Archive | September 2012

Social networking for writers.

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s very important for writers to have a platform, especially when you’re trying to attract publishers or agents. So build up your following on your blog, and your Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook accounts! Try to interact with people as much as you can. (I know, I’m kind of a hypocrite as I haven’t been responding to comments… But if you ask me something on Facebook or Twitter, I do try to respond!)

If anyone wants to do an exchange, follow me on Twitter or Facebook and I’ll follow you back! I’ve pasted all my links below. Hope to see you soon!

Also, check out my interview on Aimee Duffy’s blog today. Not only is she my friend and critique partner, but she also is a great romance author! Her first book is coming out next month! I might be biased, but I think it’s a fun, sexy read! I’ll have an interview with her next month, so stay tuned!

www.facebook.com/amymnewmanbooks

Twitter: @theliterarymom

http://www.goodreads.com/amymnewman

You can find Drive Back the Darkness at Amazon here.

You can find Drive Back the Darkness at Barnes and Noble here.

 

 

Our responsibility as writers.

I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about my responsibility as a writer. Who am I responsible too?  What am I responsible for? What is my role as a writer?

Recently, I had something happen that really made me think about writers and what they write. I won’t get into the incident right now, but suffice it to say, it comes down to one core issue: do you, as a writer, want to have the broadest commercial appeal, or do you include something that may or may not alienate some of your audience?

To be honest, I hadn’t ever really thought about it. I wrote what I wrote and if someone didn’t like part of it, oh well. But suddenly, I have readers to think about. I have to worry about being true to myself, to being true to my readers, even to being true to life, as opposed to censoring what I might write about because some people might find it inappropriate to certain audiences.

So what do you do? I know the path I plan to take from here on out. I write for teenagers. I write about things that they might being going through, things they are suffering with. Teens deal with drinking, sex, drugs, death, abandonment, bullying, illness, and abuse. Think about it; I’m sure that as a teen you dealt with at least some if not all of those issues. Should I not write about them, just because it might offend some people?

I choose to write, to be true to life and to my readers. Honestly, I doubt I’ll ever include a love scene in one of my YA novels. But that doesn’t mean that the topic won’t come up. And as far as my plan for the future goes, that is the ONLY thing I might not include in a novel (notice I said MIGHT). If this approach leads to my being criticized, then that’s too bad. I’m tough. I can take it. To have a sterilized book, one that’s all sunshine and rainbows, to me seems a much more awful prospect.

Make sure you know where you stand on this issue BEFORE it ever becomes an issue.

Being a writer means doing nothing…

I know, that sounds odd, doesn’t it? But to some extent, it’s true. Today, if you had watched me, you’ve wouldn’t have seen me do anything writer-ly. My son and I went for an autumn walk and pressed fallen leaves between wax paper. We washed dishes and made batter for homemade donuts. During nap time, I watched the beginning of Jane Eyre, the version made for Masterpiece Theater, on PBS. To the untrained eye, it would have looked like I wasn’t working. But I was.

To some extent, I’m relaxing too. My first book is officially published, and my revisions for my second, unrelated novel, have been sent in to my agent. There isn’t really anything to do until she gets back to me. So what was I doing today?

I was thinking, imagining, stewing. All the possible ideas I’ve had swirling in my head for months have suddenly become more prominent, more demanding. Characters are knocking on my brain, demanding attention. I’ve begun dreaming about them, about some of the story sparks I have.

This is my absolute favorite part of being a writer; the choosing of the next story, the fleshing out of the characters, the imagining. There are endless possibilities in front of me, all bright and sparkling and new. Which will I pick? What will I create? What will the final product be like? At this point, no one knows, not even me…

What about you? What’s your favorite part of writing?

Marketing for authors: a necessary evil?

Before I forget,there was a new interview with me posted today. If you want to check it out you can find it here. Now, on to today’s post!

I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day and I mentioned I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I’ve been working toward the release of my YA fantasy, Drive Back the Darkness, for a long time. I’ve done revision after revision, copy-editing, proofing, etc. I’ve hired a marketing company to arrange a blog tour. I’ve done interviews and sent email after email asking random people if they wanted to review my book. On top of that, I signed with an agent and have been working on massive revisions on my next book (an unrelated contemporary YA novel.

My mom said, “Of course you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed. You’re a creative person, and you haven’t been able to create anything new for months. You’ve been working so much towards the business side of being a writer that you haven’t actually gotten to be a writer.” (Okay, that might not be a direct quote, but it was something along those lines.)

The question is, is marketing and everything else that goes along with publishing a book, part of being a writer? Unfortunately, the answer to this is yes. In our world today, the realty is that publishers don’t have a huge marketing budget for every book that comes out. They don’t even have a mediocre budget for most books that come out. The sad truth is, the author has to do much, or all of it, herself. But honestly? It’s not work I even remotely enjoy. I would much rather be creating a story.

There has to be a fine balance between the work you do to promote a book and creating a new one. I, myself, have just about reached the end of my rope in regards to the non-creative aspects of writing. I’m going to have to finish it all up and then get to work on my next story. I can only stand so much business, facts, and schmoozing before it really starts to get to me.

What about you guys? Do you feel the way I do? Does anyone else have a hard time wearing both your creative hat and your business hat? How do you integrate the two?

You can find Drive Back the Darkness at Amazon here.

You can find Drive Back the Darkness at Barnes and Noble here.

I’m a published author!

Yup, that’s right! My young adult fantasy, Drive Back the Darkness, is finally out! You can find it on Amazon here.  You can find it on Barnes and Noble here.

There’s also an interview with me up here. Feel free to check it out!

If you want to win a copy of Drive Back the Darkness, there is still time! I’ve decided to extend the contest until next Thursday, the 21st.  If you’d like to win a digital copy of my book for you kindle or E-reader, please use the “contact me” form to send me your name and email address, along with a message that says something like “contest entry”. If you don’t want to use the form, you can also email me at theliterarymom @ gmail.com (remove the spaces!). Just make sure you put contest entry in the subject line, or I might not open it! All entries must be received by September 21st, 11:59 pm Central Standard Time.  I’ll announce the winner either Friday the 22nd or Monday the 25th.

Also, If you haven’t friended me on Facebook yet, my name on there is Amy M. Newman, and my icon is the red and orange cover of my book!

It’s been a long and sometimes bumpy road. It still doesn’t seem real. I still have so much work to do marketing this book and working on revisions for the next that it’s hard for me to stop and enjoy the moment! A large part of me feels like I need to just keep pushing forward. I think a big reason for that feeling is due to the fact that I know I have a limited time before my next son arrives and renders me a sleep-deprived zombie!

Anyone have any ideas on ways to celebrate?

Deadlines and contests!

Okay, no more suspense! I made the deadline. It was pretty late last night, but I finished it up and sent everything in. According to Etopia Press my book will be released tomorrow! I asked Annie Melton, president of Etopia if my book would be up on all the sites for sale tomorrow, and this is what she said:

“Yes, and no. 😉 As soon as it’s uploaded, they start building the pages. Amazon goes up faster, but they do them in stages, so you’ll see the page, then the cover, then the blurb, etc., and finally the buy button. B&N will probably be later in the day. Omnilit will be immediate in the a.m. Kobo and Sony will be a few days out, but they load by hand rather than by publisher upload.”-  Annie Melton

I’ll make sure to notify everyone when my book is officially up for sale!!

In other news, there is still time to enter to win a free copy of Drive Back the Darkness. If you’d like to win a free digital copy of my book for you kindle or E-reader, please use the “contact me” form to send me your name and email address, along with a message that says something like “contest entry”. If you don’t want to use the form, you can also email me at theliterarymom @ gmail.com (remove the spaces!). Just make sure you put contest entry in the subject line, or I might not open it! All entries must be received by September 13th, 11:59 pm Central Standard Time.  I’ll announce the winner either Friday the 14th or Monday the 17th.

Excerpt of my YA novel, Drive Back the Darkness, and a publishing crisis!

Well, everybody, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is, you get to read an excerpt of my novel! The bad news is there was some unforseen problems with my manuscript on the publishing end that resulted in a huge amount of work for me. In short, I have about 7 hours of work to do before tomorrow morning and I can’t find a babysitter anywhere… Any one want to help me out? 🙂

Anyway, long story short, if I can’t manage to pull this off, my book won’t be published Friday. I had a good cry to get rid of my stress and frustration and now I’m off to work. Enjoy the excerpt and stay tuned. I’ll let you know if I pulled it off early tomorrow morning!

Excerpt from Drive Back the Darkness:

Prologue

 

Two weeks ago

 

Something was wrong. The tingle at the base of Ellie’s spine told her so, long before she heard the sound of footsteps on the cement behind her. The bright fall sunshine crackled with danger. Something was very, very wrong.

Ellie’s hands began to shake. She wrapped them around the straps of her backpack and walked a little faster. Her home was only a few blocks away. She could make it a few blocks, couldn’t she?

There. Another footstep. Whoever was behind her had sped up too. Ellie took a deep breath and glanced over her shoulder. The woman behind Ellie smiled. Ellie’s arms went limp, and her backpack thudded to the sidewalk. For a brief second, her blood froze in her veins. Then, she ran.

The air around her seemed to thicken, holding her back. She pushed through it, desperate to get away from the monster behind her. She ran as fast as she could, blind to everything around her. If Ellie didn’t get away, she knew she was dead. She could hear the woman running behind her, the light footfalls on the cement, the rustle of her black leather coat. The woman was toying with her, like a cat with a mouse.

There. There was her house. Her heart thudded fast and thick, struggling against waves of hot, sticky panic. Ellie’s legs trembled underneath her, and her stomach pitched. She had to make it. She put on one last burst of speed, jumped the three porch steps, and hammered on the door.

Ellie’s mom pulled open the door. “Goodness, Ellie! Did you lose your key?” 

Ellie pushed her inside, kicked the door shut, and turned the dead bolt. She stared at the woman on the other side of the glass. She was still smiling. And every one of her teeth was as sharp and pointed as a dagger.

 

Chapter One

 

Today was like every other day of Ellie’s life except for two things: one, it was her sixteenth birthday, and two, she was being stalked. Ellie gnawed on a thumbnail, the sharp, rusty flavor of blood filling her mouth. She had never been a nail biter, but she was now. It seemed to help the constant panic fluttering in her chest. She glanced at the window, a shiver snaking down her back. She knew the woman was out there, waiting.

“Eleanora Lyons.” Mr. Smith, Ellie’s history teacher, called her name. Ellie slid out of her desk, her too-pale legs flashing like sticks of chalk under her swirly skirt, a fact that would have bothered her two weeks ago. Now, it no longer seemed important. She took her test from him, not even bothering to cover the big red A+ with her fingers, like she would have before.

“Freak,” Chris, the quarterback of the football team, fake coughed the words.

Ellie sighed and then glanced at his paper, which had a D inked across the top.

She sat down in her seat, almost too tired to deal with him. Almost. “At least I’m a freak that can manage to remember basic facts.”

Chris frowned and flexed his big, beefy fingers. “Watch yourself, nerd-girl. You don’t want to tick me off.”

Ellie ignored him. She used to wonder why they picked on her, running all the possible reasons through her mind. Maybe it was because she ruined the grade curve, or maybe it was because her skin was so pale you could see her veins through it, when the other girls were all shades of gold. Maybe it was because she had a monster following her like a puppy dog. Somehow, Ellie couldn’t bring herself to care anymore.

The bell shrilled through the room. She shot to her feet and then crashed to the floor, courtesy of the backpack strap that had wound itself around her leg. Apparently, panic made her a bit of a klutz. Laughter echoed behind her as she stumbled to her locker, stuffed a bunch of books into her bag, and then sprinted down the hall. She had to make it outside while there was still a crowd of kids milling around.

The sunshine dazzled her eyes, and she blinked frantically, her heartbeat thudding in her ears. She didn’t see the woman, but that didn’t mean that she wasn’t there.

As she started the jog toward home, dead, dry leaves rustled under her feet sounding like creepy voices whispering at her.

“Come on, Ellie, get a grip,” she muttered. She took a deep breath, crouched down, and pretended to check the strap on her sandal. She glanced behind her. The woman let Ellie see her for just a second, before disappearing. A shiver prickled her skin, and she began to run.