Saturday, August 1, 2015

Two New Resources Found at Camp

Joining a writer's group is a common suggestion to any writer who wonders aloud about improving their skills, but writer's groups are not open to newcomers, everyday, and good matches aren't always easy to stumble upon.  Camp NaNoWriMo an off-shoot of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) has sort of a writer's group appeal to it.  Cabins and cabin-mates are optional and can be created with friends or acquaintances.  They can also be filled with encouraging strangers.  It isn't necessary to join a cabin for the writer's group sort of attention, however, as each 'camper' has email notices, links to resources, the forum, and a Youtube channel with all sorts of information from camp counselors and guest speaking authors.  The goodies for winning often reveal many new resources in the Indie Publishing business.  This year's tips from the goodie bag to pass along to writer's who missed camp include:
The Author Marketing Club and Inked Voices

Inked Voices is a community that groups authors into online, writing groups.  The criteria for group finding is controllable by each writer in a multiple choice format to determine the writer's group 'match' for new members.  Writer's groups can also be shopped and changed after joining, so there is little risk in getting involved.  Also, there are structured writing critiques and many perks and extras for members.  There is a cost, per month.  One goodie from camp was a discount.

The Author Marketing Club boasts a membership of more than 25,000 authors.  The main perk, here, seems to be that it demystifies Kindle and Amazon, a bit, for independently published authors. Secrets the large publishers probably either know, or don't have to because of the amount of business they do with the top book-seller are revealed like a Review Grabber.  Amazon has scads of reviewers who actually have a page where they post their bios and email addresses, so indie authors can request reviews of their books.  That and a few tips on pricing and coding, insider valuables, that kind of thing.  This site also requires a monthly or annual fee be paid before the secrets are revealed.  Good to know, though, certainly.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New Software an Asset to Vlogging Indie Authors

If you do have a Youtube channel or video content on your blog, CamStudio software is offered by Sourceforge and is an awesome tool to include in your bag of tricks.  This is screen recording software that enables you to video the computer screen as you work.  This means you can explain some topic of formatting, uploading, or whatever you have to share as content improving the craft (and world) for all Indie authors.  It is not only awesome - it is FREE - although the founder and developer accept donations and plan to grow their venture.  As you might have guessed, I am recording a post on CamStudio for my channel and will post it here when done.  In the meantime, go to SourceForge (the people who brought OpenOffice to Indie authors, everywhere) or if you have been looking for software like this!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Searching for SEO Content and Butter Knives

Indie authors, we are not alone!! I hear that even published authors, these days, are responsible for finding SEO content for their platforms.  Blogging and social media is not enough?  When do we have time for more?!!  SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, so isn't that just Google's problem or the spiders that help websites and blogs 'show up' in search results?  No.  Sorry.  We are now quite encouraged and motivated (as the results are often the difference between lots of fans and no-ownership platforms) to find content that brings in new fans, and helps us connect with readers.

In otherwords, the content part of the word SEO content is the hook: or, the reason searchers go to your blog from their search results page - or, your website, your fb page, and so forth.  So, a book-buying mother, who is looking up fairies might have typed in Fairy Birthday Parties.  She has typed just one of the reasons, as a book buying mother, that she might look up (and go to) my blog with a faerie-based book.

All this leads me to the reason I am writing this post.  If you are an Indie author, think twice - no 13 times - before choosing vlogging as your SEO content.  Shakespeare's Rosalind took up less of his time, honestly; and though he probably didn't shower as often, sleep in his own bed, or smell that good during his musings around between writing time; he did get back to writing as his focus.  Not so sure that vlogging as a mistress muse is as giving, forgiving?  Understanding?  No.  She isn't.  She is quite the demanding whore, as I have found out - and relentlessly impossible to ignore.

Run.  If you have chosen vlogging, you already know.  You need a shower.  You need your 4 food groups on a plate, instead of eating with just one hand.  You need two hand free, not just one holding a caffinated beverage.  We all have needs.  Vlogging extinguishes yours like a prima-donna girlfriend with a hot temper.  I don't want a girlfriend.  I wanted young readers to discover my books. I hope after bags of craft supplies, hours of crafting, videographing, editing, and drinking coffee, they do discover my Faerie Project and love my books.  Try the link if you don't believe me.  I have to go now.  Part I of a vlog post is requiring my undivided and overly-stressed out attention.

FYI: If you do choose vlogging, choose a topic you LOVE.  I'm not sure I even like Faeries anymore, and I have at least 2 more books to go before they love me back, if in fact, our relationships do last through the vlog years.

Monday, November 17, 2014

How to Become An Amazon Best Selling Author

I've done it! I have become an Amazon Best-Selling Author.  However, its not quite what I had thought it would be.  For one thing, it is slightly an overly noble title for what actually occurred.  It is, however, every bit what the many Youtubers and bloggers told me it would be.  It has perhaps opened doors for me too, I've been accepted to appear among Oregon authors at Holiday Cheer - a 50 year old event with authors and their 2014 published books in the room.  My neck began to sweat and my toes tingle just typing that!  I must tell the truth, the genre menus are as important as the webinars say.  And, free promotions help.  Um, okay, they more than help.  To an Amazon search engine, a free promo book is the same as a sale; and, with the Kindle Select

Monday, November 3, 2014

Is NaNoWriMo a Terrible Way to Write a Book?

Maybe.  I don't know, but it has motivated hundreds of thousands of writers to actually become authors.  In otherwords, to not only write a book, but to market it, sell it, show up (somewhere!) about it, and maybe even read it out loud (with people in the room - gasp!).  If you are an introvert, their type of on-line marketing works to encourage even the most computer cubbied individual out into the cyber world with their own voice, writing, works, and even continue on to creating platforms and indie publishing.  Join up if you are extroverted, too.  There are always places for the socializing and friend listing to occur.  More NaNo's make friends within the month than even Facebook or Twitter.  Valuable peeps to know and work with along the way to published author are worth remembering, here, in this blog post and definitely at the end of this month when that (sometimes elusive) DONE button is to be pushed with the 50,000 words behind it.
Its not the worst way to write a novel.  Probably on a train.  Just guessing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How to Code a Book Description on the Kindle Bookshelf

Self-Published and Indie-Published authors, watch this short video to learn the basics of coding your Amazon book descriptions.  If you hired someone to put your book into the Kindle book store for you, take a minute to check the look of your book titles and descriptive information to be sure they match with promoted books, which are offered in the online store's platform.  This video tells you how to put your book title listing in Amazon's branded orange, and your first line in bold for ratings within the store.  I put this video together, so comment if you have questions and don't forgett to click on the like symbol.

Watch: How to Code Your Book Description

Friday, August 15, 2014

Remembering Character Archetype

What motivates you to change? Its not the same thing that motivates the main character in the story you are writing (or even telling); because, each dynamic character has his/her/(insert sci-fi/alien words, here) own motivations, internal struggles, external struggles (duck!), and hopefully, a very different catalyst encouraging - or insisting - a change. Some might wonder if books for kids require such protocol that adult fiction readers demand. The answer is, even more so. With the goddess of Hogwart's, Tolkien, E.B. White - and more - being the choices offered for kids to read, early chapter books on through YA had better be bringing a whole cast of characters into a believable, intriguing world or have a great grasp on this one and how kids attach to a main character (sympathy, understanding, likability ...). For this reason, the character archetype is a great bit of protocol to have a good handle on, or at least be able to reasonably decipher within your own writing and story. It also makes great fiction. So, here, I've remembered a trick a great author handed me from her very own bag - the Character Arc Worksheet. I don't have it any longer, but I did make a short video with tips on making your own.

Create a Character Arc Worksheet of Your Own

Here, I've sketched up a sample for you: Character Arc Worksheet - a starting place for you to tweak..

Did this help? SUBSCRIBE.

And here, two authors discuss the concept of character archetype with easy-to-apply rules and tips.

Storymind: This is great for beginners and those who'd like a quick refresher because of annectdotal connections she makes with the viewer.

Writers Into Authors: Most Important Moment in your Character Arc.