Author Archives: Jen Talty
Please welcome guest blogger and Cool Gus Team member Amy Shojai to Write on the River.
(Image © Amy Shojai, CABC…Amy’s in house editor.)
When publishing goes KER-FLOOEY, what’s a hybrid author to do? Other than sit in a corner and make the chicken squeak.(Wait, that’s what the dog suggested…)
In my line of work, I always listen to the dog (and the cat) but when it comes to publishing I got much better advice from Bob Mayer and Jen Talty. Bob invented the term hybrid author when New York publishing succumbed to weird-icity. And today, I consider myself a success in no small part because of partnering with the Cool Gus team.
A few years ago, I had a high-profile agent, a spokesperson gig with a major pet products company, and a dozen award winning pet books published by “Noo Yawk” publishers. Oh, I worked my furry tail off for years to get there, but thought I’d finally arrived. And then virtually overnight, it all went away.
I tried a new agent and that didn’t work either. So I quit writing. I even took a real job for about six months until I realized it doesn’t matter that “Noo Yawk” doesn’t care. It only matters that I CARE.
Nobody cares more about YOU and your goals than YOU. So ya gotta be nice to you, treat you like royalty, and find ways to say “yes I can” instead of wallowing in “why I can’t.”
WHO ARE YOU, REALLY?
I am a writer. It’s not what I do, it’s who I am. But the “old Amy” no longer worked in the new world. So I reinvented myself first by brushing the dust bunnies off my backlist and kindle-izing these award winning books. I wrote some new ones, too.
That led to partnering with Jen Talty and Bob Mayer’s COOL GUS Publishing, who made the titles available in print and all other Ebook formats. Following Bob’s lead again I voiced several of the books for Audible.com. Most recently of all, Cool Gus published my debut thriller and launched the critically acclaimed dog-viewpoint THRILLERS WITH BITE series. The second book in the series HIDE AND SEEK will soon be released. Today, I’m earning more per book sale, and spending less on aspirin that at any time in my publishing career.
All because publishing went KER-FLOOEY. That’s a techie term. You have my permission to use it. (I’m a writer, so I can make schtuff up.)
BEYOND NaNoWriMo: KNOW YOUR OPTIONS
So, what does this have to do with you? Today there are fewer eyebrows raised toward hybrid authors than when Bob jumped off the digital cliff. He was an early adopter. I followed soon after, but now the flood gates have opened.
How do you become the cream that rises to the top of that flood? Did you complete NaNoWriMo? Are you line at the starting gate, ready to pull the trigger on a spanking-new baby book?
Whether you plan to DIY Ebook, hire POD done, or choose a la carte services for cover design, publishing and more, LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES. Discover the options and make educated choices.
Because do-overs sucketh big time.
EBOOK FOR WRITERS WEBINAR Dec. 7, 2-3:30 NY Time
Cool Gus introduced me to one of their early success stories, author Kristen Lamb, a kick-ass speaker and author advocate and blog-maven extraordinaire who has since create WANA International, based on the book We Are Not Alone first published by Bob and Jen’s publishing team. I have a blast presenting WANA webinars!
Next Saturday, December 7, 2013, join my EBOOKS FOR WRITERS Webinar from 2-3:30 NY time for all the must-know options for publishing in today’s digital age. It’s only $40 (but you’ll get $10 off with the code GO INDIE). Register here.
No hotel, no travel, no makeup required. I love Webinars because I can wear jammies and have a cat or dog on my lap (well, as much of the dog as will fit). The recording makes it possible to revisit the session later—especially helpful for those with a time conflict who live in, say, Australia. Or the wilds of Manhattan. And, if you aren’t yet ready to pull the trigger on your book, the session helps you figure out next steps when you ARE ready. (Hint: Might be a cool early holiday gift for a writer in your life.)
The live Power Point presentation includes lots of SQUEEE! cute animal picture illustrations, answers your questions and gives you a life-preserver to keep you afloat as you dive off the self-publishing cliff. You will learn:
· Pros & Cons of Ebook Publishing compared to “Traditional”
· Options Available from DIY platforms to for-hire services
· Kinds of costs involved
· What you can (and should) do yourself
· What you should hire professionals to do
· Resources for helpful self-publishing software, editorial assistance and cover design help
· Practical step-by-step how-to “Kindle-ize” your manuscript
· Formatting tips for illustrations, covers, sidebars and table of contents
· Promotional must-knows including DO’s and DON’TS!
· Includes valuable links to further information, available as a down-load/handout.
I got to reinvent myself with help of Bob Mayer, Jen Talty, Kristen Lamb and others who mentored me into creating my BLING, BITCHES & BLOOD BLOG, and breathed new life into my book publishing career. So turn-about is fair play. Besides, it’s just the right thing to do. That’s one reason I jumped at the chance to guest here at Bob Mayer’s amazing blog site. Good karma gets returned so find ways to pay-it-forward, let others know about the seminar (and discount code GO INDIE). You won’t be sorry.
Amy Shojai, CABC is the award winning hybrid author of 26 books who got tired of publishing suck-isity and decided to do something about it. She channels her inner dog and cat, creating nonfiction and thriller books that edu-tain and empower writers and pet lovers.
(Image © Amy Shojai, CABC: Magical-Dawg, Seren-Kitty and the author)
- Authors create product, readers consume product – those in between must provide long-term value (writeitforward.wordpress.com)
PLEASE WELCOME GUEST BLOGGER COLIN FALCONER TO WRITE ON THE RIVER
ALWAYS TAKE EXTRA CARE WHEN PUTTING A BODY THROUGH A MEAT GRINDER
“Rule one of reading other people’s stories is that whenever you say ‘well that’s not convincing’ the author tells you that’s the bit that wasn’t made up. This is because real life is under no obligation to be convincing.” – Neil Gaiman
This year I re-edited and re-released a series of novels that I wrote about the genesis of the drug trade in South East Asia. They had never been published in the US before and CoolGus gave me the opportunity to bring them to a wider audience.
I had trekked the Burmese jungle, and been to Corsican hang-outs in Vientiane and the underbelly of Bangkok for much of the research. But I also needed some inside information on the Triads so I went to Hong Kong, just before the handover. With some persistence I found a detective inspector with the glorious monicker of John Chetwynd-Chatwin, a man of infinite charm and patience who offered to help me.
He introduced me to a number of his friends and colleagues in the Royal Hong Kong police force.
One of his fellow DCI’s – a brilliant character and a lovely bloke who looked a bit like Magnum PI and even had a revolver down the back of his pants – took me under his wing and showed me around. He was great company and also a fantastic story teller.
One of the stories he told me was about two triad henchmen who were driving around one night wondering with what to do with the body they had in the boot – as you do– so they broke into a dumpling factory and tried to force the corpse through a mincer.
(Yum cha anyone?)
But the body jammed and when one of them tried to free it he got his own hand stuck in the machine as well and lost two of his fingers. His mate took him and his mangled digits to the local emergency department.
But the doctor who tried to re-attach them was quite puzzled. His patient had lost an index finger and a thumb; what they had brought with them to the ER was a pinkie and part of a toe.
His suspicions were aroused, as they say.
And that’s how the cops made the arrest. The two hitmen were caught red-handed, so to speak.
The other story he told me involved a couple who leased a 26th floor apartment in Kowloon and decided to reinvigorate the sadly neglected window box. It was massive, the size of a small car.
But when they started digging, they discovered to their great surprise that it contained an acquaintance of the previous tenant. Further inquiries revealed that the last occupier – who was “known to the police” – had recently emigrated and left no forwarding address.
Didn’t even try and get his rental deposit back.
Naturally, I found a way to work both these stories into my plot, thinking I was being smart. Or was I?
Several friends who read the book took me aside: “Look, loved that one about the triads …but that bit about the meat mincer … and the window box … wasn’t that a bit far-fetched?
The only things they found unbelievable in the novel were the only two things I never actually invented.
As Neil Gaiman says, real life has no obligation to be convincing.
I continue in my efforts to make my fiction realistic; but not so realistic that people think that – well … think that that I’m just making it up.
Colin Falconer is the author of over twenty historical novels. See his blog to find more posts about writing and the writing life.
At the end of November many writers will have 50k words, or close too it. Some will have completed a novel. Others will be close to completion. Most will need a long nap. Writing 2k every day can be exhausting, especially when the words are forced or not flowing. Producing that kind output is a full time job when many of those participating in NaNo have other jobs and families, its even more exhausting.
So now that it’s almost over, what do you do next? Most of the advice I see out there is to take a break. While I think that is an excellent idea, I think there is one thing you should do before you set aside your NaNo project. I suggest you make an outline of what you think you just wrote. Your mind has been in constant thought, producing word after word. Its time to see if those words make sense.
When I wrote Rekindled during NaNoWriMo, as soon as I was done, I took out a notebook and started labeling pages. One was for Hero. Another for the Heroine. I had a page for the best friend and ex-girlfriend’s romance. I had a page for the dead father. A page for the hero’s boss and the hero’s mother and their relationship. I had a page for the heroine’s best friend. A page for dead father’s best friend who is holding a lot of the secrets tying all the above people together. I had a page for the bad guys who were tying to kill the Heroine. Finally, I had a page for the plot line. I jotted down what I thought I knew about what I wrote WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE MANUSCRIPT. I was surprised at how much I didn’t know about what I had just written.
Then, I took a break. I didn’t work on that manuscript at all, though I thought about it and I keep a notebook with me, jotting things down.
Next, I printed it out and sat in a big comfy chair with my feet up and just read it. This was the hardest part. I didn’t allow myself a red pen. I forced myself to stay away from the computer. I did however give myself permission to take notes. They were mostly questions, like “why did I write that scene in that point-of-view?” or “who really is Kaylee’s father?” That question really hit me hard because I hadn’t planned for Kaylee to have a different biological dad than the one who raised her and who had been murdered, but it was my subconscious at work, so I had to figure it out. This process was very difficult, but very important in understanding what my brain had done while I was busy tossing words onto the page to meet my word count.
After I had gone through the manuscript, I had to make some difficult decisions. Many of my scenes were written in the wrong point of view. So they had to be changed. I had to delete two point of view characters. Also, the reason Kaylee had come home in the beginning of the book wasn’t the reason I had been working of off halfway through the book.
I honestly was so confused by middle of December I felt like I almost had to start all over again. So, I took a deep breath and went back to basics. I asked myself what the Kernel Idea was for this book. I wrote that down and one sentence gave me a lot of direction, but I still had a lot of rewriting to do, but it went much smoother after that.
In honor of Nanowrimo month, Cool Gus has put together a Nanowrimo Survival kit at a discount: three books in one at a big discount (over 50% off buying them individually). We’re only going to run this special for November, then we’ll be taking it down.
The Novel Writers Toolkit which is how to write the book.
Write It Forward which is how to be a professional author and build a career using my Who Dares Wins concept.
And How We Made Our First Million on Kindle which is about negotiating the world of digital publishing.
Today we have Colin Falconer guest blogging on Write on the River.
I remember one morning a few years ago stumbling out onto the deck with my coffee, feeling pretty bad about life. My border collie looked up at me from between her paws with that look that said:
… here we go, he’s going to start on about his freaking problems ….
Do I really have to listen to all this again?
Well I buy your Kibble lady, so yes you do.
And so she’d listen, but not for free. Payment consisted of fifteen minutes stroking behind the ear – minimum – and on a bad day a belly rub as well.
Some days it can get like that; when the light you see at the end of the tunnel is just an oncoming express train.
We all need to remember that we are not alone when this happens. It can be easy to see bad luck or failure as our destiny rather than a learning curve.
But the brightest and the best have been there before us, and sometimes what it takes to dig out is not just to catch a break but keep the right attitude.
Here’s how eight of the most successful men and women of this century and the last have won their dreams.
It helped them.
Their thoughts on the subject help me.
Perhaps they will help you too.
1. “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know of avoiding the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs
2. “The beauty of success, whether it’s finding the girl of your dreams, the right job, or financial success, is that it doesn’t matter how many times you have failed, you only have to be right once.” – Mark Cuban
3. “What other people label failure I have learned is just God’s way of pointing you in a new direction.” – Oprah Winfrey
4. “Many of life’s failures are people who did not know how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison
5. “I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized. And I still had a daughter who I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which to build my life.” – JK Rowling
6. “I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but the one thing that I would regret is not trying.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon
7. “I have taken more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times I have been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I have failed over and over again in my life; and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
8. “The first step towards getting somewhere is deciding you are not going to stay where you are.” – JP Morgan
… I even now suspect that Scout knew all this and was trying to tell me.
She must have known a few things about success, because I never saw her fail.
That dog. She was a great listener.
But she made sure she got paid.
Every. Single. Time.
THE FIRST BOOK IN MY NEW TRILOGY ‘NAKED IN HAVANA’ AVAILABLE NOW!
Colin Falconer is the author of over twenty historical novels. See his blog page to see more posts about history and historical fiction.