Sunday, January 18, 2015

What Does Writing Success Mean to You? AND How do You Get There? #amwriting


Before you can decide what steps to take, and what path to follow toward success in a writing career, you must FIRST figure out what success means to you, and SECOND, write it down. If you’re not clear on where you want to go, then how can you plan how to get there?

Sometimes you may not be quite sure yet what it is you want, so set small goals in the beginning and work toward those first. To some writers, success may be completing a screenwriting class at a local college, or finishing their first book or short story, getting an agent or a publishing contract, self-publishing a book, making $100 extra a month, making $10,000 or more a month, quitting their day job, hitting the New York Time and USA Today Bestsellers Lists, etc. What is YOUR goal?

 
How do you reach your goal?

Whatever that dream writing goal is, no matter how big, take these steps:

·        * Write it down-seriously. When you write it down, it becomes clear on what exactly you want.

·       * Create a deadline. Not: ‘Someday I’ll write a book.’ Instead: ‘I have completed my first book by such and such date.’ Write it as if it already has happened.

·       * Read it daily, or a couple times a day.

·        *Visualize yourself achieving it. How do your feel? But not just that…

·        * TAKE ACTION! Massive action, every day. Plan steps toward that goal.

·        -*Emulate, not copy, the successful ones. Look at those who have achieved that particular goal already and see what they did to get there. How long have they been writing? Did they take classes? What do you like about their work that is missing in yours? What groups, organizations do they belong to? How do they present themselves online, at conferences, etc.? How do they promote and market their work? You probably can’t do exactly what they’re doing right now, but you can begin to make changes in what you are doing now.

·        *Continue to learn by taking classes, and reading books both about writing, publishing and craft, and also read a ton of books within and outside the genre you’re writing.

·         *Don’t give up! Mistakes are an opportunity to set you on a new and exciting path. If something isn’t working, try something else.

 

Feel free to post your goal here!!!

***Want to get the networking experience from 8 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors???

Cathryn Fox, Caridad Pineiro, Riley J. Ford, Geri Foster, Lisa Hughey, A.C. James, Sarah Makela, and Kathy Kulig have shared tons of information and direct links about publishing, and all the steps involved with self-publishing including writing, editing, formatting, cover design, contract and legal issues, boxed sets and other co-authored projects, and many helpful tips. They all have a variety of backgrounds and share their personal experiences, including triumphs and struggles in their book WRITE TO SUCCESS. It’s of ton of information and only $2.99. The links alone will save you tons of time, and recommendations on editors, cover designers, and legal contract tips are worth that alone. Not to sound like a sales pitch, but... The authors sincerely wanted to offer this book with the intention of helping new and established authors by answering many questions we frequently hear asked all the time. We all have learned from each other too!!



Buy Links for WRITE TO SUCCESS:


BN

Sunday, January 11, 2015

#Steampunk Revelry! Coffeetime Romance


The strange and beautiful disasters of steampunk are happening at Coffeetime Romance Steampunk blog on January 14th —automatons gone wild, mad scientists who want to take over the world, denizens of the deep seas sinking ships, even solar storms that threaten to destroy the earth as in BURNED DEEP, and more, but don’t worry dear reader there will be plenty of time to give out some great PRIZES!!


I’ll be talking about some of these disasters seen in the steampunk genre, including the one in my book: BURNED DEEP, an erotic futuristic with elements of steampunk where a solar superstorm is threatening an underground city of scholars and scientists and those living in the overcities on the surface.

Here’s the blurb:
When a devastating solar storm is predicted, Celia escapes her privileged life as a baron’s daughter in the underground city of Threshold to find her brother. Outside on a harsh, savage surface, she meets Ethan, a daring inventor, who offers to help her. Seized by their fierce attraction, Ethan and Celia are swept into a passionate liaison, but soon plunge into unexpected trouble. As the solar storm approaches, Celia discovers Threshold is targeted for takeover. And Ethan, the man who is stealing her heart, is at the center of the planned invasion. How can Ethan promise the woman he loves a future if he doesn’t know if there will be one at all?

Here’s what we’ll be giving away, so make sure you stop by and sign up on the Rafflecopter!!:







Burned Deep is available now. If you like a sexy adventure, futuristic, dystopian with steampunk elements, check this book out now!


Check out my new store front at Coffeetime Romance: More books will be coming soon… Burnt Stilettos Press


If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter I give a $10 Gift Card away to one of my members each month. Members also hear the latest news, exclusive offers, contests and no spam. Coming soon will be a couple free reads. Signup

See you at Coffeetime Steampunk Blog on the 14th. Good luck on winning!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Lessons I Learned in Publishing in 2014 – “Don’t Panic”


As I look back on 2014, “Don’t Panic” could be the biggest lesson I learned considering all the changes, good and bad, that happened to me as an author. And for 2015, despite a number of major setbacks, I have a plan to totally crush it!

If you’re familiar with the book, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams, you may get the humor in this post. If not, it may not make any sense at all. But then again…readers are smart, and I think we all have somewhat of a warped sense of humor. If you don’t know the book, read it and get a good laugh. The story of Hitchhiker’s Guide follows the adventures of Arthur Dent, who manages to hitchhike off earth, seconds before it’s destroyed—to make way for an intergalactic freeway. Many of the quotes in that book seemed directly applicable to my career glitches in 2014. Anything in quotations in this post will be from Adam's book.

A warped sense of humor is a good thing to have if you’re an author—indie or traditional. And boy did I need a sense of humor. Just as everything in my publishing career seemed to be improving and going along well—sales were increasing, I had planned to have about seven releases out this year—a record for me, I was finally able to go indie and my first multi-authored box set hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists!

Then the world blew up—aka Kindle Unlimited struck and my publisher, who I loved dearly, announced restructuring and layoffs. It was like two asteroids striking earth at once, because my sales plummeted, AND during this time, I had three new books released back-to back—all three sold like crap.

What did I learn?

“Don’t Panic!” While the loops, blogs, Twitter and Facebook were inundated with panic, rude, sad, and angry publishing ‘professionals’. I tried my best to stay out of the fall out, and kept writing and made new goals for the future. I don’t have control over other peoples’ business or personal decisions, only my own.

“There’s no point in acting surprised about it.” I made the mistake of not being as observant as I should have. I was too wrapped up in my plans and goals, and should have had a backup plan. I ignored a few signs that hinted to the changes to come. Things change and will continue to change. Prepare for the worse, and don’t waste time whining or bitching about it. Set new goals and move on. I had planned to write a couple new series, now I’ve completely switched things around and have different goals with a backup plan. Three new series, plus continuation of my Red Tape series and a number of other projects are already in the works for 2015-2016. Plus a completely new business plan. I’m very optimistic for 2015!

“The answer to the Great Question of Life, The Universe and Everything is…42!” There are tons of advice and books out there on how to make a million dollars and be a bestselling author. Many authors have good intentions and believe their advice is sound. I co-authored one of those books this year: Write to Success And I believe there are a lot of helpful tips in that book. I’ve learned, and continue to learn, from many talented authors and appreciate that these authors are so generous with their time to share their knowledge, but no one knows everything. There is no right way or the only path to success. And there is no magic pill, no get rich quick plan. WRITE, PUBLISH, LEARN, and REPEAT. A number of newbie authors think they’re going to crush it and get rich with one or two or three books. Not happening. Expect many years of CONTINUED HARD WORK, and yes, you will see some success.

A few people who have helped me a lot this year- Thank You!!! You all rock!!!:  

The guys at Self-Publishing Podcast – Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt, and David Wright.
Jim Kukral and Bryan Cohen at http://sellmorebooksshow.com/

***Check out their podcasts and books too, both fiction and non-fiction. They have a wealth of information.***

 

“Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?” Oh, there are times I think when every author thinks they’re losing it, and perhaps have even thought about giving up. Don’t! Authors must be part mad. How can they possible look at their manuscript one day and it appears to be brilliant, award-winning material, and the very next day, they read the same book, and it’s doggie doodoo? Don’t give up, have faith in your work. Keep writing.

When I start getting down on myself because of a bad review (or no reviews), or because I’m writing too slow, or I can’t figure out a scene, or my characters seem flat today, or the book is not perfect enough, or whatever reason I come up with. I’m sure you can come up with a few reasons on those days when writing gets you down. I’ve decided now I’ll give myself five minutes to mope, then get back to work. I think of this silly quote as a reminder: “Ford…you’re turning into a penguin. Stop it!”

Final words of advice on what I learned and what I plan for myself in 2015:

PRIORITIZE – I had to come up with a ‘Stop Doing List’. One of those things was to stop hosting friends' new book releases on my blog. I hated doing it, because I like to help promote my author friends. But I realized I was getting requests to host new releases on my blog two to three times a week and many from people I didn’t know. I only get to write at night and on weekends and I had to stop the hosting. It was taking up a huge amount of my writing time. I decided instead I’d host an author party a couple times a year where author friends could promote their books on my site during a week-long event and we could give prizes away. I also find doing topic posts draw much more traffic to my blog. I want to build my brand and an audience this way.

ORGANIZE- I’m a visual person. I bought a full year erasable calendar I have up on my wall in my office with projects and deadlines listed. Also recorded the dates of events, contests, conferences, etc. I’m also going to start using Scrivener.

MEDITATE- I’ve done it before and have started again. It does help my Type A brain to focus on one thing at a time, keep less scattered, and I sleep better.

WRITE- That’s what writers do. Can’t edit a blank page and can’t sell an unfinished book.  

And a couple last quotes. Sometimes we need to start a new year with a chuckle: It might be time to re-read Douglas Adam’s book.

Happy New Year and Happy Writing!

“I don’t want to die now!” he yelled. “I’ve still got a headache! I don’t want to go to heaven with a headache, I’d be all cross and wouldn’t enjoy it!”

“We are now cruising at a level of two to the power of twenty-five thousand to one against and falling, and we will be restoring normality just as soon as we are sure what is normal anyway.”

You know you’re a true writer if this one rings true:
“I’d far rather be happy than right any day.” My translation: I’d far rather be a writer than rich any day.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

RING IN THE NEW YEAR WITH ROMANCE!


The Sexy Scribbles are celebrating the NEW YEAR with lots of special book deals and prizes while we look ahead to exciting new projects for 2015. We’re having lots of GIVEAWAYS as a thank you to our readers too!

****Our special giveaway is a Kindle Paperwhite!!!****
(I just got one for Christmas and I looove it!!)




WHERE??

FACEBOOK PARTY

WHEN?

December 29th, 2014 Monday 7-10 p.m. EST

WHO?

THESE AMAZING AUTHORS: Check out their websites and sign up on their mailing lists to hear about their latest releases and giveaways.

Lisa Hughey2 $25 Gift Cards



AC James – a free audio book of Eternal Ever After and a free ebook of Eternal Ever After
Books by A.C. James

Geri Foster

Newsletter: link on her website

Stephanie Julian

Jan Springer -Free ebook Key Club Box Set, Vol 1



Krystal Shannon

Denise A. Agnew
Ashfall

Kathy Kulig 2 free ebooks of either Burned Deep, Nightlord Lover or Red Tape.
Red Tape - Erotic BDSM Thriller Order Now!



Saturday, December 13, 2014

8 Ways to Manage Your Writing Career & Holiday Stress


The holidays bring about a mixed feeling of joy, excitement and sadly stress. Family celebrations, holiday parties, decorations, baking, gift-buying and mailing and wrapping, fighting long lines at the malls, add to our normal busy schedules and writers have to be more creative to stay on schedule or adapt.

CHECK OUT THE CONTEST AT THE END OF THIS POST!

Career writers are hard-working and put in long hours and the holidays can make it more difficult the keep up their busy pace. Many writers have a day job and have to juggle a second career and family life which adds to the stress this time of year. The Holidays should be a time of joy, peace on earth, kindness and giving, sharing special times with loved ones, not added stress or an obstacle to getting their next project completed on time.

My uncle recently gave me a wise piece of advice: Take time to enjoy the season. The older you get, the faster they go by.

 These tips may be helpful to writers now and throughout the year.

Turn this:



into this:

 

1.           Take time to enjoy the season (and life), even if you have to schedule it. Children grow up fast and move on to their own lives, parents, relatives and friends grow old and leave us much too soon. If you’re constantly worried about that current WIP, your ratings, your royalties, marketing plans, ads, the next project, a crappy review, no reviews, etc., how can you fully enjoy the people and celebrations going on around you?

2.           Schedule deadlines months in advance. Deadlines are important for a successful career. If you work a 9-5, your boss expects you to complete projects on time. Writers are their own boss, they may have a deadline with a publisher, or an established indie deadline. Plan ahead for a lower productivity level during holiday seasons and vacations and you won’t be so stressed out. If you haven’t scheduled your workload in advance, then start now for the upcoming months.

3.           Make a list and check it twice. Organized writers can accomplish more with less stress. The night before or every morning, make a To-do List. I write lists on a notepad because when I’m at work, I don’t have Internet conductivity to use phone aps like Evernote. I also use a calendar. I recently bought an erasable 15 month wall calendar that I can record on and see my schedule for the year at a glance. I post deadlines for all my projects, planned ads, FB parties, conferences, online events, release dates.

4.           Exercise. Yes, exercise! I hear the groans out there. With so many things going on, where do you have time to exercise? You have time to take a brisk walk or 30 minutes at the gym or a short exercise video at home. Yoga is great too. Exercise is the perfect de-stresser. It helps to release endorphins in the brain which are feel-good transmitters. Many people suffer from depression around the holidays for many reasons. Exercise may help. Exercise also bumps up the metabolism to help burn off all those Christmas cookies and holiday dinners.

5.           Keep your desk organized. Ha, this can be a tough one. I find myself working on several projects at once. Right now, I’m editing a completed paranormal novel, writing a romantic suspense novella/short novel, and planning for the release of a three-book shapeshifter funnel early next year (need to revise one, and write one novella). I’m also promoting a new release, Write to Success that was coauthored with eight NY Times & USA Today bestselling authors. Since I keep notes for each project, I have a colored file for each, so I have easy access. I like to edit the final draft on hardcopy. I plan to start using Scrivener to keep the notes and outlines in one place. But I will always do final edits on hard copy. I also like to do some preliminary brainstorming/outlining on paper away from the computer. Just my process. Find what works best for you.

6.           Make a Stop-Doing List. There are only so many things you can get accomplished in one 24-hour day. See what you can STOP DOING. I started cutting back on things that weren’t progressing my writing career. I cut way back on checking email (I skim the important ones, respond and delete.) And I always respond to readers. I was posting a lot of author friends’ new releases on my blog and sadly had to cut back on that too. I was getting requests 3-4x a week (I have very prolific author friends.:)) I was also getting requests from people I didn’t know with requests to post blogs and for reviews. I still want to help promote my friends on my blog, but I have to come up with a more time efficient way to do it.

7.           Mindful Eating Choices. Aka Eat Healthy. Eating healthy during the holidays may seem an impossible task. I know, my husband’s family is Polish and I have to look forward to a Christmas Eve dinner of Kielbasa, ham and pierogies. AKA! For someone whose diet consists of a decent amount of salads and protein shakes, all that fat and calories make me cringe. Christmas cookies, holiday baked goods, parties, dinners, eggnog with Baileys, alcohol, etc. High calorie foods will pack on the pounds and make you tired. Decreasing your productivity when you can fit in the time to write.
Short on time? Try a quick protein or veggie smoothie for breakfast and/or lunch and drink lots and lots of water to keep you hydrated.
Try these in a blender or Bullet: Veggie shake: kale, spinach, piece of apple, pineapple, avocado or banana, lemon, ginger, cinnamon and coconut water and ice. 
Protein shake: A scoop of your favorite protein powder (Shakeology, PGX, or something with Whey or hemp protein, no sugar), a handful of frozen or fresh mixed berries, unsweetened almond milk, unsweetened coconut milk, cold water and ice.

8.           Watch a holiday movie. Aka relax and get enough rest. Holiday movies are a great time to relax and spend time with loved ones. It’s a good way to de-stress and enjoy the season. It’s over so quickly and you’ll be back to your ‘normal’ routine. Some of my favorites: Love Actually, White Christmas and any of the Christmas Carole movies. What are your favorites?
 
Christmas lights at our house
HOLIDAY CONTEST
Holiday traditions: Please share a holiday tradition here or one of your favorite movies. I’ll pick a random name from the list and they can select a choice of (Red Tape, Burned Deep or Nightlord Lover) Want to keep up to day news and contests? Sign up for my newsletter.


My Christmas tradition: Eve of Christmas Eve dinner with my husband. Since I started dating my husband fifteen years ago we began this tradition. With the demands of the holidays, family, work, shopping, etc., I wanted some time for us to enjoy the holidays, just us two. I started a similar tradition when I lived in Florida. I was single for many years and decided I would treat myself to a nice dinner out on Christmas Eve since I didn’t have any family living close by. I invited anyone who was in the same situation, if they wanted to join me. Sometimes people don’t have a place to visit on the holidays and they don’t want to intrude on their friends’ families. Occasionally I would have friends join me, but many times I would get dressed up and go out alone. Since my husband has his family dinner on Christmas Eve, we have our special night out on the Eve of Christmas Eve. We pick a nice restaurant and get dressed up. A nice way to slow down and enjoy the season. Do you have a special tradition to share? Post a comment for a chance to win a book!

Monday, December 1, 2014

#Write2Success 8 NYT & USA Today Bestselling Authors talk #selfpubtips




WRITE TO  SUCCESS by Eight NY Times & USA Today bestselling authors Riley J. Ford, Geri Foster, Cathryn Fox, Lisa Hughey, A.C. James, Sarah Makela, and Caridad Pineiro share how to build a successsful writing career.


You'll
also hear directly from today's cover artists on what makes a book
cover eye-catching. Plus, an author's assistant shares her perspective
on hiring a virtual assistant.

Write to Success covers
all those frequently asked questions every new indie author wonders
about self-publishing and has strategies for the advanced
self-publisher.

Writing, editing, cover art, formatting, marketing, street teams, 
multi-author collaborations (boxed sets), and contracts can
make your head spin. But this book gives you all the tools to
professionally publish and market your book.

It also contains a directory that lists recommended books, blogs, editors, cover artists, formatting resources, and web sites.
  • SPECIAL BONUS:Included
    in this e-book is the Indie Word email loop which lends support,
    accountability and encouragement as you take the plunge into
    self-publishing.

FACEBOOK PARTY LAUNCH TUESDAY DEC. 2ND WITH PRIZES AND MORE!! CHECK IT OUT!!! JOIN US!!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1022165337798335/



***Order your copy of Write to Success while the price is at $.99, it's introductory rate:

BN: http://bit.ly/12fcrwF


Sunday, November 30, 2014

How to Prevent Writing Career Disasters – 10 Steps


1.   Realize as an author you will make mistakes in your writing career. Ask any author and they may share their horror stories. If I knew then what I knew now... Many of us would have done things differently or made different choices. I think it was Napoleon Hill who said, “Why make mistakes if you aren’t going to learn anything by them.”

2.   Have a backup plan and remember Murphy’s Law. (Everything that can go wrong will probably turn to sh*t). Or something like that. You may have specific goals set for the next 5 years and maybe you’re right on schedule, but what happens if your editor leaves your publishing house, your contract isn’t renewed, your computer crashes and you thought you had backed up your WIP, you have a family emergency, etc., etc. Anything can easily derail your schedule and goals. Be ready to re-evaluate and make new plans.

3.   Write a business plan and make adjustments as needed. In the book, The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing by the Indie Voice authors, there is a really good example of a business plan for writers. I used this as a guideline. If you Google ‘Business Plan for Writers’, you’ll come up with a number of places for ideas too.

4.   Don’t put sales and marketing before product. In other words, don’t spend all your time and money marketing one or two books. Get the next book or series out. Create a good product base.

5.   Always strive to improve your craft and be a better writer. Every book should be better than the last.



6.   Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. That can mean different things. Writing only for one publisher these days can be risky. What happens if that publishers fails or doesn’t renew your contract? As an indie author, some prefer to put all their eBook eggs into Kindle Select and Kindle Unlimited, or a few of their books into this option. It might work well for a time, and it doesn’t hurt to try it. You’re only locked in for 90 days. But again, if the market changes during those 90 days, you’re locked in. That can be a long three months. It’s a business choice.

7.   Work in a collaborative group. The support from other writers with varying skills can be very advantageous to your career. Many authors (like me) are finding great success by being a part of these groups. I’ve learned many new things about the business, writing, technical, promotion and marketing and how to relate to fans. I’ve also participated in brainstorming sessions for developing story ideas, series and serials, box sets, and more. Colaborative groups are great for joint launch parties and promoting. Share techniques and editing knowledge, advice and more. www.sexyscribbles.com is our group.

8.   Stay positive, online and offline. It’s hard when challenges and bad times occur during those ‘down times’ in your career. Like when you just put up a brand new book and a day or twelve hours later you get a one star review. It’s tempting to get on a blog and spout off after reading an offensive post. Emotions run high when your hard work is threatened. Don’t do it. How do you want to be known as an author? Sometimes I've considered standing up and saying my piece in response to an emotional topic on a blog, or something that hit me personally, or I felt was wrong, but I usually don't. My choice. Authors have to decide for themselves whether or not to respond. It’s a good idea to give it time before responding, instead of a knee-jerk response which you may regret later.

9.   Leave time for fun with friends and family and relaxing time to read or get out to do your favorite activity.

10.        Don’t compare your career path to anyone else. If you look around you, you will always find another author who is climbing the bestseller lists and just started writing six months ago when you’ve been writing for 10, 15, 20 years. If you look again, you’ll find other writers who have never completed a manuscript and have been writing longer than you. Many of those ‘overnight successes’ have taken 3, 5, or 15 or more years of long, hard and heartbreaking work. Set your own goals, run your own race, follow your own path. Sure look to see what the successful authors are doing and LEARN from them. Every author's path is unique.


If you need a few inspirational quotes to remind you to keep positive:





New writing book just released with helpful tips for self-published authors or those wishing to enter the self-publishing world.
WRITE TO  SUCCESS by Eight NY Times & USA Today bestselling authors: Riley J. Ford, Geri Foster, Cathryn Fox, Lisa Hughey, A.C. James, Sarah Makela, and Caridad Pineiro.