Booktoker – holly.schindler.author

So I’ve officially joined those over at TikTok, offering sneak peeks and writing advice. It’s really the most fun I’ve had on a social media site.

Where to find me:

@holly.schindler.author

I used to think this would be a terrible way to write–that it’d result in a mess of a first draft. But it’s one of the best ways I’ve found to get from idea to completed draft–and often needs less rewriting. #writingtips #booktok #authorsoftiktok #amwriting #writingcommunity

♬ Paperback Writer – Remastered 2015 – The Beatles

Suddenly a Podcast Junkie

I’m as late to the party as it gets, but I’ve suddenly become a podcast junkie. I’d never really been able to get into audiobooks much, but I’m in love with scripted, serial podcasting. They come with music–and sound effects–and actors! (See what I mean? As late to the party as it gets.) I’m sure it’s like listening to radio programs of old.

I’m in love and fascinated with the power of sound in storytelling.

Right now, I’m really into horror podcasts. The scarier the better. Alice Isn’t Dead has my complete attention right now:

I can’t wait to see what else is out there. Got any recommendations? Drop ’em in the comments.

Jutoh Writing Software – Speech Function for Copyediting

My new favorite function of Jutoh (which I’ve been using for formatting Ebooks) is the speech function. Not dictation–speech. As in: the program reads your work back to you.

To be fair, other writing softwares have this feature as well. (I found it in Scrivener and it might even be in Word somewhere–I know some versions of Word have dictation, so it might also have speech.) But the program I tried it out in is Jutoh, so I’ll focus my post on that experience.

I used it for my copyediting. And it’s fantastic.

My mind has a tendency to wander a bit on the very last read-through. At that point, I can usually recite the book. And there’s something about finding mistakes that can also help keep you focused. But on the last couple of reads, when the typos are down to a minimum, it’s so easy to read right by a mistake and never see it.

I found the speech function helped keep my mind on the text. You really do have to stay zeroed in on the project in order to keep your reading in time with the voice. (I was also pleasantly surprised by the voice–it didn’t sound too terribly artificial, wasn’t too fast or too slow, and it even did a surprisingly good job of pronouncing proper nouns that were unique to my work.)

The best part is that when there’s a typo, the speech function will read an incorrect word: though instead of through, for example. It stands out in a way it wouldn’t if you were reading quietly.

I’ll be using that function on final copyedits from here on out.

A Blue So Dark – The 2022 Re-Release

It feels really good to announce that this one’s live again: my very first ever published book, A Blue So Dark!

It was an utter joy to return to this one. I think your first always has a special place in your heart, and as I was going back through the text, it all came back: the lovely reviews, interacting with bloggers, getting to introduce myself as an author for the first time to local librarians and book sellers.

It was all such a fantastic experience.

To celebrate, the ebook is currently $.99. Prints will come soon–doing both paperback and hardback for this one. (The book has never before appeared in a hardback edition. I’m going to offer both a case laminate hardback as well as the more traditional cloth cover hardback with a separate jacket.)

Click to order:

Amazon

Apple

Kobo

B&N

February Is The Cruelest Month

It’s been such a rough month. I mean rough. Snow storms and ice dams on the roof. A canine epileptic seizure. Crazy tax stuff. Credit cards getting canceled because of fraudulent activity. If it could break, it did. A bookcase collapsed. Tile fell in the bathroom. And this:

Yes, that’s a hole in the ceiling. My brother and I were in the attic, when suddenly, we weren’t. Actually, we kind of half-fell, half caught each other to keep from tumbling all the way down.

That said, I’ve been copyediting like crazy, working to republish my debut novel, A Blue So Dark:

This time around, I’ve just been reading the manuscript on a pile of drywall.

Subscribe to my YA Newsletter for the official release announcement–hopefully, hopefully, hopefully that will be soon!

You Need to Indie Publish Something

January’s my birthday month. It was a (semi) milestone year, the kind that makes you want to impart some sort of golden nugget of wisdom. I’ve been asking myself: If I could give one piece of advice to writers, what would it be?

Simply, this: You need to indie publish something.

Twenty years ago, I never would have believed I’d be giving that advice. I got my master’s degree and took the plunge into full-time writing with the dream of the hardback book on a B&N shelf, a pretty little logo on the spine from an imprint at one of the big New York houses.

I’ve done traditional publishing. I’ve done indie (self) publishing. I’m in no way going to try to sell you on one vehicle being superior to another. There are definite benefits and drawbacks to both.

But…

Nothing’s taught me about writing quite like indie publishing has. I’ve learned so much–about formatting, about promotion, about book classification and marketing. I’ve been able to try out new blurbs and covers, and watch in real time what kind of effect it has. I’ve learned what appeals to readers. And it’s impacted my actual writing. Covers and marketing are right there in the front of my mind as I begin to draft a book. It’s tightened the entire process.

If you’re an author with a drawer manuscript that went nowhere, publish it. If you’d rather do it under a pen name, that’s fine. But publish it–and DO NOT FARM ANY OF THE JOBS OUT. Learn to format it. Create a cover. Advertise it.

I’m a firm believer you’ll grow in ways you never thought possible.

Happy Holidays!

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for their support this year. For reading the new books, following along at the blog, taking a moment to drop a line. I can’t tell you all enough how much that means to me.

I wish all of you the very best this holiday season. May your nights be lit up with twinkle lights, may your gingerbread houses stand strong, and may you all get the best gift of all–the warmth of love from family and friends.

Looking forward to seeing you all in 2022!

Gus the Epileptic Pekingese (Life’s Greatest Blessings)

This is Gus. Seen here on his favorite deck chair, which comes complete with a lookout hole:

Gus is not the easiest pet I’ve owned. I’ve mentioned it elsewhere online, but he has idiopathic epilepsy. We had to start medication in August, following a severe seizure that became an emergency rush to the vet.

He is, though, the friendliest pet I’ve ever had. I know far more of my neighbors than I did a couple of years ago. He’s made the roughest parts of the pandemic far more manageable. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on life; in many ways, I feel like I’m more a part of life than I ever was before.

Maybe we always do wind up learning more–about love and acceptance and commitment–from the harder four-legged companions. And maybe, in the end, what they show us is that “hard” is actually relative, that love isn’t love without a little risk, and that sometimes, life’s greatest blessings come in the most unlikely little packages.

Write Every Day – Good Advice or Bad?

I used to give this advice pretty frequently. Lately, I’ve been backing away from it. Many authors I know think it’s detrimental. Who can write every single day? Someone too young to have any responsibilities? The independently wealthy?

To be completely honest, I don’t spend as many hours as I used to writing. That is, I rarely spend eight to ten hours in a single day doing nothing but writing. I don’t have children, but I have a full household, with parents, an epileptic dog, etc. Dinners to cook, lawns to mow, home repairs to finalize, bills to pay, groceries to buy, budgets to manage…

So, in short, my days are like anyone other adult’s: packed with a daily to-do list that has nothing to do with putting words on a page.

Which brings me back to my initial question: Is “write every day” good advice?

I’m torn.

Here’s why:

It’s important to make writing a habit, or at least learn to prioritize it.

If you don’t, it’s incredibly easy to suddenly realize that weeks (or months) have passed, and you haven’t written a single word.

You need to stop expecting your world to be perfect in order to write.

It never will be. The lawn mower will be busted, somebody in your house will be sick, the garbage disposal will be malfunctioning, and the laundry will still need to be done. In the midst of all that, you can still write. Trust me.

That being said, there are definitely times when what’s happening in your house will take all of your attention, or all of your heart. Those times in which a family member is seriously injured or gravely ill, for example. We all go through life-altering events in which writing is the last thing that should be on your mind.

But for the usual, daily type of chaos? You need to learn to figure out how to carve some time for writing. It’s a little like carving out time for exercise. I do a ton of writing at night, usually somewhere between about seven and eleven. My house is the quietest during this time. I stretch out on the couch with my laptop and pound the keyboard. You wouldn’t believe the amount of writing I can get done during this time. Often, I can get as much done as I used to writing all day long!

Don’t think that writing every day means it has to be all day.

Again, I write in the evening hours. You might do better getting up early. Or carving out time during your lunch hour. You can write on your phone. You can dictate chapters while cooking or walking on your treadmill or folding that unending laundry. You’d be surprised how the pages add up half an hour at a time.

But with that being said,

If you miss a day, it doesn’t mean you failed.

It’s not all or nothing. You are not less of an author if you can’t write every single day. Maybe your household or schedule is such that you can write for eight hours one day a week. Or three hours two days a week. It all totally works. But I do think we often discount the small snatches of time. You don’t have to clear your desk for several hours straight in order to write well.

So where does that leave this particular piece of advice? Write every day, but with caveats? Maybe.

Really, though, like all pieces of advice, I think it’s important to see why the advice is being given. It’s about figuring out what the goal of the advice is supposed to be. And then learning to tailor it to fit your own life.

Buy My Books Direct

Did you know you can buy several of my ebooks direct? I use Payhip to facilitate delivery of the files, but each purchase goes directly to me. I’ve placed the entirety of my Lake of the Woods Love Stories and The Funny Thing Is… series on Payhip.

You can find my Payhip store here: https://payhip.com/HollySchindler

Some Fun Features of Payhip:

I was able to link my Payhip and Bookfunnel accounts. This means that when you purchase, you’ll be given the opportunity to download from either Payhip or Bookfunnel (a feature I thought many readers would appreciate, since I’m already distributing ARCs via Bookfunnel, and it’s a familiar site).

The first books are free…plus. You’ll notice the first book in each series (Playing Hurt and Funny Meeting You Here) are listed as $0.00+. That means the books are free, but you can offer a “tip” if you would prefer.

Subsequent books are discounted. At the end of the first book, you’ll find a coupon code for 25% off the next book in the series. I’ll be adding new books to each series here (and hopefully additional series as well), so each subsequent book purchased at Payhip will always be discounted!

You can download your file type of choice. Either .mobi for Kindles or .epubs for other devices.

Got a question about purchasing direct? Shoot me a message here at the blog or at hollyschindlerbooks (at) gmail (dot) com.