Tuesday, February 27, 2018

NEWSWEEK ARTICLE: 5 Female Fantasy Books Written by Women You Need to Read in 2018

Hello, dear friends!

Earlier this evening, I shared an article published today by Newsweek, 5 Female Fantasy Books Written by Women You Need to Read in 2018, on my Instagram and Twitter pages. (You can click on the title here to read the full article.)

I decided I wanted to share the article here on the blog as well! Of course I recommend reading the article itself, it makes some excellent references to the authors who have "paved the way" for today's female fantasy and science-fiction writers. (Robin McKinley, Mercedes Lackey, Tamora Pierce, JK Rowling, and many others.)

The five authors to watch include*:

Tomi Adeyemi

Karen Marie Moning

Naomi Novik

Sabaa Tahir

Sarah J. Maas

You know what this means, don't you? We're due for a much needed 2018 TBR update! I'm planning to have that post up by the end of the week.

Have a great night!

*Book cover images source: Newsweek.com

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Author Interview - Sandra Beckwith

Happy Weekend, Writing Desk Readers!

(I apologize for the late post, we've had a few technical difficulties around here today.)

Today's interview is with Sandra Beckwith, author of this week's What Am I Reading Wednesday novel, Get Your Book in the New: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book. 

Photo provided by: Sandra Beckwith

The Writing Desk: Hi Sandra! Thank you for agreeing to this blog interview with me! This week’s What Am I Reading Wednesday feature, Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book, is your most recent publication, correct?

Sandra Beckwith: It is.


TWDFor those who aren’t already familiar with your work, if you could describe Get Your Book in the News in one sentence, what would it be? 

SB: It provides step-by-step instructions for writing and distributing that essential book publicity tool, the press release that announces your book.


TWD: Has your experience as an author been primarily with traditional publishing, self-publishing, or a mixture of both? If the answer is both, is there one avenue of publishing you prefer over the other?

SB: My first three books were traditionally published. I self-published Get Your Book in the News because it's a short e-book on a narrow topic and for that reason isn't appropriate for a traditional publisher. I prefer traditional publishing for a number of reasons that include getting paid to write the book through an advance against royalties and bookstore distribution. There are pluses and minuses for both options, of course.


TWD: You’ve built an impressive online self-publicity resource: Build Book Buzz. Please tell me, what services can authors expect to find when they pay Build Book Buzz a visit? 

SB: Authors will find lots and lots of helpful how-to book marketing information at buildbookbuzz.com/blog. By using the search box on the right to search for specific topics -- social media, book publicity, author bio, etc. -- they will find a great deal of free information that will help them market their books. I recommend subscribing to my free newsletter by using the form in the upper right to receive a weekly dose of helpful information. In addition, I offer book marketing resources at buildbookbuzz.com/resources, affordable training programs at buildbookbuzz.com/shop,and information on my author coaching and conference speaking at buildbookbuzz.com/speaking-coaching. In a nutshell, it's a hub for do-it-yourself book marketing information.


TWD: What inspired you to create this platform? Did other authors reach out to you at first, or was it a project you’d been planning?

SB: It started when I co-created and co-taught a book promotion class for Freelance Success more than a decade ago. I launched the website, blog, and free Build Book Buzz newsletter as a way to help me reach more authors with book marketing information. It has been a wonderful experience that continues to allow me to connect with and learn from so many amazing and interesting authors!


TWD: Do you only write non-fiction/help for writers, or do you dabble in any fictional genres?

SB: I only write nonfiction but I love reading fiction, especially mysteries and historical fiction. I truly admire novelists!


TWD: These next questions are ones I like to ask in each Writing Desk Blog interview, it’s so interesting to see the range of responses I get!

Where do you typically work from? (Home, office, coffee shop, etc.) Is there any place you find you're more productive than others?

SB: I have a small home office off my family room; it's definitely where I'm most productive. I try to confine my work to that space as a way to separate my work and personal lives. That said, when I have to work on weekends, I usually use my laptop on the my kitchen island for a change of scenery. That also lets me keep an eye on a college basketball game at this time of the year, too. Most of my home is fairly neat, but my office looks like a large filing cabinet exploded. And yet, I know where everything is!


TWD: If you are able to tell us, what’s next for you? Will we be seeing another DIY book marketing guide, or do you have something else in the works?

SB: I have started another DIY e-book and I'm collaborating with a colleague on a training program for authors. I'm excited about both!


TWD: Best piece(s) of writing advice?

SB: Read a lot. The best writers are also big readers. I'm hooked on audio books, listening while I walk for exercise, when I'm cooking on weekends, and when I'm on the highway four hours twice a month to visit my mother out of town. They're a great way for me to fit in more "reading." That, in turn, helps me improve my writing.


TWD: Something about you that people may be surprised to know?

SB: I was my high school's prom queen my senior year. (And I made the dress I wore.)


A big thank you again to Sandra for being my guest this week! You can find Sandra's bio and much more about her published works and Build Book Buzz in this week's What Am I Reading Wednesday post.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What Am I Reading Wednesday (2/21/2018)

Welcome to the first What Am I Reading Wednesday of 2018!

(I told you it was going to happen this month!)

Title: Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book

Author: Sandra Beckwith

First Reading: Yes

Initial Impression: Sandra has utilized her experience as a publicist to bring DIY self-promotion savvy to both traditional and self-published authors!

Get Your Book In the News offers writers a comprehensive guide on the best practices for creating and distributing an effective press release.

Beckwith starts out by going into detail about what exactly a press release is, how they are used, and which are the most common outlets used to present your press release. From there, she teaches how to craft the message that best represents your book.

As a writer who is still on the fence about whether I want to pursue traditional or self-publishing once my first book is finished, it's great to know that this type of resource is available. Also, let's face it, even traditionally published authors have to do some promotional legwork.

Stay tuned for the Writing Desk Blog's February author interview with Sandra, this Friday (2/23/18)!

About the Author:

Sandra Beckwith is an author and national award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to save thousands of dollars by doing their own publicity, promotion, and marketing. You might have seen her on “The Montel Williams Show,” or “CBS This Morning,” or read about her in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, or USA Today. Feedspot has ranked her website, Build Book Buzz, as # 7 among thousands of book marketing blogs; it has also been named a top website for authors and writers four other times. 

Keep Up with Sandra: 

You can find more about Sandra, her publications, and her services for authors at:
Build Book Buzz
Twitter: @sandrabeckwith
Instagram: @buildbookbuzz 

Friday, February 16, 2018

NEW RELEASE: The Latest Short Story Collection by Nicole Sixx

How awesome is it when you find out a writer you enjoy has released a new book?

I'll admit, I've been playing catch up these last couple of weeks. Between spending time with my family and my digital detox week away, there are so many books I hadn't even realized had been published already.

In particular, Nicole Sixx, author of the chilling short story collection Some Fucked Up Shit, has recently published her latest in the series, Some Fucked Up Shit: Ghosts!

I love it when covers in a series follow a similar theme!
As many of you wonderful readers might remember, Nicole was my first interview guest on The Writing Desk Blog. That post was so popular that I decided to proceed with making interviews a regular event here on the blog, and somehow I've managed to convince a different writer/publishing professional to speak with me every month since then!

I can't wait to pick up a copy of Some Fucked Up Shit: Ghosts! Stay tuned for a future What Am I Reading Wednesday review.  

About the Author: 

Horror writer by day, late night rocker girl by night. Nicole Sixx grew up on the ugly side of the Colorado foster care system and was provided a window into the darker side of the human soul that she draws on for her writing to provide realism and depth. Her loved ones keep her human, her writing keeps her sane. Nicole currently resides in West Hollywood with her two cats, Buddy and Trouble.*

*Official bio provided on Nicole's Amazon author profile*

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

QUARTERLY GOALS: 2017-Q4 Review & 2018-Q1 New Goals

Hello, Writing Desk Readers! 
Happy Valentine's Day/Galentine's Day/Wednesday/Hump Day/Whatever Day you're celebrating! 

I appreciate everyone's patience with the frequency of updates on the blog these last few weeks. As many of you know by now, my grandmother recently passed away and before that her health was on a decline, so one update per week was the best I could do.

If you want to see the most amazing photo of her, and also proof that she was way cooler than I'll ever be, you can take a look at the Instagram post I made shortly after her passing. The definition of a 1960's glamorous lady!

And now, let's take a look at my final goals from 2017-Q4, and how much I was able to accomplish.

2017-Q4 Goals: 

1) Hold my first GIVEAWAY!
- DONE! I gave away THREE copies of Carolina Crimes: 21 Tales of Need, Greed, & Dirty Deeds! Not to mention a ton of "Do Not Disturb the Reader" bookmarks. It was an amazing feeling putting those packages in the mail, and they all arrived safely!

2) Announce and implement the second project I devised in Q3. I truly hope everyone enjoys this, it's something I've never done before as a writer. 
- Half done. This project was announced, but I decided to wait until the new year to actually start the serializing of my YA sci-fi novella, Grave Diggers. (Q1 Hint: The first installment is coming in March!)

3) This is the big one. COMPLETE my 60,000 word count goal for Book Project #1 by Thanksgiving! Or, at the very latest, by New Years. 
- I won't lie, dear Writing Desk readers, this one did not go as planned. Due to my grandmother's waning health, I decided to push back my writing schedule to spend more time with her and my family.

4) Start sending out sections of Book Project #1 to my critique partners. They've actually already read the first few pages and a short synopsis I put together for them. So, we're off to a good start!
- This was actually DONE! So far, I've sent roughly 30,000 words to one of my critique partners, and the other has let me know she's ready to start reading as well. 

5) Start edits for Book Project #1, based on critique partner review, to plan for the beta-reader phase.
- DONE! I was able to put the notes from my first critique partner to good use, in lieu of the new writing that I decided to push back.

3.5 out of 5! That's more than I was expecting, if I'm being honest. I know we're already halfway through the quarter, but let's move on to my goals for 2018-Q1!

 2018-Q1 Goals:

1) Publish the first installment of my YA sci-fi novella, Grave Diggers, in March 2018. I'm so excited to share this story with everyone, and I'd love your feedback on if you'd like to see it turned into a full-length novel!

2) Finalize a set update schedule for Grave Diggers. Should it be weekly? Bi-weekly? Whatever the decision, I'll be posting the schedule here on the blog, so readers can know what dates to expect new installments.

3) Resume work on Book Project #1 (I'm horrible at titles, so that's what we're going to continue calling it for now) and complete the first draft by mid-Q2. I'm giving myself a little cushion here, mostly because I want to go back through the outline and re-work a few things. 

4) Find at least one writing/book convention or retreat to attend this year. Suggestions are welcome!

5) Continue to pre-plan weekly posts for The Writing Desk Blog. This includes the monthly author/writing industry interviews.

I'm leaving the list at five goals for now, but hopefully I can add a few more as the quarter progresses.  

What goals have you set for yourself in this new year? What is your best method to keep yourself accountable? Please share in the comments below! 

**If you try to comment on this or any post and are unable to, please send me a message on Instagram, Twitter, or to official.cc.writer@gmail.com. The comments issues I was having last year are supposed to be fixed, but I want to be sure!**

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Thank you, Tamora Pierce.

I'm back from my week-long digital detox, dear Writing Desk Readers!

What better way to celebrate than with the timely arrival of the latest novel from the amazing Tamora Pierce, Tempests & Slaughter!

It's so beautiful!

My friends on Instagram will have already seen my hyper-excited post when it arrived last night. I actually pre-ordered this novel last year, and have been gushing about it ever since.

Tempests & Slaughter focuses on the early life of one of Pierce's most iconic characters, the mage Numair Salmalin.  I can vividly remember picking up my first Tamora Pierce novel, Wild Magic, as I was just entering middle school. I became instantly fascinated by Numair's character and how he interacted with the world around him. Now, over a decade later, I finally get to learn what made Numair into the man he was by the time his narrative in Wild Magic, and many other novels, came around.

The pre-order copy of Tempests & Slaughter also happens to be a special edition version, with a free poster included with the book! I don’t care what anyone says, this is getting framed and it’s going next to the letter I received from Ms. Pierce all those years ago. That's right, in middle school I managed to find Tamora Pierce's email address, wrote her a fan letter, and was beyond thrilled when I received a sincere reply.

Tamora Pierce was the author whose work and words encouraged me to hold onto my dreams of becoming a professional writer. This was at a time when I'd let myself become discouraged by negative people who didn't actually care about what I wanted for myself.  Anyone with a passion for their future knows they'll encounter those naysayers at some point, and the best reaction is to prove them wrong. 

So, what I want to say again, is thank you, Ms. Pierce.

Thank you for writing your amazing books filled with strong characters, and even stronger heroines.

Thank you for reaching out to a young fan who wanted to be like you more than anything in the world.

And thank you for taking the time to share Numair's story. I know it was worth the wait.