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Friday, May 25, 2012

Self Promotion

The big buzz phrase all writers are familiar with is "SELF PROMOTION"

How does a writer get the attention of a lot of people without breaking the bank? That is the question of the day. It's one that affects not just the new writer but even seasoned writers have this question. For example, fantasy writer David B. Coe posed the same question in one of his blog posts. He asked a reasonable question, what makes a reader purchase a book? Do any of the giveaways work. Think about this for a minute. We writers spend thousands of dollars every year on bookmarks, postcards, fliers, conventions, book trailers, and so on. Still does any of this add up to sales?

The truth is that word of mouth is the best way to get new readers. Most readers are loyal to the writers they read. They have proven themselves time and again. So, how does a newbie break out of the circle of friends and families without spending more money then they have in the bank?

I would love to say I have the magic formula for that, but sadly I don't. What I do have is a list of things that work for me. All be it, they are slow going, however the word of mouth is spreading and it does work.

Facebook plays an intricate part of any serious writer. I know that a lot of people have said they hate the new Facebook. However, when you are trying to reach thousands of people all over the world, it is a free and easy way to do it.

You know the people who click like on your page, well those are people you want. Those are the ones who have read your work and are telling people about it. WORD OF MOUTH.  On your page, make sure and do giveaways. They are simple and small but fans love that you take the time to think of them. Get to know your regular fans and see what happens.

Blog tours are another way to get the word out about your work. Yes some blogs may have a limited number of followers, however all it takes is one person to purchase your book and fall in love with it. If you have that, you can build on it. That one fan who loves what you write will tell their friends. Besides, through this, you make a lot of cool friends.

Press releases are cool but come on, any idiot with a computer can do this for free and for the most part who reads those and says, "Oh I really have to purchase this book?" Almost no one...let me repeat that. "Almost no one" Notice I didn't say no one...hmm. That's because remember what was said earlier...it just takes one person to love the work you do to help spread it around. So yes, write a press release and share it on twitter and FB and all the other places you can find.

Goodreads is another tool a writer can use to spread the word about their work. Host a free book giveaway. Have fun with it. These giveaways lead to people reading your work and if they love it, they write reviews about it.

Reviews. That word holds a lot of disdain for writers. Why? Well no one likes to be told bad things about what they do. The new writer pays a lot of attention to reviews. Those can make a new writer want to keep going or they can kill the spirit before it has a chance to shine. More often than not people say they didn't pay attention to reviews. The truth is that places like Amazon rely on reviews to decide on whether or not a book deserves to be shouted out in emails. That's the rumor anyways. The other thing is this--places like Goodreads depend on reviews. The people who love a book are actually spreading the word for you. They give a rating and write a review your work. All their friends see what they write. If the review is amazing, then their friends check out the book.

I know all of this sounds redundant. I know that none of it sounds like a book is going to take off running, and it isn't. Stephen King wrote 4 books under a different name before his name really got out there. Stephanie Meyers books sat on the shelves for a few years before all the craziness came out about Twilight. No one starts off with a household name unless they are a reality show star.

The last and final thing I can come up with is getting together with a group of writers and team up. Believe me the support they will give will out weigh the importance of sales. My support group includes Mary Ting, author of the Crossroads Saga. Charlotte Blackwell, author of the Embrace series and Lindsey Anne Kendal author of Bloodlines. Jack Remick, author, mentor and friend who is an amazing writer.

I also have some very cool indie writers in my group. Kymberlee Burks Miller author of Compulsion and Willow Cross, who has written a number of books.  Elizabeth Kolodziej author of Vampyre Kisses.  These people in my circle are there for me in so many ways. They help me when I have a book coming out. They are there when I feel down and they are there to celebrate the good things that happen.

I trust everyone of them and feel privileged to call them my friends.Click on all their links and you will find a group of talented writers who have amazing hearts. Finding your group is without a doubt the best way to go.

Look the thing is that for the most part, the slow steady way may not make you a millionaire over night, but what will happen is you will have a journey you will never forget. It only takes a spark to get a fire going and all you need is to keep going to get that spark.

I can thank every one of the writers on my list for the ideas that are in this post. Each one of them has helped me one way or another. Each one gave me tips and advised me on different things I could do. So the credit to this post goes to the names on the list I made.

I hope this helps writers out there who are lost and need some ideas. I also hope this sparks others to share their own ideas about self promotion. :)

XXOOXX 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Giveaway With Mary Ting



Crossroads 

Claudia Emerson has a good friend who shares the same first name and last name. That friend unfortunately dies in a tragic accident during homecoming dance. Claudia is distraught at the loss of her friend, but is even more disturbed by her dreams, which seem to take her to another place called Crossroads. Unknown to her, Crossroads is like a second heaven, a place between heaven and earth. It is where the souls of humans in comas or near death experiences may wander.
There, Claudia meets Michael, a nephilim, a half angel, half human, whom she often meets in her dreams. It turns out that this isn't her first visit to Crossroads, which is an enigma for no human can ever travel there until Claudia. Now the fallen and demons are after her, suspecting she must be special and it is up to Michael and the other nephilims to protect her.
Can Michael fight his growing feelings for Claudia and protect her as a guardian angel should? The answer awaits you! Follow the exciting path to Crossroads!

 GIVEAWAY


 
 Mary Ting, author of the Crossroads Saga has a huge surprise for all her fans. This beautiful snowflake necklace designed especially for her beautiful novels. 






 a Rafflecopter giveaway








Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stop the Maddness

The term, writers are a dime a dozen is a coin that holds some truth. That being said, I have been involved in the publishing industry as either a wannabe writer, an amateur writer and a published writer for about three years now. Over the course of those years, I have noticed several things.
The first thing I learned was that there is A LOT of talent out there. Amazing writers with voices that make me giddy when I learn they have a new book coming out.

That being said, it seems to me that there are many issues in the industry that most writers are afraid to talk about for fear of being deemed "unreasonable or difficult to work with," which is one of the worst things that can happen to a writer.

Recently in a post on Mandy DeGeit's blog, she states that the publishing company took complete creative control of her manuscript. When she asked why, they said it was not fit to be published as it was and that they had to "save" it. According to Mandy, her contract allowed for editing but not creative control of her manuscript.

On FaceBook, another writer states, "I am a victim of xxxxxxxx, my first novel was played with in the same manner as Mandy DeGeit and others who have been hurt by AG and his press. My treatment when I found out what had happened after reading the published copy was also the same." 

The sad thing is the list goes on. Many other writers have been the victim of small press not paying the writers royalties, changing the story from the original and so on and so forth. There are some that have even taken it to the point of holding onto rights when the original creator of the story, (the writer) has wanted out of a contract for whatever reason. 

Other things that are happening in the business. The following headline was taken from The New York Times on January 31, 2012,

Barnes & Noble Won’t Sell Books From Amazon Publishing

The article states, "The ban includes books released by New Harvest, a new imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that recently struck a deal to publish and distribute books released by Amazon Publishing’s unit based in New York."

Ok so what do all these have in common? It's simple, the writers are being put in the middle of games they didn't want to play in the first place. Guys wake up...without the writer, the entertainment and even web industries would fall. Without us, there would be no small press, brick and mortar stores, video games, blogs, newspapers, websites, music, movies, tv shoes and commercials. Think about this for a minute. Who creates all those? Who provides the written word the actors learn? Who provides the lyrics to our favorite songs? Who provides the paragraphs for all the websites? A writer! 

I have been lucky when it comes to the publisher who took a risk on me. World Castle Publishing is a company that doesn't try to change a story, and she works with you on the cover. I'm sure there are many small press companies out there who fall under the same category as World Castle Publishing.

The question still remains, how do we keep writers from being attacked when they are the victim? Would a painter allow a museum curator to pick up a brush and begin adding his or her masterpiece? There is a difference between editing and creative control. When a contract states editing, it doesn't mean change the entire story. There is not a fine line between editing and a company doing an entire rewrite and changing the story. Just like there's a line being crossed when it comes to writers being used as pawns for other companies to bully others.

As writers, we often forget we have rights because we want that ever important golden ticket. So what if we make that ticket seem less important? What if we all decided to take our destinies into our own hands? What if every writer in the world said the word, "No" ? What would happen? When the writers went on strike a few years back, favorite tv shows were canceled. What happens if all the writers in America pulled their books? The brick and mortar stores would close and the publishing companies would no longer have the power.

Let's be realistic though, that would never happen. We writers need to be heard. We have a need to make money just like everyone else in the world. Writers need to eat too and have families and well the list goes on. Still even if it happened for a day, wouldn't that show the world we are serious about the business of being taken serious. Many people are happy with the companies they are at, just like tons of people are happy with being self published. It takes all kind to make this industry turn...but still, what would happen if--

Yeah I know I ranted on enough, and believe it or not, I really am happy where I am at the moment. I just am so tired of seeing friends getting scammed or becoming victims because they don't have the money to hire a good attorney. I'm tired of watching us climb through the hoops to get on the shelves and I'm more than tired of big businesses feeling they have a right to mess with our creative endeavors and our income.

Oh what if--just for a day...yeah.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Interview with Mary Ting


      1 Can you tell us about Crossroads and Between? 

1.       Claudia goes to a place called Crossroads in her dream, a place between Heaven and Earth. There she meets a group of angels called the alkins. She is assigned a guardian angel named Michael. They fall in love, but it is forbidden. Later, they found out she is special and demons and fallens are after her.  In the sequel, Between, the Twelve and other angels called venators play bigger roles. You also find out who Austin is. Alkins and venators must work together to keep Claudia safe. Claudia discovers her powers and finds out sometimes love is just not enough.
2.      

       2: What inspired you to write the Crossroads saga? 
       I started writing when my grandmother passed away. It was a way for me to heal the loss of her. I also decided to write from a dream I had in high school.  It was just for fun and I didn’t think I had much to say. Boy was I wrong…lol!!!


       3. If you could visit any part of your books in real life, what place would it be and why? 
In my dream, I went to a place like Crossroads, but I left knowing I would die if I didn’t. I would love to visit Crossroads. I imagine it to be a peaceful place. Who wouldn’t want to meet and visit the alkins?  Hehe!

       4 What is your favorite part of writing?
 My favorite part of writing is when the readers tell me they felt the emotions I was trying to convey. That tells me that I did it right. I want the readers to go through the emotions that I went through, to feel the pain, sorrow, anger, hurt and above all…happiness .

       5 Can you tell us about anything new you're working on?
 I’m working on book 3.

       6 Who are some of your inspirations? 
 Authors of course,  Stephenie Meyer based Twilight from her dream, I did the same for mine. Also, my fans are my inspirations. They get me pumped up to work on book 3. They are my angels .  

TIME FOR SOME FUN!!

       7 What is your FAVE food ?
 I’m a pig! I LOVE all kinds of food! Recently I found out that I need to have Ramen at least once a week, a Japanese noodle soup dish. So Ramen it is for now.

       8 If a movie was made, who would you see playing some of your main characters?
 I was asked this question before. I would love to see new faces; however, for now….  

I see Claudia as very sweet, innocent looking yet attractive-Nina Dobrev
Michael- Ben Barnes
Davin-Channing Tatum
Vivian-Megan Fox
Austin- Ian Somerhalder
Caleb- Alex Pettyfer
Patty-Amanda Seyfried
Philip-Orlando Bloom
Agnes- Kate Beckinsale
Margaret-Angelina Jolie
Gamma-Susan Sarandon
Aden-Huge Jackman




       9 What is your fave color? 
Red, pink, purple, black…depending on what mood I’m in.

      10 What is your fave time of day?
 Late at night. I’m a night owl.

       Last question, If you could share anything with new writers, what would it be?  
Thank you Joann for this wonderful opportunity and thank you to everyone for taking their time to read my interview.
I took on a journey not knowing how rewarding it would be for me. I’ve meet so many wonderful people around the world through facebook, goodreads and blog sites. I’ve made everlasting friendships where friendships know no boundaries. And I have to thank my grandmother who continues to watch over me from Heaven.  Hugs!!!

Twit @maryting







Thursday, May 3, 2012

Roses in WinterRoses in Winter by Leslie D. Stuart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Roses in Winter captured my heart from the very first page. I really felt the heartache of the characters and couldn't put it down. I loved Savage. She had an amazing spirit and so much love for everything around her. Tiley made me laugh and the ending gave me a smile.

This is a story about love and healing.When the main character, Savannah has a car accident and loses Ryan, she wanted to die. Little did she know she was about embark on the next phase in her life and she didn't know it would be with the man she always loved. Can love break down walls and forgiveness come through, yes...Leslie's story shows that no matter what happens, love can conquer all. I think my fave horse in this was Hitler...loved his spunk!!

I don't usually read romance, but I'm glad I didn't miss this one!!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The 7 Year Witch by Cindy Keen Reynders


7 Year Witch
By Cindy Keen Reynders

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Angelic Knight Press
Release Date: April 12, 2012





Blurb:

Novice witch Miranda Rose’s seventh and final task for the Supreme Witch’s Council is to find the legendary Philosopher’s Stone. Once completed, she’ll reach her lifelong dream—High Witch of Wysteria Hedge Haven. In a last ditch effort to locate the precious gem; she travels through time to 1877. In a dilapidated castle a powerful wizard refuses to relinquish the stone. In a fit of pique, the wizard, Balthazar, zaps her in a field outside of Merry Olde London. 

Sir Maxwell Chadwick is the sole witness to a fiery ball of light streak across the midnight sky. Curious, he investigates. Surprised to find a beautiful young woman among the smoldering ashes, he cannot deny his instant attraction to the alluring stranger. While Miranda appreciates the handsome duke’s assistance, she finds him annoying as his well-intentioned interference delays her mission.

It doesn’t take Miranda long to realize the handsome duke holds the key to her heart, as well as her future. Fate, magic and the Seven-Year Witch disease takes the lovers on a rollicking, star-crossed adventure!





Cindy Keen Reynders stopped off for an interview on The Eclectic Artist Cave.


Can you tell us about 7 Year Witch?

This is a fun story about a novice witch from the Wysteria Hedge Haven Clan who needs to complete her seventh task for the Supreme Witch’s Council before she can be promoted to high witch. She has some trials and tribulations along the way, including meeting a very handsome duke in 19th century England. Sparks fly!


 What inspired you to write 7 Year Witch? I love magic! And I also love romance, so I decided to blend the two and enjoy the results.

   If you could visit any part of your books in real life, what place would it be and why?

    I’ve written books set in England and Ireland, and I would love to someday visit those places because my ancestors came from those parts of Europe.
 

    What is your favorite part of writing? 

    I love brainstorming new plots and coming up with fun or suspenseful ideas for new characters.
 
    Can you tell us about anything new you're working on? I’m currently in the middle of the next book of the Wysteria Hedge Haven Clan series, A Witch at Midnight.
 

    Who are some of your inspirations? Johanna Lindsey’s romances started me writing years ago; I absolutely love her books. I read her novels for so many years, I wanted to try and emulate her writing in my own style so readers could hopefully receive as much enjoyment.

TIME FOR SOME FUN!!


What is your FAVE food? 

Popcorn and peanuts. I think I was a circus elephant in a former life.
 
 If a movie was made, who would you see playing some of your main characters?

Megan Fox, Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson, Colin Farrell.   

What is your fave time of day?  

At 4 a.m. when I get to dive in and start writing for a few hours before I begin working at my day job.
 

 Last question, If you could share anything with new writers, what would it be? 

 Learn everything about the craft, inside and out. Write your best every day, believe in yourself, and never give up!


   The advice is sound and some of the same I tell people all the time. Thank you Cindy for stopping off at The Eclectic Artist Cave. Huge hugs!!! To find out more about Cindy Keen Reynders, please stop off at her website. Also follow her on her blog, Facebook and Twitter @littlewing1959. 
















 
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