Posted in how to write, Publishing

Kindel Direct Publishing (KDP) Tips, Tricks and Secrets: a Resource Guide

Planning to release an ebook on Kindel Direct Publishing? Here are all of the resources I’m using to publish my novel ok KDP.
First, here’s the link to Amazon’s help guide.

This video shows how to be very successful with any book you publish, traditional or self-publishing.

He first starts talking about building a brand. I would definitely do more research on this. My favorite books from published authors on niche building are:

Get Known Before The Book Deal: Use Your Personal Strengths To Grow An Author Platform

Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book

Wild Ink : Success Secrets to Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult Market

(Note: These are affiliate links)

This next link is very useful for understanding the Amazon algorithm! It goes over writing your description, synopsis, getting reviews, and promoting your content.

https://www.gedcusack.com/5-successful-kdp-book-launch-tips/

btop-5-tips-book-launches

If you are looking to create something more like a publishing company, this video goes over how to write nonfiction ebooks (though you can use it for fiction as well). He covers how to research profitable niches, higher ghostwriters, places you can get the cover made, and ways to maximize how much money you make!

This next website has a lot of information and really give the basics on all the steps to be successful. The most useful information is about how to set up your promotion plan.

http://skipjackpublishing.com/10-tips-to-take-your-book-to-1-in-a-free-kdp-select-promo-beyond/

The next video is a long-winded explanation but it was created earlier this year and seems to be quite up to date. He explains all of the basics about your book very clearly as well as marketing, brand building, and how it all connects.

 

This is a video from 2016 but it’s a quick video and covers major topics like how to price your book, how many reviews you need and free promo.

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Posted in how to write

Tricks to Get Through the First Draft of a Novel

Many people aspire to be writers and authors but many fail for the simple reason that they are not in the right mindset. The best of them get 30,000 words in before switching to another project. But there are people just like you who have writing novel length works. This is a simple guide to the mental game behind completing your first draft.

1: Remember That It’s Just a First Draft.

It doesn’t have to be perfect or even good. Even if you put your all into every sentence,  you might end up not needing the scene. But at the same time, you don’t want to write awfully because that will make it very hard to edit. It can also affect your stamina in finishing the draft. For me, knowing the first part of the book is poorly written or will need major edits makes me not want to write anymore and I will often end up abandoning the project.mistakes-1756958_1920.jpg That’s why NaNoWriMo works so well for me. I’m able to write quickly but well. I’m not worried about the quality of the draft but I also know any given scene could be vital or dropped. It makes it so I don’t put too much pressure on myself but can’t go back to edit the first few pages (because that doesn’t add much to my word count).

2: The Dreaded Deadline

Having a deadline is a great motivator for most authors. Having a self-imposed deadline can keep your mind from wandering off to other projects. I know that if I work on one project too long I’ll get bored of it and won’t want to keep working on it. So you can work as quickly as possible.

You could also decide to work on one project for two weeks and the switch to the other. This works well for people who can’t focus on one draft because they have two may other possible ideas. But make sure you always revisit the project at the end of the deadline.

If writing fast isn’t your thing I have a couple of suggestions as well.

3: Write The Most Important Parts First.

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It can sometimes be the most beneficial to write only the things you need for the first draft and then fill in the rest later. You can still write in chronological order so that you understand the build to the climax but dropping the less important scenes will keep yourdraft shorter and more fluid. Then you can always go in and fill in the rest later.

4: Plan a Big Reward or Party When You Finishing the Draft.

Giving yourself a reward is the opposite of the deadline. Allow yourself a special gift, trip, or break only if you complete the draft. Alternatively, you could set smaller rewards for finishing chapters or getting halfway through the project.

5: Make it a Habit

Sometimes the hardest part is just starting. Sit down and tell yourself you have to write one sentence and then you can do something else… or you can keep going. Alternatively, block out 15 minutes and say you can’t get up or look at anything except your draft until the time is up. One of these tricks should boost your mojo.

 

I hope some of these tricks helped you out! If you know of any other tips please let me know in the comments below!

Posted in how to write

Will There be More LGBT Best Sellers Like Love Simon?

With Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and it’s accompanying movie Love Simon hitting the mainstream I begin wondering if there will be any LGBT best seller books being released soon. This is one of the first novels with an openly gay main character that has reached such a wide audience. But will this trigger bigger publishers to start excepting more LGBT works?

I do think that bigger publishers having seen the wide success of Love Simon will be more likely to except these kinds of stories. But of course, publishers always have to be concerned with what will sell. And so though there might be a slight increase in novels being produced for the LGBT community, Love Simon was primarily marketed at teenage girls and gay guys. The problem with this is that teenage girls are often going to pick up a straight romance, so it is less likely to have a big sale if it is LGBT friendly and teen gay guys don’t make up a significant portion of the market making them less likely to be targeted.

On the other hand there has been a huge surge in popularity of gay romance is in those communities animes such as Yuri on Ice as well as TV shows and movies such as Moonlight. Each successful release of a new gay romance will trigger more and more publishers start to start accepting them. The soonest we will probably see a surge in LGBT works will be next year due to the long timeframe of publishing novel. But whether or not this will be a lasting trend will only be told by time. There have always been LGBT novels and there will always be more as the community is more accepted by the rest of the world.

Posted in how to write, Transgender Life

How to Write Transgender Characters (4 questions to ask yourself)

Writing transgender characters is the same as writing normal characters just with a few extra thinking points.

1. How far along in the transition is this person?

You might think that having your character come out to their parents, get kicked out of the house and then pass enough to be taken in by someone who they are then struggling to come out to is a great plot line but it’s not. Most people won’t pass very well before they are on hormones and that can take months or even years to start depending on where in the world your character is. So in short, know how long the transition prosses is and make sure your character doesn’t show traits (like a deep voice) to early.

2. How masculine or feminine are they?

Just because your character is trans, it doesn’t disregard that they were born as their birth gender. You can’t undo 18 years of social conditing so easily… its ok to be a girly guy or a boyish girl. But its also ok to be a really macho man too. Just consider how your character came to act like this and at what age they started showing these traits.

3. How open is your character?

Will they tell a stranger that they’re trans? Wear a pride flag? Or do they lie about every part of their past to cover the truth? Some people avoid public bathrooms like the plague and others are comfortable enough with themselves to go into either depending on the situation.

4. Who Knows?

Some characters are still coming out to themselves, some to their parents, some to their friends. But some people fall through the cracks. It can be a great plot device to have someone your MC hasn’t come out to yet crash the party. On the other hand, think of how each of these social groups found out. Did the mom tell the dad? Did most of the MC’s friends leave and now they have to make new friends?

 

If you have any other advice or would like a sequel that explains more directly ‘how to’ please let me know!

Posted in how to write

How to Set Up Your Writing Space

First

Pick a space that is calming to you. Maybe the corner of a room where the sun shines in the window. Somewhere that you can hear the birds chirping or your music playing. A space that you can really claim as your own. That may be a coffee shop with sweet smells and cheap drinks.

Then

Make your space calm and clear. Have only what you need on the table. Just your notepad and pen. If your laptop is your weapon of choice then clear the tabs. Open up a new window and shut off all the distractions. Unless you have writing notes on your phone it should be away.

Make it your inspiration…. Make it your habit

Know in your mind that you will not sit down on that chair until you are ready to write. It will be your trigger to work. When you sit down there for the first time be full of inspiration. It will leak into your work everytime you sit down there. Claim this space as your workspace and that only. You will not eat there or sleep there or talk there. this is your place for inspiration, not for Facebook, not for TV.

Then clear your mind

Make the conditions easy to repeat so every time you sit down you can clear your mind. Forget about your laundry and your pay check, and your kids and you dogs and your life and just sit down and write.

Write and write no matter what.

Write Crap. Write poetry. Just write. If you can’t think of anything to write. Take a long deep breath and write that you can’t write. Write about your writing space. Write until the flow comes. And when it comes don’t stop writing. Don’t think about what you have written, what you have to write, what you have to edit, what your publisher will think. Just put butt to chair and get the first draft done. Be in that mindset. And when you need to edit, be in that mindset.

And make it your ritual.

And be happy.

 

 

The way I wrote this post was inspired by my all-time favorite book: We the Animals

Posted in Publishing

The publishers spreadsheet

So you want to get published and you’re doing your research; good for you! I just wanted to give you a quick simple guide to lay out information about all the publishers you’ve been collecting emails for.

When I was first trying to figure out who to submit to my list of 35 people who accepted un-agented, open submission, LGBT works was pretty daunting. So I spoke with a published author about how he chose the first person to apply to and this was his best tip.

The publisher spreadsheet.

Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 10.42.20 PM

As you can see here it’s a pretty simple list. Name, website and what they need to have sent in the submission and if I submitted. This makes it easy to sift through. The requirements were often taken right from their pages so I didn’t even have to write it out.

If you don’t think you want to take the time to do this. Just think about the next time you’re submitting your next novel and need to look through every publisher again (and the only thing you’ve saved is there names.)

This is really easy to add too if you have another variable such as if they already responded or if you’re waiting for a response. You can also see one name floating in the middle… that collum was supposed to be for the names at the top of the query but several had just one editor to submit too.

I hope this helps you organize your life and makes the stress a little less heavy. I also fully recommend this book to anyone looking to publish any kind of writing.

 

Posted in Transgender Life

Can you see me, child?

Children tend to scare me. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, their big glassy eyes find me. I’m always left introspective, wondering what it is they see? Do they see me?

The real me. The one under my skin.

Do children see a happy, charismatic me? The person who can make anyone smile. Do they see a young adult flourishing in the world? A suave, enthusiastic, artist? Someone with no fear, going forth into the world? Someone living their best life.

Or do those big eyes see the me everyone else knows?

The me who has anxiety. Who doesn’t know what fashion is. Can they tell I have no close friends? That I’m lost in the world? Do they know I’m trying not to be that me anymore? Am I a failer to them? A bum with no job and nowhere to be?

But more importantly, do they see me as a guy or girl?

Do my clothes prove me to be an enthusiastic young man? or does my face betray me as a female? Can they see my chest, strapped down under my oversized shirt? Or are they looking at my arms, with no muscle at all? Do they see I haven’t shaved my legs or that I have shaved my pits? Is my hair too long? My shoes too big?

And they say. “Mommy, what’s that person doing?”

“Oh, they’re just relaxing in the sun.”

They see me as a person. Someone just like anyone else. The child can tell I have ups and downs, flaws and perfections. And I am resigned to the world of they. Neither male no female. I have not yet become that person I so badly want to be. So I shut my eyes and continue to bathe in the sunlight. The grass tickles under my binder. And I am content.

Posted in Fiction, how to write, Short Stories

Sing to Me || A Short Story

Part 1:

Dakota Emmett had done it again. His singles had been hit the top of the charts for years, and this time, it was record-breaking. His crisp strong voice told stories for all who chose to listen. On the charts, he was a pop artist, but I’ve always thought he was an angel. If his voice wasn’t enough, his flowing locks reflected the stage lights out onto the crowd. Of course, you wouldn’t know of that bright, shining blond hair of his because he dyed it neon blue. When it would fade the color would look almost brown. He had it cut by one of the best, it never tickled his shoulders and never fell in his face. And his eyes, oh his eyes, were the color of the sky on a perfect spring day.
I stood in the crowd that day smiling from ear to ear. Because I lived in the same city as him I went to almost all of his concerts. We all packed into the concert hall talking wildly about the handsome devil. Today’s performance was special. If you pre-ordered the ticket you were placed in a random drawing to win a dinner date with Dakota. I smiled looking at all the girls around me. Yes, I had ordered the ticket ahead of time but I didn’t think I would even have a chance of hearing my name called.
Sinking into my seat I got ready to listen to his wonderful voice. I always thought he sang better on stage. Without the effects and splices of sound clips, his singing was pure. The lights dimmed and there was his beautiful face. Cameras circled him and huge screens showed me all the little details of his face. The girls screamed and I bounced up and down in my chair. He sang his hit songs first. As the night went on he started getting to older songs. There were times when I was the only one mouthing words and other times where the hall erupted into off-key singing.
Five minutes were left in the allotted time. Everyone around me shifted. The last note of Dakota’s sound played out and then his smile was back.
“Hellooo everyone,” He showed his perfect teeth off to the crowd, “I would like to thank each and every one of you for coming to see me tonight. Now which one of you lovely ladies gets to wants to have dinner with me tomorrow night?” The crowd whooped and hollered, “I thought so.” He gave a sideways grin, “Now let’s see who the winner is.”
The crowd went wild, shouting into the sky. He reached into a little bucket and pulled out a slip.
“And the winner is, Chance Haytoooonn.” He threw his head back.
I froze in place. That was my name. I had won. The audience cheered. A man with a clipboard walked up to my row.
“Please come with me,” he said addressing me.
I stumbled up and ran after him. We walked down the stairs as the girls watched me. They were all probably planning to kill me. I walked up the stairs onto the stage and paused. There was still a chance I could run away. I didn’t want to be on stage in front of the all the people I beat. Someone nudged me from behind and the momentum sent me running out onto the stage. Seeing Dakota standing that close to me, I stopped in place. I was probably 10 feet away.
He held his right hand out and smiled. “No need to be so shy, come stand over here with me.”
I tumbled over to stand by him and looked up at his beautiful, wonderful face. My face flushed red. He rested his hand on my shoulder.
“Congratulations, Chance, I have to say, I wasn’t expecting any guy to enter, but I guess there was a- CHANCE.”
I tried to laugh but ended up looking down at the stage, my face was most likely red.
“So, do you have anything you want to say?”
I shook my head and stared at my shoes.
He patted my back lightly. “Well then, I’ll see you backstage.”
That boy’s voice, it made my heart pound. After a few minutes, he came off of the stage to where I was standing.
“I’m so sorry!” I yelled as soon as he got near me, “I should have said something, and I’m a guy so that probably screwed you up-”
Dakota rested his hand on my shoulder, his blue orbs looked into my eyes, “Don’t worry about it, I know that must have been hard for you. So for dinner are you free on Saturday around 6?”
“You don’t need to eat with me, I totally get it.” I stumbled backward.
He shook his head. “That’s nonsense, you won fair and square.”
“Saturday then…”
“I’ll send someone to pick you up.” Dakota ruffled my hair gently, “I like the red, by the way.”
Then he disappeared. A piece of my dyed red hair fell in front of my eyes. I watched him talk to some of the producers as he left. Running off to the parking lot, I covered my face, hoping no one would recognize me. I drove home with my foot on the gas the whole time. My heart raced. When I got home I snuck in through the front door. My father was watching TV in the living room, my mom was washing dishes in the kitchen. As to not attract attention to myself, I took quiet steps.
I passed my sister’s room and my brother’s room and crept into mine. My room was dark, almost all the bulbs were burnt out. There were stacks of paper everywhere. Each one of them as a different song that would never be sung. I sat down on my bed and pressed my face into my hands. All of my clothes were scattered on my bed. I had literally nothing to wear if I went to dinner with him.

Posted in Fiction, how to write

What is a Better Platform for Fiction Writers? Wattpad VS WordPress

While WordPress has been my main platform since 2015 I have had some issues maintaining a posting longevity. Due to the way searches appear on WordPress it is hard for older content to get found unless it is in a very specific range that is very searched but not filled with content. My post writing characters with dyslexia fits into that category.

So for fiction writers who have a hard time figuring out exactly what niche to write in, getting the kind of feedback on work that is necessary to keep your stamina up is impossible. The only authors who I can tell use WordPress effectively as a platform already have a following. Because fiction is supposed to be the base of our platform and short stories often do not have high SEO names it is hard for them to be found by the WordPress algorithm. The whole thing has left me with a wide variety of content that doesn’t get seen and one post that does. It’s also very hard for people to follow series in this format as people will be more likely to find your 8th post than you first.

That’s why during my temporary hiatus I used wattpad. I’ve tried using this reading and writing platform in the past and it wasn’t very effective but that’s because I was using It wrong. Postings one story in many parts I have already gotten 3 times the amount of views on that one story than on all the fiction posted on WordPress. I’m still exploring the pros and cons of wattpad but I have found it much more rewarding to write there than I have on WordPress. I do intend to start writing on WordPress again but it’s hard to say if I will have the motivation to stick with it for the rest of the year.

Posted in Uncategorized

Life After College

Hey guys. Today I wanted to talk about what I’m doing with my life after I graduate. I talk about finding an apartment in Chicago, deciding where to live, finding a job in film, and the future of this youtube channel. I ramble quite a bit in this video but I recorded almost 30 minutes so just be glad I cut all that other junk out XD.
I hope you guys enjoy the video. If you did please comment, like, share and subscribe (It really helps the channel out). I’d love to make youtube my full-time job one day but as you can see I’m still working out the kinks. There only one way to get better though, and that’s practice.
If there’s anything you would like to see a video about please let me know. I’d like to move away from regular vlogs and start making more how-to style content. I’d also like to start posting more frequently after I graduate. For instance, I could have made this into two shorter and more refined videos. I’ll try to start doing that more in the future but editing takes a long time and it’s my least favorite part.
Now that I’ve rambled for 1000 words let me sign off.
I hope you have a sparkling day,
Anndi ❤