Tag Archives: Writing

Back To School Blog Tour Day 2: Featured Author Becca Price

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2017B2SchoolBannerWelcome to the second day of the Back to School Blog Tour. Today’s featured author is Becca Price. Ms. Price is a children’s author with many fantasy children’s books ranging from beginning fantasy chapter books to middle grade novels. I had a chance to talk to Becca about her writing process,  how she gets her ideas, and what she has next in store for us.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

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Becca Price has written the popular fantasy series of bedtime stories, Dragons and Dreams.

Becca Price: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. As a child, I used to tell stories to my siblings before going to bed. I wrote some highly derivative fantasy in high school and college, as one does, but didn’t seriously consider making a living as a writer. Instead, I started work as a technical writer, and continued in that profession until ill health made me quit. I still took the occasional contract, however, and kept in the profession for a total of 30 years

How long does it take you to write these books?

Becca Price: It varies so much. Sometimes, the words just roll out, and the story is close to it’s final form. Other stories, I struggle with. I have one story (Heart of Rock) that I worked on for 20 years, on and off, trying to come up with a satisfying ending.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Becca Price: Inspiration strikes at any time. One story, I worked n in my head while trying to go to sleep. I finally got up at 3:00 in the morning, and wrote down the first draft of the story almost completely.

Other times, it’s more like a “real” job, usually after I get my first pass edit back from the wonderful editor, Martha Hayes – she seems to know what I am trying to say better than I do sometimes, and will ask me questions. I’ll get up in the morning, start working on her edits, take a break for lunch, and finish writing around 4:00 pm, and then back to work on it the next day. I don’t seem to be able to write well after about 3 or 4 in the afternoon, unless it’s one of those things that keeps me up til 3 until I write it down.

What brought you to write your fairy book series?

Becca Price: The only real series I have is Fields, Forest, and Fairies. This consists of 3 books: Fairies and Fireflies, The Wood and the Wildfolk, and The Wizard and the Wood. They all take place in the same universe, and I just kept writing the stories as long as the Wide Wild Wood had stories to tell me. It may have other stories to tell, but right now, I’m feeling like it’s pretty complete.

How you become a published author? Any inspiration?

Becca Price: After I wrote my first book, Dragons and Dreams, I looked carefully at publisher’s requirements for children’s books. They tend to be very strict and formulaic, with no place for the kind of gentle fairy tales I write. I started doing research (I’m a research junkie anyway) and decided to self-publish through Amazon. In this effort I was helped immeasurably by the kind folks at kboards/writer’s café, which still provides me with help in my writing, and in my publishing efforts.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Becca Price: When my children were very small, I looked about for good bedtime stories for them, It must have been a dry spell for children’s books, because other than the classics like Dr. Seus and the Grimm brothers, there wasn’t much – and I disliked the sexual stereotyping in the classical fairy tales. There was the peerless Paper Bag Princess, but other than that, not much. So I started to make up stories that addressed issues (like being afraid of the dark) that my kids were having, or silly stories like The Grumpy Dragon and A Princess for Tea. When my children started correcting me on how the story was supposed to go, I wrote them down, so I’d remember them. That collection became Dragons and Dreams, and is still my daughter’s favourite of my books. Then I got a letter from a fan, wanting to know whether Butterfly Fairy ever got another kitten, and that set of stories became Fairies and Fireflies.

Most of my stories have a strong nature orientation. I’ve been known to call the local Extension Office at Michigan State University, to make sure I have my facts straight. The rest of it comes from my own knowledge of mythology, an exposure to Waldorf education, and that great source of all knowledge, Google.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

Becca Price: Other than childish attempts? Dragons and Dreams took form during my early 40s when my children were little. I didn’t start publishing until 2013, however.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Becca Price: I read. I go on reading spurts, prompted by all sorts of things. I read biographies of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr after my daughter, who is a technical theatre major, introduced me to the musical Hamilton. I read books on ancient (pre-Greek) mythology while a future story, The Boy Who Loved The Moon started taking place. I still haven’t written that one down yet, because it’s going to be very challenging to write, and I want to get it right. What started out as a main character, an 8th century Welsh bard, is now the villain.

But I read a lot for simple relaxation. I’m a fan of regency-ish romances, no matter how bad the research in them is, because usually the author has a good story to tell anyway, and it’s an era where I find the stock characters comforting to read. I read science fiction, and when I feel my writing style has become stale, I read Lois McMaster Bujold,’s fantasy series. I like her Vorkosigan series, as well, but her fantasy tends to be exquisite.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

Becca Price: I have 7 books: four collections of fairy tales, and 3 stories that stand alone. I have 8 books, if you count Child of Promise, which is also the last story in Dragons and Dreams. The non-collection books are Heart of Rock, Bridge of Seven Stones, and The Snarls. All of those were written for my children as they grew up, but I think have universal things to say to any child.

I have to admit, Dragons and Dreams is a sentimental favourite, being the ones I told my children over and over again.

What is next for you? What are you working on now?

Becca Price: There’s The Boy Who Loved the Moon, which I’m still researching and working out the general plot overview. I’ve got several fairy tales, such as my own take on the Tam Linn story, that are sketched out, but on the back burner for now.

What I’m spending most of my time on, however, is Sirens’ Song. It’s a tough book to describe, because it’s still taking shape, but it’s a parable that deals with death and life. I ran a draft of it past a child psychologist, who says that it’s appropriate for 4th and 5th graders, so it’s one of my stories that’s aimed at older children.

And my daughter has been nagging me to write more stories about The Grumpy Dragon, so maybe after Sirens’ Song is finished, I’ll start working on that one.

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Book review of this book featured on Teddy O’Malley’s blog today!

***To continue with the blog tour, head over to one of the participating author’s websites to read a book review of Becca Price’s Heart of Rock. Teddy O’Malley will be featured tomorrow in the blog tour. Today, she is posting a review of Becca Price’s book, Heart of Rock. So, please, head over and enjoy her book review.

To purchase the book, links to Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.

**Plus, the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway is still going on. Be sure to head over and enter today!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/20834f9e16/?

 

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Back To School Blog Tour 2017 Starts Sept. 11

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2017B2SchoolBannerSo, I’ve been hard at work planning the 5th Annual Back to School Blog Tour. I’ve got some pretty amazing authors lined up to share the behind the scenes take on writing children’s books. Plus, these same amazing authors will be posting reviews of the books featured the week of the blog tour.

**So come back on Sept. 11 and get to know the participating authors. All week, author interviews will be posted with links to their book reviews. Enjoy a week of celebrating books and education. I’m looking forward to it!

**Plus, the Back to School Blog Tour Giveaway will start on Sept. 11. Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card for your very own books to start off the year. Teachers can enter to add to their own class libraries. It will run through the weekend and end Sunday Sept. 17.

Link for Back to School Giveaway: Starts Monday, Sept. 11

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/20834f9e16/

So, bookmark and come back on Monday Sept. 11. Until then, happy beginning of school!

-Mrs. Turner

Speaking Engagement for Children’s Author Tiffany Turner

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Tiffany Turner will be leading a Creative Session at the SCBWI Asilomar Children’s Writing Conference. The session will be entitled: Writer’s Block Walk and will be on Saturday, March 4 at 3:15pm-4:00pm.

writerblockwalkDescription: Got writer’s block on a project? Bring your project for a walk around Asilomar along the beach and dunes. Brainstorm with other writers, and take some time in nature to write and release new ideas.

Still time to sign up for this excellent children’s writing conference at: https://sfsouth.scbwi.org/events/2017-golden-gate-conference/.

A message from Tiffany Turner:

“I’ve been attending the SCBWI South San Francisco Asilomar Writing Conference for over 10 years. Each year it is a shot in the arm to help get my creative juices flowing. It is also a great opportunity to mingle and pitch to children’s editors and agents. It’s a small conference, and many times it’s a nice family and friend-like atmosphere that is great for children’s writers just starting out to the seasoned veteran like myself. Great weekend getaway and chance to focus on your children’s writing career.

Still time to sign-up, and if you are coming already, please join me for the walk. It’s something similar to what I’ve done and I’ve heard others do during this writing conference. Except I’ve taken it to a new level by giving this walk some structure and applying it to something I think a nature walk helps with the best, writer’s block. It should be a fun writing activity. I look forward to meeting you.” -Tiffany Turner

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

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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.

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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

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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!

https://www.amazon.com/Pumper-Pumpkin-Tiffany-Turner-ebook/dp/B005X1CS1A

HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE HALLOWEEN!

-Tiffany Turner

 

 

Spooky Writing Project Unit On Sale 10/21-10/23 @ TeachersPayTeachers

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spookystoryunitbkcvrSo, I’ve been writing down all my teaching wisdom to preserve and share it with current and future teachers. I’ve had 18 years experience teaching with a specialty in writing. So, I’ve been writing up some fabulous projects on TeachersPayTeachers.com. I’ve just put my Spooky Story writing project unit on sale for this weekend, 10/21-10/23. The unit follows current Common Core standards. It’s on sale for $2.36. Unit includes graphic organizers(worksheets), sample writing paragraphs, grading rubric, and all the lesson plans for the unit. It even includes a Spooky Book Summary Report.

I’ve had kids over and over say this was their favorite project in my classroom. So, if you’re a teacher and need something for Halloween, have the kids write a story. They can’t get enough of this. Or even if you’re a parent and you want to keep your kids busy from now until Halloween, try this project and have them read it on Halloween night. There is nothing more magical than watching kids entertain themselves with their own writing.

LINK To TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS HERE For Spooky Story Project!

Plus, my Halloween read-aloud is available exclusively on Amazon Here!

And I’ve just posted a new writing unit for Mysteries!

Hot off the presses: Mystery Genre Writing Unit LINK HERE!

OH yes, have a spooky and safe Halloween!

Back To School Blog Tour: Day 5

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backtoschool2016I’d like to wrap up the blog tour by saying a big thank you to all of the participating authors for joining this annual event. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the different featured authors this week.

Please feel free to visit the blog/websites of participating authors to find out more about them:

Plus, here is a list of additional blog posts that appeared on participating blogs this week:

An interview with Martine Lewis on Erin Liles’s blog:

https://editperfectword.com/2016/09/15/martine-lewis-author-of-the-grey-eyes-series/

For an interview with me, Tiffany Turner, head over to Sandra R. Anderson’s Blog:

http://www.sandrarandersson.com/2016/09/back-to-school-blog-tour-interview-with_12.html

Teaching Tips on Philip Gibson’s Blog:

http://www.wordbywordseries.com/blog.html

SO, TODAY IS THE LAST CHANCE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAYS/PICK UP DISCOUNTS AND FREEBIES!

GIVEAWAYS and DISCOUNTS

Here is one last shot at the list of freebies, discounts, and giveaways during the blog tour. All discounts, freebies and giveaways will be running through the blog tour dates: 9/12-9/16.

  1. Win a $25 shopping spree on Amazon! Link to the Rafflecopter giveaway link here!
  2. Download a free copy of Konrad and the Birthday Painting HERE!
  3. Philip Gibson’s Graded Word For Word Reader 1 & 2 Free
  4.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZQQ98C
  5. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019J1U2RQ
  6. The Lost Secret of Fairies: Discounted to $0.99
  7. Win a notebook set, bookmarks or the book Tinker Bee by Erin Liles: http://erinbethliles.weebly.com/blog/back-to-school-blog-tour-giveaway

Thanks so much for joining myself and the other Indie children’s authors this week. I’ve enjoyed hosting the Back to School Blog Tour again this year. I can’t wait to celebrate the 5th Annual tour next year. Sign-ups will begin in August 2017.

To all of those teachers and students out there starting the 2016-2017 school year, best of learning to you all! Have a great year!

-Tiffany Turner

My Year of Writing: Starts with Back to School Blog Tour Planning

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Tiffany Turner starting her year of writing. Let's see what can become of it. ;-)

Tiffany Turner starting her year of writing. Let’s see what can become of it. 😉

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. It’s mostly because I’m trying to get back into a routine after going through a summer of physical therapy. There has been good news. I’m out of the critical range. My heart has finally started to pump stronger. I’m not out of the woods yet. It still isn’t normal, and my doctor has me on a regiment of heart medicines and I’m doing regular physical cardiotherapy. Otherwords, taking care of myself is a job onto itself now.

I’ve also taken off the next year from teaching to work on my health and spend a year writing. I’m going to live the dream of being a full time writer and try to get my health back in order as much as possible. My first week of writing has been filled with participating in a live Writer’s Digest webinar on Middle Grade novels with an agent, writing romance and more of The Lost Secret of Time, and planning the 2015 Back to School Blog Tour.

Join in on the Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 7-11, 2015

Join in on the Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 7-11, 2015

It feels good living the writer’s life. It is a dream that I’m finally able to live, thankfully. I’m glad that God gave me this second chance, and I’m going to try to make the best of it. I want you to join along in this new adventure. Plus, join me in the Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 7-11. I’m still taking sign-ups for participating authors. Email me at: tiff (at) tiffmeister(.)net. I’d love to hear from you. I’ve got space up to 10 participating authors. Hope you can join me.

Most of all, here’s a salute to all those teachers out there starting the 2015-2016 School Year. I can’t be in the trenches with you, but at least, I can help support you all. I’ll be writing down a lot of my lessons I’ve developed over my 18 years of teaching, and will be posting them to TeachersPayTeachers.com. Plus, I’ve developed a unit to teach my novel THE LOST SECRET OF FAIRIES over the last two years in my classroom. I’ll be posting information on that when it becomes available. I know with Common Core it will be important to have curriculum to teach novel studies. I’ve done that in my classroom annually for 18 years. I’m happy to share my knowledge in future posts and with lesson plans on TeachersPayTeachers. Until then, take care, and have a great start to the school year.

HAPPY BACK TO SCHOOL!-Tiffany Turner (Mrs. Turner)

How Do Writers Get Their Ideas?

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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.

No Limits: How To Write That Good Book

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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?

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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.