What I Would Tell a New Author by K.A. Gandy – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. K. A. Gandy will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What I Would Tell a New Author

What would I tell a new author . . . Man, so many small things!

If you haven’t finished the book yet . . . Don’t worry about the rest right now. Until you have a manuscript, complete, everything else is imaginary. The book has to be the foundation of all the rest. One good, strong book can do a lot. So, don’t stress about being a social media queen, having a ten-thousand-reader newsletter, or knowing every hot marketing tip. First, you need to focus on writing the very best book you can.

How do you do that? By reading, a lot. Some people pick up craft books, some people pick up best sellers, and some people just read for the sheer joy of it. None of those people are wrong; do what feels natural to YOU. Absorb well-written words, look for advice on the things you struggle with. But know in the end, you’re going to hire a high-quality, friendly editor to help you take your manuscript to the next level. Your job is to get the bones right. A story that captures imaginations, that sucks you in so thoroughly, people feel like they’re living it.

Focus on that, and you can learn the rest.

If you’re getting ready to publish your first novel . . . Deep breaths! You probably won’t get it all done, that’s just a fact of life. As an author and indie publisher, the list literally has no bottom, because there is always something more you “could” do. Your job is no longer to be an artiste, it’s now to be a shrewd business person. Publishing hat is different than writing hat. So, how do you know what to focus on, and what to cut? I’m so glad you asked.

What is your goal for this book? Have you actually sat down and thought about what you want from the publication of this novel? Because if you haven’t, you need to stop right now and think about it. What you want drives what you need to do to get there.

Okay, I’m going to assume you took me seriously and decided what you want. If it’s to indie publish, well, read on! If it’s to find an agent and trad pub, there are tons of resources online from people more knowledgeable than I.

First things first, you need the highest quality book you can reasonably afford to produce. Don’t go into debt. Don’t not put gas in your car that you need to get to your day job. But, set a reasonable budget range, and then shop for editors. Ask for some sample pages and see if you click with anyone. My editor gets my sense of humor, she enjoys my “heat” level, and she knows her grammar like the back of her hand. There’s more to a good editor match than just their ability to follow the Chicago Manual of Style; they have to get you. Otherwise, you’ll spend the whole novel trying to put your voice back into it, when they try to edit it in a way that doesn’t fit your nuances. This isn’t a flaw in either of you; it’s a mismatch.

Once the editor has been found and is working, it’s time to think about covers. Some people would put this first, and you absolutely can. But I think they can run well simultaneously, and either professional (cover artist or editor) could have the longer lead time. What genre of book have you written? Write it down. What niche does it fit inside of that broad genre? If you’re not sure, go open up Amazon, and go into the kindle store. Open up the categories, find your genre, and then start digging down. And down, and down, and down, until you can’t go farther and still say an unequivocal, “Yes,” this fits my book.” Now, what do the covers look like for those books? Yours needs to look like it belongs among them. Not identical, not so far out into left field that you can’t tell what the heck it is, but like it belongs. Your book needs to be one of the cool kids. If it’s a thriller, I should be able to tell at a hundred yards. Romance? Mystery? Those genres all have genre expectations that guide the right readers to you. Study this until you know what to tell your designer, and then find someone who already designs books in your genre.

Once you have a well-edited, well-covered book, the rest is up to you. Don’t rush it, but don’t be afraid to take the leap. You’ve worked too hard to keep your work in a drawer. You need some form of marketing plan, but how extensive it is depends on your goal. Are you going to work with local bookstores, or online advertising? Are you a social media maven? Use that skill! Whatever’s in your personal tool box, that’s where you start.

The end, well . . . I don’t believe we ever get there. Because once you start writing, you’re probably not going to want to stop.

On the run from the men who murdered her parents, there’s only one way to save herself. Marriage to a genetically-matched stranger.

Demy has been on the run since she was thirteen years old. Mysterious men in black cloaks have been chasing her, and so far she’s evaded them. Something, though, has changed since she turned eighteen. Their attempts to capture her have gotten closer and closer, until she’s only got one option left: turning herself over to the NLC, for the compulsory marriage program.

She doesn’t want to get married, but with her would-be captors on her heels, she’s got no choice but to hope the NLC’s strict security protocols will be a safe haven. Marriage is a small price to pay for her life, after all. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll finally have the space to discover why she’s being hunted.

Marked is a new entry point in the Populations Crumble world, but many familiar characters will be present from the original trilogy.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The man in black found me yesterday. I was able to slip away for the night, but he’s getting closer. It’s awful timing, him cropping up right now—as I’m only two blocks from the bus stop—but I just caught a glimpse of his hood again. For the last five years, whenever one of them catches my trail, I lie low until they lose my tracks, and then hop the next bus or train out of town and hit the farthest tri-state I can afford the fare to.

Simple. Clean. Safe.

Unfortunately, that’s not an option right now. I have to be at the bus stop at three p.m. The shuttle only comes once a quarter, and I’m not going to make it another three months. I look down at my banged-up watch and see there are only fifteen minutes left. Making a split-second decision, I take a hard left into the alley in front of me, and duck into the side entrance of a smoke-filled bar. As soon as the door shuts behind me, I dash into the bathroom—a single stall, thankfully—and slide the bolt home.

I don’t know what’s changed since I turned eighteen, but I haven’t made it a full month since without one of them finding me, and it’s freaking frustrating. What’s changed? I honestly don’t know. But after five months, I’m out of cash and out of options. I can’t keep a job long enough to build up my cash cushion without getting busted again.

Which is why I finally pulled my last-resort card and contacted the NLC about getting matched.

Yes, I technically have six months left before the deadline to meet my genetic match and start popping out babies, but I don’t have six more months of running in me. And I refuse to be caught.

About the Author:K. A. Gandy was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, and is married with two kids. She has worked as a restaurant hostess, library book shelver, ranch hand, tour guide, Realtor, tech whiz, landlord, and small business consultant, all in addition to pursuing her passion of writing. She likes to write late in the evenings and thinks drinking hot tea and baking great cookies fuels hopes and dreams. If you would like to find more of her works, you can sign up for her newsletter. at . You can also get updates on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/KAGandyAuthor. I’ve also recently started a facebook group for readers, who enjoy YA Dystopian books, and am available by email at kagandyauthor@gmail.com as well, if you’d ever like to drop me a line directly!

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