Tag Archives: fantasy

Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing, Pros and Cons

There’s a big difference between choosing to publish traditionally than there is to self-publish. I have listed a few pros and cons that should help you choose.



  • You have a chance of seeing your work in a lot of stores, especially the big name bookstores.
  • It isn’t as costly to publish, but it does come out of your sales.



  • You have to market yourself. The publishing company is putting their faith in you when it comes to marketing your work. They’re making money off of this, too!
  • You have to sign a contract. If your work isn’t selling, your contract will be forfeit. Your publisher will drop you.
  • Publishers pay you 15-30% royalties.
  • Agents charge you at least 15-20%.
  • Not all publishers give you an advance. If they do, you don’t get paid till your books earn every penny the publisher gave you in your advance.
  • If you publish one book with a publisher in one genre, then write another book in a different genre, you may have to find a different publisher for that second book as your publisher may only publish a certain genre.
  • It takes a year, up to three years to get your work published.
  • If you queried an agent, it make take weeks or months for them to respond. Then it takes longer to read and edit your work. Then it takes even longer for them to find the right publisher for you and to get said publisher to accept your work.
  • You may have to change your story, plot, characters.
  • You don’t get the say in the formatting, cover design, pricing.
  • You may not get to publish your book the way you want such as paperback, hardback, audio, and ebook. Sometimes, you are only able to publish one or two of those styles.




  • You are your own boss. No contracts.
  • You set your own prices. You can also decide when to put everything on sale.
  • Sort of a pro and a con… If you want to see your books in a bookstore, you have to pay (a small fee) to use a certain service. If you want to see your books in the big name bookstores, you will have to write up a press release, requesting your work be placed on their shelves.
  • You can publish whatever genre you want, using whatever self-publishing service you want. Granted, there is a limit to publishing EVERYTHING.
  • It takes 3-12 days to have your work published, depending on the length of your manuscript, formatting, etc.
  • You get to choose your cover design – hire a professional, unless you are the professional.
  • You are paid 35-80% in royalties (Amazon will pay you 35% if your book is priced below $2.99, but will pay you 70% if it’s $2.99 or above.)
  • If you choose not to be an author anymore, you don’t have to wait on a contract to end, you can cancel your books at any time.
  • You can publish your book the way you like; ebook, paperback, audio, hardback. Plus, you can choose the size of the book.


  • You market everything yourself, as if you weren’t already. You don’t make money if you don’t market your work.
  • Self-Publishing has a bit of a bad name to it, some people think that your work will be rubbish and not bother giving you a chance. You have to show them that they’re wrong.
  • You have to spend a little bit more out of pocket for services, such as editing, cover design, formatting, but you can budget yourself on this. Pro: I’ve learned to format my own work to save me money. It isn’t that hard. You can do your own cover design if you are very familiar with Photoshop and your cover designs look really good.


Hopefully I have answered some of your questions. If I missed something, message me. You can find me on Facebook. I am working on making some Youtube videos to share my writing/publishing journey with everyone.

If you haven’t already, check out my webpage: www.twistedcrowpress.com




Quite the Note Taker

I’ve always been a well prepared note taker when it came to working on a story. I keep a notebook on my nightstand for that moment when I have a break through in my story, or a thought comes to mind on a writing project I’m working on. I would jot notes down in it while in line at the check out, or in between my college classes.

I have a HUGE stack of notebooks and folders full of every note that I had scribbled down or typed up while I was working on a story, song, poem, short story. I even have a collection of diaries that I had scribbled in right after I graduated boot camp (US Navy).

I love thumbing through those pages and discovering stuff I’ve forgotten about, or finding notes that I had been looking for when I needed them for a writing project.

Presently, I am working on putting together a compilation of these short stories and poems of mine that I have found. Most of the ones that I have put together, I had written while I was in college. It’s something that’s keeping me busy until the first book Young Adult Fantasy Fiction Series, Chaos – Supernatural Realms, comes out next month (27 March).

I’ve been keeping everyone updated on my Facebook page:


And will also list the information on my webpage:


Please be sure to follow and subscribe.

Many Blessings,


Redrafting a Query Letter


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!

Searching for a Literary Agent

For the past month or so, I have been working diligently on editing my young adult manuscript. I found a wonderful editor, who taught me a lot about what is important and what isn’t, pertaining to certain characters, as well as paying attention to detail. (I’m still horrible with comma usage).

I had cut a huge section out of one area which wasn’t really important to the story; sometimes, too much detail is just that, too much detail and it has to be cut. I then added more here and there to help strengthen certain areas. I also changed a character’s name after seeing it closely resembled another character’s name.

After deciding my manuscript was finally polished, I began to send out query letters to literary agents in hopes of finding someone to represent me and my work. This can either be hard, or easy. I have a book called, ‘A Guide to Literary Agents’. Over half of the book is nothing but agencies and agents. I started out with a few, checked out their websites, then checked out each agent’s bio, as well as their submission rules. It’s crucial to follow their submission guidelines.

Though I’ve received two rejections so far, I’m not letting that bring me down. It just tells me that there’s someone else out there, I just have to find them. Plus, it also tells me that someone actually read my query letter; some agencies receive over 100 query letters a day, so they don’t have time to read every one of them.

If you are in the same boat as I am, searching for a literary agent, I wish you the best of luck, and remember to stay positive.


I did it, it’s done!


I have finally added the finishing touches to the second rough draft version of my Young Adult manuscript, polishing it to the best of my abilities. I have finally made it to, a hair over, 41K words. I feel excited and yet, very accomplished. I set a goal for myself and have reached it. I made it to the minimum word count.

I printed out my manuscript and handed it over to the one who is editing it for me. I told her to be very critical, as it is expected from real editors, agents, and publishers these days. I have two weeks left of school and will be spending it wrapped up in completing last minute essays and studying for finals.

As soon as I’m done with this semester i’m going to be working on my query letter and searching for agents. Quite a few people have asked me, “What about the using the publisher you already have?” I used them for my children’s book, due out next month. They are a Christian based company and probably won’t accept my manuscript as it is Fantasy-Fiction. I will ask them though.

It took me three years to write this novel, but I had many road bumps that prevented me from completing it sooner. I cannot wait to read my edits and get to work on them already. Since it is book one I’m already feeling itchy to begin working on book two.

I have at least fifteen chapters of written out in notes on how the book will be written and at least seven of those chapters have already been written. Yes, I’ve started this one long ago as well, when book one was a rough draft of a rough draft. I did not know how I wanted the story to end in book one. I then changed it many times, until I finally found the ending that worked best.

I’ll keep everyone posted on what I’m working on and my progress. Cross your fingers that I do find the right agent for me.

Wishing everyone a blessed day!

The Next Big Thing

Jae at http://litandscribbles.wordpress.com told me about writing The Next Big Thing blog chain post. It is to answer a few questions about the book that I am currently working on. By doing this, it gives some sort of insight on what my book is about…hopefully. So, if you have a question that isn’t listed here, please feel free to ask it and I will try to the best of my ability to answer it for you.

Thank you Jae for the help and for the idea!!

What is the working title of your book?

Into the Realm of the Supernatural: Chaos This is the first book in a series.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

I had a dream about it, then started writing the ideas down in a notebook and piecing them together. I think a lot of authors book ideas come from dreams, look at Stephen King.

As soon as I figured out how I wanted my story to begin, I start writing it. I use a large dry erase board to write down key information to help me write. Later I will add chapters that need attention on the dry erase board.

Whenever I am away from the computer I am always scribbling notes in my notebook. When I get home, I’ll type up my notes and piece the story together, adding to it as I go along.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult Fantasy

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Usually authors don’t have a say in who plays whom. I would pick Channing Tatum as the role for the Sheriff James Bailey. I think he would play a good uncle role for Anya and Noelle. As for Noelle, I would pick, Jennifer Lawrence. You might remember her from the lead role as Katniss from the Hunger Games. Noelle, is an independent, athletic young woman. She’s an avid runner and a great role model for her younger sister Anya. For Anya, I would pick, Scout-Taylor Compton. Anya tries to be a good teenager, but sometimes trouble finds her. She has a love for classic movies and even sneaks out late at night to watch a good black and white film at the cinema.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

(I honestly couldn’t think of a one sentence synopsis, so I came up with two short paragraphs)

Not much goes on in the little farming town of Pratt, Arkansas.  At least that’s what most of the 282 people who live here think.  Noelle Bailey, a local high school graduate, is one of those people who believe that nothing out of the ordinary or abnormal exists, especially in Pratt.  However, she soon learns that she is part of the abnormal.

James, Noelle’s uncle and Pratt’s sheriff, is trying to solve a chain of murders as a secret from his past begins to unravel.  His two nieces, Noelle and Anya, quickly notice changes in themselves as they get caught up in the events that occur, surrounding his investigation.  One thing leads to another as a doorway to their future opens, pulling them inside.  To complicate matters, the FBI arrive and request James’ to help in the unsolved mysteries.  He soon discovers that he has a more important unsolved mystery requiring specifically his attention most of all.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I will definitely use an agency. Self-publishing will be the last resort.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Almost three years. I’ll be starting on my second draft very soon.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I am not sure as most books are usually all vampires, or all werewolves, or all faeries, or a huge mix of all three. I don’t have any vampires in my book. I have a mix of mostly weres and shifters and a few faeries.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

My Grandmother inspired me to keep working on this novel. I would put it down as I had to deal with real life and then she would ask if I was done with my book.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I actually did my homework on particular things for the book; for example the sheriff’s job, Sheriff’s sub stations, forensics, types of hunting rifles, etc. I also used real towns, just renamed the businesses; I added a few buildings and rebuilt some old buildings that were once there, like the school. I kept most of the actual street names; though I added a few.

I find it important for the reader to see that the author knows what they’re writing about, instead of just adding words to a page.

Books about Vampires and Dragons

I love books, I love to read. I spend quite a bit of time at the library. Most of the time I walk out with a stack of books knowing I don’t have time to read them all. When I browse, it’s usually the cover or the spine that catches my eye. I love art, so it’s whatever jumps out at me, will grab my attention. I rarely look at the author, unless it’s one of my favorite authors and I’m specifically looking for. I love new, first time authors.

First I read the back, if there’s a synopsis written, telling me what the story is about, if not I will open the book to the inside jacket cover and read the synopsis there. Sometimes I will read the first page; if the story grabs my attention enough to make me turn the page, i’ll check the book out.

I read all kinds of genre’s, mostly Fantasy; that’s usually what I write. I’m not a huge fan of romance novels. You would normally find me in the Young Adult section, I find a lot of good books there. I had checked one out not too long ago that I would recommend to anyone who reads Fantasy or Fiction. It’s called Firelight by Sophie Jordan. It was an interesting read and hard to put down. I found it unique, something I haven’t read about before.

Since Twilight, everyone has been overdoing the Vampire scene. I’ve seen a lot of Faery books and a few Werewolf books, but Sophie Jordan’s book, I believe might be a first. I could be wrong on this and would love for someone to correct me (kindly though), but her book is about dragons that have learned to evolved into humans, calling themselves draki. They can manifest (shape shift) themselves back into dragon form and back into human form.

She has a second book of her, four book draki series, called Vanish. My name has been added to a list at the library to check it out. I hope you will check it out too.

Another Fantasy, Mystery, Fiction book that I really loved, I found in the Adult section, is a Vampire series by Chris Farnsworth. I started with the second book, Blood Oath. It’s about a vampire that protects the President of the United States through a blood oath. I thought after ten pages I would put it down and not pick it up again; this is before I started reading it, I was wrong. It was actually a really good book. Written really well. I finished the book within a few days and am now on the third book called Red, White, and Blood.

Both of these books are newer books, so they should be in your local bookstore or library. Check them out.