Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Love Story vs. Romance: How to meet reader expectations

"If you write in category, you write knowing there's a framework, there are reader expectations."- Nora Roberts 
For Women Write Wednesday, I am tackling the topic of reader expectations and how important it is to research categories and keywords before marketing your novel. 

When I wrote my novel Seasons  I made the rookie mistake of not really thinking about genre, categories, keywords, and click through rates. I just had a story that I wanted to tell. After doing research post novel I found that the novel fit best in the Suspense genre.  I based this on the fact that Seasons has danger but not a lot of action like a thriller and like most suspense novels it has the reader wondering if the killer(s) will be caught before committing another crime.

Once I had nailed down the genre I started to map out keywords that represent the unique flavor to my novel. One of those key flavors is the romantic relationships in the book. I had to ask myself if the book was a suspense romance or a suspense novel with romantic undertones.

Question Is: How is romance different from love story.
No reader genre has greater expectations than romance novels. There is a clear set of expectations that a romance novel reader demands from romance authors. Wikipedia defines the genre as needing to have an, "Emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending." Read: Happily Ever After or what readers of the genre call it HEA. Whereas love stories just like the movie, "Love Story" is based on relatable characters and isn't necessarily bound by the HEA expectations, but rather the journey that the couple takes.

My Conclusion: 
My novel, Seasons, is a suspense novel with a love story that in the word of one my reviewers, "Isn't cheesy".  By correctly matching readers to your novels you are able to then share your work with the people who want to read it most.

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KM Hodge author of the Syndicate Suspense Series.
 Book #1 Seasons is available for free on Kindle Unlimited. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ready, set, go: Creative writing on a busy mom's schedule

As a busy mother of two very energetic little boys, I have to be very judicious with how I spend my free time. As an aspiring career author I am allotted very little kid free time to work on my novels and to do marketing and promotions for my book, Seasons.

So how do I make the best of my time and effectively grow my business and network with other professionals?

  • Stick to a writing schedule and make sacrifices you can live with. 
I schedule my writing time for the days my children are in school and mother's day out. This works out to be seven hours a week. I treat this time like I would a clock-in/clock-out job. I don't call in sick, take personal calls, or anything else not related to building my business. I also try and allocate a few hours a week for writing during the time my littles are in bed.  I find that this is not my most productive time however, and often have to balance work time and time spent with my spouse, as this is often our only time together.

People often say to me, "I don't know how you find time to write. I don't have a spare minute to give." I think for most people this is hogwash. How much time do you spend watching netflix, trolling Facebook and twitter or playing wordswithfriends (or whatever game is the in thing now)? There is always time. The real question is what are you willing to sacrifice to do what it is you say you want to do but don't have time for?

I've had to let some things slide and have given up shopping alone, going to the doctors alone or having lunch with friends. I have also let laundry sit in the basket longer than I had in the past. I am also very behind on the latest hit TV shows. So no, I don't know what is happening on Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black, but I am 1/3 of the way through my second novel. I like to think when I look back years from now that I  wont regret the little things that got neglected and will instead see a wonderful collection of books that I can be proud of. On that note I do reward myself when I accomplish a major task.

  • Network and work at places with other professionals (coffee shops or coworking spaces). 
When I was writing my first novel I was lucky to meet someone who had a successful Indy writing career. She mentored me through the process of publishing and marketing my novel. Having someone to mentor you in a new venture is VITAL. I have also met various other professionals while working at a local coffee shop. One of those people was starting a coworking space by my home. So now on my kid free days I network with other coworking professionals and get all of my marketing and writing done there.

If you haven't heard of co-working, you should really check it out! I love Orange Coworking. It is a cute space with coffee, snacks, comfortable seating, meeting rooms, high speed internet and interesting entrepreneurs to network with. It is great for me since I can't get distracted by dishes and laundry that is waiting to be done. It is my office and gets me in the office mindset.

In closing, don't work in a bubble, do what you love by making meaningful sacrifices and protect the time that you can eek out. What have you always wanted to do, but feel like you don't have the time for? What can you give up to make it happen? Chime in!

KM Hodge author of the Syndicate Suspense Series.
 Book #1 Seasons is available for free on Kindle Unlimited

Monday, April 20, 2015


Today marks the one month mark that my book Seasons has been out in the wild. It is still surreal to me that there are people out there (some I know, some I don't) who are interacting with my characters. They are loving them and hating them.

Thank you to everyone who has bought a copy of the book. I can't even begin to express how much that means to me. Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed the book as well. Your reviews allow me to advertise the book and share it with more people. If you haven't had a chance to review the book, please hop on over to Amazon and write up a quick review.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Got Consent?

April is sexual assault awareness month. I wanted to use this platform to open up a discussion on a topic that no one wants to talk about, sexual assault. While sexual assault isn't just against women, (Read this article!) and is a serious problem in the LGBT community (Read this!); I will only be discussing violence against women in this particular post. 

I recently saw this t-shirt that a crisis center, I  used to work for, put together. It perfectly states what consent really means. This is important because a large majority of men and woman are unaware of what consent means and that it is NOT okay to have sex with someone WITHOUT their consent. I'm going to say that again to be clear: it is NOT okay to have sex with someone WITHOUT their consent.  A startling new statistics says that 1 in 3 college men would rape a woman if they didn't think they knew they would be caught or punished in any way (Source). The culture or rape and violence against woman is so pervasive that a recent study revealed that women today might not be reporting rape incidents because they assume that it is the norm to be assaulted and abused (Source).  

My novel, Seasons, addresses both domestic and sexual assault. I thought it was important to give an honest voice to women who experience violence. I especially wanted to show some of what the healing process looks like for a woman who has been assaulted. While each person's experiences are different and how they handle it is different, I did try and show one perspective. 

If you would like to know more about the effect sexual violence has on someone the website H.A.L.T has a pretty comprehensive list. 

If you or someone you know has been assaulted, know that your safety is important and that it is not your fault. If you feel unsafe, consider reaching out to someone you trust, you don't have  to go through this alone. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673). They can link you up with support services in your local area. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Syndicate Series Book #2

As part of the April Camp Nanowrimo challenge I have been working hard on the sequel to Seasons. I have given the second book a tentative title of Blue Season and have it scheduled to be released in fall of this year.

The second book takes up one day before the first book left off. This means that the novel will be taking place in 2025. This is an interesting challenge for me because I get to read all kinds of research on speculative technology that might be main stream ten years from now.

This is just some of the stuff that I found in my research:

Computers ten years from now might have any number of different interfaces but lots of  people are saying that they will be pocket size and will project the screen and keyboard [Computers of Tomorrow Article]. Future technology is expected to connect together our home appliances to a "home network" as well. Devices of the future will rely more on Flash memory and cloud storage instead of hard disk memory [Future Computers Article #2].

This is an interesting Video put on by Virgin Media. What are your thoughts on the future?

It is spring! I decided to spruce up the blog for the new season. Let me know what you think of the new look and what you would like to see in the future.

If you haven't signed up for the mailing list, please do. I am hard at work on the sequel and will be having a sale soon on Season's and you don't want to miss out!