRITES MG AND YA FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION. SHE HAS AN ADORING HUSBAND AND A STASH OF ORGANIC CHOCOLATE THAT KEEPS DISAPPEARING. (THE CHOCOLATE, NOT THE ADORING HUSBAND.) SHE IS ALSO A CLASSICAL PIANIST, A TRAINED SOPRANO, AND AN UNABASHED FOODIE.

 

YOU CAN FIND HER AT MISS SNARK’S FIRST VICTIM, AND FOLLOW HER ON TWITTER AT @AUTHORESS.

 

CHASING A GOOD READ – TEN September 24, 2012

 

 

One of the most difficult things about writing for me is plotting.  Some people use bulletin boards, note cards, or elaborate charts to get their ideas in place. I just write a simple outline and hope my chapters follow along.  This has worked for me with some success until now.

 

Why now?

 

Because I’m writing a YA Thriller and the plotting is kicking my behind! Trying to figure out when to reveal certain plot points, throwing in red herrings, as well as having tight prose, is no easy task my friends.

 

So why am I bemoaning all this?  Because I just read Gretchen McNeil’s, TEN, and the intricate plotting blew me away.  She weaved such an amazingly tight story that even down to the last chapter, I was still wondering who the bad guy/girl was.  And it’s no easy feat to fool me.  Friends and family refuse to watch mystery movies with me because I ALWAYS know who the villain is in the first five minutes.

 

I’m not going to give many details about this book, because I can’t stand it when people give away spoilers.  All I will say is the premise surrounds ten teenagers who sneak away to a remote island for a weekend party.  As they contemplate the evening’s festivities, someone pops in a DVD, and the real story takes off.  In gruesome detail our villain lets every reveler know that before the weekend is over they will all be dead.

 

I’ll be honest, about half way through, I started to worry this was going to have a predictable ending. I was sure I knew which way the story was headed.  But, Ms. McNeil had more than a couple of surprises up her sleeve – all of which caught me completely off guard.

 

My only negative comment about the story was there were some issues with the climax scene.  While filled with loads of tension, it had me feeling disembodied at certain points. I found myself rereading the text several times just to figure out where the characters were in the scene, which brought down the impact of the ending.

 

Regardless of this minor issue, I highly recommend TEN to anyone who enjoys an intense thriller. While marketed as Young Adult Fiction, I think any fan of  Adult Fiction (thrillers or mysteries) would find this a heart-stopping read.

 

And one last thing… If you do read TEN, I challenge you to predict who the killer is.  I bet, you too, will be shocked by the mind-blowing ending!

 

RATING: Absolutely worth the chase

 

A side note: Gretchen will be part of my W.O.W. series in October.  Come back by and check out what she has to say about her writing journey. It’s one interview you won’t want to miss!

 

A Writer’s Education Via The Web September 21, 2012

 

 

When you sit down to write a book no one ever tells you that trying to get it published goes way beyond writing “The End” on the final page. Oh no, that is just the first step in a very looong journey. A journey that may, or may not, end with an agent, and seeing your book in all its technicolor glory on the shelves one day.

 

I was very naive when I started the writing process. I thought I knew how to maneuver through the publishing trenches, reach out to an agent, and get my book published in record time.

 

Yeah, right. Hello Newbie.

 

I was seriously deluded, thinking I could pull this off without educating myself on how this business works. And there’s no doubt about it. Publishing is first and foremost a business – a fact us creative types tend to ignore.

 

So if you’re new to writing and/or publishing how do you educate yourself?

 

I personally have found the web to be a wealth of knowledge when it comes to teaching a novice writer how to succeed in the land of the written word.

 

Here are some great blog posts I’ve come across that have been amazingly helpful in teaching me about the industry:

 

Questions about word count?  Think that YA novel you’ve written is stellar at 150K? You might want to think again.  Check out super agent, Jennifer Laughran’s blog post on word counts. I find myself referring to it constantly.

 

Think you’ve got an amazing query that you’re just itching to send to agents?

 

Hold off before hitting the “SEND” button and check out this post from Words From The Woods titled, “Optimizing The Query Process With Fewer Mistakes.” It will make you rethink your querying approach.

 

What happens after you sign on the dotted line and sell your book?  YA author, Mindy McGinnis, takes us behind the curtain in a post on Book Pregnant called,  “Why Does It Take So Long To Publish A Book, Anyway?”

 

Once the book is on the shelves how do you promote it? Well if you’re with a large house, they’ll have you work with a publicist, but they can only do so much.  What should you do as an author to promote that baby you’ve toiled over for so long?  The answer may be in Stephen L. Duncan’s “Mind the Gap” post on From The Write Angle.

 

All of these important posts have taught me that I’ve still got a lot to learn about the publishing business.

 

What about you? Have you come across a helpful article on the web that has taught you something about writing or publishing you didn’t know?  If you have, please tell me about it.  I’d love to read it and share with others!

 

W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday – Jessica Khoury September 19, 2012

 

 

I first came across author, Jessica Khoury, when I was reading a blog about successful queries.  I read her first lines and thought, “Man, this girl can write!”  From that time forward, I waited to see if her book would make it through submission and be published.  I stumbled upon a thread of hers on Agent Query Connect, and sure enough she had an announcement about her publishing date.

 

Her book, ORIGIN, hit shelves last Tuesday, and I devoured it in two days.  I can’t say enough amazing things about this book – so I’ll just say this –  GO OUT AND BUY IT OR DOWNLOAD IT NOW! You will not be sorry.

 

Ok, so enough fangirling – on to Jessica’s writing journey…

 

Amy: What drew you to write a Young Adult novel?

 

Jessica: YA is what I love to read, so I’ve never really considered writing anything else. The great thing about YA is it’s exploding right now, not just in numbers, but in possibilities. There is a level of experimentation and freedom in YA you don’t get in other genres; as an author, you can be daring, mixing genres, exploring themes and settings that haven’t been done before. It’s really an exciting place to be right now and I am so happy to have a spot in YA!

 

 

Amy: Was ORIGIN your first completed manuscript?

 

Jessica: Before ORIGIN I had written two complete novels. They were both high fantasy, and I love them both very much. The first, however, was written when I was 13, and is better off staying on its floppy disk in a deep, dark drawer–but it was a great learning experience! The second one I finished last year, having written it during college, and I would love to see it published one day! We will see.

 

 

Amy: How long did it take to complete?

 

Jessica: I spent 30 days on the first draft of ORIGIN, which sounds very fast, I know, but you must take into account the months of editing that followed. After editing with my agent and then editor at Razorbill, ORIGIN was in development for about 9 months.

 

 

Amy: Did you use critique partners for ORIGIN? If so, how did that affect your writing process?

 

Jessica: I had a few beta readers early on, before I got an agent, and their input was very valuable. The biggest influences on ORIGIN, however, came from my editor and agent. They are both very savvy when it comes to critiques, and I was so fortunate to have their help in developing the manuscript.

 

 

Amy: When you first wrote your query for ORIGIN did it come easily or did it go through many drafts?

 

Jessica: The query was actually really easy. I’d queried one book before that, and spent weeks on the query–not so with ORIGIN. I pretty much sent out the first draft of the query to agents–which I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. Queries are vitally important and you should take your time in crafting them. But I did post it on agentqueryconnect.com for feedback, so I did have feedback on it before it went out.

 

 

Amy: How many queries did you send out for ORIGIN?

 

Jessica: I sent 40 in one day. You can query a bunch of agents all at once, or do 5-10 a week. With ORIGIN, I felt I might get some good responses because I believed so strongly in the story myself, and I was right. I wanted the ability to have multiple agents requesting at the same time, because then they read faster and get even more exciting about your book. I’m so glad I did the full-out, query-EVERYBODY! approach; if I hadn’t, I might not have found my fabulous agent!

 

 

Amy: Did you receive immediate response or did you have to twist your hands and wait a while?

 

Jessica: I got my first request within fifteen minutes–so pretty fast! A week later, I got my first phone call and offer of representation.

 

 

Amy: As many writers know, the publishing world is very hard to break into. What was the one thing you did to help garner agent attention?

 

Jessica: My query really helped; it was the main thing catching agents’ attention. My query for my previous book was very weak and I learned a lot from the mistakes I made with it. I was able to develop my query-writing skills and come up with a very compelling one for ORIGIN.

 

 

Amy: What was your “call” like with your agent, Lucy Carson of The Friedrich Agency?

 

Jessica: So surreal! I was so nervous and couldn’t eat anything all day! Lucy was very sweet and enthusiastic, but also very to-the-point. She knew exactly what changes she wanted made to the book and was able to communicate those very clearly in our initial conversation. It was my first encounter with a real “industry professional,” so I was pretty shy and tentative, but now I know I could call her anytime about anything. She’s been great in making me feel comfortable in the publishing world and helping me develop not just ORIGIN, but my own public persona as a YA author.

 

 

Amy: If you met an aspiring writer on the street, who had just gone through a long period of rejection, what would you say to encourage them to keep writing?

 

Jessica: I’d say don’t give up–but if you’re having trouble, don’t just bumble blindly on. Take time to study your own writing and the writing of successful authors you admire. Read books on writing, join online writing communities, and focus on honing your craft. That’s what I did in the two years after I graduated college, and it paid off. You might have a natural knack for writing, but even natural talent needs to be trained, practiced, and continually sharpened. Writing isn’t just something that develops from sitting down to write every day–though that is a vital aspect to it. You must view it as a discipline requiring study, evaluation, and sometimes, a change to your approach.

 

 

 

 

Jessica Khoury is 22 years old and was born and raised in Georgia. She attended public school followed by homeschooling, and earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Toccoa Falls College. She lives in Toccoa, Georgia with her husband Benjamin, two terrible dogs and three contrary birds, and an abundance of books, shoes, and sweet tea. When not writing, she’s usually directing stageplays or coaching soccer. She began writing at age four and has dreamed of being an author ever since. Origin is her first novel. Film rights were recently optioned by Scott Pictures.

 

Find out more about Jessica on her website or follow her on Twitter.

 

Guest Posting Today: Underground Book Reviews September 17, 2012

 

 

Just a short note to encourage everyone to head over to Underground Book Reviews to check out my guest review on Jessica Khoury’s  ORIGIN.

 

This stunning debut is an amazing read that mixes science with morality, and will have you thinking about its themes long after you’ve read the last word.

 

Hope you enjoy!

 

DO WE NEED A DIFFERENT POV? September 14, 2012

 

Confession time.  In the summmer of 2006, a friend who was a sixth grade teacher told me about a book I had to read.  It was a little unknown novel titled, TWILIGHT.

 

I read it and thought it was a decent story, put it on the shelves with my other books, and didn’t think a thing about it.  A year later, I couldn’t go anywhere without hearing, seeing or reading about the flurry of girls and women obssessed with the book.  In fact, I was in a tiny airport in Cabo San Lucas and sitting across from me was a man in his early 60s and what was he reading? I don’t think I have to say any more about the frenzy and how many people it touched.

 

In 2008 with the craze still running rampant, it was revealed that Stephenie Meyer had re-written TWILIGHT from the POV of Edward, titled MIDNIGHT SUN.  The file got leaked on the internet, without Meyer’s permission, and eventually she posted it on her website for all her rabid fans to read. I read it, but I didn’t feel it really added much to the original story.

 

Why am I blathering on about this?  Well because I just discovered that Veronica Roth has just done the same thing with the release of a little thing called, FREE FOUR.  It’s one chapter from DIVERGENT, told from Four’s POV.  In case you’ve already read the series, I’ll tell you it’s the scene where he throws knives at Tris’ head.

 

 

 

 

All this has me asking –  do we need to read a book again, but from another character’s perspective? Will it add anything to the original concept? Would you want to reread HUNGER GAMES but from Peeta’s viewpoint?  Would it change how you perceived Katniss’ story?

 

It has me thinking about so many other possibilities.  What about HARRY POTTER? Would you want to read GOBLET OF FIRE from Ron or Hermione’s perspective? Although I will admit, I’d spend big bucks to reread HALF-BLOOD PRINCE if it was written from Snape’s POV.

 

So what do you think?  Is it helpful to the reader to get another character’s POV on a story, or does it not add anything to the overall concept?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday – Alison Cherry September 12, 2012

 

 

A while ago I wrote a post questioning whether or not there was such thing as an original idea left in the world. This was after the release of the re-boot of the Spiderman series, and the last installment of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight saga hit the theaters.

 

Well today, I am pleased to say I have discovered an author who brings a completely “unique” twist to the world of publishing.  Her Young Adult manuscript, while having modern elements, is completely original in the fact that all the characters have red hair. That’s right, I said red hair. Who you are, your social standing, etc… is all determined by how deep your red runs.

 

Now, I must admit, I’m biased.  Both my sister and my nephew are natural redheads, and I’ve been known to experiment with several copper shades courtesy of Clairol and L’Oreal.  So perhaps this is why I find today’s featured author, Alison Cherry’s concept so intriguing.  Her debut novel, of course, titled RED, will debut in the fall of 2013.

 

Here is Alison’s writing journey…

 

Amy: When did you first begin seriously writing with the intent of wanting to be published?

 

Alison: I started writing my first book in November of 2007, but I wasn’t very serious about it at the beginning. I’d write a little, abandon the manuscript for months, and revisit it when I had nothing else to do. It probably wasn’t until I was about halfway that I thought, “Huh, this isn’t bad, maybe I can write a book.”

 

 

Amy: When did you complete your first Young Adult manuscript?

 

Alison: My first manuscript took me two and a half years. It was complete and ready for querying in April of 2010.

 

 

Amy: How many completed manuscripts did you query before one garnered agent interest?

 

Alison: RED was the second book I queried. There were good things about that first manuscript, but in the end, it was too small and quiet a story to make much of a splash.

 

 

Amy: How laborious/frustrating was the query process for you?

 

Alison: I think the query process is pretty laborious and frustrating for everyone. I did tons of research, made a spreadsheet, honed and re-honed my query letter, and I still got tons of rejections. The waiting is the hardest part. (It’s still the hardest part—I’ve discovered that even after you get a book deal, there is still a ridiculous amount of waiting. You’re just waiting for different things.)

 

 

Amy: If one manuscript was continuing to get rejected, how did you know it was time to move on to a new project?

 

Alison: That’s an interesting story, actually. After nine months of rejections on my first manuscript, I got a lovely email from Holly Root at Waxman Agency, detailing all the reasons why she loved my writing and my voice and explaining why she didn’t think she could sell that particular manuscript. She suggested we get together and talk about revisions, then asked if I was working on anything else. I was about halfway through the first draft of RED at that point, so I sent her the first few chapters. When we met up a few weeks later, Holly told me she was smitten with RED and that I should concentrate on finishing that, then send it to her right away. I spent the next five months doing so, during which I completely stopped querying the first book. Holly had convinced me that RED would make a much better debut novel—and also that she was the right agent for me, if I could just produce the right book!

 

 

Amy: If you had bites on previous manuscripts, and then was ultimately turned down by agents, what kept you pressing forward?

 

Alison: That did happen five or six times, and it never got easy. But I didn’t start writing because I wanted an agent—I started writing because I loved writing. Even if I had never gotten an agent, I guarantee I would still be telling stories. If you’re writing because you want to be published, it’s really easy to be disappointed. But if the process of putting words together brings you joy, nobody can stop you from being happy.

 

 

Amy: How many agents did you query for RED?

 

Alison: Holly was the only agent who ever saw it! She signed me five days after I sent it to her.

 

 

Amy: Did you receive instantaneous response or did you have to wait for the requests/rejections?

 

Alison: The very first query I sent was an anomaly—the agent answered forty minutes later (on a SUNDAY!) and asked for a full, which he then rejected three days later. Most of the other agents I queried took months to reply, some as many as seven or eight months. It was extremely frustrating at the time, but now that I’m agented, it makes total sense to me. We keep Holly really busy, and I have no idea how she has time to read queries at all.

 

 

Amy: What can you tell us about “your call” with agent, Holly Root?

 

Alison: I knew I’d be a nervous, babbling mess on the phone if Holly called to offer me representation, so I wrote down a bunch of questions in advance to help me guide the conversation. But as it turned out, Holly totally took the lead. First she told me everything she loved about my book, and then she told me how she liked to work and what her submission strategy would be. I had heard you were supposed to end agent calls by saying you’d think about the offer and call back within a week, but that seemed insane—I was absolutely sure I wanted Holly. So after about twenty minutes, I told her that. There was a very long pause, and then she said, “Oh! That was easy!”

 

 

Amy: What parting advice can you give aspiring writers who may be on the cusp of giving up on their writing dream?

 

Alison: Oh, please don’t! You all have stories to tell, and I want to hear them! But here are some (more concrete) pieces of advice to help you on your way:

 

1)  If an agent says a book isn’t right for her but that she’d like to see the next thing you write, she’s not just saying that to be nice. She really means it. She saw something special in your writing. Send her your next project.

 

2) Reach out to the writing community, whether through Twitter or forums or going to conferences. I’ve found that most writers are ridiculously supportive. There are many, many people in the same situation as you, and it helps so much to talk about the process with others who know what you’re going through.

 

3) I know hardly anyone who sold the first book they wrote. If nobody’s snapping up your first manuscript, write another one. You have practice writing a book now, and your second project will be better for it. If you want to be a writer, every minute you spend writing is valuable. Don’t let all that new knowledge go to waste!

 

 

Alison grew up in Evanston, IL. She is a professional photographer and spent many years working as a lighting designer for theater, opera, and dance. Now she lives in Brooklyn and writes young adult novels full time. Her debut, RED, is coming from Delacorte in October of 2013. She is represented by the lovely and amazing Holly Root of Waxman Leavell.

 

 

 

 

For more information on Alison check out her website, see what she’s up to on The Lucky 13s, or follow her on Twitter.

 

Risks and Rewards of Self Publishing – Guest Post by Caterina Torres September 10, 2012

 

Recently, I had my friend and CP Katie French share her thoughts on her decision to self-publish.  Her insights were important to understanding why a writer would choose to go this route instead of traditional publishing.

 

I wanted to follow-up on this important topic with a post from someone who has been part of the e-publishing world for a while.  So today, my AQ Connect friend, Caterina Torres, is sharing her thoughts on what life is like in the self-publishing trenches. As she shares in her own words, the saga does not end when you upload your book, and see it in all its shining glory on bookselling websites.  No, that is just the beginning of a long process that requires a lot of time and self-promotion.

 

Risks and Rewards of Self-Publishing

 

 

Growing up, I never thought much about how a book got to my local library. I’d simply check out however many books I wanted, gush over the story, and return them when they were due. None of my reader friends mentioned the differences between traditional and self-published books, nor did we care. All we wanted was a good book to read.

 

 

Now that I’ve written a couple of books, and published one, all I keep hearing about is the differences between traditional and self-published books. It’s like no matter where I go, this is the heated topic—which is better?

 

 

None of them are.

 

 

You read that right. Whether you do it by yourself or with an agent, as long as the book is good, it really doesn’t matter which path you choose. The best thing to keep in mind is to make sure the path you DO choose is the right fit for you. Not everyone can go it alone, and not many folks like working with others. It all depends on doing your research and figuring out which will benefit yourself the best.

 

 

I happened to choose self-publishing, so I’ll let you in on my experiences and what I found to be the Risk and Rewards of Self-Publishing.

 

 

RISK

 

1.      YOU DO EVERYTHING BY YOURSELF

 

You choose the book cover, the price, and editor. You need to decide how to market, which social media site to join, how to get a fantastic website. You decide who’ll want to read your book and when to publish. You. You. You.

 

 

2.      THE BOOK HAS TO BE PERFECT

 

In my experience, I find that people are a bit more judgmental when they find out the book was self-published. They will expect it to have typos, plot holes, cliché’s, and other issues. They’ll expect it to not be that great, but they’ll give it a try anyways. The best thing you can do is make sure your book is perfect when you publish, or all you’re going to see in the reviews is nitpicks like, “It had some typos, but it was a good book.” Once that review is up, it’s almost as if the rest of the readers WANT TO see those typos, so they will look for it.

 

 

3.      GET READY TO SPEND SOME MONEY

 

When it comes to self-publishing, it’s not cheap. Get ready to shell out some dough for editors, book covers, websites, and giveaways. No one is going to front that money, so save up at least $2,000 and do your research. Not all editors are expensive, and the same goes for book covers. Just make sure the people you choose to hire are reliable and reputable.

 

 

4.      STICK TO YOUR OWN SCHEDULE

 

Some folks might not think this is a risk as it is a benefit, but it really depends on the person. If you write one book, thinking that’s it, you’ll be surprised. It takes several books to make it anywhere in this business. You might think, “Oh, I wrote one book. I won’t have to worry about another one for at least a year.” Well, if you want your book to sit there and gather dust, go ahead and think that way. But really the best thing you can do is keep writing more books. No one is going to push you or give you a deadline. You need to stay motivated.

 

 

5.      NO ONE WILL TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY

 

Or at least certain people won’t. There will be biased remarks towards you about taking the lazy route or trying to take a short cut in life. Get ready to receive skepticism about the quality of your book. The best thing to do is to grow a thick skin and move on. Those people don’t deserve your time or energy.

 

 

REWARDS

 

1.      YOU’RE IN CONTROL

 

That’s right. No one can tell you how much you want to price your book, what type of book cover to get, or which editor to choose. You get to publish your book whenever you want, on whatever vendor you want. You get to choose how many books to give away for free, or to price your book for free. Freedom never tasted so sweet.

 

 

2.      MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK

 

If done right, self-publishing can pay you back tenfold. There have been studies done that pricing a book at $2.99 pays you just as much as prices in the $7.99 or higher. Thing is, most folks want to pay the lower price, but traditional publishers won’t go as low as $2.99. That means you could, in a sense, be making more money than people who went with publishing houses.

 

 

3.      YOU GET TO KEEP ALL THE RIGHTS

 

If your books take off, guess what—you get all the profits and no one else. If some producer wanted to make a movie out of your series, you get to decide what do to. Ultimately, whatever profits you make are yours to keep. No one has a piece of the pie, so no can boss you around or decide to drastically change the storyline if they wanted.

 

 

4.      IF YOU FAIL, YOU ONLY FAIL YOURSELF

 

I know what you might be thinking—this doesn’t sound like some reward. But really, if you go the traditional route and your book tanks, your failure hurts those that helped move your book along. But if you self-publish and your book tanks, you are only hurting yourself. You can always start over and try again.

 

 

5.      IF YOU SUCCEED, DOORS OPEN

 

Nothing is more impressive than a self-published author getting on the New York Times Bestselling list. Those authors did it all by themselves, and look how far they went. Now, not only are they making a lot of money and are in control, but doors will open for them. Agents and publishers will come knocking on their door, hoping for a piece of the pie. And the best part of that is, the author gets to choose whether or not they want to join forces.

 

 

There you have it folks! Those are the Risks and Rewards of Self-Publishing. In my future, I’d like to see a good mix of traditional and self-publishing somewhere down the line because I believe both paths have great benefits. Would I self-publish again? Yes, I would. I want to gain experience however I can, in whatever field I can.

 

—Ciao, Caterina Torres

 

 

 

 

The name I go by is Cat, I’m in my mid-twenties, and I graduated with a BA in Anthropology and a minor in Humanities. I truly aspire to be a writer and I hope you enjoy my books. I love to write about the apocalypse, but not in the biblical sense of the word. Any sort of dystopian, end of the world stories seriously interest me. I guess it has a lot to do with being part of the rat race of life, trying to climb the great ladder of success. Regular life just seems so…boring.

 

Website/Blog – http://caterinatorres.com/
Facebook Fan Page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Caterina-Torres/340181086022992?ref=hl
Twitter – @caterinatorres
Zombie Whisperer on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Whisperer-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B007DKST8A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347293824&sr=8-1&keywords=zombie+whisperer

 

 

 

THE VERY BAD, ROTTEN, NO GOOD BIRTHDAY September 7, 2012

Filed under: Blog,Writer,writing — chasingthecrazies @ 5:48 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

 

 

Today has been a day like no other and I’m not even to lunch yet.  I woke to a very, anxious husband who informed me I had a flat tire.  In addition, my house in being torn up for new flooring and it’s pouring down rain outside. Rain + Humidity+ Wood = NO GOOD.

 

 

To top it all off, when I tried to get said car with VERY flat tire (thanks to the 4 inch piece of steel jammed into the wheel bed) out of the garage, the BRAND NEW door would not go up.  Well, no that’s not correct – it would go up 3 inches before slamming back into the ground.  A very interesting symphony paired with the roaring thunder and rattling lightning going on in the skies above my house.

 

 

So after dealing with a very cranky, tow truck driver, and getting my car to the tire repair store, I had to ride my bike home – wait for it….in the POURING rain.

 

 

Oh, and did I mention it’s my birthday today?

 

 

Honestly, if I had written all this for a character in a book, I know all my CPs would be sending me notes saying – “it’s highly unbelievable that all this would happen to one character in such a short amount of time.”  Unfortunately, I have the story now to prove them all wrong.

 

 

Good thing that with age comes an ever-growing sense of humor.  On days like this where you have two choices: laugh or cry.  I choose to whole-heartedly belly laugh!

 

 

Hope you all have a great weekend!

 

 

The growing pond in my front yard!

 

 
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