Category: author tips

Last Lines and Last Impressions

Some writers feel the first line is the most difficult line to write. Personally, I think it’s the last line. The ending. The finale. Once you get started writing a story, sometimes, the flow is so effortless the story seems to write itself. Then, you reach the conclusion, and everything that has occurred has to be tied up nice and neat with a little bow. Or not. You can do that, too.

How should your story end? With a twist? An explosion? A murder? Should it be happy or sad? Idealistic or realistic? Will the story end with a statement, or a line of dialogue? Some writers will say you should never end with dialogue. My suggestion? Do whatever you feel is best for your story. One of my personal favorite ‘last lines’ comes from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. 

Here’s a few of my ‘last lines’.

The two of them began to laugh, as the morning continued.

The Witch of Fulton Lane seems to have a happy ending, right? I’m not going to give the ending away here, but this last line comes across as a pleasant one.

We will be okay.”

It seems fitting that Fortune Oyama, the main character in the Fortune’s Wing series, gets to have the last line in Fortune’s Wing: Flies Again. I’m including this line because it doesn’t indicate how the story ended. This could be a positive ending or a negative one. Maybe he saved the world, and maybe he didn’t. Or, maybe he changed it. The only way to know, is to read the story!

And as Nick and I harmonized the opening verse to Come For the Wake, Stay for the Funeral, I thought, this is our moment; this is our time, and nothing can stop us now…

Yes, it’s long, but it’s a fitting end to a great story (and I’m not just saying that because I wrote it). There are many elements in Our Lady of Righteous Rage. The story deals with a group of friends growing up and starting a band and a business together. They deal with crossing the line between childhood and adulthood, divorce, uncertainty, self-esteem (and a lack of it). The last line is a reflection of a long struggle to achieve a much desired goal. 

 

As a writer, you don’t want to leave your reader with a disappointing ending. But the ending needs to fit the story. So if it needs to be sad, make it sad. If you want to end with dialogue, do it. Give your story the ending you feel it needs. 

Woolaston Entertainment

First Lines and First Impressions

Ah, the opening line of a book or short story. The attention-getter. It’s the line that sets the tone. It can draw you in, or leave you feeling completely uninterested. Every first line I have ever written, have terrified me. Why? Because I know they will either be good, or awful. I mean, who can top It was the best of times, it was the worst of times? Sheesh.

As a writer, you want your first line to have enough impact so your reader will not only be drawn into the story, but have an idea of what kind of story they’re about to get into. But you don’t want to give away too much. It’s like watching a movie you’ve never seen before, and being able to guess what’s going to happen from the very beginning. It’s not easy to do, but sometimes, you get it right. Below are the first lines of some of my books.

 

Was it a dream or was it reality?

Fortune’s Wing begins with a reoccurring dream it’s protagonist Fortune Oyama has been haunted by. He has visions of a ruined world; a world he couldn’t save. The heart of the story concerns the fate of the world: will it be destroyed or will it be saved? Will things carry on the way they always have or will there be dramatic changes? All of these questions can only be answered by the one who possesses The Wings. 

 

It was early; around six in the morning.

Not my strongest line. But the rest of the paragraph makes up for it: Veronica Entienne watches her cousin Val pack a few last minute items into her bag. This much is clear: she’s going somewhere. And that’s the most important factor in Valentine: Va’s road trip to L.A. to save her father.

 

When I was twelve years old, I fell in love with rock n roll. 

There are a few things you can take away from the first line in Our Lady of Righteous Rage. One, this is going to be a story with musical elements. Two, it’s a coming-of-age tale (the narrator makes a statement about something that happened when she was twelve, giving the impression she’s older now). Three, music is very important to this person, especially rock n roll. 

 

“If you take this much, you’ll feel better, but if you take this much, you’ll see God.”

This is the opening line to a book I’m working on, titled Barrin Heights. I’m not one hundred percent sure of where this story is headed, but I can tell you it’s going to be supernatural. 

 

First lines: as writers, we don’t always nail them. But you can’t expect success every time. You can’t learn from success; you can only learn from failure. 

Woolaston Entertainment

I’m Just Gonna Leave This Here….

Yes, I know I’ve said this several times before: Xlibris is an overpriced POD publisher! Since I published my first book with them (back in 2009), they constantly email me, and on occasion, call me, to see if I’m interested in publishing another book. I will never use their service again. But, for those of you who want to give them a try, let me share the price list they emailed me last week:

 

STARTER PROGRAMS

Publishing Program

Regular Rate

Discounted Rate

Payment Option

Basic (max of $300 discount)

$899

$449.50

FULL PAYMENT

Professional

$1,499

$749.50

3 Installment

Custom

$2,099

$1,049.50

3 Installment

VIP PUBLISHING PROGRAMS with EXTENSIVE MARKETING

 

Premium

$3,899

$1,999.50

3 Installment

Executive

$7,799

$3,899.50

3 Installment

Platinum

$15,299

$7,649.50

3 Installment

SPECIALTY PROGRAMS with ILLUSTRATOR

 

Ballad (10 Illustrations)

$2,199

$1,099.5

3 Installment

Dreamtime (20 Illustrations)

$3,199

$1,599.50

3 Installment

Fairytale (50 Illustrations)

$5,999

$2,999.50

3 Installment

This is a SALE. These prices will be available through the end of February. So, the choice is yours: pay Xlibris, and sacrifice a car payment or mortgage payment for a month.

Xlibris Prices

 

Linking Ebooks and Printed Books on Amazon

Whenever I shop for a book on Amazon, one of the things I like to check, is if the book is available as an ebook. There are many titles I will purchase printed copies of, and there are a few titles I purchase only in ebook form. When you search for a title on Amazon, and click on it, you should be able to see all the available formats in one place (ebook, paperback, hardcover). Having to do another search to find other formats can be a bit of a hassle. 

As a writer, I use Amazon’s KDP service to publish my books. This means all of my titles are available on Amazon. When you publish your book with KDP as a printed book, you have the option to make it available as a Kindle book as well, and vice versa. You can also link both formats, so they will appear together, whenever someone searches for that title on Amazon. Every now and then, a mistake happens, and the formats will not be linked to one another. Even if you select “Link Books”, your books may not be linked. Luckily, Amazon can fix this for you, in Author Central.

Author Central (for those who do not know) is Amazon’s site for authors who have books that are available in Amazon’s store. Here, authors can update Amazon’s list of their books, upload a headshot, and include a link to their blog. You can also check sales information for your books and keep up with customer reviews. If you’re having trouble linking your books to one another, here’s what you can do:

First, I recommend deciding which of your books need to be linked, and having the ISBN or ASIN numbers ready. At the very bottom of the Author Central page, click on “Contact Us”. This will take you to another screen.

Under “Select an issue”, select MY BOOKS

Under “Select Details”, select UPDATE INFORMATION ABOUT A BOOK

Next, select UPDATE SOMETHING ELSE

Next, select I WANT TO LINK ONE EDITION OF MY BOOK TO ANOTHER EDITION

Select how you would like to be contacted (email or phone call). I recommend email, because a space will appear, where you can enter the title of your book, along with the ISBN and ASIN numbers that need to be linked together. 

Give Amazon about 24 hours. This is an easy fix, and they will contact you when it is complete. 

 

It’s All in the Details: A Little Writing Tip

As a writer, I’m always looking for new ways to improve my writing skills and make my writing more interesting. It can be challenging at times, but it’s always worth it. One trick I’ve learned, is replacing basic boring nouns with more exciting nouns. For instance, take this sentence:

The car pulled into the parking lot.

Not much there. The reader may have the image of a car pulling into a parking lot, but let’s say ten different people read that sentence. Ten different people are going to imagine ten different cars. One person may envision a Ford Mustang. Another may see a Chevy Camaro. So, try replacing car with a make and model type:

The Chevy Camaro pulled into the parking lot.

Much more interesting, yes? It’s a minor detail, but it adds more weight to the sentence. We can spice it up even more with a color:

The yellow Chevy Camaro pulled into the parking lot.

Now let’s focus on the parking lot. Is it empty? Full? Is it dark? Let’s go with dark:

The yellow Chevy Camaro pulled into the dark parking lot. 

I’m a visual person, so adding these small details make all the difference to me. Now we can compare the first sentence, with the revision:

The car pulled into the parking lot.

The yellow Chevy Camaro pulled into the dark parking lot. 

It’s all in the details. 

Woolaston Entertainment

Beware of Scammers

There are a TON of untrustworthy people in the world. In every business, in every industry, there are always people who are out to take advantage of someone. The Publishing and Marketing industries are no different. Sometimes, it’s difficult to separate the reliable people, from the scammers. Fortunately, we live in a world supported by technology. By using a search engine, such as Google, you can easily do a little research and begin to weed through some of the good guys and the bad guys.

I was recently contacted by a representative from Match Literary (also known as Matchstick Literary). As soon as I read the email, I knew something was wrong. I have posted some of the email text below, so you can judge for yourself:

Hi Nicole Woolaston,

Good day!

I hope this email finds you well.

Thank you for responding my email. I am referring to your book title “Fortune’s Wing: Flies Again” which published CreateSpace last September 2017. I wanted to verify that this is your book because our book scouts came across to your book and do a research. Your book was being forwarded to me because your book has potential however your book barely getting any activities most especially in terms of book sales and promotions. I check the book online and the book price at $5.99 for the paperback format. The book has great potential that’s why I reached out to you, I wanted to know how was your book doing so far if do you still promoting and marketing your book aside marketing it in amazon.

The book has great content also that lots of people would love to read most especially to those book readers that types your book genre. I able to check your book thru Amazon and Barned and Noble and check the reviews on how it doing so far however I am just seeing less though I believe the book is great. I would like to know also on what type of marketing strategy you had done to your book because as I mentioned the book is great its just that the sales have a slow movement. I this case, I would love to help you to get your book known to a wider audience and see how beautiful the book is.

Matchstick

 

Did you notice the typos? The improper use of grammar? This person hasn’t read my book, but they’ve reached the conclusion it’s “great”. The rest of the email mentions the fact researchers went online to research my book. I was asked if I have a website. So, they did research, but didn’t come across WoolastonEntertainment.com? You can find me simply by entering my name in Google.

Here’s another thing: take a look at the picture I posted above. Notice the name of the company. Now look at the website’s address. They don’t match, do they? When you visit their site (and I’m not encouraging this, I’m just providing information that I found) there are pictures of book covers on their homepage. These are books they supposedly marketed and/or published. Many of these books were published by (wait for it) Xlibris, Author House, and iUniverse (which are all the same company). When I checked their sales stats on Amazon, I only found ONE title with any sales.

I’m sharing this, because as writers and authors, we have to be smart, otherwise, we will be grossly taken advantage of. There are no prices listed on Matchstick Literary’s site, for any of their services. That’s a serious red flag. Ask questions. Do some research. Check for reviews and complaints. And if something doesn’t feel right, don’t go through with it.

Woolaston Entertainment