Saturday, July 28, 2018

Andora's Folly Turns 1 // Christmas in July

Tomorrow will mark one year since I published the Andora's Folly e-book. In some ways this birthday has crept up on me and in some ways it feels like aaaggeesss ago that I released it. Strangeness. Lots of giveaways and random celebrating below--Christmas in July!

While Martin Hospitality was my first novel always intended for publication ... Andora's Folly is entirely different! Not only is it a novella, but it's a medieval retelling of Pandora's Box. I didn't dream up the idea or get inspired by watching a movie. I created it out of desperation for July Camp NaNo (a writing challenge) back in 2016. xP

The research was really hard, but the writing was the easiest I've ever done. I wrote every word of it in that single month of July two years ago. I learned that it was super fun to do retellings (no wonder  they're so popular!) and that novellas are probably my favorite length to write.

So what started out as a self-assigned discovery project for a writing challenge became this neat little story that I didn't completely hate. Thankfully all of you who've read it have enjoyed it as well. :)

Andora's Folly hasn't been a huge seller or won awards, but it doesn't really matter to me. Probably because Martin Hospitality is more of a success and also because I'm really quite happy with it as a story. It doesn't need all the accolades to make me feel better about it like I wanted with my first book.

As a result, I'd really love to do another Greek myth retelling at some point, possibly as a sequel. I  have so much on my plate (even just my writing plate) that I have no idea when or if that will happen! But I'd love to hear what myths you enjoy to get my mind going again. ;)

But enough about the book itself! It's a birthday party, so there has to be celebration!!!

And what's a party without a giveaway? Click HERE to enter for a chance to win all sorts of Andora merch.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It's US only, but there are international options below, so stick with me. ;)

I'm so excited about the candle in the giveaway, you guys!! Ivy Rose created it custom through her Etsy, BookBurn Candles. The candle. is. AMAZING. The color and scent work so perfectly! For now, it's only available through the giveaway, but by the time you know if you won it or not, I'll also have it available for purchase through my Etsy!

As I'm sure you noticed, the book itself is not in that giveaway. Never fear! You can always find it on Amazon. You can get a signed paperback just by asking for $1 more than Amazon's price. I'd be happy to mail one to you!

If ebook is more your style, you're in luck! The ebook will FREE only Monday, July 30. (This is a change from what was originally announced.) So be sure to snag a copy and tell your friends that you think might enjoy it. This is a great option if you're international.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm part of a Christmas in July blog tour where we promote books and run sales. I've done all of that above! But part of the fun is both of my ebooks are part of two collaborative giveaways.

Enter the US-only giveaway HERE

Enter the international giveaway HERE

You can see the remaining posts with their discounts at the links below:

Discount: The Mystery of the Missing Cufflinks

Giveaway and new release: “Finding Christmas Joy”
Thank you all so much for joining me! It's fun to have made it this far with Andora's Folly. Enter the giveaways, spread the love, and be on the lookout for some new things coming to my Etsy soon!

Are you enjoying July or looking toward Christmas?

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Why I'm an Editor

I got an email last month from BookBaby (a self-publishing company) whose subject line read "Get pro editing at a fair price." I clicked on it not because I needed an editor but because I am an editor. It's nice to know what one is up against. And I gotta tell ya, it was crazy.

The email led me to BookBaby's editing services page. This is what I found. *cue dramatic music*

Tiny, I know. But remember their headline as we zoom in:

images were screenshot from BookBaby and are not my own
I'm not gonna lie. Even though I had to dig these images out of my inbox trash, that turnaround time is pretty great! But do you see that price?!?! *faints* The fine print reads "Based on a 60,000-words, non-fiction book." I ... don't think that's any of us.

Please understand that I'm not in any way bashing BookBaby. I've never used them and I've even heard good things. In fact, they're just one example of big companies who charge a human soul for a single book service. Some of the others they compare to in that chart.

Well, if you're croaking over that price, don't feel bad. "Working class" price or not, I'm croaking too.

When I first started the journey of self-publication, prices like that are what I kept running into. And it was a little discouraging. But instead of shelling out money I didn't have (the real reason I didn't cave), I kept looking. And looking.

Now that I have more of a group here with people doing similar things, I realize that 50% (I made that up) of writers I know also offers editing, web design, cover design--or some other common feature--for a pretty great price.

So, why did I decide to be an editor?

  1. Frankly, even the cheap are still pricey. I mean, that's mostly just the way it goes because a quality job deserves fair compensation. But I'm still the cheapest "professional" I know by far.
  2. I wanted to help people in my position. Most of my online friends (you guys) are non-millionaire, self-publishing peeps. I can't even articulate how incredible it is to help similar people achieve similar dreams.
  3. I chose editing specifically because I truly enjoy it. I'm that super annoying grammar nerd. I have to refrain from correcting printed typos with a red pen. Plus ... editing is basically getting paid to read books before they're even published. It's a win-win.
  4. I want self-publishing to be higher quality. It's got a bad rap exactly because we plebian writers can't afford to pay $3,000 to publish a book. So ... some don't pay anything. The books suffer as a result! And I die a little bit every time I watch that happen.
I hope that gives you a little bit of a feel for my "mission statement" as an editor. Editing is something I decided I wanted to do in my senior year of high school. I can't tell you all how grateful I am that I landed here doing freelance editing for friends instead of in college with no time to actually write or edit. Although I probably would have gone if they'd had a degree in editing. ;)

So to level the playing field between me and BookBaby, I'm over half as good for less than half the price.

I'm always updating how I do things, so the best place to find out more about my services is my editing page. But the most I've ever charged is $3 for every 1,000 words. Still something to save up for perhaps, but I do think everyone should pay for editing as well as other services for each book. I can be inexpensive because I'm not the most experienced person out there, but what I don't know I learn, and this is not my sole income. And yet we seem to be doing just fine. 

The good news is there are options. That's what self-publishing is all about, and that's why I'm an editor.
For those of you still exploring the options, hang in there. Don't pressure yourself into doing it all of paying for something you're not happy with. For those of you providing options, you're awesome. Feel free to promote yourself in the comments. ;) For those of you who have chosen me from among the options, wow. I'm so glad we've come this far.

DON'T LEAVE YET! Please ;) Since Andora's Folly is about to have a birthday, you can grab the e-book on SALE today and tomorrow (Sat + Sun). Thanks!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Get to Know Me Tag {Writers' Edition}

I decided to shake thing up a bit and do a full tag in a post. I did the non-writers' edition aaagggess ago. But do not feel obligated to read it. o.o It's back in the dark ages of the blog so really. Just continue on.

The rules:
  • link back to the person who created the tag (Savannah)
  • thank the person who tagged you (Rosalie)
  • tag eleven bloggers (like I ever do that :P)

Vital Stats + Appearance

(pen)Name: Abigayle Claire, my first and middle name
Nicknames: Abi. Just so you know, that's the only one you're allowed to use. But there's also Babs and ... worse when my brothers get creative.
Birthday: August 15, 1998. So just like Rosalie who tagged me, I'm about to bid farewell to my teens which is ... yeah, I'm not ready.
Hair color and length: Reddish, brownish blonde. I've lightened it blonde at the ends for now. It's currently mid-back which is short for me.
Eye color: Green
Braces/piercings/tattoos: I've had braces, but currently only have pierced ears. That's all I'm planning on ever having.
Righty or lefty: Lefty!! Like that's news, haha. But since I do most sports right-handed I'm a little ambidextrous I suppose.
Ethnicity: I mean ... white American but a big European blend. My strongest strain is German.


First novel written: Ha! Ok, the first one I ever, ever wrote was not novel length, but it was called The Dolphin at Grandpa's Hut. Basically as classy as it sounds all handwritten and illustrated by yours truly in a notebook.
First novel completed: Technically the one above was my first "completed" story longer than a page that I can remember. But for novel-length it's obviously Martin Hospitality.
Award for writing: I've won some voter-based ones from the 2017 Indie E-Con for Martin Hospitality, but the big one was Readers' Favorite. I ... still can't really believe it. I got a 5-star book review from them and then won an honorable mention in the Christian Fiction category. So amazing!!
First publication: Again, Martin Hospitality for self-published. I hope to someday be traditionally published as well.
Conference: The first one I attended was a little one-day conference in East Texas. The first "real" conference was Oregon Christian Writers Conference last summer. *cue angelic singing*
Query/Pitch: I pitched at OCW which was ... terrifying. It was just an idea at the time, but even though it quickly turned into my first rejection, that idea is now a full-length draft. Behind the Act is waiting on some revisions, and then I'll keep pitching it.


Novel (that you wrote): Behind the Act. I don't know if that's surprising or not. I think it's my favorite because it was my first manuscript to write off a long-time idea. Even though it hasn't gone far yet, I feel like it's going to be really powerful and go really far someday. That keeps me excited. :)
Genre: Contemporary. I never thought I'd say it, but my favorite thing to write is modern day. It adds a simplicity and relatability that I adore.
Author: Louisa May Alcott.
Writing Music: Typically soundtrack music. I have playlists of relevant songs with lyrics, but I cannot write with lyrics no matter how hard I try. 
Time To Write: Late at night. It's not always my favorite time to write, but it's simply the best for me.
Writing Snack/Drink: Chips, chocolate, or dried mango. Ice cream. ;) Occasionally I drink tea.
Movie: Oh gosh ... I can't choose just one. I love You've Got MailThe Village, and Anastasia.
Writing Memory: I remember practicing the cursive alphabet for fun (yes, I was that sort of child). I also remember loving a library book on Helen Keller and trying to copy the whole thing down into a sketchbook so I could keep the story. I failed, so I guess my mom decided it didn't matter that I still have three-ish chapters of a plagiarized biography somewhere. xD


Reading: I'm actually ... not currently reading anything.  After reading two really good books (Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar and The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery), I'm in a lapse to soak up their 5-star awesomeness.
Writing: Chapter 28 of Martin Crossroads
Listening to: A Good Doctor episode :P (Highly recommend this show!) I'm actually trying to find some new artists to listen to, so give me recs! 
Watching: Anne with an E Season 2. I wasn't 100% crazy about the first season and it's not really following the books ... but I adore Gilbert soooo ...
Learning: I learned new kinds of flowers while working for my florist aunt for two weeks. I learned you can spell "acknowledgement" as "acknowledgment" too. (What?!) In general I'm working on learning patience hehe ... not my strong suit. But this draft isn't coming together as fast as I'd like it too. I babysit a lot and spent time with younger cousins. It's all good practice.


Want To Be Published: I want to continue to be published for forever honestly. I'll be self-publishing Martin Crossroads next and then turning some energy toward querying Behind the Act.
Indie or Traditional: Both! I'm already indie published, but I really want to be hybrid some day. :)
Wildest Goal: To have my books in Barnes & Noble. It might sound silly but it's one of my biggest. I might die of a heart attack at that moment. To have my books in other languages would be pretty cool as I've already got it in other countries. I'd say to win a famous book award but I kind of fell like I've already done that, too. It's pretty neat to see how many crazy awesome things have already happened largely thanks to God and you guys.

And I'm really just getting started. So now I'm going to go work on Chapter 28. ;)
Nooo, I'm not tagging people. But please do feel free to do this tag or answer some of the questions in the comments! Also, I know I don't do tags on my blog very often. But don't be afraid to tag me if you want to. I often answer some of the questions I'm tagged with in my newsletters. :)

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Creative Things To Do With Your WIP

Instead of a bunch of writing tips, these are some fun things to do with your work-in-progress that are not about writing. Things to help you stay inspired or just make the somewhat tedious (but exciting) process a little more fun.

Do you get stuck when writing your WIP? Ever get the sudden urge to make an aesthetic? I don't consider myself a very creative person except for when it comes to writing. And yet even I get tired of staring at black words on a white screen.

Here are a bunch of fun things to try as they strike you. (Notice a lot of them have to do with enjoying your workspace which happens to be my bedroom.) Most of these I've tried myself although I can't claim credit for coming up with all the ideas. ;)
  • reorganized my bookshelves (gotta make room for that manuscript and new notebook)
  • made aesthetics on Canva and printed them off
  • hung fairy lights on my wall ... and bookshelf 
  • hung original cover artwork on my wall (because I have a watercolor cover!)
  • started a public Pinterest board with sneak peeks or a private one for ideas
  • collected WIP-like items in a box ... feathers, buttons, pictures, Altoid tins, movie tickets ... whatever fits!
  • made myself fan art (or even just something cute for the writing space)
  • hunted for favorite quotes in the manuscript
  • reread positive reviews of my published books
  • start a bookstagram account
  • annotated book one in the series I'm writing (helps for the future books too!)
  • fill out character charts (at least, I think that's fun)
  • take a basic personality quiz for your characters
  • create an inspirational desktop wallpaper: [book title] won't write itself
  • create a Hangouts chat with a close friend you can ping ideas/story snippets off of
  • create an idea bank in a cute jar or piggy bank
  • buy laptop skins just to make the writing process more fun
  • take a walk
  • wear a fun bookish t-shirt, use a bookish mug, wear bookish jewelry
  • read fiction books similar to the one you're writing
  • watch a movie with something in common with your book (for Martin Hospitality it's The Magic of Ordinary Days)
  • name your laptop *cough*
  • buy a new notebook (not to use, are you crazy?)
  • have a good bookish discussion with a friend
  • buy yourself a cactus or succulent to tend
I'm sure there are others, but that's what I've come up with!
What things have you tried that were actually enjoyable or profitable? Have you ever done something creative like this to renew interest in your story? I'd love to hear how it goes if you try one of these!