Congratulations to Maria! She’s the winner of this drawing!
Happy Sunday! Today we’re joined by author Ashley Quinn. She’s celebrating the release of her third novel, Summer of Love. In fact, she’s giving away a signed paperback copy! Drop a comment in the space below and I’ll draw the winner on Friday, Aug 25.
As an indie author of three lesbian romance novels, including Summer Of Love (my most recent release), I thought it would be fun to share some self-publishing tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. Now, I don’t pretend to have as much knowledge on the ins and outs of self-publishing as those amazing indie authors who have released ten, fifteen or twenty-plus books themselves, but I’m a big proponent of sharing the knowledge and serving the community what we deserve – Engaging, well-written books reflective of our unique personalities and experiences, infused with love, laughter, romance and maybe even some hot sex (yeah, I said it). Here’s a bit of what I’ve picked up in the 5 years that I have been self-publishing:
- Edit, Edit, Edit. While this may seem like a “duh” tip, editing falls all on you when you’re an indie author. This alone makes me so, so appreciative of beta-readers and editors who are willing to take an objective look at your work in progress and provide a fresh perspective – Or simply an eye for some of those extra-obscure grammar rules that drive us authors crazy. While some are willing to do this free of charge, I know many who run respectable side businesses as editors and are wonderful at cleaning up an otherwise great work in progress.The truth of the matter is that first impressions do matter and, like any other product, if you’re releasing something attached to your name while hoping to generate interest in your work, it’s really important to have that book be the absolute best it can be. The energy that you put into your work is contagious and I truly believe (most) readers will feel that.
- Read, Read, Read. Personally, I’ve found that reading and re-reading my work in progress as I go is incredibly helpful to creating a smooth, well-rounded story. This is usually especially crucial if you take lengthier breaks from your work in progress. I’ve found that it helps put me right back in the world I’ve created so I can pick up where I’ve left off much easier.If I’m sitting down to write, say, 800 words, sometimes I even write those words a few different times before adding them to my actual work in progress document. I use WorkFlowy as a basic tool to outline the overall story. If I’m hit with an idea for a scene or simply plugging along, sometimes I’ll write a rough draft of the scene right there in that program. Then, I’ll typically give it a few hours (realistically with my schedule, more like a day!) and then re-write the rough scene from WorkFlowy into a more final scene in my actual work in progress document.
I did this often as I was writing Summer Of Love and I found that it strengthened the quality of the content, even in the rough draft. Speaking of rough drafts, another trick I’ve learned is to always order a copy of the final novel – in paperback form – from CreateSpace prior to releasing it worldwide. Having the opportunity to view, hold and consume the book as a reader and not someone who has been staring at the same Word document for months truly gives an author a new perspective. My experience has been that I’m able to more quickly pick up on a lot of small nuances that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. As I sit down and read my almost-ready-to-go paperback, I usually go old-school – black pen and all – and make final adjustments or edits right there in the book that I can refer back to when implementing these last changes in my Word doc. I can’t stress this enough – Reading your work in book format is a totally different experience than reading it in your Word document.
- Soak It All Up. If you’re a writer, then it’s more than a fair bet to say that you’re probably also a reader. So, continue to read your favorite authors. Read for pleasure, but also be mindful during and after of what it is you like about them and their writing. What made the story work so well? What didn’t work as well? I’ve always said that I don’t ever want to be like anyone but myself, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t critically think about books I’ve enjoyed over the years and let that understanding gently influence my own writing. There are a lot of lesbian and non-lesbian authors whom I greatly admire, appreciate and try to carefully learn from.We’re lucky, because the lesbian fiction community is a tightly-knit one. There are multiple conventions and events each year, as well as Facebook groups, websites, mailing lists and even more nearly endless ways to connect with and learn from one another. Happy writing!
Ashley Quinn is an avid writer, voracious reader and lover of all things art. A born-and-raised Chicago girl, Ashley relocated to Dallas, Texas in 2014 and quickly discovered that she loves Tex-Mex, is terrified of Texas drivers, and doesn’t miss the blizzards.
With a B.A. in Marketing Communications from Columbia College Chicago and many years of professional communications and content strategy experience across a diverse range of industries, Ashley’s first love remains creative writing. She enjoys writing lesbian fiction and romance featuring relatable, developed characters and unique situations.
She lives in the Dallas area with her partner and their two spoiled dogs. They are usually planning their next adventure, while Ashley continues to write future books.
Amazon Profile: https://www.amazon.com/Ashley-Quinn/e/B009M8XNP0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1502818166&sr=8-1