Thursday, March 28, 2013

Interview with Jackie Charley - Parent Coach

Another exciting interview coming to you from Indie Authors 4 - U  Come back every week and be sure and add us to your email list or book mark our page. Thanks and on to the Interview!

Jackie Charley tell us a little about you?
I’m a writer and a Parent Coach who helps stressed-out parents reconnect with their kids. My passion is to see parents realize their full potential as fulfilled individuals in their own right, as well as being effective in bringing up wonderful children. That’s why I felt I had to write my book.

I live in the beautiful Scottish borders with my husband, two boys, one dog and a gaggle of crazy chickens. Despite a very difficult time over the last year, my motto is still that life should always be lived with a mischievous sense of fun.

Tell us a little about your first book.
Most parenting books are only concerned with modifying a child's behavior. Unlock the Cage is different. It's as much about developing the parent, as it is about the child. Many people assume that being a parent is such an instinctive role that there's something wrong with them if they find it a struggle. They feel they are just 'muddling along', doing the best they can without understanding why they do the things they do, or how to do them better.

This book shows parents how to:
- Connect with their kids so they willingly include mum & dad in their world
- Be confident in themselves and the choices they make
- Prepare their kids for leadership; protect them from bullying, drugs, alcohol, media abuse and too much texting!
- Make time for themselves to discover how they can achieve their dreams in the midst of the chaos that is raising kids
- and so much more!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?  When did you start writing? 

I’ve always wanted to be a writer since before I could even write! When I was a toddler I used to ‘practice’ joined-up writing, filling reams and reams of paper with very grown-up looking scribble. 

Once I was at school there was no stopping me! In fact, one teacher I had was so enthusiastic about my writing that he used to get me to stay in at lunch times to write instead of going out to play. Mmmm, not sure how that would go down now!

From start to finish this book took me about a year. My co-author provided a lot of links to the research papers I based my arguments on, which saved me a huge amount of time, but then I had to trawl through them all in detail. That was tough!

What was the hardest part about the writing process? 
The hardest part was definitely turning academic studies into accessible layman’s vocabulary. The fun bit was adding my own ideas and weaving it all together.

What advice would you give aspiring writers? 
Don’t be afraid of a blank page. Scribble rubbish until all the rubbish has gone and you find yourself producing half-decent stuff. You can always edit, or even re-write, but you can’t edit a blank page.

For you personally, what is the best thing about being a writer?
What’s not to like about being a writer? (Apart from the pay!) I love that I can work when I choose, rather than having to catch a train. I love being able to take a stroll down the road if my brain feels like it’s going to explode. But perhaps most of all, I love having a legitimate reason for pouring out my ideas and playing with them.  That’s the real fun part.

What did you learn doing the KDP Select?
As this is my first published book I had no experience of using marketing through any other route so I
have nothing with which to compare it. However, since KDP does still allow you to share excerpts of the book (up to 10%) for promotional purposes I really haven’t found it a problem.

What do you think was the most helpful thing you did during the giveaway?
I learnt just how crucial online marketing is for authors and that the numbers of channels open to us for self-promotion are vast.  However, the downside is that they’re not all free!

How did you schedule your writing?
I treated writing like a full-time job – nine to five, come hell or high water.  The discipline of that approach kept me focused, although I railed against it at times. 

It wasn’t easy as two boys, hubby, dog and I were all squashed into a caravan where one space was shared by all (!), but I’d drawn out my book plan on pieces of A4 taped together, and I just ploughed through each chapter methodically until it was done.

What was the hardest part of the publishing process?
I’ve published both on Kindle and through Create Space, and both processes were fairly straightforward, except that, having gone to all the trouble of getting a professional to design the file for Create Space, they still had to tweak it when we tried to upload it for the first time.

What’s been your experience so far of the marketing process for a non-fiction book?
I’ve realized that there are fewer websites available for marketing purposes to writers of non-fiction books. It’s also harder to get book reviews because the vast majority of reviewers I have come across are biased towards fiction.  I was quite taken aback by this because, even as a reader, I much prefer non-fiction books to fiction.

What can readers expect in the future?

Well, I've enjoyed the whole process so much that readers can definitely expect more. My next project is to write a course on improving communication between parents and kids, looking at body language - how to interpret your kids' and how to make your own accessible and non-threatening so that misunderstandings and arguments become a thing of the past. Watch this space!

Thanks for joining us today.  I hope you'll check out Jackie Charley's book.  Parents these days need all the help they can get. If you want to learn more check out her website, or  twitter,  facebook

Samantha Fury is the author of the Popular Street Justice Series
she's written many articles on book covers, for Indie Authors.  
She operates several Indie Groups. Editing Services, Cover Artist, 
Helpful Indie Facebook Groups, and a wonderful Forum 
just for Indie Authors.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Interview with Author Merita King

 Indie Authors 4 - U
This is a new meeting place for Indie Authors.  We hope to be interviewing authors, cover artist, editors, maybe even a model or two.  Book marks us or sign up for our emails.  Thanks for reading!

Author Merita King 
Samantha Fury here with yet another entertaining interview with one of our Indie Authors, Merita King.  I met Merita through my Nano Wrimo Word War group. It's a group we started to help us with our daily word counts. It's great fun competing with Authors and Merita won our weekend word war so I decided it would be fun to interview her. Nano Wrimo is a contest that's held in November where authors try to win a contest by writing 50 thousand in a month. 

Merita tell us how did you learn about Nano Wrimo
Hi, I first heard about Nano on facebook.  Someone posted a question in a group I used to belong to, asking who was planning to do it in November 2012.  I’d never heard of it before so I commented, asking what it was.  When they told me, I was intrigued enough to go to the Nano site and take a look.  I write fairly quickly, about 5k words a day is average so I was pretty confident I’d manage the required 50k. I didn’t hesitate to sign up.

How many years have you participated in nano and how does the group help with your word counts.
My first one was November 2012 and I found the Nano group during the event.  When the event was going on, I found the daily word wars really helpful and fun to do.  Even now, in between Nano’s I enjoy the weekend-long word wars as I’m actively writing a new novel at the moment.

When did you start writing and why?
I began my first novel in June 2011.  I’ve wanted to write a book since I was a teenager but I never had the ability to make my writing full enough for a book.  I have a very vivid imagination and often got plots and story ideas pop into my head.  The reason I began writing was because of Vin Diesel, he got me started.  He was always encouraging his fans to be creative and would often comment on our efforts, which was a huge inspiration. It started as fan fiction but as it grew and grew, I realised it could be a book.  That first night, I wrote for 8 hours solid and finally dragged myself off the pc at 4am.  After that, I had a dilemma; it was still a piece of Riddick fan fiction and if I continued with it and wrote a Riddick book, I’d probably end up in trouble with copyright and trademark laws and as I had no idea how to go about getting the appropriate permissions, I started again and used the same plot and peripheral characters, but changed my protagonist completely.  Vincent Domenico was born. 

Tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series?  
My latest novel is called Floxham Island ~ Sinclair V-Log AZ267/M and it’s the first in a new series.  The main character, Sam Sinclair is a Freelance Law Enforcer with the Inter Galactic Law Enforcement Agency and his job is to find, capture and deliver a specific target into the hands of the relevant authorities.  Sam decided, after 20 years of being a Freelance Law Enforcer, to make his own video logs where he recounts the more memorable of his experiences and uplink them to the galactic web so others can enjoy them.  In Floxham Island, Sam recounts the nightmare than befell him when he was sent to capture Professor Kluvak Nembier, who was suspected of murdering 9 of his colleagues on an archeological dig on Agrillia 3.  Sam and his colleagues, find themselves stranded on the strangely deserted prison planet, Floxham 4, where they soon realise a new killer is amongst them.  Whilst having to avoid the indigenous terrors on Floxham Island, Sam has to identify the real killer before too many more of them die.

How did you get into Self Publishing?
I started out by sending off my first manuscript to various agents but found most of them refused to accept science fiction and those that did, rejected it.  After a dozen rejections I researched self publishing and decided to go ahead on my own.  For my first two books I found a little old guy who did formatting for very little money but after that, I really wanted to know how to do it myself so I had a go and found it reasonably simple and now I do the whole process myself, apart from cover art.  I was lucky enough to find a very talented cover artist who offered to work with me and he now does all my book covers.

Did you learn anything along the way as you wrote the book?
Now this is a great question and one I’ve never been asked before.  Yes I did learn something extremely valuable.  I learned that I am good at something, that I have an inner voice that is worthy of being heard and that I finally have something that I can be proud of.  I’m autistic so communication is hard for me.  I always felt I had something to say but have never been able to allow that inner voice to speak before.  Now, through my writing, it can finally speak.

From start to finish, how long does it generally take you to write a book?
Usually a couple of months to finish to first draft.  I write quickly and usually do around 5 thousand words a day, which is a chapter for me and the book tends to grow at around 3 or 4 chapters a week.  I then put it away for a few weeks before I begin the process of proof reading and editing.

What advice would you give aspiring writers? 
Get the story out.  Just get it out of your head and onto the page.  You can tidy it up later but if you don’t get it out of your head, it’ll never see the light of day.  Don’t worry about spelling or grammar at first; all that can be seen to when you proof read it.  The most important thing is to get it out of your head.

For you personally, what is the best thing about being a writer?
For me, the best part is being able to say what I want to say, the way I want to say it.  To give full control over to the creative side of my mind and bring my fantasies into physical form is so totally cool that I can’t really describe it.  To see those words, to read them later and still be moved by them, to cry and laugh at those words and know that they came from me, my abused and damaged self, is just awesome.

Are you learning anything new even in this stage of your craft? 
Oh yes, I’m learning new things all the time.  I can now format a complete novel for kindle in less than an hour.  I’m learning all the stuff we were never taught at school, such as what a dangling modifier is and little tricks to make your writing a little more sophisticated.  I’m still stretching my creativity all the time.  For instance, Floxham Island is the first of my novels to be written in first person POV.  It’s most natural for me to write in third person omnipresent so first person was a huge challenge and I found it hard but a fantastic learning experience.  I struggled to get Floxham Island past 50 thousand words because I found first person a little constricting but because of that experience, the second in the Sinclair V-Log series, which I’m in the middle of writing now, will be much longer as I’m now far more comfortable with first person.  Having researched the accepted rules of ‘good writing’ with regard to first person, the second one in the series will be around 80 thousand or so.

Thanks for joining Indie Authors 4 - U 
Thanks again for dropping by. I'd like to add that folks can learn more about Merita King at her website here.  Face book here & here.  Twitter here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Indie Authors 4 U

Hi I'm Samantha Fury Author of the Street Justice Series.  I run and operate Indie Authors 4 U, Christian Indie Authors, Indie Authors an Indie Forum and many more that I'll talk about over the coming weeks. I hope to be blogging and sharing about some of our Indie Authors and talking about helpful tips for the New Indie author.  

I have several blogs and websites, and I'll be sharing links to those and explaining more about them as time allows. You'll find out really fast that I don't blog weekly, though I do try.   I do blog about important matters facing the Indie Author so be sure to book marks us and come back often.

Indie Authors 4 U
Welcome to my newest adventure.  Indie Authors 4 U. This is a spin off from a group I started with four other nice ladies called Indie Authors. I'm not sure what will come of this group, other than the blog, but we'll see.  I love helping new authors and this will be a way for me to talk to Indies and see what has helped them most. 

4 - U for now will be only this blog.  I get new ideas every day so it's hard to tell what this might turn into in the future.  Today I had the idea for this blog, so it's hard to tell what might be on my mind in a week or two.  Come back again and find out. 

Some History 
I've been in the Indie Business since 2008, and I love being my own boss.  I know a lot of people tried to go the Traditional Route, but not me. I have never written a query letter or tried to find an agent.  That's just not my style. I like being my own boss, setting my own rules, and the Indie Path is the road I'm on and I love it. 

Being an Indie Author is not for everyone. There is a lot of work involved, you have to buy or make your own covers.  You have to edit your own work or pay for an editor. Then there is formatting, marketing, and this isn't even considering the other things that may be going on in your life, like kids, a husband, pets, house cleaning.  It can be a large commitment and life changing to say the least.

Making your own way
The thing that I have found that is the most useful is learning from other Indie Authors. Most of them are so helpful and willing to roll up their sleeves and take time to help you learn some new task.  I would not be where I am without Christian Writers forum, and Tommie Lyn.  

There are a lot of others too that helped along the way but Tommie Lyn went above and beyond the call of duty, even for an Indie Author.  I can't count the times that I emailed her about this or that, and talked her ear off for hours in a chat room.  If it wasn't for Indies a lot of us would not be where we are, so hats off.  Indies are loveable, helpful, Authors that help out even when they don't really have the time to do so.

Ever Changing Ever Learning 
If I have learned anything from this job, it's that I have to learn something new every day. It may be marketing, a new page or site I need to join or like, or it's some new piece of software that I will find so useful that I just have to try it out. Sometimes I think it takes a group for any one of us to succeed so if you are not a member of one of our groups please feel free to look us up and join in on the fun. You may just be that missing link that will help us get past some new hurdle that's coming around the corner.

More to come
I'll be drawing my little thought to a close, but please feel free to drop by again. I'll also post links to my other blogs and we will be interviewing authors and asking them to divulge a few of their Indie Secrets.  Again book mark us, the next post may just be the secret tip you need to get pass that next Indie hurdle. 

Samantha Fury is the author of the Popular Street Justice Series
she's written many articles on book covers, for Indie Authors.  
She operates several Indie Groups. Editing Services, Cover Artist, 
Helpful Indie Facebook Groups, and a wonderful Forum 
just for Indie Authors.