Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Writer Beware!!!

Good morning! It’s almost the weekend folks, so just be patient, it will come…

We as writers want to sell books, right? But, at what lengths will we go or how much money will we spend in order to sell them? This post is not about advertising or promoting, it’s about the leeches that come around when you publish a book.

Yesterday, I received a call from a publishing company. Of course, at first, your heart pounds and your ears roar for a tiny second… At least mine used to. I’ve received so many calls with fantastic news… “You have caught our eye and we want to give you the moon”. Unfortunately, the moon comes at a steep price. And yes, we all want the moon, right?

I sat and listened to this guy just shower Highlander’s Heart with praises, which alright, yes, that made me feel good. But, you see, I was googling this guys publishing company as he talked. The second through fifth things that came up were about a scam and it was from other authors who had fallen into their trap. So, I went over to their website, the poor guy was still gushing about the millions that I could make if I went with their company… The very first page offered three packages for getting ‘in’ with them. I won’t even post the prices they were so ludicrous.

The poor little guy then went on to tell me that he could put my book on the silver screen immediately. I’m sorry folks, but I had to cover my mouth as the laughter bubbled forth. Anyone in this business knows that it’s not a straight line to the silver screen unless you are lucky enough to catch the eye of a big-time person in the movie business. But, I was nice, I continued to listen.

Then, he said and we’ll put you in touch with our review site to get the reviews to boost the sales of your very first published book. If I hadn’t heard the warning bells earlier in the conversation, this would have been the moment of the bell clanging. You see, I’m about to publish my 30th book, so that told me this little guy’s supposed research of me was completely false.

At this time in our conversation, or shall I say his, because I was pretty much scanning social media at this point, but I was getting a little tired of listening. I decided to end the really badly rehearsed speech he was giving me about the reach I could have with them. I told him to email the information and I’d have my publishing legal team check it out. (Like I have a publishing legal team, but it was fun to say 😉 ). At this point in the conversation, the guy started stuttering and telling me to check out their rating on the better business bureau, which I’d already done in the first five minutes of the conversation. By the way, it was horrible.

So, the moral of this post is, if you get a call from a publishing company, please do your homework. I’ve received calls from some of the bigger names in publishing, but they were wanting money to promote my work. Beware of the leeches and make sure you do your homework before you sign on the dotted line.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Saturday morning ramblings…

Good morning! First off, I need everyone’s help in voting for the Solstice Author of the Year! Here’s the link: http://solsticepublishing.com/vote-for-author-of-the-year/ so please go by and vote. Voting will make you eligible for goodies.

Now, on to my post for the day. As I’ve been talking about this week, I have designed a neat calendar that helps me somewhat stay on track. But as most writers know, things happen, things change.

I’ve tried several kinds of calendars and nothing really worked for me, so, I sat down and figured this out. I knew that having a whole month in front of me just stressed me out. I don’t need to be reminded that I have something releasing in two weeks or have 20,000 words to do before the end of the month.

The calendar I created is a weekly calendar. Yes, I know there are hundreds of those out there, but not like the one I created. I made it large enough to fit a 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. each day has a large enough square that I can write the name of the book or books for each day, the word count I need to do to stay on schedule, and I can also put how far I am from finishing. Also, I have a side column for each day that gives me room for notes and thoughts that I can use for future projects or just character adjusts. Then I can mark those off as I go.

So, forgive the amateurimg_2473 photo, I’m not a photographer, just a writer…

As I said, it’s nothing fancy, but it works really good for me. I have enough room to be wordy if I need to be. Also, and I stress this heavily, use a pencil for your entries. That way when life comes in and wrecks your schedule, you can just erase and move on.

On release days, write those in colored pencil, that way they stand out. Yes, I need something to jog my memory or I’ll go right by the release day and forget all about it…

This is just the way I do things… Hope it helps. I’ve been playing with the idea of doing a book on being a Self-Published author, but we’ll see where that fits into my schedule. My assistant informed me that the books I now have scheduled go into 2018, but I may have to squeeze it in. At least I have the room to write it in…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Talking to your kids…

As you can tell from the title, this post is not about writing as usual. This post is about the safety of our children. As you know from my profile, I’m a mother and a children’s minister. Last night during the children’s ministry class we brought in the youth and I talked to them.

It was like a town hall meeting. We discussed how to defend yourself against abduction. It was very interesting the way the kids responded. Some responded with anger over the escalation of children abductions and others told about what they’d been told to do.

Please don’t let today go by without talking to your children about safety. Here are some things to add to the conversation. This is from things I’ve read and seen on specials about this so here goes.

1. Always stay alert about your surroundings. When playing outside in a public place always look up and see who’s around.

2. If someone approaches you that you don’t know be on alert. If you can walk away toward a group of people or to your parent. Keep an eye on the person.

3. If someone asks you to go with them somewhere and you don’t know them, or your parents don’t approve it simply say “NO!” and get to an adult immediately.

4. Don’t play alone. Always have a buddy. Most abductions happen when the child is playing in the public alone.

5. Even at Church or school be weary of people lurking in parking lots or on the outskirts of the playground that don’t belong there.

This is only a couple of the many things we need to talk with our children about. I’ve told my son this since he was old enough to walk. It’s very important. We need to empower our children.

Also make sure they know how to physically defend themselves by kicking, screaming, biting or whatever it takes to safely get away from someone. So please don’t hesitate to talk to your children.

As always, good writing and May God bless you and your children.

Remember, this is just my advice and what I’ve learned.

 


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Outlines and writing between the lines.

If you’ve read my blogs before you know I like to do an outline of my book ideas before I start writing. Most of the time that is. Sometimes when I get the inspiration for a book I can’t quite see the middle and end, but if I do I make sure to jot it down in the order I see it happening.

The problem is sometimes the filling in of the chapters between the outline sections. One of my reviewers wrote that they loved the book but wanted more descriptive matter. They wanted to know more about some of the characters. So, in my latest works I’ve been really working on more descriptive matter. But on that same note I’ve been careful not to just jumble up words for the sake of words on a page.

Have you ever read a book that had too much descriptive matter and not enough actual needed matter? Recently I read a book that was just such a creature. I ended up skipping parts of the book as I got bored with the long drawn out descriptions given. That’s what I’ve tried to keep from doing in my work.

So how much is too much or too little? I guess that’s up to the writer. Regarding the review of that one book, some of the places that I didn’t elaborate, I felt like it didn’t need any further explanation, but that was just the way it came into my heart. But when the reader reads it, they may not get the point that I’m trying to make with less words and more heart. It’s a double edged sword. 

Oh well, we can’t please everyone. One article I read from a well known author said to just please yourself and make it your own. She said if you strive to please everybody all the time you’ll lose that part that makes your own work special. It makes sense.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Self Publishing: Do or Don’t?

I’ve read several posts lately regarding the decision whether to go traditional publisher or do it yourself. It’s a hard question to answer without some investigating your options. That’s what I did before I published my books. Here’s my findings and remember, this is just my experiences and opinions.

When I first decided to publish my books I sent a query letter to a traditional publisher. Well, after several months I didn’t receive a response and I was really wanting to the book out. So, being the person I am, I started looking into other options. I didn’t know a lot about self publishing, but soon I was immersed in the how-to’s. It was an interesting concept. What really impressed me was the royalty rates versus traditional rates.

One of the issues was that in traditional publishing you have someone doing book promos for you and the self publishing market you do it yourself. Being an accountant by trade I wasn’t sure about this. But with more in depth investigating I realized I could do this. Thank goodness my assistant is in college and she is very with working computer magic.

The funny thing is that it was easier than I had ever imagined. I was not a social media butterfly, so easing me into that part of the marketing was extremely funny to my assistant. The first time I received a follower on Twitter I was like, really, someone I don’t even know followed me. She just laughed and rolled her eyes. Since then it’s been crazy. I blog, I tweet and I have my books on every website I can find. My accounting office has turned into publishing central.

We even design our own covers and have gotten some real good reviews on them. I have gotten a couple of calls from traditional publishers wanting me to sign with them. That’s been gratifying but the only thing is some of them want me to pay for their services. I asked one the other day and they are a big publisher, what are you going to do to market my book? Guess what, I was doing the same exact thing they were going to do, and paying thousands less than they wanted to do it.

So, I guess with me, I’ve had a good experience with self publishing. I won’t say that I’ll never go with a traditional publisher, but for now I’m happy with doing it myself. I have been talking with a small publishing company that is interested, but that will be later on. At least with self publishing I can get it out there now, not next year.

Hope this helps you if you’re trying to decide. As always great writing and May God bless you!


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Accounting & Book Sales…

You are excited, you sold a book, you sold many books, you’re making money. Now what? Well, if you have read my profile you know I’m an Accountant by day and by night during tax season. (Grinning broadly). I want to give some advice and I want to make it clear I’m not telling you how to run your publishing business, but this is advice to help you have a good experience.

I was talking with a friend the other day and she was giddy with delight because she’d sold several of her newly published book. She was adding it in her mind and grinning broadly. I was excited for her because I’ve felt the same feeling and it is a good one. But then as her Accountant I had to bring up the inevitable which is royalty tax. Well, she looked at me and said, “Oh my gosh, I hadn’t thought of that. What do I need to do?”

Well, the fact is, those wonderful sales are actually taxable income. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but I do want to help you get ahead of the game. Make sure that you save some of those royalty dollars to cover the taxes at the end of the year. But, don’t forget to save all those expenses that you have incurred along the way. Some of those expenses are: publishing software, advertising, fees paid for pictures used for covers or trailers, fees paid to reviewers or editors, and the list goes on.

I want to help my new cyber friends (and I do consider you friends). So here is some free advice. Don’t forget that you will have to pay taxes on those royalties, but don’t forget the expenses that go along with them. If you keep yourself on level ground, then when tax time comes around, you won’t get a horrible surprise. I see it happen every year.