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Wow. Everything’s going by so quickly suddenly. The summer’s almost over, my son’s school will start soon, the baby’s on its way, a hurricane threatens to disconnect my internet for days, and of course I’m in the midst of book formatting my first novel of the series. Originally when I set the 11-11-11 launch date I thought I was giving myself extra time just in case of a colicky baby or the baby blues prove a challenge, but now with time ticking away I’m so glad I didn’t pick an October release!

Everything I’ve read about increasing your indie book sales recommends getting your second book out as quickly as you can after your first. Many say that nothing promotes your first book as much as another book release. The more books you can get out there the better. So, as I’m learning the ropes of publishing the first one I’ve been busy revising my second. My goal is to release the sequel January 2012 and I’m even planning on including the first chapter of the sequel in my debut book.

Honestly, I’ve been revising this book over the last year. I’ve gone through all my normal revising checklist and now I’ve added all the things my editor pointed out in the first novel. I feel like I can’t get it any better on my own and since this sequel is almost twice as long as my first, I know the editor, the copy editor, and the book formatter will all take twice as long, so I need to get moving. I did worry that one of my most trusted beta readers is midway into the sequel and would need to allow time for her critical feedback, but I know I can still make improvements between this first editor run-through and the second. I might even have time to send it out to a few more people as well.

So I wrote to my AWESOME editor to see if she was available to take on another book of mine. She said to send it on over and that’s what I did. Two books now on their road to print. I can’t believe it. Is this really happening?

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So I was hooked up to a contraction measuring machine yesterday and I brought along a book I’ve been trying to finish for sometime now. Lately I’ve been giving priority to reading self-publishing guides, writing forums, blogs and beta reading. (I probably should be cracking out those baby care books but since this is my second it will all come back to me, right…right?)

Well, I had to have something I could hold in my hand so I grabbed the best-seller that’s been waiting patiently on my nightstand. Leaving books half-finished is not like me. I normally start and can’t stop reading until it’s done. It wasn’t until I kept rereading lines on the page for the third time that I realized it:

Since writing my own books, I don’t read the same as I used to.

Before what was entertainment and pleasure has truly become a study. Now I feel the need to observe everything: flow, punctuation, dialog tags, pov usage, plot developement, and avoiding clichés.

I used to finish a book and say, “How awesome was that book!”

Now I ask, “How did the author do that?”

Has this somewhat diminished the enjoyment of reading?

It definitely seems like I read slower and in smaller clips. I’ve certainly switched from a passive reading and absorbing role to an active and analytic role. In the past, I would feel this way when we were reading a book for a class, and even though the enjoyment of the prescribed book is affected, I would always come away with a deeper understanding of the book and I tend to remember those books in much better detail.

In a way, reading is now more work. But I think about each book while reading and long after I’m finished, and I have a much better understanding and appreciation than I would have had previously.

It must be the same for artists. They probably have difficultly just looking at a beautiful landscape and saying, “What a gorgeous sunrise!” Since they’re probably thinking, “What color is that sun?” and “How can I create that myself?”

What about you? Have you noticed that you read differently since writing? How has your reading process changed?

 

 

 

 

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Google Alerts - Monitor the Web for interesting new content

 

Just a little tip for anyone not familiar with a great tool called Google Alerts. I heard this mentioned on another blog and wondered if I would be able to figure out how to do this myself. I typed in ‘google alerts’ and wouldn’t ya know it went directly to a google alerts screen. You can enter any keywords or phrases that you want to be notified about anywhere online. This is so important for writers since if anyone reviews your book on their blog or happens to mention your book you can immediately thank them. It’s important to know what others are saying about your writing and your books (good and bad) and this way you will be notified it’s out there.

After you type in something you want to track (my example: Infinite Sacrifice), you can choose what facets of the web you want to search (I chose everything). Then you can chose how frequent you want it sent to you (I chose once a day) and if you want only the best results sent to you or all (I chose best results). Lastly, you enter the email you would like these notifications sent to.

You can create as many of these alerts that you want. I chose to enter the titles of my books, the series name, a few different versions of my name, and my website address. This is also a neat idea if you want to track a certain author or topic you’re extremely interested in. I also decided to enter the names of future titles of my book since it would be good to know if someone else uses these titles before I can.

Well, just another tip I learned about through purusing blogs and thought I’d pass it on!

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Phew! I did it. I sent the corrected MS back to the editor for the second look through. She said she’d have it back to me in two weeks and then I’ll make the changes and ship it off to a second copy editor to make sure we caught everything.

But I didn’t change everything the editor suggested. Most of the time, I immediately saw that her suggestions improved my novel and implemented them, but there were some instances where I realized the change wasn’t right for what I wanted to convey to the reader.

Here are some examples of what I didn’t change:

1) I kept some ‘says’ and ‘continues’ in where I felt needed it, but I did try to take out as many as I could.

2) Some historic things she didn’t find in her research but I found support in more detailed non-fiction books.

3) She wanted to take out unneeded words and I thought it changed the flow or impact of the sentence so I kept them.

4) She made a suggestion to completely remove something that didn’t seem to have much relevance to this novel but it is something that will be mentioned throughout the next few books and explained in the last book.

5) Her suggestions sometimes showed me that she didn’t understand what I was trying to say and told me I needed to clarify the sentence better.

6) Also some of the suggestions she made went completely against some beta readers’ favorite parts. If you hear the same suggestions being made it tells you to change it, but if some of your readers love something I say you should keep it.

All in all, 95% of the time I made the changes. The last 5% I thought over and over about before I decided to keep my words in. But if I send it to the copy editor and she picks up on the same things I didn’t change, well then, I’ll probably make the changes since it’s obviously standing out in the wrong way.

Well, off to enjoy a little summer 🙂

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Searching through various blog achieves I found a great post that hit home with me.

Write the story you want to read.

I didn’t write my series because I had a deep love for historical fantasy. Don’t get me wrong, Jules Watson, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Susana Kearsley wrote some of my favorite books, but I also love suspense, historical fiction, paranormal, thriller, horror…and the list goes on. I fall in love with a story, not a style or a genre.

Instead of a rebellious streak (although I’m sure my parents would say I’ve always been rebellious) or an experimenting phase in my teenage years, I went through a new age/occult stage. I read books on palm reading, astrology, witchcraft, ghost hunting, pendulum swinging, gem stones, Ouija boards, dream interpretation, and many other interesting topics. I sought out new age speakers like Sylvia Browne and searched for authentic psychics, past life regressionists, and palm readers.

One of the things that excited me most was reincarnation. The idea that we’ve lived before along with others we care about in this life. That we continuously work through issues with the help of others. We might start out selfish and extremely flawed and improve with adversity. That we’ve traveled throughout time and brought our love of eras along with us. How our attachments and hatreds stem from a history of loyalties or let downs.

After reading many past life books discussing others remembered experiences and hearing about my own possible experiences during hypnosis, I still felt like I wanted to try to feel what this really would be like. I remember sitting in the movie theatre, a trailer came on, and for a few instants it sounded like the movie of my dreams was about to be released; finally the past life epic saga that I yearned for! But after more explanations I realized that it was another story. I’d pick up a book with a past life theme but would be let down upon reading the blurb that it only went back one life and the major focus was a romantic soul mate relationship. Just one person that was important to the main character, not a whole group of important people? They weren’t realistic, if a soul returned in many lives there would be more than one person that traveled with them. Furthermore,  the focus of each life would not be only a romantic one, life is much more complicated than that.

Where was the book/movie that took the viewer from the very beginning of the first life and showed their detailed development throughout time evolving along with their closest companions and enemies?

What did I decide do?

Write the books.

I wrote the story I wanted to read. I culminated all I’ve read, experienced, and fantasized about. I chose the time periods I loved or have been told I’d been a part of. I created characters I would have wanted on my journey; loyal and exciting characters as well as captivating, flawed characters that you love to hate. Even characters that may surprise you, those who begin much differently than they end up.

Oh well, I won’t give anymore away but this is why I’m pushing so hard to get this series out. I’ve heard before that this is an ambitious project, that the nature of the series is extremely complicated, and takes a lot of effort to keep track of each character’s progression through the novels, but this is what I wanted to read. This is what I was looking for!

If I was craving to see this story come to life than others must want to see this portrayed as well. I just have to find them 🙂

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