Souvenirs volés – The Memory’s Wake French (français) Translation

I feel as though I should be writing this blog post in French, because it’s all about the French translated edition of Memory’s Wake. But I would be relying entirely all too much on Google Translate for that. What I can do, though, is paste in what my French publisher, Editions Du Chat Noir, have on their page about this edition.

Perdue dans un monde aux fééries monstrueuses, une ado troublée doit découvrir qui elle est et pourquoi ses souvenirs ont été volés, avant d’être rattrapée par ceux qui veulent sa mort.

Elle se choisit le nom de « Memory » et n’a plus qu’un seul but : retrouver le chemin de sa maison où qu’elle puisse être. Mais ces contrées sont étranges, aucune technologie à l’horizon et l’acier est banni, en raison d’un pacte entre les humains et les créatures magiques qui cohabitent dans ce royaume aux codes du passé. Avec son t-shirt et son jean déchiré, Memory sait qu’elle est différente.

Hantée par son passé, chassée par un dragon, désirée par le roi et suivie par un mystérieux et beau sauvage qui semble la connaitre, tout le monde est après elle ; et elle suspecte que ce n’est pas juste pour sa tenue décalée. Sa mémoire perdue renferme de dangereux secrets qui remettront en cause tout ce qu’elle connait et menaceront tous ceux qu’elle aime.

Découvrez la trilogie événement venue d’Australie, écrite et illustrée par Selina Fenech.

I’m so excited to have my novel translated into another language so that it can be read by more people around the world!

It can be ordered directly from the publisher- Order Now

Their paperback version is gorgeous, with special spot gloss patterns on the cover.

selina

Self Publishing- Why I did it, how I did it, and how you can too.

Since I released Memory’s Wake, I’ve had an influx of people contacting me interested in self publishing. They want to know what my experiences have been, how I did it, and most importantly, can, or should, they do it themselves.

The opportunities for Self publishing are really exciting right now, thanks to new printing methods and distribution programs that make it super easy to get your book published. This is, of course, a good thing and a bad thing. I’m going to talk through what I’ve learned so far in my self publishing journey.

Why did I self publish?


I wrote a book that I had high hopes for. I don’t consider myself a genius writer, but I believed my writing style to be adequate and the story solid. It had been reviewed and critiqued over and over by friends, other writers, and paid professionals. The impatient part of me wanted to self publish right away so it was available without delay, but I thought I’d serve myself better by attempting to get traditionally published. I approached literary agents to see if any where interested. I had a few that were, who read the full manuscript, but in the end while they enjoyed it, they didn’t feel it was something they could market. I kept trying until I got pregnant, then decided if I didn’t just go ahead and self publish then, it wasn’t going to be available for so long my impatient self might explode. A few months later, my book was released and it’s been a joy having people read it.

What people think of self publishing


Some people are going to assume that because you self published your book, that it isn’t very good. And yeah, there are books out there that were self published simply to fulfil a writers desire to be published, but the book really isn’t of professional standards (or frankly, actually downright awful). Other people don’t even know what it means to be self published and won’t care or notice that your book is self published. I think now more than ever there are a lot of writers making the decision to bypass traditional publishing options and make a serious career from self publishing, and soon the awareness and perceptions of self published work will improve.

What you won’t get if you self publish


You won’t get your books in book stores.  If you distribute your books through the right channels, your book will be in catalogues that book stores can do special orders from if a customer asks. If you do the hard yards and go out yourself to ask local book stores to stock your book they may. But don’t expect customers to be able to buy your books in shops. When people come to you disappointed they couldn’t find your book at a book shop, just let them know where they can get it from, which will be Amazon, Barnes and Noble Online and most other online book retailers, and probably direct from yourself.

What you will get


You will get higher royalty rates per sale self publishing than you will by traditional publishing. I’ve heard that a traditionally published author may get 5% or lower per sale, where self published authors can get up to 70% of each sale for ebooks, and varying percentages for paperbacks (varying because an author can set their own profit margin, which I’ll discuss more up ahead).

What you don’t have to worry about


I worried that if I self published, I’d never be taken seriously if I tried again to get an agent or be published by a big publisher. But that’s not the case. Just look at Matthew Reilly, Amanda Hocking, or Christopher Paolini, who all self published their work before becoming bestsellers and getting taken on by mainstream publishing. If your book is good, there’s always a chance, if that’s the way you want to go. You may even get more chance if your book is well received by self publishing. Amanda Hocking sold over a million copies of her books by herself. Talk about a way to get the attention of publishers.

What is vitally important if you choose to self publish


You know what I said before about some people having bad perceptions about self published work? Producing low quality work (in writing or design) only furthers that perception. It’s important to produce the best quality you can, not only for you, but for the image of self publishing as a whole. If you produce a product that looks “home made” people will read it with preconceptions or dismiss it because it is self published. But if you produce a book of the same quality of mainstream published work, which you can, and should do, readers won’t know or care if your book is self published.

The work you will have to do


The key word in self publishing is SELF. By having someone else publish you, all the hard work of producing your book is done by them, but when self publishing it all falls to you. It doesn’t mean you have to do it all on your own, in fact I highly recommend getting help for the key areas of production- editing and design. More on that up ahead…

But producing the book itself is really the easy part. Once the book is out there, it’s super hard to actually get readers to find your work. There are millions of books available on Amazon, more by the hour. How do they find you amongst all that? If you want people to find your book, be prepared to learn how to market it and spend time doing so.

Paying for services


There are a lot of small companies out there who want to help people get self published. There are packages available that polish and package up your book ready for the world. This is a valid option if you’re happy to spend the money, just be sure to shop around as some of these companies can charge disproportionately more than others. But remember, with a little time and effort you really can do most of it yourself, for free. There are some areas I do suggest you hire a professional for, the key ones being editing and cover design. Save your money for those, and consider doing the book layout (interior and ebook) yourself, and definitely don’t pay money for getting your book distributed. It’s the easiest part you can do for free (more on that ehead).

Companies like Createspace also offer paid services to put your books together, alongside the free, DIY service.

TIP! When looking for an editor and cover designer, search specifically for those offering services to self published authors. Some have very reasonable rates. Here is also a great start for finding reasonably priced author services- http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,50419.0.html

Learning How


So all that sounds great and you want to DIY your first self published book. Where do you start? When I first mentioned I was thinking of self publishing, someone recommended this book to me- Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author by Zoe Winters. I can’t remember who recommended it, but a big thanks to whoever it was! This book is a great starter for those wanting to self publish, and gives great step by step descriptions of all the processes. Since then I’ve learned a lot more, but this was the book that got me going. I highly recommend it!

Ebook options


Publishing as ebooks is one of the easiest and fastest ways to make your work available. Also, the programs that let you do so are totally free! Here are some key programs you will want to sign up for to get your ebooks out-

Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon)- https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin

PubIt (Barnes and Noble/Nook)- http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com

Smashwords (A service which distributes your ebook to many ebook distributors)- http://www.smashwords.com/

Paperback options


But you want your book in hard copy, don’t you? Yes, getting YOUR book, as a real paper book in your hands is a real thrill! Here the services I’ve tried-

Lulu – http://www.lulu.com/Lulus is probably the fastest and easiest way to get hard copies of your book. Their service is free, quality is great, but they are also the most expensive (price per book), and cost more than others to distribute your book through more than just the Lulu store (eg, to Amazon). Lulu however offer options that some others don’t, like hard cover books and glossy page books.

Createspace – https://www.createspace.com/Createspace is my favourite option for paperbacks. This price per book is really reasonable. They require you to buy and review a hard copy of your book before it’s approved and so take longer to have your book available, but you should be reviewing your book at this stage anyway to make sure it’s right. Createspace also have a very wide distribution network (I believe they charge about $25 for widest distribution options now, but otherwise are free to get your book on Amazon or buy copies yourself). They are a little trickier to work with than Lulu for file formats, etc, but it’s worth getting through it.

Want to see what a Createspace paperback looks like? Why not grab a copy of Memory’s Wake, nudge nudge wink wink.

Lightning Source – https://www.lightningsource.com/LS are a step up in professional quality and distribution again from Createspace. They are a lot harder to work with, even signing up for an account is a long process. But they have (often) the best prices and widest distribution, for those really serious about getting their book out there.

Your baby, out in the world


You go ahead and click the publish button, and your book, your baby is out in the world. Be prepared. When readers do find your book, not everyone will like it. And some will dislike it so much they will leave you bad reviews on Amazon or elsewhere, which you have no control over.  Even the best books get bad reviews. If you get a few yourself, the best advice is to ignore them and write them off as an individuals opinion. Don’t reply or try and talk them around, just move on. If you find you’re getting lots of bad reviews that say the same thing, well, you might have a problem there. Luckily, if you self publish, it’s easy to go back and revise a book that you’ve discovered problems with.

The addiction


Uh oh. Once you’ve got a book released, a craving sets in. You’ll want more, more books in your name, more readers sharing your stories. Self publishing is addictive. Enjoy the ride, and know that the more books you have available, the more chance you have of success!

Have you been considering self publishing? Did this help? Good luck with your self publishing endeavours! 

*April Fools* New Cover Art for Memory’s Wake Released!

Originally posted on the 1st of April, so no need to take anything below seriously 😉 

In my usual indecisive way, I’ve decided that I didn’t like the cover art for Memory’s Wake. I’ve been working on the new cover and come up with something I’m pleased with, that I think will sell a stack more books, too. I wanted to surprise you all with a brand new cover design! Here it is!

Memory's Wake- Young Adult Fantasy Novel with Abs

What do you think? Better, right? It will be uploading to Amazon and other publishers shortly so you can get it on your ebooks and paperbacks. Paperbacks, of course, are the best option, so everyone can see what you’re reading and go, “Hey, who is that sexy looking fellow? I want to read that too!”. Ebooks are the better option for women over 30 who prefer to hide the fact they drool over teenagers in stories *coughNotMecoughNever*.

In related news, I’ve decided I’m not going to continue the trilogy. One book is enough. The others are too hard. I give up. For those who wanted to know what happened to the characters and how it was going to end, here it is-

Memory was really an alien, and ends up marrying the dragon. Sorry to those who didn’t want spoilers.

An Admission about Emotionally Charged

I have something I have to come clean about with my young adult paranormal romance, Emotionally Charged.

The inspiration for it came from two sources.

The first was a vivid dream. I often have awesome dreams where I’m quite lucid. Many play out entire storylines like watching a movie, but only sometimes do I remember the whole thing, and rarer again are they actually a storyline that’s still cool when I’m awake*. This particular dream gave me the ideas for the empaths and their powers, although they worked a bit differently in the dream. The empaths absorbed the emotions of others to fuel their powers, but they could also teleport. When there was a natural disaster, the high level of emotions would sort of suck empaths through a wormhole to the location (in the dream they called it Torrenting, heh). I decided that was a bit beyond the level of “supernatural” that I wanted for the story, but the rest of the dream was cool and I got a lot of the storyline, and even some quotes, from it.

The second source of inspiration for my story was based on me being sick of seeing the same thing happen in young adult novels over and over.

I had just read so many stories where the following happens-

  • There’s an average high school girl
  • She meets OMIGODSOSMEXY guy who likes her right away
  • OMIGODSOSMEXY guy lives in super rich mansion-like luxury
  • OMIGODSOSMEXY guy has a whole group of OMIGODSOSMEXY friends who “adopt” little Miss average high school girl.
  • Guy and Friends often have some kind of supernatural secret or power which is all “ooh, dark and dangerous and our only possible flaw because we’re perfect in every other way.”
Sound familiar at all? Just off the top of my head, here are a few books where this, or very similar happens-
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments) by Cassandra Clare
  • Switched (The Trylle trilogy) by Amanda Hocking
  • Die for Me by Amy Plum
  • Deception by Lee Nichols

I bet you can probably name others, too. For the record, I still really enjoyed some of those books. And I can see why this trope is appealing, as a variation of the “rags to riches” story.** But after a while the feminist in me started getting grouchy. Why always with the rich guys saving a girl who really was living pretty comfortably anyway?

My admission here is that Emotionally Charged is pretty much a blatant attack against that storyline.

WARNING: Mild Spoiler Rating

My main character, Livvy, starts out in a very similar situation as above. Without giving too much away, the situation rears up and smacks her in the face for being a naive, selfish little twit and swanning off with a bunch of people she didn’t really know. The story is about her having to become the hero herself, and realising the outward appearances and riches of others don’t count for much. I tried not to make it too much of a heavy handed after school special, but it was fun to have a go at switching around that slightly overused storyline.

There it is. I’m glad I got that off my chest! Have you read Emotionally Charged yet? What did you think, was my attack on that sort of story obvious?

Emotionally Charged- paranormal romance by Selina Fenech
When emotions give superpowers, what does love mean?

* A whole total of TWO dreams I’ve remembered have been complete, awesome storylines that I plan to turn into books. This one (Emotionally Charged), and another that I plan too write in the future, about dream magic, Lovecraftian horror, and soul mates.

**Disclaimer- ok, so Memory’s Wake has a lot of attractive people and a variation of a rags to riches storyline, you got me.

Emotionally Charged- Imaginary Cast

While Memory’s Wake is illustrated with my ideas of how the characters might look*, my paranormal romance novella Emotionally Charged doesn’t have any illustrations of the characters. I’ve seen readers and authors around the web sometimes make up imaginary movie casts with actors they think fit the characters, and it seemed like fun!

When emotions give people superpowers, what does love mean?
Read more about Emotionally Charged at https://selinafenech.com/writing/emotionally-charged-paranormal-romance/ 

So I’ve decided to “cast” Emotionally Charged. Here are my picks, in order of appearance…

Livvy – Demi Harman

Demi plays Sasha on Home and Away. Since my husband does some post production work for Home and Away I’ve been seeing a lot of it, and think Demi has just the right look for the role of Livvy. A little spoilt, a little vulnerable, but also with enough spunk to take a stand when needed. Sometimes she reminds me of a young Jennifer Connelly (Labyrinth).

Jake – Luke Mitchell

I’m picking cast from Home and Away again! Luke Mitchell plays “Romeo” on Home and Away, and I thought he’d make a great actor for Livvy to crush on. He’s certainly got the face, hair, body… Seriously, there are barely any photos of him available WITH a shirt on.

Emma – Deborah Ann Woll

OK, I’ll admit I’ve got a serious girl crush on Deborah Ann Woll. She’s amazing in True Blood, and is able to play anything from sweet girl-next-door to fiery sex bomb to savage monster. She’s also got that brilliant red hair. Perfect.

Donnie – Michael B Jordan

He’s got the right look for the mysterious, quiet one of the group, with just a little hint of aloof.

Jamie – Jeremy Sumpter

Jeremy Sumpter has that wicked mischievous smile that he put to good use when playing Peter Pan. He’s a bit grown up now, and makes a good fit to play Jake’s younger brother, with a similar look to Luke Mitchell.

Dean – Thomas Decker

He played the tormented role so well in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and he’s got the right colouring and build for Dean.

What do you think? Did I pick well? Or do you have other suggestions?

*The characters from Memory’s Wake don’t have to look exactly like the illustrations though. I like readers to still imagine the characters for themselves.

Swearing in Young Adult Novels

“Young Adult” is my favourite genre to read, as well as what I like to write. I think of it not so much a genre as a style- normally fast paced, a bit angsty, with characters of a teenage range who are dealing with changing from a child to an adult. Young Adult spans many sub-genres, like fantasy, chick-lit, romance, sci-fi, mystery, etc, and is generally considered to be written for the ages of 12-18 (but myself and many others a lot older love reading it anyway!).

In terms of content, YA books vary greatly. Some are good, clean, wholesome, whimsical fun. Some are as dark as can be, dealing with drug use, abuse, torture, suicide, politics, sex, death, incest, you name it. While book descriptions sometimes will note “For older teens”, I’ve never seen any real content warnings. Personally, I like it this way. You can generally tell from a book cover and blurb if a book is going to be light or dark, and believe both ends of the spectrum and all greys in between have their place. I’ve never been one for censorship, nor did I grow up being censored (Thanks Mum and Dad!). I didn’t grow up desensitised to violence. I don’t swear. I didn’t have an accidental teenage pregnancy or eating disorder and I’ve never done drugs. Yet these are all the things that those who want to censor YA books say will happen if children and teens are exposed to these darker issues in their reading. Just look at THIS Wall Street Journal article, an article which sparked off a massive campaign on twitter by readers and writers of YA books defending the darkness in them (Look up #YASaves), where people shared stories of how reading about the darker parts of life in YA books helped them survive the dark moments in their own lives. I watched YASaves happen on twitter. It was so moving I spent most of the day crying and still tear up thinking about it. YA does save, and for that, I don’t think it should be censored.

YA can be dark and depraved, but I’ve never seen it be so gratuitously. It’s probably why I read it compared to Adult books, which are happy to be gratuitous with swearing, violence and sex. All have their place, but should be there for a reason, not just for shock value. In YA, good YA, nothing happens without a reason, and characters learn, grow and lessons are taught by these sometimes horrible elements.

I also believe children and teenagers will read what they want. If a parent tries to stop them, it will no doubt only make them want to read it more. Lots of teenagers admit to sneakily reading things their parents don’t want them to. Some people argue that it’s a wonderful thing that teenagers WANT to read so badly, does it matter what they are reading? Others argue that it should be a parent’s choice in how their child is raised.

All that being said, this rant is about me censoring Memory’s Wake.

You see, Memory’s Wake contained the F-word. Even up to and after it’s release. My character Memory is the type of teenager who would swear, a lot. I kept it out of the story mostly, because it wasn’t necessary, there was no reason to be spelling it out beyond saying that “Memory swore”. But at a couple of extreme moments, the words came out in Memory’s dialogue. They were there because it was true to what Memory would have said in those high emotions.

I’ve read a lot of books from major publishers in the YA genre which contain the F-word. While I was looking for traditional publishing, I figured an editor or publisher would have final say in whether the word got through, based on their own companies policies. Then I self published and just left it in. But I started thinking about it more and more. Even to the extent of almost feeling guilty about this one single four letter word amongst 80,000 other words.

The reason why? I might not care about swearing, but other people do. A word is a word to me, but to some people, the F-word is to be avoided at all costs. I don’t want to make those people angry, or dislike my book, just for one single word. If I felt the word was absolutely crucial to my story I would have left it in, but I don’t think it suffers from it’s removal. It’s not like I have Memory running around saying “Oh my goodness”, or “Gosh!” or “Leaping lizards batman!”. She still speaks and reacts true to her character, which is the most important part for me.

So, I went through and edited out the F-word from my novel. Those who bought the novel during release, well, you’ve got a collectors item now, the first, short edition which contains the controversial few letters. Some paperback stock I’m selling still has it since it was all printed before the change, and I’m working on changing the hardcover, but ebook versions are now F-word free.

It was a decision that gave me a little peace of mind, but what was right for my novel isn’t right for every novel. I still don’t believe in censorship.

What do you think?  Should books for Young Adults be censored? Should they at least have content warnings, like there are on computer games, so that parents can decide what their kids see in books? If you’re between the 12-18 age range, what’s your opinion?