Tag Archives: indie

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball


It’s crazy. Just when I have plotted out my life for the next umpteen months and settled back to work the plan, Life throws me a curve ball. It shouldn’t surprise me.

Enough seasons have passed through my earth-bound existence that I should know better than to think any long-term plan will play out exactly as I have envisioned it. It must be the optimist in me, for I keep planning.

Or maybe it’s my insanity. You know the old definition of lunacy: doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different outcome.

However, my recent roadblocks are just that–little obstacles. The unanticipated hiccups don’t really change my plans. My destination is still the same: write books. Now, I will have a few detours through unfamiliar neighborhoods. That can be a good thing, right? It adds color, dimensions, flavor to my collection of life experience.

I’ll stop rambling and be more concrete.

I make my living by farming. I make hay, cut wood, and grow vegetables for selling. This year I planned to add the sale of landscaping stone to my product line. Due to another hiccup in my life plan, my way of making a living was to be more important than ever in 2013. But. . . .

Karma has other plans. I have torn my rotator cuff. I am scheduled for surgery soon and will be convalescing for six months afterward. No farming this season. No farming means no income.

Thankfully, there is nothing wrong with my brain. So I have to ask myself, is the Universe clearing a path for me to write?

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Anthology Sales Update


Without any serious marketing as such,  Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe (Hmmmm. Is that singular or plural?) has sold 35 copies of the anthology to date.

And there are two reviews written and posted on Amazon.com. Reading the reviews was exciting. It gave insight and feedback to us on our work.

The sales break down like this:

Amazon.com 34 copies sold

Barnes & Noble 1 copy sold

Several copies have been purchased by the dining patrons of the Desert Rose Cafe. Owner Rose Harris reported there is a lively interest in the book and how the group came to publish it.

Perhaps, in the near future, there will be a “Meet the Writers” event, which may garner a bit of newspaper coverage. That event, or a complimentary newspaper article, may yield a couple of more sales.

What can be done now to sell books?

I have to buckle down and prepare press releases. All of the writers group members need to promote the book on their own social media, blog or web site. This year, I postponed sending out my Christmas letter. I want to write a New Year’s letter and include a promotional blurb in it about the book. Next, I need to put on my thinking cap to figure out other ways to exploit the “local writer” designation.

In sales, they teach you to sell first to family, then to friends or acquaintances, then to neighbors or the local market, then beyond. Until a writer has established himself, the likeliest buyer is someone who knows him or knows of him.

Finally, I need to utilize the “store” component here on WordPress. Obviously, visitors to this site should be able to buy the book.

The lesson in all of this?

Sales don’t magically happen for an author. To sell books, an author has to promote his or her books. That means getting creative so that whatever selling the writer does is effective and affordable.

Writers hate marketing. However, it is a necessary evil, especially for the new author.

Don’t overlook the sales that can be generated by friends or family. Word of mouth is always the best sales tool. A person who reads and likes your book is the most credible advertiser. Ask for help to promote your book.

I would love to hear from other independent authors about the success you’ve had selling your books. Please share the lessons you’ve learned, the mistakes you’ve made or the tactics that have succeeded. In what venue did you sell the majority of your books? Where did things fizzle? What was hard? What worked well?

Talk to me.  I am all ears.

As a Writer, What If I Am Just Average?


On WordPress, I continue to be amazed by the collection of talent. Sometimes an author’s writing floors me with its power, cleverness, raw emotion or beautiful use of language.

I am none of those things. I am a nerd who can correctly string together a series of words. As a writer–as a word artist–I am average.

How then do I expect to compete in the commercial marketplace? The same way an average employee competes in the workplace. By showing up. By giving my best effort. And like a tidal wave, by sheer volume. A dose of self-promotion is important, too. If I don’t market, I won’t sell. (Please don’t stop reading here. The best of this post is yet to come.)

I’ve said this before and I will say it again: throw enough at a wall and something will stick.

Part of succeeding as an average writer is finding my audience. I do that by writing in all the ways that appeal to me–short stories, haiku, flash fiction and novels. (In 2013, I hope to add internet content to the list.) Then I analyze. Of those things I like to write, what are people reading?

I need to look at my statistics. What do statistics tell me about what readers like in my work? Is it my true confessions? Is it self-improvement or how-to articles? Pop culture? Or factual pieces? Humorous stories? The off-the-wall?

Success is finding the match of my abilities with a need in the marketplace.

Ask the reader.

So I am asking you right now. What do you like best about this blog? Why do you stop by? Is there something which you’d like to see more often? Any answer is a helpful one. Silence hurts. So tell me something, anything, that will make this blog a better experience for you. Even if it is what you don’t like. Say, “Fay, dump this. Keep that.” Bring it on. Help me get better.

For me, that’s what it is all about. The best part is serving, helping, pleasing you, the reader.

The next best part is getting good enough to earn a paycheck! But that’s another post for another day.  🙂

WHAT A PRESS RELEASE LOOKS LIKE


Lauren Carr Tour Schedule Press Release
JUST A QUICK LOOK AT WHAT A PRESS RELEASE LOOKS LIKE.
THIS IS FROM ACORN BOOK SERVICES
FOR ONE OF ITS INDIE AUTHORS LAUREN CARR.
I AM NON-TECHNICAL, SO
I HAVE SCREWED IT UP TRYING TO PASTE IT HERE.
ANYWAY, YOU GET THE IDEA.
HOPE THIS IS HELPFUL
Visit Lauren Carr’s website for tour schedule
Dead on Ice Virtual Book Tour Launches Monday, November 19!
November 19-December 14
You can’t be a true author without going on tour. So, once again, with a new book, Dead on Ice, released September 1, Lauren is striking out across cyberspace. This is your invitation to join her on tour, coordinated by Pump Up Your Book Tours. Click on the banner to visit her website for the schedule and check in each day from November 19-December 14 for interviews, giveaways, and insight into the mind of this middle-aged wife, mother, chauffeur, and mystery writer. You’ll have fun! That’s a guarantee.Dead on Ice is the first installment of Lauren Carr’s new series (Lovers in Crime). It features Hancock County Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton and his new love, Pennsylvania State Police homicide detective Cameron Gates.

Dead on Ice (A Lovers in Crime Mystery)

by Lauren Carr by Acorn Book Services
Kindle Edition ~ Release Date: 2012-08-22

Buy Now

In this Lovers in Crime Mystery, spunky Pennsylvania State Homicide Detective Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of Cherry Pickens, a legendary star of pornographic films, when her body turns up in an abandoned freezer. The case has a personal connection to Cameron’s lover, Joshua Thornton, because the freezer was found in his cousin’s basement. It doesn’t take long for their investigation to reveal that the risqué star’s roots were buried in their rural Ohio Valley community, something that Cherry had kept off her show business bio. She should have kept her hometown off her road map, too-because when this starlet came running home from the mob, it proved to be a fatal homecoming.

In her new series, Lauren Car teams up her first literary detective with a new and exciting partner. Homicide Detective Cameron Gates has a spunky personality that’s a perfect complement to Joshua Thornton’s logical and responsible nature.

“Readers of my first series kept asking when I would bring back Joshua Thornton,” Carr explained. “However, they are going to find that single father Joshua Thornton is not in the same place since we left him in A Reunion to Die For. His children are grown. He’s more independent, and he’s ready for some romance and adventure. That’s where Cameron Gates comes in.”

With that, Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates strike out to explore the mysteries of both murder and love!

 

Dead on Ice Book Trailer
Dead on Ice Book Trailer

Here’s what Reviewers are saying about Dead on Ice

Mystery and Suspense Galore

I love reading mystery, suspenseful books! When I read the synopsis for Dead on Ice, I knew immediately that I wanted to read this book! Dead on Ice includes romance, mystery, suspense, and murder! When your past catches up to you, you have no choice to but to face it.

We first meet Joshua Thornton in court, who is up against his own cousin Albert. Even after the case is heard, they are still friendly with each other. Later, Albert is found dead. We soon meet Cameron Gates, the homicide detective, who is dating Joshua. Cameron and Joshua work together to solve his death. As they both dig deeper, they discover more dead bodies, secrets and lies that come to light in their investigation.

The whole town’s history comes back to the present and everyone is forced to face how they behaved. Some characters have not changed, while others have moved on and grew up.

Dead on Ice kept me guessing until the very end. Dead on Ice is certainly a page turner. I read this book in less than two days!

Reviewer: Stephanie Fratta, Beauty Brite

Exciting New Series for Lovers of Crime

I’ve had the pleasure of reading the Mac Faraday series and also the Joshua Thornton mysteries, so I was excited hear the author decided to create a new series just for Joshua, Hancock County’s Prosecuting Attorney and Cameron Gates, a homicide detective for the Pennsylvania State Police. The two met on a previous case, and it’s good to see that they are now going to be working together in the Lover’s in Crime mystery series.

The story actually begins many years ago when eighteen-year-old Angie disappears following an evening at the local roller skating rink. The year? 1978.

Years later, Cheryl Smith, the prime suspect in Angie’s disappearance, is found in an abandoned freezer at the home of Joshua’s recently deceased cousin. Cheryl, now known as Cherry Pickens, spent many years in the pornographic industry. How her body ended up in this location prompts another look into the original unsolved case so many years ago.

What Cameron and Joshua find are a trail of lies, deceit, murder and cover-up, as they search for the truth.

This novel has more twists and turns than I’ve seen in a while, but it all adds up to an interesting and unexpected reveal. Many more people are involved in the original disappearance than first expected, and it seems everyone has their own secrets. Trying to unravel the truth from the twisted lies that have remained hidden for so long leads the investigators on quite an interesting chase.

Family and friends of the couple help lighten the mood and provide a homey feel to the story. It will be interesting to see where Carr takes the two next. Although the Mac Faraday series is still my favorite by this author, this new duo has the possibility of ranking a close second.

Review: Edie Dykeman, Mystery Editor, Belleonline Reviews

About Lauren Carr

Lauren Carr is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. It’s Murder, My Son, Old Loves Die Hard, and Shades of Murder, have all been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers.

Lauren Carr, author & publisher

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This spring, two books written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and two dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:

E-Mail: writerlaurencarr@comcast.net

Website: http://acornbookservices.com/

http://mysterylady.net/

Blog: Literary Wealth: http://literarywealth.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lauren.carr.984991

Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries

Lovers in Crime Facebook Page:

http://www.facebook.com/LoversInCrimeMysteries?ref=ts&fref=ts

Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie

 

Get Money for Your Creative Project


Let me introduce you to Kickstarter, the venture capital site for creative projects. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  www.kickstarter.com

Kickstarter says it is “a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.

Since our launch on April 28, 2009, over $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects.”

How does Kickstarter work?

Thousands of creative projects are funding on Kickstarter at any given moment. Each project is independently created and crafted by the person behind it. The filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control and responsibility over their projects. They spend weeks building their project pages, shooting their videos, and brainstorming what rewards to offer backers. When they’re ready, creators launch their project and share it with their community.

Every project creator sets their project’s funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers’ credit cards are charged when time expires. If the project falls short, no one is charged. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.

To date, an incredible 44% of projects have reached their funding goals.

Can Kickstarter be used to fund anything?

We allow creative projects in the worlds of Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater.

Everything on Kickstarter must be a project. A project has a clear goal, like making an album, a book, or a work of art. A project will eventually be completed, and something will be produced by it.

Do backers get ownership or equity in the projects they fund?

No. Project creators keep 100% ownership of their work. Kickstarter cannot be used to offer financial returns or equity, or to solicit loans.

Some projects that are funded on Kickstarter may go on to make money, but backers are supporting projects to help them come to life, not financially profit.

What are the fees?

If a project is successfully funded, Kickstarter applies a 5% fee to the funds collected.

In the US, pledges will be processed by Amazon Payments, while in the UK, pledges will be processed securely through a third-party payments processor. These payment processing fees work out to roughly 3-5%. View the US and UK fee breakdowns.

Who is Kickstarter?

We’re 46 people based in a tenement building in New York City’s Lower East Side. We spend our time making the site better, answering questions from backers and creators, and finding great new projects to share with you. Every day is an adventure — we get to experience projects as they happen! Say hello or come work with us!

More Cover Design AND Video Marketing Ideas for Your Book


Today I found the blog of “Ink Slinger in Inner Space” Karen Gadient. She is both author and  graphic designer. A single post on her blog stimulated this entry.  Karen designed the cover jacket for a recently released science fiction book.

Stimulating Thought Number One: Here’s another source for an illustrator for either cover design or for the innards of a picture book. Mark this post for future reference. Karen has a portfolio tab on her blog. I loved the quality and detail of her art. The art on the book cover shows another dimension to her style–her diversity–since the cover is completely different from the illustrations in her portfolio.

Link: http://karengadient.com/2012/11/02/debris-dreams-the-kickstarter-book-trailer/

Stimulating Thought Number Two: Karen provides a link to the young author’s promotional video trailer for his book. What?! Promotional video??? I thought video trailers were solely for hyping movies or rock albums. What do I know? Not much, evidently. Now young authors are using YouTube and such to distribute promotional videos touting their books. Brilliant. Free Advertising. And if you are clever or creative enough, you sell books!

Stimulating Thought Number Three: An author can ask for money for marketing from the public. Karen introduced me to Kickstarter, a web site devoted to connecting artists of all sorts with persons interested in funding the arts. Indie authors needn’t starve to promote a quality project. But I’ll write more about Kickstarter in a future post.

Wow, Karen! All those great ideas from a single post! Thank you!

Book Cover Design for Indie Authors


Indie author M. S. Fowle struggled getting covers for her own eBooks, so she learned the craft of photo manipulation and the art of cover design to meet her own needs. Then others began to turn to her for help with creating unique book covers.

Thus, Melchelle Designs was born. The business offers premade and custom cover design. If you want to look at a couple of samples of her work, go to the following link:

http://melchelledesigns.com/portfolio/

A good book cover catches the eye of a potential reader. That element of marketing is priceless. Here is a business that can help you.