Focus. Focus Is The Key

Well, focus is something I have to work into this mixture with this whole independent author journey.

Hi!

I’m A.D. Ellis, author of A Torey Hope Novel Series. I started writing in October of 2013 and published in April of 2014. I followed my debut with a release in July, November, and the newest released January 19, 2015. Four more books are scheduled for 2015.

I wish I could tell you that I got all of this done because I was focused. But that’s not what this article is about.

I’m a mother, a wife, a teacher, and an author. I am the queen of multi-tasking and I think that’s why I’m able to get a lot done. I focus and give my best to all I do, but I have to work on several things at once.

If I was not being a mom and a teacher and a wife, maybe I wouldn’t have to multi-task, but I have to so I do!

This post is going to multi-task. It’s going to focus on a few of my biggest tips for success.

They are in no order, they don’t require 100% focus (although, you WILL have to put forth effort and do your best), and they can be done along with several other things all at once.

Engage with your readers:

  • Ask their opinions.
  • Invite them to send you their thoughts and feelings on your work.
  • Open yourself up to their comments and questions.
  • One of the very best parts of being an author is getting to meet and interact with my readers.

A side note: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT engage negatively with readers EVER. Not on review sites, not on emails, not on social media. Keep it positive. It never turns out well and you’re trying to build your name up and reach readers; you don’t need to get a bad reputation.

A side note on my side note: Just because you publish and are (hopefully, but very honestly likely not) a huge overnight success, this does not give you the right to start slamming others and expecting that every single reader will love your book. Stay humble.

Back to engaging with your readers…they are the most important people in this whole thing.

Readers leave reviews, readers tell their friends, readers buy more of your books. Treat them right.

Focus is the key

Research to get it right: If you’re going to take the time to write and publish a book, take the time to get the details right. My first couple books had some topics I knew a lot about from my years as an educator; no research needed there.

But, there were some topics on addiction and recovery that I wasn’t familiar with. Sure, I knew what I saw on television and movies, but I wanted to get it right; I talked to addiction and recovery therapists to get their insight.

I don’t have a medical background other than watching ER years ago. In my newest release, there were medical scenes and I wanted them spot-on. I spoke to paramedics and nurses. There were some scenes involving police and laws, I spoke to people in the law enforcement field.

I’m currently writing and need background/input on construction and the point-of-view of a gay man. So, what am I doing? Talking to those in construction and having a blast talking to families of gay men and gay men themselves.

What if you don’t know nurses, paramedics, police officers, gay men, therapists? JUST ASK! I promise, if you’re on social media and you put out a plea for information, you’ll get at least a couple people willing and able to help.

Read the whole article here.

Why Write?

I think this question has been asked to every author at every book signing, literary event and convention since time immemorial.

But it is an honest inquiry.

Why do authors choose to do this? What was the first spark? 

Personally, I started writing when I was a kid. I remember going to the movies and left wondering what happened after the lights came up. Did they all really live happily ever after? What about the bad guys? Did the surviving ones see the error of their ways?

So, I dabbled, keeping a handful of journals just to get the thoughts onto paper. Wrote on my high school newspaper, working in movie reviews and opinions primarily.

But it wasn’t until writing a satirical column about the mind controlling powers of Cabbage Patch Kids that I found my true calling in the world of fiction. (Sadly, the local newspaper did not print the article, but the editor gave me some very good advice: Don’t stop.)

I didn’t stop, but I did put my writing on hold. It wasn’t until I read the final book in a somewhat successful YA series, which will remain nameless, and after suppressing the urge to throw said book across the room for crappy story telling and ridiculous character choices, I decided to write my own story.

Why Write Authors

We read something that sparks our interest and decide, “You know? I don’t think ‘insert-character-name-here’ should’ve gone into that room. If I were writing their story…”

And so it begins. But creating a unique perspective on a well-known concept is the true test of any aspiring wordsmith. We all know about good v. evil, we know the bad guys will get their comeuppance or mend their ways.

But there has to be more than that. It’s in the shades of good and evil that we find the truly interesting characters. Our heroes need vices and our villains must have some redeeming qualities.

Read the whole article here.

How I Wrote My Book/ Books

Writing! What can be said about it? Are there enough words out there to describe the feeling?

I wrote the ”beginning” of a series when I was 14. I was clueless on how to proceed, lacking the ability to take it further and somehow, in the back of my mind, I always knew one day, I’d publish this book!

At the tender age of 7, I visited a castle in my mom’s home town in Italy. The ever lasting impression that had plagued me then, and still does to this day, had compelled me to start writing in my teens.

I fell in love with knights, history, fictional characters I gave life to, and a story line so descriptive and tantalizing, that I knew I had to give the world this story.

In my later years, that story was lost due to moving from home to home, but the basic story line had always stuck with me in the back of my mind, like riding a bicycle for the first time and letting that hobby go for some time, then taking it up again, although (rusty) we still never forget, as it slowly comes back to us.

Many years later, after watching series, documentaries, history channels and their shows, an idea so brave and scary came to mind!

How I wrote my book/ books

I thought, well, ” it’s time to bring your story back, Lory!” and make it count.

Read the whole article here.

My Journey In Writing – A City Without Walls

As long as I have been able to write, I have always imagined becoming a famous writer one day.

I fell in love with the written word and in the places that the stories took me.

I published my first work in a literary magazine while in high school, but it wasn’t until 2009 that I finally held my first book in my hands.

MY JOURNEY IN WRITING – A City Without Walls

My books are of a Spiritual nature and I believe were inspired by God.

I knew that I wasn’t writing in order to get rich; I just wanted to get my message out there in hopes of helping or inspiring someone else.

When it came time to actually publish my book, I searched different avenues in order to get it done.

Most sites that I went to wanted to charge me large fees, which I didn’t have at that time.

I even found sites that wanted me to sign the rights of my work over to them!

Finally, I discovered createspace.com. It took a few tries to get my book just the way I wanted it to look inside and out.

I had to edit it myself, however, and that was the hardest part.

We all know that, when we read our work, our minds usually see the words the way we think it is and not how it actually is. It is always good to have someone else edit your work for grammatical errors before you self-publish.

Another big thing is that you will have to do your own promoting if your intention is to sell your books for profit. One more thing I like about createspace.com is that you can set your own price and it breaks the price down to show you exactly where the money goes and how much your profit will be. I also enjoy the fact that I can order as many copies of my books as I choose to at a much lower rate.

Read the whole article here.

Outlines Are Wonderful

“Well hi there! So your probably reading this because you are a curious new author or an aspiring author. Your here because you want to widen your mind on tips for writing from other authors who have been down your path.”

My name is Juss Stinson and YES I am a proud author!

Many authors can offer advice to you and a lot of it may even be different than another author.

Don’t ever feel trapped since there really are many ways to go about writing! Here are just a few general tips.

Writing a book and need some tips?

Outlines are wonderful!

I scribble down characters I want to introduce, events I want to happen, and little details I don’t want to forget to incorporate in my work. I write all of it in order so I can just cross it out once I finally have it in my book! Keep your patience is the biggest advice I have for anyone.

Personally when I am in that horrible block I just open a blank page and type a bunch of nonsense, poems, or even short stories and all of these can detour my mind enough so I can get back on track.

Losing your temper can really slow your will to write down so make sure to stay calm and collective and just walk away for a little bit if you have to!

So you have written your book what’s next? You need to edit the heck out it! Read it over and correct all that you see is wrong or places where you lose your flow while reading.

Once you are happy I highly recommend beta readers.

These people of your choosing will read through your book correct awkward sentences, check spelling and grammar, and write notes of what they truly think. Choose those you believe will be brutally honest and who pay close attention to detail.

Once your finished and you feel your piece of work is exactly where you want to be you venture into publishing. You can find a publishing company who would love to have you and sign with them or you can always self publish.

Read the whole article here.

Rewriting Your Story

If you are thinking about writing a story, maybe a full length novel, then I hope I can help inspire you. I’ve looked back at the experiences I’ve had between now, and when I was a kid, and compared it to some other people’s experiences, and I think I have five tips, which honestly, I think other people have shared with me from time to time, which will help you.

They can help you write a better story to share with others, whether it is your own life story, or a story of a life of a character in your own settings for a book or book series.  With that being said, let’s get into it.

The first tip would be, know what version of you, that you want to be. If you are putting yourself into an imaginary world for a story, imagine a version of you within that world.

What is your past, what is your present like, and how would you like for things to change from here on out?  What kind of adventures do you want to go on?

What would it take for you to actually get up and leave the house to do something?  How many times would you have to try something before you get it right?

Feel free to both exaggerate, a little, and still be somewhat realistic. Once you kind of know this version of you, you are ready for the next tip.

The second tip would be, find a group to interact with who looks forward to the version of you that you want to become.

If you are writing this story, whether a novel you are writing, or just to write a story of your life that you would prefer to be living, then add characters to your story that accept you, and that you want to be around.

There’s a possibility that one day you’ll find a copy of this story, and realize that some parts of it actually came true, or are still coming true.

Either way, with this group with you, you’ll be better prepared for the unexpected moments life will bring into your story, and the unexpected twists that you may find yourself adding to the stories you are putting your character through, who will also find that they are better prepared, because they have friends who can help them through it.

So let’s keep going, with the third tip.

The third tip would be, sign up for the long trip.

Whether it’ll take a month or three, or a year or three, or whether or not you’ll spend the rest of your life at this, be ready to stick with it.  Think about your legacy.

Even if you don’t become world famous, and rich before you die, will you consider it worth it to create something so wonderful, so beautiful and amazing, that people will be sharing it, and reading it, crying and laughing and enjoying it long after you are gone?

Granted we don’t have much left from 5,000 years ago, but there are new books being written today that were inspired by works like Homer’s Oddessey.

Even though Homer is long gone, his story has managed to survive, and continues to inspire people.  I think that it is possible that in thousands of years, there will still be new stories of space travel and interactions with aliens whether or not we leave earth behind and find someone out there, inspired by Star Trek and Star Wars.

Somewhere, stories will be written by people inspired by the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings to write about trolls, and elves, orcs and men wielding swords and lances on horseback.

Hopefully, amid all this, there’ll be some people who are still inspired by my stories, dreaming about dragons who enter planetary atmospheres like meteors burning through the sky, who battle aliens called demigods to protect whole planets, sometimes who never even see or interact with them.  Sometimes aided by people like us, but all of it in another galaxy.

Whatever legacy you decide you want to leave, follow the next tip to help it.

The fourth tip would be, make your story, uniquely yours.  Almost every story has elements that overlap with elements of another story.

Sometimes a story or series of stories launches a whole genre of stories that all revolve around the same beings, often humans like us or humanoids who are different but have similarities.

Sometimes these stories simply introduce a new world for these beings to inhabit, sometimes these generic stereotypes of beings are divided into new races creating a new dynamic that isn’t in the old books.  Such as the now popular dark elves including Drizzt Do’Urden.

A new character sometimes is all you need, or can be a good way to introduce a new world or society into an otherwise older story universe.  In the end though, the better you differentiate your own story with that of someone else’s, the easier it will be to stand apart, and not get lost among all the similar stories.

But if you follow the last tip, you don’t even need to worry about it, because great things will happen anyways.

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