Intelligent Stories for Clever Readers

Homepage of Author Katharina Gerlach
for Children, Young Adults, and the Young at Heart

 

Welcome, Willkommen (German), Fàilte (Gaelic), Bienvenue (French), Djin dobre (Polish)*.

A short introduction about the authoress and Why is reading so important?

Q – Qindie

Quindie-LogoWith “Scotland’s Guardians” winning a B.R.A.G. medallion and “Parlan’s Children” an Indie Book of the Day Award, I could have called myself an Award Winning Author already. Now, this has been confirmed again. My book “Urchin King” was awarded the Qindie-Logo which, similar to a B.R.A.G. medallion, is a label of high quality Indie published books. I am very, very happy the book qualified, and I promise to strive for the highest quality I’m capable of. Thank you Qindies!

P – Possible Series

Snow White and Rose Red

I love fairy tales, the less they are known the more I like them. On my bookshelves, I no longer count the books by numbers but by meters (I’ve got 2,64m already). It seems natural that I’d start writing fairy tales, right?

Near the end of last year, I started my first try at retelling a fairly tale and think it turned out quite well (ask my beta readers). I used the story of “Snow White and Rose Red” from the dwarf’s perspective (who is not the bad guy in this case). I had so much fun, I started to retell “The Beauty and the Beast” in a steampunk setting right after. You can read and comment on the first draft here.

And I already have another idea… what do you think, should I turn this into a series? I could move on to fairy tales not as well known as my first two tries and add the original to the finished eBook once I publish.

(this post appeared in German as M – Märchen, eine Serienidee)

O – Ogers, Dragons & evil wizards (the bad guys in fantasy)

As an author, I spend just as much time on creating my bad guys as I do on creating the hero/heroine. The fun thing about Fantasy is that I have much more freedom in choosing the basic layout. I can use humans (naturally) but there are also creatures we find awesome that make for really good villains (ogres, dragons, dark elves, death, the devil, and many more). I have the most fun if I can twist characters that people initially think evil into something else (how about a vegetarian dragon like the one in my story “The Witches of Greenwitch” which you get if you sign up for my list). Some great examples for using a stereotypical bad guy in a really funny way are the books about Death in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchet. Have you ever read them?

(this post will appear in German as T – Tod, Teufel und Drachen)

N – Nothing New

Today, I’m going to fetch my eldest daughter. Like always, she’ll stay with us for a week until Easter. Tomorrow, my brother-in-law will come for the same reason. Fortunately, my husband won’t have to work this Easter, which is an improvement over last year but nothing new either. However, despite the routine of things I enjoy this time. My garden is in bloom (mostly yellow daffodils and blue Siberian squill), the birds are singing, sometimes I can feel the sun burn on my skin… what’s not to like?

daffodil

M – Make Ideas

I think one of the easiest parts of writing is coming up with new ideas. I get so many of them, I can’t write them all. However, I’ve heard that some people find this the hardest bit (for me, that would be sitting down to write the first draft). So, here are a few tips to get you started:

1. watch children play, they show you first hand how to make up stories

2. play the “What if” game using everyday situations as a starting point (what if an alien stood in the line at the cashier in front of me today) and see where it takes you

3. use brainstorming techniques like mind-mapping to get the details for your idea

4. join Holly Lisle’s “How to Think Sideways” course if you can afford it (It’s really, worth the money)

(This post appeared in German for J – Jagd auf die Idee)

L – love (in stories)

Recently, I found a review for “Scotland’s Guardians” on a German (hold on tight) Romance-review site (how strange is that?). You probably already know what they complained about… the lack of romance. Surprisingly, that has always been the major reason why German traditional publishers declined my novels. It kept me wondering if every YA novel has to have a romantic subplot. For me, the answer is “only if it adds to the story”. In “Scotland’s Guardians” it would have destroyed the basic concept (which is friendship and loyalty), so I deliberately didn’t write a romance into it. In my soon-to-be-released fairytale retellings, I’m using romance because a lot of fairytales will not work otherwise (imagine The Beauty and the Beast without…). Do you think romance has to be in every YA novel?

K – kickstarter

I’m sure most of your know what kickstarter is (a crowd funding platform for those who don’t know). Some of you maybe even supported a cause or two (I backed seventeen so far). So, tell me, why did you do it?

I once supported the creation of a WordPress Widget for a bookshop which I can’t use because in Germany online shops are so heavily loaded with regulations and legalese (with fines if I don’t get it right), I refuse to participate. However, I loved the idea so I supported the project. Would you consider supporting a project you couldn’t really use? If so, what would it take? (I’m trying to learn here, you know)

J – jigsaw puzzle

I think I mentioned before that I’m going to run a kickstarter campaign in May. The book I’m going to finance that way is the German translation of Jason Brubaker’s graphic novel remind.

 

The story is very well thought out and features gorgeous artwork. You can read it for free online. If you want to help me spread the word about the campaign, please sign up below.

I – Indie publishing

I started publishing independently in late 2012 not knowing anything about what I had to do. It’s been a steep learning curve since then. Now, my sales are slowly picking up. There are some things I have learned:

1. do your writing before you do anything else
2. always be polite when you’re online – you can throw your fits in real life when no one’s watching
3. always thank your reviewers if you can even if it’s the worst review you ever got
4. social media isn’t half as important as you think
5. social media is more important than your think
6. write a series or two

Yes, I know that 4 and 5 seem to contradict each other but in reality they don’t. The problem with social media is that as an Indie author, you tend to think you need to do it all. You don’t! Do the one or two or more things you enjoy and ignore the rest. And always remember rule #1. No browsing before your work is done. In the end, no amount of social media activity will get your books written and published. Right?

H – Heroes Wanted

September last year, I started an experiment. I produced the audio book “Heroes Wanted” with talented narrator Linda Joy. I was skeptical considering how much money it costs to produce an audio book. To see if there’s a market for my stories, I chose two short stories that would go together nicely and set up the whole endeavor. I was pleasantly surprised. Royalties for audio books are much higher (in absolute numbers) than for eBooks or print books since they’re priced higher. Of course, after barely more than ½ a year, I haven’t broken even yet, but the numbers are encouraging. In fact, they’re so encouraging that I’m going to turn “Scotland’s Guardians” into an audiobook too some time soon (I just need to figure out how to finance it since I do not like Audible’s split royalty agreements). I will keep you posted on this. Have you had any experience with audiobooks?