I’m my worst enemy!

“It’s been so busy at work!”
“I had a family emergency!”
“Family life is just so stressful!”
“The President grinds my gears!”

These and more things I have heard when it came to the question “Why aren’t you writing?” from friends or generally on social media. No judgment from me at all, it’s all legit. Promise!

Though when I am confronted with that question, none of the things above is applicable. I got no job, or family or even a president. My reason is much simpler, and for the very same reason more shameful to me, because I can’t blame anyone.

My reason is myself.

Sure there are some legit reasons here too like that I’m fighting with depression or get sick, have a bad writer’s block, sometimes there is a lot on my plate but most of the time it’s something else. So this is me:

“But I want to play a game!”
“Friends want to play Overwatch and I don’t wanna miss out!”
“Oh this show I found on Netflix is awesome, let’s binge!”
“Wohoo, the plot in Roleplay is so much fun, let’s write this instead!”

So basically, the person standing in the way of writing is me! Now that sucks doesn’t it? Because that means that I’ll have to kick myself in the ass, and suckerpunch the distractions to get things going. So that’s what I’m doing now. I did some writing for my roleplay, I did some playing of Overwatch, I even watched a show today. So now I’ll sit down for an hour and write.

But boy, that kick still stings!

What is your enemy? Yourself? Family? Work? Time? Motivation? Did the muse visit your neighbour but shunned your house? Share your experiences with me down in the comments and don’t forget to join my email list on the right side to get a FREE short story prequel to my Ashwood Falls series!

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Let’s talk about: Tools of writing

 

Writing is a really personal process.

The internet is filled with advice, must haves, must dos, should dos and checklists on what to do to write a novel, short story or even blog posts. Hundreds or even thousands of blog posts and articles about how to plan, how to outline, how to write, even how to edit your writing. The truth is: there is no ONE way. For every author, you ask what they use you might get just as many different answers. Something that works for me, might not work for you and the other way around. As sucky as that is, everyone needs to find what works for them and then stick to it, or adjust it until it feels natural, perfect for YOU.

You do You!

I’ve been listening to several podcasts recently (including The Journeyman Writer and Self Publishing Podcast) and I did find that a few things worked for me while others didn’t but worked just fine for others. In one of the Journeyman Writer episodes, Alastair Stephens and Lani Diane Rich talked about the tools they use for their writing and that made me think about what I use. So I thought I’d share a little of that with you!

 

Research 
Google.com
Yep easy as that. No matter what I am looking for that is where I start. Be it images, articles about certain subjects and more.

Pocket
Pocket is a nifty little add-on that I use way too often. When I find a site that I believe to be helpful I pocket it. That means it lands in the app waiting for me to read later. Kinda like bookmarks but to me, it goes faster, and once I don’t need it anymore I just click the little “read” button next to it and it gets removed from the list. And the search function makes it much easier for me to find the article again. I use it on Firefox, but I saw that Android, iPad/Phone and Kobo apps are available as well.

 

Outlining and Writing
Scrivener

I started writing when I was really young and the only way I could write was on paper. Throughout the years I moved that to Microsoft works, then Word and Libre Office. I’m a huge huge fan of local copies, so I never made the jump to Google Drive for my writing (I use it just not for that ;)).
But last year a dear friend of mine told me about Scrivener and I thought it was awesome. I grabbed the trial and tested it, and fell in love. Then for my birthday, I received it as a gift and I’ve been outlining and writing in it ever since. I know some folks have trouble with it because it gives you a lot of options and frills, but I enjoy to be able to mark scenes by Point of view, keywords, move them around, make these little cards with summaries of the scenes, move them around if I have to and so on.
The whole folder for Character bios, Location sourcing and what not is fantastic and helps me personally to keep an overview. Before starting to use Scrivener I had a whole folder with subfolders for everything on my hard drive, but now I have them all in one program and it is way easier for me to look things up.

Evernote
I have told you about Evernote in another blog post and I still use it on my kindle, since I can’t put Scrivener on it when I want to write while being out of the house (haha as if I left the house) or in bed. The ability to sync the Kindle app with the desktop app to get my writing from one to the other makes it really easy.

 

Background Noise
This is one of those things that seem to be different for everyone else. Some need quiet, some want music that pulls them into the scene or character. Me? I need my TV running.
I can’t deal with quiet, then I start to think, and stop writing and start to look around… and I stop to write.
And music has the effect that I want to sing along, or in the case of instrumentals hum along, then I start to google about the artist, the lyrics, the sheet music… you get the drift.
But TV, I can have that running all day (actually I do) and write without being distracted. I know what I wrote and still know what has happened in the show I ran in the background. I might have to say that both is on the same screen. I have no physical TV, I have Netflix and I only have one monitor. So Netflix is in a small window in the upper left corner, while Scrivener is open across 3/4 of the screen. I also have learned to write blind with the typewriter so I can write and at the same time watch the show. Though I don’t do that often. Mostly I listen and when it sounds like something’s happening I look up to the small window and that’s it.
For many, it would be confusing or pull them out of the mood, but I need it to get really into it.

 

Graphics
I love working on graphics myself. Be it locations, characters or my covers, I try to do as much as possible myself. Not only because I’m broke af, but also because I have loved doing that for many years. I use graphics not only for covers but also for visualisation. Not that helps me to get into the mood and character.

Poser & Photoshop, Illustrator
Poser is a program in which I can put scenes, and characters in a 3D environment and render them. In Photoshop I do the rest.
My last project of making a map for Ashwood Falls was started in a program called RPG Citymap Generator, but after the initial 5 minutes with that program, I spent several days in Photoshop to make it mine.
Illustrator is another graphic program, basically the Photoshop of Vector images. I don’t use that as often as Photoshop but for example, the “Enemy of my Enemy” cover was made in there.

Stock sites
And sometimes I use stock sites. These are sites that provide stock images to use in your own pictures. Some need to be paid, others are free. There are way too many to list here, but when you google for Stock images you will have a lot of results including websites that list 10, 20 or more of the best ones.

 

My friends and partner
At the moment I don’t have beta-readers (hope to get them, though), but I have friends I bounce ideas off. When I get stuck or need another set of eyes to know if a plot works they are the ones to get bugged by me. I feel lucky to have friends who don’t sugarcoat things and tell me if something I wrote sucks, otherwise that wouldn’t be any help. My partner even reads through my whole draft in that little time he has to find plotholes, inconsistencies or anything else that jumps at him.
I’m forever grateful for their support.

 

That is pretty much my writing tool cabinet. Does it look anything like yours? If not what would I find in your cabinet? Let’s chat and let me know in the comments!

Free eBook for a limited time!

Every year Smashwords does a special event called “Read an Ebook Week” with tons of discounts for fantastic books from every genre. This year’s week has started and I’m proud to announce that you can now receive a FREE copy of my book “Enemy of my Enemy”.

Free Ebook

Larenssa always dreamed of a life as a strong warrior. All of her young life she trained to be ready and bring honour and glory to her tribe. Passing her initiation rites posed a challenge, but it pales in comparison to what she will endure during her personal hunt.

From now on until March 11th you can get a copy of “Enemy of my Enemy” for absolutely FREE from Smashwords.com and follow the adventure of Larenssa yourself. Simply use the code FC74V during checkout and the discount will be applied!

Grab it here!

Feel free to share the special with your friends and on your social media and share the love.

Also if you like “Enemy of my Enemy” I would LOVE if you’d take the time to write a review on Smashwords or Goodreads.

Thank you all for your support!

 

How Star Trek and Doctor Who improved my story telling

I’m a huge geek.

I grew up with Star Trek – The next Generation. As it was aired for the very first time in Germany I was 8 years old and was hooked from the first episode, despite the strange Cheerleader attire of Deanna Troi. I remember running home from school to not miss the episode that would start at 2:30 pm, only minutes after my last class. I made it every time. After that, the story just went on with Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and even Enterprise. The only show I didn’t really get into was TOS, but I loved the movies – so that’s something.

Of course, it didn’t stay with Star Trek. Series like Lexx, Firefly, Stargate and many more followed but for the most time of my life, Star Trek was my bae. And then came Doctor Who. I had never seen the original series at the point or even heard of it – yeah Germany is lacking great geek stuff. I was hooked from the first episode – again. While we were waiting for new seasons we had to get our Who fix and watched the movie, borrowed Jon Pertwee episodes from a friend and enjoyed them thoroughly. I have loved every Doctor I have seen so far, even the “unpopular” ones.

Assimilation² Cover crop
Part of the Assimilation² Cover. The copyright of this image’s publication belongs to IDW Publishing, under license from CBS Paramount Television and/or Paramount Pictures.

While I watch a lot of TV and movies, these two shows have shaped my life. They were teachers, friends, lifelines and more to me, the characters became a second and then third family. And I still am fully immersed through my cooperative writing Star Trek Role-playing Group Starbase 118. When thinking about how I started my writing to where I am now I can honestly say, that these two shows helped me with my writing. But why?

Those of you who know the shows might know already. Both Star Trek and Doctor who have strong characters with their own plot-arcs, developments, and goals. And then there are characters without these elements so you can see the difference right away. For example, Worf had much more story than for example Geordie. Or Doctor Who’s Mickey has more of an arc than Donna’s mother. And I am a huge fan of character development and stories. So observing the series’ ways to develop their characters has been a huge help to find ways to do that.

These shows also have relatable and likeable characters, just as much as characters that we can really hate on. I believe that Star Trek and Doctor Who both have fantastic plots that develop and evolve characters throughout single episodes, seasons and the whole show. The writers even managed to bring in Villains that we can relate to, that make us understand how they tick, why they became who they are. Who wouldn’t understand the intentions of Gul Dukat when it comes to his daughter, while at the same time hating on him for it. One of the favourites among my friends was Garak the Tailor, who was dubious and loveable at the same time. Who did not shed a tear when realizing the true driving force behind The Master, while being shocked by his maniac attempts to take over Earth? Or when Rose finds out what is in those Dalek tanks, I admit I cried and felt sorry for them. That is some great villain writing right there.

Every episode has its own timeline. The introductions, getting to the meat of the story, continuing with a plot twist (something happens that causes them trouble) and the way to get out of it, and then the fading out/resolution. But as every fan of almost every show knows, there is not only the timeline of each episode. But a timeline of the season, or series of episodes that belong together. Writers do the same, nobody wants to give away everything too early, or drag things out too long. If you are writing a series, you want to make sure that the first book doesn’t resolve the problem already. Star Trek TNG did not have it that much, other than multi-episode plots, but where you can see that really well is in Star Trek Deep Space Nine, especially in the last season. And Doctor Who has a lot of that as well, even more so.

Another element that I really enjoy is returning elements, be it bad boys or allies. In Star Trek, we have the Borg, Klingons, Romulans, the Dominion, Cardassians, Breen and many more of these returning baddies. In Doctor who we see the Daleks, Cybermen even the Autons return a few times, and not to forget other characters like Bonny, Mickey, The Master. To me, it is the element of “Oh hey I know them!” that connects different stories together making it all obviously the same universe. It brings together the whole history of the show.

And last but not least, movies, as well as TV-Shows can teach us a great deal about pacing and structure of a story, for single episodes, multi-episodes and seasons. We learn about stages in the story (introduction, twist, climax, fade out), for short-term plots and long-term plots. We learn how to foreshadow, how to bring in surprises and how to come to a satisfying conclusion (at least most of the time).

When you start writing, one of the advice pieces you’ll get over and over is to read a lot. Who wants to write, needs to read. And while I agree with that, don’t underestimate the teaching power of some great Television.

Doctor Who - David Tennant

Do you have favourite shows that do this for you? Maybe some other shows or movies taught you a lot about writing or helped you to put your story to life? Tell us in the comments, maybe you’ll bring a gem into the lives of other writers like my friend brought Doctor Who into mine.

And while you are at it, hit the subscribe button to get notified when new posts hit the blog!

My new best friend – Evernote

You have seen it on this blog a few times – not as many times as others had to read or hear it from me in person but nevertheless – that I have not found the time to write much. That was one of the reasons that around Black Friday I decided to get a Kindle Fire. While it is full of awesomeness by itself, I wanted something I can carry around with me to write on.

Yeah yeah, I know. There is the magical invention of pen and paper, but let’s be honest here among us. I have not written much by hand in many years, apart from shopping lists, I can barely read my handwriting because my brain is so fast my hand can’t follow – in contrast to my fingers when it comes to typing which still is too slow but much faster than whatever I could get onto paper. Also if I write for more than two minutes my hand is going to cramp up and hurt like a … you get the drift. So typing it is. I have no laptop, nor can I afford one. So the Kindle has become my writing buddy.

The first apps I added were Office apps, trying them out to see which works best for me. And it was pretty annoying to write a bunch and then having to send that file per email to my computer. I could have used google drive, but I didn’t find any free program that allowed to actually edit the files on Drive itself, which again meant to send emails with documents. And then I learned of

And then I learned about the existence of Evernote. Why has nobody ever told me about that before? I am looking you there!

Evernote

I am able to not only write on my Kindle but sort it all nicely into Notebooks (like folders). These I have sorted by current writing, plot ideas, writing for my roleplay and notes for like Second Life creation ideas (I also have a ToDo folder but I have not used it yet). And the best part is that after I’m done I simply safe and next time I go to my PC I start the Desktop app and have it all there. No more sending emails around to get the files to where they need to be.

Okay, actually the best is, that it’s free. But function wise it’s that you can sync it between your devices. I’m quite sure that there is a lot more in this app than I have discovered yet, so make sure you check it out. Since I got my writer buddies I have written more than in the last 4 months combined. Most of it at night in bed, when I couldn’t sleep. it already has been absolutely worth it.

Maybe you want to tell me about your little Evernote Tricks. What else am I missing? Do you have writing buddies that you absolutely recommend? Let me know down in the comments!

 

Let’s talk about – Write what you know

Letstalkabout

 

No matter if you write fiction or non-fiction, blog posts, do-it-yourself articles, advice columns, short stories or novels, you might have heard that one piece of advice all through your weeks, months or years of writing: “Write what you know.”

When I heard that for the first time I had immediate thoughts on what I know!

I know how to cook frozen Pizza.
I know how to not starve because I ordered a huge pack of ramen noodles in all kinds of flavours.
I know how to sleep for a long time.
I know how to take a shower without breaking my neck – 37 years of study in that subject proof that.
I know how to binge watch TV-Shows and movies.
I know how to avoid doctor visits when I really “don’t wanna”.

I know many many things more, but let’s be honest: Nobody wants to read a book about that. Well actually I’d die to read a book about it, but I might not be a big market all on my own.

After eliminating all these useful, elaborate skillsets the question remained: What do I write about?

Writing fiction might be a tad easier on that because you don’t have to go into the depths of a subject too much, but you still need to know what you are talking about. Maybe the whole ‘Write what you know’ does not only mean the experiences or your degree you have in a field.

Instead, make sure that you research the hell out of something you want to write about. Writing paranormal stories with demons and vampires? Study the lore. Writing a story that plays in the Tudor era? Read about it, the life, language, customs, important events and what have you. (Coincidentally that is what I’m doing at the moment.) Want to write for a woman but you’re a bloke and have no idea about that? Study women, read magazines, talk to them and ask what they’d do. If your character goes through a life-changing event and you have no experience with that said event, chat with folks who’ve gone through it.

There are many ways to research and accumulate knowledge about what you are writing about. So go ahead, dig in and then “write what you know”.

What is it you are writing about? How did you get to know about it and got more insight? Was it easy? Exciting? Boring (if so why the heck did you want to write about boring stuff?) Share your experiences and tell me more right down in the comments.

Let’s talk about – Short stories

Letstalkabout

 

Did you ever do something many many times and it is deep in your bones and blood and you could do it in your sleep? Then you try something else and it works really well but you go back to do that old thing and you fail over and over? That is me with short stories. I used to write them a lot. But ever since I wrote my first novel I have real trouble with them.

That wouldn’t be too bad if I wouldn’t want to write them. I have several ideas for stories that are not meant to be as long as a novel or even a novella. So short story it is. Well said. Tell that to my 50 attempts to write one. I tried it with outlining, making keynotes, pre-planning … nothing. I keep running into a wall and believe what I wrote sucks big hairy sweaty donkey balls. Eeew, I know.

I am usually a big fan of research and reading articles to help me going, but in this case, it just makes me nutters. It feels like everyone knows how to write a short story but I don’t. And I don’t know you but I become obsessive about this. Trying even harder and falling with my nose flat on the concrete floor.

So next I’ll try to throw out the outline and plans and write that short story by feeling and using my gut instinct. Let’s see how that goes!

How are you with writing short stories? Are they hard? How do you deal with the struggle? Or are they smooth sailing? How did you get there? Share your experiences with us in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe 🙂

 

“Enemy of my Enemy” is here! (Plus a subscriber special)

It’s finally here! I’m so excited!

As I have mentioned a few times before I wrote a novelette, based in a roleplaying universe my friend Jonathan Snyder has developed: Blood in Space. That novelette is finally done and published by Epic Worlds Press! I have a ton of fun writing the story around the young Atelak Larenssa and hope that you’ll enjoy reading about it just as much.

Enemy of my Enemy-Cover-02

Larenssa always dreamed of a life as a strong warrior. All of her young life she trained to be ready and bring honor and glory to her tribe. Passing her initiation rites posed a challenge, but it pales in comparison to what she will endure during her personal hunt.

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

This novelette is available as Ebook on Smashwords and as print book on Lulu.

I promised you a subscriber special!

Everyone on my subscriber list and those who will join receives a 50% discount code for the ebook version on Smashwords! That is to thank you for your support and interest in my writing.

Subscribergift-enemy

(Credits: The base of this image is a Mock-up Set made by Vadim Sherbakov. You can find it here.)

If you are not yet a member of my newsletter list you can subscribe here:

 

I’m looking forward to have you and if you like it I’d appreciate a review on Smashwords, Lulu and/or goodreads. Thank you and have fun reading!!

Self publishing #3 – Editors

As I have promised you in my most recent blog post about beta readers, we are going to look at Editors in this post. As usual I am going to tell you what I did and then tell you what I should have done. I’ll also explain a bit about different kinds of editors and give you a few sources about how to find them and what to watch out for.

Ready? Yes? Let’s begin.

When I wrote my first Book “Sra’kalor“, it was quite an adventure. It was my very first book that I’ve finished, and also the very first book I wrote in English. Since it’s my second language I’m naturally making mistakes. That just means I’ll have to learn more, but until then I definitely need someone to check what I write for grammar, spelling, possible misuse of words and so on. I went through my book four times until I couldn’t find anything wrong with it any more. Believing it was great, I sent it to my partner and he checked once more. He found a bunch of things that could be improved and a pile of spelling and grammar mistakes. I fixed these as well believed to be done, because we had worked a lot and hard on it. So I published the book and began to send it to reviewers, bloggers and the like.

In the coming weeks I received reviews that mentioned grammar and spelling mistakes, that the language sounded as if English wasn’t my first language, that it sounded too formal and some words were misused. You can possibly imagine the punch I felt in my stomach. For a while I even thought I should stop writing if it is that bad, but thanks to some encouraging friends that feeling didn’t last long and I decided to want to improve instead of giving up – yay me. One of my friends has an editor in their family and connected us. I sent my book to her, she took the time and effort to edit it and did not only mark the parts that were wrong, but also explained to me why. That helped tremendously. So I revised the book and feel much better with it now.

No matter how well you write, how much you work on your book, how many mistakes you find and correct, having an editor go through it for you and bring the best out of it is very important. That is something that I absolutely underestimated in the beginning but have learned until now. And if you work with Beta readers – as mentioned in the previous post – you would first write and edit as much as you possibly can and then send your work to your beta readers and after they took it apart and helped you to make it even better it’s the editor’s turn. Not the other way around.

What would an editor do for you? That depends on the kind of editor.

  1. Content editors/developmental editors – They check your book for structure, plot holes, parts that go too slow, others that go too fast, inconsistencies (what we call goofs in movies) and so on. It might happen that they change something in your story to make it flow better, change the way you wrote sentences or whole scenes. They work directly with the content of the story and help authors to find their writing voice.
  2. Copy editors – These make sure your book has a high readability, that it’s written smooth and has a consistent style all over.
  3. Line Editors – They focus on grammar, spelling, punctuation, verb tenses and so on. You know all these little things that we do not see any more because we know our story and our brain reads them correctly even though they are misspelled.
    1. Copy and Line editors are often one person nowadays but sometimes they are still different people. And you might even find someone who does all of the above but not that often.
  4. Proofreaders. After all editors went all through your work and you made sure to fix mistakes and rewrite what needs to be rewritten, proofreaders go through the book again and find all the little things that everyone else missed. Yes that can happen. Editors are humans, you are human, so mistakes happen. Even the most famous works still have mistakes here and there, but imagine them without going through all that editing work.

 

How to find editors?

Since I did not have to find an editor, thanks to my friend, I have done a little research about where to find editors.

What to watch out for when choosing an editor

  • What kind of editor are they?
  • Do they work in your genre? That is especially important for content editors. You wouldn’t want a magazine column content editor to edit your romance novel. These are completely different genres and styles. If it only is about spelling and grammar, the genre that editor worked in might not be that important.
  • What is their experience? Who have they worked with?
  • Do they offer a trial page or chapter so you can see their style?
  • Do you click? You work closely with your editor if you can’t stand each other it’ll make it difficult.
  • What is their rate? Editors are not cheap. Even those with affordable prices might be out of your budget. So check how much you have to pay and how much you can pay.
  • How many authors do they work with at the same time? Do they have the time for your book it deserves?
  • Remember not every editor might be the right one for you. You might have to kiss many frogs… wait wrong subject. You might have to try out several editors before finding ‘the one’.

These lists are by far not complete, but do a google search for editors and you’ll find a ton of results. Not only editor pages but also articles about how to find them, what to watch out for, questions you should ask yourself and so on.

Two of these sites are

There is so much more but this article has been too long already. If you managed to stay with me until now – Congratulations you are a patient human being! And thank you for sticking with me.

Do you have any more invaluable tips and tricks when it comes to editors? Where did you find yours? What experiences do you have with your editor and did your first find end up to be ‘the one’? What did you do when your choice wasn’t the right one? Please share your stories with us in the comment box below! Until next time and stay creative!
SelfPublishing#3

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!

 

 

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

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!

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

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

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!

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!