Tag Archives: Writing

The Beautiful Books: NaNoWriMo 2017 – Part 2

Image Description: a tinted-blue close-up picture of a type-writer's keypad.
Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?
I had planned to write a first draft of Orion – Volume II of my Pushing Boundaries series, but I just couldn’t. Every time I sat down at my laptop my mind went blank and I had no motivation to write, despite the fact that I’ve been working on a novel outline for months now. I also feel incredibly tired and drained whenever I try to sit down and write something, which is why I haven’t written anything for the first week of NaNoWriMo. My mental state is… frustrating. I’m so tired all the time, even when I’ve had a good night’s sleep and lots of water. My partner suspects I’ve been having some problems with sleep apnea, so I’ll be looking into a sleep study to see if that’s the source of the problems. So, I figured I’d stop working on Orion for the time being and work on something else.

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
My “novel project” isn’t really a novel project, it’s more like a series of Thought-Dump style journal entries, because of the personal nature of these entries, I don’t plan on publishing them, however, this is the first paragraph of one of the entries:

“I have a long habit of hyper-focusing on songs, usually specific songs, I play them over and over again, and it’s taken me longer than it should have to note the patterns of my musical obsessions. While I have the tendency to gravitate towards specific genres, when I obsess over specific songs, there is a not-so-subtle correspondence to the emotional state I was experiencing at the time.”

Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?
My novel project is more like a diary, with myself as the only character, but I don’t particularly like me as a main character, I don’t think I’m interesting enough, but as no one’s going to read this particular project, I guess it doesn’t really matter.

What do you love about your novel so far?
At this stage, I think “love” is too strong a word for my novel project, I think the difference between this novel project and Orion – Volume II is that I feel motivated to write. I can ramble on and on, at this stage it doesn’t need to be perfect or make sense, but with Orion – Volume II, I just feel stuck and I can’t move forward.

Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?
It’s mostly me wandering off topic into tangents and then saying, “What was I talking about again? I’m sure there was a point to be made here; now what was it again?”. Although, I will acknowledge that as editing isn’t my strong suit, so there’s probably typos everywhere.

What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
My favourite parts of my novel to write is banter in general, but especially unintentional-flirty banter between two subjects of romantic interest.

What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
I’m not very good at developing a writing habit, and I’m not consistent with timing (I tend to write all over the place), however, I have noticed I tend to have my better ideas or stronger motivation to write at night.

How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?
Batman-style, I find sounds and noises to be ultra distracting, so if I’m working in a group situation, I must have my mp3 player in order to block out noise. Kim has also given me some great instrumental music, but I’ve only just started using it, so I’m not sure if it’s productive or not.

What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?
I find this element of writing to be the hardest, it’s easy for me to become demotivated and lose focus on a project, I rarely finish my projects. As I’m an over-writer, I don’t think reaching the 50 000 word mark means you’re finished, if I’m lucky it’s the mid-point of the novel. A work of fiction should have a distinctive beginning, middle and end. With my projects I have managed to finish, I’ve noticed that I’m more inclined to get the work done if there’s a fixed deadline and I have good momentum with a novel. Anxiety about getting the project finished can sometimes work, but it can also be a double-edged sword.

What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?
01. Don’t keep doing something just because everyone else is doing it, if you’re struggling with something, pay attention to it. Don’t try to force it. There’s more than one way of doing things. If it’s not working for you, acknowledge it, and change it. Also, reward yourself when you get it right, you deserve it.

02. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’ve often found that it’s so much easier to help someone else with their WIP novel then fix my own, however, in saying that, sometimes all you need to do listen to them talk about their current WIP and occasionally they will come up with the solution on their own. If you don’t have someone to talk to about your WIP novel, try doing a thought dumping exercise and see if that helps. There’s also heaps of online resources available for Writer problems.

03. Try not to compare yourself to other writers. “Comparison is the Thief of Joy” and writing should be a joy (although it will not always be the case), and it doesn’t matter if that writer is “further ahead” than you are. There’s only one you and no one else can do what you do (possible Dr Seuss Quote? IDK).

The Beautiful Books – NaNoWriMo 2017

Image Description: a tinted-blue close-up picture of a type-writer's keypad.

What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
I’ve been working on the Pushing Boundaries project for two years now.

Describe what your novel is about!
I have a blurb for it:
Operation Nightshade is about to commence, the undercover operatives are moving into position and the target contact, Cassandra Acker, has been acquired. John
Smith’s undercover agent is struggling to establish contact, while John just thinks it’s bad timing, however, James thinks it’s more sinister, especially when he discovers Cassie’s phone number on a piece of paper in Beth’s bedroom.

Beth has absolutely no desire to go undercover, yet is torn between two powerful factions: Uncle John and Justine, fighting for the justice a dead journalist deserves, versus Cassie, a nineteen-year-old woman who is just trying to get out a bad family situation—a situation with which Beth is uncomfortably familiar with.

James feels that Beth is sabotaging Operation Nightshade from within. The more time Beth spends with Cassie, though, the more Beth comes to agree with him. Is it possible for her to help both John Smith and Cassie Acker? Beth doesn’t have all the answers, but she’s going to find out.

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

Image Description: a picture of the English countryside. The background has stonewall fences outlining green fields with sheep. The foreground contains a stone walking path that bridges across a small creek.


Image Description: a white stone cottage with an open teal-grey door, with a large bushel of red roses growing by the doorway.


Image Description: a leafy path with green leafy trees overhanging the path, a stonewall fence in the middle of the photograph with an open iron gate.

Introduce us to each of your characters!
Beth (Australian University student), James (computer programmer and University teacher/lecturer) and Justine (Private Investigator) are the main characters of the series.

How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
I attempt to outline, flail about, and stock up on snacks. I attempt to plan out meals for November, that way I don’t have to stop writing for long, however, I’m generally only good at this type of organisation for a couple of weeks.

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
I think I’m going to enjoy writing chapters where Beth is getting caught up in Cassie’s Drug Selling Drama and is torn between the two different factions, especially the chapters from James’s perspective (who is super suspicious and kinda jealous of Beth’s growing involvement).

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
Kirkby Stephen is a small country town in the UK, it’s well-known for its national parks and walking trails, it’s very green and super scenic, however, it’s also isolated (even by Australian standards). The nearest town with a supermarket is half an hour away by car and the public transport system isn’t very accessible (or at least Google Maps doesn’t seem to think so).

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
~Beth: Beth’s goal is have a “normal” tourist/student experience in the UK and I suppose Cassie, her Uncle John, and James are the ones who are going to interfere with that.
~James: James’ goal is to bring down the Acker Family and reveal them for what they really are. James thinks Beth is interfering with this goal.
~Justine: Justine’s goal is get justice for a journalist that was killed, she thinks Cassie may be in the way of that, but it isn’t correct.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
~Beth: Right now, Beth doesn’t really know what she wants, hopefully by the end of the trilogy, she will know what she wants and will be more confident about herself and her choices.
~James: James is a bit of a dark place at the moment, it’s difficult to mentally heal when you’re in a toxic environment, so hopefully by the end of the series James is in a better place (emotionally and financially) and has more confident in himself and his abilities.
~Justine: Justine is currently dealing with her own issues (Anxiety + PTSD + Other stuff), so I’m hoping that Justine’s mental state becomes a more manageable and she resolves her issues with her ex-girlfriend.

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
I feel that this kind of question is for the Reader of the Book, rather than the Writer of the Book, stuff like symbolism and themes aren’t always intentional decisions on the Author’s behalf, however, one of the big ideas I hope to put forward is that Disability doesn’t have an age barrier. Neurological disabilities like Autism and ADHD are for life and they don’t magically disappear just because a person is now legally an adult. I also want to put forward that Ableism, a lack of accessibility (whether that’s accommodations or diagnostic services), and a lack of support (from family and government services) can really hurt people and have far-reaching consequences.

Monthly Forecast: October 2017

Image Description: a picture of cherry-blossom tree. It's a close-up picture of the branches so that you can see numerous tiny bright-pink flowers blossoming all along the branches.

In the Southern Hemisphere, October is the time of Spring, hence the flowers (no, I am not bitter how purely American things such as pumpkin spice lattes are dominating social media, what makes you think that?). For this month, my October Reading List is more spooky themed than floral themed, however, I have made sure to include some Australian Women Writers in this list (I’m doing a terrible job on the AWWC this year, oh well *shrugs*).

Australian Women Writer’s Challenge:
Image Description: book cover of The Last Necromancer by C.J. Archer. The background has a large stone cross and a graveyard. The foreground is a close-up picture of the back of a pale-skinned brunette woman wearing a black Victorian-style bodice dress, around her wrist is a latern with a skull inside it, the eyes of the skulls are green and glowing. There is a green tint across the cover.
~The Last Necromancer by C.J. Archer (The Ministry of Curiousity #1)
Available for Purchase: Amazon | Audible | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Image Description: book-cover of Paper Dolls by Anya Allyn. The cover image is colour scheme is dark-tinted, it features a pale-skinned young lady with blonde hair, she's wearing a black dress with white polka-dots, and she's sitting on a carousel-style blue horse.
~Paper Dolls by Anya Allyn (Dark Carousel #2)
Available for Purchase: Amazon

RMFAO Genre Challenge – Horror:
Image Description: book cover of Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake. In the foreground, a pale-skinned brunette young lady is extending out her hand towards the viewer. In the background is a mountainous landscape with a break in the ground, just before the young lady's feet, from within the large crack in the landscape is lava and red spirits coming out of the crack.
~Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (Anna #2)
Available for Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Image Description: book cover of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. The cover is in black and white and the main image is of a small pale-skinned girl wearing a fancy head-piece and a fancy party dress, she appears to be hovering above the ground.
~Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children #1)
Available for Purchase: Amazon | Audible | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Diverse Books Reading Challenge – Intersection:
Image Description: book cover of Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova. The cover has a purple tint across entire cover, in the background is a golden gate with a skulls design within the entrance doors of the gate. In front of the gate is the silhouette a female figure, the female figure is standing in front of the gate with her back to the viewer.
~Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova (Brooklyn Brujas #1)
Available for Purchase: Amazon | Audible | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Image Description: book cover of Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde. The cover image consists of a close-up shot of the back of someone's head, displaying cascading bright-pink hair with the title and author text displayed ontop of the hair.
~Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Available for Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

I don’t have high hopes of reading most these books on the list, especially since October and November tend to be my busier months at work. I hoping to get some of these books knock-off my TBR pile via The Reading Quest, which was a great idea, but a massive failure on my part. In all honestly, I should have read most of these before now, so while I have my doubts, I’m going to give it a go anyway.

Image Description: a participation banner for NaNoWriMo 2017. The banner is turquoise-blue with white text, in the centre of the banner is two over-crossed pens and four stars surrounding the pens.
October is also the month of NaNoWriMo Preparation. I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I’ll be working on Orion – Volume II of the Pushing Boundaries, which means I’ll need to finish the Outline before the end of October, the Outline I’ve been trying to finish for months now. I have a special notebook put aside just for working on Pushing Boundaries stuff.
Image Description: a notebook with a light-blue and dark-blue colour-scheme. The cover consists of a start-chart of the Northern Hemisphere constellations with a black band of elastic around the edge of the notebook to keep it closed.

So yeah, what you’re reading and what you’re plans are for October? Are you thinking of getting involved with NaNoWriMo? What project are you going to work on? Let me know in the comments section down below :).

Writing Update: A Request for Beta Readers

Image Description: a vertical pile of leather-bound hardback books with differently coloured leather jackets.

I’m going to be honest, my writing isn’t doing well these days, I just… feel really lost and meh about pretty much everything related to Novel Writing. I’m considering taking Canis Major down from Smashwords, I probably should have done this already, but everything feels overwhelmingly difficult right now. The idea of committing to another novel project at this point in time just feels draining and I seriously lacking in motivation. I suspect this is largely to due to the fact that Canis Major feels largely unfinished, which has resulted in a lack of feedback from Readers.

I have requested people I know to read Canis Major and give me some feedback on it, but thus far, they have all failed to respond. So, I’ve decided to branch out and ask people on The Internets if they can help me out. I’d like to put out a request for Beta Readers and, before you all rush out and volunteer, here are the terms and conditions.

~Condition One: Time. I know we’re all busy, I know we all have lives, we all have commitments and obligations, but there’s no point volunteering to go through my book with me, chapter by chapter, if you don’t have the time to do so. And this is fine, there’s no judgement in that, but I will judge you on the inside if you say can and then fail to follow through (most writers are going to do this), please don’t waste my time.

~Condition Two: Interaction and Interviewing. The Beta Reader process will be something along these lines – Beta Reader reads chapter, Beta Reader informs me they have finished reading the chapter, I will ask the Beta Readers lots of questions and I’ll need the responses to be more than “it’s nice” or “it was good”. On the other hand, statements like “I don’t have an opinion about this” or “I don’t feel anything for this character” are legitimate answers.

~Condition Three: Genre. The Pushing Boundaries trilogy belongs in the Contemporary Crime genre, at this stage, Canis Major is more Contemporary than Crime, but the Crime elements are going to be more prominent in Orion. While you don’t need to be an expert on the Crime genre, if you don’t have an interest in Contemporary or Crime novels, you’re probably not going to enjoy Canis Major.

So, just in case you’re not familiar with what Canis Major is all about, here’s some basic information about it.
Word Count: 46,610
Blurb:
“James McKenzie, a computer programmer and karate enthusiast, with the help of his best friend and private investigator, Justine Jones, is tracking down local corrupt police officers. Together, they convinced the Gangs and Organised Crime Unit of Specialist Crime & Operations that the Acker family are worth investigating. With a little luck, James and Justine may meet their goal for an arrest and conviction.

Except there has been a snag. James’s grandmother Rosemary decided to lease out their spare room in a university exchange student program, and there’s a possibility that the student may be caught in the crossfire.

Beth Smith, a future primary school teacher, is travelling to the UK for the first time. She just wants to leave her family drama back home in Australia, especially since her family has only a theoretical concept of personal boundaries. She wants nothing to do with James’ complicated family drama or his and Justine’s under-cover drug investigation.

Nobody knows the Ackers like James and, in his experience, bullies don’t go down without a fight and he’s not convinced that it isn’t going to go horribly wrong. After all, it isn’t paranoia if everyone really is out to get you.”

Here’s a Link to Smashwords – you can download a sample from there.
Here’s a Link to the Canis Major Prologue – you can read it and leave a comment if you want to

If you’re a fellow indie author like myself, we may be able to exchange Beta Reader feedback, leave a link to your book in the comment section below and I’ll check it out (although I recommend indie authors check out my book review policy first before offering). So, if you’re interested in volunteering your time as a Beta Reader for my novel, let me know in the comments section below and you can also email me brkyle.author@gmail.com

PSA For Indie Authors – Part 3: Genres and Cover-art

Image Description: a picture of a wooden table with (from left to right in a clock-wise circle) a piece of paper, a pair of thick-framed black glasses, a pine cone, a dusty green-leather bound book, a green vintage type-writer, an open blank notebook, a wooden stick, a small tan-coloured rectangle with black writing on it and an empty glass ink-well.
This post is about self-promotion and marketing for Beginner Writers who want to write Genre Fiction or Genre novels, so if that doesn’t appeal to you, fair enough, feel free to pass on this post. This post will be covering basic tips and advice so this post may come across as stating the obvious, however, we all have to start somewhere.

I would recommend watching these YouTube Videos by Jenna Moreci
~How to Choose a Genre for your Book
~Marketing Basics for Writers
~Skills You Never Thought You’d Need as a Writer

I think one of the most important elements of writing is figuring out what type of book you’re writing, as the genre of your book will determine a lot about what type of book-marketing you’ll be engaging in, and which agents and/or publishers you plan to pitch to. Like Publishing houses, Literary Agents will usually have submission guidelines on available on their websites, so you should check those out first before you contact them.

One of the things that Literary Agents advise is to investigate the genre of books an Author is writing in. This is where the advice “read widely within your genre” comes into play, you need to read the good and bad books within your genre, and you need to be informed of the visual art-style that is associated with your genre.

For example: My Work-In-Progress novel series Pushing Boundaries comes under a hybrid category of Genre, it fits into the Contemporary Crime genre, so lets break those categories down and have a look at what type of Cover-art Style is involved in the Crime, Mystery and Contemporary genres.

~Goodreads: Crime

~Goodreads: Mystery

~Goodreads: Contemporary

When you examine certain genres, especially Crime and Mystery together, there’s a distinct trend of book-cover art displayed on the most popular novels. For example:

Crime:
~a vague silhouette of a person, usually from a distance
~empty wide-shot landscape pictures with One Point Perspective
~Large, bold, and brightly coloured book-title and author title
~if a woman is on the front cover, it is displaying the back of her head.

Mystery:
~There’s a lot of overlap between Crime and Mystery, but Mystery covers tend to be more colourful in design, Crime tends to be a dark/bland cover with colourful text displayed on it to act as contrast.
~Partially obscured faces
~if a woman is on the front cover, it is displaying the back of her head.

Contemporary:
~There’s strong and liberal use of colours to make the covers pop-out, the cover and title text are usually bright contrasting colours
~Models on covers are predominately female-coded or a cishet-coded male and female couple.
~if a woman is on the front cover, it is displaying the back of her head.
~The predominate sub-genre of Contemporary is Young Adult, so the use of live models on covers are of 14-18 age-group.

Personally, I dislike the popular book-cover designs of Crime and Mystery, I think the Contemporary covers are much more eye-catching and engaging. In saying that, I have no idea what to make in the rising trend of displaying the back of a woman’s head, I have no idea how that could possibly convey to the reader what that particular book is about. I can only presume that The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Goddesses, and Everything We Keep are all very different books.

Now, it could be argued that best-selling authors like Chris Brookmyre and James Patterson can get away with unappealing book covers involving shadowy silhouettes, people are going to buy their books regardless, unfortunately not all aspiring writers will achieve James Patterson-level of success, so I would recommend putting some effort into the thought-process behind what the book cover should look like.

I’ll use my book-cover for Canis Major as a case-study (Kim made this for me, aren’t they amazing? Of course they’re amazing! You should check out their stuff).

Image Description: book cover of Canis Major - Volume I of the Pushing Boundaries series. The cover is picture of the constellation of Canis Major, as depicted in the Southern Hemisphere (the nose of Canis Major is positioned in a downward direction).

Canis Major:
~Point One: The design is a simple black and white colour scheme, easy for the reader to look at and comprehend

~Point Two: I’ve chosen the constellation of Canis Major (the Great Dog) for multiple reasons. Constellations are seasonal, so the constellation of Canis Major will look different in Southern Hemisphere countries, like Australia, than in comparison to Northern Hemisphere countries like the UK.

~Point Three: James, one of the main characters of my novel, has a special interest in Astronomy, he shares this special interest with his step-father Robert, it’s a bonding thing they have.

~Point Four: Another reason for the choice of Canis Major is because a big inspiration for writing this book was to address a lot of the problems and objections I had with the novel The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-time by Mark Haddon (here’s a review by Disability in Kidlit that goes into why this book is super problematic).

~Point Five: The theme of Constellations as book-cover art will apply to all the books in the Pushing Boundaries series, Volume II will be Orion (the constellation of Orion is right next to the constellation Canis Major) and Volume III will be Scorpius. I plan for Pushing Boundaries to be a trilogy but I’m aware that every time an Author declares their project a trilogy, it somehow turns into a trilogy of four.

~Point Six: My novel is a Contemporary Crime novel, so just like with a crime, you have to put together all the small points in order to see the bigger picture. See? It’s Deep and Meaningful.

Here’s the thing though, while I think this cover is great and it’s exactly what I wanted, is this particular book-cover design marketable? It’s generally recommended that authors get feedback from their target audience, which was something I didn’t do. Another element to consider is that, while I think Kim did a great job, I do need to acknowledge that Kim doesn’t specialise in Graphic Design, and that it’s generally recommended to authors that they hire a professional (here’s a list of book cover designers via The Creative Penn).

So, authors need to figure out what their genre is and research what books within that particular genre look like, however, just because a visual idea is popular within a particular genre, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good. Get some feed-back from your target audience and be willing to shell out some money for a professional book-cover designer.

If you’re an indie-author and you’ve got a .jpeg of a book cover, drop a link to the book-cover image in the comments section below and we can have a chat about the pros and cons of visual design.

Links:
~9 Tips to Building the Book Cover Design You Always Wanted by Jane Friedman

The Beautiful Books #27: August 2017

Image Description: The Beautiful People for Writers - Writing Goals

It’s time for another edition of The Beautiful Books, where I write a blog-post discussing how little progress I’ve made on my WIP Novel Project, Orion – Volume II of the Pushing Boundaries series, YAY! Let’s begin with some writing advice, if you need some, check out the links bellow:

Jenna Moreci:
~Tips For Writers

Katytastic:
~WRITING / OUTLINING / REVISING

For this post, I’ll be focusing on Beth and James, hopefully that will make things easier. On with the Questions!

What are they addicted to/can’t live without?
Beth: Caffeine (tea and energy drinks). Beth has a stress-eating problem, but she’s more inclined towards cheese and biscuits, or say, having and enormous tub of Greek yogurt and eating it with savoy-biscuits like dip (IDK, honestly, straight Greek yogurt tastes super weird to me).

James: sweet treats and desserts. James (like Beth) has a stress-eating problem, James will stand in the kitchen and just eat a whole packet of dark-chocolate digestive biscuits without thinking about it.

Name 3 positive and 3 negative qualities about your character.
Beth:
01. Positive – Beth is helpful, she’s willing to help volunteer her time (sometimes overly so) if she perceives someone else needs it.
02. Positive – It takes Beth a while to get attached to people, but when Beth cares about a character, she really cares and they’re willing to do a lot for other people.
03. Positive – Beth is eager to learn new things.
04. Negative – Beth can be overly helpful, sometimes giving too much of her time (not being able to see that a project is doomed to fail or being taking advantage of), sometimes taking over a situation completely without asking, she can also come across bossy because of this.
05. Negative – Beth is introverted to a socially awkward level, it can make her insecure and prone to negative thinking.
06. Negative – Beth doesn’t really know what she wants and she’s incisive about things that should be easy to figure out, which is a difficult thing for her to admit to.

James:
01. Positive – James is honest, sometimes too honest, but I consider it a positive thing.
02. Positive – Like Beth, it takes James a while to get attached to people, but when he cares about a character, he really cares and they’re willing to do a lot for other people.
03. Positive – He’s very protective of his younger siblings, sometimes a little too overprotective, he really does care about them, but he finds it easier to display it with action rather than say
04. Negative – James can be super controlling about stuff, like his food and his environment, it’s bad coping mechanism and I’m hoping (over the course of the series) to help him grow out this behaviour and be able to let some things slide.
05. Negative – James can be petty about stuff.
06. Negative – James tries not to to be, but he does get jealous of Dominic, mostly because it seems like Dominic has all the things James has always wanted (a stable job, family acceptance and his own place), I’d like to write a chapter where James eventually resolves his perceived issues with Dominic.

Are they holding onto something they should get rid of?
Beth: Emotional Baggage with both her parents

James: Emotional Baggage with his parents and some guilt/resentment issues with Mac (with what Mac has become and the way Mac is not-dealing with the situation). James also has problems with the way his mother refuses to not-deal with Mac, despite the fact that his mother is the exact opposite with him (his mother is nosy and tends to pry a bit with regards to James).

If 10 is completely organized and 1 is completely messy, where do they fall on the scale?
Beth: Beth is more of a 5 or 6, she’s naturally a messy person, but she tries really hard to be neat and organised
James: James is more of a 8, he’s organised but it’s also part of a coping mechanism and is connected to his anxiety, so it’s not a natural thing.

What most frustrates them about the world they live in?
Beth: Beth gets frustrated by a lack of empathy or not noticing (or refusing to acknowledge) a problem, the more obvious the problem more irritating it is.

James: Communication with Neurotypical people. They don’t mean what they say and the don’t say what they mean. Conversation is where casual ableism usually shows up as well.

How would they dress for a night out? How would they dress for a night in?
Beth: Out = pretty vintage style dresses Mary has made for her, In = casual wear (like tracky-dacks and a t-shirt)

James: Out = overly formal, In = overly casual (track-pants, t-shirt, fluffy robe, thick slippers). James does wear a binder during the week when he’s at work.

How many shoes do they own, and what kind?
Beth: an excessive amount of shoes, wide variety of types, but Beth is prone to gravitate towards brightly coloured shoes.

James: a nice pair of black lace-up shoes for formal events, a pair of nice business shoes for work, a couple of pairs of running shoes, and a couple of pairs of work-boots (one for the farm, one for home).

Do they have any pets? What pet do they WISH they had?
Beth: Beth tends to gravitate more towards dogs than cats, but she doesn’t mind either.
James: he has a calico cat named Sarah Jane

Is there something or someone that they resent? Why and what happened?
Beth: Her mother Claire, for being an alcoholic and being an abusive parent, as a result of Claire’s abusive behaviour, Beth has nothing to do with her. Beth also resents her father because, at the time, Isaac came across as taking her mother’s side, so there’s this unspoken resentment between them.

James: James does harbour some resentment towards his mother, he lives with his grandmother instead of her and he feels she should have made more of an effort in getting Robert’s half of the family to accept him as he is. *Upcoming spoilers* James’s biological father dies in a car-accident and James resents how he has to navigate all the complicated social conventions and social rituals for a person who pretty much abandoned him at five-years of age.

What’s usually in their fridge or pantry?
Beth: snacks, like yogurt and crackers and cheese. Beth likes to have dried pieces of fruits because she forgets to eat fresh fruit and it goes bad

James: James can be kind of anal with his food, so everything is in organised Tupperware containers with labels or ziplock bags with labels. His fridge is most likely to have vegetarian stuff in there but also stuff to make smoothies with. James will often have enormous container of carrot-sticks.

So yeah, let me know in the comment section if you’re working on a Novel Project, I’d love to hear about other people’s projects (that way I don’t have to think about mine).

PSA For Indie Authors – Part 1: Questions

Image Description: a picture of a wooden table with (from left to right in a clock-wise circle) a piece of paper, a pair of thick-framed black glasses, a pine cone, a dusty green-leather bound book, a green vintage type-writer, an open blank notebook, a wooden stick, a small tan-coloured rectangle with black writing on it and an empty glass ink-well.

I don’t get a lot of contact from Indie Authors asking for help, however, I’ve recently been contacted by two very different Indie Authors requesting assistance with promoting their novel, while I don’t what to name the Indie Author involved, because this isn’t about shaming people for asking for help (even if they ask for help in the wrong way), however, I thought it might be prudent to write a blog-post about what they did wrong and how they should have done things differently and, perhaps, this post might help other Indie Authors from making the same mistakes.

I think the first thing to do, as an Indie Author engaging in Social Media Marketing, is perform some self-assessment and ask yourself the following questions:

How much do you know about Marketing and Self-Promotion?
Is this something you don’t know a lot about? Or have you done a lot of research? Perhaps try rating yourself from Newbie, Intermediate to Advanced. Knowing how much help you need is crucial and research is the key. You could watch some YouTube Videos or read some articles on Marketing For Writers, for example: Jenna Moreaci has a great video “Marketing Basics for Writers” (I highly recommend her channel) and Joanna Penn @ The Creative Penn has some great articles on Marketing For Writers (this is just a starting point, there’s heaps more information out there).

What kind of promotion are you interested in?
What is your overall objective? Do you want to get more Book Reviews for your novel on Amazon, Kobo or Miscellaneous Brand X Book Selling Platform? Or do you want more subscribers on your blog? I’m not saying you have to pick only one goal, you can have as many goals as you like, but you need to know what they are.

I recommend writing down all your marketing goals, just do a full brain-storming or mind-dump session and get it all out of your head and onto paper. If the problem is that you don’t know what your goals are or where to begin, and it’s okay if you don’t know what your goals are just yet, write that down too.

What kind of Social Media Platform are you interested in?
While this does go back to the question of, “how much do you know?” and “what type of learner are you?”. Are you a visual-learner or more of a text based-learner? Do you learn better by yourself or in a one-on-one type situation? Or do you learn better in a class/group situation? Some writers are visual learners and like to use Pinterest to make storyboards for their novels and share them.

I have mixed results with visual learning, I find Pinterest too distracting and it doesn’t work for me as a writing tool. I tend to work better with text based-learning which is why I’m more productive on WordPress and Tumblr, although (in my opinion) Tumblr isn’t great with large amounts of text, I’d honestly consider Tumblr to be more visual-orientated (your mileage may vary).

How familiar are you with social media platforms?
Do you already have a Blogger blog or a WordPress blog? Are you already active on Facebook or Twitter? What types of Media Content are you most comfortable with? What types of Media Content are you willing to research? How much instruction will you need? My friend Kim runs a Tumblr-Blog about reviewing Stim Toys, it’s very popular and Kim was eventually asked “How does one go about setting up a Stim Toy blog?”, here’s a link to the article:

~Stim Toy Box: An Essay on Blogging

As someone who puts little to no thought into how to go about setting up a blog or any other social media platform, I think it’s a great article (in fact I printed out a copy), I’m not saying you have to do all the things Kim suggests (do what works best for you), you don’t have set-up a review-style blog if you don’t want to, but Kim asks some good questions and it’s a great checklist to work from.

I also want to point out that, when I first started out as a Writer on social media, I tried to do ALL THE THINGS (as you do) but it took me longer than it should have to figure out that it wasn’t making me happy and I wasn’t getting enough in exchange to justify it.

Now, I’m regularly active on Twitter and Tumblr, I try to update my WordPress blog at least once a week, and that’s working okay thus far (it could be better but I’m trying to lower my expectations due to currently dealing with mental health problems *shrug*).

What kind of limitations do you have?
It’s important to know what it is you can do, it’s even more important to know what you can’t do, figuring out your limitations is super important. It’s all well and good to want to set up a YouTube Channel but that’s difficult to maintain if you have no experience or knowledge of how to make videos. YouTube is one of those complicated social media platforms, everyone does it so it’s common, but common and simple to use are not the same thing.

YouTube channels that started in the beginning of YouTube might not exist now or be successful ventures now because it’s been done before. I’m not saying people shouldn’t make videos on YouTube, I’m just recommending realistic expectations. Like, what’s your budget for recording equipment? What about editing software? Sometimes figuring out what you can’t do or don’t know is easier to figure out than what you can do.

And the most important question of all

How much time do you have available to promote your brand as a writer and to promote your novel/project?
Do you have a partner, children and other family obligations? Do you have a day-job? Do you have mental health problems like I do? Mental Health problems can seriously impact your ability to consistently create good quality content. The same can be said for physical health problems. Time is your most valuable resource and there is simply a finite number of hours in a day.

I’m afraid I tend to squander mine a lot due to procrastination and lack of focus and it’s sort of gotten to a point where I don’t think I can fix this problem and some days I ask myself why I even bother, and let me tell you, it’s a shitty mindscape to be in.

I’m not saying this to put you off writing, or perhaps bitch about my personal problems, I merely wish to convey that writing is something you have to make time for, it’s something you have to actively organise (it’s not just “going to happen” – trust me on this), it’s something you have to want above a lot of other seemingly important things.

This is because people are never going to stop making demands of your time and, with a few exceptions, most people aren’t going to respect or value your time unless you make them and establish boundaries on what you will and will not dedicate your time to.

I also mention my mental health problems because, for better or worse, creative people tend be associated with mental health problems and pretending that this is a problem that will never occur to you or someone you know isn’t going to help you.

I loath the idea of romanticising mental illness in association with the creative arts but the fact remains that Denial and Fear of the thing is more powerful than the thing itself. Acknowledging that this is a thing that might affect you or someone you know in your Art/Writing community is important.

I know this might seem ramble-like or irrelevant, but writers with mental health problems or physical health problems need to take the time to recover and a person’s recovery, health, and well-being is the higher priority.

I don’t care if you have to push back the release of your book, and I don’t care if you have to shut down your blog for an indeterminate amount of time, because your recovery, health, and well-being is the higher priority.

I still struggle with this myself on regular basis, I resent the fact that this short blog-post has taken me two days to write, but I have to accept it and let it go. I have to accept and resign myself to the fact that I will never be able to learn at the same speed other people do and projects are going to take longer for me to complete.

So, do readers have any tips or suggestions on marketing for writers? Perhaps recommend some online communities for writers? Let me know in the comment section below.

~Links:
~The Creative Penn: Tools And Resources For Authors And Writers
~The Creative Penn: Marketing Your Book
~DuoLit: 105 Author Blog Prompts: Banish Your Blank Blog!
~DuoLit: Free Writing & Self-Publishing Tools

%d bloggers like this: