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Monday, October 17, 2011

"Death Speaks" By Tamara Rose Blodgett GIVEAWAY & GUEST POST!!



So You Want to Self-Publish?


Hi, my name's Tamara and I decided to publish my debut novel, Death Whispers on March 31. I did do the query,-merry-go-round, but not extensively. When an agent finally liked my sample well enough to ask for the full manuscript after revisions...I went ahead and revised it. On the teetering chasm of re-submitting it, my husband read an article about the incredible Indie success of Amanda Hocking. Her success was so inspiring to me that I changed direction entirely and took the metaphoric leap into the “middle of the lake,” to see if I could swim.


As it turns out, I could...and so can you!


There is nothing I would like more than to save other Indie authors whatever time I can by offering a few suggestions that were helpful to me.
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Formatting(!): Wow, in a word: learning curve! ( I know, I know...that's more than one word!) Ha!
This was the single, greatest challenge for self-pubbing that I faced. Now that I've done it, I would offer just a few steps to get other authors in the right direction. First, the following link provided me with the skills I needed to bring my manuscript to print via CreateSpace, then ultimately e-format with Kindle/NOOK & Smashwords: http://tinyurl.com/3z3lcej 


The above link will direct you to part one, of a two-part tutorial created by the WONDERFUL, Bryce Beattie (http://www.storyhack.com/), who shared his knowledge of formatting in an easy-to-learn method. Don't worry about this being a print tutorial. With very little “tweaking,” you can have format for both types; print and e-format. Another super-important point, and just “trust” me on this: download openoffice.org for FREE and use that for your manuscript. It transfers cleaner “code” than Word (and I heard that from another author; it's true). In lay terms, your book won't look “wonky” in different formats.  Secondly, when you go to finally publish to Amazon.com (and for the sake of space constraints, let's use them as an example), save a copy of your org.doc in HTML format. Once that uploads, you can look at the entire manuscript on their sample. Now, that's not a perfect representation but it's darn close. Of course, every author downloads their own book to peruse it closely once it's “live,” to catch anything screwy. I used this method on my latest YA PNR, Death Speaks, and was extremely pleased with the clean transfer from Org to HTML to my Kindle.


Formatting isn't editing! Formatting is just the book looking good; clean paragraph and line breaks and spacings. Editing is totally important and super-difficult! I won't lie: next to formatting it's a big challenge too! If an author has a few, key people to read their work ( called Betas) that is very helpful. Unfortunately, as self-pubbed authors, we generally do not have the “fleet” of editors at our collective backs; helping with flow, typos, spelling and grammatical structure. A person's Betas are usually just there to say, “...yeah that works...”, or, my personal favorite, “what were you thinking?!” I cut ten thousand words (about forty pages) from Death Whispers. I have edited it ten times if I have once. And still...there will be a mistake! There are mistakes in traditionally published works as well. I had one Beta on DW and will have a different one on the sequel, Death Speaks. I am extremely grateful for the help on book #2 because this Beta is only looking for typos/spelling errors and the like. I am a self-professed Run-on Queen and Homophone Princess. The first is acceptable insomuch as it is often times  used by me as style as opposed to lack of understanding structure. My book scenes play out like “a movie in my head,” and I write them with that sense of fluidity, breaking only when absolutely necessary. It's purposeful. The homophone thing...well, reference editing above! Spell-check won't help fix the difference between say, whole and hole. You have to see it and correct it. That is what I'm working on. This is what my Beta will help me with (for some inexplicable reason, some mistakes are very difficult for the author to see, wonderful phenomena, that). Every author has their Achilles heel. Identify yours and look for the mistakes you may repetitively make. We're all just storytellers in the end. Everything after that is perfecting what we've already told; it's work.


Social Networking: lastly, this is critical for self-promotion. I was pleasantly surprised once I got through the learning curve (again!), I was off and running at the following hang-outs: twitter, Facebook, goodreads and Kindleboards. Those four venues have been essential in developing rapport with readers and other authors. Indie authors, for the absolute most part, are completely thrilled to affirm and support each other. It's been a fantastic experience and I'm thrilled to be a part of this cool group. One caveat; don't “over-promote” and get, “spammy.” Keep people abreast of news about your book but have fun too. Establish a blog ( I TOTALLY love the free, user-friendly Blogger), and keep people up-to-date that way.


Finally, I am so thankful that I worked as a journalist for almost four years. Hands-down, I would not be as good of a writer without that starting point. It has forced me to be succinct when I would naturally have gone on ( who me?)...yeah, right! It was practice for what I'm doing now. Aspiring authors, start following blogs that have successful Indie authors that have great advice like the following: Bob Mayer, Amanda Hocking, J.A. Konrath and John Locke, to name a few.


Good luck, and if you happen to read, Death Whispers, send me a line and tell me what you think!

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Author Bio:


Tamara Rose Blodgett is a “thinking-out-of-the box” paranormal enthusiast who believes there's a 95% chance zombies do not exist; but loves to write as if they do. She's from Alaska and has worked as a journalist in the past. Death Whispers, is her debut young adult paranormal novel with book two, Death Speaks, also available now. Her paranormal romance, The Pearl Savage, published in June and book two, The Savage Blood, will release Thanksgiving 2011. In her spare time she's a reluctant serial-re-modeler, project-slave and big time, in-her-pants reader (surprise!). Tamara does a great deal of day-dreaming about impossible scenarios and events, writing books to capture them in stories for you~ Side note: Gnomes should be exterminated. 


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Books out now by Tamara Rose Blodgett:




Future Releases by Tamara Rose Blodgett:




Where to find Tamara's Books:
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