Tag Archives: writing process

UPDATE: The Lost Secret of Time: Final Book in Crystal Keeper Series Due out Spring 2018


Working cover for the last Crystal Keeper Chronicles book, The Lost Secret of Time. 

I wanted to give everyone an update on the progress of the last book in the Crystal Keeper series, The Lost Secret of Time. I’m proud to announce that there has been a schedule set up for it’s completion. It is outlined, and has 9 chapters of the 14 written thus far. It’s scheduled with my editor for the end of October, and I’ve been working hard with the help of Camp NaNo to get it completed.

I have to thank all of my fans for your patience. I know this one is taking longer, but sometimes life throws things at you that can’t be planned for, like a heart attack, going septic in the hospital and having acute pneumonia. I’m just happy to still be alive and be around for a second chance to finally complete the series.

I also have to mention I did try to end the series with the third book, but the characters WOULDN’T let me. They insisted that the story carry on. So, that is why the third book ends the way it does in a cliffhanger. There was just more story to tell.

Plus, once I wrap up this series, I’m planning a prequel in which Brewford, the cat sorcerer, will be the main character. There are a lot of things hinted about his past in the series, and I want to write a prequel that explains it all. So, the ending of the Crystal Keeper Chronicles won’t be the end of Wanda’s fairy world. It will continue in other forms.

It has been an amazing ten year journey so far. I’m sure many of you fans have grown up waiting for the books to be written. If anything, you’ve learned that writing is a process and takes time, an average of two years per book at least. The biggest thing that a reader needs to possess is patience for your favorite books. I know your pain. I’ve gone through the same thing with my favorite authors, Anne McCaffrey, Anne Rice and Mercedes Lackey. I think the secret is having LOTS of favorite authors so you can switch between them between new book releases. It’s how I cope. 😉

Until then, take care, and I hope you enjoy your other favorite authors until the new and last book in the series is released next Spring. Stay tuned for fun summer reading activities and giveaways. Have a fabulous summer.

-Tiffany (Mrs. Turner)



Pumper the Pumpkin Picture Book Free Oct. 28-31/Write Your Own Spooky Story


Every year, I like to give away a little treat of my own. I’ve written a picture book from a story I originally wrote when I was 10. I originally wrote it back in Mrs. William’s class when I was in the Fifth Grade. 35 years later, here is the story of that long ago character I created, Pumper the Pumpkin.


Pumper the Pumpkin: A Halloween Tale by Tiffany Turner *Available for Free on Amazon 10/28-31

On Halloween Eve, Pumper is trying to be a jack-o-lantern. Only he needs to find the right family to adopt him. Will he in time? Join Pumper in this amazing Halloween quest of being a part of something bigger.

This Halloween short story is intended for ages 3-10. Get into the Halloween spirit with this family friendly tale.

For years, I’ve carved Pumper the Pumpkin has my pumpkin in hale to this character I created so long ago. Sometimes, things you make up as a kid, like having unicorn friends come hang out with you in your bedroom, can make their way into a children’s story to entertain children that were once your age.

Remembering those fun, creative activities always has been a plus for me. I use them all the time in my stories. And yes, I still have the Pumper original story. I promised myself that when I got bigger and my language arts skills improved, I would rewrite Pumper the Pumpkin. The original story had bully kids come in and throw all of Pumper’s family to the ground, breaking them into pieces. It’s how I said he was alone originally. But I cut that out in the rewrites, and made it that he just hadn’t been picked yet. I added the character Miraballe. Voila! A new, improved Pumper story was born.

So, if you’d like to write your own Spooky story over the next few days before Halloween, check out the steps on How To Write Your Own Spooky Story below. These can be done in a few days if you double up a few of the lessons. Try two lessons a day, and you can make your story in time for Halloween. Waaaahhahhahahahha!

Day 1 For Writing A Spooky Story: Main Character Creation

Day 2: Creating a Spooky Setting/Plot

Day 3: Starting the Rough Draft

Day 4: Continuing Rough Draft with Dialogue

Day 5: Revision and Proofreading your story

Day 6: Writing the Final Draft

For those of you that would like the full lesson plan, it is available on Teachers Pay Teachers at this link: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Spooky-Story-and-Summary-Report-October-Writing-Unit-2763010


The Spooky Story Writing Unit is available on Teachers Pay Teachers for $2.95.

Only $2.95!

Plus, Pumper the Pumpkin will be free on Amazon between Oct. 28-31!



-Tiffany Turner



Write Your Own Spooky Story Day 5: Revision and Proofreading Your Story

Writing Your Own Spooky Story Day 5: Revision and Proofreading

Writing Your Own Spooky Story Day 5: Revision and Proofreading

Welcome to Day 5 of writing your own Spooky Story. Well, tomorrow is the big day, Halloween. And I’m sure if you’ve been working hard all week, you’ve got your rough draft done and ready to polish today. This is when you need to find a partner to listen to your story, and give you some feedback. Feedback is comments about what the person liked, what works, and what might need to be changed. They should listen to and let you know if anything is confusing or hard to understand. I’ve always taught this aspect through the writing workshop process, and often gave my students a feedback worksheet to work with. Below are the questions I would include on the sheet for them to fill out.

Your partner can be an older sibling (brother or sister), cousin, Mom or Dad, Grandparent or even Aunt or Uncle. You can also have your friends work with you as well. Writer’s call this a critique group. We often have a network of fellow writers, or betareaders, that read through our stories and give us feedback on what to improve.

You might also notice I mentioned listened. It’s best that you read your story out loud to your partner. That way, it is easier for you to hear what works, check on how dialogue flows, and how your descriptions read. You can often catch awkward and hard to understand sentences this way.

So, here is a list of questions for your betareader(partner) to answer as they listen to your story:

  1. What was your favorite part? Why?
  2. What would you want to know more about in the story?
  3. Is there anything, words or sentences, that were confusing in the story?
  4. What details in the story stood out the most?
  5. What would you want to see in the next story?

After you’ve had a chance to go over some revision, only then let your partner look over your story for corrections in punctuation or spelling. They are welcome to look through and catch any changes they may find. Then, it’s your turn to go back and rewrite the parts and make changes they suggested. When you’re done, show it to them again. See if they suggest anything else.

Most writers do this about 4-5 times. I know, you think, wow, that’s a lot. As a beginning writer try this at least once. Make changes, and show them to your partner one more time. In the last rewrite, they should probably be less often. That’s when you know you’re ready to copy from a revision draft to a final draft.

When you get to that point, you’re ready for tomorrow. Tomorrow, it’s all about copying into a nice final draft to read for friends and family on Halloween. You’re ALMOST there! Have fun today and tonight! You’re in the home stretch.

Meanwhile, looks like I got my phone working. So, I’m going to try the Periscope Broadcast at 3:30 pm PDT. Look for @Tiffmeister. That’s in about 1/2 hr from uploading this post. So, I’ll be going over the steps the last few days, answering questions you might have, and enjoying any comments you have for me. I would love the feedback. Again, Periscope is an app. that is available on Android and iPhone. I’m sure it’s also on iPads too since it’s in the iTunes store. Just head over to the apps section, type in Periscope, and you’re there. So, hope to hear from you. Until then, happy revising! -Tiffany Turner (Mrs. Turner)

Write Your Own Spooky Story: Day 2 Supporting Characters/Setting/Plot Planning

Create a spooky setting with supporting characters to help with the problem towards a solution.

Create a spooky setting with supporting characters to help with the problem towards a solution.

Write Your Spooky Story Day 2: Supporting Characters, Setting, Plot Planning

Welcome back. Today is Day 2 of writing your own Spooky story. I’ve been getting feedback from people that you’re looking forward to writing a story with me this week. This totally makes me excited. I do really love helping people bring out their inner muse no matter what your age is. So, if you’d like to leave comments with questions or what your trying this week, I’ll be happy to respond.

Today, we’ll be working on creating sidekicks and villians. In every story, there needs to be conflict. These supporting characters help create that. First, let’s get some definitions. Sidekick: This is a supporting character for the main character. They can be their confidant and even go along with them as a wingman or helper to face oppositional conflicts. Villian: is also known as the antagonist. This is the character that causes opposition to the protagonist, also known as the hero or main character. They are not necessarily considered the “Bad” guy, or at least, they don’t consider themselves to be the bad guy or gal. They are simple the opposite of the hero.

They can be created similar to the main character, but you need to keep in mind what their motivation or interest in the main character might be. They should have a function relating to the hero or heroine.

All your characters should have these four elements:***


Their Goal=What

Their Motivation=Why

Their Conflict=Why Not

Setting Choice: Choosing a spooky setting will add to your horror fiction. Most spooky stories are set in a haunted house, haunted graveyard, haunted (Fill in the blank). You can get creative with this. Just keep in mind this is an important story element to make your story spooky. You’re characters can even move from a normal setting into the spooky setting later in your story. Just keep in mind, your description in your rough draft will make this spooky setting come alive.

Once you’ve got these basics mapped out for your characters, you’ll be ready for the next step, creating a plot or conflict. This is known as the problem. Give your characters a problem that will motivate them to reach their goal. Then, give them 3 tries to solve it. The first three tries should fail. The last try should be the solution. Once you’ve solved their problem, wrap up the ending conflict with a happily ever after or you could end with a cliffhanger if you want to write a sequel. A cliffhanger is leaving a problem or questions still not finished or answered.

For today’s assignment, you can use the character webbing graphic from yesterday to create your sidekick and villain. Then, use the graphic below to create a basic plot outline or plan. You need to create a problem, 3 attempts to solve the problem in the middle, with the last attempt being the solution. I usually number my attempts 1, 2, 3.

That will give your story a beginning, middle and end. Once you have all of this outlined or mapped, you’re prewriting will be done and you’ll be ready to start your rough draft.

So get busy. Tomorrow is the big day to start the official first draft, the most creative part of the writing process. Happy writing! -Tiffany Turner (Mrs. Turner)

***Information cited from Advanced Fiction Writing by Steve Alcorn.

Story map to plan out your plot, characters and setting.

Story map to plan out your plot, characters and setting.


Pumper the Pumpkin: A Halloween Tale by Tiffany Turner is a Kindle Unlimited title. Free Oct. 27-31!

Pumper the Pumpkin: A Halloween Tale by Tiffany Turner is a Kindle Unlimited title. Free Oct. 27-31!

Plus, for this week only starting today, Oct. 27, my Halloween Tale, Pumper the Pumpkin will be available for free on Amazon. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/Pumper-Pumpkin-Tiffany-Turner-ebook/dp/B005X1CS1A


Spring Break “The Lost Secret of Fairies” Giveaway on Amazon

Print book giveaway for the first Crystal Keeper Chronicle book on Amazon April 1-7.

Print book giveaway for the first Crystal Keeper Chronicle book on Amazon April 1-7.

It’s time for Spring Break for many of us. And I thought it would be great to have something fun to celebrate vacation, a giveaway. Nothing better than reading over a break. Plus, Amazon is my co-sponsor. So, to get in on the fun, go to this link and enter. Up to five copies will be given away. There is a winner after a certain number of entries. Only I know the secret number. It will continue until all copies are given away or until April 7. I love giving away reading opportunities. Please share what you think of the book if you’re a winner. I always love reading reviews and keep all feedback in mind when writing.

Link to Win Your COPY of The Lost Secret of Fairies


I’ve started writing the next installment in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles series. It’s called: “The Lost Secret of Time”. I’ll be partnering with the fabulous writing motivational website, Camp NaNo. The “NaNo” stands for National Write A Novel Month which started out in November. It has been such a popular event, the non-profit company has started Camp NaNo to motivate writing at different times of the year. I’ll be participating in the April Camp. I’ve set a word goal of 10,000 words. The next camp is in July in which I can set a word goal to finish the book. Come join me and start your writing dream.

Link to Camp NANO: http://campnanowrimo.org/

How Do Writers Get Their Ideas?


How do writers get their ideas? This is a huge, diverse question . To start, you have to often ask writers. Most often, they come to me in a blinding flash; with a flurry sometimes I hardly have time to write them down. One time I was carrying the groceries, and dropped them in the doorway as I ran, grabbing a piece of paper to write down my ideas. Another time I woke up from a dream; finishing it as I was waking up. I didn’t want it to stop. I got up, grabbed my laptop, and by the time my first cup of coffee for the morning was done, I’d written the first scene of a new story.

The orchard behind Tiffany Turner’s house growing up in the Santa Clara Valley.

The best way to get ideas is from your own experience. With my first book, The Lost Secret of Fairies, I drew my ideas from experiences as a kid. The big inspiration for the book was playing in the orchard behind my house growing up. Often, we put a ladder against the fence, climbed over, and ran about through the outer edge of the four acre orchard. At the time, it was known as the Santa Clara Valley. Orchards criss-crossed over the entire area that now have some of the top computer and Internet companies.

As a kid, there was nothing better than climbing up a tree and eating cherries just as they were ripening. We’d come up with exploring adventures that would take us through the orchard, into the creek, and travel beyond the freeway to see what lay beyond. Often, it was the next neighborhood or over-crossing for the freeway. But it was exploring beyond your own backyard, the best kind of kid adventure.

The "Boo" in his favorite sleeping position. He was the inspiration for the cat sorcerer, Brewford.

The “Boo” in his favorite sleeping position. He was the inspiration for the cat sorcerer, Brewford.

The other partner in my adventures was my cat. Often, I would sit in the orchard, and he would wander out to find me. I’d make a reading nest by mashing down the mustard plants, hiding among yellow flowers. One day, Booford, came out to see me. His tail bounced high above the tops of the mustard flowers as I heard his meows. I would yell back, shouting, “Boo, I’m over here.” Using my voice as radar, he entered my reading bowery covered in mustard petals meowing so loud as if to say, “Why didn’t you make that much easier? You know I’m not that tall.”

My family say I captured his attitude and personality in the Crystal Keeper series. Booford is my real cat that inspired Brewford, the cat sorcerer. I simply just asked myself the question, “What if Booford could talk?” So, from then on, he did, in my books. My family say I captured his personality. His half eyed stares had the wisdom of Garfield. He was an incredible cat, and he still lives today in my books.

When you put it all together, writers are inspired by the world around them. Whether you use your own experiences, dreams, or it comes to you in a flash, ideas come from everywhere. There is a saying, “Be careful, you might end up in my next novel.” This is not only true, but the more you write, the more the real world around you ends up in your books. If you know a writer, you might be the inspiration and don’t know it. If you are a writer, you already have an idea of what I’m talking about. So get out there, and experience life and the world. It’s the best way to write.

**This is the first of a series of blog posts that help support a novel study unit for The Lost Secret of Fairies, the first book in the Crystal Keeper Series.
Common Core Standards-4th Grade
Reading Level: 4.6 AR Level

ELA CCS Speaking/Listening 4.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. (Discussion Question: How Do Authors Get Their Ideas?)

ELA CCS Reading/Literature 4.7 Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text.

ELA CCS Writing 3.b: Use dialogue and description to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She continues to teach fourth graders in California while writing fantasy adventure middle grade novels. This is her 17th year of teaching. She is working on other writing projects in her No Limits Writing practices. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

**Follow to connect with more Common Core related blog posts over the next few months. Available for use in the classroom courtesy of Tiffany Turner.

Listening To The Inner Muse


Give your muse time to speak.

Give your muse time to speak.

There is a fact that happens after each New Year’s Eve. The questions start. What will I expect from the New Year? Will I write the best seller? Why isn’t my books selling better? Can I write a new genre? Will I get a good review?

Well, sometimes, you don’t know. You’ve got to step away, and just let it happen. But you just can’t write that good book. Your inner muse has to synthesize it for you. The only way that can happen is time. Give it all time. Walk away, and do something else, and the inner muse will speak.

I’ve been kicking the idea around for a NA Romance. I had several ideas in mind, and they weren’t connecting. I worked on another project for awhile, trusting the inner muse would connect the dots somehow.

Then one morning, I woke from a terrifying dream involving one of my past friends from those good ole’ college days. I woke with the thought, “She didn’t die that way.” Struggling with the horrors I’d been dreaming, I thought, “But what if she did?”

The rest of the day, I went to the mall, mailed a review copy of my book, and tried to get to Office Depot for some ink cartridges. Literally, the images kept replaying through my mind. As I’m walking from one store to another, the dots connected. My real life experiences were drawn up into some powerful ideas until it all spit out as a plot, all while walking from Target to my car. Literally, I had to concentrate to drive, but I didn’t want the muse to stop.

I finished the last errand, headed the car home, and drove directly to my laptop. Getting much written as I could, I started that NA Romance novel. The dots are connecting, and I can see it better. Somehow I trusted the inner muse to start it for me when she was ready. Trust is the biggest first step. It will happen when it’s ready.

Of course, this sucks when you got deadlines. But this is why I have different projects. Switching from one to another seems to unleash some subconscious explosion that will solve the problem when you least expect it. Sometimes that stop to take a moment, or do errands, can make all the difference.

Topic: Listen To Your Inner Muse

Topic: Listen To Your Inner Muse

**This post is part of the monthly
“Indie Life” posts linked on the Indelibles Blog.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She continues to teach fourth graders in California while writing fantasy adventure middle grade novels. She is working on other writing projects in her No Limits Writing practices. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

No Limit Writing Part II: Setting A Commitment


IndieLife7I am a little late with my monthyly Indelibles post. But I am writing on the US West Coast. So, technically it’s still Wednesday here. Plus, it was my first day back to work for the day job. Factor in the fact I had a good friend die in a horrible, water skiing accident. Really, I’m not kidding. I wish I could be kidding. I’ve been upset the last two days. Add the fact that my birthday is next week, and that I’ve just watched Reality Bites(1994). I did the math and that movie is over 18 years old. Tonight, I’m really in a reviewing the situation moment.

Sometimes, you have to factor in real life into your writing equation. But that is what happens to writers. We balance real life with paying the mortgage jobs, promotion and marketing, editing, revision, and first draft writing.

I’ve been toggling between projects, and reworking my schedule as I return to the day job. I’m working on several projects and organizing a blog tour for the beginning of school. Yes, I’ve been busy this summer. But the weird thing about all the things that have happened over the last month is the reflection on how to keep the writing flowing. I don’t want the creative process that has happened this summer to stop.

So, I’ve established a no limit writing plan, with a schedule of writing once a day for an hour. This ranges from first draft, to revision, to blog writing. Yes this post counts right now. And I have to say, it has done wonders just to make sure I sit down once a day for an hour. I’ve been participating on a writing board thread that basically is a whole bunch of writers reporting on how much they write. Really, I’m finding with an hour a day at least I can get a lot done.

So, no matter what is happening in my day, I’ve committed to that. I also read through a friend’s story and gave her feedback. That counted. This way, I’m not limiting or giving excuses for not writing. I’m allowing for what work needs to be done to flow on that day. The thing about self publishing is that you can schedule your projects to fit your life’s schedule.

I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten a novelette through two revisions, and I’ve scheduled it to go to my editor by September. I’ve been organizing a Back to School Blog Tour, but will mostly work on it on the weekend now. But I’m keeping my sanity by allowing a time for it to be scheduled. And I’ll be happy on Saturday to let the thought process flow. For now, just an hour a day on something writing related keeps my commitment to myself.

Most of all, don’t limit what you can do. If I thought I can’t write romance novels, I wouldn’t have a novelette series in the works and a Time Travel novel half through it’s first draft. We’ll have to see how it all turns out. But my biggest phrase is to just keep writing. You never know what project will turn into the bestseller.

Setting a commitment of one hour might allow me to find the next good book. Hopefully, it will be that bestseller. And even if it’s not and I sell some copies, it will lead me to the next book. That good book may take 20 other books before it. All I need is eventually that one to hit it big. And committing to writing one hour a day will help we keep writing until I get there.

**This post is part of the monthly
“Indie Life” posts linked on the Indelibles Blog.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has just released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She continues to teach fourth graders in California while writing fantasy adventure middle grade novels. She is working on other writing projects in her No Limits Writing practices. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

No Limits: How To Write That Good Book


IndieLife7If anyone could pull a book out of their butt, they would. That’s why writing a book is hard. Harder still is writing that good book that will sell to the top of bestseller lists. Everyone wants that. What is the formula?

Well, I can’t say that I’ve got a book on the Top Bestseller list, yet. I’ve had my books pop up on the smaller bestseller Amazon lists for different categories with a different genre. They helped spur my sales for a few days. But that could be another blog post in the future. Plus, my other books are Middle Grade novels. I love writing children’s books, but they just don’t sell as well as adult books. So, I’ve been waiting for the right recipe. Something to gel.

What I’m going to share today is how to write a good book to get on those lists. You can get people to buy your book with a good cover or write up. What will get them to tell others to buy your book? The secret is write a good book at the start. The secret of writing the “good book” is every writer’s dream. I’ll share what I’ve learned so far, and let you pull what you need.

My current project is a Time Travel Romance. I’m feeling a need to share this since making the magic of a book click together is so difficult. I should know. I’ve tried for almost 3 years to write Young Adult or even New Adult. They are bigger markets, and really are the areas that are doing well in self published ebooks.

I’ve also heard that sometimes books do write themselves. I never knew until over the last few weeks, I’ve started to churn out not one, but two Romance Novels. How? I let myself “Just Write”. I stopped telling myself that the book had to be with a certain character, setting or plot. I’m just letting the book be. Here is the process I am using to write them.

Recently, I pulled a Romance Novel introduction out of my butt. I woke up, grabbed my laptop, and wrote the intro to what seemed to be a Romance Novel. It felt good to just have the scene roll from my mind to my fingers typing. When I was done, I thought to myself, “Well, it’s not crap.”

But the day went forward, and the next day, I kept writing. The day after, I finished Chapter 2 and kept writing. Wooh. This was unusual. I’d tried so hard to write a YA or something for the adult market that might sell a bit better than Middle Grade novels. After a failed YA about Mary, Queen of the Scots, this Time Travel Romance novel was just flowing from my fingers. Why was it working this time? Why was it gelling?

I do write Middle Grade Novels. In fact, I’ve now written three MG novels in a fantasy/adventure series. I’ve got a system down for writing a book. I have a freelance editor, a support group of friends and family, and I hang out a lot on Kboads.com/writerscafe which is essentially my writer’s group online. I also joined a children’s writing organization (SCBWI) when I wanted to learn the genre. Note these four things: 1) Family and Friends 2) Join a Writers Organization for Your Genre 3) Find an Editor 3) Writer’s Group. These are the first four steps to gain a stable writing environment that will drive you to write the good book.

The first step you may already have. But I recommend not showing your first draft to anyone until it is done. Sit butt in chair and finish the book. It could be absolute crap, but it needs to be done to be a book. Remember, you can always change the ending, add plot devices, or as the phrase says, flesh it out. You need the bare bones of the first draft.

To get that done, I’ve promised myself to write for at least one hour a day. Just get the butt in the chair and do it. The rest is just details. Then, I read back as I’m writing and fine tune as I go. A good first draft should be reread at least twice before letting others see it. At least, that’s how I feel. Some people might enjoy more feedback as they are writing. I do ask people questions and research things that come up. But in the end, it’s better to keep one cook in the kitchen, and get it done.

Step Two is find a writer’s organization that can help you with the genre. If you have been writing already for awhile or belong to a group, I’ve gone the option of just studying the new genre. I found out that the type of Romance I am writing is Time Travel. I also started a new project a few days ago that is clearly a Paranormal Romance. I’ve been downloading examples and getting advice from other Romance novelists on what books to look at from my writer’s board. It’s almost like researching for a term paper. But a lot more fun.

Step three is finding a good editor. There are great freelancers out there. I think the best thing to do is go to a place you know people could recommend a good, reputable editor. I found mine on my writer’s board by simply posting, “I need an editor” and explained the project. But I asked for a sample edit first. This is crucial. You want to see if their style of writing/editing will work with yours. It is usually just a few pages.

I had one editor that was recommended through my writing group that wanted to charge $250 for a sample edit. I ended up going with the editor willing to work to see if we fit before shelling out cash. So, find out if they have done previous work in your genre and if they can work for you. I loved chosing my own editor. I think it was a better fit that way.

Step Four: Get that writing support you need by joining a writing board or writing online group. Really. This is crucial. Writer’s are lone creatures, but very delicate. If you have a problem with your draft, questions, or a shoulder to cry on from bad reviews, this is the place you need to post to feel safe and vent. I go to kboards.com in the Writers’ Cafe. It’s great to post if you are an Indie Writer starting out, a hybrid author self-publishing older manuscripts, or what ever might be writing related. It’s kept me from throwing the computer through the window several times.

After these steps are in place, give yourself no limits. I recently had my third MG novel, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, win an honorable mention in the children’s category at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival. At the ceremony, the winning overall book was called The Power of Starting Something Stupid by Richie Norton. The whole premise of the book is that when you have a stupid idea, and you got all these reasons maybe not to do it; that’s the time you should follow through. Don’t put up a wall or limit yourself because it sounds stupid. That probably means it’s the best idea in the world.

So, the last and final step is don’t limit yourself. If it’s stupid, but it’s working, do it. There will be a reason why you’re writing it later. Get it out of your system and figure how it fits in later. In the end, it might be your best writing of all. It could be the good book that becomes a bestseller. Remember, no limits, and keep writing.

**This post is part of the monthly
“Indie Life” posts linked on the Indelibles Blog.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has just released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She continues to teach fourth graders in California while writing fantasy adventure middle grade novels. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

Why is Self-Publishing Working?


IndieLife7There is a revolution going on in publishing right now. Self-publishing is taking off in different directions. At the forefront of this revolution are the innovative authors that share their ideas, articles, and experiences at a certain writing board that is popular for the Bohemians of this revolution. The writing board, KBoards.com, known before as Kindleboards.com, is a gathering place for a lot of the cutting edge Indie authors with ebooks listed on Amazon.com. Many problems are solved, innovations discussed, and ideas abound in a modern day Bohemian life search for getting ones book out and noticed. Four years ago, another self published author directed me to this board to get advice. And it has been a blessing in disguise. I am grateful for this writing board’s help and attention, and I’d like to share some of the advice I’ve found there, and how I’ve made self-publishing work for me.

As usual, there are voices always out there trying to share experiences of self-publishing. One such voice has been humbly sharing all of his processes including his recent signing with Simon & Schuster. His name is Hugh Howey. His book, Wool, is currently on the new release table at Barnes and Noble. His book, Wool(Omnibus edition) was voted runner up in the 2012 Goodreads Book of the Year for the Best Sci-Fiction category. Basically, he started with a good book and self-published. In the end, he’s kept his digital rights pioneering a new frontier for all authors. But then I digress. This is what happened this last week.

Hugh, being tired of seeing such negative comments about self-published authors, presented an article to Salon.com using the Kboard.com thread to research his article, Self Publishing is the Future-And Great for Writers. Basically, he wanted to point out that there are people out there making a living at self-publishing, mostly what would be considered mid-list authors. His basic point was that there are people making a living, or paying the basics such as rent, bills, and other critical things that help you launch as a writer.

There were the normal, negative comments. But there was a surprising amount of support from other self-published authors. Really, it proved to me that there is an underground community, a sense of realness and artist survival shared by many. There were many other stories shared, or even just income per month, on the success of being an Indie Author. It made me think; you just can’t sit around and wait at the drugstore counter to be discovered like everyone else. You have to go out and make self-publishing work for you.

Why is it working for many of us? It has to do with the royalty percentage. Ebooks are still relatively new. Most royalty percentage for self-published companies are 50-60%. My current publisher, Trafford Publishing, gives 50% of the ebook net sales. I have no agent to share this percentage. My average sales is about 10 ebooks a month. Now, this is not terribly impressive compared to some of the other numbers I’ve seen. I also know that children’s ebooks sales are slowly growing. Plus, I am selling books. This is better than collecting dust on a shelf. Most of the 5-6 figures of income of self-publishing authors are Romance and Mystery. Throw in sometimes Sci-Fi, and it is working for many people. It is working better than some people can imagine.

There are some advantages to self-publishing my book. In 2007, I published my first book, The Lost Secret of Fairies. In 2009, I published the second book in the series, The Lost Secret of the Green Man. As the third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, releases this spring, all my previous books are available on the virtual shelf. Readers can go back and buy the earlier books at a listing price of $1.99 or $2.99. But that leads to the next point.

Being successful also depends on your selling price of the book. I saw indie author experiments with pricing influence the price of books. I tried my own with my Amazon Price Matching Experiment last year, and posted on my blog about it. In October 2012, Amazon had a settlement with the US State Attorney to reimburse customers for price fixing with three different publishers. Prices were no longer fixed at $9.99 for ebooks.

In fact, the price points started to drop, you guessed it, to $0.99 to $3.99. In April 2012, Mike Coker did a post on his blog showing what price points worked on his website, Smashwords.com, $0.99 and $3.99. He had all the Indie Author data of experimentation to back him up. That’s when others started to listen. Data is starting to show self-publishing can work. It’s not hard to connect the dots that self-publishing is not only working, but having it’s data and experiences used by other publishers.

Being tuned into all of this uprising is like a front row seat to some of the biggest change happening in publishing. Those of us who have nothing to loose, no overhead, and no corporate structure to answer to can try new things on a whim. I tried the Amazon price matching idea and watched my first book, The Lost Secret of Fairies, be downloaded for free over 9,000 times to build a whole new reader base. Three months later, Amazon switched to two separate buying lists so free downloads wouldn’t top their best seller lists. But it worked for me, because I was an indie author that had control of my pricing and distribution. This is a whole new concept for authors, and exciting to be at the forefront.

To add to this, I know where my ebooks have sold. I can log on and see how many sales I’ve had in the US, UK, and Canada. I’ve even had a few books sell in Japan. This is using listings for Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords.com. Smashwords distributes to Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, and several other ebook retailers. These are just the ones that I use. Other avenues are available too.

In a way, I’ve been trying to make self-publishing work for me. My new book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, took three years to write. I spent the last year editing with a fabulous freelance editor named Shelley Holloway. I’ve hired an artist, Rich Wallace, to do the cover and inside illustrations for the last three books. In the end, I learned it really doesn’t matter to your reader how your book gets to them, but that it does. Whether your book is self published or traditionally published, a reader will want your book if they like it. So, the most important thing is to write a good book. That is what any successful author does. Write a good book that people will want. If your book is good and available, people will want it, no matter how it is published.

**This post is part of the monthly
“Indie Life” posts linked on the Indelibles Blog.

dragonfiretbnailjpgTiffany Turner is a self-published author the children’s fantasy adventure series called The Crystal Keeper Chronicles. Her current release, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, is the third book in the series. She has been an elementary teacher in California for 16 years.