Being a Writer= 10% writing and 90% everything else!

When I started this blog my main goal was to be honest, I wanted to record this journey and be truthful about how it was going and how I felt about it. This is one of those posts 😀

So, over the past few days I’ve been in a bit of a weird head space!

I love writing and I’m very lucky to be able to dedicate all of my time to it as my full time career.

But when I thought about it, I’m not dedicating my full time to it. I write for around 1.5-2 hours a day, five days a week and though that’s a lot more than most people get the chance to do, it’s still not enough for me.

Most of my workday is spent doing social media.

Now, I’ve gone on about my inability to make proper use of social media before 😀 I’m also not good at using it for marketing, etc.

I’d say I’ve not done bad in book sales, more than some indie authors, but I also have to say that not seeing a rise in sales throughout the year but just a steady stream, kind of put me in a bit of a funk.

Why was I spending so much time on creating my author platform etc, if it isn’t going to help with sales?

Now, my writing isn’t all about they money 😀 But I do want to make a living off of it and though I understand I am a new author, it can be incredibly disheartening to see indie authors put out one book and they get to number 1 without seeming to do much at all, and my books float in the sea with the rest.

It just got me thinking about if I am using my time wisely. If my hours on social media aren’t gaining me sales or getting my name out any further, should I be spending so long on it?

As you probably have heard me say many times before, I really don’t like marketing! Those who do it well are successful, but I don’t do it well, I barely do it at all. The thought of shoving my work in people’s faces constantly really drains me and social media is a part of that. Trying to get my name out there and my work recognised is emotionally exhausting because I’m just not that type of person.

Now that I have established myself with a blog and things, is it time to allow myself to take a step back and wait for my books to speak for me?

What I’m trying to say is, I miss writing.

I could write all day if I could 😀 And that’s exactly what I’m going to do for a while.

I have made the decision that for the rest of the month, I am going to take a bit of a back seat on the social media thing. I’ll have a few blog posts, but not too many I don’t expect. I will still read others blogs, because I always enjoy your guys posts and find some great tips and information! But I probably won’t comment as much as I normally do.

I think not commenting as much on others blogs is part of my hesitance to cut back on blogging and social media. I have made a great many blogging friends and am so incredibly grateful for their support, I like to show mine by commenting and sharing their posts.

The social media side of things is important, I know, it’s the only way to get my name out there, but I really need to just write for a while, to give my everything to the craft I love so much.

So, if I’m not commenting as much as usual, please don’t think I’m not reading, because I will be! I hope you guys understand 🙂

Have a brilliant weekend everyone, I hope it’s a good one!

Normal Service Will Resume Shortly!

Thank you to everyone who commented on my posts over the weekend 🙂

I am trying to add a change to my routine which started today, and has left me completely out of whack! So, I haven’t had time to write a blog post and I haven’t been able to manage commenting on many blogs yet!

So instead, enjoy this awesome vlog review of Prophecy of Stones by Sierra of Permashift!

I always love her vlogs, she’s hilarious and always makes me smile 🙂

The Queen’s Jester also got an awesome review from Teri Lloyd! 🙂

Sorry for the all about my stuff post! Will hopefully get a hang of this new routine soon.

Tomorrow won’t be a Romance Weekly post as (again) still shuffling my work around. I will have a normal post instead tomorrow though! 😀

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 2830 (Total word count: 20,710).

Books read: 2/4.

Mid-October Book Review: Yeah, not going so well!

Posts to Check Out!

Here some of the posts that caught my eye this week!

http://arranbhansal.com/2014/10/06/arran-is-going-to-the-houses-of-parliament/ – Arran has been asked to the Houses of Parliament! So major congrats to him 🙂

http://juliestock.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/a-few-proofreading-tips-to-improve-your-manuscript/ – Some great tips on proof-reading your manuscript!

http://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/a-storytelling-secret/ – A cool and important lesson from Chris!

http://mystiparker.com/2014/10/06/support-an-author-support-a-business/ – I could write a whole essay in response this brilliant post. Indie authors and their businesses need support!

http://dkcreaderscorner.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/being-an-indie-author/ – Another amazing post about being an indie author and the awesomeness of the writing community.

http://lmarie7b.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/like-a-movie/ – A great post about fight scenes and cause and effect.

http://thecollegenovelista.com/2014/10/07/how-to-increase-your-writing-speed/ – Increasing your writing speed and sites to help you do that.

http://redclayandroses1.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/is-this-mass-suicide/ – A very good topic about sales and free eBooks, something all indie readers need to think of.

http://islandeditions.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/on-second-drafts/ – Brilliant advice on second drafts, this quote, ‘Write Fast, Edit Slow(ly)’ especially caught my attention!

http://chaptertk.com/2014/10/09/why-even-bother-to-read/ – A good question posed in this post!

Hope you have a great Sunday everyone! 🙂

Kindle and Smashwords: Formatting Tips

I’ve had a few emails from people asking about when I publish my books on Smashwords if they go through the ‘Meatgrinder’ and how do I do it.

I have to say I’ve never had a problem with Smashwords and all my books have gone through first time with no trouble. So, instead of copying and pasting the answer to reply to the emails, I thought I would do a blog on it.

Please note that these are just some of the things I do to get my books through Smashwords and Kindle, don’t take it as fact! I highly recommend reading both Kindle’s guide and Smashwords style guide in order to better understand the process.

This is a comparison of the same manuscript (my newest release, The Magic Spark) put through Smashwords (on the left) compared to Kindle (on the right).

kvss

Kindle Formatting:

– Justified alignment.
– Max Font Size: 20.
– Font Type: Arial or Times New Roman.
– Spacing between paragraphs/lines: Not above 90pt.
– Copyright: Normal.

Smashwords Formatting:

– Left alignment.
– Max Font Size: 18.
– Font Type: Arial or Times New Roman.
– Spacing Between paragraphs/lines: Not above 98pt.
– Copyright: Must have ‘Smashwords Edition’ included.

– The reason I don’t go over font size 18 for Smashwords is because they don’t accept a font size bigger than 20. So I make sure to keep it less so as I know my document will go through.

– I use Left alignment for Smashwords because I read on a couple of forums that Smashwords have rejected Justified alignment for others. I doubt it matters much to the average reader which alignment it is.

Some people don’t like the large gaps that can occur between words when Justified, and then others don’t like the straggling words at the end of paragraphs when left aligned. You can’t please everyone!

– Smashwords doesn’t like when you have more than two return spaces together. So check your document for them (You can see them when you press the psymbol symbol).

An easy way to do this would be to open up the ‘Find and Replace’ feature in Word, go to the bottom and you will a tab for Special, click on the ‘Paragraph Mark’ three times (or as many times as you have done it each time in document, say to add a page break) in the Find bar. In the Replace bar, click it once or twice as needed, but no more than twice.

paragraph

That should replace all those unnecessary spaces.

(The code for this is ^p – which you can type into the Find and Replace bars as needed eg for 2 returns it would read ^p^p).

Same applies to the spacebar, if you accidentally hit the space bar more than once. Use the ‘Replace and Find’ function for that two, using the spacebar instead of return key to get rid of those spaces.

Make sure to use the Format>Paragraph tool to add line spaces instead of using the return key on your keyboard.

– I always use the Format>Paragraph, Format>Font, and Insert>Break tools in order to add spaces or change font type, as this formatting sticks.

– As for the copyright, Smashwords require that you state ‘Smashwords Edition’, but Kindle (from what I’ve read) don’t like it all if you put ‘Kindle edition’ or ‘Amazon edition’.

– Spelling errors, an obvious one 😀 But I’d thought I’d add it. After all the editing, proofreading, and sending it off to readers to check, it’s still a good idea to run your document through the spellchecker before submitting it.

I take the time to bother with Smashwords as it’s a great portal for sending out your book to so many places once you’re on the Premium catalogue. They are doing the work of changing your document into many different forms, so I think it’s only fair I take the effort to get it just right following their guidelines

I know some people have issues with Smashwords, but personally, I have had no trouble and think it’s a great site.

In the end, it’s about choosing the places that suit you and your books and finding markets that you’re comfortable with 🙂

These are just what I do, because I’ve been asked, please don’t think I’m telling you what to do! Again, it’s all a very personal experience about how we organise and sort our manuscripts ready for publishing, and there are many other great blogs out there with advice on it (probably better explained too!).

Well, that’s about all I do 😀 Formatting can be great fun, as it can let you play about with your manuscript and make it look really professional and high standard. I hope these tips help!

Have a great weekend everyone and I will be back on Monday! ( I do have some scheduled posts as usual, but I won’t be around to answer comments or emails, please don’t think I’m ignoring you! 😀 ).

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 3678 (Total word count: 17,880).

Books read: 2/4.

Mid-October Book Review: Writing review.

False Awakening by Callum McLaughlin is Out Now!

Callum McLaughlin’s new release, False Awakening is out now! I’ve been waiting for this ever since reading Callum’s last book!

False Awakening (ebook, ad version)

Synopsis:

When teenager Abi Watson wakes in a hospital bed with no memory of the incident that put her there, she must begin the long and difficult process of piecing her life back together, but unfortunately, her search for answers will merely give rise to further questions. Frayed relationships and haunting revelations soon come into play, leading Abi to discover that some things are best left forgotten.

With a past that is unwilling to let go, her only option is to delve into the depths of her own mind so that she can uncover the truth and finally awaken from her living nightmare.

Excerpt:

Before either of her friends could speak, two police officers in full uniform filled the doorway.

“What are you two doing in here?” asked one of them. Male, tall and inherently intimidating; his ice-cold eyes moved from Dan to Luke as he swept into the room, bringing with him an atmosphere far cooler than any breeze. “We specifically told you not to speak with the victim until we had questioned her.”

The word victim made Abi’s stomach squirm again.

“We’re sorry,” said Dan, looking more uncomfortable than ever as he sidled towards the door.

“We were worried. We had to make sure she was okay.” Luke did not budge from Abi’s bedside as he looked the officer directly in the eye.

“I’m afraid we’re going to have to ask you both to leave immediately,” said the second officer. A woman who appeared at least a few years younger than her partner, she held a notebook and pen in her hands that Abi suspected were intended to document her version of events; events she still scarcely remembered besides the deeply unsettling image that had invaded her mind a mere moment ago.

That excerpt was awesome and definitely left me wanting to know more! So, why not go buy a copy and read the rest?

Amazon UK

Amazon US

And remember to support the authors by leaving a review! 🙂

Bio:

P1000905 - Copy

Callum McLaughlin was born and raised in the Scottish countryside where he continues to live and work. Aside from his own creative writing endeavours, he operates on a freelance basis, producing content for blogs, websites and magazines.

Beyond literature, he is interested in all things music and nature, taking his biggest inspiration from the world around us.

Find out more about Callum-

Blog: www.callummclaughlin.wordpress.com

Twitter: @callum_m1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7400503.Callum_McLaughlin

Romance Weekly Blog Hop #lovewritechat

RW Banner

It’s that time again, Romance Weekly Blog Hop time!

If you’ve joined me from the lovely Josie Malone’s blog, author of The Hero Spell, then welcome!

Now onto the questions!

Which type of character do you prefer writing about: Sexy, romantic, sweet, quirky, mean, old, young, smart, silly or other?

I’d like to say sexy, but in all honesty it’s probably the snarky characters! 😀 Those ones that always have a comeback for everything and their sarcasm offers no useful input, but it’s fun anyway.

Have you ever killed off (or gotten back at) an ex in your writing? On paper, of course.

No, I haven’t. I do try to stay away from basing my characters off of real people, as I always worry someone will guess!

What hobbies do you have that you incorporate in your writing?

Gardening is probably the biggest one. I do tend to find when characters are in a garden, I have to hold off from going into explicit detail of how the flower would look and how best it should be cared for in the coming season 😀

Some interesting questions answered this week 😀 So head on over to J.J.Devine, author of Into the Darkness, and see what she has to say in response to them!

Also, why not check out the new Romance Writers Weekly Blog?

Or sign up for the newsletter?

There is a monthly giveaway and this month my newest release, The Magic Spark, is one of the prizes! 🙂

So, what about you guys- Have you ever got back at someone through your writing?

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 5283 (Total word count: 12,148).

Books read: 1/4

Mid-October Book Review: Writing review.

September 2014 Round-up and October 2014 Plan

I know, I’m a bit late!

Anyway, didn’t I just write one of these? 😀 I can’t even keep up with this year!

This month was a little bit of a blur, what with my vacation and getting The Magic Spark ready for release. But I managed it!

September:

– Kept to schedule.
– Released The Magic Spark, my fifth book!
– Had an awesome vacation, and got some lovely rest.
– Connected regularly with bloggers and found some new blogging friends, which was nice 😀
– Managed to share other people’s posts and book releases on Twitter and Facebook much more effectively.
– Just managed to squeeze in 4 books to reach my target! – The Rule of Four by Dustin Thomason and Ian Caldwell, Destiny of Kings by Fiona Tarr, The Christmas Beginning by Anne Perry, and The Forbidden Quest by Alaina Stanford.
– Cut social media hours down to 2 hours a day- Still figuring that out. It started well, but has recently started creeping back up!

Doesn’t seem like I did a lot, but it certainly felt like an exhausting month!

As for marketing… yeah, let’s not talk about that utter failure to do anything…

Onto October 😀

1st-31st- Write first draft of next book.
15th- Mid-October Book Review.
29th- End of Month Indie Review.

Goals:

– Read 4 books.
– I’m gonna put marketing in this list, but we all know how that’s going to go! 😀
– Write some short pieces, I miss that.
– Actively support others, and find new ways of doing so!
Sort out my Pinterest boards, they are such a mess.

So, other things that happened around the blogging/writing community this month:

– Marcia Meara set up a new writing focused blog- http://marciamearawrites.com/

– Shehanne Moore came back to us! – http://shehannemoore.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/a-whole-new-league-with-anne-lange/

– Cassie at My Etch a Sketch Life gave Stolen Bloodline a great review! http://myetchasketchlife.com/2014/09/17/stolen-bloodline-by-mishka-jenkins/

– Got a sneak peek of characters from The Legends of Windemere by Charles Yallowitz series I am really looking forward to reading! – http://legendsofwindemere.com/2014/09/16/picture-sneak-peek-gabriel-and-his-unicorn/

– Karen at My Train of Thoughts posted some great quotes from some awesome bloggers- http://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/3-quotes-by-writers-we-know-and-admire/

– D. Emery Bunn released his new book, Darkness Concealed, which has gotten some great reviews so far! – http://www.demerybunn.com/blog/2014/09/23/darkness-concealed-is-out-now/

Hope everyone has a great October, a month (from the looks of Pinterest and Tumblr) that is going to be filled with pie and everything pumpkin related 😀

Photo by Twisted Pixel on Flickr- Click photo to go to Photostream

Photo by Twisted Pixel on Flickr- Click photo to go to Photostream

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.
Word count: 6,865

Books read: 1/4

Mid-October Book Review: Writing review.

Posts to Check Out!

It’s Sunday! So here are some posts to check out from this week if you haven’t already 🙂 It’s always great finding new blogs to follow and bloggers to friend!

http://lmarie7b.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/supervillain-preparedness-plan/ – Because we all need to know what to do in a super villain crisis! 😀

http://romanceismydayjob.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/working-that-sagging-middle-body-and-scroll/ – Some great tips here about keeping your story strong throughout.

http://winterbayne.com/2014/09/30/september-bites/ – Winter has had another great month!

http://www.erindorpress.com/2014/05/do-your-characters-have-an-attitude/ – An old post, but the link was on Twitter and it had some great advice about writing characters!

http://infinitefreetime.com/2014/09/30/skylights-out-now-who-wants-to-go-to-mars/ – SKYLIGHTS! Is out now, sounds like a brilliant read and definitely going on my TBR list.

http://worddreams.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/iwsg-top-ten-ideas-on-marketing-and-publishing/ – Some great tips in this post about marketing, which I needed right now because I suck at it! 😀

http://eclecticali.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/octoberseason/ – Some great events going on for Eclectic Ali’s ‘The Season’ (which is a great idea!).

http://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/lets-scare-up-some-sales/ – Chris is doing a great scary story promotion, so if you have a scary book why not get involved?

http://susanjanejones.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/october-giggle-blog/ – Have a bit of a giggle with Susan’s stories! 😀

http://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/3-quotes-opinion/ – Seeing as my post went down quite well on Monday, these quotes really made me fist pump (does anyone really do that anymore?) when I saw them!

http://makingthemreaders.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/national-poetry-day/ – A great post about poetry and children for National Poetry Day which was on Thursday in the UK.

http://aliisaacstoryteller.com/2014/10/03/the-friday-fiction-win-a-free-paperback-copy-of-both-my-conor-kelly-books/ – Ali has a giveaway going on over at her blog, check it out for the chance to win one of her paperbacks!

http://bound4escape.com/2014/10/03/if-you-read-one-book-a-week/ – An interesting and amazing fact!

*Have a brilliant Sunday everyone and I’ll be back tomorrow! (This is a scheduled post)*

A bit of fun for the weekend!

Lynette Noni had a great quiz on her site!

Which Fantasy World Should You Live In?

I got Gallifrey.

‘You are a very curious individual, who has a thirst for knowledge. You love being in the company of other intellectual and knowledgeable individuals. Easily bored, your mind craves puzzles and ongoing adventures.’

Why not have a bit of fun and find out yours? 😀

http://www.playbuzz.com/louisegriffiths10/which-fantasy-world-should-you-live-in

*Have a great weekend everyone and be back on Monday as usual! (This is a scheduled post).*

Why I Write Blog Hop!

Lipsyy from Lipsyy Lost and Found asked me to participate in this hop, which looked like great fun!

Why Do I Write?

Because I can’t stop myself! 😀

Seriously though, I don’t think I could actually stop writing, I have been doing it all my life and it’s one of the best ways I find to release all the creative jumble in my head!

There are so many stories that I have the need to tell, and writing gives me that chance, whether it’s creative fiction or blogging. It’s a great stress reliever too.

What am I working on?

My first ever series! It’s the first book in a paranormal series that I’ve been looking at writing for a couple of years.

How does it differ from others of its genre?

I will admit it has a lot of similarities with other books of its genre, I think it’s difficult not to now with so many books out there! 😀

But the characters, their relationships, and the way the books are going to be written will be quite a bit different to what’s out there at the moment.

How does my writing process work?

It changes from book to book. Sometimes I have a strict plan with bullet points of every scene and write them in order, then it can go the other way completely and I can have a loose idea, but no strict structure, just writing scenes I’m feeling at that moment and piecing them together.

I definitely think the process changes with the feel of the book I’m writing, so it’s a very hard question to answer!

Thank you so much Lipsyy for tagging me in this! It was great fun.

And now to pass the baton onto Callum, a very talented writer who will soon be releasing his new book. Check out his first, The Vessel, you won’t regret reading it that’s for sure!

And Sierra, who will also (hopefully 😉 ) be putting out her sequel to The Soul, an incredible, character driven story which you should definitely take a look at!

(Yes, I actually got organised and asked people to participate this time!)

Progress Report:

Status of sixth manuscript: Writing first draft.

Books read: 0/4.

Mid-October Book Review: Choosing book.