Tag Archives: indie author

Write On Your Terms: Why You Can Succeed As A Writer Without Committing To NaNoWriMo

Let me start off by saying this: I love NaNoWriMo. I’ve participated twice in the last four years, and each time I felt myself challenged, excited and creatively supercharged with each passing day. The process of writing in 30 days a full 50,000 word or more novel is exhilarating to say the least. So this post is not a knock to the event at all. In fact the event is still a very huge presence in my writing in the month of November.

However, for any authors out there who are not participating or can’t participate in the event, know that it is ok. You do not have to participate in the event to be a great writer in life or even just in the month of November. I struggled for a couple weeks on whether or not I wanted to participate in this year’s event.

Am I participating?

So many factors came into play when it came to my ultimate decision. I am working four jobs right now, all of which take up a lot of my time. In addition to this, I have responsibilities at home that take up even more time of my day, so by the time I get to the point where I have time to write, I’m either exhausted or have very little time to write, only getting a few hundred words in at most. I also have a project I am deeply committed to, but I am already at over 40,000 words. I’m not sure how many more words my project will end up taking on, but I don’t want the pressure of having to write another 50,000 just to satisfy the goal of NaNoWriMo and writing more than I really needed. Each story is unique (as many of you writers know), and should not be constrained by word counts for the sake of statistics. It usually sacrifices the story and flow of the novel overall as a result. I started coming up with an outline for a short story anthology I want to write to create a whole new project to work on, but with all of the other factors in play, the timing for NaNoWriMo 2018 just didn’t feel right.

So I decided ultimately to hold off for the year. I felt at first like I was failing to join the writing community or failing to be the best writer I could be. Then I started to ask myself: why? My day jobs consist of writing. I have a whole project I’m in the midst of working on that will include more writing. I’m neck deep into the world of writing. Why should I feel any less of a writer just because I’m not participating in the event.

Your Terms

There is no shame in taking your own path when it comes to writing. Whether you have an existing project, a project that doesn’t require 50,000 words or more or already is near that goal, you don’t have to commit to an event to feel like a great writer. The best advice I can give to a writer is to just be you. Write what you love, and write it on your own terms. Whether it takes you a month or ten years, don’t let anyone else tell you, (although, unless you are writing the next great novel, ten years is a bit long. Just kidding). Even I am still growing as a writer, and learning that you cannot rush the creative process or a project as a whole. To anyone participating in NaNoWriMo, good luck to you guys and I wish you well. I look forward to reading some of these projects in the future, and to interacting with you guys throughout the month as we all write alongside you. To everyone else, be you, and write on your own terms.

What do you guys think? Does this help any of you writers out there? Do any other authors have advice for anyone not participating in NaNoWriMo? Leave your comments below and be sure to share this post on your social media sites.

Check out my latest review of Firstborn by Tosca Lee here! Also grab your copy of my first two YA novellas in the Nightmare Academy series here!

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How to design a professional looking book cover


Is the cover really that important? YES. In a webpage or bookstore full of books that’s the one thing that will make your book stand out!

Common features to most covers:


1-If any characters are visible their faces are partial or hidden. You want to leave the character’s face to the imagination of the reader. As you can see above some characters are from behind or their faces are cut, but some are visible. I prefer hidden faces, it’s more intriguing 😉

2-The title and image have to be legible in a thumbnail size!

3-Do your research! Go to the library or a bookstore and look at your genre.What are the common features between bestselling books? For example YA books are colorful, and typically use many font types at once. They have many layers. Thrillers instead tend to be black, white and read, with minimal covers.

4- If you are working on a series, plan ahead and tie in all covers. There is nothing more infuriating than books in a series that don’t fit well together 😉


5-Think about the cover scene. It could be a scene from the book or a play on words, but it has to convey the mood of the book and not mislead your reader. Don’t put a half naked hunk on a horror, unless it’s a horror romance 😉

Some great covers of books I did not read and I have never heard of:


Why is this great? The tree-house tells me teen/kids, holding hands tells me romance/coming of age, the title is clearly legible, the illustration is pretty.


The black and white combined with the title suggests thriller/horror, the juxtaposition with Dorothy is funny and intriguing, the graphics are simple and catchy.

Here is what I did with my books:

The Italian village gives the setting, three boys and a girl on a tree (YA, tomboy), the scene seems funny and lighthearted but the black and white suggests a deeper tone. The yellow on the spine adds color and looks wonderful with the other books in the series.


In book 2 the darker color suggests maturation, the kiss and the moon hint at romance, but you can clearly tell our MC is still a kickass tomboy 😉

In book 3 the characters are older, and the graffiti on the wall suggests we are in Italy and, if you bother to check, “ti amo” means I love you. Did I mention the red? 😉

How long does it take to design a cover? The first one took me over a year because I had no idea what I was doing. But the other volumes in the series were a breeze because I already had a template 🙂

What programs did I use to design the cover? I used Adobe photoshop, which is really expensive, but I had available for work. Other (expensive) options are Adobe Illustrator, or Indesign. If you are broke you can use the free program available at Create Space or download the free, simplified version of Photoshop. Just make sure that your cover looks professional and awesome. If it does not, you might need to hire someone to help you! I know you’re likely broke (most writers tend to be) but you either give yourself the time to learn and make a mind blowing cover yourself or you need to invest cash in someone to do it for you.

Who am I to give you advice?

I was a little girl who was told she could not become a genetic engineer (not a “girl thing” ya know), and even less become a novelist in a country that was not her own.

Well, I am a genetic engineer, a researcher, a college professor, and a successful indie novelist, and I want to show you that if you want you can; I’m here to help ^_^


My books are available worldwide on Audible, Amazon, B&N, i-Tunes, Smashwords, and bookstores (ask to order them if they’re out!). Check them out and help me spread the word ^_^


Great blog post for you fellow authors out there. I really enjoyed it and have learned a lot for my future releases. Great work @gaiabamman

Powered by Indie: Why I Love Being An Indie Author

It’s not easy doing things on your own. Yet as many have said before me and as many will say once I’m long gone, nothing in life worth doing is
easy. It’s these words that have kept me inspired to pursue a career as an author, and have kept me going all these years. Over time, my writing
has improved and has grown, as have my ideas and ability to connect with readers and writers alike. The sense of community, of creative vision
and of belonging have helped reinforce my belief in the written word, and that’s why in honor of Amazon’s month long celebration of indie writing,
I thought I’d talk about why I love being an indie author.

There’s a very simple reason why I love being an indie author: I love having creative control over my story. While I dream of being able to work
with a publisher someday, I love being able to decide how to develop my story. I like having a say in not just the story, but the direction I take
the marketing and the way my story is formatted. When you have a creative vision, you like to have a sense of control over your final product, and
with indie publishing you don’t have anyone to answer to in that regard.

Overall, I think I enjoy the deeper connection I feel with my readers as an indie author. I think indie authors have an added advantage of being
closer to their audience because they come to it as readers themselves, and they are more in touch with what the average reader is looking for.
I know my writing has improved greatly as a result of connecting with readers over the years, and that’s why I wouldn’t trade being an indie
author for anything. Like I said, I hope to be able to work with a fantastic publishing company someday, and I actually have an opportunity to
work with a great publisher in the coming year, which I’m looking forward to. However my career began in indie publishing, and I love the
freedom that comes from having control and passion at your fingertips. That is why I love being an indie author, and I hope you aspiring authors
out there will consider taking a shot on yourself and self-publish your book.

You fellow authors out there: why do you love being an indie author? And all you readers out there, who are some of your favorite indie authors?
Leave your comments down below!

@amazon @amazonkindle-blog