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[PrepTober Pt.4] Surviving NaNo

***Before I get to the juicy stuff, let’s get some housecleaning done. Be sure you read all the way to the bottom for some ways you can access to exclusive content not available to the public. If this is your first time joining us, we here at FyreSyde are a husband and wife duo who made the decision we wanted to offer a community to help our creative entrepreneurs, readers, bloggers and authors alike. Blaise’s book, Blessing of Luna can be found on Amazon in audiobook, paperback and eBook with the second book in the series, Bane of Tenebris, due to be released in July of 2019. If you would like to sign up for the launch team and receive a free digital copy of the book, please email us at fyresydepublishing@gmail.com with “Launch Team” in the subject line.*** 


 

The (2)Here we are. The final day before NaNoWriMo begins full force. Are you excited? I hope so. After all, you’ve got your idea, you’ve made a decision whether or not to mind-map, and found a method of outlining. 

But!

I’m going to switch the plan: Survival Tips for your Halloween Treat. Many authors begin strong but soon find themselves encountering familiar foes like writer’s block (or blinking cursor syndrome), fatigue, procrastination and frustration.

Here are some  things you can do to alleviate these common enemies many NaNos face, I’ll go into more detail but for now here are the basics:

  • Scene planning
  • Attend Wordsprints
  • Ask for feedback
  • Get a critique partner
  • Attend live/online write-ins
  • Plan for procrastination
  • Take breaks, it’s okay
  • Turn off your inner perfectionist
  • Make your writing time sacred

Scene Planning:

Something you can do to alleviate some pressure when you get stuck is to stop and plan some scenes. It can help you feel less overwhelmed if you look at the smaller parts first and then add them into the overall story. I did this in Blessing of Luna and it truly did make things less daunting. I had the major scenes planned out which just left the details. You can do this in a notebook while you’re binge-watching Netflix or listening to music. 

This way, there’s no pressure of “Oh God, I have a full novel to write” only you, your notebook and a pen or pencil. Use scene planning as a method to relax as a lighter exercise then when you’re ready, go back to work.

Attend Wordsprints:

Wordsprints are timed sessions many authors have during NaNoWriMo. They’re simply times authors can get together (or by yourself) and focus on writing. The timer is for you to keep focused during the time the sprint is happening. It can be as long or as short as you like. The point is for you to pace yourself with an opportunity to join others. During NaNo, I hold word sprints either on Facebook live or on FyreSyde’s Twitch channel. I welcome you to join me. I know Kim Chance and Megan LaCroix hold them on their Facebook pages. It’s a great time to be with others and realize you aren’t alone.

Ask For Feedback:

The forums on the NaNoWriMo site are a great place to find feedback if you haven’t been able to find your tribe yet. They’re very active during November and have a specific section dedicated to those needing feedback. Remember, you aren’t alone. There are many of us all doing the same thing and most likely suffering or have suffered what you’re going through. 

Get a Critique Partner:

I should say something along the lines of a person who will make sure you’re holding toThe (3) your goals. Your personal cheerleader. Someone you trust to complain, whine, moan and gripe to. For me, last year, it was my poor husband. This person is someone to hold your hand during your journey. They can be a spouse, a friend, a parent, another author, a boy/girlfriend, etc. After NaNo, these are some folks you can swap novels with for the Alpha reading stage. A critique partner is a great support system because they can provide crucial feedback. Especially if you’re too nervous to ask.

Attend Write-Ins (Online or Live)

Write ins are a lot like word sprints, only without the timer. They’re gatherings of authors who get together to do what they love: write. They’re held all over the place. You may have some going on in your hometown. I know where I live, there are multiple going on at midnight tonight. If you’re looking for write-ins, the NaNo site is a good place to start as well. The forums have a section for those who are holding write-ins. If you attend on online, they’re mostly held via avenues like google hangout, Facebook live, Instagram, and sometimes on phone apps. It’s all up to you as to how you want to attend. It’s yet another opportunity for you to get together with others, network and get crucial help and feedback.

Plan For Procrastination:

It’s going to happen. Even to veterans of NaNo. Plan for it accordingly. Whatever you do, don’t confuse procrastination with relaxation. It’s more than okay to take a break. NaNo is a sprint if there ever was one. However, don’t put off your novel so long, it never gets written or forces you to produce subpar work. 

Take Breaks: It’s Okay

As mentioned above, it’s more than okay to take some days to rest. Your creative tank may need some time to rest. These self-care days can be a time where you allow yourself to either plan some scenes, watch Netflix, or if you’re a late nighter, sleep. You may choose to read those books on your overly large TBR list. Whatever it is, allow yourself some time.

Turn Off Your Inner Editor/Perfectionist

vince_lombardi_encouragement_quote1NaNo is for you to write at least 50K (or whatever your wordcount is). There’s no need for you to flesh out a final draft in that time. Turn off your inner editor and just focus on getting the story into a Word doc, Scriviner, etc. The pressure is already on. You have limited time to dish out some serious word counts, why put more on yourself. This is a good time to write for fun, not for perfection. A good friend of mine, Michelle Rene has a great article on how to focus on writing as fast as possible by shutting up your inner editor

Make Your Writing Time Sacred

Choose a time you write best and stick to it. If you’re a parent, ask your spouse or significant other to watch the kiddos so you can write. If you have older kids, ask them to give you this time to yourself. Just so you know, it’s okay for younger kids to watch tony_robbins_encouragement_quote1television during NaNo. They get to laugh and squeal at SpongeBob while you get to focus on your world-building. Maybe you’re like me and write best late at night. Whatever works best for you, make sure you stick to it until the end of the month. It’ll help you focus your time and give you a goal. Also, reward yourself when you accomplish it. Go to the man-cave or the she-shack and play a video game or enjoy some coffee. Heck, you just wrote for almost two hours, give yourself a treat.


Writing can be a lonely occupation but the great thing is, NaNo is a time where many writers are forming groups to support each other during a trying time. Whatever you choose to do, have fun and don’t give up!

download (2)

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Authorlife: It Can’t Be About Fame or Money

Sales. love-life-money-quote-by-luis-d-ortiz-390364

We all would love to see consistent sales of our products. They can be books, services such as coaching classes, art, games, etc. The list goes on.

As an author, learning to accept that we will suffer times of feast and famine is a part of the art of marketing and writing itself.

There may be periods where our books and/or ebooks are flying of the shelves quicker than we can produce them. Yet there are times when we can fall prey to disappointment. Wanting to give up because things aren’t going the way we planned.

This is something, through hours of research, that we quickly realize especially as Indie or self-published authors.

It takes hours of hard work and persistence to build a brand. That’s what needs to be focused on. Build the brand, not the book.

But most important, a creator needs to remember why they chose to create their product in the first place because let’s face it. History is full of entrepreneurs of all kinds who went through periods of plenty and nothing.

d1dd5e679b0da3d15d96eff945e15583“Make Your Passion Your Paycheck”

Why did you choose to create your product in the first place? What were the goals you set for yourself when you began? Was it for the money? Fame? Etc? Or did you do it because you love doing what you do?

Why did you spend hours of stress, blood, sweat and tears to hold the product in your hands?

The truth friends, you have to do it because you love what you do. Many authors who are starting out usually won’t see much turnaround and often wind up spending more than they earn. This is a common occurrence when building a new business. It’s about taking a huge risk and being open to realizing, you might fail but accepting that failure and continuing anyway.

“True writing is not about money and selling.

It’s about passion. And readers certainly do discover and buy, well-written books by new writers. Authors only need to inform readers intelligently that they are passionate about what they do. Then book sales will look after themselves.”

Via Justpublishingadvice.com

Do what you do because you love to do it. Not for fame or fortune.

Work Smarter Not Harder

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One of the most successful women in the Indie publishing industry I have seen is Kristen Martin. Author of five best-selling books including her new self-help novel, Be Your Own Goals, Kristen offers multiple avenues of inspiration to those just starting out.

A powerful phrase she uses is “Work Smarter, not Harder.”

Now what does this mean? It means do the research and find what has worked for others and be willing to reach out to mentors who have been through what you are hoping to achieve.

It can also mean, utilizing the tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite to handle the work of scheduling early. It takes about 30 minutes to an hour to use these tools and it takes a great deal of stress off and avoids the twitter hustle and batch retweets.

Set deadlines, carve out hours to work on your passion and hold those hours sacred.

Be Consistent

“Don’t be upset about the results you didn’t get, from the work you didn’t do.”

Entrepreneurship-is-about-turning-what-excites-you-in-life-into-capital-so-that-you-can-do-more-of-it-and-move-forward-with-it_Richard-Branson-Quote_Mindset2MillionsAny successful entrepreneur will tell you they only got where they were because they put in hours of work.

Authors and creatives of any kind, in any field, must put in the late nights, early mornings and weekends to create and become successful at what they did.

You have to be willing to treat what you do like a business. Do not rely on just social media. It is necessary in forming bonds and networking but does not often result in sales.

 

Don’t Give Up!7da6194cf12177755188f4220f92d19b--writing-quotes-on-writing

Odds Are, you Might Not be The Next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling but that doesn’t mean you don’t have something to offer.

It may take a few titles, events and hours of promotion and networking. It may take break-downs, sadness, depression, and questioning your decisions. All of this is normal! We all go through it. Whatever you do, don’t give up!

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[Newsletter] New Projects, Appearances, Oh My!

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” _ Stephen King

I wanted to give everyone who reads the blog a bit of an update and offer some places you can go to learn a bit more about what’s going on and what you can look forward to from FyreSyde.


A Shoutout to My Readers! I love you all!!!!

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It has blown me away just how many people walked up to shake my hand and struck up a conversation, asked questions and inquired about what it meant to finish a book and get it published. It has been a humbling experience! I love my readers so much!!! All of you!!!

 


Some Places of Interest:

To just offer up a few things that have been going on. For the past two months, I have done multiple interviews, a Radio Show appearance and multiple signings all across the greater Denton/Dallas/Fort Worth area.

If you’d like to meet me in person, I welcome you to check out the appearances page! I update it regularly as best I can with where I’m going to be and when! I would love to meet you!

A few interviews have been posted as well if you would like to read them and offer feedback! These include guest posts on other blogs as well that I would recommend you to follow and read!

If you would like to guest post, get an interview of your own, want a book review or are curious about the services offered here, I highly recommend checking out these pages.

I also welcome you to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and my new authorpage.com page for updates and short stories!


Some Things to Look Forward To:

Okay! So here it is, the section letting you know just what to expect in the next year! Follow us here or any of our social media for information regarding these new opportunities!

  1. Compilation Opportunities: As many of you know, FyreSyde’s main focus is not on our own goals, books, etc. We want to be about you: the readers and the authors. Something Blaise has wanted to do and will be doing her best to put into effect is to open up theme-based compilations to authors of all kinds. For now, they will be in the form of posts either here or on a blogspot. At this time, there is no intention of making a printed version. Only an online magazine. If this changes, there will be an announcement. Please keep in mind, as of now, Blaise is the only one who will run it. She will personally be screening each piece submitted. As this is the case, there will most likely be a maximum number of accepted submissions. More info will be provided the closer it gets. If you want to keep up with this project, follow or subscribe via email!
  2. Editing Services: As of now, all that is offered here on FyreSyde as far as paid services is the 60-minute marketing consultation. In 2019, Blaise plans on opening up editing opportunities as well.
  3. Cover Reveals: FyreSyde will officially open cover reveal opportunities for authors or artists who want to get their covers seen for a very low price.
  4. Fundraisers/ Charity events/ Runs: FyreSyde will begin reaching out to its communities as well. This will come in the form of sponsorships, charity events and fundraisers. The first is the Halloween Charity Event happening in October!

So many fun things coming down the pike! For those who want to know, this Dean-is-in-Music-Ministry-nowDecember will mark FyreSyde’s first birthday!! 


New Projects and Bane of Tenebris

You guys have been so amazing with Luna’s release. It really is heartwarming to learn so many of you have received it so well and offered some truly wonderful feedback.

This being said, I have an announcement to make about a new, secret project I’ve put into the works. It will precede Bane of Tenebris as I have been experiencing some burn-out on the second book. As this is a highly anticipated release, I will be taking the utmost of care to make the book as good as it can be.

The secret project is a psychological thriller I hope to have released by the end of this year. If this isn’t doable for any reason, I will be updating you, the readers.

The second installment of the Wolfgods, Bane of Tenebris has been given a tentative release date for June of 2019. Beta readers are encouraged to contact me via facebook to be invited to the beta reading group.


The Return of Marketing101 and Regular Posting Schedules

For those of you keeping up with me on social media, you probably know I’ve been taking it easy this summer in an attempt to rest my brain. This is all true!

I will be returning August 5, 2018 with regular posting and more Marketing101 posts for you all to enjoy and hopefully glean some information from!

Until then, please check out some of the amazing books posted here to support fellow authors! See you all again soon!!! Keep going and stay productive!!!

“There is no royal, flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it. For if I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard.” ~ C.J. Walker

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[#NaNoProMo] Budget Social Media; Invest in Live Events

“It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.” (ie an author’s laptop/PC/Desktop)


Okay, we all know the famous quote above. But I digress. Why I used it is because for some strange reason, we author types (especially us indie published types), have a tendency to avoid our fellow man. Why do I say that? Because until recently, I had the same tendency. We hide behind our laptops and delve into the world of social media, book promo sites, book blitzes and blog tours and still we hope to hit the best-selling list overnight.

Now, before you jump on the “But Blaise, what about so-and-so?” or “What about e-commerce?” band-wagon; let me elaborate because this is something I have heard coached to me by many business coaches in many different seminars. Social media is critical in growing an online presence but it should NOT be your only point of contact. 

If you don’t believe what I say is true, I can go further. As an indie game concept artist, I had the privilege of speaking to a character designer for Marvel, yes that Marvel. In the skype call he told me two things:

 1) Always keep your social media updated frequently

2) Start attending conventions

 To go on, an author I love and is possibly the greatest influence on my own journey, you’ve heard me mention her before, Kristen Martin says that attending book related events is a great way to build your author platform because you are putting yourself face to face with potential readers, other authors and publishers to learn from them.

Those are not your exact words, I know, Kristen.


Without further ado, here are five reasons why I think that events are crucial to building your platform.

  1. Gives your readers a face: How many of us get a thrill from meeting our inspirations face to face? To get to actually talk to them about their accomplishments or ask them their advice or comment on their books. How many of us like to get our books signed in person and shake their hands? I know for me, that is an amazing feeling because it reminds me that the goals I’ve set are possible because so many times they tell me that they felt the same and went through the same trials and doubts. Your readers will be the same. They want to meet you, talk to you, get their books signed personally and learn from you.
  2. Chance to meet some mentors: Not only can you meet your heroes, but you can network with authors that want to mentor and read your work. They are willing or can point you towards potential referrals or possibly network you with the company (if they’re traditionally published) that they published with. Do not be naggy or begging about it but it is a possibility. You can ask editors questions and learn what they look for so you can edit your next manuscript or receive discounts on their services. The possibilities are endless.
  3. Huge Network Opportunity: Guys, you’ve heard so many say it, I know you have. Networking is crucial for book sales and marketing. I have learned this through so many authors and business webinars that it is not even funny. Conventions and book festivals are an amazing way to meet new authors, potential returning clients and contacts for your books and blogs. Yes, social media is great for turn-around and growing email lists but how hard are you working when you could spend the money you spend on Facebook ads to go out to the convention or festival and manually do what Facebook pays people to do. For example, my last ad campaign for Blessing of Luna reached over 300 people. Sounds great, right? I thought that too until almost all of those reached were paid to click and address ads. Talk about a let most-of-the-important-things-in-the-world-accomplished-by-people-who-kept-trying-when-there-seemed-no-hope-inspirational-quote-julie-flygare-narcolepsy-spokesperson-author-speakerdown. Budget the post boosting and splurge on the cons and festivals.
  4. Inspiration time: You want to talk about a plethora of inspiration? Events like cons and festivals are always full of groups of people who don’t know each other from Adam or Eve but get together and talk about common hobbies, strategies that worked for them or guys, can we say book swaps? Guest blog post opportunities? Maybe even a blog tour? Book blitzes? And these folks might be willing to do it if you do it for them. Why would you not want to meet and greet these folks? Book ideas abound, collab opportunities. Everything you read about in self-publishing blogs for marketing is just 100$ away or you can sometimes get early bird specials if you sign up early.
  5. Scouting opportunities: Guys, this is a big one. Huge. Almost every convention you go to, there are scouting opportunities. Publishing companies, editors, freelancers, etc are all there. They are looking. You actually get to talk to them instead of waiting five months for an email. Some of them will even look at your proposal on the floor if they’re open to it. Again, don’t be pushy, they’re busy and have so many folks wanting to get looked at. I can say this because I’ve seen them in person at conventions like A-kon. They are there but you aren’t going to meet them behind your laptop.

***For #NaNoProMo, I want to add some great ways I’ve found to offline market that have worked for me personally!***

  1. Book store appearances – Seek out your local bookstores or those in closeAdvertFlier proximity and call them to see if they will allow you to sign and sell your books in their stores. You would be amazed how excited so many of them are. Plus, you have gotten into the system. They’ll most likely ask you to return again for subsequent titles.
  2. Conventions – These are not just for science fiction, cosplayers, etc. I sold out of my book and had to switch to invoicing. Many interviews I got were from attending a convention. You meet other authors and build life long friendships.
  3. Book Festivals – You may or may not sell in a room full of other authors but hey, it’s a great thing to look at. You get to meet and network and get your book out there and do some book and review swaps.
  4. Libraries – Donate to libraries! Again this is a great networking opportunity and they want authors to come in and talk and read!
  5. Pass out ARCs – Free titles may seem like it hurts like heck but ARCs are a great review opportunity and who says no to free books?
  6. Ask for reviews – This was the hardest one. I was so nervous about sounding like I was begging but you would truly be amazed how many of them are willing to offer Businesscardtheir feedback and reviews. You never know if you don’t ask.
  7. Pass out business cards – Always have a PROFESSIONAL* business card! You can pass them out to so many people! Many are more than happy to take them and even ask if they can take them. Be sure to include Amazon and website links!
  8. Book swag – Book marks are a great tool to get your book’s cover out there and heck you can offer them for free. Many people are more than willing to take them and often couple your book with them!
  9. Make Fliers – You have to be willing to hoof it. Take the days you have off, open word and use a template to make your fliers. Starbucks is amazing with their community calendars and they’re everywhere!!! Grab a coffee, post your flier and head on to the next location. If you have an event at a bookstore, ask the manager if they provide fliers. If not, ask them if they’d be willing to use yours!
  10. Name Drop your book/ Tell them you’re an author! – Guys, I know this sounds strange but I kid you not. Blessing of Luna has been sold at restaurants, grocery stores, and even at the end of an event. I just approached someone in the romance isle and starting talking! Always have a book! You would be amazed what can happen!

* What I mean by professional is always have a .com, .net, etc. It has an air of professionalism and ongoing pursuit. Invest the money. Many domains like Bluehost, GoDaddy, HostGator, WordPress, etc have their own hosts.

So, I hope this has helped you. This knowledge was gleaned from trial and error, seeking mentorships and just asking managers and professional marketers. The cruel and harsh truth is, our market is saturated but it doesn’t mean we have to fight each other. There are readers who want to read our work, heck, maybe both of our books if we work with a partner to promote our books. Social Media is a black hole that is necessary for an online presence but at the same time, offline marketing gets you out there! Try for yourself!

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[Book Review] Making Bad Choices by Rita Sadling

Making Bad ChoicesMaking Bad Choices
by Rita Stradling
Genre: Romance
Age category: New Adult
Release Date: 10 January, 2017

Blurb:
[Recommended 16 + this is a mature YA or New Adult book]

Culter Fuller came back into my life on the day my mother died, as if losing my mother wasn’t bad enough.

We hated each other since childhood. Well, I hated him. He had a very different story.

When I moved to my dad’s house to finish my last semester of high school, we went from bitter enemies to. . . something else. He was suddenly everywhere, occupying my space, determined to pull me into his life, filling me with thoughts I knew were wrong.

I knew that soon we would cross a line that should never be crossed.

I knew crossing that line could have very serious consequences; because Culter Fuller wasn’t just any irresistible boy, Culter Fuller was my stepbrother.

But, I was always very bad at making the right choices.

 


My Review:

First off, very cute story. I am usually not one to like a good taboo love story but this one was very cute. I actually adored how possessive Culter was.

The book was decently written and read well. Good pacing and some really swoon worthy characters. I truly loved Tyler. He sounded hot. Culter was just…. swoon. I loved his name choice.

Unfortunately, it became a bit repetitive. Day to day school is a-ok for teenagers who are probably suffering from some senior-itis and just want to get the heck out of dodge. Totally get it and didn’t mind it. I just wanted a bit more tension.

There was sexual tension and slow burn like crazy and I loved it but there was very little external conflict. Aside from the alpha female who had a crush on the protagonist’s love interest and the loss of her mom, everyone automatically just accepted Cassie. Not to say that isn’t good but if that was going to be the case, add the tension somewhere else. Maybe a really strong rival actually willing to fight Culter over Cassie? I’m not sure. Just something to give that could really ignite the inciting incident.

For example, there was a moment where Cassie almost got into a car accident. That was the perfect Darkest Moment. It could have really been used to draw out the flaming passion in both characters. Cassie could have been hurt, Culter could have felt he almost lost her and gone to her bedside and been openly honest with her. It would have been amazing and really could have added some action.

Also, as a romance reader and author, I want some hot, passionate, burning love scenes. For a new adult, this really didn’t deliver. I feel it read more like a Young Adult novel. The author created some slow burn for sure. So many times I wanted the two to make love only to have it ripped away (I liked that). Then when they finally were able to, I was really wanting more. The feel of Culter’s body. Some heat between them. How Cassie felt, what she smelled. Just some details to set me ablaze.

So many things were there. Basic outlines which could have been used to really make this a hot, passionate conflict which just fell short. I would have actually liked less dialogue and more conflict.

If I were to rate this book. I would give it 3 stars because I really did like the storyline and saw the potential. Maybe for the next book, really dig into the details to make the story stronger.

Screen-Shot-2012-12-19-at-3.06.19-PM-666x408


 

Making Bad Choices Teaser 1

You can find Making Bad Choices on Goodreads

You can buy Making Bad Choices on Amazon

View the book trailer here

Making Bad Choices Teaser 2

The Playlist for Making Bad Choices
This is the playlist for Making Bad Choices:
1) The Temptations – My Girl
2) The Rolling Stones – Wild Horses
3) Bright Eyes – The First Day of My life
4) Modern English – I Melt with You
5) Elton John – Your Song
6) The Lumineers – Ho Hey
7) Stand Inside Your Love – Smashing Pumpkins
8) Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns n’ Roses
9) Mumford & Sons – I Will Wait
10) Coldplay – A Sky Full of Stars
11) BØRNS – Electric Love
12) Jason Mraz – I’m Yours
13) Michael Jackson – The Way You Make Me Feel
14) Joshua Radin – I’d Rather Be with You
15) Paul McCartney – Maybe I’m Amazed

You can listen to the playlist on YouTube

Making Bad Choices Teaser 3

Rita StradlingAbout the Author:
Rita Stradling is the author of The Deception Dance series, the Dakota Kekoa series and The Fourteen Day Soul Detox Novella Serial. She has a BA in Art History and a particular love for modern and medieval art.

Rita lives with her husband and son in Northern California.

She has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult: romance, paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.

You can find and contact Rita here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads


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