Hope Walker 

  An Amazon Top 100 Author!  

Blog

First Timer!

Posted by walkersuspense on April 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I want to start this post by saying my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the bombing at the Boston Marathon, and the explosion at the fertilizer plant in Texas. My heart breaks for the families that have lost loved ones.

Today I finished my first draft for Marcie's Secret. It felt great to finish it! I've been writing three stories while my other three; Ink Slinger, Co-Dependent, and my love it or hate it short story, Grace's Secret, are already available. I've learned some from writing those first three and putting them out there. I hope that shows with the next three that are next in line; Marcie's Secret, Split, and my first young adult paranormal romance, Water Lilly.

I wanted this blog to be for those writers, or want-to-be-writers, the first timers. I'm still a first timer myself, but I've moved up just a half notch. I want to help those who are still in the "Should I write and publish or not?" stage. Maybe they have some of the same fears and questions I had. With that said, I have a few words of advice for the other 'First Timers.'

1. Do it. If you're thinking about doing it, just do it. Sit down and write your story. It's the first step. You can't go any further until you get your story on paper.

2. Make a friend. Make friends with another writer. It could be someone you know, or maybe it's a stranger. Reach out to them. You might be surprised at their willingness to help you.

3. Have patience. This is where I feel I failed. I was so eager to get my stories out there for everyone to download and read that I didn't take the time to learn many other important things, which I'm still learning. So have patience. Take your time.

4. Focus Groups/Beta Readers. Find a focus group of Beta readers. People who are willing to read your story and give you their honest opinion and recommendations. Take their advice when you can. This needs to be people with whom you’re not close to. Your best friend isn't going to be honest with you. They are going to be excited that you wrote a book and they were able to be a part of it. It's ok to use your friends and family, but you need to go beyond them. You can find many Beta readers via social media like Twitter and Facebook.

5. Read. If you're not already reading a ton of books, start now. Read everything and every type of book. You will find the style you enjoy reading, which will make writing your story more enjoyable. When you're reading, pay attention to how the writer describes EVERYHING, how they grabbed you from the beginning and made you wanting more in the end. How did they make that impression on you that lingers once you finish the story?

6. Hobby or Dollar Signs? Ask yourself honestly, are you in it for the joy of writing a story that YOU personally loved to write, or are you in it to get books out there to in bring money? I'm not saying either way is good or bad. Everyone is different. Here's what you need to know and be prepared for either way:

Hobby: Be prepared for people to hate, really hate your story. You need to know that there will be at least one person who will go out of their way to trash you and the story. They will make you feel bad about yourself, even stupid. It will hurt like hell. You will wish you could take it all back and never do it again.

If that happens, remember why you wrote the book in the first place. If you have one or two people who loved it as much as you did, then it makes it worth it. You wrote what you loved, you accomplished a feat many are frightened to even try. Be proud, be strong, and learn from it.

Money Maker: If you decided to toss a few stories out there to rake in the dough, you might be really disappointed. Research just how many independent writers and self-publishers are out there. The percentage of them making Stephen King status is slim. The percentage of your story being recognized from a no name to a big name off one book, is also slim.

However, if your smart, and do your research, and put in the time, I think it's possible to make a little money. If you find what readers are paying for again and again, and you have the time to read those books, write them to perfection, spend some advertising money and keep advertising, you might be able to bring in a monthly Ca-Ching. That could be anywhere from $10 a month to $1,000's a month. That depends on your talent and time. Let's not forget, it takes a little bit of luck too.

7. Self-Publishing? If you go the route of self, online publishing, as I did, be prepared to read the tools each online publishing company gives you. It's critical to read through them and follow their guidelines. Each is different. Uploading your finished book to Smashwords has to be formatted differently than uploading to Amazon. Know who you are uploading your book to, and follow their rules.

8. Read your favorite author's bogs. The way I keep learning is by reading other writer's blogs. I love to find my favorite authors blogs and skim through them. They have a lot of free helpful advice.

I hope the above advice helps you in your endeavor to become a self-published writer if that is indeed the way you want to go. I still have a lot to learn myself.

Hope Walker

Grace's Secret Response

Posted by walkersuspense on January 18, 2013 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (3)

I have had an overwhelming response to one of my very first published short stories, Grace's Secret. The response while mostly positive, has also had its fair share of dislikes, mostly due to the length of the story. Since this is all new to me, and I'm learning as I go along, I welcome all of the comments I have been receiving, even though sometimes they sting. Hearing bad reviews will be something every good writer has to learn to deal with.

I felt I needed my blog this week to be about my response to Grace's Secret; how it came about, what I'm learning from writing and publishing it, and what I am doing to take what I've learned.

Back in late summer, 2012, I began helping someone with their books. Simply just being a beta reader. Writing had always been a passion of mine, but I never knew how to go about getting started. With encouragement and mentorship, I began writing Ink Slinger which was to be my first published novel. However, it fell short a few thousand words to be considered a full length novel and I was ok with that for my first time around at this. Many successful books are novellas.

With guidance from an amazing support team, I made the decision to publish 2 short stories before releasing Ink Slinger. I was on a deadline to get Ink Slinger out before Christmas, and I wanted my short stories to be out there well in advance. I also wanted to have my short stories free to everyone. That was also another learning curve. I found that many of the sites you self publish your ebooks on, will not allow you to list your books for free with them unless you list exclusively with them. I didn't want to list exclusivley to only one ereader device, so I went another route. Which, I found I will also go about another way for my next books as well.

I actually wrote Co-Dependent before Grace's Secret, then I quickly had the idea of Grace's Secret and I put it in writing. I felt it could have been a bigger story as all of my readers felt as well. I was in a hurry to just get something out there. Another mistake of mine, which I have learned from.

I had not anticipated that it would take off the way it has. It has been on Amazon's Top 100 Free Thriller/Suspense category list for a few weeks now, and has stayed in the Top 20, Top 10 for most of that time. I am thrilled as I was not expecting that, but there's a nagging at me that I left it unfinished. I knew writing a short story would be difficult for me, as I always seem to be the one to write too much. When I wrote it, I was relieved that I had accomplished writing a short story that I believe to be a fantastic start. But that nagging sensation never left me, and with every review that says they wished it had been longer, I feel their disappointment along with mine.

So with that, I want everyone to know that has read Grace's Secret, felt let down because of the length, wanting more, that I hear you. I'm with you! I am trying to find my place in this publishing world, and I will make mistakes along the way. Those mistakes will hopefully make me a better writer and will give YOU, my readers, what YOU want and what I want to write for YOU.

I am happy to announce that I am currently working on my first full length novel. It will be in the category of erotica/thriller. I don't want to give out any details other than if you truly liked Grace's Secret, and just wished it was longer, then you wont want to miss reading this next story. Perhaps a prequel to Grace's Secret, maybe a sequel, or a start to a series? You will have to stick around to find out.

If you like the horror type stories, like Ink Slinger and Co-Dependent, I am also working on another story for that category as well.

Thank you again for taking the time to read my stories and more importantly for helping me improve.

Happy Reading,

Hope Walker

2012 Ended with a Bang!

Posted by walkersuspense on January 3, 2013 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (1)

Happy New Year to all of you. I hope you had a blessed and safe evening and are looking forward to 2013.

I am keeping with my resolution from last year and will be bumping it up a notch. Last year was the year of ME. I had to learn to do things for myself and not just for others all of the time. We have a tendency to do that. Usually the result is a less attractive, less healthy version of ourselves, and even unhappy too.

So last year I decided I would do more things for myself. It paid off too! This is how my end of 2012 looked:

1. I lost 50 lbs.

2. I learned to become a runner, AND enjoy it!

3. I ran my first 5K.

4. I wrote AND published a couple of stories.

5. I ended up on Amazon's Top 100 Best Selling Thriller's list.

See all of those I's.... The wonderful happening of all those I's also resulted in a happier me which made it better for everyone around me! :D So even though it was the year of ME, it trickled down to my family and friends as well.

So 2013 will be more of the same. I will continue to lose weight, and hopefully in time for my 20-year class reunion. Continue with my running and enter a few more 5K's. I want to write my first full length Novel this year. I would like to see Ink Slinger make the Top 100 list just as Grace's Secret has.

With it all about ME, I can't deny that a lot of MY accomplishments wouldn't have happened without all of YOU! So with that, I THANK YOU ALL for your support and continue support!

Have a Very Blessed 2013!

Hope Walker