Wednesday, February 01, 2023

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group and Dancing Lemur Press News

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, founded by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Today’s question: If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?

At Dancing Lemur Press, all of our covers are made in-house by our illustrator. Only once did we use a stock image. (At the author’s insistence and we’ve always regretted it as I’ve seen it on another cover. That is why we will NEVER AGAIN use a stock image. One’s cover should be unique.)

I am the one that chooses the scene and often ask the author for more details or their input. Then I let the illustrator work his magic. I usually only make suggestions if asked or on my own covers. (I try not to interfere as I am the writer and publisher, not the illustrator!)

* * *

And in the world of Dancing Lemur Press…

We recently signed Shelly Ellis for another Bubba & Squirt novel.
The next one will be Bubba and Squirt: City of Bones.
We’ll keep you posted on cover art and release date.

Last year we also signed Damien Larkin for a third Mars book – Blood Red Steel.
It is currently with the head editor and we’ll have cover art for it soon.
Release date is October 3, 2023.

Tales From the Valley by WATCH Youth
comes out March 7.
Juvenile Fiction – short stories/action & adventure
Print ISBN 9781939844934, $10.95
eBook ISBN 9781939844941, $3.99
Preorder links will be up soon.
This is a special kids project and headed up by Elizabeth Seckman.

And finally, In Darkness: The Vampire comes out next Tuesday!

In Darkness: The Vampire
By L. Diane Wolfe

Souls shrouded in darkness…

Stuck working as a barmaid for her demanding father, Anna dreams of adventure. When mysterious strangers enter the bar, she overhears they seek Zancrela, an ancient fortress filled with treasure and a magical library. Taking her chance, she offers to guide them. The conditions: deliver Zancrela or die.

As they journey through the wilderness, she discovers their secret: they are vampires. And most view her as food. One takes interest in her and her heart dares to hope, but it might not be enough to change her fate. Will Anna find Zancrela or become a vampire morsel?

Release date – February 7, 2023
Romance/Paranormal/Vampires - Fantasy/Paranormal - Fantasy/Romance
eBook ISBN 9781939844903
$3.99 eBook available in all formats

Links: Amazon / iTunes / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Scribed / Goodreads

I checked and the first printing of How to Publish and Promote Your Book Now, my last book, was in 2013!!!!

This is my first book in ten years. I’ve had a long time to slowly work on it and the next three in the In Darkness series – The Shark, The Werewolf, and The Alien. And I am super proud of this novella, a unique twist on the vampire tale.

There are several Goodreads lists where this title would fit. An author cannot nominate her own book, but perhaps some of you could pick a list and nominate it for me?

How involved are you with your covers? Which DLP release are you looking forward to? If you are on Goodreads, I would appreciate a nomination and would be happy to return the favor.

Monday, January 09, 2023

Handling Reviews as a Writer


by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

If you're published, dealing with reviews just comes with the territory. There are many distinct lines of thought about how writers should approach reviews.

I know a couple of authors who say they never look at their reviews. That it really just messes them up as they're trying to work on another book.

I know writers who sneak peaks at Amazon, but not at Goodreads. Goodreads is a notoriously tough environment for writers, and reviews are often lower on that platform than on Amazon.

It could also be true that an author who's going through a particularly low or vulnerable time might not be in the right place to read their reviews . . . where, during brighter days, they might have looked at them.

Here are some of my practices when dealing with reviews: 

Good reviews. These are day-brighteners. I like to copy-paste mine into a document to look at when I need a little extra validation. It's also helpful to use snippets in your editorial reviews section on Amazon (access it through your Amazon Author Central account).

Bad reviews. In my experience, there are different types of critical reviews. There are some that really don't provide any helpful feedback. Then there are some that may provide some helpful ideas, moving forward with your series. If I see a lot of reviewers saying the same thing, I definitely pay attention and start making notes.

Writing reviews. I actually think I'm a pretty lousy reviewer, so I don't review.  It's a tricky thing, writing reviews as a published author. Avoiding penning critical reviews is a good idea.

 Endorsements work better for me. With the punchier, ad copy style, they’re also more fun to write.

As a general practice, I don't respond to reviews unless a blogger tags me on social media with one. Then I'll thank them for reading my book, regardless of what the review says.  Otherwise, it almost seems like author intrusion for me to comment on the review post.

That's how I handle reviews, but I'm curious to know what you think. Do you read your reviews? How do you handle good and bad ones?

Elizabeth is the bestselling cozy mystery author of the Southern Quilting mysteries, the Myrtle Clover Cozy Mysteries, the Village Library Mysteries, and Memphis Barbeque mysteries for Penguin Random House, Midnight Ink, and independently.  Follow her on Twitter where she shares writing links @elizabethscraig or at her blog where she offers tips for writers: .  She lives in Western North Carolina with her husband and is the mother of two. Her latest release is A Novel Idea.


Wednesday, January 04, 2023

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, #IWSGPit, and In Darkness: The Werewolf

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, founded by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Today’s question: Do you have a word of the year? Is there one word that sums up what you need to work on or change in the coming year? For instance, in 2021 my word of the year was Finish. I was determined to finish my first draft by the end of the year. In 2022, my word of the year is Ease. I want to get my process, systems, finances, and routines where life flows with ease and less chaos. What is your word for 2023? Why?

My word will be focus.
Focus on my own work.
Adjust the focus of Dancing Lemur Press.
Focus on health.
Focus on my family.

#IWSGPit is coming!

The next #IWSGPit will be January 25
9:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time

Create a Twitter-length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript and leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. On January 25, 2023, Tweet your pitch. If your pitch receives a favorite/heart from a publisher/agent check their submission guidelines and send your requested query.
Many writers have seen their books published from a Twitter pitch - it’s a quick and easy way to put your manuscript in front of publishers and agents.

Get the full details here.

The IWSG Goodreads Book Club is reading Fractions of Existence (Existence #1) by J Lenni Dorner and The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass this month.

* * *

Tales From the Valley is up for pre-order now.

In Darkness: The Vampire
comes out February 7.

And I have a working cover for the third book in this series, The Werewolf!

(Due out Sept. 5.)

What is your word for this year?

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group and What Does a Publisher Do All Week?

It’s time for another edition of The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, founded by Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Today’s question: It's holiday time! Are the holidays a time to catch up or fall behind on writer goals?

I tend to catch up as Dancing Lemur Press business is slow the second half of the month and I use that time for my own work and to catch up on other projects.

I did manage to finish the fourth story in my In Darkness series, The Alien, last month. It will sit for a bit and then I will tackle revisions. Probably during the Christmas break.

I do want to share with you what my work week looks like. I have no typical work week as it all depends on what is in the pipeline and at what stage. So I will share some of what I did last week:

Edits on stories for Tales From the Valley (Due out March 7 next year. This is a special collaboration with Elizabeth Seckman.)

Review requests for In Darkness: The Shark

Royalty payments and statements for Q3 2022

Finished writing In Darkness: The Alien

Set two events for next year

Back cover for Tales From the Valley set

Formatted half of the stories for Tales From the Valley

Replied to numerous submissions

Completed November bookkeeping

Back cover synopsis for Blood Red Steel set. (The third in Damien Larkin’s Mars series!)

Worked with my illustrator on cover art for In Darkness: The Werewolf

And many other minor details that go along with being a publisher

My husband says I am the worst boss ever as I never give myself time off!

But I do have fun doing it.

As proof, my friend Ticia went with me to man the booth at Havelock Comic Con a couple weeks ago (instead of my poor husband) and we had a blast! Not to mention it was another stellar weekend of sales.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!