Thursday, May 10, 2012

Guest Blog with Deb Hanrahan - Starting Out as a Writer - 5 Things You Should Know and Review and Giveaway of Changing My Wardrobe

Starting Out As A Writer – 5 Things You Should Know

When I completed Changing My Wardrobe, I was naïve enough to think, “Yay, I’m done!” Little did I know that it was just the beginning. Over the next year, I learned a lot but also wasted a considerable amount of time and money. So I would like to pass along the five things that I think every new writer should know.

1.                  Someone else needs to edit your manuscript, but you can proofread it yourself. It is essential to have another pair of eyes look at your story and try to find any plot holes, character problems, timeline issues, point-of-view slips, and tense inconsistencies. This doesn’t need to be done by a professional but should be done by someone who reads a lot and is brutally honest. Although, a professional could help you fix the problems and not just point them out to you.

In my humble opinion, proofreading or line editing can be done by the author, but spell check alone won’t cut it. I like to look through my manuscript one item at a time. For instance, I will look at every comma, then every apostrophe etc. After punctuation, I look for common word mistakes like here vs. hear, and there vs. their. I use The Elements of Style by Strunk and White as a reference (according to On Writing, so does Stephen King.) 

2.                  Writing is going to cost you something—money, time, your ego, your soul…. Even though the cost to actually write a book is minimal, the cost to publish it can be high. Trust me, whether you plan to query agents or self-publish, you will pay. If you don’t have a lot of money, plan to spend your time, and if you don’t have a lot of time, plan to spend your money.

3.                  Make peace with social media. If you want readers to find out about your book, you will need to become a social media expert. You must have a blog/website, a Facebook page, and a Goodreads account. These three things are essential. You might also want to consider using Twitter, You Tube, Tumbler, Pinterest…you get the idea. 

4.                  Choose your brand name carefully. When you are setting up your various social media accounts, you should use your author name. It takes a long time to amass a following, and if you need to change your name down the road, you might lose followers. I made this mistake with my blog. At first, I used a pen name for my blog address, and when I recently changed it to my author name, I lost my Google ranking.

5.                  If you want to write for a living, you will need to work at it every day (or nearly every day.) Almost all popular authors have more than just one or two books out there. So, like anything else in life, writing takes work, dedication, and patience—lots and lots of patience.

Changing My Wardrobe
By Deb Hanrahan
Release Date: May 26, 2011

Description:
Lindsey, a high school freshman, views her new school as a place to start over. With the help of her friends, she hopes that a change in her wardrobe will prompt a change in her image. She has some success until her long-time nemesis, Avery, reminds Lindsey of her place. Without asking for help from the adults, the main character and her friends struggle to manage the bullying. Despite their efforts, tensions rise, and people get hurt. The ending of this book will leave the reader shocked and heartbroken.

Changing My Wardrobe is a cautionary tale about the immutable problem of bullying. This story not only looks at bullying from the victim's point of view but also explores the motives behind the aggressors’ actions. Changing My Wardrobe demonstrates the fluid and complex nature of bullying by shining a light on the contributing factor of social media.


 About the Author
I live with my husband and three teenagers in the Chicagoland burbs. After graduating from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Chemistry, I worked at a nuclear power plant for five years. I then left my career to stay at home with my three kids.

Seemingly, overnight, I went from being crazy-busy to having way too much time on my hands. With my husband working long hours and my kids pursuing their own lives, I had to reinvent myself. So, I decided to write that book I always wanted to write. Changing My Wardrobe is my first novel

Blog


Links to Buy 

Amazon
Barnes and Noble

 Nicole's Review: Changing my Wardrobe tackles a harsh subject. Bullying is a major problem for a lot of teens and it was great to read a book on this topic.

I do have to say that I liked Lindsey's friends more than Lindsey for most of the book. I wanted to like Lindsey but she treated Jocelyn poorly. Her thoughts and actions did not show Lindsey in a good light. At times, the dialogue between the characters felt flat. Teeny stole the spotlight from Lindsey on many occasions. I almost think the story would have been stronger if it had been told from Teeny's POV instead of Lindsey's.

The ending completely shocked me and almost redeemed Lindsey in my eyes. Very powerful ending. Seriously gripping. I love theme of this story and wish more YA books would tackle this subject.

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DISCLOSURE – *Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*

14 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good tips! I still don't have a Facebook and doubt I ever will. Done all right without it though.

Deb Hanrahan said...

Hi Nicole,
Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review my book. I've heard from a few readers who didn't like or connect with Lindsey. Every reader brings their own life experience to a story. I'm glad you liked Teeny. When I was young, she was the girl I wanted to be. Also thanks for the opportunity to do a blog post. You are very kind.

Deb Hanrahan said...

Alex,
I think Facebook is a great way to reach the teen audience. If your genre isn't YA, it might not work. If it is YA, you should give it a try. The kids on facebook are so comfortable connecting with people in that way.

It has also been a great way to connect with other authors. I get the Publisher Weekly's feed. And it is an easy way to keep informed without having a full email box.

And finally there are many, many pages where you can advertise your book for free. My friend, Darian Wilk, sold 80 copies of Love Unfinished after her book was featured on the Ebook Lover page. I wasn't so lucky. I only sold 8 copies of CMW.

I recommend that anyone interested in using FB to advertise your book check out the Get 10,000 Fans page. They give great tips.

Darian Wilk said...

I agree completely. While using these social media sites does eat into your time, it broadens your reach to readers - and sales. I rely on Twitter and Facebook the most, but schedule the time spent on them and use Tweetdeck to schedule my tweets.

There are many great pages to help promote your work, I actually stumbled onto two more the other day that gave me a small sales boost. Every bit of exposure helps!

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I'm comfortable with blogging and using twitter. That's about all I do. I spend a little money on my books but not too much. I think it would be unrealistic to not spend money on a thing that you invest so much time into.

Mary said...

what a great post! Thanks for sharing all those tips.

I must admit that although I am on facebook and twitter, I tend to be more of a lurker than poster- haven't quite gotten the hang of using them yet!

Darian Wilk said...

@Mary - I totally understand that one, I'm a lurker by nature when it comes to sites like that (and blogs too). What works for me is using tweetdeck. I can schedule the days post while I drink some coffee. And I plan certain days/times to make a solid effort to comment on others posts/blogs.

Deb Hanrahan said...

I know many people who have found success on Twitter. I'm not one of them. It was a great way to generate blog traffic, but it never seemed to lead to book sales. Once again, you have to follow your audience. My 3 teens hate Twitter (and as far as I know their friends don't use it either.) But it seems like Twitter would be a great way to reach Sci-Fi or Chic Lit fans.

Lauren M. said...

I've just come to start using the social media outlets. Still getting aquainted. Thanks!

Angela Brown said...

The topic of bullying is such a touchy subject. Being on the "receiving" end of bullying during my teen years, I can speak on some of the pain it causes. It's sad that it's become even more troublesome today.

Deb Hanrahan said...

Angela,
Social media might help us authors sell our books, but it makes bullying worse. Between texting and facebook, the victim can't get away from the bullying ever.

Jen said...

This book sounds really good! I LOVE the cover! :)
-JennyC

Jen said...

This book sounds really good! I LOVE the cover! :)
-JennyC

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Only came across this book today, sounds really good!