Live Q&A Post And A Short Writing Update

Hullo, friends! Since July is halfway over (whaaat????) and we only have about two weeks left for the fan art contest (and we have a few new submissions, too!). I have a cover reveal scheduled for tomorrow, but for this week, I thought it would be fun to do a live Q&A with you guys! A while back, I made some post idea suggestions, and many of you liked the idea of a live Q&A post, where you guys post questions in the comments, and I answer them! You can ask me about anything from writing to reading and books, or my own books or anything (within reason, of course). I’ll be answering those questions throughout this week, so ask away!

And while you’re coming up with questions for me, I have one for you! What writing-related topics would you like to see me post about? Comment below with your questions for me and what writing posts you’d like to see me do!

And a short writing update: I may have mentioned once or twice that I’m working on a superhero retelling of Snow White for the Rooglewood Press Contest, and I’m super excited about it! I just hit 10,000 words, which means I’m at least halfway done. It’s a lot of fun, and I’m excited to see where it goes (and let you guys read it, too!).

Now, enough about my writing! Unless you want to ask questions about it, that is. 🙂 Post your questions below, and I’ll be sure to answer them as soon as I can! And don’t forget to suggest some writing-related posts, too! Thanks, friends!

Advertisements

9 Ways To Make Your Favorite Author Happy (And Motivate Them To Write More)

Hullo, friends! I’m still getting responses on the poll I posted, but I thought I would go ahead and share this post with you that I’ve had sitting in my drafts for a while. This is inspired by Rachelle Rea Cobb’s post called 20 Ways To Support Your Favorite Books. Go check it out, and take a look at her books, too, while you’re over there!

I’m pretty sure there is a direct correlation between fans fangirling over books and their authors writing more of said books. It makes sense, right??? So here are ways to make your favorite author happy. This can also help that author write more by reminding them how much you love their books. (Note: these can be used for pretty much any author, although I know a few authors don’t agree about fanfiction.)

  1. Fangirl over their books. On their blog, on Goodreads, to your friends, to that random stranger who asked you what you’re reading on the bus. Sharing your love for the book(s) with others will pique their interest. And who doesn’t want friends to fangirl over a book with them?
  2. Share on social media. If you have a Twitter account, tweet a cool picture and a quote from the book! Post your thoughts on Goodreads while you read. Find the author on Pinterest and follow them. Like their Facebook page. Sharing your love for the book and the author goes a long way.
  3. Write fanfiction. Some authors don’t like fanfiction, but many do. Have a random idea about what may be happening behind the scenes? Like a side character and want to write about how they saved the world? Found a spot where the author hints at something that happened and want to guess what it is? Write a fanfic! It doesn’t have to be long. Even a short fanfic can remind an author that people love their book.
  4. Create fanart. You don’t have to be an awesome artist to create fanart. You could draw an important symbol from the book, make a collage online, or even film a scene from the book and share it on Youtube. Homemade book trailers are cool, too! (You can see one Alea Harper did for Twinepathy here.)
  5. Write a review. Reviews help authors a lot. On Amazon, reviews determine how easy it is to find a book when searching, and readers are more likely to pick up a book if it has a lot of great reviews. Along with that, you can post reviews on Goodreads and your own blog. Authors also love it when you use gifs and fangirl in your reviews!
  6. Participate in events. Whether your favorite author is hosting a giveaway, a blog tour, or doing a Q&A, they want to interact with you! Ask them questions, offer to help spread the word on social media, and provide suggestions for future events. Authors love having help when they host big events.
  7. Share quotes. A good, memorable quote can grab someone’s attention, especially if it’s a relatable one. And while it’s easier to make quote pictures for movies because you can use pictures from the movie, books are fun to do, too! If you don’t want to do pictures, you can always just tweet a quote or add it on Goodreads.
  8. Give the book as a gift. While Christmas may be half a year away, there are still many opportunities to give gifts, like birthdays and graduations. If you have a book you love, think about sharing it with your favorite bookworm. After all, what bookworm doesn’t love getting free books?

I hope you enjoyed this post, and hopefully you’ll be able to use a few of these ideas to help motivate your favorite authors. Comment below on which of these you’ve done, and don’t forget to share this post with your fellow bookworms!

Speaking of things authors love, I’d love for you to find me on social media! If you haven’t already, be my friend on Goodreads and follow me on Pinterest! There’s also a group board for the IDIA series on Pinterest, which you can join by commenting on this picture. Check it out!

Writing About Writing: How To Be A Writer Without Being A Hermit

If you’re like me, sometimes you realize that you spend more time with a notebook and pencil or a computer than your own family and friends. And while it’s important to write, and to pursue your dreams and passions, you shouldn’t shut yourself off from the real world. (No quotation marks there, people. I’m being sort of serious.) So here are a few tips to help you not become a writing hermit.

HermitAuthor1

Tip #1: Include family and friends in the writing and editing process.

Ask your siblings what they think of your latest plot idea. Read some of your work out loud to your friends (and let them squeal with you over your awesome love interest or your wonderfully witty dialogue). Have your parents help you with editing and proofreading. Let people read your story! It’s no fun to do it alone, anyway. Why not let your friends and family help you out?

Tip #2: Find real-life wriing buddies.

Yes, you may have over a hundred followers on social media. But nothing beats a real life friend you can write with. Not only do you not have to worry about being in different time zones, you can also meet at a bookstore! Or a coffee shop! Or go on a writing retreat into the mountains!

Tip #3: Step away from your story.

This is NOT procrastination. Well, it could be. But I will promise you that it’s much, much more important to build a relationship with those closest to you than it is to sit in front of a computer writing (or doing something else like procrastination, if you’re stuck on your story). If you’re not writing anyway, why not go on a walk with your family? Or maybe make cookies and talk with your family while you eat them. Or *gasp* help your mom clean the house!

Those are just a few ways to help you work on writing while not sitting hunched behind a computer all day. Thoughts on this list? Authors, do you have any ways you work on writing while still being social in real life? Comment below with your thoughts!

Beautiful People April: Siblings – Teel and Peri

Check out the main post here.

Check out the main post here.

Whew, just barely making it! This is my first time doing the Beautiful People tag, and it’s perfect for one of the stories I’m working on. The current working title is The Standard, and two of the main characters, Teel and Peri, are sisters. And twins. So, let the questions begin!

<I>And, yes, I am going to use Thor and Loki memes and gifs. Because siblings.</I> Continue reading

Writing About Writing: I Love Cake

So.

My writing life has been kind of crazy ever since I finished the first book in the WISHE Quintet. I’ve started plotting three different stories, but none of them are ready to write. And I’ve really kind of been procrastinating on editing the book. I’m moving on to editing a short story first, that I hope to release soon. You’ll be hearing more about that soon, for sure.

But I’ve been longing to write something. To just write. Which is why, on Thursday, when I got a story idea, I just started writing it.

Now, *cough* funny thing about this story idea. First of all, it’s a romance. That is definitely not my genre. I very rarely read plain romance, much less write it so I made be tweaking the story so that it’s not just romance. Second, after reading through what I wrote yesterday, I realized it’s not quite as awesome as I originally thought. Basically, this post by The Scribbling Sprite pretty much sums it up. 😉

But I’ve already written a little over a hundred words, which isn’t much, but is more than I’ve written in an entire month. I’m really, really excited about it.

At this point, you are probably very confused about the title of the post. Let me explain it to you now. The working title for this story is I Love Cake. Here’s my quick summary:

When Adelyn meets her new neighbor’s son, he insists they keep their meetings a secret. They talk to each other through the warped fence in between their houses. Since he insists on remaining anonymous, she calls him Cake. When his mother finds out about their secret meetings, Cake mysteriously disappears. It’s up to Adelyn to find out what’s going on.

And… That’s what I have so far. I’m working on it, people. Let me assure you that there will be cake in the book. And other foods. Because you can’t have a book called I Love Cake without having cake.

But as I started writing, I fell in love with my first line. It’s obviously a first draft, but still.

The first thing I remember of the day I met Cake was that my mom let me have the last strawberry Popsicle.

-I Love Cake, by C.B. Cook

I thought it might be interesting to assemble a list of first lines from my various ideas/works in progress. And then have a poll! Why not? So, vote for your favorite first line!

Here are short summaries for the books.

I Love Cake: Adelyn finds a new mysterious friend she nicknames Cake.

Ten Days: The story about how a girl spends her last ten days.

Glossophobia: Amanda’s stuck in Mr. Bullis’ speech class… and she just realized she has the fear of public speaking.

WISHE Quintet #2: Shhh… I’m not telling. 😛

The first line of a story is important because it determines whether a reader will keep reading or not. Awesome first sentences can pull you in, and poor ones can push you away. First impressions make all the difference.

Please note that all of these first lines are Copyright (c) C.B. Cook 2015. All Rights Reserved. Please do not steal. 😀

What’s your favorite first line in a book? If you’re a writer, what’s your favorite first line in the books you’ve written? Which of these stories and first lines most intrigues you?

Writing About Writing: Cover Design – Part Two

Hi, everyone! This is my official post for the cover design for Paralyzed Dreams. If you missed my last post with cover design tips, go check it out! This post will give you a sort-of template for designing a cover, using the cover for Paralyzed Dreams as an example. I used Photoshop for my cover, so some parts may be different for you. Note: I am not an expert… and this might not work for every book. This is just a basic outline.

1: Find a picture. If you don’t know what picture you’re going to use, make a list of important items in your story. See Cover Design – Part One for more details on this. For Paralyzed Dreams, the main elements were volleyball, the wheelchair, and Pam. After a lot of searching, I decided on the wheelchair and found this picture:

wheelchair5

Look familiar? 😀

2: Next, find out what size your cover needs to be. Amazon KDP recommends that your cover be about 1000 pixels by 1600 pixels. If you’re going to put your cover on other sites, check to see what size they recommend. You may have to make several different covers, and you’ll have to make a separate cover for print books as well.

3: After you’ve figured out what size your cover needs to be, open a file in your cover-making program that is that size. This should be fairly self-explanatory.

4: Extra tip: Don’t mess with your background layer; leave it as is. This applies to all projects. Now that you’ve got your file, place the photo onto it. Move it around until you like how it looks. You can always move it some more later. (If you’re using more than one picture, this is where you would combine them. Maybe I’ll post on that sometime.) After this step, mine looked like this:

paralyzeddreamskindlestep4

5: Add effects so your cover doesn’t look just like a plain old picture. I added a black gradient to the top so my white text would stand out and some swirls just for a nice touch. 😉

Gradient

Gradient

Swirls

Swirls

6: Add your text. To make your cover look more professional, try using different fonts within the title if it’s two or more words. Also, change the size around. Always try to use at least two fonts. I used three: Print Clearly for “paralyzed”, Alex Brush for “Dreams”, and Portmanteau for my name. Try to use a font for your name that you can use on all of your books to create an author brand. That way, everyone can recognize your books and name.

The Final Product:

The Final Product!

I’ll probably do more posts on cover design at some point. There’s so much to cover! (Pun not originally intended…) What do you think of the cover? Like this post? Anything you want to know more about? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

Writing About Writing: Cover Design – Part One

Hi, everyone!

So after my big news post on Monday, I’ve had several people mention that they’d like to hear more about the self-publishing process. I’ve noticed that there’s a scarcity of blog posts out there about self-publishing… the details, at least. One of the things I’ve recently been looking for – and haven’t found – are posts on creating professional-looking covers. And since that’s my favorite part, that’s where I’ve decided to start. 😉 This first post will focus on general tips, and the next one will provide a sort of process to help you design a professional cover.

First, decide whether you should design your cover yourself or hire a professional cover designer. There are actually some fairly inexpensive cover designers out there, and there are also places where you can buy a pre-made book cover. If you don’t have a lot of time and patience, this might be a better idea. Also, if you don’t have access to a photo manipulation program (Photoshop is what I use), getting a cover designer might be the better choice. (I believe there are also online programs you can use, but I can’t be sure). There are tutorials out there for creating covers in Word, but all the ones I’ve tried… *cough* I’m sticking with Photoshop. Just keep in mind that there are alternatives to making your own cover.

Your cover is the first thing readers will see, whether it’s in print format or ebook. Your cover needs to pique readers’ interest, while still being important to your story. If you’re writing a historical romance, your cover shouldn’t look like it’s for a zombie book or a murder mystery. That’s why the pictures you choose are so important, along with the fonts.

Before I go any further, I need to point out some things about copyrights. *sigh* If you use pictures from Google images, then there’s a high chance that you’ll be infringing on someone’s copyright. You have to make sure that you have the rights to both images and fonts. You have several choices. You can either buy your own images (and fonts) from websites that sell royalty free images (like iStock and Shutterstock). Make sure that you’re buying a commercial license for the picture, not just a non-commercial license. You can also use the stock fonts on your computer and pictures you take yourself. The fonts that come on your computer are usually unprofessional and easily recognizable… don’t use Papyrus, please. Honestly, the most over used font. 😀 If you’re a good photographer, or if you know a good photographer, doing your own photo shoot is the best idea. Finally, there’s a huge selection of free for commercial use fonts and images. You may not be able to find exactly what you’re looking for, but there are plenty of options. Always, always, always check the license on fonts and images before using them. If the creator/photographer does not specifically say that you can use it for commercial use, ask them. It’s always best to be safe. And let people know when you use their fonts/images. If they’re offering them for free, the least you can do is let them see what you’re using their creations for. Best advice? Unless stated otherwise, always assume that content is copyrighted.

If you made it through that paragraph, you deserve a reward. 😉 So here are some of the sites I use for photo and font finding. Pixabay is great. When you click on an image, the profile tells you whether it can be used for commercial use and if you need to give credit to the photographer. There’s also Unsplash. If you subscribe, they’ll send you ten pictures every ten days that are free for commercial use. They also have a new search feature, too.

For fonts, I use dafont.com and Font Squirrel. Both sites have fonts that are for non-commercial use only and commercial-use. Font Squirrel has a page for each font where you can see the license. On dafont.com, things are a little less clear cut. Just make sure to check with the creator, and read all read-me documents included with the font.

Now that we’ve got all of that stuff out of the way, here’s the best way to figure out what picture to put on your cover. First, make a list of all items and people that are important in your story… as in “cover worthy” important. Don’t choose something or someone that is important for a plot twist. You want your reader to be drawn in by the cover, but you really don’t want to give too much away. That’s why the cover is one of the most important aspects of self-publishing. Of any book, for that matter.

One last bit of advice before I end this post. Study other covers in your genre. You want yours to stand out, but you don’t want it to be too drastically different. Ashlee Willis has an awesome cover for her book The Word Changers.

And those are my tips for helping you design your covers. Hope you don’t mind how long this post was! 😀 Got a cover you’ve made that you would like opinions on? Post the link in the comments below! I can guarantee that at least one person will check it out. *cough*me*cough* I’d love to see them!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this, and that it’ll help you with designing your cover. Questions? Comments? Anything you want to see in future posts about self-publishing? Comment below!

Thanks to all of you, Paralyzed Dreams has gotten up to #37 in its category! Read it? I’d love to hear what you think! Haven’t? Go ahead! 😀 Stay tuned for updates on the upcoming Paralyzed Dreams virtual book tour!

An Update On Writing And Life (Complete With Memes)

Hello, everyone! I realized that I hadn’t really done a post about writing in a while… so why not.

Lately, school has been horrendous. Especially physics…

"You should see the looks on your faces because you look-ridicul

Drivers’ ed has been pretty time consuming, too.

Meme12

And no, I haven’t totaled our car. Or even gotten into an accident. Although I did kind of run over a curb and scrape up the bottom of the car… But never mind that. (Those two memes were made by yours truly, the rest aren’t.) But alas, homeschooling. Contrary to popular belief…

really homeschooler

Exactly.

homeschoolers

makefriends

And not all of us sleep in until noon and stay in our pajamas and don’t do any schoolwork.

no

But besides loads of schoolwork, and co-op…

homeschoolerseverywhere

…there have also been chores…

UnloadTheDishwasher

…and taking care of the dog.

becomethesquirrel

Not my dog. Oh, and music lessons.

avengersensemble

Except I play the piano. Then writing.

thehighlightofmyday

Sometimes I get distracted by reading, though…

Or coming up with plot twists.

TangledNarniaPlotTwist

But basically…

onewordaftertheother

That is the hardest part. The funniest part?

commas

So, enough with the memes. For now. My current work in progress has been going pretty slow (hence the next to last meme) but I am currently just over ninety pages, which makes it the longest story I’ve ever written. You may have noticed that I adjusted my word count goal on the sidebar. That’s mostly because it is certainly not going to be 60,000 words. It’s around 25,ooo words right now (amazing for me!) and it’ll probably be around 30,000 words/100 pages when I finish.

I know I said enough with the memes, but this one (made by me from this song) pretty much sums everything up.

just-a-little-touch-of-going-mad

Hope you’ve enjoyed this and laughed along the way! 😀

Please Help Me Yet Again!

Hey, everyone! As you may or may not know, I am horrible at naming inventions. Horrible. Almost as bad as I am at coming up with them. But, nevertheless, I actually did come up with a couple of inventions, and I’m looking for some help naming them.

First off, there is the… weird saddle-shaped flying machine. I am currently calling it a “transporter”, but I’m looking for a catchier *cough*smarter-sounding*cough* name. Basically, it’s the first flying machine the fantasy world I’m writing in has ever seen. It’s shaped like an English saddle (more specifically, a dressage saddle… if anyone knows what dressage is…)…

saddle

…like so, except it’s solid metal, and it goes down farther (the size of a 5.563′ teen guys’ legs, basically), and it the sides go all the way back. And… um, it flies. Any name ideas would be greatly appreciated. 😀

Second, I have these cell-phone-like devices. Like miniature Skype devices. They’re used to communicate. And it’s pretty easy for me to explain what they look like, because they’re basically pocket watches that have been repurposed and refitted with a small circular screen and a little buttons. And… I already edited a picture of what the outside looks like.

metalengraving1.2

Help! Any ideas? Share below! What do you think of the inventions (and my pocket watch Photoshop engraving skills)? Do you know what dressage is? Comment!

I Love…

I love writing stories.

God is the best writer of stories.

I love creating characters.

God loved creating you.

I love the characters I create.

God loves you.

I love imagining new worlds and places.

God created this world and all its amazing places.

I love finding how a story ends.

God knows exactly how your story will end.