Tuesday, 6 December 2016
Friday, 11 November 2016
Wednesday, 12 October 2016
Friday, 26 August 2016
Monday, 6 June 2016
I was looking for a quote for today's blog post and I came across this beauty. It's not really relevant to my post but I love it and I am sure it will resonate with writers out there.
So what is new? Poison in the Water is out and the paperback is beautiful. There is something hugely satisfying in putting your hands on a copy of your latest book - how are the sales going? I'm not quite sure. I could ask my lovely publishers at So Vain, but it has not even been a week yet, so perhaps I will give it some time. In my experience with books I have published they seem to be slow burners. Under the Coconut Tree is now selling brilliantly - oh a good 8 months after publication.
With So Vain working with me though I would like to think that sales for Poison will be sooner rather than later although reviews to date have been slow. But I suppose you need to give people the time to read the thing! One thing that has got me wondering is this genre of Romantic suspense - in all honesty I think GT was a romantic suspense but I just put it down as a suspense book, not knowing much about the genre of Romantic Suspense and from a review on Poison someone said they didn't like the ending because it was not a happy one (trust me it is happier than it was before my publishers saw it). My books rarely have happy endings unless they are the Chupplejeep ones - because I don't really like happy endings. I don't think that life is all about happy endings and I always like a little bit of a twist at the end - a final quirk to get you thinking. But I get that people may want their fiction to have a happy ending the same way you kind of want to movie to go...But even though it was just one review I cant help but thinking whether the Romantic Suspense reader just generally wants something a little more than I am willing to give (Happiness?!)
It reminds me that to sell books successfully you need to know your reader. Yes, the review could be a one off - but it is something I need to investigate if I am to go down this Romantic Suspense route. Am I?
Marketing, publishing and promoting... we writers never stop.
I will of course be doing a Goodreads book giveaway in June so watch this space. As well as that I will be at a stall at a writer's festival in the not to distant future selling my books. It's a new experience so I'm looking forward to it.
And what of the new MS I was working with? Well I am still working on Splinter. I broke through the - is this working, or not? phase and I am ploughing on. It may fail, but at least I have tried.
Monday, 23 May 2016
I have also started writing two new books. Jackpot Jetty - The 3rd Chupplejeep instalment and Splinter. The Chupplejeep is going fine, words were flowing freely, but I have put a stop to that. I am still finalising the second book in the series and feel a little Chupplejeeped out. I need to have a clear mind to think of Jackpot Jetty and keep it new and fresh and the only way I can do that is to write something else.
So 12,000 words into Jackpot Jetty I started writing Splinter - A thriller of sorts. I had the idea for this awhile ago and thought I would just start writing. But at 6000 words it has become a bit of an uphill struggle. There is something not right about it - is it the characters? the plot? the location? I'm just not sure. I have never struggled to get words down onto a page but I seem to be struggling here.
I felt a little like this with Poison but with perseverance and a lighbulb moment (using the therapist's office) whilst driving to London I transformed a book that wasn't quite doing it for me!
But I am not sure what the problem is with Splinter and I'm not sure now whether I have a touch of writer's block or I am just not feeling the story. I want to stay away from JJ for now, so I am not sure what to do next. Persevere or give up?
Anyone else ever feel like this? The perils of being a writer!
Thursday, 21 April 2016
Friday, 8 April 2016
Thursday, 10 March 2016
Monday, 29 February 2016
I hope you like it! The blurb is as follows:
The book will be released December 2016! Hurrah!
Friday, 26 February 2016
So I joined Crowdfire. Which I had avoided until recently, because I thought it was too impersonal, but now I'm a fan. Twitter is just too big otherwise. So better late to the party than never. If you haven't joined Crowdfire join it now - because sneaky tweeps follow you for a follow back and then un-follow you. Crowdfire is the only way to stay on top of this in this dog-eat-dog world!
How do I feel about Twitter? In all honesty I think 9 out of 10 people on twitter are trying to promote or sell something. If you are an author you follow other writers – you get bombarded with promotions for other books. You try and retweet them to get some retweets yourself – but which consumer is actually going to see this? There are some, of course. Every tweeter has non-promoters following them – be it friends or family and they may read a retweet – after all their newsfeed isn’t clogged with a million authors trying to sell their latest release. So although I don’t think Twitter is the best way to promote your book I think it’s worth sending tweets now and again – but remember with the intense traffic they do suggest that you tweet 7-9 times a day with the best times to tweet being at lunch times, after 930pm and around 7:30am. My advice- Get the app, do it from your phone and be tweet smart and link your blog (if you have one) to twitter to automatically tweet about your blog post (I covered the linking of social media accounts in my last social media post).
And speaking of social media, did I tell you that I did an interview about social media and my tactics in Mary Cavanagh's new book - Calling All Authors? It's a great little book if you are after some sound advice on what publishing route to take and of course for the do's and don'ts's of social media.
I have to admit that I am not as good as marketing my books on-line as I used to be.
I realised on my social media quest that I have to use the social media sites I am already connected to, but smarter (a bit like the twitter times as above) and with more frequency. So more Facebook posts, productive tweets and an updated website. Check it out at www.marissadeluna.com
Friday, 12 February 2016
To be honest I didn't hide my geekyness as well as I could have because I probably didn't realise I was a geek and living in Goa pretty much everyone is a little geeky.
Before writing came along I did nerdy things like a degree , a masters, obtained various certificates and I even qualified as a Chartered Surveyor! Now I'm doing some quantity surveying thing too. The fun never stops... The course was to pacify my inner geek because I haven't done a course for a long while. And as I struggle to complete it I realise that our brains get a bit rusty with age.
Despite my desire to learn I hate being called intellectual - I am not! I guess I would say I am more of an academic. But then if I compare myself to a real academic, I can see that I am certainly not one of those. So I wont pigeonhole myself into a category - I just like to learn new things.
Mid-studying I learnt about calligraphy and graphology, colour therapy, touch typing, did a punctuation course (epic fail), learnt about crystals and of course I read loads on forensics and the art of writing. But I have never taken a writing course and as I am a lover of courses I had to ask myself why? Why had I never done a writing course. I needed it when I started out, yet I just rely on learning as I go, a good critique group and reading around the subject to help me out.
The reason being is that for me writing started as a hobby - it still is to a certain extent and I enjoy it. One of my worries is that if I learn the rules (because despite it being a creative process there are some loose rules- the inciting incident, the big question that readers have to read on to find the answer, stuff like that) in such a strict format then my creativity will be boxed in. I may even dislike writing - because generally when I study something, when there are tasks involved and exams to pass then my interest in the subject does wane.
I would benefit from a creative writing course I am sure. My first book was riddled with point of view changes mid chapter and I know this annoyed readers. Every time I write (even with this blog) I learn, I understand, I develop and hone my writing skills. And there is always more to learn, we are continually adapting and changing our styles in the way we dress, the way we talk and the way we write. I cared about what people thought when I was younger, and don't really care anymore and that very notion makes what I write and how I write different.
I recently found myself humming along to a Justin Beiber song - I have to admit his stuff is pretty good of late (don't judge me) but I guess he is changing too!
Monday, 1 February 2016
This last week has been trying. Why? Because I am trying to finalise the front cover for The Body in the Bath - The second book in the Chupplejeep Mysteries. The book is not finished - it's a long way from completion. If I'm lucky I'll get it out in time for Christmas but I wanted the cover for my website and I also wanted to deal with the stress of agreeing the front cover now...instead of during the publication process when I am stressed out! See, that's a good bit of forward planning stress reduction! There is a reason why they say with experience comes wisdom.
But it's tough this front cover malarkey because everyone has different, sometimes extreme opinions. Perhaps I asked too many people. I asked my writers group first and they were all pretty supportive with some good suggestions. I had actually failed to make it Goan in the first draft which one writer pointed out - that would have been a big faux pas. Then I asked H, the family and the inner circle (they are my besties). These people don't hold back and they are opinionated. This is probably the main reason why we are friends and it was tiring listening to people and their views (Sorry, if any of you are reading this). Of course I needed to hear what people think and I know because of some of the comments the cover is going to look fab... but getting there has been an effort.
I haven't listened to everything they have said... it would have been impossible and quite frankly not worth the trouble. But I listened about colours and textures etc and the resultant product is perfect (to me). I will put it up on this blog later in the week when I get the final.
I'm also starting to look at front cover ideas with my publisher for Poison in the Water (remember this name people - this book is going to be huge!). This I think will be a different experience. Why? Because a professional is going to take the time to debate styles and ideas with me. Now I'm not saying self pubbed covers are not as good as trad published ones - that would be a stupid thing to say because it's not true.
The experience will be different for me because the burden is shared between the publishing house (who are paying for the thing) and me whose work it is and whose name will be emblazoned on the front.
And I think that is the difference,. It's not necessarily the quality of the cover, but your perception and your confidence. When you self pub you can ask a million people what they think but when that book is published it's your fault if its good or not with a publisher I think you can share the shame!
The one saving grace is that when you self publish - depending on how you do it you can change the cover at any time. However, and its a big however, it really depends on how much time you want to spend on these ancillary matters. Do you really want to go back and change the cover? Because after all if you are anything like me you want to spend minimal time on the cover and more time on the writing!
But hey ho, I guess if you get it right the first time your book will last forever, without the need of a facelift and it will work for you...on the beach (when people are reading it), on people's shelves. The possibilities are endless!
What about just an e-book cover? Well the cover looks great on promotional materials too so maybe we do need to take time, ask around and get it right.
However, on saying this I am also currently wondering how much is a cover worth these days? Most kindle readers I know never buy a book based on it's cover. I agree because I am in that category...but I can't deny that a good cover helps sell books. Maybe not directly, but indirectly. If you are attracted to something you will buy it. If you see a postcard with a pretty book on it you are more likely to remember the name so you can search for it on line later... Just a thought.
Until next time...
Thursday, 21 January 2016
It has been a busy week for me. I received the structural edit suggestions from my publisher and I have been busy working on them. I have been able to sort out the issues relatively quickly - well all except one which requires more brain cells than I seem to possess at the moment. I think last night at some unearthly hour I finished it but now that the structural edits have been made I need to read through the whole darn manuscript again to make sure it all makes sense and flows.It is only too easy to assume consistency to avoid reading the whole book again, but although I am not someone who usually pays attention to detail etc., I know I need to do this. So tonight the task starts.
One of the structural edits was to change the ending - now when my writing group read the book they said the same thing and I thought -nooooo, I really like the ending the way it is. So I left it and that was the main thing my publishers suggested to change! So after a bit of sulking I came up with an ending I think readers would be happy with...Let's see what the publishers say.
I think that's one of the nice things working with a publishers - being able to bounce ideas off them and getting their feedback- although on saying that if you are self pubbing you can always hire a structural editor to give you their feedback. Personally, I have never done that but I am in the most amazing writing group that critique full manuscripts and they tell you exactly where you are going wrong - as the above example shows! If you are a budding writer and not in a writing group I would definitely recommend joining one - and not a lovey dovey one - You need a group that keeps it real and points out the flaws in your plot, your 2d characters and generally keeps your feet on the ground!
Most writers I know get fed up with editing and I know that you can only read through your novel so many times until it all becomes so familiar that you can't see the wood from the trees.
Nevertheless, we authors persevere because that is what you have to do as a writer... yes, bring out the world's smallest violin! We are hard done by.
But it's not all doom and gloom. With my edits done and just one final read through before it goes to the line editing stage surely I am half way there already (If they like my structural edits that is). It wont be long before I am revealing the front cover and the release date!
To add to my workload I have also received the front cover proofs for the next Chupplejeep Mystery - The Body in the Bath. I like what JD&J have done but it needs tweaking here and there so I need to get back to them today. I have had some feedback from friends and family and other writers - which always helps. I don't think you can ever make a front cover decision in isolation!
And another thing - not sure if I mentioned this last time I blogged, but I realised the other day that I haven't written anything new since 2014!!! Crazy! So this year I need to start something new. I have an idea for a book which I will let you in on later. The opening scene is written (I wrote this a long time ago) but maybe I'll take it along to my next writing group meet and see what people think.
Anyone embarking on a new writing project? What are your writing goals for 2016? Tweet me @marissadeluna
Friday, 8 January 2016
Hurrah! I can finally announce that I have signed a publishing contract with the fantastic So Vain Books. I should be getting the structural edits required in the next couple of weeks - so watch this space. I'm excited too for Poison in the Water - the book they are set to publish. They have classed it as a Romantic Suspense novel which I am happy about because I worried that it was between genres of Chick Lit and Thriller.
I have to admit when I received the contract I was a bit wary - why? because a contract is legally binding and no matter what is said and done you need to make sure you are protected so if there ever if a fall out, if the relationship turns sour (I hope that will never be), you are covered.
Now, I'm a bit of a researcher and what I have found is this: I have to admit you read some articles where people have signed away their rights to TV show etc, never seen a penny and all that and you think that wont happen to me - I can't see them buying the TV rights to this book I won't worry about it and so you don't. Typically the rights get snapped up and you didn't pay attention to that clause so you never make a penny. Most sites will tell you be wary ask them to take out this clause etc. and there are several clauses they will tell you never to sign. A contract is serious stuff and you should pay attention to it, but at the same time don't be so scared you have sleepless nights. There is a lot of scaremongering going on out there.
I think a little differently (often to my own detriment - well sometimes). I say pick your battles. Look at all the clauses and what they say and pick the ones that are important to you to have removed/amended.
You can go in and strip the contract bare - by all means that is what contract negotiation is all about, but at the same time be reasonable.
The important thing is to make the decision yourself and live by it! You win some, you lose some - yes your book may make millions of pounds if the TV rights are picked up, but will the rights ever be picked up if you don't sign the contract in the first place?
But in saying that don't be scared to stand up for what you want (once you have picked your battles) just because you are a first time author. For my first contract I asked a friend who had the same publishers to run me through the contract and it was fine. Looking back I would have added a couple of things to it definitely about termination rights (In this new era of ebooks) but I didn't so I chalk it down to experience. There is no use crying over spoilt milk and all that.
With this contract I was bold enough to ask for the removal of some clauses and the addition of another and they agreed. The best thing about this is that we are both happy and we can now file away the contract and work collaboratively which is how the best relationships evolve (If you keep referring back to the contract - you know where the relationship is going or isn't).
I rarely talk about my day job on here, but I do deal with projects and contracts all the time and the collaboration is a must to get something done (and have fun at the same time), so I have some experience here.
What I would definitely recommend though is to join the Society of Authors and either send your contract to them or read the various info papers they provide on what should be included/excluded for contract deals including E-book and POD deals.
You must also check out Stroppy Author's blog. the author goes through the clauses in the contract line for line explaining it. It's a must read...
And finally, you can of course consult a solicitor, especially if you have a friend who is one. If you are paying remember they need to provide a report on their findings which is more likely to scare you more than anything else.
So there you have it, my top tips for signing that contract! I hope it helps.
Monday, 4 January 2016
Happy New Year! 2015 went pretty quick, didn't it? Christmas was warm and fabulous in Goa. Some more research done for the second instalment of The Chupplejeep Series - The Body in the Bath - which should be out by the end of the year. New Year was spent in Devon - there is something raw about the British coastline in stormy weather that makes me feel quite at peace. I think its the bleakness of the landscape that makes me feel alive. That may or may not make sense - I hope it does - but if it doesn't just don't think I'm completely nuts - I'm just having one of those days.
One of those days when I look at the year ahead and think we need to laugh more. We really do. Writers especially. We take it all so seriously sometimes and I for one think this year should be filled with more laughing and less complaining. I generally rant on this blog and I'm sure from Feb I will be back to normal, but I am going to make a conscious effort of laughing a bit more this year - and finding the humour in even the dullest of situations - like 1* reviews and rejections! Why not - as the quote that keeps going around says - 'None of us are going to get out alive...'
My other resolution for the year is to do one awesome thing every month! It benefits me, it may benefit others (I may adopt a whale - yes that's how much Blackfish affected me) and hopefully it will encourage me to laugh even more.
And another thing, the author Mary Cavanagh has released a fantastic book to help writers decipher the publishing process and marketing etc. The book is titled 'Calling All Authors' and can be bought here
I read an earlier edition when I started on my publishing journey and I loved it - I'm now reading this edition and its even bigger and better - and features an interview with me! It's a must read for any author.
So what about my writing plans for 2016! I previously mentioned sending Posion off to a publishers and so far the feedback is good. I'm in discussions but that's all I can say at the moment. With any luck though it will be published later this year - Hopefully I can reveal all by the end of the month. And I am still working on The Body in the Bath... A massive edit is due and I'm hoping it will be looking ship shape by the summer.
I have some dratted Quantity Surveying exams in March (I brought it on myself!) that may take my focus away, but other than that... I also plan on writing some new stuff this year. I have a preliminary idea for a thriller - work in progress title is Splinter and the third Chupplejeep book - Jetty Jalousie.
Happy writing people..... Remember this is 2016. Anything is possible!