Adventures in Other Authors’ Worlds

Introduction:

I know we’re all focused on building our own stories and keeping that going, but you might want to consider writing for Kindle Worlds. Here, Amazon has created a place for you to get paid to write fanfiction. Fanfiction gets a bad rap, but in Kindle Worlds it’s a little more structured. You have to abide by the rules set forth in whichever world you are writing for.

I’ve joined two KWs: The Lei Crime Series and The Sydney Rye Series. Lei Crime is mystery/thriller and Sydney Rye is more vigilante thriller.

5 Key Benefits to Writing in Kindle Worlds?

  1. You’re starting with a ready-made audience. Amazon has specifically chosen popular series to offer kindle worlds to. You often have a plethora of cool side characters to explore. This is especially true for the Lei Crime Series as Toby Neal has gone out of her way to make deep side characters with lots of room for exploration.
  1. Try new things – this is pretty much a risk-free way to try a genre you may not have done yet. At the time, I’d not done any traditional type mystery/thrillers. The first Kindle World story I wrote was Never Again, which was a prequel to the Lei Crime series. It explores the question why one of the characters chose to become a cop.
  1. Interact with other authors – Networking is super important. You never know who you’re going to meet and what the long-term benefits will be of that relationship. As a part of both KWs, I’ve met a lot of great people. I’ve even gotten to meet one of them, even though she lives in Canada and I live in the US. It’s not exactly a mentoring system in all cases. The worlds differ in how involved the original author wants to be.
  1. Power of the collective – The Lei Crime series in particular is very purposeful about launches. You can publish at any time, but joining a launch will likely get you better sales results. I’ve had months where the sales are triple what they normally are just because of the collective advertising and social media presence of a launch.
  1. It’s a heck of a lot of fun. – At the end of the day, you’ve got to enter this because you love what you do. Some of the worlds, like the Sydney Rye one will allow you to integrate characters you’ve already written. The Lei Crime series is under and older contract that does not allow this, but in Fatal Interest (Sydney Rye KW) I was able to bring in Nadia, who is also featured in the Devya’s Children series.

“Writing for KWs is easy and fun. The “heavy lifting” of character and world building is done, and with the addition of a little imagination, the writing feels like play and flows easily. I enjoy the creativity that gets unleashed by not having to build everything myself.” ~ Toby Neal (Author of Lei Crime Series)

“I like how there’s at least a possibility you can get some new eyes on the backlist (on the off chance readers of the KW world’s original author likes your work enough to check out your other books). 🙂 And I feel like Amazon gives their KW books a nice boost during release day / month, which is always welcome.” ~Marian Tee (NYT Bestselling author, The Marriage Dare, a KW novella)

“I love writing for KW LeiCrime because it brings happy memories of living there and I enjoy working with great writers such as Toby Neal.” ~J.L. Oakley (Author of //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=juliecgilbe05-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00VQWUE5C&asins=B00VQWUE5C&linkId=b781e041307cf743263459a8ddaff64d&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” target=”_blank”>Saddle Road, Lei Crime Kindle World Series)

How do you get involved?

Technically speaking, all you have to do is write a book that follows the guidelines of the world you want to join. Here’s the link to the main Kindle Worlds page. Odds are good that every genre is represented.

The first thing to do is get familiar with the world you want to join. If you’re already a fan of something, that’s great you can skip that step. But this is a hugely important step. Make sure you understand the world. Next, choose a character to write about. I started the Lei Crime Series intending to do a Defining Moments series featuring many different characters in each subsequent book, but once I wrote the second one, I stuck it out with FBI Agent Marcella Scott. I rebranded that series to focus just on her and called it The Shadow Council Series.

It might help to get involved in some of the FB groups for authors interested in a particular Kindle World. I know both the Lei Crime and Sydney Rye series have FB groups. They’re private but if you’re interested, you can always apply and the admins will let you in if you’re serious.

BTW, if you grab one of the free books below then let me know you came from this e-conference, I will enter you into a contest to win a copy of any of my Kindle World titles, 2 Shadow Council pencils, and a postcard pack.

Conclusion:

Kindle Worlds are an excellent publishing option, but you have to follow very specific guidelines for each world. You need to read those rules closely for each world because they will differ. That said, it’s a fun and profitable way to gain more exposure for your existing works.

Thanks for reading!

Julie Gilbert 2013 (5 of 25)

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Take the Book Quiz; Win Stuff

So, this is gonna be a super short post.

Go here: http://www.litring.com/giveaways/ and answer a few simple questions to grab some freebies and enter to win some great stuff.

The concept is pretty cool. These questions will help you narrow down from a bunch of different genres to get you a focused list of books aimed at your likes and passions.

Go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose.

quiz-graphic

 

Fantastic Creatures Anthology Release and Scavenger Hunt!

Introduction:

Good morning (or afternoon or evening). Today we welcome Bokerah Brumley and her insights into the Fantastic Creatures Anthology. I’d never heard of a Hum-Fairy, have you??

Bokerah’s Words of Wisdom:

Good things are on their way
When a Hum-Fairy Comes to Stay.

When the idea for A Fellowship of Fantasy Anthology: Fantastic Creatures was suggested, I knew I had to participate. Mystical, magical creatures are some of my favorite things to write about, and I had just the thing.

I’d like to introduce you to a Hum-Fairy. It’s sort of a cross between these two images. Hummingbird-like creatures, Hum-Fairies are sentient, self-aware beings that communicate through telepathy. In the Fae world I’ve created, they’re considered a good omen. And similar to fairy houses that real people put together for their garden, the Fae build houses for the Hum-Fairies and invite them to stay as long as they like. Hum-Fairies eat little and often travel, so they don’t usually stay for long. In the Fae Kingdom, it’s illegal to trap a Hum-Fairy.

In Ishka’s Garden, Seesha has just returned from New York where she had been visiting. Seesha and her mate have lived as Ishka’s companions for some time, always returning to Ishka’s Mergone tree.

I hope you enjoy the story of friendship in Ishka’s Garden, one of many mythical creatures in A Fellowship of Fantasy Anthology: Fantastic Creatures.

Thank you to the wonderful Julie C. Gilbert for allowing me to guest post. (:

Thanks for sharing. (I got to read the story before it launched. It’s pretty awesome, and everybody should read it.)

About the Author:
Bokerah Brumley is a speculative fiction writer making stuff up on a trampoline in West Texas. She lives on ten permaculture acres with five home-educated children and one husband. In her imaginary spare time, she also serves as the blue-haired President of the Cisco Writers Club.

Her work can be found in Havok Magazine (July issue), Southern Writers Magazine (Summer 2016 issue), Echoes of Liberty (The Clarion Call Book 2), The Stars at My Door (April Moon Books), A Fellowship of Fantasy Anthology: Fantastic Creatures, and three more upcoming anthologies.

She was awarded First Place in the FenCon Short Story Contest, Third Place in the Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest, and Fifth Place in the Children’s/Young Adult category for the 85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. More recently, she was selected as a 2016 Pitch Slam! finalist.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Blog

Check out the book we’ve been babbling about:

Here be dragons … and selkies and griffins and maybe even a mermaid or two.

Twenty fantasy authors band together to bring you a collection of thrilling tales and magical monsters. Do you like to slay dragons? Or befriend them? Do you prefer to meet cephalopods as gigantic kraken or adorable tree octopuses?

Each story focuses around a fantastic creature from folklore or mythology, and they range from light and playful tales for the whole family to darker stories that may make you wish to leave the lights on. Also, all stories carry the Fellowship of Fantasy seal of approval. While our monsters may be horrifying, you won’t stumble into graphic sex and constant swearing.

Perfect for the fantasy lover who can’t get enough of mythical beasts.

fcreatures-anthology


And just in case you were wondering, my story is called The Golden City Captives. Check out all 20 excellent, fantastic stories.

Giveaway:

Now, enter the Contest to win awesomeness:

fcsh-giveaway-graphic-2

Click here or on the image above to go to the Rafflecopter.

Scavenger Hunt Stops:

Kandi J. Wyatt

Bokerah Brumley

H. L. Burke

Lea Doué

Jessica L. Elliott

Caren Rich

Julie C. Gilbert

Nicole Zoltack

D. G. Driver

Intisar Khanani

And finally, here is your scavenger hunt clue:

fortyeight

10 Reasons a Reader Might Hate Your Fiction Book …

And what that says about your story.

Introduction:

Hate might be a bit too strong for my meaning, but it was much quicker than saying “dislike/loathe/have an aversion to/ can’t connect well with/ grew bored with/ etc.” These are in no particular order within their groupings, but I believe there are neutral, bad, and good reasons people don’t connect to your story.

Bad Reasons:

  1. Too many grammar mistakes – Oddly enough, poor grammar doesn’t bother everybody. The writer in me cringes at that notion. Since I’m guessing a lot of you are writers too, I think we can all understand this one. Typos are often the bane of our literary existence. Yes, they happen to pretty much everybody, but that’s why there are advanced readers, editors, and conscript-able family members. That said, be cautious relying solely upon the last one unless your significant other is an editor or a writer. Lay family members also have a vested interest in remaining on your good side, so they may not be able to offer an unbiased critique of what can make the story better.
  1. Confusing plot – There’s a difference between “complex” and “confusing.” Complex is good. As writers, we strive to create a world that’s intricate enough to enthrall the reader. In many genres, part of that entails keeping the reader guessing what will happen next. It follows that confusing is bad. There are definitely times to lead readers on fantastic journeys to far-off lands, but you don’t want to leave them stranded there somewhere with no idea how to return. Strive for detailed, but don’t lose the reader.
  1. Blah characters – This is a tricky one because every reader comes with their preconceived notions of what makes a character interesting. For me, the key lies in the question: does this character contribute to the overall plot? Is s/he useful? For example, it annoys me when a princess is a cardboard character who only exists for the purpose of being rescued. Give her some personality. If her life being threatened is integral to the plot, then you’ve got to make us care about her first.

Stock characters have their places. There’s simply not enough time or page space to make every character a main one, but choose the few you flesh out wisely.

Neutral Reasons:

  1. Style preference: first person vs third person – If I had to guess, I’d say the vast majority of fiction works are written in the third person style. Third person generally allows the author a little more leeway with revealing details. It’s easier to be omniscient in that style. First person usually allows one to really get inside the head of the main character and/or the narrator. Often the narrator is the main character but that’s not always the case. I’ve done both styles, and I think they work well in the respective series. Yet, I completely understand not liking first person narration.

The main question that comes up subconsciously is: “Do I believe in this character’s voice?” That question is closely followed by: “Do I like this character’s voice?” In a book told in the first person, the reader’s going to be trapped inside the head of the narrator for all two-three hundred pages of your story. If the reader doesn’t particularly like the voice they’re hearing that whole time, it’s a tough thing to overcome.

  1. Writing style: general – As a reader, I just don’t connect well with how some people write. That’s the nature of the beast. I’m filing this under neutral because this reason is nothing you should automatically seek to change or question yourself about. Chalk that up to “you can’t win ’em all” and move on.
  1. The genre isn’t the reader’s favorite – This is probably one of the most common reasons I can cite when I identify a book I’m not connecting well with. You might ask why I’d bother reading a book in a genre that’s not really my favorite. It’s a fair question. The answer usually is that I was asked to read the book by the author. Also, I’ve read plenty of great books in genres I don’t consider my favorite. Every book is different, and you won’t really know unless you’ve tried it.
  1. Tone – Some people love humorous books, but often, when things veer into the ridiculous, I turn off as a reader. I love when there’s a lighthearted tone even about serious situations, but if everything’s a joke, then I can’t take the story seriously. The same could be said for a story being too gloomy. I don’t do well with tragedies on the whole.

Good Reasons:

  1. Characterization is so good that the reader ends up annoyed because they hate the bad guy. – While I’m sure we’d all love every reader to absolutely adore the story we’ve poured our heart and soul into, there is such a thing as making something too realistic. I know I’ve watched movies and read books that I mostly enjoyed but disliked because one character drove me crazy with their cruelty, injustice, or stupidity.

In an odd way, it’s a testament to your skill, but it’s also something to be aware of as you craft your next antihero or villain. Does the villain have any redeeming qualities? Is there something respectable about the antihero?

I guess one should be cautious that the characterization isn’t just bad, but then again, there are real villains in the world who ought to be hated and/or feared. I’m not saying you should congratulate yourself for annoying your reader, but I wouldn’t worry too much if one or two people cite this as a reason for not enjoying the story as much as they would have liked.

  1. Tone – Some people love humorous books, but often, when things veer into the ridiculous, I turn off as a reader. I love when there’s a lighthearted tone even about serious situations, but if everything’s a joke, then I can’t take the story seriously. The same could be said for a story being too gloomy. I don’t do well with tragedies on the whole.
  1. Outrage over a plot point/ ending – I think this one could easily cut both ways, as in be a good thing or be a bad thing, but I’m going to focus on the good here. If you can evoke very strong emotion in a reader, you just might be doing your job. Hopefully, you’ve intended for the reaction and aren’t being blindsided by people freaking out unexpectedly. Although this could be another sign of your skill as a writer, be cautious. You want readers to be on your side. Evoking emotion is good, but provoking a reader beyond reason is not good. Try to find that nice balance point.

Conclusion: Writing is an art and a skill. One of the aspects that I love most about writing is that it can be improved over time with practice. Some writers are afraid to share their work, but if you want to make it the best it can be, you’re going to have to let other people critique your baby along the way. If they truly have your best interests at heart, the people who critique the work will be open and brutally honest. Some of what they say may sound harsh, but take it with good grace. Remember, it’s not an attack on you. I’ll share more of my thoughts on what to do with constructive criticism later.

Thanks for listening.

-Jules

Let’s Try Blogging – Take 8

NeverAgain_final 2 in

Let’s see, it’s been about a decade since I first started blogging. I think my number of posts is still well below 100. I wonder how long this kick will last. So far, I like wordpress a little more than blogger, but it could just be the “new toy” glow that has yet to fade.

Oohh, look, the picture thingy works. Great. I would put up a new cover, but I might have already asked somebody to do a cover reveal for me.

Stay tuned.