Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The 777 challenge

Joe McCoubrey has nominated me for the 777 Challenge.
Joe is author of thrillers like the soon-to-be-released Someone Has to Pay and Absence of Rules. He’s a very active blogger and member of the Master Koda Facebook group. As he explained on his blog, he was tagged for the 777 Challenge last week.

The idea for the Challenge is to post seven sentences from page 7 or 77 of your work-in-progress, and nominate seven other authors you admire to pass the challenge on to.

Before getting to my seven sentences, one explanation: this excerpt probably won’t end up on page 7. I’ve written about three-quarters of the book, but because the plot isn’t linear, I haven’t finished with Chapter 1, yet.

So what we have here is what’s currently on page 7, but pages 1 and 2 represent fractions of chapters.

The WIP is tentatively titled Walking from the Soviet Union. It's the story of my father-in-law, who was drafted into the Red Army in 1941, between the Molotov-von Ribbentrop Pact’s dismemberment of Poland and the invasion of the USSR by Nazi Germany. The story combines my memories of Maurice and his stories of his wartime experience.

Page 7 deals with his induction into the Army, and one person in particular that he met in training camp:

“Good lord,” said Maurice, in Ukrainian.
“You—you look exactly like me!” said the other.

The two men stared at each other, then stood back to look each other up and down. Other cadets looked at them curiously, and soon started to laugh. “Hey, look at the twins!” said one.

“Who are you?” Maurice asked, almost afraid to hear the answer.

“Hrech Kowalchuk,” the other answered.
Okay, here’s a little more, just to tell you what was going on:

Maurice was relieved to hear that the man’s voice was distinct from his own. “From Kharkiv. Not too far from here. Who are you?”
“Maurice Bury. Ternopyl.” He looked for a long time at the other man, still barely able to believe his eyes. From the look on Kowalchuk’s face, he felt the same. 
Now, for the seven authors whose blogs I want to encourage you all to visit — and who I hope will carry the 777 Challenge further:

  1. Rob Guthrie
  2. Scott Morgan
  3. Gary Henry 
  4. Alan McDermott
  5. Will Granger
  6. Roger Eschbacher
  7. Benjamin X. Wretlind
 Readers, encourage them to pick up the challenge!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Who are iAi?

On Monday, I used this blog to announce the launch of a new group of independent authors from around the world, aptly called Independent Authors International, or iAi.

iAi is a cooperative publishing model. The idea is to bring together the skills and resources that a traditional publishing company offers to writers: appraisal of ideas, editing, proofreading, design, formatting for publication and promotion — while leaving control, and revenue, in the hands of the author.

All writers have several skills in addition to writing. Some I know are also skilled in graphic design; some have of necessity become skilled in efficiently formatting manuscripts for e-publication or printing. And some are good at promoting, marketing and selling books.

Books that are reviewed by iAi members, professionally edited (by a member or another professional), professionally designed and manufactured to a high standard, can bear the iAi colophon — a standard of quality.

Members of iAi share their skills, and at the same time, raise the quality, professionalism and credibility of its members work.

I’m proud to be associated with these skilled, talented and professional authors:

Haresh Daswani: Evolution of Insanity

Roger Eschbacher: Dragonfriend: Leonard the Great, Book 1

Will Granger: Anabar’s Run, Anabar Rises, and horror short stories

RS Guthrie: Black Beast, LOST and the newly released Dark Prairies

Gary Henry: American Goddesses, What Happened to Jory and Other Dark Departures, The Moon Poem and Other Strange Jingle Jangles

Alan McDermott: Gray Justice and Gray Resurrection

Zoe Saadia: At Road’s End, The Young Jaguar, The Jaguar Warrior, The Warrior’s Way
Elise Stokes: Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula, Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift

Benjamin X. Wretlind: Castles: A Fictional Memoir of a Girl with Scissors, Sketches from the Spanish Mustang

Their names are all linked to their Author pages on the iAi website. If you’re looking for some good e-books to read, you’d have a hard time finding anything better!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Welcome to the FIRST EVER BookPushalooza!

July 26th ONLY

9 Books, only .99.

With each purchase you get the chance to WIN while helping authors reach new heights in Amazon’s ranks.

It’s so easy a CAVEMAN could do it!

Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget and for each book you purchase (or borrow through Amazon Prime for free) you get an entry in to WIN ---

(1) Grand Prize- $100 Amazon gift card

(2) Runners up of $25 Amazon gift cards

That’s not all! Purchase all NINE (9) books and get an additional 5 entries!

Don’t delay, this offer is good for JULY 26th ONLY!

Overview of Dark Isle

When evil begets evil, a choice is forced on Quinn, the one person who can see the danger. Does she save the ones she loves, or does she save the world from Chaos?

As the realms of Fae and human collide, Quinn's future has never looked so grim, or so damn impossible.

Genre- Urban Fantasy
Overview of Enemy in Blue

 The streets aren't safe when your enemy wears a blue uniform and a gold badge.
What if the good guys weren't good?
What if a cop went rogue and killed an innocent man?
What if it was all caught on video and the cop would do anything to cover it up?
Chase this lawless cop through the streets and to a scintillating series of showdowns with Cruz Marquez, a young attorney trying to nail down his enemy in blue.
Will justice be served?
Genre- Thriller

Overview of Land of the Noonday Sun

When two strangers have nothing left but their dreams, they must forge a relationship in Nantahala, North Carolina, a small town known as Land of the Noonday Sun.

A man with a traumatic past is able to turn his life around and is happy with his chosen career as a whitewater guide. Everything changes though when fate hurls a woman into his path. His carefree life is in turmoil, and his former weaknesses threaten to overtake him. Will he be strong enough when tragedy strikes and is once again in danger of losing everything he loves?
Genre- Contemporary Romance

Overview of This Time Forever

Delaney Brannigan and Blake Morrisson met at the Cedar Cove annual costume dance, known only to each other as the leopard and the cowboy--but, as Delaney soon discovers, the cowboy she'd thought had ridden off into the sunset never to tempt her again, is none other than the man she came from New York to find and discredit. Against her will, Delaney is drawn deeper and deeper into an overwhelming attraction to Blake--an attraction she can't give in to if she wants to keep the one thing she values more than anything else.

Genre- Contemporary Romance

Overview of Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula

Fourteen-year-old Cassidy Jones wakes up the morning after a minor accident in the laboratory of a world-renowned geneticist to discover that her body has undergone some bizarre physical changes. Her senses, strength, and speed have been radically enhanced.

Lives are put at risk when they find themselves embroiled in a dangerous, action-packed adventure. Soon they are forced to confront a maniacal villain willing to do anything - including murder - to reach his own ambitious goals.

Genre- YA/MG Superhero

Overview of Gray Justice

Gray Justice is the fast-paced debut thriller from Alan McDermott. When a killer walks free from court, the victim's father sees just two options: accept the judge's decision; or take on the entire British justice system. Tom Gray chooses the latter and his crusade attracts instant worldwide media coverage. It was just what Tom was hoping for, but it brought him a lot more than he bargained for.

Gray Justice is much more than a simple tale of revenge: it's a rollercoaster ride with an ending you'll never forget!
Genre- Thriller
Overview of Gone at Zero Hundred 00:00

"Their lives are in the hands of two 18-year-olds..."
A Prominent P.I. is gunned down - killed by a sniper - and it’s broadcasted on live TV.
Now, her daughter, along with her childhood pal, are thrust into a complex and riveting thriller forced to take on a secret club whose members call themselves The Privileged Ones.
Murder. Teen abductions and illegal underground parties.
They’re chased by men in ski-masks, nearly gunned down by members of a cartel, and the only way to bring down this criminal enterprise; is to crash a Mardi Gras bash and stop their private cruise ship from sailing off into the sunset.


Overview of Allegiance

Who do YOU pledge allegiance to?

After exposing one of the most notorious rings of police corruption in history, lawyer Cruz Marquez planned on starting a new life south of the border. That plan unraveled when an extremist group of Minutemen captured and tortured him and his wife.

Will Cruz pledge allegiance to do right, or will he do anything to serve up revenge?

Genre- Thriller

Overview of Curbchek Reload

Curbchek-Reload is a dark account of the streets as they were worked by Zach Fortier, a dangerously deranged cop. Welcome back to the inner city and the twisted mentality of Zach Fortier. Patrolling the streets, broken and mentally damaged from years of urban violence, Zach fights a losing battle to maintain a hold on reality. Join him in the passenger seat of a police cruiser for more of the darker and meaner side of life: The inner city. In Curbchek-Reload you get a front row seat to an attempted murder of a cop, suicide attempts, rapes, and DARK cop humor. Curbchek-Reload - Fasten your bullet proof vest and buckle your seatbelt, it is gonna be a wild ride!

Genre- Police Procedural 

http://www.blogger.com/%3Ca%20href=" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

All winners will be notified via email July 28th 2012. For a list of winners contact onedaybookpush@yahoo.ca

Monday, July 23, 2012

Independent Authors International: a new model changes the way books are published

I’m very excited about a new literary venture.

I’ve joined a group of 10 authors from 5 countries who are forging a new cooperative publishing model: Independent Authors International.

The members are all professional writers not affiliated or published by any major imprint. Instead, we are all independent authors who recognize that writers can provide all the services that a major publishing house can offer: editing, proofreading, design, e-book formatting, layout for print books and publicity. We’re sharing these services with each other to raise the quality and the credibility of independent publishing.

The news release explains it all. Then check out the website: iauthorsi.org. And check out the iAi author I'm cross-promoting this month: Haresh Daswani. Followers of this blog know that I found his Evolution of Insanity irresistible, if flawed.

Every month, a different iAi member's book will be featured in that spot on the right-hand side of this blog.

And when you’re hankering for great reads, now you know where to look!

Authors’ cooperative venture changes the publishing world — again

iAi to be a symbol of quality and professionalism in publishing

A group of writers, marketers and designers unaffiliated with publishers have banded together to create their own publishing model, “Independent Authors International (iAi).”

The new organization, whose members hail from across the U.S. and around the world, aims to support and legitimize the independent author movement, and bring new voices to readers throughout the world.

“Recently developed technologies like e-readers and print-on-demand make it now possible for individual writers to publish books without the resources of a large commercial publishing enterprise,” says iAi spokesperson, Scott Bury.

“The iAi co-operative will help professional authors by bringing together the skills and services that a commercial publisher offers, while leaving the authors in control of their work, at a fraction of the cost, and with a much more responsive and personal touch.”

The iAi's goal is to help its members produce quality, professional works recognized by literary agents, publishers, booksellers, and readers. The group is a democratic, cooperative organization controlled by its members.

Membership is granted by invitation of existing members. The group vets prospective members to ensure they meet the professional writing, editing, and marketing standards of the iAi.

To receive the services of the organization, members must contribute their editing, production, or marketing skills to other members.

The iAi currently has 12 authors and publishing professionals from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel and the Philippines. The iAi website at http://iauthorsi.org/ has information on the organization's goals and principles, a list of members, books that meet iAi criteria and links to sites where these books can be purchased.

For more information about Independent Authors International or to schedule an interview with one of its members, please contact Scott Bury by email at scott.bury@iAuthorsi.org.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Writing tips: Consistency stinks, but without it, you're sunk

Skunk in the backyard, courtesy TooKoolDoggies.blogspot.com

"The skunk in the back yard last night stunk, didn’t it?"

"No, it stank." 

Or is stunk right?

What about this one: “The ship sunk during the storm last night”? Is that correct?

English. It can be beautiful, powerful, inspiring. It can also be maddeningly confusing and inconsistent.

There are so many inconsistencies to trip people up, that if languages were shopping malls, English would be closed until it was brought up to code.

For instance, consider the past tense. English usually indicates an action that occurred in the past by adding an –ed to the end — like in occurred. Then there are all the other verbs that show past tense in other ways, like thrown, or eaten.

Verbs that end in –ing and –ink give people a lot of trouble. Simple examples pretend to set the pattern:

Infinitive Past tense            Past participle
ringranghas rung/was rung
singsanghas sung/was sung

Then, English goes and changes the pattern just a little, with –ing verbs that have identical past past participle forms. There doesn’t seem to be any logical distinction. You just have to memorize this.
cling         clunghas clung
fling    flung              has flung/was flung
hanghung "from the
chimney with care" 
has hung/was hung

However, when using hang to mean a form of execution, the past tense and past participle are hanged and was hanged: Billy Bailey was the last person to be hanged in the US.

Some verbs ending in –ink conform to these patterns, too:
drink        drank                   has drunk/was drunk
sinksankhas sunk/was sunk
slinkslunkhas slunk
stinkstank or stunkhas stunk

But not link or ink (as in to put something in ink, or to cover something with ink).

Of course, there are –ing verbs that follow the more usual pattern of adding –ed for the past tense and participle: ding or ping, for instance.

Then, there are the most baffling verbs of all:
bring         brought               has brought/was brought
thinkthoughthas thought/was thought

There is almost a logic, but if you can’t have more than two examples that follow the same method to indicate past tense, that doesn’t really make it a system.

To answer the questions I started with: stunk or stank are both acceptable past tense forms for stink, according to the Oxford Dictionary. However, sank is the correct past tense for sink, while sunk is the past participle.

What about you? What exceptions give you the most trouble?
The Titanic sank in the North Atlantic.

The Titanic was sunk by an iceberg.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Three-way blog swap: How do we choose names?

This week's guest post is part of a three-way. Joe McCoubrey, former journalist and now novelist, with a book coming out very soon, writes here about naming fictional characters; my guest post is now on paranormal author Cathy Brockman's blog, and Cathy is writing for Joe. Be sure to check out these other blogs, as well as anyone else with the Master Koda badge, for some great reading. But first, read Joe's words.



How do authors come up with names for their fictional characters?

If you think about it, the average novel will introduce about 20 or 30 different characters — from the hero or heroine (and their closest friends/family) right through to all the people they need to encounter in the various twists and turns of a story.

So where does an author start the naming process?

We all do it differently, but put no less thought into coming up with names that roll off the tongue, stay memorable for the reader, and somehow capture the character we’re writing about.

Lee Child’s engrossingly enigmatic MP wouldn’t be the same if he wasn’t called Jack (just call me) Reacher, and how did Stephen Leather take an everyday kind of name like Dan Shepherd and make it resonant through a gripping series? In the latter case, Leather’s use of the nickname ‘Spider’ provided an easy alliteration that we, as readers, instantly buy into.

So where did the names come from? The secret might just be as basic as authors playing about with a list until they get one they like. By building a great character (and great stories) around the chosen names, they hope to succeed in getting the reader to identify with the overall concept in such a way that the name remains with us. Obviously, it helps if you’re a prolific author who constantly finds interesting stories for your character and therefore builds the brand through the series.

Many authors use the names of friends, either in full or by coming up with a subtle derivative. This helps not only to prepare a nice long list but also makes it easier to describe characteristics and traits if the actual person is always on the mind when writing about their fictitious alter ego. Not much good if your friends are plain John Smith (with apologies to all John Smiths)!

There are also some pitfalls to be avoided.

Let’s say an author picks a name for a character who is an eminent surgeon with a private practice in a particular city and you attribute some unsavoury or unprofessional actions to the character. Where would the author be if such a professional with that name actually existed? Unlikely? Pick a name at random, Google it and see what happens! You’ll be surprised.

By the way he or she doesn’t have to be a surgeon — the same applies to any profession, including police officers, who figure most in popular fiction.

Our literary forefathers could delve into the realms of the surreal to come up with tasty bites like Robinson Crusoe or Wilkins Micawber. And you really had to be there to understand the mind of PJ Wodehouse when he gave birth to Bertie Wooster, Watkyn Bassett, Gussie Fink-Nottle and Tuppy Glossop!!

The process, however, could be as simple as the choices faced by all parents when picking a name for their child, although in this case they have half the job done for them. There’s not much they can do about the surname but just think of the tizzy they get into trying to come up with a first name that “sings” to them when they bolt it on. The modern writer has to find both halves of the equation!

And perhaps the secret is as simple as that. Start with one half — either the first name or the surname — and then try to find a match. It would be interesting to know if Child decided first on Reacher and then added Jack, or was it the other way round?

When all’s said and done, the readers are the people who decide whether the choices we make are appropriate. So why not ask the readers? In these days of social media it would be an interesting experiment for authors to Facebook or tweet their friends/followers/fans and ask them to submit possible names for particular characters. I can just see a typical post: I’m writing about gangland criminals in London and have decided to include twins by the names of Ronnie and Reggie. Does anybody have a suggestion for a surname??


Joe McCoubrey is a former journalist turned author. His first novel, Someone Has to Pay, is being released shortly, with number two already in the bag and number three halfway there. In between, he has written a short story, "Death by Licence," which was published last month in an anthology called Action: Pulse Pounding Tales, edited by Matt Hilton. To find out more about Joe, check out the following links:

Blog: http://joemccoubrey.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/joe.mccoubrey
Twitter: http://twitter.com/JoeMcCoubrey1

My contribution to the three-way is on Cathy Brockman's blog at http://cathybrockman.com/our-next-stop-on-the-tour-scott-bury/
And don't forget to visit Joe's blog to read Cathy's post!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Plunging The Bones of the Earth into Kindle Select

I’ve decided to take the plunge.

Creative Commons. No, this is not me.
Thanks for asking, though.
I’ve enrolled my novel, The Bones of the Earth, into Amazon’s Kindle Digital Publishing (KDP) Select program.

I’ve resisted this for some time. In fact, the first time I heard of Kindle Select, I objected to it. At the same time, though, I understood why Amazon structured it the way it did.

KDP Select is a marketing program, as well as a method for Amazon to reinforce its dominance of the digital book market. An author or a publisher who has published a book on Amazon’s Kindle store can choose to enroll it in the KDP Select program, which gets the book included in Amazon’s Kindle Lending Library. This allows member of Amazon Prime to borrow the book, free of charge. The author/publisher gets a share of the fund that Amazon sets aside to reimburse them for these free book loans. Lately, that fund has been around $600,000 per month, divided among all authors in the program according to how many times their books get borrowed.

Authors can also set five days out of every 90 during which their books can be downloaded for free. Otherwise, you cannot set your book for a free download on Amazon, unless you go through some tricks by setting your book for free on other sites (like Smashwords, Apple’s iBookstore,Kobo, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Book Store, the Sony e-bookstore or Diesel, to name the few that I know of) and hoping that Amazon matches their price. This has not always worked for me.

The catch

The downside to KDP Select is that Amazon demands exclusivity. If you enroll your e-book in Select and the Lending Library, you cannot distribute it through any other retailer, paid or not. If you do, and Amazon finds out, they’ll not only refuse to pay you any royalties on that book, they may withhold your royalties on all your other title sold through Amazon. They may even bar you from the Kindle digital publishing system entirely.

Creative Commons

This exclusivity applies only the digital books. Authors and publishers that have joined Select can still sell printed books any way they wish — or can.

I can understand why Amazon did this. It dominates the e-book market, and it’s not a charity. It’s a business. I’m not a lawyer, but I doubt this qualifies as an anticompetitive tactic. No one has to join the Select program. You can still sell books through the KDP system as well as every other digital channel you can find, and Amazon will still sell your e-books for you. And Amazon still provides lots of free tools for making e-books in the first place.

A large number of authors have signed up for KDP Select, including several that I know through social media and some that have even written guest posts on this blog. Obviously, they’re not that worried about the exclusivity clause — or they feel that the benefits of lending royalties plus increased sales more than offset the downside.

Many have written that the majority of their sales have been through Amazon, anyway, so they weren’t really losing much.

For my part, Amazon accounts for about half my sales; the other half is mostly through Smashwords, with a few other sales from the other e-retailers.

Select results

Rob Guthrie's magnumopus is now out!
 Some authors have found Kindle Select works. Those were RS Guthrie’s words on his blog, Rob on Writing. “Each of the past three or four times I have run one or both of my books free on Amazon, I have seen a nice increase in sales post-freebie,” he wrote in April.
In February, author Russell Blake (who guested here in December) reported on his blog:

Last month, I dipped my toe in the water by making The Geronimo Breach free for three days. During that time, I saw about 12K downloads. Not too shabby. Then, when it went back to paid, a funny thing happened. After languishing for the first day, it shot like a rocket, finally hitting #165 in the paid Kindle store.
So, it does work. Of course, both Guthrie and Blake outsell me by orders of magnitude. But the potential is there.

At time of writing,
number 6,554 Paid in
Kindle Store  — not shabby at all.

Do I really want to give my books away for free?

Of course not. I put a lot of work into them: planning, writing, re-writing, editing, re-writing again, throwing parts out, filling in plot and characterization holes. I engaged editors and designers, and I had to pay them. So no, I don’t want to just give them away.

But we all appreciate that free promos and cut-rate special offers help drive up sales, too. Free is a promotional tool that I’d like to be able to use.

Also, there are some multi-author book giveaway promotions that I’d like to participate in — but again, you have to be a member of Kindle Select.

Mostly, I want to experience that paid sales spike after the free promos. I understand that it’s only a temporary spike. At this point, I’ll take temporary.

As of July 12, ##431,700 Paid in Kindle Store. Let's see if we can boost that to the low hundred thousands, at least.
I promise to blog about my experiences regularly. I’ll keep you all up to date on my progress.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

On Tour with Master Koda Linda Bolton: What kicked off her book?

For the TTC Master Koda Virtual Blog Tour this week, I'm hosting Linda Bolton, full-time fitness instructor, things Scottish fan and as-yet-unpublished romance author. Her assignment for this week (week 7)  is "what kicked off your current book?" Her book ... well, I'll let Linda tell you.

Yes, You Could Be A Character In My Book!

I write contemporary romance. My ideas come from everyday life...mostly from my friends or public figures.

Since my divorce, I have reconnected with a lot of male friends from high school and college. One of the many things they have in common is a lack of sex life with their spouses. Somehow I have become their confidant and unofficial sex therapist.

I was debating what I wanted my current book to be about and thought how much fun it would be to write about my sex advice. I have always told my friends nothing they say or do is exempt from my writing, but I would use creative licence to protect the embarrassed.

I’ve been working on character profiles and this will be one hot book. It has many middle-aged, still very sexy, men with steamy sex scenes. You wouldn’t believe the things I’ve learned while chatting with sex-starved men. Texting and Facebook make it very comfortable for people to speak freely. Maybe I should have gotten that psych degree instead?

I would never tell the true identities of my characters. I’m hoping, if they’re brave enough to read my book, they won’t recognize themselves. I would hate to make enemies of my friends; they really should feel flattered I found them so interesting!

If you check out my blog, you’ll see its about everyday relationship issues that can increase romance or block it. I’m hoping this book, with humor and naughtiness, can remind us of the romance we are missing in our lives and how to get it back.

How’s the romance in your life? What are you doing to “bring sexy back”?

Linda's blog is "Romance is in the Air." This week in the Virtual Blog Tour, she's hosting Kristina Jackson.
My guest post in the Tour this week can be found Inside the Secret World of Allison Bruning, where I write about five sparks that started my novel.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Guest blogger: The 5 reasons why I am a failed writer

This week's guest blogger is marketing marvel Jens-Petter, owner of the SlyMarketing blog and company and author of Make Google Love You. He's writing not only about the best and worst he's ever done as a writer, he's giving us some really useful tips on how to market your books. Following is some of the best, most practical advice I've ever read. Over to you, Jens-Petter!

I say that I'm a failed writer because I can't seem to finish what I'm writing.

I am a solo entrepreneur with a marketing business, and I have written a novel and a short story for the Kindle. I am fairly successful in business with several big clients and a popular blog, but I still haven't published my novel or the short story.

I love writing, but my first hurdle was to choose the right language. I write in Norwegian and in English. I am a better writer in Norwegian, because I am Norwegian, but I have a much bigger audience when I write in English. And that's why I started my marketing blog in English.

I am still not sure if it's such a good idea to keep writing in two different languages or if I should focus on one. But since I believe that one of my strengths in marketing and writing is experimenting and I'm not really in a hurry to get things published, I've decided to keep writing in both languages for now.

The 5 reasons I am a failed writer

I have been thinking a lot about why I haven't been able to publish my novel or the short story. I've come up with five main reasons. Let me just tell you the reasons first, and then I'll tell you how I will market my novel and short story.


1. I don't have a goal

I write because I love to write. I want people to read what I have written, and I love feedback. And I work to become a better writer. But I don't have a goal when I write.

I am telling a story. I want it to be entertaining, but do I want my readers to cry, to learn something, or to never forget about the main character?The truth is that I don't know. I just write without having a single goal for the story or how my readers should

I believe writers should have a main goal with everything they write. Do you agree?


2. I don't focus

When I started writing my novel, I thought that I wouldn't do anything but write for a year. I believed that was what authors do. I'd lock myself inside my office and just write.

I did write for a long time, but I kept doing so many other things that were not part of my main projects. And I kept creating new projects, instead of writing and finishing the novel and the short story.

I believe that writers should focus on one project at a time, and finish it before starting new projects. Do you agree?


3. I am terrible at editing

I write from the beginning of the first sentence until I'm finished. That's it. I know that as soon as I've finished writing, I will be really just at the beginning. Most of the time it's all about the editing. And the first draft is more or less just the foundation of the story. But I am having a hard time to remove anything from the story. I can add a lot, but since I have a hard time removing anything, the story becomes more and more complex.

I have come to realize the importance of editing, but removing is still a huge obstacle for me. I'd love your thoughts on this — what part of editing do you struggle with?


4. I write alone

I love the solitude of writing and I love the social part of the online world. My marketing experience is mostly part of the social world, where I have teamed up with lots of brilliant people who are helping me out. I get the experience of people from all over the world, and we share marketing advice. This has been all positive, and I wouldn't have been able to start my business if I didn't have this team of supporters behind me.

I believe that I shouldn't have been doing all my writing alone. I should have teamed up with other writers and I should have told them about my projects, and we should have shared opinions and experience. I am sure it's a myth that authors should be all by themselves when they write. I do my best work when I get feedback and when I am having conversations with people. If I could start all over again, I would find a mentor and a team of like-minded people to help me out. I understand the power of collaboration and I would have done my share.

Do you write alone, or have you teamed up with other writers? I'd love to know if other people are part of your writing process.


5. I write what I love, not what people will buy

One of my friends is a painter. I believe he is a brilliant painter. I love the way he paints, but the reason he doesn't sell any of his paintings is that he only paints what he loves to paint. And at the time I am writing this, he loves to paint aliens and blood. I believe that if he would have looked more at what people are interested in buying rather than what he loves to paint, he would be making a career as a successful painter.

I am not saying that he should only look at the market, but the market should be part of what he's doing. And the same goes for my writing. It took me a long time to adjust my first novel from a story that I wanted to write, because I thought that it would be an interesting project, to a story that would actually sell. I have added elements of both.

Adjusting to the market is important if you're going to make any money from writing. I know that money isn't really the issue, but if we're going to be able to write every single day and make writing part of who we are and what we do, we need buyers. And that brings me to my last point.

How to market fiction books

Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. I think of marketing fiction books in the same way: it's a three-step process.

The beginning

 Research who your audience is. Find out where they are, and what you should be doing to reach them. It's usually not that hard.
Do a pre-launch phase. Think of how movies are marketed: they've got trailers and movie previews at the movie theatres. Create book trailers and add them to your blog, to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. The point is that you should build expectations. It's not hard at all. You can hire a brilliant person to do it on Fiverr for only $5. Add some text, and she'll add the effects and the audio.

Use the trailer to drive traffic to your blog, and build an email list of people who are eager to read your book. Let them know that they'll get it before other people, or make a promise that they'll get it cheaper. The pre-launch phase should be no less than 30 days. It takes time to build expectations.

The middle 

 When you're launching your book, you should first send emails to the people on your list. They should be waiting for your book. Write guest posts on related blogs, the blogs your audience reads (which you learned during the research part of the pre-launch phase). You should write many guest posts, and they should be about the process of writing your book. Add things about your new book (you could do this during the pre-launch phase as well). Create press releases and submit them to the local press (it's fairly easy to get reviews in the local press) and to the large PR sites (such as?).

You should get testimonials from people who've read your book. Publish all the testimonials to your blog — the more the better. Ask your readers to publish the testimonials on sites like Amazon.com, which will give your book a higher ranking.

The end

The last part of the launch should be about building relationships with your readers. Relationships are one of the most important parts of marketing. Ask your readers for feedback, and get more testimonials. Build a community. Let them know about you. Tell them how you write, give them more background on the story, and why you wrote it and what your inspiration is.

It's important that you add to your blog regularly, and that you build your newsletter email list. Communicate with your fans and they will spread the word about your awesome books.

Jens P. Berget is a Norwegian author and entrepreneur. He is currently writing his first novel, and he has started his own marketing business, while he continues to live off his passion.

Jens' blog, http://slymarketing.com/, will host my guest blog, as well. Check it out!

Monday, July 02, 2012

TTC Blog tour- week six: Flash Fiction by Nikki Nofsinger

This week on the Tasha Turner Consulting Virtual Blog Tour, I'm hosting guest blogger Nikki Noffsinger. This week's assignment is something a little more traditional for a blog tour: flash fiction based on a picture.

How did Nikki take a picture of two boys on a picnic table in a golden field to a dark futuristic tale? You'll have to ask her. But enjoy the story, first:

The Promise

"Just promise me something." Deacon asked as he stared into the distance.

"Alright bro." his friend Hayden said with trepidation.

Deacon had been Hayden's best friend since they were babies. Their mothers had been best friends and when they had been both been sent to Sherwood School, it was with each other that they had found solace. To themselves, they were brothers and DNA didn't change that. Hayden looked at Deacon and for the first time he was afraid that he was going to do something that was going to throw their whole lives out of balance.

Deacon was just a hair taller than Hayden. He had thick unruly dark hair and clever but unusual violet colored eyes thanks to his genetics. He was a half-breed like Hayden, but unlike Hayden he had more of his paternal parent's lineage. Hayden was blonde headed and his eyes were almost silver with splinters of gold in them. They both had run from the Sherwood school, which had been more of a prison than a school. They and many others had been placed there because of their "gifts" and genetic encoding.

Deacon's DNA came from an ancient race of aliens that had crash-landed on earth more than eighty years ago, and his mother had been willing to have one of her eggs fertilized with altered sperm that carried the alien DNA.

Hayden had been created with animal hybrid genetics. Already Hayden's senses were heightened. Hayden was a mixture of human and hybrid wolf DNA and the only one to survive it. Like Deacon, their mothers had escaped before giving birth, not willing to give up their children, and had been hidden away for the first eight years of their lives until the Government had found them. Their mothers had been killed and they were sent to Sherwood. A month ago they had escaped, and so far had eluded capture.

"Promise me, Hayden, that you won't let yourself be caught and if they capture me, you'll kill me first." Deacon's voice was quiet but serious.

Hayden's head whipped around, "What the hell, Deacon we're not going to be caught!"

Deacon turned, his eyes swirling "I won't go back to Sherwood. I can't, Hayden. There is something changing in me and I'm scared of it. I don't know if I'm even going to be safe to be around and I need to know that if the worst should happen that you as my brother and friend will do what needs to be done!" he explained almost pleading.

Hayden ran a hand through his hair. How could he promise what Deacon was asking him to do? They both were changing, but Deacon could never hurt anyone. They had both seen the records and the archives. Deacon's alien ancestors had never been violent. Deacon had inherited certain things such as telepathy, telekinesis and an ability to absorb energy. One of the reasons they had left Sherwood was because the scientists had wanted to use him as a weapon.

They both looked over the countryside not knowing where they would go or what lie ahead. For several minutes there was nothing but silence other than the breeze blowing the grass and a few birds over head.

Hayden turned towards his friend, "Okay, if they ever get you or," he swallowed hard, "or you become a danger to yourself or others...I'll do it. I'll put you down but it isn't going to get that far! Do you hear me, Deacon, it will never come to that!"

Deacon smiled sadly,"Let's hope not, Hayden. Let's pray it doesn't."

What Deacon hadn't told his friend was that more and more, he was changing. Dreams that weren't of his past but of someone else's haunted him. Already he was craving blood, because that was what the Krios, the alien stock he was bred from, needed to survive. He didn't want to become a blood-thirsty monster. His mother had always told him that no matter what, he was a good boy. He hoped he would never have to face the day when he would make a liar out of her.

Nikki Noffsinger is a 37 year old mother of 2 who has had a love of books and a passion for writing at an early age. At 35 she embarked on getting her stories out there by getting published and by the time she was 37 she had two E-books published by XoXo Publishing. Aside from books and writing she enjoys time with her family, meeting new and interesting people, cooking, and loves rock music. You can find more about author Nikki Noffsinger at:
During this, the sixth week of the TTC Virtual Blog Tour, she's hosting the racy Laci Paige (hope you've got a working fire extinguisher, Nikki!) 
My guest post on the tour this week is a new installment in my story about the Worst Person in the World. It's on Brad Fleming's blog at http://bradfleming.co.uk/blog/. Visit the whole tour for some great fiction!