There is nothing I enjoy more over the holidays than curling up with a warm blanket and a hot new read. I may be on a social media hiatus but it’s mostly so I can make some kind of progress with my massive TBR. The books listed below are my December/Holiday reads so far. Not all of them were my faves but most are worth the read. Maybe a few will end up in your TBR.
*All links provided are Amazon Associate Links.
December has been a blast and I can’t wait to tackle more of my TBR. You can keep track of most my reading by following me on Goodreads!
Peace, Love and Happy Reading!
NaNoWriMo has officially begun!
I wish I could say that I totally rocked this weekends word count. I didn’t. This weekend I had several prior engagements that seriously cut into my writing time. That doesn’t mean I didn’t get any writing done. I just wasn’t able to put up the same spectacular first weekend numbers I did last year.
In fact, I didn’t even break 1,000 words for the entire weekend. That leaves me with some serious catching up to do this week. So remember to check back in next Monday to see if this coming week is more productive and if you haven’t already, check Out the Serpentine Creative Youtube Channel for video updates and virtual write ins with yours truly!
First Weekend Word Count: 813 words
Peace, Love, and Happy Writing!
Yes! I am participating in NaNoWriMo again this year. I had an amazing and fun experience last year and at the end of it all I had one of my best received novels 90% complete. If you are a writer in need of a good kick in the pants when it comes to productivity, NaNoWriMo just may be the experience for you.
This year I will be tackling Book 3 of my Secret of Ceres novel and paying a lot less attention to all the social media hubbub that comes along with my favorite writing month. It was a hard choice for me to say no to all the fun WriMo tags this year but a necessary one. I really want to focus on my writing and while on my NaNo page I have set the more realistic goal of 50K words, I am actually shooting for a full 70K this year. Before you ask, no. I do not plan on doing any pre writing. I have worked on a very loose outline because this book is part of a series, and an outline of some sort is necessary to ensuring I am on topic with the rest of the series.
So stay tuned in Creative Types! I will be updating you with my progress weekly, just like last time. Feel free to drop your NaNo updates in the comment section below! Peace, Love, and Happy Writing!
– Stella Williams
I, Stella Williams, am a novel novice.
I admit it.
I accept it.
I embrace it.
I don’t think I ever want to feel like I am no longer a beginner
like I have nothing left to learn
nothing left to accomplish
No goal or milestone to reach.
I am a novel novice
in word count
I am a novel novice
I am a novice as long as I have the hunger
The drive to do better, be better, be the best
I am a Novel Novice till the day I am laid to rest
I attended the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association Conference in Seattle this year and this is just a summary of my takeaways from the first day of the event.
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It is far too early but since I didn't want to drive I am up before 4am 😅 PNWA Conference here I come! #professionaldevelopmemt #writerslifeforme #catchingflights #conferenceseason #writersofig #writelife #writecraft #networking #becauseofreading #booksarelove #booknerds #bookstagram #stellawilliamsauthor
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Writing a Screenplay by Kim Hornsby
Branding by Steena Holmes
Pitchfest- Fiction with Author Mentor Kim Hornsby
That’s what I got from day one. It was highly informative but at the same time it was still just an introductory to what was to come on day two of the conference. I was super hyped this first day and I got a lot of positive feedback because of it.
I know what you are thinking, summer isn’t quite over yet. Still now is the time to reflect on the goals I set out to accomplish this summer and see what still needs a mad dash to get accomplished. If you follow the Serpentine Creative Channel on YouTube you have probably seen my videos about the Hot and Sticky turned Serpentine Summer Writing Challenge. I gave myself three whole months to accomplish a modestly ambitious (is that a a thing?) set of tasks.
So here is the update on my Serpentine Summer Goals!
I may not have gotten everything on my list accomplished but I feel pretty good with where I am. I may have bitten off a little more than I could chew but these past three months have been nonstop fun for the Serpentine Creative Camp.
We participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, hit up a couple of local bookstores to do signings during Bookstore Romance Day, rocked an Instagram challenge, hosted giveaways, and kept you entertained and informed on our blog and YouTube Channel.
Thank you so much for your continued support of Serpentine Creative and Stella Williams! Let’s rock out this Fall together and see what magic happens next!
Today’s post is not only informative but a bit of a rant about the rampant false marketing of books in today’s market.
One of the first steps in marketing your books is to determine your genre and target audience. Take a good look at your novel and ask yourself these questions. I will be answering these questions for my novel Ferocious as an example.
What tropes and themes are prominent in your work?
What genre fits your novel best based on these tropes?
Are there any secondary genres or niche genres that your work fits into?
Who is your Target Readership?
Now that I have a general idea of my readership, I can look into promoting to those particular groups. That being said there are a few caveats that lend to the rant portion of this article.
Say you are a Non POC who wrote a book that contains a main character of color. Should you market your book in categories specific to that ethnic group? The answer here is complicated. A lot of ethnicity or race specific promotion groups prefer #ownvoices work. Not saying you can’t promote there but don’t be surprised if your work is warmly welcomed into those spaces.
Be mindful that just because your book has one character of color does not make your book of interest to readers of that ethnicity.
I have seen an increase in Non-POC authors including a character of color into their books in order to appear more “diverse” in their writing. Not only that but using said character to promote their work as of interest to POC communities (ie BookBubs African-American Interest category). As a reader I can tell you that most of us aren’t going to be fooled by this. In fact it will more than likely get you slammed on twitter and in reviews than be of any benefit to do so.
These promotion opportunities were created in response to the call for minority representation in the literary world and the #ownvoices movement. You have every right to market as you see fit, its your product and your money but if you are truly an ally to diversity, think twice before taking space in spaces not intended for you.
If you can’t wrap your head around that, think of it this way. My book features magic users. There magic is a part of their spiritual beliefs. With that being said I could market my novel to christian and religious romance readers because my book thinly references spirituality. Would I be wrong to do so? Heck yes! There is literally nothing else about my books that fits that category and would be a waste of my time and lead to pretty poor reviews by the few religious romance readers who chose to read my book because of said promotion.
I say all this to say, know your audience and avoid making the same pitfalls as other authors who chose to reach in the wrong places just for a few sales.
I have chosen the novel I want to turn into an audiobook! So, what now? Do I jump right in and start recording? I think not. Now is the time for me to start researching. Much like writing a novel, in order to avoid copious amounts of time editing and fixing past mistakes, you need to have a solid foundation or plan to start.
First, I researched which platform I wanted to use to publish my audiobook. There are several out there including ACX and Findaway Voices. Both give you the option of uploading your own recordings or finding a narrator and producer to create the audiobook for either a royalty share or per hour fee. From a casually glance Findaway voices seems to have more reasonable rates than narrators and producers on ACX but other than that I don’t see much difference in each platform. Since I am opting to record for myself, I am cutting out the narrating and production fees altogether.
I am going to use ACX. Mostly because I am familiar with their process from my first attempt at creating my own audiobook. Second, because I just don’t feel like learning another system. I know that is terrible of me but I have a limited amount of “quiet time” to get my work done so using the familiar is a benefit for me. With my platform chosen I can now look up what their requirements and recommendations are for creating an audiobook.
Your audiobook must meet certain requirements to be submitted:
Consistent in overall sound and formatting.
Audiobook must be comprised of all mono, or all stereo files.
Audiobook must include opening and closing credits (in separate tracks).
Audiobook must be narrated by a human; text-to-speech recordings are not allowed.
Each uploaded file must contain only one chapter or section.
Each uploaded file must be no longer than 120 minutes.
Each uploaded file must contain a section or chapter announcement at the beginning of the audio file.
Each uploaded file must have between 0.5 and 1 second of room tone at the head, and between 3 and 5 seconds of room tone at the tail of each track.
Each uploaded file must be free of extraneous sounds such as plosives, mic pops, mouse clicks, excessive mouth noise, and outtakes.
Each uploaded file must measure between -23dB and -18dB RMS.
Each uploaded file must have peak values no higher than -3dB.
Each uploaded file must have a noise floor no higher than -60dB RMS.
Each uploaded file must be 192 kbps or higher MP3, Constant Bit Rate (CBR).
Each uploaded file must be 44.1 kHz.
Each uploaded file must be no larger than 170MB.
I know that sounds like crazy a lot. Especially if you aren’t familiar with audio recording. Thankfully, ACX has an audiobook academy to help you ensure you meet all the criteria. I highly suggest checking that out before starting your recording. It will definitely save you some headaches later.
This is the point where you will probably start to freak out and think about shelling out the dough for someone else to do the work. That is perfectly okay and totally your choice. I, however, am determined to do this on my own. So now that I have an idea of what it required by the publishing platforms I can start looking at what equipment, software, and other things are required for producing a quality audiobook.