Posts by JMeyers

Writing a Serial by Jinsey Reese

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in Alternative Types of Writing, New Adult, Pen and Muse Summer School, Writing | 1 comment

Writing a Serial by Jinsey Reese

Early in 2014, I noticed how well serial stories were doing in the ebook market, and in talking to my lovely writer friend Victoria Green, who’d also noticed the trend, we started saying things like “I should try writing a serial. You should too.” “When I finish this book I’m working on, I’m going to have to do it.” Because people were selling MILLIONS of books in serial format. After studying the market and the people who are doing well, I realized there are several factors that make serials successful. 1. Most are written in the romance genre, and romance readers are voracious. They also want more, More, MORE, so giving them more story than just a typical-length book makes them happy. Of course, there were things we were worried about. So many serial authors get criticized that they’re just cutting up one book into pieces. And there’s good reason for that…it’s often true. Not in the sense that the author has written an entire book and then chopped it up. Most serial writers we know of write the story one installment at a time, but each installment is only a small piece of one story. We didn’t want to do that. So when we dreamed up our premise and main characters, Dare Wilde and Reagan McKinley, for the Untamed Series, we decided to write complete stories—with a beginning, middle, and an end—in each book, crafting the plot line into a climax that would resolve…and then end each book on a cliffhanger. Because of that, our books ended up being longer than most serial installments. At a little over 40,000 words each, they’re short novels. Once the final book in the series is released mid-August, we will have plotted, written, polished and published over 200,000 words in five months. One of the most surprising things about writing the serial, has been how fun it has been to write an epic story. Because of this format, we’ve told a more expansive story than we ever would have dreamed up if we’d just written a normal 350-page novel. We’ve be able to show incredible growth of our characters because so much more happens thanks to the serial format. We liken each book to an episode of your favorite TV drama. Just like each hour-long episode, each book in our series gives a complete story that is a part of a much larger, epic saga. We made these decisions because as readers we didn’t like the idea of getting only a little piece of a story, and so we wanted to make sure we were delivering good value. Giving our readers plenty of story to keep them hooked. 2. Serial spin-offs just make readers happier. Readers get attached to characters. Even minor ones. And they get deliriously happy when secondary and tertiary characters get their own books/series. So we planned that aspect out from the beginning—companion serials—and make sure our readers KNOW they have more to look forward to once we wrap up the Untamed Series. Our male lead in this first series is Dare Wilde, who has two brothers and a sister who’ve had cameos in several of the books. They are total fodder for companion serials, and so we dubbed the entire (future) set of serials The Brothers Wilde Collection. With this first series we’re creating a loyal following who are already hounding us for series about the other Wilde siblings, as well as books starring the members of (Dare’s older brother) Dash Wilde’s band, who all appeared in Escaped Artist (Untamed #3). We’re opening up our options to give...

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Cover Re-Reveal: Anywhere by J. Meyers

Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 in Jen Meyers, Map to Self Publishing, New Adult, Reading, Romance, Writing | 4 comments

Cover Re-Reveal: Anywhere by J. Meyers

My new adult debut Anywhere is getting a new cover today! Even though the original cover is all kinds of beautiful, I’ve been feeling like it’s not quite right for the genre. Hence the change. :-) What wasn’t right about it? In looking at the best seller lists, most NA books have a hot, swoony cover. My original cover, pictured below right, is sweet, but not the least bit hot or swoony. My designer did a beautiful job on it and I love it so very much. It captures the feel of the story perfectly and is an absolute gorgeous cover (you should see the wrap-around of the paperback–SO pretty), but it’s not catching the eye of the regular NA reader. It’s looks different than other NA books. Sometimes being different ISN’T a good thing. Different is not likely to capture the attention of readers looking for a certain kind of book. NA readers are looking for books that look NA, and are likely to pass by a book whose cover is different simply because it doesn’t *look* like what they’re wanting. So I’m switching things up, trying out a new, hotter look to see if it will help Anywhere‘s sales. For those of you not familiar with Anywhere, here’s the blurb: Skye Whitcomb is running from her troubles, and where better to run than Europe? Fresh out of college, she makes quick plans with her best friend Paige and hops on a plane. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned–at least not for her. First, Paige has to bail, and Skye’s left to travel alone. Then she meets sweet and sexy Asher Benedict in Paris, and sparks fly after a night together on the train to Rome. He’s all kinds of perfect for her, but the timing couldn’t be worse since she was running from the altar when she left–so the last thing she wants right now is a relationship. But Skye’s about to discover that no matter how far you run, love can find you anywhere. Want to add it to Goodreads? (There’s even reviews with gifs. You know, if you like that kind of thing.)   And the sparkling new cover… If you haven’t had a chance to read it, Anywhere is only $2.99 on Amazon right now! Happy Monday, Muses! About J MeyersJ. Meyers started in publishing about 19 years ago when she lucked into a job at an educational texts publisher. She spent the next decade and change freelancing as a writer, copy editor, and proofreader, and then co-authored two parenting books before taking the plunge into fiction—a move that she can’t quite see ever abandoning because she’s totally in love with making things up for a living. She is the author of ANYWHERE, a new adult contemporary romance, and the INTANGIBLE series, young adult contemporary fantasy. Originally from Vermont, she lives in central New York with her very favorite people on Earth—her husband and four kids.Mail | Web | Twitter | Facebook | More Posts...

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New Release: Anywhere by J. Meyers

Posted by on Aug 29, 2013 in Jen Meyers, New Adult, Romance | 2 comments

New Release: Anywhere by J. Meyers

It’s here! It’s FINALLY here! Anywhere, my debut new adult contemporary romance, is released and available (almost) everywhere. Cartwheels for everyone! *\o/* Skye Whitcomb is running from her troubles, and where better to run than Europe? Fresh out of college, she makes quick plans with her best friend Paige and hops on a plane. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned–at least not for her. First, Paige has to bail, and Skye’s left to travel alone. Then she meets sweet and sexy Asher Benedict in Paris, and sparks fly after a night together on the train to Rome. He’s all kinds of perfect for her, but the timing couldn’t be worse since she was running from the altar when she left–so the last thing she wants right now is a relationship. But Skye’s about to discover that no matter how far you run, love can find you anywhere. It’s a sweet and steamy New Adult contemporary romance, appropriate for mature readers (17+). You can find it on sale for only $2.99 at Amazon US, and Amazon UK. There’s already great buzz about Anywhere from book bloggers and early reviewers, so if you’re interested to hear what others think of it, check out their reviews on Goodreads. Happy Reading! Warmly, jen     About J MeyersJ. Meyers started in publishing about 19 years ago when she lucked into a job at an educational texts publisher. She spent the next decade and change freelancing as a writer, copy editor, and proofreader, and then co-authored two parenting books before taking the plunge into fiction—a move that she can’t quite see ever abandoning because she’s totally in love with making things up for a living. She is the author of ANYWHERE, a new adult contemporary romance, and the INTANGIBLE series, young adult contemporary fantasy. Originally from Vermont, she lives in central New York with her very favorite people on Earth—her husband and four kids.Mail | Web | Twitter | Facebook | More Posts...

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Editing for Champions: Self-Editing (with real author examples)

Posted by on Aug 20, 2013 in Editing for Champions, Jen Meyers, Pen and Muse Summer School | 5 comments

Editing for Champions: Self-Editing (with real author examples)

Back for more editing talk? GREAT! Today we’re tackling self-editing, an incredibly important step in your editing process, and really and truly my favorite part of writing. Because, let’s be honest here, first drafts are crap. That’s just the nature of the first-draft beast. And the only way to make them NOT crap is to edit/revise. Going through your draft, tightening it up, cutting the extra stuff, filling in where there are holes, finding the EXACT RIGHT WORD or chancing on the perfect turn of phrase…oh my, that’s what gets me really excited as a writer. I LIKE making things better. I LOVE seeing my work get smooth and shiny. Who DOESN’T like that? And regardless of which route you take—self publishing or traditional—you can only benefit from getting your work into the best shape it can be before you send it to anyone else, be they story/line editors, copy editors, agents, or small publishers. Everyone’s work will be more effective if you do your own work first. (Plus, if you’re hiring editors to clean up your manuscript, would you really want to pay them for editing work you could have done yourself? The cleaner your manuscript is when it gets to them, the more effective their work will be, and the shinier your book becomes. And it’ll save you money.) So how do you self-edit? Well, first you need to know what to be on the lookout for. Here are a few common manuscript problems: 1. Repeated Information Readers are smart. We only need to be told something once to get it, so do not repeat information. Ever. No matter what. Scour your manuscript for repeated info and delete it. 2. Extraneous Dialogue Tags The dialogue tag you should be using 99% of the time is said. Most other dialogue tags are inaccurate and distracting. Said is so unobstrusive it almost disappears. People don’t hiss, croak, screech, bluster, or breathe words. While a character’s words may come out sounding like a hiss, she’s not ACTUALLY hissing. So don’t use it. Simplify. Don’t distract readers from the dialogue itself. 3. Telling AND Showing There is a time for telling and a time for showing—a mixture of both is the most effective way to tell a story. But NEVER do both at the same time. I was pretty sure he wanted me to go along, but was afraid to ask. “What if I came with you?” I said, helping him out. “Really, Liz? You would?” He smiled in relief, confirming my suspicion. “That would be great.” Do you see the telling and showing I did there? In the second line helping him out and in the third line confirming my suspicion are both telling the reader something I just showed. This is a more subtle form of repeating information because if you’ve already shown it, you don’t need to tell us. We get it. Readers are smart. (That DOES bear repeating. ;-) Pick one. Whichever is the most effective way of getting the story across, keeping your readers connecting with your characters and engaged with your story. 4. Close Repetitions of Words Repeating words for effect—setting up parallel construction with your repetition or creating a cadence or rhythm to your words is a beautiful thing. Repeating words just willy-nilly is not. I’ll show you what I mean. This is ineffective repetition, taken from an early draft of my newest book, Anywhere:  Instead I was consumed with a stark emptiness and couldn’t get comfortable. I didn’t have the heart to check messages. I spent the entire night tossing and turning, never...

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Editing for Champions: Types of Editing

Posted by on Aug 19, 2013 in Editing for Champions, Jen Meyers, Pen and Muse Summer School | 10 comments

Editing for Champions: Types of Editing

Today we’re talking editing! One of my favorite parts of writing. Seriously. Why? Because the editing phase is when you start to put the shine on your words and you find little pieces of brilliance here and there. And you get to watch your work GET BETTER literally right before your eyes. I mean, come on! What’s NOT to love about that? If your goal is to put out a professional-quality book, then you need the help of more than one editor. The first two kind of edits listed below could be done by the same person (but not at the same time—one is a big picture look at your book, the other is a detailed, nitpick, and it’s pretty much impossible for an editor to do BOTH of those things simultaneously and do them effectively) but the last edit, the copy edit, must be done by someone else entirely, someone who’s reading it for the first time. I’ll tell you why below.   1. STORY EDIT Once you have a completed manuscript and have gone through it yourself AT LEAST once to fix any problems you find (don’t send your first draft to your editor—it’s rough, it needs at least a once-over before you send it out…don’t make their work harder than it has to be), you need a story edit. What It Is A story editor looks at big picture stuff: plot problems, pacing, story arc, organization, world building, believability, characters (whether they’re likable, behaving logically/consistently, etc), voice, and backstory. Why You Need It (And Why You Need It FIRST) You can’t see these problems because you’ve got the whole story in your head and are too close to it. You need to get a sense of whether you’ve actually gotten the right amount of story down on the page, whether your story is working at this point, and if it’s not, then what you need to do to fix it. You need this kind of edit EARLY ON in the writing process because these can be BIG things that need fixing. You don’t want to have wasted time polishing something that isn’t put together well or has pacing problems or is just not working. Find out the big things at the beginning, go back to your manuscript and fix whatever ails it, and THEN move on to the nitty-gritty. Who Can Do It A story edit can be done by the same person who will be doing your line edits later on in the process, or it can be done by a critique partner (if you go this route, you may want to ask more than one person to give you the big picture feedback). But it needs to be someone who has an indepth understanding of the mechanics of story, and who will look at your work critically and be completely honest about the problems in it.   2. LINE EDIT After you’ve fixed any big story problems thanks to the genius of your story editor, have edited your work YOURSELF as much as you can (more on that in tomorrow’s Self-Editing post), have gotten your work to the point that you feel it’s pretty darn shiny (aka you’re not sure what else to do with it), and it’s gone through several beta readers and their feedback has been incorporated…NOW you’re ready for the nitty-gritty, aka Line Edits. What It is A line editor looks at word choice, consistency, repetition of words, repetition of information, grammar and mechanics. She tightens sentences/paragraphs/chapters, smoothing the narrative out, getting rid of superfluous words/sentences/paragraphs (less is more! simpler is...

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