Category Archives: indie writers

Write a Guest Blog for the Feckless Goblin

write a guest blog

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We’re currently looking for some great content for the site from indie writers and other artists. If you think you’d like to write a guest blog for the Feckless Goblin then contact us on the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Benefits When You Write a Guest Blog

It’s gone a little out of fashion in some circles but guest blogging is good for getting additional traffic to your site and widening your reach to a whole new audience. It can also help you improve your search engine ranking because of a strong inbound link. We’ll publish your post and then send out a message to our 30,000 Twitter fans as well as our Facebook followers.

What to Write in Your Guest Blog

We’re looking for anything relating to the writing process and the marketing of books. It should be informative and useful to our readers and shouldn’t be about promoting your own book or product. Ideally the length needs to be between 500 and 2,000 words. Each post will include a bio of the author at the end with a link to your website, Twitter feed, Facebook page etc.

Fill in the form if you’d like to write a guest blog.

 

Vampire Fiction: A Beginner’s Guide

vampire fiction

Vampire fiction has exploded in the last three to four decades. There are now literally thousands of books, short stories, films and comics featuring our fanged friends. They’ve managed to inveigle their way into large parts of our society, almost to the extent that many people believe these fictional creatures really do exist.

Vampires have become so popular they’ve bridged the gap between genres. No longer a simple staple of horror, you can find vampires leaching horribly into romance, comedy, young adult fiction, sci-fi, gaming and even the odd serious semi-serious tome such as Let the Right One In.

So what makes vampire fiction endure? Why are we still so fascinated by these undead creatures? Has everything blood sucking been done to death?

Or does our friend the night crawler still have a few more tricks up his or her bony sleeve?
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The First Vampire in Fiction

The Vampyre by John William Polidori, written in 1819 is often put forward as the first blood sucker in literature. Our friends were part of folklore long before that, however. Precursors to the more modern vampire can be found in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt – creatures who came at night to pray on humans and drink their blood. Although we have some evidence the Middle Ages were rife with them,  the true essence of the vampire, however, appeared out of South West Europe in the early part of the 1700s.

In Voyage to the Levant, writer and traveller Joseph Pitton de Tournefort revealed a belief in the undead in the south of Europe including Greece. The word ‘vampyre’ was used in 1732 when the London Journal mentioned it in connection with Hungary.  The country appeared again in ‘Treatise on Apparitions of Angels, Demons and Spirits and on the Revenants and Vampires of Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia‘ published over ten years later.

People rising from the dead was not an unusual occurence in fiction and poetry at the time. Goethe in the Bride of Corinth talks of a young woman returned from the grave who says: ‘Still to love the bridegroom I have lost, And the lifeblood of his heart to drink.’ In England, Southey and Byron both penned poems that had vampirism at their heart.

Vampire fiction really began to gather pace with Polidori’s Vampyre, a short story that was immediately successful. It spawned numerous 19th century imitations that blended romance and sometimes eroticism as the genre began to evolve and come of age.

The daddy of them all, however, was Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897. Even now, over a century later, the Prince of Darkness remains one of the most enduring and memorable characters in literary history.

Without him, vampire fiction may well have disappeared into the mist instead of imbedding itself in our collective psyche.
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Dracula: The Ultimate Vampire

We certainly wouldn’t have the plethora of vampire fiction we have today if it wasn’t for Dracula. Published in 1897 by Irish author Bram Stoker, the book introduced two major characters, Dr Van Helsing and the eponymous vampire himself. In truth, the book wasn’t an immediate success when it first came out and it wasn’t until popular movies were made in the 20th century that the character really began to capture the public’s imagination.

In fact, the book made hardly any money for Bram Stoker and he was to die in poverty in 1912. Over the years, Dracula and the vampire myth found it easy to penetrate society, whichever decade happened to be passing by. He gets repackaged every so often for a new audience but his appeal seems to endure. Perhaps, in a literary sense, he really is immortal.

The Vampire in Popular Culture

The vampire has made an impact on practically all areas of modern culture. It’s not just in vampire fiction that we see the fall of the blood sucker’s shadow. In comic books, music, film, and now even online games, the bared fangs and desire to feast on the necks of myriad victims has spread its satanic fictional tentacles.

There are people who profess to be real vampires, there are those who are fans of particular series or genres to the point of obsession, and countless indie writers can’t seem to give up the lure of blood suckers no matter how hard they try. And there are those who just love a good scare now and again.

vampire fiction 30 days of night

My Top 6 in Vampire Fiction

1. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

A personal favourite from the mid-seventies about the time when Stephen King was becoming popular worldwide. Salem’s Lot is traditional vampire fiction at its best, as the mysterious Kurt Barlow arrives in a small town and people begin to drop off the radar, only to return when night falls.

2. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

I am Legend is another apocalyptic treat, this time from the early 1950s. There is a global pandemic that elicits the symptoms of vampirism and society has broken donw. For its time, the book was move away from the more gothic feel of the caped vampire with a dark secret to something more crude and threatening.

This is probably the point at which vampire fiction began to morph, slowly at first, into other genres. Indeed, Matheson’s book is sometimes credited with the rise of the zombie hordes we all know and love today.

3. They Thirst by Robert R McCammon

Probably lost in the shadow of King’s Salem’s Lot, They Thirst is another traditional vampire novel, this time based in Hollywood. The book is a genuine classic of the vampire fiction genre and if you haven’t read it yet, you should give it a try.

4. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

Okay, so there were a whole series of books about vampires by Rice but this was the one that kicked it off. For the first time, we started seeing things from the blood sucker’s point of view and it spawned a whole series of gothic romance wannabes with everything from The Vampire Diaries to Underworld owing something to the anti-hero Lestat.

5. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

While vampire fiction has mostly sat comfortably in its own genre, Let The Right One In moved it into more literary territory. At the time this was hailed as the reinvention of the vampire novel and made into a successful film. It’s less about the blood sucking undead as the rights of passage of youth and the terrifying bloom of first love.

6. The Last Vampire by T M Wright

Seems to fallen off the book list in recent decades, Wrights book is a mini-masterpiece as his unwilling vampire sits at the end of the world in a post-apocalyptic future. One book to read if you can find a copy somewhere. Vampire fiction as it probably should be.

nosferatu vampire fiction

Nosferatu, Dracula and Other Vampires in Film and TV

1. Nosferatu (1922)

Apparently, they’re about to remake this silent classic. The big draw, back in the 1920s, was the actual vampire himself. Max Schrek is the perfect blood sucker and his shadow crossing the wall is one of the most memorable images in horror film history.

2. Bela Lugosi’s Dracula (1931)

For a long while, Lugosi was the iconic vampire and became one of the most famous actors in Hollywood. While now the acting seems wooden and the sets a bit stagey, it’s still one of the most famous vampire movies on the planet.

3. Christopher Lee’s Dracula (1958)

Hammer breathed life back into the vampire legend in the late 50s and this film was an immediate box office success. It gave birth to a lot of sequels through the 60s and 70s, of course, before Hammer finally went under and Lee’s vampire was finally put to rest with a stake through the heart.

4. Fright Night (1985)

A surprise hit when it came out in the mid-80s, Fright Night continues to have a cult following today. Undoubtedly helped by the presence of screen legend (and former monkey in Planet of the Apes) Roddy McDowall, it was one of the highest grossing films of the year.

5. The Hunger (1983)

Avant guard meets vampire eroticism in Tony Scott’s film. Star David Bowie was the perfect choice for an 18th century cellist turned blood sucker. In truth, The Hunger is an acquired taste and have many found it too heavy on mood and with not enough plot. It remains one of the top vampire films of the last 30 years or so though and still has a decent following.

6. Near Dark (1987)

Another surprise hit despite its failure initially at the box office, Near Dark managed to mix Western influences with vampire delights and followed on from successes such as Fright Night and Lost Boys in the 80s. A more serious effort than its two predecessors, it too has gained a cult following over the years.

7. 30 Days of Night (2007)

While many other vampire films and books at the time were focusing on gothic romance and slightly comic book approaches to vampires, including the Twilight series, Blade and Underworld, 30 Days of Night went back to a more visceral approach to our blood sucking friends. One of the better vampire films in recent years.

8. Let the Right One In (2008)

I’ll throw in the film version of Let the Right One In as well, the original Swedish one, not the US remake. In truth, the film is a little better than the book and has some startling performances from young Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson.

9. The Strain

It largely disappeared under the radar as far as the popularity stakes are concerned, The Strain is a traditional good vs evil vampire epic. Forget trying to put a new spin on blood sucking, the makers have gone for an invincible master and destruction of all human life on the planet. What’s better than that?

The Future of Vampire Fiction

Have we said all that we need to say about vampires? In truth, these night dwelling creatures have actually become their own sub-genre over the last 30 years. They have an (undead) life of their own and it’s difficult to see them disappearing anytime soon. There have been some 170 different film versions just of Bram Stoker’s Dracula on its own so far and probably a good few more to come.

There have also been thousands of novels and short stories, as well as poems, produced, written and released over the years. The number is actually increasing, especially with the popularity of self-publishing and a growing band of indie authors who just love a bit on the neck.

Let’s face it, we’re never going to get rid of them. Vampire fiction is here to stay.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favourite vampire film or book? Why do you like vampires? Why do you hate them? Where next for our blood sucking friends? As always, put your comments in the bloody space below and I’ll try to get back to you.
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It’s NaNoWriMo Time! How to Succeed for Beginners

nanowrimo

It’s that time of the year again: National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo (or NoNoMoreRymo if you’re dyslexic). The annual sprint to writing oblivion. The big prose cheese fest. The head honcho of writing achievement. The time when:

  • Authors and wannabes across our glorious planet suddenly decide they should write a whole novel in a month.
  • People all over the world randomly discover they are writers and that their lives, up to now, have been some mysterious prelude to a marvellous literary talent that hitherto has remained hidden.

It’s time to let the scribble hounds loose. Time to brush off that keyboard, power up the internet, put on dark glasses and pour a glass of wine as you reach out into the word ether and begin frantically pulling in ideas and pithy prose that will set the world alight.

Indie writers dream of getting published, changing the status quo with their dry, ironic wit, of becoming famous, giving up the day job, marrying their laptop, eschewing all human contact for ever and ever (delete where applicable).

New writers suddenly and happily decide to spend the rest of their miserable lives as angst-ridden, bleary eyed, introspective scribes who drink too much wine, think too much, spend too much time staring at walls and other inanimate objects, worthlessly spilling their recently discovered but long fermenting mental health issues onto clean, white pages that deserve better.

All this, and so much more, can be yours by the 31st November. If you’re not put off by the fact that what you are doing is essentially futile then simply follow The Feckless Guide for #NaNoWriMo success below:

Think Before you Begin

Are your fingers in shape? Is your brain in gear? Have you really, really thought this through? Writing a whole novel is a big undertaking. Before you start, meditate deeply on whether you want to start in the first place. Are you really going to finish? Is that what you really, really want? Careful consideration at this point could save you from wasting a whole month when you could be playing Assassin’s Creed every night or baking cupcakes for your nearest and dearest.

Name Your Lead

What’s your main character going to be called? Talula Poopdecker? George Facklebackle? Tristan Pissfoddle? Bohemian Bob? Barbara Bombstomper? Perhaps if you’re writing a PI style thriller it’s going to be something dynamic like Jake Trent, Cal Hooper or Fanny Fitzroy. Maybe you want something short and whimsical like Sophia, Perry or Lola. Choosing the right name for your lead characters is an important start if you want to be able to imagine them more deeply.

Map Out Your Story

Whether you are a pantser or a plotter, you’ll have far more chance of success with NaNoWriMo if you map everything out for the month. There are 30 days in November so that’s a pretty neat timeline over which to spread the creation of your novel, bite size pieces that all lead to a safe finish at the end of the month. You don’t want the plot piling up ahead of you, creating panic, when you only have a few days left. This is about discipline and getting all the way to end. As the saying goes: It’s best to have a plan, Stan.

Never Rewrite While You’re Writing

Stopping to rewrite is the surest way to put the kibosh on your NaNoWriMo efforts. Your aim is to finish the book in one fell swoop, the rewrites can come later. Yes, it’s tempting, but it will almost certainly meant that you fail to reach your target. Stopping to rewrite is a sinister form of procrastination. If you feel tempted, whack yourself on the head with a stick. Mumble ‘keep going, keep going’ every time you feel the need to look back. At the very least, it will scare the hell out of other members of the household.

Don’t Stop Your NaNoWriMo Half-Way Through

The biggest problem that NaNoWriMo’ers have is that they will suddenly stop, take a breath, get distracted by a shiny light across the way. Stopping is a bad thing. You have to keep going. The universe is full of half-written attempts to complete a novel in a month. There will be times when it is hard to sit down and write. Your brain is just not equipped to start that Friday evening, two weeks into the project. Force yourself to start again, scream at the writing gods if you have to, but begin, begin, begin…

It’s a First Draft Stupid

Don’t be too hard on yourself. What you are essentially writing here is a first draft. You are not going to produce the complete works of Tolstoy in one sitting. Your job is simply to get that story out onto digital paper and not worry about whether it works or not. NaNoWriMo success is not about being good, it’s about getting from beginning to end in 30 days or less. It’s about getting that stuff down.

Leave to Brew, Go Back to the Day Job

Your fingers bleeding, your brain a mix of alcoholic induced fog and paranoia, your family having left some days ago to begin a new life away from ‘that freak in the back room’, you reach the last day and finally type THE END. You’ve finished. You’ve completed your NaNoWriMo challenge.

For the moment.

Turn off your computer. Step away from the laptop. STEP AWAY FROM THE LAPTOP!

Go back to the day job. Re-engage with friends and family you may have lost contact with. Take a shower for Chrissakes! It’s time to leave your novel to sit and brew for a while. Don’t think about opening it up again before the end of January. In fact, forget you ever wrote it. Your first draft is finished and you need time to breath, reinvigorate yourself and return to normal society.

How to Feel Unjustifiably Proud of Yourself

Rejoice, for you have successfully completed your mission. You set a goal and you achieved it. You’re the big writing cheese. The towering new Hemingway of your street. You can call yourself a writer for you have completed the first draft of your novel. This is usually the time when depression sinks in. You wonder the streets at night whimpering like a half starved dog, gazing up at the dark sky and contemplating the futility of it all. Was it worth it?

Do not worry. This moment will pass. It’s part of the writing process.

The urge to scribble once more will return, stronger next time. It will build and build and scream in your ears and sear your bones until…around about November next year…when you thought it was safe to return to the laptop…you will suddenly decide that a sequel is on the cards.

Can you write it in just a month…sure you can. You’re a NaNoWriMo veteran. You know what to do.

Hashtags for Writers

hashtags for writers
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If you’ve been on social media for any length of time then you’ll be aware of hashtags. Including them in posts can broaden your reach but also offers a chance to connect with like minded individuals, other writers and their ilk.

Benefits of Writer’s Hashtags

  • If you send a tweet with a hashtag you’ll receive twice the engagement.
  • You are more likely to be noticed by non-followers who are using a particular hashtag.
  • You have more chance of being retweeted if you include a hashtag.

Pros and Cons of Using Hashtags for Writers

  • Number is important – one or two per post will suffice. Any more than that and you begin to see the effect dwindle.
  • Make your post relevant to the hashtag. So if you use #MondayBlogs don’t put in a plug for your latest product or book. That’s not what that particular hashtag is for.
  • Find the ones that work for you – it’s a good idea to experiment with different hashtags and at different times to see what sort of response you get.
  • Hashtags are not limited to just Twitter. You can use them on other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram too.

General Hashtags for Writers

#140Poem #1K1H #1K1HR #amediting #amwriting #AmRevising #AuthorLife #ASMSG #CopyWriting #EditGoal #Editing #IndieAuthors #nanowrimo #WordCount #wip #WriteGoodNews #Writer #Writers #WritersBlock #WriteChat #WriteGoal #WriterWednesday #Writing #WriteMotivation #WriteTip #WritersLife #WritersRoad #WritingBlitz #WritingParty #WritingPrompt #WritingSprint #WritingTip #wordcount #WroteToday

Hashtags for Author Promotion

#author #authors #ASMSG #bookmarketing #bookworm #editing #emerging #fictionfriday #fridayflash #followfriday #ff #novels #novelists #poem #poet #poets #99c

Also:

#99cents #AmazonKindle #AmReading #AuthorRT #BestRead #BookBuzz #BookMarketing #BookPlugs #BookReview #BookWorm #eBook #eReaders #FictionFridays #GoodReads #IndieThursday #IndieTuesday#iPad #Kindle #KindleBargain #KindleBooks #KindleeBooks #KindleTouch #KindleTweet #Kobo #LitChat #MustRead #Nook #Novel #Novelists #Novels #Paperbacks #PDF1 #Poetry #PoetryMonth #Pubit #Reviews #ShortReads #Smashwords #StoryFriday #StoryTelling #TeaserTuesday #GreatReads #WhatToRead #WriteQuote #WeekendReader #whattoread

Publishing and Editing Hashtags

#AskAgent #AskAuthor #AskEditor #BookMarketing #EBooks #ePub #ePublishing #GetPublished #HowTo #IAN #IAN1 #Indie #IndieAuthor #IndiePub #MSWL #PromoTip #Publishing #Pubtip #PubWrite #querytip #SelfPub #SelfPublishing #tenqueries #VSS #WebFic #WebLit #WriteTip

Niche Hashtags for Book Genres

#Crime #Comedy #DarkFantasy #Dystopian #Erotica #HistFic #Historical #FaithLitChat #KidLitChat #Literature #LitFic #MemoirChat #MGLit #Mystery #NonFiction #Paranormal #Poetry #PoetryMonth #Romantic #RomanticSuspense #TrueStories #ScienceFiction #SciFiChat #ShortStory #SteamPunk #Suspense #UrbanFantasy #WomensFiction #YA #YALit

If we’ve missed any out then let us know in the comments section below!

Twitter Timing for Beginners

twitterOkay, I have some news: Not everyone keeps the hours you do. Shock and awe baby, it’s the truth. The problem is this old world of ours is spinning through the cosmos and that means, for the sake of our collective sanity, we elect to use time zones.

That means if I get up at 8am in the UK, in China they’ve already been up 7 hours and in New York they’re still catching those zeds because it’s 3 in the morning. Time is a tricky thing when you’re messing around with the blessed Twitter.

One of the best times to get hold of people is when they are on their daily commute, particularly now many of us have smartphones and have forgotten the art of conversation. So if I tweet now, I’ll catch all those yawning, bleary eyed commuters in the UK who can’t be bothered to talk to the person sitting next to them.

But in the US they’re mostly still asleep so my message isn’t going to get through. It will probably be missed by those snoozing Yanks. The best time to get them will be in three or four hours’ time when they’ve had their decaf and cream cheese bagel.

And, yes, I do know Twitter is banned in China. But what if I want to catch the commute in other Asian countries like South Korea, Japan, or Hong Kong (and yes I know it’s a principality rather than an actual country)?

  • Generally, when timing your tweets you need to consider two things:
  • The location of your target audience.

When they are statistically more likely to be viewing their Twitter stream.
For example, take a look at Kissmetrics infographic on tweeting in the US of A.

It’s not all about catching people on their daily commute. In the UK, Twitter usage rises between 7pm and 8pm during the week but is at its highest often over the weekend. Wait! That’s not strictly true. If you are tweeting B2B then it’s different – the optimum time is during working hours, you know, when people are actually at work.

Timing can get complicated, especially if you have fans or customers all over the world. For an interesting overview of several media including Facebook, Twitter, and email, take a look at the BufferSocial breakdown of the best times to engage.

While it can be a pain in the rear end, getting to grips with timing your social media contact can help improve your visibility, increase the likelihood that your message will be shared, and generally, boost your popularity.

Indie Author: 5 Myths You Should Ignore

indie authorSince the rise of t’Internet, indie authors have been doing their stuff, scratching away with their quills and pots of jet black ink, getting it out there, and largely pretending they are writers. The same goes for photographers, painters, indie film makers, and fashion designers.
In fact, anyone with a hint of talent can now access the web and make a success of themselves. It’s as easy as logging on and writing a few lines.

Add in a fine Merlot and you’ve got the perfect recipe for being a literary superstar.

1. Indie author = Sad git who can’t get published

Back in the day (you know, way back when writers wrote under the flickering light of a candle or two) it was common practice to self-publish. It was only in later years that publishing houses came along and decided they would be the ones to choose who was worthy or not. Just because you don’t have some ponce in an office validating your work, doesn’t mean you’re less of an author.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re any good either.

2. Indie author = no chance of success

Okay, so you’re probably not going to sell millions of copies and become a world renowned scribe. But then most writers never get that chance and who wants to be famous anyway? There are, however, a growing number of writers who are making a reasonable at their chosen profession. They may not be earning the big bucks but they’re pulling in a sustainable salary, either to complement the day job or, for a lucky few, as their main income.

The trick? Good Story x Effective Social Media Marketing = Success.

Who are doing it well? I refer my friends to Amy Cross and monster aficionado Jake Bible.

3. Indie author = no one wants to read

Not true. There’s a growing audience out there for indie authors and it’s not just amongst the writing fraternity. E-readers are at their most popular and people can download what they want from a range of sites. Pique their interest and they’ll give you a go, whether you are famous or not, conventionally published or not.

4. Indie author = you have to sell yourself cheap

No you don’t. This is the big bug bear of many reasonably successful indie authors. If you want to give your book away, fine. But it’s so much better to charge a reasonable price for your work. Giving it away says: “Hey, this stinks, but go ahead and read it anyway.”
Value your work, charge the right price and be happy.

5. Indie author = It’s all down to luck

No, it’s down to hard work, research, and a host of fruitless endeavours that add up to something. If you’re not putting in the effort, stop trying to be an indie author and take up basket weaving instead. If you’re no good at basket weaving try pie eating contests. And if you don’t like that, maybe you should consider multiple murder or painting yourself the colour of sky.

Indie isn’t about luck. It’s about finding out how the whole thing works and applying that to your style and content. If you put in the hours, someday you’ll get something out. I’m not saying you’ll be the next JK Rowling, but you may just start to make a living.

What sells your book?

What really sells your book?

  • Do you get all your sales from Twitter, Facebook, a combination of things?
  • Have you made a YouTube video that’s upped your book sales by a billion percent?
  • Does persistent spamming and DMing people you don’t know work?
  • Have you tried pay-per-click?
  • Have you done a blog tour thats been really successfully or a total waste of time?
  • Have you sold your soul to the devil and really don’t have to bother with trivial things such as social networking?
  • Have you emailed people pictures of fossilized pooh asking them to buy your book?

Those are just some of the questions The Feckless needs to answer about what sells your book. If you are an indie writer, we’d like to hear from you.

So get writing, do it from the heart as usual, and get your views down and dirty in the comments section below. Whether you’re a beginner or a marketing demon, we want to hear from you…

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Writing Horror by Lisamarie Lamb

It seems an odd thing to do, writing horror. When there is a wealth of genres out there and I could be writing about perfect love or fantastic dragons or gun-toting cowboys, why choose to create the most terrifying, the most soul-shredding, the most unwelcome?

My answer is a simple one: because I like it. I like horror.

I like to read it, I like to watch it, I like to think about it, and I like to write it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t.

As to why I like it, that’s a more complicated question, with a different kind of answer.

As a child, I was scared. A lot. Most of the time. Not that I wasn’t a happy child, with a normal family and normal surroundings and normal friends. I was. Perfectly normal. But I was also perfectly scared. There was a seeping, creeping horror that hovered around me, enveloped me, and at night I would scrunch my eyes shut and hide beneath the covers in the hope that whatever it was wouldn’t see me because I couldn’t see it.

And there was, as far I can tell, as far as I can remember, no reason for it. Nothing that particularly stands out as being that one specific moment in which something happened – something ghostly and ghoulish and downright petrifying – that haunted me for the rest of my days.

I was a normal girl, but a strange one.

Being alone was bad. I hated it. These days I crave a bit of solitude, but then, when that fear stole over me, I only wanted to be around people. It’s just that sometimes, there were no people to be around. And so I created some. I reached the age of twelve and simply decided that I needed constant, immediate access to someone.

But who? And how?

I started to go to bed and instead of cowering under the covers I moulded myself heroes and heroines, safe houses and refuges. I began to make up stories. These stories became my talisman, protecting me from the real evil by pretending about it. It seemed to me that nothing in the real world could possibly be as frightening as the world I was creating in my head, and so my heroes were slain, horribly. My heroines were kidnapped and tortured. My safe houses and refuges were pillaged by monsters and demons and ghosts.

And because I’d made it all up, just me, by myself, it wasn’t so scary after all. I enjoyed it. And I began to write my stories down. I began to read other people’s stories. I began to watch the films. Because it was all safe. It was all made up.

I’ve been doing that ever since.

Just don’t ask me to read or watch any ‘true’ horror stories.

They keep me up at night.

You can find out more about Lisamarie at The Moonlit Door.

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Should indie writers hire an editor?

hire an editor

A big subject in the indie/self-publishing world, the general consensus is that you should hire an editor to look at your work much the same as if you had been taken on by a “proper” publishing house.

Before thinking whether to hire an editor or not, every indie writer and self-publisher should ask some searching questions:

  • Is my work of art good enough?
  • Am I prepared to listen to what the editor says?
  • Can I find an editor enthusiastic enough to look at my book and work on it with me?
  • Can I afford this editor?
  • Then, once again, just in case you lied to yourself the first time round: Is my itty-bitty book worth the effort and the financial outlay?

Be honest before you hire an editor

You have been working on this remarkable novel for the last two years. You’ve poured your heart and soul into it, not to mention a good few litres of cheap vino to get your creative juices flowing. You’ve finished. You think it’s the bee’s knees. Your sister thinks it’s the greatest thing that’s ever been written. Your mother has called from beyond the grave to say it’s marvellllllouuuussssoooou…

But ask yourself this question:

Is it going to set the world on fire?

In all probability, the answer to this is going to be no. Ouch! Did that hurt? I apologise.

Face the facts

90% of the self-published stuff out there is crap. Yours may or may not be amongst that pile of shit-drivel, or it may be. You might be honest enough with yourself to admit that. But you have to accept the fact that, in all probability, your beautiful novel is not going to be in the top 10% of Kindle all time greats.

Accept this and be free: Your novel is not going to cause a major sensation, people are not going to be talking about it at bus stops and in cafes, you’re not going to be invited to posh soirees, drinking champagne and discussing literary shit with the glitterati, and no one but your immediate friends and family is ever going to know you as a serious writer.

It doesn’t matter! Let it go.

So, once more with feeling, should you fork out on a professional editor?

If you’re a decent writer and you’ve written something good, and you have the money to burn/waste/invest, then it’s worth the effort.

First off, make sure you find a good editor. A good editor will tell you before she’s even asked you for money that your book is:

  1. Worth some effort, or
  2. A pile of KACK

HEALTH WARNING: A good editor will charge you a fair whack but she/he won’t take you on without you being sure your book is worth it.

If your book is a pile of KACK and the EDITOR takes it on, they’re not an EDITOR they’re just a piss-taking-fuck-wit-troll who knows a sorry ass when they see one.

Research your editor. Don’t accept them at face value. Find out who they’ve worked with. Contact those people to see if they’re happy.

If you’re one of the five zillion or so writers with hope in their hearts but not quite enough talent to make the big splash, then stop looking for an editor. The work you have created is your own. It belongs to you and it may even sell a few copies and you may get some rave reviews from your friends and a couple of negative ones from people you’ve never met.

As Humphrey Bogart once said: “It don’t amount to a hill of beans.”

But do me a favour…

If you are going to self-publish. DOOOOOOOO get yourself a proof-reader. Your story may be shite but at least the grammar and the typos should be ironed out. Have a little respect for your dear reader.

By the way, proof-readers cost a lot less than an editor.

Leave your comments down below as usual, you rat-arsed scribes of the dark and twisted tale…

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Dear Indie Author: Are alarm bells ringing?

There you sit, master or mistress of your own destiny, Indie author extraordinaire. You have five books on the Amazon bestseller list and you’re not doing too bad on iTunes either.

Then you wake up.

It’s just a dream. A damn dream! You wipe the cold sweat off your brow. Wait. You remember. It wasn’t a dream. It was real…but…but

People got greedy

Companies GOT greedy. That’s why it all fell apart. They wanted to increase their margins (whatever they are). They wanted to maximise profits. They wanted to…dare I say it…control their product.

Control you.

Really? Those nice people at Amazon? The lovely guys at Lulu? All those fine, upstanding bods at Smashwords?

You betcha!

People generally get very greedy, very quickly.

Ka-ching! There’s money in them there hills…

You see, there’s a big market out there in cyber world. And there’s a battle going on for its soul. Companies can both take a slice of Indie authors and the people who buy their product. They can begin to dictate, they can squeeze your differentials (oooh, matron…and no, I have no idea what that means either).

They can even crash and burn those bridges and leave you without a way to peddle your wares.

We’re ripe for the picking. We should be classed as vulnerable adults. It they can abuse us, they will. If they can keep us in line and make us behave, they will. Even now, some faceless corporate whore is plotting against the Revolutionary Indie Author Movement.

Those little beeps your PC makes? Maybe that’s Amazon trying a bit of mind control (well you did download that free hypnosis MP3) or iTunes putting out sneaky subliminal messaging.

Call me Mr Paranoia

The discussion point at the Feckless Goblin is this: Are the major players like Amazon and iTunes mobilising to slap us Indies in the face? Is our brave new world about to disintegrate around us? Is it all a dream?

Your thoughts, as always, are most welcome. Jot them down in the comments section below.

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