2017- The year of Writing Dangerously.

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2017- The year of Writing Dangerously.  I took the jump and decided to go all in as an indie author.  It takes huge amounts of promotion and dedication to go down this road, and I put this decision off for years … Continue reading

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Writing Plots and Plans

I am busy as a bee! Wyrd House’s Kindle Scout campaign is nearing its end, and I have tons to do. Here’s what I’ve been working on:

-Did a re-write to fix typos on Descending, made it a shiny new cover (cause the old one wasn’t good enough) and uploaded new version to Kindle and Amazon. If you have purchased an eBook, make sure you update it.

-Helped a friend with a book cover. Awesome friend has awesome wife that is happy to trade me some free proofreading for some cover help. Am I lucky or what? I also made awesome friend a logo, just for the fun of it.

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Looks pretty good, too!

-Did a minor rewrite of Wyrd House, due to friend’s awesome proofreading. I still need to format it for paperback and Kindle. I must be ready to roll if it is not picked up by Kindle Publishing.

-Redid the cover for Teatime. Teatime is fast approaching its own Kindle Scout campaign, and I was not happy with my previous cover attempt. New cover is much improved.

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So much better!

-Did a re-read and first re-write of my current work in progress, Nick of Time. Now I need to finish it. It’s so close to done!

-Starting to prepare to make a newsletter. I still need to get a PO Box, but I’m getting my ducks in a row. Today, I put together an eBook of short stories to offer as a freebie to everyone who signs up for the future newsletter. From everything I’ve heard, Instafreebie is the way to go, and the most success comes from having a book or story to offer for free. Magic and Mayhem is a collection of five short stories, and clocks in at just over 10k words. I think that will be perfect for a free offering. It has the short story that inspired the novel, Descending, and a short story that will end up being a prologue for my upcoming book, Ghost in the Park. Made a quick cover, figured out how to format so I’d get a table of contents, and Magic and Mayhem is ready to go when the time comes.

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Short story book!

-Plans for now:
Finish Nick in Time.
Get newsletter going and do an Instafreebie thingy to get my mailing list going.
Get Teatime completely ready for its KS campaign.
Do a re-write on Ghost in the Park.

So much to do!

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Don’t forget to nominate Wyrd House on Kindle Scout! Click the picture above to go to the webpage for Wyrd House.

What it means:
Kindle Scout is an Amazon program where anyone can enter a novel and have a chance to get it published by Kindle Press. A successful campaign helps get the Kindle Press editor’s attention, but doesn’t guarantee selection; they have to like the book for it to get published.

Why Kindle Scout is cool for readers:
Any book you nominate that gets selected by Kindle Press for publication gets you a free advance copy. I’ve gotten around ten free books so far just from nominating. And the books selected have been vetted by the KP editors, so you can count on a certain level of professional writing from the books you win. If you love a nominee that is not selected, KS will alert you when the author publishes it.

What you can do:
If you have an Amazon account, head over to Kindle Scout and nominate Wyrd House! The link is here. If it gets selected, you get a free copy and a chance to read before anyone else. Help me get this campaign going and get the editor’s attention. My campaign ends February 3rd.

How you can help:
Spread the word! If you can, reblog this post, or share my campaign on social media. The more eyes I get on it, the better off Wyrd House will be.

Posted in Book Covers, Kindle Scout, writing, Writing News- Plots and Plans | Tagged | 2 Comments

Grammarly- Help or Hindrance?

Grammarly is a grammar checking program for writers. There are several forms of the program, but today I’m here to talk about the plug-in for Microsoft Office. This plug-in also works for Microsoft Word, you don’t have to actually own Office to use it.

If you want to check this plug-in out, you can find it here.

I tried a version of Grammarly many years ago and was not impressed with it. At that time, it cost money, and what the program did was not especially useful. It would point out many things that were not issues, and ignore actual issues.

While there are still paid versions of Grammarly that do additional things, the plug-in for Word is free.

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Grammarly is kind of like this giant chair.  Most of the suggestions won’t be useful, but the part that is useful will really support your writing.

What it does:

The free version of Grammarly catches what it calls “critical grammar mistakes.” It catches possible punctuation errors, misspelled or wrong words, and various grammar mistakes. It will catch wordy sentences and things like incorrect pronouns. It will point each one out and give you an opportunity to take the advice given or ignore it.

What it does not do:

The paid version catches further grammar mistakes, makes vocabulary suggestions, makes genre specific checks, and searches other WebPages for plagiarism issues.

My experience with Grammarly:

I tried Grammarly again yesterday on two projects that are finished, been beta read, and had multiple re-writes. The program has been greatly improved from what it was the first time I tried it. It catches those pesky punctuation mistakes I simply do not see no matter how many times I re-read. Commas after introductory phrases, for example. And those times when you accidently use a period instead of a comma before a dialogue tag. It also caught some British spellings I seem to be in the habit of using, and the fact that I often use “grey” instead of “gray.”

Gold star catch of the day: Yes, Grammarly, I did mean ‘assess’ instead of ‘asses.’ How embarrassing!

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Look!  Asses!

But wait, there’s a warning!

Grammarly is a useful tool, and I do think you should try it out. However, all such programs are going to have difficulties. You have to check each correction suggestion carefully. Never assume Grammarly is correct. That “ignore” option is there for a reason. For example, Grammarly thinks the following is incorrect:

“Wombats rarely turn rabid,” Bob said, and then waded into the wombat herd.

That comma after ‘said,’ Grammarly thinks it’s incorrect. It thinks it’s incorrect because of the ‘and,’ but those are two separate clauses and they require a comma.

I can’t stress this enough, every suggestion must be considered carefully before you make the change. Grammarly was truly helpful to me yesterday. It caught enough typos in Descending that I did a re-write to fix them, and that’s a book I’ve re-read a million times. Now, the new version of Descending is live on Kindle. (If you already have a copy, be sure to update it.)  Of the ‘issues’ Grammarly found, more than 70% were not issues at all.  However, the issues it did find, I was very happy to get corrected.

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Descending also got a shiny new cover.  I was never happy with the first one and I finally made a new one that I am very pleased with.

Grammarly does not take the place of a real editor.

Nothing takes the place of having your work professionally edited. If you can afford editing service, you should do it. Period. Grammarly is a helpful tool, but it is only a tool. Give your work the best chance you can to be its shiny best.

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If you haven’t already done so, my paranormal mystery, Wyrd House, is in the middle of a Kindle Scout campaign and could use your nomination. Anyone with an Amazon account can nominate it, and if it’s chosen for publication, you get an advance free copy of the eBook. Free books rock! You can find the campaign here.

Posted in Descending, Grammarly, Kindle, Kindle Scout, writing, Writing Advice, Wyrd House | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The Many Dangers of Publishing Too Soon.

The Many Dangers of Publishing Too Soon.

This is a subject I’ve touched on before, but a recent experience has convinced me to devote an entire blog post to it.

I bought an e-book, the first of a series, because it was on sale for 99 cents. This is a common marketing strategy. You have a series of books, you make the first one cheap or free to bring in readers. The hope is that readers will enjoy the offering enough that they will decide to read further, and purchase more in the series. It’s a smart plan, and often works quite well.

Unless the first book is bad. Then this strategy might backfire on you.

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I think today’s picture theme will be bridges, featuring some of the many historical bridges of Indiana.  

Let’s say you’ve written your first book. You are proud of yourself, as well you should be. It’s a unique concept and an interesting story. You are planning on making it into a series, and you think it’s a good plan, because e-book series do very well. You’ve had a couple re-writes, and a couple beta readers, and you are all set to hit that “publish” button.

Stop.

No matter how much you’ve studied, no matter how great your passion, the first book you ever write is going to have problems. It takes time to develop writing style and voice, it takes experience and a willingness to get honest critique to find the issues in your writing and address them. This isn’t going to happen with your first book.

But so-and-so wrote a first book and it got published and it was a best seller and made millions and–

Yeah. So-and-so got lucky. So-and-so is a rock star. Do you want to give your books the best chance they have, or do you want to hit that “publish” button and hope you get to be a rock star too? Stephen King’s Carrie was the first book he got published, but it wasn’t the first book he wrote. It was his forth.

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Do you know why bridges are the theme?  Because you should think of the first book you publish as the bridge to the rest of your work.

Publishing a book that isn’t your best as a first offering, or as the first in a series, is a great way to shoot your literary dreams in the foot.

Let me give you an example based on the book I tried to read recently. It was the first in a series, and I got it cheap due to a tried and true marketing ploy. No title or author names here. I’m not trying to shame anyone; I’m just illustrating through example.

Now, Babs the author has a series out. It has an interesting premise, and deals with subject matter you don’t see every day. I was all set to dive into Bab’ series and I imagined that I would enjoy the heck out of it. And the first book of the series was cheap to boot. What a great time to check Babs’ series out.

Then I tried to read it.

It has all the markers of a writer’s first book, and some very basic issues. I have no idea if Babs wrote any novels before this one, but my best guess is she didn’t, based on what I read. The story begins with three chapters of backstory mixed with character study all done with a close third narrative style that jumps from past to present, sometimes so quickly that I got lost. It’s all tell, no show at all. Descriptive passages are quirky and a bit heavy handed. Now, I like quirky, but I don’t want to be thrown out of the story. Descriptive passages are almost completely visual, with little from the other senses.

I love to read. I read less now that I spend much of my time writing, but I still love to read. My more limited reading time has made me choosier as to what I spend my time reading. I used to be one of those people who finished every book they started, but I have to be more discerning now. I gave up on Babs’ book at the end of chapter three.

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If your bridge is broken, readers will never make it to book two.

The first book you publish is going to have a real effect on everything else you publish. If a reader checks out the “look inside” feature, and is turned off by a writing style that simply isn’t there yet, they are not going to look at anything else you have published, no matter how much better it is. If that first book is the beginning of a series, no marketing plan is going to help you. Instead of being a book that leads readers to purchase more, it will be a book that steers readers away from your work.

I can’t stress this enough. If you have completed your first book, don’t rush to click that “publish” button. Write the next book, and maybe the third, and perhaps even the forth.

It’s not wasted time. I currently am preparing to publish my second novel, and I have two more completed manuscripts to publish after that. Conventional wisdom is that to get attention in the self-published e-book market, one needs to be ready to put a new book out every sixty days, tops. I don’t write that fast, but my four completed books are giving me a great jump-start, and I have two more manuscripts that are 75% completed. By the time I publish book four, both of those should be ready to go. Having six books to publish my first year self-publishing will be awesome. It does not guarantee success, but it gives me a better chance.

That first book, it’s not going anywhere. After writing more books and growing into your style and voice, you can go back to number one and do a re-write, incorporating all you’ve learned. If you found out you had a backstory problem, or used the words “that” and “seemed” too much, you can dive right in there and fix it. Then, when you do publish it, it’s not going to read like a first effort and it’s not going to torpedo the rest of your body of work.

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If your bridge is awesome, it will lead readers to the rest of your work.

The rest of Babs’ body of work might be awesome. Babs is a smart cookie, and I’m sure her writing style grew and improved from the first book to the last. Unfortunately for Babs, most readers will never make it to the awesome books because they got burned by the first one.

Don’t be like Babs. Take your time and don’t publish until you have at least three books worth of experience under your belt. In the long run, you’ll sell more books and you won’t be left wondering why you are hemorrhaging readers or why your promotions simply aren’t bringing in the traffic you expected.

Will my books be successful because I took my time to make them the best they can be? Maybe, maybe not. But one thing is for certain, I will know I have given them the time and attention to make them the best books I can. I can live with that.

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Just a reminder that my paranormal mystery, Wyrd House, is in the middle of a Kindle Scout campaign.  Click on the above banner to check it out.  Anyone with an Amazon account can nominate Wyrd House for publication, and if it’s selected, you get a free advance copy of the e-book.  Free books rock!

Posted in Fiction, Kindle, Kindle Scout, reading, Self Publishing, writing, Writing Advice, Wyrd House | Tagged , | Leave a comment

99 cent Valentine’s Romance Sale

My action/ adventure romance, Descending is part of a 99 cent romance eBook sale.  There are over 50 books on sale, and even some paperbacks and audio books as well.  To check it out, click the banner below. February 12th and 13th only.  Once you are at the site, you must click on a retailer to see links to the books.  Descending, for example, is under the Amazon books. Go see all the books on sale!

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Don’t forget to nominate my paranormal mystery, Wyrd House, on Kindle Scout to get a free copy if it’s selected.  Just click the banner below to check it out!

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Posted in Kindle, reading, romance novels, writing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Valentine’s Day Romance Sale!

If you’re looking for a new romance read, here’s a bunch for your perusal. Some are new releases, and some (including my Descending) are on sale for $.99 from now until the 14th. Check them out!

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1) Marilyn Vix
Genre: Time Travel Romance NEW RELEASE
Everything For Love: Time Rogues Book 1 ($3.99)

Genre: Erotic Romantic Novella
Thankful In Vegas ($0.99)

2) Holly Dodd
Genre: New Adult Erotic Romance
Giving It Up ($0.99)

3) Elena Bryce
Genre: Time Travel Romance
Guardian of the Grail (Immortal Blood Book 1) ($0.99)

Guardian of the Spear (Immortal Blood Book 2)(NEW RELEASE) ($3.99)

4) Laura Greenwood
Genre: Paranormal Romance NEW RELEASE
The Dryad’s Pawprint (Paranormal Council Book 1) ($0.99)

5) Lisa Maliga
Genre: Cozy Mystery Romance
Macrons of Love (The Yolanda’s Yummery Series Book 4) ($0.99)

6) Mari Oliver
Genre: Historical Romance (20th Century) NEW RELEASE
Kiss Me Again ($0.99)

7) Grace Risata
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Comedy Romance NEW RELEASE
Ungranted Wishes: An Erotic Paranormal BBW Comedy Romance ($0.99)

10) Julianne Q. Johnson
Genre: Romance Action/Adventure NEW RELEASE
Descending ($0.99)

9) Paige Hammonds
Genre: Parnormal Wolf Shifter Romance NEW RELEASE
You’re Mine, Valentine (A BBW Paranormal Wolf Shifter Novelette) ($0.99)

10) Marianne Sciucco
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Blue Hydrangeoas, an Alzheimer’s love story ($0.99)

11) Celeste Wells
Genre: Contemporary Military Romance
The Touch of a Navy Seal: A Military Romance Novella ($0.99)

12) E. Jones
Genre: Romantic Suspense
The Secret Affair ($0.99)

13) H.L. Miller
Genre: Sports Romance
Off The Playbook (A Novella) ($0.99)

14) Ally Decker
Genre: Contemporary Romance
By Your Rules (NYC Fixers Book 1) ($0.99)

15) Jesse G. Talbot
Genre: Sweet YA Holiday Romance NEW RELEASE
The Kid’s Table ($0.99)

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Don’t forget to nominate my paranormal mystery, Wyrd House, on Kindle Scout.

Posted in E-books, Ebooks, Fiction, Kindle, reading, writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Headtalker Promos- What they are and how they can help.

If you are promoting a book or a Kindle Scout campaign, there are exactly one butt ton of promoters that want to help you promote your work ranging from free to hundreds of dollars.

I’m sending my second novel through Kindle Scout, and I only have one novel published. Conventional wisdom tells me that spending money on promotion is far more effective after one has three or more books published. Readers are going to be more into you after you have a body of work rather than a single offering.

Until I have more books published, and until I have a budget for promotion, I am focusing on free promos. Today, I’m here to tell you about Headtalker.

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Headtalker is a free service for all kinds of self promotion, not only books. It’s a way to get the word out on social media, and it rocks at what it does.

Let’s say you are promoting a KS campaign on your social media. You make a post on Facebook, ask for people to nominate your work, and ask people to share the post. You’ll get some nominations for sure, but few people will end up sharing the post. What do you do?

You start a Headtalker promotion. HT makes it easy and painless for your contacts on social media to share your information on their own social media. You put the information and website address on HT, and post on your own social media for people to support it on HT.

Your friends visit your HT promo and all they have to do is click a button. They can choose to support your HT with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Linked In. They click a button and that’s all they have to do.

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Here’s what Headtalker does. On the date you set for your HT promo to end, Headtalker posts your promotion directly to the social media pages of everyone that supported your promo. It automatically shares your information to their social media for them. Easy peasy.

What you need to do:

Have a website to direct people to, whether it’s a KS campaign or a blog, or the site where you sell your books.

Write a clear promotion. For mine, I asked for nominations on Kindle Scout and included the description of my book.

Have your graphics ready and to the correct size. You cannot edit these if you get it wrong. Your banner pic should be 1908 x 768 pixels. Your smaller pic should be twitter size- 440 x 220 pixels, which will work well for Facebook also. If you add a picture that is too small, HT will stretch it and it will look like crap. (I found that out the hard way.) You can also add a small avatar.

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Double check everything before submitting. I have a stupid typo in the short description of mine, and it can’t be edited once it’s live.

Set your goals. You will be asked when you want your promo to end, I suggest you select at least one week. You will also be asked how many supporters you are looking for. If you don’t reach your supporter goal, your promo will not go out on the end date. Pick the smallest number for your first try, 25. The end date and the number of supporters is changeable after the promotion goes live, so you can adjust these based on how it’s doing. I started my current one at 25, and had to raise it to 45.

Your promo will have to be approved, but this rarely takes more than a few hours.

Once it is approved, share the link to your HT promo on your social media and ask people to support it.

Now, Headtalker itself is free, but there is a marketplace where you can purchase support. Some people have decent social media presence and it only costs a buck to get them to support you. If you are having trouble getting enough supporters, a trip to the marketplace might be worth considering.

Now, get out there and check Headtalker out!

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My paranormal mystery, Wyrd House, is looking for nominations on Kindle Scout. If it gets chosen for publication, everyone who nominated it gets a free advance copy of the ebook. Head over to Wyrd House’s KS campaign and check it out! You can find it here.

Posted in Self Promoting, Self Publishing, writing, Wyrd House | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The Weakness of Stupidity as a Plot Device

We’ve all seen it. We’re watching that TV show or movie, or we’re reading that book, and the normally clever and unflappable character pulls a move so boneheaded that we roll our eyes and disengage from the story entirely. What’s happened? In these eye-rolling moments, the writer has made the character stupid in order to further the plot. That’s not good enough.

Let’s use a simple example and talk about cell phones. Cell phones are always with you these days. We use them constantly and rarely leave them behind. We have car chargers, wall chargers, and cords that plug into our computers to charge them. With our smart phones, the world of the internet is at our fingertips. These days, you even get a signal practically everywhere.

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Cell phones can’t be ignored anymore.

Cell phones are the bane of mystery writers. Some writers pretend cell phones don’t exist, but that is getting more and more unbelievable. Some writers pretend signals are harder to come by than they are, which is getting a bit ridiculous.

Let’s say we are starting a mystery that has our heroes preparing for a week long camping vacation in The Forest of Death and Blood. This is a forest near a big city, and not a particularly huge forest, but there are loads of creepy folktales about it. Our heroes are a couple who are intelligent and savvy. Shortly after arrival, they hear creepy sounds coming from the underbrush.

Bob: “I wonder what those eerie noises are?”
Babs: “I’m intelligent and savvy! I’ll look it up on my trusty cell phone, since we are not in the middle of nowhere, I have a nice strong signal. Oh, it seems the Forest of Death and Blood is rumored to be infested with rabid zombie wombats.”
Bob: “Well, we sure shouldn’t stay here then, let’s go home!”
Babs: Race you to the car!

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Too bad we can’t stay, FODAB.

That isn’t much of a story, but it’s true to what your smart characters would actually do. On the other hand:

Bob: “I wonder what those eerie noises are?”
Babs: “I’m intelligent and savvy! I’ll look it up on my trusty cell phone. Oh, no! I have forgotten to bring my cell phone, even though I’m normally quite clever.”
Bob: I brought mine, but the battery has gone dead and I forgot my car charger. What a weird coincidence!”
Babs: Oh, well. Let’s just set up the tent and go to sleep. What’s the worst that can happen in The Forest of Death and Blood?”

Yup. Your characters have become idiots for no discernible reason and your readers are not going to buy it. In fact, they just might stop reading all together. What if your plot needs your intrepid couple to be stuck in the woods with no cell phones working? Consider one of the following choices:

Consider Changing Locale-

If your clever couple can’t have a phone signal, consider places where they actually wouldn’t have one. If they drove for two days into the wilds of the Rocky Mountains, they might not have a signal. If our Forest of Death and Blood is in Canada, and our couple is American, their phone won’t work there unless they decided to spend the bucks to get it to, which most folks won’t do for a one-week vacation to go camping.

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Pictured: The Desert of Death and Blood.

Change Customs-
Maybe your clever couple is smart, but is a little techno-phobic. There are people who do not use computers and cell phones, but this must be established before they make it to TFODAB. They could be Amish. They could be normally techie folks who have decided to unplug for a week and decompress, to the point of leaving all tech at home. Give your characters a valid reason to leave their cell phone, or not have one in the first place.

Smart Characters Need a Reason to be Stupid-

Your clever characters absolutely could forget their phone, but give them a reason they did. If they are happy and well rested, they aren’t likely to forget important things. However, if they had to unexpectedly pull a double shift the last night before vacation time, or if they are dealing with a house sitter who doesn’t show up and a broken toilet, then they could very well forget a key item like a cell phone. Don’t simply make them stupid; give them a reason to not be at their best and brightest.

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Anyone can have moments of silliness or stupidity, just don’t make it appear out of the blue.

Accidents Can Happen:

Phones get broken every day. A writer’s job is to make certain that the breaking makes sense and isn’t too convenient. Shortly after their arrival at TFOBAD, our clever couple get cornered by a small herd of rabid zombie wombats. Bob and Babs dive into the lake and swim to safety, because RZW’s are, of course, hydrophobic. Unfortunately for our brave couple, both cell phones get soaked and stop working.

In the end, it’s all about justification. Don’t use uncharacteristic stupidity to drive your plot. Have some respect for your character’s intellect, and make what you need for the plot make sense. Any choice can work as long as you put the effort in to justify it.

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My paranormal mystery, Wyrd House, is on Kindle Scout until March 3rd. Anyone with an Amazon account can nominate it. If you nominate my book, and it gets selected for publication, you get a free advance copy of the ebook. You can find my campaign page here.

Posted in Kindle Scout, writing, Writing Advice | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Wyrd House Kindle Scout Campaign Begins!

It’s time! After ages of prep, my paranormal mystery, Wyrd House, is up on Kindle Scout.

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What it means:
Kindle Scout is an Amazon program where anyone can enter a novel and have a chance to get it published by Kindle Press. A successful campaign helps get the Kindle Press editor’s attention, but doesn’t guarantee selection; they have to like the book for it to get published.

Why Kindle Scout is cool for readers:
Any book you nominate that gets selected by Kindle Press for publication gets you a free advance copy. I’ve gotten around ten free books so far just from nominating. And the books selected have been vetted by the KP editors, so you can count on a certain level of professional writing from the books you win. If you love a nominee that is not selected, KS will alert you when the author publishes it.

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What you can do:
If you have an Amazon account, head over to Kindle Scout and nominate Wyrd House! The link is here. If it gets selected, you get a free copy and a chance to read before anyone else. Help me get this campaign going and get the editor’s attention. My campaign begins Feb. 2nd. and ends March 3rd.

How you can help:
Spread the word! If you can, reblog this post, or share my campaign on social media. The more eyes I get on it, the better off Wyrd House will be.  Feel free to use any of the images on this blog post, or share the link to the campaign page.

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About Wyrd House:

Magic doesn’t make life easy.

Wyrd House is a haven for anyone with magical gifts living in a mundane world and Myra fits right in. All she needs now is a job. A man offers her a dream position, but she is wary. Myra senses Carter’s dark magic and sees its effect on his weak and ailing employees. Investigating further in an effort to aid them, she draws Carter’s attention, and then his retaliation. With the help of the handsome man next door, she will persevere. If Carter wants a fight, he’s chosen the wrong witch.

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Posted in Ebooks, Fiction, Kindle, Kindle Scout, reading, writing, Writing News- Plots and Plans, Wyrd House | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

To newsletter or not to newsletter? That is the question.

This year, I decided to jump into the self publishing pool with both feet. Descending has already been published, and Wyrd House starts its Kindle Scout campaign tomorrow. Teatime will be the third, and then I have to decide which of two other books to put out first.

Plots and plans. It’s all about plots and plans. I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading a lot of online posts about self publishing. I am learning a lot, but some questions are not easily answered.

My biggest question at the moment is whether I really need an author newsletter or not.

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Do the cool cats even read newsletters these days?

Many indie authors swear by them, and seem to get good results, but I can’t help thinking they are a little old-fashioned. It seems like every site and store wants to shove crap in your email box on a daily basis, and I avoid all of it like the plague.

That little clicky box you see when you download or order anything online, the one that says “Yes! I want you to email me offers and news!” I always uncheck it. Even so, my inbox is full of offers and news and I don’t read any of it.

I’ve read a couple of articles that suggest author newsletters are on the way out, but there are far more articles saying that they are necessary and effective.

The truth is, I wouldn’t mind writing a newsletter. I enjoy telling people my plots and plans and would like to let people know when new books were coming out. I could also include free content, such as short stories that go with the books, or sneak peeks of upcoming projects. I guess the problem I have with the idea is I can’t decide if anyone would read them.  I’m not certain how well I’ll do at building a subscriber list.

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Donkey Who says newsletters are cool.

It would also be another time sink that takes away from my writing time. Not the newsletter itself, as I said, I would enjoy writing that, but the time spent figuring out the system and trying to get folks to sign up.

Then there’s the money. I’m on a tight, nearly non-existent budget this year for writing and advertising. Now, programs like MailChimp don’t charge until you are sending more than 2,000 emails, so that won’t be a start up issue. However, you have to have a snail-mail address to send newsletters, even online ones. It’s the law. Not having a snail-mail address will put you in violation of the CAN-SPAM act.

To set up an email newsletter without using my home address (because danger!) means I have to rent a P.O. Box. This is what has been stopping me from giving it a go. I can see myself spending money on a P.O. Box and never having a newsletter that’s successful enough that it’s worth it. The UPS Store would cost too much. I simply don’t have the budget. USPS is an option. My hometown’s P.O.Boxes are too expensive, but there is a nearby small town that has boxes available at half the price.

The bottom line is that I have to decide if it’s worth the money to give it a try. I think it could be, but perhaps not yet. For now, I think the newsletter idea is on hold until I have at least two more books out. Then we’ll see.

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This avid reader says that she likes a good newsletter right after she’s eaten her husband.

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Plots and Plans

2017 is the year of writing dangerously. I am jumping into self publishing with both feet, and making many plots and plans. Taking the self publishing route does not mean I’m going to ignore Kindle Scout campaigning. Not at all, I’m days away from my next KS campaign starting up. One of these days, I’m getting a book selected by Kindle Scout. It’s a matter of time. Even if Wyrd House isn’t selected, it’s a great way to kick start it when self publishing.

In gearing up for the next KS campaign and my future self published empire (it might be a small empire, but it’s all mine) I’ve been entrenched in research and preparation. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the cover for Wyrd House is all set to go, but I’ve been working on some other graphics to post here and there during the campaign.

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I also took some time to make myself a brand new shiny logo. I’ll remind you that I am not a graphic artist, but I’m quite pleased with it just the same. The original pic is of a giant paperback book I own that’s a collection of Buffy the Vampire Slayer short stories. (Buffy rocks!) It’s lying open on a red kitchen towel. Aren’t I fancy! But hey, add some color and texture, smudge out the book text, and add a pretty border, and it’s pretty sweet! Pretty amazing when you consider the image’s humble beginnings.

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I revamped Descending’s Facebook page to be my author page and made a shiny new cover for it. You can find it here. Stop by and give it a like.

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I’m doing a final read-through of WH before it leaps into the KS fray, and having fun writing a short fanfic to coincide with the campaign’s start. My fanfic readers are awesome, and they were instrumental in keeping my stats up during the last campaign.

I dropped off a copy of my romance novel, Descending, to my local library today. Descending will be discounted to $.99 for the first half of February, so it will be a great time to pick up a copy if you haven’t already.

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Next week, my primary goal is to get Nick of Time finished. Other things have gotten in the way of that, and it’s time for me to finish that first draft. After Wyrd House has it’s KS run, it will be time for Teatime of the Living Dead, and then Nick, so I have to get moving on it.

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Those are my writing plots and plans for the moment. This is going to be a big fat publishing year.

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