Apr 082014
 

jodi-harveybrown-book-sculpturesWhen we are ready to release a book at Divertir Publishing, I immediately find out what an author’s platform is – How do you plan on selling yourself?

And no, I don’t mean fishnets and stripper shoes.

While I have run into a few very outgoing authors, I find many tend to run on the introverted side of life. They, like myself, gravitate around their own company and that of their intimate circle. Give us a dark room, a solitary computer, some music and we’re ready to create magic  – stand aside, I’m making magic…and paper dragons. (Stop Procrastinating!)

Hell, in less than a thousand words, we can create and destroy worlds.

andromeda“I am the angel of death, destroyer of worlds.” Captain Dylan Hunt (Yes you are, you smexy thing you) 

To our poor characters, we’re gods (although not nearly as devious as George R.R. Martin). For many, that creation is personal and we treat our product as children, separate but equal entities.

It is natural to be fearful of putting yourself out there and trying to convince people to buy your baby. Suddenly that entity you spent so long on is open for interpretation and *GASP* critique. Scary word – critique. Many authors refuse to do so and I hate to say it, their books rarely do well. Readers will find their way to you, but they could very likely find their way to someone else as well. How can you convince them they need to buy your book and delve into the world created inside?

Let’s start at the easy stuff.

1.) Make a Facebook page specifically for your book. Here you post updates on book cover releases, reviews, blog interviews, introduce characters, etc. EVERYTHING regarding that specific book. If that book becomes a series, make it for the series.

facebook typewriter_Layout 12.) Make a Facebook page specifically for you as an author. Nothing too personal is shared on this page. No politics or religion unless it is pivotal to your plot. While you may feel strongly about something, alienation can occur if readers do not agree with you and as an author, that’s the last thing you want to do. If you don’t care about this, then I suppose you could overlook it. I would be wary though. I was following two writers on Facebook and decided to stop when they started spamming their author pages with political views. It opposed mine drastically and in the end, didn’t want to read it every time I logged on.

What you should post: inspirations, other works in progress, general personal news, book signing dates, blog updates, etc. This is an outlet for you to spam your blog, twitter and hobbies.

From there you can also connect with writing/promotion groups on Facebook. Trust me – they are in abundance but remember to read and follow the groups rules before promoting or sharing. Many authors want as much exposure as you do. Offering to host other writers in exchange for reviews and face time on their blog is a great way to get your name out there.

Don’t hide in the corner yet, you introvert – this gets scarier! (Here, have some coffee).

blogger-outreach-23.) Website – Here is a more concentrated version of your author Facebook page: Hobbies, inspirations, interviews, blog tours, cover reveals – anything general about you. You can expand and develop ideas, allowing your thoughts to flow freely from fingers to screen. On your blog you can open your private life and allow the reader to see what makes you tick. For me, I have my crafts, I post reviews, interviews, my sewing projects, publishing updates, etc. Head to my homepage to see me altering thrift store dresses into dresses for my 6 year old. Exciting, man – I tell you.

4.) Goodreads. I recently found this site myself (yep, late bloomer) where you connect with readers and authors. Post reviews, participate in contests – everything.  Sign up is incredibly easy with a nice step-by-step tutorial. Hands down you need your book on this site and be putting out your opinion on books you’ve read. As Ken Tupper (owner of Divertir Publishing) tells me, you have to go where the readers are.

5.) Twitter – follow other authors, follow agents, follow publishers, follow your favorite actor. This satisfies the voyeur in us all. We can sit in the comfort of our homes and involve ourselves in other people’s lives in short bursts (120 characters or so). Most authors will follow back. Slowly build that followership. That way when you have news to announce, people are watching. However, as I have found, responding to other people’s tweets open the door to interesting conversations. 

6.)Pinterest – this is my kiddy crack site. I pin and hoard so many creative ideas. Recipes, craft and sewing ideas, DIY ideas – everything. I also “pin” giveaways we’re having and book reviews I post. If a reader stumbles upon your pinterest and feels a kinship, they’re going to be predisposed to find out more about any books you write.

Let me just say this: If you’re against a web presence, don’t be an author.

280532292_847057026a2Now, those 6 are great to get you started but you still have to feel comfortable selling your baby. My dad used to tell me you never sell the steak, you sell the sizzle. That’s all we’re doing – that’s all every author tries to do. When you start feeling weird or callgirl-ish, just know every author has to do it because last year almost 400k people self-published. If that number isn’t daunting,  according to Bertram’s Blog, close to 15,000,000 books were published in 2012. That was two years ago!

15,000,000. Yikes.

So when I say you are in competition, you are.

Don’t be scared to get your name out there (All the cool kids are doing it) because the more places people find information about you and your books, the better!

 

 Posted by at 5:09 pm
Jan 082014
 

editingredpenOkay, not really but it makes for an interesting mental picture.

Three NaNoWriMos ago I wrote a really cute Steampunk cinderfella story. In the plot, the princess must chase after the prince and find him. I never finished the ending because I couldn’t quite find the right scene. Now, it is in my head and ready to go. Here is an excerpt from where I am editing currently – be warned it is rough:
Alistair did not respond although Ileana doubted he would. Faith did not come easily to many – the ability to trust in something a person could not touch or taste. It wasn’t a flask easily pulled out of the pocket and consumed. Despite that, she touched his face. “Despite your past, I will stand beside you.”

“I wish I was coming to you with a title or something of worth. Ileana, I was a laird of ancestral lands but I never appreciated that heritage. I all but walked away from the obligation. Now even that is denied to me – given to another who has no claim to the land. Graves of my family lay in the earth, bought for with blood and that man and his daughter have it all.” He pulled away, putting distance between them. A growl, so guttural it hardly sounded human. “I am nothing – I have nothing- not even my family ring.”

“Oh…” That jolted her memory. Ileana dug in her pocket and pulled out the trinket she’d carried around for months. It had felt so heavy, scrutinized for symbols and clues. Now, in her palm, the ring hardly weighed anything at all.

“My ring.” Alistair hesitated before taking it. “Where did you find it?”

“You dropped it at the ball. I’ve had it all this time, trying to find you. See, there’s one thing we can scratch off your list. I call that fate.”

 

With three kids all wanting mommy, let’s see if I can get this finished by this weekend. What literary masterpiece are you working on?

 Posted by at 11:36 pm
Jan 062014
 

514_400x400_FramedI wrote a Victorian paranormal. Well I did…three years ago.

My mother died in 2008 and it always bothered me she never saw me finish anything – haunted me really. Over the years, I had sent her a few snippets but nothing concrete. With a side helping of guilt, I started my first novel. It was a young adult (YA) pirate fiction. After lots of rejections (LOTS) I finally shelved it and started over again. Trust me when I say your first attempt into the literary world might not be the right one.

My project first started as two separate story ideas. One would be a paranormal and the other a purely Victorian plot line. It didn’t take long for the two to merge simply out of laziness. Like before, I began to trudge down the traditional publishing route beaming like a proud parent, my new babe in hand. Like before, that story also began to tarnish amidst all the rejections and edits. With a brooding demeanor equal to that of a sparkling vampire, the only road left untraveled were small publishers.

No one in their right mind should go straight to an online publisher. The process of waiting days, even weeks, in between responses honestly toughens your skin. You can handle bad reviews or difference of opinions because you’ve swallowed your ego a hundred times over with every form rejection. Nothing is less attractive than a self published author bashing their readers for poor reviews. Low class is not the new pink.

I can always tell when we get new authors submitting to Divertir. Their queries are tooting the next Harry Potter or New York Times best seller. They usually respond to rejections with ego building rhetoric that gets them put on our blacklist. Don’t hesitate in humoring the idea that agents also keep a blacklist.

After I exhausted the agent route, I went into the realm of the small publisher hesitantly. A friend posted on Facebook she was leaving her editing position at Divertir and I jumped into sandbox and sent an email to Ken Tupper (owner of Divertir Publishing) asking if a position was available. That was how it all started. After a time I submitted my manuscript and, surprisingly enough, was rejected but he told me why and what I should change. For the first time, I received feedback which was amazing.

I wish I could say we give each author individualized feedback as to why we reject a manuscript but unfortunately a few nasty responses and ungrateful individuals ruined it. However, at Divertir, we always keep track as to WHY a manuscript is rejected by a reviewer.  Most times it is because a hero or heroine doesn’t connect with us. Other times, it is the bland way the author communicated their story.

One time, I read a manuscript set in backwoods 1940’s where a young girl went off alone with a complete stranger. That alone ruined it for me. A young lady of that time period, coming from small town america, would never do that. Do the research needed to know what your characters would and would not do.

Never hesitate to ask why something was rejected. Some agents might respond in an unfriendly manner and you need to just move on . Always keep writing, even if it takes you a few years, several manuscripts and a skeleton closet filled with rejections. Frame your first one and keep at it.

Like myself, you will get there but you won’t reach that point if you stop trying.

 

Jen

 Posted by at 3:54 am
Jan 052014
 

welcome banner

Hello and salutations!

My name is Jen Corkill and I am the senior editor at Divertir Publishing.  While I edit everything before it goes to print, some submissions are sent to me for review. My favorite submissions to receive are historical romance (check your facts because I always will), historical fiction, steam punk, science fiction, space operas and fantasy. Any and all queries should be sent to query@divertirpublishing.com. Check out our site to see what we represent.

Sometimes I am amazed at the level of quality we accept just because of that spark someone sees. If one of our reviewers LOVE a concept, we usually end up contracting the author. Trust me when I say we’ve seen some rough manuscripts but sometimes all it takes it seeing that potential for a great story. Sometimes it is rejected with a request for alterations and a resubmit. Most times, I end up doing that with the authors mainly to see if they can and will make the changes. Publishers like authors who are open to critiques and new ways of looking at their work.

That is the perk of small publishers. Our job is polishing those rough diamonds.
It is NEVER the editor’s job to fix your work. Believe it or not, that’s your job. Like the wonderful friend who tells you red really isn’t your color and you should stop wearing it; an editor does the same.

When I open a doc file, I immediately begin highlighting repeated words and choppy sentences. Say something in four words instead of eight.

Ben Jonson (1573-1637) wrote a beautiful phrase I treasure: Give me a look, give me a face that makes simplicity a grace.

Keep that in mind when you go off on verbose paragraphs filled with detail and description. Use simple words, but make them unique and purposeful. Describe something through your own words, not cliches. Detail is paramount, verbal diarrhea is not. 

I point out these places so the author can hone their world. I point out the repetition and the author can decide how they wish to rewrite. It is never my work. Eyes without emotionally attachment will always be your best option. As a writer, you need that person to rip something apart. However, always remember it is not you we are rejecting or altering but your work.

Be open to change and be fearless because only you can write your story!

~Jen

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