Sunday, November 20, 2011

Changes Are Afoot.

Now, bear with me because I haven't been to a brick & mortar bookstore in quite some time. Some of this may be old hat.

First thing I noticed when I walked into my local B&N was that the young adult/teen section was no longer located where I last saw it. R'uh? I did a double take at the section..after all, the children's section is right where it's always been, and shouldn't the teen section be right there, skirting around it? Umm, nope. It was gone.

*Moment of panic and feeling lost in this unfamiliar world*

Then I spotted one of those middle of the aisle tables loaded down with YA books. Whew. There they are!

I headed over, and the first thing that caught my attention was that the young adult section is now located dead center of the bookstore. WHOOT! How awesome is that? Clearly bookstores are finally realizing how very powerful young adult books are in today's market. Heck, to get to the adult section, you have to bypass the teen section, so yeah, chances are some people may be dazzled by all of the kickass YA covers and stop to browse. GOOD THINKING Barnes & Noble.

Second thing I noticed? Umm, there are now Young Adult category headings at the top of the display cases. R'uuuuuhhhh? *double double TRIPLE take*

Yep. My bookstore has three categories listed for teens. "Young adult fiction" "Young adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy" and "Young adult Paranormal ROMANCE."

Pardon me, but what the FRENCH?!

I don't know how others feel about this...and maybe I'm seriously in the minority, but one of the things I absolutely loved best about the way young adult novels had previously been shelved was that all novels by a particular author were housed together in the same place. I know it's sort of an antiquated way of doing things, and perhaps the fact they're separating them into categories is a GOOD thing, but I really liked this practice. For one, it allowed young adult authors to really mix things up, not only with the types of books they chose to write, but with the amount of genre-bending they could do.

What do I mean by that? Well, previously, a young adult author could choose to write a thriller one year, a contemporary the next, and maybe a paranormal the year after that. And with the way things were, all of those books would be shelved right next to each other. Now, apparently, they will be split up amongst these three, IMO, limiting subject headings. Is this just the beginning? Will more categories emerge? Dystopian is hotter than hot right now... I could see that one making an appearance. Is this a slipperly slope we're walking? Will this make books that don't nicely fit into one specific category harder to shelve, and therefore, harder sells to bookstores?

Oh the worry this conjured.

I had to stop and think about BY THE PALE MOONLIGHT. Where would it be shelved? Would they shelve it under Paranormal Romance and call it good? Yes, there are paranormal elements, and there's romance... but there's also a fair amount of mystery/suspense...and just some good old-fashioned teen angst that has nothing to do with being a werewolf. Would this limit the number of people who would be willing to look at it if it was shelved right next to TWILIGHT? (Not saying that would be a BAD thing, mind. I'd do a number of things, most them legal, to get a little bit of Meyers' mojo). But do you see what I'm saying? Everyone in adult complains about branding, and won't this create the same issue for young adult authors? All conjecture, of course...but something to definitely think about. Of course, most people say brick & mortars are on their way out, so perhaps it's all moot anyway.

The final thing I noticed is in respect to my purchases today. I went in with these four books in mind--knowing I wanted to read them. There was a fifth book on my list that had to get nixed *sad face* because, holy crap, batman!! All of these books (with the exception of the Ness novel) were offered in hardback versions only. Not only that, but the prices ranged from 16-19 dollars a piece. Ugh. I'm on to you booksellers. You get us all worked up to read these books, then charge us up the wazoo, knowing in advance that we have absolutely no taste for delayed gratification. The worst part is that you open the books, and the type is humungous and you know they could've packaged it up in a book half the size, at half the price. UGH. I'm on to your Tomfoolery, booksellers. You're reminding me of how great my Kindle is right about now. Ugh, but I wanted these books--bad--and you got me. Next time, though... next time, I'll be smarter!

Any thoughts?

The Take!

It was a gooooood day at church! (But more on that later!) Here's what I brought home with me.

Frankly, Johnson had me at Jack the Ripper. Need I say more? Can't wait to read this one!

I've heard so many good things about this that I just had to see what all the hooplah was about.

Again, I've heard so many great things about this novel. Seems everywhere I turn, someone is blogging about it. Yep, I knew I had to read it.

This was recommended by several different people, and after reading a sample of it, I just had to know more. I loved Manchee... absolutely cracked me up. "Owww, Todd?" LOLOL. (If you don't get that, it's utterly ridiculous, but so funny. Trust me.) "Good poo, Todd." LOL. (Okay, I'll stop.)

That's my take, and I'm super excited to read them! Whoot. I'll be blogging about my church experience in a moment. I was a little blown away by a couple of things.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Uh, so yeah... NaNo has officially begun. I'm shooting right out of the gate...and going to bed. :)

But tomorrow night! Tomorrow night, I write!

Good luck to all the Nano'ers!

Monday, October 31, 2011

And We Have Some Winners!!

Happy Halloween!!!

Sorry I'm running late tonight. My family decided to give out dollar bills to the trick-or-treaters and you wouldn't believe how stressful that can become. We had parents claiming they had children using the restroom (not sure how that works when you're out in a strange neighborhood)...then sending these restroom children to the door again.. Seriously. It's a dollar bill. You're not going to get rich. I was so glad when we closed the door. Next year, the kids are getting Nerds. I'm putting my foot down. lol

Anyway--Halloween has been a blast for the most part. I got wild and crazy and decided NOT to wear a "Slutty ------" costume. No, I got all kinds o' nerdy and dressed up as Where's Waldo? Hey, I won first place in the costume contest at work. It rocked, even if it is nerdy. :) I'd post a pic...but yeah, no. LOL.

Other than that, I'm trying to get caught up on a few random things before NaNo officially kicks off tomorrow. My local writing group is having a write-in tonight at midnight, but I'm thinking I'm going to have to pass. That's just too late, and I'm already exhausted. Oh but I do miss the days when I wouldn't have blinked an eye at the idea of starting a social event at midnight. These days, not so much. :)

ON TO THE GOOD NEWS!!! We officially have some winners of the paperback editions of BY THE PALE MOONLIGHT!! And they are:

BETH and BRIDGET!!! Whooot whooo!!! Congratulations, ladies!

You win this:

If you email me at

jnhendren @ yahoo dot com with your snail addys, I'll get them sent out to you asap.

Happy Halloween everyone! Thanks for playing along. :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Little Help From My Friends

Well, the good news I have to report is that I've officially submitted the paperback edition of BY THE PALE MOONLIGHT for acceptance. At this point, it will take another day or two for the publisher to review it...then, if everything is on the up and up, I'll receive a sample copy to make sure there aren't any snafus in the final hard copy...and then BAM. I give the approval, and it will go on sale.

So YAY. I'm so close to finishing up the "logistics" for book 1. And you know what that means... I can go full blast on book 2. Which I'm SO excited about.

These past few weeks have been so unbelievably crazy. There are so many little things that you have to think about when you self-publish. jackets...cover bios, blah blah blah. It's just so much. I've felt overwhelmed more times than I can count. And that's where my friends have really stepped in to help. I can't begin to explain how thankful I am.

For each and every person who took the time to read my book and offer suggestions--be it big picture issues or simple copy edits.. THANK YOU.

For my friends who have taken on things like book covers, and book trailers, and the website (YES--I'm going to have a website!)...THANK YOU. You've gone above and beyond and it truly touches me that you believe in me so much that you're willing to put up with my.. Can you move the title down a smidge?...What if we tried it this way?... and all of my other zany demands...THANK YOU.

For those of you who have simply said to me, "Jen, what can I do to help?" Thank you.

It's a scary/exciting process to put myself out there. Just knowing I have support--that I'm not alone--means the world.

There are some exciting things coming up soon--I'll keep y'all in the loop. When I know, you will too. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

And the Winners Are...



Coleen Patrick!!!

YAY, congrats, Ladies!

Please email me at jnhendren at yahoo dot com, letting me know which digital format you would like. Nook, Kindle, or any of those listed on Smashwords.

Didn't win? That's okay. All entries roll over to the paperback editions I'll give away on Halloween night! Just as a reminder, here are the contest rules:

There are many, many ways you can enter:

1. Blog/Facebook/Tweet, etc. about the contest, providing a link to this post (or the twin post over at Random Thoughts). You can earn yourself one entry for every time you do this. Go wild. :)

2. Embed my book trailer, found HERE, in on your blog/Facebook/Twitter.

3. Post a comment here, telling me what YOU love about young adult books. If you've never read one, that's okay--it's never too late to start. :)

4. This pertains more to the second leg of the contest, but if you post a book review of By the Pale Moonlight before Halloween, you will be entered into the drawing for a paperback.

5. And this one is just for fun. The full moon is this Wednesday, the 12th. If you snap a photo of it from wherever in the world you are and send me the link, you can be entered yet again. (The full moon has passed, but feel free to snap a picture of the moon any night from now until all counts.)

Last step is posting here or at RT, telling me what you've done to enter. Please post links--I promise to check out each and every one. :)

Again, congrats Gretchen and Coleen! :)

By the Pale Moonlight Is Now Available!

It's here! It's here! :)

Barnes and Noble

If you don't have an eReader and would like to purchase a copy, never fear. All of these sites have free eReaders that you can download to your PC or smart phone. If you have any trouble, just let me know. Thanks!

I'll be announcing other distributors as they come available. And soon, very soon..the paperback editions will be available!

Go forth and spread the word. :)

And it's not too late to enter into the CONTEST to win one of two free digital copies. You have until 6PM TONIGHT. At that time, I'll announce the winners... Never fear, though. All entries roll over into the next leg--winners to be announced on Halloween night. At that time, I'll be giving away two copies of the paperback edition. So JOIN NOW. Enter as many times as you can. :)

WHOOT!!! :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

By the Pale Moonlight Giveaway!!

It's here. IT'S REALLY HERE!!

By The Pale Moonlight has finally arrived!

The official release date: October 18th, 2011!

Digital downloads will be available from Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Amazon, with print copies to follow soon after. (I will post all necessary links once things go live.)

I can't tell you how excited I am for this moment. To give you a little history, I wrote this book back in my law school days. In fact, I believe I started it when I should have been studying for mid-terms... OOPS. (Don't tell my old profs.)

At the time, I had my first novel, FAKING IT, out on submission with agents, and BTPM was a way of taking my mind off the process. As they say, when you're worried about one project, throw yourself into another. And that's exactly what I did. I pounded out a major chunk of the book in November and completed it that spring. All in all, I finished the first draft of the book in about three weeks (total). What can I say? It came to me fast and furious when I actually had time to work on it. :)

To put it simply: Writing Young Adult had me at hello.

There's something so compelling and immediate about the world of teenagers. While I love writing for adults, there will always be a special place in my heart for YA. It's my first love.

So, there I was with a finished book...that was what...four years ago? Longer? (Where does the time go?) Yes, it's been a long time between the finished first draft and today. What can I say? Real life has a way of throwing a lot of obstacles in the road, and for one reason or another, BTPM kept being put on the back burner.

It was always there, though...and I knew without a doubt that it should be shared with the world. And earlier this year, I decided to do exactly that. So, to help celebrate this moment, I've decided to do a GIVEAWAY!!

*You get a book, you get a book, and YOU get a book!!*

Here's how it works:

There are two legs to this contest:

On the official release date, October 18th, I will giveaway TWO digital copies of By the Pale Moonlight--your choice of format. If you don't win, NEVER fear.. all entries will roll over to the next drawing, which will take place on:

Halloween, when I will giveaway TWO paperback editions.

There are many, many ways you can enter:

1. Blog/Facebook/Tweet, etc. about the contest, providing a link to this post (or the twin post over at All the World's Our Page. You can earn yourself one entry for every time you do this. Go wild. :)

2. Embed my book trailer, found HERE, in on your blog/Facebook/Twitter.

3. Post a comment here, telling me what YOU love about young adult books. If you've never read one, that's okay--it's never too late to start. :)

4. This pertains more to the second leg of the contest, but if you post a book review of By the Pale Moonlight before Halloween, you will be entered into the drawing for a paperback.

5. And this one is just for fun. The full moon is this Wednesday, the 12th. If you snap a photo of it from wherever in the world you are and send me the link, you can be entered yet again.

Last step is posting here or at RT, telling me what you've done to enter. Please post links--I promise to check out each and every one. :)

I can't tell you how excited I am for Tuesday to get here. And nervous. I really hope you love my characters and story as much I do. :)

Thank you all, and good luck!!

And if you have no clue what book I've been going on about, check out the trailer...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Balancing Critiques

One necessary part of the writing process is sending out your manuscript to beta readers. No matter how good a story may be in your mind, there's no real way of knowing how it will be received until you put it to the test with real live readers. Plus, no matter how many times you go over your manuscript, there's simply a point when you become blinded to its flaws. I've referred to this as living inside the monkey house. It's always best to find out if that manuscript you believe is the complete shiznit...well, isn't in reality just a big pile o' shit.

In the best case scenario, you'll find a well-balanced group of peeps to send it out to. People that have different pet peeves, ensuring they will come back with unique perspectives--point out a myriad of different things that will help round out your manuscript. Worse case scenario--you send it out to a group of people who fail to come back with any kind of constructive criticism. Let's face it. No work is ever perfect--no matter how good. If you receive nothing but positive accolades -- well, first off -- CONGRATULATIONS!! I'm jealous beyond measure. (I can't even begin to tell you how jealous that actually is. LOL.) But most of us are pretty human, and if nothing else, typos will be caught--awkward sentences squashed out of existence, plot holes filled.

Critiques can be a double-edged sword at times, tho. What one reader determines as a problem area, another will take no issue with. In the end, you may be left wondering who's right. Perhaps you see the merits of both sides--so you don't know what the heck you should do.

Well, I wish there was an easy answer to this dilemma. There isn't. Sometimes you simply have to take a step away from the manuscript for a while--come back to it with the two opposing opinions in the back of your mind. A quick read through may highlight one as the better way for you to take your work... then again, it may not. Sometimes, whether or not we have the confidence to make the determination--it simply comes down to a matter of opinion.

When in doubt, I say, TRUST YOURSELF.

It's a scary thing, that. Trusting yourself. No one wants to admit out loud that they've ignored someone's advice because they believe HIS/HER way is better. It sort of comes off as asshole-ish, doesn't it? You've asked your readers for opinions, they gave them, and in the end, you decided to disregard what they had to say on a particular point. I know we all send out critiques with the caveat that the writer can take or leave our comments... but do we really want to be ignored? NO. WE are right.

Well, the truth one is really right or wrong in this situation. Reading is a subjective experience. What may rub one reader the wrong way will totally tickle the fancy of another. This is a NO WIN game. You're never going to be able to please everyone. The only thing you CAN control is satisfying yourself and feeling confident that you've analyzed and broken down each and every comment and taken or discarded all of them in the vein of trying to make your book the best it can be.

It's a hard line to draw, but it's one we all need to make.

Just remember that if you send out calls for beta readers that you should and need to give each and every comment due respect. A person took a lot of time out of their schedule to read for you--and the comments they made are important enough for them to include them in a critique. You may feel the urge to immediately dismiss a particular point as outright WRONG for your book, but I would recommend taking a step back and coming back to it later. Maybe it will hold more water after you've taken a break. Then again, maybe not.


Happy writing, everyone.

BY THE PALE MOONLIGHT is going to go up for sale on October 18th!!! That's only --9-- days from now!!! WHOOT WHOO!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Self vs. Traditional Publishing -- It's All A The Roll Of The Dice

My peep, Kristen Callihan tweeted a link to this article by Chuck Wendig today. View the full article, HERE. In it, he discusses the idea that rather than focusing on the sales/money that can and is being made in self-publication, we, as storytellers need to focus more on telling good stories. That's why we're all in this business to begin with, right?

I know the whole traditional vs. self-publishing thing is a hot button right now. There are people on both sides who are completely convinced that choosing one path over the other may equate to writer-cide. (Erm, read: death of your writing career by way of foolhardy decision making.) When one does well in traditional, THAT is the path you should take... when a bestseller comes from the independent side, THAT is the path you should choose.

What Wendig said is correct--it's a crap shoot either way. Some stories will rise to the top, others won't. Ever read a reeeeeeeally crap bestseller? Yeah, me too. Lots of them. There are certainly lesser known books that were much better in my opinion. There is no rhyme or reason to how these things work.

I'll admit, I've hemmed and hawed over what to do with BTPM. I wrote this book...gah. Nearly four years ago... or longer? Yeah, it's probably coming up on five years, actually. (eeeeikes) And it's sat in my drawer most of that time while I worked on other *cough* projects that shall not be named--erm, right now. (grin) I've never queried it--though I did submit one partial to an agent I pitched at a conference. I always assumed I would go traditional with it. It's just what you do, you know? It's only since this past winter that I started thinking of self-publishing.

Yeah, watching other self-published authors do well played into it. Amanda Hocking, anyone? But in the end, it wasn't the possibility of money that cinched the deal. I know it sounds sanctimonious and like complete bullshit when I say the money doesn't factor into things--it DOES, of course... but honestly, for some reason I can't compute self-publishing with making money.

When I look down the road--two weeks from now when my book goes on sale--what I hope is that people will read my book. Lots of people. I'm hoping, hoping, hoping that it will catch on--that I'll rise in the ranks and word of mouth will spread about this little known YA author and her debut novel. I hope it does well--I believe it CAN do well. However, no matter how hard I try, I can't look down that road and see a fat paycheck in my future. Nope. It just isn't there for me. Perhaps that will change in time...maybe I will eventually focus on the sales/non-sales and the duckets they're earning me. For now, I'm just totally friggin' jazzed about the idea of people reading MY book. For me to gain an audience that just might want to read another.

Why? Because I LOVE to tell stories. It's who I am. If my book sells well, great. If only ten people read it--and some of those people LOVE it--BETTER.

A friend recently asked me what I would do if BTPM doesn't sell. Would I continue on with the series--write the next book?

My answer was a flat-out HELL YES. My reason is simple. I have to know what happens to my characters and story. Whether or not BTPM sells, it's only part I of a larger arc. I have to continue writing because _I_ don't know how it ends.

Yes, I'm self-publishing because I hope to do well. I hope BTPM sells--I hope it sells A LOT. But in the end, I'm more concerned about putting out a good story. I'm not in this to turn a quick buck. The chances of doing that are pretty low, even in the best of circumstances, so it CAN'T be about that in my mind. The only thing I can control is the quality of the story I put before readers. If it takes me three months--or three years--to finish the second book, I WILL NOT publish before I think it's the best story I can possibly produce. It has to be that way. It's MY name on that cover--those are MY characters and story. I want to do them justice. I won't put them out there when they're not ready--even if it means I may miss out on money-making opportunities.

Do I think it's important to talk about sales/money? Well, yeah. I think it's important to let authors know that self-publication IS a viable choice in today's market. Do I think that's the ONLY thing we should focus on? NO.

We're storytellers. Story must come first. Just because you can put your first draft manuscript up for sale tomorrow doesn't mean you SHOULD.

Just my two cents. :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cover Talk!

Here it is! (Okay, if you've watched the trailer, you've already seen it. But still. HERE IT IS!!) Front and center like. (g)

As I go through the next few weeks, I thought I would discuss different aspects of the process. First up, covers!

There’s actually a remarkable amount of work that goes into a cover. I didn’t want to slap something together quickly and regret things when my book failed to garner any kind of attention. Like it or not, the first thing readers notice about a book is its cover. It seems fairly simplistic–you want your book to sell, you make sure it has a kickass cover. (Of course, there are a lot of other factors that need to be considered, but on a simplistic level, you need a damn good cover.) That being said, I can’t tell you the number of self-published (or traditionally published, for that matter) books that have really crap cover art.

I had a few objectives when I set out to design one.

1. I wanted it to be as inexpensive as possible. The idea of paying someone hundreds of dollars I really didn’t have did not appeal to me in the slightest. That said, I wanted it to look good so I knew I would have to spend some money to make it happen. But the cheaper, the better.

2. I wanted it to be pretty and create a mood. I think the most important thing you have to consider is your audience. You need to do your research to see what kind of covers are being used in your particular genre–what’s selling–what’s gaining attention. Then you need to try to emulate it as best you can. (Within reason. If I see a YA cover with a girl holding an orange or a banana, I might just die laughing.) I wanted a pretty cover because my target audience is young adults. Let’s face it, pretty snares attention with that group. It did for me at any rate. Heck, it still does. I like pretty. My book is about werewolves, so in addition to being pretty, I wanted it to have a certain creep factor going on. Hard balance to strike, that.

3. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I needed outside help. I’m not visual. I like to pretend I am at times, but I’m just not. I would never be able to put together a decent cover because I’m completely incapable of thinking outside of the box when it comes to repositioning the title, author name, etc. to their best advantage. I needed someone creative who could do my thinking for me. And, when necessary, tell me I’m making a very bad mistake by thinking I can put my title in Wingdings because wouldn’t it be oh so much fun if my readers had to solve a visual puzzle in order to know my title? (I still think it could work with the right title. Just sayin’.)

First thing on the agenda: I recruited one of my work peeps to help with the cover. I’ve seen other things he’s done, and I knew he could work with the various Photoshop, etc. programs. Best of all? He was willing to help with my cover if I would be willing to help with his wedding announcement. Hey, nothing says cheap like an even trade. (Though I do believe he got the tough end of the bargain.)

Next, I needed to find cover art. Again, being as I am not visual, I didn’t even attempt to photograph something myself. Instead, I started scouring the internet looking for something interesting. I didn’t want to go for the way overt (and way overdone, if you ask me) picture of a moon. Yeah, I get it…werewolves. There should probably be a moon involved. But no, I didn’t want to go with the standard. I wanted subtle and the all-important PRETTY.

I looked at a ton of pictures at various sites, finally settling on one from Yes, you do have to pay for the photos. Downloading the photos is actually rather cheap, but I went for the extended comprehensive license, which gives me rights to both digital and print publications. There are free pictures out there, though. For me, however, this was the best option. In the end, the photo cost me one hundred duckets. Not exactly a small chunk o’ change, but not likely to break the bank either. I was willing to spend the money for this picture.

If, however, cash is an issue, you could try taking some pictures on your own… or you might try, a site photographers post various photos they aren't using. You can download them for free, use them for free, etc. It’s a great alternative if you’re a little tight on money.

Next came fonts. Oh, the hell that is deciding on a font. I can’t tell you the number of sites I went through. There are A LOT of fonts out there, and it’s hard to know what will work with your picture. Something that looks great in a word doc may get washed out when you apply it to your cover art. BIG IMPORTANT TIP FROM JEN: DO NOT, and I mean DO NOT, purchase a font without testing it against your cover art first. I would hate to see someone pay fifty dollars for a really awesome font only to find out that it gets sucked up by his/her cover art. My designer bud was able to clip fonts from their testing pages and overlay them onto my picture before we made a final decision. Trust me, you WANT to do this. I was completely set on one particular font only to find out it wouldn’t work. I ended up using a font from Yes, FREE. Free is a glorious thing. ANOTHER IMPORTANT TIP FROM JEN: Do not be afraid to mix fonts. I ended up using the capital letters from one font, and the lowercase letters from another. I never would’ve thought of it myself (hence the need for a designer).

So… once I had a picture, a font, and (thank the heavens) a designer, I was ready to roll.

The actual design of the cover went a lot smoother than I anticipated. Turns out my eye isn’t quite as whacked out as I thought. My picture turned out to look fantastic, and after a few misfires on the font, we actually settled on one of the very first ones I found (a freebie that was already in my Word library of fonts). Combined with the one I found on the internet, we were ready to roll.

My designer did a great job. We sat down for about three hours and knocked it out. I’ve had some small tweaks after the fact, and thankfully my friend has shown a lot of patience with me. He even managed to do a name swap (I originally planned to use a pen name) at the 11th hour. He's a wonder. :)

What else?

Oh, remember when I said ‘know your audience?’ Well, before I even moved forward with the cover, I did a rough (believe me, it was VERY rough) mock up of the cover and showed it around to people in my target age range. I knew I was on to something when one young friend actually squealed and said, “That is bad ass! I would totally buy that!” This without knowing what the book was about. (grin) Hey, I’ll take it.

And that, folks, is how you go about designing a cover. All in all, I spent a hundred dollars..and a few hours of my time (along with Designer Extraordinaire).

How'd I do?

More on the trailer later... boy was that an adventure. (g)

Friday, September 30, 2011

I'm Legits, Yo!

So, self-publishing. Be honest. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear someone is self-published? I'll tell you what I thought just a year ago. I thought:

1. The person couldn't make it the traditional way. They obviously tried and failed to gain a publishing contract and now they're doing the only thing they can do. They're putting out their book themselves. It may be okay, but if NYC rejected it, how good could it really be?

2. The person thinks they're above the "establishment" of traditional publishing. You know the type--I think we all do. (g) The one who has a book that they don't think NYC will "get." So rather than waste their time trying to edumacate the populace at large about how really ahead of their time they are, they're going to bypass NYC altogether and do it themselves.

3. With the number of epublished books on the market today, obviously people aren't taking the time to really perfect their books. They're putting out mediocre work as fast as they can in order to turn a buck.

And the big one:

4. If you self-publish, you're not LEGITS.

This is the point I want to focus on in this post. I know that I've felt this way--still do, to some degree--because there is a reigning opinion out there that you have to get the proverbial nod from NYC in order to MAKE IT. You may never sell well--you may wallow at the bottom of your house's list for the rest of your life--but you got 'the nod'... validation that you're talented because an agent plucked you out of the riff-raff and by God, your book has actually sat on a shelf in a brick and mortar. You made're the cream that's floated to the top of the publishing world.

True story. I once heard a well-known young adult author refer to a self-published author as "another wannabe" who was giving young adult a bad name. (Something about the storyline, which sounded spot-on for a little known book named LOLITA.) Therefore, reducing this author to a second rate hack who obviously couldn't contain one iota of talent in his/her body. I don't believe this author had actually READ this person's work, mind, but because he/she was self-published, obviously this had to be true. Sort of makes you want to grind your teeth, doesn't it? This author was confronted and later apologized. I might have had something to do with it.... (vbg)

My point being--there's a stigma when you self-publish.

Is it changing? Yes. But I think it will always be there to some degree. Mostly because we've all dreamed of the big publishing contract--I know I have. And if the house of my dreams extended a huge offer tomorrow, it would be DANG hard to pass it up. I want, I want... but that does not mean I NEED. So yeah, my own attitude is part of the problem. OUR attitude is part of the problem.

A friend put it so well the other day. We've stopped caring about the work--we only think about how that work is being delivered to the world.

NYC Contract = GOOD.

Self-published = NOT QUITE AS GOOD...likely mediocre, at best... probably terrible.

Excuse me, but I call BULLSHIT.

In both worlds, you're going to find a hodge podge of work. Some good, some bad...some total crap. That doesn't mean that we can judge either group as better than the other. So, let's not, okay? Judge a book after you've actually read it. Whether it's on a shelf at B&N or if you downloaded it for a buck from Amazon.

Me? I'm still trying to work through my own bias. People have urged me to do a round of queries..just to see. But ultimately, I decided not to go down that road. I realized--after MUCH heming and hawing--that I don't have to have a nod from NYC. I don't.

I don't think I'm better than them... I think I'm just as good.

Some people may not agree, but ultimately I'm putting it into readers' hands. The proof will or will not be in the pudding. I just hope that people will look beyond what channels my book went through to get into their hands, and judge the book by what's actually between the covers.

Simple enough, right? Riiiight. :)

But Yo, I'm LEGITS! I am! (g)

The Countdown Begins!

Hey All --

Well, it's been a busy few weeks. I finally managed to finish my final revisions of BY THE PALE MOONLIGHT, and if you follow me over at ATWOP, you know I've decided to self-publish it. It's a big decision, I know...but I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be taking this step.

So, the plan: digital publication by October 15th. At all major retailers where ebooks are sold. If you don't have an eReader, never fear. You can now download reader apps for your PC or smart phone -- if you want to read it, there IS a way.

After I get the digital versions up and running, I fully plan on putting out a paperback version. If you're a stickler and must have an actual paper copy, a version will be available--though you'll have to wait a little while longer. Trust me, I want one, too. Bad. :) Can't wait to hold that puppy in my hands. lol

It's my goal to blog on a much more regular basis. I plan on discussing the process of self-publication--and I hope you come along for this wild ride. I can't wait for October 15th to get here!!

For now, here's a little teaser of the book... my first official book trailer, put together by my good friend, Jenna Nichols. (Thanks, Jenna!)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's Alive!

Hey All!


Uh yeah, so I've been quiet for a very long time. Real life, as we all know, can really get in the way of internet related things. Mine has pretty much taken over. I can hardly manage my ONE post a week over at ATWOP, but I'm TRYING. This week I'm on vacation so you've probably seen me around a bit more. In fact, I even sent out a tweet tonight! LOL. (Oh gawd, I'm awful at the whole Twitter thing. I'm trying, I really am, but I just don't get it yet.) If you're over there and we're not "friends", add me.. JenHendren. Maybe that would help force me to get the hang of things. :)

Anyway, I just wanted to say hello to my peeps. I'm at home this week working on BTPM. I'm just a couple of scenes away from a new SFD. A SSD, maybe? Gah, hope I don't need to do a third because that's just gross. (g) It's been a scary week of ups and downs, but I'm feeling good about the progress I've made. It's exciting to think I may soon be able to read it from beginning to end and have it match the vision I've been seeing for a while now. Making major changes to a completed manuscript, as a lot of you know, is so, so difficult. It's hard to let go of scenes that you love but which no longer fit into the new version. It's hard, as I'm finding out this week, to integrate an entirely new character into a story that seemed so set in your mind. It's just a crazy emotional journey and you begin to doubt yourself every step of the way. My self-confidence has run the entire spectrum this week.

Regardless, it's awesome to be working on something again. I know there's a long way to go -- trust me, this manuscript is going to need MUCH MORE than just a mere spit shine once I get the big picture items all tackled. The language needs major clean up, and there will definitely be issues with transitions and stuff. All the things I HATE working on. But I have to say it's exciting to be here. YAY.

1300 new words today and counting. Whoot!

Hope everyone is well. I know I've promised to blog more before, so I won't make that promise now. But I REALLY hope to. :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Please Don't Ask

So, I know in the past I've always done a wrap-up post for the year -- talking about what books I've read/loved... what I accomplished/didn't accomplish with my own writing..., possibly followed by a post talking about what I hope to accomplish during the new year.

Well, I'm not doing that this year.

I'm just not.

There are a few more things I won't be talking about, and I hope you'll indulge me in this request.

I started working earnestly on FI again yesterday. (Okay, so I'm sort of a sucker for the romantic idea of starting afresh with the new year. I also have two full days to do whatever I want, which is rare... and they just so happen to fall on New Year's. Interpret this however you like. (g))

It was weird... working on this book again. But at the same time, it felt like home. I know these characters, I know this story and where I want to take it. It really just boils down to sitting my butt down in a damn chair and doing the work necessary to get it there. Only thing is, I've been in this very same spot for a veeeeeeery long time now. So what's different now?

You could say I have the eye of the tiger this go 'round, but no, I don't think that's it.

You could say I'm giving myself a big ole' kick in the ass to finish -- for whatever reason you could possibly imagine. Hopes of publication, need of moolah that comes with said publication, dreams of moving on to the next story...blah blah blah yada yada yada.

I'll tell you what. I don't think it's any of those things.

It's just time. Time to finish this story. If for nothing else, but for ME to be able to read it from start to know how the hell it ends. It deserves that opportunity. And I deserve to know that I can get it onto the page in the best way I know how.

The past couple of years, I haven't allowed myself to do that. I've hit roadblock after roadblock that I've allowed--yes allowed--to stop me. And I've figured out why that is..

A very well meaning friend and I were chatting on IM last night. I was talking about FI, how it felt so good to get back on the I really hoped to just put my head down and finish this time. We chit chatted about this and that and then whammo, she hit me with a question I wasn't prepared to answer:

What do you plan to do with it once you finish?

I'll tell you what, folks. Two days ago this question wouldn't have given me the slightest pause. I would've rattled off the same ole' spiel I've been telling people forever. i.e. Well, of course I have to send it to DA... maybe that other agent who showed interest... but yeah, I'll have to give DA first crack... blah blah blah yada yada yada.

And I sort of did just that. The only thing is that as I was typing my response, I could literally--and I do mean literally--feel panic start to set in. I physically started tensing up, and the joy of having written over 2500 words that day slowly started seeping out of me as I contemplated the answer.

Hello, epiphany!

What I realized is that my answer should've been a very polite, "I'm not going to talk about that."

And I won't from here on out. Not to anyone--not to myself.

So, new ground rules:

1. I will not be talking about what I plan to do with this book when it's finished. Period.

2. I will not be talking about when I think it will be finished.

3. And finally, I will not be talking about when I think I'll have it ready for betas or what project I plan to work on next...

Please. Don't. Ask.

I promise that this is nothing personal against you. This time it's ALL about me and what I need at this particular point in time. And that's a stress-free writing experience during which I'm NOT thinking about the end game. All I want to think about is this story -- how to make it the best story that I possibly can -- without all of that other baggage attached at the end, weighing me down into immobility. I've done that for far too long. And last night's experience is the perfect testimony to it.

And really...if you boil it down, I don't NEED to think about any of that stuff now because none of it matters until I have a completed manuscript in hand. So why do it?? Yes, easier said than done, but this time... I'm making every effort.

Please indulge me in this request. Thank you. :)