The Bonding Blade—Out today!

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Thursday teaser

By M.L. Doyle

The follow-up to M.L. Doyle’s acclaimed The Bonding Spell is out today on Amazon. You’ll only need to read this sample, featuring the 21st-century incarnations of the Sumerian goddess Inanna and her demigod lover Gilgamesh, to be convinced to get the whole book.

I checked my cell phone for the time again. Waiting for Fredricks began to grate at my nerves. “How does he manage to make an immortal feel like she’ll die before he finds what he’s looking for?”

Gil flashed his teeth at me before turning his most intimidating glare to the wizard.

“I thought you knew where everything was in this hovel of yours,” Gil said. “What is taking you so long?”

“I apologize, my lord. There are many references to blood contracts and many more that claim to be a way to break the contract, but upon further inspection, the breakage usually involves the death of the person who entered into the agreement.”

“Well, that won’t suit our purposes, will it, wizard?” I said.

“No, my goddess. I understand. I think I’m getting close.” He held a large book open, his hand skimming over the words. “This one is a bit different. I’m just working out the translation now, but roughly it says, ah… blood is the permanent bond for which the promise lives. Ah, it goes on, and this was the part I was unsure of. Oh yes, right here it says, ‘but the trials of Shamash bring the … the …  I just can’t figure out this word. Sword maybe? The dagger?”

“Blade,” Gil said, his voice heavy. He leaned both hands on the table in the center of the room. “The blade of Utu.”

Fredricks and I waited for him to elaborate, but he didn’t.

“Gil?”

He straightened, ran a hand through his hair and took a deep breath. “You won’t like it, my queen.”

I crossed my arms and leaned a hip against the table. “I don’t like what’s happening to my Quinn now, sooooo…”

Gil held his hand out to Fredricks, who hefted the large tome into his hand. Gil held it up as if it weighed nothing. He skimmed the page, running his finger back and forth over the same passage a few times. His face hardened as he read. Finally, his gaze flicked up to me. “You know of Utu?”

I was so happy when that one was crushed into oblivion, Inanna said.

“Nope, but evidently, Inanna does.”

“I would hope she would. Utu is or was the lord of justice in her time. He meted out punishments, adjudicated disputes …”

“And contracts, I assume.”

“Exactly. He is quite well known for having several items which, after his death, could be used to determine the right and the wrong of things as he did while alive. A staff that would bend and twist when someone told a lie. A ring that would glow to identify the righteous party.”

“Handy. Too bad we don’t have doodads like that these days. Are you saying one of these items could be used to break Quinn’s contract?”

“No. Both of the items I spoke of were destroyed.”

“How do you know that? And how could an immortal die in the first place?”

Gil lay the large book on the table and leaned over it, a rigid set to his shoulders. “I know this because I killed him myself, and destroyed his talismans.”

Fredricks shrank back, sucking in air with a hiss, his hand to his throat. The drama queen.

 I waited for Gil to elaborate, but he didn’t. The longer I waited, the more disturbed he looked. Finally, he slammed the book shut and picked it up, holding his hand out to me.

“We’ll be back, wizard. Speak to no one about this.”

The Bonding Blade

Can the embodiment of an ancient goddess live a balanced life in modern times?

Former Army Sergeant Hester Trueblood struggles to find the answer, seven years after fate bonded her to the ancient Sumerian Goddess, Inanna. Whether engaging in battles to the death with demons or entering fight club scraps, Hester’s life is forever subjected to Inanna’s whims and insatiable lust. It hasn’t been easy to juggle the mounting perilous challenges, or to tolerate the demands of her demi-god lover, Gilgamesh.

When her warrior Quincy is stricken with a mysterious illness, Hester thinks a supernatural blade could be the answer to save him. Or it just might destroy the world.

One thing is for sure. Nobody is immune from the painful reality of loss and suffering—not even a goddess.

Read the exciting second instalment of The Desert Goddess series. A blend of fantasy, action adventure, mystery, and romance with a biting sense of humor.

Get it today in paperback or e-book format on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd, Angus & Robertson (Australia), Playster or 24Symbols.

M.L. Doyle

aimed to prove her brother wrong when she joined the Army on his dare. Almost two decades later, she not only confirmed that she could, contrary to his warning, make it through basic training, her combat boots took her to the butt-end of nowhere and back countless times and she lived to tell about it … or write about it as it turned out.

A native Minnesotan, Mary lives in Baltimore where her evil cats force her to feed and care for them including cleaning up their poo. To escape from her torture, Mary loves to hear from readers. Check her out on Facebook.com, or Twitter @mldoyleauthor, and you can read excerpts of all of her work on her website at www.mldoyleauthor.com.

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Book publishing trends readers need to know

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Photo by Laëtitia Buscaylet on Unsplash

Publishing is evolving rapidly. There’s been a lot of chatter, real and virtual, about what the changes in technology and markets mean for authors and publishers. But in this space, we’re going to look at how some of them will affect readers.

Independently wealthy?

Last April, Amazon reported that over 1,000 independent authors made more than $100,000 in KDP royalties in 2017. That is, more and more authors are able to make respectable livings solely from their books.

What this means for readers is that more writers are able to give up their day jobs and concentrate on writing more. So you’ll have more to read from your favorite authors.

More diversity

A panel discussion at the Book Expo in New York last year pointed out that publishing is getting more diverse: more writers and publishers are realizing that their market is not just straight, white, relatively affluent women and men.

Readers can expect to see more cultures represented not only among authors, but also in the books their produce. In other words, it’s going to be easier to find books that reflect your reality.

Wider buying choices

There are also more platforms for e-book publishing. You would have thought there were enough with Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play and Barnes and Noble. Newer entrants to the field include Draft2Digital, Findaway Voices, Book Baby, Booktango, Nu-book and more. Some are spin-offs or evolutions of vanity publishing firms like IUniverse, while others seem to be more closely related to book marketing services.

What it means for readers is more choice of where to get your books. Sure, Amazon is by far and away the leader, and will continue to be for a long time. But no one stays at number 1 forever. Not even the Zon.

More marketing


Photo by Josh Edgoose on Unsplash

While we’re on the topic Amazon, several publishing pundits have predicted that its advertising programs are going to get more important. Amazon made a number of changes last year that affected independent authors, such as cancelling the Kindle Worlds, and changing the book suggestions that appear under a title you’re looking at.

Authors, especially indies, are already using AMS ads more, and spending more money on it. Eventually, they’ll get better at managing their ads. Expect to see more of your favorite authors using them, and to get more ads that are better directed to your interests—whether you want that or no.

Competition drives quality

With more authors making a living and more choices for making and selling books, there are more books being produced more quickly than ever before. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better.

Written Word Media surveyed readers who subscribe to a number book promotional services. They found a common complaint about the numbers of typographical and grammatical errors in independently published books. Low quality can make some readers give up before finishing a book, and even if they persevere through to the end, they aren’t like to come back for the same author’s next book.

Hopefully, this will sink in among authors and drive up the quality.

More audio

Photo by Findaway Voices on Unsplash

Audio book sales grew strongly in 2017 and 2018, and most analysts are expecting that to continue. Harper Collins saw audiobook sales rise 55 percent in the third quarter of 2018 compared to the same period of 2017. Audiobook fans are going to have more to listen to, from both commercial publishers and independent authors.

More innovation

It’s impossible to predict with any certainty what is going to be the “biggest thing” this coming year. Doubtlessly, some author will come up with an innovation that will stun even the biggest players in the marketplace, and reinvent book writing or marketing.

Maybe some of you have already noticed it. Share the news with us!

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Thursday teaser: How to Self-Publish a Book

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How to self-publish a bookBy Barb Drozdowich

Self-publishing—or Indie publishing, as it is also known—is the publishing equalizer. Gate-keepers are removed and authors can publish a book they feel has merit. Along with the removal of many of the gate-keepers, in recent years much of the stigma has also been removed. Authors who choose to publish their own work are capable of having a respectable and successful career as published authors.

So…you are interested in learning about self-publishing. Do you use the term “Self-Publishing” or “Indie-Publishing” or “Independent Publishing”? In my mind all these phrases mean the same thing.  They all refer to the act of publishing a book where you are the driver of the operation—you may ask for, and receive, help, but you make all the decisions.

I am the proud author of 15 self-published books, have sold thousands of copies and I am frequently answering questions about or dispelling myths about self-publishing. As a result, I decided to put fingers to keyboard and explain the process of self-publishing.

Why self-publishing? Really, aren’t there several books out there that deal with the subject? There are, and I’ve read most of them. Many of the books available focus on either the US or the UK or don’t specify the differences experienced by self-publishers in different countries. That is where this book is different. I will point out the differences and provide as many sources of information I can find for folks in different countries.

Is there a learning curve? 

Yes! 

I do feel the learning curve is reasonable, but in my experience, many well-meaning people scare authors off this path.

I approach the world of authors and publishing differently than most authors.  My background is in teaching science and running a technical training department. I’m a stats geek and I tend to analyze things, to study things. I don’t think things work, I know they do and why they do. I read a lot and I research a lot.  The origins for most of my books have been either a problem point that I discover or a subject that I get a lot of questions on. 

There is no one way to publish a book. 

Maybe that’s what creates confusion in many authors—the number of choices that exist. As you’ll see in this book, I view publishing as steps on a flow chart or as stops on a road map. Steps that are easily identified and described. They are all steps that the average author can carry out—perhaps with a bit of help—but they don’t require any special skill other than some patience and a little bit of stubbornness. There are a variety of choices available for most of the steps. We’ll talk about the choices available and talk about the pros and cons of each.

I think it’s important to let you know what you will learn from this book. We will start off talking about the various types of editing and how to find an editor for your project. We will talk about how to get an ISBN from whatever agency is appropriate for your country. We will talk about what all the various file formats are we will need to publish our book and how to either create them ourselves or how to find a professional formatter. We will learn all about cover graphics and how to find a graphic designer to help create the perfect cover for your book. We will learn how straightforward it is to publish a book to the various retailers where your book will be for sale. We will learn about e-readers and how straightforward they are to use. We will learn about the differences between all the retailers and learn how to get paid. Along the way, we’ll learn the meaning of all those words that published authors use that don’t seem to be part of the normal English language. We’ll learn a bunch of bits and pieces that make the whole thing much easier! And homework. I’ll be assigning homework, but it will be fun homework. Think “reading a book” kind of fun.

Lastly, I’ll give you lots and lots of help. At the end of this book, you’ll find a glossary, a list of resource articles, a list of helpful videos, an extensive list of writers’ groups and a few odds and ends of resource material that I just had to include!

Are you excited to begin? I hope so. Let’s end this introduction with a quote from a group that I will mention several times in this book—the Alliance of Independent Authors.

“What self-publishing doesn’t do is absolve us of the responsibility of learning our craft and our art.” 

~ Alliance of Independent Authors

Barb Drozdowich

is the author of 15 books, over 40 YouTube videos an online Goodreads course and an online WordPress course, all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

Learn more about Barb from her

And follow her on  Twitter @sugarbeatbc. 

 

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Writers’ pet peeves: Monday musings

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By Raine Thomas

writers pet peeves

Pixabay Creative Commons license

Pet peeves. Everyone has them. Yes, even readers and writers…perhaps even more than most people!

Exploring the pet peeves experienced by readers and writers can be a helpful way to clear the air and help us see each other’s points of views on some rather serious topics. In the hopes of engaging our readers in a spirited dialogue, we thought we’d explore some of these pet peeves over a couple of blog posts.

Last week we gave some of the most common pet peeves experienced by readers. Today, let’s delve into our biggest pet peeves as writers:

Poor editing

This was mentioned in the reading pet peeves list and it’s so important that we just had to note it here too. For those authors who invest time and money into producing clean, well-written books for our readers, it’s a major pet peeve to see so many books out there that are so poorly edited.

Poor editors

Along those lines, many authors express frustration over investing in an editor and then publishing a book believing that it’s error-free only to receive multiple reviews stating otherwise. There are people out there claiming to be editors who have no business doing so. Authors should take care and vet the people they hire to edit their books. Always, always, always get a free sample edit and have someone with a good eye look it over before you pay someone to edit your book.

Complaints about book pricing 

Okay, folks…let’s get real here. Imagine you worked on a project for many months, sometimes up to a year or more. While working on that project, you took time away from your family, stayed up late at night, skipped weekends and holidays, and spent hundreds to thousands of your hard-earned dollars making the project as perfect as it could be. Then you put your project up for sale for people to experience. What value would you place on that project for all of the time, effort, and money you invested? When we hear readers express that they don’t want to pay $2.99 or $4.99 for an e-book because it’s “only a couple of hours of entertainment,” it makes us want to cry. Even at that price point, many authors don’t even make their money back on their books.

Readers who return e-books after reading

This pet peeve is soul-crushing if the person doing it is only being cheap. It’s one thing to return an e-book if you accidentally purchase it or even if you start it and don’t like it, but to read it completely and then return it so you don’t have to pay the author is hitting us right where it hurts.

internet trolls are one of writers' pet peeves

Photo by Flickr user Babbletrish and reused here with Creative Commons license.

Trolls

No one really knows why trolls do what they do, but they live to create havoc in an author’s life. They enjoy going from author to author and book to book leaving distasteful reviews, comments about the author, and other inflammatory remarks. This type of behavior just shouldn’t be accepted in any forum.

Piracy: the biggest of writers’ pet peeves

Having pirate sites stealing our books and offering them for free or even for sale is one of the biggest (and most difficult to battle) issues in publishing today. Readers, we beg you … please don’t use pirating sites.

What writing pet peeves should we add to this list? Let us know in the comments here or on social media!

Raine Thomas

Bestselling author Raine Thomas has some writers' pet peevesThe multiple award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction, Raine is known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination. She has signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen.

She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Where to find her

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New BestSelling release: The Author’s Guide to Self-Publishing for Canadians

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By Barb Drozdowich

Are you under the impression that self-publishing is just to technical a task for writers to do themselves?

Is your lack of understanding holding you back from self-publishing your book?

The self-publishing world can be overwhelming if you don’t take the time to plan the steps needed to successfully publish your book. That’s where I come in. I have spent many years in the industry and accrued an impressive list of notes and references I’m happy to share to help you on this new adventure.

We’ll start at the beginning- where else? I’ll guide you through formatting, editing, getting your first ISBN, and uploading your manuscripts to the venue of your choice. There will be homework, I was once a science teacher, but it will be fun and hopefully inspirational, too.

So come along with me, and let your new journey to success begin!

Now available on Amazon

About the author

Social Media and WordPress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught in colleges, universities and in the banking industry. More recently, she brings her 15+ years of teaching experience and a deep love of books to help authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today’s fast evolving publishing world. She delights in taking technical subjects and making them understandable by the average person. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat’s Books, where she talks about Romance novels.

She is the author of 10 books, over 30 YouTube videos and an online WordPress course, all focused on helping authors and bloggers. Barb lives in the mountains of British Columbia with her family.

She can be found on her Author WebsiteBusiness blogFacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestGoodreads, and YouTube

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Monday Musings: How many typos are acceptable?

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Wikimedia Commons

How important is the quality of editing to a reader?

My first job following university was as a “production editor,” basically a copy editor, for textbook publisher Prentice-Hall. On my first day, my new boss, Richard Hemingway—I’m not kidding—was showing me the ropes, explaining the steps I was expected to follow in quality control of books.

At some point during my orientation, I said something like “So I guess our goal is to produce the perfect book.”

Hemingway laughed. “I don’t think there has ever been such a thing as a perfect book.”

The value of errors

These many years later, I have to agree with him. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that did not have at least a couple of errors. Usually these are minor typos, the misplacement of an apostrophe or omission of a comma. And yes, even in professionally edited books from commercial publishers.

Ironically, many people collect first editions of old books, which they can identify by the errors that the publishers correct in subsequent editions.

I think there are more errors today in commercially published books than there were 30 years ago. I can’t say for sure, but I have this feeling.

One of the criticisms of independently of self-published books is that they do not meet professional standards for editorial quality. That is, there are too many mistakes—not just typos, but grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors. Continuity and logic mistakes. Low quality covers, and so on.

I have read a number of independently or self-published books that indeed were rife with errors that a professional editor should have caught.

But I have also read many excellent books from independent authors who published their own books. Great stories, believable characters, original writing, beautiful covers.

And I have read some books from major commercial publishers that also have a number of simple mistakes. And books that are just plain terrible, filled with bad writing, illogical plots, one-dimensional characters and clichés.

The commercial publishers have no monopoly on quality.

What is the problem with typos?

As a writer and an editor, the first rule I follow in publishing is this: you cannot effectively proofread your own writing.

It’s so easy to make mistakes. Your fingers hit the wrong key, or Auto-correct gives you “ethylene” when you wanted to type “Ethel.”

And no matter how many people read a manuscript before it’s published, somehow there are mistakes that slip through to the published edition, and then a reader will point it out.

Look through any commercially published book you like: how many have zero typos? But did they detract from your enjoyment of the story?

That’s the point: it’s the story that readers want: believable, relatable characters, an engaging plot, evocative description that brings you into the story.

Errors can give the reader the wrong idea—for example, when the author decides to change a character’s name midway through writing the book, but misses the change at a key point in the story. Or when Auto-correct gives you “turnip” instead of “tourniquet.”

Wikimedia Commons

At some point, a large number of minor errors becomes frustrating. It shows that the author did not care enough about the reader’s experience to follow the process necessary to produce a good book: have it edited by a professional editor, proofread by a professional proofreader. Submit it to beta readers and reviewers, and make the effort to correct the errors.

And have a professional cover.

It costs money and it takes time, but as all our parents and grandparents told us, there are no short cuts when it comes to doing something well.

Where is the dividing line?

But where is that point? Nothing is perfect, not even books.

How many errors can you tolerate before a book frustrates you? How many typos can you tolerate? What is the writing mistake that will turn you off a book?

What’s the worst mistake you ever found in a book?

Leave a comment.

 

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