Quick Update – Live on Amazon & D2D

I mentioned in a previous post that I would be moving across to KDP and Amazon, and have now done so, the books were only down for about 24 hours or so on most platforms, but – I have lost all my reviews.

I am waiting to see if Amazon can put them back, but if you don’t see your reviews within the next week for any of my books *please* put them back up!

Also, the links on this website for the books don’t currently work, but I am working on fixing that soon, I just had to get all the new links in order!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nanowrimo, Problems, and Progress!

As I posted recently I’ve been awash in the wake of Pronoun coming down. For those of you who don’t know but want to understand the implications, they can be summerized thusly:

  • The books ALL come offline until I find another way to self publish them
  • I lose all my ISBNs
  • I potentially lose all the reviews on those sites for my books
  • I lose all my promos on various sites linked to those specific URL
  • I lose the benefits of Pronoun (here are a few; Emails whenever I sell/get a review, excellent support, full 70% profit from sales, cost free uploading, 0% of sales taken… the list goes on.)

Sulking aside, its not been great.

To add to that there have been numerous problems with the hard copies of the books; because of the delay on when I received the funds, and the launch of the book not long after its been a bit difficult to get it all organised.

As I had to wait for several things to align (stars, planets… designers), but I’ve run into some serious problems on formatting both fronts; the Indesign stuff for the core text was tricky, and I wanted to do it myself because it is possible and I didn’t want to waste the ludicrous amount of money on paying someone to format it.

I told all the Kickstarters I’d be using Ingram, who don’t format. I then spent some time investigating, and then reporting my finding to the author’s alliance (hence why I ended up doing it myself), which got a little messy and complicated.

We should have been all ready to print this week, except from late October the designers of the book cover haven’t come back to me with the print cover indesign files and are not answering my emails. And I don’t know why. *sigh*

I paid them several hundred US for this service but it was done a long time ago and I can’t get it back. Its tempting at these times to just throw in the towel!

I will find someone else to do them because I want these books before Christmas! I am very determined to get the print order in by the end of the week, and am looking at some other fiverr artists who’ve done promo work with me before to get the cover for the hardcopy up to scratch.

I am also very unimpressed at the price hike over the last 18 months for book covers; a whopping US$99, they have now jumped to as much as US$300 which is more than I can afford. I am persuing other designers, have paid several, and overall been very disappointed with the results. I mean, I don’t require original artwork, if I want that I’ll go to my artists, (which right now is on the cards), but it would be nice to find someone who can give me what I need. I guess I’ll keep looking…

Kickstarters: The other problem is you! I have emailed a few of you a number of times asking for addresses to post the books! Please give them to me, or if you aren’t sure about it flick me a message through the website or Kickstarter page!

In regard to where my books will go next, I have decided on two platforms; with KDP (Amazon direct) and D2D (Draft to Digital, who cover everything else).

My reasoning is that I can advertise to a *much* larger audience with KDP, and if I join them it will make it easier to transfer across my reviews to the new URLs.

D2D list their books everywhere that Pronoun did except Google Play, but that hasn’t been a great platform with me, and D2D offer a host of other retailers I will be investigating.

The profit margins are far lower than Pronoun, and there is a 10% take on any earnings, but otherwise they are the best that are currently out there.

Its been a long couple of weeks, and I’m supposed to be on holidays writing!

Which brings me to Nanowrimo.

I have knocked this out, and the next novella in the Last Prophecy series (set for release in 2019) is done; The Tumbling Spire.

I will tell you more about it… late next year.

In the mean time I am progressing on the next book in the Queen of Spades Series – the Darkening. I know nobody really knows anything about these series yet, but I won’t be shutting up about them soon!

I am anticipating (hopefully) for the release of Queen of Spades – The Awakening towards the end of the year or maybe early next year, please keep your eye out for it, because it will be a .99 cent book for the first month and then go up to $2.99!

In other, fabulous news, I’ve been awarded a Gold Star Rating for the Well of Youth by the BGS team! It’s a combination of a computer system called Autocrit, and measures word repetition, mistakes, readability, development and a host of other stuff.

 

If any one has anything they want clarified in regards to the Kickstarter feel free to send me a message, I am more than happy to answer, and believe you me I need to do as I promised and give my father a copy of the book for Christmas, so they should be done before then!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

15 Ways to Write More During Nanowrimo

I’m crying. I’ve been crying all morning.

Pronoun is shutting down and I have no idea what I’m going to do. I just launched the Well of Youth and its getting 4 and 5-star reviews. I just put a lot of money into advertising and reviewing to garner its attention. I took down my novella and made it free before, lost all the great reviews that Amazon wouldn’t put back, and got left with a bunch of mediocre ones.

I’ve cried in bed, in my husband’s arms, over blueberry pancakes and in the shower while I pulled myself together. Now, on my 5th coffee, I will still do the post I was going to do today.

Which is to tell you how I do Nanowrimo.

 

I committed to 150k words for the month of November, to write the next novella in the Last Prophecy Series, and to do the next book in the Queen of Spades series. Its been a rough couple of days but I’m on over 10k words and plan to write another 10 if not 20 today by mostly pouring my heart and soul into it.

How?

So first up (& cheating a little here) I posted last year on 5 ways to get through writer’s block;

https://ejdawson.com/2016/06/28/5-tips-for-writers-block-on-your-project/

I can’t recommend deciding on two separate decisions a character has and rolling to see which is more likely, that gets me through so many hard writer’s blocks.

But now I want to impart 2 other lots of tips; 5 ways to work on your book when you can’t physically sit down, and yet another 5 ways to get through writer’s block with your current work in process!

5 Ways to Work on your Book when you can’t sit and Write.

  1. Think about it all the time!

I do mean this. I think about my story when I’m on the road, when I’m in the shower, and when I’m going to sleep. It doesn’t matter if I forget or can’t write it down, I follow the thread and review where I’m currently up to, and then I sort of play out the rest of the chapter or scene in my head. I pretend it’s a movie I’m directing, and when the characters don’t speak or act I have to prompt them. Sometimes it helps me see objectively how a reaction is wrong, or the story isn’t going in the right direction.

The added benefit of this is that you *know* what you are going to be writing when you finally do sit down so it’s not such an issue.

2. Take a notebook!

I can’t believe I have to say this but take a notebook. Not your phone, not a tablet. A book of blank pages. A writing implement. I carry one everywhere with me to pencil in ideas, write down the names of characters or even just a great name when I hear it.

Don’t make excuses not to carry one. You can fit a palm-sized notebook in your pocket, pens are everywhere – and that’s only if you don’t have a backpack or handbag!

I have nearly lost great ideas because I didn’t have a notebook, and when I don’t have one I scrounge for paper and pens. I’ve written an idea on a napkin with the waiter’s pen.

The added benefit of this is that you actually remember it better when you physically write things down. This has been proven, (don’t ask me where I don’t remember) for exams and tests. So if you write your brilliant scene in dot point formation it will actually be easier to remember when you do get to write it down!

3. Talk to Someone who’s Objective

I’ve said this numerous times, but my husband’s ability to predict movies and books never ceases to amaze me. When we were dating he hadn’t seen the Usual Suspects and within the first 15 minutes knew Keyser Soze was the bad guy.

So when I have a plot problem I throw what my plans are at him, usually on drives and when we’re walking the dogs, to see if it’s too predictable. If you are worried about the direction of a story ask a trusted and honest friend.

Not someone who says “Yeah, that’s great!” and doesn’t offer any critical feedback.

Someone who will listen quietly and give good advice. They are rare people to have, but they might surprise you with their insight.

4. Make time to exercise

I suck at this one. But it helps clear the cobwebs in my head, it gets rid of the stress. Even a walk listening to the soundtrack I’m writing to is really helpful. Alone time with your thoughts is as important as writing time. It’s really that simple.

5. Plan your time

I have a good habit of sitting at my computer and just writing all the time. I do it when I’m waiting for games to load, I do it when I’ve got a spare 20mins, I do it during my lunch break at work. There are little ways you can spend five minutes getting through a scene or bit you don’t like, so that when you return you can work on the good bits. Don’t worry about it being a perfect setting, just make sure you have the capacity to write as much as possible wherever and whenever you are.

What I mean by this, is that I go through my day and pre-plan writing time; I have to exercise this morning so I’ll write at lunch. I will get home late today because of a meeting so I’ll write tomorrow morning. Think about when you are going to write, and make sure you do it, even if it is only a few minutes. It helps to know you are allocating time specifically to writing, even if it’s only a little, and sometimes that time can be very productive!

 

5 More Ways to Work on your WIP!

  1. Are you listening to the right music?

It came up in a FB post what people listen to, and is it odd to listen to soundtracks while you write? I *cannot* write without a soundtrack, I will actually hunt around for the right soundtrack for my story.

And you don’t have to listen to the LOTR soundtrack to write fantasy. The music should evoke a response from you, and you use that response to write the story you wish to work on. You wouldn’t listen to an upbeat song during a funeral scene, so you need to make sure you’re selective. It also has the added benefit of blocking out other sounds and distractions.

It doesn’t have to be soundtracks either, there are numerous artists out there I suggest you check out for evocative music;

Zack Hemsey; I can’t get enough of this guy, both his singing and instrumental. I am listening to Nomad right now, and I love his songs.

Audiomachine & Two Step from Hell; Both these are great for more fantasy/epic music, but I find there is a great balance of other songs in there too, really wonderful to write too.

Celldweller & Glitch Mob; I’ve been listening to heaps of these guys for my sci-fi romance. They have great action songs, upbeat and full throttle, and they can drop to darker/sadder music too.

2. Where are we?

In the story? Are you describing what everyone is wearing/doing? Are you travelling somewhere? What’s out the window?

Sometimes just a paragraph on what can be seen out the window of a car is far more telling, and sometimes it can lead to intimacy or moments between characters you didn’t see coming; touching hands accidently, a moment of solace. Even bringing the tension higher by sticking the protagonist and love interest in the back seat together when at this particular moment they can’t stand the sight of each other. Or better yet, the protagonist and antagonist.

There are the actions scenes that are great, but what comes between those are dialogue and description. Don’t forget those, and if you start with a description sometimes the dialogue happens on its own.

3. Plan your chapters

Presumably you know roughly how long your story is going to be, whats going to happen in the end. Even if you don’t this is a good way to keep things on track.

I usually know whether my work will have roughly 3k or 5k chapters. I then lay out the story based on the estimated word count I expect. My novellas are 50k words, my fantasy books are 130k, and my sci-fi romances are 100k.

I break it down into chapters, and then I start writing out one line about what happens in each. Sometimes (especially for the bigger books), I’ll leave a few lines. I don’t always stick to this plan, but when I don’t have the motivation to write or am not sure I’m happy with what’s going on, it’s a great reminder of where I’m supposed to go.

The stories tend to have their own lives, and there is a constant question of “Panster/Plotter”. For those of you who don’t know a panster is someone who does next to no planning, and a plotter lays it all out.

It’s been compared to planting a seed and letting to grow, to being an architect and building a house.

I like to think of chapter planning as planting a seed, and putting up the frame work of a house, and then letting the plant grow. You can encourage it to climb in any direction, but sometimes it will head off on a tangent you didn’t see, and that might be a great thing. If not, you can always chop it off and refocus on your framework, it at least keeps you on track!

4. Secondary Characters

Without them the story can be lacking, they give it fibre, believability. So what do they think about what’s going on? Do they agree/disagree with the current status of the book? Maybe the main character doesn’t care what they think but that doesn’t mean they aren’t aware. Is it worth telling the reader at this point? Wouldn’t it be better to show them by bringing them up?

It can be a concerned parent or guardian. A bossy sibling. An angry friend. A crying lover.

What is the effect of what you are putting your MC through to everyone else?

Whether it’s dropping out of school or deciding whether the antagonist should die, the decisions your MC makes has an effect, and not just on supporting characters. On the principle of the school, on the general public when they see what happens to those that cross the protagonist.

We give our MC actions to take, that they think are right, but what if someone else thinks they are wrong? Ask yourself this, see if it affects what is happening right now.

5. Leave it alone.

Yeah, OK. This runs in complete contradiction to one of the tips I gave which was to write through it. When I was writing Phantom Presence I was really angry about a lot of things and my normal outlet couldn’t cut it. I had to walk away from the MC because I didn’t have the patience the character possessed to keep writing her story.

Sometimes emotions sneak up on you, and they can influence your writing for the better, making your stories great. Other times they can completely stuff up the attitude of your MC, making them more depressed or angry than they otherwise are.

There is never a perfect time to write, but there are the times when it isn’t happening, and you need to treat your characters and story with the respect they are due, sit back, take a breath.

Venting feelings through writing is a good thing, but sometimes you need to give it a break, maybe watch a movie or something, and then get back into it.

Writing isn’t easy, I don’t need to tell you that. Writing this has been very therapeutic for me in the wake of Pronoun going down. I can admit that now, and keep working on Nanowrimo.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Well of Youth is LIVE!!

It didn’t dawn on me until I was sitting at the launch, the display out for everyone, that I felt like I could be excited! The local Mayor was coming to give a speech, my Dad flew down from the NSW coast unexpectedly, but I didn’t feel until that moment that I’d really done it.

As people started turning up it started to pass in a blur, but I got so many pictures, and I am pleased to say this is one of the few I took alone (the rest are with the many loved ones standing next to the banner with me – or without me, I’m looking at you David);

There was cake too! – Ok, so it doesn’t look like it, but that big fat book is really a big fat chocolate cake that was delicious, thank you Vaye!

I got to catch up with so many old friends, and people I didn’t expect who made the afternoon wonderful! It felt less about showing off what I’d done, and more being grateful to all the people there.

To Scott who spent so much time helping me with it.

To Nushie, who couldn’t be there, but gave me such beautiful artwork, breathing life into my stories.

To Kate for making me look so pretty.

To Caroline for making me not feel awkward when she took pictures.

To Lorna for being my aid that day, unquestioningly making it go smoothly.

And to Emily who cracked jokes when I was nervous.

To Dee who gave such a… moving speech. It was very hard to do my speech afterward!

All the friends who came from far and wide, and it felt far less like I was talking to a bunch of strangers about my self spoken importance, and more about how far I’d come, and that they’d all had a part of it.

To my husband’s family who was there to support me – it meant so much and they have always made me feel so included in their family, even if I was a little odd.

To my Dad… who didn’t just come, he helped inspire all of this. I still got through the speech but it wasn’t easy!

I spent the evening hanging out with old uni friends who hadn’t seen each other in years and eating pizza while we reminisced. And then I went home and tired as I was I couldn’t sleep!

The next day should have been about follow up but instead I was at the Allcan Events Fundraiser for Breast Cancer, giving a speech, not about my stories or that I was an author, but about my very brave aunt who fought off cancer for nearly twenty years.

A beautiful event hosted by a work collegue and friend, Gigi, I was honoured, not just that she took the time out of a busy prep Saturday for her fundraiser to come to my book launch, but she also asked me to speak at her luncheon.

Its been a few days coming but I am glad to see the books finally online everywhere and now the hard part of marketing.

I couldn’t have done any of it without the love and support of my husband to whom I am truly grateful. He probably won’t read that but its OK, I do tell him, every day. And intend to keep doing so even with all the books that are to come.

Thank you all of you who were there on the day, and those of you who couldn’t make it I still got your wonderful messages of love and support and it gave me a sense of accomplishment. Thank you all!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m on a roller coaster I don’t know how to stop…

I’m ordering a banner, right now, I’m waiting for it to load in the background.

I sent an email to the cake lady about when to pick it up.

I’m about to put an update on the Kickstarter page – the print book won’t be ready in time, the funds haven’t come through for print copies to be there at the launch, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t coming. I’m sorry backers, but you will get it soon!

And… I’ve just fixed the last note that the editor made to the script.

Scott – I couldn’t have done this without you. This wouldn’t be this story without you.

I’ll never be able to thank you properly for all this. I’m going to try, but I don’t think anything will cover my gratitude for your help.

The Well of Youth is done. 129 thousand words. 233 pages.

If I thought I could I’d weep tears of blood.

I feel like I’m about to fail, about to disappoint everyone with my attempt at becoming an author.

And then I look at this manuscript. Two years of work.

We’re ten days away from the launch and somehow I want for it to be here now, and another part of me is scared silly.

I don’t think I’ve ever been proud though. That sounds so stupid, you’re proud of doing well at school, at getting a job done. Somehow those things just don’t compare to what is happening inside me right now.

I keep telling myself not everyone’s going to like it, its not a story for everyone and that’s OK.

Its not perfect and that’s OK.

But right now its perfect to me.

And Scott helped make it perfect. If I’m proud of what this story has become its because of all his hard work.

My Dad, my sister, and my husband helped make it perfect.

Perfect to me right here and right now.

Its been a long time coming and I can’t wait until those final moments and I publish. I look forward to seeing those of you that can make it to the launch to celebrate this with me. Thank you.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Final Hours of the Kickstarter….

When you’re doing something like writing a book you often feel alone.

You can be surrounded by people and you can feel alone.

People say that what you’re doing is awesome, and it doesn’t matter how many times they say it, and mean it, my anxiety often tells me that I’m full of it and what I do doesn’t matter.

And I am saving something rather special, a very special story, for my book launch, and its about the wonderful people who came together for the Kickstarter. All the backers, please tune in, there is something special I want to share with you all.

We’ve been fully funded since day one.

And then more, lots more, and I couldn’t believe how quickly it all happened. I was so overwhelmed, not because people we backing me, because people wanted to hold my book in their hands too. It wasn’t just about the support, people wanted to see what all the work had been about. And suddenly I didn’t feel so alone.

Years ago a friend of mine asked me when I’d think of myself as successful as an author. This was one of those precious times, times were a liked status or an everyday comment was more, that it was someone I hadn’t heard from in a long time saying: Yes, I want to read your story.

I can’t say the words enough, but thank you to all the backers.

We have 70 hours left on the Kickstarter, and there are only **2** copies of the hardback left.

tinyurl.com/ycxyko3j

If you want a copy now is the time, thanks to the generous backers we’ve made the goal so this is just if you want a copy to hold in your hands now!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Birthday Book Launch!

Its coming, its so close and I am so excited to start talking about it!

SIX WEEKS TO GO until The Well of Youth will be officially released and available for purchase! To celebrate this culmination of years of hard work and passionate creativity, I will be hosting a launch event in my home town of Trentham.

I invite you to join me to celebrate not only the release of the first book in the Last Prophecy series, but also, my birthday!

The launch will take place at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in TRENTHAM, VICTORIA (21 High Street, Trentham) on Saturday, 14 October, from 4-7pm (AEST).

I will be speaking on the day – as will some invited guests – and I expect that the local, intimate nature of the event will provide plenty of opportunity for you to grill me about what you can expect as we continue through the Last Prophecy stories!

Now, I am very aware that Trentham is a bit of a hike – even for those of you based in Victoria – so I have decided that the event will also be live recorded on my Facebook page. This will mean that the prizes (yes, there will be prizes) will be on offer to my wonderful supporters and network all over the world. Stay tuned as the event approaches for more details!

So get out your bookmarks and save the date – Saturday 14 October, 4-7pm – and come along and join me in toasting the release of my new book, The Well of Youth.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment