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Archive for June, 2014

It’s the Last Monday for June, and you should know what that means by now for my blog. Today, we welcome fellow Solstice Shadows author, BeBe Knight!

1. What’s the title of your latest release? Link?

 My Paranormal-Suspense-Romance, An Element of Time, was released this past September. It’s Book One in my Eternal Flame Series. A vampire and a slayer walk into a bar… Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but for Veronica and Mackenzie, it’s the beginning of the rest of their lives…

http://amzn.com/B00HQNKNNS

2. Why do you like writing in this genre?

 Trust me when I say it’s not a genre I ever saw myself writing in. I blame books like The Sookie Stackhouse Series and The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series entirely for shaping me into the vampire lovin’ freak that I am. Once I started reading ever vampire romance book I could get my hands on, I just couldn’t help but try writing my own for NaNoWriMo one year.

3. What do you like to read?

 I enjoy all types of Romance. Paranormal, Historical, Westerns.

4. Favorite movie?

 “Say Anything” is one of my all time favorites, hands down! But really any sappy

5. What are your writing habits? Music or silence? Daily regimen or spurts of creativity?

 Complete silence for me! I use music to get the creative juices flowing, but love story with John Cusack could fit the bill. Once I start to type I need it to be alone with my thoughts. Right now I’m having a bit a dry spell for one reason or another so I’ve been listening to a lot of 90’s music to see if I can get something going.

6. What was the most surreal moment you’ve had as an author?

 The day my book was released I was sandwiched between Stephen King and Charlaine Harris on Amazon’s Bestselling list. I immediately took a screen shot to remember the moment!

7. How can readers find you?

Website: http://www.bebeknight.com

Blog: http://www.readinguntilifallasleep.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BebeKnightAuthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Bebe_Knight

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/Bebe_Knight

CafePress: http://www.cafepress.com/theeternalflameseries

8. What do you know now about being published that you wish you’d known before submitting?

 The amount of time and work that goes into promoting yourself and your book. I’m also a self conscious person and I hate putting myself out there. It’s a struggle every day to get on the computer and think of something to say without saying BUY MY BOOK.

9. Favorite snack/drink while writing?

 It honestly depends on the scene. Coffee is always my go to writing accompaniment, but if I’m writing a “sexy-time” scene a glass of wine is a must.

10. Look at your writing area…what’s the item you keep to inspire you (piece of artwork,figurine)?

 I don’t have any trinket that really inspires me, but I like to fall back on my many years of Soap Opera watching to help me get through certain scenes. I thank my mom every day for allowing me to watch General Hospital as a kid. When I’m stuck, I like to ask myself “What Would (Fill in the blank of a character) Do?”

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Happy Monday!

No, I didn’t post last week. Insanity, thy visit in my life was not wholly unexpected but you stayed far longer than I’d anticipated! LOL. Life outside of writing has calmed down again, though, so I’m back at it. I *may* even get forward momentum in a wip this week! LOL

This week, I want to talk about trust. Do you trust your publisher? Do you think they are going to do what is best for your book? Are you willing to let go that clenched fist you have around your m/s and let someone else play with your child? Because, if you’re not, then you either signed with the wrong publisher or should self publish.

You’re going to encounter all sorts of people who claim to ‘know’ things…people who don’t work in the industry. They may be well meaning, or they could be envious that you did what they couldn’t and seek to undermine your accomplishment. But do they really know why a decision was made by your house? Can they honestly say they know better than the person you’ve entrusted your story to?

There should always be author input along the way. Editing is a very involved process, and the author should get some say on the cover art. But leave things like distribution channels and the like up to your publisher. They want the same thing you do – a successful book. They aren’t going to limit where they make it available to, and sometimes they’ll have to make decisions based on information you don’t have (and have no reason to know). 

In short, it comes down to trust vs. being a control freak. Are you willing to trust your publisher to do what is right for your book? Or do you want to question every single decision, have final say in each and every bit of minutiae that’s involved in putting a book out in the world? If it’s the latter, seriously consider self-publishing. Because a traditional publisher is not going to win your trust, and the partnership will be a miserable one.

BB

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Good morning!

One of the things I do the most in my job is to be a cheerleader of sorts. To write emails or make posts to our EIC’s and authors on FB about how things aren’t as bleak as they seem. I don’t mind doing this. We all lose sight of the big picture some days.

All authors are subject to insecurities. We’ve put something we created, our ‘baby’, out for public scrutiny. We want it to be perfect. And we’re afraid any perceived problem (real or imagined) is why it’s not selling. When you’re a teen author, this is compounded.

I wrote one of these emails last week. To a teen author with Solstice Publishing. But it resonates so well with so many people, I was told I needed to share it with more than just one or two people. So, here’s your cheerleader post of the month. 

Dear Author,

Don’t panic. I’m not emailing you as COO right now. I’m talking as an author. 
 
It’s time to let go of your book. Not in the sense that it should be forgotten, but it’s on a new part of its’ life now. That is, by far, one of the hardest things to do as an author. 
 
Errors happen. There is no such thing as a perfect book, film, song, or piece of art. Every creative person wants to change one more thing with their creation. You could ask J.J. Abrams and he’d be able to tell you he wishes he could do tweaks to some of his films. Heck, George Lucas DID. And, in my opinion, he shouldn’t have touched them. The original Star Wars movies (which I’m old enough to remember seeing in theaters) may be hokey by today’s CGI standards, but they were state of the art for my childhood. I really didn’t appreciate him messing with the magic I remembered.
 
One or two typos is not going to make or break the book. You have done something few adults, and even fewer teens, have done. You wrote a book, and it was published. Yes, you’ll get friends and family who may point out errors. And it’ll make you stress out. Take it for what it is – they’re envious that you did what they can’t. It’s not a reflection of your ability as an author, but their character. Heck, I had one family member try and tell me they thought I should change the name of a character because they couldn’t pronounce it in their head. They honestly thought I should pull it from publication, revise it to suit them, and then re-release it. We aren’t talking a minor character, but the main one.
 
Our job as authors is not to please every single person. It’s impossible. And our friends and family will be our second harshest critics. We’re our worst. I have to write with my eyes closed. Why? Because, if I don’t, I’ll spend 15 minutes trying to decide on a single adverb. I’m that critical of my own writing.
 
We all doubt the words we put to paper. I take a deep breath before I read a new review, convinced they’re going to shred my book. It hasn’t happened. Yet. But I’m waiting for it to.
 
On average, it takes a new author 5 years between release of their first book to being ‘found’ by readers. Any sales you get before then will be hard fought. By promoting, staying positive, getting reviews, you’re connecting with readers now who will be with you for your entire career. You’re going to get people who can claim they ‘found’ you first, and wait anxiously for your next release. Sure, you won’t be able to pay for college off your royalties. My first book came out 2 years ago. I’ve got 7 titles out now. A good month for sales for me is 4 or more copies sold. I’m still trying to get noticed. It’s frustrating to beat the band. And I’ll vent privately (never vent about bad sales online in a public forum…you’ll kill your career before it gets started if you do) about someone who writes crappy books selling ten times as many books on just one title. It feels like I’m pushing my minivan up the side of Mt. Rainier with the parking brake on. But you have to keep smiling, staying positive, and pushing.
 
Oh, and the few errors? Figure out a funny story to ‘explain’ how they happened. Even if it’s not 100% truthful. Say your cat jumped on the keyboard every time you tried to correct a certain typo and switched it back so you kept it to honor the feline. Quirky little things like that are going to endear you to readers. It’s a connection that they’ll understand. I’ve got 2 or 3 private jokes/stories for each of my books that I can use if someone asks about certain things. They’re all true. Mostly. But by sharing them with readers when asked, I move from the realm of AUTHOR to real human being. And that’s going to get you a reader for life.
 
BB

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Today, I want to talk about discovering what kind of author you want to be. 

I’m not talking what genre, what constitutes success, or advocating traditional publishing vs. self. I’m talking about the public image you want. How you see yourself in the role of author.

From the minute we write our first query letter, we start developing our professional image. That email is going to set the tone for your career. Yes, we’re authors and not movie stars. But don’t think for a second how we interact with others in the industry has no effect on your career.

In just a minute, I want you to close your eyes. When you do, I want you to visualize yourself at a con dedicated to the worlds you’ve created. One where you’re the guest of honor. Readers have spent hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars just to come see you in panels, stand in lines to get their books signed by you, do a photo op. And I want you to think about how you see yourself during this incredible weekend, how you feel. Humble? Honored? Amazed that so many came? Justified that your genius is finally recognized? Glad you have a security team? Excited to see lines wrapping around the block? Spellbound by the cosplay inspired by characters you created?

Okay…go!

Did you see yourself there? Good. 

Now, we’re going to do another visualization. This time, it’s about halfway through the second day of the con. Things aren’t going so well today. The readers are great, sure. But maybe the hotel alarm clock didn’t go off, your spouse/significant other called and told you the car had to go into the shop or a child was sick, your breakfast wasn’t what you ordered and you didn’t have time for them to make a new one, and you’re nursing a bad headache. You’ve made it through the first two appearances of the day, and your hand and back are throbbing from the autograph session. Finally, you get enough of a break in your schedule to head to the hotel restaurant. You get to read the text from the significant other that the car estimate is around $1500 or the sick child has the flu and is miserable. Gulping down two aspirin, your lunch is put in front of you. All you want is some peace and food. That’ll get you through the next few panels and you can call home to check in.

And a reader approaches your table. In their hands, a dog-eared, well read copy of one of your books. Small bits of colored post-it notes jut out from the pages. They stammer out that they hate to bother you, but they have to leave early because their ride is leaving and they had a motivation question about chapter 17 where X is questioning Y and since they can’t make the Q&A later could they ask you now?

What’s your first reaction? Be honest with yourself. You don’t have to share it. Base it off the type of author you saw yourself as earlier.

A. Tell them (or have your entourage do so) that you’re trying to eat and, while you feel bad they have to leave, that’s why there’s a Q&A.

OR

B. Tell your back to shut up, smile, invite them to sit down while you eat but say you’d love to hear the question.

Now, reverse seats. You’re not the author, but the reader. It took you six months to scrape enough up for the ticket to the con. You pieced together a cosplay that made you feel like you were part of things. You’d anticipated asking this one question since you heard the con was in the works, and now your ride home was bailing early. Your one chance to get this answer is to muster your courage when you saw the author sitting in the restaurant.

Which of the above responses would mean more to you? Would you be understanding if they said no? Or would you consider never buying their books again since they couldn’t take five minutes out of their day to chat with you?

Our public image, how we are perceived by our readers/publishers/agents/editors, is everything. One bad day, wrong word, arrogant email can take you from the top of the best seller list with one novel to the bottom with the next. Why? Because people will form a perception of who you are, what you are, based on how you interact with them. 

Being confident in your writing is great. Necessary. It’s a world of difference, however, between promoting your book with “readers will be swept away in a thriller reminiscent of Tom Clancy” and “Tom Clancy has nothing on my story! You’ll be saying ‘Tom Who?’ after two chapters!”

Perception is everything. Your image as an author needs to be protected at all costs. And I’m not talking about keeping yourself out of the tabloids. Readers want to meet people who appreciate them, are approachable. They are the very reason you got on that bestseller list, they’re what keep you there. Do yourself a favor. Rein in the ego. Or they’ll stop buying the books.

BB

 

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