The Wedding Pact is Available!

This is Book 3 in the Marriage by Fairytale Series!

The Wedding Pact ebook cover

Here are the books in the series:

The Marriage Contract new ebook cover  One Enchanted Evening ebook cover  The Wedding Pact ebook cover  fairest of them all ebook cover

I am adding a 5th book, and that will be The Duke’s Secluded Bride. I don’t have a cover for it yet but should soon.  I don’t know if there will be a Book 6 or not. I wasn’t originally planning on a Book 5 until the idea came to me last month. So we’ll see how things go.

As a quick note, I want to say that I’ve had a lot of fun with this series. It’s been my experiment with gothic elements within a romance, and I’m very pleased by how it’s turning out. In my opinion, each book in the series keeps getting better and better. My personal favorite is Fairest of Them All, which will be out next month.

Here’s the description for The Wedding Pact:

On her 21st birthday, Ophelia was due to marry her guardian. Only she didn’t know it.

Miss Ophelia Crowe has led an extremely sheltered life. After her parents died when she was five, she went to live at her guardian’s country estate. She went on to live a life where everything was managed for her. From what she could wear to what activities she could do, each and every day had been carefully structured by the servants.

The problem was, she didn’t know who her guardian was.

Until the morning of her 21st birthday when the maids present her to him looking more like a doll than a lady who would like to have a say in her future. And a doll is exactly the way he treats her. She comes to realize just how much he’s structured her life so that she’s been trained to be the kind of wife he wants.

Well, she’s decided she won’t marry him. In a bold move, she runs off on a horse in the night in order to escape the fate everyone has set out for her ever since she was a child.

All Vicar Julian Roskin wants is to lead a quiet life. He’s caused enough trouble in the past. He doesn’t need any more problems. But, late one night, his safe and predictable world is turned upside down when a beautiful young lady ends up on his doorstep in need of protection. Protection, in this case, will require him to marry her.

Reason tells him not to do it. Nothing good can come from marriage to a lady he doesn’t know anything about. But something about her demands he take her up on her offer. Dare he take the risk, or should he do everything he can to send her back?

This is loosely inspired by the Little Red Riding Hood story.

It’s available at these places:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Apple

Google Play

Smashwords

Payhip (use the coupon 9G1N1NDJ8Z to get 50% off) – offer only good through July 16

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Thoughts on Ghostwriting

This post is just my opinion on the topic of ghostwriting.

There are two main reasons I can see someone using a ghostwriter.

1. You have a story idea or know a nonfiction subject matter really well, BUT you aren’t good at communicating those thoughts through writing.

Some people have a ton of great ideas, but their strength just isn’t in presenting it in written form. Communicating through the written word is a craft that comes more easily to some people than others. This isn’t to say you can’t learn the craft. You can. But sometimes it’s not practical to devote the time and effort needed to learn a craft. It could be that you’re better off using that time and effort into something else that is a strength for you already. A ghostwriter can assist in this area by taking the burden of that job off of your hands.

Going along with the idea of writing not being someone’s strength, let’s say that you also hate writing. To you, it’s a chore you’d rather not deal with. You don’t have the desire to even learn the craft. But you still have some ideas that you’d like to offer the world in written form. Maybe you’re a great speaker, so you can give online presentations and give public speeches, but you also want to have your material available in written form for people who’d rather read it. In this case, a ghostwriter can be a good thing.

2. It’s best for your business.

There’s a growing trend in the indie writing community that involves the use of ghostwriters. Indie publishing has done away with the myth that excellent writers can’t write fast. A lot of them do. But even a fast writer needs a break. People aren’t machines. They can’t write all the time. The human brain needs time to relax. So writers who rely on their writing income to make a living might find it necessary to hire ghostwriters.

Earlier this week, I saw a posting for ghostwriters wanted. This was specifically for the romance genre, and the ghostwriter would be expected to write about a certain word count a week and had to be able to commit to writing an entire series for the author who hired them. The ghostwriter would have to agree to receive no credit for the work.

I think we’re seeing a growing need for ghostwriters in the indie community because of the increased pressure authors feel to get more and more books out. And the fact is that some retailers reward a rapid publishing schedule. The quicker you can get books out, the better your chances are of making more money.  Also, I hear a lot of romance readers say they read 1-2 books a day. I can see how speed gets rewarded with money. The more books an author puts out, the more money they usually make. And if this author has done a great job of building up a fan base, then it makes sense to put out as many books as possible.

We can argue the ethics of a fiction writer using a ghostwriter all day long, but my point is that if you’re a business-minded person, you’re going to do what is best for your business. The truth is, it is harder to sell books if you’re writing at a slower pace AND if you don’t write to market. I’ve been tracking financially successful romance authors for years now, and it’s become clear to me that to better your odds of making money, you need to get books out quicker AND write to market. Right now, I’m seeing authors producing a book or two a month. Some do it more frequently than that.

I think a wise author is going to utilize the help of a quality ghostwriter to maintain this kind of production because if the author doesn’t, the author risks doing serious harm to their health, their sanity, and/or their relationships. The human mind was not created to act like a machine. It requires breaks. Our minds are connected to our bodies, so it’s best to take care of both. If you don’t give yourself time to rest, something is going to give.

Just the other day I was watching a You Tube video where this very issue came up, and I think it’s worth listening to. I’m linking to it below. Sarra Cannon mentions an author she knows who ended up in the hospital due to major fatigue and burnout. This is a good moment to reflect on the dangers of pushing yourself to write too much to often. Start at 14:56 and goes through until 16:10 to hear her warning. (If you want to listen to the other stuff she has to say, feel free. It’s a great video.)

When you take care of yourself, you’re taking care of your business.

***

The reason I can see someone not using a ghostwriter.

To help give this blog post some balance, I will add a thought on why a writer should not get a ghostwriter.

I’m the kind of writer who needs the story to be exactly the way I want it to be. This is why I went into self-publishing to begin with. I wanted 100% control over my story. I didn’t want a publisher coming in and telling me to change anything.

A ghostwriter is providing a service, but they are the ones creating the story. Even if an author gives them the idea, they’re executing it, and in my experience, two people can start with the very same idea (say a plot where a father is forcing his daughter to get married to someone she doesn’t want). Regardless of the fact these people are using the exact same plot idea, the two will produce two different stories. There might be some similar points along the way, but in the end, the story is unique because the creative mind takes all kinds of twists and turns along the way.

Characters evolve as the story is being told, and what one character does for one author, another character one won’t for the other author. That’s because each person writing the book is coming at the plot idea with two distinct personalities, two distinct backgrounds, and two distinct likes/dislikes. The subconscious mind takes over the creative process in subtle ways. That’s why you won’t get the same exact story from the same plot idea.

That’s the beauty of storytelling, and it’s why I love it so much. I never know what will happen. Each story starts out as a blank map that is filled in along the way. Granted, I don’t plot first, but I imagine even when a writer sits down to plot, they don’t know everything that’s going to happen when they start plotting on a blank piece of paper. That stuff usually gets filled in as the story comes together in the writer’s mind.

So if I were to tell a ghostwriter, “This is my idea, and I want Character A to be like this and Character B to be like this,” I doubt the ghostwriter would write the exact story I want, and I would not be happy with the story. I would have to rewrite the story so that I’m satisfied with it. If that’s the same case with you, a ghostwriter probably isn’t good for you, and it’s a good reason not to use one.

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What if Someone is Trying to Claim Copyright to a Book You Wrote? (Update)

This is just an update on the scenario I recently ran into when someone stole one of my paperback books, published it as if they were me, and then claimed that I stole the book.

My paperback book is safe and sound on Amazon, and I got the scammer’s stolen book removed!

That’s the short and sweet of the update. But I thought I’d share some other things that are going on in my mind right now regarding the importance of protecting our copyright.

As it turns out, there is an alarming trend where thieves or scammers (whatever you want to call them) are taking paperback books and publishing them. Their goal is to get people to buy that book and make money off of it. This, in turn, will make it so that the legitimate author does not get paid. It’s a scam. Another author shared this blog post detailing it on Facebook. But to make long story short, I’m not the only one who’s been hit by this. The thing that made my situation unique was that the scammer actually sent Amazon a takedown notice on my own book. (For those unaware, a takedown notice is basically a “copyright infringement” claim. You’re accusing another person of stealing your work.)

As a quick disclaimer, Amazon is not the only retailer that is vulnerable to scams. I remember last year (or was it two years ago?) when scammers were taking a lot of Kindle Unlimited (KU) books and publishing them on Apple. (Most authors in KU can’t have that ebook anywhere but Amazon.) In that scenario, the scammer was pretending to be the publishing house for those books. These authors found out about this, and as far as I know, they were able to get rid of those scammers. I haven’t heard of anything since. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t something going on. It’s just that I’m not aware of it.

Anyway, I know most authors won’t heed my advice about registering the copyright of your books based on the cost, but I still highly recommend it. The paperback book that was stolen from me makes me $0 a year. But it’s my book. I wrote it. The characters are a part of me. The story means something to me. To see someone steal my characters who were in my story was a lot more painful to go through than any of the income losses I’ve taken over the last few years. It was like someone came after one of my kids. I had to fight to protect it, just as I’d fight for one of my kids.

To me, paying $55 to protect one of my books is worth it because it was my first line of defense against the scammer. A second line would have been contacting a copyright lawyer. Back in 2011, I hadn’t registered any of my books with the US Copyright Office because I didn’t think anyone would steal them and try to sell them. But I was wrong. I had three books stolen and put up for sale by someone pretending to be me. These were the ebook versions. Amazon did remove two of those books, but they weren’t removing the third one because I had only published it on Smashwords. It was only a few pages long, and it wasn’t a romance. I saw no point in having it on Amazon. It cost me about $100 to get a copyright lawyer to contact Amazon in order to get that book removed because I didn’t have a Certificate of Registration to prove I was the copyright holder.

I guess you could argue that since I have over 90 books total out there (and all copyrighted) that I have paid way more over the years than I would pay a lawyer, and you’d be right. Seeing a lawyer would be cheaper. But these books are going to outlive me, and their copyright will extend beyond my lifetime. Someone is going to have to deal with my books after I die, and if I can make their life easier by having registered my copyrights, then that is a gift I gladly give to them. Also, I don’t know which book(s) the next scammer will pick. It’s in my best interest (and my estate’s best interest) to protect all of them.

I don’t think I’ve seen the last of these scammers. They hit me in 2011 and again in 2012 (2012 was under a pen name’s books). And they’ve now hit me again. I’m not negative. I’m actually a positive person. But I am a realist. If this has already happened to me three times now in the past 11 years since I first got my feet wet with CreateSpace (which used to be Amazon’s paperback publishing platform) and in the past 10 years that I’ve been in ebooks, it’s likely that I’ll have to go through this again.

All I can say is that having registered my copyright made things a lot easier than they did when I didn’t. This time around, I scanned in the Certificate of Registration I got from the US Copyright Office and sent it to Amazon. Amazon kept the paperback up. After that, I went to the copyright infringement form on Amazon’s site and filled it out on the scammer’s copy of my paperback book. I was able to give Amazon the registration number for the book that came from the US Copyright Office. (There was no option to scan the form in again and send it to them.) It took a week, but the scammer’s copy is now gone. I appreciate the fact that Amazon worked with me on this issue, and I truly believe one of the reasons they did was because I had registered my book with the US Copyright Office.

I’m sharing this information in case anyone needs it in the future or will run into someone who will need this information.

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