Tag Archives: indie publishing

Seeking CPs!

It took me years to find a core group of critique partners who I felt like I could really trust. It’s the closest experience I’ve ever had to online dating and the thought of having to relive all of those awkward introductions and “first dates” has led to me putting off finding new CPs altogether.

In the past few years most of my CPs have either gotten agents or the all elusive book deal, meaning they don’t have time to read for me anymore. Others have decided to take a break from writing and some even switched careers. And when it comes to the few CPs I can still rely on, I feel so guilty asking them to read something new from me every 6 months, which means that it’s probably time for me to meet some new people.

It feels like I’ve been out of the self-publishing world for a while, even though it was just last October that I published the last book in my paranormal romance series. Still, it’s been a long time since I was in a routine and drafting one manuscript while revising another. I miss that routine and I’m hopeful that the summer break will help me find my way back. And now that I know what to expect once the new school year starts, I can do a better job of avoiding burnout and staying committed to my creative practice.

Obviously, the title of this post says it all. I’m in the market for new critique partners and I’m open to other indies, traditionally published authors, or any advice on where I might find quality CPs.

A little about me, in case you just stumbled upon this blog by accident–>

*At this point in my self-publishing career my books have been downloaded over half a million times and I have a loyal readership that’s almost 4,000 strong.

*I tend to genre hop and write everything from historical fiction, to contemporary young adult, to paranormal romance.

When it comes to a critique partner, I’m not necessarily looking for someone with similar sales numbers. I remember what it was like to only sell a couple copies of my books a month and how hard it was to make connections with other writers who were more successful. Because of that, my main goal is to connect with CPs whose writing skills are equal to or better than my own. In other words, I want to connect with people who I can learn from and who will push me to become a better writer. Not only will I try to offer that as well but I will also be excited to introduce my CPs to my readers and hopefully grow their audience in the process.

There are excerpts of my novels all over this blog and the first book in my paranormal romance series is perma-free for those wanting to check out my writing quality and style. FYI, I’m currently working on a contemporary YA romance that I would love to get feedback on in June. If you think we’d be a good fit, feel free to email me at lzkbooks@gmail.com or on twitter @laekanzeakemp.

Let me know what genres you write in, what you’re currently working on, what you’re looking for in a critique partner, and what you think you can offer as a CP. A short writing sample will also be helpful, whether that’s personal writing on a blog or an excerpt from a novel. If I think we’d be a good match I’ll definitely be in touch! If you don’t hear from me, it will either be due to differences in quality/style or because I’ve already found what I’m looking for.

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WIP Wednesday

It’s August, which means that I am teetering on the edge of panic mode, which means that I will be traveling at lightning speed for the next…sixteen weeks. In two months I will be publishing my first novel in exactly one year and even though I’ve already accomplished so much in the past twelve months, suddenly it feels like there is still so much left to do.

Book 1 is OFFICIALLY DONE! YES! FINALLY! It has been copy edited and now all that’s left to do is format this baby, approve the final covert art, and hit publish! EEK! EEK again! That’s actually feigned excitement because the truth is, at this point I am completely numb. I’ve already written almost 400,000 words in this series and even though I know I’ll be nervous once I actually send the first book to reviewers, I also have this euphoric defiance about the whole thing and am too exhausted to care whether people hate it or not. But I’m sure this feeling is only temporary and as soon as the first reviews roll in I’ll either be crying with joy and relief or crying in absolute horror.

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The final read-through for book 2 feels like it has literally taken MONTHS and…I’m still not quite done. In fact, I’m only about half way, which is a sure sign that this past month I accidentally fell into some kind of wormhole where time works in reverse. But since August is all about reaching maximum speed and defying the laws of physics I will, I REPEAT, I WILL get this read-through finished by the end of next week and then it will be off for it’s final copy edit.

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I’ve had to push back edits for book 3 several times over the past two months but hopefully I’ll get notes back from my beta reader soon and I can get to work on the next draft. If all goes well I should have the fourth draft done by September and the fifth draft done by October, which means a late fall release date is still possible!

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As for the last book in the series, I’ve finally broken the 50K mark. Progress is still moving slow but the entire month of August will be devoted to getting this first (practically second) draft in good shape. I know what I want the finale to look and feel like but translating that is harder than I anticipated. But I can’t slack off on this one because I know once the first book is out in the world it will be way too easy to get distracted by sales (or lack-there-of) and reviews and book tours and everything else that goes along with publishing a novel. So this is it. I have to figure out a way to make it happen and I have to do it now before anyone else’s opinions can get in the way.

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Speaking of other people’s opinions, writing isn’t the only thing on my agenda this month. Now that I’m steadily approaching the publication date of my next novel there is so much to do! First things first, I’ve got to finalize the blurbs for the first two books, then I have to finalize the cover art, then I have to format the first two books for all the major online retailers, then I have to send out hundreds and hundreds of emails to bloggers begging them to read my book, followed by hours and days and, possibly, weeks of agonizing over their responses, and then I have to get promo and prizes ready for giveaways and interviews and teasers. And oh my gosh I totally forgot about teasers! This will mean one more quick skim of my favorite chapters before plucking out a few gems that have to be powerful enough to make people want to keep reading. And on top of all of that I have to stay focused on finishing the third book in the series as well as getting the fourth to a semi-okay place. And I have to do all of it blindfolded while juggling chainsaws!!!! Just kidding, but you get the idea. Basically what I’m trying to say is that August is make or break for me and I hope, with everything in me, that it’s the former.

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Indie Authors Quitting Their Day Jobs

I know I spent the majority of July blogging about the harsh reality of being an indie author but after exposing you to the awful truth, I thought I’d expose you  to another truth, this one sweeter and, believe or not, just as possible. I haven’t sold enough books to make writing my full-time gig just yet. In fact, on top of writing every day I also work sixty hours a week between my two jobs. It’s exhausting and I long for the day when I can give it all up and just live in my yoga pants in front of my laptop. But even though that might sound like a pipe dream coming from someone who has sold less than a hundred books in the past two years, the truth is it’s not. The truth is being a successful mid-list writer isn’t just attainable, but if I continue to put out quality books and build my readership one person at a time, it’s actually inevitable.

If you’re a follower of The Passive Voice then you’re probably already aware of their popular post, Indie Authors Quitting Their Day Jobs. It’s pretty infamous among aspiring and experienced writers alike because it’s a running list of indie writers who have had the pleasure of leaving the drudgery of nine to five behind. More than 500 comments have accumulated just in the past couple of months from indie authors who not only make a living wage from their writing but from writers who were able to pay off their mortgage, or bless their spouse with an early retirement, or build their dream home, or get out of debt all because they took a risk. Because they had the guts to publish their work on their own. Because they had the guts to believe in themselves.

I know I’ve often warned those new to self-publishing not to let their expectations get out of control or to craft a dream that relies more on luck than hard work but I also don’t want any of us to stop hoping. Because this is what can happen when we hope. When we believe in something so strongly that we’re willing to risk everything in order to make it happen. Not all of these indie authors are mega-rich. In fact, most of them don’t make much more than what’s required to pay their bills. But whether they’re selling thousands of copies a month or just a few hundred, these authors are still living the dream. Because they’re writing every day and no one is telling them what they should write about or how or when or to hurry or slow down or change this or change that. They are in control of their words and because they’ve stayed so true to them, they are in control of their lives.

Creative and financial freedom can go hand in hand, all it takes is a lot of drive and a lot of patience. For some of these authors it took years to build their readership, their backlists in the double digits before they finally started generating steady sales. For others it took even longer. But they kept going, hoping for success but never wishing for it. And then it happened. It can happen for us too. If we just keep writing, every single day, it can happen for us too.

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