Tuesday Teaser

Don’t forget that Dead and Kicking is now available for pre-order at most major online retailers.  Check out my Books and Coming Soon page for details.

The basement of the club was a warren of dark, narrow hallways lined with doors behind which, who knew what was happening.  Unfortunately the throbbing beat from the dance floor above wasn’t enough to drown out some of the sounds filtering through the odd door, so I had a pretty good idea of what was going on behind at least some of them.

A door abruptly opened as we were walking past and I caught a glimpse inside, confirming my suspicions.  We were in an S&M sex club.  A few steps later, another door opened and a tall, blonde vampire wearing 5-inch, lace up platform ankle boots stepped out into the hall.  She pulled a gauzy robe on over her black, patent leather corset.

“Now you be a very good boy Murray and wait there for me.”  She tapped the end of a riding crop against her black leather glove.  “You know what happens when you are naughty.”  She turned and saw me, raising an appraising eyebrow.  “Come to play, Kitten?” she purred, reaching out with the end of the riding crop to stroke my cheek.

I flinched away, not wanting it to touch me and she laughed.  I turned and looked her in the eye and it was her turn to flinch.  “Not unless you want me to snap that thing in half and stake you through the heart with it, Sweetheart.”  I smiled sweetly and her eyes widened in surprise.  Her face twisted into a snarl and she took a step towards me.

Stefan put a hand against her chest, giving her a little push backwards.  “Not now Simeen, this one’s not for you.”

Simeen threw me a contemptuous look and then turned with a flourish.  Her robe billowed behind her like a cape as she stalked off down the hall.  The cheeks of her bare ass jiggled as she walked.  It kind of ruined the whole effect.

Dead and Kicking by Lisa Emme

Do you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain or have I just dated myself?

In a previous post, I compared the book blurb to a dating profile. I thought the comparison was pretty apt, but nothing is more like a dating profile than trying to write your author bio.

pina coladas

The author bio is yet another important, but often overlooked, element of not only your book but any of a multitude of author pages (for example on Goodreads or Amazon) as well as your own website.

Like a dating profile, you need to sell yourself to your readers. Your goal is to make a connection with them, showing who you are as a person. You want to come across as the type of person who would write a book they would want to read.

You really need three versions of your bio:
1. A version to put inside your book as part of the end matter. This can be a little bit longer, but still brevity is key.
2. A version to put on your website or author pages.  Again this could be longer.  It could even be the same as #1 above.
3. A shorter ‘blurb’ type bio for the back of your book.  Keep it short and sweet.  150 words or less.

Just like when writing the book blurb, your author bio should grab the interest of your reader. It should make it easier for your reader to relate to you. Above all else, be honest. The last thing you want to do is come across as someone you`re not – in this electronic age, it would be pretty easy to get called on fudged credentials or accomplishments.

To help you with your author bios, here are a few websites I found useful:

6 Secrets to Writing a Killer Author Bio
How to Write a Great Author Bio That Will Connect with Readers
Tips for Writing Your Author Bio

I hope I managed to accomplish some of these goals with my bio. I guess I`ll have to let you be the judge. Feel free to let me now how I did.

As an added bonus, here`s a few things you may not know about me (and probably will never end up in my bio):

  • I think a movie without popcorn is just wrong
  • I can’t ride in the car with the radio on without singing out loud
  • Spiders ick me out
  • I can drink a coke slurpee at 3 am when it’s -30 C outside
  • I can curl my tongue (it’s a genetic thing, I learned that in grade 9)
  • I think that pineapple on pizza is a waste of perfectly good pineapple (and pizza)
  • I can’t sit in front of a bonfire without poking at it with a stick
  • I’m not a big drinker, but have become a bit of a beer snob (I’ll take a good Belgian beer thanks)

SWF Seeks RLLTR*

*Readers Looking for Long Term Relationship

You’ve already heard about my struggles with editing, but today I’m going to share another stumbling block on my road to self-publishing: the book blurb.

The blurb, the dustcover, the back of the book description – Whatever you call it, the blurb is very important. It’s your frontline marketing tool. It has to grab the reader’s attention, set your book apart from the hundreds (thousands?) of others, and entice the reader to give your book a try.

I’ve written a book (heck, I’ve actually already written four books). You’d think I could handle writing a short description of it. Afterall, I’ve lived and breathed the story for months. But I’m here to tell you it’s HARD! How do you take your 50,000+ words and condense them into less than three hundred while making it sound exciting and interesting?

ladies-in-little-black-dressesThe more I think about it, the more I realize that the blurb is like an online dating profile. You may have got everyone’s attention with that sexy, little black dress (the book cover) but the blurb is your chance to show them that there is some substance there too.

Just like a dating profile should honestly portray your personality, your blurb should reflect the writing style of your book. Don’t make it sound like a comedy when it’s actually dark drama. Like the cover itself, your blurb is a promise to the reader. It makes a statement about what they can expect to find inside. Don’t break your promise or you’ll find yourself without readers (or dates).

Your blurb is your perfect pick up line. Clever and engaging and certainly not cliché. It should be tailored to the audience you want to date, er…I mean attract. If you say you like hunting and fishing in your dating profile, don’t complain when you find yourself stuck on a boat for six hours using live worms for bait. The same goes with your blurb. Don’t dress a romance up like a psychological thriller and then wonder why everyone is slamming your book for not delivering as promised in their reviews.

Above all – and I don’t mean to sound like your Mom, but hey, mothers usually have good advice – don’t give it all away on the first date. Leave them wanting more. You’re writing a blurb, not a synopsis. You don’t want to summarize the entire story or drop any spoilers. You want to tantalize the reader, not give the game away. The blurb should be short and sweet. Your reader will probably only glance quickly at the back cover or their eyes might simply skim over the online description. In those few seconds you need to whet their apetite so they want to buy your book. You know how the old saying goes. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free!

To help you craft the perfect blurb, here are a couple of links that I found helpful:

The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Blurb for your Novel
4 Easy Steps to an Irresistible Book Blurb

So how did I do with my blurb?  Did I pique your interest?  Did I leave you wanting more?  I’d love to hear from you.

This really has nothing to do with book blurb, but I thought it was funny. If you have ever tried online dating, I'm sure you'll get it.

This really has nothing to do with writing a book blurb, but I thought it was funny. If you have ever tried online dating, I’m sure you’ll get it.

Tuesday Teaser

Dead and Kicking, the first instalment of The Harry Russo Diaries is coming out on October 2!  The countdown begins.  Pre-orders will be available starting at the end of the month.

Just a short one today….

chapter_scroll - for pdf

“Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?  Surely not as frightening as meeting the Magister.”

I looked at Eleanor, remembering the wave of power I felt from her earlier, and replied, “I think you can be just as scary as the Magister when you want to.”

“Yes, of course dear.  It’s nice to know your grandmother didn’t raise a fool.”

Dead and Kicking, by Lisa Emme

Traditional Publishing – Why I’m Not Going There

There was a time when I thought I needed to be published traditionally.  That I would only feel that I had ‘made it’ as an author if my book was published by a mainstream publisher.  I thought I needed that validation.

These days, I feel like I should write a thank you letter to the publisher that sent me my very first (and only) rejection letter.  I was totally expecting it.  I knew that I would have to ‘pay my dues’ before getting that elusive book contract, but the more I researched and read on the topic of getting published, the more ridiculous it all seemed.  The submission process of most of the traditional publishers is a writer’s nightmare.  That’s if you can even find one that is accepting unsolicited manuscripts (i.e. submitted directly rather than through an agent).   And for what?  If you do happen to get an offer, the pittance you will earn in royalties is an insult to all your hard work.

 

Pressure

I don’t need a traditional publisher to give me validation.  I’m going to let my books speak for themselves (although that doesn’t mean I won’t be busy trying to learn everything I can about marketing them) and the only validation I need will come from my readers.

If you are on the fence about whether you should self-publish, this article  by guest writer Ann Voss Peterson on JA Konrath’s blog may just help you to jump down on the side of indies.

Need Another Reason to Self-Publish?

People ask my why I am self-publishing.  This article sums up one of the biggest reasons.  Why would I go to so much work putting my ideas and thoughts on paper only to hand it over to someone else to profit from my efforts?  Do I really want to ‘sell my soul’ to a big traditional publisher just to get a feeling of validation?

swift kick

Check out Dean Wesley Smith’s informative article The New World of Publishing: The Real Price of Traditional Publishing 

Number One Rule When Self-Publishing?

self-publishing-word-cloud-620x350

 

I just finished a very informative series called Doing it Better by Polly Courtney.  In this six part series, Ms. Courtney states that

“As an author looking to self-publish, what’s the number one rule? Do what publishers do, but do it better.”

I couldn’t agree with her more.  I am a voracious reader and I’m always looking for new authors to try and I’m more than willing to give an indie author a go, but nothing turns me off quicker, and gives self-publishing a bad name, as a poorly delivered book.  Lack of editing, poor cover design, plot holes big enough to drive a truck, and flat characters that just don’t make the cut.  These are all signs of an author that rushed to publish, that didn’t take the time to do the work to ensure they were delivering the best quality product they could to their readers, or that didn’t want to make an investment in their own work in order to ensure that the quality was there.

If you are thinking of self-publishing, I highly recommend Ms. Courtney`s series.  The first three parts apply to authors like myself that are just getting into the business of self-publishing.  The final three parts….well, if you’re like me, you’ll watch them and laugh and think to yourself maybe someday.

Doing It Better:  Editing Your Book
Doing It Better:  Getting an Awesome Cover Design
Doing It Better:  Publishing Your Book
Doing It Better:  Getting Press Coverage
Doing It Better:  Making a Book Trailer
Doing It Better:  Holding an Epic Book Launch

 

 

 

 

 

Editing and the dreaded comma are the bane of my existence.

 

TEARING HAIR OUT-2

Remember in primary school where you learned about punctuation, nouns, verbs and adverbs?  Yeah, me neither.  It’s all a vague recollection now.  I do remember standing at the chalkboard (hmmm, am I dating myself with that?  Do they even use chalkboards anymore?) staring at a sentence with no punctuation and the goal was to identify the parts of the sentence and correct the grammar.  But that’s all I can remember.  I can’t actually remember any of the rules I might have learned.  Nope. Nada.  I’ve got nothing.

You would think that being a voracious reader, I would instinctively know what is proper grammar and maybe in some ways I do. I certainly know when a particular bit of prose stinks, grammatically speaking.  Some mistakes are so obvious, you wonder how an author ever let their book go to print with the error.

The main problem is that as an author you are too close to your own writing. You have read and re-read it over and over. You know what you meant to say and so you miss the glaring mistake. Reading your work out loud is a big help, but having a fresh set of eyes is the best thing to do.   Beta readers are a very important cog in the wheel.  Don’t try and publish without them.

I found this article online that offers some great tips about editing.

Check out The Ten Mistakes (that writers don’t see but can easily fix when they do) by Holt Uncensored.