Tag Archives: self-publishing

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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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.

My Favorite Scene in Chaos


 

Authors often feel very passionate for their work. They have favorite characters or less favorite ones. They have favorite scenes or less favorites ones.

I do have a favorite scene in my novel, Chaos, that I would like to share with you all. It’s an important scene that takes place part of the way into Chapter 4:

 

 

As soon as her uncle got out of the car and walked toward the men, Noelle had a dream. Not just a normal daydream, but one where she felt as if she were a part of the dream. She was running through the woods, the smell of pine stronger than ever before. The ground below her felt awkward, as if she were barefoot, yet the feeling in her feet was somehow different. She glanced down; she was running on all fours.

What the … I have paws! She stopped running to ogle at herself. Paws, fur. She turned her head to examine herself further. A bushy tail? Hey, wait a second … Suddenly a different smell tickled her nose. Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply. Oddly, she knew the smell. Opening her eyes and staring straight ahead, she watched two doe run past her. It was as if she recognized their scent and something deep inside told her she was hungry for them. She could feel the predator instinct trigger the desire to catch and kill her prey. Her mouth salivated as she let out a deep growl.

Her heart pumped faster with adrenaline as her legs moved faster with speed. She was giving it her all trying to catch up to the deer when she felt a sharp pain go through her. She surveyed her surroundings, and noticed three men in the distance … and heard repeat gunfire. Suddenly, she was not chasing the deer anymore; she was running for her life. Her heart raced in panic as she began to feel weak. Peering down, she saw blood pouring from a wound in her side. Fear set in as she realized someone shot her. The less she moved, the less she would bleed out, but she had to get away from them. Things went out of focus and then grew dim, as if the sun was setting or time was fast forwarding, turning day into night. Her lungs ached and it pained her to breathe. Her heart, which was pumping quickly moments before, had trouble keeping a steady rhythm. That could only mean one thing: she was dying.

I don’t want to die! If I die in this dream, will I die in real life? Is this really a dream? I don’t understand what’s going on. I can’t die. I won’t.

Feeling weaker with each step she took, she fought for the will to keep moving. When she felt another pain rip through her, she collapsed to the ground, blacking out, her last breath leaving her.

Noelle opened her eyes and breathed as if she was drowning. Gasping and coughing, she reached her hand up and grasped her chest. Her heart raced as if she had just run a marathon. She closed her eyes, trying to figure out what had just happened. She’d had similar dreams before, but never this vivid.

“That was wild. I’m not sure I want to do that again,” she whispered to herself.

Opening her eyes, she saw that she was all alone, and sitting inside her uncle’s patrol car. She had a strong feeling that was where she had been the entire time. Her heart slowed to a normal pace as she slowly took in the scene around her. She could see her uncle walking toward his deputy as if he had just left the car.

Did time stop? What the hell was that? So many questions ran through her mind.

She shook uncontrollably from the adrenaline pumping through her. She quickly assessed herself. No blood, no bullet holes. Thank God! I don’t know what that was, but I’m still alive! Clearly, a weird dream. She wiped a tear from her cheek and closed her eyes, drawing in deep breaths, trying to focus on what she had seen. She wanted to get out of the car and get some fresh air, but she remembered she made a promise not to leave the car. Noelle decided it was best to crack the window instead, and try her best to erase the images that flooded her mind.  

Hope you enjoyed!

Chaos is about two sisters who find themselves in a magical world of supernatural creatures and a book that just might send them on a path to find their destiny.

If you would like to read the rest of the story, it is available on Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble:

Amazon paperback: https://amzn.to/2ranhTv
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2J2uvzG

Please note that Chaos is listed as FREE under the Kindle Unlimited program.

Chaos Cover EBOOK

 

 

 

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.

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.

Traditional:

Pros:

  • 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.

 

Cons:

  • 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.

 

Self-Publishing:

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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

Cheers,

JA

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