THE FIRST POST Thank you so much Sharon for letting me be here! I’m truly honored. I want to start this post with a little disclaimer if you will. When it comes to Book Bibles, there is no right or wrong way to organize them. I will tell you how I set up mine and you can change it to what works for you. Now let’s get into the thick of things shall we? For the purpose of this post, I’ll use my Book Bible that I made for my fantasy adventure series, The Kinir Elite Chronicles.
What you need: A three ring binder (one for each book or series) Tab dividers (make sure you have plenty!) Printer (including paper and ink of course) A three hole punch (or a single one will work too) Your imagination Labels (big and small) (optional) Setting it up: Now for a series, I keep all the information for the entire series in one notebook. Since characters and settings often repeat themselves, I find it’s easier to keep up with all the details this way. However, the set it up is the same for a single book as well, just less tabs. For the rest of this explanation, I’ll talk about setting it up for a series, just change what you need to for a single book. First thing I do is take a big label (ya know the ones about the same size as those name tags you stick on your shirt) and write the title of the series on it then stick it on the front of the binder. Then I use the smaller labels – narrow ones, and write the name again with the letters on top of each other for the spine. (This way you can still see the title when it’s on the shelf.) Now you don’t have to use labels. You can use paper and simply tape or glue them on. Whatever works for you. With the tab dividers label them as so: Characters, Setting, and Notes. You can add more if you like of course. For example, I have a tab for Languages because my characters have their own language that I need to remember through out the entire series. If your book centers around politics or religion in some way, you can have a tab for that also. I’ll talk about each of these tabs in more detail later on. Now, the rest of the tabs are for the Plot. Since I don’t always know the titles of the books in my series, I just label the tabs “Book 1 Plot,” “Book 2 Plot,” etc. Now that your binder is ready to be filled with fabulous information, it’s time to get your imagination in gear! I’m going skip the Character and Setting tabs for today, as both are very detailed and make for long posts. Notes (and other tabs) For a brief explanation, of my Languages tab that I use for my books. Since my characters are usually elves, dragons, faeries, etc, I always give them their own languages. Now, there are those that make up an entire language like J.R.R. Tolkien did with his elves in “Lord of the Rings.” I would keep such a thing in this section too. But, I don’t go that far. Usually I just have a few words for the languages – Mother, Father, Yes, No, Greetings, Currency, etc. I set up a spreadsheet in Excel for this. I have it divided like this: Word/Phrase | Pronunciation | Direct Translation | Meaning. The first two columns are pretty self explanatory. The made up word and how you pronounce it. The last two I’ll explain with an example. In my series the Kinir Elite Chronicles, the team has a saying (my elves here speak Latin by the way) Vivo Liber. Morior Bonum. The direct translation of the phrase is “Live Slow. Die Fast.” (At least as I want it to mean, I’m sure my Latin isn’t perfect!). But under the Meaning column, I explain further that really the meaning behind the words is to wish someone a long, joyous life and to not suffer in death. Of course, not all words or phrases will need the extra explanation. My Notes tab I use to keep random bits of information. One of the characters in my Kinir Elite series is a very religious person and is often praying to one God or Goddess. So I have the few deities that I made up so I remember them later. I also include any symbols I made to represent them. Basically, the Notes tabs hold any information that you have to remember, but doesn’t need a full section in the notebook on its own. Like a few deities or government ranks, etc. My rule of thumb is if I have more than a page of notes, then it warrants having its own section in the notebook. The Plot Tabs This section I hold copies of my query letter, synopsis, blurb, etc. I also make my own cover art to use on my website and blog, so I also print a copy of that here. I would keep a printed copy of the official cover art in this section also. When the book is completely finished – as in about to be released and I literally have all the edits done, I print a copy of the manuscript and put it in this section also. This is so that when I go to write the next book, I can refer to the notebook, instead of juggling two open word docs on my computer. Now, to keep these posts from being too long, I’ll stop here. Please tune in tomorrow! I’ll explain the Character tab in detail tomorrow. If you have any questions about something I didn’t explain well enough, please leave a comment here. I’ll be sure to visit all day to answer your questions.
There's lots of future in my future. And I'm so grateful I get to write, that I live on a beautiful piece of property, and get to garden, tend my chickens, be close to family and the community of writers.
A big thanks to Sharon for hosing us all here this week, for being a fan of The Naked Hero and WG2E, and for offering up our insight to you all. What a fun, fun idea! Making a grog work means that everyone knows the expectations, everyone is on board with those expectations, and everyone has jobs they understand and can commit to. I’m definitely the Behind-the-Scenes girl of our blogs, running the dashboard, organizing our content, structuring the blog pages, etc. Was I always a techy girl? Nope! I learned out of necessity. We launched our blog way back when and I wanted it to look a certain way. I wanted to have links in the sidebar widgets. I wanted content organized just so. But none of the original founders had the money to spend on any more than the custom WordPress design we’d agreed on (customizing a WordPress design is very easy and one of the most affordable ways to get a blog/grog rolling). Now, I should interject here and say that my parents call me a pioneer woman. That is, I am rarely idle, and I do what needs to be done, particularly when there’ s no one else to do it. So, a little HTML didn’t scare me. I dove in, began reading about SEO and code and WordPress, and I experimented. I learned. And while I’m no pro and would never quit my day jobs, I do enjoy having the ability to manipulate the look of our websites, add the content that the other gals want added, and I’ve grown with the industry and the world by learning to be techy. I love participating on both The Naked Hero and WG2E (I also write for the grog, Killer Characters). They all give me something different–outlets for creativity, thoughts, and a means to hone my craft and dig deeper into the industry. Working with others means the pressure to produce a daily blog isn’t there. I write on my day and trust that the others will meet their commitments and write on their days. This is super important for me because I: • Am the Marketing Director for Entangled Publishing ( http://entangledpublishing ) • Am a mother of 5 • Am a wife • Like to read • Want a life • Am a writer ( http://misaramirez.com ) Blogging is fun. It’s important for different facets of my career. It’s an outlet. But it’s also work, so doing it with other people who I enjoy spending [virtual] time with makes it all the better. We’re our own little family– lots of love, some squabbles (like DD said, we don’t always agree on everything!), and the knowledge that we always have each other’s backs. About Misa/Melissa Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, gave up teaching middle and high school kids in Northern California to write full-time amidst horses and Longhorns in North Texas. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams. She is the marketing director at Entangled Publishing, is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series with St. Martin’s Minotaur, A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series with NAL (Pleating for Mercy: http://www.amazon.com/Pleating-Mercy-Magical-Dressmaking-Dressmakers/dp/0451234367 ), and is the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox and two romantic suspense novels to be released in 2012.
WAVING from Kentucky! Yes!~ we do have internet service here! Most people know me as Tonya Kappes, mother of four, but readers know me as The high-class hillbilly that writes romantic comedy and cozy mysteries. My short stories, Masked Souls, and Another Quirky Christmas are published through a small press. Recently I Indie published my debut novel, Carpe Bead ‘em and excited to say it hit Amazon’s bestsellers list in the United States and the United Kingdom! Needless to say, I’m over the moon.
Enough about me…. When Sharon asked our grog to take a week and blog, we were delighted. I decided to tackle how we work, cooperate and just plain get along. Now I’m not gonna lie, sometimes we want to spit in each other’s eye, but we don’t. We chew harder on that piece of straw and bit our tongue because none of us have the same opinions. You see, we all have different writing career paths and no matter which path we are on, it’s not the wrong path. That’s what makes The Writer’s Guide To E Publishing work. We bring all different sort of opinions and ideas.
When D.D. and I came up with the idea, we wanted a place where writers had all the new electronic publishing tips in one place. D.D. is Indie published, Lee is polishing her manuscript, Misa is big six published and indie published, I am small published and Indie published, so we bring a lot of industry knowledge to the site. First we got a yahoo loop. We each took a day, and since D.D. had so much information already, she took on a lot of the other three days. But Lee is doing a lot more of that now. Anything that needs to be discussed, goes through the yahoo loop. We all agreed, that we would be honest in our journey. Honest about what we like about publishing and what we don’t like about publishing. Lee gives the facts, I try to make it fun, and Misa and D.D. just tell it like it is. And sometimes we don’t agree. But that’s okay! It’s what makes the grog work. WG2E was designed to give the writer every option they have to make the most of their careers. We wanted to pay it forward and give back to writers. WE believe in KARMA, good ju-ju, and this was our way of doing it. For example, my experience may be different than Lee’s, but at least the writer gets to look at all our experience and not go into something with a blind eye like we did. We aren’t saying it’s a bad blind eye, but we are honest and let you know what to expect on all fronts. So come on by WG2E, no matter what stage of the publishing game you are in. I promise you will learn something new!!
Tonya Kappes is the author of Carpe Bead ‘Em , that hit Amazon’s Hobby Fiction Best Seller’s list only six days after the debut. The Ladybug Jinx, a romantic comedy novel will be available in August 2011. Tonya is the author of two short stories which can be found in the Something Spooky This Way Comes and Believe Anthologies. Her, co-authored, non-fiction book The Tricked-Out Toolbox, helps writers explore the best promotional and marketing strategies for their career, will debut January 2012. Besides being the co-founder of the beyond quirky writer’s grog The Naked Hero (www.thenakedhero.com), she also is co-founder of The Writer’s Guide to E Publishing (www.thewritersguidetoepublishing.com). When she’s not writing about quirky characters and even quirkier situations, she’s busy being the princess, queen and jester of her domain which includes her BFF husband, her four teenage boys and two dogs. Why write a book with beading elements? Once upon a time, Tonya was the proud co-owner of a very successful beading company, Beadnicks LLC.
Hello, Sharon Hamilton-Land!!! I’m Bestselling Romantic Comedy and Cozy Mystery Author D. D. Scott, plus the #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of MUSE THERAPY: UNLEASHING YOUR INNER SYBIL, and without a doubt, me and my muses too are huge fans of all-things-grogging! What’s Grogging? Grogging = Group Blogging Doesn’t the name itself just sound sooo cool rolling off your tongue?! Anyhoo… Why Grogging? Well…because of two reasons: 1. We’re Writers…and thus our ultimate goal is to “find” readers 2. We’re Writers…and thus hanging onto our sanity can be a bit of a rough ride, right? To that end, first, let’s get the writer’s sanity issues out in the open…
Yesterday, on one of my grogs The WG2E http://thewritersguidetoepublishing.com to celebrate the release of my 5th Indie Epubbed book –THUG GUARD – I kicked-off my D. D. Scott “Put Your Big Girl Panties On & Deal With It” Blog Tour. Because yeah, to make it to your own Publishing Oz in our writing-for-publication, full of wicked witches publishing world, many days it simply boils down to putting on your big girl or boy panties and just dealing with all the crap piling up on your road to success. Today, I’m sharing one of my “sassy observations about life…”…the writer’s life that is…on this fantabulous blog: A Little Bit of Monika http://monikamichalak.blogspot.com So hop on over there now and catch my My Evil Editor Turd Anecdote straight outta my MUSE THERAPY book.
http://www.amazon.com/Muse-Therapy-Unleashing-Inner-ebook/dp/B004774LN4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306947576&sr=8-1 It doesn’t get much sassier than this…and, keep in mind… This is… no joke… what actually happened to me at RWA (Romance Writers of America) Nationals in 2009. Once you’ve read my anecdote, you’ll know why it’s sooo damn important to find any means you can to maintain your sanity along our writing-for-publication journeys. One way I’ve found to do both that as well as continue to find new readers and fans for my books is to Grog with other authors who sooo “get” our sanity issues and challenges as writers and who also sooo hope to build their reader and fan bases too. I became a Goddess at The Naked Hero in October 2010, then fellow Goddess Tonya Kappes and I brainstormed and created our next grog The WG2E – The Writer’s Guide to Epublishing – in December 2010, with the tech-savvy-super-smarts of Author Misa Ramirez and the indie epub newbie angle that soon-to-be-pubbed L.A. Lopez could also share! Tonya had taken one of my Muse Therapy Online Classes, and she and her muse Lucky Lucy (formerly known as Lazy Lucy) immediately bonded with me and my muses The Carrie Squad (named after my beloved Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and The City fame). Tonya asked me to become a Naked Hero Goddess, and I was thrilled to join her, Misa, Lee/L.A., and Heather Webber on Mount Olympus as the Hump Day Goddess. I luuuvvv that with The Naked Hero, we’re really focused on Readers and Fans. We luuuvvv getting to know reader peeps and sharing all-things-books-movies-TV-pop culture-and-life in general. Now, with our WG2E grog, we’ve created a destination site for all-things-Epublishing. We’re writers helping writers by Paying It Forward with real numbers and real experiences. On this grog, our goal is to share everything in our writing-for-publication worlds to hopefully make it a wee bit more pleasant for other writers traveling the Epublishing Road to Oz. So yeah…we’re grogging for both readers and writers! And many of our grog fans participate on both sites…which of course we luuuuvvv!!! With Tonya, Misa, Lee/L.A., Heather and I, we bring a wide range of experiences and career levels to our grog readerships…and I think that’s what makes us sooo successful. We’re all coming at our writing-for-publication careers from different points and preferences. And ohhh yeahhh, we sooo do NOT agree on all elements of our journey…but again, it’s that kind of innate differences, experiences, viewpoints, and opinions that really rock our readers and give ‘em that extra zest and spice to make our grogs must-visit-daily sites! In today’s publishing world, perhaps even more so than that messed-up world of yesteryear, it’s even more important to be visible on every possible social networking venue – every day – and grogging gives you that kind of visibility EVERY DAY!!!
Thanks bunches for hosting me today, Sharon! Please…feel free to comment and ask me any questions you’d like. I’ll be checking-in through-out the day! In addition, you can always catch me at all my cyber homes: http://www.DDScott.com http://ddscottauthor.blogspot.com http://thewritersguidetoepublishing.com http://thenakedhero.com http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/profile.php?id=100001238957002 http://twitter.com/#!/ddscottromcom http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/949843.D_D_Scott I look forward to welcoming y’all to my Bootscootin’ and Cozy Cash Mystery Worlds!!!
http://www.amazon.com/Thug-Guard-Cozy-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00507FTQS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1306947717&sr=1-1 Sexy Sassy Smart Grogging & Sanity Wishes — D. D. Scott
Welcome Lee Lopez, fellow chapter mate of mine at RWA-Black Diamonds in the East Bay, California. Lee not only has been a great friend, but she was one of those people who had to look at one of my early (oh! this is sooooo painful) first drafts. You know that one that we all have? When the critique partner starts the crit with, “Um.” But she couldn't have been more helpful, and her kind and gentle approach to all things has inspired me in so many ways. A very public and well-deserved thank you, Lee.I've been impressed and watched the success of their blogs: Naked Hero and Writer's Guide to ePublishing. Links are below. This week, we're going to be touching base with all the writers who contribute. Welcome to you all.
First I’d like to thank Sharon for inviting, myself and my blogging partners from the Writers Guide to E-Publishing, to be a guest on her site. Sharon had asked me how do you create a successful blog, with four other individuals, with four different styles of writing, and four different backgrounds. There is only one answer, not very easily. This is where you start: 1. Know your partners. Make sure everyone is on the same page, and understands this is a commitment. No slackers! 2. All the parties involved, must come to an agreement on the format of the blog. Is it about writing, heroes, dogs, kids, etc. 3. Discuss responsibilities of maintaining the site. Who is the techie, who is PR. 4. Choose your days for blogging and stick with it. One of the biggest reasons blogs go under is one person isn’t holding up their end of the bargain. It can ruin friendships, when the group as a whole has to carry dead weight. 5. Talk to your partners. Keep open communication. If you can’t blog on an assigned day, let them know. Bring in a guest, or switch with someone. Remember it’s a commitment. 6. Be consistent. Readers return because of reliability. They become fans and expect a certain degree of quality. If you don’t post for a few weeks, you’ll lose readers. 7. Be careful what is written. Do research, and quote experts, don’t ever bad mouth anyone. 8. Remember what you write will remain in cyberspace F-O-R-E-V-E-R. 9. Know copyright law. Don’t enroll in law school, but research copyrights, especially on pictures copied to your site. No what you can copy directly and can’t. Getting a nasty gram from someone claiming you’ve copied them, is embarrassing. 10. You must answer every comment on the blog. It makes the commenter feel like they are saying is important, and it gives them a connection. They feel like they know you. 11. Have fun. Enjoy what you’re doing. Have contest, give away, make it fun. I know it sounds like a lot, but it is what makes a successful blog. Is it work? It can be, but once the rhythm of writing for the blog takes hold, its fun. My mind is always swirling around things to write about. And I find ideas in the oddest places. When blogging first started, I heard many writers say, they weren’t going to bother, it was only another fad. Well, that was five years ago, and here were are with, probably millions of blogs in the bloggessphere. There is even a bloggers convention, with awards. It is a personal choice to make this commitment. It is easier to go with partners, it keeps the blog up dated daily, and it brings fresh new ideas. Some prefer going it alone, and do a great job. Right now I’m apart of three blogs: The Naked Hero,www.thenakedhero.com The writers guide to e-publishing, www.thewritersguidetoepublishing.com Voices from the Heart, www.voicesftheart.blogspot.com (I blog once a month there.)
I quote from a very wise man, Gary Keller. He is the master at making models for business, a man who has tried and failed several times. And when I say failed, I mean failed miserably. Like rock bottom, lose your house, everything.
The ladies at Writers' Guide to ePublishing are going to be here next week to give us some tips on their success. I'm so thrilled they have agreed to share their extensive knowledge with all of us. As most of you know, this blog is fairly new (only started it this year) and we are off to a great start. I'm hoping that with dynamic guest posters you will stick around all year long for the great information I hope to share.
I am pleased to welcome an incredible writer, and one of my best writing friends, Tina Folsom. You may have read recently in Forbes and the Washington Post how such talented writers as Bella Andrade and Carolyn Jewel have had huge financial success by releasing their backlists to the self-publishing craze. These are agented, writers with years of publishing background.What makes Tina's story so compelling is that she has done it without an agent. And she has done this without a backlist of titles released previously. She is definitely one to watch, and a writer who not only shows talent, but commitment to her craft and her readers. No wonder she has exploded on the scene. A Writer’s Life By Tina Folsom, San Francisco, California When I started out writing, I had a definite preconceived idea of what life as a writer was like: long stretches of sitting behind my computer, writing eagerly, would be interspersed with tea breaks and contemplating looks out through the window, then long lunches with my girlfriends, a little shopping in between. And by four p.m. my work for the day would be done, and I’d prepare a leisurely dinner for me and my husband or make a reservation at a nearby restaurant. But becoming a writer was nothing like I’d imagined, yet everything I wanted. My day starts early: I rise before 7 a.m. After a quick cup of coffee, I’m already at the computer, checking emails, sales statistics and sales rankings and make sure that all my books are still showing up at the various retailers. I’m a little paranoid that way, but after the things that have happened at various online retailers over the last few months (and I’m not naming names), I find it prudent to make sure my books are still for sale. Once some of the admin work is out of the way, and I’ve replied to reader emails and guest blog requests, I start writing. I try to get about 4 – 5 hours of pure writing time in every day. On most days this translates to about 2000 – 3000 words or 8 – 12 pages double-spaced. But if I thought that my day would then wind down, I was sadly mistaken. The rest of the afternoon and early evening is often spent with marketing tasks. Whenever I find a new retailer to upload my books to, a whole process of formatting and marketing starts. Only recently, I started uploading my books to the Apple iBookstore and had to discover that even though my ePub looked perfectly formatted on my computer, when I bought a test copy for my iPad, most of the formatting was gone: no indents, no justified text, no italics, no centered headings. It was a disaster. That’s when my real work started: I had to find out why my perfect ePub was suddenly not so perfect anymore. Needless to say, I spend hours correcting things and re-uploading. I’m a perfectionist that way. Now, every time I upload a new book somewhere, I purchase a copy for the appropriate device and make sure it looks all right. Would a publisher do that for you? Not sure. But frankly, that’s why I’m self-published, so I can control every aspect of my books. So, while other authors out there tell me that they don’t want to be both publisher and author, but would rather just concentrate on writing, I can’t let go of either. And even though it often is double the work, and many days I work 12 hours, I also reap all the rewards: I don’t have to share my royalties with an agent or a publisher. But what’s even more rewarding is the knowledge that I was able to do it all myself. With the help of my faithful readers, of course, because without them, my books would be languishing on the digital shelf.Thank you, Tina. I am sure you have inspired other writers to follow in your footsteps. What amazing opportunities we have now as writers in this dynamic, changing arena. As usual, the generous sharing of your success helps us all to reach for the stars. Brava!Stop by, and if you leave a comment on Sharon's blog post, you'll be entered to win an autographed paperback of Venice Vampyr – The Beginning (Novellas 1 – 3).www.tinawritesromance.comhttp://authortinafolsom.blogspot.comhttp://www.facebook.com/AuthorTinaFolsomhttp://www.twitter.com/Tina_Folsom
All Tina's books are available from BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com and other onlineretailers.
There are some places that are filled with the ghosts of the past, and I was at one today. Our eclectic multi-genre critique group meets every Tuesday morning. Today, we met at the old Grist Mill, where Jack London used to write in an apartment over the mill. We sat out on the patio and had a wonderful catered lunch by Yeti's Restaurant – Nepalese food. With the sunshine pouring over our red umbrellas and a soft breeze whispering through the trees, we read our stories, sipped tea, ate wonderful curry dishes, and felt the presence of Jack London amongst us.
This is a do-over. Just a short post to remind you to write every day. I interviewed JR Ward at RWA Nationals in D.C. two years ago, and she told me she had written every day except for three in the last three plus years.
Don't go away just yet! I promise I won't bore you with vampire lore, if you're not a fan, or have gotten tired of them. I think they will be here to stay. Fact is, we've been writing about them since 300 AD. I understand early Hindu writings incorporated vampire lore. They lived in trees, caused mysterious deaths, especially to unsuspecting children and non-believers. Don't know about you, but that's more chilling to me than the ones that are dark and sexy, that heal quickly, are the strongest things on the planet (just about), and have a libido that most humans would envy.
I loved the idea of the double meaning of this, so used it on an erotic short I wrote, called The Stimulus Package. An idea whose time has come, as Werner Erhard used to say. I liked that it was positioned in e-pub format right next to the Congressional Stimulus Program, and for a time, my short sold more copies.
I have to admit to having a crush on Rodrigo Santoro. Yes, I'm happily married, but if this man came to my front door, it would break my heart to say no. And because there's no danger this will ever happen, I don't have to think about it very much.
One of my friends retired and was leaving for a very long vacation, sailing around the world. He'd been planning this trip for his whole life. Part of it included some volunteer work in Thailand, I think.
I loved Galaxy Quest. The law of unintended consequences made this a funny twist on real vs. simulation. The “simulators” became real, actually accomplished in reality what they were acting in the show.
Spent all day today driving from San Diego to Santa Rosa. My husband and I finished a book on tape called Vanished, and it was wonderful. A real thriller. Highly recommend the unabridged version. I suddenly feel in awe of this author, doubting myself again. This happens sometimes when I read too much while I'm trying to create. But I wanted to hear the pacing of the tension, the way he chose his chapter hooks (and he did it very well), the complicated plot that was just difficult enough to make it unpredictable, but not too confusing. It was riveting. Testament to that was the number of wrong turns we took. We ignored the very polite woman on the GPS and found ourselves listening to her say, “recalculating” several times. Now, that's a good book, right?