Indie Authors, YA Author Club

Indie Author Spotlight: Cindy Bennett

Cindy BennettCindy C Bennett was born and raised in beautiful Salt Lake City, growing up in the shadows of the majestic Rocky Mountains. She and her husband raised two daughters, two sons, and a plethora of pets without wandering far from the fold. They’ve now added two beautiful daughters-in-law to their family. In addition to writing YA fiction, she volunteers her time working with teen girls between the ages of 12-18, all of whom she finds to be beautiful, fascinating creatures that constantly inspire her stories. She developed a love of writing in high-school English, when a teacher introduced her to the joys of escaping reality for ten minutes each day in writing. When she’s not writing, reading or answering emails (notice there is no mention of cleaning, cooking, or anything vaguely domestic) she can often times be found riding her Harley through the beautiful canyons near her home. Learn more at www.cindycbennett.com.
Social Media Sites
Geek Girl CoverGeek Girl:
Jen’s teenage life of rebelling and sneaking out is growing stale. In an effort to combat her boredom, Jen makes a bet to turn Trevor, a nice geek, into a “bad boy.” Unexpectedly, she is pulled into Trevor’s world of sci-fi movies, charity work, and even–ugh!–bowling. Jen discovers that hanging out with Trevor isn’t so bad after all.
But when Trevor finds out about the wager, all bets are off.
hearts on a chainHeart on a Chain:
17-year-old Kate has lived her whole life in abject poverty, with an alcoholic father and drug-addicted mother, who severely abuses Kate. At school, her second-hand clothing marks her as a target. Her refusal to stand up for herself makes her the recipient of her classmates taunts and bullying. That is, until Henry returns.
Henry Jamison moved away six years earlier, just as he and Kate had begun to develop feelings for one another. He returns to find the bright, funny, outgoing girl he had known now timidly hiding in corners, barely speaking to anyone around her, suspicious of even him.
Kate can’t figure out what game Henry is playing with her – for surely his attempts at friendship are a game. What else would the gorgeous, popular boy from her past want with her?
Immortal Mine Cover Final 1200 x 1800Immortal Mine:
Niahm (pronounced Neeve) Parker is thoroughly content with her life in the small town of Goshen. When Shane Coleman and his nephew Sam move into town, it’s the biggest event to happen in as long as anyone can remember.
Sam is drawn to Niahm against his will. He’d prefer to not be bound to this angry, stubborn, unlikeable girl. For Immortals, love is not only forbidden, but dangerous for her.
Niahm finds herself attracted to the tall, copper-headed boy, who becomes her friend and then her support when tragedy strikes. Soon, she begins to realize that there may be more to Sam than she ever suspected… much more. But what he truly is, she can’t begin to imagine.
Rapunzel UntangledRapunzel Untangled:
Rapunzel is not your average teenager. For one thing, she has a serious illness that keeps her inside the mysterious Gothel Mansion. And for another, her hair is 15 feet long. Not to mention that she’s also the key to ultimately saving the world from certain destruction.
But then she meets a boy named Fane, who changes all she has ever known, and she decides to risk everything familiar to find out who she really is.
Filled with romance, adventure, and mystery, Rapunzel Untangled is one story you won’t want to put down. Discover the true meaning of love and friendship in this modern twist to the classic fairytale.

 

YA Author Club

Indie Author Series: Book Pricing

The YA Author Club has a LOT going on right now! Several of our members (including myself) have new releases coming out, so keep watching for those. You might notice when you click through the links this week that some of our pages aren’t quite up to date with this week’s topic of book pricing. I figure you’ll forgive us since most of our readers would rather see what’s hot and new this summer in YA. But for those of you who are searching for a little advice on how to price your books, or are just wondering how on earth we decide whether a book should be free or $3.99, here’s my take on the subject.

Cost Analysis
An author spends months, maybe years, getting a book ready to sell. First, we poor ourselves into writing the darn thing. Then, we edit and revise (hopefully) followed by paying someone to edit it so that we can revise it some more. Next, many of us will pay someone to design our cover. For Seen this was actually a multi-step process. I first paid an artist to do the art, then paid a photographer to take high quality photos of the art. Then, I sent it all to my cover designer who turned it into the final product. A lot of authors will then pay someone to format their documents so that they look nice in all the different ereader apps. Finally, we pay for advertising materials like bookmarks, postcards, maybe even some awesome book swag. All out of our own pocket before the book is even in your hands only to find that we can hardly GIVE the book away. I’m not talking about bad books, either. GREAT books go through this same process in the indie world. It’s heartwrenching and bank account draining. Seriously.

So, how does an indie author go about pricing their masterpiece? Let’s look at some options.

Free Isn’t Free
When I first started downloading ebooks I went nuts for all the free books out there. I downloaded several a day for weeks, filling up my iphone with dozens of classics – and a whole lot of crap. I’m sure you can relate. In the end I went back and deleted most of them without even reading them. Now it makes me sad to find a book with a great cover and a clever story concept only to discover the author was too lazy, too cheap, or too self-indulgent to have it properly edited. I’m not even talking about typos, people. There is so much that goes into good editing besides proper grammar and spelling. I don’t get angry when I read a poorly written ebook that was clearly self-published, I just want to call the poor author and say, “Here, honey, let me help you. Let’s not waste any more of your fabulous ideas on bad writing.”

But I can’t do that because it sounds condescending. So, instead I did what a lot of readers did and stopped downloading free books. Now I spend a little more on my books, especially since I have such precious little reading time available. This is why I say, free books aren’t free. They’re usually a waste of my time.

99cents is the New Free
So, if a good author has poured actual money into their work and believes it to be valuable, you can see why they may not want to throw it in the free book bin at Amazon. They want to be taken seriously, right? (Let’s just pretend KDP Select doesn’t exist here, okay? That’s a whole other mess.)

The next best option must be 99cents! Well… not necessarily. I mean, sure, we all love a good bargain. But there are a few reasons why you might not put your book at this lowest price point.

For example, if you’re looking to get back the money you put into the book, you might decide to price it higher to take advantage of the higher royalties. For those of you who aren’t aware, Amazon offers a higher royalty percentage to those who price their ebooks between $2.99 and $9.99.  This is a difficult decision, because you don’t want to price your book so high that no one buys it, but you want to make the most money possible for all your hard work. This is why we see many more books being listed at $2.99. It’s the compromising price point.

Also, many readers consider books priced at 99cents to be in the same quality category as free books. I don’t always agree, but that is still a growing attitude. Personally, I consider 99cents an excellent sales price if the book is normally priced higher. Also, I love the trend of pricing the first book in a series at 99cents (or even free) if the subsequent books are priced higher. This makes sense to me both as a reader and as a writer. It allows readers to try our work with minimal risk in the hopes that they’ll enjoy what they see and come back for more. That, my friends, is a win-win.

Wonder what other indie authors think about book pricing? Check out the blog links below from the fabulous authors at the YA Author Club.

1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy 16. Melika Dannese Lux, author of Corcitura and City of Lights
Indie Authors, YA Author Club, you gotta read

New Release: Unknown by Melissa Pearl

UNKNOWNUnknown (The Elements Trilogy, #1)

by Melissa Pearl

Darkness is covering the land. As the city of Mezrah grows with power and greed, the rest of the world can only stand by and wait for their inevitable destruction. The only hope against this growing power is an ancient prophecy that people have stopped believing in.

 Then a star begins to fall.
Princess Kyla of Taramon stopped believing in the power of light the day her father died. Trapped in a city she does not care for, under the watchful glare of her mother, the queen, she struggles to accept her fate.
Then a star begins to fall.
Jethro has loved Kyla for as long as he can remember. Learning that she was to marry his cousin drove a wedge between him and the feisty princess. Watching her from a distance is a torture he is unable to free himself from.
Then a star begins to fall, sparking an ember of hope and sending two seekers on a treacherous journey into the unknown.
Available June 13, 2013
Melissa PearlMelissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan… not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. “Best. Year. Ever!!” She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November 2011. Since then she has produced four more books and has a YA fantasy trilogy coming out this year.
“I am passionate about writing. It stirs a fire in my soul that I never knew I had. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be and transport my readers into another world where they can laugh, cry and fall in love.”

http://www.melissapearlauthor.com

Indie Authors, YA Author Club

Indie Author Spotlight: Liz Long

This week the YA Indie Carnival is drawing into the spotlight, author Liz Long.

Liz Long

Liz Long is lucky enough to have a dream career in magazine publishing as an editor and writer, yet still have time to create adventures on the side. If you catch her staring off into space or talking to herself, don’t worry – it’s just her imagination at work.

Liz graduated from Longwood University with a BA in English, though her professors might be disappointed to hear she reads more fantasy fiction than literary novels. She also loves action and thriller genres. This book probably won’t change your life, but she hopes it steals you away from reality for a while.

Her newest release, Witch Hearts, will be for sale on Amazon on April 30th. Her first book, Gifted, a Donovan Circus Novel, is also available for paperback and Kindle on Amazon.

To learn more about Liz, we asked her a few questions:

1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?  I think that would have to be Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. To me, it’s the first book in that series that really shows emotional angst for Harry between being a teenager, dating your first crush, and of course, being hunted by Lord Voldemort. We get to see our characters developing into real wizards with the DA (like Neville growing into being a badass), plus the introduction of accepting those deemed a little strange, like Luna Lovegood. We feel our first real loss with a major character as well as the real danger now that dark wizards are out in the open by the end. It’s a full scale of emotions and really sort of sets the rest of the stage for the series, IMO.

2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book’s characters could relate to and why?  Oh gosh, it’s probably still a little early in the game for me to presume I can be compared to another author. BookBub compared my Donovan Circus book to the Hunger Games, with a female character destined to discover who she is and stand up for her world. I’m sure my circus folks could hang with any X-Men character, while my characters from WITCH HEARTS would get along well with the Halliwell sisters from Charmed or Sookie Stackhouse and her friends.

3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
One of my favorite lines is one Lucy says in the first chapter when explaining why she’s rejoining the Donovan Circus:

 “I wanted to be normal amongst the freaks.”

 Family and a sense of belonging are heavy themes in my first book and this line sums Lucy up perfectly. Lucy has never been “normal” anywhere in the human world. She thinks – hopes, really – that she can find her place in the gifted world in the circus she used to know. She’s been a loner her whole life because of her gift and now that there’s an opportunity to be a part of something, she’s happy to include herself in the strange gaggle that is the Donovan gang.

4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?  I listen to a lot of soundtracks, especially movie scores, like Avengers, Sherlock Holmes, and anything else that contains some action type of music. Honestly, nothing has been more motivating for me lately than to hear a reader I’ve never met before tell me how much they loved my work and can’t wait for another book to read. It’s such an amazing feeling to affect someone’s book list and I’m honored to be a part of it. It’s a total kick in the butt to know people are eagerly anticipating another title and makes me want to write that much faster.

5) Describe your typical writing day or week.  I work full time, so I write when I can in my spare time. Often my husband will go to the gym for a couple hours after work, so I take advantage and try to crank out a few hundred words. I also give him lots of time to play video games or watch NBA so I can sit on the couch with him and write. And of course, the weekends contain my biggest chunks of writing time, so there’s nothing I like better than a rainy Sunday with coffee and my laptop.

6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you’re writing?  I love Skittles to snack on during the process, though my teeth beg me to stop. I’m also never opposed to a fresh new 20 oz. Diet Coke within reach, but that’s only once a week at most. The rest of the time it’s H2O!

7) Can you tell us what you’re working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover)?  I am currently working on the second book in the Donovan Circus series. Next up is an NA fantasy novel with a unique twist on Reapers.

Want to know more about Liz or grab a copy of her books? Here’s where you can find her:

Liz’s Website: http://lizclong.com

Twitter: (Handle: @LizCLong) https://twitter.com/#!/LizCLong

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/lizclongauthor

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

Witch Hearts coverWITCH HEARTS Links:

Amazon (ebook): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CIKKEV0

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17616067-witch-hearts

 

Gifted coverGIFTED  Links:

Amazon (ebook): http://www.amazon.com/Gifted-Donovan-Circus-Novel-ebook/dp/B007VT34J2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1336675611&sr=8-2

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13601567-gifted

writing advice, YA Author Club

Word Count Madness

YA Indie CarnivalMany first time authors struggle with word count. How long should my novel be to get published? Is my novel too long? Is it too short? What the heck is a novella and what’s the difference between that and a short story? If you’re an indie author, does it even matter?

Excellent questions. The YA Indie Carnival decided to tackle this confusing topic this week in our Indie Author Series. When I was starting out, I didn’t even know it mattered. Seriously! I had no clue about things like word count and publishing industry standards. Why would it matter how long a book is? Well, like most things, it’s all about the money. Word count in the publishing world affects both the cost of the book to print, and it’s likeliness to be sold to readers. I won’t go into too much detail on this topic because my fellow indie author club member, Bryna Butler, has already covered the basics in her article Do Word Counts Count?

I’ll tell you that I really struggle to get a book over the 60K mark. My stories tend to be action packed and fast paced. My editor always turns in a stack of notes on where I can expand scenes instead of the standard cut and slash method most authors have to endure. In real life I’m obnoxiously verbose, but in my writing I tend to race from one plot point to another. That keeps my word count down. The day I finish a book above 100K, I’ll be calling it “epic” whether it deserves the title or not!

In my opinion, this is just one of the many fabulous reasons I call myself an indie author. I don’t have to worry too much about word count. I get to tell my story, mold it and sculpt it into something I can proudly share with all of you, and then set it free. I don’t have to worry about whether it is meeting some marketing team’s standard, or the printing budget. I know authors who are traditionally published sitting at their desks right now trying to find an extra 30,000 words to cram into their story or a sum of 50,000 to tear out just to meet that industry standard for a publisher. In the end I think the reader suffers most because we don’t see the story as it was meant to be. What a shame that we let business people determine how our stories are crafted. At least if it is a professional editor, we can trust that they care about the integrity of the story, but what does a CEO or a financial team know about our stories? They’re job is to watch that bottom dollar.

Let me tell you how indies are using this freedom to do incredible things for readers in this modern age. We’re seeing the resurgence of the short story and the serial novel in the literary world thanks to indie authors around the globe. With ebooks, authors can share their work so easily, that a reader can now get shorts without having to buy an anthology or search through literary magazines to find them. Some of my favorite authors are even including short stories in their marketing plans these days, fitting them in between their longer novels in a series. For instance, Aaron Pogue has published several short stories to go along with his Taming Fire series, including back story and short stories to give more detail into side characters from the series. As a reader, I love this concept! If I’m engrossed in a world of characters, you can bet I want more of it! This is an area I think I’ll be dabbling in this year as I fill in the missing years between Seen and Wandering in The Wanderer Series.

Another concept I’ve been watching is the use of the serial novel in the ebook world. Once upon a time many of the world’s best stories were written this way and published in local newspapers or magazines. Now we’re seeing this traditional form of story telling reemerge. Wool was crazy successful from author Hugh Howey, netting the author millions of dollars and a ground-breaking publishing contract. Now my friend, author Susan Kaye Quinn, has created her own incredible serial titled The Debt Collector. I’ve been watching her progress very closely as I consider how I might use that model in my own work. She’s set a crazy pace, releasing a new episode in the series every few weeks! Wow! I’m not sure I could keep up with that pace, but I’m inspired to look at my list of future writing plans and see what might work best as a serial. I especially like the value this offers both to the reader and to the writer. Readers can catch smaller chunks of a story at a low price or choose to purchase the entire series for a discount. It’s amazing how this old form is making a new comeback on the modern stage.

What do you think? Does word count matter in this modern age and in the indie publishing scene? What trends are you seeing? Do you have a word count preference? Let us know what you think and then check out the opinions of other indie authors in our YA author club.

Take a few minutes to hop around to the authors’ sites and find out their preferences as well as their rationale behind them.
1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy 16. Melika Dannese Lux, author of Corcitura and City of Lights
Indie Authors, YA Author Club

New Release: Bait by K.C. Blake

The YA Indie Author Club is having another great week of releases. This week, we are going to ask you to join us in supporting K.C. Blake. She’s as dedicated to writing great stories as any author I’ve ever met in person or virtually.

 BAIT
Summary for Bait:
Ghosts, a reaper, and a rock star.
At sixteen Bay-Lee is not your typical girl. She doesn’t even try to fit in at school. What’s the point when she’ll be moving to a new place within a few months?
She’s lived her whole life on the run, hiding from monsters.
Then a reaper uses her closet to cross over from the Spirit Realm. It has a message for her. Just when she’s about to join her father at his school for hunters she finds out they are dying on their birthdays. Something is killing them, slipping past locked doors, never leaving a trace of evidence, and her birthday is only two months away.
Becoming a hunter isn’t exactly her dream come true. She’s doing it for her mother, for revenge, for justice. Nothing is going to get in her way, least of all love. Then she looks up into a pair of jungle green eyes and everything changes.
KC BlakeAuthor Bio:
Born and raised in sunny California, K.C. Blake fell in love with books at a young age and decided to pursue writing as a career.  Her favorite authors include Stephen King, John Saul, Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Carrie Jones.  In her spare time she enjoys shopping (and when I say shopping I mean go to the mall early in the day, eat lunch, and then keep going until you don’t have any strength left), reading great books, taking care of animals (she lives on a farm), and searching for creative ideas to improve her home.  A former writer for Harlequin, she now publishes her books her way and loves every second of it.  Okay, she’s a bit of a control freak.
Bait links:
(also available in print)
K.C. Blake‘s Social Links:
Twitter:  @kasiblake
Indie Authors, YA Author Club, you gotta read

New Release: The Temporal Stone

Don’t you just love new books? This week the YA Indie Carnival is celebrating one of our fellow carnies, Suzy Turner, in the release of her new book, The Temporal Stone.

The Temporal Stone (The Morgan Sisters) by Suzy Turner
Release Date: May 16th

The Temporal Stone

 Synopsis
It’s been a couple of months since Emma and Lana entered the Praxos Academy and life has been hectic ever since. What with regular A level classes combined with learning all about the supernatural world, control classes, self defence and fight night, the girls are constantly busy.

But when their world seems to stop right in front of them, they and their fellow Watchers, have a huge mystery to solve. A mystery which leads them on a long road trip across south west England where they meet all kinds of strange creatures, some intent on causing harm and others desperate to put a stop to the problem.

The Temporal Stone is the second full length novel in The Morgan Sisters series. The first book is entitled The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw. There is also a free novella, Daisy Madigan’s Paradise.

 Links:

AMAZON US: http://www.amazon.com/Temporal-Stone-Morgan-Sisters-ebook/dp/B00CUGH5KK

AMAZON UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Temporal-Stone-Morgan-Sisters-ebook/dp/B00CUGH5KK

SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/317159

(other sites and paperback coming soon)

Suzy Turner

Author Bio

Suzy Turner has worked as a journalist, assistant editor, features editor and magazine editor. Early in 2010 however, she began writing full time and has since completed a trilogy for young adults, The Raven Saga, as well as several books in The Morgan Sisters series.

Although Suzy is a Yorkshire lass at heart, she left her home town of Rotherham, UK, to move to Portugal with her family when she was ten. The Algarve continues to be her home, where she lives with her childhood sweetheart and husband of 15 years, Michael.

Website: http://suzyturner.com

Blog: http://suzyturner.blogspot.com

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Suzy-Turner/e/B0050BSH1I

Facebook: http://facebook.com/suzyturnerbooks

Twitter: http://twitter.com/suzy_turner

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/suzyturnerbooks

Indie Authors, writer's life, YA Author Club

Categorizing Books

YA Indie CarnivalHappy Friday, friends! This week the YA Indie Carnival is discussing the complicated topic of book categories. If you’re an author, I’m sure you know how hard it is to fit your book into just one (or even two!) categories. For the rest of you, please let me explain…

When I finished writing my first book, A Light In The Darkness, I called a fantasy. And it is a fantasy novel. Characters with magical powers, fighting an evil sorcerer, set out on an impossible quest across the kingdom only to battle the very essence of darkness. Add a few dragons and we’d call this thing an epic fantasy.

Well, the problem is…it’s not an epic fantasy. As a matter of fact, die-hard fantasy fans would say it’s hardly a fantasy at all since I didn’t use a lot of the traditional and expected elements of a fantasy. No wizards, no elves or dwarves, no dragons. Even the magic is very different. So, is it really a fantasy?

And another problem – I call this series “young adult” (YA) because the main characters are older teens. When I started shopping it around to agents the year after I finished it, I labeled it MG (middle grade) because it isn’t very “mature”, meaning there isn’t any bad language or sex or even much violence despite several battle scenes. It’s safe to hand to a 5th grader who loves to read adventure stories and you won’t be corrupting their brain or giving them anything too heavy to handle. Still, this creates a problem. Which category is it? MG or YA?

Then, the problem gets messier. Several people reading it started to comment about how “religious” the story was in their opinion. I knew when I finished it that the theme of the story was faith and how it affects our relationships and our choices. Although I had set out to write a fantasy adventure, I somehow ended up with something a lot deeper. It wasn’t really intentional. I wish I could credit for it, but I can’t. It just sort of happened along the way and then as I’m reading through the book, I kept thinking, “Wow. Is that symbolism there? Huh.” Apparently other readers felt pretty strongly about it. Some were even offended, as though I were using the book to trick them into believing my own beliefs. I wish I were that clever! Instead, it looks to me like the book could be speaking about any sort of religion or belief system that someone really held on to. For that matter, the way the main character, Merrilyn believes in Loian doesn’t seem that far off from how some people might believe in aliens or big foot or fairies if they claim to have seen them. The difference is, Loian is telling her to do something and she does it. You can imagine the problems this creates around her when other people don’t understand her actions. THAT is what I believe the story is really about – how a person’s faith in something affects their relationships and the choices they make for their own lives. That seems interesting to me. Anyway, you can see how some began to categorize the book as “religious” or “inspirational”.

So what is it? An action adventure set in a fantasy setting with some magic and still some possible inspirational meaning that chronicles a “coming of age” between middle grade and young adult. Wait. That seems too long. Amazon only allows me to choose one main category. I can tag it in a few more categories. What should I choose? Ugh! This is tough! And for every single book I write, I find myself in the same predicament. How do I narrow this story down into one category?

For many of us indie authors, that difficulty may be one of the reason we’re indie authors in the first place – our books just don’t fit in with the mainstream books you’ll find on bookstore shelves. They won’t be chosen by agents or publishers because they cross enough genres to make marketing a little tricky. Does that mean the story isn’t good or that the writing isn’t excellent? No! It just means that we don’t fit in their nice little boxes that they’ve created to label stories that earn them the big bucks. For a publisher, it all comes down to the money. They must choose books that they can sell quickly and with the least amount of effort or investment.That’s business.But as a reader, that isn’t what I’m looking for exactly. I want a story that intrigues me, that pushes the boundaries of the expected. If you only publish books that fit into 4 or 5 categories, eventually all the books look the same.

Do you ever feel that way? Like all the books and tv shows and movies are all the same? Well, there’s a reason for that! But the indie writers are shouting, “It doesn’t have to be that way!” Give us a chance and we’ll knock your socks off! Grab an indie book and see the diversity you’ll find in our stories. We’re not offering you the same old boring product. We’ve got new things to share and we’re just looking for a few good readers. If that’s you, then check out my books and the books of these other fabulous indie authors listed below. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite and give up the same old boring for something new. Then, be a good friend and share it with others. An indie author will be forever grateful.

The Young Adult Author Club

1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy
Writing, YA Author Club

Advice to New Authors From the YA Author Club

YA Indie CarnivalThis week the YA Author Club is sharing insights into the editing process. All the authors in the YA Author Club are indie authors, so our experiences apply most especially to those authors looking into self-publishing. I’m a few weeks behind thanks to my little sabbatical, but I’ll do my best to catch up now. Here are my quick thoughts on formatting and editing:

 Editing

I hate editing. I really do. However, an author who wants to be taken seriously will invest both time and money in the editing process. Even the most famous authors you could name have been through rigorous editing and may have worked with multiple editors before their books became best-sellers. My first search for an editor landed me a fabulous developmental editor who worked with me on the fundamental story structure and character development of A Light in the Darkness and To Light the Path. She was very thorough and I ended up with a line-by-line edit of my final work. She is incredibly talented and I came away from that experience a better writer. THAT, above all else in my opinion, is the mark of a gifted editor. Then again, it only works if you are paying any attention to what they are doing and actually taking their advice. Many writers want to fight every step of the way which is immature and ultimately bad for your business. Stop fighting and trust the person you are paying. If you don’t trust them, then find someone you can trust and then soak up every word they shower upon you and your manuscript. Even the criticism I found most painful and hard to swallow I ended up using to strengthen my book. For example, my editor disagreed with the premise of my second book, arguing against the very point I was trying to make with my main character’s actions and beliefs. I literally sat and cried over her comments, frustrated and confused about how to move on and doubting my own conviction in the power of my story. I sat trapped in this doubt and dark depression for weeks before I was finally able to move forward. I began to see that her comments were exactly what I needed to strengthen another character, Justan, who was himself doubting the validity of the main character’s plan. Justan is the character I least identify with and so his dialogue is always the hardest for me to write. When I realized that my editor was asking the same questions he would be asking, I knew just what to do. I followed her train of thought, her emotions, her frustration, and I used it to build a stronger character, intensifying the drama. When I’m writing the rest of the series, I’ll be able to come back to those conversations and see a bit of his side peeking through. That is invaluable!

In the end my editor and I discovered that we didn’t have the same vision for my work. She couldn’t appreciate the direction I was going with it and I respected her enough to not force her to see it my way. Books, like so many other art forms, are subjective. What inspires me may not inspire you. So, we parted ways and I moved on in search of an editor who could embrace my hopes and dreams for the series. I agonized over that decision, but in the end it all comes down to “who will help me reach my goals?” That is a question you must always ask as you choose cover artists, editors, graphic designers, marketing people, and a slew of other people who will become your team on this journey.

If you are looking for an editor, I happen to know a fabulous freelance editor who is available. Jessie Sanders from Stormy Night Publishing is a very talented editor with experience in small press and self-publishing. Maybe she’ll be the right fit for you!

Formatting & Self-Publishing

I won’t say much about formatting because I am still learning. Here’s my advice if you aren’t naturally gifted in this area: Use Draft2Digital. It will cost you nothing to sign up with them and you can thank me later for introducing you. Many self-published authors use Smashwords because they were the first big guy on the scene to hold authors’ hands as they made the leap. However, Smashwords is messy and infuriarating! Skip the style guide headache and the weeks/months of waiting for your work to be approved by Createspace and iTunes. Go straight to Draft2Digital and you will be so glad I sent you. Seriously! I upload my file, fill out a short form online, review my document and click approve. Done! Within 48 hours my book is live and available across the globe. Amazing! And I didn’t have to know a thing about formatting to do it. They have complex computer coding that cleans up my messes for me. I love that! Also, their reporting is beautiful! Real-time charts show me how many books I’ve sold across all titles and they’re adding more sales charts/graphs as they go. Tax time was easy with Draft2Digital thanks to their accounting system. Do I sound like a paid advertiser? Sorry. I just really love them and can’t imagine trying to do this all without them. They make it easy and I love clicking over to my account and watching my sales numbers climb.

Curious what other authors are saying about editing? You will find other experiences, tips, and advice from the YA Author Club. Just click on the links below. Best of luck finding what works for you!

1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy
Indie Authors, YA Author Club

Author Spotlight: Melissa Pearl

Melissa PearlMelissa Pearl was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has spent much of her life abroad, living in countries such as Jordan, Cyprus and Pakistan… not to mention a nine month road trip around North America with her husband. “Best. Year. Ever!!” She now lives in China with her husband and two sons. She is a trained elementary teacher, but writing is her passion. Since becoming a full time mother she has had the opportunity to pursue this dream and her debut novel hit the internet in November 2011. Since then she has produced four more books and has a YA fantasy trilogy coming out this year.
“I am passionate about writing. It stirs a fire in my soul that I never knew I had. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be and transport my readers into another world where they can laugh, cry and fall in love.”
 Facebook Author Page:http://www.facebook.com/melissapearlauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelissaPearlG
Blogs: http://melissapearl.blogspot.com/ and http://yalicious.blogspot.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Pearl/e/B0064I6S26/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Goodreads Author Page:http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5314516.Melissa_Pearl
Smashwords Author Page:https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/melissapearl
Newsletter subscription:  http://blogspot.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=ab5a6cb228dc9203d6c179eaa&id=481344857f
Website: http://www.melissapearlauthor.com
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/melissapearlg/

 

Interview:
1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?
Man – that is such a tough questions. One? I’m only allowed one? LOL.
One series that I have read over and over in my time is the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. Those books have it all – awesome romance, excellent action and tension, amazing descriptions, plus a deep message running through the books (if you’re into that kinda thing – which I am). They made me laugh, cry and fall in love. Haha 🙂 Just my type of story.
2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book’s characters could relate to and why?
Hmmm – how do you answer that question without coming across as pretentious? My Time Spirit Trilogy has been compared to Twilight in the sense of an intense love story. I wouldn’t say my writing is super fancy, but I know how to tell a fast paced story with lots of emotion and tension.
3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
Ooo – I have so many. Little moments between my characters are so precious to me. I can feel everything they are feeling and I love it. Here is a favourite of mine, which has also received some highlights. It’s a quote from Golden Blood (Book 1 in the Time Spirit Trilogy).
“How are you okay with this?” Gemma took a step back. “I can travel through time!”
Harrison shrugged and closed the distance between them. “Hey, I was cool with alien, this isn’t much different.”
“I’m a total freak!”
“Yeah.” He grinned as he threaded his fingers through her belt loops and pulled her towards him. “But you’re my freak.” His breath tickled her skin as he leaned towards her and whispered, “Face it, Hart, you’re stuck with me. I knew the second I touched you my life had changed…and you knew it too.”
It always makes me smile. Harrison’s reaction to Gemma’s revelation is perfect in my mind. Those two are made for each other and I love that he figures it out so early on.
4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
I get my inspiration from all over the place. Movies are huge for me. I would love to see my stories on the big screen one day. I picture them that way in my head. I always get a tingle running through my body when I watch a movie with a really great kissing scene or an excellent action sequence… anything that makes my emotions start to bubble.
I am inspired by music as well – everything from movie scores to punk rock to country to alternative. I love it all! I even love my toddler’s music, although it’s not that inspiring, just fun to sing along to 🙂
5) Describe your typical writing day or week.
I get up an hour before my family each morning to work on my social media stuff. It takes that long to clear my e-mail, do any blog post stuff I want to do, work through my Facebook notifications and my Twitter news. Time zon wise, it’s the best time for me to do this as there is more traffic around the sites I use.
As soon as my son goes down for his midday nap, I race to my computer. Four out of five days, I spend my time working on my writing and usually one day a week or at least half of one of those sessions is used on admin type things – numbers, blogging, extra marketing stuff. I also get a two-hour sleep in every Sunday morning, so I use that time to write as well. If my husband ever goes out in the evenings, I write once the kids are in bed.
It takes every spare moment I have to keep up with my writing. Thankfully I adore doing it, so it doesn’t feel like hard work.
6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you’re writing?
I never eat when I’m writing. It would slow me down too much. I drink a lot of water, but if I’m really tired, I allow myself a small Coca Cola. The caffine boost can be useful sometimes.
7) Can you tell us what you’re working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover)?
I am working on a Young Adult Fantasy Trilogy. This is my first attempt into this foray and I’m having SO much fun. The first book has been edited, the second book has been written and the third book is in the planning stage. I’m aiming for June, July and August releases for the three books.
Here’s the cover and blurb for the first one:
Darkness is covering the land. As the city of Mezrah grows with power and greed, the rest of the world can only stand by and wait for their inevitable destruction. The only hope against this growing power is an ancient prophecy that people have stopped believing in.
Then a star begins to fall.
Princess Kyla of Taramon stopped believing in the power of light the day her father died. Trapped in a city she does not care for, under the watchful glare of her mother, the queen, she struggles to accept her fate.
Then a star begins to fall.
Jethro has loved Kyla for as long as he can remember. Learning that she was to marry his cousin drove a wedge between him and the feisty princess. Watching her from a distance is a torture he is unable to free himself from.
Then a star begins to fall, sparking an ember of hope and sending two seekers on a treacherous journey into the unknown.
Excerpt from Unknown (The Elements Trilogy: Book 1): (keep in mind this book still needs a final proof read)
“Jethro!” Kyla slapped him on the arm and leaned against the grate, patting her chest. With narrowed eyes, she shot him a glare. “So this is how it is now? You don’t have the decency to talk to me in public, but you do take time out of your precious day to come scare the life out of me down in this foul-smelling tunnel.”
A slow, easy smile lit Jethro’s face. “Where have you been?”
“Why do you even care?”
Jethro’s brawny frame leaned against the stone wall behind him. His eyes glimmered with a knowing smile. “Let’s see, a bow slung over your shoulder, a quiver full of arrows… so not hunting then. I’m guessing target practice,” he clicked his fingers, “in the clearing by the waterhole.”
Kyla bit back a smile.
“How’d you do?”
She raised her chin. “I would have split your arrow in two.”
Jethro’s dark eyebrows jumped up with approval as he nodded his head. “Is that all you got up to?”
“Jethro, what are you doing here?” Kyla snapped.
“I just came to warn you.”
“Of what?”
Jethro frowned, making Kyla’s stomach clench.
“Queen Elaina is wondering why she saw her daughter being chased out of the forest by a guard of Ashan when she should have been studying world history with her tutor.”
Kyla stood up straight and swallowed. “My mother did not see. She’s always at prayers this time of day.”
“She was delayed.” Jethro winced.
The blood drained from Kyla’s face. Biting her lips together, she pulled the bow over her head and cleared her throat.
“You might want to present yourself to her before she has every man in the castle looking for you.”
With a child-like groan, Kyla gripped the end of her bow and rolled her eyes. “Fine.” Slumping her shoulders, she spun away from freedom and started stomping towards the dungeons.
“You may want to go past your chambers on the way. Perhaps tidy up a little?”
She came to an abrupt stop and slowly spun back to face the boy she’d known since birth. “Excuse me?”
Jethro’s lips fought with a grin as he pushed himself off the wall and sauntered towards her. “Just because you hate wearing dresses doesn’t mean she won’t expect to see you in one.” He pointed at the attire she had stolen from her brother years ago. She kept it hidden in a trunk at the end of her bed and only pulled it out when she was sneaking from the castle. If only her mother knew how comfortable they were, she wouldn’t insist on mountains of material that were impossible to run in.
“You’re already in for her wrath.” Jethro tipped his head. “You will only antagonise her more by appearing like this.”
Kyla pushed her tongue against the side of her mouth then huffed. “You know I hate you.”
“With the fire a thousand suns?”
Laughter burst from her mouth before she could stop it. “And more!” She punched him on the arm, missing the familiar banter they used to share as children. The amount of times he had driven her to screams of rage with his playful teasing, but a few punches later and they had been best friends again. She often wondered what had happened between them and wished they could return to past days.
As if Jethro could read her mind, he stepped back from her, the playful smile replaced with a new seriousness she did not care for. “You should get moving.”
golden bloodGolden Blood:  FREE
Gemma Hart never knows when her father is going to whisk her back in time. Her toes start tingling and she has a few minutes to find a secret haven where she can disintegrate and appear in another time and place. While “across the line,” her training and skills are put to the test as she completes a mission that will change history for the lucky few her father has selected.
Gemma’s parents are adamant that secrecy is paramount to her family’s safety. If people knew what they were capable of, they could be “used and abused”, as her mother always says. Afraid she might accidentally utter the truth and break the ancient oath of her people, Gemma spends her school days as a loner. Only one thing can throw her sheltered life askew… Harrison Granger.
Harrison never expected to talk to the strange Hart girl, but after a brief encounter he can’t stop thinking about her. He begins a campaign to chisel away her icy veneer and is met with unexpected consequences. As he slowly wins this girl over, he enters a surreal world that has him fighting to keep his newfound love and his life.
black bloodBlack Blood
The second book in the Time Spirit Trilogy
pure bloodPure Blood
Third book in the Time Spirit Trilogy
Forbidden Territory (co-authored with Brenda Howson)
Mica and Lexy have been best friends and next door neighbours since they were eight years old. They share everything and have no secrets from each other until… Tom arrives on Mica’s doorstep – a gorgeous exchange student from England. And Lexy is smitten.
Suddenly both girls are keeping secrets. Mica is hiding news about Tom’s English girlfriend and Lexy hasn’t got the heart to tell her best friend that her brother Eli, the guy Mica is mad on, thinks of her as only a friend.
After a massive fight, the girls decide the best way to mend their friendship is to spend some quality time together. And what better way than to go camping away from their parents and why not invite along the guys they are crushing on.
So the four teenagers embark on a geo-caching expedition into New Zealand’s native bush expecting a long weekend filled with flirtatious fun; instead secrets are exposed as they stumble across a hidden marijuana crop and its gun-wielding watchmen. Forced apart they spend the next forty-eight hours racing blindly in opposite directions as they fight to find each other before the hunters do.
Betwixt cover-01 Betwixt
Beautiful, wild-child Nicole Tepper is hit by a car and left for dead. But when she wakes the next morning, Nicole finds herself in bed without a scratch. Perhaps she was more intoxicated than usual, as her mother is giving her the silent treatment and her friends are ignoring her as well.
Things take a turn for the weird when Nicole soon discovers she is actually hovering between life and death. Her body is lying in the forest while her spirit is searching for anyone who can hear her. Unfortunately the only person who can is Dale Finnigan, the guy she publicly humiliated with a sharp-tongued insult that has left him branded.
Desperate, Nicole has no choice but to haunt Dale and convince the freaked-out senior to help her. Will he find her body before it’s too late? Or will the guy who tried to kill her with his car, beat him there and finish her off before anyone finds out?
Melissa Pearl is just one of the many fabulous writers in the YA author club we like to call the YA Indie Carnival. Check out these fabulous blogs and let me know if you find a new author to love.
1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy