Getting closer to launch!

I’m SUPER excited as it’s getting closer to my eBook launch time for my new eBook, The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes! My amazing graphic designer, Christine Dupre, finished the cover and did a BEAUTIFUL job!

I took an informal vote on Facebook and the cover below won the most votes. What do you think of it?

The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes Design by Christine Dupre Copyright 2015 Beth Jones www.BethJones.net
The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes
Design by Christine Dupre
Copyright 2015 Beth Jones www.BethJones.net

I’m using the other cover option Christine designed for my next eBook in this series called The Cinderella Story: The Power of Dreams. It was so hard to choose between the two, as they are so amazing and the vote was close. So I’m using BOTH!

The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes Design by Christine Dupre Copyright 2015 Beth Jones www.BethJones.net
Cover for my next eBook
The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes
Design by Christine Dupre
Copyright 2015 Beth Jones www.BethJones.net

My editor/formatter, Hanne Moon with Heritage Press Publications, has my manuscript. She’s waiting on the efile from the converter and it’s being converted into an eBook now and in mobi format for KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) on Amazon. You can independently publish on KDP to reach potentially millions of readers!

This is one of the fastest books I’ve ever written. I wrote it in 4 days!

Although I already had a lot of content from my signature talk with the same  name, I had to do research, find Scriptures, write more and pull it all together. I didn’t think I could write it that fast, but God helped me and I did it! Woot!

My writing/business coach, Shelley Hitz
My writing/business coach, Shelley Hitz

I’m in my writing/business coach Shelley Hitz‘s Author Audience Academy 3-month writers’ training, and she has motivated us to write our books quickly.

Shelley is a successful Christian speaker/author, who’s written over 35 books and her husband CJ has written books. She said together, they earn enough in royalties for their eBooks on Amazon to pay their basic bills! You can find her books at Amazon here.

Shelley did say during the summer, sales tend to slow down so she has other income streams, such as speaking and coaching. But when I heard she had this much success from eBooks on Amazon, I knew she was onto something and that I had to take her training! And I LOVE it! She’s an amazing instructor and coach.

Some of the other students in Shelley’s training program already have their eBooks live on Amazon, such as Lucille Zimmerman’s What Does God Say About Suffering, Ruth Snyder’s Learn Twitter: 10 Beginning Steps, and Mel Edwards’ The Bold Way: Find, Claim, Live Your Truth.

I can’t wait for mine to go live to share it with you! I’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready!

What favorite books/eBooks are you reading right now? Leave your comments below.

 

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How to write a book (or how I wrote mine)

Woman reading book
Woman reading book

Recently a student from my Just Write! Virtual Summer Bootcamp asked me how I write my books…do I have a disciplined writing schedule, or do I just write when inspired by The Muse? (I believe The Muse is God!)

I told her that while I believe writers should have some kind of consistent schedule, the way I’ve written most of my 7 books is that I will suddenly feel inspired, and compelled, to write ~ I sit down and write for literally hours. When I’m finished, I feel spent and accomplished. 

While writing like mad, I often forget to eat or drink, something that is REALLY bad for your health, and which I told my Writers’ Bootcamp students NOT to do – “You need to take care of yourself.” It’s a disclaimer to help protect them,..even if I don’t follow my own advice in this. I’m trying to get better at it!

Do you have a writing schedule? Or do you write when inspired?

This is how I wrote Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love:

1. God spoke to me in His still, small voice the word promises. I began noticing the word reading the Bible, and began studying in the Bible about God’s promises and His faithfulness. 

2. I bought the graphic for the front cover. I saw the intriguing picture that is on the front cover of my book at Istock.com. I was immediately drawn to it and knew I had to have it for a book cover, and bought it. God gave me the title for the book when I bought this graphic. 

Promises In The Dark: One Woman's Search for Authentic Love
Promises In The Dark: One Woman’s Search
for Authentic Love by Beth Jones

Later, I had my fab graphic designer Christine Dupre´ create the amazing front cover. She also designed the back cover and spine. The graphic would motivate at me times to keep writing. I wanted to see that beautiful pic on a book cover!

3. I entitled the chapters first – just one word for each chapter. For example, Abuse. Abortion. Adultery. Later, I added subheadings to the chapter titles, relating to Cinderella.

I’ve developed a system for my books now. For each chapter, I add either a Scripture or an intriguing quote just under the chapter title.

With previous books, I’ve created the chapter title after I write the book. Some writers outline each chapter (a paragraph to a page) before writing the chapter. I don’t do this.

4. I write. Sounds silly, but you have to write to write a book! Perfectionism and procrastination are often what trips you up and keeps you from writing a book. The getting started – and the finishing – are the hard parts.

Usually if I just make myself sit down and start writing, the words flow. Most of my books have taken several months to write. This book took me about a year to write.

It was the hardest book I’ve ever written, as it contains very personal info about me. The book is my memoir, but it’s much more than that. It’s about God’s faithful promises.  I shared about how hard it was to write on Dr. Rochelle Valasek’s and Minister Sophenia Wade’s show, Testimony Tuesday.

I did extensive research for this book, that includes 178 footnotes and other resources in the back. The book has been described as “heavy” and “meat” in content (it’s not a children’s story!), but also as “riveting, powerful, raw.”

I didn’t write Promises In The Dark in order of the chapters. This is something I stressed to the students in my writing bootcamp. You can write the last chapter first, like Margaret Mitchell did when writing Gone With The Wind.

You can start in the middle. Or if you are someone who has to have all your ducks in a row, you can write the chapters in order. Chapter 1. Chapter 2. Chapter 3, and so on. Just write.

ducks
ducks

You’re going to be distracted as you write. It’s like when you decide to spend some time with God -praying, reading the Bible, or worshipping. Suddenly all hell breaks loose. The doorbell dings, a friend you haven’t heard from in years calls, your family bangs on the door for ridiculous things, you have an urge to organize or paint your office, you need to play Candy Crush (I actually don’t play Facebook games at all, but my friends do).

The devil doesn’t want you praying. And he doesn’t want you writing, either, if God has called you to write.

Deal with the distractions as best as you can – and keep writing. Here’s some tips to not get distracted.

Jeff Goins has 3 tips for distraction-free writing:

  • Don’t edit while you write.
  • Don’t format text.
  • Don’t stop until you get to the end.

 5. I edited and rewrote. Edited and rewrote again. Then my professional, awesome formatter Hanne Moon at Heritage Press did multiple edits before we went to print. 

One of my writer friends planning to write 2 books was surprised and dismayed to find out she’d have to edit and re-write. “You mean after I write the book, I have to write more?” I laughed. YES!

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway

Good writing doesn’t happen by itself or happen naturally. Good writing is hard work. Less is more. Writing must be tight. Concise. Lean and strong, no excess fat, as Stephen King says.

Prime rib meat
Prime rib meat

6. I decided which POD (Print On Demand) company to use for my print book – Heritage Press. Hanne Moon rocks. She also helped me to upload my Ebook to sell on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

7. I made NY Times #1 Best Seller and raked in the millions. Just kidding. (We all dream of this as writers, right?!) What I am doing is continuing to market the book. Marketing is the hardest part! (You didn’t want to hear that, did you? You thought writing was the hardest part!)

As speakers and writers, it’s our responsibility to let others know what we offer to help them.

I believe this book has a valuable message. The world promises us so many things ~ and often leaves us empty, and many times filled with regret. God’s promises are for real and forever. You can count on Him and His faithful promises. 

You can get the book by clicking here. Please share with your family and friends. 

If you haven’t started writing your book, start today! If you have any questions, email me at elizabethdjones@gmail.com. Please leave your comments below on your thoughts on writing. 

Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.” ~ Ray Bradbury, WD

 

 

 

 

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Authors Anonymous movie review

 

art-woman writing
art-woman writing

This post contains spoilers.

Speakers and writers are a different breed of people from the rest of the human race, and the very stereotyped yet funny movie Authors Anonymous captured a glimpse of that. Yes, it was stupid and predictable in parts, but I’ve already watched it twice (once with Ray, who dryly said, “Yes, it’s sort of amusing. I can see why you like it.”)

Being a non-traditionally-published author of several books, I objected but still laughed at the way this film poked enormous fun at struggling writers and the self-publishing industry, such as Danny Farina playing a tough war veteran, Tom Clancy-wannabe, getting his book self-published through U R The Publisher.

His botched printed book had a dog graphic on the cover instead of a lion, for his book Roaring Lion – and the back cover copy was erroneously in the Chinese language instead of English.

But self-publishing is changing the face of publishing. Writer, novelist and journalist Marcia Coffey Turnquist writes that most sources say if self-published books aren’t outselling the traditionally published already, they will very soon – and personally, she bets that it’s already happened. What do you think? 

 Rejection as a new writer/author

In Dennis Farina’s role as John K. Butzin (he says his own name a lot throughout the movie), he reeks of the pride of amateur writers who think more of themselves than they ought (Romans 12:3, NLV)…but when he has his first book signing at a hardware store, with no one buying his book and looking so deflated and rejected, I felt so sorry for him! 

I think many new writers can relate to these moments of rejection when you’re first starting out. Rejection letters from agents, editors, and publishers. No one or very few showing up at book signings. Sales barely trickling in after a much-anticipated, exciting book launch. Yet John K. Butzin’s strong trait is that he doesn’t quit and he believes in his book (even if he is delusional about his “success”). I envisioned him eventually succeeding from his sheer determination!

Opportunities falling into your lap

This movie combined 2 things I love: writing and a chic flic. The movie is really a love story between Fitzgerald enthusiast/pizza delivery guy Henry Obert (Chris Klein) who’s crushing on Hannah Rinaldi (Kaylee Cuoco-Sweeting), disguised in a plot about a writer’s group of wanna-be-published-authors, who critique each other’s writing.

 

Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting and husband Ryan
Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting and husband Ryan

The newbie writer to the group Hannah (Kaylee Cuoco-Sweeting, the hot, blonde woman who Ray immediately recognized as the star of The Big Bang Theory) stars as an airhead writer who’s never even heard of Jane Austen ~ and who, of course, gets a fantastic agent right away, her book published immediately, and movie deal interests out of it. The opportunities just fall right into her lap, while the other writers struggle with even writing and get doors to publishing slammed shut in their faces. Ugh.

Yet in real life, sometimes it really does seem this way, doesn’t it? Someone in the right place at the right time…sometimes it is “in who you know.”

It’s just too much when Hannah/Kaylee is sitting cross-legged on her bed in her cute pj’s in her new stylish glasses, her hair fashionably up in a ponytail/bun, eating a banana, and writing her first- book/immediate best-seller on her laptop, with the Apple logo prominently shining on the back. I wanted to scream.

“What’s too much?” Ray asked when I said it aloud, groaning. This perfection, of course, is how I am supposed to look when I write. (Eyes roll.)

In real life, Kaylee is just as annoyingly perfect: she was homeschooled and earned her high school degree at 16, she was a nationally-ranked, amateur tennis player before she acted, she has rescued dogs, she’s a vegetarian, and her last name means “cook” in Italian. No wonder Ray likes her!

 

envy
envy

Writer’s envy/jealousy

The rest of the writer’s group struggle with writer’s envy and jealousy, and aren’t great at hiding it. Big fake smiles break across their faces as Hannah announces, coming in late to group, that she has an agent and is being published. They cheer, with their writing group’s motto being the 3 Muskateers’ motto, all for one and one for all.

They break out the champagne to celebrate her victory, and then John K. Butzin loudly and proudly announces that his manuscript Roaring Lion is being looked at by an editor right then. More champagne. The competition…oh yes, we all feel that and do that sometimes, try as we might not to.

As everyone leaves the restaurant, the writing group leader Alan Mooney (Dylan Walsh) and Colette Mooney (Teri Polo) agree that Hannah must have slept with her agent. Self-comfort for their own, unpublished – and obviously crappy – writing.

Writer’s (and speakers’) envy/jealousy is very real. You want to be happy for your friend, you really do. But as she or he tells you all humble that her book is actually being published, and isn’t God good, a terrible, selfish pain slashes through your petty, black heart: “What about me? I’m not a real writer! I’m a failure! And besides, I thought my book was better than hers!”

Yes, it’s ugly. But we can’t pretend we don’t envy or feel jealousy. What we need to do, when those dark feelings come to the surface, is rise above when you are slammed by another’s success, as Robin Black writes in The Green-Eyed Writer: On Literary Envy. Remind yourself that her success takes nothing away from you.

I was glad this movie showed how real writer’s envy/jealousy is. And how some writers can be self-serving, like the character William Bruce (Jonathan Bennett), who wants to walk in Charles Bukowski’s shoes and leeches money off the group members.

I had to google Bukowski on Wikipedia because I’d never heard of him before. He wrote about his home city of Los Angeles, addressing the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women, and the drudgery of work.

 

woman-writingYour writing space and writing dreams

 The movie setting is in Los Angeles. You sense the modern flavor of the city throughout the movie, from the gluten-free care basket that Colette brought Hannah to Colette’s new-age guru that Colette asked to cleanse the “icky rejection” in the air in her “inspirational” writing space (which is hilariously noisy, from loud construction nearby and a barking dog. I so related to this part, when I try to sit down and work and there’s so many distractions!).

One of the funniest characters in this movie was Alan Mooney (Dylan Walsh). He created and is the writer’s group leader, and everyone must adhere to the function of the group. Alan is an eye doctor and goes around with a recorder to capture his great writing ideas – his novel’s character names like “Banjo” and a dog named “Woof.”

I’ve encouraged my coaching clients to record their ideas for writing a book, especially if they have trouble with the physical part of writing: you can always hire a transcriptionist to actually write it (type it) for you.

I felt the movie brilliantly captured creative writers who talk about writing a book and are always getting inspired ideas, but procrastinate and never write it.

Alan says his wife Colette is his dream – and she winds up crushing those dreams. That is very real life, too, isn’t it? 

But I believe in my heart that God wants our dreams to come true, and He will help us to achieve them with hard work and if we don’t give up!

While the movie didn’t end the way I wanted (I won’t spoil this part!), it did have a satisfying ending. Yes, the movie is silly, greatly exaggerates writers’ struggles and writing success (although sometimes it happens the way it did to Hannah and Henry), and I don’t advise it for families since there’s some crude language in it.

But overall, I give it a 2 thumbs up and will probably watch it again for laughs. I recommend it especially for writers. 

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