Friday, March 31, 2017

Camp NaNoWriMo Calendar

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Hello everyone! I can't believe Camp starts tomorrow. How did March fly by so fast?! Can't say I'm quite prepared. (I'm going to spend a good deal of time buffing up my outline today.)

I mentioned hosting Word Sprints on my Twitter, and have since created a calendar that lists all the days I'll be hosting Word Sprints. I'll also be hosting other events, and I hope you take part! For example, you could take part in Character Art day and tweet me the artwork you created for your characters.

If you want to take part in all the fun, just download the calendar here. And make sure you're following me on Twitter, @NataliaALeigh.

Good luck everyone!

Natalia


Monday, December 19, 2016

Free Novel Outline!

Hello everyone! I hope you had a wonderful NaNoWriMo (if you participated) and are enjoying your holiday season. I've been working away on my new novel, and after NaNo I took my work from Microsoft Word and have transferred it over into Scrivener. Scrivener is a software created by Literature and Latte, and it works wonders for someone who, like me, loves to be extremely organized and methodical about their writing process. In the video below I give you a walkthrough and demonstration of how I use Scrivener to stay organized.


If you'd like to snag a copy of my Example Outline, you've come to the right place! Just click here and download your free copy of my novel outline. If you use it, please let me know how it works for you!

Happy writing!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Way of Spears will soon be for sale in select Colorado bookstores


Since I started writing, and long before I even finished my first novel, I dreamt of walking into a bookstore and seeing my book on a shelf. And now, after writing a handful of books and publishing two, I’m about to see that dream come true! I’m currently in contact with three local bookstores, and am about to deliver a supply of books to two of those bookstores. One local store wants five of my books to start off, and the other wants ten. Each store offers my book different perks; one store will shelve my book in its appropriate genre section and face it out, while the other will feature my book for two weeks on the main display as well as advertising in the local paper and on their website.

 

At this point I’m stuck playing the waiting game. I’ve ordered a supply of books, but have to sit around now and wait for them to arrive. I’ll keep you updated on the progress, and plan to provide other self-published authors with a ‘How-To’ after I’ve gone through the process.

 

If you haven’t read Way of Spears yet, you can buy it for Kindle for only $0.99! Click here to purchase!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Way of Spears Q&A

What is your new book about?
Way of Spears is a novel about discovering yourself. The main character, Rima, has grown up in the shadow of her mother’s success, and she dreams for nothing more than to fill her mother’s space in the spotlight. But when she goes on a dangerous journey to serve the Lord of her realm, she starts to discover who she really is and what is at her core.


What or who inspired it?
This novel was originally inspired by a dream. I saw a small band of people clawing their way to a windy mountain peak, and once there the leader lifted a gun and shot it into the sky. (There are no guns in my novel; there are bows and arrows.)


One of the settings was inspired by my trip to Havasu Falls in Arizona. I climbed down the face of a rocky waterfall, and the characters have to do this at one point as well.


What was the biggest challenge, writing it?
I took a few chapters to a workshop at my university, and it didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. My peers liked it, but my professor ripped it apart. I took a hiatus from the novel for a few months after that, and finally got the strength to stand back up and start working on it again.


What do you want to achieve with this book?
I want to see the sales of Way of Spears double the sales I made for High Born. I also want this to be the book that I push hard for, and learn a lot from along the way.


What do you hope for your book?
I hope people read it all the way through to the end. And more than anything, I hope they fall in love with my characters. That would be a glorious feeling for me.


Do you have a favorite character or one you really enjoyed writing?
Absolutely. Kuuna Mato is my favorite character to write.


What do you see as the major themes in your book?
Adventure. Self-Discovery.


Did the title come instantly, or did you labor over it?
It was pretty easy for me. I read a blog post about deciding on a title, and it came to me right away.

To whom have you dedicated the book and why?
The book is dedicated to Havasu Falls. I plotted the book while lying in a hammock beside a river there.


Who do you think will enjoy your book?
Audience is extremely important, and knowing my audience is imperative for me to sell the book. People that enjoy YA or New Adult novels with fantasy aspects will enjoy this.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Way of Spears is for sale now!


August is here, and with it, the release of my new novel, Way of Spears!



I have been so excited about this novel for so long, and now it is finally here! Way of Spears only took me eight months from first word to final copy, which is extremely fast for me. The action and the characters came together so well, and I knew it would be a novel that I’d be proud to share with the world.



The paperback is approximately 400 pages and would make a beautiful addition to your shelf. For those of you that would prefer a digital edition, Way of Spears is also for sale through Kindle.



Below you will find a free sample of the novel, as well as links to purchase either the paperback or Kindle edition. I am so excited to share this with you, and hope you love the story and the characters as much as I do.


Free Sample!
After clicking the link, click 'Slow Download' and enter the security code. Afterward, click 'Slow Download' again, and then enjoy your PDF sample of Way of Spears!


Buy it here!



Saturday, June 11, 2016

Less than two months until Way of Spears comes out!


Wow, I cannot believe it is already the second week of June. While I was counting down my final weeks of university it felt like June would never get here. And now look its almost halfway gone.

So, where am I in the process of publishing Way of Spears?
 
Im happy to say that I received my proof copy - which is BEAUTIFUL and I cant wait to show you the real thing and have already read through it and made my second round of revision notes. On top of my own notes, I also have two awesome beta readers that are working with me chapter by chapter to make this book the best it can be. I would like to have this second round of revisions done by the end of June, but it is hard to say how long it will take each beta reader to get back to me. But Im keeping my fingers crossed that we make good time.

Since Im back in editing mode, Ive kind of taken a step away from the marketing mode I was in before. But come July, Im going to start advertising my little heart out. Ill also be holding some giveaways in which you could win a free signed copy of my book, so keep an eye out here on my blog or on Tumblr/YouTube. Ill make sure to post the giveaway on all my social media platforms.  

At this point I am still on track and am looking forward to sharing Way of Spears with you on August 1, 2016!

 

  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Steps to self-publishing a novel!


My Six Steps to Self-Publishing



The more I’ve learned about the publishing world, the more excited I’ve become over the prospect of self-publishing. In the past, self-publishing wasn’t as accessible to authors due to the technology and machinery required to create a book. But today, with print-on-demand technology and the prospect of eBooks and Kindle publishing, the world of self-publishing has opened up for the Do-It-Yourself author.

I’m a bit of a control freak. I want to have all the power all the time, and never liked the idea of selling my work to a publishing house and giving away my power and my rights. What if they took years to finally get my book published? What if they decided that my book didn’t fit the popular genre they were trying to sell? What if they slapped a horrible cover on it and called it good? I just couldn’t handle all the What-Ifs. So, I’ve decided to take my book publishing into my own hands.

Self-Publishing, when done right and with the intent of selling to a large audience, is not easy. Not only do you have to write and edit a great book, but you have to handle the formatting, cover design, and marketing of that book as well. While it’s true that you can hire freelancers to help you with many steps of the process, I believe it is imperative for a self-published author to take the time to learn the different aspects of the publishing process and to become as skilled and knowledgeable in each niche as possible.

I’ve self-published in the past, and I’ll admit that I made quite a few mistakes. The cover design was childish, the interior formatting was sloppy, and I didn’t know the first thing about marketing. But now I’m diving headfirst into the self-publishing world, and I’m taking it more seriously than I ever did before. Here are the steps I’m taking to make sure my book is ready for its debut and doesn’t show up sloppy-drunk. Because that’s embarrassing.

 

1)      Write a book.


a.      Writing a book is hella-hard. Not only does it take time to sit down and write, but the emotional roller-coaster of writing a book is even bumpier than actually writing it. I’ve had to battle self-doubt all along the way, but the pride I feel after accomplishing a goal makes all the struggle worth it.

2)      Revise said book to make it a great book.


a.      First drafts suck. The character development falls flat, entire chapters have to be cut, and how did we get from a wild-western to a space-time-continuum-sci-fi? After writing the first draft, I take some time away from it to clear my head. But after that short break, I have to dive right back in to revising/editing. This means taking a serious look at the book as a whole. Is it complete? Are there plot holes? Can it keep a reader awake and intrigued? This takes a lot of serious thought and dedication. After all the book boo-boos have been bandaged up and are healing over, I have to do another run through for line edits, which include grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc.

3)      Send book to beta readers.


a.      Before the book hits the real world, it needs a test run. These beta readers need to be readers of my genre, and I like to get feedback on a few chapters from them before giving them the entire book. If I like the way they read and review my work, and feel that they can help me make it even stronger, then I’ll continue to work with them. But there’s nothing wrong with parting ways with a beta reader that you just don’t vibe with.

4)      Dress it up.


a.      Even a phenomenal book can strike out if it comes to the game not wearing its cleats. In other words, my book needs to look professional. This means a striking cover design and proper interior formatting. Thankfully I am well-versed in Photoshop, and even spent a few years doing photomanipulation commissions to make a bit of pocket-money. Before creating a design, I like to look through the bookstores and get ideas about other cover designs in my genre. I want the cover to communicate to readers what genre the book is, as well as grab their attention. I also have to make sure that I obey copyright laws if using stock images that I don’t own. Sometimes this means paying the owner for the right to use them commercially.

b.      Once the cover looks good, then I have to focus on the interior. This part is hard for me, and this time around I’m going to use CreateSpace’s interior formatter to make sure that all the pages look the best that they can look. This means formatting the pages so that they don’t get pinched in the center, and making sure all my chapter headings are properly centered on the page. This also means making sure that no random blank pages have found their way into the manuscript, because that was a problem I had with my first book.

5)      Market it!


a.      After all the writing and designing is finished, now it’s time to put on your business-hat. Self-publishers are entrepreneurs, so I have to be able to sell my work. This means planning giveaways, promotions, book trailers, special sales, and more. For my new book, Way of Spears, I have a marketing/promotion plan that I am adding to and using as my guide along the way. I’m also using my first book, High Born, as a means of advertising for my new book. I reformatted the interior to contain an image and advertisement for Way of Spears.

6)      Repeat.


a.      After all this is done and water under the bridge, it’s time to go back to step one and start on the next book. The more books I can write and sell, the better I’ll get at this entire process, and the more readers I’ll snag over time.

 

Overall, I think self-publishing is an exciting new way to get your work into the world, and I have loved learning along the way. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have; I love spreading the knowledge I’ve acquired over the past few years!
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