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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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February 5, 2017 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , , ,

Have you ever been too tired to think or create? That’s how I feel right now, but unfortunately, I can’t relax. Or rather, I tried to take a little time off from writing and creating, but my mind refuses to cooperate.

After the full writing year, I had last year, I figured I’d take some time off from writing and become more of a reader. For the past few years, I’ve been doing the GoodReads Reading Challenge. Last year, I read forty-five books, ten were my own. Not a lot for most romance readers, but for me, it was a lot, and I struggled to get those read because of my production schedule. This year I pledged to read forty-eight and decrease the number of titles I created. Unfortunately, the joke is on me. Instead of relaxing my creative muscle, I’ve been writing. What’s even more bizarre is I don’t know how to turn off my writing muscle or even if I want to.

Like most writers I use or follow a Production Schedule. Last year it was easy to follow or stay motivated with my schedule because I set a challenging goal, 12 Titles in 12 Months. This year, I knew I wasn’t going to set such a lofty goal for myself, so I was able to breathe a little.

When I sat down to do my Production Schedule for this year, I looked at the titles that didn’t make the grade last year. Although I published 12 titles last year, I had actually started and brought close to completion four additional titles. Technically, last year I wrote approximately a half million words. For some that may not seem like a lot, but for someone like me that hasn’t been writing that long, that’s a lot.

Those titles that don’t have 2016 as their birth year have become the stars of my 2017 production schedule. Now the question is, when will they be born? I’m not quite sure. So far, I have one of the titles completed, a non-fiction lifestyle book. I’m very excited and passionate about this title because it deals with a subject that is dear to me…being a fabulous Christian single.

Originally, I wanted this book out in January because that’s when most people are searching for help on how to change their lives. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the book until the end of January after rewriting the last chapter three times and adding an additional chapter. Now I’m waiting to proof it before I send it to my editor.

The other book I’m struggling to finish was originally supposed to be my December 2016 release. What started out as a five book series became a short story which has been reborn again as a novel. In its resurrection, it’s also undergone a name change and protagonist change. And one of the biggest changes about this book is voice.

I started writing this book in third person, but as the protagonist developed, I felt the need to tell his side in first person. So now, the story is being told by both the heroine and protagonist in first person. When I made that simple change…who am I kidding, that was by no means a simple task. Changing the voice meant I had to go back and rewrite and add some chapters after being thirty-thousand plus words into the story. I’m very curious to know how this story ends.

So here I am with a production schedule that’s taunting me because I’ve already missed my first release date. I want to move forward with the stories. However, I’m creatively tired. If you’ve ever experienced that, post or email me [tracyreedwriter@icloud.com] how you worked through it.

As for the other two titles, one is approximately thirty thousand words away from completion. The other story so far is charting the opposite path of the one I’m currently working on. It started out as a short story, but after writing the first three thousand words, I fell in love with the character and see he has more depth than a short or even a novella. His story will definitely be a full-length book, and if he talks to me correctly, he’ll become a series.

Let’s see how my unborn stories turn out.

Happy writing and creating….

Tracy Reed


Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys

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12 Titles In 12 Months-Done!

January 5, 2017 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , ,

Tracy Reed

Last year when I announced I was going to do, not attempt, because I was determined to do this come hell or high water. Trust me, the water got high a few times.

To any sane person my challenge seemed insane, crazy, foolish, pick any number of adjectives in that family and I’d agree with you. However, there were some things I wanted to do, become more disciplined in my writing, try new sub-genres, story lengths and more inventory.

To any sane person my challenge seemed insane, crazy, foolish, pick any number of adjectives in that family and I’d agree with you. However, there were some things I wanted to do, become more disciplined in my writing, try new sub-genres, story lengths and more inventory.

As a new Indie writer, when I finished my first full year as a writer, I only had three tile, a full-length, a novella and a novelette. I’m not belittling my progress, but in order for me to experiment with advertising and increasing my mailing list, I needed more inventory. And the only way I knew to do that was to write more. So that’s what I did.

Warning, I’m not suggesting anyone try this the way I did, because although I may be a pants writer, I found that wasn’t a good way to market. It is, however, a good way to get stressed out. Was this challenge difficult? Not really. Was it fun? Yes and a little no. Will I do it again? With better planning, possibly.

Warning, I’m not suggesting anyone try this the way I did, because although I may be a pants writer, I found that wasn’t a good way to market. It is, however, a good way to get stressed out. Was this challenge difficult? Not really. Was it fun? Yes and a little no. Will I do it again? With better planning, possibly.

I don’t want to bore you, here we go.

This was my first child. The first book I’d ever written in completion. However, it wasn’t the first book I published. That honor went to GENERATIONAL CURSE, which was release in December 2014.

Like most first born children, you feel inclined to yield more attention and care to it. I did something very foolish, I planned the release of this book while I was preparing to go on a much needed vacation. I really considered abandoning my challenge based on the stress this book caused me. However, I did manage to get this book out by the deadline. However, I didn’t get the print book out until a little later.

After releasing the ebook, I discovered a few typos and story glitches. Since it’s release, I managed to clean up the issues.
I’m still kicking myself for not launching the book better.

What I learned from this book? Never schedule a release prior to my vacation.

FEBRUARY – LOVE NOTES: Words for Lovers
I foolishly took a breather on this one. Thank God for Leap Year. If it hadn’t been for that, I would have missed my release day. So far, this is the only book that isn’t in ebook format, yet. I plan on rectifying that for Valentine’s Day.

I thought this would be a cake walk. This is a book of love notes. In The Alex Chronicles series Alex’s love interest is writer and he has a challenge expressing himself to her, but he writes her incredible love notes. Thus the idea – LOVE NOTES. This is basically an experiment in content marketing. I took a theme from one book and turned it into a book.

This has done well in print format from my website. I’m excited to see how it will do when the ebook releases.

What I learned from this book? Just because the book was finished, still don’t slack off on getting it out.

This is the followup to THE GOOD GIRL novella I did in 2015. I really like these characters and was excited to continue their story. This book was completed in late 2015, however, I waited to edit it until I returned from my vacation. [I went to Paris and London and that’s where part of this book took place.]

Since my male lead is part French, I thought it would be nice to include more French in this book. I used a translation app and then I asked Brenna Aubrey for help. Thanks Brenna.

When I launched this series, it was in KDP Select, so I opted to put this book there as well and saw good sales. However, I later opted to go wide and saw a slight shift in sales.

What I learned from this book launch? Readers are quick to tell you how they feel about cliffhangers. And when a reader leaves a negative review, not to respond.

Now we get into books that weren’t planned. I have always wanted to try writing a romantic comedy. My apprehension has been timing. I wasn’t sure if I had the comedic timing to write a funny story. I wrote this novelette as a stand alone. However, I have received a few requests to continue the story. I’m thinking about. It’s not a true romantic comedy, but it’s more like snarky humor. Readers seem to like Nana, she’s not your average Nana that bakes. Instead, Nana is a cougar with a hot younger boyfriend. They both drive matching Mini Coopers.

This book has very little advertising and managed to debut in one of my categories at #46. I’m really impressed with the traction this book has gotten.

What I learned from launching this book? Don’t be afraid to try something different.

This book is part of the Generational Curse series. I planned another book in the series as a follow up, but as I got deeper in this challenge, I began to feel pressure. The big book I had planned to slot in here, wasn’t ready. However, I couldn’t miss my deadline and was searching for a book. I knew I wanted to tell the story of Kyla’s married lover. I had a few readers wanted to know what happened to Eric. Instead of telling what happened to him, I thought it would be nice to tell how he met his wife and later Kyla.

This was a fun story because it gave insight into two characters that played an integral part in Generational Curse.

What I learned from writing this book? Never judge a character by first impression.

I had been reading books about BBW and Billionaires and thought it would be fun to write something similar. In the end, I was surprised how well this novelette was received. Interesting fact, when I put men on the covers, they launched very well.

I like how these characters developed and I’m thinking about doing a Fling two.

What I learned from writing this book? Reading books in the genre you want to write, are very inspiring to your work.

This was a last minute book. I had another book scheduled, for this month. After attending RWA, I was too exhausted to review the edits. I got a copy of Beth Yarnall’s sample and I liked her idea. I emailed her and asked if she minded if I copied her idea. She didn’t mind. So a few days after the conference, I put this sampler together. Bingo!

This little treat helped me to stay on track as well as be a great giveaway in building my mailing list.

What I learned from publishing this book? Everyone likes being teased and free books are a great way to drive traffic to your other books.

This is one of my favorite stories in the challenge. It’s also one of the most challenging. When I started writing this book, it was in first person. However, as I got deeper into the story, I really felt the need to hear the make leads voice. I was about thirty pages in and I went back and changed to third person POV. When I did that the story flowed and gave way to a cliff-hanger that has upset some readers and left others asking for more. This I know for sure, there is a book two and possibly a book three.

When I started writing this book, I only intended it to be a stand-alone novelette. Instead, to turned out to be a novella and the first book in a new series.

What I learned from writing this book? Your characters can be very bossy and pushy.

I really should refer to this as the miracle story. I had another book scheduled for September. But by the time, I finished it, I hadn’t given my editor enough time to edit it before my release date. So I pushed that story back. I was able to breathe on that story, but it meant I didn’t have one for September. I literally prayed to God for the words. I woke up the following morning with this title in my head and an idea.

I spent three days glued to my computer writing this novelette. I did three read throughs and sent it to my editor. Praise God, she edited it and got it back to me in a day. It took me an afternoon to create the cover and a couple of days later, I released it.

In total, it took a week from idea conception to release.

What I learned from writing this book? God’s word is true, ‘Ask and you shall receive.’ Also, under pressure the writer’s brain can do wonders.

This is my second baby and ebook two in The Alex Chronicles series. This book was supposed to be a walk in the park. Nope. Thanks to reading a lot, I saw things in this book that I wanted to change. When it was all said and done, this book turned out to be my steamiest book to date, I think. I really like how this story is unfolding and can’t wait to see what happens next.

I barely made my released date. Once I got this book out, I was exhausted and desperate for a much needed brake.

What I learned from writing this book? Don’t be afraid to do a major re-write or even start over.

I have a lingerie website and have been working on marketing and promotional giveaways. I wanted to produce a great lead generator and came up with this book. Currently, it’ only a tool I use at events. But it’s been published and sold. YEAH!

So technically, I put out two books in October.

I was getting very tired towards the end of the year and feeling stressed. I received an email from iBooks, KOBO and Draft 2 Digital about the holiday release schedule and came very close to giving up.

I was torn between the book I was working on or taking some deleted chapters and turning them into a novelette. The problem with that, was those chapters needed more work than I thought. There was no way I was going to get those pages cleaned up and edited in time for me to make the other book ready for the December deadline.

Elena Dillon and I were talking she suggested I do a box set. I was thinking about doing a series box set in 2017. We looked at my inventory and discovered, THE FIX UP, THE FLING and THE NIGHT I FELL IN LOVE, all had something in common. THE FIX UP-a first date, THE FLING-a first romantic adventure and hickey and THE NIGHT I FELL IN LOVE- first love.

I packaged those titles together and released my first box set, FIRST ENCOUNTERS OF LOVE. I’ve had it on special price and it’s doing well.

What I learned from this title? Box sets are a good thing and not just with a series.

The last book in the challenge. I got the idea for this book while at RWA. I was in a session and the speaker suggested pulling out guest stars and telling their story. That statement stuck with me and I started surveying my story library in my head and Avery and Jeremiah started screaming. The timing couldn’t have been better.

This couple was briefly mentioned in WHAT MY FRIENDS NEED TO KNOW.  Avery is the bridal salon owner and shared how she met her husband with Alex. When I read her scene, I knew she and Jeremiah had a fun story.

I returned from conference and started writing. This was originally supposed to be a novella. However, as I dove deeper into this story, I knew there was more. I even included some of the characters from The Alex Chronicles.

When I finished this story, I found there was still more to tell and some great characters. I really like these characters and can’t wait to get started on the next book in this series.

What I learned from writing this book? Guest stars have a story to tell as well.

I finished the year with 347,000 plus published words
13 Titles
3 – Full length
1 – Book of Poetry
1- Sampler
1 – Boxset
3 – Novelettes
1 – Non-fiction
3 – Novellas

This has been fun and now it’s a new year with a new set of writing goals. I have a production schedule, but I’m not ready to share it, because it looks a lot like last years and that’s a little scary. I’ve decided to concentrate more on marketing this year. Now that I have more inventory, I can experiment with some marketing and promotion options. I’m very excited to see how my writing career with develop in 2017.

Happy New Year and I hope you accomplish all of your writing goals. See you next month.

Here are all of the covers-the fruits of my labor.


Tracy Reed


Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys

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December 5, 2016 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , ,

I made it to December…YEAH!!! I have to be honest, there were a few times I didn’t think I was going to make it to the end of this challenge. I’ll do a summary next month because there’s a slim chance I might do a short story before the end of the month.

At the end of last month’s post, I had no clue what Title Twelve would be. Thank God for friends and accountability groups. I really wanted to do a box set, but I was only looking at it from one angle. However, when I was on my marketing call with Elena Dillion, she gave me an idea for a box set. Or as I call it “Title Eleven” or “November’s Release”. I can’t really call it Title Eleven because I think that honor went to a different title.

Anyway, thanks to that call, I was able to do something I wasn’t planning to do until next year. One of the reasons I was on a writing binge this year, was I wanted to offer box sets in the future. A good idea but I was only looking at it with series and not compatible stories.

In talking with Elena, she showed I could make a box set with two of my novelettes and a short story from the Summer. All three had a first love encounter in common. Thus the title FIRST ENCOUNTERS OF LOVE. [See Images]

This surprise title, also gave me a chance to experiment with 3-D Cover design…a new favorite of mine.

What about December’s Title or Title Twelve? Title Twelve is A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN.

Due to a major computer issue…mine died a few days before A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN was to be released.

I need to take a moment here. Forgive me if I sound a little preachy. God really is amazing. He knew what I was about to encounter…no pun intended. So when Elena suggested the box set, which took all of a few hours, if that, to put together, it was divine intervention. There’s no way I could have gotten A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN out by the end of the month, because on the day I should have been reviewing edits, I was buying a new computer. More like picking up my early Christmas present from my parents.

I got the box set up by using mother’s laptop, my iPad and iPhone. Yes, you really can do amazing things with Apple products. I concentrated on getting the box set up, but not without a few problems. Because of the computer challenge, I didn’t get an newsletter and blog post out until late. And I never got a Facebook ad out. Hey, I was grateful I got the box set up before the end of the month and was able to put up a November release or title.

So, now I’m prepping Title Twelve or December’s Title, which will release ironically on 12.12. I thought that was befitting. If it had occurred to me sooner, I would have released all the books like that. You know, 1.1.16, 2.2.16, 3.3.16, etc… Too late for what I could have done.

Now for a big SIGH!

I’d say I’m going to take a break, but that would be a lie. I have already started on the books on next years’ production schedule. Will it be twelve? I don’t know. This I know for sure, I’m not going to intentionally schedule a Title A Month. Smile.

There I managed to make it brief. YEAH!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Tracy Reed


Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys

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November 5, 2016 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , ,

She sighed deeply as she wrote the title of her blog post.

I thought it would be fun to start off with a little writer humor. It’s been a long writing year for me, so I’ll try and keep it short.

This is the eleven month of my 12 TITLES IN 12 MONTHS challenge. If you’ve been following me, you know I started the year with this idea that I would write and publish a title a month for a year. Mainly to see if I could do it. Which I could. I say could because technically, I completed the challenge last month.

However, I feel a little dishonest in claiming a booklet I wrote for my other business as part of the challenge. Yes, I wrote it, and true I didn’t say all the titles had to be fiction, but for me, I want to stay true to the genre.

So here’s this months update.

I barely got last month’s title out, which had me a lot nervous. When I received my comments from my beta readers, I noticed some things I wanted to tweak and did another round of edits and sent the file to my editor. However, my computer decided it was full or a little tired. For whatever reason, every time I went in to accept or reject on of the edits, it would take approximately 6 seconds. I know this because I timed it. I contacted Apple, and the prognosis was, “You need more ram.” What the crap! I was about a week from my deadline. But before my call to Apple, I tried a little self-medicating and did a software update, which took up a lot of time that I didn’t have.

I was very nervous, and as a result, I failed to launch the title as I wanted. I did get the file loaded before the end of the month, put up a Facebook ad, sent out an email to my mailing list and a couple of blog posts. I’m disappointed I didn’t get to do any other ads, but I heard Joanna Penn say, “It’s s marathon, not a sprint and don’t worry about a huge launch.” I like that because that will give me more time to acquire some reviews and hopefully book some ads in time for the holiday buying season.

Book Number 11 in its original form, was the second book I’d written. However, the finished book barely resembles the original book. I kept the original copy and have to admit, that book was in no way ready to be share with anyone. I’m surprised the beta readers didn’t laugh at me. After a lot of revisions, a new cover, and a second round of beta reading, I had a book I liked. More importantly, I had a book I felt comfortable sharing.

Funny thing, when I changed book one, the characters and story lines became a little more sophisticated. Therefore, the original cover didn’t work, neither did the second book. Nor the third which I’m not going to look at until sometime next year. Chalk all of this up as a costly lesson learned as a new indie author.

Thank God for the email loop. Elena Dillion put up a post about a subscription special at DepositPhotos.com. I jumped on it, and I found the image for WHAT MY FRIENDS NEED TO KNOW. I found the image for WHAT MY FRIENDS DON’T KNOW at Masterfile. Ironically, it was also available at DepositPhotos.com, but I’d purchased that image several months prior to getting my Deposit Photos subscription.

Note the cover changes. What a difference a few revisions and growth can make.

Original Covers

Final Covers

And what about that booklet for my lingerie business? Here’s the cover. I find interesting that the two smallest books I wrote this year were also two of the most challenging. I completed my lingerie book at the beginning of the year but had to do a major re-write at the urging of some business associates. I value their input because it made me write a better book.

And the book that technically claims the 12th Title Prize is my November release is A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN. This book started as a novella featuring characters that were mentioned in WHAT MY FRIENDS NEED TO KNOW. While I was at RWA National, I learned about “guest stars,” characters from a book you spin off into their own story. When I heard that, it stuck with me. I went back to my room buzzing about who I could “spin off.” I decided to spin Avery and Jeremiah into their own novella…I thought.

I was going for a short novella, approximately 20,000 words, but the story kept going and ended up being 45,000+ words. The story also gave me an idea for a series. I really like where this series is going. But like The Alex Chronicles covers, I did a slight cover modification. I like the sepia tone, but the other morning, the cover started to not feel right. I spent the day, literally, looking for and making up a new cover. Only to come back to the original cover with a little tweaking. I like it a lot better.

Original Cover                     Final Cover

That only leaves one title, the official #12. I’ll let you in on a secret. I don’t know what it is, but I will before the end of December.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Tracy Reed

Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys

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