Two years ago I joined The San Antonio Writer’s Guild. I have learned much from the monthly meetings with both independently published authors and authors with contracts.Then there are the weekly Critique meetings where your work is read aloud by another member then opinions are given on it by the others. There are a few things I have learned that can be put in little rules. I thought I’d pass these on to my friends who want to write a memoir or short story or even a novel. This is what I have learned:
1. You must write to edit. If there’s nothing on paper you can’t fix what’s wrong.
2. If you mention bringing a gun with you, you must also use it or take it with you at some point.
3. There are always too many thats in the world.
4. Do not use the same word four times in the same paragraph.
5. Do your research!
6. Do not have too many people in a scene at the same time, you will confuse your audience. This includes dogs and horses.
7. Show, don’t tell. Let your character(s) feel free to walk around the room and do things. Don’t stick him in a chair and make him pontificate. I have noticed that some men have trouble accepting multitasking by the women characters. But the women will get it.
8. For us old folks, only use one space after a period and Oxford commas are now looked down upon.
9. If you use a mythical creature, be certain you know the myth.Fairys, elves, leprechauns, trolls, pookas and gorgons are all very different things.
10. And for pity’s sake. Do your research!
Of course, this is not all by a long shot, but if you start here, you’re on the right track.
But most of all it is your story. You can do whatever you want, so don’t take any critiques personally. Write for yourself and your audience but do us all a favor and do it the best you can.Good luck. Go to your yellow legal pad/typewriter/dictaphone/computer and write.
Honestly, I didn’t think it had been literally months since I’ve posted here.
Real Life is a bitch. And when you get older its full of surprises. Quick commentary husband in hospital and now awaiting surgery. Me back in Physical Therapy and yeah, awaiting surgery too. Has anyone used Dragon software? How do you like it?
Now some more exciting news.
Last night I spent a great evening gathering with writers and friends at 400 Josephine, a lovely and quaint little bar to Celebrate the initial release of KL White’s first novel, Dark Waters. The groups represented were The San Antonio Writer’s Guild, San Antonio Romance Authors and a few more I didn’t hear their actual name. Dark Waters is published by Carina Books and is available on Amazon.com as an e-book. Sadly no paperbacks available in this type of deal
Dark Waters is an adult fantasy book involving a Kelpie and his human friend in war’s aftermath. Be advised this is an adult book and involves interspecies romance. PS a Kelpie is a shapeshifter Scottish water spirit, somewhat like a Pooka to the Irish often appearing in the form of a horse.
I’ve seen the first chapter and enjoyed it. I’m excited for my pal and hope to see many more books from her.
When you are a self published author there are a few things you need to know. First question from most people is ‘we love your book but why don’t you sell it to a big publishing house?’. Well, I’ve been told (and I believe it) that there are thousands of people writing manuscripts for various reasons. They want to prove they can, they have a need to try to help people and the old ‘I need to make some money and it seems easy’.
I wrote mine for the ‘I’d like to make a little extra retirement money’ reason, but I also noticed a void in the market. There are lots of stories about men going off to wars, coming home with issues and rebuilding their lives from various complications. But there are none about women. Women are seeing more and more battle action in our various services. Most often in the Marines and the Army. So I decided I’d write one for us.
I was in the Air Force. My job as an NCO was to insure our mission got done. I was in Transportation, the Chief Dispatcher. So I ran the shuttles, the taxies, and the supply trucks. My drivers went out and picked up broke-down, abandoned vehicles and basically kept the wheels turning. But even I, though not in actual combat during Desert Storm, suffered repercussions. Due to exposure to oil well smoke and who knows what else from the battle vehicles I developed Gulf War Syndrome which is a catch-all phrase. For me it is asthma, sinusitis, COPD, sleep apnea and various and sundry other problems. But enough about that.
My Book, The Homestead, is about a woman Marine combat veteran who was wounded and lost her fiance to an IED when they were en route to their assignment. She spends time in a medical facility and winds up inheriting the old family farm, discovering a 50-year-old cold case murder mystery.
I sent it to several big name publishing companies and received a series of very polite rejections. I seems that they were wanting something of a more supernatural bend like Vampires or Zombies in south Texas. Or a torrid sex scene. Or, while we liked the book we are not presently publishing this genre. Really?
So, I went in search of a Self-Publishing house that I could get along with. This is what I found out.
First you must find a publishing house to suit your needs: financially, responsibility, and work wise. I didn’t have $4,000. in my hip pocket, so that knocked a lot of them out. I had also heard stories of people who paid up front and got forgotten as time went on. I actually found one who takes monthly payments. And I kept 100 % of all rights to my book. I have a fantasy of that movie contract. LOL!
Second, you must find one where you have a real live contact person who will pick up the phone, give you good answers, make suggestions, and (at least seem) to care about you and your book.
Thirdly, find one who will do the basic sales deal. They will post your book on various venues. Amazon.com, Createspace, BarnesandNobles.com, the Apple Store, K0bo, the Google Play, etc.
And you must have one that fulfills your needs. Mine has a cafeteria plan. They have a long list of services and you can choose which one you wanted. I did’t want it edited, just proof read, got a nice cover design, print on demand, and a webpage. There were more options but that was all I wanted. Build a relationship with your customer account manager. Remember names of people who you WANT to deal with.
Now, actually selling the book is up to you. Go beat the bushes, get out to venues like bookstores, expos, conventions and things that are a part of your books. Mine has dogs in it so I advertise in Jack Russell Dog Show Flyers when I can find them. I also have horses so I went to the open house of my horse’s breed, American Indian Horse and I advertise in their magazine. Go on your FaceBook Page. And to the Group pages you belong to, (Ask Permission First, some have rules about this.) I know people through a Writers Guild, my husband’s bass club, and whenever I talk about the book, I hand out flyers with info on how to order it. Talk! You’re proud of your book, show it. Most of my doctors have flyers from me too. And donate to your local library, VFW, fund-raisers for your groups and anything else you are involved with. Oh! And Blog. Here we are, talking about the adventures and knowledge I’ve enjoyed since writing the book. So people say Twitter, but that’s too ‘right now’ for me. I like to write my blog and then re-read it before I post. It’s too easy to blurt stuff out I’ll regret later.
I’m sure you’ll think of lots else to do with your book, you just have to think about it. Good luck to you all.
By the way, the Publishing House I’m talking about is BookFuel. Google it and talk to the nice people there. Good luck.