Tag Archive | books

1500 Followers Writing Contest!

I still can’t believe it! This blog has reached over 1500 followers, and as such, I want to do something fun for everyone. The focus of this blog is in writing, reading, and the writer’s journey. So to celebrate all things related to writing, I’m holding my first writing contest!

Happy

(Taken from giphy.com)

The prize is a $25 Amazon gift card for the winner. My hope is the winner will find new stories to read and check out some of Amazon’s indie’s writers who need support.

What is the writing contest you ask? Well, I decided to do a novel writing contest based on the first three chapters of a story.

I’ll be looking for the following:

Do your first three chapters engage the reader?
Does the writing flow well?
Do you have a hook, established a hint of backstory and a specific setting?
Is the writing free of many spelling and grammar errors? 

When writing a novel, it’s important to ask those questions. The first few pages of a book are critical in getting readers interested, and if it doesn’t capture the readers’ attention, then it’s hard to grow a readership.

For the contest, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been writing or what genre you write in. I’m just looking for those four criteria.

If you want to help judge the contest, please let me know. Of course, if you decide to help judge the stories, you can’t submit your own work.

If you want to join the contest, please comment with the following:

Your Name
The title of your story
Summary
URL where we can read it

I know some writers don’t post their stories publicly, so if you want to keep it private, that’s fine. While judging the stories, I can also leave you a review if you’re looking for feedback.  Please let me know if there is a passkey to access your work. You don’t have to post the passkey in the comments section. If anyone wishes to email me with a link to their work, that’s fine too. You can email me here: Email Me.

I’ll announce the winner on August 26th!

I hope you’ll join my contest! Submissions are accepted until August 12th. If you have any questions, please let me know!

Let’s get writing (or editing)!

Get writing

(Please note: I know some of you have given me awards, and I’ll posts those next! I’m just so swamped with things on here! But I promise I’ll do it.)

Building Yourself Up (For Writers)

Hey, everyone! Before we begin, I want to say,

Winter is here

Just kidding! But I am excited about Game of Thrones tomorrow, but no, I really wanted to say thank you to everyone who commented on my last blog post. The amount of support and advice I got was overwhelming. I feel much better about my decision to try and get traditional published or even self-publish, so instead of anxiety now, I can focus on finalizing Clash of Tides for querying.

So, today I wanted to discuss building yourself up. As writers, we are always trying to improve our skills, grow our readership, and just maintain a presence online.

We already know how the greats did it: Stephen King, J K Rowling, and many other authors. However, in today’s world, lots of people are building up their brand.

Of course, as writers, it makes us feel better when we read about other writers getting rejected and still succeeding. But what about business owners, musicians, and other artists that start from nothing? Well, there are plenty of stories about them. During the last few days, I’ve researched people that are inspiring, who help me to keep moving and not give up.

So today, I want to talk about a company that changed how we read, buy books, and even look at publishing: Amazon.

I’m not sure if any of you know this, but Jeffrey P. Bezos started Amazon out of his garage at 30 years old. Yes, out of his garage at only 30 years old.

This information is taken from http://www.fundable.com:

 1994: Jeff Bezos quits his job and launches Amazon out of his garage.
Within 30 Days, it is doing $20,000 per week in sales.

1995: Bezos raises an $8 Million round of funding from Kleiner Perkins.

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 per share.

1999: Bezos is named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” for popularizing online shopping.

2009: Bezos acquires Tony Tsieh’s Zappos through a stock swap.

2013: Bezos acquires the Washington Post.

If we look at these dates, it took Jeffery 4 years before he really got noticed for Amazon. Along the way, it wasn’t always an easy journey. Think about it, if he gave up on starting Amazon, where would we be today? Of course, I’m sure someone else may have made self-publishing a thing, but Amazon is now a legend in the online world. Honestly, I feel that’s how it is with writing. It’s a long, never ending road of working hard and waiting for our stuff to get noticed.

Growing your readership and improving your craft takes time. So please, to new and old writers (and this may sound strange coming from me), please don’t get discouraged. For new writers, at a minimum give yourself 1-2 years to build up your craft and presence online. Seriously, don’t rush the process like I did. If you ever need someone to beta read for you or help you with your stories, I’m just an email away. I started this blog to help other writers, that’s what I want to do. If another writer offers to help you, take them up on that offer. Really, you have nothing to lose.

The most that will happen is they won’t get back to you, but if they do, that could be some valuable feedback. I started this blog to help other writers, so I’m here if you need me.

Lastly, I’ve almost reached 1500 followers! Once I do, I plan to hold a writing contest! The prize will probably be a $25 Amazon gift card, but hey, that is some free books. More details to come.

Question: How long did it take you to build up your craft and presence online? From what I’ve noticed, it takes about 1-2 years to build up a readership.

(I haven’t forgotten about the comments. I will respond to you.)

 

 

 

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

First and foremost, this post isn’t about the differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing. There are already plenty of blog posts, books, and articles about the various methods of publishing.

Today, this post is about which path I should take for my stories. As Clash of Tides goes through beta, rewrite, and then editing, I’m getting ever closer to the publishing phase. For the past few weeks, I kept thinking about what route I want to take. Honestly, I already know the benefits of both, but the scary thing is knowing which one will work for me.

With self-publishing, I’m in control of everything, so I do like that aspect. When I originally wrote Clash of Tides, it was for New Adults, especially for other black women who don’t see diversity with lead female characters. I know for a fact that publishers will have writers change their stories to fit more of a Young Adult audience. For Clash of Tides, I want Elena to be in her 20s, period. Personally, I don’t like how publishers will force writers to change their work, but I get why they do it.

Then again, maybe I’m just scared. Submitting a query letter to an agent isn’t has nervewracking as self-publishing. Sometimes, I wonder if I want to spend all that money myself – cover design, editor, marketing, etc.

Basically, all the below:

publishing

(taken from giphy.com)

Right now, I’m tired of feeling the disappointment and failure with my work. It feels no matter how hard I try, I never get a payoff. The thoughts of self-publishing and then barely seeing any reviews on my work would probably depress me, especially after all the money I spent. Then again, I know other writers go through the same things all the time. However, there is just something unsettling knowing that writers who write fanfiction online get paid more than a writer who actually tried to self-publish decent, original work. I mean, I know for a fact that some fanfiction writers get $300-$600 every three months from ad-revenue for stories that aren’t their own. And yet, a self-published writer who got betas, paid for cover art and an editing service won’t even crack $50 a month. Maybe that’s just the age we live in, but it doesn’t make me want to jump on the self-publishing thing. Mostly, it makes me want to quit writing and just learn something else.

Also, with how readership is these days, most readers don’t want to buy books. They want everything for free. I question how I would feel posting my hard work for only .99 cents and not getting one purchase. Sadly, readers rather pay $5 for a Starbucks drink than a writer’s story.

Ultimately, it’s a tough decision, and me, and you, as a writer have to decide. I’m at that point where I don’t even want to post my work online anymore. I mostly just want to write the stories I want to read and then store them on my hard drive for my eyes only.

As a writer, I know it’s not good to think that way, but the road taken has already broken me, and the road not taken may destroy me. Decisions Decisions. Well, at least with traditional publishing, if my stories got accepted, I would be overjoyed!

Now since Clash of Tides is almost put to rest, I have so many new stories I’m working on. All characters will be in their 20s, so New Adult to Adult stories. I don’t want to change that. There is already enough YA stories, and sadly, I feel most of them are the same. They are pretty much different settings, different characters, and the same storylines. A special teenage girl snowflake goes on a journey, meets a hot guy, defeats the villain, and then has a happy ending. I feel it’s time for something new to come along.

Whoa! That was longer than I thought it would be. Sorry if this came off like ranting, but I felt these are important things to consider. Thanks for reading, and I want to know,

“Do you have any fears about self-publishing or traditional publishing? If you already have done either, what was it like?”

 

Video Games and Writing – Part 2

Before we begin with today’s topic, I wanted to post some updates from me. So, over the weekend, I removed all my original stories from online, but for Writing.com. Why you wonder? Well, my original stories were online long enough. Now since I’m working on the rewrite for Clash of Tides (and hoping to submit it at the end of the year), it’s time for a change. Going forward, I won’t be posting my full rough drafts online anymore. To everyone who read my stories, thanks for the support! I won’t lie, the journey of posting my stories online has been conflicting, and I can’t say I enjoyed it. However, with this day and age of the internet, it’s something I needed to experience.

If Clash of Tides gets picked up (which I doubt), I’ll be sure to let everyone know!

Now for today’s post!

If you follow my blog, then you know I’ve posted about this before. Lately, my time has been spent playing this:

1 - Zelda Breath Of The Wild Title GIF.gif

It’s been years since I’ve returned to my video games ways, but with all the good games out, I couldn’t resist. The Legend of Zelda games is one of my favorites! I especially love Link’s character.

In addition to playing Breath of the Wild, I’m also working on 9/Nine Realms right now. My goal is to get the rough draft of 9/Nine Realms done before the end of the year. 9/Nine Realms is my first Epic Fantasy, and the world-building is difficult for me; however, Breath of the Wild has inspired me to try some new things. So like my post before, I want to point out the benefits of playing video games and being a writer.

1. Experiencing an adventure – When we read books, we’re following along with the characters on their journey, but with reading, we’re not interacting with the world the writer created. With video games, especially games like Breath of the Wild, we get to actually experience the world. Of course, I don’t mean with the five senses. I mean we get to explore the world and learn about the lore.

For example, let’s say in your story, you need more experience writing puzzles in a dungeon or sending your characters on a quest to recover something. If a video game takes place in a fantasy world (it’s own world), you can experince that in the game. From there, you can build upon that inspiration and write your story.

2. The lore – When playing an Epic Fantasy game, you learn about the lore of the world and how everything ties together. Sure, you can read that in a book, but it is fun when you see images of old gods and royalty in games.

Thanks to Breath of the Wild, I was able to get inspired for 9/Nine Realms, so I’m excited to see how the story progresses.

I mean, come on, look at theses:

Zelda_2

Zelda_1

Question: For you, what is the hardest part about world-building? When it comes to world-building, what inspires you?

Thanks for reading! I’ll respond to all comments tomorrow!

 

 

Burnout (For Writers)

Hey, everyone! I’m trying to get back to my normal posting schedule, so please forgive me for not being on track. To give you a quick update, I’ve been working on plotting out 9/Nine Realms and doing some world-building. For my past stories, I didn’t do enough world-building, so I want to improve that with 9/Nine Realms. Once I get the world and lore done, I plan to start writing the rest of the story!

For today, I want to discuss “Burnout.” I’m sure that everyone knows what burnout is, but if you don’t, here is the definition:

“Physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.” – Google.com 

This is the definition I’ll be discussing today. As writers, we’re always writing, always thinking, and most importantly, we want to grow our readership. If you focus on everything we have to do as writers, it’s easy to burn your mind out.

Hell, there is:
Marketing
Character Design
Author (writer) Platform
The Actual Writing
Blogging
The Actual Writing 

Editing
Cover Design
Finding Beta Readers
The Actual Writing

That’s a lot, and really, we don’t want to do this to our manuscripts:

Burnout

I can add more to that list, but I feel this is enough. Basically, there’s a lot of stuff to do. In a way, being a writer is a job, but sadly, a job you don’t get paid for, yet.

If you look at the list and oh, let’s add “read other writers’ stories too, then it’s easy to burn yourself out. Remember, take a breather and relax. We want to write, publish, and get our stories to our readers, but burning ourselves out won’t help.

In the past, I spent every waking moment writing. My only focus was to get better, to make my readers happy and grow my readership. However, in the end, it was kind of pointless. So yeah, I improved my writing skills, and some readers enjoyed my work, but sadly, my writing obsession hasn’t paid off for me.

Maybe I was rushing it, or perhaps I didn’t take the time to breathe. Once in awhile, do this:

realx.gif

The important thing is, don’t burnout! When you burn yourself out, you can’t write, you can’t focus or think, and you’ll be miserable. If you find being a writer is overwhelming, take a step back and relax. For me, when I get super stressed about my stories, I lay down, close my eyes, and imagine the world I’m writing about for fun. Maybe closing your eyes and spending time with your characters will relax your mind. What I mean is, don’t work, just shut your eyes and go into the world of your imagination.

Question: When you’re overwhelmed with your stories, how do you relax?

P.S. 1,428 followers!! Thank you so much for following me!!
All gifs are from giphy.com

What Makes a Good Writer?

Hey, everyone! So, I know I’ve been MIA for a while, but I do have an excuse. Last week, well, that just wasn’t my week. I’m hoping this week will be better, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

To summarize, I was having issues with the house, my debit card information got stolen, again, and my car window stopped working, so it’s been crappy. However, I am going out of town for Memorial Day weekend. There won’t be any new posts or chapter updates, but I’ll be sure to update when I return.

Now, onto today’s topic! I want to discuss what makes a good writer. This subject goes back to my own writing journey and wanting to build up my readers online. As I was walking through the city, I thought about the following questions:

– What makes a bad writer?
– What makes a good writer?
– What makes an awesome writer?
– What makes an excellent writer?

I feel like every writer will have a different answer to these questions, but for the purpose of this post, I will start with only the first two questions.

Back when I was trying to build my following online, I often wondered if I was a bad writer. To explain further, I didn’t have a huge following compared to other writers, so I just assumed I was a bad writer. When I thought about it some more, I realized a bad writer is more like a writer who gave up. Now, there’s nothing wrong with leaving writing behind, but it’s never a good idea to quit something before you try every option (if you’re trying something new, it takes about 6 months to a 1 year to see any signs of improvement).

To me, a bad writer isn’t one with grammar errors, plot holes or undeveloped characters in their work, it’s a writer who gave up too soon.

In the words of Neil Gaiman,

Don'tgiveup.gif
That takes me to the next question, what makes a good writer? Well, to me, it’s simple, a good writer is one that:

burce
If you’ve been discouraged in the past but kept on writing, then you’re a good writer. Why? Because you didn’t give up, and you’re still trying to improve your craft. You may not be an awesome writer, but you’re on your way there. It’s sad that it took me so long to realize this, but it’s import to focus on the writing. Everything else may let you down – fellow writers, readers, and various social media sites – but your characters will always be there for you, waiting for you to tell their story. 

So what do you think? What do you think makes a bad writer and a good writer?

Also, I will respond to everyone’s comment! And as always, thanks so much for reading and supporting my blog!

(images from https://giphy.com)

Writers’ Groups and Thoughts

Hey, everyone!

I wanted to let you all know I’m still alive, and I’m sorry for the lack of updates. First, I want to thank everyone who commented on the previous blog post. I wrote that blog post to get other writers’ opinions on the Goodreads issue, and I’m glad to report that she was able to get her story removed from Goodreads. I strongly believe that a writer should be able to get their unpublished manuscripts removed from Goodreads, and not be forced to have their work posted there.

If you find your unpublished work posted to Goodreads, you can get it removed, but please keep in mind that readers can post the story and review it.

In other news, I’ve been in a slump recently, probably because I try to help people and get no appreciation or understanding. I get someone being mad or upset, but I don’t care for people who are passive aggressive or give someone the silent treatment. But that’s human nature, I guess.

Anyway, today, I wanted to talk about Writers’ Groups. I know I’ve mentioned this a little bit in the past, but I wanted to discuss “in-person” groups. Since I’ve been taking my writing class, I’ve found I really enjoy a small collection of writers sitting down and discussing their work.

There’s a special feeling you get when speaking about your work in real life, with like-minded individuals. We talk about our stories; we mention different writing styles, writers we enjoy, and ways to break writing rules.

When you’re with other writers, you’ll think:

you'll think

Honestly, after experiencing a real-life writers group, I feel all serious writers should find their own group. Of course, only if they want to. While meeting writers online can be fun (and frustrating), it doesn’t beat having your own dedicated circle of writer friends that will support you and review your work. I don’t want to cheapen online friendships, but if you can, try to turn those friendships into real life ones. When you can sit around, laugh, and bounce ideas off other writers, it’s nice to feel you’re not alone.

You’ll feel like:

hug

Question: do any of you have a real life writers group you meet with? If you do, can you share with us your experiences?

(I plan to be active on my blog again, so don’t worry)