Sunday, June 15, 2014

Second on The Right by Elizabeth Los Blog Tour & Guest Post

Date Published: May 9, 2014

Spawned from an ancient promise, treachery and intrigue follow the protagonists through our world and one lost to the waves. Bound by an invisible bond, they are thrust into a fantastical world of pirates and demons.
James Benedict is a just man haunted by evil. Pushed to the edge, everything stripped from him, a new man arises . . . a man whose name strikes fear into the hearts of all who hear it: "Captain Hook".
Eileen Davis was a timid woman. Through a fateful cruise she finds herself in the company of the Captain of the Mistral Thief. With his guidance, and the meddling of the local barista, she eventually finds her inner strength.
Will the two of them unite through time to fulfill the promise of their ancestors or will tempers ignite leading all to failure?

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Becoming a Published Author

1. The members of Goodreads offer a lot of support for Indie authors.
When I first offered Second on the Right back in 2011, I stumbled across Goodreads by accident. I met some great authors, received sound advice and made friends along the way. In fact, because of the support I’ve received, I wanted to pay it forward and thus started the Genre Specific Review Group in support of other Indie authors like myself.
2. Family and friends, despite their good intentions, do not make good editors.
I love them. They accept me for who I am, flaws and all. They are extremely supportive of my desire to write. They’ve also offered to help with editing my novel. With Second on the Right, the story passed at least eight pairs of hands and still had major flaws to fix. I can’t go back to my family and friends and say, “Hey! You said you were providing a quality service!” And this isn’t to say that they can’t help at all. I have two extremely talented proofreaders, one reader for continuity, but a writer still needs someone on the outside to review the novel and tear it apart. For me, that’s the only way I’ll grow.

3. Having a blog or website is highly important for promoting your novel.
I hate talking about myself. Sound familiar? I’ve heard a lot of authors say this over and over again. But a great portion of writing the novel involves marketing. And the only way to market is to have your name out there. So writers need to have a website or blog where they are available to post information about their upcoming work or blog about random topics/events. Either way, the writing is always good practice.

4. Sending advanced reading copies (ARCs) can be beneficial, but need to be done at least three months prior to release.
I barely made it on this one. I was still working with revising my copy and hated to send it out “as is”, but that’s what they want. Reviewers, such as the Library Journal, know that the copy is a draft and still being worked on up until time of release. Reviewers appreciate receiving the book this far in advance. It takes pressure off of them and gives them time to truly enjoy the read.

5. Review, put aside for a week or so, read through and revise. Repeat.
I learned this while writing my Sherlock fanfiction piece, A Case of Need. When I first started, I’d type the chapter and send it off to my beta reader. I could see him shaking his head in disappointment. He’d send it back with the basic “try again, this isn’t it or it isn’t there yet”. I felt beat up on a consistent basis. There were times I wanted to give up. But I learned a lot through that “trial by fire”. It improved my writing, got me to really think on the story I was trying to tell, and it improved my action writing as well. I learned to write, then let it sit. After a week or more, I’d pick it up and read it. Sometimes I’d cringe and wonder “what was I thinking when I wrote this?” Other times, it would spark a new idea in me. It’s funny to think that a fanfiction story caused such stress for me, but I’m so glad I finished it. What I learned there helped with revising Second on the Right.

6. Reviews help with sales but are difficult to obtain.
Ah, reviews. Authors have head about this so many times, I think it makes some of them nauseous. :)
Reviews = least as far as places like Amazon are concerned.
But new authors need to keep in mind that reviews are difficult to obtain. You don’t want just anyone you run across to read and review your book. For example, someone who loves nonfiction may not care for Second on the Right. If they were pushed to read and review the story, it might receive a poor review simply because that isn’t the type of book they enjoy.

7. Do not respond to or comment on any reviews placed on Goodreads, Amazon, etc.
Allow the reviewer the freedom to express their opinion without fear of backlash from the author. This is SO important for authors to remember. Think of it this way: does Stephen King respond to reviews online? No. It’s difficult for authors to keep their mouths shut (speaking personally here), especially when the review stings. I’ve been there. And I’ll be there again. Reviews can lift you up or can bring you down in a matter of a few sentences.
My personal rule: Do not respond to reviews posted on the book’s link (i.e. Goodreads, Amazon, etc). IF the review is posted on a blog tour, I will certainly thank the reviewer for their time. That’s it.
Readers need to feel safe, safe to share their opinion with the world without fear of attack from the author. What if the reader doesn’t understand the title to Second on the Right? That’s unfortunate. But I know other readers familiar with Peter Pan will get it. They thought Eileen was boring? Ouch ;) But that’s ok! It is their opinion and I’m grateful that they feel comfortable to express it.
Because it will always help me improve as a writer. If I had nothing but “yes men” surrounding me, I’d never push myself.
Take home message for authors: Do not respond to reviews.

8. Marketing means talking about yourself and your book multiple times, answering the same questions over and over and over again.
Ugh. Marketing. I didn’t like hearing the word while working at a hospital and I still don’t like it! I’m not good at speaking positively about myself. It’s a thing I’m working on. But it is important to always answer questions in an enthusiastic manner. This is your baby, released into the world, and you are proud of it. Aren’t you?

9. Promoting yourself as well as your book is hard work, harder than the work involved in writing and revising the actual novel.
For me, I found this to be true. I worked for over four years on Second on the Right and I’ve only worked for maybe a year on promoting it. What seemed harder? Promoting it. At least with revising, I enjoyed parts of that aspect. I loved going over the story again, falling for Captain Benedict and James as when I first put them on paper. Promoting felt more like work to me. Now that Second on the Right is out, I can continue to promote, but finally go back to writing again!

10. Expect that your first novel won’t be a success. Don’t give up. Continue to write and improve on your writing skills.
I really wanted Second on the Right to be a success. I wasn’t expecting to become the next J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer. Still, to sell a good amount of copies would be a nice boost to the confidence. Regardless of what happens with Second on the Right, I won’t give up. I enjoy writing and as long as I enjoy it, I’ll continue. And that’s the key for me: enjoying it. Once writing begins to feel like work, I’ll have no choice but to quit. One job is enough for me.

Elizabeth uses writing as therapy, her release from everyday stress. At night, after work and once the children are finally tucked in bed, for the fifth time, she sits at her laptop and lets her imagination flow.

Elizabeth has produced short stories, one of which will be published in an anthology. She’s had fun writing a Sherlock Holmes fan fiction story, A Case of Need, based on the BBC’s Sherlock. By July 2011, her first novel, Second on the Right, had been completed. She spent several years polishing the story in order to provide a high quality product to the public. Second on the Right is her first professional novel.