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Seekerville: The Journey Continues

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Writing: Art or Business?

 

Writing: Art or Business?
Hello, Seekerville!

My husband and I (along with our youngest son) just returned yesterday afternoon from a trip east to visit family. From South Dakota to Iowa, to Indiana, to Michigan, to Minnesota, and then home. Nine days, 3000 miles. We're glad to be home again!

But in spite of all my planning, I had no internet access for the entire trip. The wi-fi card in my little traveling computer didn't work and my phone isn't set up to be my #1 computer. So my vacation was a true vacation, right? Except for the work I had been planning to do while we traveled, including writing today's Seekerville post. 

No worries! Welcome to Jan Drexler's blog from March 2015! I hope you enjoy it!

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Last year I joined our local writers group. It’s a secular group with a broad range of writing experiences and goals among the members. And like any group of writers, there are a lot of aspiring authors who come to learn and grow. Several of the members have had some success in the indie publishing field, but I’m the only regular attender who is traditionally published.

Writing: Art or Business?

The Prodigal Son Returns
Published by Love Inspired, May 2013
order HERE

That, plus the fact that I’m new means that they really aren’t sure about me yet. (That’s okay. Sometimes I’m not sure about them, either!)


One of the other members and I walked out to our cars together last month. She hadn’t realized before that meeting that I’m a published author with multiple contracts waiting to be fulfilled (i.e. I should spend all of my time writing!).

“How did you do it?” She thought she really wanted to know.

I hesitated for a half-minute. She wasn’t going to be happy with what I wanted to say, so I started with my standby answer for that question:

“I entered contests that put my name and my story in front of publishers and agents.”

Her eyes narrowed.

“You’re published by Harlequin, right?”

“Yes, by Love Inspired, Harlequin’s Inspirational line.”

She looked past my shoulder and unlocked her car door. “Don’t they have pretty strict guidelines? Don’t they make you change your story?”

“They expect you to make revisions to improve your story and so that it will fit their style. Every publisher does.”

She tossed her bag into her car. She said goodbye. She drove away. No, she didn’t really want to hear what I had to say.

If she had stayed around, ready to chat under the street lights on that unusually balmy February evening, I would have told her a secret.

Writing: Art or Business?

A Mother for His Children
Published by Love Inspired, August 2014
order HERE


Writing is an art. But once you hit the send button, it becomes a business.

When you’re in your writing cave, your story is all your own. It’s a wonderful thing to spend an hour or two every day in a world peopled by characters you’ve created. At this point, writing is all about imagination, craft, and answering the “What if?” questions.

I love this part of the process. It’s a little like giving birth, with all the pain, agony, and delight that accompanies bringing a new life into the world. It’s exhilarating! And it’s all yours!

But if you want to become a published author, once you’ve finished your story you need to switch modes. This story needs to have a life of its own.

Let’s take the birth analogy a little bit further. If you’ve raised children, you know that it is unhealthy (and impossible!) to force them to remain babies forever. They need to walk, to explore, to become separate people from their parents. As much as we delight in babies, we don’t want them to turn into some twisted copy of ourselves. We want them to become the people God intended them to be. To become adults.

The same goes for your story. If you have any desire to publish your work, you must put it out there for others to see. You have to listen to and evaluate comments from critique groups, contest judges, and eventually, potential agents and publishers. Why? Because these are the people who are helping your baby grow into a self-sufficient adult.

Writing: Art or Business?

A Home for His Family
Published by Love Inspired, September 2015
order HERE


Some authors hold on to their stories too tightly. They keep their writing snagged within their prideful grasp, thinking no one else understands their story like they do. They refuse to accept help to make it better, and they refuse to change anything to make it fit someone else’s standards.


If you want to be published, you won’t be that kind of author.
You’ll be the kind of author who understands that once you hit “send,” your story is now a business. Rather than keeping it close to your heart, you humbly open your hands and let it grow.

If an agent suggests that your story will sell better told in third person rather than first person, you start planning how to make that change and still keep the meat of your story intact.

When an editor sends you a list of revisions that need to be made and invites you to resubmit your story, you put everything else aside and make those changes.

When you get a request for a partial or full manuscript, you comply in a timely manner because that’s good business practice.

Soon you’ll find that those changes and revisions make your story stronger. More complete. Saleable.

Writing: Art or Business?

Hannah's Choice
Published by Revell 2016
order HERE


And when you see your book for the first time, you’ll cry. You really will. Because that’s what parents do when they see their babies all grown up.

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Welcome back to 2022!

I'm still treating my writing as a business. Next week, on May 25, my first indie published book will be released! You can preorder it NOW!!! 

Writing: Art or Business?

Ebook is available for preorder now!

Emma Blackwood’s favorite pastime is solving literary murder mysteries…until the body in her living room makes everything a little too real.
When Emma comes to the Black Hills to work at her Aunt Rose’s B&B, the Sweetbrier Inn, she is hoping for a quiet break from the corporate treadmill. But she hadn’t expected murder and intrigue to mar this peaceful setting.
As she wades through too many clues to identify the murderer, she soon finds that the culprit isn’t stopping at only one homicide and may even have placed Emma herself on the list of targets. With the help of her friend Becky, and a deputy sheriff who grudgingly lets them join in on the investigation, Emma tracks down the killer. But will it be in time to save the next victim?


Which kind of author will you be? What do you need to do to move your writing from art to business? #NoLimits!

One commenter will win an ebook copy of "The Sign of the Calico Quartz!" 

Avoiding Sticky Book Cover Situations

 Avoiding Sticky Book Cover Situations

As queen bees of the JustRead hive (aka owners of JustRead Publicity Tours) and avid readers, we’ve learned a thing or two about sweet reads and sticky situations. We want to help you avoid common book cover blunders and ensure your readers aren’t confused or even deterred by a sticky situation. 

Generally, authors will either have DIY, outsourced, or a publisher-directed cover design process. While this article is written primarily with independently publishing (or hybrid) authors in mind, the concepts are important for all authors to consider. Whether you are creating your own cover or conveying your vision to others, the goal is for the heart of your story (or nonfiction content) to shine through the cover.

 Avoiding Sticky Book Cover Situations
Visual Vibes

Research book covers that are selling or trending in your book’s genre and subgenre, making note of images, design styles, fonts, and colors. Once you’ve identified design elements that work well for your genre, focus on reflecting the heart of your story within your author branding and genre trends. 

Stock Images

Even the pros utilize stock illustrations and images but check to see if your selections are already being used on another book cover. Layering multiple images is one way to create a more unique cover but make sure proportions and blending are natural.

Fonts

We love fonts but readability is key. Two different typefaces on a cover (sometimes three) are acceptable as long as the placement is mindful. Whimsical and script fonts are especially tricky but they pack a visual punch when used in moderation and/or paired with a simple clean font. 

 Avoiding Sticky Book Cover Situations
Good Sticky

Stick to your budget and timeline. Don’t wait too long to finalize your cover or make last-minute changes, delays could end up costing you more. Compromise is common during the cover design process but be willing to stick to it and keep the lines of communication open rather than settling for a cover that doesn’t fit.

Encouragement for DIYers

You can successfully create your own book cover with thorough research, more research, and the popper tools! Creating an appealing cover on Canva, Picmonkey, or other free or low-cost design platforms is possible. Many of these tools even provide book cover templates and it’s a great way to get the ball rolling for cover mock-ups and even final cover designs. Be sure to ask a few trusted and experienced confidantes for their opinion on your work but don’t stress over trying to please everyone.

Cover Design Pros

If your budget allows, we definitely recommend working with a cover designer. Choose a professional who has created covers you love. We love so many covers including those designed by Roseanna White, Teresa Tysinger, Hillary Lodge, Sarah Monzon, Emilie Hendryx, and more! Please feel free to give a shoutout to your favorite cover designers in the comments. Keep an eye out for a more in-depth post on working with a cover designer in the future.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” 

It’s a nice sentiment but the truth is that the cover is the first glimpse a reader has of the content within. Book covers set the stage just as words pull back the curtains on the wonderful experience we share through stories, devotionals, and nonfiction accounts. Readers are going to judge book covers so let’s embrace that and maximize their impact positively. 


Can you name some genre-specific design features? Does a certain cover style grab your attention? Carrie, Beth, and Rachel would love to chat about your favorite cover trends in the comments! 


 Avoiding Sticky Book Cover Situations
JustRead Publicity Tours, LLC is a full-service publicity tour company for published works in the Christian genre or books considered within the wholesome or clean reads genres. 

Check out their About page to meet the queen bees or jump right into the Authors & Publishers or Readers sections to learn more about JustRead campaigns.

Indie Doesn't Mean You're Alone

 

Indie Doesn't Mean You're Alone

By Kathy Geary Anderson

One month ago today, I launched my first book baby into the world. Nine months before that (yes, I’m aware of the irony of that time frame) after lots of prayer, some prodding from my husband, as well as a couple of deep conversations with my agent, I made the decision to pursue indie publishing. COVID may have had a voice in that decision, but honestly, I’d been toying with the idea for some time.

One of the biggest reasons I was balking was the thought of having to do everything on my own. Taking on all those tasks and responsibilities alone seemed almost insurmountable. So much to do. So much to learn. Well, it’s ten months later, and guess what? The biggest lesson I learned throughout this whole process was indie publishing is by no means a solo endeavor.

If, like me, you are considering indie publishing, here are some of the people you’ll want on your team:

1.       The Experts. Very few people are experts at everything. If you decide to indie publish, you are taking on a lot of roles. Not only do you need to write your book, but you’ll also need to see that it’s edited, published and marketed well. Like a general contractor on a building project, be willing to hire experts for the jobs you don’t do well. And, even if you consider yourself a pretty good editor, don’t try to edit your own book. Find a good developmental editor. Then, find a copy editor and proofreader. The money spent on their services is well worth it. Don’t know any experts? Ask around. Look at the front matter of indie published books you admire. You’ll often find the names of editors and cover artists there. Then, do your research.  Professionals will usually have lists of references of other books they’ve edited or portfolios of covers they’ve created. Choose more than one name you’d like to work with and be prepared to be flexible with your publishing timeline because the best experts are also often the busiest.

2.       The Teachers. The writing community is one of the best communities I know for sharing knowledge. If you want to learn something, chances are you can find a blog, a YouTube video, or a writing community (like The Seekers) that will be glad to supply the answers. Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing Formulais one of the most comprehensive sites I know for the indie publisher. If the cost of his entire Self-Publishing 101 is too prohibitive, be aware he has plenty of podcasts and free resources as well. He also offers mini courses at much cheaper prices. Another gold mine of information is the blog at  Reedsy.com. Their easy-to-understand articles helped me wrangle MetaData, ISBNs and BISACS into manageable bites. Also, KDP University, IngramSpark Academyand Draft2Digital all provide tutorials to help navigate publication on their sites. With the wealth of information out there, you’ll be sure to find a teaching style that works best for you.

3.       The Encouragers. This group is a must for any writer, traditionally or indie pubbed. For me, many in this group are fellow authors--friends I’ve met at writers’ conferences, local writers’ groups, and online communities. Shortly after I made the decision to indie publish, God placed me in an online prayer group with a group of authors, the majority of which were all indie published. Their support has been invaluable, not only for the advice and direction they provide, but for their ability to pray me down off the ledge on those days when frustration and anxiety sought to get the better of me. Cultivate your author friendships, but also surround yourself with close friends and family members who, though they may not fully understand your writing journey, are willing and eager to celebrate each milestone you reach along the way. Celebrations are key.

Who are the most important team members in your publishing journey? Leave a comment below to be eligible for a drawing for a free signed print copy of The Trouble with Jenny. Also, drop by my website kathygearyanderson.com and sign up for my newsletter to receive a free prequel to Jenny’s story.

 A south-Texas transplant to the good life of Nebraska, Kathy Geary Anderson has a passion for story and all things historical. Over the years, she has been an English teacher, a newsletter and ad writer, and a stay-at-home mom. When she’s not reading or writing novels, she can be found cheering (far too loudly) for her favorite football team, traveling the country with her husband, or spending time with her adult children. Connect with her at www.kathygearyanderson.com.

 

Indie Doesn't Mean You're Alone
Click to Buy

She’s always getting into trouble. He’s always getting hurt.

At the turn of the 20th century, New York socialite Jenny Westraven is in trouble . . . again. An orphaned heiress from a large banking family, she’s expected to follow the rules of society and marry according to her wealth and status. But Jenny craves adventure and anything BUT the ordinary. So, when her guardian aunt and uncle return from a European vacation to find Jenny working as a typewriter girl in a Newark law office, they are appalled. Worse yet, they interrupt a kiss between her and her young boss Mr. “Ben” Bennett.

Jenny has been getting Ben in trouble since he was ten, so he’s secretly relieved when her guardians reject him as a suitor. He has other plans for his life, and they don’t include his troublesome childhood friend. When Jenny uses outrageous methods to reject the suitors her family does approve for her, her aunt and uncle decide to send her to her brother in Wyoming.

Then, a family tragedy takes Ben out west as well, and his path crosses with Jenny’s once again. As they work together to end an injustice, what was merely an attraction between them develops into something more. Unfortunately, Jenny’s involvement with another man comes between them and puts her in the worst trouble of her life.

Now Ben must decide whether to risk his heart to rescue her once again or cut his losses and let her go.

Hi, I’m Kathy—a south-Texas transplant to the good life of Nebraska with a passion for story and all things historical. A life-time ago, I earned a Master’s degree in education and over the years that followed have taught school, raised children and written a plethora of ads, newsletters, blogs and stories. Most recently, I retired from my longest, hardest, but most rewarding job as stay-at-home mom. Now an empty-nester, I’m diving full time into my dream of turning the stories in my head into novels. When I’m not reading or writing novels, you can probably find me cheering (far too loudly) for my favorite football team, striking out on traveling adventures with my husband, or spending time with my young adult children.

Kathy's Website

Find Kathy on Facebook

 

Writing: Art or Business? Avoiding Sticky Book Cover SituationsIndie Doesn't Mean You're Alone

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