Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Feeding the beast…

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Good morning! I’m not sure about you, but it feels like a Monday today. Maybe it was the long weekend…

Now, on to the post. Feeding the beast… The beast for an author is our overactive mind. And sometimes just writing doesn’t feed our overwhelmed minds. We have to keep feeding it or the crazies set in. Most writers have stories, characters, and words whirling around all of the time. Some days it’s hard to concentrate until I’ve written some of it out of my mind.

But, writing isn’t the only way to feed the beast. One of the great ways is to read. And try to read something out of your normal realm. It helps to give yourself a challenge. Read a new author… Read a new genre… Read…

One of the ways I feed the beast is to outline, or rework an old manuscript. I even revisit a discarded story that didn’t get anywhere. Anything to challenge my writers brain.

So, try it out. Exercise your writers brain. Feed it with reading, working, writing, and even learning more about your work. It helps.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Monday Thoughts & Coffee By the Fire…

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Good Monday morning! I hope that you’re staying warm wherever you are this morning. It’s cold in Georgia and looks to be a dreary day with cold, icy rain. Burrrrr…. I’m sitting by the fireplace, wrapped in my fuzzy blanket, sipping coffee and writing.

So, here’s my Monday thought as I drink my coffee and get my eyes open. What length of book do you like to read or write? Do you love a long, 50K or more book, or a quick read of less than 25K?

Here are my thoughts on the length of a book that I read or write for that matter. I’ve heard from fans that say they love the longer ones, then others love the shorter ones that I write. It’s hard to know what will be the best length based on fans wants.

Now, if I’m picking up a book to read, it’s entirely up to my mood. If I’m kicking back and have the luxury of a whole afternoon to sit by the fire and read, then I’ll choose a longer book, but if it’s just a quick moment of sitting in a bubble bath, then sometimes I prefer a shorter book. Especially if I’m stressed or had a particularly hard day, then I need that quick, mindless read, meaning I need to see the story from start to finish in one sitting and have that heartwarming feeling of a Happily Ever After.

For my writing, it’s a toss up. Some of my series or books are setup to be quick reads. I make them short for a reason. A couple of my series have been wrote in short form just for those fans that write to me all the time wanting what they call, lunch time reads. But I do have long novels in my list. My new series that will start rolling out in March will be long books, each one.

So, long or short read… long or short writing… We all love to read and write, so keep it up and let’s get lost in another world or time at least for a moment or maybe for a whole day. Who am I kidding? We readers tend to read into the night sometimes… There’s nothing wrong with pulling an all nighter!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Wednesday Coffee Thoughts…

Wow, we’ve made it to the midweek crunch. So, what’s running through my mind this afternoon? Glad you asked. Here goes…

Do you read other genres than you write in? I write romance, so I mostly read romance novels. But to my surprise, I talked with other writers that don’t read the genre they write. How is that possible? Just a little thought that ran through my mind as I sip my coffee this afternoon…

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5 things every author needs to know…

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Good morning! Writing… Writers block… Publishing… The life of a writer. It’s a roller coaster and not for the faint of heart. Here are the top 5 things every author needs to know about starting to write and publish…

  1. It’s not as easy as it looks. Let me be very clear about this, writing isn’t easy. There’s more to it than simply writing words. You’ve got to make sure to plot, plan, and organize those words to where the reader can get lost in the world you’ve created. If you don’t do it with an ebb and flow, then the reader will lose interest and move on. So, don’t think it’s just putting words on paper. There’s so much more to the process.
  2. Writer’s block is real! Every author has experienced writer’s block at one time or the other. It’s a helpless feeling and only perseverance gets you through it. You can get past it, just have confidence. Keep writing and working on other projects.
  3. Editor’s are essential. Alright, let’s all say this and put on repeat! Editors are essential. Even the most savvy writer can’t find all of the mistakes or bad wording in a manuscript. To be honest, editors miss some too. But let’s be honest, when we’re reading our own work, it’s hard to be completely harsh. An editor can help to reword things so that the story flows better. And some changes, even though they can hurt, are necessary.
  4. Read everyday… It may sound crazy, but reading actually helps you as a writer. But read in the genre that you write in. I’ve been reading books that the author wrote with such clear, precise wording that I was inspired. And I’ve read books that lost me from the first page. When I read things like this, it helps me to look at my work differently. Try it.
  5. Know your audience. If you write sweet romance, then don’t go too heavy on the love scenes. Advertising a book as one genre, but the book actually leaning more in another direction can make readers not trust you. So, know who you’re pushing this book to. The same with mysteries turning into nothing more than a romance with nothing to solve. I’ve read books like this and it is disheartening. Also, make sure if the book is erotic, let the reader know.

I could keep going, but you need to get back to writing and so do I. But I hope this helped you a little.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Setting up ads for week…

It’s finally Saturday. How do you spend your Saturday? Me, I take a little longer cuddling my coffee, then I check my social media. My house gets cleaned and laundry done, not saying it’s put up, just done. Then I get to work on my weekly ads.

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How do I schedule for a week? I’ll let you in on a little secret, I have a post spreadsheet. On my spreadsheet I have the books that I will post on for the upcoming week and where. I input the information for ads that are coming out and also, my blog posts are mostly done ahead of time.

Why do I schedule all of this ahead of time? I want more time to write. But how do I do it? Well, I use Hootsuite, Twitter Scheduler, Facebook Scheduler and other programs. No, I do not pay for the subscriptions, I do as many on each of them that I can.

A little hint, do not overload your social media with books. Post stuff about yourself, your life, inspirational pictures, pets, and so on. Let your fans know who you are. I try to alternate book posts to every four hours or more. That way I’m not too overpowering.

So, what are you doing today? Are you kicking back, enjoying a good movie? Live life… Laugh a lot… and Love…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Romance is like coffee…

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Good Friday morning. Hope all is well with all of you. It’s Friday, so let’s have some fun and enjoy the day. Yes, there’s still several hours until the weekend, but it’s almost here.

With romance readers, there is always someone who wants something different. There are so many different genres to choose from. It’s sort of like coffee. Everybody likes it a different way. Some like it black, no sweetener or creamer, just straight from the pot. Some like it with a little sugar and a lot of cream, then others, a lot of sugar and a little cream. And don’t even get me started on the many flavors of creamer. As for me, I love mine with just french vanilla creamer.

So, here’s to hoping you find the romance genre you like and a good cup of coffee the way you like it. Whatever way you like your romance, I hope you enjoy it. Read a little romance and get lost for a couple of hours, it helps the mind and soul…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Our job as an author…

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Good morning! It’s Monday morning and I’m ready for a productive week. Of course, my hubby is on vacation this week, so I’ll get to see him a lot, which is a great thing.

So, as an author, what are we trying to accomplish? I’m not talking about earning money, I’m talking about with our words.

Here are my top five things I try to accomplish with the words that come from my heart…

1: First and foremost, I want to entertain my reader. I want my ready to enjoy what I write and to want more of it. I want them to smile, laugh and cry when they read my work.

2: I want my readers to be taken away to another world. With Tuscany, I wanted to make them feel like they were in Italy. I wanted them to feel the warm Mediterranean breeze on their face. With my Christmas books, I want this to smell the Christmas spices, to feel the joy of the season and to feel the cold of the snow all around them.

3: My readers should feel what my characters feel. I want them to feel the happiness, the sorrow, and the anger.

4: With the romance, I want my readers to get lost in it. I want them to experience the romance of the story. So many people tell me that they haven’t ever had true romance, so I want them to feel it with every book they read of mine.

5: And finally, this is what every writer should aspire to do and that’s to take your reader to another realm of reality. Whether you write romance, mystery or horror, you should strive to take away the everyday troubles of your reader. Help them get lost in another world, if only for an hour. But help them forget everything but the characters and stories that are within the covers of your work.

So, what do you want to accomplish with your writing?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Just a little hint…

Good Saturday afternoon! Hope everyone is taking some time to enjoy life today. I’m finally sitting down for a little bit to write and blog. But, I have a little tidbit about my upcoming new series to dangle in front of you… so here goes…

1: There will be five books in the series…

2: The series is based around a small town on the northeast coast.

3: Each story has a connection to the other stories, so yes, they are connected.

These stories will be heartwarming and make you smile. I’m really excited about this new series and I can’t wait to introduce you to it. All five covers are completed and the series symbol is ready.

Hope you have a great Saturday and stop by my website at www.stephaniehurtauthor.com to sign up for my newsletter and stay up to date on all of the new releases as they come.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Getting the word out!

Ok, it’s Monday, are you ready for the work week? Me, not so much, but got to get moving. I’ve been asked so much lately about my advertising strategy that I’m writing the post to get the word out. So here goes:

When I first started publishing my books, I had no clue about marketing my book. Four years later I’m starting to get the hang of it. I even have a website where authors can advertise their books for a minimal fee and I use what I’ve learned on that site.

This is what I’ve learned that works, it really works:

1: Use a service such as Hootsuite to make many posts, even while you’re sleeping. I especially like to use this service when I have a new release coming out soon. I usually set up several posts and have them go through my WordPress, Twitter, and Facebook pages. I do different posts for each time slot, that way I’m not overusing the same thing.

2: Twitter is a really cool marketing tool. I actually see a bump in sales when I do Tweets during the day. Make sure to be creative with the 140 characters. I use my buy link and a savvy, short piece from the book. It really works people, but you have to actually do it for it to work 😉

3: Facebook Ads: This I love and see lots of results. Facebook has made it easier to set up. One thing I love about this is you don’t inundate your friends and family with book ads. These ads go to where you want them too and go to people that aren’t friends on Facebook. I’ve gained many new fans from a simple Facebook ad. You can set up any price you want to and even the length of time you run the ad is up to you.

4: Website: Every author needs a website. There are so many places you can set up a website now, it’s amazing. but if you don’t want to go to all the trouble of setting up a professional author website, then get in touch with me, my company Horseshoe Publishing does this.

5: Blogs: This is very important to authors. It gives you the chance to talk about anything, but I suggest leaving off political topics, only for the reason of making someone angry. Blog about your life giving readers a look at what you do other than writing. It’s amazing the response you’ll get.

So, these are only a part of my marketing agenda, but I’m short on my word count this morning, so I have to get back to writing. My assistant gives me the evil eye if I get too far behind on my schedule.

One last reminder before I go, if you don’t have the time or drive to do any of these and want help, check out my new advertising site www.freshfromthebook.com and for a minimal fee, we’ll get the word out for you.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


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Learning from others…

Good Monday morning! It’s drizzling rain here in Georgia, but that’s alright, we need it. Also since it’s Monday it kind of meets with my mood.

Today I want to talk about how you train as a writer. Some people say, ‘it’s easy to write, anyone can do it’, but that’s not the case. Writing takes more than you think to get from start to finish. You can sit down and write an idea for what you want, but it takes more than just an idea to get the full story. I’ve had ideas before and thought they’d be good, but they didn’t have enough filler to actually make a book.

I like to study what my favorite authors do. You may be asking what I mean, well it’s quite simple. I read lots of books in the genre I write. As I read, I’m looking at the sentence structure, paragraph lengths, the setup of the characterizations and the way the book is brought to the end. It’s amazing what you can learn from doing something you love, reading.

Then of course I read posts from other authors, writing magazines and even study courses. So, do you still think it’s all that easy? I’ve learned more English in the last three years that I’ve been publishing, not just writing. English skills are very important when you’re writing. Hey, I was thinking backwards for a while, but once you get into the business you realize, it’s more than just words on paper.

Several authors I follow have businesses that help other authors. All authors should want to help each other. It’s amazing the things you can learn from other authors about their own mistakes and how to correct them. I also join many Facebook writing groups, which just by reading them daily I can learn so much. Try it, you won’t regret it.

So, do you learn from other authors? If you’re struggling with something in your writing, there’s always someone out there or an article that can help you out.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you….