Friday, December 1, 2017

Struggling To Find The Words

Did you ever find yourself wanting to write about something that happened to you, but you struggled with putting it on the paper?  A real-life traumatic event that scarred you forever and maybe changed your life? Were the emotions and content more vibrant than what was in your thoughts?  I have.  

I have a story inside me that needs to come out, but I am struggling with getting everything on paper.  I don’t know if it is fear that is my barricade or trying to explain the feelings enough to paint a picture for the reader.  This story would be a healing step that I really, really need and want to take, but the fear and rehashing of the memory are actually quite terrifying; yes, even after all these years.

I sit down to start writing and just don’t know where to start.  Do I use fake names or real names and just say they are fake?  Do I want to relive and repeat these memories again and again in my head?  The “what-ifs” are fighting a battle inside me that neither side is currently winning.  I try very diligently to focus on why I need to write this story and it helps a little, but then once I get certain scenes on the paper and reread my words; my chest tightens and my head hurts, then here come the tears.

Is reliving something terrible that happened in your past really worth putting it on paper for the world to read?  Would I then become “just another statistic”?

These thoughts keep preventing me from this story, but I really feel deep down inside that it has to come out, it must come out for my own sanity.  The healing may ultimately require that I document my past to make my future stronger and healthier.

Have you ever struggled like this?  What helped you overcome your barriers? 


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Reviews, New Release Lists, and You

There are many of us that spend literally years writing books to share with the world.  I for one have spent several years trying to complete a story that is near and dear to my heart, but have yet to find the courage to type “THE END”.  One of the many ways to support independent authors is to write a review for them, talk with them, help them out, and encourage them.  Readers also want to know when the next big release is coming out and when they can get their hot little hands on their favorite author’s work.  These are all great and very back-patting for those of us struggling to compete in this vast array of new versus old, romance versus sci-fi, etc.  Let’s stop competing and help each other out.

There are many different sites online where you can go to leave a review and hope that the world sees how much you either love or hated a story.  These are also removed at free will bythe sites where you can leave your review.  Why not go straight to the source?

Authors – have a place where your fans can leave reviews on your sites or be able to send them to you.  Have a place where your fans can interact with you about your work.  Don’t leave it in the hands of someone or something that can remove reviews, pirate your hard work, and not let others know when your next new book is coming out.  Create your own “new release” email list.  Create a spot or a way for folks to be able to leave reviews directly to you.  Get involved with other authors and writers to share what works and what doesn’t work.  Find new ways to get involved and stay involved.  Don’t leave the fate of your hard work in the hands of anyone else. 


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Indie Challenge – Show Your Support

Do you ever find yourself caught in a “frump” or situation that keeps you from writing?  Life happens and we all deal with various things every day that disparages us from meeting deadlines or getting the word count that we all want by the end of the day.  The struggle is definitely real and persisting, or so it seems.  How do you overcome this?  Do you reach out to others for advice?  Do you push through and battle the infringement head on? 

How do you as a professional and friend of other authors provide guidance and help to those who are struggling with their writing?  Do you brush it off and say, “well I am not having any trouble; they’ll get over it” or do you help solve the problem?

This industry is increasingly becoming saturated with the “dog-eat-dog” approach that we experience in all realms of life.  No one wants to help their competition.  It seems that no one is willing to help their colleague get through whatever life is throwing at them and support them. 

For this industry to thrive and be supported by those who purchase our work, wouldn’t it be great if they saw how indie authors supported each other through all aspects of life and craft?  I think we are all missing the opportunity to be the leaders and not the followers. 

How are you providing support or helping your adversary?  If you were in a situation and needed help, would you ask your rival?  Being a writer is something uniquely genuine to the person putting the words to paper.  Let’s face it, we are not mind readers.  I cannot “steal” your material and you cannot take mine. 

Indie challenge to all who read this…reach out to someone who is struggling and offer then a helping hand.  If you are the one having a difficult time; ask for help.  Let everyone out there know that we are here for each other and helping each other.  We are all great at what we do and the hating and shame need to stop for this art to survive.  Be a team player, give help where it is needed, offer assistance, and share with each other. 

What ways can you provide help to other indie authors?  Are you struggling and need help?  What ideas can you share with others who are having a rough time?  Can you help them with their cover for free or a reduced price?  Are you an editor who is looking to fill in a slot of time, maybe free of charge or for a lower fee?  Are you a formatter who can help out?  Even something simple like sharing social media posts provides a great deal of help to others.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ebooks and How To Stay Involved

Do you only offer ebooks?  Are you looking for ways to stay involved with your readers/fans?  Below are some options to help you… 

  • Do an ebook signing video and upload to your social media sites. 
  • Use swag such as bookmarks, photos, posters, etc. of your book cover and sign those.
  • Use swag such as bookmarks, photos, posters, etc. of you holding your work sign those.
  • Use swag such as bookmarks, photos, posters, etc. of you holding your work displayed on an e-reader device and sign those.
  • Have your reader take a picture of themselves holding your book and sign them.
  • Offer to take a photo with your reader and sign the photo.
  • Keep your fans and readers in the loop/involved with your work and future works.  Get your readers involved in your stories. 
  • Mention your fans/readers in your blogs or during the e-book signing event.  Especially by name; this makes them feel more important.
  • Use your social media sites to share the photos of your fans/readers while they display your work.
  • Use contests to win signed swag items or free copies of your ebook.
  • Get your fans/readers involved in spreading the word about you and your book, use contests to inspire them or give them something for free.
  • Brag about your fans/readers on your social media sites and online places.  Remember, it isn’t always about you, but your fans/readers too.
  • Take advantage of blog interviews and return the favor for other authors.
  • If your fans/readers have businesses, support them.
  • Video virtual tour for new book releases and distribute via all social media routes.
  • Video book blurb with author for each book and distribute via all social media routes
  • Be inventive and find other ways to display your ebook and yourself so others can see you.

What are some other ways that you can stay involved with your readers with ebooks?


Monday, January 16, 2017

Let Your Work Speak For Itself

How do you prepare your work when you are sending out books or manuscripts and such to potential clients? Do you print it on special paper? Do you package it snuggly in a box? Are your materials prepared in such a manner that maybe you are spending money on unnecessary supplies to try to make your work appear nicer? Do you wrap a huge rubber band around all the pages of a freshly printed manuscript, cram it in a large yellow envelope, throw a letter on top, and call it a day?

Are you taking a risk that spending money on this extra fluff may end up in the trashcan next to your manuscript? Absolutely you are. I say use the KISS method when preparing your books and manuscripts – keep it simple silly.

If you want to catch their eye, do it with the work itself. Make sure your introduction letter is spot-on perfect, even if it means spending a few extra dollars to have this edited and appropriately worded to catch the reader’s eye. Use words that are meant to draw the reader in – remember your writing skills. Also, remember that your manuscript needs to be spotless or book for that matter. Whatever you send needs to be able to do the work for you - not the fluff, colored fancy paper, pretty bows tied around the huge pile of paper, frills, bells, or whistles. Let your work speak for itself.

Catching the readers eye with the material intended to draw them in works two-fold. The information they are reviewing or reading will catch their attention through your artful skills in writing, plus you can save your money that you would have spent on all of the frilly stuff. If your work is enough to catch the readers eye right off the bat, then you will have the most lucrative career in writing and your work will speak for itself. 

What are some other ways that you can help encourage others sending their manuscript to a publisher?


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Using Social Media

How do you use social media to its fullest?  Do you only use certain sites?  If so why?   I use social networking to promote my books and it has helped me immensely.  I network through a variety of places including:

Amazon:  Set up your Amazon Author Page
Blog:  I use blogger and post info about my books or random posts (can be used as your website too). 
Facebook:  Largest social networking site
Google+:  More exposure for you
LinkedIn:  Great place for networking
Pinterest:  Share your book covers or network with other authors
Twitter:  great for quick communication and networking
Smashwords:  Another great place to promote your books, set up your own page
Website:  Build a website for your work and promote yourself this way too (Wix is free and Weebly too)

For social media sites...share the work of others on your sites... pay it forward!
  • Twitter - Retweet 5 or 6 different random tweets you see on your scroll every day or every other day, doing this will help others see you too.
  • Facebook - Share Facebook posts about another author’s work... maybe 3 or 4 per day or every other day
  • Pinterest - Repin another author’s book or info...4 to 6 per day or every other day
  • Blogs - Join other author’s blog sites...5 or 6 per week or so. 
  • Blogs and webs - Do interviews for other authors and share their work.  Get yourself interviewed so others know about you too.
  • Google+ - Share posts from others 5 or 6 per day.  Join communities.
  • Website – Build a website for your work.  Weebly and Wix offer free sites.  You can also use your blog as a website.  Whichever way you go, make sure you have the information about your work in the forefront.  Add the work of other authors to your site too (with their permission of course), share links so you can broaden your reach with readers.

The more people who see you, the more they are aware of who you are and what you do. 

Get involved in sharing what you do with the world...also share others work with the world.  It doesn't always have to be about you and what you do-make it about others too so they will want to share you and what you do too.  Do something every day to pay forward... sharing, liking, boosting the moral of someone who is down, retweeting, and staying involved socially keeps you and who you are in the forefront of those who will be interested, and hopefully follow along with you.  Share your daily social networking skills with others; help them pay it forward too.

Add your web links to your email signature.  You can also add a small image of each of your books to your signature.  Recognition is key to seeing pictures.  If people recall seeing your book cover, they will know what they are looking for when they go to purchase it.

Set up groups and pages on the various social networking sites to benefit you.  I have groups on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to show my support for authors and myself.  Also, don’t be afraid to stick your neck out to help another writer.  They can’t take your ability to write away from you so why not share what you know with them.

I also get involved with social events online and make new friends to show support.  The more people see your name, the more familiar you will be to others. 

Also, promote your books to the people who will read them.  If you write children’s books, promote to teachers or parents to share with the children too.  If you write romance, share with those who would be interested in reading them.  Put yourself out there for the world to see, be vulnerable and get yourself noticed in as many places as you can.

If you already have books published, benefit yourself by giving a book away for free – even if just for a day.  The more people who have your book, the more it is ‘out there’ for others.  Making it free shows the readers that you have faith in what you wrote and want then to have the chance to read it, especially with the economy the way it is today – free can make the difference between someone reading your book or passing it up because they don’t have the extra few bucks to spend on purchasing it.  Seriously, who doesn’t like a free book to read??

Last, but not least…. Never give up.  Keep writing every day and keep promoting yourself and others every day.  The more effort you put into it, the more you get out of it.  Share what you know with others and always be willing to try just a little harder to make yourself the best you can be. 

I hope this helps you… best of luck!


What Are You Looking For In A PA Or Promoter?

What are some of the different things you look for in a promoter?  What are some skills you look for in an assistant?  Do you have help staying on top of your social media sites?  Here are some guidelines to follow when looking for that person or team to help you out…

Red flags:
  • Always posting negatively about everything and anything.
  • Their last tweet was 6 months ago.
  • They never get involved.
  • They keep quiet, about everything and just agree to agree.
  • They aren’t very creative.
  • Their emails are not written very well.
  • Always busy doing nothing.

Green flags:
  • Almost always posting positively, but not afraid to speak their piece.
  • Their social media sites are updated regularly.
  • They usually like to get involved.
  • They aren’t afraid to voice their opinion.
  • They are very creative.
  • You can easily understand their emails.
  • Genuinely they are always busy.

Can these individuals support you in every way that you need them to?  Are they tech savvy enough to bridge the gap between you and the ever-changing technology world?  Can they be trusted with your personal information?  Are they looking for ways to better themselves so they can better you?

They spectrum can never be narrowed with the person who is going to be the backbone of your survival.  If you are looking for help and think you have found the perfect fit, make sure that you are 100% positive that they are not a wolf in sheep’s clothing so you can safely protect your interests.  Ask for references, do your research, and most importantly trust your gut.

If you have found the perfect person to take on these tasks, trying to figure out the best way to compensate them can be tricky.  What are they worth to you?  Do you have to pay them an hourly rate or can you pay them a percentage of your royalties?  Make sure that whatever agreement that is reached between both parties is very well documented to protect each of you.  Never be afraid to ask questions and best of luck to you!