Tuesday, August 22, 2017

What Is New Adult (NA) Clean Genre

by Julie L. Spencer
Indie Author Hub member

What is the New Adult (NA) Clean genre all about, and why am I embracing it? To say ‘I found my niche’ is an understatement! I’ve been writing in this category for years but just didn’t know it existed. Then I found out that it didn’t exist prior to about 2012, and still barely exists!

When people ask me what genre my novels fall into, I have always struggled: Well, they’re at a Young Adult (YA) reading level with a very mature theme and college-age characters. To add to the confusion, they’re also very Christian-themed books. They don’t really fit into the YA genre because they involve adult physical relationships. You can pretend to be shocked if you want, but (newsflash) even Christians have sex! Preferably after marriage, but that too brings up real-life struggles of the difficulty of staying chaste prior to marriage, especially in a world that criticizes that very pretense. It’s not the easiest thing to accomplish, and I address that in several of my stories, possibly all of them. I believe that physical relationships are very sacred and very special. Lovemaking between a husband and wife is almost an extension of God’s love. Anything less than that is demeaning. Sorry, that’s my opinion.

A few months ago I asked a question on one of my online communities (on Facebook) about how to get a book published in that general description, and someone pointed out that my book probably falls into the category of New Adult (NA) rather than YA. I didn’t know such a thing existed, so I started doing some research. It turns out that my stories fit the category almost perfectly!

By the way, the readers of NA fiction are not necessarily in the new adult age range. I’ll explore that later in this blog post, but first let’s examine what makes a novel fit into this category. These are according to Deborah Halverson in her book Writing New Adult Fiction.

Here are the nine traits that distinguish NA fiction from teen fiction or fiction for adults:
(Those of you who already read my novels will be nodding your head reading each of these!)

·      Main characters between the ages of eighteen to twenty-five (although some online communities claim 18-30 is the age range)
·      Themes related to identity establishment (characters learning who they are and what they want out of life)
·      Independence as a story driver (characters learning to take responsibility for themselves, their own actions, and their problems)
·      A self-focused perspective (new adults are often focused on their own needs, wants, dreams, and interests)
·      Heightened sense of change and instability (this stage in life is naturally full of change)
·      Clash of high expectations and harsh reality (optimistic characters who aim big and mess up even bigger!)
·      Peer-heavy social circles (parents are nearly out of the story, peers become the new ‘family’)
·      Significant romances (beyond the ‘first kiss’ of teen years, these relationships are intense, often include marriage and sex)
·      New adult relevant circumstances (may include temporary living arrangements, short-term jobs, fluid social circles, unfamiliar activities and settings, and financial stress)

If you’ve read my books, you are probably already aware that they are indeed New Adult novels! But, from where did this NA category originate?

Crossover readers became writers! What is a crossover reader, you ask? Basically, the same group of readers who propelled the Twilight series and Harry Potter series into superstardom.

Crossover readers, as defined by publishing market research firm Bowker in September of 2012 were 18 years or older, purchasing YA books for themselves, not to give as a gift to a teen. The largest segment of these readers were thirty- to forty-four-year-olds. Simple escapism is cited as the reason for their choosing these stories, as well as nostalgia for a simpler time in their lives.

When crossover readers ran out of Twilight novels (the series ended, I know, we’re all still crying!) they started writing stories they wanted to read. That’s exactly what happened to me! I wrote The CoveDescription: https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/nJIQnY07yTehkMa_JAMC4mObGKQqMqM6MiC5lvRRjd0287yR_-4dvgke_NbGTBwl3M-Kdpa12sakNISmbDYbTBpKIp0hK7t0sfQKpDFJmJyMEoPII61y_dxKvKuOWrVt2Zq0cZUI in the summer of 2011, before this genre even existed! No wonder I couldn’t define its genre or convince a publishing company to embrace it!

The largest group of readers of NA fiction are that same crossover audience that took YA to the top of the industry, with college-age readers coming in second, and some advanced teen readers bringing up the rear. My readership includes all of those and more. I have a lot of teens who love my stories, several people who are old enough to be my mother who love my stories, and everything in between.

What about the Christian aspect? Pretty much all of my novels include my church! It’s as simple as that. You write about what you know and it’s difficult to separate yourself from your core values. My core values include my walk with Christ, and my membership in my church. Take it or leave it. I am who I am.

I love it when people read my books, but I will not change my stories to fit a genre or to engage a particular market or audience. I write the stories that come from my heart and mind. That being said, it’s good to know my stories have found their square-peg home in the round-peg publishing world.

Have you embraced New Adult fiction? What’s your opinion? - Julie L. Spencer

~~~

Shared with us from Julie's blog.

Julie L. Spencer lives in the central Michigan area with her husband and teenagers. She has a very full life managing a conservation district office, writing grant proposals & book reviews, and chasing after several teenage athletes. Julie’s been writing since she was in junior high, but prior to publishing The Cove, her only published work was her Master’s Thesis. She loves to read and write New Adult Contemporary Christian Romance novels, and has several more novels nearing publication.

You can find Julie on her Author Page on Facebook, at Twitter @juliespencer98, and other fun locations listed here on Our Authors page.    

Friday, June 30, 2017

What is a Blog Tour, and What Can It Do for You?

by Anna del C. Dye @AnnaDelC
Indie Author Hub Member


What is a blog tour, you ask. What can it do for you?

A blog tour is a promotional technique, where you get a bunch of people to do a post for you about your new book. The news and tidbits about your new book travels for you while you remain in the comfort of your own home. Thanks to the wonders of the world wide web, the entire planet is just a click away from your book.

A blog tour takes place when you hand-pick host blogs to do a post for you. Ideally you would want to find those blogs that are in the same genre and age group that your book is. A lot of times, though, reality sets in and you get any bloggers that you can get yours hand on.

Some posts will feature you and your book in some way. A book review is perfect, but many bloggers don’t have a lot of time to read your book, so offer them different options to pick from. An author interview is great. You can do one interview on your own and have it ready for them, or have them send you their questions. All this depend on the blog’s specialty and the host will tell you what they want from you.

Now, you pick a week or two or even three to have all of them pick a date to post about you and your new book. It doesn’t matter if more than one picks the same date, although your goal should be to have a continual stream of blogs. Make sure you visit each blog
to see if the post is up, to thank the host, and to answer any questions from readers in the comments.

Also, you may choose to offer a free ebook to the reader who posts the nicest comment in all the posts, or give away one ebook to a lucky reader from each blog. Ask the winners to do a review for you.



For more etiquette tips on what to do when you are asked to be a visitor on someone’s blog, see this blog post.

Happy writing to you.
~~~


Shared with us from Anna's blog.

Anna was born in the extreme South. She loves reading, but had few opportunities to do so while growing up. As a young woman, she moved North to marry Rodney Dye and has resided in Utah since then. They are the parents of three princes and a princess. With her husband and his family she has had the opportunity of traveling to many of the United States, (most of them camping!) and to four other countries. She would like to visit castles in European countries. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and understands Portuguese.

After she married, Anna was introduced to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books that she admits to having collected. A number of years ago she was introduced to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and to J. K.Rowling's writings, which she loves. She also loves romantic music (she listens to it every day), theatrical plays that she attends at least six times a year, and cats (when they are not shedding).

Anna wears her dresses down to her ankles and likes them to be very feminine, with lace being one of her favorite trimmings. "I am afraid that I do not follow fashions," she has said. "I wear what I like."

You can find Anna on her website, her profile on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @AnnaDelC.

Friday, June 9, 2017

How to Promote Your Book—Before and During Launch

by Anna del C. Dye @AnnaDelC
Indie Author Hub Member


1. Send out free PDFs, or ebooks, to bloggers who have tons of followers. If your book is non-fiction, send out digital copies to influential journalists. Ask the bloggers a review it in their blogs.

Most bloggers or reviewers need a month to read the book. Always ask way beforehand.

2. Pull out excerpts of the book to use as articles. Post them on free sites.

3. Create videos. Keep each one short and sweet (under 10 minutes). Talk about you. In another, talk about your book. Then in another, read an excerpt from it.

4. Create a book trailer. Find royalty-free pictures that reflect the content of your book (buy them if they're not free of cost), and then use excerpts from the book to tease people to read more. Never tell the ending.

5. Schedule a launch day and make sure plenty of things are planned that day. Notify your email list, and post on your Facebook, Goodreads, Shelfari, and Twitter accounts a week before and then the day of your launch. Don’t forget to post the links to your videos and trailers each time.

6. Offer a digital copy as a prize on other websites and blogs. Offer the blogger or website owners a free paperback book for their help.

7. Ask other bloggers to do an interview and send them lots of questions with their answers. You can send the same list to all of them and ask them to pick several questions and answers from it to post.

7. If you ask these bloggers to each post your review on a different day of the week, this is called a Blog Tour. Make sure every day has a blogger assigned to it. You’ll gain maximum exposure for minimum costs.

8. Offer a chapter as a downloadable PDF. Encourage readers to share it with others. Include a summary of the rest of book to encourage people to buy it. Never tell the ending.

9. Publish the book’s table of contents on your website. Include a small overview of each chapter. Optimize the page for search engines by listing many relevant tags.

10. Encourage people to write a five-star review of your book on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Shelfari, and Goodreads.

11. Publish reviews and testimonials of the book on your website. Include reviews from Amazon.com and other sites.

12. Arrange interviews with radio hosts interested in your subject matter. This is a win-win since it provides them with valuable content and you with valuable publicity.

13. Makes sure you always say thank you to all that help you, and join their sites to show that you care for their help.

14. Make bookmarks and business cards for personal events. Check online for cost-effective sources.

15. Always have copies of your book, bookmarks or business card with you or in your car.

16. Be creative, persistent, and grateful for the help of others and you’ll see your book sales go up.

17. Don’t forget to share your success with others and help them get ahead. It is always sweeter when you get to the top and your friends and family are cheering you on.
~~~



Shared with us from Anna's blog.

Anna was born in the extreme South. She loves reading, but had few opportunities to do so while growing up. As a young woman, she moved North to marry Rodney Dye and has resided in Utah since then. They are the parents of three princes and a princess. With her husband and his family she has had the opportunity of traveling to many of the United States, (most of them camping!) and to four other countries. She would like to visit castles in European countries. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and understands Portuguese.

After she married, Anna was introduced to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books that she admits to having collected. A number of years ago she was introduced to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and to J. K.Rowling's writings, which she loves. She also loves romantic music (she listens to it every day), theatrical plays that she attends at least six times a year, and cats (when they are not shedding).

Anna wears her dresses down to her ankles and likes them to be very feminine, with lace being one of her favorite trimmings. "I am afraid that I do not follow fashions," she has said. "I wear what I like."

You can find Anna on her website, her profile on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @AnnaDelC.

Friday, May 19, 2017

How Can Speech, Looks, and Attitude Change a Character?

by Anna del C. Dye @AnnaDelC
Indie Author Hub Member


If all your characters sound the same, something is very wrong. Real people don’t sound the same, not ever. Your characters’ words show where they come from, their culture, and attitudes. If you want to create an astounding character then you need to figure out where he/she is from and then have him show it in his speech and look.

Example: How does she refer to a middle-aged man? Man, guy, dude, sir, lord, hey you, etc.

Or a place? Yonder, over there, afar, down under, across the bay, a jump and a hop from here, etc.

Remember that gangs, teens, southerners, westerners, orientals, islanders, and usually all foreigners have their own unique way of speech. We all do and that is what characterizes us as special.

Can you tell from which walks of lives or places these people come by the way they talk?

  • Your Majesty, it’s my honor to meet thee.
  • Aye mate, G’t the anchor fast, landlubber, or we’ll all drown like rats.
  • That dude is so cool. Totally far out.
  • Nay, you knave, unhand me.
  • The radar shows nothing, cap’n. Fish and corals are our only company.
  • Beam me up Scotty!
  • Aye Captain, but the reactors are ready to implode.

The individual’s culture also does much to make your character worth remembering. What do I mean by culture?

  • Her colorful clothes made a big splash at the beach.
  • I think it’s the dark skin and the way she moves her hips that attract everyone.
  • It‘s time for my prayers. After that I’ll be free. Where is my skull cap? I can’t pray without it.
  • Tortillas are the foundation of all our meals. We have them with hot salsa.

Another thing worth giving your character is a healthy dose of attitude. That is another excellent way to give depth to any character.

  • Someone get this walking carpet out of my way, before I…
  • Now, come, young sir, we don’t need to go that far now, do we?
  • I’ll erase that smile with my fist if you don’t!
  • The way she moves makes my mouth water.
  • I want it done yesterday, captain!
  • I’ll twist his puny neck with my own hands.
  • My chow! Where is my chow, you good for nuttin’.
  • Blast them all to kingdom come!

Take time to see how you want your characters to sound and look. It will surprise you to find that they have not only a voice but also a look of their own.

Now go, and happy writing to you.
~~~


Shared with us from Anna's blog.

Anna was born in the extreme South. She loves reading, but had few opportunities to do so while growing up. As a young woman, she moved North to marry Rodney Dye and has resided in Utah since then. They are the parents of three princes and a princess. With her husband and his family she has had the opportunity of traveling to many of the United States, (most of them camping!) and to four other countries. She would like to visit castles in European countries. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and understands Portuguese.

After she married, Anna was introduced to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books that she admits to having collected. A number of years ago she was introduced to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and to J. K.Rowling's writings, which she loves. She also loves romantic music (she listens to it every day), theatrical plays that she attends at least six times a year, and cats (when they are not shedding).

Anna wears her dresses down to her ankles and likes them to be very feminine, with lace being one of her favorite trimmings. "I am afraid that I do not follow fashions," she has said. "I wear what I like."

You can find Anna on her website, her profile on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @AnnaDelC.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Writing Fiction: Show, Don't Tell

by Rebecca Talley  @rebeccatalley
Indie Author Hub Member


Writing fiction can be tricky. Of course, the author is telling the story, but it’s the way in which the author tells the story that makes a difference. Readers want to experience the story. Readers choose books to vicariously live through a character in a situation the reader would never experience in real life. Take, for example, suspense books. Most of us will never be FBI agents, but we can become one as we read a story about one who’s searching for a cyber terrorist. More than likely, we’ll never be cursed with obedience, but we can live as though we are while we read Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. We can travel back in time to experience life during the civil war in Gone With The Wind. Books allow us to live a different life, if even for a moment.

The trick in having readers suspend disbelief is to show them the story rather than tell them the story. Instead of writing, Annie was mad consider writing, Annie stomped across the room. She picked up a book and flung it across the room. Her face flushed while she let out an exasperated breath. Do you see the difference? In the first example, I told you Annie was mad. In the second example, you concluded she was mad because I showed you actions that would lead you to believe she was mad.

Annie was sad vs. Annie’s eyes filled with tears while the corners of her mouth turned downward and her lips trembled. Again, the second example allows the reader to come to the conclusion that Annie is sad.

You can do the same thing with any other emotion. Using actions and bits of dialogue you can show the reader how the character is feeling rather than telling the reader how that character feels. Describing how the character feels is much more effective than telling how the character feels because it sucks the reader into the story and makes him feel as if he’s part of it.

The more you can allow the reader to interpret and then draw his own conclusions, the more effective your story will be.
~~~


Rebecca grew up next to the ocean in Santa Barbara, California. She spent her youth at the beach collecting sea shells and building sandcastles. She graduated from high school and left for college, where she met and married her sweetheart, Del.

Del and Rebecca are the sometimes frazzled, but always grateful, parents of ten wildly-creative and multi-talented children and the grandparents of the most adorable little girls in the universe.

After spending nineteen years in rural Colorado with horses, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, and donkeys, Rebecca and her family moved to a suburb of Houston, Texas, where she spends most of her time in the pool trying to avoid the heat and humidity. When she isn't in the pool, she loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, redecorate her house, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house.

Rebecca has always loved to write and has authored novels, stories for print and online magazines, and children's books. She now focuses on writing romance because she believes everyone deserves their happily-ever-after.

You can find Rebecca on her website, her author page on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @rebeccatalley.

Friday, April 28, 2017

More on How to Name Your Characters

by Anna del C. Dye @AnnaDelC
Indie Author Hub Member


Every time an author writes a new book, names for all the characters are needed. The meanings of names are very important to the personality of the characters. If you want your character to be a strong giant, don’t name him Mouse. If you want a slow shy character don’t name him/her Brain.

How do many authors get inspiration for their names?

One of the best places to find names is still The Baby Book of Names. However, I have found many sites on the Internet with names, and many of them display their meaning. Another great place is oriental, Hindu, and Indian name books or web sites. You will be surprised at the many old names contained in the Bible, and how perfect they are for some of the best fantasy characters I have seen.

Since I write medieval fantasy I like my names particularly different and with an old flavor to them. Every time I read I paid attention to the names of the characters and verify if they will work for my particular story. Now this doesn’t mean that I copy them from other authors; they are 100% mine.  How do I do it then? Usually by accident.

I read the name and it will suggest a pronunciation to me. Then my mind says "cool, but I would have spell it this way." That is all it takes to have a new name. Other times I have put two names together. For example Sarianni was made by combining the names of the two grandmothers of the character: Saria and Annia. Another time I reversed the name of one character to make another: Nathaniel became Leinahtan, Leinah or Leinahtany.

I also asked some of my nieces and nephews which names they liked most. It took a bit of doing but I turned them into names worthy of my elfs and mankind characters.

Here are some results I obtained from these techniques:

Emily = Emelen          Christie = Christalyn          Samuel = Siamuel

Jessica = Jesikal         Donovan = Donian             Anna = Annia

John = Johesin           Michael = Michail               Sultan = Zoltan

Alex = Axel                  Adriana = Adren                  David = Dellin

These are my own inventions and most of them are used in my trilogy. I am sure you can come up with many more on your own. You can do the same with any name that you like or use its meaning as a name by itself.

In my case my characters usually came to me complete with name and personality. It amazed me how fit the one is for the other. Change some vowels and see what you get. Usually you will know right away if the name fits the character or not. A well fitting name will make your character; a wrong name will destroy it.

One more thing to have present in your mind when you name your characters: a very hard name will be hard to remember, and your readers will miss your great tale by just trying to figure how to say the name. I saw a name that I liked and it was spelled Sean. When I used it just like that in my book, my husband pronounced it very distinctly from what I had thought. It was like day and night, so I decided to have a pronunciation chart. It is all right to have a pronunciation chart in the beginning or end of the book. I do this and have been complimented because of it. I have also received accolades for the great names I use.

Remember, names are frequently the first thing a reader sees on the blurb on back of the cover. Your character names are a great advertisement for your book.

Now go, and happy writings to you…

~~~

Shared with us from Anna's blog.

Anna was born in the extreme South. She loves reading, but had few opportunities to do so while growing up. As a young woman, she moved North to marry Rodney Dye and has resided in Utah since then. They are the parents of three princes and a princess. With her husband and his family she has had the opportunity of traveling to many of the United States, (most of them camping!) and to four other countries. She would like to visit castles in European countries. She is fluent in both English and Spanish and understands Portuguese.

After she married, Anna was introduced to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books that she admits to having collected. A number of years ago she was introduced to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and to J. K.Rowling's writings, which she loves. She also loves romantic music (she listens to it every day), theatrical plays that she attends at least six times a year, and cats (when they are not shedding).

Anna wears her dresses down to her ankles and likes them to be very feminine, with lace being one of her favorite trimmings. "I am afraid that I do not follow fashions," she has said. "I wear what I like."

You can find Anna on her website, her profile on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @AnnaDelC.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Writing Fiction: Name That Character

by Rebecca Talley  @rebeccatalley
Indie Author Hub Member


How do you name your characters?

Some popular authors have created unique names for their characters, while others have used common names. JK Rowling uses names like Dumbledore, Romilda, Lovegood, and Nymphadora. Stephenie Meyer uses Edward, an ordinary name, for the hero of the Twilight series, as well as other common names such as Jacob, Renee, Jessica, and Alice.

A name will have different associations for different readers depending on their own unique experiences. For example, one reader may think that the name Angie is associated with a fat, ugly girl while another may think of someone extraordinarily beautiful. It’s impossible, as a writer, to predict how readers will react to a name, but you can do some minor research to make sure the name you choose fits your character. Once you choose a name, try it out on friends, writing partners, or critique groups to get a feel of how people will react to the name.

Here are some ideas on how to find names for your characters:

Baby Name Book. These books are readily available and generally include the definition of the name as well as different variations. Many baby name books will include a list of the most popular names of a particular year or other time span.

Social Security Name Index.
Go here: www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames and it will give you the most popular 100 names of any given year. This is especially helpful if you’re writing a story set in the past. You can also determine the popularity of the name you’ve chosen for your character.

Use names of Relatives. You can search through family records and genealogy charts to find unique names.

Yearbooks. Find high school yearbooks and search through the pages to find names.

Phone Book. A local phone book can provide you with many names, both first and last. You can simply choose a page and see if any of the names on that page appeal to you.

Names You Wanted for Your Children. Many women who write tend to choose names for their characters that they wanted to name their children but were unable to do so.

Combinations. You can combine certain names and see if the name you’ve created appeals to you.

Your characters are your “babies.” Make sure you name them well.
~~~


Rebecca grew up next to the ocean in Santa Barbara, California. She spent her youth at the beach collecting sea shells and building sandcastles. She graduated from high school and left for college, where she met and married her sweetheart, Del.

Del and Rebecca are the sometimes frazzled, but always grateful, parents of ten wildly-creative and multi-talented children and the grandparents of the most adorable little girls in the universe.

After spending nineteen years in rural Colorado with horses, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, and donkeys, Rebecca and her family moved to a suburb of Houston, Texas, where she spends most of her time in the pool trying to avoid the heat and humidity. When she isn't in the pool, she loves to date her husband, play with her kids, swim in the ocean, redecorate her house, and dance to disco music while she cleans the house.

Rebecca has always loved to write and has authored novels, stories for print and online magazines, and children's books. She now focuses on writing romance because she believes everyone deserves their happily-ever-after.

You can find Rebecca on her website, her author page on FaceBook, and on Twitter at @rebeccatalley.