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Why Self-Publishing by Tracy Reed

May 5, 2018 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , , ,

Why Self-Publishing | Tracy Reed | A Slice of Orange



Tracy is busy today (and there will be no comments about Cino de Mayo and margaritas). While she’s away, she thought you might like to read a post from our archives. Why Self-Publishing was originally published on Jan 16, 2015. 


Why Did You Chose To Self-Publish?


This is the first question most Self-Published Authors are asked. However, what’s really going through the mind of the person asking is, “So you couldn’t get an agent or your work wasn’t up to snuff.” That’s so not true.

I’ve learned a lot on the road to becoming a self-published writer. First, I had an agent. A well-respected agent in the world of Christian Fiction. Let me preface this by saying, she knew my writing style. She’d read the first five chapters of my book. Actually, it was a different book. [That’s a story for another time.] She got my book to ‘Board.’ Two years later and I’m still waiting to hear if that publisher wants to move forward with my book. I think it’s safe to say, they passed on it.

I need to back up. I write what is classed as Edgy Christian Fiction. What is that you ask? ECF [Edgy Christian Fiction], is fiction with Christian themes. What makes it ‘Edgy’ is that it includes elements not common in traditional Inspirational or Christian fiction. In my books, that means the kisses are a little more passionate, there’s sex between the married couples, language with a little bite, lots of physical descriptions voiced by the characters, wine, talk about abortion, divorce, fornication, lust, not liking your in-laws and anything else that goes on in everyday life. The men are hot, the women are loaded with curves and both are quick to render their appreciation of the opposite sex.

As a Christian, I wanted to read stories about women who weren’t ashamed or embarrassed to express their feelings, with strong personalities and business owners. Let’s be real, when you’re sitting down with your girlfriends talking, you’re not talking in prose. No, you’re very descriptive in your comments on how amazing Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Johnny Depp or Daniel Craig looked in their last movie. So why not write stories from that POV.

Generational Curse | Tracy Reed | A Slice of OrangeI feel it’s a little difficult to convey to the reader the heroine’s attraction is to the hero by not being descriptive in this manner. Traditional Inspiration Fiction, the heroine’s feelings might be described with something like, ‘His thick black hair was beautiful blowing in the wind, brought a smile to her face.’ That’s nice, but in my world, it would have a little more umph, like, ‘She wondered how his thick black hair would feel brushing against her chin as he placed hot kisses along her neck.’ Or maybe, ‘When he kissed the back of her neck, she lost the ability to stand.” Statements like this aren’t necessarily acceptable CBA approved.

In my GENERATIONAL CURSE, I wanted to tell a story about a man who never turned down a drink or a woman. But when he hit rock bottom, he went cold turkey and fell in love with God. His priorities changed and he refused to let anyone or anything destroy that relationship. The heroine, is the complete opposite. She hasn’t had a relationship with God since she was a child. And even then it was more forced. Now as an adult, the only part of marriage she wants, is a married lover. She has no desire to be with a single available man. In her mind, a married man is less complicated. But she is intrigued by the hero and he her.

In order to tell the story, I had to take the reader on a journey with the heroine. I had to show how complicated and empty her life was by detailing her relationship with her married lover. I’m sure the story could have been told without the sex, but I don’t think it would have had the same impact. I don’t want to give too much away, but in the end it all makes sense.

So Why Did I Choose To Self-Publish? I wanted to tell the stories I wanted to read. I met an agent at a conference and she gave me two options: tell the story with the sex and no God or tell the story with God and no sex.

I wrestled with that statement for quite a while. But, I felt God had given me a great platform and I refused to back down. Also, I wanted covers and titles that were a little racy, another thing not really permitted in Inspirational or Christian Fiction.

So here I am, a newbie writer taking a chance writing stories with a little heat and taboo subjects. I know my style of book isn’t for everyone and that’s fine. For those willing to read something a little different, I think they’ll enjoy it.

Funny thing, a few weeks after I published my book, I got a LinkedIn request from my former agent. I’m still deciding if I should accept it.

That’s why I chose to self-pub.

Tracy Reed

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Gone Fishing

May 2, 2018 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , ,

Gone Fishing | Jann Ryan | A Slice of Orange


It’s true, Jann has gone fishing.  We hope she catches one (or two)  and has a lovely relaxing day. In the mean time click the tab below and read some of Jann’s recent interviews.  You can also leave her a message.

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Can the Extra Squeeze Team Explain the Difference Between an Author Webpage and an Author Facebook Page? @A_SliceofOrange

September 30, 2017 by in category The Extra Squeeze by The Extra Squeeze Team tagged as , , ,
The Extra Squeeze | A Slice of Orange

Ever wonder what industry professionals think about the issues that can really impact our careers? Each month The Extra Squeeze features a fresh topic related to books and publishing.

Amazon mover and shaker Rebecca Forster and her handpicked team of book professionals offer frank responses from the POV of each of their specialties — Writing, Editing, PR/Biz Development, and Cover Design.

Can the Extra Squeeze Team Explain the Difference Between an Author Webpage and an Author Facebook Page?

Rebecca Forster | Extra Squeeze

Rebecca Forster 

USA Today Bestselling author of 35 books, including the Witness series and the new Finn O’Brien series.

Some days I long for the old days: books were created with a typewriter, manuscripts were Xeroxed and sent off to agents and editors, fans wrote real letters and books had covers.

Then I shake off the longing and realize this is a brave new world and I am knee deep in the muck of indie publishing. One of the first things I did was secure my domain name in my own name – not the name of a specific book or series. It wasn’t until years after my first indie book was published that I realized that I had scored big without even knowing what game I was playing.

That was how I constructed my first website too – through trial and error. Some thing worked but mostly the whole site turned into a hot mess without focus. The reason was that I didn’t know what the purpose of my website was, nor my Facebook page, nor my Twitter.

My original website had tips for new authors, my books without links, a picture gallery of my travels, even a few recipes. I constructed that site so that people would really, really like me, as Sally Fields once famously said.

But then I met Robin Blakely. She pointed out that the purpose of a website is to introduce people to my books, to sell my books, to assist readers in getting the most out of my books.  A website creates a brand and sells books. Duh! It sounded so simple.

To that end we streamlined by website. Information includes: clear delineation of series, stand alone books, work in progress, sample chapters of each book, and book group guidelines. It also includes a newsletter sign-up with a two-book gift. Of course there is a bio but my personal life is definitely secondary to my work.

Facebook is where I post the fun stuff. What I’m doing on a daily basis. I post updates on the trials and tribulations (always fun, never complaining) of the writer’s life. I love involving my Facebook friends in posts. For instance, I often find the strangest things as I walk in my neighborhood so I post a picture and ask what they see. We all write a little story.

Bottom line, for me the website is my professional introduction to readers and Facebook is a more personal outlet. I love the fact that readers don’t have to wait for a book signing to get to know me. I guess the brave new world of publishing has also given us fantastic new opportunities to connect with readers on all levels.

Jenny Jensen | A Slice of Orange

Jenny Jensen

Developmental editor who has worked for twenty plus years with new and established authors of both fiction and non-fiction, traditional and indie.

As I understand it a published author should have both. A website can have one page or hundreds of pages — a web page is any page you see when you surf the net. A FB page is used to brand, strengthen or update a brand and is usually viewed by followers and fans in their newsfeed.

Every author is a brand and a lot of authors have both. I can see the need. A well thought out FB author page would support an author’s website, and vice versa. Visitors have to go to a specific address to view the published content of a website. When they do, nothing else is competing for attention so if your content is compelling and well designed anyone who was interested enough to go to the site will at least look it over, at best read it and have to buy a book!

If your FB page is readable, interesting, compelling it will drive traffic to your website which, if you’ve hooked ‘em with your brilliance, will result in a sale and a new or returning fan – or drive traffic directly to the online store of their choice. Using FB engages your existing follower base. The whole point is to cultivate a readership, right? A FB page is the perfect place to announce a new release or to intrigue with an update on work in progress, to engage with your readers.

I love author websites; I love to learn about the author, their writing process, the books they read, the research they do, who influenced them and why. I’m fascinated by what may have crossed their path to spark the concept of a plot — anything about their writing life (the antics of the grandchildren or photos of the new patio furniture are, I hope, exclusive to their personal FB page).

Both platforms have been known to draw me in to become a new reader. Both are often the first taste of a writer’s style, their skill with storytelling and so just as with your books, choose your words with care and flair and be sure the content is error free. Both a FB author page and an author web page are reflections of your work. And as always, edit, edit, edit.

Robin Blakely | The Extra Squeeze Team | A Slice of Orange

Robin Blakely

PR/Business Development coach for writers and artists; CEO, Creative Center of America; member, Forbes Coaches Council.

H. O. Charles | A Slice of Orange

H.O. Charles

Cover designer and author of the fantasy series, The Fireblade Array

For me, a Facebook page is all about interaction with your readers. They can ask any question and have it answered publicly, It also serves as a noticeboard for announcements. Oh yeah, and it’s a good popularity measure, based on the number of followers you gain (or not)! A website is much more one-sided – it’s me controlling what information is laid out and how the readers get to interact with it (if at all). Both of types of sites are adverts for my work, but only my Facebook posts can pop up in a reader’s daily feed.

For a long time, I didn’t have a webpage – only a Facebook page. The website just wasn’t necessary. Even now, my website doesn’t get a huge amount of traffic. It’s just there to uphold my professional image (!) and stand as an information resource for those who don’t want to use social media.

Do you have a question for the Extra Squeeze Team?

Contact us.

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World Book Day: So What do You #LovetoRead #amreading

April 23, 2017 by in category Events, The Romance Journey by Linda Mclaughlin tagged as , , , , ,

In 1995 UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) chose April 23rd as World Book Day and Copyright Day to celebrate books and authors. April 23, 1616 is the date when both William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes, and several other authors whose names are not household words all died.

Little Women coverAs a lifelong, avid reader, I love the idea of a special day to celebrate love of reading. I recently saw a musical version of Little Women at a community theatre production and was reminded of how much I had loved the book when I was a child. I clearly remember one day when I was re-reading the book and sobbing over Beth’s death. My mother asked in an exasperated tone, “Why do you read that book if it makes you cry?” “It’s so good,” I sobbed. I lost count of how many times I read the book but it had to be at least ten.

Like a lot of authors, love of reading led me to decide I wanted to be a writer, something my parents actively discouraged. I remember coming home in 9th grade with the results of the Kuder Preference Test, which all students were required to take. My results said I had interests similar to teachers, librarians and writers. My folks very quickly made it clear to me that only two of those vocations were acceptable. None of us realized that many writers start out writing around their full-time job.

I decided to become a librarian. At least that way I could be surrounded by books all day. Little did I know my first job would be as a technical librarian, surrounded by books on electronics which I could not begin to understand! It was very odd to preside over a library of books where I could only understand the dictionary and encyclopedia! Later I switched to public libraries and enjoyed my job a lot more.

Anaheim Public Library

Anaheim Public Library where I used to work.

While I write romance and love to read more romance, my reading tastes are actually pretty eclectic. I belong to a readers group that chooses a topic rather a book every month. This month we’ve been reading books with a Psychology element. I found three good novels to read: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler; Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick; and I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg. All were excellent. Next month: Historical Fiction, one of my favorite topics.

What have you been reading lately?


Lily and the Gambler coverLinda McLaughlin grew up with a love of history fostered by her paternal grandmother and an incurable case of wanderlust inherited from her father. She has traveled extensively within the United States and has visited Mexico, Canada, Australia and Europe. She now lives near the ocean in Orange County, California.

Linda writes historical and Regency romance under her real name and spicier romance under the pseudonym Lyndi Lamont.

Connect with her at her website or on Twitter @LyndiLamont.

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April 1, 2017 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley tagged as , , , ,


Welcome | A Slice of Orange

Welcome. Welcome. Welcome, to the all new A Slice of Orange.

Our new website is up, running, and ready for you to explore.

Boy, have we changed!

In addition to our lively and informative posts, we now have a Book Store featuring the titles of our authors and guests. We have a page dedicated to books On Sale (or free) and a New Release page. Our Events page features Contests for both published and unpublished authors, Conferences, Online Classes and workshops and Reader events.

If you are a long time reader of A Slice of Orange you will find your favorite writers, Jann Ryan, Tracy Reed, Linda O. Johnston, Kitty Bucholtz, Jina Bacarr, Rebecca Forster, Linda McLaughlin/Lyndi Lamont, Meriam Wilhelm, Isabel Swift, and Geralyn Corcillo still writing columns every month.

We are pleased to introduce several new bloggers to A Slice of Orange: H.O. Charles, Tari Lynn Jewett, Denise Colby, Sally Paradysz, Jenny Jensen, Robin Blakely, Veronica Jorge and partners Janet Lynn and Will Zeilinger.

On the last day of every month, we will feature The Extra Squeeze–four different perspectives on one topic. The team consists of Rebecca Forster, H.O. Charles, Jenny Jensen, and Robin Blakely. This month they will be tackling sensitivity editors. You can read this article from the Chicago Tribune now and then come back on April 30th to see what The Extra Squeeze thinks about the subject. You can also get in on the fun by asking questions or proposing topics you would like to see the team cover. Use The Extra Squeeze contact form to send them your ideas.

We’ve come a long way from 2006 and that small blog written by authors from Orange County, California. We now include not just California authors but with authors from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand–we nearly span the globe.  We hope you poke around, read some posts, buy some books.  Then, let us know how you like our new and improved version of A Slice of Orange.

Marianne H. Donley | A Slice of Orange


Marianne H. Donley

A Slice of Orange

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