Sunday, October 27, 2013

NaNo Wha Wha?

The writing gods have smiled upon me this year, I've temporarily taken leave from my senses, and I don't have any major plans for November, so I finally have an opportunity to do NaNoWriMo.

What is NaNoWriMo, you ask?

It stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is a bit of a misnomer because it's worldwide, and I'm going to abbreviate it as NaNo from now on because it's a whole lotta acronym.

The idea of NaNo is to write 50,000 words--or a short novel, basically--in one month.  It doesn't have to be "good" or in final draft form; you're just supposed to write and get the words down. That's a lot of writing, even for those of us who try to meet some kind of a word count quota per day already, which, I should tell you, I do not.

It exists as a right (or write?) of passage for writers in all genres, and as a form of torture we inflict upon ourselves.

November has thirty days so, broken down, a writer would have to have an output of 50,000/30, or 1,667 words per day.  But some days I'm sure I'll get more down, and some days will be woefully less.  My chapters tend to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 3K-4K words, so this would be about half a chapter a day.  Not too bad in theory.  But we'll see.

My project for the month will be a re-write of a novel-length piece I've already written, but, well, it needs to be re-done.  I'll just leave it at that.  It's a sci-fi romance, and I'm really excited about it.  I don't really have much of an outline, but I have a lot of the plot worked out, so we'll see how it plays out once it's out of my head.

You're probably wondering why anyone would want to do NaNo.  After all, it's a ton of work, and certainly isn't going to stop my hermit status from getting worse.  But, if I make the 50K goal, I'll be so freakin' excited.

Just like this.

But I have a feeling that, by the end of the month, I'll end up looking more like this:  

Oh! And in case anyone wants to join the insanity with me, or encourage me along the way so my head doesn't explode, my username is sarahallanauthor on the NaNo site.  If you're signed up, add me as a writing buddy!

xoxo Sarah

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Indie Author Survival Guide

For my first guest post, here's one from Susan Kaye Quinn, a successful self-published author who I've known for quite a while now.  She was so amazingly helpful to newbie authors, including many a detailed blog post, and she created this book so everyone can educate themselves.  

This book is for every author who's thinking about indie publishing, or has already taken the leap, and wonders why no one told them about the sharks, the life-sucking social media quicksand, or the best way to avoid sales-checking, yellow-spotted fever. This is a guide for the heart as much as the head. And because I promised myself that I wouldn't write a book about how I made a gazillion dollars publishing ebooks, I would write about the fear: owning it, overcoming it, facing it. From a person who didn't pursue a creative life for a long time, and then discovered creativity can set you free. Note: gazillion is a technical term, which in this case means something less than a million and more than the average income in my state.
Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindajck Trilogy and Debt Collector serial and has been indie publishing since 2011. She’s not an indie rockstar or a breakout success: she’s one of thousands of solidly midlist indie authors making a living with their works. This book is a compilation of her four years of blogging through changes in the publishing industry—updated, revised, and supplemented to be relevant in 2013. It’s a guide to help her writer-friends take their own leaps into the wild (and wonderful) world of indie publishing... and not only survive, but thrive. You can friend her on Facebook or follow her on twitter or check out her blog where she'll be doing who knows what next.
Grab the Badge for your blog!
Sign up for bookmarks!
Win the t-shirt!
FAQ About the Guide
Q: What prompted you to write the Guide? I resisted a long time in putting this together. I had this silly idea I was a fiction writer (which is also true), in spite of spending the last four years blogging consistently about the industry, and especially the changes wrought by indie publishing. It took the goading of several friends, over a period of time, before I realized that the blog was actually non-fiction writing (I can be excessively slow for Ph.D. engineer sometimes). The trigger for blogging the book - revising and updating old posts as well as organizing the content - was seeing writer friend after writer friend take the leap, often after reading something I had posted. And I realized there wasn't a book out there that addressed the fears as well as the nuts-and-bolts about going indie. I could have just left the Guide on my rinky-dink blog, but I knew the power of Amazon (and other retailers) to connect people to books, and I figured it would help more people this way. Q: Why should I read a book about indie publishing by Susan Kaye Quinn? I'm pretty sure she's not a NY Times Bestseller. I'm not an indie rockstar. I haven't made the news as one of those "exceptional" breakout indie authors. I'm a solidly midlist indie author, which means I make a living off my works. I'm one of thousands of invisible indie midlist authors who, I believe, are the core of indie publishing, and why it's changing the industry. The rockstars of indie publishing can inspire and lead, they can use their leverage to break barriers, but they can't transform the industry on their own. The true change has to come, as it always has, from the grass-roots. I'm part of that grass-roots movement. Q: Will this Guide help me get rich quick from ebooks? No. Q: Will this Guide help me decide if indie publishing is right for me? Yes. Q: What if I'm afraid? We're all afraid. Fear is an integral part of being vulnerable in the world by daring to do brave things. Fear stops many people from becoming the full expression of who they are. I won't tell you not to be afraid in this book - I'll help you see the fear for what it is, manage it, and not let it stop you from reaching for the amazing things you have ahead of you. Q: What if I don't have the first clue how to start with self-publishing? The Guide is designed to take a first-time-publishing author from the decision to go indie through to writing that second book (and starting the whole process over again). It's also designed to help indie authors who have already published, but are struggling: either with keeping perspective for the long-term, trying to scale up their businesses from the first book, or just trying not to drown in social media quicksand. My hope is that all my indie author friends will find something worthwhile in it, or pass it on to someone who will. The culture in indie publishing of sharing information is part of what inspired this book in the first place.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Exciting (tiny) format change!

Hey, everyone!

As I get farther into the writing process, the more I realize that so much of this business, and the success of someone participating in it, is based on pimpage.

In a nutshell, authors helping authors.

Therefore, I'm going to be doing occasional posts to help get the word out about my friends' books, particularly the lovely ladies from the Maryland Romance Writers and other RWA chapters I participate in as well as some amazing self-pubbed authors I know.

Why are you doing this, Sarah?  Won't your blog turn into a giant advertisement for other people's stuff?

Will your blog be the equivalent of ALL OF THESE rolled into one?

Well, because of the reason I mentioned above--authors helping authors.  One reason I've joined these groups is for the support of other authors just like me, and that's why they've joined, too.  So much of this wide world of publishing is based on give and take, and I've come to realize I can't--and shouldn't--expect other authors to want to host me and my (eventual) books on their blogs if there's not any reciprocation.  Word of mouth is a powerful thing, especially among others who respect your work as much as you respect theirs.

And why feature self-pubbed authors?  Or, conversely, why feature traditionally published authors?  Answer: Because I believe an author should be well-rounded in publishing nowadays.  You can't put all of your eggs in one basket...for myself, I plan on being both traditionally published and self-pubbed, especially since there are so many success stories.  Both are wonderfully viable options for authors.

You also might be wondering if I'm going to be constantly pushing books that I've edited.  The answer is no.  That might seem like a weird double-standard; after all, I stand to make money from them from sales (in some cases).  But this is my blog, and I stand by the fact that I can feature what I want on it.  When I have a contract of my own--as an author getting a book published, whether it's an e-publisher or one of the Big 6 or however many there are now--then I'll happily feature things from my new publisher on here.  I'm looking forward to that.

Please don't inundate me with emails or whatnot requesting reviews...this is NOT a review blog.  It may feature reviews in the future (I never like to say "never"), but for right now, my time is so limited that I barely have time to squeeze in a little pleasure reading before bed.

So look out for guest posts from other amazing authors in the near future.  But I promise I'll still be posting and being my usual weird, snarky self.  That won't go away.

xoxo Sarah