Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

My two new non-fiction ebooks are live as of yesterday! The Two-Week Short Story is a guide to brainstorming and writing a fast first draft, and the Short Story Workshop for One is a workbook for improving fiction when it’s difficult to get outside feedback or comments. For now they’re exclusive to Amazon, and priced at $2.99 and $1.99 respectively. More details about them, and buying links, are here.

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

For a number of years, I ran a couple of successful email courses through The Scriptorium; one was called “The Two-Week Short Story” and the second was “Short Story Workshop for One.” People seemed to enjoy them and I received a lot of very positive feedback from students. The first was (rather obviously) a guide to coming up with a story idea and writing a quick, complete first draft, all in a two-week period. The Workshop was a method for writers who found it difficult to get feedback or critiques to work on developing the kind of critical eye needed to help them improve their stories on their own. The Short Story Workshop itself grew out of an article I had published in Speculations back in 2001, so it had already lived through one reincarnation. It occurred to me that they’d both probably translate well into short ebooks now, and that I might reach a new group of aspiring writers in that format.

Never one to let a good idea fail to distract me from what I’m really *supposed* to be doing, I set to work and did some revising, tweaking, and re-formatting. Also, cover design, since every good ebook deserves a good e-cover. I’m not quite ready to release the ebooks yet, since they need one more good going-over, but I’m thinking within a week or so they’ll be ready to go. But I can share those covers with you now (they might get a little more tweaking, but I think they’re pretty much done):

I expect to price the ebooks around $1.99, which will be a bargain considering the courses used to sell for $8.00 each! However, I did have the hassle of setting up the email schedule, so compared to that, selling ebooks is easy. I believe I’ll test these in Kindle Select at first, and then move to a broader platform after that, as my marketing experimentation continues.

If you or someone you know is looking for some story inspiration and motivation, or have a story that needs some intensive self-workshopping, I’ll be posting here when they’re released. Maybe you’ll find them useful!

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

Montage_Coupon_Adbig-rabbitThe Middlings Bundle launches today, from the newest entry into the bundle market, BundleRabbit. If you’re a fan of sites like HumbleBundle and StoryBundle, I’m pretty sure you’re going to love this one, too. And I’m excited to have a novella included in their very first bundle. I also love, love, love the BundleRabbit logo! BundleRabbit is the brainchild of Chuck Heintzelman, with whom I’ve shared many happy writer therapy writing group experiences in the online group The Quillians.

My novella, “Waiting to Fly,” is set in the Nearspace universe of One’s Aspect to the Sun and Dark Beneath the Moon. Like some of the Nearspace short stories I’ve released, it’s set in the earlier days of Nearspace, when wormhole travel is just opening up and the boundaries of Nearspace are expanding. And in keeping with the theme of the bundle, “middles,” it’s something that happens while the teenage protagonist is waiting for something else.RamseyWaitingToFlyCover

Middles make an interesting theme for a collection, because we’re all in the middle of something, all the time. (Usually many things!) But much of life happens in between those things we tend to think of as milestones or markers, so middles are rich with potential for storytellers. It’s also nice that these stories are of middling length–longer than short stories, but shorter than novels. I’ve been musing on current trends in short story publishing lately, and why shorter and shorter stories seem to be the trend. But that’s fodder for another post, which I’ll likely write this week.

The Middlings Bundle is curated by author Leah Cutter, and as you can see from the cover montage, she’s gathered together some quite heady company from the perspective of little ol’ me. The bundle also features stories by Anthea Sharp, Michael Warren Lucas, Michael A. Stackpole, Dean Wesley Smith, Blaze Ward, Mindy Klasky, Leah Cutter, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Daniel Keys Moran. You can find out more about each of the stories over on the BundleRabbit blog, where Chuck’s been introducing the novellas and their authors over the past week or so. In keeping with the spirit of many bundles, this one is pay-what-you-want: $5+ will net you five of the stories, and $12 or more will get you all ten stories and a bonus–a coupon for an additional free ebook from Kobo two additional books from Kobo: “Collateral Damage” by Mark Leslie
“A Bird in the Hand” by Douglas Smith (there was an initial mixup about the Kobo bonus, so I’ve fixed the information here). This is really a deal that’s too good to pass up. You’ll also have the option to designate a portion of the bundle price as a charitable donation to The Washington State Talking Book and Braille Library. This service provides access to books for people unable to read standard print material, and also loans out magazines, music scores, and foreign language titles. I had very dear aunt who depended on library services like these when her eyesight failed, and I know the importance of support like this, so I encourage you to consider them if you’re purchasing the bundle.

The Middlings Bundle runs only until April 26th, so don’t miss out!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that, should you like “Waiting to Fly” and want to read more in the Nearspace universe, you can currently pick up the first book, One’s Aspect to the Sun, in a bundle as well! The Rogues set is available here, and is another awesome deal.

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

Okay, the Friday Desk Report is a wee bit late. But it was a good writing week! I finished the first draft of a new short story, did some solid work on the novel draft, and worked on an old, unfinished short story that is finally sorting itself out. I also imported a mostly-finished novel draft into Scrivener for some much-needed attention when I need a break from other projects. I almost doubled my word count from the previous week, which is making me very happy indeed.Rogues 3D_01

Another thing that’s making me very happy this week is this: the Rogues bundle is out! (If you’re in Canada, use this link.) This bundle of seven novels is selling for just 99 cents while the promotion lasts, so you don’t want to miss out. I’ve downloaded it to my Kindle already and am anxious to start reading. Some of these books start series, so it’s a great chance to discover a new sci-fi love affair. My contribution is the first Nearspace novel, One’s Aspect to the Sun, which starts the series but can also stand alone. Be sure to click over and check out this great deal!

I didn’t miss a day at my treadmill desk last week; I usually start my walking-and-writing routine by doing my words at 750words.com. Think “morning pages” stored online, and you’ve got the idea. I wrote there every day during February and so far every day in March. Sometimes it’s journaling, sometimes brainstorming or working out story problems, sometimes blog posts, and sometimes I actually do a portion of the day’s writing there. I like the regularity of writing there, combined with the freedom to write whatever I feel like writing. The longest streak I’ve ever had writing there was 46 days, and if I can keep it up this week without missing a day, I’ll break that. Guess I’ll have to report on that possibility next Friday.

The other new thinApprenticeFiles e-cover2g to report this week is this little goodie, available now on Kobo and Kindle. The Apprentice Files collects four stories with a shared main character: Albettra, the young wizard’s apprentice. These stories can be found in my collection, To Unimagined Shores, so if you already have that, you have these. But for those who don’t, this is a nice little sampler at a good price. Suitable for readers from middle grade and up, these light-hearted stories follow Albettra as she deals with her absent-minded and sometimes crotchety mentor; solves a murder; is pulled into a magebattle, and contends with a halfhigh stalker. This ebook was originally a Kickstarter perk, but now it’s flying on its own.

 

 

 

 

Things I researched this week:

  • family tree of Greek gods
  • wings and laurel leaves
  • mythological half-wolves
  • Cape Breton history
  • short story markets

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

MP-cover-FINAL-webIt’s out!

The Murder Prophet released yesterday, and is available for instant download from Amazon.

It already has a five-star review from one of the winners of the Rafflecopter giveaway I ran a while back, which was pretty exciting to see!

There’s also still a giveaway running over on Goodreads if you’d rather try your luck there before plunking down your $3 for the ebook. ;)

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

MP-cover-FINAL-webThe Goodreads Giveaway for print copies of The Murder Prophet is running now! Over 200 people have already entered, so you should get your name in there, too! :)

Find the giveaway here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23006511-the-murder-prophet

The ebook goes on sale this coming Monday, the 15th, and the print version will follow in October.

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

MP-cover-FINAL-webIf you missed out on last week’s ARC giveaway or didn’t win, I have a consolation prize for you today. The first chapter of The Murder Prophet is live at my website so you can get a taste of the book.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a quirky story, a mashup of urban fantasy (not the sort with vampires, werewolves, or faerie folk) and mystery, flavoured with romance and humour. If you enjoy things like Janet Evanovich’s Lizzy & Diesel books, or Laura Resnick’s Esther Diamond books, or Kevin J. Anderson’s Dan Shamble, Zombie PI series, I think (without comparing myself to these authors!) there’s a good chance you’ll like The Murder Prophet.

Anyway, Chapter One is here, so check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

typewriterOne more hard truth, fellow self-publishers, and then I’ll stop haranguing you.

Obstacle #5 – You, the Author

This might sound harsh, but all the other obstacles we talked about really stem from one source—the author. Here’s what a lot of authors miss:

Self-publishing does not mean that you can, must, or should do it all yourself.

I think that’s what trips us up. You may be passionate about doing things your way, sticking it to the “gatekeepers,” or just sharing your story with the world. But don’t lose sight of the fact that publishers do not do everything themselves, either. They use editors. They use cover artists. They use book designers. They use marketers. They use people who are trained in these skills, and like it or not, your book is competing with those books for readers’ money and attention.

Yes, it’s possible to do all those things yourself, and do them all well. Maybe you can. But don’t expect to. Don’t assume you can. Instead, assume you have to educate yourself. You have to learn how to do these things, all of these things, well. And you have to accept that sometimes your best effort will not be enough, and you’re going to need help.

Let’s face it, as writers, we all have to have a touch of ego. We want to tell our stories. We want others to listen. We admit, by the mere fact of writing, that we believe we have something to say. But that ego can be our downfall. It tells us we can make a good book cover—or one that’s “good enough”–with no training or experience at all. It tells us that our writing is pretty darn good without any expensive and time-consuming editing. It tells us that if only we shout and shout and shout about our book enough, make our work “discoverable” enough, people will listen and feel compelled to read it, because it’s just that good.

That ego lies. Don’t trust it. View everything it says with suspicion. Assume you can’t do all those things yourself, and educate yourself if you’re determined to try. There’s a much better chance then that I’ll buy your book, and not put it down after the first five pages. And that other readers will follow suit.

The best news in all of this is that it’s not too late. Even if you’ve made one or more of these blunders, thrown these obstacles up in front of your potential readers, you can fix it. You can upload a new cover for an ebook. You can rewrite and change your blurb. You can upload an edited version of your story. You can start promoting more (or less!) or more effectively. You can decide to educate yourself or get help in the areas where your skills are lacking. If you’re in this for the long game, it’s never too late to improve.

Good luck!

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

promotion-clipart-canstock17025706Here’s the third in this five-part series of posts about the obstacles I see fellow self-publishers still throwing up in front of their potential readers. Today, it’s all about promotion.

Obstacle #3 – No Promotion/Over Promotion/Bad Promotion

This is for books I might find out about online, for example on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media. Well, obviously, if you’re not doing this sort of promotion, I’m not likely to hear about your book at all. There’s a slight chance that if it’s in a particular genre niche that I enjoy, I might discover it if I’m browsing that section. But the odds on that are slim, at best. Do you really want to leave it to chance?

1. No Promotion. I heard an author complain the other day that sales of a recent title had dropped off completely. So on a whim, I went looking for the book. I had to search around on the author’s site a bit to even discover the title. I found it on Amazon—but it had no reviews. I found it on Goodreads—again, no ratings or reviews, and the author has not set him/herself up as a Goodreads Author. I looked back over the last week of the author’s Twitter feed—no mention of the book. Granted, I don’t know what other promotional avenues this author has tried. But apparently he or she has not made an effort to get some reviews—not even from friends or colleagues—and is not actively promoting it on Twitter or the website. These are pretty basic promotional efforts, folks. No wonder it’s not selling. Remember, readers have to find out about your book before they can read it.

2. Over-Promotion. The other side of the problem, of course, is those authors who over-promote. To use another Twitter example, when I’m deciding whether or not to follow a writer, I look at their recent Twitter feed. If I see five or more promotional tweets in a row for the same book, I generally don’t follow. I know that I’ll only be annoyed when the same same same tweet keeps showing up in my feed, and there’s no chance I’ll go check out that book. Which is too bad, because sparingly-used tweets can serve as a gentle reminder about books that look interesting to me. There’s a good chance I will at least go to the book’s page at Amazon or elsewhere and see what the cover and blurb look like. But flood me with promos and you turn me off.

3. Bad Promotion. This is what I call shoot-yourself-in-the-foot promotion. This is another thing that makes me sad. The writer who posts an unedited (or poorly-edited) chapter of a novel on Wattpad or a blog to “generate interest.” The writer who shares a sentence, rife with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, on Twitter. These efforts to create interest in the work actually have the opposite effect. They say “Stay away, bad writing ahead.” I’m not saying you have to post only letter-perfect material in every Tweet or Facebook update. But be sure that what you’re sharing is as good as you obviously think it is, or you’re only harming your reputation as a writer.

I know, I know. There are famous authors who share their first drafts, chapter-by-chapter sometimes. But keep in mind that by the time they get to the point of being well-known, these authors are writing pretty good first drafts. They have experience being edited. They likely have considerable editing experience themselves. Writing is a craft where, if you are constantly trying to improve, you do improve with practice. They can do it. Maybe you shouldn’t.

Admittedly, promotion is a delicate balance. The keys, especially in social media, seem to be diversity (using many different vectors), and a consistent message that doesn’t become overwhelming.

Also, be sure you’ve overcome obstacles #1 and #2 before you move on to promotion. When I see a paid ad for a book with a terrible cover, I feel sad again. You’ve actually paid to alienate me from your book.

Two more obstacles left! Be sure to come back tomorrow for Part 4!

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

blurb-shape-mdThis week I’m talking (okay, maybe ranting just a wee bit, but it’s for your own good, fellow self-publishers!) about the fundamental things many self-publishers are still doing wrong, resulting in alienated potential readers and harm to the author’s reputation. Part 1, on book covers, is here.

Obstacle #2 – The Blurb

When I speak of the Blurb, I mean the description of your book that you’ll upload to online sellers. This is generally the next thing your potential buyer/reader will see, after your cover. It’s usually a paragraph or two long and basically explains what your book is about. Sounds pretty simple, right?

And yet I’m amazed at the number of books I come across that are not just missing out on the opportunity to hook readers with their blurb, but actively turning readers away with it. Let’s look at the most common problems:

1. Bad writing. The blurb contains spelling errors, poor grammar, typos and other mistakes. It doesn’t matter how polished and perfect the writing in your book might be, I am never going to get that far if the blurb is badly written. This is your “advertisement” for your book. This is where you tell me what I’m going to get if I invest time and money to read your book. And I’m not going to invest either if the blurb is a mess. I will–I have to–assume the book is, too.

2. Incoherence. Even if there are no overt mistakes in the blurb, it can still turn readers away. If what you have to say in the blurb is confusing, convoluted, or a mismatch with the cover, your potential reader is likely to pass on it. You must craft your blurb as carefully and precisely as you’ve written your book—if not more so. Again, get others to read, proof, and give you feedback on your blurb. It should intrigue and introduce your readers to your book, not alienate them, and it should complement the cover of your book in genre, theme, and style.

3. Invisibility. The author hasn’t even tried to write a blurb for the book, or if they have, they’ve simply provided a vague, generic description. “Detective X must solve the murder of Y before time runs out!” Well, that’s just about every mystery novel I’ve ever read, how about you?

The blurb is your chance to sell me on reading your book. Your chance to make me want to read it. Try to infuse your blurb with the excitement that made you want to write the book. What makes it special? What will keep me turning the pages? Be specific and try to make me care about the problem the character(s) face. If you can do that in your blurb and your cover is good, I’ll likely take a chance on your book.

However, the obstacles are not all behind us yet. Watch for Part 3 tomorrow!

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

MP-cover-FINAL-webIt starts today! Between today and next Friday (August 22nd), you can enter to win one of the ARCs of The Murder Prophet I have to give away. There will be multiple winners, and one of them could be you!

I’m using Rafflecopter to run the giveaway, and the widget below details the various ways you can enter (and get multiple entries).

Here’s the book’s description:

Kit Stablefield is a detective with a secret and a crush on a guy she knows only online, in a future where magic is a part of everyday life. But when millionaire Aleshu Coro walks into the offices of Darcko and Sadatake with a message from the Murder Prophet and fourteen days to live, everything changes.

Suddenly Kit is questioning the decisions of her past, trying to find out if the man she loves is, in fact, a man, and hunting for a murderer and a mysterious seer. With her eighty-six-year-old grandmother insisting on helping out, and a sentient goose who simply won’t stop pestering her to watch his “killer” video game moves, Kit has more than her hands full as she races against the clock to prevent Coro’s murder…and possibly her own.

So, y’know, if weird magic and virtual worlds and magically-sentient animals are not your thing, you probably won’t like this book. However, if that all sounds awesome, enter below!*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note that you can tweet about it once a day to accumulate more entries! Good Luck!

*If you are a book blogger or reviewer and would like a copy without having to enter the contest, please send me a message and I’ll get one to you pronto! :)

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

MP cover tease 1

I promised some more details about The Murder Prophet, so here’s what the book is about and a few other tidbits:

Kit Stablefield is a detective with a secret and a crush on a guy she knows only online, in a future where magic is a part of everyday life. But when millionaire Aleshu Coro walks into the offices of Darcko and Sadatake with a message from the Murder Prophet and fourteen days to live, everything changes.

Suddenly Kit is questioning the decisions of her past, trying to find out if the man she loves is, in fact, a man, and hunting for a murderer and a mysterious seer. With her eighty-six-year-old grandmother insisting on helping out, and a sentient goose who simply won’t stop pestering her to watch his “killer” video game moves, Kit has more than her hands full as she races against the clock to prevent Coro’s murder…and possibly her own.

The Murder Prophet is a little hard to categorize. I’m calling it urban fantasy because of the existence of magic, but it doesn’t have vampires, werewolves, fairies or any of the other paranormal elements that seem de rigeur in urban fantasy lately. Also, it’s a mystery, and takes place at least in part in the virtual world of the Netz. See my problem?

But urban fantasy/mystery covers it better than anything else, so that’s what we’ll go with, okay?

Watch for the cover and contest on Friday!

 

OATTS cover-smYes, the ebook of ONE'S ASPECT TO THE SUN is on sale today for only .99! If you haven't picked up a copy yet, this is a great time to do so.

http://tinyurl.com/kowo3j8

About the novel | Goodreads reviews | Amazon reviews

As this sale happens, I'm installed at my desk, hard at work on the sequel, Dark Beneath the Moon. Although One's Aspect is a stand-alone novel, I've had many questions about and requests for a sequel, and who could say "no" to that? There's certainly enough going on in Nearspace to keep the characters busy! Of course I can't give much away at this point, but the shadows of the past loom even larger in this book than they did in the first, leaving Luta and her crew with new aliens, corporate intrigue, and more than a few mysteries to puzzle through.

But in the meantime, you should be reading the first book, so you'll be all set when the next one arrives. It pays to plan ahead, right? :)

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

I’m happy to announce that the winner of my World Book & Copyright Day contest is:

Justin Lowmaster!

 

IMG_2736

Not my hand drawing the winner!

 
Justin wins ebook copies of To Unimagined Shores and One’s Aspect to the Sun.

Thanks to all who entered, and congratulations, Justin!

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

wbd-web-467x300-enApril 23rd each year marks UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright day. As it’s described on their website, “This is a day to celebrate books as the embodiment of human creativity and the desire to share ideas and knowledge, to inspire understanding and tolerance…our goal is clear – to encourage authors and artists and to ensure that more women and men benefit from literacy and accessible formats, because books are our most powerful forces of poverty eradication and peace building.” So, in the spirit of the day, I thought I’d run a little contest here on the blog.

What you can win: One ebook copy each of One’s Aspect to the Sun and To Unimagined Shores.

How to enter: There are several ways to enter the contest, and you can have multiple entries in my Lucky Basket. Here it is:

luckybasket

Doesn’t it look lucky?

Here’s how to get your entries added:

> Leave a comment below. Just say hi! = 1 entry

> Leave a comment below; say hi and tell me your favorite speculative fiction book or author = 2 entries

> Tweet or retweet about the contest = 1 entry. I’ll even write the tweet for you. Just copy and paste:

Enter @sdramsey ‘s #BookDay contest  by April 23rd for a chance to win free SF/F ebooks (http://tinyurl.com/qgp9hfm) #books #reading #scifi

> Share the contest in any other way; post it to your blog, mention it on Facebook, +1 it on Google, write it on your forearm with magic marker. The comments and tweets I’ll see, but you’ll have to email or message me to tell me about anything else you do. Each share = 1 entry

Rules: You may enter from anywhere in the world. Entries will be hand-written by me on actual pieces of paper and dropped in the Lucky Basket. One winner will be drawn from the entries received by midnight AST on April 23, 2014. Ebooks will be available in the following formats: .epub, .mobi (for Kindle), and .pdf. Winner will have to provide me with a working email address for delivery of their ebooks. Winner agrees to let me post their name or screen/online name so everyone knows that someone actually did win. The decision of the contest administrator (me) is final. I will do my best to record all eligible entries, but will not be responsible for missed, missing, or misplaced entries.

Ready to enter? Go!
 

OATTS cover-sm TUS-front-cover-sm

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

wbd-web-467x300-enApril 23rd each year marks UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright day. As it’s described on their website, “This is a day to celebrate books as the embodiment of human creativity and the desire to share ideas and knowledge, to inspire understanding and tolerance…our goal is clear – to encourage authors and artists and to ensure that more women and men benefit from literacy and accessible formats, because books are our most powerful forces of poverty eradication and peace building.” So, in the spirit of the day, I thought I’d run a little contest here on the blog.

What you can win: One ebook copy each of One’s Aspect to the Sun and To Unimagined Shores.

How to enter: There are several ways to enter the contest, and you can have multiple entries in my Lucky Basket. Here it is:

luckybasket

Doesn’t it look lucky?

Here’s how to get your entries added:

> Leave a comment below. Just say hi! = 1 entry

> Leave a comment below; say hi and tell me your favorite speculative fiction book or author = 2 entries

> Tweet or retweet about the contest = 1 entry. I’ll even write the tweet for you. Just copy and paste:

Enter @sdramsey ‘s #BookDay contest  by April 23rd for a chance to win free SF/F ebooks (http://tinyurl.com/qgp9hfm) #books #reading #scifi

> Share the contest in any other way; post it to your blog, mention it on Facebook, write it on your forearm with magic marker. The comments and tweets I’ll see, but you’ll have to email or message me to tell me about anything else you do. Each share = 1 entry

Rules: You may enter from anywhere in the world. Entries will be hand-written by me on actual pieces of paper and dropped in the Lucky Basket. One winner will be drawn from the entries received by midnight AST on April 23, 2014. Ebooks will be available in the following formats: .epub, .mobi (for Kindle), and .pdf. Winner will have to provide me with a working email address for delivery of their ebooks. Winner agrees to let me post their name or screen/online name so everyone knows that someone actually did win. The decision of the contest administrator (me) is final. I will do my best to record all eligible entries, but will not be responsible for missed, missing, or misplaced entries.

Ready to enter? Go!

 

OATTS cover-sm TUS-front-cover-sm

 

 

 

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

wbd-web-467x300-enApril 23rd each year marks UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright day. As it’s described on their website, “This is a day to celebrate books as the embodiment of human creativity and the desire to share ideas and knowledge, to inspire understanding and tolerance…our goal is clear – to encourage authors and artists and to ensure that more women and men benefit from literacy and accessible formats, because books are our most powerful forces of poverty eradication and peace building.”

So, in the spirit of the day, I thought I’d run a little contest here on the blog.

What you can win: One ebook copy each of One’s Aspect to the Sun and To Unimagined Shores.

How to enter: There are several ways to enter the contest, and you can have multiple entries in my Lucky Basket. Here it is:

luckybasket

Doesn’t it look lucky?

Here’s how to get your entries added:

> Leave a comment below. Just say hi! = 1 entry

> Leave a comment below; say hi and tell me your favorite speculative fiction book or author = 2 entries

> Tweet or retweet about the contest = 1 entry. I’ll even write the tweet for you. Just copy and paste:

Enter @sdramsey ‘s #BookDay contest  by April 23rd for a chance to win free SF/F ebooks (http://tinyurl.com/qgp9hfm) #books #reading #scifi

> Share the contest in any other way; post it to your blog, mention it on Facebook, write it on your forearm with magic marker. The comments and tweets I’ll see, but you’ll have to email or message me to tell me about anything else you do. Each share = 1 entry

Rules: You may enter from anywhere in the world. Entries will be hand-written by me on actual pieces of paper and dropped in the Lucky Basket. One winner will be drawn from the entries received by midnight AST on April 23, 2014. Ebooks will be available in the following formats: .epub, .mobi (for Kindle), and .pdf. Winner will have to provide me with a working email address for delivery of their ebooks. Winner agrees to let me post their name or screen/online name so everyone knows that someone actually did win. The decision of the contest administrator (me) is final. I will do my best to record all eligible entries, but will not be responsible for missed, missing, or misplaced entries.

Ready to enter? Go!

OATTS cover-sm

TUS-front-cover-sm

 

Win an Ebook!

Jan. 31st, 2014 09:57 am
sherrydramsey: (Default)

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

I’m running a contest at my Writing News page over on Facebook to give away a multiformat ebook copy of One’s Aspect to the Sun. Click over to enter there!

 

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

ladder

Look up…look waaaaaay up….

A long time ago, in 2001, when ebooks were barely a “thing” yet and the only format for them was .pdf (ancient history, I know), I self-published an ebook for writers. It was called The New Writer’s Guide to Just About Everything and yes, it’s still around, although it’s sorely in need of an update and a new edition. Another thing on my too-long to-do list. But I digress.

Today I am thinking about a piece in that ebook, titled “The Writer’s Ladder of Success.” In it, I talked about how some new writers think their first sale is the top rung of that ladder, but in reality, that’s only a few steps up. Writing, I said, is the first rung. Finishing is the second. Submitting is the third. You may be stuck on that rung of the ladder for a while before you can climb up to the next one, which is making a sale. That analogy still holds true, I think.

Then, I said, you climb back down and start climbing all over again, writing, finishing, submitting. I think now, with the wisdom and experience of my years of writing (stop laughing!) I’d look at it differently. I think instead of climbing back down, I’d say we can look at it one of two ways: either we go sideways onto another ladder and start climbing from there, or the ladder we started on just keeps going, stretching up into the distance ahead of us. Either way, we’re not starting from scratch; we’re building on what we’ve already accomplished in order to climb to greater heights. Some might find that long, long ladder too daunting to look up at, and like the idea of shorter ones that lead to another, so either way works.

And either view is far more encouraging than feeling like you’re starting every piece from scratch. Of course that’s true in a way, since each writing project is new and comes with its own unique challenges. But we always have the comfortable cushion of our past accomplishments to buoy us up as we tackle the new.

There’s a saying that a writer is only as good as his or her last book. It’s true that we’re often judged that way–and we have to keep our fans happy or we’ll lose them. That’s a lot of pressure, though. I think we’re much more likely to succeed if we continue to feel good about our past successes–and not lose sight of that part of the ladder we’ve already climbed, stretching away below us. One bad song doesn’t make a failed musician; one strikeout doesn’t make a failed baseball player. Why do we hold ourselves as writers to a stricter standard? Why do critics and readers? I’m not really sure.

I closed out that section of the ebook by saying, “…you were a writer from the time you reached that first rung. Don’t let anyone tell you the ladder is not yours to climb.” I think that’s still good advice. I don’t think I’ll change that, should I ever get around to producing a second edition of The New Writer’s Guide.

Keep writing. Keep climbing. Build on what came before. Good advice, and advice I have to keep reminding myself of as I tackle a new project and a new deadline. Because frankly, I like the view from up here.

Photo credit: mensatic

Originally published at Sherry D. Ramsey. You can comment here or there.

TomorrowI’m very pleased today to be hosting an interview with Karen Henderson of Kayelle Press, to talk about the new anthology, Tomorrow. This post is part of the virtual book tour for this newest publication from Kayelle Press. Karen and I have been Internet friends and colleagues in writing for many years, despite being separated by about half the Earth! So while I couldn’t actually sit down with her for this interview, I think you’ll find our conversation interesting. And be sure to read to the end to find out how you can win a copy of the Tomorrow ebook!

Sherry: What sparked the idea for the “Tomorrow” anthology?

Karen: I’ve had a fascination for ‘the end times’ for many years. Couple this with a need to escape reality and I found myself reading books that took me to other worlds. But it was always the books that started in our world and then changed to something else that thrilled me the most. If the theme was realistic, there was more chance that it could actually happen.  And because I was desperate for something to change, I was easily swept away.

When that desperation disappeared and the need for change ceased, my view changed entirely but I found I still enjoyed the books. However, I was no longer looking for something and I realised that the worlds I believed would save me, would in fact be extremely difficult to live in.

As an avid gamer, my favourite PS3 game is “Resident Evil” (I have the entire set), I developed an obsession for killing zombies in post-apocalyptic worlds. This carried over to my reading and those imaginary worlds I used to get lost in became zombie infested instead.

The romantic notions I held dear were replaced with dark, foreboding civilisations where all we take for granted is gone—no electricity, no running water, no communication providers (phone or internet), no shopping centres; everything that makes life easy, gone. The thought is actually disturbing. Throw in reasons for the changes—human error or neglect, pandemics, natural disaster—and we could very easily find ourselves in a harsh new existence. That sparked my imagination and the idea for the “Tomorrow” anthology was born.

Sherry: What were you looking for, in particular, in the stories for the book?

Karen: When I put the call out for submissions I didn’t have a definite list of ‘must haves’. The one thing I wanted was a variety of ‘predictions’—zombies, biohazard, space travel. Action and entertainment is always high on my list. Connecting with the characters is always good too. Other than that I let the author and the story do their thing. I’ve always loved surprises!

Often, the stories I enjoy the most are the ones that reach out and grab me. It can be something I can relate to or something that speaks directly to a memory or a feeling or a thought in my mind. It’s wonderful when it happens. It allows me to become totally engrossed in the characters and the plot.  Strangely, the author may never know that a simple sentence they have written changed the entire reading experience for me. Of course, it can easily work in reverse too.

Sherry: Was there anything that surprised you in the submissions you received?

Karen: I guess the biggest surprise was to discover that I’m not alone in my obsession. Over 200 submissions proved that there are a lot of people out there who think like me. That shouldn’t surprise me really, but it did.

It was interesting to read other people’s predictions. The manuscripts proved how vast an imagination can be. When I think about how much thought had gone into developing some of the storylines I read, I was amazed. The authors had me convinced that what they had written could come true.

Sherry: One of the questions you’ve asked in talking about the book is “How do you think you would fare in an apocalypse?” So I thought I’d ask you: How would you do?

Karen: Terrible! Honestly, I couldn’t light a fire without a match or a lighter. I’d be doomed unless I could connect with people who could help me.

After initiating the “Tomorrow” anthology, I spotted a book on wilderness survival in an opportunity shop. I purchased it and now have a few tips for finding water and making shelter, but feel quite sure that getting enough friction between two sticks to spark a fire is totally out of my range of capabilities.

And when it comes to food … I really don’t want to think about it, let alone experience the hunger I’d feel due to my lack of skills. Killing an animal would be difficult. Hunger would force me to do it, but skinning and gutting it would be beyond me. And how would I cook it? Yes, I’m back at the fire making problem … again.

I could become a vegetarian and that would solve some of the issues I would be having. However, it would be just my luck that the first root or berry I ate would be poisonous!

I have a question for your readers: How would you fare in a post-apocalyptic situation?

Sherry: What’s next for Kayelle Press? Do you have a project waiting in the wings?

Karen: There’s a few actually. The first of our “Awesome Aussie Tales” books is due for release later in the year. “The Obelisk Trap” by Margaret Pearce is a fantasy story for younger readers. It will make a brilliant addition to our list.

Submissions are also open for Volume 2 of the “Hope” anthology series. These books contain speculative fiction short stories by various authors from around the world. The second volume will focus on a theme of “courage”.  Also included in the book are small factual snippets on suicide awareness. The profits are donated to Beyondblue, a leading suicide awareness advocate in Australia.

Finally, the third instalment of The Land of Miu series is due for release in 2014. “The Lion Kings” by Karen Lee Field will conclude the fantasy trilogy for younger readers.

****

This interview is part of the “Tomorrow” Virtual Book Tour starting on 6 July 2013. To find out more about the stories, the authors and the publication go to the virtual book tour schedule page at http://www.kayellepress.com/2013/06/tomorrow-virtual-book-tour-schedule/.

I am offering Sherry’s readers a chance to win a copy to the “Tomorrow” ebook (in the format of the winner’s choice). Just leave a comment on this post and your name will be in the draw. One name will be randomly drawn and the winner will be announced in the comments section, in a couple of days.

Before I go, I’d just like to say a big thank you to Sherry for hosting this stop on the book tour. Please take a few minutes to look around.

About Karen Henderson

Karen Henderson is an editor at Kayelle Press, a small independent publisher of speculative fiction in Australia. Their latest release is “Tomorrow”, a post-apocalyptic anthology exploring the possible outcomes of plagues, biohazards, human error, natural disasters and intergalactic travel. The book is available in paperback and various digital formats from their website and from most online bookstores. Visit the website (www.kayellepress.com) to find out more.

 

Thanks, Karen, and continued good luck with Kayelle Press!

June 2017

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