Promotional Opportunities for Your Novel

Promotional Opportunities for Your Novel

I have been thinking about how I’d like to increase sales for When Stars Die, and this has to do with seeking out every promotional opportunity I can. I’m also a firm believer in that in order to make money, you need to spend some money. Even so, there are a variety of promotional opportunities available. You just need to be willing to put in the time to both seek them out and work hard at some of your own promotional strategies.

  1. Social Media. This one should be obvious, but social media is one way in which you can promote your work. For example, you can post a tiny excerpt on Twitter each day with a link to your work. You can connect with other authors and host a party on Facebook where each author takes a turn at hosting the party in order to promote his/her novel, along with other authors’ books, which can be used as prizes. I would also argue keeping a blog is vital, especially due to the SEO that can bring people from around the world to your blog.
  2. Newsletters. Having your own newsletter is essential. I do monthly newsletters, and I always have my book in the sidebar of it. The way to attract subscribers is by having links to it on all of your social media. Also giving potential subscribers an incentive to subscribe works, like doing a book giveaway. You can also pay to have your book included in a newsletter, like BookBrag, The Fussy Librarian, and others like it. This is what I do as well.
  3. Cover Reveals. When you get the cover for your book, you can schedule your own cover reveal and contact book bloggers to help out. You can also contact other writers as well and offer their books as giveaway prizes. You can even find a company to pay to help you set up a cover reveal–or a book blast or release party or something similar.
  4. Street Team. A street team is a great way to have free promotion. I have a small street team composed of author friends. We promote each others’ blog posts and books. I wish I could offer further advice on how to assemble one, but I have my street team simply because they were on the staff of my literary magazine. But offering incentives, like review copies of your book, may help to build a street team from people who enjoyed your work.
  5. Goodreads Giveaways. If you have print copies of your book, giving away a copy on Goodreads is one way to gain exposure for your novel, particularly if your book has a very attractive cover. I can gain a little over 2,000 entries for my novel from holding a month-long giveaway.
  6. Ads. I’ve done a Goodreads ad, and my book received over 30,000 views from that one alone. Ads, however, can be tricky, as you need a stellar cover and a short, perfect blurb to quickly catch people’s attention so that they click on your ad. You can use Google as well or even Facebook ads.




Purchase When Stars Die at Amazon, Lulu, Kobo, and Barnes&Noble.


*Picture from Jason Howle’s “Instagram and other Social Media Apps.”

Thanksgiving Thursday: Finding Balance

Thanksgiving Thursday: Finding Balance


As I reflect on all of what I’ve accomplished this past year, and that I am thankful for how far I’ve come, I’ve begun to realize that the biggest struggle I have is now trying to find balance in my life. Between building my platform as a fitness professional and trying to maintain one as an author, it’s a never-ending battle of what I must ultimately prioritize. And for now, I have to prioritize my platform as a fitness professional since this will be my primary source of income.

Even though this is true, this doesn’t mean my job as an author is any less important to me. In fact, it’s even more important now that my book is finally out, which  means readers are depending on me even more to get the next two out. I do plan to submit the second book some time next month to my publisher, and I hope to start the third book some time next year. I also plan to make my 2016 New Year’s Resolution about trying to find balance between both of my platforms. Just because being a fitness professional must be my priority doesn’t mean I want my author platform to suffer as a result.

What exactly is it that I have to balance? Why is this so much more different than my job in marketing? Well, for one thing, I’m passionate about my status as a certified personal trainer. Not so much with my status as a marketing trainee. Social media is also an invaluable tool for fitness professionals because it’s how we can draw in more clients to fill our schedules. It’s also how we can make a name for ourselves and open up other sources of revenue, such as creating workout plans for people who live hundreds of miles from us. It’s how we can connect with current clients we have, to develop a strong, personal relationship with them outside of the gym.

Since I’m also open to the idea of training clients outside of the gym, I have to prioritize what I spend my money on. For example, I recently purchased a pair of calipers so that way I can have my own set. I also plan to buy business cards and a blood pressure cuff. However, I do know for a fact that I’m currently holding on to my money so that way I can buy some newsletter space for when When Stars Die is released everywhere else besides lulu and the paperback on Amazon. Even with a publisher it never hurts to seek out your own source of advertising so that way you can hit channels your publisher may not be hitting.

I also obviously have to maintain my presence on social media as both fitness professional and author. I primarily look to my blog as my main form of social media for my fitness platform since I’m already juggling plenty for my author. But I haven’t been able to update my Tumblr in some time because I have been putting all of my blogging efforts into my WordPress blog for both of my platforms. And it takes special planning for my fitness blog since a lot of these posts require specialized knowledge that sometimes takes me hitting the internet for research.

It’s also hard finding balance because I still am working in marketing and trying to earn my BA in English. Both of these things currently have to take priority over being a fitness professional and an author! I won’t be able to seek out a job in the field of fitness until after Christmas.

Until then, I’ll have to take it a day at a time.


A Treacherous Flame on Amazon for $0.99 and FREE for Kindle Unlimted

When Stars Die Lulu (paperback), Lulu (e-book), Lulu (hardback), Amazon (paperback)




Losing a Publisher

Losing a Publisher

As some of you may or may not know, I lost my publisher, AEC Stellar Publishing Inc., back in December, thus putting When Stars Die out of print. At first I wasn’t hit too hard by it, even though its closure was completely unexpected. After all, it wasn’t in any danger of going bankrupt, which is why many a small press usually fails. So I wasn’t too distraught until it became apparent that finding a new publisher for When Stars Die was going to prove to be incredibly challenging.

Every publisher I subbed to requested a full, but they all ended up rejecting, except for one–and I ended up turning that contract down for a variety of reasons. You would think finding a home for a previously published book with a 4.31 star rating on Goodreads would be easy, but that simply isn’t true. If anything, it’s more difficult since your list of publishers is limited to those willing to take on previously published books. I knew I didn’t want to self-publish it. I simply don’t have the funds for it right now. Between paying off a car because I got in a wreck a few months ago with my former one, paying for gas every week, a cell phone bill, and paying off my ACE certification course, I cannot spare the funds to make self-publishing work for me. So it has been an exhausting, frustrating journey with loads of self-doubt.

I know authors who have had it worse, who have had to enact lawsuits, just to get the rights of their books back. Then ultimately they didn’t choose to put their books back in the market because their previous publishers tainted them, so I’m grateful that’s not the case with my book. I’m grateful for the opportunity AEC had given me. I only wish that it didn’t have to end.

Throughout this journey I kept constantly wishing my publisher hadn’t folded since it has been so painful playing the waiting game and wondering each time if it was worth continuing to pursue something that seemed out of reach. My writing life has been stagnant because of it. I felt like it was pointless to write. If When Stars Die couldn’t find a home, what made me think any of my books would? I even attempted copy-editing The Glorious In-Between, but I was filled with so much self-doubt about whether or not it even had a chance. Yet, I love the story and I don’t even .000000infinitysymbol hate what I’ve written. I couldn’t give up. When Stars Die is a story worth telling.

It’s difficult losing something that gave you such security, that thought your ideas were valuable enough to share with readers who will hopefully also think your writing has value. You begin to wonder if the publication of your book was a mistake, if you were ever meant to be an author or just some keyboard jockey typing out words that go nowhere. Well, the truth is that there may ever only be one publisher or literary agent who wants to give value to your words. The truth is that the book you worked so hard on may never see itself to print, unless you decide to take the path of self-publishing (and please do if you never fall out of love with your book!). The truth is that even when you find a publisher, being an author never gets any easier. And sometimes you’ll end up with a publisher that wasn’t your dream one but can become one. But then sometimes opportunities are handed to you, and you’ve got to know when the right time is to take them. collageThis is why I’m proud to say that When Stars Die has a new home! After contract negotiations, I’ll post a more official announcement on this. It’s been a tiresome journey, but something tells me I’m making the right decision by latching on to this opportunity presented to me months ago. I can’t wait to share more news of this and get back into the blogosphere.

For my writer followers, don’t give up. You are going to experience moments when you wonder why the writing life chose you, where you’re going to wonder why you didn’t pursue some other, more obtainable passion.

If you would like to receive the official news before anyone else, just subscribe to my newsletter!


What I Hate About Being An Author

What I Hate About Being An Author

I don’t know if there are many authors out there who have written what they hate about being an author. Don’t get the wrong idea. I love being an author. I truly do. Yet, there are parts about it that I hate.

  1. Reviews. Yeah, you’ve got a book published, it’s selling, and that’s probably all that matters to you. At the same time, readers’ opinions are probably more important than anything else. If your book flops as far as ratings/reviews are concerned, readers might not be as inclined to buy the next book, especially if this book is in a trilogy. Luckily for me, When Stars Die has 91 ratings with a 4.31 star rating. That’s pretty darn good.
  2. Publication. Just because you’ve got one book published doesn’t mean you’ll easily get another one published. Take my book, for example. Since being orphaned due to the closing of my publisher, it hasn’t found a home yet since I started searching in January. Granted, it did land a contract I’m still sitting on, and the full is with another house whose owner said they’ll get to my manuscript this month–and hopefully a contract. Thus, published authors are in the same boat as those not published. The only difference is people are actually reading their sweat-blood-and-tears books and making some money from it, but that’s it, really.
  3. Publishers Folding. This sucks badly. When AEC folded, I saw it as an opportunity for my novel to start anew. I have to think this way so I don’t succumb to despair. It is true that it’s a fresh start, but what’s also true is that it sucks that AEC folded. AEC didn’t fold due to monetary reasons, but that doesn’t make it any less sucky. After all, the sequel to my novel was almost ready to be made into an ARC that I could send out to readers for ratings/reviews. It had the cover and everything. I was just a few chapters shy of completing final proofreads. But this is the risk authors take when they decide to not get published by a Big 5 house. Even then, those published by the Big 5 are in danger of losing their jobs, too, especially if their agent decides to quit and can’t hand you over to another one. Or their editor decides to quit and the others don’t want your book.
  4. Not Finding a Publisher. Okay, so this doesn’t have anything to do with me, as I don’t have a literary agent, but I do know a few authors who once had literary agents. Those agents could not find a single publisher to take on their book. In the end, one decided to self-publish the rejected novel, and the other few dropped their agents altogether to start self-publishing their titles–with some success, of course.
  5. Sales. This is probably the aspect I hate the most. My novel did somewhat okay in regards to sales, but it’s still nail-biting torture when you receive your monthly statements. Some authors, even with good small presses, may not sell any books at all during a single month. This is incredibly disheartening, as we authors want people to read what we’ve written. We didn’t get published so we could finally call ourselves authors. We wanted our books to be published so we could share our stories to those interested in the types of stories we’ve written. So it’s no fun when you’ve had a bad month of sales–and you WILL have at least one bad month, which is subjective depending on previous sales’ records.
  6. Cover Art. Okay, so both of my novels have gorgeous, gorgeous covers. It was exciting to know what my cover artist could come up with. Even so, it’s a process I both loved and hated. What if I hated the cover? What if the publisher and I couldn’t come to a compromise on the cover? What if readers don’t buy your book because the cover is so obviously crap? What if it doesn’t even have anything to do with your book? Authors with smaller presses tend to have more say, but that doesn’t mean your options aren’t limited. But feel bad for the authors with the big guys. They don’t have a say at all. Some don’t want a say. But there are horrendous book covers out there because the authors didn’t have a say.
  7. Blurbs. Once your book has been accepted for publication, you still have to write the back cover blurb. This is a process I hate, as I’m not great with them. You think it’d be easy after writing a query letter and synopsis, but the blurb is something completely different. Query letters and synopses entice agents and editors to take on your book. Blurbs entice readers to buy your book; thus, the blurb has to be different because it’s about reeling in readers.
  8. Being Stranded. When the house folds, you’re stranded again. There aren’t many publishers out there willing to take on a previously published book. Thankfully, there are some presses out there that will. Nonetheless, having that book previously published will not give you a leg up. Having great sales and even reviews doesn’t give you a leg up. If the editor doesn’t like what they’re reading, no amount of sales or great reviews are going to change that editor’s mind.

These are a few things I hate about being an author. It doesn’t get any easier when you’re published. In fact, it only gets harder. Regardless, I love it. I can share my story with the world. I can show off my baby through platforming, like reviews, interviews, maintaining social media, ect. I can proudly say I’m an author, and people will think that’s awesome. I can have book signings. I get to have physical copies of my book to give away. My book could potentially be in bookstores. Librarians will buy my book with interest from just one person. Local bookstores will definitely stock my book. I get to have cover reveals, interviews with blogs and online radio shows, create picture quotes, tug on the excitement of readers with teasers, have a book trailer, and sit back and realize how remarkable it is that all the months or years it took me to write that book finally paid off.

There are more things about being an author that I love than hate. Right now, I’m simply an author on pause.




When Stars Die Anniversary Book Blast

When Stars Die Anniversary Book Blast

Anniversary Book BlastHello all readers and followers! My publicist, Sebastian Starcevic, wanted me to inform all of you about the anniversary book blast of When Stars Die that will be taking place on October 22nd on various book-related blogs.

As you can see from the graphic on the right, it will include a prize, some interviews, and a lot of other awesome things that you’ll only know about by following the book blast. There will be a $20.00 Amazon gift card giveaway. There are a few ways you can go about being entered for it and racking up points to win the gift card. Signing up for the newsletter will earn you the most points, but you will have to wait for the 22nd to see what all the fun will be about!

If you want to be a part of this book blast, direct all inquiries to By participating, you will automatically be entered into the $20.00 Amazon gift card drawing. You will receive a media kit upon desire of wanting to be a part of the book blast.


The Solution to E-book Piracy?

The Solution to E-book Piracy?

Thus far, there is no solution for piracy, other than for authors to actively seek out the website pirating their work and requesting for it to be removed. I don’t know if my book has yet been pirated, but if it has and you have knowledge of this, please, please, please let me know.

A Tumblr follower whose handle is slurpeemoney made me aware of a service where those who pirate books can be given the option of paying what they think the book is worth after they’ve read it. And if they don’t pay, they can at least spread word of the book. mattfractionblog uses this service for his P.I. graphic novel series and seems to be successful with it. My follower admits it may have something to do with name recognition, but it is an interesting service to be made aware of.

Slurpeemoney then goes to admit that his or her work is probably going to be pirated anyway, so this person might as well link to his/her site with an option to pay for what you think the book is worth. In my opinion, this would be an effective guilt tactic, although I have no idea how you’d know who stole your work, unless you’re internet savvy.

But this is a similar tactic to what video gamer makers do. Game makers fight piracy by releasing cracked versions of their game, games that will make you aware that you’ve pirated that game so you cannot fully enjoy the game you’ve stolen. Some games, like Spyro, will make you aware that you stole the game through character dialogue. Others will threaten you with bodily harm if you don’t buy the game, even though we know this threat is not real. It is still enough to make you feel guilty, especially if you enjoyed that game. And it’s just plain creepy. For example, in Gave Dev Tycoon, the pirated version gamers download will at first seem like the one they could buy. However, as the game progresses, they will constantly receive a pop-up reminding them that they stole that game.

Pirating e-books, however, isn’t necessarily like pirating games or music. For one thing, those who enjoyed the game are probably likely to eventually buy it–or so is my assumption. People who pirate music, too, don’t want to buy the entire album for fear of hating all the songs on that album. There is no CD store in my area anymore, so no one can sample the songs on that album. What’s left? Piracy. But many who love the music they’ve pirated inevitably go on to buy that CD. Am I saying it’s right? Of course not, but it would be nice if music lovers could receive a better glimpse into the album they’re buying. Musicians, in any case, make more money from tours than CD sales, unless they are independent and don’t have a record label to pay. But they still do deserve to make money from those CD sales.

But what if cracked versions of our books could be created? It would require more time and money, but the ultimate goal is to make more money than what was spent to create the original and cracked versions of the book. Or is the pay-what-you-want a better service to guilt those who committed piracy into buying the book? What do you think? I would love to know in the comments below.

Awesome Author Updates

Awesome Author Updates

It’s been a little bit of time since I posted here, so I figured I might as well break the ice by doing some author updates.anniversary-1x

  • I have been on WordPress for one year! Yay! During that time, I have received over 23,000 views, which is about 2,000 views per month, so it’s not too terrible.
  • I have finally finished doing a myriad of edits for When Stars Die’s sequel, The Stars Are Infinite. I have cut out over 11,000 words, just from copy editing alone. I have sent it off to my publisher and am just waiting to hear back. More edits are probably going to be needed, because there’s only so much you can do by yourself, but hopefully the edits won’t be as severe as the ones I had to do to get rid of a bunch of those words.
  • My author website has been entirely re-vamped. The editorial tab is still under construction. I do have a rough draft contract, but I just haven’t sent it off to be looked at. But here is the link to my website. I hope you all adore it as much as I do.
  • My most popular post on Tumblr thus far has over 1500 notes, and I have over 1600 followers on Tumblr! For me it’s been easier to get followers on Tumblr than on here, but it’s probably because Tumblr is that one platform that has been successful for me. However, the SEO tags on WordPress are great, plus my Tumblr and WordPress are both connected to my Twitter and Facebook page, and my WordPress is also connected to my Tumblr.
  • Mike Evans has started a Kickstarter campaign. He will be a future editorial client of mine and is seeking donations to help him with the publication of his book, The Orphans. I’ve done a sample edit, and I can tell you it’s going to be a fun zombie read. Just donating a few dollars will help out–and spreading the word, especially.
  • When Stars Die has finally reached 70 reviews on Goodreads! It’s slow-going with the reviews, I know, but it’s nice to know that at this many it has a rating of 4.36. That tells me I definitely did something right.  Screenshot (56)
  • The Turning Pages will be hosting my books at their own personal books signing and awards event. I won’t be there, because I can’t afford it, but if you’re in the Orlando area, stop by and check out my books. They’re all autographed and you can pick up some flyers, which can be used as bookmarks. You can buy tickets here.
  • Youtube channel! Yes, I will be going back to my Youtube channel. You know why? Because I spent 78 dollars on the best HD webcam available on Amazon (#1 Bestseller!), so you better believe I’m going to start some vidoes. A lot of my episodes will be inspired by what my Tumblr fans would love to see, but you guys can also give me inspiration as well. My first video will be an introduction to me, and I’ll answer a few questions some of my Tumblr fans have asked.

Well, that’s all for the author updates! As for my personal life, I started online courses, which I definitely prefer over going to class. I’ve had to step down from pointe work due to an ankle injury, but I can still do ballet–I’m just very limited in what I can do. Jumps are one thing I definitely am not allowed to do.  It’s OS Trigonum Syndrome, which is just having an extra bone at the back of my ankle that didn’t properly ossify when I was young, so it either fused to my talus or is being held in place by cartilage. But pointe work did me in with that one. It just started crushing it, basically, although it’s not as violent as it sounds, even though it is painful. Just cross your fingers that I don’t need surgery. Research tells me that most dancers have to get it as compared to other athletes, just because pointe work puts a lot of pressure on the Achilles tendon anyway.

Advice on Bad Writing Advice

Advice on Bad Writing Advice

When I’m on Tumblr as an author and editor, I feel like I have a responsibility to teen writers–or new writers–to steer them in the right direction when it comes to writing advice, especially to warn them away from bad writing advice. Let’s face it, bad writing advice exists, and it’s not subjective on whether or not it’s bad. It IS just bad.

I interceded a post on Tumblr that, yes, was from one of my followers that does writing advice. The post basically presented a list of words to use other than said. You know those lists I’m talking about, the ones with hundreds of words that you can use, some of them some nice gems you can tuck away and others that are outright ridiculous like ‘oogle.’ How do you ‘oogle’ your words? In any case, the introduction began by saying that said essentially says nothing, that it doesn’t state the tone of your character, that you shouldn’t use it too often because there are better words. That was alarming and raised red flags for me. So I felt it was my responsibility to step in, re-blog it, and set my followers straight.

Said isn’t meant to convey tone. It is not a useless word but a tag that is almost nonexistent for readers because they are so used to seeing it more than any other dialogue tag. Conveying tone is what dialogue is for. Said denotes who is speaking, when no other word is necessary to use but ‘said,’ especially if the dialogue can carry itself, or there is an action tag in front that can set up the tone of how the dialogue will sound. But, really, the tone can be set up before a conversation by creating a tense situation so that way when you go into reading the dialogue, you can already imagine the tone of the speakers. Or a relaxed situation. Any kind of situation can set up the tone of the dialogue without tags being used.

The writer of the post never mentioned to use those words sparingly. The writer simply said that ‘said’ is meaningless because it doesn’t put emotion into your character’s dialogue. That’s wrong. There is no subjectiveness to how wrong that statement is. Again, setting up a scene can help dialogue convey tone so the dialogue can carry itself. Or an action tag can set up the tone. When someone says, ‘Hey, use these words instead because said is meaningless,’ that is a thing to be wary about. Many experts in the publishing industry will tell you to treat those words like gems. Using them too much will KILL your dialogue. That is a FACT based on readers’ experiences. Readers WILL become annoyed by an overuse of a list like that. Use sparingly. Spa-ring-ly.

So what was the point of my little story? My follower threw up a recent update that said all writing advice is subjective and is not meant to be taken to heart. That I agree with. What I don’t agree with is this implication that there is no bad writing advice. There is. I’m going to give you a few pointers on what advice to avoid, advice that is popular. Now I do appreciate all of my followers. I appreciate even more the followers that are about creating content to help others. But, again, sometimes I feel it’s my responsibility to intercede, especially since most of my followers are young writers. It alarmed me that the post had over 1,000 notes, so I felt like I HAD to step in. Doing so didn’t cause any conflict, although the follower was upset; however, I didn’t read the follower’s irate words. I glanced at it, and I think there may have been some name calling involved.  

  • Avoid writing advice like the example I presented above. The best published books, the ones that win awards because of their writing, know how to create effective dialogue. If you look at the dialogue, you’ll notice that the dialogue often carries itself, that the dialogue probably lacks tags more than it has them. It isn’t even necessarily award-winning books, either, but popular books, too, where the author knows how to create dialogue without treating such a list as a bible.
  • Write like you talk. This seems self-explanatory. We tend to use a lot of filler words in our speech, fillers that are jarring to readers.
  • Write for yourself. Write for yourself first, THEN revise for your readers.
  • Write what you know. Explanatory. Just about every published book began with a lack of knowledge, which is why the writer does research.
  • Write everyday! Not even I do this–or can do this. I have a life outside of my writing career, and I NEED that life. I don’t want to burn out. It’s great if you can write everyday, but don’t extend this tidbit to all writers.
  • Advice that only insists there is one correct way to write. This actually defeats the purpose of the word ‘advice,’ which denotes that it is merely advice, something to not take as law. Plus, we all know there is no one way to write.
  • If you write several books and it still takes you a while to write a book, you’re doing something wrong. Each book is different from the last. You might be better at drafting, but some books are harder to write than others. It takes me a month or two to draft a book but pretty much an entire year to make that book submission ready. Maybe it’ll take less now, but I’m not pressuring myself to finish a book ASAP. I’m not going to sacrifice quality for quantity.

There is so much more bad writing advice out there. You can even look it up in Google, but I wanted to present you with advice that raises obvious red flags. Good writing advice is subjective. When I do writing advice on Tumblr, I try to present more than one way to do it to give my aspiring writers choices.



Tips on Becoming a Freelance Editor

Tips on Becoming a Freelance Editor

This should have been Publishing Friday, but my Tumblr took precedence, so I’m going to provide you with tips on how to become a freelance editor. I’m going to do my best not to be too critical with my tips, but all of these tips are from experience in regards to how I got my start as one. *Note: you actually just want to refer to yourself as an editor and not a freelance one, but for the sake of this post, I wanted to differentiate between an in-house editor and an out-of-house one.

  1. You have a desire to become a freelance editor? Awesome! Try to receive some editorial experience before taking on projects from people (or at least be an author with a well-rated book of 50 or more reviews). Okay, so I know there are editors out there who started having no editorial experience at all but end up receiving good testimonials from their clients. However, sometimes their clients are new and so can’t judge what good editing is from bad editing, which is why I myself would only go with an editor who has some type of editorial experience–be it editing for a magazine or what have you. I would also look at books of the clients, assuming they published them. If the ratings are bad because of the editing, I’d stay away from the editor in question. Also, I would even accept an author with a well-rated book, as this author has obviously gone through the editorial ring and knows what good editing looks like. My editorial experiences before becoming an editor were being with two magazines and apprenticing underneath Georgia McBride, who I learned the actual craft of novel editing from. Now she started out with no experience herself, but she has been contracted by major publishers when their in-house staff was flooded with projects. At the same time, I believe she started out ghostwriting before becoming one.
  2. This probably should have been number one, but really look at why you want to become a freelance editor. You want to become one because you see all sorts of grammatical fudge-ups in self-published titles? Probably not the best reason to become one. I’ve seen one editor that became one for that reason, and from the grammatical mistakes on the website alone I could tell this was an editor no writer should ever hire. Not to mention that I’ve seen the work this editor has done for published indie books, and the editing was severely subpar–and this led readers to believe no editing had been done, even though the service was in the acknowledgements. There is far more to editing than grammar, and you need to know how to do all types–content editing, line editing, copy editing, and proofreading–if you want to be seen as a legitimate editor. If you don’t know what these are, then you definitely need to find some experience before jumping headfirst into the editorial waters.
  3. You feel like you’re qualified? Great! Now create a contract. I have the rough draft of a contract I’ve done for myself. I’ve learned over time that I need one in order to protect myself, and you should get one too. It isn’t necessarily for the sake of legalities, but it’s something you can point out if a client is complaining about something that breaches what is in the contract. It’ll be your fastest rebuttal for a particularly argumentative client who insists his book was for adults when he signed a contract stating you were editing a book for young readers. Failure to read the contract is on him. And if you have to take legal action because of a serious breach, like a client refusing to pay, do so.
  4. Start a website. I would go with a platform like wordpress or weebly and actually buy the domain. Or if you can create one from scratch or hire someone, go with that. Choose a crisp, professional template that is easy on people’s eyes. I would then figure out a name for your services and maybe create a logo out of it. Mine is simply Amber’s Editorial Services, and I have an opaque ballerina with a tagline  that basically says let me take your manuscript from rehearsal to performance. Make sure you have tabs detailing all of the services you provide, like line editing and proofreading, with descriptions on what these services are–these should be sub-tabs. Then you’ll want a tab on pricing, and I would have a tab with a PDF version of your contract and an explanation of some of the clauses contained therein. Then obviously a tab about you, why you started it, and your qualifications. And if you can, have a tab on testimonials.
  5. Start finding clients. This one isn’t easy. Since 2010, I have had clients simply contact me. I never made an effort to push myself out there because I never wanted to become overwhelmed. Now that I’m in the process of putting things together, I want to get at least one client a month to help build up my business so that by the time I graduate, I can really put myself out there to get at least one client a week. So I don’t have too many tips on what to do to get yourself noticed. Many editors who are pushing themselves out there say word-of-mouth has been the best tool for them. Until then, you can start a blog on writing advice that can help push your services out there. Make sure you use strong SEO terms, too. Facebook groups are probably another way to get your services out there, as there are a lot of indie authors on there seeking editorial services. It can be competitive, so make certain you offer the best sample edit possible and make your services seem more enticing than anyone else’s. You will be able to find your competition in these FB groups, so look at their websites, use theirs to make yours more enticing, and try to make your prices competitive or justify why your prices are the way they are.

There you have it! Any questions, feel free to ask.

It’s Not Okay to Bully, and, Yes, Those in Publishing Do Have to Censor Themselves

It’s Not Okay to Bully, and, Yes, Those in Publishing Do Have to Censor Themselves

There has been a rash of bullying authors lately, a few instances from Facebook and a few from Tumblr, that have forced some of these people to shut down their pages and blogs because of the non-stop slew of bullying. That is not okay. I remember one writer who killed the idea of publishing her book because readers were threatening her with bodily harm, for whatever reason, and she hadn’t even published the book yet! Even worse, some of the comments in response to her decision were comments basically calling her a baby, telling her that she couldn’t handle criticism, and trolls are going to be trolls. (This rings a bell: boys will be boys!) But if there are going to be trolls who make light of rape, who have no idea whether or not the author might have been through this situation, calling her someone who can’t handle criticism is the same thing as victim blaming. Internet bullying is being brushed off as a bunch of trolls who have nothing better to do.

She removed her book because she couldn’t handle the bullying, not because she couldn’t handle the criticism. And why should she put up with bullying? Why should any of us put up with bullying? Publishing that book could have, in fact, given more fuel for those trolls. It’s sad that she did this, but it’s her choice and hers alone, and no one has any right to judge her for it.

But the thing is, those trolls are making light of their threats. Whether they mean them or not, threats are threats are threats. If you tell an author her book is so bad that she deserves to be raped, you’re saying something that could be potentially triggering to an author who may well have been raped.

Here is the truth about authors: We are people. We are told to develop a thick skin, but this thick skin is for helpful or unhelpful criticism on our work, be it from agents, editors, or reviewers themselves, not for instances of bullying. Even then, our skin isn’t always thick. We may cry about those reviews or the criticism. So, in short, it’s a myth that we writers must be impervious to everything writing-relate. Our only job is to keep writing, no matter what. That is where the thick skin comes in.

In any case, I screen captured this from Jodi Meadows’s blog. Both participants are completely anonymous, unless you know who ran the now-debunked LifeinPublishing blog on Tumblr, which is a shame, as it was a blog loved by many.

Capture bullyingThis is absolutely wrong. Even if the Anon believes he or she is speaking the truth, threatening someone’s job is absolutely unacceptable. And, yes, the person of the blog actually felt their job was in jeopardy because of this Anon. It wasn’t something LiP could just brush off as an irate author, like you would think he/she would be able to do. This couldn’t because of the blog’s popularity, and while I have no idea what the circumstances were leading up to this Anon message, I can say that whatever it was might have indeed threatened LiP’s job due to this message.

Authors, editors, whoever works in publishing, are probably going to write that one post he or she regrets. I know one post I wrote on Tumblr has me regretting it because of the rash of trolls that came after me, calling me a racist simply because I said blacks aren’t the only minority who experience racism, in response to a post who painted blacks as the sole victims of racism. Now I avoid making controversial comments like that–I didn’t even realize it could be controversial! And it sucks. I like to challenge people’s beliefs. But now I realize I can do that through my books alone.

As an author, the way you use the internet has to change. Unless you create an anonymous blog–which I will write a post on later–or whatever to post controversial comments, you often have to shy away from controversy, unless it aligns with popular opinion about a particular issue. When you create an anonymous blog, you cannot align yourself with anything, not your name, your book, your company, and so on and so forth. If you create an anonymous blog as an editor just wanting to vent, you cannot connect yourself to the company you’re working for, reveal your name, post pictures of yourself, and so on and so forth. For example, this post aligns with popular opinion that bullying is not okay, no matter what form it takes. Perhaps Big Fish, like Janet Reid and the like, can get away with it, but as someone new, don’t even try.

Here is another screen capture I did that is slightly bullying in nature, but whose context I will also explain:

more bullyingLife-in-Publishing made the mistake of aligning him/herself with the company he/she worked for when ranting about the popularity of dystopian fiction stealing the success from other authors who have written “better books,” or stealing this person’s success or whatever (this person may even be published by this company. I’m not entirely certain). The person specifically pointed out Veronica Roth’s ‘Divergent’ and called it derivative work. The thing is, LiP works with young adults novels, and some of those books in this company are dystopian. So because LiP revealed the company he/she worked for (I assume the company was revealed because the Anon apparently knew the company), this person crossed dangerous waters by insulting a genre that company publishes.

Authors, you are not allowed to insult the work of other authors–this is the case with anyone working in publishing. Once you become an author, that right to do so dies. Insulting a book my publisher published could get me in an enormous amount of trouble by my publisher. Even if I don’t read every book AEC publishes, I still have an obligation as an author to support those authors’ works in some way, ESPECIALLY because it is a small company. It’s the same with any company you are published by. Insulting those works would not only be deadly for me, but downright hurtful to those writers. There is a difference between constructive criticism and malicious criticism. No author should have to put up with malicious criticism.

In any case, the response to LiP was to remind this person where he/she stood in the industry. This person also reminded LiP that sales from bestsellers are the reason why publishers take chances with new authors and can produce books in the first place. Publishers assume they won’t make back their money from most of their authors; however, their bestsellers do that just fine. So those bestsellers allow them to have a job–and allow new authors to have a voice.

Now the third reply crossed the line, essentially falling into the shoes of a bully. When you’re in publishing, you really can’t criticize the work of another author, unless you are a reviewer as well. Even so, this review needs to be constructive in nature, not malicious. By doing this, you are setting up a dangerous precedent that could put your job in jeopardy, especially if someone who works in your company happened to edit the book you are criticizing. As an Anon, this is fine. But LiP revealed more information that no longer made LiP an Anon.

I cannot insult Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, not only because her books are in a genre The Stars Trilogy is in, but because if I wanted to be represented by Jodie Reamer one day and the agent found my insult, do you really think Jodi Reamer would want to represent me? Probably not. Not only this, but Stephenie Meyer is the reason why my genre is still popular. My books aren’t selling in the boatloads, not at all, but it doesn’t mean my book can’t be discovered by those who love the paranormal genre.

Ultimately, it would be nice if we didn’t insult anyone, and it would be nice if we were more tactful in our criticism of a book. Notice I said book and not author. Just because I wrote a book with heavy religious themes that seem anti-religion doesn’t mean that I am anti-religion.