Monthly Archives: April 2013

SAVE IT!


Yesterday we learned from Cindy McDonald how to make a book trailer for posting on YouTube. After posting Cindy’s informative piece, I detoured to Twitter to read tweets from other authors. I came upon a sad tale of woe from poet John Geddes:

John Geddes@JohnJGeddes19m

Deb mistakenly deleted A Familiar Rain book trailer from YouTube and sadly we didn’t have it saved…I can’t believe we didn’t save it

LESSON OF THE DAY: ALWAYS SAVE IT!

Guest Post from Cindy McDonald of The Unbridled Series


Uber thanks to Cindy for sharing with us on a topic I know absolutely nothing about, but which is getting more and more important for authors. It’s all about exposure. (Cue face blushing.) Um, let me rephrase. It’s all about putting it out there. (Cue redder face blushing.) Big gulp. It’s about creating a video trailer to promote your book via YouTube and other video sites. Take it away, Cindy:

Have you taken a look at the book trailers on YouTube? Some are really cool, terrific graphics, very exciting. And some are well…not so cool. Book trailers are the latest tool for authors to use to put their books in front of potential audiences. Great! Another way to advertise my book—Lord knows drawing readers in is a major obstacle for authors, and a book trailer may just be the boost that my novel or series needs, right?

Whoa! Slow down cowboy, because I’ve got a tale to tell, and it ain’t pretty. My first book DEADLY.COM was getting ready to release last September, and I just couldn’t wait. I knew exactly how to get the proper attention for my new series—a book trailer! Hey, if Spielberg can do it, so can I.

The trap was set. Me—the idiot—was going to set out to film a book trailer. So, I rented a fellowship hall at a church, and then I placed this ad on Craig’s List for an actor:

Audition on June 22 for an actor: Dark-haired ruggedly good-looking between the ages of 25-30 to film a book trailer. Will provide food, and a DVD as payment. Please send resume and a head shot with response. Will provide time and location for audition, if qualified.

Wow! I got quite a few responses—who knew there were so many good-looking men out there willing to work for food and a DVD? Impressed? Don’t be.  Only three of the twelve actors that qualified for the part actually showed up, and let’s just say that pictures can be VERY deceiving!

The first actor that showed up right on time for the audition did indeed have dark hair. He was more photogenic than he was good-looking, but that wasn’t the biggest problem. He couldn’t have been more than five feet tall, and he weighed about one-ten. He was a pip-squeak, and his acting skills were….to be kind…not very good.

The second actor that walked through the door did not fit the bill at all. In fact, he had sent in a bogus head shot just to get an audition! The man must have been sixty-five, although he claimed to be forty-two. When I explained to him that he was simply too old, and too grey, and too wrinkled, he said, “I’m an actor, honey. I can act younger.” Seriously, buddy? Needless to say, he was asked to leave…quickly.

Ahhh, but the third actor that came through the door was just right. He was tall, dark, and very ruggedly handsome, and his acting was much better than the first. Good thing, because they were the only three to show up for the audition.

Okay, cut me a break, Spielberg probably gets a much better turn-out when he holds auditions, but this wasn’t a shot at fame and fortune—it was food and a DVD. Anyway, this was working! So, I rounded up a film crew, rented camera equipment, and went to a nearby stable that had white fencing for as far as the eye could see to ask permission to film. They were thrilled to let me film. I own a horse farm, but my fencing is black, and in my book series, Westwood Thoroughbred Farm has white fencing—details, have to stick with the details.

Viola! I was ready, and on a sunny, hot day last July I met my camera crew and the handsome actor at the farm to film the trailer. I had a blast! I was doing something that I had never done before. As a professional dancer and choreographer for twenty-six years, I had worked many stage productions, but this was an entirely different ball game—or should I say “project”. It took a mere two hours to film the short trailer, and within two weeks the trailer was on YouTube. God, did it stink! It was awful! At my publishing manager’s request, I removed it from cyber space.

Okay, now I’ve written two more books of The Unbridled Series, HOT COCO and Dangerous Deception, and I really, really, want one of those cool book trailers, but what’s an author to do? Those baby’s are expensive. But then out of the blue the break that I’d been waiting for happened: One of my FB friends who is also an author posted a link to a website where you can make banners and trailers. I was on it within moments, www.bannersnack.com. My daughter and I made a trailer for Dangerous Deception,HOT COCO, and then one for my first book of the series, DEADLY.COM—they turned out great! Hey, they were cool! But they didn’t have any background music—bummer. So my daughter started playing around with the Windows media file right on my lap top—she made two fabulous trailers right there on the lap top with terrific music for the background. It was easy, it was free, and I was so much happier with result. We uploaded them onto YouTube.  Who knew? Oh well, lessons learned.

Am I getting the exposure that I so desired when I filmed that disastrous trailer? Well…no, but I’ve got two book trailers that I’m very happy with, and my daughter and I had an absolute blast creating them.

You can view my trailers on the “books” tab on my website: http://www.cindymcwriter.com/

We’re not done yet. My next book from The Unbridled Series, AGAINST THE ROPES,  is set to release in June, my daughter and I will be creating a trailer for the new book very soon, and you will be able to find it on the “coming soon” tab on my website—an excerpt from the book is already there for you to read.

If you’ve been thinking about a trailer for your upcoming book or one that you’ve already published, I hope that I’ve given you the tools to create one. And if you do, have a great time!

A Discussion of the 99 Cents Price Point for e-Books


Newly published e-book authors as a general rule price their first books on Amazon.com or other booksellers at $.99. Why?

Melissa Foster shares her thoughts in a recently published Huffington Post article. I have excerpted parts here. To read the whole article, go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/20/ebooks-cheap-price_n_1160383.html?ref=books#comments

Independent authors are rallying around the controversial 99-cent price point. Some authors feel the 99-cent price point devalues their hard work, while others feel that readers will not take a chance on new authors at a higher price point.


Readers are scooping up ebooks for 99 cents, that alone speaks of a demand for material at that price point.


Let’s look at the dollars and cents of the 99-cent price point for independent authors. If an author is self-published through Amazon KDP, he or she earns 34 cents per 99-cent book sold. Not only do authors put time and energy into their writing, there are other associated costs to publishing a quality book, including cover artists ($125-3000), editors ($800-5000), marketing, etc. If you add up the average cover cost of $350, average editing job of $1400, then divide by 34 cents, the author would have to sell 5,134 books just to break even.


A self-published author that sells 100,000 ebooks at 99 cents, earns an annual salary of $34,000.  However, the average new author, after spending a year writing the book, will sell less than 100 copies. That’s $34, tops, in exchange for a year of the writer’s life.

If that same author is published through a small press and sells 100,000 copies, that author earns $12,000. To earn $40,000 per year, that author would have to sell 333,333 books per year. According to the Wall Street Journal, there are only 30 authors who have sold over 100,000 copies of their books, and only a dozen who have sold over 200,000.


Why, then, do authors post their books at such a low price?

Darcie Chan, bestselling author of The Mill River Recluse, states, “Since I had never published anything before and was completely unknown as a writer, I thought the 99-cent price point would be best to encourage readers to give my novel a chance. It’s true that the royalty rate at that price point is much lower, but I saw foregoing some royalty income as a tradeoff. I decided that the 99-cent price would be an investment in my future writing endeavors and would give me the best chance at meeting my goals of gradually building a readership and getting some feedback on my work.”


Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of three International bestselling novels, Megan’s Way, Chasing Amanda, and Come Back to Me.

Reward


One of the items on my bucket list was to see petroglyphs in situ. As a reward to myself for finishing the first draft of the novel, I went to Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada and saw a collection of over 800 specimens in the Mouse’s Tank region.

public use Valley_of_Fire_Petroglyphs

(photo from Mr. Silva, Wikipedia, in the public domain)

A tank is a natural well in a depression in a rock formation that collects rain water and holds it over a long period. The tanks were used by native peoples as a source of drinking water in the desert. Summer temperatures in Valley of Fire can reach 120 degrees.

Seeing the petroglyph above, and others nearby, thrilled me. I can scratch that item off the bucket list.

Flash, Micro, Sudden, 55-Word Fiction–a Mental Disciple


Not many every-day folks know about the world of abridged, compressed or ultra lean writing known to some as the short short story. It is a lovely genre for its intensity, poetry of language, and voice. There are different sub-genres that include exactly 33-word, 55-word or 100-word renditions of a story. A  laxer variation says anything under 300 words qualifies as a shortie.

The concept is to write a story (beginning, middle and ending) with a few, well-chosen words. It’s like smelting ore to refine for gold. Usually, the story, once distilled, packs a wallop.

Practicing writing ultra-short stories is a mental disciple. Take 15 minutes now to try it. Using the words “sentimental,” “pool,” and “sandals,” write a short story of 55-words (exactly).

I did the exercise, too. Here’s what I came up with:

Think of You

by Fay Moore © 2013

 You left. The air is as blistering as my emotions. I turn off the radio as I sit by the pool. No sentimental songs today. Illusory reflections in the water conjure your face. Your sandals, carelessly tossed into the grass, elicit memories of playful times. Damn it. In spite of myself,  I think of you.

Guest Post from Author M. S. Fowle


WordPress has allowed me to meet wonderful people. One example is author M. S. Fowle. She not only is a prolific author, but also is proficient in technical skills. 

 Today she has agreed to show us how to add a Twitter Feed to our blogs. Thank you for guest posting here today!

Blogging Tip: Twitter Power!

Let’s face it – just because we’re blogging, it doesn’t mean we always know what we’re doing. A lot of us just learn as we go. But I’m here to tell all you “not-so internet savvy” folks that it’s not as difficult as it looks.

Today, let’s talk Twitter. If you’re on Twitter and you’re blogging, the two should be playing off each other. When you blog, you tweet about it. But you should also make it easier for your blog readers to find you on Twitter. So I’ve provided two helpful visual aids to walk you through it.

The first image will explain how to add a Twitter feed to your blog, by far the easiest way to go about intertwining the two social media worlds.

(Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Melchelle designs TwitterFeedTutorial_msfowle_2013

The next tutorial will explain how to add clickable links to the sidebar of your blog. Now, to some, this one can seem a bit intimidating. But I will gladly explain a few things in a moment…

(Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Melchelle designs TextWidgetTutorial_msfowle_2013

I know, I know – you’re looking at that last step, shaking your fist in the air and cursing my name. Please, just simmer down and listen. Have a look at the text below:

<p><a href=”###”>XXX</a></p>

Simply copy and paste that into your “Text Widget” as it is. THEN, open a new window or tab to your social media profile, Twitter for example.

Click and hold to select the link, aka website address, to your profile

Right-click and ‘copy’ your link

Now, select the ### (NOT the quotations) from the text I provided above

Right-click and ‘paste’ in your link

Next, click and hold to select the XXX

Type in Twitter, or Follow Me on Twitter, or whatever you want it to say

Click ‘Save’

DONE!

You can do this again and again, right in the same widget with multiple links, such as Facebook, Linkdin, Goodreads, etc. Wherever you want your readers to find you, you can now give them the ability to do so in one easy click.

So, get to it! Nothing can stop you now! 😉

 To learn more about our Guest Author M. S. Fowle, please visit the links below.

Blog – http://msfowle.wordpress.com/

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/msfowle

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ms_fowle