Starting a New Series

I returned from the Indie Romance Convention recently, pumped and ready to write. However, reality set in after that and the writing got pushed aside. That happens way too often for me so I’m always trying to balance home life, work life, AVON, and writing.

Most of my writing starts in my head. I hear people having conversations or ‘see’ scenes with my characters involved. Since I released book 1 and 2 in The Vaedra Chronicles (The Abduction and Revenge), my intention was to release book 3 sometime early next year. I’m still working out the character traits and their goals, motivation and conflict (GMC). Once I get all of that done, the story falls into place more or less. If I change a couple of things, the whole story can shift. I want this to be a great story so I’m trying to cover my bases in the set up phase.

In the meantime, I have another series that I started years ago but didn’t submit to publishers. I was so engrossed in getting book 1 out that I didn’t submit anything else at the time. I call it the Angel Series. I looked around at all the paranormal books out there and most of them were about demons, vampires, shape-shifters, and versions combining some of them. I thought, ‘what else is there?’ and realized no one had written about Angels. Yes, there are some fallen angels, but not too many at the time (this was YEARS ago, mind you).

So, my first story is about an angel who manifests in the flesh to save a girl from being the next victim after she witnesses a murder. But in the process, he discovers that he had once been human. While she falls for him, she convinces him to stay ‘in the flesh’ longer so he can discover who he was and how he died.

My research into angels turned up some interesting stuff. For instance, angels are shape-shifters. They can turn into human form or animal form to convey messages for God. After all, they are messengers. Angels are time travelers. They can travel to another place or time in the space of a ‘thought.’ Angels do not feel as we do. They more or less love as God loves us. They also have understanding and knowledge that we don’t. They may see our future or know the outcome of something that we can’t know. And they are spirit beings (same as people) only they aren’t trapped in a body. And they fight spiritual battles.

I try to show some of this in my story, “Between Heaven and Earth.” But before I release it, there’s a lot of self-editing I must do. Then it’s off to the editor, while I have someone design a cover for me. Then with the ‘tweaking’ and rewrites, I’ll send it back to the editor once more. This time, I may send off the pdf to my Launch Team to get their critique on it before the final formatting for both eBook and print book.

I also had a story, “The Quest” which was a re-telling of the story of Tobit, that I wanted to get out first. It’s more or less a setup for the Angel Series world. I thought I had it on my computer, but now I can’t find it. Maybe it was all in my head. In any case, I want to release that story first, so I’ll have to go through all the same procedures for that one as well.

I’ve got a lot of work cut out for me between now and next year. I had planned to go to Illogicon in January, 2018, South Florida in February, 2018, Weekend With  The Authors in March, 2018, the Romantic Times Convention in Reno in May, 2018, and possibly RWA in July. Hopefully, I’ll have more than book 1 and book 2 available.

See you next week with chapter 1 of “Between Heaven and Earth.”

“Revenge” Book 2 in “The Vaedra Chronicles” Series

As an update on my second book, “Revenge,” I’m working on edits I received from my editor.  Editing my own work makes it harder to see some of the obvious mistakes.  Even after waiting awhile before going over the manuscript the last time, I still missed some things. So, I have my work cut out for me.

This whole writing journey is a learning experience for me.  Although I have a book out, “The Abduction,” I often wonder if I can make it better some how.  I’m sure even the best authors may think about tweaking their “babies” after they’ve published them.

I look at it this way, after I get “Revenge” finally published, it will be the best I can make it.  I will work harder on book three, “The Return.”  I’m hoping to launch my paranormal series this year as well.  When I have time (and much later than this year) I will take another look at book one and maybe tweak it just a little, releasing it as a ‘new edition’ or ‘second edition.’  There’s always room for improvement and I know I will only get better as a writer as I continue to write more books.

Revenge!

Have you ever felt like getting even?  Have you ever been hurt enough by someone that you wanted them to suffer like you did?  Even though we are supposed to forgive one another, the thought of revenge has crossed my mind.  Not that I carried it out, but I had thought about it at least once.  Maybe everyone has, at least once.  Is it normal?  Maybe.

I based my second book on revenge.  When a reformed criminal decides to turn over a new leaf and fight on the side of the “law” instead against it, he feels like maybe his life would count for something.  Maybe he could make up for the bad things he did by doing good.  The only problem is he didn’t count on all the people who wanted revenge against him.

Here’s my back page blurb:

Living a life of crime to support himself and his baby sister, Berto takes the chance to turn his life around by working for the Interplanetary Space Patrol.

Keeping a dark secret and hiding his telekinetic powers, he manages to finally fit in.  Everything seems to be working out just fine until he discovers the woman he loves wants revenge against her brother’s murderer.  But she’s not the only one who wants him dead.

Sabotage and murder shake up the tiny Meta Base Station of the I.S.P., but the death of an agent and a compromised mission in space changes everything.

I would love to get some reviews for this book, “Revenge,” before it’s published, as well as for book number one, “The Abduction.”  Contact me at ester@esterlopez.com if you’re interested. Put “Review Revenge” in the subject area and I’ll send you the .doc file.  If you’d like to get a FREE copy of “The Abduction” and “Revenge,” join my launch team.  Start at www.esterlopez.com and I’ll send you an email on how to join my launch team.

Things I Would Do Differently

After launching my first book earlier this year, I’ve learned a few things along the way. Of course, I thought I knew all the steps before I took them, but I also knew I would learn something from this venture.

Even after self-editing, sending the book off to an editor, revising, and proof-reading, I still caught some things that I missed.

Lesson #1 – When self-editing, do a spell check, grammar check, eliminate passive words, check dialog by reading it out loud, then transfer the manuscript to something else (printed copy, ebook, PDF to proofread)

Lesson #2 – After self-editing, use a critique group or beta readers to catch extraneous or overused words, run-on sentences, redundancies, places to tighten dialog or paragraphs, unclear scenes or transitions, tonal shifts, or unnatural phrasing or pacing.

Lesson #3 – Make any corrections or revisions necessary.

Lesson #4 – Send to editor.

Lesson #5 – Revise, self-edit and let someone else proof-read.

Lesson #6 – Make any corrections necessary then send to different beta readers for content editing.

Lesson #7 – Self-edit one final time.

Lesson #8 – Create metadata (everything about your book that is not your book) and use this in the long blurb (back cover) and in the short blurb (used for marketing purposes). Create a text file of these keywords and update every 30 days.

Lesson #9 – Create finished document parts. This is something I wish I had done more thoroughly. I had some of this, but this list is more extensive. Some of these apply to non-fiction as well as fiction:
-about the author
-testimonials/endorsements
-acknowledgements
-dedication
-foreward
-afterward
-personal note
-reader’s guide
-translation key
-index
-bibliography
-maps/tables/illustrations
-disclaimer
-excerpts/previews
-more books
-links/QR codes

Lesson #10 – Notify contractors
-cover artists
-interior graphic designer
-layout draftsman/final formatter
1.formatting – title graphics, scene breaks, cover, drop caps, bleed

Lesson #11 – Notify Influencers
-for testimonials and endorsements
-street team members
-reviewers

Lesson #12 – Line up Marketing Efforts
-Facebook
-Google +
-Twitter
-Instagram
-LinkedIn
-Pinterest
-Press Releases
-Blog Tours
-Goodreads
-Library Thing
-Interviews
-Online Launch Party
-Facebook live streaming parties with giveaways
-Pay for Ads on Release Day

Lesson #13 – Write or Produce something NEW every 90 days!

I’m sure I can learn something with each new book, but this is enough to keep me busy for now. A special thanks to Hallee Bridgeman and Greg Bridgeman for their detailed information in their “Seven Steps to Successful Self-Publishing.” I got a lot of new information on the self-editing process from listening to their talk. If you ever have the chance to take one of their classes, jump on it. You will learn a lot!

Getting the Word Out

The biggest problem in launching a new book is getting the word out. How can anyone buy a book if they don’t know it’s available? How can anyone buy anything if they don’t know it exists, right?

Well, I’ve started working with what I have: A Facebook page, a website, two blogs, an Author Page in Goodreads, and three stores: Amazon.com, Smashwords.com, and Writing & Photographic Services, LLC.

Another way is to advertise. After telling everyone on my Facebook page, websites and Goodreads, I decided to get some help.

My book is available for review on Reading Alley (www.readingalley.com). You can click on the link and it will take you to a page where you can select “The Abduction” for review.

You can also enter my Goodreads Giveaway for a chance to win one of 25 autographed copies of the print book.
https://www.goodreads.com/giveway/show/202771-the-abduction
I’m also looking into a few other options. So, stay tuned for more updates.

If you haven’t already gotten your FREE companion book, The Vaedra Chronicles, go to my website: www.esterlopez.com and get your FREE book. Once you receive it, you should get a second email with the FREE Preview Chapter of The Abduction.

If you like the book, please feel free to review it on Amazon.com, Smashwords.com, or on my publishing website: www.writingandphotographicservices.com, or on Goodreads.

After The Ebook Launch

Now that my book, “The Abduction,” is available on Smashwords and Amazon, my work as a published author is just beginning.

I found an article from Author Media which lists more than 89 book marketing tips.  The article was written by Caitlin Muir.

So, I begin with her first ten tips:

  1. Create a testimonial page on my website–I’m not sure I know how to do that, but I will be looking into it this week.
  2. Add the free “My Book Progress” plugin to my WordPress website to update my visitors about the status of my upcoming book–since I’ve already launched my book, I’ll add this to let people know about my next book, “Revenge.”
  3. Retweak the SEO on my website–now this is something I know nothing about.  Since I changed my website:  http://esterlopez.com to add a landing page for a FREE book giveaway (“The Vaedra Chronicles”), I haven’t figured out how to get people back to the regular website without going back to the landing page.  I have some work cut out for me here.
  4. Ask fans to post their reviews on my Facebook page–I will as soon as someone buys my book (unless I come up with another idea)
  5. Ask fans to post their reviews on Amazon–the same as above, however, Amazon is good at asking for reviews as well.  They ask me all the time what I think about a purchase I made.
  6. Ask fans to post their reviews on Goodreads–I definitely will do that!
  7. Sign up for Twitter–I have been tweeting for some time, so I guess I better get the word out about my book!
  8. Clean up my social footprint–I’m not sure what she meant by that, but I have been posting here about my journey as a writer, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.  I can see where I can do more for my journey by going through LinkedIn and Google+.
  9. Create an author Facebook page and use it instead of my profile page–I will definitely look into that.  I heard you can have more friends on an author page than on the regular Facebook page.
  10. Sign up for Google Authorship–now that is something new to me.  I will also look into this as well as the nine tips before.  Stay tuned for my report next week on how I did with all these improvements/tips.

Book Launch

Today is the day I upload my book to Smashwords and Amazon.  Once they approve everything, then the book will be available on their sites.

I’m giving away the companion book to “The Abduction” called “The Vaedra Chronicles.”  This book gives background information about the planetary system and some of the races living on those planets.  There’s information about the main characters, interviews, and graphics.  To get yours FREE, go to my website:  http//:esterlopez.com and sign up for my Readers Group.  You’ll get a PDF download of the book plus another FREE gift for signing up, a first chapter of “The Abduction.”

I’m looking forward to my debut as an author!

 

20 Steps to Publishing Your Book

While this is still a journey for me, there are many more things I will learn as I go.  Here are twenty things I’ve found helpful so far in the publishing end of it.  I’m sure I will have to tweak or add to this list later.  There was a lot of trial and error going into this and for me, the journey started 33 years ago with a lot of interruptions, but this is a simple list.  Use what you can.  Good luck!

20 Steps to Publishing Your Book

  1.  Write, eat, sleep, repeat
  2.  Join a writer’s group (local and national)
  3.  Go to conferences (attend workshops & network)
  4.  Take classes online or in person or at conferences
  5.  Write, eat, sleep, repeat
  6.  Find a critique partner/group and exchange critiques on a regular basis
  7.  Submit manuscript to contests for feedback
  8.  Re-write, edit, tweak that manuscript
  9.  Submit manuscript to publishers  OR
  10.  Find an independent editor (conferences are helpful for this) and submit work
  11.  Go over manuscript and fix/re-write/tweak whatever the editor suggests
  12.  Purchase “The Self-Publishers Ultimate Resource Guide” by Joel Friedlander and Betty Kelly Sargent and implement some of their suggestions:                             a.  hire editors                                                                     b.  hire proofreaders                                                           c.  get quotes from printers                                               d.  find distributors for Ebook & Print Book
  13.  Read/purchase Dan Poynter’s book, “The Self-Publishing Manual” (this is the Bible for Self-Publishing)                                                                         a.  make a plan                                                                   b.  set goals                                                                         c.  determine whether or not to form your own publishing company
  14.  Join IBPA (Independent Book Publishing Association) and absorb all the information you can on self-publishing  (they have workshops, marketing programs, and conferences)
  15.  Take Nick Stephenson’s First 10K Readers program and learn how to market your book — Implement his ideas
  16.  Build a website for your Publishing Company
  17.  Build your platform and web presence if you haven’t already started this
  18.  Get your ducks in a row (make sure your website is ready as well as your book)
  19.  Market, market, market and promote your book (this is where Nick Stephenson’s program really comes in handy)
  20.  Start writing book #2 and repeat