Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

Never stop dreaming, 'cause the day you stop dreaming, is the day you stop living.


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Final stages…

Things have been overwhelming lately.

So much has been going on and now I’m approaching the end of the first draft of Kaine and Vera’s book. All that’s left is the final scene plus an epilogue. The end is nigh and if all goes well, it could be done by the end of the week.

And after that, I’ll be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo during which I’ll be starting a new book. While I write the next book, I’ll let Kaine and Vera’s book rest so I can tackle editing with a fresh perspective on it later.

Just a few more days and this book should be done!

I’ll definitely advise you when I reach the end. 😉

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Choosing Your Path: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

Oh no, could it be? Is this another one of those generic “Let’s show pros and cons” blog posts? Maybe. Perhaps every single word I type on my laptop keyboard is just the same thing someone else has already said; I could be repeating things everyone has heard.

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

I’m still writing it, so sit back and read these words that you might have heard before, but maybe, just maybe, you’ll hear something unique – something that will pique your interest. Something unique to me. Will you? I don’t know. Let’s take that journey together.

Self-Publishing

Let me give you a taste of the pros in this matter:

  • You earn more royalties – up to 70% on Amazon.
  • You choose the prices.
  • You avoid the hassle of finding an agent, then publisher.
  • You make your own schedule.
  • You pay for printing.
  • You choose what stays and what goes.
  • You have full influence over the cover design.
  • You make all the decisions.
  • In short, you are the boss.

However, each pro has a con to go with it. Let me share those:

  • You pay for editing, cover design, formatting, etc.
  • You deal with advertising, as well as accompanying costs.
  • Planning takes away writing time.
  • A heavy workload induces stress.

As you can see, while there are many pros, the cons are there to balance it out. In the end, it’s a risky move and writers need to consider their options, all of their options, before they jump off the deep end. Is self-publishing for you? It might be, but let’s take a look at the other option before making any hasty decisions.

Traditional Publishing

So, you would rather go for the traditional method – get published through publishers. It might be for you, so let’s take a look, shall we? After all, the self-publishing world has much to offer, but that doesn’t mean traditional publishing is old school! Let’s start with the pros:

  • You pay nothing up front.
  • Editing, cover design, and production gets managed for you.
  • You could receive an advance.
  • Some advertising might be provided.

So, there are some pros, but are there cons? Of course. Black and white, evil and good – opposites. Two sides of the same coin and I’ll show you the darker side now:

  • Low royalties, generally between 7,5% and 15%, depending on the version of the book; paperback, hardback, eBook.
  • Long wait times, often years, before an agent accepts you, and longer still for publishers.
  • Advertising is often not provided and falls on your shoulders.
  • The advance is often not jaw-dropping, nor paid out at once.
  • Less input on editing.
  • Even less on cover design.

I do not claim that all these things are true for every publisher, nor that these are the only pros and cons. These are common ones that people think about the most and are very important when considering which path to take.

Self-publishing may seem like the right choice, but it is also a lot of work if not handled correctly. Traditional publishing might not seem worth it, but it depends on your relationship. Relationships must be nurtured and if you land an agent and a publisher, those relationships are no different.

The important thing to remember is that if you can do something, then why shouldn’t you? One of my favorite lines from the song “Nine in The Afternoon” by Panic! At the Disco, is the following:

You could ’cause you can so you do.

What does this mean? If you could potentially do something, then it means you can do it and if that’s the case, what’s stopping you? Take the plunge and do it!

Because whether you choose the path of self-publishing or go the traditional route, there’s one thing to remember: It’s a choice. In the end, you must make the decision. Weigh the odds, check out the competition; heck, give both a try if you’re not sure!

Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to take action. If you do that, nothing will stop you.


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Self-publishing adventure: A Glimpse of The Dark

Weeks of buzz hung around my blog and other social media these past weeks, as the release date of my first self-published book approached.

Now, December 7th, my book, A Glimpse of The Dark, is available in Kindle eBook format on Amazon for only $1.49!

You can also find it over in the Goodreads Database.

No reviews as of yet, so if the idea intrigues you and you enjoy the book, feel free to let me know what you think! Let the Amazon blurb entice you:

A teenager’s taste of death.
A lover’s fall from grace.
A spiteful ex’s chance at revenge.
A fearful girl’s moment of peace.
An ancient heir’s breakthrough in magic.
A succubus’ memories of a painful past.
A scorned son’s night of fun.

Seven stories, seven topics. Seven tales fill this book and lurk in the darkest depths of fantasy. The dark is their common theme, while each individual story shows an entirely different view. The victim, the successor, the antagonist. Take a look through the eyes of each character and live their lives, feel what they feel, and find out what drives them.

Many horrors lurk in the dark. Are you ready to see them?

Again, many thanks to everyone who has supported me in my journey to get published. You kept me going and helped me push past hesitance that stopped me from moving forward.

Thank you.


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Collaborations: What They Do For Inspiration

I’ll be the first to admit that a collaboration is something I’ve never properly attempted, but I’m open to many things. Because of this, when a friend of mine mentioned the idea of us collaborating last week, I jumped at the opportunity. We spent this past week discussing details; the characters, in what kind of style to write and a vague idea of what we wanted to happen and more specifics for the first chapter.

Granted, we live halfway across the world from each other, so our only option for the joint project was online.

And we’re making it work.

It took us two nights of back and forth typing in MSN – her doing a section (anywhere from a one-line paragraph to multiple paragraphs), then me following suit and repeating that process until we finished the first chapter. I can honestly say that this form of collaborating is both intriguing and immensely fun and satisfying.

One of the pros for working together on a story is that, even if you don’t have inspiration, your partner in crime can continue. And what they write just might spark your muse and send you into a writing frenzy. I speak from experience when I say that writing with a companion changes so many things dramatically. By writing together, you inspire and motivate each other and keep pushing one another to write, write and write some more. It’s both a challenging and rewarding experience; something that is worth it in the end.

So long as you have someone you share interests with and can connect to and stay on the same wavelength as them, venturing forth into a collaboration will be easy. Have a rough idea of what you want, but make sure to discuss plans and ideas with your partner. The key to keeping a joint writing functional is to have constant contact with your friend or fellow writer. Always talk, always compare and always discuss things that could be done better or differently or not done like that.

Never close yourself off from constructive criticism; the other writer’s contributions are just as meaningful and important as your own.

Accept it with open arms. Knit it a little sweater. It’s meant to help you improve.

Teamwork is an essential part of collaborating, so make sure you’re willing to compromise and spend time changing or discussing things that you may feel are fine the way they are. But most of all – have fun. Writing should always be an enjoyable experience and a collaboration is no different. The only different in it, is that you’re two – or maybe more – authors working on the same story.

Don’t hold back. It’s an amazing experience.

Have you ever collaborated before and if so, how did it go? Do you have any advice for people who would like to collaborate?
If you haven’t; is it something you can see yourself doing?