Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

The Power of Words

“The power of words has always fascinated me. There are limitless possibilities in the use of only one of them. Its power stems not only from its lexical meaning, but also its historical connotations and changes, previous contexts, media and user, audience, location and timing. As is always the case with a superpower, a word can be used for good or evil, and alas, misunderstood or misused. But whatever the effect, the desired one or its complete opposite, effect takes place, and it makes a change or a difference, or both.

It never ceases to amaze me how many emotions and ideas can stem from just one word. When you see it, hear it or say it, regardless of whether its effect is immediate or delayed, it is simply unbeatable and irresistible. It’s like magic, and I do like magic, just like any other child trapped in an ageing body.

One such word, hidden within a bundle of other wonderful and horrible, yet all impressive words, as I read it in one of my all-time favourite stories, grabbed my attention instantly. It was ‘threshold’. Mind you, in the story I was reading, it was completely unimportant, and simply denoted the entrance to a house in a description. But to me, it was that word which stopped me from reading and forced me to pick up a pen and write this story.

The Threshold is about change, which is different for everyone, no more or less than we deserve. The threshold is always open, but what we choose to do with the door is our choice, and ours alone.”

(from the Foreword to The Threshold)

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Common misconceptions about (indie) authors

Pondered for a while whether I should publish this. So before you begin reading know this – it is not complaining. It is explaining.

Being an independent author has its advantages, as well as disadvantages, just like any other job, I suppose. To be honest, I am not sure if I would have wanted to know about some of the disadvantages before venturing into (self-) publishing. For instance, if I had known how much financing it requires to be able to properly package and promote your work, I would probably have nevet dared to go into it. That would have been a shame, because I would never have met tons of wonderful authors and book supporters, or proven to myself that my books can actually be real books, no matter how many people like them.

As a reader and an author, I have discovered how seriously misguided many people are about authors, especially self-published, independent authors. Let me just share a few I have encountered, and do share your views in the comments, whether you are a reader or writer yourself.

1. People think all authors have a team of people who work with them on fixing errors and making perfect covers. (They don’t, unless they employ them and pay them. Otherwise, it’s all diy. Which doesn’t mean an independent author is like a quack doctor or a shoddy repairman. A self-made entrepreneur cares a lot about how he or she displays their work.)

2. People think authors get every single cent of the money readers pay to buy the book from a bookstore, online or not. (They don’t. Percentages of royalties vary, but you’d probably be sadly disappointed, if not shocked, if you knew the numbers. Not disclosing them here, because of contracts we have with printers and distributors.)

3. People think authors only write. (We don’t. See point no.2. Most of us have day jobs which pay the bills, hopefully also fill our hearts, and help sustain our writing dreams.)

4. People think authors are vastly supported by their families who read their books, buy them by the dozens and walk around promoting our work. (They don’t. If we are lucky, they understand us and support us as best they can – giving us some free time to write, understanding our insomnia and remaining by our side:). If we are lucky, we are able to repay them this kindness.)

5. People think publishing is what it used to be and everyone has an agent and a team to promote their books, lining up interviews and TV appearances for us, as libraries and bookshops fight over who gets more copies of our books. (Hahaha, she grinned with bitterness. I talked to a renowned author a couple of years ago and he admitted that he was lucky to have broken anonimity and gained a good publisher over 20 years ago. He says if he had to fight for it today, he’d probably stick to a day job. My ‘support team’ consists of kindhearted authors and readers who repost my shameless book plugs on social media. I am grateful for any one of my supporters.)

6. People think vanity publishing is just a myth, invented as an excuse for independent authors. (It is not. Vanity publishers are just as much a part of this business as any marketing scheme out there. They prey on your dreams, take your money to publish your book and then leave you to do the promoting yourself. If you need a cover, formatting or editing, it costs extra. I once read a testimony from an author who said it was not true because his vanity publisher was very polite, and he’d actually made £1000 from his books in 5 years through them. When asked how much he’d invested with them, he said £5000 in the first year, and about a £1000 the subsequent years. I may be a creative non-maths kind of person, but I think the numbers speak for themselves.)

7. People think authors are tedious and obsessed when we ask for reviews and promote our books. (We are, and some of us are moderate about it, whereas some are tiring. But see points above to know why. Most of us trust in our stories. Most of us really make an effort to bring out the best we possibly can under the circumstances. The readers have a choice.)

8. People think authors should give their books away for free, especially when they launch, since they get boxes of their books from the publishers, including promo T-shirts, bookmarks, bags etc. (We don’t get anything free except ideas. We work for everything else. We do research for our books, buy our own author copies, we pay for our promo stuff, we pay for packaging and shipment. So if you do get a freebie from an independent author, know that it is not free. Nothing is. We may write fantasy, but we don’t live in it. But also know it means a lot to the authir who has sent it to you. PS: applying for most awards costs a fee too. No guarantee of winning and no money back.)

9. People think authors are only good if they are famous. (Fame and quality may go hand in hand, but not always. Just like everything else. Plus, quality is a matter of personal opinion anyway. You may like a famous book, someone else will hate it. It’s that simple.)

10. People think authors write to make money. (Well then people in pharmacy would be writers too. Bankers as well. Not to mention politicians. Authors write to write. It is not even a matter of choice for most of us.)

Although I am sure there are plenty more misconceptions such as these, I have decided to list the ones I have come into contact with. Questions such as: “You’re an author? Are you famous?” and “So how rich are you?” used to be shocking; now they are just funny and slightly annoying. Especially when they are asked before even inquiring about what I write and where one might read a sample of my book.

Lines such as “You should put your books in bookshops, libraries, schools and give them away.” … well, they make me sad. Why? Apart from all the points above, it takes time to write a book. It takes heart. It takes time to draw illustrations. It takes effort and resources to create a cover.

But most of all, it takes gutts to put your thoughts out there, open for all comments. It takes a dream. You don’t just give that away. Or give it all up.

Would you?

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How do YOU pick a book?

How do YOU pick a book? What is that decisive factor which makes you pick it up? How many times have you been wrong, or, on the other hand, pleasantly surprised by your choice?

It is always a challenge for any writer to write a blurb for their novel. How DO you put something you worked on for years into several brief sentences, which manage to attract the attention of a huge majority of readers, also conveying the essence of your story and your writing style? Mission impossible for some, me included sometimes.

However, since I myself have learned that books are like people (never fully trust the cover or what they briefly tell you about themselves;), I tend to take a look at the sneak peek, check out the text in library paperbooks or glance at the preview offered in stores.

Here is the longer version of the blurb for my novel, which I know does not do justice to the book. I merely wanted to prove my point;). Btw, the video link below is an app experiment at a promo video.

THE FOREST OF TREES BLURB:

When a family of four faces the brutal reality of their city life, they readily embrace a complete change. Emma and David Stone, with their kids Jeremy and Dot, move to a small town with their big hopes. However, small towns have their own secrets – from urban legends about The Forest of Trees to family skeletons in closets everyone knows about.

Gradually, Jeremy and Dot make some new and unusual friends, whereas Emma and David start working again, and things seem to be going for the better. But evil never rests. The Jacksons, a bigoted and brutal family of pig farmers, however scary, are not the only ones leaning towards malice. The more new friendships grow, the more villains will struggle to retain power. Will the arrival of the newcomers tip the scales in favour of the good or the evil? And how can The Forest of Trees play its part in the solution?

The life between the legendary Forest of Trees and the small town of Tillsworth is separated only by a road. All it takes to reconnect is to take that path.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwnR-_utzJA

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Interesting article to share: Top Ten Publishing Trends Every Author Needs to Know in 2018 – Written Word Media

https://www.writtenwordmedia.com/2018/01/08/publishing-trends-indie-publishing/

Quote: 

“As indie publishing becomes more competitive and requires more and more business and marketing skills, I expect to see all successful indies outsource a major part of their marketing efforts — including the planning — to professional freelancers or agencies. Those who don’t will almost certainly experience burnout”, says Ricardo Fayet, CMO at Reedsy…”

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The Power of Words

The power of words has always fascinated me. There are limitless possibilities in the use of only one of them, because its power stems not only from its lexical meaning but its historical connotations and changes, its previous contexts, media and user, its audience, location and timing. And, as is always the case with a superpower, it can be used for good or evil, and alas, misunderstood or misused as well. But whatever the effect may be, the desired one or its complete opposite, effect takes place, and it makes a change or a difference, or both. 

It never ceases to amaze me how many emotions and ideas can stem from just one word. When you see it, hear it or say it, regardless of whether its effect is immediate or delayed, it is simply unbeatable and irresistible. It’s like magic, and I do like magic, just like any other child trapped in an ageing body.  

One such word, hidden within a bundle of other wonderful and horrible, yet all impressive words, as I read it in one of my all-time favourite stories, grabbed my attention instantly. It was ‘threshold’. Mind you, in the story I was reading, it was completely unimportant, and simply denoted the entrance to a house in a description. But to me, it was that word which stopped me from reading and forced me to pick up a pen and write this story. 

As soon as I started writing it, a new world opened up before my eyes, like in those science-fiction TV-series, when a starship goes into warp and everything changes at light speed. The world becomes different and bigger, and you are transported into a place so far away from home that it seems you will never go back. Till the story is finished and you warp your way back, with the merciless blow of disappointment at your story being over, and still, quickly psyched up again over another new word and another adventure, beyond our world, yet so much part of our world. 

The Threshold is about change, which is different for everyone, no more or less than we deserve. The change is eventually always consistent with our decision on how we choose to react to that change. The threshold is always open, but what we choose to do with the door is our choice, and ours alone. 

(From the foreword of The Threshold)

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Blessing & Curse

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#amwriting

When you revise the 24th chapter of your book and you actually feel sick to your stomach from a character. And he’s only a boy… Needless to say, cookies were summoned. 

PS: 12 chapters left to edit. Not rushing it.

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Progress

Now that heat has subsided a bit, so that I can finally think clearly, I was able to plug in my usb and concentrate on editing. 

Unbelievable, but editing and rewriting this book is so exhausting, even after I’ve let it rest for quite a while. It’s like partially demolishing and reconstructing a house. There are times I feel like chucking it all away, this novel I have worked on for years, but as soon as that comes to mind, I know I won’t. This world, this ‘forest’, all those people in it… I believe in them. 

Is it ridiculous to say I feel as if I owe it to them to make it the best I can? Might be silly to you, but it is real to me. One day… soon. One day.

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Thank you, Goodreads readers:)

I still remember the first time I was asked if I was a Goodreads author.  It was only a few years ago and to me, it sounded like an SF question. Like something only possible in the distant fantasy or SF. 

Now… I can safely say – YES, I am. So thank you to all those who told me to persist, to stay true to myself, and to keep writing for the love of story, not money. (Not that it wouldn’t be a lovely addition;), but money is not my creative spark.)

Just found time to drop by yesterday and watched it content. Imperfect, but lengthy list, books reviewed, recommended and on the ‘want-to-read’ lists. Trust me, there is true joy in the realization that people read the books you write. No story is complete without readers.

THANK YOU to all who #read & #review

My Goodreads Author Dashboard https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8512581.Anita_Kovacevic

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Expanding my network

If you like to browse for books on Readers Gazette, you can now find most of my books there as well:). Excited? You bet I am!

It is amazing to see how far the small and rare steps can take you. There are times I want to just give it all up, just stop battling with the constant lack of time, being tired and overwhelmed with teaching, family, and all the Murphy-law stuff life has a tendency to bring on, but then again – so many people support me, without pushing, that it would be ridiculous not to at least pace myself and do my best.

So one step more in my dream direction…


http://readersgazette.com/

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