Don't Pay to Self-Publish
My name is Joe Konrath, and I write fiction.
I've sold over a million books by self-publishing.
You probably were searching for "how to self-publish" or something similar and my blog came up.
I’m so honored to be a part of the eighth What to Read After Fifty Shades of Grey boxed set, which includes squirm-inducing, edgy erotic fiction. My fictionalized memoir is part of this set.
Check it out:
One woman’s journey into the contemporary kink underworld, Perilous Play is Suz deMello’s explosive personal account of her experiences with BDSM. Engaging and honest, this groundbreaking memoir will grab you and never let you go.Excerpt:
Trapper and I spent the rest of the day together. We went to a vegan restaurant and two bars, including one dive so obscure that even Trapper got a little lost in the vast transit system despite his wealth of knowledge about the east bay. As we went back to school so he could pick up his bike, he started a conversation about sex.
My heart raced. I said I was interested.
He wanted to know what role I preferred.
I said I thought I tended toward submission while trying not to squirm too obviously.
I found some courage and asked him out Saturday night. He said he wanted to go to his condo at Sea Ranch, a beautiful beachside getaway on the Sonoma coast.
I tried not to be too disappointed.
Later in the week he clarified—he wanted me to go with him.
I was stunned.
I was actually considering going with a man I barely knew to his condo, alone, a hundred miles away from my home, where I would have BDSM sex with him as his submissive.
Had I lost my mind?
Yes, but not completely. I might not have known Trapper well, but I saw where he hung out. As far as I knew, few serial killers were bike-riding, Birkenstock-wearing Berkeley-based vegans. In fact, even though I had a legal background and an interest in true crime news, I had never heard of a bike-riding vegan serial killer.
So I figured I’d be okay.Here’s where you can buy this excellent boxed set:
Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s held the positions of managing editor and senior editor, working for such firms as Totally Bound and Ai Press. She also takes private clients.
Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.
A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip. /
--Find her books at http://www.suzdemello.com
--For editing services, email her at email@example.com
--Befriend her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/suzdemello
--She tweets @Suzdemello
--Her current blog is http://www.TheVelvetLair.com
I understand far better what the word commercial fiction means. As an upstart writer, that is hard to grasp. You want to do YOUR story, your fiction, your way, but if it is to sale well or at all, you have to be extremely mindful of the readers out there. They love romance, so even in a crime novel, I work in a romance—more commercial, you see. The plot too must appeal to a wide audience for it to be commercial.2. How many rejections have you received?
I had amassed a file drawer full over the years; it is or was part of the game. Since I now am an Indie published author, guess what – not a single title of mine has faced rejection. HA!>3. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
From Dean R. Koontz, many practical tips on remaining determined, and for me to move out of horror and into suspense and crime writing. I never looked back, but yes I have since I still do the occasional horror title along with historical titles and romance and YA and alternate history, etc. But my biggest money maker has been my medical examiner titles – the Instinct Series.>4. What was the worst? Did you know it at the time? 5. Yes, limit yourself to writing about what you know about. How damn dull is that? Write about people, places, and things that challenge you to find out more, and then write about what you can RESEARCH. Setting a book in Cuba is a challenge, writing 13 books from a female medical examiner’s POV is a challenge, and it keeps me engaged rather than bored with “what I know”.> 6. If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?
Why not follow me into every genre I write? Don’t limit yourself to just my crime novels. There is crime in history, crime in romance, crime in YA stories, and definitely so in alternate historicals with a pinch of science fiction.
I have always maintained a teaching job, professor of English, college level primarily for a steady income and a daily dose of youth.8. Describe your book.
My latest creation this year – there have been three, so I will discuss the most recent – The Red Path – a romance set against the Civil War when it comes to Indian Territory in 1861-65. I had a passion for this story for years, and after completing my Annie’s War, I figured out how to best tell this important story. It’s really about the crime against the Five Civilized Tribes of Indian Territory with a love story weaved in.9. What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
Iwork with all five burners, all five senses to craft the most visual scenes I can; I want them to be as ear-popping as they are eye-popping. To this end, I triangulate 3 to 5 senses in every scene and sometimes strive for that 6th sense to creep in.10. What is your favorite writing reference book and why?
Jerome Stern’s small but powerful Making Shapely Fiction. It is an amazing compendium and no other book explains how we writers work so well as this. Best discussion on point of view and voice I have ever read anywhere, and I have read most all of them.Author Bio:
Robert W. Walker earned a full scholarship to Northwestern University based on his writing a first novel while in high school. Since graduating with a Masters in English Education from NU in 1972, Robert has published 40 books with NYC publishers, and adding to these, he has 57 Kindle ebook titles listed on Amazon. Robert lives with his wife, children, and pets in Charleston, WV where he continues to teach at WVSU, and he is completing his 58th novel. He writes in a variety of categories, some of which he’s redefined.
Caught up in drama & intrigue of a nation torn apart—The Indian Nation—Cherokee spy Jessie Longbow & news reporter Raven Ross try to maintain a romance they believe bigger & stronger than the war. But when hostilities in the Civil War come to Indian Territory, Chief Stand Watie stands with the Confederacy & Southern Indian Brigades are quickly established. Chief Ross, President of the Cherokee Nation, pleads a Neutrality Policy, circulated to all tribes, while a third Chief, Opotheleyoholo, follows his own path, leading 9000 from Indian Territory to Kansas to become the Northern Indian Brigades.Buy Link
Janet drove Danny and me to my cottage in Yorktown. Danny kept quiet during the ride. After we told Janet goodbye, and walked from the car to my front porch, I asked him, “Do you want to come in for a while? We can have a cup of coffee, and then I’ll drive you home.”
Danny nodded gratefully. Once in the house, I led us into the living room. I settled down in a comfortable cushioned chair, and Danny chose a spot on the sofa. He leaned forward, facing me, twisting his hands, but he didn’t say anything.
“So, Danny, how can I help you?”
Danny took a red bandana from his back pocket and wiped his forehead. “You probably know some of it. Myra’s telling me I’m the father of Scott and wants me to acknowledge it. She wants me to arrange monthly payments for child support.” He made a face and wiped his forehead again.
“Scott’s about eight years old. Has this come up before now?”
“No! No! I’m not the father. Myra never asked me for any help before.” Danny’s voice cracked; his tone reflected anguish. “See, I used to love her. Back in high school, she was my girl, and after graduation we kept on seeing each other. What spoiled it is she started telling me we ought to get married. She wouldn’t let it go, but I could never say yes. I lived with Grandma, didn’t have a job, and didn’t see how I could support Myra. Especially if we had kids! How could I take care of Myra and a kid?”
His face flushed; once again, he wiped it with his bandana. “I couldn’t find an answer to the problems about getting married. Finally, Myra broke up with me. A couple of weeks later, I found out why. She was going out with my best friend, Richard Hurst.”
“Richard was working on his daddy’s farm, and he could have married Myra. He could have supported a family. But he changed his mind.”
“Why did he do that?”
“He and Myra were going to get married, but Richard started to feel like it was a wrong thing to do. Like Myra belonged to me, his best friend, and he shouldn’t have taken her away.”
He looked at me to see if I understood, and I nodded at him.
“So he came to me and tried to apologize. I wouldn’t have none of it, and I told him so. The woman I loved, and my best friend—the two of them together broke my heart, and I didn’t want to see either of them ever again.”Brief bio and links:
Connie Knight’s interest in Texas history is reflected in Cemetery Whites. Murders in 1875 and 2010 are solved, with the detective’s family history unraveling to reveal information. Knight’s hobby of gardening produced the title Cemetery Whites. The victim’s body is found sprawled in a patch of white irises in an old family cemetery. The flowers with that name still exist today, at old homesteads and in current gardens, including Connie Knight’s.
Connie Knight now lives in Houston and has just finished a second mystery, Chances Choices Changes Death, a sequel to Cemetery Whites. She is now working on her third mystery novel in the Caroline Hargrove Hamilton Mystery series.
I met Ethan on the day that I killed Karoline.
Other than a few minor adjustments, I believe that I have handled her murder exceedingly well.
The state of my car, for instance, has become something of a nuisance. Bits of tissue, used napkins, paper cups and pop cans litter the floor at my feet or fly out the window as I drive along. I am invariably subjected to a barrage of honking whenever I reach a red light.
People these days have no patience. They ought to understand that I am busy examining the stray bits in my car. Some of them are works of art. I don't notice the change to green because they are so infinitely interesting.
This study of creative possibilities has become somewhat of an obsession. In the back of my mind I know that all I have to do is clean it up. Yet the thought of actually tackling the onslaught of debris leaves me inert and helpless.
Ethan offered recently to take me to the car wash. He'd help me dump the debris and vacuum the inside, but I have seriously considered the idea that I may be destroying a future Picasso. I have thus far refused his proposition. Not that I have shared my vision of a Picasso with him, of course. I just say that I never have time.
I have acquired a habit of going shopping. I make lists of things in my mind—groceries, toiletries, cosmetics, medicines, vitamins or clothing—that seem absolutely essential to the arrival of tomorrow. But once inside the pharmacy, the clothing store or the shopping center, the bright lights mesmerize me. My eyes blur and I can't for the life of me remember what I have come for.
When I do buy something, I am left vaguely dissatisfied, certain that I could have gotten a better bargain somewhere else had I only looked a little longer. Depressed because I had to use my credit card again and this purchase will become just one more thing to do. Write the check. Buy the stamp. Walk to the post box. Mail the envelope.
The little, unfinished things do sometimes bother me. Dirty laundry is piled up in the closet. The bed is always unmade. In the bathroom, the ceiling is slowly cracking from some unspecified leak that I have failed to report to the superintendent.
Disguised as a boy, Marly joins a handsome Texas Ranger in the hunt for a con man and they must bring the fugitive to justice before giving up the masquerade and giving in to their passion.
When Marly Landers is fooled by con man Charlie Meese, she's determined to bring him to justice―even if it means dressing up as a boy and setting off across the plains to find him.
Texas Ranger Jase Strachan is also after Meese, for crimes committed in Texas. He joins forces with the young boy in a journey that takes them to Fortuna, where a murder interrupts their mission. Jase is duty bound to find the killer, no matter the cost.
Under the Texas stars, Marly and Jase are drawn together by circumstances beyond their control, yet fate plots to tear them apart. Will Marly finally get her man?
Under A Texas Star, by Alison Bruce, Imajin Books (www.imajinbooks.com)
Available at Amazon Kindle Store for only $3.99.
The trade paperback is available in paperback for $14.99
They travelled in easy stages and made the quiet town of Coldwater by evening. Not used to riding all day, Landers was practically dead on the hoof. Jase had to force him to stay up long enough to have something to eat.
He paid for a room over Coldwater's only saloon. The accommodations weren't fancy, but the place was clean. Like most rooms, it was supplied with a double bed. This one also had a cradle.
"I can use the mattress in the cradle," the boy said. "I'll put it on the floor."
Unbuttoning his shirt, Jase sighed. "Kid, you're exhausted. You need to rest or you're gonna slow me down tomorrow."
Landers paused for a moment, then reached for the mattress.
Jase cleared his throat. "Do you like crossing wills with me? Or don't you trust me?"
"I trust you, sir. I never meant to imply that I didn't trust you and I don't mean to be contrary. I'm very grateful for all your help and―"
"Never mind. Sleep where you like."
Jase readied for bed. Gun and holster were hung on the bed post. He draped his outer clothes over the bottom post, with his boots tucked within reach. When he was stripped to his socks and long underwear, he climbed into bed. All the while, Landers held his bedroll in one hand and the cradle mattress in the other.
When the candle was extinguished, sounds in the dark told Jase that Landers was getting ready for bed. The mattress shifted as the boy crawled between the covers, keeping to the edge of the bed.
"Good night, sir."
"Friends call me Jase."
"Good night, Jase."
The bed, like many old spring beds, sagged in the middle. Once they were no longer capable of consciously keeping to their sides, they met in the middle. Instinctively, they took advantage of each other's body heat as the night grew colder. It wasn't the first time Jase had shared his bed with a fellow traveler and ended up back to back, sharing warmth.
He woke the next morning with his arm about Marly. The boy's head was on his shoulder and one hand rested on his chest near his heart. It felt so comfortable that it might have worried him―if he had not just discovered that Marly Landers was a girl.About the Author
Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. She is the author of mystery, suspense and historical romance novels.Website: http://www.alisonbruce.ca
Rhianna noticed Jonathan's scowl.
He looks like he's swallowed a fly.
"My employer is the most wonderful person I've ever met," she stated. "He thought I needed a break, so he made all the arrangements and gave me this trip as a birthday present." She snorted. "If he'd known I'd be stranded on your island, I'm sure he'd be mortified."
Jonathan stared at her, his eyes aglow like flames.
Was she the moth?
Watching him, a strange tingle coursed through Rhianna's veins. The intensity of his gaze seemed very personal, as if he'd skimmed the surface of her skin with his fingertips instead of his eyes.
She shivered. Why did her body feel so inflamed?
Jonathan took a sip of wine and licked his lips. Then he smiled, a satisfied gleam in his sapphire eyes.
Her breath caught in her throat.
He knows I'm attracted to him.
The heat rose in her cheeks and she prayed that the soft lighting of the room would hide her reaction. She mentally cursed her sudden weakness. What the hell had gotten into her? She never reacted this way to men. Ever. All the men she'd met were uninteresting and forgettable. She could shrug them off because she never allowed them to impact her emotions. Or her life.
But how many men like Jonathan had she met? She'd spent years holed up with old people―dying people. She'd cut herself off from the world of dating and romance. She didn't want or need a man to complete her, and she certainly could live without physical intimacy.
Yet, here she was wishing Jonathan would kiss her.
She had to think of something else. Anything else.
Higginson's face came to mind. How would he react if saw her stretched out on a sofa, sipping wine with an extremely attractive man? A man who oozed sensuality and made her want to―
Don't think of that, Rhianna!
If Higginson could see her now, he'd probably faint.
She giggled at the thought.
"What's so funny?" Jonathan asked softly.
"I, um, was just thinking about someone back in Florida. He'd have a fit if he knew I was stranded here."
Another warning flashed in Jonathan's eyes.
Oh for crying out loud, she thought. What's he ticked off about this time?
"You were given a holiday," he said in a tight voice. "If I were you I'd take advantage of it."
Busy week last week for me so no roundup. This week I have one rock star on another's blog. Like getting a buy one get one free offer.
David Gaughran was on J.A. Konrath's blog talking about authors embracing change. We have to do that in every part of our lives, not just our careers. Some good advice.
Embrace Change – Guest Post by David Gaughran
Writers have it better than any other creative profession right now but it feels like we don’t appreciate our good fortune and haven’t adopted the mindset where we fully embrace change. The transition to digital is hugely disruptive – and not always in positive ways – but it’s solving a number of long-standing problems, particularly the issue of author earnings.
It’s easy to forget how bad things were before the digital revolution made self-publishing viable and gave us all more options. I was at the International Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy at the end of September. It’s a great conference in the most beautiful location and very well run, with all sorts of interesting panels and talks. It’s also refreshingly small and you get to meet everybody.
The Amazon/Hachette dispute is often characterized as David V. Goliath. But which party is David? Hugh Howey talks about that.
The negotiations between Amazon and the Big 5 publishers is often framed as a war between David and Goliath. What’s strange is that who gets to play David depends on who you’re talking to. Both sides claim him. The rare moments when people equivocate between the two parties, they state that this is really a case of Goliath vs. Goliath, which is far closer to the truth. We’re talking about multi-billion dollar corporations on either side.
Do you remember this bit of dialogue from The Princess Bride?
Of course you do. Now, I want you to do something for me. Close your eyes and recall the scene. Summon it forth into your imagination and absorb all of the vivid details. Live it.
Good. I'll explain why in a bit.
Let's talk about dialogue. It is one of the most challenging aspects of writing a scene between two or more characters. Good dialogue is snappy and flows. It seldom sounds like actual speech, which is layered with 'ums' and 'ohs'. Wouldn't it be incredibly annoying if your characters fell into the repetitive use of words such as "like" the way real people are prone to do?
Dialogue serves several functions, including defining the relationship between characters, advancing the plot, and building tension. Language quirks such as slang, accents, regional phrasing, and speech impediments influence what your character says and how she says it. If dialogue sounds natural, then the more dramatic speech tags such as "shouted" and "bragged" become repetitive and unnecessary.
There's an added layer to dialogue that goes beyond the simple mechanics. It is deeper than the actual words on the page. In skillfully written dialogue, there is always an underlying subtext. It's not only what is said, but how it's said.
According to Gotham Writers—Ask the Writer by instructor Brandi Reissenweber: "Subtext is the meaning beneath the dialogue; what the speaker really means, even though he's not saying it directly.
Done properly, subtext becomes a powerful tool for plotting. Beneath the dialogue, emotions such as joy, love, anger, disappointment, and fear await discovery by the reader. The subtext communicates the deepest desires and drives of your characters to your audience.
Subtext in dialogue adds to the whole of the story, and it is what speaks to us on a primal level. Even when we aren't consciously aware of it, subtext influences our reaction to scenes, characters, and entire works. It tells us what the character is thinking or feeling. It's not the words themselves that matter, but what lurks below.
In the Princess Bride, the subtext is not Inigo Montoya's statement. It is the fearsome gleam in his eyes, and the thick curl of emotion in his voice. The character embodies a grown man who grew up fatherless, nurtured for a lifetime not on love, but rather a relentless determination to seek revenge. His gaze, his face, his passion are evocative–and inspire your empathic rush of sympathy. That is what you recalled when you closed your eyes.
Subtext is a powerful factor in television and films where visual imagery communicates underlying meaning. However, authors face limitations because they work only in words. Now, writing is a craft. If your tool of choice is a hammer, then you bludgeon your reader over the head, telling him exactly what is thought, felt, seen, etc. You not only tell it like it is; you tell how it is.
If there's anything we've learned as writers: telling bad. Showing good.
What then is your tool? How do you show the reader what the characters are feeling? The tools in your toolbox should include the following:
• Context. Dialogue doesn't happen in a vacuum. What is going on around them?
• What are the internal influences acting on the character? Are you effectively communicating your character's desires and drives to your audience?
• Describe the external forces at work on the character.
• How are internal and external factors balanced? Which are the least important? Which are the strongest?
• Have you missed any opportunities to help your reader fully grasp your character's background and motives?
Once you're mastered the art of subtext in dialogue, your readers will no longer be as clueless as Princess Buttercup. Your audience will realize long before she reaches her epiphany–
"As you wish" really means "I love you."
Award winning author and editor, Alicia Dean, shares her process of creating a story, along with bonus tips in Find The Magic – How to Plot a Story in 10 Easy Steps.
How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.
Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.
Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!
Alicia Dean lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals.
In addition to being an author of more than twenty published works, Alicia is both a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, under the name, Ally Robertson, in their suspense line.Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching her favorite televisions shows like Vampire Diaries, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, The Mindy Project, and Dexter (even though it has sadly ended, she will forever be a fan). Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few. Find Alicia here: Website: http://aliciadean.com/ Blog: http://aliciadean.com/alicias-blog/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008364070487 Twitter: https://twitter.com/Alicia_Dean_ Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/aliciamdean/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/468339.Alicia_Dean