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Writer Wednesday Welcomes Karen Wojcik Berner

Karen has come my way through the fantabulous Wow! Women on Writing blog tour. I love them. If you’re not familiar with their awesome blog, please stop and check them out. Karen has graciously offered to blog for us today on Indie Publishing. I am so thankful for this because it’s a major hot topic in this rapidly changing industry. Today we get to hear it from a source who knows first hand. Enjoy! and Welcome Karen!

Five Things You Should Know About Indie Publishing

Thank you so much, Julie, for inviting me here. I am very excited to be your guest blogger today.

Some have branded 2011 “The Year of the Indie.” Independent authors have seemingly stormed the gates of the publishing Bastille in droves.

When I released A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One) as an ebook in March 2010, Kindle sales were just starting to climb. The Nook was less than six months old. iPads had not yet entered the marketplace. The first indie superstar, Karen McQuestion, was receiving national attention. Since then, eleven authors have been named Kindle million-sellers, and the mind-blowing success of Amanda Hocking has made her an indie household name.

I would like to share five things I have learned about getting involved in this growing industry.

1. Indie publishing is the great equalizer.

That is the beauty of it. Writing fiction should not only be the domain of MFA graduates. Indie authors are people, like me, who have worked in related fields, such as journalism, editing and public relations for years, always knowing they would go back to writing fiction. Others are traditionally published authors releasing their out-of-print backlists. And some just know how to tell one heck of a story.

2. E-books are indie authors’ best friends.

Most of us sell far more e-books than paperbacks. In November, my ratio was 7:1 e-books over physical. If you are going indie, plan on releasing an e-version, as well as a paperback, to cover both audiences.

3. Never underestimate the importance of a well-edited manuscript.

Hire an editor, or bribe your favorite English major or editor friend with a Starbucks card. Trust me, all editing types love hot beverages (or at least caffeinated ones). I was a magazine editor for more than ten years. I know this to be true.

It is impossible to edit your own manuscript. Everyone needs an extra, trained set of eyes to do a thorough job.

4. Hire a professional cover designer.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all judge books by their covers. Do not put an amateurish front on the novel you have worked so hard on. Not all cover designers are expensive to contract. There are several talented, reasonable artists listed on Kindle Boards. That is where I found mine, Amanda Kelsey, from Razzle Dazzle Designs.  (http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,50419.0.html)

5. Remember, you are running your own business.

This is not a dalliance or an idle pursuit. Being an indie author takes commitment, drive, a business plan, a marketing program and a boat-load of time, just like any other business. Plus, then you have to switch to the other side of the brain to constantly generate new material, whether it is working on your WIP, writing a blog post, or composing a quick-witted tweet.

 

A Whisper to a Scream by: Karen Wojcik Berner

Annie Jacobs has dreamed of the day she would become a mother since the first time she held her Baby Tenderlove doll. Unfortunately, biology has not cooperated with her plan, and she finds herself dealing with a diagnosis of unexplained infertility instead of picking out baby names.

Across town, stay-at-home mom Sarah Anderson is just trying to make it through the grocery store without her toddler hurling a box of rice at a fellow shopper. She is exhausted from managing the house, a first grader and a toddler, all without any help from her work-obsessed, absentee husband.

A Whisper to a Scream is the story of two women on opposite ends of the child-bearing spectrum who come to realize the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence. A vivid portrayal of contemporary marriage and its problems, the novel speaks to a longing in all of us, a yearning that might start as a vague notion, but eventually grows into an unbearable, vociferous cry.

About the Author:

Karen Wojcik Berner lives a provincial life tucked away with her family in the Chicago suburbs. If it was good enough for Jane Austen, right? However, dear Miss Austen had the good fortune of being born amid the glorious English countryside, something Karen unabashedly covets, so much so that she majored in English and communications at Dominican University. Like the magnificent Miss Austen, Karen could not help but write about the Society that surrounds her.

A booklover since she could hold one in her chubby little toddler hands, Karen wanted to announce to the world just how much she loves the written word. She considered getting a bibliophile tattoo but instead decided to write about the lives of the members of a suburban Classics Book Club. The series is called, of course, The Bibliophiles.”) When she isn’t reading, writing, or spending her time wishing she was Jane Austen, Karen spends her time can be found sipping tea or wine, whichever is more appropriate that day, and watching Tim Burton movies or “Chopped,” her favorite foodie TV show.

For more about Karen Berner, check out her website: http://www.karenberner.com/index.html

 

Twitter is a Power Tool

It wasn’t long ago I realized I needed a REAL web presence. I was at my computer all day, silently stalking my favorite agent blogs hoping to glean the information I needed, but I wasn’t moving forward. I was writing manuscript after manuscript and getting nowhere.  Was it the topic they rejected? Was the query too pathetic? Was it the writing??? Looking back, it was sad.

Then, I discovered Twitter.

Twitter, while intimidating at first tweet, is a brilliant hodgepodge of amazingness. I am now on a one woman quest to promote and encourage the use of twitter throughout the writing community! In case you don’t tweet, let me tell you why you should.

First, you chose who to follow. That means those people’s comments will appear on your screen when you log in. I started by following a favorite agent of mine, then I followed who she was following. That made sense right? If they interest her, then I need to know them too. I followed writers, publishers, agents, everyone in the industry I could find, and now I am enjoying it every day.

I log in to twitter to promote my blog, or talk about my writing hits and misses, and people respond! Using the #amwriting hashtag connects me with everyone else who’s writing and I’m not alone anymore. I frequently respond or comment on things agents or editors say and I’m making a little place for myself.

Twitter allows me to find writing contests, hot blog topics, and hear what agents and editor are saying about the industry. No more trolling the internet for hours. I have one stop shopping on twitter. I can network, get the scoop, and make friends who know the challenges I’m up against. I’ve found beta readers, guest bloggers and won my share of free books all thanks to the twitterverse.

I love the camaraderie. I can’t meet enough writers. We’re made up of the same stuff.  I also love that others in this biz will begin to recognize my name. I can’t imagine how tedious query reading can become, but I can imagine sifting restlessly through hundreds of emails and losing focus. Then, I picture myself preparing to pass on a query until I see a familiar name. I’m hoping that building a recognizable name will get my query one more read, through fresh eyes. After all, it only takes one yes, right?

So, if you’re still reading this, I hope it means you already have a twitter account. If not, please stop over, check it out and consider joining twitter. I’ve met my closest of writer friends that way (and two of them don’t even live on this continent). I joined a critique group and I have a sounding board. Twitter is a fabulous tool for every aspiring writer and every author looking to build a platform of readers.

You can find me @JulieALindsey and follow those I’m following to help you get started, or wing it, but definitely look me up!

 

Feature Friday Presents: Raeliksen by Renee Vincent

Mara, the daughter of an Irish clansman, was raised to believe the men of the North are heathens – murderous pagans without a moral bone in their bodies. Despite warnings of the Northmen’s raids, and the growing threat of another incursion, Mara is continually drawn to her favorite place – the River Shannon.

Dægan Ræliksen, a wealthy chieftain from Norway’s frozen fjords, secretly discovers Mara at the water’s edge. He is charmed by her beauty and sensuous grace. As the days pass, his contentment with watching her grows thin. He can no longer deny his desire.

Mara and Dægan come face-to-face in a time when every Irishman is being called up to fight against the Nordic foreigners. In these times of upheaval, can Dægan make peace with Mara’s father and acquire the woman he treasures? Can Mara move past her fears and find the noble man within the savage?

Reviews

“This book and author earn my highest recommendations and I feel privileged to have read one of the best. It is a must read for any lover of historical romance or even lovers of romance in general.” Night Owl Reviews

“From the first page, one thing was abundantly clear. You don’t read RÆLIKSEN. You experience it.” ~Amazon Review

“The powerful and moving love story of Daegan Raeliksen and his Lady Mara will resonate long after the last page is read. This is historical romantic fiction at its best, written by an author inspired by the legends and lure of ancient Ireland and Norway.” ~V. Campbell, Amazon Review

Release: July 30, 2010                                        
Category: Historical Novel with Strong Romantic Elements
Heat Level: Sizzle
Length: 386 pages
Price:  $2.99 digital; $17.99 print

Find it now on Amazon!

Author Bio: Renee Vincent is an author whose inspiration stems from her passionate interest in Irish and Norse history. She lives in the rolling hills of Kentucky with her husband and two children on a beautiful secluded farm of horses and hay fields.  www.reneevincent.com

The Emerald Isle Trilogy includes:

Ræliksen, Book One

Mac Liam, Book Two

The Fall of Rain, Book Three.

 

Networking. Yes. It’s Worth Your Time.

Over the past year, I’ve had more than a few aspiring writers ask me if the time I spend online is worth it. They wonder if I really need another writer friend in the same boat I am. If I really need to join another forum. If critique partners should be as numerous as a football team. I said Yes.

Knowing other writers, aspiring or otherwise, is a benefit to you.

Other writers know things. They can help you. They can offer advice from experience, point you in the direction of solid sources for answers to your questions.

We writers, if we’ve been brave enough to put our words out there in any capacity-ever- have been beat the heck down, more than once and with indifference from the beater. You need friends who know that hurt. They can direct you to your feet and help edit the hate mail you will want to send in response, then they will talk you out of sending it.

Writers are more than advice givers, knowledge holders and resources. They are encouragers and comrades. They will cheer for you and when your time comes, they will heft you onto their shoulders willingly and with joy.

Case in point: My debut novella BLOOM is scheduled to release late in January. I put a call out to my writer friends. Writers blog and blog hops are all the rage with us bookish types. Within 48 hours I had successfully contacted and scheduled a guest spot for my book promotion at a different blog for every Monday through Friday in February. (Now I have a whole lot of guest blog posts to write!) I guarantee you the process would have taken much longer or failed completely if I hadn’t taken the time to make all these amazing connections with writers. More important than the blog hop, I would have quit trying long ago if it weren’t for the online community of writing warriors. They gave me tips, pointed me in the right direction, rubbed my back, and kept me going.

Is it really worth the time to get to know other writers online?

I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

Holiday Giveaway Hop! December 2nd-6th


Hosted by I’m a Reader Not a Writer

&

Kid Lit Frenzy

Everyone knows I’m a YA lover. It’s true. For this reason, I often feel a little guilty when I participate in blog hops. I hate to leave out some of my other favorite genres like cozies and romance. So, this time around, I’m offering you the OPTION of prizes. Just follow via GFC (I know, I know, it will soon be gone LOL, but it’s the easiest entry I can think of) then leave a comment and let me know if you’d like to have the set of YA titles or the set of romance titles. *Easy Peasy*

YA Titles up for grabs

From the Ally Carter Gallagher Girls Series:

Cross My Heart & Hope to Spy

Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover

Only the Good Spy Young

 

OR

 

Romance Titles Up For Grabs

America’s Star-Crossed Sweethearts by Jackie Braun *Signed by Jackie* from Harlequin Romance

Under Wraps by Joanne Rock *Signed by Joanne* from Harlequin Blaze

Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts

 





Where Book Lovers Get Their Buzz!Another fabu FYI: I wanted to tell my fellow bookish peeps about a new site calledBookBuzzed. The site is designed to get readers and writers talking. Everyday a different author puts up his or her book for grabs and anyone can enter their email to win. One winner wins every day. The winner gets the book directly from the author. *FUN* A neat new site to keep an eye on!  Hop over anytime and enter for the daily book :)  BookBuzzed.com!

 



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