Leigh Ann Kopans

Words from Self Published Muse Leigh Ann Kopans.

Ask the Muses: Our Advice for Self Publishing / Indie Publishing

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Faith McKay, Jen Meyers, Leigh Ann Kopans, Map to Self Publishing, Publishing, Rebekah Crane, Writing | 0 comments

Ask the Muses: Our Advice for Self Publishing / Indie Publishing

Ever wish you could get the advice of several authors at once? We’re making it easier for you with our Ask the Muses feature. Have a question for the muses? Send it in through our contact info, ask on our Facebook page, or tweet it with the tag #AskTheMuses!   What is the number one tip you’d give to someone considering self-publishing/ indie-publishing?   Do what you want to do, and figure out what that is. Remind yourself of your goal everyday. If offered a list of achievements, like NYT bestseller stardom, of course we’d all say yes, we’d like that. But what is ultimately important to you? Is it the NYTs list? Is it a certain type of product you want to put out? What are you specifically hoping to accomplish? This will help you focus all facets of how you run your business. It’s easy to walk around directionless and think of all the things you NEED TO DO because you saw someone else doing them, but what is YOUR plan? That’s the beauty of self-publishing: you can do what you want. If you don’t know what that is, you’re going to have a much harder time. My number one tip is network.  Meet as many people in the industry as possible.  Learn from them. Ask for advice.  Writers (for the most part) are very nice, helpful people.  You never know what can happen. Be honest with yourself. Make sure that you really and truly believe your books are publication worthy, and that you have the money to produce them the way you want to. Approach it like a business (because it IS) and put out a professional product. Ask others writers for advice or information. The self-publishing community is a very warm, welcoming, generous group of people willing to share what they know. All you have to do is ask. Utilize that. Learn from the people who are doing it well. Do you have any tips you’d like to...

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Ask the Muses: How do you write the opposite gender and make it real?

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in Faith McKay, Jen Meyers, Leigh Ann Kopans, Map to Self Publishing, Rebekah Crane, Writing | 2 comments

Ask the Muses: How do you write the opposite gender and make it real?

Ever had a question and wished you could get multiple writers’ opinions on it? We have – and we know some of you have too. We were asked this question, and decided to get the different approaches of some of our lovely Muses. If you have a question you’d like the Muses to answer, make sure to tweet us or ask on Facebook!   How do you write the opposite sex realistically?   Are there any techniques you use to get in the right frame of mind?   Whenever I’m trying to get into a character’s state of mind, I listen to music I think they’d like. If I don’t have a good feel for them, I also tend to look at artwork I relate to them and just let my mind go for a while. I don’t focus too much on their gender, as it’s just one facet of who they are in a sea of details I’m trying to take in. I think focusing on any one detail as your idea of who they are is a good way to get a flat character and psych yourself out when you try to write them realistically. It sounds weird, but I’ve never thought specifically about how to write the opposite sex!  And after thinking about it, this is why… Every character that I write has an individual voice.  Their sex is a part of that voice, but for me it doesn’t seem to solely define them.  (Now, this could be VERY different depending on your genre). I think in YA contemporary it’s about capturing the realism in each character.  What makes them universally connected to the reader beyond gender.  And while teenage boys and girls differ in many ways, some things are universal.  It also helps that my husband and I met in high school.  If I have a question about what guys were thinking at that age, I ask him.  The answer is usually sex and food. :)   A crucial step in this is the same as any other writing advice – read, read, read. Anything with a male protagonist works to build your “male voice” repertoire, but also think of strong male characters in other books, even if they do have a female main character. Study how they talk, how they move, and if it rings true. Another tip that may sound a little creepy, but *could* work if you have kids in school or live/work in a place that highschoolers frequent – direct observation. I drop my oldest off at the elementary school every day, and if I was so inclined, I’d have a pretty good idea of how to characterize for a middle grade novel just by observing those boys and girls, and listening to them talk, before they start their school day. Writing male characters doesn’t take a special technique, it just takes understanding. The same understanding that it takes to write female characters, in all reality. I write character-driven stories and I like to create well-rounded, whole characters that feel real…and it’s the same process to get there regardless of gender. The one thing I DO have, however, is a husband who edits and is quick to tell me “a guy wouldn’t do/say that.” That’s a HUGE help. I start everything with music. So when writing from a man’s POV, the Taylor Swift gets replaced (sorry TSwift!) for Jack’s Mannequin/Andrew McMahon, Luke Bryan, Taking Back Sunday, and whatever indie band my music obsessed guy friend posts on Facebook that week. I tend to automatically see people as some type of archetype,...

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Map to Self-Publishing – A Report from Seven Weeks Post-Debut

Posted by on Jul 30, 2013 in Leigh Ann Kopans, Map to Self Publishing, Publishing, Writing | 23 comments

Hey, everyone! Self-Published Muse Leigh Ann here. I can’t believe it’s been seven weeks since my YA debut, ONE, released. I’ve been thinking for a long time about how I want to do this update. Propaganda of any type bugs the heck out of me and any time I read a report, update, or blog post that seems unbalanced or preachy, I’m suspect. Which is why I’m so worried about writing this one, but I have to be honest about my self-publishing experience, right? Right. *deep breath* So here goes. Here’s the whole, real truth about self-publishing my Young Adult debut novel. I have absolutely, positively, zero regrets. That’s right, none. Self publishing has been a 99% wonderful experience and I wouldn’t change a thing about how I chose to publish this book. When I made the decision to self-publish, I’ll be honest – I was TERRIFIED. I cried, I angsted, I doubted my decision all the way up to announcement day and beyond. So, here are the things I worried about, and how my experience completely and totally squashed those worries. Worry: People will think I am a self-indulgent, completely vain fraud and a hack. People will think I only published because I am desperate. Reality: Almost everyone who said anything about my debut congratulated me. I’m sure a bunch of people still think I’m self-indulgent/vain/(insert horrible thing,) but with just three memorable exceptions, those people have been well-mannered enough to not say anything about it. Worry: My agent will hate me, think I’m worthless, and we’ll break up. Reality: My agent and I actually did part ways, in large part due to my decision to seriously pursue self-publishing, but it was definitely for the best. Now I’ve got a new agent who happily works with me on my self-published stuff, and she’s awesome. Worry: I will lose the respect of the publishing community. Reality: Only one literary agent and one editor offered public “Congratulations!” during release week.  I don’t know why this was the case, but I’ve realized I don’t really mind. Worry: I will lose the respect of my fellow authors. Reality: Many, many, many traditionally published author friends offered congratulations, blurbs, awesome reviews, giveaways, and personal hugs and pats on the back. I was invited to be an affiliate blogger on The League of Extraordinary Writers, where only traditionally published authors have typically been invited. Of course I’m proud of this, but mostly, I’m so happy that so many of my colleagues saw through a book’s publishing method to appreciate the actual book. I love them all. Worry: Self-publishing has such a huge stigma against it that nobody will take my book seriously. Reality: In the ten months since I made the decision to self-publish, that stigma has all but disappeared. I’m not exactly sure why, but I’m guessing it’s due to the surprise insurgence of the New Adult category, in which almost every success has been self-published. Now, more and more authors with agents are choosing to self-publish. Worry: I will spend a bunch of money and not even come close to making it back. Reality: I made every dollar of my original $2200 investment back within the first six weeks of publication – AND I’m not even listing in the Teen Sci-Fi Top 100 on Amazon on the vast majority of days. What I’m saying is that I’m not even a freak of nature or a list-crushing indie-pubbed beast of an anomaly – I’m a solid mid-listing indie, and still selling at a respectable rate. That is something I never expected. Worry: I will get...

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I’m the Next Big Thing (and So Are You): Confidence as the Key to Successful Self Publishing

Posted by on Jun 11, 2013 in Leigh Ann Kopans, Map to Self Publishing, Marketing and Branding, Publishing, Writing | 3 comments

Hey there, self-published author! You and your book are the next big thing! If you smiled and said “Thanks!” – Congratulations! You’ve got a great attitude. Let’s get your book out there. You don’t even have to read the rest of this post. If you rolled your eyes, started crying, or looked like you were going to throw up, or if you told me I was wrong…well, let’s have a little chat. If you want potential readers to believe your book is worth their time and money, you have to convince them that YOU believe it. This doesn’t mean that you lie. If you’ve read my past posts, it’s clear that I think honesty and openness about this process is key to forming strong connections with my readers. But, as an author, everything you do and say in public (yes, that includes public Twitter and Facebook feeds) is part of your platform. You need potential readers to follow you through the mostly-uncharted waters of self-published books to buy, read, AND recommend your book. No one follows a leader who’s not sure of herself and what she’s offering to her followers. No one follows a leader who is desperate, scared, or depressed. No one wants to hang out with a Debbie Downer, and no one wants to feel pressured to buy your book because they pity you. Most of all, YOU don’t want people to buy your book because they feel they have to, and then not read it because, by the way you were talking about the book or yourself, they’re pretty sure it’s amateurish crap. That’s not saying that you can’t worry about those things – I guarantee that you will, in fact. But it’s important not to feel them in public. If you want to erase the self-publishing stigma from you and your book, and if you want readers to treat you and your book like you’re traditionally published, you have to act like the traditionally published authors do. They know their books are good, and worthy of public consumption. They know that they deserve to be accepting compliments from readers, signing books, and talking about their writing with pride. Are those big authors you see on Twitter and Facebook having weekly – even daily – crises about their writing, whether their agent/editor/best friend thinks they’re hacks, or whether the whole world will think whatever they write is CRAP? Whether they will go down in history as writing the worst, most embarrassing book EVER? Well, they can chime in down in the comments, but I’m willing to bet the answer is a resounding, sighing, hand-wringing YES. How do they deal? They call, text, email, or DM their besties. Some examples for talking about your work, even if it’s angst-filled: Twitter – I just finished my first draft! It’s gonna need some work, but I’m so happy to be done! Text with Bestie – This is the most disastrous thing I’ve ever written. Twitter – 2k words done on my new project this week! Slow and steady! Text with Bestie – I hate myself for being so slow. Twitter – My copyeditor caught 972 errors in this MS. She’s a godsend! Text with Bestie – Am I seriously stupid enough to have missed all these spelling and grammar mistakes? Twitter – My editor and CP had the exact same comments on this MS! Glad to have a direction to revise in… *gulp* Text with Bestie – Holy s**t. I think I need a complete rewrite. Kill me. You’re allowed to feel all those sad, stressed, anxious emotions, and you...

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Happy Release Day to ONE by Self Pub Muse Leigh Ann Kopan!

Posted by on Jun 11, 2013 in Leigh Ann Kopans, Publishing, Science Fiction / Fantasy, Young Adult | 0 comments

Happy Release Day to ONE by Self Pub Muse Leigh Ann Kopan!

It’s an exciting day here on Pen and Muse. One of our very own has a huge announcement. Have you been following our Map to Self Publishing Muses? If so, you might have noticed one of our Self Pub Muses has been planning her debut. Hint: Maybe you noticed the comic panels. Well today’s the day!   Happy Release Day to Leigh Ann Kopans! Superheros. Gorgeous cover. Do I even need to say anything to get you excited? I thought not. Congrats Leigh Ann!   When having two powers makes you a Super and having none makes you a Normal, having only one makes you a sad half-superpowered freak. It makes you a One. Sixteen-year-old Merrin Grey would love to be able to fly – too bad all she can do is hover. If she could just land an internship at the Biotech Hub, she might finally figure out how to fix herself. She busts her butt in AP Chem and salivates over the Hub’s research on the manifestation of superpowers, all in hopes of boosting her chances. Then she meets Elias VanDyne, another One, and all her carefully crafted plans fly out the window. Literally. When the two of them touch, their Ones combine to make them fly, and when they’re not soaring over the Nebraska cornfields, they’re busy falling for each other. Merrin’s mad chemistry skills land her a spot on the Hub’s internship short list, but as she gets closer to the life she always wanted, she discovers that the Hub’s purpose is more sinister than it has always seemed. Now it’s up to her to decide if it’s more important to fly solo, or to save everything – and everyone – she loves. Be sure to show our Muse some love! Have any questions about her writing and publishing process? Be sure to leave them here – if Leigh Ann can’t answer them in a short comment, your question might be answered in a special post!  & ...

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Final Panel: One by Leigh Ann Kopans

Posted by on Jun 10, 2013 in Leigh Ann Kopans, Map to Self Publishing, Reading, Young Adult | 0 comments

Final Panel: One by Leigh Ann Kopans

Final Panel: One by Leigh Ann Kopans In case you missed it, Leigh Ann Kopans (one of the amazing Muses on Pen and Muse) is publishing a book called One. She’s been posting gorgeous panels from the book to promote its upcoming release on June 11, 2013. In case you missed it, we hosted another panel of One earlier. Now, on to the final and last panel before One is published… Ah! I’m so excited! Click to enlarge: Find a full list with links to the other installments of this series on the author’s blog:  www.leighannkopans.blogspot.com Or follow the author on Twitter @LeighAnnKopans for daily updates! About ONE (a novel by Leigh Ann Kopans:) Release date: June 11, 2013 When having two powers makes you a Super and having none makes you a Normal, having only one makes you a sad half-superpowered freak. It makes you a One. Sixteen-year-old Merrin Grey would love to be able to fly – too bad all she can do is hover. If she could just land an internship at the Biotech Hub, she might finally figure out how to fix herself. She busts her butt in AP Chem and salivates over the Hub’s research on the manifestation of superpowers, all in hopes of boosting her chances. Then she meets Elias VanDyne, another One, and all her carefully crafted plans fly out the window. Literally. When the two of them touch, their Ones combine to make them fly, and when they’re not soaring over the Nebraska cornfields, they’re busy falling for each other. Merrin’s mad chemistry skills land her a spot on the Hub’s internship short list, but as she gets closer to the life she always wanted, she discovers that the Hub’s purpose is more sinister than it has always seemed. Now it’s up to her to decide if it’s more important to fly solo, or to save everything – and everyone – she loves Add ONE to your Goodreads and learn more about the author here: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17251203-one Now go out and get your copy! It comes out 6/11/13 and you will be able to find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Leigh Ann’s website....

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