Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Business of Writing: Formatting Part Two #mfrwAuthor #mfrworg

This image came from my pinterest account

I touched on formatting the last time because as an editor it is one of the things most authors have errors with. Part of that problem is because publishers really don’t give you an exact list. They don’t tell you where they might want you to start the chapter on the page, how to break your scenes or what size font to use. I write for two publishers and they have different rules on scene breaks, or where the chapter should start on a page. Even the size of the font is different. I really have to think about who I’m writing for with that.

There are a few things that seem to be the basic things across the two publishers I work with, and as I have spoken to other authors with other publishers they tell me the same thing. One is the .3 indent for the beginning of a chapter that I mentioned before, and using Times New Roman as the font, one inch margins all the way around. Both of my publishers use astrids to divide the scene but that is where it stops. One wants four with no space the other wants four with space. It’s the little things that will drive you crazy.

Writer’s Tip:

If the publisher doesn’t indicate a particular size font use 12 font. It will be easy to adjust if they use a different size and it’s easier on the eyes of your potential editor. Use double space unless otherwise instructed. One inch margins all around is the norm, so is .3 indents on paragraphs. When starting your chapter there is normally a blank line between the word chapter and the first line of your scene. I have found most publishers want the number next to the word Chapter instead of having it spelled out. When you do a scene break I do recommend using the astrids – the reason behind that is your editor will know that it is a scene break and not just an extra line. Use your tool bars and program the document to set up your indents instead of using the tab button. Use astrids and dashes sparingly. A comma normally does the job and most publishers will pull them out. Use Italics when your character is thinking out loud or when you want to emphasis a word. Using underlines is old school now and most publishers, especially the e-pubs want italics.

Barbara Donlon Bradley wears many hats. She’s a mother, wife, care-giver, author, and editor. She’s a senior editor for Melange Books, and writes for Phaze and Melange books/Satin Romances with over twenty titles under her belt.

Barb's Links: 

Friday, October 24, 2014

#MFRWorg Newbie World: Is Your Blog Gaining You New Readers?

Is your blog gaining new followers?
(How to Transform All of Your Blogs Into Evergreen Content)

It’s a question most of us avoid asking ourselves. We know we’re “supposed” to blog, and so we dutifully crank one out at regular intervals. Sometimes, the blog is about something trivial, like our cats. Or it’s a clear promotional piece for another author or for ourselves.

Don’t quote me as saying that either of those things are unimportant. But will they get you new readers? Probably not.  So what does work?

Evergreen Content!

Let’s talk about something that marketers call evergreen content. I first learned about it from Jeni Elliott (aka The Blog Maven). Evergreen content is that content that people come back to again and again – those posts with engaging titles and easy quotes that we love to forward, comment on, and share.

The main question is: Will people still read this and think it’s interesting a year from now?

Now, I know for sure that most of my blog posts are not that kind of content. Are yours? Are they the type of things that your readers are searching for, year after year? For instance, let’s say that you write paranormal romances (ahem). You could do a post on your top ten paranormal romances, ever. Or try a post on a popular but timeless book, TV series, etc., and what you think about it. Like “How Anne Rice Transformed Paranormal”. (And be nice! We all know karma’s moniker.)

What we don’t want to do, though, is just continue to post because we feel that we have to. If it’s not something great, then don’t post it. Don’t we all tend to filter out or delete posts and emails that we feel have no relevance in our lives? Our readers are doing the same thing, so make your post amazing.  Or at least great.

Make use of keywords.
Even though Google has tamped down on allowing us to find the best keywords, you probably already know what these are for you. For instance, I should have paranormal and romance in my content somewhere, because that’s what my readers are searching for.  And try these  other ways to search for trending keywords.

Know your Reader.
Of course, all of this only helps if we know first who our ideal reader is. Who is that one reader out there that you think of when you sit down to write your blog – that one reader that retweets, shares, and comments on your posts? What does that reader most want from you? Is it recommendations for new books, insight into your writing process, or just general personal information? Thinking of what that person wants will help to shape your writing.

A reader survey is also a great way to get to know your readers. If you already have a newsletter (and if you don’t, start now!), then you can include a very short questionnaire on the reader’s wishes. A give-way helps here to get responses. Try to see if there is something that the reader gains from reading your books and blogs – what sort of emotional transformation do they get from reading what you write?

What are your tricks for bringing more readers to your blogs? Do you feel as if you are hitting your target audience, or just struggling to find stuff to write about?

Posted by Author Erin Moore
Erin writes sensuous paranormal romances set in exotic locales. Her latest book is a sexy minotaur shifter story set in Crete.  A regular blogger for Marketing for Romance Writers as well as Heroes and Heartbreakers, Erin is sadly neglectful of her own blog. She lives in Atlanta with her two little paranormal beings and one unruly husband.

Erin also now offers editing services, including help with bios and queries, on her website.  She's giving away a critique of a first chapter with a subscription to her newsletter!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

#MFRWauthor shares her #NaNoWriMo Experience @RitaBayAuthor

I’ll keep this short because I’m already gearing up for NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month. Every year in November, hundreds of thousands of writers—more than 645,000 in 2013—unite to write. Starting at midnight on November 1st, participants write feverishly until midnight on December 1st to churn out those fifty thousand words in thirty days.

I can’t recommend NaNo enough as a writing tool to get started and keep going. There’s a built-in support system of staff, famous guest author cheerleaders, and writer friends you’ve signed up with or found online. For writers near one of the participating communities, there are kick-off parties and write-ins throughout the month. Cost? Nothing, unless the writer makes a tax-deductible donation to NaNo. (I always donate because I don’t expect something for nothing AND I get a cute little crown on my author page.)

Participants create their own author pages with bios, buddies, blurbs, and word-count tracking. I also record my word count in an Excel spreadsheet to track how many words I have left to write for the day and how far ahead (or behind) I am for my November goal. My NaNoWriMo spreadsheet for 2014 version is available from my website (ritabay.com) on the Freebie page under Author Freebies.

I’ve participated in NaNo since 2009, though as Rita Bay since 2012 when I was first published and
switched to my pen name. As a compulsive edit-as-I-write author, fifty thousand words is a difficult challenge but doable.

In October I schedule my November webpage blogs, write and submit my guest posts, and put my house in order, including a bit of cook and freeze.

Although I’ve only met the 50,000 word goal twice, I’ve ended the month with a published book every year. My NaNo pubbed books include:
  • His Desire (NaNoWriMo, 2009), a Regency Historical from Siren BookStrand (2012)
  • Into the Lyon's Den (2010), a Shapeshifter Romance, Champagne Books (2012)
  • Finding Eve (2011), the sequel to Into the Lyons' Den, Champagne (2013)
  • Search & Rescue (2012), a Contemporary Military Romance, Secret Cravings (2013)
  • Duchess in Waiting (2013), a Regency Historical, Siren Publishing (2014)
Since I plan to complete two historical novellas this year, my goal is about 60,000 words. If you’re considering signing up for NaNo this year, check out this link: http://nanowrimo.org/about. If you join, I’d love some more buddies at Rita Bay.

Rita’s Bio
Rita Bay happily writes sizzling contemporary stories (Secret Cravings & Liquid Silver Books), historical romance sagas (Siren & BookStrand), shapeshifter and vampire tales, and humorous mythology-based erotic romps (Champagne Book Group). Her stories are set near her home in Atlanta, along the Gulf Coast, and in picturesque locales across Europe. Her webpage/blog (http://ritabay.com) offers more info about Rita and her stories, as well as risqué, macabre, and extraordinary posts about the history and culture of Western Europe and the United States.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

MFRW Monthly Quote - October 2014 #MFRWauthor

"The secret of the creative life is often to feel at ease with your own embarrassment. We are paid to take risks, to look silly. Some people like racing car drivers are paid to take risks in a more concrete way. We are paid to take risks in an emotional way."        
-Paul Schraeder

Emerald is an erotic fiction author whose short stories have been featured in anthologies published by Cleis Press, Mischief, and Logical-Lust. She serves as an assistant newsletter editor and Facebook group moderator for Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW), and she selects and posts the monthly inspirational quote on the MFRW Marketing Blog. Her first solo books, If... Then: a collection of erotic romance stories and Safe: a collection of erotic stories, are out now from 1001 Nights Press. Find her online at her website, The Green Light District.

Friday, October 17, 2014

#MFRWauthors Participate in #NaNoWriMo... Are You?

Are You NaNo-ing?

November is National Novel Writing Month. You'll see it referenced on Twitter as #NaNoWriMo and lots of authors will be talking about it over the next few months. National Novel Writing Month is a 501c3 nonprofit (formerly known as the Office of Letters and Light) that believes everyone's story matters so each November, they host this huge writing event. Many authors find it motivational. For me, it's a challenge that pushes my word count higher for the month. While I can average 30,000 words/ month, I've written 50,000 words during the past two Novembers. The program can work!

National Novel Writing Month organizes events where children and adults find the inspiration, encouragement, and structure they need to achieve their creative potential. Our programs are web-enabled challenges with vibrant real-world components, designed to foster self-expression while building community on local and global levels.

In 2013, 310,095 people participated in NaNoWriMo.

NOW is the time to sign up. You can do that here. You will definitely want to set up a profile and bookmark it because this is where you will go each day or so to update your writing stats. You'll also earn badges - they're like smiley stickers teachers used to give you in elementary school. NaNo is all about the fun!

THEN spend the next few weeks preparing...

  • Connect with participating authors. You can do this on the NaNo website.
  • Participate in the NaNo forums on their website. Gather good ideas!
  • Blog about your goal. Tell others to gain support and serve as motivation.
  • Insert a NaNo word count widget on your blog.
  • Plan out your story so not to waste time later when you should be writing.
  • Let your family know your writing schedule for November. It will alter your normal schedule and you'll need their support/ cooperation.

CONNECT with other MFRW Authors who are participating. After you register, leave your username in the comments field below and go find the others on the NaNo website. Let's be buddies! Look for me - I'm registered as PalomaBeck.

Great News!
There's some fabulous NaNo sponsors this year. Here's my two favorites.

Two free paperback copies of a finished book for NaNoWriMo winners.

CreateSpace is proud to support Wrimos. We invite you to explore easy and rewarding independent publishing, take advantage of free tools, or choose from our everyday low priced professional services. In addition, NaNoWriMo winners can get two free paperback copies of their finished book.

50% off Scrivener for all NaNoWriMo winners, and 20% off for all participants

Scrivener is an award-winning word processor and project management tool for the Mac and Windows that has been enthusiastically adopted by best-selling novelists and novices alike.

As a NaNoWriMo 2014 winner, you will be eligible for a 50% discount on Scrivener’s regular license on either the Mac or Windows platform. For those who participate and don’t make their 50,000 words, use the code NANOWRIMO for 20% off until December 31, 2015. A special NaNoWriMo extended trial version is available now.

Monday, October 13, 2014

When Life Gives You Lemons, Write a Book @KittyB78 #MFRWauthor #amwriting

Life sometimes gets in the way for us writers. Doubly so for the marketing aspects. But, overcoming adversities is not just for authors, but for all humans. Each day we face new choices. Some will affect us for years to come, and will bring dire consequences. But, that is how we {like our characters} grow and become stronger, wiser people. We face our lives one challenge at a time. Sometimes we will make the wrong choice, but as long as we learn from our mistakes, we will grow stronger and work toward the goal of creating a better life for ourselves.

Inspiration can be so difficult to see during the hard times, but it's because you're emotionally involved at that point and unable to see clear and objectively. Take a step back and look at all the good you have in your life. Friends, lovers, family, children, the stark beauty of nature. Look at all the blessings in your life. Simply waking up in the morning is a blessing.

If you look for the negative, you will find negative. If you look for the positive, you will find the positive. Your outlook determines so much of what you discover in life. Is this not the same for each of our characters? Don't their decisions and the events of their pasts mold them into who they become? Don't they have the same choices to make?

These books are a huge help in understanding your characters strengths and weaknesses.
The Positive Trait Thesaurus Writer's Guide to Character Attributes
Negative Trait Thesaurus Writers Character eBook

Life will always knock you down. Learn to roll with the punches and get back up. Then go again.

About the Author
Catrina Barton is a real go-getter, who in 2006 turned her avid reading addiction since three, into a vigorous passion for writing. Especially New Adult Romances. Drawing on her knowledge as a Kung-Fu Instructor she makes her fight scenes both realistic and action packed.

When not indulging her fertile imagination to craft stories for your reading pleasures she enjoys hiking with her family and amateur belly dancing.

Proud member of many writing and marketing groups. An active participant at Critique Circle and several other crit groups. Her love of writing and her family rival her exhilaration from helping fellow writers. That's why she created her blog: Kitty's Inner Thoughts.

Fave Personal Quote
"An author cannot grow without both constructive criticism and encouragement."

Friday, October 10, 2014

I'M IN A BLOG HOP!!! Now What? #MFRWAuthor

We all know a blog is an on line method of communicating with readers. So what's a blog HOP? A Blog Hop is a grouping of blogs, connected in some fashion. Generally hops continue over a period of two to three days, with a goal of increasing attention for all participants. MFRW has been fortunate to utilize a unique software for the bi monthly hops, which joins all the blogs in a simple to navigate progression. The weekly excerpt blogs connect via 'linky links' which keep a list of participants. Each blog then copies the links to connect back to the main page and the other blogs.

Sounds interesting? Think it might help spread the news about your writing? How can we best utilize this organized effort, and what can we as participants do to make the hop even more effective?
Woody Allen has been heard to say 90% of success is showing up, which certainly applies to writing, and even more to blog hops. You need to have your blog ready in time to go live along with the rest of the hop participants. Most blogs these days are shared through Facebook, Twitter, and Triberr. To get the maximum benefit from Triberr, you'll want to create unique titles. These titles can reflect the hop theme, such as "Endless Summer" or "Home For The Holidays" but should expand on the initial wording. You might use "Anthony's Endless Summer Memories" or "The Duke Goes Home for the Holidays." This way your title will be within theme but will stand out from the crowd plus you won't hit a Triberr traffic jam of too many to count "Endless Summer" or "MFRW Summer Blog" titles.
If there is a recommended Twitter identity, such as #MFRWAuthor, you should use it in your title. This identity flags your title on Twitter and guarantees greater exposure.

Once your blog publishes with a unique title including the Twitter flag, you can sit back and enjoy your success. Or can you?
A blog hop is a community effort. The more you put into the hop, the more you get out of it. Invest time in checking the other blogs in the hop, and in making supporting comments. Go out to Triberr or Twitter and give those other blogs more exposure; you know the other participants are doing the same for you.

When Monica's not helping with MFRW blog hops, trying to garden in the high desert, or playing with her dogs, she dons her super heroine costume as Mona Karel, Romance Writer. She often shares story information, recipes, and pictures on Mona's website

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Author Conferences: A Recap of Hot Mojave Knights by @Emerald_theGLD #MFRWauthor #HMK2014

For this month’s post, I'm embarking on a timely deviation from my discussions about moderating the MFRW Facebook group to talk a little bit about a reader and author convention I attended last weekend. HMK (Hot Mojave Knights) is a romance reader event designed to bring authors and readers of romance together for a weekend of learning, interaction, fun, and ogling hot men (a.k.a. the knights). This year was its second iteration, and I attended the inaugural conference last year as well.

HMK is held in Las Vegas (which for me serves as a reason to go in and of itself!), and both the reader and author attendees tend to collectively represent virtually all genres of romance. For authors, the convention offers the chance to promote one's work and meet readers both familiar and unfamiliar with it.

But the real reason for HMK is the readers. The founders and organizers of HMK, Shannan Albright, R. M. Sotera, Johanna Riley, and Siobhan Muir (who did not organize or attend this year but was one of the founding organizers last year) developed the event to bring readers into direct and personal contact with the authors whose work they so enjoy. The convention is kept deliberately small, with attendance capped at 200 people if I remember correctly, to allow the kind of intimate interaction the founders envisioned to set HMK apart from the many other romance-oriented conferences that take place each year.

As an author, I consider my attendance at HMK an investment—as well as, I must admit, a blast. I have enjoyed it immensely both years I have attended, and I am already looking forward to attending next year. As an author, I get to promote my books and brand, have swag included in the swag bags handed out to all registered attendees, hear directly from readers (and meet many potential new ones), and display and sell books at the author signing.

The weekend includes craft-related panels for authors on topics such as how to write historical novels, understanding Kindle Direct Publishing, and tips for writing or researching kink-related topics. Evenings are filled with organized social events to give readers and authors alike the chance to enjoy each other’s company in an informal setting. The event is small enough that you’re almost sure to get the chance to meet or interact with any attendee you’d like to.

The author signing is one of the signature events of HMK and offers the opportunity for all the featured and spotlight authors to set up books and swag and aim to dazzle all the visitors that come through. :) Authors keep all the proceeds from any books they sell. This year, the signing took place on the Saturday afternoon of the weekend and was open and free to the public.

HMK 2015 is already scheduled for October 1-4. While the organizers are (I hope!) taking a well-deserved break before they delve head-first into the planning and organizing of next year’s event, there will be opportunities to sign up to be a featured author at it over the next few weeks (registration for featured authors will be open until February 28). If you would like to be kept up to date on that, I encourage you to follow HMK on Facebook and Twitter, and you may also check the HMK website in the coming months for more information. (And if you’re interested in checking out the action that occurred last weekend in Vegas, look up the hashtag #HMK2014 to get a taste.) I have already signed up to be a spotlight author and am looking forward to attending again.

As an author, do you like to attend events or conferences? If so, which ones? Does the idea of a smaller event like this interest you?

Thanks for reading, and see you next month!

Emerald is an erotic fiction author whose short stories have been featured in anthologies published by Cleis Press, Mischief, and Logical-Lust. She serves as an assistant newsletter editor and Facebook group moderator for Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW), and she selects and posts the monthly inspirational quote on the MFRW Marketing Blog. Her first solo book, If... Then: a collection of erotic romance stories, is out now from 1001 Nights Press. Find her online at her website, The Green Light District.