Friday, February 22, 2013

New Website!

Change, it’s inevitable. Every new year we make a resolution to change, to improve, to do more or less–pretty much go a totally different route in one way or another be it our careers or our hair color. I’m no different. In fact, I embrace change. On that note, let me introduce you to my new website!

I was in desperate need of a better, cleaner, sleeker and more professional design. WordPress delivered!

Visit www.leslieleesanders.com to go to my new site.


While you're there, subscribe to stay current with new, helpful blog posts on writing and the publishing industry and new book releases. lots of great things are in the works so don't miss out.

*Note: You may have to clear your cookies or visit in a new browser if the link brings you back to this BlogSpot site. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Friday, February 15, 2013

4 MORE Mistakes I’ve Made in my Writing Career that You Can Learn From


Last week I listed 4 Mistakes I've make in my writing career that you can learn from. This week I'm listing FOUR MORE! Below are some mistakes I’ve made in my writing career that, hopefully, you’ll never have to make yourself to learn from them.


1. Using bland book covers


Even though my book was a YA title which discussed serious issues like; dissociation, rape, and cutting, I thought the image of a sunset was too beautiful to not use as the cover of my book.

My Mistake: I was thinking about what looked pretty as a book cover instead of my target audience and how the cover would translate to those readers.

The Lesson: Great book covers help sell books, right? Not only does a great cover help to sell the book, it also conveys the book's overall message through the cover images and design. Sometimes you can correctly guess the book's genre just by looking at the title, the font, images, etc. So if you are serious about targeting the right readers and standing up to the competition consider a professional, well thought out design for your book's cover instead of using a basic or bland cover.

2. Not using a pen name for different genres


I write mostly fiction with spice (i.e., erotic romance) but in the beginning of my career I swayed a bit and wrote a couple of young adult books. All seemed well, except I never considered using a different name to separate my adult books from my young adult books.

My Mistake: I wrote for two completely different genres using the same name. Those genres were complete opposites and definitely needed to be separate.

The Lesson: If you write different or conflicting genres, consider using a pen name. If you don't want to use a totally different pseudonym but want it to be different enough to distinguish between the genres you write in, use your initials or your name mixed around (i.e., L.L. Sanders, Leslie Lee, or Lee L. Sanders).  It's still your name, and still recognizable to your readers, but separates the many genres you write.

3. Experimenting with fiction


There's nothing wrong with experimenting. However, I can't break the rules without understanding and applying them first. No one can.  

My Mistake: Once upon a time, I had a master plan to write at least one book in EVERY single genre. Now reread that last sentence and take a moment to process what I just said. Yeah, big mistake! Although I managed to write and publish in three different genres (Romance, Young Adult and Horror) I did use a pen name for my horror. So, I think I earned a gold star for that good idea.

The Lesson: As much as we enjoy reading different genres, not all of us has what it takes to successfully write in every single genre. Sometimes writing well requires you write a lot in a specific genre to develop the skills necessary to make it a satisfying read. Now, I'm sure it's possible to do and probably has been done, but it's mighty difficult to manage several different personas, platforms, marketing strategies, writing styles, etc.

4. Moving ahead when not ready


Rushing. Rushing to write, rushing to edit, and rushing to submit and/or publish.


My Mistake: I struggle with this even now. It's a hard habit to break when you have so much to do in a twenty-four hour day, especially if you self-publish because usually you’re doing everything on your own. If only our days were forty-eight hours instead and there were no such things as deadlines.

The Lesson: Rushing to complete a task more than likely results in poor performance, especially if you don't spend enough time away from your project to look at it with fresh eyes. You hear that advice all the time, I'm sure. Put the manuscript away for a few days or weeks, get it out of your mind, then come back to it. You would have removed yourself from it long enough to see it in a new, fresh perspective. Then you can move forward to the next step with more confidence and a sense of completion of the previous step.

 





Sunday, February 10, 2013

Six Sentence Sunday: Beyond the Darkness (Refuge Inc. #3)


This is my first time participating in Six Sentence Sunday! So I hope I'm doing it right. It's a lot fun so, why not? Let's dig right in. Here are six sentences from my latest WIP, Beyond the Darkness (Refuge Inc. #3), an MM, post-apocalyptic, dystopian.

~~~

As much as Adam didn't want to speak about the horrors of the past, those things came up in every conversation. He couldn't open his mouth without mentioning how sorry he was for everything they'd been through—the abrupt changes and many deaths. And as much as he tried to prevent himself from instilling false hope, he couldn't help doing that either. He truly believed rescue was just days away, but he had stopped talking about that days ago to please Elliot. Elliot couldn't take getting his hopes up only to be let down.

Still, rescue was coming.

~~~

The first two books in the Refuge Inc. series, Before the Darkness (Refuge Inc. #1) and Amid the Darkness (refuge Inc. #2) are available now. 




- Leslie Lee Sanders

Thursday, February 7, 2013

4 Mistakes I’ve Made in my Writing Career that You Can Learn From

It’s hard to admit you’ve made mistakes. However, admitting your mistakes, at least to yourself, is the necessary first step you must take to learn from them. We all had moments where we wish we had someone to mentor us at the start of our writing careers. Wouldn’t life be easier and less stressful if we could learn from someone else’s mistakes? Well, here’s your chance to learn a thing or two from someone who’s made a few mistakes over her eight-year writing career. Below are some mistakes I’ve made that, hopefully, you’ll never make yourself. And here is a list of 4 MORE mistakes I've made in my writing career that you can learn from.

  1.  Failing to acquire the proper editing

 

I’ve actually paid a couple hundred dollars to have one of my earlier books edited. When all was said and done, it turned out I got a critique of my book instead of an actual line edit that I thought I was paying for.

My Mistake: Not understanding and verifying what type of “editing” I was paying for.

The Lesson: Make sure you understand the exact service the editor will provide and agree to those services before paying a cent.
 

  1. Waiting too long to revise a published manuscript


I’ve self-published a book (or two) at the start of my writing career that, looking back, I realized needed a hefty dose of revision. And being a better writer today than I was eight years ago helps in identifying poor writing.

My Mistake: I didn’t revise and republish the book sooner. If I tried to revise the story now, it will take time away from my recent projects and delay the completion of future projects. I’d still be stuck in the past!

The Lesson: If you have a project (book, article, poem, etc.) that is published (i.e. self-published, published to a blog or other website) that’s in need of a revision, do it now or soon. Starting more projects before finishing current responsibilities will keep you from ever revising, or can make it more difficult to go back and revise in the future.
 

  1. Writing several  stories at once


Writers have so many ideas, don’t we? Can’t wait to write them down and start working on some. We get used to having several Word documents opened at the same time, or a different one opened every other day. How did I manage to finish anything if I was working on everything at once?

My Mistake: I’ve had too much going on to focus on anything. And worse, it was hard to keep up with the many characters and plotlines. I ended up scrapping some of the stories and never finishing others, and looking back made me realize that time could have been used much more productively.

The Lesson: Like the lesson above, stick to one project until it’s complete. At the very least, stick with just a couple of your very important projects (i.e. projects with fast approaching deadlines) to make sure you stay focus.

 

 

  1. Not marketing my work


I used to think that if you write a book, readers would come. That’s kind of funny now that I think about it. No, not really. That’s sad. How would anyone ever know about my book if I never let people know it exists?

My Mistake: I told a couple of my friends and family about the book I was so proud of, I made a website and added the cover and back copy description, and then I sat back and waited. Watching as I sold 4 copies this month and 8 copies the next.

The Lesson: If you want readers and sales you have to make your book known to more than your close group of friends. You can’t only rely on word of mouth advertising anymore. You have to get out there and participate in some online activities, make some friends, join a group or too, be a guess blogger, connect with your target audience, make a presence, etc. Here are some Simple Online Book  Marketing Tips you can refer to.