Is Your Book Done Yet? (Part 1)

Over the past nine months, everyone kept asking me, “So… is your book done yet?” Ugh! Really? How long is it supposed to take to write a novel? I thought I was moving along quite quickly.

How long should it take to write a novel?

I did what I always do when I want factual information. I googled it. (Ha. Ha.) Do you know what I found? Famous novels took a variety of time. From 2.5 days (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) to 16 years (Lord of the Rings Trilogy). Click here for a nice infographic on famous authors / books.

But those are super FAMOUS people. What about everyone else? Those authors without huge publishing contracts. Those who perhaps balance a day job as well as writing.

Well, I met a whole crew of awesome authors during my Kindle Scout campaign. I thought I would throw that question their way.

I’m going to spotlight some of their answers in a three part blog series this week. (Read PART 2 or PART 3) I hope you enjoy the feedback and meeting some new writers–people who have been super supportive of me and my writing adventures.

Today: Speculative Fiction Authors (Fantasy / Science Fiction / Horror)

Note: You can CLICK any book cover below to learn more.

QUESTION: How long did it take you to write your most recent book(s)?

Simulation

 

M. Black: Simulation is my most recently finished book. I just finished Quantum State, but it hasn’t been edited and reedited, and beta-read yet. It took about 3 months as most of my books take.

 

Beyond the Forest

Kay Ling: I spent at least two years rewriting and polishing Beyond the Forest, a novel I wrote and then abandoned in the 1980s due to my time-consuming career. So, I suppose I could say it took me three decades to write it!

Different

 

Bill Hiatt: Full-length novels typically take three to six months, depending on their length and complexity, as well as upon how many other demands on my time there are while I’m writing.

Dreams

 

Steve Vernon: Too long. Way too freaking long.


Sam

 

J.P. Cawood: I wrote my first two books in a year and a half. Six months of that were full-time and the rest was while juggling a job.

Othello

 

 

Aaron Frale: It takes about six months to a year depending on my life outside of writing.

 

Have you written a novel? How long did it take you?

Please post in the comments.

 

(Other stellar novels to check out in these genres)

 Graveyard Raven Newcomer Tres  Generation    Awakening Christmas. Snpw    Daly Past. Darkness

Kidnapped by Imaginary Characters!

Help! I’ve been kidnapped and am being held hostage by my characters. They won’t let me go. They’ve invaded my mind and silently watch, waiting for their opportunity to remind me they have strong voices that demand to be heard. Strong wills and desires they can no longer hide. Just when I think I’m in control, they pounce like a feline. They grab hold of my situation and twist it to their personal agenda. They massage my thoughts and intertwine them with their own insecurities.

Happy November to all the NaNoWriMo participants – and to everyone else as well. I’ve been feverishly cranking out words towards my new novel, ‘The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives’. We’re 12 days in, and I’m 22K words into my 50K goal. All of a sudden, I’ve felt on edge: anxious, insecure, stubborn, depressed, lonely, and a whole slew of other emotions I can’t put my finger on. I can’t figure out if I’m overtired, putting too much pressure on myself, or if my life is just going down the toilet.

Alas, this morning, I solved my problem:  My characters have taken over my life!!!

Yeah. My life is good and there is no reason my perception is being twisted by these emotions. Each thought I’m experiencing is what I’ve been writing about. THEY ARE NOT MY THOUGHTS. THEY ARE WHAT MY CHARACTERS WOULD THINK. The problem: my lines between the written word and reality began to blur. But the first step in a cure is recognition of the problem.

I’ve always been way too empathetic, now, I’m doing it with imaginary people!

My new novel has three different story lines, following three women and the superhero in their life. (And yes, we’re talking literal superheroes… with superpowers) The balance of three main character’s personalities is exhausting. Plus you add in their (ex)husbands personalities, and you end up with a tornado of emotions… no, a hurricane.

Novel premise: The superhero always gets the girl, right? Ever wonder what happens next?

  • Ariana is recently married. She struggles with the challenges of adjusting to married life.
  • Victoria is divorced, but her ex-husband won’t leave her alone.
  • Emma’s been married six years and struggling with a husband whos duty seems to come before her.

I have two hopes.

  1. That I don’t have this backwards and my emotions are actually taking over my characters or that seeing the characters display their flaws gives me permission to do it too.
  2. That all this turmoil  will make the characters come to life on the page for whoever ends up reading this novel.

So… The moral of this story? My next novel will need to have an intelligent, witty, caring, and… CHARMING protagonist. I give that one permission to take over my life. Maybe I should give up on NaNoWriMo today and start that story instead!

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Who’s in charge? You or your imaginary people?

Happy NaNo-ing.

–Joy

hostage

shw-cover

Facebook Author Page

I finally broke down and made a Facebook Author Page. I don’t know what I was waiting for. I had thought it was going to be super complicated, but it was exceptionally easy.

I’ve read a lot about creating an author page vs. using your personal page and I was torn. I choose the author page for the potential of advertising later on, but I never thought of using a personal page. Here was an interesting blog on that: https://janefriedman.com/5-reasons-use-facebook-profiles/

Now, I just need to figure out what to do with my page! I’m not quite ready for book launches yet.

If you don’t have one yet, here are the directions. I only know how to make one from a regular Facebook page (which I already had).

  1. Log into your Facebook account
  2. Click the down arrow on the toolbar on the top of the page on the right.
  3. Click on “Create Page”
  4. Click on “Artist, Band, or Public Figure”
  5. Keep following the directions

Once I had that set up, I made my banner header using http://www.canva.com/ Free easy to use.

I added a link to sign up for my mailing list. Once my books are ready, I can add a link to purchase the book. (Both of which are very cool.)

FB cover

Do you use Facebook to promote your writing? Feel free to post your link and your tips on how you found Facebook helpful.

Here’s my link if you want to see (or like me!): www.facebook.com/joynelljschultz

As always, thanks for reading!

–Joy

How to Write an Enticing Book Blurb

What pulls you in to actually read a novel? Many things. It starts with the cover… Maybe the reviews or a friend’s recommendations? But the book blurb seals the deal.

Today I set off to write a blurb for both my novels. I figured a good blurb I could use for self-publishing, enticing beta readers, and, with a little modification, for query letters. Here is my walk-through of creating a blurb and how I applied it to my two novels.

This is a combination of formulas from: http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/4-easy-steps-to-an-irresistable-book-blurb/ and here: http://writerswrite.co.za/how-to-write-an-irresistible-book-blurb-in-five-easy-steps

Here are the components:

  1. Situation/Setting: Describe your main character and their situation/circumstance.
  2. Problem/Conflict/Inciting Incident: What situation is causing your character’s to need to react. This part often starts with “But…” or “However…” or “Until…”
  3. Hopeful Possibility/Possible Solution/Objective: What do your characters need to do to overcome their crisis? This should be what makes the reader want to read the story/ offer the reader hope. Good word to use here is “if”.
  4. Mood/Emotional Promise: Tell them how the book will make them feel and what type of book it is. This sets the mood/tone of the book for the reader.

Now, here is how I applied them to my novels. I’ll definitely work on tweaking these more, but a general structure.

LLC Cover - FinalLove, Lies, & Clones:

(1) Thirty-year-old June’s biggest struggle isn’t that she’s a clone. (2) It’s that her father disappeared and the police aren’t doing enough to find him.

Maybe they’d be more interested if June confessed his involvement in illegal human cloning. But then, he might face the death penalty when, or perhaps if, he’s found.

(3) Torn whether to tell the police everything or keep her father’s secret, June decides to put her troubled past behind and search for him herself. When Elliot, a man AWOL from the military, insists June’s father is the key to finding his missing brother, she reluctantly agrees to a partnership.

With each clue they uncover, June learns more about the twisted experiments her father used to create her. Her whole life she’s been taught to not trust anyone with her secret, but as the bullets begin to fly, she’s left with no choice.

(4) This speculative fiction novel, set twenty years in the future, is packed with mystery and romance and will leave you wanting more.

BHW final Blood & Holy Water:

(1) Second Order Angel, Ava, is sick of helping elderly women cross the street and strategically placing spare change where the poor can find it. (2) She wants to be promoted and finally earn her wings. An angel promotion takes more than Ava’s hard work and determination – it takes a miracle – literally. (3) Unfortunately, her miracle is impossible, as it involves a vampire.

(1) Fin, the vampire in question, has a different agenda, no miracle needed, no helping a naïve angel earn her wings. (2) He is busy keeping the Blood Board off his back. Fin has spent his entire time as a vampire avoiding his own kind, and now they are forcing him to work with them. (3) When one of his secrets surfaces, he needs the help of an angel — too bad he scared her away.

(4) Blood & Holy Water is a romantic story of the blurry lines between good and evil told from alternating perspectives.

Do you have a blurb you’ve written? Share it below, I’d love to read it!

(Also, I’d take any suggestions you have on mine.)

I Wrote a Novel (or Two), Now What?

I’ve read that only about 3% of novels are ever finished. (Keep in mind, 99% of statistics are false. 🙂)

So here I sit with two manuscripts, asking myself… “There. I’m done. I said I’d finish… But now what? It’s a shame to just let it sit in a pile or on a file on my hard drive.”

I began doing my research and holy crap is the publishing industry confusing. Where does one even start? Ten years ago, I would have had a quick and easy answer to that. Find an agent and get a publisher, of course. Now, that whole philosophy is changing.

The first decision I need to make is between the two main types of publishing, traditional publishing versus self-publishing. After this decision, there are many choices within each publishing umbrella. Agent vs. direct to the publisher, large press vs. small press, Amazon vs. Smashwords, $3.99 vs. FREE.

Urgh! I’ve never been good with choices!

I could write a blog laying out these choices, but I thought it would be better to just link some of the good ones here:

Pros and Cons of Traditional vs Indie Publishing: http://www.thecreativepenn.com/self-publishing-vs-traditional/ (There’s a little propaganda here, but it lays it out nicely.)

And for lighter reading: http://annerallen.com/ive-written-book-now-what-22-steps-to/

So where does that leave me? I had to get down to my PURPOSE for writing. Besides enjoying it, I want to write stories that will bring many people entertainment… So, how do I get my writing into as many hands as possible?

At first, I figured I’d self-publish and GIVE my novels away for FREE. The more and more I researched that, the more it concerned me. First, I still am not certain that people would find and take the stories seriously, even if they were FREE. Secondly, would I be insulting the whole writing community by doing this? (And thirdly, how would I justify spending $1000-$2000 dollars on a novel cover, book editor, formatting, etc. of self-publishing with no return?)

So, I moved off that thought… (Though, if anyone asked me for my story, I’d be happy to send them a free copy.😊 I can’t say no.)

Next, I moved on to self-publishing, but struggle how to get readers. That’s my goal, right? To have people actually find my story and read it? I love the control one has in the publishing process, but if I wrote a story to have nobody find it? That would be heart wrenching.

I feel that breaking into the traditional publishing market is like finding a needle in a haystack… Or maybe a field of haystacks, but I read that the experience of trying, is probably a learning experience every author should have… Small press publishing may be easier, but I feel readership is probably similar to self-publishing.

So… I have two books and know I’ll have more in the future. Since I can’t make up my mind, I’m going to query agents for LOVE, LIES, & CLONES and self-publish BLOOD & HOLY WATER. The best of both worlds, right? I’m excited for the experience of trying both methods and comparing the two.(Both of which, I’ll update in this blog.) I’m shooting for only 10 rejections before I turn to self-publishing.  I know that’s not enough, but I’m not sold on traditional publishing anyway. When all is said and done, I’ll probably end up self-publishing both books.

What are your thoughts on the publishing industry?

WIN_20160809_142431

Blood & Holy Water – First Draft Done!

It only took me nearly TEN years and multiple first attempts, but Blood & Holy Water has a completed first draft! It feels fantastic!

PLUS I feel it’s the best first draft I’ve ever written. This story I wrote with the help of a critique partner (who I found on GoodReads) that went through each chapter as I wrote it – helped me with plot holes and grammar issues as I wrote… Which left me with a First Draft I’d actually show more people.

I started June 26th with the actually writing and finished today… 41 days to 60K. Not bad, but this novel practically wrote itself (it should have, I had 10 years to think about it!)

Next step: August 15th I’m participating in a novel swap though Scribophile where we swap novels with 3 others writers. I haven’t participated before, but we each will end up with three critiques on our novels. There’s still time to sign up (it’s free) if you need a read through of your novel. There are alpha reads and beta reads.  I have 10 days to zip through what I wrote one more time and make sure it’s ready for the swap.

Also, here is the first chapter of Blood & Holy Water if you’re interested.

Thank you for following my journey!

–Joy

Blood & Holy Water Cover

 

Week 4: Camp NaNoWriMo – Not The End

When I first heard of November’s NaNoWriMo, I thought it was an insane idea. How can anyone write 50,000 words in one month? Anyone that does it must not have a family or a full time job, right?

Well, now, I’m realizing that it is possible. During July’s camp, my goal was 25K in the month and I surpassed it, reaching 42K. (I started my novel the last week of June, because I couldn’t wait, and I’m currently at 50K.)  I think if I wasn’t editing my other novel and reading a few manuscripts for others, I could have easily hit 50K this month. And, that’s with a 40+ hour per week job, a husband and two children at home (though, I probably didn’t really cook or clean this month – which I’m not complaining about), and a few little family weekend trips squeezed in.

I only have 6-7 chapters to go and I’ll have completed TWO novels in 2016 so far. With November’s NaNoWriMo, that’ll be THREE novels. And to think that when I started this blog I swore I’d never try to write another novel again!

Well, August’s goal is to figure out what to do next. What do you do with a finished novel? Is it ever really finished?  Stay tuned for my step-by-step saga. That whole process seems quite overwhelming.

So November, here I come! I’ll get to 50K, I’m sure of it. Now, I just need a new novel idea and I can begin outlining.

What I learned this July:  with a good outline, the writing part is easy.  Coming up with the story is the difficult part.

How did July’s Camp NaNoWriMo go for you? Did you reach your goals? (I hope so!)