Becoming an Indie Author – Guest Post by KJ Waters

You know how you get to that point where you’re so far behind you just need to take a break? That was me… only my break has been around a month. Lucky for me, I have friends like KJ who keep reminding me I need to get back in the social media game.

I’m sharing a guest post she sent me quite awhile ago. This is my public apology to her for hiding in that writer’s cave for much too long this month.

Enough about me, read on to learn about KJ Waters and how she became an Indie author. Stay tuned until the end to check out a link to the first chapter in her upcoming debut novel, Stealing Time.

Guest Post by KJ Waters

Well, here I am back on Kirkus’ blog. Thank you, Kirkus, for giving me another crack at it. Aren’t you all excited about his new novel, Wrath! Have you had a chance to read the sample chapters and buy it? What are you waiting for? It’s brilliantly dark and twisty and you’re going to love it.

(Check out a sample on Amazon by clicking on the cover on the sales page here)

Round Two as a Guest Blogger

Kirkus asked me to talk about the process of writing my first novel. This is rather fitting because Kirkus has been a huge inspiration for me to get my book out this year.

I’ve been working on it for seven years now, off and on, between having children, moving across the country, and a number of typical curve balls life throws at all of us. Last winter, I got on twitter for the first time and early on I met Kirkus. He, as his usual uber friendly supporting self, offered oodles of writing advice and amusing anecdotes.

As a curious sort, I bought The Fall of Billy Hitchings, his first novel that had been out for a few months. I wanted to see what an Indie Author with a gazillion twitter followers would write. I have to admit, I was an Indie virgin (can I say that on your blog Kirkus?) having not read any self-published eBooks. I was very impressed with his novel and equally impressed with the massive social media monstrosity he has developed in support of his dream of writing.

My hesitation at finishing my novel was in part due to the daunting task of marketing it to a publisher and waiting up to two years for any kind of response. Then finding that I needed to purchase the first 10,000 copies or some other weird nonsense as a first time author. That was what I was told from an insider in the traditional publishing business. Do I look like have money to buy 10,000 books? Well I don’t!

To sum it up, Kirkus was the window through which I saw my future as a novelist — an Indie author. A whole new world of social media marketing opened up to me, something that I could do on a shoestring budget. After all, time is what I do have, not the free flowing cash to purchase a garage full of books. Thank you, Kirkus, for opening that door for me and shoving me through it!

Now I’m blogging (Blondie in the Water) and have an all about me page, author face book, blah, blah, blah killing oodles of hours to update statuses, tweet, and blog. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning the nuances of this new form of marketing, but even more importantly was meeting Kirkus and all the other amazing friends on twitter.

How did I get the idea to write a novel?

Excellent question. I was on a family trip heading to Maine. We lived in Florida, and yes, we drove so you can imagine the number of hours I had available to think in between handing drinks and food back to small blonde people strapped in their car seats.

One of my favorite authors is Diana Gabaldon, the author of the Outlander series. She talks about her writing process as developing snippets of the story that she later connects to other snippets. No giant structure, no anal planning and plotting. I realized that I could do that. I am a creative soul with a ton of ideas, but I thought to be a successful author you had to organize them to death. Not so according to lovely Diana.

I began to develop a story with the background of what happened to me the previous summer. We moved to Florida arriving three days before Hurricane Charley hit. Thank you Florida for the warm welcome! Within our first six weeks in that lovely state, we were also hit by Hurricane Francis (the size of Texas), and Hurricane Jeanne. In between those, Ivan missed us and devastated the gulf coast.

Stealing Time - Unofficial Cover - writing

Unofficial Stealing Time Cover

I couldn’t think of a better backdrop for my novel. I’ve been fascinated with time travel since I was a kid so that became a crucial element. I think I’ve tackled the subject matter in a very original way and hope you check it out when I’m finished.

When I returned from our trip, I began scouring the bookstore for advice on writing. I came across The Marshall Plan, by Evan Marshall. This book has been an amazing help in outlining the novel. It creates the structure for your novel based on genre and word count. It pushes you to end each scene in a dramatic way.

Talk about a perfect fit! I am great at idea generation and this book provides the structure to make it work in a fully organized plot, keeping track of point of view characters, adding to the suspense and drama, and juggling subplots, character story lines, and a lot more.

I recently found Evan on twitter at @MarshallPlanet and found that he now has Marshall Plan available in software format. I’ve had it for about a month and it has been an invaluable tool in helping get the big picture of the story line while tracking all the minute details.

Here is the link if you want to check it out: The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing.

On twitter, I’ve met a dozen or so amazingly supportive writing friends. Since we’ve been talking, they’ve all released new books and I’m still cranking this baby out that I’ve been working on for years.

Why is mine taking so dang long?

I offer no explanation except to say that I am a stay-at-home mom with kids in tow at all times. This does not leave an abundance of time to work on the book, and I’ve already admitted to my “problem” with structure. I am working diligently on Stealing Time away from the family and hope to get it out by the beginning of 2013, with book two and three to arrive sometime after that.

Thanks KJ!

Thanks for being an awesome author (and Twitter) friend. You’ve shown amazing support since the beginning. As I say to all my friends, just keep nudging me and eventually this anti-social writer will come out to play.

Be sure to check out the prologue to Stealing time on the KJ Waters blog by clicking here!

Connect with KJ Waters

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KJ Waters 5 pts

Thank you so much Kirkus for posting this! Really appreciate your support and advice! Keep up the great writing but still come out of your bat cave to play when you can!