New Book, Oh My!

These past few weeks have been chaos, which can only mean one thing: a release is coming!!!

My next release is titled Curveball, and it will be live on May 18th!

This book came as a bit of a surprise to me. Initially, these characters first came to me while I was working on The Weight of Rain, in very brief scenes that constantly left me distracted, waiting to learn more about them. They were intelligent, witty, dedicated, and they had great banter! Over the past couple of years I've been working on it in small amounts, but as most of you know I was also preparing to move across country and finishing The Effects of Falling.

Another book was lined up to be completed, but this book demanded to be told. I fell in love with these characters and while it sounds a bit like a sports Rom Com, it's not. I know! I know! I have this background in marketing of all things, and then create complete and utter confusion with a title like that! I think when you read the synopsis you'll get an understanding, but this book is definitely a Contemporary Romance and is also my first full-length novel that is told in dual POV. I haven't done male POV since Losing Her with Max, and these two guys are so very different that it was an adventure stepping into his mind.

This book began as a Rom-Com. She was supposed to get over her ex with online dates, and she's a single mom, and motherhood is always good for some laughter, and while this book has lots of hilarious moments and hysterical dialogue, this book is packed with emotion. It's going to make you feel quite literally the full gauntlet of emotions!

I'm truly thrilled to release this book because I love it so so so much, and I truly can't wait for everyone to meet these guys and  fall in love with them too! You can go read the first three chapters of this book, they're posted under "Projects and Special Announcements!" There you can also sign up to read and review an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) of Curveball, as well as add it to your TBR! Click Here to read the first three chapters of Curveball!

I'll be returning to writing additional posts regarding publishing soon. After all, I always learn and re-learn new things when going through this again myself!

 

XO,

M

Books, Books, FREE BOOKS!

You heard me right, I am giving away free books from some of my favorite authors including Staci Hart, Ilsa Madden Mills, Penny Reid, and MORE!! It's not a contest, everyone that signs up for my newsletter will receive a FREE book EVERY month from one of these amazing authors! 

 

Happy New Year!

2016 proved to be quite the year. There were many changes and additions, including the release of The Effects of Falling, our new furry family member, Miss Ruby, and also a new address on the opposite side of the country! I so much appreciate everyone's patience as I know many of you were hoping for me to release more books in 2016, including more from the His Series. I can't tell you how much I appreciate hearing from everyone, and knowing how attached you've all become to these characters. I can assure you that I'm equally as attached! In fact, a book I've been working on since I was completing Finding Me, I had initially named the characters Jace and Mac, and quickly realized I was experiencing withdraws! Ha! 

I am thrilled to announce that I am scheduled to release three books in 2017, one of which will be Wes' story, and book four of the His Series. 

I know I've said this before, but blogging is one of my goals for the New Year, so I can share more updates as well as my experiences with everyone. Some of them will likely entail the differences between the West Coast and Eastern Seaboard, while many will be news of upcoming releases, teasers, and additional information you won't wan to miss! However, if you want to make sure you aren't missing anything, you can always join my FaceBook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1580344788843818/ 

Here's to a happy, healthy, an exciting New Year!

-M

To Edit or not to Edit

One of the biggest struggles I've experienced since indie publishing my first novel, Becoming His, was people assuming that it would be an unpolished mess of my own thoughts. You see, when I elected to indie publish, not a single platform that I posted my book to asked me if I had made the right decision and had the book professionally edited--not one. Amazon will notify you of errors that they find, but more often than not it's the name of a character rather than a legitimate error.

You'll notice I said "the right decision, and had the book professionally edited." Clearly this is my own opinion, but to me this is an essential part of the publishing process. I think of it like making an elaborate meal, and then burning or under-cooking it because you didn't know how to properly cook it. Sure there might be some decent bites, but overall the flavor isn't cohesive, and there are inconsistencies as well as large distractions. And this "meal" is something you don't spend a mere few hours on, it's months of work and research and revisions.

I go through my completed manuscripts three times before they reach an editor, and while I can be a pretty decent critique partner for my author friends, I can assure you my returned manuscripts still have a mess of corrections when they're returned to me. For some, this is a very disheartening reality, and while I sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed by the edits, I've always loved the process because I continue to learn and grow with each book.

My two cents on why EVERYONE needs an editor:

1- An author knows their characters and storyline very intimately, making it easy to forget explaining some of the crucial details to readers.

2- While beta readers are generally used to help with plot issues, editors are another wonderful resource to ensure that all of the dots you've dropped throughout the story connect at the end.

3- English is a crazy language. CRAZY! There are so many rules and style guides that it's impossible for anyone to know them all, which is why there are people that went to school and studied editing. They know that you don't capitalize aunt when it's proceeded by a pronoun, and all kinds of things that many don't, in addition to cleaning up obsessive commas, and pointing out when you're telling a reader something versus showing them the scene. You see a doctor when you're sick. You should see an editor when you write.

4- You want to put your best foot forward. Whether it's you first book that you're publishing or your tenth, you will have new readers, and you want to be sure to show them the best side of yourself and your writing abilities.

I realize finding an editor is hard. It's really hard in fact. Below you'll find a post I wrote about how to find an editor, and some tips and questions I suggest asking. An editor is an expensive investment, so be sure to go into things with both eyes wide open.

 

Judging a Book by its Cover

Many don't know that I'm an art enthusiast, but art is something I have loved for nearly as long as I have writing and reading. It makes sense, after all, books are art. My addiction began like many kids: coloring. I would spend hours upon hours bringing images to "life" in both regular run of the mill coloring books, and pleaded and begged my parents for those fuzzy art pictures where I colored between the faux black velvet... yeah, you remember those, right? Later, I began tracing in attempt to teach myself how to draw. When my love for art grew, my parents signed me up for a few different classes so I could learn more of the basics. We never had much money, so the classes were always minimal, but something I dearly loved and was earnest to learn from.

As an adult I don't do as much art as I'd like, and sometimes  is in the form of cooking dinner, rearranging furniture, or managing to dress my children that sometimes refuse to wear anything but pajamas (they are my children)--but one of my highlights for each book is getting to help choose the cover design. It's a process that exhausts me and stresses me out nearly as much as concluding a book, but it's also one of the most exciting and rewarding.  Selecting what will represent the story with a single still image, and not reveal too much is something I begin considering from the point of conception of a novel. I spend hours upon hours scouring images online searching for inspiration, and more of them trying to translate my many thoughts into words for my cover designers.

When I first began the process of Indie Publishing, I did my homework and looked through hundreds...likely thousands... of covers both online and in bookstores, searching for my favorite covers, what they had in common, and who designed them.

I am very proud of all of my covers, making it very difficult to choose a favorite. The cover of Losing Her will always be very dear to me, as it is exactly what I had imagined while I was writing the story, and seeing it come to life was an amazing experience. The cover of The Weight of Rain is another favorite. Hang Le who designed it, has such a talent with light and detail that there were very few changes to be made from the original draft she sent me.

This next cover for The Effects of Falling is already becoming one of my favorites. I took a risk with it, and I am so extremely excited about it. I don't often think it's good to judge a book by its cover, hell, I don't even judge books by their synopses...because I rarely read them--but I hope you all judge this book by its cover, because it is PHENOMENAL

 

 

Intro to The Effects of Falling

When I published The Weight of Rain, I was anticipating it being my first standalone novel--something I was both excited and scared about. One of the most important things to me as a writer is character development and obviously with writing three books about the same characters as I had with the first few books of the His Series, I was allowed to build their personalities slowly and at a pace I felt was natural. Trying to fit everything into a single novel was a struggle for me, but one that I enjoyed immensely as I fell deeply in love with Lo. She will always be one of my favorite characters! I hit publish on October 27th, and basked in the excitement of completing my fifth publication for about a day before I began diving into new projects I was anticipating working on. Suddenly, I was receiving emails and messages from people reading The Weight of Rain, asking me what happened to some of the supporting cast. This is a huge compliment--one of the highest for me personally, because I want readers to love all the characters, not just one or two. BUT... I didn't have a story for the supporting characters. My mind had already moved forward and onto new plots and adventures. Then a few emails and messages turned into a few more, and a few more, and then a lot more, and with each request, they started taking up more real estate in my thoughts and I found myself working on a duology to The Weight of Rain after I so proudly announced  The Weight of Rain would be a standalone.

It was a really great experience to write this novel because it's always fun to continue writing about characters you love, and these ones will always stay with me. This book is essentially another standalone, though it is a duology. You can read The Weight of Rain and be introduced to Summer, and meet Lo and experience the ride she took, or you can pick up The Effects of Falling on August 02, and be introduced to Summer as she learns a very important lesson about loving oneself. 

I hope you guys are as excited for this project as I am, because I feel like I have broken every rule with writing it! From going outside of my traditional NA genre into contemporary romance,  to changing the entire process of the cover, to not setting out to writing this book and discovering a story that I feel so passionate about.

The Weight of Rain

10 months later, I wrote the final words to my fourth manuscript!!!! The Weight of Rain, #TWoR, http://amzn.to/1LmNDql is releasing at the end of this month and I am so excited for it! It is my first standalone which was both challenging and very rewarding.

After completing Finding Me, I had a very hard time committing to another book. I wanted to write more books for the supporting characters of the His Series, and still fully intend to, but these new characters were stalking my thoughts, and I knew they weren't going away until I got their story out on paper.

It was a long journey to complete this book. I wanted it to live up to the first three books, and have this book and these characters mean just as much to me as Ace and Max, and I can say without hesitation that I am just as deeply in love with these characters!! 

I'm trying to become a more organized person, and hope to update the blog more frequently because this next year has so many exciting things including several book signings that I will be traveling for, a Christmas novella that is releasing November 2, two days after The Weight of Rain, and so much more!

Miss Me?

My New Year's Resolution is coming late this year. My resolution is to be sure that I post each and every week starting March 1st. I have lots to share about my new book, Losing Her, releasing March 1st, and more that I have learned. If you ever have questions, or suggestions on what you'd like me to share about in regards to the publishing process, or the indie world in general, please comment, and I will happily try to address all of them.

Until Sunday, I do have a couple of really awesome fan made videos for Becoming His and Losing her to share with you all. Check these out!

Becoming His: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uts9uDq0eXM

Losing Her: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfnyWZEtf3w

Becoming His Recognition

Becoming His was named on several blogs for being a best read of 2014! I am really honored to share with you all some recognition that it's received:

2014 Must Reads from Stephanie's Book Reports Blog: http://www.stephaniesbookreports.com/stephanies-2014-list-of-must-reads/

Top 5 Debut Authors of 2014: http://ndbbr2014.blogspot.com/search?q=mariah+dietz

Top Read of 2014 from Terri with The Review Loft, and on the top list for Lucy and Myla with The Review Loft as well.

It also made several readers top lists.

I am truly honored! This experience has been nothing short of amazing and I so much appreciate everyone that has taken the time to read Becoming His and supported me on this journey. I'm so glad readers are enjoying it and can't tell you how anxious I am to share Losing Her with you on March 1!

Don't forget to also follow me on FB to see news about the books:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mariah-Dietz/317058868472780

You can also friend me and see my sock obsession here: 

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006807649240

What is Succses?

I recently completed my first video interview with the ladies of The Review Loft: http://ndbbr2014.blogspot.com/search?q=mariah+dietz after Becoming His was named as a top read from three of their bloggers. Terri asked me a really great question, "What is your definition of success.

When I first started reading, I fell in love with books that had characters I wanted to either become, or befriend. I realize now that I want to be those girls, or be their BFF because the stories they're in are ones that have changed me.

I hope that my writing is entertaining and makes readers laugh and smile. but if someone reads The His Series and feels like it changes them or their perspective on something, then I've reached success.

Finding an Editor

Oh boy. This is a big one. Sigh ...

Finding an editor was one of my biggest challenges. It made the cover design look like a cakewalk (and it truly isn't, it's stressful, and very important to find the right designer!) 

Lesson 1: Just because someone says they're an editor doesn't mean they have the qualifications to edit.

It's hard when you walk into the indie world because everyone and their mother is an editor it seems like, and yet you can't find one! A lot of avid readers that have been able to spot errors in books get the epiphany that editing is their calling. I am not saying anything negative about this group. Some of them I'm sure would make great editors. However, it is really important as a writer that you know what you're looking for when you're seeking an editor.

Things to consider:

1- Do you want just line editing?

2- Do you want content editing?

3- How many rounds will your editor go (I learned after asking this question to someone I was interviewing, that you need to be specific here! I am not asking how many times will they read through the story for corrections before returning it; I'm asking how many times will your editor go back and forth with you. If they send you corrections and suggestions, are they going to review them? How many times? At what cost?

4- How do they charge? I personally prefer to use editors that go by word count, not time.

5- What Style Guide do they use?

6- Do they have a contract? If they don't have a contract, I would honestly say to keep shopping. You need to have something to refer back to for time frames, expectations, etc.

7- Will they do a sample edit for you? This is another thing I feel is mandatory. You need to get a feel for what your potential editor is going to be able to do for your story. Read their comments and suggestions and take them into consideration. Is it what you want?

8- Have a phone conversation! You don't need to become besties with your editor but you DO need to be able to communicate, get along, and make sure they understand the message of your story so that while they're editing, they can be making sure it's clear.

9- Get multiple quotes. The first few people I met I thought, "She's perfect! I found my editor! This was so easy!" A week later I was singing a completely different tune. When you're new to the writing world, you don't know what to look for. You see some corrections and suggestions and suddenly the person is not only qualified but brilliant. Compare sample edits, see what each person offers.

10- READ SOMETHING THEY'VE EDITED!!! I read two books from each editor I was considering and it did make me pass on several. There are always going to be mistakes, they're inevitable, but how big are they, and how many of them are there?

11- What's their editing experience? Did they go to school for it? Are they a fellow writer? Avid reader? Etc.

12- Do they have a proofreader? I really think everyone should have a proofread in addition to an editor. It's another set of eyes to catch small mistakes.

13- Do they charge you for their time? I met a few people that allotted a set amount of time to discuss the marks they sent you, and if you had additional questions or concerns they charged you by the hour. This IS a job for them as well, you have to be realistic, but you also need to ask yourself if you want that kind of relationship with your editor.

 

Lesson 2: Don't be afraid to ask more questions!

If you're feeling inferior, or concerned from your interactions with a prospective editor, ask more questions and if it doesn't change, move on!

 

Lesson 3: The best place to find a good and reputable editor is by looking at the acknowledgments of your favorite books.

Fears and Strengths

"To write something you must risk making a fool of yourself." -- Anne Rice.

This is an amazing quote for me to read because I can recall a thousand times over the last year that I've questioned what others would think when they read my book. Would my writing be strong enough? Would my characters be convincing and robust? Is this unique enough? Etc., etc., etc. I could tell you all a thousand fears that I've considered while writing this series. Some of them I still face when I see new review. Thankfully, I've grown to realize that not every book is for every reader. Someone may hate my books, other may love them, but like anything in life, you can never please everyone.

There are so many things we do in our day-to-day lives that we alter based on the perceptions of others. While this is a good thing at times because it does force me, and others to get out of our sweat pants on occasion, and to be polite, even when someone may not be deserving; I think that we've clouded the line of when the perceptions of others matter and when they shouldn't.

We are all unique in our own ways. That is what makes life beautiful. It provides us with a wide variance of music, cuisines, books, art, conversations, friends, and so many other things that are so fulfilling to our lives. I know that what I write is never going to be something that everyone is going to 5-star and I'm beginning to learn that I'm glad for that. I want my writing to provoke thoughts and feelings, and sometimes those are going to be negative.

I had a wonderful mentor that taught me we all too often are taught to learn what our weaknesses are and to focus on improving them, ignoring what we really ought to be focusing on which is our strengths.

Even though I will receive low reviews as I continue on this path, I am going to try my hardest not to focus on them. I'm going to focus on the positive ones that encourage and help me focus on my strengths.

The next time you look in the mirror, don't look at your reflection and sigh, or think of what you wish you could change. Look at yourself and see what you've accomplished, and all of your beauty. Stop allowing your weaknesses to talk so loud. Mute them with all of your strengths.

Cover Reveal

I'm skipping ahead several steps this week to the cover design experience in honor of the cover for Becoming His being revealed this last week.

I initially thought the cover design would be an experience I was going to love because I consider myself fairly artistic. However, it began as a very stressful experience for me, and thankfully ended on a wonderful note.

The stress began when I was clueless about where to find a cover designer. I blindly Googled it and started looking over websites looking at hundreds of portfolios and reading reviews. I discovered that there are tons of options: you can buy an already created template, have someone create something for you, buy photos from a photographer, arrange to have a photographer take photos for you that a designer will work with ... the options are really endless.

The stress continued because throughout writing the books, I never had a picture of the cover in my head for the first book, Becoming His. Nothing. I knew that I didn't want people because I enjoy readers using their own imaginations for what the characters look like, but that was about all it.

I spent hours. HOURS, going through stock photos, talking to photographers, reaching out to different designers and each time they'd ask me what I wanted. One day I started browsing through covers and noting the ones I liked. I had 15 covers on my favorite list, 12 of them had been done by Sarah Hansen with Okay Creations. With that list, I knew I had my answer. I contacted her the next morning and contracted all three covers with her.

After that my stress took a nosedive when it came to the cover thankfully. Sarah took my rambling thoughts and created what I didn't even know I wanted and I could not be happier with it.

 

Here are some important questions to ask a cover designer before you work with them:

- What charges will you incur. Meaning, if they add stock photos are you responsible for paying an additional fee.

- Do they charge by the hour or a flat fee?

- How many changes/edits will they allow? Do they cost extra?

- How long will the process take?

 

There's a lot more to discuss with the artist you potentially work with, but these are key questions. Remember, cover reveals are often done a couple of months before the book is released, so you need to plan accordingly. With that in mind, a lot of book artists are booked out several months.

Don't be afraid to ask them questions or to request for things to be changed, but remember- if you chose them because you love their work, you need to trust them. Their name's attached to the work as well and they want to make it look the best that it can for both of you.

Sarah is absolutely awesome, if anyone is looking for a cover designer I would recommend her in a heartbeat. Her work is stunning, and she's super easy to work with!

 

To celebrate the cover reveal I'm having a giveaway! Don't miss your chance to win!

 



Indie Publishing

I wrote Becoming His on my phone. Yes, that's right, on my phone. I actually wrote most of all three books in the His Series on it. My second son was born and my husband and I, being the horrible sleep trainers we are, split up and he stayed upstairs with our toddler while I slept on the couch with our newborn.

Being a newborn, he went to bed at like seven every night and regardless of being told to sleep when your NB sleeps, I had a really hard time with it, so I was up way too much, half alert, shuffling around in my robe with my barnacle baby. While he slept the story of Becoming His came to me. My main characters Max and Ace made it so I couldn't read other books- I'd get distracted with their story while I was doing nearly everything, and started jotting down thoughts in notes on my phone. Eventually I found Google Docs, and started writing the story. 

The story was long, I knew it would have to be at least two books, and then one night at like four in the morning while I was walking my son back to sleep, the last pieces of the story came to me and I knew there were going to be three. I finished book three before book one, and wrote two in-between based on how I was feeling at the time, or what came to me throughout the day. 

Writing has always been fun for me, something I thoroughly enjoy doing, however, the His series was far more therapeutic than any of my previous writings. I laughed out loud, waking my baby up a few times while writing, and cried hard enough it led me to having to walk him as well. 

When I realized I wanted to pursue publishing Becoming His I was full of nerves and excitement about the potential of others reading my story. I started looking up publishing options. Exhausting the lists of pros and cons for both indie and traditional publishing. Obviously, I chose to go with indie publishing because I felt it fit me better. Becoming His is over 100k words, it's a long book. It also became a very personal book for me because it kept me company at all hours of the night and day, and helped me face one of my biggest fears. 

I want to share my journey. Whether you're an aspiring author, pianist, dreamer, mom, reader, blogger, or elephant I would be honored for you to join me on my journey of self-publishing. I'll share with you the trials and tribulations I've faced about finding beta readers, an editor, a cover artist, cover reveals, and everything in-between. 

This all starts with the most important factor- believe in yourself. Make it happen. 

Life is busy. 

Life is crazy. 

Life goes way too fast. 

Don't let anything stand in the way of accomplishing your dreams; if you have to write your story on a cell phone in the middle of the night, or play in a subway station to get an audience, do it. 

Don't stand in the way of your dreams when there are far too many others that will try.