Your Figurative Yoda is Here to Help!

Something I desperately wish I’d had when I started my writing/publishing journey a few years ago was someone who knew a thing or two about self-publishing. Hell, maybe even some wisdom on drafting a manuscript, too. I was green as a pea, had no idea what I was doing, and made a billion mistakes in the process that could have been prevented had someone shown me the ropes. That’s what this post is going to be about. I’m hoping to be that version of a writing Yoda for any of you aspiring authors out there who come across my blog.

First of all, my biggest mistake when I started was writing the beginning of my story on an iPad. I didn’t have an actual computer at the time, and I eventually had to use my sister’s until I bought one for myself. On top of that, I had had no notes written down about the story, and I didn’t have great forethought for developing the characters. I just kind of went with the vision I had in my head, and that led me to a TON of editing in the future. And the book I’m talking about is actually Jump Start My Heart. Had I formed some type of plan beforehand, I could have been saved from a giant load of work I had to do afterwards. So this is lesson number 1: Put every detail of the story – meaning character names, back stories, descriptions, and places you want them to go – down in a notebook before you start. And when you have everything planned out, THEN you go and grab that laptop.

The second mistake I made was using the wrong software program. I was using a PC which had Microsoft Works on it, and it was only after I looked into publishing on Amazon (which is the site I use for publishing all my books) that I saw you need to have Microsoft Word in order to create a Table of Contents for Kindle formatting. It was a hard, $80 pill to swallow at the time, but before, when I had been trying to move my manuscript over to another free program that supposedly offered the same amenities as Word, I lost my book.

     Yes. It actually FREAKING DISAPPEARED IN FRONT OF MY EYES.

I had to call my aunt and ask her to call my computer savvy cousin while my sister and father tried to find the missing document. Cut to me having a panic attack on my porch, using a brown paper bag and everything, we were eventually able to get the thing back before my sister’s computer deleted it permanently. So, you see how important this is. Had I done more research, or hell, just sucked it up and bought the stupid program, I wouldn’t have had all of that chaos. And also, if you start your manuscript on the program you plan to save it on, it’s a whole lot easier. Because as I discovered, bad things happen when you transfer documents. (side note: always make backup copies of your book, no matter at what stage you’re in, on a CD as well as a USB drive. Trust me, having thirteen backups and looking paranoid to your friends is better than having a panic attack and almost passing out lol). So tip number 2: Do your research, and if you’re really serious about self-publishing, look into buying the right formatting programs to fit the digital retailer you want to sell on.

My last and biggest mistake was publishing a book I wasn’t a thousand percent happy with. Don’t get me wrong. I love the story I created, but looking back, there were so many editing and grammatical errors that I missed that it made me sick to think I didn’t put out my best work the first time. The number one way to have your book look professional is to have a clean and easy to read layout. Meaning you read over that thing a hundred times if it means you find every little error. And along the way you’ll find little things to add to a scene or a character, making it a touch more interesting and layered, and you’ll find that not only the structure/layout was improved, but so was the story itself. So, for my third and final tip, I give you this: Don’t put out a story with a ton of flaws just because you want to call yourself an author. That was where I went wrong and I ended up having to re-edit THREE TIMES because of it. You make sure that that story is everything you want it to be before you let the world have a chance at it. The quality of not only the story, but the way you present it, represents you as an author. You want the readers to come back for your other works because they saw the care and detail you put into the first one they read. It can make what was once a three star review possibly turn into a five, just by taking the time to make sure your book is clean, organized, and edited to perfection. And better yet, if you can afford it, have someone edit it for you. Or have a friend read the book before you publish it and give you feedback. It thickens your skin to criticism and gives you a great perspective from an outside source.

(TIPS THAT DIDN’T MAKE MY TOP 3)

Book covers: There are hundreds of graphic designers online who can offer you packages to make you a digital book cover for your novel. And if you’re like me and have a background in design, then you can choose to make your own. Amazon.com is nice enough on their KDP website (featured here) to give you the dimensions they require before you start the cover. I also like Pixabay for stock/royalty free images, and PicMonkey for free text designs when I create my own book covers. Also, the best covers are the ones that best represent the book. It can be a single element from the story that you incorporate into the cover, and it’ll be fine. The simpler the design, the better. Your eye is naturally drawn towards an image you can clearly see rather than something busy and loaded with colors.

Managing your copyrights: Now this is one I had a hard time getting information on, but it’s worth it in the end, because this is arguably what I was most worried about when I published my first book. You don’t want anybody stealing your book and claiming it’s theirs. Especially if you have zero documentation showing that it is indeed yours. To prevent this, you go to the Copyright office and register your book. Now I know that sounds daunting, but it’s really quite simple. For a sum that depends on the technical aspects of the book,  you can go to the official website (linked here) and register your book. That means that if anyone ever claims ownership of your work, you can wave a government official certificate in their face and scream “Oh, hell no you don’t!”

CONCLUSION

So…after that long winded post, I’m hoping that you all have a better idea of what you’re getting into. And if this didn’t sway your decision to become a self-published writer, then you have the stamina it takes to be one. But seriously, though. I didn’t write this post to scare you off. I just wanted to give you the information I wish I’d had when I first started. It truly is an awesome, frustrating, wonderful, horrible job, being a writer. But if you love writing a good story, and have the ability to do it, it really is a rewarding job; especially when you get to the end of your book and get to write those two coveted words: The End. You have the guts to do something only a small portion of the population is capable of, and in return, you make a lot of peoples’ days brighter because of it.

I thank you all for reading this, and if any of you have questions for me that I didn’t already cover, then by all means leave a comment down below and I’ll be sure to give you a response.

Happy writing,

– Inda

New Editions Are Here!

The final editions for both Heart of Onyx and Learning Patience are finally here! I’m so excited to tell you guys that you can now find the third editions for both books on Amazon, and the fact that with those two things out of the way, I’m about to start on the final touches for My Heart’s Only Exception (Separate Ways, #3)!

30444328

Synopsis:

*This book is a standalone*

St. Claire Adams is the newest up and coming rapper to face music since Eminem. He travels the world, performs to crowds of thousands, and he also finds himself in L.A. County jail.

A lot.

And his final arrest gets him in some deep water not only with his bodyguard Dylan, but more importantly with his record label. Now Saint has an ultimatum to face. Either spend the summer getting “personality rehab” at Dylan’s sister’s famous horse training center, or forfeit his contract with the label and lose the dream life he has as a hip hop artist. Which do you think he chooses?

Life is pretty simple for Patience Kellen. At eighteen years old she is the youngest trainer at her aunt Molly’s horse farm, Kellen Stables, and her life pretty much revolves around the horses she molds into prize winning thoroughbreds. So when news that one of Dylan’s protection details needs a bit of down to earth rehabilitation, she doesn’t even flinch. That is until she meets the tatted up rapper who has…let’s just say a mouth on him.

This summer just got a whole lot more interesting. For both parties.

(This is a clean, NA romance.)

18586785

Synopsis:

So I’m told I’m moving to a new country…
I guess I can deal with that.
I have to go to a snobby new school only for the rich and famous…
Um, not ideal, but certainly doable.
Save a world famous pop star and then have the dude kind of stalk you?
Let me think about that for a second…
No.
Of all things mentioned, that is the one I have a MAJOR problem with.

Coming off the shock of my parents’ divorce, Mom springs on me and my younger sister that we’re moving away for her new job promotion. At least it’s London and not some country where they don’t speak English. But being stalked by a pop star wasn’t in the brochure.

What can I say? I’m Darragh Castle, and I pretty much get what I want, when I want it. So you can imagine my shock when I come across the one girl who has ever refused my offer. Little does she know that the word ‘no’ isn’t in my acceptable vocabulary. No matter what, I will be seeing the cheeky little thing again. That I can promise…

This is a clean, YA romance.

 

“A summer of second chances…”

“The girl with a heart of gold.”

“The boy with a record.”

What happens when two sides of the coin meet in a summer of second chances? Find out when you pick up the NA romance, “Learning Patience” on Amazon.

LP cover 4

Synopsis:

***This book is a standalone***

St. Claire Adams is the newest up and coming rapper to face music since Eminem. He travels the world, performs to crowds of thousands, and he also finds himself in L.A. County jail.

A lot.

And his final arrest gets him in some deep water not only with his bodyguard Dylan, but more importantly with his record label. Now Saint has an ultimatum to face. Either spend the summer getting “personality rehab” at Dylan’s sister’s famous horse training center, or forfeit his contract with the label and lose the dream life he has as a hip hop artist. Which do you think he chooses?

Life is pretty simple for Patience Kellen. At eighteen years old she is the youngest trainer at her aunt Molly’s horse farm, Kellen Stables, and her life pretty much revolves around the horses she molds into prize winning thoroughbreds. So when news that one of Dylan’s protection details needs a bit of down to earth rehabilitation, she doesn’t even flinch. That is until she meets the tatted up rapper who has…let’s just say a mouth on him.

This summer just got a whole lot more interesting. For both parties.

b6e83c2b62a1e0ec0cd3fbc189efbc94

A writer’s guide to survival for writing your first manuscript:

  1. Caffeine. In any form you can find it.
  2. Something you can throw across the room and it won’t shatter.
  3. Ear plugs.
  4. An understanding family/spouse/significant other. Mood swings and violent tendencies come with the job. I recommend gift cards as apology tools.
  5. And last but not least, fearlessness. It’s not an easy job. You’ll never please everyone, and criticism will greet you every day. You’ll doubt every page you write at first. People will make you feel like less for chasing down such an impossible dream. But if you can remind yourself that this is what you love, that this is what makes you happy, then what others have to say, and even your own doubt, won’t matter. And in doing that you accomplish fearlessness; by being the person you want to be, and doing the things you want to do.

So open that laptop, grab that can of Coke, put your hair up in an unattractive bun, and go kick some ass my fellow writers \m/

REVIEW: ADORKABLE BY COOKIE O’GORMAN

28791088

Synopsis:

Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz.

Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she’s done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There’s only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take.

Her solution: she needs a fake boyfriend. And fast.

Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around-hottie, and Sally’s best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He’d do anything for Sal–even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she’s “more than pretty,” and expertly kissing her at parties.

The problem: Sally’s been in love with Becks all her life–and he’s completely clueless.

This book features two best friends, one special edition Yoda snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses and begs the question:

Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?

REVIEW

To start this review, I’m going to list some of the things I adore most in life.

  1. Romance
  2. Sports
  3. Romance novels with sports

 

And when I found a book with all three?

Yeah, so, I really liked this. If you couldn’t tell by Elaine and I’s shared reactions.

I thought ‘Adorkable’ was an incredibly cute and sweet first love YA romance. One of the better ones I’ve read in a while. I really enjoyed how Sally embraced her nerd card and didn’t change the fact for anyone. She was a lovable, relatable character and I thought she was written to perfection.

Now for Becks…what a sweetie <3 I was expecting him to be the annoying jock with the ego to match, and I was happily surprised by just how genuine and down to earth he was, especially around Sal. They made a hysterically mismatched pair but that made it all the better. It’s nice to see us nerds win from time to time😉

Now for the only part I couldn’t stand.

Hooker.

Dear sweet Lord I wanted to strangle her right out of the book. She was written more as a bully than a supposed ‘BFF’. In those contexts I was severely disappointed, but even more so by the fact that she was incessant about matching Sally up with someone. As though at seventeen years old Sally was an effing spinster for not having a man. I know how annoying that is personally to have done to you, so to read about it happening to such a young girl, and by her ‘best friend’, essentially saying that she’s worthless without a boyfriend was disheartening to read.

So listen up, girls. It’s about to get preachy in here.

You are perfectly amazing, accomplished, and worthy without a man. All a man should bring to your life is happiness, respect, and love. Not the title of being ‘interesting’ or ‘whole’ now that you are attached. Your worth as a person is not, and SHOULD not, be centered around whether you have a partner in life.

Okay, so now that my maternal PSA rant is over, I really did love this refreshing read. It was exactly what I needed to get out of my disappointing reading slump.

ADORKABLE BY COOKIE O’GORMAN = 4 GOALS

AUTHOR INFO

Cookie O'Gorman

Cookie O’Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her debut novel ADORKABLE is out now!

WEBSITE: http://cookieogorman.com