Summer Indie Book Awards Nominations
Uncategorized / August 9, 2016

  I have been nominated for an indie book award for The Annals of Bobian.  I’m super-excited and hope you’ll all vote, whether you vote for me or any of the other nominees. However, not to rest on my laurels, you should go vote to nominate your favorite indie books here as well. If you’re interested in reading The Annals of Bobian and haven’t, leave a comment here. I’ll choose one person from the comments to win a free book. I’m still waffling between e-book and paperback– which is better than pancaking. Finally, here is the official post from Metamorph Publishing concerning the awards and nominations. 2016 Summer Indie Book Awards! The cold of winter is setting in, at least for those of us in the northern Hemisphere of the world. But we at Metamorph Publishing aren’t letting that get us down! We’re already looking forward to a sizzling summer, and we’re here to announce our first annual Indie Book Awards! You heard that right, a summer book awards! The event officially begins on January 1st of each year, and nominations will be accepted through midnight CST on August 31st each year. Voting will begin on September 1st and end…

X Marks the Spat
Uncategorized / July 28, 2016

I managed, with my usual aplomb, to find myself in the middle of a discussion that turned into a mild argument– on Twitter. It takes extreme talent to argue on Twitter and I don’t advise it. Better to admit my inadequacies and move on: I need far more than 140 characters to really get my teeth in a topic. However, the point isn’t the dispute, but the subject of dispute. We were discussing gatekeepers and whether or not indie writers should have them (or writers in general). I’m going to set forth my reasoning here (in far more than 140 characters or even 140 words), but I would love to hear from you as well. Comment here. Knock me up on Twitter (although I do expect help raising the baby). Send me an email if you’re feeling a bit shy. I’ll put all my contact info at the bottom. Do I think that big publishing houses have too much control over what we read and they tend to be directed more by the almighty dollar than the best in reading material? Yes. Not all of them, all of the time, but a significant enough amount to not ignore it. Do I…

Why on Wednesday: Why Are YOU Writing?

There’s a crazy notion out there right now that everyone should publish a book. I’d like to break this down logically, but I’m a Figment, so I’ll break it down Figment-logically: Everyone should birth a baby. Yeah, that makes sense. Those who can’t birth a baby (men, women with fertility issues, small children, the elderly, aliens, and animals), those who don’t want to birth a baby, and those who shouldn’t birth a baby makes a pretty compelling argument against this. The same thing goes for book publishing: some can’t (lack of skills, finances, commitment, etc.); some don’t want to (which is perfectly valid); and some simply shouldn’t (I’ve read a few published “books” I wish hadn’t been published because… ugh). Everyone should sell a piece of art/ craft work. Really? Because not everyone will ever be good enough to sell something. Everyone should become a rocket scientist/ brain surgeon/ marathoner/ concert pianist.  All ridiculous, right? I am not saying people shouldn’t write. Everyone should write. Anyone who wants to should write a book. Hurrah! I’m also not saying we should stop anyone from writing a book or publishing it. But there’s a big push out there to get everyone to publish a…

Teaser Thursday: Indie Author Trivia Teasers
Teaser Thursday / May 26, 2016

I was disappointed no one took me up on my request for teasers from your books. So, since I didn’t get any do use this week, I’m going to do tiny little teasers from (mostly) indie books. Can you match all the teasers to the authors and the authors to the books? No cheating! Teaser Lines “One-on-one, head-to-head confrontation had never gotten them anywhere. He clasped his dirt-stained hands in front of him and set his stubble-strewn jaw. His dad was tough, but horses weren’t his specialty. They were Keith’s.” “‘But why would anyone buy children?’ He broke off and sat up, feeling a prickling at the back of his neck, a stirring in the pit of his stomach as the dreadfulness, the horror, of what she had said sunk in.” “‘This is how they made the rift between us, those Earthers. Since the beginning, my kind and yours could join, soothing every ache. That was our way.” “He held her so tenderly, like she was some fragile thing as he carried her over to the nearest pew, where he slowly laid her down to rest. All of this happened without the slightest hint of effort.” “Even those of us who…

Feature Friday: Writing the First Chapter

There are some who find the last chapter to be the most difficult. There are a few who struggle through the middle. For most, however, the first chapter is the hardest to get out there. There’s good reason for this. The first chapter is what draws, drags, or defers. Either it is so clever that the reader must read; it is acceptable enough that the reader chooses to read; or it is so bad that the reader refuses to read. But no pressure. Really. See, the nice things about first chapters (and first lines) is that you have the most time to get them right. You have the entire time you’re writing the book through the editing process through just before publication. That’s a lot of time. (Longer for some, say, whose last name is Martin, than some others.) “I don’t edit while I’m writing.”  Very smart of you. Really. Just try this with me for one work, though. Edit that first chapter. Here’s why: if your first chapter does what it should (set up the story), then you have an easier task ahead of you. Instead of dragging the story uphill to get to the first plot point, your…

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Reasons I Self-Publish
Top Ten Tuesday / May 17, 2016

There are hundreds (okay, dozens) of great reasons to self-publish. After some debate (meaning I went to the bathroom, then came back and made this list), here are my top ten: No rejection letters. True, it’s a form of rejection when a reader doesn’t buy your book, but you don’t get a politely-worded form letter when it happens. My ego can remain tenuously intact. Freedom! I can write what I want and not worry about #1. I do try to keep my writing relevant to the market (ie, deciding to try for a second Bobian book this year because my public actually asked for it), but otherwise I have a lot of creative freedom. Lifelong learning. I like to learn. I waste– er, gainfully employ hours on end learning new things that I might never need to know. For example, while the popular vision of zombies can only happen through a type of witchcraft or magic, there are parasites, spores, and other agents that might allow a type of zombie infestation. You wanted to know that, I know. You’re welcome. I get to keep all the moneys. While 100% of a piddling is a pittance, 30% of a piddling is…

Motivation Monday: WHY Write a Book?

If you’ve been following along, we’ve worked on how to write, what to write about, and done an outline. (You did do your homework, right?) Before we go any further, though, you really  have to understand why you’re writing a book. There is no wrong reason for writing a book. None. But if you don’t know why you’re writing, you may go about it the wrong way. (Yes, there is a wrong way for you, just like there is a wrong way for me.) I’m writing a book to get down the stories my dad/mom/next-door-neighbor told me. If you’re not planning to publish (or you’re only planning to publish to adoring family and friends, then the format won’t matter as much. Good grammar may be optional. You can create your own cover and learn design or get one online for $5 (Fiverr.com). This is a labor of love, not a polished product. Enjoy the ride, but don’t stress over it. I’m writing a book because I love to write. I might publish, someday. Go as slowly as you want. You’re doing this for the story. This is where pantsers excel, just letting the story move them. If you eventually decide…

How to Write a Book: Outlining

I am aware that I just lost a lot of pantsers. I’m going to ask you to come back and give me an opportunity to woo you. I’ll even hold your hand if you want, but I’m running at the first sign of a restraining order. Stick with me through this post. Let’s see what we can do about this outlining idea. There’s a reason we learn to outline in school: it’s a very useful skill to have, even if you’re not a writer. If you are a writer, it can be invaluable. But, Zan, I hate outlining. Here’s a thought: if you hate it, maybe you’re not doing it right. But I’m a pantser. I like to just let the story flow. There are people who can do this. If you’ve already finished books and published, ignore me. If, however, you either can’t finish a book or you get stuck in forever edits, let me try to help you. It might not work. The fun thing about anything artistic is that there is no real right way or wrong way; there’s only the way that works for you. So, how do you outline a novel? Start with the basics. Every…

How to Write a Book: Getting Ideas

  Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” – Orson Scott Card I once belonged to a writing group. It was a mixed group, with experienced, published writers shuffled in with complete newbies. There was one thing that often made the newbies stand out. They’d come in, participate for a while, and then say, “I need help. Does anyone have a story idea I can use? I can’t come up with any.” This is a relatively safe place. I try to not mock much…. Wait. Who am I fooling? I write humor, parody and satire. Mocking is my middle name. So if you are a sensitive soul who doesn’t like being the butt of a good poking (but not a poking in the butt; that’s just rude), you may want to pull out your blankie. A good writer learns to see the millions of ideas out there. You cannot be a good writer unless you can come up with ideas. The good news is that fourth word: learns. This is something that can be learned. I’m here to help you…

How to Write a Book: Getting Ready

How do you write a book? There are as many answers to that as there are books, really, but I’m going to attempt over the course of however long it takes to walk you through the process of writing and publishing an independent book. Your mileage may vary and please do try this at home. NOTE: I believe everyone should write. I’m a huge fan of everyone writing. I do not believe everyone should publish a book, any more than I believe everyone should dance Swan Lake. The advice I’m giving here is for writers who want to publish, although parts can be used by anyone. So what is the very first step to writing a book? Writing, right? Wrong. It’s not even outlining (if you’re a planner) or getting an idea. The very first step to writing a book is learning how to write. This idea may make this my most unpopular blog post. “I’ve been through thirteen years of schooling, plus four years of college where they continued making me take English classes.” (Side note: if anyone had to make you take English classes, why do you want to put yourself through the hell of publishing a book,…