Tag Archives: Rayna Vause

Paco Media Says “Don’t Be Afraid of SEO” by Terry Kate

Search Engine OptimizationSearch Engine Optimization or SEO. It’s a term that’s bandied about quite often these days. What is it exactly? Why is it important for authors to understand.  Today, Terry Kate of Paco Media Group joins us to shed some light on this topic.

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If you haven’t run screaming just based on the title of my post then you are a valiant, brave, and intrepid author. If you have lived in fear of being called out and asked to explain what Search Engine Optimization is and how it effects author searchability, branding and sales, fear no more. There is a central and basic truth to the whole concept and how to make it work for you.

My Advice?

Spit it out!

Make it simple!

Don’t play coy with the readers! SEO is basically describing your work so that people interested in reading it can FIND YOU. So help a reader out and introduce yourself, what you write, and where we can find the books online. Make it easy for us to make the next step, click through on a link and buy the book.

Step One: Know what the heck it is that you are writing! Maybe that came out wrong, but really, how can you expect people to find you and your books if the genre is never listed? What about the theme? Or the time period?

Step Two: Don’t be afraid to repeat this information where ever you go online. Don’t belabor the point, but keep in mind there are always readers discovering you online when they check out a new blog, or a friend’s review on Goodreads. There are authors every time a reader looks around. Names blur, titles sound similar, covers are… not always unique, so share details that will hook readers on the prowl for just what is is you are writing.

“As an author of Vampire Romance…”

“I have always been drawn to Dark Urban Fantasy, BOOK TITLE HERE is just the kind of story I looked for as a reader and could not find. So I wrote it! ”

Step Three: Be consistent. Use the same wording in the different posts you do. If it is a “Coming of Age” story then that is your term. Avoid switching it all of the time. “A novel of discovery” “Growing up with divorced parents” “The transition to adulthood” (Okay these may not be killer examples, but I am warning you, use the clearest and easiest description.)

On the most basic level this is what SEO does and how you can use it to connect with readers. Once you make that connection it is up to your product to sell itself. A good cover, a solid description, and clear genre labels, and you can draw in an already interested reader. Add a killer excerpt to really hook them and you got a sale.

I want to thank Rayna so much for having me on. I will be dropping in all day to reply to comments and you can see more posts by me at Paco Media Group. The site will be addressing all of the basic issues I teach courses on and do public speaking about. Because author brand is important, and developing an online presence is something you can control and influence.

Thank you again everyone for your time in checking this out.

Terry Kate

Bio: Terry Kate is the creator of Romance in the Backseat, the Book Bloggers and Publishers Online Conference. She entered the Publishing Industry as a member of the press and slowly transitioned to consulting, teaching classes, and finally web designer/SEO specialist. Find out more about Paco Media Group and their services at http://pacomediagroup.com.

The Value of Editing: An Editor’s View

We’re please to have Denise Nielsen join us here today. Denise is an editor with Carina Press. She is also Melinda’s and my editor. Welcome Denise, we’re thrilled to have you.

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There has never been a better, more exciting time to be a writer. E-readers are growing in popularity and the world of publishing is exploding with new opportunities to see those books you’ve toiled so hard over get into the hands of readers. But whether you submit your polished manuscript to an agent or a publisher, or whether you decide indie publishing is for you, there is one step that all writers need to take seriously.

Editing.

I buy, on average, 10 books a month, both e- and print versions, both indie and traditionally published, and in all sorts of genres. And as a reader, nothing is more likely to turn me off a book—or an author—than something that is consistently badly written.

Because I am a book editor, working with the fabulous authors who choose to publish through Carina Press, perhaps it is natural that I think editing is crucial. But talk to other published writers and I would bet most of them will tell you the same thing: an edited book is a better book.

So what value does an editor bring to a book?

It’s not just about the grammar and spelling – you’d be surprised how many people think that.  As an editor that is just the last step in a long process. The first thing I do is look for manuscripts that I love, that I engage with, that I am excited by. They don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to have believable characters and voice.

If we decide to publish your book, that is when the editing really starts. Your book will go through a series of edits: developmental edits where we look at the overall work and ensure it all fits together; line edits where we go through line by line and word by word to make sure the best words are used in the most effective places; and copy edits where books are reviewed for grammar and spelling, syntax, and conformity with our style manuals.

The goal of all these edits is to take your manuscript from a great story to a great book. There are three primary goals that I strive to achieve.

  1. Balance: Your finished book is a labor of love. But we all sometimes have blind spots when it comes to the things we love. You might not notice non sequiturs that distract readers, or characters that say one thing and do another. As the author you know your book so well and probably don’t even see plot holes, or places where the hero’s motivation for doing something doesn’t quite make sense. An editor will look at your book’s plot and characters to make sure the information flow of the story works. Part of this is streamlining—taking out information that is unnecessary and playing with the story to ensure pacing is consistent—but the overall aim is to keep the story front and center so that the reader is pulled along into the world you have created.
  2. Depth: Why do characters act the way they do? Why did you have this event happen? And why did it happen here? These are some of the questions I might ask an author as I am reading. My job is to make sure there is depth to your story because depth gives meaning. This is also where I check facts to ensure the story has credibility. I might ask you to expand on a character, or even—in some cases—suggest that you change a character to make them more believable, more likeable, more edgy…take your pick of adjectives. Believe me, we don’t do this arbitrarily, but always with purpose and always bearing in mind the vision you have for your book.
  3. Polish: You’ve already done the hard work, the creative work. Together we have achieved balance and depth. Now we want to work with you to polish your story. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph should move your story forward in the best possible way. There should be no loose ends, no missed opportunities. Your words should be well chosen and precise and exactly right for each character and each scene without being overdone.

When you have balance, depth and polish, you have a good book. A book that flows well, that is fresh and that is true to your original voice. A book that you can be proud to publish.

Denise Nielsen is a freelance acquisition editor for Carina Press. She is open to submissions and is particularly keen to acquire new manuscripts in the contemporary, historical, gothic, and steampunk genres. Follow her on Twitter @denielsen or check out her Facebook Page Editor Denise Nielsen.

Looking for Action

Passive voice. It’s every writer’s enemy. If you’ve ever had to write book reports or term papers with any degree of regularity, the telling style of writing is something that is hammered into you. With the analysis type papers we write in school it’s all about tell, tell, tell. Writing in passive voice can become so automatic we slip into it in our fiction. All that manages to do is create a very slow ,tedious read.

Fiction writing is all about the active voice. We want to show not tell so that our readers are in the action, seeing it unfold. Writing inactive voice is all about crafting the scene so that it comes to life in the readers mind.  We don’t want narrators to run amok explaining the events that unfold.  After all, this is a book not a dissertation. With that being said, I’m going to use an excerpt from my current WIP to demonstrate my point and give you a before and after shot.

The Original Scene

Thank god for decent night vision, Adrian thought as he navigated his way to the suite’s bathroom. Lee slept soundly and he didn’t want to turn on a bright room light and awaken him. Closing the door behind him, he flipped on the bathroom light revealing a sizable room that had black granite counters and floor tiles, a jacuzzi tube that could fit three people, and a little alcove for the toilet. He took a minute to study himself in the mirror that covered the wall from counter top to ceiling and stared in amused wonder at the variety of markings that Leland had left on his body. Lee had always been a territorial sort. He used the bathroom, then exited to go check in with North since he’d been out of touch all afternoon. The blow came out of the darkness. He heard the rustle of clothing mere moments before the blow landed and was able to deflect the first blow, but didn’t react in time to completely block the second. The knife his attacker wielded sliced his forearm. Pain radiated up Adrian’s arm from the slice, in the at instance he knew something wasn’t right. 

Rather blah if I do say so myself. Lots of telling, internalization, and unnecessary description.  I’m telling the reader about the action instead of putting the reader in the middle of it. The scene was full of he felt, he saw, he heard. All of this is telling which distances the reader from the story and slows the overall pace. That’s certainly not something that you want especially not when it’s building toward a fight scene and you really don’t want to slow the pacing of the actual fight scene with telling. Now try the scene again after two rounds of rewrites.

The Edited Version

“Thank  god for decent night vision.” Adrian padded to the suite’s bathroom. The hinges gave a soft squeak and he cringed, frozen in place. He glanced back over his shoulder toward the king sized bed. Lee’s face stayed buried in the pillow. Adrian let out the breath he’d been holding. He really didn’t want to dive into round two of messed up relationship discussions. Sleeping with Lee wasn’t one of his better ideas, but once Lee had kissed him he couldn’t have stopped if he’d wanted.

He eased the door shut and flipped on the lights, squinting as the over bright blast assailed his eyes. He took a minute to study himself in the mirror that covered half of the wall.

“Damn Lee,” he murmured. The cold granite pressed into his stomach as he leaned in to the counter as he poked at the variety of markings that Leland had left on his body. “I look like the victim of a vacuum run amok.”  He turned trying to get a look at the injury on his back. No more pain, but the flesh remained a bit raw and pink.

 He used the bathroom, then washed up. He needed to call Chris. He hadn’t checked in all afternoon. He eased the door open and reached to flick off the light, as he did a rustle of fabric caught his attention. He whirled in time to see the glint of a blade as it arced toward him. He deflect the first strike, but he didn’t react in time to completely block the second . The knife his attacker wielded sliced his forearm.

“Leland. Grab your phone and get the hell out of here. Now!” He yelled. His strength seemed to wane and an odd tingling sensation grew with every blow he landed. Something wasn’t right.

See the difference? Instead of telling you what Adrian heard, you’re hearing it with him,  feeling his emotions with him, etc. I’ve also sped up the pacing, made the scene flow better,  and made the page easier to read by having smaller chunks of text instead of massive paragraphs.

What other tips and tricks to you have for shifting a scene from passive to active. Believe me I need all the help I can get.

~Rayna

 

An Action Packed Two Years

It’s been two years and four days since we started blogging about martial arts, writing and action. Happy Anniversary, Attacking The Page readers! We hope you’ve found our posts useful, interesting, and entertaining.

Thank you so much for spending time with us every Monday and Thursday. Thank you for celebrating our successes (publishing contracts) and consoling us when disappointments (rejections) strike. Thank you for your comments and community. Hearing from you is what makes the blog so much fun.

On that note, please let us know in the comments section what you enjoy most/ least about our blog so we can improve for next year. Perhaps there are topics that interest you that you’d like to see more often. Are there any special guests you’d like to see? Do you enjoy the video clips we play or do you not watch them? Do you want more safety tips? Did you like the action scene critique? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

I still can’t believe another year has come and gone. Thanks again for sharing it with Melinda, Rayna and me. Happy Anniversary ATP readers!

~ K.M. Fawcett

Elements of a Good Critique Partnership

I am very fortunate. I have an awesome critique partner. Melinda won’t hesitate to tell me when I’ve gotten it right, and at the same time she’ll tell me when I’m stinking up the page. I like to think I offer the same to her. What makes our partnership work? There are many factors involved in finding the right critique match, but here are just a few things that work for us.

First, and most important, is trust. Without that you’re finished before you start. You’re putting your work in your partner’s hands in the hopes of receiving honest feedback and help in improving not just your manuscript, but also your overall craft. Bottom line trust is vital.

Complimentary skill sets are a plus. Both Melinda and I bring something different to the table. Things that I tend to be completely escape my notice she’ll pick up on and vice versus.

Have a thick skin. Being in the publishing industry, you’re going to need one anyway. You’re going to need to be able to take constructive criticism whether it comes from your critique partner or your editor. On the other hand, a good critique partner won’t try and tear you down or make you feel bad about your work. A good critique partnership is about mutual respect and honest input.

Be honest with each other. When I send pages to Melinda, I’ll tell her to tear it to shreds. Why? First, because the only way I’ll improve the story and my skills is if I have someone combing through it with a critical eye. Second, I know that the dissection will be done thoughtfully and with respect. Third, because she may have suggestions that would never occurred to me.

You don’t have to write in the same genre, but it helps to be a familiar with the genre your partner writes. A critique partner who is not familiar with your genre may be able to offer suggestions on the basic technical skills of writing, but not the nuances of the genre.

Communication is key. If you don’t feel that you can offer a helpful critique you need to let your partner know. For example, I write M/M romance. I realize it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Before I started sending chapters to Melinda or before I send to a Beta reader I let them know up front the nature of the story. I never want to send someone something they are not comfortable reading. Also, if life has gotten crazy, you need to let your partner know what kind of turn around time you can give them.

Celebrate each other’s accomplishments and be supportive when disappointments happen. Your partner will most likely be the one you turn to when things happen along your publication journey. It’s nice to have someone one to support you who also understands what you’re going through.

These are just a few suggestions of what makes a good critique partner. Do you have any other to add to the list?

~Rayna

Tips for Conference Goers

It’s conference season, at least that’s how it seems. Between March and August there are quite a few writing conferences that are taking place, so now seemed liked a great time to offer a few helpful tips to make all your conferences fun and successful.

  • Have business cards at the ready.  They don’t need to be elaborate, just something simple with your name and contact information on it.  You can make them yourself or get them printed inexpensively at places like GotPrint.com or VistaPrint.com.
  • Dress professionally and comfortably. Consider wearing layers.  There is no happy medium when it comes to temperature at many of these conference sites. The best thing you can do is to have layers so that you’ll always be able to make yourself comfortable.
  • Don’t be afraid to mingle and make connections, but be sure to pay attention to social cues. You don’t want to accidentally cut in on an important discussion.
  • Even if you aren’t taking an editor/agent appointment have a pitch for your current work in progress ready to go. You never know whom you’ll wind up chatting with and what can come from that interaction. Remember editors and agents are people too. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true.
  • Be mindful of your alcohol consumption.
  • Most importantly, enjoy yourself and let your creative juices be replenished by interacting with other writers.

Navigating your way around the conference is only part of the adventure. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe en route to the conference and while staying in the event hotel.

  • If possible travel with at least one travel companion.
  • Never tell anyone that you are traveling alone. If someone persistently asks, don’t hesitate to lie.
  • If attending a conference do not wear your name badge when you leave the event hotel.
  • Wear minimal jewelry. Lots of expensive and flashy jewelry makes you an easier target for predators. Also, consider using disposable cameras instead of bringing your digital camera. Expensive cameras are popular targets for thieves.
  • Never open up your door to any stranger and use all the locks on the door while in room.
  • Don’t open the door just because someone says security or maintenance.  Get the employee’s name and call the front desk to confirm before opening the door.
  • Avoid giving out your room number to anyone you meet in the bar or the trip.
  • Avoid leaving jewelry or credit cards in the room. Thieved don’t need the actual card, just the number and security code.
  • Lock your baggage if possible. (Airline locks are fine)
  • Avoid the scam this is the front desk calling please update your credit card information.
  • Never leave the plastic keys when you checkout. They can contain personal information.
  • If possible request a room closest to the elevators, more foot traffic, less secluded, more opportunity for crook to be seen
  • Try to avoid a room above the 10th floor; fire equipment usually does not reach that high.
  • Avoid going out alone at night and as always TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!!

If you’ll be at the Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference in March I look forward to seeing you there. Whatever conferences you may be attending stay safe and have a great time.

~Rayna

Fighting Q&A

The three of us here on Attacking the Page were recently interviewed by Angela Knight for her class on writing fight scenes.  For today’s post I thought I’d share one of those questions and the answers that each of us gave.

I’d also love to know some ‘sneaky’ tricks/punches a woman could pull on a man who surprises her with an attack since not all my female protags are warriors, just strong women with strong self-preservation senses.

Melinda’s answer:  Chops or punches to the Adam’s apple, palm strikes to the nose, knees or kicks to the groin, thumb gouges to the eyes, boxing the ears. Generally, the soft areas that run from a man’s face to his groin are all good targets.

Kathy adds: Kicks to the knees could take a guy down as well.

Rayna adds: I’m a fan of elbow strikes, at least for in close fighting. I can hit someone harder with my elbow then my hand. I don’t want to hurt my hand, my elbow can take more of an impact. Plus a quick shot to the gut or chin can stun someone just long enough for me to get away or at least put enough distance between us so I can use my legs, which is my stronger weapon.

I thought I’d also share this interesting instructional video on different types of elbow strike.

Is Smart The New Black?

There is nothing more annoying then a weak and whiney heroine. You know the ones who do nothing but scream and wait to be rescued. Think Willie in Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. All she did was scream and whine for the majority of the movie. At times, I was rooting for the bad guys to get her just to shut her up. On the other hand, I think we can all agree that kick-butt heroines are fun. Wonder Woman, the inspiration for mine and Melinda’s story, Amazon Heat, was one tough cookie well before it was cool for female characters to be so. She was smart, sexy, and always took down the bad guys using her lasso of truth and wearing her high-heeled boots. Still, I think there is room in the pool for a heroine that falls somewhere between the two.

Evie from the movie The Mummy is a great example of middle of the road heroine. If you haven’t seen it, rent it. It’s a fun movie with Brendan Fraser(He’s so hot). Evie is not a kick-butt heroine, but she makes up for it with her smarts. She’s the one that can read ancient hieroglyphics and speak Arabic. While she may not be taking on the bad guys physically, she’s gutsy and determined. Her smarts and knowledge are just as integral to solving the conflict of the movie as the hero’s fighting skills.  However, when the bullets start flying she didn’t cringe and cry, but she also wasn’t out there in the fray either. She put her head down and did what she needed to do to survive. As the movie series progressed and the character continued to grow, Evie became more confident and self assured and better able to defend herself and her family.

So what do you think? Do you prefer your heroines to be tough and action oriented? Do the middle of the road type heroines turn you off to a book? What characteristics do you like in your heroines?

Celebrate Amazon Heat’s Release With Us!

Today is a very exciting day for Melinda and I. Today our novella, Amazon Heat, releases from Carina Press. To celebrate, we’re having a release party with a giveaway of a $50 Amazon gift card at Bitten by Books. Please stop in an join us. The party officially starts at 1:00 PM EST but you can pop in on our RSVP page to get extra points towards winning the prize.

We couldn’t be more excited about the release of the first in our series. Let us share a bit about the book

2 years ago…

Driven by grief to find a cure for cancer, Elizabeth DeMarco left Logan Spencer to accept a position on a research expedition to the Amazon rainforest. Kidnapped by guerrillas, she was saved by a secret all-female civilization, the last of the ancient Amazons. But Elizabeth discovers she’s traded one form of captivity for another.

Today…

Logan never stopped searching for Elizabeth. While consulting in the remote Brazilian interior near where she was kidnapped, Logan suffers what should be a fatal fall. Near death, he’s collected by the Amazons and magically healed. Elizabeth is the first person he sees as he wakes.

But there’s no time for a joyful reunion. The Amazons’ mystical medicine is rapidly changing Logan. They want his DNA and plan to take it—and then kill him. Logan and Elizabeth must escape before dawn or Logan—and their second chance at happiness—is doomed.

Buy it at: Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance EBooks.

It’s also available in audio through Audible.com. I just listened to the audio sample it sounds so awesome!

Celebrate with us every one. It’s an exciting day!

~Rayna

The Mistletoe Madness Giveaway Winner is

A huge thank you to everyone who stopping by Attacking the Page and left comments during this past weeks Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop.  It was great fun reading about everyone’s favorite movies and traditions. The winner of a signed copy of She Can Run by ATP’s own Melinda Leigh as well as a collection of fun swag from our other books is Renee Bennett. Congratulations! We hope you’ll enjoy all of your goodies.

Click here for information about the winner of the Color Nook.

Thank you again everyone.

Safe and Happy Holidays!

~Rayna