Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Discussion: What Indie Authors should or shouldn't do to establish their reputation...

I'd like to start this post that is open to feedback from both Indie authors and readers.

Authors-What type of behaviors do you implement to maintain the integrity of not only yourself as an author but that of your work?

Readers-What behaviors/tactics have you seen from Indie authors that you are absolutely appalled by? Please be honest.

Please keep this discussion respectful. If we aren't open to feedback, there's no room for growth. If you aren't open to growth, how can you become something bigger than you are now? Some comments may strike a nerve, but remember each person is entitled to their opinion. Of course I will delete any inappropriate comments, but please take the time to reflect on why a particular comment is striking nerves with you before you respond.

To start the discussion I’m going to share a trend I've noticed from several Indie authors, not just one! Please note the difference between stretching the truth and a lie, especially on things that are easy to check online.

Here is a randomly created very cheesy example of stretching the truth: 

"My book will change your life! I've got nothing but five star reviews, so I'm sure you'll love it too! (Insert link to where to buy said book)" 

Reality- you have 5 star reviews from readers, wonderful. If I'm an eighty year old  southern male, your book about a single woman's fast paced life in the big city isn't going to change my life. Your goal as an author was to sink a hook into those who it would appeal to, so not a big deal.

Here is a common lie: "My book is a top seller on (insert site that has its lists public)."

Reality-NO it's not. Why is this bad? Because I can see that list and so can every other potential reader out there. You are making yourself look like an idiot by insulting the intelligence of your audience. And why is that bad for you? If your own intelligence comes into question, then the products of your intelligence a.k.a. the integrity of your work, goes flying out the window right along with it. Yes some people may fall for it hook, line and sinker- but how often do you really expect it to work. Let those few be served up and let that sale pay for your dinner. But not me, any guess as to what I'm going to do immediately after I’ve popped right on over to the list you referenced to validate you in my mind as a liar? Yes-that’s right. I’m not gonna buy your book.

I may not directly call you out on it, but I do like to make these things known in a discreet manner. Why? Just in case you’ve somehow failed to miss something else that should be obvious-most people who spend money on books are very intelligent. They possess the ability to take words from a page and use their imagination to breathe life into them and create vivid played out scenes comparable to an HD screen. What a reader possesses is a gift that commands respect.

Please think of how you would react to a salesperson that disrespects you while visiting their store before you make such false claims that carry a backhand to their intelligence. Furthermore, please think everyone else’s reputation that you are dragging through the mud along with your own.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Guest Blog: Emily McKeon's Thoughts on Revision

Hello everyone. I am thrilled to say that in just one month (and two days) of this site’s live existence we’ve had 485 visits! Thank you so much to the wonderful authors that have contacted me to be (or become) featured on this site and thank you equally as much to our visitors! I am pleased to have the honor to work on this site to showcase the dedication and strong spirit each Indie author is blessed with!

For today’s post, we’re going to have a guest post by Emily McKeon, one of my writer friends that I met via ABNA (gasp! I said that word!). Her dedication and perseverance to her craft in the face of criticism is magnificently exemplified in her contribution to our site. If you enjoy her post, feel free to visit Emily's site to enjoy more of her writing!

Thank you so much Emily for visiting us! And here's her contribution:

 Emily McKeon's Thoughts on Revision
“Bottom line: you've got talent, but this isn't ready yet. Spend some more time with it and my suggestions, and we'd be pleased to look at a resubmission.”  These are words I always thought I’d be ecstatic to hear.  It meant someone, besides my family and friends, saw something worthwhile in my writing.

 After countless rejections (Ok, they could be counted, but I’d prefer not to) including one on a requested full, here was my opportunity to edge my way into the publishing world.  The best part about this resubmission request was that it came straight from a publisher, not an agent.  So what did I do?

I’ll be honest; I cried.  After all the rejections that garnered little more than a sigh and a flurry of submissions to other agents, this opportunity caused tears.  I’m not really sure why, but I think it had to do with knowing I was so close and still not being able to reach the finish line.  The other rejections had been form, “Sorry, but this isn’t for us.”  This one gave me reasons.

I know I should have jumped right on those suggestions and started revising, but I didn’t.  Instead, they sat in my inbox for the weekend while I debated what I wanted to do.  Most of it was simple enough to change: eliminate ‘that’, ‘just’ and ‘I’ wherever it wasn’t necessary or the sentence could be restructured.  Others, like rewriting the entire opening, weren’t as easy.

Over that weekend, I mulled over how much I was willing to change my work to make it publishable.  My husband looked over the suggestions and managed to convince me they weren’t as bad as I thought they were.  With him pushing me along, and armed with the publisher’s critique, I set to work.

Doing the revisions, I realized there were a lot of things both the publisher and I had overlooked in previous read-throughs.  Things like my characters’ penchant for constantly opening and closing doors or smiling all the time.  Most of these were cut along with the ‘that’s, ‘just’s and ’I’s.

I went through and revised several times over the following weeks.  Each time, finding more of the things she had pointed out and corrected them.  Last Thursday, tired of looking at it and sure I would throw my computer out the window if I had to do another revision, I hit the send button.
Now, I’m sitting and waiting to hear back as to whether or not I’ve managed to revise it enough.  Keep your fingers crossed.  Meanwhile, now conscious of my most over used words and phrases, I’m off to edit my other MSS before they get sent off to Queryland and come back with the same comments.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Author Interview: Jeff L. Dawson "Love's True Second Chance"

Today author Jeff Dawson is stopping by to share his novel “Love’s True Second Chance” with us.
From his novel’s description:
July 20th, 2009 7:00am I held her hand and kissed her face with the arrival of a sunny beautiful morning, hoping for a miracle. The shift change for nurses and doctors was in full swing. Staff checking in, charts being reviewed, doctors and nurses exchanging information; vital signs being verified. Debbie’s breathing is very labored as it had been for the last twenty four hours. I never knew if each breath would be her last. The cancer was running its course through her beautiful body at a terrible pace. An aide came in to change the sheets and clean her up. She asked if I would like her to wash Debbie's hair. I pondered the thought for a minute looking at the love of my live and replied in a hushed, choked tone, “She would like that. How long will it take you to change her bed and wash her hair?” She said about fifteen minutes. I stepped out of the room and called her friend Cathey to get an estimated time of arrival. She assured me she would be at the hospital within thirty minutes.

Debbie was in good hands with the aide. I decided to get a little air, purchase a coke and have a cigarette. I went to the store with one thought running through my mind, Is there anything else I can do for her? Had I done everything I could for the “love of my life”? Would God sit by her side and let her live out her life on earth or whisper in her ear, take her hand, and guide her to heaven? I had no control over what was happening to her.

Have you ever loved someone with all of your heart and soul? Have you lost a dear loved one to breast cancer? I have. I sought out my high school love for twenty-five years. We reunited in Jan of 2009 and were allowed to spend the most amazing seven months together.

Get a copy today to find out how deep one can truly love.
Rebecca: What was your inspiration for this particular book?
Jeff: Sharing a story about having a second chance at true love. I wasn't inspired to say, but more wanting to let others know that love is worth a second chance even if it might not have a happy ending.
Rebecca: A reader walks down the aisle of an imaginary book store and is about to pass up on reading the blurb on the book. What is the one thing that sets your book apart from the other hundreds of books on that aisle?
The broken heart on a bed of yellow roses. The cover will have the reader wondering why the heart is laying and surrounded by the roses. What caused the heart to be so thoroughly broken?
Rebecca: What efforts have you made to guarantee the quality of your book on the same level a reader might expect of a traditionally published book?
Jeff: I took the pains to have other readers review and read the manuscript. The provided insight I couldn't see. I had two editors work on the grammar and spelling issues that word didn't identify. I listened to all creative criticisms and made the appropriate changes.
Rebecca: You’re walking by a book club meeting that cannot agree on their next book. They decide to stop a random stranger (you) and ask for a book recommendation. Describe your book for us as if you are not the author.
Jeff: Hello ladies. How many here had a true love in high school or college that didn't end exactly as you planned? Have you ever wondered what would happen if given a second chance to correct the mistakes of the past? Would you give that person one more chance and how would you react when you find out your love has a potentially fatal disease? Would you take a second chance on love? Ladies, this book touches on all of those issues. The author pulls no punches. You will find yourself taking the author's side and then moving to her side when he shows how stupid males can be and then you will be pulling for both of them when she is re-diagnosed again. This is not a happily ever after book, but rather one that will have you thinking that love is worth a second chance even if the outcome is not the one we hope for.
Rebecca: Are there any hidden life lessons or underlying themes you hope the reader picks up while enjoying your work?
Jeff: Yes, Love is worth a second chance. Family can never be replaced and if that feeling becomes distant and somewhat forgotten, then we need to find it again.
Rebecca: Do you have a website/book trailer for your book?
Jeff: Yes. Facebook site
Rebecca: I took a look at your site, and I couldn’t help notice that on the 20th of this month it will be two years since Debbie’s passing. In my own life, I try to remember the birthdays of those I’ve lost rather than the day their spirit moved on. Is there anything special traditions you have to honor Debbie on any day?
 Jeff: I try and make it to Tulsa to place a yellow rose on her final resting place and talk to her and let her know how much she taught me in our short seven months. She and her girls taught me how to be part of a family again and that we work to live and not vice-versa. If I don't make it to Tulsa I play the video her girls and I made then go and visit the cemetery in Seagoville, Tx. where she, Dad and Larry last talked to me ( Knowing I did everything I could for her was a wonderful feeling. Her words that day "You did everything you were supposed to do" eased all of the pain I was experiencing.
Rebecca: For any else out there who has recently or is facing the impending loss of someone they love, is there anything you would like to say to them?
Jeff:  It is worth it. I always wondered how I would have felt if I had heard of her passing without seeing again. I don't think I would have ever forgiven myself for the way I treated her in college (Chapter 4: Break-up). Yes, I wish she was still here but being able to help take care of she and her daughters for such a short time was well worth it. I also was allowed to spend the last seven months with my father's day (RIP 2005). I was allowed to also take care of him as the clock wound down. Like Debbie, I wouldn't trade those seven months for anything. Knowing we are where we need to be when it counts the most, is a true honor. We aren't saying goodbye to them as much as forging their memories and remembering all of the great times we spent together. Yes, the pain is unbearable when they pass, but knowing we were able to be with them can never be replaced.   
Rebecca: Who designed your cover art?
Jeff: I hired a woman to perform the graphics. I gave her all of the information and she did a very nice job. Debbie loved yellow roses. The heart? That would be mine.
Rebecca: What aspect of your book do you feel your cover art relates to?
Jeff: How my heart and soul reacted when the Dr. turned and said, "I'm very sorry. She's gone."
Rebecca: What is the one question no one has ever asked you during an interview that you would like to be asked? (This question may be borrowed in the future, so please keep that in mind before answering).
Jeff: Knowing and going through what you have in the last two years, would you do it again or would you take the safe route and be satisfied with seeing her one more time and saying goodbye without pursing a relationship?
Rebecca: In seeing your devotion to your love through your novel, I’d say that you’d go full speed ahead without any hesitations even with knowing the outcome. Living life without experiencing the type of love the two of you shared, one that transcends years passed by and meeting once more, would be a life without a very fulfilling and coveted privilege. When there are so many who will never experience love on such a magnificent scale, to bypass it because of the inevitable-one will have to exist after the other passes, even if under tragic circumstances, almost seems like taking it for granted.
Rebecca: What do you think Debbie would say about the novel?
Jeff: What would Debbie think? That is a tough one. She was very private person when we dated in high school and even more so in her later years. Her life hadn't turned out the way she had hoped when it came to personal relationships. I believe I was able to awaken the little girl who had forgotten how to have fun and enjoy the little things in life. Taking walks, holding hands, watching tv, washing dishes (chapter 12: Seven Months of Joy), or driving around town with her girls listening to the radio or a chosen CD; God I miss her. I think she would be very skeptical, but the book also helped her girls in the healing process. They were able to see just how much fun she was a teenager. The oldest Jessica made the comment one day, “We only knew her as Mom the Pharmacist. You showed us how much fun she really was as a teenager. We never knew." I believe she would be pleased with it since it helped her beloved girls.
Rebecca: Thank you for stopping by and sharing your novel with us Jeff!
Jeff: Becky, it was my pleasure and remember, Love is Worth a Second Chance.
You can purchase a copy of his novel by following this link Love's Second Chance on