New Writers Beware–Don’t trust the one with the shiny apple!

“Thanks, but no thanks.” 

This is a phrase I find myself saying more often than I care to. As an indie author, it can be a challenge to find the right people for your team. Your team may consist of:

1.) A graphics person for that “just right” cover look.

2.) A proofreader/copywriter to crisp up pages and catch errors.

3.) Someone to format the final manuscript.

4.) A marketing person, if you’re not doing it yourself.

5.) And depending on how busy your schedule is, someone to make sure all these things are running smoothly, so that everything will be ready-set for your projected release date.

But, buyer, BEWARE! There is always some damn wolf in sheep’s clothing, some traveling salesman handing out snake oil or some soft-spoken old lady holding that shiny apple, tempting you, ready to pounce and offer you bells and whistles for the low introductory price of your first born in the end (metaphorically speaking).

I have heard plenty of first-timer horror stories and nightmarish experiences, my own included. In fact, my nightmare only recently ended. And finally, after months of promised release dates, my book will release at the end of November 2012. And if I have to cut the paper to proper trim size and write the words out, in ink, by hand for that to happen…so be it. Okay, that last part might be a little dramatic and desperate.

Sadly, desperation and eagerness makes that shiny apple that more appealing. And when someone offers additional services (I call these offers of grandeur) for something not listed as part of their expertise…RUN! I say that with love. Oh, and experience. True seasoned pros in the field will take on a project that they specialize in–no extras. For that, they will usually point you in the direction of someone who can meet your needs and deadlines.

Disappointment plagued me for the past four months because I believe in giving people a chance to express their creative sides and I still do. The only difference now is that I know when to say when. From this point on, I will treat my work like a body on an operating table–each organ is delicate and every member on my team must be at their surgical best.

In my case, I was refunded for an unfulfilled service. That didn’t make it better or right. Friends cheered me on and told me I was lucky to get a refund because it could have been a scam. Well, in my eyes, it was a scam. When you hire someone to do a job and both parties agree on terms and you’re less than a few weeks out to release your debut novel, it can be crushing. And that it was!

Quitting for no apparent reason to me is never an acceptable option, especially, at the very end of a project. If the person you hire is not willing to see it through and offers up non-sense excuses for why they can’t or won’t fix what they did wrong usually means they are in over their head. RUN! If they try to make you believe that’s the way your book should look or they try to convince you those are industry standards, but you know in your gut it’s wrong…RUN! This is when you can see that they really didn’t know what they were doing to begin with–LESSON LEARNED!

It’s never too late to avoid making these mistakes. READ THE FINE PRINT! If something is not listed under their specialty, no matter what extras they offer you…even if it’s free, say “Thanks, but no thanks” or “I already have someone working on that for me.”  READ BETWEEN THE LINES! Harsh or degrading criticism in the comment panel from a proofreader/copywriter, unwanted suggestions about your characters ages, names etc. and comments about scenes from your story that are blatantly in the story, but the  proofreader misses it, are all unprofessional and signs to flee.

Some of you might be thinking, “she sounds a little bitter.” I’ll own that! But my bitter levels have come down considerably as I think about the taunting, cowardice email that was sent to me, offered up as an “I quit.” I felt like the jilted ex. My phone calls went unanswered. Now I just feel like the somewhat wiser newbie. And while I don’t really believe in bashing others so much, I do believe in standing up for myself and speaking out against those who mistake me for a doormat.

Don’t give up or give in. There is a solution, a lifeline, dangling close by. You just have to be willing to stand on faith and grab it.

Remember, this is the work you slaved over and poured your heart and soul into–no one should be allowed to take even a tiny portion of that away from you.  So new writers beware and don’t trust the one with the shiny apple because you just might bite into a worm.

Have you experienced something like this? Would you like to share your story? Please do so! It can help someone going through this now.

Pass the Links #1–An Author’s Gratitude

A Pass the Links series

I initially got the idea to Pass the Linksfrom fellow blogger Kate Policani’s post High Time for Some Links. Thanks Kate! In that same spirit, I am paying it forward on this #FF. To thank my Twitter/WordPress blog followers for taking the time out to read my tweets and blog posts, I’ve compiled a list of their newly released and upcoming novels and writings.

If you follow me and don’t see your name on the list, don’t fret, I will be posting at least 5-10 author releases regularly over the next few months. So keep a look out for your name in my Pass the Links blog posts series. Also, feel free to leave comments with info on your newly released/upcoming novels and writings for me to post. Here is the first list of titles/authors and links below:

Thanks again,

~A.M. Day

NEWLY RELEASED

Undaunted Love by Jennings Wright @JenningsWright

http://www.amazon.com/Undaunted-Love-Jennings-Wright/dp/1479250287/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350064505&sr=8-1&keywords=undaunted+love

Heart Song by Samantha LaFantasie @SamLaFantasie

http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Song-Samantha-S-LaFantasie/dp/1478323507/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350064729&sr=1-4&keywords=heart+song

Heart Search: Lost by Carlie M.A. Cullen @carlie2011c

http://www.amazon.com/HEART-SEARCH-book-Lost-ebook/dp/B009MWXU40/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350065828&sr=1-2&keywords=heart+search%3A+lost

Wicked Tears by Amy Blaze @ablazebooks

http://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Tears-ebook/dp/B009HZO9YC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350066171&sr=1-1&keywords=amy+blaze

Spindles (A Short Story) by L.B. Gale @LBGale

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/spindles/

COMING SOON!

Shaken, Not Stirred by Aaron Cooley @fleming17f Nov. 2012

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15995128-shaken-not-stirred

Broken Pieces by Rachel Thompson @RachelintheOC Nov. 2012

http://rachelintheoc.com/2012/09/light-an-sneak-peek-excerpt-from-broken-pieces/

Don’t Judge a Book By Its Magic by Kate Policani @KPtwitrnovel Virtual Release Party October 26th 2012

http://katepolicani.com/books-for-sale/dont-judge-a-book-by-its-magic/

Uprising by Jessica Therrien @JessicaTherrien Feb. 2013

http://jessica-therrien.blogspot.com/p/children-of-gods.html

Protector by Joanne Wadsworth @JoanneWadsworth Jan. 2013

http://joannewadsworth.com/books/

I Know Where the Muses Play

by A.M. Day

Recently, while on a river walk, I stumbled across something huge—the undeniable urge to write about what I rediscovered…Muses. Like other writers, I sometimes have more than one. They tap and hammer and hone in on my frequency, sometimes all at once—especially, if I’m ignoring them to quiet my mind. And I have been ignoring them lately…my own Muse included. I found a way to silence them when needed. My Muse had been resting comfortably during her forced hiatus as I began to reflect on this year so far. She usually shows up when I’m truly in need of some Muse musings, inspiration.

But the last couple of months…nothing. Not a peep out of her or the other Muses. I searched deep within the walls of my mind, my heart. She wasn’t there. This dragged on, forcing me to do whatever I had to in order to revive her spirit. I walked and ran, hoping she’d pop in with her regular chatter and rattling off as the endorphins opened me up. And still, no Muse or Muses. She was snubbing me, giving me the cold shoulder, like I had been doing to her.

I killed my Muse! I remember thinking. A feeling of loss came pouring in as I sat on one of the nearby benches. The river rippled and something gushed from underneath, pushing bubbles to the surface. As I took off to finish my walk, a song played out against nature’s tapestry, enticing me to take a closer listen. Every step felt as if something were touching me, playing tag with my soul. It danced a circle around me, in front of me and behind.

Something was with me the further I walked through the lushness of the tree-lined path. My ears became hyper-aware as the droopy tree branches on either side of me began to sway synchronously. The soft, colorful fall leaves and the stiffened, brown ones blew underneath my feet, racing me, as I lifted one foot after the other. There was a lively jolt further in that became dormant when I passed the thicket, toward the opening to the end of the path. I turned to go back the way I came, only to find that my Muse had warmed up to me again and invited a few of her Muse friends to play.

“She’s not dead! I didn’t kill her!” I sputtered inside. All the joy came flooding back to me. Gleeful whispers passed my ears, and then I heard it…loudly, distinctly. “You would not like it if someone tried to quiet your voice. Why would you quiet our voices? Never turn your back on us again or we might have to leave you for good…for someone who will appreciate our gifts and who enjoys playing with us.”

“I have learned my lesson well, Muse. And I will never turn my back on you again,” I replied.

If you lose the Muses, remember, they play all around us and within. We just have to be willing to pay attention, respect them or begin-the-begin.

Write To Fall

A Season To Write Series

by A.M. Day

Writing has always been synonymous with breathing to me. Whether jotting down notes, to-do-lists or grocery lists for Mom–writing is writing. And because I was never one to bite my tongue as a kid, venting on paper worked sometimes after Mom made me write hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of lines for punishment.  I even wrote the occasional ‘You’re On My Sh*! List’ lists for high school bullies and neighborhood evildoers.  

“If you take my computer, I will write with pen. If you take my pen, I will write inside my head. I will write long after I can no longer write, I will write until I’m dead.” ~A.M. Day

With that said, by now, everyone who knows me knows that writing is a part of me, like a kidney or a limb. But is there a particular time in a writer’s life that said writing thrives more than in other times? It has been said that the phases of the moon brings about certain energies in one’s life and I believe that is true for some writers when it comes to seasons.  

Begin the begin–The smell of ‘crumble under your feet’ leaves are upon us (and not the ones left by the drought). I’m talking about fall leaves in the Midwest. And as fall fast approaches, I find myself pillaging the cleaning and home fragrance aisles at the local Walmart to pull together that perfect balance of fall scents. Sweet Vanilla and Pumpkins from Airwick won out over the regular Apples and Cinnamon this year. 

Fall…one of my favorite seasons and I can’t wait! It evokes new life and endless hope in me. The cells in my body get a little perkier and renewed (I am a ‘fall baby’). Smelling the crispness of Wisconsin’s night air…it has a hint of fall, swirling between the subtle notes of smoked-wood and patiently-waiting morning dew. A ghostly whiff of Mom’s peach cobbler with the most delectable crust and Grandma’s fry-pies creep inside my memories of childhood.  And I actually celebrate the season change on the first day of fall every year. Hot cocoa w/marshmallows and hot apple cider pleasantly dance in my mouth at night along with Pumpkin Spice flavored coffee from the local coffee house before bed. 

With fall comes a slew of things for me to get done…write, write and write some more. I write in all seasons, but I write to fall the best! I think it’s because most of my best life-memories happened in the fall season. 

What season does your writing thrive in the most? And, why? Share your season with me. I would love to hear about it!