Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why You Are An Invisible Author

I've read so many articles on author branding and I feel like every article misses the point.

Do you want to know the real reason why everyone doesn't buy your book? Because it's universally true for every single book that isn't selling well.

You can't control how many people like you (or anything that you do.)

People use the word "marketing", but it feels like a PC version of the word "popularity contest." All artists are desperate to be popular and well-liked, which is a confusing feeling for authors because the majority of us are introverts.

There's ways you can make it more likely for people to like you, by giving them something they might want (like chocolate, for example) rather than something they hate (like a punch in the face.) But giving people something nice doesn't guarantee that they'll like you and being mean doesn't guarantee that they'll hate you.

Same with writing a good book or a bad book.

Life is about the connections you have, which is why if you're close to a rich or successful person, you are more likely to succeed. And it's about the chances people give you, like if people recommend you to other people, then you are more likely to be chosen than if you are the only person recommending yourself.

If you don't make an effort, then you for sure won't succeed. But if you do, you're not guaranteed to succeed.

Everyone works hard, but not everyone gets what they want.

And it's time people recognize this. It's time you let go and accept yourself.

What happens too often is that most writers get on an endless self-hatred cycle. Their books aren't succeeding, so they keep beating themselves up and beating themselves up.

All these authors make these checklists. "This is what you need to do to sell books." But they're wrong.

People say not to be opinionated or talk about controversial things. So how do they explain, Stephen King?

People say to use lots of critique partners and editors. But then how do they explain, E.L. James? (Although it's good to get an editor and learn more about the written word, so you can wield it perfectly. It's like having a sword and sharpening it before battle, so you can kill more people.)

They say you need a good cover, but I've seen people become NYT Bestsellers whose first covers were made in MS Paint.

People say that you can't be so impatient and that it's not about instance gratification, but people become NYT Bestsellers after publishing their first books all the time.

Whenever you are down in life or struggling, people will find a way to make it your fault. They'll try to explain it away, so that the world and the universe is always fair, but it's not.

I just noticed that a lot of people who feel like invisible authors, who are always trying and never getting noticed, feel very discouraged and are sometimes really hard on themselves.

But writing books is like making friends or dating. You can't make people like you, but you can be vulnerable and put yourself out there and eventually you will find that maybe you have what you always wanted to have.

But being vulnerable is hard. Anyone who is vulnerable will be rejected a lot of times. And that's what makes authors, even invisible ones brave. Because they keep putting themselves out there, no matter what people say or do.

Just understand that you can know everything about marketing and still not succeed. That's why many books that make it to publishing houses fail. Those are supposed to be the people who know everything.

My last two books took me two years of rewriting and listening to critique partners before I published them. I had learned so much about marketing and I made sure to get just the right book covers and everything. I even advertised on only sights that I saw bestsellers advertising on.

And it didn't make things better. In fact, so far, my new books made pretty much zero dollars, which is why I made both of them free because they weren't making money anyway. People are still only buying my old books.

I wasn't confident when I wrote them, I didn't trust my own instincts, and that is a mistake.

Trust and believe in yourself. Don't be afraid to be the true you, faults and all on social media. Don't be afraid to be the true you, imperfect writing and all. Just do the best you can and accept yourself.

Art has a problem where artists aren't considered good unless they are constantly criticizing and abusing themselves, which is actually an unhealthy mindset to have. When you look at the successful artists, they aren't like that. They're confident in themselves and their decisions and that confidence helps them be brave enough to take risks and make mistakes.

No one is ever going to validate you. You have to believe in yourself first if you want anyone else to believe in you.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

COVER REVEAL: Asylum By Cherry Shephard and Pandora Tolson

#ComingSoon #TwistedTales #WelcomeHome


What if your favourite fairytale characters lived in an insane asylum?

This is not your average story, and you're about to learn that not every fairytale ends with Happily Ever After...

From the dawn of time, humans have been bred to fear.
It is the very fabric of human nature, it keeps us safe. It is what gives our miserable little lives meaning, it is the reason we hold our loved ones close. Fear is a dark shadow. A sneaky, sinister entity that haunts our dreams, and hunts us as though we are it's prey.
Here, inside the walls of this establishment, I am that Shadow. I am your greatest nightmare come to life. I am Doctor Eleanor Naylor.

This is Thornwood Asylum.
Welcome Home.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

UPDATE: Get the Whole Series FREE - Bright's Passion & Night's Lust (Now With A New Name For The Series)

UPDATE: Originally this series was called the "God Of Light" series, but I feel like this sounds too much like it's a non-fiction Christian book series, instead of a fantasy series and I thought that calling it "THE LAST OF THE GODS" series would make more sense. I've changed it everywhere, but Amazon will take awhile to update completely. I just want people to know more about the kind of book they will be getting when they purchase my books and I thought this series title will make it clearer.

Are you low on money or just love free books?

Well, recently, my novels "Bright's Passion" and "Night's Lust" have been made permanently free. They are paranormal romance novels about two gods fighting for the love of one witch.

If you are interested in downloading them, go here:

And here::

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Why I Hardly Ever Use My Mailing List

(If I could draw, this would be a comic strip instead.)

Me: *reading writing blogs while shamefully snacking on something I'm not supposed to eat*


Me: *drops the rest of the bad food I was eating on the ground and has to throw it away to keep my dog from devouring it and getting sick* OH MY GOD! That's what I have been doing wrong this entire time! I need to grow my mailing list!

Me: *logs into Mailchimp fervently* Let's see. How many people are on my mailing list?

Mailchimp: You have 30 people subscribed to your mailing list and one of those people is you. Pathetic.

Me: I can't become a bestselling author with only 30 people on my mailing list! I need to fix this.


Me: I HATE those pop-ups. They're the worst thing ever. *logs into Weebly* I have to do this! People will be so annoyed by them that they'll HAVE to sign up for my mailing list. GENIUS!


Me: OH YEAH! I added that pop-up. I need to check Mailchimp and see how well it has worked. *logs on to mailchimp*

Mailchimp: You have 30 people on your mailing list.

Me: That can't be right. I made my pop-up extra annoying and weebly says I've had a couple thousand visitors to my website since then.

Thousands of people who have been visiting my website: *goes to E.B. Black's website and sees the pop-up* F*** this! I'm leaving. *exits the website without seeing or doing anything*

Me: I wonder why my sales are worse ever since I added that pop-up to my site! Oh well! Must be a coincidence!


Me: *checks Mailchimp* AGH! Still only 30 people on my mailing list! I need to change this. I know! People like money! And contests! I'll give them money! And contests!


Me: *logs into Mailchimp a few days later*

Mailchimp: You have 100 subscribers!

Me: *spits out water that I was drinking* Wow! It worked!


Me: *types up a long story and also a post full of interesting facts, it takes me days to complete, emails it to my mailing list* They'll love this!


Me: *logs into Mailchimp*

Mailchimp: Only fifteen people opened your e-mail and out of those, ten unsubscribed.

Me: NO! I have to fix this. Maybe they don't want quality content! They just want free stuff! Give them free stuff!

My Newsletter: Get all the books I've written for free. Here's a link to all of them. I just want to thank you for being a part of my mailing list.


Me: *logs into Mailchimp*

Mailchimp: Only Fourteen people opened your e-mail and out of those, ten unsubscribed.

Me: *ripping out all my hair* But I was giving them everything I had, I was giving it to them for free and they didn't like it! I mean, I did get them all to sign up because of my contest. Maybe that's the only thing they care about, contests and money. I just need to run more contests and money.


My Newsletter: Here! I'm giving away another Amazon gift card! You don't have to do anything to win it. All you have to do is stay on my mailing list and you can win! Here's some links to some other contests, too, if you like contests.


Me: *logs into mailchimp*

Mailchimp: Only Thirteen people opened your e-mail and out of those, ten unsubscribed.

Me: WHAT?! THEY HATE MONEY NOW!!! *rips out a lot of hair* I give up. I don't know what to do. I only have 70 subscribers now and I don't want to lose all of them.


Me: *logs into mailchimp*

Mailchimp: You have 70 subscribers.

Me: Huh. Still? I thought all of them would have unsubscribed by now.

Mailchimp: Nope. You still have 70 subscribers after all this time.

Me: Hmmm, well, maybe since they are so loyal to my mailing list, I should tell them about how I'm giving away all my books for free again. *thinks about how I lost 10 subscribers last time I did that* Or maybe not, this way I can keep all my subscribers. They get angry when I e-mail them things.

Mailchimp: But those subscribers don't mean anything if you don't actually mail them any newsletters.

Me: SHUT UP MAILCHIMP. *logs off Mailchimp* I'LL DO WHAT I WANT.


And that's the story of why I'm usually too scared to send e-mails through my mailing list. THE END.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

How To Become A Bestselling Author - GUARANTEED!

Step 1:

Join The Psychic School For Clairvoyant Development.

You need to write for trends. This is important if you want your books to sell well.

But you can't write for the trends happening now, because by the time you finish the novel, the trend will be over. You must write for the trends that are going to happen in two years when you are done editing and writing your book.

This is why you must join this psychic school and develop your latent psychic talents. All bestselling authors can tell the future and knew their book was going to be a bestseller even before they wrote the first chapter.

Duh. It's so easy. I don't know why all authors don't write for trends.

Step 2:

Write books with a list about how to become a bestselling author, even though you don't have a bestselling novel so desperate writers will buy it and your book about writing bestsellers will become a bestseller. And then when anyone accuses you of not having written a best seller, you can point at this book and say,"See! I have a bestseller!"

And then when your publish your fiction books, you can write on the cover,"From Bestselling Author..."

Whoops. Let's try that again....

(New) Step 2:

Read lists like this over and over again until you memorize them. I monetized my blog and now the more you read it, the more money I make. That's why I write lists like these. There are a lot of writing rules out there and unless you memorize all of them, including this list of rules, you will not become a bestseller. I knew someone who forgot a comma in one of her sentences one time and her book got 100 one star reviews because it was terrible. I hate authors who don't use editors and know nothing about good grammar and spelling. I throw books across the room when this happens.

No one can write a perfect novel, but if your novel doesn't become a bestseller than that means you weren't perfect, missed one of these rules, and now you suck and everyone hates you.

Step 3:

Make your books free.

You can't make any money unless you give your books away.

How does that work, you ask? Well, you were taught math wrong in school. You always thought $0=$0, but if you add enough zeros together, like, if you give away 100 books for $0, it actually equals $1,000.

Ebooks are magic, you see, and bestselling authors are skilled wizards who have learned to manipulate this magic. They make their first book free and as readers click on the download button, wires get crossed and every 0 actually gets a 1 added in front of it. That's what binary code is all about. It's really complicated, but if you become an android, then binary code will make sense to you and you'll learn how to add all those 1's in front of all those 0's.

So, you see, all you have to do if you want to become a bestselling author is replace some of your organic parts with cybernetic ones!!! It's that easy!!!

Step 4:

You have to use social media to sell your books. Readers are eager to network with authors, so you must join every single social media site out there. Even ones no one has ever heard of, like Ello. I've had an account on there for years that I never use and it's so helpful to me!

It won't take that much of your time to update them regularly. Only about 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. That might sound like a lot of time, but this is where your cybernetic parts also come in. They'll help you stay awake, so you never have to sleep again.

Also, don't forget that if you want to be on social media 25 hours a day, 8 days a week, you're going to have to learn how to turn back time using your wizarding skills that I was talking about earlier.

If you don't have wizarding skills, no problem! Just join The Grey School Of Wizardry and you'll be on your way to turning back time in no time. It's THAT easy!

All this time I was trying to sell books without cybernetic parts, psychic powers, and magical spells. I was so stupid.

Step 5:

If you tried all these steps and none of this stuff worked, then I'm afraid that your problem must be a terrible book cover. Everyone knows that people judge books by their covers, so if no one likes your novel then your book cover must SUCK!

There are award winning authors out there and they are award winners for a reason. Their covers are beautiful, take this gem, which is a book cover for a book written by an author with several awards. Her book has almost 300 reviews, which is more than most of us will ever see:

Have you ever seen a cover that was more perfect? I know it's hard to imagine making a cover as pretty as that one, but you're going to have to if you want to become a bestselling author.

We all want to believe that society loves the ugly people and that they're just as special as the pretty ones, but we just tell that to ugly people so they stop feeling bad about themselves. Books are the same way.

If you want your book to be loved and not be rejected by society, then you're going to have to make it beautiful. JUST FACE IT!

Step 6:

If you tried all these steps and your book is still not a bestseller, then I'm sorry, but we're going to have to kick you out of writing. Because the problem probably is that you just suck period.

Like I said, these steps are guaranteed, so if you tried them and failed, then that must mean there is something inherently wrong with you.

This is not me being a narcissist or talking down to you, I'm just better than you and always right. So if my list doesn't work for you, then you just suck and I'm sorry, but you'll have to quit publishing.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Poetry Is Not Just A Bunch Of Metaphors

You may or may not know, but I recently added a poetry section to my website, where I posted several poems I've written in the past year. It's located here:

I've written poetry off and on my entire life. I think most people have done the same. It's because writing a poem is much quicker than writing a novel or even a short story. It's a faster way to get a feeling, thought, or experience off your chest.

That's not to say it's easy. Every word in a poem matters, so much more so than it does in a novel or short story. This is especially true if you want your poem to have rhyme and meter. While you can word your scenes a million different ways in short stories/novels and still have many of those ways be correct, it's not the same with poetry. There's only one right word at the end of each line. Only one word that makes sense in the beginning. Most of writing poetry is choosing a bunch of wrong words first, erasing them and replacing them with something better, until you find the right one. Every word in a poem changes the meaning, rhythm, and rhyme so much.

With a poem, you try to cram your big thoughts into a small space.

The mistake I think a lot of poets make is failing to communicate their message. When most of us think of poetry, we think of English class. We remember reading poems that were confusing and full of metaphors. We didn't get the poems or their meanings until our teachers pulled them apart by each line and explained them to us. So a lot of poets want their poems to be mysteries.

It's a pretentious sort of thing to want. You're mysterious so only "smart" people will get what you are trying to say. Then, later, when no one gets what you are trying to say, you feel frustrated and angry. You feel like your poem is too "deep" for anyone but you to understand.

Don't think I am attacking you if this is how you write poetry. That is how I used to write poetry as well a lot of my life. Also, there are exceptions to every rule.

But I don't think that's how poetry is supposed to be. Of course there are going to be metaphors and similes in poems, but don't become so abstract that no one gets you.

Writing is all about communication. It's the most important thing. Communication is more than just speaking words. You must say them in a way that people will understand.

Most people don't care about this, but it's a strong concern of mine because my mother has high-functioning autism. She speaks English, but sometimes it's like she's speaking a foreign language when she talks to other people. I get what she's saying because I've known her all my life, but most people don't. Watching her talk and forget to make eye contact or make weird hand gestures or say things at the wrong time gets her in all kinds of trouble, more than you would imagine. People get mad at her a lot when she has good intentions or ignore her when she's trying to speak to them.

If you don't know how to communicate in a way that people understand, they're not going to get what you have to say. Being confusing isn't going to make them like you more. My mother can't help that she's confusing, but a poet can.

What makes poetry great is not the clever metaphors and similes. It's the message. You want to say something that other people haven't thought of before or wish they could say, but don't know how. You want to convey the feeling behind the message, the darkness or the light, in your words. You want people to get it. It's more important for people to understand your message than to use metaphors or similes at all. Those are just tools, your message is what is actually important.

Look at the poetry people share on social media. I don't mean poetry they wrote themselves, but poetry other people wrote. It usually has a strong, emotional message that is conveyed very clearly. It's not usually ambiguous.

The point I'm trying to make is that when you write poetry each word is important, but don't get so caught up in the words that you forget your message.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Writing Twenty Versions Of The Same Story - How To Write A "Choose Your Own.." Novel

***WARNING: I'm not a writer who can draw, so be ready for some funny looking charts that I made using Windows Paint.***

Some of you may or may not know this, but I've been working on launching a web-site where I write "Choose Your Own Romance" novels that people can read for free. I'm trying to make money from it using ad revenue and through donations (eventually) instead of selling my stories on Amazon as ebooks. This is due to the fact that I am tired of some of the new policies Amazon has forced on self-published authors (I don't want to solely depend on them for author income) and trying to keep up with the increasing demand of free books. Also, I want to try to discourage piracy online by giving people other alternatives for free reading. If I can find a way to still make money and offer some stories for free at the same time, it might help things for me and other authors who are looking for more options. Also, "Choose Your Own" stories work very well on web-sites compared to other e-books because they are interactive and involve clicking things.

Here is the web-site I've been working on::

These stories have actually been in my head for awhile. Not only did I grow up reading "Choose Your Own Adventure" stories, in particularly, the "Give Yourself Goosebumps" stories by R.L. Stine, but I'm also a huge fan of video games where you make storyline decisions, like: the Mass Effect games, Dragon Age games, and Walking Dead games. The writers for these games are amazing!

I've been studying their techniques. A lot of the romances in Dragon Age and Mass Effect are very deep. Your interactions with the characters in all of the games, both romantic and friendly, have a tendency to tug at your heart strings. You get to know them, their quirks, and their struggles. Sometimes you are betrayed by them and sometimes they sacrifice themselves for your cause. It's often an emotional experience and I've played these games enough to see all the different choices and all the different results of these choices. I've studied and thought about the patterns of these choices.

I wanted to write my own stories where the readers chooses what happens during the story. This is both much easier and much harder than you could imagine. I wanted to share with you what I have learned.

I think the biggest mistake that people make when writing a choose your own story is wanting the world to be completely open-ended. They want every choice to be possible for the reader to make. They want the world to be totally in the readers control, even though this is impossible. There are an infinite number of ways someone can choose to react to any given situation and only a certain number of ways that the world is likely to react back. Because we can only control our own actions and not others. So when they try to write a "Choose Your Own" story, instead of realizing this, they wind up with something like this because they want to include every possibility of everything.

Every choice breeds five new choices and the story grows and grows and grows. Each choice sets the character further and further into a different corner of the world the writer has created. You wind up writing 300,000 words of story and then you are left with a million different endings and a jumbled mess of a book. No two people read the same story and everyone thinks the story is too short because even though you wrote a lot of words, people only read a small section of it.

Now, one of the ways people solve this is by having some bad endings, where the reader made a "bad" choice and the book ends early and tragically. They are there to cause tension in the "Choose Your Own Adventure" because now the reader knows that it's possible to die and that they  might have to start the story all over again.

But you can't have too many of these. In fact, you must have hardly any of them because if the reader's character is dying every time she makes a choice or every other time (because every time she chooses the wrong choice, you give the reader a bad ending), then they are going to give up on the book. The bad choices, when there are too many, take a reader out of the book. They make a reader resent your story and be unable to get lost in it because they're constantly dying/failing and worrying about that instead. There will be many more ways to fail than succeed and the succeeding should outweigh the failing by far. You want the reader to feel like they have options, not like they are stuck on one specific path and if they deviate off it at all, they lose everything.

To make matters worse, when you write a "Choose Your Own Romance" story it is nothing like a "Choose Your Own Adventure." You can not have ANY and I mean ANY bad endings at all. People expect a happily ever after. They want to fall in love with your story and the male lead. It will make them miserable if he suddenly dies or breaks up with them because they did something small and insignificant like take a right during the wrong part of the story instead of a left.

So....what do you do? How do you write a "Choose Your Own..." story without the story going into a million different directions or having a million bad endings? How do you make the world feel open and the reader feel involved in their choices and still make the story long?

What you have to do is have points in your story where everything connects again. You can have choices lead into random direction, but they have to lead back to the main path eventually. You have to gently nudge the reader into the direction you want them to go at regular intervals.

It sounds like you're taking away their free will, doesn't it? Like you're not giving them choices? Because they're always going to wind up in certain spots no matter what they do?

That's not true unless you write the story wrong. Let me explain...

Let's say the reader is traveling through a cave during part of the story. They come across a deep cavern and have to get across it. You give them a series of choices. Do they find a way to build a bridge across? Do they get a rope and swing across? Do they build a contraption that can throw them across? Do they find a mage who can help them levitate across?

Any of the choices they make will completely change the story and what the reader's character does. In one they might go searching for a tree outside the cave and use the log from chopping it down to make the bridge. In another, they seek the help of a friendly mage who gave them a stone to contact them with earlier in their travels. In a different version they have a rope in their bag that they brought with them and they use it. In another they get to work on gathering supplies and using their building skills to assemble something together. In each version, they do a completely different thing. The story varies wildly.

But you know what? In every version they wind up on the other side of the same cavern, ready to progress to the next part of the story. They can't make a choice where they don't wind up on the other side, even though you gave them several options of what they can do. Because the story actually consists of the reader and the writer working together. The reader makes the choices of how they will accomplish things and the writer gently guides them forward towards the next thing.

What does that look like? Well. here's a diagram I made of the choose your own story that I'm writing so far and how all the choices line up (some of the choices had to be drawn by hand and that's why some of the arrows look weird and different.) I'm only about 1/3 or so through the story, so a full story will have a much longer diagram than this.

In the end, all the choices eventually meet up, even when they vary widely and all over the place, like they do towards the end of this diagram.

Because writing a "Choose Your Own.." story means writing a hundred DIFFERENT versions of the SAME story. I think it's a good and interesting practice in writing and it's a lot of fun because authors already do this. We consider a million different ways to write the same scene and try to figure out which one is the best. But in a "Choose Your Own" story, you write every version of the same scene you come up with and let the READER decide through their choices which version they think is the best.

Do they kiss in this scene or wait until later? Do they climb up the rope or take the stairs instead? It's not up to you, it's up to the reader!

I suggest, if the choices are confusing that you make a diagram of them with the page numbers on them to help you keep track of all the choices. A storyboard could help a lot and a detailed outline could make things a lot easier. I don't recommend writing this kind of book if you're new to writing. It's hard enough with just a linear book to keep all your facts and information straight. "Choose You Own..." stories make it a million times worse, but if you feel like this is the way you should go for your first book, then go ahead. I just don't think it will be an easy journey.

I know this sounds crazy, but I am actually writing this story as a pantser. It's easier to come up with it as you write than you might think, if you're experienced in writing. This is because you can divide the story up into chunks. Each section where all the decisions meet up again is the end of a chunk. I fill in all the blanks and all the decisions and all the possibilities for each chunk before moving on to the next one. To me, they are like chapters, some simpler and harder than others. This helps me keep the stories straight.

I also make sure to number all the pages to keep the choices straight as I'm writing it, even though I know I'll delete those later. Because you have to make sure to keep track of how the story progresses. The last thing you want to do is write a bunch of pages and not know what order they go in later.

And I'm not making the page numbers that complicated yet. I suggest that this be the last thing you do if you're writing a paperback. While traditional "Choose Your Own" stories have you going from page 2 to page 300 in the very beginning, I'd suggest you mixing up the pages later after you finishing writing it. Because you don't know how many pages the story is going to be in the end and it's easier to keep the story straight in your mind if the choices are more linear until you're finished writing. Otherwise, you might tell someone to turn to page 400 and find out later that you didn't write 400 pages worth of content. There will be holes everywhere with missing pages that are supposed to be there. If you do ebooks or a web-site, you'll never have to change the linear page numbers because there will be no page numbers, just clicking.

I also suggest, as I did in my diagram that you keep the choices in the beginning of the story fairly simple, where you make a choice and meet in the middle again pretty fast. Make things more complicated later. This is because, in the beginning, you are setting up the story and want the premise to be pretty straightforward and mostly the same for everyone. You can complicate things more and more later on.

Just make sure, if you write "A Choose Your Own..." story that you vary the patterns of the choices here and there or the reader will catch on. You can't make it too simple for them. They'll pick up on your patterns and know where the stories intertwine exactly and stop feeling like they're the ones making choices. They'll see you intervening and forcing them into certain directions.

"Choose Your Own..." stories aren't as well known as a lot of novels, even though I think they are well-liked. They seem intimidating to write before you start and they can be difficult, but become easier as you get the hang of it.

Because of the e-books and the internet, luckily, "Choose Your Own..." stories are more reader friendly than ever because now readers can make their choices simply with a click of the button. So I'm surprised more "Choose Your Own..." stories haven't been written lately.

I hope more of you start writing "Choose Your Own.." stories and that this post about tips and suggestions on how to write a story like this helps you write it. I enjoy reading "Choose Your Own..." stories as much as writing them and if you have any suggestions of any that you think I should read, especially romance ones, then please tell me in the comments.