Category Archives: Writing Advice

Author Interview: Amie Irene Winters

Name: Amie Irene Winters
Latest Release: A Darling Secret
Genre: YA Fantasy
Contact: ??Website form?? ?? ?? ?? ??

1. How long have you been writing?

Since I could hold a pen.??Creative writing was my favorite subject in grade school. I remember my math tutor rewarded me for completing problems with creative writing exercises. One of my favorite prompts was: ???If you were a princess fairy on a shopping spree, what would you buy???? I still have the paper with my drawing and story. It???s funny looking back at it now. In the story I bought a magic wand which could grant me wishes. I wished for what every little girl wants ??? ???a huge bowl of ice cream???. Ha ha! ??I think my tutor???s technique was certainly effective. Creative writing is still one of my favorite things to do.😊??

2. What kind(s) of writing do you do?

I primarily write young adult fantasy. I love creating fantastical worlds and magical scenarios where anything is possible. My next book will be a standalone psychological fiction.

3. What are your goals as a writer, both small and large?

To inspire others, to continue growing and improving as a writer, and to keep writing more books.

4. What inspires you?

Discovering unexpected magic in everyday life.

5. Have you ever fallen in love with a character? Tell us about this romance.

I???ve never fallen in love with a literary character, but I???ve certainly found myself intrigued by some. Who doesn???t want to be swept off their feet by Westley from The Princess Bride? *swoon.

6. How do you find or make time to write?

Organization is key. Each week I write out my schedule and make sure that I plan for adequate time to sit down and write. Sometimes things come up and I can???t write, which is frustrating. ???? Over the years though, I???ve learned that forcing writing when I???m frustrated or crunched for time only adds to my stress. ??

7. Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.

Both. When I first started writing, I thought I needed to be a ???plotter??? and followed tedious guidelines and wrote everything out. Not only did I felt trapped, my creativity suffered. There were a lot of missed opportunities for my characters to do something unexpected, or for usual twists into the story. After A LOT of trial and error, I realized I???m a ???panster.??? In other words, I fly by the seat of my pants when I write. ??

My writing process involves the following: Come up with a general story concept and then create as I go. For example, in??Strange Luck,??the concept was creating a world built using stolen memories. When I started writing the book, I had no sense of how my characters were going to get there, but that was part of the fun. My writing technique might not work for others, but just like those creative writing exercises that my math tutor gave me, this kind of ???panster??? freedom works for me.

8. Who would play you in your life story?

Gosh, I have no idea! If I had to pick, maybe Reese Witherspoon. People tell me that we look similar. I???m also a big fan of hers.??

9. What projects are you working on at the moment?

A Darling Secret??just released last week. It is the conclusion to the Strange Luck series, where you???ll learn the fate of your favorite heroes and love-to-hate foes. It???s a little darker than??The Nightmare Birds,??with lots of occult themes, magic, and psychological games.??My favorite!??😊

I wanted this book to answer remaining questions and leave the reader with a satisfying sense of completion. I spent a lot of time talking to my readers to find out what they wanted to see happen, which characters they wanted to see more of, and what they liked most about the previous books. I hope my readers will enjoy the result.

10. What process did you go through to get your work published?

I originally went the traditional publishing route, but didn???t have the best experience. I felt that my book wasn???t a priority and I was asked to make substantial changes that I didn???t agree with. My books are my life, so I decided to try an avenue where I had more control over the process. I published via CreateSpace Independent Publishing and have been extremely happy with the results.

11. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Writing the opening and the ending of a book. I usually come up with a dozen different openings, which I then rewrite repeatedly. It???s hard to pick the one I like best. That???s where friends and family come into play. They tell it like it is! The ending is also quite difficult to write because there needs to be a sense of closure.

12. What do you enjoy most about writing? Feel free to share your favorite work.

Creating different worlds. All the worlds in my stories (the Nameless, Theater of Secrets, and the Realm of the Shadows Gods) are dear to me, and I try to make each of them unique and original. I love all of them!??

13. If you could have any fictional character(s), living or dead, on your survival team after an apocalypse, who would you choose and why?

Hermione from Harry Potter. She seems to always have everything figured out, and it doesn???t hurt that she???s awesome at magic.

14. Which actors would you choose to play the main characters in your story?

When I saw the movie Blended and Bella Thorne came on, I remember saying, ???She would be a perfect Daisy Darling! She looks just like how I imagined Daisy would!??? Then when??Zak Henri came on screen (her boyfriend in the movie), I said, ???Oh my God, and he???d be a perfect Roger Donovan!???

Daisy and Roger have a lot of similar characteristics to those characters. Daisy is very tomboyish and awkward with red hair and freckles. She starts off unsure of herself and as she builds her confidence she accomplishes great and unexpected things. Roger is very quiet and dark, offering encouragement from the shadows. He???s also devilishly handsome. ??

15. What is your favorite escape from day to day living?

Kickboxing. It is so much fun!

16. What are some ways in which you promote your writing? Do you find that these add or detract from your writing time?

Social media is probably the easiest way to promote books, but I also think it???s the most distracting.

17. Who are some of your favorite authors? What impact have they had on your writing?

H.P. Lovecraft is my all-time favorite writer who has had the most impact on me. He creates compelling stories and worlds that get under your skin and leave a mark. My favorite stories of his are The Lurker at The Threshold and The Strange High House in the Mist. My goal as an author is to leave a mark on my readers. I want them to be thinking about my stories long after they???ve read them.

I also adore Sheridan Le Fanu, Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling, and Joanne Harris.

18. Do you know the secret to originality in writing? Would you share it?

Let your mind go and try not to overthink the ideas that come. ??

19. What are you currently reading???

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice.

20. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

More digitization. I???m old-school though. Nothing beats holding an actual book in your hands.

Thank you for allowing Our Write Side to interview you.

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A Darling Secret

Strange Luck series, Book 3

Description:

Learn the fate of your favorite heroes and love-to-hate foes in the thrilling conclusion to Amie Irene Winters??? bestselling Strange Luck series.

Before the Theater of Secrets was formed, before the Nameless was built, before Daisy Darling learned of her magical bloodline, there was the Realm of the Shadow Gods???ruled by the most powerful and wicked creatures known.

For nearly two decades, Daisy???s twin sister, Rose, was held captive by the Shadow Gods and survived. Now Rose has come to find Daisy to stop their impending evil from spreading into the human world. But Rose bears a terrible secret that has the power to destroy everything.

In the devastating Realm of the Shadow Gods, dark magic holds no bounds. Daisy will risk everything to save those she loves, but will the truth finally break her?

Unlock the final book in the Strange Luck series with??A Darling Secret.

Buy Links:??Amazon??|??Barnes & Noble??|??Book Depository??|??IndieBound??

* * *

A Darling Secret??excerpt:

A slow, creeping fear wound its way around me.

Tiptoeing around the mysterious plain, too afraid to call out, a surprising wisp of music came floating through the air. It was a jingly little melody???like a music box???followed by soft voices.

I paused. Through the violet-stained sky and swirling rainbow mist I saw something moving. My eyes narrowed as I stealthily approached an illuminated cave.

Shadows were gathering there.

Strange Luck Series Buy Links:

Amazon??|??Barnes & Noble??|??Book Depository??|??Books-A-Million??|??IndieBound??|??Kindle

Bio:

Amie Irene Winters was born and raised in California but now lives and writes in western Pennsylvania. She is the author of the award-winning Strange Luck series.

When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dog, baking desserts, or breaking a sweat in kickboxing class.

To learn more about Amie and her books, visit amieirenewinters.com.

Connect:??Website??|??Blog??|??Facebook??|??Twitter??|??You Tube

Buy Links:??Amazon??|????Barnes & Noble??|??Book Depository??|??Books-A-Million

How To Network with Bloggers to Boost Book Exposure

Last month I talked about the importance of how you go about writing a request for a blogger to review your book. As a follow-up, I wanted to take a little time and explore how to connect with those bloggers, something that will be helpful both in getting reviewers to agree to take a chance on your book and in getting continued promotion after your book gets reviewed.

Connect and Interact with the Bloggers on Social Media

I’m not talking about going out and adding them to your friend list, or obsessively stalking their every post. But a little bit of interaction goes a long way. People tend to pay attention as they see the same name continually interacting over a period of time. They make note of you and that forms a foundation to work from. Many bloggers are reading and reviewing books out of a love for the industry. Their compensation, if anything besides review copies, is likely too low to be considered a real incentive. There are thousands upon thousands of books in just about any subgenre you can imagine, meaning a list of books to read is never-ending. So they are more likely to do a favor for someone who has shown the willingness to interact. If you’ve been commenting on/retweeting their stuff, then you might find them doing the same when you mention the book you just released or that review which just dropped. It really is a two-way street, and this is the fastest way to gain indirect exposure.

Find a Facebook group that has authors and readers and bloggers in your genre

Don’t spam the group with self-promotion. Just like the social media interaction, this is a place where you’re building things up over time. By becoming an active member in a subcommunity, you improve your chances of making those connections that will provide value. You’ll meet readers and bloggers who are genuinely interested in the types of books you write, and this will allow you to gain a lot of insight into their minds. How? By seeing what books they are talking about, the things they mention liking or disliking about books, and other book-based discussion points. Even if you make no lasting connections, this information will make you a better writer because you can keep those things in mind as you write your next books. You may even find that the group occasionally generates a post where you can share your Facebook Page/Twitter Profile/Goodreads Profile/Latest Book/Website, and those are the times to really jump in and get to do a little self-promotion.

Subscribe to their blogs and leave comments on their posts

This is perhaps even more important than social media interaction. Most bloggers would tell you they get a paltry number of comments compared to their page views. No blogger wants to feel as though they are communicating to an invisible audience. Furthermore, this demonstrates your awareness of what they’ve been posting and a willingness to be interactive in a setting that requires a little more effort than simply retweeting something on Twitter. Many bloggers take the time to respond back to every one of those comments, whereas they may not get the chance to do that with every social media interaction. This route allows you to engage in that back-and-forth exchange with a book blogger which lays the groundwork for having a strong relation with them.

Don’t Force Your Book(s) Upon Them

You’ve got a book needing reviews. They like to read your genre of book and write reviews for those books. That sounds like a formula for an ideal working partnership, doesn’t it? And certainly, if they don’t know you have a book they might not have any plans to read it. The problem comes from this question: do you want to genuinely network with them, establishing a strong rapport that could carry you through your long writing career? If the answer is yes, then you don’t want to be obnoxious about your book. Yes, odds are they saw the word “author” when they saw your Twitter/Facebook profile. They might even have seen those social media messages not directed at them, making mention of your book. The key to establishing a good relationship with a book blogger is to not mention your own book early in your interactions nor to mention it often. If your first tweet to them is self-promotion, they’ll assume all you want is??someone to write a review. That is why the above tips emphasize interaction rather than promotion. That step can come later – and those bloggers whom you’ve connected well with might be willing to feature interviews, do previews, and other special posts in addition to??a review. But if they feel like you’re spamming them with your own book? That might be what breaks down some of those established bonds. Which benefits neither of you, in the end.

5 Professional Tips For a Strong Networking Backbone

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When you are an author it is important to think of yourself as a business. This frame of thought will help you form a professional foundation on which you???ll build your book sales and most importantly, your network. I know what you???re thinking.??How is a network more important than my book sales???You have to put the horse in front of the cart, my friends.

There is both an art and a strategy to networking but the biggest caveat is to remain genuine. Your unique personality is one of your biggest assets when it comes to making connections with others. People can see right through a fake persona plus, it is so much work to maintain. In this article I am going to outline five of the fundamental strategies for developing a strong network.

One:??The Elevator Pitch

Ideally you should have an ???elevator pitch??? memorized for yourself, your??book??(Heidi Angell offers some great tips),??and/or your company. You want to make a good, quick impression by giving succinct information that will leave people wanting to follow up with you. Make sure your social profiles are filled out and accurate. When you know someone can easily find out who you are, what you do, and where you live on the internet, it frees you up to concentrate on the??why. In his TedTalk,??Simon Sinek explains thepower of why.??This perspective will help you shape your pitch in order to connect with others.

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Two:??Earn Word of Mouth

It???s a marketing and networking tale as old as time. Before the advent of catchy jingles and cartoon mascots there was only one way to advertise. You had to make such an impression on one person that they would run and tell another. Over and over. Sites like Amazon and Goodreads are based on the very concept of ???word of mouth,??? and now we call that tactic?????reviews.?????The Write Life gives us some insight on why these reviews are so important.

Of course, that isn???t our only option today,??but it still the??most important. Be sincere in your dealings with others. People are the bottom line when it comes to your network. When you care about people, deal with them fairly, and deliver high??quality, they will talk about you.??But more than that, they will bring other people to you.

Three:??Be A Social Media Butterflytree-200795_640.jpg

Scheduling and automating content is incredibly helpful when you have a full plate. However, you can???t depend on automation to replace honest to goodness interaction. Set aside time each day to focus on answering comments and addressing concerns. Additionally, be sure to comment on others posts??with probing questions and well thought out responses. People will naturally seek out further connection with an author who brings more to the table than just witty one liners and well timed gifs (although, those are always appreciated too!) When I schedule something ahead of time I know I would like to follow up on deeper and discuss, I mark it on my planner.?????You scheduled an article about writing in coffee shops for today, add some pic comments and shout out the Triple Moon Coffee Company.???

Four:??Following Up

Don???t make promises you can???t keep.??Yes, we live in the real world and things happen and people are??so??understanding but…??If you want to be taken seriously in this new hybrid world of literature, you must be dependable. Everyone gets busy, but following up with people builds a trust in your brand and develops loyalty. Make notes in your planner or on your calendar to remind you to follow up on obligations, show up at a supporter???s event, or just follow up on an issue they are dealing with. Letting people know you care adds value to the brand and persona you are building.

Five: Events, Meetups, Open Mic Nights??21034200_485935385089942_5401054213747903708_n.jpg

We live in the digital age.??Sometimes we can become so hyperfocused on social media and online ad space we overlook our most primitive marketing technique:??Getting out and meeting people in the real world. This goes hand in hand with the aforementioned ???Word of Mouth.??? The business part of authoring can be stressful, the authoring part of authoring can be lonely, but the hands on approach of events is pure magic. This is where you get to shine your little introverted light and bask in the glow of other???s muses. In my opinion, multi-media events are the best as I love mingling with musicians and painters as much as other authors.

Go Forth and Build

Now that you have a grasp on the basics for networking, I recommend following up with??Heidi Angell???s Twitter Tips to??start putting these strategies in action. Twitter is a great place to extend your network with carefully cultivated feeds and a healthy balance between automate content and active participation.

Until next time scribe happy and stay sassy!

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If you haven???t already be sure to visit my??Patreon page??for??a??dark and stormy walk through the park of my imagination. New stories are posted monthly along with playlists, polls, and??more.??You can read my supernatural thriller,??Next Best Seller,??in Tales From Our Write Side available on Amazon.

Exclusive Networking Isn’t Snobbery- Why You Need to be Picky

Hello Lovely Our Write Siders,

We, especially in the Indie community, are always told to be inclusive. Don???t get me wrong, I am big on being inclusive, but when it comes to networking, it is a good call to be a bit more??exclusive. Now, I don???t mean to shun people, by any means. But when you are looking for readers, you want the right readers who will most appreciate your book. Pitching a sci-fi adventure to a group of romance readers will almost always fall to deaf ears. So when you are??networking, you want to connect with people who are most likely to help you get in front of an audience open to your books, and who will most appeal to your audience.

Be a Genre Snob

Focus on influencers in your genre. Whether that be authors, book reviewers, bloggers, or publishers, make sure they are in your genre. As you build out, you can look at genres that have a good cross-over audience (for example, Fantasy and Urban Fantasy have a good cross-over. Romance and Women???s lit have a good cross-over. Check out this great post on??genres and sub-genres??by Nancy E. Miller.)

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Focus on People at Your Level or Above

At least, to start. This is the same principal as the lobsters trying to crawl out of the pot. It sounds harsh, but let???s be real. How much help can you as a struggling author provide a newbie? Not a whole lot. You have to get more than halfway up the visibility chain before you can try to pull others along with you, otherwise you are all just a bunch of lobsters trying to pull one another to get leverage, and none of you are getting out of the pot. Sarah Vermunt in??3 Reason You Should Network Less??has a great point in number 2. If you???re talking to people who can???t help you, you???re talking to the wrong people.

However, if you can follow and connect with people at your level or above, follow their advice, and build up your following, eventually you can become an influencer and help build up those at the bottom.

Practice Quid Pro Quo

This doesn???t have to be literally ???I do an interview for you on my blog, and you do an interview for me on your blog??? or trading reviews, or newsletter swaps. But don???t find yourself in the trap of doing things for others all the time, and not getting anything??back. I did that for quite a few years. There were people who were constantly asking me to do things, but when I needed something and asked there were crickets. Not cool. It???s hard to keep that balance, especially if you really connect with someone on a personal level. Always be the person to offer help to someone before you ask for a return, but also keep a mental tab. If that person doesn???t return the favor when you ask for help, don???t be so available next time. The flip side of this, when someone helps you out (by doing a review, giving an interview, etc.) be sure you do your part. Say thank you (even if you feel they left you a bad review.) Share that post on your social media pages, link that post to your blog to give them greater credibility with google. Be there when they need help. Don???t be a user, and don???t get used.

??And that leads to our final tip:

Be Exclusive With Your Time

Michael Hyatt has a??great podcast??about saying no without feeling guilty. All the top entrepreneurs of the world say what sets them apart is knowing when to say no. It???s really hard, especially when you are low on the totem pole. You want to say yes to everything. Suddenly you find yourself overextended with no time to work on your own projects. So before you say yes to that guest blog post, that takeover event, that proofreading project, ask yourself two important questions:

1. What will this require of me?

2. Does this help me get to my overall goal? If the answer to the first question is greater than the impact to the second question, pass.

We???ve learned today that it isn???t bad to be exclusive with our networking time and energy, that we have to be careful to weigh the balance of helping others vs helping ourselves, and that it???s important to be able to say no without guilt.

Now, go get to networking, build those alliances that will help achieve your goals and your alliances??? goals. Questions about networking? Let us know in the comments??below!

Until next time,

Keep??Writing!

Heidi Angell is a bibliophile, lexicomaniac, and wordsmith. When she isn???t writing or reading, she enjoys helping fellow authors on their writing adventures. Learn more about how Heidi can help you at??Angells4Authors

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