Monday, April 30, 2012

Self-Imposed Deadlines

When working with a publisher, you have set deadlines; unless the publisher runs into problems on their end, you must meet the deadlines in order to have your book published. If the publisher says they need editing changes by a certain date, do your best to meet the deadline.

If you are a self-pubbed author, using a place like to print your books, you have to set your priorities and try to adhere to your own deadlines. What if you miss your self-imposed deadline? Is it a big deal? It may be on yourself but in the end, you know what must done in order to get your book ready to be published.

Set realistic deadlines. Sometimes this is harder than it sounds, especially if you are working with an illustrator or cover artist or graphic designer. These can be all the same person or several different people. Unless you know how to do book layouts and/or have the proper software to accomplish a professional book layout, you will need someone to do that. If you are writing a children's story that needs illustrations, you will need an illustrator, who probably should also design your cover. Make sure you are working with someone who has a good work ethic and adheres to your timeline as much as possible.

This is the tricky part because we all know life happens and sometimes deadlines have to changed, moved up to a better date for both parties or sometimes they inadvertently get missed.

What's the best way to stay on track with self-imposed deadlines? Keep a calendar (either a wall, desk pad calendar or pocket one works well) or some sort of worksheet (can be an excel spreadsheet or a google docs spreadsheet) so that you can keep track of when you want to get your book published. Along with this is the marketing planning that needs to be implemented as soon as you start writing your first draft. Does this always happen? No, again, life happens. If you are a working parent and have small children still at home, it is harder to work on the whole plan in large chunks. By time you get to spend time on writing, it is usually late night or the wee hours of the morning and your sleep hours start dwindling tremendously. If you work outside the home and don't have kids still at home, again you are under stress from your day-to-day job and social life that it is hard to actually spend as much time as you would like on your writing life.

If you fall into a different category, you have to find the right balance. For this writer, teenagers demand much of her time outside of a full-time job. I have to put forth self-imposed deadlines. I need to be more diligent about sticking to my deadlines so that I can get my books out, especially my state books. These have been neglected for the past year but that's not to say I haven't been working on my writing or publishing or marketing during that time. I just have let my self-imposed deadlines become something of the past. When I first began self-pubbing, I worked with my illustrator and we stayed pretty close to our deadlines. She then graduated high school and started college and deadlines are becoming harder and harder to meet.

I guess one could say that self-imposed deadlines are like setting goals and checking them off as they occur. Again, one has to consider everything and everyone involved in the process in order to set realistic deadlines. I had a chat session with my illustrator so that we could work on setting some deadlines. Some items have been neglected for many months and I really need them fixed before moving on to other state stories. Hopefully with exams winding down and the rest of the school stuff slacking off for a bit before summer classes start, she can dedicate the time needed to get her graphic designing business back on track.

Not all the self-imposed deadlines involve others as we have all heard that the writing profession is a lonely one. We all have to sit down and set our own deadlines for different tasks. My deadlines are to at least get several (possibly 3) state stories written within a month to six weeks (hopefully by mid June) and to my editor. Again, she is busy and may not have time to edit so I may be in search of a new editor. If I can at least get the stories written, when it is time for my illustrator to do her magic, they should be ready to go.

The other deadlines involve my short stories and getting them published as ebooks. We have deadlines for "Butterfly Halves" (a YA fantasy) to be published in May; "La Cave" (a past lives romance story) sometime in July or August and "Zombies Amuck" (a children's R.L Stine like story) to be published in October (I think having a zombies story published during October is very appropriate). The last deadline I have is to have Imogene: Innocense Lost completed by November. I hope to have my thoughts for cover to my illustrator so that even before I decide to publish I'll have something to market.

I will strive harder to at least meet most of my self-imposed deadlines and let the rest fall where it may as far as my editor and illustrator are concerned. They know what they have to do and what deadlines they need to meet. They know what their priorities are.

So I ask you, do you use self-imposed deadlines in your business? If so, leave a comment and let us know what kind of self-imposed deadlines you have set for yourself, even if you are not a writer or working on a current project. See you all in the postings - E :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

This and That

Updates for the week include no sales of any of the ebooks this past week. A teacher on my friends' list on plurk contacted me after I left a response on her posting regarding some ideas to get a student reading and setting commitments for his IEP (individualized education program). I made several suggestions including my state books; she has requested an order form, so now it is a matter of waiting to see what she does. I also sent her the file of one of the books so she can decide whether or not the class would benfit from the books or not. I hope she does as this might be incentive for me start working on the state stories again. I really need to concentrate on those for a bit, with the hopes of getting three written and whenever Heather is ready to work on them she can just do her thing and they will be ready for her. Of course, once they are written, I also have to get my editor back on track with editing as she has pretty much given up on her writing career and has been busy with other things. But it will happen.

One of my son's friends who is basically homeless but staying here for the most part (he stays at other friends' houses on the weekends and sometimes during the week but they all have school so hard to stay elsewhere) is in debt to me, so I told him he could work off his debt by doing some research for my wip - Imogene: Innocense Lost. Maybe he will have that research done by the end of May or middle of June so I can get back to writing that story as I really would like to get it published sometime the first of next year. I know, I know, we've all been told get the story written fist and then do research but there is a problem with writing this story that way. It is a dated story. By that I mean that there are key dates in the story and I have to make sure I don't write something that didn't exist or wouldn't be realistic for that time period (i.e., the story starts in June of 1980, the real story starts in 1970 and the backstory starts in June of 1945/September 1945). Obviously in 1980, I can't talk about booking flights to China via online methods (we were still typing on Selectric typewriters in 1980 and word processors were the new wave of technology then; cell phones were big and bulky and kept in cars mostly because they were too heavy to carry around, not like today's cell phones that fit in your pocket; computers existed but not in the form of laptops, netbooks, et cetera; Sony Walkmans were the thing of the day back then not iPods or MP3 players or whatever is out there today; we still listened to cassettes and even a few 8-track tapes still existed in 1980 as well as soem reel-to-reel tapes. In other words, a lot has changed from 1980 to 2012 and I want this story to have as realistic feel to it as possible.) I have several scenes or parts of scenes written as well as the first three pages. Once I have the research notes, I think I will have to sit down and do an outline and then start writing the story, which is something I've not done before with my writing simply because I write short stories. Most of time the stories were written for contests and there wasn't time to outline anything. When I wrote Finally Home, it was actually a total rewrite of a story and was written as a NaNo challenge for me (National Novel Writing Month which is from November 1 through November 30 with the object being to write 50,000 words of a novel, or a complete novel, in 30 days. These days, 50,000 words is considered a novella or a good start to a novel. Finally Home topped out at 56,000 words, and really wasn't written during the November 1 to November 30 timeframe; rather, I started about November 14 or 15 and ended December 14 or 15, so I did write it during a 30-day period and hit the goal of 50,000 words in 30 days, it didn't count for NaNo officially. I have a feeling that Immogene's story will end up being much longer than that and thus will need the outlining. I'll probably challenge myself to write it in 30 days again and shoot for about 75,000 to 90,000 words on that story, so we will see what comes of it once the research is done.

For my earth day bookworm giveaways, I sent 2 to Australia, 1 to England, 2 to Kuwait via Germany (these were purchases), and 12 out across the United States with 1 person refusing to accept her bookworm and 1 person winning 3 different times so in lieu of sending her 2 more of the same bookworms and the fact that she was purchasing 5 total, she got her choice of 3 bookworms and purchased 2 for Christmas presents (she had one a previous time for a different bookworm giveaway and had refused saying she was going to buy some anyway, so that is where the 3 of her choice came in). Overall, I think the giveaways worked because I wasn't just giving bookworms to commenters of this blog but on the Writers on the Move blog also. My birthday is coming up in just over a month and there will many giveaways during the 50 days from June 5 (my birthday) and August 2 (no giveaways on Sundays or holidays, although I may do a special one for the 4th of July but haven't decided yet since that date falls on a Wednesday this year) to include bookworms, chances for the red, white, blue afghan drawing to be held December 1, and maybe even books and other prizes. Watch for the announcement May 31 with the first giveaway occurring on June 5.

Coming up tomorrow is a posting on self-imposed deadlines (probably why I talked about writing Imogene on today's posting) and WWYWWQ. I haven't planned out Thursday's posting yet so not sure what the topic will be. See you all in the postings - E :)

Friday, April 27, 2012


A while back I stumbled upon Kindlegraph and felt it was really great. I'd kind of let that slide since there was so much on my plate. I can't tell you how exciting it is to get an email saying you have a kindlegraph request. Whodathunk it? Getting a kindlegraph request is almost as exciting as when a book comes out. I hope to be adding more titles to kindlegraph, so keep the requests coming. If you have purchased any book other than directly from me or even downloaded one of my short stories and would like an esignature, personalized or semi-personalized, come over to my kindlegraph page and click on the appropriate cover to request your free kindlegraph. See you all in the postings - E :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

School Book Fairs and School Visits

Recently I've been gathering information for the SC Author Connection to make connections with schools and do various book fairs across the state. With three authors in Charleston and able to pretty much cover the lower region of the state, it is easy to get them scheduled. I'm by myself for now in the upper part of the state and some of the counties that are pretty close to me have many schools (one county has 103 schools) to include primary/elementary, middle and high schools. I'm hoping to recruit some more folks from this area who will be able to take some of the burden off me and help out.

What are the criteria of becoming a member of the SC Author Connection?
1. You must be an author who currently resides in South Carolina.
2. You must be a children's, middle grade or young adult author.
3. You must be able to participate in the books fairs scheduled close to where you are living or that you can easily travel to.
4. You should promote all members' books at any event you participate in representing the SC Author Connection, not just your own.

While doing the book fairs, we authors can also provide a reading, a workshop or something for the students and parents at these schools. While visiting Donna McDine's posting about "Teacher's Guides" on the Writers on the Move blog the other day, one of the comments was from a lady who is in the UK. Paraphrasing her comment, authors are practically discouraged from making school visits. She mentioned the schools with their policing and what not and that visitors to schools are not welcomed. My question is this, knowing that most authors, especially if you are self-pubbed or with a small publishing house, are not going to make a lot of money from their books. So how are authors supposed to eek out a living in the UK if they aren't given the opportunity to do school visits or be brought in as a guest speaker? Here in the USA, most authors supplement their royalties by charging for school visits and other speaking engagements and schools welcome authors with open arms. Usually the media specialist or the PTA will host a guest speaker and they are glad to pay these folks for their time. Grant it, not all schools can afford authors or guest speakers, but there are ways around that.

If you are an author and making mega royalties and are happy with not doing guest speaking engagements or presenting to a body of students or you are making enough on your royalties, I would love to be you for a short bit of time. Most everything I make from sales (I really don't make royalties any more from my sales since I'm now self-pubbed) goes right back into my books, and most of the time, what I do make doesn't cover my costs for the event or whatever, not always but most of the time I end up in the hole. I've not broken even on any event yet.

So how do you compensate yourself as an author in situations like this? How do you turn the minimal royalties you make as an author from just book sales into a living or career? You need the guest speaking engagements to supplement the income and build your career.

Do you do school visits? Do you charge for your school visits? If not, are you making enough from your royalties to make a living as an author? I can't imagine living in a country or place that discourages authors from making school visits. What are you thoughts on the topic?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Guest Rena Jones

Today's guest is Rena Jones, author, mother, homeschooler. She and I met online when I first was published with 4RV. Rena's book A New Job for Dilly was her first published in the Dilly series and she has several other children's books to her credit. I asked Rena to write something about juggling being a mom, writer, and homeschooling and everything in between.

Balancing Family, Writing, and Homeschooling

When Elysabeth asked me to write an article on balancing family, writing, and homeschooling, my first inclination was to look up the word balancing. I know what it means, but I wanted the exact definition. According to The Free Dictionary balancing means …

Keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall.
Remain in a steady position without falling.

Balancing is to put something in a steady position or to keep from falling. I fall all the time, and by that, I mean I sometimes fail at doing everything I want to get done. Personally, I think juggling describes me better …

Continuously toss into the air and catch (a number of objects) so as to keep at least one in the air while handling the others.
Cope with by adroitly (skillfully) balancing.

Balancing/juggling my family isn’t as hard as it used to be. My children are older now and can do many things themselves. Long gone are the days of diaper changes, fighting with strollers, or struggling to get a wiggly child into a high chair. My kids are 22, 21, 12, and 10. They’re far from helpless, though many days I have my doubts. By the time my boys came along, my girls were old enough to fend for themselves more. They could read quietly while I got a baby down for a nap. Or they could help with one of the boys while I did something with another. It actually worked out pretty well for us. On top of that, my husband has always been very supportive. Not only has he supported our decision for me to stay home with the kids, but he’s also supported homeschooling, as well as helping with things around the house. I’m blessed … or spoiled … take your pick.

Balancing/juggling my writing isn’t that hard, either. I tend to write in spurts where I will write all the time or not at all. Summer is my writing time because that’s when we’re not busy with school. However, I have two very imaginative boys who are always giving me ideas. We can easily get distracted in school for a half hour talking about a story idea, character, or even a book title. In fact, it was my boys who came up with the idea for one of my picture books. We had just finished a week-long study on The Gingerbread Man where we read different versions of the story and compared them. Some of the titles were The Gingerbread Baby, The Gingerbread Boy, The Canjun Gingerbread Man, and so forth. My boys came up with the idea of a man made of marshmallows – and hence, The Marshmallow Man was born.

Balancing/juggling school was harder when the kids were younger. There were many days when I thought I was going insane. However, I have two things in my favor now. One, my kids are older, as I’ve said. And two, this is our 15th year homeschooling. It’s nothing new. I don’t have to think much about lesson plans, curriculum, and things of that nature. Like an old dog, we’re set in our ways and settled in a routine. I like to do each weekly schedule on Thursdays just so I don’t have to worry about it over the weekend. That doesn’t always happen, and many times I’ll be typing it Monday morning while the boys are eating breakfast or getting dressed. Again, time is on my side because after fifteen years, I could probably do it in my sleep. My problem is that I want to do so much, but there is not always enough time. Or something comes up and puts everything on hold. I’ve learned not to stress over it. We don’t have to finish every page in every book or do every single assignment I planned. We do what we can and that’s fine.

After so many years, I’ve learned to prioritize better than I did in the early days. I ask myself what needs to be done first, either by importance or deadline. I work from there. Time and experience have made this easier, although it wasn’t like that in the beginning. There were many days when I didn’t know if I was coming or going. There were many times I wondered if I was doing the right thing by choosing to stay home and homeschool my kids. My husband worked in law enforcement and often dealt with the local schools. Many times he would come home and say, “I am so thankful you’re homeschooling the kids.” That helped validate it for me.

My friends tell me that they don’t know how I do it all – raise a family, take care of the house, write stories, and homeschool my kids. Of course, some days I wonder that myself. I usually end up saying the same thing back to them. Some of their kids are involved in so many things – school, sports, scouts, music, dance – it seems all they do is take their kids from one activity to the next, as well as working and taking care of their homes. To me, that seems more exhausting than what I do, albeit just as important. One way isn’t better than the other. It’s what works for your family. As with everything, there are trade-offs. I don’t work outside the home, so I don’t socialize with other adults much. I’m home most of the time, so I don’t need to maintain a fancy wardrobe. I spend most days in work-out clothes because I like to exercise once we’re done with school. That’s my time. It’s the time I don’t have to think about the house, school, writing, or anything. I just exercise and listen to my music. I don’t spend school hours shopping or watching daytime television. And for me, that’s okay.

I have learned that in order to for me to balance or juggle everything that I want to get done, I need to simply take it one day at a time. When I first started homeschooling in 1996 someone asked, “How are you going to teach trigonometry?” There was a look of horror on her face when she said it. I replied, “I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.” At that particular time I needed to concentrate on 4th and 2nd grades, not advanced math. Why worry about trigonometry when we needed to learn the basics? Again, prioritize.

But finally, the main thing to keep me focused is the ability to stay relaxed. I’m a pretty laid-back person. I can get along with just about anyone. I’m one of those stop-and-smell-the-roses type people. While many moms have a death grip on their kid’s arm walking through a parking lot, I’ll be the one to spot out a rain puddle and encourage my kids to stomp in it. While most people are racing around Disney World from ride to ride, we’re the kooky family near some obscure wall studying the colors on a lizard or taking fifty pictures of a duck. I’m lucky because family, writing, and homeschooling all work together in that respect. I’ve learned that we don’t have to do it all. We just need to make the most out of what we do.

AUTHOR'S BIO: Rena Jones is a children’s author, specializing in picture books for kids ages 4-8 years. She has also written three middle grade novels – Coffee for Collie, Bananas Don’t Dance, and Encroached.

She has seven picture books published with 4RV Publishing LLC – A New Job for Dilly, A New Friend for Dilly, Lemur Troops & Critter Groups, Stork Musters & Critter Clusters, Pony Strings & Critter Things, Rhino Crashes & Critter Classes, and The Marshmallow Man.

Rena also self-published a non-fiction picture book called MOUNTAIN GOATS are KIDS like YOU! which is available @


Monday, April 23, 2012

Guest Deanna Klingel

Today, my guest is Deanna Klingel. I met her by way of the Highland Book Festival in 2010, which I found about on someone else's events page. I took some time to ask Deanna some questions. Let's see what she has to say:

Deanna, tell us a little bit about yourself. Your likes, dislikes,

I'm pretty ordinary. I love kids, hate peas and capers, love my husband, hate the current unshaved look for men, love America, hate what we're doing to her. I guess you might say I'm someone with strong opinions.

Tell us a little bit about what you write. What genres do you like to write? Do you only have books published or do you have other writing credits under your belt?
I mostly write for teens, though that isn't really what I started out to do. On my website you can read some award-winning short stories I had fun writing. I've written newsletters and some newspaper pieces. My book Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog was written for an adult audience, but young adults are embracing it. I guess dog lovers come in all ages. Avery's Battlefield and Avery's Crossroad are both historical fiction for middle grade, though adults are also enjoying them. Bread Upon the Water, nonfiction for a teen audience, also spans ages. Cracks in the Ice and Waiting With Elmer, both Christian fiction for teens, will be out soon, and they will also span from teens to adults.

What was the process you went through to get your books published? Do you have an agent or did you just go straight to a publisher? How many rejections did you receive before getting your first acceptance?
Every book has had a unique adventure on the road to publication. The Avery Civil War series started with agents who took them to the Bologna International Children's Book Fair, two years in a row. Two major publishers in New York were interested, one was interested in film rights. But when it came down to the bottom line they asked for changes in my character's ethics to make the book "edgy." It was a deal breaker but I said no. I rejected them! I'd made every change they suggested in two years, but I would not compromise my character. He would not do the things they said were necessary to get kids to read. I attended a Christian Writers conference a short time later. Someone heard the story of Avery and Gunner and asked if she could see the manuscript. She was the acquisitions editor for Journey Forth, BJU Press in Greenville. Within months, Avery and Gunner were published and are enjoying great success. What I've discovered about rejections is this: by taking the time to really research and make sure your manuscript goes to the "right" places, even though it takes longer, the chance of being rejected is much less. Avery was perfect for Journey Forth who publish Christian fiction, especially historical, for the home school market, and a huge Christian fiction, a market I'd not known about.

Do you write in silence or with background music or other distractions?
When I'm working it is in silence. I have to hear what my characters are saying to me. I have to eavesdrop and listen to them talking to each other. I need to get into their heads and hearts to hear what they are thinking. I can't be here, I must be there.

How long have you been writing and what made you decide to become a writer? What was the turning point in your life that you said you wanted to be a writer?
I've loved writing things all my life, writing, rewriting, and rewriting, decorating pages, school newspapers, year book, plays and skits, puppet shows, stories for my kids. It wasn't until all seven kids were launched and we retired to the mountains that I decided to give my writing compulsion free rein.

When not writing, what do you do? Do you have a full-time job or do you just devote yourself to writing?
Oh dear. Now you want to see the craziness that has become my life? If I'm not writing, I'm reading, rewriting or editing. When I'm not doing that it's because I'm on the road marketing, or marketing from my computer. Marketing and writing are both full time jobs. I remember once on a blog I was asked what I did in my spare time. My answer was, "Spare time? You mean like get a hair cut, change the oil, wash the dog, clean the car, clean the toilets, do the laundry, buy the groceries, call my mom, that kind of spare time?" If you are wishing you could get your book published, be careful what you wish for.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
If I could live any where in the world, for real? Probably right here in the mountains of westeen North Carolina. I love it. For pretend? Maybe in my imaginary little town of Waitnsee in my book Waiting With Elmer.

Deanna, thank you for being my guest today and I wish you the best luck with your writing. E :)

Thank you. My pleasure. Good luck with your new blog.

Deanna K. Klingel was raised in a small town in Michigan. She left for college, married, and spent the next twenty years moving every two years with her IBM husband Dave. Their family grew with each move. They eventually settled in Atlanta with their seven children where they put down roots for nineteen years. The children grew up, left home, and Dave retired. They moved to the quiet mountains of western North Carolina. It was here, in the quiet remote setting that Deanna returned to her love of writing, and began the life of a writer.
In addition to writing, Deanna works with her therapy dog making visits in nearby communities, and travels every weekend to market her books. She enjoys golfing with her husband and working in the gardens, too, but there just isn’t time!

Her books include Beth’s Backyard Friends, and Rebecca & Heart, both eBooks on, and published award-winning short stories that can be read on her website. Other published books are Just for the Moment: The Remarkable Gift of the Therapy Dog, (Dog Ear Publishing, Oct 2010); Avery’s Battlefield, (Journey Forth BJU Press, March 2011); Avery’s Crossroad, (Journey Forth BJU Press, Sept 2011; Bread Upon the Water, (Rafka Press, spring 2011.) Cracks in the Ice, and Waiting with Elmer are expected to release within the year.

Deanna writes primarily for young adults in a Christian market.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

This and That

Happy Earth Day. What are you doing to help save the earth? Part of my campaign is giving away "earth day" bookmarks (bookworms in earthy colors) which are reusable and should last a long time.

A few stats on my bookworm giveaway:

Since my original posting on April 12th through Friday, the 20th, I have given away 16 bookworms. Of those 16, all have been to women who have commented on both this blog and the Writers on the Move blog. One person has totally refused to accept her winning bookworm because she says she doesn't read books except on her Nook. Two have been sent to Australia, one to the UK, and one to Africa. The remaining bookworms have made their way across the United States (or will since there are at least 8 needing to be mailed tomorrow). One bookworm went to an AlienDog. Three of the winners are not a member of the WOTM group. One winner is an ex-member of the group. There were two postings, one on each blog, in that timeframe that had no comments so no winners for those two days. One winner one two different days from commenting on both blogs (which I didn't realize and I guess she will be surprised when she gets her second bookworm because I forgot to send her congratulatory email).

There are two more chances to try to win a bookworm - one from this posting (leave a comment, even if just to say hi or whatever; remember to leave an email in the comment so that I can contact you with your congratulatory email and get your mailing address) and/or to pop over to the Writers on the Move blog and leave a comment there from today's posting.

On the sales front, in the US, I sold 2 copies of "The Tulip Kiss" and 5 copies of "The Proposal" with no other sales.

I was in Walmart yesterday afternoon and was walking by the photography studio and the young lady tried to talk me into getting a free wall portrait done (not necessarily have it done yesterday but she tried) and we struck up a nice conversation. She is writing a murder mystery and I referred her to the Sisters in Crime group. She actually lives in the town where our meetings are held, and as soon as she emails me, I'll forward the meeting information to her and hopefully she will show up. You never know who you will run into or strike up a conversation with in Walmart.

Tomorrow's guest is Deanna Klingel, author of the historical middle grade novels Avery's Battlefield and Avery's Crossroads and others, and Wednesday's guest is Rena Jones, author of the Dilly series and the Critter series among others. Thursday I'll talk about school book fairs and school visits, comparing how the UK views author visits to schools versus how the US does. WWYWWQ will return on May 2. See you all in the postings - E :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Writers On The Move: So You Want to be a Writer.....?

Terri offers some excellent tips for you to make the journey to becoming a writer or a published author - stop by and see what she has to say - E :)

Writers On The Move: So You Want to be a Writer.....?: So, you want to be a writer... and let me say it is a wonderful person to be. But as you dream of your writing career, don't for a minute ...

Writers On The Move: Writing for yourself

Bob says to write for yourself but as you read the article you see you are really writing to connect to the reader (hoping that the reader is just like you in your tastes when you write for yourself).  Stop by and leave a comment - E :)

Writers On The Move: Writing for yourself: The point of writing for yourself is to write the book that you want to read and hasn’t been written yet. This is easier said than done. I...

Writers On The Move: Writing to Connect

Do you write to connect or do you write for yourself?  Check out the tips Shirl has offered up for writing to connect (this is opposite of Bob's previous posting, which is reposted here too).  E :)

Writers On The Move: Writing to Connect: Ernest Hemingway is quoted as saying, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." Isn't it...

Writers On The Move: Conflict in Your Story

How do you deal with conflict in your story?  Stop over and see what Debbie has to say about writing conflict in her children's book.  E :)

Writers On The Move: Conflict in Your Story: How do you use or deal with conflict in your story? Is it difficult for you to write about? I’m taking an online children’s writing cla...

Writers On The Move: May Workshop from Writers on the Move - Breaking t...

Have you faced writer's block yet?  Do you need to break through it and get your WIP completed?  How about stopping by and registering for the free webinar and see how you can break writer's block - E :)

Writers On The Move: May Workshop from Writers on the Move - Breaking t...: Writers on the Move has another helpful workshop geared for writers.   Here's the basic information you'll need: Title: Breaking Th...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mystery Writing is Murder: How Much Lead-In Time do You Really Need?

Interesting post - and the comments are just as thought provoking as the questions Elizabeth asks - check it out - E :)

Mystery Writing is Murder: How Much Lead-In Time do You Really Need?: Right now I’m writing the fourth Memphis Barbeque mystery.  I’m still working on the first draft and, like all first drafts, I’m realizing I...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Group Blog Posting Tips

I'm involved in a group blog, Writers on the Move, and have accumulated a few tips over the past couple of years or so to help you be a better blogger. A lot of these are common sense and common courtesy.

The saying is that the group is only as strong as its weakest link and when you have many weak links, the chain is no good. So when working with a large group on one blog where you have scheduled days to post, some rules of thumb to follow would be:

1. Preschedule your posts as much as possible, if on a blog that allows preposting. What this means is basically prepare your articles in advance so that you aren't scrambling at the last minute to post something. Be professional.

2. If you preschedule your posts to go up on your posting date, make sure you "publish" your post. Also, make sure you go to the dashboard and edit posts (if you aren't already taken there when you post the blog posting) and check to see that your post says "scheduled" and not "draft" by it. If it says "draft", you just need to click on edit and open the post back and republish. It should read scheduled and show the date it is scheduled to go up. If it posts immediately, then you didn't schedule the post correctly. The fix for this is to edit the post, do a copy of the whole posting, then delete that posting from post listings and do a new post.

3. Once your post is up, it is a good idea to stop by the blog and leave the first comment or as close to the beginning as possible, and follow the comments by email. Basically, this allows you to know when new comments are up and if they need a response. Also, it is just polite to respond to folks who have commented on something you have written. This is traffic for you as well as visibility and hopefully more sales of what it is you have to offer. The readers obviously liked what you had to say and if you don't make an appearance on your own posting, it comes across as if you are blowing them off.

4. If you can't follow the comments or forgot on your original comment, you can go back in and leave another short comment and click on the "subscribe" button on the postings. If you can't follow the comments, then you should check the blog several times throughout your posting day to see what folks are saying so you can answer any questions or respond to your readers and fans. (See my comment above about blowing off readers.)

5. Use tags or labels so that the search engines help keep you seen.

Remember common courtesy goes a long way. See you all in the postings - E :)

Finally Home: My review

I have a review of Finally Home.  Stop over and leave a comment on what you think.  From the last comment, I may have to do a little something different for upcoming works.  Let me know if you think I should go that direction or not, especially if you have read Finally Home.  See you all in the postings - E :)

Finally Home: My review

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Today's question comes from F.H. from Ms. Jurkowski's third grade class. F.H. asks: Why do you like to blog? How do you get your ideas? How many pages do you write?

Answer: Well, F.H., there is no right way to answer this question. I started blogging while my kids were in marching band as a way to keep my friends and family entertained and informed about what was going on with my life and the kids. Once I started entering contests and writing short stories, I needed to keep everyone apprised of what was happening with my writing, so I continued blogging. I originally attempted to post about once a month or randomly whenever I could or needed to blog. I started writing stories for publication and started blogging a little more often. Now that I've moved from a traditional publisher and am having to do all my own marketing, my own publishing and everything in between, I need to blog more often. This year I decided to move to scheduled blog postings on Mondays and Thursdays except the fourth week of the month when I would have guest bloggers on the blog, either via an interview or via an article. I added the WWYWWQ late in January to try to connect with the school side of things since I feel my books needed to be in the schools.

So to answer your question, I enjoy blogging as long as I have something to blog about. I'm starting to run out of ideas and have put several requests out there for ideas but no one has responded. I try to keep to my 2 actual blog postings and the WWYWWQ each week. I do random postings on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and try to do blog repostings of articles I like or think will benefit my readers to those days as well. Sundasy is reserved for my week in review week - keeping up with my sales and other happenings during the week and also as a way to let folks know what is coming up during the week.

Thanks for asking your question, F.H. Keep writing and keep the questions coming. Mrs. E :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Curl up with a good book afghans

It's never too early to plan your holiday season list. As of right now, you are about 8-1/2 months away from Christmas. If you have a reader in your life, these afghans would make the perfect gift for a birthday or Christmas. Some areas are just naturally cold all the time and some folks love curling up under a warm afghan and reading a book. So delight your reader with these modified alternating V and cluster stitched afghans. Each sample below measures 18 clusters (about 1/3 of regular width) and 12 rows (1/6 the number of rows a full afghan has). The full afghans measure about 50" (cluster/V rows across) x 45" (72 rows). They sell for $60 each plus shipping and tax ($70 total when ordered from websites; if purchasing at in-person events, only tax would be charged). When ordering, please leave any special requests (if doing solid colors, please indicate the 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices of preferred colors) in the notes section. Also, please make sure your mailing address is correct so that I can send your afghan to you upon completion. Turn around time is about 3-4 weeks.

Colors available are:

Bonbon print (looks like Cotton Candy to me and my daughter keeps trying lay claim to this one)

Woodsy (looks very earth-y to me and this would make a great gift for a guy on your list)

Primary (the colors really don't look like primary colors to me but this is what the yarn is called)

Monet (sold first one but more are on the way) - (this one looks very Easter-y or springy to me)

Melonberry (again has a spring look to it - this is one of my favorites)

Marrakesh (this is the one that has that fall look to it)

Aspen (another one that is guy looking).




Also available are 1-solid color afghans (this is the completed afghan in one color of your choice and if ordering solid colors, please say things like sky blue or navy blue or emerald green - something to give me an idea of the color you are looking for - I can't guarantee exact colors on some of them but I will do my best to get as close to the requested as possible); 3-solid colors, 2-row switched out (every two rows (a cluster and V row) will change; please indicate which color is 1st, 2nd and 3rd); or a 3-solid colors, 4-row changed out (this is very similar to the 2-row switched out but every four rows (there will be a cluster row, a V row, a cluster row, a V row) before switching colors. Again, please indicate 1st, 2nd and 3rd colors).

Samples are above. Remembering that the solid colored afghans are not the actual colors I would be restricted to since these are just samples using yarn I happened to have available at the time I was making the samples.

You can order these afghans from either my personal website under the gifts tab or on the JGDS series website also under the gifts tab. With each afghan, you will also receive a matching bookworm at no extra charge.

See you all in the postings - E :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Writers On The Move: Teacher's Guide for your Children's Books

This one is getting such wonderful responses that I thought it was worth reposting and probably using some of the comments as fodder for new blog postings here on my blog.  So stay tuned for something about school visits and study (or teachers') guides coming in the near future. - (again, reposts don't count as far as the drawings go) - E :)

Writers On The Move: Teacher's Guide for your Children's Books: After I signed the book contract for The Golden Pathway I took the time out to discuss with teachers what sparks their interest in childre...

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing: How to Brainstorm Ideas For Blog Posts

I found some ways to come up with some new ideas for this blog - yay!!!! - so maybe ya'll will see some new content on my blog.  (doesn't count as a posted blog for the bookworm drawings as it is a reposted blog) - see ya'll in the postings - E :)

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing: How to Brainstorm Ideas For Blog Posts: How to Brainstorm Ideas For Blog Posts By Featured Writer Leslie Branch Readers love great content. But, producing too much content can le...

Writers On The Move: "How to Set Writing Goals with a Family," by Mayra...

I think a lot of these tips can be used in our busy lives even if we aren't writers.  (No this repost does not count towards my bookworm drawings unless you comment on the WOTM blog to this posting).  E :)

Writers On The Move: "How to Set Writing Goals with a Family," by Mayra...: “Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environ- ment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the paren...

This and That

I wasn't planning on doing anything for Friday the 13th but at the last minute I decided to put all three stories up for free.

I just looked at my KDP reports and really don't think they are correct but here are my numbers downloads and sales:

"The Tulip Kiss" - US 160; UK 24; DE 2; FR 0; ES 0; IT 0.
"The Proposal" - US 172 (2 of those were actual sales for the week); UK 13; DE 0; FR 0; ES 0; IT 0.
"Bride-and-Seek" - US 318; UK 46; DE 4; FR 0; ES 1; IT 0.

It's funny that, according to J.A. Konrath, "Bride-and-Seek" is my worst cover (I do know it is in the process of being made better) but had the highest downloads. For a last minute decision, I'm pretty pleased. I did gain a reader in Spain, so that is a good thing. "The Tulip Kiss" and "The Proposal" were pretty close overall with 186 and 185 respectively and "The Proposal" had been free at the beginning of the month, so I think the numbers are pretty decent.

I posted an Earth Day posting here and on the Writers on the Move blog Thursday with drawings occurring on both blogs for comments left onall postings between the 12th and 22nd, so potentially 16 to 20 winners. Five postings so far and five winners (I had two postings go up on the same day); one more week of postings to go. So remember to stop by here often and comment on the posting of the day and stop over to the WOTM blog and leave comments there as well. You never know when your number will be picked.

This week coming up I've got more information on my Curl Up with a Good Book afghan campaign, the WWYWWQ and book fairs (something the SC Author Connection is trying to get involved in). Don't forget to comment on any of those blog postings as well as the ones over on the WOTM blog throughout the week. See you all in the postings - E :)

(sorry this was supposed to go up at 11:30 this morning but I just noticed it went to draft instead of publishing. I'll leave the drawing for the comments on this posting until Monday evening after 5 p.m. just to be fair to everyone.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Friday the 13th free book promotions

I saw a posting on the Sisters in Crime yahoo forum digest yesterday which had been posted Tuesday actually for a Friday the 13th free promotion day. I figured it can't hurt. I know I wasn't going to use the other free days left on any of my books but I wanted to see some numbers again and since Friday the 13th is usually considered a bad luck day, I thought I'd turn it into a good luck day by making all three of my short stories - "The Tulip Kiss", "The Proposal" and "Bride-and-Seek" free for the day only.

If you would like to see a listing of authors who have joined the free promotion day, Friday the 13th, you can find all the books listed here. You will find mysteries, young adult, children's, romance, westerns, nonfiction, self-help books and everything in between. So let's see how it goes. Happy downloading Friday the 13th.

You can find all three books listed here. See you all in the postings - E :)

Earth Day 2012

It's hard to believe that earth day is almost upon us. I've posted my main posting over at the Writers on the Move blog today but am expanding the giveaway to both blogs.

We all need to have ways to conserve or recycle and reuse. Instead of using paper bookmarks, how about using a crocheted bookworm bookmark instead. Preserve the trees.

THE GIVEAWAY: For the next eleven days (the 12 through the 22nd) for comments left on my blog, any posting, and comments left over on the Writers on the Move blog, I will give away one Woodsy (or my Earth-y bookworm) each day; see the WOTM blog for more details of the drawings. There is a new posting every day on the Writers on the Move blog and should be between 6 and 8 new postings on my blog during that timeframe, so that will be between 17 and 20 drawings. Winners will be made daily. Make sure when you comment on either blog that you leave an email address so I can contact you if you are the day's winner so I can get your mailing address to send you your very own Earthday bookworm. E :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Today's question is from S.S. from Ms. Jurkowski's third grade class. S.S. asks: Is it hard being an author?

Answer: It is hard some days and easy others. The reason I say this is that being an author is more than just writing the books, which is the easy part. Once the story is written, the hard part starts, which includes editing, revising, rewriting and then getting your story cover and illustrations if it is an illustrated story, then publishing and marketing. Marketing is the hardest part of being an author because you have to really put yourself out there for the world to see. You have to do a lot of events whether it be a book festival, a conference or even getting into a bookstore and doing a book signing, and do a lot of online promotion.

My philosophy on this is if you really want something you will really work hard for it. I enjoy writing my books and therefore will continue putting in the time and hard work to maintain my status as an author.

Thanks for the great question, S.S. Keep writing, keep working hard and keep the questions coming. Mrs. E :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Encourage a Young Writer Day

I wish I had posted earlier as today, April 10th, is Encourage a Young Writer day.

This goes out to all the classes I've skyped with, google talked with or even have visited with in person, I encourage all you young writers to keep writing and don't give up on your dream. Mrs. E :)

Monday, April 09, 2012

Followup on Joe Konrath's Cover Designer post

Last week I reposted Joe Konrath's posting regarding his cover artist's "fire sale", for only $150 you can have a premade cover. I also posted my covers along with that posting just to put them out there again.

What I wanted to share with you today is a couple of comments and followup comments on Joe's blog. I'm not being mean-spirited or anything, just felt I needed to justify some of what Joe said about my covers. (Warning this is a long post, so if you don't have time to read all the way through, please try to come back and finish reading and leave your comments. :) )

This first comment was posted three up from my original comment. There was another comment between Righter's block's comment and Joe's comment, but only these are pertinent for this posting. What it comes down to is this, a cover artist is offering "premade" covers at a discount. Why? Why would a professional even offer "premade" covers in the first place? The whole objective of finding a cover artist, regardless if you are just starting out or you've been publishing stories for ages, is to find someone who will meet the needs of your particular story, not the other way around. I never really said Carl's covers weren't good; I just stated they were generic and I can't see paying $150 for "premade" covers that wouldn't fit any story (even Joe posts in his original blog posting that if you want to change colors or what not that you probably could for an extra fee, even though this is a what you see is what you get sale - the covers are sold as is) I had written. I also stated I wouldn't pay $150 for something that was stock photos or "premade". Admittedly, I have changed one of my stories to fit the cover but only two lines in the story, not the whole story, because I felt the cover Heather did was perfect and that it really conveyed the message of what the story is about. More elaboration on this in Joe's second comment directed at me and trashing my covers and my illustrator/cover designer. This is not a professional way to handle the negative comments, and I never trashed Carl nor his covers. Just stated they were generic and I wouldn't pay the $150 price for stock photos.

Righter's Block said...
Are you serious? $150 for THOSE? Those are generic and awful. I'd much rather do one in MSPaint. This reeks of a scam.
This is the first comment that led me to leave a comment on this particular posting (like I said, it was 3 up from my comment with 1 between this one and Joe's response).

Joe Konrath said...
@Righters - Please send me a cover you've done on MSPaint. I'll happily post it. Until then, I encourage you (and everyone) to back up their opinions with facts. It's very easy to confuse personal taste with quality. We all need to explain why we like or dislike something, and understand the difference between subjective and objective.

Carl has an incredibly acute eye for color, tone, lighting and shading, space, vector, and balance, among other things. He can evoke mood, genre, and setting with amazing skill. $150 is a steal. If you think otherwise, show us your stuff.
Joe challenges Righter's block to show his stuff created in MSPaint (since Heather does all my covers and has her own programs, I can't comment on showing something I designed since I'm not the designer and have no art background).

This is the comment I left, agreeing with Righter's block about the covers being generic.

elysabeth said...
My thoughts were the same as Righters' - these are very generic and don't really evoke any reason for me to buy a book based on any of these covers. My illustrator, who also does all my covers to specs, only charges $75 for full covers for print books and the same for ebook covers. I have several of them that have evoked some very good responses from everyone - the covers are quality. I did a comparison of covers from a story that won first place and the publisher had done the original cover and having republished with my illustrator's cover and the response was overwhelming that the second cover was the preferred one. I posted this on my blog a while back ( when the story was about to be published (so would have been late November/early December).

I haven't checked out Carl's normal prices but $150 for an ebook cover seems pretty pricey to me, but then again, I'm not earning $100,000 in three weeks like you did, Joe. I'll stick with my young, very talented, illustrator/cover designer, thank you very much. - E :) (No where in this comment do I trash Carl or the covers. Honestly, looking at these covers, I wouldn't have picked up the book because the covers didn't stand out, this is what I mean by generic. There isn't anything setting them off from several other books in any of the genres you could see them as. Doesn't mean that the covers aren't good, but jump off the shelf into your hands great they are not. I could see #11 as a possible fun, flirty YA or even a flirty romance but the colors alone and the generic look of the cover wouldn't cause me to take pause and read the back cover blurb or the description or even open the book to see what it was about, thus I probably would pass by this book and not purchase it.)

This is Joe's comment directed at me only where he trashes my covers and Heather. I've stated many times how my illustrator/cover designer is young (remember she just turned 18 not too long ago and she is going to school for the sole purpose of getting her graphic design degree and to learn about all the things a cover designer needs to learn) and very talented. So I'm going to break down Joe's comments and explain or justify things.

Joe Konrath said...
Elysabeth - Again, see my comment about the difference between personal taste and quality. (this is what he stated in his comment to Righter's block originally, and I know Heather does quality work because she doesn't sign off on a cover until the customer is 100% completely satisfied, even if after a few days or a month the customer decides that the cover needs changing)

I checked out your covers on Amazon, and though you may like them, they just aren't professional quality. And I'll go into some detail why:

Tulip Kiss, Bride and Seek, The Proposal, and Finally home appear to be nothing more than a single image with a name and title on them. A book cover is more than just a picture and some words. (the argument here is that these are definitely more than a picture and some words. I know, because it took me 8 tries to get "The Tulip Kiss" right, wording and depth of the color of the tulip, and I saw the many layers and depth of the cover as Heather developed it) If I took the Mona Lisa, and put "Masterpiece" by JA Konrath on it, it would not be a good book cover. Which is why The DaVinci Code cover was what it was.

The eye isn't drawn anywhere on your covers. No vectors. No shadowing or lighting. No blending of the font into the cover so it appears organic rather than slapped on. (again, I know with "The Tulip Kiss" that Heather did blend the font into the cover as I saw the many changes and layers it went through until it was exactly what was needed for the story) (as for the other covers, the fonts are the right fonts and I don't see that they look slapped on an image; again, I am not the artist, so most of this doesn't mean anything to me, but they all mean something to Heather and she works very hard to make sure the covers convey the story in a small amount of space and she is still learning a lot of what goes into the business, so for her young age, the covers have evolved into quality work and I've seen this since I've been working with Heather for 2 years now, well okay, almost 2 years) Much too much negative space. No pleasing composition. No color palates to speak of. The titles and author names are hard to read, especially at thumbnail (which is where most buyers see covers.) (I don't look at thumbnails and most of the time I have printed the covers for when I'm out doing a live event so that folks can see the covers)

None of your images convey the genre--in fact, I have no idea of their genre. Are these romance? Chick-lit? Lit-fic? One of them has a category listed as Humor (this is an amazon thing as I have it listed as romance and humor under that but amazon only lists it as humor. It is a humorous romance and the cover really does convey that - the setting of a romantic dinner with an engagement ring box and a frog in the box. This is an April Fools Day story and is riddled with practical jokes and the frog is very humorous and pertinent to the story. This is the only story I've ever changed anything in for my cover, because when I went back to read the story, I realized that I didn't have the frog in the ring box but the frog was background noise during dinner, so I rewrote the two lines about the actual time Henry proposed to fit the frog in the ring box. Normally, I want a cover that fits my story, not the other way around. I was very impressed with this cover and felt it totally conveyed the humor of the story that I couldn't not fix the story to fit the cover), and the cover doesn't show that at all. (I don't see how a frog in a ring box in a romantic setting can't be considered humorous, just goes to show that men and women will see something totally different. Joe sees this as not humorous and not romantic; all my readers and customers see the humor in this, being that it is a romance and all. This is also my second place winning story and if it didn't fit the contest I wouldn't have placed at all. Sorry, Joe, the cover is both romantic and humorous.)

(as far as the other covers conveying their genres, the only one I can say that isn't really up to standards is "Bride-and-Seek" and this is my fault as I was in a rush to get the story published so I could offer it as a freebie for Valentine's Day. Even before Joe's comment, Heather and I had already had a chat concerning the cover for "Bride-and-Seek". This is a paranormal romance (a ghostly romance story) based on a legend in the UK about a bridegroom who loses his wife to a game of hide-and-seek on their wedding night. I knew that the castle or the "haunted" manor needed to be on the cover. I've been through several changes with this cover but went ahead and published it without being 100% satisfied. Hopefully this will be fixed soon and I can show a new cover. I'm open to suggestions to pass along to Heather of what anyone, including Joe, feels should be on the cover, knowing the story of groom loses bride to a game of hide-and-seek (the attic thing that Joe references as being a coral in a goldfish tank is the trunk the bride got locked in and where she died, but how does one convey a man searching for his bride who was lost tragically in a silly game on their wedding night?). "The Tulip Kiss" is another paranormal romance story (again amazon only lists the story in ghosts & horror, which is not how I have it listed - romance first and then paranormal or ghost story). This is another tragic story of wife losing husband on a very frigid, cold winter day due to an accident on an icy road. The winter scene with the tulip in the background is exactly what the cover should be since it conveys a love for a person as well as a special flower. I don't think Heather could have done more to the cover, and if she felt she could do something differently, she would have voiced it which she never did. Finally Home is a YA paranormal mystery. The house that my protag is looking at from her bedroom window is where all the mystery lies. Finding the secrets of that house is what pulls my reader into the story. So, again, I do believe that the cover for Finally Home is exactly what is needed for the story. I had school librarians comment on the house on the cover saying that they knew that house (it was in one of the towns they were from) or they had seen that house before (either while driving from place to place or just happened on it), so the house was definitely the intriguing point of the cover, which is what I wanted. The house is actually what the story is about. The original cover for this story was the attic scene where Kelly and Emma find the secrets the house holds by way of a mirror (okay Kelly finds out things because Emma already knows but is only a device to help Kelly unveil the secrets the house holds); Heather had made the whole cover look like the attic boards and flooring with the mirror kind of propped up on the wall and Kelly looking at the mirror and the old woman looking back. I didn't really like that for a cover because I felt that it didn't highlight the house like it needed to, but I did love the mirror and felt it needed to stay, because the old woman in the mirror truly reflected who she is supposed to be. So, Heather came up with the now cover for Finally Home moving the mirror to the back cover and making the back look like the attic in a sense. The two main components - the house and the mirror - are exactly what the cover conveys and I think Heather did an excellent, professional job of getting those two things correct. Granted it, as Heather stated to me, she is young and is not going to be 100% perfect like others who have been in the industry for 20 or 50 years. She is still learning but she is also gaining on-the-job experience by having her own graphic design business going while trying to write her own stories, edit for several companies and go to school. She has a lot on her plate, but I know she will go make a name for herself eventually. I think my covers are professionally done and that Heather continues to rise to the occasion of creating, not "premaking" covers that do what they are supposed to do, sell books.)

And your State series--I'm not saying this to be mean, but they are among the most amateur covers I've ever seen. The drawing isn't professional, and the images look hastily done and cobbled together in a montage-type of way that is not at all flattering, eye catching, or professional. (oh boy, this one statement hit such a nerve with me and this is why I hadn't commented back on Joe's blog and decided to bring my comment dissection over here. First of all, Joe, these are children's books. The books are part fact and part fiction. They aren't supposed to be elaborate covers since there isn't really a plot to the stories. The characters are playing a game and trying to guess which state is being described based on clues the game is giving. The covers are supposed to be a montage of three of the clues inside the book and the titles tie the clues and state together in a different way. Since I don't want to give the state away immediately and want my readers to guess along with my characters, they have to come across the actual clues when they are reading the story and make their guess later. I do well with my state books at in-person events and hopefully will pick up online sales from other things - bookmarks, being connected with a small group who will be doing book fairs, freebies, banners, et cetera. My goal basically is to get the stories in the schools to be used as a supplement for a social studies curriculum geared for 3rd through about 6th grade. The covers are what the stories are about since they are about the individual states.)

If you paid $75 and you're happy with the results, that's fine. Were the people who liked your covers folks you know--friends, family, writing buddies, etc? If so, they aren't the best people to get advice from. Strangers are much more honest. (I've had three actual friends or family make comments on any or all of my covers that Heather has done for me. The rest have been from strangers and persons who have actually bought my books as well as folks from online.)

I could take any of your covers, put them up against any of Carl's (and he's done hundreds) in a blind poll, and his would be picked 100% of the time. (any of his generic, premade covers? Since my covers are custom made to fit my particular stories, I don't think that would be as accurrate as you think, but if you feel that 100% of the persons polled would pick a premade, generic cover over a custom made cover, then run a poll - but it wouldn't be a fair polling since you are biased towards Carl and I'm biased toward Heather, and it isn't like I haven't had other illustrators/cover designers because I've been published with a midlist traditional publisher before going the self pubbed route. If you can get a neutral party to run a poll of several of the covers on your posting versus several of mine, then go ahead and do it. I think the results will be less than 100% for Carl's covers, not that I would ever think I would get 100% or even 99% of the votes, but I do know that my covers are quality and strangers like my covers and have been purchasing my ebooks and I believe that I'm getting my name out there and that sooner or later I'll be making enough with my writing to support me instead of me supporting my writing.)

I'm really not trying to hurt your feelings here, or come off as a jerk. (but that is exactly what you did, come off as a jerk because you totally trashed an 18-year-old's work without knowing anything about my stories or the reason for the particular covers I have; my feelings aren't hurt because everyone has an opinion and is entitled to voice it) I don't even know what the image on Bride and Seek is supposed to be. Is that coral in a goldfish tank? Only after staring at it for 30 seconds did I notice that weird ghost profile coming out of the bottom. (see my previous comments above concerning this cover and no that isn't coral in a goldfish tank but the trunk where the bride died. I'm open to any suggestions from anyone, including you, on what you think the cover should have on it based on the background of the story now.)

Again, not trying to be mean. I'm trying to be constructive. If Carl had ever done a cover for me like yours, I would have rejected it after a three second cursory glance. (that's pretty impressive that you would just glance at a cover and reject it rather than making sure it fit your needs and the story; again, all my covers are custom made and the covers featured on your blog are "premade" generic, and several can be used for many different genres, which isn't the purpose of a cover. The purpose of the cover is to convey the story in a single image, so no author should be purchasing premade covers and fit their story to them.)

A professional cover artist working for a Big 6 publisher gets upwards of $1500 for cover art. (we aren't talking about professional cover artists by being indie authors using indie cover designers and artists who freelance and there is a big difference in being published by the Big6 or any other traditional publisher out there. They use their own illustrators/cover designers and you are stuck with whatever they decide is best for your book, even if it is the most generic worst cover ever imagined. You have to keep that in mind, we are talking about small fish in the vast ocean of the publishing industry by using indie cover designers. I'm not even sure why you would liken someone like Carl or Heather to the big publishing houses because that isn't what the original comment was about at all.) There is a reason for this. Professionals do quality work, and they understand the nuances of art, especially cover art. I've seen Carl make a cover from scratch. It can take many hours, and he'll use a dozen or more layers for lighting, texture, shading, blending, etc. (again, my cover designer is young and is still learning but for not having been in the industry for 20 or 30 or 50 years, I think she does very professional work and she will get better as she gets older and has more knowledge under her belt.)

These covers he's selling look like pro covers because they are pro covers. (the covers he is selling are pro covers but they are "premade" and being sold as-is, again asking an author to fit a story to Carl's covers; they are not custom covers and are therefore generic, several can be used for several different genres, which is not what you want your cover to say; you want a cover that speaks specifically to your story alone, to stand out and be different.) Your cover artist isn't. And your covers aren't helping your book sales. I know this because I once too had unprofessional covers.
(I'm starting to see a shift in my sales but it doesn't have anything to do with my covers, it has to do with my marketing strategies, which is a never ending process. I also have not been in the industry very long, just barely 5 years, maybe 6, and I'm still learning things every day. I know over time, my cover artist will grow and change with the industry and she will be considered a pro like Carl but for now, I'm willing to give a young girl a chance to do custom made covers that suit my stories and are up to my standards.)

This is not meant to trash Joe, Carl or anyone else. This is something I had to mull over several days after reading Joe's comment directed at me personally and my cover artist. I think as a professional that common courtesy goes a long way. When leaving comments or replying back to someone's comments on your blog, if you can only say negative things, then please do so privately. Bashing people because they are young, too new in the industry or don't know what you know or do things the same way you do or can't afford to pay a cover artist the same that you pay yours is not the way to handle things. Grant it, Joe bashes the publishing industry all the time, but to take personal hits on something like covers he feels are not professionally created or whatever just really got under my skin. If at any place in my comment on Joe's blog I came across as trashing or being negative about Carl or Joe, I apologize because that isn't what my intent in was when I posted my comment. I commented based on seeing the covers (which I felt weren't jump off the page saying you need me, buy me now covers) and reading other people's comments. I only agreed with Righter's block that the covers were generic looking, not that it smelled of a scam or anything else. Again, if that is how Joe or Carl read my comment, I apologize. I think I've explained everything that Joe felt was wrong with my covers, but if I haven't, I'm sure I'll hear about it later from someone. See you all in the postings - E :)

Sunday, April 08, 2012

This and That

Today's report looks a little better than past weeks have. Sales are slowly creeping up.

I've not really been doing much promoting of late due to being involved in several other things and having a ton of work to get done. I've been off track the last week or so, but hopefully this afternoon or this week I can get back on track and stay on track.

I'm working on completing a lot of crochet projects - mostly bookworms - for upcoming events, working on a school listing for the SC Author Connection book fairs (more on that in a posting next week) and working on my "curl up with a good book afghan" campaign. I sold one afghan to my friend Faye Tollison at the Sisters in Crime meeting the other night, even though the afghan isn't completed yet. She will receive her afghan at the next meeting and she's okay with that. When that one is finished, I'll start on another for sale, but I've made samples of all the varigated colors I will be making. I will also do solid colors to the customers specifications (as close in color as I can). Pictures of the samples can be found here and here.

Let's look at sales/free downloads/borrows for this week: "The Proposal" was available last Sunday for free to everyone; so when I mention downloads, this would be from the free day. According to my KDP report, in the US, I had 170 downloads, 4 sales after the free downloads and 1 borrow. I sold 1 copy of "The Tulip Kiss" during the week. For the UK report, I had 48 free downloads. In Germany (DE), I had 2 downloads. In France (FR), Spain (ES) and Italy (IT), I had no downloads or sales during the week. Five sales and a good many downloads, I'm happy with that. Not that five sales will buy much, but it is better than previous reports.

I hope that the momentum will start growing and that folks will start buying my other stories as they go up as well. I also was featured on Priscilla the Great's blog for the A to Z challenge with a review of Finally Home and from that feature I discovered I had a few more reviews than I realized on Amazon for Finally Home. Thank you reviewers.

I only gave away 2 of the 8 bookworms on my previous posting for folks leaving comments, but I'm going to try it again. Starting Thursday, April 12, and running through Sunday, April 22, Earth Day, I'm going to do a drawing from the comments left on this blog and comments left on the Writers On the Move blog for the days that a new posting goes up (6 to 8 potential posts here and 11 scheduled posts on the WOTM blog, so between 17 and 20 drawings/giveaways). This will only be for the Earth-y bookworms in honor of earth day. So please leave your comments here and over on the WOTM blog for your chance to win a bookworm. That's all I have to offer this week, off to work on the SC Author Connection school listing before I start working (going to be a long day). See you all in the postings - E :)

Friday, April 06, 2012

The A-Z Challenge features me

I'm featured on Priscilla the Great's blog, Prissy Fit. She is featuring authors who fit the challenge from A to Z.

Some folks are featuring books that fit the challenge and some are going another way. If you want a fun way to follow the A-Z Challenge, stop over at Susanne Drazic's blog, Putting Words Down on Paper, and leave a comment. Susanne is a true follower and leaves comments all the time. I wish more folks would leave comments but I'll take what I can get for now.

There are many more folks participating in the challenge, so have fun and follow several of them for something new and different.

See you all in the postings - E :)

Thursday, April 05, 2012


Last Wednesday when I thought I wouold be watching TV, I flipped through the channels as none of my regular shows were really on. I don't like channel surfing because no matter how times I flip through the schedule, the same shows are on.

Jumanji was playing and behind it Zathura was on. I've not read either of the books but have seen Jumanji several times. Needing to just relax a bit, I watched Zathura. Cute movie and really geared for boys - space adventure, et cetera. I think I'll try to get the books on Kindle and read both of them now that I've seen the movies - lol.

I recommend these stories for boys because they play well to their imaginations and are quite adventurous. So, if you are looking for something different, pick up a copy of either for your little adventurer. - Mrs. E :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


WWYWWQ will resume next week and continue through the middle of May. I'm still looking to add more classes with writing questions for the fall. So if your class has any writing-related questions and would like an author to answer them, please send them to eeldering (at) gmail (dot) com with subject line WWYWWQ and in the body of email, please put something like: E.E. asks from teacher's name class asks: Question? (example: E.E. from Ms. Eldering's class asks how you would write onomatopeia, italics, all caps?) - That question was previously asked and answered so you can check back on previous WWYWWQs for that one. Thanks for stopping by and visiting me - Mrs. E :)

Monday, April 02, 2012

The Proposal KDP report

So, I just checked my reports for the two days I offered "The Proposal" for free on the KDP program. Pleasantly surprised as to how many downloads I got over the weekend.

As compared to when I had "Bride-and-Seek" for free with 360 downloads and "The Tulip Kiss" for free with 380 downloads, "The Proposal" brought in 694 downloads (almost double either previous offer) from the US, UK, Germany (DE) and France (FR), actually only gaining one download from France. I did have one actual sale of "The Tulip Kiss" during this offer.

I totally hope there will be an upswing in my sales but that remains to be seen. I'll keep you posted more on my weekly posting (This and That) concerning actual sales and what not.

See you all in the postings - E :)

Curl up with a good book afghans

I just finished my 2013 red, white, blue varigated afghan, which will be used only for a drawing and not for sale, and was so inspired by the quickness of the stitch I used (Alternating V Shell stitch) that I decided the colors of most of my bookworms would make really great afghans to sell at the Sugarfoot festival in October. They will be available on my website as well.

So the colors I'm going to make up will be the bonbon print (the one I call Cotton Candy - started and completed), Woodsy (the one I call Earth worm - will have to rename it or leave as woodsy for the afghan), Monet (the one I call Easter or spring 3 - started (need more yarn which will be purchased on payday)), melonberry (the one I call spring 1 or 2 - can't remember but it's on the website under gifts), Primary (or the other spring one) and the Marrakesh (or what I'm calling fall). My daughter keeps saying that the bonbon print is hers but I told her that she would have to save up her money and purchase it since I already made her an afghan and it isn't really being used - she says it's on the back of her computer chair which means it is not being used - lol.

I'm thinking $45 a piece will be a decent price, plus $5 shipping if ordered from the website.

I need to scour the thrift stores to find a quilt stand to display my afghans, so that will be my next project. I hope to have at least 3 maybe 4 completed by time of the SC Book Festival in May to put up for sale and go from there - E :)

(I was hoping to be able to post pictures of the completed afghans but have misplaced my camera so as soon as it shows up, I will get some pictures posted.)

Sunday, April 01, 2012

This and That

This week's sales have been 0 again, but I am running "The Proposal" free again (yesterday and today). When I checked my report at 10 minutes until 2 this morning, the past 6-weeks' report hadn't gone up but I had 410 downloads in the US (several in the UK, DE and FR) of "The Proposal". Having checked it about an hour or so before that, I had 370 something downloads. So my question is why when I look at amazon's rankings and standing in the free downloads section did it show me ranked at 585 with the 370 something downloads and 16th in the free kindle downloads, humor and dropping me to 598 ranking, still at the 16th spot in the same category when I gained almost 40 downloads. With more downloads, the ranking should be moving toward the top 100 (from 585 to 400 or 300 or whatever) not back up in numbers (higher ranked which is not what an author wants to see).

UPDATE AT 9:30 AM: Total downloads for Saturday were 424 in the US, 46 in the UK, 5 in DE (that is Germany, not Denmark as I had originally thought) and 1 in FR (I hadn't had any downloads in France for my other stories). Still no sales of any of my other stories but when I checked the amazon page for "The Proposal" my three other stories ("The Tulip Kiss", "Bride-and-Seek", and Finally Home) were listed as what customers also bought with "The Proposal", albeit there were no other books listed in that. My ranking went from 598 to 461 and #11 in the kindle store/ebook/humor department. Almost in the top 10. So far this morning, I showed 22 downloads in the US and a few in the UK, DE and possibly 1 in FR (I'll have to go back to check it out later since this report is reflective of the week ending March 31).

Please don't forget that if you have read any of my stories, whether when offered for free or you have purchased them and have completed reading them, reviews are very welcome. Please post them on Amazon, Goodreads, librarything, your blog, wherever you post your reviews and let me know when the review is up so that I can try to drive traffic to your website or blog. I appreciate it very much.

I don't hold any hope of making any sales after the free offering nor do I hold my breath that any of my other stories will show any sales in the days to follow, but one of these days I'll be a known author.

In other news, I have completed another afghan (posting to follow on Monday regarding my new campaign for the afghans) but have misplaced my camera so can't post pictures on the blogs or websites. It is frustrating because the last time I saw the camera was at the SCASL conference.

I'm still looking for some new ideas to post about and am glad to see I've had a couple more folks comment on at least one posting (this past Thursday's had 3 people comment), which means Susanne is not alone and there are two more folks reading my blog sometimes. Now to work on getting more readers or followers who will leave comments. I'm not up to any challenges as suggested by several folks, so maybe I need to give away something.

How about some bookworms. Your choice (all bookworms can be found on my website under the gifts tab and I think I'm up to 8 different colors including the Christmas one. So if you have not already received a bookworm, the first 8 people that comment here will get a bookworm, their choice of color. So leave your comment, suggest a topic to post about, or just leave words of encouragement and don't forget to leave a way to contact you so that I can get your mailing address (email address can be left in the comment in the following format: eeldering (at) gmail (dot) com) to send you your bookworm. See you all in the postings - E :)

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: Ebook Covers for $150

So Joe Konrath's book cover designer is having a "fire sale" on his generic ebook covers for $150.  Personally, none of the covers jump out at me except I could see #11 as a possible for something.  I don't see paying $150 for an ebook cover that really doesn't jump off the page.  I'll stick with Heather and her wonderful artistic talent in creating new, book specific covers (she has a form you fill out telling her what you would like to see on the cover and what definitely cannot be on the cover along with several other things that help her create a cover that is specific to your book) at the low cost of only $75.  If you would like to see more of Heather's work, you can check out her portfolio over on her website.  Below are the ebook covers she has created for me.

I did a comparison previously of this cover (which I absolutely love and have heard many comments saying the same thing) to the one Karen had done when the story won the Fast and Frigid contest and published the story then.  This one is much better and definitely feels wintery and frigid.

Funny thing about this cover - I loved it when I first saw - I kid you not - I had to go back and read my story and change a couple of lines in the story to fit the cover (this wasn't intention on Heather's part, but I thought the cover was a right fit for the story as soon as I saw it)

This is the latest which I'm happy with but not completely sold on it; this one took us the longest to really get something I wanted so I could publish the story.  I have a feeling this one will get changed over the course of the next month or two or so. 

This is the same cover for my print and ebook and you definitely know from this cover that the house is an important character in the story.

On the very first cover Heather had done for this story, she gave me the attic scene (which is a big turning point in the story) with Kelly looking at the mirror and the woman reflected in it.  I wasn't too keen on the attic but loved the mirror and the woman in it.  Heather came up with the front showing the house (yay and I love the house because it really does make you curious about why she is looking at the house and what is so important about the house) and kept the mirror on the back (which in final print looks like the attic in a way and obviously this isn't my final cover since it doesn't have the blurb or my advanced praises on it).  Needless to say, I love that I got to keep the mirror on the cover somewhere.

Grant it, Heather is young but she is talented and very reasonably priced on all her work.  Go ahead and check out Joe's cover designer's ebook covers and see what kind of response they evoke in you.  Generic looking or jump in your face and make you want to get that ebook? - leave a comment on either blog and let us know - E :)

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: Ebook Covers for $150