What follows are four questions taken from separate sections of So You Want To Be A Paranormal Romance Writer. Each question is followed by a series of answers provided by some of the fifteen best-selling authors who were interviewed for the book.
First, we begin with the book's Introduction. Enjoy the free preview!
Do you have a strong desire to become a paranormal romance writer?
Have you started on your writing career but you don't know how to market or build an audience?
Is it better to plot your story out first or just write it as comes to you?
Are you confused by all the different publishing and distribution options available for self publishers?
Wish you knew what type of editor to hire for each draft of your story and how much they cost?
Wondering if you should try your hand at creating your own book cover or hire a professional?
Don't know when you should begin marketing your new book?
Whether your are a new or established writer, So You Want To Be A Paranormal Romance Writer answers many questions faced by today's writer!
Fifteen successful paranormal romance authors provide the answers to all these questions and much more! Some of the topics these authors provide answers for include:
Pros and Cons of being a self-publisher
How To Approach Writing A Book
The Editing Process
Where To Sell Your Book
and much more!
40 questions were posed to these fifteen authors, each drawing on their years of experience to give insightful and honest advice. If you have ever dreamed of becoming any kind of writer- especially a paranormal romance writer- then learn from some of the best! So You Want To Be A Paranormal Romance Writer is your guide to your dreams of being a writer into reality!
This book would not have been possible without these fifteen successful authors! Each were kind enough to take time out of their busy schedules to answer our questions. Paranormal Romance Writers wants to thank each of them for contributing to this book! You can learn more about each author by going to the Author Profiles section.
The contributing authors are:
Elianne Adams (Northern Sass, Return to Avalore series, Dragon Blood series)
Emma Alisyn (Royal Bears series, Clan Conroy Brides series, The Silver Spider)
Devi Ansevi (Lust in Lace, Lust in Tooth and Claw, Lust on the Wing)
Ophelia Bell (Immortal Dragons series, Sleeping Dragons series, Rising Dragon series)
Crystal Dawn (Phoenix Under Fire, Winged Beast series, Serena's Salvation)
Vella Day (Weres and Witches of Silver Lake series, Pack Wars series, Hidden Hills Shifters series)
Michelle Fox (Huntsville Pack series, Kissed by Fire, New Moon Wolves series)
Laxmi Hariharan (Many Lives series)
Decadent Kane (The Trouble with Elves series, Impure Bargains, Dark Burn)
Anna Lowe (Aloha Shifters series, The Wolves of Twin Moon Ranch series, Temptation)
Lee Savino (Berserker Saga series, Rescuing Regina, Draekon Mate)
Rachel Leigh Smith (A`yen's Legacy series, To Hold A Siren's Heart)
Kristen Strassel (Fire Brand, Because the Night, Sawtooth Shifters series)
Liza Street (Corona Pride series, Sierra Pride series)
Lori Whyte (Protected by the Wolf, Their Runaway Mate, Mannix Dragon Shifters series)
Question 1: What Are The Pros Of Being A Self-Publisher?
"The greatest benefit to self-publishing in my opinion is the control it allows the author.
"We can see a book all the way through from the very conception of the story to the very end. Creative control is a great thing, but it also has its drawbacks. You can choose your own editors, cover artist, and the timeline in which the book will be released. If, and when, you want something changed, you can do so quickly, without having to jump through hoops to get things done. You are in control after all. If your cover isn’t working, you can have another created and change it.
"At the same time, if things go wrong, you have no one to rely on to help you fix it. All the promotion falls on you. You don’t have a legal team looking at all the ins-and-outs of contracts, or the advice of industry professionals to back you. It’s all about how much work you’re willing to put in, and how comfortable you are with wearing all the hats. It means keeping up with industry changes on your own and adapting to them as you go.
"Of course, it’s all doable- and with great friends who are doing it right along with you- it can even be a fun ride."
"I love being a self-publisher.
"It is a lot of work, but there are so many awesome things about it! For me, the biggest pro, and probably the one that informs everything else, is having control over what happens. I love it! I decide everything from the cover I use to the people I work with… and so much more!
"This allows me to adapt quickly to changes in the market or opportunities when they come along, but it also means that I have all the responsibility. Sure, sometimes my plans don't work out as anticipated, but the other great thing about self-publishing is that I can easily adjust what I am doing."
"The biggest benefit to being a self-publisher is the ability to create your own book without a publisher telling you what you can and can’t do.
"It means you decide who edits your book, who designs your cover, how much to charge for your book, where to sell your book, and how to market your book. As you can see, that is a big responsibility and a lot of work.
"You might be saying, 'I can’t to that or maybe I don’t want to do that. I have a day job and a family.' Self-publishing is not for everyone, but it is the most rewarding.
"My best advice is to learn from those who have been through the trenches. There is no need to reinvent the wheel! Ask others for help, but do what seems right for you. You’ve already accomplished the first step. You’re reading this book."
"Flexibility and having full control over my work.
"Early on, I wasn’t sure I wanted to juggle all the different balls an indie authors must keep in the air, so I decided to sign one book over to a small publisher and simultaneously publish one myself to compare how it went. Well, the book I published on my own took off right away while the book I signed to a publisher never did well and continues to languish with the publisher doing nothing to promote it whatsoever. In my first year I earned thousands off the indie title and a grand total of $35 on the title signed over to the small publisher.
"That was a lesson learned the hard way! If you have an ambition of earning money from writing, do yourself a favor and publish your own work. It takes time and effort, but it pays off."
"There are so many!
"I get to publish what I want, when I want. I work with my cover designers to approve the artwork associated with the book. I can set prices and promotions. I have access to real time information, and I can change course if something isn’t working."
"I’m a stay-at-home mom. When I started publishing I’d just had my fourth baby and was breastfeeding. My husband and I didn’t want to put our child in daycare, and I certainly didn’t want to go teach full-time with a new baby, instead of being at home bonding."
"That has been the main benefit for me, the ability to stay home with the children, control my schedule (haha, that’s mostly a myth, though) and travel when needed."
"Being a self-publisher has many pros."
"You set your own schedule. You choose your own editors, proofreaders, cover artists, and promoters. Success or failure is dependent on you which can be a good or bad thing!"
"The money and the control over your art. The ability to change quickly with the market, to test what’s working and adapt."
Question 9: If Your Book Is The First Of A Series, Do You Recommend Writing The Book Then Releasing It Or Writing And Releasing Up To Three Books Or More At One Time?
"For a brand-new author, my opinion is that they should write more than one before releasing, and I’ll tell you why.
"Readers have short memories when it comes to new authors. Unless they’re already a fan of yours, even though they might love the book you release, and want to read the second, if they have to wait an extended period before they can do so, they can—and often will—forget about the author.
"Releasing more than one book in a series in a short time frame doesn’t guarantee instant success, but it does give the reader a bit more to hang on to. That’s not to say you should release all books in a series at once, or even all of them close together, but releasing the first book, then a short while later releasing the second, might make more sense.
"When I released book one of my Return to Avalore series, I had three books ready to go. Call of the Dragon, Rise of the Phoenix, and Once Upon a Fiery Christmas. Call of the Dragon was released. Two weeks later, I released Rise of the Phoenix, and then another two weeks later, I released Once Upon a Fiery Christmas. Being a new author at the time, readers weren’t gobbling up my words at lightning speed, but by the time they got to the end of book one, book two was ready, and they moved into that one. Many of my core fans stemmed from that release strategy, and are with me today."
"Oh. This is a tough one. There are so many factors!
"Here are a few questions I would consider: How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have any readers already? How long are your books?
"If I were to start over again, I would try to release the books in my very first series as closely together as possible. That's what I did with my first paranormal romance series. I released the first book when I had the next book up for pre-order and I did the same thing with all the releases in that series. That worked well because I could grab the reader right when they finished the book and encourage them to buy the next. And, as a newbie in PNR, I didn't want readers to forget my name, which I feared they might if I waited too long between releases.
"But for my more recent series, I released the first in series and didn't release the other for quite some time after. The success of that release schedule was that the first in series had gained some great organic reviews and there was social proof that readers were enjoying the world I'd created when the next release came around."
"I like to have all the books in a series drafted before I release the first one, because sometimes details come up while drafting later books that I want to include or set up in earlier books."
"Many authors recommend releasing books in a series one month apart. This is what I’ve tried to do and I like the response from readers so far."
"In today's market it's best to have multiple books ready to go."
Question 18: Can You Give A Rough Estimate Of How Much An Editor Might Charge For A 5,000 Word Draft?
"For 5,000 words, you could see something anywhere from $25 to $100, but it depends on a lot of different factors.
"I’m a freelance editor as well as an author, and my rates vary depending on the quality of the prose and what kind of editing a client wants.
"Are you after developmental edits (i.e. looking at the story as a whole and addressing big-picture elements such as pacing, plot, characterization)? Or line edits, which will fine-tune your prose? Or proofreading, which makes sure everything’s spelled correctly and has proper punctuation?
"From what I’ve seen, developmental editing is generally the priciest, and proofreading the least expensive."
"It really depends.
"At the 5,000 word length, I tend to swap with other authors vs. paying an editor. I would estimate between $25-$50 and up.
"Editor fees are all over the place and good editors can be really affordable while terrible editors can be expensive.
"Shop around. Always send in a sample for a free edit and never pay everything up front. Pay half at the start, then the remaining half upon completion or some variation thereof.
"Some of my best editors started as fans who beta read my books."
"The fees for editorial services are so wide and varied, that it’s almost impossible to put a number to.
"When looking at a first draft, I would imagine the first round of edits would be for content. That means that the editor will look for plot holes, and problems with the story itself. When writing a complex story, it’s easy to forget to tie up loose ends, which could leave the reader wondering what happened. A good content editor will find these loose ends and let you know so you can fix them. They’ll make sure the story itself makes sense, so to speak. They’ll find fatal flaws, and bring them to the light so that they can be fixed long before the story makes it to the reader’s hands. If a character doesn’t stay true to themselves throughout the story, if they aren’t believable, or are underdeveloped, they will help with that too.
"For the purpose of this question, I’d say the fee would be fairly small, maybe even as low as $30.00. Of course, it could be a lot more depending on the editor you choose. A five thousand words story is considered a short piece, and I’ll be honest and say that content edits on something this length may not be required. A good critique partner may be all that is needed, then the focus can be placed on copy edits."
"Hmmm…. I try to give my editor as clean a draft as I can and I usually spend a dollar per double spaced page. But with a particularly short work, I might pay more just to compensate the editor for taking the time."
"On average, editors charge anywhere from $.03 to $.01 a word. So a 5,000 word draft might cost from $15 to $50. That being said, they might not charge as much for a draft if they plan on getting the whole book.
"A little about editors: there are several kinds. One is a content editor. To me this is the most valuable(and often the most expensive). They will tell you where your story drags, what parts you might be missing, if your characters are well motivated, etc. Then there is the line editor. She will worry about your spelling, grammar, commas, repeated words, etc. She will point out small inconsistencies, such as if your hero removes the heroine’s blouse at the beginning of the love scene, and yet later on he does it again. Lastly, is the proofreader or beta reader. Often, this person will do it for free in order to read the book first.
"That being said, everyone is human and may miss typos. I personally have my computer read my story to me. It’s built into my Mac (I use the voice called Alex). I can hear repeated words, sentences that have the same cadence, and find missing words. I often type that when I mean than, and I discover it when I listen."
Question 24: Do You Recommend Writers Go Wide With Their Books (Having Them Available From Amazon, Kobo, B&N, etc.) Or Just Through Amazon?
"I’ve done both. I love the idea of readers being able to purchase my books on whichever sales platform they prefer.
"However, it’s easier for a newer writer to gain visibility on Amazon by enrolling in the KDP Select program, which then makes the book available at no extra cost to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.
"The paranormal romance audience is a voracious one and many are KU subscribers. A good chunk of my income comes through KU page reads.
"That isn’t to say I think it’s impossible to gain traction by going wide, but it might take more work up front, and at the moment it’s out of my skill set."
"I prefer to go wide but there are situations where enrolling in Kindle Unlimited (KU) makes sense.
"Some genres have a lot of KU readers and a new author would be smart to leverage the KU ecosystem to their advantage. However, if you start out in KU, it can be hard to give up the relatively steady income of KU to go wide which can be a slow build.
"Note that steady KU income can evaporate at any time. KU only feels reliable. There are major systemic changes at least once a year and glitches at periodic intervals that can tank a book. So try not to count on KU even if it's been great for six months. The program is also prone to being scammed, which, when your payout relies on a shared pot, is not good news."
"Ah, yes. To KU or not the KU, that is the question.
"I am not in KU, but I have been. I think as a first time author, it is not a bad idea to start there for 90 days to build a readership, and then go wide. Half of my money comes from my sales at Amazon. But that means half does not. I don’t like having to rely on one site, especially if they decide to change how much they pay you. Of course, if you are a huge seller, those monthly bonuses would be nice.
"While this is a bit off topic, I have my books at Google. Google often changes the prices on my books without my permission. Then the rest of the retailers follow suit. That can be very bad if they do this during a pre-order (which is why I don’t put my books up until after they release). Why am I telling you this? What if someday Amazon decides to change the price of your book without your permission? They don’t do this, but they could. If all of your books are in KU, your income might suffer."
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