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1. 50-Word Stories

A very, very short story published on the 50-Word Stories website!

LYNNE NORTH: Progress

August 27, 2015 Artistic, Submissions civilization, Lynne North, nature, tree

‘People pass; most don’t notice my existence.

I lived through two world wars, bearing witness to horrors. I harmed no one.

Yet they want me gone.

They come to end my life. I hear the saws, suffer the cuts in my trunk. Soon I will fall.

They call it progress.’

 

Lynne North writes humorous fantasy novels for children. She decided it was time she tried something else…

 

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2. Blurb Blinging 101…

NOTE: Originally posted on the Emblazon website.

Blurbs. Stop groaning. You know you need one to help promote and market your book. And if you do up a blurb correctly, have an eye-catching cover, and wrote a great story, then you’ve done your job. The blurb is one of the most important marketing tools in getting your book ready for publication. In fact, you've already got a version of your blurb done—the synopsis in your query letter is essentially the same thing as a blurb. Here again, though, there are some significant differences. With a query letter, you're relating the entire plot. With a blurb, you want to entice the reader—to get them engaged with your story so they can come along as you unravel the plot for them. So here again—while the forms look very similar, their purpose is quite different.

Here's a surefire method to develop a quick, cohesive blurb. THINK THREE PARAGRAPHS. In the FIRST paragraph, introduce your main character. Now in the SECOND paragraph, introduce your secondary character— a BFF, love interest or antagonist—and the conflict. Remember, the conflict is what drives your plot.

Then in the THIRD paragraph, you bring it all together. This is where you pose a question to the reader—maybe not a straight out QUESTION but a rhetorical one. You want to give the reader a sense of urgency regarding the plot—what will happen if the characters' attempt to resolve the plot fails. In other words, what the stakes are.

The blurb in its entirety tells its own little story—and that's what keeps people buying and reading this book. You want to set up the protagonist, the conflict, the obstacles to resolving that conflict and to give the reader a sense of the risks involved in failure. What you've done is to create a microcosm—a tiny example of what your book—the macrocosm—is.
 
Writing a successful blurb is a test of any writer's skills. It's darn hard to filter down sixty thousand words into five hundred. But this is a skill a successful writer must learn to do. Throughout your career, whether this is your lone book or the first of hundreds, whether you stay in independent publishing or whether you move on to the Big Six, you MUST LEARN to write effective taglines and blurbs that work. That sell. Your. Book.

Below is the blurb to the prequel of my time travel series, Legend of the Timekeepers, just re-released on August 1stthrough Mirror World Publishing. Although I didn’t use three paragraphs, I used all the information stated above. Let me know what you think:

Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe.

Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.

Intriguing? I hope so! If you’re an author how do you go about creating blurbs? And if you’re a reader, what blurbs have caused you to make that book purchase? Love to hear your comments! Cheers! 

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3. The Book Awards Kindle Winner July 2015

And the winner of The Book Awards top Kindle book for July 2015 is…

 

Kindle Winner July15

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4. 6 Tips on how Authors can be Artful at an Art Market…

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending my first Art Market with my new publisher, Mirror World Publishing. I looked forward with anticipation to the throngs of new readers I would meet there. I had my bucket of candy good to go. I had signed postcards and trading cards lined up across our table.  I had my Sharpie® marker at my side, ready to sign the copious amount of books I’d sell. And I had Justine, my trusty publisher by my side to introduce me to the world. Um. Yeah. Cue the crickets. What I found out was Art Markets and Craft Shows are not for the faint of heart and may not be the best venue for authors. However, NEVER underestimate the power of connecting with future readers, and getting the word out about your books and products.

Below are six simple tips I picked up from ‘working it’ on the blacktop during those two days at the local Art Market:

1. Usually potential customers (a.k.a. readers) are lured to tables when they see books. That’s a no-brainer. Make sure you have an eye-catching banner running across the length of your table and that your books are strategically placed in stands (you can purchase these at any dollar store) and positioned together in the same genres.

2. Engage readers immediately and ask them what genre they like to read. Then, go for the sweet spot and ask them the names of their favorite authors. Since my publisher had an array of books and authors of different genres splashed across the table, we had a better chance at filling the readers’ literary needs. For example some liked fantasy, others were avid young adult fans, so we steered them toward the appropriate section. FYI – two of the most popular genres were mysteries and historical fiction. I think Justine made a note of that!

3. Next, ask the reader what book covers hook them. You’d really be surprised at their answers. A group of gray-haired women loved to read blood and guts (still laughing about that), yet my cover for Legend of the Timekeepers—the prequel to my time travel series—scared the hell out of one of them! They ended up buying one of the darkest books we had on stock. *Head desk.

4. If children or teens are in tow, move to the front of the table and go for the candy. They’re already staring at the jar, so why not offer something that they love! Just make sure their parents are on board. Even adults love candy, so go with your gut and offer them a sweet temptation.

5. The elements of nature can be a loving force or a force to be reckoned with. Be prepared for anything. My publisher brought a drop sheet in case it rained, but when the wind kicked up we had to hold onto the tent for dear life! Thankfully a kind vendor across from our table loaned us a couple of cinder blocks to batten down the hatches!

6. Finally, never ignore anyone, and always end conversations on a positive note whether they purchase a book or not. Hand them a brochure on your products or a signed postcard along with a smile. You never know. They might just buy your book at later date!


So there you have it! My six tips based on my first experience working at an Art Market. If you’re an author who loves doing the Art Markets or Craft Shows what tips can you add? If you’re a reader—what book covers pop for you? What covers scare you? Would love to read your comments! Cheers!

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5. New Publisher!

I am delighted to say I have been taken on by a new publisher for my latest children’s humorous fantasy, ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’

”Finn is a bored young leprechaun who lives a quiet life with his family and friends in the sleepy village of Duntappin. He wants something exciting to happen, but never having been blessed by the Good Luck Fairy he soon gets far more than he bargained for. When he least expects his adventure to begin, Finn finds himself a long way from home in dire circumstances. Home begins to seem very appealing all of a sudden. Has he any hope of getting back? This is no fairy tale…

This funny and fast moving story filled by weird and wonderful characters will turn all your expectations on their head, but that’s a good thing, because it makes them all the more amusing’

 

My new publisher is the American based ‘Crimson Cloak Publishing’ The following extract is taken from their website.

‘Crimson Cloak Publishing was created by people who care about our authors, editors, artists, and customers. For without them, we could not exist.

Crimson Cloak Publishing is a new and exciting voice in the publishing industry. Our main goal is to provide quality literature to our audience at a fair price. We publish soft-covers and e-books, currently.  Audiobooks and hard cover will come later.’

Click on the link below to check out the great books for sale!

http://www.crimsoncloakpublishing.com/main_page.html

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6. National Geographic for Kids Almanac 2016 – Book Review and Giveaway

Title: National Geographic Kids ALMANAC 2015 Published by: National Geographic Themes/Topics: Science, nature, gales, culture, history, going green, geography Suitable for ages: 8-13 Paperback, 352 pages, nonfiction, Three Snippets: Page 112 has a monthly sky calendar saying what is happening in the skies … Continue reading

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7. Virtual Book Tours 101…

In anticipation for the upcoming re-releases of both my MG/YA time travel books with Mirror World Publishing, I’ve decided to hire a book promotion specialist to help with the process of setting up and running a book blog tour. I’ve learned in the past that for me, it’s easier to delegate rather than take on certain tasks. However, if you love the thought of being in the driver’s seat and setting up your own book blog tour, then this post is for you.

Below is a 15 point checklist for planning your virtual book blog tour. It’s not rocket science, but it will give an author an idea of the different steps that are needed to pull off a successful book blog tour.

·         Make sure you plan at least 2-3 months in advance.
·         Determine your goals for your book tour. Remember you’re bringing awareness to your book(s) so make sure you’re clear on what you want to get across to potential readers.
·         What type of tour will you be running? Book blast? New release?
·         Determine the length of your tour and the tour dates.
·         Are you going to run a contest during your book tour?
·         Decide whether or not to offer giveaways or discounts. I usually use Rafflecopter to run a giveaway. It’s easy and picks the winner at the end of the tour.
·         Make a list of prospective hosts and research them. Hint: pull from your well of blogger author friends who write in the same genre as you do. You’ll be able to pay them back when they do a book tour.
·         Write an invitation and send to your top prospects.
·         Correspond with hosts and send confirmations.
·         Set-up a schedule of tour stops.
·         Post schedule on your blog or website.
·         Plan your promotional strategy, and include your tour hosts. Some may want to do a review. Others may want to share an excerpt. Do up a top ten list or dream cast based on your book. There are plenty of ideas to draw from!
·         Write articles/posts and send to your hosts at least ten days in advance. Don’t forget any images you may want to include.
·         Set-up a daily routine to follow during your book tour.
·         Finally—this is a must—make sure you COMMENT on each of your host’s blog. Check in periodically to see if anyone has commented, and reply to them. This is a common courtesy, and your hosts are going out of their way to help support you and your book.

BTW—my virtual book blog tour for The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis begins June 17th and finishes on June 26th. I’ve hired Sapphyria’s Book Promotions to do most of the leg work on this one. It should be a blast! I’ll be posting the tour schedule on my blog in the near future, so stay tuned!

Thanks a heap for reading my blog. Authors, if you have time, please leave a comment and share how you go about organizing a virtual book blog tour. If you’re a reader, please share what you enjoy about virtual book blog tours? The giveaways? A chance at winning an awesome prize? Engaging with the author? Finding a new author? I’d appreciate your input. Cheers! 

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8. Shouldering Author Morale…

If you look up the word morale in any dictionary chances are it reads: the degree of mental or moral confidence of a person or group. For me, as an author, morale means much more than that. It is that needed punch in the arm authors give each other, that WOO-HOO for a 5 star review, that tweet or share or shout out to help authors with their sales, and that blog post comment to help them get on the cyber map.

So how do you go about bolstering author morale? Follow the Golden rule. Treat other authors precisely as you wish them to treat you. If they don’t respond at once, keep at it, again and again and again. If there’s no response, no Esprit de Corps among them, then it may be time to move on and find another group of authors willing to help build your author platform with you. Then, once you’ve establish an Esprit de Corps, you go the extra mile.

Going the extra mile is the state of mind you must develop in order to build morale and keep the momentum going in ANY endeavor. And going the extra mile makes you indispensable to others. You do for them what no one else does. And if they ask what they can do for you, tell them. So the next time you find yourself perusing your favorite social network — go the extra mile and give an author a boost. Share their wares. Like their post. Comment on their blog. Tweet their stuff. Friend and follow them. Trust me—you’ll get it back in aces.

Thanks a heap for reading my blog. Authors, if you have time, please leave a comment and share what you do to go the extra mile with other authors. If you’re a reader, please share what you do to boost your favorite author’s presence? I’d appreciate your input. Cheers! 

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9. Building Book Sales using the Reverse Engineering Method…

Remember that kid who decided to take apart a toy just to see how it worked? And then, surprise…that same kid couldn’t figure out how to put it back together again. We authors can sure learn something from that one kid. We can learn how to use reverse engineering to figure out why readers buy our books. Think about it. Kids take something (computer, radio controlled car, Barbie dolls) apart to see how it works, get to the guts of what makes that thing go, run, fly, burp. So why shouldn’t authors be able to take apart the sale that lured readers to buy the book in the first place?

The first question you should ask yourself is: Why did you purchase insert name of book? Was it because it was your friend’s book? Perhaps a suggestion? Or a book you learned about through a review? Was it an emotional purchase? A New York Times Bestseller? Or was the book part of Oprah’s book club? I want you to chase down the sale and figure out what made you buy that certain book. Got it? Good.

Now once you do this kind of reverse engineering you can build a profile for the sale. You get to see how a sale is built. You get to know how the book market works. That’s when you can develop a marketing strategy for your own books. Get it? Great.

A lot of times you’ll find the answer is word of mouth via the social media, or a friend suggested the book (or wrote it), or they passed by a bookstore window and the cover caught their eye. Even Oprah has the golden touch. Dig deep, and find the reason for that sale.

While doing my own reverse engineering, I suddenly saw this quote from Bill Gates in my Twitter feed: “You’re most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” That’s when it hit me. Book reviews. Not the one-star reviews you get from trolls, but those reviews that seem sincere, yet only give you a 3 star. Those are gold. Use these kinds of reviews to fine tune your writing. Listen, really listen to what the reader/reviewer is conveying to you, and apply their advice in your next book if it rings true with you. I know you can’t please everyone, but you can certainly make changes in your writing that will help boost your book sales and reach new readers.

Thanks a heap for reading my blog. Authors, if you have time, please leave a comment and share what you do to track down your book sales. If you’re a reader, please share what leads you to buy a certain book? I’d appreciate your input. Cheers!

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10. Book Promotion 101…

NOTE: This post was originally featured on Susan Gourley’s blog. You can find out about this wonderful fantasy, romance, and science fiction author who also writes as Susan Kelley HERE.

During November 2014, I decided to go gung-ho and promote my two time travel books. So I prepared a plan and outlined it HERE. This is gist of my book promo strategy:

1. I created a Goodreads Giveaway for The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, and the prequel to the series, Legend of the Timekeepers. I offered only one signed paperback book, and included signed trading cards. I made these giveaways international, hoping to reach a lot of readers worldwide, and ran it for the first three weeks in November.

2. I signed up for a month-long Holiday Giveaway with Mother Daughter Book Reviews. The prize was a Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet, perfect for the upcoming holiday season. I was hoping to reach my target audience with this giveaway, since Mother Daughter focuses on reviewing children and middle grade books. The price of being part of the giveaway was $10, so it seemed a no-brainer to me.

3. Along with doing the Holiday Giveaway with Mother Daughter Book Reviews, an offer was given to authors to support Daughter by purchasing a $30 coupon book for her school’s fundraising campaign. And the offer? A promotion package which included advertising my book cover on the site’s sidebar for 30 days (which gets about 50,000 views monthly), plus a book review, and a two week Mini Social Media Blitz. Normally this promotion would have cost me over $70, so it seemed like a win-win to me! Plus the coupon book has already paid for itself! LOL!

4. As I mentioned in the outline, I’m part of this fantastic tween author group called Emblazon. We planned a HUGE Rafflecopter giveaway for a new Kindle preloaded with over 50 of the Emblazoners middle grade books which ran for the first 2 weeks of November. In addition, a Facebook party was set up for three days where readers could interact with authors and win great prizes. This was all to advertise the release our 2014-2015 Winter catalogue in time for the holiday season.

5. I participated at the Windsor-Essex Book Expo on Sunday, November 23rd to build my brand, connect with local authors, and meet readers. Along with my paperbacks, I brought a huge jar of Twizzlers® to hand out to the kids and adults, signed trading cards, and postcards.

And the results…drum roll please:

Goodreads Giveaways: What a surprise here folks! I couldn’t believe the entries I received. For The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, I had 2100 entries—a new record! And for Legend of the Timekeepers, I garnered 1502 readers wanting to win—another record! One book ended up going to Turkey for a cost of $11.65, and the second book surprisingly went to Quebec, Canada for $4.10. Not bad if you include the price of the books ($10 each). I was more after exposure here, which I got big-time.  Plus I connected with one of the winners, who said he’d write a review for me.
 
Mother Daughter Book Reviews Holiday Giveaway: There were 34,002 entries for the Kindle Fire Kid’s Edition. Not bad in my books! Congrats to winner Joelle D. Again, exposure was the name of the game here. I wanted to get my book out in front of my target audience, and generate interest in my author brand.

Promotion Package with Mother Daughter Book Reviews: This finished December 8th, and I have to say I got some pretty good buzz with this promo plus a wonderful book review. I reached new Twitter followers, and received some more likes on Facebook. The shocker came on December 8th when my Amazon Bestseller Rank skyrocketed from 700,000 to 97,000. Um…huh? I didn’t see that coming, especially since my rank in November kept going down. Must have done something right!

Emblazon Preloaded Kindle Giveaway: I was mildly disappointed with the Facebook party, but we held strong and got a few readers stopping by to comment during my allotted time. In fact, I believe the winner of my ebook was a book reviewer, so you never know! We did manage to get more likes on our Emblazon Facebook page, so I feel we did okay. As for generating interest in our 2014-2015 Winter Catalog, the stats are in: 222 new subscribers for a total of 338 subscribers for our catalog! We’ve only been doing this for 2 years, and we’re all very HAPPY with these results! The Emblazoners even purchased another Kindle during the Black Friday sales for the next promotion. So stay tuned…

Windsor-Essex Book Expo:This event has all to do with location, location, location. And it wasn’t the best location for walk-in traffic. That said, I did sell seven books, so after factoring in the cost of renting a table ($35) and buying the candy ($10), I come away with about $25 in my pocket. Um…considering this event ran from 10 am to 5 pm, I made about $3.57 an hour. Again, this was about networking with other authors and meeting perspective readers—which I did. Plus the licorice was a BIG hit, and was a great ice breaker! I also made a few author connections too. Would I do this event again? Sure, and hopefully next year’s venue will be in a high traffic area.

Bottom line:With all the promotion and marketing I did during November 2014, my Amazon author rank and sales dropped drastically until AFTER December 8th, when my rank took a surprising turn for the better. Not sure why it took so long, but so happy it did! This whole author/promoter/marketer business is one crazy roller coaster ride to begin with. What did happen during the month that surprised me was that a 19-year-old reader from the Netherlands connected with me through Goodreads, and we struck up a relationship. She loves my books, and even reread the prequel and sent me a detailed email asking questions about the book. She even asked if she could review my writing in the future, so I think I’ve found my dream beta reader. Now that’s a super fan! And truthfully, this is what authors are after in the long run—cultivating relationships with readers that will last a lifetime.

Only time will tell whether these promotion strategies will translate into long term sales, but since I’m in for the long haul, I feel most were good investments.

Plans for 2015:I want to finish up the second book in my time travel series by spring to submit to my publisher this year, plus I'm going to have anniversary book blasts in May and August for my existing MG/YA books. There will also be at least four Goodreads Giveaways during 2015, so stay tuned for those contests. I’m within chapters of finishing revising and editing my first book—a paranormal romance with a Beauty and the Beast twist—my agent has requested, and hope to have the MS in her hands in February. I wanted to get The Last Timekeepers and Arch of Atlantis and Legend of the Timekeepers out on audio books, but have found that this Amazon service is only available to residents of the US and UK. Bummer. I'm hoping that Amazon's audio book service (ACX) will open  up to the Canadian authors in the near future. 

Authors—what promotional strategies have worked for you? What haven’t? Readers—what book promotions seem to hook your attention? Love to hear from you! Cheers and thank you for reading my post!

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11. First Crystal Pen Publishing Newsletter

Here is the first newsletter for Crystal Pen Publishing, the new publishing name for my Kindle books. Hope you like it! Please give me some feedback about what you would like to see in the next issue!

Newsletter

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12. Zac’s Destiny 2014 Kindle Award Winner!

Zac’s Destiny, winner of The Book Awards for a Kindle title 2014!
Available on Kindle from Amazon worldwide.

2014KindleWinner

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13. Caution: Witch in Progress 2014 Award Winner!

Caution: Witch in Progress, The Book Awards runner-up for printed book of the year and gaining highest number of votes for a fiction title 2014!

2014PrintRunner-Up

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14. Zac’s Destiny – Award Winner!

Great News! Zac’s Destiny won the online People’s Book Awards for the month of October 2014! Thank you so much to everyone who voted.
This award winning Sword & Sorcery fantasy is available to purchase from Amazon worldwide.

Click here to buy your copy

Kindle winner Oct14

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15. Zac’s Destiny – Award Winner!

Great News! Zac’s Destiny won the online People’s Book Awards for the month of October 2014! Thank you so much to everyone who voted.
This award winning Sword & Sorcery fantasy is available to purchase from Amazon worldwide.

Click here to buy your copy

Kindle winner Oct14

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16. A lot of writing & marketing ebooks on sale today only for #writers today only. Grab them while you can!

There are a number of writing technique and book marketing ebooks on sale today only (Fri Nov 7, 2014) for only $0.99 on Amazon that, if you’re a writer, published or pre-published, you may want to buy. I’ve snatched up most of the ones I’ve listed here myself. As a writer, I think I can always keep learning and growing, perfecting my craft.

Writing Technique

Mary Buckham’s Writing Active Setting Book 1: Characterization and Sensory Detail.
Mary Buckham teaches courses on writing technique, and I’ve loved very article I’ve read by her, so I snatched this one up immediately. I highly recommend her work.









Write Your Novel From The Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between by James Scott Bell.

I’ve bought and read James Scott Bell’s books on writing technique before; I know he has solid, helpful advice, so I snatched this one up, too. :)










The Indie Author Power Pack: How To Write, Publish, & Market Your Book

This is a 3-book set, combining: WRITE. PUBLISH. REPEAT.: The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success by Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant; LET’S GET DIGITAL: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should by David Gaughran; and HOW TO MARKET A BOOK by Joanna Penn. I know Joanna Penn’s work; she’s the author of many fiction and non-fiction books and blogs at thecreativepenn, so I snatched this deal just for her book, but I’m also really interested in reading Write, Publish, Repeat, and at $0.99 for all three this is a steal.




Writing the Heart of Your Story: The Secret to Crafting an Unforgettable Novel (The Writer’s Toolbox Series) by C. S. Lakin.

C.S. Lakin is an author and a writing coach; I’ve appreciated (and recommended) many of her articles on her blog LiveWriteThrive, so I snatched her book up, too.









Writing a Killer Thriller: An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction by Jodie Renner.

Jodie Renner is an editor offering advice on creating fast-paced, compelling fiction. I think editors, because they see so much work (both good and bad), and because they’ve trained in writing and editing, have a lot to offer writers that we can learn from. So I bought this book, too.










Mastering Showing and Telling in Your Fiction (Busy Writer’s Guides Book 4) by Marcy Kennedy.

Even when we know writing technique and “rules,” sometimes a refresher helps, or hearing it a different way. I liked the conversational tone to her book, so I bought this one, too. :)







Book Promotion

Book Marketing is Dead: Book Promotion Secrets You MUST Know BEFORE You Publish Your Book.

As published authors, we’re expected to market our books. This book sounds like it may have some good advice and takes a different approach than some books and articles I’ve read, so I also bought it.










Goodreads For Authors: How To Use Goodreads To Promote Your Books

I know GoodReads can help readers find our books; I’ve used GoodReads for contests for ARCs and finished books, and I have my blog appear on GoodReads. I’m interested on reading what else authors can do.









How To Get Honest Reviews: 7 Proven Ways to Connect With Readers and Reviewers (Book Marketing Survival Guide Series 1) by Shelley Hitz and Heather Hart.

I don’t have trouble getting reviews–I query book bloggers–but if you’re just starting out, or if you haven’t had to do this for yourself before, you may want to get this book. I may still pick it up myself because it looks like they have some things I haven’t thought about before.





2 Comments on A lot of writing & marketing ebooks on sale today only for #writers today only. Grab them while you can!, last added: 11/7/2014
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17. November Happenings, Goodreads Giveaways, and other Great Stuff…

This month will prove to be a busy one for me! I’m already sweating buckets. First up, I’ve got two Goodreads Giveaways happening for each of my time travel books, The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, and the prequel to the series, Legend of the Timekeepers beginning November 1st and running until midnight on November 22nd. The giveaway is open Worldwide, which gives me plenty of time to mail the winners their signed paperback copies before the end of holiday season. BTW – I’m including a set of signed trading cards to go along with the books, so go to the end of this post to enter these giveaways!

Second up, I’ve signed on as a participating author with the Mother Daughter Book Reviews for their Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet Holiday Giveaway. I know, that’s a mouthful to say! This is a fantastic opportunity for authors and book bloggers to reach new readers and put a smile on a child’s face at the same time. Here’s what Renee, the hostess of this event has to say:

"I was pretty excited to see this pretty cool new product available through Amazon starting October 21. This is a HOT PRODUCT! The all-new Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet also comes with 1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited (which means kids get unlimited access to 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games—at no additional cost!). It includes a quad-core processor for great performance, a vivid HD display, front and rear-facing cameras, and Dolby Audio PLUS comes with a Kid-Proof Case, and a 2-year worry-free guarantee – if they break it, return it and Amazon replaces it for free. No questions asked! Um… can you say Christmas present?"

Wow, now I want one! Here’s the gist of the giveaway: One winner will receive either a new Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition 7” Tablet (US only), a $200 Amazon gift card (International) or $200 PayPal cash prize (International). The event will take place from November 1st to 30th, 2014. The giveaway is open Worldwide.

Third up, I’ve got a two week Mini Social Media Blitzset up with Mother Daughter Book Reviews starting on November 24th. This will be an experiment for me, as I’ve never used this type of service before. This particular book promotion includes 10 Tweets (provided by me), 2 Facebook shares, 1 Google+ share, Pinterest Pins to at least 2 Mother Daughter Book Reviews boards, and adding my book (I choose The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis) to Goodreads “Want-to-Read” shelf. It should be interesting to see if this promotion generates interest in my books. BTW—their monthly page views range from 45,000 to 55,000 so it seems like a win-win to me.

Fourth up, I’m part of this fantastic tween writers group called Emblazon. We Emblazoners are planning a HUGE Rafflecopter giveaway which will run for 2 weeks beginning Monday, November 3rd. There will be books, ebooks, and book swag up for grabs. Oh, did I mention the Kindle preloaded with 40 of the Emblazoners middle grade books? There will also be a Facebook party where readers can interact with authors and win great prizes. Any teachers or librarians out there will benefit from this fun event as we release our newest catalogue into the world just in time for the holiday season!

Fifth up, and finally, I’m participating in the Windsor-Essex Book Expo on Sunday, November 23rd. This gives me a chance to meet and connect with readers and authors in the area. They’ve got some awesome sponsors, and there will be children’s events, autographs, and readings from local authors. I’m personally bringing Twizzlers® to hand out to the kids (and most-likely some adults), along with signed trading cards and postcards. BTW—anyone who buys one of my books scores a Last Timekeepers rubber wrist band! For more information on this event, please click HEREto go to the Windsor-Essex Authors Facebook page.

Whew! Still sweating! Thanks a heap for reading my blog. If you have time, please leave a comment and share what you’re planning to do to boost your book sales and author presence during the upcoming holiday season. If you’re a reader, what type of events would grab your interest and draw you into an author’s world? Cheers!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis by Sharon Ledwith

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis

by Sharon Ledwith

Giveaway ends November 22, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

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18. Escape from Netherworld—Piper

Here she is: Piper the elf from jacket art for Escape from Netherworld—about a group of role-playing gamers who are somehow transformed into their characters and transported into an alternate realm: Netherworld.

My pal, the extraordinarily talented Gina Datres, is the book’s designer and she called me in to illustrate the jacket. After some discussion and rough sketches back & forth we hit on the idea of 3 individual images of the gamers going through their transformation. For the 2 guys, Twiggy and Borhai, I drew the gamers in pencil but fully rendered their characters in paint. I work with watercolor (gouache), so I traced some of the drawing with a wax candle. Since watercolor won’t stick to wax, you can see the drawing of the gamer ‘through’ the painting of the character. Piper, the elf-girl, doesn’t change in size enough to make that idea work so I made her hair a magical element that swirls around her as it grows.

If you’d like to buy a copy of Escape from Netherworld just click here.

Author: David Kuklis
Designer: Gina Datres
Illustrator: John Manders
Editor: Nan Newell
Published and Printed by:
Word Association Publishers
Tarentum, PA 15084
ISBN: 978 1 59571 994 2
Available for purchase:
wordassociation.com   —   1 800 827 7903
barnesandnoble.com
amazon.com

As usual, here are the rough sketches, tight sketches, color study and final painting.

an early sketch tight sketch color study final art

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19. Book Trailer for Zac’s Destiny

Please check out my book trailer for Zac’s Destiny on YouTube!

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20. Book Trailer for ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’!

Watch the great new trailer for the children’s humorous fantasy, ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’. Out now on Kindle worldwide!

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21. Book Trailer for ‘Unlucky For Some’

Hope you like this book trailer for my macabre Twist in the Tale compilation of short stories. Perfect to read at Halloween, and certainly NOT for children!!

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22. Zac’s Destiny entered for an award!

Zac’s Destiny, my Sword & Sorcery fantasy, has been entered into an award for Kindle books! I would be eternally grateful if any of you could offer your votes? Thanks so much if you can.

No need to sign in or give any details. Just click on the number of stars you think my book deserves to vote!

Click here to vote.

Cover with quote

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23. Great read for Halloween!

Halloween

13 macabre Twist in the Tale offerings, not for the faint hearted!

Click here to buy a copy.

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24. Escape from Netherworld—Twiggy the dwarf

Escape From Netherworld jacket

Escape From Netherworld jacket

Hey, gang! Sorry for the interruption in posts—I spent most of last week in New York City visiting art directors, editors and creative directors. Now I’m back and I want to show you something I worked on this summer.

Here is jacket art for Escape from Netherworld—it’s about a group of role-playing gamers who are somehow transformed into their characters and transported into an alternate realm: Netherworld.

My pal, the extraordinarily talented Gina Datres, is the book’s designer and she called me in to illustrate the jacket. After some discussion and rough sketches back & forth we hit on the idea of 3 individual images of the gamers going through their transformation. For the 2 guys, I drew the gamers in pencil but fully rendered their characters in paint. I work with watercolor (gouache), so I traced some of the drawing with a wax candle. Since watercolor won’t stick to wax, you can see the drawing of the gamer ‘through’ the painting of the character. Piper, the elf-girl, doesn’t change in size enough to make that idea work so I made her hair a magical element that swirls around her as it grows.

If you’d like to buy a copy of Escape from Netherworld just click here.

Author: David Kuklis
Designer: Gina Datres
Illustrator: John Manders
Editor: Nan Newell
Published and Printed by:
Word Association Publishers, Tarentum, PA 15084
ISBN: 978 1 59571 994 2
Available for purchase:
wordassociation.com   —   1 800 827 7903
barnesandnoble.com
amazon.com

Let’s start with Twiggy the dwarf. As usual, here are the rough sketches, tight sketches, color studies and final paintings.

rough sketch of group tight group sketch—rejected Twiggy alone Vince transforms into Twiggy color study final image

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25. Escape from Netherworld—Borhai

More jacket art for Escape from Netherworld—it’s about a group of role-playing gamers who are somehow transformed into their characters and transported into an alternate realm: Netherworld. Yesterday I showed you Twiggy the dwarf. Here’s Borhai the warrior who starts out as a regular gaming guy named Dave.

My pal, the extraordinarily talented Gina Datres, is the book’s designer and she called me in to illustrate the jacket. After some discussion and rough sketches back & forth we hit on the idea of 3 individual images of the gamers going through their transformation. For the 2 guys, I drew the gamers in pencil but fully rendered their characters in paint. I work with watercolor (gouache), so I traced some of the drawing with a wax candle. Since watercolor won’t stick to wax, you can see the drawing of the gamer ‘through’ the painting of the character. Piper, the elf-girl, doesn’t change in size enough to make that idea work so I made her hair a magical element that swirls around her as it grows.

If you’d like to buy a copy of Escape from Netherworld just click here.

Author: David Kuklis
Designer: Gina Datres
Illustrator: John Manders
Editor: Nan Newell
Published and Printed by:
Word Association Publishers
Tarentum, PA 15084
ISBN: 978 1 59571 994 2
Available for purchase:
wordassociation.com   —   1 800 827 7903
barnesandnoble.com
amazon.com

As usual, here are the rough sketch, tight sketch, color study and final painting.

sketch sketch color study final art

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