Friday, March 30, 2012

Your Way Is The Write Way



We are all so busy trying to figure out what the magic formula is to writing success. We scour the Internet looking for the writing tips that are going to propel us into the writing success stratosphere.

As soon as we hear about a new writer that scored that big deal, new agent, bestsellers list, indie break through, indie that signed a big publishing deal, we try to figure out everything that person did to get that success.

I teach a lot of writers workshops. While I'm getting ready for my big ole presentation that they are all there to hear, they chat among themselves. Of course I'm listening as I'm setting up. There seemed to be a pattern of what they are discussing. . .

"A real writer plots out the novel from beginning to end."
"A real writer doesn't plot. She lets her characters talk to her."
"A real writer creates a character worksheet for all of her characters."
"A real writer never creates a character worksheet. She knows her characters."
"A real writer pampers her muse."
"A real writer collages her novel for inspiration."
"A real writer spends a lot of hours marketing and promoting."
"A real writer writes for hours and hours every day."
"A real writer 5k words a day and doesn't move until they are done."
"A real writer never lets anything get in her way."

Wow! SUPER WOW! It really hit me that we are spending so much of our time trying to figure out what is the right way to write.

We are all different. We have all made success in our own way. Some of us have a writing process, some of us plot, some of us pants, some of us market more than others, some of us blog, some of us have a word limit a day, etc. . .BUT is any of this the right way?

NO!

What ever feels good to you is the right way! We are so busy trying to figure out what we should be doing instead staying focused on what made us love what we do. We WRITE.

If it takes you a month to write a novel~AMAZING!
If it takes you a year to write a novel~AMAZING!
If you can write 500 words a day~AMAZING!
If you jot down a thought, that could be the idea of your next novel.
If you write one sentence, that could be the best sentence in your entire novel.

There is no wrong or right way to write. You are the author. You are the one who is going to make your dreams come true. Don't get discouraged when you hear that a writer on Facebook wrote 3k words that day. We all have lives that ebb and flow. You have some really bad writing days and some really good writing days. But they are YOUR writing days.

Your way is the write way!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How bad do you want success?

HOW BAD DO YOU WANT SELF PUBLISHING SUCCESS

The most question I get asked on a daily basis, “When do you find the time?”
I walk into my local writer’s group and the first thing they ask, “You amaze me with all you do. Where do you find the time?”
My answer: HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?
I admit I’m not a normal writer. I have a day job, I have three teenage boys who play every single sport imaginable, I have a husband, I have two dogs….I’ve heard it all. But it all boils down to HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?
I write at my son’s football game…tell me HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?
I write at my son’s baseball game….HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?
I write on vacation….HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?
I write during my son’s lacrosse practice in my van….HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?
Every afternoon, for three years, I would pick my kids up from school. I was in car line for over two hours. Those two hours were spent writing my novels. A young girl at my son’s school came up to me last week at his 7th grade basketball game and said, “Mrs. Kappes, I remember walking to recess in fifth grade and asking Jack what you were doing in your van. He said you were writing. I think that’s so cool.”
Cool? Obsessive? HOW BAD DID I WANT IT? BAD!
Every Sunday I schedule my tweets for the week, fifteen minutes apart using Socialoomph.com. It’s free and it takes a little time, but it looks like I’m on twitter. When I get home at night, it takes me a couple minutes to go in and type TY (thank you) to people who have mentioned me that day. Guess what? Those people get a scheduled tweet during #WW or #FF.
I get up in the morning before everyone in my house (5 am), grab a cup of coffee, hit all the blogs I follow, and put a status up on facebook. Usually a quote to start everyone’s day off. When I get home at night, while making dinner, I will post a new status for the evening.
After dinner and a little love to the family ( I cook dinner every night!), I get in at least two hours of writing (either in the car or during a sports game).
Again. . .I ask you. . .HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?
The video I shared is not about basketball. Listen to the words. Watch the images of the NBA basketball players during this lock-out. YES! This video was made recently. But look at them. They get up and train as if they are playing ball. HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?
Every morning my son gets up and watches this video. His basketball trainer, who also train some really well known Cleveland Cavalier players and one former one in particular who is in the video, showed my son this video and asked my son, “Jack, how bad do you want it?”
I don’t ever want you to ask me how I do it. I don’t ever want you to forget this video. My question to you is HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?

Monday, March 26, 2012

How Well Do You Know Your Characters?

Last week I had offered my character worksheet to anyone who wants one. But I have to say that the character worksheet is the first step of how I get to know my character.

My characters begin to talk to me way before I even type chapter one or the first word.
The more you know your characters, the more your story will flow. I finished three complete novels before I figured this out.

1) I fill out the character worksheet to be able to get eye color, height, more of the features. Every single person in the book, no matter if they are secondary or driving by, they get a character worksheet.

2)As I'm creating these worksheets, I use an address book (that I learned from Heather Webber) and list them by their name and print out a picture I find on google that resembles the character. By this time they have become pretty concrete in my head. Then I take it a step further. I keep that address book with me at all times in case the character tells me something or I think of something new. It fits nicely in my purse or car or bag.


3) The last step is a more detailed bullet point fact sheet. I actually get out my colored pencils and draw an outline of a person. I make it pretty big and hang it on my office wall so I can see it when I'm writing as well as make notes on it as I'm writing. I think of situations I want that character to be in. Often times I bullet point the ending and how I want that character to be involved. This allows me to to get the thought out and move on. I don't fret over having to remember it.


By the time I get these steps down, I know my characters inside and out. I understand them and can easily get the story out.

Why not try one or all of my tricks and let me know how it works?! Or do you have a different way that you get to know your characters? Tell me!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hands In the Air~You Are On The Writing Roller Coaster!

Take a good looooong look at this roller coaster!
There are some ups and downs not to mention a few turns. WOW! Doesn't that sound a lot like writing? The emotions of up and down, not to mention those unexpected turns. Everyone of us go through it.

Some of us hang on and smile and some of us hang on and cry. Either way, there isn't an option to get off. We are WRITERS! We love WRITING! But how we handle the ride can make all the difference in the world.

This was probably the hardest part of writing for me. I NEVER once wanted to quit or give up. But I do get stressed out and that is no fun to me or anyone around me.

Here are a few of my tips and tricks:

1) Take a break. Not a long break, but a fifteen minute break if you get stressed when writing. Lay down and try to concentrate on your breathing. This will help get oxygen to your brain and your stress should begin to lessen and help you refocus.

If your writing career is what is making you ride the roller coaster, take a couple days  and walk away from the novel. Read, walk, be with yourself, do something with your kids, finger paint, meditate, anything creative will encourage your mind to open up. Check out these great tips to help unleash your inner creative kid.

2) Long hand. Don't shoot me! I mean with a pen and paper, old school. Many times throughout the day, I have a hard time starting a new chapter. I grab my pen and journal ( I keep a journal for each book) and I start writing. This really does open up my creativity and get my characters talking to me again.
(I never said I was a neat writer.)

3) Egg timer. And I don't mean make something to eat. Use this handy on line timer at E.gg Timer.

Sometimes we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves. Or we set a goal that is entirely too high, but at the time it sounds doable. Get a timer and set it for five minutes.

For five minutes you are committed to doing nothing but writing. The writing can be good or bad, but just write on your story for five minutes. Don't edit. Just write. Do what you love.

Once you are comfortable with the five minutes increase to eight or ten. You are teaching your brain to focus on a chunk of time devoted to writing. No Facebook. No Twitter. No nothing but writing. You will be surprised how many words you can write in under ten minutes.

4) Do your own thing! I'm just giving you suggestions that have helped me. But maybe you do something else. Sometimes I jump up and take my dogs on a twenty minute walk. Especially when it's sunny out and I want to be in it!
Fifteen to twenty minutes is what I have found that I need to regenerate me and my creative juices to help me hold on to the roller coaster and smile.

Me, I never get off the roller coaster. Some days the roller coaster has more twists and turns, but I know that I'm never giving up. I'm going to hold on and smile the entire ride.

What do you do to help this roller coaster life we've chosen?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

No! Don't Quit! Finish That Novel!

Recently, I've discovered Craig's List. Yes! I absolutely LOVE it. I sold my corner desk within fifteen minutes of posting it, and then found my new desk in less than that!

The week following, I sold a few more things. I told my family that they better watch out, I just might put them on there. (Of course I'd never do that! I have to have them around so I can cart them to sporting events and get more writing finished!)

Anyways, I thought it would be fun to check out any potential writing jobs....and what I found BROKE MY HEART!



There was an ad from a writer who was seeking another writer for help with her manuscript.

Immediately, I typed out an email that begged her to join my local writer's group, take more classes, give her all my contacts, but I continued to hit the delete button. None of those things were going to help unless she was ready for it.

When I started out, I did everything I could to better my craft. And in today's age, it's so much easier to do than it was even five years ago with the internet readily at your finger tips.

No matter what your PR Personality (take the PR Personality quiz here), whether you are an introvert or extrovert, you can finish that novel!

Here are some tips to get you to the finish line:

1) DISCIPLINE
Writing is no different than waking up and going to a day job (which most of us do anyways) or even doing an exercise regimen on a daily basis. Many times I look at my dog's round black eyes when I know that if I don't take him for a walk, he will poop in the house when I'm sleeping.

2) VISUALIZE
There is nothing more powerful than your imagination. You have stories up in that noggin' of yours that is wanting to come out. You need to visualize yourself writing THE END, and then plastering it all over Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, AND your blog!

3) REREAD
I divide my novels up in three sections so I won't have issues ending my novel. I have a general idea on the length of my novel and I divide that by three. When I hit the word count for the first third, I go back and reread what I have written so far. It never fails that ideas that I had forgotten about, or didn't write down, tend to come flooding back. It also lets me begin to beef up the novel. It's like I edit in thirds.

4) VOICE IN YOUR HEAD
Yes! I mean your characters! Sometimes your character is going to fight you tooth and nail because she doesn't want to be a shoe salesman at the Saks Fifth Avenue. She wants to be the Foreman running the job in expanding the Saks Fifth Avenue. This will stick you every time! You have to listen to those characters and let them take you on their journey.

5) STEP AWAY
Don't roll your eyes! I'm not telling you to step away for a length of time, but maybe you need a fresh perspective. Take a couple of days and walk away from your novel. Read some of your TBR pile and read, read, read, read.

Try it! I guarantee that if you only do a couple of these suggested five items, it will help get you to THE END!


Do you have any tips or tricks if you get stuck? I love hearing from you!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

What's Up With The Cover?

You know the old saying, "don't judge a book by it's cover," well, I do.



For me, when I write a book, I have a very vivid picture of how I want my readers to see my novel. It's in the art of the written words that create the images. Of course, you begin to develop what you'd like your cover to look like.


I don’t know about you, but when I am browsing bookstore aisles or Amazon.com, and a cover catches my eye, I grab it. I read the book blurb on the back and then I check out the author bio. I admit the cover does sale me a book.

Humans are visual creatures.

Recently on NPR (National Public Radio), they were talking about the appearance of the author and how some author’s books sale because THEY are marketable, not the writing, but their author photo. I am not sure if I believe this to be true. -DON’T LET THIS BE TRUE- I WILL NEED A GOOD AIRBRUSH ARTIST!

I have to admit that when I was with my small publisher, I was worried sick about the cover art. Luckily, the publisher sent me a front cover sheet where I filled out the elements of my story and let me express my opinion on what the cover should look like. I found that to be reassuring that they cared how the author portrayed her work.

When I began to self publish, I wanted my cover to be as close as a traditionally published book. It's very important as a self-published author to really do your research when looking for a cover artists.

1) Check out other self published novels, in your genre, that you really like. Send the author an email asking who did their cover design. Be sure to contact several cover artist and check out their prices and time frame. Be sure to let them know if you want a print book too. Those are much different to design than just a PDF for an ebook.
Book covers can cost between $80-$600. Anything beyond that, I would highly recommend you think about.

When I self published a couple of my short stories, I decided to try my hand at designing and creating my own covers.

I found this heart on bigphoto.com for less than $2 and used photo shop to overlay the words. If I can make a book cover, you can too!


2) Check out traditionally published novels, in your genre, and make a list of what you do and don't like on the covers that you see. For me, I wanted a cover that went along with traditional covers. It was very important for me to have a blurb from another author on the front cover. I didn't ask any old author, I asked a very popular traditional author who has Lifetime movies, and she accepted!

Now that I'm also going to publish traditionally, and still continue to self publishing, I'm excited to see what the publisher's cover artist will come up with.

Is it true that a good book cover makes a good book even better?
Check out my Laura Morrigan Designs who does my covers!

Friday, March 16, 2012

NO! Don't Go It Alone!


One of the biggest questions I get about the craft is about editing. I have spent anywhere from $70 - $1400 on a manuscript to be edited and I know others have spent much more. There is no way your manuscript should see any reader's/agent's/editor's hand with out being fully edited by a professional. By professional, I do not mean your critique partner, critique group, beta reader, or your MOTHER!
I found out the hard way about editing and editing services. Here are some tips to help find the right editors.



1) KNOW YOUR GENRE! and know the genre of the editor.  I had an editor that was a man. . .don't roll your eyes! I really liked him! BUT he didn't read chick-lit...(do I hear laughter from all the men out there?) Right!?!
He would email me asking me about the women in the book and "do they really think this way?" NOT what I was looking for in my editor. He did a great job, but the process took much longer because I felt like I was Dr. Laura helping with his love life.

2) KNOW YOUR TIME FRAME. When you email editors, you have to have your time frame in mind. When do you want your book in the hands of the reader/agent/editor? If  the editor is booking six months out, and you want the book in two months, this editor is not for you.

3) KNOW WHAT SERVICES YOU NEED. Editors offer so many different services from line edits, copy edits, plot holes. . . .Me~always have my entire manuscript edited on all levels. It's the most expensive, but I want my books to be the best it can be when I send it to my readers and to my agent. Yes~I do have my manuscripts professionally edited before my agent sees it.

4) KNOW YOUR MANUSCRIPT IS IN GOOD HANDS. The editor should want to see at least three chapters of your manuscript before you sign with them and EDIT it. You need to see how they edit and they need to see how you write.
Just like the blog I posted this week THICK SKIN WITH EVERY WORD where I discussed how writing is subjective, well. . .not every editor is going to like your work and not every relationship is going to gel.


The media bistro has a wonderful article about the indie author and editors.
Here is a list of BEST EDITORS on Twitter.
If you are seeking traditional publishing, the Review, Review has a great article on editors.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Panster's Guide to Writing

Hi, my name is Tonya Kappes. I'm a panster.


If there was a twelve step program for the pansters of the writing community, I would be the leader.
I've heard it all:
*post its? Those would be everywhere. No way.
*Note cards? No way.
*I let my MUSE do the walking and talking.
*Plotting stifles me.
*My characters carry me through.
*My characters drive my story.
. . .sound familiar?

Well. . .these are examples from my own procrastination station.

And here are a few things that have helped propel that manuscript forward. It's not really plotting, but it gives you a bare bones to where you will end up.

Start with your idea! Your story. You know the beginning and end. Write down the idea like you would see on a blurb or preview of a movie. As you write these down, you will get a few visuals in your head. Do they give you inspiration?
Don't lose that feeling. I grab a new notebook or journal and cut out pictures of the images in my head. The story is starting to mold, take shape, and I don't want to forget those images.
If you aren't into cutting, pasting, taping, etc...Pinterest is a GREAT new website to use when starting your idea/story. It's easy to use and takes minutes to help get your ideas in one place.

Now that you have some ideas of your setting/story/idea, are your characters beginning to talk to you? Is their story starting to take shape? Are they giving you ideas on where they want to in the plot?

OF COURSE THEY ARE!!!

I use a character worksheet to keep all my characters straight. There is nothing more aggravating than having to go back try to remember what color your protag's eyes are. If you would like a character worksheet emailed to you, email me at tonyak11(at)yahoo(dot)com and put character worksheet in the subject line. I will zip you one!

Recently, one of my critique partners came up with a fabulous idea that she has began to use in her worshops. Heather Webber is teaching character development by using an address book to keep track of your characters. HOW genius is she? VERY! Don't steal the idea unless you give her credit!
You can list your characters by name and use the page to add any plot ideas about that character, personality traits, description, anything!

With these two simple ideas, you're well on your way to getting that great story written and ready for the world to see. It's not taking away your pansting ways, or stifling your creativity, it's giving you the boost to help our ideas come to life and flourish into that great story you have within you.

What do you do to help get your pansting into a finished novel?

Remember: if you want a character development worksheet or an invite to Pinterest, email me!

Check out these great websites on how to help the panster:
David Krancher
Nathan Bransford

Monday, March 12, 2012

Thick Skin With Every Word



Writing is so subjective.

We've all been through it! If you are anything like me, you've sent hundreds and hundreds of queries to agent and editors only to get the standard, "it didn't click with me," OR "it's not right for me, but someone else will like it."

Well. . .when you do decide what publishing route you want to take your career, indie or traditional, and when your novel is published, you still have to have thick skin!

1) First we decide to write the novel. Not only do we have to deal with telling people that we write, but we have to finish the novel and tell our families. Mostly our families are supportive but you know the eye rolls....the ones we get from friends or when someone asks what we do and we tell them, only for them to reply "are you published." When you say no, they scowl. THICK SKIN.

2) We enter contests, join critique groups/partner, send queries to agents/editors, AND we get our first (and definitely not only) eyes on our words other than your spouse/mother/friend/sibling. Then their words sting us with a little bit of criticism that tells us that we need to continue to work on our craft. THICK SKIN.

3) We decide to take the agent offer or self publish or editor offer and our novel has gone through the editing process. THICK SKIN.

AND IT'S NOT OVER....

4) REVIEWS....just when you thought you were through rubbing lotion on your body to begin to loosen the thick skin you've developed over the past years, you get a one star review.

What about those reviews? 
I think of reviews in terms of food. . .because I love to eat. . .

Coke vs Pepsi
Chocolate vs Dark Chocolate
McDonald vs Burger King
Fried Chicken vs Baked chicken

Here are my choices: Diet Coke, Dark Chocolate, McDonald, and Baked Chicken. 
I'm sure your choices are different than mine. (shhh. . .I was one of the few that couldn't finish a Twilight novel. . .)

What does all this mean? REVIEWS ARE SUBJECTIVE JUST LIKE WRITING! 


I have my share of one star reviews and I soooooo bad wanted to respond to those one star reviews. I wanted to tell them that I love constructive criticism, but to give me a one star review because they don't like the genre and wanted to start with mine. . .well, that's not a true review.

It looks bad on the author to respond to those reviews. I know you want to go running and screaming to everyone you know that you got a bad review and begin to blast it all over the Internet and Facebook that you got a nasty review. . .DON'T!!! 

DON'T cling to every word, don't even read them. If you do, take everything they have written with a grain of salt and remember WRITING IS SUBJECTIVE, and you have gotten this far to get those reviews. If you must read them, read them and move on. Put all that negative energy into your current work-in-progress. OR if you are like me. . .kill someone;)

Wear them with pride! Most writers don't get as far as you. What's the odds of finishing a novel, much less getting it into reader's hands? 

Melville House has a great post on ways to look at negative reviews.

This is an example of what you NEVER want to get involved in. . .take time to read this! It took me off guard. This author got in a very public spat over a review and it didn't turn out pretty.....

If you never take anything away from my blog, do take this advice and run with it! DO NOT RESPOND TO NEGATIVE REVIEWS. 

Do you think you can promise me that???




Friday, March 9, 2012

Voice. . .Voice. . .Voice. . .


How many times have you heard, "you need to find your voice," OR "I love your voice."
I've finally figured out what that means after writing close to ONE MILLION words over the past few years. And I don't just mean writing voice. We are going to explore your career voice.

No one writes alike. We all choose what we write and how we deliver it or speak to our colleagues. Your voice is you! It's the raw you that you put on the page or talking about your craft. Sure we can put on a happy face at a conference or try to make a great impression, but the words you put out there is your true voice coming out.

Sometimes it's hard to describe your voice or to even know how to find your voice. Here are some ways to help you figure out your true voice:

1) Be yourself! When you are writing your first line or your last line, you are writing what you love and in the genre you chose to write in. When you are yourself, you are bringing your reader along with you and they fall in love with your words. It's the voice you are writing in that hooks them.

2) Be authentic in your writing to help find your voice.
When writing your characters and their thoughts/words, ask yourself if your characters are relatable.
Do they sound like a real person that you might have a conversation with? This is your authentic voice. You have to make sure that your characters are relatable throughout the entire story.

3) Relax. Read what you have written. I mean everything from blogs to your stories. There is the same tone in both. The topics are completely different, but the tone is still the same.
I write quirky humor in all my stories, and I put a touch of humor in all my blog posts. It might not be with words, but it might be the pictures or the title of the blogs that give me the opportunity to put in my touch of voice.

*When you are blogging or commenting on a blog or even doing Facebook, you will notice that you use the same tone or looking for the same things to put both places. These reoccurring tones are not by chance. It's your voice shining through. Embrace it!
*Write what you know. How many times have we heard this? You don't have to give the exact details, but you are being your relaxed self which leads to your true voice.
*BE A WRITER. Entertain your audience. This is the profession that we have chosen, so do your job.
*Continue to write, write, write. This will make your voice stronger and stronger.

What do you do to make your voice stand out from the crowd?

Check out Dean Wesley Smith's blog from 2008 about voice!
Men with pens has another look at finding the voice. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

YES, I'm a HYBRID!



Many, many times I have stated that I believe the publishing industry is so different from when I first started out.

Years ago, the only way to get your novel published was to get an agent, and then hope the agent sold your novel to a publishing house. My, my have times changed.
Over the past couple years the ebook revolution came barreling through like a tornado and has left the publishing industry in a mass destruction.

Many of us really saw this as an opportunity. I was ready to take the leap.
The leap was really like a big heave. I had already been promoting myself, creating my voice through blogging, going to writer's conferences, building a platform all without having my first novel, Carpe Bead 'em, out there.

Why did I decide to go the self-publishing route? I had written a couple of women's fiction novels and women's fiction was really hard to break into going the traditional route. Plus it had some chick-lit in it, which everyone told me that chick-lit was DEAD! DEAD!
So my journey began. And it has been a super successful journey. I've been on over 32 bestsellers lists, Amazon Movers and Shakers list three times, and sold over 35k ebooks in five months. Nothing to turn your nose up at.

But as I stated earlier this week in my blog AT WHAT POINT DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'VE SUCCEEDED, my dream still continues.
I've succeeded in the indie journey. I've gotten some really GREAT readers that I probably would've never found. The indie journey has given me some great opportunities. I've met so many indie authors and have shared a great deal of information between us.

Not only have I met some great indie authors, I've met some REALLY amazing traditional authors and industry professionals.

I've continued to keep a toe in all parts of the publishing industry by blogging, conferences, I'm a guest speaker for writer's groups, networking, marketing and promoting others, and being on social media 24/7 all while being a mother of three wonderful teenage boys, wife to an amazing man, and friend to many.

I've always maintained that I want an agent, I want to be traditionally published, I want a movie, I want it ALL!

I hear many indie authors say that going indie is the best way to reach readers. I whole heartily agree with that, but I also believe you can reach readers the traditional way too. The distribution channels are much different than being indie.
Bookstores may be going on the extinct list, but they are never going to go away. And I mean books in grocery stores, Targets, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Walgreens, etc. . .

I want to be everywhere, including the internet and all the stores above. It's never been about the money for me. (That is why I went to college, went back for my masters, and have a day job.)
It's about a dream. It's about showing my boys that when you want something so bad, work so hard, and continue to have a great attitude while accomplishing it, dreams do come true.

My dream of obtaining and agent has finally come true. I didn't haphazardly query agents from query tracker or Publisher's Marketplace. I had to have the right fit. I wanted someone who has grown as the industry has grown, embrace self-publishing, realize that no matter what that I'm there for my readers/authors and continue to pay it forward, as well as still promote and market myself 110%.
Not only did I find all of that in one agent, but also the entire agency.

I accepted representation from agent Barbara Scott at Wordserve Literary Agency. Not only do they embrace the indie journey, they promote it and me. They were so impressed with how far I have come and the trail that I've blazed in my career.

I will continue to self-publish as well as try to get traditionally published.

Why lose the money to an agent when I've been so successful?

Success can not be measured by money for me. Success is peace of mind, knowing I have made my dreams come true, knowing that I've gone as far as I can, personal fulfillment, and at the end of the day-being a good role model/example for my boys (who, btw, are over the moon that I have an agent) by teaching them that they can do anything in life with a little elbow grease.

My true readers will follow me no matter where I go. I've had nothing more than wonderful outpouring of support from readers over the past couple of days, as well as authors.
After all, a writer can't have too many readers.

So. . .Yes! I'm a true HYBRID WRITER!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Top Three Things To Boost Your Career

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of speaking on a couple of panels at The Jeffersonville Crossing Writer's Conference. I was on the mystery panel, since I write mystery, and the "journey to publication" panel that discussed traditional vs self vs small publishing.
Over the past couple years of doing speaking events, most authors that I've come across at conferences always tend to ask the same thing, no matter what panels I'm on. This weekend was no different.
This is GREAT for me! This is exactly how I came up with the idea of my non-fiction craft book, THE TRICKED OUT TOOLBOX~PROMOTION AND MARKETING TOOLS EVERY WRITER NEEDS.
"What is your top three advice tips for social media?" is the number one question I'm asked.
Social media still takes author's breath away.  No matter what road of publication you've decided to take, all three of these will work.

1) AMAZON CENTRAL PAGE is a must. This is where you can list everything you can about you (the author) to help reach readers and other authors. Not only does it link all your books to you, you can put in your own bio, all your book trailers, any pictures you want to display, link your blogs, link Twitter feed, Facebook feed, EVERYTHING!
You can even create pages about your characters, setting, your novels in general. This might seem like a lot of work, but it's not. Once you take a few minutes to do it, you don't have to do anything to maintain it unless you need to change something on it.
Every so often I will update my bio or add a new book trailer. Setting up this account should be first on your list.


2) LINK, LINK, LINK! I'm sure you are on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and now AMAZON CENTRAL. You can link your blog, Twitter, and Facebook to these sites. This will save you so much time because once you post to your blog, it will automatically go to your feeds  and you won't have to go in and manually tell your social media peeps about your blog. The feed will do it for you. This gives you more exposure. All of this just takes a little time and it's FREE!

3) PAY IT FORWARD. Give back! Give a little KARMA. Visit a few author sites, leave a comment, share a couple of someone's Facebook status', or retweet a few of your tweeps.


The only thing these TOP THREE require are time. AND NOT A LOT OF IT! I know you are creeping on Facebook, playing around on Twitter, or even hanging out on the Kindle Boards. You can use that time to create these and you will be actually doing something to help boost your career.

Do you have a top three that you want to share?

Friday, March 2, 2012

At What Point Do Feel You've Succeeded?

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I’ve recently sat back and took a good hard look to where I was two years ago and where I am now in my writing career.
And if you’ve never done this on any goals in your life, I strongly suggest you take a look too. February 2010, I was part of a completely different blog. The Naked Hero.
February 2010, I had just completed Splitsville.com, Carpe Bead ‘Em, and started The Ladybug Jinx.
February 2011, Splitsville.com is still in the hand of two agents, Carpe Bead ‘Em and The Ladybug Jinx were well on their way to be self-published. I had the opportunity to participate in two of a small press holiday anthologies. Something Spooky This Way Comes Halloween Anthology, and Believe Christmas Anthology. These two allowed me to have my first two book signings (both sold out!!) and work with an editor on copy edits, galleys, AND hold my books in my hand!
February 2012, I have self-published six novels and short stories, made Amazon's Movers and Shakers list THREE times, and countless bestsellers lists.
February 2010, I belonged to one grog.
February 2011, I belong to two grogs: The Naked Hero and The Writer’s Guide To EPublishing, plus a monthly appearance over at Past The Print with my dear friend Renee Vincent.
February 2012, I belong to two grogs, The Naked Hero and The World Literary Café, and I have my own blog at tonyakappes.blogspot.com.
February 2010, I started to market myself as an author with NO book! I made myself a brand and marketed myself where ever possible.
February 2011, I’m working on edits for The Tricked Out Toolbox-Promotional and Marketing Tools Every Writer Needs with Misa!
February 2012, The Tricked Out Toolbox is published and hit the best sellers list in two hours.
February 2010, I had 205 friends on Facebook.
February 2011, I have 823 friends and love each and every one of them.
February 2012, I have 2k friends and love each and every one of them on Facebook.
February 2010, I couldn’t wait to read my chick-lit chapter newsletter and take the great on-line classes offered there.
February 2011, I’m going to be featured author in my chick-lit chapter newsletter and I’m on the board!
February 2012, I’m a member of a wonderful critique group that includes an Agatha Nominee and a New York Times bestseller.
February 2010, I was a member of my local RWA chapter.
February 2011, I sit on the board of my local RWA chapter.
February 2012, I am giving workshops to my local chapter, and travel around the United States giving workshops on marketing and promoting as well as self-publishing.
And am I satisfied? Would I sound selfish if I said, no~I know there is more for me? Or am I taking my career so serious, that I want to keep going and see where this gig takes me? Where does an author draw the line of success? How do you measure success in this business?
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First I wanted to finish a full length novel~DONE
That wasn’t good enough, so I wanted an agent to request a full ms~DONE
Again, wanted more: sign a contract~DONE
More-wanted to have a book in my hand~DONE
Still not enough-wanted to have a book signing or two~DONE I’ve got an agent with full manuscript offer representation~STILL WAITING….
So, I’ve gotten almost everything I’ve ever wanted, but when will I feel the success I crave as an author?
How is success defined for you in your passion of life? Have you succeeded?