Indie authors, listen up!

Authors are offering advice in ‘What I wished I’d known before I published’ all through January

Part One

Before publishing I wish I had known about self-publishing and the many great programs that can be used to do so. There are pros and cons to using a publisher, it can get costly and frustrating with the time consumed in the communication during the process. – Anna Othitis

Don’t rush to get out there. First impressions are everything. Cover, blurb, opening pages.
You only get one chance at a first impression so make it count. Also, don’t
think that just because trad books “have a few typos” that it doesn’t
matter if yours does too. It does
Debbie Bennett 

Agreed, don’t rush, get someone else to edit for you and get
beta readers! Then, listen to other writers and use the common information they
are giving you before pushing that publish button. In other words, do NOT do
what I did! LOL – 
Linda Zukowski 

sure your book blurb is the best it can be before you press publish. It goes
without saying that editing, formatting, cover and presentation is as good as
it can be too. – 
Pam Howes 

I wish I had been told, sternly, that a social media platform
is essential for building your author brand but you have to discipline yourself
in ring-fencing time to continue writing creatively. – 
Ruby Barnes 

I wish I’d known that by reading a printed proof I’d notice
literally dozens of errors that I’d missed on-screen, despite reading the
electronic document many, many times. – 
Peter Reynolds

Don’t write for money, fame, or accolades. If you do, you’ll
be disappointed. Write because you love it.- 
Simon Parkinson

Focus on writing more books. You don’t realize how much having a second book helps until you have a second book. Promotion is helpful, but if you spend more time promoting than writing your next book, you’re not spending your time well. –  RJ Crayton

Matthew Wayne Selznick – A month of planning before you type “Chapter One” will save reams of paper and hours of editing after you type “The End.”

Rachel Eliason –  Publishing your first book is the beginning of the process of becoming an author, not the end of it.

Jolea M Harrison – Don’t rush to publish. It’s easy to do when the thrill of finishing a book is swimming through your head. After you’ve finished that final edit, step back at least two weeks, then reread.

Mandy White  – 1. Ebooks are where the money is. Ebook first, print after, not the other way around. Only do the print version AFTER it’s been edited by a professional.
2. Don’t waste money ordering a zillion copies in print of a book that you haven’t even seen yet. There WILL be things you want to tweak before you distribute it to friends, family and local readers. Take your time and make sure it’s perfect. Your credibility as an author is at stake.
3. Readers can and will judge a book by its cover. Make sure your cover is a good one.

4. Understand that other writers are busy with their own projects. If someone offers to use their valuable time to read your work or offer advice, express your appreciation.

Deb Nam-Krane – 1. I want to take off on what Mandy White said: order a print copy of your book BEFORE you publish the e-copy and read it through. Plan on doing it twice, because you’ll find things you’ll need to change, no matter how many times you and your editor looked at it. Make the changes to the e- and paper-versions, then put them up for sale. I cannot tell you how much less angst I had with the second than the the first doing it that way rather than publishing the e-version and then going through the print.

2. Outsource anything you can’t do well yourself (for most of us that’s the cover and for all of us that should be the editing), but if there’s something you *can* do yourself, do it. Learning to format your own book can save you money as well as worry if you want to make small changes.

Mandy White What Deb Nam-Krane said is also true – to proofread a print copy because the book will look different on paper than it does on the computer. You will see typos that you missed on the computer. The reason I said ebook first, print second is that I skip the paper-proof step by reading it on my Kindle. I find the Kindle works just as well as a paper copy and it costs nothing to put my book on it.

More author tips all through January on WWBB in ‘What I wished I’d known before I published’.

Adding comedy to your manuscript whatever the genre

R.J. Crayton

Whatever genre people
write in, there has to be a touch of comedy somewhere in the manuscript. Why?
Because in real life, people try to make things funny. They do it because
that’s their personality, or to break the tension, or to entice a lover, or
because that’s what the situation calls for. Every person you have ever met has
told a joke and had someone laugh at it. The computer nerd whose jargon
everyone else ignores has friends who will laugh hysterically at some
jargon-filled joke very few would find funny.

 So, if you want to
infuse humor into your books in appropriate places but don’t feel you’re
particularly humorous, don’t worry. There are a few things you can do to try to
see the humorous side of things.

1. Try to look at things in a different light. The best comedy
often comes from looking at things from a fresh perspective. My six-year-old
daughter, for some reason, was looking at the milk carton, and turns to me with
a look of utter horror on her face. “Mom, why is it only one percent milk? What
is the rest of it?”  Yikes. She’d be
right if the one percent referred to the milk content, not the milk fat
content. (Sadly, in a bad mommy moment, I laughed hysterically at her question,
causing her to look at me like I’d been conspiring to feed her 99 percent bat
sweat for many years.) Regardless, a fresh look at something can often provide
a wealth of comedy.

2. Say something utterly ridiculous. Dave Barry has made a career
of this. The title of his new book (out in March): You can date boys when you’re 40 is a great example of this. The
fact that it is a completely unreasonable statement is what makes it
funny.  Unfortunately, I can pull lessons
of ridiculous statements from my own family history. My grandfather was a
traditionalist when it came to names, and gave his children names like Jerry,
Allen, Gloria, Tracy, etc. (my grandfather had 10 kids. I won’t name all of
them for you; I actually don’t remember all their names–kidding). So, when my
father named me Rasheeda, my grandfather says to his son. “That girl ain’t
never gonna learn how to spell that name.” 
To which my father replies. “Nope, dad, your granddaughter won’t be able
to figure out how to string together eight letters.”  Yes, say the absurd. You can say it and leave
it for the reader. Or you can have another character point out the absurdity of
it. In either case, the ridiculous often leads to laughter.

3. Point out the 800-pound gorilla. 
Fiction writers know that sometimes to facilitate twists and turns in
novels, we have to twerk stuff a bit (though not as much as Miley Cyrus at the
VMAs). Now I realize I meant to say “tweak stuff a bit.” However
twerking your stories is probably pretty interesting, too. So, should there be
twerking or something else absurd in your novel, you can use that to generate
comedy. It’s best to just acknowledge the 800 pound gorilla that is sending
your story down a bizarre path. There’s this cute line in Twilight (yeah, go on, hate on Twilight;
I know you want to) where Edward says to Bella, “So I tell you I can read
minds, and you think there’s something wrong with you?” That is a perfect line
of humor because it acknowledges the nuttiness of a mind-reading vampire. It
works because it pokes fun at the novel. It’s endearing, because it says, I
know this is absurd, but that’s OK, go with it.

4. The final rule of adding comedy to a
novel is that
not every joke has to be
We’re not running a comedy club. We’re writing a novel. Our fiction
can be fantastic in many ways, but it also has to be human. The truth about
humans is that most jokes we tell to our friends aren’t bust-a-gut funny. They
simply make our friends smile, and further endear us to them. In my novel,
Life First, a character whose head was
forcibly shaved  gets asked how she is.
“I’m peachy,” the character replies, rubbing the peach fuzz blossoming on her
scalp. The friend laughs and admits that’s a terrible joke. But that’s the
point. Some jokes are poor excuses for jokes, but we laugh because our friend
tried. We find it kind, endearing and ultimately human when another person
tries to make us laugh — whether they succeed or not. So, when trying to add
comedy to your writing, just remember to have fun and make the effort. If you
are having fun with your characters, there’s a pretty good chance the reader
will, too.
Barnes and Noble

“This novel was a poignant, riveting, thought provoking read that had
me entranced from page one until the very end. In simple speak, I
literally could not put it down.” – 5 Star Review, Griffin’s Honey Blog

Kelsey Reed must escape tonight or tomorrow her government will take her kidney
and give it to someone else.

this future forged by survivors of pandemics that wiped out 80 percent of the
world’s population, life is valued above all else. The mentally ill are
sterilized, abortions are illegal and those who refuse to donate an organ when
told are sentenced to death.

Determined not to give up her kidney or die, Kelsey enlists the help of
her boyfriend Luke and a dodgy doctor to escape. The trio must disable the
tracking chip in her arm for her to flee undetected. If they fail, Kelsey will
be stripped of everything.
RJ Crayton grew up in Illinois and now lives in a Maryland suburb of Washington, DC. She is a fiction writer by day and a ninja mom by night (what is a ninja mom, you ask? It’s the same as a regular mom, only by adding the word ninja, it explicitly reveals the stealth and awesomeness required for the job of mom). 

Before having children, Crayton was a journalist. She’s worked at big publications like the Wichita Eagle and the Kansas City Star, and little publications like Solid Waste Report and Education Technology News.  

Crayton’s dystopian thriller, Life First, was published in June. The sequel, Second Life, comes out Dec. 4. You can find out more about her at She loves connecting with readers. If you talk to her, she’ll talk back, so please check out her.

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