Category Archives: Books

Dealing With a Bad Publisher


In 2013, I had published my children’s picture book, Dana’s First Fish with Tate Publishing. At first, it was a pleasant experience. But after my book was published, I began to find discrepancies, which I had blogged about; another author’s picture and bio posted on most websites (there is more than one author named Jennifer Adams out there), was my biggest issue as it was never corrected no matter how much I complained. Another complaint I had was that they did not want to print 100 books within a few weeks for a book signing event I was to have at Barnes and Noble. Barnes and Noble then told me that they could not work with me. I’m crossing my fingers that I would have better luck with them with my next book.

It wasn’t long before I stopped receiving my royalties check, yet I was constantly asked if I wanted to purchase more books for book signing events, or to possibly consider publishing another book with them. I continued to pass on every offer that they had sent my way and am so glad that I did.

In January of this year, Tate Publishing had closed their doors. A lawsuit was filed against on embezzlement and fraud. There are over 35,000 authors who used Tate Publishing. Most of us had not received our royalties in years. Most authors had not received books that they had ordered. I was fortunate to have received my shipment of books that I had ordered.

Before Tate closed, I was sent an email request that I send them $50 for my files, copyright info, etc, oh, and to sign a waiver saying that I will not sue them. I didn’t bother signing it, nor did I bother to send them any more money.

I still have several copies of Dana’s First Fish, which you can purchase on Amazon. They will come straight from me and I have reduced the price to $4.

Dana's First Fish

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A Busy Year It Has Been


It has been a year since I had made my last blog post and what a busy year it has been. The last few semesters of college was quite tough, rough, and stressful, but I had survived them, receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology. I had also moved my work status from intern to full-time Assistant Curator at one of the museums located in Little Rock.

This past November my grandmother was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, to which she had succumbed from this past August. Those several months was hard to endure, not only watching her suffer through this disease and the chemo treatments, but the family drama I had to suffer through during this time was really rough.

My daughter and I had also moved and I was quite happy that her transition to her new school was not as bad as it was when she transitioned from Pre-K to Kindergarten. Not only did we move into a new house, but she moved into a whole new school; this one being much, much smaller than her previous school, so that helped. There were a few rough days, and I know there are more rough days for her in the future, but all-in-all, she is doing well and has quite a support team to help her along the way.

During all that, I had finished up the last rough draft, the last edits of my young adult fantasy fiction and hope to have it published within the next month or so. I have found an awesome illustrator to work on the cover, to which I have seen and even though it isn’t entirely finished, I love the work she has done. (I plan on post a picture of the cover art once it is completed)

I had also written a few short stories and a novella, some of them were published and some of them are in the works of being published. All of my work can be found on this website: www.twistedcrowpress.com

To keep posted on when my young adult fantasy fiction novel will be published, or to keep posted on all future works, go to my Facebook page and click ‘like’:    www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferNAdams

There were some few road blocks, but I had managed through each one and am starting to get everything back on track.

~JA~

Redrafting a Query Letter


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I’m often asked, “You’re so busy, when do you find time to write?”

Of course I reply with, “I find the time.”

I do have a full schedule, or a full plate, whichever way it’s put, I am quite the busy person. Single mom, work, college, plus a huge list of other things to add that I wish not to discuss publicly. I’ve often stated when I fit in my writing. It’s usually scribbling ideas down onto paper whenever I have a free minute, such as standing in the grocery store check out lines. Then late at night, or right before class, I’ll type them up. Usually, it helps to have a printed manuscript for me to scribble on, but I always have a notebook where I keep all my notes.

Currently, I’ve been adding the last pieces to my manuscript. A sentence or two here, cut and paste that over there… As I type this, I’m 200 words shy of making 60,000 words. Wow! Well, isn’t that enough? Apparently not! It is a young adult novel, so there is a minimum and a maximum amount of words required for a publisher to actually look into publishing an author’s book…so I’ve been told…by a couple of actual publisher’s.

I didn’t come up with that entire word count over night…I wish…It took me five, long years to come up with that amount. So, you can see, I may seem to have accomplished a lot, it just took me a long time to get here. I don’t spend all of my time on the computer, writing…though some of my relatives may think otherwise.

Honestly, after hearing other authors tell me how long it’s taken them to come up with their first manuscript for a full novel, I don’t feel so bad on how long it took for me to get this far.

I’m now at the point to where I should prepare a query letter. I have written and rewritten a query letter for this manuscript, though it just hasn’t caught an agent’s attention. It’s taken me five years to write a novel with 60K words, why should it take me so long or be so hard to write up a short professional letter? Well, it is a hard market for us authors. So hard in fact, that a query letter has to have the essentials, yet catch an agents eye for them to pick you and your manuscript. It has to be perfect.

I’ve had a few ‘maybes’, but they weren’t a definite ‘yes’. So, it was back to the drawing board, so to speak. I couldn’t understand what my query letter lacked. It had all the important details; genre, word count, title, synopsis, a little bit about me…yet, no yes’s. I had a hard time coming up with my query letter. I honestly didn’t know how to write one. I had to research and research this on the internet, through the writer’s digest magazine, even thumbed through several books on ‘how to get published’.

Until one day, I had stumbled upon a blog that proved most helpful in every way. Jane Friedman, a publishing consultant, with many years of experience, had written a ‘Complete Guide To Query Letters…’ After scrolling through this post, I finally had the understanding of how my query letter should read. It clicked. The part about her ‘Hook Instruction’ was proved most helpful to me. After having a few people read my query letter, it seems that’s what it lacked, a hook.

Now it’s time for me to go re-type my query letter, though with motivation and determination that I will have the perfect one written and sent out to all those agents I’ve picked to query.

Be sure to check our Jane Friedman’s post about, ‘The Complete Guide To Query Letters That Get Manuscript Requests’. Also scroll through her other posts, you’ll find them all very helpful.

Happy writing!

Book Reviews on Amazon Actually Help


It’s a hard life/job being a small time published author, especially when you first start out. You continue to market yourself time and time again, in hopes of getting your work out there. My first year as a published author went really well. I had quite a few book signing events, which led to being invited to other events where I was able to set up a table for more book signings. I’ve sold quite a few books by myself alone; through social media, emails, word of mouth, leaving postcards here and there. But that’s just small marketing. it takes a lot more effort, time, and money to really get noticed.

Recently, I’ve been doing some research on how to boost sales, broaden my marketing area, and strengthen my marketing skills. A very good friend of mine can tell you straight away, that I’m not very good with computers, yet I try and I am a quick learner.

Social media alone is the largest self-marketing tool that I know of, but word of mouth from readers can be a much bigger step in having your work noticed.

According to Brooke Warner in her Huffington Post blog post, “book reviews on Amazon are what carries it’s weight in getting more attention with Amazon.”

“After you hit 50 (ratings), you get more visibility on Amazon.”

In this line of work, I believe reviews from readers are extremely important. It helps me, the author, know that my work is being purchased, that my work is being seen by others. It also lets me know what people actually think of what I have written. It also lets me know that my work is getting out there.

It takes a lot of time and and a lot effort to put a book together and get it out on the market, yet it takes little effort to write up a review.

If you read a book and truly love it, be sure to let the author know. There’s many webpages out there where their work is being sold. Be kind and leave a quick review. I’m a big Goodreads user and love to rate author’s books. I also click which ones I’ve read, want to read, and have purchased. I then write up a short review on what I thought of each book I’ve read. And if I loved a particular book, I let them know.

I’ve even written reviews on books and posted them here on my blog, tagging their name and a link to where you can purchase that book or see other works by that author. This all helps us authors in many ways. It gets our name out there. Word of mouth goes a long way, it is a small part of marketing, and it does help the author. You never know when someone is actually reading that review; it helps make that decision for them to purchase that book.

According to a blog entry by Mike Briggs, on author Patricia Briggs’ writing, “…that pure, dumb luck plays a major role in this phase of the game.”

He’s right. Just by posting on my blog here, I’ve been able to bring attention to my work and what I do. I’ve had guess blog spots where I talked about what I do and how I got started and why. Other author’s, whom I have reviewed and shared their work here on my blog, have seen my posts and have thanked me.

Small steps can lead to big adventures, yet you have to take those small steps.

With all that said, if you have purchased my book and would like to leave a review, click here and it will take you to Amazon. Also, feel free to purchase a copy if you haven’t already. If you would like a personal signed copy made out to someone, click here. To rate my book on Goodreads, click here.

I will be finishing up my last round of edits on my last chapter of my young adult novel and will be sending it to my editor very, very soon. After the last draft is finalized, I will be sending it off to the publisher. As always, I’ll keep everyone posted.

Cheers!

Dana’s First Fish book signings coming soon


Dana's First Fish

I love it when I stroll through the aisles of my local bookstore and the employees recognize me as one of the local authors. It makes me feel proud, happy, and excited. I’m no Charlaine Harris, but still, I need that little nudge of encouragement, a boost of motivation. It hasn’t been a successful start as a published author. I’ve paid to have a marketing team help me put myself out there and it started out a little rough, but the wrinkles are starting to work themselves out, finally.

If I were a betting person, I’m not, but if I were, I would bet that if you googled Dana’s First Fish or my name, Jennifer N. Adams, a nice looking picture of yours truly would pop up. 🙂 Go ahead, google me, it’s okay. 😉 Granted, it took a lot of work and quite a bit of time for that to happen, but Dana’s First Fish appears as my book now and not the work of the other children’s author who shares my name. Since she’s written and published quite a long list of titles, I think it is I who shares her name and not the other way around.

When you spend all that time, money, energy into creating something and not receive credit, wouldn’t you be upset? I was. I would show up to events and the coordinator would frown as they were expecting the other Jennifer Adams to show up.

I’ve had a few people personally ask me to get with them in a few weeks (when they’re starting to book events) so that I can set up a date to have a book signing with them. I love when someone asks for me to do that. Make sure you keep your eyes open, as I’ll start setting up book signing events for late March or early April.

I still have a few copies of Dana’s First Fish on hand if you would like to purchase one or two of them. Just make sure that you make a memo as to whom I’m making it out to in the comments section before you check out completely.

National Library Week – Blogging From A to Z Challenge


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This week is National Library Week. This is the time to take the opportunity to thank your local librarian or to have your community become involved in your local library. I grew up two doors down from a library, so I’ve spent many, many days curled up in a corner of the library, with my nose in a book, capturing an imaginative moment with each page I turned. My librarian, Mrs. Zoch, who has since passed away, would help me find the perfect book to captivate my attention. I’m deeply thankful to her in helping me get to where I am today. Because of her, I found a love for books. And because of that, I have become a published author for children. I find the use of imagination helpful in creative thinking.

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Literacy is an important tool in a person’s life. It helps in our advancement in the workplace. It helps us obtain the right jobs for us. As a blooming anthropologist, I’ll be spending many hours in a library, amongst the research materials, trying to uncover the mystery behind whatever group of people I’ll be writing about. Libraries play a crucial role in my job. For years I’ve been working on my genealogy and have noticed that everything isn’t found on the internet. I spent an entire day on vacation, researching my genealogy at a library in Georgia. They have a room that is specifically for ancestry.

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I stared into the library from the doorway and was captivated by the numerous shelves full of records, books, journals, newspapers, and other items, as well as several shelves full of film. None of these items would be found on the internet. After several roles of film, then thumbing through a few records, I found some important documents on a couple of my grandparents. I had searched for years on the internet for these documents, only to find them from taking a trip to Georgia from Arkansas. I actually went to Georgia to visit with my sister and some cousins of ours, but once I learned about the library in Macon, Georgia, I had to make a trip.