Big News! I have a new publishing contract!

I’m thrilled to announce that Amazon’s Kindle Press will be publishing my romantic comedy High Tea & Flip Flops! A huge thank you to those who supported me during my Kindle Scout campaign.  So what comes next?

High Tea & Flip FlopsI have a 30-day period to make changes and resubmit my manuscript, cover, and book details to their editorial department. They may or may not request further changes. If they do, I have the option to accept or reject those requests. Then the ebook will be formatted, scheduled for publication, and a pre-order product page will be created on Amazon.

If you nominated the book, you’ll receive an advance digital copy to read and (we hope) honestly review on Amazon, Goodreads, your blog, or wherever you talk about books. Kindle Press options only the digital, audio, and foreign translation rights, so I’m free to self-publish a print version, which I will.

So why didn’t I self-publish the ebook? Discoverablilty. Some self-publishers have a built-in target audience or a substantial marketing budget. I have neither. I’m just a little fish in a big—and ever-growing—pond. I need someone with clout behind me to help get my books discovered. Amazon has that clout. I’m not sure how many Amazon customers will see a promotion for High Tea & Flip Flops, but I assure you that number will eclipse astronomically the number of people I have the means to get the word out to.

If you’d like to know more about the Kindle Scout program go to https://kindlescout.amazon.com/.

Stay tuned here for the latest news on High Tea & Flip Flops and my next book.

Linda

A Crazy, Crazy, Crazy Start to the Month of May

You all know fiction writers are a little crazy, right? I mean, we make stuff up and call it work! It is work, of course. Making make believe believable is danged hard work. Well, just so I can drive myself a little crazier, I decided to put my first two novels on sale. This rock-bottom price sale on The Brevity of Roses and An Illusion of Trust will run for one week on Amazon US and UK. Rock bottom means 99-cents or 99-pence! That’s right—less than a dollar or a pound, so get ‘em now. Just click on the book covers below.

The Brevity of Roses: A man discovers himself through the two women he loves. An Illusion of Trust: A woman learns to trust love by facing her abusive childhood.

tea_front_widgetI may bite my fingernails to the quick this month. My romantic comedy, High Tea & Flip Flops, is still vying for a Kindle Scout publishing contract. Have you nominated it yet? If each person who’s subscribed to this blog clicked the book cover –> and then hit that pretty turquoise Nominate Me button, Amazon would really be impressed! And I’d be ever so grateful. Over the moon grateful. Pot of gold at the end of the rainbow grateful. No joke. (And don’t forget: if you help my book win, Amazon will give you a free copy!)

Promoting three books while I’m working on a fourth is … you know … crazy. So, of course, that’s what I’m doing. I’ve just about finished another edit of my romantic supernatural thriller. (Say what?) I’ve wrangled a new beta reader for this one. She’s a voracious reader, but not a writer, so her feedback will give me a different perspective than usual at this stage. Then, after another revision/edit, I’ll have to find another beta or two willing to read this dark tale.

So … that’s how my month has started. I hope you have good things in store for you this May.

Linda

Exciting news about my next book!

I’ve posted about writing a romantic comedy for over a year now. I tracked its progress in word count in my sidebar under the working title Tea. Now it’s time to share the real title and the cover with you. As you can see, it’s titled High Tea & Flip Flops. The title refers to the snarky nicknames the two main characters secretly give each other.

tea_front_postRomantic comedy is a new genre for me, so I decided to try something new in publishing. I submitted High Tea & Flip Flops to the Kindle Scout program, and it was accepted. Kindle Scout is a new “reader-powered” publishing venture by Amazon, which means readers help decide if a book gets published. How? By nomination. And the great thing is that if you nominate my book and Amazon publishes it, you’ll get a free Kindle copy!

At the Kindle Scout site, I’ll have a campaign page for 30 days. Displayed on that page is the cover image, a short description of the story, an excerpt, my bio, and a brief Q&A. Also you’ll see that all-important Nominate Me button.

I hope you’ll support my campaign—it costs you nothing! Don’t wait to nominate High Tea & Flip Flops. Please help it hit the Hot & Trending list and stay there! Here’s how you can help:

  • Step One: please go to my campaign page and click the blue “nominate me” button.
  • Step Two: please spread the word to all your friends who might like to see High Tea & Flip Flops published.
  • Step Three: please watch for my announcement and reminders on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus and share them with your followers and friends. The campaign lasts for 30 days, so periodically I’ll post reminders to nominate High Tea & Flip Flops.

As you may know, I have a minuscule budget for marketing. This is my best chance to not only receive a small advance ($1500) but to get a promotional boost from Amazon. Amazon! This Kindle Scout campaign means a lot to me, so I’m sure you can imagine I’m very excited about it.

Here’s the link to my campaign page: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3QR8C2LJAU1XU

Thank you!!!

Linda

The Many Ways I Edit My Manuscripts, part 2

In my last post, I shared how I make lists in preparation for editing. Now I’ll share my process of editing a manuscript. I think most of this process would apply whether or not you’re an author publisher like me. The number of editing rounds may vary with each book, but this is my general process.

editingAs I said before, I do some editing while I’m writing the first draft. Actually, since I edit sentences and paragraphs immediately after writing them and then again as I reread the previous session’s writing in preparation to continue, I do a fair bit of micro-editing during first draft stage.

My next round is a macro-edit done within my writing software (Scrivener). As I read through the entire manuscript, I’m looking for plot holes and continuity issues. I also make notes on anything I need to verify with research. At this point, I’m checking off some items on the editing lists I mentioned last time. And because I write the dialogue for a scene first, I’m also checking to see if I have enough actions and descriptions. (Though it’s almost certain my beta readers will point out I need more.)

Of course, to try to fool my eyes into thinking I’m reading these words for the first time, I need to take a break. Usually, at this stage, I send my file to my alpha reader. Yes, I know, the true alpha is me, so maybe I should say my alpha-beta reader. While I wait for her feedback, I try to busy myself with writing something else or read a book or two.

After I receive the alpha-beta feedback, I edit and revise accordingly. My next step is to print out the manuscript, double-spaced so there’s room to make notes and corrections. Once again, I read from beginning to end, using both red pencil and highlighters during this edit. I also consult my editing lists. Then I transfer this editing to my computer file.

Then it’s time to send the file to my beta readers. Again trying to fool my eyes, I also send the file to my Kindle and read it that way. And then with the beta feedback and any notes I’ve made during my digital read, I go through the manuscript making edits and revisions.

During these editing rounds, I keep up a dialogue on the changes with my alpha-beta reader who, in effect, acts as my editor. If you can afford to hire a professional editor—or two—do so. You may want to enlist a content editor as well as a copyeditor (they serve different purposes), but my budget does not allow for that. However, I’m very lucky to have accomplished writer friends to call upon for these services.

Now, I want to tell you about an editing method I’d seen recommended many times, but I tried for the first time with my latest manuscript. For my final round of editing, I read backwards. I started at the end and read each sentence one by one. I couldn’t believe the typos, missing punctuation, and just plain clumsy syntax I found—some of which, I’m sure, I introduced during my editing rounds.

For me, reading backwards gave me the “freshest eyes” of all. Reading that way wouldn’t serve to find continuity errors, of course, but as a copyedit, it works great. If you’ve never tried it, I recommend you do.

I hope you’re enjoying life!

Linda

The Many Ways I Edit My Manuscripts, part 1

“Yay! Now I get to edit.” That’s my first reaction when finishing a first draft. After several rounds of editing, though, I’m a little less enthusiastic. But I trudge on and, eventually, end up with a polished gem from the lump of rock I started with.

editormarksWell, since I edit as I write, maybe lump of rock is a bit harsh. I know some writing gurus advise not to edit as you go, but I naturally write lean, and I’m too much a perfectionist to write past a clunker sentence or flabby paragraph. Why not fix what I already know needs fixing? That’s not to say I agonize over things like comma placement during first draft. That comes later.

If you’re a lightning fast first-drafter who stops for nothing, that’s fantastic. Many of your editing methods may vary from mine—and that’s perfectly fine. We should each work the way that best suits us. But in case I do something you don’t but might want to try, I’ll blog about my editing process in the next couple of posts.

As I’m writing the first draft, I keep lists to help me in editing. The main ones are:

  1. Things to Check
  2. Style Sheet

Things to Check:

This list is where I keep track of the punctuation and grammar errors I’m prone to make in every first draft, such as overuse of certain words (and, but, so, it, etc.) as well as words I frequently misuse (it’s for its, anymore for any more, etc.)

And of course, this list is where I remind myself to check to see if I’ve properly used commas. Most comma rules are static, but I vary a few depending on the genre I’m writing.

In my latest manuscript, I couldn’t remember, and got tired of looking up, the Alt key code to type the accented “e” in fiancée, so I added that to my list. (If you’re wondering, it’s alt+130)

I also list the spellings I use for sounds (hmm, uh-huh, hunh, etc.) and slang or curse words to make sure they’re consistent throughout the manuscript.

Usually, this list has several sections. One might be a list of words to work into the manuscript. Since the male lead in my latest book is British (and I’m not), I made a list of terms and phrases he might use. And since the female lead is only twenty-three (a bit younger than I am J ) I listed slang she might use.

And since I usually write the dialogue for a scene first, I need reminders to check for setting details.

After an editing round or revision, I might have to recheck some of these things, though I try to be very careful not to introduce new errors while I’m editing.

Style Sheet:

This is where I keep track of writing and formatting styles particular to the current manuscript. There’s some overlap from the Things to Check list, such as sounds, slang, and curse word spellings.

Style choices are things such as whether I’ll write out the time of day—eight in the morning, not 8 a.m. Also, how I’ll format certain things such as inner monologue, asides, imagined dialogue, and remembered dialogue. If I break a “rule” I want to do it consistently.

This is the list for unusual/unfamiliar spellings of character or place names and also for jargon. For some genres this list could grow quite long.

Other lists common to most writers are ones for characters and settings. These are handy not only in writing the first draft … yes, sometimes by chapter six, I’ve forgotten what I named a minor character in chapter one. But, of course, editing usually means revising, adding scenes and even whole chapters, so I want to make sure I’ve got the details right. I could run searches of the manuscript for these, but often it’s quicker to consult one of my lists. When it’s time to edit, I print out these lists and keep them handy.

Next time, I’ll share the various ways I read a manuscript for editing, including the very helpful one I recently tried for the first time.

Linda

March of Writing Madness

Lately, my writing life resembles the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Not only was January a wasted writing month for me, but we’re well into March and I’ve started taking backward steps in the final work on my romantic comedy. I’m no longer satisfied with the title or cover idea, and I’m having a devil of a time writing a killer back cover blurb. It’s all gone insane.

I’m trying not to get superstitious and consider these setbacks a sign I should set this book aside. After all, I have another book ready for final prep. But it’s not my usual genre and will be published under a pseudonym. So I’d really hoped to get another women’s fiction book out there first, even if it’s a much lighter read than my first two.

The titles The Brevity of Roses and An Illusion of Trust came to me without much of a struggle. They’re taken from lines in the books. But this new book has a completely different voice. Chelsea, my main character isn’t given to deep thinking and poetic language. She wears flip-flops and hoodies and says, “Ohmygod” and “Seriously?” That’s not to say she’s without depth.

Chelsea’s had a bad first year after graduating college. She lost her self-confidence. Now she’s about to lose her independence. But she has a hobby—spying on her new upstairs neighbor Jeremy, a sexy but secretive Brit. Oops … sorry, slipped back into blurb crafting mode.

Anyway.

As usual, it’s my lack of marketing know-how that’s brought me to my knees. Titles and covers and blurbs, oh my. I’ve improved at being able to view my work as a product rather than art, but I still don’t know what words and images will help them sell. (You’d think watching six-and-a-half seasons of Mad Men would have had a positive effect.)

So, I find myself all discombobulated at a time I thought I’d be assured and ready to launch another book. I’ll just have to keep adding to my list of possible titles, hoping one will shoot off fireworks. As for the cover, well, I might have a viable new idea, but I can’t finish it without a title. And I’ll keep moving words in and out and around in the blurb. What else can I do?

I do hope March is working out fantastic for you!

Linda