How our personalities change over time

I took a personality test this morning. Actually, I took two, from two different sites with different questions. Both were based on the Meyers-Briggs test.

I was shocked by the assessment for two reasons:

1) I scored the exact same on each test: INFJ

Introvert(33%)  intuitive(12%)  Feeling(62%)  Judging(1%)
  • You have moderate preference of Introversion over Extraversion (33%)
  • You have slight preference of Intuition over Sensing (12%)
  • You have distinctive preference of Feeling over Thinking (62%)
  • You have marginal or no preference of Judging over Perceiving (1%)

2) When I took this test in my early twenties, I was labeled as an extrovert.

Isn’t that strange? The test also suggested that I would make a good author. haha.

In my early 20’s I was definitely more outgoing. I sold insurance and then advertising, so I was required to be a “go-getter”. I’d stand in front of rooms full of people and give presentations or walk into strangers homes and businesses to sell them things. I wanted to climb to the top of the ladder back then, and I HAD to be an extrovert to do it. I’m not so sure that I actually WAS an extrovert or just pretending to be one.

Either way, now that I’m in my 30’s I definitely see myself withdrawing a little–not because I feel shy–but because I value privacy and peace. I like being by myself, and when I have to be surrounded by a lot of people, I feel drained afterwards. It always takes me a few days of being alone to recharge and feel normal again.

It’s interesting how we change and grow through different phases of life. While my extroverted 20’s were fun, I much prefer the stability of my introverted 30’s.

Take the test yourself. You can find them here:

Human Metrics Personality Test

SimilarMinds Personality Test

 

 

How Did You Write A Book?

I get asked this question A LOT, so I figured it was time to write a post about it.

A Bit of Background

Well, first let me say that I’m not new to writing. I would say I’ve been a writer my entire life. I’ve always written short stories and attempted to write novels. When I was 25 I started writing under the pen name, Dahlia Knight. I had a website and wrote short erotic serials. I even had a few published on a Canadian sex therapy ezine :P. I also became a freelance writer and wrote various business reviews, web content, and ad copy for a few years.

Around the same time in 2008 I started to develop these characters that just wouldn’t leave me alone. They were Mara, Malcolm, and Corbin (the main characters in The Darkness of Light). I didn’t know their story at the time, but I knew who they were and I knew what I wanted them to be. I had no frikken clue how to write a book back then. Twitter and FB were just new and writers forums were sometimes a little sketchy, so getting information was hard. I’d write a chapter and feel like it was a complete uphill battle. I’d wonder how the hell I was going to create an entire novel when I couldn’t even make the chapters flow.

I ordered dozens of books on writing and read them over and over and over. Then, in 2010, while I was still toiling away at my manuscript, my mom passed away and I instantly lost my ability to write. I still can’t say why, exactly. A month after she passed I took down Dahlia’s website and completely abandoned my manuscript for 3 years.

The Reawakening.

For the 3 years I was in writer purgatory, I was back in school studying English Lit and History. I convinced myself that I didn’t want to be a writer and that maybe I’d get my PhD one day and become a professor.

That was the plan.

But then in early 2013 I was struck by a bolt of creativity. I woke up one morning and had such a strong urge to write that I didn’t even make a coffee, I just sat down at my computer and typed out a 7,000 word first chapter (*Note: a 7,000 word chapter is WAY too long). The funny thing is that while I was writing, I felt like I was in a trance and when I finally stopped and took a breath, I realized I’d just written the beginnings of a historical novel. I guess all those years of studying history paid off and I knew then that I’d not only gotten my creativity back, but I’d also found my niche.

How Did I Write a Book?

This is where the hard work comes in. It had been years since I’d written creatively and I’d forgotten a lot of what I’d learned from the many writing books sitting dusty on my shelves. So instead of reading about writing, this time I decided to just write and not care about what was right and wrong.

  1. I got a notebook and started plotting Mara, Malcolm, and Corbin’s story. I scribbled nonsense all through that notebook. I’d plan whole chapters and then scratch them out, I’d write several endings  that never came to be. I plotted and scribbled and plotted until I had enough to keep writing chapters.
  2. Then I researched. Being that I was writing a historical novel, I wanted to have some cold, hard facts to insert as I wrote. I knew I could go back later and perfect it, but for my own peace of mind, I needed SOME information to keep going. I think researching was definitely my favorite part.
  3. Then I wrote. With new ideas fresh in my mind, I started writing. Sometimes I followed the plan, sometimes I didn’t. It wasn’t always easy getting those chapters down, but every day I knew I was getting a few steps closer to a finished manuscript. Instead of thinking of the book as a whole, I thought of the chapters as scenes or mini stories. Every chapter needed a beginning, a middle or a conflict, and an end. Thinking that way helped A LOT!
  4. I took research breaks in between writing. I have a bad short term memory and would have to go back and re-research some of the information. This wasn’t really a bad thing, though, because a lot of the time I came across new info that inspired me.
  5. I wrote until my eyes were raw. Some days I almost went blind, really. But I was so obsessed with finishing the first draft, I couldn’t stop. It was really important for me to remember NOT TO REVISE during the writing process. If I changed things, I was NOT allowed to go back and fix earlier chapters. Sometimes I’d only put a few hundred words in a chapter. I knew what the scene was, but at the time I couldn’t get it out. So I’d write the plan and move on to the next chapter.

8 Weeks Later, I Had a Finished First Draft.

That’s right. It only took 8 weeks to write the very first draft of The Darkness of Light. But let me tell you, it was a complete MESS; virtually unreadable, but I was SO damn excited that I wasn’t about to just give up there.

I Took To Twitter and Googled My Ass Off!

Now, don’t forget that I’d basically forgotten all the ins and outs of publishing that I’d learned before, so I had to refresh. I started googling things like:

  • How many words should a novel be?
  • How long should a chapter be?
  • How to get published.
  • How to find an agent.
  • New author success stories.

I learned a lot from Writers Digest and various other writing websites. Then I took to twitter and started following other writers, agents, and publishers. THIS was probably the single best resource I could have ever found. I soon discovered that the twitter writing community is SO helpful. They tweet tips, articles, info, answer questions and are generally some of the nicest people in the world! Off the top of my head, the ones who have helped and inspired me the most are:

  • Ciar Cullen
  • Leigh Anne Kopans
  • Julie Hutchings
  • Kristen Strassel
  • Jamie Grey
  • Kat Ellis
  • Jessie Devine
  • Summer Wier
  • Caitlin Greer
  • Rayne Hall
  • Nat Russo

I suggest you follow these people if you want to learn a thing or two about writing.

Then I followed agents and assistant agents. My favorite agent tweets usually come from:

  • Eric Ruben
  • Juliet Mushens
  • Pam van Hylckama
  • Terrie Wolf
  • Lane Heymont

I suggest you follow them as well.  They offer a wealth of information when it comes to querying, agenting and publishing.

I Got Back to Writing.

After I nestled into the writing community, I got back to writing and plotting. I went through my manuscript and marked it up, jotted down notes and more ideas and then I wrote the entire thing again. This was a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun. I actually had a story to work with and the more I revised, the better it got.

When I’d finally smoothed it out enough so that it was actually readable, I started letting friends read it. I got feedback, made changes, and rewrote some more until it was actually a finished novel! It made sense, it had a beginning, middle, and end and every time I read it, I loved it!!!

Now, this is only part one of the writing process. I’ll write another post soon on my experience with querying agents, editing, and publishing. None of that is important now, because you can’t do any of that without first having a polished, finished manuscript!

So just write the damn thing!!! Who cares if it’s any good. First drafts WILL suck. They won’t make sense, they won’t flow. You HAVE to create the puzzle pieces in order to put them together. Just write and don’t stop until you have at least 150-200+ pages of SOMETHING! Worry about rules and all the rest later.

If you’ve already written a book, does your process differ from mine? Share your writing story.

GOOD LUCK!

1597401_10153715021560077_1070423782_oThe Darkness of Light ~ Available NOW through Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Sony, and Select Retailers.

Follow me @TamzWrite

http://www.Facebook.com/TheDiaChronicles

You wrote a book! And someone isn’t excited for you.

Ignore the glum post title for a moment, please.

Tomorrow is the official release day of The Darkness of Light!!! While it’s been available through most distributors for almost a month, the blog tour begins tomorrow. I’ve never done a blog tour before, so I have no idea what to expect from it, but I hope it casts enough light on my book.

Okay, now to the blog topic.

I’m sure every author can relate to this issue. There’s always that one, or maybe two people in your life who could give two shits about the fact that you wrote a book. Others are excited for you, your friends gush about how much they love it, and then that one, seemingly underwhelmed person, mentally roll their eyes when the book is brought up. They become quiet, they add nothing to the conversation, they certainly haven’t read it, they don’t share or even like your updates on FB, and they don’t care to know what you blog about (which is why I feel fine writing this post).

I’m not so sure if I’m hurt by this or just utterly confused. Okay, I’m definitely hurt, but I’m definitely confused, too. How can a person who’s so close to me not mirror my excitement when everyone else does? How can this person seem indifferent to anything and everything that has to do with my book? I don’t think it’s a jealously issue. There’s nothing to be jealous of. I didn’t strike it rich with my debut novel and I worked really, REALLY hard to write it. So it’s not like it just happened TO me, yah know? Maybe it’s an annoyance issue. Maybe this person is irritated by the fact that I have something to be happy about.

Either way, I try not to let it get to me, but it does. It casts a dark shadow of uncertainty on me. It takes away from my own excitement. I feel it. And despite their assertions that they’re happy for me, the truth is in their action and reaction.

Maybe I’m being selfish, expecting people to react a certain way. Maybe I’m being ridiculous, letting someone else effect my emotions. Maybe…

Has anyone else experienced this or am I the only one?

 

websizeTHE DARKNESS OF LIGHT ~ Available now through Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and select retailers.

@TamzWrite

http://www.facebook.com/thediachronicles

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18628472-the-darkness-of-light

 

How to get your indie-book in book stores

How do I get my indie-book in book stores?

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A month ago I would have had no idea how to answer this question. But with a little leg work and some incredibly helpful booksellers, I now have the answer.

You might think there’s a secret code involved, some prohibition-era password like “Jimmy two-shoes gets the goats” needed so that booksellers will even give you the time of day. But guess what? It’s actually a lot easier than you’d think.

Here’s what you need to know before deciding to approach booksellers about carrying your book.

1. Independent booksellers view self-published books and small-press published books in exactly the same way.

There seems to be a hierarchy among authors that goes something like this:

  • Author with a Big 6 publisher
  • Author with a small press publisher
  • Self-published authors.

If you are a self-published author, put your fears aside, the playing field has just leveled out a bit. The reason booksellers lump you into the small press category comes down to money. When booksellers order traditionally published books from Ingram and Baker & Taylor they get a 40% discount off the list price and guaranteed returns if the book doesn’t sell.

When booksellers order small press books and self-published books from these same distributors they only get a 20% discount and no returns. This is not very appealing to a bookstore and THIS is the reason you will cringe when your friends and family ask, “So when will we see it on the shelves?”

So unless there is a high demand for your book or you approach stores yourself, they won’t rush to order 20 copies of your book.

2. Many booksellers will carry your books as long as you provide them.

This is where you have to make sure you’re not losing money by having your book in stores. Many booksellers have a consignment program. The usual deal is a 60/40 cut on the book…the same deal the bookseller gets from a traditionally published book. They get their 40% and if the book doesn’t sell, they return it to you.

As an indie-author I get a discount on my books. The list price is $13.75 and I can order them myself for $5.50. When I order my books at cost, the sales are not reflected in sales ranking and I get no royalty. If I bring my books into a bookseller, they are going to sell my book for $13.75. They will take 40% of that and at 60% my cut would be $8.25. Subtract that from my cost for the book: $8.25 – $5.50 = $2.75 profit.

Not very exciting, is it? Also remember that I am getting no credit for selling these books, no sales ranking and no sales tracking. So with that in mind, why would anyone want to get their book in stores?

3. You won’t make a living by selling your books in stores, but you will get exposure.

The $2.75 profit sounds pretty sad, but if I sold that same book on Amazon, my royalty would be…$2.75! …Wait a minute, I think I see a silver lining here. If I’m making the same profit on the same book, what does it matter where I sell it? It doesn’t. A sale is a sale. A reader is a reader. And a reader that loves your book and tells others about it could mean a lot more sales.

Indie-authors spend a lot of time and money promoting their books. Having your book on a store shelf is basically another form of advertising that YOU’RE being paid for. If you took the profit you made from your bookstore sales and spent it on other forms of advertising, you’ve possibly just created a revolving door of marketing funds.

4. Indie-book stores and the ebook revolution.

I made a shocking discovery while talking to booksellers in my town. As it turns out, they’ve jumped on the ebook bandwagon too. One store in particular had a deal with Kobo and a big sign in their front window to promote it. If a customer purchased books using the store’s Kobo code, they would get a discount and the bookseller gets a cut. GENIUS! So if someone sees my book on the shelf and doesn’t want to pay $13.75 for a paperback they can immediately go to the Kobo store and buy the ebook for $3.99.

I know I’ve done this before. I see a book on a shelf, I really want to read it but it’s not one I’d add to my collection. Then I go on my kindle and order the book that I saw on a shelf somewhere. If I hadn’t seen the book in person, I might have never bought it.

How Do You Go About Getting Your Book In the Store And Is It Really Worth It?

This is the scary part–approaching the booksellers. If you’re shy, bring a friend. If you’re not shy, bring a friend anyway! It’s a lot easier for someone else to talk up your book. Ask to speak with the owner or manager of the store. Greet them with a smile and ask, “Do you have a consignment program for local indie-authors at this store?”….Now remember, they don’t care if you’re self-published or small press. It’s not necessary to say any more than this. Also, try to stress the “local” aspect. Independent bookstores rely on local business and therefore want to showcase local talent. It’s a win win.

Chances are they will say, “Yes, let me get you the form.” This is where they might ask you what your book is about etc…They’ll give you a consignment form that you can fill out, you give them the books and that’s it! It’s really very simple. They may even ask you to autograph the books, as one bookseller did with me.

So after you’ve hit the pavement, spent a day or two scouting out bookstores near you, is it all really worth it?

Maybe.

As authors we all dream of seeing our books on store shevles. So that’s good motivation to go stalking booksellers. But keep in mind, having your book (maybe 5-10 copies) in a store won’t make you a bestseller. Chances are you won’t get frantic calls from the store owner demanding more copies because they’ve sold out of your book in an hour. Like any form of author marketing, getting your book in stores is work and it takes time away from the thing that makes us authors in the first place–writing. Once your book is in store, you’re going to have to keep track of who has what and how many. You’re also going to want to check in with these stores every 3 months to see if your book has sold and if they would like more copies.

On the plus side, you’ re able to tell your family and friends where they can go to buy your book. It’s a great feeling to know your book is sitting next to books by authors you admire. In one store my book was placed right next to V.C. Andrews, Flowers In the Attic. You also have the benefit of exposure. That browsing customer may not buy your book off the shelf, but they might buy it online. There’s no way to track that kind of sale, but a sale is a sale no matter where it comes from.

If you NEED to see your book on a shelf you have two choices: pull one out of your coat, stick it on the shelf, snap a picture and run. OR…you can just talk to a bookseller. They aren’t dragons. They won’t cast you out of the store for eternity. Chances are they’ll be very receptive to you and your book. Most of this advice applies to independent bookstores, but it can also work for the big chain stores as well. Most big chain stores have policies that vary from store to store. So go ahead–stroll into the Barnes&Noble and ask to see the manager. You never know, they might just say yes. 🙂

Good luck with the book selling!

websizeThe Darkness of Light ~ Available now through Amazon, B&N, Kobo and select retailers.

Launch Party Success!

Happy Monday, everyone! I don’t know why, but I’m always extra positive on Mondays. My optimism today might be the result of the book launch party we had on Friday. It was amazing! We had a great turnout and sold a lot of books. It was my first time signing books, so that was weird, but I think I’ve finally mastered my signature.

Here’s how it all went down…

My friend and I scouted bookstores in town to see who would want to host a launch party. Whether you’re an indie author or a traditionally published author, bookstores LOVE hosting signings and launches. It gets people into their store to buy books! So remember that when you feel hesitant to ask a bookseller if they’ll host you.

Anyway, after scouting bookstores my friend, Libby, and I decided that a private invite-only event would better fit our needs. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about people arriving on time and we could serve alcohol…which I definitely needed! Plus, it’s a lot easier to entice people with free drinks (wink wink).  Libby has a gorgeous…I mean GORGEOUS house, and when she suggested having it there I said, YES! My friends did an amazing job at putting things together. Just look at this spread!

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And we had a little set-up where I would sign books

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Then the party was underway. People drank, ate some food….

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And once everyone was good an liquored up, they took a seat so we could talk about my book. I wish I had better pictures of that, but my husband was the photographer and he should never be given a camera…EVER. Anyway, I decided not to do a reading because I felt like my Canadian accent wouldn’t do my British characters justice. So instead I talked about the book, how I wrote it, what’s next in the series and did a Q&A. I think the Q&A was my favorite part because it gave me a good idea of what really interests people.

Then we got to signing. Some even bought 2-3 books. Others wanted me to write dirty messages in their books, which I totally did!

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The end result was a very laid back evening that didn’t stress me out too much. I find attention to be very unnerving, but this intimate type of setting was perfect for me. We sold out of books and a few of the attendees said they would bring my book to their book clubs. I’d love to do a book club talk.

After the books were signed and most of the crowd left, we spent the rest of the night just hanging out. It was a lot of fun and a great experience. I still don’t love attention. I really struggled with an entire party being about me, but when I saw how excited and supportive everyone was, even those I’d never met, my anxiety quickly went away.

Thank you to every who came out and to my friends who put it all together. I love you all.

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Writers write because they love writing. Writers publish for the money.

We always hear the saying: “Don’t write for the money. Write because you love it.”

While that’s a nice little saying, most of the time it’s not very practical. If writers could pay their bills and fill their bellies with the scraps of torn up love letters, we would, trust me.

Since the very secret (wink wink) soft launch of my book last week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the “money thing” and what it means to me. I promise you that I didn’t write The Darkness of Light for money. I wrote it because it was in me and it needed to come out. Writers write because they love writing. Writers  publish for the money. So I guess you could say that’s why I published my book, after all, it certainly isn’t listed as a free book. But do I really care about the money?

This week has been a bit crazy for me. Without any real promo and no blog tour, I’ve actually sold quite a few books! More than I expected when I announced it was available. I even ranked well on Amazon for most of last week. It was probably the most exciting point in my writing career so far. I loved knowing that people were reading my book. I loved getting messages saying how much they like it and pictures of people reading it. I’m so grateful to everyone who took the time to contact me and let me know they had The Darkness of Light in their dirty little hands.

Because I had such a great week with sales, that also means that I’ve earned royalties. But here’s the thing…I don’t even care about the royalties! A check in the bank is great, and I certainly can’t feed myself with scraps of paper, but the royalty doesn’t bring the happiness. The readers do! That’s what I care about. I care that I’ve written something that someone wants to read.

So the lesson, my friends, is that writers live off the joy of being a writer, and survive off the money that (hopefully) comes with it.

The Darkness of Light is out early!

This is the worst kept secret in the history of secrets, but The Darkness of Light is out early in some markets! Official Release and book tour is still scheduled for January 28th, but for now you can be in on the secret with me.  Some sites are still on pre-order.

You can get a copy of the ebook or paperback here:

Amazon.com

Amazon Kindle

Amazon UK

Amazon UK Kindle

You can get paperback and pre-order the ebook here:

Barnes and Noble

You can pre-order on Kobo

Kobo

And if you live in the Greenville SC area, you can pick up a signed copy at Fiction Addiction (1175 Woods Crossing Rd #5, Greenville, SC 29607)

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The moment every author dreams of…the day your books arrive!!!

They came! My box of books arrived at my doorstep!

It’s pretty surreal to see a box full of books that you wrote. Really, it’s so strange. Sure I’ve seen proofs before, but they weren’t the final copy. They weren’t the books that people will buy.

These are!

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What actor/actress would you cast for your characters?

I was asked this question for one of my blog tour interviews. I have to admit, I did stress about it a little…okay, I stressed about it A LOT! You’d think I was actually casting the damn thing.

Well, I already regret one of my choices lol. For Mara, I suggested Tamsin Egerton or Kaya Scodelario. But I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I’ve found the PERFECT actress to play Mara. It’s British actress Rachel Hurd-Wood. She’s the perfect age and has the perfect face. Just look at those eyes…

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Corbin is a tougher character to cast. When I was writing him, I always had Taylor Kitsch in mind, but being that he’s Canadian, I’m not so sure he can do a convincing English accent. If I come up with any better suggestions, I’ll let you know.

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Malcolm was a bit easier to cast than Corbin. I would want Aneurin Barnard. I really love Aneurin and hate making him a bad guy, but he is so the right man for the job!

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I also chose to cast Rowan. When I was writing The Darkness of Light I always imagined Joseph Fiennes in the role, but the more I think about it, I think Johnathan Rhys Meyers would also be an amazing fit. What do you think?

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Of course, this is only a dream. Not many authors get to see their books adapted into movies, and those that do often find the end result to be less than what they’d imagined. BUT, if Neil Jordan ever wants to write and direct The Darkness of Light, I might just die of shock. I don’t think anyone but him could do it justice. So if any of my readers happen to know Mr. Jordan, feel free to tell him I am in need of his brilliance! THANKS!

26 days until The Darkness of Light release! And other stuff

Happy New Year to everyone.

I am SO glad the holidays are over and I can finally get back to my routine. There’s a lot going on this month, most notably, The Darkness of Light will be released on January 28th! I can’t wait. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this forever. The eBook is already available for pre-order on Kobo, which you can purchase here The Darkness of Light

My plan over the holidays was to take a short break from writing, but when the muse calls, she cannot be ignored, so I managed to get a few more chapters written out. It’s looking like the first draft of The Shadows of Light will be done in the next few weeks. Then I can go onto revision and rewrites–my favorite part!

I wrote a blog post a few weeks ago about some people sharing earlier drafts of my manuscript. Well, over the holidays a quick slip of the tongue by someone alerted me to yet another unauthorized reader. I can’t tell you how angry this makes me, so I’ve decided that for further projects I will not be using beta-readers or share my work with anyone other than my critique partners and other writing professionals. It’s the only way I will feel secure knowing that my work is not being seen when it isn’t ready. If people want to read my work, they can read it when it’s published. I think it’s better that way. Too many people have read many different versions of my novel. Next time everyone will get to read the same version. Sorry to anyone who did the right thing and kept my work to themselves, blame the other jerks.

Anyways, I have a bunch of interviews to work on and some more writing to get to! If you haven’t yet added The Darkness of Light to goodreads, here is the link The Darkness of Light on Goodreads

And you can find my facebook page here http://www.facebook.com/thediachronicles

Thanks for reading and sharing. The countdown begins!!!!

@TamzWrite