Oct 272013
 

Click banner to buy “The Fallen Body”

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Hey, all you avid readers! My name is Stone Patrick, and I’m an author trying to market my debut suspense novel. It is now available in various formats, so check them out here:

The Fallen Body

In my novel titled “The Fallen Body,” Taylour Dixxon, a modern day small-town lawyer, befriends Sarah Cockrell Baines, a New Jersey socialite and millionairess. As their friendship begins, Sarah is arrested for the murder of her husband and is put in jail. When Taylour volunteers to defend Sarah, she has no idea that her struggling solo law practice in the sleepy, fictional, small town of Marlinsville, Texas, will be turned upside down. From a lovable, adolescent nephew who moves in with her, to a hired assassin who is determined to hide the truth, and a handsome Texas Ranger who becomes the object of affection in a love triangle between the two friends, Taylour’s life will never be the same.

The paperback version can be ordered by clicking here.

The hardcover version can be ordered by clicking here.

Again, click here to order your e-book version of “The Fallen Body”

Please be sure to post a review after you read!

UPDATE (11/19/2013):

Barnes and Noble is now carrying the paperback version of The Fallen Body here. (703)

Sep 232014
 

The novel “Jabberwocky” — written by Daniel Coleman — is based on the epic poem by Lewis Carroll. The story is based around a young man, Tjaden, who desires most of all to be a soldier who protects his kingdom from dangerous enemies and ferocious monsters.

He develops strong feelings for Elora, a pretty young maiden from his village whose own feelings for him are just as strong. An heroic confrontation between them and a bandersnatch leaves an ugly scar on her face, which complicates matters even further. Elora believes herself to be unwanted and Tjaden is ashamed that he was unable to save her from being disfigured.

Tjaden is chosen to join the ranks of the Elite soldiers, where he trains with his best friend, Ollie. However, when Elora is snatched by the Jabberwock, he volunteers to save her. Where an army has failed to defeat the Jabberwock, he must go it alone.

The surprising twist at the end will leave the reader breathless and wanting more. The author’s skill in weaving confusion and conflict throughout the plot is evident, and only until one reaches the end of the book is the conflict resolved. An excellent story that I highly recommend!

(233)

 Posted by on September 23, 2014 at 10:08 pm
Sep 232014
 

Daniel Coleman

Jabberwocky: a novel based on the epic poem by Lewis Carroll.

How can a boy succeed where an army has failed?

Tjaden, a young man who aspires to be an Elite soldier, blames himself when Elora’s beautiful face is disfigured by a bandersnatch. Elora hides behind her scars, feeling unlovable in a world that only confirms her doubts.

Before Tjaden has a chance to convince her the scars don’t matter, an even more terrifying monster comes between them—the Jabberwock. Tjaden must risk his life not only to prove his love to Elora but to save her life.

If the secrets of the vorpal sword fail, so will Tjaden.

Buy the Book from:

Amazon Barnes & Noble Amazon.co.uk Kobo

Meet the Author

 

Author
Daniel Coleman spends his time back and forth between two worlds – the fantastic world of Writing where happy endings are common, and the very real- life world of Firefighting where the outcomes are as varied as the emergencies.A small farming town in northern Utah is his home, where he resides with his wife, 3 kids and an ever-changing menagerie.

Daniel got his start in writing the same place he started reading–Fantasy.  He is currently working on follow-up books as well as polishing a science-based Urban Fantasy novel, New Phoenix Rising, which recently won First Place in the League of Utah Writers Contest!

Follow the Author

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Tara C. Allred

Come on Tour

Enjoy the Reviews!!

The Book Stalker ~ September 10, 2014

Espacularaiesa ~ September 11, 2014

A Gluten Free Journey ~ September 12, 2014

Cinnamon Hollow Reviews ~ September 14, 2014 – Guest Post

Totally Addicted to Reading ~ September 16, 2014 – Guest Post

I Love to Read & Review Books ~ September 17, 2014 – Q&A

31 Days Early I Rise ~ September 21, 2014

Taylor’s Book Pub ~ September 23, 2014

Cali Book Reviews ~ September 24, 2014

A Madison Mom ~ September 26, 2014

The Book Stalker ~ September 27, 2014 – Exclusive Interview

Book Club Sisters ~ September 28, 2014

Manic Mama of 3 ~ September 30, 2014

Presenting the Author Giveaway!!

 

Signed Books and EBooks Galore!!

$50.00 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card!

Ending on Tuesday September 30th at 11.59pm EST

Open Worldwide

Best of Luck !!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(205)

May 112014
 
This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 8,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

The Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine

Publisher: Randy Ingermanson (“the Snowflake guy”)
Motto: “A Vision for Excellence”
Date: May 7, 2014
Issue: Volume 10, Number 5
Personal Sitewww.Ingermanson.com
Circulation8590 writers, each of them creating a Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

“Fiction Writing = Organization + Craft + Marketing”

What’s in This Issue

1) Welcome to the Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine! 
2) Organization: Living By the 80/20 Rule
3) Craft: Proactive and Reactive Scenes
4) Marketing: Should You Accept That Advance?
5) What’s New At AdvancedFictionWriting.com
6) Randy Recommends . . .
7) What Randy is Reading
8) Randy’s Deal of the Day
9) Steal This E-zine! 
10) Reprint Rights

1) Welcome to the Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine!

Those of you who have joined in the past month (312 of you signed up in April), welcome to my e-zine!
If you missed a back issue, remember that all previous issues are archived on my web site at: www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com/ezine/

2) Organization: Living By the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule is pervasive. It’s only approximately true, but it seems to be everywhere.

 

Here are a few examples.

  • The largest 20% of the cities in England have 80% of the people.
  • The best-performing 20% of a sales team make 80% of the sales.
  • The most popular 25% of people in a speed-dating event get 75% of the date requests.
  • The biggest-spending 10% of gamblers bet 90% of the money.
  • 1% of entrepreneurs end up with 80% of the total revenue from startups.
  • Less than 20% of the land produces more than 80% of the food.

You’ll find many more examples of this in Richard Koch’s book, Living the 80/20 Way, which I’ve been reading lately and enjoying very much.

 

The main point of the book is that humanity makes progress when we find new ways to use the 80/20 rule.

 

For example, when agriculture was mechanized a couple of centuries ago, it freed up most of the population from working on farms. Today, we produce more food than we did 200 years ago, using less than 3% of the workforce.

 

What does this mean for us? Why should writers care about this?

 

Our biggest problem as writers is that success is heavily backloaded. Writers often work for ten or twenty years before they make much money from their writing. If they ever make any money at all.

 

That’s bad news, and there’s no way to make it good. There just isn’t.

 

This means that if we want to be successful in writing, we need the other parts of our lives to carry the load for a long time, while we wait for our writing to finally pay off.

 

There are a billion ways to do this. You can do it by working harder. Or you can do it by working smarter. (I can’t believe I’m pulling in buzzwords from the 90s, but sometimes the buzzwords are actually useful.)

 

Richard Koch’s book is all about using the 80/20 rule to find ways to do more with less. To earn more money with less effort. To find more joy in life with less hassle. To achieve more of what we want in less time.

 

Koch doesn’t say it’s easy to do this. Of course it’s hard.

 

But his point is that it’s possible. Any progress during the last ten thousand years of human history has come from when some clever person found a way to do more with less.

 

There is no formula for making this happen, but there is a mindset for making it happen. If you are constantly looking for ways to do more with less, then you’re more likely to find them.

 

Koch reduces it all to three basic steps:

  1. Decide on your 80/20 destination.
  2. Create an 80/20 strategy.
  3. Take 80/20 action.

A large part of his book is taken up with applying these three steps to  different areas of life—work, money, relationships, hobbies. He gives examples of how 80/20 thinking works out in practice.

 

My best bet is that there’s no magic in merely understanding the 80/20 rule.

 

If there’s any magic here, it comes in having an 80/20 mindset.

 

If you’re constantly looking for ways to do more with less, you’ll find them.

 

If you aren’t, you won’t.

 

You can find Richard Koch’s book at all the usual suspects.

 

Find it on Amazon.

 

Find it on Barnes & Noble.

 

 

3) Craft: Proactive and Reactive Scenes

It sounds horribly old-fashioned to say this, but once a month, I go to a critique group with real, live writers.

 

These days, it seems that most writers communicate electronically. That’s all fine, but it’s just more fun to get together in person, so we do it.

 

One of the most common questions I ask after somebody reads a scene is, “What happened in this scene?”

 

Something needs to happen in every scene. Otherwise, there’s no reason for it to exist. Something needs to change. The lead character for the scene needs to be better off or worse off at the end of the scene than at the beginning.

 

There are two common patterns that scenes fall into—Proactive Scenes and Reactive Scenes. Of these, Proactive Scenes are more common, but all novelists need to know how to write both.

 

Proactive Scenes
Proactive scenes are goal-oriented. The lead character for the scene is called the point-of-view character (POV character) and she wants to achieve some goal by the end of the scene.

 

But fiction feeds on conflict, so there is some reason your POV character can’t get what she wants. Maybe another character gets in the way. Maybe it’s something inanimate. Maybe this character is her own worst enemy, and she’s keeping herself from reaching her goal.

 

The bulk of the scene is going to be conflict. The POV character tries again and again to reach her goal. Again and again, she fails.

 

By the end of the scene, something happens. She either gets what she wants or she fails. But something must change.

 

If possible, you want your POV character worse off by the end of the scene. Why? Because that keeps your reader turning the pages. Happy characters are boring characters. Unhappy characters are interesting.

 

So we can summarize the structure of the Proactive Scene this way:

  • Goal
  • Conflict
  • Setback

Sometimes, of course, you have to let your POV character get what she wanted. But there’s almost always a way to “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.” If you must give your POV character a win, find a way to turn it to ashes.

 

There’s a short scene at the end of the first chapter of The Hunger Games that illustrates this nicely.

 

Our POV character, Katniss Everdeen, is at the annual “reaping.” The names of one boy and one girl from her district will be drawn from a large glass bowl. Whoever is chosen has to go fight to the death in the arena with twenty-three other kids.

 

Katniss’s goal for this scene is simple. She doesn’t want her name drawn. But she knows that there are twenty slips with her name on them in that giant bowl. She’s at high risk.

 

The conflict in the scene is mostly internal. Nothing Katniss can do will change her fate. So the scene is done with a few fragments of action and several big chunks of backstory.

 

The tension builds to the end, when a name is drawn.

 

And it’s a win for Katniss. Her name is not drawn.

 

Instead, it’s her little sister, Primrose, who’s chosen.

 

That’s massively worse than if Katniss had been chosen herself. That’s snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

 

Reactive Scenes
Reactive scenes are decision-oriented.

 

Typically, something bad has just happened. The lead character spends a little time reeling from this setback.

 

Then she buckles down to decide what to do next.

 

And there just aren’t any good options.

 

The lead character is boxed in to a dilemma, and she has to choose the least-bad option.

 

That dilemma may take a long time or a short time to resolve, but the scene isn’t over until the lead character decides what to do next.

 

That decision will become the goal for the next Proactive Scene. It doesn’t have to be a smart decision. It might be a bad decision.

 

What’s important is that it’s plausibly the decision that the lead character would make. It fits in with her values, her skills, her intelligence level, and everything else the reader knows about her.

 

So the pattern of the Reactive Scene is simple:

  • Reaction
  • Dilemma
  • Decision

At the beginning of Chapter 2 of The Hunger Games, Katniss feels like she did the day she fell out of a tree flat onto her back. She can’t breathe, can’t speak, can’t think.

 

That lasts for a very short time. Then her mind is off and running. This is impossible! Her sister had only one slip of paper in the bowl. How could her name have been drawn?

 

And yet it’s happened. It’s reality, and in the next minute, her sister is going to be taken up on stage and then hauled off to die in the Hunger Games.

 

That’s one option.

 

But there’s another, and Katniss takes it without hesitation.

 

She volunteers to go in her sister’s place. Katniss will die in the Hunger Games to save her sister.

 

Of course, this is exactly what she doesn’t want to do. She spent the entire first chapter desperately wanting to not go to the Hunger Games.

 

But in the first chapter, she also spent time with her sister, and we saw that her sister is the only person in the world whom Katniss loves.

 

Volunteering is crazy. Her odds of survival are tiny.

 

It’s a bad, horrible, stupid decision.

 

Yet it’s completely plausible, because it’s better than letting her sister die.

 

Volunteering is the most natural thing in the world. Katniss can’t help herself from doing it, and the reader can’t help cheering when Katniss makes it.

 

 

Further Reading

 

There is more to be said about MRUs. Three suggestions for further reading:

 

Dwight Swain’s classic book, Techniques of the Selling Writer, chapter 4. Currently about $21 on Amazon.

 

My best-selling bookWriting Fiction for Dummies, chapter 9. Currently about $14 on Amazon.

 

My novelThe Fifth Man, which includes three appendices on the craft of fiction. Appendix C contains an analysis of the first few dozen scenes of the novel, explaining exactly how each one works. On special this week on Amazon for 99 cents.

 

4) Marketing: Should You Accept That Advance?

Lately I’ve seen several of my indie author friends approached by publishers making offers on their next book.

 

The advances on the deals have been typical—not unduly large, not laughably small.

 

And my friends have been turning these offers down.

 

I have to say that this was unheard of years ago, when I was breaking in to publishing. If you got an offer, you took it. You griped about the size of the advance, maybe, but you took the deal because you had no choice.

 

Indie publishing now gives authors a choice.

 

The question is how to rationally make the decision. How big should the advance be to convince you to accept it?

 

Of course, money is not the only issue. There are a number of other reasons authors might dislike a contract offer, and I hope to discuss some of those in the coming months.

 

But the first point on the table is usually the money, so we’ll focus on that in this article.

 

The money used to be a no-brainer. Say the publisher offered you a $10k advance. In exchange for that $10k, they bought the exclusive rights to publish your work. You got the $10k. You got free editing, free proofreading, free cover design, free typesetting, free printing, free distribution, free sales, and free marketing.

 

What’s not to like? Why is this no longer a no-brainer?

 

Let’s look at the perceived value of all those free goodies.

 

Free editing: Most indie authors these days don’t spend very much on their editing. The range is probably $0 to $5000, with most indies spending less than $500. (I’m not saying this is the wisest approach. I spend more on editing for my own books. But what I see is that indie authors aren’t usually spending much on this.)

 

Free proofreading: Again, most indies don’t spend much on this. It’s hard to get data on this, but I doubt very many indies spend anything at all on proofreading. I’d bet that even among the top-selling indie authors, they aren’t spending much more than $200.

 

Free cover design: You can get pre-made covers in some categories for $30. You can get a pretty good cover for $200. You can get a great cover for $400. You can get an amazing cover for $1000. Of course, some indies do their own covers at no cost. I’d guess the average spent is around $100, and few spend more than $300.

 

Free typesetting: Most indie authors stick to e-books, which don’t require typesetting. E-books only need formatting, which is simpler. You can do this yourself with Scrivener. You can upload your Word document for free to Amazon and B&N. You can pay somebody a couple of hundred dollars. Most indie authors take the free route, and hardly anybody pays more than $200.

 

Free distribution and sales: If you post your e-books on the online retailers yourself, you get distribution and sales for free. You can pay somebody to do this, but most indies don’t.

 

Free marketing: Let’s be real here. The amount of marketing that traditional publishers do these days for most authors is minimal. Yes, if your books are selling well, your publisher will step in and do something. A-list authors will get A-list marketing and see A-list sales. But most traditionally-published books get almost all of their marketing from their authors. Likewise for most indie-published books.

 

The bottom line here is that most indie authors spend less than $1000 to produce a book, and very few spend more than $3k. So the perceived value of a $10k offer from a traditional publisher is not more than $13k.

 

Let’s be clear here. The actual value may be more than that. But the perceived value isn’t.

 

When I’ve discussed this with people at traditional publishers, they often don’t understand this critical point—that indie authors assign a low perceived value to the things that trad-publishers do.

 

This is true of indie authors at all levels—those earning a few dollars per year, all the way up to those earning a few million per year.

 

Let’s remember that most traditionally-published books will never earn out their advances. So on a $10k advance, it’s a reasonable guess that the total perceived value of the contract to the author is between $10k and $13k.

 

Now the question is what does an author give up for that $10k to $13k in value?

 

The answer is very simple. The author gives up the freedom to price the book competitively. And the author gives up a large chunk of the revenue from the book. (The “standard” royalty rate for e-books is 25% of revenue received by the publisher. Some publishers pay less than this. Some publishers pay more.)

 

What happens in practice is that most books published by traditional publishers have an initial spike in sales, and then sales slow to a trickle, and that’s the end of the story. Very soon, revenue goes to zero.

 

What happens for indie books is that the book sales show a spike whenever the author cuts her price and promotes her book. After she bumps the price back to normal, the sales drop to a plateau.

 

Over the course of a year, the indie author sees a certain average amount of monthly revenue for each book. Since she can cut the price and promote the book every few months, she can continue earning money on the book for years and years.

 

This means that an indie author might eventually earn much more than a typical advance. (And this is not just theory—this is what many indie authors see in practice.)

 

The problem here is that $13k earned today is worth more than $13k spread out over many years. Inflation erodes the value of future money. And money you earn right now can be invested and it will grow.

 

As an example, if inflation is 2% and if you can earn 2% on your money, then $100 today would be worth $104 in next year’s money.

 

This means that $104 earned next year is worth $100 today.

 

This is what the finance people call the “net present value” of future earnings.

 

Courtney Milan did an excellent blog post on net present value about a year ago.

 

Jeff Posey did an article with some sample calculations on the net present value of an indie novel.

 

Both Courtney and Jeff include simple spreadsheets that you can use to estimate the net present value of your books.

 

Of course, you have to estimate some numbers. You need to have a guess of how much your book will cost to produce, how much revenue it will earn each month, how fast you write, and how much each new book will promote your previous books.

 

Jeff makes some reasonable estimates for three different scenarios and comes up with three different estimates for the net present value of a book.

 

You may be shocked by the results. Jeff’s high-end estimate shows that if the book earns $150 per month and you spend $5k producing it and you write three books per year, with each new book boosting sales of previous books by 3%, then the net present value of your book after 20 years is over $145k.

 

That’s impressive.

 

Are these numbers realistic? That’s for you to decide, but I know of some authors who’ve done much better than this and many who’ve done much worse.

 

But if you compare that $145k to the $13k net present value of the traditional contract, then you can see that there’s a huge mismatch.

 

This is why it’s no longer a no-brainer to take the advance.

 

When indie authors turn down offers from traditional publishers, this is the reason. It’s not because they’re stupid or petulant. It’s because they think they’ll earn more on their own.

 

(Few indie authors know how to do net present value calculations, but they all know how to measure their cash flow. When their annual revenue gets to be more than the size of the advance, they stop being interested in offers from traditional publishers.)

 

I’m not saying that all authors should rush out and become indie authors. I’m just saying that there’s a calculation you can do to make a rational decision.

 

In coming years, it will be a lot clearer what are the most reasonable assumptions to make for those net present value calculations.

 

Once people know those numbers, the answer to the question “Should you accept that advance” will be much clearer to everybody—both authors and publishers.

 

And then publishers won’t be so astonished when an author rejects them.

 

Note added: These days, some indie authors are creating their own advance by “crowd-funding” their book on KickStarter or IndieGoGo. This can work if you know what you’re doing, but it takes time to learn how to run a successful campaign.

 

My friends Thomas Umstattd and Mary DeMuth have both run successful crowd-funding campaigns in the past. They’re working on a course to teach authors exactly how to run a good campaign: “The Ultimate Crowdfunding Course for Authors.”

 

To raise money to complete the course, Thomas and Mary are crowd-funding the course.

 

I am absolutely certain this will be a valuable course on crowd-funding, and I’ll be supporting them. If you’re interested in crowd-funding, check out their campaign on IndieGoGo.

 

5) What’s New At AdvancedFictionWriting.com

Writing Schedule

April has been a fairly productive month for me, although I took some time off for travel. I got final cover designs for two of the three books in my City of God series of time-travel historical novels, and the third is in process.

 

I took a week off to go to a writing conference and then hang out for a couple of days with my co-conspirator, John Olson.

 

I finished the first draft of a new book on fiction writing and began editing it. The topic is my wildly popular Snowflake method of writing a novel.

Teaching Schedule

I normally teach at four to six writing conferences per year. In 2014, it looks like I’ll be attending five conferences, and I think that’ll be my limit for the year.

 

Why don’t I teach at more conferences? Because teaching is an incredibly demanding blood sport and it sucks a huge amount of energy out of my tiny brain. I prefer to put my absolute best into a few locations than to muddle through at many.

 

Here’s what my calendar shows me for the remainder of 2014:

  • In August, I’ll be teaching a six-hour course, “Passive Marketing 101,” at the Oregon Christian Writer’s conference in Portland. Details are here.
  • In September, I’ll be teaching a three-hour-plus session, “How To Be An Insanely Great Indie Author,” at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in St. Louis. Details are here.
  • In October, I’ll be attending the Novelists, Inc. Conference in St. Pete, Florida. This conference is shaping up to be the best Ninc conference ever, and it’s going to be in an amazing location, just feet from the beach.

If you’d like me to teach at your conference in 2015 or beyond, email me to find out how outrageously expensive I am.

 

If you’d just like to hear me teach, I have a number of recordings and e-books that are outrageously cheap. Details on the products page of my web site.

6) Randy Recommends . . . 

I don’t take paid ads for this e-zine. I do, however, recommend people I like.
I’m a huge fan of Margie Lawson’s courses, both the ones she teaches in person and the ones she sells on her web site at www.MargieLawson.com
Margie is a psychologist who applies what she knows about human psychology to writing fiction. I believe her material is brilliant. Check her out on her web site!
I’ve also become a fan of Thomas Umstattd’s terrific uncommon-sense thoughts on internet marketing. You can read Thomas’s blog at: www.AuthorMedia.com/blog
Thomas and his crew at AuthorMedia are the folks who reworked my web site recently, and I’m extremely happy with the results.
Please be aware that in this section I ONLY recommend folks who have never asked me to do so. Tragically, this means that if you ask me to list you here, I will be forced to say no. 

7) What Randy is Reading

You might be interested in some of the books I’ve been reading recently. I’m omitting books I started and didn’t finish. I’m also omitting books that were horrible but I read anyway. (There are certain aspects of the craft of writing that you can only learn by reading really wretched fiction and asking yourself what makes it so bad.)

 

Here are the ones worth reporting from April:

 

Living the 80/20 Way, by Richard Koch. How to use the 80/20 principle to make your life better.

 

 

That’s all? Dang! April was a pretty slow month for me in the reading department. There were three other books I read that are not of general interest. But the main problem is that I spent eight days on the road. I spent the week before scrambling to get ready and the week after scrambling to catch up. Sigh. This is why I have to limit my travel. One conference makes a hole about three weeks wide in my life.

 

 

8) Randy’s Deal of the Day

In case my Loyal E-zine Readers are interested in any of my own novels, I thought I’d try offering a special deal on one of my e-books.

 

Today’s “Deal of the Day” is good for at least five days, May 6-11, 2014. Here it is:

 

It’s the spring of 2015, and Valkerie Jansen discovers evidence of past life on Mars. Valkerie instantly becomes the science darling back on earth.

 

But trouble is brewing between Valkerie’s two male crewmates on Mars. Both of them have a thing for Valkerie, and their testosterone-driven competition is ruining Valkerie’s life.

 

Then Valkerie falls ill with a dangerous infection—and it isn’t any known bacteria from planet earth. NASA debates whether it’s safe to bring the four-person crew of the Ares 10 back to earth.

 

But Valkerie thinks Mars isn’t safe either. Somebody—or something—seems to be trying to kill her, but she’s the only one who can see the evidence.

 

Is there a mysterious “fifth man” on Mars? Or is Valkerie’s mind playing tricks on her? Is she fit to return to earth—even if they’ll have her?

 

 

The Fifth Man is fast-paced science fiction suspense by a biochemist and a physicist. It includes three bonus appendices (16,000 words) especially for novelists on the craft of fiction.

 

99 cents at Amazon.

 

99 cents at Barnes & Noble.

 

99 cents at Smashwords.

 

99 cents at the Apple iTunes store.

 

If you’re outside the US, remember that Amazon and the Apple store often price e-books differently inside and outside the US. I’ve done my best to keep prices all around the world as close to 99 cents as possible.

9) Steal This E-zine!

This E-zine is free, and I personally guarantee it’s worth at least 413 times the price. I invite you to “steal” it, but only if you do it nicely . . .
Distasteful legal babble: This E-zine is copyright Randall Ingermanson, 2014.
Extremely tasteful postscript: Yes, you’re allowed to e-mail this E-zine to any fiction writer friends of yours who might benefit from it. 
Of course you should not forward this e-mail to people who don’t write fiction. They won’t care about it.
At the moment, there is one place to subscribe: www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com

10) Reprint Rights

Permission is granted to use any of the articles in this e-zine in your own e-zine or web site, as long as you include the following 2-paragraph blurb with it:
This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 8,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visitwww.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

The Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine is Published by:

Randy Ingermanson 

(853)

 Posted by on May 11, 2014 at 10:02 am
Mar 012014
 

Announcing the Smashwords International Read an Ebook Week! This is an opportunity for all authors to promote their books through the Smashwords platform by giving discounts to all readers! Click the icon below to participate:

girlreading

 

 

  (975)

 Posted by on March 1, 2014 at 8:09 pm
Feb 192014
 

I am a big fan of Smashwords.com so when I came across this blog post, I had to share it. The article is titled, “Can Ebook Data Reveal New Viral Catalysts to Spur Reader Word-of-Mouth?” and gives all indie publishers — and indie authors — some points to ponder. I have included the presentation below:

 

 

Please take a moment to look through the slides. If you are unable to see it from this site, simply click on the article name above and you will be directed to the Smashwords blog post.

Comments? (1024)

 Posted by on February 19, 2014 at 7:48 pm
Feb 042014
 
book 2

I just came across Smashwords.com, which is a great website for publishing your books, novels, poetry, short stories, etc. It only took a moment for me to convert my .doc file to the site, and they converted it to other ebook formats for me! It was so easy.

swlogo

 

 

 

The site includes ebooks of every kind of category, and there are a number of them that are free or included at discount prices. The nice thing about Smashwords is that it is free for all authors to make their ebooks available.

They also make your ebook available to their distribution network as long as it passes a 2-3 day review period.

Smashwords mission statement is as follows: “Our mission is simple: we want to create the world’s single best ebook publishing and distribution platform for our indie authors, publishers, literary agents and retailers.” – Mark Coker, CEO and Founder of Smashwords.

There are a three ebooks that are written by Mark Coker that are offered for free on the site. These books have helped me tremendously. The first one is Smashwords Style Guide.

Smashwords Style Guide

This book provides a step-by-step guide on how to style your manuscript so that it is readable on the different ebook platforms, i.e. MOBI (Kindle), EPUB, PDF, RTF, LRF, PDB, and TXT. It is required reading if you want to submit your books to the major ebook retailers.

 

 

 

The second book is Smashwords Book Marketing Guide.

Smashwords Book Marketing Guide

This is an ebook marketing primer that gives easy-to-implement advice on how to market books at Smashwords and other ebook retailers. It starts with an overview of how Smashwords helps promote your ebook, and then provides 41 simple DIY marketing tips that will help you promote your ebook. You get to choose to which ebook retailers you want to upload your novel.

 

 

The third book is Smashwords Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success.

Smashwords Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success

This book is a must-read for new or veteran authors who want to take their marketing to the next level.

Finally, Mark Coker produces relevant and interesting industry content on the Smashword.com blog, which can be found here. His most recent posting about the Indie Author Manifesto is brilliant writing. It is loaded with talking points and culminates in 10 self-evident truths.

 

For an example of what I have done, you can find me on Smashwords here:

fallen_kindle

Try it for yourself and see the power behind this website! (1146)

Dec 042013
 
This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 7,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

The Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine

Publisher: Randy Ingermanson (“the Snowflake guy”)
Motto: “A Vision for Excellence”
Date: December 3, 2013
Issue: Volume 9, Number 12
Personal Site: www.Ingermanson.com
Circulation: 7014 writers, each of them creating a Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.

“Fiction Writing = Organization + Craft + Marketing”

What’s in This Issue

1) Welcome to the Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine!
2) Organization: Purgery
3) Craft: Can You Spot a Liar?
4) Marketing: The Currency of Marketing
5) What’s New At AdvancedFictionWriting.com
6) Randy Recommends . . .
7) What Randy is Reading
8) Steal This E-zine!
9) Reprint Rights

1) Welcome to the Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine!

Those of you who have joined in the past month (319 of you signed up in November), welcome to my e-zine!
If you missed a back issue, remember that all previous issues are archived on my web site at: www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com/ezine/

2) Organization: Purgery

If you want to write efficiently, you need to keep your stuff organized. Everything in its place. Everything out of your face.Books in bookshelves. Papers in filing cabinets. Electronic equipment on the desk. Nothing on the floor or sitting in stacks.That’s all fine as long as there’s room on the bookshelves and in the filing cabinet.But what happens when you run out of room?

That’s what’s happened to me recently, and I’m currently going through a painful process my kids call “purgery”—because it requires purging stuff I don’t need. I hate throwing things away.

I’ve put this off for way too long, so it’s going to be horrible, but the plan is pretty simple. I need to throw out all the papers in my filing cabinets that I don’t need. I need to unload the books on my shelves that I don’t need. And I need to recycle the electronics on my desk that I don’t need.

Purgery is right up there next to flossing the cat on my list of most-hated tasks. But I’m way past due, and my goal is to spend the month of December purging, so I can start the year fresh.

I’m starting with the two filing cabinets in my office. Each of them has five drawers, and you’d think that’s way more than enough. But they’re both full, or very close to it. I tend to keep a lot of paper, because you never know when you’ll need those old records.

But there’s a limit to how long you need to keep old records. A lot of mine have way out-lived their useful life.

One problem with purging files is that you can’t just throw away paper that has sensitive information on it. You definitely don’t want to throw away old credit card bills, for example, because they have your credit card number on them.

To purge private documents, you need a shredder—a good crosscut shredder that chews up paper into small pieces, not just into long strips.

It was way too daunting to try to purge all ten drawers in my filing cabinets all at once, so I started with the drawer I use the most, the one labeled “Bills.”

Here’s the procedure I used:

  1. Set the timer for 30 minutes, because I can only do purgery for about that long before my head explodes.
  2. Grab the first file and flip through it, sorting the documents into three groups:
    • Stuff to keep—anything less than a year old I might need for doing taxes (this goes back in the file).
    • Stuff to shred—anything with account numbers on it (this goes on the floor)
    • Stuff to throw away (this goes in the trash without shredding)
  3. When I’ve finished the file, I put it back into the filing cabinet and then shred everything on the floor.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 on the next file, until my timer goes off.

Yes, this is the most boring kind of work I can imagine. No, it can’t be put off any longer.

When I’ve got a spare half hour, I pick up where I left off. I started the weekend before last and I finished the Bills drawer this last weekend, working a few files at a time.

The next step is to clear out the file drawer in my desk. And then the filing cabinet drawer labeled “Business.”

Then, I’ll sweep through all the bookshelves and look for books I can throw away. For me, throwing away books is like murdering friends. So this is going to be extremely hard, but it needs to be done. I don’t buy paper books anymore, because there isn’t any space left on any  bookshelf in the house. And we have an embarrassing number of bookcases.

How are you doing with the space you have? Have you run out of room to put more stuff? Are things stacking up on your floor? Do you have boxes of junk cluttering up your workspace?

Is it time for some purgery? How much can you get done before the new year comes in? Would it make a difference in your life if you cleared out even ten percent of the stuff you don’t need? Wouldn’t that feel great?

If so, then you’ve got plenty of company. You’ve got me and a lot of others in the same boat. Let’s get it done.

I dare you to commit some purgery before the year is over.

3) Craft: Can You Spot a Liar?

Every person on the planet tells lies. Which means your characters all tell lies. Wouldn’t it be cool if you knew exactly what lying looks like so you could show it to your readers?

Yeah, that would be cool.

I’ve been watching the TV series LIE TO ME on Netflix lately.

The series is based on a real-life psychology professor, Dr. Paul Ekman, who specializes in reading facial expressions to detect emotions and lying.

Of course, we’d all love to be able to infallibly detect lying, but that’s incredibly tricky. Much to my disappointment, there just isn’t any single thing you can watch for that would prove you’re being lied to. But there are many indicators of lying.

If you want to detect deception, you have to put it together from a large number of clues. The visible emotions on the face. The body language. The response of the autonomic nervous system. And you have to compare all of those to what you see when the person is telling the truth.

Then you have to think about whether the person is a psychopath who doesn’t feel guilty for lying. Or maybe they’re not a psychopath, but they feel good about this particular lie because it achieves a greater good.

And you have to consider the possibility that the person actually believes what they’re saying. Maybe they’ve fooled themselves or have been lied to by somebody else. Maybe they’re just stupid and jumped to a dumb conclusion.

So detecting lying is hard. Most people can’t do it very well—their guesses are not much better than random chance. The good news is that a trained person can detect lying most of the time. The bad news is that nobody can infallibly detect lies, and neither can any machine.

Some people are natural liars (they make good lawyers and salesmen and poker players). It can be hard for even a trained person to detect when a natural liar is lying.

I was disappointed to learn that I wasn’t going to find an infallible way to spot a liar. But this little journey into the study of lying wasn’t wasted. In fact, it turned out to be quite valuable. Here’s why …

It’s easier to learn to detect emotions, and this is important to fiction writers, because emotion is the currency of fiction.

I’ve been reading one of Paul Ekman’s books (co-authored with Wallace V. Friesen), UNMASKING THE FACE, which is a terrific handbook on learning to read emotions from the face.

There are six basic emotions that show up well on human faces:

  • Surprise
  • Fear
  • Disgust
  • Anger
  • Happiness
  • Sadness

Each of these has at least one typical expression, which usually show up most clearly in the eyebrows, the forehead, the eyes, the nose, the mouth.

Some emotions have more than one typical expression (there are two distinct ways that fear can show up in a person’s mouth, for example).

Any of these emotions can show us on a range from very mild to very intense.

And you often see mixes of two or even three emotions on the same face at the same time.

If you learn these typical expressions, you can work them in naturally into your description of your character’s face. This is a clue for your reader, a clue you don’t have to interpret for her. You can show your reader those emotions, rather than telling her. And there’s more.

Dr. Ekman pioneered the technique of reading “micro-expressions”—which typically last for a small fraction of a second and reveal hidden emotions. These can be incredibly important to a fiction writer.

If a husband is telling the cops about how horrified he was when he discovered his murdered wife, and he shows a micro-expression for rage, then your detective might want to check whether he was really out drinking with the boys until late.

If a wife is telling her hubby about how she spent the afternoon shopping for his birthday present, and she shows a micro-expression for disgust, he might start to wonder whether she was out “shopping” with her personal trainer at the local motel.

If your heroine is crushing on that cute guy with the unreadable poker face and she wonders if he even knows she exist, and every time he looks at her, he shows a happiness micro-expression, well then he likes her. So she can start flaunting whatever it is she flaunts best.

The nice thing about these facial expressions, including the micro-expressions, is that you can show them to your reader and it’s one less thing you have to tell her.

Not every reader will read these clues correctly, but that’s OK. In real life, we don’t always read people correctly. Clues are just clues, and even if you read them, you can’t ever know if you’re being tricked. So it’s fine to leave things a little ambiguous in your fiction.

Knowing how to read facial expressions is just one more weapon in your arsenal as a fiction writer. Use it well.

If you want to know more about reading people’s faces, here’s a link to the Amazon page for UNMASKING THE FACE. And here’s a link to the B&N page. Have fun!

4) Marketing: The Currency of Marketing

The most important lesson I ever learned about marketing was taught to me by a hard-eyed electrical engineer, whom I’ll call Rick.

It was a few years after I had escaped from academia, and I was working for a mid-sized company in San Diego that did contract physics research for the government. We built machines that could deliver more than a terawatt of power—a million megawatts—in one giant burst.

I’m a theoretical physicist, and my job was to write custom software to analyze the physics of the machines.

That year the company went through a reorg, and my boss and I got moved over to work in the building with the experimental group. And one of my first tasks was to help out on a rush proposal.

My boss held a meeting with some of our new co-workers. The proposal needed some calculations. They were too complicated to do by hand. We needed custom software to do the calculations. And we needed answers right away.

My boss turned to me. “Can you get it done by tomorrow?”

The truth was that I didn’t know. In a week, sure, I could do it. It was a matter of integrating some code somebody else had written into my own software and writing whatever glue I needed to make it all work. But every programmer knows that working with other people’s software is always dicey.

I said I’d give it my best shot.

One of the engineers in the meeting was this guy Rick. He was in his late fifties and he had shaggy gray hair and a craggy, wind-burned face and a smoker’s voice.

Rick happened to be one of the best engineers in the world at building high-energy pulsed-power machines. He was a no-nonsense, get-it-done kind of a guy. Rick was also one of those people who don’t bother trying to hide what they think.

I read on Rick’s face right away that he didn’t think I could do it. I was an unknown quantity. As far as he was concerned, I had zero credibility.

But my boss thought I could do the job, and there was nobody else to do it, so I had to either sink or swim.

I knew it was important to the company, so I decided I’d give it my maximum effort.

I went into high gear right after the meeting and I pounded on the problem right through lunch. I worked without a break all afternoon. Around 5 PM, I called my wife and said I was going to be home late, really late.

She brought me some supper and I ate it at my desk while I sweated out all the glitches you get when you try to glue together software that wasn’t designed to work together.

I don’t remember the timing exactly, but I’m guessing that sometime around 11 PM, I got it working. I ran some test cases for reasonable scenarios and printed out the results and left them on my boss’s desk. Then I went home and collapsed.

The next morning, I got in late and was checking e-mail at my desk when Rick came by with a solemn expression on his face.

I looked at him, wondering what I’d done wrong.

His craggy face cracked into a smile. “That was good.”

“What was good?” I asked.

“What you did. You were here way late last night. You got it done. That was good.”

And I could read on Rick’s face that I’d earned something crucial.

Credibility.

After that, Rick knew he could count on me to get it done. To do it right. To do what it took.

And that’s the big lesson I learned. A lesson that carries over into every area of life. Most especially into marketing.

Credibility is not something you can buy. The only way to get it is by earning it.

The only way to keep it is to keep on earning it.

Credibility is the foundation of all marketing. When marketers talk about “branding,” they are really talking about earning credibility with your target audience. They’re talking about proving that you can provide the thing people want to buy.

You build credibility by delivering the goods. Every time.

You lose credibility when you don’t deliver the goods. Even once.

If you’re a Starbucks fan, it’s because Starbucks earned your credibility, one cup at a time, every time.

If you’re a Stephen King fan, it’s because Steve earned your credibility, one book at a time, every time.

Every novelist wants to make it big, to write a breakout book that makes them a rock star.

Rock star writers don’t usually come out of nowhere. Most of them earn the right to be rock stars, by delivering the goods, by getting better book after book, building their fan base, developing their skills, growing as a writer.

A lot of rock star writers break out after five or ten or twenty books, building credibility all along the way.

Oh sure, there are a few who break out with their first or second book. Clancy and Grisham and King and Rowling come to mind. But they remain rock stars by maintaining their credibility.

A rock star who doesn’t keep delivering loses credibility, bit by bit, until it’s gone. And then he’s not a rock star anymore.

Here are a few rules for you as you build your own credibility in your writing career:

You earn credibility by delivering the goods.

You earn credibility by doing the right thing.

You earn the most credibility by doing the right thing when you think nobody’s watching. (But somebody always is.)

You earn credibility by doing your best, every time. Bear in mind that “doing your best” is a relative thing. It means doing your best on each particular day. It does not mean that every day you have to do better than the day before. That’s impossible. You’ll have good days and bad days, but even on your bad days, you need to be doing the best you can on that day.

Credibility only matters for your target audience. There will always be people outside your target audience who hate you and who won’t ever give you a chance to earn credibility. Don’t waste a second worrying about them.

Athletes talk about the dangers of “mailing in the win.” The surest way to lose big is to try to coast through on a second-rate effort against a second-rate opponent.

The surest way to lose credibility is to start producing work that isn’t up to your standard.

Credibility is the currency of marketing.

If you have credibility, then marketing your work is easy.

If you don’t have credibility, then marketing your work is hard.

Now take a look at what you’re doing today.

Will it boost your credibility, or at least keep it even?

Or will it cut your credibility?

 

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 Posted by on December 4, 2013 at 8:45 pm
Nov 302013
 

The young woman stumbled in her black stilettos as she walked towards the bridge, the road pock marked and scraped from erosion. She cursed her luck and wondered where she was exactly. Her wet blonde hair fell limply around her cream cashmere sweater. Just then, a delivery truck passed by and drenched the poor pedestrian, splashing grime, mud, and oil. She yelled and shook her fist at the sky. It responded by piercing the air with a raindrop that went “smack” against her forehead, startling her.

The rain fell in big, heavy drops, washing everything in its path. She flipped off her shoes and fled painfully for cover until she reached the unlit overpass, which offered some relief from the deluge. She flung herself down on the hard cement incline, and glared at the water pooling at her swollen ankles. She inched up a few steps. The rain pounded the pavement around her, and brought the scent of wetness. She closed her eyes and dreamed about taking a nice, hot shower.

She was startled with a flash of lightning, and recoiled when she saw someone standing in front of her. She stifled a scream as the outline of a hand clasped her mouth. She tried to wriggle away, but he was too strong. She nearly passed out from the stench of body odor.
“Now, now, no need t’ struggle. I ain’t gonna hert ya,” the voice crackled. “I saw ya wanderin’ under m’ bridge, an’ came to see if I could hep ya.”

He took his hand from her mouth. “Ain’t no one gonna hear ya scream, not with this racket.” Cackling, he backed away, still a shadow in the darkness. “Ain’t no one out in this, ‘specially under my bridge.” He motioned with his hand towards the deep recess of the underpass, and she followed his gesture. She squinted to make out what was there, and saw a makeshift cardboard lean-to, with white plastic Wal-Mart bags stacked everywhere. Taking a deep breath, she finally spoke.

“I… I’m lost. Not exactly sure where I am or how I got here. It started raining, so I ran for cover,” she said. “I’m a mess! Probably scared you coming out of nowhere like that.” She extended her hand, “I’m Mona. Mona Burdette.”

He hesitated, then took her hand awkwardly, “Name’s Coots. Jus’ Coots. Pleased t’ meet ya, Mona Burdette. Heh, I’ll getcha somthin’ t’ dry yerself off. Hold there, jus’ a minute.” He scrambled up the steep concrete, and called down to Mona, “I be jus’ a minute.” Snatching something from a clothesline, he slid back down and offered her a stained, threadbare Scooby-Do beach towel.

Mona crinkled her nose and said thanks. She sniffed the towel and was surprised at the smell of bleach, so she proceeded to dry herself off. She wiped the mud from her face and wished that she had a hairbrush. As if reading her mind, Coots climbed back up to his shelter, and extended an ebony handle to her.

Warily, Mona took the brush and turned it over in her hands. The handle was smooth and fit nicely in her palm. The bristles appeared to be brand new, with not a single strand of hair caught between them. “My, what a beautiful brush. I don’t even have one this nice at home.” Blushing, she continued. “Not that I know where home is.” She brushed out the tangles of the rats nest on her head, and after a few moments, handed the brush back to Coots.

“Whaddaya mean, ya don’t know where home is? Ya lost?”

Instinctively, Mona grinned, “Yes, I’m lost. But I do believe that I have just been found.” She peered over Coots’ shoulder at a police cruiser, its bright red and blue lights flashing. A policeman emerged from the car and shined his Streamlight Stinger flashlight over the scene.

Coots scurried back up the incline and hid behind his cardboard wall. He peeked through a small hole, not daring to breathe.
“Officer, thank heavens you came. I–”

“Ma’am, are you Mona Burdette? Got a call from dispatch that said there was a lady wandering around, name Mona Burdette.”
She nodded and backed away, shielding her eyes from his flashlight, unsure how he knew her name. He advanced toward her, and suddenly slammed the flashlight into her skull.

Coots jumped, and scrunched closed his eyes. He heard a thud from something hitting the ground, then the scuffling of feet and the grunts from the assassin, and then nothing. Coots pried his eyes open. He peered past the cardboard and saw Mona’s body being dragged back to the police cruiser.

The body scraped along the asphalt until the killer reached the car. He pulled out the keys, pushed a button, and the trunk clicked open. The killer dropped the corpse in with a muffled thud. He tugged and pushed at the body and finally managed to maneuver her legs unnaturally behind her. He slammed the trunk closed.

The killer went back to retrieve his flashlight and stumbled over something on the pavement. Cursing, he pawed around in the oily water mix until he found the flashlight, but it wouldn’t turn on. He managed to find one of the silky shoes, the stiletto barely hanging on, so he searched frantically for the second one, but he could not find it. Not wanting to leave any evidence behind, he resolved to come back in the morning.

As the killer drove off, Coots rocked back and forth in his shelter, muttering incoherently. In his grasp was Mona’s other shoe, a black stiletto. (1194)

 Posted by on November 30, 2013 at 1:01 pm
Nov 192013
 

Click banner to buy “The Fallen Body”

Banner - 300x25

Hey, everyone, I wanted to post the interview that I had with Stone Patrick, who recently published “The Fallen Body.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I initially thought of writing as a way to make money, and lots of it, but as I did more research, I read time and time again that most writers will never be able to support themselves with their writing alone. That was a sobering thought, but I didn’t want that to stop me from at least trying. I continued to read books about how to write — I bought at least 20-25 books, some of which I have read multiple times — and when I tried it for myself, I felt a real sense of accomplishment when I wrote something that moved people emotionally. It’s that acclamation from other people that motivates me to continue writing.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes, I try to write simple sentences, changing the structure to make it easy to follow, and I don’t use big words that most people won’t know the meaning of. I like to think that my dialogue is full of conflict and reflects the characters’ traits and biases. When I write, I try not to create word combinations that would sound foreign if they were spoken out loud. I believe my style of writing is conversational and smooth, and that it conjures up images in the reader’s mind that are specific to that individual, instead of being so descriptive that there is only one possible image that can be thought of.

How did you come up with the title?

In coming up with the title, I wanted something simple that would be easy to say, not easily misunderstood, and was based on the crime that needed to be solved. It started out as a working title, and by the time the book was completed, I couldn’t think of anything else that personified both the crime and the one responsible for what happened.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The book starts out focusing on the death of Neil Baines, and how a small-town lawyer, Taylour Dixxon, found herself defending his wife, who is the one accused of perpetrating the crime. I chose a small-town lawyer because I wanted to highlight the challenges that these sole practitioners face, day in and day out, as they try to practice law outside of the big city. The message that I want the reader to come away with is that the job of a lawyer, especially in a small town, is vitally important to the sustainability of order in society. It can sometimes be a thankless job, but in the end, Taylour knows that this is where she belongs.

How much of the book is realistic?

I took bits and pieces of places and buildings that I know and made a fictitious town of Marlinsville, TX. Some of the pieces were patterned after where I live, with certain names of restaurants and streets and festivals that are similar, and I chose a central county in Texas (Falls) and the county seat (Marlin) for the actual spot on the map, but the description of the town itself is made up and has no similarities to the actual town of Marlin, TX.

Are the experiences in the book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Not at all. I did reach out to a small town attorney named J. Burton Hunter, III who helped me with some of the legal questions that I had, but the characters and experiences are not based on any actual events.

What books have most influenced your life the most?

The books that have influenced me the most are the scriptures of my church, including the Holy Bible and The Book of Mormon, as well as the books that I have read of several mystery authors, John Grisham, Dick Francis, Jeffrey Archer, just to name a few.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

My favorite author is David Baldacci, who has written a number of suspense/thrillers. However, the one writer that I consider to be a mentor is Randy Ingermanson, aka The Snowflake Guy. His monthly e-zine, which goes back to 2005, was the fuel that started the fire. I read every single one of his e-zines in order to educate myself on the publishing world, and he did not disappoint. I have never met Randy, but I hope to some day!

The wonderful thing about his e-zine is that it is totally free!

What book are you reading now?

I am actually in between books. I just finished reading an e-book called “Either Side of Midnight” written by Tori de Clare. Excellent read! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Do you see writing as a career?

Right now I see writing as a hobby that I hope to turn into a career. I get much greater satisfaction in writing than I ever thought possible, but I need to pay the bills, so I have a steady job in order to support my family. My goal is to write enough books in the next 5-10 years so that I can slowly retire and live off of the royalties of my books. That means that I will most likely have to write about two books a year until I reach that point.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

The only thing I would change would be to characterize my antagonist more fully. Give him a larger part of the story in order to contrast with Taylour’s goodness.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Yes, it started during the summer of 2012 because of what I was doing within my company, which involved chatting and emailing with customers online. In my adult life I have done a lot of writing at a business level through my different job responsibilities, as well as at school, but I had done very little creative writing. When I realized that I wasn’t as creative as I wanted to be, I decided to fill that gap by writing novels. I’m still working on filling that gap!

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Sure! I am writing a sequel to “The Fallen Body” with the intent of exploring a few open threads that I left hanging in that book. It involves a few of the same characters as before, such as Spencer Dixxon, Taylour’s nephew and roommate, and also Philip Davidson, Taylour’s love interest in my first book. I have written a few scenes and have a very basic outline of what I want to explore. I have set a goal to finish the first draft by the end of May 2014.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

My biggest challenge is finding the time to do everything that I need to do with the limited resources that I have. Between writing, spending time with my family, working my day job, fulfilling my church responsibilities, marketing my book, and a thousand other things, I never seem to have enough time to do everything that I want. I am not good at prioritizing my time, and I do like to watch certain TV shows that I can’t seem to give up.

Which shows are those?

Covert Affairs, NCIS, CSI (The original in Las Vegas), Survivor, Revolution, Suits, and most importantly, The O’Reilly Factor. I am a political junkie with limited time to discuss politics with my brothers and sisters.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Not yet, but I hope to if my books take off! I can always write a story around some exotic locale, and experiencing it first hand is the best way to write about it, right?

Who designed the covers?

I actually have a couple of different covers for my different formats. I purchased a photo of a man in a suit falling for $20 so that I could brand myself around that. When I went with Xlibris they came up with their own cover around the concept that I gave them because they didn’t think that they could use the photo that I purchased.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part was trying to tie everything together. I wanted to use most of what I wrote, but some of the scenes didn’t always fit, so I either had to adapt the scene or cut it all together if it didn’t move the story along. Also, there were times when I was simply too exhausted to type any further, but I needed to complete the scene so that I wasn’t falling behind schedule. I had to push through that more than once.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

There were things about the law in Texas and how the court system worked that I learned, including the various steps, from arrest to the actual trial. I realized that I had many deficiencies by not being a lawyer, so I steered clear of some of the more cumbersome legal aspects and focused more on the characters themselves.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write what you know, and don’t be afraid to create characters that have flaws. No one likes a perfect protagonist or someone who is always happy. Inject humor when possible, but don’t overdo it. Decide early on if you want to write for the sheer joy of writing, or if you want an audience. If you want to write for an audience, then know who that audience is and write as much as you can.

Also, you need to read about the art of writing! Study and see examples of different points of view, learn how to develop plot and characters, and understand the underlying structure of a great story. The following is a link to a small sampling of books that I recommend if you are serious about how to write:

Fiction Writing Books

And finally, tell everyone that you are writing a book because 1) people think it’s cool that you are a future author, 2) it will motivate you to keep writing when your friends and family constantly ask about your book, and 3) it will help you to sell more books because you are creating buzz, and buzz sells.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

If you liked the book, please post a review on Amazon.com or BN.com, and then buy multiple copies to give to your friends and family! Also, tell your library to buy the book for the other patrons in your area.

Click below to see the currently available formats:

The Fallen Body by Stone Patrick

 

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 Posted by on November 19, 2013 at 8:34 pm