Friday, December 18, 2015

Smut for Your Ears

Villainess: The Queen of Swords AUDIObook went live today, which was amazing. It was a lot of fun working with the producer, who nailed Caprice's voice completely, I think. Jotham did up a audio book cover for it since the dimensions are different than an ebook. Now I REALLY need to investigate putting a sidebar up on here to show all the different buy links! Just really, really busy at work at my day job and in writing.

For those who don't know, I am writing a story set in the Villainess world except told from Nosferatu's POV. I'm tentatively calling it "The Razor's Edge" and it's being written for an erotica anthology. The central theme of the anthology is "erotic transformation", and I thought a guy who transforms into a vampire is a pretty good transformation, right? I have a deadline on that one, so I have to get that done first before publishing anything else on my own.

The next one I'm working on is about half done though, and the cover is 99% done, so it should be out fast! This would be the next Witches of Back End book, and after that the next Delilah Devilshot. Then, all of my series will have at least two books out thus indicating to the people who read them that yes, I am planning on continuing all of them... because I am.

I am going to probably put a hard limit on a couple of the series though.

  • Villainess has 16 books. No more, no less. The reason for this is because I am writing the books based on the courts of the tarot. There are 16 court cards, thus, 16 books.
  • Rock Hardin will probably have 9 or 10. It depends on how many covers Jotham has done. I am not one to waste his work, and while my illustrator dictates what it's about and the name of the book, I still write it. He just made all of these REALLY awesome covers, and I want to use them! So far he's only made 9 or 10, and I'm going to try to keep him to JUST 9 or 10!
  • The Janus Key Chronicles will end on a zero: 20/30/40 etc. The reason for that is the bundling I have planned for them... it only works if it ends on a zero. If I run out of steam on it, then it'll be 20. I'm guessing it'll probably be around book 30 that I finally quit the JKC. It's fun to write, cute, and stress relieving for me. Plus I have a ton of titles for it planned. 
  • The Delilah Devilshot series will go until there's no more story to tell. I have NO idea when that will be. However, since I know it'll be about six books until she gets the guns she'll be known for... and there's seven riders to track down who killed her family... plus stuff I have in my head and I can't spoil for you guys... it could be a long, long series. I'm going to aim for novellas for those, if not novels, but they'll be as long as they'll be.
  • The Witches of Back End I'm not sure on. It would be symmetrical to have it be 9, but I just don't know. There's sort of a metaplot, but not really? It's a light write too, so it's not like heavy and plot intensive. I'm guessing 9 will likely be my cut off, right around there, but that one is really up in the air.
Now I do have other series, anthology series, which may get added to as time goes on. Dominating Her Man is done. That one is finito, end of story. I would be ok with leaving Wantonly Wicked where it is, but I have other ideas for erotic horror which may come up. I really want at LEAST one more Cosmic Erotic so I can make a bundle of the three. Mythic Erotica is slow writing, because they are all bunches of short stories put together. I have started the next one, but the starting is research. It'll be a while before I start writing that one. While it will continue, each of those could stand as stand alones simply because they are so different, exploring different cultures and legends.

Bryce and I have some ideas for a collaboration, but we're still both writing our own stuff, without much time to actually collaborate. Hopefully after things slow down here IRL I will be able to be more with it to knock ideas around again and get them down on paper.

That be it for now!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Running Your Event on Facebook

Boring title. Ah, well.

Now that I've come down off of the high and madness of getting The Prince of Cups released, I can share some of my observations from this whole self-promotion thing from both sides of the event thing: attending an author takeover at someone else's event, and running your own.

Author Takeover
Bryce has a blog, and he's listed a lot of the tips and hints there that I will repeat.

  • Invite everyone. Even if it's just for an hour... invite them. That's why you're friends with them on Facebook. The thing is...I know it feels like spam. It does. But the thing is I get invited to them all the time. I check to see who is going, and what time it is (I have a very narrow window for these things), and as an author, I check to see if any event spots are still open. So, if you are an author on Facebook and you have a takeover, invite everyone... especially if there are slots still open. You are helping other authors too that way!
  • Prewrite the segments you are going to go over. Have them in a separate document ready to go. I usually attach a picture to them when I post them so I know which is which when I see the pop-ups. Write an introduction, A THANK YOU FOR THE AUTHOR HOSTING THE EVENT (we'll go more on that later), the segments for your book(s), have your excerpt ready to go, and another thank you. If you have it ready, it's much easier to simply copy and paste it.
  • Pic out the books you are going to promote. If, like me, you have a lot... pick a couple series and stick with it. Focus on one or two things and it'll be more effective.
  • If you are having a giveaway, be sure to keep track of who enters and whatnot... and make them DO SHIT for entering. Usually I have them give my author page a like. Other authors have them sign up for a mailing list (I don't have one yet, which is another thing I need to change, sigh). If they are not somehow helping you to promote yourself, don't do a giveaway. There are a couple of ways you can do it. The first is gifting through Amazon. This runs the chance they may take the money from the gift and buy something else. It's happened to me a couple times. However, if they don't, it does help with your book rank on Amazon. This also costs you money, so the second option is to email them a .mobi or .doc file of your book. This costs you nothing! As a bonus, if they have a kindle, you can send it directly to their kindle via their kindle email address.
  • Don't forget to list all of your contact info: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. 
  • PACE YOURSELF. You want to run a more or less constant stream of information, but not so much that it overwhelms the readers, especially when you post something long like an excerpt. Give yourself time between posts to respond to people who are posting on your stuff, and stay interactive!
  • Bring people to the event. This goes back to inviting everyone. Even if it's just your BFF saying how awesome you are, it's good for people to see you being interactive and other people responding to that. The aim is to get people want to buy your book, so having friends in your corner cheering you on helps a lot.

Running an Event
  • You have all day. After a while, it gets tedious, trust me. Don't sweat taking a break for a few minutes.
  • At the same time, you need to be interactive. It's YOUR event. Ideally it's highlighting what you are doing or selling, and so people need to see you doing stuff and responding. Plus, it's nice to support the other authors, especially if they didn't bring people with them to the event. 
  • Be prepared for people to be late or not show. I've seen people do "reverse takeovers" during an hour where an author didn't show up to some success, and I know Bryce has done a live writing event before that went over pretty well. If nothing else, you can talk about why you're there and sell your stuff, or maybe take questions until the author shows.
  • Be sure to thank each author for showing up at the beginning and end of their hour, while you are introducing the next one. You don't HAVE to have a welcome and good bye pic, but it's good if you do.
  • Prewrite any introductions you do make, just like for a takeover of your own. If you have them ready, you will be less prone to being scatterbrained. 
  • Most of the author takeover stuff listed above also applies here to an extent. 
I don't know if anyone will read this and find this useful, but these are things I've found. And I can't stress enough that I learned everything I did by either learning from Bryce, or just doing it, but mostly the first. Ask questions of other authors you know, and find out what works for them so you can create your own style!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Independent Publishing Vs. Traditional Publishing

It occurs to me that there's really one or two big differences between indie publishing and traditional publishing. In traditional publishing, you of course, submit your manuscript and they, the publishers, decide if they want to publish it. You have less control over your book, but you also have access to editors, which help to polish and shape your book, giving it a smooth, professional read, as well as a professionally done cover. But as a book reader? You wait forever for them to come out. It's not just the time the author takes in writing them, but sending it back and forth between the writer and the editor, making changes and resubmitting, approving the cover, and so on. It can stretch into months after the manuscript is written!

Independent authors who are self-publishing pretty much do everything on their own. I think they're a bit more frazzled, but a lot more in control. Unless they hire an illustrator and a publicist, they do their own covers, and their own promotions. Unless they hire an editor or have a friend do it for them, they do their own editing, which means a book may not be as polished and smooth as it could be. However, they can turn around and put several books out a year, since they can spend their time writing, and don't have to wait for the editor's say so on what needs to be changed or not. THEY decide what needs to be changed. They decide how much promotion to put in. They decide on the cover. They are a lot more involved with their book, from beginning to end. In general, they are able to put out books faster than in traditional publishing.

I don't know which is better. I would love to be popular enough to get a contract with one of the big five, but I'm good doing it all myself too (and Jotham, of course). I like being in control of the entire project, from start to finish, but it would be nice to have someone else take over and do the promotion stuff (I am really bad at it, but I'm getting better).

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Finding Your Character's Voices

This is inspired by a fellow writer's words to me, upon reading the first edited draft of The Prince of Cups. I'm going to quote part of what he said here, so that we're all on the same page.

What I find fascinating is that your characters are so different from mine, yet they're very real. Just as you're a very different person from me even though we get along well.

It's not just because they are born from separate heads, though of course that's a lot of it, but because our character's voices are vastly different. When writing from the third person limited or first person point of view, it's vitally important to find the lead character's voice, make it consistent, and make it unique. How exactly do you do that, though?

The first step is to know your character. Since I've been in Caprice's head for a month, I'm going to use her for an example. The questions I ask myself when I'm making a character go from the pretty vague to the very specific. First, what are her major personality traits? Well, she's a sociopath, but what does that mean exactly? It means she doesn't have empathy for other people. That leads to a lot of coldness in her voice, saying, "Yeah, this person is going to die. Oh well." She doesn't care. They aren't important to her, unless she needs something.

What's another trait? Well, she's vain. She knows she's good looking, and she wants to stay that way. It's not because of power or to use people, though she does use her looks to get what she wants, it's because she wants to be the best. Being the best to her means being good looking as well as powerful and smart.

Though there's more to her, those are a couple of broad strokes I can build off of. I can remember that she would be upset when someone rebukes her advances because hey, she's hot. I can put down how little she cares about someone else's pain (except to get off on, but that's another personality trait), and so on. Once I have a good sense of who she is as a person, I focus on what she does for a living. Working is a major part of a person's life. In this case, she's a hired killer or thief. Really, a hired thug for whatever dirty job. Is she picky about it? Are there things she wouldn't do? What would be her line?

If someone were say, an office worker, reasonable questions to ask about them would be if they liked their job, and why? Do they have an office romance or rivalry? Is there a task they don't like doing, but are forced to do anyway? ("Gonna need those TPS reports...") Do they steal from work? So on and so forth. Another thing to ask the character about--and by this point in my head I'm asking the character, not just myself anymore--is their family. Do they get along? Have a big family? Maybe they were an orphan. What family controversies were there, if any? What traditions? Do they miss their family, or do they talk to them?

In Caprice's case, she would answer something like, "I don't talk to my family. They don't have anything to do with who I am. I'm my own person." And she wouldn't say much more until pressed, at which point I knew she was sore about her family, for whatever reason. "I don't like my mother. She pushes, too much, too hard. She doesn't let me do things on my own. But I like my dad. He was just always there, you know? He didn't take sides. He was always there for both of us."

Now is where it gets fun. You have an idea about their life, what they do, and who is around them. Ask yourself this... what do they order for pizza? What's their favorite television show and why? What do they do for fun? Ask them any other questions you might ask someone in getting to know them. Favorite hobbies, interests, how they like their food, anything at all! In Caprice's case, she orders a large everything. She doesn't watch television, because she finds it a waste of time. And her work is fun for her... but talking about something else other than work, she likes people watching.

Getting a handle on their personality is vital to 'hearing' them. So when you get into the nitty gritty of describing their voice, you can tell if it's going to be soft or hard, whispery or loud, and so on. Do they have an accent? Are they from a particular area of the world? How they express themselves to others in the book is how they are going to express themselves to your readers. Are they guarded? Secretive? Open? Trusting? The main character's voice is going to set the whole tone for the book, and although it's important to hear all of the character's voices, the narrator is the most important.

In this case, Caprice speaks with no discernible accent, but she's confident. She doesn't have to raise her voice to be heard, but she can when she wants to. She's not particularly secretive, nor open. She has secrets that she keeps, but everything is an open book because why should she care? She knows she can take anyone down if she needs to. Her confidence spills over into arrogance, actually, which some might find endearing, and others might find bitchy. She doesn't care what they think, because the only one who matters is herself. Hence, the tone of the book is her finding the limits of her confidence and abilities. While she might get knocked down from time to time, she always comes back stronger. She's also sarcastic at times, which I get from her arrogance. She sneers at people because she views them as weaker than herself.

Might be a rambling post, but it was something I was thinking about anyway. A character's voice is only one part of a book, but it can be a major part. It's not even going into the MC being an unreliable narrator, which may lie directly to the audience. I may ramble on about that in a different post.