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1. Writing Lessons from the TV Show Dexter

I just got into the TV show, Dexter.

I never had Showtime before so I couldn't watch it and the entire 8 seasons is now free on Netflix. (woot woot! I know what I'll be doing over the summer.)

This is the. best. show. evah!

If I could write books like this - I would be a bestseller for sure!

I'm learning so many writing lessons from this show that I wanted to share:

Top 10 writing lessons from Dexter:

  1. Character arc - The character arc in each show let alone every season is amazing! Each character changes a little. in each episode.
  2. Dexter. The man perfect for this character - smart, hot, funny. So relatable that the whole serial killer thing is overlooked or accepted and you don't really know why or how it happened. :)
  3. Tension/Pace - Each chapter should have some tension or suspense. Even in books that aren't thrillers, you need to keep the reader turning the page. The suspense is killing me - every show has an amazing cliff hanger and i find myself saying "just one more episode."
  4. Voice - Each character should have his/her own voice. This is what makes each person special and relatable. Every character has their quirks, flaws and lovable moments.
  5. Character Development - Every character should be fully developed with backstory and motive. Each character from Dexter, to his sister Deb, to the "reborn cop" Angel, to the other forensic scientist, Vince. Each is unique.
  6. Villain - Your antagonist should be relatable. Not that Dexter is the antagonist but he should be. he's a serial killer yet somehow you root for him not to be caught.
  7. Setting. Your setting should invoke some emotion. Dexter is set in Miami. Everyone is always hot and sweating which adds anxiety to everything they do.
  8. Romance - Dexter started out awkward and has become more sexy as the shows go on. He's had a couple love interests but they were very purposeful in his character development which I find refreshing. It's not just love on the side. Each plays an important role in his arc.
  9. Reveals/Surprises. The reveals should be well placed and strategic. It all has to make sense in the end. So far they have done a brilliant job of reveals and I find myself going "I did not see that coming."
  10. Hook - You need a great hook as the foundation of any story. The idea of a serial killer killing bad guys is brilliant. 
You need to watch this show, esp if you are a thriller writer. The lessons are endless.

I heard there were Dexter books so I may check that out just to see how it plays out in the writing vs script.

Have you watched Dexter? What do you think? What is your favorite lesson from the show?

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2. Mark your calendars: Unstoppable - June 3rd!

The release date for Unstoppable is June 3rd!

At that time it will only be available in print and at Amazon. 

To catch up on the series - Untraceable is currently free and Uncontrollable is $3.99.

You can add Unstoppable to your Goodreads 

If you would like to be a part of the summer blog tour - sign up here.




After everything that has happened, Grace goes to the Everglades to live with her grandmother, Birdee. Even though she is now home-schooled by her bird-obsessed grandmother, the move gives Grace time to relax. She learns to scuba dive and starts boating with old man Rex, Birdee's casual friend/boyfriend. 

One day while out in the marshes of the Everglades, Grace rescues an abused Florida panther, currently on the endangered list. The more she dives into the animal’s horrific condition, the more she ventures into the underground world of the roadside zoos that run rampant in Florida with a total disregard for the law. Eventually, she stumbles upon one large roadside zoo filled with a variety of endangered and illegal animals. 

Before she can gather evidence and report her findings to the authorities, she is kidnapped by the ruthless owner and dragged deep into the Everglades for a hunting challenge. Only this time, Grace is the prey. 

During a sick game of cat and mouse, Grace is offered one chance at survival. With a one-hour head start and very little supplies, time and skill are now all that stands between the hunter and the hunted.



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3. 10 ways to write a page turner!

There are 10 easy ways (in my opinion) to keep up the pace (or suspense/tension) of a novel. This can be for any book to keep the reader clipping along and turning the pages.

10 steps to a page turner

1) Create short chapters - most of mine are 1500 to 2000 words. (It can't be 250 word chapters with 1000 chapters in the book. Thats' just annoying :)

2) End on the conflict, forcing the reader into the next chapter. (I call it the inverted climax curve! I'm smart huh?)

3) Keep your narrative short. At the end, go through and cut back scenes with too much setting or exposition. I say try to cut them in 1/2. (Actually, I should do this in my conversations as well. I'm sure my friends would appreciate it.)

4) Use short sentences when you want reader to feel rushed into reading. Longer sentences help to slow it down and create tension as well as a break before you ramp back up again. (I call this the roller coaster feeling. Make your reader sick :)

5) Add a ticking time bomb. This can be an actual time countdown or a lead in to knowing something is coming soon. (This even works in the ebay auctions I bid on. There's just something about a clock that creates stress.)

6) Create a strong opening line in every chapter that yanks the reader in. (I tend to spend more time on this than I do finding my dangling modifiers. I do not recommend that :)

7) Create strong closing lines that tease the reader to turn the page. (Do not let them put that book down! If you have to drag them on to the next chapter by their bookmarks)

8) Torture your MC - have her make mistake so actions get thrown back in her face. (I talk to my MC. "Oh you think that's bad, wait until I give you this!" I know I'm nutzo)

9) Raise the stakes each time it looks like resolution may be about to happen. (Give your reader the feeling of "oh thank God" and then take them to "WHAT the hell!"

10) Allow room to breathe. (You don't want them to pass out. Not good PR....But not too much room :)

Feel free to ask me questions! :)

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4. Rashelle Workman's Season 2 is coming :)

It's coming. April 19th. Whoot! I'm so excited to share this series with you.

Rashelle is a great friend and her first season has done amazing! You have to get it!

It's so popular - she's doing a whole other season! yay!

The first book in the second season of Blood and Snow is entitled VAMPIRE LIES. I'm releasing the volumes a little differently this time. Instead of 12 smaller volumes and a bunch of short stories, there will be at least three full length novels.

You can pre-order book 1 by clicking HERE.



In Season 2 there will still be plenty of Snow White and her true love, but the story will be told from Jasmine's point of view.

Here's this summary: 

Genre: YA Fractured Fairytale
Blood and Snow Season 2
Book 1 ~ Vampire Lies

*** Eyes like violet sapphires. Wings of smoldering fire. Consume your true love's blood. Become the Eternal Vampire. ***

Once upon a time there lived a vampire with wings and the genie who loved her...

Born of the seven magics, Jasmine is different in every way, including the obnoxious wings on her back courtesy of the original Vampires. She wants to be normal, to be a regular teenaged girl.

When a gorgeous dark-haired boy named Laeddin shows up and promises to sneak her away from all her problems and hide her in the human world, she agrees. 

But an evil lurks in her nightmares, a man with red eyes. It doesn’t take long for Jasmine to realize that no matter how far she tries to run from who she is, he’s only a dream away. He wants her. He needs her. He acts as though he loves her. 

It’s becoming harder and harder to tell the difference between the path that’ll lead to her happily ever after, and the path that’ll lead to her destruction as well as all magic.

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to be entered into my monthly drawing. Click HERE

Have you read the first season of Blood and Snow? If not, Amazon is running a special right now where you can get all 12 volumes for only $1.99. Get it HERE

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5. Indie Publishing in YA (Special FREE Event offered by ALLi - the Alliance of Independent Authors))

YA and Children's Authors - Live Self-publishing Q&A Session (Hosted by ALLi - a IndieReCon sponsor)

Next Tues 18 March 3pm EST / 7pm GMT   - All Welcome! 

Are you a children's or YA author thinking about self-publishing, or already self-publishing? 

The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) is hosting a FREE live Q&A session on YouTube on Tuesday 18 March where ALLi Director, Orna Ross, will be fielding your questions to Shelli Johannes (AKA S.R Johannes) who writes for the YA/New Adult markets, and Karen Inglis who writes for pre-schoolers and up to age 10/11.

Send us your questions

If you'd like to ask Shelli or Karen about any aspect of self-publishing for their markets,please add your question on this form in advance and we'll try to include your question in the schedule.  

You'll also be able to comment during the session using the YouTube chat functionality.

We hope to see you there - just turn up to http://www.youtube.com/user/IndieAuthorALLi at 3pm EST / 1pm PST / 7pm GMT    

Note: You do not have to be a member to attend. But if you are interested in joining ALLI, you can do so through the button on Shelli's web site for a 10$ discount (89$)
   
Guests:

Shelli, based in Atlanta, is a YA writer, the award-winning author of Amazon bestselling thrillers, Untraceable and Uncontrollable After earning an MBA and working in corporate America for over 15 years, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for family, flip-flops, and her love of writing. She organizes the highly successful indie author online conference, IndieRecon, and is a founder member of author co-operative, The IndeliblesUnstoppable (book 3 in her YA thriller series) is scheduled for May 2014. Shelli is YA advisor to The Alliance of Independent Authors.

Karen, who lives in London, was an early adopter of children's self-publishing in the UK and has successfully placed her three children's books The Secret Lake, Eeek! The Runaway Alien and Ferdinand Fox's Big Sleep in bricks and mortar stores in London and sold over 7,000 books across Kindle and print. She has also recently self-published a children's book app.       


Please tell your friends :)




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6. Author Branding 101 by Louisa Clarkson

Today on the blog we have Louisa Clarkson of Indicated to give the 101 on author branding, an important step in marketing your words. Without any further ado here is Louisa!
____


No doubt you’re familiar with brands, their advertising slogans and logos (unless you’re a troll living under a rock bridge). Like McDonalds for example, is highly recognizable with the golden arches, the red and yellow and their branding statement “I’m Lovin’ it”.

From a marketing perspective, the colors and branding statements helps customers recognize it and influence them to buy the products. Red means passion and love, it stands out, and is used to stimulate people to make quick decisions. Yellow is bright and sunny, grabs attention and evokes feelings of happiness and joy. “I’m Lovin’ it” implies you will enjoy the food.

Branding is a brilliant and important tool for authors too. Our writing style, book themes/genre, covers, our author website(s), branding statements, and even our personalities, all shape our brand. Let’s look at these things in more detail, and start building a brand that knocks Stephanie Meyer from her perch!

Writing Style

Your writing voice, writing style, tone and even choice of words, is what a reader bonds and fall in love. No one else writes the way you do. These component make your author style unique, and helps your readers recognizes your writing.

Two examples of very distinct writing styles are Doreen Virtue, author of Healing With the Angels, who has a very motivating and inspiring style and tone, which compliments her self-help and spiritual brand. While Eion Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl children’s series, has a very tongue in cheek voice that tickles a child’s funny bone.

Books Themes and Genre

The genre(s) and themes that you write about is what readers will associate with you, and what they’ll expect from you in future. For example, Stephen King is synonymous for horror, supernatural themes, and a few drama novels. Readers would never associate Stephen with comedy. That would be like McDonalds selling pizza!

For those of you published in multiple genres, or if you’re planning to write in more than one genre, it’s recommended to use pen names to separate the brands, unless your books have a common element such as magic or fantasy that filter through them. Start small with one genre and build a fanbase, like Stephen did, then expand into other genres.

Book Covers

A book cover, its artwork, font and colors should reflect the tone, style and genre of the book(s). For example, on Suzanne Collins Hunger Gamesseries, every book features a Mockingjay, which is a distinct symbol for these books, and is even used for the film posters. Each book also uses the same square font for the book title and author name, and a different color to reflect the tone. Book 1 has a black cover representing a bleak society, hopelessness and oppression, typical of the dystopian genre. Book 2 is red which is symbolic of war and fighting back. Blue features on blue to show hope and freedom.

These elements need to be kept consistent when publishing a series to help the reader identify your books and brand. If you self publish, try to use the same cover designer to maintain the style. 

Author Website

The function of the author website is the same as the book covers. It should convey to any visitors the style and tone of your books, reflect aspects of your personality, hobbies or interests, and it can feature a logo to represent your brand. Here’s a cool website by paranormal romance author TF Walsh, which reflects the romantic and supernatural elements of her books, and her love of everything fantasy. The black gives a creepy and dark tone, while red highlights the romance and passion.

Branding Statements

A branding statement defines who you are as an author, the types of books you publish, aspects of your personality, who your target audience is, and helps readers to find you. For example, mine is “crafting whimsical, inspiring fantasy adventures that keeps tweens reading for days.” I could have used John Grisham’s Number 1 Bestselling Author, but it’s boring (zzzzz) and doesn’t tell me anything about his books.

Personality and Perception

Part of an author’s job is to build a public image that reflects their personality and brand. Aussie author Morris Gleitzman has a cheeky, fun brand, which supports his humorous children’s books. This is what draws readers to him and keeps them loyal. But if he were to go and post rude or adult’s only jokes on his social media accounts, there’d be public outrage. Always remember who your target market is and who might be reading.

Branding is such a huge topic, and this is but a small, but important part of it.

I’d love to know what your branding efforts you’ve made. Do you have separate brands for your books? Have you created any distinct features on your covers or logos? C’mon. Share you branding statements, so I don’t feel like such a dork! If you don’t have fun, then make one up. Promise I won’t laugh.


About Louisa Clarkson:

Louisa Clarkson is the author of The Silver Strand, the first in the Mastermind Academy tween fantasy series for 9-12 year olds. Creative endeavors called, and she left her Environmental Engineering career to study a Masters in Creative Writing and pursue her writing dreams. In the months she spent researching how to promote her novel, she found bits of information here and there, but no complete author resource. As such Indicated was born. Indicatedfeatures book promotion guides and a comprehensive database of where to find book promotional opportunities like book review bloggers, free and paid advertising opportunities, guest posts, authors interviews and so much more.

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7. IndieReCon 2014 starts Tues! It's free and online

15 reasons why you should register for IndieReCon Today!



1. Keynote speakers J.A. Konrath and Barry Eisler are hosting a two hour chat to honestly answer any questions you have.

2. Find out how to face your fears and how to focus on your writing, being creative, and writing to your readers with Bob Mayer, Alicia Vancil, RaShelle Workman, Susan Kaye Quinn, Orna Ross, C.S. Lakin, and Rachel Aaron.

3. Find out all the nitty gritty details on self-publishing basics like pricing, distribution, and formatting from top industry professionals like Miral Sattar, Peter Bowerman, Joel Friedlander, and The Passive Guy (David Vandagriff).

4. Build your marketing skills and publicity skills with K.P. Simmons (InkSlinger PR), David Gaughran, Lori Culwell, Michael Alvear, Jim Kukral, Joanna Penn, Angela Ackerman, and Martha Carr.

5. Chat with bestselling authors Chelsea Fine and Chelsea Cameron on how it is to be a hybrid author. In addition, you will hear from Lara Perkins (Andrea Brown Literary agent) on how it is to agent hybrid authors and find out secrets (including information about audio books) from some bestselling indie authors that make up the Indelibles.

6. It's FREE!

7. We have fun contests!

8. Since it's online, you can stay in your PJs and we won't laugh at you. :)

9. There are huge giveaways! Yeah... HUGE! (Hint - Begins with a KO and ends with a BO :)

10. Learn about awesome organizations that support indie authors including: KOBO, IndieReader, Shelf Unbound, Indelibles, Author Marketing Club, AuthorAd Network, Alliance of Independent Authors, Goodreads, and Bibliocrunch.

11. Discover some great new indie authors to read.

12. Join our live podcast with the guys from Write Publish Repeat (Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant, and David Wright)

13. Did we mention it's FREE?

14. Because it will be epic! (At least we think so.)

15. Find out tips in how to maximize your book exposure with leaders from Goodreads, Kobo, Smashwords, IndieReader, and Amazon.


Every single blog post, chat, vlog will be packed with all the information you need to help you on the self-publishing path.

IndieReCon will help you learn all the dirty secrets about the indie pubbing industry and help you succeed.

February 25-27 from 10 am -10pm EST times.

Tell your friends!

Hang out with us all day. Hourly posts. Tons of chats. A few vlogs and webinars. Check out the amazeballs online.

If you want to receive updates on the conference, go to our web site and enter your email up in the left sidebar to register and receive updates so you don’t miss out!

See you there!


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8. Go For Gold by Shannon Delany


Watching the Olympics, I'm struck by the importance competition holds in human culture--and in books. Every day there are several thousand new books published. The fact we can find anything amid such a sea of words never ceases to amaze me. 

So how do any of us get our book noticed and then keeping getting our books noticed? I wish I knew some formula for an author's success, but I don't think there's a foolproof one so I think the best thing we can do--ever--is our best. 

It's what I've tried to do since my first novel, 13 TO LIFE, came out in 2010. I keep pushing myself and I have two very different series to show for it. 

So, if you asked me… 

Write your best book. Love it. Be passionate about every stage of its creation. And most importantly? Write the book you want to read--the book in your heart. 

I believe we all have an amazing story to tell--do it and don't let anyone stop you. 


About the Author:
Find Shannon and her 13 TO LIFE series and WEATHER WITCH series on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Amazon, and at ShannonDelany.com. And this year? Follow her as she builds a picture book with a talented singer-songwriter!

Destiny and Deception:
The sensational fourth novel in the 13 to Life series sees Jessica and the Rusakuvas fighting to overcome one of their biggest challenges yet.

With the threat of the mafia seemingly gone and the company's headquarters in Junction destroyed, Pietr Rusakova is adjusting to being a normal teen and Jess is realizing normalcy may not be what she wanted after all. But both Jess and Cat know the truth--that normal can't be taken for granted. When a new danger stalks into their small town, Alexi decides he must overcome his issues with the mother who abandoned him to be raised by wolves and make a brand new deal to save his adopted family.

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9. Street Team Links To Get You Started

If you were wondering what a street team is and how it can help you as an author, we have the answers for you!


Take a look at these great articles and chats and let us know:
What do you think about street teams? Do you have one or want one? Do you not want a street team?

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10. Self Marketing by Mike Hartner

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Congrats! You’re published. In today’s world, in many cases, it won’t matter whether you are self-published, or published by one of the Big Six. You will need marketing.

Marketing. Yes, that ugly word. What, you mean my book doesn’t sell itself? Nope. Sorry to disappoint, but you are one of nearly a million people who have self-published this past year. Finding your book, for any but the most diligent (read: friends and relatives) is going to be a crapshoot. So how do you make your odds better?

1. Blog tours. Orangeberry.com has them. Pumpupyourbook.com has them. And there are others out there. They schedule you on blogs that work with them, and then send you a list of material they want. Some material that they like to use includes: Chapters, for chapter reveals; character interviews, to get a better feel for the characters; author interviews, in which you answer questions about yourself and your book and your publishing journey; top ten lists by you; and a plethora of other information. Blog tours are the 21st century equivalent to book store tours. Except you are doing them in cyber-space. And they can be fun. So go out and enjoy them.

2. Reviews. This falls into several time frames. To do this properly, there are things you need to be setting up PRIOR to the release of the book.

  • Netgalley.com - $350 set up. Six months. It gives newspapers, book sellers, etc... a chance to look at your book before they decide to stock or review it. Sometimes it can lead to reviews.
  • Newspapers - ARCs of the book should be given to media 3-4 months in advance of the release to give them a chance to read it and respond. Remember, they have busy lives too.
  • Internet book reviewers (book bloggers) - There are lists out there. They are genre specific, and will definitely help you contact reviewers who will look at your book. Like newspaper columnists, though, they are VERY busy. Many of them need to be booked four months in advance. Not all. But, if you give them four months, they are guaranteed to appreciate your efforts even more, regardless of whether they agree to help you.
  • Amazon book reviewers - Amazon has lists that include their top ten reviewers. And if you pick through these one at a time, and contact them, then some will help and others will not. But give them a time frame.... the more leeway the better. They, too, are busy.

3. Contests/Awards. You can enter all sorts of contests for your book. Make sure that you’re in the right genre, though.

  • Other independent book contests are out there. Google them.
  • Local book awards - Every state and province has book awards for local authors. You can’t win if you don’t play.

4. Associations. There are many associations, including Independent Book Publishers Association. Membership in them will give you discounts for participation in some of the contests and services like: Netgalley, LightningSource, trade shows, etc... I HIGHLY recommend IBPA. But, look around. If they’re not right for you, some one else will be.

5. Trade Shows. Throughout the year, there are trade shows all over the world:
  • London Book Show -- April
  • BookExpoAmerica (BEA) - May
  • Beijing (usually September)
  • Frankfurt (October)
  • There are others in your state or province.
  • American Library Association (ALA)
  • National Educators Association (NEA)
  • NewYork State Library Association
  • California State Library Association...
  • This list is endless.

Two points about trade shows. 
  • They are OPTIONAL. They get exposure to your book out there, but don’t stress if you can’t afford to go to every one of them. 
  • Pick your conventions wisely. You may decide to go to the ALA without going to the NEA. That’s okay. There’s some member overlap, but not a lot.

6. Free Sites. IF you join Kindle Direct Program (KDP) they will allow you to have free days -- up to five across three months -- as promotion days. There are hundreds of spots around the internet that advertise to kindle users, e-readers, etc.. that will help you to publicize FREE days, provided you give them reasonable notice. By reasonable, I think minimum two weeks.

7. Social media. Put up a Facebook author’s page, a Twitter feed, your own website, Pinterest pictures, etc. Look into badredheadmedia.com to find Rachel Thompson (@RachelintheOC), a social media guru, who can help you grow your brand.

8. Google Adwords. Theadwordsguy.com and JP help you to use Google Adwords and landing sites to generate interest. You pay per click, but it helps to show you which genres and keywords resonate interest with your book.

9. Reader websites. Goodkindle.net is one example. These are websites dedicated to individuals who read e-books. There are plenty of them, and for a small fee, you can be a part of their book list on their site.


This list is by no means comprehensive, but it describes most of the areas that I have delved into to help promote my book. You don’t have to do them all at once. Pick and choose according to your whims. But get out there and try something to improve your exposure to the massive number of readers out there. Now go out there and market!

Also, don’t forget that "FRONTLIST sells backlist." In short, the best way to sell this book... is to write the next one. So don’t get hung up in the promotions area for too long.

And, if you’re getting overwhelmed with it all, ask for help from an author’s assistant like Kate Tilton.

About the Author:
Mike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He’s traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents. You can visit Mike at his website.


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11. Book Trailers: Should I have one for my book? by Mallory Rock

So the pressing question so many have...Are book trailers worth it?

 The answer is not a simple one, as it is both yes and no. It really depends on numerous factors. Each author needs to think about and examine these factors to determine what type of trailer will work for you and your book. I believe a trailer can work for almost every book, but the trick is knowing what type of trailer to create. Now let’s start with the types of trailers that could be useful for authors.

You have the informational trailer, which can be used quite well for non-fiction books like this:

 Next you have cinematic book trailers, which can be used for a number of fiction genres and are modeled in a movie trailer style, like this:

Then you have the animated trailer, which can be used for childrens, some fantasy, and satire. Like this:

And last is the branding or interview trailer, which is more focused on the author and the message than the individual book and can be used with almost any book. Like this:


So how do you know which type is for you? Well let’s look at some of those factors that can make a difference.

* What genre is your book?
     In general the YA audience tends to be the most accepting of the visual medium, and therefore has a greater potential to yield results in the cinematic trailers. On the other end of the spectrum, non-fiction books tend to yield the best results with an informational trailer. With animation childrens and middle grade are best, but you have to weigh that against how much of your target audience will see your trailer. This does not mean that if you do not have a YA, middle grade or a non-fiction book you should not have a trailer. The branding or interview trailers can work for any book, but need to be catered to their target audience.

* What if I am on a tight budget?
     This can be approached in a number of ways. Starting with using either the informational if it works for you or the branding/interview trailers. These can be produced at a much lower cost generally because it is a much simpler video and process. If you have a book you think HAS TO HAVE the cinematic trailer, it can be done in a wide range of pricing. Now keep in mind you get what you pay for so, finding a great deal is good, but make sure you look at samples before committing to anything.

Once you have pinned down what might work for you and have someone creating your trailer, how do you know what to look for? What makes a good book trailer?
  • Keep it brief. People value their time and generally have a short attention span when browsing the internet through things such as trailers.
  • Be authentic. The tone and feel of your trailer should reflect the content of your book.
  • Music matters. Music sets the tone and flow of a trailer, so be sure it accurately represents your material and is engaging!
  • Make it seamless. All of your imagery, transitions and text should flow together creating one flowing piece. You do not want choppy pieces all pasted together. A good way to see if your content works well and has flow is to watch the trailer while muted. If it still stands up and is engaging without that mood setter you are on your way.
  • Give them information. Be sure to end your trailer with the url to your website for more information and also let them know where your book is available for purchase and/or when.

So now you have your trailer done, but what do you do with it? There are several places that are a must and free for you to place your trailer.
  • Upload to youtube as a starting point. When you do this use your keywords! What terms are people searching to find you or your book and additionally what are potential readers searching? Keywords can make a huge difference in getting that trailer seen on youtube.
  • Using that youtube video, embed the trailer on your author website. Announce and blog about it for its reveal.
  • Authors are able to add videos to their author page on Amazon.
  • You can also add the video to your author page on Goodreads!
  • Find a video book review blogger and try to get your trailer featured. You will have a better impact with a video blogger as their audience is already watching videos. You will get more views and possible sales/reviews this way.
  • Have a way to display and play your trailer at events like author signings, conventions, etc.
Now looking at all of this information what can we deduce? I think it is safe to say there is a very wide variety of  trailer options that range from self made branding videos to professionally produced cinematic and/or animated trailers. Find what works best for you and your book and run with it. Make sure the quality is there and be ready to work at it. Having a trailer does nothing if you dont put it out there and use all the resources available to you. Having a trailer is one more great promotional piece to add to your marketing arsenal and in the end that is what all authors are looking for...another piece to the puzzle leading to success in this flooded business. Ask yourself what you can do to make your work stand out next to the others and then go for it.


About Mallory Rock:
I work with authors to bring their literary works to life through covers, interior graphics, layout & formatting, cinematic book trailers, custom world maps, web graphics, and promotional materials. I am the art director at the author PR firm Novel Publicity, cover artist & print formatter for Evolved Publishing, and also work with Amy Edelman providing custom cover services to Indie Reader clients. I have worked with authors like NY Times Best Seller Bella Andre and recently worked with major Hollywood producers, The Tannenbaum Company, creating a look book for a fantasy novel turned screenplay.

I am an avid reader and enjoy books across many genres. But I have a very fervid love of dystopian anf fantasy novels. I have been known to devour up to a book a day when my busy schedule permits. I enjoy combining my love of literary works with my artistic skills to help authors bring their work to life visually. Find out more about me on my website.


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12. Chelsea Fine's PERFECT KIND OF TROUBLE Cover Reveal

Today we are excited to be sharing the cover for Chelsea Fine's Perfect Kind of Trouble


PERFECT KIND OF TROUBLE (Forever E-Book; June 3, 2014; $4.99)
Daren Ackwood is a bad boy with a mysterious past. He’s the kind of guy who knows he can get any girl he wants. Kayla doesn’t do bad boys—in any sense of the word. They have a tendency to leave scars and dust trails in their wake, and Kayla isn’t running short on either. So when Daren rolls up to her father’s funeral in his shiny sports car, Kayla knows she needs to keep her distance during her brief stay in this tiny God-forsaken town. She’s here to take care of her father’s will, nothing more. The trouble is, Daren doesn’t see it that way. And he usually gets his way. 
Amazon | B&N | iTunes 
About the author
Chelsea lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends most of her time writing stories, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. She's ridiculously bad at doing dishes and claims to be allergic to laundry. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen. 

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13. Why Authors Should Consider Crowdfunding by Justine Schofield of Pubslush



As writers, we know the biggest qualm about self-publishing is the out of pocket expenses and subsequent financial risk and burden on the writer. Many writers have to skimp on must-have publishing services because they don’t have the funds to pay for them. Sadly, it’s true. Most people will judge a book by its cover and as a result, self-published books have developed the stigma of being of a lesser quality.

Good news, though. Self-publishing authors now have the means to raise funds pre-publication in order to lessen the financial burden and to help their book live up to its potential. Crowdfunding is quickly becoming the newest tool in the self-publishers toolbox that can help writers practice more informed and successful publishing.

So, what exactly is crowdfunding? Crowdfunding is a new technology that allows people to collect many small financial pledges from their extended network and audience to fund a creative project or business venture. Let’s break crowdfunding down into real terms.

Say you’re a writer and you’ve just finished writing your very first book. You really put a lot of time and effort into your book and you want to share it with the world. Self-publishing seems to be the way to go. You won’t have to hassle with finding an agent or publisher, you’ll have more creative control, and your book will be published in a timely manner. Plus, you have a pretty large network that you know will buy your book. The only issue is coming up with the funds for all the costly publishing services you’ll need.

You decide to launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for your publishing project. You find the platform that’s right for you (a very important first step!) and setup your campaign. Then, when your campaign goes live, you reach out to your network—family, friends, colleagues, your book audience—and ask them to make a financial pledge to your crowdfunding campaign. The pledges add up and by the end of your campaign, you’ll have enough (or at least more than before) funds to publish your book.

Okay, so this is a very simplified version of crowdfunding, but it’s just to give you an idea of how it works. There are a few very important things to keep in mind, though.

First, people are not donating to help publish your book. Crowdfunding is rewards based, which means as the campaign creator you would develop different reward levels to entice your supporters. The reward levels can range anywhere from $1 to $100 to $1,000 and above, and everywhere in between. As the dollar amount increases the rewards get better. No matter what, your supporters are receiving something in return for their financial pledge. Often times, writers will offer a copy of their book as a reward, so they are actually able to collect preorders during their crowdfunding campaign, too.

Second, crowdfunding is a lot of work. Sure, it sounded pretty easy in my simplified version of the process, but in order to be successful the writer must be 100% committed and ready and willing to promote and market their campaign. Having a marketing plan, a pre-established network and knowing your audience are all very important factors to the success of a campaign.

Lastly, you must be willing to ask for support. A majority of the support for your campaign, especially in the beginning while you’re building momentum, will come from your own network. People won’t know about your campaign if you don’t tell them. Just as in the publishing world, you are your own biggest advocate and it’s up to you to make the initial connections and build a buzz around your book.

Crowdfunding requires the same marketing necessary to finding success in the book publishing world, but it allows you to raise funds pre-publication, which can overall ensure more success in the future. As I mentioned, crowdfunding is not a venture to be taken lightly. A lot of hard work and commitment is required, but a lot of hard work and commitment was required to write your book, too. So doesn’t your book deserve to be the best it can be when it’s presented to the world? At Pubslush, we think so.


About the Author:

Justine Schofield is the development director of Pubslush, a global crowdfunding platform only for books. Authors can raise funds and gauge initial market viability for their book projects. Justine graduated from Emerson College in Boston, MA with a degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing and is currently enrolled at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, earning her MFA in Creative Writing. She specializes in social media and public relations and in the past she has worked with growing companies to develop their online presence. Justine has become a prominent industry voice for educating authors and publishers about crowdfunding and her work has been featured on many online publications.



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14. Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014!


I have several new projects in the works. I'm particularly excited about this year as I'll be both indie publishing and working toward traditional publishing as well. 

2011 - Was an up and down year for me. 

2011/2012 - Was all about indie pubbing.

2013 - Was all about finding the best agent for a new shiny project. (and who was more in alignment with my goals in writing and my career)

2014 - this year, is all about writing and hopefully merging a traditional career with an indie career.

The only thing I can control is how much I write, producing good books, and working on my craft.

Here is what I'm shooting for this year:
  • Unstoppable (bk 3 in Nature of Grace series) - coming Spring 2014. I am currently outlining at least 2 more books in this series that might age Grace up a bit. 
  • Exhale - (#3 in Breathless Novelette series) - Planned for Late Spring 2014. I love this little series so I hope to find time to outline 3 more novelettes in the future.
  • Secret YA cyberthriller series - (with agent) - This series is Lisbeth Sanders meets Katniss for the cyber age. I love this character and have hope she gets a chance to go far.
  • A new YA medical thriller - TBD  (shoot for summer completion)

    • Think Likely - A Gone Girl for New Adult  - TBD. I think NA contemp romance may start to get old and have readers searching for more NA in different genres. Though I've been known to be wrong ;) (shoot for Dec completion)
    I'm not sure what will be published where but that is not important. It's creating them that I need to focus on for now.

    How would I do all this?

    My goal is to write everyday for at least 2 hours straight with a goal of 2500 words x 5 days = about 10-12,000 a week. Technically - this means I should be able to draft a solid book in 2 months (which normally takes me 4-6). This of course is because I outline in advance which helps me write faster.

    BTW, I don't think indie authors have to sacrifice quality to write fast - I just think when we focus - we write faster. This doesn't mean I will skip steps - it just goes into each phase sooner than it did before.


    I have a plan to focus my attention more and protect my writing time. This means scheduling out my social media time in chunks after my daily writing goal is complete.

    I have finally laid out measurable goals, my author mission statement, and outlined a 1 to 5 year business plan of where I want my career to be in 5 years - and it includes both sides of publishing. 

    Why? Because I love both.

    I plan to build my street team and connect to readers more on a personal level, which also includes a better newsletter and more intimate street team.

    I am just getting started and already on a great track. Logging 10,000 words in just 2 weeks (and that's over the holidays!)

    Will I be able to do all this? Who knows....but I am sure going to try. 

    Again this all depends on what happens along the way - this could do a total 180 b/c it factors in no outside sources or things that come up.  

    But you know what They say. "Shoot for the moon, if you miss, you'll land on a star."

    What are your goals for 2014?



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    15. 15 book box set for 1.99$ (2 weeks only)

    Dec 29 - Jan 11th






    FOR TWO WEEKS ONLY the Indelibles has put together an incredible set of fifteen complete best-selling novels by Indelibles authors including me, Addison Moore, Susan Kaye Quinn, RaShelle Workman, Chanda Hahn, Magan Vernon, Laura Pauling, Elle Strauss, LM Preston and more! As if the deal couldn't get any better, the Indelibles is offering this limited-edition for an even-more amazing price - $1.99 


    That's right. For less than a cup of your favorite coffee you can get fifteen full-length YA novels to feed those readers you got for the Holidays. The deal is only good until 1/11/14, so get your copy TODAY! 



    So,Sit back, relax in your favorite reading chair and enjoy 15 Winter Reads from 15 bestselling YA authors. 



    There is something to delight every reader in this box set - paranormal romance, futuristic sci-fi, historical, time travel, and contemporary.


    15 Winter Reads includes:

    The Iron Butterfly by Chanda Hahn: Escaping an experimental prison, Thalia tries to hide her past and her gifts, from her friends. But her past isn't always easy to escape, especially when it hunts you down.

    Tremble (Celestra Series) by Addison Moore: Sixteen year-old, Skyla Messenger is a dead girl walking. When her newly remarried mother moves the family to Paragon Island, to a house that is rumored to be haunted, Skyla finds refuge in Logan Oliver, a boy who shares her unique ability to read minds.

    Exiled by RaShelle Workman: Venus wakes to find herself no longer on her home planet of Kelari, but on Earth with a week to get back or she'll die.

    Dragonfly by Leigh Talbert Moore: Gossip Girl meets VC Andrews in this contemporary family saga. Love, lies, and betrayal become the new normal when Anna enters the world of Jack and Lucy Kyser.

    Open Minds and Closed Hearts by Susan Kaye Quinn: When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

    Untraceable by S.R. Johannes: When Grace's forest ranger dad disappears on patrol, she fights town authorities, tribal officials, & nature to prove he's alive. Torn between a new hot boy and cute ex, she heads into the wilderness to find her dad. Soon, she is caught in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder.





    How to Date an Alien and How to Break Up With an Alien by Magan Vernon: Alex Bianchi takes an internship at an alien operations center to pad her college applications but doesn't plan on falling in love with one of its residents. But as Alex's senior year progresses, everything changes and she can't figure out if it is interstellar or if it is just time to break up with an alien.

    Flutter of Luv by L.M. Preston: Dawn, the neighborhood tomboy, is happy to be her best friend's shadow. Acceptance comes from playing football after school with the guys on the block while hiding safely behind her glasses, braces, and boyish ways. But Tony moves in, becomes the star Running Back on her school's football team, and changes her world and her view of herself forever.

    Watched by Cindy M. Hogan: It takes more than a school trip to change Christy's life. It takes murder.

    Clockwise and Clockwiser by Elle Strauss: A follow up to Clockwise, Casey and Nate travel back in time and race against the clock to rescue Casey's rebellious brother Tim from frontline battle in America's civil war.

    Glimpse (Zellie Wells #1) and Glimmer (Zellie Wells #2) by Stacey Wallace Benefiel: While working together to figure out what their shared vision means, Zellie discovers that Benjamin is a worthy friend and mentor. If only he could keep his hands off of her - if only she wanted him to...

    A Spy Like Me by Laura Pauling: After dodging bullets on a first date, Savvy must decide how far she'll go to protect the ones she loves.

    Grasping At Eternity by Karen Amanda Hooper: An eternal soul mate, a supernatural family who has known her for centuries, and lifetimes of erased memories: this is Maryah Woodsen's life. She just doesn't know it yet.

    Lacrimosa
     by Christine Fonseca: In the world of angels and demons, one thing is clear - some sacrifices should never be made. Even for love.


    The Secret of Spruce Knoll by Heather McCorkle: The town of Spruce Knoll hides many secrets--and many dangers, among them are that the untimely death of Eren's parents was no accident and that she is far more than she realizes.

    So pick up this beauty between now and January 11 at these retailers:


    And enjoy all of the wonderful reading you'll be doing as you ring in 2014!

    <!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE <![endif]-->

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    16. Huge Indie Holiday giveaway!

    Here's a HUGE giveaway to celebrate indie authors in 2013.

    Tons of swag and books from your favorite indies.

    This includes:

    • 13 bestselling indies books from Susan Quinn, Rashelle Workman, Chanda Hahn, SR Johannes, and Addison Moore.
    • signed posters and swag from Samantha Young, Quinn Loftis, and Chelsea Fine.
    • large canvas picture from Gabriel's Hope
    • canvas bookbag from utopya
    • Other swag from Raine Thomas, Morgan, Tiffany King, CA Kutz, Adam Kutz and much more!!
    Happy Holidays to lucky winner :)

    PS: It will be shipped after the holidays!






    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    17. What's Next by Mike Hartner


    So, you’re e-book is out, and you’ve put your paperback up for sale... Congrats! You’re published. Whether self or otherwise, your work is now out in the world waiting for others to read it, and review it. It’s now in the realm of eighty percent of the book readers.

    Wait. Eighty percent? What happened to the other twenty?

    This is the twenty percent that can’t read. No, they’re not illiterate. They’re actually very intelligent and highly educated in a lot of cases. They’re people who have trouble with the sense of sight. Some are blind, others partially. Some from glaucoma. Some from detached retinas. And for many, this change came in the later years of their life.

    And now, they wait patiently. They wait for someone to read audio to them. Or record a novel in audio format. Any audio format. Any novel.

    And they wait.

    So, here is the easiest way you can help this twenty percent to enjoy your book: Record it. Go to ACX.com. It is THE Audiobook Creation eXchange. Want to read your own book? Great! Record it and send it to them. They’ll help with the formatting, and they’ll help open it to audible.com and iTunes.com, as well as track most of the sales. Prefer to have someone else read it? Great! That option is open, too. And if you are on a shoestring budget and prefer not to pay for the whole thing at once, then there’s a possibility of revenue sharing with the producer. Hey! It’s an option, and a pretty good one at that. You get to specify the dialects and accents of the people reading your story, and you get to review that selection by listening to these people audition for your book. Go for it. Capture that extra twenty percent of the market.


    About the Author:
    Mike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He’s traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents. You can visit Mike at his website.


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    18. Bookcards, a neat marketing idea by Alicia Kat Vancil



    Hello my little samurai kitties!

    So what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think book promotion? I can bet about 90% of you just thought of bookmarks. And for the most part, bookmarks are great. They are easy to produce, fairly inexpensive, and are the only bit of marketing that is associated directly with books. They are both nice to look at and functional. There’s just one problem; if you don’t have a book to immediately place that bookmark in, they can be a bit awkward and cumbersome. Enter the Bookcard, an idea I came up with after about two years of carrying bookmarks around in my purse. What’s a Bookcard? A Bookcard is like a small bookmark and business card for your book all in one. They fit easily into pockets, card holders, and the like, and can still be used to mark your place in a book. Nifty, right? Additionally, they can hold roughly the same information as a bookmark and most people are used to handling them. So let’s look at a few instances where Bookcards are a great thing to have.


    Scenario One: Say you’re at an industry gala event (like I was a few weeks ago), and you get into a conversation with another attendee. Through the course of the conversation they ask, “what do you do?” After explaining that you are a writer, the next thing you will probably be asked is,  “what do you write?” If you have a Bookcard, you will have something shiny to hand them as you give a short (emphasis on short!) explanation of your work. Why is this visual aid important? Because numerous studies have shown that people respond better to, and remember, information that is presented to them along with a visual aid.


    Scenario Two: Say you’re at a live event (conference, convention, festival etc.), and an attendee is interested in your book. However, they have a Kindle or other eReader device that they prefer to read books on instead of paper copies. Instead of telling them the name of your book—and hoping they remember it long enough to actually go download a copy—you can simply hand them a Bookcard. Now they have something pretty to remind them they were interested in said book, and you are much more likely to gain a new reader.


    Scenario Three: Say you’re at a live event (conference, convention, festival etc.), and you’ve just made your short pitch to the potential reader. They aren’t ready to purchase your book at the moment because they’ve either spent all their money already, are running off to a panel or lunch, or you are standing somewhere other than at your table/booth. Instead of just letting them walk away, you can hand them a Bookcard as a parting gift, and they will be much more likely to get your book when they are able than if you just let them walk away cardless.


    Elements of a successful Bookcard


    Now that you have a few reasons why Bookcards are an awesome addition to your book marketing arsenal, let’s talk about the Bookcards themselves. Bookcards are a double-sided standard business card and contain the following:


    Cover image
    Author name
    Author website url
    Quote (20 words or less)
    Title page font graphic or Series logo (optional)
    Series name & Book number  (optional)


    The Front Side


    The cover image is arguably the most important part and can be presented in two different ways. You can have the image fill the entire space of the card which will usually cause a bit of it to be cut off. Or you can add black or white bars to the bottom and top similarly to how they present non-anamorphic widescreen movies on a TV. Due to the nature of the cover design for Daemons in the Mist and The Storm behind Your Eyes, I went for the colored bars option.


    The Back Side


    The back side of your Bookcard should at the very least have the title of the book, your name, your author website URL, and a short quote from the book. Optionally, you can also include the title page font graphic or series logo, and the series/trilogy name and book number. My book trilogy, The Marked Ones, has a graphic that represents the trilogy and appears behind the book’s name on the internal title page, so I used that graphic on the back of my Bookcards. Below it I also included the trilogy name, and what number book it was. Why do this? Because the visual helps break up the wall of text on the back, and is also more visually stimulating. Don’t have a series graphic? Don’t worry, you can use font size, color, and spacing to help break up the text.


    Picking Your Quotes


    Do you have a tagline for your book, like this one I have for Daemons in the Mist“Accidentally marrying a beautiful stranger—what’s the worst that could happen?” Yes? Then use it. Don’t have a tagline? Then chose a few good lines from your book. Mind you, don’t just choose a phrase you like—that you think sounds good—pick something important. Because you only have 20 words or less and you gotta make them count. 

    When choosing a good line for your Bookcards make sure it either:
    • Reflects the story as a whole.
    • Gives a tantalizing taste of the narrative.
    • Gives us an insight into the way the main character thinks.


    A few common questions I’m asked about Bookcards


    I have a series/trilogy, how many cards do I make?
    However many cards you decide to make, make the most of book one. Why? Because unless you are super famous like JK Rowling, or the event is dedicated just to you, chances are most people at the event will have never heard of you or your books. So unless the attendee thinks your Bookcards are really pretty (and if you or your designer do a great job they probably will), they will usually only pick up a card for the first book. Thus you want the most cards of book one.


    I have a few books out but they are stand alones, what do I do?
    Do you have a table/booth at an event? Yes? Then make one Bookcard for each book and place them near/in front of said book. No? Then pick one. Yes, one, and make that the Bookcard you hand out. Why? Because just as bookmarks are cumbersome, so are an abundance of cards. Especially when you are not at an event, but a casual setting like a Starbucks line. How do you know which one to pick? Well, you can either pick your first book, your newest book, or the one that already sells the best. Really, as long as you have a great short pitch for the book, any of those will do as a first impression. Because the person can just learn about your other books on your author website.


    How many different card variations should I make?
    I would say 2 or 3 for starters. I made 5 for each of my books the first time around. However, I have also  been doing events for many years, and know how many cards I go though at a big con or festival.


    Who did you use to print yours?
    I used Overnight Prints for my Bookcards, and I chose the Value Cards with UV gloss on both sides.  I ordered 50-100 of each design since I was making 10 different designs. Factoring in cost, current sales discounts, and shipping, and each Bookcard will run you between 10-15 cents. Not too bad I think.
    *Note: If you want to be able to sign the cards or write on them at all, do NOT choose the UV coating. If you have to write on the UV coating, then the only thing that works is Sharpie...kinda.


    So there you are my fine feline friends, a little bit about Bookcards, their usefulness, and a few pointers for easily increasing your readership.


    About the Author

    Alicia Kat Vancil grew up in the heart of Silicon Valley where she amused herself by telling stories to anyone around her—her family, her friends...random strangers. Eventually she actually started writing those stories down instead of just spending hours hanging out in fake Ikea living rooms and telling her friends about them. Somewhere amongst all the character-torturing and epic explosions she managed to get a BFA in Illustration from the Academy of Art University and open a graphics studio (Multi-tasking for the win!).

    Kat still lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two very crazy studio cats, and nine overfull bookcases. And when not running a muck in the imaginary worlds within her head, Kat can usually be found performing, watching anime, or hanging out in Twitter chats.

    You can catch Kat on Twitter, G+, or visit her website.

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    19. Huffington Post: 50 things under 50$ (book promotion)

    This article was in Huffington Post today ad offers some great ideas.
    ==========================
    These days it seems like everyone's book marketing budget is a little tighter. If you're feeling the pinch, or if you're just looking for some great free stuff to do on your own, here are some tips that can help keep you on track. Along with the tips, I've also linked to other articles I've written on the various topics, in case you want to dig deeper:
    1. Buy your domain name as soon as you have a title for your book. You can get domain names for as little as12.95. Tip: When buying a domain always try to get a .com and stay away from hyphens, i.e. penny-sansevieri.com - surfers rarely remember to insert hyphens. You should also consider using your keywords in your domain because it'll help you rank better. Social media is great, but don't use your Facebook or Twitter pages as your "website" - you should own your domain and have a site. Period. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/how-to-build-the-perfect-_b_1932184.html
    2. Head on over to Wordpress.com and start your very own blog (you can add it to your website later): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/ten-reasons-why-you-shoul_b_839231.html
    3. Set up an event at your neighborhood bookstore. Do an event and not a signing, book signings are boring!
    4. It's all about content these days so why not create a calendar for content? Often if you aren't sure what to write, or when, a content calendar will keep you on track. You can plan the calendar around your free time (though you should blog weekly) and around holidays or events that may tie into your book.
    5. Then, while you're at it: brainstorm content ideas and start a content folder you can always refer back to when you aren't feeling "inspired" to write anything.

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    20. How to Create a Unique Book Marketing Plan by Bryan Cohen

    Today on the blog we have Bryan Cohen here to talk about creating a unique marketing plan for your book! Do you have a marketing plan for your book? If you don't, are you inspired to make one now?

    ___________

    It feels easier when you have a formula. When coming up with a marketing plan, we like to know what's come before so we have evidence that it will work. We want to crunch numbers and look at charts and see what the best use of our limited funds will be. We want to hear stories about how so-and-so sold 10,000 books in a week with this idea and how what's-her-face became an Amazon best-seller with that idea. There's just one problem. Nothing works as well the second time you do it.

    The first blog tours were extremely successful. The first author to hold a Kindle Fire giveaway tied up with the sale of his or her books probably turned a significant profit. The authors who use the data from these once new ideas can't help but get diminishing returns from these secondhand marketing plans. They can't help it. Do you think the second magazine or television advertisement of all time was anywhere near as successful as the first? It just doesn't work like that.

    To be as successful as possible, you need to try to come up with an idea that's never been done before. As a peddler of creative writing prompts, I'd like to give you some prompts to ask yourself as you're creating your new marketing campaign.

    1. What are five ideas to target my desired audience and why will they work?

    It's easy to come up with a general marketing plan. A few guest posts, an advertisement or two and a giveaway. Can you be sure, however, that this plan will reach your target readers? List at least five different ideas and evaluate whether or not the ideas will reach your ideal readers.

    2. How do I make these ideas cheaper?

    We love the idea of doing these big giveaways of merchandise and hardcover books. If we spend all of our money on one marketing plan, however, we may not be able to diversify and reach the highest number of people possible. Spend time, as opposed to money, and consider giving out or trading services to make your marketing plan less expensive.

    3. How much time will these marketing plans require and how will I be able to put in the necessary hours?

    Many authors shortchange their marketing plans because they don't put in the necessary time to help the plan flourish. Just as sacrifices must be made to create the time necessary to write the book, sacrifices must be made to free up the time needed for a marketing plan. Come up with ways to set aside that time and your marketing plan will be much more successful.

    4. What are five marketing ideas that have never been done before?

    It's always better to come up with multiple ideas than it is to think of one. Once you come up with the ideas, look them up to make sure you haven't reinvented the wheel. It's also never a bad idea to run these ideas by a few trustworthy author friends. 

    5. How are you going to market the marketing plan?

    The first blog tours and giveaways were successful because readers and authors found out about them. You can have the most amazing contest in the world, but if people don't find out about it, your plan won't be worth the website it's printed on.

    --

    The marketing plan you create needs to be an extension of your art. If you've got a book that people will actually want to read, it means you've created art. You must use your artistic abilities to make a marketing plan that is just as unique and exciting as your book.











    About the Author

    In honor of his new book, Cohen is hosting the “1,000 Prompts, 1,000 Dollars" Writing Contest on his website. Click the link to find out how to enter!

    Bryan Cohen is an author, a creativity coach and an actor. His new book, 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, Volume 2: More Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More is now available on Amazon in digital and paperback format. His other books include 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, The Post-College Guide to Happiness, and Ted Saves the World. He has published over 30 books, which have sold more than 20,000 copies in total. Connect with him on his website, Build Creative Writing Ideas, on Facebookor on Twitter. 


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    21. CLAN by Realm Lovejoy!

    I've known Realm for along time online now. And I adore her. Not only is she gorgeous and sweet (not to mention the most kickass name evah!) but she is an amazing artist!! 

    I'm excited to help her celebrate her new book CLAN!

    CLAN ebook and paperback can be purchased on Amazon. Until 12/26, the ebook (not illustrated) is 99 cents and the paperback (illustrated) is $8.99. Also, don't miss the giveaway at the end! 

    Clans are Unity.
    No variation. No deviation.
    On Clades, to be a Clan is to be an exact copy. 
    A perfect society cloning themselves to survive, 
    even as the zombielike Frags threaten to overrun them 
    on an unforgiving planet. 
    Clan 1672 (privately known as Twain) 
    was never supposed to survive the Incubation Tank. 
    But he did. Illegally. 
    He is different from the other Clans.
    A secret that could destroy him. 

    Realm: "Today I am revealing an illustration of one of the Fives Values of Clan: Contribution. Each Clan must contribute to their society. Because each Clan is supposed to be identical without special traits that are different from one another, each Clan is assigned a job through organized numbers." 

    How did you come up with the cover?

    I'm a big fan of simplicity and am attracted to clean covers. For CLAN, the world is very futuristic and minimalistic, so I wanted to portray that look in the cover. I also wanted to distill the core theme into one iconic image. I think the broken stick-figure symbol reveals the story--out of all the cookie cutter figures, one is different. The theme color is blue due to the main character's eyes (an icy blue unlike his brethren's brown eyes).

    How are you incorporating your artwork into your novel? 

    The paperback of CLAN has 25-30 black and white illustrations of various scenes, concepts, and details. Examples can be seen here. The ebook version does not contain illustrations due to constraints on the digital distribution. 

    What's your marketing method for CLAN?

    I work as an artist in the video game industry, so I tend to like to communicate with visuals. I use a lot of art for promotions such as posters, preview images, and the book trailer which I made with the illustrations for CLAN. I also used to be involved in marketing and promotional art for games, so that helps too. I learned a lot about focusing on a theme and keeping things visually consistent. What were some of the most challenging aspects of publishing CLAN?

    Going over every detail. The entire manuscript had to be inspected of course, but I also had to go through all my art, the paperback format, the trailer, the marketing art, cover art, and so on. The constant focusing and searching for errors on so many levels can be challenging.  

    Do you have any more online events happening?

    Yes, the YA Bound Blog Tour will start December 9th! And up next on the Intro Blog Tour is Courtney Summers on 11/19--I hope your readers will check it out! Thank you for having me on your blog today, Shelli!


    About the Author:

    Realm Lovejoy is an American writer and an artist. She grew up in both Washington State and the Japanese Alps of Nagano, Japan. Currently, she lives in Seattle and works as an artist in the video game industry. CLAN is her first book. 

    You can find out more about her and her book at www.realmlovejoy.com

    Enter the giveaway! (Shipping is for US only.) a Rafflecopter giveaway



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    22. Unstoppable Cover Reveal!

    So I have been asked why UNSTOPPABLE (Book 3) was scheduled for Sept and then was put on hold.


    Well...Amazon has offered to publish my NATURE OF GRACE series. :) That means UNSTOPPABLE will only be available on Kindle for one year before releasing on other site. Different I know but a change. Risky but why not?

    This whole process started out as an experiment 2 years ago and I like to test the waters.

    So, Amazon is rereleasing the series when the third book comes out.

    UNSTOPPABLE is now scheduled for some time in first quarter but the actual release date is still pending.

    So I will announce it as soon as I know! yay!

    So I've decided to go ahead with my cover reveal :) Thanks again to the amazing Vania at VLC Photo (who has done all my covers) and Jade (the model)

    Here it is along with the blurb....

    After everything that has happened, Grace goes to the Everglades to live with her grandmother, Birdee. Even though she is now home-schooled by her bird-obsessed grandmother, the move gives Grace time to relax. She learns to scuba dive and starts boating with old man Rex, Birdee's casual friend/boyfriend. 

    One day while out in the marshes of the Everglades, Grace rescues an abused Florida panther, currently on the endangered list. The more she dives into the animal’s horrific condition, the more she ventures into the underground world of the roadside zoos that run rampant in Florida with a total disregard for the law. Eventually, she stumbles upon one large roadside zoo filled with a variety of endangered and illegal animals. 

    Before she can gather evidence and report her findings to the authorities, she is kidnapped by the ruthless owner and dragged deep into the Everglades for a hunting challenge. Only this time, Grace is the prey. 

    During a sick game of cat and mouse, Grace is offered one chance at survival. With a one-hour head start and very little supplies, time and skill are now all that stands between the hunter and the hunted.



    To catch up on the series - Untraceable is on sale for 99 cents and Uncontrollable is on sale for 2.99.


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    23. Two cover reveals!

    Echoes_CVR_XSMLEchoes in the Glass by Cheri Lasota (Dec 2013)

    Finnian bears the scar of an unspeakable crime. McKenna hides the pain of a terrible betrayal. When all their secrets are laid bare, will the truth rip them apart or forever silence the echoes of the past?
    Seventeen-year-old Finnian Bell has been on the run for years, but he finally has a chance to rebuild his life while restoring an abandoned lighthouse on the Oregon Coast. 
    McKenna Lucas, the lightkeeper’s daughter, is still reeling from the pain of an event that has shattered her innocence. Fear and bitterness have turned her heart from Finnian, but he is determined not to let her go.
    The lighthouse harbors dark secrets of its own…
    When Finnian and McKenna uncover the story of two teens hidden in the tower back in 1934, they discover a shocking connection that bridges time and death.

    Add to Goodreads

    ==============

    Wastelands by LM Preston (May 2014)

    If you have an insatiable appetite for PIRATES and romance with MYSTERY thrown in, than you are in for a great ride with the BANDITS series.

    Book 2 in the series WASTELANDS by LM Preston comes out Spring 2014 (May).


    Take a moment to add it to your GOODREADS reading list! 

    Go to her blog for a free copy of Book 1


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    24. Fall into Reading - 9 books at 99 cents

    FALL into READING! .99 SALE on NINE HOT New Releases and 
    Bestselling Titles!

    The temperatures are dropping, and it's a great time to cuddle up 
    with a new book!

    So for One Week Only, we've dropped the price on NINE HOT 
    New Releases and Bestselling Titles, and combined them with 
    a chance to WIN Amazon gift cards, 
    ebooks, and more!

    Check it out and spread the word~




    ALL for only 99 cents this week!

    **The Only One by Magan Vernon -- "Sweet and sexy!! Loved it! 
    This is the type of story you read again and again." --#1 New 
    York Times best selling author Rachel Van Dyken


    **Dominus by Christine Fonesca -- "A thrilling end to a 
    fantastic supernatural series!" --Leigh Talbert Moore, bestselling 
    author of The Truth About Faking


    **Dragonfly by Leigh Talbert Moore -- "The characters were intriguing, 
    the mystery and story were interesting and definitely have ME WANTING MORE!!!!!!!" --Mandy, The Romance Bookie


    **Crossing by Stacey Wallace Benefiel -- "Beautiful. Heart wrenching. 
    A true tale of love. It'll make you laugh, cry, and have you running 
    out to buy a tube of red lipstick." --RaShelle Workman, bestselling 
    author of the Blood and Snow series


    **ClockwiseR by Elle Strauss -- A great follow-up to the super fun CLOCKWISE (ed note: Clockwise is free!)! More time-travel 
    adventures, more scary cliffhangers. The writer's strength in 
    describing battle scenes and war time add to the historical parts. 
    The resolution was not what I expected. Great writing and a fun book! - Leigh Talbert Moore, bestselling author of The Truth About 
    Letting Go


    **Protected by Cindy Hogan -- "This anticipated sequel sizzles with 
    equal parts thriller, suspense and romance. A spine tingling 
    story I could not put down." - C.K.Bryant, author of Bound


    **A Spy Like Me by Laura Pauling -- "Move over Gallagher Girls, 
    there's a new spy in town! A Spy Like Me is a fast paced, high 
    energy ride through Paris that left me almost as breathless as 
    Pauling's hot hero. Super fun beginning, great story, and an 
    ending that won't disappoint!" --Gemma Halliday, NYT best 
    selling author of Spying in High Heels


    **The Pack - Retribution by L.M. Preston -- "The action in this book 
    was phenomenal! There was never a dull moment. Shamira 
    and the group were always fighting off the bad guys and with 
    style too." --P. Bradish, Amazon Reviewer


    **Untraceable by S.R. Johannes -- "This thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance.  The 
    action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with 
    rapids, holding suspense to last page." -- Kirkus Review 


    * * *

    Enter to WIN!



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    25. RockABet by Kelly Polark

    Today, I'm playing band manager to celebrate the release of Kelly Polark's ABC's of rock 'n' roll picture book, ROCKABET: CLASSIC EDITION

    Are you ready to rock A to Z? Let's roll through some music history! ROCKABET: Classic Edition introduces classic artists of rock 'n' roll in catchy couplets. This fun book promotes the arts, literacy, and learning the ABC's. Cute illustrations depict musicians in a childlike manner. Reading rocks!


    Tell me your rockin' picks if you could create your own band.

    Band Name: 
    First Gig: 
    Lead vocals: 
    Lead guitarist: 
    Bass guitarist:
    Drums:
    Keyboards (optional):
    Who would you choose for your supergroup and why?

    Here's a band name generator to create your killer band name!

    ROCKABET: The CLASSIC EDITION can currently be purchased online at Amazon or at select bookstores. Hardcover books will be available at various online retailers and stores in October.

    Kelly Polark is Kelly Polark is a married mom of three and a children's educator and author from the Midwest. She has been featured in Spider, Ladybug, and Highlights Puzzlemania. Her published books include BIG SISTER, BABY BROTHER and HOLD THE MUSTARD! by Meegenius and ROCKABET: CLASSIC EDITION. In her free time, Kelly plays with her family, reads books, and sings along at rock concerts. 

    Visit her websites, BOOK RECS OF THE ROCK AND FAMOUS (www.bookrecsthatrock.blogspot.com) and KELLY POLARK (www.kpolark.blogspot.com). Find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AuthorKellyPolark) and on Twitter, too (@kellypolark)! 

    She is also the author of BIG SISTER, BABY BROTHER and the upcoming HOLD THE MUSTARD! from Meegenius. Come visit her on Facebook and Twitter! Check out her website and celebrity book recommendation site, Book Recs of the Rock and Famous.






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