Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mining for Input

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’re having a good summer, getting to do the things you can’t do during the winter months.

This has been a busy two-week learning spree for me. I was immersed in twenty-three hours of webinars by writers on the subject of writing and marketing. The time was certainly not a waste, I mined some gold nuggets for my efforts.

For one thing, I learned there’s a site called www.acx.com. This site lets you upload your book and have it turned into an audio book. It costs nothing to get the process started; they have readers who will audition for me so I can pick the voice I want, and they then get half of any royalties my audio book receives. I have already uploaded Willard Manor for them to turn into an audio book. You may say, why would I give up half of my royalties? Because, I say, half of royalties beats no royalties.  This is an unexpected extra stream of income without my having to do anything. It then gets distributed through Amazon, iTunes, and Audible.com.

Another nugget I mined is a way of increasing my book sales by offering two free digital books. You read that right—I increase sales by offering two books free.  In exchange for the free books, I obtain email addresses. The reader wins/I win. I’ll be giving away as free books the first two books in my Cranky Seniors Series.  The readers will then be introduced to Willard Manor and Leaving Mark that are for sale.  I’m still working out the technical logistics of how all this works.

As if that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, I experimented with how to make a video, either through YouTube or on a site on my computer. I did a trial run but realized I have to get much better at being “on camera” in order to make a polished video. One problem I have is that I have no one to talk to all day so when I open my mouth to talk on camera, it comes out as a squeak! My vocal chords get rusty from non-use (a problem Fred never would have thought I’d have!).

Now I need your help. I’m redoing my guide for beginning writers and I’ve been experimenting with various covers and titles. Please tell me if seeing one of these covers would prompt you to buy the book if you were a new writer and if so, which one.  Which one relates to the title better.  Realize, they can both be tweaked for the final cover. I’ll let you know in the next post what the consensus was. Thank you in advance for your input.
Have a good summer!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Have a Cigar!!

Pass out the cigars! We’re celebrating! Celebrating what?  The birth of a new book!

What book? My second novel, Leaving Mark.
I have spent the last three days formatting, editing, reviewing, editing, reviewing, editing, until there can’t possibly be a typo anywhere in the text. In fact, I’m so sure of it, I’ll send $15 to anyone who finds a typo.

Leaving Mark has been a fun book to write. Like its cohort, Willard Manor (of which this is a spinoff) there was a lot of fact checking to do. Granted, I lived in the fifties and sixties but I still had to double check such facts as when Carvel Ice Cream started its first store, or Howard Johnson’s. I couldn’t have my characters going to a store that didn’t yet exist, now could I?

President Kennedy’s assassination is burned in my mind—day, date, time (I was folding diapers and watching Gale Storm on an ancient black and white console TV when the news broke), but I had to check other events like when the Titanic sank (no, I wasn't around then!) and when Sputnik was launched. I further had to check the distance between New Haven, Connecticut and Sturgis, South Dakota, to see how long it would take two guys on motorcycles to get from one place to the other, without today’s highways. Thank heavens for MapQuest!

If you read Willard Manor (and if you didn’t, you should, it's a fun and painless way to learn US history through the generations of the Willard family), you know that a young couple, Tony and Shelley McGuire buy an old house and renovate it to make a home for them and their future children.  Shelley’s father is Mark Fortier. Leaving Mark is her father’s story, moving forward from catastrophe as a young boy to discovering who he is and what it means to be a man (with a few more good history lessons thrown in).

Leaving Mark is self-published through CreateSpace and will be available in a few days on Amazon, in both print and ebook.
Quote of the Day:  Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.  Francis Bacon