So, I’ve been working on my fanasy novel, Soulless, for three years–off and on. After a hiatus of almost five months, I decided to have another go at it. The problem is, there are so many problems.

While I think my over all premise is good and I like my characters, it’s been difficult to really nail down plot holes, flesh out realistic character details, and wrap things up in a satisfying way.

But that aside, I’ve made great strides since the new year, and am trying to keep a postive attitude about the whole thing.

So, how about you? Any breakthroughs or breakdowns? Please leave a comment or word of encouragement! We’re all in this writing-thing together!

Publishing Options

There are so many avenues for publishing your work nowadays, how do you know which way is best for you? I was so happy to be able to sit in on this discussion at the Agile Writer’s Converence back in January.

Below, I’ll list the options as discussed by Charity Ayres, author of Ice Burns.

Option 1: Traditional Publishing

  • When seeking this route, it is best to have an agent in your corner. It’s easy to track agents these days, especially if you’re on Twitter. And it’s good to follow agents, because you can get to know them, and understand what they’re seeking.
    • You can also use Writer’s Market Mag. or Writer’s Digest, for agent details.
  • Once you’re ready to contact an agent, you must write a query letter.
    • Charity provided a link to a webpage she found especially helpful. Click here! (It connects you to the SFWA website.)
    • One of Charity’s tips was to be sure to personalize your query letter to each agent you contact. If you’ve been following them on Twitter, or on their own blog, it should be easy to include a line or two.
nathan bransford

Option 2: Independent Publishers

  • Charity didn’t have much to say about this route, but stated that if you have to pay anything, it’s really just a glorified self-pubbing format. True publishers don’t charge their clients.
    • In my own experience, from research online, I think you should thoroughly research any independent publisher to make sure they’re legit. Check out who will own what rights to your work, and consider the long term affects of losing what you sign away.


joab cohen author site

Option 3: Self Publishing

  • You have to be your own advocate. You must make sure you’re willing to commit yourself to a thorough promotion campaign if you go this route.
    • Websites that help you format your book: Create Space (Amazon), Smashwords, Bookbaby, and Lulu. Let’s break these down:
      • Create Space: no charge for basic formatting, no charge for ebooks, charge for hard copies
      • Smashwords: only ebooks! Wider distribution: BN, Apple, etc. Very specific formatting requirements. (If you’re tech savvy, can take as little as 4 hours, if you’re not…it will take much longer.)
      • Bookbaby: will do everything: formatting, editing (but charges a lot)
      • Lulu: also charges for everything (from paper choice, to book size, to formatting), check for hidden fees
  • Self-Pubbing is a faster route that allows you to take advantage of book trends. So, if something is hot right now, you won’t have to wait the 2-3 years it takes to traditionally publish–assuming you’re good/lucky enough to snag an agent.
    • Take advantage of world events and fads that may make your book more appealing.
  • Launch Party:
    • Make a big deal out of launch day. Create an event page on Facebook and invite everyone you can.
      • Have events, door prizes, raffles, panels
      • For more tips on launch parties, check out my previous post by clicking here!

I learned so much, especially about self-publishing. I think, personally, I’d like to have a go at traditional publishing, but I’ve wanted to learn more about self-pubbing in case I change my mind. My biggest hang up on self-pubbing is the time it takes to properly market your book. I don’t have hours-per-day to flit from social media to social media. I don’t think I’d do my work justice. (I know you have to do marketing stuff for traditionally pubbed books, too. But in 2 to 3 years, when my kids are older, I should have more time for self-promo.) *wink, wink

So what do you think? Any ebook formatting tips or experience? Please leave a comment or a word of encouragement! We’re all in this writing-thing together!
*And be sure to swing by next Friday for more on formatting your ms for submission!


Catherine laughed. “You’ve never done this before, have you?”

“Done what?”


Those green orbs in his face got very wide. “No, I am not one for flirting.”


*an excerpt from my fantasy WIP, Soulless.

Using Facebook Settings to Increase Exposure to Your Writing, Part 2

Last week, I posted Part 1 of Using Facebook Settings to Increase Exposure to Your Writing. (Click the link to catch up!) If you haven’t checked out Sharvette Mitchell‘s website, click the link and check out her services on web design and social media coaching–be sure to come back here though!


So without further ado, here’s Part 2!

  • To start, one of the newest features of Facebook is Facebook Live. These are videos that you shoot live from your phone or computer. This feature is super hot right now, and a great way for your to connect with your audience.
    • First things first, don’t over think Facebook Live. These videos are supposed to be unfiltered, they’re supposed to be raw. That being said, there are some do’s and don’ts for maximizing your success.
      • Don’t: Shoot from your dining room, bedroom, etc. Pick a generic/plain background, like a wall, or go outside to shoot your video. (That way people don’t pick apart your housekeeping skills–if you’re anything like me.)
      • Do: Keep your video concise and simple. If you’re not too experienced with them yet, choose a topic, then pick 3 things you want to discuss. (ex: If you’re at a writing conference, pick 3 things you learned during the first day.)
      • Do: Answer back anyone who comments on your video–or, if they’re commenting while the video’s live, address their questions verbally while you’re shooting.
    • You can use Facebook Live to promote upcoming book signings, introduce your characters, share advice and tips, or to introduce yourself in a more familiar way than just a simple write-up on your blog.
    • The important thing is to engage your audience.
  • So what should you be posting on Facebook?
    • Pictures: book signings, cover art, snap shots from behind the scenes, pictures from speaking engagements
      • You’re still telling a story, here! The story of your endeavors, successes, failures. Keep it personal and authentic.
    • Excerpts from your book, advice and tips, interviews, reader reviews
  • Now for my favorite part–Launch Parties! So, you’ve done the writing, editing, re-writing, wringing of hands, betas, re-editing, and finally deleted all your favorite scenes, now you’re ready…whether your book is being released by a big publisher, or you’re self publishing, you’re going to want to increase awareness.
    • Build up expectation for launch day. Post and Tweet everywhere in the days leading up to launch day.
    • Prepare giveaways: find a product you like and contact the company. Ask them if they wouldn’t mind donating products for your launch day give-aways. This can be anything, coffee, tea, writing supplies. Or, and I thought this was a cool idea, think of something your MC loves, and use that to come up with cool give-aways. For example: If your character loves the color red, you could pick out a red notebook and pen, or a red bookmark, or red coffee mug.
    • On Launch Day:
      • Be prepared to go Live–many times.
      • You’re going to want to Post 1-5 times that day
      • Youre going to want to Tweet 3-10 times that day
        • If you’ve connected your Facebook and Twitter pages, this will maximize exposure. The point is to be consistently on the Net getting out the word about your book.
      • Engage your readers/viewers!
        • Play games, have give-aways


  • The vibe I got about Launch Day, is that your have to be engaged the whole day! Be prepared to submerse yourself in Social Media–or if you’re doing a live launch–be prepared to be out and about documenting and enjoying the occasion.
    • Launch Days are special. Relish it.

So, I think the overall message here is to Engage. Readers, viewers, friends, family. These people know you, like you (probably), and want to see you succeed. Put yourself out there. Be respectful. But be consistent. There will be no better advocate for your work thank yourself.

So what do you think? Any Launch Day tips? Any Facebook Live fopaux? Please leave a comment or a word of encouragement! We’re all in this writing-thing together!

And Once Again…


So, I decided to revamp my urban fantasy novel, Soulless, this year–and hopefully finally finish it. But–and it’s a big but–I’ve known for a while that one of my main characters wasn’t quite right.

The character is one of my only female characters. She had an occupation that was sort of out there, and completely unrelated to the story. I’ve known that her occupation should be more relevant; that it should relate to what’s going on, or at least fit into the realm of possibility. Because as we all know, even fantasy stories have to sprout roots in reality.

This weekend, the epiphany happened! I finally know what my character is doing with her professional time, what her new passion is, and it fits perfectly into the plot. Whoop! Whoop!

I am simultaneously filled with joy and despair. Joy, because I have direction. Despair, because it seems like I’m never going to finish this project, because of all the rewriting.

But I’m trying to enjoy the satisfaction of getting one step closer to the end–fingers crossed!

So, how’s your writing coming? Any breakthroughs, or breakdowns?

Please leave a comment, or a word of encouragement! We’re all in this writing-thing together!

Using Facebook Settings to Increase Exposure to Your Writing, Part 1

Two weekends ago, I attended the Agile Writer’s Conference and learned some amazingly helpful things. Every Friday, I’m going to post my notes spanning from editing and formating, to the benefits and techniques of utilizing social media.

This week’s post is from the panel called, Accelerating Exposure Through Social Media. The discussion was presided over by Sharvette Mitchell, a web designer, social media coach, and talk radio host.


The core focus of Sharvette’s speech focused on utilizing the different aspects of Facebook. She said that having an author’s page was important, but not as important as having a personal page–and using that personal page to really push your writing.

The reason? Relationships.

Your friends on Facebook are relationships already in existence. Those relationships are personal. Deep. The grassroots of your writing platform, if used proficiently.

So…there are some setting and layout options you can use on your Facebook page to improve how people see you, and your content.

  • Make sure your profile picture is a personal image/headshot–professionally taken, if possible.
  • Your cover image is a billboard. Someone visiting your page should be able to tell within 7 seconds that you’re a writer; an image of your book, for example.
    • You can use a website like Canva.com, or hire a graphic artist to design a professional looking cover image. (Graphic art for something of this size should range between $25-$50.)
  • Fill in the “Intro” space to the left, underneath your cover photo. It’ll be brief, similar in characters to what Twitter allows. Write a blurb about yourself, be sure to include something about your writing.
  • Change your page from private to public–now doing balk! I know I did. My personal page is mine! That’s where I post pictures of my kids, pictures of my family, and visit with trusted people. But there are ways to keep all that stuff safe, you just have to be diligent about labeling what you post.
    • Firstly, enable the Follow button.
      • Go to settings, public posts, then select that the “public” can see your posts. This will automatically include a Follow button at the top of your page. This setting allows people who are interested in your content, to follow you and see your public posts.
    • Another cool aspect, if someone friends you, they automatically become a follower. That way, even if you ignore their request, they won’t know, and will see anything that you lable as public–no hurt feelings.
    • As long as you mark your personal posts for friends, none of your personal content will be viewable to the public.


Shoo, that sounds like a lot of gobbledygook, so please leave me a comment if things need further clarification.

To be honest, I haven’t gone through with the transfer of making my page public, yet. I’m just making sure I’ve mentally committed to this sort of posting style, because once your page is public, you have to individually mark things as private as you post. For myself, I just want to make sure my brain is dialed in to that sort of thinking.

But what I have done, and this is something Sharvette suggested, is adjust my Twitter account, so that my tweets pop up on my Facebook page, which is cool. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, just couldn’t figure out–because I’m totally not a techy. Now my friends and family have access to all my super fun #Sixwordstories, #writing, #pubtips, and all the other daily tweeting that I participate in.

  • To do this, go to settings in Twitter, select Apps, select Facebook. Then it’ll ask you to log into your Facebook account and approve the connection.

Cool huh!

Next Friday, I’ll cover things like Facebook Live, book launch parties, and post-content recommendations.

I hope you’ll swing by and check it out!

If you have anything to add to what’s been said above, please feel free to leave a comment! I’d love to chat!

AWCon 2017

This past weekend I attended the first ever Agile Writers Conference!


It was a great experience. The conference’s focus was on writing a novel, so the panels and discussions were broken up into four groups: Beginning, Middle, End, and Epilogue (which focused on all aspects of post first draft, from editing and formatting, to social media marketing).

I sat in on panels concerning the End and what I will call, Post Production. I’ve decided to make separate posts for each of the panels–as I took lots of notes and don’t want any one post to be too long.

So check in every Friday at 9 pm for a new segment!

The posts will cover: Social Media Marketing, Publishing Options, Self Editing and Formatting, Benefits of Writer’s Clubs, and NaNoWriMo.