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Topics - Amanda M. Lee

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Writers' Cafe / Thousand Words a Day Club 2018
« on: January 01, 2018, 11:24:58 AM »
Here's to a new year and a new thread. I started 2018 with a new book and a simple 9K. Good luck on the year everyone.

Writers' Cafe / Anyone else having trouble with Facebook?
« on: September 28, 2015, 12:40:05 PM »
I can't get to my pages and I'm right in the middle of an Audible giveaway (figures).

Writers' Cafe / Since others have come out
« on: May 12, 2015, 12:37:31 AM »
I'm ready, too. Others have given me courage. Have a good week everyone. I won't be on a lot. I'm bottle feeding kittens. I will be back in force next week (hopefully). I hope things are going well for everyone.

Writers' Cafe / I found a litter of kittens (UPDATED WITH PHOTOS)
« on: May 07, 2015, 01:30:54 PM »
They're about four weeks old. I was out mowing and saw movement under a rosebush. I'm going to try and find them all homes in five weeks after they can be tested for feline leukemia. I guess it's a good thing I work at home since I have to bottle feed them. This just threw off my month.

Writers' Cafe / Is that Movers & Shakers list on Amazon new?
« on: April 30, 2015, 05:53:16 PM »
I just noticed it today. I think it's nice because there's a lot of turnover on it by the nature of the list, but I honestly didn't know it existed.

Writers' Cafe / Anyone ever have trouble with someone else's PA?
« on: April 25, 2015, 12:13:11 PM »
There's some indie author I've never heard of and her personal assistant "liked" my author page a few days ago and then sent me a PM demanding I like the other author's page. I ignored it. Today she sent me another message demanding I like this other author's page so they could tell people I was a fan of the author. I wrote back and said I'd never read anything by the author and I was going to pass. I basically said "thank you, but I'm not interested." Now she's pitching a fit that I've ruined their advertising plans. Has anyone ever dealt with anything like this?

Writers' Cafe / How far is too far ahead to plan when writing?
« on: April 24, 2015, 10:41:31 PM »
On a whim and three beers (my tolerance is so sad these days), I grabbed a notebook out and plotted out my writing schedule for the rest of the year. I was curious. I have specific plans in place, and I wanted to make sure they were feasible. I also wanted to see if I could wedge in another book (I have some great covers I designed and they're calling to me). For those interested (all two of you), I can't wedge it in. It's just not doable. Maybe next year (fingers crossed).
Anyway, I pulled my trusty calendar out and started going through titles. I considered everything ahead of me this year: family reunions, holidays, editing weeks, etc. I generally write three weeks out of every month and edit the fourth. The fourth week is kind of like four hours of editing a day, so it's essentially like a vacation week (for me at least. I don't have kids, it's easy for me). Since I edit pretty thoroughly as I'm writing, I'm usually going through two to three manuscripts each editing week. I also worked in the days (when I work eight hours straight) when I have to go through final edits and suggestions from my editors. I also worked in the hours it will take me to format and upload, which is pretty negligible now that I know what I'm doing and can format a book in my sleep. I also threw in a couple "empty" weeks in case other life stuff comes up.
As for covers? I have almost fifty covers on my desktop. I like working on them (and tweaking them) when I need a mental break. I have all the covers handled for the foreseeable future (and then some). I even have multiple covers for series that I just don't have time to write right now.
When I looked at the list, even I was surprised. I have a very productive second-half of the year (after a very productive first half of the year) ahead of me. I'm glad you can only put preorders up three months out. I'd be in trouble otherwise, although I never put a preorder up until the WIP is finished (editing is another story).
Still, the question is, how far out do you feel comfortable scheduling? My schedule this year includes ten books that won't be published until next year. I did the same this year, finishing six books for 2015 before the new year. I'm really trying to plan ahead because I'm going to be moving next year.

Writers' Cafe / Canadians hate me
« on: April 10, 2015, 06:49:57 PM »
I do well in the UK (where they seem to get my humor) and I'm seeing nice growth in Australia. I cannot make more than $300 a month in Canada, though. Is anyone seeing good numbers there, and how do you do it?

Every time I turn around they're private messaging me on my Facebook pages -- under multiple names -- and it's starting to bug me. Anyone know what their deal is?

Writers' Cafe / The importance of outlines
« on: March 24, 2015, 08:18:48 PM »
People often ask me how I write so fast. I honestly believe it's because I outline. Now, I don't always follow my outlines. If I get into it and get a better idea I have no problem changing it. My outlines don't even flesh everything out. They're more like pacing beats and tidbits. It does help me to keep track of my story. Thanks to outlines I've finished four novels and two 25,000-word shorts since the beginning of January. I will finish another full WIP by Sunday. I didn't write today because I had to listen to and approve an audio book. When I was done, though, I put together five outlines. Yes. Five. I did three in one series and two in another. My hand hurts because I outline in notebooks by hand. It's because of outlines, though, that I will finish one book this week and start another next week. I honestly don't know how pantsers do it, but I give them a lot of credit. I would be lost without my outlines.

I'm uploading a new book, and the book shows up, it allowed me to buy it, but the cover still hasn't shown up. It was fine in the window and everything, and I'm sure it's just lagging, but I've never seen a book show up for purchase without the cover.

Writers' Cafe / Sometimes, when you're stuck, look at photo sites
« on: March 07, 2015, 08:23:43 PM »
I've been trying to think of a third series for my pen name. The book won't launch until late summer, but I wanted my characters and first book outlined. Nothing I came up with was really exciting me. So, I decided to surf around Shutterstock today and I found a photo I loved. I decided I wanted to write something to go with that photo. That led me to a main character and a "broad" idea. I then purchased everything I needed to create the cover (there ended up being four pieces to cut out to create an awesome header and then my photo slipped right in perfectly). Voila. I had a cover. I then found four more photos I loved and used the same header. I  now have five branded covers (and I love the way they turned out -- thank you to Elizabeth Ann West for telling me where to find the font I needed). I then turned off my computer, got in bed, outlined all the characters and just finished the outline for the first book. Now I'm dying to write it (although there are four in other series in front of it). Sometimes, when you're stuck, you can find inspiration from images.

Writers' Cafe / Someone is pretending to be me on Amazon
« on: March 02, 2015, 06:26:38 PM »
Not the author me -- well, kind of. Someone is leaving reviews for others with my name, though. My name is kind of common, though. I don't know what to do. An author messaged me on my Facebook page complaining about a review I gave them -- but I don't review books on Amazon. I'm not sure what to do.

Writers' Cafe / Hitting new milestones
« on: February 27, 2015, 11:24:52 PM »
Since I have two productive pen names (and I've just started to recently get back into the erotica game -- but I can't do that on a weekend, so it's moot right now) I've been paying more attention to my author ranking on Author Central. I hate to say it, but I'm obsessed with hitting new milestones. My main name is cruising. It's pretty level, although a recent release has bumped me up into the top 250 for all books and 130 for ebooks. My poor pen name, though. Ugh. I've had big highs, and big lows. I just launched it in October, and it's an ongoing process. I had my best two sales days ever (without promotions) yesterday and today (thanks to a new release) on my main name, but my pen name is down today (by like 6,000 rankings) and I'm a sad little puppet. Who else basks in milestones even though they don't want to?

Writers' Cafe / Corrected 1099s question
« on: February 17, 2015, 03:23:58 PM »
Were we supposed to get all new 1099s, or not? I've only received one (for Europe). I was expecting more. I'm not sure how long I should wait.

Writers' Cafe / I need an additional proofreader
« on: February 11, 2015, 10:34:44 PM »
I have two people for my main stuff, and they're solid. Sadly, I wish I'd had them for all my books, but I can't go back in time. They do a great job on my main books now. I have no complaints. They cannot keep up with my pen name stuff, though. There's just too much volume.
I have one solid proofreader. She's good. She's not infallible, though. I want to add a second proofreader into the mix. I don't need development editing. I just need an "oops" person -- and one who does not cost too much.
I do not want people to advertise their proofreading prowess here. Sorry. I want to believe you, but I need more. I've seen people claiming they're the best proofreaders ever and yet not so much.
I want authors to tell me who they've hired to proofread so I can look at their books (yes, buying).
So, wow me. Who are the best proofreaders?

Writers' Cafe / One week down as a full-time writer -- and unsatisfied
« on: January 18, 2015, 02:22:57 AM »
Since I used to work nights, I've been trying to modify my schedule. It hasn't been going well. Before, I stayed up until 5 a.m. because I had to. Now? It's 5 a.m. and I'm still up. I have not been able to force myself to bed earlier. I also haven't worked out once. I'm a lazy slob on that front. The good news is, I've finished two 25,000-word shorts for my best-selling series this week. I'm adding four a year with KU in mind. If you don't like KU, back off. I don't really care. I'm doing what I want for my bottom line. I will no longer comment on KU threads or make public how much money I'm making thanks to KU. I was trying to provide insight, but I just can't do it anymore thanks to the hate and vitriol. It's just not worth it.
I will, however, comment on my productivity. In addition to my two shorts, I've written a 10,000-word erotica story for a pen name that hasn't been touched in more than a year and a half. It's a work in progress.
I've also started production on a new audio book, set up a timeline with a narrator for another, finished editing a book and sent it off to an editor, and completed about ten covers for various projects that aren't even written yet.
I've also outlined two full novels and one of the novelettes I've already finished. So, I feel productive, but my house still looks like a bomb went off and I'm just going to bed now -- at 5:19 a.m.
I'm a work in progress -- just like what I write.

This was my last day at the paper. For those paying attention (and I don't blame you if you weren't), I struggled with leaving my day job for a long (long, long, long, long, long) time. I've been with the same newspaper since 1997. Newspaper jobs are not easy to come by these days, so leaving was a big deal. So I saved (and saved and saved), and I didn't pull the trigger until my book sales were more than ten times my day job money (and for a sustained time). I'm finally a full time author -- and while I know it was the right decision, I feel a little weird. I'm taking tomorrow off, and then I'm getting on a writing schedule Monday. Thanks everyone for their support here.

I've never liked the second cover in my romantic suspense series. I bought several of them before I decided to just do them myself, and I was under the gun when I selected the cover. I always hated it, even though it matched the story. Several days ago, I bit the bullet and replaced the cover. My new series is doing well, but that is the book that's lagging. The new cover shows up in the "Look Inside," but it still hasn't updated on Amazon. I think I may go insane soon.

Writers' Cafe / I hand in my resignation today (Friday)
« on: December 25, 2014, 10:31:06 PM »
I just finished polishing my resignation letter to hand in when I get to work this afternoon. Everyone at the paper pretty much knows -- except the big editor (because no one talks to him). My last day is Jan. 10 -- and I'm so very excited. I'm a little bummed I have to email my boss because he's on vacation (I'd like to see the look on his face) -- but I am so ready for the next chapter of my life.

Happy holidays everyone!

Writers' Cafe / ACX question
« on: December 18, 2014, 03:57:07 AM »
When you try to open a pen name for auditions, what name does it appear under? I'm debating going for ACX under my pen name (which is still growing) but I'd like to know for the future. If I have ACX titles under X, if I open auditions for Y, do they appear under X or Y?

Writers' Cafe / Question for KU All-Stars
« on: December 15, 2014, 10:50:18 PM »
When you got your email this time, did you get a ranking number? The last two months they've told me my ranking, but nothing this time. The award is higher this time, so I know I moved up, but I find it more helpful if I have a ranking to go with my data. Did anyone get a ranking number?

I've been looking for a few new ones. Some are only free for personal use, but a lot of them are free for commercial use. I like how everything is grouped, and already have downloaded six of them to my font book.

Writers' Cafe / I'm (finally) going to pull the plug on the day job
« on: November 28, 2014, 12:14:21 AM »
I've been struggling with this decision for a long time (as many know). I make a great deal of money from my books, and I've been making sustained money for a year now. I haven't fallen below $10,000 a month since February 2014, so I feel confident in my decision. It doesn't hurt that I hate my day job. I'm a reporter, and I used to love it, but everything is all Google Docs and monitoring Facebook links, Twitter links, Tout links, Instagram links, etc. now. We have quotas. We have nasty messages if we don't meet those quotas. We have no reinforcement if we surpass those quotas. It's thankless. They have cut us so far that we don't even have a night editor now, so there's no quality in the paper (which is one of the top five in circulation in Michigan -- so it's not a tiny).
I have put more than a hundred grand away this year (and I spent copiously -- and I mean copiously). I am working toward buying my dream house outright in a year in a half, but I don't believe quitting is going to impact that decision in the negative, even though I will lose $2,400 (after taxes) a month and have to start paying for my own benefits.
I've been working eighty hours a week for almost six months now. I've built one quality name, and my second pen name is on the rise. It looks like a lock that I will pass $30,000 for the month in November. Even in slower months, and with sustained effort, I think I'm going to be okay. Even if I'm not, I obviously have a cushion.
I want to branch out and try a few more things -- but with working eighty hours a week, I just don't have the time now. I've discussed this with my supportive live-in boyfriend and my worrisome parents, but even they are in agreement now: I'm wasting my time at a dead-end job. Newspapers are dying. I can always supplement my income (if it becomes necessary) with freelance. My big concern is health care, and I'm already looking at my options.
I've decided to hold on through December. We're owned by a hedge fund, and they're cutting constantly. They just issued a "hiring freeze" last week, which is mildly laughable because we haven't had a new employee at our paper in almost ten years. I'm hoping they're laying the groundwork, though. In typical fashion, I think they're going to do layoffs before Christmas. I've already told the union rep in the newsroom to sacrifice me to save the other people who could be cut. The others in jeopardy have kids. Please, take me. Layoffs aren't a guarantee, but Cobra is a temporary fix for my health insurance stuff. A stop gap, more or less.
If I don't get laid off before Christmas, I've decided to put my two-week notice in the first day I work afterwards. Why am I not putting it in sooner (other than a possible $16,000 severance package and Cobra, I mean)? I don't want to screw the two guys who have Christmas week off on vacation. I'm a sap. Sue me. I'm done after that, though.
So, thanks for reading my (really long) post. I'm comfortable with the decision, but I still may need bolstering, lol. I am so excited about the possibility of branching out in my writing. I can't do it with my schedule now. In six weeks, though? Regardless of what happens, I'm going to be a full time author.
Wish me luck.

I'm not talking about a villain, or someone you're supposed to dislike. There are tools in each one of my series -- and I enjoy writing them as tools. This is something different. I have a romantic suspense series, and I spent some time doing outlines today. In the series, I have eight main characters -- four men, four women (you see how that works out) -- and I jump from couple to couple giving them the limelight. I absolutely love six of the characters. I like the seventh. The eighth just tends to irritate me. I know that's funny to say, since I created her, but I think I erred by not giving her a more interesting job. The three other females in the series can interact, they all have jobs that help lead to answers to solve the mysteries, and they all are outgoing and engaging. The fourth heroine was more shy by design (even though she has a thorough and interesting backstory), and I don't want to push her to grow too fast because it wouldn't be realistic. Unfortunately for her, a lot of the time, she doesn't have a lot to do because I didn't give her the skill set to do anything. She's going to school, and she'll eventually be out of her current job, but I still don't like writing for her. Anyone else ever have that problem?

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