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Bad Girl For A Day: Jenna McCormick – Self Love: Indie Publishing Romance Novels

I tried self-publishing back before it was cool thing to do. When ebooks were barely a blip on the radar and I knew less than nothing about writing/publishing or anything other than I want to be a writer when I grew up.http://www.dreamstime.com/-image23337062

To put it bluntly, I was a dumbass. And by self-publishing my first novel I made sure the entire world knew it.

Now here I am seven years down the line, cringing with embarrassment because I paid to globally distribute that flaming piece of crap. Every once in a while I open the file and go, it can’t be that bad.

And then I see that yes, in fact it is that bad. It’s an overpriced, overwritten poorly plotted, badly edited, crappy cover wearing 110K word mystery full of angst and shallow childish dreams. A one way ticket to Sucksville, population me, myself and I. Hell, I don’t even want to reread it and see if it’s worth saving.

I swore up, down and sideways to anyone who would listen that I would NEVER self-publish anything again. Ever.

And then a strange thing happened. Five years later I’d learned stuff, not just about craft and how to write a good book, but about cover art design, writing blurbs and synopsis, proofreading and formatting. I’d made a sale to Kensington but I still had all these books, books that I loved that I wanted to share with the world but that just weren’t right for a specific line. Sexy mysteries and zany erotic romances that fit n no particular category.  And before you could say, Chicka, what have you been smoking? I did it again. With my 2010 On the Far Side Contest Winner, Stellar Timing.Stellar Timing

Not gonna lie, sales were slow at first, but within a month it had overtaken all of my small press ebooks as my personal bestseller. Why? Not because it was any better than my Laundry Hag books. No, it was price point, the fact that it was a $2.99 in a sea of $5.95 and up. As an indie e publisher I was free to experiment with promotions and cost and to pretty much do whatever the hell I wanted with it. Old cover not working? Slap up a new one! $2.99 not enough for months’ worth of writing? Break the books into a serial and charge per episode. The freedom is both overwhelming and exhilarating.

I found ways of bettering my product and even started up a small press with other writers. Sanibel Moon Books allows each of us to maintain our own imprint and release schedule but the final product is a collective effort. My latest release, In the Bedroom with the Rope sold over 5,000 units on Valentine’s Day weekend. That’s a damn good feeling.

What have I learned from this? That there are no absolutes in publishing, no always or onlys or nevers. If you latch onto them, you’re boxing yourself into a dark corner and denying yourself the chance to flourish. My indie experience went from being the smelly kid nobody wanted to sit next to, to having fans ask when the next one book is coming out. So I guess the moral to my twisted story is to get all the facts about whatever course of publishing you’re trying to pursue before you dive in head first. And never say never again, because hey, you never know.

Thank you for joining us today, Jenna! 

You can find out more about Jenna (and Jennifer) and visit her social media haunts by checking out the links below. 

A little fantasy goes a long way….

Born on Sanibel Island somewhere between the fifth and seventh bottle of Rosa Regale, Jenna McCormick writes big girl romance with a touch of out of this world fantasy. Her hobbies include scouring the Internet for the perfect pair of boots and stirring up trouble, much to the dismay of her alter ego. Her works to date include the futuristic erotic romance series No LimitsNo Mercy, the post-Apocalyptic B Cubed trilogy, the contemporary BDSM serials Caught Up In You and In the Bedroom with the Rope as well as the novella Project Seduction in the Pleasure Project anthology coming in March of 2013.

Jenna loves to hear from her readers. Visit her on the web at www.authorjennamac.com.

Jennifer L Hart on twitter @DamagedGoodsAce
www.jenniferlhart.com

Jenna McCormick on twitter @AuthorJennaMac
Jenna McCormick Fanpage on FB  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJennaMcCormick
www.authorjennmac.com

Sanibel Moon Books on twitter @SanibelMoonBook
website: http://www.sanibelmoon.com/ 
FB: https://www.facebook.com/SanibelMoonBooks

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Bad Girl For A Day: Jenna McCormick – “Work-Life Balance”

Jen head Shot

            Thanks for having me here, Bad Girlz! Always a pleasure to chill with you. And man, I need to chill in the worst way.

       No Mercy     In 2012 I wrote 365,000 keeper words. That translates into four full length novels and one novella. I e-published one book, serialized another with monthly releases and the rest were sold to my publisher with accompanying deadlines. Writing, editing, promoting, maintaining two public profiles, along with my indie imprint, Captiva Heart. Running the Sanibel Moon website, twitter feed, facebook page as well as critiquing and beta reading for other writers. Somebody order me a mimosa, stat!

            In some ways, it was my best year ever. Sales went up, my production way up. I just released the final installment of my Caught Up In You serial on January 2 and have one of my all-time favorite heroes, Zan the Space Pirate’s book, No Mercy coming out later this month and my first anthology in March. I traveled the galaxies in my own mind, visited alien worlds and got up to some kinky hijinx with Daisy Dominatrix and Baily and Connor from the Edgeplay serial.


Daisy

            Unfortunately, I now feel like something stuck to the bottom of someone’s shoe. Part of it is the sedentary nature of what I do, but the other part was me, pushing too hard and not stopping to smell the roses. Since October I’ve been rehabilitating my neck and shoulder, which is all jacked up from way too much time hunched over my keyboard. The monthly trip to the chiropractor wasn’t enough to offset the damage I was doing with my crazy schedule.

            The repetitive injury drove one point home. Something’s gotta give. And if I don’t choose what now, that something will be my neck snapping like a twig. Having pre-arthritic symptoms at thirty three bites, but not as much as being unable to function ten years down the road will.

            So my New Year’s resolution for 2013 was to achieve a work-life balance. The first step was to get my priorities in order. Caught up in you part1

  1. Health—involving cardio as well as stretching exercise and adjusting my diet. Healthy meals take longer to make. It’s time consuming but I’ve got places to go and pounds to lose, so it’s a necessary evil.
  2. Family— I’m fortunate that I don’t have to have a day job. But I still have two very active little boys and a husband that deserve some of my time and attention. Not to mention the world’s neediest beagle.
  3. Writing— In saner doses. One to three thousand words a day including blogging, promotion, tweets, Facebook posts and all that. Just like the diet, I’m sure I’ll have moments where I’ll cheat on this, but overall, I’m determined to keep it within reason. And to take actual breaks throughout the day, of the up and moving around kind, not the facebook kind. I’ve got three books planned out for the year, none with immediate deadlines, which takes some of the pressure off.
  4. Everything else—This is the something that is going to give. The time vampires like Facebook, Twitter, yahoo groups and online forums that deplete my reserves. The in-person commitments too. Yes, I want to repaint the living room but not at the cost of any of the above.

            I know this won’t be easy. It’s going to take dedication and commitment on my part. Then again, so does writing a book. And I’ve managed to do that a few times so I know I’m up for it.

            So tell me, have you managed to achieve a work-life balance yet? And how’s it working out for you? One random commenter, chosen by the Bad Girlz, will receive a free ebook in Kindle, Nook or PDF format from my backbreaking backlist. Happy New Year and happy reading!

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Bad Girl For A Day: Fiona McLaren – “Freelance Writing – Taking The Plunge”

First of all, I’d like to say I’m thrilled to be invited to join in and be an honorary Bad Girl for the day (the mimosas and the chance to wear my tiara really help!).

Today, I wanted to talk about what it is like to work as a full time freelance writer and, perhaps more importantly, the steps I took to get to this point.

Writing full time is a wonderful and extremely challenging career.  Yes, it is fantastic to be able to run my own schedule, to dabble in my craft all day long and to spend a good portion of my time researching.  However, there are other aspects that are very challenging.

Firstly, it’s hard to write all day where you have to get the words out No Matter What.  When I have a word count deadline to meet for a client, I can’t just wait for my Muse to sidle up whenever she feels like it.  No, I need to get a rope and lasso her to the ground lest she gets away.  And I can’t just use “filler” word count either.  It needs to be high quality, polished prose that does the job it’s been asked to do.

Secondly, you don’t always get to write what you want.  In fact, if you want to make money you need to be a Jack (or Jill) of all Trades.  Finance?  Real estate?  Horror fiction?  Press releases?  Not your thing?  Doesn’t really matter.  If you want to make a proper stab at working full time from home and earning a decent wage from writing then you need to learn to be flexible with your writing skill.  It’s a rare writer who can make a career out of writing solely what their Muse brings to them.

Thirdly, you need to have a rhino-tough skin.  Clients want edits all of the time.  Sometimes the edits are good.  Sometimes they aren’t.  Balancing keeping your client happy with keeping your writing integrity is a hard task.  You need to know when to compromise and you need to know when to politely stand your ground.

As for taking that leap into becoming a full time writer, I’d advise caution.  Make sure you have at least six months funding behind you or someone who is willing to support your career change.  Also, try to work at it part time for a while first, so that you can build up your connections and writing credits.

I don’t recommend the “write an article and submit it and hope” route.  This is slow, arduous and hit and miss in terms of whether you will find an editor who is looking for exactly what you are pitching at the exact time you are pitching it.  It’s better to go out and source who is looking for what and then write a piece to fit.  There are a lot of resources online where individual companies and publishers post messages about what they are looking for.

It’s also important not to set your goals too high to begin with.  Scoring a big contract takes time.  Start by building up connections and by making sure your work is of an excellent standard.  I worked for some low pay to begin with, so that I could build up my references, writing credits and my name brand.  Now, I can demand higher wages and better clients due to my breadth of experience.

Hand in hand with this is being super flexible on what and who you work with.  Not all clients are big magazines or publishers.  Some are small companies, others private individuals, yet others still websites or online blogs.  Join in with everything you can until you build up your portfolio.  Only then should you look into zeroing down into your target area.  Cast your net wide to start with before you start fishing with a spear!

And perhaps the hardest aspect – there is very little recognition for the freelance writer.  A huge amount of work is ghost written (I’ve done DVD narrations, historical fiction books, entire websites and hundreds of children’s books and yet not one will have my name on it).  So you need to be able to draw a line under what you write for profit and what you write for love.  Personally, I only write for money in areas I don’t write for pleasure.  My own areas of interest are saved for my own work.

Becoming a freelance writer is a tough job and you need to stand out from the crowd.  You need to be flexible, have excellent standards, never miss a deadline and be open to all sorts of revisions and edits that come your way.  If you can do this, you can enjoy a rewarding career that teaches you more about writing than you could imagine.

And one of the biggest bonuses?  When you finally snag that dream agent or publisher, you will already be professional, easy to work with and well on your way to becoming a successful author under your own name.

 

Find out more about Fiona on her page on the Corvisiero Literary Agency website or visit one of the social hubs below…
Twitter: @BookOmnivore
Blog:  http://yabookcase.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/FionaMarieMcLaren?ref=hl

 

*  I’d like to offer 3 query and elevator pitch critiques to three random people who comment on the blog.

(Pssssst! This is a great opportunity to get feedback from a phenomenal writer and one of #PitchWar’s mentors. xoxo Darcy)

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Bad Girl For A Day: C.E. Hart – “Barbie Birthed A Writer”

 

I’m a nostalgic person. I enjoy looking back to days gone by and sometimes even pretend I’m my own therapist. Yeah, I know that sounds strange, but I’m an odd human being, so it works for me. I study the life-changing events I endured, the stupid things I did and wish I didn’t, the tender moments that touched my heart, and the people I counted on for a soft place to fall.

 

Memories light the corners of my mind

Misty watercolor memories of the way we were

Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind

Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were

 

These memories oftentimes inspire my writing. Though the stories and characters I create are fictional, I draw on past experiences, emotions and relationships. I write-what-I-know and this (hopefully) allows me to construct evocative, believable stories.

Every summer, when I was little, my sister and I lived to play with Barbie dolls. (Mom called it our obsession.) We actually set our alarm clocks before going to bed, to make certain Barbie, Ken, Francie (my favorite, because she had real eyelashes!) and Midge made it to work on time. Skipper usually slept in until the twins, Todd and Tutti, woke up.

 

Can it be that it was all so simple then

Or has time rewritten every line

If we had the chance to do it all again

Tell me—would we? Could we?

 

Not only did I obsess over dolls, but I wrote extensive scripts for them too. What they’d say, where they’d go and what they’d do once they got there. Filling note pads with dialogue, scenes and plot twists consumed so much of the day there was little time left to actually play. Planning their day on paper was more than half the fun! Who knew Barbie and her friends were capable of birthing the author within me?

 

Creating stories as an adult is much the same as when I was a child—I just use imaginary characters to perform in them instead of plastic ones with removable heads.

 

Thank you, fabulous Bad Girlz! I’m thrilled to be your Bad Girl of the day! And because I’m oh-so-bad, and giving you only one song to continuously bang around in your heads isn’t enough, I’ll close out with another…

 

Because I’m Bad, I’m Bad—Come On

You Know I’m Bad, I’m Bad—You Know It

You Know I’m Bad, I’m Bad—Come On, You Know

And The Whole World Has To Answer Right Now

Just To Tell You Once Again

WHO’S BAD . . .

 

(Cheryl) C.E. Hart

http://www.laptopsandlingerie.com

https://www.facebook.com/CEHartAuthor

@CEHartAuthor

12 Comments

Bad Girl For A Day: Virginia James – “Am I Normal?”

Thank you to the lovely ladies of Bad Girlz Write! I’m super excited to be an honorary Bad Girl for a day.
I had the pleasure of meeting three of the Bad Girlz at the 2012 Moonlight & Magnolia conference and
let me say, I’m psyched in a goofy-grin-semi-but-not-creepy-stalker-kinda-way to be here! You guys are
a blast and I kinda feel bada$$ saying ‘I’m a Bad Girl’ today!

Let’s play one of my favorite games. Am I normal? But we’ll play the writer’s version.

I day dream about my characters in scenes and plot lines that will never see print. Am I normal?

Of course! To be honest, it’s probably why it takes me so long to pound out that first draft. In my YA’s, I
inevitably make them older and put them in a ton of scenarios that just can’t make it into YA. Nothing
weird or X-rated, just randomness. Did Marleigh go to Prom? Will Sam be a lawyer or antique dealer
and have a fancy TV show. What if they got married? Wait, they’re in totally different books, can’t do
that…oh oh oh! I have an amazing story line for another book!( A writer’s secret revealed) Good books
don’t just fall out of our heads onto paper. It takes time—and lots of daydreaming.

I saw my character at the mall. Am I normal?

Very normal indeed! Though, the poor teenage girl probably thought I was a weirdo because I couldn’t
stop sneaking a peak at her at the food court and wondering if the cookie maker guy would make a
better boyfriend or fallen angel.

I was shopping the aisles of Target when a fellow writer’s Antagonist was shopping the snacks aisle.
Darkness and Evil on aisle 3! I literally stopped mid-stride (attempted to hold in my gasp) then spun
around to look at soda’s before he noticed my near melt down that the dark humanity ending evil was
about to get me. Crazy? Meh, sort of but also the mark of a great writer.

I shop for my characters. Am I normal?

Again, yes! Not only do I shop for my own, I see stuff my writer friend’s characters would like as well.
Ginny’s character would love that scarf. Mag’s guy would totally wear those jeans. C.E.’s chick could
totally rock those pumps! Even our fictional ladies love to shop!

Whose voice is that in my head? Am I normal?

Chances are, if you’re a writer, then it’s perfectly normal! That is my favorite moment in writing. It’s that
moment you’re doing the most mundane task and the argument suddenly burst into a knock-down-
drag-out-fight (and you reach for a pen instead of Googling “psychiatrist”.) If I could insert an over the
top sigh right here, I would. It does get annoying when your Muse refuses to keep them quiet when you
should be listening to your boss, checking homework for the kids, or feeding the dog Cool Ranch Dorito’s
because you were distracted by the intense scene in your head.

I’m a writer. Am I normal?

Of course not! Normal is boring (unless it pertains to medical work or money). Embrace what others
call crazy. To quote the adorable and loveable Leo the Lop: “The rabbits though and thought. “If we’re
normal and Leo is normal, then normal is whatever you are!”

Thanks again BGW for the opportunity to be Bad for a day! Hope to see you guys over at Laptops &
Lingerie soon!

Virginia

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