Tag Archives: author share

Author Share – Formula Writing

Hey friends,

I know I have been a bit remiss with the Author Share posts lately. Sorry. 🙂

But when Patricia Green agreed to explain formula writing to me, I had to jump on this!

Please comment below. I would love to hear your experience, either from the writing or reading side. 🙂

Ok, let’s talk about Formula Writing.

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Katherine Deane: Thanks for joining me today, Patricia. I have heard a few publishers and authors mention this term before. What is formula writing?

Patricia Green: “Formula” is about taking tried-and-true tropes and gluing them together with certain plots, in order to fulfill reader expectations. Tropes are often-recurring scenarios pertaining to specific types of genre fiction. Spanking romance has certain tropes, romance in general has certain tropes (see here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RomanceNovelTropes and here: http://allthetropes.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Romance_Novel_Tropes for lists), westerns have tropes, as do mysteries, and suspense/thriller stories.

Katherine Deane: Can you give an example of what this could look like in spanking fiction?

Patricia Green: Applied to spanking romance, you take one of the tropes given above, and add a bratty heroine, a dominant guy who isn’t afraid to assert his authority by spanking, and you’re ready to rock ‘n roll.

Katherine Deane: Why does formula writing work?

Patricia Green: Formula writing works because it meets reader expectations. Whether a reader realizes it or not, when she picks up a book in a specific genre, she’s expecting certain things to happen. Here’s a good list of what ought to happen in a romance novel: http://howtowriteshop.loridevoti.com/2012/07/five-scenes-every-romance-novel-needs/ If your intention is to hook a regular romance reader (of any subgenre, including spanking romance), you want to use a plot that basically goes like this:

 

  1. The meeting
  2. The conflict
  3. The attraction which overwhelms the conflict
  4. Conflicting emotions which leads to a dark moment
  5. Resolution and HEA

 

Katherine Deane: That explains why my editors and publisher sometimes give me suggestions that differ from my original plan. (Like a very dark scene they suggested I tone down a bit. Best suggestion ever. I think my readers would have been very emotionally drained if I had not edited that scene.)

Katherine Deane: When does it NOT work?

Patricia Green: If you’re writing literary fiction, you have no formula. It’s a free-for-all, and once again, that meets reader expectations. If you’re writing any kind of genre fiction, though, writing to formula will get you more publisher interest, more positive reader reviews, and a greater likelihood of success. That is not to say that you cannot be a maverick, but to do so means you are taking a chance that readers will be disappointed. Writing contrary to formula is a risky business.

Katherine Deane: Is all spanking romance formulaic?

 

Patricia Green: We’d all like to think that we’re writing something new and different, something no one has ever done before. And, in terms of our heroes and heroines and their adventures, we might very well be presenting something unique. However, if you want to fall into any genre fiction category (which is the majority of fiction, these days), you will be using the formula for that genre. That’s what readers are looking for, and what you, as an author need to provide. There are so many tropes, so many things you can do with a formulaic plot, however, that you don’t need to feel constrained. Your hero and heroine are unique, with unique methods of dealing with their conflicts and emotions. That’s what makes your work special and what captures the attention of avid readers – readers who often don’t even realize they are hooked on formula.

Katherine Deane: I can attest, from the reader side, Patricia. I like the stability usually, and don’t like to be surprised. However, there are the occasional stories that push me, emotionally. And I have enjoyed them. But I might not have read them if I had just looked at the tags. (I can totally see an Author Share about tagging coming soon! )

Thanks so much for sharing with us.

 

*****

Patricia Green’s latest book is Rescued by the Spy. It’s a f/M/f sci fi spy adventure, with a whole lot of sexy parts. (I actually was confused by the acronym, because I usually read M/f. Here’s how Patricia explained it for me)

 f/M/f (note the capitalized M in there) means two submissive females and one dominant male, but the females do not engage each other sexually (the reason they are bookends to the M)

 

I loved this book! It definitely pushed my comfort zone boundaries a bit, but I am so glad I read it. It was amazing, and oh, so sexy!

rescued by the spy

You can buy it on Amazon  (click on the Amazon link)

Patricia’s blog link – http://patriciagreenbooks.com/

 

Thanks again to Patricia Green for sharing her experience with us.

And check out her new book (it will knock your socks off!)

Thanks for stopping by.

Note- I am trying to plan out some cool “Author Share” Posts for 2015. What are some topics you would like to hear more about? Here are some I am thinking about:

– tags

– series writing

– making a bad guy into a good guy (sequel writing)

– sequel writing

– chat with a publisher

 

 

 

Author Share – Blog Hops

Author Share black letters

 

I am so excited to have Kathryn Blake and Jane Wakely for today’s Author Share – taking part in and running a blog hop. There are so many different types of “Hops” out there, and so much information. These two women have a ton of experience and have offered to share their insights with us.

Katherine Deane:  Thanks for joining me today, ladies. You both have great experience with blog hopping – from both sides of things.  So first of all, what exactly is a blog hop, what does it entail?

K.R. Blake:  Most blog hops are set up to allow visitors to “hop” from one blog to another in order to read snippets and sometimes win prizes, by clicking on links.  Some hops request participants add the full participant list to their blog post so it’s easier for the reader/visitor to go from blog to blog.  Some hops only ask that you add a link that will take the visitor back to the main page.  As to what a hop entails, each participant writes a post on his/her blog that fits the hop theme and meets its requirements.  The post remains “live” for the length of the hop.

Jane Wakely: Hi Katherine! Thanx for inviting us! Kathryn is right: A blog hop is a way for visitors/readers to hop from one blog to another for various things. Hops can be for snippets, prizes or a general get together of like minded bloggers. Often they follow a certain theme or holiday, but not always. I’ve set up my “Hops with Heart” blog to follow the seasons, and I welcome all genres/sub-genres of romance authors and book bloggers to participate. Hops not only vary over subject, but also complexity. Most allow you to visit only the blogs you’re interested in, but others have complex rules that must be followed.

Katherine Deane: Why would an author want to take part in doing a blog hop?

K.R. Blake: For free or very inexpensive promotion? A blog hop has the potential of “exposing” its participant authors work to readers who might not find them otherwise.  Some authors have huge followings, and if you’re in the same list with them, their readers may visit your post as well.

Jane Wakely: I agree! Most blog hops cost very little or nothing at all, but the potential to be seen by readers who may have never heard of you is worth the time it takes to write a post for the event.

Katherine Deane: What’s in it for the reader?

Jane Wakely: For the hops I run, one of the requirements is every author/blogger must provide a prize on their blog, and I offer a grand prize as well. Sometimes other authors will contribute another grand prize, but it’s not expected or required. A personal blog prize can be anything of the author’s choosing including ebooks, swag, paperbacks, gift cards, etc. From this perspective, readers have several chances to win prizes and the potential to discover new authors as they hop.

K.R. Blake: Free stuff?  Blog hops can be like free candy shops for those who want to win prizes like Kindles, gift cards. or even free books.  The hop I run, Saturday Spankings, doesn’t offer prizes.  The snippet each author posts for the hop is the prize.  So, its focus is on the readers who like spanking stories, not prize winners.

Katherine Deane: Is there such a thing as too many hops or too often?

K.R. Blake: I think so.  At least from the hop participant side rather than the visitor side.  Readers want a variety of material, and if all you do is give away your work for prizes, it has the potential of sending others the message that you value your work so cheaply, all you do is give it away.  At least that’s what I think.  I participate in three author snippet hops a week where we offer excerpts of our work (no prizes).  Unless I have a new release, I try to vary my offerings between my books, which means, on average, each book gets exposed once a month in that particular hop.

Jane Wakely: Yes, I think so. Not only are hops time consuming, but if done too often, they can become annoying and lose their purpose. I’m talking about the hops with prizes available, not snippet hops. I participate because I enjoy giving loyal readers, along with new fans, a chance to win something cool. If done too often, the target audience usually can’t keep up and the hop becomes something other than intended.

Katherine Deane: How many do you each take part in ( on the author side)?

Jane Wakely: I started my “Hops with Heart” blog this past spring, and I’m hosting five hops through the site (four for all genres of romance and one for paranormal authors only.) I have participated in two other hops this year, but I won’t do any more than that. In previous years, I’ve participated in anywhere from four to eight hops.

K.R. Blake: In addition to my three “regular” author hops, I participate in about six hops a year where the primary draw for readers is the list of prizes they could win by leaving comments on the blogs.

Katherine Deane: Where do you find blog hops that fit your specific genre? Since I am a spanking romance author, I would look for spanking friendly hops. How do I find them?

K.R. Blake: Good question.  Making and running  your own hop is always a potential solution. That’s what I did.  In addition, I try to post any spanking or kink related events (hops, discussions, etc.) I’m aware of on the sidebar of the Saturday Spankings site. So, if you do decide to start your own hop, let me know about it, so I can help spread the word.

Jane Wakely: I usually find hops by word of mouth. I belong to two romance author yahoo groups and when someone posts about a hop, I check it out and see if it fits my brand, then I decide whether or not to sign-up. Those hops are usually open to all romance genres, or at least mainstream books, which is where I would fit in. In order to find a genre specific hop, I created my own (the Howloween hop is specific to paranormal romance authors) and you could too! 🙂

Katherine Deane: What goes into running a blog hop?

K.R. Blake: I list Headmistress Blake as the Admin of Saturday Spankings. Sat Spanks, as I like to more affectionately call it, has rules, and I needed an avatar that would help police and enforce them.  I’m not too good at enforcing anything on anyone, so I let Mistress Blake be my spokesperson.  She’s been awfully quiet lately, though.  So, you will need someone, and it can be more than one person, to set up and run or administer the hop.  I prefer to use a site separate from my own blog to run Sat Spanks.

I use Linky List for my participant sign-up list.  There are other list makers available, but I believe all of them charge a yearly fee.  So, you need to pay a modest fee for use of  the “list maker” on a yearly basis.  Currently Linky List charges $25 a year, so it’s not extravagant.

Next, I have the actual Saturday Spankings site that I maintain by scheduling a weekly post to go live on its proper date and time, and I add the correct Linky List code to each post, double checking my dates.  Then, on Saturday morning (usually around 12:30 AM) I check every link to make sure they all work, and update the link to point to the actual post.  As I’m checking the links, I try to comment on as many posts as I can.  I’d say, on average, I spend three to four hours a week running my Saturday Spankings blog hop.

Jane Wakely: Let’s see…My first step also involved a separate site. I used blogger so I could have the same sign-in info, but I use a completely different blog. Rules are needed, so I created them next and I tweak them as needed–usually minor things I learn along the way. Next, I needed the linky account, but I decided to use Inlinkz. Inlinkz is free unless you want to set up sign-up lists that last over sixty days. I needed that option, so I pay them an annual fee of $20.

After those initial set ups, every blog hop follows the same formula. First, I decide when I want the hop and then I check my calendar to make sure I’m available. Next, I make a graphic (or a blog button) and write up something about the hop for the blog hop site. Next I make the link list and post everything to the blog. I tweet, FB, Google+, blog, etc to get the word out.

When the sign-up period ends, I send the hoppers a big info email that includes the rules, blog button and rafflecopter code and then wait for blog hop day! On the day of the hop, I check everyone’s links and make sure they have the necessary elements included in their post. (This usually takes 2-3 hours.) Once everyone is checked, I promote the hop like crazy!

The final step is to chose the grand prize winner and then email the info to the hop participants!

Katherine Deane: Does it have to be huge, and take part over several days?

Jane Wakely: Nope, a hop can be as large or as small as you want it. If you’re running it, you set the rules. I find that four days, including a weekend, works best, and including holidays is hit or miss (depends on the holiday.) I usually don’t include them, because the point of the hop is exposure and most holidays are spent with family or outside activities.

K.R. Blake: Another good question.  If the hop is offering prizes, it’s best to schedule it over a weekend, making sure you schedule your hop away from holidays, when people are more likely participating in “family” events, and avoiding conflicts with major conferences (if you’re running a reader/author hop) unless the hop is being held and promoted for the readers staying home.  The snippet hops, as I like to call them, usually have a sign-up period that lasts about a week, but the posts are scheduled for a single day. There are no hard and fast rules for setting up a hop, but the hop itself should have rules that participants must follow and an individual who will ride herd to make sure everyone is staying in line  (see Headmistress Blake).

Katherine Deane: Do you have to give prizes? If so, what do you give for prizes, and how do you obtain them?

K.R. Blake: Prizes are not obligatory, but if you do decide to offer them, it’s best to have them related to the nature of the hop.  Spanking-related hops will offer hand-made paddles as gifts as well as gift certificates to reputable sex toy places.  Because most of the spanking hops are author-related, gift cards to Amazon is a good idea along with having author participants offer prizes (like additional gift cards or one free eBook from their backlist).  You don’t want to cut into the sales of your most current book, so offering a selection from your older books is a good compromise.  As to how you obtain the prizes, you, or someone helping you, need to contact the prize supplier and ask if they would be willing to donate a prize for your hop in exchange for free advertising as a prize giver.  Offering prizes is very time consuming, but it does gain your hop better participation.

Jane Wakely: No, you don’t have to give prizes unless it’s one of the rules of the hop. It is one of the rules of the hops I run (Hops with Heart) and I usually make the prizes I give away, or add something I make to a swag bundle. Others give away ebooks, paperbacks, giftcards, etc. I leave the prize up to the blogger–it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as they offer something. I’ve seen other hops where the prize had to be something specific, but I don’t do that.

Katherine Deane:  Any tips or suggestions for taking part in and /or running a blog hop?

Jane Wakely: Taking part in a hop is relatively easy and can benefit both the blogger and the hopper. I think the best advice is to not make entering your giveaway too complicated. Asking a hopper to answer a question or like your page, etc doesn’t take too much time and has the potential to gain new fans. Anything more complex can turn off hoppers and defeats the purpose of fun! As for running a hop, Kathryn has made some great points. Don’t take on the project of a hop–especially one that might be large–if you can’t follow through. Other bloggers are depending on you and you need to be available to them in a reasonable amount of time.

K.R. Blake: As for taking part in a hop, try to make your entry something readers would like to read.  (Easier said than done, sometimes.) For hops that offer prizes, I usually provide an excerpt and ask readers to answer a question about it.  Even if I don’t ask a question related to the excerpt, II try to set up the post to make it easy for readers to purchase the specific book I’m promoting. As for running a hop, make sure you have time to devote specifically to setting up and promoting the hop.  Encourage comments and feedback, and make sure you respond to anyone who contacts you with a concern or question.  Hops are supposed to be fun, so do what you can to make them that way for yourself as well as others.

Katherine Deane:  Please help me start a list of “spanking friendly” blog hops; and how often they run.

http://saturdayspankings.blogspot.com) – weekly hop (runs Saturdays) – 6-8 sentences

http://www.hornyhumpday.com/ – weekly hop (runs Wednesdays)3 sentences only- focuses on erotic

http://hopswithheart.blogspot.com — Seasonal hops for all genres/subgenres of

http://spankingromance.com/the-june-spanking-a-z-challenge-spanka2z/ – Summer Spanks blog hop, open to all members of the spanking community

http://sneak-peek-sunday.blogspot.com/ – weekly hop (runs Sundays) 6 paragraphs

http://mfrw-authors.blogspot.com/p/book-hooks.html#.U81DquNdX9k – weekly hop (runs Wednesdays), need to join MFRW (Marketing for Romance Writers), which is free, 6-8 sentences

http://wipitupwednesday.blogspot.com/ – weekly hops (runs on Wednesdays), Wip is open to all romance and erotic writing enthusiasts

Thanks so much, ladies!

****

As you can see, there is a lot of “blog hop” action out there. Do you want to take part in a few small ones; do a large one; do you have a great theme idea and want to run your own?

Go for it!

Enjoy the “hopping”!

Please comment with other recurring (spanking friendly, please 🙂 )  hops, and I will add it to the list.

And make sure to say what type it is.

And as always, comments, experiences, tips are all accepted.

Thanks for stopping by for the Author Share!

*****

Today’s hostesses:

Kathryn R. Blake

Kathryn R. Blake has been writing romantic fantasies for over twenty years. In addition to her writing, Kathryn enjoys reading, traveling (London especially), crewel needle work, and playing with graphics on her web site.

Author Website:  http://www.KathrynRBlake.com

Author Blog/s:  http://krbnaughtythoughts.blogspot.com

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/KRBlake.page

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/KRBwrites

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4058144.Kathryn_R_Blake

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Kathryn-R.-Blake/e/B003G5G15Y

Jane Wakely

Jane has been creating stories of love and romance for as long as she can remember. She’s a sucker for a happy ending and thinks the best thing about any movie or book is when the characters find someone to love.

Jane writes romance in the contemporary, fantasy and paranormal genres, but paranormal romance is her true passion. She loves creating worlds around sexy shifters and vamps—even if the shifter is a smelly skunk!

Jane writes sensual romance that will warm your heart, and a happy ever after is guaranteed!

FB: www.facebook.com/JaneWakely

Page: www.facebook.com/JaneWakelyRomanceAuthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/JaneWakely

Author Blog: www.janewakely.blogspot.com

Hops with Heart Blog: www.hopswithheart.blogspot.com

Author Share – Interviews and Guest Posts

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Welcome to today’s Author Share about Interviews and Guest Posts. As a relatively new author, I still have a lot of questions about promotion. I’m still not very comfortable with self promotion, but do quite enjoy doing interviews and guest posts. And I love promoting other authors. Which led me to this week’s Author Share questions. I have invited two amazing authors, who are also fantastic at promoting other authors. Tara Finnegan and Maddie Taylor are here today to share some of their experiences. Thanks for joining me today, ladies. Let’s jump right in!

Katherine Deane: Ok, let’s start with the basics. What is the difference between an interview and a guest post ?

Tara Finnegan: Good question. I would say an interview is led by the questions or topics the interviewer wants to deal with, a guest post is led by the guest. So to put it in terms we understand an interview is almost D/s compared to guest post  which is more a vanilla “how do you like it, honey?”

Katherine Deane:  Great comparison! So the host / hostess really doesn’t have too much involvement with a guest post, correct?

Tara Finnegan. That’s the way I see it. The host may have specific requirements or a preference for a particular topic etc, but the general structure of the post will be up to the invitee. Although I stand to be corrected by Maddie on that. (Or even better again, if she can get some of her hot Doms from Club Decadence to correct me I’ll be very obedient in begging her pardon)

Maddie Taylor:  A guest post to me is pure, unadulterated promotion–blurb, excerpt, buy links, yada yada yada. A necessary evil and if done well can tease and leave the reader hungry for more.  So hungry that they pop on over to Amazon for a satisfying one-click snack.  LOL.  Bragging some may say, it’s true, but we all have to promote in this business, like a commercial, and get the word out.  I like interactive so much better because the reader can learn some very interesting tidbits about the authors the like.  Some, I have found, are much more forthcoming than others, to the point of exhibitionism.  Others are closed mouthed and you have to play dentist and pull it out of them one yank or key stroke at a time. I learned to ask open ended questions so I didn’t get yes/no answers.  Either way, Tara,  thanks for the shameless plug.  I have a few single Doms left at The Club who could help get to the bottom of your correction.  Do you prefer Master Sean or Lil T?  Name your Dom and I’ll send him straight over

Tara Finnegan: I’ll leave that choice in your capable hands, Maddie. I am sure one is as hot as the other, if you created them.

Katherine Deane: Mmm, I would like to stand corrected too! Or OTK corrected? 😉

Maddie Taylor: OTK, paddles, floggers, whips and canes are all possible, dear Katherine.  It all comes down to the degree of correction that is required.

Katherine Deane: LOL, Maddie, I’ll keep that in mind 🙂

Does one take longer than the other for either party (the host or the guest)?

Maddie Taylor: Aww!  She got serious again, what a sad turn.   Okay, I’ll  straighten up and be good, for now.

Katherine Deane: It’s sad, but someone has to keep the original conversation going. More wonderful spanky talk later 🙂

Tara Finnegan: My experience is that interviews tend to take longer for both! Obviously, the interviewer will have to come up with the questions, read the replies and then tweak the flow a little, whereas with a guest post, the host only has to copy and paste, checking links and formatting work.

Even the invitee will probably spend more time answering specific questions than they would on a guest blog.

Katherine Deane:  And in the case of an Author Shares, there is a lot of back and forth and tweaking, eh? 😉

Even though there is more work for one, is one better than the other? What are the pro’s and con’s for each?

Tara Finnegan: I’ll be interested to hear Maddie’s opinion on this as she does regular interview spots, and probably has it down to a fine art. In fact I don’t do half enough of them as I’m a bit of a lazy blogger, and quite happily go with what the visitor wants.

Maddie Taylor:  Thanks for mentioning it, Tara.  I have what I call Maddie’s Intimate Authors Corner on my weekly blog; Wicked Wanton Wednesday.  I ask my guests if they would participate in the interview and have a long list of questions, both serious (related to writing) and fun stuff (intimate questions like favorite spanking position).  To make it worthwhile, I ask them to answer at least 5 questions of their choice.   This gives my shy guests a chance to stay clear of the more personal questions and those inclined to let it all hang out a chance to do so.  Some answer all 25 questions quite graphically and in great detail.  Those are the guests I really enjoy.  Naughty me!  But to each his/her own.

Katherine Deane: Is there a protocol for getting hosted on someone’s blog?  Do I, as an author with a new book, just go out and ask? Or do I wait for someone to offer? Or is there a happy medium?

Tara Finnegan: Hmm, I don’t really know the answer to this. I think it’s ok to put out a post and issue a general request. Anyone who can fit you in, will. Those who have a full schedule don’t feel under pressure, as you haven’t contacted them directly. I find people tend to be very generous in offering blog days if you ask.

Maddie Taylor: I usually book a month in advance for my Wednesday spot, put out a call for guest spots and authors IM me.  When it’s my turn, I’ll usually go to former guests and see if they have a space for me.  So as a hostess and a guest, I guess you could say I go both ways.  LOL  Speaking of which, Katherine has a post coming up on my blog on July 22nd.  When are you dropping by, Tara????  See how easy that is  🙂

Katherine Deane:  Holy cow, Maddie, you are good at this!

Should I offer something in return? (copy of the book, space on my blog for one of their releases?)

Tara Finnegan: I think it is polite to offer a return date, even if you leave it an open date that they can call on you for in the future. There should be no need to offer a copy of the book, unless you are actually asking them to review it for you. I honestly don’t think anyone would expect that. Remember how many of their books you have bought in your lifetime 🙂

Maddie Taylor:  I agree with Tara, returning the offer is the polite thing to do. I usually stay away from offering a free book for a review because I think a reader should be under no obligation to give a good review in return for a freebie.  In this biz, I think we have to be prepared for any reviews, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I let my publisher handle ARC’s in exchange for honest reviews.

Katherine Deane: Ooh, good point. Can you actually ask someone to review your book in addition to the promo- (in exchange for a free book?), or is that rude since you are already asking them to promote you? Is there a protocol on this?

Tara Finnegan: Again I don’t know if there is a protocol. What I’ve done in the past is if someone says they are going to read it before the interview/ blog day and post a review as part of the post, then I might offer a copy. I have never asked anyone to review for a blog post. Maddie may have more of an idea, as she has so much more experience than I.

Maddie Taylor: I’ve always wished there was a New Authors 101 class out there that would cover all of this, offering helpful tidbits on social media, how to promote your books, how to blog, what is expected of me, etc…  Wouldn’t that have been helpful, Tara?  I do try to reach out to new authors and offer advice if they are interested.  I had to learn as I went and so many experience authors helped me along the way that I think helping newbies is paying it forward.

 

Katherine Deane:  A new author’s 101 sounds very helpful!! I am very thankful for all the help my fellow authors gave me as well. 🙂

Can I post on my own blog or another person’s blog, on the same day I am being promoted by the other blogger, or is this considered rude?

Maddie Taylor: This has happened to me before because I am terrible with a calendar.  I’ve double booked and been double booked.  It didn’t bother me either way.  I say just give each blog equal time that day if it happens.  Also, I have offered the ‘double bookie’ a different date if they’d like.  That is how Tantalizing Tuesdays began on my blog… Sh… don’t tell anyone.  LOL

Tara Finnegan: Lol, I’m like Maddie, as in I don’t really keep a calendar. But also, I think the first couple of weeks of a release it’s really important to spread the word as much as you can, so I think doubling up then is fair enough. It’s marketing.

Katherine Deane: You ladies are awesome at what you do, on both the author side and the promoting side. Thanks for sharing your experience with me today. 🙂

***

From what I have taken from today’s post, author promotion is not just a one person job. It takes a team of supporters. It also seems like the wonderful old “back scratching” way of doing things. Or the golden rule. However you want to coin it. 🙂

There are several different ways of conveying the message, to give everyone an opportunity to see something different without getting bored.

And with a little respectful support, and willingness to help each other, the word will get out.

Thanks for stopping by today for Author Share  – Interviews and Guest Posts. I would love feedback. What do you prefer to read as far as promotion goes? Any other tips or suggestions?

🙂

***

Today’s hostesses:

Tara Finnegan:

Blog:http://tarafinneganromance.blogspot.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TaraFinneganRomance?ref=hl

Twitter:https://twitter.com/TaraFinnegan6

Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Tara-Finnegan/e/B00CQ7L6G2/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1405880383&sr=8-1

Maddie Taylor:

Blog : http://maddietaylorromance.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maddie.taylor.121772?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaddieTWrites

 

Author Share – Fantasy vs Reality

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Welcome back to Author Share! Today’s discussion is a very fun one about the awesome differences in fantasy and reality in the books we read.  I have two of my favorite authors here today to talk about the different components of each. Korey Mae Johnson and Natasha Knight. So let’s get started!

Katherine Deane: First let’s talk about the pro’s and con’s of pure fantasy. Korey Mae Johnson’s Otherworldly Discipline is one of my favorite books in this category. I love the idea of just escaping into a fantasy world filled with magick. Korey, what’s easy about writing fantasy?

Korey Mae Johnson: Oh, well… it’s not easy. For me, it’s the hardest to write. On the other hand, it’s one of the most fun genres to write as well. I’m very superstitious in reality so I tend to always have some craziness floating around in my head that’s sort of devoid of real world laws, so I feel like the fantasy helps me sort of manifest my fears and my dreams and brings both those things down to the dirt to play ball and sort of is my own type of therapy.

Katherine Deane:  LOL, that’s how my brain works too, Korey! I love fantasy!

What’s one of the harder things about writing fantasy?

Korey Mae Johnson:The hardest part with fantasy is that you essentially have carte blanche with your universe. You have to create the boundaries, you have to really play God in that universe that you have created. The regular rules don’t apply. So, it’s time consuming because you have to create your universe from the ground-up; it’s not preset with truths and laws. Boundaries sometimes help the creative processes, as well. With fantasy, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with too many possibilities, too many places to go. Too many ideas to put together.

That being said, building the universe from scratch has its upsides, especially in spanking fiction.

Katherine Deane:  Less boundaries? Non consensual spankings more allowable?

Korey Mae Johnson:  Yup! Exactly right. You’re making creatures, cultures, a whole history, so you can really make the argument of why your character has to accept a spanking… Because that’s how it works in the Otherworld. They’re very old-fashioned that way! What’s the heroine gonna do? Call the cops because they disagree with the hero’s discipline? No! There are no cops there, no phones, no one to call to get you or get on your side. And you can make it so the hero’s not being bad, sadistic, machismo, or going against the grain. It’s just his culture that depicts that when a naughty young lady is asking for a spanking, you give her one! In real life, you have to explain why the heroine just takes it—especially if you don’t want her to enjoy the spanking.

Also, with fantasy you can really create some interesting dynamics and a huge difference in the male / female gap that make it sort of hot to read about. You can make the man more animalistic, for example, because he’s an animal shifter, or he’s really wise because he’s thousands of years old, while the heroine’s only twenty. Or he’s really strong and able to physically dominate her because he’s unnaturally strong or powerful. She’s really mischievous because that’s actually in her nature, just like it’s in a cat’s nature to sit do whatever it wants. You can also make them all the more interesting because most fantasy worlds I’ve read are actually more violent and caustic, creating really interesting character defects—like insanity, mistrust, or guilt to epic proportions. Makes things intriguing and in some ways, less predictable to the reader since the reader knows that anything could happen.

Katherine Deane: I also love contemporary stories. The idea of a woman just like me, being taken in hand by her handsome husband, is very appealing to me. I also remember the fear and vulnerability I felt when I first asked my husband to spank me. Natasha Knight’s Aching to Submit, was a wonderful example of (the heroine getting what she wants in an everyday setting).

What goes into writing a contemporary like this?

Natasha Knight: I like to be very dramatic about this book. I believe I’ve used the term “it bled me…” Honestly, it was very difficult to write at the time and it’s probably the heaviest book I’ve written. Even the title is just heavy: to ache.

Contemporary in this particular case probably was the reason the book carried all that weight. If it were a fantasy setting, or any other setting, it might be easier to take some of that weight out of it and sort of let yourself off the hook, if that makes any sense, but this book was real, it is real for many women and it needed weight or I wouldn’t have done it justice.

Katherine Deane:  I really enjoyed the emotions in the story. It made it more real for me.

Katherine Deane: What are some of the difficulties of writing contemporary?

Natasha Knight:I think the fact that it is contemporary and, especially in the case of DD, an adult woman being spanked as discipline by her husband, or whoever the man in her life is, doesn’t sit well with a lot of people. I used to not understand what the big deal was with that when other authors would say that it was difficult to do this in a contemporary setting, but I understand it now and for me, I just keep in mind that this is fiction and I’m going to make it as hot as possible 😉

Katherine Deane:  Cops showing up on door steps, like Korey mentioned? It is interesting when we remember that even the most realistic of contemporary stories, are still in fact fiction.

Katherine Deane: How do you blur that line between fantasy and reality?

Natasha Knight: I just have to remember that this is fiction and the readers know it is fiction. You have a little wiggle room – or at least I give myself some wiggle room. Lots of it even.

Katherine Deane: Ok, let’s be real for a moment. Sometimes, I have a tough time between the blurred lines of reality and fiction when I am reading. It’s pretty easy for me to read a blog post about a DD couple, and get resentful with my husband because he doesn’t do what so and so does. I have to push really hard to remind myself that every relationship is imperfect, even the ones that seem so perfect online and in book format.

Do you see any of this when you  read or write contemporary stories?

Natasha Knight: I think this is a really important question, and one of the things I have learned, especially online, is to take things you read with a grain of salt. There’s a pretty big difference between a real life spanking and a fictional spanking (or a DD relationship or whatever). In fiction, everything is perfect, the hero, the heroine, her butt, everything. In reality, not so much.

We’re human beings and we all fall short in some way or another and there is no perfect wife or perfect husband. They just don’t exist. Even me! I know, shocking. I think the worst thing you can do for yourself or your marriage in this case is to compare yourself to others.

What you read in books is fiction and even if it’s based on some reality, it’s most likely embellished. Blogs are a great way to connect, but again, if you find yourself comparing and coming out on the short end of things, get off line. You don’t know what’s going on on the other side of the computer screen. This is kind of a big deal for me. That comparing only causes suffering and it’s so easily avoided. Don’t do it, don’t compare yourself or your husband to characters you read about or anyone you read about on a blog. Everyone’s situation is unique. Remember what’s important.

Korey Mae Johnson:Even DD relationships are all very different. Mine is not like someone else’s, and everyone has their own prefered way to do things. What works for one person wouldn’t work for another, and all disciplinarians are different and not every man is cut out to like or to be perfect at performing spanking. In fiction, resentment is easy to do because stories only show the glorious best, and we tend to self-impose ourselves in those characters places. That’s less like reality. Certainly, in real life I do a lot less envying of other’s relationships than I do for my book characters. I always think, “Eh, of course that works for them. They’re not me.” We rarely self-impose ourselves into relationships we can actually see with our own eyes rather than imagine in our heads.

Natasha Knight: Yep! That last part is so true. When you can see the reality of it, the grass isn’t that much greener!

Katherine Deane:  We’ve had this discussion before, Natasha. You gave me some great advice earlier in my DD relationship, about comparing my spouse to others I read about. Thanks, to both of you!

Natasha Knight: I’m kind of bossy like that 😉

Katherine Deane:  😉

Katherine Deane:How real is too real? Obviously, no one wants to read about small male parts and flatulating during sex (yes, I did write a post about that once 🙂 ). Most of us read so we can escape real life, yet we want certain components to still seem realistic. How do you blur the lines?

Natasha Knight:I think as a writer, when we (or I) create these heroes (not the heroines but the heroes), I’m creating someone unreal. I want that when I read – I don’t want to read about Joe down the street, you know? I do think you need to keep situations realistic as far as reactions or responses of the characters, but the sexy stuff, I like to keep sexy even if that means it’s a bit unrealistic.

Also, I have given bad guys in my books small penises. 🙂

Katherine Deane: And this is why I love you!

Katherine Deane: I have always loved men with six pack abs and strong, firm arms. 🙂

Natasha Knight: And good thighs to lay across…

Korey Mae Johnson: Broad shoulders and big hands…

Katherine Deane: Mmmmm! Okay, authors, you’re distracting me. Let’s see if I can get back on track.

Katherine Deane: Are there any boundaries you most definitely stop at? (e.g going to the bathroom, a realistic argument that turns ugly; a man sobbing, etc…)

Korey Mae Johnson: Well, I get grossed out by stuff like everyone else does. I still wrote about diaper play (not in Otherworldly Discipline, but another story) but I fuddled enough with the description to keep me from feeling icky when writing it and hopefully to keep the readers icky from reading it, but for the people who enjoy diaper play to be satisfied. But just like you cannot unknow something once you know it, you cannot unread something once you’ve read it. And that applies to the character’s backstory. I don’t think men crying are a big deal, when done in the right way. Everyone has their pressure points. I think it’s worse when the hero would spank the heroine at the wrong time or in the wrong way (or did something horrible in their past)—anything that would get the “abuse!” bell to ring in a reader’s mind. As a reader, I feel like I have to really want the couple to get and to stay together with no reservations.

Katherine Deane:  Great point tying in with the fantasy and reality blurred lines again, Korey! I feel the same way about my need to connect with and like the characters. I’m willing to go with a lot of non consensual if done for the right reason, and I like the characters.

Katherine Deane: What are some key components that are found in both the fantasy and contemporary stories? (besides the spankings 🙂 )

Natasha Knight: Corny but the first word that pops into my mind is love! Love, love, love. A hero with a tender heart – always – while at the same time being a total Alpha. Intelligent men and women who are really both spankos even if one doesn’t know it just yet (I swear, give any man the opportunity to spank your booty and his inner spanko will come out…)!! Ok, sorry, back on topic, really, even though these are spanking romances, they are romances just the same as a non-spanking romance or non-erotic romance.

Korey Mae Johnson: I totally agree with Natasha—alpha males. Throughout all genres in fantasy, you rarely read about a submissive male. No matter what genre, you want the hero not to be weak, and particularly weak-minded (he doesn’t particularly need to be the strongest man, but definitely someone other men could respect). You want him to be strong enough to stand up to the storm you mean to throw at him in the course of a novel. Same with the heroine: the writer puts a couple through a trial built just for them, eating on their exact weaknesses, and the couple needs to pass the test or die trying. Also, there’s normally a passionate tension between the main couples regardless of the drama. If there’s no tension, there’s no interesting story. That’s why there’s a lot of “opposites attract” sort of things that go on in novels; everybody loves to watch a fight.

Katherine Deane:  I LOVE Alpha males!! I also like strong females who submit, not because they have to, but because deep down, they truly yearn for that dominance. That makes for such a yummy story for me! And you two blend the dominance and submission, strength and weakness, fantasy and reality so well!

Thank you so much for joining me today! I really appreciate you both taking the time for such an honest chat!

Natasha Knight: Thanks for having us, Kate!

Korey Mae Johnson:  Yes! Thank you very much for inviting us to chat!

***

I learned a lot from my fellow authors about reality and fantasy. We all fantasize. We all dream. And all of us are different. That is what makes reading so much fun! We can completely submerge ourselves in a wonderful land of magick and creatures. Or we can read a contemporary story, and plant ourselves into the main character’s role, because of our own desires. Some stories are realistic, some are fantastic, and some straddle the line; but all are fiction. Glorious, wonderful, ‘dare to close your eyes and dream’ – fiction.

Happy reading!

Happy writing!

Thanks for joining the Author Share today!

Our hostesses for today!

Korey Mae Johnson

Korey Mae Johnson got her start as an author at Bethany’s Woodshed back in 2007 when she was a senior at Western Oregon University as an English Writing major with a minor in business. Her first book was Pursuit of Glory, a spanking romance that she dreamed up during the years she spent obsessed with the Napoleonic Wars.

After working at the college library for four years, she finally got a job at a magazine company… for business magazines, but still, it was a start. A start which she immediately tossed away after less than a year to pursue James–a Texan graduate student that was everything she wanted–a man with an interest in spanking who was sweet as can be, a responsible, Christian head-of-household type, and gorgeous. For a year, she even wrote about it in her personal blog, SpankNotes.

They married in November of 2008. They’re still happily married.

The same month as they married, and after several months of baggering the owner of Bethany’s Woodshed, Korey was given a job creating monthly newsletters. Over time, Korey took on additional work with other sites associated with Bethany’s Woodshed, culminating with her serving as the webmaster, web-designer, eBook specialist, and cover artist for Blushing Books, a spanking eBook store affiliated with Bethany’s Woodshed.

In August of 2012, Korey and James parted amicably with Blushing Books and formed Stormy Night Publications.

Blog:www.koreymaejohnson.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/koreymaejohnson

FB: http://facebook.com/koreymaejohnson

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Korey-Mae-Johnson/e/B0086P1PQY/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/koreymaejohnson

Natasha Knight

Natasha Knight is the author of several BDSM and spanking erotic romances all of which explore the mind of the Dominant male and the submissive female, discovering just beneath the surface of each story that key element of love. Her characters are as human as she: powerful but vulnerable, flawed, perhaps damaged but with an incredible capacity to love.

Blog: http://www.natasha-knight.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Natasha-Knight/e/B009MIHIFG

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NatashaKnight13

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/natasha.knight.946

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natasha-Knight-Author-Page/386742471394951?ref=hl

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6478732.Natasha_Knight

 

Author Share – Graphics

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I am very excited to have two graphic gurus with me today!  Adaline Raine and Anthony (The Cover Artisan).  As a blogger and an author, I have often wondered about the availiability of pictures I have seen online; pondered sharing images; stewed over how to make a simple *%bleeping *&! graphic for my posts…

Graphics are on my mind, but not as someone tech savvy enough to create them. I just want to know how to use them, where to find them, and whom to contact when I have something special in mind. These two awesome artists were kind enough to oblige my questions.

Katherine Deane:  Thanks for joining me today, Adaline and Anthony.  Help me get started with something little, please.  Where should I look to find cool  pics for my blog?

 

Adaline Raine:  I go to http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

You have to create an account but the photos are stock images and really free unless you need a larger image. The free ones are fine for what I do.

Anthony (The Cover Artisan): There are a lot of sites out there that offer free blog graphics, however most display an ad or have some sort “free offer” that you have to complete to download the graphics. I tend to stay away from such sites.

I have from time to time used http://www.stockfreeimages.com/ to get a quick image or two… They do require a sign up and your are limited to the amount of free images you can download but it takes only a few seconds to sign up and they have a pretty good variety of images to choose from. I have yet to use the site that Adaline mentioned but from just giving it a really quick look I can tell that it will definitely become part of my toolbox. Thanks!

Katherine Deane:  Can I use any old thing I find, or are there stipulations?

Adaline Raine:  Do not take google image result photos! ::grin:: They can appear free if there is no watermark but more than likely they are used with permission or are original content.

Anthony (The Cover Artisan): Like Adaline said, do not use google to get your images.  They use a very broad search engine to give you results that are most of the time copyright or used for other things. I have had luck in the past by going to public photo sharing sites and using images with the permission from the artist. I have a rule of thumb, if you can not contact the photographer directly or the image in not part of an established photo site, its probably best not to even mess with it.

Adaline Raine: I like what Anthony said. If you cannot contact the photographer and there is no contract on it best to leave it alone.

Katherine Deane:  What sites do you recommend for free or cheap or bought images?

Adaline Raine:  See question one. This is the best site I have found so far. Sites like Dreamstimehttp://www.dreamstime.com/  have a great selection and search filter but cost money. The only time I would pay for an image would be a for profit printed project. Say that three times fast! If I can not find the one I want I will make it.

Anthony (The Cover Artisan): ( I could only say it fast 2 times:)

The first place I usually go when am looking for cheap or free stock is everystockphoto.com. This site is a collective search for most of the free stock photo sites. They have a great amount of images but I don’t usually use it when I am doing a cover that requires the subjects to be sexy or anything out of the ordinary. I have been using bigstock.com for most of my covers, They offer reasonable pricing and their selection is one of the best available.  I have just recently signed up with dreamstime as well, at this time however I have not needed to use it. I am sure that I will in the future, they have some of  the best pricing I have seen!  11 credits for $15 is incredible!  I think that is another great site to add to your tools.

Katherine Deane: Perfect! Thanks! A friend of mine also mentioned  a free area on http://www.123rf.com/browsefreeimages.php.  I have had a lot of fun looking through theirs as well.

Katherine Deane:  What about making images?

Adaline Raine:   I took digital photography and graphic design courses through high school and college. I did website design heavy on layouts for approx. eight years but honestly you can use any software. With a little time and practice – maybe a tutorial or two and you can make your own custom graphics.

I no longer have Adobe Photoshop (the greatest software ever made in my humble opinion) because it just costs too much. I usepixlr.com and it has three levels – Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced and is completely online – no software to download. You can even save layered images to work on later.

The only drawback here is you do not have much selection for brushes. I am a huge brush freak so I miss this feature. I used to spend hours downloading and searching for random brushes. My favorite was feathers – you would be so surprised at the textures you get.

Another option is to find someone to create images/banners for you.

Anthony (The Cover Artisan): I agree with Adaline, Photoshop is the best program for creating faster graphics but like she said it is very pricey.  There’s a pretty good amount of alternatives to photoshop out there. I have not used them all but when I’m on a computer that does not have PS I usually turn to GIMP for my basic needs. Its not as powerful as photoshop but it is the closest you can get without breaking the bank. I have had friends that have used pixlr and loved it, I have not personally had the chance to check it out but I have heard great things.

Adaline Raine: To add to my love for Pixlr – I have to add I recently found a way to use any image as a brush. You can download a brush set (they usually have creative license similar to images) then open, crop, and save whatever section you want as a brush. This makes me grin! I missed my brushes SO much.  There are also tons of tutorials you can have access to by a few minutes searching. You can usually get a good idea of techniques even if you find hints and tips for other programs.

Katherine Deane:  Did you know I actually created the “Author Share” image ? LOL, that was a big deal considering I had never created a graphic before. I used Pixlr. It took me a little bit to figure out, but I think it turned out pretty well. 🙂 (feel free to pat my back a little 😉 )

Katherine Deane:  What if I want to pay someone to make an awesome  logo or image for me?

Adaline Raine:  Yes! This is a great option. You usually fill out a form giving an idea of the image you want and the artist creates a draft and quotes a price unless they have standard pricing which is hard in this field. I prefer the barter system. I’ll promo you if you make me banners or give them a copy of a book or do a review – something simple and not expensive!

Anthony (The Cover Artisan): Most of the work I do is with book covers, social media cover photos and promotional flyers.  I have had clients that have tried to make these things themselves and as good as their efforts were the end product came out to be pretty awful. I think that hiring a professional to do the work for you shows a great amount of enthusiasm and pride for your product. I am not saying that you need to hire somebody to do every little thing but I think that it adds a great deal to the validity of your work to have a professional work out the bigger things.

Katherine Deane: How much do these things run?

Anthony (The Cover Artisan): I have a system that I have been working on for a while now when it comes to pricing… I have a base price for the product (cover,flyer,logo, etc.) and I build upon it as the project requires. 9 out of 10 times I don’t charge more than the base price but time and resources are also a variable to consider, I usually don’t charge for the initial time creating but as in some cases I have had to do 5-6 revisions and that usually cuts into other work that I could be doing and as much as I hate to do so, I have to charge a little bit extra.

Adaline Raine:  There are SO many variables. You would have to provide specifics. The size of the banner, level of detail, photos, number of images, number of times allowed to adjust the image, font, etc etc etc.

If I were doing a small banner and it was all custom with several re-dos it could range anywhere from $5 to $20 and upwards if there were multiple/varied graphics involved.

There are several freelance sites where you can find artists who may work for less. Just be careful, you get what you pay for. Bartering is the way to go! In this case free does not equal cheap

Katherine Deane: Where can I go?

Adaline Raine:  Me! ::laughs:: I actually love making graphics. When I hit a spell with no words or I’m really overwhelmed I take a time out to do banners and such. It is so relaxing for me and I enjoy seeing them all over the net. Image maps are a lot of fun too! I am happy to work out a deal.

I also make custom graphics when someone comes to visit my blog that he/she is welcome to keep as well as cover reveals or spot lights. We both win here since my guest gets a cool memento and I have a blog post

Anthony (The Cover Artisan): I have found that you can pretty much find a professional that specializes in any specific area of graphic arts. I feel that when looking for a designer take account of what their strong skills are and play on that side of things.  I like to consider myself a specialist when it comes to the creation of media covers. I do very well at other things but I know that my strong suit is within the design and construction of an attention grabbing cover.

Katherine Deane:  Adaline, I loved your graphics for the Spank or Treat Blog Hop! That was fantastic!

witch_side_banner

And your new blog design looks great!

addy blog new_spring22

Anthony, I adored the covers you made for my fellow spanking romance authors. They are absolutely beautiful! Here’s a few I really liked.

Tantara-Final

Ruby-Rose-Final

Katherine Deane:  What is your biggest tip for new authors and bloggers pertaining to graphics and images?

Adaline Raine:  Don’t stress about them. The simpler design the better. Some of the most beautiful and eye-catching displays are one photo and straight to the point wording.

Anthony (The Cover Artisan): I could not agree more with Adaline, I think that the secret is to relax and visualize your artwork in the most simple form. One of the biggest challenges I face when doing a cover is when the author and their superior imagination takes hold and they want so many elements added to the cover that it becomes very busy and cluttered. I suggest that you take all the key elements that you want to include and extract the most important few. A phrase that I use often is “Simplicity is key: You can always add paint but it is much harder to remove it”.

Katherine Deane:  Thank you both for taking the time to share your graphics experience.   You are both very talented in your fields, and I cannot wait to work with you again! Thanks for sharing with all of us!

Adaline Raine: I had a great time being here with both of you! I would love to get together again soon.

Anthony (The Cover Artisan): It has been great hanging out with you ladies, I appreciate all the input that you provided as well as letting me share a few tips of my own. Graphic design is such an overlooked but integral part of just about everything happening this day and age  and I love that you would do a feature on the topic. Thank you very much Adaline and Katherine, lets keep in touch! Cheers!

*****

There is a lot of fantastic information to go through, I know. I can’t wait to check out all these sites. So far, my favorite is 123rf. But I am open to trying some new ones! And I am definitely looking forward to working with these two with the bigger stuff I just cannot do on my own.

So, what did you think? Do you have a graphics question or comment? Another favorite site to share? Let’s start the discussion. 🙂

****

Our fantastic hosts:

Anthony, (The Cover Artisan)

Hi, My name is Anthony, otherwise know as THE COVER ARTISAN. I have been a professional designer for over 15 years. I have worked with many different clients, Romance Authors, Publishing Companies, Roller Derby teams and even Heavy Metal bands.
 
I have started TCA to offer an easy service for clients to get the best cover designs for their projects at the most affordable rates. I have a strong desire to create and work with clients to get the best result possible. If you have any questions, I am always happy to answer them. Go ahead and shoot me a line at thecoverartisan@gmail.com   Thank You!
Adaline Raine

Adaline Raine is an avid reader of spanking romance and is known for reviewing every book she touches! She is currently working on a new novel about a sexy professor and his student with a twist!

Her first title, Marked by the Alpha, literally shows us an alpha male werewolf turning his chosen mate over his knee for some well needed attitude adjusting.

Adaline’s second title, Becoming a Lady, showcases spankings in a historical setting. Our lovely main character is poor and abused so when a tall man drugs her and steals her away from her village she is confused by his actions. He takes his time to teach and guide but his methods include his hand and her hind.

Adaline has also become known for her love of creating graphics for others. She has designed custom banners and buttons for various blog hops throughout the community including “Spank or Treat 2013” and “Winter Spanks 2014” as well as the headers and backgrounds at Bratty Addy. Her exclusive feature, Addy’s Couch takes guests books covers and fashions them into a one-of a kind piece for fun or promotional purposes. Contact Adaline if you would like her to create something for you!

Adaline runs an active blog on blog spot brattyadaline.blogspot.com as well as a Spanking Romance board on Pintrest http://www.pinterest.com/adalineraine/

You can also find her on Twitter handle Adaline_Raine or on Facebook Raine.Adaline

 

 

Author Share – Marketing

Author Share black letters

I am so excited to have two rock stars in the social media scene joining me today!

Cassandra Carr and Lisa Pietsch.

Cassandra has a great ebook exclusively on Amazon, called Marketing Matters  For under $2.50, this is a steal! I definitely recommend it! She also teaches writer workshops, like Time Management and Author Marketing.

Lisa offers fantastic social media courses. One free one will be on her blog, and will give the basics to getting started. Her refresher course, on Writer University.com is filling up fast!

So let’s get started. Marketing 101:

Katherine Deane:  Thanks so much for joining me today, ladies. I have to be honest, marketing still overwhelms me. I wrote a book, I have a blog, which I am (somewhat) consistently posting on, I am now plugged into social media like Facebook and Twitter. What’s next? How do I get my book seen?

Cassandra Carr: Discoverability. Ah, the bane of every author’s existence. You probably thought getting the book published was tough, huh? But fear not! If you have a blog, post consistently, even if it’s only once a week, and it helps to pick a “meme”, aka do the same theme every week. Tuesday Teasers, Thursday Thirteen, Sexy Saturday – all actual romance blog memes. If you’re “plugged into” social media, are you engaging with your followers? Constant “buy my book” irritates people. I talk about my five-year-old daughter all the time. It makes authors likable, it makes us human. It makes us relatable.

Katherine Deane: I do remember hearing a lot about engaging and relatability this past few weeks. Lisa, you are the “Social media rockstar”. I’m planning on signing up for your next online class (when is it?) But why do I need all of this engaging? It seems like a lot.

Lisa Pietsch: I offer classes twice a year now through WriterUniv.com. The 6-week class (offered in the spring) takes you from no online presence to having a website and a solid presence on all of the major social networks. The2-week Refresher & Advanced course will be offered in July this year. You’ll need to have gone through one of my Superstar classes to register, or at least have worked through my book or the free Social Media for Authors Home Study Course which will be available onmy website no later than the beginning of June.

It may seem like a lot, but the cold truth is that publishers don’t have the marketing budgets they used to have and independent authors (indies like me) need to do their own marketing. Writing isn’t like Field of Dreams. Just because you write it and publish it doesn’t mean anyone will find it. The fact is every author needs to take responsibility for their author brand and that means getting out there, mixing and mingling on social networks, and sharing their work (in a non-spammy way, of course).

Katherine Deane: To understand author branding, I think I need to understand who my audience is first, correct? Can you explain, “finding your audience”. My audience is just ‘readers of spanking romance’, right? Or do I need to dig deeper, be more specific. (Should I know exactly who I am targeting: age play? Old fashioned DD? Contemporary DD with lots of male internalizing? Etc…) Why would this help?

 Lisa Pietsch: Your audience is the people who are going to connect with your work. The most important thing to remember is that not everyone will connect with your work, and that’s OK. Be true to yourself and your art by being who you are online and your audience will find you.

My audience enjoys lots of action, kickass heroines, suspense and sexual tension. They don’t mind that I don’t write explicit sex and don’t tell sweet, small town love stories. They also don’t mind that I have some explicit violence and language. There are plenty of people out there who do mind those things though. They aren’t my people and that’s OK. You don’t really need to nail down the demographics of your audience, just be true to yourself and your art when you’re online and your author brand will sort out who your following is or isn’t.

Cassandra Carr: Finding your audience, is, I think, a difficult thing to define. Yes, your audience IS “readers of spanking fiction”. But if you were, say, General Motors, would your audience be (and this is a total generalization for the purposes of this example) white men between the ages of 45 and 75? Well, no. And the same is true for you. Besides readers of spanking fiction, your audience is potentially anyone interested in BDSM, readers who enjoy perhaps a little darker side of erotica. I think targeting can work, but only if you know what you want to write and concentrate on that. Otherwise, I’d go the other way. Be inclusive, rather than exclusive.

Katherine Deane: Thanks! Ok, what should I do before my book is published?

Cassandra Carr: Ha! Loaded question. If you do nothing else, get yourself a Goodreads page and populate it as much as you can. What do I mean? Well, Goodreads lets you “plug in” things like your blog so the most recent post will show up on your profile. Make sure there are links to your social media accounts. Also, get a website done. If you have the skills to do it yourself, go for it. I do, but after a while I had so many releases the design wasn’t scalable anymore. Also, I was getting busier, so I contracted the design and now the maintenance out to someone. There are several designers who specialize in romance author websites. Go find some authors whose websites you love. Oftentimes the designer has a little link on the bottom of the page.

Lisa Pietsch: Before your book is published, you should already have a website/blog (I recommend they both be on the same site and suggest WordPress.com to my students and clients). You’ll also want to be sure you have a Facebook Profile, Facebook Author Page (Fan Page), Twitter account, and Pinterest account. These are the absolute minimum. You really need to have a solid following, even if it is just a small one, in all of them so you don’t have to play catch-up when your book is released.

Katherine Deane: What should I do after my book gets published? Is there a happy medium between screaming “Look at me! Have YOU bought my book yet?!!?” and just rolling over and hoping word of mouth does the trick?

 Lisa Pietsch: There is a happy medium and I try to teach my students how to get to it as soon as possible. If you have your basic social platforms squared away before your book is released and you’ve been engaging your following on each, simply announcing the good news that your book has been released or sharing news of promotional pricing will go a long way.

I know authors who have a solid core of fans on several social platforms and though they may share a thing or two on Facebook every day, they spend most of their time in their writing cave. They share the news when they hit a writing milestone, receive contracts for new books, have a new cover to reveal, have a book available for preorder or a new release and that keeps their fans going. The important thing is that they’ve made that initial connection with friends and fans and those friends and fans enjoy hearing about the milestones.

Cassandra Carr: I agree, there’s a happy medium. For the first week or two after release, mentioning your book 3-4 times a day on social media is acceptable, but here’s the thing- that’s assuming you’re engaging on social media in other ways. If ALL you have for two weeks after release is “buy my book” posts, people will get annoyed. After the first few weeks, go down to one a day or one every other day. But that doesn’t mean you can’t mention things like “I’m on this blog talking about…” or “I got a great review from…” Both are sneaky ways to keep your book in front of your audience without making it too obvious.

Katherine Deane: Can you expound a bit on the Amazon Author Page?

Lisa Pietsch: If you have a book available on Amazon.com then you need an Amazon Author Page. You can post your bio and website information, book trailers or related videos, and photos, as well as connect your Twitter account and blog to feed into your Author Page. Amazon.com is where most people are buying their books so if you can connect with new readers right there at the bookstore, why shouldn’t you? Once a reader reads your book(s) and becomes a fan, they can find you very easily through your Amazon Author Page.

Katherine Deane: What is a blog tour? How is it different from blog hopping or promo posts on other authors’ blogs?

Cassandra Carr: A blog tour is a set of dates wherein you agree to appear in some way on other peoples’ blogs, maybe as a guest poster, an interviewee, or just a spotlight on your work without any other interaction from you (besides going to the blog in the morning to thank them for having you on, and to subscribe to blog comments so you can reply if someone else makes a comment).

Blog hops are an event that runs for a specific amount of time and is related to a specific thing- The Alpha Male Hop that lasts for three days, where your post might be about why your hero is an Alpha Male; Hop Against Homophobia that lasts a week and where your post might deal with an aspect of homophobia you have a particular dislike of. Readers “hop” from blog to blog.

I mentioned promo posts above. Those are posts with your blurb, an excerpt, your bio, and buy links. As I said, you don’t have to write anything specific for the blog, you just send out that info to anyone doing a promo post and you’re all set–except for the whole going there that morning etc.

Lisa Pietsch: Blog hopping is generally a group of authors who blog once each in rapid succession and add a link at the top of their blog for the previous author’s blog and one at the bottom of their blog for the next author. These can help authors connect with a few new readers over a longer period of time.

Promo posts on other authors’ blogs are usually just a book cover, book description, buy links and author contact information. They aren’t really engaging but can help to reach a few new readers for a books release.

A blog tour is (or should be) a series of new and different blogs written by the same author, appearing on other websites during a certain period of time. Some authors run blog tours where they are hosted on a new website and post a new blog each day for a month, some run Monday/Wednesday/Friday for several weeks, some just guest blog at a new site once a week for several weeks.

Katherine Deane: Are there ways to do blog tours inexpensively, or do I have to hire a marketing company to do this?

Cassandra Carr: You can do all the marketing yourself, and in the beginning when you’re not making much money you may want/need to. Send out a call through social media for people who are willing to feature you on their blog. Tell them the type of posts you’re willing to do. For instance, I very rarely guest blog because after three years and forty releases, it’s nearly impossible to come up with topics.

But I’ll do interviews (like this one!), character interviews–an interview with you usually as the interviewer and your character(s) as the interviewee. Readers love them because they get an “inside scoop”. And promo posts/spotlights are fine with me too. Less work and hopefully at this point I don’t have to say “Hi, I’m Cassandra Carr, and I write this”, because if I’m doing my marketing correctly, they already know who I am and just want to hear about my newest release.

Lisa Pietsch: I never recommend hiring a marketing company. Heck, I AM a marketing company and I still prefer to show authors how to put together a blog tour quickly and easily on their own instead. This isn’t because I can’t arrange them, I just don’t think we should enable all those new industries that have popped up with the specific intention of separating artists from their money. I’m a firm believer in the old adage: Give a man a fish and he eats for a day – teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. That’s why I createdThe Blog Exchange, so authors could work cooperatively and host each other when needed. Putting out a call on your social networks, if they’re large enough, can yield a great number of fellow authors willing to host you. Between that and the Blog Exchange, you should have more than enough websites willing to host a major tour.

Katherine Deane: How much do I actually have to get published , and how often, before I get “seen”. The FSOG author did it with one; LOL, I’m guessing that is not the norm. 🙂

Lisa Pietsch: No, sadly that isn’t the norm. I’ve been negligent in my own publishing over the past few years. I’ve averaged one book a year but I’ve been lucky in my ability to connect with a great audience and have fans that have stuck with me because they’ve enjoyed my past work so much. This is one of the things a great social platform can do for you as an author. It allows your readers to understand you aren’t a robot or a writing machine and that you deal with the ups and downs of life just like they do. It also provides you with great ways to keep them engaged in your work in progress. I’ll share memes with excerpts on my Facebook pages, write blogs about the writing process, share the photos of celebrities and places that have inspired characters and scenes on Pinterest, and other things on other platforms.

Cassandra Carr: No, not the norm. She had the “perfect storm” of things go right for her. It happens, but don’t count on it. Like I said above, I have forty releases, from shorts/anthos to full-length books, series books, and lots of people don’t know who I am. Is that because my marketing sucks? Nope, or Katherine probably wouldn’t have asked me to do this interview, lol. It’s because there are tons of readers who aren’t active on social media, there are readers who only buy paperbacks from a physical bookstore (where I have no books). You get to as much of the audience as you can and keep pounding away at it.

Being prolific WILL help you get noticed since readers will notice your new release and say, “I’ve seen this chick Cassandra Carr. She writes hockey romance, I think. I liked the hockey romance I read from (insert another author here), so I’ll go over to Cassandra’s author page on Amazon. Whoa! She’s got forty books! Hockey! BDSM! Male/male! Menage!” *one click* *one click* *one click* (Hopefully)

Katherine Deane: Why is social media so important for the marketing of my book? What ever happened to word of mouth?

Cassandra Carr and Lisa Pietsch: Social media IS word of mouth.

Katherine Deane: (LOL, these were the exact same replies from both women 🙂 )

Lisa Pietsch: We live in a world where people are too busy to meet for coffee and chit-chat for a couple hours every morning or enjoy long lunches chatting about life and books. Social media has become that for about 95% of the people with computers. Social media is where word of mouth happens now.

Cassandra Carr: That’s what the share button on FB and the retweet button on Twitter are for. Social media is all about the power of amplification. What do I mean? Well, I have around 2500 friends on FB. We all know not all 2500 friends see all my posts. But let’s say 500 do. And of those 500, 10 thought it was cool enough to share. Between those ten people, there are 4000 friends who are not friends of mine, so they wouldn’t have seen my original post. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be interested, maybe they just don’t know me, don’t follow authors on social media, whatever. Now they’re seeing the post, though, so your one post was amplified to many more people when your friends shared it.

Katherine Deane: We are talking about Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and a few groups that match the interests of my genre, correct?

Cassandra Carr: Pretty much. I just got rid of my personal author blog. It was taking time away from writing and I didn’t think it was helping. I still blog on a group blog called Romancing the Jock, which centers on…sports romance. I’m very active on Facebook, less so on Twitter since there are a lot more industry people on Twitter and less readers. Singing to your own choir won’t get the word out about your book.

I’m not saying to close your Twitter account, but maybe decide how you want to use it. Maybe it’s a tool that’s better for talking to editors, since through traditional channels you have to slay dragons, swim through moats, and sacrifice a chicken to get actual face-time with an editor. But ask a question specific to them on Twitter and they’ll probably answer. This could be anything from “Do you like sports romance or is there another ed at your house I should send to?” to “Congrats on having three RITA award nominees! Are you taking submissions from (people like me)?”

Lisa Pietsch: Facebook, Twitter and blogging are musts. If any of your audience is female or gay, you need to be on Pinterest too. Groups are great if you can find some that are specific to your genre and allow you to connect with people rather than simply broadcast. I think people mistake social networks for broadcasting methods rather than places to connect with and truly engage with others. The sort of social media use I encourage is the engaging, where you’re part of a conversation and not just broadcasting. We all know the author that broadcasts all over the place and doesn’t sell any books – that’s because she annoys so many people. Don’t be that author.

Katherine Deane: How long should all this “socializing” take? I don’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to write, socialize and market.

Cassandra Carr: There aren’t enough hours. Not nearly enough. I just turned in a novella to my editor last night, which is why I had time to do this interview now. But I’m way behind on email, which bugs my OCD tendencies; I need to pack for RT, which I’m leaving for in five days; I need to find some more avenues to market an upcoming multi-author series (Red Hot and BOOM! coming June 1st); and I should probably make sure my house isn’t a wreck and there’s food in the fridge before I leave for a week. Did I mention the garage sale my parents are having this weekend which always gets tons of traffic and how I’ll be spending hours carting stuff over there, setting it up, and pricing it? Oh, and Sunday is Mother’s Day and I’m traveling an hour in the morning, coming back and going to another event.

So, what do you do? Some writers set aside specific time every day and only do social media/blogging etc during those times. Me? I have the attention span of a gnat so I tend to check in every hour or two. When I do that, I don’t stay for a long time, but since I oftentimes post a little something — last night it was “The only reason I’d leave my house right now is to get donuts”, that makes me human and relatable. Not every post has to have deep meaning.

Lisa Pietsch: My method requires 30 minutes a day. I teach my students and clients how to set up their social networks quickly, build them with a targeted audience, and then only spend 30 minutes a day TOTAL on a combination of building and engaging.

Katherine Deane: If I had to pick the most important things to do to market my book, what would they be?

Cassandra Carr: Website, filled out Goodreads profile, filled out Amazon author page.

Lisa Pietsch: Be accessible: Have a presence on the major networks like blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Engage: Get in on the conversation every once in a while. You don’t need to watch your streams constantly, just set up your notifications so you can respond to the conversations important to you once a day.

Write your next book: Believe it or not, this is a must.

Katherine Deane: What is one tip you would give newer authors to maximize their marketing potential for their book?

Cassandra Carr: Concentrate on social media, Facebook in particular. That, FOR NOW, is the most effective, cheapest, easiest marketing you can do.

Lisa Pietsch: Write a good book. (Oh, wait…that’s assumed.)

Don’t be Spammy Spammerson. (That should be assumed too.)

OK, my final answer:

Be accessible through multiple social media networks and authentic in your communications. The rest will happen. Whether it happens quickly or not is completely up to you.

While I agree with Cassandra that Facebook is important, I feel I should mention that Facebook is cutting down on sending people notifications about pages they’ve liked so most author pages are seeing much lower numbers and slower growth on Facebook now. Eventually, Facebook plans to make all page traffic pay-to-play. As I’ve explained in this article, you do need a Facebook Fan Page, but I explain further in this article, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in the Facebook basket.

Katherine Deane: You ladies are so awesome! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us!

*****

What I have taken from this, is that social media once again, turns out to be very important to the marketing – of not only my books, but more importantly, me. If I am seen as a real person, AND have good books, then my followers will continue to buy, and will spread the word. I have many different options to spread the word, as seen by our guest hostesses. The key will be to figure out what works for me. And I know I am definitely going to re-read Cassandra’s marketing book, and attend Lisa’s class.

***

Today’s hostesses:

 Cassandra Carr

So who am I? I’ve been writing my whole life, but only decided to pursue writing as a career in the past couple of years. I’m lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband named Inspiration who brings home the bacon so I can stay home and fry it (and eat it all before he’s able to fight through the rush hour traffic – I’m mean that way, but like I always say, don’t get between a woman and her bacon).

I live in Western New York with Inspiration and our young daughter, Too Cute for Words. I’m a major hockey fan, which explains why many of my heroes are hockey players. If you haven’t looked at the guys playing the sport today, search for some images. You won’t be disappointed.

I’m a member of the leading professional association for romance novelists, Romance Writers of America, and also serve as president of my local chapter. I’ve met so many interesting people through these organizations and highly recommend them to any aspiring writer!

As you can see, my life is pretty busy, but I try to take as much time as I can to write. And re-write. And re-write. It’s a never-ending, vicious circle, and I love it!

website – http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com/

twitter – http://www.twitter.com/Cassandra_Carr.

facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BooksByCassandraCarr

Lisa Pietsch

Lisa Pietsch is a U.S.A.F. veteran and member of RomVets, a multi-published novelist and freelance writer, social & digital media marketing consultant, has served as managing editor for five content rich online communities and several online and print newsletters, and a homeschooling mother of two boys. She has an A.S. in Business Management from the University of Maine and has been immersed in social media marketing and management since 2004. She has a passion for foreign languages, travel and hot guys with guns. Lisa currently lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her darling companion, two sons, two cats and dog.

When her first novel, The Path to Freedom, was published in electronic formats in 2008, Lisa realized her marketing efforts would need to take a left turn at traditional and become largely electronic as well. Since then, she has developed tools and handbooks that teach writers of all genres and small press publishers how to market their books and their brands without breaking the bank. She is available for both workshops and private training.

website – http://lisapietsch.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/LisaPietsch

Facebook – http://facebook.com/lisa.pietsch

 

 

 

Author Share – Editing

 

Author Share black letters

I am so excited to have three amazing women here with me today, talking about the editing process. I have worked with both Kate Richards and Jamie Miles, and have to give them a huge shout out for not only being thorough, but also personable and friendly in their support. I love working with each of them, and appreciate the different aspects they bring to the editing process. I am also super stoked to have Erica Scott here today to talk about copy editing. When I found out that my favorite “bottom” was also a proof reader and copy editor, I just had to bring her into the mix. I’m thankful that they all shifted their busy schedules to share their experience and talk with me about the latest “Author Share” – Editing.

So let’s jump right in!

 

Katherine Deane: Thanks for joining me today, ladies. What is the biggest thing you each edit for?

Jamie Miles: I am lead editor at Stormy Night Publications, a highly author-centric publisher for spanking and BDSM romance and erotica titles. My primary role is in content editing, but I sometimes do copy editing.

Erica Scott: I work as a freelance proofreader/copy editor and have had several clients, but my two regulars are polar opposites: Stormy Night Publications (spanking erotica), and a company that produces courses on medical topics! I sometimes find myself, in one day, reading subjects that range from anal punishments to the treatment of pressure ulcers.

Kate Richards: As executive editor at Decadent Publishing and co-owner of Wizards in Publishing, quite a variety of genres cross my desk. For example, at Wizards, we recently edited a non-fiction called Open Doors about the lives of women living on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian border for a charity that helps women to gain the skills to take care of themselves and their families throughout the world. I edit more erotic romance than anything, and I really enjoy spanking fiction, lesbian fiction, and BDSM. And historical romance. And mysteries….

Katherine Deane: What is the biggest mistake that newer authors make?

Erica Scott: I don’t think there is any one biggest mistake, but I do see one error fairly regularly with newer authors—underestimating their readers. They state and restate certain things, over-explain the situations, over-describe their characters. In their eagerness to convey what’s in their head to the readers, they overdo it.

Jamie Miles: I agree that there isn’t a single “biggest mistake” that authors make, since each author is different. If I had to identify a single issue which is one of the most common, I would say that quite often authors don’t identify their target audience well enough. Just because an author wants to write about a dinosaur from outer space who spanks naughty girls with a hairbrush doesn’t mean anybody else wants to read about that.

Kate Richards: I can approach this best as an author, I think. The biggest mistake I made as a new author was completely panicking the first time I received edits. I allowed the colorful, comment-dotted manuscript to make me think I couldn’t write. And, once I breathed again, I learned more from that editor than any since.

Katherine Deane: Kate, I’m so glad you brought up the colors. I admit I actually did panic a bit when I saw my edits the first time. 🙂 So, why the different colors? What do they mean?

Kate Richards: Different editors use highlights in different ways, some don’t use them at all. But, generally, they are a handy way to point out repetitions or repeated issues that an author can then address. Like seventeen uses of “hand” or “tongue” on a page. Or consistent overuse of names, or passive verb phrasing. If an editor does use this method, they should provide you with a guide and some instructions.

Katherine Deane: What’s the difference between a Developmental edit and a full edit?

Jamie Miles: Stormy Night doesn’t use specific terms for the revision process, but the depth of the edit depends on many things—the author’s ability, the plot, the subject material, among other things. Some books will require extensive changes, such as reordering, cutting, and/or adding scenes and chapters, while some books will only need help with things like wording, unanswered questions, plot holes, overused words, and superfluous description.

Kate Richards: I agree with Jamie. No two edits are alike, but a developmental edit will be broader, help the author with character development, plot, story arc. Often a content editor will work with these things, too, but more in depth on a line by line basis.

Katherine Deane: Erica, what are some of the biggest grammatical errors and typos you have found? Inconsistencies?

Erica Scott: How many pages do I have? 🙂 In the olden days of typesetting, before Autocorrect and Spellcheck, I saw a lot more misspelled words (“teh” for “the” was common). Now, the errors are a little trickier; punctuation errors (missing commas, commas where there should be semi-colons, hyphens instead of dashes), words that are properly spelled but used incorrectly (“too” for “to,” etc.), and cases where the author clearly meant one word, but mistakenly typed another that sounds like it (I once saw “plummeted” instead of “pummeled”). Inconsistencies cover a broad spectrum. With stylistic choices, the author will often lose track of which style he/she has chosen (e.g., using “okay,” “OK” and “Ok”), or spell their characters’ names or other proper names differently (Lily on page 12, then Lilly on page 124).

Katherine Deane: How do you show the difference between a POV shift and a chapter break?

Kate Richards: Every publisher has style guides that tell the author and copy editor how to show this in the manuscript, but otherwise, it varies. I think the important thing is that POV shifts aren’t too often.

Jamie Miles: I don’t use copy editing marks; instead, I just write out the necessary change using words.

Katherine Deane: In developmental edits, what do you normally suggest for overall character and plot development (for the spanking romance genre).

Jamie Miles: It depends on the nature of the plot and the author’s interests. One thing I usually suggest is that a spanking scene come sooner rather than later. No one wants to read halfway through a book to find the spanking scenes.

Kate Richards: Exactly. Spanking fiction has quite a variety of storylines. But, absolutely, readers of spanking romance expect spanking. They want to see how that element moves the romance and therefore it must be present. If there’s only one spanking scene at the end, readers will not be pleased.

Katherine Deane: What if the author doesn’t want to make the changes you suggested? Are these written in stone?

Erica Scott: As a proofreader, I will often find things in books or other works that I think need more editing than I’m supposed to be doing. So I will write a note to my client and suggest that they speak to the author about the sections/characters/whatever in question. After that, it’s out of my hands, although I’ve had clients often say “good catch” and “that makes a lot of sense” to me, so I’m hoping they are able to convince the authors too!

 Jamie Miles: Some are written in stone and some are not. We do have some content guidelines and we will not publish a book if its content does not fall within those guidelines. On the other hand, when we are asking for revisions which are not related to our content guidelines and the author does not want to make them, we have to make a judgment call on whether the book is still publishable without the changes.

Kate Richards: Editing should be an interactive process. We make suggestions, the author replies. Sometimes the author will not want to make a change and, if it is important, I will explain why. With a publisher, the final call belongs to house style, with an indie, the author holds that right. But if you, the author, continually disagree with the suggestions made by your editor, perhaps it’s just not a good match.

Katherine Deane: What is the difference between “ –“ (emdash?) and “…” (how are they used?)

Erica Scott:  An em-dash (“—”) signifies a break in thought, an alternate way of indicating a parenthetical statement. If you take out the copy between the dashes, the sentence still makes sense. (“My co-worker’s incessant gum-cracking—not to mention her constant throat clearing—made for an unpleasantly noisy work atmosphere.”) Ellipses (…) can signify the shortening of a list, or a stylistic trailing off of a thought, or a hesitation in speech.

 Jamie Miles: Also, when used in dialogue, an em dash can signal an abrupt break in speech, such as when a character is interrupted. For example:

“Young lady, I’m going not going to tell you again—”

“I’m tired of you bossing me around like a child!” she interrupted him. “You know I’m all of twenty years old…” Her voice wavered as he glared back at her, unmoving.

Katherine Deane: Thanks. And great example of dialog tags also. I would love to go into more detail about them at some point.

Katherine Deane: Why can’t I WRITE in ALL CAPS? I’m trying to REALLY make a point here!

Erica Scott: Because not only does it look like yelling, but it’s the lazy way to emphasize. You’ll get the same effect, without the angry look, if you italicize. If you want to be especially emphatic, you can (very sparingly) use bold italic. But over-emphasizing in any way (whether it be caps, italics, bold, or exclamation points) makes for tedious reading after a while.

Jamie Miles: Tsk, tsk. It looks like someone needs to give Katherine Deane a spanking for writing in all caps when she clearly knows it’s against the rules. As Erica explained, it looks like shouting and not emphasizing, but even when a story’s character is shouting, using italics still looks better.

Kate Richards: What they said. 🙂

Katherine Deane: LOL, Jamie. I believe that was incentive for more All Caps from me 😉 (That would make a great story, by the way 🙂 )

Katherine Deane: Ok, are “LY’s” really Satan’s spawn?

Erica Scott:  Are you talking about words that end with “ly,” and the improper usage of them? If that’s the case, I would like to express my nails-on-the-blackboard frustration with “more importantly” and “I feel badly.” Stop saying and writing these phrases, people! They’re wrong! “More importantly” does not mean the same thing as “more important”; it means “in an important manner.” And if you say “I feel badly,” you’re basically saying that you’re lousy at touching people.

Katherine Deane: Ooh, I just read about this in the “Grammar Girl” book. The word “badly” describes the verb “feel”. So I cannot “feel badly” about being mean to someone. This would mean after I was mean to this person, I turned around and did a very poor job of touching the objects around me. Hehe, I “felt badly”. 🙂

Katherine Deane: What if I have more than one female in a scene, and the POV is the MC Female? I know I am supposed to take out a lot of the names, when in MC’s POV. But it gets tricky, when there are so many she’s going on.

What then?

Kate Richards: It’s something that takes practice. After a while, it becomes natural, but reading out loud helps to be sure you are making sense without name bombing the reader.

Jamie Miles: I don’t think there is a set rule about this as it seems to be a more visual thing and more about what sounds right. But that being said, I would probably go with using “she” for the most part when talking about the MC. Then I would use the side character’s name more often, although I would try to use “she” for the side character when it makes sense that the side character is the one being talked about.

Katherine Deane: Can you explain show vs tell? I have been told this a lot. Turns out, I would be a great writer for onstage musicals.

Throws hands in air; walks away; smiles; sits down 🙂

Jamie Miles: For me, showing your characters doing actions that have a deeper or implied meaning is huge. If a character stutters just a tiny bit when trying to answer a question, or if she shifts her eyes away, that implies many things. Perhaps she is nervous, lying, or frightened. When other bits of detailed description and interesting conversation surround characters doing actions that could have a deeper meaning, you have a good story.

Kate Richards: This deeper meaning allows the readers to be more a part of the story. If you tell me the day was hot, okay, I get the point, but if you show me the beads of sweat on the hero’s muscular chest, the condensation on the glass of chilled white wine, the glare on the windshield, the heroine’s languor in the warm afternoon….I’m there.

Katherine Deane: What are some common issues found, that authors could fix themselves?

Erica Scott:  Spelling errors, certainly. If you get a red squiggle when you type a word, and you’re not sure about it, take a moment to look it up. If you cite anything from a geographical reference to a historical figure, make sure you’ve spelled it properly. Also, the aforementioned inconsistencies. Certainly an editor or proofreader can pick up on these, but it helps if the author stays on top of things and checks/double-checks their styles, name choices, pertinent details, etc., to make sure everything follows. If your character was 18 in 1975, then she’s 57 in 2014, not 53.

Jamie Miles: Mid-scene point of view hopping can easily make writing look less professional than it would otherwise. Giving readers the thoughts, emotions, and experiences of only one character at a time and using either a chapter break or a scene break to signal a shift to a different character’s point of view is something that quickly improves a story.

Katherine Deane: A final personal question for each of you- What do you most enjoy and / or least enjoy about the editing process?

Kate Richards: The most enjoyable part of editing are the same as writing. I love the beginning, and the possibilities, and the end when there is a beautiful shiny story that is everything it could be. The middle is the hard work that gets us there.

 Erica Scott:I take a lot of pride in taking someone’s good work and making it even better. I have a lot of respect for writers and never wish to step on their toes. By the time the copy gets to me, it’s relatively clean. But if I can take a phrase that’s unclear, or a misspelled name, or a choice of word that doesn’t quite fit, and tweak it just a little to perfect it, I get a lot of satisfaction from that. Things will slip by even the best of writers, and that’s where I come in.

That being said, the work can be tedious at times. My eyes get tired and if I don’t take breaks, I miss errors, which really frustrates me. I mean, I’m being paid to find things, not miss them! But sometimes, if there are more than the usual amount of typos, and I’m fixing three errors in one sentence, I might overlook the fourth. Which is why I have to remind myself to go slowly and carefully, and never rush a job. I tend to prefer to work with clients without breakneck turnarounds necessary, for that reason.

 Jamie Miles: The least enjoyable part of my work is that it captures my mind—sometimes when I wish it wouldn’t. I’ll lie awake in bed thinking about an author’s plot, characters, and scenes, contemplating ways to add to them. I even dream about editing. Maybe I need to get out a little more… But the most enjoyable part? Seeing my work and the author’s very hard work come to fruition.

Katherine Deane: Thank you so much ladies! I really appreciate your time and support , not only because of your willingness to go the extra mile in the editing process, but also your extra support with this blog post. This has a ton of great information that I cannot wait to share with the others! Thanks again!

 

Fellow authors and readers, thanks for stopping by today. So let’s get the discussion started! Let’s talk about eidting editing. 🙂

*****

 

Our wonderful co-hostesses for the day:

 

Jamie Miles

Jamie Miles has a bachelor’s degree in English literature and cannot remember a time when she hasn’t thrilled to the magic of characters brought to life on a printed page. When she graduated, her goal was to get into the publishing business, and she has recently found spanking romance and erotica to be an exciting corner of the publishing world. For the past year, she has been editing for Stormy Night Publications and is excited to move to a full-time role with the company. When she’s not editing spanking books, she can be found either engrossed in a good novel or finding new ways to brat the loving, firm-handed man who spanks her, which, she assures readers, is as good a hobby as any.

email – jamie@stormynightpublications.com

 

Kate Richards

Kate Richards divides her time between Los Angeles and the High Sierras. She would gladly spend all her days in the mountains, but she’d miss the beach…and her very supportive husband’s commute would be three hundred miles. Wherever she is, she loves to explore all different kinds of relationships in her stories. She doesn’t believe one-size-fits-all, and whether her characters live BDSM, ménage, GLBT or any other kind of lifestyle, it’s the love, the joy in one another, that counts.

She explores the editorial side of things as a partner in Wizards in Publishing and executive editor at Decadent Publishing. In working with authors and editors, she has learned the ins and outs of the author/editor relationship and the value of strength and open communication in such an intimate situation. Preserving the author’s voice, being open to the editor’s input, finding the jewel in a book that may still have some rough edges are all critical to the process.

Facebook Fan Pagehttp://on.fb.me/14Vqx48

Goodreads Pagehttp://bit.ly/19yVcWh

Twitterhttp://bit.ly/17AeWeM

 

Erica Scott

Erica Scott has been a proofreader/copy editor for over 30 years. She is the author of three books: What Happens to Naughty Girls?, a compilation of spanking stories; Late Bloomer,her autobiography; and Correspondence Hall of Shame: One Woman’s Adventures with Online Idiocy. She posts regularly in her blog, Erica Scott: Life, Love and Spanking, and is active on Twitter, Fetlife and Facebook.

Blog:www.ericascottlls.blogspot.com

Twitter: @EricaLScott — https://twitter.com/EricaLScott

FB: Erica Scott — https://www.facebook.com/EricaLScotthomepage

Fetlife: Erica_Scott — https://fetlife.com/users/16939