Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

One Week Since Release – Some Reviews!

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Hello, folks.

When it comes to being a romance author in the new millennium, I am a very tiny fish in a gigantic pond. I have been around for some time but have never really “hit.” And I’m still not there. I might never be there. But my goal has always been to build and engage with a base of “true fans.” Folks who honestly connect with my writing and aren’t just buying my books because one happens to be on sale in a bargain newsletter that week. Now, I’m all for bargain eBooks, but some of those newsletters are tough for an author to get into, especially the ones that will really make an impact, even temporarily, on an author’s ability to gain visibility on the electronic storefronts.

You guessed it. I have a tough time getting placements on the most important bargain sites, which is one of the reasons I don’t have sales on my books very often.

Back when I started publishing (as opposed to writing – that came long before), I used to joke with my reader peeps about my “dozen fans.” Those readers on whom I could count to buy a new book come release day. Well, guess what? I have cracked 40. That’s a long way from the 1000 true fans that a creator of content (like writers and musicians) evidently needs to earn a living–but! I have cracked my Faithful Forty! Baby steps, right?

Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered GETTING OVER BRETT or bought the book on release day or during this last week, the first week of the book’s release. I hope you’ve read it already. If you have, I hope you enjoyed it. And please tell your friends. Maybe leave a review. Reviews are extremely important to authors in today’s marketplace.

I was lucky enough to be able to build up some Advanced Reader Reviews for GETTING OVER BRETT, and, on Amazon, the book now has over 50 reviews in a week. I am pretty excited about that. Want to hear some reader reactions to the story? Of course you do, or you wouldn’t have read this far (click away now if you’ve just changed your mind).

5 Stars ~ “Loved the book!!! Never give your heart to someone you know is not ready to give you their all. Loved the book!!!”

5 Stars ~ “I absolutely loved this book and story. It caught my attention from the blurb and definitely hooked me right into the story once I started reading. I couldn’t find anything wrong with this book or story at all, that’s how much I enjoyed reading this book.”

5 Stars ~ “There were parts that made me laugh out loud. The ending was the happily ever after that they both wanted. I really enjoyed this book.”

5 Stars ~ “Love all books from Cindy this was my favorite. Really enjoyed the characters and story line. Also loved the cover of the book.”

Thank you! I love the book cover, too.

Quick Links:

iBooks

Kobo

Nook

Google Play

Amazon

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK

Amazon Down Under!

Or check out the cover, blurb, and read an excerpt here.

 

Join Me at Magical Musings Blog

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Today I’m over at Magical Musings Blog discussing great first book lines and sharing a bit about my writing process and PICTURE IMPERFECT.

Please join us!

My First Time

Friday, August 26th, 2016

Formatting a book for print, that is.

Actually, I’ve never formatted an eBook, either. I usually farm out my work. But this time I’ve decided I should learn to format myself. It makes updating files so much easier. For some unfathomable reason, I decided to start with print formatting.

CreateSpace has templates for use with Microsoft Word, and it would probably be a lot easier if I just downloaded one of those templates. Only problem is, my copy of Word is so old (the 2003 edition) that I can’t save as PDF, which I need for uploading to CreateSpace. And…years and years ago, when I built this site and my pen name’s site, I decided to upgrade my Dreamweaver and PhotoShop. They came combined in a program called Adobe Creative Suite 2. Creative Suite has since updated to a cloud-based service, but for someone like me the $20 U.S. a month when I only put out maybe two books a year (that’s being generous, LOL) isn’t worth it. And I don’t design my own covers. So, being the obstinate sort, I decided to try learning how to format my print interior pages with the very old InDesign CS2. The problem? Back when I was buying how-to books for Illustrator and PhotoShop, I didn’t buy one for InDesign, thinking I would never need it. Now, there are a lot of great free templates available for InDesign book interiors, but try finding one for the CS2 version of the program. So, instead of downloading a premade template and creating my book from there, I’m building the template from the ground up. Thanks to YouTube and Google, there are a lot of places I can go for help, but the set-up is never quite the same because, you know, Cindy has old software. This might take me awhile…

Just to prove I’m really at work, here’s a shot of Page 1 of PICTURE IMPERFECT in my Word doc, followed by how far I’ve gotten in InDesign (I finally created page numbers on my Master pages, but they aren’t starting in the right spot. My next challenge is creating running, alternating page headers.)

PI_page1PI_Print

The idea is that once I have the template down pat, I can use it for future releases as well. And, if you can read Page 1 of the Word doc, that’s the world’s first peek into PICTURE IMPERFECT! (Which will go up for pre-order just as soon as I’ve got the cover commissioned).

Yup, I need to create a new website page for the book, too.

The Cessation of Tuesday Deals

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Yesterday marked my last Tuesday Deals column. Click here to check the archives and note which deals remain available (please check expiration dates mentioned in the posts and also please check prices before downloading).

While I enjoyed writing Tuesday Deals, it was an experiment designed to force me to blog more often and get out the word about Indie romance authors. Then, one weekend, I accidentally wrote a column two weeks ahead of time. So I had to write two columns that weekend, one for the Tuesday I was originally supposed and one for the Tuesday two weeks ahead. The upside to this is that I did two weeks of work in one afternoon. The downside is that I spent my entire afternoon working on the columns.

That’s when it hit me. While I enjoy writing the columns, it would likely take several months to build up enough of a following to warrant the time away from my own writing. And, what was a writer with dry eyes following laser surgery and a rotator cuff that is nearly completely healed (but why risk it?) doing blogging about other authors instead of focusing on her writing?

Well, she was being nearsighted, that’s what.

The plain fact of the matter is that readers don’t visit blogs as much as they used. I get much more interaction on Facebook and Twitter than I do on my blog. People might be reading the blog, but they aren’t commenting like they used to before Facebook and Twitter really took off. So, unless I want to be checking blog stats all the time (and I don’t; I haven’t even installed a plug-in, although I guess I should), I have no real way of knowing how many visitors are reading, unless they comment. I think readers feel more comfortable commenting on Facebook and Twitter, because they’re closed networks. A blog is open to everyone. And that’s okay.

Do you know what’s the most important thing an author can do to forward her career?

Write more books.

In the day of the ebook boom, a writer’s production is more important than ever. When readers discover you, they want to read your backlist and look forward to your front list, those books that are coming. I’ve often bemoaned that I’m a slow writer, however, I’m not willing to sacrifice quality to increase my input. And, I write under two names, which means sometimes I have to ignore Cindy to focus on my alter ego. And, when real life interrupts, you can imagine how that might affect a slow writer’s production.

The best thing I can do for myself and my readers is focus on writing more books. Not worry that people aren’t commenting on my blog. Not come up with ideas to force me to blog. Not concern myself with the fact that I haven’t updated my Dear Cindy… Q & A or Articles pages in eons. That maybe I should redesign my website so it doesn’t include those pages, so then they wouldn’t remind me that I haven’t updated them. I can update them when it suits me. I can blog when it suits me. I can interact with the public on the social networks of my choosing. And I can write.

This doesn’t mean I’m completely stopping showcasing other authors on my blog. When I happen to see a deal I think is great, and I have the time, I’ll write up a post. If a writer I admire has a new release, I might write a post. But I’m not going to go looking for deals and I am no longer considering requests. It’s kind of weird that I’m making this decision just when authors are starting to come to me instead of me searching them out. But it’s a decision I need to make.

Deal?

Do You Epilogue?

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Romance readers, do you like epilogues? Writers, do you like to write them? How do you choose when to write an epilogue?

I have never written an epilogue, however, I just drafted one for the upcoming reissue of BORROWING ALEX, and I think it will wrap up the story nicely. I also added a new scene to the last chapter. I’m not padding for word count. With digital publishing, there’s no reason to (not that I would regardless). The lovely thing about ebooks is that an author can write her story the length it needs to be, or wants to be, I guess. This is especially freeing if you’re, as I am, updating and editing/revising a book that was originally targeted to the category romance market.

While BORROWING ALEX was originally written for a long-defunct Harlequin romantic comedy line, the line shut down just as I was finishing the book. Another category romance romantic comedy line sprung up in its place, but the new line wanted less zany and quirky and more “heartwarming,” as the editor who rejected my manuscript explained. BORROWING ALEX simply did not fit what this major publisher was looking for anymore.

By this time, I had discovered my former ebook and print-on-demand trade paperback publisher, Amber Quill Press. The second edition of HEAD OVER HEELS (which was initially published by a publisher who wasn’t fond of paying authors due royalties), as well as the first edition of BORROWING ALEX, were published by AQP and I had a great editing experience there. However, I (as well as many other ebook authors) was a bit ahead of my time. Kindles and Nooks and iPads didn’t exist and the mass market paperback was still king. That’s my way of saying that the first edition of BORROWING ALEX “enjoyed” a very small audience. I’m looking forward to reaching a larger audience by self-publishing digital and trade paperback editions through my own Blue Orchard Books.

Ebooks have changed the ways readers read, and, to some extent, they have changed how writers write. We are more in tune with readers than ever before. We no longer have to rely on publishing houses to forward letters and emails. Readers can get in touch with us directly. That’s not to say that whatever a reader says goes. Authors are still the creators of our books. However, as the market changes and readers who might not have read a lot of category romance back when that was the only game in town (for a book of about 50,000 words) discover new-to-them authors, I find it interesting to hear what they have to say, in the form of reviews and social media. Often I’ll follow a link from Twitter or Facebook to a reader’s blog and a light bulb will go on.

Recently, I read the term “Insta-Love” on a blog to describe how rapidly romance heroes and heroines fall in love. Readers who might have never read print category romances at all find Insta-Love a little unbelievable. Neither do they necessarily believe that a book needs every single thread tied up neatly in the last scene. However, for those of us schooled in category romance by the biggest category publisher around, well, wrapping up threads was a very strong guideline. And stopping the story as soon as possible after the hero and heroine committed to each other was another. As was getting in a marriage proposal before the book ended. After all, romances are supposed to end on a positive note, and, in category romance, the marriage proposal is the ideal.

That began to change as the readership evolved even within category romance. However, as I said, I initially wrote and published BORROWING ALEX while these tropes were strongly encouraged. Now, going over the book for reissue, even though no one complained (to me, anyway, or in the form of reviews) that my characters were guilty of getting engaged too quickly, I can see that, all right, maybe, in some books, they can slow things down a bit.

And that’s what I’m doing with BORROWING ALEX. The story takes place in the span of five days, and, yes, the H/h do experience Insta-Love. But does that mean they need to experience Insta-Engagement?

I’m not saying where the engagement now occurs in BORROWING ALEX, although some of you might guess (and, no, I couldn’t bring myself to eliminate the engagement entirely and make Alex a Mr. Right Now, because that’s just not who he is). But once the light bulb blinked, “Hey, Cindy, you are allowed to write additional scenes if they forward the story,” and, “Hey, Dimbulb, guess what? An ebook can be longer than 45,000 words computer count and the editor won’t strangle you,” well, it’s opened up a whole new world for me as a writer. To continue to learn and grow and develop as a writer… That’s a good thing and something each of us should continually strive for.

P.S. If you want to “read” the original edition of BORROWING ALEX, it is and will continue to be available as an audio book.

P.P.S. If you want to be among the first to know when the second edition of BORROWING ALEX releases from Blue Orchard Books, sign up for my Newsletter.

Plagiarism Is Illegal

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Just in case anyone’s wondering.

Check out this post and the comment trail on Liz Fielding’s blog. Liz was recently plagiarized and so were several other romance authors mentioned in the comment trail. Kudos to everyone who helped uncover the thief.

It doesn’t matter if you downloaded a story for free when it was offered as such from Amazon or a publisher or the author herself. That doesn’t give you the right to RE-publish the story yourself! That doesn’t give you the right to change character names and titles and upload the story for your own financial gain. It doesn’t give you the right to upload the story under your name and then give it away for free, either.

You know what right it does gives you? The right to read the story. To save it for your re-reading pleasure.

Plagiarism is illegal. And authors will not stand for it. You can only hide for so long. The Internet will help expose you.

In case you didn’t know.