Matthew Hubbard Shares His Thoughts on Writing

Today, I am pleased to welcome Matthew Dale Hubbard to the Smiling Tree independent writing series. Matthew is a Chattanooga local. His story about how he reached the decision to self-publish includes the usual agents, rejections from traditional houses, but much more: a life and death struggle combined with an unquenchable desire to help others. 

When I was a child, I did not dream of becoming a writer. Instead, I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian, aHubbard_Matthewdoctor, an astronaut. Writing, for me, wasn’t a dream. I didn’t approach it as though it was a sacred and hallow career path. I wrote without aspiration. I wrote for the thrill. Most importantly, I wrote because it was something I didn’t have to think about it. I just…did.

I should have known I was destined to write a novel after I tried writing my own version of Harry Potter, which is hidden safely away on a floppy disk (yes, a FLOPPY DISK) and will never see the light of day again, while in middle school. However, it wasn’t until a college professor pulled me aside after reading a blog post I had written for class that the thought of a writing the proverbial “great American novel” crossed my mind. He said to me, “I think you’re in the wrong major. You would excel with creative writing.” That was unexpected seeing as it was a business class and I was set to graduate the following semester with my Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing.

His words stayed with me over those following weeks, and I kept coming back to the blog post. It was a poem I had written, and I didn’t think anyone would pay attention to my words. After all, it was my first writing piece I had ever put into the blogosphere. The poem was entitled “Drowning,” and it was the firsthand account of drowning with metaphors to life being the undertow. I asked myself why I wrote it. Obviously, I knew why. I was battling depression, but I wanted to know the depths of my depression. I started brainstorming a back story for the poem, and then I started writing. Thinking back, I had no idea the way I approached it was method of self-preservation. By pouring everything out of me in the form of a character, I was somehow able to separate myself from the darkness of my suicidal past.

Over the course of a few months, I crafted a first person story a mere 30,000 words in length based off of the poem which started this whole process in the first place. There’s a high you get when you finish writing a term paper, and then there is a high you get when you finish writing a book. That feeling floods your body and mind with such a rush you want to run around and scream and demand the world acknowledge your accomplishment, but you can’t; you can only sit there, not moving a muscle, and stare elatedly at the screen while trying to remember how to breathe. I can remember the high I felt as I typed the last word in the last sentence in the last paragraph on the last page. I felt alive, but most importantly I felt free.

It was then I decided I wanted to be published. Research provided me with enough to know the length of my story was considered a novella at best. I never questioned the faith I have within myself until that moment. A resounding, “Trust you can do better,” answered my thoughts. The story plot needed work and revision—a hell of a lot of revision. I brainstormed and, after realizing how much more of myself I have to pour into it, decided to widen the perspective to four voices each told in third person.

After a few months of rewriting and ironically in time with my 2010 college graduation, I had a manuscript of 97,000 words in length, which I appropriately entitled DROWNING with respect to the initial poem. I then queried literary agencies for representation. Now, this is where everything simultaneously starts and stops for my newly established dream of being a writer.

I received so many rejections from agencies. Some were generic responses with a generic rejection that resembled other generic rejection from other agents. Some were downright rude and telling me I would never have a career (which I saved in hopes they would eat their words). Some were a pleasant sandwich of a rejection with compliments on my writing encasing the firm concern of me being too risqué for the current marketplace.

I took it all in stride—all 258 rejections. For each denial from an agent, I would send out ten more queries. While I was waiting on something to come up, I tried to ease my mind two ways: (1) Looking for a job with my then recently acquired BS in Marketing, and (2) Honing my writing ability.

I must admit, during that period in my life I began to slip back into the wallow of depression I had endured previously. At the time, the economy was suffering and I couldn’t find a job to support myself. Everything I tried to do turned out wrong. For the life of me, I don’t know how I managed to keep my chin up and persevere.

I channeled all my frustrations into a short story based on a grocery store in my small town. This time, I wasn’t writing in order to write a novel. I was writing for myself. It was a self-reflection project of fiction. After I wrote the story, which I was calling “Subterfuge Grocery,” I began to ask myself what happened next in the storyline. I have nothing else going on in my life, so I set out to find an answer.

The short story turned into a chapter. Then another chapter. Then another chapter. Before I knew it, three months had passed and I had a novel so personal it read like my journal. I had two novels written and was yet to be published. I was waiting for DROWNING to be picked up by a literary agent, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to submit what I’d just written.

I submitted the second manuscript under the name “I AM” to a handful of agents to start with—I had no expectations. I was shocked to discover one of the agents requested to read the whole manuscript. I worked with her for several months, revising and editing my manuscript. She eventually signed me with her agency, and we set out shopping for publishers.

At this time, I had completely forgotten about DROWNING and focused all my endeavors on I AM.  The process with the agent lasted for more than a year. The feedback from publishers was astounding.  Some elite houses part of the “Big Six” complimented my manuscript and said I had a true talent for writing, that my story was engrossing, that I had a voice. However, all of the publishing houses considerately rejected I AM because it didn’t fit in with the themes for their upcoming releases. Feeling defeated, my agent and I mutually agreed to dissolve our contract for I AM. It was an amicable parting, and she was one of my biggest supporters.

I never expected the literary world to have themes about what they would be releasing. Perhaps it was my naivety, but I was under the impression that an author’s hard work would garner attention if the story had that “next great American novel” quality. Not that I’m saying I possessed it, but all the compliments led me to believe I had talent…just not enough to warrant a risk. All these publishing houses with their preconceived notions leading the way for authors…the more I thought about it, the more it pissed me off.

The only solace came from a quote by one of my favorite authors, F. Scott Fitzgerald: “You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” What did I have to say? I asked myself this question as I stood on the precipice of “what happens now.” I didn’t give a damn about vampires or zombies. I didn’t care if I was worthy of a risk for a big time publishers. I didn’t know what was going to happen in time. All I did know was the hardships of suicide and depression and coming to terms with my sexual orientation, which is what I wrote about in DROWNING. Those struggles affected my life tremendously and shaped the man I am today.

I decided to focus on something bigger than myself. Like Fitzgerald, I did have something to say, and I finally realized what it was. I had a personal message to share with the world—a message of survival and strength and hope to those who felt like the only way out was suicide:

EVERY LIFE IS WORTH LIVING

I remember saying to myself, “It’s the 21st century. The game has changed and is changing and will continue to change. Where do I fit in?” I didn’t want to make a profit; it wasn’t about the money. I wanted to make a difference—an impact. I came to the conclusion that I was my own man, I didn’t have to play by the rules, I didn’t have to be traditional with my publishing choices.

I decided self-publishing, aka “indie publishing,” would suffice. I wanted to get my name and message out there. I wanted to be a voice for those who were too scared to ask questions. I wanted to speak to all the souls struggling to swim. I wanted to be unapologetically honest and open about my depression and suicidal past. I wanted to be.

With that in mind, I initially published DROWNING as an e-book on Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook. I then published it in print using CreateSpace. I created the cover using a picture I had taken, and I did all the copy-editing. My debut novel is 100% me—what I wanted to portray, the vision I had the book itself, my heart, my soul (cheesy but true).

The attention I’ve garnered from social media has been astounding. I partnered with Goodreads and held a contest for 5 signed copies (which was open to 17 countries and had 1,400+ entries!). I encouraged readers to post pictures on social media and hashtag my name and book title. I would repost every photo with a personal message to the reader thanking him/her for reading. Aside from the United States, DROWNING has been spotted in Italy, Belgium, Brazil, and Panama. It amazes me every single time I receive photos and messages from readers. I cannot believe this is my life.

In addition to a locally owned bookstore, a local Barnes & Noble agreed to carry a few copies of my novel since I was from the area. The original plan was for me to come in, sign them, and leave it at that. However, they sold out before I could come in and sign the copies. Impressed with this, the store booked me for a signing—which went successfully, and I was invited back for another signing! Now, DROWNING is available for in-store order at all Barnes & Noble locations.

I have a few speaking engagements lined up, including a high school’s Gay-Straight alliance which is being featured on local news. As for what’s next? I haven’t the foggiest idea. I’ll see where tomorrow takes me with my second novel, I AM. All that is for certain, however, is that I want to do good in this world. I want to make a difference and an impact and be the inspiration for those who feel as though they are drowning. I want to write for a cause and have my readers read for a cause. I pledge to donate portions from the proceeds of each copy of my debut novel to The Trevor Project—the leading national organization focused on providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth. Every life is worth living. For more information on me or my social media sites, please visit www.matthewdalehubbard.com.

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Indie Publishing After a Traditional Career

NaNoWriMo brought things at Smiling Tree to a screeching halt! However, November is almost over and we should return to the regular, two posts per week schedule soon.

Today I’d like to welcome Jennifer Lawler. Jennifer is an accomplished writer and has published both fiction and nonfiction, used various pen names, written under her own name, gone the traditional route, and self-published. In this post, she shares her reasons for choosing to self-publish after a successful, traditional career. 

I have to say that traditional book publishing has treated me perfectly well. I’m the author or coauthor of more than twenty-five

Jennifer Lawler

Jennifer Lawler

nonfiction books published the traditional way, with a publisher, an advance, bookstore distribution, even publicity provided by the publisher. I’ve worked for book publishers as a book development editor and as an acquisitions editor, and I also worked for a stint as a literary agent.

So why did I decide to go the indie route for the second edition of Dojo Wisdom for Writers, a book that was pretty successful the first time out (it was originally published in 2004)?

First and most important, the book was out of print and the rights had reverted to me. That meant it wasn’t available for purchase (except on the used book market, and I didn’t earn anything from resale). I felt like the book still had relevance (particularly if I updated it, which I planned to do) and I wanted to bring it back into the world.

But I knew that the world of publishing had changed a lot in the nearly ten years since the book originally came out. The editor who’d originally published Dojo Wisdom for Writers was long gone, as was the editorial director, so it wasn’t like I could just drop someone a line and see if they had any interest in a revised and updated version of the book. My agent had just retired, so that shortcut was out, too.

I briefly thought about querying agents but I’ve been focused on my career as a novelist and an essayist, so if I got an agent, it

Dojo Wisdom for Writers

Dojo Wisdom for Writers

would be someone who could help me with that. For a one-off, I wouldn’t get many agents interested in representing me. A second edition is a hard sell to traditional publishers because most review outlets don’t review second editions and publishers worry that the sales potential has already been exhausted. But I’d be happy with sales of a few thousand—even a few hundred!—copies of the book. A traditional book publisher would consider that a failure.

I also knew that I wanted to explore indie publishing for a collection of my essays, Travels with Jessica. My essays are popular with a core of readers, but the gatekeepers of traditional publishing have responded to them with a collective shrug. So I knew indie publishing was where my publishing future most likely lay.

I didn’t want to experiment with that collection, though; I wanted to know what I was doing so that the details of publication didn’t get in the way of writing and promoting the book. So, I used Dojo Wisdom for Writers as a trial run. I bought ISBNs, I figured out how to format the files for CreateSpace, I dealt with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Program.

So far, so good. The second edition of Dojo Wisdom for Writers came out in August. I’ve figured out what to do, I’ve earned royalties, and I have Travels with Jessica set to release in early December. I’m glad I was able to figure out the learning curve with Dojo Wisdom for Writers. Although I spent some time updating and revising the material, I was able to shift most of my attention to the process of

learning indie publishing, making it easier than it might otherwise have been.

###

Jennifer Lawler is the author or coauthor of more than twenty-five nonfiction books. She writes romance under a variety of pen names. Find out more at www.jenniferlawler.com.

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Bad News for Everyone: A Guest Post by Charles Barouch

When my daughter, Lore, and I did our writing workshop at Otakon, we divided writers into four broad categories: Private, Protected, Public, Published. The categories are actually stolen from the Delphi programming template but they fit so well. Here are the quick definitions:

Private writing is the sort you do in a journal or diary. It is not meant for anyone but yourself.

Protected
 writing is written for your own circle. These are the people who hear you say “Aunt Jean” and they know that you are referring to that

Charles Barouch

Charles Barouch

incident with the pantsuit. These people know and like your jokes; they *get* you. You won’t be getting a lot of negative feedback with this audience.

Public
 writing is very different. Just like the Private and Protected levels, your work is available for free. This blog post is an example of Public writing. What makes public so different from the previous two is the risk of bad reviews. You are out there — completely out there.

Published writing is one step bigger. This is when you expect people to pay for the chance to read your writing. With the first three, you can treat writing as a pure art. Once you put a price on it, you are obligated to treat writing as a craft. Craftsmen build to meet a need. Artists don’t. The best authors are able to be both things at the same time.

* * *

What does all this do with the title: Bad News Everyone? I’m a published author. That means that I get negative reviews — bad news. Who gives these people the right to have an opinion on something which took me weeks, or months, or even years to write? I did. When I put my work in the public or published levels, I gave everyone the right to have an opinion.

I got panned this one time — by the owner of this blog, as it happens — and this is what was said:

This could be a long review, but I will limit it to a list of things that annoyed the crap out of me:
1. The author’s almost fanatical avoidance of ending a sentence with a preposition. Yes, I understand it’s proper grammar, but when using proper grammar makes the language so stilted and odd that the reader loses focus on the story, it’s a bad thing.

2. There are way too many characters. New characters were still being introduced near the end of the book. It was impossible (and unnecessary) to keep up with them all.

3. There are too many plots, most of which don’t matter. 

I was aggravated the whole time I was reading, and can’t really recommend this book to anyone. The worst part? I paid for it. It wasn’t even a freebie. Grrrrr….

Here’s what most people would see:
She doesn’t like me.

Here’s what I saw:
She wrote about how I handled the later parts of the book. That  means she *read* the whole book. I did a good enough job that even a reader who felt frustrated still felt compelled to read it all. That’s huge.

Secondly, she had specific issues with the writing. Unless you are done writing, you are not done growing as a writer. Specific feedback, positive and negative, helps you grow. Does that mean we blindly accept every negative feedback? No. It should make us think but it has to be evaluated. How about positive feedback? You can’t just take that as gospel either.

What do I do with this review?
I decided that I mostly agree with her assessment of the dialogue. I was over precise. Do I think it broke the story? It seems to have for at least this one reader. Something I need to think about.

Too many characters? Too many subplots? I disagree. The scope of the topic is global. I feel that this sort of story needs a large cast with a lot of stories to tell. Having said that, she is not the only person to call me to task over cast size. Something I need to think about.

Here’s what I didn’t do: I didn’t debate this review with the reviewer. If the book doesn’t make my case, it doesn’t matter if I can make it separately. I did contact her to apologize for the fact that she didn’t like it. Why apologize? While she spent less time reading than I took writing, she did take time out of her life to read what I had to say. She invested in me by reading my book.

If you don’t care about what the readers think, stay in the Private or Protected levels. If you are going to go Public or Protected, then you asked for this. Embrace it.

Charles Barouch is a Publisher, Writer, Editor, and Journalist. His works in print can be found here: http://hdwp.com/r/cdb/.

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Editor & Author Rob Bignell Answers Common Questions

One of the (many) pieces of advice offered to authors who plan to self publish is “find a good editor.” Many writers don’t know anything about working with an editor. How do you find an editor? How do you know if an editor is a good fit for you? What is a reasonable cost? Mostly, writers just have no idea what to expect when working with an editor.

To explore some of these questions, I contacted Rob Bignell of Inventing Reality Editing Service. Rob has written a total of 13 books, including a novel and three writing

Rob Bignell, Author & Editor

Rob Bignell, Author & Editor

guidebooks. He was kind enough to answer a few questions that may be of interest to writers who are curious about working with an editor.

 

1. What kinds of books do you edit — mainly fiction, or nonfiction or a mix?

I’ll edit anything a writer tosses at me, even if it’s a crumpled one page outline tied around a rock! Seriously, about half of my work consists of novels

and short stories, with the other half being nonfiction books, dissertations, and business documents. When I started edited, I wanted to focus on fiction, specifically science fiction and literary works but soon found myself getting requests from authors of other genres and of nonfiction. They’re stuff was just as interesting to read, so I’m very wide open.

 

2. How can a writer know if he needs substantive editing or simply proofreading?

If the writer hasn’t had anyone – such as participants in a writers’ group or workshop – read the book, they almost certainly need both substantive editing and proofreading. If other people have read it for content and the writer has gone through several revisions, then a proofreading probably will suffice. Writers always are too close to their work – and the same applies to me when I write my books – to really look at it objectively, so they always need a critique from other intelligent readers, writers and editors.   

 

3. What are some red flags that would let a writer know her work is not ready for an editor?

Rob's literary novel, Windmill.

Rob’s literary novel, Windmill.

That depends on the level of edit that the writer is seeking. Some writers need editing but not proofreading after a first draft just to ensure they’ve punched in the right storytelling numbers on their GPS writing map. Since the goal of an editor generally is to guide the story to its full potential, you’re never too early in the process to get an editor’s help. Still, that can get expensive, so if you forgo it because you’re on a tight budget, I’d recommend finding serious readers and fellow writers to critique your book during those early drafts. And always run your manuscript through spell check before sending it to an editor!

 

4. What is the most common problem you see in the manuscripts authors send you (mostly grammar/typo errors, or more gaping plot holes, story structure, poor writing errors)?

The most common problems are craft of writing issues – telling rather than showing, repeating words within or between sentences, passive voice, verb tense shifts, point of view shifts. Most writers I edit have an excellent understanding of plotting, probably because they’ve seen so many television shows and movies since childhood that they instinctively know what is good and bad plotting – I mean, even my son when he was four-and-half-years-old understood that you don’t kill off a reoccurring character in a series. Unfortunately, what happens to many novice writers is their great plots drag because a lack of craftsmanship undercuts the dramatic tension and narrative drive. It’s sort of like fumbling teenagers on a date – they know what should happen thanks to what they’ve overheard big brother and big sister say, but they aren’t quite practiced enough to make it all flow smoothly. 

 

5. How important do you think promotion is once a book is published?

Unless you want your book to rank in the lower 3 million for book sales on Amazon.com, you’ve absolutely got to promote your books. The idea of promotion often comes as a surprise to a lot of writers and is anathema to many. They want to be artists not salesmen. But getting public attention for your book and meeting your readers can be fun and inspire you to keep writing. Promotion doesn’t have to be time-consuming either; my book “7 Minutes a Day to Promoting Your Book” covers how to do the basics so you can keep writing rather than become a full-time marketing man.

6. What advice would you offer an author who just completed his first manuscript?

Get started on your second book! Once you’ve promoted your first published book, you’ll create a small fan base. Take advantage of that by doing what you do best – writing for them. Your second book will broaden your fan base and bring new readers to your first book.

 

7. As more writers see self-publishing as a viable option, what would you like them to know? (In other words, what big thing (if any) should people know before they decide to self-publish?)

They should know that they’ve just become the president of their own publishing company! Like a traditional publisher, you’ll have to either contract skilled professionals to do various tasks or you’ll need to learn how to do them yourself. Among those tasks are editing, formatting, book cover design, working with a printer and/or ebook publisher, and publicity. Don’t be overwhelmed by all of that, though. Print on demand houses automate some of the process, and a number of self-published writers are amazingly good at it.

 

8. Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to talk about? 7 Minutes a Day...

My next book in the “7 Minutes a Day…” writing guide series is about mastering the craft of writing fiction. It’s due out around Thanksgiving.

I also write hiking guidebooks. So far I have 13 published books: 1 novel, 1 poetry collection, 3 writing guidebooks, and 8 hiking guidebooks

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The Independent Writing Series Continues With Chip Borkenhagen, Cover Designer

Unless you are that creature as rare as a unicorn – a writer with design skills – figuring out what to do about a book cover is a challenging step in the self publishing process. Despite the old cliche “don’t judge a book by its cover” that is exactly how most people browsing online decide to click or not to click. 

Today, I am happy to share an interview with Chip Borkenhagen of RiverPlace Communication Arts, a design company that specializes in cover design. They offer a variety of packages from Basic to Creative, and each cover is designed from scratch because they don’t use templates. Take a look at their site to see samples and learn more: http://www.bookcoverdesigns.net/.

 

Can you talk a little about the difference between book covers for non-fiction and fiction books? Or even about the difference that genre makes?

Chip Borkenhagen

Chip Borkenhagen

I can’t speak for all designers, but for me it isn’t a matter so much about fiction or non-fiction, but about the book itself. With genres like historical fiction, etc., there is such a very fine line between real and almost real. So I work on the premise of the “soul” of the particular book itself. It feels to me that each book can describe its own needs and desires of its image. Obviously the intended readership is the main focus as I’m getting started. What are their ages? Genders? Hot-buttons (visually), etc.

This question has been on my mind for a while: do cover designers usually read the books they design covers for?

Unfortunately I am not able to read every book I design for, simply because of timing. I am typically working on a number of projects at a time, so to be spending half my day reading does not leave enough time to design. Typically I am given good direction from the author or publisher, along with a full synopsis of the book. I will scan-read the book with my antennae up for clues for the cover. I sketch as I go. Then, when I feel comfortable with the ideas I’ve formulated, I’ll do them in digital layout form – not completed, but enough worked through to make it clear what I am envisioning.

Then, with back and forth between the author and myself, we tighten up the “winning” design and fine-tune it to the author’s and my content.

What do you think is the most important consideration in cover design when a book will primarily be sold in electronic format?

Sample cover from RiverPlace.

Sample cover from RiverPlace.

Less is more. It is important to keep the “personality” of the print version’s cover, but text needs to be larger, and colors need to be tweaked. When I know the book is going to be an e-book from the start, I just use a slightly different style of design. Many times there isn’t all that much difference. You definitely need to have punch, though. The net is cluttered with e-books, so a stand-out cover is even more imperative.

 The same basic rules apply, however; you need to design for the book’s readership. That is just always the bottom line.

When should a writer start thinking about a cover?

It seems that many authors to some degree begin to envision cover ideas somewhere through the process of writing it. Sometimes I have authors describe the cover they have come to see in their mind, and then we work together to try to bring that vision alive. The earlier the writer decides on the cover artist, the better. Because this is such a crucial aspect of the book’s success, it’s ideal to devote enough time to doing it right. Waiting until the book is completely finished just eats up the time it takes to locate the artist that has the “chemistry” that the author should have with his/her designer. Good designers are busy, so getting into their Queue early is very helpful.

What is your advice to writers who have no budget, who are writing more to fulfill their dreams than to make money? Should they still invest heavily in cover design?

Probably not. And, ideally, they shouldn’t have to. Our firm, for example, offers cover design packages, and the basic package is not very costly at all, but we still do great work. But good design can be as simple as the right photo and tasty type treatment, and this shouldn’t necessarily be costly for the author. But the investment in the cover design is critical for any author to consider. If one is writing to fulfill dreams, the image associated with the dream is no less important.

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Interview with Author Laura Pauling

Today, I’m happy to welcome author Laura Pauling to the independent writing series. Laura was kind enough to answer a few questions. Be sure to check out her blog to learn more about her writing.

 

Do you think much about your audience when you are writing? In other words, do you have a totally different mindset when writing YA than when writing for adults?

Good question. Yes, I think there’s a different mindset when writing for different ages. Sometimes capturing that middle grade voice or that teen voice can be very difficult. Thank God for beta readers and my vivid memories of being a teen.

When I’m writing the first draft, I’m thinking about the story, the character and their experiences. Often I’ll complete pages of rewriting until I find the right kind of voice.

Laura Pauling

Laura Pauling

 

What do you find most difficult about self publishing?

For authors just starting out, learning the process of formatting and all the tiny things like establishing a business and creating accounts was a big learning curve. But those struggles/decision all happened at the start. After that, the second most difficult aspect of self-publishing is discoverability. Regardless of how you publish, I believe that is a problem.

But none of the difficulties have ever made me regret my decision to move forward with my career.

 

Can you talk a bit about your involvement in IndieReCon? How the idea came about, or what the goal is, or whatever you’d like to share?

Shelli is the big organizer. IndieReCon started with her enthusiasm for helping other writers. All of the hosts involved believed in the vision. We all loved WriteOnCon, so the idea of a free online conference for those interested in self-publishing naturally followed. I helped with the agenda and contacting people, collection bios and pictures and adding them to the website.

I’m super excited and looking forward to learning and expanding my knowledge.

 

 Are there particular writing-related blogs, resources, or web sites you especially like (in addition to your own, of course!)

In the past few years, I’ve gone through my share of writing-related blogs. There are some great ones out there. Adventures in YA and Children’s publishing is terrific with tons of writing articles. Janice Hardy, author, shares her craft knowledge and also has quite a large library on her blog. A couple others are Alexandra Sokoloff and Larry Brooks (Story Fix).

As far as self-publishing I recommend, Dean Wesley Smith, Kris Rusch, Bob Mayers – those are the big ones. You can Google any topic and find many helpful blogs.

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Many writers have trouble simply getting the words on the page. In a recent blog post, you mentioned your “production schedule”. Could you describe how you plan your work?

I have the next couple years planned out. Of course, it changes and I’m flexible. I’ll delay a release if it needs more attention or another beta reader. My books always go through an editor too. When I first started writing, it was harder to get the words on the page. But the more I write, the easier it gets. It’s work, like most jobs, so building stamina is part of it. I’m driven and consider this my job, so that motivates me right there.

As far as the technicalities, I’ve been writing enough that I know how long it takes me to write a first draft, complete major rewrites, go through beta readers, rewrite and then polish.

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