Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Book Based Action Plan DIY MFA #3

On Monday, I posted a couple of  reading lists. The most helpful thing I learned all last semester (besides the kick in the butt of a monthly deadline, because some of you know I've been off the bandwagon for a while) was the action plan.

If you scroll down to the "subgenres" list, those books including my self chosen book of Beastly were used to create an action plan in my manuscript. This is how the action plan works. It helps if you can self-evaluate your manuscript before you start reading. What are some weaknesses you need to overcome? Make a note of that. Read 5 books in your genre. (The ones I used are all romance books. If you're a YA writer, you may want to use only YA even though it may still be romance). What do they have in common? That's something the market expects. Did you have a couple of favorites? What are the things those authors did really well? Chances are if it has become of favorite of yours, it has become someone else's favorite too and there is a reason for it. Out of all of this find five steps you can take to improve your WIP. Write them down. Justify to yourself how they will help make your book more marketable. If you're hoping to make a living--or even a royalties check--writing, marketability is the key. It doesn't matter how strong your manuscript is, if no one is willing to buy it.

My action steps were:

  1. Pacing (but if you've read the Peace books, you know I can handle pacing, so my action here was to maintain).
  2. Characterization--The hero has a redemption arc, and is one of the most hated people in history--literally. He's not likable in the opening scenes, but he has to be relateable. I found a couple of specific lines in the first chapter of Beastly that gave me an idea of how to accomplish this.
  3. Setting-- I don't care about this. To me description slows pacing. So by default I'm not good at it. My action here is to add one line of description for each new location. This shouldn't be soo much that it slows pacing.
  4. Showing-- The freakin rock in every writer's shoe. My action here is to find 3 places I can show not tell in each chapter.
  5. Layering- Flowers from the Storm was a beautiful book. It was so long but still one of my favorites and reminded me of Beauty and the Beast. The most important lesson I learned from that book was the art of layering. There was so much going on, so many conflicts, all overlapping it made for a good story. I thought I could layer my story better by adding subplots with similar themes to the main theme.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

DIY MFA #2 :Reading List

In 2016, I'm going to be doing a lot of posts on things I've taken away from my MFA that you can do on your own to improve your writing.

Because Hana asked today I'm giving you a reading list. One thing all MFAs have in common is a substantial amount of reading. Last week, I mentioned Lady X was this session's residency read and said I didn't know why because to me it didn't have cross genre appeal. Hana wanted to know what else we're reading for the MFA. 

Now let me start off by saying my focus is romance. I'll list the classics first, because you're likely to find use in these whether you write romance or not. If I were studying another genre I'd likely have a different list, but here's what I will have worked on from June of last year to June of this year:

Pride and Prejudice
Framely Parsonage
Jane Eyre
Nine Coaches Waiting
Our final project for classics RIG (reading in the genre) will be to find a book of our choice we will believe will become a classic. We are not supposed to select this book until mid semester but I'm leaning toward Twilight because 1)it's my favorite book, but 2)it's half way there. It needs to stay in print for twenty years to be a classic and Twilight has been in print for ten years.

Subgenres of Romance
The Liar-Nora Roberts
The Saint-Tiffany Reisz (seriously erotica; not recommended for fans of sweet/clean romance)
Destiny's Embrace-Beverly Jenkins
Outlander-Diana Gabaldon (genre mash-up, but we like to study how elements of another genre can add to our readership)
Flowers From the Storm-Laura Kinsale (my personal favorite)
Grave Danger-Katy Lee
contemporary book of choice. (I chose Beastly which was a re-read for me.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

DIY MFA: Three Weeks with Lady X

So I've been trying to figure out how to get started with the blog again after my extended absence. I've decided I'm going to let you follow along with my MFA. My writer friends will benefit from this without paying the $7100/semester that I am, and readers might find a few things interesting.

My MFA program works like this: every semester starts off with a residency where a lot of writers from different genres (YA, Romance, Horror, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery, and Children's Literature) come together for a week to work intensely on specific elements of craft. That week always begins with a chat about a specific book chosen to hopefully pacify people from different genres. For our January residency the book is Three Weeks with Lady X.

"Having made a fortune, Thorn Dautry, the powerful bastard son of a duke, decides that he needs a wife. But to marry a lady, Thorn must acquire a gleaming, civilized fa├žade, the specialty of Lady Xenobia India.
Exquisite, head-strong, and independent, India vows to make Thorn marriageable in just three weeks.
But neither Thorn nor India anticipate the forbidden passion that explodes between them.
Thorn will stop at nothing to make India his. Failure is not an option. 
But there is only one thing that will make India his—the one thing Thorn can't afford to lose...
His fierce and lawless heart."

My Thoughts
I enjoyed the book, but I can't see why this was chosen for the residency. I don't think it has a lot of cross-genre appeal. It was a historical romance, which was fine for me because I love romance. I love the title. It makes the book sound racier than it actually is, and in the times we live.... 
So when I read it like a romance:
I immediately like the attraction between India and Thorn, and I knew it would go somewhere. I would have liked more emotion from Thorn sooner, and even India a couple of times. They're sneaking around together, and he's still trying to marry this chick and is telling her about it. And once or twice I felt like she should just knock on his door and then when his butler called him, slap him in the face, and leave. *Shrugs* I would have. But when his best friend decides he's interested, Thorn is finally ready to make a commitment. It just might be too late. I thought the author created urgency for me to read on, and I loved both characters as they each had a sympathetic backstory. 

Have you read Three weeks with Lady X? Do you feel it had cross-genre appeal? Did you love the romance?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

42 Days of Fiction

I issued a new policy last week stating that I would be blogging 3 days a week, but I wouldn't state which days or what I would be blogging. I was also going to limit fb and twitter use to Tuesdays only. I failed at both of these! But it's Sunday. It's a new week, and I'm going to try to reaffirm this.

I'm also excited about one other thing. I'm in SHU MFA program and one of my major goals the first semester was to establish a regular writing routine. However, I was also working on a Texas teacher certification through another program and a first year teacher so this didn't happen. To help make sure this happens, I've issued myself a challenge. (Those of you who know me from P-52 know I love a challenge). For the next six weeks I'm writing fiction every day. 42 days of fiction writing. Six weeks is apparently the amount of time it takes to build a habit. And I need a new writing habit. I'm hoping to finish my thesis novel by my January 8th residency and dump 50-60,000 words in my count toward a million. After that, I will focus on short fiction aimed at women's world for a little bit and decide what to do next. The short projects are awesome, because you can see immediate productivity.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

New Policy

So there will be a big change in my life coming soon. It isn't writing related, and it won't be a big deal to any of you. But for me it's huge. It will make a positive difference in my life. And so I am back. I should have time to blog again.

And I've decided to make this first post a policy--a commitment for me--The only day of the week I will be on facebook or twitter from now on is Tuesday, with the exception of linking blog posts. But Beth, you need to network. You have to connect with readers. You need those sales. That's all true, but I did that for years from my blog. I'm aware the world and the social media landscape has changed, but I haven't changed. I love love love connecting with my readers. I think every reader who has ever sent me an email has gotten a prompt personal response back. But those social media interfaces are time sucks. The blogosphere offers me things: craft advice, marketing advice, how-to tips. Facebook offers me political gifs which I may or may not agree with, and really can't do anything about either way. That being said, I do want to stay in touch with the friends I've made on these venues. On Tuesday. Since I'm only going to be on social media on Tuesday, I'm also committing to three posts a week here, but I can't promise which days or what the posts will be about though I'm expecting to see reviews return.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Big Dreams Blogfest

Are you reading this? Probably not. This blog had died a slow and painful death, much like my writing life.

When Misha Gericke and I started this blogfest, I had a goal of writing a million words and making a million dollars. Specifically, making a million dollars in a twelve month period. At the time it seemed possible. I seemed on top of the world. I had just signed with a well known agent. My book was being published by an imprint of Harlequin. And then things fell apart.
The thing about digital imprints is they're not that different from self publishing except that you're being paid less because you're splitting royalties. A year and a half later I separated from my agent, and while it was my decision and we separated on good terms, it still feels like a huge step back to once again be in the slush pile. And somewhere in there, my husband lost his job and I was faced with the necessity of going back to work. While he quickly found a new job better than the last one, being faced with the peril of no income--I was a SAHM--led us both to think it's better for me to work even without the need. At this point, I'd be happy to make $1500/month writing. That would allow me to quit my day job, which would allow me more time to write. Ironically, because the day job takes so much time I'm barely closer to reaching that million word goal than I was when I started.

Progress? Well, I'm about 22,000 words into a new manuscript. I suppose that's progress. I'm also working on an MFA and I'm almost done with my first semester.

Goals? I have no idea. Keep on surviving?

Best of luck to all of you out their conquering your goals and living your dreams.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Big Dreams Blogfest

The Big Dreams Blogfest is hosted by Misha Gericke and I.

And I'm super excited this month, because I finally have something to report.  My goals started out 1) write a million words 2) make a million dollars.

I changed the second one. My new goals are to 1) write a million words 2) sell 500 books/month.
But I want to talk about what I've accomplished in July. I don't even remember what my goals for the month were or if I set goals. But I finished the prequel to Decree of Hope which added 16,700 words to my goal of a million and puts me 52% there. I started contacting bloggers for reviews. (If you like romance or mystery, you might like Decree of Hope, and I'm happy to give you a review copy). I finally joined a netgalley co-op and put Hope there, and I started contacting publicists. I'm looking to hire a PR person. Decree of Hope hit #6 for YA contemporary romance and #6 for legal thrillers during July. Those weren't goals (it would be hard to accomplish that as a goal since I don't know how it happened). But it still feels like a success.
My goals for August are:

  1. Keep up with MFA
  2. Write outline for thesis novel
  3. Write outline for Valentine's Day anthology
  4. Write Novella for Valentine's Day anthology
  5. Get a day job
  6. Sell 25 books at $3.99/copy

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mailing List

Woo-hoo! I finally managed to set up a mailing list, which I'm hoping to use to give freebies to fans and let them know about book news! (Maybe, not even just my news. Romance is a small world and I love to let you know about other things too).

Before Hope Dawned is a prequel to Decree of Hope and will be available for free to mail list fans for two weeks before it's available to purchase anywhere else. You can sign up for the mailing list here. And to kick this off, I'm giving away an ebook of Nowhere But Here and a submission package critique (3 chapters, synopsis, and query).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Thank You

I love this community. That's one thing that has held true through all the ups and downs--and they're have been plenty of ups and downs--of this journey. You probably noticed that I kind of disappeared from cyber space for a while. That was a down. A major down. A time that was chaotic in life as well as writing. I think I've found a writing routine again, thanks to this community.
I will eventually post about what happened and where I was, as soon as I can put the experience into words. I'm still thinking on this. But I felt a need to say thank you, because without this community, I would have never found a way back.
A lot of people have helped me through this. Kelly Hashway taught me so much about writing years ago, and badgered me not to quit when the chaos started. I stepped away for awhile. She badgered me to get back to it. I think it took longer than she would have liked, but it happened. Sara Nego has been my go to for marketing advice even though I'm not her client. And she's always around to talk to me when I'm having a bad day. Several of you have contacted me tell me you like a story or ask me to write something specific (yes, Hannah, I'm now hoping to write Rana and Jackson's story). And those kind words meant more than you could have known.
 Very recently, Lizzy Ford, and indie best seller who is now offering coaching services, called me and spent an hour on the phone with me to give me marketing advice and help me figure out how to make a living or at least a steady income writing. (This is important for me right now since I lost my day job in the spring). I offered to hire her to coach me. I knew if anyone could teach me how to sell a book it was Lizzy Ford. She told me that she felt I just needed to feel more empowered and confident. But she gave me a plan. For her, it was a simple phone call, and an hour of her time but for me it was a push. It was a huge deal. I told my engineer husband it would be like Mark Zuckerberg calling him to offer career advice. (He had some choice words about Mark Zuckerberg but got the general idea.)
Thanks to the people I've met over the years and the time they've taken to help me along the way, I'm in that place I was back in 2010. Writing is fun. Writing is discovery. Discovery is mine, and I shall be discovered. I'm on the brink of something again. And it's going to great, fabulous. There is one minor difference. In 2010, I knew I would sell film rights and win awards. Today, I will option film rights and win a Rita. (See? I know the name of the award).

Thursday, July 23, 2015

How To Get Amazon Reviews by Sarah Nego

My very good friend, Sarah Nego is here today talking about how to get amazon reviews you can keep given the new policy.

If you're an author, chances are you've heard about the latest round of policy changes at Amazon. In case you haven't, it seems that Amazon has gone nuclear with its efforts to keep false reviews off the site. The result is that many authors are seeing honest reviews deleted because Amazon has determined that they know the reviewer.

There is a lot of speculation as to how all of this is being determined, but Amazon is giving away their trade secrets. Based on what I've seen so far, this stinks. And I encourage impacted authors to make their voices heard to Amazon. For all their faults, they have shown a willingness in the past to correct policies that aren't working.

In the meantime, we have to work with the system as it is, and that means getting more creative when garnering reviews for your books. Here are five ways to get reviews with Amazon's new policy.

1. Ask for a review at the end of your book

Seriously, you should already be doing this, but just in case you aren't, make it happen now. Like, right now. The best time to ask for a review is right after the reader hits the end of your novel and is (hopefully) reliving all the emotions you just gave them. While they are still riding that reader high and actively thinking about your book, ask them for a review.

Of course, you'll do this in a very polite way that is full of appreciation for them reading you book. When asking for reviews, we always ask, never demand.

2. If a reader contacts you, ask for a review

There is nothing better than getting an email or Facebook message from a reader who just finished your book and loved it so much they had to reach out to you. Seriously, the best. It goes without saying that you are going to take the time to write them back, thank them for reading and answer their questions. I'm just going to assume you already do this. 

But after you've done that, don't forget to ask for a review. This can feel a little awkward at first since it's so much more personal than asking for reviews in a general sort of way at the end of your book. But, as long as you are polite and not demanding, this is a great way to get new reviews from readers that you know loved your book. I've had a 100% success rate when asking for reviews this way.

And don't forget to ask the readers you meet in person as well. Not everything has to be done on the internet.

3. Be on the lookout for new bloggers

I've met some amazing bloggers during my short tenure as an author. Several of them I now count among my friends. And while I'll still offer them review copies of my next book, I realize that my relationship with some of them may mean they are unable to post to Amazon. I can say without reservation that those relationship are well worth the sacrificed review. 

But you still need reviews, and that means you'll need to go searching for new bloggers for each new release. By all means, still contact your previous bloggers, but you can't rely solely on them. Yes, this means more work. Honestly, if you're afraid of hard work, being an author is not the job for you. The good news is that there are always new book bloggers coming on to the scene (especially teen reviewers for us YA/NA authors). And don't you want to do this anyway? You should always strive to expand your circle of exposure and introduce your books to new readers. Finding new review bloggers for each book is a great way to do that. 

4. Ask your close friends and family for a referral instead

Confession time. I asked my mother to put a review up for my book (she said she loved it), but she said no. "Because that's not fair. I'm your mom." Maybe my mom has a secret Amazon crystal ball. Even though I was a little miffed at her refusal, my mom was still able to help me in plenty of ways.

Instead of leaving a review, I asked my mom to post about the book as much as she was willing on social media, recommend it to her friends and even gift copies of the book. Just because your mom can't review your book, doesn't mean she can't help you spread the word.  And when one of her friends reads the book, ask her to nudge them into leaving a review. I'm pretty sure your parents' friends won't get deleted from Amazon.

5. Don't stop asking the people you know for reviews

I currently have about 550 friends on my personal Facebook account. While I have had personal interactions with all these people, obviously, I don't consider all (or even most) of them close friends. And I'm guessing, neither does Amazon. While the giants over there seem to know when I've run out of clean socks, they don't actually have access to everything. Is there a chance that your friend won't be able to post a review? Yes. Should you ask them for one anyway? Absolutely. 

You've heard the phrase 'It never hurts to ask'. That certainly applies here.

Bonus Tip:

Amazon's algorithms are a mystery to all of us. but we can guess that the more online interaction you have with a person, the more likely Amazon will consider them too close to review your book. If you want to avoid getting reviews taken down, I'd like to suggest authors stop doing something that I personally think should have already been outlawed: Sharing your own reviews.

You've seen the post:
"Check out this great 5* review of MY AMAZING BOOK! Thanks so much @SuperBookBlogger!"

First, these posts are obnoxious and I have never once clicked on one of those links. Not once. If I'm interested in a book, there are a ton of places for me to go find reviews for it. I don't need them in my newsfeed.
NOTE: This is different than a signal boost for a blog post someone put up for your book. You should always do this and if Amazon takes issue, that's just a risk you'll have to take in order to show appreciation to the bloggers who do much for us authors.

Second, this tweet, which I have to imagine is fairly ineffective, has just created a new link between you and this blogger. More ammunition for Amazon to assume that the two of you wrote this review together while sharing chai tea lattes and cake pops.

Don't do this. I'm shaking my head at your objections right now. Don't do it.

Maybe Amazon will change its algorithms tomorrow and we won't have to worry that our late night tweet session with an awesome blogger will result in their 5* getting the take down. Maybe this policy is here to stay. The good news is that either way, you can't use all those tips to get effective, honest reviews. And that makes everyone happy. 

Sarah Negovetich knows you don't know how to pronounce her name and she okay with that. 

her first love is Young Adult novels, because at seventeen the world is your oyster. Only oysters are slimy and more than a little salty; it's accurate if not exactly motivational. We should come up with a better cliche. 

Sarah divides her time between writing YA books that her husband won't read and working with amazing authors as an agent at Corvisiero Literary Agency. Her life's goal is to be only a mildly embarrassing mom when her kids hit their teens.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Praise for Decree of Hope

1."Drama packed page turning hard to put down book! The emotions run high! The adrenaline even higher! If you haven't read this book yet you really are missing out on a great book! This has been one of the hardest books yet to put down once I started! Really looking forward to reading more from this author!!" Peggy Salkill Undercover Book Reviews
2."Beth Fred writes believable characters that easily outshine the plot. The dialogue, character motives and the reactions didn’t always sit well with me, but it got me thinking that the fluffiest dialogue and characterization doesn’t always tell it straight even if it makes it all pleasant to read." Hanna
3."This was a satisfying and suspenseful romance read for YA and NA lovers since both age groups are covered. The author did a good job adding layers to both the characters and the plot. I look forward to reading more from Fred." from Author Sharif Media.
4."I read this book in just a few short hours I really just couldn’t put it down. I love a good tale of star-crossed lovers. Add a culture clash and im like a kid in a candy store. Fred does a wonderful job of portraying both cultures." Autumn and Paperdolls.
5."This is my first book by Beth Fred. I like how she treated the subject matter for the most part. I look forward to seeing what subject matter she chooses to write about in her next book. In the meantime, I think I'll check out her back list. If you like your romance to have substance, then this book is for you." Confessions of Y.A. and N.A. Book addict
6."Ms. Fred had given me the perfect ending and epilogue for the two books: two unlikely couples who found each other in the most unlikely places and bounded by love. It’s a clean, sweet, fast-paced romantic read." Book Freak.
7."Wow. This little book is jam-packed full of feelings and drama." Jill
8. "I loved this book. As the events in this book sort of coincide with things in the first book, I enjoyed seeing a different perspective on what happened in book 1." April
9. "This is a fast-paced read that I couldn't put down." Kelly Hashway AKA Ashelyn Drake

Monday, July 13, 2015

5 Tips for Self Publishing from Misha Gericke

Misha Gerick is here to talk about self publishing, but first Decree of Hope is free today.

Thanks for having me over, Beth!

When I started out writing, I never thought I’d take the self-publishing route. It wasn’t that I ever

assumed that the quality was necessarily bad, but I didn’t think it would be practical, since I live

on the other side of the world from my market. (South Africa, for those of you who don’t know.)

But hey, life takes interesting twists and turns, and here I am. Publishing on my own for a variety

of very good reasons. And you know what? I have a huge sense of pride and accomplishment in

these books because literally everything in these two books—except for the critiques and

editorial advice from my former publishing deal that helped me edit—was done by me.

The thing is… I don’t really do things the easy way. I didn’t pick one book to publish. I

published both because The Heir’s Choice was way over-due. AND I think both books would be

better served if I published them together. So not only did I have to pick up one heck of a

learning curve, I had to do it twice. Because no, just because both books are supposedly uniform

does not mean that they’re identical.

Luckily for me, I belong to a group of writers called Untethered Realms

(, consisting of indie writers who’ve seen it all from a

self-publishing perspective. I ran almost everything by them (until it felt like I was annoying

them, but they were super-nice about it). But I know not everyone is as lucky as me, so here are

my five best tips, based on things I’ve learned, for those of you who want to do everything on

your own.

1) Editing: Print out your work to proofread. Preferably do so in a font different to the one you

use when you write. I stumbled across this one by accident because I’m planning to have the

paperback versions out very close to the e-book release dates. (Waiting for the proof copies to


The idea is to print out the version you want to submit for print, in landscape and two pages per

page. That way, you get an idea of what the book will look like and you can spot editing errors.

Not only that, but you can read through the whole thing again and you will spot things that can

be written better, or places where you made mistakes. Our brains are wired to gloss over things

they’re used to. Which means that staring at a computer screen in the font you know will result

in you missing a lot.

2) Cover Design: Bonus tip: If at all possible, get Photoshop. It has a month long trial and after

that, it has a really fair monthly payment plan. This is especially justifiable if you’re like me and

you’re planning to publish a vast amount of books.

The actual tip is this: If you know what you want in your cover, don’t give up on it because you

don’t know how to make it happen.

Instead, GOOGLE: How to….on Photoshop. There will be a myriad solutions, possibly with

instructional videos.

Bonus bonus tip: If you have a light-colored cover like mine, put a thin medium gray border

around the versions you’ll be posting on websites. NOT the one in your epub. BUT INDEED ON

the pic Amazon and the like requests to post on their website. You’re welcome.

4) Formatting: Don’t cut corners, and unless you want to do something really special with your

e-version, don’t pay someone else to do it. Instead, download Smashword’s style guide and

FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS. Every single one of them. Including the bit that says: “Go


Bonus Tip: Don’t use your original file to go nuclear. But do use it to create a list of all the

places where you have italics and the like. Use your search function to find those places in your

nuclear version so you can put the italics back. It’s faster than doing it one at a time.

5) Tax: This is for the Non-US writers wanting to self-publish. If you’ve already had a

publishing deal, you’ll know this, but any company that has to handle your royalties are required

to charge you withholding unless you submit a form that exempts you for living in a country that

has a tax treaty with the US.

This means that if you don’t submit the form, you will in fact be TAXED TWICE (in the US

and in your own country). But to submit the form, you need a US Tax number called an ITIN.

Before you even think about hitting the publishing button, you need to have the ITIN in your

hand. Because right before or right after hitting publish, you want that tax form (called Form

W8BEN) submitted to Amazon, Draft2Digital, Smashwords, or whoever else will be paying out

your money.

Those are the best self-publishing tips I have. I hope this helps you all on your road to publishing

your own work.

Have you published your own work? What’s your best tip? 

If you haven’t published yet, are you considering self-publishing?

Misha Gerrick has been creating stories long before she could write and is currently going after

her dream of making a living as a writer.

If you’d like to see how that’s going, you can visit her on her blog

(, where she also discusses all things related to writing and


Or, if you’d just like to know what she’s reading and get updates on what she’ll be publishing

next (Sorry, no newsletter just yet.):

You can follow her Tumblr (

You can follow her on Twitter: @MGerrick1

And you can circle her on Google Plus: +MGerrick

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Monday Mishmash

Monday Mishmash is hosted by Kelly Hashway.

  1. Anthology- It's happening. In a couple of weeks, I will register Sweets Enterprises as a business and there are some awesome authors who are in the anthology. I cannot wait to announce the names.
  2. Novella- So I'm about half way through a Hope prequel I plan to make free on Amazon as soon as it's ready.
  3. Decree of Hope-  Woohoo! This book hit the lists last week and it will be free through Wednesday. If you enjoy it, please leave an Amazon review.
  4. Balance- I've got to figure out a work/writing/family time balance. No idea how though.
  5. Debilitating Insecurity- Speaking of time, I spent most of Saturday staring at a computer screen willing words to come that just didn't. I was too afraid of getting it wrong. I have got to find a way around that.

Friday, July 10, 2015


Okay, so those of you who know me know that I usually don't do a lot of self promotion on my blog. That's not why I started blogging in 2010 and that's not what I use my blog for.
But this was the best writing week, I've had in years. I don't really mean in terms of words written. I think I only wrote like 3000 words this week. (Although, after my furlough that's an improvement).
Decree of Hope got down to #6 on the YA Romance list while it was free. (And there is the caveat, is was free). But Peace started selling then which was exciting. And The Fate of  Marlowe Girl hit several lists again for the first time since 2013 which caused The Other Marlowe Girl to start selling again. And Decree of Hope (now paid) is still #74 for YA prejudice and racism. In the midst of all of this, Charity Bradford asked me to be in a clean romance anthology which Cassie Mae may be part of. This is so exciting. I feel like I may have a career again!
And to celebrate, I've decided to post an excerpt that I haven't seen anyone on the blog tour post yet.

“I know you Americans fault Eastern cultures for asking women to cover their hair, and I think you’re right to. But I also know the reason my girlfriend has a blog she doesn’t want anyone to know about and waited until her senior year to take chemistry is because of the amount of skin women show here. You’re not an object, Kailee, and for everyone else to realize that, you have to.”
I wanted to be mad. I knew I was supposed to be angry, but that was the sweetest thing anyone had ever said to me. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Aileen Latcham on Scrivener

Hi, everyone! I’m Aileen Erin, author of the Alpha Girl Series and the Shadow Ravens—Cipher Series.

First of all, thank you so much for letting me guest blog, Beth! I’m super excited to rant—er…BLOG about one of my favorite writing tools, Scrivener!

For those of you not familiar with Scrivener, it’s a word processing application that has a few tools that are super helpful to writers—especially anyone writing something longer form (like a novel or a thesis). I’m going to go over the top five reasons why I find using Scrivener amazing and essential to my writing process. And nope, I’m not earning a cent by preaching about it. I only know that when I found out about it when I was in gradschool, I nearly killed my classmates! How had they kept this from me?! …Kidding. There was no bloodshed. But there could’ve been… ;) So, without further ado, here is what you see when you open up a new Scrivener project: Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 2.16.32 PM Pretty, ain’t it? ;)   1. The Research Folder. Part of being a writer is research. There’s just no getting around it. The thing about me is that I’m kind of on the lazy side. I want to just jump in and do some writing. But that never ends with a cohesive story. I have to at least get a few settings down and key information about my characters. Luckily, Scrivener has a spot for that and some handy-dandy tools to make it easy. Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 2.22.08 PM That little folder drops down to show template sheets—which holds blank “Character Sketch” sheets, “Setting Sketch” sheets, as well as serves as a place to put any documents you want that would be helpful to your project. Copy and paste from websites or drop in a .pdf. No big thing. The character sketches are super fantastic, as are the setting ones. Template Sheets You can fill them in as you go or before you begin. I like to add to the character sketches as I go. Anytime I need to describe the character, I can refer back to the sheet. And afterwards, I add the block of description to the bottom. This helps me keep descriptions consistent (no one wants to mess up the protagonist’s eye color!), while making sure I keep them fresh throughout the book. Here’s an example of a filled out sheet from my book Cipher. I add inspiration images to mine to make sure I keep that character fresh in my mind’s eye. Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 2.30.11 PM The document keeps going, but you get the idea. It’s super helpful, and right it’s there next to all of your writing. No flipping between files or programs. 2. The Bulletin Board Feature. In your manuscript folder, you can break down a project into smaller bits—usually by chapters or scenes. You get to decide. I prefer to work by chapters. Each chapter that you create has an associated index card. So, if you’re looking at the entire project, you can see all your index cards, and type on them what you want to happen in that chapter. Then, you can arrange and re-arrange the cards to your heart’s desire. When you’re ready to write, you can leave those cards up as “notes” and they can help guide your day’s writing. So, back to my Cipher example, here’s what I mean: Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 2.32.56 PM That’s my draft folder. You can see I just use numbers for my chapters. Now, if I leave just the draft folder highlighted, I can see my note cards. Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 2.32.43 PM Way cool, right? It’s like I can take my bulletin board with all of my plotting with me wherever I go. And if I need to make an adjustment, no biggie! I just click and drag the cards around until I’m happy.   3. Your entire work in one easily manageable file. Working on an 70K+ word project in Word is difficult. Especially at the end. And when you want to start revising…brutal. It kept crashing on me. I honestly don’t think Word is built to handle such large projects. But as you can see from above, I can easily jump from chapter to chapter in Scrivener. If I’m working on revising chapter three, and have something I realize I need to add to chapter seventeen, no big deal. One click and I’m there. No scrolling through over a hundred pages trying to find the right spot. No opening a different chapter file. Everything you need is right there. So. Much. Easier. 4. Full Page View. With Notes! Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 2.45.44 PM All I have to do is select full screen mode, and bam! All distractions from my desktop gone! And not only that, but I also have my index card right there. You can also choose to show other things—like research—while you’re writing. So helpful! That way I know what I’m writing, and my plot doesn’t wander is as I dig into the meat of the story. It makes me write more efficiently, and for that alone, I want to marry Scrivener. …Just kidding. Kind of… ;)   5. The “Project Targets” Window. In Scrivener, you can set a word count for the entire project and the date by which you need to finish. Then, everyday Scrivener will tell you how many words you need to write that day in order to meet your deadline. Not only that, but it has a progress bar for the entire project. So you always know where you stand in terms of your deadline. Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 2.48.51 PM   This is my Project Targets box for Cipher. You can see that I set a goal of 72K words and a date of June 6, 2014 for completion. Since it’s past that date and I’m finished, the session target bar is empty and the draft target bar is full. But usually it starts empty and crawls across the bar—from red, to yellow, and finally green—as you make your word count for the day. Same with the “Draft Target.” Trust me. It’s really satisfying to make the daily target every day. I celebrate every time it turns green. Plus, it makes sure that I make my deadlines. It’s for those reasons why I will never go back to using Word to write my novels. And really, there’s so many other features that make me love it more and more. It’s too much to cover in just one blog post. Luckily, if you’re thinking of using Scrivener, there are some really awesome videos that can help you get started. Click here to view them.

I hope that wasn’t too confusing. If you have any questions, please let me know! I’m always happy to talk writing and share Scrivener tricks.

Happy writing, y’all!


Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd—from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She’s the author of the Alpha Girl series and the Shadow Ravens—Cipher series. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.Aileen Erin

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Monday Mishmash

Monday Mishmash is hosted by Kelly Hashway.

This has to be the best Monday in a long tie.

  1. Woohoo-- I've written 23 pages on secret novel since I got back from the MFA residency on Tuesday. Now, there was a time when I wrote 23 pages a  day, but this is the most I've written in a long time. (I would add that I think this novel has potential to be big but it seems like those words are a hex for me).
  2. Class--I haven't taught blurb writing in almost a year, and my new class starts today. That is so exciting.
  3. Blog Tour-- Super thanks to YA Bound! My Decree of Hope blog tour kicks off today, and YA Bound is hosting.
  4. Print-- The Decree of Hope paperback should be ready very, very soon! Squee! I've never been in print before.
That's it for me today, but this is my biggest day in a while. What's up with you this week? 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Big Dreams Blogfest

The Big Dreams blogfest is hosted by Misha Gericke.

Dude. It has been such a long hard month that I don't even remember what my goals were, but I think it's safe to say they didn't get accomplished. I think one goal was to survive my MFA residency, which I have done so far. Although, I have to say some aspects of it have been very uncomfortable. Yesterday, I sat in on a critique in which someone's narration was referred to "as very Jesus on the cross." People seemed to be bothered by this, and when I mentioned I was glad the young girl in the story seemed to know she didn't want an abortion, a well published author laughed. It made me wonder if it's easier for certain viewpoints to get published than others.

I think my goals for this month are to find a job, finish the funnel project, and write 30 pages of secret Project. I feel like that last one will get done, because it's a requirement for school.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday Mishmash

  1. Blurb Writing- There are a few slots left in my blurb writing class. You can sign up here.
  2. Plotting- I have got to get my super secret thesis novel plotted. Residency is next week.
  3. Critiques- Likewise, I have 9 critiques to get through this week.
  4. Weight loss- I haven't talked about it on the blog before, but I'm going to start because I sometimes feel like the blogosphere is the most support I have. I need to lose 50 lbs. for health reasons. I joined Weight Watchers and so far am up 5! Last week, I added a few dance classes to the mix hoping that would help. But it's hard to find time to both work out and write. :(.
  5. Funnel Project- I'm really hoping to have this written, revised and packaged in time for the blog tour, but it doesn't seem like that's going to happen. Getting up at 5 am to write is hard and lately that's the only writing time I'm getting.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Monday Mishmash on a Wednesday

Yeah! I know I'm a couple of days late on this. This week has been full of doctor appointments since I didn't have time to do those kind of things during the school year.

  1. Summer session- I must be insane. In addition to the adult class I'm teaching in July, I'm teaching an intensive English summer course for a college prep school.
  2. Anxiety- I've been very open about the fact that I suffer from anxiety. And I've blogged a couple of times about how I don't get writer's block. I get writer's anxiety. Meaning, I know what I want to happen I just get so worried about a number of factors that I can't bring myself to put it on paper. I'm struggling from this problem right now with Before Hope Dawned.
  3. Secret Project- Secret Project will be my MFA thesis. I have to get it plotted out before residency, and I'm having a hard time with this. I have a thorough concept and a lot of character development but I'm struggling with specific plot points. And I think this may turn into a trilogy that I need to plot at one time.
  4. Darkness Within- My famous CP Kelly Hashway had a new book come out yesterday.        
"After dying of cancer at seventeen and being brought back to life by an evil witch who turned her into a monster, Samantha Thompson thinks she's finally gotten past all the tragedy in her life. Now she's part of a coven of good witches who are helping her and her boyfriend, Ethan Anderson, learn to use the powers they received from other witches. Aside from the fact that Sam and Ethan are still in hiding from their old lives--the ones they had before Sam was brought back to life--things couldn't be better. Sam and Ethan are inseparable. What could go wrong? Magic. Ethan's magic came from a witch who'd turned as evil as possible, and though his coven thought he'd be fine, the more he uses his magic, the stranger he starts acting. The magic inside him is changing who he is. One minute he's Sam's sweet, perfect Ethan and the next, he's a complete stranger. Even with all her witchy power, Sam is helpless against the magic corrupting Ethan. Can Sam find out what's wrong with him before she loses him to dark magic forever?"

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Vacation Blogfest

The Vacation Blogfest is being hosted by Lexa Cain, Melanie Karsak, Vanessa Morgan, Jolie DuPree,  and Stuart West.

The goal of this summer hop is to talk about places you like to spend the summer. I'm going to talk about New Orleans. I have no idea if it's a good place to spend the summer but that's why I chose it. Partly. And partly because I think it's where my top secret thesis project will be set. I desperately need a research trip, but can't figure out how to fund it.
I'd originally planned to set secret novel in Vegas, somewhere I know. But I realized there were some problems there. Vegas is an interesting place for two characters who need to stay hidden to be--it's not as big as you might think--and many of my loyal readers are used to my books being set in the South. I searched for a city closer to home I might be able to set this story in. It needed to be a place known for scandals and partying but easy enough for a Texas runaway to make it too. I realized quickly I was looking at NOLA or Shreveport. I pitched the concept to my husband and let him tell me which city worked better. We agreed on NOLA. Now I just have to get there somehow.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Big Dreams Blogfest

The Big Dreams Blogfest is hosted by Misha Gericke and myself.

The past couple of months have been hard for me, which is why April didn't get posted. The school I worked for had budget cuts and because I was the last one hired, I got the cut. Thanks! But this is complicated because I'm teaching on a probationary license, so if I don't find a job by August, I won't get my license! I've done a lot of work for my license and paid a lot of money. But that's okay. We all know the MC has to succeed after 3 failed attempts, because after that the reader gets bored (and imagine how the mc feels). So August is my time lache (a technique often used to up the pressure on the mc) and I've had two interviews which will either result in a job or my first two struggles. So it will be okay.

I think my goals for April were to take a writing class, finish PH rewrites, take the ESL exam and finish 2 internship projects. I took the writing class, the exam and finished a couple of internship projects. I didn't really work on the rewrites, but I did get Hope ready for a relaunch and it's going to be in print. I also changed my marketing plans for the future.

I'm not working off funnel marketing. Hope will have a relaunch in July, so I'm working on a prequel to make available for free. My goals for June are to finish Before Hope Dawned, make a solid outline for my thesis novel, survive MFA residency and find a job.

What are your goals this month?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy

"From master storyteller and National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor comes a sweeping and gorgeously written modern fantasy series about a forbidden love, an ancient and epic battle, and hope for a world remade."

Ordinarily, I would review each book separately, but this time I felt it would best to handle the trilogy as one. Why? Well, because it's really one story.

I originally picked Daughter of Smoke and Bone up for a book club. I couldn't get into it, so at 8% I gave up and started reading something more interesting. It was a requirement for my MFA this year, so I started re-reading. I didn't get interested until about 25% in. I originally assumed this was because it wasn't a romance, but I know writers from other genres who also couldn't get into the story before that point. At 50%I was REALLY hooked and glad the book was required, because I wouldn't have made it that far any other way. (Shows the importance of opening pages). I stayed up all night reading it--loving it. Until the end. Bam! Which really was no ending at all. Instead, it set up the next book. I was annoyed but I started reading the next book. After all, how else was I going to know what happened to this angel/devil love story? The next book started of awesome. I mean it picked up exactly where the first one left off and there was all sorts of angst and I'm loving it until this chick did something so stupid it didn't even make sense. She offers a flimsy explanation for it, but it doesn't hold up against any kind of logic. Still I keep reading. So we get to the end of the second book, and there is more of an ending this time. And it's still pretty good and the promises of romance are HUGE. HUGE! So of course, I buy the third book which is where things start to fall apart. All of these promises of angel/devil romance and the book opens with Eliza. Who is Eliza? Well, your guess is as good as mine cuz she hasn't been in the book before now. And at first I'm thinking Eliza just some passerby seeing the apocalypse and this is just to give us some perspective on what this all looks like from Earth. Nah. Eliza is actually going to become a central character. In the last book of a trilogy where her name has never been mentioned before. And Eliza has issues and brings them to the page. Because I made it through two books of fights to death without ever really having to say "Oh gross!" but when I got to the part about her fingernails being ground to powder for communion bread... Well... OMG Gross! All I wanted from this third book was spooning and kissing. It's a forbidden romance, remember? Instead, I've got some chick making communion bread from her fingernails. Wow! Just wow! As I'm writing this, I'm only 65% into the third book, so I may update it later. I do believe the third book will tie up loose ends, I just wish it could have done with the characters we started with, and maybe more kissing.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday Mishmash

  1. Thank you- Thanks to all of you who participated in my cover reveal. If you missed it Finding Hope is now Decree of Hope and looks like this: 
  2. Summer- Is it summer yet? Seriously, I'm so ready for June.
  3. Promise- If Decree of Hope sales 200 ebooks during the month of July, I will write Rana and Jackson's story and move it ahead of other projects.
  4. Mailing List- I'm finally going to take the plunge and set up a mailing list. I'll blog about the process on Wednesday. This will keep me accountable and hopefully share some good information. 
  5. Before Hope Dawned- This will be a freebie for fans of the # Peace series, but those who sign up for the mailing list will receive it before I make it available online.
That's me this week. What's up with you?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Decree of Hope Cover Reveal

So I've mentioned Finding Hope was getting a face lift and name change. I'm so excited to show you guys the new cover. And it's going to be in print!!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Funnel Marketing

Not too long ago, I read Susan Kaye Quinn's Indie Author Survival Guide. I found much of her advice helpful but ran screaming at the prospect of a five year marketing plan like she recommended. Why? Because I HATE marketing. I hate everything about marketing. When I decided to take up writing, I pictured myself alone with my laptop, the sound of my fingertips hitting the keys filling the air. I never imagined I'd be #retweeting people on Twitter or responding to fb comments. I didn't even know what these things were. I like signing. I always say they're like a nerd girl's rock show, but those are becoming harder to book and less productive. So how could I create a five year marketing plan? More daunting than that, the thought of marketing for five years made me not want to write.

Then I found Write.Publish.Repeat. There is a whole section on "funnel marketing," a term I'd never heard before. Simply put, funnel marketing is using a free product to funnel sales into a paid product. I knew the benefits of sampling, and from experience I knew it worked. When The Other Marlowe Girl was released, I made The Fate of A Marlowe Girl  available for free. That coupled with Reader's blog tour, put TOMG on amazon's inspirational best seller's list for a while. And it really isn't even inspirational.

Since then I've paid for blog tours, twitter parties and an assortment of other things. Nothing worked. Not to mention, I hated it. I'd rather be writing than doing just about anything else. Write.Publish.Repeat said that if you're releasing a series, your funnel product is obviously the first in the series. But what about stand alones? The authors suggested creating a short story or novella to help sell a stand alone. I felt so stupid for never thinking about this before. The idea of writing a prequel to sell existing products had never crossed my mind. I have two goals: 1) make a million dollars writing 2)write a million words. Part of what drives me insane about marketing is that I'm wasting precious time on something that doesn't seem to be fulfilling either one of these goals. The reason that the term "funnel marketing" immediately caught my attention is because it's writing. I'm writing to market writing. Assuming, it's ineffective as a marketing strategy those words still fulfill one of my goals. They will get me to a million words quicker.

But... my next thought was I have to package books (you're funnel product is a REAL product and needs to be professional) that I have no intention of making money off of. But then I realized I could spend up to $80 on a cover and still come out significantly cheaper than all the other marketing tactics I've tried. And there is more potential for this to work. The people you're marketing to are already interested in you or the story, so you're essentially marketing to a soft audience. You just need click through.

And now I have a five year marketing plan. It's all caught up in my funnels.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Monday Mishmash

Monday Mishmash is hosted by Kelly Hashway.

  1. Decree of Hope- I've mentioned that Finding Hope is getting a new name (Decree of Hope) and a new cover. The cover reveal is being hosted by YA Bound and will be this Friday. I'd love it if you could sign up!
  2. The Art of Blurb Writing- I'm teaching a blurb writing workshop in July or NEORWA. I'll post a sign up link as soon as it's available.
  3. Blurb Writing Made Easy- I've quit marketing or even attempting to book my blurb writing class due to new constraints on my time. NEORWA asked me if I would be willing to teach, and of course, if it will help other writers, I'm always available. Well, another organization approached me about teaching blurb writing made easy, so I'm sure this will happen at some point. I just think it's ironic that I used to work hard to keep this class book, and now people approach me. This has made me think about my marketing efforts for writing.
  4. Before Hope Dawned- I'm hoping to have a freebie for Peace Series fans the same day the Hope blog tour starts. 
  5. Secret Project- I'm also plotting a secret project that is so secret it can only be referred to as "secret project."

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Monday Mishmash

Monday Mishmash is hosted by Kelly Hashway.

  1. Tests- Blah. I think I've taken more tests since I got out of school than I did in school. I'm taking the ESL exam on Thursday, and I really hope I pass it, because it will seriously impact my job choices, if I don't.
  2. MFA- After I finish my test on Thursday, I'm going to come home and submit homework for my MFA that doesn't officially begin until June. LOL. Also, my reading list this semester is going to be interesting. Everything from inspirational to erotica, and you know how I feel about that E-word.
  3. Dance Recital- My ELF has a big dance recital this weekend! She is growing up so fast. Sometimes I wonder where the time has gone.
  4. Secret Project- Remains unplotted, but I'm looking for a travel grant of some sort to visit NOLA before I start writing.
  5. Perfect Harmony- Likewise remains unrewritten. Productive week, right?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Monday Mishmash

Monday Mishmash is hosted by Kelly Hashway.

  1. Update Friday/ Big Dreams- I'm sorry I missed this month guys. I got a sunburn bad enough that I vomited for 12 hours, and I got some bad news the same day (my school is doing away with intervention as a separate class, and that's what I teach), so I was out of commission for a few days. This happened just in time for our update day.
  2. Relaunch- I need to get to work on the Hope relaunch. The covers are done, but I've got to get the paperback created.
  3. Prequel- As part of the Hope relaunch I'm writing a Hope/Peace prequel. Right now, I'm plotting it out.
  4. Seton Hill University- If you're looking for an MFA program this seems like a good place for a serious, career oriented, genre fiction writer. There doesn't seem to be any push for traditional publishing (not that I have a problem with traditional publishing, but sometimes art gets lost in the quest), and the reading list are reflective of a current genre fiction writer.
  5. Edits- Kelly Hashway has openings in her client schedule for edits. I learned so much from her edits of Peace that when I sent Hope to my CPs they thought it had been through an editor.
  6. Secret Project- While plotting out the prequel to I'm also plotting out a top secret project that will also be known as my thesis ;). I just hope TLMG doesn't get lost in the shuffle again.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mission Statement

I attempted to write my first mission statement in 2013. 2013 was a huge year for me. I signed with my first agent and signed a contract with an imprint of Harlequin. Writing a mission statement didn't work out. I had no idea to put in it. I think I finally scribbled something down but knew that it didn't matter. There was a reason for that. In the midst of agency offers and contracts, something  more important got overlooked.

I told my CP, Kelly Hashway, that I loved writing books like Peace because I dropped out of law school at 22, and these kind of books (which I now know as romantic suspense) because it felt like it combined both sides of my personality. The more whimsical side, free of anxiety, that only comes out on paper, and the girl who sees the unfairness and danger in the world to the point she's often mislabeled as a pessimist. She told me it probably did. The day went on. Contracts got signed and the conversation was forgotten.

Later that year, Sarah Nego was trying to help me market, and she asked me what was the one element that was the same across all my writing. I had no clue. I had no idea what string could tie my Marlowe fun beach reads to a gritty YA about racism and injustice. After I thought about it, I said "everything happens for a reason." Both Marlowe Girls hint at this, though it's not as much of a punch and those books have a lot of humor. And my Iraq war books attempt to make sense out of something as senseless as war. The characters struggle with their backgrounds and who they are trying to fit into this little community, and in the end, have no regrets because things happen for a reason.

Writing the mission statement was much easier this time, because now I know who I am as a writer.

To use my background in law and government, education and life to bring about stories of life and love complicated by inequities and dangers while showing a theme compatible with my values. For example, “Everything happens for a reason.” To have every story be an improvement in craft. To be a supportive member of the writing community by providing writers with helpful feedback and techniques to make writing and/or marketing easier. To create a well received body of work that opens eyes and offers hope while innovating the art of storytelling and depth of English. To push and expand my creativity by experimenting with form and allowing myself to write whatever my heart desires.

This says some important things: "Well received body of work," notice it doesn't say "To have lots of readers." I'd rather have loyal fans who love my stories so much that they're standing in line for the next one than have a readership of thousands who might be disappointed in my next book.

And this goes hand in hand with something else, "While showing a theme compatible with my values." I write Doris Day romance in a 50 Shades of Gray world. I'm aware of that, and I'm okay with that. This means I have to write an amazing book with something to offer besides romance to have a huge readership. And that's okay. One day I will, until then well received clean romance is good enough for me. Selling out for money or fame wouldn't be good enough for me.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Monday Mishmash

Monday Mishmash is hosted by Kelly Hashway.

  1. Writing Class- So I've signed up on for a class on writing/life balance and so far it's been great. The instructor is a graduate of Seton HIll, where I'm doing my MFA. Keeping track of time has been a major part of the assignment, and it's been eye opening.
  2. Marketing- Keeping track of time, I have learned that marketing has been my demise as a writer. Attempting to market leave me frustrated very quickly to the point that I can't think and it's hard to not just quit writing. This tells me I should quit marketing. The problem is you can't quit marketing completely, so I'm trying to work out a plan that involves some form of marketing I won't find draining.
  3. The Indie Author Survival Guide- I picked up this on Amazon, and it has been very helpful. Don't let the name scare you. I think it could be helpful for authors outside of the indie circuit, and so far there isn't much of the "the man" rhetoric. It's help me see that over the past 5 years, my goals have changed and became more specific.
  4. Mission statement- After realizing my goals have changed, I've written a mission statement. You will see more about this tomorrow.
  5. Branding- Having a mission statement and clearer goals has helped me find my brand. Helping other writers is very important to me, because this community has helped me in every aspect of my life. I want to be known as a writer's writer, but if, you know me very well at all, you know this was always true. I started teaching in a blurb writing workshop in 2012. I've taught this class now more times than I can count. And only one of those sessions came to a close without a student writing me a thank you letter and inquiring about other classes. Teaching these classes helped me to connect to other writers and hopefully gave them a new skill. It cleared a path for me to make money writing without freelance/editing/or being a bestseller. It's true that much of what I write now is lesson plans or instructional, and it does involve some editing, but that didn't change anything. I started blogging in 2010. The first six months were just book reviews (which do help writers), and the reviews focused on what I learned which helped writers two fold. 1. The writer whose book I reviewed obviously got an extra line of press that day. But if I learned from the book other inexperienced writers could learn from my review. Within six months, I'd learned a lot about a quickly changing industry and realized that I knew a lot about writing due to my education. (I have a B.A. in English then studied law for a year with additional in Legal Research and Writing). I started writing informative posts either about craft or the industry. Teaching is as integral to my writing journey as writing is. Now that I know this, I just have to figure out how to make it the backbone of my marketing plan.