The hard work isn’t over when you type “The End” on your final draft, nor does it finish after months of editing.
If you’re a writer who wants to see your manuscript published traditionally, you’ll need to work on a submission package for agents and publishers. If you want to give your MS the best chance of standing out in the slush pile, that should include avoiding these 6 submission mistakes.
Not Checking It Every time You Submit
You might think it’s over the top to double-check a submission before hitting send if you’ve read it a million times and know for sure it’s correct, but you know what? That’s what the typos want you to think.
Those little gremlins are always there, tricking your eyes. I sent off three submissions last week, and on the third one, I still found a typo even though I was positive the…
This week, we are pleased to feature on our blog, Aurora Jean Alexander, author of Soul Taker. Aurora – this blog is yours for now. 🙂
When did you start writing and how did that come about?
I doubt I can tell you one particular time or even time frame when I started writing. I felt that’s what I wanted to do. Since I lack a talent in painting and drawing I had to do something with my creativity and decided that’s the way to do it.
I’m not sure there ever was “a start”. I learned to write at the age of four and I remember developing little stories since I’m a Kindergarten kid. In school, when others complained about essays, mine were easily 6 – 10 pages long, I enjoyed it so much.
Tell us about you, what you want readers to know.
My name is Aurora Jean Alexander. I grew up in a family involved into politics and was blessed with an excellent education in several countries, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in BA. I was very lucky. I’m living by myself with three cats, working a full time job and I am a new Paranormal Romance/Fantasy author. Currently I work on a series with 13 books. My first book in the series, Soul Taker, was published December 15, 2018.
Do you have suggestions for new authors? Tell us how you started and what struggles you overcame.
Like so many others I had to learn everything from scratch. I had to find out what social media are useful for authors, I had to start a blog, I was reading countless “How to…”-articles and blog posts. I had to learn how important networking is, but I also found out how many authors out there are not only writers, but also supporters and friends.
It is very important to find a great editor, to file for copyright, and it’s not enough to do things like a book cover or a trailer by yourself, when you’re ‘only’ a user. A published book has to be perfect, not only the content, but also the look.
There are many scammers out there and it is important to keep your eyes open at all times.
How do you structure your works and what is your current work in process?
I’m always working on several books to the same time. Currently the second book in the series is still with my editor. He is working on the last corrections and the formatting. He also has books three to five in the series waiting in his inbox.
I draft my books by hand and then type them into the computer, which gives me the opportunity to catch some major flaws in plot or characters. The sixth book in the series is right now typed into the computer.
And I’m drafting book seven and eight. Book seven seems to be quite complex, I discovered. There are a few lose ends to fix and I’m working on that. I can only hope I find the ones I had planned and don’t leave things open.
I just started book eight. Currently I’m not yet far with that one.
How do you relax? Travel, anything you like to do in your downtime?
I travel quite a bit, yes. Also I’m a Martial Artist and I play the piano, occasionally I’m going horse back riding. And of course I’m an avid reader.
Chocolate or vanilla?
Have you thought of writing a screenplay?
No, never. There are many amazing screenplay writers out there. All I ever wanted to write are books.
Name one actor you think would make the perfect protagonist in your book and why?
You know, it took me a moment. I haven’t had the time to think about it yet, because I don’t have one protagonist, but I have a dozen. But now you’re mentioning it: I would give my right arm to see Chris Hemsworth as Archangel Michael, Christian Bale as Lucifer.
If you could move in time, such as going back in time or to the future, which would you choose and why?
That’s not easy. I’m not sure I’d like to travel to the future where humans forgot how to think by handing over so many task to their devices and apps.
In the past they barely bathed and the shower wasn’t invented yet.
Still I’m a bit tempted to travel into the time of ‘Jane Austen’ where the empire waistline dresses were in style. I think they’re cute. But just for a few days, please.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I definitely did. I realized that my fantasy sometimes runs wild and that I have to be more careful to think about the consequences before writing it down, otherwise it takes me too much time to fix it.
What is the first book in the series about?
Blurb: After long years in the line of duty as a ‘Soul Taker’, Kate is worn out.
When she gets a new job offer from the ‘Powers Above’, she accepts her new job as a Guardian gratefully without knowing that her teacher is one of the most powerful beings in existence, the Archangel Raphael.
Along with Raphael, she takes on her new task and the connection between them grows.
Raphael helps, protects and supports Kate, but suddenly, she becomes a target for the Demons of Hell.
Raphael realizes that Kate means more to him than he expected, which causes him to fight furiously against danger. If he fails, Kate’s future will contain eternal…
An excerpt from Soul Taker.
He looked at me. “Would you ever permit yourself to fall in love?”
I gave him a warm, sunny grin as I felt I was on safe ground again. “Sure, why not? If he’s the right Angel. I figure now I wouldn’t consider it a problem.”
Raphael seemed confused. “Why are you emphasizing the word ‘now’?”
I grinned. “I only recently changed jobs. I was sad and depressed before, and I suppose I was not a friendly and social companion back in those days. In the meantime, I got the chance to relax, become more open, more fun to be with and develop my humor, now that I can be myself, I consider myself able to give a partner what he deserves.”
Raphael watched me carefully during my speech. “You seem to have given it more thought than I expected.”
I laughed loudly. “In fact, things have changed so much, so quickly, there wasn’t much time to think about it.”
“And still, you’re answering so convincedly.”
I shrugged. “I had too much time before.”
Raphael nodded. “Does that mean you weren’t sufficiently busy?”
I laughed. “No, I wasn’t. When I got a call, it was my job to be there. But it’s not as if I worked around the entire world. I was never the only one. Other sections were taken over by other angels. And sometimes we weren’t the ones called, but the other side.”
Raphael rubbed his chin. “Did that bother you?”
“Yes, it did. It was painful to listen to these particular souls screaming and thrashing in despair and fear. But there wasn’t much we could do.”
At my response, Raphael was lost in thought but soon found another question to ask. “Did you ever fight for a soul?”
My brows furrowed. “Yes. If it was a situation that was undecided I had to be fast. If I was quick, we had the chance to fight. I think, during all the centuries, I’ve done my job I had to fight maybe 20 times. And thankfully only lost twice.”
Raphael nodded. “I got wind of you being horribly injured.”
“Yes,” I confirmed. “It was a disaster. And even the Warrior Angels summoned for support were unable to do much. The opponents were too strong. In the end, they could only save me with my severe injuries. It took nearly an entire month for me to recover.”
Raphael whistled through his teeth. “One month! They evidently ripped you to shreds, didn’t they?”
I nodded sadly.
The Archangel comforted me with a hug. “Thank God you’re here, you’ve got a new job, and there’s not that danger anymore. I’m with you too.”
“But you won’t be here forever, will you?” I said with a sigh.
Raphael laughed. “No, of course not. But that doesn’t mean I’m letting my students out of my sight once they finished studying. There will always be a special connection between us, Katie.”
I smiled happily. “There will? That’s good to hear.”
Raphael eyed me curiously but remained silent. I was too excited to notice what I just had revealed…
If you are new to blogging or are even thinking about starting a blog, here are my thirteen quick blogging tips to get you on your way.
It’s all about me
Ensure you have an ‘about me’ page. Tell visitors a little about yourself and at least give them a name by which they can call you. Make sure you do not have an ‘about me’ page that starts off by saying ‘This Is An Example Of An About Me Page’ and contains no information.
Click here to read about setting up an ‘about me’ page and what it should include.
Make some journeys outside of your blog
I’m always amazed by what information is out there in the blogging world. I’ve learned how to self-publishing a book, how to use social media and make it work for me, how to bake gin & tonic cupcakes, take great photos and…
The stars were aligned, the portals were ready and the chaos had begun.
History meets mystery here, in this spine tingling tale of the Supernatural. Christina Ciccone will uncover a dark secret about herself that had been hidden for many years and embarks on an unbelievable journey she never signed up for. However, she was not ready to leave this lifetime. Raised in a strict Italian – American home, she was surrounded by love and pampered like a princess. So why had she experienced nightmares and panic attacks for so many years? What she didn’t know was that she had another family waiting for her from another lifetime. Christina recently graduated from high school and had big plans for college. While enjoying a trip to Rome with her history club, the nightmares return and she is faced with bizarre encounters while touring many of the ancient ruins, causing her to become ill. She is now faced with powerful supernatural forces when one Roman goddess and her priestesses have decided this would be Christina’s last trip. They would take her to a realm where she would never return. She was never aware that these mysterious events had been planned since her birth. History has its own karma, and all will unfold here for Christina with an obsessive lover and Rome’s ancient cult of the Vestal Virgins vying to control her destiny. The story holds many true interesting facts on Rome’s Vestal Virgins, climaxing with a most shocking Paranormal twist.
I chose this book as the subject matter of ancient Rome interested me. Carey has woven Rome’s rich history into a book written in current time. The story line is quite deep actually and there is much that one can learn as one reads about Christina and the other characters. The ending was a huge surprise for me. Five stars.
I feel perplexed at the moment, truly uncertain. Most indie authors have thought about this at least once, or not. It could just be me. I’m unsure of just how to promote books – more specifically – how to promote on social media, or in Facebook groups and then feel like I just want people to buy, buy, and buy some more. I feel like I scream out “Buy my book!” when all I want to do is promote my books one at a time here and there, not everywhere, not every day. I hired two assistants who do a fantastic job, and I love that they are great at what they do, but I shy away from posting overly much on Facebook regarding my books. I hate bugging my personal friends and family on my main page.
My questions to all of you are: Do you feel the same? Maybe you have a secret to share?!?!? Should this even matter to me? Would anyone care to share some sage advice? Thank you for reading my post. Please don’t be offended if you are an author who posts daily in groups. You are comfortable in what you do and I’m not there yet. Thank you for any input.
Have you ever seen the movie Throw Momma From the Train? It’s a classic 80s comedy about the hilarious misadventures of a writing instructor (Billy Crystal) and one of his students (Danny Devito). When the film opens, Billy Crystal’s character is suffering from an extreme case of writer’s block. In fact, he can’t complete the first sentence of his next novel: The night was…
The character’s search for the perfect word to finish the sentence persists throughout the film (as a sub-plot): The night was hot. The night was hot and wet. The night was humid. The night was cold. The night was foggy. The night was dry.
Of course in the real world, we can solve such problems by using a thesaurus, but in the movie, this quest for the perfect word provokes a lot of frustration for the character (and laughs from the audience)…
And hopefully, we can avoid all the weird crooks in cyberspace.
I’m adding one more, and fingers crossed the last warning about fraudsters. Of course, someone, somewhere will find a new angle to try and part us from our hard earned money. And often the target is a writer. Sigh.
It’s a nasty business that requires us to stay vigilant against people who wish to make a buck by crushing our dreams. Don’t let them succeed.
Writers everywhere, this one included, are setting New Year’s resolutions to publish a book in 2019. However, there are people out there who wish to impede your success. Yes, you heard right. Scammers are rehashing, reworking and launching new attacks with old tricks. Stay alert. There are fraudsters who prey on your desire to publish.
Don’t become another statistic.
A grateful shout out goes to Anne R. Allen for an important article filled with information…