Thursday, November 15, 2018

When Having an Agent Is Not a Good Thing...

From fundsforwriter.com

FEATURED ARTICLE

When Having an Agent Is Not a Good Thing

By Shaila Abdullah

In 2007, I was a new author basking in the glow of the success of my first self-published book – a collection of short stories, that had won several awards and some serious press. My head was full of ideas for my next book.


After completing the manuscript of my literary novel, I started shopping it around. Imagine my delight when several agents showed interest in it. I soon landed an agent at a very reputable New York agency with a proven track record. The young agent I signed up with was enthusiastic at the prospect of selling both my collection and the new novel I was working on. His head was full of ideas, but then came a series of “but firsts.”

The first few rounds of editing were easy until a bombshell dropped. A senior agent at the agency quit and the bulk of that agent’s high profile clients came to the junior agent who suddenly lost all interest in me. He was no longer as responsive as he used to be, and it would take him days to respond to simple requests. After a few months of dodging my requests to seek updates, he hired an intern to work with me on doing the rest of the revisions. In a few days, I received a marked up copy from the intern that involved cutting 30 percent of my manuscript – to the point that pivotal moments in the story no longer made any sense.

I put my foot down and refused to do those edits. The intern quickly backed off and the junior agent took charge again. After a few rounds of reasonable revision requests, I was promised that my book would be shopped around, except it never was. I was told it would be presented at book shows and that too never happened. After 18 months of waiting for my agent to fulfill his side of the obligations, I decided it was time to leave. I thanked him graciously and bowed out of the relationship. 

Two months after that, I sold my novel to a reputable small traditional publisher by the name of Loving Healing Press. This publisher works one-on-one with me, treats me with respect, values my opinion, believes in my marketing strategies, and puts money behind my efforts. It all paid off.Saffron Dreams which was published in 2009, garnered some serious reviews and received several national and international awards. It was cited as one of “50 Greatest Works of Immigration Literature” by Open Education Database. More than eighteen universities in the United States are presently teaching the book and an abridged version of the book is slated to come out next year.

In 2014, researchers from Washington and Lee University used an excerpt of Saffron Dreams to show that reading literary fiction like my novel can actually make someone less racist. The study was published in Basic and Applied Social Psychology. Interestingly enough, the passage that was selected for the study was one that my agent’s intern had marked for deletion.

I leave the moral of the story to your imagination.

BIO:
Noted as “Word Artist” by critics, Shaila Abdullah is an award-winning author and designer based in Austin, Texas. She is the author of five books and has designed websites, book covers, book layouts, and marketing collaterals for over 60 authors, writers, poets, and speakers. You can learn more about her work at myhouseofdesign.com and shailaabdullah.com.

Thank you all for visiting with us. It’s always a pleasure to meet readers and authors. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey. One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book and pass it on. Leave a review. Reviews are important for authors. Believe me. I know. Thank you!
Regards,
S. J. Francis, Writing is my passion, but animals are my world. 
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, and supporting writers, et al.
In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family." Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at all on-line retailers and independent booksellers.

   Shattered Lies is a winner in the Fall 2016 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards.         
                      Shattered Lies is a runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Best Book Award Competition.

                     Shattered Lies is a 2016 Reader's Favorite Honorable Mention in the Fiction - Women’s category.  

                     Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 10th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.

                     Shattered Lies was chosen as General Fiction Official Selection in the 2015 New Apple Book Awards.

                     The first, original book cover design for Shattered Lies was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Authors dB Best Cover Contest?.

                     The Second Current book cover deign for Shattered Lie was a Finalist in the 2016 AuthorsdB Best Cover Contest.

My Black Opal Books Author Page:
http://www.blackopalbooks.com/author-bios/bio-sj-francis
                                            Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sjfrancis419
                 Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SJ-Francis/480058115420325
       My Writing Blog: http://www.sjfranciswriter.blogspot.com
      A Consumer's View: http://aconsumersview.blogspot.com
                  One for the Animals: http://onefortheanimals.blogspot.com
                                               Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sjfrancis419/
                           Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/33550975-s-j


And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2018 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Don't Confuse Self-Publishing with Vanity-Publishing | BookDaily #AuthorTips



As one begins to sift their way through the thousands of Internet articles on “Vanity Press” or “Vanity Publishing”, there begins to emerge three themes, the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing, the difference between self-publishing and vanity publishing and the pros and cons of all three types of publishing. Within all this, I discovered the term “vanity publishing” seemed to derive itself from the publishing industry itself, back in the late 1930s. This term seemed to be made public in 1941, when a dishonest publisher was found guilty of, not only, mail fraud, but also for forcing payment on authors for the publishing of their work over a five to six year period. Since then, the industry and American laws have changed and now the term “vanity publishing” is given to any publishing company that charges a fee to publish an author’s work. Now that we have a little background on the topic, let’s talk about the real issues.
Publishing is a business, and like all other businesses there are multiple models to conduct ones business activity. At the same time, being an author is also a business, and within authorship there are several paths one can take to achieve the author’s goals. Within the following discussion, I will break down these business models and author pathways to see the reality and misconceptions within the industry of today.
Traditional Publishing
Traditional publishing is where a publishing company offers an author an exclusive contract to publish their work. This means the author negotiates copyrights, payment method and other miscellaneous issues within the publishing contract. In exchange for a signed agreement, the publishing company will take on all the expenses to edit, publish and in many cases promote the work. If a publishing company is financially small, promotion of the author’s work may fall on the author to accomplish. It should be noted that it’s the promotion side of the industry that cost the most. Questions that should be asked under such agreements are, how long will my copyrights be tied up within the contract? After the contract has ended, do I still retain my copyrights or did I sign them away forever? Or, do I have to pay a fee to get my copyrights back? All of this is dependent on what you negotiated. Also, how much lead way did you give the publisher for manuscript changes and will your work look and read the way you intended? Things to think about!
The key to the traditional publishing method is to get a publisher to read or review your work. The problem is, within today’s industry model the vast majority of traditional publishing companies will not accept manuscripts from first time authors. This means one will have to work through a book or literary agent, which means now the author will have to find such a person, and then sign an agreement with them, for the purpose of representing their work to a traditional publisher, for a fee of about 15% of all their future royalties. This model requires the author to educate themselves on how to write a book proposal and the best way to present oneself to an agent. In the end, authors are in business, and are working for some publishing company, supplying them with written material for publishing, while at the same time working with their book agent to drum up more business.
Self-Publishing
Self-publishing is also a business which follows two models. In the eyes of many self-published authors, also known as “Indi” or “independent” authors, self-publishing is defined as doing everything yourself without the assistance of a publishing company. This means they take on the task of editing, designing, formatting and setting up the distribution of their work. Indi authors, many times, sign agreements with Amazon, Smashwords and Draft2Digital to have their work distributed; fees are paid based on sales. The issue here is the quality of work, who will help edit the book? Will the Indi reach out and pay someone to edit the book for them, or will they rely on self talents? Does the Indi have the artistic talent to create their own book cover and will it be good enough to attract readers. As several reader surveys have suggested, the book cover is within the top five attributes of a book that readers rely on when buying a book from a new author. If I want a print edition, who will do the printing and how much am I willing to pay to have that done? Then after it’s printed, who will distribute it? There are several avenues an author can take in these areas.
The second model of self-publishing is where a self-published author may use or pay for assistance in producing their work. In many cases an author can pay per activity of service rendered. That is, one can pay to have their book edited, a cover designed, a book printed, along with help with book promotion. Each item has its price. Within the current industry, this is called “Vanity Publishing” an unfortunate term forced on this business model.
The term “vanity publishing” is used because of bad actors within the industry. There are companies that care only to make money at the expense of its customers. This is done through many different methods not unique to any one company. Some will try to steal or talk you out of your copyrights, price your book to high, causing your book to be cost prohibitive in the market place, price their services above industry standards and project an attitude of, I have your money, good luck! Within anyone’s business model the old adage applies which says, buyer beware. Another reason the term is used is because of its historical usage, which has always left a stigma on this model, leaving the impression that “vanity publishing” is always inferior to traditional methods; not realizing that self-published books aided by other companies (vanity press) have made it to the best sellers list, not to mention that there are now more self-published book than traditional books printed today. But the industry is changing and “vanity publishing” is becoming part of the accepted culture within the industry, this is why some traditional publishing companies have created their own self-publishing division to help them find works they are willing to take a financial risk on. Something to think about!
Why do authors self-publish? So the author can keep control over their work, from the writing to editing to the interior design to the printing and distribution of their work. If I choose to selfpublish and build my business model around seeking help through a self-publishing company (vanity publishing), does that make my book any less qualified to be on the market? Not if I chose a quality company to work with. A good self-publishing company will allow you to keep 100% of your copyrights; they will allow you to keep anything from 50 to 100% of the book royalties after cost. They will require your book to meet an editing standard, which does not necessarily mean zero errors. And yes, they will provide you with an ISBN number that is registered to them. What does that mean? It means that the distribution networks will know who to send the royalty payments to. Then the owner of that number, per contract agreement, pays the author their percentage. ISBN numbers do not provide anyone a copyright to your work. It is assigned or registered in the name of the person who purchased it, to identify who the royalty fees should be dispersed to. Self-published authors can purchase their own ISBN number for about $125.00 each or much less if they purchase multiple numbers at the same time. Many bookstores and their distribution networks require an ISBN number to sell your book within their system. Evan Smashwords requires an ISBN to distribute your work; where Amazon does not, because they only distribute and sell within their own stores, a closed system.
When using this model it should be remembered that the company who designed the book cover owns the copyrights to that cover. If you decide to publish with someone else, you will have to change the cover along with the ISBN number. This would be considered a second printing and should be reflected as such on your copyright page, providing nothing has changed internally, except for some possible syntax corrections. But changing the cover could be a good thing, if your first printing did not go well. The other side of that coin is, if the book was doing well, why make the change?
If an author chooses to use a good self-publishing company, what are they getting? The two main things they get is a worldwide distribution network second to none and getting their book published in less than three months vs. eighteen to twenty four months. I use Innovo Publishing and WestBow Press, who both distribute their books through Ingram (the world’s largest book distributor), Baker & Taylor (who focuses on the educational market), Spring Arbor (an exclusive distributor to the Christian bookstore market) and Amazon worldwide ( the world’s largest seller of books). You also get a better print distribution network, allowing book printing to take place in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia (Optional). Why is all this important? Because it can put your work in over 70,000 on-line bookstore search engines, providing a large author’s footprint on the Internet. Also if a book is printed in a country it is sold in, the ship time is less and the book may be seen more favorably by its reader. Don’t you look at labels to see where it came from? Hum, why is that? Part of any self-published author’s business model should be building an authors platform, without it, an author will never succeed.
Let’s rap this discussion up by summarizing the content of our discussion. Publishing and authorship is a business. These businesses come with their own models to operate under. There are pros and cons to each model, and in my opinion, none of them are any less inferior to the other. Why? Because business models are designed to help reach an individual’s goals, which coincide with one’s philosophy of how one wants to operate within that business. Who am I, a stranger, to tell someone what is best for them in their business model, when I have no clue what their goals are or what it is they what to achieve. For it’s that information that will determine what is the better or best model to use for someone’s business goals.
Which publishing route did you take?
About the Author:
Reid Ashbaucher was born in the United States, and holds a B.A. degree in Comprehensive Bible from Cedarville University, Cedarville, Ohio; an M.A. degree in Christian Theology from Trinity Theological Seminary, Newburgh, Indiana; and has completed some postgraduate work towards a Ph.D. in Religious Studies, endorsed by Canterbury Christ Church University, England.
Connect with him on his website and on Twitter.

Thank you all for visiting with us. It’s always a pleasure to meet readers and authors. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey. One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book and pass it on. Leave a review. Reviews are important for authors. Believe me. I know. Thank you!

Regards,

S. J. Francis, Writing is my passion, but animals are my world. 
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, and supporting writers, et al.

In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family." Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at all on-line retailers and independent booksellers.

Shattered Lies is a winner in the Fall 2016 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards for Women's Fiction.

Shattered Lies is a runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Best Book Award Competition.

Shattered Lies is a 2016 Reader's Favorite Honorable Mention in the Fiction - Women’s category.


Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 10th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.

Shattered Lies was chosen as General Fiction Official Selection in the 2015 New Apple Book Awards.

The first, original book cover design for Shattered Lies was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Authors dB Best Cover Contest.

       The 2nd new book cover design for Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 2016 Authors dB Best Cover Contest.  

My Black Opal Books Author Page:
http://www.blackopalbooks.com/author-bios/bio-sj-francis
                                           Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sjfrancis419
                 Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SJ-Francis/480058115420325
       My Writing Blog: http://www.sjfranciswriter.blogspot.com
A Book Review 4 U: http://abookreview4u.blogspot.com
      A Consumer's View: http://aconsumersview.blogspot.com
                  One for the Animals: http://onefortheanimals.blogspot.com
                                               Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sjfrancis419/
 Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/104831238907682620486/about
                           Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/33550975-s-j



And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2018 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Using Real Places in fiction...From Book Daily.....




Using Real Places in Fiction | BookDaily #AuthorTips

Personalize your book for immediate book sales in your community. Whether you are writing fiction, or non-fiction books, highlighting popular attractions, familiar landmarks, and places of interest, increases desire for your book. Owners of unique restaurants and local businesses love the idea of free publicity that comes with a mention of them in a smart and positive light.
All books have a setting. It is wise to choose beloved, historical and famous people and places that your characters interact with. Be as descriptive as possible, including all five senses, or six or more for science fiction writers. Using this sense of familiarity warmly invites your readers to be in the moment with your characters and to be transported to places they have enjoyed in the past.
Aside from friends and family, my first book sales came from the places of interest mentioned in my book, MYSTERY OF THE STURBRIDGE KEYS – CHRISTMAS UNLOCKED. My first book signing engagement came from a business mentioned in my book. Since the title of my book also included the mystery and history of Christmas, one business asked me if I would come to their annual Night Owl Christmas Open House on Dec 9, 2016. I gladly accepted.
Mentioning local hotspots in your area, or the locality you are writing about also has another advantage. Most restaurants, destinations, points of interest and popular businesses have their own social media online, which immediately benefits the author who includes them. It is a two-way win-win. For example, I included the Bird Store And More, on Cedar Street in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, who happens to sell a galvanized bear-proof, bird feeding pole, which I mentioned in my book.
I wrote about what I knew from personal experience. I live in this area where black bear torn down and broke four of my bird feeders. On their store website and Facebook page, they have a video of a black bear trying his best to get at the black oiled sunflower seed, their favorite food. I went onto their Facebook website, and shared this video on the Facebook page for my book. I also was able to go on their Facebook page and thank them personally for inviting me to be part of their annual event. They only allow one local vendor each year to be part of their Christmas Open House.
Including holidays in your writing expands your audience and sales instantly. Many bookstores, and other stores that sell books, like to feature holiday items. Books with the name of the holiday listed in the subtitle attracts the eye of store managers and staff who are always on the lookout for this exact marketing hook.
Writing about popular landmarks and points of interest have a sense of fun familiarity for readers who have been to these locations. Vacations only last so long, but a mystery, theme or specific event, like a marathon involving numerous people will speak to this wide audience, and be more likely to increase your sales.
There are countless famous people in history who your characters can interact with, in the fiction/fantasy setting. History has a history of repeating itself. You will be able to find many real life situations with which your readers will be able to identify themselves. Draw on human emotions, common to everyone, to give a heartbeat to your book.
Readers can identify with situations they have found themselves in. Perhaps they got lost in Purgatory Chasm and found their hearts pounding, fueled with fear. Drawing on emotions, or descriptive words that bring the moment to life, like cutting through a lemon which has been rolled first to make it so juicy that cutting through it gets lemon juice all over the cutting board and on your fingers, with a taste so tart that your eyes water, can make your mouth salivate just reading the sentence. If readers can identify with your book, they are sure to buy it.
Have you used a real place in your fiction work?
About the Author:
Linda Hourihan is an international Holistic Health Counselor/Practitioner, former feature writer for The Milford Daily News, Laconia Daily Sun and Connecticut Post, author of The Virtue of Virtues, and former owner of The Massage Clinic with over 8,000 appointments to her clinic. She lives with her author husband, John T. Hourihan, Jr., and lives among the beautiful lakes and forests of Massachusetts.
Connect with her on her website and on Twitter.
Thank you all for visiting with us. It’s always a pleasure to meet readers and authors. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey. One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book and pass it on. Leave a review. Reviews are important for authors. Believe me. I know. Thank you!

Regards,
S. J. Francis, Writing is my passion, but animals are my world. 
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, and supporting writers, et al.

In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family." Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at all on-line retailers and independent booksellers.

Shattered Lies was a winner in the Fall 2016 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards for Women's Fiction.

Shattered Lies was a runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Best Book Award Competition.

Shattered Lies was a 2016 Reader's Favorite Honorable Mention in the Fiction - Women’s category.


Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 10th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.

Shattered Lies was chosen as General Fiction Official Selection in the 2015 New Apple Book Awards.

The first, original book cover design for Shattered Lies was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Authors dB Best Cover Contest.

       The 2nd new book cover design for Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 2016 Authors dB Best Cover Contest.  

My Black Opal Books Author Page:
                                           Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sjfrancis419
                 Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SJ-Francis/480058115420325
       My Writing Blog: http://www.sjfranciswriter.blogspot.com
      A Consumer's View: http://aconsumersview.blogspot.com
                  One for the Animals: http://onefortheanimals.blogspot.com
                                               Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sjfrancis419/
                           Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/33550975-s-j



And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2018 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

50 Authors from 50 States: M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I -- S.J. Francis Shares a Gr...

50 Authors from 50 States: M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I -- S.J. Francis Shares a Gr...: Come along and visit my post about the Magnolia State: Mississippi is called the Magnolia state and the number of Magnolia trees confirm that, and because of the hot and humid summers with he..

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June 3, 2018

M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I -- S.J. Francis Shares a Great State to Visit, Live and Spell!


Mississippi is called the Magnolia state and the number of Magnolia trees confirm that, and because of the hot and humid summers with heavy rain, it is a green and lush state.
                                               
If you heard me speak you’d notice the lack of southern drawl. You’d also notice that I walk just a bit faster. I didn’t grow up in the beautiful state of Mississippi. I grew up in New York City.  The two places are so far apart; not just in miles but in attitudes. It’s different down here. It’s a whole new way of life with a different pace: Slow and laid back. There is no fast food in Mississippi and not just literally. If you’re looking for fast and hurried; you need to go elsewhere, New York City for one, but there’s a peace and serenity that accompanies it, too. People are more at ease down south and it shows in their attitude. I may have been born a Yankee, but I’ve always been a rebel at heart.
                                               
There are flatlands down here and there are hills. I have seen some awesome sunsets. The Blues were born here in the Delta. Farming and lumber are the predominant industries.  BBQ and sweet tea are popular food items down here. Crowds and smog are non-existent.
                                                  
My debut novel, Shattered Lies begins in Yazoo County, Mississippi, and later New York City.  As of the 2010 census, the population of Yazoo County was 28,065. It is named for the Yazoo River, whose name, legend has it, comes from an Indian word meaning "River of Death." It is located in the Mississippi Delta region. The idea for this book came to me in 1999, but the story didn’t write itself until I moved down to Mississippi. 
                                                  
Synopsis: Thirty year old Kate Thayer has a good life as a veterinarian running the family horse farm in the South until she uncovers an act of unimaginable treachery by those she trusted most and discovers that everything she knew about herself was a lie. Her paternal grandmother, the woman who raised her, is behind a number of devastating secrets Kate is compelled to discover. But the deeper she digs, the more betrayal she finds, changing her life in ways she could have never foreseen.
Thanks for stopping by to read about my debut novel and my new home state of Mississippi. I have two prizes to give away to a lucky winner —a copy of Shattered Lies (Kindle version OR Paperback, winner’s choice) and a Mississippi souvenir.  Simply leave a comment and your contact info in order to contact you should you win. 

You can read more about the award winning Shattered Lies, a mainstream/contemporary/family saga at my website: http://sjfranciswriter.com    There you’ll be able to connect with me and learn more about the award winning Shattered Lies.
(info provided/released by author)

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Did You Pay For That Book Review? From Book Daily....

A note from S.J. Francis: Paying for reviews? Hmmnn. I must not lie. I thought about it once or twice, even three times. Finally, because of a recommendation about a popular site, the Online Book Club, I went ahead and registered my book there and then went ahead and paid for a "Professional Book Review". That turned out to be a big mistake for me and also a learning experience. The mistake was what I already knew: I should have stuck to my initial decision. Never, ever pay for a book review. Never. Ever. Period. 

Perhaps, paying for a unbiased book review has worked for others, but not for me. Personally, I wouldn't recommend doing it. Out of four stars, my book Shattered Lies received two and I quickly learned why because before I was sent the review, the reviewer stated flatly that, "I wish I knew there was a lesbian story line in the book before I read it." Red flag there, huh? I went back and forth with the website to complain about the bias in the unbiased review. I felt that I should get another review, though I knew I wouldn't. One that was unbiased certainly would have been fair. Second, in the review, the reviewer stated that, "I lived down south when I was a child and my best friend was black and she never went through anything in the book like the characters did." Wow! Needless to say those two statements floored. me. The first one about the lesbians made me laugh. Huh? I wasn't aware I had to let the reviewer know about the reality that real life spilled into my book. Gads. What's a writer to do? Secondly, just because something didn't happen to her, didn't mean it couldn't happen. Besides, the book is a work of fiction. "Fiction" is the key word. The book is made up. The situation is made up. 

Another point I learned was that what exactly is a "Professional Reviewer" anyway? I'd think that such a person was well up to date with real life situations, aka perhaps there might be a lesbian story line. It turns out that nowadays with blogs and more that anyone reading a book and writing a review is a "Professional Reviewer", which is pretty funny to me because I've been doing that for years and never, ever considered myself such. Anyway, back to the point of this post. Did you pay for that book review? If not, don't.  Based on my experience I certainly can't recommend the Onlinebookclub. If you did, take what you can from it if there was anything constructive and move on. That's my take on it anyway. Until next month.....
Cheers! S.J. Francis

Did You Pay For That Book Review? | BookDaily #AuthorTips


One-Review Reviewers Are People, Too
For those not familiar with this topic, let me explain: Some people assume that reviewers with only one posted review on a site must be fake.
While I don't disagree this isn't ever the case, I have a few counter arguments:
Friends and family. This is the primary accusation, but I have to wonder why friends and family opinions don't count in the big world of reviewing? Just because the author got to know this person during mini-golf team building day at work, that coworker's thoughts are suddenly null and void? What about said coworker's mother? Her friend from gin night? How many degrees of separation do we have to go before opinions matter again? Kevin Bacon?
I don't know about your friends and family, but mine are pretty freakin' busy. When and if they read my work--let alone feel inclined to publicly say something nice about it--I'm beyond flattered. Their opinion shouldn't censored because they happen to eat dinner with me sometimes.
Actually, if you want to get down to it, discounting the opinion of people who do know the author is pretty hypocritical when the book community, in general, tends to be very concerned with what sort of "person" the author is. It's kind of like putting references on a resume: all the interviewer wants to know is that someone, somewhere, is willing to say nice things about you.
New to a network. But let's move on to other less-biased, but still realistic, scenarios where a reviewer might not have many or any other reviews. First off, being new to a network. Let's see one potential situation play out:
Reviewer: Hi Author, I read your book and I really loved it!
Author: Thanks! Very happy to hear that my mental issues brought some entertainment!
Reviewer: Yes, I can't wait to share my review on my blog!
Author: That is great! If you are on GoodReads, I would be very appreciative if you would post your review there too, but it's entirely up to you.
Reviewer: Oh, I've heard of that place. I hear it's full of muck. I will check it out, anyway.
Next day:
Reviewer: Hi Author! I went to GoodReads and it is, indeed, full of muck. I posted my review of your book there though.
Author: Thank you! I hope you were able to get the muck off easily enough. I suggest mental bleach and a few therapy sessions.
Reviewer: I might go back after I've had some vodka, but I'm not sure.
Reviewer discovers Farmville.
Recruited Elsewhere. So, check this out: not every author goes through established reviewers to get reviews. I know, the concept is a little horrifying that everyone should be entitled to an opinion. Sometimes, authors meet reviewers on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or heck, that weird thing called "in real life" (or, it's more familiar form, IRL). Sometimes, said people are really thrilled to get a free book that interests them. They don't get scores of free books because--let's say it all together now--they're not established reviewers. Hence the lack of other reviews. But they think the book was cool, the author was cool, the gift was cool, so sure, they'll post their thoughts and then probably never come back, because Farmville.
"Nag" emails. I once reviewed a flag. Not kidding. A flag. My fiance is from another country and still has much of his family there. When we moved into our new place, I thought it would be nice to hang both the US and Bangladesh flag. There aren't scores of Bangaldeshi flags being sold around Arizona, so I went to my ol' buddy, Amazon, to hook it up. A few weeks later, I received an email asking how I was liking the flag. It seemed to be a decent enough flag. Made of fabric. Sways in the breeze. So I clicked the link, wrote something along that line, and moved on.
This can happen with books too. Maybe they just bought that one book. Maybe they just felt click-y and write-y enough to type up a review at the time they received the nag email. Look, I will probably never review a flag again, but you know what? I totally bought and used that flag. No fakin' it here for some devious master plot regarding flag ratings.
While we're on the topic of what counts as a "fake reviewer," I would also like to point out that the lack of an avatar means nothing. My fiance doesn't have an avatar on his Facebook page, but I'm pretty sure--judging by the laundry and dishes and body lying in the same bed--he's a real person. I asked him about this lack of avatar thing. His answer? "Meh."
I think that probably speaks for most people who don't have a default image.
As I said, fake reviews do happen, both negative and positive, and for a variety of reasons. But I do think we, as a whole, are way too quick to assume a review doesn't count simply because it doesn't meet some weird expectations we've developed.
But if you don't want to take my word for it that this flag totally sways in the breeze, that's really your loss.
About the Author:
Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at Rainy of The Dark, and and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona.
When not plotting world domination, she enjoys getting lost around the globe, studying music so she can sing along with symphonic metal bands, and becoming distracted by Twitter.
She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.
Thank you all for visiting with us. It’s always a pleasure to meet readers and authors. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey. One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book and pass it on. Leave a review. Reviews are important for authors. Believe me. I know. Thank you!
Regards,
S. J. Francis, Writing is my passion, but animals are my world. 
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, and supporting writers, et al.

In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family." Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at all on-line retailers and independent booksellers.
                          
                      Shattered Lies is a winner in the Fall 2016 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards for Women's Fiction. 
                     Shattered Lies is a runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Best Book Award Competition.
                     Shattered Lies is a 2016 Reader's Favorite Honorable Mention in the Fiction - Women’s category.  
                     Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 10th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.
                     Shattered Lies was chosen as General Fiction Official Selection in the 2015 New Apple Book Awards.
                     Did you know that the first, original book cover design for Shattered Lies was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Authors dB Best Cover Contest? 

My Black Opal Books Author Page:
http://www.blackopalbooks.com/author-bios/bio-sj-francis
                                           Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sjfrancis419
                 Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SJ-Francis/480058115420325
       My Writing Blog: http://www.sjfranciswriter.blogspot.com
A Book Review 4 U: http://abookreview4u.blogspot.com
      A Consumer's View: http://aconsumersview.blogspot.com
                  One for the Animals: http://onefortheanimals.blogspot.com
                                               Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sjfrancis419/
 Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/104831238907682620486/about
                           Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/33550975-s-j
And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2018 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Three Habits of Successful Writers

Written by Caitlin Jans | December 19, 2016
Many writers have one or two of the following habits, but it is very rare to find writers that do all three of these things regularly, unless you are looking at a shelf at a bookstore or library. Almost all of the authors whose work is on that shelf, at some point in their life did all three of these things habitually. Once you are established as a writer the third habit becomes less important, but until then it is the most vital habit and the one most commonly overlooked.
1. Write
The way you define yourself as a writer is that you write every time you have a free minute. If you didn’t behave that way you would never do anything.
–John Irving
Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.
–Ray Bradbury
Don’t write to become famous or to make a lot of money.  Write because you love it. Write because not writing for more than a few days feels like you have abandoned a puppy in a mineshaft.  Save the puppy.
– Joe Beernink
Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.
–Pablo Picasso
I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.
― Shannon Hale
It might seem obvious or redundant that being a writer requires one to write a lot. But many people who call themselves writers rarely write. I know one writer who spends about four hours a year writing creatively. Many of the writers I know wait for inspiration.
If you are going to become a professional writer it involves writing regularly. Even when you do not feel like writing.
When I was younger I waited for inspiration, but the more serious I got about producing work the more regularly I wrote. And the more regularly I wrote the more regularly I produced work worth reading.  That is really what it comes down to. Good writers produce work worth reading. Hopefully a lot of it.
Would the Harry Potter series would have worked if J.K. Rowling waited for inspiration? No, she would probably still be on book one.
Writing, if you are serious about it, is a lot like every other job. You have to commit a lot of time to it. You sometimes have to write a lot of rubbish to get to the good stuff, but that is OK, like Shannon Hale says, sometimes early drafts are all about shoveling sand.
If you are protesting right now that you don’t have time to write, I hear you. I have a baby, a full time job, and at first I really struggled to find the time to write.
But I found a way, mostly by giving up all TV and the occasional social gathering. And I am really glad I did. If you want to work on intentionally adding more writing time to your life, these three articles are really worth the read: How to Make Time For Focused WritingHow to Develop Good Writing Habits, and The Six Month Novel Writing Plan.
2. Edit
No one cares about your first draft.
– Neil Gaiman
Going back and editing is the best part of writing; it’s like reading an interactive novel. ‘Oh I wish the author used this word here or had this dramatic reveal there…oh that’s right! I am the author!’
–Mabel E. Wetherbee
I wish I felt like Mable E. Wetherbee about editing, but frankly I (and many other authors) don’t enjoy editing. I have discovered, over time, that if I type slower and copy edit a little as I go, I am left with a product that while not yet finished is awfully close. It allows me to focus on any changes I have to make on the content itself, rather than the spelling and the grammar (although hard as I try, there are always mistakes).
I take different approaches to editing a poem, an article, or a novel. Each genre requires different editing techniques. For example, when I edit poems my focus is on concision, I try to remove any line or word or punctuation mark that is not vital, so that I am able to convey my idea without any extra words. When I edit my own articles, I focus on how clearly I am making my point.
When I edit a novel I edit for different aspects each time. For example one editing round could focus entirely on continuity, another on characters.
No matter how you do it, editing takes focused time outside of writing and it also takes perspective. I do not know any writers that can do all of the editing right away. They need to take a break of at least a week, then return to the work on it after a period of time.
The following articles are very helpful ways to get started, if you struggle making editing part of your writing practice: Editing Exercise: Length PlayFive Free and Cheap Editing Options, and Three Steps to Take Before Publishing Your Manuscript.
3. Submit
Editors never buy manuscripts that are left on the closet shelf at home.
– John W. Campbell
I figured out that I had to write regularly when I was 18.
I figured out that I needed to spend most of my time editing when I was 19.
I was 24 when I figured out that those two steps were insufficient.
No one was going to break into my house, steal my manuscript, publish it, and send me royalty checks.
I had to start submitting for myself, and I had to be serious about it and I had to know what I was doing. This took time. I figured out how to submit my work to literary journals first.
This was good in some ways because the stakes are a lot lower. If a literary journal publishes one of your poems poorly, it is frustrating, but no great loss. It is just one small piece of writing. If a publisher takes the rights to your novel and messes up, there are much greater consequences.
Unfortunately after I had such a degree of success I didn’t pursue publishing a manuscript for over four years, as if somehow now that my work was out in the world that would be enough for a publisher or an agent to track me down.
That has worked for some fiction writers (Elizabeth Gilbert’s agent found her after Esquire published one of her short stories), but for the majority of writers that is not how it works. So finally in the last three years I have started to submit regularly to manuscript publishers as well as literary journals.
I submit regularly. At least once a week I submit to a few literary journals and a few manuscript publishers. I have my manuscript out to four publishers at all times. I have various poems and stories out to at least 30 literary journals at once. While I have yet to publish a book, I have published a rather large amount of poems in anthologies and literary journals. So even though my whole book of poems has yet to be published you can find my poems in a number of anthologies at brick and mortar bookstores.
When you first start submitting make a clear number-based goal regarding how many submissions you want to keep out at a time, and then stick to it. When you receive a rejection, send a submission out. Make sure your work is always being considered in the world. Of course, in order for this to happen you have to be writing all the time. In order for your work to be taken seriously it has to be edited and polished.
In Conclusion
Writing is all about balance, as long as you continue to do all three things, you will be published. But it is a lot of hard work, a lot of commitment, and a great deal of time. Stay focused. I know you can do this.
Thank you all for visiting with us. It’s always a pleasure to meet readers and authors. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey. One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book and pass it on. Leave a review. Reviews are important for authors. Believe me. I know. Thank you!
Regards,
S. J. Francis, Writing is my passion, but animals are my world. 
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, and supporting writers, et al.

In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family." Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at all on-line retailers and independent booksellers.
                  
                Shattered Lies is a winner in the Fall 2016 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards for Women's Fiction. 
                Shattered Lies is a runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Best Book Award Competition.
                Shattered Lies is a 2016 Reader's Favorite Honorable Mention in the Fiction - Women’s category.
                Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 10th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.
                Shattered Lies was chosen as General Fiction Official Selection in the 2015 New Apple Book Awards.
                The first, original book cover design for Shattered Lies was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Authors dB Best Cover Contest.
               The 2nd new book cover design for Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 2016 Authors dB Best Cover Contest. 

My Black Opal Books Author Page:
http://www.blackopalbooks.com/author-bios/bio-sj-francis                                                                           Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sjfrancis419
                 Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SJ-Francis/480058115420325
      My Writing Blog: http://www.sjfranciswriter.blogspot.com
      A Consumer's View: http://aconsumersview.blogspot.com
                  One for the Animals: http://onefortheanimals.blogspot.com                                               Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sjfrancis419/
                           Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/33550975-s-j
And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2018 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.