Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Indie Insights: Publicity and Stigma

It's time for another episode in the series of Indie Insights. And today we're talking about some fun--and not so fun--stuff.  Stigma and publicity.

I actually thought about making this two posts. I mean, they aren't the same thing. But here's the truth--they're different sides to the same coin.

Any book lives and dies on word of mouth. People have to know about the book to want to read it. So what's the best publicity for a self-pub author with a minuscule budget?

--Blog tour. Set one up. Do it early--most bloggers book in advance, so the earlier you can send out an in invitation and ARC, the better. Be professional when you put together your letter to bloggers. A 'hey, you wanna review this?' screams inexperienced. So take your time and put together a nice package--Include a summary, a brief intro, a bit about you, links to your various web presences, a few guest post topics to work from.   Then send it out. Here's the thing--blog tours are a hell of a lot of work. They can be mind-numbingly boring to organize. But they are also great exposure for you and your book.

And that's important, too! A lot of bloggers won't review self-pubbed books (we'll get to that) but they'll still participate in the blog tour with a guest post or interview. So take advantage of that.

--Excerpts. Your fighting an uphill battle if you self publish. (Part of that stigma we'll get to) But really, until people have read it, you can't expect them to like it or be terribly excited. So post teasers on Twitter, excerpts on your blog. Offer chapters if you reach goals on Goodreads. Make them want to read it with mini-cliffhangers like

"She stands after a few minutes of silence, and leaves wordlessly. Could I do that? Live a life, preparing children to die?"

--Giveaways. You really control how much you spend on giveaways. You can go with spending nothing, and just giving away ebooks. Or you could go big and give away Kindle Fires and tons of swag. I opted for a middle ground--a mix of ebooks, gift cards and some swag I had made from the book. (All of which I'm crazy excited about.).

--People. Make a connection with your readers. I read books by authors I know before authors I don't. And I like their stories, so I tell my friends to read them. That's true of the people I want to be reading my book as well. Making a connection is time consuming and sometimes scary. But it's also fun and definitely worth it.

There are of course other things you can do--ads, swag bags, book fairs, ect--to generate publicity. And I might, in the future. But for now, this is my plan.

And now to the less fun topic. Here's the truth. Self-publishing comes with a stigma. It doesn't matter how close to an agent or publishing contract you came--it doesn't matter that you can honestly say the market and economy and subjectivity are why you weren't signed. If you self-pub, someone is gonna look at your book and you and think, 'they weren't good enough'.

That. Is. The. Truth.

They could be wrong--but it doesn't matter because they still think it. And you know what? It sucks. Being on the receiving end of that bites.

But you know what else? It doesn't matter.  I've read traditional books that were awful. And it has nothing to do with who published them and everything to do with the author's writing. That's true of self-published authors as well.

So whine about the unfair stigma to your spouse and CPs. And then work your ass off and put out the best book you can. Because in the end, the only thing that matters is the opinion of my readers. And my CPs.


(Final note on stigma--don't feed the trolls. Someone says something, just smile politely and walk away. Which is also the policy you should adopt for bad reviews. And find yourself some people who ARE supportive. Author groups are great for that AND publicity. Which is why I'm forming one.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Website Poison

We’ve given a lot when it comes to query no-no’s, but there are other badities out there as well. Websites for instance are our digital resumes that anyone can view with the click of a button.

This goes for both agents and authors alike. Remember that your audience wants content and simplicity. I won’t go on and on, boring you with my nerdy insight, but I do want to give you guys two small pet peeves of mine for net content.

1.    Organize It. Keep cluster to a minimum. No more 90’s one page has all the content in one big blog form please. Let the viewer select what they want.

2.     Email addresses. Everyone knows what an email address looks like. Don’t list your email as Username (at) someplace (dot) com. It’s just annoying as hell.

Anyone have any other website pet peeves they’d like to share? I’d love to hear them.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Writing Whatcha Know

            Hey everyone, sorry I’m late. Alright, let’s see, it’s been one week since my last confession. Sleep hasn’t been my friend lately. I supposed it’s because I’m being stalked by vile little mold spores that have made it their mission to hijack my lungs and force it out my mouth

            One of the things I’ve been doing with my extra time is going over all the novels and shorts that I’ve written. It’s a bit of an eclectic bunch. Now when I was first starting out and wondered what to write, the most common advice I was given was to ‘write what you know’. It’s pretty sound. However when I look over at my collection I’ve written, I don’t seem to have followed it.

             Or did I?

            Let take my zombie short story for example (if anyone wants to read it, just email me at Now everyone seems to love zombies. Everyone but me. I never understood the fascination with them. And yet, I wrote one that a lot of readers seemed to have loved.

            How did I do that?

            I searched for something I could own about a a zombie story, and in turn, I created something original. Has it been done before? Probably, but like I said, I hate zombies, so I couldn’t tell you if it has or hasn’t. Still this brings up an interesting concept. The advice of ‘Write what you know’ seems to mean a lot more than just how to choose a genre or story. We can cross genres and use this information to really create some truly twisted works of art.

            Uh oh, did you hear that? I think another moldy spore just found me…..

            Gotta *cough*  Go *cough*


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What's Easier to Read? Print Books or ebooks?

I have a confession to make. There is a book sitting on my nightstand, it's been sitting there since June. It's tough to find leisurely time to read in college, especially when you intern for a literary agent. It's like leisure reading is something  you can only do in the bathroom or in those first five minutes before class starts. Oh, and did I mention it's always done on my phone from my Nook app?

It's as though having a physical book to lug around has actually made me less interested in reading the book! With my schedule leisure reading has become harder. So I ask you, is it easier for you to read physical books or ebooks or does it not matter?


Monday, January 21, 2013

Indie Insights: Intro and Hard Work.

We're gonna do a new series on the blog that follows me and my journey as an indie author. Things I do right and I'm excited about. Things I do not so right, the work involved, the ups and downs, what I would do differently next time--ALL OF IT.

And if you have a question or something you'd like me address, please let me know! Here, @NazareaAndrews or nazareanandrews (at) gmail (dot) com

Okay, so let's talk about the work. I knew before I decided to do this--and for those of you wondering, I've been toying with this decision since last May. I told Liz and Auzy in August. This is not a spur of the moment idea.

But what I was saying--I knew it would be hard. I knew a lot of work would be involved--and not just writing and editing, but in promotion, setting up a website, formatting, hiring people to edit and do cover art, and learning what the hell I'm doing.

I had no clue how hard I'd be working. Guys, to put it into perspective--I get up at 7:20 and get my kids to school. Go back to sleep from 8:30 to 9:30/10 am. When I wake up, I make coffee and go through the few dozen emails I get while sleeping. Spend an hour responding to emails/twitter and updating social media--important because dude, they're fun!! And also, you have to be there for people to know you have a book they should read.

After picking kids up from school, playing housewife, I work. My to-do list rarely has less than 12 items a day, a lot of which takes several hours to do. Most days, I work until 1 or 2 am. Yes, some of that is for my position as an editorial assistant. Some of it is housework/mommy stuff.

A huge chunk of it is related to my writing. It took a solid week to organize the upcoming blog tour (which I am so excited about!!).

Here's the thing: I am working harder than I ever have in my life. And this is coming from the girl who worked two jobs and took a full course load her senior year of high school. And I LOVE it!! I'm working with one of my best friends on a story we both believe in and I can't wait to get it in the hands of readers--your hands--and I'm having a blast doing it. There is always something to do, a question I hadn't thought of that needs to be answered, a decision to be made about something.

But, if your wondering if you should self-publish, and your thinking it's not that hard...yeah. No. It is. And one of the hardest parts is self-doubt. Which, lovelies, we will talk about next time.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Agency Lesson: It's okay to not follow the rules

Oh yes, I'm going to say it. You're reading this thinking, "Yay! Here's some wonderful advice from an agent's intern!" Are you the writer who scours the blogs to glean every possible ounce of knowledge when it comes to agents and publishing as a whole? Great! Me too. But here's the thing. This is one subjective business and blogs, well, they are all in essence the opinions of a few. Some quite knowledgeable few, but a few nonetheless.

Have you ever thought these things?
"Of course I would never send 10 and a half pages when they specifically requested 10." Or how about: "No way should I start a YA dystopian, the trend is already gone." Or how about, "My fantasy manuscript will never see the light of day now that the market is saturated." Or, "No way can a 35,000 word YA manuscript be published."

Take a deep breath.



Nothing is written in stone. Yes, it's good to follow all the rules. Yes, you shouldn't consider yourself the exception to any rule.

But here's the thing. Writers shouldn't drive themselves crazy over little details. "Oh no, I open with a waking up scene!" Or " It's raining in my opening!"

Yes, be careful, but if things work they work. Agents will not care about the rain falling and will focus instead on the heartbreaking break-up being played out on the page or your characters waking up to a fire.

It's okay to not follow the rules all the time.

I promise.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I wanna talk today about multi-tasking.

I'm a mom. Multi-tasking, for me, is like breathing. Make breakfast, get the kids dressed, pour coffee, put the dog outside. All without breaking a sweat and well before my coffee is cold.

But for a long time, I couldn't multi-task in writing. I had to draft. Or revise. It couldn't be more than one project at a time--I worked on one thing. And when I finished, I'd move on to the next thing.

But things have changed a little. Last week, I worked on line edits for Edge and today I worked on revisions of Stars and when I finish this blog, I'm drafting zbook.

My lovelies, I'm MULTI-TASKING.

So what brought this on? Necessity. Look, I have a book coming out in a little less than two months. Which is WOOHOO, exciting. But I also have five agents/editors waiting on a revision of Stars. And two very (im)patient CPs waiting on more zbook. So, see? I HAVE to work on more than one thing at a time.

And I'm okay with it. I've actually enjoyed the challenge and busyness. It's been fun, even if it did take a minute to get used to.

So, how bout you? Do you juggle several projects at once? Or can you only focus on one at a time? Talk to me in the comments!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Losing Focus

            When I originally started this post, it was going to be all about what albums I’ve found most inspirational when writing a story. Not surprisingly I found that Nine Inch Nails was probably my top band that I listened to. However as I delved into them more, hopeing to find the one most inspirational song, I found something more with these lyrics:

‘I’m becoming less defined as days go by. Fading away, and well you might say, I’m losing focus. Kind of drifting into the abstract….” (Only, off of the With Teeth album in 2005)

            When I heard this, my jaw dropped—literally.  It was like coming out of a hypnotic trance and discovering the world for the first time again. Thankfully though, I didn’t have a lot of people in front of me with snickering little smiles pointing in my directions.  What I realized is this. I’ve been struggling with writing because I couldn’t focus on just one thing. My focus has been on an entire series.

            Will this new discovery make is it so that I can get my normal 1 to 7k words written a day? Probably not instantly, no. It’s sort of a case of use it or lose it. Its going to take me some time, but with a little nagging help from some great CP’s (you know who you are), soon, hopefully very freakin soon, there will be a new story written for everyone’s enjoyment.


            If anyone else has had this issue, I’d love to know how you got past it.


            Ps, in case anyone still wants to know, here’s a list of my top albums I write to.

1.    Nine Inch Nails:  Live-All that Could Have Been

2.    Seether: Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces.

3.    30 Seconds to Mar: A Beautiful Lie

4.    Evanesance: Open Door

5.    CellDweller: Wish Upon A Blackstar

6.    Linkin Park: A thousand Suns

7.    Muse: Blackholes and Revelations

8.    Marilyn Manson: Born Villian

9.    Green Day: Dookie

10. My Chemical Romance: Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge



Friday, January 11, 2013

Why I'm Self-Publishing

So it's been a few days since I announced I was self-publishing Edge of the Falls. And, aside from the excitement, the most common reaction has been, "What made you decide this?"
It's a fair question, so here's my answer. 
I was tired of spinning my wheels. And I want folks to read my stories. 
Edge was my fifth book. I've written two more since then, and sent Edge out on round after round of queries. It got good response, requests for fulls, even revise and resubmit requests.  
I knew I had a good story. But it wasn't going anywhere, so I put it up and I focused on my next story. 
Fast forward a year and a half. I was running into the same issues with the next book--lots of interest, lots requests, but nothing more. 
I still know I have a good story, and the ability to tell it well. So I started looking at other options. 
Let's be honest--self-publishing has come a long way in the pas few years. And 2012, it really came into its own. And I watched, and talked to CPs and my husband. I was tired of doing the same thing over and over with the same result. 
So I set a personal deadline and made my plans and here we are. 
There are other reasons--personal shtuff that is as exhausting as it is boring--but what it comes down to is this: 
I have stories. I want you to read them. And the traditional route wasn't letting that happen. 
So I'm taking the less traditional route. And it's hard and a little terrifying and so exciting. But in the end, you get the chance to read my story and, I hope, love it just as much as I do. 

So!! Our first giveaway launches today! And here are all the details: 
Edge of the Falls is on Goodreads!! Let's see if we can get it on some to-be-read shelves, huh?
So here's what I'm giving away:
  • 100 adds–excerpt
  • 200 adds–e-ARC giveaway, excerpt
  • 400 adds–gift card and e-ARC, excerpt.

  • To be eligible, add Edge of the Falls to your to-be-read list on Goodreads and tweet about it (@NazareaAndrews) At each milestone, I’ll post an excerpt on my website, and/or draw a random winner.

    That's it, folks! :)

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

    When Life Gets in the Way

    This is Sunshine. He gives kisses :)
    For many of us it's easy to roll with inspiration when it strikes. But it's just as easy to fall into a writing trench where just getting words down on the page can feel like a war between you and your bloody imagination. This is especially true when life gets in the way. Whether it's losing a family member, a job, a break-in or what have you, we mustn't let it get to us.

    Recently, I started a YA contemporary romance I was absolutely psyched about and then I went through some romantic issues of my own and the thought of even writing someone else's happily ever after is gut wrenching.

    But here is the conclusion I've come to. We must not let our life get in the way. If something just isn't allowing you to press forward on a story try something entirely different. Instead of a YA contemporary romance I've now turned my sights on a fun and out-of-this-world middle grade!

    So my advice. Write something outrageous. Write something fun! Avoid the rut.



    Monday, January 7, 2013

    Letting Go

    It's a New Year. A time to make changes, finish things you've wanted to do.

    Here's a new thought--it's a time to let go.

    Most of us--not all, but most--have that one story. The one that is there, in the back of their minds, while they write other stories, the one you can't help but pick at, and can't seem to get right. Usually, these stories intimidate the hell out of us, or we're so close, we can't let go enough to write.

    Mine is an epic fantasy. One of the first things I ever started writing, and I played with it for years. I still have it. All 6k. Because,  ya know, I never got past 6k. Even though I knew what should happen.

    Eventually, I let it go. I wrote something else. And something after that. And every time I finish a story, I think about that epic. And I wonder if I should pull it back out.

    And I don't.

    Sometimes, it's time to let go. Sometimes, it's not. But when you've been fighting with the same story, and you aren't making progress...maybe it's time to let go. Walk away and write a new project.

    It's a new year. It's a good time for it.

    Q4U: Do you have a project like that? And what are you working on this shiny new year? :)