NaNoWriMo, c'est moi

I officially signed up today. I'm now a participant in the National Novel Writing Month. Starting tomorrow, participants are supposed to write about 2,000 words per day with the goal of having a 50,000 word novel at the end of the month.

Confession time: I'm cheating just a bit. I already have my novel started. Its working title is Daughter of the Wind and Waves. It's a historical/paranormal set in the time of Henry VIII. My fanfiction fans know how much I love those Tudors. (But don't worry, guys, I'm keeping my nerdy side in check this time and not drowning you in historical detail; nor will there be footnotes, though I pleaded for them.)

I started this novel all the way back in May, but because of the editing I had to finish on The End of All Things, I wasn't able to work on it as much as I would have liked. But now I'm free! Free! (At least for the time being.) I'm hoping that I'll be able to complete it, at least a large chunk of it, this month. It'll be an awesome challenge and it will keep me on track.

If you're participating, add me as a writing buddy by clicking here or on the icon at the top of the sidebar. (I also have a nifty widget to show off my progress!)

If you've ever said, "Someday, I'll write a novel," today is that "someday." Join the challenge! Come on, what do you have to lose? You don't have to write a good novel, after all. There's no pressure, no editing, no judges looking over your work. Just you and a keyboard, discovering what magic can happen.

If nothing else, it's excellent practice. StumbleUpon Share on Tumblr

Ghostwriter Tour, Day Five

Looks like the tour is going to be extended, folks. Our return flight was scheduled to connect through Baltimore. Due to the hurricane, it's been cancelled. The only flight we could get that didn't go through Baltimore was  on Tuesday, passing through Chicago. (Though Suzy Duffy just told me that Chicago is having bad effects from the storm, so we'll just have to see what happens.)

Apologies again for the poor formatting of this post. But my iPad fights bitterly to prevent captions and refuses to allow me to place any photo except in the center. When I get home, I'll reformat these posts so they look a little nicer.

Lunch here was awesome.

Ghostie is considering a job in the trucking industry after the tour.








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"Ghostwriter" Tour, Day Four

Today, I had my very first public signing at the Texas Book Festival.

Getting set up.
Me, right before we began. Yes, I was that nervous.
It was very crowded at times.
We took a much-needed break at noon and strolled around the Capitol building.
Ghostwriter on the statue of a recalcitrant goat.

Dinner at the Iron Cactus with my fellow TWCS authors.


Margaritas are their specialty. The restaurant, that is, not the authors.
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"Ghostwriter" Tour, Day Three

Let me begin by apologizing for the horrid layout of this post. Using Blogger on an iPad is a nightmare and I've been fighting with it for a half hour now trying to do what should be the simplest of tasks: adding captions to images.

We were up early again this morning for a day of exploring Austin before tomorrow's book festival.

"Am I to understand there will be no pancakes?"

Road trip!

Enjoying the beautiful vistas of Texas Hill Country

Our first winery stop at Westcave Cellars Winery
The proprietor was a very pleasant lady who had an incredible knowledge of wines.


"GAAAH! Use your turn signal, lady!"

A new experience: an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting.

Stopped to visit a winery and found this restaurant.
 Accidental lunch.... Yum!


Ghostwriter has too many choices. 

Ghostwriter found Hogwarts!


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"Ghostwriter" Tour, Second Evening

We're out and about, begininng to explore Austin. After such a long day, having had only a pack of peanuts, Ghostwriter's tumbly was rumbly. We stopped at Chuy's Restaurant for an awesome Tex-Mex dinner.

A beverage known as "Killer Brew"
And we found ourselves a little souvenir on the way home!


Frozen Ghost Vodka. Ghostwriter looks delighted.





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"Ghotwriter" Tour, Second Morning.

We're airborne as I write this. ($5 for WiFi on the plane?) The first flight was delayed, so we had a chance to enjoy this thrill of running to catch our connecting flight to Austin.


Ghostwriter also had an interesting morning.


He hit Snooze bar too many times

Without even realizing it, he found himself in the bathroom shaving when a cryptic
message appeared, just like the one Seth left for Sara in the book. "Do you want me to leave?"
What?!


What a dream! :( Now I actually have to get up.


















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"Ghostwriter" Tour: First Day

We made it to the hotel after a long day of packing, hauling and travel. We'll leave for the airport at 7:30 a.m, an ungodly hour, for our flight to Austin. But it's much better than getting up at 4:00 a.m., which we would have had to do if we left from home. Not to mention having to put the car in storage ... Way too many things could go wrong with that particular plan, and with me involved, they usually would.

Ghostwriter checking into the hotel.


Ghostwriter asked for a quiet room
Ghostwriter is appalled by the lack of room service.















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Leavin' on a Jet Plane

So, here I go... I'm off to Austin, Texas for my appearance at the Texas Book Festival. I have two signings scheduled: one on Saturday at ten a.m. and one on Sunday at three p.m. T.M. Franklin has a full schedule of all of the author appearances and a map posted on her blog. I'm going to copy the offer she made: if you're there and you've missed my slot, hit me up with an email (link on sidebar) or a Tweet @LissaBryan and I'll meet you at the booth.

This is my first public signing, so I'm a little nervous. StumbleUpon Share on Tumblr

Presenting... The End of All Things

And, here it is folks:


The End of All ThingsBy Lissa Bryan


After a terrible virus ravages the planet, Carly Daniels, one of the few survivors, hides in her apartment in Juneau trying to survive the best she can with only occasional forays to gather food. With her is Sam, a wolf puppy she found starving on the streets. He becomes her companion and a reason to continue when giving up sometimes seems like the more attractive option. Still dazed with shock and grief, she hopes for the world to go back to normal soon.

She is discovered by Justin, an ex-soldier who is intent on making his way to Florida before the winter sets in. Justin coaxes her out of her hiding place and convinces her to join him on his journey, because a warmer climate will be their best chance  against the extremes of Mother Nature.

Together, they begin a perilous journey through a nation laid to waste by the disaster. Challenges abound along the way. The weather, injury, and shortage of supplies all help to slow them down. In time, they discover that they aren’t the only survivors. Some are friendly but some have had their minds destroyed by the high fever. Then there are those who simply take what they want, leaving Carly and Justin with no choice but to defend what is theirs.

But their journey is not without joy and love. Together, they face every struggle, including an unplanned pregnancy. Despite the perils of bringing a child into a world of chaos, their baby is a new beginning for themselves and a symbol of hope for the other survivors they find along the way.

This is the story of their journey to find a place to begin a new life, and a home in each other.
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So, You've Published a Book ... Now What?

Ghostwriter was released five days ago and I'm now dipping my toes into the wonderful world of marketing. Being an introvert and trying to promote something isn't very easy, but I've discovered a few things along the way. (And, if you have any suggestions, please feel free to add them in the comments.)

Social networking

The publishing world is changing rapidly, and so is the way books are being marketed. Some articles claim that 80% of books are sold through word of mouth.

But social networking isn't a sales tool in the traditional sense. You can't post "BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK" in every Facebook group and expect results other than an annoyed audience. You need to use social networking to build a relationship with your readers. They say that 80% of what you post should have nothing to do with your book.

Authors never before had the opportunity to interact so closely with their readers. You can answer their questions, chat about books, post cat pictures ... have fun with it. You're making friends, not using it for a commercial platform. But, as readers get to know you, that precious word-of-mouth spreads.


Bloggers

Media has changed so much since I was young. Readers are no longer restricted to a few publications about new books, or a handful of columns in the newspaper on the weekends. There are thousands of book bloggers out there, some with a small audience, some with large. And they're all valuable when it comes to spreading the word about your book.

Your publisher will likely offer ARCs to reviewers and bloggers. My publisher created a blog tour for me, in which I gave interviews and wrote a few guest columns. I also participated in a Blog Hop, set up by the authors themselves.

There are many bloggers who would be happy to host a guest column. (I would.) Your column, however, probably shouldn't be about your book. Write about how you became published or the craft of writing itself, or books that have influenced you.

And don't just aim for the big guys. There are so many lovely little blogs that have a small but devoted audience that knows they can trust the reviews. If you'd like a reviewer, big or small, to review your book, simply ask. Check their review policy first; most have it posted on their site. In this regard, you'll probably have more success with the smaller blogs which aren't swamped with requests.

Reviewers

Reviewers are a vital aspect of your promotion. As I mentioned, your publisher will likely send out ARCs, but if you're self-published, this is something you'll have to do on your own. Every reader knows how important reviews are when selecting a book. (An interesting aside: a review is how I found the Twifandom.)

Don't be afraid of bad reviews; they're valuable too, because it proves that it's not just your friends who are reading it. A few bad reviews often won't turn off a reader; they often give them a fuller picture of what to expect from the book. The aspects which bothered the reviewer might be something that won't trouble the prospective reader.

Book Sites

Goodreads and Shelfari are a combination of book reviews and social networking.

Goodreads has a lot of fun, free features that can help promote your book. Add trivia and quotes from your book, as well as widgets to your blog that show off your reviews, host discussions of your book on your page, or have a giveaway. You can even upload a sample of your writing, such as a first chapter, if your publisher allows it.

Shelfari is a sort of Wikipedia for books. It allows you to add all sorts of tidbits about your book, the characters, the plot and even your influences. There are a multitude of discussion boards and groups you can join. I just set mine up so there's not much activity yet, but you can get an idea of all of the stuff you can add.

Your Fellow Authors

Don't ignore this wonderful resource. Your fellow authors can help you on your journey. They are not your competitors; they're your co-workers. They can give you valuable tips and information which will help you build your audience. And don't forget to help others who are just starting the process. Just a word of encouragement can mean the world to someone.
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Blog Tour: Catch Up

Forgive me for being so remiss in my blog tour postings over the last few days. It's been rather hectic in Lissaland with the release of Ghostwriter.

Since my last post, I've had several stops on the tour and some giveaways of free ebooks.

On Tuesday, I stopped by A Passion for Pages with an interview. This was a fun one, because there were not only questions about the book, but questions like what I'd take to a desert island and my greatest fear. (Don't laugh!)

On Wednesday, I was at Italian Brat's Obsessions. There, I went into a little more detail about the history behind the book and what it was like for the soldiers who experienced the Battle of Verdun. 
I tried to imagine what it must have been like for the men living there for nearly a year. There was never a moment when the ground didn’t shake from explosions, when shells didn’t shriek overhead. The sound could be heard from a hundred miles away. The night sky was lit nearly as brightly as day. As Seth puts it in the novel, “A year without stars.” And that was just the beginning of the horrors of that terrible place.

Thursday, I visited Word Edit for an interview and a guest post about my journey from fanfiction to author. They wrote a lovely review of Ghostwriter, too.

Today is the last day of the tour and I'm at Raum's Reading Lounge. Or, rather, my main character, Sara, is. She's the one who was interviewed for this stop. There's a give-away of a free ebook going on. Simply comment on the post or post about it on the social media site of your choice.

I'm so glad Raum was on this tour. She's the one who convinced me to write my very first article. Reading the comments is a stroll down memory lane. People talked to me about publishing, which I felt was flattering, but I thought wasn't a realistic possibility for me.

Sue of So You Think You Can Write wrote a gorgeous review and has a giveaway of a free ebook. Stop by and click on the Rafflecopter to enter.

And speaking of Rafflecopter, I have TWO giveaways going on myself. Just click to enter! But hurry, they end tonight.

My thanks to everyone who has participated so far. It's been exhilarating, these new experiences, and I've enjoyed talking with all of you.

There's more to come, though! So, stay tuned!
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Blog Tour Stop: Day 3

Today's blog stop is at My Fiction Nook. Sandra has a review of Ghostwriter along with an interview. This was a fun one because it got into the psychology of the characters. There's also a giveaway of a free copy of Ghostwriter, so make sure you enter when you stop by! StumbleUpon Share on Tumblr

Blog Tour, Day 2

Today's blog tour stop is at Sarah Aisling's blog Sarita Dreaming. There will be a review of Ghostwriter, as well as an interview and a giveaway of a free copy. Leave a comment or ask a question about the book to enter.

Sarah is currently at work on her own book. Her story, The Weight of Roses, won the Original Fiction contest over at the TWCS site. The grand prize was a publishing contract! Way to go, Sarah!


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