Tag Archives: journalism

Don’t Fear Failure, Fear Not Taking the Chance


Dont-fear-failure

After having a bad experience with my publishing company, I decided to take a step back.

I published my first book back in 2013 with a small publishing company. At the time, I was still working on writing my novel and was looking forward to having it published as well. The issues I had with said publishing company began to pile up that I was afraid of publishing another book.

I pushed my book aside and used that energy to focus on my studies; at the time, I was halfway through college.

One day, while watching Youtube, I came across a video – I know, sounds cliche – of someone who decided to take the indie author route.

I was afraid to self-publish. I didn’t know where to start if I decided to take the indie route. Not to mention the many questions I had. I couldn’t possibly make money as an indie author, could I? Where would I even publish my book? Would anyone even read my work? How would they read my work?

In 2015, I finished, or so I thought it was finished, my novel. I began sending query letters out to agents only to receive rejection after rejection. I literally stopped counting after twelve. ‘Market is too saturated with this genre’, ‘this isn’t the right fit for me’, ‘too many books out there with werewolves’. I pushed my novel aside and forgot about it.

Some time had passed before my grandmother asked me what happened to my novel. She encouraged me to keep trying. So, I pulled it up onto my computer, read through it before deciding to change it up.

This was going to take some time.

I spent whatever time I had in between classes going back through my book and cutting, adding, and editing. It was now 2016. It had taken me a few months before I was finished working on my novel – by this time, I had dubbed it ‘the-never-ending-novel’. I ended up adding over 22,000 (almost 23,000) words before sending it off to my editor.

While my editor looked it over, I thought I would research what it meant to be an indie author. I listened to success stories, I listened to authors explain why they switched from traditionally published to indie, I even watched videos on how to and where to self-publish.

No matter how many videos I watched, I had that nagging feeling that this was not going to work. Then another voice chimed in asking me, “Why not just try it?”

I pulled up a collection of short stories that I had been working on and decided to polish one of them up. Of the plethora of videos that I had watched, a few of them suggested that as an indie author you have the opportunity to publish short stories and earn a meager income from them.

I also learned that you should not just stick to writing novels. Publish everything: short stories, novellas, novels. The more work you have out there, the more you will become noticed.

It was late 2016, when I handed my short story over to another editor (I now have two editors). A month later, she hands it back with the requested revisions. It didn’t take me long to go through my last edits. Thanks to another video, I was able to teach myself how to format it to publish as an ebook.

I was now entering my last two semesters of college. I also learned that my grandmother had stage IV pancreatic carcinoma.

I held onto my short story for a few more months with the uncertainty of publishing it.

Finally, in July 2017, I got the courage to upload my short story into Amazon. I stared at the publishing button not wanting to click it. My heart raced and my stomach churned with nervousness.

Why couldn’t I just click that button?

Because once I did, it would be up for the world to see.

But, why would that be so bad, isn’t that what you wanted all along, to publish more books?

Yes.

I clicked published. I don’t know why, but I screwed my eyes shut. I guess I was expecting my laptop to explode? After a few seconds, I stared at the screen. A box had appeared, telling me that it would take 12-72 hours before it would be live.

My anxiety had started to calm down a bit.

That wasn’t too bad now, was it?

No, it was pretty easy, actually.

A few days had passed before I checked on my newly published book. It actually made a few sales. Not bad. Maybe I should try publishing another one.

And thus it began…

One self-published book turned into six more, including the novel that I had once queried agent after agent on. It has been doing fairly well in sales. Though, after learning that people do judge a book by its cover, I am working on having another cover made for it.

I have since learned how to perfect my craft; my writing has improved, I’m learning new marketing skills each day. Most importantly, I have never given up on my writing. In fact, I continue to come up with ideas for new stories quite frequently that I know I will never run out of things to write about. I’ve built a brand for myself, creating a small publishing company, an LLC.

And who cares about what those agents thought. My novel is making money so, there obviously is still a market for said genre. I have since learned that you should write about what you want to write about. It’s true that there are popular niches out there. You just have to find the right one. Don’t be afraid to publish in a popular niche, as well as publish in others.

The more you have published, the more your work becomes noticed. I said that already. Maybe because it’s true, especially if you leave a link to your other works in the back and front of each book. If readers loved one book, they may check out another and another…

I no longer fear to self-publish my work. I’m earning an income doing what I love. I’m actually earning more now than what I was at that one publishing company. Though it’s a slow process for me, my list of published works is growing. I’m hoping that one day I can do this full-time. That’s a goal I look toward to achieving.

For a list of my published works, under my name and under my pen name, check out my website: www.twistedcrowpress.com

 

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Mock Ebook Covers Helps With Motivation


For the past few months, I have been working on a novel that had me stopping now and then. It’s a mystery/thriller – murder, the FBI, a love interest. The idea sounded great in my head yet, I had trouble getting it to come out and onto paper. I pushed my novel aside, and then pulled up another writing project onto my computer and worked on it. I was able to write in spurts. My brain kept trying to focus on that one novel though.

I enlisted the help of a few co-workers. A few of them listened to me as I rambled on about this story I was writing. A few others added their two cents, which was enough to help me push aside my writer’s block.

Later that night, I typed up what I came up with, then stared at the scene after I was done. I re-read the story, hoping something new would come up, but as I read it, it seemed as if part of it wouldn’t make sense in the real world, and my book took place in the real world.

Once again, I pushed it aside and pulled up the other writing project, until I couldn’t write any more on it either.

Pushing my other writing project aside, I decided to try something new.

I read how one author creates her own book covers for inspiration. Though she never uses these covers on her books, as she hires a professional, her self made covers do serve a purpose.

She chooses the model, picks a title for her book, and then puts it all together in a mock photoshop software you can find for free on the internet. She then prints it out and hangs it near her computer for her to see while she writes. Once I read this, I was able to understand her methods. Sometimes it takes visual cues to help get the creative juices flowing.

I tried her method and found that it worked. Honestly, why didn’t I try this before? It wasn’t long that the words started to flow. I could visualize the story playing out as if it were a movie. I even went as far as creating boards on Pinterest; picking out my characters and locations to draw out inspiration.

All these methods have helped me write a better story.

I even went as far as coming up with a second book, but that’s just me, always thinking ahead. Soon the outline was coming into place and I was able to determine an ending.

Now it was time to fill in the story.

Check back to see how far along my story has gotten.

 

Drinking Coffee and Writing to Jimmy Buffett


breakfast and writing

Being an author with ADD is quite hard. I can’t focus on just one writing project. I talked to a few co-worker’s about a few of my writing projects that I was working on and they asked me how was it that I didn’t get them mixed up? I told them that it’s like my brain has many web browsers open and that I’m unable to shut all but one off.

It’s true, though, I do have anywhere from two to four writing projects going. For some, that’s bad, but for others, it’s just the way we are. In a way, I can finish two or more writing projects at the same time.

Last year, I set a goal for myself, publish 6 titles a year for 5 years. Last summer, I switched jobs and found myself having quite a lot of time, so it was easy to use up that time to write, to focus on every one of my writing projects that I had going. I would drop my daughter off at school and head home and write until it was time to pick her up. Before I knew it, I had written three novellas, two non-fiction books, and a short story.

I ended up publishing that short story and one of my novellas last year, as well as a novel that my editor had sent back to me earlier in the year. The other two novellas that I had finished, I had published earlier this year. As for those two non-fiction books, they are set to be published this summer.

Now, the thing about having so much time on my hands and having ADD is that I find myself wanting to play video games or watch Netflix. It wasn’t too hard to find myself losing my discipline. Though I would work on my writing projects, the word count wasn’t nearly as much as it used to be.

It was time to change it up. With my laptop and notebook in my bag, I stopped by my local coffee shop, ordered a breakfast sandwich and a coffee, and then plopped myself into one of their comfy chairs and started writing. It didn’t take me long to come up with over 1100 words. I know that isn’t enough to some, but it’s a start. I also didn’t stay but a few hours.

Since yesterday went so well, I found myself repeating the process; sitting at my local coffee shop with my laptop opened to one of my works-in-progress. Today’s music is much different as it was yesterday.  As I sat down, I plugged in my earbuds, hoping to find something on Youtube that I could write to. The coffee shop owner tells Alexa to shuffle Jimmy Buffett and Cheeseburger In Paradise immediately rings out through the speakers. I didn’t bother with my earbuds and Youtube as I found myself singing along to Jimmy Buffett, while my fingers clicked across the keyboard on my laptop.

Something about listening to Jimmy Buffett helps fuel the creative juices in so many ways for me. Maybe it’s that I wish I was on the beach somewhere instead of being landlocked. With Jimmy Buffett playing, I could picture myself sitting at one of my favorite places that I frequented when I lived near the beach years ago, writing as if I was living my dream; sitting on the beach, writing full-time.

Whatever helps, right?

What inspires you? What fuels your creativity?

Interested in checking out one of my books? Visit my webpage: www.twistedcrowpress.com

 


In today’s world, Indie artists aren’t so rare. There are many Indie authors who find the self-publishing route fits them best. It’s a huge feat for artists because it proves everyone can do what they set their minds to. The sky is the limit! However, everyone needs support. As an Indie author, it is vital […]

via EASY WAYS TO SUPPORT INDIE AUTHORS — The Peculiar Messenger

An Adult Soft Romance


Ranchers Daughter cover

Rancher’s Daughter is an adult soft romance novella. It’s available for purchase on Amazon, or check it out on Kindle Unlimited.

Everything was going great for Megan; she had her own ranch which she had inherited from her father, her own ranch hand, and an uncle who would always be there for her. It wasn’t until a magazine journalist visited to write about life in the ranch when Megan realized that something was missing. He was charmingly handsome and had a contagious smile, but could she fall in love with a city boy, or would she let an incident from her past keep her from completely tearing down the wall she built around her heart?

Sometimes Creativity Takes a Break


creative-cat

I often find my creativity taking a leave of absence when I’m in the middle of a writing project. I typically binge watch a TV series or spend some time at my local library looking for a good book or series, then curl up on the couch at home and read. Or, I choose a handful of books from Kindle Unlimited, filling up my Kindle. It isn’t long before my creative juices start flowing again.

For the past month, I had been working hard on three of my five works-in-progress. You’re probably thinking, “Wait a minute, you’re working on that many writing projects at the same time?” Well, yes, it’s pretty common among us writers to do that. I have ADD, so my brain can’t just focus on one thing as it’s all over the place. And being creative, I have so, so many ideas running rampant inside my head…

Anywho. I tend to get quite a bit of writing done this way. When the opportunity presents itself, why not take up on it?

Our minds need a break, just like our bodies. When we have a hard time focusing on something, it’s probably a sign that we need to take a break and let our batteries re-charge.

I often find myself stepping away from my writing. It gives me time to focus on other things. After a few days, or sometimes a week passes by, my creativity returns and I’m back to pounding out the words on the keyboard.

Are Authors Introverts?


What is an introvert? An introvert is someone who prefers a quiet atmosphere, who spends a lot of time alone, avoiding social interactions. Almost sounds like a recluse, doesn’t it? Well, those are two separate entities.

Authors spend quite a bit of time slumped over a computer, eagerly typing away on our current work-in-progress (WIP). The desperate need to meet a deadline, or the need to pound out everything our creative muse is giving us before they decidedly take a break, because, they do that sometimes. We tend to ignore the outside world, quite busy in our own little world(s). So, you can see why it is that we would be introverts.

Most of us require a certain space to write in. I know I do. I often need it to be quiet to think if I get stuck somewhere in a story. Sometimes, I have to change it up a bit to get my creative juices flowing. Often times, I will change up my writing locations; watch a certain TV series; read a book series in the genre I am currently writing in, all just to get me on the right track. Once the creativity gets going, it flows and I keep typing away, or I jot everything down as it comes to me.

I am a huge note taker when I cannot find the time to sit behind a computer. I have a shelf full of notebooks with a plethora of ideas, character profiles, scenes, plots, storylines, etc and so on. I carry a notebook with me everywhere, including having one on my nightstand. Most nights, I’m too tired to sit at the computer and write, but once I lay down I’m often hit with ideas on my current work-in-progress and would start to scribble them down into my notebook.

I’m often asked how I find the time to write? Being a single mom and having a special needs kiddo, as well as a job, it’s hard, but I find the time; I wait till she goes to bed, I write during my lunch breaks, I write while waiting in the school line, I write on my days off when she’s at school. I don’t need to explain my day-to-day, but finding the time to write can be done.

No, I’m not the kind of author that can type up 50,000 words in a month. I mean, that would be nice, but those are the kind of people who don’t have a job to head out to or kids to take care of, or if they did have kids, they have someone else to help them out. Me, I can type up around 500 – 1200 words in a day. One day, I typed up over 2500 words, but that was on my day off from work and I didn’t have any errands to run or chores to do. Those are rare days, too!

Every author is different. We all have our own styles or methods in doing what we do, to achieve getting our book written. There are those who can publish 10 or more titles a year, but that also goes along with what I just mentioned. Or, some of those titles aren’t full-length novels, to which I can see publishing that many short stories a year. I’ve published three titles this year; two were short stories and one was a novel, but I had been working on my novel for almost eight years.

I’ve grown accustomed to staying home on my days off my day job to work – as an author. My author business is a second job. There’s a lot that goes into it other than writing that next book. Marketing would be a big factor that goes into being a published author. Emails to answer or to send out, a webpage or blog to maintain, book orders to mail, events to prepare for. Those are just a few things I’ve mentioned. There is a whole lot that goes with being an author, especially if you’re an indie author. Even when I was traditionally published, I still had a lot of marketing to do on my end. It’s my work and I had to get the word out there on it or else I wouldn’t be making a cent. You can’t sell your books if no one knows it’s out there.

I tend to take breaks from social media. These days, you have to. I find myself getting lost on Pinterest. So many good recipes I need to try, or cute crafts my kiddo would enjoy, lol! If I need to focus on meeting my deadlines, it’s a must to take a break from the internet.

Introverts can be great listeners. Not all introverts are socially awkward or rude. Some introverts enjoy not being in the spotlight, or would rather refrain from speaking to a large crowd of people. Some introverts are more comfortable writing than speaking. Not everyone is great at public speaking or has a way with words when it comes to a conversation. Authors tend to use their way with words in their work and like an introvert, it may take many revisions to get out what it is we’re trying to say.

 

 

From Traditional to Indie Author


Some people think that indie authors make a lot of money from their books, or that they have a lot of money to self-publish.

Not entirely true.

Indie authors don’t get paid much for their books because some people would rather buy a $25.00 – $29.00 book written by a traditionally published author, plus the tax from the chain store that they purchased said book from. Indie books aren’t priced nearly as high and some of us aren’t found in large chain stores. However, it takes some leg work on our part to get our books on those shelves and at times, we aren’t always accepted.

Some people sneer when you say you’re an indie author as they think that anyone who self-publishes their work writes complete rubbish.

Not entirely true.

It is true that some of those who self-publish their work may skip the steps it takes to publish a good book, which can give the rest of us, who go through the checklist of things to do before publishing, a bad rep; editing being the first on the checklist.

There are many reasons why a lot of us authors are going the self-publishing route.

  1. Royalties – You don’t have to go through another person to get your royalty check. There were times when I didn’t receive a royalty check. And when I did, it wasn’t much to brag about. With self-publishing, you can receive a higher percentage of royalties than you would at a traditional publishing company. So, yes, the royalties are much better as an indie author. You’re not getting a smaller percentage.
  2. Marketing – I paid my publisher money to market my work for me and it was a waste of money. As an indie author, you do all the marketing yourself. True, it may cost a bit of money, but you can choose where to market and how much to spend. There are places that are free, and there are places that will charge you. I may be doing all the work marketing my work, but I know it’s getting done. Plus, I was doing most of the leg work when I was a traditionally published author anyway.
  3. Cover art/illustrations – A lot of times, authors don’t have a say as to what the cover looks like, or has a limited choice. As an indie author, you will have to find someone to do the book covers for you.
  4. Editing – At times, you would have to cut out a lot of things out of your work, or would be asked to redo a lot of things, or change up characters. As an indie author, you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to. However, it is highly suggested to find yourself a good editor to fix all of your grammar and punctuation.
  5. Pricing – As a traditional author, you don’t have the capabilities of setting and changing the price of your book as you would as an indie author. Plus, I can choose to publish as both, an ebook and a paperback. Whereas, I wasn’t allowed that opportunity as a traditional published author.

Basically, as an indie author, you are more in charge of what happens to your work and how much you get paid for it. But, not all of us publish complete rubbish. We’re the mom-and-pop to the big name brand chain. We need your business just as equally, if not more. We have a family to take care of, too, lol!

Bad editing and or book covers is what gives self-publishing it’s awful reputation. As the saying goes, ‘You have to spend money to make money’. As an author, traditional or indie, you’re spending money to make money. If you’re not spending money on services that molds and shapes your work into perfection, then you’re not making money.

If you visited my website, www.twistedcrowpress.com head over there and click subscribe to keep posted. All ebooks are $0.99 right now on Amazon, or FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

Chaos, the first book in my young adult series Supernatural Realms, comes out 27 March. I will be running promos for it for two weeks. Be sure to subscribe to my website, or follow my author page on Facebook.

Cheers,

JA

A silly little reporting


For our ‘beginning journalism’ class, our teacher had us write up a newspaper article that was newsworthy using nursery rhymes. Most of the class didn’t know that many nursery rhymes so she began putting some up on the board, with our added help of course. I decided to use ‘Jack Be Nimble’. We had fun writing these, as well as reading them in class.

 

Teen Suffers 2nd Degree Burns, Candle Jumping

Bryant, Arkansas, Jack B. Nimble, 18, suffers from second degree burns practicing for a new event in what he is calling Candle Jumping. His close friend, J. B. Quick, 17, says that Jack has been practicing Candle Jumping for three weeks and was hoping to perform this jump in front of family and friends this weekend, before performing in front of a much larger audience next month.

When asked if he could describe Candle Jumping, J. B. Quick stated, “It’s like Evil Knivel type of stuff. Someone on a BMX bike peddles as fast as he can up a ramp, jump over a several burning barrels, and land on a ramp on the other side.” Quick also stated that he is another Candle Jumping performer and is going to perform with Nimble next month, should Nimble recover soon.

Firefighter Chief Nelson states, “That something in one of the barrels had explode, shooting flames up at Nimble, causing him to lose focus and miss the last ramp, landing on a burning barrel causing his injuries.”

Nimble had tried jumping over five burning barrels when he suffered from a concussion, broken leg, three broken ribs, a broken arm, and second degree burns over half of his body. He remains in critical condition at UAMS.  

First week done


The first week of school went by with some success. We had another ice storm come through that postponed and canceled classes. Even though Tuesday was the actually day of bad weather, I had missed classes all day from my own self-ignorance on how to read my own class schedule. I had to laugh out loud when it was pointed out to me. I felt awkward showing up to class on Thursday and the teacher asked for us to turn in our homework. My eyes got real big and I felt awkward. Had I missed something? Was this in an email that I should’ve checked and hadn’t? I finally asked. This class, as well as the other classes I have on Thursday, is also held on Tuesday.

Since Tuesday and Thursday both start with “T’s” they use “TR” for Thursday on a class schedule or an “R”. I had “TR” on my schedule, which meant I had these classes on both Tuesday and Thursday; I thought they were Thursday only classes. I had never taken class on Tuesday’s or Thursday’s, so you could see my confusion. No matter, I got it cleared up and am planning on being on time and in class on Tuesday.

My week looks busy Monday through Thursday and I am already enjoying the classes that I have signed up for. I’ll have a lot of writing to do and I’m told I’ll have quite a few essays to write as well. Though some students may not like writing essay, I’m the opposite, I actually like them. They help me work on my writing skills. I’m not a great writer, I’ll always make mistakes, it is now that I am in school that I can find these mistakes and learn how to fix them.

Since there are quite a few writing prompts in my classes, I’ll be sharing them with you all. So, look forward to reading about what I’m doing in Cultural Anthropology, Beginning Journalism, English Comp II, and Creative Writing.