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?