Thursday, July 17, 2014

Some Reflections on Indie Publishing

* Fair warning, this post is about some of the negatives about Indie Publishing, but I do still love it and I'm not dissing it completely

As some of you know, I self-published my novella, BREATHLESS, on April 1st of this year. I'm very proud of how the book turned out and I love it. I've received six great reviews and positive ratings! A few one stars and twos (on Goodreads), but I've not let that get me down. I really loved picking my cover and going through revisions with my editor! I gave myself plenty of time to get things done and actually release the book a few days early.

The blogging-community was so helpful in sharing about the release of my new book and participating in the contest I shared! I really had a great time publishing my novella!

My novella has been published for 4 months. So, I thought I'd reflected a little about the post-hitting-the-button stage of indie publishing. To talk about the stuff, people don't always wanna talk about.


That is for this month. It's the 17th of the month and I've sold one book. One. Now, that is certainly discouraging. Don't get me wrong - I didn't start writing to make money. I don't expect to become famous like J.K. Rowling, Veronica Roth, etc... (I admit, I do want to be Cassie Mae, her books and nerdiness is awesome). But I guess I had hopes of at least making enough money to pay for my Netflix account ($7.99 a month), so I can binge watch Star Trek while writing or at least cover the costs of publishing my novel in the first four months. I paid $150 for the cover, formatting, and editing of my novella. I really wanted it to look nice.

Total royalty earned:  $33.51

Deficit: -$116.49

Through the Kindle Direct Publishing Select, I did a few promotional free periods to hopefully promote the book. I gave away almost 2000 free books. And it didn't really improve sales or reviews. At this rate, it's going to take a long time to pay for my book and I'm not even making money. I work two jobs, fifty hours/seven days a week, and squeeze in writing when I'm not exhausted. Granted, I'm single and don't have a husband or kids, but I'm busy and writing comes as the thing I love, but don't always have time for.

Marketing... I'm not good with marketing and I don't like book-spamming. I did my book contest and didn't do anything else. Some friends spread about my book and reviews, but I didn't really know many other venues for marketing, which made it hard.

I know there are a lot of stories out there on the internet about the successes of indie publishing and that's wonderful. But I think there need to be some stories about how stressful and how disappointing the process can be for some of those independently published books, which fall through the cracks.

To Summarize: I'm not hating on self-publishing. I've loved the whole process and I know many people who have had a lot of success with indie-publishing! I would even consider indie publishing again, but it's been a struggle financially. I'm really looking for a small publishing press for my next novel. One thing, I do really like about it is the costs are not directly on me for everything and it really makes me feel better. I just wanted to share about how it's going so far. I'm going to keep writing and hopefully someday I'll make enough in a month to pay for my Netflix so I can say writing contributes just a little bit. It's my first book and I think the next book will do even better. :)

Have a great day! I'm off to volunteer with a bunch of my coworkers, making care packages for kids with cancer and I'm excited to get to help out! :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Interview with Kyra Lennon, author of Sidelined

Today is a very special post!  I am interviewing Kyra Lennon as a part of the Sidelined Blog Tour!  I’ve read all of her books and I love the characters and the world that she has created. Sidelined was my favorite book in the series!

So, welcome to Kyra!  How did you come up with the idea for the Game On series?

Hey Krista, thanks for having me! The original Game On book came to me initially with the characters of Radleigh and Leah, this intense pair who are attracted to each other, but really don’t like each other. It was never supposed to be a series – that happened later when people told me they really liked my secondary characters, so I just went with it and now we’re at Book 3!

Personally, I love it turned into a series – you’ve got some great secondary characters! Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do you have a favorite character?

Leah has always been the easiest character for me to write, I suppose because she was the original character. And she’s British lol. I was surprised how easily Bree’s voice came to me, too though. I’ve never written a ditzy character before, and it was a lot of fun to write her completely random thought processes.
As for a favourite character – that’s sort of like asking a parent which of their children they like best! I will always be especially fond of Leah and Radleigh, but I also love Jesse, and Bree, and Miguel. It’s hard to choose!

That can be like asking a parent to choose which child they love best. I don’t think I could pick my favorite character! Oops… What is your drug of choice while writing? Chocolate, tea, coffee?

I’m pretty boring when it comes to writing snacks and drinks. I usually start with a coffee to fire up my brain, then switch to water.

Coffee and water, healthy. What is your deepest, darkest secret?  Well… that is a little personal… Which do you like better chocolate or vanilla?

Haha, let’s save the deep, dark secrets for another day! :p I’m going to say vanilla.

*pencils day in calendar to learn Kyra’s secrets* So… What is your favorite part of the Game On series?

Oof, that’s a big question! I have two massive favourite parts. In Game On, Radleigh invites himself on a day out with Leah’s family and at the end of the day, they have their first real conversation during which Leah starts to see that he isn’t the complete pig he’s shown himself to be through the rest of the story. And in Sidelined, I love everything that happens in the last quarter of the book. It’s where the major turning point for Bree occurs, and it’s all quite dark and very emotional. Writing those events was so hard, but I’m really proud of how it turned out.

Very emotional – holy yes! I cried half that book. Anyway… What is the best writing advice that you’ve received? Or the worst advice…

I can’t recall where I read it, but the other day I saw the advice that you should always try to write for the current market. I thought it was weird for two reasons – firstly, almost everyone else I know says NOT to write for the market, and secondly because who know how long It will take you? By the time you’ve got that book for the current market written, the market will probably have changed again and you could have spent that time writing the book you wanted to write instead of trying to fit in.

I completely agree. We have no idea what the market will be and it changes to often to write like that. And the most important question, can we hear a little sneak peek for the next Game On book?

Aww, I wish I could show you! But all I have right now are parts that would spoil Sidelined for those who haven’t read it yet!

I guess we will have to keep waiting then! Thanks so much for letting me host you today! Your book is wonderful, you have my bawling, and I can’t wait to read the next one! Here’s a little more information about the book for the rest of you! :) Be sure to check it out!

Blurb: At the age of twenty-one, Bree Collinson has more than she ever dreamed of. A handsome husband, a fancy house, and more shoes than Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos combined. But having everything handed to her isn’t the way Bree wants to live the rest of her life. When an idea to better herself pops into her head, she doesn’t expect her husband to question her, and keep her tied by her apron strings to the kitchen.

Isolated and unsure who to turn to, Bree finds herself falling back into a dangerous friendship, and developing feelings for the only person who really listens to her. Torn between her loyalty to her husband and her attraction to a man who has the perfect family she always wanted, she has some tough choices to make.

While Bree tries to figure out what she wants, a tragedy rocks the Westberg Warriors, triggering some dark memories, and pushing her to take a look at what’s really important.

About the Author:

Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 7, 2014

4 Year Blogiversary / GIVEAWAY!

Four years of blogging. That can't be correct. But it is! I started this blog on July 7th, 2010. So, today I am celebrating 4 years of writing and blogging! No better way to celebrate than with a giveaway and a little recap!

Four years ago, I had one poorly written novel under my belt. Seriously, it was all kinds of awful and I self-published it, which is just embarrassing. I posted only a few times that first year, and they were lame posts because I thought I knew what I was doing. I can happily say I have no idea what I'm doing and I love it. :) It's taken some time, but I've written ten novels and I'm working on my eleventh! Here's a brief snapshot of them.

Falling Star - YA Christian Fiction
Down in the Creek - YA Christian Fiction
To Love Without Hope - YA Christian Fiction
The Secret - YA Christian Fiction
Nameless - YA Epic Fantasy
The Freaks (Book One) - YA Urban Fantasy
The Damned (Book Two) - YA Urban Fantasy
Breathless - YA Contemporary Romance
Somebody to Love - YA Epic Fantasy
Silent Beauty - YA Contemporary Romance
Sweet Little Thing - YA Contemporary Romance (WIP)

I've tried a few genres of writing and I really like writing contemporary romance and fantasy, though who knows where I will be in another 4 years! The red ones are shelved at this time, while the one highlighted is the one I have published. (Side note: I have a serious problem with exclamations in this post.) I'm hoping to have more published by next year, but we will have to see.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* Sorry, but due to not having a ton of money, my prizes aren't incredibly special, but I decided to give away 4 smaller gift cards to share with more than one person! (Physical books copies will only be sent to U.S. addresses due to shipping costs.)

What different genres have you tried writing before finding one you liked? How long have you been blogging? Thanks for celebrating 4 years of blogging with me and I can't wait to see what happens in the next four years! :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IWSG - Portraying Diverse Characters

Today is another installation of The Insecure Writer's Support Group, which posts on the first Wednesday of every month and is run by our Ninja Captain Alex Cavanaugh. This is a place where writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. This month I am co-hosting with the wonderful Kim Van Sickler, Heather Gardner, and Hart Johnson! I'm a bit nervous to be helping host today - but I'm excited!

 I'm a little insecure about my character, Alanna.

My inspiration for Alanna (Dove Cameron)
Alanna is the main character in my novella, SILENT BEAUTY. She's deaf. Alanna suffers from Meniere's disease and has partial hearing. She’s fairly shy and hides behind her hearing aids, not wanting to be noticed. I love the relationship between Alanna and Atticus, her gay best friend. They are incredibly snarky and have some hilarious lines!

But I’m worried about how I portray Alanna. As someone with hearing, I don’t want to write Alanna in a way that is offense or that is incorrect. I don’t have any deaf friends, but I’ve been doing my research. Along with trying to find out the struggles of the deaf community, I’ve been trying to understand the struggles of those with hearing loss. Alanna does have some hearing, but her hearing aids improve her outlook since they give her a chance to hear. I’m being careful. (I’m also watching Switched at Birth…)

Alanna is a wonderful character and I love her, but I want to tell her story properly. SILENT BEAUTY is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, who is a total geek. I’m very excited about this story, but I’m insecure about messing it up. How do you properly depict a character when you are insecure about how you write them?

Thanks for reading my post and be sure to visit 10 new blogs from the list to help other writers feel encouraged and share our common insecurities! A special thanks to my other co-hosts and to Alex for starting such an amazing community!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Goals

It's time for an update with my goals? Already?

Yeah, umm... let's do an update on my goals. Oh, this can't be good.

Here are my goals from June:
* Work on a plan of revisions for "The Freaks"

* Read "City of Lost Souls" and "City of Heavenly Fire" by Cassandra Clare

* Work on query for "Silent Beauty"

Yeah, this is the part where you say "Krista, you didn't cross out any of those goals." And this is the part where I stare blankly at you. I didn't finish any of my goals from June. I started reading "City of Lost Souls" and I'm half-way done, but that's it. 

But I did other things! I promise I didn't sit around and do nothing all month, though it honestly felt like I wasn't productive sometimes. I finished reading five books!

Discipleship Essentials: A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ by Greg Ogden
(Never) Again by Theresa Paolo
Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker
The Trouble with Flying by Rachel Morgan
(Once) Again by Theresa Paolo

In non-writing news, I finally found an apartment for August 1st. I've been looking for a place for three months, with no luck. Everything was either too expensive or... well, too expensive. It's not exactly my first, second, or even tenth choice, but I can afford it and it's a small efficiency. I won't be homeless, so I call that a success. I hate moving though, so this month won't be my best.

Goals for July:
* Read "City of Lost Souls" and "City of Heavenly Fire" by Cassandra Clare

* Work on query for "Silent Beauty" and a few nit-picky revisions

I'm only giving myself two goals due to my crazy busy month with moving out of my current place and into my parents garage for a few days until I can move into my new place, and packing. I hate packing. I'm working a little bit on a new novel, but I only have two pages, so nothing much yet.

How did you goals for June go? What are your goals for July? Be sure to come back tomorrow, since I will be helping co-host the "Insecure Writer's Support Group" for the first time! I'd love some encouragement and you should go find others to encourage! Also, I'll be doing a giveaway on July 7th to celebrate 4 years of blogging! See, it's a busy month ahead!