On the Dilemma of Genre Hopping

In the past week, I’ve worked on writing a literary fantasy romance and editing a literary sci-fi fantasy epic, thought of ways to advertise my recently released literary thriller romance, and came up with ideas for a sci-fi novel and a literary zombie apocalypse romance.

So, to say that I hop genres might be an understatement.

Now, every big marketing expert whose classes I’ve taken said that hopping genres is a bad idea.

Truthfully, it does make marketing a great deal harder.

But.

I can’t imagine sitting down to force myself to write something I hate just because it’s in the same genre as something else I wrote. The idea of spending months with a story or world or plot or character that I just couldn’t sink myself into seems exhausting, and I’m pretty sure it would ruin writing for me.

So I refuse to settle into one genre.

And I don’t have the energy to maintain a social media platform for pen names for every genre.

Which means that it does make marketing harder.

But it isn’t impossible.

You just have to find the unifying theme in all your books and really lean into that. In blurbs, in ads, in social media posts, everywhere you talk about your books, lean into that unifying theme.

For me, it’s the grit and psychology, the character development and the fact that these characters go through real shit (even if the world they’re in is far from real).

That, and my writing style. Lyrical, full of sentence fragments and short paragraphs for the sake of flow, providing only necessary details, first person/present tense.

Those things all together mean that my books, even when they’re fantasy or sci-fi or a thriller, are literary fiction.

So, I need to lean into that.

Character profiles and details about their struggles, their traumas, their strife.

Things like that.

So if you’re debating on whether to hop genres, you need to make a decision.

Which is more important, writing what you want or having a more straightforward marketing path?

If you plan to hop genres, going wherever your heart wants with your books, then you need either multiple pen names or you need to find that thing that unifies your books.

Maybe it’s that all your books have a love triangle. Maybe it’s that they all contain a clean romance tucked within the larger plot. Maybe it’s that you prioritize world building.

Lean into that in your marketing efforts so you can attract the right readers, people who’ll want to read all your books, regardless of the genre the story is contained within.

(My main problem so far, if I’m being completely honest, is that I tend to prioritize every other aspect of the writing and publishing process over marketing/advertising.)

But if you really lean into that unifying theme across your books (and actually market and advertise), you can hop to your heart’s content and still build a fan base that will follow you through the genres.


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Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

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Self-Publishing Resources That Have Helped Me Out

There are a lot of steps involved in self-publishing. And I mean a lot. From searching the internet for good keywords to making pretty pictures of your book to post on social media, there’s a lot to do.

But there are also a lot of awesome resources at our disposal.

The trouble is, they’re hidden in all the garbage floating around online.

So, today, I wanted to give you a list of resources I’ve discovered in the past year that have really simplified things for me.

Some of these things are free. Some are not. But now that I have them, I can’t imagine not having them and having to do all this stuff by hand.

Category Finder

Figuring out what categories to put your book into can be an absolute nightmare. But there’s an awesome tool that finds all the categories a comparable bestseller in your genre is in so that you can use those categories.

Just go here.

Then, in a new tab or window, go to Amazon and get the ASIN or ISBN-10 of a book similar to yours that ranks in the top 100 in your genre.

Paste that number into the site above and let it work its magic.

And by the way, if you didn’t know (because I didn’t until this year), if your book is published through KDP, you can contact their support team and have them add your book to more categories. They allow two in the setup phase, but you can add an additional eight!

KDP Rocket/Publisher Rocket

This one’s useful for a lot of reasons, though the primary thing I use it for is finding keywords for my books. If you type in a keyword you think might be good, it does some tech magic and finds a bunch of stats for that keyword, as well as any similar keyword that’s been entered into Amazon.

It tells you: how many times that keyword is entered into Amazon and Google per month, how much the books with that keyword average in sales per month, how many books use that keyword, how competitive it is, and a few other things.

A recent update even color codes those stats to show you at a glance whether or not those stats are in a good range.

This one is not free, but it makes keywords so easy that I think it’s worth the $97 (USD) price tag.

Instant Data Scraper Plug-In

This little tool put Goodreads to work for you. You just find a list on Goodreads that has books similar to yours, give this plug-in the requisite link, and let it extract the information. With a little work in Excel to clean them up, you’ll end up with a bunch of book titles to target in ads.

Mock Up Shots

This site charges $198 for lifetime access, but gives you tons of professional mockups for your book. Just upload the cover and download as many of them as you want for as many books as you want mockups for.

Book Report Plug-In

KDP has a decent sales reporting system, at least compared to Ingramspark. But this plug-in shows you a more comprehensive view of your royalties, even breaking it down by individual books. Which is pretty helpful if you’re running a sale or an ad and want to know if a specific book or series is selling.

It’s easy to set up and use. Somehow, it reports sales that might not show up in KDP’s sales reports.

It only works for KDP books though. If it was published through any other publisher, the sales won’t show up on Book Report.


Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Self-Publishing

The choice to pursue self-publishing or traditional publishing is a tough one, and the “right choice” is different for everyone.

For me, it was self-publishing.

But there are a few things I wish I knew ahead of time.

Today, I’m sharing them with you. 

It’s difficult.

This path takes so much work. You’re not just the writer. You have to be an entire publishing house.

That means that everything falls to you.

Unless, of course, you hire some of the work out. There are a few aspects of this route that most would recommend working with a pro (covers and editing, for example).

So, it can get pricey.

And it is definitely a lot of work. 

This should not be done alone.

I know, the “self” in self-publishing implies otherwise, but working in a vacuum is a dangerous thing, for multiple reasons.

You need feedback from others to know what works and what doesn’t. You’re too close to your work to see all the flaws, sometimes because of attachments to characters and sometimes because we know what’s going on and our brain fills in the things that aren’t (but should be) on the page.

But also because this shit gets stressful.

Having a group of writer friends, people who understand all the intricacies, or a few non-writers willing to learn about publishing through your venting, is pivotal. It really helps alleviate the stress sometimes.

And who knows, they might see a solution you don’t.

Or in the case of writer friends, they might have experienced the same problem you’re experiencing, and maybe they already have a workaround for it.

Start your author platform now.

I used to hate social media. I avoided it like the plague. I dragged my feet, posted inconsistently, and hesitated to start my newsletter.

But now, my author platform is kinda the only reason I’ve sold any books.

At all.

It’s how I reach people, how I meet other authors, how I connect with reviewers and readers.

And it takes time to build a solid author platform. I started late, so I’m not where most would like to be after releasing seven books. But I’m getting there.

And if you haven’t, you need to start building yours.

Even if you haven’t finished a book yet. 

You can post things about you, about how you write, what books you like to read (extra points if they’re in the genre you write in because that’ll draw in people who read in that genre).

Figure out which platform you want to start with and go for it. Start a newsletter ASAP.

And if you’re counting Instagram out because “What would I post pictures of?”… You. Books. Bookshelves. Character art. Mood boards. There are infinite possibilities.

Take some marketing and advertising classes.

Marketing and advertising (yeah, they’re different things) are the main reason I considered traditional publishing. Then, research revealed that a good portion would still fall to me even if I went the traditional route.

But instead of doing the smart thing and throwing myself into classes and figuring out how to do those things properly right at the outset, I… didn’t.

I don’t know why, honestly.

Dread, I think. Social anxiety and intimidation.

But I’ve been taking classes off and on, and trying to figure them out. I still have a long way to go, so I’m not about to do any advertising blogs, but I do suggest learning how to market and advertise your books.

As a self-published author, it falls to you to get your books out there, and it is not an easy thing to do. There are literally millions of books out there, and it’s up to us to figure out how to get people to first, see our books, and second, buy them.

This is a valid publishing route.

The self-publishing stigma is intense. So much so that for a while, I was ashamed of my choice. Of course, part of that is just me. (I tend to worry too much about what others think and whether or not I’m letting them down.)

But after more research, after talking to other (much more successful) indie writers, after seeing what’s out there, after paying attention to which books are indie and which aren’t (and seeing monstrosities and absolute gems in both publishing avenues), I realized that this is a valid publishing route.

And shame has no place in it.


Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

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Things Left Unsaid: Read the Prologue Free

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how it’s already almost release day. It doesn’t quite make sense, and I’m not sure where the time went.

And yet, somehow, release day is tomorrow.

But this time, since I’m still getting over this century’s plague and about to start physical therapy for my carpal tunnel, I’m going to cut myself a break.

Rather than stress myself out even more with a live reading (because social anxiety plus reading aloud for people on the internet is stressful as fuck), I’m going to leave the prologue here for you to read at your leisure.

Fair warning, the prologue is from the perspective of the bad guy. And he is definitely a bad guy.

Prologue

Kurt

The car bumps along on the old dirt road as Ian hits yet another pothole. Elbows dig into both my sides as Jake and Kerry ricochet in their seats. I hold myself rigid, digging my feet into the floorboard to brace myself.

You’d think they’d try a little harder to keep from jabbing me. It isn’t that hard to keep control of your parts.

Staring forward at Ian and Ariella in the front seats, I seethe, wishing I could sit there. But my hips are narrower than Ariella’s, making me a better fit for this stupid seat. And it’s Ian’s stupid, tiny car, so of course, he’s driving.

And she called it, so eager as she shouted, “Shotgun!”

My eyes roll as I stare out at the trees choking the road. Yet again, I question the point of this trip.

Her words from yesterday echo in my mind. “Come on, Kurt. You know I love haunted places. And I haven’t seen Ian or Jake or Tori in so long.”

Now, she sits in front, bathed in sunlight and beaming at Ian. They laugh together, recalling old college memories. Their arms bump together on the armrest with each dip in the road.

Ariella tips her head back, laughing deeply. She covers her mouth with her hand, but when she puts her arm back on the armrest, it lands skin to skin with Ian’s.

And she barely pulls away.

Heat surges through my veins as anger burns me. I grit my teeth.

Ian swerves, hitting another pothole. Laughter fills the front seat as their arms brush again. Elbows dig into my sides. Again.

Fucking bastard’s doing it on purpose…

And suddenly, I hear her voice, really hear it, as she begged me to go on this trip. I hear the way she lingered on his name. In my mind, she rushes over the other names, not caring whether she sees them again or not.

She didn’t even try to hide it.

Who knew I’d end up with someone just like my whore of a mother.

And when she called riding shotgun, her eyes lit up brighter than the fucking sun. I watch it play out in my mind, and this time I see the soft smile on his lips, see the way he leers at her.

Fucking Ian.

Kerry sits forward, craning her neck to see the road. She leans toward me, peering out between the seats and stealing my view of Ariella’s betrayal. “Shut up, you guys,” she tells the harlot and the casanova. “It wasn’t that bad.”

But I missed what they were laughing about.

Beside me, Jake laughs at his wife. “It really was.”

She reaches over me to lightly smack his knee. Confined as we are, she hits my knee too, and I barely suppress a glare.

“Oh, sorry, Kurt,” she says. Briefly, she leans her head against my shoulder in a sorry excuse for an apology, and her long brown hair tickles my arm. “See what you guys made me do!” she shoots at Jake. “You made me smack Kurt!”

Ariella’s eyes dart upward, meeting mine in the rearview mirror. Dark eyes pulled tight with worry, she holds my gaze.

Is she afraid for Kerry?

People don’t usually hit me and get away with it.

But she doesn’t know that yet.

I hold myself in check, clenching my jaw. My hands ball up in my lap, but I cross my arms, tucking tight fists under my elbows.

Still staring at me, Kerry asks, “Are you okay?”

Ariella turns to look at me, waves of black hair spilling over the armrest. Long, silky tresses swirl over Ian’s arm, and his eyes tear away from the road for a quick glance at her. His eyes sparkle in the waning sunlight, and the corners of his lips lift into a wistful smile.

My stomach sours.

“Kurt?” Kerry prompts, stealing my attention away from the philanderer in the front seat. Her crisp blue eyes stare into mine, edged with concern.

“I’m fine,” I say, voice tight. “Just carsick. Always happens in little cars.”

She accepts my lie, but when I look forward, Ariella’s brows reach for each other, huddling in confusion. I’ve never been carsick in my life, and she knows it. I’m not that weak.

“Sorry, man,” Ian says over his shoulder. “This is a pretty bumpy road. That probably doesn’t help.”

A deep breath puffs out my chest as I stare hard at Ariella.

“Do you… need to switch seats?” she offers, but I hear her reluctance.

After all, why would she want to give up her seat next to Ian?

“Oh, no,” I answer quickly. “I’ll be fine.”

Her lips purse as she considers me, but only for an instant.

Ian taps her knee with the back of his hand, and she turns forward, not even sparing me a second thought. “We’re here,” he says.

Everyone else stares out the windows at the rickety old farmhouse and the shitty barn behind it. They gape and chatter excitedly about the murders that happened here in the early 1900s and the ghosts rumored to haunt the place.

But I stare at the lecher moving in on my woman. Blond scruff decorates his chin and his short blond hair is a mess.

Yet, she thinks she’ll leave me for him?

I shake my head.

I’ll be second to none.


Let’s just say… Kurt doesn’t handle things very well on their trip.

If you want to find out what he does, you can get your copy of Things Left Unsaid here.

It officially releases August 31st (tomorrow), but preorders are available and it’s free in Kindle Unlimited.

If you want a thriller now, you can check out Annabelle and her weaponized parasol here, also free in Kindle Unlimited.


Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

Want to help fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

The Real Cause Of The Self-Publishing Stigma

It’s no secret that self-publishing gets a bad reputation. There’s this belief among people who don’t know better or people who’ve been burned by a self-published book or two that authors only self-publish if they aren’t good enough to land a book deal with a big agent or traditional publisher.

But that isn’t the case.

At least, not normally.

And therein lies the problem.

Self-publishing is a grueling, labor-intensive, valid publishing avenue, but there are some authors out there who abuse it and give it a bad reputation.

They look down on self-publishing, deeming it unworthy, a last resort. As such, when they get frustrated with the unbelievably long and grueling process of querying agents and traditional publishers, they just toss their story up on whatever self-publishing platform they can, with little to no research into what it takes to make a book presentable to the public. (Then get mad and diss self-publishing when their lack of forethought and preparation results in low sales or bad reviews.)

Janky formatting, no editing, hand-drawn covers (even if you’re a fantastic artist, hand-drawn art does not a book cover make)…

And readers notice.

They see these books and worry that spending more of their hard-earned money on other indie authors might get them the same subpar products.

But that isn’t the case.

Most indie authors care greatly for their books and spend as much, if not more, time getting them ready for publication than they do writing them. Many indie authors spend literal tons of money on editing and cover design and formatting, on ISBNs and copyright registrations and websites, on classes and books to study their craft.

The vast majority of indie authors chose self-publishing. For the freedom it offers in publishing schedules, genre mash-up opportunities, creative license, and so many other things. For the ability to control exactly what they’re putting out into the world, because traditional publishers get the last say on everything.

Self-publishing isn’t a last resort.

Any who believe it to be are woefully under-informed, because this is a path to be chosen, a path that requires a great deal of extra effort in a lot of very different fields.

But there’s one more cause for the bad reputation.

The authors who get their work good *enough* and just throw it out there. Some bank (literally) on advertising with a good hook to sell the books anyway and some just don’t care.

And though they make up only a small portion of indie authors, they do some damage. Readers remember when they get burned. They remember, and they tell their friends.

So please, before you self-publish, do your research. Take the time to decide if this is the right path for you. Take the time to improve your work before publishing.

If you won’t do it for you, then do it for the indie authors out there busting ass to turn out the best work they possibly can.


Want to help fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

An Indie Author’s Guide to Repackaging a Book

One of the brilliant things about being an indie author is that you can repackage your book whenever you need to. Covers, trim sizes, fonts, whatever you want to change, you can change it.

Traditional publishers do this for you, or without you, picking and choosing the cover (sometimes consulting you on the matter).

But for an indie, repackaging a book means a lot of work.

So, how do you know if you need to do it?

Without a team of experts in a big time publishing company to make the decision to repackage a book, it can be hard to tell. So today, we’re covering a few circumstances wherein you might benefit from repackaging your book, starting with the most dire circumstances.

Unprofessional

If your book cover does not look professional, something reviewers and bloggers will likely point out, you NEED to repackage your book.

Your cover is the most important piece of marketing material you have. It’s everywhere that your book is. It’s in all your promotional material.

If it looks like it was whipped up in a matter of minutes by someone with no clue as to what they’re doing, it will turn readers away.

Your cover doesn’t match your genre

It’s important to stand out from other books. But your cover should lend itself to your genre.

If your book is a cozy mystery but the cover looks more like a fantasy romance, first of all, how? Second, you’ll be drawing in the wrong types of readers.

People who would be interested in your book likely won’t give it a second glance, whereas the people drawn in by the fantasy cover will turn away after reading the blurb.

It has nothing to do with the story

Your cover needs to reflect the type of story the book contains. And this goes beyond genre. This gets into subgenres and tropes.

Magical orbs fit fantasy, but they should not appear on the cover of a low fantasy book (fantasy minus magic).

A sci-fi novel without a single romance subplot shouldn’t have a couple on the cover about to kiss or a topless dude posing for the camera. Those things draw in romance readers looking for at least a subplot of love.

Which might lead to disappointment once they start reading and find none in the book.

Now, on to the less dire circumstances that might require a book to be repackaged.

Branding

Whether you’re going for a consistent art style, color palette, or font choices, branding is important. It lets readers know that a book is yours before they ever see your name on it.

If they recognize your style on the cover and they know they can trust you, trust your work, that’s an easier sale.

If you’re redoing your brand (or just realizing that branding can apply to book covers), this is a good reason to pick out a new cover.

It isn’t make or break. It won’t destroy your career if your book covers don’t all match in some way. But having them look cohesive can help.

This is especially important in series. Outside of a series, it could just be a tendency toward a specific color palette and the use of a certain font for your author name.

New Edition

If you’ve added a significant amount of content to your book, enough to constitute a new edition, then a new cover could help readers differentiate between the two.

Book birthday celebration

If your book has reached its first birthday, maybe celebrate with a shiny new cover?

I’ve done this for most of mine, updating the covers as a celebration and to keep up with current genre tendencies.

Special edition/Limited edition

If you want to generate a bit of buzz and have a backup cover that you didn’t use, there’s always the option of running that cover for a little while as a special edition/limited edition.

Just keep in mind that if a seller has already ordered a few copies, they’ll ship those out first before ordering any copies with the new cover. A workaround for this is to set up a different book altogether, with a separate ISBN, to sell the limited edition cover copies.

Now, there are other times to change covers. This is not a comprehensive list, by any means. But keep in mind that you should do so strategically. Changing the cover every other week could drive your readers bonkers.

But doing so every now and then provides you with an opportunity to bring your book back out into the public eye. It’s an event, just like the original cover reveal.


Check out my series on making book covers the right way. Part One, Two, and Three.


Want to fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

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A Guide to the ARC Reader Process: Part Three

Okay. So your book is ready for ARC readers, and you’ve found (or chosen your method for finding) them.

Now what?

Whether you’re doing this the good old-fashioned way and sending ebook files to each individual reader or uploading to Book Sprout or Book Funnel and sending a handy dandy download link to your readers, there’s one more thing to do first.

You need to convert your file into several different formats. And you can think of this as a preemptive step since you’ll need it converted from a .doc or .docx to whatever your chosen publisher requires (unless you’re going traditional, in which case, your publisher will likely handle this and the ARC process for you).

Why do you need different formats? Because there are many different ereaders available.

You’d think that, for the sake of simplicity, they’d all read the same file type.

But no.

That’s far too sensible.

Each one has a specific file that it works best with, and in order to seamlessly send ARCs (or upload them to Book Sprout, Book Funnel, etc.), you’re going to need to convert your normal word document to all these other formats, including:

EPUB (Nook, Android, many others)

MOBI (Kindle)

PDF (phones, tablets)

Word will export to PDF (but it has a weird thing with refusing to embed fonts at random, even when you have the box checked to embed fonts, and then you have to print to pdf instead of export). Word WILL NOT convert to mobi or epub.

BUT.

If you’re like me and the thought of all that money and the process of learning new design software is a bit daunting, there is another option for converting ebook files.

There’s a free program available for download online that can do all these conversions. This is why it irks me so much that some Vanity Presses flaunt their ebook conversion as an excuse to charge authors money. (Don’t pay your publisher, btw. They should pay you.)

Anyway… There’s a program that does this for free. It can convert to so more file formats than I even know what to do with.

It’s called Calibre.

It’s simple to use, and there are free how-to guides to show you what to do once you download it. There’s even a demo on their website.

I use this for all my ebook conversions, and I’m… not exactly tech savvy.

It’s quick and uncomplicated. And as far as computer programs are concerned, that’s kinda my jam.


Want to fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

A Guide to the ARC Reader Process: Part One

ARCs are a vital part of any book launch, providing a little boost during release week. But what are ARCs? Why are they important? And what do you do with them?

ARC means Advanced Reader Copy. It’s a copy of your book that you send out to reviewers or avid readers for free before the book comes out in exchange for an honest review on or before release day.

These can be print copies or ebooks, but there are obvious logistical benefits to ebook. First of all, you can send ebooks for free. Shipping books, even going media mail and risking late delivery, gets expensive real fast. Some of the bigger bookstagrammers prefer hard copies because they photograph better, but we’ll get there later.

Is this whole process a gamble? Yes.

Not every ARC reader honors their promise to leave a review.

And the ones who do aren’t guaranteed to love it. This does mean there’s a chance the reviews that go up could be bad reviews. (Hence the stress on the word honest up above.)

But ironically enough, even bad reviews get your book noticed in the eyes of the almighty algorithm.

Why does that matter?

When your book gets enough reviews (I’ll be honest, I don’t know the magic number. I’ve heard 10, I’ve heard 20, and I’ve heard 50), Amazon will start recommending it.

Without any extra effort from you.

As in… FREE promotion of your book.

So obviously, reviews are important, whether they’re good, bad, or neutral.

And since some readers prefer to read 3, 2, or 1 star reviews (so they can see what they’re really in for and decide if they can stomach the bad in the name of the good), they could actually serve you well.

Some readers find books they love after seeing a 1 star review complaining about the presence of a certain trope within the book, a certain trope that happens to be that second reader’s favorite.

Now what do you do with ARCs?

First of all, you should make sure your book is ready for this step. All major edits should be done. ARC readers are not beta readers. They shouldn’t find plot holes for you to patch up after the fact. That would basically invalidate their review.

Exception: If the book is still with your editor for proofreading (aka some typos remain), that’s okay. Just make a note at the beginning of the ARC so they know to expect a typo or two.

But everything else needs to be done.

That includes interior formatting and the cover design. This needs to feel professional and finished.

Now, take a week and make sure your book is truly ready for this step. Come back next Monday for some tips and resources to help you find appropriate ARC readers to help you launch your book.

P.S.- If you’ve signed on with a traditional publisher, chances are, they’ll handle all of this for you. Indie authors, you have some work ahead of you.


Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

Want to fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

A Pantser’s Guide to Tackling Continuity Errors

So, you don’t plan your books ahead of time. Me either. That doesn’t mean our work has to be riddled with continuity errors or plot-holes.

And avoiding those pesky problems is far easier than you might think.

I have three tried and true tricks to keep things consistent within my books, and today, I’d like to share them with you.

First (and easiest) of all: Take notes.

I don’t mean print it out and highlight key sections. I don’t mean fill notebook after notebook with every detail. At that point, you may as well just plot the book and take out all the fun of discovery that drives us to be pantsers in the first place.

What I mean is this.

When you start a new project, start two documents. One for the story, one for the notes. In the notes document, when your story unveils a new character, jump over into the notes document and jot down their name and whatever information you have about them (hair color, eye color, height, if they’re an asshole, etc.).

Then, jump back into your story and keep on writing.

Don’t stress about their background or what role they’ll play in the story to come. You’ll figure that out later.

This is just so that, when you come across that character later, you have an easy way to refresh your memory. That way, you don’t have a character with blonde hair and freckles show up later with dark hair and a tan.

Whatever develops for the character as you go, feel free to drop it over in the notes document.

You can do the same with world building stuff.

If you come up with a detail you know you’ll need to remember later, put it in your notes. You don’t have to flesh it out right then and there. You can let it marinate until it comes up in the story with more explanation later.

But at the very least, you won’t have to scour your entire WIP looking for what color fur you gave that one animal you made up that your MC’s little brother liked when they were growing up.

Second: Get other people to look at your work BEFORE you publish.

This one is significantly more difficult than the first little trick, because showing your precious to someone is nerve-wracking to say the least. But honestly, you should be doing this anyway.

There are so many things you need a second (or third or fifteenth) set of eyes for.

They come into it without expectation. They don’t know what the world you’ve built is like. They don’t know these characters.

Which means that they’ll see it differently than you do.

They’ll see it how it is.

Not how you meant it to be.

Our brains fill so much in. Words get mixed up or left out, but since we know what’s supposed to be there, our brain fills in the gap.

That also means that sometimes little details get glazed over.

We know what’s supposed to be there, so when a detail comes up that doesn’t quite line up with the previous scenes, our brains just make the correction and keep going.

But other people come into our WIPs with fresh eyes. They haven’t been staring at these pages for weeks/months/years. So when we focus too hard on the big bad evil guy or the incredibly specific personality quirk we want to shine and miss little details…

They stand out to other people.

And wouldn’t you rather fix them before the book is available for the public?

I would.

So, reach out to friends and family, talk to writer friends, get critique partners and beta readers. There are tons of groups specifically for that on Facebook.

Get eyes on your work.

Third: Build REAL people, not just characters. Build REAL worlds, not just words on a page.

This one will potentially require the most effort, but it’s my favorite one.

If your characters feel real to you, they’re more likely to act in real ways. If they feel like old friends, you probably won’t forget what color their hair is. If they move the plot on their own, making choices and doing shit, those actions are a little more likely to be in keeping with their personality and their circumstances.

The same is true of the world. If it feels real, you’re less likely to have a character start a scene on a beach and then magically end the scene in an office building. Unless you’re writing portal fantasy.

So, if you have to go for a walk and daydream about what your characters like to do when they relax to make them feel more realistic? Do it.

If you need to study psychology to get a better grasp on personality development or how people deal with a specific issue or sociology to see how different societies effect the people within them? Do it.

If you need to draw on real emotions from your life to inform your character’s reactions to events in the book? Do it.

Make them real, and their details will be harder to forget.

Now, go forth and write books with undeniable continuity. People will be impressed.

Or, more likely, they won’t notice, which is kinda what you should hope for here because seamless continuity goes unnoticed, whereas continuity issues stand out and jar the reader.

Stay tuned on social media in the coming weeks for the reveal of Soul Bearer’s new cover and a preorder giveaway featuring A Heart of Salt & Silver book swag.

Yeah, I said giveaway. It’s about that time.

Release day is less than a month away, after all.

Preorders available here: mybook.to/AHeartOfSaltAndSilver

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Of Projects and Progress: Where I’m At

I’ve kinda been slacking with telling you where I’m at with my current projects, and it’s time I rectify that. So, buckle up. This may take a minute, because I’m covering them all today.

A Heart of Salt & Silver
Dark Paranormal High Fantasy Romance
Status: Fucking prerelease!

I’ve been hitting the ads hard, though I hate marketing. I’ll be seeking ARC readers soon. Like… this week, if all things go according to plan. *hysterical laughter at the thought of things going according to plan*

The Regonia Chronicles
Dark Science Fiction
Status: Writing

This series is coming along really well. Since the middle of July, I’ve written nearly 50,000 words, bringing the grand total to 128,054 words so far.

And these characters still have a couple planets to travel to, alliances to broker, and a whole ass war to fight.

My previous prediction of this getting split into three books rather than two is pretty damn likely at this point.

And since I’ve stopped and started working on this series between writing other books, learning new stuff all the while, the editing process is going to be interesting. It’ll be like watching my writing skills evolve. I’m dreading it and also looking forward to it.

Where Darkness Leads
Dark Romantic High Fantasy
Status: Neck deep in a rewrite

I’ve already cut 10,000 words, and these bitches aren’t even to the mountain, yet. (For the sake of a reference point that actually means something to you, I’m almost exactly two thirds of the way through.) And this is on top of the 10,000 words I cut in the last round of edits. So basically, I’ve removed a novella from this book.

This is an older manuscript, and I used to be a lot wordier and do a lot of telling rather than showing.

Gotta get this bitch polished.

Allmother Rising
Dark High Fantasy Romance
Status: Beta Readers

I have feedback from most of my beta readers, and I’ve made most of the adjustments.

After I get the feedback from the last betas, I’ll go back to this one for adjustments and then more editing.

Second to None
Thriller Novella
Status: Beta Readers

This baby just started it’s beta reader stage. It’s had two rounds of edits so far, and I’m starting to send it to beta readers.

Thrall
Paranormal Flash Fiction
Status: Beta Readers

This one is also just beginning its beta journey, though I already have fantastic feedback from one.

Soul Bearer
Dark High Fantasy Romance
Status: Released

I’m giving this book a new cover for it’s birthday (later this month). The cover is done, and I fucking love it.

Whew.

There’s a decent amount going on, as you can see. I never have just one project going, though I only ever actively write one project at a time. I’ve attempted to write two side by side, but I always get pulled into one and have to finish the other later.

I have countless ideas for new stories, but as ever, there isn’t enough time in the day. I’ll just have to get to them after I finish The Regonia Chronicles.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.