Sunday, July 18, 2010

Self-promotion: A neccesary ego trip

Pride. Conceit. Bragging. Boasting. These are all such negative words and bring to mind characteristics I don't like. Which really makes it hard for me to promote my own book.

Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of my accomplishments. OUT OF THE DARKNESS is a good book. Okay, it's a great book with a unique twist on the whole vampire theme. But saying that sounds, well...conceited. But if I don't love my work, why should I expect anyone else to care enough about it to read it?

Saying I wrote a book and people might want to read it isn't going to help my career. But I don't want to run around telling people I wrote the best vampire book ever written either.

There has to be a balance between pride and humility.

In order to successfully self-promote, writers have to take that ego trip. They have to love their own books and they have to brag. But in order to avoid the pitfalls of arrogance, a writer needs to stay humble. Staying humble and being polite provide that necessary balance between self-promoting and obnoxious bragging.

Are there other ways to self-promote without coming across as arrogant? I'd love suggestions. In the meantime, I'd like to thank everyone who's read my blog or my book. But if you haven't read OUT OF THE DARKNESS, I hope you will soon.

It really is a good book. Here are just a few reviews:

"Out of the Darkness is a Top Pick for me. I just loved the plot and the interaction between Vincent and Megan. The sensual scenes were hot and the ending was done just right. The villains were chilling and Vincent’s history compelling. This was an action packed and exciting read."

Read the entire review at:

"Lilly Gayle presents in a detailed, accurate manner a rational paranormal romance. The two main characters in this story jump right off the pages and engage the reader....This is a must-read for those who like their paranormals to feel entirely possible."
Read the entire review at:

And from R.Booth:
"The plot turns, the familiar settings and the sexual scenes between Megan and Vincent were a fantastic, a can't put down read and the surprising ending was superb with supporting characters such as a compelling vixon (Sonia), and a best friend (Tina). Of course, as an added attraction there were very chilling villains.
OUT OF THE DARKNESS is Lilly Gayle's first novel, but I'm sure there will be many more entertaining novels in the future."

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day! And God bless the men and women of our military and their families for the sacrifices they make for this country every day. Your service to America is greatly appreciated. Today is a day worth celebrating!

So, what are your holiday plans?

No surprise, I'm spending my weekend at the beach, on of my favorite places in the world. I drove down after work on Thursday and met a friend/co-worker at Bushwhackers on the pier. Then after dinner, we went to Amos Mosquito's for some karaoke.

I spent Friday on the beach with neighbors from around the camper park where I camper is located in Emerald Isle. Then, I came back to the camper for supper and to write until my husband arrived later that night.

Saturday was a perfect day. The water was so calm, and peaceful. Perfect for swimmers. Not for surfers. Near the shore, the sea was a crystal green but as the water got deeper, it turned ocean blue. There was a distinct line near the horizon where the water changed colors. It was breath-taking.

We spent most of the day on the beach visiting with camper neighbors, swimming and just enjoying the sun and ocean breezes. And I read a story I recently downloaded on my NOOK.

I love reading on the beach. For me, it's one of the most relaxing things in the world. When I'm stressed or tired or just sick of all the bad things in the world, I can sit out on the beach with a good book and all is right with the world.

Maybe it's the book. Or maybe it's just the beach. I can also sit on the beach at night without a book and get that same sense of peaceful calm. It's awe-inspiring. Looking out over the ocean and the never-ending pounding of the surf, I know we're not alone on this planet. And no matter how bad things might seem at the time, as I sit on the beach and find that calm that's deep inside of us all, I know everything is going to be all right. Life will work out the way it was meant to.

This Independence Day, I pray that every soldier, sailor, airman, and marine find peace and contentment. You are not alone and your country is thankful for every sacrifice, both minor and major.

God bless you all.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Dangers of Editing

Editing a manuscript is a necessary evil. From the moment I type the first word on the screen I know I'm going to have to make changes along the way. There are going to be plot changes and changes in dialogue and sometimes I even change a character's name. And once I finish typing and editing, my critique partners get a crack at it.

After my critique partners make suggestions/corrections, I make more changes. And this is all before the book ever lands on an editor's desk. Once the book reaches an editor, it's likely to need at least three more revisions. And through all those changes, a writer has to be vigilant. One tiny change can wreak havoc on an entire manuscript. And those mistakes could very possibly escape notice until publication.

I must confess, I had two fabulous critique partners on OUT OF THE DARKNESS. Amy Corwin and Jenna Black are both published authors. And both are good at what they write. With their input and advice, OUT OF THE DARKNESS underwent several revisions. And I didn't always send the revised chapters back to my partners for a second read if I was pleased with the results.

My editor at The Wild Rose press also made editorial suggestions. And Lill is a fabulous editor. Because of her, OUT OF THE DARKNESS is a much better book. I was so pleased in fact, I assumed my book had no glaring errors.

I was wrong.

One of my secondary characters, Brit Travers, is a lawyer. Originally, Brit was a Carolina alumni. Carolina is in Chapel Hill. But I changed it to NC State. Then I decided I liked him better as a Carolina fan. And anyone who ever attended NC State would be appalled if I made a NC State alum a Carolina fan. So, I changed Brit's school and made him a NC Central fan. Some Central alumni are still Carolina fans.

This one change actually made more sense for my lawyer character because NCCU has an excellent law program. And Brit is a lawyer.

There was only one problem. When I changed Brit from a UNC alumni to an NC State alumni, I changed the towns from Chapel Hill to Raleigh. But when I changed him from a NC State alumni to an NC Central alumni, I somehow missed changing the town to Durham! What an idiot! NC Central is in Durham. And I never caught the mistake.

My editor, Lill lives in Colorado. I'm sure she assumed that living in NC, I'd know where the freaking college was. So, she never questioned it. And my book went to print with this huge, glaring mistake.

I've had a couple of great reviews but the reviewers didn't catch my mistake. So, I still didn't know it was there.

Dozens of my friends and family have read the book, and not one of them have caught the mistake. Or if they did, they failed to mention it to me. Maybe because they know how anal and obsessive I am and they knew it would drive me crazy because, well, it's too freaking late to fix the problem!

But one old friend and former co-worker read the book. She does not like vampire books but said she enjoyed OUT OF THE DARKNESS. Which, coming from such an avid reader, was a huge compliment. Then, she said there was a big mistake in the book. She pointed out the horrible fact that I placed NC Central in Raleigh instead of Durham.

Well, I thought she was horribly mistaken. Or had lost her reading comprehension skills or something. There's no way I would have made such a stupid mistake. I KNOW where NC Central is located. My stupid TOM TOM is always trying to send me in that direction to get to interstate 40 when it is much faster and closer from my house to go down 70 and hit Miami Boulevard. But the fact that she mentioned such a mistake bothered me enough that I went back to the original manuscript to check.

An sure enough, there it was. I had changed Brit's school but not the town.

I know how I made the mistake. But I don't know why I didn't catch it during the first round of edits with TWRP or when I was proofing the Mock Galley and Final Galley. How did it escape my notice?

Maybe I read what I thought I wrote instead of the actual words.

I think there comes a time when every writer is just plain sick and tired of their story. They've read it and re-read it so many times they are no longer seeing the words on the page, but the words in their head.

I started OUT OF THE DARKNESS in 2005. And it went through two separate rounds of revision letters with two different editors at a NY publishing house before final rejection. So, by the time Lill got it at The Wild Rose Press, I was already sick of editing and revising the story. I was done. But having her tell me she was interested in publishing it revitalized me.

Having her send edits, depressed me. But then we made it to the final galley and I was so happy with the few changes she suggested and how much better the story read after implementing them, I declined the final read-through of the Final Galley. I even joked to Lill that I'd probably just find yet another mistake if I read the freaking thing one more time.

I should have read it that one more time. Maybe then I would have caught my mistake.

So, now, I offer my apologies to all NCCU students or alumni who read OUT OF THE DARKNESS.

Yes, I know where your school is located. I just made a stupid mistake. And I've learned my lesson well.

I hope...