Self publishing #2 – Beta-readers

In my first post about my journey of self publishing, I have written about the first step on the journey: Buildling a base like a blog, website and so on. I am not going to tell you how to write. That has two reasons.

Number one is that everybody writes different. Be it style, voice, length, process and so on. It’s a thing that everyone has to find out for themselves. The other is that I’m still finding my own voice, my own style, so to tell others what they should do -especially since there is no ONE way to do it right- would be just hilarious. So we are skipping that point and assume that you are writing your book, your story, what is in your heart or head. What now?

Well here we go again with the thing that I did and what I possibly should have done. So ready?

I wrote the whole book, went through it two more times for edits, rewrites and polishing. Then I gave it to my boyfriend. First of all I wanted someone to read the story who didn’t know it yet and who could tell me if it is BS or not. I’m one of the lucky ones to have that support and honesty that he’d tell me that. I have gotten a couple of great suggestions from him, have been made aware of plot holes and things that didn’t work out. He also is better with English grammar and spelling than I am, so he could find a lot of mistakes I made. We both went through the book two more times, changing things here and there, correcting mistakes until we couldn’t find any more. And then I published the book.

Now to what I should have done. All of what I have done. But then instead of publishing, I should have found beta readers and an editor. I will split this into two posts so this won’t be too long. The first part of this will be about beta readers! The next will talk about editors.

While having my boyfriend as a sounding board was a great thing, it cannot hurt to get opinions of more than one person, even if that person is brutally honest with you. Tastes and preferences are different from person to person. It also could have happen that despite being really careful, you still miss something.

So what are beta-readers? I haven’t had any but from what I ready they are something like test readers, sounding boards and opinion givers. They receive your work and give you their feedback, about things that might not work, are just bad, are good and so on. Some also might be really good with langauge and give you pointers in that direction. It really depends on the beta-reader or what you expect from them. Of course not everything beta-readers tell you will be something you want or hear or change. It is at you to see what you do with the information you get from them.

Since I have not worked with beta-readers before, I am going to post you a couple of links to articles that I found interesting and helpful for future endeavours and hope they’ll help you too.

The big question now is how to find beta-readers. I found a bunch of articles about that. Some talk about networking, making friends on platforms like twitter, facebook, goodreads and so on, because people are more likely to help you, if they know YOU. You can read about this that on smallbluedog.com or jamiegold.com for example, but google has many more results to check out.

Another way is to join groups on platforms like facebook, goodreads, wattpad and so on to connect with beta-readers and find them. You can find more links on where to find them in the jamiegold.com article. But to be honest, even if you go that route, networking and making friends sounds like a great idea.

NOTE: Many beta-readers do this for free, but there are also ways to get beta-readers if you pay for them. I have not looked much into that so far, but I saw it mentioned.

Another great post that I’ve found was on  thebookdesigner.com which gives out free advice about what to know about working with beta readers.

From what I have read in several articles the steps are as follows:

  • Find beta-readers and make sure you clarify what kind of feedback you want from them.
  • Don’t send them a draft. This came up over and over. Make sure you finish the book as much as you possibly can. Edit, fix, rewrite, polish until you believe it is the best you can make it. Your beta-readers deserve to read it that way and if they really like it and work with you on it, they might tell their friends about it as well.
  • Make sure they get the format they prefer your book in – for example some prefer kindle format, others are okay with pdf, again others would like a version they can print and so on.
  • Feedback sometimes stings, especially if it is negative. But if you feel hurt by it, take a step back, breath, think about it. Are they right? Is it something you should change and adjust? Will changing that one thing make the book better? Don’t pick a fight over it, but instead thank them for the input even if you do not make the change.
  • Remember that while every feedback is valuable, that not every feedback needs to be put into action. Some things are personal preferences, you decide what works with you.
  • Remember to thank your beta-readers for their work. Reading takes time, writing up feedback as well and just like you when you write, they take it out of their free time they could spend otherwise. Beta-readers are valuable and do this by choice not because they have to. So thank them, be nice, treat them well and mention them in your acknowledgements.

It is quite important to know that beta-readers, be they as brilliant as they come, are not the same as editors. Beta-readers will help you to make your book as great as your combined effort can make it. The editor will receive it afterwards.

Self publishing #2 - work with beta-readers

What is your experience with beta-readers? Do you have any? How is it for you working with them? How did you find them? Do you have any extra tips for us? Feel free to comment below and share your stories!

I hope this was helpful. Next time we’ll take a peek at editors!

 

 

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Re-blog Brian’s Writing Tip #3: Write like you talk

I saw this yesterday and it made me think. I sometimes write too formal. Not because I want to sound formal, but because I am not a native speaker. But i realize that I rarely write how I speak. So maybe I should try that next time I start writing.

What do you think? Should we write how we speak or can that be a problem? Comment below and tell me what you think. 🙂

 

Source:  Brian’s Writing Tip #3: Write like you talk (3) Brian’s Writing Tip #3: Write like you talk | Writing Tips | Pinterest

50% off my books on Smashwords!

I am participating in a Smashwords sitewide promotion! Many many authors have enrolled their books in this promotion for discounts that will allow you to shop for a great number of books for little money! 

Both of my books “Sra’kalor” and “Kaleidoscope of my mind” are off 50% on Smashwords only until March 12th!

Sra'kalor Cover  Kaleidoscope of my mind

How does it work? You put your books in the cart and when you check out use the Discount code “RAE50” (without the quotation marks).

Come on over and grab your own e-copy!

Sra’kalor on Smashwords

Kaleidoscope of my mind on Smashwords

Smashwords Sale

 

Self publishing #1 – The start is not what you think it is

I have been asked a couple of times how I went about my self publishing journey and I have tried to answer to the best of my ability. Despite having read hours and hours about self publishing, what to do and how it works, I have made many mistakes. So I decided to share my way, and not only tell you what I did, but also what I did wrong. Maybe the one or other will find this helpful. Because self publishing is such a long journey, I thought it might be more useful to split this in several parts and make it a series. So here is where we start.

If you are anything like me, you might think that the start is to write and finish the story. Boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong. After reading more and more after I have published my book, I have learned that the actual start of the process is to begin building your base, a community of people, followers, future readers etc.

But why should I do that when I don’t even have the book yet to show them? Well that was my question. But actually it makes a lot of sense. You need to get people interested in you. I have not done that when I started, so I am telling you about the things I should have done.

The start could be anything like this:

  • Start a blog (I personally love wordpress, but there are other platforms, depending if you want to host it on your website or not. Even if you have a static website, a blog is a fantastic addition, to allow people to subscribe and follow your new posts more easily.)
  • Create a twitter (unless you have one that you want to use for it already.)
  • Create a facebook page for your musings and book promotions
  • Syndicate your blog with twitter, facebook, google+ and other social media websites for maximum exposure of your blog. It helped me because it saved me the time to manually post every article over the net.
  • Check out online communities/forums about writing and get active (If you google for writing communities you will find a lot of sites with lists and such to help you find the right one for you. These are just 3 of the top results here, here and here.)
  • Read author’s websites and blogs, comment and connect. (Contrary to the whole rumour (and sometimes fact) about authors being solitary creatures, many of us actually love to interact with other writers and readers.)

You might not have a book to show yet, but you have your mind. Share your way, your ideas, interesting articles about writing, writing prompts, inspirations that make you write, quotes that you feel are worth sharing and so on and so forth. I am the first to admit that it takes getting used to. I keep thinking that I have nothing to say, nothing to share, but that is not true. I just keep telling myself that for some reason. So I’m still trying to get into the groove.

On twitter you can share these blogposts, interact with readers and writers or just anyone really. You might think that your stories are the most interesting part of you, but actually readers want to know you. They want to be part of your life so share something about you, don’t hide behind a wall of books. I know that many writers out there are more comfortable focussing on their writing, I am one of those. I really have a hard time to be active on social media, but I have my moments here and there. But mostly I think that my stories are more interesting than me. But I’m trying to get over that. 😉

But the more connected people feel with you, the more interested they become in you and what you are doing. That also means they might be more interested in hearing about your story, your book, your novel series, whatever you are writing, once you have something to share. It does makes sense. I mean would you be more interested in a book a friend publishes or in that of a stranger? Yes, the stranger can deliver a fantastic book that you want to buy – we do that all the time, right? – but if a friend tells me about their new book I’m all over that like I’d be over a meat only buffet.

So Step 1 is to start building your base, interact (even if it is hard for you it’s worth it), and show yourself.

 

SelfPublishing#1

 

Stay tuned for the next part soon. Until then feel free to share your beginnings. Did you start with building a base? Or did you write all the way through and started after? What are your experiences and what would you do different if you’d have to start again? The comment section below is hungry for your input!

How To Write A Great Story – Pixar rules

Source: How To Write A Great Story – The Meta Picture

Sharing a Quote

You are not alone

 

The actual picture is not made by me. Copyright lies by Konstantin Tilberg . I only increased the contrast a little and added the writing.  Thank you for sharing your work, Konstantin, with us and allowing folks to use it as base for their stuff!

 

“Enemy of my Enemy” Reveal

A few times I have been asked what I am working on at the moment.  One of the projects is getting into stages at which I can tell you more about it! I have mentioned my dear friend Jonathan Snyder before and he is working on a Sci-Fi Roleplaying System called “Blood in Space”.

It is an honor for me, that he has asked me to write a novella based on that universe. I’m excited to tell you that the first draft of that novella is done now! The part of the universe I chose to write about is a member of a species Jonathan invented called the “Atelak”. The Atelak are a proud species of hunters and warriors. One of the steps in the life of an Atelak is to go on their own personal hunt to either hunt or battle enemies for prestige and honor. My story is about one of these proud people and their own personal hunt.

Larenssa had always dreamed of her life as a strong warrior and worked all her young life to be ready to bring glory and honor to her tribe. Passing her initiation rites was a challenge, but it would pale compared to what she would endure on the traditional hunt.

Leaving her tribe behind, Larenssa began one of the most important journeys of her life. She will find herself at the mercy of her prey and be forced to make a decision. What will happen when the tables are turned and she becomes the hunted?

I will continue working on its edits and hope that we will be able to bring the exciting story about Larenssa’s hunt to you very soon!

Digital Cross-stitching fun

Usually I try to stick to writing, but I had a little too much fun for the last two days with this little App on Facebook, I want to tell you about. It’s called “Cross-Stitch World”.

Some might ask why anyone would want to cross stitch online, and I can totally understand that. I had the same question, at least until I tried it. After playing around for a while I found it oddly calming, almost like coloring books, or painting by colours, which is basically the same thing just with cross-stitching, that you do with your mouse (which is a good thing because I can’t cross-stitch in Real Life). You choose a picture and you get a color palette of yarn and when you zoom into the picture you can see where which color belongs. You put each color into the respective boxes and the picture takes form.

But the really cool think about it is, that you can turn your own images into cross-stitch patterns. And that was what I did last night. I cross-stitched the cover of my book “Sra’kalor” and the female lead Alana. And I possibly had a bit too much fun. I’m still playing around with other pictures but need a break, because my hand started to hurt. 😉

06108-83b9652b-8d9f-4463-b4da-eda5c59d580e 06109-5aa1b124-7f00-465a-ae2d-265cfed5225b

Why don’t you head on over and take a peek, play around. And share your cross-stitches with me? I’d love to see what everyone does with it. 🙂

Coloring Hope

I don’t know about you, but I love coloring books. I always have loved them. As a child I kept filling them with all kinds of color from crayons, pens, even ink if I didn’t have anything else. I especially enjoyed using unexpected color and colour outside of lines, adding backgrounds that were not implied. I even have a coloring book for adults, but that is NSFW (adult adult lol) so I am not sharing pictures here. It is calming and relaxing to me, also because I cannot paint, so I appreciate someone delivering the shapes and leaving the rest to me.

Today I felt like coloring but didn’t have anything to color. So I made one myself. It is super simple and leaves a lot of details to the colorer’s interpretation and mood. I thought it would be fun to share it with you. You can download it and color it, digitally or after printing it out, whatever you like. It’s my gift to you.

Coloring Page Hope - Preview

This is merely a preview. The download version is 7654 x 5385 pixels big. You can grab it here.

If you like feel free to share your final colored pictures with me in the comments. I’d love to see them. Who knows maybe I’ll make more in the future.

Handwriting challenge

A few days ago a friend of mine issued a handwriting challenge on one of the social media platforms I lurk around. It was actually supposed to write something nice, but well call it artistic freedom or something: I did my own thing. And I thought it’d ba fun to share with you, sharing why I do not handwrite my drafts.

Have you done the challenge? If not, feel free to join in! Share yours in the comments, be it video or picture 🙂

Guest post “Meet the Villains”

A few days ago my dear friend Jonathan Snyder has written a guest post on this blog “You Have to Torture your Characters!”. Now I had the honor of writing a guest post for him!

The post I chose will talk about writing an interesting Villain character! So head on over to “The Musings of the Crazy One” and read “Meet the Villains”.

Again, thank you Jonathan!

MeetVillains

You Have to Torture your Characters!

So tell me, did you look at the title and go, “What the hell is he talking about?” If so, then mission accomplished, if not, then why are you still reading?

Hello all! I am Jonathan Snyder and I have been dying to tell you all why you must torture your characters for the sake of a good story! This is also the first time I have ever written a guest blog and so I extend my uttermost thanks to Jessica Werner for this opportunity.

Let’s get back to torturing characters. For the record, I am not referring to medieval style methods or worse, Fifty Shades of Grey. I am referring to the concept that you have to make your character go through tough times to succeed in their goals.

Have you ever stopped and thought about some of your favorite characters outside of the context of their story? In honor of the new Star Wars movie, take Luke Skywalker for instance. His only home and two loving relatives were destroyed by Stormtroopers, he’s been thrust in to a giant galaxy by himself, not to mention he has to find out his parents were horribly murdered and became the most feared man in the galaxy. Even his mentor gets slaughtered after a few weeks together. That’s a lot of stress! Characters need to go through hardship to grow and become more than they are. To be unchallenged is no way to find out who or what they are. Like real people, characters need experience and adversity to be molded to their full potential or in the case of villains, to crack and break in to the monsters they become. They must be tortured by life and their enemies to become better. Not only that, it makes for great stories!

Now, after all this stuff about making sure your characters suffer horrible things, there is one final rule that I feel must be remembered. No matter what you do to your characters, you need to reward them in the end. Give them what they are striving for or find a way to make sure what they did was worth it all. Luke became part of something greater and in the end came to understand what being a Jedi means. Do not just torture your characters and never give them anything in the end, unless you’re trying to mimic Russian literature.

So, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this post and have a great time sitting at your computers thinking, “So, what horribly thing can I do to you today?”

 

 

Ongoing Worlds: Fall Festival V is coming!

Some of you already know – the rest will learn now – that I am an avid Roleplayer. I have been filling evenings with this fun activity for over 20 years, be it Pen & Paper, IRC, Forum or EMail. For about 3.5 years I am member of the fantastic Star Trek PbeM UFOP: Starbase 118, and this upcoming Saturday, we are hosting the Ongoing Worlds: Fall Festival V.

FallFest

That’s right, the 2015 Simming Fall Festival will be held on December 5th from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM EST (1:30 PM to 10:30 PM GMT). Ongoing Worlds is proud to announce that UFOP: StarBase 118 will be hosting, with James Drysdale serving as chairman. You may remember that UFOP also hosted the 2013 festival, which was wildly successful. For a few short hours in December, the entire simming and online role playing community will come together to share ideas, role play, and join in a few trivia games–all in IRC chat rooms. James and UFOP will be on point to make it all happen.

Now why am I telling you that. First and foremost, this even it a lot of fun, and very informative with discussion chats for not only those that enjoy roleplaying, but also for writers. While the chats are based mostly on what roleplayers want to talk about, hosted by great people all over the community, some subjects can be interesting for everyone who builds worlds on paper.

I will be hosting two chats myself and invite you to join me for the following discussions:

Chat 1:
SESSION TIME:
9am Pacific / noon Eastern / 5pm GMT
SESSION ROOM: #FallFest2
SESSION NAME: Writer’s block and how to break through the wall
SESSION DESCRIPTION: Writer’s block is common among writers, no matter if alone or in a group. Let’s take a look at different techniques to break through

Chat 2:
SESSION TIME:
1pm Pacific / 4pm Eastern / 9pm GMT
SESSION ROOM: #FallFest1
SESSION NAME: Developing Relationships in Roleplay
SESSION DESCRIPTION: The chat will be about developing relationships in Roleplay: romantic, friendship and even fiends

The chatrooms will be available through a web-based chat client that you do not need to download. Simply go here and connect.

A full schedule for all chats, trivias and so on can be seen here!

I am looking forward to the chats and hope to see the one or other of you there! Mark your calenders for Saturday, December 5th!

Sra’kalor revision is now available in print!

A little more than a week ago, I have released my revision of Sra’kalor! As promised it is now available in print as well.

I have received my proof copy and all went well, so now you can head on over to Lulu, and grab yourself a copy as a perfect-bound Paperback!

You can find Sra’kalor in print here.

What can I tell you, it’s a great feeling holding it in my hands and smelling this wonderful book smell. See for yourself!

Sra'kalor Paperback

Get Sra’kalor for 50% off for Black Friday Weekend!

It’s Black Friday and that means everyone wants to get some great deals! And I want to join in.

For this weekend you can get Sra’kalor (Ashwood Falls Part 1) for 50% off on Smashwords.

Sra'kalor 50%off

  • To get the great deal:
  • head on over to Sra’kalor on Smashwords. If you do not have an account yet, you should make one, they have a great variety of fantastic books!
  • click the buy button. That puts the book in the cart.
  • when you are directed to the cart, you see a little box at the bottom that says “Coupon code”, put this code into the box: YT84F
  • hit the “Apply Code” button on the right

Now you can check out and after completing the purchase you can download the book right away in different e-reader formats such as: mobi, epub, pdf and more.

Hope you’ll enjoy your little treat! Have a fantastic weekend!

4 of 5 Stars Review for Sra’kalor!

My dear friend Jonathan Snyder, a fellow writer and sounding board for my crazy ideas, has agreed to give Sra’kalor a try, even though it is not his kind of genre. One of the many things I like about him, is that he is very honest, so I am super excited that he gave Sra’kalor a 4 of 5 star rating!

I am not a big supernatural fantasy fan, but I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised in what I found in those pages. A good friend of mine asked me to read her book and it turned out to be a great suggestion! Jessica Werner’s Sra’Kralor, the first book in the Ashwood Falls series is a very interesting take on the supernatural creatures living in our world theme. It follows the story of Alana who has a mysterious ability that her family cannot deal with and when she turns eighteen, she is placed on a bus and sent to the nearby city of Ashwood Falls. If she thought her life could not get stranger, she would be in for a big surprise.

You can read more of his review on his blog “The Musings of the Crazy One” here. Head on over and check it out!

Sra’kalor Revision is out now!

As I have told you before, I have been working on a revision for my first book Sra’kalor, and it is finally out! I have taken comments and reviews to heart and improved my first novel.

SraKalor

The story is the same and has not changed, but many many grammatic and spelling errors have been fixed with the help of an editor, the lovely Emily Roller. I am rather grateful for her help, since writing in English is not as natural as it would be for a native speaker. I am excited and thrilled for this revision!

For now the updates are in place for the ebooks on smashwords and amazon. An update for the print edition on Lulu will come soon, since the test delivery usually takes a while. So head on over and grab your own copies:

Sra’kalor on Smashwords
Sra’kalor on amazon

And while you hopefully enjoy the first book, I will keep working on the second! Read you soon!

Jessica ❤

Sra’kalor – Revision in the works!

As you might remember from my last blogpost, there are exciting things at the horizon for me, all kinds of different projects. One of them, I can finally share with you!

Sra’kalor – which I have released in March this year – is undergoing revision! The fantastic editor Emily Roller, has been working hard on the novel and I have just received the final edit. That means that I will be able to soon release an even better Sra’kalor!

I hope that this will be really soon and I’ll be busy to make that happen! Stay tuned and get ready for the freshly edited Sra’kalor, part one of the Ashwood Falls Trilogy!

The wrath of the cold

Remember when I posted to tell you that I’ll be writing more here and soon? Yeah, a day later I got struck down by a nasty cold. One would think that mother nature values us keeping promises. 😉

Well I got sick and if you ever tried to think properly with a brain full of snot and pains you know how that goes. Then when I thought it’s finally over, it came back with a laughing “fooled ya!”

That is where I still am. But I am starting to get better. Slowly. Very slowly. At least I get in the mood for writing again and I cannot wait to continue on my projects, as soon as my body lets me.

I hope you all are doing better! Enjoy the cozy autumn time.

Writing and writing more!

I have been quiet, but only here. That is because I have been busy and still am with working on several stories at once, that are all super exciting for me!

Of course, one thing I’m writing is the second book of my “Ashwood Falls Trilogy.” I just recently rewrote a full chapter, because I did not like how it had turned out in the first place and continued from them on. I still have a lot more in my mind for this book, so I will continue being busy with this one.

Another story I am working on is a short story I had on my mind for a while, which is actually a twist on a fairy tale. I won’t spoil you now, but I am having fun with this. Not only because I like fairy tales, but also because it is different from what I usually write.

And then my dear friend and fellow Author Jonathan Synder is working on “Blood in Space”, a Sci-Fi based Role play system, which I find super interesting and would love to play myself. I have been a huge role player for over 25 years and so I almost freaked out when he asked me, if I’d be interested in writing a novella in the world of “Blood in Space”. Of course I said yes, and I have begun to work out a story featuring one of the species he has invented for this system. I will be able to tell you more about it, as I progress. Right now it is still in its fledgling stages.

The reason I have not told you about all these fantastic developments yet is, because despite my nature to write a lot, I do keep occupied with the actual writing so much, that I forget to share the good news! But knowing that you really would like to hear more from me, otherwise you would not check in here, I’ll try to update this blog more often and share more interesting news with you!

But now I am going to return to getting the jumble of words down into my file, maybe interrupted by an hour of watching the newest Doctor Who. It’s been too long! Until next time!