Tag Archives: publishing

Read in the new year with a great book from EMSA Publishing!

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EMSA Publishing’s latest newsletter is out!

In this issue:

  • 15 Free Promotional Sites for free and discounted books
  • Books on sale for $0.99 for the month of January
  • Newly published books – free advance reader copies available!
  • Welcome new authors
  • Local book sales and conventions

Read the newsletter at http://eepurl.com/cu5MYP.

Sign up to receive a copy of EMSA Publishing’s newsletter directly to your inbox for a free download. Fill out the form on the pop-up or go to http://eepurl.com/bRSxDj

Why you should be writing YA

image from: http://goo.gl/nySNs7

image from: http://goo.gl/nySNs7

I have a confession to make: I write YA.

When I set out of my writing odyssey, never once did I consider writing young adult fiction (or YA). But the more I taught teens, and the more I spoke with colleagues teaching English and in the library at school, the more curious I became about it.

And after writing two YA novels and finishing up a third, I have to admit, writing YA feels like coming home.

If you’ve never considered writing YA, here are three reasons why you should give the genre a try.

1. Everyone relates

Every single adult on the face of this earth was a young adult at one point in time. And while I may never have had to compete for my life in a game, or never attended wizard school, I can nevertheless relate. Writing YA forces me to think outside of my comfort zone, to a time when bullies scared me,  and I had to fight my parents for my independence, and I wanted to die after getting a huge, red and white zit on the tip of my nose. Writing YA brings me back to a time when even the smallest failure felt like a catastrophe. Now imagine being at a tender age and a part of a real catastrophe. Facing a major event you don’t understand from a heightened, hormonal point of view can’t help but make for an interesting story.

2. Shy away from nothing

Remember Judy Blume? She was popular in the seventies and eighties because she wrote about sexual awakening, acceptance in the family unit, and questioning your religion. Times have changed drastically since then. War continues to be a threat for some and a reality for so many. Terrorism, cyber-bullying, sexual predators, drugs and date rape are also reality in too many social spheres. YA fiction depicts teens coping in the modern world with issues that might send any sane adult into the corner to weep.  Seeing someone cope with their problems and emerge victorious can’t be anything but empowering for readers of all ages.

3. Writing YA is hard challenging

YA fiction is not a watered down version of its adult counterpart, and writing it is hard. Narratives have to be smart with endearing, quick-witted characters. Worlds have to be immersive. Storylines must be believable. If you take YA on as a challenge, you will go down in the annals of literature with the likes of JK Rowling, Veronica Roth, Jodi Picoult, Johm Green, and James Dashner—no small feat….if you are up to it.

What genre do you write in? Is your manuscript complete? Whether you write for middle-grade (8 – 12), young adults (12 – 18), new adults (18+) or just plain adults, EMSA Publishing wants to hear from you.

2 Reasons Why Self-Editing is Hard and 5 Ways You Can Make it Easier

editing

Graphic from: http://schools.nashua.edu/middle/lime/SiteCollectionImages/editing.gif

Having an edited, ready-for-publication manuscript is paramount when searching for a publisher or an agent. Some vanity publishers—like EMSA Publishing—will provide editing in exchange for a percentage of the royalties. Others will provide you with a list of approved editors and ask you to pay from your own pocket for their services. Similarly, when self-publishing, the onus is on you to self-edit and/or hire an editor to get your manuscript up to standards.

In today’s economy, hiring an editor isn’t financially feasible for most of us. Authors are forced to become jacks-of-all-trades as a result, writing, publishing, advertising and editing on their own. Out of that array, editing is perhaps the most difficult to master, especially when it’s on your own manuscript.

Two reasons why self-editing is hard

Reason One – lack of education

Whether your highest level of education is a high school diploma or graduate degree, chances are you were never formally taught grammar in school. This is especially true if only a decade or so has passed since your graduation. I remember, in middle school,  having to parse sentences to pick out the subject, object, predicate, etc. I was never very good at it because I was never formally taught any of the rules. My knowledge of grammar is more intuitive than practical—if it sounds good, it’s probably grammatically correct. When in doubt, I can always look it up online, a luxury I didn’t have in middle school.

Reason Two – it’s not how our brains work

As a writer, you’re too close to your work. Nick Stockton’s article, What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos, says writing is a critical thinking task. When you challenge you brain with higher-level thinking, it tends to generalize. You remember where you wanted to take the story and  your brain fills in the blanks, glossing over the errors. It’s hard to edit your own work, not because you can’t or don’t know how to fix the issues, but rather, because you know what should be on the page so well that your brain doesn’t realize it’s not there.

Even with the cards seemingly stacked against you, there are still techniques you can use to help with this aspect of the publication process.

Five Ways You Can Make Self-Editing Easier

  1. Give yourself some wait time.

Put your work away for a day, a week, or a month. If you give your brain time to forget what you’ve written and come at it with fresh eyes, it might help to find issues you missed before.

  1. Read your work aloud.

Sometimes hearing your work will help you to find grammatical problems. When you read, don’t just vocalize your words. Read slowly and really try to listen to what you are saying.

  1. Pay attention to spell- and grammar-check, but be skeptical.

Sometimes, spell- and grammar-check marks correctly spelled words and stylistic sentences as incorrect. While that doesn’t mean it is an actual error, it is worth checking it out. Check online against the rules when in doubt.

  1. Use online applications to help with the process.

Websites like PaperRater that have built-in grammar and style checks can be useful, but take all suggestions with a grain of salt. I particularly like the HemingwayApp site which marks difficult words and sentences, and highlights phrases in passive voice. HemingwayApp will also categorize your reading level for difficulty, which can be helpful to for authors writing for children and teens.

  1. Read your work from the bottom up.

Fool your brain by reading your work backwards, sentence by sentence. This can help you find sentences that don’t make sense, or those with errors in grammar, even though it’s a really awkward way to review your work.

Do you have any other suggestions or sites that will help with the editing process? If so, please share them in the comments below.

Beginner’s Guide to Building an Online Platform

Image from http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsesadl/files/2014/01/social-media-cube670x335.jpg

Image from http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsesadl/files/2014/01/social-media-cube670x335.jpg

Most of my experience in the world of publishing has been helping friends and colleagues to get their work published, so I never had the need to create a social media presence for what I do. But when I decided to go pro, I realized that my business was going nowhere without an online platform.

Starting an online platform from scratch is a lot of work with little return, at least in the beginning. Nevertheless, in today’s digital market, it’s exactly what I had to do. It’s also exactly what many first time authors need to do, and so I thought I’d share the process with you.

Without further ado, here is my beginner’s guide to building an online platform:

Claim your domain name.

A domain name is how potential fans will find you on the web. You can choose from virtually any name or phrase, so long as it hasn’t already been registered. Many authors choose their book title as a domain name, but I suggest using the name under which you publish. That way you can create a separate page for each book and keep site maintenance to a minimum.

Build a web page.

Take a breath…this isn’t as daunting as it sounds. There are quite a few really good point and click interfaces out there. I like WordPress, but you can also use Wix or Weebly and forward your domain name to your site. Pages you might want to include on your site include synopses of your books including buy links, and a brief biography which lists ways to contact you. While a blog is not mandatory, it’s a good way to pique reader interest, particularly if you blog about writing and the writing process, and/or the subject and genre in which you write.

Claim your social media accounts.

Create a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, GoodReads, Pinterest, Storify, and GooglePlus account in your name. If your name is taken, try adding the word “author” or “books” to it. Social media is a great way to publicize your work and draw reader attention.

Link your social media for cross-posts.

You can join your social media accounts to post to each other, which is a huge time-saver. By cross-posting, your blog can post to select social media for you, Twitter can post to Facebook and vice-versa. Same with GoodReads. Some websites (like WordPress) will even let you create a widget that shows your last few Twitter and Facebook posts on your website. GoodReads has code that will display your To Be Read list, or the title of the book you are currently reading in a sidebar, all of which can help make connections between you and your readers. Use a scheduling site like HootSuite to enable you to post during peak hours, if you can’t physically post at those times yourself.

Create social media buzz.

Post to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest regularly. I usually make an advertising post about once a week. The rest of the time I’m reposting materials about publishing and writing that I find on the web and that my followers might find interesting. I also post a notification to social media any time I add something to my blog or earn accolades on the web for my work. I reserve sites like Storify, GooglePlus and LinkedIn exclusively to promote posts about my own work.

Follow and friend like-minded people.

Search up hashtags for your genre and content on Twitter and follow a few of the people that post them. Join Facebook groups for writers and lovers of similar genres and content. Interact regularly by liking, sharing, and retweeting. Engage and interact with your followers and friends and they’ll follow suit. Before you know it you’ll be networking like a pro, selling books with little effort, which, after all, is the primary reason you embarked on the journey to create an author platform in the first place.

Do you have any other ideas for beginning writers wanting to set up an online presence? If so, share your tips in the comments below.