Tag Archives: Manuscript

Friday is for Muses

20 Feb

Can’t wait for tonight when my house will fill up with people that speak my language: writing. Once a month several local authors and I get together to discuss updates on manuscripts, new releases, writer’s events, and exchange ideas and support in all things writing. Add to that good food and drinks and you have a recipe for total success.

If you are a writer and need help, I encourage you to find yourself a local group. We writers are shy by nature and introverts, but hanging out with same creative minds does wonder; you won’t feel so lonely but rather pumped up to tackle whatever roadblocks are thrown your way. Take it from someone who experienced it all. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me I gotta get ready. I have a date with … Muses! 

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Debriefing Desert Dreams Conference

15 Apr

It’s been over a week since I’ve returned from the Desert Dreams Writers Conference held here in Tempe. I wanted to write and publish this post right away but I also realized I needed to decompress in order to gather my scattered thoughts. Overloaded on the amount of information, the thrill of spending time with fellow writers I call friends, meeting new ones and being scared out of my skin for meeting face to face for the first time with agents and editors I kept going and going for three days. By the end of the third day I was ecstatic for several reasons but also extremely tired.

I’m back to normal, whatever normal means. I have a lot of things I’d like to share with you so here it goes:

Best moment when . . . I was asked for a full manuscript of my newest novel titled Me Tarzan–You Jane, a contemporary romance with strong humorous elements. I won’t give any more info on this one so I won’t jinx it. But I promise once I have news worth sharing I will make the big announcement.

Worst moment when  . . .  at the end of Friday I was still unsure about my pitch (for those unfamiliar with what that is, a pitch is the essence of your book compressed in a few sentences). Arrived home around 10pm and went back to the board to draft yet another pitch. Close to midnight I had something that I liked better than the previous one, but still didn’t feel any goosies about it.

Aha moment when . . .  seating in the hotel’s restaurant Saturday morning and mulling over a bagel with my dear friend Shanyn Goodnight Hosier I wrote by hand another version of the pitch (can you tell I’m a perfectionist?) and reading it aloud I got all choked up and said, “This. Is. IT!”

Most painful moment when . . . I literally wanted to wrap my feet around my neck, they were hurting that much. I wore 2-inch heels which is a big no-no during conferences, but I couldn’t make myself wear anything else. Beauty suffers–I think that’s the saying. I need to “thank” my parents who couldn’t add to my DNA a little bit more height.

Funniest moment when . . . exiting my bathroom stall I saw Mrs. Sue Grimshaw of Random House coming my way. Without thinking too much I said, “I know I shouldn’t approach you here, but I have a copy of the February Issue of the Phoenix Magazine where you were cited during my interview. I thought you might like a copy of it. If you don’t mind I’d like an autograph on my copy.” She takes it from my hands, looks through it and, laughing she said, “Wow, I had no idea they published it. Thank you for bringing me a copy. Let me finish here and I’ll autograph it for you.” At this time my mind was already in panic mode for two reasons: 1). You NEVER EVER approach an agent or an editor during bathroom breaks and 2). I handed her a copy of the magazine without washing my hand. Mrs. Grimshaw was really candid about it and laughed when I said to her, “I apologize I gave you the dirty copy, BUT I’ll give you mine which I didn’t touch it until after I washed my hands.” She laughed, signed my copy and we made plans to meet during lunch. I hope she won’t always remember me as the “freak from the bathroom.”

One in a lifetime experience when . . . entering the elevator I realized that the one person standing in front of me was no one else but Mrs. Sylvia Day. The other lady I assume was her assistant. Sylvia smiled and said, “Lunch time?” I smiled, “Yeah, I need to feed the monster in my tummy.” She laughed and said, “Oh yeah, I know how that is.” Under different circumstances I would’ve run the other way, too shy to ever approach a person of her caliber. I’ve never read any of her book but I sure know of her fame. I hope one day I’ll be there myself…

Most inspiring moment when . . . during lunch time on Saturday we had the honor to listen to Mrs. Christie Craig talk. In the picture below she shows us how many rejections letters she got throughout her career. No one offered to count them, but they filled a plastic bin, that many.

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Her humor got us laughing out loud quite a few times. Her story brought tears to my eyes twice. What a woman! Diagnosed in third grade with dyslexia, high school drop out at 16, Mrs. Christie is nothing but the quintessence of perseverance and humility. There were several things she said that hit home and I will forever cherish them as part of the most treasured gifts I’ve ever received. Some of those gifts are: Never give up. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t; you know better. Surround yourself with people that look forward. Persist. If you fall, stand up and try again. It might not come to you overnight, but when it comes be prepared to say: I did it. Celebrate even the tiniest success. 

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I couldn’t ask for a better photo bombing although Shanyn tried to convince me the lady in orange was actually looking at my boobs. I can’t disagree more with her.

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Most relaxing moment when . . . Saturday night after the book signing event finished around 8:30ish we went out to celebrate each other.  Eager to apply what we learned from Mrs. Craig’s speech, we made the best out of it.

To old friends and new beginnings: cin cin everyone!

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Guest Post and Author In The House–Jon Thomason with Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud

21 Mar

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Today I have author Jon Thomason stopping by with his newest release Max Zylander and the Island of Zumurrud. Aside from the book presentation, a short bio of Jon’s and a guest post regarding self-publishing there is a $50 gift card rafflecopter associated with his book tour. For your chance to win it please click here.

Blurb:
Max has anger management issues. But she has a secret, too. She can make things happen. Like magic. She almost killed a loser skate punk and nearly used it on her stuck up older sister. The question is, can she do anything other than blow things up? Can she learn to control it? And is it really possible that an obscure teenage girl is the key to keeping all of humanity safe?
Philip just got his ring back. He got it taken away for messing with his teacher’s mind so he can cheat on a test. Now that he has his ring, he thinks he should be able to use his power to make his life better. A lot better. The problem is that people want him to be responsible. But if you could do magic, wouldn’t you use it to escape work in any way possible?
Aaron wants to be a soldier. He knows there are lots of people who would try to take over, and he’s determined to stop them. The problem is that there’s this new girl. And she might be not be on the right side of things. She’s really talented and pretty, but she might be able to destroy everything he believes in. Whatever the case, he knows he needs to learn to be world class with the magic sword while he figures out what to do.
Brynn never gets out. Her grandfather won’t permit it. Her only access to the outside world are high fashion magazines, so she has an unusual idea what she should wear. She’s dying to get out and travel. And adopt animals. Any kind of animal. Is she a lonely future granny with cats or are her ridiculous clothes actually the next fashion craze? What possible role could she play in the destiny of the world?
Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud is a fast-paced fantasy adventure for all ages (10 and up)  and is the first of a planned trilogy. Fans of magic, swordplay, secret agents, and conspiracies set in a modern everyday world will not be able to put the book down. Jon Thomason is a debut author and paints a vivid world of magic right under our noses and delivers rapid-fire action that keeps the pages turning.

Author Jon Thomason

Jon Thomason lives with his family in San Diego, after many years living in the beautiful Seattle area. He has a successful career in high tech where he’s been fortunate enough to participate in many big-name industry releases.

Storytelling permeates everything he does. In the moments when Jon is not helping build the story of the tech world, he can almost always be found working on a project: writing, photography, videography, graphics design, or 3D art.

And he’s always careful to conceal his jinni magic abilities, though perhaps might slip one day and be discovered…

And now to the guest post regarding the self-publishing process.

Jon, the stage is your!

Hello Readers, my name is Jon Thomason and I’m the author of Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud.

Once upon a time (not that long ago!), a budding novelist toiled away on a manuscript, and when it was finished, sent query letters in the postal mail to agents and publishers, dreaming of someone not saying no and who wanted to read your manuscript. Once in awhile, often after much perseverance, it worked. An agent took you own or a publisher decided they had to have it. A deal was signed, and after a year or sometimes two or three, the book would show up on store shelves, and hopefully sold.
 
Self-publishing and particularly electronic books turned this process for many people on its head. The writer still toils over the manuscript, but instead of sending off query letters and the manuscript, the writer decides to publish it themselves. Nirvana, right? As you’ve already deduced, not exactly. Sure, there are some advantages: no one will tell you that you can’t publish it, but if you think that the second you push the publish button on Amazon.com that suddenly the world will flock to your book, you might be in for a rude awakening from that pleasant fantasy.
 
Let’s back up a few steps, though. Unlike working with a publisher, when you self-publish, you are responsible for several things: a camera-ready book, cover art, and your own marketing.
 
Producing a camera-ready book is more difficult than you might think. First, editing and proofreading are virtually impossible to do by yourself. Trust me, you really need someone else to criticize your book. It will hurt your feelings and you may even hate your editor (briefly, hopefully), but it will improve your book. And I guarantee that you cannot proofread your own book. You will not find all the typos in your own work. Depending on your available resources, you should consider hiring an editor and a proofreader. Remember: there’s no publisher and editor backstopping you. What you push publish on will go up, spelling errors, bad grammar, and all!
 
Designing covers can be very difficult. Some people have the graphics arts experience to do their own covers. If you do, kudos, and get to work! But even for them, it’s a time consuming piece of artwork. It does matter what your cover looks like. Again, you may need to pay for an artist to do a cover for you. Do your homework and know what aspect ratio (mine is 6″x9″) your cover is. You’re best off if you have a concept to pitch to the artist. But even if you don’t, you can hire someone to help come up with concepts. Remember that people do judge books by their covers, no matter what the aphorism says.
 
Finally, marketing. You’ve come up with the ultimate concept, have edited and proofread and have the perfectly crafted novel. You even have the best cover known to man. You upload your book, Amazon says, “congratulations!” And then you let it go a day or a week, and you’re surprised that there are no sales. Or maybe your Aunt Mabel took pity on you and you have one sale. I believe that a self-published author has to spend even more time promoting than they do writing. There are a dozens of things you can do, but mostly be creative, and try things nearly every day to get the word out there.
 
Selling on Amazon itself is a bit of a catch-22. You won’t sell until you have lots of sales. User reviews are key. Give away books to everyone you know and beg them to write a review. Do a giveaway on Goodreads.com. Approach every blogger who will answer you. Do ads on facebook and promoted posts. Do giveaways, give prizes for hitting milestones like numbers of reviews posted or referrals. Give the book to local book clubs. Talk to librarians. In short, do anything you can think of to get your book out there! Your free giveaway days on Amazon.com are valuable tools to getting your book out there.
 
And don’t forget to keep writing. The only way to make money self-publishing is to have an entire catalog of books. When someone reads one of your books, if they like it, they might read all of yours. With this model, whatever marketing you did to get them to read one book essentially sells all your books at once!
 
Unfortunately, all this marketing costs money. This is the price of entry to self-publishing. Note that it’s self-publishing, meaning that you need to do the same things the publisher would do for you. You need to sell, sell, sell, and write, write, write!
 
Thanks for listening, and I wish you all the best in your writing and reading, and I’d like to introduce my novel, Max Xylander and the Island of Zumuruud to you.
 
Jon Thomason 

Links

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