Tag Archives: publishing

Supporting Other Indie Authors


support indies

I’ve been reviewing books on Amazon and Goodreads for indie authors for a few years now, I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of blogging about them.

So, I decided to try something different. Being an indie author myself, I know how hard it is to get the word out there when it comes to promoting and marketing my work. There are a lot of ways to market your work, yet most of them are out of the budget range, especially if you are just starting out which means you can only promote your work here or there.

With that said, I decided to create a blog where I will post my indie book reviews, as well as author interviews for any indie author out there looking into promoting their published works or looking into building their online presence.

I know there are quite a few book bloggers already out there, but one more couldn’t hurt, right?

It’s FREE marketing!

It’s FREE, which means I’m not charging anyone to market their books. If you are an indie author and think you are interested, check out my blog here. Or, if you are looking for something interesting to read, visit my blog and click follow.

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When Do You Find Time To Write?


writing on the road

Working on my next novel while running errands with my dad.

People still ask me how I find the time to write. To them, I’m quite a busy person.

“You’re a single mom with a special needs kiddo, you work full time, yet you have time to write and publish books? How do you do it?”

“Well, I make time,” I say with a shrug. “I love to write, so, I write.”

True, I have my hands completely full with my daughter. Being a special needs parent is a full-time job in itself, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’m often approached by aspiring authors telling me that they don’t have the time to write, yet they want to write and publish a book. If you want to be a writer, then be one. Don’t sit on the sidelines saying how you wish you could be one. Make it happen. Authors don’t find time to write, they make time.

Authors don’t find time to write, they make time.

I was going to college full-time, working part-time, volunteering, taking care of my daughter as a single mom, and helping my grandmother. In the middle of all that I had written and published three books; one of which was a novel.

I have been able to remove ‘attending classes, studying and doing homework’ off of my plate, but my plate is still full. Between IEP meetings (I’ve had 6 this year so far), meeting with someone from the school (a weekly event, if not daily), school events, afterschool events, daily life requirements of housework and errands, work (the main money-bringer), I still find thirty minutes to an hour, sometimes more, to write. If my daughter is at school and I’m off work, that’s plenty of time (8 hours, give or take time out for lunch) to write and get my errands and housework completed.

Being an author is a job.

Since starting my new job last year, I have had nothing but time to write, that I have made it my second job. Being an author is a job. You not only work on your next book, but you have to promote and market the work that you have published. How else are you going to earn an income from your work if no one knows it’s out there?

However, I tend to spend a lot of time writing than I do marketing. That could be a good thing or a bad thing. I’m writing more, which means there will be more published works out there. The more you have published, the more your work will be noticed. I had also decided not to market as much until I had more published works out there.

I’m not saying all of this to brag, honestly! I’m trying to encourage others to make the time. I once used to look at published authors, wishing that I, too, could write and publish a book. I decided to tell myself that I could.

I started writing my novel, Chaos when my daughter was a few months old. I kept pushing it aside as I lacked the motivation to continue. My grandmother became my cheerleader, in a way, urging me to keep going. She knew I wanted to be a published author. I’m glad I listened to her.

Now that she is no longer here, I find myself thinking about her and what she would say each time that I need that little boost of encouragement. Or, I see the pride in my daughter’s eyes when she takes my children’s picture book to school to show everyone that her mommy wrote it. That right there is all the motivation I need.

Indie Author Guide


Ever since I published my first book in 2012, I have been asked how I did it, along with many other questions that I feel I have enough to fill a book. Most of the questions are usually the same ones that I am asked repeatedly. I try my best to answer each one and at times I feel like I’m leaving something out.

I want budding authors to strive in this business, as being an author is a business. It’s how we earn an income. Some authors earn a lot more than others but I don’t want to keep aspiring authors from learning their craft to where they can’t make a living. I want to help them become successful.

I have decided to take these questions and answer them by writing a book. Not only do I answer their questions, in length, I added a plethora of other useful tips and tidbits that they should know to help them in building and marketing their brand. Though it’s a guide on how to become an indie author, I do write a little about what to expect in the traditional publishing side of becoming an author.

Indie Author Guide

Though I don’t have an exact date set for when it will be published, I do know it will be out sometime next Spring.

Chaos My YA Fantasy Book is Now Available


Chaos Cover EBOOK

I’m happy to say that my young adult fantasy fiction novel, Chaos, the first in my Supernatural Realms Series is finally available.

I have worked on it for quite a long time that I am overly ecstatic to finally hold a copy in my hands!

You can get it on Amazon as an ebook or a paperback, or on my website: www.twistedcrowpress.com

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

Love your authors? Leave them a review on Amazon and or Goodreads.

One Word Photo Challenge: Melon


Not many know this, but I am interning at the Little Rock Zoo. I won’t go into details, as I don’t have permission to talk about what it is that I do there, but with that said, after I’m done with my work, I take a stroll through the zoo and see the animals out and about, foraging, playing, interacting with one another, etc.

To see more on this weeks photo challenge, melon, click here.

Enjoy!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall


For more of this week’s photo challenge, wall, check out The Daily Post.

Last month, I visited one of my favorite book stores, Gingles Books and Baubles. It had been awhile since I’ve been there and I had stopped to search for a few books for a couple of classes. When I arrived, I noticed a huge, beautiful wall mural, covering the entire wall of the building (old Bell building) across the street from the book store (South Street). I walked over towards it and noticed that it’s actually a painting of the history of Arkansas and quite possible, some of it depicted history in the town of Benton (Niloak pottery).

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Spanish conquistador, Hernando de Soto traveled through Arkansas in 1541-42, when he had encountered the Quapaws, in the city known today as Parkin. For more information on de Soto’s travels through Arkansas, click here.

*Please note, the tribe depicted in the mural is Caddo. In Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca’s book Castaways, he was the first Spaniard to encounter the Caddos. Hernando de Soto died in May 1942, having never met with the Caddos. It was his successor, Luis Moscoso de Alvarado, who after de Soto’s death, followed along the Red River, into Southwest Arkansas, where the Caddo tribe flourished. For more info on the remainder of the de Soto expedition, click here.

Arkansas is also known for it’s timbers and timber mills, as well as it’s diamonds in Murfreesboro, and bauxite ore found in Bauxite. Arkansas had a hand in helping the US military during both WWI and WWII. Aluminum comes from bauxite ore and the town of Bauxite has an abundance of it.

Arkansas was also known for its pottery called Niloak, which is kaolin spelled backwards. Kaolin is the type of find grade clay found here in Benton, Arkansas. It was popular in 1909 to 1946. Niloak had a hard time making it through the depression, but it was successful during WWII when they produced over a million clay pigeons for the military. After the war, the company hit another downfall and it sadly went out of business.

The mural artwork was done by Dianne Roberts, who was hired by the Gann Museum to paint the mural. You can check out their FB pages by clicking on their names and see pictures she used to help her create her beautiful mural.

Sadly, Books and Baubles will be closing it’s doors for good in April, unless a new owner can step forward and keep it open. Click here, for more information.

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!

One Word Photo Challenge: Teal


This week’s One Word Photo Challenge is Teal; a beautiful shade found on the color spectrum of blue, can be found in the pictures posted below.

If you have never known the love of a therapy horse, or have seen the love expressed between horse and rider, then hopefully you can see that and more expressed in the photos.

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The ever so patient horse, encouraging the ever so gentle touch from a child with special needs is awe inspiring. Tears well up in my eyes with happiness, as I watch my daughter’s slow movements in her approach towards her therapy horse, Passion, who is moving in closer to my daughter for her to touch.

Horse/equine therapy, also known as Hippotherapy, has been very helpful with my daughter in teaching her to express herself more. Not only that, but it allows her to have a love for animals that she didn’t have before; she had expressed fear when any animal approached her, whether that animal was calm or not.

She expresses a giddy, “Hi, Passion.” before reaching up to brush her fingertips across Passion’s nose. Passion, a gentle therapy horse on Harmony In Hooves Farm, stands up to her name. Her gentle, calm nature would allowing anyone a chance to pet her. Horses can be very therapeutic and just being around her can be very calming.

You can check out my other blog post for more information on how horses can be therapeutic for special needs children.

The following photos is of some artwork pieces found in Bernice Gardens in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

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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!