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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Vices and Virtues

One time, a month ago or so, I had dinner with my publisher and editor, and it went really well. But my publisher had talked with their website design guy, and he said that I post blogs at the worst possible times ever because it's like three in the morning, and that's bad blogging posting time.

I know he's right. Because he is. And I suppose eventually I'll have to correct it by posting blogs at real times, but for now, I'm writing and posting this blog right now because I want to and I can.

I actually have quite a few things to share with you guys, and almost all of it's awesome.

So in no particular order: Here's something new I'm doing. It's called Formspring. I don't really know what it is or why it exists, but you can ask me questions there and I'll answer them. Not all of them all the time, but I'll check it sometimes and answer some questions. So if you want to ask me a question, you can check it out here:

I like the format, because I can pick which question to answer specifically, and it shows all my previous answers. My profile there can become a living breathing FAQ.

Also, a few days ago I got pictures of the placeholder cover for the Trylle Trilogy books for St. Martin's Press. Here's what I understand a placeholder cover to be: A cover that holds the place until the real cover is revealed, like on sites like Amazon where you can already pre-order St. Martin's version of Switched.

I am pretty sure I can show you guys the placeholder covers (which are really pretty and hint at what the real covers will look like), but I'm not 100% sure, so I'm going to wait and double check on Monday before I show you guys. Just to be sure.

I know they're planning a real big cover reveal deal. I'm not sure what all it entails, but I got a voicemail and an email about it today, so I'll find out on Monday more about that. But it sounds fun, and everybody likes fun things.

Not sure when the cover reveal will happen, but I'm thinking sometime early this fall. My understanding (which could be wrong) is that St. Martin's wants it coincide with when I take the Trylle Trilogy off sale.

Which brings me to the next point. As of August 1, 2011 I'm going to be unpublishing Switched. The release date for the St. Martin's edition of Switched is set for January 2012, and we (both me and the publisher) want that to have the most success it can, so we want to give Switched some time off the market.

I'm leaving both Torn and Ascend for sale until September 1, 2011 when I'll be unpublishing them both. I'm leaving for sale longer, so people who buy Switched now have a full month to purchase the other two books in their current state at their current price.

But even if you don't buy them in that thirty days, it's only a few months until St. Martin's releases their versions. So it's not that long of a wait.

Both St. Martin's and I are trying really hard to make this transition as smooth and as easy on the readers as possible.

I've just gone over the copy-edits on Switched, and it's looking really good. There haven't been major changes to the story - readers who've already read it will be happy to see find the things they loved about the book haven't changed. But the story is really polished up, grammar cleaned up and ideas streamlined a bit better. I've always believed it was a good book, but now I think it's actually pretty great.

Onto something less pleasant that I feel I need to bring up. It's more a writer's beware for authors out there. I'm mentioning it because it's a cover artist I once used and once recommended, and as a result, I feel his bad behavior falls back on me. If people choose to use him because of something I once said, I want them to understand that I recant any recommendation, and here's why:,74897.75.html

That's a link over to the Kindleboards, which I don't frequent as much as I used to, but it's still overall a great bunch of people and the best place to learn anything about self-publishing. I don't know why I stopped hanging out there as much. Because they are neat and helpful.

Okay, so onto a happier note. I know I pre-ordered Panic! at the Disco's album Vices and Virtues, but I just today realized that I never got it. So I bought it on iTunes, and I'm listening to it now, and it's very good. I think I like it more than their prior two albums. If you like music that is a delight to your ears, you should buy it.

Also, I've made another vision board, since my last one worked out astonishingly well. When I started making it though, Eric told me that it didn't count because I'd just put wants on there and not dreams. We ended up in a debate about whether or not the Secret worked on wants, too, since it supposedly worked for a boy wanted a bike. But that's not the point.

What constitutes the difference between a want and a dream? I have so many plans for my life, so many things I hope to do and accomplish. Aren't some of them dreams?

Here's what's on my vision board (or what I'm trying to convince the universe I want with it): the Trylle Trilogy being a movie (with Michael Wincott), getting to go to The Dark Knight Rises premiere next year,  a Delorean, and Pete Wentz.

Okay, yes, I get that the Delorean could fall under a "want" since it's a car, but it's a magic car that I've wanted for years, so I think it should fall under a "dream." And then obviously, having my books turned into movies would be a dream come true. And I really, really want Michael Wincott to be in it, and I think I want it enough to be a dream.

Alright. Pete Wentz probably isn't a dream, and I'm also not really expecting the vision board to follow through with it. But it's the only thing that my last vision board didn't deliver on, and even if this one doesn't, I can still look at him. And I can't imagine that it really hurts to let the universe know that I'm interested in dating foxy rock stars. You know, just case in the universe was wondering.

Something you might not know: When I was in high school, I got really sad about the idea of being a writer. I mean, I wanted to be a writer, but everything I knew about writers made them seem boring and stodgy, or they were older men and alcoholics and depressed. I didn't want to be any of those things. I wanted to have fun and be silly, like a rock star.

But now that I'm older, I realize I can be whatever writer I want to be. That's an important truth. Or at least is to me. You live your life on your terms. Don't let anybody else's definitions rule you. Define yourself.


  1. You can put whatever you want on your vision board.  That's the point of the board is to visualize yourself having those things and letting the universe know what you want.  A dream is something you want there is no difference.  Remember $5 is the same as a million.  Just always have graditude for the things you have!! 

  2. Oh, Amanda. I'm a little disappointed that you're recanting your recommendation for Ronnell, because I found him without having read your recommendation, and I was hoping to pay him to do a cover soon, but now I have to read this thread and see what's up.

    Well, thanks. I'll have to look out for other cheap artists. I was originally going to go with Carl Graves. Do you know anything about him?

  3. Love the post. I agree that you live life on your own terms. Nobody can put you in a box unless you agree to stay contained. Life's too big to label.

    I think a dream is a want you work towards. It's a desire you pursue instead of one you only imagine. May all of our dreams come true.

    And good luck with the cover! I can't wait to see it. Fortunately, I don't have to pursue cover artists who behave badly because my hubby is a talented computer guy/graphic artist. Although, come to think of it, he behaves badly sometimes too - it's one of the things I love about him!

  4. I love that you have a vision board! I have one too! My goal is to become a novelist.

  5. Don't apologize for what you put on your vision board--you can put whatever you'd like on it. Even Pete Wentz. :D

    I really like that last paragraph there about defining yourself. Really great advice. Also, I may have to check out that formspring.

    Good luck with the Trylle trilogy publication and possible movie release! I can only imagine how excited you must be! ^_^

  6. Dear Amanda, your formspring link doesn't work.

  7. I write my blog posts as very bizarre times too... but I schedule them to go up at more "ideal" times. It's very easy to do in Blogger.

    I actually write 2 - 3 posts at a time, then schedule them to go up throughout the week.


  8. I am so glad I bought the Switched series and read through it!!! Loved them, although I was really pulling for Tove and Wendy. I don't know why because Loki is way hotter, but they had a really cute friendship!

    I plan on doing some self publishing on Amazon soon so I am really glad you posted that link about the cover artist!

    Hollowland is awesome by the way!

  9. @Ryan Sullivan: I would not recommend Carl Graves. He had promised ME a concept cover (not even the finished product!) and didn't deliver. After over a month of waiting, I found someone else. Then, a few months after, he sent out a MASS e-mail (I'm talking, at least a hundred people) without BCCing any of our e-mails. He tried to go on about how his computer crashed and the main thing I took away from it it was that it (and he were) incredibly unprofessional.

    Then, (horror!) people started trying to sell their books on to me because they now had my private e-mail from his mass sending. Between them, and the people screaming "Take me off this list!" in response... It was a nightmare. In order to stop that influx of e-mails, I had to make no less than ten additions to my spam filter.

    Then, people wised up and made a NEW sending with all the e-mails they'd garnered from his original e-mail... seriously a nightmare.

    I'd recommend my cover artist now: Jeroen ten Berge. He does amazing work and he's fast! He's done all my covers if you want to look at them in the signature :)

    YA: Cheat, Liar, Coward, Thief
    Adult: Shackled

  10. Wow, thanks for the heads up about the cover artist guy. That dude sounds pretty shady on that side of the story. I just commissioned my first cover artist this past week and now I'm scared. Scared to close my eyes and scared to open em. Hopefully, it turns out much better. Thanks again.

    And BREA is right, Hollowland is awesome! Member that one time when Remy killed a zombie with a ladle??? That was awesome.

  11. Thanks for posting the Kindleboards link. I was saddened that Ronnell did not take the time to tell his side of the story before the post was locked. He's always seemed like a cool and helpful guy on the boards. Although, I do remember him making a rather snarky remark when you decided to design your own cover for Hallowland.

    And do not feel bad for recommending his work; you are not responsible for his unprofessional behavior.

  12. Amanda, when I was young I had the same fears about being a writer that you did. I didn't want to be a depressed, alcoholic literary success that made no money while alive and had no fun. I think you have definitely busted that paradigm. Your books are a lot of fun and your success is inspiring. My writing journey has just begun recently, but I too am having a lot of fun. All the best to you.

  13. You are a bamf. You be all the rock star writer awesomeness you want to be.

  14. hey i like ur blog! i have just created a blog to u can follow us at:

  15. Hey Amanda,

    Pfft, write your blog posts whenever you want. A lot of people, including myself, read people we follow through a Reader, so it's Saturday at 4:19 PM and there's no way I could miss your post. Don't worry. But if the publishers insist, there is a way to write a post whenever you want and schedule it to appear at a more auspicious time...I just don't know how to do it on Blogger, because I blog on Tumblr.

    Also, when you start unpublishing things from Amazon, will those books disappear from our Kindles when you do it? That would be most unfortunate...

    Oh, and like someone else said, your Formspring link doesn't work. But it's easy enough to go on there and search for you.

    Have a great day!

  16. Who cares when you post on your personal blog? I don't get why someone like that has any right to tell you when to blog about your own personal life. And, how does that hurt you in any way? Post whenever the heck you feel like it...

  17. I wonder if you have any words of wisdom for a new writer? I am working on my first novel, and wonder if self-publishing it would be a better option versus seeking out a publisher? Any input or advice?

  18. Vices and Virtues is my current favorite to listen to as well. What great taste you have!

  19. Fascinating about the timing of blog posts, it is always three in the morning somewhere. If you post in the middle of the night, I'm having breakfast here in the UK, it won't make your blog any less interesting. Has someone done an experiment where they post at different times of day and count the hits over the next 24 hours. If they have then they are keeping pretty quiet about it because that is the sort of thing that usually quizzes around on blogs and twitter.

  20. I'm a night owl. I know its important to post when the majority of the world is awake. But I can't break my bad habits!!!

    Let us know if you're successful in changing your routine

  21. I love that i can wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and find a new post from you; it may not be the prime time to post but... if the mood strikes you, why not? Keep up the good work!

  22. Hi Amanda! I really admire your work as an author. Your name just started popping up in my corner of the world (hello, from one (Texas) Austinite to another (Minnesota) Austinite. :) ) I had a question and tried looking at your Formspring to see if I could find an answer without bothering you, but the Formspring wouldn't come up.

    I'm sure you are super busy, so I understand if you can't get back to me, but I was wondering who were the people you looked to, to edit your work before you published your first book on Amazon and Smashwords? I have a novel I'm going to publish, but I want to give the world the best version I can before I do that. Did you edit professionally or just have help from family and friends? Anyway, thank you so much, and I hope you guys are cooler up there then we are down here! :)

  23. I completely agree with those who said to write your blog when YOU want. The publisher's website guy only know what HE knows and clearly you have enough followers to know your posts will be there when they get up. Besides, your 3am will be someone else's 8pm, or 10 am, the world is not on the same time so we all see blogger's posts when we get online. Don't let them dictate to you to change you. Blog when YOU feel like it, there is always someone else up and on Twitter or Facebook. Don't let some namby pamby web guy think he's right. He's not!

  24. thanks for the lesson/link on formspring, good luck :)

  25. I LOVE the vision board idea! I think the world would be a better place if everyone had their dreams laid out before them. And the last paragraph of your post moved me to tears. I love that. Thank you.

  26. oh, that's funny about those old drunkard writers :) I'm sure you can be optimistic-glorious-bright-young writer of course.

  27. Yikes! I eventually want to hire a cove atist too (don't have the $ now), but now I'll be scared to do so after reading this threat and the other comments. On another note, keep writing you posts at 3 a.m. I kinda get what they're saying, but people who subscribe will automatically see the new post when they check thei subsciptions. And those who don't? You can always post the threads throughout the day on twitter etc.

  28. Blogs or article writing depends on the mood of the person.Its not time specific.So, you can write it any time.Some times i have seen people start writing suddenly by getting up from bed.

  29. Amanda,

    Don't let anyone ever tell you what to do. If you want to blog at 3 in the morning then do it! It's your blog.

    I will still read it. =o)


  30. Not that youll see this Amanda butr heres your Delorean!

    You can own one....granted a toy but still. Enoy!

  31. Wow, how cool is that! You ALSO have a vision board! :) Although reading your posts and your attitude in general, made me believe months ago that you are following *the Secret*. I am not sure my vision board works for me that well ... Maybe I just don't believe in it enough or I am not persistent enough. Who knows!

  32. Amanda,

    You are my hero right now. I've written six short stories (a former friend really made me mad, and I wrote a story about what she did to me, and that's what triggered the other stories) and I plan to e-publish them. I'm fine-tuning them right now. I am posting excerpts from them on a couple websites, and giving them to co-workers to read and critique. I have a former high school classmate who said he would work on cover art for me.

    Anyway, I'm inspired by your story. Thank you for e-publishing and getting your work out. I'll get it out too, eventually. Even if I only make enough to pay for my Internet service for a year, I'll consider that success.

    Continued good luck in the future!

  33. Write your blogs when you want. Writing at 3 in the morning makes you awesome-er (is that a word?) anyways. Don't change who you are!

    -If you start changing who you are, you lose what made people like you in the first place.

  34. Great article.Great content.It is very informative.It is helpful to me.please update it .Thanks for sharing.

  35. I like the portrait design but the thing is too much discussing is the too much spam server

  36. This is the first time am hearing about virtues and vices and ur blog made a clear idea of this blog with ur awesome presentation.