Thursday, April 28, 2016

Get All Four Of My Novels For Less Than $2 In Total

If you have kindle unlimited, you can read them all for free!

Pandora's Mistake and Bright's Passion are both available for free. Here are the links...

Pandora's Mistake:

http://www.amazon.com/Pandoras-Mistake-Fate-Eros-ebook/dp/B00BRQINMI/

Bright's Passion:

http://www.amazon.com/Brights-Passion-God-Light-1-ebook/dp/B01BU2N93Q/

Medusa's Desire and Night's Lust are both available for 99 cents apiece. Here are the links...

Medusa's Desire:

http://www.amazon.com/Medusas-Desire-Fate-Eros-ebook/dp/B00ABMAW5K/

Night's Lust:

http://www.amazon.com/Nights-Lust-God-Light-Book-ebook/dp/B01BUKOOT6/

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Blog Tours

I should have linked to these earlier, but I have two blog tours going on right now. The first one, for Bright's Passion, started on March 20th, and the second one for Pandora's Mistake, started on April 20th. If you'd like to see any of the blogs I was hosting on, just click on either banner and follow the links for my book tour.

http://www.enchantedbookpromotions.com/th_gallery/deluxe-book-tour-brights-passion/

http://bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com/2016/04/now-on-tour-pandoras-mistake-by-eb-black.html

Monday, March 28, 2016

How Commercialism Is Destroying Fiction

This is not a blog post where I make fun of genre writers and praise literary fiction. I love genre fiction. I read romance and fantasy novels all the time. This is a blog post about how the publishing industry is slowly getting rid of legitimate authors (both in genre fiction and literary) and replacing them. We're not being replaced by machines or artificial intelligence. We're being replaced by people who don't care about words and never read any books. We are being replaced by people who couldn't care less about the publishing industry and don't know that the phrase isn't "could care less." We're being replaced by models, reality stars, and actors.

This truth first hit me when I realized how many of the Kardashians are NYT Bestsellers and how few of my author friends are. Khloe Kardashian is the most recent bestseller. I was at Barnes & Noble on saturday and saw how her book "Strong Looks Better Naked" had officially reached the NYT Bestseller list. They had a display for her and her book, proudly presenting these facts to everyone.

She is not the first Kardashian/Jenner to achieve this status. Her mother has done it, too, so has Kim Kardashian, although Kim's book is just a bunch of pictures of herself. Because celebrities don't even have to write any actual words anymore to have a bestselling book. Her younger sisters, Kylie and Kendall Jenner also have a book, a scifi novel, actually.

The reason this makes me angry is because it's ridiculous. I could never be a model or reality show star and I don't want to be. I won't be getting lip injections like Kylie Jenner has any time soon. I don't plan to do waist training like Kim Kardashian to see if I can make my butt look even larger in comparison to my stomach. I don't have make-up artists or stylists. The Kardashians do. They live, breathe, and survive on being beautiful.

Well, I live, breathe, and survive on words. Part of the reason I am even writing this blog post is because my kindle is out of battery, so I have to let it charge for awhile before I can goof off and read some romance novels later. I'll probably write a chapter or two of something later today and procrastinate for a little while on doing housework. Because I live off of words. Other people's words written into books and mine fashioned together into novels as well. But I don't expect to be treated like a model. I don't expect my picture to grace magazine covers. Because I don't focus on any of that stuff. My passion is for books.

So why are a bunch of reality stars all NYT Bestsellers?

Would you buy a tomato that Kim Kardashian personally planted and grew? Would you purchase only food cooked by Khloe Kardashian? When you buy tampons, do they need to have Kris Jenner's face on them? Do you choose your doctor based on only people Kourtney Kardashian recommends you see?

No. Because the Kardashians are reality stars and models. They don't know anything about medication, tampons, or food. They know how to look pretty and be on television. They can teach you how to pose for magazines. So why in the hell are all the bestselling novels written by people like them?

I know people get all uppity about genre fiction. They get upset about books like Twilight because they feel like the writing is beneath them and girly and blah, blah, blah. But at least Stephenie Meyer cares about words and fiction. At least you know she sat around, poring over exactly how to write each page, obsessing over every word and learning how to be better at grammar.

The Kardashians didn't do this. Publishing companies beg them to write books, not the other way around. I've seen them go to their big publishing houses on their reality show. They get red carpet treatment. Everyone kisses their butt and praises all their ideas.

To the Kardashians, writing a book is a quick burden that they shuffle off onto some ghost writer or editor and care very little for. It's like taking a breath. It's just another bottle of perfume to them or shade of lipstick that they have to approve and then they're done with it.

I'd take genre writers over that any day. Because they care. Because they try. Because they study so much and re-write over and over again.

But we live in a world where all that matters is what will sell. While I agree that we should write things that please readers, I am upset by the fact that we are all no longer taking quality of fiction into consideration at all. If you poop on a page and it sells, then that's the important thing, right? As long as it's in pretty enough packaging to appeal to everybody?

Imagine a world where everything was dictated by the same idea. Where people wouldn't ride an airplane unless they knew it was personally designed by Kim Kardashian. Her idea of a design would probably be a picture of a pink airplane with a smiley face on it. I'm not saying mine would be much better, but that's because I never went to school for that and I don't have a passion for it. Neither did she.

So why are we letting people who never read or write take over book sales? It's going to make literature in this culture crash and burn like Kim Kardashian's pink, smiley face airplane would crash and burn if it were to ever fly. I don't like it at all.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

RELEASE DAY: Bright's Passion and Night's Lust - GET A FREE COPY!!!

It's not too late to join me and my celebration on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1521847908111646/

It's been awhile since I've released a full novel, probably because I was preparing to release two novels instead of just one.


Get Bright's Passion for free on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Brights-Passion-God-Light-1-ebook/dp/B01BU2N93Q/

Bright wishes he wasn't the god of the suns.

Every day is the same: he makes the suns rise and then they set. He looks down at humanity's corruption. He watches wars, people starving, and thieves stealing.

He can't help. Every time he tries, the humans take something from him. They've destroyed his family and he has no doubt that they'd like to destroy him, too.

Adonya is a raven-haired witch with powers that make her as close to a goddess as a human can be. He's wondered what it was like to be with a woman, but all the goddesses are dead.

He can feel it when he touches her—she's as dangerous as all the rest of the humans. Can the power of love join their races together? Or will one of them wind up dead in the end?

 Purchase for $2.99 on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Nights-Lust-God-Light-Book-ebook/dp/B01BUKOOT6/

Adonya will never see the suns rise again. The suns bring beauty to the world, beauty that she craves. They also bring Bright, who she is desperate to see, but can't. Last time she allowed herself to be controlled by love, her mother died.

Terrifying things lurk in the dark like Night--the god who tried to kill her.

Adonya hates him, but he's become obsessed with her ever since he met her. He says there is something special about her, something that makes him desire to either sleep with her or kill her.

He shows her that the opposite of love is not hate. Her lack of indifference towards him shows that in a twisted way, she cares about him as well. Anger can intermingle with desire and create an explosion of passions unlike anything Adonya has experienced before.

Maybe a little fling won't hurt anything. After all, Adonya is used to playing with fire.

But what will happen when Bright finds out that she is sleeping with his brother?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How Writing Goals Change

I was on a forum recently where some new writers were talking about how they had recently written something and submitted it. They were scared and nervous that their stories were stupid and that they were horrible writers. They were worried about getting feedback and hearing that they were awful.

It just reminds me of when I was in that place, too, and how your perspective changes the longer you've been a writer. After awhile, you get so much feedback from critique partners, reviewers, and editors, that you know your writing isn't perfect and you don't expect it to be. You stop worrying about that.

You become jaded after awhile when it comes to people's opinions. You still listen to them sometimes. You still want to improve, but after hearing how someone thinks novels where character's describe their appearance using a mirror are stupid and then reading several best-selling novels where the author does just that...you stop listening to all the chattering as much.

Especially when it comes to romance scenes and metaphors. There are always the people who take every metaphor literally. They can't read the sentence,"His eyes followed her around the room" without picturing his eyes popping out of his face and bouncing/rolling behind her everywhere she goes like a sad lost puppy. We all know what this person meant, though, when they said this sentence. It's just that everyone pictures things differently and some people are more literal than others. You can't control how people will view your words.

People are very particular about romance scenes as well. They hate this word and that one. It makes them giggle and laugh. Probably because people view romance as very personal and intimate and there's a part of them that are like children still. Any little misplaced word can make us giggle at a romance scene. Maybe because as a culture, we still feel shy and awkward about romance.

So guaranteed there's going to be someone who laughs or mocks whatever you write. You stop looking for that validation. You don't need it and you know you'll never achieve it.

After awhile, you start worrying about how you write more. Did the way you wrote this scene impact people the way you wanted it to? Did the words say what you wanted them to say? Or did you write things wrong and confuse everyone?

You know everyone won't like you and your message, but you want to make sure that at least you portray your message clearly for them to judge.

And you get bogged down by sales rather than reviews. A one-star review is barely a blip on the radar of your life, but a month where you sell only one book has the potential to make you cry.

You have to write a certain way. You have to market a certain way. If your books aren't selling, then you're obviously doing it wrong according to everyone. You read articles about fixing this and watch other more successful authors (and try to imitate what they do), until you're blue in the face and sometimes it doesn't make a difference.

I really would like to let all these things go. I'd like to not worry about sales. Not worry about people's rules. I just want to be free and to just write. The more I hear these days about how I have to do things a certain way, the less I want to do them. It's not because I can't take advice. Of course, I crave advice, so I can improve as an author.

But after awhile, you hear so much advice and so many rules....on and on and on....

You hear about all the things you have to do...so many things to sell books that there aren't enough hours in a day to do it all...

That after awhile, you realize, no author does all these things and no author follows all these rules and you just want to let them go. You want to be free from all the chatter and voices.

You want to be created again. You want to feel like a new author again. Where the world is full of possibilities of whether or not people might like you. Where the stories in front of you are art. They inspire and excite you.

Where you don't worry about dollar signs.

Where you don't know about all the rejection you will receive.

Where you write exactly how you want to and pay no mind to the consequences of it.

Where in front of you is only possibilities and butterflies in your stomach full of hope.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Why It's Important To Follow Other Authors On Social Media

I keep hearing over and over again about how pointless it is to have author friends on social media. You are trying to sell to readers, not other authors, who rarely buy one another's books (supposedly.) I have a lot of author friends on social media and this is the wrong way of viewing it in my opinion.

Here are some advantages to interacting with other authors on social media:

1. They are the only people who get you. In real life, you may not have family or friends who understand you and your need to write, but authors will get it. They'll understand why you are afraid of the fact that the NSA can see your google search history. They'll get why you're having an argument with one of your characters and why you're angry at your book while you're editing it because it's being so difficult.

2. They give better advice than other people. When I have a question, I can post it on facebook and usually get an awesome answer to it within an hour or two from another author who knows what they are talking about. Not only that, but they're constantly sharing that advice without even being asked. They're always posting blog posts with their thoughts and opinions on writing, social media, etc. It helps to hear what other people who have experience think.

3. Authors share opportunities they find. Like, when publishing companies have special submission calls, they might share it on their facebook and it could lead for a big opportunity for you. This happens all the time.

4. You can swap manuscripts when you need a critique. It really helps to get the perspective of another author. They usually know what they are talking about more and can look into your story more in depth.

5. You can help promote each other. You can feature each other on your blogs, doing guest posts or author interviews or sharing blurbs. You can borrow each other's audiences to try to get your work seen by more eyes.

6. They have connections. You need an editor and you have no idea how to find one? Ask the authors you talk to on social media and likely they'll have a bunch of people to connect you with.

7. Sometimes they do read your book. Not that this is the only thing that matters.

So is it really a waste to be friends with other authors on social media? In my opinion: NO.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Why Writers Can't Give Away All Their Books For Free

I keep hearing the argument that writers should write for the love of their craft and never expect anything in return. That we shouldn't charge any money and just give our books away for free. That we should be thankful when people read the things we write and that should be enough.

We can't do this.

We're not writing for free when we refuse to charge. We're paying a bunch of people money to get published instead. Writing for free costs money.

Right now, I charge for one out of two of my books. Guess what? I'm in the red. I make less money than I spend right now. I am paying other people money for the privilege to write and I'm not, by any means, giving all my books away for free.

Because the writing industry is a billion dollar industry, especially for a lot of the people who aren't writers. There's a lot of people we have to pay in order to get our book published and read.

In fact, writers have to constantly be careful because there are many people who are predators out there who will ask for a couple thousand dollars to help us get a bestseller or help us write a book and we wind up with nothing but a hole in our pocket instead.

So even if we wanted to break even and not make any money to write, we would still have to charge you to cover our expenses.

You get this when it comes to watching movies. There's film. Actors need to be paid. Sets need to be made. Costumes need to be designed. Directors need to be hired.

You get this when you play video games. People need to test the games. People need to draw the graphics. People need to design the levels.

So why don't you get that writers need to charge money, too, even if all they were to do was break even?

Things Writer's Pay Money For:

1. Editors Cost Money

They cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand a-piece. Ideally, we're supposed to pay three editors that each focus on different things. You can't worry about editing the grammar,until you finish editing the basic story for instance. Because if you edit the grammar first, then you might wind up deleting entire sentences that were edited for grammar and adding new paragraphs that weren't and then you need to edit for grammar again.

I don't have a lot of money, so I use critique partners and one editor at the end. If I had more money, you bet I would go for three editors!

We can't skip having at least one editor. Our readers will stop reading our books if we skip the editor and all books in the future will look stupid because they will be full of mistakes. Even those of us who know a lot of rules mess-up because our eyes auto-correct things on the screen (because our brains know what we meant to say) and we wind up not seeing it.

2. Cover Art Costs Money

You can cut costs for making a cover by doing things like using stock photos, but then you wind up finding out that one of your author friends has a very similar or identical cover to yours because they used the same stock image.

If you want a unique cover that perfectly displays your book, then you need to book a place to shoot a photo, hire models. set designers, and a photographer. Sometimes you can do some of these jobs yourself, but it tends to turn out better if you hire someone else.

You know the fonts on covers? Those cost money, too. People make them and we have to pay them.

Usually authors don't know a lot about graphics. I mean, we try, but we can't do the fancy things that true graphic artists can, so we have to hire those as well to put all the pictures and all the fonts together.

This can add up to a lot of money, depending on which of these things you use.

3. Advertising Costs Money

There's a certain amount of things you can do to advertise for free . You can post on social media for instance.

But generally speaking, to get featured on a lot of mailing lists, blogs, web-sites, and more, you need money.

You also need money if you want book swag. These are things like bookmarks and key chains with pictures of your books on them.

The worst part of all of it is that certain social media sites, like facebook, make it difficult to announce your book release unless you pay them now. They make sure a certain amount of your followers do not see your post unless you pay them.

You may say,"It's not necessary to do all those things to sell books to people."

I gave a $100 Amazon Gift Card away recently. It was for FREE. And entering it could take as little as a couple of seconds and still, getting entries for it was like pulling teeth.

When you have a free book, people don't just jump all over it and try to get three copies of it and tell all their friends, like they do with free samples at the grocery store. Most people still don't notice you or care.

There's so many free books now that people ignore the majority of them. Imagine if ALL books were free and how much money every author would have to pay just to get people to notice their book exists at all.

I'm releasing a free book soon and just to begin, just for my launch, I've spent almost $600 in advertising and I'm thinking about saving money so I can spend more.

Some of that cost was for that $100 Amazon gift card. Because contests cost us money, too.

4. Distribution Costs Money

Printing books cost money. You already know this probably. The paper and ink are expensive and we can't just give you physical copies of books without asking for some money.

Well, guess what? It costs money to distribute e-books, too! Amazon, Barnes and Noble, all those places, they take money out of our pockets for every sale we get.

Sure, if we don't charge, it is free and they get nothing.

But if no one charged....

Ebooks would go away. Because, you see, it costs money to have a web-site. The domain name, the bandwidth, all that costs money. Every time someone accesses your site and downloads your books, it costs someone, somewhere out there, money. So every book can't be free or there won't be enough money to sustain the web-sites that host them. 

5. Formatting Costs Money

I can format my own books, luckily, but most authors can't. It's actually very difficult at times and time consuming. In fact, as of right now, I've been working on formatting my books, many hours every day, for the past five days.

So most authors have to hire someone to format their books.

6. Copyrights Cost Money

The government doesn't give you copyrights for free. They charge you.

But a free book doesn't need a copyright, right?

Wrong.

Copyrights aren't there just to protect money. They also protect your name. When you have a copyright on a free book, then no one can steal the book and put it under their name and claim they wrote it.

7. Software Costs Money

When you want to write, you need Microsoft Word at the very least. There were times when I couldn't afford a copy or didn't have a copy available to me. I had to use free software. This has been a mistake for me.

One time, when I was using Open Office, I submitted a story to someone and somehow half the names were changed to a totally different name. I still don't know how this was possible. My copy looked fine, but on the other person's end, it was a mess. I didn't have the right software and that likely had a lot to do with it.

Even if authors don't make their own book covers, they sometimes have to make their own graphics and need software to do so. See my banner on this blog? Made by me. What did I need to make it? Software.


8. Our Computers Cost Money

Well, everyone has a computer. Surely, this one doesn't count.

Yes, it does.

I don't have a computer right now. Luckily, my husband does. Mine broke months ago. I backed up my stories, so I didn't lose anything, but I've been forced to borrow his to write whenever he can spare it. I can't just go out and buy myself a computer without money. Without a computer, I can't write.

Let's hope my husband's computer doesn't break, right?

9. Classes Cost Money

I admit that I did a lot of my learning on my own, using the internet and critique partners.

But writing is actually a very difficult job and if you want to learn certain things that took me years to learn in less time, then you might want to take a class.

Education costs money.

10. Conferences Cost Money

While conferences aren't a necessity, they can teach you a lot and get authors socializing with certain people in the publishing industry. These connections are helpful when it comes to getting our work in front of publishers.

11. Submissions Can Cost Money

Some agents take e-mail submissions of your stories. Others require you to spend money on all the paper and ink it takes to print out your query, synopsis, and manuscript, and then mail that heavy package to them.

You also have to provide the self-adressed stamped envelope yourself. Because agents don't want to pay anything to write back. Authors have to absorb that cost.

This is fine if it's one person you submit to, but authors often submit to many agents. When you have to print out your two hundred page manuscript twenty times, cover the cost of mailing something heavy like that, include a SASE, it adds up over time.

12. Book Tours And Appearances Cost Money

I already covered some of this in the advertisement section. I mostly want to talk about authors making physical appearances to book stores.

First, is the money they have to pay for travel.

Then possibly for food and a hotel stay.

There's also the cost of buying or renting a table and chairs.

There's the cost of ordering a bunch of your books to sell and possibly some swag to give away.

Publishers don't cover the costs of these things almost ever. Even if they did, they'd stop doing so if they had to give all books away for free.

 13. Websites Costs Money

The domain name costs us money. We have to renew it every year or two as well, which costs more money.

Separately, we need someone to host our domain name and pages. We have to pay for bandwidth.

Personal Reasons Why We Need Money:

1. We Ignore Our Families For You

So far, this year alone (it's only February), I didn't do my husband's laundry for two weeks in order to write and I didn't pack his lunch for three weeks.

I've also had to tell my Mom and Husband several times to stop speaking to me because I have to write instead of socializing with them.

I suppose I could just treat writing like a hobby and stop taking it so seriously, but if all writers did that then we'd release one book every five to ten years. If you're willing to wait, that's fine.

We can treat it like a hobby and have no author ever live long enough to complete their ten book series because six books took them sixty years of hobby time to complete.

Or we could get money for writing and be motivated to ignore everything else in our lives in order to get more books out to everyone.

2. We Lose Friendships For You

I haven't talked to my friends in forever. That's because I have a book launch coming up. At the end of this, I will have to pick up the pieces and see who wants to speak to me anymore. Because I didn't even tell them why I was busy. I just dropped off the face of the earth.

One of my friends called me back on January 15th and it's February 15th now and I still haven't called her back. It's going to be really awkward once I do.

3. We Accept All Your Criticism With A Smile On Our Face

Remember that job where you worked at for McDonald's when you were a young adult and you had to deal with those customers that hated you and thought you were an idiot? Well, writers have to deal with that, too. Except the people who hate us and the jobs we do get to post their opinions on the internet forever, so we and everyone else can keep reliving it.

It's fine. It doesn't bother me. I can handle it and I want people to post their real opinions, but to get to this point...yea, there were tears at times.

Not just tears from readers' opinions, but from publishers and agents who rejected my work. We aren't allowed to talk back to any of these people and that's fine.

But I feel that it's fair for me to say that I deserve to be paid for it. The money helps the sting some and it gives us something to strive for. Because we're never going to get universal praise, so if that's what we are after, then we will give up after our first book.

Money is something realistic we can get as a reward for finishing a book. Praise and acceptance is not.

So working really hard and then getting a bunch of criticism and no money is just going to make the majority of us quit.

4. We Write Even When We're Ill

I've done this many times. I know writing is a fun activity, but it's not fun when you have a horrible cold or are worried about your blood test results when you go to the doctor the next day.

5. We Constantly Study

Writers are never done learning. We ask people to critique us. We study and discuss grammar.

Do you know the different between "into" and "in to"?

Do you know the difference between "awhile" and "a while"?

What is an em dash?

An author needs to know the answers to all those questions and many more.

We need to be able to word sentences a hundred different ways in our head and know synonyms for every word, so we can word each sentence perfectly.

It's not about having poetic prose, it's about knowing how to communicate. You might say,"Amanda peeled a piece of fruit" or you might say "Amanda peeled an orange." The second sentence is short, but portrays a more vivid image.

Authors need to know how to work things in a bunch of different ways, so we are able to communicate with you as effectively as possible.

6. We Don't Want To Be Homeless Or Go Hungry

Writing takes up a lot of time. If you think it doesn't, that's because you've never done it.

We're creating things. We're giving you a product. You pay for other products. Pay for ours, so writers don't become the homeless guy on the street with a long beard scribbling on a napkin and talking to himself.

7. It Gives Us Time To Write When We'd Have To Be Working Somewhere else

Books are released faster when we have more time to spend on them. It allows us to give you more entertainment.

8. Other Writers Get Paid

Would you expect people who reported on the news to work for free?

What about people who write the instruction manuals that come with cars?

What about the writer who writes speeches for the President?

Then why expect fiction writers to work for free?

9. We Have Hard Deadlines

When people get a doctorate degree, they get years to research and write their dissertations.

Authors are expected to write three hundred and fifty pages every three months. There are many articles out there about how authors who write any slower than that will never make an income.

It is very, very difficult. I've been writing for ten years and I'm still working up to the point where I can complete a novel that fast.

None of that includes all the blog posts, facebook posts, articles, or whatever else an author writers. Those are just bonuses that we are also obligated to do.

10. We Write When We Don't Want To

We take writing more seriously than anyone you will ever meet. It's our job, it's our life. We literally fight about it all the time. If you go on social media and you follow enough writers, you are going to see them arguing over this or that. Sometimes it's something as silly as commas and sometimes it's big things, like how much writers should be paid.

We don't fight because we hate each other and writing. Just the opposite. We fight about our thoughts and opinions on writing because we care about it so much, to the point where a lot of us are workaholics.

We've worked years, training ourselves to write even when we hated it, to push forward even when it's a struggle. Because this is our job and we take it seriously.

Shouldn't there be some respect for that?