Monday 26 February 2024

Knowing What Advice To Give - The Creative Process

KNOWING WHAT ADVICE TO GIVE

I've been doing these Monday posts for about seven years now, and I have to admit that sometimes the ones that I agonise over don't do anywhere near as well as the ones that I spend not all that much time on. Given that I also have an Authotube channel (found here) I really don't want to get to a point where there's crossover. I don't want to be giving the same advice twice, just worded differently. While there are some nuggets, taking breaks when you need them, and the like, that do seem to apply in a variety of different ways, there are others which are already talked about, written about, to death and I don't want to just be adding to the noise.

That said, there are some times when I just don't know how to approach the topic I've chosen and find myself doing a lot of staring at the screen and trying to think, and this topic seems to be one of those. Hopefully I can find the words to put across what I'm trying to say and it's one of the ones that actually does well regardless.

Because the thing is, there is a lot of writing advice out there. There will be authors and writers talking about a lot of the same stuff, and sometimes going deeper into it, but it feels very reparative. When I first started doing these advice pieces regularly, because I actually started doing them sporadically about eleven years ago, I would stick to the same pieces of advice. The rules of writing, how to plan, how to set a schedule and so on and so forth. Now there's nothing wrong with putting your own spin on things, but I, as a writer and author, had other things that I was searching for.

Like being an indie author, I wanted to focus less on the rules of writing, and move into the how to of publishing. Oh there were blogs and videos for that too, but a lot of the time they focused on their own process and acted like that was the only one out there, and I didn't write like they did. I didn't plan like they did and I didn't publish like they did, so it felt like there was a bit of a gap there. It was around then that I decided to launch myself into Authortube, and again I stuck to the same topics as everyone else did, and then after a year I realised I had my own thoughts on the process, my own ways of doing things that might help other writers and authors like me.

So how do you know what advice to give? How do you know if you have anything to add that hasn't already been said/done/talked about before? I'm gonna give you some tips on knowing just what you, personally, can add to the conversation should you wish to do so.

#1 STICK WITH WHAT YOU KNOW/HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH

I think a lot of the issues that come up are because people feel compelled to add their two cents and it's not always a topic they either know well, or have actual experience with. Like I know that disability videos on my channel do well because I'm talking from a place of lived experience. I'm talking about things I either know about my own life, or I have knowledge about. Applying that to writing, like talking about tropes in a certain genre you either read a whole ton of, or write yourself, that's something where you can shine. I'm not saying don't branch out and learn new things, but try to make it clear that this is a new thing for you, because presenting it as something you're an expert on can be shady, and people do not like shady.

#2 FACT CHECK WHEN YOU'RE NOT SURE AND INCLUDE SOURCES

There is nothing wrong with admitting you're either wrong, or just don't know something. If you've done research to discuss this matter, then make sure you let people know where you got it from. This gives a lot of your readers confidence in what you're saying. It allows them to see that you've put in that effort when it comes to your advice. That you've not just sat at the keyboard and banged out whatever came to mind. Again, it goes back to not being shady, people hate that.

#3 UPDATE AS YOU LEARN AND GROW

Everyone learns new things all the time. There's nothing wrong with either changing your mind about something, or updating the advice piece because you've spent some time learning and growing. I know some Authortubers will delete an older video because the advice has changed, you can do that. I'll revisit a topic every so often to make sure that I'm giving the up to date info as possible. It's really just about being transparent about your learning process, and people are always on board for that.

So keep those three things in mind, and go forth and give your advice. Some things will resonate with people, some might not, and that's okay. You want to get it out to the right people and sharing it far and wide will help with that. Good luck!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books. 

Friday 23 February 2024

Review of Poet Tongue by Kyla Stan

She threw herself away – and was reborn as a alpha werewolf with a prophecy.

Seventeen-year-old Violet Ashton is labeled as a Goth girl and secretly desires to find her purpose in a metal band. She wants a real connection, but her boyfriend Jake would rather party and thinks love is a joke. Trying to navigate through her senior year of high school while dealing with emotional abuse and bullies finally wears Violet down, and she believes everyone would be better off if she were dead. Fleeing society’s brutal ways, she tries to kill herself by cutting her wrists.

Tohon, the gorgeous warrior son of a prominent Skin Walker chief, a race of beings that shapeshift into wolves, is expected to one day succeed his father and find the perfect mate to spend his life with. But Tohon breaks the ultimate Skin Walker rule: stay away from humans. When Tohon smells Violet’s blood and saves her from committing suicide, he accidently bites her, forever marking her as a wolf and awakening an ancient prophecy. Violet has the power to destroy the enemy hunting Tohon’s pack – but only if she is willing to risk her life.

Leading the greatest war in Skin Walker history is only part of the problem. Violet must also face long-buried issues of trust as her feelings for Tohon become something more than she ever expected. Is Violet a raging animal, or a gentle spirit? And can she face down the greatest enemy she has ever known in order to have the things she wants the most?
 
My Review: 4 STARS
 
I picked this up because of the cover and the blurb. I’ve never been a bit reader of paranormal, but I go through stages of wanting to devour them, and this was one that showed up on my radar and I was happy to dive into it! I loved Violet, loved the turmoil in her life that fuelled her decisions and then the change that came from her meeting with Tohon. I adored the world, the lore, the characters and the twists that went through the story. This is a great start to a series and one that I will happily continue!

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here

Tuesday 20 February 2024

#TeaserTuesday

Lock is going to get to the bottom of all of this...

BUY NOW: http://www.books2read.com/LOUT

[ID: A dirty blue background with the title LIGHTS OUT at the top and out now in ebook & paperback just below the title. The except reads:

“Xavier Clement & Zara Mackleby,” the bored man said, handing me two files. “Though next time be clear about the dates.”
“Sorry, I thought I had the right ones,” I replied, taking the files.
“You’re lucky I was able to find them,” he said. “Please return them to me when you’re done, so I can be sure they’re in the right place.” He looked at me with an expression that said he was explaining it as he would to a child. “Now, Officer, is it okay if I go back to work?”
“Of course,” I said, fake smile on my face as I watched him turn and leave.

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website www.joeypaulonline.com, in the top left corner is the Readers' Favorite review seal, in the top right corner is the New Apple awards seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]

 

Monday 19 February 2024

Spoonie Writer: It's Okay Not To Inspire People

SPOONIE WRITER: IT'S OKAY TO NOT INSPIRE PEOPLE

One thing that has always kinda followed me around the author spaces is my disability and the fact that I am a visibly disabled author. That's not me throwing shade on the people I've worked with or talked to, the vast majority of them have been amazing people and I'm glad to know them and call them my friends, but I have had that dreaded: you're so inspiring not letting your illness/condition/disability stop you. And it just makes me internally sigh, take a deep breath and move on.

For those reading who may not understand the above, it's simple. My disabilities and conditions, they do have a massive impact on my life. They do stop me a lot of the time. The fact that I exist in a space and happen to be disabled and okay with that, that's not inspiring really. It's just the way it is. I always worry when I write these kinds of pieces because I don't want to offend of alienate people, but at the same time it feels like a conversation that needs to be had, especially when there are so many disabled and/or chronically ill writers out there who maybe think they need to be inspiring people with what they do, that if they don't, they're somehow doing things wrong.

The truth about inspiration is something I've talked about before (piece found here) and I'm not going to repeat myself and go into it all again. The fact of the matter is, that if someone inspires you because they exist as a disabled/chronically ill person, it's not the compliment that you might think it is. I work hard to be an author. I have all kinds of tricks that help me keep up with the deadlines and other facets of author life. I have built in safety nets in that I do my YouTube videos a month in advance where possible, I write my scripts for said videos a month in advance, I do my blog posts for the month, a month in advance. All of this is so that if I get sick, and have to take a whole chunk of time off, I'm, mostly, covered for the month. It means that then I have breathing room to make sure that I can, somewhat, relax in knowing that things are done, lined up and ready to go.

But that's not the case for every spoonie writer. It's not always possible, and it's not always something they can do because of time constraints or different disabilities and conditions. It's not always possible to plan that far in advance because their health fluctuates so much, and that's okay, it's perfectly valid. You have to do what works for you, and anyone telling you otherwise is just plain old wrong.

There is so much focus, I feel, placed on being inspiring, that sometimes it can be more than detrimental to other people. I know that I'm organised, and I know that I get a lot done, but I also know that my health is, mostly, somewhat stable, and I've honed my schedule down to being able to do a lot in the three or so hours a day my body will let me work. That takes time, it takes energy and it means that I am able to pull up and do the thing with little to no fuss. That's not the case for every spoonie out there trying to make it work.

So if you're someone who's reading this, and feels like you don't inspire people in any way, that's okay. You don't have to be an inspiration to be valid. You're doing amazing things, and while they may not seem like much to some people, I know how much it takes out of you to do the things, to show up, to write, to promote and all of that. You're doing things your way and while it may take you time, maybe even more time than an abled writer, you are doing amazing. You just gotta keep going, no matter how uninspiring you may feel. You got this, and I believe in you.

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments below!

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.

Friday 16 February 2024

Review of Of Chaos And Beauty by Meghan Rhine

 
 
An earth bender who’s lost everything, and the air wielder who’s stolen it all from her. Who will rise and who will fall in this war of elements where winner takes all?

A fierce earth bending warrior, and the next in line to lead her faction, Kara thought an arranged marriage and all-out war between the elements was as bad as things could get. That was before enemy elementals attacked her village.

With her home destroyed and all its survivors chained in transporters destined for enemy territory, Kara's deepest fears of inadequacy as a leader have painfully materialized. When she has nothing left, what is there to give those who still look for her to lead? Will she have one last chance to prove she can protect her people? And could the very commander who overtook her home be just the one to help her get it back?

Sorren’s destiny is simple. He has a legacy to protect and a plan to uphold. Son of the greatest prime policymaker the Upper Region has ever seen, Sorren has a duty to build the region up to his late father’s grand vision. A vision almost fulfilled before the fire benders assassinated him. Now Sorren will stop at nothing to defeat the Lower Region and force its inhabitants to serve the capital, just as his father planned.

But when his raid on an earth bending village goes too far, does he still have what it takes to succeed at all costs? Will duty prevail over honor when one decision could cost Sorren everything? When the woman he swears to protect is the same one he must take everything from, how can he choose between his home and his heart?

Amazon

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up because the cover and blurb sounded like a book I would enjoy. While I’m not usually one for fantasy, the story pulled me in fast and had me hooked on the page. Learning more about Kara, about Sorren, about the world and the elementals just drew me in. I loved all the complexities of the characters and the fights they had to go through. I adored the start of this series and the way it all wound together to bring about an explosive ending that leaves you hungry for more. Overall a great start to a series and one that I would recommend!

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here

Audiobook Release: It's Not Always Rainbows

 IT'S NOT ALWAYS RAINBOWS AUDIOBOOK!

ONLY ON AUDIBLE & iTUNES

BUY HERE: www.books2read.com/INAR

 

 


Tuesday 13 February 2024

#TeaserTuesday

Tara can't bear the thought of losing her dad...

BUY NOW: http://www.books2read.com/DTSD

[ID: A bright blue background with the title DYING THOUGHTS - SEVENTH DEATH at the top and out now in ebook & paperback just below the title. The except reads:

It was then that the next scary thought entered my mind. Was the vision triggered because it was an accident that had made my father lose consciousness, or was it more sinister? Was my father already dead and just being kept alive by machines?

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website www.joeypaulonline.com, in the bottom left corner is the Readers' Favorite review seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]

 

Monday 12 February 2024

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Delving Into Promotion

THE TRIALS OF AN INDIE AUTHOR: DELVING INTO PROMOTION

One thing that a lot of people don't realise is just how much promotion it takes to sell books. I can't claim to be an expert at it because even though I'll have been published 19 years in August and my 22nd book is coming later this year, I am, and have always been, a very small fish in the book world. I do find it hard to get all the ducks in a row and manage to get the word out there, and a lot of the time, it's that word that is going to help people see you, recognise you, and go on to read more and more of your works.

So why do I then come on here and talking about promotion when I've already made clear that I'm not an expert? Simple, I do know some, and a lot of it is things that might have escaped your notice. I don't really do the hard sell. My process is more about putting my book out there for people to see, and then letting them make that decision about whether or not to go any further and buy, read, and all the rest.

I spend a lot of time working on the promotion side of things out of sight of the public eye, as do a lot of authors I know. There's not much that appeals to readers by showing them how you go about making ads, or how you go about approaching promo sites and the like. The readers know this all happens, but they have no interest in having it laid out for them. Now when it comes to other writers and authors, that's when it appeals because they might find themselves in need of that information and know how. So, like with the majority of my blog posts, let's talk to the writers and authors in my audience.

STEP ONE: WHO ARE YOU TRYING TO ENTICE?
I know you've probably heard people talk about your target audience before and it's something that is really important to pin down. Like I know that my target audience is primarily young adults, so teens, but I also know that there are not a small number of adults who read YA, and I'd like to bring them into the fun too. For one part of my audience, the bigger chunk, the legitimate young adults, I'm going to focus on things like Instagram and YouTube, because I know that a lot of young adults will use that as their main social media, if they have any at all.

For the adults who read YA, I'll stick to Facebook and before I left the platform, Twitter, and now BlueSky and Threads. These are places where a lot of YA readers are hanging out and looking for their next read. It's hard to juggle having both an author platform that appeals to readers, while also having a platform that appeals to other authors, especially those in similar age categories and genres. I'm not going to claim that I've cracked it, but I'm getting to a point where I think the majority of the time, I am drawing in the right kind of people from both audiences. You need to do the legwork to find out who your audience is, and how you're going to reach them, or more to the point, where they are.

STEP TWO: HOW DO THEY CONSUME MEDIA?

Now that you know that illusive target audience and have some idea of who they are, how you reach them, or at least where they are, then you have to focus on how they do things online. I'm sticking to online because so much promotion these days is done in the online space. While you can spend more and more on maybe billboards and the like (depending on genre and age category) I don't have those kinds of funds and a lot of what I do is done on a smaller scale and limited budget.

When you know how, as in if they prefer posts, or reels, or shorts, or long form videos, then you can tailor what you're doing to hopefully catch the right eyes. I recently, as in this year, started doing reels, and given my platform I knew they were going to fall into three distinct categories: bookish ones, those focusing on my books and enticing readers, author life ones, those focusing on my process, and bringing in either curious readers or other authors, and wheelchair walk ones, those focusing on the wheelchair walks I do that bring in people interested by that and maybe might be open to learning more about me. You don't have to go to that level, but it's worked, or is working for me, and I'm enjoying myself which is the main thing.

STEP THREE: DECIDING HOW TO REACH THEM
This is partly a carry on from the previous step, in that once you know how they go looking for things, you can decide what your next steps are. Like I said above, reels are a great quick tool, and rather than me making more videos, which I already do on youtube, I looked to places like Canva to make reels that stand out, maybe have a few clips here and there, and also appeal to those three distinct audiences I attract on Instagram. You can apply that to any social media, like if you know that on Threads you hang out more with authors, then your promotion there should be tailored to them. If you know that on Facebook, you're connecting with readers more, same applies. It's about being smart with how you do things, and also going into it informed by those choices.

So yeah, that's how I approach things, and I know it's a mammoth task and it takes forever to sometimes see any traction, but the thing about building an author career is it does take time. It's very very rare for it to happen fast, and you just have to keep plugging away at it and hoping things all come together nicely. Good luck!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.




Friday 9 February 2024

Review of Savage Wild Hearts by Sean Fletcher

Carve their hearts. Take their power.


Val has only ever known a Seattle surrounded by the forested Wilds. Like everyone, she’s heard whispers about the glittering, ruthless kingdoms and dangerous human-like wildlings deep within. But with a sick guardian and money tight, Val’s more than willing to brave the Wilds’ depths, carving and selling magic-filled heart gems from its numerous beasts.

Until one day she wanders too far and Rune finds her.

He’s a wildling, more savage and beautiful than any beast, and he has a deal for her: Val will use her unique abilities to help him take the unclaimed high throne of the Wilds. In return, Rune will let her carve the powerful heart gems of his enemies, something there’s no shortage of.

As Val is thrust into a vicious conflict between Lords, kings, and awakening gods, nothing is as it seems. But both the Wilds and Rune—cruel, kind, broken Rune—hold secrets, and if Val’s not careful it might be her heart she loses next.

Amazon

My Review: 5 STARS

I’ve read a lot of Fletcher’s books and always find myself falling entranced by the worlds he creates and this one was no different. I loved Val, her fighting spirit and her ability to see both sides drew me into the story. I ended up finishing the book in one sitting, going through the battles, the fights, the twists and turns that the story took you alone. I adored Rune and his black and white way of thinking. The unique path the story came across and that ending left me desperate for more, to know how this series will play out. One to watch and one that I very much recommend!

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here

Tuesday 6 February 2024

#TeaserTuesday

Hetti's starting to make connections...

BUY NOW: http://www.books2read.com/WAM

[ID: A dirty green background with the title WALK A MILE at the top and out now in ebook & paperback just above the title. The except reads:

Though from the sounds of things, we had Cat Holiday dead to rights, but still I couldn’t help but wonder if the WAM glasses she’d been holding had anything to do with what had happened. I mean, if there was something wrong with the Walk A Mile software, more than three people would have died, and we’d have heard about it. WAM was used up and down the country – hell, the world – every day by thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people. It all had to be a coincidence, right?

At the bottom is Joey Paul and just below that the website www.joeypaulonline.com, in the bottom left corner is the New Apple awards seal, and in the bottom right corner is the logo for Bug Books. END ID]

 

Monday 5 February 2024

The Trials Of A Crime Writer: Writing What You Love

THE TRIALS OF A CRIME WRITER: WRITING WHAT YOU LOVE

One thing that drew me to crime fiction was my love for the kind of stories involved. I loved the grisly, and rawness, but I also loved the humanity, the way that good, usually, triumphed. I loved getting to know the characters, and work out puzzles and get a chance to really lose myself in the narrative. I grew up listening to them on audiobook, and I also delved into them myself as a young reader and as a teen. It got to the point where they were all I read, and in fact I spent most of 2023 reading new crime series and also re-reading older ones. I just have a lot of love for crime fiction itself.

So, of course, it made and makes complete sense that when I started writing my own stories, there would always be some kind of crime or mystery element to it. I wanted to have my readers trying to solve clues. I wanted them to wonder if they were right about who did what to whom and when. I wanted them to lose themselves in my stories and come out the other side surprised or happy to have been right about the whole thing.

So my biggest tip when it comes to newbie writers, is to stick with something you love. Whether that be, like me, crime, or whether that be romance, or fantasy, or science fiction and the like. Whatever it is that makes you excited to open the document and type, then that should be what you choose to write in. I've mentioned before that I grew up reading these kinds of stories, even before there was a YA category, there were books like The Famous Five or The Secret Seven, stories my parents had read and loved, and passed on to me. And that bloomed into my own kind of stories, and YA, for me, is where I love to be telling them.

Now I know that it's not always easy to find that one genre to stick to. After all I am a multi-genre author and I have and do dabble in a lot of them. I go where my stories take me, but the reason I say to start with what you love is because it can then lead to opening doors into other genres that you wouldn't have thought about before. I can't tell you how many times I've had a story idea and slowly realised that it's got elements of the mystery but that is not the main genre, it's just part of the story itself.

The first book I ever wrote to completion was a mixture of urban fantasy and contemporary. It was not good. It was not something that I would ever want anyone to read in that state, because it was terrible, as first books generally are, especially in their first or second draft state. I loved the idea, it had been born of a dream, but I didn't really think about, or know really, what that meant for the genre and the plot devices that I threw into it. It had everything from normal teenage worries to a magic system that made absolutely no sense and was only used when convenient. You see what I'm saying? It was bad!

But when I finally gave up the ghost on trying to make it into something that worked, I decided to work on another story idea, one that had everything I knew I already loved. From danger to intrigue, to betrayal, to dreams, to medical issues, it all worked out for me. I ended up drafting it very fast, and then revising and editing and it eventually became my debut novel.

My point is that out of the two, Blackout was the genre I loved and adored. The other book was more just playing at writing a story rather than actually doing it right, thinking and sitting down and working out how things would go. When it comes to just starting out, write what you love, you'll thank yourself later and there is no reason you can't branch out at another time.

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

Follow Joey here on her blog, or on Facebook or Tumblr to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.

Friday 2 February 2024

Review of Love and Other Dangers - A Dystopian Ink Anthology

Love blooms in even the harshest places.


Dystopian Ink proudly presents this year’s collection of short stories,
Love and Other Dangers.

Sixteen stories by published authors and emerging writers that are action-packed, romantic adventures set in dystopian futures and post-apocalyptic landscapes where heroines of all shapes and sizes find love at the end of the world.

Amazon

My Review: 5 STARS

I picked this up having read an anthology by the same team and I couldn’t wait to dive in and get lost in all the worlds and the ways love came through. I loved every single story for its own unique reason. From one world to the next, the same central theme played through and it was always gloriously executed. I adored the mixture of tropes, of plot, of worlds and reasoning and can highly recommend this book for people who love a mixture of danger, intrigue, dystopian worlds and a happy ending for everyone. 

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here