Adventures in Writing: Part 12

Last week I wrote about how I create my marketing and release schedule. Another question I get frequently is how much I write every day, especially from new or unpublished authors. I have published two full-length books, have a third on its way, and am going to have multiple shorts stories published in anthologies this year. And to those just starting out, that sounds like a lot. Unfortunately, in the world of self-publishing, it really isn’t.

The indie book world is a lot faster paced than it is for traditionally published authors. Readers expect books more often and can get rather impatient. It is not uncommon for indie authors to publish multiple books each year. In fact, I know quite a few who publish one or two almost every month.

That being said, IT IS NOT A RACE. As an author, you need to do what’s best for you. You know how much you’re capable of, and if that’s one book per year, then so be it. There’s nothing wrong with that. Most of us have a lot going on outside of writing.

Every “expert” I’ve come across says to write every day. Most say to dedicate a solid chunk of time each day just to writing. But for a lot of us, that is just not realistic.

I am currently a full-time grad student, who owns and manages a website, works for two others, and offers freelance editing and marketing services. Plus, more importantly, I do so much better if I write when inspired or motivated, as opposed to when I feel like I have to.

So, I do not write every day. Not even close. Sometimes, I go a whole week without working on one of my books.

I am working on better writing habits because I do have a lot of books planned and know I need to get on a better schedule to make that happen, but I’m going to start slow.

Through a few different groups, I have writing sprints every day. I have a bad habit of working on other stuff during them though. So, I am trying to use them as a break to just focus on writing for that hour or two each day, at least four days per week.

I can get in about 1000 words in an hour. More if focused. That’s about 10k words per week, if I stick with the plan. Then, there are days where I can’t focus on anything but writing.

Long story short, I can write a whole book (50-80k words) in a couple months if I stick to it and focus. So, with my four-month marketing schedule, I am always working ahead. For example, The Lost Prince goes to the editor in the next couple weeks and releases in November. As soon as it goes to the editor, I will jump into the book releasing in January, which is actually already started because I typically have a fantasy and contemporary romance going simultaneously. While the fantasy is the focus right now because it releases sooner, sometimes I need a break–I need the light, fluffy romance.

My points: Do what works best for you. Don’t feel like you need to work faster because of other authors’ habits and schedules. Work ahead if you can. And stay organized!


Want the latest updates, sneak peeks, and exclusive giveaway opportunities? Check out my Facebook group: Cait’s Inner Circle

Adventures in Writing: Part 11

The Last Summer is officially out, and I’ve announced a new anthology, Ephemera: Life Lessons Learned!

I’ve been trying to figure out what to write for this next part forever. That’s the biggest reason for the delay in posts, and I apologize for that. Things have been really busy between publishing another book, getting others ready, and going to full time in my master’s program.

The purpose of this blog series is to discuss what happens in the self-publishing world and to give advice as much as I can as a beginner. One of the questions I get most is how I go about marketing and scheduling. So, I am going to attempt to explain this in a way that’s hopefully not too confusing…

First of all, I work backwards in scheduling. I start with the release date and work back through the things I know I need to have done. For this example, I’m going to use my next fantasy book The Lost Prince (The Nihryst Book 2). Keep in mind, these dates have not been announced officially and might change. But here is my general process:

Select release date — November 11

–> The final ebook files need uploaded to Amazon by November 7, which means it needs formatted before then.

Send to be formatted — October 24

–> Each formatting job is different and takes various amounts of time. If you’re not doing it yourself, find out how long the person needs.

–> Keep in mind, the paperbacks cannot be put up for pre-order, but you can order a proof copy before it goes live on Amazon. Because of how slow things are moving right now, this can possibly take up to 2-3 weeks to ship. So, if you want that proof copy (which I highly recommend if you’re a new author or use a new formatter), add in extra time for formatting.

Send ARCs — September 30

–> Depending on the genre and length of the book, 4-6 weeks is the best time for readers/bloggers. Many will not need this much time, but it takes off the pressure to read quickly, which makes it less stressful and more enjoyable. I’m saying this as a reviewer. Anything less than three weeks is too short if you’re insisting the reviews be up by release week. (Fantasy/sci-fi typically takes longer than contemporary romance.)

–> I use Reedsy’s free formatting tool for ARCs. It’s easy and fast, but it does not allow much customization. Therefore, it does look different than the final copy, but it looks nice enough for a simple ARC, and it can export as a mobi, ePub, and PDF file.

–> I use BookFunnel to distribute ARCs. I upload both the mobi and ePub files. It’s super easy to set up, then you just send the link and information.

–> Reviews should not go up earlier than two weeks before release. Be sure to tell them that the closer to release the better.

–> Reviews cannot go up on Amazon until the book is live. Therefore, it’s best to put up the paperback a couple days before release (it takes a day or two to process, so I would add it 3-4 days before release). Just don’t announce it’s up except to reviewers.

–> Reviews within 48 hours of release really help with the rankings.

Cover Reveal & Open Pre-Order — August 19

–> Three months before release seems to be a good amount of time.

–> The pre-order takes a couple days to process. Put it up early and just don’t tell anyone. The pre-order will need the blurb, cover, keywords, and categories. You do not need the actual book until four days before release.

–> Create a sign up form for bloggers, readers, etc. a couple weeks beforehand. A day or two before the reveal, provide them with the cover, blurb, pre-order and Goodreads links, and any author information you wish to share. I personally use a Google Drive folder to create a media kit for them. I put all this in there, as well as any other graphics I’m okay with them sharing. Example kit here.

Cover Reveal Countdown — August 12

–> Announcing it and doing a countdown helps build up hype. This ensures more people see it, which helps those pre-order numbers go up.

–> I technically announced the cover reveal already because I’m impatient and excited, but I usually wait until a couple weeks before to really announce it.

–> Announcing it in advance will make it easier to get bloggers, readers, etc. signed up to participate. Therefore, I will start the sign ups at the beginning of August and then start the countdown on the 12th.

–> The countdown consists of a daily graphic with a sneak peek or hint at the cover. I share them across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the week leading up to the reveal. Graphic examples here.

Marketing — August 19-November 11

–> All of my book stuff happens on Wednesdays (cover reveals, releases, etc.), so for consistency, this is when I promote too. EVERY week after the cover reveal, I post a teaser graphic with a quote and the cover. In the post, I put the blurb and links as well. This happens every single Wednesday up until the release.

Sent to editor — August 5

–> The earlier the better. This allows them time to properly edit, but it also gives you time to go through it after they’re done.

–> I write the first draft, go through and self-edit once, send to editor, go through it again with the feedback and changes, send the ARCs, and then do one final proofread.


Want the latest updates, sneak peeks, and exclusive giveaway opportunities? Check out my Facebook group: Cait’s Inner Circle

Cover Reveal: Ephemera: Life Lessons Learned

Every story has a lesson…

Every lesson has a story…

Edited by Cait Marie and published by Unicorn Nightporium, LLC., Ephemera: Life Lessons Learned is an anthology like you’ve never seen before!

First, let’s see the cover!

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Blurb

Every story has a lesson.

People constantly learn throughout their lives. It creates history. It defines the future.

Is the grass greener on the other side? Do the ends justify the means?

Eleven authors have come together to bring you tales of adventure and romance, loss and gain, family, friends, and everything in between. From arranged marriages to dates in haunted houses to androids infused with human memories. Fairy tales, dystopians, apocalyptic worlds.

Every lesson has a story.

Pre-order on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08CSWBHLN/
Paperbacks will be available internationally on release day as well!

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54448027-ephemera

The Prompts

Each other was paired up and given a prompt that included:

Genre
Lesson for the character to learn
A random word or phrase to be used

The Authors

Cait Marie
Heather Dowell
Victoria Anders
Marissa Allen
Charles Kelley
Abigail McCarty
Steph Wyatt
Najela Carter
Xander S. Lee
Rebekah Olson
B.L. Koller

Curse of Thorns (Wicked Fae Book 2)

Author: Stacey Trombley
Get your copy here!

Released: 6/26/20

Blurb:

The trials changed everything.

Before the trials I was Rev, the beloved prince of the Luminescent Court. Now I’m a bastard hiding in plain sight, not even sure I’m worthy of my title as prince.

Before the trials, Caelynn of the Shadow Court was my sworn enemy. But now that I know why I’m so drawn to her, she terrifies me more than she ever could as an enemy.  Our intense friendship makes her all the more dangerous.

This time, it’s the Schorchedland’s turn to spill blood and expose terrible secrets. 

Only one of us can enter through the cursed walls and return with the cure that will save the realm, but there are assassins out for both of our heads, and their reach doesn’t stop once we pass the gates to the fae-hell. 

It will take both of us to complete this impossible task. And that beautiful shadow fae I’d sworn to kill? She’ll sacrifice anything to save me.

Even herself.


Curse of Thorns is the anticipated second installment of the WICKED FAE series, a slow burn paranormal romance perfect for fans of Lindsey Hall, Audrey Grey and Holly Black.

Dragon Rebellion (The Hidden Warrior Book 2)

Author: M. Lynn
Get your copy here!

Released: 6/5/20

Blurb:

Sometimes not even love is stronger than hate. 

Sometimes sacrifices must be made.

Hua Minglan is trapped, presumed dead, and back where it all started.

Home. 

A place that once brought peace to her mind, a place she’d abandoned in order to seek her revenge. 

But that was before. Before the dragon awoke inside her to destroy an entire village. 

Before she ceded control. 

And now, the dragon has a mission, one Hua must do anything to stop. 

Kill the emperor. 

There is one way to defeat the beast inside her. 

Hua Minglan must die. 

Only one man can prevent her sacrifice. As Jian Li races across Piao to save both Hua and his brother, the emperor, he knows he’ll have to choose. 

Even if he chooses the right one, it might mean the end of Piao. 

Because the Kou have returned, ready to finish their war.

And the only creature that can save the empire also wants it destroyed. 

Dive into the second and final installment of this Mulan inspired fantasy. Beware of dragons raining fire upon you, a general who will do anything to save the woman he loves, and an emperor with a heart of gold. 

Trial of Thorns (Wicked Fae Book 1)

Author: Stacey Trombley
Get your copy here!

Released: 3/5/20

Blurb:

Only the most ruthless fae can win. And I have nothing to lose.

I am Caelynn of the Shadow Court, a countess banished to the human realm for killing a fae prince a decade ago.  But when I get the chance to fight for a full pardon—I’ll face every regret and lost hope to earn it.

Including Rev.

For the first time in years I am allowed the chance to enter the world of wild magic to compete in this ruthless completion. But the hardest part of the trials won’t be the shadow-wyverns or mind twisting mazes. It’ll be facing those I’ve betrayed.

Especially Rev—the sexy Luminescent Court prince who hates me.

Only one of us can win, and Rev will do everything in his power to make sure I don’t make it out of the trials alive.

Because ten years ago, I killed his brother.

And Reveln never forgets.


TRIAL OF THORNS is the first book in the WICKED FAE series featuring strong women, fated mates, and a slow burn, enemies to lovers romance. Readers of C.N. Crawford’s Dark King, Audrey Grey’s Evermore Academy and Linsey Hall’s Trial by Fae will love this book! 

Fae’s Deception (Queens of the Fae Book 1)

Author: M. Lynn and Melissa A. Craven
Get your copy here!

Released: 4/22/20

Blurb:

Brea Robinson is a murderer. 

That’s what everyone tells her when she’s accused of killing her best friend. 

Her mother always claimed she belonged in a straitjacket. Turns out, she was right. 

When the man with flashing violet eyes whisks her through a portal into a world beyond her imagination, a world vicious in its beauty and wicked in its lies, Brea begins to wonder if she was ever crazy at all. 

Every hallucination she’s ever had is real, but this new world has its own set of lies and questions.

Why are three royals prepared to battle over her? 

Who is Griffin O’Shea, and why did he abduct her? 

And does falling in love with a man trapping her in this deadly land mean she really has lost her mind after all? 

There is only one thing Brea knows: She can’t trust anything. 

Not her mind.

Not her heart. 

And certainly not the Fae who claims he’s trying to keep her safe.

Book one in Queens of the Fae series, click now to be transported into a world where lies abound, family can’t always be trusted, and falling in love is the most dangerous deed of all. 

Dragon Rising (The Hidden Warrior Book 1)

Author: M. Lynn
Get your copy here!

Released: 3/13/20

Blurb:

Sometimes a battle isn’t waged on a bloody field.

Sometimes it’s won within the heart of one girl.

Hua Minglan wants revenge for the death of her sister, and she’ll do anything to get it. 

A war is brewing between Piao and the Kou warriors to the north, a war that has called every able-bodied man in Piao from their fields. 

When Hua’s father is summoned to fight, she knows he won’t return, most of the warriors don’t. 

With a decision that could cost her everything, she leaves her home behind in an attempt to take her father’s place training under Commander Jian Li, brother to the emperor. 

The commander is a harsh man, a demanding man, and one with his own desire for vengeance. 

Hua can’t get too close. She can’t befriend the man who is able to bring her deceptions tumbling to the ground. If he learns the truth about who she is, it won’t only see her shunned from the army for disguising herself as a man. 

It will end in her execution. 

Hua never imagines that by joining the army, she brings a greater foe into the heart of Piao. 

What if the Kou are only a distraction?

What if the real enemy is her?

Dive into this full-length Mulan inspired fantasy. Beware of dragons, sword-wielding girls, and a slow-burn, heartbreaking romance. 

Last Guard Standing

Author: Heather Dowell
Get your copy here!

Released: 4/3/20

Blurb:

Her job was ideal…

…until the new guard arrived.

Katrina has been playing it safe. Instead of living her best life, she’s been working as a security guard living paycheck to paycheck. Still, she has hopes of becoming an author.

There’s no one to micro-manage her.

She’s able to write.

There’s just one problem…Danny.

When a new guard arrives and threatens her ability to cheat the system, Katrina is pissed. Working on the clock requires secrecy and she doesn’t know if Danny can keep his mouth shut.

Matters only worsen as a brushfire approaches and corporate creed puts her and Danny’s life at risk.

You’ll love this heart-pounding disaster thriller because it answers what’s worth fighting for, and Katrina is a resourceful broad you’ll want to see make it out alive.

Unleash My Love (Merryville High Book 2)

Authors: Heather Dowell and Victoria Anders
Get your copy here!

Released: 4/23/20

Blurb:

When Izzy shows up to theater class, the last person she expects to see is her sister’s ex-boyfriend Sebastian Rodgers. The whole school is buzzing about the reason for their  breakup, but Izzy’s more concerned he’s now dating–or is it fake-dating?–her theater rival. How can she possibly shine on stage when the limelight is focused entirely on them? She needs this play to get over the foster father who abused her and her new self-harm habit.

Sebastian might only be taking the class to graduate, but that doesn’t give him an excuse to bomb auditions. They’ve been paired together. He’s adamant that he doesn’t want to be in Grease. And, worst of all, he and Izzy butt heads every step of the way.

They’ll have to learn to work together if they want the audition to be a success, and that’s the last thing Sebastian wants. The more time they spend together the harder it is to ignore the sparks flying between them.

Sexual chemistry and hypnotic attraction are just a part of acting though. Izzy and Sebastian are only pretending. Right?