Aspiring Authors

Recently, someone asked me what advice I would give to someone looking to turn their passion for writing into a career.  It’s a question that I myself asked after I wrote my first manuscript (which, by the way, will never ever see the light of day).  And you know, looking back, I’m glad I asked it as often as I did, because I would never have gotten as far as I have without hands reaching out to help guide me.  I’d imagine that goes for any career you might pursue.

As far as writing goes, however, here are my top tips for aspiring authors.

1.  Write.

It’s so cliche, right?  But it’s true.  You can’t be a writer if you don’t write.  It’s wonderful to have dreams.  Careers are built on dreams, especially dreams in the arts.  But in order to publish that book, you must first write that book.  Then you’re probably going to rewrite the book.  Then you’re going to send that book off to an editor who will have you revise that book about a hundred times over.  Writing is essential.  And when you’re not writing, you probably should be writing.

2. Make Connections.

Authors are incredibly supportive of other authors and of aspiring authors.  We know what you’re going through.  We know what you’re hoping for.  We know what it’s like to be you, and guess what?  We want you to succeed just as much as you do.  That’s something I love most about the writer community.  These people are the most supportive and encouraging group I’ve ever met, and I’m proud to be one of them.  I just hope that I make them proud.  I hope I help and encourage and support as much as they’ve helped and encouraged and supported me over the years.

3. Do Your Research.

Before I published Cemetery Tours, I was in the library every other week learning everything I could about independent publishing and how to succeed as a writer.  As great as it was to have mentors to offer me advice, I ultimately had to make all the big decisions for myself, because what works for one writer will not always work for another.  It was also easier for me to learn that way.  As an author, you’re going to have dozens of options and dozens of choices to make, and at the end of the day, no one else can make them for you.  Only you know what’s going to work best for you and for your book.

4.  Don’t Get Discouraged.

This is a long and difficult road that you’ve chosen.  You aren’t going to see results overnight (unless you’re JK Rowling).  It takes a lot of time and patience.  It also takes endurance.  More likely than not, you’re going to have at least one person tell you that you’re wasting your time.  They’re going to say, “You want to be a writer, that’s great, but you’re never going to make money that way.  What do you actually want to do for a job?”  But I promise you, for every person who doesn’t believe in you, there are about a hundred out there who do, and they’re the ones you need to keep by your side.  They’re the ones you need to listen to.  Believe in yourself and believe in your writing.  Don’t let anyone ever convince you that your work isn’t worth it, because it is.  You are worth it.  This is the one life you get.  You might as well spend it doing something you love.  I’ve always thought that I’d rather fail at something I love, than succeed at something I don’t care about at all.  At least I’d know that I’d tried.

5. Know Your Resources.

There are so many sites out there for aspiring authors and professionals in general.  A few I that recommend are:

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com

Bowker: https://www.myidentifiers.com

Author Rise: https://www.authorrise.com

The Ladders: https://www.theladders.com/careers/search

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com

IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org

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Just Life

Hi, everyone!  First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who kept my family and my dad in your thoughts and prayers yesterday.  He came through his surgery with flying colors and is currently in recovery.

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Now that that’s over with, it’s time to prepare for this weekend!  Friday and Saturday are the 2nd Annual Authorfest in Denison.  Last year was so, so, so much fun and I can’t wait for Friday to finally roll around!

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Not to mention, I’ve got a lot of brand new books to sell!

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My goal now is to get through this weekend.  It’s going to be great and I’m really looking forward to it, but it’s also going to be a lot of work.  It’s funny, a few months ago, life was a bit slow, just kind of going along at its own pace, and now I’m scrambling to keep up!  That’s a good thing.  I’m really, really excited about everything that’s happening and new books and my sister coming home and new adventures and meeting new people.

I’m also thrilled that Boy Band has been on the top 10,000 Kindle Bestsellers list for a whole week!  I don’t normally come out and ask this, but if can sell 28 more copies in the  next week or so, I will have hit a personal milestone.  If you know anyone who likes boy bands, any preteens or teenage girls who like fun, innocent romance, or anyone who just loves to support indies for $2.99, please tell them about my book.  This is the beginning of a huge dream come true, and I can’t thank you all enough.

http://www.amazon.com/Boy-Band-Jacqueline-Smith-ebook/dp/B00WFSE0Z6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1429591957&sr=8-2&keywords=boy+band

However, I do warn you that I’ve had a few readers let me know that the Nook book has some wonky formatting issues.  I have sent an email to the NookPress people to find out what the problem is, so until then, I apologize for any reading discomfort or inconsistencies.

On a more positive note, I went back to working on Cemetery Tours 3 last night and I’m just as in love with my characters as I was throughout the first two books.  I can’t wait to finish this one and finally get it out there!  It’s going to be awesome.

Much love, y’all.

The Past Few Days

Hi, friends!  Happy Monday.

Wow, what a weekend it has been.  To be honest, I’m kind of relieved it’s the week.  Of course, this week is going to be hectic as well.  But backtracking…

On Saturday morning, I attended the Melissa Public Library writer’s group again, only this time, I went as a guest to support my friend, Paula.  I’m so thrilled for all that she’s accomplished in the few short months since she published her children’s book, Jack Learns to Grill.  The next book in the Jack Learns series, Jack Learns About Bullies, should be out next month!

https://paulawalkerbaker.wordpress.com

Later that evening, I had the honor of being a guest author at the Colony Library’s annual meeting.  There, I won a $15 gift card to Bath and Body Works (which has already been spent).  I also learned that Jeopardy is more a test of speed and reflex than actual knowledge.

But hey, I totally got to answer The Hunger Games question.

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This weekend, my sunflowers also started to grow!  I realize I haven’t been very good at keeping y’all updated on my gardening adventures.  The sunflower, tomato, and bell pepper seedlings are all strong and healthy, but I’m a tad bit concerned about my butterfly weed.  We’ve had a lot of strong storms and they seem to be struggling a little.  If they don’t make it, however, I’ll try again in the fall in time for the monarch migration.

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In other news, my dad is well on his way to getting that hole in his retina repaired.  We spent the morning with the surgeon who will be operating tomorrow.

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The good news is that other than that hole, his eyes are in pretty good shape (granted, “pretty good” for his eyes is probably still “godawful” for a normal-sighted person, but what are you gonna do).

Since sitting around in a waiting room can get rather boring, I took some work with me…

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The Lurking in the Deep anthology will be available May 7 and I could not be more excited about it!  I’m finally getting the chance to read everyone else’s stories and they are AMAZING!  I am so proud to be a part of this collection!  You can find LITD on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25396970-lurking-in-the-deep

Finally, before I go, I just have to share this.  Boy Band has been in the top 5,000 Kindle Bestsellers for the past three days and is currently in the top 2,700!  I am so, so touched and amazed and I simply cannot thank you all enough!  It is Young Adult, written for a pre-teen/teenage audience, so I understand that it’s not a book for everyone, but to everyone who has given it a chance, words cannot express my gratitude.  Thank you, thank you, thank you all and please continue to spread the word!

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Love to all.

TV and Pirates

So, I got to do something really cool this morning.

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I was interviewed on TV!  My friend and fellow author, James Peercy and I appeared on Denison’s Channel KTEN to promote our Authorfest event next weekend!  I was so starstruck and nervous!  I’m used to being behind the camera, not in front of it!  But I think I did okay and didn’t stammer to much.  I tried to speak slowly and smile and articulate and all that good stuff.  Best of all, I got to talk about my books!

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In less exciting news, last night, I discovered that someone had uploaded my books to a pirating website.  Technically, they were on separate websites, but in order to read or download the books, you had to sign up for another website.  All the sites led back to that one website.  I have fired off two Cease and Desist emails to them and have yet to hear back.  But here’s the gist…

I have just found my new Young Adult novel, Boy Band, on one of your websites, which claims to be an open library where readers may download my book for free or read it online.  When I clicked on the registration tab, it relocated me to your site.  A separate website, featured my first book, Cemetery Tours, and again, led me back to you.  Unless you have somehow paid for the rights to my books or I am getting paid for every read or download you recieve, you do not have my permission to use my books on any of your websites, and I politely request that you take them down. If this is beyond your power, I ask that you give me the contact information to the person whom I may contact to address this issue.  
I will be checking back.  
Thank you for your time,
Jacqueline E. Smith
(I included links in the original email, but chose to delete them from this post.)
Here’s the deal.  I’m not stupid.  I know books are going to get pirated.  I know movies and songs and games are going to get pirated.  It shouldn’t happen, but it does.  I’m thankful, however, that most readers understand how much work and love that authors, especially indie authors, pour into their books.  It’s our trade.  It’s our profession.  I’d love to live in a world where money doesn’t matter, where people could just read my books for free and be happy.  But the sad truth is money is necessary if we are to continue on writing.  Moreso, authors deserve to paid for their craft, just like any other artist.  I wish I didn’t need money, but I also wish websites like this didn’t try to take advantage of people who work hard and sacrifice trying to make a living doing what they love.
Have a good weekend, y’all!

Talking in the Library?

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I am so excited! This coming Saturday, I will be at the Melissa Public Library giving a talk to a writers group about the writing and publishing process. I was always told to be quiet in the library, but this time, I get to talk! How cool is that?

It is interesting to me that I would be speaking to this writers group in this little town. You see, my mother was born in Melissa, Texas. She  passed away in 2004 and it is a sign to me that she is up  there in Heaven watching over me and watching this accomplishment. That’s such a comfort to think she knows what is going on with me.

Writing a children’s book a bit different than writing for an adult novel. For one thing, one has to think about the illustrations. What kind? How many? Photos? Drawings? Age of the child reading…

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Musings

It’s one of those days where I have like, a bajillion errands to run, so this blog post is just going to consist of all the thoughts stomping around inside my head.  I’m writing this in the hopes that getting it all out on paper (or you know, on a computer screen) will alleviate a bit of the ruckus in my brain.  So here it goes.

1) It has been brought to my attention that the Kindle copies of Boy Band had some formatting errors.  I did some research on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and found out this is a rather common problem, so I went back and uploaded the manuscript myself.  Hopefully the errors will be gone, or at least less severe.  I remember having similar spacing issues when I published Cemetery Tours.

2) I have a lot of fun events coming up!  On Saturday, I’m going to see my friend Paula speak at a writer’s group.  I know I’ve mentioned her before, but she’s just published her first children’s book, Jack Learns to Grill, and her next book, Jack Learns about Bullies, should be out within the next month or so!

https://paulawalkerbaker.wordpress.com

3) Also on Saturday, I’ve been asked to be a guest at the Colony Library’s Friends of the Library Annual Meeting!  I’m so excited and so honored that they would ask!  I love that library.  It’s a wonderful community and so supportive of local authors.

4) Next week is Authorfest in Denison!  I’m a little nervous about it since my Dad won’t be able to attend and it’s a pretty big event, but I think I’ll be able to handle it.  I’m a strong independent woman who don’t need no man.

(I do need a cat, though.  I don’t think I could survive without a cat).

5) I need books.  Lots of books.

6) Sunday I’m going to Scarborough Faire!  Yay!

7) It’s World Book Day!  Yay!

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8) Speaking of books, Boy Band has been selling like crazy!  It’s been in the top 15,000 Kindle Bestsellers for three days now, and for a while, was in the top 10,000!  Thank you all to everyone who’s read it so far!  I love you more than words can say!

http://www.amazon.com/Boy-Band-Jacqueline-Smith-ebook/dp/B00WFSE0Z6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1429591957&sr=8-2&keywords=boy+band

And did I mention it’s only $2.99?

9) Yesterday was Earth Day!  Happy belated Earth Day, everyone!

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10) Lately, I’ve been so inspired to work on the third Cemetery Tours book.  I think taking a break from it and focusing on Boy Band for a bit was really good for me.  I miss my characters and I’ve got a lot of new songs that are providing inspiration for my haunted world.  I can’t wait to get back at it!

For now, however, I need to go pick up my dad.  Since he has a hole in his retina, he’s not allowed to drive.  The eye doctor was SHOCKED that he’d been driving this whole time!

Hope y’all have a great Thursday!  It’s going to be an awesome weekend!

Little Things Like Eyesight

I’m going a little against my usual schedule and writing a blog post at night, but it’s a post I need to write, more for my benefit than my readers’, really.  It’s just been one of those days that has left me with thoughts that need to be organized and a brain that needs to be de-cluttered.

Today, I went with my dad to the eye doctor.  Long story short, his eyesight is godawful.  He’s had cornea transplants in each eye and couldn’t fully see me until i was six years old.  I could try to list all the problems he has (that I may or may not inherit… great), but I would fail.  Just know that his vision is as bad as it could possibly get without him actually being blind.

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So last week, my dad started having this weird blurry hole directly in his line of vision.  The way he described it made it sound a heck of a lot like a progressive disease called Macular Degeneration, which would eventually lead to total blindness.

Thankfully, after about eight hours at two separate eye care facilities, we found out that is not the case.  He simply as a hole in his retina.  Ironically, this hole in his retina has absolutely NOTHING to do with his craptastic vision.  It’s just one of those things that can’t be prevented and that can totally happen to anyone, even someone with perfect eyesight.

Unfortunately, the treatment for this condition is surgery.  Not a big one, but he will be in recovery for about five days.  All things considered, things could be a lot, a LOT worse, and I’m thankful that they’re not.

On the book front, I’ve run into some formatting issues with the Kindle version of Boy Band and will probably be re-uploading it here in the next few days.  I hate to take if off sale for even a day since it’s been doing so well (THANK YOU ALL!), but I also want it to look professional.

Aside from all that, I have dozens of errands I need to run within the next few days, all the while hoping and praying that Boy Band is as well received as Cemetery Tours has been.  It’s so different.  It’s intended for a different audience.  But I do love it.  And I hope readers love it too.

Love to you all.

Boy Band

Well, it’s here!  April 21 and Boy Band is officially available on Kindle, Nook, and on Amazon.com!  It will be available on BarnesAndNoble.com and probably iBooks shortly.  I say “probably” with the iBooks because I swear, I have never gone through more aggravation trying to get something done than uploading Cemetery Tours to iBooks.  It is a pain in the butt.

But I didn’t come here to gripe about my lack of iBooks skillz.  I’m here to celebrate!

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It’s pretty cool.  This is a book I never planned to write.  It wasn’t even in my head when I began writing it.  It all began with my friend, Savannah (http://savannahrohleder.blogspot.com) telling me that she was participating in National Novel Writing Month and that I should sign up also.  At first I thought, “No way. I hate being timed. Besides, I should write because I want to write, not because I feel pressured.”  But the more I thought about it, the more I began to realize I was looking at it all wrong.  NaNoWriMo wasn’t just a stupid trend.  It was an actual opportunity that encouraged people all over the world to write.  How could I possibly think that was a bad thing in any way?  Besides, it might be nice to take a break and write something new, something that I probably wouldn’t have written otherwise.

May I just tell you I am so glad she talked me into signing up?

I’ve had more fun with this book than I could possibly have imagined when I first signed up for NaNoWriMo.  I went in thinking, “I probably won’t publish this… I might not even finish it…” which might sound bad, but really, it freed me up to write the story the way I wanted to write it, as though I was the only one who was going to read it.  And I ended up loving it.  There was no pressure, no expectations.  Just freedom, and as you know, freedom is the one thing I covet most (Except for maybe a date with Richard Armitage).

Now, here it is, April 21, and the NaNoWriMo project that never should have been is a book.  The third book on my resume.  And I couldn’t be prouder of it.

Thank you to all who encouraged me, Savannah, Hannah, Kit Kat, and especially my sister, KJ!  I couldn’t have done it without you!

The Kind of September is here to stay, y’all!

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Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Boy-Band-Jacqueline-E-Smith/dp/0989673448/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1429591957&sr=8-3&keywords=boy+band

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Boy-Band-Jacqueline-Smith-ebook/dp/B00WFSE0Z6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1429645222&sr=8-2&keywords=boy+band

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/boy-band-jacqueline-e-smith/1121640705?ean=2940151556132&itm=1&usri=jacqueline+e.+smith

Red and Blue and Green

Despite my love for reading and writing, I am truly an outdoors girl at heart.  Given the choice between staying in or going out and hiking or kayaking or simply just being in nature, I will choose outside every time.  Yesterday, I took a day off from the writer thing and spent time with two of my best friends enjoying the springtime sun and beautiful nature of the great state of Texas.

Here are some of the pictures.

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In book related news, remember there are only a few days left to enter my GoodReads Giveaway! https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/129034-boy-band

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Don’t pass this up!  Spread the word!

Also, The North Texas Book Festival added pictures of all the authors at their booths.  Everyone is smiling and posing all professionally with their books.

And then there’s me.

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Maybe next year I’ll learn to be socially acceptable.

Much love, y’all!