Tag Archives: Author

Bestselling author Jennifer Estep: Listening to your instincts

Bestselling author Jennifer Estep has kindly shared some insight into her writing process. It is an inspiration for anyone pursuing the hard path of publishing, whether traditional or self-publishing.

As one reads Miss. Estep’s interview, they learn writing the book that catapults your career takes more than just patience and work.

Straight from the author’s mouth: Listen to your instincts.

  1. Can you talk about your career? What are some setbacks you had to overcome to fulfill your goals?

I write the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books and the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. I wrote several books over the course of several years before I got an agent and sold my first book. I got a lot of rejections along the way, but I just kept on writing, and I eventually sold my first book.

  1. Your new release Widow’s Web has come out. Can you share with us a powerful excerpt from your novel?

WIDOW’S WEB EXCERPT:

Owen just sort of—sagged. His hands thudded down on the table, and his whole body pitched forward, as if the mere sight of her had caused his bones to turn to jelly. He continued to sit there, a stunned expression on his face, as though he couldn’t quite believe there was a woman standing in front of him—that this particular woman was standing in front of him. Whoever she was, he obviously knew her and was floored by her appearance—as floored as I’d been when I’d seen Donovan Caine, an old lover of mine, a few weeks ago. Hmm.

“Don’t you have anything to say?” she asked. “Or perhaps a hug for an old friend?”

Her voice was soft, sweet, and utterly feminine with the kind of faint dulcet chiming that made me think of water rushing down a mountainside. A soothing voice—one that could convince a man to do all sorts of things for her. Up close, I could see that her eyes were somewhere between blue and green—aquamarine, some folks might say. Their color seemed to constantly shift from one to the other and back again, churning like the sea.

“Owen?” the woman asked again.

“Of course,” he said in a faint voice, pushed his chair back, and got to his feet.

Owen hesitated, then held out his hand, but the woman ignored his gesture and stepped into his arms, molding herself to his body and pressing her breasts against his chest. He hesitated again, then awkwardly patted her on the back before stepping out of her embrace as fast as he could. The woman seemed amused by his attempts to disentangle himself from her and did everything she could to slow his getaway.

Her antics did not amuse me—not one little bit. Especially since the woman was staring at my lover like she’d very much like to have him for dessert. Like it was almost a forgone conclusion that she would, despite my presence at the table.

Finally, she tore her gaze away from Owen long enough to glance at me. “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?”

“Of course,” he echoed again. “Salina Dubois, this is Gin Blanco. Gin, Salina.”

I discreetly tucked my knife back into my purse, closed the top, put it down on the table, and got to my feet. Salina held out her hand to me, the same remote expression on her face that she’d shown McAllister—the one that told me just how very far beneath her and unimportant she thought I was.

  1. Can you talk about your writing process?

When I start writing a rough draft, I try to write at least 2,000 words (or more) a day until I have a draft that’s about 50,000 or 60,000 words (or more). Then, I let that draft sit for a while before I go back, read through, and see how the characters, plot, story, and more hold together. Then, I start on my second draft and layer in more emotion, action, description, and dialogue. When I finish, I let that draft sit for a while before going back, reading through, and seeing what needs to be done to that draft. I keep repeating that process until I have a full-length book that’s the best that I can make it.

  1. Any editing tips?

I would just say listen to your instincts. If you think something in your book isn’t quite working, then it’s probably not. Also, I think one of the most important things is just getting the words and your story down. Your book doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. That’s what editing is for.

  1. What do you love most about the writing industry? What do you dislike?

One of the things I like about the writing community is just how nice and supportive everyone is. Whether we are authors, readers, reviewers, or bloggers, we all love books, and it’s just great to meet and interact with so many people who enjoy books and reading.

  1. Do you have any other books or new releases that you would wish to talk about?

Widow’s Web, the seventh book in my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series, was released on Aug. 21. Deadly Sting, the eighth book, is set to be published in April 2013, and there will be at least two more books in the series after that one.

Crimson Frost, the fourth book in my Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series, will be out on Dec. 24, 2012, and there will be at least two more books in the series after that one.

Folks can visit my website at www.jenniferestep.com for more information about my books.

Thank you for reading this interview. Interested in seeing if you won a personally signed copy of Miss. Estep’s Widow’s Web, check out the giveaway on my fan page.

BIO INFO:

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times bestselling author. Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. Widow’s Web, the seventh book, was released on Aug. 21. Visit www.jenniferestep.com for excerpts and more information about her books.

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Amanda Hocking: The E-book Millionaire

Another author makes it big off self-publishing. Amanda Hocking proves passion is the key ingredient to turning dreams into dollar signs. If you love writing, working a 9 to 5 won’t even stop you.

Anyone who has danced around the Indie blogosphere might have stumbled upon the novel Wake by Amanda Hocking. Well guess what, Miss. Hocking’s writing career did not begin with a seven figure contract from St. Martin’s Press. She started her writing career coming home after working late until 10 p.m., drinking a red bull, and then working eight hours straight on her writing.

Seeing she could get the same quality novels as a publisher, she self-published them online. Nine books led to a big return on investment.

Miss. Hocking inspired me. Now it is your turn. Let Miss. Hocking inspire you.

Victoria Smith: Growing a market for New Adult fiction

New adult author and book blogger Victoria Smith gives us some insight on how she built a community of likeminded individuals over the internet, creating an impressive online presence.

Promoting new adult fiction through book reviews, networking, and promotions, she has helped many authors gain success and a voice in an underappreciated market.

Looking for a reviewer or someone to connect with? Check out Miss. Smith’s blogs and NA Alley, a resource for all interested in new adult fiction.

Having recently obtained a publishing contract for her science fiction romance novel, The Crimson Hunt, Miss. Smith offers some advice on creating a query package. She has provided links to submissions.

If you do nothing, click on the links below and check out her examples. Examples of synopses and queries helped me create a straight-to-the-point cover blurb, landing me review requests even though I am self-published author. So thank you Miss. Smith for sharing the love and knowledge.

Straight from the blogger’s mouth: Growing a market for New Adult Fiction

Can you tell me about your blog and the objective you hope to achieve?

Sure!  My blog is about my journey as a new writer as I write characters that fall between the categories of Adult and Young Adult fiction.  I write what’s called “New Adult” fiction, which features characters that are usually between the ages of 18 – 30.  “New Adult” displays these characters’ journey as they transition into adulthood.  They can be featured in college, starting their first jobs, or paying their first bills.  The publishing industry hasn’t really taken to this type of fiction yet, so my blog discusses my experience with writing this type of fiction despite the low market for it.  I also review books, which feature twenty-something aged characters, so others can read books about “New Adult” characters.  I try to spread awareness of this new category through my experiences writing it and the reviews I do.

 

As a book reviewer, what do you look for when you consider reviewing a book? 

 

First, I have to make sure that the books I review are perfect for the audience that reads my blog.  I try to feature books that are, what I like to call, “perfect for twenty-somethings.”  It can be Young Adult fiction or Adult fiction, but it has to be able to reach that audience.  A good example would be maybe a 17 or 18-year-old character that has become completely independent due to unique circumstances.  Say they are a single parent, or they have become the soul provider of their family because of an injured parent.  Maybe they grew up in hardships and have had to rely on themselves to survive.  These are mature experiences that could definitely relate to twenty-something readers and writers.

I also try to make sure that romance is one of the central themes of the writing.  I love reading Young Adult and Adult romances and find those stories compelling. I’m also a big fan of speculative fiction in contemporary settings.  Say a girl is a college student by day and a superhero at night or the local bartender down the street who took the job to pay for school is an undercover alien.  I love seeing stories like these!

 

How did you get your blog started and how long did it take before you saw results?

I started my blog November of 2011.  It took about a month and a half when I started gaining more followers.  I held contests and joined Twitter.  I also sought out other bloggers who reviewed books like I did, or were writers like me.  I commented and participated on their blogs then they would come to mine and do the same.  Before I knew it, I started to get a following and the rest is history as you say!

 

What are some tips?

The biggest tips I can give are to join Twitter and find other blogs like yourself. You have to network if you want people to come to your blog.  Make friends! Not only is it fun, but you also get to meet some cool people.

 

As a writer, I know you said you were undergoing the querying process. Can you talk about a bit about your book, the querying process and what you have learned?

I actually just started researching the querying process recently for my new adult science fiction romance, THE CRIMSON HUNT.  My book is about a college junior who falls for a mysterious collegiate on her campus.  But her involvement with him lands her at the heart of a murder, in which she has been named the prime suspect.  He is the only one who truly knows of her innocence, so she becomes completely reliant on him to survive.  But as the two become closer, she realizes that he may have had more involvement with the murder than he lets on. She has to determine who her true allies are before she loses more than just her rights as a free citizen.

 

With this project, I was editing and getting my packages together for publishers because I knew I would be submitting it by the end of the summer.  I created a standard package by making a two-page synopsis, blurb, and query letter, which included a blurb about the book and my writing credentials.  While getting the package together, I heard about a contest from an editor that was actively seeking new adult manuscripts.  I entered the contest about a month ago and won.  Here’s my entry here.  I submitted my full manuscript to them and they offered me a contract for publication about two weeks ago!  So, I am now officially a new adult author.  Here’s the announcement I made on my blog about it here.

I suppose I learned that you just have to make sure that you concentrate on your work first and foremost.  Really polish your manuscript to the best of your ability, so when opportunities like pitch contests and other things come around you are prepared.  Obtain a critique partner and beta readers to read your work.  They’ll catch things that you might not necessarily have seen yourself.

 

If you could share a bit of wisdom with aspiring authors who desire to create a successful blog, what would it be?

As writers we naturally want to show our work to the world, so it’s easy to only want to discuss your personal craft on your blog.  But what you have to make sure of is that there is a balance.  Research your reader and feature things that they would like to see on your blog then insert your own stuff into the mix.  You’ll build a following then you can feature more and more of your own work.  Make sure you network with other writers and readers via Facebook, blogging, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. to create friendships.  They will come to you if you come to them with the same awesome attitude and spirit!

Connect with Miss. Victoria Smith:

 

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Book reviewers needed? Connect with Summer Lane

 Summer Lane, Author of  Snappy Social Networking: How to Dominate the Blogosphere & Everything in Betweenwill divulge tips and tricks authors should use when writing for a blog this Saturday, June 16.

Not only do you want to check out Lane’s book on Amazon, but you definitely want to add Miss. Lane to your list of free book reviewers.

Aimed at giving independent and self-published authors a presence on the web, Lane hosts Indie Mondays on her blog, Writing Belle.

“I spend a lot time reading indie books,” Lane said in her interview. “And I think self-publishing is well on its way to becoming the way for an established author.”

Lane reviews young adult and new adult genres. For all you memoir and biography writers, you can think, ‘Finally!’ Yes, Miss. Lane is also the answer to your book reviewing needs.

Do not be afraid to connect with Lane while waiting for Saturday to roll around. Time is of the essence and Writing Belle will provide you much needed inspiration from successful self published authors in the meantime.

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Jocelyn Adams: When writing’s as simple as watching a movie

To me writing what you know is key to completing the novel.

Yet everyone knows just because you completed a novel does not mean it will be great.

To write a truly phenomenal novel, you should care deeply about what you are writing.

Jocelyn Adams, author of The Glass Man and Crossing Hathaway, talks about being a paranormal and contemporary romance author, genres she chose for love instead of money.

The Glass Man, a paranormal romance, was released in October of last year. Crossing Hathaway, a contemporary romance, will be released August 6, 2012.

She talks about both of these novels below, while also providing a unique, but welcomed perspective to editing and outlining.

This author does not outline, she watches the ideas of her novel unfold like movies in her head.

For all you non-outliners out there, you have the chance to make a new friend.

After you check out The Glass Man and Crossing Hathaway, connect with the author through social media.

Straight From The Author’s Mouth  

1.       Can you tell us about your novel The Glass Man and Crossing Hathaway? Why did you choose to write Romance and Fantasy?

Thanks so much for having me today!  Hmm, yes, The Glass Man.  My very first published novel,  my baby.  It came from a dream of a man with ice blue eyes.  The next day, in my twisted little mind, my villain was born, and the rest of the story exploded around him.  This is a trilogy opener about a woman, Lila Gray, who is trying to survive in a dystopian world after The Glass Man murdered her family.  They sacrificed their lives to run interference when he first came for Lila at the age of thirteen.  She doesn’t know what she is or why he’s hunting her, so the reader learns about Lila and her situation as she, herself, does.

Crossing Hathaway isn’t my typical genre of book.  I wrote it on a lark a few years ago just to see if I could write contemporary romance, and I’m just now contemplating submitting it to publishers under my other persona, who writes mainly erotica, to keep it separate from my UF & PNR works.  Crossing Hathaway is steeped with humor, and is about an I.T. girl, Evangeline Ross, who’s sworn off men.  She comes up against the big cheese of her company, Ben Hathaway, who is reclusive, charming and gorgeous, and doesn’t usually allow women into his office.  Let the sparks of sexual tension fly!

Romance, specifically paranormal romance, and urban fantasy are what I love to read, so naturally it’s what I write best.  I’ve tried writing other genres, but my lack of interest bled through into the writing and it just didn’t work.  I have three full novels in my laptop that nobody will ever read.  Learning tools is what they were, a rite of passage of the author I was becoming.

 

2.       Can you describe your writing process? How long does it take you to finish a novel?

My writing process is pretty simple, actually.  I don’t outline anything.  Ever.  Well, except in the case of the Muskoka Novel Marathon, in which I participated in last year (write a novel in 3 days – satisfying but totally exhausting). 

Normally an idea pops into my head and I let it stew there for a while.  At night, when the house is quiet just before I go to sleep, my mind starts chewing over scene possibilities and general story arc, like movies in my head.  The next day I write the scene(s).  The following night I contemplate the next step in the path along the story, and so the pattern continues.  I let it drive me, take me wherever it wants to go even if it doesn’t make sense to me at first.  In the end, it always comes back together somehow.

The first draft is always a bare skeleton with very little description and detail.  During the editing process, I flesh it out with color and texture, add quirks to my characters, furniture to rooms and such.   I know most authors cut tons during editing, but I usually add 5-10,000 words during the process.

I finished the first draft of The Glass Man in just under six weeks, and Crossing Hathaway wasn’t much longer.  The first draft of book one of my new Ironhill Jinn series, Stone Chameleon, I wrote in seventeen days.  Sometimes the story just comes bursting out so fast I can hardly get my fingers moving quickly enough to capture it all.  It’s awesome.

3.       Any editing tips? 

I usually do several passes of editing.  The first pass, the rough pass, is where I tidy up story holes, stuff that doesn’t work for one reason or another, details that don’t mesh, etc.

The second pass is where I look at sentence structure to make sure it’s varied enough, while adding in description and personality to everything along the way.

The third pass is for punctuation, spelling and flow from sentence to sentence, scene to scene, and chapter to chapter, as well as ensuring I have character reactions everywhere they’re needed.  I tend to follow the scene and sequel method of writing scenes as much as possible.  (goal, crisis, disaster, emotion, thought, decision, action).  Not all elements are in every scene, but the ones that are I try to make sure appear in the proper order.

The final pass I read on my Kindle, looking for the last few straggling errors.  I was shocked at what a great tool that is, at what I found on the Kindle that I didn’t see while reading on my computer.

Then the story goes to my beta readers (who are made of awesome, by the way!).  Once I receive their feedback, I make the story changes and start the editing process over again.

4.       If you could share one tip you learned with self-published authors who share the same dream of being a successful author what would it be?

Hmm, I think I’d have to say don’t be seduced into writing what’s currently hot for the market.  If you aren’t enjoying the story you’re writing, nobody else will, either.  You need to feel it in your bones, in your heart and soul.  Let your enthusiasm spill into the words, and it won’t matter what genre it is, others will enjoy reading it, and word will spread.  If you’re in it for the money, chances are you’re not going to go very far in the industry.  You need to be writing because you love it.  If you end up getting paid, great, it’s gravy on the top.

Perseverance is the key.  You’ll get rejected.  A lot.  It’s the nature of the beast.  Let it thicken your skin.  Sub out some short stories to begin building a resume and your confidence.  Start a blog and develop an author “brand” that suits you and the genre you write.  These are all building blocks that can lead up to publishing a novel.

Good luck to you all!  Please feel free to ask me anything, just stop by my author blog for my contact details.  I’ve also started a book review & author feature site, http://www.booksandeatsbistro.wordpress.com for anyone who would like their book reviewed (PNR or UF only) or to have a stop for their book release blog tours.