Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Spin Offs And Cross Overs - Bound by Books Episode 60




 

Have you thought about creating a spin off for your series? Tina Moss and Marianne Morea are sharing their experiences writing spin offs and cross overs in this week's episode of Bound by Books.


 
 
Click below to listen, or go to www.boundbybookspodcast.com to find out more about all the hosts of the show.



    ...

 

The Hosts 








Monday, June 20, 2022

Writing A Serial Series - Bound by Books Podcast Episode 59


 
 
Danielle Bannister and I are sharing our experiences writing serial series in today's Bound by Books Podcast.
 




    ...

 

The Hosts 









Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Do I Need A Critique Partner?

The short answer is no.

 

The longer answer is, it really depends on your style of writing, what type of editing your book is going to go through, and whether you can find a critique partner that's a good fit for you.

 

So first let's tackle the big elephant in the room: what is a critique partner?

 

I was first introduced to this terminology in school. The teacher would say 'grab a critique partner and read over each other's work.' The goal was to get feedback from a fellow classmate, someone who was, in theory, at the same writing level you were.

 

On it's face, this is good. That is, if the person reading your story is on the same writing level you are and they happen to enjoy the type of story you're writing. They can provide constructive feedback and help you to make the story better.

 

Sometimes as writers, we're too close to a story. As the author, we know what a character's motivations are, but if that doesn't translate to the reader, that could cause a disconnect. Critique partners can pin point those issues and allow you to fix them before a reader ever sees the story.

 

So first and foremost, a critique partner should be a fellow writer...preferably one writing in the same genre. Let's face it, if you're writing a romance and your critique partner thinks all romances are cheesy and a waste of time, their feedback probably isn't going to be overly helpful.

 

They should also have a similar writing style to you. For example, my writing is very casual. I don't use a lot of big words or purple prose. When looking for a critique partner, I'd want to look for another author with a similar writing style. Pairing me with someone who uses a lot of flowery language or words not common in every day society, probably wouldn't be a great fit for me.

 

You should also look for someone with similar expectations. Typically, critique partners exchange their works. So while they're reading your manuscript, you're reading theirs. It's a tit for tat type of thing. But  you should also go into it with a clear understanding of what type of feedback you're expecting from each other.

 

One of the biggest advantages to a critique partner is that since they write in the same genre you do, they should have a good idea on the genre norms. So if you throw an element that's completely outside what readers of your genre would expect, your critique partner can pick up on that. 

 

Editors are looking for plot holes, pacing, and grammar mistakes. And while a critique partner may find some of those things, that's not why author's use critique partners.

 

At the end of the day, if you use a critique partner, you want someone who loves the types of stories you write, is familiar with your genre, and will give you honest feedback. Remember this is your story and you're going to be putting it out into the world. It's better to find potential issues early than to wait on that bad one star review.

 

Have you used a critique partner?  

Monday, June 13, 2022

Finding The Right Reader - Bound by Books Podcast Episode 58


 

 
 
Not sure if you need an Alpha Reader, Beta Reader, or Critique Partner? Danielle Bannister and Marianne Morea are comparing the different types of pre-release readers and helping to breakdown which ones will be best for you and your stories.



    ...

 

The Hosts 









Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Diversifying Your Author Income

Diversify your income.

It's something often read about in books on business. If you're selling a product, then think about branching out and offering a related product. Maybe the widget you're making has an accessory, or another type of widget in the same category as the first.

But what does this have to do with books and authors?

Every book an author writes and publishes is a product. Sure, it's still a book, but it's not the same book. One of the reasons authors are told to write in series is because it's easier to get a reader to buy another book in a world they're already invested in than it is to try and get them to purchase a story with characters they know nothing about. It's also why authors are advised to 'stay in their own lane', i.e. don't genre hop.

While this isn't exactly the same as say a set of kitchen knives, there are a lot of similarities. Say the company making kitchen knives suddenly decides to make rugs. They're both household items, but one has little to nothing to do with the other. The company would essentially be starting their marketing from scratch. While they might be able to easily convince their current customers they need a knife sharpener to go with their knives, a rug might be a much harder sell.


The same is true when it comes to books. Not every reader of paranormal romance is going to love westerns. Not every reader who picks up a hot and steamy BDSM romance is going to run to pick up the newest sweet, no sex on the page, small town romance.

So how do you diversify your author income and still stay in your lane?

First, write in one genre. Two, if they are very closely related and have a lot of readers in common. A bigger backlist is like the knife company coming out with an exciting new knife for their customers to buy.

The great thing about this is that the more you write in one genre, the more trust you build with your readers. That means, if you do decide to pivot to a new genre down the road, as long as it's not a huge leap, more of your readers are likely to follow...even if it's not a genre they normally read.

As an author, there are a lot of other more creative ways to diversify your income. Merch is a big one. Once an author begins to gain an audience, offering merch to your readers can not only bring in more revenue, but can also aid in your marketing. Maybe your book has a catchy saying and you put it on a shirt or a mug. Anytime a picture is posted with that mug, or that T-shirt is worn, that's free advertising!

Another way to diversity your income as an author is to use something like Patreon. Back in the day *cough* artists used to have Patrons. These were people who contributed to artist financially in order to give them the time or money to pursue their creativity in whatever form.

Back then, these patrons were typically wealthy benefactors. Today, with the blessings of the internet, one doesn't have to be a billionaire to support their favorite artists.

Patreon works as a give and take between the creative and the patron. When I set up my Patreon, I did it with a goal of providing those who wanted early access the ability to get it. My readers can, if they choose, sign up to support me and in return they will get to read my stories as I write them, one chapter at a time.

If you'd like to check out my Patreon, see how I have it set up, How my tiers (benefits) are divided, or if you'd like to sign up to be one of my Patrons, click HERE.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Diversifying Your Author Income: Patreon, Kickstarter, and More - Bound by Books Podcast Episode 57




 

It's never a bad idea to diversify your income. In today's Bound by Books Podcast, Tina Moss and I are talking Patreon, Kickstarter, and more.


Click below to listen, or go to www.boundbybookspodcast.com to find out more about all the hosts of the show.



    ...

 

The Hosts 







Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Building Tension In Your Writing

 Action scenes are some of my favorite scenes to write. I love them!

 

As someone with a background in performing, action scenes allow me to escape into the moment and feel what the character is feeling. Sometimes I close my eyes and type as I see the scene unfolding before my eyes...imagine what my character is feeling, seeing, smelling, and even tasting in that moment. If I can put myself into the scene, feel what my character is feeling, the words tend to flow.

 

When I writing the confrontation with the villain of the story in Strictly professional, my heart was pumping as I imagined the feel of a gun being pressed to my heroine's head. Thinking of how her heart would be racing caused my own heart rate to accelerate and my fingers flew across the keys.

 

Not every writer does this, put themselves into a character's head/body. Some take the position of observers. They are a fly on the wall as it were, taking in the situation and describing it. When using this method, description of the scene and the situation becomes extremely important.

 

Let's look at these two methods in more detail.

 

Writing a scene where the author is experiencing what the character is may read something like this:

 

Blood pounded in her ears as he took another step forward her. She was aware of the gun in his hand, but she couldn't take her gaze off his eyes. They were wild. Crazy. She knew she wouldn't be able to reason with him. A shiver ran up her spine as he reached for her.

 

If writing this scene from an observational standpoint, it might read something like this:

 

She stood, watching him move toward her, her eyes wide and the pulse in her neck thumping rapidly. Her gaze never left him as he closed the distance. She looked about to bolt, but there was no where to go. He reached for her and a strangled cry left her lips.

 

The scenes are very similar, but there are some distinct differences.

 

Which one calls to you more?

 

Honestly, it depends on your personal preference. Both can be used and done well. Both can create tension and put the reader in the moment.

 

No matter which writing style you prefer, one of the best tools an author has in creating tension are choppy sentences. 

 

What creates more of an emotional reaction?

 

She was almost there. Only one more step to go.

 

Or

 

She was almost there. One. More. Step.

 

The first is very conversational. It flows smoothly and sometimes that's exactly what you want. But it doesn't create a lot of tension. The second sentence, however, gives the impression that this last step is a big one...that there's effort involved in taking it.

 

One of the biggest challenges of being a writer when it comes to craft is knowing when to use longer sentences that flow and when to use shorter, choppier sentences. Connecting with a story is all about emotions and picking the write sentences structure can make all the difference.