By Indie Authors for Indie Authors.

Tag: #amwriting (Page 2 of 5)

Interview with R.L. Baxter

The Blue WitchI am pleased to have another UK indie author—R.L. Baxter—join us here at Nothing Any Good. R.L. is the author of Gideon and the Crimson Samurai, Mother Gaia, A Sinless Horizon, and The Worst Death. He is an avid blogger and speaker, giving advice and thoughts to fellow creators from all walks of life. Welcome Ricky! 

 

Let’s jump right in. You’ve said before, “Believe in your work. Believe in you.” What did you mean by this?

I said this after I woke one morning and saw a great review for my title: Gideon and the Crimson samurai. The review was so accurate, and I could tell the reader captured the message and intention within the book. As such I was thankful to myself that I never gave up on my title, as it took many years to complete. When you’re a making a piece of work, it’s hard to know what others will think of it – which is why sometimes we discard a piece of work, out of fear others will reject it. Because I never gave up on my title (even though I wanted to at times), I was able to witness what other people thought about it. This is why it’s importance to believe in your work and you. You just might have a diamond waiting to be revealed.

 

That is a great ideology to hold close to the heart. You say that your titles highlight concepts of race, religion, war, and poverty. Do you mean literally the titles or the content within the books? 

 I would say a bit of both, as it depends on the title. For example, Gideon and the Crimson Samurai as a title doesn’t bring to mind anything along the lines of: Race, religion, war and poverty. However once read, these concepts slowly show themselves throughout the story. On the other hand, my novella: The Worst Death clearly warns the reader that the story will contain some hard-hitting things. Based on many reader’s thoughts, I will happily concede that my stories reflect the society we live in.

 

Race seems to be an important issue for you. Here in the states, Ta-Nehisi Coates has made some waves in recent years with his articles in the New York Times and the Atlantic, and his two published books The Beautiful Struggle (a memoir) and the fantastically powerful (and #1 New York Times Bestseller) Between the World and Me. Have his works made a impact on discussions surrounding race in the UK?

 

Unfortunately I haven’t read any of his works, but they seem very intriguing. I would say that the issue of race has always been a concern with me. Not only because of my own experiences, but the experiences and cultures around the world. Thanks to social media, we no longer need to listen to a narrative portrayed by the media. Now we can see for ourselves the type of issues many others face around the world. This offers an endless pool for writers to discuss and voice through their work. After all, my work (like many others) is a portrayal of this world and the many possibilities it may take. This could be told either idealistically or pessimistically of course.

 

“Thanks to social media, we no longer need to listen to a narrative portrayed by the media. Now we can see for ourselves the type of issues many others face around the world. This offers an endless pool for writers to discuss and voice through their work.”

Personally, I’m drawn to your idealistic approach to the world. You seem to look at the world, not as it is, but as it could be. Where did that belief that the world can be better than most people believe it is come from?

I think it’s because I am naturally an idealistic person, who’s always been quite a dreamer. As I got older, I observed much of the things in society and realized that many of the rules and regulations we follow are made by an unfair system. As such I have always been optimistic things could get better. Don’t get me wrong; I am aware that this world will never be the way many of us would like for it to be; however, that doesn’t stop me from hoping. In my stories, this ‘hope’ comes in the form of many things. In Mother Gaia, I used the spirit of earth as the ‘hope’ to bring change. The same theme runs through my other novellas, which basically portray an intervention as a way to affect mankind.

 

You seem ambitious and driven. Being completely vulnerable and open, where would you hope to see this secondary career be in 10 years? Again, be completely honest. I won’t accept a fluffy everything is great and what happens will happen answer. What’s the dream with your writing career?

In all honesty, I would love to achieve a loyal and conscious fan base where I can dedicate my writing to. That would be perfect! I used to be a composer for short films a while back, and would create many scores for indie directors. However, as much as I enjoyed composition, I couldn’t quite tell my own story with just that. Since being a writer and author, I have the tools to put a piece of myself in the literature. In doing this I am able to communicate my views and stories in a way that I’ve never achieved before.

 

“Self-publishing has been a test of endurance and patience which gradually reaps benefits.”

 

What’s your YouTube Channel about?

Oh… that, hahaha. Well just before I started drafting Gideon and the Crimson Samurai, I created a visual novel for youtube. It’s called: Colours of Destiny, and it’s a mixture of my compositions and creative writing. Told in episodic form, Colours of Destiny is about the imaginary people within our dreams and ‘what if’ they had real feelings, knowing that once the dreamer wakes up, they would cease to exist. I did it for purely arts sake, as I thoroughly enjoyed the process from start to finish. It’s mind blowing, that’s for sure!

 

While uncustomary and at the risk of being a rude host, I am taking the last question myself, and it’s not even a question, it’s a quote…from you:

“Self-publishing has been a test of endurance and patience which gradually reaps benefits.”

Truer words about self-publishing have not been spoken.

 

Thank you, Ricky! I am grateful for your time. Please visit us often. You have tremendous creative talent and we wish you all the success in the world!

Thank you so much for interviewing me!

 

 

Ricky Baxter InterviewAbout the Author

Ricky Baxter is a writer and author to many novels and novellas for your reading pleasure. His titles are a reflection of our own society; highlighting concepts of race, religion, war and poverty. His most notable work is Gideon and the Crimson Samurai. Born and bred in London, Ricky has always been an inspired lover of weird and wonderful concepts, and his work is no exception. Also an avid blogger and speaker, Ricky Baxter’s message is one of awareness of ourself and the world around us.

 

 

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

The Blue WitchAbout The Blue Witch

The Blue Witch is R.L. Baxter’s latest book and was released on February 14th. Growing up in the city of London, a young lady has reached her limit living in the hustle and bustle of the UK’s capital. Living with a shameless mother, adulterer father and working at a dead end job, Ophelia has just about given up on life in the big smoke. That is until she is transported to the magical world of Pecopia – a land where she is tasked with overthrowing an evil witch queen. However unlike most girls, who learn a valuable lesson of love and hope by the end of their journey – Ophelia’s only thought is one of revenge.

Folder Gallery Plugin

  1. WordPress Plugins for Writers
  2. The WP Post Series Plugin
  3. The EZ Columns Plugin
  4. MyBookTable Plugin
  5. Embed PDF Plugin
  6. Easy Digital Downloads Plugin
  7. Media File Manager Plugin
  8. Folder Gallery Plugin
  9. Managing Links
  10. Creating Shortcodes
  11. Mailchimp: A Pandora’s Box
  12. Getting Social
  13. Dropbox Backup

wordpress for writers

 

In order to use this plugin, it is a good idea to first implement the Media File Manager plugin from last week.

Let’s say you want to show a collection of photographs on your site, like a Facebook album. There are plugins that allow you to create galleries by selecting a group of images from a list. If you have many images, this can be cumbersome, and if you have to upload new versions of some of the images, you have to re-add them to the gallery.

The Folder Gallery Plugin allows you to create a gallery by pointing it to a folder. The gallery displays all the images in that folder. Here is an example of the plugin in action:

 

Folder Gallery Plugin

 

At the bottom of the linked page, you will see the images above lined up in neat rows and columns. To create the album, I simply uploaded all the images to a single directory using cPanel File Manager, and used a single line of code in the WordPress post to display them. Notice (below) how it’s simply the “foldergallery” short code with two parameters, and that’s it, dozens of images spill out of that one line!

 

Screenshot from 2016-01-31 20:21:53

 

The plugin takes care of the rest. Importantly, I didn’t even have to go through WordPress’s Media section in order to upload the photos.

However, if you want to make a gallery of photos already existing on your website, see last week’s post to learn how to consolidate a group of scattered files into a single directory.

This plugin also requires what it calls a “Gallery Engine.” This is just the necessary plugin that pulls up a lightbox when you click on each image. Though it’s too simplistic for me to write a separate post about it, I use the Easy Fancybox plugin for this.

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

Victor Davis is the author of one short story collection, Grains of Sand, and is publishing a second book, The Gingerbread Collection, in the spring of 2016. He shares his writing and reading adventures at his blog Mediascover. You can find him on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads. His Books & Stories are available on AmazonApple iBooksSmashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

Stuck in Your Head & 7 Other Bad Places for Writers to Get Stuck

Bad writing habits

by Sondi Warner

 

 

writer's block1. Stuck In Your Head

That brilliant book idea will never make it out of your dreams without careful planning and execution. That’s right, it’s a two-step. Whatever is holding you back—whether inexperience, under-confidence or a busy schedule—can be overcome when you plan how, what and when you will write.

For newbies, an outline will be your best friend, helping you answer the how and what, but you need to get acquainted with a calendar so you can pin down an exact ‘when.’ Pencil in dates and times for writing because writing is work. After all, if you didn’t have a scheduled shift at your regular 9-5, would you ever really clock in?

Here’s a tip:

Join Book-In-A-Week for a tiny donation of $3 by PayPal to set and tackle goals alongside other motivated writers. Become a part of a community where you can set word count goals, check-in with your progress and win prizes when you participate. Sometimes all it takes is a deadline to take a book from idea to start.

 

Sometimes all it takes is a deadline to take a book from idea to start.Click To Tweet

 

Internet writers2. Stuck On the Internet

It happens to the best of us. Chances are, you’re writing on a desktop or laptop with the internet constantly at your fingertips, and sometimes you can’t avoid going there. You might search the web for your book. You might hop on to do some platform building or to handle marketing. Whatever the lure, once you’re sucked into the world wide web, getting out can be tough. Therefore, you need help to kick your internet addiction. Luckily, there’s an app for that.


Here’s a tip
:

Author Jane Friedman curated a list of 10 Apps to Help You Stay Focused on Your Writing. Some of her top choices include Anti-Social, an app you can set to block you from social sites for a prescribed amount of time, as well as the diabolical Write or Die, which will either gently prompt you to keep writing, play an annoying sound if you stop writing or unwrite what you’ve written if you pause for too long. If that doesn’t motivate you to get to work, then I don’t know what will.

 

 

Writing a draft3. Stuck On Your Draft

It’s been said you should ‘write fast, edit slow.’ What that means from one writer to the next varies. According to “The Daily Word Counts of 39 Famous Authors” from WritersWrite.com, Anne Rice of Interview with the Vampire reportedly wrote about 3000 words a day, while Ernest Hemingway of The Old Man and the Sea only cleared about 500 words in the same timeframe. Whatever your numbers, what will definitely slow you down is trying write, rewrite and edit all at once. It’s a common mistake, but there’s a way to avoid it.


Here’s a tip:

Get in the zone and go with the flow state. When you achieve flow, your productivity increases and you tap into almost superhuman abilities with an influx of norepinephrine, dopamine, anandamide, serotonin and endorphins. This practice teaches you to leave the editing for later as you hammer out your word count goals. I tell you how to induce this miracle state in my article, “The Ultimate Guide to Addictive Flow,” including how to create an environment free of distractions with the right conditions for writing.

 

Don't try to write, rewrite and edit all at once. It’s a common mistake, but avoid it.Click To Tweet

 

 

Editing4. Stuck Editing

Although some of us mull over a draft for what feels like forever, others breeze through the writing only to get stalled editing. We add a word, take a word out, change a name, reconsider the murder weapon, delete a kiss, add a description—but the heavy lifting of content and line editing gets put off in favor of nitpicking with minor details. Editing involves correcting grammar, punctuation, spelling and formatting, as well as fact-checking. However, it also involves checking for plot inconsistencies, weak characterization, stilted voice and under-developed setting. Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is. So, you don’t have time to get hung up on the words instead of the story.

Here’s a tip:

Whether you’re an indie author or publish traditionally, while your final draft will likely head off to a professional editor, you should make sure your manuscript is as clean as possible with a good self-edit. Writer’s Digest guest columnist Mike Nappa provides this helpful advice, “How to Edit Your Book in 4 Steps.” Thank you, Mike. You’re welcome, writers everywhere.

 

 

self publish5. Stuck Unpublished

As hard as it is to write a book, the work isn’t over after you type The End. It’s only beginning. You either have to search out an agent or shop your book around to publishing houses that accept unagented open submissions. You could self-publish. All you have to do is click publish, right? Wrong. You need a professional book cover and a catchy book blurb, and you have to choose a platform: CreateSpace, Amazon, Smashwords, IngramSpark? Being swamped with options isn’t necessarily a good thing. If you’re having trouble getting your newly written book published, there’s hope.

Here are some tips:

 

It's hard to write a book, but the work isn’t over after you type The End. It’s only beginning.Click To Tweet

 

Marketing your book6. Stuck With No Marketing Plan 

Be you self-published or traditionally released, these days every single one of us needs an author platform, and we each have to take a hands-on approach to promoting our books. However, few writers double as marketing gurus. When I became an indie author and released Jonquille, I had no idea I should start promoting my book well before hitting publish and continue advertising it for the long haul. I didn’t know having an email list was a best practice or that getting reviews to boost my visibility would be a lot like pulling teeth. If this is where you’re stuck, too, you have to come out of obscurity and sell your book.

Here’s a tip:

89 Book Marketing Ideas in a comprehensive list that covers writers with and without a platform, although none of the tips are extensively explained. In short, in order to learn the ins and outs of marketing your book, you’ll have to do your homework. But, you’ve gotta start somewhere, and this is a great place to start.

 

 

indie author7. Stuck On Your First Book

Well, did you know that the best way to sell your book is to have more books to sell? Over at the Author Marketing Institute, at the top of the list of “5 Things You Can Do to Sell More Books on Amazon” is Publish More Often. Although writers should market, market, market, sometimes the best marketing is having more than one book under your belt to increase your visibility and credibility as an author. So before you settle in for the long haul of promoting your one great book for the next twelve months after you hit publish, remember most books have a “90-Day Cliff,” meaning you have about 90 days before your sales begin to taper off, no matter how much marketing you pour into it.

Here’s a tip:

This one’s simple. Do what you do best. Write another book.

 

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

About the Author

Sondi Warner of Wrought Iron Reads is author of indie published contemporary romance, Jonquille. Please feel free to follow her blog Writer People Problems, where she delivers quality content covering all things #LifeAsWriter. When she’s not writing, she enjoys family time with her four children and partner in picturesque Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sondi welcomes readers who want to connect on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Interview with Amy Metz

bookcovers

 

I am delighted to have Amy Metz join us here at Nothing Any Good. Amy is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction humorous southern mystery series: Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction, Heroes & Hooligans in Good Pimple Junction, and Short & Tall Tales in Good Pimple Junction. She is a tireless supporter of indie authors. Welcome Amy!

Thank you so much for having me, Dan!

 

Let’s start here. You have started a campaign called “Authors Are Weird Too.” What is this about?

As an indie author, I know how hard it is to get your name and your book out there. So I started my blog, A Blue Million Books, in the hopes of helping other authors promote their work. I live in Louisville, Kentucky, where we have a campaign called, “Keep Louisville Weird.” It was started with the intention of supporting local business. McDonald’s and Applebee’s are everywhere, but it’s the local businesses that give a city uniqueness and flavor. Local businesses are usually small, with limited capital and resources; not unlike indie authors. So I started my own campaign (“Authors Are Weird Too.”) to support indie authors.

 

I live in Portland, Oregon and there is a similar campaign called, “Keep Portland Weird.” In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that Portlanders would be up in arms if they knew another city was doing a similar things.  I have travelled enough in my life already to know that there are weirdos everywhere. Hell, I’m one of them. Most authors are, so your campaign sounds perfect!

You used to teach first graders. Do you find your time with the imagination of young kids inspired your writing?

No, although there was once a principal I would have liked to kill off. 🙂

My two sons inspired the children’s book I wrote, but it’s still in need of illustration and is currently living in my computer.

 

Anyone out there an illustrator that’s looking to collaborate? It sounds like you have an opportunity here.

Do you miss the classroom at all?

I really don’t. Teaching is a demanding profession in so many ways. I tend to be an all or nothing kind of person, which is why I stopped teaching when my first son was born. If I were teaching now, there’s no way I would have time or inclination to write. I enjoyed teaching, but I’ve said that being a mom was my dream job, and it was. Now that my sons are grown, writing is my dream job.

 

As an indie author, I know how hard it is to get your name and your book out there. So I started my blog, A Blue Million Books, …[and] I started my own campaign, “Authors Are Weird Too,” to support indie authors in the hopes of helping other authors promote their work.

 

I am the product of teachers, so I applaud you. My mother is a junior high teacher and my father is a high school professor. My sister teaches 5th grade and I have three sisters-in-law that teach grade school or have taught grade school at one time. Teachers give us so much of themselves and as a society, at least here in the States, we tend to give them so little back. It’s really sad. So on behalf of all the children you taught, thank you.

Thanks, Dan. You’re right, teachers deserve more support than society gives them.

 

You’re from Louisville, Kentucky. I’ve seen you use a number of southern phrases and my curiosity is piqued on a few of them. Can you explain each of these that you’ve used?

Sure, although Goose Pimple Juntionians use these phrases more than Louisvillians!

 

  • Well shave my legs and call me smoothy—This phrase would be uttered by someone who was surprised or startled at something and might be accompanied with a slack jaw.

 

  • Get your straw out of my Kool-Aid—I love that one. It means to mind your own business!

 

  • He’s handier than a pocket on a shirt—A pocket on a shirt can come in very handy, so if someone is very helpful, he might be handier than a pocket on a shirt.

 

  • You can put a porcupine in a wood chipper, but you will not make maple syrup—Just because you say it doesn’t make it so. Or it might mean you can go ahead and try it that way, but it won’t have the results you want.

 

  • You can just get glad in the same pants you got mad in—This means the person will just have to get over whatever it is that made them mad, and they’d better get over it quick. You got mad wearing those pants, and you can just as easily get glad – even before you have a chance to change clothes.

 

These two need no explanation, but I loved them and needed to share them.

  • “If it has tires or testicles, it’s gonna give you trouble—That’s one of my favorites.
  • That went over like a pregnant pole vaulter—Yep, that’s a good ‘un!

 

You once said you would like to go to The Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport, Maine more than anywhere else in the entire world. Really? Why don’t you just go? What’s stopping you?

The Colony Hotel is definitely is one of my favorite places to visit. But there are several reasons I don’t just go. 1) Kennebunkport is about 15 and a half hours by car from where I live. 2) One night at The Colony Hotel is around $380. If you want to stay more than one nightwhich , believe me, you will want to do – that adds up quickly and is hard to do with what I make as an indie author. But when I’m rich and famous, you better believe I’m going there!

 

You heard her people! Help Amy out! Buy her book so she can live her dream. It’s a modest dream!

 

“You can put a porcupine in a wood chipper, but you will not make maple syrup”Just because you say it doesn’t make it so. Or it might mean you can go ahead and try it that way, but it won’t have the results you want.

 

I’m a huge basketball fan. Since you’re from Kentucky, I know you’re required to like basketball too. It’s part of the citizenship test I believe. I have to ask. Do you support Rick Pitino? What do you think of the one-year postseason ban that was recently imposed?

Oh boy. You’re going to get me in trouble! You’re right. B-ball is very serious business in Kentucky. My daughter-in-law teaches at U of L, but I graduated from the University of Kentucky, so I’m more of a Cats fan than a University of Louisville Cards fan. I do root for the Cards as long as they’re not playing UK, though. To answer your question, I think Pitino is a good college basketball coach and he’s doing the best he can with the hand that he’s been dealt. The one-year ban is heartbreaking for the U of L seniors, and really for the whole team. They’re paying for someone else’s mistakes, and that’s tough luck. What’s fair in this situation? That question is for someone who’s a whole lot smarter than I am. But I think Pitino is handling it with class.

 

Boom! Mind blown! A Cats and a Cards fan?!?! What is happening? I have about 1,000 follow up questions and I know most readers are bored with the one I asked already. I feel we need to sit on a porch swing somewhere and have a nice long summer discussion sometime. Just know, that I am a Minnesota fan watching Richard Pitino currently struggle, I miss Clem Haskins (from Campbellsville, KY), we had Tubby Smith as our coach right after the Cats did, I still feel a little bit robbed by Kentucky of Minnesota’s only Final Four appearance in 1997, and (brace yourself) two of my older brothers are huge Duke fans and, well… We could talk for hours.

 

For your final question, I’m allowing you to interview yourself, but it can’t be a standard interview question that is pre-packaged.

I joke a lot on social media about killing off people that cross me. I even have a sign at my back door that says, “Please do not annoy the writer. She may put you in a book and kill you off.” Someone once asked me if I’ve ever really done that.

The answer is not really really, but kind of. I’m usually a very nice person who tries not to let the little things get to me – but I’m no pushover. Let’s just say that book 4, Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction, features a hitwoman who kills off a whole list of people who have irritated me in the last few years. If the “victims” should happen to read the book, they won’t have any trouble figuring out my feelings for them. And I’ve already started a new list. (evil grin)

 

I take back anything mean I have ever said! Please don’t put me in one of your books and kill me off. I have a young daughter!

Thank you, Amy! It is always a delight!

Thank you, Dan. I appreciate the opportunity and hope you’ll come back to A Blue Million Books soon!

 

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

About Amy Metz

Amy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction humorous southern mystery series: Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple JunctionHeroes & Hooligans in Good Pimple Junction, and Short & Tall Tales in Good Pimple Junction. As an indie author, she knows how hard it is to get your name and your book out there, so she started A Blue Million Books  and “Authors Are Weird Too” in the hopes of helping other authors promote their work. She lives in Lousville, Kentucky. You can follow Amy on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter.

 

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