Forbidden Love (continued from 4-28-17)

“Miss Williams!”

Amelia turned to see Luke Brody standing between two buildings. She looked around to be sure no one was watching and quickly ducked into the space and stood before Luke.

“Did you get word to Cade?”

Her lip trembled and she nodded her head.

“What’s wrong?” Luke raised an eyebrow at her.

“He wants to wait for the judge.”

Luke ran a hand through his hair. “Is he crazy?”

“He said if we put our plan into action than he and I could never leave in peace. We would always be on the run.”

Luke groaned and began to pace back and forth.

“I’m sorry. It seems that meeting me has ruined all of your lives.”

Luke stopped pacing and placed a hand on her shoulder. He placed a finger under her chin and lifted her face so that their eyes met. “Meeting you is the best thing that could’ve happened to Cade. He’s always been a good kid, and I’ve protected him as long as I can, but the rest of the gang has been pressuring me to either make him become a true member of the gang or send him off on his own.”

Amelia’s eyes grew round. “You mean they wanted him to become a true outlaw or abandon him?”

Luke nodded.

“How are we going to keep them from . . . hanging him?” Amelia’s throat constricted with the words and tears again rolled down her cheeks.

“Just you leave that to me. Don’t you worry none. I won’t let them hang him.”

Amelia gave Luke a brief hug and cautiously entered the wooden walkway once again.

* * * * *

After washing up the breakfast dishes, Amelia sat in the parlor by the window. Her eyes fell upon the Bible her daddy kept on a small wooden table. She leaned back in the chair and closed her eyes.

“Dear Lord, Please don’t let them harm Cade.”

What is a Book Launch and Why Should You Have One?

Last Monday I posted about traditional vs. indie publishing. (By the way, I forgot to mention in that post, that indie publishing earn 70-80% of their sales.)

In that post, I mentioned book launches and promised to post about that topic this week.

What is a Book Launch?

A Book Launch is a way to introduce your new book to friends, relatives, and others who may be interested in your book. There are several ways to hold a Book Launch, but the two most popular are an in-person party or online, or you can do both.

Steps for a Book Launch

  1. Send invitations — through snail mail and email for an in-person party and through email and Facebook for an online party. It’s good to have an email system set up that you will be using to send frequent emails to your readers about your books and personal appearances, etc. for this. However, you may want to personalize invitations to those you know well, like friends and family, and those you can send from your personal email. Each invitation should include an invitation for them to sign up for your email list.
  2. For an in-person Book Launchvparty, purchase decorations, create a poster for the event and purchase and serve refreshments, using a theme that goes with your book. Have door prizes and/or hand out goodie bags to each guest.
  3. For an online Facebook Book Launch party, come up with a few good discussion questions and set up some prizes for participation.
  4. Another great idea is to do a blog tour, which consists of you asking other bloggers if you could do a guest post or an author interview on their blog. You can also ask to read and post about your book.
  5. It’s also good to contact local newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations and give them a press release and press kit about your in-person Book Launch event. You can have your in-person Book Launch party in a local independent book store or Barnes & Noble, or at a library or in your home or a rented space.
  6. The most important thing is to have fun with this! Also, Book Launch parties aren’t just for your first book. Every book you write and publish deserves it’s own Launch party.

Why should you have a Book Launch party? Because it will get you and your book some recognition, grow your readership, get people excited about your book, help get the word out about you and your book(s).

I haven’t had a Book Launch party yet, but I look forward to having one form my first book. I found this information about book launches on websites, blogs and in a book about marketing.

 

Forbidden Love (continued from 4-21-17)

In the morning, Amelia stayed in her room until her father left for the jail. Then she went into the kitchen fried up some eggs and sausage and made a stack of pancakes and a fresh pot of coffee. She put the food on a couple of plates and placed them in her basket, along with a coffee cup, silverware, and a container of maple syrup. Then with her basket on her arm and the pot of coffee in her hand, she stepped out onto the wooden walkway.

Her father looked up from his desk when the jail door opened.

“Amelia, what are you doing here?”

“I’ve brought breakfast for the prisoner. You certainly don’t plan to starve him, do you?”

“That was very thoughtful of you. I’ll be happy to see that he gets it.”

Amelia stamped her foot and gripped the coffee pot tighter. “I will take it to him. He is allowed visitors, isn’t he?”

“I’m sorry, but, no, he’s not. I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“You mean you don’t think it’s a good idea for me? Well, what if I insist on seeing him? What if I refuse to leave until you allow me to see him?”

“Amelia, would you please be reasonable?”

“I’m not the one being unreasonable.” She glared at her father.

“Fine, but you’ll be staying on the outside of the bars, young lady.”

“Thank you, Daddy.” Her tone anything but appreciative as she stepped through the doorway into the short, narrow hallway that separated the jail’s two cells.

“Amelia, what are you doin’ here?” Cade rose from his cot and strode to the bars that separated him from Amelia.

“Well, good morning to you too. I brought you breakfast.”

Her father opened the cell long enough for her to hand the basket and coffee pot to Cade, then he shut the door and stood looking at Amelia.

“You can go now.” She raised her chin in defiance.

“You did what you came for, Amelia. You can go home now and I’ll bring back the basket and dishes later.”

Amelia crossed her arms and didn’t budge. She noticed from the corner of her eye that Cade had taken a seat on the cot and had begun to eat.

Her father sighed and, mumbling under his breath, he left her standing outside Cade’s cell and returned to his desk in the other room.

As soon as the door closed behind the sheriff, Cade rose and strode to the barred door that separated him from Amelia.

“Amelia, you really shouldn’t antagonize your father like that.” He reached through the bars and took her hand in his.

“Why not? He’s being ridiculous. He probably wouldn’t have locked you up if he hadn’t seen me with you twice. I’m so sorry about this, but you won’t be here much longer.” She moved closer and reached her arm through the bars so that her hand cupped his face.

He covered her hand with his and kissed her palm.

“Eat the rest of your food before it gets cold.” She smiled at him.

He reluctantly returned to the cot and resumed his meal, never taking his eyes off of her. When he finished, he picked up the napkin to wipe his mouth and a piece of paper fell from it and floated to his lap. “What’s this?” He looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

She bit her lower lip and waited as he read the words she had scrawled there.

In a few minutes, he closed the gap to the bars between them once again. “Amelia, I can’t let you do this.” He kept his voice low so it wouldn’t carry into the outer room.

“Cade, I’ll do whatever it takes to get you out of here so that we can be together.”

“But don’t you see, if you do this, we’ll never be free. Your father would never stop searching for you.”

“He can’t continue treating me like a child. I’m a grown woman.”

Cade’s eyes slid the length of her body down to her toes and up again. “I’m well aware of that.”

The half smile on his lips caused her heart to skip a beat.

“However, if we’re going to be together, I don’t want it to be a situation where we have to continually look over our shoulders. I’ve lived like that long enough, and it’s no life.” He slid his arms through the bars up to her elbows and held her there. “I want to be able to have a ranch and raise a family with you. We can’t do that if we’re constantly on the run.”

Amelia sighed. She loved the dream Cade had for them, but how could they ever make it come true if her father wouldn’t stop being so stubborn?

“We’ll just have to wait until the judge comes to town and take our chances with the trial.” Cade’s eyes pleaded with her to do as he said.

Amelia’s eyes grew round and her lower jaw dropped. She quickly recovered and said, “But, what if he finds you guilty? What if they . . .” She couldn’t bring herself to finish the sentence and tears threatened to spill from her eyes. “I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you.” She whispered as the tears flowed down her cheeks.

Cade reached and used his thumbs to wipe her tears away. “It’ll be okay, Amelia. It will all work out.” He raised her hands to his lips and kissed them.

Amelia wanted to believe him, but she hadn’t missed the flicker of fear that had passed through his eyes.

Sheriff Williams returned and opened the cell to retrieve Amelia’s basket and things.

Amelia took them from him and looked longingly at Cade before tramping out the door.

The Great Debate: Traditional vs. Indie (Self) Publishing

I’ve been back in the writing world for three years and seven months being part of a local writers’ group that meets monthly and has critique groups that I have participated in, and an annual writers’ conference. I’ve also attended two writers’ luncheons, put together my own little group of writers who meet weekly, and in the past two years have been involved in an online writers’ group as well as being involved in a critique group for the past two years that meets every other week. I have also been reading books on the writing craft.

During the past two years, I have been researching and exploring the publishing possibilities, and I have found, as the title of this post suggests, that there is a Great Debate among writers: to publish traditionally or indie (self) publishing.

I have found that many older people are quite adamant about traditional publishing but when asked why can’t really give me a satisfactory answer. I have also found that many writers who have already published books seem adamant about starting with a traditional published. However, I have also heard some of these already published writers talking about their desire to switch to indie publishing. (For the sake of simplicity in the rest of this blog post, I will only refer to traditional and “indie” publishing because, though “indie” and “self” publishing are quite similar, “indie” publishing is publishing completely on your own and most of these writers are determined to put out their best writing, whereas “self” publishing includes the writers who just want to put out their writing as quickly as possible and don’t spend enough time on edits, as well as those who publish through vanity publishers (these are publishers who allow you to keep all of your rights and maintain all decision making, but you pay them a fee to help you publish and do some marketing). “Indie” writers/publishers have a better reputation than “self” published writers.

I have found it quite confusing to speak with published writers about the publishing options because they stand firm in telling me that I should seek an agent and go the traditional publishing route first. But, when I ask why, they offer no real good, solid reasons.

I even know of a writer who insists on the traditional route, but after trying that route for a few years, and even gaining an agent, is preparing to self publish the book through a small publisher, which is what the agent found for this writer. To which my question is: will this writer still have to pay the agent for this?

Okay, so here’s what I have learned about traditional publishing: the first step is to acquire an agent who will most likely have you make lots of changes, and, possibly, rewrite your entire manuscript. Then the agent will help you find a possible publisher, who may require you to make more changes and, possibly, rewrite your entire manuscript yet again, and even change it for a different target audience, and then, that publisher may or may not actually publish your manuscript. The entire process can take two to four years for your manuscript to get published, maybe even longer, if ever. If you are blessed enough to get the manuscript published, first of all, it may not be the story you originally intended in the first place. Secondly, your agent and the publisher get a cut of your sales, and you will be extremely blessed to receive even 10% of your sales. Also, you will be required to do as much of your own marketing as possible, which used to be the traditional publisher’s job. Finally, if your first book is part of a series, depending on the sales of the first book, the rest of the series may never get published, and if it does, traditional publishers stop publishing and remove your book from the market after just four years.

Now, here’s what I’ve learned about indie publishing. Yes, you must do ALL of the work yourself. You write the manuscript, AND, if you’re devoted and committed to doing the absolute best work you can do, you will have it critiqued; you will make appropriate changes based on those critiques; you will self-edit and do several rewrites; you will hire a professional editor to give you feedback and then rewrite yet again; you will have beta readers (if you don’t know what beta readers are, read this post), then you may make changes again. Then you will finally publish it through an indie publishing venue like Amazon’s “Create Space” or “Book Baby” or one of the other indie publishing outlets. While you are still working on your manuscript, you may want to begin to think about building a group of followers who would be interested in reading your writing. A good way to do this is to start a blog and share things about your writing and about yourself, as well as becoming active in other social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, etc. When your book is published, it’s a good idea to do a Book Launch (next Monday’s post will be about Book Launches). You will also want to put the information out on your social media, do book signings and/or speaking engagements. Get creative about how and where you can promote your book, but don’t over-saturate your social media or you will turn people off because they will think the only reason you’re on social media is to promote yourself and your writing. Your readers want you to be real and to care about them.

Another thing I want to share with you here is some interesting information one of my writing friends recently shared with me on this subject:

One of my other writing friends has also been researching these options and questioning other writers about their opinions. She shared with me that she recently spoke with some writers who have had books published through traditional publishers and tell newbie writers that they should go the traditional publishing route. She began to ask them: “How did you find an agent or publisher?” She said that most of them said that they found their agent or publisher through a friend. What she realized is that all of these already published writers are telling newbie writers to go the traditional publishing route, but they aren’t offering to introduce you to an agent or publisher. They don’t even tell you that they found their agent or publisher through a friend unless you specifically ask that question. Her thought is “so these already published writers are telling all of us newbies to go the traditional route while they are trying the indie route, like they want us to try the traditional route while they flood the indie market with their works.”

I apologize for such a lengthy post, but I hope you have found it informative and that it gives you something to think about and consider in your own writing journey. If you have any thoughts or questions, please leave them in the comments section and I’ll do my best to answer or point you to where you can find the answer.

Forbidden Love (continued from 4-14-17)

In the evening, when her father came home, Amelia was sitting in the parlor.

“Daddy, we need to talk.”

He sighed and slid into the rocking chair. “Amelia, I know you think you’re smitten with this outlaw, but you’ll get over it. Once I get him outta my town, you’ll forget about him eventually.”

“I’m not just smitten with him. I’m in love with him. I will never forget about him. Daddy, you have to let him go. He is innocent. Just because he rides with the Brody gang doesn’t mean he does the things they do.”

“Amelia, a man don’t ride with the likes of the Brody gang if he ain’t like them. Men surround themselves with others of like minds.”

“Daddy, you’re wrong about Cade. He’s with the Brody gang because he didn’t have anyone else. His mama died and his daddy became a drunk. Cade was just fifteen.”

“Is that the story he told you? Honey, he’d tell you anything to have his way with you. I was going out of my mind when I couldn’t find you this afternoon. You know better than to go traipsing off alone with a man, especially a man like Cade Jeffries.”

“Cade would never hurt me. He loves me. He’s been nothing but a gentleman. Please, Daddy, let him go.”

“I can’t do that, Amelia. He may not have kidnapped you, but he is wanted for his actions with the Brody gang. Tomorrow one of my deputies is leaving for Pine River to see about getting a judge to come here to Cain’s Ford. Then Cade’ll stand trial and we’ll see what happens.”

“Did you talk to Cade? If you’d just talk to him, you’d see he’s an honorable man.”

“That word’s not even in his vocabulary. There are plenty of decent men in this town who are interested in courting you. Why don’t you spend some time with one of them, like Joshua Taylor. He’s got himself a nice ranch outside of town and a good head on his shoulders. He’d make a fine husband for you.”

“Daddy, I don’t love Joshua Taylor! I love Cade Jeffries!”

Amelia stormed out of the parlor.