Friday, March 29, 2013

Indelible Books - Free and On Sale

I love being part of the Indelibles. Traveling the indie path with these ladies at my side truly makes the journey better - not just in a business sense, but in a very real personal sense. These are my friends, my fellow writers, and my journeywomen.

Just had to say that. Moving on... :)

Indie authors experiment with price, and the Indelibles are no exception. We have a new tab where you can find the latest Indelibles books that are currently FREE! Check it out!
Click on the cover!

While not free, these books are heavily discounted. For a buck you can have a great read and possibly discover a new favorite writer!

Was $3.99 now $0.99

Was $2.99 now $0.99

Monday, March 25, 2013

Publishing isn't like middle school...or is it?

Hey, Laura here.

I probably don’t even have to explain the title of my post. I don’t know anyone who wishes they could go back to middle school. High school? Maybe.

But never those years of 6th-8th.

I thought it was over when I shook the dust of middle school from my feet. The awkward dances, dreaded lunch periods, and the whispered gossip. As my kids yearn to grow up and leave their problems behind, I tell them.

“There are always mean kids. Cliques. Gossip. Hurtful words.”

I do see this in the publishing industry. Authors feeling jilted or not cool enough. Maybe they don’t realize people are actually reading their random tweets or blog posts. lol. At the same time, that’s just a small percentage. Overall, the writers I rub shoulders with are all extremely supportive and nice.

As with anything, my biggest advice in publishing would be keep your eyes on your paper. There’s always someone doing better than you and there’s always someone not as well off. And that eerily echoes what I tell my kids. That there’s always someone with more money, better vacations, a cooler house.

Don’t compare. Be thankful.

Once you let it bother you, once that bug grabs hold of you…it never ends. You reach the level you dreamed of being at only to realize that that isn’t quite enough. There’s even higher levels to reach.

Be happy. Be content. I do believe it’s possible to be both those things while reaching for the stars.

The answer to whether publishing is like middle school or not is….

it’s your choice.

 Laura Pauling @laurapauling writes about spies, murder and mystery. She's the author of the Circle of Spies Series for teens: The Almost Assassin (a short prequel), A Spy Like Me and Heart of an Assassin.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Importance of Backups & A Disaster Recovery Plan

Post by Michelle Muto
I come from the IT profession. Twenty-some odd years of it, to be exact. And the one mistake I see people repeatedly make is not backing up their data. The number one excuse? Time. Second? They don't know how, so ignorance is bliss.
Listen up. It's not a matter of when your hard drive fails. It's a matter of when. I don't care if you use a Mac or Windows machine. Sooner or later, that drive is going to die. Even SSD drives. I don't care if the drive manufacturer or your best friend tells you your drive is good for another 1-3 years. Stuff happens. Data corrupts. Files get accidentally deleted or overwritten. There's theft, fire, and natural disasters, too.
Don't think you have anything to lose? Really? No family photos? No scanned documents? Emails stored locally? Reports, home work? Apps, songs, movies or other media that you've purchased? Writers - how about that manuscript that you put in several hundred to over a thousand hours into?
And if you think backing up your data means mailing it all to yourself via a cloud-based email app, think again. How long will it take you to find and restore all that? Will you even remember where you put it? Think your cousin the tech guru can get that data back for you from the failed drive? Good luck. Depends on how far gone the drive is. My experience will tell you, it's a 50-50 shot and will take hours of work. Even then, you may not get all the data back. So sorry about your irreplaceable photos, the term paper, or that report due to your boss in the morning. Think you can take it somewhere and they'll be able to get the data back like they do on TV? Sure! Your odds are slightly better here and it'll cost you anywhere from $500 to $2,000. 
Backups people. Backups. It's easier than ever.
The minimum:
Buy an external drive equal to the size of your internal drive. They don't cost much at all these days.
For Mac users, it can't get any easier that plugging in the external drive. The Mac will acknowledge it, ask if you'd like to make that drive the Time Machine backup. You'll click yes, and away you go. From here on, as long as that drive is plugged in, the Mac will make hourly backups. If you don't like hourly backups, there's freeware called Time Machine Editor that will change how frequently your data is backed up. Is that all there is to it? Yep. Pretty much.
For PC users. You have a little more setup to do. There are some external drives with backup software built in. Check out the link above. You'll have to do a little more setup than Mac users: install the software, tell it what to backup, and when. You can also find various scripts and other solutions if you search around a little.
How often should you back up?
How much data can you afford to lose? A month's worth? A week? A day? A few hours? I have my Mac set up to backup every 4 hours.
Backups make my computer run slow!
Schedule backups on off hours then. Like when you're sleeping. Just remember to leave the computer and the external drive on.
Test your backups
You don't want to find out you set something up wrong, or that your backup software failed you when you finally go to use it. How? Create a few test files. Wait for your backup to complete. Delete the files and restore it from your backup. Do this twice a year - right along with setting your clocks forward and back.
Taking it to the next level (and you should)
Disaster Recovery
Aha! Some of you are saying. An external drive doesn't help me if there's a fire or my stuff is stolen. And you'd be correct. I compensate for that with a Disaster Recovery Plan. You have a few choices: a cloned copy of your computer safely tucked away in a fire-proof safe, safety deposit box, secure location at someone else's house whom you trust, and the cloud.
The choice you make comes down to trust and accessibility. Do you trust that your drive is safe at someone's house? Is it in a location safe from pets, children, sun/water, fire, theft? Do you trust a third-party with ALL of your data? Do you know where in the world those servers are, and what policy they have for protecting your data? Music, video, photos, and non-sensitive data are probably fine there. But what about everything else? Enter cloning. A cloned copy is beneficial in a few ways:
·   Your regular backup fails, is damaged, or stolen.
·   Your computer's internal drive fails and you use the cloned copy as the new internal drive or boot from the clone until you can replace your primary drive and restore your data.
What would I recommend? Well, each situation is different. I have Time Machine/Time Machine editor backup my Macs every 4 hours. I have two clones: 1 that automatically mounts the external drive (a 3.5 inch drive in a Voyager 'toaster' drive) does a backup every night on off-hours, then unmounts the drive when it's finished (Carbon Copy Cloner). If you have a PC, you'll need to find cloning for Windows. Sorry, guys. Since I'm no longer in the IT biz and I no longer own a PC, I can't make suggestions when it comes to Windows. Spend about a half hour on Google and I'm sure you'll find a few solutions.
I make a physical clone once a week and store that elsewhere, in a safe location. And, I have cloud backup for data I don't deem sensitive. I ensure that my clones are bootable. If my drive fails, my downtime is roughly under five minutes. Because I'm human and likely to forget, everything except the 2nd clone is automated.
The minimum I'd recommend: at least ONE backup solution, somewhere: cloud or that external drive. It's not optimal, in my opinion, but it's better than nothing.
My personal method  may sound like overkill, but I liken it to a will, a trust, and a health care directive. If you don't have them, you (or your family) will have a mess right at the time they need it the least. Have precautions in place and it makes the unthinkable go a little smoother. Consider how likely it is that something happens to your digital media and you'll see that a few hours spent up front can save a lot of time, grief, and money later on.

Michelle is the author of The Haunting Season, Don't Fear the Reaper, and The Book of Lost Souls.

Where to find Michelle:

Monday, March 18, 2013

Book Categories & Sassy Surveys!

I've always loved taking fun quizzes (not school quizzes).

Like back when I used to get my Sassy magazine (I had a subscription), I always liked filling out those surveys that told you if That Boy Was a No! or a Go!

I saw him first.
Neener neener.
Or if I had a Bookish Betty personality or a Bubbling Brooke...

(I made those up in case you're wondering. #nerdalert)

So anyway, I've bumped into a Burning Question, and I've decided to turn it into a fun survey for YOU, reader-friends! (whee!)

Here, sit down. I'll French braid your hair while I explain it to you.

It's about Amazon Categories and buying books from online bookstores...

Background: On Sept. 4, 2012, when I hit "publish" on my very first indie book The Truth About Faking (link), I was pretty ignorant about how to reach readers.

I mean, we're talking about a place where there's no bookstore, no clerk, no nothing. How do I let people know what to expect? Well, write a good blurb, and then there's this...

Where do I belong?
Amazon gives indie authors two choices for where to put their books, taken from pre-established BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) categories.

The Truth About Faking is a light romantic comedy in which a 16-year-old girl falls in love with one guy while chasing another. Several things happen, and by the end of the story, she realizes things aren't always as they appear and not to judge books by their covers.

That's the short version. So I say...

Category 1: Juvenile > Fiction > Love & Romance
Category 2: Fiction > Genre Fiction > Coming of Age

There's no "Teen" or "YA" category, so my additional search terms (Amazon allows seven) are: romance, teen, clean, romantic comedy, chicklit, contemporary, young adult

Easy peasy, yes?

Well, it was in September. Readers found the book, it was exactly what they expected, and they either liked it or didn't. Lucky for me, most of them liked it--yaaay!

Fast-forward six months, and along with the 5-star (happy!) reviews, I've been seeing more 2- or 3-stars that complain either, "I didn't expect this to be so innocent." Or simply, "High school." Or this recent 2-star review: "Honestly, this was not a bad read, it was just too young for me. But there were some good messages."

Me = *head scratching*

[Important Note: The reviews are NOT the point. I am NOT slamming these reviewers.]

The Point is finding our intended audience in this new bookstore setting.

I don't want people buying my book expecting one thing and getting something that makes them feel... frustrated. But even more importantly, I want to connect with the readers I'm writing for. I want them to find the book I wrote for them.

So here's the Sassy Survey! Answering the Burning Question, "How do you buy books on Amazon (or online)?" (Whee! Let's see what we learn~)

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

And please tell me in the comments your thoughts. Is there some other method I haven't thought about? For example, some people only buy books recommended by friends. Is that you?

Thanks for playing, and have a great week, reader-friends! <3


Leigh Talbert Moore is a wife and mom by day, a writer by day, a reader by day, a former freelance editor, a former journalist, a caffeine addict, a chocoholic, a beach bum, a lover of any great love story, and occasionally she sleeps.

THE TRUTH ABOUT FAKING (link) is her debut young adult romance.
-ROUGE (link) is her mature-YA/new adult romantic suspense novel.
-THE TRUTH ABOUT LETTING GO (link) is her newest book available now!

Leigh loves hearing from readers; stop by and say hello:
Blog * Facebook * Amazon Author page * Goodreads

Friday, March 15, 2013

An affair in the air...

Hello! Addison here~!

Today I wanted to share a strategy that helps me when I hit that infamous wall, also known as writer's block.

First, I think I’d like to demystify the muse.

What’s a muse? A muse is something that spurs the motivation necessary to push you to your creative limit and actually cause you to put your fingers on the keyboard and produce something coherent.

What are some of my muses? My go-to’s are: music, workouts, reading poetry, reading something steamy… but on occasion I need something outside of what ordinarily works for me.

And at desperate times like those... I like to cheat on my WIP  (Work in progress).

Why is it good to cheat on your WIP?

*For starters, it can be exciting!

Most of the time just because I’m grinding on one project doesn’t stop another project idea from bubbling to the surface. So, I’ve found going with the flow can be beneficial. I simply open a new document and start a new WIP.

*It can be mysterious…

The fun of using another writing project as a blood-let gives me the freedom to write myself into any world I like. It’s freeing and I don’t need to know where I’m going. I simply write whatever I desire for a solid span of time, and I find it helps jog my imagination.

*It can be ADDICTING.

Writing something new with no constraints can be liberating when you’re in the middle of an 80k WIP. Slogging through word counts can be a challenge. It can be tedious trying to maintain tension, to climax at the right time, and to bring an appropriate amount of closure to your characters. Not having to maintain those standards can really get the juices flowing. 

*It can be your dirty little secret*

There are no hard and fast rules that say you need to run with everything you write. If your new *secret* WIP breaks the rules, and perhaps steps outside of your comfort zone, then more power to you. There’s nothing wrong with a little closet fling when it comes to writing. In fact, it might just be what your original WIP needed to rekindle that magic spark.

*Candles and champagne never hurt either.

About the Author

Addison Moore is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes contemporary and paranormal romance. Previously she worked as a therapist on a locked psychiatric unit for nearly a decade. She resides on the West Coast with her husband, four wonderful children, and two dogs where she eats too much chocolate and stays up way too late. When she's not writing, she's reading.

Feel free to visit her blog at:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Indie Life - Staying Focused

Indie life is a monthly blog hop sponsored by the Indelibles to help indie authors find and offer support about living the indie life.

Sometimes, it's really hard to stay focused.

It's not that I don't love the writing - I do. Love it hard. But the hyperconnectivity of the internet means that there's always something extremely cool going on in the writer-world. Hugh Howey is launching his groundbreaking paperback/hardback release of Wool in bookstores across the US (go to your local B&N and tell them you want it!). Author-friend Lisa Gail Green has a cover reveal for her first indie book. I'm getting ready to launch a new future-noir serial, and people (other than me and my mom) are excited about it. And then there's the taxes, and the cat eating my internet cable, and... it's mostly all good, but sometimes it's hard to find time and mental space to get the words on the page.

Then... I have a breakthrough. Some time spent brainstorming produces a new plot twist that I simply adore and can't wait to write. Then my fingers fly across the keyboard and the words come gushing out. And I think, Self, why can't you do this all the time? And I reply (yes, I'm talking to myself in my head), Because you'd miss out on stuff like this:

That's my trailer that indie rockstar Hugh Howey is plugging! Mind=blown.

So I relax, cut myself some slack, and think, Self, relax. Write the story as it comes. Take time to visit your friends. Don't spend your whole day on FB. Unless Hugh Howey plugs your trailer, then it's okay. 

It helps. And when the story is flowing, I enjoy it for what it is: the best job in the world.

What do you do to stay focused?

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Series, which includes three novels, three novellas, and a trailer. She's currently writing a steampunk fantasy romance, just for kicks, but she keeps getting distracted by a Debt Collector named Lirium, who insists that she write a future-noir serial about him. She's finally given in and will be launching the first episode next week. Unless she spends all her time playing on Facebook. Which could happen if she doesn't stay focused.

Indie Life

Because being Indie doesn't have to mean going it alone.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Evolution of Agents

Every week I co-host a live chat on Twitter called the #WritersRoad. This week our topic was all about how agents are changing along with the industry. Some of this is good for writers, some is bad, and some, I'm honestly not sure about yet.

As I am preparing to submit a novel at the end of this year, I recently started researching agents again (a vital part of the submission process). While I'm happy to be an indie, like many I plan to straddle the pond, so to speak. The novel I'm going to submit is unique and has commercial appeal that is likely to draw the attention of the Big 6, therefore I want to give it that chance. While researching I was shocked and saddened to find that a lot of the agents I had come to know, respect, and some even befriended, are no longer agents. The more I researched, the more I realized why.

The industry is changing and the role of agents is changing with it. There are now agents that offer editing services, some that offer full self-publishing services such as helping the author contract a cover artist, formatter, editor, the whole nine yards (in essence becoming their publisher). Some agents are even representing self-published authors and taking a percentage of their income. I have to admit, in this new world of agents and services, I'm treading water, still deciding which direction to swim.

How about you? Are you submitting, or do you plan to? Would you sign with an agent who does any of the above?


Author of the paranormal Earth-conscious channeler series: Born of Fire (FREE story), The Secret of Spruce Knoll, Channeler's Choice, Rise of a Rector, the historical fantasy, To Ride A Puca, and the epic fantasy The Dragon Empire. Heather also has stories in the following anthologies: In His Eyes (FREE) and Winter Wonders

Monday, March 4, 2013


Hey Everyone!

I wear two very distinct hats: Instructor of English and Author. The “Instructor of English” in me has been called “harsh” and “critical,” but I can spot a run-on a mile away, and I won’t let that comma before the coordinating conjunction go missing (Oxford Commas Forever!). The “Author” in me loves fragments. I use them religiously. And sometimes I start sentences with a coordinating conjunction. And I eliminate articles (a, an, the) for voice purposes.

So . . . I’m working with two completely different mindsets during any given day. Grammar Nazi vs. Creative Freewriter.

I’m pretty good at keeping the two from crossing. The exception to this?

The editing process. I tend to edit as I go anyway, re-reading over passages written the day before and tweaking as necessary. . . .

I also read and re-read and re-read and read aloud—again and again and again.

The problem with reading straight through an ms is that I get sucked into the story and lose track of pages—I already know what I’m going to say, so my eyes just gloss over—I’ve read the page so much it loses all meaning. . . .

Sound like you? Yeah. I hear ya.

So, to combat this, there is always one editing strategy I undertake soon after I have what I feel is my final “story” draft (no more changes to plot/character, etc.).

I edit line by line.

I edit line by line in a non-linear fashion.

All this means is that I open my MS Word document, scroll to a chapter (four, maybe?), and I read a sentence. If that sentence sounds okay—if it’s structured the right way or I can’t embellish or find a better word for what I’m trying to say, I highlight it yellow. And then I scroll to chapter nine (Eleven? One?) and find a new sentence to look at. If I like it, I highlight it yellow. If I think it could be better, I tweak and adjust. Then I highlight it and move on.

The next day, I open my document and read all of the yellow passages. If they sound okay, I highlight them blue. If not, I tweak. Sometimes they stay yellow—to be read the next day.

What I’ve found is that this forces me to really look at what I write—what I’m trying to say—and this is the most effective way to do it. Notice I didn’t say “fastest.” For each manuscript I write, this can take anywhere from 2-4 months (depending on my work schedule. Nope. Can’t write full time, yet.).

All this to say: if you struggle with the editing process or tend to “rush” through your ms, try highlighting as you go—and don’t read the sentences in order.

Go line by line, word by word. Highlight yellow. Come back later, re-read. Highlight blue. All the way to The. End.

Slow and steady wins the race.  Always.


Katie Klein is a diehard romantic with a penchant for protagonists who kick butt. Her YA contemporary romance, Cross My Heart, is an Amazon Teen Top 100 Bestseller and was a 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee for Best YA Fiction.

She doesn’t really think you only have to highlight in yellow or blue. You can use purple. Or green. Or pink. Or….

You can find her on the web at,, or!/katiekleinbooks.

Friday, March 1, 2013


Indie authors are under a lot of pressure to release books fast. Our release dates aren't scheduled a year or two in advance like with most traditional publishers. We run on our own time schedule, and it gives us the freedom to publish as much as we want as quickly as we want.

That plan sounds great in theory, but the problem is publishing quickly means you have to write quickly. And if you're a tortoise--like me--that speed thing just doesn't happen.

I envy the authors who can crank out books in a month or two. They are the hares of the book world and I envy their speed and efficiency.

"Slow and steady wins the race." Aesop's lesson of his fable, The Tortoise and the Hare, is a good one for many situations, but most days I feel like that shouldn't be applied to the indie book market if an author wants to be successful. Tortoises like me see all the hares releasing multiple books a year and we're tempted to retreat into our shell and just give up on the race entirely.

But we don't. Because even as tortoises, we have stories to tell too. We're just slower at getting them out into the world.

There's a continuation of the tortoise and hare's story that floats around businesses and self-improvement circles. The summarized version is that the hare was upset when he lost the original race, so he challenged the tortoise to a second race. The tortoise agreed and the second time, the hare stayed focused, kept up his speed, and beat the tortoise by a landslide.

The tortoise was upset by his loss. He educated himself about the race route and learned where he could have done better, so he offered to race the hare a third time. That time the tortoise strolled to the river he originally tried walking around to reach the finish line, but this time he swam across the river and reached the finish line long before the hare.

Upset by another loss, the hare and tortoise agreed to race again, but this time they decided to work together. The hare quickly carried the tortoise to the riverbank, then the hare rode on the tortoise's back as they crossed the river, and together they crossed the finished line. They were both winners because they combined their strengths and skills to achieve a much more satisfying outcome for both, instead of the other races where only one individual was deemed the winner.

The Indelibles are a group of tortoises and hares. We try to combine our skills and help with each others weaknesses.  It makes this whirlwind of a race called publishing much more manageable and enjoyable. I'm not ashamed to be a tortoise. I can relate to other tortoises. But I also appreciate the hares. We drink lemonade together at the finish line and celebrate our big and small victories--collectively and as individuals.

Writing is a lonely business, but with a great support system it's not nearly as lonely as it could be. Besides the Indelibles, I have a close circle of writing friends who I also treasure dearly. Again, we're a fantastic combination of tortoises and hares, and we support and encourage each other every step of the race.

Every writer needs a good supportive team.
Well, maybe some don't, but in my humble opinion it makes the race much more fun and rewarding.

Are you a tortoise or a hare? 

Karen Hooper writes young adult paranormal and fantasy, and is the author of TANGLED TIDES and GRASPING AT ETERNITY. She is currently sunning and splashing around Florida with her two beloved dogs. Some of her addictions include coffee, chocolate and complicated happily-ever-afters.
You can find her at or on Twitter at @Karen_Hooper.