Much like the Not Ready for Primetime Players, there is a group of amazingly talented authors on the cusp of stardom. They gather here at the Not so Famous Author's Blog to tell you all about writing and smashing your head on a desk. No just the writing part. .


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Types of Blog Posts

Here is a collection of brief definitions for types of blog posts.

Excerpts - Whether chosen by the author or the blogger, excerpts should contain a glimpse of the story that teases the reader.  You want them interested without giving too much away.  Generally, they should be no longer than 500+/- words.  Anything longer and you are pulling away from your blog.

Promos - These tend to be treated as fall backs for people that either have a busy schedule or aren't comfortable with a more in depth post.  They have an important role, and should not be passed by.  A well-constructed promo blog is like a billboard – something that catches the interest of the passer-by and gives them just enough information to leave them wanting more.

Specialty Posts

Character Interview - This is where the blogger assembles 5-7 questions directed at one or more of the characters in the book.  Treat the characters as real people and you may get some juicy insight into some secrets the story itself doesn't tell you.  Character interviews also help make connections between readers and the book.  This is a powerful tool in marketing and promoting.

Dream Cast - This is a great, fun way to show your impression of the characters.  By picking a dream cast, you bring to life the story and make invite others to visualize them with you.  By inviting comments and opinions on your choices you can encourage interaction with your readers.  Interaction is a big ingredient to building your followers.

Soundtrack - Soundtracks are one of my favorite elements.  Music travels with people.  By assigning songs to various parts of the story line, you can draw in readers that can relate to and/or like the music to discover how it relates to the book.  Once they read it, they can then mentally connect the song to the story.  When they hear the songs in their daily life it could influence them to share the great story that it reminds them of.  As examples:  “the Shrek song”  aka Rock Star by Smashmouth; “Footloose”; “Kissed by a Rose” by Seal in the first Batman; “Enchanted Melody” by the Everley Brothers in Ghost;  “Everything at Once” by Inka in Disney commercials, “Suicide is Painless” for M.A.S.H. … The list goes on. 

This or That – I’m thinking this is a mixture of some sort – combining bits of some of the other posts into one.
Guest Post -  As the host, you still have the control over what goes on your blog.  With a guest post it can take some of the pressure off.  The author provides a short article, usually something related to their tour.  This can be anything from tips and tricks, behind the scenes, bonus features, back-story, author bio, the motivation behind the story, or countless other possibilities.

Author Interviews - Many people have standard form interviews.  While these make it easier for the larger, more established bloggers, I don’t believe it is the best choice for the small blog.  Of course there are some standard questions that most people want to know, but if you read just the author’s bio and the summary of their book(s) you can usually come up with a few questions that are more personalized.  You only need 5-7 total questions if you add in little tidbits of information and links.  If you can’t personalize 2-3 questions then why are you doing an interview?   

Friday, June 28, 2013

Writers In Life by David Enochs

In the faucet a water drop trembles and falls again and again. In the cloud a water drop gathers itself trembles and falls again and again. Water is one at its source. The drop is one drop unfolding, falling, and blending into a stream or a puddle again and again.

Like the droplet, what about each one of us? Are we from one humanity? Are we aspects from one Life? One World? One Imagination? One Universe?

Are we like sparks from some blacksmiths anvil falling like stars into a well crafted element or masterpiece from a single flame with only one single intention? The cloud is not separate from this world, this life, this thought.

Each of us trembles, lets go and falls into space not knowing about the stream, or the single intention with every keystroke. Yet we let go again and again every time we put our thoughts to paper or document.
It is said the skydiver finds joy in falling from the plane. Do we find joy as well, like a drop of water , or the spark of a hidden muse as we fall again and again in our attempts to transcribe our imagination to the average unknown critic.

I say not to this simple thought, each author is special in their attempt to write. Yet only a fraction are ever recognized for what they do, but millions of us write because we enjoy what we do not because we are after financial gain. We do this over and over again because we like to tell the unknown story of that drop of water.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Write What You See

Lachelle Redd

So in this post I examine what you write. Have you ever been tapping away at a scene or idea and just stop because you can’t find the right words? Well of course you have, you’re a writer. Well, I am no genius but I can share. Share some techniques that I have found help me to get through those scenes.

1. It’s all in your head now what?

You can clearly see what is going but the words escape you. Slow down and try to picture the scene frame by frame and then picture the events in the scene as even smaller sections of time.

For instance, if you are writing a slasher and the victim is suffering enormously your inner eye sees the entire scene. This can consist of the place, time, people involved, and anguish. Break it down into smaller chunks and write those first.
2.  I can’t find the words!

Blood flowed from the open wound as he lay dying on the floor. (Nahh)
What do you see?
  •             What color is blood?
                      (red-crimson, burgundy, black(at night)

  • Flow (gush, stream, trickle, erupt)
                       Open wound (gaping hole, slash, opened up)

  •            Lay dying
                       (death closing in, the reaper awaited)

3.  Say it out loud

Yeah, I talk to myself. Talk out the scene and make sure you have something to write down what you say or record. Talking through the scene can make it easier to write. Just make sure that everyone around you understands that you haven’t lost your mind.

Well, now’s your turn. Go for it and give it a try. Like I have said before I am not an expert, but I can share what seems to work.

Until next time, happy writing.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Writing Books, Riding Unicorns, You Know....All that Author Stuff!

A dear friend of mine just referred to me as an “established author”. I had to do a double take. Me? Established? Really? 

Yeah, right. In my dreams. My very vivid dreams.
I certainly don’t feel like an established author, I mean, I’m just getting started. Currently, I’ve got one full length title available, and have two novellas out. Come the end of March, that will be three. April 1st marks the debut of a second full length novel that I co-authored. So…that makes five. Five titles. Does that make me “established”? I don’t know. With each project that I finish, I feel like I’m gaining ground on this journey of authorhood.
So proud of every word.

I’m learning something new every day, and my craft is expanding. That can only be good, right? The one big thing I have learned as a newcomer is that you need friends. I’m not talking about the kind of friends who ooh and ahh over every word you put forth. I’m talking about friends who aren’t afraid to give you the sort of constructive criticism every author needs to grow.

Facebook was instrumental in developing my little inner circle. Sure, I have made loads of new contacts and acquaintances, but I have also gained a core group of people (writers and non-writers, respectively) whose goal is to see me succeed by honing my talent to the best of my ability. Without them, I would still be sitting in front of a computer screen twiddling my thumbs and hoping to get words on a page.

I have stories to tell. Loads of them. This brain won’t be finished anytime soon. So as I notch each new work on my belt, I am moving steadily closer to that elusive place of “established”. It’s a good feeling. And when I get stuck, or can’t quite wrap my head around something, I am privileged to have people I can connect with to get it all out. 

We're a close-knit bunch.
I have moved from being a completely independent self-published author to signing on with a small indie press. This has made a huge difference in my ability to start and finish a project. After all, when you’re setting your own deadline, the impetus to meet it is greatly reduced. I have the luxury of picking and choosing which titles I want to self-publish, and which I want to turn over to someone else. I have gotten extremely lucky to have found Miranda Stork and Moon Rose Publishing. She has treated me like no other publishing house I have come across. Gracious and obliging, she allows me freedoms in my work, yet isn’t afraid to crack the whip and keep me on track. Working with her has made my writing better. FACT.

It would be erroneous of me to say that I know what I’m doing. At this point, I still don’t. However, I know more than I did this time last year. I have gained a readership and a following of individuals with whom I have no personal ties. What does that mean? It means complete strangers are reading my work, and to my utter delight, are wanting more. Hmmm…established. Yes, this is a trend I would like to continue to ride into the sunset with my hair billowing in the breeze. Waving the flags of good reading high. On my unicorn. You know, my established one.
This is how I start my day. Really. For realz. Not pictured: COFFEE.

Tara S. Wood can be found lurking on the internet. Or in these fine establishments.
Moon Rose Publishing

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

HELP! I'm a Zombie!

It's true. This is what I look like these days:

Well, maybe my hair is a different color and I wear glasses most of the time, but you get the idea.  Yes. I am still in editing hell. (See post from two weeks ago).

See it all started like this: I got my edits back and my wonderful, sweet, kind editor told me I needed to "dig deep" to better show the heroine's motivation. Hmmmm, I thought I'd done that of course, but apparently, it needed work. Probably because my heroine has some serious issues.

1. She's a little crazy. (Read below)
2. She counts. Anything. The floor tiles, buttons, rocks, pecans on top of a muffin.
3. She makes this "bad list" where she promises herself she's going to drink, do drugs, and have sex with random guys.
4. She has severe laughing attacks. Her version of a panic attack? Still tweaking that one.
5. She carries a knife around. And strokes it.
6. She has a thing for words...yeah, big ones too, like Weissnichtwo. If you don't know what it means, go google it.
7. She's pretty much a bad girl.
8. She loves to eat sweets.
9. She gets her nipple pierced and an awesome tattoo.
10. I got nothing. Just wanted to get to 10. To make it a nice even list.

Okay, so do you have a mental picture of my heroine? Maybe she's like this:

No, no, no, that's not her. That's Angelina Jolie from Girl Interrupted, but you see where I'm going right?Yeah, she's got some problems, but there are REASONS why she acts this way!!!!  AND that's what my editor needs me to show. It's called motivation and it's hard to write when your character is as complex as mine.

Do you have any ideas about Nora and her motivations? No, of course not, because it's all in my head. I know WHY she is like she is, it's just hard to get it across on paper, especially when I know her so well that I just assume you do too.

So this week as you write your happy, happy, joy, joy, stories, please think of me as I am in editing HELL, trying to adequately get across Nora's motivations.

So, have you ever struggled with getting motivation across?  Why your character does what she does?  Come on, I can't be the only one! Tell me your experiences. Make me feel better so I don't look like this anymore. ♥

Until next time,
Ilsa Madden-Mills

My Author Page:

My Goodreads Link:

My Awesome Freaking Book Trailer:

My wonderful editor's page:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Writing Tips: Numeric numbers versus alphabetical numbers in your novel.

Writing Tips
Jacquelynn Gagne of Ambrosia Arts

Writing tips and tricks to not just appear- but become a true professional and be taken seriously as a writer.
Have you ever read a novel published by a big publishing house such as Penguin or Random and seen a lot of numeric numbers? Unless the book is about numbers somehow or an educational book then you rarely will. At most, you will only see a numerical number if it is a year (even then sometimes it may be written out alphabetically) unless it is a ridiculously long number such as 86,346, 249. Writing out eighty-six million three hundred and forty-six thousand two hundred and forty-nine can just be confusing. One other exception is when it is in reference to a sign or a time of day. (times we will discuss in a moment)  Example: A road. I149 however this could also be written as interstate one-forty-nine and written as such is perfectly acceptable. Using numerical numbers may be considered unprofessional in the case of a standard novel. It can be considered lazy. It can be difficult to remember if you are already in the habit of going for the number key.
So let’s take a moment and discuss how to properly write times. Now if we are giving a general time of day we would write it alphabetically every time. Eight o’clock in the morning, five o’clock in the afternoon, three o’clock in the morning- the time was seven a.m., the hour was two p.m. If you are being specific you can write this out alphabetically but depending on the type of book it may be accepted numerically as well but it is always advised to write your numbers alphabetically in a novel. Example: 4:39 a.m. Example four thirty-nine a.m.
On a side note, since we are discussing times I constantly see a.m. and p.m. written incorrectly as am or pm, you must include a period dot after each letter. If your sentence ends with a.m. or p.m. you do NOT add an additional period dot. As you can look in the paragraph directly above, the last two sentences are examples of this.
This may not seem like a big deal and I am not trying to say that it is. However it is important and can make a difference in you looking professional and amateurish. If that doesn’t concern you then you may wish to reevaluate your priorities and decide how you wish to be viewed, not just by readers but in the literary community. Unfortunately and fortunately our words are how we are viewed as writers. Books are judged by their covers and writers by our words. The plus side of this is unlike a bad hair day, we have complete control over our writing.

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Writing is Only Half the Battle - Pimp Yourself

I'm not saying that writing well is always easy.  For many people it is an extremely difficult process.  What I'm saying is that until I finally published my first book, I never realized how much work goes into the publishing and marketing aspects of this enormous industry.

If you will take my terminology as inoffensive as I intend it... authors basically have to pimp themselves out.  Not in the physical, illegal, and highly questionable oldest profession on the planet, but I believe the term fits.

Authors must put themselves out before some critical and demanding eyes of their target audiences.  We must push or drive our work out to the public... making it as noticeable and enticing as possible.

Marketing is far from a 9-5 job.  In order to be a successful (popular) author, you almost have to be "on call 24/7" to become established. No matter what your genre, the competition is overwhelming.  Writing well isn't enough.  You have to make connections, get your work visible and talked about.  Anything worth having is worth working HARD to achieve.

You don't have to be that annoying car salesman, or the insurance agent, but you do have to be your own biggest promoter.  If you can't be motivated to promote your own work, how can you expect others to do so?  

If writing is your passion and publishing is your dream, let it show!!!  Passion and enthusiasm are infectious!  There are amazing new authors discovered every day.  Make your mark, find your target, aim well by keeping your focus and keep working for your goals.  If you can imagine it, you can achieve it... even if it is primarily within the pages of your books.

Don't be afraid of negative reviews.  Keep two things in mind: 1) You can't please everyone 2) You can learn something from everyone.

Thursday, June 13, 2013, when's it finished?

Hello all and welcome to my Maiden Post for the Not So Famous Authors Blog.  My name's Matt Schiariti and I'm sure you've never heard of me.  Chances are, you can't even pronounce my last name.  But that's okay.  On both counts.  I'm working on rectifying the former.  The latter is another matter entirely.

So, you've written a book and you want to self-publish.  Good on ya!  Writing's hard.  It can be a soul-sucking, head-bashing, oftentimes mind-numbing siege of character generation, plotting, pacing, researching, and typing.  You've spent months on it, maybe even upwards of a year.  You type 'the end', sit back, and bask in your accomplishment.  As well you should.  If penning a book were easy, everyone would do it.  Many try.  They start with the best intentions and they may even start it.  Most never finish.  Picture, if you will, your standard first day in any given college class.  You know what I'm talking about: that time when the professor stands at the head of the class and says: "Take a look to your left.  That person will not be here at the end of the semester".  Yeah, it's kinda like that.  If you've finished your first rough draft, you're already ahead of many others who stumbled within a few feet after having left the starting block.

So, is it finished?  Negative.

What next, then?  You read what you've written.  You start making changes.  Check for consistency, grammar, see if your pacing is even.  Some dialogue gets tweaked.  Perhaps you go back and change a few scenes, maybe even kill a few.  Now, you've gone through your first round of initial editing, having turned your rough draft into a not-so rough draft.

Finished?  Nope.

By this point your confidence is ramped up.  Yes, you've put in a lot of hours, but you're chipping away at the errant pieces of leftover marble that keep your statue from being seen in all its intended glory.  Chances are good you may want to go through it again.  You're thinking that it may be some time to get other eyes on it.  Extra eyes are good.  Beta readers are good.  So what do you do?  You give it to your Aunt Esther.  She loves it!

Um, finished?  Sorry, no soup for you.

I'm sure your Aunt Esther is a great woman, just a lovely lady in every way imaginable.  But one set of eyes isn't enough.  You need beta readers.  Lots of beta readers.  Friends and family are okay, but people that aren't so close to you are better.  While it isn't a bad thing, family and friends may just be impressed that you've written a coherent story in 90,000 words or less.  They may not be quite as willing to point out your faults.  Point is, try to get as eclectic an assemblage of readers you can possibly muster, keeping in mind your target audience.  

The beta readers loved your story!  Finished now?  Uh-uh.

You read it again. You look at any comments you may have received and determine if they have merit.  Don't dismiss them out of hand.  Listening to the opinions of readers can only help you.  You don't have to accept everything, but you should pay attention to it.  You go back, re-write.  

You're finished...right?  Guess again.

This is where I'd consider hiring a pro editor if I were you (if you haven't done so already).  You can find many on the internet that have references and won't demand your first born as payment.  Do some research, ask around, see who some of your author friends have used and what their experiences were like.  Editing is an art form in and of itself and sometimes you're too close to the material to accurately critique things.  It's good to have someone with experience under their belt to look at your manuscript.  Chances are, they're gonna catch something nobody else has.

So, NOW it's finished!  Mostly.

After you're done going back and forth with the editor and it's been proofed and all that other fun stuff, go back and check it again, making sure you've incorporated all the editorial changes that you agree with accurately.  But here's the rub:  there may be things you see that you wish you'd said differently at this point.  

Truth be told, the cycle can get to be a Mobius strip.  What you think is the greatest thing since sliced bread today may lose its luster six months from now, and if you're anything like me, you're your own worst critic.  But in the end, once all the Is are dotted and the Ts are crossed, after you've written and re-written, and re-written again, you have to be happy with it.  You've written a book.  You've cleared out as many mistakes as possible.  Your betas loved it, your editor loved it, and it's as polished as it can be.  It was worth all the self-doubt, and writer's block, and hard work.  Why?  Because you're a writer and you love to tell stories.  Just remember that you're striving to improve.  What you write today will be better than what you'd written yesterday, but not as good as what you'll write tomorrow.

*sigh*  So, finished yet?


Who is Matt Schiariti?  I'm many things.  Husband, father, master of the electric guitar (in my own mind), but most recently I'm a writer.  I'm trying, anyway, and I'm the author of the the paranormal/urban fantasy novel, Ghosts of Demons Past and the horror novelette, Words With Fiends: A Short Story.  When I'm not writing, I'm editing something, or thinking about writing, or reading, or doing something with the family, or something else entirely.  I live in New Jersey with my wife, kids, and pets, and I refuse to acknowledge my Joysey accent.  Check out my blog, Overly Verbose, my Facebook Author Page, or follow me on Twitter...or not.  I'm not a pushy guy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Jason Ellis Writes!

Hello :D
My name is Jason Ellis. I am an author from the UK. Some of you know me already, some of you will be meeting me for the first time … hi whichever you fall in to ;)

So, a blog post about writing … I could choose many topics, subjects, words of advice … but I think I'll just run through what I am doing at this exact moment. You can then see a day/ week/ month in the life of an author :)

            Believe it or not, but I have (counts on fingers) seven(7) … yeah, seven … seven!! stories/ books that are on the go at the moment. Wow! That sounds unworkable, even to myself as I type this, yet it isn't unheard of with me, or other authors out there.
I am choosing which to work on, sometimes on a daily basis, sometimes on a weekly basis. It's difficult to prioritize a story idea, you see. One day, story #1 may hit a wall and no matter how hard I try, the words won't flow, yet story #3 is shouting at me with 5,000 lovely words that want to come out!
As a lot of us set our own deadlines regarding publication, no one story can be classed as more important than another. This makes the decision even more difficult. Personally, I will always follow the words. There will ALWAYS be a chapter or two(three, four etc) in my head, somewhere, so I grab the relevant story and go for it.
            This brings me on to the point of daily word counts or goals, which I am not particularly fond of, if I'm honest. Yes, do achieve something every day, but don't beat yourself up or call that day a failure if it doesn't work out.
            You can discuss it with family, friends, your cat, your dog, the lady behind the counter at the cafĂ©, your kids … you get the idea … but if you set a goal, then fail to meet it, this loneliness will lead to negative thoughts of failure, or lack of self-discipline. You don't need those flying around in your head when you need all those 5,000 lovely words I just mentioned to be flying around in there instead ;)
If we add all the day-to-day stuff in too; remembering to eat, drink, shop, the school performance of Romeo & Juliet that you CAN'T miss, taking the cat to the vet, popping to your friend's house to help them with something … the list goes on. “But … but … I planned on 2,000 words today!!!”
Instead of thinking on a daily basis, choose weekly/ fortnightly/ monthly and see if it works better for you.
I had an 'idea' what would happen today in my work schedule … guess what? Yeah, it isn't happening as I thought it might, but there you have it.

            Apart from the seven(seven!!) stories, I am also making book-plates so that readers can have signed material from me. Particularly handy seeing as I talk to many US/ international readers, and am not involved in many signings etc. Then there is cover designs, illustrations, marketing on Twitbook and Facespace and Blogalog and GooglyBoogly … my head hurts haha ;)
            I suppose the point I am making is this; being an author/ writer is not just story - type - publish. It is everything in between that as well, and how you manage it all. You set the goals, nobody else, so set them to fit YOU!

Right, nice to meet you all here today :) My FB is; … come say hello!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Twists and Turns Excite Me

By:  Lachelle Redd
Have you ever gone to a movie and got up to the last minute and were blown away by the ending? Several movies have provided some major twists over the last few years. The Crying Game started it with the well, you know. Halloween, an overdone sequel of epic proportions, still provides the necessary scream and uh oh on the big screen. Now, think about writing the twists and turns. How does the anxiety and excitement that you want the audience to feel translate on paper.

First my disclaimer, I can only pass along what has worked for me. Everyone doesn’t have the same ideas, so if there is something you can use, please do.

1.      Cut a path for the character and go against it

There are many times when I am working on a story and I have a clear idea of where it is going and suddenly I decide, “Ok time to have some fun.” Going against the grain and what you see the character doing and open up to the other paths the character can take is a good thing. Don’t be afraid if it sways the story a bit. As a writer, your creativity will take hold.

2.      Don’t be afraid if your ending changes

Okay so the hero didn’t get the girl and happiness didn’t prevail. So what. The original fairytales that we all know and love had very sad endings. Then someone came along and made them sweet and nice and Disney stepped in.  Why not write the ending that can truly take place? Why not say, the villain got the girl? You would be surprised at how many people are routing for the villain anyway.
3.      What if I lose the story

You are the writer, there is no such thing as you losing the story. Some of the best writers have not played it safe. Digging into place where you must dare and creating the story that grabs and holds the reader is your job. Do it with no fear and write on.

Write your story and find your twists. They can be hiding in the simplest places. Just where you thought it was safe to roam, take that other road and see where it leads.