Efficient Author Strategies

I keep a journal with story ideas – it has two sentence descriptions for some stories and nine page layouts for others. I have a file of book covers on my computer for books I haven’t written yet. I already have my next five writing projects outlined in my head and yet sitting down to the computer and hammering them out isn’t always easy because there doesn’t seem to be time. Most writers have a backlog of writing that needs to get done, but there are a few who seem to publish a new book every few months.

So how do writers get down to work so they use their time most efficiently? I’ve been experimenting with ways to make my own writing more prolific and here’s what has been working for me:

Disable your internet. I can spend hours popping on and off the ‘net, so I turn off my internet when I’m sitting down to write. There are also programs you can buy that will restrict your access to only certain times. It’s a huge time-suck when you’re checking you various social media sites because there has rarely been a time when I’ve logged onto facebook without finding something interesting that I clicked through to!

Keep an outline running. I write with two documents open on my screen – the manuscript and the outline. The outline is a fluid document that I add to as I work – sometimes the story goes in a direction OTHER than the one I originally envisioned. I revise my outline so I’m not spending precious writing minutes going back through the story to check a detail.

I’m also a huge fan of index cards. I like to write the plot twist on one card and then each character’s role in it on others. It makes it easy to reference those little interlocking pieces that can take hours to add or days to untwist when the story is done.

When I don’t feel like writing – I edit. I edit ruthlessly – but as my writing habits have improved, the process of editing is way different. When I wrote my first book I had to “trim” the manuscript. I found long passages where I was obviously “in the zone” and wrote for hours on end. Those passages needed to be trimmed. Now, when I’m in the zone, I tend to get better flow because I write so consistently. I don’t lose the thread of the story because I work on it every day and I edit the last page or so of the previous day’s work when I sit down to write. That keeps me brushed up on where I was going.

Set a “plot-point goal”. I rarely write without having a point in the story that I’m aiming to reach. I set plot-point goals when I turn on my computer. I want to get to the castle or I want to get to the point where I bring back Coyote. The goal focuses my writing and keeps me thinking ahead for places where I need to add things or connect threads.

Use your research time wisely. Even though I write Urban Fantasy, I do research. I have a spreadsheet that I work from and I copy web addresses of sites that are interesting to me into the spreadsheet. I code by topic, key word, and type of site (description, photo, map, etc.) and when I’m researching I bookmark sites in a separate folder and then add the information to a spreadsheet. I do this because I’ve spent hours trying to find sites that I remembered seeing something interesting on and that’s FRUSTRATING!

So go forth and write – efficiently!

Another Prequel

I read a new review on Amazon this morning for my novella Tattered Shadows.  The review was great, but the reviewer wanted a prequel or another story detailing the beginning – that’s fair.  I will work on one and put it on my blog (it’ll take me a few days, so be patient).

Ug! The 99 cent promotion fiasco!!

So for the month of October I decided to drop the price of Tattered Shadows to 99 cents. It has demons and ghosts and it’s a fun novella of the paranormal romance/fantasy genres. The problem is – how do I let people know it’s on sale this month?

I went back to one of my marketing references and paged through the links for where to post free ebooks – that’s right…FREE! There are very few places to post 99 cent books! Granted, I found a few (awesome gang and ereadercafe), but not nearly enough to justify the hour and a half I spent hunting them down and writing alternate descriptions of the book.

Since I went through all of that trouble, I’m going to post the information here…since I can.

BookCoverPreview

It’s only 99 cents for the month of October!
Cleo DeMarius vowed she’d never return to her childhood home. For decades, she built a new life for herself, far away from the Crawford Family and the insults of “demon spawn” that they hurled at her as a child. Cleo was never, never, never going back – until she was issued a summons she couldn’t refuse. That’s the downside of being a half-demon – you just can’t refuse to be summoned, no matter how much you want to.

When Cleo shows up she finds the family mansion is being devoured by an evil black rot and the Crawford’s have no idea how to contain it. None of them will admit to having summoned Cleo, and the old feelings of being an outcast return to keep Cleo angry and reluctant to help.

A ghost, a rogue demon, and an investigator from the United Coven and Alliance further complicated Cleo’s already tense homecoming. Cleo must confront the real and imagined demons of her past in order to leave Crawford Mansion – and those demons might be looking for their own revenge.

The link is at the top of the page for the Amazon edition.

Jumping in!

I’m working on wrapping up Legendary Magic! 

In the mean time, I’m willing to do author guest posts, blog tours, or interviews to promote one of my other books…If you’re interested, post a comment!  Thanks!