Friday, May 31, 2013

Indie Author Series: Book Length

This week the YA Author Club will be debating the subjective standards associated with the perfect length of a book. It's something we all struggle with, and unfortunately, everyone has a different opinion. There are - however - suggestions and recommendations that can be made and guidelines that can be followed.

Before you begin writing a book, you should create a goal in your mind about it's final length. Base it off the genre and/or your preferred publishers' recommendations. If you're not sure, you can go to the publisher's site and locate their submission guidelines. I should mention that 70-120,000 words appears to be a standard, but there are those who won't take anything more than 85,000 words. If you have publishers you want to target, it's important to find out their expectations before you start. 


As you write your story, you'll want to track your word count (adding your ultimate goal and periodically checking to see where you are with your book). This will help you in two ways. If you create goals for your daily word count, you will stay on track as you write your book. It will also help you keep an eye on the end. You don't want the ending to sneak up on you or the most important part of your book to feel rushed. 


Below, you will see my word tracker for Underground (Secrets, #2) due out in the next few months. I plan for this book to be just shy of 100,000 words. As such, you can tell that I'm 86% done. Knowing I'm this close to the end, I'm working hard to create a perfectly controlled drive toward the finish line.

Below the tracker, I've added the code for those interested. Pay close attention to the numbers in red. The first is the current word count. The second is my goal word count.



<img src="http://picometer.writertopia.com/words=84279&target=97000" />

The final length of a book is all about the author's book release goals and creative preferences. I say this because there are authors publishing books a lot more frequently than I'm able to. When I stop and take note of their word counts and/or the number of pages for their books, I notice their books are in some cases half the word count of mine. 

There are many reasons to write shorter books. 1) The author is able to release books more often, and we all know the more books you release the better chance you have of standing out from the crowd. 2) The author will have more books for sale which automatically drives up their sale numbers. 3) There are lots of readers who are willing to commit to a 2-3 hour read. There are not as many readers who are willing to take 6-8 hours to read a book. Their time is precious. They want to begin a book and finish it in one sitting.

There are just as many reasons to write a longer book. 1) An author can start out slower, allowing the reader to bond with the characters through sight, touch, feel, smell, and touch because the author is giving the reader the opportunity to put themselves within the story. 2) The longer story can feel more epic to the reader once they're finished. 3) The author can spend time weaving and creating complex story-lines and  character's strengths and weaknesses, making them more believable as the reader is shown characteristics and moral decisions rather than being told what they are or what they would be. (Not to say a shorter book can't accomplish some of these same things.)

Anyone who has ever read my books knows that I'm all about a 400 page book (approximately 100,000 words). I do this knowing that I'm going to turn some readers off instantly, and that I'm going to sell fewer books than I would if I divided the story up over two/three books rather than one. I mostly do it because I'm comfortable with that word count. At this length, I know I'll be able to start a book off slowly, quietly build anxiety and tension, develop a heart-stopping tale, and end the story on a note that makes it feel like there's a resolution (at least to that moment of crisis).

Tell me your opinion. Would you prefer a short book or a long book? Why? (Include the number of pages you prefer.)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Feature & Follow #10

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow


Meme: Feature Follow

Day: Friday 


Premis: The meme hosts will 1) feature two (2) blog sites and 2) propose two questions that participating bloggers will answer on their blogs sites and give their followers the chance to join in.

This week's featured blogs: Mad Hatter Reads and The Fiction Conniption


*Follow these sites 

This week's featured questions: Don't forget to leave a comment.

Q: What blogger would you most like to meet in a real life? Tell us about him or her. 

A: I participate in an Indie Author Club. My co-contributors are all amazingly special authors and especially dear to my heart. Because we've never met in person, I'd love to spend a weekend with them talking about our indie author adventures and letting them tell me (from their own mouths) the inspirations for their stories/characters.  I've listed just a few of them below:
  • Laura A. H. Elliott
  • Bryna Butler
  • Suzy Turner
  • Rachel Coles
  • K. C. Blake
  • Liz Long
  • Melissa Pearl
  • Heather Sutherlin
  • Melika Dannese Lux

FEATURE FOLLOW RULES (as described on Parajunkee)
To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
    • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
    • (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
    • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
    • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
    • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
    • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
    • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
    • If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Release Announcement: Bait by K.C. Blake

The YA Indie Author Club is having another great week of releases. This week, we are going to ask you to join us in supporting K.C. Blake. She's as dedicated to writing great stories as any author I've ever met in person or virtually.  


Summary for Bait:

Ghosts, a reaper, and a rock star.

At sixteen Bay-Lee is not your typical girl. She doesn't even try to fit in at school. What's the point when she'll be moving to a new place within a few months?
She's lived her whole life on the run, hiding from monsters.

Then a reaper uses her closet to cross over from the Spirit Realm. It has a message for her. Just when she's about to join her father at his school for hunters she finds out they are dying on their birthdays. Something is killing them, slipping past locked doors, never leaving a trace of evidence, and her birthday is only two months away.

Becoming a hunter isn't exactly her dream come true. She's doing it for her mother, for revenge, for justice. Nothing is going to get in her way, least of all love. Then she looks up into a pair of jungle green eyes and everything changes.

Author Bio:
 
Born and raised in sunny California, K.C. Blake fell in love with books at a young age and decided to pursue writing as a career.  Her favorite authors include Stephen King, John Saul, Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Carrie Jones.  In her spare time she enjoys shopping (and when I say shopping I mean go to the mall early in the day, eat lunch, and then keep going until you don't have any strength left), reading great books, taking care of animals (she lives on a farm), and searching for creative ideas to improve her home.  A former writer for Harlequin, she now publishes her books her way and loves every second of it.  Okay, she's a bit of a control freak.

Bait links:
(also available in print)

K.C. Blake's Social Links:
Twitter:  @kasiblake

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Announcing As You Wish Tours


As You Wish Tours
Owner:  Julia Hendrix
Co-Owners:  Len Phelps & Tina Donnelly
Website:  As You Wish Tours

Services Available for Authors
  • Cover Reveals
  • Release Event
  • Series Promo Event
  • Trilogy Promo Event
  • Author Spotlight 
  • Book Trailer 
  • Single Book Promo
  • Tour Kick Off 
  • Single Book Tour
  • Trilogy Book Tour
  • Series Book Tour 
Each service option can include:

~ 1 - 3 - 5 Day Event Options ~
~ 7 - 14 - 28 Day Tour Options ~
~ Prices Vary ~
    • Please see definitions and implementation details below
    • Payment is accepted through Paypal Only

    Definitions and Implementation Details

    1. Author Spotlight
    a) Promotes the Author
    b) Guest/Specialty Posts via Author
    c) Includes: Cover, Synopsis, Blurb,
    Author Photo, Bio, Author Links & Book Links

    2. Book Trailer
    a) Promotes Book w/Trailer
    b) Includes; Synopsis and/or Blurb,
    Author Bio, Author Links & Book Links

    3. Cover Reveals
    a) Promotes New Book w/Cover
    B) Includes: Cover, Synopsis and/or Blurb,
    Author Photo, Bio, Author Links

    4. Release Event
    a) Promotes Newly Released Book
    b) Includes: Cover, Synopsis and/or Blurb,
    3-5 Excerpts, Author Photo, Bio, Author Links
    & Book Links

    5. Series/Trilogy Promo
    a) Promotes Series/Trilogy
    b) Includes: Cover, Synopsis, Blurb,
    3-5 Excerpts, Author Photo, Bio, Author Links
    & Book Links

    6. Single Book Promo
    a) Promotes Book
    b) Includes: Cover, Synopsis, Blurb, 3-5 Excerpts,
    Author Photo, Bio, Author Links & Book Links

    7. Tour Kick Off
    a) Promotes Tour w/Schedule
    b) Includes: Banner, Schedule, Cover,
    Synopsis and/or Blurb, Author Links & Book Links

    8. Single Book Tour
    a) Promotes Book
    b) Includes: Spotlights, Excerpts, Guest Posts,
    Specialty Posts, Author Interviews & Character Interviews
    c) Optional: Tour Wide Giveaway
    Hosted Giveaway via Rafflecopter

    9. Trilogy Book Tour
    a) Promotes Trilogy
    b) Includes: Spotlights, Excerpts, Guest Posts,
    Specialty Posts, Author Interviews & Character Interviews
    c) Optional: Tour Wide Giveaway
    Hosted Giveaway via Rafflecopter

    10. Series Book Tour
    a) Promotes Series 4-6 Books (14-28 Days) 7+ Books (28 Day)
    b) Includes: Spotlights, Excerpts, Guest Posts,
    Specialty Posts, Author Interviews & Character Interviews
    c) Optional: Tour Wide Giveaway
    Hosted Giveaway via Rafflecopter
    For more information about services
    Click Here


    Become an As You Wish Host
    Click Here

    Enter The Giveaway
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Friday, May 24, 2013

    Indie Author Spotlight: Heather Sutherlin

    Today, the YA Author Club is exited to Spotlight our very own Heather Sutherlin. She's an amazing person and a phenomenal YA Author Club contributor who writes young adult fantasy adventures when she's not spending time with her family.


    Author Bio


    1999 – B.A. in Elementary Education from Harding University
    2011 - 1st Place White County Creative Writers’ Conference First Chapter Contest
    2012 – Debut novel, A Light in the Darkness, is released along with its sequel, To Light the Path.
    2013 – Seen and Wandering, two books in a new YA fantasy series, will be released in the spring.
    President - Fiction Writers of Central Arkansas
    Featured Author – Arkansas Literary Festival


    About the Author

    Heather Sutherlin lives in Arkansas with her husband and three children. She is the author of A Light In The Darkness and Seen  both fantasy adventures for young adults. She loves all things creative and enjoys the worlds she dreams up, longing to live the adventure alongside her characters. When she’s not at her writing desk, she is busy exploring and learning with her children or cooking big, elaborate meals in the kitchen with her husband.

    You can see more of Heather at her website, HeatherSutherlin.com
    Or, email her at HSutherlin@gmail.com
    See behind the scenes of her indie life by following her on Facebook.
    You can also follow Heather on Twitter and see what inspires her on Pinterest.


    Books by Heather Sutherlin:


    Merrilyn’s life is quiet and predictable. An apprentice to the royal healer, she spends her days helping in the village or up to mischief with her best friend who happens to be the handsome younger son of the king. But when a mysterious archer shows up in the forest and shoots their escort, Merrilyn’s life is forever changed. Caught in a battle between two forgotten gods, she must embrace her destiny and fight the very powers of darkness before it’s too late.










    Prince Jarrod and his men have been missing for months and still Merrilyn has no idea where they are hidden. Now the king of Zinder is missing, too, and his children seem to think Merrilyn’s the key to finding him. Along with Aiden and Prince Justan, she travels to Zinder looking for clues in the king’s journals. When a mysterious man begins whispering in her dreams, tempting her to reconsider all that she believes, she must face both her fears and her desires. Merrilyn may be a light in the darkness, but she’ll have to trust Loian to light their path as they travel through foreign lands and face new enemies in their search for the missing men.






    Rory has no idea what’s going on in the woods behind her house, but it’s driving her crazy. On the last day of her senior year she finds herself caught up once again in the curious happenings of the forest and walks away without any of the answers she was hoping to find. To make matters worse, she is sent to visit a sick neighbor and instead finds the hottest guy she’s ever seen. When she discovers his brother’s incredible secret she falls further into her own chaos and into a fate she never could have imagined.

    Jaron is just counting the days until the summer is over and he can get back to his real life. Stuck with his little brother on a tiny farm in rural Oklahoma is not exactly his idea of fun. But when Rory shows up on his doorstep with an armload of pie, he knows his summer has just taken a sharp turn into new territory. He never expected the adventure they would discover next or the quest that would change their lives forever.

    Thursday, May 23, 2013

    Feature & Follow (14)

    Alison Can Read Feature & Follow


    Meme: Feature Follow

    Day: Friday 


    Premis: The meme hosts will 1) feature two (2) blog sites and 2) propose two questions that participating bloggers will answer on their blogs sites and give their followers the chance to join in.

    This week's featured blogs: Bookingly Yours and Book Junkie Joint


    *Follow these sites 

    This week's featured questions: Don't forget to leave a comment.

    Q: The #FF is 150 weeks old! And we want to hear from you! What would you change about the hop? What do you like about it? Or just suggest a question to be used for next week!

    A: I'm relatively new to the #FF, but can honestly say I've been enjoying it. I'm not sure I would change anything about it. 

    I saw a question posted a few days ago that made me think: Which do you prefer... paperback or e-book? We all have a preference. What is it and why?  

    (Me: I like e-books for nothing more than the convenience of instantaneous ordering and the fact that I don't have to store them in my already over crowded bookshelves.) 


    FEATURE FOLLOW RULES (as described on Parajunkee)
    To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
      • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
      • (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
      • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
      • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
      • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
      • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
      • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
      • If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

    Wednesday, May 22, 2013

    Release Announcement: The Temporal Stone

    The Temporal Stone (The Morgan Sisters) by Suzy Turner

    Release Date: May 16th

    Synopsis

    It's been a couple of months since Emma and Lana entered the Praxos Academy and life has been hectic ever since. What with regular A level classes combined with learning all about the supernatural world, control classes, self defence and fight night, the girls are constantly busy.

    But when their world seems to stop right in front of them, they and their fellow Watchers, have a huge mystery to solve. A mystery which leads them on a long road trip across south west England where they meet all kinds of strange creatures, some intent on causing harm and others desperate to put a stop to the problem.

    The Temporal Stone is the second full length novel in The Morgan Sisters series. The first book is entitled The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw. There is also a free novella, Daisy Madigan's Paradise.

    Links:




    (other sites and paperback coming soon)

    Author Bio

    Suzy Turner has worked as a journalist, assistant editor, features editor and magazine editor. Early in 2010 however, she began writing full time and has since completed a trilogy for young adults, The Raven Saga, as well as several books in The Morgan Sisters series.

    Although Suzy is a Yorkshire lass at heart, she left her home town of Rotherham, UK, to move to Portugal with her family when she was ten.

    The Algarve continues to be her home, where she lives with her childhood sweetheart and husband of 15 years, Michael.

    Thursday, May 16, 2013

    Feature & Follow (#21)

    Alison Can Read Feature & Follow


    Meme: Feature Follow

    Day: Friday 


    Premis: The meme hosts will 1) feature two (2) blog sites and 2) propose two questions that participating bloggers will answer on their blogs sites and give their followers the chance to join in.

    This week's featured blogs: Picture Me Reading and The Bookish Confections


    *Follow these sites 

    This week's featured questions: Don't forget to leave a comment.

    Q: School is out! What is your favorite summer reading book?

    A: Picking one book from a very, very large library is quite nearly impossible. I loved The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1) by Julie Kagawa. Because I loved that book and its author so much, I'm completely ready to curl up and read the follow-up book, The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2)   

    FEATURE FOLLOW RULES (as described on Parajunkee)
    To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
      • (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
      • (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
      • Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
      • Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
      • If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
      • Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
      • If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
      • If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

    Indie Author Series: Categorizing Your Book

    This week the YA Author Club will be talking about the importance of categorizing your book. It seems simple, and it some cases, it is. In others... well... not so much.

    While I started off specifically writing a young adult book (Warriors of the Cross) that my daughter would enjoy and one we could talk about together, I quickly realized the book (and the next 3 books in the series) could never be categorized with something as simple as young adult. There were just so many other genres that fit the book's characteristics: romance, action, suspense, medical, paranormal, fantasy, saga, ghost, tragedy, and adventure.

    For me the book's variety makes it interesting and unexpected and a great read. At the same time, it made it much harder for me to find the perfect audience for the series. 70-80,000 books later, I can safely say the series has found its way. Its path was just a little less traveled because it was not an exact replica of stories, characters, twists, and turns already written and re-written.

    For my latest series, I opted - yet again - for the path less traveled. While Grave Bound is new adult... romance... action... adventure... tragedy... saga... suspense... erotica, it is not like anything else written, making it equally difficult to pigeon hole into one genre. Because it is labeled as 18+ only, the readers adding it to their TBR list appear to enjoy reading erotica. Of course, the hard-core, erotica-loving readers are often disappointed by Grave Bound because it is a real story (novel and not short story) about life-like characters. They don't start off AND end up having sex. There's a world that had to built (only because it was so different than anything we know) and characters that had to become endearing. This is mostly because I'm not big on writing (or reading) about characters that I'm supposed to instantly care about. Like my best friends, I have to get to know them before I love them enough to become emotionally vested in their tribulations.  Don't get me wrong, there is sex in this Grave Bound. It is earth-shattering and passionate. It is not gratuitous or hard-core erotica. 

    Because I have to, I label my books with a genre. I can assure you they are never perfect, but they do represent a tiny portion of what the book is and who its characters would appeal to. I have to believe others outside of the identified genre could/would enjoy the stories if they gave them a chance and stopped judging them by their 'genre'.

    In some ways, assigning my books to a specific genre is similar to labeling my every role (wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, co-worker, boss, nurse, author,...) and saying I can only be one thing. For me, that's an impossible task. It depends on where I am and who I'm with as to which role I'm playing. The same can be said for my books. The genre depends on which character you are reading about, where they are in the story, and what challenges they are facing.

    In order to show you how many different literary genres exist, I've included WiIKIPEDIA'list of genre's and subgenres. After you see them, you will understand how daunting the job can be when it comes to labeling books. The links are included so feel free to explore the options.