Writing and Marketing as an Independent Novelist
By Beth Barany
Sometimes readers wonder about my writing process. They wonder if I follow a regular routine, if I use pen and paper or computer, if I work at home or at the library/Starbucks, etc.
I love these type of questions because I’m always curious about other people’s creative process, and I love sharing mine. I spent lots of years learning to be a writer, so I hope what I have to share will help other budding writers.
My novel writing process has really evolved over the years. And I have to say that how I write and approach fiction is different than how I approach and write nonfiction. With nonfiction, I can pretty easier jump into a first draft. With fiction, I do a lot of little and short writings before I get to the actual first draft.
Currently, my process of fiction writing looks like this: first I get an idea and quickly write it down, usually when I’m on a bus, a train, overseas, at a cafe — you get the picture. I don’t often write first sparks at home, though it has happened.
Then if the idea won’t leave me alone, I continue to write notes as they occur to me. If the story still won’t leave me alone, and I need to be working on something new, then it’s time to write the overview of the story — these days in the form of a synopsis or summary of the story. Lately, I do these preliminary notes on the computer, though I’ve written them in my journal in the past.
At this point, I’ll outline more, expand the story summary, or sometimes just start writing. By this time, I know I really like this story and I’ll make a formal commitment to it and give myself a deadline and daily word count goals.
Currently, for a paranormal romance novel I’m writing, my current goal is 350 words a day 4 days a week because I’m also doing final edits on my next YA fantasy novel, the second in the Five Kingdoms series, coming out soon.
These days I write my first drafts into Scrivener, a recent addition to my life, at neighborhood cafes on my trusty MacBook Pro. Just to spice it up, and because I’m short on time, I’ve been dictating a novel, the third in my YA fantasy The Five Kingdoms series. Lastly, I’ve used NaNoWriMo for the last few years to finish novels, using the frenzied collective time to get it done. I may use NaNoWriMo to complete the paranormal romance novel I’m writing.
For my writing space, I like flexibility and also the feeling that I’m heading toward a goal.
And now a word about book marketing, and what works for me and what hasn’t.
What works: blog tours; requesting reviews from book bloggers; contests and giveaways.
What doesn’t work: Blatant “buy my book” tweets and posts; do no promotion.
What questions do you have for your favorite authors?
Answer the question to enter in Beth Barany’s special giveaway! She will pick a winner from the commenters seven days after the post goes live. The winner will receive a copy of Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, Beth Barany’s award-winning YA epic fantasy.
Battle-hardened and brave
Ready for the fight
Henrietta the Dragon Slayer
Swings with all her might
—From the chorus of the Song of the Dragon Slayer
Henrietta strode away from the tavern, fists clenched so hard they hurt. At two paces from the forest edge, the ground crunched in the black night behind her. Even with her ale-fogged brain, she sensed the presence of a man, smelled on him soot, leather and metal, and knew he was armed, but wore no armor.
She didn’t have time for this.
“What do you want?” Henrietta whirled to face the thrill seeker, her long sword drawn, her long red hair whipping across her chilled cheeks. Above her head, the bitter wind keened through the forest trees.
The man hovered five feet-lengths away from her, out of sword reach, his face shadowed by the light of the tavern behind him. “I heard your story back there.” His voice, thick with a foreign accent she couldn’t place, held no compliment. “I hear you’re looking for a new quest.”
“Who gave you that idea?”
“The Song of the Dragon Slayer.” The man’s tone was flat.
So he wasn’t a fan. She didn’t care. She cared that he didn’t move any closer. Empty hands at his sides, a sheathed long sword at his belt, he was broad shouldered and taller than her by half a head.
She re-sheathed her sword reluctantly. “So? What does that have to do with anything? It’s only a song.”
“A song about you. That is why you must come with me now.” He stepped toward her, his face still hidden by darkness.
“No, I must not go with you. Leave me be!” she said annoyed and angry. There was a thrill seeker in every town. Facing him, she stepped back to have room to swing her sword if necessary, her hand waiting on her sword pommel. “There’s plenty of others in that tavern to harass.”
She didn’t want to play “who’s the best warrior” just now. The drink had touched her head more than usual, without its usual lovely numbing affect. “Who are you anyway? No, I don’t want to know. Just leave me be.”
“I am a knight, doing his duty. Assessing.” He didn’t move any closer.
Like she needed to know that. Then she opened her big mouth.
“If you’re a knight, where’s your armor?” As soon as she heard herself, she knew that was a dumb question.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award-winning author, Beth Barany has been making up fantasy and adventure stories all her life. She writes to empower girls and women with her strong heroines who have to save the world against great odds. Her YA fantasy epic, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, won the 2012 California Fiction Writing Book Contest. In her off hours, Beth enjoys walking, capoeira, reading and watching movies with her husband, bestselling author of The Torah Codes, Ezra Barany.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HenriettaTheDragonSlayer
Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4169630.Beth_Barany